I wondered into my local corner Asian nail salon for the mandatory pedicure on July 3rd. The beautiful young college girl who always does my toes was so happy to see me. She had talked me into my first ever big toe design on my last visit so she sorta sees me as this cool old chick she was able to convert. To what, I am not sure. She grabbed my hand and pulled me to my comfy vibrating massage chair, sat my feet in the warm pulsating water and said I've got something very special planned for you sweetie. She always calls me sweetie. That's so she doesn't have to remember my name. She had planned to decorate my toes in a red, white and blue motif with an exploding firework bursting forth from my big toe. She is the artist and my toes are her canvas; yet, I couldn't do it. You know what I really want, what would be great to have today is black. Do you have any black polish around this place? And with astonished hurt in her eyes, she looked up from her work and said, you no like 4th of July sweetie?
Truth is, I've never really cared much for it. In the hierarchy of holiday rankings it is dead last on my list, hence the black nail polish. When it comes around and everyone is all giddy with excitement about the prospects of fireworks and family fun, I'm kinda like.....meh. I have a long and storied history of lousy 4ths of July. I lost a baby once on the 4th of July, you know, shit like that. Suffice it to say, fireworks invoke a sense of melancholy in me that is beyond any conscious level of understanding. And of course, this 4th of July consisted of me sitting still, trying to make sense of a senseless broken heart.
Typically, the kids dad has always stepped in to give them the Independence Day celebration they deserve. I mean just because I don't care for it, doesn't mean they should have to suffer, right? Unfortunately, I started receiving text messages from my son early in the day on the 4th, telling me how bad it was going to suck. Dad's not getting any fireworks this year mom, this is the worst 4th of July ever mom, can you please get us some fireworks mom. Please.
You would have thought these children had been denied food and water the way they were acting. So woefully mistreated they were. It was an act of sacrilege that had been perpetrated against them, taking away their sacred right to bare fireworks. Their dad and I were obviously conspiring to make their lives a living hell. Because you just know they don't celebrate the 4th of July in hell.
They returned to me on Monday morning with their frowny, forlorn faces.
Happy 5th of July, I announced!
Happy 5th of July, my little minions.
It's the 5th of July so we're going to celebrate it with a cookout and fireworks and friends and a cake covered in Cool Whip with strawberry stripes and blueberry stars and everything.
Oh mommy, you're the best mommy ever. Happy 5th of July to you too!
Everything came together just as planned. The burgers were cooked by #1Son while his girlfriend adoringly watched. The fireworks were spread out on the patio table, beckoning the kids to pray to God above for the sun to go down. And finally it did. The moment came for us to gather around the patio. We were armed with copious amounts of mosquito spray, carrying our punks with the burning red tip. I placed a large patio stone in the middle of the backyard for the boys to use as a launching platform while the girls and I lit sparklers and sang happy 5th of July songs.
And then the veil was lifted. The jig was up. This ruse of using the 5th of July to take away the suckfest that the actual holiday represents came to an end. We were systematically taken down, one by one by the most viscous animal known in the world. I kid you not. I googled it. Here is a list of the top ten in the order of fatalities they inflict.
10. The Bear
9. The Shark
8. The Jellyfish
7. The Hippopatamus (but they seem so nice)
6. The Elephant
5. The Crocodile
4. Big Cats
3. The Scorpion
2. Venomous Snakes
And the #1 most deadly, ritualistic killing machine known to mankind, ladies and gentlemen, may I present - the mosquito. This disease infected vampire bug kills in the range of 2.5 million people per year. It has been freakishly hot and muggy this year in Milwaukee, with flooding rains over the past month. We were helpless against their attack. They were abnormally large, mutant, frothing at the mouth Cujo vermin. While dousing my children with bug spray, they mocked me, laughing with their full, bloody bellies. They started to bite through our clothing, on our faces, on my newly ghoulish black polished toes. So, it is to be war, is it?
We came up with the idea to set off a smoke bomb explosive. We had lit one earlier in the day and immediately had to run in the house due to the toxic smell, something of a mixture between burnt tires and elephant dung. My little Commando, being the good soldier he is, offered to sacrifice himself for the greater good. He stood on the patio, holding the smoke bomb, his mouth covered with wet paper towels. When the smoke cleared, he looked like a war hero appearing through the haze, dragging himself off the battle field of bloody carcasses.
We ran back outside and commenced to popping but it was to be a fleeting respite. They came back and they brought friends. I'm pretty sure the entire Cullin vampire clan had arrived along with the cast from True Blood. I might have even recognized a few werewolf mosquitoes. We were goners. We scooped up the remaining fireworks, took them to the center of the yard, lit them all then ran like hell, watching them explode from the safety of our back door.
Oh well, at least we still have our 5th of July cake. Nothing tastes quite as good as a holiday cake with a side of Calamine lotion.
Painting: 4th of July Night Sky