Wednesday, May 24, 2017

And...Fish...Take Three

Last Friday, I got a phone call from a friend of mine, who used to teach primary with me. She and her family were in the process of moving across town and she wanted to know if we were interested in taking their fish.

It took me a little while to understand exactly what she was asking (through no fault of hers) and when I finally understood, I told her we didn’t really have anything to keep fish in. She quickly offered to include the tank, filters, and everything else. Kevin was pretty excited about the idea, and since it was all free, I said yes.

A few minutes later, she drove up with a large 30-40 gallon tank, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Inside the tank were two small fish. One was a tetra (I think). It’s gold and tiny. The other is an algae eater. She told me they were about five years old, and that they were the only two fish she had been able to keep alive. They were basically immortal.

I decided to put them into a small cup while I cleaned out the cage. About 20 minutes later, I came out to check on them. The algae-eater was still in the cup, but the orange fish was gone. I quickly looked around and was horrified to find it lying outside of the cup on the floor. It looked dead. It had probably jumped right out of the cup.

“Great,” I thought. “I’ve had the fish for ten minutes and I’ve already killed it.”

I decided to put it back in the water, just in case, and to my immense gratitude, it only floated upside down for a moment before it righted itself and began to breathe. The fish really is immortal. I put a lid on the cup and went back to work on the tank.

We set everything up, and then we put the fish in. They seem to be doing great. Kevin named the algae-eater “Sneaky” since it isn’t always easy to find, and the orange one “Orangey,” for obvious reasons. He’s been feeding them every day, and so far, they seem pretty happy.
Here's Orangey. I couldn't find Sneaky to take a picture today.

Hopefully they last longer than our betta fish did. In case you're curious, here is the other fish stories: Take 1 and Take 2.

There may be some good news on the foster care front! If things pan out, I'll post more tomorrow.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Dragonfly

Last Wednesday, after we had an unexpected May snowshower, Kevin and I were on the way home from preschool. Kevin was balancing on the edge of the sidewalk, when he suddenly stopped and pointed to something in the ditch. “Come here, Mom,” he said.

So, I went to look. Floating in the icy ditch water was a dragonfly. It was on its back, and its legs were curled tightly to its belly.  “Aw,” I said, “that’s too bad.”

After a moment though, I decided to pull it out of the water anyway. No dragonfly deserves to be left floating in water. Also, I just wanted to make sure it was really dead.

I gently removed it from the water with a stick. After a moment, I could have sworn I saw it move its head from side-to-side. So, I picked it up, and cupped it gently in my hands. I was hoping that warming it up would help it recover. On the way home, it remained fairly rigid, though at one point it felt like the tail flexed. I couldn't be sure though, because the wind was blowing. That might have made the dragonfly seem to move.

However, by the time we got home, the legs were reacting to being touched. So, I eased a stick under its legs and felt relieved when they all began to move. Soon, the dragonfly was sitting on the stick.  I stuck it in a jar, hoping that being inside the warmer house would revive it.

When Grig got home a few hours later, I pulled the dragonfly out, and was pleased to see that it was still gripping the branch. It still seemed sluggish, but it wasn't lying on the bottom of the jar, either. As Grig took the bug in his and and I took pictures, it suddenly took off and flew for the glass doors. It was pretty cold outside, so we caught it and put it back in the jar. We didn't want to let it go and have it freeze to death immediately.

Thursday afternoon, during the warmest part of the day, I took it out again. As I held it on my hand, its wings were vibrating, and it seemed alert. I took it outside, and in a few moments, it flew off my hands and quickly disappeared from sight. It made my day to see it fly away.

Our foster care stuff has hit a bit of a snag. The medical exam that they want us to undergo seems at this moment to be completely out of our reach. It took us a while to even find someone who does this kind of examination, and once we found someone, they quoted us a price that is way more than we can currently afford. So, we're not sure what to do next. We're going to keep calling around to see if we can find it at a better price, but if not, we may be unable to complete the process.

I was pretty frustrated for a few days. I don't like to blog when I'm frustrated or stressed, because I'd rather be a bit of sunlight on someone's internet page than another rainstorm.

I think I feel better about things though. We're doing all we can, and if this isn't meant to work out, than it won't. We would love to help foster kids, and we'll do everything we can to become certified foster parents, so if it doesn't work out, it won't be because we didn't do our best.

Sometimes you can't give up on something even when it seems like it's already dead.

At least, that's what I learned from a dragonfly.

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Snake Named Oryx

We have a beautiful snake named Oryx. He's older than Kevin, older than Arkhon, and older than Siff.

In fact, he is nearly as old as our marriage. He now five years old, and he was the first living thing that we purchased as a couple.

Right away we wanted a pet, but our first choice was out of the question. My grandparents owned the first apartment that we lived in, and we knew they would not be okay with us having a dog in our one-bedroom apartment. However, due to another tenant owning a snake, we thought that they would find that acceptable.

I grew up with tons of different kinds of reptiles around our house. My dad loves them, and I developed that love from him. I had a six foot iguana in my bedroom for a long time. Grig also loves snakes and reptiles, and it was important to both of us that our children wouldn't be afraid of snakes. So, we asked my grandparents if we could have one in the apartment, and they told us it would be acceptable. I don't think my grandma loved the idea, but Grig and I were excited. So, after our honeymoon, we ordered a snake.

We put a lot of thought into what kind of snake we wanted to buy, and what morph (coloring) it would have. We quickly decided on a corn snake, because they are low maintenance, non-aggressive, and they don't get very big.

It was important to us that our snake would never be able to eat our children.

