Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Turtle Lust and Montego Bay

Two weekends ago, the fellah and I enjoyed some fabulous weather and explored one of Austin's greenbelts. There was a trail that led down to a small wooden pier by Town Lake (or Lady Bird Lake, or Lake Austin, or whatever the thing is now called). We sat for a bit, watching the river.

A little head popped up from the water. A round shell followed.

"Turtle!" I exclaimed in rather adult fashion, flapping my arms and hopping around the pier. "Turtle, turtle!"

"Well," my fellah says after watching me for a bit. "That's Christmas."

A few more turtles followed, and since then, I've been obsessing just a bit over the idea of owning a pet turtle.

On Sunday, we went to an exotic pet store and asked about the turtles. They pointed me to the box turtles, which are supposed to be low-maintenance. I picked up an active one; he looked at me. He blinked. "Turtle!" I said, a bit softer this time. He blinked and smacked his lips. I was in love.


"Yup," said the salesman. "That one's about five years old. They typically live until they're about 50 or 55."

I put the turtle back down.

I mean, I wanted to buy a pet. I didn't want to marry one.

I chose to do a bit more research, checking out not just one but two library books about box turtles. I learn that they require heat lamps, regular soaking, UV light, and the occasional live food such as earthworms or crickets, which are themselves fed a premium diet for 24 hours.

They also explain that turtles are not very interactive. If you take very good care of your turtle, he may someday creep over and stand on your shoe when he's hungry. (I have known some adult men with similar characteristics.)

That's all fine, but with 50 years ahead of you, you should also put Mr. Turtle in your will.

Fortunately, the books say that you should buy a turtle in the spring or early summer, when it has woken up from hibernation and will better adjust to its new home. So we'll both have a chance to really consider where our relationship is heading.

And for my knitting readers... Ta-da! Montego Bay Scarf, about 16" so far, in that hand-dyed merino. In the overcast sunlight, the pink is quite pretty. The pattern is also terrifically fun -- and fast.


lcobbe said...

I love your comment about hungry men. And I luv the pink scarf. I may have to check out that pattern. You're using worsted yarn, no?

marci said...

You should come by UT on a Tuesday (or any other day, I just thought that might work well for you) and we'll have a picnic by the turtle pond. These are the best kind of turtle - always there when you want to stop by, but you don't have to feed or take care of them.

marci said...

And I love that pink!

Anonymous said...

As a turtle owner/caretaker, I wish someone in the pet store had had such an honest conversation with ME! Did he also tell you they're nasty little creatures? OMGosh, if I'd only known...I know, they're so cute, though. That's how I got suckered. LOL.

The scarf is so pretty in that pink color. I love that pattern, too, because it's so easy.

Sorry you haven't gotten your IK yet--I thought MY mail was slow.

Jenny said...

Turtle! What a cute story! :) This made me smile inside.

Julia said...

Haha! I like your turtle tale. :o) I have a similar fascination with chameleons and other reptiles, but mostly chameleons. I will never own one however because I know that they will always do better and be happier in their jungle home. Everytime I see them at the pet store they are climbing around the lid and edges of their terrarium looking for a way out. :o( They are. so. cute. though!