Friday, July 9, 2010

The show must go on

When the Fourth of July rolls around each year, my husband considers himself a master of pyrotechnics.

I prefer another term.


I peeked inside the plain, brown paper sack and asked, “What exactly is a Dragon of Doom?”

My husband, eyes alit with the kind of manic craziness that usually ensures a one-way ticket into a straight jacket, answered excitedly, “I have no idea, but it’s gonna be awesome!”

He paused then added, “Careful with that. I had to give them my fingerprints and a DNA sample just to buy that thing. So there’s a good chance it’s radioactive.”




As the holiday approaches, days of preparation are in order. Scouring firework tents across three counties and two states. Building launch pads. Checking satellite schedules so he doesn’t accidentally knock out a government-issued orbiter and bring down the wrath of Homeland Security.


But no matter how much one prepares. No matter how many plans one makes. No matter how many permits one files with the local government....

Mother Nature is gonna screw with you.

“Uh, about this rain?” I asked with trepidation as my husband stood just inside the open garage door, his gaze locked on the pouring sheet of rain outside.

He was purple with rage and a slight buzzing was humming off his body. I backed up slightly, knocking into a display behind me and sending pieces of brightly colored fireworks scattering toward the ground.

I cringed and said, “Oops. Sorry.” And ran like hell back into the house.

Mother Nature - 1.

My husband - 0.

Twenty minutes later, awash with the kind of stalwart determination of Never Give Up that built this great country of ours (which also led to the invention of Silly Putty and duct tape) he announced to all that the show must go on.

“I have a plan,” he said.

I bit my nails nervously as a million thoughts rattled through my mind. The first of which was the realization the banks were closed and the ATM has a $300 withdrawal limit.

Because - undoubtedly - his plan had a high probability of ending with a judge and a bail order.

“You’re coming with me,” he announced and pointed my way. I slowly turned around, hoping there was someone standing behind me.


It was just the refrigerator. Unless it magically sprouted opposable thumbs, I was out of luck. My shoulders sagged, and I took a step forward.

“And bring the umbrella,” my husband threw over his shoulder on his way out the door.

So there I was. Standing at the end of our driveway in the middle of a downpour holding an umbrella over my husband as he attempted to light the first firework in the rain.

While part of me admired his determination to follow things through, another part of me - especially my bare toes when he took a step back and smashed them - decided this was getting out of hand.

Just as I opened my mouth to share my black thoughts, I saw him place the lighter next to the fuse and prepare the launch sequence.

Then click.

And...nothing. No flame. No orange ball of ignition.


Click. Followed by a disgruntled grrr as he gave the lighter a savage shake.

Another click. Followed by a more animated “You stupid piece of sh--.”

Then another click. Followed by BOOM.

Which, in my estimation, is exactly the sound of a small sledgehammer busting up a cheap piece of plastic into about a gazillion pieces. But since my husband was back in the garage at this was only a guess.

After a short silence, he stalked out of the garage and said, “The lighter...uh...ain’t working. We got any matches?”

Half a box of spent matches later (because 47 in a row went pffft in the rain before he finally got one to light the fuse) the Dragon of Doom soared high into the sky.

With a BOOM that thundered over the city, it exploded into a shower of dazzling purple and blue flames that seemed to stretch a million miles wide.

“Ooooh!” I said excitedly and shivered with excitement.

And then I uttered the very words that made my husband’s night:

“Do that again!”

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