When I was very young (and by very young I mean under the age of 7 years) my grandfather decided that it would be a good idea to have me use his rifle to try to shoot some glass bottles off of a log. He did not put any kind of ear protection on my head, and did not warn me that there would be any recoil. I probably weighed all of forty pounds, had never been around guns before, and this was a very new experience for me. I remember lying down on my stomach and propping the gun on a log, and aiming the gun. The noise was very loud, and the recoil was very painful. I was scared and hurt. I cried. That was the end of my wanting anything to do with guns.
Ever since then I have respected the right of individuals to own and enjoy guns, but I have avoided them. There have been so many terrible stories in the news all of my life about the horrible things that have been done with guns. I am a peace-loving person that would prefer to reason with people than to fight with them. As a middle child, I’ve always been a peace-maker, a negotiator, a diplomat. I’m a lover, not a fighter!
I have not wanted to look at, touch, or hear guns. When I was single, and dating guys, if they expressed any interest in guns, I broke up with them! That was a deal-breaker! I did not even want any guns in my house, out of fear of someone getting hurt.
But recent events with a neighbor who has threatened the safety of my family has forced me to reconsider my position. I reluctantly agreed to learn to handle a gun. Just in case I really needed to use one in self-defense. But I did so with great trepidation. What if the recoil hurt my hands, which already hurt so much from that traffic accident that I was in a few years ago? And so my gun-loving friends and relatives have come out in droves to encourage me to learn to shoot.
This week I agreed to “try” one of my stepfather’s guns while I was visiting with my parents at their house. I think that my agreeing to try it shocked us all – I have been very reluctant to have anything to do with guns up until this point. But I decided to “suck it up” and give it a try. I won’t lie about it – I was nervous. Very nervous. I almost wanted to cry when he put the gun in my hand! He gave me a Browning Buckmark 22 pistol to use. He gave me some ear protectors that looked like overgrown ear-muffs, and I put them on. I was surprised that I could still hear his voice a bit after I put them on!
I listened to his instructions, then took a deep breath to calm my nerves and turned towards the target. The target was twenty-five feet away, stapled to a wooden pallet and was actually at a bit of an angle away from me – I could not see it “straight on” so the circles were actually a bit smaller than if I had been able to see it “straight on.” I held the pistol with both hands, propped my elbow against a pole he had implanted in the ground, closed one eye, and aimed at the target. I was very aware of my breathing, and focused on keeping my breathing calm and steady. When I couldn’t “put it off” any longer, I tried to keep my hands steady (which is hard to do when you suffer from “essential tremors”) and very cautiously, slowly, squeezed the trigger. The recoil was a lot less than I expected, (the gun went upwards instead of back into the palm of my hand) and I actually hit the target! Unbelievable! I’ve always been terrible at sports when I had to aim at something – basketball, archery, bowling…. You name it, if I had to “aim” at something, I was horrible! But this shot actually was within the circles of the target! Amazing!
I put the gun down and went to inspect the hole for myself – yes, it really was there! I laughed and said “I can’t believe I actually hit the target! Must be beginner’s luck!” Then I proceeded to shoot again. I hit the target again! And again! I experimented with which eye to close, whether to have my left foot or right foot forward. Most of my shots hit within the circles – and quite a few hit within the bulls-eye rings! My step-father encouraged me to shoot 100 rounds, so I kept going. The most difficult part was loading the ammo into the clip – holding the spring-loaded clip open with my thumbs was painful, so I had to figure out a way to load the clips without using my thumbs to hold the clip open. It was awkward, and slow, but I managed.
By the end of the 100 rounds, I was firing the rounds off quickly, and my aim became more reckless, but I was experimenting to see how well I could shoot if I had to shoot several rounds off quickly. For the most part I still hit within the circles, so I was satisfied that this was something I might actually be able to do.
When we finished for the day he said “I think I’ve created a Monster” and I laughed, replying “Now people are going to start calling me Annie Oakley!” I took some pictures of the target, and texted my hubby with the picture. His reply was “Well well, Annie….” And so it begins…..
