The arrival of spring is heralded in many ways here in the Garden State. This is what stands out for me. Lack of socks. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. First I can wear my favorite shoes with out socks, and then they boys jump right back into their sandals and flip flops. This makes me happier than anything because the daily socks that match search has surely worn me down each and every year by the time spring comes.
The other sure fire sign that spring has arrived, and this typically occurs on the third day of delightful spring weather appreciation for me, is the roaring of the lawn guys. Those lawn guys return from wintering in South America, pull into the neighborhood, rev up their engines, and blow, trim, and whack up our lawns and flower beds until they are pristine. Naturally an out of doors conversation is impossible at this time, with all the spring cleaning noise pollution. It drives me crazy.
For the kids spring means carnivals. Evan had his heart set on the very first local carnival that gave out goldfish for prizes. Evan wanted nothing else from this carnival other than the goldfish. We forced him onto a few rides, since a goldfish needs to get out of the bag pretty soon, and then finally allowed him to participate in the goldfish game. The game at this particular carnival was tossing a ping pong ball into the right cup in a veritable sea of cups. We figured we were in for a good amount of change, but lucky Evan got his ball in a fish cup on the very first try. The carnival guy handed Evan a pale little fish and Evan refused, asking for one with "the right color". The carnival guy came back with a tiny beautiful orange fish. Evan took his fish and we headed home.
Once home I put the tiny fish in a large glass because I certainly wasn't going to waste money on a fish that was going to die the next morning. I'm pretty sure we gave it crumbled breakfast cereal to eat that day too. By the end of the second day I sent the husband out for fish food. On the third day, we transferred the pretty little fish to a roundish vase. After a week I reluctantly purchased a smallish fish bowl and some gravel from the pet store. After a month I went back for a tank with a filter.
That was five years ago.
Since I was initially convinced the fish wasn't going to be around for long, and since Evan had already proved himself to be an uncontrollable feeder (and therefore killer) of aquatic animals, I wanted to prevent him from getting too attached to the fish. So, I never suggested naming it, and secretly fed it myself every morning. Before long, I began to look forward the fish (which, with a complete lack of originality, I began to think of as "fishy" in my own head) doing it's little frantic swim of happiness when I appeared by the kitchen sink every morning. Feeding time! I'm no fool here the fish didn't know me from anyone, but I started to (gasp) get attached just a little bit. I knew I was in trouble one day, about three years into fishy's life, when a week after a tank cleaning fishy got some sort of tail fungus and I raced to the pet store almost crying while interrogating the shop owner about how to save the fish. A few drops of some sort of magic fish fungus killer and fishy was just fine.
As of late fishy had been developing some old guy habits. When I came down to greet him in the morning he'd be "sleeping" on the gravel on the bottom of the tank. Eventually he'd realize I was there and swim up for his morning meal. But day after day fishy spent more time sleeping and less time swimming. I cleaned the tank. Nothing changed. I transferred fishy back into an even larger vase, thinking there was something up with the tank, but nothing changed again. Eventually fishy didn't swim up for meals and a couple of days later he passed in the night. We had a little ceremony in the backyard. We buried fishy in the same corner as the dood. I gave him a little headstone that Kitten had given each babe one day. It just seemed to fit. I dug up some ground cover and transplanted it for fishy. I wanted things to be nice. And that was it. I tossed the tank, and regained some counter space. For about a week I'd go down in the morning and my left hand would hover over the counter on a futile search for the fish flakes which weren't there anymore before I realized what I was doing. Now I won't have to hire the teenager across the street to came in and feed fishy all summer. And I'll most likely never ever suck on a receiving end of a siphon hoping nothing gets into my mouth. The kids are fine, they barely even knew the fish existed, but I still miss him. I got attached.