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Inspiration--You never know where it'll come from

So I was at National last week, and attending the Leadership Retreat on Wednesday (I'm my chapter's president) and I get a text message from Child A.

(Mind you, this meeting I'm in has all sorts of info regarding new IRS rules governing non-profit organizations and we have to bring our chapters in line with National's stance to fulfill these rules, so I'm taking copious notes. Let me also say that the children were in the care of their grandmother because my husband had a last-minute meeting out of town that he had to attend, which had NOT been in the original plan when I decided to go to National.)

The texts went something like this:

Child A: "Mom, can I get a hamster?"

Me: "Fine, but you have to pay for it."

Child A: "Okay. Can Child B get a ferrett?"

Me: "NO ferrett!"

Child A: "Why not?"

Me: "Because they're too expensive and we have dogs."

Child B now takes the phone from Child A and starts texting me: "Why can't I? You always let Child A get everything they want!"

Let me state here for the record, Child A does not get everything they want, nor does Child B or any other Child I have. And especially not a ferret!

Me: "You can't get a ferret. Now I have to pay attention to my meeting!"

Child B: "Can I get a guinea pig?"

Me: "No guinea pig."

Child B: "Why not?"

Me: "Because we have two dogs who were bred to chase small rodents. It's not fair to them to have a guinea pig in the house."

Child B: "I'll keep my bedroom door closed."

Me: "No guinea pig. Get a hamster."

Child B: "I don't want a hamster. I want a guinea pig. Hamsters are too small. And I always do what you want me to do, unlike Child A. I treat you with respect and do all my chores. I have the money. Why can't I get a guinea pig?"

Now, I have to say, the kid put up a good argument. Knew right what to go for: respect and chores. And there was actually some truth to that test message.

So now I text my husband: "Child B wants a guinea pig. What do you think?"

But then I come to my senses, leave the meeting, and call Child B: "No guinea pig because the dogs already get on Dad's nerves - what do you think is going to happen when they're whining all the time to get into your room? It's not fair to Dad or the dogs. And it's not fair to the guinea pig when the dogs get in and kill it."

Child B sees the light through Mom's eyes. "Okay. So I can get a hamster?"

Me: "Yes. Fine."

Then Hubs texts back: "Guinea pig is fine."


Somehow I managed to copy the notes I needed, avert a rodent disaster and keep two kids happy, yet all the while feeling as if I was on that hamster's spinning wheel...

Then I get home from National and find out Child B's hamster has figured out how to get out of his tres expensive cage.


What does this have to do with writing? Two things: it shows the obstacles we "glamorous, feather-boa-wearing, chocolate-bon-bon-eating, frou-frou-slipper-and-robe-sporting" writers have to put up with, and it's going to make great fodder for a story someday.


  1. LOL, Judi. I had 2 pet mice when I was a kid. One killed the other and escaped his cage. No more rodents. After that, strictly dogs and cats. :)

  2. Judi, that has got to be one of the funniest stories I've read in awhile! Gotta love the kids!

  3. I had a ferret for nine years. She was a doll, played with the cat and dogs and let the kids do what ever they wanted to her. It's a good thing she was built like a slinky!

    We never had hamsters or guinea pig but I can say that ferrets are the bomb!

  4. I had mice, hamsters, goldfish, and guinea pigs as a kid, but the dogs were outside. The cat (and the horses) lived outside, too. As in balancing our writing with our lives, a bit of compromise is often required. Now I have cats in the house and the barn and no rodents (as pets) and I like it that way. Having my cat walk across my bed to wake me up in the morning is not nearly as disconcerting as a loose mouse!

  5. What it's like to be a mom. LOL.

    We had a duck and for twenty-four hours a baby possum, a kitten or two, but my mother had one inflexible rule. Only one inside pet. The dog.

  6. I haven't mentioned that we've had more aquariums than I can count, several snakes, a cat, and 4 ducks. They used to fly around between the houses below the second floor which isn't where ducks traditionally fly, but b/c I was their "mom" they hung close to home.

    THe sad reality is, my husband isn't an animal person, as much as he'd like to think he is. The dogs are pushing the envelope. Me? I'd have as many as I could, but sometimes compromise is the only way to go.

    Thanks for sharing your stories - Robin, a friend of mine had a ferret. It burrowed into her sleeper sofa and ended up getting squished. No thank you. :)

  7. Hi Judi!

    When I was a child we had dogs and cats. A friend asked me to keep her hamster while they went on vacation. I agreed, knowing that the door to my room would have to remain closed to avoid a cat incident. During the night, my mom got up to check on me, and left the door cracked open. It was all the cat needed. She got into the cage with the hamster, I still don't know how. I woke up the next morning with the cat in my face proudly showing me the rodent she had captured in my room and wasn't she a good kitty for killing it? My friend never spoke to me again. Lesson learned.

    Dottie :)

  8. LOL Judi!
    I had that same argument about hamsters and guinea pigs numerous times (ferrets are illegal in California so dodged that one) but I remained steadfast!
    1) they stink (I know, I know, NOT if their cages are cleaned but what 12 year old boy cleans ANYTHING?!?!)
    2) they run all night on their wheels (he spent the night with a friend and confirmed that it did keep him awake)
    3) they inevitably get loose or some other critter (like our then Jack Russell terrier) gets into their cage and CRUNCH!

    We had dogs and cats and even goldfish aplenty, but NO RODENTS!

    And wouldn't you love to know what text messages some other people in that meeting received???


  9. I had 12 mice when I was growing up and a half wolf half malamute, who was fascinated with the mice when I'd have them out in an enclosure outside.

    Ferrets are illegal in CA, although some have them. With my parrots and tortoise and dogs, not a good idea. :}

    I may not have kids, but my friends provide me with plenty of fodder.



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