Monday, June 30, 2014

Fourth of July...time for celebration, fireworks, smuggling contraband and the ER.

This is a CASE card. I fell in love with it months ago and was determined to CASE it as a gift to a dear friend. The original design is here. Thanks to Beverly Polen for such a gorgeous design.

The 4th of July. As a holiday, it's incredibly important to me. But it's also my least favorite. That's right....I said it. Out loud. Sort of. On this blog. Where I can always claim it was hacked, if necessary, by anti-4th of July progressives, who are Communists. Or al quida. is al queda? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW HOW TO SPELL THE NAME OF A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.

PAM: (pre-adderall moment) I happen to be a girl who had nervous breakdowns over the words 'cocoa' and 'beauty'. Losing a spelling bee in the 4th grade was a terrible blow to my confidence, and has made me somewhat a cautionary tale. The basis for all my failure and underachievement can be traced back to that year, and the pressure that these types of events place upon our children. Of course, it happened to be the year I was sent to an all-girl Christian Baptist school. But I'm sure that had NOTHING to do with my subsequent tics, mania and OCD tendencies. Well, maybe it did....a little...but I'm pretty sure it had less to do with the theology, and everything to do with the fact I was locked in a room for an entire year with a bunch of 10-year-old girls, who weren't allowed to wear anything but skirts. I got into a lot of trouble for wearing gauchos that year. Or split skirts, or wtf ever you call the things, nowadays. Needless to say, I never wore them again. Wait...I did one time and THEN never wore them again. Only because I was too short and chunky to wear them effectively. I're waiting for me to end this by professing how far I allowed myself to wander off track, but this is actually a logical progression: terrorist organization to a class made up of all 10-year-old girls. One and the same, people. One and the same.

Back to the 4th of July. Look, I am properly reverent, appreciative and proud of this day. I honestly am. I'm an ardent supporter of our troops throughout the year and am a consistent donor to various troop-related charities, such as Wounded Warrior Project  and Fisher House-both of which are very dear to me. (links provided in case you want to throw a little money love their way!!)

I just dislike the actual month. July. It's hot and not remotely close enough for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. "Light" meaning "School", mind you. Too much humidity and too many kids for me to properly appreciate what this day should represent. Besides, as far as what our commercialized holidays cost, this one, for me, is the most expensive.

It begins around July 1st. That's when my husband and sons break out a map and begin planning their smuggling route for illegal fireworks. They spend hours pouring over every route and speculating where State Troopers will be stationed-presumably to search any and all vehicles for contraband. The discussion then turns to whether they should modify one of our cars to hide the ill-gotten gains. Naturally, it's MY car they want to modify. As if a beat-up Volvo station wagon is going to on the All Points Bulletins for potential smuggling of Black Cats and Bottle Rockets. Not to mention what my house full of Y-chromosomes MEAN when they start talking about 'modification'. Dummy gas tanks and spare tire wheel wells always lead the discussion. About the time they get to 'convertible conversions' and 'nitrous oxide injectors' is when I step in and have to 'redirect' the conversation. And by 'redirect', I mean I threaten them with every nudie baby pic I possess and-for the significant other-the picture I found of him when he was 19 and wearing some girl's ring on a necklace, staring off into the distance. Shirtless. With poufy hair. It's so bad that the 80's called and said "Damn! You're making us look bad!!"

But I digress.

This phase of the smuggling operation usually wraps up about this time, and they begin taking practice runs. These consist of plastic pipes, all cut to the length of the average bottle rocket, and stowed in whatever place they can be made to fit. Afterwards, they each rehearse what they'll say to police upon being caught and taken into custody, where they will be interrogated seperately, and must have similar stories. They swear to never betray one another and agree they'll never fall for the 'Law & Order' trick of being told that one of them ratted the rest out. This part is pretty harmless, although I DO have to step in and stress they will NOT follow through with selling the 8-year-old out, even IF he can't be prosecuted due to his age.

The day before, all four get up and dress in solid black. This year will be the first that face masks are optional. My husband says the decision was heat-related. I'm pretty sure it was due to the fact he hated messing up his pouf of hair.

