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 When our children were young and all living at home I haunted rummage sales. It was time to buy play clothes for everyone. On lucky days I was able to get some school clothes for them to wear. After they all moved out my days at rummage sales slowed.

Recently Bob and I were driving past a sale and decided to stop. We had seen a large toy in the collection on the driveway that would be suitable for our grandchildren. Our idea was to check the price and continue on. Instead we found out that the motorized John Deere Gator was only $10 so on a lark we purchased it.

Nearby was an empty 10 gallon fish tank. It had been used for a lizard, so it had never held water but it looked in good shape. It was only five dollars.

The kiddie cart and the fish tank went into the back of our car and Bob and I drove home. That was the cheap part of our purchases. After that we invested in a new battery and charger for the cart - it still hasn’t moved. Maybe someday Bob will figure out what’s wrong with that machine. Right now it’s a big doorstop.

After that fiasco I decided to keep the expenses down on my fish tank.

I washed it out and made sure there were no leaks. Then I started filling it with water from our filtered water faucet. This took time, but I was in no hurry. To keep fish I would first need a filter. I found one for $13.

Fish came next. For some reason I walked past ordinary goldfish and chose red wag platies and neon tetra fish. They were so cute and not very expensive. I paid about $15 for my fish. Of course they needed food but at least we don’t need water treatment because we use well water.

I really enjoyed watching those fish swimming in our tank. But I found out I needed more to make them comfortable. I bought a cover with an LED light for $35, a submersible heater for $10 and an air bubbler for $12. After the added expenses, a fish died, then another and another. This happened just after the expiration on their refunding time limit.

The next group of fish didn’t do much better. At the end of the month my tank was fishless. I asked a friend who had worked in a pet shop what I should do. Mary gave me some fish recommendations. Of course, I didn’t listen to her.

I joked to Bob that I was going to buy minnows. He thought that was a fun idea. The next time we were near a bait shop we stopped in. This time we got about 100 fish for around three dollars. Oh, we also had to buy a bait bucket.

The minnows seemed very happy in our tank, well most of them. A few came to us in an unhealthy state – they were dead.

I scooped out the first dead ones and watched the other ones hurry to the fish food I gave them. The next day I scooped out five more fish, and the day after that.

The minnows died by the handful.

The next minnows came from the pet store. For $1.40 I got 10 fish, well actually 13. They swim fast and are hard to count. Ten are still living - knock on wood.

As you can see that was not a cheap trip to a rummage sale. I haven’t been back to one since, but I am tempted. Let’s just see how these last 10 fish survive.

*I am happy to announce that my novel, Barley Soup and Slug Spit, won a first place for middle grade novels in the 2017 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. Of course, I sell it and it is on sale on Amazon, Sissy’s in Seymour, and free to read in libraries. I’m proud of this book and hope everyone reads it.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com. 
 

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