Monday, July 23, 2012

No Greater Love...

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on The GunDivas.

Since Friday when in first heard about the tragedy in Aurora, CO, I have probably started this post four or five times in my head, on the iPad and the laptop. It’s a serious topic, involving real people, suffering real pain inflicted by a mad man for reasons as yet fully unknown. Obviously, I want to avoid being my normal, snarky, smart alecky self.

At first, I started out thinking that I wanted to talk about the need to examine your core beliefs and establish a personal “rules of engagement” if you will for situations like this. That idea arose from a discussion I had with a friend from church Friday afternoon. He asked the question of what I would have done. Heck, I don’t know. I wasn’t there, and I’ve never been in a situation like that before. I would like to think that I would have the faith and strength of character to put myself between the shooter and those around me and use every tool at my disposal to protect them and get them to safety. Some who were there did just that while others did not. I don’t write that as praise or condemnation. It is merely a statement of fact based on reports I’ve heard so far.

I would like to think that I am ready and willing to die trying in the process. No less a person than Jesus Christ Himself said “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) That’s not exactly Plan A, of course. My preference would be to make the other person die trying, but that’s a discussion for another time.

I thought about getting into a discussion of gun rights versus gun control; but, honestly, that horse has been run over by the cart after dropping dead from a thorough flogging. I am a member of the gun community. I believe in the right to own and bear arms. Not much is going to change that view. Others believe differently and have little interest in what I have to say on the subject. Though, for the record, I think that gun control advocates are kinda like Ray from Ghostbusters trying to choose the form of Gozer the Destructor. Ask Rahm Emanuel and Michael Bloomberg how well they have succeeded at controlling the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

And here I was trying to avoid snark…I apologize.

So, what DO I really want to say about Friday’s events?

Go love someone.

Anyone. Right now. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Carry a gun. Don’t carry a gun. I don’t care, but go find someone you care about or really like a lot and love on them.

Why am I saying this?

Allow me to give a little back story first. Ever since my wife, The Queen, and I got married, I have gotten up, gotten dressed and left the house for work before she even wakes up (most of the time…there are exceptions). I have always made it a point to give her a kiss as she lies there sleeping and tell her I love her before walking out the door. Anger, sad, or happy, argument or no, I did this because I wanted to make sure that, if anything happened to me, the last thing between us was an act of love.

Until recently. I have gotten out of the habit. There are lots of excuses, but the bottom line is that I have gotten away from doing what is in my heart.

And then I came within about 2 seconds of dying on the way home from work today. A fool in a large, black pickup ran a red light right in front of me. I can’t say for sure how fast he was going, but I would guess at least 40 and probably 50 or more. I believe he was accelerating. He would have hit my comparatively small Nissan Maxima square in the driver’s side had I made the intersection just a second or two earlier. Honestly, I can’t say for certain that I would have died, but I have investigated enough car accidents to know that serious injury and a trip to the hospital was the bare minimum that I would have gotten away with had he hit me at that speed.

It has shaken me to my core that I might not have made it home to my wife and foster kids this evening. Fortunately, I did get to hug and kiss The Queen and baby M&M this morning before I left. The Queen woke up early, and we shared a little three way hug before I had to go.

12 people in that theater Friday morning didn’t get to go home to their families, and at least 50 or 60 others came close to sharing their fate. Those 12 will never be able to love or be loved again (except in memory). They are beyond the cares of this world now. If it were possible to resurrect them right now, my bet is that their one wish and desire would be for more time with their loved ones.

When the dust settles, no one cares about how good or bad we are with a pistol or a rifle. No one cares how many or how few training classes we’ve taken. What they care about and remember most are the times we were there for them, when we hugged them when they needed it most, when we listened to them, shared their joy, their pain and their lives.

Go. Love. Someone. Now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I'm hoping there are still folks out there in the ether seeing this. I've gotten used to the comments, and it'd be a shame to start over whistling in the wind to no one. The excuse/explanation is the, wife, life. 

Before proceeding with the post, I'd like to welcome the two newest members of the congregation. Maddog of Maddog's Farms and David from Musings Over a Pint decided to check their sanity at the door and swell my ego by hitting the follower button. Welcome both of you. I'd say help yourself to anything in the fridge, but pickin's are slim. I need to go shopping for groceries. 

