Since I’m always a day (several months or years, more like) late and a dollar (how about several hundred) short on everything, I’m just now, now that it’s about 15 degrees F outside and nothing good in the long range forecast for a good 2 weeks, just now writing about something that happened on the 4th of July weekend. (Or, as it’s known outside the USA, the 4th of July weekend.) I work at a “big-box” home improvement store whose name rhymes with “Blows”, so we are open that day, of course (closed on Turkey Day and Santa’s birthday only), so I had to ask for that Friday off. I am one of the lucky few to work just weekdays there, so I get to see my little pie (sweetie- and cutie-, that is) several days a week, so life is good that way. But holidays aren’t guaranteed to be on a certain day, unless we’re closed; you have to ask for them off.
Anyway, back to Independence Day weekend (or, as the Brits call it: “You cheeky Yank bastards thinking you’re all that” weekend). Not a weekend all that often either, since, unlike for Memorial Day or Labor Day, the Congress hasn’t manually changed the 4th of July to always be a Monday so that we can celebrate people giving their lives for freedom by getting drunker than a skunk for 3 solid days (and 4 sloshy nights). I vote that we have a “Freedom from putting a ‘u’ between every damn ‘o’ and ‘r’ Day” on the first Monday of July, independent of Independence Day, unless “Freedom to drink coffee instead of a cuppa tea Day” falls on the 4th, in which case it (Freedom, to actually have our teeth worked on, Day) is celebrated on the second Monday of July. In either case we still get to take the day off and blow off explosives in our backyards (until some prissy neighbor calls the cops) on the actual 4th (and any day around that day). Not to mention that our forefathers fought and died for our right to repost the thing on Facebook that talks about how we teach our kids to always be safe, then we drive drunk to and from fireworks shows and we throw firecrackers at each other and shoot Roman candles at each other, and we teach our kids that smoking is bad, then we light them a cigarette (and teach them how to puff on it to keep it lit) to use as a “punk” to light the explosives, etc. I love fireworks; I especially loved the one that my neighbors had that looked like a giant crayon but that was like an erupting 50-foot volcano for what seemed like 5 minutes. Like “Wow” but with a lot of Os and Ws.
Those same neighbors have been working on their yard the last couple summers, bringing in dirt (even though we don’t own the lots that our mobile homes are on, some of us are pretty well rooted here and actually do stuff to improve the place) to help level out their yard, among other tasks. They decided to get rid of their old firepit, which is actually a “state park-type” fire ring, heavy as hell and complete with an adjustable cooking grate and a thing to hang a cookpot from (no, no one that I know of has boiled a possum or other critter over this firepit yet–we don’t make meth or eat roadkill or romance our sisters in this trailer park. Well, maybe some in the 200’s do, I’m not sure). They weren’t sure where they would put it yet, but they were (are, I guess) planning to put in a ground-level firepit, home-made from landscape rock or pavers and Quickrete. Since they didn’t know for sure where they would put it, they didn’t want to destroy any part of their lawn yet, so we had talked about them loaning (giving, selling, whatev) me the fire ring so that we could destroy part of my yard and still have fires. And have beer, wine, whiskey, rum and of course shots of Tippy Cow.
Even though the weather forecast for Thursday the 3rd, (a de facto Friday night, right?) was for too much wind, I still convinced the neighbor that we might as well move the fire ring over to my yard in case the weather got better on Friday or Saturday (thanks to having a long 4th weekend because of the 2014 calendar magic of the 4th falling on a Friday). So, late in the evening (but still before sunset) he got out his 2-wheel cart and delivered the thing to my yard, dumping it about 10-12 feet directly behind my back “mini-deck”. I had fallen asleep on the couch after work that day. Since I’m about as bright as SpongeBob’s friend Patrick for about 2 hours after any nap, I was moving slowly and didn’t start drinking beer till about sunset, after I went over to the wood pile in the corner of the trailer park to get some wood to burn the next night.
As it got dark, people in surrounding rural areas were having wars, it sounded like, and the neighbor couple and I stepped out in the front yards at times to see what we could see of any of the lights. I had probably had only 3 tall beers by 11 PM (2300 hours to you Prince Charlie lovers, perhaps?), which, as you fellow blogging alcoholics or past alcoholics or part-time alcohol lovers know, isn’t going to make an accomplished part-time drinker fall down. So I wasn’t really all that clumsy yet, other than a natural tendency to clumsiness which my sweet daughter has inherited so much that her mother sometimes calls her “Grace” (“Boom” or “Bonk”, followed by “You okay?” is a typical conversation when she is at my house at times.) In fact, back when I used to actually go to parties that weren’t just next door in the trailer court, I would typically have a period of time in between the first couple (nervously) sloshed drinks and the several later (drunkenly) sloshed drinks, when I would have a bit of composure and coordination. I would have bet that at around 11, 11:30 pm I was in that brief phase of “not-so-clumsy”.
