Tonight’s sketch is of our pet Betta fish and this post tells the story of why we have named him “Houdini.”
Around Chinese New Year, my brother-in-law, Charlie, gave us a beautiful Fluval Chi aquarium, complete with four yellow Tetras and one red Betta. Fast forward about a month and a half, and now we’re down to only two yellow Tetras and the one red Betta. Then about a week ago, as I was feeding the fish, I noticed that the Betta was no where to be found. Hmmmm, he’s probably hiding in the plants somewhere. But each day I would look for the Betta, and see nothing…no glimpse of red anywhere…just the two tiny Tetras. I mentioned it to my husband and kids and we tried looking for him all the time, each time we passed the aquarium. It sits in the playroom in plain view…how could we not see this red fish? The Fluval Chi is a very minimalist style…it’s only a five gallon tank and there’s not much in there except for the rocks and the faux plant. Could the Betta seriously be hiding for a week straight…and where?
I mentioned it to my sister, Mary, who said that Bettas are known to jump out of their bowls and tanks…and that they’ve found fish behind their saltwater aquarium…as if they’d jumped to their deaths. She happened to be down that weekend and stopped by to take a look. She couldn’t see it anywhere either. So it began to freak me out and I spent all day Saturday tearing apart the playroom, looking into all the toy bins, expecting to find the fish carcass. I found NOTHING (but the playroom got a good purging and I filled two bins with toys for Goodwill).
Then I remembered that I found a wild bird in my house a week or so ago. I don’t know how or when it flew in, but basically, I came home to a chirping sound that I thought was one of the smoke alarm batteries signaling for replacement. About 20 minutes or so of consistent chirping, a random bird flew out of the upstairs curtains…and it took me a bit to coax that stressed creature out of my home. It took twice that amount of time to clean up all the bird poop. So I thought…what IF the bird ate the fish?
It was a mystery…and I was bewildered. I was almost hoping to find the body so that I could get a definitive answer. A couple of days ago, my husband noticed something floating on top of the water…it kinda looked like one of the Betta’s fins. But it also kinda looked like a dried leaf.
My nephew, Tyan, has been over to help me with the kids and he offered to clean the tank yesterday. He found NO sign of the Betta during the time he was changing out some of the water and moving things around. We all accepted that the Betta had simply vanished…with no explanation. We were all stumped.
Then today, while I was out painting, I received a phone call from Tyan. He sounded excited but a little frantic. The first thing he said to me is, “You’re not going to believe what happened.” I began to panic just a bit and then he said, “Well, actually you’re not going to believe TWO things that happened.” Oh no…two unbelievable things can’t be good, right?
He said, “First, we FOUND the Betta fish,” (I immediately thought he must have found the rotting fish in the Lego bin…which is where I would totally have expected to find it, even though I checked it so many times). Then he said, “And he’s ALIVE!” WOW!!!
|The elusive Houdini.|
Now I’m really bewildered. Was he hiding in the plants or under the rocks so well that we just couldn’t see him? Maybe he was trapped and the cleaning of the tank dislodged him. Maybe he was moving slow because it’s been so cold, but now that it’s like summer weather, he’s warmed up and decided to come out of hiding? I DON’T KNOW. It’s a mystery and I still can’t wrap my brain around it.
In any case, we’re all so excited that he’s okay and celebrated tonight by making a trip to Petco to add a few more members to our fish family (Tyan helped name them): three Neon Tetras named “Larry, Moe and Curly – The Three Stooges”, a Corydora Catfish named “Cory”, three very colorful Guppies named “Bashful” the orange one, “Domino” the black/white one, and the yellow one is yet unnamed; in addition to the two yellow Tetras we already had, now named “Finn and Jake”…
And of course, the red Betta, is now affectionately called “Houdini.”
Mason’s sketch tonight is an interesting collage of images. But he also drew a cute picture of a “dude wishing for some new fish and his wish came true.”