Target Practice

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gun

Have you been to the shooting range? Indoor, outdoor, your backyard.  Wherever it may be, shooting live ammunition is a sobering experience.

Never fired a pistol? A shotgun? Right here, I have to admit I’m pretty weak in this regard. My entire experience is made up of one blast from the barrel of a 12g shotgun in 6th grade.  40 years later, I bought a Beretta PX4 Storm. For those who may not know, that’s a handgun that shoots 9mm ammunition.

Parked in the lane shooting at paper targets, wearing ear and eye protection against the roar of the cannon going off in the booth next to me, I asked myself, Why? And the only answer I got back was simple. For the experience.

Two years later, I sold the Beretta.

A year after the sale, I purchased a Savage Arms home defense shotgun and a Smith and Wesson handgun. At the same time. And just yesterday, I was back at the range with Dave, trying out his S&W Shield, his Glock, and a Sig Sauer. All handguns of different calibers.

Standing there facing the target, finger on the trigger, I once again asked Why? Why am I doing this… again? And why did I buy a shotgun? Especially a black shotgun with a pistol grip? Guess it has a certain menacing, cool factor to it. I’m drawn to that bad boy stuff, even though I don’t practice the dark arts myself.

The answer to Why? came back, same as before. For the experience.

I will never aim a gun at another human being. The pistol is for target shooting only. The shotgun is for shooting clay pigeons.

“Pull!” Just try to hit that flying orange disc as it launches across the sky. I’ve never done that before. Still waiting for the 10-day holding period to expire before I can pick the gun up.

When the weapons are finally cleared, and are safely in my possession, I’ll write more.

Is shooting safe? It certainly is safer than driving a car and many other things we do daily. In fact, it is extremely safe. Nobody gets hurt when things are done in a controlled, supervised environment, by people experienced in the ways of the weapon.

Target practice is a great stress reliever, too. All thoughts are focused completely on the object in your sites. Your breathing is controlled, your learn to relax and focus. You become very still for a brief moment in time.

It centers me, this act of pulling a trigger and feeling the terrifying release of energy. The arm jarring blow of a 40 caliber bullet exploding from a 4-inch Glock barrel keeps your mind on point.

I anticipate a rather delightful time at the outdoor range when, for the first time, I aim at those orange clay flying targets. I’m sure it will be a hit and miss affair. But through it all, I’m training my body and mind to work in closer harmony, building a skill that I’m sure I’ll never use for anything other than target practice.

Writing Is Like Breathing

words

Writing is like breathing.  I have to do it to live. I don’t recall when I became interested in expression through words. Speaking is one thing.  Writing is another.

I’ve done a lot of both.

From work in broadcast journalism, print journalism, on-air newscaster, and amateur poet, I’ve done a fair share of writing and speaking. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing working as a nurse. I should write about it.

Being away from the workforce for these past 2 weeks has caused me to think more about what I’m doing in this world. Without getting too deep into it, I’ll say the primary thing that’s him home the hardest is this — I’m not really satisfied with myself when I’m not busy.

I have 10 more years before I turn 65. Ten years to work. Write. Speak.

These next 10 are going to be the best years of my life. I’m healthy (except for my hemorrhoids) and rich. Rich by 3rd world standards, at least.

Come June 1st, it’s time to start a new life. Gone are the old days of working 3 days a week. Now it’s five. I’ll be up at 5 a.m. to read and write. Off to work at 6 a.m. to arrive ready for action at 6:30 a.m.

I realize it is action I need, and and working in a busy environment provides me with the stimulation and the offers a significant challenge. I like a challenge. I have never backed down from a challenge.

One big challenge ahead is the need to inspire people. Not 100% sure at this writing how I’ll accomplish that, but I do know I’ve been given the directive to provide leadership, and I fully intend to fully engage with my teammates.

As I exhale, I realize I’ve just written another post. Which is meaningful to me, because when I sat down to write, I had no idea what my topic would be. Now I know.

