The Instructor Course

I passed. I have a lot to say about the NRA Instructor course, but I am going to need a little more sleep and some time to process everything.

Like always the people in the class made it a joy. I was In the class with 7  guys, one who was deaf, and they were all awesome.

The people at Innovative Defensive Solutions are doing great things and if your in the area you should consider taking a course from them.

I am extremely glad this weekend is over. I am mentally and physically exhausted.

Now off to go catch up on everything you all did while I was in class.

Super Fast

I spent all day in class for day 1 of my NRA Basic Pistol Instructor course, so I am exhausted, but I wanted to let you know it is going well and to tell you on Friday I met with Arete for a couple of hours of training. 

I will give you the entire scoop on both, but I here is a hint of how it went Friday…

My left hand, but it could be my right cuz they both are bruised

This is the back of my leg right behind my knee cap.  All my veins are popping out and it was kind of swollen and squishy.

I have bruises all over and to be honest I can’t figure out why.  I certainly felt the hits, kicks, blocks, but at no point was I in pain nor was there a point that I said, “that’ll leave a mark.”  These pics are right after I got home, but by this morning they were a pretty shade of black and blue. 

Hope everyone’s Saturday was fabulous!!!!

Plan Of Action: My Kids & School

In light of recent events in my children’s school district, I have decided to take a more active role in figuring out exactly what our administrations policies and plans are for such events as an active shooter or bomb in a school.  I have inquired before on the most basic level.  I wasn’t sure I liked the answers I was given, but I didn’t have a solution and I had nothing to offer, so instead of dealing with the school directly, I have worked with my children on what I want them to do in an emergency.

I feel like I am in perpetual catch up mode.  There is so much I don’t know, so much I have to learn and trying to prioritize all of it to be sure that we are covering what is important and what is most likely to happen is a constant challenge.  While I have spent a good deal of time talking with my kids about safety in school, it has not be the main area of focus, but because crime in our town is rising rapidly and there is enough suspicious activity in the schools to cause me concern, dealing with it has moved up to the top of the list.

I am extremely reactionary.  If there is a situation good or bad, I react.  One of my favorite things about my husband and John is they calm me.  If I am excited, I am excited and I don’t always stop to see if this things is really good or not.  An example would be when I was offered a chance to be interviewed for a company and I said yes without checking them out.  My husband did check them out and he called me to say,  “Babe, I don’t think you want to do this interview.”  They were sort of a guns with porn kind of business.  Nothing against guns and porn, but not how I want to represent myself.

If something bad happens, I want to skip all the logical steps and go right to fixing it.  IE, showing up in a pawn shop parking lot alone and buying a gun I knew nothing about from a man I knew nothing about.  We all know that worked out, but in hindsight, not a good choice.

Both my husband and John and to some extent Arete, help me to slow down and think, for myself.  Rarely do any of them tell me what to do(they are men, so occasionally that protective nature comes out and I am strongly encouraged one way or the other), but instead they help me focus. By helping me be more aware of my choices and helping me make a conscious decision instead of simply reacting to a circumstance.  That has been one of the most valuable lessons and fortunately, I am a quick learner.  Now almost(recently I dropped the ball on this again, but again it turned out and again I learned a lesson) 100% of the time I check things out first and I have learned to slow down and think things through without needing to run to my husband or John.  I still rely on them, of course, but it is becoming more of an exchange of thoughts and ideas instead of a “talk me off the ledge” kind of thing.

Yesterday I reverted back to reacting.  After the 5th or 6th bomb threat this year at an area school, my first reaction was I need to get my kids OUT of public school.  I called my husband and said, we need to talk about what to do with our kids. He agreed we should have the discussion again.  Revisiting issues as new information becomes available I do think is good, but I was not really meaning lets discuss it, what I really meant was lets get them out.

