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What A Week!

Aneira's completed bag!

Aneira’s completed bag!

Really, the week was insanely full! I got to meet three–count ’em–three Facebook friends in real life this week. How awesome is that?! One, I’ve been friends with since she got her first Siberian Husky some eight or so years ago, so that was really exciting. The others came through having Malamutes. Yep, we all “met” through our dogs. And now we’ve actually met!

And Aneira and I went to a talk about exploring the Arctic with a sled team of Malamutes, which was also incredibly interesting, and something I will almost certainly never do. The man giving the talk goes out with his team for months at a time. Alone, except for the 22 dogs on his team. He said sometimes he won’t see another human being for five months. Part of me says “Oooooo, that sounds like heaven”, while another part is screaming “Woman, are you absolutely gorram mad???” Hmmm….must think about this. Me, alone, with a bunch of dogs, in the midst of a wilderness full of predators. Yeah, maybe not so much.

We also attended–without Vanir–our first weight pull competition. The entire family went, and the kids had a ball petting every Malamute whose owner permitted it. Bryony took great joy in pointing out each dog that looked like Vanir…which was almost every single one, of course.

So that’s the good stuff for the week. On the other side of the coin, I started having trouble with my right foot this week too. Like I didn’t have enough problems on the left side, right? Between the knee and the hip. Now I’ve got sharp, shooting pain through my right heel and up the right side of that foot. What the hell is this now? Turns out: probably plantar fasciitis. Wow. Never felt anything quite like this before. It’s beginning to seem like my body is sabotaging the idea of my ever going back to work for any but the most sedentary job, which is not what I spent all this time and money on school for! Whoever said getting older qualifies as the so-called “golden years” lied!! Your golden years are the ones where you are young, still living with parents who are paying the bills, your body isn’t falling apart every other minute, and the only responsibilities you have are keeping your room clean, your grades up, and your chores done. It doesn’t get any more “golden” than that!!!

The beginning of Bryony's bag

The beginning of Bryony’s bag

And I also finally, finally finished Aneira’s bag, shoulder strap and all…only to find out I’d done it wrong anyway, or at least wrong for the style it was supposed to be. It’s acceptable as a bag, just not as a mochila type of bag. Now I’ve started on Bryony’s, with the correct instructions on how to do it, and have finally gotten the problem of the base cupping solved, thanks to a Facebook group on the subject. So Bryony’s will be done properly…I hope. I still think Aneira’s looks pretty darn good, considering. It’s got a ton of pink, which will make her very happy, and it was made by Mama, which she generally appreciates a lot more than I did at her age. She may not take care of it for long–she’s a kid, after all–but when I make something for these kids, they usually wear whatever it is to school and make sure everyone knows that Mama made it. That, of course, results in requests from their friends for me to make the same items for them in another color. The requests have stopped lately, as Mama has made it clear that I am not making eight pairs of gloves out of my own stash, using up my own time, for free. I guess the kids have passed that on. I don’t mean that statement to be obnoxious, really, but come on!!!

So that’s the week I’ve had, both pleasure and pain lol. On to the next week and the next bag!!


And Then There Were Seven

I said no. I said it twice over. And then I said yes, and the three newest gliders arrived last night, bringing my total to seven. My bedroom looks like a zoo exhibit. There are currently five occupied cages in my bedroom. Five. In my bedroom.

But I’m getting ahead of my story, here. First, let me tell you how this all went down last night. It was quite the adventure!

The gliders were shipped in from out of state, so they came by plane. My friend, who coordinated everything, was to take possession of the gliders when the flight came in at 7:15, so I drove her to the airport. So far, so good. We got there in time, and she went in to baggage claims while I drove back around to the cell phone parking lot, which is a bit away from anything. Behind it is woodland, and in front of it is a hedgerow and trees, so as you’re passing it, it’s pretty much hidden. Since there are signs at Arrivals stating no waiting, it’s the only other place you can wait for someone. Well, okay, fine.

