Put That Dead Fish On Toast And Eat It

Our spare car has been dead in the driveway since last Summer which has made us a one car family for nearly a year. Now that the baby boy has his license and a job, that shit isn’t gonna fly anymore.

We knew the Nissan was struggling, it kept getting louder..it groaned a lot and then one day it made a huge protesting sound and puked it’s radiator fluid all over the driveway.

And then it was silent.

Based on our advanced car repair knowledge (non-existent) we diagnosed the problem as ‘the car is dead and we don’t have 1000.00 to fix it’. We arrived at this figure by comparing the last few repairs we had to have done. 1000.00 would have been slightly cheaper. So it sat through the Winter and into the Spring.

We have a list of things that need to be fixed or purchased. The car was first. Replacing the dishwasher was second, a new lawnmower and then the central air.

Personally, central air is at the top of my list even though that isn’t completely reasonable. This will be the second season we’ve needed a new central air unit. The window units do the job, but damn..I miss my central air.

We managed to scrape up a little bit of cash and crossed our fingers that it would be enough to cross the first thing off our list of shit we can’t afford. We had our broke ass car towed to the car place that gets all of our spare cash and they fixed it up.


I could have had that goddamn car fixed the week it broke if I had known it was only going to cost 167.00 to fix it. We paid 100.00 a month for bus service for Joey for the whole school year. If I had known how cheap it was going to be to get the car fixed, I could have used that money we spent on bus service for a new dishwasher and a replacement for the lawn mower.

The lawn mower still works but the muffler is gone, it shakes like a motherfucker and the self propel is shot. I don’t mow the lawn, so it’s easier for me to dismiss the need for a new one. Randy and Joey would disagree.

Anyway, I was bemoaning the fact that we spent that money when we didn’t have to and we could have had two working cars all Winter long when it occurred to me: Am I SORRY it didn’t cost 1000.00 to fix the fucking car?

That just makes no sense. I was able to get the car fixed and buy a new dishwasher (which still hasn’t been delivered). These are good things. Very good things. Being upset that the car didn’t cost more to fix is just fucking crazy.

It reminded me of my first husband.

When my older son was a baby, his dad and I lived in a shithole apartment complex in Covington, Ky. All the other people in our building were geriatrics. We had old people and humongous cockroaches.

My then husband had a fish tank. He loved his fish tank. I was not a fan. It smelled funny and it took up space that we really didn’t have but I tolerated it.

Then he brought home a dragon fish. This was 26 years ago and I still remember how much that fish cost. 14.00. He paid about a third of our weekly grocery budget on a goddamn fish. This fish looked like a blue and silver striped eel and it was his pride and joy.

After about a month, the fish started growing a tumor. Within a short period of time, it could no longer glide around the tank, it could only do this corkscrew spirally thing.

Then one evening I came home and opened the freezer. There was a rolled up baggy in front of the ice tray. I took it out because I couldn’t imagine what it could be.

It was the dragon fish. I yelled at my ex: What the fuck? Why in the fuck is there a frozen, tumor ridden fish in my freezer?

He said: I paid 14.00 for that fish.

Being upset that my car didn’t cost more to fix makes about as much sense as my ex husband freezing his dead fish that he spent too much money on.

Okay…maybe those two things are only alike in my brain.

Still..I hadn’t thought of that fish in years. We probably had nothing but day-glo orange macaroni and cheese for dinner the whole week that he bought that fish.

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  • As I was reading this I was thinking the fish was like central air. It would make your life nicer, but isn’t technically something you need.

    Then I realized they’re not really alike at all. If everyone has to scrape and make some sacrifices to get the central air everybody still benefits from it. It’s not like you’re the only one who’s going to enjoy a cooler house and possibly one that’ll be less of a money suck than the window units.

    The only person that fish benefited was your ex-husband, but everybody had to sacrifice for it.

    Even though you have no idea what I was briefly thinking please forgive me for thinking it anyway.

    • I would be the last person on earth to tell anyone how to think. That would be dangerous. 🙂

      And hopefully the central air will be fixed within the next couple weeks. A girl can dream.

  • I’m defending no one, but I once put my dead African Dwarf frog in a plastic baggy, but it didn’t go in the freezer. It went to the pet store. I was upset that a frog I bought had only lived 10 days. I didn’t pay $14 for him, I paid about $3, but it was the principle of the situation. PetSmart gave me a new one for free.

    Maybe that was your ex’s original intent?

  • Oh yes. I know this feeling…We didn’t have our riding mower for a whole summer once because we thought something major was wrong with it, so we suffered through push-mowing an acre of grass every week. All summer. When we finally got the thing fixed, it was like a $14 part. Not sure if that’s a good feeling or not.

    And if it makes you feel any better, I haven’t had a car in a year and a half. Cabin fever, much??? If not for the internet, I’d have a good chance of becoming “Nell”.


    • HAHAHHA. Nell.

      Yeah..being stuck would suck ass. Still..better than my cubicle. I’ve been driving the kind of broke ass car. The AC cools the interior down about the time I pull in the parking lot at work.

      • Oh Chickabee. It sucks, and it doesn’t, all at the same time.

        The 1990 Celica I borrow from my daughter has (along with duct tape here and there) no A/C. None. NOT EVER. JUST HEAT ALL THE TIME FOREVER.

        It makes a day of running errands into a whole other adventure in crankiness.

  • I don’t know if that’s what your ex was doing, but some people freeze fish to euthanize them.

      • Every few weeks I end up with a garbage bag of thirty or forty pounds of raw chicken skins, for reasons I won’t go into just now. I stick it in a big freezer and let it solidify before I put it in the garbage, because I don’t want the smell stinkin’ up the garbage can or attracting predators.

        If that was your ex’s reason for freezing the fish I’d call that the one smart thing he did.

        • Nope! He didn’t throw it out because he didn’t want it to be gone. We lived in an apt complex so we could take the trash out daily..smell wasn’t the issue.

  • OMG, HAHAHAHA! Those things are totally related in my brain too. And I’m happy that your car and dishwasher situations are better now. And yours has to be one of my favorite blog post titles ever. EVER.

  • OK — I just Googled it and there are RECIPES for Dragon Fish! Perhaps the ex just wanted you to make him a super exotic meal? The tumor would just add some extra….crunch?

  • When my daughter was little she had a goldfish that after a couple of years blew its swim bladder (apparently that’s a thing) and spent the rest of its life floating upside down near the top of the tank. Unfortunately, the rest of its life was another two years. That thing creeped me out, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to finish the poor thing off and break our daughter’s heart. That was the last of the fish.

    Cassandra recently posted…Remembering a Misguided Delusion: Trivia Events for Reunions

By Michelle


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