get ich quick


Ladies and gents, allow me to introduce Hank and Ankle. Named by Lucy before they were even brought home, both Hank and his friend Ankle are carassius auratus, known to you and me as goldfish. Hank, the large orange one, is a Western Fantail related to the Japanese ryukin, and Ankle is a telescope-eyed Black Moor. They would both like you to know two things: they are relatives of the Carp family, and when they get together, they aren’t a “school,” they’re a “troubling” (which they – and I – think is really cool).

I come from a very long and storied line of pet-keeping, and I’ve been chomping at the bit for Lucy to have a pet since she was about three weeks old. Therapists like to say that having kids allows parents to relive (or re-cast) their own childhoods, and I always wanted fish, but never got them. HA!

These days taking care of fish is so much easier than it was in the ’70s when I was a little brat eating orange Push-Ups. The filtration systems don’t use that horrible cotton shoved into the pumps anymore, and you can get rid of any water problems or “ick” with a few drops of solution. The system above – the Eclipse 12-gallon tank – even has a spinning “good bacteria” wheel that means you only change 25% of the water every few weeks.

Lucy loves Hank & Ankle with the dedication of most Americans to their TV shows: that is, she wants a good swath of time inventing stories about them before her attention span demands distraction. However, the person benefiting most is probably me.

At night, I’m able to sit on the couch in front of Hank & Ankle and stare into the water for vast stretches of time, the kind of zen-like trance that can happen at a campfire or an ocean. They were originally bought to give Lucy the inchoate first chapter of “taking responsibility for other beings,” and I’m sure that’s sinking in somewhere, but those two little dudes have accidentally provided me with something stronger: unexpected peace of mind.

0 thoughts on “get ich quick

  1. Killian

    LOVE the frog aerating-thing!! What IS it? Remember Mac screensavers “flyingtoast” and “fish”? I was all over the Zen of the fish. And when I decided to tackle my bulimia in earnest, I got myself some REAL fish. They are the greatest teachers in the world about eating: they eat when they are hungry, and then they are done. period. The flakes that float to the bottom were the key to my cure. People often mock me when they ask, “do you have pets?” and I answer, “Yes, fish,” but Ian, you are right–you and Lucy will reeap eNORmous benefits from our finned friends. Shout out to Hank and Ankle!!

  2. Susan

    We just set up our Eclipse 20-something gallon tank. My son loves it too! I’ve never had fish either. My son’s favorites are the “sucker fish”…the ones that attach themselves to the glass and eat all the algae. The correct name escapes me right now. Love the tank though…it is super quiet.

  3. Anne

    “Hank and Ankle” would be a good name for a band. :-) Lucy sure has a way with words. Hmmm, wonder where she got that…. *cough*Ian and Tessa*cough*.

  4. Bozoette Mary

    Damn! Anne beat me to it – Hank & Ankle would definitely be a good name for a band. When my son was Lucy’s age, he named his goldfish “Attitude Ox.” I shit you not.

  5. Sean

    Really? I ask for a Barno/Lucy blog and I get a video of FISH.
    Yes, I know, you posted it on your blog. Lucy and Barnaby just spent a weekend together and we got tons of video and pics of it, and you chose instead to post a video of a fish… I understand, that’s damn near inexcusable, but DUDE.
    Maybe you’re just a natural filmmaker. I don’t know.
    I just don’t know what to say.

  6. Steph Mineart

    Hmmm. Those are good names. Lucy’s a natural. I refrained from naming the latest round of goldfish, because the first two sets (Ahab and Ishmael, Starbuck and Queequeg) died promptly after being named.

  7. Tanya

    I’d like to dedicate the decaffeinated iced tea that is now dripping from my monitor to Bozoette Mary and “Attitude Ox.” Holy CRAP, that is STILL cracking me up!
    Because I am overly practical and pragmatic, Ian, how are you going to work the fish into your bi-coastal lifestyle? Who keeps the fish when you’re in California? Are you taking them with you? (or, if you’re in Calif., what happens when you go to NY?)
    These are the things I think about…
    p.s. I am the proud, former owner of about a dozen neon tetra that lived for about a thousand years. Certainly from early elementary school through high school.

  8. salem's little sister

    My freshman year at Carolina, Salem took me to the State Fair in Raleigh. I played the ping pong ball toss game and not only won a fish, but the grand prize of a bowl, some rocks AND fish food. I named my fish Weenie in honor of the approaching Halloween although my room-mate always told people another origin for the name. Anyway . . . Weenie had several close calls with going belly up, but our homemade remedies of beer, chocolate specks and once a tortilla chip always seemed to revive him. Weenie made it through my freshman year, summered with me at home in Charlotte and we returned to school for a second year and an apartment at Mill Creek. Fall came and went and it was time to go home for Christmas. I carefully drained Weenie’s bowl to just enough water to cover his little gold body for the trip home. My boyfriend and I packed the car, making sure to bring Weenie out with us so as not to be forgotten and placed his bowl on the roof of my car. With our bags carefully stowed, we made our way out of the parking lot and waited in the driveway for Airport Rd. to clear. A car pulled up behind us and began to honk. I looked hatefully in my rearview mirror and motioned that we were waiting for the way to clear. The driver honked again and I gestured with a certain finger to please be patient. The road cleared and as I punched it out of the driveway to prove my toughness to the driver behind me, I heard the sound of glass screatching down my roof. I hit the breaks only to see purple rocks and water cascade down my rear windshield. We drove slowly away, leaving the scene of my horrible fish-slaughter by motor vehicle. Why didn’t that girl point to my roof? Why didn’t my boyfriend remember to put my fish in the car? Alas, it was not meant to be and I’ve never had another fish. My former room-mate even memorialized Weenie in a short film she made as a RTVMP major. Jim Rash and I starred as a couple trying to make a wedding cake and then get it to the church on time. We put it on the roof of our car and you know the rest of the story. RIP Weenie.

  9. jje

    Okay, seriously? I sooo get this blog today! LOL! We have two dogs and a cat (lazy critters that still don’t exactly want much to do with the new guy in the pack), but I have been dying for Connor to have something cool of his own.
    I started with Sea Monkeys, because I’ve alway had a thing for ’em. But the problem was that A) they were too damn small for Connor to really see and “get” and B) I have issues with keeping them alive. For whatever reason, and this happens every.single.time, I tend to end up with one li’l Monkey with a remarkably tenacious will to live (I think the last one, Guilliame, held on for about four months). Not terribly exciting.
    So I found this at Learning Express about two months ago:
    The frog on display at the store was about as big as my hand, so I have high hopes this is going to rock C’s world. We haven’t ordered our tadpole yet – we’ve been waiting forever for the temps to stay consistently in the 70s.
    When he’s a little bit older, we’ll get an ant farm and a butterfly kit. Ooh, and maybe ladybugs.
    Oh, and SLS, I feel your pain. I had a beta fish named Chili my freshman year at Carolina. He committed suicide. Just woke up one morning and there he was, taking a dirt nap beside the bowl. Sad times.
    Of course, then there was my evil roommate during my junior year, who decided it would be delightful to uproot the plants and kill the fishies in my super badass ecolarium while I was in class. She’s now an attorney. Me, I start shaking any time I see somebody who looks like her.
    Hmm, perhaps this is why I’m skipping fish altogether…


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