It was the day before Anna Rose's birthday, and I was minding my own business - really, I was on my way to work with work on my mind - when I saw a rock moving across Robinhood Rd. I swerved out of the way, quickly realizing that it wasn't a moving rock but a turtle.
And before I had time to process a thought, I found that I had turned around, driven back, pulled over, and was now walking toward it. (Had I processed I probably would not have done it.)
But it wasn't the time to think. It was the eve to Anna Rose's birthday. And, of course, we had plenty of presents for her: a game for her Leapster, some Barbie dolls, a make-your-own jewelry set. I knew hermit crabs were on the way...you see, what Anna Rose really wanted were pets.
Her list included a hamster, a guinea pig, a puppy, a fish family, and a hermit crab family. We had said no to them all...all except the hermit crab family. Dear Lucy, our beloved babysitter, insisted on getting them.
Now here I was carrying a turtle back to the car. I didn't have anything to put it in, so I emptied a box of wet wipes and put it in there. You should have heard the poor turtle scraping for dear life. Getting home, I made a little pen for the little guy in the back yard, texted Lia to "call me", and went to work.
When Lia and I talked, she was all about the turtle.
So we gave it to Anna Rose the next day. She was a little afraid at first (so was the turtle). As it turned out, the turtle was not the Box Turtle I had thought it was. It was an Eastern Painted Turtle, which meant that we were off to the pet store.
We learned while we were there that owning a wild turtle is illegal in North Carolina. "All right, I'll put it back," I said, "but, I'm just interested, what do wild turtles eat?" Turns out, turtle food, which you can conveniently buy at the pet store!
So one aquarium later we were off to build our illegal turtle a new home.
We named him/her/it Nemo because he/she/it has a gimpy front foot. (I saved it, really...oh, how I have prayed these last three weeks that God would continue to save it now that it is in an aquarium in Anna Rose's room.)
I'm happy to report that Nemo is doing well. I teared up the morning A-Ro and I watched him/her/it eat for the first time. He/she/it doesn't even swim away when I enter the room. Not any more.
In the end, I am very pleased with breaking the law. I have actually been planning my next misdemeanor. In the meantime, may this post serve as the official announcement of our newest member of the family: Nemo.
As for the hermit crabs, they and I have not really bonded. Climbee and Hide-ee (can you guess which does which?) are cool and all, but they're food smells like foot fungus and discarded fish heads.