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[written in February of ’08]

I’ve been sleeping alone for three nights now and I haven’t slept well. I just got a new pair of contacts that you wear 24 hours a day so whenever I do wake up, which is often, I get to see exactly what time it is clear across the room. You would think that would be a blessing for someone with 20/400 vision, but when all you want is a continuous night of sleep, it’s really hell on earth.

So there I am sprawled out on four pillows and a stuffed dog trying to ignore the clock AND the cat who seems surprisingly frisky tonight. I glare in his general direction as he races into and out of the room like a whirling dervish. The clock at that points says 12:17. I doze off. I dream a little.

Why is that cat so fucking crazy tonight? I grab a squirt bottle which rests next to the bed for the sole purpose of keeping the cat from climbing the silk drapes that line the wall behind our bed. Once I am in the vicinity I assume him to be in, he runs back out of the room. 12:48

I’m trying so hard to sleep but I can hear him in some sort of food-induced frenzy that sound remarkably like he is chasing his tail. I bury my head under the pillow and refuse to look at the clock.

That does it! He’s in my room again!!! Now this is war and I’m going to get up, throw him out, and…wait…

light dawns on marblehead (it’s a New England expression)…

the only time the cat gets this wound up…

IS BECAUSE A HAMSTER IS LOOSE!!!! FUCK!

I jump out of bed, turn on the light, and realize that Simon has one of our little guys cornered under the big chair in the bedroom. Okay, knowing from experience that a) our cat is too fat to actually catch him and b)he just likes to play with them he only eats Friskies, I run to the living room to see if it’s just one or whether both of them are out. Sure enough, the door is unlatched but Abbott is sitting on his hind legs looking at me with this face that says “Hey, did you know Costello got out of here? That sneaky, horrible brother of mine. Go get him. WAIT! WAIT! Can you just open that hatch a little more first? Hello? HELLOOOO???”

First stupid idea at 1:38 a.m. is to grab the cat and throw him in my son’s room and close the door. Now I have effectively let my hamster detector off the job. As I’m lying on my stomach on the floor I see him scurry along the back wall heading for the hamper. hamster. hamper. hamster. hamper. This better not go on all night.

I try to put things around him that will keep him from getting out of the corner but that’s not working because HE’S GONE! Now my son has decided to join in the act and brings a giant flashlight. We can’t locate him. Anywhere. I let the cat back in the room eventually because if he’s here then my giant feline bloodhound will sniff him out. We sit vigil at the door to the bedroom and watch while Simon lays down like a great furry whale in the middle of the floor twitching his tail and panting. Oh, Simon…you rock.

It’s getting excruciatingly late and I don’t see one tiny paw or one piece of poop anywhere. I send Lucas off to look around the house and within two seconds I hear him crooning to Costello in the living room. How the hell…? I tiptoe stealthily around the other side of the door and there he is, just little Mr. Innocent looking at us from those beady black eyes while he rests on his haunches. Naturally, just as I swoop down to scoop him up, he heads under the bookcase. I SO want this to be over.

I grab Lucas’ blanket that he has been wearing wrapped around his body and stuff it under the bookcase so the little fuzzmonster can’t get out. I put Lucas in charge of the flashlight and tell him not to take his eyes off of him. Then I move the sofa get down on my belly and lure him over to me with a giant fruity pebble (it’s some kind of scented hot pink rodent snack). aaaaaand I’ve GOT HIM! Squirmy little devil.

Safely back in his cage I admonish Lucas to make damn sure that he calls one of us to close the latch tightly if he decides to check on them again but figuring that it probably just came loose after weeks of clinging to the bars and gnawing on the wire while pushing their little feet against the lower latch part which, really, isn’t all that stable. Eh, Don will rig something up when he gets home.

Now I’m totally wired and Lucas is totally tired. He goes to bed and I go to write. 2:20 a.m. I still have four more hours of sleep.

Goodnight.

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