Friday, January 30, 2009

All Twisted Up - a storm is brewing

The storms hit at my house this week. A level 5 if ever I've seen one.

I'm all twisted up inside. I want to yell, scream, cry, withdraw, attack and hide. All at the same time.

I've posted about my husband and I's arguments concerning hunting. This is not about hunting. This is about safety and trust.

My husband and I had very in-depth conversations about firearms before we were married. We re-visted those discussions as we moved houses and had to decide where to put the gun safes. Again as we had our daughter, as she started walking, as my niece/nephews were older and visiting, and on other occasions. There is no doubt in my mind that I have made it crystal clear that there is never, ever to be a weapon left unlocked. That ought to have been common sense, but apparantly it was not. The last major argument was when I walked downstairs to find guns lying out on the work bench in the basement. My husband said he had left them there to be cleaned and put away. I told him if I ever found a gun left out and not locked up, that all guns would need to be taken out of the house.

Husband and I have differences of opinion. He's a man and feels the need to protect our family. He wants access to a loaded gun for protection. I respect that and appreciate it. So, I tried to come up with something that would meet both our needs. After our last argument, I gave him carte blanche to go buy any gun safe he wanted. I suggested a fingerprint one - easy access, but only by him, safe, can keep under our bed or in his dresser drawer. That was approximately 10 - 11 months ago. I suggested he ask for one for Christmas - he didn't like that idea because it was a need and not a want. He preferred to get a gun for Christmas.

We've had conversations about a gun he was given that is an antique and not able to be fired. It doesn't fit in our gun safe. I asked him to put that one up high on the shelf in the basement, rather than on the bottom shelf where he had it. Husband doesn't think it's a big deal because it can't be fired. I told him I didn't care. If a child takes a gun out and points it her friend, that friend doesn't know if it is loaded or capable of being shot. Heck, people rob banks with water pistols.

That was also my point when he packed his guns in the soft, zipper carry-cases the night before he went hunting. He would leave the guns out in the spare bedroom or the basement. I didn't care that they were unloaded. They were not locked up. Again, a child can take the gun and point it at someone else - that other person will not know if it is loaded or not. All of this to say, I made it very clear that no guns were to be left unlocked - regardless of if they were loaded.

So earlier this week, I went into our bedroom to get the checkbook and register so I could balance the checkbook. We keep it in his dresser drawer. His dresser drawers were all askew and I went to close them. One got stuck and when I went to fix it I saw a gun. Not the one that I know he has in a locked plastic gun case (that he unlocks before bed at night and re-locks in the morning - that I've asked him to put in a fingerprint safe because I'm worried he'll forget to relock it one morning). No - this was a handgun, in a soft carry-case that was not zipped or locked.

I saw RED.

I'll spare you all the details. But the gun was unloaded. He thinks it's okay then. I reminded him of what happened when he left a gun out before. I told him to get the guns out of the house immediately. He said No. I said I'd have to think about where the children and I would go. I meant it - I was ready to leave.

I then slept on it. So has he. I think at this point he would remove all the guns to his parents. But resent me forever. He would see it as an attack on hunting. I want it to be 100% clear that it is safety and trust. I can no longer trust him to lock his crap up and not make it accessible to our children. I was livid when I found out my daughter was over at a friend's house and the dad had an unloaded rifle in a room where my child was playing, just leaning against the wall. My husband knows this. We had NINE children at our house for a birthday party this past weekend and there was a gun in his dresser.

He wants another chance. I told him I had to think about what I wanted to do.

The next night I had calmed down some. He had spent all day thinking up "better" arguments. He apologized and admitted he broke my trust in one sentence. In the next he accused me of being a hypocrite for not having the medicine and cleaners locked up. Then he tried to tell me everything would be okay because our Daughter is scared of guns - he knows this because Daughter noticed a gun under FIL's bed and told Daddy about it. What? How does that support your point? All it means is that our Daughter will not be over at the grandparents until that issue is addressed.
Because Husband admitted he knows he broke my trust, and because he was willing to remove all the guns, and to save my marriage, I agreed to a compromise, under certain conditions.

First - the house must be seriously child-proofed. I went to the store today and purchased a lock for the basement deep freezer, the basement refrigerator, all the cabinets, and the basement door. I also picked up a lock for the closet door that leads to the closet where the large gun safes are. I purchased a big rubbermaid bin for the medications that can be locked with a padlock. As for the guns, Husband will immediately purchase a fingerprint gun safe. Until then no gun is left unlocked.

Second, I have a call in to get a joint counseling session. I want Husband to know that I am dead serious about this issue. I'm compromising to preserve our marriage. I also want witnesses when I say that if I ever find a weapon left out at all, loaded or not, all guns will be destroyed (probably by me in a fit or rage).

Third, our agreements will be reduced to writing. He will agree in writing, not to leave any firearms accessible to children. Loaded or unloaded. Accessible meaning not locked up with a padlock or in a locked safe. Neither of us will permit a child of ours to touch a gun for any reason whatsoever, without joint agreement. In other words, he will not take our Daughter out shooting without discussing it with me in advance. We have very different ideas about the age at which things are appropriate.

