Gun-shy

No, this isn’t another post about firearms, firearm safety, firearms laws, or anything like that. It IS however, another post about work.
-Preface over- greetings readers, and apologies for the absence. The campus I work on has reopened after the holiday break and we’re running busy already. The students go home for a month and stock up on their booze and weed, and we spend the next few months taking it all away…until the next break and the cycle starts over again.

So that’s the reason for my absence.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘gun-shy’ – here’s a quick definition:

gun-shy
ˈɡənˌSHī/
adjective
adjective: gunshy
  1. (especially of a hunting dog) alarmed at the report of a gun.
    • (of a person) nervous and apprehensive.

Now, since I’m clearly not a hunting dog, we’re going to work with the ‘nervous and apprehensive’ part.

I’ve mentioned a few times my last job, and how I didn’t exactly….mesh with my boss. He was a part-time employee of the town who would come in and ride around with the day-shift worker. I never saw him at night. He never rode with me on the afternoon shift, and I never had access to him other than via phone if something happened. If I DID see him….that meant there was a problem of some kind. If his car was at the station when I rolled up at shift change, it usually meant that he had something to address. Most of the time it was minor- paperwork changes, requests for followups, whatever. Occasionally though, he’d lambaste me for something or another. I remember getting a dressing down one day about my sense of humor. Another day because I drove too fast to an emergency. (Yeah. You read that right.) …that sort of thing. As a result, every time I saw his car parked at the station, my mind went to “Ah, crap. Now what did I do?”

We parted ways- amicably. He’s a good cop and a good boss, he was responsible for getting us training that we never could get before he got there. We simply didn’t play well together, and we both recognized it. My leaving was honestly better for all. After I left and got hired at the new position, I figured it was all in the past. Over and done with.

…Except it isn’t. I’ve taken a bit of a mental battering that is going to take some time to shed. When I pull up to work in the afternoon, our chief is usually here. He’s a full-time employee of the college, so it stands to reason that he would be. Still though, as soon as I see his truck here, my brain defaults to “Ah crap. Now what did I do?” ….even if I haven’t been here long enough to get into any trouble at all yet.

He’s proven himself already to be a very effective leader, and I’ve been told he’s a cop that looks out for his guys. He’s done nothing or said anything that would lead me to believe he’s pinned a bulls-eye on my back or is looking for a way to put me through the ringer. But I FEEL like he is, only because I can’t shake the mentality I developed at the last place. I’m gun-shy around management.

It’s bad enough that even when the new boss is standing in the ready room with us bullshitting about the last football game, or hunting season, or if we hit the campus dining hall for lunch together, I can’t help but feel like there’s another shoe waiting to drop, and this simply isn’t a healthy way to think.

I know I don’t need to be trying to develop a chummy, buddy-type relationship with my boss, but I shouldn’t have to be walking on eggshells around him either.

I’ve been here nine weeks, so I don’t expect all the training scars and psychological niggles to be quite worked out yet. I just hope it doesn’t take TOO long- since I don’t much care for the idea of being a scared puppy in the presence of leadership. It simply isn’t dignified.

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmic Fate or Dumb Luck?

I’m not a very religious man, nor do I put a whole lot of stock in the idea of fate in general. However, sometimes things happen that seem to  a shred of lend credibility to the fatalistic outlook. Either that, or the Universe is getting its jollies by screwing with me.

I spent yesterday ranting and raving about the knuckleheads in our HR department that dropped the ball on mailing in my enrollment for health insurance, which resulted in our having to postpone an overnight sleep study appointment for our son that took two months to make.
Because the appointment was postponed, I had to come in to work. I’d put in for some family sick time so I could be home with our youngest son, but since that wasn’t necessary, I wasn’t going to burn precious time, so I came in to work.

I went to the locker room, got changed, and plunked myself down at the computer in the ready room. In comes the Chief.
“You need to be here at 07:45 tomorrow.”
“Huh? Why?”
“You’re being introduced at the president’s meeting tomorrow. Sorry for the short notice.”

….I could tell he genuinely was too. I’m working a C-Line right now, until 11. It’ll be midnight before I get home, and close to 1 by the time I get to sleep. Then I need to get up, changed, and out the door in time to get back here by 7:45.

