While I was gone on a trip, my lovely daughter and her conspiring father hatched a plan to fulfill my daughter’s sudden urge to have a fish tank in her room. Now, it isn’t that I don’t appreciate a well-done fish tank, but I personally want nothing to do with fish tanks. By virtue of one being in my home, I will have to deal with it in some way: physically, logistically, or emotionally. Indeed, the latter has already come into play.

Before my return from my trip, the fish tank had been purchased, set up, and filled with fish…all of whom perished instantly. After doing some homework, said daughter and spouse concluded that the tank would need to filter water for a week before introducing fish. So, Sunday was the day. Daughter and father went out to purchase fish. An excited gal returned with a plecostomus, 7 neon tetras, and a dwarf puffer-fish, already named Bubbles. Bubbles is cute, as fish go. A tiny thing, about 1/2-inch long, mini-version of a puffer fish. Bloated, a big “smile,” and a small, wiggly tail fin. Here’s the problem: BUBBLES IS A MURDERER. Within a couple of hours, two of  neon tetras were swimming vertically. Not good. Spouse commented, “Oh, we must have failed to notice that one had a mangled tail fin.” Yeah, that’s it. Must have come that way. Fast forward:

Monday morning comes along, and 6 of the 7 tetras had died by Monday morning, daughter noticed the 7th one being hotly pursued by Bubbles…who was NIPPING AT THE TAIL FIN! Indeed, Bubbles worked under cover of darkness to MURDER HIS TANKMATES! I guess “swimming with the fishes” is no joke with a fish like Bubbles. Seriously, if I ever become a mob boss, I’m naming my henchman Bubbles just for the irony.

Here’s the problem…The Girl thinks having a carniverous fish is cool! Great. Now, the goal appears to be to get another Dwarf Puffer and create an aquatic version of MMA in our tank. What kind of kid have I raised, I ask you? To all her future partners: I’m sorry. I have twisted kids.

P.S. Update: Bubbles ended up “swimming with the fishes” himself while we were away on a family trip. I guess karma even applies to fish.

#pinterest #goodthings #fail

I have a Pinterest account, but I’m rarely on it. I should be. I own a photography business, so I really should be. . . but I’m not. I mean, who needs it? I am that person who made post-worthy birthday parties before there was a way to “post” anything at all. Hell, Hedwig (a Harry Potter reference) levitated in my dining room during a wand-choosing wherein party guests had to find the wand for them (“…the wand chooses the wizard, Harry…”). Sometimes Hedwig levitated, sometimes she didn’t…and that bunch of 6-year-olds were awestruck! Yeah, I do pretty all-right without Pinterest. Yet sometimes . . . sometimes I venture onto the site and use an idea.

If you and I are connected via social media, you may have seen this photo on New Year’s Day:


along with the accompanying text: “On 1-1-2017, we put this container in our kitchen and encouraged everyone to write down something good they experienced at least once a week. Today, I have emptied that jar and we will read them together. I can’t wait!”

This sounds great, right? I thought so, too. I thought this would be a great way to gain insight into my family. . . to learn what’s important to each of them. I envisioned going through, each of us choosing a square, unfolding it, and wistfully sharing the Good Things we’ve written. Yeah, well, so much for that. Let’s start with some immediate observations:

  • I seemed to be the one who actually stuck to the practice most faithfully
  • I really love camera club
  • I really love my French conversation groups
  • my spouse’s ‘good things’ mostly centered around only things that I did (this might be for another post–or for therapy, I’m not sure)
  • it appears I favor my eldest kid

Yeah. So, let’s take a look at that last one. Let me just say: my eldest lives away from home (he wasn’t around for the reading) and every time I saw him was, indeed, treasured time. But here’s the thing: it isn’t as though moments with my other kids weren’t mentioned or equally treasured, it’s just for some reason, they were written in more general terms, like “A house full of teenagers!” or “Seeing siblings engaged in meaningful conversation.” Now, had we had the session I envisioned–you know, the one where we share the story behind each thing written–the trio would have learned that they, too, had a fair amount of mentions. But no. Mentioning my eldest by name seemed disproportionate, even to my own ears. I noticed the kids’ enthusiasm quickly subside, and their exit was swift after the last paper square was read. #awkward #fail #mykidswillneedtherapy

Well, we put that jar back on the counter with the intention of doing it again this year. My spouse and I both proclaimed lessons learned and vowed to be particularly aware of what we write. That seems odd, though, doesn’t it? Does monitoring what I write change the intent of the practice? Shouldn’t I just write what genuinely made the day or week good? By changing my thought, I change what I write. By changing what I write, I change the authenticity of the sentiment . . . and then, somehow, it’s no longer “real.” And NOT being real . . . well . . . that’s just not a Good Thing.