Over the years, my wife Katrina has been a big advocate of having fish aquariums in our home. We’ve had several different aquariums over time, including small ones in the kids’ rooms as well as our large one in the living room. We’ve been through a multitude of fish in all of these aquariums, and the kids all love to watch them, seemingly mesmerized by the underwater scene in motion.
The other night I came home from work with the anticipation of helping Katrina get the house ready for my parents to come for a visit the next day. They would be coming to spend the night, so we wanted to put some extra effort into making sure the house was in tip top shape.
As I began working on our dinner of lasagna, Katrina took care of our eight month old daughter, Olivia, and worked around the house on various things. I grated cheese, cooked noodles and sauce, and before long had created a masterpiece pan of lasagna. I placed the lasagna in the oven and then made garlic bread and salad while it was cooking. Katrina had finished feeding Olivia, so she came in to set the table and assist in getting everyone’s drink ready.
While all of this had been going on the other four children had been in the living room either watching a video on TV or just playing. They actually seemed to be doing pretty well considering the fact that we were all anxiously awaiting the arrival of hot food in our stomachs to stave off starvation. It was at that moment that the sound of a meteorite came crashing through the front window, or so it seemed.
I used my lightning quick speed to sprint into the living room, and discovered our son Joshua (almost three years old) lying under our overturned rocking chair. He had a look of terror on his face as an immediate waterfall gushed around him. Joshua had turned our large wooden rocking chair over into our twenty-seven gallon fish aquarium, shattering the glass, which created an instant Niagara Falls, for about five seconds anyway.
Being the logical person that I am, I immediately wanted to cross examine Joshua and get to the bottom of this mishap, but I decided that rescuing him from underneath the chair and out of the carpet swamp was more important at the time. So I yanked him out of the middle of the lake in the living room and handed him to Katrina. Again, executing my lightning quick speed (and judgment), I ran to the shop out back and retrieved our shop-vac and brought it inside. Then I made the same trip again, having forgotten some of the much-needed attachments.
While I had been making all of my trips back and forth, Katrina had stripped Joshua of his wet clothes and began gathering towels to soak up some of the water, hopefully to prevent it from spreading any further in the carpet. We both pulled furniture out of the way and starting flinging toys and other miscellaneous items out of the swamp, making room for the shop-vac to do its work.
Right in the front of our French doors, near the area of the fish aquarium explosion, is a tiled entryway on which the kids usually have an ongoing jigsaw puzzle or two that they work on. Tonight was no exception, and the puzzles were among the casualties of the raging river. We both scooped up several piles of wet puzzle pieces and threw them to the “dry zone”, the area we had designated that was safe from the water.
After we had been at this for what seemed like an eternity, probably ten minutes, the alarm in my stomach went off to tell me that we were probably burning our dinner. I told Katrina to save our lasagna from the oven while I continued sucking water, and proceeded to work on it for a little while as she finished up getting dinner on the table.
Then, the thought finally occurred to me: Where did the fish go, and had I sucked them up into the vacuum? I was afraid to bring up the subject. I scanned the floor, didn’t see them, and figured if I had in fact sucked them up then it was probably too late for them now, unless they were swimming inside the shop vac.
During all of this commotion, the kids just watched in awe from the couch, probably wondering if we were going to pop them some popcorn as they enjoyed the cleanup show. We stopped for dinner instead. I had come to a stopping point and we moved to the dining room for dinner.
Over our quick dinner we pondered over all the ideas as to how in the world Joshua could have turned over the rocking chair into the aquarium, and finally came to the conclusion that he had tried to climb over it from the side, like a ladder, got his weight up on the arm, and toppled it over.
I also discovered over dinner that Katrina had saved the fish from harm. There were only three small fish in the aquarium and during all of the commotion of me running back and forth, Katrina had grabbed a jug, located the fish on the floor, and carried them to Bradley’s aquarium upstairs. It’s a good thing that Katrina takes care of the emotional things, like saving the fish, while I’m taking care of the logical things, like saving the carpet.
After dinner, we set in for a long evening of sucking, sucking, and sucking more water out of the carpet. After continuing this process for awhile, I had remembered that we still had my parents’ carpet cleaning machine, so we took the opportunity to clean the carpet, now that we had it good and wet. I gave the carpet a good spraying over with carpet cleaning solution, and commenced to scrubbing it and getting it sucked up.
As I worked on the carpet most of the evening, Katrina did many other things, including getting the kitchen cleaned up and getting the kids ready for bed. We cranked up the heat, turned on the ceiling fans, and put a fan on the floor blowing the carpet. Hopefully all of these things would work in combination to remove the moisture from the carpet and room.
Although the front of the fish aquarium was pretty much demolished, the carpet seemed to be fine and cleaner than it was in the first place. The real blessing of the evening though was Joshua. After having fallen underneath a shower of water, flying fish, and falling pieces of glass, he was basically unharmed, aside from the trauma of the event. We could have spent the night in the emergency room, but thanks to God’s protection, Joshua spent the night in his warm bed, dreaming of Grandma and Grandpa’s arrival the next day.
Written by David Steen, with God smiling, November 2, 2008