Monstro, our plecostomus sucker fish that resembles some prehistoric blackened tank with tan spots and unblinking eyes, had disappeared from our fish tank.
I cleaned the tank, and noticed he was gone after we returned from San Jose. I figured he had done something odd, like buried himself under the red gravel, even though as I swept the tank free of fish poop, I didn’t see a sign of him anywhere. “Ah, Monstro,” I thought. Such a clever guy!
Yesterday, our five year old neighbor, Ava, calls out to everyone to come look at what she found. It was Monstro. Behind the fish tank, behind the
column that supports our tank, wedged between wall and column at the bottom where wall meets floor.
He was mummified, his eyes gone, his nearly four inch body a sort of rubberized rigormortis. Like a rubber toy you get out of a gumball machine.
Except that he smelled stinky, like a stinky, mummified missing fish.
All we can figure is that Monstro went for a walk out of the tank, and then couldn’t figure out how to pull himself back up and in. Ooh. Yes, I just shuddered. What an awful way to go!
But, you know, I get it. I get that Monstro wanted to see the world past the strange invisible wall that kept him confined. How many times had I seen him attached to the inside of the glass, looking out at us, sitting there for HOURS? Think-think-thinking. I could hear his little fish brain. I swear—it looked like he was in deep thought. Maybe he was hatching an escape plan, or imagining that the world we were looking at him from was too intriguing not to examine further.
He is gone now, our Monstro. Named after our previous pleco, Monster, who grew to be 8 inches long! Purchased for a mere 89 cents,when he was a mere 1 and 1/2 inch long fish, we sold him back to Amazonia for $42 when he became too big for our tank. (Yes, I hear you thinking that this is an amazing return on my investment. Maybe I’ll start a pleco farm.) We had to buy a special net just to wrangle Monster into an oversized bucket. That was quite a day! Fishing for our own fish.
AND, NOW, here’s what life has been sharing with us this summer:
San Jose—our trip to San Jose was very relaxing. The four of us flew out and spent five days with Genuine Gene, the genius behind my website/this blog/and anything else related to me that is computer driven and requires a person of impeccable, incredible intelligence to drive! Speaking of driving, I drove Gene’s electric scooter. Right into a parked car. But everyone’s ok, no one hurt. Just picture me in slow motion squealing, “Uh….stop! No, oh…no…no….no way….Ack!” as the scooter, too heavy for me to handle and only moving as fast as an old man behind a walker, slides into the side of a Ford Mustang. We also went to the Winchester House, a wacky 9,000 room home with 620 bathrooms and twists and turns and doors that open into brick walls and windows to spy on people cooking in your own kitchen. Went to The Flame, this AWESOME restaurant with tall booths and art deco jungle themed decor. And big green cakes in the display case. And I went on KPIG and KKUP, performing new songs from “Motherlode” and we stayed in a hotel with a pool and a kitty-cat named GRAY KITTY. One of my fondest memories is walking in the morning with Lily down to Santa Clara College, and as the sun was coming up and we were sipping styrofoam cups of foaming hot chocolate, I showed Lily how you can be in San Jose and Santa Clara at the same time….cuz there was a big sign that said “NOW ENTERING SANTA CLARA” about four blocks from our hotel, so we were in seperate cities, sipping hot drinks, calling out to one another (from 2 feet away), “Look! Mom! I’m in Santa Clara!” while I’m responding, “Ha! HA! I’m in San Jose!” See how much fun me and my kids have?
And, of course, Gene’s 40th birthday party was a blast! This was our purpose in going to San Jose, not to jump back and forth between city signs, but to wish him love and shower him with gifts and hugs and kisses and to taunt his chiahuahua, Diego, and to make sure all Gene’s friends
were hugging and kissing on him, too! It was a hugfest! Gene’s house is very tidy and he could be a very talented interior decorator if he ever changes occupations. I love his house! And I love Chinatown in San Francisco, where we drove to explore shops and eat delicious food in an upstairs attic about the size of our fish tank. But we did not eat any fish, although Lance had shrimp.
Minneapolis—We came home for one day, did lots of laundry, hopped back on a plane the next day and went to our family reunion and that was another tee-riffic time. We stayed at my cousin, Beth’s, house with her charming, handsome husband, Kyle, and their three fabulous children.
We were in a mansion at the top of a golf course, right on the lake, with a gigantic fountain and a white heron who never moved the entire time we were there. They had a pool, too, with a diving board, and my nephew, Milo, was doing all these unbelievable flips off the board, and at one point, I walked into the pool completely dressed. “Why not?” I thought. I’m on vacation! We had more Chinese food, went to the IMAX to see “Your Body
(subtitled “Your Body Is Gross and Does a Lot of Gross Things Inside that we are Going to Show You In Giant IMAX Format”), grilled on the patio, had homemade frozen margaritas, dyed the kids hair purple and pink (“Mom, remember that punk summer reunion?”) and added some purple to my hair, too…Went to a Twins game in BOX SEATS and that so rocked! Completely stocked with food and right on the first baseline. Of course, every time any of the kids walked by the open glass wall (which included a 100 foot drop on the other side), every parent was leaning forward out of their seats saying, “Please sit down! Please. Right now. Yes. That is good. Stay. Right there. Thank you.” Ay yi yi! The Twins lost miserably, but you would never have guessed that from all of our hootin’ and hollerin’. We were having a blast!
AND we had Family Talent Show night, a tradition on the Hickman side of the family. Let’s see….Milo did breakdancing, Lily sang a heartbreaking song, Uncle Steve and Bailey did a funny ventriliquist act that included a song in Japanese, Britty played the flute, Bailey played the violin, our family sang the Wierd Al Yankovic “EBay Song”, and, of course, we did a rousing version of “iolana” to celebrate the little ones. We ate burgers and laughed and cried and pictures were being taken left and right the entire time. We slept in the next morning, except for the kids who were up and at ’em, watching re-runs of “The Simpsons” at some ungodly hour. FUN!
Then we flew home and school started two days later.