Monday, April 29, 2013

Our House is a Very, Very, Very Fine House (with two Alpaca's in the Yard?)... but it Could be Better.

You guys know I occasionally pick up a cause to try to boost visibility for them. A few things to know about this one:

It is one of our readers and I promised him a cup of coffee when we reached 100,000 readers because he was the thousandth (or something like that). It was a joke and we enjoyed a laugh between each other about it and it looks like he'll be waiting a long time for that cup of coffee.

Another thing to understand is that despite knowing quite a few bloggers with a pretty far reach, he has never brought up his needs or asked for anything. He has told us a little about his life though and how he has adopted four young children, all with special needs, and how he hopes to make his farm a destination place for other children in his community. He's told us about the animals he raises and cares for (Alpacas and Pygmy Goats if I recall) and how they have been unable to afford to make some improvements needed for the well-being of their animals and in the way of improving their farm... their home. I'm no Extreme Home Makeover celebrity (I wish I was, we'd really fix him up), but I bet if you guys contribute what you can and/or share the word with those in your network that we could help them in a big way. So check out his page on Facebook and look for the pinned post that'll show you how to make a donation if you are so inclined. Thanks. Now back to our regularly scheduled Meerkat Monday. Hmm... maybe Wild Angels Farm could raise some Meerkats?

 Check them out on Facebook here. Or go directly to their Go Fund Me Page here. 

Warm Hands, Warm Heart

J Bean said, upon reaching the bottom of the stairs where Link and I were playing after Vv left for work, "Daddy, it's kind of freezing down here." 

I acknowledged it was colder downstairs if not freezing and we had a little conversation about hot air balloons and heat rising. Then she asked, "Are your hands warm, Daddy?" 

I had been sitting on the floor, petting Bailey (the cow sized black/white cat) on the belly while we talked and I replied, "Sure, I guess they are." 

J Bean crawled in my lap and pulled my arm around her, "Good, because I'm cold." 

How come I'm the one feeling warm now?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mr. Clean

Company coming over tomorrow! I'm always excited to speak with people who walk upright all the time and who have full vocabularies, but now I need to do some serious house scrubbin' that I let slide most of the week. Yay Saturday...

I think this would go quicker if I just rent one of those little bulldozers and push J Bean's toys back to her cave.

Vv, took J Bean to swim lessons this morning so Link and I are hanging out and doing some cleaning. A few things I like about vacuuming (since I'm done with that and procrastinating on the actual scrubbin' part of cleaning):

1) Link is calmer when I'm vacuuming than just about any other waking moment. He just stays close, stares at it, coos at it and claps his hands. I should probably start vacuuming every day, twice a day. Maybe I could just let it run nearby while I make coffee in the mornings?

2) Another thing I love about vacuuming is the sense of accomplishment that comes from such an easy chore. The living room looks like the debris field of a crash involving an Animal Cracker truck and a jumbo jet carrying dried fruit, then I come along and with the Hoover and Bam! Looks great (as long as I pretend not to see all the stains and ground in babyfood... I should really do some spot cleaning, but not today!)

3) The white noise is also comforting to me. Even if Link does get mad (or if J Bean is home and asking me a googol of questions), I just can't really hear them. Especially if I crank the music too. I like to call it the Zen of overwhelming background noise. Blast the Foo Fighters and turn on the vacuum... trust me. It's great.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hangry Like a Wolf

For the past two nights, Link has slept through the night without his late feeding, which is a bittersweet development if it holds. On one hand, it will be nice not to have to deal with him in the middle of the night, on the other hand he is waking up a little earlier and I'll miss that lil' warm pizza dough on my shoulder every night after burps. It is nice that he wakes up earlier (despite my exhaustion) because it means he gets a chance to see Vv in the morning, which has been a rarity for the past several months. The unexpected side effect is he is waking up hangry like a wolf (misspelling intentional, I'm sure most of you are familiar with the non-word hangry which is hungry+angry). The usually loud tyrant is once again bringing out the red-tailed hawk scream for use in his less than cordial requests for breakfast. It's like having a wild animal in the house, this morning I sliced up an avocado first thing and threw it at him just to buy myself enough time to make my coffee and some more breakfast for him. Poor J Bean is second fiddle for breakfast, but she's happy to play with her toys until her stomach starts to rumble. Honestly, I think I'm going to stop referring to J Bean as one of the tyrants for now because she has been the model child for the past few months. I'm sure the phase will pass eventually but the name which was originally hers will be passed like an Olympic torch to Link for the time being. Don't worry J Bean, he'll make you proud and he learned from one of the best.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Parenting Truth #58: Needs

Parenting Truth #58: A toddler will not cry if all of their needs are met. Unfortunately, their needs include every drop of life, patience, energy and sense of self you ever had. In other words, all toddlers cry. If you lose yourself to making them happy all the time, you will be the one crying and that situation doesn't lend itself to a happy home or a well-adjusted child.

