We are gerbil sitting this week, a first for us.

Alexandra arrived a couple days ago and was quickly re-named Amanda-Miranda.

I asked if gerbils smelled and was told that if I’m dealing with dirty diapers every day, I will not be bothered by the smell of the gerbil. Interesting sales tactic, in other words, the smell may be so revolting, you’ll want to break a window but it’s not quite as rank as human feces.

It’s the smell of urine on wood chips, a likely new label for the vineyard representing “Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush.” Not subtle, woody, with hints of stale pee, damp socks, pungent just shy of being headachy, with a seedy, whiskery finish.

Amanda-Miranda has actually been little to no work and provided she keeps to her empty toilet roll chewing schedule, we shouldn’t have a problem. She performs on command, racing on her wheel, sipping from her water bottle and falls asleep despite the pointing and giggling surrounding her.

The kids have enjoyed having a pet around and we realize the begging will likely commence the minute Amanda-Miranda wheels out next week.

Hornsour the cat who has never been cuddled, perhaps even touched, by any human but seemingly lives on our back deck does not technically count as a pet…..or so I’m told by the children.

Is it time to start down this road of flushing funerals and shoe-box burials?