Posts Tagged ‘fish tank’

Treasure Junking

October 2, 2011

In Phoenix, the trash collection authorities are quite gracious by granting us permission FOUR TIMES A YEAR to leave large lumps of litter on the curb in front of our homes.  They come around with a huge truck and take it all away for us.  When we lived in our previous house with 32 full-grown trees, this plan was a godsend.  We would have had to make a trip to the dump four times a year without this blessed service.  Large Garbage Pickup even has a map with zones and dates so you never miss your turn to display your trash.

My kids figured out when this would all occur as interesting items started showing up along our street.  They asked if I would drive them around the neighborhood to see if there was other people’s junk that could be their treasure.  I’m not sure why I fell for this…. but I did, and hard.  We found a fish tank, a garden cart, a sand box, a Little Tikes Doll House, an ice cream freezer like in 7-11 (which we gave to the youth group), shutters and a bird-cage, etc. etc. etc..  I’m sure there are other quality items I’m forgetting too.  This practice got named “Treasure Junking“.  It’s sort of down-scaled garage sale-ing with no money needed.  Fit right into our budget.

Well, it is still alive and well in the Crosby house.  Last weekend my bug-spraying husband was spraying bugs over in the next city, and lo and behold, it was Large Garbage Pickup in that same neighborhood.  Destiny.  Rick watched as the man who lived across the street from the fully sprayed house went in and out of the garage three times and placed three bicycles on the curb.  This fascinated my husband, Mr. Wallet.  He strode over, as he’s been known to do in all parts of the world, and asked about the bikes.  Sure enough, the guy was DONE with bikes in his garage that no one used.  Rick asked if he could take them for our kids.  And now I have ELEVEN bikes parked in the garage where my van should be.  (It’s hopeless.)  Anyway, the bikes Rick brought home are OLD… old like dirt.  Two are black Huffy cruisers with white walls and springs under the seats… and the dream of my 17-year-old daughter’s heart.  Truly.  She is outside washing it right now.  She’s never washed a bike in her life, I’m pretty sure.  She went to Walmart and found large wicker baskets that you can put on the handlebars…. and foamy grips that look like wood.  She’s really into this.

The third bike, as far as we can determine, is a 1970 Schwinn with a small wheel in the front, large one in the back, a banana seat and long handle bars.  Something Beaver Cleaver rode.  To my astonishment again, our youngest son claimed it.  Yes, it shocked me.

Needless to say, our youngest daughter, who is eight, is thrilled because now there are all sorts of people wanting to go on bike rides with her.  And now, for the first time in about 10 years, I have a bike to ride.  These bikes even promote good posture!  Win win.

My Fishy Destiny

March 12, 2011

Remember back a year or two ago (and the previous four years before that) when we kept having guppy population explosions in our family fish tank?  If not go here:

And here’s another:

Well, for the past 2 months we’ve only had the bottom feeder and the white fish who eats baby guppies.  I’ve been meaning to stop by Petsmart and pick up a handful of guppies or platies to brighten the tank.  However, it’s low on my priority list…. so it hasn’t happened yet.  Nora, our 7-year-old, loves watching the fish swim, but I must admit the dead-as-a-doornail bottom feeder is less than thrilling.  And the white fish is sort of in a coma after eating all his tank mates.

Today we went to pick up Austin, our 14-year-old, from a friend’s house who has a 50 gallon+ tank.  I took Nora inside to show her the underwater wonder of it all.  Well, lo and behold, they were experiencing a platy population explosion.  Yes, we walked out of there with four new, sunny-orange fish for our boring tank.  Nora was thrilled!  So was I!  If it’s free, it’s for me!

The end of our day did not go as planned, as is common in this household.  The original plan was for our family to go to church together in blissful harmony.  Well, the girls went to church and the boys went to a football game.  The boys will go to church tomorrow morning while the girls have their beauty rest ….. and homemade giant waffles.  :o)  Back to the fishy story.  Before we ran out the door to church, I set the large ziplock baggie holding our four newest family members into the fish tank to equalize the temperature of the water so the fish will not go into shock and die.  When we got home from church, the miracle of life had occurred and there are now at least 24 more fishies in our tank.  YES!  We got a pregnant platy and she gave birth to possibly 20 babies within two hours of being ours.  And the cycle continues.