I actually saw a fellow stay home Dad (and alleged child psychologist) tell a group full of new parents that, "babies with their needs met won't cry."

"What kind of a mind fuck is he trying to put on these poor people?" I thought. Just what new parents need to hear, right? If your kid is crying, you are doing it wrong.

I agree infants need you and need something when they cry. I also know that being a parent who has to get things done around the house means sometimes babies have to cry for a few minutes while you handle the business of taking care of a house, cooking, cleaning and caring for other children. As infants cross into toddlerhood, things change. Their idea of what a "need" is increases drastically and their reaction to those "needs" become more dramatic and much,much louder.

My advice is to do your best to raise a happy child, but don't fret about the cries which are inevitable. I spent the morning cleaning the kitchen while Link cried his eyes out following me around or barricaded within view outside the kitchen so I could mop and sweep (OK, I just swept... sue me). He was happy for a time when he was allowed to help me unload the dishes. Of course, his "help" made the task take me twice as long (which is to be expected) and he didn't understand why I wouldn't let him help me with loading the dirty dishes... so he bawled. He was happy when I put some food and a spoon in front of him and he made a giant mess (a normal, albeit annoying, stage of development), but then he cried while I wiped his face, changed his shirt and cleaned up the debris field. Cleaning had to be done though, and I figure he will cry a lot more if he comes down with an E. Coli infection so I'll lose zero sleep over letting a toddler cry while I clean. You reassure them verbally and you do what you've got to do, but picking up and tending to every "need" of a toddler is impractical, impossible and will soon lead to your own mental breakdown and/or an outbreak of the plague in your house. Don't worry parenting partners, if your baby/toddler is crying it doesn't mean you are doing it wrong. It doesn't mean you are doing it right either, but who can figure that out until the kids leave the house and stay out of a jail for a few years anyway?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Pros & Cons.

Pro: My bed.  Con: Water damage from hot water heater leak.
Pro: The neighbors moved out (I have to say, coming home from vacation and finding out your loud neighbors have moved out is even better than coming back from the bathroom at a restaurant and finding your food is waiting for you). Con: US Mail has decided since they have moved that we probably want all their junk mail.

Pro: Just ordered Thai food delivery. Con: Lots of unpacking to do.

Pro: Cats are happy to see us. Con: I’m not sure the pet sitter fed John the Betta, he is not looking so hot. (may be sign that it is time for plastic fish).

Pro: Had tons of birthday wishes while I was on the road and had a great time at the music festival without the kids! Con: Grandma is not changing diapers anymore and the tyrants are recovering from a long trip and are super tired. Also, I need to come up with funny things to write that don’t involve gimmicks like Pros vs. Cons, but I’m rusty now.

Finally, Pros win, because I’m married to Vv who entertained J Bean while I took a 3+ hour nap with Link. I should be rested, but I still feel like the old man I now officially am. It’s great to be back, Parenting Partners! Extra thanks to The Robot Mommy for running the counter in my absence and special thoughts to all those affected by the acts of violence in Boston and all those families affected by the west Texas tragedy. Glad to be home safe and giving my kids extra hugs and kisses tonight.

For some reason, "John the Betta" made me think of this, so now you get to hear it:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Out of Pocket

Just a heads up in case any of you fine readers are not already following DOTR on Facebook, I will be offline for the remainder of the week and early next week. There are some posts coming out on the FB page and The Robot Mommy will be holding down the fort. If you haven't already done so, join us on Facebook and follow The Robot Mommy as well. Thanks, see ya in the funny papers.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Midnight Snack

Done with the midnight feeding that Link is too old to need; I have the shoulder spit-up stain/badge to prove it. I have to admit though, after the initial annoyance of having to prepare a bottle and head down to his bat cave, I secretly love it. Once he gets the bottle in his mouth he stops crying, I change him (while he's eating, yeah that's right, this ain't my first rodeo), then we head back into the dark cave and he sucks the whole bottle down. I know he's done because he starts cooing like a newborn. After that, he's like a big warm pile of pizza dough that burps. I flop him over to the shoulder for a back pounding and he just melts into my shoulder and neck. I don't ever want him to get too big for this. Good night, sweet boy. Now don't wake up again tonight, because that shit won't be cute at all.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sneetches and the Daily Grind

“You want stars like a Star-bellied Sneetch? My friends, you can have them… for just three dollars each!” shouted a top-hatted, vested and bow-tied 7th grader from the stage. Grade school Sneetches lined up excitedly to have their stars installed by the big machine.

