When we first started dating, my boyfriend Awesome bought me a saltwater fish tank as a present. I always say the tank wasn’t my real present – Awesome taking care of the tank was. Anyone who has ever owned a marine tank knows how much work goes into it. The tank has to cycle for at least a month before you can put anything live in it and even then, you can only put in rock and crabs and shrimp. Fish don’t even come until about two months in, as long as all your water tests are normal.
So we started with a 14-gallon tank. We really loved it. Then Awesome started thinking we should graduate to a larger tank. He bought a bigger, 40-gallon tank that had a huge lamp we had to hang from the ceiling. The lamp gave off this weird light that made walking into the living room seem like you were landing on an alien planet. I hated it. That lasted about a month.
The next tank was a 34-gallon – smaller but the light was contained within the tank. We’ve had that one for at least 6 months. It even has a built-in cabinet. We picked out just the right place for it, and whenever people come to visit it’s the main piece of décor in our living room they notice right away.
But of course, Awesome is ready to go bigger and better once again. His boss recently told him that he wants to get rid of his 90-gallon saltwater fish tank and offered it to Awesome for a very, very reasonable price.
How could we say no?
As I write this blog, our living room is in shambles (the tank is twice the size of the old one so we had to move all of our furniture around) and Awesome is meticulously moving each little piece of rock and coral from one tank to another.
While I have just enjoyed staring at the tank from time to time, Awesome has made it into his obsession … er, passion. He uses any extra money to buy supplies for the fish tank. He knows all the guys at the aquarium store by first name. He even joined a saltwater aquarium club. What started out as a present for me because I like aquariums has turned into a lifelong hobby for him.
Even though he drives me crazy sometimes with his … passion (like right now as he is telling me the extension cord won’t reach where it needs to be in order for the tank to be plugged in) I’m glad he has it. Too many people lose their hobbies when they get into a relationship. Luckily, he gained a hobby when we started dating — one that he didn’t even know he had interest in. And sometimes it helps me with my hobby, which is reading a book without an interruption every five minutes.
Emily Campbell is a perpetually single, 20-something girl-around-town who loves Shakespeare, old movies, Natty Boh, and of course, long walks on the beach. A sales manager by day and freelance writer by night, she was recently forced into a life of involuntary celibacy when her last relationship fizzled out over a text message. She’s tired of settling for second – or tenth – best, and she’s ready to find Mr. Right. Or, Mr. Nearly Right. No one’s perfect…which she has learned the hard (but hilarious) way.