Almost every year for Independence Day, we go to a large event called Red, White and Blue Ash (held every year in Blue Ash, Ohio).
For the past several years, it has been rainy. We usually try to enjoy the fireworks anyway. Last year, that meant we sat under a damp blanket while we were drizzled on. And ashed on. The wet rain fizzled out the fireworks prematurely, and so there was a lot of ash raining down on the crowd. And a lot of smoke. I'm not kidding about the ash. My face was covered in little black flecks by the time the thing was over! Really, it almost wasn't worth it....Especially since I had to nurse Bug through the whole thing. He stayed under the blanket, attached to his nursies, and missed the whole show. Except for the noise. And you really can't escape from that.
This year, I regret to say it wasn't much better. The weather was BEAUTIFUL (although we are now in a heat emergency for the rest of the week). But, good weather can't make the whole thing worth it. And neither can AWESOME, AMAZING, SPECTACULAR fireworks. Although, that is what the fireworks were...I still don't know if I want to go again next year. And that kind of makes me sad.
We left our home around 7pm. It takes about half an hour to get to where we were going. So we figured we have plenty of time to find parking (and get on a shuttle...because there is no way in heck I was going to walk very far being seven months pregnant, toting around a 2 year old, three fold up chairs, a diaper bag and a blanket in the 90 degree weather...even with my amazing husband to help!)
Before we even got on the highway, we got a call from our Spanish sister missionaries. They needed someone to give a blessing to the little baby of a Spanish speaking family in our ward. We were so close, that we figured it wasn't a big deal to stop and help out. (Hey, I even ended up getting a compliment, that I read in Spanish better than my hubby does...and he's the fluent one!!) It turned out to be a very spiritual experience for me. Of course, I had been having a "bad pregnant day" anyway...meaning "highly emotional, cry at everything day". The little girl was having a bad reaction to a slew of vaccines she had received almost two weeks ago. The story touched home to me, as we have chosen to not vaccinate, due to the risks of reactions in young children. I'm not sure what all was said in the blessing ('cause my hubby's the fluent one, not me!) but I felt such a strong reassurance that our Heavenly Father loves this little girl, He cares about her and the needs of her family, and he will bless her with a recovery. I really was glad we stopped before we went on to the fireworks.
Shortly after the blessing, we were back on our way to Blue Ash. We avoided traffic, and found a -wonderful- parking spot at one of the shuttle stops. But, we noticed there were two lines for the shuttle bus. We weren't sure which line we should be standing in, so we chose the line that had a sign saying "Shuttle Bus Stop" at the front. It seemed more like the official stop. I figured we would be on the second bus that came. Apparently, the bus driver was just going to stop at the closest line of people...which wasn't the line we were in. And as the bus was loading up the people in the unofficial line...ALL the people BEHIND us, cut in front of us to the other line!!!!!!! WHAT THE HECK!?!?!? Those JERKS!!! Finally, we decided we might as well move into the other line. Instead of the second bus picking us up, it was probably the 5th bus that we were finally able to get on. And Bug was crying the whole time we waited. He wanted to get on every bus. He wanted to eat strange berries on the ground. He wanted to pick up garbage. He wanted to take off his shoes. Did I happen to mention (no...no I haven't yet) that he did NOT take a nap. I should have known we were in for a long night!
As we were getting closer and closer to the shuttle, people started walking away, declaring that it wasn't worth it to go, because "People are elbow to elbow..." that happens every year "they are out of pop..." we have our water bottles "they are out of food" we ate before we came "they are out of beer! For cryin' out loud, they are out of BEER!..." uhm, we don't give a darn about the beer, and frankly, we'd love for all you alcoholics to not be there around us anyway "and the port-a-potties are all overflowing." Ok...that last thing was a little bit discouraging...because pregnant women tend to use the toilet a lot. So I started practicing my kegels again, right there in the line! But we weren't going for the food or the entertainment (well...I -did- kind of want to see Peter Frampton), we were going for the fireworks...so we got on our shuttle.
And we finally got there and found my family (and a bunch of other people we know) and set up camp. By the time I was sitting in my camp chair, it was just after 9pm. Two hours after we left home!
And "Ooooh, Baby, I [don't] love [the] way" it all happened...but I MISSED PETER FRAMPTON!
However, I was able to complain to my mom, eat a doughnut, and pass off responsibility for Bug to my little sister. Finally, at 10pm, the fireworks started. We were in the perfect location. Not too close, not too far. And the smoke all blew to the side of us, rather than right at us! I was SO grateful that Bug didn't want to hang out under a blanket nursing this year. He loved the fireworks. He ooohed and awed and clapped. And, luckily, he didn't cry when they ended at 10:30pm. I must say, it was a very nice display. They even had fireworks that exploded into a "U", an "S", and a slightly wonky "A". Pretty cool engineering, I guess...even if it did look like it was written by a first grader!
After it was all over, we walked two minutes over to the shuttle pick up point. All the shuttles were already full and leaving. Ok, great. We'll wait. No big deal. We'll wait. And wait. Oh, there's a shuttle....nope, it's a "Red Line" and we want the "White Line". So we wait. And wait. And the shuttles keep stopping at the other end of people (and they totally should have stopped at our end, because then all the shuttles that came in behind them wouldn't be waiting in line to pick up people, while the first shuttle sat there blocking the way...argh!) Finally, an hour and a half later, we squeeze our way onto a "Red" shuttle, that had been converted to a "White", because apparently, they needed more whites. We did have a really spunky shuttle driver, though, and she made me smile, even after waiting for so long!
And -hallelujah- the traffic didn't impede us one bit. We were able to get home quickly and easily. And we settled into bed exactly 2 hours after the fireworks had ended.
I may have to settle for a less extravagant firework display next year...I'm just not sure if it is worth it!