First in the random, stream of unconsciousness mental musings, I have a question for my Colorado acquaintances: Just what the heck is up with Rich Wyatt at Gunsmoke in Denver? I've been watching American Guns for a while...'cause it's about guns. Duh. But, asking $3000 for a Springfield Armory 1911? Letting your teenage daughter out in public looking like a hooker? Seriously??? Someone needs to explain what he is thinking. More importantly, what are people who pay these prices thinking?

Next up, I present the following...

Here, let me help you get a closer look...

I'm not sure this falls into the crimes against humanity category, but it was definitely distinctive. Also, I didn't get a look at the owner, but I'd be willing to bet that her body had some work done to it as well. Oh, and it had metal flake in the paint. So, it SPARKLED in the sun. Like Edward Cullen. Or so I'm told. 

I saw a guy riding one of those Can Am Spyder's the other day in rush hour traffic with no protective gear whatsoever. Not really abnormal around here. What drew my attention in the first place was the pair of crutches strapped to the back. Okay. I can see that. Then, upon closer inspection, I noted the reason for the above the knee leg amputation. Oh. Dear. Lord. You're missing half your leg, and you are going to ride around DFW in traffic with no helmet. Dude, there are easier ways to commit suicide. 

I had to take a day trip to Houston the other day. The client offered to pick me and my senior claims rep up in their corporate jet. I have a photo taken by the iLeash that really does not do it justice. There is a great photo on the net that I don't want to use as it belongs to someone else. Do a search on Cessna Citation CJ2+ on Google. That was my ride for the day. It beats flying commercial with an ugly stick any day. No TSA. No perv-o-scan. No taking shoes off. No cockpit door between me and the view out the front. Hated every minute of it. If you believe that, I have some lovely beach front property for sale that you might be interested in. 

So, the other night, The Queen and I were lounging around after a long, hard battle getting The Banshee to bed. A couple of hippies decided to invade the castle and start talking about how great New York is and other liberal twaddle. The Queen and I looked at them like they were the unwashed heathen that they were. There was an uncomfortable silence in the room. Then, The Banshee cried out in her sleep. The Queen and I snapped, and it was on like Donkey Kong. They needed killin' is a valid defense here. Of course, we had to eat the evidence anyway. 

They won't be coming around here anymore.

Mini Me has an adult tooth coming in surprisingly enough. Two weeks after surgery. Ain't that something?

The Banshee continues to be a living, breathing testament for birth control. She has her precious moments like last night when we were leaving the restaurant after dinner. She was dead tired. I stroked her cheek. She closed her eyes and looked positively angelic. I stopped stroking. Her eyes popped open. Lather, rinse, repeat a few times. Then, she leaned her head into my hand. It was priceless. In case you are wondering, no, it does not make up for the the screaming and shrieking. 

M&M remains as adorable as ever; however, the roller coaster ride continues. Birth momma's momma has now come out of the woodwork claiming she wants M&M and has wanted her since she was born. Uh huh. I'm buying that. It's REAL convenient that she just happens to surface a couple of weeks after the birth parents find out that their first choice is out of the picture. Where the heck has she been hiding the last eight months? God will have to handle this part too. If He leaves it up to me, things might get messy. I don't want that. It's kinda hard to explain to your daughter why her bio parents vanished from the face of the earth for no apparent reason and keep a straight face. Or so I've been told. 

Other than all that, life continues to treat me better than I deserve. I continue to wake up in the morning. People pay me good money to do what I do. I have a roof over my head and food on the table. I have a wife who loves me despite the fact that I'm a goob. I got blessings a plenty and not much really worth complaining about. 

Here's hoping your life is the same.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Adventures in Modern Medicine

No. This is not a post about Obamacare. I just downloaded all 193 pages of Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion today, and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I may choose to ignore that topic entirely or just line the cat box with it. I haven’t decided yet.

So, what is this post about? Well, for starters, I’ve seen the inside of a hospital twice in the past 48 hours. Why, you ask? That’s kinda why I’m writing isn’t it?

First up, we spent a glorious eight hours at the hospital on Monday for Mini Me’s scheduled oral surgery. We were originally supposed to be at the hospital at 8:30 AM. After The Queen’s last minute headaches getting Mini Me’s Medicaid coverage sorted out at the end of the week last week, we were told to have him there at 10:30 AM with no solid foods after 12:00 midnight the night before and no liquids after 8:30 AM the morning of. We arrived at the hospital on time…only to be told we weren’t supposed to be there until 12:30 PM.

???? Blink, Blink. What the…?

Who in their right mind schedules a general anesthesia surgery requiring fasting for a four year old at 12:30 in the afternoon?

