We are slumlords.
This is a fairly busy household. Kim has taken on additional administrative duties down at Home Campus and is generally swamped. I'm actually teaching full time this semester, in addition to a separate part-time job. The girls are in school and have reached that age when they have piles of homework, and their social lives are becoming more jam-packed than mine, which, admittedly, isn't saying much. But they are busy. And there's the cats, who may only be one evolutionary rung above sofa pillows but that entire rung consists of evolving newer and more effective ways of making their wants and needs known.
So things fall through the cracks is what I'm saying.
Two of those things are the hamsters. Hammy and Vee (or Vee and Hammy - I still can't tell) are rather quiet little things, tucked away in their art-deco pink plastic cage safely bungeed to the crafts storage area in the corner of the dining room. They sleep a lot, and sometimes they run around on their little wheel, and neither of those things is designed to attract attention. Call it a legacy of being at the bottom of the meadow food chain, but they're very good at not bringing themselves up in your mind.
So sometime this past week it occurred to us that we haven't changed their bedding or cleaned out their cage in a while. Like since before Christmas.
Not that they minded, really. It was snug, warm, and approximately 30% stored food. Anywhere they wanted to rest, they were within easy reach of a snack. I should have my house set up so well.
Unfortunately, it was also about 30% hamster poop.
Hey, the food has to go somewhere. And it certainly wasn't going in the designated receptacle that we went out and got for them. It was basically, well, wherever they were at the time the need struck.
And what wasn't wherever was concentrated in the tube up to their nest. They have a little nest at the top of the cage, which is accessible through a plastic tube that they climb up. Apparently to hamsters this tube looks a lot like a garderobe - the little hole that extended out over the side of a medieval castle and dropped straight down to the moat or thereabouts, which aided its functionality thereby - and let us just say that passage up that tube was getting rather constricted.
I'm sure that if we had waited a bit longer there would have been a tiny little knock on our door and a very officious looking rodent with a white hat and a clipboard would have written out a ten-foot ticket and stuffed it into a pickle and taken the pickle with the ticket and shoved it down our throats.
I don't want a pickle.
So now the hamsters are surrounded by fresh bedding, clean walls, and sparkly toys, and now we don't have to listen (hard) for that little knock for at least another month or two.