Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Fish Conundrum

As some of you have noticed, my "About Me" has changed to "Employee/Slave to the healthcare system, soon to be emancipated." I am finally able to reveal what that mysterious blurb means: I got a new job. HOW I got the job is a post unto itself, will save that story for later. In short, I will be working for a subsidiary of a Corporate Giant, as a professional educator and on-site resource person for one of the company's medical products. It represents a "moving on" down my career path, sub-specializing, and a leaving-behind of my nursing career. Oh, I will always BE a nurse, but for the first time in 11 1/2 years I won't be practicing as one. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. More exciting though.

Anyhow, how does this relate to fish? Ahhh....that is all now to be revealed.

Some things about yourself you try so hard to believe, then one day you are forced to accept are not true. For example, I described myself for years as "spontaneous." In hindsight, I understand that I probably said that because it sounded cool. As I grew older and more aware of myself, I realized that I am about as spontaneous as a rock. The final acceptance of my non-spontaniety came when I was working nights. On my "days off" I would have plans to get all kinds of things done. Frequently JeepMan would call me and ask me to join him for lunch...with about a 15 minute heads-up. I used to get so irritated!! I like things planned, and I like to follow the plan. Any wrench in the plan should be thrown in with plenty of advance notice. I have learned to accept that "spontaneous" is not as glamorous as I thought. You can be sexy and anal-retentive at the same time.

I am Superstitious. There, I said it. I have tried to deny it for years but it just keeps knocking at the door to my inner self. I have invited it in now: not embraced it, not even given it a place at the grown-up table. Superstitious sulks at the kids' table with the other grudgingly accepted characteristics of myself like Anal-Retentive and Blonde. It's there. It's a part of me - I give up. This must be understood for the story to continue.

I bought a fish, a beautiful blue betta, this summer. If I were a good person I guess I wouldn't have bought him. But there he was, in the store, in his tiny little container with about 1/3 cup of water to live in. And Plato "needed" a fish. His betta (a gift from a friend) had just died. As Lulu had her own betta (red), Plato had been reminding me often that it wasn't fair that he didn't have one. I picked him up on an impulse, even bought a second bowl and supplies. He looked so pretty, was a good eater, and Plato and Lulu were thrilled.

For about 2 days.

Time wore on, the fish have been forgotten by everyone but me, and there they sit in their little bowls. I started reading about betta care and the universal opinion is that it is "cruel" to keep them in anything less than a 1-gallon climate-controlled tank. I keep them in 2 bowls that hold about 2 cups of water each; non-climate-controlled. I don't have room for 2 separate gallon-sized luxury fish-condos. I have gotten to the point that I despise even cleaning their bowls. JM isn't about to keep the house a balmy 73 degrees in winter for 2 fish, so they have slipped into a sort of 50-60 degree coma. They don't eat. They don't swim. BUT THEY DON'T DIE!

Plato's fish last year went into a winter coma. I thought he would surely die, but as the weather warmed up, he revived. He went on to live most of the summer before he croaked. In the ICU, we used to wait out our comatose patients, wondering if they would be "saved" by medical technology or if they were destined to die. At some point it would become obvious if it was truly their time to go. We would say at that point that they "declared themselves," and they would often passed away by the end of the shift. Well, Plato's fish declared himself but good. One day he was swimming, the next he was floating and milky-eyed.

These fish are not being so decisive. Neither am I. Here's my inner argument:

Problem: have two fish in comas, in bowls I don't want to clean, in probable state of torture, that kids won't miss if they're gone.

Obvious Solution: wait till the kids are asleep, then gently but efficiently flush them down the toilet. Hide the evidence. Play dumb when kids finally realize that fish are gone.

Problem: that's killing them, technically. Bad Karma. Bad Juju. Superstition. Bad things may happen if I murder fish.

But: could be construed as mercy killing. Euthanasia. Freeing them from cold, restrictive purgatory to swim in the warm oceans of fish eternity.

If: you believe in that sort of thing. Bad karma/juju/superstition may just say if you flush live fish, badness is returned upon you. Maybe won't get great new job...

And so it's been going, back and forth for weeks.

Now I have the job, firmly in my grasp. So why are they still floating in suspended animation on my kitchen counter?

What if something else happened? Like my plane crashed. Or my kids get sick. Superstition!!

What I need is for JM to get an idea in his head about flushing the fish. A plan that he construes with no influence by me, and which he carries out all on his own. An scenario in which I play no part. Meaning it's not going to happen. He's as clueless about the fish as the kids.


It's stupid, really. If I think about it hard enough, it follows that the mere intention of flushing them, the premeditation of it, should have caused the bad karma to be visited upon me already.
Unless karma procrastinates.


Think I will just wait until the fish declare themselves.


mielikki said...

clicked here from Travis' blog, I, too, am a nurse. Slightly envious of your soon to be emancipated state. . .
to flush the fish would be a mercy killing, don't you think? Are they happy in their coma's? What quality of life will they have post coma? Start whispering to JM's ear when he falls asleep "flush the fish, flush the fish".

Mom In Scrubs said...

mielikki- I think that is a righteous idea!! Will start whispering tonight...
Thanks for visiting!!

~SUV Mama~ said...

Congratulations on the new job!!

The fish can write a note to JM.

Dear JM,

We would like to find our way to the toilet bowl. Do this, and we will thank you from wherever we may end up.

Monnik said...

You crack me up. I have hated fish ever since college when J had an aquarium set up in our dorm room. Every time she went away for the weekend, one of those little effers would die and I'd have to do something about their slimyass bodies. It makes me shudder to think about it.

But I think Karma has better things to do than worry about teency weency fish. I say you put a half a cup of bleach in each fishbowl and let the kiddos think they died naturally. Then you're not in the doghouse from them.

But you do have to deal with their floaty ickiness. (shudder)

Mom In Scrubs said...

Monnik!! Hard Core, girlfriend!!

Hope you don't come back as a fish in your next life. Ha!

I bet with half a cup of bleach in the bowl there wouldn't be much left to clean up...

krobzoo said...

My (my kids' that is - but they also quickly forgot about him) betta caused his own death by jumping out of the bowl. One morning I come into the kitchen, peer into the tank - see nothing, peer closer, EW YUCK, CRAP - there he is lying next to the tank. So I grab a napkin to pick him up and EWWW MORE YUCK, he starts to move!!!! So I flop him back into the tank. He lived for a couple more days, but never fully recovered, then died. CONGRATS on the new job!!