When a gun kills, the blame game starts but it stops too early

I was reading / watching an article on NBC today about a young child who killed his younger brother with a gun in his grandfather’s home.

NBC News; Child kills 9 month old brother

This is a HORRIBLE story, one no parent should ever have to experience.  My heart goes out to them.  This blog isn’t about this family in particular but about all of the blame going to the gun.  Let’s get one thing straight, a gun, by itself, cannot kill someone.  You need a bullet in the chamber.  You need a way for the trigger to be pulled, usually a human but I have heard stories where an animal was too close and played with the trigger.

This story shared a lot of problems that exist in today’s world and I want to break them down a little more.

*The gun was loaded.  WHY was the gun loaded?  Even when used for protection, if the gun is not within your control, it should NOT be loaded.  You can have a bullets in the magazine and have the magazine located within a close proximity so you can grab them quickly if needed, but they should never be put together when you are not handling it, especially when there are children around.

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*The parents said they did not know a gun was in the house but also said they grew up with guns.  If you grew up with one or both parents owning guns, why would there be an assumption guns weren’t still in the home.  Unless your parent has changed DRASTICALLY, it is probably understood there are guns in the home.  I think the blame is on all adults for not asking / communicating correctly about weapons.

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*You could open the safe easily.  Umm, then it isn’t a safe!  Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with rifles available in the home and they were not in a safe.  We knew not to touch them.  If we DID touch them, it was with permission and we were well aware it had the capabilities of taking a life, be it animal or human.  We were raised to not point the barrel at anything we were not prepared to shoot and kill.  My issue is having the false sense of security keeping a gun in a safe that is a safe in appearance only.  If you are going to use a gun safe, it better be a SAFE!

*The boys were told to not go in the room, but boys will be boys.  REALLY?!?!?  Are you kidding me?  Shame on any adult with that mentality.  How about raising your children to RESPECT boundaries and rules.  How about teaching young children about the firearm in the room.  If you aren’t willing to teach the child about the firearm and about the danger of the firearm, then PUT IT SOMEPLACE HIGH, HIDDEN, AND SAFE!!!  Better yet, if you aren’t willing to teach the child about the firearm, take it out of the house while they are in your home.  If we take the mentality, boys will be boys, then we are saying we have an expectation of boys doing just about anything.  I am willing to bet a boy can understand the concept of touching a stove means you will get burned, so they could understand the concept of a gun having the ability to harm or kill someone or something.  I don’t believe boys are the only ones capable of having an accident like this, I was focused on the “boys will be boys” comment.  It is just as easy for it to happen to a little girl as it is a boy if she is not taught about safely handling a gun.  I am a woman, I enjoy shooting.  I was a girl and I handled bb guns / rifles.

*Maybe he learned to shoot a gun from television.  You know, we have a crazy idea of wanting our television shows to be as realistic as possible.  We want the gun fight to look like a real gunfight.  We want death to look like a person really dead.  How can we expect a young child to truly understand a gun kills if they are allowed to watch these realistic shows and they see the person later on another show.  What discussions are taking place to explain television isn’t the same as real life.  It is pretend, even when it looks so real.

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I don’t necessarily agree with the “rapper” comment, but the concept speaks volumes.  We have to educate instead of television being the educator.

Having discussions with children, teaching them to be respectful of adults and rules, explaining the power and danger of any type of weapon, it doesn’t have to just be a gun; it can be a knife, an ax, any weapon, are all ways to stop these situations from happening.  We started with BB Guns, we had the SAME rules for the BB Gun as we had for the other rifles.  We were never allowed to shoot at birds, animals of any kind.  The rule in our home was, “If you aim at it, be prepared to kill it, if you kill it, be prepared to eat it”  The idea was teaching us you didn’t kill just for a sport, you could shoot for sport; we shot at soup cans, blown up balloons, anything that did not have life attached to it.  We were also taught to respect hunting seasons, if you wanted to hunt, you hunted for the meat, not for the sport of hunting.  Handguns aren’t used for hunting usually, but if you instilled the same set of rules with the handguns, the number of accidental shootings would decrease drastically.

Guns, when handled responsibly and RESPECTED BY ALL, can be safe around children and adults.

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Gay? Shrimp? Why some view one is worse than the other. Christians Judging Christians

Religion, Gay, Christianity
Gay, Lesbian, Church, Religion

Pastor and his husband at a Church in Cincinnati

This picture had been floating around the internet with commentary as an example of how horrible of a direction the Christian Church was going.  I read the comments. I saw some of the hate spewing from “Christian” men and women.  It made me wonder how much attention they paid to the sermons being preached, to the words they were reading in the Bible, or how little respect they had for others in general.