In the mixture of emotions between the joy of picking up 4 hours of overtime and the irritation of short notice like this, I came to realize something.

If HR hadn’t screwed up, I’d have been at home with the little guy until tomorrow morning. If they’d have called me at home and said “Get here.” I’d have been up against a wall. But since they DID bone me, my wife isn’t going to the sleep center with our six year old, so I can get back here and look all nice and presentable for the presidential meeting.

Don’t think I’m letting HR off the hook on this one, I’m still greatly annoyed by the whole thing. But couldn’t one make the case that their mistake was orchestrated by a cosmic being or power to enable me to make the meeting tomorrow morning?

No. They can’t. HR screwed up, and I got lucky. That is all.

….right?

A-B-Cs of AD. (Me.)

Two of my favorite blogs to read have done this, so in true internet fashion, I stole the idea. Mostly because there are still four hours left in shift, and nothing’s happening, but also partly because these throwback-to-myspace-type-things are always a little fun.
Now, let’s put late-shift boredom to rest, and see what makes AD tick a bit shall we?

ABCs of Me

A: Age | 32

Closing on 33, but I’m the guy that loses track sometimes. Not because of an early onset of senility, but because I learned that age IS largely just a number. I attended the police academy with ‘kids’ who were 10 years younger than me, and I was able to not only keep up with them, but surpass a few of them in a few areas, while at the same time having a hard time keeping up with the two 36 year old recruits who could run circles around anyone there. Numerically, I’m 32. Physically, I’m a bit younger. Mentally sometimes….a LOT younger.

B: BIGGEST FEAR | Failing.

Cliche as it may sound, I’m the sole provider for a family of four. I’ve had a job eliminated out from under me, I was laid off from another job, and resigned from a third. I finally landed where I want to be, in a job that lets me provide for my wife and kids. To fail now, I have no more backups. I have no ‘Plan B.’ To fail professionally at this point in my life, with so many people I care about depending on me…that’s terrifying. More than anything else.

C: CURRENT TIME | 6:47pm

Er….excuse me. “18:47” as we say at work and on all of our official paperwork. A little over four hours to go before I can go home.

D: DRINK I LAST HAD | Arizona Green Tea.

For some reason, I can’t get enough of the stuff. I was buying it by the can at a buck apiece from the gas station, but then found it in packs of 12 at the grocery store for what amounted to half that price. I now buy in bulk. I save. I’m a grownup.

E: EASIEST PERSON TO TALK TO | My father

With my wife so close in second, the difference is almost indistinguishable, and on some days, they’d be interchangeable.

F: FAVORITE SONG | A Classic…

Literally. When I was a little kid, my father was listening to Ravel’s “Bolero” on cassette. I asked him what it was about, and he told me “Anything you want, make up a story in your head.” So I did. My mind painted pictures to fit the song, and my imagination wandered so far from the back seat of the car I was in, that I think part of it stayed out there long after the song was over.

G: GROSSEST MEMORY | Smorgasbord

Oh my. Tough to pick one. Working on an ambulance and as a cop for almost three years now, not to mention having two kids…
However, I think in order to consider my grossest, I have to go back to college. I was an RA (Resident Assistant) and got a call from the new RA on duty that night, pleading for my help. One of the girls in the building had gotten so drunk she had wet herself, vomited, accidentally cut herself so she was bleeding, and had rolled down a hill so she was caked in mud. She was an absolute disaster, and she counts as my grossest because at that point in my life…I wasn’t at all prepared for it. Now…that’d be another day at the office. Then? Awful.

H: HOMETOWN | Maplecrest, NY

You’ve never heard of it. You’ve never ‘driven through there.’ (Mainly because it’s a town on a dead end road) We had two public buildings, and if you didn’t attend the Methodist church, that left you with the post office. Life in “The Hollow” – so called because the main road was “Big Hollow Rd” – was quiet, peaceful, and a fantastic way to grow up. I had rivers and mountains to explore, animals to see and hunt, and a few very close friends to share it all with. I live about 10 minutes from there now, and while I don’t have much reason to go there anymore, occasionally I still do. I’m a nostalgic man.

