More cat drama and a fish update

It’s been a crazy past few days in the Hall Hacienda!

First of all, we have more cat drama.  No, Athena didn’t run away again.  Thankfully.

Nope, it’s the other cat, Nema.  We found out on Friday that she is diabetic.  It’s weird how we found out.  She had been really limping around for about a week and I was starting to get worried that she was arthritic or really sick.  She is 15, after all.  An old lady!  So Kevin took her in and the vet said that muscular neuropathy is very common with diabetic cats.  So almost $400 later, we find out that she is diabetic and stock up on our supplies.  Poor Nema.  She has to get insulin shots twice a day. 

I cried the whole time it was my turn to give her the shot.  It was pitiful.

I spent the whole weekend learning about feline diabetes and am on the hunt for a low carb food for her to eat.  She seems to be walking a little better so I think the insulin is helping.  The jury is still out on whether or not we will test her blood glucose at home.  Type A me says we should and Kevin thinks we should wait.

In fish news, I am happy to update that we have a stocked tank!  Well, mostly stocked.  The PH level of the tank is still a little low, which is not good for my cardinal tetras.  We have to get that in check first. 

In the meanwhile, we got a couple more zebra danios to replace the aforementioned deceased ones.  Now we have three.  Sherlock has two new friends, Watson.0 and Moriarty.0

Then, we decided to get four guppies.  I know, guppies!  They are so much fun and apparently are impossible to kill, according to the fish store.   Here’s what they look like:


Aren’t they pretty?  We have named them too:

  • Turquoise is Curacao
  • Yello is Lemon
  • Tequila Sunrise is Cabo
  • Red Tuxedo is Mr. Daniels

They are a trip!  They like to chase each other up and down the sides of the tank.  It’s almost like they get hyper and start tearing around.  I was a little freaked out this morning when I checked on them because they were all laying on the bottom of the tank.  I guess they sleep!

PT update and a moment of silence for the fish…

I’ve been really busy for the past week!  Here’s the latest…

My gym time with Cori continues to be beneficial.  Props to Cori for not letting me hurt myself.  I have come to the conclusion that I really should NOT be allowed to exercise unsupervised right now.  My concept of pain and injury is still not that great- during and after exercise.

We have been having a great time during my sessions!  I feel like a major whiner sometimes.  She has a good sense of humor about it.  I heart Cori.  Not just because she reads my blog.  Because she is really, actually helping me.  I have been at this now for over a month and I haven’t hurt myself to the point of being laid up for three months.  This is unprecedented.  I have been in this cycle of injury/rest for the past two years, so this is really exciting for me.

Today, I hurt.  I’ve sort of come to expect this now.  There’s a line of pain and soreness that I ride.  It’s all good.

I wanted to share something exciting from last Thursday’s session.  We have discovered that part of my problem may be the circular motion of my knee since it’s really weak.  Cori suggested we try the Stairmaster.  I KNOW!  It’s 80s-tastic but I was willing to do anything.  I used to run on the Stairmaster back in the day.  I was one of THOSE people, hopping on, running for 30 minutes, and then hopping off like nothing happened.  What the heck!

Now, I’m sort of hopping on, panting for 5 minutes and then hoping my heart doesn’t explode.  This pleases Cori to no end because I’m a cardiovascular wimp now and I have to improve on that.  I’m down with it.

I’m also hoping this gives me an 80’s-tastic booty, since that’s what everyone wants when they torture themselves on this device.  Let’s take a look back in time for inspiration…



Okay, so maybe not with the high waisted jeans.  But you have to admit, the ankle bows are pretty hot.

Jordache jeans aside, my booty…or sass, as my husband calls it, CANNOT shrink as a result of this exercising and weight loss.  I hate it when women are all like, “oh my butt is so huge- I have to have no butt at all or I’m a complete failure in life”.  Whatever, people!  I like a little junk in my trunk.  I don’t want to look like a 10 year old.

Onto other news.

So we have only one fish left.  Irene, Moriarty and Watson all died last week.  Kevin and I took a sample of our water up to the fish store on Friday to be tested.  We are going along in our nitrogen cycle.  Too bad I did water changes.  I killed my fish, according to the fish guy.  I should have left the toxic water in the tank since they were used to it. 

Kevin has a new song for me.  Do you remember Flash Gordon’s theme song?  It’s that, but instead he sings, “Fish!  Killlller!”.  Hmph.

After promising my fish guru at the store that I would leave Sherlock’s water alone this week, we headed home to put some more water conditioner in the tank and make sure he lived through the weekend.  He seems to be quite jubilent about his new air bubbler that we purchased as well.  Hopefully, the water tests good this Friday and we can get some more fish.  I feel bad that he is alone now!

