Sunday, July 13, 2008

A parade, a hike, some "fireworks," a burger, and a lazy summer day

The fourth of July Parade this year in Athens was like trick-or-treating in reverse. Instead of going from door to door to collect candy, Mr. Baseball just stood on the street and the "doors" came to him--everybody was giving out candy and we came home with several handfuls. The parade was on Court street in uptown Athens just north of Campus, about a ten minute walk from our apartment. We got a nice spot on the curb just as it started but we'd only just settled in to watch when the parade ended. There were a few police and emergency vehicles, a tractor or two, a few politicians, and even our realtor, but that was it--no bands, no horses, no boy scouts with flags, no cheerleaders, not even a single clown. The word on the street was that weather had kept the parade small, which was too bad for the several hundred people who'd come out to celebrate the Fourth. There has been so much rain this season that its been difficult to do a lot of normal summer things. We've been rained out of several T-ball events, swimming lessons, and almost fireworks.

And speaking of Fireworks...Ohio has to have one of the silliest fireworks laws on the books. This is how it reads:
"Sparklers, trick noisemakers & novelties are exempt under Ohio law. Other consumer fireworks may be sold to Ohio residents upon execution of a form agreeing to take the items out of the state within 48 hours, or to out-of state residents upon execution of a form agreeing to take the items out the state within 72 hours."

And this is what it means in reality:

On the afternoon of the Fourth, after promising my four-year-old that we would do fireworks before he went to bed, without knowing the above statute, I made a quick trip to Walmart to buy some fireworks. All I found in the large display labeled "Fireworks" was a bunch of overpriced economy packs of smoke bombs, Pop-its, and sparklers--sparklers sold by the hundreds, as if I needed 15o sparklers, as if anybody needs 15o sparklers. The only other stores in town that might have had fireworks were either closed or only had the same wanna-be fireworks that Walmart was selling. I found out later that the nearest fireworks stand was more than forty-five minutes up the road. In the end I bought seven dollars worth of noise makers and took them home. Mr. Baseball was okay with the noisemakers, especially the two shaped like pistols, but the QB and I were pretty bummed. What is the Fourth without ground-bloom flowers, Killer Bees, Piccolo Petes, and California Candles?

And what is with Ohio's law anyway? Everyone I talk to buys all of their fireworks out of town, signs the form that says they'll leave the state to discharge them, and then disregards the law and lights off the fireworks out on their property, or out in the country. What's the point of a law that no one wants, no one obeys, and no one enforces? ahhh bureaucracy...gotta love it.

Anyway, back to the parade....
Even though the parade was short, Mr. Baseball had a blast. He didn't stop jumping the entire time and he and a friend were the only ones on their corner to collect candy, so they came home with a ton.

Then on Saturday morning after the Fourth fiasco, we decided to go to Lake Hope State Park for a short hike, and while we were getting ready in the parking lot at the trail head, up pulled our neighbors, John and Pualani (Pooh-uh-la-ni), in their 198? Ford cruise liner. They didn't know we were going to be there, and we didn't know they were going to be there, but since they were, and we were, we all decided to hike part of the day together. They were set up for a ten mile hike (they're both big hikers), and we were planning on more like 1.5 miles, so we just hiked for a little while together, and then went our separate ways, but it was nice to hike with them for a while (they took this lovely photo for us). John is getting an M.A. in picking moss (plant biology) so he kept us informed about all the amazing plants that we passed (which were all so new and different than the Oregon and Utah flora we're used to), and Mr. Baseball set the pace so he kept us moving. The monkey enjoyed the view from his perch on my back and he stayed awake the whole time.

This Meso-American-looking pyramid in the background is actually a 150-year-old iron furnace, which was fueled by much of the forest surrounding Lake Hope State Park. All that green pictured here behind the QB, and most of the green we hiked through that day is second-growth forest, which makes me wonder what the forest must have looked like before it was cleared almost entirely to feed the iron industry. There are about 60 furnaces like this that stretch up and down Eastern Ohio, Kentucky and other parts of the region, and they are the reason for local towns like Scioto Furnace, Franklin Furnace, and the Hope Furnace, named for the furnace pictured here.

On Thursday night Melissa made Garam Masala Turkey Burgers that tasted like an Indian buffet between whole wheat buns (I cooked them, but she mixed the patty concoction together--a process that she completed so quickly and so off-handedly that I barely had time to notice she'd gotten out of her chair, whipped it together, and sat back down. She's that good.) We decided that next time we would top them with mango chutney, a little raita, and serve them on slices of warm naan--then if we master the recipe we might enter it in THIS. Well, okay, maybe we'll just feed them to honored guests, but it would be cool to enter the contest.

I've been staying home a few hours each day with the boys so that the QB can work on her childbirth educator certification, and between swimming lessons, T-ball, the garden, and life in general, we've been really busy, but the other day we had a quiet morning with a lot of book reading, block building, and about a half-hour of uninterrupted dirt digging out in front. At this point the boys do better if they dig in their own holes, rather then work together. If the monkey tries to "help" Mr. Baseball, we usually have a nuclear meltdown in patience in about three minutes.

by the way, the most disappointing thing about working on a blog late at night in the darkness of your living room while eating the last of the ice cream from the carton is when you finish off the ice cream without realizing it and reach your spoon in one last time and come up with nothing at all.


Jen said...

Love the ice cream comment. It reminds me of Never Been Kissed when she says, "Oh my gosh. Someone ate my whole pie. I don't know how that happened." Hope your fourth was delightful.

cari said...

Yea to parades and burgers! Your boys are adorable and it sounds like you are enjoying Ohio! (Except maybe the lack of fireworks.)

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

I am insulted! Obviously, nothing good came from the 1980's. Just look at leg warmers and side pony-tails. The Ford cruise liner is a 19 9-0. A fine vintage, if I must say so myself.