Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Control Yourself

Caution, video NSFW...you may spit coffee on your key board.

In this day and age I cannot imagine why a child would have a gun.  A story in recent news reports told of a five-year-old who shot his two-year-old sister and killed her...with the gun he'd been given as a gift.  Given.  Really?  In what world does a child that age need a weapon?  Spare me the hunting argument - a child that age isn't hunting anything but trouble.  I wouldn't give a child of five a BB gun, or even a Nerf gun.  They're not capable of the thought and caution needed to responsibly use such a thing.  

The mother claimed it was God's will and her daughter is with God and in a better place, now.  Rationalize all you want, woman, but you or someone in your family gave a weapon to a child to whom the entire world is a plaything, a child of an age to still be a natural sociopath without empathy or understanding of the terrible power of the weapon you placed in his hands, and are shrugging off the responsibility of your actions as the will of your deity rather than owning that your actions caused the death of an even younger child.  You, madam, are the reason gun control supporters are frothing at the mouth, and I can't blame them.

I'm not a proponent of gun control in the "Take the Guns Away From Everyone" sense.  I believe that the second amendment clearly states that citizens have a right to have firearms, and indeed, may have an obligation to do so under certain circumstances to allow for the protection of the State (the State being our nation).

I do believe that the government is more cautious of an armed citizenry than an unarmed one, and that caution is sometimes all that stands between us and an oppressive governance.

That said - I am a proponent of gun control in the "Know Where Your Firearm Is At All Times and Under No Circumstances Permit It to Be a Toy or Held In A Child's Hands" variety.  In my mind, "gun control" means actually having control of your weapon at all times.  That's why I thought well of the PSA shared above - it makes a salient point and makes it well.

I don't want to take away anyone's firearms.  I simply want the people...ALL the people...who own them to be responsible with them.

Here at the Casa, the rules of guns are simple:
1.  The gun is always loaded, even if it's empty.
2.  Never point a gun unless you mean to shoot it.
3.  Never shoot a gun unless you mean to kill.
4.  Never take another life unless it is in defense of life or to provide sustenance.
5.  Always honor the life that you take.

At the very least, could we be certain that anyone handling a gun is capable of equally complex and responsible actions, like putting on a pair of matching socks?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mary, Mary. Quite Contrary Would Definitely Not Approve

Pardon me while I drip on the Pergo.

I've been outside in the jungle yard pulling a few (million) weeds and planting seeds that I can only hope will make it on their own merits because I?  Am no gardener.

Oh, sure, I can wield a shovel, if pressed.  I am a dab hand at turning on the sprinkler, even managing to do so without getting a soaking.  I enjoy planting and I enjoy harvesting.

I do not enjoy weeding, digging, turning, amending, pruning, trellising, training, and especially sweating.

It seems that to have a garden, one must do all of the above and more.  I've been spoiled in recent years - Someone did all the real work, letting me plant and run the sprinkler and cook the resulting harvest while avoiding weeding and other garden related unpleasantries.

Since he is currently unavailable, it falls to me to help it grow, so today I went out and had a go at it.  I had to weed and turn some soil in one bed, and turn soil, weed, and make hills in another before planting a few more things.  I seeded zucchini, yellow squash, catnip, cucumbers, found a little pea plant and made a happy noise while gently encouraging it to climb a pole, and planted some green beans.

Tomorrow I will fill some pots and plant lettuces, tomatoes, and bell peppers.  I know I'm late with some of these, but better late than never, right?  Right.

In a few weeks I'll plant another round of tomatoes and peppers, and maybe green beans.  Here's hoping we get more than a mouthful!

Also?  If I plant enough garden, I won't have as much lawn to mow!  Win-win!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Truth Told

The Evil Genius has a few chores he's supposed to do in the morning.  He is supposed to take out his bathroom trash, clean two of the cat boxes, do his school work, and practice his cursive writing.  Some mornings he also feeds the outdoor cats or takes out the compost or does some other chore, as well.  If he is diligent and does these things when he gets up, then he's done well before noon and is allowed to play or watch TV or use the computer while I do housework or tend to whatever I'm busy at.

