I think my mom has officially lost her mind...she's allowing my brother to keep a pet mouse. Last Thursday, my stepdad used his one-time-only-veto-privilege to overrule my mom's "No," so we have a new addition to our pet collection. Rolly, named after a pup from 101 Dalmatians, is white with black spots. Although he weighs less than 1/4 pound, just the sight of our tiny rodent makes my mom squeal. It's been mandated that Rolly mustn't leave Joseph's room. His cage, hamster wheel, chew stick, and food all live at the foot of Joseph's bed. And since Rolly's arrival, the time Joseph spends in his room has increased fifty fold. Every time I walk by his room, Joseph's sticking Rolly in his shirt pocket or telling him what a good boy he is. I've heard the expression "Nothing Comes Between a Boy and his Dog," but in Joseph's case I really think it should be changed to "Nothing Comes Between a Boy and his Mouse." Joseph prides himself on his fiscal responsibility; he rarely spends money except on his girlfriend, Rachel. All around, he's just a penny pincher. But already, he's spent more than $40 on Rolly. He claims the mouse is a "good investment;" I'm not quite sure if he's expecting a return on his purchase. But on more than one occasion, he's said, "this mouse is the best purchase I've ever made." To help ease his financial blow (you figure $40 is Joseph's allowance and lunch money for the week) but still keep Rolly happy, Joseph's build a maze for his mouse. He went through the attic and dug out his old lego table to construct a high tech play pen. Complete with multiple levels and many turns, the maze has become Rolly's new favorite play area, even over his hamster wheel. Of course that might have to do with the fact that every time he walks through it Joseph hands over a slice of cheese. At the rate he's eating, it's a good thing his name is Rolly. I'm just wondering how long it will take before the shiny-and-new feeling rubs off. However, a few friends have already visited and are begging their parents for mice of their own, so I'm thinking it will take quite a while.