Recently my parents went away for 4 weeks (holidaying around the US!) and I looked after their house. They also asked me to look after their koi fish, and of course I said yes.
But to avoid what happened last time (I killed my mother’s fish), I promised her that I would be extra diligent so it wouldn’t happen again.
So. I popped over every second day to check up on those fish.
All was fine until week 3.
It was a Friday afternoon. All my children were at school and I had 3 hours before I had to pick them up. I was actually on my way back from meeting in the city, so I was dressed quite nicely, wearing crisp white jeans, silk top and a blazer. I stepped into my parent’s garden and the smell hit me. The sour stench of rotting algae and fish death. OH NO!!
The pond water was murky. The pump had stopped working. I slowly peered into the water. All the fish were still alive! But they were moving pretty slowly.
Siiiiiigh. I didn’t want to fix this problem! I have so many errands to run today! I didn’t have time for this! This was supposed to take 3 minutes! In. Feed fish. Out. Done.
But of course, since I killed her other fish, The Good Chinese Daughter in me felt obliged to sort out this problem before MORE FISH DIED!
So I took off my high heel shoes and carefully stepped on some rocks so I could take a closer look at the pond pump.
Hmm. The pump sat at the bottom of the pond and it was very murky down there. I couldn’t see a thing. I grabbed the slimy tube connected to the pump and lifted the whole thing up and out of the water. It looked like a dead and smelly swamp creature covered in brown algae, just like in Star Wars. The pump was not working. Possibly clogged? I gave it a shake to dislodge anything that might be stuck in it. But it was still not working. So I carefully placed it back into the pond, but just as it hit the water, it slipped from my hand and made a big splash.
I gasped. MY WHITE JEANS!
I looked down and my white jeans were splattered with dirty pond water. Shit. Shit. SHIT!
I went back into the house and I reluctantly took off all my clothes, except my knickers and bra. I gave my white jeans a wash and hung them up. Then I went BACK to the pond to examine that pump again.
That’s right! I was standing IN a fish pond in my freaking underwear! My NICE underwear!
I was praying that no one came to the house – postman, delivery guy, pool cleaner, electricity meter reading guy, the neighbours – how embarrassing!
Sigh. I took apart the whole pump. Tubes. Filter pads. Power supply. Everything. Everything was covered in this brown slime. My fingers and hands were covered in it. It was dripping down my arm. The filter pads were so clogged with the stuff, that I couldn’t see inside any of the pump parts. So I had to spray water on it to clean it, and the spray splattered the brown stuff onto my chest, face, hair too.
It was truly disgusting. It was slimey and sticky. It smelt sooo bad. And I SMELT SO BAD!
I deduced that the power supply had failed.
So I called the closest water pump specialist in the area. The guy on the phone told me that all the blown slime was probably fish poo. Oh god. I fed the fish too much. The fish went on a pooing spree. The poo clogged the pump. The pump died. And so that is how I came to be standing in my underwear, covered in fish poo, talking to a guy I have never met.
So then, what happened?
I bagged the old pump. I hosed myself down. I changed back into my nice clothes (and wet jeans!). I drove to the pump shop. I showed the guy the broken pump, in wet, white jeans. I bought a new pump (for $259!!). I drove back to my parent’s house. Checked that the fish were still alive. I took off all my clothes again. I installed the brand new pump. Tested it to make sure that it worked. Had a quick shower, with soap this time. Changed back into my nice clothes again. And then rushed to pick up my kids from school!!
I only *just* made it!
And, I hope, nobody noticed the faint whiff of fish poo :P