Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th of July

Usually on the 4th of July we are in Oregon celebrating with Matt and my dad (who spends months at a time there).  This year, we decided not to go and stayed here instead because I had just gone in May.  Staying here sucks because we don't have as good of fireworks, the weather isn't as nice and there are too many crowds, and it's too hot, to go and see any of the big firework shows.

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays.  When I was little we lived in a small town outside of Portland, Oregon and the fair grounds were basically in our front yards.  We would move lawn chairs out, and snacks, and sit with all of our neighbors watching the fireworks from the fair grounds, right above us, so close and loud.  My dad would open our front door and play his War of the Worlds record and we would all ooo and ah over the show.  It was so amazing because they were so close and it was a time for all of us to get together.  Our neighbors, Bruce and Cheryl, would have a big 4th of July BBQ and they always had the best fireworks (because Bruce was a firefighter, after all) and we would spend all night partying and lighting them off in the streets.  Small towns are so much fun for fireworks because every street turns smoky and cars stop for you as you light them off, it was always such a blast.

So, I try to head to Oregon every year for this holiday to light off fireworks with an old friend and smoke up the streets just like the old days.  We don't head out to Hillsboro any more but last year Matt, my dad, Ian and I did scale a fence and watch the show downtown right on the bank of the river, it was amazing.  One of the best 4ths I've had (compared to a deadly but cool one in Winslow, Arizona).  I put a lot of stock into the 4th because I try to relive the old days and get so sad when it ends up being hot and the firework show so far away I can't hear the big bangs.

This year, we got lucky.  We went out to dinner on Sunday and afterwards we saw people parked in the parking lot of a shopping center with their cars pointing towards a Home Depot.  We recently got a new Spring Training stadium for our baseball team, Diamondbacks, and they put it out by an old shopping center (that I remember loving in high school) The Pavillions.  When I asked the people why they were parked there they said it was supposed to be the biggest firework show in AZ after the Independence Day Music Festival at the new Salt River Baseball Fields.  This was the first year they were open, and it was only July 3rd, so we decided to wait it out and see if they were right.  

(Playing Words with Friends in the car while we waited.  Of course Ian had to take his shirt off!)

(No one was there!)

(Watching the show!) 

We waiting almost an hour and a half, and Jenny even came down to meet us, but it was worth it.  The firework show was awesome, kind of the like the one downtown used to be when my dad would get us tickets to sit on the balcony of the courthouse to watch.  There were smiley faces and hearts and even words we couldn't read, it was incredible!  And we were so close, they were right in front of our faces and we could hear them any everything.  It was only 20 minutes but so worth it and I'm happy we stumbled upon it.  So weird, on the 3rd of July!

The next night we decided just to stay home since we already saw a show the night before, and we made cocktails and climbed up on the roof to see how many shows in the valley we could catch.  We saw the show downtown at Steele Indian School Park, the show at Fort McDowell Casino and the show at Tempe Town Lake.  We weren't very close to any of them but it was fun being able to see them all from up high. 


While we were watching the Tempe Town Lake show, we saw a black lab run laps by our house about 4 times.  Since we are in the business of saving dogs, Ian got down and tried to catch him.  He did, and ended up putting him in the small section of our back yard where our pool equipment is to keep him safe and away from our dogs (he was nice but older and wasn't neutered so we weren't sure if he would be nice to other dogs).  Ian climbed back up on the roof to finish the show but then we started hearing strange noises.  We saw the dog jumping up and down and finally saw him catch the top of the fence (7 feet tall) and teeter back and forth on it before jumping over into our backyard, it was amazing!  Animal Control said we had to wait until morning for them to pick him up, but we couldn't contain him, who jumps over such big gates?!  He was so scared and panting like crazy, and we were worried he would jump right out of our backyard.

So, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to try to find his owners, hoping someone was out looking for him.  We found a few people out lighting off fireworks, a new AZ tradition now that we sell some good ones, but no owners.  As we were taking our third trip around, we saw that damn dog run right in front of us, he escaped!  We yelled at him and he walked with us for awhile and then took off again.  We felt bad for not trying to catch him but if he could jump our walls then how were we supposed to hold him until morning?  I wrote a note for animal control to say that he got away, and we went to bed.  I said a little prayed for Dexter, that's what I named him, and hoped he would be ok overnight and that his owners would find him.  I hope they did.

Last night, we had a HUGE dust storm in AZ called a haboob.  A bunch of people got some crazy pictures of it rolling through but I missed the whole thing because I was at the movies with Mary and Jenny.  When we got out it was like Zombieland, very eery, quiet and super dusty.  I was sad I missed the craziness, Ian said he couldn't even see the house across the street, but the aftermath was nuts enough.  Check out this time lapse video of it, so insane.  This morning everything is covered in dust and our pool is disgusting.  Thank goodness our pool guy comes tomorrow!

(Our scared faces after we got out of the movie!)

(Creepy, deserted, dusty shopping center.)

(Layers of dust all over the ground, still.)

(A photo a friend took of it coming in through Phoenix.)

(Our gross pool.  Ian got in it to sweep it.  Yuck.)

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