Friends, I need your help.
It’s too late for a cover-up—at this point the best we can hope for is to be really proactive about our excuses, explanations, and justifications.
Let me back up.
First, you need to know it was never supposed to get so out of control. Sure, people always say that but really, I thought I knew what I was doing—research is my thing! If anything, I tend to overanalyze and never get around to actually deciding!
But I got caught up in a world where the usual rules of logic and common sense don’t apply.
ME: (scrolling) Where the hell do people get off charging more than they paid new for their used crap?
OFFSPRING: Craigslist people are crazy. You know that.
ME: Right, but this is on Facebook too.
OFFSPRING: What are you doing shopping on Facebook? Too cheap for ebay?
ME: No… but the thing I want doesn’t ship and—dammit, seriously? BITCH THERE’S NO WAY YOU PAID EVEN HALF THAT!
OFFSPRING: What are you buying?
ME: … Fish tank.
OFFSPRING: Okay… and you can’t just go to the pet store and—
ME: Most pet stores don’t really carry what I need.
OFFSPRING: What do you need that’s so special?
ME: (sighs) I’m looking for a 125 gallon aquarium with a stand and—
OFFSPRING: 125 GALLONS!?! What the unholy fuck are you putting in there, a shark?
OFFSPRING: … Mother…
ME: … Just a baby one.
OFFSPRING: Don’t do it.
OFFSPRING: I’ll hang up on you.
ME: Baby SHARK doo doo—
OFFSPRING: (hangs up)
Yes, of course I’m going to explain how I came to be searching for a 125-gallon aquarium, but for now can you just… pretend you’re married to me and accept that sometimes random pets and their accessories will find their way into the home? Because all that back story is for our next post and this post, right now, is for the more immediate issue.
If you’re new here, welcome! I do shit backward.
So I knew I needed a massive aquarium. I settled on 125 gallons because, as Husband pointed out, water is heavy. 8.3 pounds per gallon, as Husband pointed out to me while I was trying not to eat all the onion rings.
He’d been unsuccessful in convincing me that we didn’t have space for the footprint of a 300-gallon tank, you see.
Anyway, I did some quick googling and realized holyshitfuckingmonkeycrackers, glass aquariums be expensive! But wait… what do people do almost immediately upon buying a giant aquarium and all the stuff that goes with it?
That’s right, they fail epically at their new hobby, or realize it’s waaaay more work than that goldfish they never fed as a kid and start looking to unload all this expensive crap that’s taking up space in their home, reminding them of their failure.
So I hit Craigslist and found… no end of 75-gallon tanks (mostly being sold by people who realized quickly they’d bought an inadequate tank and were getting out or upsizing) and a whole lot of beautiful 125-gallon setups being sold for very reasonable prices in places like Ohio.
But here in St Louis?
People wanted their money back and then some.
So I said fuck it and watched for a new tank to go on sale at the chain stores.
ME: (beaming) We’re here for the 125.
PETSTORE LADY: Oh, wow! Okay, umm… let me… (over radio) Can I get a really big dolly to the fish department? Yeah, they wanna buy a 125.
ME: You’re the only store in the city that has one.
PETSTORE LADY: I’m not surprised—they really don’t sell very well.
ME: Oh? Why?
PETSTORE LADY: I don’t know… they’re more of a display tank, probably. So, how are you getting this home?
HIM: We’ve got an SUV
ME: Right, but I’m not sure both parts will fit… we might have to make two trips, hon.
HIM: No, it’ll be fine.
ME: (worried look)
PETSTORE LADY: Well, here’s your dolly!
ME: Don’t you… ?
PETSTORE LADY: Oh, no. We don’t have anyone here who can lift that.
ME: Huh. And it only comes (gestures) like this?
PETSTORE LADY: What do you mean?
ME: I mean I knew the tank would be this big thing, but I sort of expected that if we came here and bought a new one the stand would be in a box, waiting for us to assemble it at home.
