Gophers Are Also Rodents

It did not start out as the kind of day that ends with hands fasted together (bound in loose purse strings) and the carefree feeling that summer has already come.

In fact, Saturday started with Mike trying to butterfly-kiss my nose with hamster whiskers. Except, for reasons I will never understand and can't be bothered to hire a divorce attorney to figure out, Mike chose to use Mary the hamster for this wake-up call. (This seven a.m. wake-up call, another item that joins Nessie and Amelia Earhart as a capital-M mystery.)

We have seven fine little dwarf hamsters. (If I had my own Perez Hilton-style paparazzi stalker, there'd be this tweetastic rush of "Who is the secret hammie??!" posts. But since I chose to be a frumpy paycut-chasing nerd instead of a celebutante, I have to do my own hype. Yes! We have had a secret, seventh hamster for ten days now. He is a year old, scrawny, handsome, sweet, and very shy. He came from a Craigslist Situation and is only just beginning to relax and be curious about us, so there aren't any photos yet. Shhh, don't leak this story until we have more details.) Six of those hamsters are as cuddlesome as can be.

And then there is Mary. AKA, "Bloody Mary."

Now, it is true that Mary rarely bites when outside of the habitat. (She's less defensive when off her turf.) And even when in the habitat, once she calms down she is surprisingly gentle and loving. (Sad, I know.)

But when she does bite, it is good and hard and draws blood and expands vocabularies.

And there was Mike, who won't hear a word against her, optimistically(?) holding her to my sleeping nose, ickle-tickle-tickle... CHOMP!

The short version is that it was a bad start to the day, with blood and compresses and salty language that I'm ashamed to have used in front of an otherwise agreeable rodent. Eventually I went back to sleep and woke up to a sparkling kitchen and bathroom, and - quite coincidentally - I was in a much better temper.

So, and maybe it's unrelated or maybe I was dazzled by the luminosity upgrade of the bathtub, I got online (as if I'm ever offline, sigh) and dropped a big-but-comparatively-tiny chunk of money on a short-but-snazzy cruise to Catalina this summer. Pow! Then I used Priceline and got two nights at the Crowne Plaza (our favourite! patented sleep system technology!) in Anaheim for some Disneying after the cruise - $46/night - shazam! Then I used SCIENCE (or hours of Google) to book an AAA-rate, plus special free parking discount, king bed at the Kona Kai on Shelter "Island" in San Diego for $89. Cha-ching-a-ding!

But on reflection, I'm not even sure how the cruise-thing happened. Last night Mike mildly mentioned it as "nice to do someday." Normally this should inspire no action, as we're both chatty people who like ponder all kinds of things we'll never do. He may as well have said that he'd like to build a time machine someday, if we could ever be bothered to pop into Sam's Club to get enough foil.

And yet, because idle research and multi-tabbed browsing is my compulsion, I checked to see what sails out of Long Beach. It wasn't the craziest stray thought: this summer I want to go somewhere new but low key and somewhat local, and Mike has been pushing for a return to Walt's Park.

And so there was that blur of clicks and contemplation and hour-hands spinning crazily around clock faces, plus a stanza of Wayne's World wavy sounds, and suddenly we were very eager to take a short spin to Catalina on a cruise ship.

We'd already been long-wanting to see Catalina on a side excursion from the Mouse. Alas, the hotel rates, and the timing... it just never seemed quite worth it.

But with the special Carnival rates for CA/NV/AZ residents, the deals are just too excellent. Four days on a stately, modern cruise ship with all the meals and ambience and hijinks is cheaper than two nights in Catalina plus the ferry. (Again, keeping in mind that I'd developed some very firm ideas about where I wanted to stay if bothering to go to the island.)

The only thing more fun than research is getting initiated into a new culture: Cruise Culture! There was Mike this afternoon, asking if I wanted to go eat Indian or hit the Atomic Museum or do anything in the world that would make me forget the lingering tooth-trenches in my nose, but I was already absorbing deck plans, excursions, and the tricky decision of starboard versus port. (I went with port. We're statistically more likely to face the island, like that matters, and it meant getting a cabin with possibly 0.28% more view.)

Duty done, Mike happily settled into an afternoon of raiding on World of Warcraft, but - our distractions aside - by early evening we'd reached an endless OMG! loop, repeated every five minutes: "We're going on a cruise! A cruise!" I shared every frame and nugget of cruise porn as I found it and here it is 2:00 a.m., and maybe I can sleep now. Maybe. But I don't know how anyone expects me to go back to work for four more weeks. I just ordered season one of The Love Boat off NetFlix - priorities, y'all!

(This could have been the post about how I'm teaching two AP classes next year, something which simultaneously gives me the giddies and the sh*ts, but I've got 24/7 free-pizza-on-demand to fantasize about. Hairy chest contests, dance lessons, and all the lemonade we can drink: pass the woad and carve my face on the totem pole, I'm joining the tribe!)

10 May 2009 |

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Hamsters

 WE BUILT A HOUSE 

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 CRUISE REPORTS: 

Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)