American Flag

I had a pretty action-packed Fourth of July holiday weekend this year. Here’s a rundown of what I did.

Friday, July 1, 2016: I went to Community Forklift, which was having its First Friday event where, during the warm months, the store not only stays open later on the first Friday of the month but it also has live entertainment with food and beverages available for sale. The store also has a sale on many of its products. That’s the time when the store takes on a really festive atmosphere, which is why I’ve attended many of Community Forklift’s events like First Friday.

Saturday, July 2, 2016: A few weeks ago I had prescheduled a few posts that would go live in this blog over the Fourth of July weekend so I could enjoy the holiday myself without working on this blog. But then I saw this article on Medium.com urging people not to take fireworks photos with smartphones because the results are always bad. I couldn’t resist writing a rebuttal post including my own fireworks photos I shot with my Droid Ultra over the past couple of years just so I could prove to people that, yes, it is possible to get a good fireworks shot with a smartphone.

I attended an afternoon outdoor barbecue at my church, which was totally fun. It especially helped that the weather was pleasantly warm with very low humidity. I socialized while gorging myself on so much food that I ended up skipping dinner because I was still full by early evening.

For the past few weeks I would see a tiny shadowy figure that would zoom quickly then disappeared. At first I thought it was a mouse but I dismissed it because a few years back (when I was still married and my husband still lived at that townhouse) I had installed these high tech devices I found at the hardware store that emitted a high frequency sound that was offensive to rodents yet humans and other types of pets (like dogs and cats) can’t hear. But after encountering too many nights where I got startled by briefly seeing that fast shadowy figure I decided that my home was once again invaded by at least one mouse who doesn’t mind hearing those high frequency sounds.

After the church barbecue I went to Five Below where I bought a King-Sized Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar and a box of Milk Duds. I dug up a couple of old humane mousetraps that I had put in storage and I set them using a couple of squares of the Hershey’s bar as bait. (I also ate a few squares of that chocolate myself.) Just as I was about to go to bed I heard a noise coming from one of the traps and I discovered that I captured one mouse. I took the trap, got in the car, and drove to a nearby park located a mile from my home where I released the mouse. When I returned home I saw that there was a few nibbles at the Hershey’s bait but there was enough of the candy bar left that I decided to just keep it in the trap. While I was in the upstairs bathroom brushing my teeth while preparing for bed, I thought I heard something coming from downstairs. It was getting late at night and I was too tired to investigate by then so I simply went to bed.

Sunday, July 3, 2016: I ended up skipping church that morning because I overslept. I took a shower then went downstairs to eat breakfast. I heard scratching noises from that same mousetrap in the kitchen where I had captured that mouse just a few hours earlier. I ate breakfast then I inspected that trap. I found that I had captured another mouse. I went to the same park where I released the other mouse on the previous night. I saw plenty of people parking their cars and carrying their picnic baskets to that park for some pre-Fourth of July celebrations. I took the trap over to an area of the park that was wooded but there weren’t any picnickers around and I released that mouse. When I got home and took a close look at that trap, I saw that the square of Hershey’s chocolate bar was completely devoured. (It was inevitable given that two separate mice had been caught in the same trap with the same exact bait.) I had eaten much of the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar by then so I opened the Milk Duds and placed a couple pieces of that candy in the trap and set it up again.

I decided to do a driving trip for the heck of it since I can’t afford to take a real vacation. I drove all the way north to Brooklyn Park then headed south on Ritchie Highway to the town I grew up in, Glen Burnie. I took some pictures (which I’ll get around to uploading sometime in the future) but I ultimately ended up at Crabtowne USA, where I played their vintage pinball machines and arcade games like Donkey Kong and Phoenix. (I’ve written previous blog posts about that place while posting photos of some of their vintage arcade goodies here and here.) I didn’t eat anything at Crabtowne USA (even though I love their seafood dishes) because I was invited to a party that would begin later. (The restaurant part was nearly filled anyway.) I did go to Ann’s Dari-Creme where I purchased a small soft vanilla ice cream cone with a chocolate dip top and a small Diet Coke. It was delicious. The weather was very cloudy and it drizzled off and on all afternoon. I was worried about this party that I was scheduled to attend that evening because it was to be mostly held outdoors with a bonfire.

I drove on to Crownsville where I went to a party that was held by someone I met through my support group for people who are separated or divorced. I brought along an old wedding present that was personalized with my name and my ex-husband’s name along with our wedding date and threw it in the bonfire that was set up in the backyard. I shot video footage of that burning but I need to do some editing before I can upload it. I also roasted several marshmallows over that same fire and ate them. Fortunately the frequent drizzles had stopped after sunset and it didn’t rain at all.

Monday, July 4, 2016: I woke up a bit later than usual since I didn’t arrive home from that bonfire party until well after midnight. I checked the mousetraps and I found no new mice in them. Fantastic! I’m still going to keep the traps up for another week to make sure that I had gotten rid of all of my unwanted rodent houseguests.

I basically hung around at home playing video games on the Nintendo Wii (ABBA You Can Dance and Rayman Raving Rabbids) until after 4, when another party was scheduled to begin. It was held at a friend’s place in my town. She and her partner had just purchased this home that overlooked a lake and the town officials were having an official fireworks show on the other side of that lake. The idea of going to a party, socializing with friends, and ending that party with viewing the fireworks sounded appealing. Except it started to rain this afternoon.

Ultimately the official fireworks were postponed until July 5 but the party went on as originally scheduled. Instead of stepping outside to see fireworks, we ended up turning on the TV and setting the channel to Maryland Public Television which had a live broadcast of the fireworks that went on in downtown Washington, DC. (Unlike that one town in the suburbs, the DC fireworks went ahead as scheduled—rain be damned.) We all socialized and had a great time. Some people brought drums and one person brought an acoustic guitar so a music jam session broke out. It was all good.

I had a great holiday weekend even if I ate too much food all three days. I’m definitely going to watch what I eat for the next few days in order to make up for all that eating excess I had put my body through. Tomorrow I have to face real life once again. Sigh!

UPDATE (July 5, 2016): I was getting tired when I saw the DC fireworks show on Maryland Public Television at my friend’s party last night. Had I been more awake, I would’ve noticed the disconnect between the fact that the live musical performances show the wet stage, audience members with umbrellas and rain ponchos while the fireworks themselves were shot off in a cloud-free crystal-clear sky.