As with every single parent a lot goes into the choices my husband and I make about our children.  I have always wanted what is best for my kids and I have always actively thought about their lives and their safety, but clearly, I have made some serious mistakes in my choices.  Guilt will occasionally still sneak in and try to influence me.  I don’t believe guilt should ever, ever be a motivating factor in any of my decisions. It offers nothing constructive. I was also feeling fear yesterday.  Not panic and it was not overwhelming, but I was anxious. I do think fear is helpful and can most certainly be a warning that there is danger, but for me, I don’t want it to be a part how I make my choices.

I posted on my AGirl FB page about the latest bomb threat and had lots of good discussion.  One man pointed out that generally bomb threats are not carried out.  People who are intent on doing harm don’t warn you(they do almost always tell someone, but its not a warning)  Anyway, that realization snapped out of my unproductive thinking.  I recognized that I was reacting instead of consciously choosing.  I got on the internet and did some research and I spent sometime in meditation.  Closed my eyes, didn’t pray, but was just still.  Breathing, slowing down, thinking…consciously thinking. 

After a while I decided that I had once again skipped a lot of steps.  I went straight from things are manageable to crisis mode.  I decided it would  serve me and my children well if I took the time to find out if there was an even a problem with how the district is handling these bomb threats.  I know they didn’t handle the notification correctly, but that is not a reason to pull my kids out of school. It is easy to assume, if they can’t even handle the simple task, how can they handle the big ones, but again that is reacting and not factual. What I need is facts. I need to find out exactly what the plan is and how they are implementing those plans. I know we have had threats, so it will be fairly easy to find out how they handled them during and after. At the very least, how they respond to my inquiries will tell me a lot.

As I said before I am more than pleased with the teachers and administrators in this district.  My children have benefited greatly from the education they have received and my husband and I both feel like we are a team with them.  We are very, very involved parents, so I feel like I have a good grasp on who these people are.  I am well aware that the higher up I go the less cooperation can be expected(won’t know til I try) and I do know that the more serious the issues, the less likely they are to move.  I am not expecting acceptable answers, but I am not going in guns ablazin’ either, no pun intended.

For the next several days I will be doing more research and trying to educating myself.  My husband and I will have the meeting with the school officials, hear what they have to say and go from there. 

***One resource that I have returned to again and again as I have discussed options with our kids is an article by Greg Ellifritz.  I am not advising anyone to do anything. Obviously, I do not possess the knowledge or skills to offer advice, but it is a resource I have used and one that may or may not be helpful to others who might be on this journey with me.*** Edited…I forgot to mention that I first heard of Mr. Ellifritz when JD from Guns, Guns, and More Gosh Darn Guns posted one of his articles.  It was there that I found the article on dealing with a rampage shooting.

Worth Your Time

I find this discussion fascinating.  I was reading Weer’d’s blog and clicked the link to A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver’s blog.  The discussion started here.

I have written half a dozen responses to the posts, but never posted them.  I can’t seem to articulate what I am thinking and I probably couldn’t add any substance to the discussion anyway.

Clearly the values and ideals being discussed have application to more than just to people who want to or threaten to end their life.

There Has Got To Be A Better Way

My 3 youngest children ride the bus to and from school.  They are special needs, so the bus only has 5 students on it and it comes straight to our house.  The bus normally arrives at our house at 3:30pm. If there is a problem like traffic the bus aide gives me a call to let me know that they are running late.  Yesterday at 3:40 I get an email that says

 As a result of an evacuation today at XXX Elementary School, some of the buses used for XXX Elementary Schools will have substantial delay due to the buses be held up at dismissal at XXX School.  If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school.
I am completely unaware that any school in our district was evacuated yesterday, so right away I am concerned. I try to call the school as my husband tries to check the local newspapers website and search the internet for any information.  We have had several of these evacuations over the past few months.  Some are planned drills to which we are informed ahead of time.  Others have been in response to a threat. In the previous events I have received an alert text message saying such and such is happening, stay away from the area, etc, etc. In addition the local newspaper will usually report it on their FB page, but yesterday neither of those things happened.
When I got the email I was concerned, but not overly so.  It could have been a planned drill and I just didn’t get the paper, but the more I thought about it the more that didn’t make sense.  Those drills happen during the school day and should in no way effect the bus schedule.  As time kept ticking and I was not able to find info or get through to the school, I started to get more agitated.  My anxiety was short lived, thankfully.  I was getting ready to have my husband go hunt down our children’s bus, when it pulled up to our house.  Kids are safe. All is well.  
About 20 minutes after my children were home I received a recorded message from the county essentially saying the same thing as the email except this time they said the incident took place at the middle school.  It turns out it was a bomb threat at the middle school not the elementary school.

