Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Weekend

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. Ours was very enjoyable and full of sunshine. We even managed to give Winston a bath without a fight. Always a plus.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Homeward Bound - The Shrimp Journey **Spoiler, he died**

I'm going to paint you a beautiful picture of everyday life at my house and how I always win. I know you'll enjoy it because everyone likes to see me win.

Last Sunday John and I were doing our bi-monthly water change on our saltwater tank. Even though we thought it was empty we're still trying to get the nitrates down to 0 so we can buy fish again.
So there we were, La De Da, John emptying the water and me standing around, like usual. He had pulled off our filtration sock (I don't want to go into a long winded explanation of this, if you want to know what it is, do what every other American does and google it) and had set it on top of our filtration system.
It has been sitting out of the water for a good 20 minutes while I helped point out that he had drained enough water and instruct on how to get the new water in. I then decided to make myself more useful than I usually am and went to wash the sock.

The filtration sock can be washed in the washing machine, but should be turned inside out to get it to its cleanest possible state. So I stick my hand in to turn it and I touch something. Of course I immediately pull my hand out because one of my biggest fears is touching things I don't want to touch, that and Pillsbury's dough tubes that pop when you open them.
After I peered inside I noticed our shrimp, but instead of red he was clear. I made an "EEEK!" sound, dropped the sock and ran back over to John while wringing my hand in my shirt, around my neck and in my hair while I wailed, "I TOUCHED IT! I TOUCHED IT! I TOUCHED IT!"

Of course this is normal behavior for me so it didn't even throw John off his groove. Without even looking at me he calmly asked, "What did you touch?"
"THE SHRIMP! I TOUCHED THE SHRIMP!!!!" I cried, while doing the "I touched the gross thing" dance.
"You did not touch the shrimp, the shrimp is dead" John said, still not taking his eyes off the fish tank.
"But I did and it's alive, it moved when I touched it!!!" I screamed back at him.
After much arguing about whether the shrimp was even in the sock, John went over to investigate. He decided that it was dead, dropped the sock back on the floor and told me to continue what I was doing before I, as he put it, "became psycho".

There was no way in Hell that I was going to continue what I was doing! Didn't he hear me?!?! I touched the thing!!! He then told me to "grow a pair" and dump him in the toilet, turn the sock inside out and wash it!!! Nope, no, uh uh, that wasn't going to happen. I had touched the shrimp.
We again argued about this for about 5 minutes because he said I had to do it, but I knew if I pretended like the sock didn't exist anymore that he'd just do it for me. This is how I handle anything I don't want to do, just ignore it.

Finally after we got the new water back into the tank and I was cleaning up the buckets John went to take care of the sock. I smiled because I knew I had won. Marriage isn't a competition, but I still won.
I then heard a "plop" from the toilet and then a, "oh....huh..." from John. As causally as he addressed my "becoming psycho" I said, "what?"
"He's not dead...." came the reply from the bathroom.
"Then scoop him up!!!" I yelled, while running a fish net to the bathroom.
Mr. Shrimp was hoping around like crazy, probably a big shock to go from 78° saltwater to 20° fresh toilet water.
John had a hard time scooping him out, but about 5 minutes later he got him and I ran as fast as I could away from the fish net because I had already touched that shrimp and I didn't want him to remember and jump on me.

John dropped him into the tank and he swam down to a rock, stuck himself to it and didn't move for the rest of the evening.

I had the highest hopes for Mr. Shrimp. He lived in a filtration sock for 2 weeks with nothing to eat, he could survive a dip in the toilet, I was sure of this.
But alas I was wrong and the next morning I found Mr. shrimp dead and being eaten by critters of the sea. Good news though, his color had come back. I'm glad I talked John out of the $40 shrimp and into the $9 shrimp.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My class - February Block of the Month

When the Block of the Month class I was taking announced that they were no longer doing a class I complained to a girl at work. She said that I should put a class together for work. It only made sense that I did, I know the tricks of the trade and can easily pass them on. I got it approved through my corporate team and started it last month.

Since I'm teaching I have to make two blocks for references, one finished one and one incomplete so I can show how it goes together. I finished the instructional one today and decided to share.

It was so much fun teaching the class. I have a mixed skill of sewers in the class which makes it interesting. Everyone finished their blocks and they looked fantastic, must mean I'm a good teacher.
The next class is this week, I'm ready for it and looking forward to it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Winston in March - sorry no pictures!

It has been a while since I've updated about Winston. On the mobility side he's doing wonderfully, sometimes he's even too confidant. He'll hop down the stairs still not knowing where his back feet are at and gives me heart palpitations, then he'll blow up the stairs in the evening quick like a bullet. He comes down every time we go down the stairs, in fact it was getting to the point that he'd follow even if we were just running down to get something so I had to put the baby gate up. He doesn't have the ability to stop and turn around so getting him back up took a few extra seconds and some days I just don't have the time.

He'll walk on all floors of the house with no hesitation or falling and he'll squeeze past things without freaking out. He still doesn't like the office, but I don't force that issue. That's where Enna & Makoa's crates are so it's nice to just have a room for them to get away from him. He also doesn't like the bathroom and we have to drag him in by his harness to give him baths, but I'm sure that's why he doesn't like it.
If I leave our bedroom door open I will find him sleeping on our bed, so he doesn't have a problem jumping up on things. The bedroom door always gets closed now.
Luckily he doesn't jump up on people and that never was an issue, but since he already comes to most people waist I'm sure he doesn't feel like he needs to be higher.

