Friday, August 19, 2005


Ground Control to Major Tom...

I KNEW things were going a bit too well!!

When I returned from the Cape Monday, Bub informed me that, while he was feeding my fish, he didn't think the fella was eating. Mildly concerned (as any good fish owner would be), I realized that perhaps Major Tom didn't like the bargain basement pellets, and I bought the standard flakes. After that, things have been going swimmingly. He is fed twice a day, and I think Major Tom particularly enjoys the mornings, when the sun is streaming through his tiny habitat.

(either that, or the water is extremely hot, so he swims around in an attempt to cool off)

At any rate. Looking in the bowl a few minutes ago, it seemed a bit bubbly and icky. It was time for...the first water cleaning!

Now, I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I once killed a fish during the bowl cleaning. I'm not proud of it, but yes, it happened. It was around the seventh grade, my first fighting fish. I was told by someone to boil the water first, in order to kill all the nasty public water germs (that I drink every day without a problem...but whatever). I boiled the water, then poured it in the bowl to cool off. During this time I had the fish in another container.

After waiting a long, long time (15 - 20 minutes) I tested the water. It seemed fine, if a little warm. But hey, it was the middle of the winter, and fighting fish are tropical ones, afterall. I popped the fish in there, then went about my business in the kitchen.

About five minutes later I looked over, and he was definitely dead, floating at the top of the water.

Autopsy report: boiled to death.

In what I thought was a fitting move, I put him in a ziploc bag, then went outside in the four foot snow to try to bury him. My heart wasn't too into the task, so I just shoved him under the snow outside my back door.

Spring time came, and my parents were puzzled by the appearance of a dead fish in a ziploc that time, we gave him a proper burial. Or flushed him down the toilet.

At any rate. That was then, this is now. So, with that memory fresh in my mind, I was a bit nervous about the big first cleaning. I got a cup from the bathroom - a bit tiny, but big enough. I put Major Tom in there, placed it on my bureau, and grabbed the bowl and brought it to the bathroom.

This is all rather elementary, and boring, but in the bathroom I dumped the old water and the marbles out, then rinsed out the bowl, grabbed the marbles and put them back in the bowl...weighed down the pathetic plant with a few marbles in the base. Filled it up with lukewarm (through erring on the colder side) water. Then carried the operation back to my bedroom. I wasn't speeding, per se, but I was rushing because I was mindful of the tiny accommodations that Major Tom was chilling in.

I get back to my room and


funny, he didn't look so purpley and shiny while jumping around and gasping for watery air.

I tried to pick him up with my fingers. I attempted a scoop-like move with my hand. I was about to slide him off the bureau into my waiting arms, when he took a flying leap into my hand, then I tossed him into the water.

It's 15 minutes later, and he's handling the situation seemingly well. I dropped some food in there in an attempt to make him forget about the whole thing...hopefully this doesn't trigger some Pavlovian response where he associates food with almost dying.

I thought fish only jumped out of bowls/cups in movies...

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