It started with me scouring the internet for the times, dates and locations where I could see fireworks. I may be misremembering and entering ‘Get off my lawn!’ territory here but back in my day you didn’t need to worry about looking up the dates for fireworks because you knew that they occurred on the 4th and only the 4th. The 4th was the only day you and your pets had to worry about being bothered by the loud noises of the fireworks from neighboring towns or the illegal fireworks of your neighbors.

These days it seems Independence Day is a week long extravaganza and the length of it seems to increase every year. Now pets and people get to be traumatized in the days leading up to and the days after the 4th. Sometimes finding fireworks to view in your area on Independence Day is difficult because they’ve been set off on other days. In my case Princeton wasn’t having fireworks this year. Mercer County Park was but they seemed to want to keep their fireworks a secret, as they made information about them so hard to find that I didn’t hear about it until it was too late.

I found that Washington Crossing Park was having a concert and fireworks on July 2nd. The weather was supposed to be nice so my mom and I decided to go. We bought some sandwiches to take there and went on our merry way.  All was well until we saw a sign saying that all state parks were closed. Thanks, Chris Christie. That same day he was seen tanning his fat ass on a beach that he’d closed to the public. No wonder he has an approval rating of 15%

“Oh crap!” my mom said. I told her I believed Washington Crossing Park was in Pennsylvania but when I looked it up online I found to my dismay that Washington Crossing State park was in New Jersey. We were about to turn around when I realized that there’s also a Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania. After some confusion as to whether the fireworks were at the state or historic park, we realized they were at the historic park, which was at the end of the bridge that separated New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We had just barely escaped Chris Christie’s evil clutches.

At the park the people and dogs dressed in their Independence Day garb made for interesting sights. I wanted to photograph them. The trick was doing it inconspicuously enough so as not to be noticed and deemed a creeper. Thank god for the zoom function. At one point while I was taking a picture of a group of kids tossing a ball around a boy grabbed his pants and shouted to his friend “Guess what I’m mailing to you? THESE NUTS!”  Kids these days…

We were treated to a dazzling display of fireworks accompanied by patriotic music. Even though we had forgotten our bug spray, we did not get bitten by bugs. As we were walking back to the parking lot my mom pointed this out and of course the second she said this I felt a bug bite my arm.

Unfortunately on our way home we got lost in the ghetto of Trenton, which is not a fun place to get lost in at night. What made it even less fun was my mom blaming me for us getting lost. A guy had cut her off on the freeway and she decided to respond by raising her middle finger. I know how out of control road rage can get so I figured it was best not to antagonize the guy. I yelled at my mom not to flip the guy off, causing her to get distracted and make a wrong turn. I was only trying to help…

Thankfully I made it out of the ghetto in one piece and was able to accompany my dad, Gabrielle and her daughter Lorelei to another dangerous city to continue my 4th of July celebration. Once again I was leaving New Jersey to celebrate Independence Day in Pennsylvania. This time it was in the patriotic city of Philadelphia.

Once we had traded our original hotel room for a hotel room that would not require me and Lorelei to share a bed, we explored the city. After we’d been walking for a while I tried to get my father to take us to The Hard Rock Cafe for dinner but if you’ve read my Florida blogs you know how hard it can be to get my dad to agree to a real meal while on vacation. When we got back to the hotel he generously gave me money to go get a meal by myself. I’d planned on going to a restaurant but I couldn’t find one nearby. I didn’t feel comfortable roaming the streets of Philadelphia at night by myself so I settled for the food mart across the street, which had virtually nothing of any nutritional value. My dinner ended up consisting of yogurt, Goldfish crackers, vanilla milk and a York peppermint patty.

The next day there was a parade. At the last minute I realized we had no sunscreen. I didn’t want to get burned so I stayed in the hotel.  When my dad returned from the parade he said there had been shade to sit in so my refusing to go was an extreme reaction. He did have a point but what can I say? I’ve been warned about the dangers of melanoma and I’ve heard that famous commencement speech that begins with “Wear sunscreen.”

That night as we made our way downtown to the fireworks extravaganza my father made small talk with the cab driver by asking him where he was from. The cab driver in turn asked my father where he was from. When my dad said he was from Romania, the talk turned to communist countries, at which point the cab driver told us that he loves communism. Yeah, that was kind of awkward.

Once again I was treated to a concert and people in festive 4th of July garb. All was going well until we found ourselves caught in a sudden torrential downpour. We hadn’t brought an umbrella so we used the elastic sheet we’d been laying on as a makeshift umbrella. When my dad noticed me using my phone amidst the rainstorm he said “Kira, what the hell?  The world is ending and you’re tweeting?” The truth is that if I’m around when Armageddon strikes, I probably will be posting about it on Facebook. I might as well go out with a clever status.

My Facebook status on the night of the 4th of July read: “Let me tell you, when it comes to 4th of July fun, nothing beats getting trapped in a sudden torrential downpour in Philadelphia with no umbrella right before the fireworks start. I’m only being about 53% sarcastic.”

In reality I was being considerably less than 53% sarcastic. We were giggling the whole  time and really did find the experience to be great fun. It wouldn’t have been so fun if it had cancelled the fireworks but luckily it went away as quickly as it came. The concert resumed and we impatiently waited for the fireworks to begin.

As we waited I paced back and forth. If you’ve read this blog long enough you’ll know that pacing is something I always do because that’s how I’m wired but strangers view it with alarm. True to form, a woman came up to me and asked if I was lost. I said no and she asked me if I was okay. I said yes but she wasn’t going to take my word for it. She told me I seemed upset and then asked Gabrielle if she was with me. That’s what happens when you go out in public while not being neurotypical and also looking very young.

Eventually the fireworks started and I got to experience another spectacular light show. Once they were over I waded in the fountain since I clearly didn’t get wet enough in the rainstorm. Then I continued my pattern of fine dining by having those good old Philadelphia pretzels for dinner.

The next day on our way home we got a flat tire. My father got angry when he thought I was posting about the flat tire on Facebook but I assured him I wasn’t. I’m sure he won’t mind me posting about it on this blog. When we went to the auto shop to get the tire replaced my father promised us that if the repair took over an hour, he would treat us to a dinner at a nice restaurant in New Hope. Lucky for us, it did take over an hour and we got to have a lovely dinner on the waterfront.

So that was my 4th of July weekend. I was going to end by wishing you all a belated happy Independence Day but considering that as of last night I was still hearing fireworks go off, it’s really not that belated.

Image may contain: fireworks, night, sky and outdoor

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