Monday, June 28, 2010

Safety Essentials for Surviving 4th of July in a Beach Community

The 4th of July is a pivotal holiday here in the United States.  Historically it marks the day this country declared independence from Great Britain, and is celebrated with parades and barbecues and all kinds of celebrations. The 4th also marks the kick off to summer long weekends, vacations and trips for many Americans.  Since moving to Southern California and, more specifically, my beach community I greet this holiday weekend with mixed emotions.  Inevitably, despite warning signs for days and weeks in advance, some fool almost always purchases illegal fireworks and it ends up resulting in this:

I laughed out loud when I saw the name of this pyrotechnic.  About 3 years ago I spent the afternoon/evening with dear friends who annually celebrate the 4th with many neighbors on their block.  As evening falls upon us the more orderly neighbors will begin lighting off legal fireworks in the street while another blasts out patriotic Paul Revere tunes from massive speakers.  Think:  food, friends, fun, lights, and big oooohs and ahhhhhs for all.

On this particular 4th one neighbor had a weeeee bit too much of the liquor and hauled out her $3000 stash of illegal fireworks to light up the neighborhood.  It was a freaking gas-an-a-half to see a light show that contained some insanely big bangs that paralleled Disney in the distance.  Drunken antics aside, I almost passed out half hysterically and half fearfully when a big ol' firework landed on her roof and the son had to frantically get up there with the fire extinguisher to hose it off.  And I was seriously peeing my pants laughing when the police choppers started flying over looking for the illegal firework perpetrator who is a mid-50's mom.  But the fun and games came to an abrupt halt just as the neighbor's crew was about to light off the biggest whacker of them all.  Suddenly a very nice plain-clothes police officer came strolling out of the bushes and ruined all the fun by confiscating the remainder of the stash while poor neighbor sloppily sobbed out an apology never to do it again (and she is genuinely a dear heart who just had a lit-tle too much festive drink that day).  So with this, and several other horror stories in mind, I present to you my personal list of safety essentials that are crucial for surviving 4th of July at the beach....can you tell I'm just aching for the weekend to start?

Safety Essentials

1.  Flame Retardant Suit - If you are spending the 4th in your own beach community there is a high likelihood of you needing this suit.  One year I rolled up to my garage only to be greeted by a very large red fire truck in the alley.  Apparently the yahoo neighbors in back, who had been lighting off their illegal fireworks all week leading up to the 4th, missed one crucial pyrotechnic.  When they accidentally threw it in the trash it exploded under the heat of the burning hot sun thereby setting flame to the back of their fence, patio awning, the other neighbor's roof, and all the trash cans.  Can you say roaring blaze??  Even I know ya don't pull that one..from when I was a kid and my little brother left his illegal fireworks on the kitchen table IN THE SUN while my mom was at church.  Think zhooom BANG red sparks, zhooooooom BANG green sparks, ZHOOOOOOOM BANG mom's gonna kick your ass when she gets home if she can find you in the smoke filled house.  No jokes.  Uh, remodeled kitchen and living room anyone?

2.  Jet Black Mirrored Sunglasses.  The kind you can see out of, but no one can see in.  Brace yourself for this one:  in the chef's parents' neighborhood it goes completely hog wild.  You can't get in, you can't get out - it's a hawt mess.  And apparently it's not entirely unheard of to see the occasional drunken topless girl riding up and down the streets on a beach cruiser.  Ick nast.  You really do not want to mess with an inebriated fool so let the sunglasses mask your eye rolls - and keep your retinas from burning out of your head.

3.  Purell.  If you're brave enough to take on a very busy walk-through neighborhood with bars and such, unfortunately someone might throw up on your foot.  I'm not kidding.  Some people have no shame and are completely out of control.  Purell people, PURELL.

4.  Earplugs.  They help me to sleep in the days leading up to the 4th when the cuckoo birds in back light off fireworks until 2AM with no regard for the working folk.  They also block out the mayhem after the fireworks when everyone and their mother goes stomping by my house for hours to get to their illegally parked vehicles that I've had towed from in front of my garage.  Guess they thought the "NO PARKING" sign didn't apply to them. 