Anywho. Mini Me’s real parents were there to help which was great. Mini Me spent most of the time before he was called back for pre-op playing Duck, Duck, Goose and other games with Mom and Step Dad. He never once complained about being hungry or thirsty. He never got scared about the surgery itself. He did start crying when he was called for pre-op, but that was only because he had to stop playing with mom.

Allow me a short aside here: Liquid Versed is THE bomb. Seriously. There is nothing better for calming a child that is stressed out. Inside of 30 minutes, Mini Me was more glazed over than a jelly donut.

Anydrugs…the final damage was pretty steep for a little guy to go through. All 20 baby teeth had to have work done on them. Nine were extracted (seven on top, three on bottom). One of the remaining top teeth had a crown placed. The remaining ten teeth all had fillings. The good news was that there was no active infection at the time of the surgery. So, no anti-biotics to take. His permanent teeth should start coming in within the next year; however, it will be about six years before he has all his teeth again.

The moral of the story is: Parents should not give carbonated sodas and lots of sugary snacks to kids on a daily basis. Think about it. Coke is recommended by mechanics for removing corrosion from car battery terminals and is also known to destroy the concrete in the warehouses where it is stored. What do you think it is doing to your teeth?

On another note, the drugs had an interesting side effect. Mini Me has started calling The Queen “mommy”. He also called me “daddy” for the first time yesterday (Tuesday). I almost did a double take when he said it as I wasn’t completely sure I heard him right. The Queen and I both agreed that hearing that for the first time was a little weird. Those words seem to come with a lot more baggage when you hear them from a child. Heavily laden with responsibility and expectation as it were.

But wait, there’s more. Little M&M was not content to let Mini Me have all the fun and attention. She woke up yesterday with a fever and cough. The Queen initially declined my suggestion that we take her to the doctor. Sometime between then and 5:30 when I was stuck in traffic, she changed her mind and decided that M&M had to go to the doctor RIGHT NOW!!! Well, the ER is the only option for an infant less than one year old at 6:00 PM on a national holiday eve.

Off we go to the ER. Little girl had a fever of 102.6. That’s a bit much for a boo boo. She was sitting up all proud and happy in the ER though. Rosy cheeks and all. She didn’t seem to mind. She was the center of attention. I kept Mini Me and The Banshee busy while The Queen handled medical consenter duties. We finally made it home about an hour or two ago. The doctor said she thought it was a viral infection…meaning they don’t know what it is. We were instructed to manage the fever with infant Tylenol. Keep an eye on her. Yeah, like she ever leaves our sight except when we are asleep.

In other news, the status conference in M&M’s bio parents’ rights case was held last week. What we were told to expect did not happen. We were expecting a trial date to be set. No such luck. After the hearing we were told by the CPS caseworker’s supervisor that “they don’t yet have grounds” to terminate rights. By my count, they have at least nine separate grounds. So, something else is going on, and I have no idea what it is.

There will be a family conference with the bio parents sometime soon to try and identify other family members who may be viable alternatives to take M&M. Unless we are woefully misinformed by a certain other family member who is no longer in the picture, that conference will be a complete failure and total waste of time and taxpayer money. If that goes according to plan, the hearing that the court scheduled for mid October will be cancelled and rescheduled or repurposed. If that does NOT go according to plan, we will have to take more drastic measures.

In the meantime, we continue to sit back, hurry up and wait.

The good news is that M&M gets to wait with us and not anyone else.

I do want to take a moment here and comment on the difference in attitudes between M&M’s parents and the parents of Mini Me and The Banshee. Mini Me and The Banshee’s mom and dad are pleasant people who are grateful for the care we are giving their kids. They genuinely love their kids. They have not missed a visit in two months. They’ve done everything ordered by the court that has been available to do thus far. Momma recognizes that it was HER choices that led them to where they are now, and it will take HER making changes to HERSELF to get her kids back.

By contrast, M&M’s parents had that look in their eyes at the hearing that they wanted us to drop dead. Every time we have had any contact with them or have reports about their situation, they are always making excuses for this or that. They blame the system for their situation. They are not even trying to do the bare minimum the court has ordered them to do. They’ve been kicked out of their state funded classes for non-attendance. They have no home. They do not have consistent employment or reliable transportation. They have not gone to counseling. In short, they have done nada, zip, zero.

And the state is considering giving M&M back to them.

I want my girl. I want out of the system.  If M&M is the only child The Queen and I ever have, so be it. She is worth it.