Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Joys of Fish Ownership

I love animals. I'm a huge fan of kitties and puppies. As a child we had many kinds of pets; including cats, dogs, fish, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils (which make horrible pets), bunnies, and probably a few I'm forgetting. I also worked at a pony farm where I cared for horses, dogs, chickens, a donkey and a cow.

While I enjoyed all of that, animals require a lot of care and maintenance. I've cleaned up enough hairballs and scooped up enough horse poop to last me a lifetime. That's part of the reason that Andy and I don't have any pets. Because I don't want to take care of them.

For some reason, which I'm sure made sense at the time, Andy bought Michael a Betta fish last year for Valentine's day. As any mom could predict, the two of them took care of the fish for about two weeks, and then completely lost interest in the poor little bugger, leaving me with the responsibility of feeding it three times each day and changing it's water every week.

In other words. Hey, I have a pet fish!

After a few months of weekly water changes I bought a small tank with a filter. The good part? I didn't need to change the water as often. The bad part? Betta's like to eat food that is floating or falling. Once it hits the bottom of the tank, it's disappeared from that little fishy brain. Unfortunately, the filter in his tank sinks his food faster than he can eat it. So, to feed him I have to hover over the tank dropping the pellets in one by one. Just what a full time working mom wants to spend her time on.

I'm kind of over the fish at this point and I really wish he'd just go to the great big fish tank in the sky. But, he's a living thing, and we took on the responsibility of keeping him alive and well, so I will care for him.

A few weeks ago, the well part of the alive and well started to slip. The fish stopped eating, stopped spreading his beautiful little fins, and became very lethargic. I confess, I was kind of happy and hoped he would croak so that I wouldn't have to spend anymore time or money on a four dollar fish.

A few days passed, he didn't improve but he didn't die. Damn.

A few more days passed. He didn't improve but he didn't die. Double damn.

A few more days passed and I noticed a small white growth on his face. But, he didn't die.

I couldn't deny it. The poor thing had a fungal infection and he was suffering. He was clearly eating enough to hang on. The poor little guy was in pain, in my house, under my care. Unacceptable.

I know that there are people out there that would have just tossed him in the toilet and given him the big flush, but even though he's an itty, bitty little fish, with and even ittier, bittier brain, I just couldn't do it.

So, on Monday night Andy picked up some water treatment, and I started the intense process of trying to heal the very fish that I'm sick and tired of taking care of.

The good news? The water treatment was pretty cheap.

The bad news? The treatment seems to be working.

Does anyone want a free fish?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms

I hate being late. I mean really, really, really hate being late. I grew up in a family where being on time meant being at least five minutes early. Being late was completely unacceptable. It was something that neither of my parents could tolerate. I also have a brother that is completely incapable of being on time.

This problem caused constant friction in my family. When I was in Junior High, my dad would take all three of us kids to the mall on Friday nights. The same drama would play out every week. My dad would tell us what time to meet. Five minutes before that time, my sister and I would show up. Five minutes after that time, my father was complaining about how my brother was always late and would say that he was going to just leave him at the mall. Not being there, my brother never suffered for this, but every week, I took my dad's threat seriously and got upset at my dad for threatening to leave him.

Let's just say that this didn't help me develop a normal respect for being on time. It's much more a pathological obsession with being on time.

In fact, the compulsion to be "on time" extends until now when I actually work at a job where it doesn't matter if I come in at 6:00 am or 8:00 am, as long as I work my full shift and cover all of my meetings. However, because I have an idea of what time I want to get to work, I MUST get to work by that time.

As anyone knows, having children does nothing to assist one in getting anywhere on time, ever. Kids drag their feet, lose things, cry, scream, and do things like wipe boogers on your clean silk shirt as you are walking out the door. If you have a kid like Michael, that adds things like his desire to have in depth discussions on why I should carry his backpack or why he doesn't need a jacket when it is freezing out. I swear, that child could figure out how to stall a heard of stampeding buffalo.

I discovered a very simple solution to this problem when Michael started daycare when he was almost four. His daycare didn't open until 6:30, so we needed to leave the house between 6:25 and 6:30. Nick Jr showed Wow Wow Wubzy from 6:00 to 6:25. Every show ends with a song, and then goes into the credits. I started a routine that involved getting Michael feed and dressed during the show, and then when the final song came on, we would get up and dance. From dancing, I'd turn off the TV and head out the door. After a few weeks of that, the routine became so ingrained, that Michael rarely questioned the process. We would simply get up and dance, then head out the door.

Guess what? On March 1st Nick Jr. changed their lineup. When I turned the TV on, I was greeted by Dora screeching at Boots. Two years of routine shot to hell. I was left with a choice; give up a well timed routine or suffer through the torture of the shrill Dora and that God Forsaken Map song every morning.

I won't tell you what I've chosen, but my nearly pathological obsession with being on time played a big role in my decision.

P.S. Does anyone know how to get that stupid map song out of one's head?