I’m tired. I’m really tired. When you have to boot up a total book to edit, and simultaneously remember so, so, so much detail, you run out of juice. I’ve been slogging away at the pond and almost have it perfect. And then—

I notice the marine tank is p’o’ed. I can tell when the corals aren’t happy, and they’ve been iffy for days. I can’t put it off any longer. Gotta go down to the basement and investigate the sump and find out why.

Well, you run four basic tests. Number one—salinity. Just in case. It never gets off, but if you’re smart you run it anyway.

Bingo. Salinity should be 1.025. It’s 1.020. Which is Not Good. 1.023 is Too Low. So what do I do? I’m out of hyper-filtered water, which you use in mixing salt water. Gotta run the very slow filter. Jane offers a brilliant idea. Dip out 5 gallons, which a 54 gallon system with a 30 gallon sump will not notice much, and hyper-salt it. So I do that. Add a couple of cups. Salinity now 1.021. And…I go upstairs to attend the editing.

An hour later I come down to add another couple of cups. But you always test first. So—

Salinity is 1.019. Wak. Why?

Doh. I drew off 5 gallons of water and didn’t unplug the autotopoff pump, which, ‘thinking’ it’s evaporated, just shot 5 gallons of freshwater into the system. Banging head against wall. I then unplug the topoff pump, which I MUST remember to restore tomorrow—and draw 5 gallons of water out of the system, throwing the first one—


—into my new hyper-salt mix, diluting it.

Re-banging head against wall, I finish the job correctly, toss 4 cups of hyper-saltwater into the system (more would harm things) and go back upstairs.


I have to cook tonight. I do not think I shall cook anything needing me to handle knives.