5.  Wet Ones.  Think #3.  Only in the event of a slightly larger spill.  Sadly it's not unheard of.  Chef's even seen guys pee in the street before.  Just thinking about the splash that could hit my toes makes me shudder.

6.  Band-Aids.  Happens without fail almost every year someone falls down in front of my house (not my fault - think tipsy or stampede).  Like any good neighbor I will help if I don't have my earplugs in.  They're going to need something to ease the pain when they get around back to my garage and their car is gone.

7.  Fire Extinguisher.  Imagine if I had come home to that raging trash can and no one was home to call the fire department.  My now much more grown-up brother is, ironically, a proud member of the fire department - and he is adamant about me having a fire extinguisher.  I imagine it could also come in handy if you had to hose a drunken passed out person off your front steps.  True story about the drunk person - not about the hose.  I just politely hollered "get up and keep it movin' buddy. This is not a rest stop!"

8. And finally, the Cocktail.  If you live at the beach and there is an evening fireworks display within walking distance, you will have people from all over in tarnation descend upon your neighborhood in droves.  To survive this day and hang onto your religion in the process, I highly recommend a cocktail or two to ease your pain.  This too shall pass.

All jokes aside - even though you can find many of the things I've listed on the 4th of July (especially at the beach) - there are many, many stand-up Americans both locally and nationwide who take great pride in celebrating and commemorating the day with integrity.  Like any other situation, there will be fools who act out of line - you just have to do your best to pick activities wisely and steer clear of mayhem - which can most definitely be done.  I am looking forward to celebrating with local "adopted" family and friends this year.  Not to sound corny or anything - but the US is a great country to live in and I am proud to have the ability to do so.

Happy Monday everyone!!  Only a few more days!!


Miss Caitlin S. said...

Great tips here!! the 4th is so fun I do often forget about the dangers around it

fashion clocked said...

ha this is hillarious and sounds kind of crazy- i love your safety essentials. Wild times ahead by the sound of it! Take care and be safe!xxxx
fashion clocked
call by sometime!xxxx katie.xx

Cornflake said...

Haha you're too funny you should send these ideas into a magazine!

Have a great 4th July and mind you miss the rif raf drunks! ;-)

MerciBlahBlah said...

Speaking of cocktails, I Totes McGoats made your adult strawberry lemonade but threw in some basil too (I'm crazy like dat) this weekend. Aaaaahhhh - SOOOOOOO. GOOOOOOOD. Next up - your cheesy frittata. Fo reals, woman, just keep posting these recipes, and I'll keep making them. I'd say Chef is a keeper!

Hugs and kisses!

Fashion Meets Food said...

Fabulous tips love! I think that we all get so wrapped up in the 4th festivities that we forget about the dangers that surround them. As a germaphob I have purell on me like crazy. I think I would die if I didn't bring it every where I went...people are so gross lol.

Have a fabulous day love!


Me, Only Better said...

This spring I carefully planned out a road trip that would have me and my family in San Fran over the 4th of July. Of course that trip got cancelled, but I was looking so forward to the American holiday! Now I am not sure if I am glad that I won't be there or happy....maybe a bit of both!

Jammer said...

hahaha the name of those fire works is too funny! Ironically, my cousins almost lit the neighbor's house on fire last week when the fire works they were setting off tipped over!!

Valerie said...

Carrie, that story is hilarious!!! Some people just get a little too festive around the holidays, haha. I agree that earplugs and a cocktail are essential for the 4th. I can't wait for the long weekend! Is it only Monday??


Alicia said...

haha, great list of essentials! I am counting down the days and hoping this week goes by quickly too! :)

Krystal said...

haha, I love the big orange suit!!! =) =) the 4th is kind of stressful, isn't???

Poppies and Sunshine said...

