Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mr. Fischoeder gets a cleaning lady

Probably I haven't told you that I got a fish.

Please enjoy the fish's ironic backdrop because we know he does.

Not that I haven't caught fish - I've definitely told you about that - but that I have an actual fish living in my house. In a bowl. A fish bowl.

Like a pet fish would.

And like any pet fish, his name is obviously Mr. Fischoeder.

Because we love Bob's Burgers and when you love that show and then you get a fish, what the hell else are you going to call it? Ravioli?

No, that was for my pre-Bob's Burgers fish. Now, though, there is only one name - Mr. Fischoeder. Because it sounds like Fish Odor and that's amusing.

Every time I feed the fish or stare drunkenly at him in his big bowl (now anyway, he used to live in a tiny glass vase and before that in the ill-fated and useless AquaFarm), I laugh.

"Hehe - Hi, Mr. Fischoeder. You look lovely today, Mr. Fischoeder. You have no odor, Mr Fischoeder. Come face cuddle me, Mr. Fischoeder."

And so on. Because I'm a child that's also really easily amused.

Do those exist? I may be the first.

Anyway, so I have this fish with the amusing name and the pretty fluttery fins and also a semi-sordid history with pet fish.

Like, during my undergrad I basically rented some fish to swim around in a fish tank in my apartment and keep me company while I lay hungover on the floor with my hair stuck to the carpet with barf.

And also to entertain the maintenance guy who came around every so often to unclog my kitchen drain that was definitely not full of aquarium gravel.

Oh no. Never ever.

Once I graduated, I promptly returned to the aquarium store from which I purchased this little school of tetra and gave them back. They took them, quarantined them, and then started what I can only imagine was a mildly lucrative fish rental program for strange undergrads that have no time or the sobriety level for normal pets, but can't be left alone while they muddle through their hangovers.

I imagine. I don't know. That's what I would have done if I were an aquarium store owner.

Then about eight years later, when I was working on a new product at Google and it finally came out of beta, my cheeky sunuvabitch of a coworker got us all beta fish in little bowls with little gravels and ha ha he he ha.

My beta fish was blue and cheerful and I named him Ravioli because obviously.

He swam around in that bowl for almost a year and a half until one day I came in and he was not so much a fish, but a cloudy mass vaguely resembling a fish. It was a wee bit grody, but I gave him a proper burial and sent him to the great fish bowl in the sky toilet.

Farewell, Ravioli. You were a regal and trustworthy friend. Or something.

Then I quit that job and my life in high-tech to be a farmer. But instead of being a traditional farmer, I became a hydroponic farmer and got to also grow food the aquaponic way, and that is with fish.

About 400 koi, to be not exact at all.

And also a few sneaky hider catfish that swim along all dark and sneaky at the bottom of the dark tank so that you don't know they're there until you drain the tank and OH WHOOPSY who's that on the floor? Sorry, buddy.

But I was mostly really good to those fish. I made sure their feeders were full, clarifier was emptied regularly, airstones were pumping away and all that fun stuff that aquaponic growers do to keep their fertilizer machines working away happily. I even answered questions from snide bullshit hippies who gave me beef about how I was exploiting another creature for my own gain.

"You seem like fun!"


Anyway, then I got the AquaFarm. I'll spare you the stupid details, but basically after running the aquaponic lettuce crop for a while and then having 18 people tell me that I should get one of the AquaFarm things "just to try it out and see if it works even though you keep rolling your eyes like that", I got one and it didn't work just like I knew it wouldn't.

Or something like that.

Basically, yes, it grows microgreens. Hooray. I don't need a $70 over-engineered fish tank to grow a few handfuls of microgreens. I have a jar for that. I think it cost me around $1 a bunch of years ago when I got a flat of them for $8 so that I could can some jam or something.

The other stuff it was supposed to do, like grow basil and lettuce, were, um...false. Even from starts I brought home from the greenhouse that had been growing fine in my work aquaponics system, they just sat and sat and then eventually keeled over and died in the thing. Because it doesn't have any light and Mr. Fischoeder, the resident fertilizer machine, could only poop so much.

Mostly though, it was the light.

Anyway, whatever. The AquaFarm got disassembled and put away in the shame corner of the garage for a future Goodwill outing and Mr. Fischoeder got downsized to an abandoned flower vase with a few bits of gravel but with a prominent spot on the bar.

He socialized a lot back then because we did. He got a lot of attention swimming round and round in his wee bowl because it was so damn small he couldn't do much more than go round and round.

Poor guy. He was probably sea sick. If a fish can be such a thing. Which I'm sure they can't.

Anyway, Bubba was horrified at the guy's living conditions, so eventually I upgraded him to a big boy bowl - a proper actual Fish Bowl. And to fancy it up further, I poured a good portion of my sea glass collection in the bottom because I felt guilty about his former living conditions and was afraid he was going to file an HR claim against me with management.

HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT! Maybe we should have named him Archer?

But, here's the thing with a fish bowl that doesn't have a filter or plants filtering it - it gets dirty and needs cleaning. Which, no thank you.

I mean, I did it, because of my extreme and ongoing guilt and also because I don't like dirty things, but I was not a fan.

So, to get to the point of this random ass post, today while I was at the aquarium store getting some random ass shit for work, I had a random ass encounter with a very nice woman who was essentially buying a cleaning lady for her fish tank.

See, here I was standing in front of the glass case and a wall full of pumps and filters and handle jugs of Anti-Ich juice with my back to a billion aquariums humming away full of fish with my thermometers and humidity sensors and I look over to see what the lady next to me is getting and all she has is a plastic bag with a green ball in it.