My friend calls me a bit later and says there’s a problem. Ten gliders were shipped. Two were going to Ohio, and eight to Colorado. The airline, which shall remain nameless, mixed up the carriers. So the two for Ohio were in Colorado, while our gliders were still in transit to Ohio. Oh, boy. And all of the gliders have been in small containers for hours with only enough food to get them to where they were going. Now we have an issue. My friend is working with the airline to resolve it and get everyone to where they’re supposed to be. Shouldn’t take long to resolve, and ours will arrive tomorrow (today) instead, early in the morning. Okay, no problem, I’ll circle the airport a bit. It’s now dark, and the cell phone lot–the nearly invisible-from-the-road lot–is empty. Well, I’m not turning myself into a sitting duck in an empty parking lot where no one can see if there’s trouble, and I haven’t seen a single security person the whole time I was sitting there. Time to drive around the airport. It doesn’t take very long to circle it; Colorado Springs Municipal Airport is one of the smallest I’ve ever seen. Okay, scratch that: for a commercial airport, it is the smallest I’ve ever seen!

Time passes, and my friend calls again. The carrier containing the two Ohio-bound gliders is actually a cat carrier with two smaller boxes inside. Hamster cages, actually. These two need to come out and stretch their legs and food needs to be found for them. Problem: gliders that don’t know you are not going to stay with you, you can’t leash them, and the bar spacing on the cat carrier is such that they can conceivably squeeze out and get loose, so what do you do? You get a ton of zip ties and start creating your own “bars” to keep them from entertaining that idea. So she is now zip tying the carrier door, and airline personnel have gone in search of baby food at one of the airport shops. I hate to think of what an airport charges for baby food!

I’m beginning to get a little concerned. Aneira has already Skyped me to ask what’s going on and why am I not home yet. I explain what’s happening to my family…my extremely patient family. By this point, I have stopped circling the airport and am now parked in front of Arrivals, where I am not supposed to be. However, as I mentioned before, I was not inclined to sit in the cell phone lot anymore, and I was also not inclined to waste anymore gas. I’m not driving an economy car, I’m driving a very thirsty truck. I tell my friend all is well–and it is; my family is okay as long as they’re kept up to date–and do what she must, I’ll be here.

More time passes, and by now we are closing on 11 pm. My friend calls again. While in the process of zip tying the carrier door, she has managed to rip her thumbnail past the quick rather badly, so she needs me to come in and help with the ties. Okay, where can I park the truck? The guy in baggage tells her to have me park in the employee parking lot and enter the building from there. So I drive over there, and as I enter, I see a sign that informs me that parking there is by permit only. All vehicles not displaying said permit will be towed. This justifiably worries me, as I am not an employee and therefore do not possess any such permit. I call my friend and pass on the information, and the baggage gentleman says no worries, it’s okay. So I park, and hobble my way across an expanse the length of which rivals a football field. This is a long walk for me, and my hip has no qualms about telling me so.

Inside baggage, I commence zip tying the rest of the carrier door so that we can let these poor babies have a touch more space than what is available in a hamster cage. Once this is done, we can release the two gliders into it, feed them, then hurry on home, because the airline has redeemed itself somewhat: because these two arrived early, and my friend was smart enough to open the carrier to ensure all was well, she was able to quickly tell them we had the wrong carrier, and the airline was able to catch their flight in the air and halt their progress in Chicago. And fortunately for all involved, there was a flight coming to Denver that was leaving ten minutes later. The airline managed to get our gliders on that flight, and gave my friend vouchers for the taxi that she was going to take to Denver and back to pick them up. The flight was due to land a little after midnight; it was currently about 11:30.

Dealing with eight strange gliders is a lot to ask of anyone, so my friend told me that, to cut down on everyone’s stress, she would bring me my trio as soon as she got back to the Springs, which would be at 4 am. As I still had a cage to put together, with no illusions that it was going to be easy, I’d already figured on being up that late anyway, so I agreed.

I came home and wrestled the cage into submission for about two hours, then joined the PIP in front of the television for a bit, until my friend calls and says she’s back, and could I instead come to her house to help her with the other five gliders as well as pick up my own. Naturally, I went, helped her out, and collected my boys.

Can you imagine what their shipping containers smelled like after housing animals all day long?! Yeah, “rank and reeking” doesn’t even begin to cover it. The shipping containers went directly into the garbage after releasing their tenants into the new cage. It was quarter to five.

Now, being a mom, I have one superpower that works most of the time: I have the ability to tune out anything but bloodshed. I subconsciously recognize the tone of the scream I am hearing. I know when it’s simply that Bryony is angry at her big sister, and when it is something worse that I need to address myself. This ability works on the pets as well, so if the dogs bark in the middle of the night, unless there’s some urgency to it, I will sleep right through it.