Today he took me to the range close to where I live, and I managed to get off 90 rounds. I used the same pistol as before. This time the target was only twenty feet away. I think I did better, but I don’t know if that’s because I am getting better, or if it is because the target was closer.
Now my hubby, step-father, and mother are all encouraging me to go out and buy a hand gun of my own. I went to Gander Mountain yesterday with my step-father while we were running errands to try to buy some ammo for his guns, and while we were there we consulted with the guys in the firearms department about their recommendation. I have small hands, and some physical concerns.
They recommended a Bersa Thunder 380. I was shocked to see how expensive guns are! They let me hold one in my hand, and I agreed that it felt “right” in my hand. As if a gun will ever feel “right” in my hand. But it had a good light weight to it, and felt well-balanced. They told me that if I wanted a gun for protection that a 22 caliber was not a good idea. (They said that if a guy was attacking me that the 22 caliber would just “piss him off” but that the 380 caliber would stop him. Since I don’t want to “piss off” an attacker, I guess that a 380 would be a better choice.) The told me that this Bersa Thunder 380 gun has very little recoil, and is very accurate. They explained that this type of gun had a different recoil that would be going back into my body more than upwards, and that should decrease the possibility of hurting my hands. (I’m not sure which type of recoil is actually “better” for me at this point!)
I was concerned about the barrel length because the Bersa barrel is shorter than the barrel of the 22 I was using, and I thought that a shorter barrel would be less accurate. My hubby tells me that the velocity of a 380 will make up for the shorter barrel. I don’t know that much about the logistics of guns, so I’ll have to trust him on that one! I like that the Bersa has an optional laser feature that could be used to increase accuracy. I like that idea a lot! If I’m trying to defend myself, that would be a big benefit!
I’ve been watching some YouTube video reviews about the Bersa Thunder 380, and I haven’t come across any negative information about the gun yet.
I don’t know if I will end up getting one or not. I’d like to try it out before I buy it, and I don’t know if there is anywhere around here that will let me test fire one before committing to the purchase.
Are guns an evil necessity? I hate to think that they are, but maybe they are. That makes me sad.
I’ll have to give this some serious consideration. My money doesn’t grow on trees, and I still am ambivalent about being a gun-owner. But I AM concerned about protecting myself against my crazy neighbor. I’ve already tried to get the police to help, and there really isn’t much they can do until he actually attacks/kills one of us….. what to do, what to do…
When we go out to eat dinner, my hubby wants to order steak. Rarely will he order anything else. He tends to want to go eat at Outback Steakhouse because he can get a good steak cooked exactly the way he orders it – medium. I always order my steak medium-rare.
Whenever we order a steak cooked medium, or medium-rare, the waiter explains that the steak will have a warm, pink center for medium, and a pink center for medium-rare. We always agree that is what we want.
We have been ordering our steaks like that for as long as I can remember. I’m not going to divulge our ages here, but let’s just say that we are baby-boomers, so we have not just fallen off of the turnip truck when it comes to restaurant food.
One of our favorite cuts of beef is a prime rib, but we don’t order it very often because when we go to a restaurant and order a prime rib, the piece of meat is so large that it fills up the entire plate, and no one person can finish it.
For the past several months I’ve been trying to get my hubby to try something “new” to us. A restaurant in Bealeton that claims to be “Fine Dining” and “Voted #1 Top Italian Restaurant by the Washington Post.” This restaurant has “Prime Rib, grilled to your pleasure” on their menu. That restaurant is called “Joe’s Italian Restaurant.”
Last night (Friday night) my hubby decided to humor me and take me there to eat dinner. I was pleased that he agreed to try a new restaurant! That is a rare moment, trust me!
Before leaving the house, however, we decided to call the restaurant to verify that it was, in fact, open, and had prime rib available that night. We didn’t want to drive all the way there just to find out that they were “sold out.” So I called the restaurant. A woman with a slight foreign accent (I don’t know what kind of accent) answered the phone, and I asked her to please verify that they have prime rib available to be served tonight. She didn’t seem to understand my query.
