Monday, March 5, 2012

New stuff

We upgraded from a 10-gallon fish tank to a 20-gallon fish tank this weekend and I have to say that our family may be way more excited about it than we should be.  But the fish are really excited about it too.  Right now we only have two fish and they are really old (for fish).  One is Catfish (who is a ... well, a catfish) and the other is Katie who is a Tetra.  The last surviving member of Team Tetra: Alex, Julie, Jack and Katie (for comic book geeks yes, they were named after the Power Pack). 

We had two catfish about four years ago, then we got an algae eater.   We didn't realize that algae eaters are really aggressive.  We just thought he liked the catfish cause he was always swimming right now to them and "cuddling up with them". Doh. Ignorant fish owners.  Algae Eater (yes, that was his name) harrassed one of the cat fish so badly that he managed to jump out of the tank through the small hole in the lid next to the air filter.  We found him dead on the floor one morning.  So, we went to the pet store and they suggested we get a "school" of fish and we brought home Team Tetra and they put algae eater in his place.  Over the course of four years the other three Tetras died out but Katie is still hanging on.  And she's doing much better now that she has a giant, super clean tank.  Before she was hanging out in one of the rock structures and never came out.  And I think it's because the tank was much filthier than we realized because when I switched them over it occurred to me we hadn't cleaned the tank since we moved - which was a year ago.  Ooops.  Bad, bad fish owners.

I really like fish.  I like watching the way they swim and it's a meditative exercise for me to just sit and watch them swim and listen to the bubbles from the air pump.  I've always been drawn to water and I don't think I'd be happy living in the desert because one of my favorite things in nature is seeing the tiny little fish swimming around the shallow parts of lakes or swimming around in creeks.

In other news, I start my new job today.  And as per perfect timing my babysitter and her daughter are sick.  Luckily, with the timing of my duties, I can bring the boy I'm tutoring with me to pick up my daughter after school and I can bring her back to work with me.  That might even be better because my new boss and I have some office work to go over and my first activity for the kids is going to be writing story problems for each other to solve.  So, maybe it actually works better this way.  I'm trying not to be too nervous but whenever I go into a new endeavor I'm always kind of a nervous wreck no matter how comfortable and nice the new situation appears to be.

And in horse news my daughter took her first riding lesson since last June yesterday.  I was wondering if she would've forgotten everything but she did really well.  Trainer K. had made a comment once that the girl who I bought Toad from wasn't even as good a rider as my daughter and I had thought "My tiny, delicate little 7-year old daughter doesn't really know how to ride - she's too young and tiny!"  But watching her lesson yesterday and seeing her up on a full size horse (Tasha ... sweetest old mare in the world when it comes to lessons for beginners!) I realized she's still tiny and only 8 years old, but she still knows how to ride a little bit.  She's very much a beginner but she has an idea of the basics and can hold her own.

Trainer K. doesn't have any lesson horses or ponies of her own.  She has two clients who let her use their horses for lessons but they are full size horses (Tasha is around 15.1 hands).  We are looking at leasing a pony named Sugar but we're waiting until the owner has a saddle for her and stuff like that.  Then my daughter can take lessons on her.  But she did well on Tasha even though her legs barely hit Tasha's side below the saddle.  She said she wanted to be on the lunge line and after five minutes Trainer K. said, "Are you sure you want this? You don't need it," and my daughter said "Yes!" but I noticed five minutes later somehow Trainer K. had made the lunge line disappear.  She put it back on by my daughter's request for when they did some trotting and after a bit Trainer K. said, "Is this fun or is it scary?" and my daughter announced, "Fun!"  Afterward she said that Tasha was way easier to ride than the ponies.  I agree.  I didn't feel like I had my heart in my throat the whole time like I did when she was riding Tiny - the demon Shetland.  Tiny is the sweetest little pony on the ground when the kids are grooming her but under saddle ... good lord.  She drove me nuts watching my daughter fight with her and get thrown off or having to hang on when Tiny bolted with her.  I *know* that is the point of ponies and that is how kids learn but it was still hard to watch as the mom. 

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