I: IN LOVE WITH | My Wife, The Boys.

Not just because biology says I have to either. The three of them have kept me grounded when things are going crazy, they were my motivation to succeed and graduate the police academy, my REASON to keep pushing when things fell apart at the last job, and my support when things get sticky. The little ones miss me when I’m gone, and my wife kisses me goodbye every afternoon. The three of them are the living embodiment of ‘love’ to me.

J: JEALOUS OF | Dog Owners.

I grew up with dogs, but there’s no room in our life- or house for one right now, no matter how badly I want one. I remember well what it was like to have a dog (or multiple dogs) in our house as a kid, and they always seemed to complete the entire idea of ‘home’ to me in a way that our two moron cats just can’t do.

K: KILLED SOMEONE? | No.

But I continue to train for the day where I might have to…and I don’t think I want to say any more than that.

L: LONGEST RELATIONSHIP | Current

My wife and I have been together for 13 years. Married 8, two great kids. My wife was also my first serious relationship too. There were a few sporadic flings, but I like to consider them as batting practice, and when it came time to actually step up to the plate, I knocked the first pitch out of the park, and retired from the game immediately after.

M: MIDDLE NAME | William.

Family name. My father’s name is William, his brother’s middle name is William, their father was named William, and in turn…My 6 year old’s middle name is William.

N: NUMBER OF SIBLINGS | 2

A brother and a sister. My brother is an NCO in the Army National Guard, and works as hard if not harder than anyone else I’ve ever known to support him and his wife. I’ve got a ton of respect for him and everything he does, even if I don’t plan on telling him that any time soon.
My sister is more at home with dogs than people, and is a distinguished groomer, as well as agility trainer. She’s also a no-nonsense girl who will tell you where to go and what to do when you get there if she doesn’t like you. Her candor has made for some amazing family gathering moments….like when at 12 she locked horns with an uncle who was being sort of a jerk….and won.

O: ONE WISH | For The Boys…

That I don’t screw this parenting thing up. My wish is for the ability to raise my boys to be good, honest, hardworking men who will earn the successes they find in life while conquering and learning from their failures and challenges.

P: LAST PERSON YOU CALLED | The Mrs.

I had to call her to tell her that Human Resources admitted screwing up our health insurance, but fixed it….too little, too late.

Q: QUESTION YOU’RE ALWAYS ASKED | Why?

Two kids. Everything is “Why?”

R: REASON TO SMILE | “The Night Begins to Shine”

After a stressful day of phone calls and on-hold messages, my wife sent me a video clip from one of the boys’ cartoons- “Teen Titans Go” where they constantly play song “The Night Begins to Shine” I laugh like an absolute loon whenever it’s on. For some reason I feel like it cartoonifies the entire 80’s decade and is ridiculously funny.

S: SONG YOU LAST SANG | See above

I sing along when it’s on TV, much to the consternation of the boys.
I sang along with it now, while posting it. Much to the confusion of my partner.

T: TIME YOU WOKE UP | 03:30

For the first time. The three year old had to go to the bathroom, so I took him in. He did his business, and when I put him back in his bed, I fell asleep on the cursed futon in his room until almost 7.

U: UNDERWEAR COLOR | Black

Nothing fancy. Black.

V: VACATION DESTINATION | Europe

I’d like to see Europe. From the lights and scenes of Paris and London, to the Hallowed locations of Auschwitz and Normandy. I’d like to see the Roman ruins, Stonehenge, the Alps…and everywhere in between.

W: WORST HABIT | Gross…

When I’m doing something absentmindedly, or I’m nervous or bored, I have a tendency to pick at my lip if it’s chapped.

X: X-RAYS YOU’VE HAD | Teeth

That’s it. In spite of a childhood climbing and falling out of trees, crashing bikes down logging trails, and many, many un-secured roofing jobs, I’ve never broken anything.

Y: YOUR FAVORITE FOOD | The dream…..

A perfectly made Reuben sandwich. Thin-sliced corned beef piled high, plenty of bitter sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and Swiss cheese melted onto toasted rye bread.

