Cast of Characters

LT Fromage – Husband since September 2009. In the Army. Can’t cross his eyes, but that’s about the only thing wrong with him. Other than that, he’s perfect. Except when he toots. Ok, even that’s kind of cute. Most endearing moments are when I walk in to find him singing little songs to our pets. It’s especially sweet when it’s to the rats. I'm pretty sure we laugh more than anyone else in the whole wild world. Who knew marriage could be so funny? (Can I just say how much I love this picture?)

Non-Sucky Army Wives – NSAW. These are the friends I’ve made since becoming an Army Wife. Most Army Wives are sucky. Some are not. We find each other and stick together. S is my best NSAW friend. She happens to live on the next cul-de-sac, which is freakin’ awesome. And she makes dee-lish cookies, so that's also a plus.

Erika – Aliases include but are not limited to: E, E-Dollar, The Dollar, The Dollar Bill, Bill. Oh yeah, she’s a dog. A German shepherd with German blood lines who I acquired as a gift for LT Fromage. The process was likely more intense than adopting a child. After we finally received approval, we had to arrange travel from Kansas to Wyoming to pick her up, and then bring her back to Kansas. Erika is LT Fromage’s dream dog (minus the digging), but we leaned two things: We will never, ever, ever, ever, ever buy another purebred dog from a breeder again and we will NEVER get another puppy. Ever. God made them so freakin’ cute when they’re little so their poor owners wouldn’t have the heart to kill them before they reached a calmer, adult state.

Buford – AKA Byford, Binford, Bin, Ben and Benjamin. Buford is a black lab who weighs as much as 2 black labs. We got him at the local shelter after we had to put my dog, Satchel, to sleep. When we met Buford, he crawled in my lap (all 100 pounds of him) and licked my face. I oohed and knew that he was meant for me. Then we brought him home and I found out he does that to everyone. Actually, he even licks the coffee table. We also found out his IQ is probably in the negative. That’s perhaps giving him too much credit, but I don’t know how to assign him an even lower number. But, Buford has the biggest heart of any dog I’ve ever met. He just wants to be loved. It’s hard to stay frustrated at him when he looks at you with those big brown eyes and wags that otter tail of his.

Garrett – G-unit is our orange tabby. He loves wearing his many ties (true story) and knows how to sit, roll over, speak and beg. He loves cuddle time and at the first indication that we may be headed up to bed, he rushes the stairs and plops onto the middle of the bed. Also, he likes to lie on his back with legs sprawled all over the place.

Toby – Garrett’s little brother. A gray or brown tabby (depending on if you ask LT Fromage or myself) who can speak and beg, he and G are besties and are often found lying together on the couch. We only had one qualification when it came to bringing home a second cat, and he passed the test. What was so important? LT Fromage must be able to hold them hanging upside down. LT Fromage hung him upside down, thought for a moment, and said, “Ok, we’ll take this one.” Then he pooped in the car on the way home. Twice. Toby, I mean, not LT Fromage. He doesn’t usually poop in the car.

Clarence – Who chose not to be pictured (but looks remarkably like this well-known iconic amphibian), is an African Dwarf frog. To be frank, there’s not much to say about Clarence. We’re not even sure if he is a he or a she. But there’s something charming about him… or her.

The Rattinos

In order of acquisition:

"The Ladies"
(photo to come, I promise!)

Holly Hollister -- Named because of her black and white markings ("as close to a real Holstein as you're getting for now" LT told me). Sort of the rodent ring leader. Lots of spunk and will eat anything and everything.

Lillie Marlene – Named after a German love song. A brown and white hooded with a cute little white blaze. A little introverted but such a doll.

Jenny Wren – Named after a Paul McCartney song. Solid brown with a white tummy and feet. Also has a little white star on her forehead. A picky eater and always plays the big sister roll to the young new comers.

Nina (Nini-Panini)- Long story. Marked almost identically to Lillie, also very introverted. I shouldn’t play favorites, but if I did, she would make the short list.

Ruger – Named after my gun. Black with a white tummy. I’m particularly close to her because she was so young when I brought her home, I had to wean her. Favorite place to sleep: In the food dish.

"The Gentlemen"

Howie (right) – In search of just one more little girl, I was won over by this little boy who looks like a Holstein cow with those black spots, has a darling white stripe down his face and only half a tail. I shouldn’t have held him, I knew he would steal my heart. Because he’s such a charmer (and rats are just plain horny) we’ve had to set up 2 cages. The girls at the pet store (who were desperately trying to find him a home, since he was bound to end up snake food with only half a tail) had named him Badger and all came to say goodbye before we left. LT Fromage and I renamed him Howie because we are big fans of Deal or No Deal. The rat cages happen to be at the top of the stairs, so, every time we accent, we sing and at the top, announce “Ladies, please”. If we have the ladies, we had to have Howie. Duh.

GOB (left) -- From Arrested Development (Said like Job, in case you're confused). He's a dumbo, and I'm not picking on his smarts, I'm talking about his ears. A cute little brown and white with giant ears. Pretty much melts your heart to look into those little beady black eyes.
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