Posts tagged ‘death’

Nov 2012
Awwww, shit.

There are times when you can predict the entirety of a phone conversation with just the first few words. Last night was like that…

“Hi, [Sodium]? It’s Ali’s husband…”

Five words and I knew I would be attending a hospital bed or a funeral service.

So… Ali.

One of my (many) failings is that I’m rubbish at keeping track of friends. Once I stop seeing people on an enforced regular basis, I always lose track of them. I left school and instantly lost touch of everyone. I stopped work to go to Uni and I lost track of all but one person (they lasted another 5 years before we lost touch).

The internet helped with a lot of this because the contact was suddenly everywhere – no matter where you are, you are still a part of the same world as your friends.

Ali was the first of these friends.

I met Ali in my first year of Uni when I bumped into someone equally insanely talkative on some MUD or talker server somewhere. That was a long time ago – long enough ago that Ali wasn’t even Ali back then. She was “EJP”.

She had a seriously fucked up childhood (understatement of the week) and decided that a part of escaping the past was reinventing herself. I spent 3 days chatting with her on IM, bouncing names back and forth as she tried combinations of first and last names that worked for her. In the end, I think that I was responsible for suggesting 3/4 of her name.

I remember where I was on 9/11… I was sat in a pub with her, trying (and failing) to look after her following a particularly shitty medical appointment. It was 24 hours later that I finally discovered that the other pub patrons weren’t watching a very boring action movie on their huge screen TV. While other people were digesting the horrors of a terrorist attack, I was staring at the inside of my friend’s arm, wondering where she’s had the razor blade stashed.

On more than one occasion, I ended up “playing” a game in the hospital bedroom she temporarily residing, where we both tried to identify as many sharp/dangerous objects as possible. And every time, I waited until I was an hour away and then phoned the staff with a list of the things she’d identified. The last time we played it, she realised what I was doing and threatened to kill me in novel and interesting ways. But she did it with a smile on her face so she was probably mostly joking.

She irritated the hell out of me by tending to only make contact when she was in hospital and bored – but she made contact, which is better than I normally do. More importantly, I knew that if I needed her, I could always find her – and I hope her hospital text messages meant she knew the reverse was true…

[ There are no comments on this post since I can't face dealing with the spam flood telling me what a good article it is... ]

Dec 2009
All change…

It was only a matter of time.

Back on 18th November, my grandmother died – less than 10 months after my grandfather. I’m not the oldest member of our branch of this rather depressing little tree.

There’s my wife and me (who aren’t planning on having kids), my brother is rapidly approaching 30 and yet to settle. Both our parents were single children – mum through adoption. It’s hardly a thicket we’re discussing here.

Going back up the family name, my grandfather’s only brother died during WWII without having kids, and I think their father was the only boy in the family. Our little branch of a relatively rare surname (50 entries in the UK phonebooks) look like it lies just on our shoulders.

Our plans have to change too… there’s no way I can afford to take on the half million pound house that I grew up in, so it’s getting sold off.

One way or another, everything has changed in the last fortnight…

Based on the guys at Wise Geek, I’ve just bought myself some clove oil and a bottle of Vodka…

Here are the steps for fish up to 3″ (7.6cm) in length:

1. Add tank water to a measuring cup or mixing bowl. Place the fish in the container [with] a dark towel around the cup to calm the fish.

2. Fill a small, clean pill bottle with tank water, leaving some room at the top. Put 1 drop of clove oil in the bottle, cap and shake vigorously. The clove oil must emulsify, turning the water milky white.

Gently pour about 1/4 of this emulsified mixture into the fish’s container. The fish will begin listing as it starts to fall asleep. Let the fish be for about 10 minutes. The fish should be resting on the bottom by then. It will look dead, but if you watch closely its gills will be breathing once every few seconds. If after 10 minutes the fish is still rising off the bottom swimming intermittently, retrieve the jar or bottle of emulsified clove oil, re-shake, and add the same dose to the fish’s container. Wait again.

3. Once the fish is asleep on the bottom, add 20-25% white grain alcohol. For example, if the fish is in 8oz (240ml) of water, add 2oz (60ml) of vodka. Let the fish stay there for at least 20 minutes.

4. Check the fish carefully after 20 minutes for any gill movement. If there is no gill movement over a 60 second period, the fish has expired.

May 2009
End of a life

I feel like such a complete and utter bastard.

I have a fish tank in my living room. It’s not small (180l / 40ImpGallons / 50USGallons ). It’s full of mollys, platys, plecos, tetras and shrimp. There’s a good number of plants and there are many more platys and mollys than there were because they keep shagging.

Except there’s now one less platy than before.

I knew that one of my mollys had a touch of fungus on one of his eyes, so I went out an bought myself a little 20l tank to use as a quarantine tank while I treat him. Fishing him out, I realised that one of my pregnant platys had little flecks of white on her sides and she wasn’t swimming right. Too many fish and too many hiding places I hadn’t noticed how bad it was.

7 hours later and its obvious that she’s not getting better. Worse than that, she’s now pointing downwards and showing no interest in swimming.

I should have been able to do the right thing. I should have been able to take a little sharp knife and knick the back of her neck. Instead, all I could do is fish her out and watch her suffocate in the open air.

I feel so empty.

What a wonderful Saturday…