Let me start out by stating some facts about myself.

I consider myself a Christian.  I don’t identify with any one particular denomination.  I respect other religions.  I have an understanding of the facts; different religions may word things differently, but in the end, they may have similar beliefs. I never understood how a Christian could have a problem with Native American’s faith, saying it isn’t right because they pray to different Gods.  News Flash silly Christian, to someone new to Christianity, they believe we pray to different Gods (Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Jesus, Yahweh, etc.)  Can you see how that could be confusing to someone not familiar with Christianity in general?

I am ok with different sexual orientations.  I don’t care if someone is homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual.  Your sexual orientation does not define you, just as mine does not define me.  If your sexual orientation is the only thing you have in your life to define you as a person, you have a problem and may need some professional help, but it can’t be solved by others hating you.

I’m pretty open minded and try to be respectful of everyone.  I try to look at things from different perspectives.  I’m not perfect.  I know I’m not.  I don’t think anyone is perfect.

With that out of the way, I have a major problem with anyone who identifies themselves as a Christian then proceed to openly (or secretly) bash those who are openly gay or lesbians.  Some can get so downright nasty, you would think they were talking about a felonious person!  I have heard some “Christians” put gay men in the same category as pedophiles.  Are you kidding me?  How dare you?

Let’s start with the basics taught in all Sunday School Classes.  Judge Not Lest ye be Judged Let’s look further at this.

1“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.   Matthew 7:1-5 NASB

No where in the Bible does it say, Hey , it’s OK to judge on the things YOU think are wrong, this only applies to some situations.

I want to break this down even further.  Let’s take the perspective being gay is a sin.  (I do NOT believe it is a sin, I am saying it for the sake of this post)  If it IS a sin, it still does not make sense for Christians to take such a harsh stand or to make such negative comments towards those who identify themselves as gay or lesbians.  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this attitude.

 8If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:8-13 NASB

OK, let’s break this down a little more.  “if you show partiality” This means you don’t get to like one person more than another just because they fit your ideal mold of a person better.  “…yet stumbles in one point” NO ONE can say they haven’t stumbled and sinned at one point or another.

Sin is sin. Speeding is breaking the law, therefore, you have sinned. It’s as simple as that. You took an ink pen from the office, so you STOLE from them, therefore, you have sinned. Do you see my point? It is that simple. We sin. Now, back to my point; if YOU believe being gay is a sin, then it’s a sin. SO WHAT! Get over yourself. You sin, they sin, everyone is guilty of a sin. Let’s try a little respect and love for those you believe are sinning instead of hate and gossip. It might get you further.

Last, only because it drives home my point and I want to have a little fun with this post as well, for the Christians who still want to keep going about how horrible being gay is, you need to consider the alternative. Even with your Gay is sin thought, it’s just sin. It isn’t an abomination. Do you KNOW what is???

10 But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you, 11 and they shall be [a]abhorrent to you; you may not eat of their flesh, and their carcasses you shall detest. 12 Whatever in the water does not have fins and scales is [b]abhorrent to you. Leviticus 11:10-12 NASB

Yes, the next time you want to dig into some shrimp or lobster, remember the King James Version says it is an ABOMINATION UNTO YOU. I don’t know about you, but I’m more comfortable with a sin than an abomination!

I know, I know, you’re going to want to justify it, explain it, explain why it is OK to eat shrimp because you love shrimp and you don’t want to lose it, IT IS TIME TO stop justifying the things you love and accept and casting stones on the things and people you don’t.

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

Microwave Dating

We live in a world of instant gratification. No one wants to put in the work to see WHERE a relationship can go, let alone put in the work to make it last.

I refer to dating today as microwave dating.

Think about how an oven cooks.  It cooks very slowly from the outside in.  The heat slowly seeps into the meat, allowing the flavors to simmer in the heat.

A microwave cooks differently.  A microwave causes the water molecules in the food to agitate at atomic levels, generating heat, which in turn cooks the food.  The radio waves affect the food as a whole, not from the outside in, so everything heats up quickly.  Microwave food is quick, it’s easy.  Think about heating up something that has multiple ingredients in it.  For example, heating up a piece of pie.  Because the liquid pie filling heats up quicker than the denser, flaky crust, you have to be careful biting into it.  The crust may be a perfect temperature, but the filling could be so hot it burns your mouth.

Relationships can be compared to ovens and microwaves.

