Huffman Coding

… with a bunch of Family Stuff too


When I was in third grade, before the advent of the horseless carriage, my teacher, Mrs. Joyce, had a guinea pig in the classroom. One weekend I had the awesome responsibility of taking care of it. It was cool.

So when Katie came home with a permission slip to take care of Furball, the classroom hamster, we said of course. We even volunteered to care for him over any extended weekend.

Well this is the first three day weekend of the school year and he is our charge. Katie, who wears her heart on her sleeve, has been counting down the days for weeks.

We set up a little pink table in their bedroom for the cage. When I came home from work, Katie reported that she put Furball in her Barbie car, but that he kept crawling out. Chris reported that Katie and Marissa had attempted to bathe him. I saw a bloody tissue on the bathroom floor later that evening. Katie had been on the receiving end of Furball’s displeasure at his almost bathtime experience.

I would have thought that would have taught the girls a lesson. It did: wear long-sleeved jackets before continuing to annoy the poor animal. Perhaps not the right lesson.

He came home in a cage with bedding, but he spent a large portion of the weekend in a clear plastic tub. It was easier to constantly grab him that way. That also meant he could no longer hide in his plastic log. The girls didn’t bother to put bedding in the tub so they we exposed to little hamster stool. It appears that this hamster poops about every 20 minutes, so Marissa would frequently have to dump the tub contents in the toilet.

Chris drives the hamster back to school Tuesday. Has this second-generation rodent-sitting experience been educational for the girls? Well, no. But the tradition continues!

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