My superpower went on vacation this morning.

The Kaos Krew started it, by barking–constantly–for two hours, thereby causing the boys to bark back. At this point, the rabbits decided to add their two cents by thumping their back legs very loudly. Normally, only one member of the Krew barks at a time, and only for a little while. This ruckus drove us to sleeping in the basement. It was 5:30 in the morning. Furballs 1; humans, 0.

The three new additions are all considered “half-tails”, although only one actually has anything approaching half a tail. The other two have considerably less than half a tail. We were told that one of them was a birth defect, and the reasons for the other two having only half tails is unknown, as they were rescues. It doesn’t appear to bother the fuzzies in question though.

They have all received new names. This time, I went with a dragon theme. I have read and reread Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series any number of times since I was a kid, and still do. She was a fantastic writer, and, really, who wouldn’t want a dragon?? So, the glider with the longest tail is Mnementh, the medium tail is Canth, and the smallest tail is Ruth. If you’re familiar with the books, you’ll recognize the logic. In the books, Mnementh is the largest male dragon on Pern. Bronze dragons are second in size only to the golden queen dragons. Canth, in the books, is a brown dragon, which is the next size down from bronze and are also all males. Then there are the blues, then greens, and then there is Ruth, who is the only white dragon ever on Pern. He’s a sport, the smallest existing dragon. His story, The White Dragon, was the first one I ever read. So there you have it!

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Maverick's cage, complete with adorable cage set. He's very happy with it!

Maverick’s cage, complete with adorable cage set. He’s very happy with it!

I know, the title is a bit confusing, so allow me to explain: LPCS stands for Lay’s Potato Chip Syndrome. This refers back to the commercial that says you can’t have just one. The same goes for other things in life, and that brings me to our lives. You can’t have just one sugar glider. Yes, LPCS has taken over my house. Sort of. We’re drawing the line now.

Since Maverick’s arrival (Yes, the name remains. It was put to a vote, and two of my children’s favorite people voted in favor of Maverick. And I promised to abide by the ruling of the second person, so the name stays.), three more gliders in need have been brought to my attention. Well, actually it was eleven, but three of the eight males are coming to us. Quite soon, as it happens. That puts us at seven. Five males, two females, and, for the moment, three cages. The plan is still to acclimate the original members of the Kaos Krew to Mav, and move him in with them…eventually. The other three are already bonded to each other, and will have their own cage.

The funny thing is that the PIP called it a week ago. He said this would happen, and I blithely told him no. I was ending it at four. We didn’t need any more.  He suggested that I make room for another cage, because he was sure there would be more. I laughed at him.

Look where I am now.

When I sheepishly ate crow and told him about the three boys, he only laughed. He’d expected it because I’d mentioned them before. I had actually said no to taking them, initially. Twice over. And initially, they were set to go to other homes. But both homes fell through, and I was told how bad things were for them, and I weakened. I couldn’t help it. I saw pictures, and gave in.

The thing is, gliders are incredibly easy to care for, once you have the essentials. If you have the ability to make their diet, which is made up of things you eat anyway, and they have a large enough cage, and you have time to spend with them each day, it’s not difficult at all. They’re considerably less messy than my rabbits, and less smelly, by a long mile, and cleaning their cages is a lot easier. Paper towels in the catch tray, which you throw out every other day and replace with more, or cut a piece of fleece to size, and shake it out every other day, then wash while another piece of fleece replaces the dirty one. Hardcore cleaning once a week, for which I have a steamer. Add the fact that they’re frigging adorable, and there you go.

Having them leap to the front of the cage to see you every time you walk through the door is gratifying. Hearing them bark makes you go “Awwwww” every time. And watching them “ride the lightning” on the wheel makes us all laugh. The largest expense has been housing, and that, too, can be accomplished pretty inexpensively if you keep a weather eye on Craigslist.

This is not to say that it can’t be expensive. You have to have a vet accustomed to sugar gliders, for one thing, and sugar gliders from breeders can run anywhere from $250 to $1500 for one animal. And since they don’t do well as singles, then you’d have to figure on spending $500-$3000 for a pair. I’ve been lucky–all of mine are rehomes/rescues.

