Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Go Fish

According to Michael and Amy, we are horrible parents because we won’t let them have a dog. And my mother-in-law’s sister would agree. Sean’s aunt used to give his mom a hard time for never letting her kids have a pet with fur. They had fish and hermit crabs. It’s a joke that garners lots of chuckles, and I am guilty of laughing as well. I am laughing no more because I, now, am committed to living fur free.

We had a dog for two years. Buster. He was cute and sweet and lovable. But he tore up the yard and barked and got fur everywhere and, even though our dear, sweet eight year old son told us he would feed the dog and walk the dog and brush the dog, I ended up taking care of the dog. (I don’t hold this against Michael, though, because when I was 15 I gave my mom that same song and dance, got a puppy, and the same outcome resulted. Mom did everything for that dog. Sorry, Mom.)

But when we moved to Michigan we told the kids that Buster just couldn’t make the trip because, as a Southern dog, he couldn’t handle the cold. We found another home for him and that ended the furry pet period of our lives.

(In the interest of full disclosure, we also tried our hand at hamsters. It was not good. I don’t even want to talk about it.)

On Monday Michael and Amy were hammering us again about not letting them have a dog. Michael said, “You let Rebecca get a fish. Can’t we at least have a fish?” (More disclosure: both Michael and Amy have had fish before. Guess who cleaned the bowls?! Okay, not I; it was Sean, because I have to draw the line somewhere, and sticking my hand in filthy, nasty fish water is my line. Although one of our family’s fondest memories is of Amy naming her fish “John the Baptistfish.”)

I don’t know what came over me, but instantly I said, “Yep.” Even Sean looked shocked.

We decided that we’d go to PetSmart on the very next day for TTTFFN* and get the whole shebang: big tank, lots of fish, pumps, heaters, rocks, plastic plants, the works. I haven’t seen Michael that excited in a long time.

Tuesday, Michael and Amy did their school work with diligence I haven’t seen in a while. They couldn’t stop talking about the fish. “I wonder what kind we’ll get!” “I want to get colored rocks!” “We should get a shark!”

So Tuesday night came along and we entered the store with such enthusiasm and joy! There was a spring in Michael’s step; he was so excited. Sean was excited. I was hopeful this would be the end of the dog conversation, and for that, I was excited.

We found an amazingly well-versed PetSmart employee who gave us a huge, long list of dos and don’ts and what we’d need and what we won’t and, oh, by the way, you can’t put fish in the tank for 48 hours.

I thought Michael’s eyes were going to pop out of his head. “WHAT!?!” he cried. My heart went out to him; he’s almost thirteen so hugging him in public is a big no-no so I just pattted his arm. It was all I could do to say, “Oh, don’t worry about that! It won’t really matter!” But I didn’t want a tank full of dead fish, so I said, “It’ll be okay. We’ll get it all set up and come back on Friday.”

So with a much less enthusiastic crew we loaded up the car with two of everything (that must be how my parents lived their lives when Heather and I were at home) with promises we’d be back on Friday to get three fish each. (You also can only add a few fish at a time. Who knew a tank of water could come with so many regulations and restrictions?)

Sean set up Michael’s tank last night (only took an hour and half – again, who knew?!) so Michael now has a lovely glass box filled with bubbly water and fake plants on his desk. Sean will set up Amy’s tonight. And then, on Friday, we’ll head back to the pet store to pick up the fish.

I just hope these fish last longer than the hamsters.

*Totally Terrific Tuesday Family Fun Night