I wonder about my life sometimes. I wonder how I’ve made it this far and all my children are alive. I wonder how I got to the point where a lot of my social interactions (read none) are based on whether I have to put a bra on or not. I also wonder what stars align so I can have days like today…a day where my house becomes a fish hospital.
“We are a no pet family” is pretty much our family motto. I was literally talking about this with some neighbors, when not 1 hour later Dave walked thru the door with not one, but TWO Beta fish.
I know what you’re thinking “Fish aren’t really pets.” I beg to differ. Feeding, cleaning, and getting sitters (for when we’re out of town) for any creature other than the humans in my home 100% constitutes a pet.
A Not So Brief Fish History:
Growing up, we had pets. More than “just fish”. Birds, dogs, turtles etc. Goldie the Goldfish was my first fish. (Because I’ve always been original and creative). I won her at the school fair. We put her in a Ball Jar at home. I fed her regularly, and doted on her the rest of my waking hours by staring at her without blinking. I would run home from school and to do it all over again.
She lasted 3 days.
My mom let me know of her passing by leaving the empty ball jar on the table when I got home.
Side note: I recently questioned her about this. She said she was in her “this is real life, so don’t sugar coat it” phase. Lovely. Thanks Tamara.
My brother was gifted a Beta fish for his 6th birthday (I was 9). He named it Mike, and that sturdy SOB lasted 5 years. FIVE YEARS. Including a 300+ mile move.
In college, a roommate asked me to feed her 2 goldfish over the weekend. I fed them, doted on them, checked in etc. etc.
They lasted 3 days.
A few years later, I decided to get married (whomp, whomp). On said wedding day, my mother disappeared for a few hours. I am so old, that at the time, none of us had cell phones. Then, right before my reception, I spied her running across the parking lot with a million little baggies in hand…each containing a single Beta fish.
I vaguely remembered telling her I thought fish in the flower centerpiece vases looked cool (I saw it in a magazine. Does anyone remember those? Because, again, I’m so old, that’s pretty much all I had to go off of for my wedding planning. No Facebook, No Insta, the world wide web was NOT what it was today).
Anyways, Tamara remembered, and got the fish.
They were lovely.
The plan was to let the bridesmaids/groomsmen take a fish home as a thank you. But my littlest brother (11 at the time) had dumped them into a communal bucket so peeps could pick their new fishy friend as they left.
Have you ever wondered why Beta fish are kept in individual little cups at the pet store? BECAUSE THEY KILL EACH OTHER.
So – after a few hours in the Beta WWF bucket, we had one lone champion.
12 fish lasted 3 hours.
And then finally Bolt. He was a gift from my parents to my eldest for his 8th birthday. Bolt faired well, and even survived a 300+ mile move. But he too, kicked the bucket around a year later. Bless his little heart.
So that’s that, a not so brief aquatic friend history, until today, when Dave arrives home with 2 very ill, neglected Beta fish. Apparently they were used for a shoot, and then no one claimed them. Who knows how long it had been since they were fed and the water in their tank was changed. They looked like little fish skeletons. But the kids were ecstatic.
Me (In a very angry whisper): “Dave, WHY did you bring home 2 almost dead fish? They’re not going to survive and then we’ll have to buy MORE fish, and we just got a new lease on our pet free life! (sorry Bolt, RIP)”
Dave (in his Dave/Dad voice): “It will be fine.”
Me: Eye roll x infinity.
4 PET STORES AND 4 HOURS OF MY LIFE I WILL NEVER SEE AGAIN later….
New tanks, clean water, fish “antibiotics” that cost more than the fish supplies, and of course, the glitteriest fish accessories a certain 6 year old could find, and voila…
Meet Lloyd and Sparkle. I’ll let you guess who is who. My bathroom is officially the recovery wing as I carefully monitor their water temp, amount of food, antibiotics etc etc.
So. Many. Eye. Rolls.
Dave: “See – I told you they’d be fine.”
Heart punch, or face punch. I can’t decide.
When I die, and go to whatever is up there. My only saving grace will be Lloyd and Sparkle testifying on my behalf.
“She may be a horrible, selfish, impatient person, but she saved our lives.”
God Bless you Lloyd and Sparkle, God bless you.