This is also not to say that it’s all fairytales. Gliders are nocturnal, which means they’re noisy at night. All night. Again, I’ve been lucky there: mine, on their own hook, have changed their schedules. When they arrived, they would get up at ten or eleven and stay up until about six am. Now they get up around four am, and stay awake until about four pm. And, of course, it takes time to create a bond with them. It’s not like a puppy, kitten, dog, or cat, who will pretty much warm up to you right away. It can take years to bond with a glider. My first three still bite me. Maverick has been handled so much by his previous owner that he pretty much doesn’t nip at all.

My bedroom, though, looks like a zoo exhibit. Currently, there are two large glider cages, two rabbit cages, and four spare cages inhabiting the room, with the third glider cage soon to be moved in. Fortunately, the master bedroom is a huge room, but I’m going to probably get rid of all but two of the spare cages soon. The larger spare will be kept as a hospital cage in case one ever becomes ill, and the smaller will be a travel cage for trips to the vet. All others will go to new homes.

You know where you can really get in trouble with gliders? Accessorizing. There are any number of adorable bonding pouches out there for sale, and tons of people making cage sets that are equally adorable. And, well, it’s necessary to have another cage set on hand while the first is in the laundry, right? And they love toys. Fisher Price toys are always a hit. So are large Lego toys. And large branches and long chains for climbing. My glider cages are more brightly, gaily colored than the rest of the room.

But this time, I really am drawing the line. When it was ferrets, I stopped at six. With the gliders, I’m stopping at seven. Enough really is enough.

In crafty news, I have redone Aneira’s bag, and am beginning on the shoulder strap now. I reversed the colors this time, making the variegated yarn the background, and the pink yarn the pattern. As you probably saw in my last post. The holes are in place for the drawstring, and I managed not to add any stitches this time. The only thing I still didn’t get right is the base, which still cupped as I made it. I blew it off, figuring that this child is going to load the bag with all her junk anyway, and the bottom is going to cup no matter what with all the weight. Give me a couple of days, and it’ll be finished completely. Then I can focus my attention on Bryony’s bag. And finishing the first crocheted glider toy.

I really hope the kids can appreciate all the love and effort that’s going into this. I know Bryony probably won’t, as she’s the baby, but she might surprise me. She loves her crocheted blankets because I made them. Aneira is old enough that she should understand, especially if Bryony does.

Well, it’s time to get the littles fed for the night…Maverick, at least, will be up soon!

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Keep On Keepin’ On

Aneira's bag, the 2.0 version

Aneira’s bag, the 2.0 version

Still working on the girls’ Yule gifts. Progress is being made, but I’ve also discovered mistakes that I was hopeful the kids would forgive, if they noticed them at all! Two of the arrows on Aneira’s bag had somehow come too close together, and it happened so far back that I wasn’t willing to rip it out. And, of course, I’m still procrastinating on ripping out the mistakes on Bryony’s bag. The mess will be ugly. So very ugly. But in the end, I had to completely restart Aneira’s bag. The stitch count had somehow gotten so far out of whack that the bag was misshapen, not to mention I had tugged the carried color too tightly in some areas to keep it from showing through, on top of that. So: do-over!! The 2.0 version is going much better. I learned a valuable lesson that may or may not work for others: use lots of stitch markers. I’m using two types. I have the plastic locking ones marking number of stitches per row. The first stitch of the row is marked with a green one, and every twenty stitches after that is an orange one. Then I have some custom markers that I bought a few years ago on Etsy marking off the pattern repeats, which is every eighteen stitches. It’s made things a lot easier to keep track of where everything should be.

I finally bought some head pins to use for micro-macrame, so I can get started on their jewelry pieces, and found the size 20 T-pins at Joann’s. The general consensus had been that you could only get the proper sized T-pins online, but I was fortunate enough to find them locally. Yay!

I’m going to try my hand at some crocheted sugar glider toys too…I have some safe yarn in my stash, so it’s just a matter of figuring out what I want to do, making it, and then before putting it in their cage, I’ll post a picture of it to the glider groups and get some feedback so I can make any changes that need to be made before they get hold of it.

Speaking of the Kaos Krew, I’d seen it mentioned in one of the groups that gliders can vary their schedules if they choose to, and it seems mine have chosen to.

The Kaos Krew likes to hoard plastic bracelets in their sleeping pouch.

The Kaos Krew likes to hoard plastic bracelets in their sleeping pouch.