Love this post! You have a great way with words. I am so excited for this 4th of July. Where I used to live I would deal with neighbors using illegal fireworks all the time, but where I am now, people know it would be the end of it all if they used fireworks. So, I will be enjoying a fireworks show this year put on by the town in a safe area.
I hope you have a great and safe 4th this year! I like the idea of a cocktail in your safety essentials! :)

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

witty tips!
Need to get fire extinguisher for my kitchen as well for 24/7 emergency~

Beauty H2T said...

love your posts, you totes crack me up!! wish i could come celebrate with you lady,

have a great one when it comes, I want some snaps please :)


Debby said...

Wow, you have some rowdy neighbors, hee hee. Just proves don't drink and play with fireworks, lol! Have fun. xo

Pixie Dust said...

Haha :))) I love fireqorks :))
If you get the time - and I hope you will :) - please check out my blog. I think you might like it!

Hoping to hear from you soon, sweetie!

Taj Acosta said...

Can't wait for the 4th!! xoxo

Bumpkin on a Swing said...

Love the way your write Carrie, you just reach out and get me. I will miss the fireworks this year. They haven't made it official, but I can't see how they will shoot fireworks over the oil spill. Oh but they let us keep hope till the last minute. Would you believe they are having our Annual July 4th Fishing Rodeo. Cept' no one can fish? Most of the fish are dead? STrange yes?

this free bird said...

Bumpkin this just gets me fuming!! The morons behind running the Annual 4th Fishing Rodeo are prolly paid by the gov't and bp to "keep up a good front" - it insults my intelligence ALL THE WAY OVER HERE so I can't even imagine what it's doing to all of you down there. UGH

I'm mortified by this entire fiasco!!! If they light fireworks over that massive oil spill I'm gonna get my broom out and do a fly by!!

nadia said...

Happy 4th!
And thank you for stopping by the other day.. happy to have found you as well! Love your blog :)
Take care! xo

Style, She Wrote said...

LOVE THIS POST!! Absolutely hilarious -- and you raised awareness. Awesome!

S.Elisabeth said...

haha My dad is one of those illegal firework buyers! He sets them off on days other than July 4th! A cop has showed up to my sixteenth birthday and my graduation party!
I love this safety list, so funny and practical!

shari @ little blue deer said...

Okay, you are rapidly becoming one of my favorite bloggers! This is hilarious, LOVE it. And you're right, combining drunken folk and pyrotechnics does not necessarily a good combination make! XO!

Susan said...

That is one of the best posts I ever read... :)
My personal fav must have is a cocktail but then what would you expect from a fellow Cdn? I can get over anything with a pink drink or a glass of wine or a flat iron.

P.S. - blogger has been deleting all my comments intermittantly. Yours from todays post...gonzo.


this free bird said...

Style She Wrote - thanks so much...hope you are now fully prepared for the 4th - even if you're not in the US for it. hahahahahahaha. I jolted awake in the middle of the night and muttered, 'damn! i forgot the helmet!' bahaha

S.Elisabeth - I completely want to hang w/your fam! I LOVE when the po-po show up!!! BEST EVER

Shari - glad you enjoyed! I kinda have crazy humor so I'm never quite certain others will see it my way. Whew!! And thanks for your kind words, too - I love your blog and it means a lot coming from you. :)

Susan - cocktails + Canadians = magic? yep! and I'm on my way back to comment again. wth w/blogger deleting comments?? that ain't right...

Lisa Lisa Lisa said...

This is really a fantastic post! I love that it is light hearted, but also gets the point across that playing fire is actually playing with fire. And your essentials are great.

Thanks for the thoughtful email. It has given me a lot to ponder. After the trip ends, I'll be sending you a response!

the girl in grey said...

I heard through the grapevine that China is the place to be.

Marcie said...

I love the 4th! We usually set off our own fireworks which is so much fun.

Have a great week!

Jesa said...

haha this was such a great read!

i'm all about the purell!!

{ I V Y } said...

hahahah sweeeet!

corksandcaftans said...

you did NOT include a flame retardant suit in this post. HAHAHAHA.
freaking love it.

this free bird said...

Carey - if you lived in my neighborhood you'd already be wearing one. In fact I'm wearing mine right now while sipping on some kind of red wine. Happy weekend!! ye-hoooo


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