Wow! What a bummer I've been lately.
The kids are back and all is right with the world. We enjoyed a splendid evening cooking breakfast for dinner, having water balloon fights on the trampoline, and watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks - their first viewing. They enjoyed it thoroughly (I forgot how long it was!). It was funny watching the types of special effects that earned the movie an Oscar.
Oops. After a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and a thorough, intensive grooming of children - mainly focusing on fingernails and rat's nests (J and C respectively, I mean S, whatever), I accidentally let the cat out of the bag. Sicily was re-connecting with Spotty, and I casually and absent-mindedly let it slip that Spotty I got away. She blew up in drama, wanted to know all the details, and quizzed me about our search efforts.
"Sicily, it happened long ago. We've had Spotty II for so long, you really know him better. He's like Spotty I."
"Poor Spotty I! I liked him better!"
"No, you didn't. When we got the new snake, you thought the markings on his skin were beautiful and wondered how he got so bright. We told you he just shed for the first time."
She looked at me, suspect. I think she understood I was sparing her feelings at the time, and I decided she finally became satisfied after I launched a lengthy campaign assuring her that Spotty I was living a happy, carefree life in the woods across our street chasing live rodents and meeting a mate.
She rolled her eyes, "Yeah, right mom, he probably got eaten or died somewhere in the basement."
She's only seven. I've already lost all my magic.
Then she became excited.
"Hey, Mom, since this isn't really Spotty, we need a new name. Do you think he will get confused if we change his name?"
I watched her gazing down at him fondly and lazily moving her hands to keep up with Spotty's slithering and curling. "I think you will be all right, Sicily. If it was a dog, I'd worry. But I'll bet Spotty will adjust."
"What was the name of that cat in the movie last night? I loved that name."
"Oh! Me too. Cosmic Creepers." It wasn't really a cat, just a spooky robot cat that looked like it had the mange.
"Let's name him Cosmic Creepers."
"Make sure Jack is OK with that." Oops, I mean John. I like Jack. Sicily and Jack. I'm changing his name. It's name changing day, for the boys in the house.
The eternally accommodating Jack agreed that Cosmic Creepers was a better name, and we tried it out and played with him until he pooped on my bed. Jack ran away in horror and disgust and Sicily started dry heaving. I grabbed Creepers as he was slithering under my pillows, cleaned up his hairy fecal matter, handed him to Sicily (who had recovered), and put the bedding in the wash.
I asked Sicily, "What shall we call him for short?"
"Cosmic? Or Creepers? Which do you like better, Mom?"
"I think Creepers."