Z: ZODIAC SIGN | Taurus

Element: Earth

Quality: Fixed

Color: Blue, Pink, Green

Day: Friday, Monday

Ruler: Venus

Greatest Overall Compatibility: Virgo, Capricorn

Best for Marriage and Partnerships: Scorpio

Lucky Numbers: 2, 4, 6, 11, 20, 29, 37, 47, 56

Date range: April 20 – May 20

Other than having married a Scorpio and having it work out marvelously….I don’t know about any of the rest of what anyone has to say about Taurus. Some people say we’re stubborn, but we’re not dammit, and I’ll fight you over that. (Never mind.)
So….there’s me boiled down to the basic A-B-Cs. Thanks for watching, Goodnight.

Insurance Nightmare

I hope you’re sitting for this one. By the end of the series of events I’m about to describe, I certainly was. Although by ‘sitting’ I mean ‘collapsed in defeat.’

Around two months ago, we took The Narrator to see an ENT doctor. He does this strange moaning in his sleep and has been for some time. When we realized it was something that wasn’t going away on its own, we had him checked out by the ENT who basically….had no idea what it was, and suggested a sleep study. So, we went to the sleep center and were shown around. We learned the procedures and equipment they used, and made an appointment for the night he and my wife would spend there.

Shrewdly, we made the appointment for a day AFTER the 56 day waiting period at my new job was over, and the health insurance kicked in. At the end of December last year, the old insurance ran out, and we didn’t bother to renew it, since the new one was due on the 13th of January.

Fast forward to last week. The 56 day mark comes, then goes. Like a fool, I figured that it was going to take the typical few days for the paperwork to come. 57 days. 58 days, and still no paperwork. Now the sleep study looms and we have no insurance paperwork.

No worries, I’d just call the insurance company, get our membership ID, and give that to the doctor.

(Hang on, this is where it starts to get screwed up.)

-9:00am this morning I called the insurance company. They have no record of my being a member yet. They suggest I call the Civil Service office to make sure that my information had been forwarded.

-I call Civil Service, give them my information….and am told I don’t exist in their system. Apparently, the new employer had NEVER FILED MY ENROLLMENT PAPERWORK!

-Email HR basically asking “Doubleyoo Tee Eff?”

-Filled with rage and urgency, I call the old insurance company, hoping the lapse from when it ran out last December wasn’t too long, and I could simply renew it.

-Insurance company tells me no. I need to reapply for enrollment. Tells me to call New York State of Health.

-Call State of Health. On the phone with them for over an hour. Reapply. Get the boy enrolled in a new insurance program…..with a start date of 3/1…which does me absolutely no good. State of Health tells me to call the insurance company again, see if they can’t adjust the start date to 1/1.

-Call the insurance company. They sound rather confused, tell me that I need to call State of Health back, that THEY were the ones who needed to make the adjustment.

-Call State of Health again. Am told that since this isn’t an emergency procedure, they’re not likely to adjust the start date, but we can check with the Accounts Management people.

By now, with all the holds and wait times, it is 1PM, and I’m getting ready for work. I hand my wife the phone and head off, leaving her on hold. While en route to work, I call the sleep center, and tell them what’s up. They tell me that this is all for naught, since they usually need 24-48 hours for pre-approval from of for the insurance company, and since we’re dealing with a NEW plan, that has to start over. Crash and burn. We need to postpone the appointment, all because someone in Human Resources dropped the ball and never stuck some paper in the mail for me.

I’m now at work, driving around and an email comes through- a response from HR basically saying “Yeah, uh…oops.”…with the added insult to injury of their setting the coverage date for 1/14/16….which it should have been in the first place, but is now too late for the study and appointment to go ahead as planned.

My wife now has to go through and coordinate my screwed up schedule with the openings at the sleep center and find something that jives enough for me to stay home with the little guy while she and The Narrator spend the night there.

Thankfully, she was able to find something in early February, but the two months of psyching up and preparation of the highly-sensitive  for what could be an incredibly stressful procedure for him, culminates in nothing. My poor little guy was actually looking forward to this event- the result of some carefully orchestrated planning and explanations by my wife of the whole thing.