When they first arrived, they would get up around ten or eleven pm, be up all night, and go to sleep around six. Over the time that they’ve been here, that has gradually changed. They are now waking up around 3 am, and going to sleep around noon, which is great for me, if not so much the kids. School is back in session, which means bedtimes are strictly enforced now, so they only see the gliders early in the morning, and only in the cage. Getting them out when they are wide awake is…what’s the word I’m looking for here?…we’ll say “chaotic”. They outnumber me, and they are well aware of the fact. I get them out of the cage for playtime when all three are still asleep in their pouch, and take them into the bathroom.

They’re very amusing. Zoe will jump onto the cage bars and scurry up them till we are eye to eye, grab my hand with hers and pull it close enough to nip me, while Inara and Mal keep their distance. But in the bathroom, Zoe is the one that keeps her distance, while Mal is all over me, and Inara is exploring the room. And all of them have now taken to bloodless nipping, though I’m not sure they mean for it to be bloodless!

Tomorrow, we’ll be adding a fourth glider to the colony! A lady contacted me because she needs to rehome her glider immediately, as in it’s an emergency for her. I was initially wanting another female, and hers is not; he’s an intact male. However, not only is there no charge for him, she is also giving me the money to have him neutered. So I’ve already scheduled that with the vet, and he’ll be arriving tomorrow afternoon. He’ll be going into the spare cage for now, and we’ll be swapping bedding between the two cages so that everyone can get used to each other’s scents, and after a couple of weeks, we’ll try introducing them to each other in the neutral territory of the bathroom. If that goes well, we can start transitioning him into the cage with the other gliders. The introductions will have to wait until after he’s actually neutered on the 25th, though–I don’t want any surprise babies! Female gliders go into heat every 29 days, for two days, and their gestation period is only 16 days! When a baby is born, it’s about the size of a grain of rice, and has to crawl up mom’s body to the pouch, where it will stay until it’s developed completely. This is not something I’m prepared to deal with just yet, if I ever am. I’m just not a breeder. I have nothing against them, mind you, it’s just not for me, certainly not right now!!

Since the other three are named after Firefly characters, I’m debating about changing the new one’s name. According to Firefly canon, Mal and Inara had an unspoken thing for each other, though neither of them ever acted on it, which is why I named the parents Mal and Inara. On the show, Zoe was married to the pilot, Hoban “Wash” Washburne, so I was thinking of calling him Wash, and in fact that’s the name I gave to the vet. But he already has a cute name: Maverick, which, ironically also belonged to the Tom Cruise character in Top Gun, who was also a pilot. So I’ve gotta make up my mind!!

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The bonding process seems to be going well with the littles. They readily go into the bonding pouch each day, with much less crabbing at me about it. Inara, particularly, gives me more trouble about leaving the pouch than she does about entering it. Not really sure what that signifies. Today she nipped at me when I tried to get her out, and she’s not generally the nippy one!  That honor is Zoe’s, who will reach between the bars to grab my hand with hers and pull it close enough to nip. Still hasn’t broken the skin, but it’s not for lack of trying! Others have advised me not to pull away when she nips because it will give her the idea that she’s the boss, so I don’t, but it’s difficult not to, because those tiny teeth sting!! But I guess progress is progress.

Speaking of progress, Aneira’s bag is coming along well. I removed all the stitch markers on Bryony’s to motivate me to rip it back, but I haven’t had the guts to do it yet. That’s going to be a huge snarl of yarn. I’m not looking forward to the mess and I’m procrastinating. I know I have to do it soon, but I’m dreading it. 

I’d like to try my hand at glider toys too, and I have one idea already, but I have to get some glider-safe yarn before I try it. And I may have to take some sewing lessons as well, as I can barely sew a straight line as it is. Mom’s sewing machine has been in its box for the majority of the last ten years. I have it, I should learn to use it. I don’t know how much aptitude I’ll have for it with lessons on board, but I know how little talent I have for it without lessons!! Kind of wishing now that I’d taken the home economic class I disdained in high school! I’d be a lot farther on!

I’ve heard you can knit/crochet glider toys with fleece straps, so I’m curious how that can be done. I’m going to try looking on YouTube to see if there are any videos of that. Wish me luck!!!

