Carni and Val, the Little Fish that Could

Meet the neglected members of our family: Carni and Val.  This is the story of how these giddy little goldfish entered our lives.

For our last Easter vacation, we were down in Virginia with my parents and my sister’s family and there was one of those traveling amusement parks set up in the Sears parking lot.

I LOVE a good carnival.  Specifically, I’m riveted by the mystique of the carni. I have so many questions: How does one become a carni? How long is the carni season?  Where do they sleep? Where do they pee? How many teeth are they missing?  Who do they get to forge the inspection stickers on all their ‘rides’?

We’ve been taking Eleanor to carnivals since she was a wee lassy.

Now she’s a pro (that’s her in the yellow car)!

I’m fascinated and want to suggest to Andy Cohen at Bravo that they create a series about them.  Unfortunately, I suspect there will be too many drugs and butt cracks and the repartee may not be as witty as the real housewives, but I would SO watch the pilot.

Back to our Easter carnival trip… after putting the kids on a couple of rides, we took our turn at a few games.  Oh, that’s another question for the carni: how are all the games rigged.  Typically, there’s a way for the kids to come away with something so we were happy to let them throw darts at the deflated un-poppable balloons or huck rings at the incredibly bouncy and un-ringable bottle necks.

Thankfully, a balloon was all the ‘prize’ Eleanor wanted from the dart game.

So what’s the deal with the fish, you ask?  Here goes.  One of the aforementioned games involved ping-pong balls and tiny little fish bowls of neglected shaken-fish-syndrome goldfish.  For $10 we got what felt like 250 ping pong balls.  Turns out ping pong balls are REALLY bouncy.  It also turns out that Eleanor has crap aim as some of her ping pong balls ended up behind her.

Please note the carni in the background who not once picked his eyes up from his sci-fi paperback.

Fast forward the 84 seconds it took the kids to go through 250 ping pong balls; we were 0 for 250 balls in fish bowls.  Fine by me and thankfully fine by the collective group of children.  And that’s when I learned that apparently it was not fine by Mark.  One of the fish bowl carnis asked Mark if we wanted a fish anyways.  Reminder that these fish are virtual dead-fish-swimming so the carni was pretty much using us as a body guy.  Cue the slow motion dramatic shot of Mark smiling and nodding his head as my face sank, my arms started waving him off and I dove at him screaming, “Noooooooo.”

As you already know by the first picture of this post, I was too late.  A pair of shell shocked goldfish were handed over to my beaming husband and my household to-do list got one item longer.  Turns out goldfish poop a lot.  Which means goldfish need their tank cleaned a lot.

Thankfully the kids could care less about the pair of fish so whenever they meet their maker, no one will be too distraught by our loss.  But for now, Carni and Val are enjoying their sunset days happily taking in the sites and sounds of the Smith family.

Oliver was only interested when he saw me taking pictures…




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