I am pleased to announce wonderfish Blackie is home at last. No he did not DIE! He’s back in his tank. I spent the bulk of this morning scrubbing it, and by lunchtime he was happily swimming round his decorative pagodas once more. Upon closer inspection, however, his filter looked suspect. So we decided to go to the pet store to see about buying a replacement. Whilst there I noticed they had a large array of hamsters. Male & female, several different varieties, ALL VERY CUTE. So while my husband took a gander at filters, I kept watch on the rodents. And OH MY GOODNESSS!! They had Teddy Bear hamsters! Which looked jusssst like HAMMIE. My daughter’s most beloved pet. Next thing I knew I was squatting down beside the cage, slipping up the lid and reaching right in. Most of them were asleep, so they didn’t know any different. But the one who was mostly awake didn’t much like the proximity of my hand to his head. He started snarling at me in that hamster way, bearing his long gnawing teeth. Fortunately he got scared and ran into a plastic tube, leaving me free to pet his semiconscious friends. I’d barely touched one of them when a voice rang out beside me. A sales clerk stood a couple feet away, gazing down quizzically. It was clear I was the first adult she’d ever caught in an unauthorized petting situation. She asked whether I’d consulted a sales associate about handling. I played dumb. Ooooh, I was supposed to?? She gave me a look that clearly conveyed OF COURSE YOU MORON. I continued squatting in front on the cage, mostly b/c I didn’t know what else to do and wanted to appear as nonchalant as possible. She just stood there, looking at me. I think she was afraid as soon as her back was turned, my hand would be in the cage grabbing one of the hamsters and making a run for it. She asked if I was interested in one of the hamsters, whether I wanted to purchase one of the hamsters. I answered noncommittally. Then I fixed my gaze on the cage, hoping she would just walk away. Finally my husband approached, asking me to come check out the filters. I stood up and never looked back.