Go Fish

I have had a freshwater fish tank nearly all of my life. It started with some guppies when I was really young and has progressed through various houses and setups. Not too long ago all of my fish died, save the plecostomus, who was enormous and continued to grow even when he was already too big for the tank. He eventually reached the point where he couldn’t turn around in the tank without coming out of the water, and then he died. He was about eight years old at that point, which is at the low end of average for these fish, but considering he was about 11 inches long and living in a 40 gallon tank, that was probably a good age. He really couldn’t have lived much longer or gotten much larger.

So stuff happened, I tried to get the tank going again, but then the filter died and I was left with one miserable little cory catfish trying to survive. I bought a new filter, changed 50% of the water, treated the tank with water conditioners, and let it cycle for about two days before I added new fish.

All but one of the new fish have died, and the cory is still going strong. I tested the water (which I realize I should have done before introducing the new fish) and the nitrate level is insanely high, the water is hard, and it’s very acidic. I keep trying to bring the acidity down and it’s improving, but it’s not there yet. I don’t know how to get the nitrates down any faster. I’m going to do another water change tomorrow and see if that helps at all.

The problem then is getting more fish. I don’t want to go back to the aquarium store and admit that I messed up and my fish died. I’m already riddled with guilt about not testing first and killing off five innocent mollies.

I don’t miss the gym

We haven’t been to the gym since before Thanksgiving. Kittiboi hurt himself on Thanksgiving (it involved the dog park and a very large rock) and as soon as he started feeling a little bit better from that it was finals and he was spending pretty much every waking moment studying, researching, and finalizing the papers that were due.

Now his semester is over and I’m on vacation from work and he thinks it’s time to go back to the gym.

Except I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I’m sleeping well, my mood’s marginally better, nothing hurts….

We’re gonna go back to the gym tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.

Tis The Season?

Finances have been a little bit strained here. Kittiboi’s schoolin’ is eating up available funds. There’s a link to our GoFundMe page over on the side. He’s got one more semester at the community college level and then it’s off to a four year school. We’ve got what we need for financial aid, but whether he gets it is still an unknown. So the holiday is going to be not exactly festive for us — not that it’s ever really festive, but this year we’re not really able to get anything for people. I probably shouldn’t have done the whole “knit everyone stuff” a few years ago, because that means it’s not an option this time around (except for my mom, who seems to be happy to get knit stuff whenever I have something she likes (unless she’s lying)).

The animals are doing well. Bab and JD, the cats we fostered over Thanksgiving, are still at the PetValu in Mt Vernon. They’ll come here for Christmas if they aren’t adopted by then. And I really hope they’re adopted by then because it’s getting harder and harder to resist them. Bab was mad at me today, but after a while decided he forgave me and we had a nice time snuggling. JD was just happy to see me. If we have to bring them back into this house it’s going to be impossible to send them away again and there is no way we can afford two more cats in this house, so please, people of Baltimore and surrounding areas, if you’re looking for two fantastic cats, go check them out. You can also contact me if you want more information about them.

Charlotte is still dealing with her acid reflux problem, but the medication seems to keep it mostly under control. Some days are better than others, and she’s still a tiny little thing (she’s still under 5 lbs and she’s over a year old), but it looks like we’ve gotten through the worst of it.

Owen has decided he wants to be Rita’s best friend. Rita is a cat that doesn’t like anyone or anything, so Owen’s plan seems to be “hang around with her as much as possible until she forgets she doesn’t like him.” It seems to be working. She doesn’t automatically hiss when she sees him, and she’ll even let him touch her a few times before getting upset. Owen, Charlotte, and Rita have all started sleeping near each other. Well. Owen and Charlotte regularly sleep on top of each other anyhow.

Charlotte’s also getting a little more tolerant of Cardiff. One day she’ll realize he’s made of Warm and that’ll be it. Of course that’ll be the same day Cardiff decides he’s had enough of her. He likes the chase.

Cardiff seems to be allergic to bananas. He has dehydrated banana chip dog treats and after he eats them he gets incredibly itchy. It’s so fantastic. My dog has my allergies. When they say pets and their people start to resemble each other, that’s probably not what they had in mind.

Me? I’ve got to make an appointment with an ENT because I have weird hearing. I can’t hear people when they’re standing right in front of me, yet I can hear conversations much further away. Farther? Whatever. It’s annoying and I’m probably irritating a lot of people by constantly saying “Sorry, I can’t hear you” over and over again. I’m not holding out much hope of anyone having an answer about the ear thing though. I tend to have problems that don’t make sense. This is what happens when you’re not actually from this planet.

And in case you’re wondering…. yes, I have a Wishlist.

Eight-by-Twelve Four-bit Room

Steeb-the-Roommate has basically moved out. Most of his stuff is still here until he and his future husband get a place with a lot of room. So there’s a big room in the house that’s not doing anything. Until this week.

Kittiboi and I both volunteer at BARCS. He does intake when his school schedule allows and I socialize cats. Mostly what we do is go to the Pet Valu on Charles Street to take care of the adoptable cats that live there.

The store is going to be closed for Thanksgiving. It’ll be one day only, but the cats get to go to foster homes for a few days. It gives them a chance to live outside their cage, get a little more peace and quiet, and it means that they won’t be left alone for 24 hours (and no one who works at the store has to go in on a holiday).