The simmer is similar to getting to know each other.  When you think about putting a roast in the over, think about how the meat looks as you are preparing it.  It is a thick chunk of meat.  It is red and unappealing.  It is compact.  As you allow the roast to simmer on a low heat, the thickness begins to break down.  The meat begins to separate slightly, allowing all of the flavors and juices to fall down into the meat, flavoring it throughout, not just on the outside surface.  Getting to know someone can be viewed the same way.  When you first meet someone, they give you the person they want you to meet.  Sometimes they have walls up, making it difficult to get to know the true person.  As those walls break down, their true personality comes out.  Like a roast, if you have a great cut of meat, the flavors and the end result is comforting, appealing, enjoyable.  When it is a bad cut of meat, it is hard, unappetizing.  People are the same way.  Taking the time to get to know someone, you learn if they are a great person or not.  You learn if you want them around you for long periods of time.  When they aren’t the right person for you, it isn’t enjoyable to be near them.  It doesn’t mean the person is bad, just perhaps bad for you.  Sometimes the same ingredients yield different results, depending on how you heat them.  Take a French Bread Pizza for example.  Taken out of the freezer, preparing one in the microwave and one in the oven.  Both are edible.  Same ingredients.  The one out of the over will always taste just a little bit better.

When you jump into a relationship, believing they are your soul mate after one date, discussing the future before you even spend one minute with them puts you into the microwave dating world.  It may be hot and sizzling quickly but it doesn’t have the true flavor that comes from allowing it to simmer.  Sometimes it heats up so quickly that it overheats and explodes causing you to have to throw it away and leaving you with a mess to clean up.

Don’t get me wrong, microwaves are great.  They serve their purpose.  When you need something quick and filling, you throw it in the microwave, pull it out, eat, and move on.  Think about all of your greatest “meal” moments.  Was that meal prepared in the oven or the microwave?  There is a reason you don’t prepare Thanksgiving dinner in a microwave.  “Slow roasted has more appeal than “cooked quickly in a microwave” A home cooked meal is still synonymous with being prepared slowly in an oven or on a stovetop.

The next time you’re ready to  enter into a relationship, think about what you want.  Do you want a slow, simmered, tasty one or a quick, explosive one?

Organization: Code Pantry

I hate mice! Seriously hate mice. I have been battling a mouse problem for a couple of months now. I think it’s time to bring in an expert.

Always one to look at the positive, this problem has kickstarted me into cleaning / organizing my house. Visit my tips for organization: Organization for a Messy Person

Because of the rodent problem, I decided to start with my pantry. It helps that my mom bought me the Oxo soft works 12 piece kit from Sam’s Club for Christmas. I wanted the Oxo brand because I did a lot of research on the Internet and was impressed with their ratings as well as the fact they were square & rectangular instead of round. I liked the pop top feature. As I opened it, was so happy with the size varieties in the pack. Too often, when you buy the multiple piece kits you end up with a bunch of useless sizes. Not the case with this pack. Sam’s Club 12 piece Oxo Pack

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I loved that Oxo included a booklet with suggestions as to what would fit in it each canister. Since I am not an organized person, I’m not great at figuring those things out. Using the guide Oxo provided, I was able to put some thought into each one and maximize the set.

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I also made out labels of the key items I wanted to put in the containers. By doing this, I could pick the ones I needed for each item and was able to best utilize each container. Is it perfect? Of course not, I am NOT the perfect organizer. Is it perfect for me? YES. The best part is now the mice will not smell all the pantry goodies and hopefully stay out of there. Of course, I’ll keep using the peppermint spray and Altoids! 😄

Even though I labeled most of the items, I also put a recipe on the French’s French Fried Onions (also purchased at Sam’s Club) container so I would have it handy. If I try it and don’t like it, I’ll just throw the recipe away.

I still need a couple more containers. Now I just need to decide if I’m going to buy them individually or just purchase another 12 piece set from Sam’s Club.

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Organization for a Messy Person – Getting Started

I’ve never been a resolution person. I didn’t need a “date” to tell me to start doing something better. For me, the decision was made due to an entirely different problem.  Mice. Yes, mice. Those annoying little rodents had decided to take up residents in my home and in my quest to stop them, I decided I had to make a change. As I tried to catch them, I realized I had a lot of JUNK in my way!

I’m not a dirty housekeeper. I keep dishes washed, food put away. I’m a pack rat (no pun intended) and tend to throw stuff in boxes, bags, things I should either use or throw-away. I tend to keep things with the thought I’ll use them later. I receive free samples & instead of using them, I save them, thinking to myself, “I’ll save it and use it for __________” only to forget about it and find it months later, often no good or expired. I buy things on sale thinking “I’ll use that for _________ but ________ never comes” so the item ends up going to waste.

