The traditional gift for the nineteenth wedding anniversary is bronze.
My husband got me a fish tank.
He pointed to goldfish swimming in the corner, and said, “See? This one looks sort of bronze.”
I think it was more of a Ph imbalance in the tank causing the discoloration, but I digress. The point is we are not fish people. We had a brief and tragic experience with a beta we won at a carnival after which our fishing license was permanently revoked. I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that my husband doesn’t know me AT ALL after two decades to warrant such an inappropriate gift. If he’s going to spend $350 on something that swims, it better be my bar tab at the pool bar at the JW Marriott.
He gave me the line, “but this is something the kids can take care of on their own,” which upon uttering hundreds of angelfish shuddered and lost their fins.
To their credit, they tried. The toddler “fed” the fish. By dumping the entire contents of the fish food bottle into the tank. This put visibility at .06 millimeters and a toxic glow emitting from the glass.
So we cleaned it. And by we, I mean me. Removing the ceramic Spongebob housing which must have recently gone co-op since all of the fish hid inside the pineapple under the sea, I proceeded to empty, rinse, and repeat before putting the fish back into the tank, ignoring my instinct to put them out of my misery by flushing them into the Cumberland river.
While the water was somewhat improved, it was still slightly gauzy, so I decided to buy another fish--one that is biologically engineered to clean tanks such as this. Choking back the vomit that had formed in the back of my mouth at the mere thought of this, I went back to the fish store and got said cleaner fish. And another bottle of food flakes.
The check-out girl said, “You have goldfish, eh?”
“Yes. Very dirty goldfish.”
She nodded in agreement. “You know they go a lot.”
“Ah, defecate? Goldfish defecate a lot more than other fish.”
Another choke back of bile. “Really? I thought maybe mine just had overactive colons--I was going to tell them to lay off the bran muffins.”
After scolding me for feeding my fish baked goods, I went home and dumped the cleaner fish into the dump. Of, ahem, dump.
A more cynical wife might say that my husband got me scat for our anniversary, but I’d like to think it was unintentional.
Besides, with next year being our twentieth and the traditional gift of china, I don’t want him buying me a panda.
We all know what they do in the woods.
(Cross-posted at Suburbandiva.com)