Friday, May 27, 2005

Death of a Fish

by Anne Zelenka
Yesterday was a bad awful day. Sugar ants invaded my pantry. My babysitter left town for a 10-day vacation. I had six kid taxi trips to make. And the last of our five fish, the strong one, the one Anna named Swim Eat Silly, died.

It was right before car trip #3 that I noticed Swim was not living up to his name. He was struggling. Damn! I thought. I knew I should have cleaned the tank earlier in the week. But I procrastinated, for no good reason except laziness. I cleaned the tank and put him back in after using some special chemical that supposedly quickly rids tap water of water purification chemicals. Then I woke the two girls up from their naps and hustled to get Henry from school.

When I arrived back I saw that Swim had perked up. He was breathing more smoothly and swimming a bit more. Clearly my neglect of the tank water had caused him some harm. Would he survive?

I checked him before and after the three remaining car trips. Each time, he was worse off, but he didn't die, either. His little body curved into a strange shape and he lay on the bottom of the tank for long periods of time. When I walked by, he would jump up and swim around, as though he knew I was there. He's just a fish, I told myself.

After dinner, he seemed to be convulsing. I decided he must have suffered brain damage when the tank water went bad. I lifted him out of the tank with the scooper and he didn't fight at all. He died immediately--didn't even gasp once. We buried him and I cried, even though he was just a fish.


Blogger purple_kangaroo said...

Awww, too bad. :( Do you plan to replace them, or stay fish-free for the time being?

11:11 PM  
Blogger Anne Zelenka said...

I think we'll stay fish-free for now. I always worried about Swim and whether I was doing an acceptable job of caring for him. I guess not :-(

10:32 AM  
Blogger Marjorie said...

I'm sorry about your fish. Loss is never easy. I admire you for having taken on the project of a fish tank -- you've already got a dog. When I was young, I always thought that houses without pets were kind of sad (we had a cat). Now, as a parent of young children, I'm quite happy not to have any pets -- I think I'd be beyond my limit. I do have a houseplant, an ivy, Edgar, he's been with us for 6 years now.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Anne Zelenka said...

It was Rick's idea to get the fish tank and then somehow the responsibility for maintaining it fell to me. I don't feel so bad about that because I was supposed to be responsible for doggie Sally when we got her almost ten years ago, but Rick has ended up doing that. Now my pet care responsibilities are over for now but Rick's continue.

4:23 PM  

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