The hamsters are pissed.
Maybe it's because the spiders got all the attention yesterday, although I suspect it's because they got cleaned today. But it's their own fault for stinking. I let it go as long as I could, but there's only so much a man can take. So today I washed their condos and gave them each new bedding and cotton fluff to snuggle in.
I didn't ask for hamsters, by the way. They were presented to me by the step-grands for my 40th birthday last fall. A pair of Bontoni shoes would have been nice, but I suppose it's the thought that counts.
(NB: The first thing I'm going to buy when I have real money is a pair of Bontoni St. Regis 7-eyelet oxfords, which are surely the most beautiful objects ever made. I can't find a picture of them, but here's one of another Bontoni shoe. I know, right?)
So the hamsters got cleaned. Their names, if you're interested, are Bob and Jeff. Supposedly they're both boys, but it's difficult to tell with hamsters. When you turn them over everything kind of goes up inside. Also, there's a lot of fur. Not that it matters. The last thing I need is baby hamsters, so as long as Bob and Jeff stay in separate condos, we're good.
Personally, I'm certain that Jeff is a boy, but Bob is problematic. He's only about half the size of Jeff, who admittedly is a giant in hamster terms (he's so big his exercise wheel complains whenever he runs on it), and he just seems, well, kind of girly. Not that that's a bad thing. Girly boys are perfectly charming, whether they be of the human or hamster variety. All that matters is that they're happy.
Which, at the moment, Bob isn't. Nor is Jeff. I know they don't mind being clean, as they love their weekly sand baths. I think what puts them in a foul mood is that they hate having to remake their nests. Since they sleep 18 hours out of each day, nests are a big deal. They put a lot of time into them, and I always hate having to toss them out. But they manage to get poop in them, so there you are.
I try to soften the blow by giving them a lot of new fluff in cheerful colors. But every time, when I return them to their newly-cleaned homes, they look at the pile of new bedding and glare at me. Then they set about tearing it up and rearranging it to their satisfaction, all of which is done with much petulance and eye-rolling.
Today I tried bribing them with honey sticks. These are cunning treats--sticks covered with honey and various grains--that you clip to the side of the cage for the hammies to nibble on. They love them. So I thought that this would be a clever way to lessen their irritation.
About half an hour after putting B & J back in their respective condos, I heard a series of plopping sounds. Turning around, I saw that the top of the table on which the condos sit was covered with pieces of corn. As I'd just cleaned it, these were obviously new additions. Jeff and Bob, however, appeared to be sleeping.
I went back to work, only to hear another round of plink-plink-plink. And there were four or five more kernels on the tabletop. Again the hamsters sat with their eyes closed.
Now, you can only fool me for so long. I know what they were up to. They were spitting corn at me. Every time I turned around, there it was, plink-plink-plink. And every time they feigned innocence, the horrid little beasts. I was tempted to throw it back at them, just to see how they liked it. Lucky for them, I am occasionally a patient man. Also, it was too difficult to get the corn to go between the bars of the cages with any kind of accuracy.
Eventually they grew tired of the game and burrowed into their new beds. But I haven't forgiven them. If there's any corn flinging tomorrow, I'm so going to get a cat.