Saturday, September 06, 2014

Fourth of July came back to bite us in the arses.

This fourth of July turned into quite the adventure in finding a viewing spot. I think P's decision to leave the house so late was influenced by the fact that he worked that day and was tired. He assured me that he knows this city very well, and knew the perfect spot to view. He does know the city very well. At least once a week he goes to random water reservoirs to take samples, so I trusted him. I jokingly told him we should watch from one of the reservoirs, since they are on higher ground. SS was busting at the seams in anticipation of the pyrotechnic display. Just as we arrived at the stop sign where all we had to do was drive across to our destination, a police officer barricaded the street. SS began to panic, and I was fearing the impending meltdown. P told JJ to turn around and drive back home. P grabbed his work keys and gave JJ directions.

There is a reservoir on the same path used by the fireworks crew to reach the launching site.  When we arrived P was shocked to find the gate open and the area outside the reservoir gates (a second gate after the entrance gate) filled with cars and many people waiting for the show. Down the path to the fireworks area we could see a Sheriff's car, probably making sure no one got too close to the launching site. We parked, got out our blanket and sat down to wait for the fun to begin. With about less than 10 minutes before the start the Sheriff car flashed its lights and drove towards the crowd. No way, that is when the dude chose to clear all trespassers? Really? Yeah, really.

At this point SS was comfortable on the blanket in a state of bliss, and the sudden commotion really unsettled her. I got up to leave the area, but P had his plan C and set it in motion swiftly. He got his key, ran to the reservoir gate and asked me to get the van in. I was thinking the wine had gone to P's head, we were being told to leave (technically we were not approached, but since everyone else was vacating it was implied). P grabbed SS placed her in her carseat, and since we were moving a few yards he did not strap her in. That was a huge mistake because it made SS flip a little. Although I thought the move was crazy, since we would be seen, I have no common sense so I went along. We hurriedly made it inside, with SS screaming that it was not safe, "I'm not buckled up Mama.!!!" P was having difficulty closing and locking the gate, and I thought we were really going to get caught.  As he finally gets it locked, P turns around to see that the two tablets and my phone where providing way too much light in the van giving away our location. So he hurriedly told us to "Kill the lights before the fuzz sees it.!" JJ and I ran to do as asked, while laughing at the absurdity of it all. Now mind you, what took me so long to describe happened in about two minutes, and was a bit confusing to SS. Once the fuzz vacated the area and locked the outside gate, we relaxed on our blanket.

That was not the case for SS, who associated our silly dash inside the gate with real danger. She worried that "the fuzz" was going to find us, and who knows what that meant in her innocent mind.  We reassured her it was OK, and that we were just being silly and that there was no need to be afraid of police officers.  A blatant lie, because, you know, Ferguson, MO (where the police department should be a cautionary case study on the effects of inbreeding) happens.  But thankfully she is a tiny Chinese girl. SS relaxed and watched the fireworks from our private viewing area. It was really neat, because we had never watched fireworks without a mass of people around us. Who knew that besides a decent salary and awesome medical insurance, P's job would provide this fringe benefit. It was pretty funny when we we left, as P unlocked the second gate to access the street, the place was packed, and we got many WTF looks. I told P that we needed to discuss with SS what had happened. Not only about why we were there when everyone else was removed; but also about SS's fear about law enforcement. But alas I'm a huge flake and the much needed conversation never took place.

This is the only picture I have of that evening, ironically taken just before the mad dash. Now fast forward to last Friday. Our local minor league baseball team has fireworks after the games on Fridays.  Last Friday was going to be the last fireworks of the season, and P's company offered an employee discount for the occasion. Apparently that is a big deal around here, so P got four tickets. Perhaps he was hoping to make up for the 4th of July mad dash.  SS was even more excited about this fireworks than she was in July.

SS even made a sign for the occasion, Go Storm!. Not even the fact that she could not make it in time to high five the team mascot dampened her firework anticipation.

SS had an unusual day, because she ate all her lunch, and ate a good serving of penne pasta with Alfredo sauce and chicken for dinner. When less than an hour into a three hour game she requested a hot dog we were skeptical. By now we should now better, because an overpriced hot dog is all it takes to make SS ravenous. And she did eat her dog. And proceeded to narc on her father, throwing him under the bus, then backing over him again. SS's combo included chips and a soda. We rarely allow SS to drink sodas, but it was Friday and a ball game. SS noted that "Baba got me a soda Mama." Yep, he did SS. The girl could not drop it. "Mama, Baba got me a soda. He got me a Sprite Mama, it's a soda." Darn, talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

SS never passes up an opportunity to relax.

She was not done with her hot dog, chips and soda. SS wanted "a treat Mama, like maybe ice cream?" And that is exactly what she had, because we are bad,bad, indulgent parents. We knew she would not get through even half of that scoop, and we were right. Suckers.

Baseball games bore me senseless, it is sheer torture sitting through a so called exciting one. But sitting through a minor league snooze fest, where the home team was getting spanked raised the level to water boarding excruciating. I amused myself taking pictures of SS's static hair.

By the seventh inning not even P could take it any longer, he was done. But we had the fireworks to wait for, and we knew SS would be rightfully upset. We thought about watching from the parking lot to make our exit easier. But after talking to an attendant we realized that the stadium and trees would obstruct the view.  When I told P where the fireworks were set up (happened to see it on our way in) his knowledge of the city layout came in handy. He happily told me he knew the right spot to watch and there would be no traffic getting home.

And that is how we found ourselves in the back of a strip mall waiting for the final fireworks of the season. When we arrived there were about three cars there, an indication that we were on the right track. We parked and SS impatiently waited.  More cars arrived full of families so we knew we were definitely in the right spot. The mall security also cruised by several times, which is understandable.  P was listening to the game to give us an idea when the display would begin. The game ended and the emcee was pumping up the crowd, which we could hear roar from our spot. That is when a Sheriff car arrived and parked nearby. We were seated on the back of the van, when P said, "The fuzz is here." He said this in a very nonchalant manner. SS bolted to her feet and said "I have to hide," hightailing it inside the van and crouching down.

Any responsible parent would immediately realize that this was a reaction to our Fourth of July excellent adventure.  Sadly, SS is stuck with us as parents and we had indeed neglected to have that important conversation with her. Her reaction really surprised us, because she reacted like an adult with a mile long rap sheet. And it was funny as hell, so instead of practicing responsible parenting we laughed. As we are laughing we realized that the police officer had a guy bent over the hood of his car. Oh crud, what the heck are we about to witness to further traumatize SS. As it turned out they were posing so the guy's friends could take a picture. Not sure of the appropriateness of that, but we'll take it over a take down any day. And what was P's reaction to the photo op? He wanted to take SS over so the cop would pretend to take her down as well. Not. Kidding. People. How in the world did we ever pass a home study? Don't worry, you are not going to see a pic of a SS take down next.

We thought our private viewing area in July was an awesome treat, but this time we were in for another treat. We had never been so close to the launching site, and it was quite the experience. A positive experience once you get over the fear that the sparks will end up on you. Yeah, that darn close. We now know where to be on Friday evenings next summer, without having to suffer through a boring game.

I had a difficult time focusing because we were so darn close, but it was fun.

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