Somber Occasion

We had just left for our little road trip.  In fact, we really hadn’t made it out of Kansas City yet when we got the call, the dreaded call of doom and despair.
Nothing could have prepared us for the shocking news we received.  Hot Mama Llama had been called home to the big fish bowl in the sky.
Let me remind you all how Hot Mama Llama got her name.  You see, two years ago, for her birthday, Micaela desperately wanted a llama.  Yes, a real, live, beastly, hairy thing.  I’m not really sure where she was planning on putting this llama, as I’m fairly certain that our neighborhood association frowns upon that sort of thing.  But she wanted a llama nonetheless.
And guess who told her she could have one?  Yep, my dad.  PawPaw.  I’m not sure whether he was having hallucinations or if he was maybe snorting his Excedrin through a straw or something, but something he said made my kid believe that, indeed, he was going to get her a llama for her birthday.
A quick conference with the grandparents made me the official birthday dream killer, but I was satisfied that I would not need to build a llama hut (or whatever they sleep in) in the back yard.  However, when the big day rolled around, everyone was worried that Micaela might be disappointed in the fact that there was no llama waiting for her in the back yard.  Never mind the fact that she would have an entire table full of gifts—she wanted a llama.  And there was to be no llama.
Hence came the idea to substitute something in place of the llama.  Enter Hot Mama Llama, a lovely and much smaller pet with a considerably lower maintenance requirement.  You see, Hot Mama Llama was the prettiest beta fish in the pet store, and Micaela’s grandparents picked this little fish out just for her.  I think they were secretly hoping she would not realize the absence of the llama that might have been.
Oh, but she did notice.  She was very happy with her little fish however, and in honor of the imaginary llama that my dad—who was evidently HIGH—had promised her, she named it Hot Mama Llama.  (I’m pretty sure the fish was a boy, but who am I to say?)
Hot Mama Llama lived a happy two years in suburban bliss before succumbing to old age.
Ok, actually I think I need to confess something here, but don’t tell Micaela.  You see, we have had this very recent issue with those really annoying small gnats that like to swarm around fruit and stuff, and we have this apple tree in our front yard where those pesky little things seem to congregate.  And sometimes the little things flit right into the house and I SO do not do bugs.  Not any kind of bugs.  Not even the little harmless gnat thingies.  So Jason, in his infinite dad wisdom thought we should set off a bug bomb or something in the house.
He swore to me that the package just said to cover fish tanks, which he did.  But a day after the bomb, Hot Mama Llama was a floater.  I think Jason is a murderer, but again, don’t tell Micaela.
(Ok, seriously, I never thought one of my longest blog entries would be about a fish.  Thus is the exciting life I live.)
Anyway, so Jason and I left for our little one-night roadie, and before we even got out of town, we got the call.  The fish was belly-up.  And MaMaw, not knowing what to do with a perfectly dead fish, decided that the best place for it would be in our freezer.
Um, yep.  I would have probably gone with toilet, but she went with freezer.  She tossed the little guy in a Ziploc and put him on ice to await our return the next day.  So if you end up visiting our house in the near future and the ice tastes a little funny, no worries, it’s probably just a little lingering Hot Mama Llama flavoring.  (Can anyone say EWWW?)  I’m just glad a cat or chinchilla didn’t die, because I am NOT going to come home to one of those in my freezer!
Later, on the phone, Micaela told me, “Mom, we have to have a funeral.”
Yeah, I was totally thinking that.  (Um…not.)
But I was like, “Ok, kid, we’ll bury the frozen fish when we get home.”
And she was ok with that, but she did add, “You have to dress up.”
Yup, I’m gonna get right on that.  Right after I clean the freezer.

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