Credit Cards

cards

Some say don’t use them. Some say you will only go into debt and never get free. Others say use them with caution. Here’s what I say.

Credit cards can be beneficial. As long as you pay off the balance on the card every month without fail, you will never pay interest.

Many cards have point systems. I use a Chase Freedom UNLIMITED card that pays me 1.5 points for every dollar spent. I’ve already cashed in close to a thousand dollars over the past 2 years.

That’s free money, friends.  Additionally, today I don’t pay credit card interest. Never, ever.

There was a time when I paid interest, and lots of it.  There was a time when I was so upside down, so in debt to credit cards, that I thought I’d never be free. Ever. Someone had to die to get me clear of that debt. Such an awful way to clear things up, and that inheritance money could have been put to better use if I’d never gotten so upside down to start with.

This post isn’t about how to get out of debt. It’s about credit cards, and their value. Yes, I know, they can get you in trouble real fast, especially if you’re using them to make basic life payments, and you just make minimum payments on the outstanding balance each month.

But for those who can control their wild spending, and who have the means, a good credit card can actually make you money. I simply run all of my expenses through the credit card. That is, all the stuff I’d normally pay cash for.

The points really add up fast. And the cash rewards just keep coming. This is how I use cards, and Chase likes me a lot. Because they make their cut off the merchants who I’m paying with my card. It’s a win-win situation.

Sure, I could be burned again, if I ever decide not to pay off the card every month. But then, I’d have to be somewhat brain afflicted in a bad way. I may currently be afflicted, but I believe it’s in a good way.

I am not suggesting you follow my lead. I am only sharing what works for me. If you choose follow my lead, that is your prerogative.

Lost Wallet

Sometimes I loose stuff. When I do, it’s nice to know that whomever finds my stuff will be able to contact me. This has happened many times.

My wallet has been left on the Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at Disneyland. It’s been left in a McDonald’s joint. Both times it was returned. But finding my phone number wasn’t easy.

I decided to make it easy, so I had my number laser engraved on the wallet. Now, anyone who finds it can just call the number.

It’s a good thing I did this. Because yet again, I left the wallet behind. This time in an airport. The person who found it turned it in, and the airport security people called me. I had the wallet the next day by Federal Express. The person who called me jokingly said, “It looks like this has happened before. I’ve never seen a phone number engraved on a wallet before.”

Well, thank you. The wallet is now chained to my person, so it should not happen again. But just in case, there’s a phone number engraved on the leather.

Time Off

Been off work for a week and a half now. It’s been a time of introspection, as well as time for doing whatever I want to do.

I’ve been flying with Kevin in his Moony. I’ve been shooting with Dave at the range. Disneyland has been the place to hang out a couple of times. Finished cleaning out the rock riverbed. I probably should have written about each day, and kept a journal of sorts, but I just started this blog.

So now I can write stuff down daily. That way I’ll always know what I’ve been doing, in case I forget. Just look at the blog, Tom.  It’ll spark your memory. Good idea. Thanks for thinking about me like that.

New Beginnings

I am starting fresh.

After 20 years in the healthcare industry, I am moving away from hospitals and their naturally cumbersome requirements and moving into the outpatient surgery world.

My newest venture begins June 1st, 2016.  This is a leadership position with Surgical Care Affiliates — SCA.  I am extremely grateful that I was chosen to be a part of the team.

My new position is Charge Nurse, responsible for the daily operations of the busiest surgery center in Orange County, CA — La Veta Surgical Center. This is an important leadership opportunity for me. It is my responsibility to perform at the highest level, and serve my team.

The position was offered after a multi day interview process, beginning with a phone interview and moving to successively higher levels of interviewers.

It is time to create a new life. 

A new schedule will be in effect.  No more 12-hour shifts. No more being on call, ready to drop everything and come into the hospital for an emergency ectomy on a moment’s notice.

The new schedule will be Monday through Friday with holidays off and sleeping at night. Finally. The new life I have been looking for is becoming a reality.

Stay tuned. I will continue to write about anything and everything as the days unfold.