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Posts Tagged ‘4th of July’

Yesterday I went to help set up a big shoot – 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8″ shells for a commercial shoot.  We got the kids moving finally – blankets, toys, sunscreen, extra clothing, bug repellant, Red Bull™…

Drove an hour away to get to the shoot, stopped at Taco Bell™ for the kids’ first feeding at the Bell.  Why?  Because it is cheaper than food.

We navigated through the city – dead like a ghost town – 100 degrees with high humidity.  The fields were brown and the hillside fountain was turned off and even had little deltas of dust in the bottom. No one was in the park.  Not one soul.

We drove up to the gate to let ourselves in and saw a padlock across the gate.  Looking up the hill there were no trucks, none of the crew was setting up.

Cruel Wife pulled out her iPad™ and discovered that the shoot had been on July 3, not the 4th.

The truth is, I was dreading hours and hours of work in 100 degree high-humidity mid-day sun.  It was kind of a relief and I couldn’t have gotten Tuesday off even if I had known it.

So we found another fireworks show that would be held in Gregory.  The best way to get to Gregory is to go to Hell, hang right and stay the course.  We drove up from the south and turned on to Darwin, which leads to Hell.

Then we found ourselves in Hell soon enough.  I have ridden through hell on my bicycle twice for 100-mile (century) bike rides and the route planners had good intentions but the paved roads to hell are smooth as glass in some areas and a killer in other.  Driving it wasn’t so bad.  We stopped and had ice cream in Hell.  Cruel Wife, Lemurita, and Hacker-boy had ice cream.  I had pork rinds and iced tea.  And tried out some hot sauce.

It didn’t make my teeth bleed but it was zippy.  A number of people held their breath while I tried it.

We checked out Gregory and figured out where the show would be and where we could park and then drove home for a few hours worth of rest – it was 100 degrees still and still high humidity so just being outside was less than fun.

I will also add that sparklers are very very hot.  Did you know that they are burning 1000C or more?  My thumb knows that now.  I was lighting Hacker-boy’s sparker, the one that died out halfway using a cigarette lighter.  The flames and sparks shot forward and kissed my thumb from the knuckle to the end of my thumb.  I couldn’t find the hose in the dark and I had one kid, two kids, Cruel Wife in the way as I headed towards the kitchen faucet in the house.  CW got in the way and I just said “MOVE.”

So I spent a lot of last night wishing I could chop that thumb off.  Feels all taut-skinned and deadened right now and hot things are really uncomfortable.  Thank God for WaterJel and ice cubes.

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With a Bang.

Update: Kids, you need one or more of these.  Brought to my attention by ID10T Killer, one of these is ideal for [insert_purpose_here].

If you click on “add to cart” you will get an interesting I-Understand-and-Absolve page that is incongruous with the whole packaged-to-look-like-a-lightsaber thing.

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Update #2:  When you get down to “Entitlement Spending” you are going to weep.  It is graph after graph of illustration of the terrible nature of our entitlement socialist state.  And yes, Bush deserves harsh words for his part, but this is getting out of hand.  Badly.

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If one of my kids were to pull this move, they would be pushed out the door and on their own so fast their eyes would spin in their sockets.  The kid had job offers and turned them down because the job wasn’t glorious enough.

Rather than waste early years in dead-end work, he reasoned, he would hold out for a corporate position that would draw on his college training and put him, as he sees it, on the bottom rungs of a career ladder.

Your first job, in this climate?  You take the job you little punk.

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Our celebration was actually on the 3rd of July.

I said “Kids!  We’re going to go see and hear some LOUD fireworks!”

They said in unison:  “Oh boy, Dad, you are truly and incontestably the Bestest Dad Ever in the Whole World – EVER – and WE MEAN IT!”

No, they did not say that.  They are 7 and 4 years old.  Only in my mind could they say that.

Being kind of young they didn’t grasp the significance of the event.

Our destination was over an hour away.  We needed to be there by 7pm.

We started packing at 5:30pm and were on the road by 5:50pm.

