April 23rd, 2014 No comments

I’m wasn’t feeling well yesterday. This happens at least once a month where I feel super depressed and there’s no good reason for it so I’m going to chalk it up to hormones and try not to let it get the best of me. I sure wish it would happen on a day off, though, so I could just crawl under the covers and sleep it off instead of having to sit at work and feel like I’m a trapped animal.

Speaking of animals, the introductions between the rats did not go so well on Monday. Joe shampooed the carpeting on Sunday before we went to my parents’ house for Easter. On Monday morning I gave all the rats a bath to reduce their scent (plus they all smelled like urine, particularly the brothers since their temporary cage sucks and I can’t lay down newspaper in it like I can in the big cage). I put the brothers in the bottom half of the big cage and left everyone alone for a couple of hours. Then Joe and I brought them all out in the pet room to supervise. At first they seemed to ignore one another but then Marshmallow attacked Steve and scratched his paw and made him bleed. Doug was so scared he wouldn’t move off Joe’s lap.

We ended up putting them back in their respective cages to cool down but it was disheartening, although not entirely unexpected. Marshmallow was acting up all morning like he knew what was coming and once they were actually in “his” room he started puffing up and rubbing himself all over his cage to mark his territory. He did the same thing later that evening when I took him out on his own to play. He rubbed himself all over everything in the room, including me!

We took them out again yesterday to see what would happen and Marshmallow and Steve fought again. This time Steve seemed to be the aggressor. He ended up re-injuring his paw and he caused three separate wounds on Marshmallow’s back within seconds.

Based on what I read this is going to happen until they get the pecking order established, but it seems awfully violent. Marshmallow and Doug will stand up nose to nose but it never goes any further than that. I think the reason he and Steve keep fighting is they both want to be the alpha rat which is kinda weird since Doug usually dominates over Steve. In any case, I plan to take them out separately over the next few days to let them calm down and heal. Then I am going to consult with the rat group I belong to on Facebook to see what they suggest. I’m not sure at what point I should give up and determine they can’t all live together peacefully.

Categories: Pets Tags:

Happy Easter

April 20th, 2014 No comments

Happy Easter, everyone! I’ve been busy this morning making spaghetti & meatballs for Brother # 1 as we’re celebrating Easter and his birthday at my parents’ later today. I’ve also been catching up on blog entries in case you haven’t noticed. Joe shampooed the carpet in the pet room and I washed all the bedding and towels the rats play in so that tomorrow they will be all ready for introductions. I am so excited for Marshmallow to gain some playmates and for our dining room to go back to an uncluttered state!

Easter Presents

The Easter hubby bunny came and got me chocolates and the My Little Pony I kept eyeing at the store. I know, how old am I? Whatever. I was really surprised because I didn’t think Joe got me anything this year. Man, I am such a lucky girl!

Now I’m debating whether we should color the eggs I boiled on Friday since E wasn’t interested in coloring them this year (who can blame him now that he’s 16 years old).

Categories: Holidays, Pets, Photos Tags:


April 20th, 2014 No comments

Building Front

Last Sunday we decided to visit Rockford. I’ve been wanting to visit the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens ever since I learned of its existence, and I also wanted to see the special Megalodon exhibit at Burpee Museum of Natural History.



LEGO Butterfly

We started our morning off at the conservatory. Let me just say for the record that I think the entire area surrounding the gardens is done quite nicely (although there wasn’t anything to see in the gardens due to the time of year) and the conservatory building is beautifully designed. That being said, the price of admission is rather steep ($8 per person) for what you get which is an extremely small conservatory with not a whole lot of flowers (mostly orchids and daffodils). I got excited that they had a limited-time butterfly area but that excitement quickly turned into disappointment in the size of the area and the variety of butterfly species available. I’m glad we visited to see what it was all about, but I can’t see ever going back when we have Garfield Park & Oak Park Conservatory here, both of which are free (although we always give a small donation) and have a lot more to offer.

After less than an hour at the conservatory we made our way to the museum. There’s actually a whole museum campus that also includes an art museum, a children’s museum, and a children’s recreational facility. The admission to the museum is also a bit steep for what you get and it was a bit irritating that you pay extra to see the special exhibit (Megalodon) when they don’t have anyone making sure you actually paid to enter that portion of the museum. I’m not suggesting you pay the regular $8 admission instead of $13 and “sneak in” but it sure wouldn’t be difficult.

Jane - Tyrannosaurus Rex

After the museum, which actually had some other interesting exhibits, most notably Jane, the juvenile T-Rex, we had lunch at Lonestar Steakhouse. I got my usual, the filet mignon. For the life of me I still don’t get how the Lonestar by my house went out of business but the disgusting Outback Steakhouse is doing great. No accounting for taste, I guess.

Categories: Excursions, Photos Tags:


April 20th, 2014 No comments

Last Saturday, the 12th, was a beautiful day in Chicagoland. Joe’s son was playing in a band competition so we started off the morning trying a new restaurant called Stacked near his high school. After much deliberation, I decided to order the banana bread french toast which was amazing. Seriously, it was so rich and filling that I couldn’t finish it and took a whole slice (the dish comes with three) home. It came topped with fresh bananas and a side of some seriously mouthwatering honey cream cheese. It was the perfect fuel to get through sitting in the high school for two hours.


Later that afternoon we stopped at Cosley Zoo to check out the new lamb(s) and renew our membership. We don’t necessarily visit the zoo enough in one year to recoup the membership cost but that’s where their reciprocal agreement comes in. This year we plan to visit Des Moines’ Blank Park Zoo where we’ll get free admission (a $22 savings) and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo (a $15 savings) so after paying $59 we’ve already recouped $37. We only have to visit Cosley Zoo three times in a year (@ $3 per person) to fully recoup the cost of membership and that’s if we don’t end up visiting one of the zoos in Wisconsin at all since one trip to Milwaukee County Zoo would save us $28.50 and one trip to Racine Zoo would save us $8.00 (it’s a very small zoo). Honestly, if you live in the Chicago burbs and like visiting zoos you should really buy a membership from Cosley instead of the one from Brookfield Zoo (unless, of course, you prefer visting Brookfield but I’ve been going there since I was a toddler so it’s not that exciting anymore).

Hooded Merganser


Categories: Animals, Excursions, Food, Kids, Photos Tags:

Introducing Doug & Steve

April 5th, 2014 No comments

Asleep in their hammock

Say hello to our newest members of the family. They are brothers born on January 10th. We adopted them last Saturday from a family on Craigslist who had acquired a female rat that, unbeknownst to them, was pregnant. So they have been handled since birth and are very friendly. They are also litterbox trained. They were named based on the characters in one of our favorite movies, A Night At The Roxbury.

At the advice of our vet, they are in quarantine which means they are living in Templeton and Nutterbutter’s old cage in the dining room for the next three weeks. This makes it difficult, and time consuming, letting them out to play. We tried constructing a wall made of broken down and taped boxes to block them from getting into the living room but we had a jailbreak yesterday. So I’ve been taking them into the upstairs bathroom to run freely. Not ideal, but what can you do?

I cannot wait until they are in the rat room where it will be more mentally stimulating for them with all the stuff to explore and play with. Plus it will make my life easier as right now I have to spend an hour with Marshmallow, wash up and change clothes, and spend another hour with them. On my days off it’s no big deal but that’s two hours on work days which eats up a good portion of my evening. Being able to let them all run around together will be wonderful.

Categories: Pets, Photos Tags: