Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Fishy Story

I was cleaning out the fish tank when it happened. The fish jumped out of the net and onto the carpet. Dear Son was sitting in his rocker watching the whole thing.

The fish were a gift to Dear Son for his ninth birthday, shortly after I divorced. I thought he might like a pet and settled on the fish. We had many outdoor pets, so to speak, the animals that came regularly to our bird feeder. We had Blackie, our red winged black bird that was a frequent visitor. He came to the feeder every morning before Dear Son went to school, then would sit on the top of his swing set in the backyard, every day while he was at school. Once Dear Son came home, he’d fly back over to the bird feeder, while Dear Son watched him from the base of our French door, as he lie on the carpet, his head on a pillow, with the cool summer breezes wafting over him and the sound of the aerator, lulling him to sleep. Of course, it didn’t hurt that our lot backed up to a pond, as the red winged black birds are water loving birds, but I called him Dear Son’s bird nonetheless. Then there were Donald and Dolly, our mallard ducks. They came back to our feeder year after year; even the neighbors called them our ducks, since they only fed at our feeder.

But the fish were our first “official” pets as a family. It was a simple fish tank, something I thought I could take care of. Apparently, I never mastered the filtering system very well because I found the fish tank to be a lot of work. We had several fish, all named of course, but the two favorites were Prince Charles and Princess Diana. They were named as such, because of the castle, that resided in the middle of our fish tank. The one fish, would always be outside the castle; I named her Princess Diana. The other fish, would always hide inside the castle, so I named him Prince Charles, because he was always hiding in there and didn’t want to come out.

Now the problem with the fish, came with cleaning the tank. I chose to remove the fish from the tank for a thorough cleaning. I know it’s not necessary but like I said, I just hadn’t mastered this filtering thing. I moved the first fish successfully from the tank when I attempted to remove the second one. The fish jumped high into the air, out of the net and landed on the carpet. Being squeamish as I am, I screamed at the top of my lungs. It was the kind of scream, that you’d expect when you were watching a horror film or saw someone committing a terrible crime. I even scared myself, it was so loud. I attempted several times to get the fish back into the tank, but the problem was that I would have to touch the fish and this was presenting itself as a major problem. There wasn’t any way that I was going to actually “touch” the fish. Dear Son thought this whole episode was hilarious and he proceeded to rock in his chair laughing as hard as he could until he was nearly crying from the laughter. Every time I thought I had the fish with the net, the fish would flop and I would scream. The louder I screamed, the funnier it was. Of course, I was talking all of the time trying to get the fish back into the tank which only added to his amusement. A curse word or two might have slipped out.

Soon the fish was back in the tank but ended up going into the castle. I later learned he died. Some time later, a second fish died after hiding in the castle. I decided I might want to rename the castle the “funeral parlor” since the fish were dying inside there.

Dear Son never really cared for the fish. I think the fish jumping out of the tank was the most fun he had. After these issues with the fish, I decided to get Dear Son a cat.

Somehow, it’s hard to imagine Dear Son had any disabilities that day. I wonder how the psychological tests measure that. Sometimes, labels don’t tell the whole story. And the whole story is often better than reading just the last page. And a whole lot more fun too.


Jodi Reimer said...

I bet Dear Son was calling you "Drama Queen" in his head...just like my son would have muttered it under his breath. I can just picture it!

Anonymous said...

LOL! The one that *really* got away! I can picture the whole scene!

Shawnee said...

You write so vividly it makes me feel as I am almost there in all of your posts. You are a fabolous writer! By the way I would have screamed to trying to get that darn fish back in its tank!

Julia said...

Poor fishies! If you ever want to give it another shot, i'd be more than willing to help you get set up. I've got enough fish equipment that's just sitting here to make you a nearly effortless tank, and if i recall you aren't too far from here.

jennifer said...

Fish are a deceptive pet...they are a lot more work than you'd think they'd be!

I'm with Dear Son on this one...

Dream Mom said...

Thanks, everyone.

Julia-Thanks for the offer. I have since bought Dear Son a cat (Munchkin) whom he enjoys immensely, especially when the cat gets into trouble. He gets a big belly laugh out of that.

I moved on to beta fish after the aquarium deal and I haven't had any issues with that. It is much easier to maintain a sparkling bowl with only one fish.

I see a beautiful salt water fish tank in my future however I'll have a service when I get to that point.

Dreaming again said...

Ack! Your posts have more than once brought tears to my eyes. This one did it!

"Somehow, it’s hard to imagine Dear Son had any disabilities that day. I wonder how the psychological tests measure that."

I was going to say something more, but decided to make it a little less public. I thought I had your email, but ...if I do, it's one of the 40 or so emails in my address box I have no idea who they belong to ;)

Could you email me at

I've been busy with my book stuff and fallen behind on blogging ... and wow what I've missed! Happy Anniversary!

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