That’s right, it’s time for Post Traumatic Sunday, which are posts written during my first marriage. None have appeared on this blog before, and only a couple were included in my book. What these posts aren’t about is venting or vindictiveness.
So what’s the point?
Simply to offer reflections from someone dealing with an unhappy marriage in the best way he knew how: with humor.
Eight years later, I am happily re-married to someone who inspires me each day to laugh for the right reasons.
Now, we can all look back on those years and share some laughs together…
* * * * * * * *
When you find yourself force-feeding Pepto Bismol into your child’s constipated hamster, you figure you’ve faced one of your greatest challenges as a parent.
But you would be wrong.
“Dad, I can’t find Squiggles.”
Those words, uttered just three nights later, transformed a quiet Wednesday evening into a full-scale hamster hunt. Within minutes, our team was assembled around the kitchen table for a briefing.
“There’s no telling how long he’s been on the outside,” I said. “There’s a good chance he’s already assumed a new identity — perhaps as a mouse or gerbil. Keep you eyes open.”
A collective nod from the team.
“We’re going to concentrate our efforts in the area between the guest room, hamster cage and attic,” I said. “It’s called cross-triangulation.”
“I see, like the Bermuda Triangle,” my wife said.
Ignoring her, I gave everyone their assignments, then dispersed the posse. “Let’s go do some good!”
Excitedly, our one-year-old broke from the group and rushed through the kitchen with his flashlight — then promptly sat in our dog’s water bowl.
Things pretty much went downhill from there.
What makes hamsters so hard to catch is that… well, they’re small. And they can make themselves even smaller just by thinking about it. They also have no bones and can run in excess of 70 mph. None of this is covered in the handbook, which portrays hamsters as funny, quizzical characters with special little pouches for storing food on either side of their jaws. What the book doesn’t tell you is that those “little pouches” can actually stretch to accommodate food items much larger than the hamster itself, similar to an anaconda’s ability to swallow the entire Budweiser draft horse team.
It was this thought that surfaced as I scooted belly-first through the crawlspace in our attic with a flashlight wedged between my teeth. I’ve never been keen on tight spaces, so when I caught the reflection of black eyes peering back at me from the insulation, I wasn’t thrilled to discover that my rear end — which had slipped forward through the crawl space with minimal effort — was now meeting resistance similar to an elephant backing into a shower stall.
In front of me, Squiggles was preparing his pouches for something really big.
“He’s over here!” I called out in a tone my wife mistakenly thought was a scream.
“Where are you?”
“Purgatory. Or the crawl space in our attic, I forget which.”
“Can you see him?”
“Yes, and he looks hungry.”
“Can you grab him?”
“Not exactly; I can’t move.”
“Why does this feel familiar?”
“Remember when I got stuck under the Honda..?”
“I was being rhetorical.”
“Oh good. Now, how about being helpful and getting me out of here?”
I learned a couple of things during our recovery mission. First, given a choice, hamsters prefer fruit rolls to fat rolls. And second, cooking spray is as effective as WD-40 when it comes to loosening grown men out of tight spaces. Because of these things, I’m still alive and Squiggles is back in his home.
Now, if we could just find the cat…