My neighbor said to me, “These ferrets make our house stink. Would you like to have them?” I think he thought he was making me an offer I couldn’t refuse. But I did. I’m not an anti-pet person. You know, those people who also make you take your shoes off when you come in. But, truth be told, I have still not gotten over the ghastly loss of my dog, Lou, which happened about 3 years ago and I’m not ready for another pet. In fact, when I think about Lou’s death, I could cry. I can keep myself from crying but if I let myself, I would cry. Like if I were an actor (which I’m not--but my Bishop did ask me to be in a training video about ward councils. Probably because of my realistic portrayal of a competent member of his real ward council—Acting!) If I were an actor, Lou’s death would be the “place I go” when I need to act sad. Anyway, I don’t need the heartache and neither do my kids. It's bad enough that Lou died the first day of “Pet’s Week!” at Sam’s pre-school. It’s bad enough that Rosie, the token death-replacement-fish from great grandma, died not once, not twice, but thrice. (Yuck. Fish are so weird.) I did break down and get a cat from the animal shelter—Ozzy--to get rid of mice in our yard. I started to think perhaps I could love again. Though I am not a cat-person by nature, Ozzy won me over. Low-maintenance. Endearing. Mouse-killa. Then I saw him in action. And it’s disturbing. He stalks, torments, and murders mice. I respect him for it and, indeed, I hired him for the job but I can’t hold him in my lap and pet him until he purrs anymore. It’s just not the same. I can’t even look him in the eye. It’s like he’s Michael Corleone and I’m Diane Keaton and he’s the Godfather now. I want him to shut the door in my face like Michael does to Kay because I don’t want to see what he does, but I do want him keep killing those mice. So, I care about Ozzy. I wish him well. But I won’t be making him a Christmas stocking like I did for Lou. We don’t have that kind of relationship.
So I told my neighbor “no thanks” and he immediately appealed to my 4- year-old daughter. “Maggie, wouldn’t you like the ferrets to come and live at your house?” Many people might think that this is cruel or pushy but it is a smart strategy. Fortunately Maggie isn’t the easy sell she appears to be. She was all, “Let’s get out of here. It reeks like ferret.”
My poor neighbor. You see, he loves those ferrets. He would like to “pour honey on his chest and let the ferrets lick it off.” (He said that knowing, nay, hoping I would blog it so I feel justified including the rather personal detail here.) But he will be out of town for 4 months so he has to get rid of them. I guess giving them to us is a way that he can really keep them, because we live close by. But it ain’t gonna happen. In my own moment of weakness I appealed to Christian, “Sam would like having those ferrets.” “I don’t care!” he screamed. “We are not becoming a rodent family!” Sometimes in this crazy world we lose sight of what’s really important to us. I’m grateful for a husband who never waivers on the important stuff.