In my short time of only 5 years of marriage I have has some wonderful and eventful 4th of July’s. I have had some very patriotic one’s and some that were ho-hum, but yesterday’s was probably the most eventful and I will likely remember it for a long time.
For each of the last 3 years, we have celebrated the 4th on the Military Base in which we live (and are soon moving from!!). The base has a great fireworks show and often has activities for the kids and plenty food. We also enjoy sticking around because we get together with a bunch of our close friends from Church who have kids the same age as ours. What is also great about the location is that the fort hosts the show on a huge parade field, so there is plenty of open space for people to sit and for us to toss a football around, it is really fun. The negative, like any big event, is traffic and parking. The base pretty well opens up to the public so there are tons of people, in fact three 4ths ago it took us an hour to get home when on a normal day it only takes about 5 minutes (we live on the base for crying out loud).
So, yesterday we decided that instead of driving over we would would ride our bikes and put the kids in the bike trailer (our kids are (nearly) 3 and 1 y.o.). I had been watching the forecast for a day or two and it indicated that scattered thunderstorms were likely and rain was a 60% chance. That was not going to deter us, we just planned accordingly (and thank goodness we did!). Well, our whole group was supposed to meet at the parade field at about 5:30 or 6:00 (PM), we didn’t get the kids in the trailer until about 6:30, when, of course, it started to rain. So we took the kids out and went back inside and ate our picnic dinner on the floor of the house. After about 15 minutes we went back out, it was only a light drizzle, loaded up the kids (with two camp chairs, a tent, and a blanket in the trailer also), and headed off. Oye! pulling that weight on the bike tore me up, not to mention the insane humidity (anyone who says there is no difference between wet heat and dry heat has lost their mind). When we finally got to the parade field and met up with our friends I was sweating like I had just hiked the Sahara Desert. It was disgusting.
I had felt a little silly about bringing the tent because our entire group of about 25 people just had chairs, blanket, and umbrella’s. So I decided that I was not going to set up the tent unless I though strong rain was imminent. As I kept watching the sky I noticed that to the West were huge black rain clouds. This was my sign, so I set up the tent, then almost immediately the rain started. It started as a light drizzle and the picked up intensity, my wife put her and the kids in the tent, and everyone started trying to get under some cover. Me and the other guys there pretty much avoided the tent just to make sure all of our wives and children could have the cover they needed, but then the heavens opened up! I caved and went into the tent and sat with my fam and about 6 other women and about 10 kids (all in a 3 man tent!). The guys, who were all soaking wet by now razzed me pretty well. They said things like, “Swint, you guys having a Relief Society meeting in there?” “How are all you women and kids doing?” I just rolled with it and pointed out that at all Relief Society meetings there was supposed to be a priesthood holder there, so I was just presiding. That got a chuckle. For the record, everyone who wanted to come in came in, besides we don’t own an umbrella, our last one broke, and my daughter was really happy I was there to hold her during the storm. (Although, I joked that I was like George Costanza in Seinfeld when he is at the kids b-day party, a fire breaks out, and he pushes the kids and old ladies out of the way to save himself).
After the storm we all got out, my 3 y.o. daughter was fairly scared so I stayed with her for a while. The parade field was virtually empty, everyone evacuated during the storm. So this was about 8:30 and all was well after that, with a 9:45 scheduled fireworks show. Well, my daughter is kind of a scaredy cat. Last year during the FW show she buried her face in my chest and covered her ears. I had hoped that being a year older would change that. Well, it didn’t. She was sitting on my lap when the show started and with the first crack of the fireworks she covered her eyes with her hands and buried into me again. So, I turned her around and let her put her head on my shoulder, a friend sitting next to us gave us a blanket with which my daughter wrapped herself in like a cocoon, I didn’t know if she could breath. So about 5 minutes in while I am talking to her and trying to comfort her (and fortunately she didn’t cry at all) I felt a warm sensation around my waist and thigh’s, oh yes, she pee’d on me! It was awful, but what could I do, I couldn’t change clothes or take her off of me, she was too scared. So I just sat there, fuming and disgusted. The show lasted another 25 minutes, the whole time I was feeling bad about her and also thinking that I had to ride my bike at 10:30 pm, pulling two kids, and covered with urine. Nevertheless, the show was impressive, the base does a fantastic job.
So we packed up and headed home. Before we left I had found two bike lights that mount on the front of bikes, unfortunately we did not have the mounting brackets, so I just duck taped them on, it was pretty ghetto. I am glad we did though, on the way home we were able to take a bath through the woods in the dark and avoided all of the pedestrians and traffic, it was tough to see at times, but it was fun. When we finally pulled up to the house, my wife went around back to go unlock the front door. I got the kids out and saw that my daughter was doing the pee dance again, just as my wife opened the door and started rushing my daughter to the bathroom, my daughter started peeing again, all over the floor. Ugh, it was awful. Fortunately we got her cleaned up and put into bed. Crazy. All in all we had a really good time and made some fun memories, but we were dead tired.