2013/02/06

Pout pout fish

At the Norwood household we have a conundrum.  When Annie first began talking I'm sure she said the "Mama" and "Dada" like nearly all children but her first really decipherable word was "Elmo."  She said it clear as day and said it often.  In fact there were many times she would just say, "Elmo, Elmo, Elmo, Elmo," over and over because she apparently liked the way it rolled off her tongue.  The funny thing about all of this is at the time she didn't watch TV at all and had never seen said character. Upon further investigation we figured out that at her school there was one two inch Elmo figure that they used during group time to associate with the color red. 

Anyway, to facilitate her love of this character we got her a few Elmo videos (which she would only watch for about 10 minutes but she was all kinds of excited when that furry red monster made an appearance).  Well, anyone who has had any exposure to Elmo in the last decade knows that he has a goldfish named Dorothy.  This led me to the brilliant idea of getting her a Dorothy of her own.

At the time we bought two goldfish because it seemed cruel to take one from a school of 30 to swimming alone.  However, Dorothy was destined to go through life solo because shortly after getting them home the second fish was dead. Really it was a sad state of affairs because that fish never had a name, or perhaps we were calling them both Dorothy not to confuse Annie, but anyway, the fish was disposed of (there is a story there for another time) and the other remained.

Fast forward two years and here we are. (Pardon the murky water and poor photo quality, she does not like to have a clean tank or her picture taken.)


What once was ample space - the Walmart salesman informed me at the time of purchse that goldfish only have a 5 second memory so they rarely get bored or tired of their home (and who am I to question his expertise?) - is no longer true for our pet.  Dorothy has grown too large for her environment and as Philip eloquently stated "I'm pretty sure if we had an open tank we'd have found her flopping on the floor beside it." She has tried numerous times to jump out of the top even with the obvious lid barricade. Sadder still are her attempts to just give up and end it all by shooting to the top of the small tank and plunging at break-neck speed the short 10 inches back to the bottom, which if you deduct her length it's actually about 4 inches. This dramatic scene always ends with a small rock being jolted by her weight & her swimming around a bit disoriented for a little while. 

Enter the conundrum - what do we do for this depressed fish?  I have no desire to upgrade to a larger tank.  I never thought the fish would last past the Elmo phase (which was about a year) so we'd have this small aquarium we could just quietly put away until Annie wanted one for her college dorm room.  Her home has been on my kitchen cabinet for 2 years now in addition to the functional kitchen items on my counters and I'd like to keep as few things up there as possible. Philip has taken care of Dorothy by feeding her and turning her light on and off every day so because of their bond he is opposed to my ideal of just setting her free (i.e. all drains lead to the ocean).  Of course there is also Annie who doesn't really take notice Dorothy that often but if she was to suddenly disappear she would definitely realize it and even worse if it was a tragic tale our sweet little girl might be scarred for life and we definitely aren't going to do that (intentionally, there is no telling what some of our novice parenting has done without us being aware).  So here we are....

The one idea I have:
- Remove all extra stuff (fake coral and vegetation) from her tank but that would make it even more boring.
- Drop her in a horse tank at the 3g Ranch to grow as large as she'd like

The two ideas Philip has:
- Bigger tank
- Find her a loving home

As condundrums go around our house I'm pretty sure Dorothy will remain (you do have to hand it to her, a goldfish living that long deserves a little respect) in her current habitat to live out her days because problem-solving is not what I do best.



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