Fun And Games Off Duty · Protect and Serve · School Fun And Games

Verbal Judo and Parenting

So, TINS©, There I was, standing in line and idly looking about at the cattle call that was parent-teacher conferences. As I moved from one slowly moving line to the next, I found myself in line in front of one of the officers from our small town police department. I recognized him from his visits to the ED wherein I toiled , FDASL© (Betcha you were wondering if I’d slip that one in there, amirite?), and he recognized me from nursing in our small town’s ED.

We were talking about parenting, and I observed that my children had, from time to time, suggested that due to the “fact” that “Billy”’s parents allowed him to (do whatever, something The Wife and I did not want our children doing), therefore we should facilitate our own child doing the same (stupid) thing.

I observed that we did not fall for that gambit, and our response was “Hmm, that is too bad. Your parents are ogres, and “Billy”’s parents are nice. You are stuck with ogre parents. Oh, look at the time! Off to bed you go! Night-night!”

The officer looked reflective. “Yeah, I can see how you effectively communicate that you aren’t gonna be buffaloed into things that you think are bad. My wife and I take a little different approach.”

What is that?”

He smiled. “I tell my kids that whatever their revelation is, it makes me sad. Then I shut up. Of course, they ask me why it makes me sad. I simply gaze upon them mournfully, and tell them, ‘I’m sad because it is obvious that Billy’s parents, do not love him as much as I love you!”

I chuckled. “That’s sneaky! I like it!”

Yep. What are they gonna do, argue that I do not love them? Leaves them with no place to start their argument!”

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Fun With Suits! · School Fun And Games · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

How Adults Roll

Many years after I was FDASL© in Da City, I was a Dad. (In my opinion, my most important job). I had four children with my wife, She Who Would Become The Plaintiff. Our daughter, referred to herein as Brenda, was a lovely girl, but, unsurprisingly, was a typical pre-adolescent.

One fine day, The Wife received a phone call from the school, relating that Brenda was failing Science class. We interviewed Brenda, attempting to understand what might be preventing this child from comprehending the material in her class that, to be honest, was not all that complicated. I mean, it was fifth grade science, in a podunk little school district.

We learned, after The Wife had detail-searched Brenda’s book-bag, that she, Brenda, had not been turning in her homework assignments. Oh, Hell Naw! That simply would not do! The Wife and I decided that, since I worked midnights, I would be the nominated for the role of Science Class Homework Monitor.

I phoned the school and learned that Mrs. Science Class was in her classroom yet, and would be happy to discuss Brenda’s failing with me. Off Brenda and I went.

I asked Mrs. Science Class if our appraisal was on target.

“Well, yes. Brenda has not been handing in her homework assignments.”

“Do you have these assignments? I mean, in a form that I, her father, could use to have Brenda perform this homework?”

“Well, yes I do. You do realize, Brenda is not going to receive credit for this work, do you not?”

“Yep. I don’t care about credit. Brenda, here, is going to perform these assignments, and I will check them for accuracy, and completeness. Then, I will check her spelling and grammar.”

Mrs. Science Class informed me, gently, “I do not check spelling, or grammar.”

I smiled. “How interesting. I do. Once I have corrected those items, Brenda, here, will do the assignment over again, until she gets all that correct. Then I will grade for neatness.”

Mrs. Science again offered, “I do not grade on neatness.”

Again, I replied. “How nice. I, however, do, and Brenda will repeat the assignment until she meets my standards of neatness. Then, she will do the next assignment, meeting all those standards, until she had completed every one, in it’s entirety, to my thorough satisfaction. Then she will deliver them to you for final grading.”

Mrs. Science Class looked at me, her head sort of half-cocked to one side, as if she were a beagle watching me cook something in the kitchen, and she repeated herself. “You know, Mr. Stretcher Ape, Brenda is not going to receive credit for all this work, don’t you?”

“Yep, you told me that, and I really do not care.”

“You do not care?”

“Nope. So, Mrs. Science Class, do you assign homework simply for your own entertainment?”

“Oh, no!”

“You have a plan of instruction, and homework is a part of that plan? Homework is part of the process by which children acquire an education, correct?”

She nodded. “Correct.”

I leaned forward, intensity in my speech. “Mrs. Science class, my daughter may or may not get the credit: I really do not care. What I care very much about, and what her mother agrees with me completely on, is the fact that our child is going to get the education. Full stop.”

She leaned back. “You know, I do not have this sort of conversation with parents, very often at all!”

I showed her my wolf grin. “That, Mrs. Science Class, is not Brenda’s problem. If she ever, again, so long as she breathes, fails to turn in her homework, in full, on time, and satisfactorily neat and legible, then every single assignment that she may have, I will correct. For completeness. For accuracy. For correctness. For neatness. For spelling. For grammar and syntax. And, she will do those assignments that I find unsatisfactory, over, and over, and over again, until I am satisfied with them.

Or, she could simply turn in her work, to you, on time and complete, to be graded as you see fit.