Didn’t help, though. After watching a few fireworks from the front yard, then going in for a bathroom and fridge trip, I apparently was in some big panic to get back to my chair in the neighbor’s backyard (where we’d been listening to hard rock on their shed radio, laughing and drinking and friendlily insulting each other), before (I was apparently thinking that) they would go inside before midnight on a summer holiday and I’d have to drink alone (not a tragedy either for an accomplished part-time drinker; the music is usually better at home than at bars or parties, for one thing). So, on my way back to their patio area in front of their shed, I was in a big screaming hurry. I actually had to detour straight back from my back deck through another neighbor’s yard, since they had just planted grass along my usual route to their yard. It was, of course, pitch fucking dark by then. So in my huge, needless haste I couldn’t see anything past the circle of light thrown by my tiki torch on the back deck railing. Next thing I knew I was face down on the other side of the firepit that I had completely forgotten I now had in my back yard. I know what some of you may say, “Wow, you’re lucky it wasn’t lit”, and I don’t blame you, but I wasn’t lucky, because the whole point of me going on and on about how mild my buzz was at that point, is that I didn’t clumsily fall into or across a heavy, sharp, evil object, no, I forgetfully walked right THROUGH the damn, dark thing. Which wouldn’t have been so damn bad had it not been mid-summer and had I not been wearing sandals and had I not been barely too young to wear socks with my sandals yet and had I not laid the skin on top of my left big toe open like a starving man peeling an orange. My party was over for the 3rd of July.
I went back in my house to inspect the damage that I just knew was bad and that was starting to bleed “like a stuck hog”. I knew it needed medical attention, but I just didn’t feel like going to the ER that night, so I washed it with cold water in the tub (screaming pain) then poured rubbing alcohol over it (adrenaline rush, so no pain whatsoever from that), then bandaged it and googled “Is rubbing alcohol good for wounds” (yes, yes, it and hydrogen peroxide are big winners) and went to bed. Unfortunately, since Friday was a national holiday, I got to (eventually, like 3 months later when the bill finally came) pay emergency room rates since no clinics were open. They cleaned it and sewed it (the ER doc looks like an insane homeless man but I know he is competent because he was a heart doctor before and because he was on duty when my daughter’s stepdad and I brought her in 2 days after tonsil surgery a couple years ago when she was listless and was just throwing up her food and the young woman who checked us into the ER looked at us like we were a gay couple who were bringing our adopted daughter in and the homeless-looking doctor fixed her up with some IV fluids and IV antibiotics and took her off the narcotic pain meds that no 8 year old should be on after routine surgery you dumbass Ear Nose Throat doc), and the nurse wrapped it up. She put a thing that looked a spray paint can, only with an open framework to it, over my toe and I wondered how the hell I was supposed to walk for the next day with that damn thing on. But it turns out that was just a helper thing for her to put this lovely sandal-looking thing on my foot to help keep a big cotton bandage on my toe for the first day of recovery. I now know that my feet (well my left one anyway) would look absolutely stunning in white strappy sandals.
As much as I claim that ol’ Stephen King isn’t what he used to be, he (at some point in his career) could have written a great book or story about my firepit. He might call it “The Firepit From Hell” and would have some hideous creature, part man, part demon, perhaps played by Tim Curry?, hinging the thing open from underneath, probably flaunting his immunity to heat by licking the bottom of the firepit, and reaching out with a fiery hand and stealing a family member or pet to take “down below” with him. Even after I knew the thing was there, before I put solar lights around it to mark it ever after (unless it was in use, in which case it was quite visible, thank you very much), I still couldn’t see the thing from my house or the back deck just a few feet away in the dark. Even with the solar lights there, it was: light from tiki torches, light from the first solar light, a total abscence of light where the fire ring was, followed by the other solar light, followed by normal darkness (no cornfields, no crazed children, no hotels, no evil firepits, just normal darkness).
Although I like a good fire in a firepit, it’s actually right under some trees so I’ll probably let them sell it next summer when they put their new one in. Where the gateway to hell sits in my yard:
I wanted to take a 2 or 3 month leave of absence this winter since I sometimes can’t stand being around people and since it’s slow and since I wanted to do some writing and since I can’t seem to do it (any hobby) and have a paying job also. However, I’m stupid but not totally insane, or maybe the other way around, so I decided I could maybe afford 1 week off per month for maybe 1 or 2 or 3 months this winter. I’m taking this week off and will do anything including blogging or cleaning the bathroom rather than start an actual writing project. That’s the last I’ll talk about it until it is (ever) done. There’s a reason that I don’t talk about dating any more also, ha ha. No crying wolf any more. Well, at least I’ll catch up on blogging and have a clean bathroom.