Sunday, October 14, 2007

Carp Tales

Following is a tale of a very special journey, by one very special family of fish.

It all started like this:

One day in early June, my boys decided to buy their kid sister a birthday present.

Since my wife and I agreed it would be ok for her to have a couple of hermit crabs, the boys thought it would be nice to buy her a little plastic "habitat" for them to live in. However, on the way out of the pet store, the boys also decided that a few 99¢ goldfish would be an added bonus for their sister - and so 2 black and 2 gold-colored fish were added to the gift package.

Of course giving the new fish to their sister in a plastic bag wasn't going to cut it, so as soon as they stepped outside into the parking lot, they decided to dump the water and the fish into the crab house. What a great idea!

OOPS! The crab house was not a completely watertight unit!

No sooner were the fishies swimming around in their new little home than they were suddenly flopping around in the bottom, and gasping for... er... air? Or is it water?

But wait! No need to panic. Luckily for the boys it was pouring rain outside and within only a few seconds they were able to capture enough rain water in the plastic bag to put the oxygen starved fish back into some water. Phew! Close call.

No worries, lesson learned. The hermit crab house was not made for fish and all was well again.

The boys got home and decided that our swimming pool would make a very fine home for the little fishies. AND - not only would the fish have tons of room to swim around in, but the boys could actually climb in the pool and swim right there with them. Which is exactly what they did.

They decided that simply swimming with them was getting boring - but playing FISH-TOSS with them was much more entertaining! Which is what they did for the next several minutes.

I looked out the back door and screamed "What the hell are you doing!" and made them put the shaken little swimmers in an aquarium, where they could be left alone.

Charli came home and immediately proclaimed that "We will not be having any more fish in the house that we have to constantly care for and clean and blah blah blah until they die. I've done that too many times!"

We came to the conclusion that the pond next to our deck would be the PERFECT place for the fish to live. Which is exactly where they were when they decided to have babies about a week later and produce another 4 little itty-bitty microscopic black mini-fishies, giving us a grand total of 8 - all of whom have been growing like crazy and living happily ever after.

Now, when we decide what to do with them for the winter.

We've been doing a lot of reading about how to "over-winter" our fish but we're not comfortable that our pond is deep enough to not turn them into little black and orange fish-sicles instead - so now we're seriously considering firing up the old aquarium once again.

Well, until next spring I guess when we toss them back into the pond where they can continue to go forth and multiply. And live happily ever after some more.


Gale said...

I loved that story!

Heather said...

You mean you aren't going to go buy a nice heater for the pond?


you turn up the heat too much and cook the little fishies?

Anonymous said...

There are carp in the Mississippi. It may be time to stage a family reunion.

Mom Thumb said...

I can see you out there in January with a hair dryer, stirring them!

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

gale - Thanks Gale!

heather - Exactly. Who needs fish soup? We actually looked at those but there are still too many other variables to worry about. It'll be easier to just bring them in the house.

bill - Naw, we've grown kinda fond of the little buggers.

mom thumb - I don't know. I think my stirring days might be over. Unless Charli starts crying again of course.

Impetua said...

We have a survivor fish that started out as one of four in a galvanized tank outside. Then my daughter learned to catch them... Two died. Then the tank got all nasty and I gave them up for dead. The remaining two lived, which greatly surprised me when I went to dump the tank at the end of the summer. We brought them in, figuring them to be deserving of a stable home, and one of them is still alive and kicking with a buddy in a tank on the kitchen counter.

Feeder goldfish are the only fish I will ever own. They are pretty, they are cheap, and boy are they durable.

Anonymous said...

how in the holy heck are they not DEAD YET!!!

I barely look crosseyed at my fish and next thing I know they are belly up, and here you are tossing them hither and must be a fish whisperer?

Elizabeth said...

Fun story, I was on the edge of my seat! Good luck with the fish, I hope they make it through the winter!

Sandy said...

Can Sprinkles come and live with you guys???

Gary said...

Nice story :)

Does your pond freeze solid over winter ? Like right down to the bottom ? If not then that is the best place for them, I've had several Orfe (sort of goldfish) for six years now, anytime soon they'll go down to the bottom of our pond and stay there until March-ish - then again we don't get anything more than a heavy frost in the UK now.

Anonymous said...


I felt like I was in one of those choose your own adventure stories.

deborah said...

That's a great story! I had a fish that I totally forgot about when I was a kid, about 12, 13ish; For maybe a year, one day, saw the tank, it was in a dark area, with only a few inches of murkey water, very dark, in it. So I decided to clean it out to get a new batch. To my surprise, I found a rather LARGE goldfish, he had grown about 8 inches in the time I'd forgotten him.

Amazing what they live thru! Good luck!

you could always give them out to Trick-or-Treaters

Unknown said...

I'm impressed. Those fish have some serious survival skills. The beta I had in college died just because its tank was on the same shelf as a stereo speaker. I never would have thought you could rock a fish to death.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

impetua - I agree. Actually, it's kind of sad that people buy them as "feeder" fish in the first place, but I guess it's no different than buying minnows for fishing. Still.

doozie - Yes, I've been granted the power of fish whispering. I expect to see my character on Heroes very soon.

elizabeth - Thanks. I'm guessing they'll be fine. Like Impetua said, they're very durable.

sandy - Sure, we'd love to have him/her. We have lots of room in our pond.

gary - Yes, I'm pretty sure the whole pond freezes solid. It's only about 18" at the deepest and around here that's not much.

jenny - My kids are always good for a "create your own" adventure.

deborah - Man, talk about durable! For Halloween I could give out goldfish crackers. Would that count?

holmes - Well, if you played a lot of Twisted Sister it might have committed fishicide.

Anonymous said...

wow... that's some swell fish tale! can't wait to hear how your new "pets" fare over the winter. somehow i'm guessing they'll be just fine, until...

they aren't. d'oh! ; )

(by the way, thanks for all your wonderful words of support over these past couple of weeks, Jeff, they were appreciated more than you will ever know.) xox

wayabetty said...

I'm dying with all the "until". Have you thought of writing children's stories Jeff? This is like "if you give a mouse a cookie".

Anonymous said...

Excellent story. Really fun to read. Thanks for the laugh. Good luck with your fishies!

Anonymous said...

What a great tale. So did the little sister like her gift?