Monday, July 5, 2010

I Prefer Fish 'n Chips

When Zoe was in kindergarten, one of the science units was about the life cycles of tadpoles and goldfish. The class was lucky enough to have real, live tadpoles and goldfish in the classroom, just in case one of the kids wasn't familiar with what these creatures looked like.

After the unit was completed Zoe brought a letter home, stating that there would be a drawing held to see who the critters would be sent home with and if you wanted your child to be considered as a potential goldfish or tadpole owner, please sign the form and send it back to school. Much to her disappointment, Zoe did not return a signed form.

Before you start thinking that I really am a mean mom for not letting my daughter bring home a free goldfish, please hear me out:
  1. We were leaving on vacation the day after school got out, and while I am lucky enough to have someone that's willing to be responsible for the smelly old dog for a week, I'd feel like kind of a dork asking someone to come over every day to feed a goldfish. So, I told Zoe that since no one would be able to feed the fish for a week, it would die.
  2. I dislike cleaning fishbowls. Wait...I take that back. I hate cleaning fishbowls. So, I told Zoe that since I completely lack time and desire to clean a bowl every four days, (which results in scummy, smelly water, which I hate even more then cleaning the bowl) the fish wouldn't have good living conditions, so it would probably die.
  3. I am already responsible for: A) Keeping a dog alive by feeding it twice-a-day and; B) Preparing food for humans. I do not need to add C) Monitoring the nutrition of a goldfish. After all, leaving the responsibility of fish feeding to Zoe would probably result in an overfed fish and an unnecessarily dirty bowl, which would result in...yep, you guessed it: a dead fish.
  4. The boys had a couple goldfish years ago and except for watching the boys go through their three minutes of initial excitement, I don't remember deriving one moment of joy from this experience. Except, of course, when the fish died.
  5. The fishbowl that had been used in the past, after being cleaned out one final time, has been repurposed as a candy jar. Unfortunately, since this "candy jar" was recently (by the hands of Zach) dropped, promptly sending glass shards skittering across a limestone floor, it is no longer available for fish residence. If this doesn't say "Jody shouldn't care for pet fish," I don't know what does. Except, of course, for just saying "Jody shouldn't care for pet fish."
  6. I really prefer my fish with tartar sauce, sometimes on a toasted bun, and always accompanied by fries.
Sure enough, ever since four other lucky kids brought home tadpoles and goldfish from school, one phrase I have heard from Zoe every day (besides "You're making me annoyed") is "So when am I going to get my pet fish? How many more sleeps?" You see, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to acquire a fish for her after we got back from Florida. Of course, she interpreted this as hell yeah baby, we're going to wait for our luggage on that carousel thing, hop in the car and on the way home from the airport, swing by Petco and pick up my fish! Kick ASS!!

I'd like to say that I could make this long story short by telling you that we bought a little two gallon tank, two fancy goldfish that were $2 each, some solution to make my tap water not kill the fish and some food that smells like three-week-camping-trip-no-indoor-plumbing-oh-no-we-forgot-a-bar-of-soap-too-ass, and now the fish are living happily ever after, but that would be a pretty boring blog post.

Instead, I'll tell you that I now own a two gallon tank (with royal blue trim because of course they were all out of black), outfitted with the ugliest gravel ever manufactured and a plant that looks faker than I thought a fake plant could look. I agreed to purchase a tank with a filter because I heard the magic phrase: You don't have to ever clean the thing, just switch out some water once in a while. SOLD to the lady in the running shorts!

I got the crap home, Zoe wouldn't stop jumping around, I followed all of the instructions and she named her new pets Hank and Sophia. They seemed happy enough in their new dwelling, except for some reason Hank wouldn't eat anything. And then he developed a lethargic demeanor, and then he just sort of hung out in a back corner, tipped at a precarious angle with a glossy look in his bugged out eyes. Things did not look promising for Hank. Sophia seemed fine, though, and just swam around lazy-ass Hank, hogging all the food that Zoe kept dropping in.

Wouldn't you know, I came downstairs at 6:00 am the next day, less than 24 hours after I bought these damn fish, to find: A) A puddle of dog pee on the floor, which made me instantly question whether or not this dog really is going to see his 15th birthday next week; B) Hank died and was floating; and (drum roll please...) C) Sophia was dead too! What the hell?! That, my friends, is a new record. I managed to extinguish two fish in one day, and I didn't even have to put a leech or a worm on a hook.

Since these fish came with a 15-day guarantee, I brought their slimy little bodies back to Petco and got my money back. Then, after letting the tank run for a day or so, we went back to Petco AGAIN and picked up a $0.29 goldfish that is usually only bought to be fed to bigger fish. Sounded perfect.

So far, this fish seems to be doing fine and every time Zoe walks by the tank she seems genuinely shocked to see him swimming around and happily shouts, "Cool! He's not dead yet!" Even though she's not going to allow herself to become too attached to him (which is probably a wise decision) she did, however, give him a name.

While telling a stranger about our recent fish ordeal, this patient lady asked Zoe what the new fish's name was. Zoe looked at her with a blank look, her mind suddenly going blank. She knew it wasn't Hank or Sophia because they were dead, so what was it? Oh, right... it's Goldy. Creatively challenged, probably soon-to-be dead, spared from the diet of a bigger fish Goldy.

Welcome to our family, Goldy. Since I'll most likely kill you before you see your two-week birthday, let me just go ahead and apologize in advance.


Betsy R-K said...

Ha ha! You are so fortunate you didn't buy a pregnant fricking guppy, like we did. Every 3–4 weeks she spits out a half-dozen little babies (did you know that guppies only need to be inseminated once, and then they stay pregnant indefinitely? Yet another reason to be glad we're humans). On the bright side, she usually eats them all, which helps keep the population down.

sylvia said...

This beats the dammed hamsters and that stupid bird all to hell that you forced me to buy! Being a mom and saying no to a little girl wanting a and it sucks even worse when you have to bury them in the plum thicket after spending the winter in the freezer waiting for the funeral services. At least you can flush the fish. Zoe has told me many times she was getting a fish after vacation - I was surprised you gave in.