When Karen and I met, she was an omnivore and I was a vegetarian (ovo-lacto: meaning that I eat eggs and dairy). Eventually, we met in the middle: pesca. I eat fish now. After two or three years of drooling over the "fish boat" at the 2nd Street Festival, I used Karen as my excuse to finally indulge. It was early in the relationship, and Karen decided to tell me that she was sitting on a prize that she'd recently won: an all expenses paid trip for two to Jamaica.
It was hard to believe that I was going to a tropical island for FREE. First, a girl likes me. And second, I've won a tropical vacation. It was one improbable addition to my life after another. As it turns out, monogamy has it's rewards. Actually, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Karen had purchased a bottle of delicious Ting soda and was greeted at home with a voicemail message from Ukrops informing her that she won a stay at the Sandals resort in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. At the time, she was still living with her ex and decided to bestowe the free trip on her first steady rebound, I mean boyfriend - me. Before long, we were dining at Croakers Spot, training my stomach (and conscience) to handle seafood.
In Jamaica, we went snorkeling and scuba diving and we loved swimming among the schools of fish and looking for underwater adventure. The feeling was otherworldly. Four years later, the bright colored marine life amid the crystal clear water has served as our inspiration for the baby's nursery. We both said, fuckabuncha corny wallpaper borders with baseball mitts and fire engines. We'd rather immerse Baby Jay in the natural world.
"It's okay to eat fish, because they don't have any feelings." Of course, our diet isn't all fish all the time. We've both remembered the long stretches while swimming around Jamaica when we didn't see a single fish. The guides explained that overfishing has depleted the waters and that landlubbers like us probably won't take notice until the prices at the fish market go through the roof and it's too late to do anything about it. He pointed to the monstrous fishing boats in the distance, with telescoping arms making them look about as natural an ocean fixture as an oil rig.
Slowly, the room has been coming together. Karen's dad prepped and painted the 80 year old windows and I painted the walls green and blue. We stenciled fish outlines on the walls and debated the room's style. I wanted to mimic one of those museum/textbook species diagrams with realistic and mysterious looking creatures of from the various reaches of the depths. Karen's faves were cuter and a bit cartoony. Regardless, neither of us felt confident about painting animal life, especially not in the detailed realism that I envisioned. So, we just agreed that we would not have any Disney characters on the walls and moved on.
We've been in that holding pattern for a while. But every week or so, someone will come over and paint a fish after eating some of our homemade appetizers. Eventually, Karen and I pitched in. Those are my blue/gray/yellow guys, and the brown tiger-striped shark. The pelican isn't finished, but he's getting there. If you want to come over and help out, don't be shy (but do call or email first).
If this title of this post sounds familiar, it's from the Godfather. Tessio says "Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes." Karen and I aren't Sicilian and we're not "connected," so I can borrow this saying naively and wax romantic about our baby to be (the name is a secret) sleeping in a fantasy waterworld with his sea creature companions.
In case you're wondering, my fingers are dirty from gardening. I planted brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and collard greens.