This year's show was about 8 months in planning and product acquisition. So it takes a long time because different stores carry different product lines and if I see a specific product I like, I may have to travel and get it or rely on incoming family to pick it up. Thanks Mom and Dad! But after reviewing lots of products, I had the general plan/design figured out and I just spent time slowly pulling the pieces together. I am considering getting my ATF license to handle professional grade product, so I can only imagine the nightmare that it must be to find/purchase/ship a whole different class of fireworks. But by the time July 4 rolled around, I had all of the product and gear at the lake house thanks to some good friends who helped me move it! I just had to bring some last minute supplies for set up.
Laura and I arrived on the evening of July 3 driving through lots of thunderstorms to get to the lake house. I did not realize that this would be an omen of the chaos to come. After arriving, eating some dinner and constantly checking forecasts on my i-phone I decided we would try to fire everything the next day which was actually the fourth. So I got up the next day and began all the prep work. By lunch, I had wired and fused all of the 60 shells for both the body of the show and finally with the help of my right hand pyro-man, my brother in law! As I was working furiously to get the intro of the show put together when, you guessed it, it started to rain. Fortunately, in my "last minute supplies" I included a giant tarp. So I put it over and had to wait. This set me back a couple of hours. So I went inside to continue to prep, glue, and fuse more middle of the show boards. It continued to rain and the forecast looked bleak so we collectively decided to call the show off. There was to much be done, the weather was not cooperating, and I didn't want to fire if I didn't know things were 100% safe. Ironically, the whether cleared for a couple of hours in the evening before deluging again. Oh well.
The next day was no different if not worse. The morning and mid afternoon where nice so we all could go boating and swimming, but by late afternoon evening, it was storming and raining and you probably know that fireworks and water don't mix well. But because of all the rain, I had finished all of the prep work inside with my trusty helper, so if we got a clear zone we could quickly set up and fire the show. After checking the forecast again and again, I thought we might have a brief window of opportunity. So I called in all hands to help set up. While the show is coming together, I checked the forecast again and noticed a giant storm blob nearly right on top of us. I furiously finished making all of the final wiring/fuse connections to complete the show and told my wife that if we are going to fire we needed everyone out right now. All of the sudden a giant wind sweeps down and a flash of lightning/crash of thunder hits. Not a gentle one either. It was one of those that was close and makes you duck down a little bit. At this point I hollered at everyone to start taking product under the porch. It was all hands on deck. I was cutting all the connections I had just made and people where carrying all these plywood boards as quickly as possible all while wind and flashing lightning was all around all in an effort to save the pyro. We got all the product under the porch, pulled my tarp over everything and maybe 20 seconds after we pull the tarp over everything, the bottom drops out of the sky and it starts to down pour. It was quite a storm. I was just praying lightning wouldn't strike under the porch and blow the house up! Strike 2, but pyro saved.
On Saturday it looked like it was going to be the best chance. Low chance of rain (likely because of the monsoon the night before), front moving on through and sunny weather with a light breeze. I checked everything under the tarp and it all looked good and dry. That was a relief. Then I went to the firing site and noticed that the lake had flooded. The water was like a foot over the retaining wall and into the yard. Not good, especially since the whole intro to the show was being fired right off the wall over the lake. Fortunately problem solving skilled kicked in and I was able to stack up some cinder blocks and create a pedestal to set the pyro on out of the water. Just had to wade a little bit into the water to light the fuse. We all as a family decided to go out for pizza that night for dinner and then light the show, and wouldn't you believe another storm blew up and dumped gallons of rain everywhere. Everything was still under the tarp so that was not a problem, but I was getting frustrated and thinking we would never get this show off the ground. What made it a little better was my pryo assistant brother in law saying "Again? You've got to be kidding me! This is ridiculous!" over and over. That storm passed, and one more check of the forecast and it finally looked clear. So we all got home, I re-set everything up, and a light breeze began to blow. Yes! Eric and I waded through the water to light the starting fuses and off it went. The show went off without a hitch, there were no injuries and you could even see some lightning in a distant storm that missed us. And for those of you wondering how Lucy handled all of the explosions...like a champ. She loves fireworks!! It came two days late after a battle with mother nature, but everyone enjoyed the show. I have a new appreciation for the professional guys that have to battle weather for shows with much greater stakes. The whole show is right below. Hope you enjoy. I wonder if y'alls 4th was similar?
Time to start the process all over again for next year! Sweet.