The Gun Thing

Published February 17, 2018 by sarcasmica

Freedom. I get it. Freedom is intoxicating. Freedom is invigorating and empowering.

I was raised knowing guns. My dad took me shooting when I was a kid. I shot a 357, I shot 22 rifles, a shotgun, a 45.

I am not a gun aficionado, I was a kid. I did not keep up with a passion that was my father’s. He owned guns, he bought and hid guns from his second wife because they were broke, but somehow my father always found a way to buy a gun. Child support was questionable, but money for a gun? He was on it!

So I realize that it’s easy for me to sit here and type from my computer that gun freedom is not a requirement of humanity. It is not an essential part of life. We do not need to hunt food. We can go to the store and buy chemically engineered food for ourselves, thankyouverymuch. But I understand the heated debate of the second amendment. I have family that are vehement about their rights to bear arms. The guns mean something to them. It’s a hobby that brings them enjoyment, so why should a bunch of tree hugging, granola crunching hippies be able to take them away?!

Because the freedom of that right is being horribly brutalized. There is no sense of responsibility among the whole of gun owners. There is no secret brother/sisterhood where gun owners communicate among themselves and make sure everyone is in their right minds. There is not a responsible overseer who regulates the mental health of everyone who picks up a weapon and loads it. There is no sense of community within the arms-bearers to take care of their right.

Unfortunately, the only time gun owners want to huddle and take care of each other is in the shadow of the possibility their guns will be taken. I have yet to hear about any movement of the gun owners to weed out their own dysfunctional members. They are happy to hang out to dry offenders and those that bring heat down on the second amendment, but zero suggestions on how to make it work.

It’s time to take ownership of the weapons you hold so dear. It’s time to take yourself out of the equation and look at the big picture. If i’m not mistaken the second amendment is about protection of state and community.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

Militia is not an individual collector. It’s not representative of someone who likes to hunt. It’s about a community coming together to protect -under highly unlikely circumstances- their country and community. To defend our country against those that might try and take it from us.

Hmmmm… pretty sure our current climate has vastly outgrown the purpose of the amendment in the first place.

When individuals with questionable mental health can easily get their twisted hands on weapons and cause mass devastation of innocent bystanders it’s time to question gun control.

When mass shootings happen week after week, month after month, and year after year, it’s time to take hard action.

How will your humanity suffer from lack of a gun? How will your life be incomplete without access to a weapon? Is that greater than the thousands of parents who no longer have access to their children? Families who are now incomplete because a life has been taken for no reason other than someone with an imbalance made a plan and acquired weapons for no reason other than to kill innocent people?

Is your right more important than those lives? Now close your mouth and table your defense long enough to actually consider that any one of those inconceivable atrocities actually happened to your own family. Your own child in a classroom, or your own spouse at a concert or movie theater.

I fail to understand why so much effort goes into protecting the guns and not the people they were only made available to protect.

This country has far outgrown the second amendment principle. We have abused and neglected that right to the point that is is now destroying the cities, communities and people it was put in place to protect. Consequences must be had. In taking responsibility for the rights, you also take responsibility for the actions. Every person defending his/her right to own their firearms also takes ownership on the people who have used the same weapon to kill children, civilians, students, teachers, innocent members of the community.

Do you want to own a gun? Then join an organized, monitored, cooperative group of trained, licensed individuals who can also be responsible for how each weapon is used. Other than that, no guns should be permitted. At least until we have had a marked amount of time without tragedy related to a firearm. Don’t like my suggestion? Come up with a solution, not a defense.

 

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Patients

Published February 13, 2018 by sarcasmica

Today’s title is a twofer. I landed on that title because #1, I’m feeling a bit like a patient today. My kids have been doing their best work in attempting to have me commit myself soon which leads me to #2: patience. As in I have none. Oddly enough, kids don’t care how much you have, when you run out, or when they’ve run up a negative balance. Even with announced warning, my son continues to test the limits of my sanity.

So what do you throw into that mix of disaster?!

*drumroll*

A new pet! But not just aNy old pet, a rescue pet from a shelter you know virtually nothing about!

Winner winner!

Yup, so this guy happened

See how happy he is to bite that bar? He gets equal enjoyment if that bar is replaced with my finger. Lucky for him I am familiar with much larger beaks doing much worse damage, but it’s still not fun.

I have had cockatiels before, so I know the patience will be worth it. Currently, however, this patient is running out of bandaids. This morning when I went (slowly) to take his seed container to refill it, he nailed me. My son said, “Mom, he’s just like everyone else in this family. He’s grumpy in the morning.”