I made a resolution a few weeks back to make a change. It was time to get the house organized. It was time to make sure I use the items I purchase. Even the free stuff I receive for whatever reason; I am going to use it, donate it, give it away to someone, or throw it away.

I made the resolution but did NOTHING to change it right away. Then, slowly, I started seeing the house differently. I saw the dust more. I saw the dog hair on the floor. I know, I know, that’s cleaning, not organization, but it all goes together. I started sweeping and dusting more often. I started putting things away. I looked around and it all looked a little overwhelming. Where to start?

It is difficult to get organized when you aren’t a organized type of person. When you are a “throw everything into a box to look at it later” person it isn’t easy getting started.

The Internet is a great place to find suggestions.  You can get some wonderful ideas, ideas that appear simple, until you get started. Then you realize….I will NEVER be THAT organized! Is it tempting to give up when you have those thoughts? YES!

Here is my advice. DO NOT GIVE UP!!! Ha, yes, I know it’s easier to say then do, so let me try some better advice.

The first thing to do is to accept  this as fact; organization isn’t your forte. It’s OK. It isn’t a big deal. You can still make it work.

Search the Internet for ideas. Look for realistic ideas. It’s nice to have goals but let’s face it, if it’s too difficult, you will stop half way and never go back. Find plans YOU know are obtainable for YOU.

Start small. Instead of saying, “I’ll start with this bedroom” start with the bedroom closet. Yes! I said a closet. If you are anything like me, a closet in your house probably holds more than one box filled with unnecessary items. By starting with something so small, you will be able to get through it, complete it, feel good about it, and feel motivated to keep going.

Don’t get distracted. Again, if you are anything like me, reality is you start in one room and end up in an entirely different room. How many times have you started cleaning / organizing a bedroom only to wind up cleaning your stove?!? Nothing gets done. You wind up frustrated. The cycle repeats.

Start prepared. For the person who HATES cleaning / organizing, it is easy to find an excuse to stop. Trust me, I get it. I honestly think I have a slight form of adult ADHD and can stop simply because I get distracted. <—-see what I did? Came up with an excuse to stop before I even truly got started! It is so easy! Back to preparation. Are you a list person? A visual person? I have learned to appreciate lists but I am more of a visual person. For me, I started out with drawings of each of my rooms. I draw out the closets or items that will need organized. For example, if you have a dresser, make that a “room” in your mind. Trust me, one dresser could be as annoying as a whole room sometimes.

Here are some examples:

GUEST BEDROOM
*Closet
*Dresser
*Table
*Bed
*Room itself

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KITCHEN
*Pantry
*Table (yes, for me, a table can be a full item!)
*Sink side under cabinets / drawers
*Sink side over cabinets
*Stove side under cabinets
*Stove side over cabinets
*Lazy Susan
*Countertop

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Dining Room
*Closet
*Hutch
*Dog Area
*Cabinet
*Corner Area
*Room Itself

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Ok, you get the idea. Break it down to manageable areas. Stick to your chosen area! Do not stray.

Have boxes ready. One for trash. One for donations. One for items you want to sell. Then have boxes ready for the other rooms in the house. Do not take the items to the room when you pick them up. Put them in the box labeled for the room it is going to. Remember the “easily distracted” problem? I have learned not to follow the thought, “Only touch an item once” style. Those that can, it’s great. They are the ones who end up with picture perfect homes. I am not such a person. I will walk away and never make it back to the area I started in! Do not do it. Resist temptation. Put the item in the appropriate box. Do not go and make a spot someplace else for something. Only focus on the area you are working on. If you know you need to make a spot for something coming into the area you currently at, make the spot, but DO NOT go get the item (unless you need it for sizing).

Once you are done, admire it. Will it be picture perfect? No. You aren’t that kind of person. Will it be organized? Yes! So you have accomplished your goal! It doesn’t have to be picture perfect, just perfect for you. Be proud of your accomplishment!

Now to deal with the filled boxes. Empty the trash box first. You do not want an opportunity to second guess yourself! Yes, I know it happens. Dump the box into a large trash bag and put something icky on top of it so you aren’t tempted (if you need to). The donate box should be taken to the appropriate place right away unless there is only one or two items. The quicker the box is gone, the less likely you are to second guess yourself. You may want to consider having two different donation boxes. For example, I have one for goodwill and another for a local animal shelter. Old sheets, towels, etc can be used at an animal shelter. If the item can be repurposed instead of throwing it away, that is the best. You may want to check your local free cycle website before you take the box someplace.  There may be some local Facebook repurposing sites, look for them as another option.