I’m a little grouchy about the whole thing, mostly because when I work, I’m expected to do my job to the best of my ability each and every time. Any slight mishap or deviation from protocol, procedure, or legal process, and my tail is in a sling. I don’t mind that though. Accountability is a good thing. Is it too much to ask though, that we ALL have to answer for the screw ups we make and the problems we cause for others? I guess I feel like it is sometimes.

 

Brutality of Three

The boys and I were wrestling on the floor this afternoon before I went to work. At one point, The Narrator tried to drag me across the floor by the arm. I laughed at him.

“I’m a little heavier than you are you know. Think of it this way. If you AND your brother were combined, I’m still heavier. In fact, another you and most of one more of your brother is what it would take to weigh as much as I do.”

Then, to myself I said “My God, I’m a fatass.” To which, my three year old replied:

“Yeah….we know.”

Thanks kid.

 

‘Puzzling’ Problem

jigsaw-puzzle

Everyone jokes about giving the noisiest toy they can imagine to children of people they don’t much care for, or to nieces and nephews just to drive their parents insane. We’ve had our share of noisy toys in the house, and have shot the offender (usually my sister, with a knowing grin on her face) our share of dirty looks.

However, I have come to the conclusion that WORSE than noisy toys, or even complicated, ‘adult assembly required’ toys, are the simplest of things….puzzles.

They seem innocuous. They seem safe. They even seem educational in that they help the small child with their fine motor skills. On the surface…yes. All of this is true. However, at some point, the child will become bored, frustrated, or annoyed with said puzzle, and it will be put on a shelf.

Now, one puzzle is never really that much of a problem. But tell me, when was the last time you knew a kid who had ONE puzzle? Go ahead, think about it. I’ll wait.

….

Can’t, can you? No. You know why? Because these nefarious little things often come in sets of two, three, or four. Right now, on our toy shelf we have TWELVE puzzles. Actually. I lied. When I left for work, we had twelve puzzles dumped on the floor, their innumerable pieces intermingled, upside down, and some of them inevitably in the process of finding their way down the heat registers or under furniture.

Puzzles, by far take the most time to clean up. Even though we’re not talking about 100, 1000, or 10,000 piece adult puzzles, even 10, 20, or 25 piece puzzles have enough to them to make the cleanup and reassembly infuriating when they’re all mixed together. Even the notorious LEGO, of which we have something like twenty-seven trillion, can be unceremoniously scooped up, and dumped back in their bucket. Not the puzzles though. Oh no. They need to be put BACK together to make sure none of the pieces have gone missing. Each one of those twelve puzzles will need to be reassembled before being returned to the shelf until such time at the three-year old decides to pull them out again.
Plus, as far as cleanup goes- as soon as the realization is reached that one of the pieces has made its escape, a full-scale manhunt is launched to find it, and I can never convince the boys to finish the floor cleanup first as that would enhance the odds of finding the lost piece. Nope. The cleanup effort stops and a recovery effort is now underway. If the piece is found, we go back to assembling that single puzzle until it can be put away, then move on to the next one, and the process begins anew.

Now, don’t think for a second that I haven’t tried to simply dump all the pieces into a single bucket ‘for later.’ The problem is, unless these dastardly things are lain flat AS a puzzle, they take up an unbelievable amount of space, and cannot be contained by the usual methods.

________________

Then there is the task of retiring a puzzle when it has been determined that one of the pieces has gone missing for good. This should be easy. Piece gone, puzzle garbage.

Nope. All of a sudden, that puzzle which has not been played with or solved in months (due to the missing piece and general lack of prolonged interest in puzzles in general) is one of the most cherished and beloved items in the entire toy collection. There will be tears, and a renewed effort to search for the piece, which of course will not turn up.

So, as parents, we need to discreetly discharge our duties and secrete the worthless puzzle into the garbage on the sly. After a few days of nobody noticing that we’ve done this, we’ll relax. We’ve gotten away with it, and the toy shelf is one iota closer to being organized.

Then, and ONLY then….will the missing piece be found. Not by us who can secretly ditch that too- but by our darling little kids who will clutch said piece in their little hands as they tear the toy shelf apart looking in vain for the puzzle that it goes to….and in the process, dumping the other eleven puzzles to the floor, starting the process all over again.