I bounced Link on my knee as he gave his best attempt to figure out when applause was appropriate (turns out, applause is always appropriate coming from a one year old at a school play). Meanwhile, J Bean watched the stage with the intense stare of an astronomer getting her first look at the rings of Saturn through a high powered telescope. The actors danced around the stage happily in yellow shirts (some with stars, some without). J Bean’s favorite part was the crowd participation which included waving our hands in the air (like we just didn’t care) when the “hot dog party” music was queued. Nearby, pint-sized audience members were delighted at the sight of Link’s antics and perhaps their curiosity was magnified by his smiling and rather large caretaker/primary mode of transportation. I was the only adult male in the room outside the music director and the assistant principal as far as I could tell making me more of an oddity than a flock of Sneetches.

This whole scene was a lucky coincidence for us and one of my favorite parts of being a stay home parent… the unexpected adventures.  I have read and heard about some big problems and some tragic situations this week which have served to remind me to enjoy each “regular” day for what it is. A regular day when I busy myself with cleaning, helping J Bean prepare for school, feeding the tyrant and taking a stroll to the park is not to be taken for granted. We have all had plenty of those random Wednesday mornings where you get a call you didn’t want, where you are preoccupied with worry about one thing or another or where everything in life seems in question due to some unexpected change or tragedy. This week, I have had none of those (knock on wood) and I am just glad I remembered how happy I should be to be “stuck” in the routine. I also remembered how routines were meant to be broken.

You see J Bean, Link and I were walking home from the park and stopping by the local elementary school to pick up a pre-K application for my big girl when the office administrator mentioned we should head over to the auditorium for a performance of the Sneetches which was just about to start. As often happens when presented with the unexpected, I had to catch the words, “no thanks” before they escaped my lips. Why do I do that? Why am I hesitant to break my schedule? It’s something I’m still working on, so I was happy to hear myself say, “Sure, we’ll check it out. What do you think J Bean?” To say she was agreeable would be an understatement.

There’s no further excitement for the story, other than a thoroughly enjoyable presentation on stage. There was no grand adventure outside of trekking home in the rain and trying to keep our application paperwork dry, but that is the point I’m trying to make. Lazy, boring days don’t have to be if you keep your eyes and ears open for opportunity and if you’re not afraid to deviate from the plan once in awhile. Even when something like a Dr. Seuss play doesn't present itself, we should be happy and thankful to enjoy a “boring” Wednesday. Given some of the events I have seen wallop friends, family and strangers right between the eyes lately, I’ll take “routine” any day of the week. The Sneetches reminded me in a roundabout way that days are days, and no kind is the best, especially when I look around and realize I could have much less.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Daddy, What Large Teeth You Have...

On a scale of 1-10 we're at Tyrant level 28 today. I actually hope Link is teething, otherwise I have no explanation for his new mode of communicating only with yells. I don't remember J Bean being this difficult. He's so damn cute when he's not screaming though... obviously an evolutionary survival technique. If not for the adorable factor, I'd probably have eaten him by now.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet

Parenting Truth #111: When your child is sleeping your clumsiness increases exponentially.

It's some sort of weird natural phenomena that only occurs when sleeping babies/toddlers are involved; the closer you get to a relaxing moment the worse it gets. After you put the child down for a nap, you'll tip toe around the house like a ninja cat with marshmallow socks and you might take care of a few dishes, water the plants, or hide from your other child(ren) with no problem. However, the second you get a drink and head toward the couch for a breather you'll drop that beverage on the floor right outside the napper's door or you'll step on a lego and scream like a banshee. If you make it to the couch and put your feet up, you'll knock something over, something like a grandfather clock, a set of golf clubs or maybe a stack of bagpipes. If you turn on the TV, it will be at maximum volume. If you think you have covered all the bases with a mini-fridge next to the couch, a lego Roomba, earphones for the TV and nerf padding on all the floors, walls and furnishings then you'll walk by the sleeping tyrant's lair with confidence... that is the moment your phone will ring. Not the regular ring either, it'll be your old high school buddy who's got the Metallica- Master of Puppets ringtone.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Come Original (this is a song title from a 311 song, just to cover my bases)