P.S.  For those who have closely followed this story through the last years, you may be asking yourself if I put the baby platies in with the white baby-guppy-eating fish.  NO!  The white fish did the circle of life and swam in the tunnel that leads to the sea.  Happily ever after.

Another Fish Tank Analogy

October 7, 2010

Because the fish tank sits here on my desk next to the computer….. I often find myself staring into the oceanic scene and finding truths about my daily life.  Let me take you back for a moment: we used to have guppies.  LOTS of guppies.  We had the perfect conditions for guppy multiplication to the Nth degree.  Seriously, we would go from 7 or 8 to 150 every year.  We bought a plecostomus to clean up after all the guppies!  Then VBS (vacation Bible school) would roll around and I would give them away in little bowls to all the happy kids (with parental permission, of course) until we were down to 7 or 8 again.

Then we changed churches and no more VBS to solve the guppy overpopulation explosions.  Plan B was purchasing another type of fish that eats baby guppies soon after birth.  This kept the population under control… until we went on vacation and the “other” fish started eating the 7 or 8 grown up guppies… until there were none left.  Just the “other” fish and our plecostomus, the ugly bottom feeder that keeps the tank clean.

(photo from:

As the circle of life continued in our tank, the beloved plecostomus breathed its last watery, gill-filled breath and lay still for all eternity with its eyes open on the pretty blue and hot pink rocks.  He didn’t move a whole lot to start with, so we’re not sure when he actually died.  We’re not sure it was a male either, but frankly, it was too ugly to be a female. 

Anyway, now that the bottom feeder is gone, algae and debris are forming inside the tank.  It looks like mold growing on the glass walls.  It’s yucky.  THEN the truth of the analogy smacked me between the eyes:  I’M the plecostomus of the family!  I’m the one who cleans up after everyone else.  I’m the one who keep the house clean while everyone else dirties it up.  I’m the one that stealthily goes around when no one sees, picking up trash and cleaning the walls and windows.  Without me the house would be disgusting!  I’M THE BOTTOM FEEDER!

But I’m a valuable bottom feeder, I might add!  And so my day rolls on…. things to clean and pick up.

Overpopulation: A Worldwide Issue

April 1, 2008


April 2007:  Three mature guppies.  37 immature baby guppies. 

3 + 37 = 250

Have you ever wondered how Walmart started?  I can tell you all about it.  Sam Walton obviously had guppies of mixed sexes in one tank early in his life.  Soon Sam had two tanks to deal with the overpopulation crisis.  Then ten tanks.  Then he had to start Walmart to sell all the guppies.  Wisely, his stores now house their guppies in two tanks and separate the fish by gender. 

You’d think we would have caught on to this.  But no.  We bought three cute little guppies…. two years ago.  The crowd control problem was worse than the thirteen colonies before westward expansion….  manifest destiny… all that good stuff.  I emailed friends offering free pets for their children…. twenty per bag.  I was saving them $2.49 PER FISH!  That’s $49.80, for those who don’t have a calculator handy (like I do.)  What a nice friend I am!  Only two takers.

Solution #2 came in the disguise of Vacation Bible School at our church.  They unknowingly aided in my guppy distribution by asking me to teach crafts.  I was given a “decorating” budget for the arts and crafts room… heh heh heh.  AND the theme was Under the Sea!!!  Perfect.  I decorated with 6″ glass bowls complete with rocks, water and 5-7 guppies.  Then I gave them away every day as long as the kid had parental approval.  I got rid of more than 75 fish that week…. but that was over 8 months ago.  We are back up to over 100 guppies in our 10 gallon tank. 

I tell you all of this because I can’t sell them on eBay or Craig’s List.  Please help!  Free guppies!  Leave your contact info in the comment box below and I’ll have them delivered to your front door.