So, BigDaddyFish and I have been going through - something. I don't know what. Maybe a mid-life crisis? But we're both going through it together. We've been doing a lot of talking and connecting and going out together and just generally enjoying each other's company in ways we did back when we were dating and in the earlier years of our marriage, before the kids came along. And we've rediscovered a love of good red wine. It's been a lot of fun, and the kids have been patient with us. Most of the time.
This past weekend, BDF and I polished off a bottle of wine, and then...well. We were stupid. We moved on to scotch. We didn't go to bed until 7 am Saturday morning, and then got about three hours of sleep before we had to get up with the kids and be functional. We spent the day doing things for the kids, spending time with them, taking them to a cafe next to the train tracks in a nearby town that we like to frequent because we can eat good food and watch the trains go by right there. Our homeowner's association recently replaced the playgrounds in our development (like, last week) so we took the kids over to play on the new playground (which is awesome). We just focused on them. But that can only go so far. My stomach was roiling most of the day, though I never got sick, but the thought of cooking the ham I had planned to make was unappealing at best, so we cried Uncle, or, specifically, Uncle Dave (side note - he played the 9:30 club in DC on Friday night while BDF and I were trying to recapture our youth - check out that clip of him singing Sledgehammer), and he came to take care of the kids (bonus - he totally got them to clean up the family room, too. We'd be lost without him) while BDF and I went out for hangover curing burgers and fries. And no alcohol. We came home not long after the kids went to bed, and we went to bed ourselves.
At about 3 am, Trout came into our room complaining about a headache and sore throat. She hadn't eaten any dinner at all and had gone to bed early without complaining, and we had suspected for days she was coming down with something. She had a fever of 102, so we gave her some ibuprofen and a small snack, encouraging her to drink water and eat a bit. That backfired as she threw up about 20 minutes later, so we put her in the shower and got her cleaned up and cooled down and put back to bed at about 4 or so. She usually is our early riser, getting up between 7 and 8 (how we had a morning person is a mystery) and going down to watch tv, and she keeps an eye on the littles as they get up and come down while we sleep in. She did get up and go to watch tv, but she wasn't feeling well, and wasn't paying much attention to what was going on around her. BDF and I slept in rather late, finally dragging our asses out of bed about noon when Sunny and Little Man shrieked that Nemo was poopy. We told them to send him up and we'd take care of it.
When Nemo arrived in my room, he was soaking wet up to his shoulders, which to me meant only one thing: disaster. Visions of his previous forays into playing in the toilet crossed my mind, but Little Man told us he'd been in the kitchen, which we keep gated off, though everyone but Nemo can open the gate. I sent Little Man down to survey the damage in the kitchen while I changed Nemo, worried that the cleaning product cabinet had been left unlocked, or worse. I could not have imagined what actually happened.
Nemo got in the fish tank. He decided he wanted to play with the shee-shees, so he put the following items in the fish tank with the fish: two full cans of Juicy Juice concentrate (unopened), a couple of Christmas ornaments (one plastic, one glued), a piece from a Plan Toys vegetable garden set, my brand new stainless steel pepper grinder full of peppercorns (fully submerged), at least one Fisher Price Little People animal, a hair clip, Little Man's magic wand from magic club, and I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. He had messed up the filter, and I'm thanking God almighty that the light wasn't plugged in - we unplug it every night when we go to bed, and the kids don't plug it in - otherwise he might have been electocuted.
BDF went down to deal with the carnage from that as I got Nemo cleaned up and changed, and got dressed to take Trout to Doc-in-a-Box, as she was still feeling (and looking) just awful, and BDF suspected she had strep (she didn't, I was right, "just" a virus). He dealt with fishing (ha!) things out of the tank, and then he marshalled the remaining healthy kids to clean up the family room. I was supposed to go to a rubber stamp workshop, but with a sick Trout it just wasn't possible - taking all 4 kids to Doc-in-a-Box when only one needed it is a level of crazy that even BDF and I haven't achieved. DIAB was empty, though, so we were there and back pretty quick.
Even after fishing all the stuff out of the tank the water was still pretty cloudy. BDF had done a partial water change while I was gone, but he decided he wanted to do a full change but we didn't have enough water. So I went out to buy a bunch of gallons of distilled water. Before I left, though, I made a couple of sandwiches, and as I stood there eating my sandwich I studied the tank, and noticed something that looked a little weird on the bottom of the tank.
There were a bunch of little round things, odd looking things, like some sort of durable hard cereal, mixed in among the gravel on the bottom of the tank. BDF started fishing those out, and we found this:
A washable crayon, hence the reason the water wasn't coming clear even after a partial change, and the better part of a pound of knock-off m&ms from the bulk section of Whole Foods.
A full water change was in order, so I made a speed run and we changed the water. The stress of the whole thing made one of our females go into labor, so we got to see the baby fish before the goldfish manged to find and eat them all, which is something we knew was going on but we didn't want to think about, much less explain to the kids (we'll go back to breeding them once we have a new house and space to do it again - we bred before and at one time had 17 fish tanks [and a dog!] in an apartment). Miraculously, all the fish survived and don't really seem any worse for wear, other than the premature labor. It'll be a while before the tank conditions return to normal, though; all the plants are coated with cocoa butter and some sort of waxy substance from the m&ms.
This is the tank Sunday evening - it really didn't look any different the whole day on Monday, either. We had a good long talk with the kids about how important it is for HIS OWN SAFETY for Nemo to be kept out of the kitchen, and that they must always always always shut the gate when they go through it. We don't want anyone to get hurt.
So what have we learned boys and girls? Keeping the fish tank away from the fish-loving two year old isn't as easy as it seems. And for God's sake, save your midlife crises for times when a competent adult is in charge.