A Fish Story

September 20, 2007

for my sister-in-law, Julie

I don’t know why Tim told Rob that he could get a fish with his allowance money. I’ve always been very suspicious that I could kill a fish pretty quickly, and with a new kitten, I didn’t think a fish was the greatest idea. But who am I to say, right?

So Rob purchased a beta fish about a month ago — a pretty reddish/blueish guy in a teensy-tiny cup with a lid. No need to move the fish to a big tank — just feed him a pebble or two a day, and according to my friend, Tracy, who has some fish expertise, that’s all she wrote in terms of caring for said beta fish. The fish that Rob named Nubby. Of course he named him Nubby.

And frankly, I sort of forgot about old Nubby for the next week or two, so little did his fishy presence interfere with our Big Lives of soccer, dance classes, school, etc. Rob fed him daily and Nubby seemed to be getting on quite nicely. By this I mean, he hadn’t actually croaked on our watch.

So one day last week after the kids had left for school (an event which sometimes inexplicably makes me shout “Tequila!” — a story for another post), I thought to myself, “Oh, I gotta lay out the boys’ soccer clothes for their game tonight.” I ambled down the hall to their room, only to find Gracie, the cat, in their drawer. “Those boys,” I said, in a tone not unlike the dad from My Three Sons. “They have to remember to close their drawers,” I said to the cat as I picked her up out of the drawer. At that point, I felt jovial, motherly, in control.

But then I saw Nubby’s cup. Tipped over with the lid off. Water all over the inside of the drawer. And no fish.

“Ohmygodohmygodohmygod,” I began to mutter. I fearfully looked at the cat’s mouth. “Oh please, God, don’t let there be half a fish hanging there.” There wasn’t.

But where was Nubby? “Ohnoohnoohno,” I moaned as I looked atop the dresser. I started throwing clothes out of the drawer. And then I saw it, leaning against the front of the drawer: a smallish black blobby looking thing that was sort of jerking. I swear to you that I heard gasps for air. Or I mean water.

At this point I did the entirely logical thing. I called Tracy, the aforementioned fish expert. Because obviously Nubby had all sorts of time for me to dither. As I pushed in her phone numbers (Note to self: put fish expert on speed dial for fish emergencies), I raced to the bathroom to fill up Nubby’s cup with water. Never mind distilling the water, this damn fish needed water NOW.

“Hello,” she answered.

“My god, my god. The fish, the cat, my god, my god. I gotta pick him up. Oh I can’t pick him up. No I gotta pick him up. Oh I can’t! But I gotta.”

I tried. Do you know how icky slimy fish are? Eeeeew!

“Is the fish dead?”

“I don’t knoooooooow!” I wailed (embarrassingly, I really did wail). And then I restarted the mantra about needing to pick up Nubby.

“Just do it,” Tracy advised, apparently an ad writer for Nike in a previous life.

“Oh god, oh no, oh yuck!” I screeched (yeah, I screeched). But I grabbed Dan’s basketball shirt and managed to pick up Nubby in the shirt and fling him into his cup of water.

“He’s alive!” I bellowed. “He’s alive!!!!” But I wondered if he would actually survive this level of trauma.

(Somewhere in this whole story, I apparently cursed out the cat and flung her out the door a couple of times. This according to the fish expert on the phone line. I guess I blacked out some of the worst moments?)

I called Tim and cursed his voice mail for ever allowing Rob to get a fish in the first place. “The next 48 hours are critical,” I reported.

I was so afraid that old Nub would die alone in his little cup while I was out that day, so I did the logical thing again: I took him with me. I put his cup in the van’s cup holder and he rode around with me.

And I am happy to report that though Nubby seems to have a tiny little nick taken out of one of his fins, he seems just fine otherwise. I opted not to tell Rob about Nubby’s near miss, because I didn’t want him to be angry at the cat for doing what it is that cats do (remember who said that cats and fish don’t mix?). But I did tell him, quite truthfully, that Gracie had shown “a lot of interest” in Nubby, and that we would have to keep his room door closed from now on.

“Maybe she just wants to be Nubby’s friend,” Dan said.

“No, honey. She wants to eat him.” I responded.

Because the boys don’t like their door shut at night, every evening, either Tim or I put Nubby up on the unreachable-to-cats closet shelf. Tim refers to this as the Fortress of Solitude.

And we’ve actually had moments in the last week where one of us goes, “Oh crap! Is Nub in the Fortress?”

“Yeah, I put him there about an hour ago.”

“Oh, good. Thank God.”

All of this for a four dollar fish. What a rewarding pet he is. But you can’t say that he’s not a surviver.

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4 Responses to “A Fish Story”

  1. Amanda said

    “Is Nub in the fortress?” hahah!! I don’t even know what that means but that’s hilarious 🙂
    Congratulations on saving yet another life

    A

  2. Julie said

    As usual you had me howling with laughter. I am sitting at my desk giggling like a crazy person:) Signed, the sister in law

  3. Julie Workman said

    Hi Beth,
    I just wanted to say that I have read your posts (all of them :D) over the past few days and I have cried, laughed, and prayed so many times. Your words are beautiful and so comforting and relative. I have a few quotes that touched me – especially this one… “If we really grasped the height and depth and breadth of God’s love for us, maybe we would go to bed each night, too excited to sleep, anticipating the good gifts He has in store the next day.”
    I just wanted to share that my family has just recently started going to CV. I have been absent from church for quite some (a very long) time- my children had never been. After going and being reintroduced to God, I felt just like this. Literally.
    And the stuff about the kids-OMG! I’m right there with you- they bring such a range of emotions and you capture it so perfectly.
    Take care. Maybe I’ll see you Sunday.

    Julie Workman
    (Jaleah & Jamison’s mom- Jordan too, but I don’t think you’ve met her)

  4. bethkoruna said

    Amanda — I’m quite the life saver. I guess. Actually, when have I saved another life? Hmmm. 😀

    Julie — glad this made you smile. Have you met Nubby yet?

    Julie W. — Thank you for such a lovely comment. You totally made my day. Sometimes I wonder why I keep writing this blog — and it’s such a blessing to hear that it’s actually meant something to someone. You have awesome kids — I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Jaleah and Jamison at church. Let’s get together sometime!

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