Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flip This... The death of a fish

A six-year old returns from a classmates birthday party, running as fast as she can, while balancing a bowl of water. As I see the expression on her face, a pit begins to form in the bottom of my stomach...the smell of algae and stagnant beach water begin to surface more and more, with every step she takes towards me.

The innocent child presents with such pride, the "favor" she received when leaving the birthday party.



My brain starts spinning at this very moment - WHAT in the name of God did I ever do to this particular child's mother. Think. Hard. Wasn't I somewhat courteous those few times we entertained the obnoxious class of 1st graders together at Christmas time, and even during Easter Spring Fling when her little girl flung her black jelly bean at me just because she didn't like the taste? Did my kid hide her little one's favortie toy one day, or cause a riot about being line leader again, forcing her own child to second place?


It had to be something. Because who the F_#&K in their right God forsaken mind would hand out live flippin' fish to six year olds at a birthday party? And in a 6 inch diameter of a bowl with 6 rocks scattered at the bottom?

Oh, and a "Ziploc snack bag" filled with about 24 flakes of gold fish food?

WHO, in God's name? WHO?

This woman obviously never cared to ask me of my horrific childhood that included rotating pets - a variety of pets that seemed to come into our lives with gusts of excitement, only to be taken away by mysterious disappearances...

I had gerbils. They got loose. My Mom still claims they climb inside her basement walls. I think she poisoned them and dumped them one Monday morning during garbage pick up, as they suffocated in a plastic baggie.

We had rabbits. And ducks. They all supposedly got "too big to handle" and were transported to farms all over the area where they could live a wonderful life with greenery and waterfront scenes. I think we ate them at dinners that summer. That was the year we upgraded our barbecue grill.

We had two Irish Setters. We had several mix puppies. We had two cats... and then Daisy, the Bichon. She mysteriously inherited some type of raging kennel disease, and lay to rest somewhere. But the last time we remember seeing her she was happily chewing my moms favorite sandal one morning, just as we were shuffled out the door to catch the school bus.

And then there were fish. They were free for God's sake. They were won from numerous attempts by the four of us oldest siblings, wanting so desperately a pet that we could keep for more than a week. We filled a bathtub full of water and emptied at least 30 beautiful guppies into the tub.

My mom smiled, and left us alone to care for them. Now, I realize she knew. There was no chance for their survival as the pure tap water poured over their fins, choking them as we unexpectedly watched in glee. I'll never forget waking up that morning. It was like an atomic bomb hit Fish Land. Every single one of them were floating. And I was totally devastated.

So last month, when the 6 year old came proudly home with her new fish, I remembered my childhood, and promised even against my husband's wish, to care for this as my own dream pet. I sought professional advice and purchased a tank along with special drops to remove chlorine and chemicals from our water as well as food. I also bought stones, and a silk plant for my dear "Flipper". And as much as my husband made fun of me, Flipper and I bonded this past month.

Until yesterday.

As we arrived home late from baseball practice, I ran to feed Flipper, but to no avail he was missing. He wasn't behind the plant, and as fear filled my entire body, I peeked from underneath to look all the way up, yet no Flipper was to be found, not even floating on top of the water surface. I screamed for my oldest step-son, Spencer.
He came running, and seeing the sheer horror on my face, raced to the tank to find my dear friend. Nothing.


No where.



"Um... Sue???....."

Oh.My.God. I'm a pussy. I can't take shit like this. I just can't take this shit.

So now with the entire family filling the kitchen, my husband took charge, and after surveying the tank, asked everyone to leave. I looked at him.

It wasn't good.

Peace Out my dear friend, Flipper.
I have now joined the club of "Parental Pet Killers".
My Mom will be proud.


Stacie's Madness said...

this is why I hate fucking pets...for realz, I can't handle it.

Swirl Girl said...

we had two goldfish (well, 3 at first) one of them lived over a year in a tiny bowl.

I bawled my eyes out when Sharky bit it. The girls were like, whoopee, mom.

couldn't flush him...just couldn't.

Kate said...

you should get the lady who gave your daughter the fish a 'thank you' gift - aka, small lizard, snake or giant bucket of fish. That should teach her.

you can't flush a snake, well, techniclly, i guess you could flush anything.

that just sucks - your poor little girl.

ModernMom said...

Oh I'm so sorry....that your little girls friends have such mean Mommies.
That's just not right!
RIP Flipper
PS Want a fish that will live through anything? Cloudy water, forgot to feed it, too warm, too cold and will just keep kicking? Try a Betta! Feels like ours has been around forever!

AZ Mommy said...

We have guppies-one has survived since Christmas. The others have ahem disappeared. I thought they pulled a Nemo and got free some how, until I saw the snail snacking on one. That snail freaks me out.

Dorsey said...

Next time you'll learn NOT to leave Finding Nemo playing in the DVD player when you go to a game, so your dear Flipper will have something to watch on TV. Then again, maybe it was a ruse and he's just going with the whole "All drains lead to the ocean" thing and faking you out. =)

Kimberly Zook said...

Susan, I too was behind in signing up to follow you even though I'm pretty much a stalker of your blog! Your writing really gets my creative brain thinking in the morning! I don't need coffee when I start my day reading about your hilarious interpretation of things. Thank you for always making me laugh and feel inspired! I'm a follower now :)

The Girl Next Door said...

I wasn't supposed to laugh was I? But fish? They just are NOT hardy pets. Turtles? Maybe. Dogs yep but they take a TON of work. Cats? Yeah and they don't require much effort. I give you tons of credit for trying so hard for your children. You are a great mom!

Dr Zibbs said...

You made me sit throught the description of a man's stanky taint and you're not going to watch the Gypsy Footcare Factory on my blog?

Get over there girl!

Dr Zibbs said...

And you readers of Susan...what are you lookin' at?

Get over to my blog for a special treat.

Dr Zibbs said...

Thanks you.

Dani said...

You freakin' crack me up!!! With sore ribs and all I managed to get quite the chuckle out!!

You really should consider writing as a career!!!

Missty said...

Oh I freaked out when our gold fish died years ago! I took it so hard, worried sick abut how my boys would be. They were fine. no biggie! I was the wimp!

And my baby boy - age 17 is a Spencer.

And who gives fish as party favors? WTH!! What happen to bubbles, or candy??

Missy said...

LMAO! I say you put a hit out on this bitch that caused this mess! I am like you! WTF, was she thinking? Who gives fish as a party favor? Isn't there a code against this? LOL

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Yea... not a fish person any longer... we had a huge tank and a bunch of fish, but hardly ever cleaned out the tank... it was disgusting!

T said...

now I know why someone searching for "smelly taint" might end up here! hahaha...

poor fishy -

I hate pets... seriously, hate them! Can't stand the cash that I have to lay out to keep them healthy and then the amounts of ice cream I have to buy to console the kids when the "healthy" part didn't work out so well!

okay, so maybe the ice cream part was okay, but the pet part still sucked rocks

Jan @ Struck by Serendipity said...

I won a fish at a carnival when I was 7 or so. My mom was pissed & made me give it away. I cried.

Good for you trying to keep in alive. Fish are only supposed to live a few weeks though. Right?

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Change his name to "Shark Bait".