When I finished typing the last blog, I had every intention of jumping right into the DNA Extraction of the Strawberries. Every intention.
But then I noticed that the DNA Extraction was not the only experiment we are doing in class on Thursday. And frankly, I was still stinging over the Great Disparity regarding the rubbing alcohol, so I decided to give myself a break and read up on the other experiment. It was a simple examination under the microscope of the popular aquarium plant anacharis. Ah, but I remember this from last year. None of the big pet supply stores stock anacharis around here. Or else that plant is just way too popular and they are constantly sold out. Last year we ended up choosing a different aquarium plant and trying that, and it didn’t work very well.
So this time I was determined to find some actual anacharis. I checked the websites of the chain stores, just in case, and found some at a store at the other end of town, which closed in one hour. So I made a bright-eyed appeal to the husband to accompany me on a “date.” (What? It counts. We get uninterrupted conversation in the car. Sometimes we even extend the “date” and fill the car with gas just to buy some more time.) He agreed, but just before we decided to leave, I glanced at the description and noticed the words “plastic plants provide perfect hideaways for resting fish.” That did, at least, explain the color; every part of the plant was bright purple. In hindsight, the color should probably have tipped me off going in. Well, okay, it’s obvious NOW.
I then fired up the trusty Google, typing in the word anacharis and the name of our city, and wondering as I did why a graceful water plant would be named ana (without) charis (grace). After another 30 minutes of research, I discovered that every aquarium supply store in our area was purported by some clients to be the best store ever with oh-so-friendly staff and a wonderful variety of stock, and by an equal number of other clients to be a horrific example of lack of care, sick fish and far-too-low water levels in every single tank. Which, while interesting, did nothing to help me ascertain the availability of anacharis. I did discover an aquarium supply store within walking distance of our house, however, and must merely await the hour of 10 a.m. Monday to discover which reviews are more accurate.
Just as I finished this bunny trail and set my sights back on the strawberries, the 12 year old came limping into the room and said, “I just got a splinter under my toe.” I made sympathetic noises, but then noticed that he seemed to be in real distress, so I unpacked myself from under my laptop, climbed out of the recliner (very comfortable to sit in, Mt. Everest to get out of) and grabbed a stronger pair of reading glasses and a pair of tweezers. (While I was doing this, trying to stay calm, he said in a quiet voice, “It’s not like I’m in excruciating pain here, Mom, so go ahead and take your time.”)
After some tweezing sessions and some soaking of the foot, I pulled not a splinter, but a twig, out from under the nail of his little toe. Perhaps I exaggerate, but that’s what it seemed like at the time.
Somehow, being in a scientific mindset, I felt the need to make a record of it, so here is a picture of it. It came out in two pieces, so it’s the two brown spots to the left of the tweezers. You’re welcome.
By the time that was all over, my contacts had fogged up, which is a sure sign that it’s much too late to start anything new. I consoled myself with the thought that although I did not extract any DNA from strawberries, I did extract a splinter from a toe. So technically, I did half of what I set out to do this weekend.
Also, that splinter left a good-sized hole in the 12 year old’s toe, and I needed to disinfect it, and what did I have on hand but some 91% rubbing alcohol? I congratulated myself on that fortuity until I remembered where the bottle was. In the fridge, chilling.
The husband suggested that if I was going to do that to the 12 year old, I might as well mix some lemon in with it too. I chose Bactine instead.
And I set my sights on Monday.
—To be continued. Again—