Meet the critters

Because it’s January 26th, it’s cold and grey outside, and my yard has been covered with the same snow since, um, July, I think, I decided that I needed to write about something light and quirky today.  Otherwise, odds were pretty good my head was going to explode.  I mostly do a fairly decent job of coping with the winter, having lived here, in the place with the winter, for 37 years.  Every year, though, I get a little older, and the cold seems a little colder, the grey seems a little greyer, and by the end of January I’m contemplating foolish things.  I get the urge to pack a bag, head to the Delta terminal at CVG, drop my 401k statement on the counter, and beg for a one-way ticket on the first flight wherever the sun keeps its winter home.

So, then, in the interest of having some fun, I decided to write about wildlife.  Not just any wildlife, though, oh no.  I realized this evening that I have egregiously neglected to introduce my loyal readers to the puddinpets.

So, with a tremendous amount of, um, pride(?), allow me to present:

the Fabulous Fish, and

our Fantastic Frogs, “Tiny” (front center), and “Swimmy” (back right).

Please hold your applause.

By the way, have you ever tried to take a picture of an aquarium?  It’s not easy.  For one thing, you have to get about three nanometers from the glass in order to see anything. For another, even if you do get a decent shot of the tank, the odds of capturing any actual aquatic life-forms in the image are roughly equivalent to those of the Bengals beating the junior varsity resident team from Sunset Farms Retirement Community.

It probably doesn’t help that we got our camera for free with American Express points in 2003. But I’ve become miserly in my old age, and the ability to capture life-like shots of critters in 900 megapixels isn’t a high priority.

At any rate, I believe you can see two of our four fish in the first picture. If you can’t see them, click the image for a bigger version. Our fish have all been named by the puddinlings, of course, so they carry the oddly familiar names Scooby, Daphne, Velma, and um, Dinosaur. There used to be a Shaggy, but he died, as family aquarium pets are wont to do. You can rest assured, though, that he received the appropriate toilet-side services and is now peacefully at rest. At the sewage treatment plant. “Dinosaur” is the largest fish pictured, and he’s my favorite, a type of shark. The Attitude named him while still in the pet store bag. We held said bag up for the kid and asked him for the fish’s name. At first he refused to say anything but “veesh” repeatedly. After continued prodding, though, he finally decided upon “dinohsar”.

We counted ourselves lucky and moved on.

The frogs are a better story. If you told me a decade ago that I’d have a small cube full of water and a pair of frogs living in my house at any point in my life, I’d have told you to lay off the Jagermeister. One day, though, Mini-Me begged and begged the Puddinette to take him to a pet store so he could see the guinea pigs. As they happened to be out running errands and hitting the stores already (and because she’s a big softy), she chose to indulge him. Little did we know that he’d brought most of his not inconsiderable cash with him.

It seems that the one way he’s not exactly like the childhood version of me is that he can save his money pretty well. As I’ve said, when I was a kid, a five dollar bill lasted me only as long as it took to make a trip to the convenient store.

Anyway, he was planning to use his stockpile to procure a little fuzzy pet. However, when he finally got to see the guinea pigs and hold them in hand, it was apparently a lot different than watching them spin on the Infinite Wheel of Rodent Amusement. It didn’t take two minutes for him to decide they creeped him out.

Of course, that left him with a problem. All this saved money yet no pet to show for it. And that’s when the frogs caught his eye.

I suppose we should count ourselves lucky. The frogs are pretty low maintenance; much more so than a rodent. Also, they can’t escape, which is a plus. That said, Tiny spent the better part of this week resting beside that blue rock pictured, and for most of Sunday and some of Monday, Swimmy did too. On top of her. Or, occasionally, next to her, back-end to back-end. They were quite chummy, indeed. So chummy, in fact, that I’m afraid they might have, you know, gotten to know each other. There might have been some Barry White playing softly.

I am fearful that Tiny could be in a, um, family way, and our little cube might soon be full of tadpoles. But I’m not sure. I don’t remember the details of amphibious procreation from high school biology, and quite frankly, I’ve been hesitant to Google “frog reproduction”. The internet is a dark place sometimes, and I deeply fear happening across a website belonging to a guy nicknamed “Frog”.

What he does with his private time is none of my business.


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