Sunday, November 8, 2009

One is the lonliest number. Unless you're Vanilla.

The sun came up on our beautiful Saturday morning but, little did we know, it was actually the sunset of a member of our family's life.

Marshmallow, the gerbil, was sick and clearly dying.  I know this because I have a keen sense that when something stops moving and breathing, it's dead.

Olivia was pretty sad and Sadie faked some decent tears.  I mean, they loved Marshmallow and all except she bit and chewed holes in all their clothes.

I think she was bitter about having such a wussy name.  Truth be told, her cage-mate, Vanilla may have done her in just to have the place all to herself.  She's got people.

Since Trey's got me on some kind of shoe-buying moratoriam, we were short of shoe boxes - the obvious go-to coffin for a small animal you're going to bury in your backyard.

Instead, we used the next best thing.

And Olivia wrote a note to put inside.

Unfortunately, she wouldn't let me read it.  My curiosity is killing me.

Trey paused the game and dug a hole for his daughter.

Olivia made the headstone except she accidentally wrote "Vanilla" in Sharpie.  Remember, Vanilla is the perfectly healthy gerbil who was, at this point, repainting and recarpeting the place.

Scout was just wondering what all the commotion was about and when someone was gonna throw her ball.   She's a little like her momma and clearly thinks there's a distinction between REAL pets, and rats with short tails and girly names.

I'm kinda proud of our recycling.  How do you think Quaker feels?

Graham spoke a few words at the memorial service.  Mostly about how much he loved Marshmallow even though she bit but that he was sure glad it wasn't Vanilla laying there in that cereal bar box.  And then he thanked the Lord for bringing my brother home from Iraq, for Abe, for Seth, for Carson, for Mercy Street, for Eric the addict, for Tee's ankle, for Grandpa Steve and Maxine, Nanny and Bunty, and Michael Jackson's family.

It took 45 minutes.

Finally, with a proper headstone, Marshmallow was laid to rest.  Complete with flowers picked from my rose bushes.  They look pretty good if I do say so myself.

Ahem, sorry.

Later, that evening, even Vanilla came out to show her respects.  She had just completed installing the disco ball and was working on her surround sound.  To her credit, she did make her good-by look sincere.

This afternoon, with her own money because I refuse to spend "one more dime" on animals my kids tire of feeding or cleaning up after past two weeks, Olivia replaced Marshmallow with Cupcake the gerbil.

I suggested "Moose" or "007" thinking a stonger name might help it to live longer and hold it's own with Vanilla, the new slum lord. She would have none of it.

Cupcake, I'm giving you two weeks.  Max.


Kim said...

Oh Melissa! This is one of my all time favorite posts (and I love everything you write). It is either really funny or perhaps you have reminded me the time my little sister thought her hampster had a cold. After she fed him Comtrex, we had a similar funeral service in our back yard. RIP Vanilla ... I mean Marshmallow!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong!

Henley on the Horn said...

I am telling you, I just hope your little buddy isn't hibernating:). I made my father dig a very similar hole when my hamster died and Butterball was buried in a baby wipes box. Love the Quaker Oats box:)

happygeek said...

OK, that was the funniest funeral I have ever been to.
And yes, your flowers are very pretty. I am trying very hard not to be jealous that stuff is actually blooming in November.

Traci said...

This has made my day even though it might have been a little traumatic for the kiddos. Too funny- and your rose bushes are beautiful.

Holli said...

don't mind the person in your backyard digging up the Quaker box....
The suspense won't kill me!!!

Sitesx6 said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I'm pausing for a moment of silence.....

Ok..I'm good.

:) Great post!

Grateful for Grace said...

You are just funny!

Deidra said...

I can't stop laughing long enough to type out a comment. Hilarious!

chrys said...

this may be a new fav!


Becca said...

hahaha i especially love graham's expression. that is so him :-)

and this totally cracked me up today. i dont know if its cause it was funny or i am sleep deprived. probably both.

Candy said...

Speaking of Max.... pets do not have long histories at the Hill house. I must admit, however, that while staying with the kids I was not at all drawn to any sort of human-pet love relationship with either Marshmallow or Vanilla!

Loved this!!


maryfloridley said...

Long live cupcake!
Mary Flo

Jen said...

oh Graham is just the cutest!!

Ann Marie said...

This post is tooooo funny!

Tricia said...

as usual you crack me up. i am truly sorry for your loss... but thank you for eulogizing poor Marshmallow so ummmmmmmmm, entertainingly!

there were tears and grief aplenty a month or so ago around here when it looked like "Muffin" the gerbil - another studley name, no? - was perishing!! Miraculously she pulled through...but I guess it wasn't on account of her name!

may Cupcake live a long and healthy life!