Sunday, January 15, 2006

Wild about Cycles.

I was nudged again by Eric this morning. "So have you quit blogging", he asked. I am not sure whether this was a genuine question or a way of prodding me to write about something, masquerading as a question. Regardless, I knew that If I just did not sit down and write, this apathy could overtake me and I really would end up quitting, whether I intended it or not.

Somehow the end of the holidays became much more chaotic and busy than the build up. In years past, I would let the pre-holiday maddness overwhelm me and somehow would end up in a bit of a slump directly after. Being a bit more intentional about things this year, I quite enjoyed myself. I did manage to get the flu on the evening prior to our road trip to Montreal. That was a fun trip.

I had to return to work the day after we returned. I think this was the trigger to the subsequent avalanche of activity I recently feel caught up in. And avalanche is a good metaphor. I do feel tremedously swept up in a fury of things to accomplish, and a great deal of exaustion at the same time. Perhaps my intentionality during the preholiday build-up merely postponed the post holiday slump. Not only did I need to return to work, I needed to work on a great deal of resistence to returning. And then there was getting back into the flow of getting the kids out the door in the morning. Throw in finding a last minute replacement to Aidan's new childcare arrangement: When we discovered our day care would be closing we asked our neighbour, who later discovered they were being posted (moved) out of province. So not only I need to FIND a new place, I also had to get Aidan acclimatized to the place. For any of you with children - its never a pretty process. On top of this is dechristmastizing the house, which ended up traumatizing Harry to some degree. Turns out he inherited my sentimentality. And speaking of Aidan, I have been spending no less than 45 minutes each night training Aidan to go to bed. This is not a new thing, and sure the holidays and childcare chaos have not made things any easier - but I decided to nip that in the bud. Every evening this week I have collapsed on the sopha - a jiggling pile of nerves.

On the upswing blogging time has been sacrificed to reading Johnathan Strange and Mr Norell. work of genius folks!!

And then there is my new hobby. My mother suggested that she give the kids one big present for Christmas this year. After some thought, I decided to suggest an Aquarium. Of course, this was a gift for me, but who is keeping score? So, after Christmas I busied myself with setting the thing up. I used to keep an aquarium as a kid, and managed some success. The internet has made relearning the process all the easier. When I was young, it was common knowledge that you are to add only a couple of fish at a time. I did not really know why until recently. Did you know that a brand new tank, even if the water has been conditioned (dechorinated) is deadly for fishies? This is because, the tank needs to be "cycled" - meaning it has to develop two sorts of healthy bacteria. One converts the ammonia (fish waste) into nitrite, the second sort then converts nitrite into nitrate, and nitrate can be easily managed by doing water changes.

To cycle a tank, you need a source of ammonia, which traditionally was the first couple sacrificial fish. The wonders of the internet, have helped present a new and humane method, which I am currently experimenting with. Okay, I have discovered new levels of banality within myself. Eric, being the commensurate enthusiast, keeps asking me "So when are we actually going to get fish?". Cycling a new tank requires a good deal of patience and requires one to tap in to their inner nerd. And I can even report, that this is pretty exciting! About 10 days ago, I added enough commercial ammonia (without soap or perfume) to raise the ammonia levels to 5 ppm. I have my test kit, and every morning I test my ammonia and nitrite levels. Things were pretty dull up until a couple days ago, when the nitrite levels started to climb, and the ammonia levels began to drop. This means that I've successfully started to grow the bacteria that converts the nitrite. Once both have dropped to zero, its time to add the fish. Until then, I'll have to endure the "so when are we getting fish" question. Funny, my mother seemed to think that it would be the kids nagging...


MC Etcher said...

Yay, You're back!! I have to admit that my enthusiasm for posting has been in a slump lately too.

Very cool about the aquarium info, very interesting!

Carslemane Foraix said...

G'day Heather.

You won something over at my place in the fridge photo competition.

hotboy said...

I kept a couple of goldfish once! Didn't know that about the tank. Educational blog this! Hotboy

Stephen (aka Q) said...

My dad has always kept a fish tank. It seems like such a thankless task to me. All pets require care, but fish are finicky little creatures that up and die on you if you look at them the wrong way.

Not that my dad is so bad at it. But he must have had the fish tank for 30 years now, and I've seen a lot of fish unexpectedly depart for that great aquarium in the sky.

Or at least the toilet bowl.