So last Thursday night I came home and saw what appeared to be a snow globe on the dining room table. Clearly, husband had received it as a parting gift from a luncheon he attended earlier in the day, but he wasn't home at the moment. (Bob Seeger and the Silver Bullet Band concert, in case you were wondering, and he was home before 11 pm, as one might expect from a Bob Seeger concert, but I digress.) It was an odd scene for a snow globe, sort of like how sci fi movies depict the landscape after a nuclear holocaust, but there it was. I grabbed the egg-shaped object and shook it. The second I did so, I realized I made a horrendous mistake. The "snow" clinked against the glass and instead of being anchored to the ground, the creepy tree-thing swirled around with the water. When I placed it back on the table, I noticed that there were critters swimming around in a panic. I felt awful. I just disrupted their calm lives with the equivalent of a massive tsunami.

Still, even though I nearly killed the little crustaceans, I also coveted what I quickly learned (once I noticed the package next to the orb) was the EcoSphere. It has four shrimp, which exist in an entirely self-contained aquarium ecosphere. No feeding, no cleaning. Just give it a proper amount of light and don't touch it too much, and every once in a while use the magnet attached to the instruction manual to attract the magnet in the ecosphere to scrape off extra algae from the glass, and it's good to go for as many as three years.

The crustaceans, which I quickly named after certain people who have earned my disrespect in the past few months but will remain nameless, somehow captured my cold dark heart even though they are sort of gross. Like, gross in the sense that they are translucent and I can tell when they are full of shit, not unlike the their namesakes. Also, when they shed their exoskeletons, they eventually eat them. Yet they are kind of cute, too.

I brought the EcoSphere to work yesterday and put it on my desk. (More travel trauma for the poor little crustaceans, I hate to say.) All day, I glanced over at them to see what they were up to. They swam, hung out on the creepy tree-thingy, sat on the pebbles, and used their teeny little pincers to eat algae and bacteria. How could I not love something as it stuffed its teeny mouth with bacteria, right?

The EcoSphere is going to change everything for me. I'll be much less anxious and stressed with them around (and also with my new regimen of acupuncture). I am so pleased that Husband was kind enough to let me have this oddest of corporate gifts, even though I nearly blew it with my rash early shaking action.

Now, if I could just not worry about the crustaceans (damn, I love saying "the crustaceans") over weekends, it will be perfect!