Touché, son. Touché.

The poor bird has zero instinct to step up onto my finger. He did not know what millet was. (bird crack for those who aren’t aware) He didn’t have a safe or proper perch or toy in his cage either.

After one week he will tolerate my finger, but only if millet is present. He will step up to reach the treat, but I have (gently) pushed my finger into his belly, and he will not step up. Kind of like waving a hand in front of a blind person. Zero recognition. It’s the strangest thing.

He has at least now begun to step up on a perch. This helped immensely when he had his first out-of-cage adventure today.

I’ve never seen a creature so happy to return to a cage!

So we are making progress, but my son is so impatient with it all he tends to push me to push the bird before either of us is ready.

My kids have been watching funny youtube videos. I think my son thought the minute Squirt left the cage he would somehow be transformed into a talking, pleasant, grocery cart-pushing performer. Such is not the case.

We have all had to take a step back and evaluate our patience levels. It’s been a good experience for the kids to see how much work goes into these guys. (Spoiler: it’s a lot) It’s paying off, and for that I am hopeful and thankful.

Sucking It Up

Published January 25, 2018 by sarcasmica

I know I’m a bit of a whiner. I get it. I’m the youngest of 3 and the only girl, so it was my job to make things big and dramatic and exciting growing up.

Nearly 2 years ago (21 months in ‘toddler time’) my kids and I were in an accident. It was fine in that we all walked away from it. People like to remind you of that when it happens. It was terrifying for my kids and not exactly a cake walk for me, but yes we all walked away from it. After 5 months of seeing our chiropractor and painful massage therapy for me, my kids and I were deemed “as good as it’s gonna get”. (More for me than the kids, they healed fantastically)

Just before the accident I had started getting into swimming as an acceptable non-torturous exercise. I could be weightless, no sweat to deal with, no wiping down of soggy crotch after someone else was on a machine. It was great. Unfortunately my whiplash and shoulder pain did not agree with said exercise.

Recently my husband has been gung ho on swimming at our new gym. I tentatively join in here and there but still have shoulder pain when I swim. Coupled with the nightly sleep interruption from the same pain and I decided to see someone after my lawyer coached me to get checked out.

The appointment was today. I have a hard time with these things because if my bones are still on the inside of my body and there is no blood to be seen, I feel like 2 advil, a hot shower & I should be good to go.

That whole “What number is your pain on a scale of 1 to 10″ chart makes me cringe every time. I dont like to put down anything over 3. I can suck it up. But this shoulder stuff has been everyday for almost 2 years. I did my best.

I did the X-rays. I did the exploratory evaluation. I wanted there to be something to show I’m not crazy for feeling this, but I didnt’t want anything substantial either.

It turns out that my collar bone was pulled away from my shoulder joint in the accident. ..”but just a little”

A little. A couple of millimeters.

“Nothing substantial.”

This immediately reminded me of being told my cough was just a little bit of pneumonia last year.

Now in the grand scheme of things, of course this is inconsequential. This doctor sees massive issues and injuries in people all day long.

But what that means for me is “no big deal”. Take a couple aspirin and suck it up.

He did suggest an MRI due to the length of time it’s been an issue but racking up that cost when it’s unknown if it will pay off is not really a thrilling notion for myself or my husband.

Getting old sucks. Getting in car accidents sucks harder. I’d like to say these old lady aches and pains are from snowboarding or parasailing or rock climbing but no. Just your everyday run of the mill car accidents and minor bone-joint separation.

Parenting Is Not For The Weak

Published January 24, 2018 by sarcasmica

We have been adjusting around here. Adjusting to my mom getting ready to move into her own apartment after living with us for over five years. My daughter only knows life with Gramma around. I’ve been talking to the kids prepping for the actual moving day so it’s not a big “Surprise! Today’s the day!”

I figured this was the culprit for my son’s behavior of late. After two weeks of back to school with fairly decent mornings and getting off to school fine, suddenly he is an emotional, defiant, argumentative, sputtering mess. And not in the pre-pubescent way. No, it’s a bratty, fit-filled, moody way.

Did I mention the husband is away on business? Yes, we specialize in this kind of timing in this house.

Anyway, speaking to one of my son’s teachers today I find out there is a report due next week that involves reading an entire book. Something I have not seen said child actually doing. Later I ask, “So what’s going on with your report?” and am met with giant sighs and falling to the floor. I am assured that reading is being handled and report writing will be 100% taken care of.

