Well, we had an exciting weekend here. You don’t believe me? What if I told you we added not one but THREE new members to our family?
Friday was the annual carnival at Caroline’s school. And of course we’d been building up to it for the last week or so. I had to buy raffle tickets and t-shirts and volunteer for a shift in the Cold Drink booth even though I knew odds were good they weren’t going to be selling bottles of Corona with lime.
Because everyone knows elementary school kids prefer sangria over beer.
I made my way to the carnival to be there right when Caroline got out of school with what I foolishly believed to be plenty of cash. And I also took the time to make a funny joke on Twitter about how I hoped Caroline wouldn’t win a hermit crab, not really even knowing for sure that hermit crabs were going to be on the menu of prizes this year.
When the school bell rang, she came running out of school. I handed her a bunch of tickets and the two cans of Silly String I’d already bought for her and hoped that would keep her satisfied for at least thirty minutes. So you can imagine my delight when she came up to me about fifteen minutes later holding a goldfish in a plastic bag and a plastic jar of fish food, completely out of tickets because she’d used them all in her multiple attempts to win a fish. Which means we essentially paid about 100% more for the fish than we’d have paid if we’d just gone to a pet store.
The thing that worried me was the heat. It was really hot on Friday because God has decided that we’re skipping Spring and going straight to Summer and I didn’t feel like that boded well for a fish in a plastic bag. So I found a block of ice in the drink booth and set it next to our fish in the hopes it would give him (Or her. I do not want to be sexist when it comes to fish.) a fighting chance.
Then I handed Caroline a few more tickets and went back to working my shift at the Cold Drink booth. I’m sad to say I managed to drop at least a six pack of Dr. Pepper causing it to spray all over me and the interior of the drink booth. Something tells me next year they’re going to put me at a booth that doesn’t require the skill and dexterity of handing out canned drinks.
Secretly, I was hoping Caroline might show up with some type of winning from the Cake Walk at some point. Maybe some cookies or brownies. But I knew I was in trouble when I saw her running towards me holding some sort of plastic container. A plastic container that didn’t look like it was holding brownies.
I was right.
It was a hermit crab. A hermit crab she christened Phillip. Which seems like an incredibly regal name for something with antennae that eats freeze-dried shrimp.
And, really, I’m not opposed to hermit crabs. I owned a hermit crab when I was about Caroline’s age. His name was Sharples. I named him after Melvin Sharples, the cook at the diner on the show Alice. I really wish I could look inside my eight-year-old brain for the root of that decision.
Anyway, Sharples died because I thought he might enjoy a day out in the sun. So I left him out all day which isn’t really good for crabs unless you’re trying to bake them. It was tragic. And the end of my hermit crab experience.
We brought Goldy the goldfish and Phillip the crab home. I filled up Caroline’s old aquarium with water for Goldy and put her in to get used to her new digs. I felt like she was on her last fins in that plastic bag and hoped she might be revived by new surroundings.
And then P and I tried to make a temporary habitat for Phillip. Or as people in the crab business call it, a CRABITAT. He spent the night in one of my glass mixing bowls (that I’m now going to have to throw away) with the jar of a spice lid as a water dish and only a layer of sand and the memories of his time at the pet shop with his old crab friends to keep him warm.
So we went to bed that night with the satisfaction that only comes with the knowledge you own a fish and a hermit crab.
On Saturday morning P had to wake up early to go do some work out at our church. We didn’t have a soccer game and I’d been dreaming for weeks about sleeping late on Saturday morning. In fact, I’d had a long talk with Caroline the night before about how she needed to get up, grab a pop-tart, watch cartoons and let me sleep. Which I believe is the same thing that woman told her kids in Proverbs 31.
You can imagine my dismay when I felt someone breathing on me while it was still fairly dark outside. I opened an eye to see Caroline standing over me. Startled, I asked “What? What’s wrong?” She replied, “I can’t find Goldy. I don’t know where he is.”
“Is your daddy still home?” I questioned. “No, he left”, she said. And I blame the early morning hour for my heartfelt response of “Well, Goldy probably died during the night and Daddy already threw him out”.
Cue the sobbing.
Then she wiped her eyes, looked at me and said “WHY ARE YOU BEING SUCH A DOWNER? You don’t know what happened.”
Granted, I didn’t know for sure what happened. But death seemed like a logical conclusion for a missing fish and seemed more likely than an alternative where Goldy packed his teeny tiny bags and headed west for bluer seas.
I handed Caroline my phone and told her to call her daddy. He confirmed her worst fears. All of this happened before 7:45 on Saturday morning.
She looked at me with tears in her eyes and wailed, “He was so special to me!”
Really? Because we hadn’t even had him for eight hours.
But I didn’t say that. I suggested that she look on the bright side. On the side where she still owned a delightful hermit crab named Phillip. This cheered her up a little.
She rebounded nicely and we ate breakfast and then went to watch Will play baseball. Then we went to the pet store where we spent $40 gathering everything we needed to keep our FREE hermit crab in the style to which he apparently had grown accustomed.
Oh, and she also talked me into buying a friend for Phillip. She named her Clementine.
And as for me? You can just call me sucker.