Fourth, he must come to some resolution about his relationship with his father. Turns out FIL has guns under his bed and in the basement on the wall. Unlocked but unloaded. And FIL leaves his guns out between the morning and evening hunting sessions. Again unlocked. But Husband says that the gun in the basement is kept there in case FIL needs to shoot a snake in the yard quickly (we do have poisonous snakes here). Well, if that is the purpose, then that means the ammunition must be close by as well. Not acceptable. Husband agreed....BUT he said he talked to his mother to tell her to bring it up with his father. What? I initially told Husband that I would talk to his father since he was apparently too chicken. Then I thought about it. This is not my battle - FIL is not going to take it seriously from me. So I told Husband he had to talk to his dad about it and the kids could not visit until I was sure things were locked up.

Sure hasn't been fun at my house lately. It's dark and stormy with more clouds on the horizon.


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

When I was about 4 years old I found my grandfather's police service revolver in a bureau drawer. I took it out and carried it into the bathroom where my mom was. Pointing the pistol at her, I asked, "Who brunged me this gun?" She must have then had a extra large bowel movement.

The pistol, which was loaded, left our house for good that afternoon.

16 blessings'mom said...

Enola, I really like getting to know you though this blog, and first of all, you do not deserve the BAD MOM award. Exactly the opposite. You deserve a big hug. Every day. And I personally send you one, along with some prayers that you and your husband can work through this stuff, and have it good together.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you have a call in for counseling. Personally, I think you're a bit overboard.

If you put a deadbolt on the basement door wouldn't the basement then become a big gun safe?

I, for one, don't see the need to lock every single thing with a hinge if the door is kept locked.

Is it the least bit possible that (with your job/family transition) you are funneling some unwarranted hostility toward hubby? I mean you appear to have some ground for concern but (once again to me) it seems like you are taking advantage of your "power".

Enola said...

I put a lock on the basement up high because I figured while I was childproofing, I wanted to be able to lock the door with a lock up high out of reach of the kids. This way the Baby can't open it and fall down the stairs.

The lock on the closet is because I want the closet to be one big locked up area because that is where the 2 gun safes are - that are not yet bolted to the wall, despite my repeated requests, and which could be dangerously pulled over on someone. And actually that was my Husband's idea and desire.

And I don't think my new job has anything to do with this.

Nor is there any unbalance of "power" (not sure what you mean there anyway)- after all Hubby is getting his way (keeping guns in house) and I've done nothing but tried to accomodate his need to keep us protected. When it comes to safety of my children, there is no compromise. There is no legitimate reason to have a firearm unlocked in my opinion. Too much danger too. Husband admits he did it just because he was being lazy. That's not okay in my mind.

Kahless said...

I am glad guns are banned in the uk.

Ethereal Highway said...

I don't think you are over-reacting about this. Unsecured weapons are a very, very serious health and safety issue - plain and simple. I'm glad you're doing something about it.

Anonymous said...

It's so frightening to really care about something that needs to change in a marriage, and not have firm confidence that it can and will change. Especially if you, like me, are the type to second-guess yourself to pieces.

I appreciate the way you continue to honor your husband despite everything, and to look for solutions that will really work for both of you.

I also don't see any evidence of overreaction. Kind of shocked at the suggestion that you're going for a power play.

God provide!

austin said...

OMG. I sat with my hand over my mouth the entire entry. An unloaded gun is still a danger. The child doesn't know which gun is loaded and which is not. Oh my gosh.... that's all I can say, oh my gosh.


austin said...

you have email from me E

Shannon said...

Enola, While I think you're definitely passionate in your recollection of this incident and serious debate in your family, I do not think you're "overboard" in any way.

I think it's dismissive to suggest otherwise.

Sometimes, I've observed that when women feel strongly about a topic, they are described as "oversensitive" or "overreactive", etc.

You have every right to feel the way that you do and to ask your husand to respect your needs - your requests are based in a spirit of love and safety for your children. Good for you!

Casey said...

Enola this post really stirred me up. My husband and I argue about the same thing.

He is a hunter too...and has many weapons. Guns are strictly regulated in Canada and we have a large steel gun cabinet with triple locks that everything is supposed to be kept in. The ammo has to be kept somewhere seperate. This is not my say so..but the law. It is a law I very much agree with and appreciate.

A few weeks ago, my brother was coming to stay with me. I went into the spare bedroom to open up the fold out couch to make up for him...and low and behold, what do I find underneath but a rifle! I know it was probably an over reaction but I was terrified..and I was mad! I didnt understand why it would be there, and we had a huge argument over it.

He was getting ready to go caribou hunting, and gave me some dumb excuse that he just was getting things ready. Personally, I believe he just couldnt be bothered locking it up from his deer hunting trip in Dec.

I feel just as you do, and told him I will NOT have that happen again. We dont have kids at home, but for petes sake, what an invitation to someone who might happen to break into the house. I dont like guns...period.

Marj aka Thriver said...

This is a HUGE important issue. I'm glad you feel strongly about it. And by the way, I happen to think you are a very good mom.

Joy said...

You are not overreacting but can I just say I'm glad I'm not married to an attorney? LOL!!!!!

Gun safety is a HUGE issue. I'm the hunter in our home, as you may remember, and my rifles are kept in the safe at my parents house because I don't have one.

That being said, I had a shotgun here, unlocked, during goose season cause I was hunting in the field next to our home and 4 yo son went with me hunting....

shells were locked in shop outside and shotgun was placed behind dresser in closet, not visible.

I pray that you two get things resolved and you both find peace.

hugs my friend!!!