Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The one where Crushie finally makes an appearance

After a few weeks of not having much to say, I am suffering from blogging backload - wherein I have several noteworthy things to post and am having a hard time getting them all trotted out in a timely fashion.

This is one of them. Crushie came to live with us more than a week ago, and I am just now getting around to telling this story. Chad helped Liam fish him out of the creek one Sunday afternoon, and when I came outside to see what they were up to that day, I found an old dishpan filled with some rocks and murky creek water, and a baby snapping turtle swimming around inside. By this time Chad had already taken Liam on a field trip to the pet food store where they dropped $13 on a bottle of turtle food. (Finally, the idea of receiving an allowance and the opportunities that it presents are being driven home to Liam!) I gave Chad the stink-eye when I saw the turtle food. I thought we had a 'catch and release' policy in place and that our common vision was that Captain is more than enough pet for our household right now. But when I asked Liam about his plans to return Crush to the creek, thinking it would happen within 24 hours or so, Liam gave me a crestfallen look and told me it wasn't in the stars.

Crush lived with us for a little more than a week, and I have to admit that it was pretty cute to see how excited the kids were about him during that time. The dishpan stayed in the garage overnight, and each morning the kids would run out the door yelling "Crushie! Where are you, Crushie?" and try to catch him up on the big rock (when they came close, he would usually slip into the water). Liam fed him morning and night, and put the dishpan out in the sun when we got home from work each night so Crush could restore some body heat. Every few days, Liam replaced Crush's dirty water with some slightly-less-murky fresh creek water. I started to worry about where Crush would live when the snow starts to fly.

When we had our party last Saturday and there were other kids present, Liam became even more proud of his new pet. The turtle was a big hit that day, despite my fears that we would be infecting the entire younger generation of the Roberts family with salmonella. (I had to haul Mallory off to the powder room in tears a few times that day after catching her playing in the dishpan water.)

I was just coming to terms with the fact that we had a new member of the family when I left for Burlington on Sunday morning, and when I got home that night the back door of the garage was open. I assumed the kids were playing outside so I went out to the patio. There was Crush's dishpan, but Crush was gone, and a two-foot-long garter snake was in his place. This is when I nearly had my heart attack, thinking that the boys had brought home yet another new member of the family. As it turned out, the snake was made of rubber, but Crushie is indeed gone. They took Crush back down to the creek while I was away that day and set him free. The last time they saw him, he was buddied up with another little turtle his own size. I'm happy to think that he is back with his family, even if that is a very sugar-coated and entirely untrue take on turtle life. And I'm hoping it will be a while before another reptile joins our family.