I want to say that in general I have a very high opinion of my children’s school, their teachers and administrators.  Without exception I believe that they are good people who have shown me time and time again that they do care about my kids and their education.  They are not crazed “zero tolerance’ advocates.  They appear to have common sense when dealing with a variety of issues that come up and they don’t seem to be afraid to use that common sense instead of just blindly following some arbitrary policy put in place by the higher ups.  I trust them with my children.

I also want to say that I am under no delusion that the school could 100% guarantee my children’s safety no matter what plan they have in place.  I get that life is a risk and even if one does everything right, someone could get hurt or die, that is not my problem, my problem is that there seem to be no plan. 

I called and spoke with the principal at our children’s school and pretty much they were caught off guard.  They had a plan to deal with an actual threat, but they didn’t have one if that threat lasted longer than a school day.  Once they(not sure who “they” is) realized there was an issue with the buses, they started to formulate their plan and it was not a good one. 

In a real crisis which they believed they were in, there is chaos and I would not expect the folks at the effected school to worrying about emailing parents or the bus schedule, but there had to be someone else in our district that could have said, Huh, maybe we should get some information out.  Maybe we should do it in a way that does not incite fear and panic.  Apparently there is no such person in our district.

The threat was over before school ended, so it is feasible that someone could have let the families know that 1. The situation had been resolved and no one was hurt. 2. That the buses would be late before they were actually late and 3. Define “substantial delay.”

How about we think proactively.  How about we learn from all the other incidents around the country. How about something like this…

Earlier today at XXX school there was a bomb threat and the school was evacuated.  The situation has been resolved, everyone is safe.  However, due to the evacuation some of the buses are delayed.  Your child/children may arrive home 15-30 minutes later than usual.  If you have any questions please contact  XYZ. 

Now that wasn’t so hard was it?

Will Be Otherwise Engaged

I now know why I had scattered thoughts yesterday morning.  It was my brain’s way of getting me ready for the mind numbing, sick to my stomach headache it had planned for me later in the day.  Fortunately, I rarely get sick, but when I do have something out of whack, it’s usually way out.  Anyhoo, nothing a good night’s rest and several hundred milligrams of Motrin couldn’t solve.  Much better this morning.

Remember how I said I didn’t shower, but then I told you I lied, well, lying is kind of becoming a thing for me.

I decided not to start the 7 Days Of Conceal Carry this week.  I have been working on something, so that I can offer real solutions for some of you, but it didn’t turn out how I had hoped.  I was just going to try to make it work, but then a friend offered to help, so it’s coming, but not this week.

My man has been out of town and will be home in a few hours.  I have been preoccupied with his arrival, so again no real post.  My plan for the day is to shove put my kids on the bus, head out for a quick run, shower(even gonna shave), take care of 2 must do PTA errands and then do some research(except you know, we are married).

To keep yourselves occupied during this brief(or not so brief, if I’m lucky) absence go here and here. Then go here and here.  After you read up on guns and the antis go here for some rest and relaxation.  I always leave there feeling uplifted, peaceful and usually hungry.

Scattered Thoughts

I have sat down to write several different posts today, but my thoughts are all jumbled.  I can’t seem to get out what I am thinking, so it’s better that I just hold off until I can think clearly.  Thinking is something I can normally do, editing a post, not so much.  If I mix my muddled thinking with my poor editing, it could get mighty ugly.

Real quick I have some exciting news I will announce soon.  If you think back to every time I have said that you can probably figure out what it is. 

I am extremely annoyed at people who don’t keep their word.  Character is rare and I am thankful to have so many people with it in my life…I am spoiled that way, which is probably why I am so bothered by the lack of it in people I let myself believe in. 