The sell box is the dangerous box. Too many times, we box something up for the yard sale we never have. Yes, I know….you’re going to have one but…. Been there. Done that. Instead of saving it for the yard sale, look to see if there is a local social media site to list the item on. In Kansa City, you can use KC Virtual Yard Sale.  Another way is to post the items on Craigslist. It is best to put the price you want or best offer. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the item is. Put it on there. If you are not set on making money for the item, check local repurpose sites. Keep the box to the side for one week. If no one responds in a week, you should consider donating it. If you are still intent on selling it, move it to a larger “sell” box and put a date to donate on it. (No more than 6 months). Try to repeat the sites mentioned above again in 60-90 days.

Remember to update the listings on social media & Craigslist as you sell or get rid of the items. If you do sell the items, be smart about it. Do not allow people you do not know into your home. Meet at a local store parking lot to exchange the item. A place you know has cameras. Preferably in the daytime. TRUST YOUR GUT. If someone or something feels strange, don’t do it. Don’t rationalize. If you are truly not comfortable selling the items online or they are larger items, consider talking to a consignment shop. They will give you an idea if it’s worth selling or not.

Take the other boxes to the next area you will be working in. DO NOT TAKE THEM TO THE ROOM THEY ARE INTENDED FOR. You only take the box there when you are ready to start in that room (or one of the areas in the room).

If you are like me and know you will lose focus quickly if you spend too much time in one area, break up the areas. For example, do a closet in one room, then do a dresser in another room. Pick a difficult area one day / time, then an easier area the next. There are no rules stating you must finish a whole room before you move to another one. That is why smaller areas are so important.  The most important think is to keep going.  Don’t get discouraged.

You should have a designated holding area for the items you have listed on social media / Craigslist. The area should be neat. Keep the boxes and items stacked up.

There will be items you just do not want to part with. It’s ok. Sometimes you just have want to keep stuff. Get a few plastic bins, nothing too big. They should be stackable and liftable. Label the boxes. Store them in a safe area away from extreme temperatures and possible water damage. Before an item goes in there, really think about it. Is it a memory you are holding on to? Is it something you want to pass down? What is the real reason you are keeping it? Could someone else benefit from having it? Those questions should be answered BEFORE you decide the item is “keep forever” worthy. Only YOU can truly decide why or what you want to keep. It doesn’t have to make sense to someone else, but it does have to make sense to you.

Remember to check off the areas as you complete them! Celebrate your accomplishments!

Here is a picture of my kitchen counter top and one cabinet. I didn’t make it messier to make the finished project look better, but I had just returned home from being gone and I was piling a lot more on my counter with Altoids all around them to keep the mice away.

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I will be posting updates as I move forward with each area. I hope they encourage you to start as well. It also keeps me accountable to getting it done.

I started with the kitchen because of my mouse problem but there is no right or wrong place to start.

Leave comments as you move forward with your own cleaning / organization.

Have a great 2015 and beyond!

The Mice Battle Me vs. Them

I have mice. No one WANTS mice, it’s hard to admit it, yet here I am, battling mice. I want to say I have a mouse, because having one mouse sounds better than saying I have mice, but even I can’t convince myself of this anymore, since I saw two in my kitchen at the same time.

This battle has been going on for a couple of months now. I feel as if I am becoming a mouse expert with all of the research I have been doing. The one thing I have learned….there is no fool proof way to get rid of mice!

It all started a couple of months ago when I saw a mouse run along the wall of my living room. I started looking around and discovered they had found my open bag of dog food in my downstairs office. I had taken in a friend’s dog for a short time and I fed him in there. Never once thought about the bag of dog food being mouse heaven. I called a friend to ask for help. I hate killing living creatures so the thought was to catch & release like we had done one other time. This mouse was FAST and smart. He wasn’t having it.

I went out and bought a live trap from Wal-Mart. I was confident I was going to catch this mouse and all would be right in my world again.

I had caught the mouse! I was so happy. Seeing as how I freak out over the little creatures, I called on yet another friend to release it for me far, far away. I moved the dog food to a plastic bin. I had my house back! Yes!

Or so I thought. When my friend came back with the trap, it was in a couple of pieces (it had fallen apart as he was releasing them) and he said he had to was it. Wash it??? What??? He informed me I had caught two, not one and they had made a mess in the trap. My instant thought….NO WAY. The live trap has to go! I know it seems ridiculous but I did not want to have to keep cleaning this trap and putting it back together. I told him to just throw it away.

