Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Place to Visit When Her Spirit Feels the Urge

Sweet sweet little Frisky has passed on to the great snail playground in the sky. I must say, we enjoyed our time with her. She was certainly the most entertaining snail I've ever had. The tank won't be quite the same without her. (It will be clean. Ha ha. Just kidding. I'm sure she wasn't the sole cause of the foulness of that tank!)

And did little Frisky get a proper eulogy and burial and all that? Well, I'd have to say no. It went like this:

Saturday, I peered into the murk of the tank (and to be honest, it's cleared up a lot and is only a little cloudy now) and there was Frisky lying on her side. Now, that's not unusual. We'd often see her like that, and exclaim loudly "Oh, is she dead?" and we'd poke and prod her and never be quite sure until we'd see her later stuck to the side of the tank, probably cursing us for the dents and scrapes on the algae on her shell. But just to be consistent, I exclaimed loudly "Oh, is she dead?" and commenced poking and prodding for a few minutes before wandering off to do something else.

Then, the next day, Sweet Pea looked into the tank and exclaimed loudly, "Oh,is she dead?"
"Hmmmmmm," I replied wisely. "She hasn't moved since yesterday. Let's poke her with a stick."
So, Sweet Pea took control of the stick and began poking and prodding. "I don't think she's alive," she said. "Pieces are falling off."

And so they were. I would say that if there are pieces falling off, and she hasn't moved in over 24 hours, then yes. She is most-likely dead. But we all worried. What if she's not? What if she's just sleeping? You know, she may have had a hard night. Lots of sliding and climbing and sucking algae off things. It can really tire a snail out.

So, we decided to try the ultimate "Is-that-snail-alive" test. This involves removing her from the tank and sniffing her. Yes, take a nice big whiff. Does she smell like an aquarium (a not altogether pleasant smell to begin with)? Or does she smell like steaming slimy skunk and fish gut stew simmering in the hot sun? Definately the latter we decided. Nothing that smells like that can be alive. Especially if they are actively shedding body parts. We don't need more clues than that! We're smart that way!

You all know how I feel about Frisky. She is fun, lovable, cute. You know, all that happy horse pucky. For a snail, she rocks! Despite that, I was all for tossing her in the trash can. I'm not particularly sentimental when it comes to things like bugs, fish, reptiles, amphibians, small rodents living in the walls and things like that. And Frisky, even though she was a member of our tank for over 8 months, is no exception. She stinks. She's covered in algae. She's a snail. Toss her.

But the rest of the family felt differently. Did they get all watery-eyed and want to wish her well in her next life? Did they long to say their goodbyes and feel some closure? No! Not at all. They wanted to keep her shell. Her lovely golden yellow shell.

Now, I've heard that they slide right out of their shells when they die. That the muscles holding them in relax and they fall out. Not true. There is no falling out. That would be too easy. No, someone has to yank that lifeless, slimy, death-stink little muscle-bound foot of a snail out of the shell. Ick!

So, Hubby took over. (He's awesome like that! He does spiders too!) And after many many hard shakes, (kind of like trying to get spaghettios out of a can without a spoon) she plopped out. I was in the next room with the kids trying not to gag from the stench or get splashed with snail slime. How can such a little glop of slimy flesh smell so god-awful?

In any case, once she was out and disposed of we washed out the shell, scraped off some of the algae and set it out to dry. Now we have a reminder of sweet sweet Frisky for when we are feeling sentimental. And she has a place to visit when her spirit feels the urge.


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