Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hell in a Glass Tank...Hell.

Catastrophe. A deeper, darker return can only be imagined. After a wonderful vacation, we arrived home only to find our beloved reef tank had suffered some sort of catastrophic structural collapse. All of our corals, our clown fish Bruce, our crabs, our snails…everything was apparently dead. I walked in, moments after bringing in the luggage. I looked at the tank-it was grey. It has never been grey. It is supposed to have pink and purple and colorful things in it. I screamed. Cora came in and she screamed. We have had this tank for two years. We have worked very hard on it. Things like that come through patience and time. We have put in care, patience, money, and time. I don’t think anyone but a reef tank owner could truly understand. It is horribly upsetting. We are both sick.
The tank apparently developed a leak in the bottom and all the water drained out. We began to disassemble it after we had both settle down and calmed. We were numb. We thought we might be able to save some of the rock. The only thing to do is to start over, no matter how devastating it is. Cora found one of her snails…it moved. Then she found a hermit crab, it too had saved some water inside its shell. We rushed the survivors to the living room tank. Then we found that one of our emerald crabs seemed to be alive. We also saved a few other things. Among them, possibly, we will be able to retain a couple of the more resilient corals. We won’t know for a day or two how the survivors will ultimately fare.
All that went through our minds was that everything was dead.
I called my parents immediately to see if there had been anything untoward or any warning of this. They said there was none. I could not contain my emotions and had to get off the phone. It is just something you can’t plan for. We tried to make sure that every foreseeable thing was planned for…this was unforeseen. I cannot begin to explain the unutterable sadness we are experiencing. We are both sick with this. I mean, nauseated. Shaky. It was so beautiful and unique, something we had made together and it is gone.
I wonder if the early hour that we got up, the four hours in the cramped and somewhat uncomfortable confines of an aircraft, and a further four hours of driving combined with the stress of getting everything together and making all the allotted stops, did not make this even more painful than it would have been. We are both exhausted after such a fun and wonderful week, but this just came at the very end of this week and we took it hard.
I want to say some positive things about the day. I don’t know necessarily what to say…Our dogs were pleased to see us, they probably thought we had abandoned them. Our niece and nephew were both pleased to see us…especially since we were bearing gifts. They both liked their gifts. Eli got an Arizona hat, with a gecko on it, and Emma got a necklace with a heart shaped stone in it. David is a bit young to appreciate his things. Carrie, my sister, seemed to like the pot and cactus seed we got her. I hope she has a nice little cactus garden.
The flight was ok, but cramped. I got a window seat, so I was pleased. We flew from Phoenix to Oakland…to do that we flew west to southern California, then north from there. We flew over Barstow and Edwards AFB…they have landed the shuttle at Edwards and MANY, MANY historic aircraft have flown there. That was worth the extra couple hours for me. But, it was a long flight and even if you are in a window seat, the combination of pressure change and dry air has an effect. We got off the plane in Portland, PDX, and finally found the car. It was considerably colder than Phoenix. We drove to Troutdale and got a bite to eat. Then on up the Gorge, all the while suffering from being tired. I stopped and got a caffeinated beverage and we went on. About three hours later we arrived in Richland and picked up the dogs. Then, after two cups of coffee, we drove to my sister’s new place. Nice little house on a nice five acre plot. The dogs liked it. They did not want to go back to the car…though, they lay right down and quickly fell asleep. We visited for awhile longer. Then, exhaustion nearing, we set out for home. Only to find the tank in its sad state. Hopefully, the survivors will pull through, and I do apologize for the sad pall I have put on this post. I don’t know what to do next. Sleep, I guess. Hopefully tomorrow dawns better.
I want to be clear that there was nothing my parents could have done to save it, nor prevent it. We think it was a weak spot in the sealant. We suspect it could have happened if we had decided to go to Seattle for the night, so there is no one to be blamed. It just happened. It totally sucks and if I were not so saddened I could probably turn this page blue with some language of anguish. I won’t do that, though. It is just a hollow feeling.
I am sorry for bringing anybody down. I hope your week goes well.


Isabella's Mommy & Daddy(Kim & John) said...

So Sorry to hear this bad news....

grandma el said...

I know how much you enjoyed collecting the fish and everything. It's just unreal that something like that could have happened. It even makes me want to cry.