If You Give an Axolotl a New Tank


The moving bin


Lucy’s hallway (I cropped her out)


I think I mentioned that Lucy moved home this weekend from school and how ecstatically happy I am about that. When she left for UGA last fall, there was a huge hole in our family. Not just because we missed her smile and her laughter and her debates, but I missed her presence. She is the one who will randomly clean (and stuff stuff places so I can’t find it), she is the one who will take her siblings to Target because they ask, and she will excitedly show Bennett and Mary videos on YouTube about all kinds of things (which is why I think, that Bennett know what decoding the human genome means. *Cough*). Well, now she’s home and we had to get the basement ready because she’s living down there with Emma. (See that post here.)

This was much easier said than done.



This wasn’t her futon, I just thought it was so quintessential …

Have you ever read the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie ? It is a really cute kids book that teaches about cause and effect. What will happen if you start off on a wayward journey of life and being nice?

Well, here’s my story …

Lucy and her roommate, Hope are friends from high school. They have a great relationship and will live together again next year in a town home in Athens. They share a baby. Now before you go all Wh-what? on me, this is a “baby” that they have raised from a single cell back when they were in AP Biology together over one year ago. This baby is named Pochancho and he is an Axolotl which is a Mexican salamander. He started life as a tiny, tiny thing (like Mary’s little finger fingernail tiny) who would swim around and flip upside down on his back making us think he’d died. When he was little, he was white, and we could see his minuscule red heart through his translucent skin. Now though, he is about eight inches long with a long tail, a wide, flat head, tiny eyes and big smile.

Yes, a smile.



He also has these fluffy antenna things that remind me of fennel fronds.

Pochancho lived the life of luxury in Athens in Lucy’s dorm room. He had a tank that Lucy and Hope cleaned every day, he was hand fed bloodworms every day and he had a little castle and cave that he lived in and swam around. But now, Lucy is home.

“Who is taking Pochancho?” I asked.

“I am, because Hope is going to Korea,” Lucy said. (Over previous breaks, Lucy and Hope “shared custody” of Pochancho.)

This conversation happened the morning I was moving her out.

Immediately, I took charge.


“Okay, then we are getting him a tank with a filter. I can’t handle you having to clean it every single day, and I can’t handle worrying about him and Dobby,” I said. I had been encouraging them all year to get the poor animal a tank with a filter, but they just never got around to it.

IMG_3746So, we drove to Marietta from Athens and didn’t even go home, we went straight to PetSmart where they were (of course) having a dog adoption thing which always makes me super sad. With blinders on and fingers in ears, we took Pochancho into the store (in his tiny fish bowl) where he stopped traffic of course (“What is that?”) and I bought him a new, bigger tank complete with a filter and a LID (because we have cats, don’t you know and Winky is fascinated with Pochancho. Dobby hasn’t really seen him yet, but knowing Dobby the killer … he will find him eventually). The thought of scraping a dead Pochancho off the floor or tugging him out of Dobby’s mouth just wasn’t appealing. I’ve seen River Monsters, I know how these things happen. One minute, Pochancho is swimming peacefully, and the next? Drama.

And you know I don’t like drama.

When we got home and started putting all of Lucy’s stuff downstairs, my previous feeble attempt at cleaning the basement became just that … feeble.

If you buy an axolotl a new tank, you need to find a place to put it.

And when you look for a place to put it, you realize there is only one place. On the counter in the basement that is covered in toys.



Remember this picture? photo 1

And then, when you realize the scope of what you have to do, you break down and cry, and then get going on the job.

So Lucy and I spent the ENTIRE SUNDAY cleaning out 20 years and 7 children worth of toys. Everything was donated to Goodwill after we sorted, grouped, cleaned and organized. Goodwill closes at 6pm on Sunday and we drove the TWO TRUCKS that held all the stuff away at 5:30.

We were filthy, but we were 20 years of toys lighter. And now the basement looks like this.

And Pochancho is happy.




About krob3

Wife, mom, swim taxi, singer, writer. This is what I do.
This entry was posted in Families, House and Home, Life, Organization, Teenagers and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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