I had to repeat the request about four times, and I had to explain to her twice that we did not want to come to the restaurant if they didn’t have any prime rib available. I was starting to get frustrated with her inability to understand what I was saying. I grew up in Northern Virginia, and my accent is commonplace in this part of the state. I started to wonder why the woman was having such a hard time understanding me!
Eventually she put me on hold and went to ask someone. After a few minutes she came back and told me that they had it available. I asked her if we needed to make reservations. She didn’t understand my question, so I repeated it. And repeated it again. And repeated it again “Do………….we……….have…….to……….make………reservations?” with about a twenty-second pause between each slowly pronounced word. Finally she seemed to “catch on” to my question and replied “no, no reservations are required.” So I asked her how late they were open that night (had to repeat that question twice) before she answered that they were open until 11 but their kitchen closes at 10:30.
I thanked her and said goodbye, and we proceeded to get ourselves “presentable” and headed out. Driving from our place to the restaurant was over a twelve-mile drive, and the drive took about twenty minutes.
When we pulled into the parking lot around 7pm I was surprised by how few cars there were, but that didn’t set off any warning bells. In retrospect, they should have! We parked our car and as we approached the building, I noticed two very faded, tattered and torn flags flying above the roof-top. One American Flag, and one Italian. For a moment I wanted to stop and take a photo of the tattered flags, thinking that I would later try to show those photos to the business owner and suggest to him that it was time to replace them. But my cell phone was not “at the ready” to take the photo, and I wanted to get inside quickly before my hubby changed his mind, so I didn’t say anything.
I noticed a banner on the side of the building that in addition to the Italian Restaurant, that the place is a “hookah bar” and mentioned that to my hubby. I wondered how that whole arrangement worked, whether we would be subjected to smelling any smoke from the hookahs.
When we entered the building, we noticed that we had to walk down a hallway to get to the dining room. A few feet into the hallway there was a glass door that led into a darkened room. I could make out the shadows of some idle hookahs on a counter near the door. The room appeared to be void of any human life, and we kept walking down the hallway.
At the end of the hallway, we had to turn left to get to a small foyer where there were chairs and a podium with a cash register. Someone was seated on one of the chairs. I assumed that was a customer waiting for a take-out order.
I couldn’t see any signage advising us whether to seat ourselves, or wait to be seated. We stood there for a moment, and a female employee approached us, looked at us quizzically, and asked us if we wanted a table. I said “yes” and she said “this way” and she walked towards the dining room. We followed her and she directed us (by pointing) to a corner table, and gave us a couple of menus. She removed the two extra place settings from the table and walked away. She did not ask us any questions, or tell us who was going to be our server, or anything. She just walked away.
The small-sized dining room appeared clean and had a nice feeling to it. There were only two other small groups of customers seated at tables. There were two waitresses taking care of the dining room. So far I was thinking that this was going to be a good experience.
Within a couple of moments, before we had the chance to look at the menus, a different female employee approached us and asked us what we wanted to drink. She did not tell us her name. She was a young, slender, fairly pretty young lady with dark hair. We didn’t know it at the time, but she apparently was going to be our waitress for the entire night. I asked her if they had ginger ale, and she said “no” so I asked if they had “Sprite.” She said yes, so I asked for Sprite. She asked my hubby what he wanted and he told her he wasn’t sure yet, and asked for a few moments. The waitress did not understand what my husband said, so I had to tell her that he wasn’t sure yet, and would need a few moments. She agreed, went away, and came back with my Sprite a few moments later. I was pleasantly surprised that it actually tasted like Sprite! She asked my husband again what he wanted to drink, and again he said he would order something later.
We looked over the menu, trying to decide what we wanted to order. We hoped to order an appetizer, one prime rib meal with an extra potato on the side, and dessert. We were thinking we would share the prime rib, anticipating a large slab of meat.
