I haven't been writing because all my energy lately has been going into BUILDING THINGS.
My primary creative outlet might be writing, but I was in Robot Club in middle school, my current job sees me designing and making crafts for upwards of 30 kids every week, I've made all my own Halloween costumes since I was 13, and I never shy away from a project that says "assembly required."
In this particular case, the project is building cages for the pair of rats I'm going to adopt (always adopt at least 2 rats!). It's been ~10 years since the last time I had a pet, and it was rescued rats then, too. I've been hoping I could get a dog now that I'm on my own, but due to costs and apartment living, it's not going to happen anytime soon. But rats, rats are as close as you get to dogs in small animals.* They're playful, friendly, easily trainable, clean, and all the rats I've known have great personalities.
Buying a rat cage from a pet store is a no-win, though. All the cages that are big enough, with the right bar spacing, tend to cost upwards of $150, and that's likely just barely big enough for two rats. A good cage purchased online will run ~$80, including shipping. Whereas I cashed in my lovely Home Depot gift card (my family knows me well) and spent $60 on materials, splurged at the Container Store for an underbed bin of just the right dimensions, got everything else from Target, and spent $135 on absolutely everything I need to get started: material for two cages, material to make toys, bedding, food, treats, food bowl, water bottle, etc etc etc. Plus, bonus, buying materials meant I could design and build exactly the cage I wanted.
So my hands are sore, I have brand-new blisters, and I'm in contact with an awesome rat rescue group in my area. I'm hoping for a pair of baby boys (5 weeks is the earliest a rat should be separated from its mom/littermates), but we'll see who's available. Usually I'd adopt an older animal--they come pre-socialized and ready to love!--but for the first time I get pets in years, I want little ones. Next time I'll go older.
If I can figure out how, I'll post pics of the two cages I built (primary cage and spare/travel/hospital cage) with new ratties in them once I get everything sorted with the rescue group.
In the meantime, I should probably put some effort into writing again.
*I'm paraphrasing someone here, I just can't remember who.