For long-time readers, you may remember that from a very young age, Declan was obsessed with getting a cat as a pet. Obsessed, I tell you. He asked ALL the time. I am not a huge cat fan. And to say that Eamonn isn't a huge cat fan would be an understatement. In fact, I think on our first date, a cat ran into the road and he swerved to try and hit it. Not good news for those of you who are cat lovers, I realize, but there you have it. It may also explain why his sisters lock their cats in a separate room when we visit.
Anyway, we didn't want to say to Declan, "No, you can't have a cat because WE HATE THEM." No, instead we made up, and have maintained to this day, an elaborate lie that Eamonn is allergic to cats. (I have a little twinge of guilt every time the boys and I are at someone's house and they have cats and the boys say, "Good thing Dad isn't here! His head would blow up!" The still truly believe, eight years later, that Eamonn is allergic to cats.)
But my point is that Declan, for some reason, so desperately wanted a cat. And over time, it has rubbed off on Finn, too.
One day during the summer of 2004, I was driving down Rt. 23 from our house to my Mom's in Worthington (this was when we still lived in Ohio and it is still so vivid in my mind). The boys were with me. Finn would have been about 22 months old, Declan just over 4 years old. And of course, Declan was dressed as Spider-Man.
Anyway, we were on Rt. 23, just in front of the Josephinum at a traffic light (if you're from that area, you know EXACTLY where I am), and all of the sudden, from the backseat, Declan asks, "Mommy, when Daddy dies, can we get a cat?"
I nearly drove off the road. I immediately called Eamonn and asked how he was feeling. It has been a hilarious story for all of these years.
Fast forward to modern times. The boys would still love a pet. And we don't have one, for various and sundry reasons. The chief reason we don't have a cat, is obvious. We don't have a dog because we are on the road about five months a year for hockey and who the heck is going to take care of the dog while we travel? We've been asked to buy all sorts of other creatures, but so far, we haven't taken the plunge.
So last week, I'm driving (shades of summer '04) and Finn says, "If we can't get a cat, could we get an ocelot?"
This gave me pause. What the hell is an ocelot? My first thought was that it's some sort of lizard, but somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I felt like I'd seen an ocelot...at the zoo. I didn't have Google to help me out, as I was behind to wheel of the car at the time (why, oh why, must they always ask for animals when I'm driving???). So I decided to probe for some answers.
Me: "Um, didn't we see an ocelot once at the zoo?"
Finn: "Yes! Do you remember?"
Me: "Well, not entirely, but I'm feeling like if an animal is at the zoo, it's unlikely to make a very good house pet. You know, because it has to be kept in a cage and all."
Finn: "But it's a cat. They are more like house cats than any other type of wild cat."
Me: "Wild being the key word here, I think."
Finn: "Darn.....can I get a corn snake?"