PETSTORE LADY: Oh. Nope! They come in and we do all that right here. Actually… I don’t know, because these have been sitting here as long as I’ve worked here. It’s been years since we sold one.
PETSTORE LADY: Yeah, I don’t know why they’re not more popular.
So we left without a tank and got lunch instead.
ME: I can’t believe I didn’t think of this.
HIM: It’s okay. I thought we’d be able to handle it.
ME: No, seriously. I’ve been obsessing over every detail. Here I am planning out how I’ll pour the water into the tank—because yeah, there are multiple techniques for getting the water in and I researched them like a lunatic. But how we’re getting the tank into the house? Didn’t occur to me.
HIM: I get it.
ME: I think we need to face the unpleasant truth.
HIM: What’s that?
ME: I’m an idiot.
HIM: Me too, though.
ME: (quietly) But we knew that.
Aaand that’s how I came up with the brilliant idea of hiring movers and renting a cargo van, bringing the cost of our bargain tank up another $300 or so.
Have you figured out my problem yet?
Let’s move on to my next tantrum, but sound off in the comments exactly when you figured out what’s wrong with me.
ME: (scrolling) Okay no. NO. I have a problem.
HIM: (sighs) What’s the problem?
HIM: … What?
ME: Why is driftwood so fucking expensive? I mean… it’s driftwood. Someone walked outside and picked that up for free. Then they dragged it inside, laid it on a towel, photographed it, and they’re charging $50 a piece or more? How… I can’t… What…
HIM: You need driftwood?
ME: (withering stare)
HIM: Okay, fine. So we’ll go to where there’s driftwood and pick some up.
ME: (pulls face) You mean, with our hands?
HIM: (does a credible impression of my wtf face)
HIM: (patiently) We’ll go to a state park or something—
ME: (shakes head) Can’t. It’s illegal.
HIM: It’s not illegal to pick up driftwood—
ME: In state parks it is! That’s preserved land! (in mystic hippie tones) You must take only pictures and leave only footprints.
ME: It’s like you’ve never even seen South Park.
HIM: Whatever. Then we’ll just walk along the river.
ME: (wrinkles nose) Gross.
HIM: That’s why other people are charging.
But see, all of that was just the tip of the iceberg. Because I did eventually get the tank and stand on sale (I swear, they kept dropping the price to tempt me back) and I’ve given up on the driftwood thing. Nobody sells driftwood for what a hunk of free-ass wood is worth, and if they are selling it cheap it’s because they treated it or nailed it to some random crap and called it art.
The bigger problem is that every goddamned day there was an amazon delivery (it really was cheaper than buying local, I swear) of something I’d realized I absolutely needed. And even once that first wave of deliveries stopped, I was waking up to a new tank problem that could only be fixed by—you guessed it—buying more shit.
Now please remember that I was coming in from haunting at 1am or later.
And Husband, being the sort of man he is, never once took the card from me or locked me out of amazon.
Y’all, it is too late and too much to hope that he never finds out how much this aquarium—which, by the way was supposed to be so simple; I promised him—is costing us. What I need now is your help justifying the truly ungodly amount of money that’s been spent on canister filters, LED lighting, timers, aeration, heating, decoration, live plants, water treatment… I can’t even remember where it all went, if I’m honest.
I just know that someday he’s going to do the math, and he’s going to leave me.
And I really don’t think I can afford this tank by myself.
 Seriously, parents: you’re not doing anyone any favors by replacing the fish that dies due to your child’s neglect. Just explain to your child what went wrong and discuss, as a family, what should come next. Is everyone going to take responsibility for the next/remaining fish? Are you going to give up on fish for a while? Both are valid options that teach your child even fish need food and clean water and care!
 Once again, I’d like to welcome the new readers. Hi! I’m Chase and I don’t go outside. The sun is there and the wifi is spotty.
 Note for foreigners and people who live in idyllic little places where rivers run clear and sparkling: the Mississippi, as it runs through St Louis, is not a thing one strolls along casually while breathing through their nose. Ditto on the lesser rivers around and through town.