I guess it’s a little premature to write a post about the birth of my second son (third child) since he’s probably still hours away, but I’m sitting here in the hospital room while Kristin sleeps (thanks to the wonders of medical science in the form of an epidural) through the early/middlish part of her labor. I was watching some show on Netflix and there was a mention of writing in a blog, and… well, connect the dots.
So Tyler Aaron Washburn [not Jack or Logan. Reasons? Kristin wanted Jackson, not just Jack. I like Jack, but not Jackson. Logan? We both liked it (still do, I guess), but we couldn’t come up with a middle name that we liked with it. Surprisingly, Kristin didn’t veto it altogether when I told her that when I first thought of Logan, it wasn’t about where Utah State is located, but actually from the alias James Howlett used before he decided to call himself Wolverine] isn’t here yet, but he’s very close. AJ was born a week early (induced) and was 9 lbs., 6 oz. Tyler is also going to be a week early (and induced, although technically a week early would have been yesterday, but they don’t really induce on Sundays) and is very likely going to be at least a little bigger than AJ was at birth. Yikes.
We made it through the holiday season, though Kristin was pretty miserable throughout. I think she enjoyed herself, but it’s tough to enjoy much (I’m assuming here, having never been pregnant) when you’re uncomfortable 24/7. AJ and Alexa were spoiled, as usual, but I think we did a decent job of not being totally out of control. This was made easier by the fact that we didn’t have as much money to spend, thus keeping us closer to where we ought to be.
In other news, the last fish finally died. There’s nothing else interesting to go with that (he said seriously, implying that there had, at some point, been something interesting about fish in this blog). I think I really will clean out the tank and start over again, at a later date, when I can reasonably afford to spend money on fish.
The MBA program is progressing nicely, which is to say that I’m doing well. I’m really not sure how to feel about it at this point. I guess I hope it continues to be as easy for me as it has been so far. On the other hand, at the risk of insulting any University of Phoenix alumni who might be reading, I’m still sort of blown away by how much easier it’s been at UoP than BYU was. I guess I understand why an MBA from UoP doesn’t carry the same weight as the same degree from the Y or the U (or Westminster). It’s also possible that my experiences thus far are simply a result of the fact that the classes I’ve taken so far are sort of introductory to the program. The last few classes I took at BYU were much harder than the first two classes (plus one week of a third) at the University of Phoenix. Too early for judgment, I suppose, but those are my initial impressions.
I’d promise further details about Tyler and stuff, but if you’re reading this blog, chances are you already know I may or may not write, and promising will do no one any good…
I guess a lot has happened since the last time I felt like writing in this space. My last post was a little more than fifteen months ago. Since then I got a job, finally finished my bachelor’s degree, and (most recently) started an MBA program (that’s “started” meaning “enrolled in and began to take courses,” not “created,” “sponsored,” or anything else that word can mean). We’re having another baby in January, and Kristin hasn’t been nearly as sick and miserable this time as she was with AJ. Alexa’s not that excited to have another baby brother, but she loves AJ and she’ll love this one (who could possibly be named Jack or Logan, but very likely will be called something else entirely), too.
For those who still remember the fan-favorite featured here on this blog that I lovingly refer to as “The Fish Chronicles,” I have an update. I can’t remember what the status or count was the last time I wrote about them (and I’m far too lazy to go back to the last fish-related post and find out), but the current status is this: they’re all dead, except one. One of the blue Gouramis (which may or may not have been part of the Washburn fish population the last time I updated), whose names were Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, is still hanging around. This is really only noteworthy if I fill you in on the rest of the story.
[Note: Contrary to what I wrote just a few lines ago, I got over my laziness just long enough to go back and look at my last post.]
So we had 19 fish, I guess, or maybe 18 after the last post (which was specifically about the death of a fish named after Byron Scott). The next 12-15 died slowly over the next year. Three or four hung on for a few extra months, and then all but the last blue Gourami died. But here’s the thing: after the three algae eaters were dead, I kept saying I needed to clean the tank myself and/or get some new algae eaters. Unfortunately, I did not do either of those two things. I had a good reason for not buying more algae eaters (unnecessary spending during tight financial times), but no good reason for not cleaning the tank myself (apart from the aforementioned laziness). The algae growth got worse, and then the filter/pump-thingy stopped working. I’m pretty sure that was the point when they started dying off more quickly.
By this time we were down to the last three or four fish, and I repeatedly declared that I was going to clean out the tank any minute. I, of course, did not, and the last few fish (except Flora, Fauna, or Merryweather – whichever one is the one that’s still alive) kicked the bucket. Here’s where it gets really bad. I got even more lazy (I know what you’re thinking, but it’s always possible to get lazier, as long as you’re not dead or in a coma). Not only did I never get around to cleaning the tank (even now, it sits disgustingly against the wall, desperately in need of a good cleansing), but I pretty much gave up on the last fish. I thought sure it would be dead, so I stopped turning the light on in the morning and off in the evening. I even stopped feeding the fish.
