Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mystery animal

Our oldest daughter’s room is pretty much off limits to us these days. I know how to choose my battles, and I surrendered a long time ago in the Clean Your Room war.
So it was a rare occurrence when I entered her inner sanctum a few weeks ago to prepare for the carpet cleaners. A desk floor mat had to be retrieved and the clothes picked up off the floor. But besides the general disaster scene, nothing looked out of the ordinary.
A day later the carpets were dry and I carried the mat back into her room. Dropping it back onto the floor, I glanced over at the corner. And that’s when I saw them.
Not one, but two ferrets in a cage tucked into her closet.
The little creatures were clinging to the frame of the three-story cage, scaling the sides like some kind of ferret jungle gym. There was a ferret hammock and a ferret blankie. There was even a ferret litter box.
The ferrets blinked their ferret eyes like they were just as surprised to see me as I was them.
A mom of three teenagers should expect surprises, but the sight of the two mini mammals tucked away in the corner of our daughter’s bedroom had me completely stupefied.
What the “h-e-double hockey sticks” is going on here? She was already harboring two turtles and a guinea pig, and now we have two ferrets?
The number of animals living in her bedroom was now equal to the number of humans in the entire house.
What was next? Lemurs? Potbellied pigs? Jackalopes?
You better come in here and see this, I yelled to my husband.
Are those ferrets? he asked, after he came into the room.
I think so, I said.
How long have they been there?
I have no idea, I said.
I texted our daughter.
We need to discuss the visitors in your room when you get home, I wrote.
A few hours later, mom, dad and daughter held a ferret summit at the kitchen table.
Exactly how long have the ferrets been living in her closet? What were her plans for taking care of them? And where did they come from, because I don’t recall seeing ferrets at our local PetCo.
I bought them in Carson City, she explained.
You made a ferret run to Nevada? Oh, this was just getting better and better by the hour.
I immediately started brainstorming on ideas of how quickly I could extract the ferrets from the house.
Perhaps someone would consider a ferret “trade”? Or couldn’t we just release the ferrets into the wild a la “Free Willy”? Actually, that wouldn’t work. Turns out ferrets are taboo in California.
A few days went by and another thing about the ferrets quickly became apparent.
Ferrets stink. They stink like a cross between a dirty, wet dog and a hormonal skunk. After ferret odor started wafting through the home, I didn’t care how cute the critters were. The ferrets had to move out.
By the next weekend, dad and daughter had constructed a deluxe outdoor ferret cage in the backyard under a nice shady tree. The ferret hammock was installed, and a special sleeping bunk hammered into place. A private nook allows for uninterrupted ferret napping. I’m sure it’s what every ferret dreams of.

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