Merry Christmas from Mars

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, especially not a bearded dragon because…..well wait, let me start from the beginning….

In case you are wondering how moving right before Christmas effects a person's sanity, let me tell you my tale of woe.

You see, Lily wanted a Flying Squirrel for Christmas and while I am totally agreeable to the idea, finding a Flying Squirrel breeder, or a vet who will doctor them, here in western PA (or probably anywhere for that matter) is like something right out of the bible. No really, it is. It was so important that I think Jesus mentioned it in Matthew, Mark and Luke when he said, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than finding a Flying Squirrel breeder right before Christmas in the kingdom of God," or something along those lines.

At any rate, I had checked with the pet stores in the area, asked around about vets for exotics, and was having no luck when I saw that one of the pet stores was having a sale on Bearded Dragons. A light went on in my head as I thought, surely Lily would love having a dragon instead of a squirrel. "Lily and her Dragon" -- Doesn't that have a nice ring to it? (Yes folks, I have issues, let's move on.)

So there it was, two days before Christmas and I was in the store with my seven year old daughter buying a bearded dragon. The alarms are already going off by the time I make it to the register but I forge ahead, full steam, ready for the happiness that will abound. And then we got home and it hit me: I JUST BROUGHT HOME A FLIPPING DRAGON! I go into full panic mode while I set the terrarium up, completely freaking out over the fact that now, not only do I still have a new house to get in order, but I have this random reptile whose temperatures I am going to have to monitor and what the heck was I thinking?!?! It didn't help that I hadn't eaten all day, had been running on two or three cups of espresso and coffee beverages and my blood sugar started totally dropping out. I started shaking like I might pass out while wondering how do you keep one side of a tank cool and one side hot WITH A TWO YEAR OLD TURNING THE TERRARIUM LIGHTS ON AND OFF REPEATEDLY!

Kurt got home and, being the only half reasonable and responsible party in the entire scene, he turned on the heat lamp that I had placed on top of the cage like it showed in the pictures. Meanwhile, I frantically called the pet store to see if I could bring the darn thing back, less than three hours after having brought it home. It was already 9:00 at night and we seriously are 20 minutes away from civilization but luckily due to special holiday hours the pet store was open until 10. When the store clerk answered, I was about to tell her I would pay them to just take everything back when the very calm voice on the other end said, "Hey Karen, it's no problem. Just bring it back and we will totally take care of it for you."

I quickly scurried up to tell my heartbroken little girl that it was a mistake, that "we have to return it right this very second and WHY AREN'T YOU IN BED CHILD?!" when I find (after throwing the cat OFF OF THE SCREENED LID ON TOP OF THE TERRARIUM FOR THE SECOND TIME!) that the heat lamp was in the process of melting the darn thing and melted plastic was beginning to drip down the edges of the lid and oh, the stench....

Really though, if you think about it, my panic attack was a blessing in disguise because surely it saved us from burning our brand new house to the ground (ok, maybe a wee bit over dramatic here) or at the very least, saved a baby dragon from its demise via overweight and very eager cat. And to top it off, the pet store took the entire thing back, melted plastic and all, for a total refund. (I'll love them forever.) And as for Lily, all she really wanted was a 'doctor's kit' after all. (Grrrrrr….)

So, dear readers, if you ever feel like your life is crazy, just think of me and it will set you straight. You're welcome. Oh, and Merry Christmas. 

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