He is on page 30 of a 152 page book and it’s due next Wednesday.

We pinpoint this as the source of some of his anxiety. No problem. It’s handled. The evening routine is all drama and tears and emotions still, however. Head-scratcher.

After reading to my daughter peppered with my own tears thanking my seven year old for being so kind-hearted and understanding when all of mom and dad’s attention feels like it’s focused on the big dramatic kid, I tuck her in and get her to bed.

Next up, big kid bed time. My son has a mini meltdown over a snack, lies about brushing his teeth, and finally heaves himself onto his bed giving up any hope that the day will include ice cream and video games. We begin what is supposed to be a quick convo about the day and it turns into something I did not see coming.

“Mom, I think I know part of why I feel so depressed.”
I hold back my cringing at the buzzword and try to focus my energy on an open mind and face. (my face is something I have very little control over)

“(best friend) has been really sad lately and says he’s depressed.”
“Hmm … i wonder why. Do you know what’s going on?”
“Well, I think it’s because of his dad… he died.” (the best friend’s bio parents are divorced and mom is remarried with 2 more kids)
“He died?! When?” (this is news to me)
“His parents got divorced and his dad was really sad so he … you know… killed himself.”

Holy fucking shitballs.

Right. So now go ahead and roll with that, Supermom.

“Wow. That is heavy. That is a lot for (best friend) to deal with, certainly. I wonder if he feels like talking to a counselor would be helpful.”
“He goes to therapy every week.”
“Wow. Ummm, i’m really glad that he has a friend like you to listen and support him. …. that is a lot for you to deal with as well. As important as it is to be there for him and listen and help him work through how he’s feeling, I want you to find a way to leave that at school with him. When you walk away from that kind of interaction, it’s really important to try and center yourself around (yourself) again. Empathy is important, but those are not your problems to work out. That is not your reality.”

“Ok mom.” and he seems to get what I’m saying after some more brief coaching.

We work out the reading math problem of barely read pages minus total pages divided by procrastinators time frame left before adding actual report writing time and then…

*giggles* “Mom?”
“Mm hmm?”
“So what is the point of the cover for a penis? You know, that thing…?”
“A condom?”
*giggling*
“Yea, that.”
[to avoid situations like this one!!]
“If you don’t want to make a baby, you use a condom.”
“So then does that mean that – sputtering giggles- sex is … fun?”

And that, my friends, is how the evening went in my house. From depression and suicide to homework and concluded with a painfully masked conversation about sex and why it’s not just for makin’ babies. Now I have to figure out if the whole best friend depression father’s suicide issue is actually real. How do I handle that?! The best friend, to my knowledge, has limited friends at this school where he is a new student. I don’t know the parents all that well. What does THAT conversation look like? We really only text. Do I text the mom, “Hey, heard your ex offed himself and the boys have been talking… anything I need to know?”

And I thought the pre-sleepover conversation asking if there were guns in the house would be the hardest question to ask.

Conclusion: Use a rubber if you are unwilling to mask your extreme discomfort speaking to an eleven year old boy about anatomy and copulation.

Thank You, PBS

Published January 23, 2018 by sarcasmica

I will admit right here, right now that I am a typical American. I do not know what is actually going on in the rest of the world, but I at least acknowledge that this country is not the center of the universe..unlike (not) my President. (cough cough sputter spit)

I don’t go out of my way to find these things out, either. Not proud, but honest. Tonight I watched a Frontline show about refugees. I love Frontline because the handful of episodes I have watched are simply educational. Enlightening. It is without an agenda or a side or angle. I appreciate that.

I feel like we have heard the term “refugee” a million times but no one in mainstream media has taken the extra step to highlight what that really means. This show simply told the stories of multiple families who all had a refugee story. Different people, different countries, different situations, same horrifying problem. They no longer had an entire country to live their lives in.

When the option is to stay and die a gruesome death or uproot yourself -and possibly entire family- and start walking until you find another country, there really isn’t an option. You go. It’s nothing any of us would have done differently. We just had the long straw and were born into a country that has not been in religious, governmental, societal upheaval.

After watching for over an hour I felt incredibly lucky. It made me appreciate things I take for granted all. the. time. Those tragically displaced people are children without families. Mothers who cannot provide protection, medication, warmth, food and comfort for their kids. Walking for days and weeks on end. The amount of fight you have to equip yourself with to persevere is astounding.

A common thread was the intolerance they all faced regardless of the country they ended up in. “Go home refugees” was prominent.