 

 

Snow Driving

scott-driving-snow-3

Flashback: Winter, 2001. My buddy Greg was hosting a small party at his apartment. With us was our friend Jerry, and two girls who worked with me in lift operations at the local ski slope. Jerry had taken a shine to one of the girls, and had offered to be their ride home at the end of the party. His plans changed when the object of his affection announced she had a boyfriend, and he decided that getting too drunk to drive anywhere was a better idea.
I had to work the next morning, so I wasn’t drinking. I offered to bring the girls home when we wrapped up, it would only be a fifteen minute drive.
As the night went on, and we enjoyed ourselves inside- outside started to get snowy. Very snowy, so much that by the time we decided to call it a night, it had reached blizzard conditions. The girls didn’t want to stay, so I made good on my promise, and loaded them into the old Ford Taurus station wagon I was driving at the time. Off we went.

Until that time, I’d never really done much driving through really bad weather, but…what the hell. I had two lovely young ladies depending on me to get them home, and I was young, fearless, and fairly stupid. Most of the trip was uneventful, albeit slow. The final, major challenge would be a notoriously long, steep hill, which they lived near the bottom of. Starting down, I knew right away it was going to be…interesting. We crawled down, our juvenile banter and my awkward attempt at flirting with the single one of the two dried up as I focused on the task at hand. Then, it happened. I stepped on the brake, and the entire car went completely sideways. The girls screamed, but somehow….I managed to pull out of the spin/skid and straighten up. I got them home without any more incidents, although I wasn’t going BACK up that hill, and ended up taking another way home, a ten mile route that took me close to an hour. I got a kiss on the cheek for the ordeal, but more than that I took away a sense of confidence that’s stuck with me to this day.

Driving in inclement weather doesn’t rattle me that much. If I know the car I’m in, and I know the road I’m on, I’ll drive where others won’t. I’ve had my driveway cleaned out better than the road I live on so I could get out and make it to ambulance calls if necessary. Perhaps I’m still fairly stupid- but I don’t really see it as taking chances if you’re cautious, capable, and just a little bit lucky.

Since that night with the two girls in my dilapidated old station wagon, I haven’t had any major incidents on icy roads.

I will admit, that there’s something awfully creepy about being on a snowed-over country road at night, with nobody around you. All sounds other than that low pitched squeaking of your tires packing the snow around you are muffled. Your headlights play out over a road where there are no lines, just- if you’re lucky- tire tracks from adventurous predecessors.

But there’s a shot of adrenaline too. Senses are heightened. You’re forced to pay more attention to the road you’re on and anything around you that could pose a hazard. Every sound, sight, and sensation in the wheels and pedals are magnified, and all of a sudden the drive is dynamic rather than boring.

Plus, there’s the sense of victory when you arrive at your destination, made more potent if someone there can look at you and say “Are you f-ing crazy??”

In general I love to drive. Long-hauls, night drives, spur of the moment trips…all are so very much fun to me. A college friend and I once drove fifteen hours straight from Northern Virginia, to Central New York to drop my sister off at college, then three hours back to where we lived in eastern NY. We still talk about that trip.
Driving in conditions that make a trip a challenge though- adds something to it.

Maybe I’m a little insane, who knows. But chances are, if you see one car on the road when everyone else is smart enough to batten down the hatches- wave. I’ll wave back.

 

 

 

 

 

Creature of the Night

First, thanks for bearing with me while I ranted about my moron of a brother-in-law for a bit. That’ll be done with.
Secondly, thank you for bearing with me today as I hammer out an update from the app on my phone. Statistically, phone updates aren’t my best ones, since auto-correct and tiny buttons on the key pad make for some abominations in spelling and grammar.  But, I haven’t cracked open my computer in weeks, and I’m sort of happy about that.

As someone who used to be glued to a computer screen for immeasurable hours on end, both for work and at home, this deviation feels good. Yes, I use my phone a lot, but I tell myself that it’s different.

Work is going amazingly well. The people I work for and with seen genuinely interested in my being successful there, a sentiment I never once got from the last job.

