Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Friday, July 4th, 2008

We've had a long, busy weekend. I have lots to say, but haven't been online at all since Thursday. I'll try to space things out.

We had a good time on the 4th. In the morning we went to the Magic House with some friends. We spent a lot longer there than our friends, and missed going out to lunch with them afterwards. But, we paid for our admission outright and didn't feel ready to leave after an hour. We're now members. They applied the $30 in admission we paid to our membership fee, and my emplyer should match our entire amount, which gets us the full unlimited membership for the cost of 2 visits. Next time, we'll be able to go out to lunch without guilt.

Friday night we met up with a friend of mine from high school who recently moved to town with her family. That's a serendipitious story in itself. A couple of weeks ago, I was surfing the net and googled myself for fun. Unsprisingly, the only link that popped up (that actually pertained to me) was my high school's alumni page. My entry was last updated in 2000, and most of the entries were equally out of date. Nevertheless, I skimmed it, looking for people I actually cared about and/or recent updates, and I got a double hit. This friend had posted an update as of April '08, and now lives in St. Charles! I emailed her right away. We emailed and phoned back and forth, and started catching up on the 14 years since we last saw each other, trading gossip on the mutual friends that we still keep up with.

We decided to get both families together to watch fireworks at the St. Charles Riverfest. It was a bit of a calculated risk. I was pretty sure that the 2 of us would get along fine, but bringing husbands and kids (hers ages 5 to 13) could get sticky. The festival atmosphere would provide us plenty of separate activities should things get uncomfortable. We easily agreed to pack picnic suppers in lieu of buying expensive nasty fair food.

Something happened on the way to the fair. There was an accident on the 70 bridge to St. Charles just before we crossed it, and all 5 lanes came to a dead stop. We just past the Earth City exit for over an hour. Trystan slept. Char sang. I watched lemmings headed for a cliff.

We were parked right next to the on-ramp from southbound Earth City Expresway onto Westbound 70. After about 20 minutes, some impatient pickup truck thought he was clever and drove himself the wrong way up the on-ramp to get off the highway--at the end of that onramp, he would end up going the wrong way on a 1-way street with oncoming traffic at at least 45 mph. Yikes. He was not alone. He was quickly followed by dozens more cars. DOZENS. They must have scared the crap out of the legitimate drivers who were trying to get to 70. I'm surprised there weren't any head-on collisions, and I sorely wished that a cop would come and sit at the other end to ticket people.

After that, our picnic and fireworks went smoothly. The families got along well together. We had both packed peanut butter sandwiches, chips, etc. I had made a chocolate sheet cake to share. Neither of us was keen to take kids on the rides, which was also good (no feelings of inequity). We had a great vantage point, near the Lewis & Clark boathouse. There were picnic tables and concrete, and port-o-potties not far away. Char got to try her first sparkler (I burned my thumb on a match...I'm not great with matches...). Trystan clapped at the fireworks. Nothing scares that kid :) The night was so beautiful and cool--maybe 82 before the sun went down--that I actually missed the sting of sweat dried over sunburned cheeks.

We made it home sometime before midnight. Both kids were sound asleep and went to bed in their bugspray. After we tucked them in, my husband and I quietly unloaded the car and straightened up in the kitchen. I remembered being a kid, dragging myself to bed exhausted, smelling of sunscreen and sweat, drifting off to sleep still marvelling over the largest of the fireworks, mentally ranking the show among all that I'd seen in the past. I remember hearing my parents puttering around as I fell asleep. I always wondered what they said with their hushed voices, muffled laughter, and the quiet bumps and scrapes of cabinets, sinks, and car doors. Now I know.

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