One cat has gone to fosters already. One of them has been at the store for almost two months and went early to get a nice, long break. There are two at the store now, and Kittiboi will pick them up on Wednesday. They’re a bonded pair, so they have to be kept together. Bab and JD will stay in Steeb’s room Wednesday to Sunday morning. They’ll get some time to sleep on Steeb’s bed, stretch their legs, and nap in the sun.

I know that right now mom’s out there, shaking her head and assuming we’ve just got two more cats. There is no chance we’ll keep them. Bab and JD aren’t a good fit for our house. This is just helping out because everyone who normally fosters is already full and doesn’t have the space for two more cats, even for a few days.

Our cats are not going to like this. But last time I checked, they weren’t paying the mortgage.

Anyhow, it’s nice to have Steeb’s room available to do this. It makes things a lot easier for all the other volunteers and the cats will enjoy it.

I am Nicer in the Winter

I’ve always said “I’m out of balance until the clocks go back in the fall” every time we do the “spring forward thing.” It started out as a joke, but there’s truth in it. I’m actually nicer in the autumn and winter.

I’ve never been a hot weather person. Beaches and tropical vacations don’t interest me. That’s something that’s always been true. Once it gets colder and the clock “falls back” I’m a lot more mellow and easy-going. It struck me the other day that I’m a lot less stressed about things right now. Nothing has changed, but the things that bothered me in August are tolerable now. I still don’t like going to the gym, but it doesn’t seem like such a death sentence now. I wake up at 6:45 and my first thought isn’t “oh shit”. I’m not happy to get out of bed, but it’s just a thing I have to do and not punishment.

I need to live somewhere the temperature never gets above 72 degrees. It’d be great if it would never go below 30, but I’m willing to bundle up if I never have to deal with the heat again.

Halloweening

I’m going to a Halloween party this year. It’s the first time in… four or five years? Here’s the problem. I don’t have a costume. If you look at the date of this post, it’s October 30. Tomorrow is Halloween. The party is on November 1st.

Yeah.

The invitation to the party arrived late. I wasn’t sure we would even go because of Kittiboi’s school schedule, but he’s ahead of the game in a few classes, and keeping up just fine in the rest, so he won’t need the whole weekend to study. Anyhow, long story short: me, costume, no.

I’ve been trying to come up with cheap and easy things that could count as a costume. So far I’ve come up with the following:

  1. A Wessen from Grimm — when asked where my costume is I can Woge. When the person says “You don’t look any different” I can say “Oh, you’re not a Grimm so you wouldn’t see it.”
  2. Bernard Black from Black Books — although this one’s really better suited for Kittiboi.
  3. A Goth — but that’s technically cheating, since the only difference between a Goth and Everyday-me is makeup and hairspray.

So basically, I have nothing.

Flex Time

So here’s a thing I haven’t mentioned — I’m trying to lose weight. I know, I know… almost everyone is these days. But I’m doing it as part of a challenge at work so I’m keeping track of things like what I eat and when I exercise and trying to make small changes. I’ve stopped putting cream(er) in my coffee every time. This is actually impressive because I drink a LOT of coffee. Mostly I put cream(er) in because I like the taste. But I’m happy enough drinking coffee black, and that means when I do get that latte or Starbucks “macchiato” it’s not as bad. And I maybe appreciate it more.

Except, you know, probably not because I’m really only after the caffeine. Especially since as part of this thing I’ve also given up soda.

Anyhow, it’s working and apparently the “no soda/no cream(er)” thing was really all that it took because nothing else has changed — I’m still (grudgingly) going to the gym a few times a week — and I’ve lost eleven pounds since August first. Literally the only changes have been the no soda thing and the skipping of the cream(er) most of the time.

Oh, and one other change. I’ve started logging what I eat just out of curiosity (because why is it suddenly working now, when it hasn’t for the past year?) and just about a week ago I made one more small change.

I officially started eating meat again. I am officially moving my peg from the “Vegetarian” column to the “Flexitarian” column.

Kittiboi — the partner-in-crime — is vegan. I’ve been predominantly vegetarian for the entire length of time we’ve known each other. I would occasionally have things with meat in them when he wasn’t around. I still counted myself as vegetarian because a good 99% of what I ate was vegetarian (and about 50% of that was vegan). Then I started logging what I was eating and I realized I was getting a LOT of carbs. I was also getting very little fat and very little protein (eggs and cheese and peanut butter only go so far). The multivitamins weren’t covering everything, I wasn’t losing weight, and it was frustrating.

Two weeks ago I decided that meat needed to be a more regular thing. Chicken or Turkey. Although with two stories in the news recently about bulls escaping the slaughterhouse, I’m probably not going to eat red meat ever again because the only thing that makes me cry is stories about animals dying. Also, vegan “beef” gravy is good. Vegan “chicken” and “turkey” gravy is not.

I’m still going to keep using whey powder to add protein (mix it with vanilla Greek-style yogurt! It’s like eating cake batter!) and eating meat isn’t going to be an everyday thing, but it’s nice to have a few lunch options that aren’t some sort of pasta-and-cheese combination, or rice-and-vegetable thing because that gets boring.