Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tales from the Tank #34

This is the story of Billy Joe and Bobby Sue....Opps...I mean semi-empty nesters with nothin better to do.....

It all began a few years ago in a concession stand at one of the local high schools.  We used to sell those giant dill pickles, you know the ones. One day the physical trainer caught me dumping out the pickle juice and said "Stop! Don't throw that out. We could use it for when student athletes cramp up". So we began supplying the athletic trainers with giant jars of pickle juice.


Apparently there have been many studies on the subject and until recently, I kinda had forgotten about the whole incident until I noticed our pickles slices in the fridge were getting kinda dried out.

Then low and behold I found out why. There in the kitchen was my husband Terry, drinking the pickle juice out of the jar.  "What are you doing!" I exclaimed.  "I had a leg cramp." he replied.  "So you just come to the fridge and drink the pickle juice", I asked. "Yep. If it works for athletes, it will work for me" he replied. "Why can't you just eat the pickles too?" was the next question.  "I'm not hungry", was his answer.

Go figure.

So, a couple weeks ago, yes....we started thinking about how to create pickle juice without the pickles. It's impossible. Oh you can create the brine - but the taste is pretty horrible (trust me). I threw that out.   So last weekend, while at our local grocery store, I bought the Mrs..somebody's dill pickle mix and some cucumbers.

How hard can it be right? I see people posting photos of stuff they've grown and canned. Last summer I  taught myself how to can salsa. Pickles had to be pretty easy.

I must say I am kinda proud of myself - I just followed the directions and am now the proud owner of five pint jars of pickles - and they don't taste half bad and the juice is actual pickle juice.

I'll let you try some, but you only get the pickle. I have to keep the juice for the dude that drinks it in the middle of the night.

Til later.....

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tales From The Tank #33

Dear Diary...I mean blog...

It's been one year since my last post. It's not that a lot hasn't happened.  It's just that I haven't taken the time to write any of it down.

In a nutshell...we re-did the yard for a backyard BBQ rehearsal dinner. Finished restoring our very own popcorn popper/with cart! Actually sold a fish tank. Our oldest son got married.  Our youngest son had some health issues. We experienced our last college football season watching the youngest play. I had surgery. Terry found out he has high blood pressure. Hosted a surprise birthday party for a good friend. I realized I am a bad parent because none of the pictures of the kids are organized  - so I am now figuring out how to create scrapbooks.  Finally culminating in the major event of this week.

The dog pooped her diaper.

What? Your dog wears diapers? Seriously?

Well yes. You see I am also a bad dog parent.  Sophie has not been spayed and now, as an eight year old, I can't see the need.  It's not like she ever goes on a date, so we don't need to worry about "teen" pregnancy issues or anything.  But twice a year, she has to wear a doggie diaper with a sanitary pad.

This is where the story begins....she woke us up at 3 a.m. this past Wednesday.  Terry yelled at her to "go lay back down".  I think she did, but then I heard something so I got up at around 3:30, and once I get out of bed, she gets up, (sometimes she sleeps in Matt's room).  Before I even got to the kitchen and turned on the light, I could smell it. Really smell it. And then I stepped on something squishy.  Yep. Just like a two year old, she blew out the side.  Yuck right?

So, I cleaned up that spot, (and my foot, but not in that order), and then took off the diaper and let her outside.  Now what do I do?  I grabbed a couple plastic grocery bags, sort of shook out the rest of it and then tied the bag shut and put it outside. It was garbage pick up day, so I figured I'd put it in the garbage bin once I got back from gym class at 6:30. I then took the icky diaper downstairs and washed it out.

But wait!   I should check her. Well, needless to say, by 4 am, she was getting a "sponge bath", I had found two more spots in the living room, and by 4:30, I was cleaning carpet and searching for more piles of poop.