When I turned on the tank light to see what was up after a few weeks, I was shocked to discover that the last fish was still alive. I put a pinch of food in the tank, but the Gourami pretty much ignored it. I didn’t watch to see if it ever ate, but I don’t think it did. Another week or two went by and I checked in on the Last of the Gouramhicans, obviously expecting to see a floating fish corpse. Nope. Still alive. I put in another pinch of food, but this food was ignored like the last time.
I’m out of town for a few days, but I won’t be at all surprised if “The Fish That Wouldn’t Die” is still aimlessly wandering around the tank (I’m not sure it’s grammatically possible to “wander” while swimming, but you get my meaning), ignoring any food I might offer.
Well, all our fish have names now, but one died this morning.
The Blue Gouramis got named after the fairies from Sleeping Beauty, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. I have a strong suspicion that one of the Gouramis is a male, since it spends quite a lot of time chasing another Gourami, but that’s okay.
Two of the algae eaters are are significantly bigger than the third. When we were trying to think of good names for the fish I said, “It’s too bad we don’t have a pair of unnamed fish. We could call them Flotsam & Jetsam.” Depending on how well you know me, you may be surprised to find out that I was referring to the electric eels in The Little Mermaid, rather than the thrash metal band of the same name. Alexa said it would be funny if we named the little one Ursula, since… well, if I have to explain it I guess it isn’t that funny at all. It probably isn’t funny anyway, but that’s okay.
The Gold Barbs are now officially named 5 Guys Named Moe (aka Moe 1, Moe 2, etc.), which I threw out mostly as a joke, but Alexa liked it, so there you go.
The remaining 8 nameless fish stayed nameless until last night when I decided to take matters into my own hands. The Tiger Barbs are now Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, James Worthy, A.C. Green, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which was the starting lineup for the Lakers’ 1988 NBA Championship team. (Byron Scott (the fish, not the current coach of the New Orleans Hornets) died late last night or early this morning.)
The last three firsh to be named were the Green Tiger Barbs, who are now known as Ty Detmer, Jim McMahon, and Steve Young.
Well, we got a bunch more fish. I’m pretty sure we’re over the limit of what they say you’re supposed to have, but the fish all seem to be happy and doing well together so far. It’s only been a little more than 24 hours since I added 13 more fish yesterday, but nobody’s died (or been killed) so far. The reason I say “been killed” is because some of the fish we got are semi-aggressive, as opposed to the peaceful fish we’ve had up to this point.
So here’s the deal: we started out with the Calico Goldfish, a bunch of Neon Tetras, a couple of Mollies, three Glofish, and a bigger Tetra (which I found out later is actually considered semi-aggressive, even though I was originally told it’s a peaceful fish… and this brings me to my biggest pet peeve so far (no pun intended) about these fish. Well, not about my fish, so much as about the people I’ve been dealing with regarding the fish. I’ve been using Petco, and maybe that’s the problem. I’ve never had pets before (as I said at length, I believe, in my first fish post about two months ago) so I don’t know if maybe Petco is the pet store for morons, or the pet store where nobody who works there really knows anything about fish, but it’s their job to know, so they just pretend to know the answers to the questions… but I’ve gotten distinctly different (and usually conflicting) answers to a lot of fish questions in the last two months. There are four or five different employees who have helped me with my fish and my fish questions in my many visits to Petco, and there doesn’t seem to be hardly anything upon which the five agree. I’ve been told that any big fish will eat any fish small enough to fit in its mouth, even if the big fish is an herbivore. I’ve been told that any semi-aggressive fish is only safe with other semi-aggressive fish… except if the peaceful fish happen to be really quick fish. But then I’ve also been told that some of the semi-aggressive fish are only dangerous to the peaceful fish if you only put one or two of the semi-aggressive fish in the tank – meaning that you need to put enough of them in the tank that they will school together and leave the other fish alone. Someone else told me, however, that if you put a group of them together they will hunt the other fish like a wolf pack… so whatever. Anyway, that Buenos Aires Tetra is supposedly a more aggressive fish, despite being referred to as a peaceful fish. The thing is, that piece of information came to light when I asked the girl at Petco if I could put some slightly more aggressive fish into the tank (assuming that I was willing to risk the lives of the weaker and/or smaller fish), so she may have just been telling me what she thought I wanted to hear because she didn’t give a crap… I know this isn’t the record for the longest parenthetical section I’ve ever written, but it may be the longest I’ve ever written in this blog).
After a few died we added another couple of Mollies, some replacement Neon Tetras, and some Zebra Danios. Then we added three Platys, but at that point we had had 33 fish in our tank and only 11 were still alive. Since we’d been through so many fish and the Petco people had tested my water sample and said there was too much ammonia in the tank, we decided not to add any more fish until we figured out the water problem. They (the geniuses at Petco) said that they thought I had too much ammonia in the water because I didn’t have any new (as in, only the old, useless stuff was still in there) carbon substance (usually charcoal, I guess) in my filtration system, which is supposed to absorb the ammonia. But apparently once it absorbs to saturation, it doesn’t work anymore.
