Friday night, the Fourth of July, Jenn and I went down to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes baseball game and took part in the fireworks show after the game.
Now, when I say “took part in,” what I mean is, “we actually hand-lit the professional fireworks show.”
My boss, Greg, is a licensed pyro and was hired to do the show down there. He needed some help, so a couple of the guys in my department and I stepped up. Hey, it’s fireworks - up close and personal.
Jenn and I got down there about 3:00p, just after Greg. Greg brought Mike, a guy who used to be in my department but defected to go to the Security department (bastard). We sat around for a little while to wait for the rest of the guys to show up. Eventually, Eddie, Justin, and Brad arrived and we started setting up.
We dug out a trench (thank goodness the thing was already dug from last year; all we had to do was clear it out a bit), set up the boxes of fireworks, and then… waited.
At some point around the 6:00p timeframe, Justin’s wife showed up with food - oh, yeah. Eddie also made a burger run, so there was no shortage of chow.
Around 9:00p or thereabouts, Justin, Brad, Mike, and I all got into our fire gear (fireman coats and helmets with face shields). Around 10:00p, the baseball game ended and Greg fired up the first “fusee” (basically a road flare that you use to light the fireworks with)… and we waited while the baseball people got their crap together.
Shortly after, Greg lit a second fusee (they took too long and the first got put out), handed it to Brad (my fireworks lighting partner) and we lit the first box.
It’s like a damn war zone when you’re lighting these things. You have to stay on your knees, crouched down (so your head doesn’t get blown off by one of the mortars), carrying this road flare that’s dripping molten plastic, and paying attention to Greg, who tells you when to light the next box. You’ve got earplugs that help out, but you can feel the impact of each mortar as it fires off. Burned (and burning) particles come raining down on your head and back (that’s why you’ve got helmets and coats) and your lighting partner has to brush them off of you so you don’t get burned.
Scary shit, man, but fun like nothing else.
I mean, it’s dangerous stuff, but we were all being totally safe and careful, and I think what made the whole thing fun was knowing that we were able to blow stuff up in a fun, yet reasonably controlled, environment. It’s that rush you get when you’re blowing things up with M-80s when you’re a kid… but way bigger, and way better.
So, that was my Independence Day. Good times.
Saturday and Sunday I didn’t really do anything of note. Jenn and I did our usual household chores, shopping, etc. Rented a couple of movies (Tears Of The Sun and Save the Last Dance), bought xXx in Superbit format. Got me a nose/ear hair trimmer. That’s it.
This morning Jenn’s cell phone rang at 4:46a and I never did get back to sleep. I’d kill her, but I’m too tired. And now I’m in training, getting ready for class to start.