You may have caught my panic the other night on Twitter, but I just have to share the episode in more detail today.
You see, I get this really strange phone call from a boy my daughter has been seeing at school.
"Mrs. Stickle, is your daughter at home?"
"No," I reply.
"Great," he says.
Which surprises me by the way. Should I be offended for her? Should I hang up?
Anyway, he continues with, "Would you mind filling the bathtub with water? I'm on the way to ask your daughter to the prom and I need to put something in the tub."
Now, picutre this. I'm standing there holding the phone and a look crosses my face, a mixture of fear and increduality, and I really don't know how to reply, or even if I should. But curiosity gets the better of me, so, I agree. Little do I know what I'm letting myself in for.
Fifteen minutes later, in walks this boy and his friend, carrying a huge bag of fish, and they promptly dump every last one of the tiny, squiggly things in the bathtub. What I didn't realize, until it was almost too late (and everyone had deserted me), was that the drain had a slow leak. So, for whatever reason, maybe stupidity, I check on the wiggly, fin pumping, orange and silver-white creatures. To my dismay, I discover, they are only swimming in about an inch of water, and I'm here to tell you the tub was two-thirds full when I left. I had only been gone for ten minutes!
Scrambling to the kitchen, I grab a plastic pitcher and start re-filling the tub, gallon by gallon, hoping not to shock the silly things unconscious, not to mention the chlorine I'm exposing them to. Though I work as fast as I can, I'm not making any headway, and the poor creatures look up at me with desperate eyes.
"I'm saving you," I say, "honest." But I'm not sure they believe me. Unable to take the frantic, frightened looks from the fish anymore, I finally resort in turning the faucet on, full bore, into the picture so that there is a steady stream of water emptying into the tub. And...for the next two and a half hours, I babysit thirty gold fish, creating an endless stream for them to paddle against. Not the thrill of a lifetime, I can tell you!
I can't leave the bathroom for more than five minutes, which I won't comment on any further, not to mention how many gallons of water I waste trying to keep the squirmy things alive.
Keep in mind,I stayed home for a reason. I was all by myself. I had time to work on my manuscript, in the peace and quiet. Ha!
Needless to say, I almost tackle daughter when she finally gets home. "Hurry," I yell. "Quick. Emergency! The bathroom!"
Who knows what she thought. My hair's kinky curlie, my makeup's dripping down my face, and I'm soaking wet.
We dash down the hall, throw the door wide, and, I cry, "They're all yours," as I dash to my computer. Maybe I can salvage the night by finishing a chapter. And then I add, in full voice, "Oh, be sure and use those stupid fish in your reply. Give 'em back," I say, "Give 'em back! I'm done babysitting!" Notice the exclamation marks?
The next thing I know, one of my daughter's friends comes bounding in with a bucket in one hand and a sieve (that I'm sure her mother uses in the kitchen and didn't know she had) in the other. And for the next hour, I hear things like, "Ooo, ick," and "It got away. Hurry, it's going to die!" punctuated by lots and lots of squeals, laughter, and banging on the sides of the tub.
I giggle, snicker, then out and out snort with laughter. If I'd have known it was possible to entertain two teenage girls with tiny, squirmy fish for more than twenty minutes at home I would have dumped the slimy things in the bathtub myself, many times over. It was pure joy hearing all the laughter.
All in all, the fishies survived, the girls got even, and yes! I finished my chapter!