Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fishy Fishy Fish

One day last spring I left my mom persona behind and went into the city to have lunch with my parents and my sister, who was in town visiting from California.

My husband stayed home with the kids. They were six and four at the time so I didn’t have to annoy him with a litany of rituals and minutiae particular to their care and feeding. I left town confident that everything would be fine.

I might have jumped on the train a little too quickly. After a lovely day, I came home and my kids were practically bursting with news. “We went to a fair! We each won a fish! We had popcorn!” Wait. What? Could you back up please? What was that about a fish?

Sigh. Even if I had run through my ridiculously extensive list of dos and don’ts, I’m not sure it would have occurred to me to say “Don’t play any fair games for which the prize is a goldfish in a bag.” Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.

So we added a fish to our family. The world’s most resilient fish. Spots has never been pampered in a fancy tank. No, sir. His home is a big Rubbermaid bin, which has basically been kept outside. No treasure chests or little Jacques Cousteau figures for Spots. His d├ęcor is eco-chic: dirt, rocks and falling pine needles.

He has survived ice cold water, sporadic feedings, infrequent (I’m being kind) tank/bin cleanings, and the movement of his tub by workers who didn’t know there was anything in there other than some nasty pondwater. A weaker fish might not have made it.

Scratch that. Weaker fish have not made it. There was Dots, who was won at the same fair but was found cut in half by one of the rocks in the tub on Day 2. And then there was the algae-eater fish who, even though he was acclimated to the water temperature while still in his little baggie, died upon contact with the frigid water Spots was happily swimming about in.

And, just last week, there was Brownie. We bought Brownie for my daughter. Somehow it was decided that Dots (the one that got split in two) was the fish she had won. I think my son perpetrated a fish version of the old “I dropped your ice cream cone” scam. I mean, really, how can you tell two goldfish apart?

So Brownie got introduced to the Rubbermaid and Spots. All was great. Until Day 3. I was making dinner when I heard blood-curdling screams from outside. I practically teleported to the front yard because I was convinced that someone was lying in a pool of blood. Both kids were in tears. My daughter was practically pulling out her hair. My son managed to tell me that Brownie had died.

Trying to calm them both I went to the tank to deal with the dead fish. I didn’t see anything. “Are you sure he’s dead? I don’t see him….” I was hopeful.

“He’s here” my daughter said, thrusting out her hand. With the dead fish in it.

Eeeeeewwwwww. Ewww. Eww. I broke my own landspeed record (set just moments earlier) getting a bucket for her to drop Brownie into. And then broke that record saying goodbye to/flushing Brownie and making sure my daughter washed her hands 100 times.

And, still, Spots swims on.

My daughter wants a turtle.

1 comment:

  1. Ha! I love this. I love Spots! Can we have a Spots fanclub? Kat