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Settling In

Front, l-r: Inara and Mal Rear: Zoe

Front, l-r: Inara and Mal
Rear: Zoe

The littles appear to be adjusting pretty well to their new home, and the kids and I, at least, are thoroughly in love with them. Not so sure about the PIP, after last night lol.

I crashed early, primarily because the girls, who are currently enjoying a four-day weekend, have spent so much time fighting that the headache I had got exponentially worse due to yelling at children. Lately, they literally cannot get along for more than two minutes at a time. It’s been like this all summer, and has continued into the new school year. When I pick them up in the afternoon, they have not seen each other all day. Before I’m even off the school’s street, which is fairly short, they are already at it. In the truck, I generally make my displeasure known by turning up the radio. I don’t have that option at home. So listening to not only the fighting itself, but the many and varied complaints of one child about the other–because once Mama has yelled, it is now necessary to bring a suit against the other combatant and cite how she was looking at the other one, etc.–and then trying to settle them both down because they are escalating further as they each recite their respective litanies of horrible things the other sister has done to them, and then the tweenage attitude of Aneira because she doesn’t want to hear anything that doesn’t follow what she wants (at the rate she is going, her teenage years are going to be a nightmare, and I will run away from home)…I’m sure you get the idea.

So a couple of times a week, since the accident last May, I get headaches, and last night was one of those nights. The PIP took over the children and I fell asleep with the lights on, because falling asleep wasn’t actually my intention; it just kind of happened. I woke up again around 1 am because the PIP was visiting the finally awake littles. He was grinning over at me, telling me how cute they were being, and he wanted me to let one of them out. They make him nervous because they’re so tiny. Well, okay. I carefully opened the cage door. Zoe and Mal leapt away like they’d been scalded, but Inara leapt for my shoulder. As she landed, she urinated down my arm. For such tiny animals, they can produce a copious amount of pee! The PIP started to laugh at me, but Inara wasn’t done. She ran from one shoulder to the other and launched herself at him, landing on his shoulder and peeing down his back. As I said, copious. I wouldn’t have thought she’d had anything left, but their bladders seem to operate the way a male dog’s does. So at this point the PIP was yelping, “Get it off! Get it off!” Inara jumped back onto my arm and from there into the cage, apparently well-satisfied with her evening’s work, and the PIP ran for the shower. I just started to laugh, which really isn’t fair, since I did forget to warn him about sugar gliders going to the bathroom anywhere. He knows the rabbits do it, but they’re not generally doing it on his person!

I’ve read, over and over, and heard from owners in various glider groups, how noisy gliders are once they’re up for the night, and I don’t know what it is, if it’s because they’re still settling in or what, but I haven’t noticed it much. In all honesty, my rabbits make more noise. Certainly Blue does!!! Stitch is more the quiet type, but Blue does his level best to annoy. I’m convinced he does it on purpose. And Stitch has his moments too, but not as often as Blue does. In comparison, the littles are as quiet as church mice. Only once have I been awakened by a barking glider, and probably could have gone right back to sleep, but a barking glider is an awake glider, which is an opportunity for me to giggle, which meant I stayed up for two hours with them.

On the Yule present front, I am currently ripping back several rows of Bryony’s bag because I realized I had made a couple of mistakes in coloration, and I also can’t get the left side diagonal line to look the same as the right side diagonal. So it’s back to the drawing board there. Fortunately, the two bookmarks I’m tatting for them are going well, as is the other bag, so I’m thankful for small favors there!! I can’t wait for them to go back to school tomorrow, not only because I am heartily sick of the constant bickering, but also because it means that I won’t have unexpected visitors walking in on me working on Yule gifts! That’s been an issue. Fortunately they haven’t seen much!

Well, I guess I’d better get off the computer and commence with the chores of the day, such as laundry. If I don’t do it now, my own clothes will never make it to the washing machine!!!


Family Expansion

Inara, the mom...I think.

Inara, the mom…I think.

No, I most certainly did not have another child, much as I wish I could, but we did expand the family by three this weekend!!