As I rounded the corner of my house, I screamed. It wasn’t a blood curdling, someone is trying to murder me scream, but it was a scream none the less. Sitting on TOP of my plastic dog food bin I had JUST put dog food in about an hour ago were three – four baby mice and one down on the floor! Since math WAS a strong subject, I could put it all together. Four or more baby mice plus two captured equals a big problem!

I scoured the Internet. I found out peppermint oil is supposed to repel mice. When I couldn’t find Peppermint Oil at the Wal-Mart I was at, a quick search helped me find a recipe of warm water, crushed Altoids, and dish detergent.

I loaded up on mousetraps. Not the live ones this time. When it was just a visitor passing through, I was ok with the catch & release. When they are so comfortable in my home they have a tea party, out in the open, they overstayed their welcome and need to be gone by any means necessary. Still being a squeamish baby about them, I bought the type you can’t see them in. I wanted to kill them, throw the trap away, and set out a new one. I did not want to have to see a dead mouse, I did not want to have to touch anything. I did not want the mice in my home anymore.

I chose those traps over the glue because I’m still humane, I didn’t want to have a mouse suffer a slow death. I didn’t want to SEE the mouse. Most importantly, I have two dogs of my own plus the additional one at that time, one of mine being a Jack Russell, I did not want the mouse to become a toy. Those were the reasons for not getting the poison bait. If they had to die, I wanted it to be in the most humane way possible.

Coming home, I set the traps with peanut butter and went to work making my Altoids / water / dish soap mixture. I sprayed EVERYWHERE. At every door, around my pantry, anyplace I could think of. My goal was to keep the mice confined to the two rooms I had seen them in and kill them. I’ll admit, a small part of me hoped they would be so repelled by the peppermint oil they would run fleeing from my home, never to return. We all know THAT didn’t happen. Surprisingly, the peppermint spray appeared to be working for a short time. I sprayed almost daily under the doors of the rooms I was trying to keep them in. I even saw one mouse start to run under the door, stop half way, and acted almost like he was having a seizure of some kind. A SMART person would have used that opportunity to capture it, a freaked out person like myself swatted at him with a broom and ended up pushing him back through the door where he scampered off, leading me to believe the peppermint spray was working in some aspects. The traps were also working slowly. I was throwing one away daily (I had three set in the room). With the help of a friend not scared of the mice, we found their dog food stash (mice can move quite a bit of product) and vacuumed it all up.

With their food supply gone and the spray forcing them to stay in those two rooms, I honestly believe I could have gotten a handle on them….but….I went out of town for a week. No daily sprays meant they were able to venture out. Sure enough, I came home to discover they were in my kitchen. My heart sank. It made me nauseous to think they were in my kitchen. I mean that literally. Whenever I would see a trace of them, I would get physically ill.

Phone call to the same friend (Thank GOD for great friends) and she came over to help me clean my pantry and look for the mouse. We took everything out, wiped down everything with Clorox wipes, threw away everything even remotely having the appearance of a mouse being near it, placed Altoids on the shelves, and put it back in order. I have since switched everything to Oxo canisters so they are air tight. I set a trap on the floor of the pantry and then sprayed the doorway with my spray. I figured, if the spray kept them away, GREAT, if one breached, the trap would catch them before they made it up to the shelves. The trap didn’t go off for over 6 weeks and no signs of any mice on the shelves, so it has worked somewhat.

Now we are up to today. I was out of town for Christmas and sadly, I came home to mice taking up residence in my stove. Yes, my stove! Another phone call (she really should start charging me) and we begin the process of Operation Stove Removal only to discover I have a weird stove and we can not access the area between the stove top and the oven. We googled

****Funny story interjection****
As I was writing this, I kept hearing a noise in my kitchen. I would get up, turn the light on, and would see a scurry back into the stove opening. This happened three times. The fourth time I heard something, I had my eye focused directly in the area it was coming from and I see the mouse briefly on my microwave. I take a couple deep breaths to avoid freaking out and go investigate. Apparently I had received a sample of dog food, the kind in the tubes, and put it up on my microwave. I have no idea how long it had been there (it was in a decorative glass) but the mouse found it. There was a good chunk of it gone. It is thrown away, microwave cleaned off, disinfected, and the dishes on it have been washed. Back to my writing! ***********

As I was saying, we even Googled how to tear the stove apart. No luck. The stove is mounted into my counter top. The space between the stove top and the oven has a couple small holes. Through those holes, we can see insulation, but no way to access it easily. I made the decision to NOT tear it out. I decided to try other measures first. FYI, if you are thinking, hey, just turn the stove on, it didn’t work. Research says they just run somewhere else and return when it’s cooled down again.

