Toilets, Fish, and Foolishness

Happy July, folks!

I am alternating between being tired and cranky and neither makes for uplifting and entertaining bloggage. So I have been practicing avoidance therapy. It works!

What have I been doing lately?

Fixing toilets… check… so proud of myself!

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Finding a new home for my fish tank. Here it is at my place and in process of being dismantled…

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And in its new home… GORGEOUS!

And going to good bye parties and social gatherings. Some of the shenanigans…

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Since I was silly enough to let it slip that I did synchronized swimming in college, my colleagues honored me with a routine of their own… This was truly one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. The best part is how serious they all are.

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Bye Bye Plecy the Plecosthomus

We have this fish tank in my family that has been passed from household to household for almost twenty years. Long ago in my former teacher life I also worked part time at pet stores. Let me rephrase that to say that I worked in pet stores for the privilege of giving them my check each week. My whole check. Usually.

Actually, my first "real" job ever was in a pet store when I was 13. Looking back, I can't believe someone actually hired me at 13. But this guy not only hired me, he left me alone in the store for hours at a time. At 13!!!! Really.

I have several clear memories of that job. One was hanging out with a little neighborhood boy who would come in on weekends to look around. Together, he and I screwed up enough courage one day to HOLD THE TARANTULA!!!! Oh. My. God. Crazy. The other is my boss coming back after being gone for a while and finding the feeder goldfish tank running over the edge with bubbles. I had no idea what happened and hadn't seen anything unusual. He said rival pet store owners sometimes sent in undercover customer agents to do dastardly things, like put soap pellets in the tanks. All the goldfish died. It was sad.

But I digress.

I continued working in pet stores through high school and then again for a while after college. During the Pet Store Days (hereafter known as PSD) I bought the following. I am sure it is not a comprehensive list.
…..1 ten gallon fish tank and tons of fish
…..1 complete hamster set up and three pairs of hamsters
…..1 ten gallon fish tank and umpteen anoles
…..1 bird cage and two sets of parakeets
…..1 ginormous bird cage and 1 spectacled amazon parrot
…..bunches and bunches of cat toys, food, and treats

Also, towards the end of my last pet store stint I bought a used 40 gallon tank with the gravel and two pumps from a co-worker for my dad for Christmas one year. It was the best Christmas present I had ever bought for him and I was so proud. I think he loved that tank too.

Eventually he gave the tank to my brother, Ryan, who had it while he was in massage therapy school. After he graduated he was moving to Denver and couldn't fit the tank in his luggage, so it made its way back to me. With the tank I inherited a few fish including a red tailed shark and blue gourami who lived for five years and one pleco, which this post is about.

When I got the pleco he was about four inches long. Just a regular common pleco. Nothing unusual. A darn good algae eater, one of the best if I do say so myself.

I proceeded to stuff him full of yummy algae tablets, seaweed, shrimp pellets, and zucchini and he got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And then a little bigger. He outlived every other fish in the tank several times over and successfully moved with me to my new house without much fuss.

Lately, this big beautiful fish has outgrown the tank. From tip to tail he measures out longer than 14". He's huge! He's so big that people who come visit often don't even notice him in the tank – even when he is sucking on the front glass – until he moves. He is so big he just doesn't register as a fish. Ha!

For the past two weeks he's been swimming around, violently banging his nose into the walls and jumping up towards the glass top. Some of this kind of thing is typical pleco shenanigans, but this has moved from normal thrashing to where I have been worried about him and he has actually hurt himself.

So last week I made the decision to try and find him a new home. I placed a few personal ads. Yes, I really did. On a few aquarium enthusiast websites and on Craig's list. Lo and behold I got a response! Two, actually. But only one seemed to be a good new home for Plecy. So yesterday Plecy's new owner, Don, came and picked him up and today I got an email saying he is doing fine and has adapted nicely to his new extra large 55 gallon tank and tankmates.

This is my ode to Plecy. I am glad he has a new, better, home and I hope he lives many many more years and grows to be 24" long. It's possible!

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Caturday – Isabel’s Time in the Spotlight

I've dedicated so much energy to Dunkin lately because of his medical scare, I decided to give Izzy some time to be the center of attention. One of the funniest thing about Isabel is that she EATS FISH FOOD! How crazy is that?

It's a morning ritual in our house, right around 7:00 on weekdays that everyone gets their breakfast – the cats first, then the fish, then me. I always turn the tank light on just before I feed the fish and they have been trained like Pavlov's dog to come running… ummm, swimming… when the light goes on because they know the food will be following.

Well, the tank light makes a pretty darn loud clicking sound when it turns on and what is hysterical is Isabel comes running too… from wherever she is in the house. I click the tank light on and immediately hear her paws hit the floor from wherever she is perched at the moment. Ha! Cracks me up. This morning I got some shots of Izzy and the fish, enjoying a light snack together.


In case you're wondering, she never goes after the fish. Even when they are nose to nose eating in the same spot. She looks at them but doesn't swat or try to grab them. I suppose they both know there's more than enough fish food for everyone. Hee hee.

These are from our last trip to the vet. Isabel is smarter than Dunkin in that she remembers the cat carriers and immediately runs and hides when they come out of storage because she knows they only mean one thing… a trip to the vet. So every day that contains cat carriers is automatically a bad day in Izzy's world. Dunkin, bless his heart, does not clue in until I have grabbed him and am trying to finagle him butt first into the carrier. Right about then is when the light bulb goes off over his head and he starts frantically trying to get away.

So here's Izzy desperately trying to find a good hiding spot in the vet's office. Can you find her in this picture?

Ok, not such a great hiding spot. Try again Izzy.

How about this one?

MUCH BETTER! Good job, Izzy. She actually found this spot when I had stepped out to go to the bathroom. I got quite a good laugh out of it.

Such a sweet girl.

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