So I took out the under gravel filter (UGF), mostly because it turns out the maintenance is much extensive, and I didn’t want it to be that much work. I installed a hanging filter, which has plenty of charcoal and is easy to change once a month. When it seemed the water was doing what it was supposed to do… which is to say that the fish were healthy, the water was healthy (which, unfortunately, means that it’s producing a lot of algae, making the tank green, and we were ready for more fish.
I talked to people at Petco a bit more and came to the conclusion that it was time to get Cody (the Calico Goldfish) out of the tank. Apparently goldfish produce a lot more ammonia (yes, I did think at that point that maybe all the earlier problems could have been avoided if I’d just taken Cody out earlier… but I digress), so we got a small (2 gallon) tank for him. It’s not nearly big for him in the long run… maybe in the short run, too, if you believe what the Petco people are telling me. Evidently you’re supposed to have a maximum of 1 inch of fish per gallon of water in the tank… oh, except that with the goldfish you’re supposed to count them as double… oh, and did I mention that you’re technically supposed to count their theoretical adult size when you’re counting these inches per gallon? Yeah, so even though most of them will never live that long… whatever.
So Cody is about 2 inches long right now, and he’s supposed to live 30 years or more (yeah, right), eventually growing to a minimum of 12 inches… which means that right now he needs at least 4 gallons of water, and eventually he may need more than 24 gallons. Well, he’s got 2 gallons of water, and he seems to like it just fine. I’m not moving him unless he seems to be way too big for the water at some future point (assuming he lives long enough to get big).
Once Cody was out of the tank, we were ready for more fish. But because of all the rules they seem to think we have to observe, I started forming a Machiavellian sort of plan to get the fish in there that I wanted. Actually, it wasn’t that complicated. All I had to do was either A) buy the fish when the main person I had talked to wasn’t there (that would be Ryann (that’s not Ryan, it’s Ry-ann, but just spelled Ryann), because she knows (at least as far as she remembers) more or less how big my tank is and how many fish (and of what species) I have in there), or B) lie to Ryann.
The first time I went in, which was on Monday, I didn’t have to lie yet, but Ryann wasn’t there. I had decided I wanted some of the fish to do some of the work, rather than having to scrub all that new (healthy) algae off the glass and the rocks, so I got the three algae eaters I talked about in the last post. They still don’t have names, but Alexa has vowed to choose names for the many nameless fish we now have in our tank.
If you’re keeping count, the subtraction of Cody the Goldfish from the tank took us down to 10 fish (Pablo, Midnight, Snap, Pop, Dusty Bottoms, Ned Nederlander, Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful, and Doc). Then we added 7 on Monday (the algae eaters, three Blue Gouramis, and the Bala Shark), 6 of which are also without names (Jerry being the exception).
But then I decided to really go for it and make the tank the way I had wanted it to be all along. So I went back on Friday (yesterday) and Ryann was there. That meant I had to go to option B. See, they guarantee their fish for 15 days, but I think that if you don’t follow their advice, they can basically say you’ve voided the guarantee. So I couldn’t tell her I had 61.75 theoretical inches of adult size fish in my 55 gallon tank already, because then she wouldn’t have sold me the fish I wanted. So I told her I had taken a bunch of the fish out of the tank. I think I told her the Bala Shark, the algae eaters, and Pablo were the only fish in the tank. If I remember correctly (it was yesterday, so of course I do) I told her that we had moved the other fish to a second tank… which is technically only misleading, but I knew I was lying. With my lie convincingly in hand, I told her I wanted a bunch of the semi-aggressive fish. So I got 5 Tiger Barbs (they were on sale, 5 for $5), 5 Gold Barbs (same sale), and 3 Green Tiger Barbs (not on sale; they were $4.29 each). None of these 13 new fish have names either, but you can be sure I’ll be back to report on their names when Alexa and I decide what they are. We now have 19 nameless fish (out of 30), so if you have any helpful suggestions of name groups for three groups of 3 and two groups of 5, I’m all ears.
AJ was busy making a mess of his evening oatmeal when it was time to take his picture. Rather than wait for him to get cleaned up for the picture, I decided to just make this the picture.
Just in case there’s anyone reading this who cares about the fish stories (and because I promised Alexa I would do it), here’s the latest. We got 7 more fish yesterday: 3 Blue Gouramis (who don’t have names yet), 3 Gold Algae Eaters (who also remain nameless), and a Bala Shark (whose name is Jerry Tarkanian… for those of you who don’t get that reference (he wrote as though anyone ever read this blog), Jerry Tarkanian was known as Tark the Shark).
We also took our Calico Goldfish, Cody, out of the tank and put him in his own 2 gallon tank, which isn’t nearly big enough for him if he grows much, but he’s making our big tank so dirty that I had to get him out.