There is nothing to go to. They are refugees because they no longer have a home. When a terrorist group blows up not just your home, but your town and city and is now running your country’s government you are no longer a traveler or immigrant. You are a refugee. When family members are being rounded up and killed around you, you don’t stick around to have your name on that list. You leave. You flee.

I keep blinders on a lot of the time for self-preservation. It’s not an excuse, it’s how I can operate and still keep my home fun and open-minded and light for my kids. I don’t know what the answers are, but I am thankful to have been enlightened for an hour tonight so I can try harder to continue the conversation. I can talk to my kids about realizing why we are fortunate and not to squander it. I will pay more attention and peek around the blinders more often.

More importantly, I have a better understanding of the meaning of the word “refugee” and to be quite honest it changed my narrow-minded perception about what that means.

Switch Flip

Published January 8, 2018 by sarcasmica

I feel like there must be an internal switch that makes us a grown up. An adult switch, if you will. Certain things fiddle with it, getting married, buying a house, kids. Having a baby makes you feel like surely adulthood will automatically flip that switch.

Nope.

In my case, anyway, it just makes you a spastic human being who is never quite sure what is happening. You think you read in a parenting book or on a Facebook post (because thats the same thing, right) that the cure for your baby’s current ______ is most certainly _______.

And then you find out weeks later the original book/article was completely bogus.

You know why? Because the person who wrote it is also a parent who hasn’t been flipped into being an actual adult yet and doesn’t know what the hell is going on.

So what is an “adult”? In my mind, this is it:

Adult- a person who does not live around piles. An upright human who has a completed calendar they can follow without a shadow of a doubt. A mother who knows when her child’s next dentist appointment is. A person who at all times has clean underwear…in a drawer. A person who only wears sweatpants to the actual gym. Driving without the empty tank light on. Someone who can be asked by a stranger, “How are you?” and can give a simple answer like, “I’m well thank you. How are you?”.

None of these things are me, and definitely not today. Driving to my chiropractor appointment in my grown up, but stretchy, clothes I gave myself a pep talk. This poor doctor always gets an earful of gripes and pains and new ailments from me. And not just about me, but the whole family because at some point he has treated each of us.

Not today! I will answer, “Im doing well, thank you. How was your new years?”. I will behave like a responsible grown up today. New plan!

As a reward for my grown up decision out of nowhere I get the thought of wanting to call my dad.

He died in 2001, so that would be just a smidge difficult. So then the waterworks start.

Decidedly NOT grown up behavior.

I’m trying, folks. I swear. Someday I will achieve adulthood. I just hope I’m lucid enough to enjoy it.

Getting Old Sucks

Published January 5, 2018 by sarcasmica

That’s news, right? I’m 41. I remember watching shows like “The Biggest Loser” and being incredulous at these crying, sobbing adults realizing the amount of energy they were lacking once they began doing things like …. ready for it? …. moving. Walking, running, cycling, anything. It was like a revelation to them that this lack of napping could be their lives. My husband and I would scoff and shout at the TV, “Seriously?!?! THAT is what brings you to tears on national television?!?”

Now here I sit. Tired, fantasizing about a quiet nap in a deserted house between my cozy flannel sheets with my fireplace going.

THAT is my fantasy these days. Day napping.

I’ve done the thing where I exercise. I’ve done the thing where I eat healthy. I expected an instant explosion of energy on a daily basis. It did not happen. Granted, I only managed these healthy habits for days at a time, but shit, come on man! That rabbit only chases the carrot when it knows how good it is. Put some chips and salsa on a stick, and i’ll chase that m-fer for days. Can you put a breakfast buffet in front of a treadmill?

I realize food being the only motivation is part of my failure plan. I get it. I will say therapy has helped tremendously with my reasons why I eat. Now I make bad choices because I like yummy food, not because I feel like it’s an emotional experience. The fault is still all mine. I don’t eat when I’m stressed quite as much, and I have identified when I need to to make better choices of what I emo-binge. I have learned to pace myself. But moving and sweating and heart elevating activities do not get my sloth body moving. The only thing that I don’t hate doing is swimming. I do enjoy swimming. We have a membership at a gym with a giant pool, so that’s something. Owning the card does not provide the energy to drive there, however.

So with the new year and everyone being overzealous about their resolutions, I’m just here on my couch finding new and exciting reasons to stay home. Laundry. Dishes. Vacuuming. I guess you could say on a positive note, at least I’m finally becoming domestic. The plus size domestic sloth. Sexy, right?

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