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11:08 a.m. - July 05, 2006
Happy Fourth O'
Where to start? How can I start? Oh, I’ll just start already.

This Fourth of July weekend was full of fun and frivolity. Oh, yes, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, Moose and his wife arrived at la casa de Smed. Katie had asked all day when they were going to show up, and when Moose called from the airport after they secured their rental car, Katie was assuming they’d be there RIGHT THEN, but of course it took an hour and a half because they went to get lunch.

So instead of me being on pins and needles waiting for my best bud to come into town, I had to calm Katie down as every five minutes she was asking, “When are they coming??”

And when I saw their rental car pull down my driveway, Katie, not me, was the first one out the door to greet them. She’s our cruise director, I suppose!

For a special treat (for the adults) the kids were going to Niece Nurses’ house in Lafayette for Saturday night, so we could go to the Formula One race and actually have an adult dinner on Saturday.

Talk about luxury!

After Liz got back dropping the kids off, we sat around and talked, then walked up to a favorite restaurant of ours, Little Mexico. It’s a nice, friendly, casual place featuring authentic Mexican food at good prices. You definitely get your fill, for sure!

One thing I noticed on our walk, it didn’t take that long to get to downtown. Of course, we weren’t pushing a baby in a stroller, nor did we have a four year old stopping every minute to pick dandelions.

We sat and lingered a bit at dinner, then went to have some drinks at the old familiar bar that Moose and I spent way way way way way too much time in when we were younger. We regaled our wives with tales of our drinking excess, how we basically each had a pitcher of beer every night the place was open, and THEN there were the days when we cashed in the free pitchers, or that other people were with us and we drank more, etc. etc. etc.

Oh, my liver.

Sunday was the day of the Formula One race, and we woke up early and had a Smed breakfast (scrambled eggs and bacon, yum!) and went off to the race.

If you recall, at the Indy 500, I was broasted within an inch of my life. The forecast for the race was basically the same, hot and sunny, with temps in the 90s.

Thankfully, Liz was around this time, and she lovingly coated me in sunscreen. I did not burn, but bronzed to a nice farmer’s tan all around. So there would be no need to enwrap my body in aloe this time.

Moose and his wife are big race fans, but their taste runs more towards bicycle racing and motorcycles. They attended the MotoGP in Italy recently, and were quite versed in deep discussions of the upcoming Tour de France. However, they were keen to watch a Formula One race up close and personal.

They were not disappointed.

If you know about what happened in Sunday’s race, then this won’t be news. However, in case you don’t, let me recap.

There were 22 starters in the race, and eight of them were involved in a wreck on the first turn of the first lap of the race. This included one car flipping over several times in the sand and the elimination of the only American racer in the field.

So with that many cars out, and some other attrition that occurred, the race became a runaway, and all of the close racing I was anticipating in the mid pack did not occur.

Yet we all had a good time. The technology of the cars and the skills of the drivers were still marvels to be seen, plus the unique international flavor of the crowd was great for people watching.

After we got back, and all bathed, Liz reclaimed the kids from Lafayette. The report on Kristin, who normally still has separation anxiety, was that she cried for about 10 minutes upon Liz’s departure, yet did not utter another peep until she heard Liz’s voice in the house when she got there on Sunday.

A pizza dinner followed, with the adults then vegging out in front of an old Star Trek episode, and then Moose and I started to watch the Monkees’ movie “Head” before giving in to sleep.

Monday was fun. Moose and I went out to test our skill on the golf course. We didn’t do as badly as we thought we would, but both of our short games stink, stank, stunk and so our score wasn’t so hot.

The big event on Monday was the cookout. I was going to make my world famous grilled chicken with a killer marinade. Ok, the marinade is really simple, with BBQ sauce, mustard and Worcestershire, but dang, it’s good.

The kids ate early, so the adults could actually have a nice conversation. So while the kids were being put to bed, I was going to grill the chicken. (It takes about an hour).

Of course, Moose joined me outside when it was grilling time. What else is a man to do? We had beers, a boom box with punk rock CDs, and fire. Ah, heaven!

I was timing the chicken to the songs on the CD, too. “I think I need to turn them over right after ‘Chinese Rocks’ and then they’ll be done after ‘Love Comes In Spurts’.”

Dinner was fabulous, and we retired to our living room for wine and conversation. It flowed and flowed and flowed, like the wine, until almost midnight. Katie, bless her heart, did NOT get out of bed once, which must have been a new record.

On the fourth, we had a French toast breakfast and then took a walk around the neighborhood before they had to leave to catch their plane. Meanwhile, we were getting ready for the annual Fourth of July get together at a friend’s house.

Katie brought her swimsuit, as there was a kiddie pool there. She was having fun with her friend Matt and then she and Kristin and Matt played in the sandbox. Let’s see, what happens when you mix water and sand? Oops.

Later, a family with five kids showed up, and the backyard turned into a big old day care, it seemed, with kids running everywhere, splashing water, firing off squirt guns, and throwing sand inside the kiddie pool. Parenting was out – crowd control was in.

But everyone had a great time and we left, tired, full and content that this was an excellent holiday for the most part.

I spent time reflecting on my life, and how lucky I am to have the friends that I do, and how lucky I am to have the wife that I do. I can’t afford to mess that up, no sir. In fact, I think I’m falling in love with her even more each day.


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