Perpetual Plan B

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Secret Shame

I lied to my child.

It was a pretty big whopper too, not just a little white lie - like the kind you tell that will spare someone's feelings. It also wasn't usual type of lie that I tell my children - like how I always say there aren't any cookies left, when really there are four more in the freezer, just waiting for me to have a nice little snack.

I'm embarrassed to admit what I did. On the other hand, it was probably just a brilliant idea, gone horribly wrong. (Sound familiar?)

Austin had been asking for Zhu Zhu pets since August, right after his birthday. I looked at them and they seemed kind of cute and a lot less trouble than a real hamster, which I always had growing up. No smell, no mess, no feeding and best of all, if the hamster dies, you just get new batteries.

Well the problem was, as most people know, there were no Zhu Zhu pets to be found. I checked every toy store from here to Salt Lake and beyond every time we went anywhere out of Cache Valley. The Toys R Us guy in Provo disgustedly told me that the Ebay crowd was out in full force, staking out the shipments and hoarding the hamsters for a profit. Not nice.

Well, we're not made of money here so there was no way I was going to pay a fortune for a toy hamster. If he still seemed interested, I'd try to pick him up one for Easter or the next birthday, or some other occasion.

I did find another little hamster toy, complete with a ball, on Amazon for about $12 total. Great. He would have to be happy with that. We had plenty of other things for him and my Christmas shopping was already done.

Until one day I came home from church and there was an e-mail from my sister-in-law, telling me that had the Zhu Zhus in stock RIGHT NOW. Of course, Sunday or not, I was curious to see if this was true. I was somewhat relieved to see that they were sold out already so it took away the moral dilemma of if I should break the Sabbath and shop online.

I e-mailed her back and said thanks anyway. I should have told her I was done, I really should have.

Because she called me two days later and said "They are in stock RIGHT NOW!" So I ran to my computer RIGHT THEN and bought some. Of course the offer of free shipping for any order over $75 made me go nuts. The main thing I really regret about this whole thing is that I had the little car and garage in my cart and then took it out at the last minute because, well, actually I really can't even remember why I took it out because I was pretty sure I could return anything extra I bought to the ShopKo store. I think I thought it looked weird.

Anyway, I started to get buyer's remorse, so I started asking around to friends of mine with kids about the same age to see if anyone would want anything extra I didn't want. The second person I asked was thrilled. Her little boy turns 4 three days after Christmas and she had given up on the idea of getting Zhu Zhu pets. Since I had the other hamster with a ball, I told her I'd give her a hamster and the ball, which is the only piece she really, really wanted.

Of course the next time we saw an ad for Zhu Zhu pets, Austin told me that the ball and the car with the garage were the ONLY parts he really wanted.

Well, I'd already commited to my friend, so keeping the ball was not an option. So I watched and I waited because ShopKo said they would have more available every day until the 18th.

I started checking out every hour or so starting the next day. They finally had some things in stock, but not everything (of course not the garage) but I was able to get another ball and a few other things.

I basically ended up getting the identical set and some extra pieces, again with an extra hamster, that I had already bought for us for my friend. (Because to get free shipping, again I had to pay $75 or more. I figured extra hamsters were better than not enough. Even if I have to return them to ShopKo, it would be worth it.)

So, the first batch of toys came yesterday and at first I thought they were junk when I tried to put some together. I was kind of panicking, even though I knew as a last resort I could take it all apart and return it. I still had the fake hamster in a ball so I put each of them together and tested them out. The cheaper one worked much better.

So much better, in fact, that I wished that Austin could see the difference and then he would probably be ok with getting the fake one.

Well, here's where I came up with my brilliant plan, but also made my fatal mistake. I didn't hide the rest of the Zhu Zhu paraphanelia.

Then I told Austin the big fat (sort of brilliant) lie. I told him that I have a secret job for Santa testing toys and let him play with both kinds to prove that the cheaper one was better. At first he went along with it but then he found the rest of the stash.

Long story short, we pretty much set up the whole Zhu Zhu pet set and played with it all day and all night. Austin had a ball. Even the hamster ball that didn't work well at first got better because I figured out a few tricks to keep it together.

Hal is not pleased.

Well, in keeping up the authenticity of my story, the toys all disappeared in the middle of the night because I said Santa would need them back for the next day. Austin slept with the hamsters so I had to pry them out of his warm, little hands, just like the Grinch would have, as he was dreaming away.

Well, there was no good place to store the toys so I hid them as well as I could in the library. They kind of take up a bit of room. My lie was beneficial because Hal was downstairs working on the heater a few days later, and Austin accidently found the toys. He came upstairs and mentioned off hand, "Santa sent you some more Zhu Zhu pets to try out."

One of the hamsters doesn't work real well, but I guess that's the price you pay when they are rushing toys through production this close to Christmas to try and keep up with the demand.

My sister-in-law (enabler) called me from Target last night to see if I wanted the fun house, which we both wanted from the beginning (and now I really don't need.)

Of course you know what I said.

"Could you get me two?"

(Because, after all, I do have a friend who is going to be very much into Zhu Zhu pets as soon as I can unload half this stuff on her.)

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