Sigh. Another day in the life...
This morning, after accepting that no, I won't garden in the rain and no, there is no real joy to be found in being thoroughly wet and muddy (there is, but not today), I packed up the Eldest and we zipped off to buy a new pet. Pair of pets, actually. Our dear Dr. Watson, now safely housed in a home that will feed him all the grains and nuts he wants, has left a hole in our family room, and we were out to fill it. With a goldfish.
Classic childhood pet, the goldfish - or so I'd thought. Simple, pretty, kid-friendly. But don't be fooled: apparently, those sweet little bowls get filthy fast, and the water needs to be changed every couple of days. Who can be bothered? And the fish grow - to the point where you need something like 5 gallons, long-term, per fish. Admitting to the man in the pet store that, no, I couldn't commit to changing the water more than once a week or two, I bowed my head and meekly bought the larger tank. I then politely waved aside his concerns about 'establishing' the tank (i.e., letting the water develop the appropriate bacteria) before plopping the fish in. 'They'll get stressed,' he warned. I, the queen of stress, smiled and expressed my willingness to take the risk.
Pause to speculate: for whom is this fish, really? For whom was the bird? Oh, yes, the boys loved the birds, but I am suspicious as to whether we bought the bird so that I could care for a simple creature, easily sustained and loved. Ooops. If so, then that would make these fish my attempt to redeem myself, in a potentially expensive cycle. Oh, risky. And yet, onwards I go, feeling almost driven. Time for a line in the sand, perhaps? What - here?
Psychobabble over, we now return you to the original post:
A pair of hours later, the tank was full of carefully treated water, and the filter humming away. The FIL and I had worked carefully, and the result looked, well, like a great big box of water. We dumped the fish in (Speckle and Katie) and watched them swim. So far, so good. And off we went: the FIL to collect lunch and a nap, the Eldest to get himself embroiled in some adult politics and the Mama to get equally tangled while finding she'd been offered a job. (A job! But more on that later.) It was emotional rollercoasterism in minature, but now a fish has been flushed.
Poor Katie. First she swam, then she listed to one side, and finally floated, still in the water. Perhaps stress really can kill. And how do I tell the already emotionally battered child, come morning?
Carefully, I suppose. And onwards we go...