We’re watching Clack closely today. He (or rather She, after twelve years you would think I would have finally come around to hermaphroditic clown fish, but habits die hard)… he has gotten very pale and skinny, and has a white film covering the back of his head.
We’re lowering the salinity in case it’s just an infection that he can still fight off. He’s still swimming like his normal self, but isn’t eating, which doesn’t bode well.
We brought them home January, 10, 2005 (when Sharon was here to visit!) and eleven years seems like a long life for a small fish, but I’m still hopeful Clack will pull through.
(Ollie was on the other side of the tank, hanging out under the big branching coral, but this is most of the gang.)
PS. As I type this at the brown table, I’m keeping an eye on the tank on my left, and watching it snow softly on my right. Beautiful. It’s been flurrying for the last hour, and then switched to real flakes a few minutes ago. I’ve been wishing and wishing for snow – we had one snowstorm in November 2014 and not a flake since, and I’ve missed it. Even if it doesn’t end up sticking, let alone turning the world all white, to get a snowy afternoon while I can sit with my coffee and watch it so quietly is a treat.
I was home on Tuesday, nursing a sore throat and doing a ton of writing for work – perfect day to be drinking tea and sitting in front of the window typing since all afternoon there kept being bursts of big, lacy snowflakes.
No accumulation to speak of until almost sunset (the ground was too warm and the flakes were all air), but such pretty wintry views from the windows.
(Love those orange tulips on the table too. I say this with every bunch, but these have to be the prettiest yet.)
A rare gift – evening snowfall. This photo was taken about three hours ago when all the flakes were driving at 45 degrees and the patio was covered but the grass was not.
I set up camp with laptop, candles, and pretty views out the windows, and have been watching another inch or two fall – a mix of feathery, quiet snow and the occasional burst of loud sleet. We’re lucky to get a single snowfall like this each year, so I’m busy soaking it in. Pretty, calm and quiet.
It has been wildly hot here. When we first started telling people that I was pregnant and the baby was due in August, many people were quite theatrical (I thought) about the prospect of heat during late pregnancy. My line of reasoning was that Seattle was a 70’s-in-the-summer kind of place and how bad could it be? Well, yesterday we set a heat record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Seattle (since they started keeping track 115 years ago) at 103° (and it was higher in some of the outlying towns). Oops — I understand now, and I’ve been moving impossibly slowly, mentally and physically.
Everyone and everything else appears to be struggling with the weather, too. Apparently wildfires are a huge risk right now so they’re very worried about thunderstorms. Our lawn is scorched and our bushes all look pathetic with drooping leaves. I was amazed this afternoon to see that the greenery that we’re generally surrounded by has turned brown and gold – not Seattle colors, and it’s incredibly startling. So far we’ve managed to avoid the brown-outs, which is very fortunate, and while the humidity has been high at night, it’s stayed below 40% during the day, so that’s helping too.
We’ve been on a mission to keep the house as cool as possible, partly for ourselves and partly for the fishtank. Step one was tarping over the kitchen window – not terribly classy, but it keeps that room at least ten degrees cooler in the afternoon and evening. I meant to follow that up by finally making the curtains for the picture window, but I lost steam after buying the heat-blocking lining. (My major block was that it’s just too hot and I’m too ungainly to measure, cut and sew large pieces of fabric.) So, we used blue painters tape to at least hang the lining over the window – again, not the most stylish thing but very effective.
I bought extra lining, thinking I might try to figure out some sort of roll-shade option for the kitchen garden window, which is now taped over our living room windows.
Right after taking this photo, I found a bedsheet to tape over the remaining windows to the left.
The fish are doing pretty well. We started with our fans and making fresh water ice cubes, but that wasn’t keeping up. I mentioned the problem to my new boss (knowing that he also keeps tanks and could probably relate), and he suggested filling a cooler with ice and running coils of airline tubing through it, then pumping tank water through the tubing to cool it down. A *really* smart idea. So now the tank looks like this:
With the two fans, lots of fresh water, and the cooler system, we’ve been managing to keep it under or at 82° — not too bad when the house is over 90 and the outdoor temps are over 100! Ideally, we try to keep it at or under 80, so it’s been a little warm for the dudes but they seem relatively unphased.
I decided to bring in our trash and recycling bins since it’s looking like there wont’ be a pickup this week. I was clearing off the snow when I saw that the bottom layer was actually hail – must have arrived during the thundersnow that kicked the whole storm off in the first place?
There’s supposed to be an enormous wind and snow storm tonight, possibly with freezing rain, and they’re forecasting gusts of 70-90 mph. We were supposed to fly out to Florida this morning, but we pushed back our flights, partly out of concern that we’d have trouble getting to the airport (our neighbourhood still has so much snow).
The other factor was that if we lose power, we wanted to be here to keep an eye on the fishtank and make sure that it’s staying warm, oxygenated, and that there’s a bit of current. We have the deep cycle battery from the 2006 windstorm all charged and ready to go, and we have battery operated airpumps. Fingers crossed that we don’t need to use either of them.
For the moment, we’re appreciating our electricity. This house is going to be very cold without it, and luckily we have plenty of food that doesn’t require cooking, since that won’t be an option either. Fingers crossed that the wind and freezing rain don’t hit the power supply lines. We have candles out already, and the energy company number programmed into my cell phone (we don’t have a house line, so if too many towers go down, that bit of prep will be moot) – everything we can do to jinx against the storm.
Everything is so still and stark outside. We’re surrounded by all of these enormous trees, and everything feels like it’s just waiting.
After last weekend’s day worth of sunny and almost 80, Seattle’s desire for summer is reverberating. And yet, Friday around 5:30 pm this happened (why does it always choose to snow at rush hour?):
It all melted overnight, but then on Saturday afternoon, we got round two. Here’s a photo of the front yard, with all of the fallen blossoms littering the ground around the bush in the front yard – they didn’t seem to appreciate Friday’s snow.
When it started snowing again this morning, I didn’t even bother to go take more photos. Instead, here’s the snow from Friday, accumulating on the kitchen window. Such a cozy sight.
And now, that’s quite enough of a good thing. We’re all convinced. It snows in Seattle. And now it’s REALLY time for summer.
We’ve essentially lost all credibility with our former claim that it never snows in Seattle. I’m really quite sure that in the first three years we lived here, we saw flurries five times. But we’ve had real snow that many times just this winter. The new house is only four miles from the old one, so I doubt that’s the difference…?
In any case, I was so happy that the first day of my parents’ visit was all blue and mountains, and that the third day brought snow that lasted through the night. My mom misses winter now that they’re in Florida, and I thought it was unusually decent of the weather to cooperate.
From her camera, here’s the backyard seen through the living room windows (with tulips in the foreground!):
And she took a picture of the snowy driveway that I just love. Doesn’t it look like it’s black and white? Until you see the headlights, and the brick on the front of the house, and realize that the light out here is just so dim in the winter when it’s cloudy that the color just disappears.