Last night at 11:30, as I was going into the kitchen to make my coffee for the next morning, I stopped by the hamster cages. You see, over the weekend, Funnie gave birth to 12 or so babies, so I wanted to check on them. I peeked into the cage and saw all the babies mewling and writhing but no Funnie. I looked around the rest of the cage to see if she'd just sneaked down for a snack. Nothing. Then I saw it. The cage door wide open.
I immediately rounded up Mr. Geeky. We methodically searched each room, picking stuff up off the floor and putting it on the table. We looked under stoves and cabinets, couches and chairs. We used flashlights (such preparedness!). We looked for an hour and then we decided she must have either found a way out of the house or a really good hiding place. So we put her cage on the floor with the door open and a trail of carrots leading to the door. I checked the internet to see if there was anything to be done for the babies. We needed an eyedropper, kitten formula, and the patience of a saint (we would have to keep the babies warm and rub them to make them urinate). We gave up.
Mr. Geeky peered into the cage: "All that life. So sad."
We turned out the lights and sat on the stairs, listening for gnawing or scratching. Maybe she was in a wall, we thought. Finally, we went upstairs and got in bed. I started reading Calvin in Hobbes to lighten my mood. We were both thinking about telling the children the next morning.
"I hate giving up," Mr. Geeky said.
"I know, but we've done the best we can. We've looked everywhere."
I continued reading, knowing sleep wasn't going to come easily.
"Remember what I said about Haley Zega*?" Mr. Geeky asked.
"Remember what I said when Haley Zega was lost?"
"Downhill. Kids will go downhill. It's the easiest path to take." He got out of bed and got dressed. "I gotta look in the basement."
"Okay." I'm sort of grinning, cause he's in hero mode now (I've seen this quite a few times over our 15-year relationship).
I continue reading, when I hear Mr. Geeky yell for me. I throw on a robe and some slippers. He's standing in the kitchen with containers. "Can you get her in these? I found her."
Down in the basement, there she is, in the sink the washing machine drains into. I scoop her up. We put her back in the cage. Tragedy averted!
As we're drifting off to sleep, Mr. Geeky says, "Downhill. Thank God for Haley Zega."
*Haley Zega was a kindergarten classmate of Geeky Boy's, who was lost in the woods for 72 hours. Mr. Geeky went to help with the rescue efforts. He wanted to tell them about his "downhill" theory. :) She was found, sleeping on a rock, talking to a caterpiller. She said the thing that kept her going was thinking of Geeky Boy's jokes. Update: There's a book.