Sunday, August 12, 2007

notes from a weekend.

We spent the weekend in Georgia at Robin's sister's place. Her sister has three kids ages thirteen to nine, and they are...rambunctious. Within a few hours of our arrival at my sister-in-law's house, her kids had taught Quinn how to say "oh, shit" when he drops something, and demonstrated for him how to burp the alphabet from A to Z. (That's an impressive skill, I have to admit--my brother can swallow air and burp on command, but I've never acquired the ability.)

On the way to their house in Buford, we had to brave the Atlanta periphery at rush hour. While we were in walking-pace traffic, I saw something that I've never seen before in my life: the thermometer displaying outside air temperature showed 117 degrees. (That's 45 degrees celsius, for you Euro-types.) The air conditioning in the van was blowing at maximum, with the air flow selector set to recirculate the inside air, and it was bearable, but I could tell that the vehicle was just about at the upper limit of its thermal operating envelope. We passed several cars that had quit on their drivers, and the thought of breaking down in 117-degree heat with two small children in the car made me wince.

Our usual communal weekend World Of Warcraft gaming has slowed down a bit. Robin goes to work extra hours every other Saturday or so, and on her off weekends we usually have too much other stuff to do. Occasionally, we manage an hour or two of questing after the kids are in bed, but life kind of takes precedence over quests and instance runs right now. I've read of people who neglect or even starve their offspring because of World of Warcraft addiction, but those people have severely faulty wiring in their cranial fuseboxes. If I ever choose playing computer games over taking care of my kids, I hope that someone beats me to death with my own keyboard.

Finally, a question to my readers who are a.) parents, and b.) gun owners: how do you keep your home defense or carry weapons secure from toddler access, yet reasonably fast to bring into action without having to rely on dexterity (that may not be there when something goes crash at three in the morning), spend half a grand on mind-reading hi-tech gun safes, remember number combinations, or have a key on your person at all times?

I have my own method right now, but it's probably imperfect. The carry gun is stored well out of his sight and reach, and unloaded, with a full speedloader next to it. It takes about three seconds to bring it into action, and charging a wheelgun from a speedloader is beyond the knowledge or dexterity of any toddler, but his skill at getting into things is growing daily, and I want to find a more permanent and secure solution.

(Yeah, I know that an unloaded gun is no good to me if someone knocks down my door, but there's a much higher likelihood of my kid shooting himself with a loaded gun than there is of me not having the time to perform that well-practiced three-second loading procedure.)

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