Then, they'll pile in the car and swear to abstain from all food and drink-ostensibly negating the need to stop-and drive off, each sitting stiffly and staring straight ahead, congratulating the other on how natural they look. The drive is grueling; an hour and forty-five minutes on...well...the interstate...across the state line into South Carolina, where there are fireworks stands every 7 and a half feet until you hit the Georgia state line.

They'll drive past 7 or 8 before stopping. They all agree this is smart, because they're sure the cops will be watching for the smuggling novices who stop at the first couple of stands. They'll load up the car with a couple hundred dollars of fireworks-and drive away slowly. Usually behind a bevy of NC State Patrol cars, ALSO loaded up with the same fireworks. Upon arriving home, they celebrate their successful mission and count the minutes until sundown on the 4th.

When that time arrives, I go ahead and get dressed. I usually have about 20 minutes or so before they decide it's more fun to hold Roman Candles and fire them at selected targets-or each other-and I'm off to the emergency room, once again. Fortunately, the hospital instituted the 'call ahead reservations', so I only have to wait an hour or two instead of the obligatory all-nighter in the waiting room. When we get home, everyone else is watching TV, having put the rest of the fireworks away for fear my rage would be such I would shove bottle rockets in orifices that would make even South Carolina consider banning them.

There, in the garage, the fireworks will join other fireworks from years past, waiting for either dry rot or a lightning strike to occur.

I hope this sheds a little light on why the 4th simply doesn't hold a dear place in the line-up of overly commercialized holidays, in my book. This year, I plan to take the fireworks savings and donate it to a much more worthy cause. I'll also insist the boys-to include the one I married-ruminate on the importance of this holiday and give thanks to the men and women who have fought, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice-for our freedoms.

But we'll say thank-you and celebrate the 4th in the way it should be celebrated...

In the air conditioning.

There were no instructions as to measurements and I had to do it all from scratch. Suffice it to say I have a crapload of paper 'remnants'. I can tell you that I have never had a bigger headache. Therefore, I'm taking total designer credit for measurement part. Hee hee.'s a breakdown of the measurements:

The image panel measures 3-3/8 x 3-15/16   This includes a 1/4 border sponged here in Not Quite Navy. I used a Tim Holtz ruler and sponged the edges, negating the need to mask.

The Not Quite Navy Mat behind the image 5-1/8 x 3-9/16
Sentiment  3-7/16 x 7/8
Red sentiment mat 1 x 3-9/16 
White mat 5-1/4 x 3-3/4
Red card base-4 x 11 or 4 x 5-1/2 mat only


  1. Carmen! You've done it again my friend. Not only is your card awesome, your blog entry has me rolling off my chair! You REALLY REALLY REALLY need to write a book for we can laugh our backsides off daily! How about a Carmen's Thoughts for the Day book so it can sit on my table and stare at me? You rock friend! Love you!

  2. OMG, didn't know whether to laugh or I laughed till I cried! I could just see it, swear I could even hear some of the dialog. The card is almost fabulous. I love that image and you colored it up, fussy cut and layered it beautifully. Will be thinking of you during this years fireworks display!

  3. Your card is stunning! I saw it on FB via Lydia and Splitcoaststampers. After reading the bit of description I had to take a look at your blog! Love your writing! You have kept me entertained and it's 1am!

  4. I agree with all of the above! Love your posts. This is a beautiful card and I do support Wounded Warrior and USO on a monthly basis.

  5. Y'all are WAY too kind! And I hate to be the one to say it, but I'm pretty sure you're starved for entertainment if you find ANY of my drivel entertaining. ;) TY Pat, for the compliment and being a 'sister' WW supporter. Angie, I'm totally stalking your gallery and blog. Sorry...just the way it his. Lydia will explain it to you...she made the mistake of commenting on a post and now, she simply can't get rid of me. = I sort of feel like I'm the class clown that's hanging out with the popular chicks at SCS. Rufus and Bobbi-I LOVE you for saying that! MWAAAAH! (giving parade queen wave) Seriously...thanks so much! It really means a bunch.

  6. Carmen, I am so honored that you cased my card featuring the Stampin' Up! Courage stamp set! Thank you!! I feel honored!! Your card is beautiful as well! I found it on Splitcoaststampers!