So, Spike kind of ruined our weekend. We wanted to go on a short getaway, but have still been trying to get everything figured out and set up for Spike. We also couldn’t leave because we couldn’t ask someone to take care of him when we scarcely know how to care for him ourselves.
Yesterday I was very grumpy about our change of plans, especially because I wanted to still try to act like we were on vacation and it just wasn’t working–I didn’t want to ask the kids to do chores, but couldn’t relax in our very messy home, and didn’t want to let the kids play with friends because it wouldn’t feel like vacation (to me) but I didn’t have energy to help them with any fun projects. (I was also under the influence of fierce hormones, which wasn’t helping.)
So, this morning we adapted, with new plans to get away soon, but only after we’re all more settled and can leave Spike. I resigned myself to a day of chores today and also told the kids to expect to do chores, but that they could also play with friends when they finished. As a result we’ve all been more cheerful today than yesterday.
Dean built a wheel for Spike from the sawed-off bottom of a bucket yesterday, and refined his design today. Commercial wheels available at local pet stores aren’t suitable for hedgehogs, and I was going to order a special hedgehog wheel from an online source, but we wanted it sooner rather than later, and Dean thought he could make one. There was tension over this since we disagreed over what might work, and Spike’s well-being was at stake, so emotions (Mabel’s and mine, anyway) were running high. In the end, though, the wheel turned out well, and Spike spent a lot of time running on it in the middle of the night. Happily, our girls are deep sleepers, because hedgehogs are nocturnal and the wheel is pretty noisy. Hedgehogs poop while they run and, while Spike’s cage is always a disaster in the morning, today it was even worse than usual. This morning Mabel mucked out his cage, and Dean helped her give Spike his first, much-needed bath since he’s been with us.
This afternoon I sewed forty-eight rectangles of Velcro onto fleece liners for Spike’s cage (that’s eight liners, six pieces of Velcro each). I had planned just to lay the liners in the cage, but found that Spike likes to pull the fleece up and burrow under it. So I put six pieces of Velcro around the bottom of the cage and sewed the same number to the liners. But I worried the gaps would be big enough for him to get under the liner, and, sure enough, he did get under it once, when Mabel was trying to get him out of his cage to clean it. Then I thought maybe I needed twelve pieces of Velcro but, besides that being twice the work to sew and costing more (Velcro’s not too cheap) I also eventually decided that although twelve pieces would make it harder for him to get under the fleece, they’d also make it even harder for him to get out. So we settled on six pieces. He seems to only try to go under the fleece when his cage accessories are all removed, which is when we’re there to help him get out from under it, so we think it will be okay. Anyway, I’d already made two other liners and I still have two more cut out that need the Velcro, so that will be 72 pieces of Velcro sewn on by the time I’m done with this project. That’s with pivoting around all four sides of each piece of Velcro. It’s not a hard job, but tedious, so I’m glad it’s almost done. (The reason I’m making so many liners is that I want to be able to change them every day and wait a while between launderings).
This afternoon as I was stitching, pivoting, stitching, pivoting, stitching, pivoting, stitching, reversing, clipping threads, and repeating, I got a warm, fuzzy feeling. It wasn’t just because the fleece I was sewing with was very soft (although it was) nor was it because I’m grateful my machine has a needle-down feature (although I am). No, the warm feeling was love–love for a funny, spiky, smelly little animal we’re trying hard to keep alive in a cage in our home. And there you have it: working to care for things leads you to love them. Even if they ruin your vacation plans.