"Uh. Whatcha got, there?" (Because I'm friendly sometimes.)

"I don't know, but it's cute!" (Because other people are sometimes adorable older gals making impulse purchases.)

"Hell yeah it is! What does it do?" (Because I always swear.)

"Um...entertain me?" (Because this is who I want to grow up to be.)

"It's a moss ball, ladies, and it doesn't do much more than look pretty and clean your fish's water." (Because aquarium store owners can only listen to so much nonsense before they have to interject and ruin our fun.)

"Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh." In unison, of course, because this woman is a kindred spirit.

"I want one." (Because I'm greedy)

"YAY! Isn't it funny what entertains us?" (Because she's adorable.)

"Indeed it is. Do you think I could pet it?" (Because I'm retarded.)

So, yeah, while I was out getting stuff for work, I bought my fish a cleaning lady.

Tell me, Moss Ball, do you do windows?

He's stoked.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Definitely not boring or sad

Um, right - so Jada.

This dog - she's taking years off my life is how much I love this girl.

I dare you to not adore me. GO ON TRY IT.

Because a few weeks ago, right after Bubba took off for a week's trip to London, girlfriend had a majorly bizarre meltdown of the butthole variety that very nearly wiped me from this planet with worrying.

See, if you've followed her exploits over the years, you know that she's basically bulletproof.

She backcountry skis.

She hauls 1/3 of her body weight.

She kills and eats every wild thing.

She's also delightfully predictable and reliable and easy going about pretty much everything.

Ride in the car for 2 days to go skiing? This is acceptable with papa scratchins.

Everything except her butthole. Suddenly. Alarmingly.

See, I came home from work one of these Bubbaless nights with the intention of taking her for a walk and returning to sit my living room couch while a friend regaled me with stories of girlfriend catching up.

Which was SO not to be.

Instead, my night was more like taking her for a walk in which she was all sad and weird and then returning to hover around her while she did not eat but instead her butthole took on the look of a baboon's.

Which, no I did not take a picture. THAT'S HOW WORRIED (and horrified) I WAS. NO PICTURES. ONLY WORRYING.

I ended up taking the baboon to the vet and spending the next two days immersed in 4 alarm WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE DOG, EXPENSIVE SLOW TALKING VET?! mode and ending up with the very best diagnosis an oncology vet can just ever fucking deliver.

Oncology vet without a sense of humor: Jada has an abnormal colon.

Me: So, you're saying it's not cancer?

Oncology vet without a sense of humor: It's not cancer. The very end of her colon is just abnormally shaped.

Me: So, you're saying that her butthole is weird. Canine Abnormal Butthole Disease.

Oncology vet without a sense of humor: It's not a disease. It's just an abnormally shaped colon.

Me: I bet you don't give that diagnosis a lot, huh? "You're dog has a weird butthole, ma'am."

Oncology vet without a sense of humor: It's actually her colon.

Me: I can't believe I've said butthole, like, a hundred times and you haven't laughed once. Come on. This is my coping mechanism. This and drinking.

Oncology vet without a sense of humor: Jada has a weird butthole, yes.

Me: THANK YOU! I need a drink.

Anyway, yeah, the vet really never came all the way around to join me in my coping mechanism humor so I'm just letting it go.

But still - Weird Butthole is the best diagnosis ever. And not just because it's not cancer.

But the real story. Which, surprisingly, is not about weird buttholes or cancer.


As in, Jada was returned to me without any.

Now, I don't know what goes on in super expensive fancy ass oncology veterinarian offices, but nipple shaving off is apparently one of the things.

Again, I don't have pictures, so you're just going to have to take my word for it here, but I'm sure you can imagine my alarm when returning home with my beloved sweet slightly still doped and recently repeatedly ass-probed dog to find, upon belly rubbin's that UM...smooth.

Like, imagine this but with a pink bare belly with six red spots ALL SMOOTH. Creepy.

The hairlessness and pinkness was no surprise. Obviously she has to be shaved before they can do the ultrasound thing to look for cancer in her guts. But the nipplelessness was a surprise.

As were the red spots where her nipples used to be.


Because apparently her Cleansing Retreat of six enemas, a colonoscopy, a biopsy and ultrasound wasn't enough. They also had to rid her of her pesky dog nipples.


It's weird.

But for all of you sweet dog-loving people who have emailed me and Facebook messaged me and texted me - Jada is cancer free and living a life of leisure and homecooked meals.

Seriously. This dog has it fucking made. I'm so worried about her not eating and, thus, sending herself back into Angry Baboon Butthole Let's Go To The Really Expensive Ass Probing Vet land, that I'm basically cooking/preparing/handfuckingcrafting her breakfast and dinner every day.

Making chicken stock in which to cook rice. Shredding chicken to put in said rice. Stockpiling her favorite kibble to mix in the rice. Bubba has been hand choosing the most delicious sounding (and looking - is that wrong?) canned "entrees" to cut with her rice and chicken. Chopping up that Hillshire Farm Sausage looking dog food log thing to mix in with the rice and chicken. Warming it all up so that she gets a good hot meal.

It's so out of control here. I'm certain that we've become those weird pet owners and now I can't judge people who put their dogs on raw food diets and shit because, well, here I am with a slow cooker full of chicken making homemade stock so that she can have her precious delicious chicken rice.

But when I hear the crunching of kibble, it's all worth it.

And phew.