My mother was visiting this weekend. My youngest had a big marching band performance this weekend, and it was also the Homecoming Dance, so we thought that this might be a good weekend for my mom to see my daughter in all of her outfits. Mom really enjoyed it. There was just one problem...
My mother was driving me crazy.
I'm sure I'm
not the only daughter to experience this. I do love my mom dearly, but
I'd so much rather visit her at her house, or at a neutral location like
a hotel on vacation. That way, nothing she dislikes is my fault. She's
80 years old, and though she is still fairly independent, things start
to fall apart when she's not on her own home turf. She doesn't know how
to work my TV, she needs help working the shower knob, she can't figure
out the ice/water in the fridge door. And then there's the usual
"mother" things like "What are you doing?"... "Can you see there?"...
Are you sure you have enough light?" (Yes Mom, it's an iPad, it has its
own light). "An iPad? What does that do?"..."Do you talk to people on
there?"... "Did you know the basement door is open and the light is on?"
(Yes Mom, I'm doing laundry down there and the drier is almost done).
You'd think as a 50 year old woman, that I could handle these things on
my own. I know that we all start to lose our filters as we age, but I
have also already informed my own children that if I ever start sharing
intimate details about my bowel habits and hemorrhoids, that they have
permission to stop me and remind me about my own mother.
needless to say, I was looking for a little break this weekend. I had to
miss my usual local IDPA Match because of the marching band performance
on Saturday. I also had to miss a less local USPSA Match that I often
go to on Sunday. Those shooting matches are my outlets. I get outside,
get some sunshine (hopefully), get some fresh air, get to talk to people
about non-hemorrhoidal topics, and I get to shoot stuff. But those two
things were "out" on a weekend when I really needed the mental break.
(Well, maybe "mental break" is a bad term to use - that makes it sound
like I'm on a rooftop in a tutu yelling things about hemorrhoids) I
really just needed a little "me" time.
Then, in the midst of all
this appeared my salvation -- a Facebook post from my local gun shop
about a gun show this weekend. Perfect! We'll go to brunch, then I'll
bring Mom back home so she can have a nap, and I'll take an hour or two
away and check out the gun show! Ta-da!
The first time I went to a
gun show alone, I was completely intimidated. All I had heard about
them was from the media. The media made it sound like a gun show was a
cross between the Cantina on Mos Eisley (you know - the "wretched hive
of scum and villainy"?), and the street corner guy in a trenchcoat.
reality was a blessed relief. That first show was held in a National
Guard Armory - hardly the dimly lit, smoky back room that I anticipated.
No, this was more like a church social. It was brightly lit and smelled
like hot dogs and pie. There were local people who knew each other,
there was beef jerky and jewelry for sale, and fund-raiser raffles,
there was even a restored WWII jeep on display by a vets organization...
and there were guns. But nobody approached me in the parking lot
looking to buy a Kalashnikov ... or an RPG. There was nobody huddled in
the corner making nefarious- looking deals. Everyone there was "on the
up and up". It appeared to me that every seller was a licensed dealer.
after that initial experience, it didn't bother me in the least to
mosey down to the gun show this weekend and get a little "me" time. I
paid my $7 entrance fee, and even paid in all "ones", because they were
running low. I filled out my door prize ticket, dropped it in the barrel
and went on in. There was a definite Sunday flea market flavor to some
of the vendors. There was no Jeep this year, but there were still tables
full of musty WWII (and other eras) memorabilia - unit patches,
canteens, and the usual handful of captured "collectible" Nazi gear.
There was a handmade jewelry table, and even one with jewelry made out
of spent brass. But the unique item prize for the day I think went to
the wind chimes made out of spent .50 cal brass.
around for awhile, perusing the antique/collectible guns and trying to
educate myself a little. I even play a little game with myself sometimes
- can I identify this or that gun just by shape, before I lean over and
read the manufacturer badge - silly maybe, but it's an intellectual
As I wandered around from table to table, I reached
the tables of the gun shop that I often frequent. Before I even looked
up from the pistol case, the owner recognized and greeted me. That was a
little weird to realize that I was enough of a "regular" that he knew
me on sight, but I guess it's also a good thing to have an actual
relationship with a shop owner - you both get to trust each other. (Boy,
have I made progress from a few years ago when I timidly stepped into
my first gun shop where that other guy tried to bamboozle me!)
I was asking him a few details about the M&P9c vs the Shield and we
talked a little about the challenges of women carrying concealed, when I
glanced across to his tables on the other aisle. I smiled and noted to
him that he still had that Colt...
"Oh yeah" he said, "It's still
here, and I can make you a smokin' deal, cuz I don't want to have to
pack it up and take it home."
"Oh really? Hmmmmm" ... I replied, as my credit card started getting warm in my pocket.
Colt was an M4 done up in Magpul and a "Muddy Girl" paintjob. I had
been watching it ever since it showed up on the shop's Facebook photos
back in the summer. At first, it was just a passing interest, because it
was a Colt, and I liked the paint job; but I dismissed it with an "I
don't need another gun right now", and "I already have a .223". As the
months drew on, I noticed that it was still on the shop wall every time I
went in. I mentioned it to the owner in passing as I was completing
another transaction a couple months ago, and we talked a little about
trying to get my daughters interested in shooting. But, I left the shop
without it - hoping that someone else would just buy it already, so
that it would release its temptress hold on me.
It was now a
couple months later, and there lay the same gun - looking all bright and
sassy on the gun show table. Never being one to pass up a "smokin'
deal" if I could help it, I wandered over to the other aisle to take a
look at it. The shop owner smiled and taunted me, "You know you want to
pick it up - and it matches your shirt, too", he teased.
did feel pretty good, and since I was in the process of tricking out my
existing .223 to be more 3-Gun friendly, it might be advantageous (and
fun) to have an open-sights gun to entice my daughters into trying rifle
shooting. At least, that was my rationalization. I can rationalize
ANYthing if I want something badly enough. I even rationalized that it
was cheaper than buying myself another LeVian ring for Christmas! Which
brings up one of the conundrums of being a female with disposable income
who enjoys shooting: Guns?...or Jewelry?; Jewelry?... or Ammo? It's a
good thing that I don't also collect designer handbags.
wandered around the show floor for probably 20 more minutes, just trying
to talk myself out of this purchase, but in the end I succumbed to my
lust and rationalization ... and he knocked off an additional hundred
As I was filling out my paperwork and we were waiting for the
background check, we chatted a little about the weekend, and my
children, and my mother visiting. Whereupon, one of the other guys
chimed in with a smile, "Wait a sec... so your mother is visiting, and
she's driving you crazy ... so you're here buying a gun?"
.... Umm yeah, I guess that doesn't sound so good, does it? Ha!
it was a solid purchase, my lust was slaked, it made me happy, and gave
me a much improved outlook for the rest of Mom's visit. That made it a Good Deal in
more ways than one.