Thursday, June 6, 2013

No More Pets Until We Find the Remote

We have four fish, all named Sarah, so feeding time is painless. Just call "Saaaarahhhh," once in the morning and once in the evening, as you stand over the tank, and they'll rise to the surface and eat. Nothing else is expected, no going outside to do business, no face-licking, no trips to the vet for any sort of impaction... dental, fecal, etc, no having to explain that you married your best friend, you didn't just neuter him. If we need to spend more time and money caring for complicated, expensive, high maintenance things, we'll have more kids or buy more lawn equipment.

But disposable pets are a good thing. They teach kids some of the most basic, valuable life lessons, like responsibility, respect for animals, and basic subtraction skills. Unlike their more "fixed" counterparts, we don't have to go through extensive emotional strife when we lose one. In fact, the three-year-old has already prepared for the day we say goodbye to one of the Sarahs by informing me "if they die, we'll have to go buy more." Textbook definition of disposable pets by someone who assumes unlimited disposable income. So we're in a good place now with our animal situation, and let me make this abundantly clear: As anyone in this house will tell you, we will not be pursuing additional pets at this time or in the foreseeable future.

"Mommy said when I'm 8, we can get a guinea pig," says the oldest this morning, remembering a conversation from 143 days ago while half-heartedly searching for her shoes that are "probably here somewhere" as we run habitually late for the all-important last day of school. We actually owned three guinea pigs in the days leading up to child-rearing, because feeding animals that sleep 20 hours a day three times a day so prepares you for colic. I guess having a guinea pig around the house would symbolically complete our little Circle of Cleaning Up Poop. (Help me out, Elton John.)

But no. Right now we have a much larger problem on our hands. We're not getting any more pets until someone can find the remote control. The remote is our pet. Like a housecat, it wanders off for days without any real notice. Like a housecat, it turns up eventually. Unlike a housecat, it doesn't need to be fed, so its sense of urgency is reduced. Like a housecat, it acts like it doesn't really give a damn whether you notice it or not. Unlike a housecat, it sits on my lap all evening as I pet it and treat it like it's royalty. Like a housecat, 0-year-olds tend to really enjoy it and play with it. Like a housecat, I usually find it in a sock drawer or trapped in luggage.

Between finding the remote and drilling the essentials behind which light switch turns off the lights and which one resets the entire damned satellite dish for 35 minutes in the middle of a playoff hockey game, we have plenty to keep us busy. I repeat: Plenty to keep us busy, and so we do not need any more pets. Not even the cute ones. We're simply not ready for the responsibility, am I right, family?

"How about a turtle?"

"Not even a little, tiny kitty?"

Stop. Let's find this remote first. Who had it last and where?

Probably the three-year-old, watching Sprout, eating a Nutty Buddy in his parents' bed.

OK, so we'll need to change the sheets and pick tiny little nuts out of our ass tomorrow morning. Does the three-year-old know how to use the remote?

Only to turn the volume up to 65, he's not fast enough to type the channel numbers in.

Ok, so it's possible the wife had it last? To turn the TV on?


OK. At least that would mean the remote is where it "belongs"? Where does the remote "belong?"

No idea.

I see. Have you checked under the sheets, under the bed, on the nightstand, on the dressers, and under those gargantuan, decorative pillows that get thrown on the floor before bed every night?

All of those places per current protocol.

I see. Was the one-year-old in the room?

He strolled in and was spotted carrying his mother's feminine products out of the bathroom into the playroom.

We'll need to investigate the one-year-old. He was last seen...

...Screaming a fit after his mom re-claimed the products from him.

And so, in a fit of rage, he went back into his parents' room, took the remote, and jammed it down the diaper genie. It all makes sense now. I believe this case is solved! See, you just take the clues, put them together, use a little parental intuition, and you can find important things.

Now, let's all go get a Great Dane.


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