I can’t believe that next week is Thanksgiving.  I need to make sure I’m good about doing my at-home exercises that Cori gave me!

Kitty drama and fish tank update

This past week has been nothing short of crazy.  I don’t even know where to start.

The week before Halloween (Thursday night prior), Athena got out of the house.  This is a long, convoluted story, but basically the front door was left open and our little Houdini escaped into the dark.  I was all pumped up from a training session with Cori and got home to chaos.  We found her under the deck and then she bolted into the darkness of the neighborhood.  For the next five days, I was a complete lunatic.  She’s my cat and I was hysterical!  We were up at all hours of the night, walking the streets in the dark and calling her.  Unfortunately, it was also raining for three days of this fiasco, which resulted in me getting sick the next week.  Up at all hours+ raining+ cold=disease.

Anyway, there was a happy ending when on Halloween, Kevin’s dad found her by checking under one of our very small decks out back.  She shouldn’t have been able to get under there and I’m still not quite sure HOW she got under there or why he thought to check, but after almost three hours, Kevin and his dad extracted a very clean, but scared Athena.    That night, she was chillin’ like it never happened.

With my sense of purpose renewed and once I felt human enough to work on the tank this weekend, we set up the tank.  Here is a night shot, which is pretty cool.  I still think we need an air bubbler, but the jury is still out on this one.

We put in four fish this weekend to start the cycling process.  Two zebra danios and two leopard danios.  It’s good to start a cycle with hardy fish, but I think one of the leopards is struggling.  We shall see.  Anyway, they look like this…

We named them after Sherlock Holmes characters.  Two are Sherlock and Watson and the other two are Moriarty and Irene.

On Friday of this week, we are to go back to the fish store to have the water tested again.  If it’s good, we can add more fish.  I want to get a bottom dweller and some tetras.  More pics to come!

In the meanwhile, Ms. Thing has already discovered the tank.  It’s a little fuzzy ’cause I caught her in the act!

Surviving training and fish tank update

After a crazy weekend, I got right to business on the fish tank on Monday.  Knowing I was waaaay in over my head with the caulking, I asked Kevin’s dad to come over and help.  What ensued can only be described as an exercise in stickiness.

We started with the clear caulk on the inside of the tank.  Let me back up for a second on this.  First of all, I have a major bone to pick with the caulking industry.  Why make these tubes to difficult to decipher?  All I needed was 100% silicone.  There’s apparently a type of caulk you are NOT to use on fish tanks, mainly because the chemicals leech into the water and kill the fishies.  So I avoided anything about mildew proofing.  That just helped me narrow down my choices by a small amount.  What I was left with was an overwhelming selection of different types of caulks, all 100% silicone.  But, the catch with the remaining selection was that it could have been caulk for bathrooms, windows, indoor, outdoor, roofs, kitchens, and quite possibly, my garage door.  What the heck?  If it’s 100% silicone, then what’s the difference?

I can’t even remember what I ended up with, but I left the store praying to the caulking gods that I made the right choice.  Clear for the inside and black for the outside.

So back to the tank.  The inside was a good place to start.  It gave me some practice smoothing it with my finger and getting the right size of silicone bead on the seams.  Bead, wipe finger, grap a paper towel, and then quickly remove excess with a paper towl.  Repeat.  Several times.  Attempt to keep cat away.

The outside of the tank was a little more challenging because it was black caulk and very hard to remove.  I ended up taping the tank and then going through the aforementioned process.  All in all, it took a couple of hours and a roll of paper towel.

Now the waiting part.  The tube says 24 hours for a full cure, but I’m paranoid.  That tank is going to sit for a few days just to be sure. 

Next steps:

  1. Buy gravel.  Black seems to be the winner at this point. Maybe I’ll do an emo tank.
  2. Buy the filter and whatever tubes go with it.  Yes, I still have no idea what I’m doing.
  3. Get my water testing supplies.
  4. Fill with water and wait.

This is an illustration of the nitrogen cycle.  From my investigations, this must happen before you add fish.  I see differing reports on how long this takes.  Two weeks?  Four?

In other news, I am almost halfway through with my time with Cori.  Yesterday was my fifth session and we did something totally different.  Instead of moving around the floor to various machines, we went upstairs and worked on an interval/cycle routine. This consisted of fast elliptical, ab work, ball work, and arms.  Be still my knee, please.

