Dear Jack: We’ve Kept Your Pet Hamster Alive for a Year Now!

10 years.

Dear Jack,

When you turned 9 years old, a year ago, your main gift was your first pet ever- a Syrian hamster.

We had quite a learning curve those first couple of months, trying to figure out A) how to keep it alive, B) how to keep it happy, and C) how to get you to be happy about having a hamster; despite the responsibilities that come with having a pet, as it took time for us to tame an animal and have him get used to us.

But these days, we are well-versed in how to accomplish all three of those things.

Now, Alpha (AKA: “Mr. Sniffer”), is a solid member of the Shell family.

It wasn’t easy at first- in fact, it was pretty terrifying.

But I am proud of our decision to stick with it; and to not return him to the pet store during those first 30 days when we could have.

Having a hamster has been a good thing for you and our family.

Love,

Daddy

 

Love,

Daddy

My New Hamster Dad T-Shirt: Fist Bumping “Best Friends for Life”

Over six months ago now, back on November 16th, 2019, my son turned 9 years old. To my own surprise (still to this day), I agreed to let him get a male Syrian hamster as a pet.

Obviously, that meant that on November 16th, 2019, my son didn’t become the proud new owner of a pet hamster. Instead, I became the extremely reluctant new owner of a pet hamster.

After the first couple of weeks, during the initial 30 days period where the pet store would allow us to get a full refund, my son officially decided he wanted to take his birthday present. My son wasn’t attached and he didn’t want the responsibility.

But I just couldn’t do that to the little guy… I am referring to the hamster, here.

So I did some research on YouTube and learned what I needed to know to be a good hamster dad.

I bought a 20 gallon aquarium, instead of the stupid plastic toy one we originally bought. I taught myself how to hand-tame the hamster. I learned the importance of helping the hamster live in a feng shui environment; regularly placing new cardboard boxes in the his tank, and hiding food throughout his home.

And of course, I take him out every evening when when he wakes up, to play with him. (Syrian hamsters are nocturnal.)

To me, it’s undeniable I have become the best hamster dad in the state of Tennessee.

So it only made sense that I should use some of my “birthday budget” (my wife and I are faithful Dave Ramsey followers) to buy a t-shirt to express how proud I am to be a hamster dad.

On Amazon, I found this really cool one that has a man and a hamster fist bumping, with the caption reading, Best Friends for Life.

There’s a built-in joke in there: Syrian hamsters typically only live to be 2 or 3 years old.

So my goal is to celebrate these next couple of years and give this hamster the best life a hamster can have!

If you want to buy a hamster t-shirt like mine, just click here to find the best deal on Amazon, like I did.

Dear Holly: The Hamster Didn’t Get the Toy Blocks After All

3 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

Last week, my coworker Lori was able to get some free cardboard blocks from her community’s “buy, sell, trade” Facebook page. The simple concept was that these blocks would be perfect for our family’s pet hamster.

He loves to chew cardboard and make beds out of small boxes. So it was a perfect idea.

However, the blocks never made it upstairs to the hamster’s aquarium.

That’s because you and your brother have been making up games all week using them. Castles have been built. Escape rooms have been constructed. Towers have been set up.

Imagine- that kids would actually get to play with toys intended for kids, as opposed to a hamster!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Hamster’s New Aquarium

9 years.

Dear Jack,

It turns out, cages sold for hamsters aren’t truly intended for the type of hamster you have. A teddy bear hamster, or Syrian Hamster, is much happier in an aquarium; as opposed to a cage.

So last week, on a random school night, I took you to the pet store to help me pick out a 20 gallon aquarium for Alpha.

Not only is he clearly much happier in the open space, but it is undeniable that you are much more excited to have a pet hamster now!

You are actively involved and excited each evening when we get him out to play.

Plus, it is much easier to clean his home that he predictably pees in the same corner now! Out with the cage, in with the aquarium.

Love,

Daddy

My 2019 Year in Review: 5 Things That Defined My Life in the Final Year of the 2010s- Existential Crisis, Jeep Wrangler, 20th High School Reunion…

I only recently realized that we are actually coming to the end of another decade. This decade itself has presented several major milestones for me:

2010: I became a parent for the first time when my son Jack was born.

2011: I turned 30 years old. Parents Magazine chose me as their official daddy blogger- a side gig that was last the next 4 years.

2012: I became the manager of the retention department at my employer at the time, which triggered my fascination with emotional intelligence- especially, the concept that being offended is always a person decision.

2013: My wife and I became debt-free, other than our mortgage.

2014: We started building our new house.

2015: We moved into our brand-new house; having previously owned a town home. I also started my first YouTube channel, which currently has over 8K subscribers and earns me an average of $500 per month.

2016: Four days after my 35th birthday, my daughter was born.

2017: The company I had been working for the past 11 years closed down my branch, starting a 6 month stretch of me being a stay-at-home dad.

2018: I made by television debut on the Lifetime Network show, This Time Next Year. I also got a new job, at a Fortune 500 Company, where I have now worked a year and a half.

As for 2019, there are 5 particular events that come to mind…

1- Existential crisis: Having reached all my major life goals before the age 40, I came to a point where I had to re-evaluate my goals and ambitions.

2- Jeep Wrangler: After owning my Honda Element since 2006, I finally got a new” vehicle- a 2010 Jeep Wrangler JK 6 Speed.

3- 20th Year High School Reunion: My wife and I had a great time with the people I grew up with and graduated with in 1999.

4- Releasing Original Songs: So far, my wife and I have released 4 new original songs together on my YouTube channel. Despite both moving to Nashville to start music careers, we had never publicly performed together.

5- 1st Family Pet: Despite our “no pet” policy in our home, my son wanted a teddy bear hamster for his 9th birthday. Ultimately, the hamster quickly became my pet- or at best, the “family” pet.

Now, with the 2020s ahead of me, I shall enter the decade in which I turn 40 and became of the parent of two teenagers. That ought to be fun.