By 5 a.m. I had to leave the house for class, and when I got home, I was greeted by a very upset husband. "Why the hell didn't you tell me she @#$# in the house?!!"  Well, I put it outside and was going to put it in trash, and I kinda ran out of time.  "Well just so you know, I had to put the bags of @#$@# you had in the back yard (poop picked up on Sunday) in the garbage, and I grabbed that one, and had to try and smash it down, but the smell was so bad there is now bacon and eggs in the yard by the fence."  EWE.

I'll clean up the poop, but regurgitated bacon and eggs is something else entirely.

"There's also a smell downstairs, you better make sure she didn't poop anywhere else".  GEEZ.

After investigating, (apparently sometime after I left for class), she decided to pee in front of the TV.  Now I have to rent the "Big Green Machine" and clean the carpets this weekend.

Apparently she did not go back to bed...and...

No Matt, she did not poop on your bed.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tales from the Tank #31

Dear Friends and Followers,
I've been a little remiss.  There is one member of our "tank" family that has gotten very little attention in this blog.  His name is Loki. He is not a fish.

Loki is a spotted leopard gecko and came to us via our son Matt, who adopted/purchased Loki a couple Christmas seasons ago when he was home on break. When moving Matt back into the dorms a year ago, he said, "Can you take him home - trying to get worms is hard (no pet stores in Pella), and I just am not going to have time during football to really care for him properly".  Because I am such a great Mom, I said "Yes, of course!  What do I have to do?" 

(I think I have the word SUCKER tattooed on my forehead - it's only visiable to my children - and husband). LOL

Loki lives in a 10 gallon tank (yep fish tank people), no water required - except in his food dish, and then it should get a squirt of this blue stuff - to lesson the amount of fluride/chlorine in the water. UGH- wait ... that's no different that treating the water for the fish - just a different chemical.

He has a nice rock to sleep under, and a "matching" water pool and a couple of fake plastic plants for "atmosphere".  He used to have a green mat (called a substrate), but I have removed it for the time being (more on this later).

All we really needed to do was change his water and feed him worms and crickets.  EWE....live feeding.  Ok, so after the first few worms, it wasn't so bad.  I get to use these giant tweezers (about 12 inches long) and I don't have to really touch anything.  At one pet store we were told that crickets were like the "potato chips" of the lizard world, so you don't want to feed them just crickets.  Other pet stores tell you to feed them crickets...blah blah blah. Really?  can anyone ever have the same opinion?  So where does one turn to for more complete and concise information? YEP, the internet. Because we believe EVERYTHING that is on the internet right? It can't be there unless it's true.

The great thing about the internet is that eventually you find a blog that will seem as though that person is having the same problems you are!

Problems you ask? What problems?

Everything has been going along swimmingly (pun intended) with Loki - he would eat in the evening, sleep during the day, drink a little water, shed his skin every few weeks, and poop just enough so I'd have to clean the tank....Rinse and repeat.

Until a month or so ago.  He stopped eating.  No matter what I tried, he just wouldn't eat.  So the research began.

1. He's probably bored with his food - give him more crickets.
2. That means twice weekly trips to the pet store - because I am NOT going to buy a cricket keeper, cricket food etc., just to keep from going to the pet store. I was NOT bringing bugs into the house. Yep I found my pet limit.
3. He could be full - because I found out the hard way - they eat their shed (translated  = they eat their skin after it falls off). GROSS
4. Matt - "as long as he has a fat tail" he's ok. That's where they store their fat and they can live for quite a while off their fat stores.  WHY doesn't that work for me?
5. He could be impacted - code word for constipated (really? and here I thought only fish and people got constipated). This can happen if they eat food that's too large. (Crickets anyone?)
6. So you go out and buy this powder stuff - called "Repti Boost" which you feed with a syringe, because you don't want this gecko to die on your watch- cause your kid will never forgive you.
(and let me tell you - trying to feed a gecko with a syringe is NOT easy).
7. At least he's not slimy to hold.
8. He could be in "Brumation". which is another fancy pet word for hibernation (and they don't eat during brumation) - go figure.
9. Apparently they can sense the change in seasons. Come on spring/summer!

