Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meet Bob Ladiesroom!

cricket house
Bob's House- do you see him? 

Meet the newest addition to Casa Rodman- Bob Ladiesroom.

Weird name, huh? We can thank Thing One and Thing Two for that. 
Well, that, and circumstance.

It all started Monday before last....

I went to work. It was extremely Monday, and extremely cold- about 3 degrees Farenheit outside. The Tractor Shop was nearly that cold- it's basically a large metal pole building, built on a concrete slab. On the weekends, there is no heat. On Mondays, it takes a looong time to warm up. (It actually takes until about Wednesday, but I digress...) We wear coats, sweaters, and several other layers for most of the day, every day, anyways, due to the low temperatures, but on Mondays, it's an all-day bundling-up thing.

This makes going to the ladies' room kind of awful. So many layers. And such a cold, cold seating arrangement, if you know what I mean. It's a process, this time of year.

So. After stripping down a couple-few layers and gingerly getting "seated", what do I see? 
A small black form attempting to scuttle across the floor. 
My brain did what it always does. It goes:

Followed shortly by, "OH-CRAP-MAKE-IT-GO-AWAY!"
This is usually followed by either screaming at the top of my lungs and getting a male (be it The Big Guy, a son, or a coworker) to kill it, or failing that, I do the Bristol Stomp on the hapless arachnid, myownself.
I always feel bad about it, but...spiders.

Good thing it was so cold, and the bathroom door was locked. Neither one of us moves well in the cold, apparently. Gave me time to process what I was seeing. 

pet cricket

Bob's a cricket. Not a spider.
Screaming episode averted. No stomping required.

That building was around freezing, and insects don't do cold very well. But he was still trying to make his way about. Very puzzling, but admirable. Probably tough enough to survive Clan Rodman, was my thinkin'.
So I took him home.

The Big Guy dug around in the basement, and located a home for him. I rooted around in the recycling, and found him a cricket jungle-gym. 

egg carton and cricket
Egg cartons = cricket playhouses

I also checked on the internet, and found instructions for keeping a pet cricket. 
As it turns out, it's pretty easy stuff- we had everything we needed to keep him happy on hand. 
And he really does appear to be happy. He's not "singing" yet, but he's not fully mature- he appears to be about Thing One's age, in cricket years. His wings haven't developed yet, the cricket equivalent of a tween-dom. (Thankfully, he hasn't demanded sole ownership of the remote control, unlike another tween-like creature I know.)

Bob Ladiesroom

Sooo. About the name. The kids decided while I was still at work.
The Big Guy called me to let me know what the verdict was.
It was too late, by the time I got home, to fix it. No Jiminies or Charlies at our house, oh no.
It was a Done Deal, before I could even give the matter any thought.

When the kids name something, it's like concrete, or an elderly relative's head.
All mixed up, and set that way for good.

So. Bob.
Bob Ladiesroom.
Why Bob? I have no idea.
But his last name's a gimme, amirite?

(On a side note, I secretly suspect that Ladiesroom may have been their 2nd choice. It's just a guess, mind you, but- if I'm right, I'm sure glad that the Big Guy put his foot down regarding anything that started with "sh", for the last name. This is a family blog, after all. My guess is that Big Daddy put the kibosh on any shenanigans by convincing the brood that Santa would be leaving a hunk of a certain "sh" substance in their stockings, should they attempt to make that sort of moniker stick.)

It's OK. I don't think ol' Bob cares. And we're glad to have him.

Here's what I found out about cricket-keeping, and a quick recipe for cricket chow:

Crickets apparently drown easily. Serve them water by getting a cotton ball or two sopping wet, and plop 'em into a jar lid or small dish. Pour out any excess water in the dish. Et viola, instant safe water dispenser! Check daily to make sure it's not dried out, and change out cotton at least weekly. 

Their diet: they'll apparently eat almost any fruit or veggie- didn't find any prohibitions, save to be careful of pesticides, as crickets are sensitive to them. (Duh!) We've been feeding Bob organic apple core bits, celery, lettuce, pretty much anything we're eating. If it can be composted, chances are good that a cricket can eat it, so salad scraps are perfect. Fresh stuff needs to be served in its own dish, and changed out daily.

This last bit was the biggest surprise (to me, anyway!)- crickets eat meat. I thought that they were vegetarians, but apparently, if they don't have enough protein in their diets, bad things happen, especially if there's more than one of them. That's where cricket chow comes in. You can get that at a pet store, or make it yourself. It's cheap and easy, if you have kitties! All you really need is:

Dry cat food
Powdered milk
A baggie
A hammer

Dump a pinch of cat food into a plastic baggie. Roughly crush the kibble with a meat hammer or other hard object. Dump in some dry powdered milk, and toss to coat the crumbs of cat food. When you've got a mix that looks like really coarse, pebbly sand, about 1/3 milky bits and 2/3 kibbly bits, you're done. Serve in a small dish or jar lid, separate from any fresh foods. It appears to hold up just fine, as long as it stays dry- we've had the same dish out for a week, with no need to change it. 

And that seems to be about all there is to it! Easy, fun pet with little upkeep.

We're being realistic- apparently, a cricket's life cycle is pretty short, around 90 days, so we know he won't be here forever- but we're enjoying him now, and hopefully, he's enjoying the wacky pageant that is our life. Or at least enjoying the abundance of food...and warmth. (G*d knows, it's gotta be better than the Tractor Shop ladies' room!)

Anybody have any further tips? The only info I could find was aimed at people raising crickets as food for reptiles, and that's not our goal...if you've ever kept crickets, please, say somethin' in the comments- we'd love any tips or pointers you've got!



  1. No helpful hints here other than to say "Where but at the Rodman house?!?" LoL...loved this article!!

    1. :) Yep, everthing's normal at our place, LOL! Merry Crickets! Uh, Christmas! ;)


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