Mrs. Rat's baby shower is full of the gifts that will keep being given

Mrs. Rat's baby shower is full of the gifts that will keep being given

R. Fink

As Mrs. Rat's due date drew near, the Rat household went into full-blown nesting mode.

The mother-to-be paged through catalogs of baby furniture while the whiskered one ran the wiring for a webcam in the nursery. She registered for baby gifts at department stores. He tried to do the same at his favorite retail establishments.

'I'm telling you, you really should set up a baby shower registry,' the Rat explained to the confused manager at CompUSA, just as he had done for the customer service reps at ThinkGeek.com and FatBrain.com. 'The only way anyone I know is going to buy a gift for my kid is if they trip over it online or find it on the GSA schedule.'

The wirebiter had heard through his network of sources that his co-workers were planning a baby shower, but he was not getting his hopes up for a desirable gift. When the office staff had thrown a wedding shower for one of his acolytes, they had wasted many hours rigging the plumbing to drench the break room before the Rat explained the concept more completely.

Accordingly, the cyberrodent tried to lower Mrs. Rat's expectations about her festive summons to his office. But nothing could have prepared her for what awaited.

One of the Rat's colleagues had catered the affair'from the break room vending machines.

'It was tough getting $15 worth of change together,' he confided to the Rat. 'That dollar bill reader kept spitting out my singles.'

A table held the sumptuous spread of corn chips, potato chips and Funyuns still in their bags. Rubber gloves from the cleaning closet had been inflated, tied and hung by tape from the ceiling.

Thought that counts

Gifts were stacked atop a table in the corner, many wrapped in old copies of GCN that had been on the Rat's desk the day before. One bore a bow tied from color-coded network patch cables.

But the Rat was touched by the thought. 'Wow, guys, you shouldn't have put yourselves out,' he said, as his better half ripped through a Tom Temin editorial. Several trade show Linux stuffed penguins later, he began to wonder if he had spoken too soon.

Next came a trade show tote, reconfigured to be a diaper bag. 'And, ooh, a mousepad changing pad'how creative,' Mrs. Rat cooed. 'What did you use to stitch them together like that?'

'Wire ties,' a PC technician blushed.

Then there was the baby quilt. 'I've never seen a trade show T-shirt quilt before,' Mrs. Rat said with a smile. 'I'm glad someone put the time at FOSE to good use.'

The webmaster presented his gift in an envelope. 'Oh, a gift certificate for Diapers.com,' she said, appreciatively handing it to her husband. 'Too bad they're only available in Washington state,' she whispered.

Then there was the gift from the help desk. 'It's a CD-mobile,' the appointed presenter declared. 'We made it from all those beta disks for Windows 2000. We thought the baby would be visually stimulated by the way the light catches them.'

At least it's more stimulating than a blue screen of death, the Rat mused silently.

As the happy couple packed their booty into the family roadster, Mrs. Rat grinned mischievously. 'I don't know what you were worried about. These are great gifts.'

The router rodent gave a nonplussed grunt. 'They are?'

'Sure they are,' she replied. 'They're so great that it would be wrong of us not to pass them along to my cousins as Christmas presents.'

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@gcn.com.

R. Fink

As Mrs. Rat's due date drew near, the Rat household went into full-blown nesting mode.

The mother-to-be paged through catalogs of baby furniture while the whiskered one ran the wiring for a webcam in the nursery. She registered for baby gifts at department stores. He tried to do the same at his favorite retail establishments.

'I'm telling you, you really should set up a baby shower registry,' the Rat explained to the confused manager at CompUSA, just as he had done for the customer service reps at ThinkGeek.com and FatBrain.com. 'The only way anyone I know is going to buy a gift for my kid is if they trip over it online or find it on the GSA schedule.'

The wirebiter had heard through his network of sources that his co-workers were planning a baby shower, but he was not getting his hopes up for a desirable gift. When the office staff had thrown a wedding shower for one of his acolytes, they had wasted many hours rigging the plumbing to drench the break room before the Rat explained the concept more completely.

Accordingly, the cyberrodent tried to lower Mrs. Rat's expectations about her festive summons to his office. But nothing could have prepared her for what awaited.

One of the Rat's colleagues had catered the affair'from the break room vending machines.

'It was tough getting $15 worth of change together,' he confided to the Rat. 'That dollar bill reader kept spitting out my singles.'

A table held the sumptuous spread of corn chips, potato chips and Funyuns still in their bags. Rubber gloves from the cleaning closet had been inflated, tied and hung by tape from the ceiling.

Thought that counts

Gifts were stacked atop a table in the corner, many wrapped in old copies of GCN that had been on the Rat's desk the day before. One bore a bow tied from color-coded network patch cables.

But the Rat was touched by the thought. 'Wow, guys, you shouldn't have put yourselves out,' he said, as his better half ripped through a Tom Temin editorial. Several trade show Linux stuffed penguins later, he began to wonder if he had spoken too soon.

Next came a trade show tote, reconfigured to be a diaper bag. 'And, ooh, a mousepad changing pad'how creative,' Mrs. Rat cooed. 'What did you use to stitch them together like that?'

'Wire ties,' a PC technician blushed.

Then there was the baby quilt. 'I've never seen a trade show T-shirt quilt before,' Mrs. Rat said with a smile. 'I'm glad someone put the time at FOSE to good use.'

The webmaster presented his gift in an envelope. 'Oh, a gift certificate for Diapers.com,' she said, appreciatively handing it to her husband. 'Too bad they're only available in Washington state,' she whispered.

Then there was the gift from the help desk. 'It's a CD-mobile,' the appointed presenter declared. 'We made it from all those beta disks for Windows 2000. We thought the baby would be visually stimulated by the way the light catches them.'

At least it's more stimulating than a blue screen of death, the Rat mused silently.

As the happy couple packed their booty into the family roadster, Mrs. Rat grinned mischievously. 'I don't know what you were worried about. These are great gifts.'

The router rodent gave a nonplussed grunt. 'They are?'

'Sure they are,' she replied. 'They're so great that it would be wrong of us not to pass them along to my cousins as Christmas presents.'

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@gcn.com.

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