Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Fish Saga and more

We want a pet. But cats and dogs need to be taken care of if one goes on vacation for more than a couple days. Cats you can leave alone for a weekend if you have to, dogs you can’t. I think. At any rate, I don’t think we can realistically take care of a pet right now. But how sad for TM! So we decided that a fish tank would be lovely!

The Fish Saga begins. We looked at tanks. We weren’t sure whether we liked what we saw. A neighbor offered hers, since they had recently failed to keep their fish alive. It’s a nice tank, so I decided to try to make a go of it. Before buying fish I filled up the tank to see if her equipment was working. After running it for a week the water finally started turning green, so I went out to get some more aquarium supplies.

I thought it would be good to get the environment up and running before buying fish. Thank goodness. I tried to find gravel, but after going to several hole-in-the-wall stores (most stores look kinda like that here), I couldn’t find what I wanted. So I bowed to pressure and bought sand. We put it in our tank and instantly the water turned brown brown brown. The plants I’d also bought were invisible. But surely it would settle?

After 3 days it did not settle, so I siphoned off a bunch of water and added more. Still cloudy. Hey, maybe I should’ve washed the sand first! It was probably dirty. (ha ha ha). So I took out all the water, then took out all the sand (it’s a 15gallon tank) and washed it. Yes, washed it. Dirty bathroom afterwards. Then put it back in, put new water in, and yes, it was still cloudy. It took about an hour of silent moaning before I finally took out all the water again and took out all the sand and cleaned the tank.

By the way, if your sand is deep, the lower layers go anoxic. Meaning sulfur-producing bacteria kick in. Meaning... it stinks. Just FYI. Did we have deep sand? Apparently...

Also FYI, Bangalore's power supply is ... irregular. That's the word. So you have to figure out how to keep your fish alive during a power outage. I haven't decided on that one yet. Cost of battery backups and inverters will figure heavily into my final decision...

I think that was a month ago. We have a dry empty aquarium. Today I handed our driver 500nrp and asked him to see if he could find some gravel. I think he knows what I’m looking for… we’ll see. If I can find some nice gravel and some plants (plastic this time, thank you), then I’ll add fish. But, oh, I forgot to mention – no testing kits here. That I can find, anyway. So how do I know what’s wrong when everything starts dying? So I asked my husband (does he have a blog nickname yet? I don’t remember) to bring some back from the states since he’s on a business trip. Aquarium test kits.

In the states I like to imagine that I would’ve had it up and running in about 1/3 the time, but then again, I’m sure I would’ve found other obstacles (like money, perhaps?).

Change Of Topic

My Paper. The one that was done? Remember? It’s not. Nope. Came back with more comments, and a “why don’t you delete all this and put in another couple figures and change all this” and my oh my I really am having a hard time nailing myself to the computer and finishing it. I could tell that my advisor was a little disappointed with the latest polishing job… not quite as sparkling clean as it should be, with me obviously apparently unmotivated. Sigh. I keep slogging. Never give up, never surrender!

Meanwhile, Q (my husband’s new blog nickname, that hopefully I’ll remember) just got his US citizenship! Hooray! Should make things easier. But I’m having trouble here in India.

Remember the visa trouble earlier? Did I write about that? Hmm. Anyway, I had trouble getting a visa. Now I’m having trouble registering. If you plan to stay in India longer than 180 days, you have to go register at the Foreign Registration Office. Bear in mind that governmental bodies here are arbitrary. Not standardized. Nope. And the man in charge of this particular office seems to have a really bad temper. He sent me away almost immediately to rearrange my application and bring more documents. Other people I talked to in line had been there 3 times already. He seems to have the idea that India’s consulates in other countries are messing everything up. Not helpful. Not. Would 1000nrp help things out a bit? I don’t know, ‘cause when push comes to shove, bribing just makes me mad. Sigh.

After telling Q what my problems were, he suggested I use the agency his work has hired. Absolutely, say I. So that’s my next plan. And if they have trouble, I’m bringing in my secret weapon – my mother-in-law. Q’s mom is amazing! Remind me to write about her sometime. She has a supernatural way of getting things to happen her way. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of it, but it’s wonderful to watch it work on other people. Hee hee hee. So for the sake of the FRO people, I hope Q’s work’s agency pulls through on this one.