Monday, June 30, 2014

The Great Hamster Infestation of 1999.

Back in 1999, Husband and I were living in sin in a cheap apartment in Natomas, just outside of Sacramento. We were working at Applebee's - he as a bartender and I as a hostess - and we were newly engaged.

When we moved out on our own, we began acquiring all the things newly-independent young adults need:  cheap silverware from Walmart, furniture from thrift shops, and a shaky line of credit.  Since we were young and dumb and nowhere near ready for a baby, we decided that adopting pets would be the next logical step in building our life together.

First, we went to the SPCA and picked out a dachshund named Nala and a kitten we named Mona.

Nala hated kids but she loved us.  And barking.

Mona was the cutest kitten I'd ever seen or have seen since.  She was a fluffy white with an orange tipped tail and ears, with blue eyes.  It was apparent as soon as we got her home and she began passing blood that she was not healthy.  We took her to the vet, who said he could do nothing to help her, and she died within a week.  It broke my heart.

To ease the pain of Mona's death, we decided to replace her with two dwarf hamsters.  At the time, the idea of having baby hamsters seemed really exciting, so we picked a male and a female, a small hamster aquarium and supplies, and we placed them in a safe, high spot in our living room.

Before too long, our dreams of becoming grandparents to a bunch of rodents came true when a small litter of gross, pink, bug-looking things appeared in the corner of the aquarium, nestled into a little space burrowed out of the wood shavings.  As the five or six little guys grew, it became evident that this family was quickly outgrowing its home, so we bought another aquarium to add to the mix, along with some plastic tubing so that they could get back and forth.  We put the whole condo on the floor of the guest room since we didn't have a table that would fit it, and kept the door shut so that our dog wouldn't eat/spook our prized pets.

I don't know why rabbits are the only fluffy animals with a reputation for procreation, because hamsters are out of control.  It wasn't long before another litter of tiny pink hamsters appeared.  And then another.  And then another.  Suddenly, the offspring were starting to look a little fishy.  One had only three legs.  We named that one tripod.
Tripod.  Sorry it's blurry.  1999.  Disposable cameras.

We tried to keep up with the demand for square footage by adding on more and more rooms, more and more tubing.  We improvised where need-be with coolers and such.  Cleaning the thing was next to impossible.  I have no idea how many we had, but I want to say that we were up to 30 or so when we realized that they were starting to escape.  Husband and I were sitting in the living room one evening watching television when we saw something dart across the hall and into the kitchen.  We'd chase one around and put it back, only to find ourselves chasing another one an hour later.  It was stressful and exhausting.

But, how were they getting out??  The walls were high where the tanks weren't covered.  Were they climbing on one another's shoulders?  Could they jump really high when we weren't around?  Did they have elaborate, Mission Impossible-style plans of escape?  Were they tiny little magicians??

Not one of ours.  As far as I know.

We never figured it out, but eventually we gathered up the hamsters we could find and took them to a pet store where they were sold to other young, stupid, unsuspecting couples.  Then we moved.

Years later, I was feeling nostalgic and decided to look up our old apartment complex online.  As I scrolled through the resident reviews, I came across a woman who complained of an out-of-control rodent infestation.  I would like to say to that person, and to anyone else who happened to be terrorized by my errant one-time pets, I am very sorry.  I apologize from the bottom of my heart.  I know that my apology won't bring back the boxes of cereal and crackers that you lost to these adorable pests, but I hope that you can forgive me and Husband for being so dumb as to think that we could handle a family of circus creatures by ourselves.

It feels good to get that off my chest.  Phew.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Vanity What?

Do you guys know about vanity sizing?

It's so stupid.  Vanity sizing is when a store makes their clothes bigger than standard sizes would dictate so that when you go in to buy something, you'l wear a smaller size and feel good about yourself.

I find this ridiculous for two reasons:

1.  I can never buy anything without trying it on first because there's no way of knowing what the hell size I wear from store-to-store.

2.  I have no business buying a size 0 or 2 in anything.

I mean, come on.

I've lost some weight in the past couple of months, mostly due to the fact that I've been working out more and I began eating pescatarian (no meat other than seafood).  As a result, many of my clothes are too big now, so I've been doing some shopping.  I went from wearing a size 6 to a size 4 - or, that's what I thought, until I went shopping at Express.

Now, I've always liked Express.  Their jeans fit me well and they always have coupons and/or sales.  The only thing I hate about Express is that their vanity sizing is OUT OF CONTROL.  Last time I bought jeans there, they were a size 2.

You guys.  I am 5'8" and 135 pounds.  My measurements are 34-26-37.  I have never seen a sizing chart that would put me in a size 2, because that's just insane.  But, the jeans were comfortable, they looked good, and they were on sale, so I bought them.

Now that the weather has gotten warmer and I received some early birthday money, I decided to go shopping for my first pair of shorts in...oh man...ten years?  A long time.  I don't even remember ever buying shorts as an adult, but I must have at some point.  I always wear skirts, but I got it in my head that I should have shorts and I had a coupon, so off I went to Express.

I picked out a couple of pairs of shorts to try on, both size 4, a size S tank top, and a size XS dress because that's the only size that was left and it was on clearance.  I left the store with a pair of size 0 shorts, an XS tank top, and the dress.  WHAT.

Note my non-stick figure, draped in an XS tank top and a size 0 shorts.

Look, I get it:  people like buying clothes in small sizes.  But if I - a tall, healthy woman - am buying an XS, does that mean that truly skinny people can't shop there at all?  I think they go as far down as a 00 and maybe an XXS, but how much smaller could that possibly be?  And when Express shoppers go to other stores, do they feel bad about themselves since they have to buy clothes that are two sizes larger?

I just wish sizing was standard for women's clothes, as it is for men's.  Menswear has it right.  Size 32-32?  Why, that's 32 inches in the waist and 32 inches long, of course.  Anything else wouldn't make sense!

Anyway, I guess I'll make sure not to lose any more weight since I'd rather not shop in children's stores, which I can only assume is where the kind salespeople of Express would usher me if I no longer fill out their size 0.

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