You know, if I wanted to, I could drop $450 on the iPod Touch 32 Gig that I lust after.
Instead, apparently I will be dropping $450 on a rat.
The rat, Molly, has been in our household for perhaps a year, a gift from our friend Tim. Molly has a pal, Marty the rat. Molly is a sort of albino rat, snow white with crimson eyes.
Let me be the first to admit that I am not a fan of rats. I grew up with rats of an involuntarily acquired sort, as our house was next to a vast ivy-covered canyon where they bred like, well, rats. I regard rats as plague-carriers, scavengers, vermin, scurriers across floors and gnawers of wainscotings. They creep me out. In short, I regard rats roughly the same way the vast majority of Western Civilization has for recorded history. I reacted to the arrival of Molly and Marty with roughly the same enthusiasm as Basil Fawlty reacted to Manuel's Siberian hamster.
My wife and kids think rats are cute. Hence, end of discussion.
Recently Molly — who is now about a year and a half old, which is roughly middle age for a rat — has been wheezing. In the last few days the wheezing has reached noisy and opera-consumption-victim levels.
So yesterday Katrina decided to make a vet appointment. She discussed with me how she had told the kids that Molly is sick, and has to go to the vet, and hopefully she will get better, but you should say goodbye to her just in case. She discussed with me how she doesn't want Molly to suffer and that clearly, as a rat, she will not be the subject of heroic measures, so unless there's something pretty easy wrong with her, Molly will likely not be making the car ride home.
I accepted all of this without the skepticism that is normally the hallmark of all my other interactions with my wife and children. Had I thought about it, it might have occurred to me that (1) we have spent perhaps a total of $6,000 on cancer treatments for a cat and a dog over the course of our marriage; (2) I have shopped with my wife, and she has the hard-sell resistance of a starving man at a hot-dog stand.
So the phone call I just got should be no surprise. Displaying the shrewdness that wives are known for, she called me on her cell phone with the girls in the car, preventing a truly WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING vent on my part. She explained:
- Molly has pneumonia;
- Molly will be staying at the pet hospital for a while;
- Molly will require antibiotics;
- Molly will require intravenous fluids;
- Molly will probably require antibiotics for the rest of her life;
- Molly may require nebulizer treatments in the future;
- The bill for the care of Molly — who, if I may remind you, is a rat, a member of the species that has devastated humanity's grain storage, carried population-halving plagues, and otherwise fucked with us since we came down from the trees — will be at least $450.
This left me nonplussed.
Then, I shifted from rational-adult mode into man-who-has-lived-with-a-woman-for-twelve-years mode. What were my chances of emerging from this situation without dropping the better part of a grand, really? And how much is domestic harmony worth to me? Wouldn't I suffer more than $450 worth of abuse if I freaked out about this?
So I'm resigned to it.
But I'm definitely splurging on the damned iPod now. If I turn it up, I won't be able to hear the rat wheezing.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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