Of course, when asking the pet professionals, their recommendation is to visit a pet health professional.

I am NOT taking a $30 dollar lizard to the vet. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tales from the Tank #30


In the last couple days, we've lost two of the larger fish we have in two different tanks. Weird.

Tonight I came home and was getting started on the laundry when I decided to turn the light on the tank downstairs, turn on the Xmas music and plug in the tree.

And what to my wandering eyes should appear ? but a blue large cichlid floating nose down - stuck between the log house and the tank.  OH NO! not another dead fish?

I quickly sent Terry a text " Dead Fish - downstairs - large blue".

So I rushed upstairs to get a net - and then back down to fish it out of the tank.  I took it into the bathroom we have downstairs, and plopped it into the toilet.

OMG...he started splashing! He's still alive! I had to fish him out of the toilet!

Then I grabbed the first bowl I could find and ran some water in it and then plopped him into that. At first he started to swim upside down so then I put a little salt in the water and ran back upstairs to grab the green peas.

By the time Terry got home from his union meeting - he was gone.  I probably gave him heart failure dropping him from a warm 72 degree tank - into the icy white waters of the porcelain lake. Well, at least he got to go out with all his fins and eyeballs in tack. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tales from the Tank #29

There are reasons people who work in pet stores are "experts".

If you have been a regular reader, you know that in addition to our tropical fish, we have become caretakers of Matthew's gecko.

The other night I posted on Facebook "@ Matt Schrafel" if your silly lizard dies, it won't be because I haven't tried to feed it. 

A few seconds later my phone goes "Whoo Hoo - Somebody sent you a text message" (yep it really says that).  Matt was texting "Is he really gonna die???"

Well of course not - you know how Moms react when little ones don't eat...we panic. 

A facebook friend posted "have you tried crickets".  Well no, I was lead to believe that crickets were the potato chips of the gecko world...and full of fat...fat.. fat.

So tonight I went to the pet store. Low and behold there were two people at the lizard display and I started asking questions. (I'm good at questions).

Q1.  I have a gecko that hasn't eaten in four days. Response "Is he thin" "Does he look sickly".
 (to myself I say "don't all lizards look sickly?)

Q2. Someone recommended crickets.  Response "crickets or worms...he could be getting ready to shed his skin - when the do that they get a little lazy" (to myself I say - yeah and they have to make room in their tummy because apparently they eat their shedded skin - EWE). And people don't think the Internet is educational!

Q3. Do I really need to give him a "bedding" area under his rock? Response = It helps them shed their skin and keep them hydrated.

I also indicated that during my research,  (lizard blogs - go figure),  I read that if they drink and poop then they are "eating".  Well, I told the gals, he's been drinking - but there is no new poop...so I know he's not eating.

THEN I found out - they are not supposed to have "tap water"...too many chemicals, blah blah blah...he's been on tap water for 2 years. 

I walked out of the store with the gecko water conditioner, moss for his bedding, and 10 crickets. Then a stop at the grocery store for more "spring water". 

I warned him as I stripped the tank....ok Loki, you are getting an "extreme home makeover".

Everything comes out of the tank, I wash the green carpet, tear off some moss, wet it down (to create humidity), put the new "treated" spring water in the pot...and drop in the 10 unsuspecting crickets (and put the top on quickly).

OMG...I just gave Loki has a new nickname...Elmer Fudd.  "a huntin cricwets we will go". 
( I have video coverage...but due to technical issues...I can't get it to upload). Stay tuned.....

Tales from the Tank #28

Wiggler Update 12-06-2012

There aren't any.

By the time we decided to "separate" the babies from the parents - there were just a few left. They were so small they could get past the tank divider.

A little past the "caviar" stage for the other fish in the tank, but they were probably still a scrumptious snack!

It was still an amazing thing to watch.