Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thinking cool thoughts

You know it's going to be a bad day when the weather service says, er, better check on your elderly neighbors. Today the heat index is supposed to reach 110 degrees and we have an excessive heat warning, which I don't remember DC having before. It almost makes me feel okay with what just happened.

I went outside to go refill the dog's pool (one of those baby pools that are five feet in diameter) and his water bucket. The cat has taken to hanging out next to the pool in the dirt, so I made sure to double-check that he wasn't there before starting to empty out the pool. Unfortunately, I hadn't realized that there was a little hollow there and the cat was nestled in it under the pool. Which meant that when I started to pour out the water, I ended up dumping a bunch of it on a very surprised and formerly sleeping cat. Poor kitty! He didn't seem pissed, just very confused about how his rest happened to have been interrupted by a couple of gallons of mosquito-infested water. Shrapnel is currently grooming himself and trying to put himself back together. At least he's been cooled off, right?

Monday, July 05, 2010


I have spent eight 4th of July's in DC, so I felt that I was pretty familiar with the routine: hide out during the day, char some meat on the grill, find a high point to watch the National firework show on the Mall, and top it off with some adult libations. Yesterday we followed the script mostly - we found out that we were out of charcoal briquettes, so we were forced to cook the burgers inside, the horror! - and we took the scooters down to 13th and Clifton where there's a gorgeous view of the city and watched the fireworks there with about 300 of our closest friends.*

On the way back, though, it was an entirely different 4th of July experience. Now, it's been a while since I lived in DC - this is the first 4th of July I've been here since 2005 - and things may have changed. For example, I don't really remember fireworks stands being so ubiquitous (in San Antonio, we were under such strict restrictions because of the worry about an errant firecracker setting the whole dried-out place on fire that it was not that common to see people setting off fireworks, although of course it did happen).

But Petworth...man, it was a whole different story. Every four or five houses, there would be a family setting off firework set after firework set. Coming up New Hampshire toward Sherman Circle, the Texan and I saw such a spectacular show that we thought we'd somehow stumbled upon another municipality's fireworks show. No such thing: it was just some dudes with a LOT of fireworks.

One thing that was a bit disconcerting was riding the scooter through all this. Your instinct is to look up when you hear that crack of a firework going off, but if you do that, you'll throw off your balance. Also, I was a bit alarmed about having a Roman candle land on me - they were coming down on all sides.

When we got home, we sat outside and enjoyed the show, but eventually decided that for our dog's sanity, we'd better get back inside. (We'd brought him outside to hang out on the steps with us, but the fireworks agitated him enough that we quickly sent him back inside. Where we could hear him worrying on the other side of the door.) It was insane and spectacular and next year we are going to buy as many as we can and participate too.

* I will forgive putting your toddler on your shoulders during a fireworks show, even though the chances of him actually paying attention when there are so many other things to grab his focus nearer by are slim to none. But by god, do NOT stagger in front of me halfway through the show with your girlfriend on your shoulders. If she wants to take a picture of the fireworks on her crappy phone, then have her do what the rest of us do and take a hail mary shot.