Then, we struggled about which morph to get. At first, we were very interesting in a blood-red, because they are gorgeous, but it turned out that sometimes they are a little picky about their food. They originate from the Florida area, and because of that, they sometimes will only eat green anoles (a type of lizard). Mice are much cheaper than anoles, so we went with our second choice.

We bought a blizzard morph.

He is not an albino, though that is usually people's first guess. They actually breed them to be straight black, and then they breed the color out of them. Blizzard morphs will occasionally get yellow spots, but usually they are pure white.

However, when Oryx first arrived, he looked more like a little pink worm.

He was the perfect pet for a young couple in college. He only needed to be fed once a week and his cage needed to be cleaned about every six months. He didn't mind if we didn't play with him at all during finals.

It was awesome to watch him eat, and he was fun to hold. Though, one of the first times we skyped with Grig's parents and showed our new pet to them, he defecated all over Grig. It was pretty funny.

We named him after a type of antelope in Africa. There wasn't a really good reason behind it, we just thought it sounded cool.

Five years later, he is quite a bit bigger. I took some photos of him the other day that I wanted to show off. He's still a really easy, non-stressful pet. We order a big bag of frozen mice every couple of years, and that's it. Though every time we order, we have to get bigger mice.
He's become extremely beautiful too. Kevin loves holding him. I wouldn't say they're friends, since snakes aren't really affectionate, but he's never tried to bite our son, and we like that about him.

Oryx is kind of a dumb snake. One time, we were feeding him, and he accidentally bit himself instead of the mouse. He started thrashing violently, as though he thought the mouse was biting him, and when the dust settled, he was wrapped tightly around the mouse and the mouse's bum was sticking out of his coils.

He nosed it for a moment, looking for its head (since snakes usually eat mice head-first), and after he couldn't find it, he looked up at us, as though asking for help.
Here you can see a few yellow spots on his otherwise white scales
We laughed at him, and told him he was on his own. He ended up eating the mouse backwards.
 He's really becoming a handsome animal.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Foster Care Update and Swimming

So, I haven't been posting anything about foster care lately, because we've kind of been playing e-mail tag with the home inspector. She would e-mail us, then we would e-mail back, and then we wouldn't hear from them for a week. The people in charge had decided we needed to have one more medical examination. I guess they've been busy, because it's taken a few weeks to get the details and information that we needed.

Hopefully we'll be able to schedule that appointment today and get everything worked out.

Other than that, we've been staying busy. My friend and I have been walking over four miles every day, and things finally started warming up this week. My skin has gotten three shades darker since Monday. Today I even let Kevin play in our little toddler pool.


The water was freezing, but he didn't want to get out. Tough little guy.

He was having a great time splashing me and the dogs. They liked getting in the pool at first, but after he kept splashing them, they decided to stay away for a while. They are good sports.

Kevin finally came out when I offered him a popsicle and a towel. Then he went straight into the bathtub. After that, he put on pajamas. Guess we can all go back to bed now.

Just kidding.

Monday, April 24, 2017

An Exciting Blood Draw

*Warning* This post contains mention of blood, needles, and other things that may make some people queasy. Feel free to skip if you are one of those people. ;)

I had a blood donation scheduled for last Friday. Even from the beginning, it seemed like things were occurring to make it so I wouldn't donate. The first time, I got all ready for the appointment on the 12th. For some reason I was sure that my appointment was set for Wednesday. We were getting groceries, when I suddenly looked at my watch and realized I was late for my appointment. We hurried to the checkout line, and half way through paying for things, I decided to look at my appointment to see where the address was. To my relief, I noticed that the appointment was actually set for Friday.

So, that Friday, I was cooking dinner, and time was running out. I was making pizza, and I was trying to get ahold of my mom to see how long I was supposed to cook it. I also needed to know what temperature. However, she wouldn't answer her phone, and before I knew it, I was late for my appointment. I finally received the information I needed, and ran out to the car. I went to check the address again...only to discover that my appointment was set for the next Friday.

So, fast-forward a week. Finally, the day of my actual appointment arrived. I arrived there in plenty of time, made sure I had my rapid-pass ready to go, and sat down to wait. Nearly an hour later, I finally got into the check-in station. On the first go, my iron was too low. However, during the second stick, I passed. My appointment was for a double blood cell draw, but it was so busy, I opted for a regular appointment instead.

It took another half an hour to get on a chair, but after that, things seemed to be going smoothly. I have really good veins, and I've never had anyone unable to hit them on the first poke. The nurse was able to do so, and blood began to fill the bag. However, as the nurse went to tape the needle to my arm, I felt the needle shift. I looked down and was surprised to see that I could see the open part of the needle. That wasn't a good sign.

I quickly pointed it out to the nurse, and as she looked down, blood began to pool. She quickly grabbed a gauze to put pressure on it, but the blood continued to spread. She tried to calmly call for another nurse to bring her more gauze, bu the other nurse was busy talking to another volunteer. The blood filled the whole gauze pad, and began to run down both sides of my arm. I moved away so it didn't land on my shirt, and sometime in the midst of all this, the needle came out the rest of the way.

About that time, the other nurse finally came over, and they both put on more gauze. Eventually the bleeding stopped, but because the needle had come out and they were out of blood bags, they told me I couldn't donate anymore, so I just had to leave.

So, I got a piece of gauze taped to my arm (they were also out of band-aids). I was pretty embarrassed, and so I kept apologizing. I didn't want the nurse to feel bad either.

Anyway, she told me to take lots of snacks, so I did.

All in all, it turned out to be the most unsuccessful blood donation I've ever been to. Aside from the embarrassment though, I trust that there's some good reason that I wasn't able to donate blood this week.