A word (or 1500) on content and its originality:

I provide jokes that pop into my bat-shit crazy kid-damaged brain all the time on my page. It’s my pleasure. It’s my outlet. It’s my escape from the world of toddler and preschooler conversation where I reside most of the time. I (like everyone else) am influenced by others I speak with and read. In other words, if you say something like “awesome sauce” to me and I like it then I’m going to use it in conversation later. I am pursuing the idea in my head of being a comic and a writer, so when I write or make a joke that is my conversation; that is my speaking. There is nothing new under the sun and most every joke that I see and that you see is probably not original in the strictest sense (unless you are Louis CK, who as far as I can tell is an original comedic genius of the likes that we rarely see); Someone has said it or something like it before. Writers and comedians may be influenced by other’s work without even realizing it though. How many times have you made a joke and then realized it was just a rehash of a Seinfeld episode or a one liner from Chandler on Friends? Happens to me all the time. I’m not smart enough to filter everything I say and write through an originality separator, so if I say something that sounds like something you have heard, read, said or written before then it may be that I was exposed to it and forgot or it may be that I was inspired by the same type of event, the same type of media and sometimes the same circle of friends. It probably also means you are hilarious and it stuck with me even if I don’t remember who you were or why. Of course I try to absorb hilarious when it crosses my path. I also try to tell all 1300 of my friends about other hilarious people when I get the chance without becoming a page sharing bombardment to people.

I spend plenty of time (mostly at night when I should be sleeping or during naps/school when I should be cleaning and laundering, though today has been an exception) coming up with posts, ideas, editing and creating photos and trying to be something that is not exactly like every other thing you see online every time you look at the newsfeed. I schedule those posts to come out throughout the next day when I’m on top of my game or at least keep them in a clipboard for easy sharing later. I hope that’s not a betrayal of trust to find out I don’t always post “live” but I do spend time with my kids… a lot… during the day and I do try to keep up with comments/messages on my phone (probably too often, I’m not perfect and never claimed to be). What’s important to know about me, though, is that original content is my goal. That is what I want; so if I know something I am doing has been done before then I probably will just bypass it all together. It wouldn’t help me feel funnier to steal other people’s material, it would make me feel like a putz and I try to avoid feeling like a putz. Every post you see on my site or this page with my name/page on it was created right here on my computer and in my occasionally funny mind, every story you read is true (or at least very close to true with some artistic license) and every emotion and feeling of joy and frustration and everything in between I share with you is real and something I think you will relate to. I promise to keep it that way. If I don’t think it’s funny or relatable I don’t post it, there are more than enough people on social media who feel the need to post every 20 minutes (and plenty of readers who enjoy that apparently), but that’s not the kind of page I am trying to run here. I create original content and promote that content with some of the larger sharing pages when I think it is something that will be well received and perhaps drive some readers my way, but I do not, have not and will never steal from another comedian/blogger knowingly in an attempt to reach some undefined goal of X number of readers or fame (which comes so readily to a smart ass on Facebook, right?) Disclaimer: that was sarcasm and I did not create the idea of sarcasm, I only speak it (but wouldn’t it be awesome if your Dad were the inventor of sarcasm?) With all of that said, I cannot guarantee that I won’t come up with something another person has already thought of (Legos are pointy, kids are loud, repetition is monotonous, kid’s television is annoying) or that I won’t read something, forget I did, then think I’m very clever when it comes out of the pie hole on my face or the typing fingers that are the window to my demented psyche. If that happens and you point it out, I’ll gladly apologize to you and the audience (or give you some insight/proof as to why/how/where the idea popped in to my mind if I did not in fact pick it up from you).

Reading of each other’s tripe online is a reward and an act of kindness in my mind, and I think about that every day when I see Parenting Partners reading, liking, sharing and participating in the conversation here at Dad on The Run. I thank you for reading; it means the world to me… seriously. The number of readers I have means little to me though; I would gladly lose 90% of my readers to keep the loyal and engaged ones (if you’ve read this far, that’s you). I try my best to save some time during the day to read and participate with other pages, because I want them to feel the way I do when people laugh and carry on with me (I also do it, because when I’m funny on other pages, some of their readers might like to come over and check me out, so I’m not claiming to be some selfless hero here).

