Today is Mike's birthday! Sylvia wanted to get him violent decorations with pictures of weapons on them because he loooooooooooooooves movies with violence. I planned to get him a pet he pleaded with me to get for our kids on more than one occasion, but I swore I would never allow in my home: a rat.
I psyched myself up for it all week long. He will take care of it, not me. I never have to hold it. If it's ever missing from its cage, we will have a written agreement that I will move into a hotel until he finds it. They are intelligent pets! It will be able to learn it's own name! Mike will be so excited. It's only $20. He really wants one. The tails aren't that gross. I will get used to it. No one can ever make me hold it. I think he liked the black one best.
Tuesday I felt brave and noble with my plans. Thursday I quivered when I remembered the gray subway rat in NY that ran around like a large, angry cat with rabies chasing the terrified commuters on the platform. Those were filthy rats, ours will be clean and cute. Saturday I talked it over with a friend, "It would be kind after all he has been through this year". Sunday another friend laughed as she told me, "No! He will be traveling again soon and then YOU will have to take care of it!" This pet idea was not one that I was taking lightly.
This morning as a family we got into the car to run errands. I stuffed a bandana into my purse and waited until we were done with the first store. "The kids and I have a plan for you, cover your eyes with this" as I handed the bandana that magically appeared from my purse. He put it on, which honestly amazed me. Once I parked the car in the Pets Mart parking lot, he advised me that he would not walk through a parking lot or into any store with a blindfold on. I wasn't sure what I expected, he had already worn it longer than I imagined. After taking it off, he agreed to close his eyes until I told him to open them. We stood as a family in the parking lot and I held his hand and exclaimed, "Open your eyes. We are taking you to get a pet rat!"
He turned on his heel, said "no you're not" and got back into the car. The kids and I remained beside our car in the blazing heat, confused, with no other plan. Mike had already shut his door and buckled his seatbelt. I burned with fury at the disappointment of what I thought was a foolproof plan for an awesome birthday gift. It was going to be the new banjo; something he really wanted that I didn't, but to prove my love I would get it for him anyway. Then he could play a song to his pet rat with the dumb banjo I got him for Christmas and I could write an Ensign article about love and everything would turn out perfect. A perfect birthday in a year that has totally sucked for him.
The rest of us got back into the car with him; we drove home.
Turns out all he wanted for his birthday was a nap. Three of them, to be exact.
He, apparently, only liked the idea of having a rat. Their tails freak him out.