Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Scrooge Of July

It's that time of year again, my friends.

Sweltering heat, swimming pools, flippy-floppies - and the one thing that makes me want to pack the house in sound-proof insulation for this week every year: fireworks.

It never fails. I get the kids into their beds later than usual from a day of summer fun, they quiet down and drift off, and PAP! PAPPAPPAPPAPPAPPAP!

I dash to the window to see which neighbor kid is causing me to think hateful thoughts in their direction. It's not that I begrudge them their fun, but I wish that fun could be had between the hours of 5 and 8 PM.

Instead, from 8 to 11 PM we are serenaded with a cacophony of startling explosions. Some are mildly irritating whizzing blurs that only serve to make the little girls run screaming from a haphazard flight path. Others are those awful whistling rockets that zoom into the sky before blanketing the neighborhood with a giant KA-BOOM. Or, my absolute non-favorite, the sudden repetition of the ear-splitting firecrackers.

After bedtime for the week surrounding the 4th of July, my jaws are clenched and my eyes are widened in horror at the possibility of my kids' sleep being disrupted by popping, cracking, booming fireworks.

Would you believe that I'm better this year than I have been for the past 3 years? That I'm less worried about fireworks than ever before? It's true. I am slightly more relaxed now than I used to be. So much so that I only annoy my husband half as much as I used to be capable of doing when I hear a random explosion somewhere in our neighborhood. In years past, Justin would have to usher me away from the window so the neighbors wouldn't see the smoke pluming from my ears. Now he just sighs and shakes his head when I begin my annual tirade against the injustice of late-night fireworks. When he points out that the kids are both still sleeping soundly, my panicky bubble loses a bit of steam.

Are there towns where private fireworks are outlawed? If so, where can I see a copy of their regulations that I may present at the next local town hall meeting? I'd present a much more convincing case if I could find the precedence to back up my proposition.

I do enjoy seeing the large-scale productions that scatter brilliant colors across the sky in celebration of our country's independence. They are awe inspiring and beautiful. From a safe distance. I fear I won't be much better once my kids are old enough to take part in the lighting of their own fireworks. I don't like being within 100 yards of the things, so I can't imagine being comfortable if my babies are any closer than that either.

Fireworks make me a jumpy, nervous mess - due in part to a semi-dangerous run in with a rogue flaming fountain when I was a teenager. It tipped over, or malfunctioned, and shot fireballs at the blanket I was sitting on with a few friends. It wasn't that big of a deal in hindsight, because no one was seriously hurt. But THE POTENTIAL was there. And that potential has led me to boycott fireworks ever since.

My husband used to have way cool bottle rocket wars with the other way cool boys in his neighborhood, so he doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

But deep down? I know that he's just as frustrated by the cracking and popping of fireworks at bedtime as I am.

Because that cracking and popping turns me into an irate mama, and if that's not frustrating to a laid-back hubby, I don't know what is.


  1. Fireworks are illegal here in New York State but that does not stop the nimnuts from popping them off anyway. I am very much like you. And my hubby is like yours. I am standing by my door thinking really evil, un-Christian like thoughts that include a gun and water torture.... my hubby is playing solitaire on his computer and telling me to take a chill pill. I think it's cause they secretly wish it was them. Boys will be boys, no matter how old they get!

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You just made me feel a whole lot better about my neurotic firework fears. I hear quite often from my family and husband that my fears are quite irrational…but I obviously disagree. Thanks for making me feel better about my phobias:)

  3. I am 100% with you on the loathing on fireworks. I detest those pompous people who decide that they must shoot off fire works after 8 pm. Now, sure, it doesn't get dark till after that, but don't they know my children are in bed?
    Fireworks were illegal in KS, but people still shot them off. At least there was less of it! Sorry we're crazy.

  4. I'm crazy here, too, but my four year old backs me up on it. I had just gotten him into bed and was turning on the monitor back downstairs when the firecrackers began outside. He heard them, too, and complained over the monitor, "Mom, I can't sleep with all this racket. There's too much racket!" I feel your anger.


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?