Pet update time! You guys haven't heard a pet story in a while, so let me tell you a bit about Flo.
She has grown slightly since I got her, to fit her little 1.5 gallon tank. She's a light golden-gray color now, Roxie you were right: she did change as she got older. Her tank, a simple affair designed for minimal hassle, was not designed to have a filter. Goldfish are messy fish. Do you see the point I'm getting at? I was cleaning the sides of her tank once or twice a week to keep them from getting too gross, and that was a bit much for me.
"You should get an algae eater," Patrick suggested. This surprised me, since I had to struggle with him to get Flo in the first place.
"But her tank is only big enough for one small goldfish, if I got another fish I'd have to get a bigger tank."
"It was just a suggestion."
"Well, maybe we can find a tank that's slightly larger."
So we went to the local PetSmart to look around. Our friend Dan works there in the Dog Day Camp area, but we get the frog's crickets there about once every week and a half, so the people in the fish section (where the crickets are) recognize us.
And so I got a plecostomus, a kind of totally non-agressive algae eater (I feared for little Flo's life with a big one) that just sticks itself to something and sucks its way along. His name is Randolph. But the next biggest tank available was a 5 gal., and with just Flo and Randolph in it, it was far too empty.
So, meet the crew:
This is Rodger the koi, and probably about three times the size of Flo. I hope he doesn't pick on her too much. He is shy, though, so his picture is a little out of focus because I had to sneak up on him around the aquarium plants.
This here is Randolph, the first pleco. He's a little over an inch long, and has a very attractive spotted design. His favorite spot so far is one of the plants that I got that has large, flat leaves. It's kind of fun to watch him slowly move his way along the underside of one of the leaves.
This is Hannah, the second pleco. She's about two and a half times bigger than Randolph, but as I said earlier: these fish are about as non-agressive as you can be without being dead or paralyzed. That tan-ish smear on the left under the thin green leaf is Flo, hiding from the camera. She is still incredibly shy and I couldn't even manage to sneak up on her (she's smaller than Rodger and so is harder to zoom in to).
And so, now there are two aquariums on my dresser. The frogs in one and the fish in the other, and the little cricket container between them. I toyed briefly with the thought of getting a little tiny crab (he was about the size of my thumb nail) but getting Rodger totally killed that idea. I didn't want to have to fish little crab-limbs out of the water when Rodger decided he was hungry.
Patrick finally heard back from the Charity Care program at the hospital (his E.R. bills came back to us at almost $9,000) and he only has to pay 20% of the total, Charity Care will take responsibility for the other 80%. Patrick had his fingers crossed for them to cover 100%, but 80% is nothing to scorn, not when it reduces our bill to about $1,600 instead of 8-something.
I know it is December, and I know that Christmas is about three weeks away. I realize that it is winter and therefore I should not be surprised by the strength of the wind or the biting ability of the cold air in the frosty mornings. But just a couple of weeks ago I was prancing around outside in just a hoodie, and my body was quite surprised to suddenly be wrapped up and bundled to protect from the cold. My mind keeps flashing back to the summer weekend in Wildwood, when sitting still to enjoy the cool sea breeze was the only way to stay comfortable.
Here's to keeping your inner summer strong.