He still has a tendency to be annoying when downstairs, but I think it's because of his short attention span. If he settles down and sleeps then he's not getting on every one's nerves. It's nice having three dogs again and letting him join in on our lives.

Last Saturday we went with Derek & Jonessa and their dog Mya to walk the gated road in Millcreek. No more trails for Winston, him almost rolling off the mountain was a big enough scare for me, but my friends were nice enough to agree to a light stroll in Winston safe zone.
As that Saturday got closer I got more nervous. Winston hasn't been around other dogs since our Bear Lake Trip and I didn't know how he'd react. John and I agreed that Winston would need to stay leashed until he showed that he could handle it.
He was perfectly fine with Mya, but I think he knows her well enough to not care about her. He practically shoved her out of the way to say hi to Derek. Other dogs were an issue though, he growled at them if they were close to him and John had to walk him off to the side and we'd shield him from other dogs. I wanted to take him back to the car, but John said he had him under control and he did. Just shows that training is something that has to be consistent and life long. Just those few months without the dog socializing put him back a few steps.
We hope to start back at K9 Lifeline in the next couple of weeks.

During the snowy winter months we left Winston inside while we were away from the house, but now that's it's getting warmer he'll start staying outside again. He prefers to be out there anyway since it usually takes some calling from me to get him to stand up and come in.

For a while there I was thinking that his time was coming to an end so it's so nice to be able to write positive things about him. I think the beads stabilized him now and he just needed to come out of his breed's fear stage to make the real progress.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

**UPDATE** Saltwater Adventures

The saltwater tank has been in the works for a really long time, we gave up the freshwater tank back in April 2010, thinking we'd have a saltwater up and running soon after that. Well that didn't happen. We didn't even buy a tank until January 2011, but we had to wait on the remodeling to finish up to do so.

Then bought the rest of the needed equipment when we had the money for it and hoped by 2012 we'd have enough to have the tank plumbed. That didn't happen either. Every time we had extra money something would come up that was more important.
As a new year's project list I said we'd get it done and that's just what we did. The price tag to have the tank plumbed, get sand, live rock and salt water was a little pricier than we expected, but we wanted it done so set the date with Aquatic Dreams to come out January 31, 2012. Finally a reward for working all those nights at my second job, money for the tank.

The guys were at our house for 4 hours (after one fell down our stairs with a bucket of live rock) and when they were done we had this glorious view ...even though it was cloudy...

Here it is after it cleared up

It was so nice to have water and rocks in the tank after it sat empty for two years. We then had to wait for at least 4 weeks for the tank to cycle through it's ammonia and nitrate spikes. While it did so we found a few creatures that came with the rock.
Both of these died because of the spikes, but we knew they would. Then we got a big surprise.

This is a bristle worm and it's ugly! The saltwater fish forums couldn't agree on whether or not to keep it in the tank. So we took it out. They can grow huge and destroy the tank. 

A few days after getting him out I called Aquatic Dreams about lights, they said that they had some used ones we could just have. Awesome! The light bulbs were still pricey at a total of $100 and John had to modify the canopy to get them to fit. 

After the tank had been running 3 1/2 weeks we did our first water change. Water changes need to be done every couple of weeks to keep the water chemistry in checks so we decided to get our feet wet, figuratively not literally.
Here's our set up for water changes. We put our Reverse Osmosis water tube into the tote and waited the 12 hours for it to fill with a heater in it. We then mixed in some sea salt. While the salt was dissolving we drained 20 gallons out of our display tank. 
Then we pumped our new salt water back in. Doing this every two weeks will probably get old fast, but we knew it was coming. 

Our quarantine tank is nothing to call home about, but they're not suppose to be. It's a 10 gallon tank with no sand and no sump, but it only has to be used when added new fish. The new fish have to stay in the tank for at least 3 weeks and if they stay healthy they can move to the display tank. If they get sick they will have to stay in longer.

We waited another week and got ourselves psyched to buy our first creatures. We hoped to put the critters we bought into our quarantine tank like responsible fish owners in case they got sick, but we procrastinated to get the heater set up and when we got home it still wasn't hot enough. Since there's nothing else in our display tank we took the chance and put our little fishes in it. 

We bought two Banghi Cardinals, they seem happy and healthy and are swimming around the whole tank.
We also bought a peppermint shrimp. He's a mover and a shaker so we don't see him much.

We have fish you guys! Now if they just promise to stay alive we'll be happy! Going slow is the key with salt so we'll be waiting a couple weeks before we add more critters...the price of these beauties also makes you move slow so that works in our favor.

**UPDATE March 6, 2013** we lost both fish last night. we had a nitrate spike and they didn't like it. We were also trying to keep the temperature stable, but it kept raising and lowering two degrees so I don't think that helped either. We've solved the temp problem and hopefully the nitrate problem too. We'll be doing a water change this weekend so that'll lower the nitrates to a good level and then we'll try fish again.