So many time saving, work reducing, stress minimizing gadgets (washers, dryers, microwaves, pressure cooking toaster mixers that broil) and so little time to figure out how they work, or how to fix them, or how to rid them of hamster infestations. Troublesome, very troublesome, especially when you’ve become completely dependent and addicted to the use of aforementioned gizmo time savers.
Washers and dryers are real stress relievers—or they can be, if you can beat the hamster squatters out of them.
When we were young, dumb, poor, newly married, and our clothes were often embarrassingly rumpled, someone gave us a FREE washing machine. It had a rat living in it. The rat left piles of rodent flotsam and jetsam in and around the machine to make sure that we understood who owned what.
We owned our rumpled clothes. The rat owned our washing machine.
I found the situation stressful—not to mention frightening. Imagine adding a final pair of random biker shorts to that last load of laundry. Imagine discovering that there’s a rat doing the sidestroke during the wash cycle. Imagine the endless nightmare scenarios. Those suckers can jump—the rat, not the biker shorts.
My newly wedded husband finally had to trap the washing machine rat and then bonk it on the head with a barbell. Afterwards, I thought I heard him shout, “Today, I am a man.”
Some years and rodent dramas later, Brownie the “Knocked-Up” Hamster managed to escape from her cage into our brand new squeaky-clean (never before used) house. She re-located to the back of our brand new squeaky-clean (never before used) gleaming, glass-topped stove. Driven by instinct and early labor, Brownie began to nest in the insulation of the pristine stove. Occasionally, Brownie would stick her nose through the grating on the back of the stove, wiggle her whiskers at me, and giggle.
My phone call to the service center is legendary.
“No, no, you’re not hearing me. You don’t understand. There’s a hamster nesting in the back of my new stove.”
“Serial number please.”
“No, not serial number. This is an emergency. Brownie the Hamster is pregnant. She may be crowning.” My voice became more strident with each word.
Brownie pressed one eye to the grating and watched my panicked pacing. A whisper of pink insulation drifted from the back of the stove to the kitchen floor.
“I can’t find any record of an extended warranty for you, Mrs. Zern.”
“What difference does that make? Does your fancy warranty cover hamster labor and delivery?”
“We can have a repairman out there Friday of next week.”
“NEXT WEEK! By that time, I’ll have a flock of hamsters setting up a condominium association in my beautiful new glass top stove. Argggggh!”
I thought I heard Brownie the Hamster asking for an epidural.
“Listen, let me ask you something, Wanda,” I said, trying another tack. “That’s right, isn’t it? Wanda? So Wanda, what might happen, I mean hypothetically, what might the possible ramifications be, if I turn the oven on full blast and set it to self-clean?”
It took hours to pry Brownie and her six children out of that time saving invention.
Another rodent soap opera episode (and my personal favorite) came when a car repairman, while checking the engine of our family van called out, “Hey lady, did you know you have a rat living in your engine?”
I knew enough to play it cool.
“Of course, I know there’s a rat in my engine. She’s our hamster’s second cousin, twice removed, visiting from Bithlo.”
There are days when I’d rather wash my clothes by beating them with rocks down by the river, cook my buffalo on a stick over a fire pit, and drag my kids around between two tree trunks lashed to a goat. There’d be less stress, less work, and a lot less time wasted—also less rodent drama.