Tag Archives: this was a bad idea

Introducing My New Best Friend (a post by Lee)

Y’all. As of today at 11:22am Central Standard Time, I officially became a petowner.

Meet my Best Friend!

Meet my Best Friend!

You see, I have a history of making impulsive decisions. I regularly delude myself into thinking I’m a proper adult — I pay my bills on time, get my car detailed, and occasionally cook things made out of real vegetables. Then, inevitably, I go and do something like buy $135 worth of Harry Potter Lego to remind myself that I am basically an overgrown 12 year-old playing dress-up. (An aside: That actually was one of the better decisions I’ve ever made. It’s a great conversation piece, and Jordie and I while away many evenings playing Harry Potter. In our interpretation, Harry joins Team Voldemort, kisses then kills Hermione, and — if I am voicing him — possesses a terrible Cockney accent.)

Interestingly, this set doesn't include Ron.

Interestingly, this set doesn’t include Ron, so he’s never around to defend Hermione’s honor.

These urges are irrepressible. So when I woke up yesterday morning with the idea in my head that it could be fun to own a fish, I knew I was doomed. I contacted Jordie — generally the voice of fiscal reason in my life — to see how he felt about the idea. For a man who hates animals, he was surprisingly amenable:

email

Encouraged, I spent all of Friday afternoon researching good pet fish for beginners (Betta fish are best!), sending frenzied messages to anyone I thought might have relevant fish experience, and brainstorming potential names (Catherine Betta-Jones was obviously my preferred name for a ladyfish). I obsessed all day and night about getting a fish. You could say I was hooked.

Finally, this morning, the big moment came. Jordie and I got to PetSmart at about 10:45am. Unfortunately, that time coincided with the beginning of the puppy and kitten adoption session. A saleswoman thrust a small kitten into my arms, almost turning the story of “The Time I Got A Fish” to “The Time I Went To Buy A Fish And Instead Adopted 3 Kittens.”

I don't even like cats but was already imagining a beautiful future with this one.

I don’t even like cats but was already imagining a beautiful future with this one.

Somehow we extracted ourselves from the large animal section without buying a new furry friend and located the fish area. I picked out my Betta fish from the selection — a beautiful guy swimming about idly in his container who reeled me in with his attractive red scales. I left Big Red on the shelf while Jordie and I selected decorations for my tank. Y’all, there are some excellent tank decorations out there. I almost spent $7.99 on a fake, mossy Eiffel Tower — “We can teach him French!” — but it was too big. Tant pis! I eventually settled on the cheap minimalist option of some gravel and a miniature fake plant. When I returned to the Betta fish shelf, however, I noticed a fish that I liked even better than Big Red.

Conflict of emotions.

Conflict of emotions.

I was inherently and immediately drawn to More Exciting Fish. While, sure, Big Red was pretty and I liked him just fine right off the bat, More Exciting Fish swam around with intention and occasionally experienced what seem to be mild seizures. I was in love. Because of my crushing guilt complex, however, Jordie had to spend an unreasonable amount of time gently convincing me that Big Red’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt if I didn’t buy him. The conversation, all of which we later learned was overheard by the fish attendant, went something like this:

Lee: I love More Exciting Fish more than I love Big Red, but I told Big Red I was going to adopt him, so I feel like I have to take him.
Jordie: I think, with a big decision like this, you really need to go with what your heart desires. Big Red is going to be okay; I’m sure someone else will buy him soon. He’s beautiful.
Lee: What if he stops swimming because I spurned him? What if this is all a huge mistake? Is More Exciting Fish going to die from his seizure disorder, and then when I replace him with Big Red, is BR going to be a mean pet?
Jordie: I think you know what you really want and you just have to commit.

This continued for, no joke, 3 minutes before I finally took More Exciting Fish to the register. And, Dear Readers, what a mistake that WASN’T! I love MEF! He’s adjusted very well to life in my apartment. He swims constantly, although I worry about his appetite. It took him 45 minutes to eat all 4 pellets of his lunch. I performed First Day of My Life for him on the ukulele to let him know how happy I was that he’s my pet now, and he demonstrated his appreciation with one of his trademark seizures.

MEF remains, at this point, nameless. I’m temporarily calling him 610 after the interstate that defines Inner Houston. I simply haven’t yet been inspired by a name adequate enough to encompass his wonderful personality, but I probably will be soon. I’m sure he doesn’t mind waiting. Betta late than never, after all.

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When the Cats are Away, the Mouse Shall Play (a post by Lee)

Both Jordie and Anna Marie are out of town for a few days, rendering me unsupervised.

This is not good.

Without anyone to check and balance me, I find myself engaging in a variety of projects ripe with potential disaster.

One activity I generally do not participate in – and which I particularly should avoid doing solo – is cooking/baking/preparing food in any way that does not directly involve the use of a microwave.

So, in the absence of my two Jiminy Crickets, I decided to dive headfirst into food-creation by making cheese. Naturally.

This is why it's best not to leave me to my own devices. They should never travel.

Inspired by a conversation with my pen pal, in which she sent me this article about one of the actors from Home Improvement, I resolved to attempt cashew cheese.

Equipped with this recipe, I toodled over to the grocery store.

I am not known for being particularly efficient in grocery stores. The overwhelming amount of products mixed with my tendency towards distraction lends itself to lengthy trips, culminating in me not buying anything I actually need.

But how can you not get carried away when your local grocery store features such astounding displays of pastry architecture?

You down with HEB? Yeah, you know me!

All things considered, my trip was relatively quick. I only needed 3 items for my recipe. It took me 45 minutes, and I left with 5. Oops. But they were très superfluous necessary.

The first step in creating this faux-cheese is to soak the cashews for 2 hours.

There is nothing worse than getting all excited about a project, and having to wait two hours to be able to do anything with it. It’s at this point that I started to regret my decision.

The world's most boring activity.

Finally, the cashews were adequately soaked. I threw all of the required ingredients in a blender, and then accidentally added some additional ones. Feeling cocky, I tried to mimic the trick where you squeeze lemon juice out of the lemon and through your fingers, so you catch the seeds and the juice goes into the container. Except my juice kept pooling together in my hand, and I’d spread my fingers the tiniest amount, and oops! About two or three seeds ended up in the mixture. Fun fact: lemon seeds and lightly-blended cashews look the same. There is no hope for you there. Just blend and pray lemon seeds aren’t toxic.

The recipe is rather vague, especially for a culinary idiot like me.* It required I “add water if necessary” to gain the proper consistency. I assumed a hummus-esque texture would do the trick, and ended up with something that looked like this:

Nothing like a bowl of... this... to whet your appetite.

Anyway! I’m supposed to let it settle in a cool place for 24 hours before refrigerating it/sampling it/throwing it away. We don’t, however, use air conditioning, so there really isn’t a “cool place” in sight. I think I’m just going to leave it on the counter and hope for the best. It really can’t get any worse.

This is so wrong.

* An aside: I used to own a paper chef’s hat, given to me by a chef in Charleston, SC. It made me feel like a kitchen wizard. I had to throw it away, sadly, after someone came into my dorm room while I was sleeping freshman year and vomited all over me and my hat collection.

UPDATE: Anna Marie came back! We ate the faux-cheese!