We had:  four lawn chairs, one lawn table, a cooler filled with ice, hotdogs for the cooler, mustard and ketchup, a few drinks on the way, paper plates, two stuffed animals, two sleeping bags, a small butane burner, a frying pan, eight pounds of candy, 6 liters of soda in big bottles, four earmuff style hearing protectors, five fuzzy-foamy squeeze into the ear earplugs, two kids, Cruel Wife, and Myself.

We drove to Jackson.  Now, I need to point out something about Michigan roads.  They suck and blow at the same time.  I had already overdone it by going to the local landfill with a neighbor (carting off 900 lbs of my junk – even with him doing a lot of heavy lifting) and then doing additional cleanup on my garage.  So, “armed” with narcotics and a muscle relaxant – and continuously punished by the roads, thereby keeping me maximally alert (fear not) – we arrived in Jackson and were at the base of the hill that we had aimed for at 7:04pm.

We let ourselves in and drove up the hill (to the envy of thousands of peasants parked below) and met up with my friend who I will call Deranged Bomber.   I had never met his wife.  We got out of the Jeep and asked this lady where we could find Deranged Bomber and she said “Hi, I’m his wife, PsychoChick!”  (she earned my respect and that particular name for her because she was totally into this fireworks stuff, too)

We were then led to PsychoChick’s extended family who welcomed us as if we were their family – giving us hotdog buns, the use of their grill, tongs to turn our dogs, a spot to park our stuff, and lots of understanding for kids.  By the time we left we were just amazed at their hospitality, which frankly I have come to never expect in Michigan.

Deranged Bomber gave me the tour of the fireworks ranging from the 3″ diameter jobs all the way up to the 8″ ones that use a pound of black powder to launch.  Not a small show, this was 24 minutes of non-stop boom-boom.

The kids were wild apes (apologies to wild apes everywhere) and ran for all they were worth.  Frankenboy ran down the hill at top speed even after I yelled at him to stop and turn around.  So I ran after him.  When I had made up half the distance he stopped, turned around to look at me, grinned… and kept going.

Luckily the narcotics were still in effect.  I ran him down and frog-marched him back up the hill, cursing the fact that genetics are a powerful thing and that he got mine.

Another family handed my kids some glow-sticks so they spent time trying to attract fireflies by swinging them all around on strings.   Their choice of location and technique of said glow-stick spinning was physically hazardous to everyone within about 15 feet so I had to quite forcefully let them know that they needed to be more cautious.

Seeing my little girl wilt at the rebuke I tried misdirection… I told Girlhead “You know sweetie, I gotta say… if I were a firefly and I was watching you spin that thing around I’d be all over that.”   I wanted to say “If I were a firefly. undomesticated equines could not induce me to leave” but I figured that would go way way over her head.  That little bit of encouragement spurred both kids to furiously spinning even faster, trying to attract a great many fireflies.

Girlhead wanted to find the latrine one more time so we went.  As we were going back I had her in my arms and she was looking in the direction of the fireworks.  Her face lit up in several different senses of the word and we heard and felt this “**BOOM**”.  She had a grin from ear to ear.  We stood there, transfixed as bursts went off over our heads.  Being that close to them is a rush.  Really really.  We’re talking 100-150 feet.

The only thing I’ve heard louder was an explosion on a data collection for work (planned and intentional boom-boom to train forensics people).  That one was almost felt more than heard and you felt it all through your body – in your chest kind of sensation.

So we started on the trip back off to our chairs, two steps at a time, and she sat on my lap as we watched the fireworks show.

Easily the best day I’ve had in 15 years in spite of ending it on a note of very real severe pain and the next three days.  All things considered it was worth every minute to sit there with my little girl on my lap as we both went “OOOOH!”  She kept saying “Oh THAT one is my FAVORITE!” over and over again.

And Deranged Bomber asked if I’d be interested in getting certified and doing that sort of thing… I said “HELL YEAH!”

Note:  PsychoChick and Deranged Bomber are totally different from what their names imply.  I picked those names for theatrical effect.

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