It was a great workout!  I actually sweated, which is something that I haven’t been able to do in awhile. By the end of the last circuit, my knee was definitely starting to feel that familiar pain.  I think my muscles are so undeveloped, it was a combination of weak supporting structures and perhaps an angry knee.

I’m definitely feeling something in my knee area today but I can’t tell if it’s injury or just a hard workout. I may take some Motrin later and ice it tonight when I get home to see if it helps.

This gives me hope that I can get myself back into shape.  It may not happen quickly, but I’m definitely putting in as much as I can during my sessions with Cori.  Maybe I’ll reward my effort with a new heartrate monitor next week!  I currently have an old Polar unit that is probably around 8 or 10 years old.





Hobbies are good

It’s been almost a year since I graduated and I still haven’t gotten a hobby going.  Hobbies are good.  It’s what normal people do who don’t work full time and teach obscene amounts of classes.

I need a hobby.  More than my Wednesday night craft night.  I need something that I can say I work on frequently that is relaxing. 

I’ve decided to start an aquarium.

I know. 

Someone like me, starting an aquarium.  It’s nuts.  I’m too Type A for such an activity. 

Let me explain.  My grandfather always had a sweet fish tank when I was little.  I loved that tank.  It was so peaceful.  When my grandparents passed away, the tank was boxed up and put into my mom’s storage.  Last year, I decided that someone needed to do something with this tank and took it out of storage.  It’s been sitting in my dining room ever since, covered with a Mexican blanket.  Ha!

Well, I got off my butt last weekend and started to work on it.  Oh lord, what was I thinking.  The tank is a mess.

Let me back up.  The tank is a sweet tank.  My grandfather was quite the DIY’er in the day and made it himself out of automotive glass.  I guess this is why I want to fix it up.  It seems a shame to let this thing sit.

So here it is in all of her dirty glory.  Notice the stand- that is also DYI’ed.  You can see the white grime on the glass and the sad metalwork on the frame.

Pretty nasty, huh?  I went to town on Sunday with the metalwork.  Some of it looks like it was eroding, but I had to clean it.  Some Brasso, a toothbrush, and a washcloth got it done.  It took a good while but it’s nice and shiny now.  The areas of concern are mostly on the back of the tank, probably because it had water damage from prior use with the filter.  The top of the tank (unpictured) is another piece of glass with a notch cut out in the back for the filter setup.

After the metal cleaned up, I got to work on the white stuff on the glass.  Enter the scraper.

Little did I know, this would turn into a full day fiasco.  The scraper was good, but that razor blade got dull really quick.  I guess that is what 30 years of festering in a storage unit will do.  I had to bring out the big guns and get a value size of white vinegar.

Apparently, even if you rinse repeatedly, it is a big no-no to use any sort of detergent cleaner on the inside of a fish tank. White vinegar, more scraping, and plenty of elbow grease.  That’s what takes off 30 years of gunk.  That, plus some mindless TV and lots of caffeine.

When I finished the tank glass, I stopped for a lunch and thought about what to do next.  Should I chance filling the tank with water to see if it’s airtight?  Or, should I go ahead and strip out the silicone seals?


I look online.  Everyone says it’s a big job.  Well, I’ve got all afternoon and evening, right?  Ha!

I changed my razor blade and started at the inside of the tank first.  This was pretty difficult work.  Scoring the silicone, then scraping it up.  You have to get it ALL up because new silicone won’t adhere to the old stuff.  I worked.  I sweated.  I took breaks for chocolate.

Some of the areas pulled right out, which led me to believe that my decision to remove the silicone was wise.  Who knows how long that would have stayed water tight.

After I finished the inside of the tank, I started on the outside metalwork.  All of the metalwork was caulked with a very thin bead of black silicone, which came up much easier than the clear stuff on the inside.  Again, good decision to remove and replace. 

All in all, it took me 7 hours to remove the silicone on the inside and outside of the tank, with maybe an hour worth of breaks.  My fingers are sore and I managed to avoid cutting myself, which was Kevin’s main concern.  I’m not that lucky with most kitchen knives.

I wiped out the tank again with the vinegar, which now permeates throughout the Hall Hacienda.  I’m going to let it all sit and recaulk it this weekend. 

In addition to my cleaning adventures, I went to Petco to scout out their filtration systems.  We have a fish store by our house, but it may be overpriced so I wanted to get some comparison pricing done. 

I also went to the library and got several books about aquariums and fishkeeping, including one called “Your Aquarium Week By Week” or something like that.  It tells how to get your tank set up and how not to kill your fish.  I need that.

Stay tuned.  Fish saga continues.