You see, I am willing to be Brenda’s problem, for so long as she desires it. She will let me know she desires it, by not doing her damned work.”

For those of you who care, my daughter finished high school, and then worked her way through her baccalaureate degree, working full time, with a child, as a single mother. And worked her way through her MBA degree, working full time, with three children, as a single mother. I take some, small pride in her accomplishments.

But, SHE did all the work. In full. On time. And completely. Because she is an Adult Woman.

Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

“The Nerve Pill”

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© in Da City one Dark and Stormy Night. My partner was driving and, therefore, I was blessed with the opportunity to interact with the diseased and injured of Da City, at length. My Very! Favorite! Thing! Ever!

This one gentleman was seated upon the squad bench, and I had reached the part of my interview wherein I inquired after medications presently among those employed by the named patient, namely, da dude in da ambulance.

“So, Sir, do you take any medications?”

He gazed thoughtfully into the distance, or such distance as the module of an ambulance provided, and responded, “Uh, no, not really.”

Internally, the Voices Inside My Head raged over this reply. “ ‘Not Really’? Whaduhfug! How can a question, with an anticipated answer of ‘Yes’, or ‘No’, be so freaking complicated? Dude! This is a ‘Yes’ answer, because you do, indeed, take freaking medications daily, or the answer is ‘No’, because you do not! Even a simpleton such as I can sort this one out!”

What got past my Thought/Speech Filter, was the following: “Uh, does your doctor expect that you are taking medications?”

The response was, “Uh, I guess so, I suppose that he does.”

“What sort of medication might it be, that your doctor thinks that you are taking, but you are NOT taking?”

“Oh, that ‘nerve pill’”

“The ‘nerve pill’? Why did you stop taking your ‘nerve pill’?”

He looked at me, dead in the eye, and, with a straight face, told me, “Because the voices in my head told me that I did not need them any more!”

Let me tell you, the rest of THAT trip to the hospital was not relaxing!

Fun With Suits! · Life in Da City! · Pre Planning Your Scene · Uncategorized

Alimony

Some back story. When TDWM1 (The Darling Wife Mark 1) and I had met up, she was a single mother of two children, working full time and going to nursing school. And, yes, she was successfully pulling that off. Once it was plain that our relationship was going places, well, I invited her to give up her apartment, move in with me, and let me support everybody. I made as much money in one OT shift, as she made as a nursing aid over an entire week. Or two. I told her, “You can always make a buck. You will not get a second chance to make that grade.”

She accepted my offer, completed Nursing school, got licensed, and we lived happily ever after. Or, at least, several years, happily (or so I thought).

So, fast forward to The Divorce. Let me admit, early in my tale, that she could have been way, way WAY more wretched than she elected to be. For example, had she alleged (falsely, but nonetheless she could have alleged…) that I had threatened her, well, a personal protective order was routine in such events, and until I successfully proved to the judge’s satisfaction that I had NOT threatened anyone, well, all my firearms would have to find new, happy homes. That is one example of wretchedness that she passed by.

On the other hand, getting back to my story, TINS ©, TIWFDASL ©…well, OK. There I was in a courthouse conference room with The Plaintiff (en route to transitioning from TDWM1 to The Wretched EX), her attorney, my attorney and me. Her attorney had just finished describing one of their demands, that I pay The Plaintiff alimony, and I quote, “So that Ms. Stretcher Ape can complete her Bachelor Degree in Nursing, so she can support her children better.”

I looked at my attorney, and he shrugged. With that signal, I dove in.

“Uh, Ma’am? why does your client require alimony in order to complete her BSN?”

“Mr. Stretcher Ape, it seems only fair. After all, she worked to put you through PA school, didn’t she?”

I contemplated this gambit. “You know, you have a point. I think we all agree that we all want fairness. You *do* realize that, while she was earning her associate nursing degree, I paid all of the household expenses for her, the children, and myself, right?”

Everyone at the table nodded, some more warily than others.

“So, since I contributed $1000 every month from my student loans to the family budget, while I was in graduate school, full time, isn’t it reasonable to expect your client to make a similar contribution toward her own education?”

Again nods, some wary.

“And, since I worked night shifts, 12 hours each, every night that I could, during our month long semester breaks, and every holiday shift that I could sneak in, as well isn’t it fair to expect Ms. Stretcher Ape to do likewise?”

The attorney nodded. I continued. “So, if we review my W2 forms, which I am sure our friends at the Friend of the Court have supplied you with, you can see that I contributed around $30,000 every year from my night shift earnings, as well as another $12,000 from my student loans. Isn’t it fair to expect a similar contribution from your client?”

The Plaintiff’s attorney started to bluster, but I held up a hand. “I’m not done yet. Now, you are suggesting all this effort should be directed toward earning her BSN, so that, as you term it, she could provide better for our children, right? This will add up to thousands of hours when your client could be mothering our children, and thousands of dollars in tuition, books, fees, and associated expenses, money that could be spent to the benefit of our children, right? All so that your client can earn a BSN, and earn more money, correct?”