I’ve been there almost two months now, and still have yet to be worked into the schedule rotation. Partn of the reason is that the department has been working on a massive change, from 8 hour shifts, to 12. They’ve been toiling away to find a rotation that was fair and functional, and they finally got it together a few weeks ago. It was approved by command staff, and we bid for shifts last week.
….That is, everyone else bid. As the new guy, the low man on the totem pole,  all I got to do was initial the last blank space on the schedule, and I drew the 7pm to 7am shift. Overnights. 

Now, at first glance, this doesn’t seem great at all, and really,  it isn’t. But, I’m a very long way from being able to work days with weekends off. There are guys who have that choice, they’ve put in their years, and my time isn’t yet worth the same as theirs. I know that, so I won’t grouse about it.

In actuality though, as far as ‘lousy’ shifts go, this one isnt all THAT bad. I’ll be getting home right around the time The Narrator is getting to school, but I’ll be home and awake when he gets off the bus every day. Plus, I never work more than three days in a row, so I end up with more days off. Yeah, the work days are longer by a third, and I’ll only be able to dream about what sunlight is for a while, but honestly,  we aren’t too concerned with the schedule shift.

I am incredibly happy where I am. The job is what I wanted. It’s got its challenges,  but that is what holds my interest. My supervisors are actual people, leaders, and people I can look up to and turn to for help instead of hide from because I don’t know what bomb they’re going to drop on me next, and without warning. So, I really and truly dont mind working such a shift…because I like working so much.

There. I think I made it without TOO much trouble from the phone. Now let’s see if I can successfully tag and post it all. Standby…..

Judge My Judging

Good evening. Shift is about over, and its slow, so I thought I’d throw up an update. Work’s been steady, and we’re about to have some major schedule changes, but more on that another day.

If you’re a regular, you’ll recall that my brother in law had been having an affair, the entire time carefully laying out the groundwork for the breakup with his wife. A bit of a control freak, he’s had all this all planned for months.

In my last post, I mentioned that he’d told everyone in his family about it- literally everyone except this guy’s wife knew he was screwing around on her. Shockingly, my wife’s parents were ‘okay’ with his giant ruse. His younger brother was not, nor was my wife.

My wife essentially told him “Tell your wife, or I do.” ….and she did after he made no move to do so himself.

Then came the phone calls. Her father basically told her that she had no right to do so, and she she owed her brother (the cheater) an apology.
Her brother (the cheater) called her and told her that he was going to tell his poor wife that she had made a mistake, gotten some bad information, or lied….whatever. Either way, he was denying it all.

In the end, she got a text back from the soon-to-be ex-sister-in law thanking her for telling her, that she’d figured out the truth.

The lid has been blown off the matter, and now the chips need to fall where they will.

I’ve had a few conversations with my youngest brother-in-law and we’re on the same page, but we both agreed not to talk about it anymore since it not only doesn’t concern us, but we’re far enough away from it all that anything we do say is basically conjecture, and not helpful to anyone.

That being said…..I made a judgement call.

Essentially, I want nothing to do with my wife’s oldest brother. (the cheater)

Now, I FULLY understand that marriages fail. People change, grow apart…whatever. Relationships aren’t always blessed with prosperity and happiness. I get that, and that’s not the issue.

The PROBLEM I have here, is the execution of his scheme. He’s been fooling around for four months, controlling every little detail of this, to the point where he was going to flat-out LIE to his wife about my wife’s telling her the truth.
This is not how one should act. To me, this entire thing smacks of cowardice. If things are bad at home, be an adult and address them properly. Don’t go sneaking around on your wife- who by the way, was willing to go to marriage counseling and fix whatever might have been broken. He lurked in the shadows for months, completely willing to manipulate his wife just because he was ‘happy with the new girl,’ never intending to tell her the truth.

Everyone deserves to be happy, for certain. I just don’t think that anyone has the right to take that happiness at the emotional expense of someone else- especially not your spouse.

This is where you come in. Am I judging the matter too harshly? I refuse to talk to any of the family about it because it isn’t my business, but at the same time I’m completely willing to write this guy off as a coward and a liar, demolishing any credibility and respect he’s had from me.

Do I mellow out, accept that his wife (whom my wife and I adore and will CONTINUE to be a part of our lives if we have anything to say about it.) has been wronged, will go away, and everyone will move on? Or, do I have a bit of justification in my ire towards him?