I was irritable this morning, because someone accused me of sharing/stealing unfairly without giving me any proof or detail of what content they thought I stole. After reviewing their page, I could still find nothing there that was more than vaguely similar- in the way all parenting blogs are- with anything I have shared. What I did see were shares of my content with their page (attributed as they should be), compliments and interaction with their page from mine and promotion/sharing of their content on my own page with similar credits provided and footprints of what looked like a pretty friendly relationship. When the accuser wouldn’t tell me what they thought I stole, and asked me to let it go, I got angry then a boring and petty (on everyone’s part) argument broke out. I tried to extend an olive branch which was spit back in my face so I was sad/mad to lose a friend over what? I still don’t know. I don’t understand how anyone who reads me with any regularity, especially some of my more serious work, would think I would steal something from them for an E card or meme poster, those things are silly and fun I don’t expect to ever win the golden globe of parenting memes. I don’t care about numbers or popularity that much and the cards I make are meant to parody the silliness of the SomeECards that abound in this place. If I parody your SomeECard it is not to steal your idea, it is to ridicule the idea and its gender bias/one-sidedness. I have no desire to become the E-Card king, in fact I find most of them to be banal. Still I wouldn’t want to “steal” one; I credit everything I can (and I’m getting better at it with experience), I even credit public-domain pictures I use in my Parenting truth posters these days… I support artists and their right to be recognized for their intellectual property so to be accused of anything less doesn’t bring out the best in me.

Anyway, I thought you guys deserved to know why I was pissy this morning and to entertain yourselves with the drama (Young & the Restless style- stole that reference from a reader. Thanks, Jenny Pinkham!) I was upset by the accusation and snapped at my kid for being a kid while I was irritated at the left hook from right field and I felt terrible about that. That is when I left the argument, left the page, removed them from my page and now it’s just a person that I used to know which doesn’t please me. If you figure out or know who it was based on mutual relationships, please keep it to yourself he/she is unhappy about it all too and probably regrets a bleed over of frustrations in to his/her “real” life as well and hopefully will come to realize that I didn’t intentionally steal anything from him/her and if provided the particulars I would have gladly apologized, retracted and/or provided evidence to the contrary but I can’t very well ignore an accusation of stealing especially when a person won’t tell me what it is I supposedly stole. My honor means something to me. I just needed the catharsis of writing about it and will now resume the regularly scheduled program. Have a great day, Parenting Partners.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Make me a Sammich!

Parenting Truth #64: Food always tastes better from your plate.

You can prepare a sandwich, take the crust off, cut it into funny shapes and surround it with other interesting foods on a plate featuring the face of your child's favorite cartoon characters. Then 5 seconds after you sit down with your own plate, your child will protest they don't like their sandwich, but if you give them a bite of your sandwich (made the same or not) it might as well be chocolate dipped birthday cake covered in sprinkles; They love it. This is why I eat tiny heart shaped turkey sandwiches and Pac-Man grilled cheese all the time.

Why There Won't be a Bobo5.

"J Bean lied to me tonight," I thought as I puffed away on my bi-annual cigarette looking out over our alley from the back porch in the cool Chicago night. I was trying not to place too much importance on the event but simultaneously feeling like we had reached the end of an era. An end to the days when I could believe whatever this little one told me (at least after a few well placed questions). Her untruths to this point, as a new 4 year old, had consisted only of miscommunication and the occasional feeble attempt to blame a mistake on an imaginary friend or a real friend who hadn't visited in weeks. These stories always self-imploded with the simple suggestion they might not be true. Not this time. This time it was a bald face lie and it didn't run from my interrogation like fleeting shadows when the curtains are flung open as the others had. This one stood its ground and looked at me through the big blue eyes of my sweet little girl.

"I'm going to ask you again," I started, "Did you try to feed Bobo tonight without asking me?"

I had already been over this territory at least three times and had been met with incredulity and faux injury at my doubt. The sincerity of her claim to innocence was so genuine, on the face of it, that I began searching for explanations to the fish food pellets covering the water like so many berries in a Wisconsin cranberry marsh.
Wisconsin cranberry marsh

Had I been overfeeding the fish for days and not realized it? Perhaps Vv fumbled and opened the lid too much as she fed him inadvertently spilling food? J Bean offered what she felt was the reasonable possibility that our recent houseguest having just departed with Vv for a lady's night may have actually been to blame for the disaster. Finally, after denial upon denial, I told J Bean I knew it was either her or her mother and that I was going to call Vv at that moment to find out. One last time I tried, "Is there anything you need to tell me before I make that call? You're going to be in bigger trouble if I have to make a call to find out you are lying to me." Her eyes moved downward and her lips quivered momentarily.