I wrote a post last week that included a link to one of my favorite blogs, but I took the post down because that post also included a link to an article I decided I did not want to support.  So, once again, if you are not reading My Muse shanked me, you are missing out.  His is the first blog I visit every single morning.  Broken Andy’s In Search Of Tempestuous Sea is the second.  After that I go to my dashboard and the hit the blogs on my blog roll.  The rest of the day I pop in and out of The Gun Blog Black List.  It’s a wonder I have time for anything else, but I am an excellent time manger and I have given up showering so that helps.

I am now off to work out, shower(I lied about that), do some dry fire practice, update the swim team computer with new software, input the 100 or so new members, prepare the financial report for the PTA meeting later today and hopefully knock out at least one more chapter in  Above Reproach.  I don’t know if I am helping or hurting him that it is taking me so long to read his book, but I swear it is a great book that keeps my interest, but my life is busy.  Even though I want to sit down and read, today I also have to work on my lesson plans for my NRA Instructor Course presentations, go to the store, cook dinner, do homework with the little ones, pick my FOURTEEN year old up from school, take her to cheerleading try-outs, meet John for an exchange of goods, cook dinner, read with the little ones and put them to bed.  This does not count any last minute phone calls or texts messages from a child or friend who forgot this and needs that.  My life is crazy awesome and I truly am a good time manager, but everyday is packed  not leaving me much time for reading books, even the really good ones.

Last thing, the Cornered Cat Training is at 12 students and we do have a couple of men!!  I think we can accept a few more people, but if you are interested you might want to think about signing up soon.  Remember I DO NOT get a single thing from you signing up for the class. My only benefit is the joy of helping to bring a top notch trainer to our area. She is good people and I hope you take advantage of her coming to Virginia. 

A Word From M, My 13 Year Old

I do not write about anyone without their permission. I have asked everyone before I talk about them here if they are comfortable with me doing so. The last few posts where I mention my family, specifically M and my hubby, were approved by both of them ahead of time.

M was reading the post “You Make It Sound So Easy” and she decided she wanted me to clarify something from her.

She said…

“Mom, I want people to know that I was angry because I was scared and confused and I didn’t understand what was happening, but I always loved you. I want them to know that even though sometimes I was grumpy, you were there for me. Every time I needed you, which was a lot, you were always there. Our family was hurting, but we were still close. Our family isn’t like those so called friends who turned their backs on us, who walked out when we needed them, we were never gonna walk out on each other. I just want them to know that. Can you tell them?”

I assured her that you all know that, but she wanted you to hear it from her.

**edited**  She is gonna kill me, she is actually 14. Recent birthday and I guess I am not ready to let her grow up:)

The Weekend…Again

I am happy to see Monday come because the last 3 days have been a whirlwind.  All good stuff, but man was it packed. 

I will start with Saturday.  The last ACCT class we had at FPF Training got cut short due to rain, so John rescheduled the last 3 hours of that class for this weekend.  We met at the range at 9am.  In addition to 4 of the students from the original class we also had Mr. & Mrs. Awesome join us.  Always a treat, at least for me.  I did try to steal Mrs. Awesome’s Lula, but the chic has a keen sense of observation and snagged it right back out of my bag. 

I don’t know exactly what I am doing, but I am sure I am rocking it.  You can’t tell, but there are actual targets up to the left.

Most of this portion of the class was up close and personal kind of bad guy, hands on you stuff. I don’t know why, but punching someone is still an issue for me.  The drill was to strike the face of the bad guy, while withdrawing, draw and shoot.  These were paper targets, but I still had a hard time in my mind striking. I am constantly amazed by the mind and how I can be standing there knowing full well that the “bad” guy is paper, can’t hurt me and that I know in real life I am going to beat the crap out of anyone trying to hurt me, and yet, some things still takes me right back to that day.  The main thing is that I can control it now or at least overcome it.  When it was my turn to do the drill, I used all my fear as energy and I was extremely forceful with my punch and I am not sure if it was loud to anyone else, but I think it was the loudest “GET BACK” I have ever screamed.  It was guttural. After that one drill I was fine.  I did lots more punching and grabbing of the bad guy without issue.