After messing with the stove, I did kill one more mouse but it appears they are getting smarter or more adventurous. Back to the Internet for more research.

I found a product called Fresh Cab. It is supposed to be a rodent repellant. Another “natural” product. The reviews were pretty favorable except in situations where the rodents already exist. Upon doing more research, I discovered some possible reasons why that might me, and decided to try it. Amazon had it cheaper but Tractor Supply had it in stock, so off to TSC I went. I bought 2 boxes equalling 8 pouches. I opened them, read the instructions, dated them, and then set out strategically placing them around the house. It was very clear in the instructions NOT to place them near traps. I’m not a fan of the pine scent, but if they work, I’ll live with it.

Ironically, the mouse eating the tube of dog food I mentioned was found less than a foot from where I placed the first pouch of Fresh Cab. Had I not done my research, I would have thought it didn’t work and thrown them away and sent for my money (They have a money back guarantee) but I am not giving up on it yet because
1. I read it is not a repellant like Peppermint Oil is supposed to be. It is a detractor. It is supposed to mess with the mouse’s sense of smell, making them think there is no food available.
2. Mice have weird memories, that is why they say to keep putting traps in the same area. If they KNOW a path leads to food, they will keep following it. With that in mind, the mouse clearly had been chomping on this tube for a few days, so his sense of memory was more powerful than the Fresh Cab (in theory).

I placed the Fresh Cab in one area, the traps with the yummy peanut butter in another direction, so they would be compelled to head towards the trap.

Another thing I have done is throw one or two chopped pecan pieces around the trap. Knowing about their memory, I figured, if they have one or two easy ones to access, they will come back and get the “bait” next and the trap will kill them.

One interesting observation is the Altoids. My first tin I opened and used seemed to work great. I never saw a mouse near anything I had an Altoid sitting on or near. They didn’t seem to go near any areas I sprayed. This new tin I opened I cannot say the same. I even think the mice are carrying the Altoids pieces away! I don’t know if this second tin used less peppermint oil in the manufacturing or not, but I find it strange.

I have not tried the 100% peppermint oil that so many people mention. The Wal-Mart I went to did not have any in stock. I looked today and it appears the one I am heading to has some in stock. I am going to try an experiment with it and will post the results.

I have contacted a company about coming out and looking for the areas in my home the mice may be getting in. It is $159 but considering how much I have already spent on traps, Fresh Cab, Altoids, and soon Peppermint Oil, it might be worth it. Not to mention all the pantry items I had to throw away. At least my house is getting clean an organized!

After all this, the bottom line is mice are a pain in the butt! It is not a simple fix. It takes time and diligence.

If you can stand the sight of the dead mouse and you don’t mind reusing the trap, the wooden traps are the least expensive. If you are a big baby like myself, there are some affordable alternatives. One key is to make sure to have the opening right near the wall so they run in as they are running along the wall.

The cheapest one is D-Con No Touch No View Mousetrap. Less than $5 for a two pack at Wal-Mart

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PROS: Inexpensive, Easy to use, easy to see the indicator

CONS: The indicator sometimes doesn’t work. (If it wasn’t clear & the
door was closed, I threw it away) Round (didn’t always fit in tighter areas) Slippery on hard floors so you had to take more care placing them.

Another trap I used and had a quick results is Victor Kill & Seal Mouse Trap About $10 for a 2 pack

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PROS: Easy to use, easy to load bait, shape fits easily against wall, Blends in well against lighter colored baseboards

CONS: More Expensive. If bumped, a little difficult to reset

The third one I used is Ortho Home Defense Max Kill and Contain Mouse Trap. About $8 for a pack of 2

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PROS: extremely narrow, will fit in tighter areas. Easy to load bait. Easy to set first time.

CONS: Haven’t caught a mouse in it yet. My dog seemed fascinated with it. Difficult to reset if it gets bumped. Messy if bumped (bait sorta falls everywhere, then out when you pick it up to reset).

I have caught the most mice with the first one, but to be fair, I have purchased them the most. My thought is, if they are the cheapest, no harder to use, and work, go with them.

As for bait, peanut butter seems to work well. I but the great value kind to give my dog his medicine with, so I’ve been using that. Chopped pecans also work. Ironically, Ole Roy dog food works well. My dogs eat Acana and Earthborn…using that as bait didn’t get the same results. I’m guessing it is because they are both grain free. Any type of seed, grain, or nut appear to yield the best results.

I hope I have helped the next person battling mice to not have to go digging around multiple days to get all the different information I was able to compile over time!

