No dogs, no cats, and certainly nothing that resembles a mouse (i.e., actual mouse, gerbil, or the like). I'd get the kid a pony if only we had a stable. Snakes are super creepy, turtles are ridiculous looking and require no further comment. But when Andy asked if he could have a goldfish....
"Yes!" I proclaimed, smiling beatifically down at my eager-faced four year old. "Yes, I see nothing wrong with a fish! A fish sounds like a perfect pet!"
I told Chris to go out and get the boys a fish while I was at work. "Okay, if you're sure about this," Chris replied doubtfully. At this point, I should have read the tone in my husband's voice a little better, or at least clarified that we were on the same page as to what getting a goldfish meant.
Here's what I had pictured. A little bowl fulled with tap water containing a single orange fish that would hopefully die in about a month or so. Total cost: $7.
Eight hours later, here's what I came home to. Two goldfish swimming around in a mansion of a fish tank, an entire fish tank system, complete with those little colored rocks and some expensive looking fake foliage and a jar of fish food that contained BROWN RICE, SALMON, AND SPRING VEGETABLES! It was the cat situation all over again. Except we'd actually gone through with it, and now Chris' wallet was $65 lighter and I'd basically worked all day not to add to our savings or pay a pitiful portion of our ridiculous cable bill but to get fish.
"Look at our new fish!" Andy squealed when I got home as he and Alex clambered up onto the chair that is now permanently pushed in front of the fish tank. "I named my fish Goldie and Alex named his iPad!"
"iPad the fish?" I repeated.
"Alex named it after the thing he loves most in the world," Chris helpfully explained. "And just so you know, goldfish can live up to thirty years and this gigantic fish tank is actually a little too small so we'll have to invest in a bigger one soon."
"I was picturing a little glass bowl," I said slowly, a small nugget of anger and regret starting to form in my chest as I had a vision of myself still buying fish food for these creatures when I'm in my sixties. "And the kind of fish that we'd just flush down the toilet in a couple weeks or so, after the boys got sick of it. Can I look at that receipt again? You spent how much on rocks???"
So that was a couple weeks ago. Andy and Alex are excited to feed Goldie and iPad every morning and evening, oftentimes spilling fish flakes all over the carpet, and Andy has a fishy way of saying hello to them, his own lips puckered up fish style. Alex is proud of his pet, too, and they know which fish belongs to who. Since getting the fish, despite how desperately boring they are, Andy and Alex have spent time watching them and have ceased asking for a puppy or any other much more interesting animal. You may ask, was this alone worth the start up costs of $65? I really don't think so. But now we have fish and every once in a while when I peek in on them in their tank, I get the impression that the one called iPad is giving me the stink eye.
You think you're better than me, fish?