Monday, September 11, 2017

A Tale of Two Fishes

My kids are crazy about these stuffies (stuffed animals) that have huge eyeballs. Do you know what I mean? They seem to be for sale by every cash register in the grocery store or craft store. They are kind of cute, but I try REALLY hard to limit the number of stuffies that enter our house because I swear they procreate and multiply.

Anyway, the girls have been sleeping peacefully (mostly) in their separate rooms all last week and Zuzu has been doing her chores (making her bed and clearing and wiping the table after dinner) and her math enrichment work for Kumon without fuss (mostly), so I'd told them that they could get a new stuffie.

I had a bit of a rough day on Saturday--nothing went quite as I planned and I developed a headache in the afternoon, so David offered to take the girls to get stuffies while I ran some other errands and I TOTALLY took him up on it because that was basically the nicest thing he could have done for me at that moment in time.

I was looking at framing options for a couple of prints at the store when I got a text from David saying he didn't want to spend $12 on stuffed animals and could he get the girls a fish tank instead--it was on sale.

I said sure as long as I didn't have to clean it.

So to avoid spending $12 on stuffies, David spent far more on a fish tank, a castle to go inside the tank, seaweed, and neon rocks.

Plus the neon colored fish Zuzu and Coco really wanted were $9 each.

BUT the tank was on sale!

Anyway, they got the tank all set up on Saturday and on Sunday we went back to get the fish. Zuzu picked out a purple one (Flipper) and a yellow one (Shakey) and she and Coco fought loudly over who got to carry them to the car. I arbitrated a truce in which they shared carrying the bag, then I held it in the car on the way home.

We got home, put the fish in the tank, and waited to feed them until they had gotten adjusted.

But a few hours later, Zuzu came downstairs and said, "Mommy, I think Flipper is sleeping or maybe dead."


Flipper was in fact, floating listlessly in the fake seaweed of the tank. Shakey, however, looked fine. So I texted David, "One of the effing fish is already dead." And I told Zuzu when Daddy got home he would take a look at Flipper and see if she needed to go to the vet.

Well, by the time David got home, both Flipper and Shakey needed resuscitation.

David told Zuzu he was taking them to the PetSmart Hospital and AMAZINGLY when he got home, Flipper and Shakey were both good as new.

(Emphasis on NEW.)

We were told that the adjustment to water temperature might have been too much for poor Flipper and Shakey, so the second time around we lowered the bag from the store (still closed) into the water so the temperature would adjust slowly, then after a couple of hours, opened the bag so they could swim out into the tank. I wish we had gotten this advice the FIRST time around. RIP, Original Flipper and Shakey.

As of this morning, the new-and-alive Flipper and Shakey are both flippin' and shakin' (or swimming idly and staring listlessly, as fish are wont to do), so I'm relieved. The girls are still very enchanted by them, so i hope they live long and happy lives.

UPDATE: Today after school, both fish are dead. WTF. I feel terribly sad and guilty, and also annoyed. What are we doing WRONG? David had a cichlid fish that lived for TEN YEARS and survived FOUR MOVES. Now we are accidental fish murderers instead of fish nurturers.

Also Coco had a huge and unsourceable meltdown after school, and I sliced my big toe open on a walk with the dog and girls just before dinner. After a lovely weekend, Monday strikes with a vengeance.


  1. This happened to us. Get beta fish. They can "live in a mud puddle" as the pet store guy said. Also, when you clean the tank, don't let unconditioned water touch the inside (so as not to kill the good bacteria), keep water temp as consistent as possible and, when cleaning, save a small bit of of the old water to mix with the new. I think our beta fish lived 2+ years. I'll never get fish again! Waaaaymore of a pain than you'd think. ;)

    1. BUT edited to add, beta fish must live alone.

    2. lol. I was JUST going to comment ALONE! lest more fishies die ;)

  2. We are on Bubbles the third, after the first 2 died quickly. So far, #3 is a trooper. Honestly,they are a pain in the ass and after the novelty wore off, the kids don't even pay attention anymore. And who is left cleaning the tank weekly (which stinks btw).

  3. omg, Brooke, I'm sorry, but I cannot stop LAUGHING!! Brad even had to come read the post to see what had me in such fits.
    We've been getting hit with "I want a pet" pretty hard here too, and this helps me stay firm on the 'no'. Ohhh god. Two sets. Cue the stifled giggling again.
    But on a serious note, tell me about this Kumon thing! Cate has been coming home with math and spelling homework, which so far feels like quite enough, but my curiosity is piqued. Also, please do tell how you get her to sit and do it without fuss. Because Cate somehow learned that homework is something to be belabored, and we get all.the.drama ("I CAN'T believe I have to do HOMEWORK! AUGH! This is so BORING!" along with head on the table, flopping her body around, etc.)

  4. Oh man. I get your FB comment. You may win.

  5. We probably didn't help your Saturday woes with our intrusion at naptime either... Saturday was kind of a nutso day. I think the weather was weird too - it's like it wanted to feel fallish, but it was actually really hot and everyone's allergies were off the charts.

    We had one fish - a beta fish, and it lived for years. The novelty wore off, but at least it lived a long life. Changing water is a pain, and you do have to be really careful. I think a beta fish (which is very rainbow colored!) is hardy enough to stand the water changes.

    Your Monday sounds like a pain. Mine was as well. I actually ended it by getting stabbed in two toes - full on puncture wounds from a fork that slid off a plate and catapulted in the air and embedded in the top of my feet. How does that even happen?? The pain was white hot and sudden, I was actually holding a chef's knife that I briefly thought I had dropped on my foot, slicing off my toes, the pain was so bad. I flinched and knocked the side of my kneecap into the corner of the recessed panel on the lower cabinet which sent a second round of intense pain that hasn't really eased up today. It was a one-two punch for sure. Monday kind of ended on a sour note for sure.

  6. Look up the breed of fish you are getting and tank cycling. So many fish die because the tank hasn't cycled yet.

  7. Did you add the product that makes tap water safe for fish? Take a sample of your water back to pet smart and have them test it and tell you what to get.

  8. At this rate, the stuffies would definitely have been the cheaper alternative! And why do I have "The Cosby Show" going through my head?? (You know, the episode where they have the funeral for Rudy's pet fish in the bathroom...)

  9. I am with you on the dead fish. We bought a few mollies last month, did everything right (we thought), and they all died. Apparently, the water needs to go through a cycle or something so we opted for a betta. Much easier and just as pretty. It's helpful that they like solitude.

  10. another vote for Beta.
    We had our first (Jackson, thanks Grace!) for 1.75 years before my sister overfeed it accidentally.
    More recently, "Sunflower" joined our family and is doing great!

  11. Ok, I've been thinking about this and know my comment likely came across as heartless and disrespectful both of the fish and you guys - but you're WRITING Brooke! It's just so funny, your word choices and how you describe it all. And I was in need of a pick-me-up, so was looking for some 'funny' and focused on that. Sorry if I was rude!