When the waitress came back to take our order, I ordered the cheese-sticks for an appetizer, and my husband asked the waitress to talk with him about the salad. According to the menu, a salad comes with the prime rib meal. Essentially he wanted some iceberg lettuce, some cheese, and croutons, nothing else. He explained that he did NOT want onions, or tomatoes on his salad. He wanted iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, cucumbers, shredded cheese, croutons, and Italian dressing. She did not understand what he was saying, and I had to explain it to her again. She still didn’t understand, and disappeared for a few minutes. When she came back, she explained that their Caesar salad had what he wanted on it, but that it also had shredded carrots and onions. (Side note, Caesar salad costs extra.)
So my husband ordered the Caesar salad, instructing her to hold the onions. Then we ordered the cheese sticks, the prime rib and an extra side of potato. I asked her to bring an extra plate so we could share the prime rib. She looked shocked and told me that the prime rib was only big enough for one person. The menu did not explain how large the prime rib is, only that it was “grilled to your pleasure.”
So I decided to order a “steak turnover” – essentially a hamburger calzone. I figured that we could take that home in a take-out box and let my son eat that later on. And my husband ordered a coke to drink.
The six cheese sticks came out the same time as the salad. The cheese sticks had good flavor, but they were not as warm as most restaurants serve them – the cheese inside was quite solid, not melted and gooey at all, and they cooled off very quickly. The salad did not have any carrots, and the dressing they brought was the wrong kind. I don’t know what it was – it looked like ranch dressing. We had to ask them to bring the right kind of dressing.
Before I had finished three of the cheese sticks, much to my surprise, the “steak turnover” arrived and was put in front of me. The prime rib meal had not arrived, so I moved the turnover to the corner of the table. I didn’t want to start eating that before we had the chance to share that highly anticipated prime rib! I remarked to my husband “What kind of service is this, where only two people are dining and one meal comes out before the other one comes out? This is quite odd!”
A few moments later the waitress noticed that I had put the “turnover” aside and she asked me if there was something wrong with it. I told her that I didn’t want to start eating that before the prime rib arrived. She replied “the prime rib is being prepared, but it takes a while to fix it.” I replied “that’s OK, I’ll wait.”
Half-way through the salad my husband bit into a piece of onion, and became very distressed. He removed it from his mouth and excused himself to go into the restroom to vomit. He was gone for about five minutes.
When he returned to the table, visibly shaken, he pushed his salad aside. Eventually our waitress appeared in sight and I beckoned her over to the table. I explained to her that we had ordered “no onions” on the salad, but that there were onions in the salad. I asked her to take the salad away and to give us credit for the salad. I explained that he did not want another one. She spun around and left the room, returning with another woman, who decided to argue with us that there were no onions in the salad. She said that she prepared the salad herself and that there were no onions in it. She explained that there are no onions in a Caesar Salad! My husband told her that he knows the taste of onions when they enter his mouth, and there was an onion in it! He had even spit it out! He showed it to her on the side of his plate! I explained to the second woman that our the waitress had told us that there ARE onions in the Caesar salad, and that she is telling us that there aren’t. I asked her “which is it? Who is right?”
My husband then said “please just take it away, and don’t bother bringing a new one. I don’t want to take a chance on getting one with onions in it.” The waitress said “Oh my God” as she picked up the salad plate, turned, and left the room.
The employee wanted to continue to argue with us about the salad, protesting that there no onions in it. I told her that I wanted a credit on the tab for no salad, and they said “no.” My husband said “just take it away please” so they took it away.
Several minutes later a plate with the prime rib arrived, with one potato on it. The waitress brought a bottle of A1 steak sauce and put it down beside me. No steak knives were provided. The extra side potato did not come out right then. No extra plate came out for us to be able to share the prime rib. The plate was put down in between my husband and me. The piece of meat was the sorriest looking excuse for a piece of beef I have ever seen in my life! It was maybe one-half inch thick (at the most.) The meat was about three inches wide and about five inches long.
I took my dinner knife and cut about 1/3 off of the piece of meat. There was no pink inside, it was brownish-gray all the way through. The steak was well-done. Disappointed, I decided to take a taste, thinking that if it was tasty I would go ahead and eat it and not say a word. I took a bite, and it was nasty. My husband looked at the meat and told me that he was very upset that it was over-cooked, and declared it “dog food.”