John had his mentor and friend out there with us and I really enjoyed finally meeting him.  He did some one on one drills with us after the formal part of the class was over.  He helped me fine tune my distance shooting and offered some advice on dealing with a bad guy encounter. He, like John, is very calming.  He talked about front sight and trigger manipulation.  John claims he has mentioned that before, but I don’t recall ever hearing it:)  There is something missing in my application of sight alignment for distance shooting.  I swear I do the same exact stuff at 25 yards as I do at 15, but I can’t seem to shoot where I want.  My shots are always low.  Mostly good groups, but low.

Sunday morning I headed up to the NRA range to take the shooting part of the NRA Basic Pistol Instructor Course.  Each person who wants to take the class has to qualify first by showing they understand gun handling, safety, the different types of trigger action, a revolver etc.  Funny story, when I was doing the revolver portion, the instructor kept saying put the revolver in your weak hand to load.  I had the first time and all 3 times after she told me. She was getting frustrated and then I finally understood the trouble.  She forgot I was left handed.  I had the gun in my right hand which she thought was my strong hand.  Us lefties will mess you up every time. 

Then I had to shoot a green dot at 8 feet, I think.  Then a bullseyes at 25 and 50 feet.  Done. Passed.  Next Saturday and Sunday are the classroom portion of the course.

If I pass the class, I will not be hanging out my shingle and opening up A Girl And Her Gun Shooting School.  I am getting the certification because if I am going to be working at a range, I think it is important for me to continue to hone skills, become more educated in the field and get proper qualifications.  I will be working with and under John and I will be attending several more trainings.  I hope to go to TDI soon.  I have lots and lots and lots left to learn and I know it.

After the test, I came home to my family who spent the day spoiling me. They bought me the Ranger Up Sheepdog shirt I have been wanting.  I don’t think I am the Sheepdog, but it’s cool and inspiring, so…

My daughter A’s class made traditional coupon books for Mother’s Day.  In addition to one free hug, I got this coupon…

Translated…”help clean gun”

E made me a book full of good stuff…

As a treat every few weeks I bring fast food to my kids at school and eat with them.  E got this in her kids meal.

E and me hanging. She loves to go on walks
Me shooting

She is a little off on some of these.  Chicken is not my favorite food, but we do eat a lot of it because it is healthy and versatile and Justin Bieber(JB) is not my favorite singer…he is hers.  The rest are spot on.  I do like green, I do love to run and shooting bad guy movies are my very fav!

The boys in my house are not so artistic, but they made me yummy food.  You will notice this is pretty much what they always make me because I love it so much and they love me.  The menu was grilled ribeyes(ribeye fat is actually my favorite food) asparagus, and shrimp with bok choy gratin, a martini and for dessert my daughter, M, made me chocolate covered strawberries.

 Shooting, friends, family, good food, and some tasty alcohol made for a delightful weekend! 

5.11 Tactical Pants

They ain’t for me. In many ways I love these pants.  They are very well made, nice thick material, but not heavy and, of course, the pockets.  Lots and lots of pockets, but the 5.11 pants I bought just don’t work on my body.

When I bought the first pair of pants I tried on several sizes.  The first size I tried on fit at the waist, but were too short, so I tried on bigger sizes to see if those sizes allowed for more length, they didn’t.  I thought no big deal.  I will look like a goob, but I needed something other than jeans and  I was willing to sacrifice a little aesthetics for function.

The pants seemed ok until I started wearing them in action. They ride up on me terribly and aside from the extreme discomfort of their 65% polyester/35% cotton seam riding up my backside and my crotch (my daughters favorite word beside groin), I am also not willing to give up that much aesthetics.

My husband was able to find me a pair of longs and again I was hopeful that this meant everything was a little more roomy, but they weren’t.  Especially once I put all my gear on, things get very uncomfy. It’s back to the drawing board and today at the range I will be wearing my world famous Johnny Cash black jeans with fake rhinestones on the pockets.  And I will be Looking good.