“Philip needs a fish tank,” Peter says
The first time Peter identified this “necessity,” I pointed out our one-year-old son’s joy of climbing. The second time, I cited our two-year-old’s pleasure in throwing objects. I knew that Philip enjoyed looking at fish in public, but I refused to purchase any for our home.
“Let’s wait until he’s older.”
Peter asked again around Philip’s third birthday. I said no.
He asked before Philip’s fourth birthday. I said no.
The matter was dropped until I put the reality show Tanked in our Netflix queue. I had no one to blame but myself when, after watching customized aquariums being built, Peter reminded me that Philip needed a fish tank.
Worn down, I finally agreed to buy one for Philip’s fifth birthday in September.
Time passes and I ask Peter what he wants for his birthday in April.
“A fish tank.”
“I thought we were getting one for Philip’s birthday.”
“Well, buy one for me and then I’ll give it to him.”
It dawns on me that Philip never really needed a fish tank.
Peter picked out a five-gallon tank that he said it came with everything he needed but the fish. I ordered it online with this caveat:
“You are in charge of this,” I told him. “I’ll take care of the dog, but you are responsible for the fish.”
Even I was a little excited when the tank was delivered on Saturday. We carefully opened the box and slid out the tank.
There was a crack in the glass.
We immediately repacked the tank and went to the store to exchange it. This was no big deal since we still needed to buy the actual fish.
And a heater.
And a filter.
And fake plants.
And, for ambiance, an Easter Island head like the home of Squidward on Spongebob Squarepants. (For the record, I had to look that up.)
Having filled our cart, I looked for someone to help us pick out fish. I found two employees moving cat food a couple of aisles away.
“Excuse me,” I said. “We need some help buying fish.”
One of the associates stopped, assumed an official stance and stated, “I can’t refuse a sale, but I do need to tell you those fish have ick.”
“Is that a technical term?”
Apparently it is, so we left the store with everything but fish.
Despite being fishless, we set up the new tank. Philip loved it as it was, with the filter making bubbles and the fake plants gently undulating.
First thing Sunday morning, Peter asks, “When are we going to buy fish?” He was nice enough to let me wake up and shower, but I had to get my coffee to go. We drove to the next city to find ick-less fish, but ended up getting six for the price of four.
Once they acclimated, we put them in the tank. Philip was delighted. Every time he left the room, he came back to check on them.
Later, while Philip was upstairs playing, I said to Peter, “You know, these are kind of relaxing to watch.”
He smiled in agreement.
“As long as Philip’s not here making me freak out every time he reaches for the tank.”
We both laughed.
That’s how my husband got a fish tank for his birthday. Not only does he get to relax watching fish, he has the pleasure of seeing how happy the fish tank makes his son.
I guess he was right. Sometimes, you need a fish tank.
This is an edited version of my post from Tuesday. I tightened up the story to link up with the Yeah Write #106 grid. Stop by, read some great stories and come back on Thursday to vote for your five favorites.