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I can’t believe I haven’t thought about putting our house on some kind of tour and charging money for it. I mean, I would not have had to work in the summer during university then. Well, I suppose it would involve some work on my part, but the thing is, once The Mom’s got an audience, well, it’s not unlike rocket fuel.

I can picture it. I’d have made a slightly sketchy sign out of poster board tacked to the front door: ‘The Best Zoo’, maybe. The brave and curious would approach tentatively at first, but I reckon if the neighbour’s wee girl across the road were to get involved we’d be the best zoo in town before lunch. She’s a real go-getter and does not have my distaste for strangers. She’ll happily go knocking on doors, dragging people out of their homes and into ours. And what’s really great is she doesn’t like being paid for her work, so I can just call her a volunteer, tip her folks a few bucks and be done with it, really.

The Mom insists that if we did turn the house into a zoo, that she’d have to clean everybody up and put us in our Sunday best and what not. Which I think is just bonkers. People have been to zoos before, they realise there’s going to be a fair amount of poop.

The Mom does not mention that the animals on this tour she’s talking about will be doing any tricks. And that’s where I really think we can set ourselves apart. I bet we could get one of Lil Sis’s new birds to drive around on the dog’s head – and if I can figure out how to get a drinks tray strapped to the dog’s back… I mean, I’m getting a patent for that. Or certainly taking it to the stage – on tour!

The dog and the birds (those who can be trusted) could wander around, serving drinks or canapés, and The Mom could mince about the place in their wake, providing interesting commentary as they go.

I’ve been working on the canary orchestra for some time now (though we are making slow progress as we only practise at Christmas and sometimes I don’t think their hearts are in it) and I believe we could be ready for several shows a day. They love ‘Happy Christmas Mr Lawrence’ so I think we could reasonably get them to sing along to that. If they really go for it, it’s fantastic.

The Mom insists that the outside pets would not be included in such activities which I think is madness! The chipmunks are natural acrobats and I think we could easily get them involved in some kind of mini trapeze show with the squirrels. The ducks that lurk on the roof are always a sight to behold and their landings – en masse – are especially good.

We could even have a surprise element to things: around dusk people could venture round the side of the house and see if they can ‘find’ Mr Skunk! Free tomato juice(for de-stinking) to all winners!

It would be such a unique experience, people would talk about it for years to come. We’d surely be shut down but I reckon there’s a case to be made for trying anyhow. Because how freaking cool would that be? I’ve always watched that film with Matt Damon about the family that buys a zoo down in Devon – I mean, sure it was a rocky start for them, but it really turned out well.

I think we could do even better!

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