At this point in time, I have nothing to say to him, nor do I care to find any reason to have a discussion with him about anything at all. When he was visiting for Christmas with the rest of my wife’s family, I was distant and cold towards him, and I have no problem continuing that.

From where I sit, on the outside looking in- the man screwed up and played emotional games with someone who cares for him, the whole time looking for love and happiness elsewhere. As much as I understand that things can fall apart, I can’t condone this. I can’t respect him, and I sure as hell don’t want any part of him and his new girlfriend.

Am I being too harsh? Or should I be glad that he’s ‘finally happy?’ (his words)

 

 

The Boy and The Gun

A Smith and Wesson pistol lay on the bed. A six year old boy, MY six-year old boy stands over it. He makes no move to pick it up or touch it. He’s done this before. His eyes pour over what he sees.

“Tell me what you know about that gun.” I say. He looks up at me, then back at the pistol. He’s slow to answer, but confident when he does.

“There is no magazine in it, and the thingy is closed.”
“Thingy?”
“The…..slide! The slide is closed.”
“Good! Is it safe?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“Because there could still be a bullet in it I can’t see.”

I pick up the pistol and work the slide, ejecting a .40 dummy round from the chamber. He grins, knowing he was correct. It goes back on the bed, slide locked open.

“Now is it safe?”
“Yes.”
“How do you know?”
“There’s no magazine in it, and you can see there’s no bullet in it.”
“Good, but is it safe for you to TOUCH?”
“No!”
“What should you do if you come across a gun?”
“Find an adult.”

We go through this routine several times a week as I get ready for work. Sometimes there’s a magazine loaded with dummies in it. Sometimes it’s completely empty. Each time, the questions are drilled. What do you see? What do you know? What DON’T you know? What should you do?

I don’t really care what anyone’s opinion is on firearms ownership, nor really, should you care about mine. The fact of the matter though, is that firearms exist, no matter how hard some might wish they didn’t. Not only that, but they are a major part of my world. I rely on them to be able to do my job. There is no reason to expect that my children won’t come into some contact or another with them during the course of their growing up with a father in law enforcement. Even if my boys grow up with NO interest in shooting sports, they absolutely do need to know the basics of firearms safety. Why? Because we live in a rural area. Visiting friends houses could also create an exposure to firearms that I have no control over. Should that happen, the boys need know what to do, and what not to do.

Right now our lessons are on observation and reporting. Know what you see, and who to tell. As the oldest grows, he’ll be taught how to pick up and check a firearm, and make it safe if necessary, in an effort to protect those around him who might not have had the opportunity to learn gun safety, or whose parents have decided that their approach to gun safety is to ignore they exist.

As I said, I don’t really care if you’re of a mind that these things all need to be taken away and beaten into whatever the modern equivalent of a plowshare is. Responsible parenting is preparing our kids to take care of themselves when you’re not there to do it. Responsible parenting isn’t skipping out on vital safety information just because you ‘don’t believe in guns.’

I am growing more and more confident that my oldest son is going to be able to make a responsible decision should he come across a firearm and I’m not there with him. The boy could opt to never touch a gun in his life beyond the training I give him- and that’s fine. We’re free to make decisions of our own. But that doesn’t mean that we should be willfully, and actively ignorant about a subject, just because we don’t ‘like’ it.

A large number of accidental gun deaths in this country/world can be attributed to non-exposure and lack of education on the matter. Some of the simplest, most common-sense facets of gun safety are missed, leading to an accident. If I do my job right, if I am a responsible parent, then I’m going to make sure that my two young boys are not going to be represented in some tragic statistic that depicts accidental firearms deaths.

Like I’ve said, with a career in law enforcement, and a long personal history of hunting and shooting sports under my belt, there are firearms in my home. I do carry a gun on me on a regular basis. Given my job, my training, and my experience, this is part of my life, and since I can’t possibly HIDE it from the boys, I might as well teach them correctly.

Right now I have a six year old that is several steps closer to possibly saving his- or someone else’s life should he encounter something and I’m not there to stand over his shoulder, and I’m very comfortable with this, and pleased at how quickly he seems to be getting it.