Good luck!

I’m OK as “Another Woman” but not as “The Other Woman”

No matter how you look at it, double standards exist in our society still. It is considered socially acceptable for a man to date multiple women, sleep with multiple women, but when a woman dates more than one man, sleeps with more than one man, she is considered “easy” or a “slut”. Apparently no one has done the math. If the man is sleeping with multiple women, those women have to come from somewhere! I hate the double standards but have come to understand ignore the double standards and live my life for myself when it comes to relationships.

I am ok dating someone who is dating other women. Until we choose to use the word monogamy, I have no expectations from him. It also means I don’t guarantee he is the only man I’m dating. I don’t date like that today, mostly due to time, but I’m also ok dating someone when he tells me he’s dating others. Is it ideal? Not always. Is it reality? Sadly, yes. I would just like to know upfront. No surprises. No cheating.

This takes me to the real reason for the post. Women (and men) have to learn there is a difference between being “Another Woman” and being “The Other Woman”. They must determine what they are comfortable with.

I will NEVER advocate being “The Other Woman” and encourage women to stay away from the men that set those expectations. This is a clear example of a man willing to cheat. If he’s comfortable cheating, he’s comfortable lying. If he is lying to his current wife, girlfriend, significant other then he will be completely comfortable lying to you. I know you want to believe he wouldn’t fall into that behavior with you….he’s so honest with you up front, he would never lie. Do not fall for it! He will. If he’s comfortable living in a constant state of deceit, he will not think twice about lying to you eventually, if not right away.

Being “Another Woman” is different. Perhaps he isn’t ready for commitment but enjoys dining out, attending local events. He isn’t ready to be with just one woman. He’s open and honest about it. He tells the woman up front. She is ok with it and accepting of it. Perhaps she is dating other men. Perhaps she doesn’t have the time to devote to a full relationship but enjoys the companionship of a man from time to time. It doesn’t make either party a bad person. It just means they want to be open and honest up front. The relationship doesn’t always stay this way, sometimes it develops into a lasting, monogamous relationship. Sometimes feelings develop for one person but not the other, so the two decide to part ways. There is no right or wrong answer to how this type of relationship works, as long as both parties are happy.

It is a mistake when one goes into the open relationship, not because they want an open relationship, but because they feel it is the only way they can be with the person. This will only lead to hurt and lack of trust. There is a false understanding of the relationship. If you can not accept the fact that the man you are dating may be dating other women, DO NOT say you are ok with an open relationship.

The tricky part is when the guy sends you mixed signals. If he says he’s in an open relationship but refers to another woman as his girlfriend but doesn’t say the same about you….the “openness” isn’t truly open. You are the “Other” woman. If he keeps your activities private but blasts all his time with her on social media, it is not an open relationship. Men can be smooth. He may give you a good reason. Perhaps he’ll say “she knows I date others but I don’t throw it in her face” or “I was dating her before you so she gets the label” Ladies, when you hear things like this, YOU are the OTHER woman. If he isn’t willing to give you the same level of respect he gives her (or anyone), I recommend you reconsider the relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, it should not be FLAUNTED when you are dating someone in an open situation. Be respectful, don’t post pictures of the two of you hugging / kissing on social media. If you wouldn’t want to see the same pictures of him with another woman, don’t post them of the two of you. Wait until you decide to make it a monogamous relationship (or a polyamorous relationship). Do not call him your boyfriend, significant other, etc. He’s not. He’s not willing to give you a commitment so you don’t give him a title.

Another concern would be the number of women he’s dating. If you don’t want to know, DO NOT ASK! It is that simple. If you are ok with him dating one or two others for a short time and find out he’s dating six, you might want to reconsider getting involved with him. The more women he’s dating / the more men you’re dating, the more your time and attention will be divided. Is it going to be enough time for you?

If you decide you want it to be more but one (or both) of you are not ready for monogamy, discuss polyamory. Be prepared your friends / family may not be acceptable of a polyamorous relationship.

Relationships take work and compromise. The most important thing to remember is the compromise you make should NEVER emotionally hurt you. If he wants an open relationship and you don’t, walk away. If you want a polyamorous relationship and he doesn’t, walk away if you’re not willing to be monogamous. Nothing has to be decided in a day, relationships & emotions do not happen overnight.

Be true to yourself. Know what you’re ok with and what you aren’t. Comprise when needed, don’t compromise when it is going to hurt you.

No matter what, avoid being the “Other” woman. Lies need to stay out of the relationship. It is the only way to build a solid foundation of communication and trust….the key to ANY relationship in our lives.