Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Death to the amphibians

(Yes, my literal friends, you’re right – fish aren’t amphibians. But it’s a catchy title.)

I love dogs. Love, love, love. Adore Bo, the worst dog in the entire world, with whom I engage in a physical battle every night to cook dinner before he can snatch it off the counter. Love him like crazy. Am oddly drawn to Caroline’s guinea pig, who does have a cute personality and squeaks like a motel bed every time I walk near her cage carrying romaine lettuce.

But ohhhhh, how I hate the other non-human residents of this house.

Caroline has those weird pygmy frogs you used to be able to buy in a Hallmark store until the EPA or ASPCA or some other acronym shut that operation down. Jack was five and it was Caroline’s birthday, and he was magnetically drawn to the adorable little frogs with the multicolored rocks in the square lucite box. Happy birthday.

Personality? None. Can you pet them? No. Are they fun to watch? No. You (I) feed them whenever I can find the frog food before Bo does (he’s eaten three full containers of it because if I don’t say, “PUT IT WHERE HE CAN’T REACH IT” in Greek, apparently Caroline can’t understand me).

And then Jack’s fish. He begged for a fish. The (I could only pray) fatal words he uttered were: “One that won’t die fast.” Until this, I had him convinced that fish are temporary pets. You have them about a week, they die, you flush them. But this freaking fish has lasted more than a year. Personality? None, except that it would kill any other fish we put in there. Pet-able? Good God, no. Not if you value your fingers. Fun to watch? Ha. Hardly.

Both of these stupid “pets” have tanks that get dirty and need to be cleaned regularly. By me. Which is smelly and a little nerve-wracking since the frogs sense freedom and try to jump out of whatever bowl I put them in. And I’m always in the kitchen, and, well, yuck. That's a dinner mistake just waiting to happen.

So, I admit it, I’ve tried to kill them. Not meanly, not in a homicidal way, but just “forgetting” to find someone to feed them while we went on vacation. (Damn the seven-day pellets Whit found at the pet store.) Just not cleaning the water until it’s so murky I’m sure they’ll swim or jump into the wall so many times they’ll want to commit suicide from the senselessness of living. Just filling the fish tank with water when I do clean it, but maybe not enough for really comfortable swimming. Just not reminding the kids that they exist and letting the dog in their rooms.

To no avail.

Would I get arrested (and subsequently acquitted, apparently) if I googled whether or not chloroform would work on fish?

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