Happy Ratmas!

Ratmas has come slightly early this year, as two of the four are on their way out, and I didn't want them to miss getting a third holiday just because I insisted on hewing to human schedules. They don't know what day it is anyway. They got new bowls, new boxes, new hammocks, a new cage cover, and more food than any four rats can reasonably eat. One of my dear friends gave the rats a chew toy and a bag of yogies to share last year. This year, she has escalated, and got them each a bag of cookies. Tagged and everything. I can only assume one of the tribbles figured out how to work the phone, and got to her in the meantime.

Plus they got a dish of egg nog, because everyone loves egg nog. I used one that I sincerely hope they cannot tip over.

It is not the most elaborate Ratmas I have ever come up with, nor the most thorough cage cleaning I've ever done, but I'm sick and exhausted, 50% of them are sick and exhausted, and I figured we'd all rather be warm and comfortable than fancy this year.

Plugh has a giant lump under one arm which is not itself dangerous -- lipomas are not usually malignant -- but it is a sign that he's starting to succumb to age-related DNA breakdown. Mainly he's annoyed that it throws his balance off, I think. He looks like an old rat; much like old humans, rats droop with time and their bones get more prominent. He is still stuffing his face, however, so he is not done for yet.

Flathead seems to have pneumonia. I've been giving him the usual antibiotics, but he waxes and wanes. Right now he's... fine is probably too optimistic a word, as he is still making snorble sounds, but he is functional enough that when my alarm goes off, he appears at the front of the cage going HELO GUD MORNING WHER MAH CHOCKLIT? There is no way to explain to the little widgets that Ratmas comes but once a year, nor medication twice a day, so I just walk over and give him a dish of Ensure whenever I spot him out front. My policy is 'dying rats get whatever they want'. I mean, this is also my policy with healthy rats, just the dying ones also get medication to keep them comfortable.

This is by far my least favorite part of keeping rats, although you'll notice it doesn't stop me from going out and getting more of them. I understand why it happens; if I kept him forever, I would be depriving all those already in the afterlife of the wonderment that is Flathead, and that would not be fair. He is the glory around which the whole of the cosmos revolves. Just ask him.

Xyzzy and Grue are both still fat and obstreperous. There is nothing wrong with them aside from the extreme self-centeredness, which is rats is considered a feature, not a bug. As I type, the two of them are sleeping on the roof of the cage, in a repurposed ex-pizza box, underneath their woolly new cage cover.

I have cooked and eaten an actual meal, with more than one thing in it, for the first time in months. I am so fucking broke and so fucking tired I have more or less given up. I eat whatever is cheap and handy when I am about to fall over. I've nicked a couple of bottles of Ensure from the pantry, and I don't even like the stuff. Evidently I need like a day and a half of recovery in order to keep my wits about me long enough to use the stove. It was salmon with asparagus, zucchini, and pesto gnocchi, if anyone cares.

I've been keeping my brain occupied through exhaustion, disaster, and sinusitis with visual novels. The Kindle is smart enough to run PPSSPP, and Danganronpa has a fan translation out. The tl;dr of the review is that I picked it up to play for about twenty minutes one night and whoops! It was abruptly four-thirty in the morning. So clearly that one did its job. The same friend who felt the need to give each of the rats his weight in apple-flavored timothy cookies also felt the need to get me the latest Layton game, so the 3DS is charging up for that now. I expect I'll forget to sleep again, but the only thing I have to do tomorrow is usher for the Slutcracker down in Davis Square, so I'm sure I'll be fine.

The recommended way to celebrate Ratmas is to eat until you are physically unable to continue, then curl up to sleep somewhere warm and comfortable, preferably within sight of the food. If you really want to do it right, then you can take some snacks back to bed with you.


  1. *flings cornfetti* YAY, HAPPY RATMAS!!! Here's to better times in the coming year.


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