On Tuesdays and occasionally other days of the week I get up early and take Sprout with me to run errands.  Tuesdays are our day to visit Someone in jail, but the Evil Genius doesn't like it there and I won't make him go, so he gets an extra measure of trust and responsibility and stays home on his own.  Don't worry, there's a list of rules he must follow and he has no fewer than three phones he can call from if there's any trouble, plus the (admittedly not much loved by us) cop two doors down.

Most mornings I remind him to do his chores if he's been up a bit and looks like he's going to get tangled up in play.  Some days he gets away with "forgetting" until the afternoon.

Today, he told me he did his chores.  I wasn't sure he had, and I asked if he'd done them all.  He assured me he had, including pages and writing.

I let him go about his day.

Then I busted him.

The cat boxes?  Not scooped.  His trash can?  Full.  Outdoor cats?  Not fed.  Work pages?  Burried under a pile of other things, no way he opened one of those books and did anything in them.  Cursive practice?  Again, no way, buried under some items that had not been moved from the night before.

So he lied to me.  Outright lied.  And given a chance to recant and come clean, he upheld the outright lie.  Now, it's not as if this was a lie I wouldn't discover.  All I had to do was look at the cat box, the trash can, the workbooks, and I would see.  He had to know I would see.  And I've called him on things like this before.  I've asked if he's done his chores and he's owned he hasn't and even said "Let me do that now!"  He knows I am neither blind nor stupid.

I am frustrated, as millions of parents before me have been and as millions of parents after me will be.  Children will lie.  They will lie even in the face of the evidence.  Once they've lied, they will strive to uphold the lie despite all the proof before them that they have been caught out and their parents know they've lied.  It's part of being a kid and part of growing up to learn when to lie and when to own one's actions.

What I find frustrating is the pettiness of it.  I can understand lying about something huge, something that seems so terrible that one doesn't want to face it.  But trash?  Cat box?  Insulting.  If  am being honest, which more and more I strive to compassionately do, I have to say that some of my ire comes from my past relationship with his father.

My ex-husband is a decent fellow.  He came over and helped me with a little automotive battery juggling because I couldn't do it and asked for help.  He has been compassionate and supportive of us during this whole jail experience with Someone.  Once or twice or damn near every month when I run out of money before I run out of month, he has been nice enough to offer up some or all of the child support early, even when it may strain his finances a little.  I didn't divorce him because he was abusive or cheating or one of the incarnations of evil.  I divorced him because we had no business being married , neither one of us was really happy, and one of us was going to die, either because of homicide or because we ate ourselves to death, and it probably wasn't going to be me.  All that said, one of the reasons our marriage was doomed was his constant, petty lying.

You see, he wanted to be liked, to have approval, not to disappoint or deal with unhappiness, so when he regularly didn't do the chores he said he would do, he would lie and say he had done them even when it was obvious he hadn't.  Trash?  He'd say he took it out even when the can was overflowing onto the kitchen floor, then try to convince me all that rubbish had occurred after he took it out.  Even when it was the same trash in the same place.  Cat box?  He'd say he cleaned it, but it would be full and undisturbed since the last time I looked at it.  He'd lie about brushing his teeth, lie about mowing the lawn.  Mowing the lawn!  Because the grass grew that high since this morning when it was allegedly mowed!

I could not trust him to do what he said he'd do, and I could not trust him when he said he'd done something, and I was overwhelmed by all the things I had to do to try and keep up.  I failed.  Our home was a mess because I  couldn't handle everything, so I did nothing.

I don't take well to being lied to.  It is a betrayal that I cannot simply get over, get past.  I am sorry to say that it sticks with me and colors everything that follows, and when I am lied to enough, that trust simply cannot be rebuilt.  Ever.  I don't want to distrust my child.  I don't want to wonder how much of what he says to me is bullshit, and I damn sure don't want to spend our time together trying to winkle out the little nuggets of truth in it all.

I talked to the Evil Genius about it.  I have told him before and I will tell him again and again that I know he will lie to me.  It isn't a question of "if" but rather of "when".  I just want him to be sure it's worth what will happen when I find out the truth, when I don't trust him and am disappointed in him.  I don't want him so embroiled, so lost in his own web of lies that he can't find the truth with both hands and a flashlight.  I certainly don't want him wondering why he's alone and why no one seems to want him for more than a little while.

Compulsive liars lie to feel important, useful, wanted.  The sad thing is, many of them don't have to lie to be wonderful people, they just don't think who they really are is enough.  It is.