We waited until the waitress appeared again (it took a few minutes) with the additional baked potato. I told her that the meat was “well done” and we had ordered “medium.” I told her that we wanted a different piece of meat.
She told me that the meat was not “well done” and that it was “medium.” I told her (and showed her) that there was no pink in the meat at all. She argued with me, insisting that it was “medium.” I asked to speak to the manager, and she said OK and left.
Expecting to have the manager come to the table, my husband and I waited at the table for at least ten minutes. We talked about the situation while we waited. We were obviously very displeased with the entire experience by now, and just wanted to leave. We did not eat anything else.
After a few more minutes, the waitress came to our table and gave me the check! Why she didn’t give it to my husband, I don’t understand, but I gave it to my husband, while telling the waitress again that we wanted to speak to the manager. She told us that we would have to wait! I asked her for a take-out box for the “steak turnover” and she said “OK.”
My husband looked at the check and was quite upset to see that we were being charged $50 for a meal that was, by all accounts, horrible! I told him we shouldn’t have to pay for it because we didn’t eat it. He told me that if we didn’t pay for it we could be arrested for theft of services!
After another extended wait, we were asked to come to the podium around the corner. I thought that was very odd – in the past if I have ever asked to speak to a manager in a restaurant, the manager came to the table and would ask “how can I help you?” I asked again for a take-out box for the “steak turnover.” We left the table and went around the corner where saw a very young man standing there.
I advised him we wanted to speak with the manager, and he said that he was the manager. He did not tell us his name. What is it with this place? No one tells us their name, and no one wears name tags either! I told him that our meal was unacceptable and we did not want to pay for it. He asked what the problem was, and I explained it all to him. Every detail that was wrong. He quickly became very defensive, defiant, and argumentative. He claimed that he was the one that had cooked the prime-rib and that it is illegal to serve meat “with blood still in it.” He said that if it is still pink inside then it still “has blood in it.” He insisted that if the meat was well done it would have been blackened to a char.
I explained to him I have never gone to a restaurant and been told that! We have always been able to get a steak with a “pink, warm center” and that was the definition of “medium.” He told me that he had been cooking there for five years and he knew what he was doing and that meat was cooked “medium.” He refused to budge on the definition of “medium.”
I told him that the salad was unacceptable, that the steak turnover was delivered to the table too early, and he blamed all of that on the waitress and refused to take any responsibility other than to say that he would “talk to her about that later.”
I told him that I wanted a discount on the tab because the meal was unacceptable. He looked at the tab and said we had been given half-off of the salad (we shouldn’t have been charged extra for a salad to begin with since it was supposed to be part of the meal!) and that was all the discount we were going to get!
My husband, frustrated and tired, then declared “let’s just pay the tab and get something decent to eat at McDonald’s on our way home” and he stepped up to pay the tab. “Let’s go!” he said.
I told him we still needed to get our untouched steak turnover into a take-out box to bring home with us, so we returned to the table to see if the take-out box arrived yet. A pizza take-out box was sitting on the corner of the table, so we put the turnover, the left-over cheese sticks and untouched baked potatoes into the box. We left the prime-rib sitting on the plate on the table. I did not even want to bring that horrible thing home to give to the dogs!
Leaving the table, I told my husband “don’t leave a tip” and he replied “I don’t plan on it!” As we left the restaurant, the manager called after us “have a good night!” We didn’t respond. We had nothing good to say to him. But I did tell my husband that when we got home, I was going to write a review on Angie’s List and Google Reviews, on my blog, on Facebook, the Yahoo Group that reviews restaurants in Fauquier County, and wherever else I can warn people to stay away from this place! I want to even contact the Washington Post and ask them how and why this place ever got to be rated #1 for Italian Food! Poor service, bad food. We won’t be back. Lesson learned.
The worst part of this all is that now it will be a cold day in Hades before I can ever convince my husband to try a “new to us” restaurant! Maybe we should buy stock in Outback!
