- Ted & Debbie (Photographers)
I killed the koi the other day. He’s buried under the tangerine tree. I didn’t mean to kill him. I was responsible for his death though. Theo picked him out at the pet store 2 1/2 years ago for his birthday. He was black, had whiskers and was the only koi in the goldfish tank. Simon and Ollie each picked out a garish colored goldfish to keep him company.
Every day lately, he would shimmy and twist his scaly body out of the cistern he shared with the 2 goldfish and try to make his way upstream like he did when he was much smaller. He had just gotten too big to make the journey now. Sometimes he would lay in the concrete and algae, half of his body, head and eyes out of the water and stare straight ahead for a few seconds while the current touched his pulsating lips until he realized this was no longer a place for him and would slither his way back to his home.
I felt bad for him. I studied the pond and decided that if I raised the edges of the cistern and certain sides of the stream where the water breached when I filled it way up I coud give the koi a few more inches of water so he could make his journey.
On Saturday I filled up 2 large copper containers with 1/2 water from the pond and fresh hose water and transferred the koi and the goldfish so I could make the modifications to their stream. The koi was the last to make the transfer. He hid under the pump, alluded me at all costs and barely fit in the net. As I was mixing the mortar I kept glancing over at the containers to make sure the fish were doing okay. I looked and the koi container was empty. I ran over. He was laying on the grass tail slowly moving back and forth, gill flaps opening and closing and lips pulsating. I picked him up with my hands and put him back in the container. Minutes later he started swimming on his side, then upside down. I called Theo out to tell him what happened. Debbie started looking online. She found out he was probably in shock. She asked if I had any pond salt. “What’s pond salt?” I asked. “It’s salt that you use in ponds.” she answered. “No, I don’t have pond salt.” I said. ”Try to get water flowing through his gills.” she said. Theo started moving the koi back and forth in the water in an attempt at some reverse rescue breathing done in Atlantis to no avail. A thin trail of blood started flowing from his gills. The koi had died.
The Birthday Fairy was up late putting final touches on things that needed attention around the house. Flowers, decorations and presents all present and accounted for. The alarm clock goes off at 5:30 am. It’s Theo’s 10th birthday and we’re up even earlier then usual to cook 3 pounds of bacon for 5 lunches. Theo’s favorite-BLT sandwiches. In our house, with our persnickety cast, it’s never easy.Â Let’s see… Theo and Ollie like B&L, Sam and Henry like BLT and Simon wants the B, that’s just bacon.
If Theo had his way he would sleep in, but it’s a school day and there’s just time to open one gift and look through his birthday album. Debbie has made a birthday album for each boy. It’s a simple and beautiful tradition. One photo from the from the past year. The kids love to see how much they have changed which each turn of the page.
As usual, we are running late, but this morning we can’t forget the brownies Debbie and Simon made for Theo’s birthday celebration at school. It’s a busy morning for the Birthday Fairy as she Â loads up the mini van and starts the dropping off Â the boys at school.
I’m on Â pick up duty today. I need a list so I don’t forget who I’m either taking from south campus Â to north campus or just watching. Today it’s super confusing, if I lose the list I’m in trouble. Ollie has reading after school so I need to watch Pasha, Mimi, O’Loren, and Laney only till 3:00 when Laney’s mom comes to pick Laney up then I get Ollie early from reading at 3:10 then take Ollie, Pasha and Mimi to south campus, deliver them to their parents then pick up Henry and Theo and today Dominick who is coming home to goof off with Theo and have birthday dinner with us later on. All present and accounted for we arrive home Â and the boys skateboard in front of the house for awhile.
The boys skateboard and I walk to the pet store with them to get goldfish to stock the pond in our yard. Or in other words, to get more racoon food. Â The guy working at the pet store Â is very patient with us asÂ the boys have a blast picking out their favorite goldfish while scooting around the store with their skateboards. With instructions on how to gradually introduce the goldfish into our ponds’ water we leave without breaking anything.
Simon looks at the bag of goldfish and dumps them all into the pond. These fish better be hardy, they’ve been transported to the Land of the Catanzaro Boys where one slip up could be their last.
It’s time for dinner. Steak, french fries, salad and lots of red wine. Sam is at Universal Studios for Halloween Fright Night with friends from school and one of his teachers. It’s the first time I can remember where one of the boys has been absent from a birthday celebration. Omi brings an ice cream birthday cake and I break out the ukulele and attempt to play while we all sing Happy Birthday to Theo. It’s late, way past bedtime. The house is a mess. The day is winding down. Theo is in bed playing around with his new camera by the light of his new lava light. It’s been a nice day. Happy Birthday Theo!
It’s hard to get away. This year was even harder. As a parent you sometimes lose it with your kids when there’s so much much to do and not enough hours in a day to do what needs to get done. You fall asleep reading Curious George to the little ones and wake up at midnight and go down stairs and find every single light on in the house, dirty dishes in the kitchen, the kitchen trash can overflowing, piles of laundry (clean and dirty) and your oldest child playing Pac Man on the computer. I’m not Sam bashing- he’s a great kid. Pulling strait A’s in 10th grade is something I’m real proud of. It was his 16th birthday on May 27th and Debbie and I barely had the time to make it a special day for him. There were even waves but I just couldn’t take the time to take him surfing.
Next morning the Yakima pod is put on the mini van and the loading begins. 7 sleeping bags, 7 sleeping pads, 3 sleeping tents, 1 showering tent, 3″x 3″ redwood shower floor, propane showering system, camp chairs, mess set and clothing to accommodate temperatures ranging between the high 20′s to the mid 70′s . The road trip begins… We jockey out of Los Angeles and pull into Long Meadow 4 1/2 hours later. The temperature is 43 degrees and there’s some wind.Â We’ve been coming to the same campsite for 10 years straight with some of our dearest friends. Some of our friends we see every day some just once a year on this camping trip. We say our, ” howdy, how are yas,” as we are set up our camp before the sun goes down.Â Enough words here’s our campfire story in pictures…
The Lichtwartdts arrive the next day after picking up Emma at her school, Midlands. She brings a new camper, Dave the goldfish who is also on summer vacation. They remembered Dave, but seem to have forgotten their sleeping bags. Emma has been away at boardingÂ school this year. There’s probably a little extra “3 dog night” warmth in the their tent with being together as a family again.
We all sleep in a little bit the 1st morning then the morning rituals of camping begin. Boiling water for coffee, tea and chai. The kids usually get the campfire rekindled and the day begins. It was a cold night, there’s frost on the meadow and there’s a thin layer of ice here and there.
Here’s a good place to stop. John cooking eggs. But wait there more to come in the next post. John cooking Chile Verde!
After about 2 weeks of unseasonably warm, beautiful weather we are getting some seaonably wet, beautiful rain. Out come the rain boots, stay off the tennis courts(slippery when wet) and stay out of the ocean(dirty when it rains).
I’m thinking about starting a fire in the woodburning stove and definitely battening down the hatches. What that means is pick up all the inside toys which have made their way outside in the past two weeks.