Ten Steps to a Happier Life

I went to see my parents this weekend - just to check in and help out.

Mostly, I was on a mission to save their koi pond.

About a week ago, my mother let me know that a chipmunk had drowned in the pond and that the water was murky, and that the pump had died.  A series of events that had her pulling out her hair.

She fished out the offending carcass, replaced the pump, but the water had gotten so bad, the pump couldn't keep up.

Enter, me.  I had some time to contemplate the situation, and I had a plan.

Step one - fill a spare container with enough water to move the three fish to a temporary environment.

Step two - capture fish and move them to said environment.

Step three - drain pond.  This one, admittedly had me stymied. I could siphon it, but how?  I'd need the hose to be at a lower point than the pond and the back yard doesn't really work like that.  So, I decided on a Shop Vac.  I had no desire to put ours in my nice car and transport it to Atlanta.  I didn't know if Mom and Dad had one, but I determined that Home Depot had one for about $50, and I felt it would be a worthwhile investment.  That turned out to be unnecessary - they had one, and Mom agreed that it was the best way to get the water out of the pond.  Dad was hesitant, but we outnumbered him.

Step four - clean the pond.  I didn't know what exactly that would entail, because I really didn't know how bad it would be.   As it turned out, it wasn't that difficult.  We needed to split and repot the water iris, we pulled about a dozen large rocks from the bottom of the pond, and we displaced a large leopard frog.  From there, I scooped a 13 gallon bagful of silt, mud, pine needles and assorted detritus out of the bottom of the pond.  It's a plastic liner that dad sunk into the ground - it's about three feet deep at the lowest point.

While we were working on Step four, one of the three koi, who I'll call Pinky, made an escape attempt, jumping out of his temporary container.  I grabbed the flopping carp up and redeposited him into the tub.  From that point, I appointed Mom to his suicide watch.

I rinsed and vacced the pond really well, then replaced just a few of the rocks at the bottom, along with the pump.  Here, I got a lot of consultation from both Mom and Dad. Finally, we had everyone onboard with placement, the rate of aeration, and the anchoring method of the rocks.

Step five - refill the pond.  While we added back some water, Mom got the chemicals and added them.  We worked on adding the remaining rocks to the edge of pond.

Step six - return Pinky, Cletus and Shlomo to their rightful environment.

Step seven - clean all the equipment used in Operation: Deep Pond and put it away.

Step eight - take a picture of your labor and put it on Facebook:

L-R: Pinky, Shlomo, Cletus - Not Pictured: Leopard Frog
Step nine - get a hot shower and de-scum.

Step ten - note that this humanitarian (pescetarian?) effort has screwed up your pedicure and offer to take Mom for a replacement.

Mother in Malaga Wine,  Daughter in Flashbulb Fuchsia

It was a good day.  Well, mostly.  Later that night, as I was out picking up supper for the elders, I took a massive header in the Publix parking lot. It was slick, it was raining, and I went down like a whore in Bangkok.  But I got up, picked up my keys and phone and, soaked to the skin, I got in my car and went to get our pizza from Mellow Mushroom.

I'm home now and glad to be here.  Hope the koi feel the same way.