The following post is inspired by a question I read from a yahoo community group. The question was about whether Rid-X is a good thing to use. The person posing the question was having trouble with their toilets backing up, even though they had recently had their septic tank pumped. I decided to reply with my opinion, and then decided to share it here, thinking that maybe this will help other people with septic systems.
I am from a family of plumbers, (My step-father was a well-known local plumber, and I have a brother that is still in the business) and I have lived with septic systems since 1978. So far I have lived in three different houses with septic systems, and have had pretty good luck with them.
Depending on the size of your tank, and how many people you have using the bathrooms, and laundry habits, pumping a system every 2 to 5 years is a good idea.
A good septic tank cleaning service will, after pumping your tank, ask you to flush your toilets, one at a time, while they look at the tank before they close it up. They will make sure that water is flowing smoothly into the tank, at a decent rate. Sometimes things get clogged up in the pipes in a house that will prevent the flow of waste into a septic tank.
Sometimes people will flush paper towels, napkins, tampons, sanitary napkins, baby wipes, even diapers and underwear down the toilet. Some people use the toilet as a way to rid themselves of spoiled food from the refrigerator that is too large to go down a kitchen drain. Some young children will flush toys, or small items such as watches, hair ornaments, ping-pong balls, etc. down the toilet. These items will often not make it all the way into the tank, will lodge inside the pipes in the house, and can be the cause of toilets backing up.
Everyone who uses the bathrooms in the house should be educated as to what should, and should not, be flushed down the toilet. A good rule of thumb should be if it is not something natural coming from a person’s body, don’t flush it! Some families don’t even flush toilet paper down the toilet, opting instead to put it in a trash can beside the toilet.
If toilet paper is to be flushed down the toilet, (and face it, most of us want to flush the toilet paper!) it should be safe for septic systems. Some brands of toilet paper are not safe for septic systems. Toilet paper that IS safe for septic systems should say, on the package “Safe for septic systems.” (To be honest, it has been years since I have looked for that notice – I use Quilted Northern and never had a problem.)
There are a lot of commercials lately advertising using moist wipes to “clean your bum” better than dry toilet paper alone. Their increased popularity has created an increase in sewage problems. Some moist wipes, like diaper cleaning wipes, clearly say they are NOT safe to flush, but people might flush them anyway. If you use a moist wipe for personal cleaning, make SURE that the package says that it is “flushable.” Consider that just because the wipe is considered “flushable” that it might not be safe for a septic system! If it is not both flushable and safe for a septic system, then play it safe and put it in the trash can instead of the toilet!
Rid-X is basically yeast, and will not hurt a septic system. A packet of bread yeast flushed down the toilet has the same effect. If you use bleach in your laundry, or if you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen and use it to grind up meat products, or scrape grease, or pour fat down your kitchen sink drain or flush it down the toilet, that kills the naturally occurring yeast in your septic system that it needs to keep running smoothly. Pipe clearing chemicals such as Drano or Liquid Plumr can also kill the yeast and bacteria you need in your septic system in order for it to function properly. The yeast in Rid-X helps to counter-act the side effects of meat, grease, fat, bleach, and pipe clearing chemicals.
I have been lucky and not had to use Drano or Liquid Plumr very often. I have used that little plumber’s snake that comes with the Liquid Plumr, though! I put hair-catching strainers in the bath-tub drains to keep them from getting clogged, and clean them after every shower. I’ll use a plumber’s snake to try to clear out the drains before using chemicals to remove clogs. I’ve lived in this house for eight years now and only had to use one of those products one time in those eight years! I’m sure that has helped to protect the health of the septic tank.
Personally, I have used Rid-X a few times. I think I’ve used it in this house only two or three times. If I used bleach, or pipe clearing chemicals, I would use it more frequently – probably every time I used the bleach or pipe clearing chemical! I know the box indicates that it should be used frequently – I think it says once a month. I think it is a good idea to use it, and all of the plumbers and septic tank maintenance employees I’ve spoken with endorse using it. I know it won’t hurt your system, and it might help.