I’ve always been fascinated by, and wanted to have, sugar gliders. They are disgustingly cute little animals. I’d seen other people with them, and we briefly touched on them in school during the exotic animals portion of the curriculum (and when I say “briefly”, I mean it–there was only one chapter on gliders), but the purchase price for one was always extremely high, at least as far as what I ran into every time I looked for one, and then on top of that was the cost of purchasing and accessorizing a cage, which itself can be an additional few hundred dollars more. With a dog, you can opt to get only the dog, a collar, a leash, and food and water bowls. It’s far from an ideal scenario, but you could, in theory, do exactly that, not that I ever have. I’ve crate-trained–or attempted to, as Vanir has been particularly resistant to the idea–all of my dogs, and I have spent a fair share of my money on never-used dog beds (mine is apparently better), grooming tools (why, hu-mom, why?), and barely-touched dog toys of all kinds.

You don’t have the option of a bare-minimum approach with small animals, especially if there are other, larger animals in residence. The cage is an absolute necessity, even before the animal you’re going to install in it.

Zoe, the baby

Zoe, the baby

Once upon a time, I had ferrets. Six of them, to be exact: Loki, Timon, Khian, Ralph, Alysheba, and Brandy. I made a three hour drive from Long Island to New Jersey to buy a custom cage from a family who built the cages and themselves were owned by 40 of these little troublemakers. I drove home with the cage strapped to the top of my much-loved 1977 Chevy Malibu. When my mother found out, she pretty much had a belated heart attack, but that’s another story altogether. Suffice it to say, she was not happy.

Some animals are born escape artists. Ferrets are among them. Not all of them, of course, but there are enough within the species that it’s a rote caution when buying one to be warned that this tendency exists. Of my six, only one qualified. Their cage being built by someone who was well experienced with ferret capabilities, I thought I was safe. Khian was dead set on proving me wrong, and did so on many occasions, managing to work himself out of the cage and come find me every night for weeks until I finally figured out how he was doing it and solved the problem. But above all, ferrets are mischievous and playful, and they remain that way into old age.

Sugar gliders remind me of them. And for some reason, they also make me think of the fire lizards in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series of books. I don’t know why, especially as we’re talking mammals here, not lizards, but that’s what they make me think of.

Anyway, a good friend of mine let me know last week about a family of gliders that needed to be rehomed. Their human family is military and got orders to a state where gliders are still illegal. Mom, daughter, and neutered dad would come with everything: cage, toys, food, everything needed to start out with gliders, and the cost would be minimal compared to what I would have paid if I had gone about getting everything one at a time from different sources. Still more than I had available on short notice, but between me and the previous owners, we worked it out, and the trio came to their new home on September 2nd!

I can’t even begin to explain what a ride the last two days have been. Well, the last week, really. I joined every single online glider group I could find. I put books on my Kindle. I nailed my friend with every question I could think of. I started researching diets. I am armed, but far from dangerous…I will probably be asking questions for a good long while!

Zoe, again

Zoe, again

Being the good little Firefly geek that I am, they have been named Mal, Inara, and Zoe. They are tiny little handfuls of joy and utter chaos. Playtime takes place in the bathroom, because it is the only room that can be completely shut off from the rest of the house and in which, as long as the toilet is closed and the tub or sink is not full, there is nothing which they can use to get into trouble. We bring a few toys in, then we bring in the gliders.

It’s like two people trying to play tennis with three balls all at the same time. Gliders never stop moving, unless they’re asleep. If they’re out to play, and you are supervising multiples, it’s a hilarious comedy. Even with Aneira and I both in the bathroom, and possessing one more hand over the number of gliders, we wind up just keeping an eye out for potential trouble and let them wreak havoc until they’re tired…which takes awhile. We’ve been peed and pooped on, and it hasn’t put us off. I guess that’s to be expected with me, who chose to become a vet tech fully knowing that such things could and would occur, probably daily, but for my fastidious Aneira, I was amazed that she handled it very well, and still loves the gliders!

Bryony still hasn’t really been allowed to do anything with them. Being younger and more hyper, she’s likely to terrify such tiny animals. Right now, we’re letting them settle in, and during the day, I carry them around my neck in their bonding pouch while they sleep. The dogs are endlessly fascinated, but they’ve been ousted from the bedroom unless supervised. Love my dogs, but don’t trust them an inch with tiny animals.

Just watching them jump all over their cage has been so much fun, and makes it so hard to leave them be, but I know they need the time to get used to us. Still, I just keep thinking of the old Looney Toons character–a Yeti?–picking up Bugs Bunny and saying “I will love him and hug him and squeeze him and I will call him George.” That pretty much sums up how in love with these three I am!!


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