The opposing attorney nodded. “Well, I, myself have a BSN. I am presently employed as an RN, and I can tell you, for a fact, that your client will earn twenty five cents an hour premium, as the holder of a degree in Nursing at the 4 year level! That means that, conservatively, her education investment will have paid for itself in (mumble, mumble, scribble, scribble) somewhere between ten to forty years, depending upon where she takes her classes.”

Opposing counsel leapt to her feet. “I do not believe that the earnings increase that comes with a BSN is so paltry!”

I leaned back, and smiled. “Madam, you have my pay stubs. They reflect that my employer, the largest hospital system in this part of the state, pays twenty five cents an hour. Most hospitals do not pay any sort of premium for that degree.”

Across the table, they leaned into each other, and held a hurried, whispered, conference.

I interjected. “May I make a counter offer? One that you likely will see again, like in court?”

Warily, I received nods of assent.

“Well, since I am a MAN, and a MAN wants what is best for his children I propose that, rather than spend thousands of hours in academics, hours when she could be mothering our children, and rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars, money that could be spent to the advantage of our children, that your client instead spend that time, spend that money, for the betterment of our children. And, since I am a MAN, and, being a MAN, I want to do what is best for our children, for my part, I will offer to pay her, annually, in one lump sum, in addition to whatever other money I am directed to pay, the five hundred dollars annually that she will forgo should she defer her education.”

I sat back.

THAT was the last I heard of alimony!

guns · Life in Da City!

Why Do People Get Shot In Da City? (or) A Tale Of Four Stupids

TINS©, TIWFDASL© in Da City, as a medic. (Kinda where this entire series of stories began, right?) Every night my partner and I would respond to somewhere around 12-20 runs in the course of a twelve hour shift, seven shifts in each two week pay period. Let’s call each typical night 12 runs. It makes the math simpler. Nearly every shift, there’d be one shooting, sometimes we would catch a couple or four shootings, occasionally no one would be shot among our patients.

So, after over 6 1/2 years, back of the envelope math reveals that I responded to something on the order of 14 000 calls, maybe 2 000 shootings. I developed my own opinions on why it is that folks get shot in Da City.

First in the list, most popular, if you have your heart set on being shot, is engaging in the unlicensed retail narcotics trade. If you prefer, in order to accommodate delicate 21st century sensibilities, we can refer to folks so occupied as “Undocumented Pharmacists”. These entrepreneurial souls were commonly among the shoot-ees in my ambulance. As regards their numbers among the shooters, well, I lack direct data, but it seems reasonable to conclude that these folks were not shot by the Amish, nor by employees of competing internet startups; for one thing, there was no internet in these dark times. Rather, it seems likely that the perpetrators of these shootings were attempting to dissuade competitors from marketing in what the shooters thought of as their markets.

Secondly are alcoholics or those who associate commonly with alcoholics. Patient census wise, this was also a “popular” option should one seek to be shot. Well, for certain meanings of “popular”, that is.

Third in line (and likely showing some overlap in our Venn Diagram of morbidity with the first two groups), are those folks who owe some third party sizable amounts of money, and have allowed this third party to have some lack of confidence in either the timeliness of repayment, the completeness of repayment, or some combination of the above. And, I do not mean MasterCard or Quicken Mortgages. They only shoot you in the wallet.

Next up in our list of popular triggers, so to speak, of being shot, is represented by Lotharios who romance somebody, that somebody else believes is THEIR love interest exclusively. That aggrieved somebody else may seek redress ballistically.

Last in measurable terms is the innocent victims of random violence.

An over arching theme among the above, is the report of the shoot-ee, that “There I was, minding my own business, and these two dudes, they shot me for no reason!” This is akin to the classic report by the family of deceased home invaders, immortalized in recent months on television news, as “He dindu nuffin! Ain’t no cause to shoot im! He just breakin in, dat ain’t no deaf penalty crime!” (checked for typos)

Also associated with this is the lament that the decedent was studying to be an aeronautical engineer, transplant surgeon, minister, or was studying music so that, once his rap career was successfully concluded, he could find a second career being a choir director, given his love for choir as a yout.

In summary, may I remind one and all of John Farnam’s dicta, which I repeat to my family ad nauseum. In my iteration, it is referred to as “Avoid the Four Stupids!”, or in more detail: “don’t go to stupid places, at stupid times of day, to do stupid things, with stupid people.” This includes by reference the mantra that “Nothing good happens after midnight!” Mr Farnam’s own formulation reads as follows:

(a) Don’t go to stupid places. (b) Don’t associate with stupid people.

(c) Don’t do stupid things. (d) Be in bed by 10.00pm (your own bed!).

(e) Have a “normal” appearance. (f) Don’t fail the attitude test! (http://defense-training.com/2018/where-is-safety)

 

(So, I suppose that makes for Six Stupids: “Don’t go to stupid places, at stupid times of day, to do stupid things, with stupid people. Don’t look stupid, don’t act stupid”)