"It was me, Daddy, I fed Bobo too much. I climbed up on that chair and put some food in. I'm sorry, I just wanted to do it." I had to stiffen my own upper lip. I let out a sigh of relief that she hadn't held on to the fib any longer. (I once denied taking a bite out of a block of cheese at my Grandma's house despite being a perfect dental match to the thief, so I was relieved that my firstborn had stopped short of the level of my deception.) However, Bobo had been sickly for days and this was probably going to be the straw that broke the Betta's back. More importantly, messing with the aquarium had been addressed before and was certainly known to be against the rules.

J Bean took her lumps. We had a long talk with several reminders to look in my eyes while I was talking; a trick I learned from many a lecture while wishing I could be free of the penetrating gaze of my father's eyes. The lecture session in itself is a punishment she would gladly give up a month of play-dates to avoid. She accepted there would be no TV over the weekend and that she would have an early bedtime and she came to terms with my disappointment.

Later that evening I could see Bobo4 (it might be important to know why this is Bobo the Fourth, see link here) was far too stoic, unflinchingly so. He had flared his fins at the passing giants for the last time, despite (or due to) his temporary placement in a smaller abode. J Bean, who had already been struggling with some of life's toughest questions earlier in the week, could see as well as I that Bobo was not going to make it to bedtime. With her discovery of this fact, I knew the line of Bobo was over, and I knew what would come next:

"Daddy, I'm sorry I made Bobo dead!" was followed by her sobs and a swift hug from me. I took some care and time in explaining to her Bobo had already been sick and that while over-feeding a fish can make them sick, I had found the problem in time. He died, I assured her, of his preexisting condition and possibly from my less than expert fish handling knowledge. Just like that the interrogator became the perjurer. My motives were different, but the act the same.

Later, I stubbed out the cigarette as the cold started to bite a little, swearing under my breath for having smoked it, tasting its acidity and feeling the bite in my throat reminding me why I quit.  I knew I would later confess to Vv the smoking violation in order to keep our trust intact. I also knew we would buy another fish in the morning if we could find one. It would be Easter morning, but there would be no resurrection for Bobo this time and another of childhood's lies fantasies would be dispelled (fish don't live forever). A lesson was learned, a few tears were shed and I grudgingly accepted another unwelcomed step in the march toward J Bean's maturity.

Easter morning we buried Bobo4 and I reminded J Bean he was loved and cared for all the days of his life and how he would return to the Earth to support the growth of other living things.

"Like trees and butterflies?" She asked with a little smile. "Yes, kiddo, just like that. Trees and butterflies."

I was surprised to find the local pet store open after the Sunday morning burial. Upon arrival, I conferred with the employees for advice on our chronic fish problem. Despite the recent (and appreciated) influx of tips on fish care precipitated by my blogging, I wondered if there was something else I was missing. According to the experts, we had done everything right (minus the overfeeding) and they gave us some recommendations for facilitating a low stress introduction to the tank. A new home is a big strain to a fish we were told. J Bean noted a few of the small bowls on the shelves had belly-up Bettas in them as well, so I stopped beating myself up over the handling of the fish, it may have just been their time. Ultimately, we walked away with some new water treatment, special gravel teeming with the bacteria that would help the Betta flourish and a new red Betta which J Bean promptly named "John".

Welcome to our home, John. Don't be afraid of the giants or the felines. You will be safe, fed regularly, and will see a lot of interesting life zipping by in the curvature of your tank if you stick around. If you do decide to go quietly into the night, try to do so when J Bean isn't looking, Ok? She's had enough lessons in death for a while, so if you kick the bucket, I'll track down a John2 and replace you before you can say "white lie."

Meet John.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fool's?

This happened today.

I was trying to take a picture (I have nothing to do with the eggs and basket, just a special zoo treat I suppose) and my phone just slipped out of my hands. The whole pack, herd, murder I don't know what you call a bunch of meerkats dogpiled the phone and I thought they were going to tear it to pieces. If anyone has a contact with Motorola or Verizon, I have a nice review for them.

J Bean was excited and I was worried the lil buggers were going to tear off a piece and choke or something so I went running around after a zookeeper. Vv took some pics of the excitement. The phone was unlocked and they were bringing up google, calculator and finally Facebook pages manager! The onlookers thoroughly enjoyed the excitement... as did the meerkats.