Lut suggested I set an alarm for a couple of hours after I went to bed, so that I could turn the heating pad back on. The heating pad has an automatic shut-off as a safety feature. In this case, it was an unsafety feature, but I couldn't disable it and it had been the only model WalMart had in stock.
I have a peculiar quirk: I don't have a great time sense but I have a reliable internal alarm clock. The only time I oversleep is when I wake up, decide I don't want to get up after all, and go back to sleep. Even that is a very rare event for me. So I didn't set an actual alarm clock, but I told myself as I was going to sleep at about 1:30AM: "Remember, you want to wake up in two hours to turn the heating pad back on for the baby possums."
I woke up with Ash sitting next to my face and mewling at me. I petted her sleepily, and thought, I need to be awake for something. It's not petting the cat. Why do I need to be awake? It took about a minute for oh, baby possums to surface. I got up. It was 3:30AM. I went out to the foyer, turned the heating pad back on, refreshed the sponge with more warm water, woke some hapless baby possums to make sure they weren't dead, and lay down to go back to sleep. Then got up again to make sure that the door to the foyer was closed again (it was) and both cats were on my side of it and not the possum side of it (they were).
Fifteen minutes later, Lut woke, went to the bathroom, and asked me "Do you want to reheat the possums?"
I went back to sleep.
4:30AM: Woke again, got up, turned on the heating pad, skipped waking the possums this time, went back to sleep.
5:30AM: Woke from a dream about baby possums. Turned on heating pad, woke possums (still alive), changed out sponge, turned off light in foyer. Started to lay back down, turned around, and switched light in foyer back on because the heating pad socket is on the same circuit as the light.
6:15AM: Went to check on possums. Carefully closed door to foyer. Spotted Callie in foyer with me. "Ack! How did you get in here? Get out! No you can't eat any baby possums!" Shooed Callie out. Checked on possums, who'd grown a few inches and were happy and excited to see me and started jumping on me and crawling all over me. "Aww, you're even cuter than before, you look kinda like kittens ... wait, I'm dreaming again, aren't I?" Woke up. Waited 15 minutes, reset heating pad (some of the "turned on heating pad" were really "turned it off and turned it back on again to reset the auto shutoff timer", because it doesn't shut off for an hour or so and sometimes I checked it before it had shut off), only woke a couple of possums to make sure they were still alive. Lay down again. Got up to make sure door was still closed (it was) and cats were on the right side of it (they were). 10 minutes later, Lut called out, "Do you want to reheat the possums?" "Already did."
7:15AM: Woke up, reset heating pad , turned around to lie down again, stopped, checked door (closed) and cats (with me).
8:10AM: Woke up. Stayed awake this time. Changed sponge, reset heating pad, got dressed. Woke all the possums to make sure they were still alive. They were! All twelve of them! Yes! They made their little cat-sneeze "chh! chh!" noises at me, and I made "chh" noises back at them. Took some photos of the possums with my real camera as opposed to the crappy cellphone camera. D'aww, so cute. I'll post more pictures later.
Lut got up shortly thereafter, and we set out a little before 9 for the nature center. We went over the bits of care rendered to the possums and that they hadn't really eaten or drank yet, and the woman at the center took them into the back area to extract them from my tub into one of their containers. I asked her to take a picture of them in their new environment for me, which she did (posted below). They won't be staying at the center: the center has home rehabilitators, and one of them will come pick the babies up. Hopefully today.
So, they were all alive and seemed reasonably healthy the last time I saw them. Maybe with luck they'll make it after all. I am tired now, and I put more effort into doing this than I think was necessary -- it was a warm night and I fully expect the possums would've been fine without the heating pad at all -- after all, they'd survived Thursday night outside without any source of heat. Nonetheless, I'm glad I did it anyway, for a bunch of reasons. Yay possums!
|Bucket o' Possums
Baby possums ensconced in a bucket at the Lakeside Nature Center