Surviving the 4th

Every year, I dread this holiday. I hate the firecrackers, the crowds and the bickering.

This year, we were proactive and had a joint family/friend cookout on Saturday evening.  We had about 20 people throughout the whole evening which worked out well since we only had 17 chairs.  They were ostensibly there to see our newly renovated deck, but I think it my secret recipe jambalaya. We had a table filled with food, including thousands of desserts.

It was one of those gatherings where you mix folks from all parts of your life and see what happens — some family, work friends, old friends, casual friends, new friends, a few unknown guests and assorted spouses and partners — stir, and stand back.  As usual, it was great. We had several folks who handled the social director role while we tended to the front door and squeezing food into the fridge.  We had others who played with the kids.  Then the pet people took turns holding a somewhat bewildered Chihuahua. Everyone was nice to my Mum.

My favorite moment was playing catch with my niece. We had one of those generic plastic pool balls from Giant Eagle (yes, I am the master of last minute picnic purchases).  Like most kids, she tried to catch with flat arms and usually smacked herself in the face with the ball rather than actual catching it.  I showed her how to use her fingers/hands and she was incredibly proud to catch 21 in a row (and count to 21). We high fived so much, my hands were sore. Even the misses were fun!  Watching a child master something new is pretty amazing.

The only down side is that I broke the garbage disposal. Eh.

On the 4th, we went swimming (awesome) and then joined Ledcat’s family, including said niece, for a cruise on the Gateway Clipper’s Duchess. I took medication and drank two beers to cut the edge off the usual level of family closeness and it worked like a charm. The cruise was filled with all sorts of characters, including:

– muumuu wearing, gold eye shadow lady who was literally sharing makeup tips with the young girls at the table next to us. she was awesome. i am buying eye shadow this week.

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– a woman wearing satin pants who snuck into line ahead of us and almost earned a beat down from Ledcat.  I held her back.

– a man wearing blue snake skin shoes. apparently, he was a member of the military so he got to go to the buffet first.

– a couple who had a few too many and tried to sneak into the captain engine area place. that didn’t go over well.  i was hoping for an arrest, handcuff to the railing and arrival of the river police, but they just got a stern talking too by this lady wearing a very handsome “I’m in charge” uniform.

Among the extended family, I am the only one strong enough to lift niece at this point. That earns me big points because she wants to be held as much as her toddler brother. She loved the fireworks, but then got tired so I hauled her all the way back to the car. I pretty much rock the aunt thing on holidays (Can you say “box of stickers” for xmas?).  I also got to briefly hold nephew who is very very very particular. I think he was distracted by the fireworks, but there was no crying and he talked to me about wanting to “git” the fireworks.  So I count that as a win.

The cruise is nice. Food is decent.  Beer selection is horrible. I tried a Miller Lite and frankly, could not remember the last time I drank beer from a can.  Especially beer that sucked so I switched back to grown up beer and it was much better.  Between modest amount of beer, the late hour and the niece lifting, I was very tired during the 90 minutes it took Ledcat to get us from our parking space at Station Square to the Northside.  I did have a moment of sanity where I jumped out of the car, stopped an SUV and helped her back out of the space.  I felt very butch.  I was also very proud that we did not argue during the traffic sojourn even as couples around us engaged in various stages of meltdown.

The fireworks were nice. No one batted an eye when we held hands while watching them or when I put my arm around her while we were talking. I doubted anyone cared and that’s another example of why it is good to gay in Pittsburgh.

So today it looks like we are meeting a lesbian couple friend for a dip in the Citipools.  Another place where no one cares. No one bats an eye when we buy a family membership. The guards know us as the nice ladies who come at night. We talk freely and no one cares.  The kids just care that we take up space in the deep end where I like to quietly tread water, but that’s because we are middle-aged ladies period and the guards won’t let them splash us.  I can respect that.

Miller Lite.  What was I thinkinig?


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