Auditory masking: A mother’s best friend

July 7th, 2008

When Charming and I moved into our new house and met our new neighbors, one of the first things they said was, “This place is crazy on the Fourth of July.”

“Oh, really?” we responded with interest.

“Yes,” they said firmly, “Don’t bother going to any shows.  All you need is a chair in your own front yard and you’re set.”

Given these repeated conversations, Charming and I considered ourselves duly warned.

Except.

Nobody mentioned that in our neighborhood, the Fourth of July is celebrated for the entire duration of July.

(I can no longer remember a time when fireworks were not set off daily).

(And nightly).

But, honestly, nothing could have prepared us for the actual Day of Independence…..

—–

As the sun started setting on July 4th, people began pouring out of their homes and walking down to what looked like our front yard.

With their arms full of explosives.

One lady from up the street walked over to Charming and I with a tentative smile.

We were standing in our driveway staring at the mass of people congregating in front of us.

The lady kindly said, “I hope somebody warned you…..  The whole neighborhood comes down here to set off their fireworks.”

“Oh,” I said with a little laugh, “People told us it gets crazy, but I didn’t realize they meant right here,” I said, pointing at the cul-de-sac right in front of our house.

“Yeah,” she explained, “It’s a tradition that everyone comes here to pool our fireworks together.”

“Oh,” I said again.

Then she pointed behind us and continued, “The cul-de-sacs right behind your house will have their own shows, too.  They spend thousands of dollars to battle each other, and one of them always has a live band.”

“Holy smokes,” I said quietly, picturing all the fireworks exploding directly above our house.

As the lady walked off, I stole a glance at my house and crossed my fingers.

Upstairs, in his little room, our dear Bubbers king was asleep for the night.

Or so I hoped.

—–

Before long, we were quite literally surrounded.

From behind, we received this colorful onslaught:

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Followed by incredible booms that shook the ground and deafened the ears:

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Then right in front of us, three incredibly brave souls held out fireworks in their bare hands that shot over and over and over again:

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Charming and I watched in amazement, laughing like children and gesticulating wildly.

Marveling that we hadn’t seen shows like these since we were kids and wondering where on earth they all had the money to spend on these beauties.

Then every 20 minutes or so, Charming and I took turns checking on the Bubbers king to see if he was still asleep.

And, to our amazement, he was!!

Even after a series of sonic booms that exploded right over our house–the Bubbers king didn’t make a single peep!

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So we sat back, laughed and enjoyed the show.

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And this furry, purple thing.

And when we finally decided to turn in (long before the festivities were over), I peeked in on my Bubbers king one last time as the house practically shook with surrounding explosives.

And against all odds, he was peacefully asleep on his pillow.

I shook my head, smiled and blew him a kiss.

Then I bent down and patted his fan.

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And I thanked heaven for white noise and the sweet reality of auditory masking.

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14 Comments

Heidi Lawson | 7/7/2008 7:54 pm

Those are some AMAZING pictures. I tried my best — had my tripod out and everything, but I see I need some tips from you. Or maybe next year I need to just head on down to your neighborhood for a better show!

 
tearese | 7/7/2008 8:07 pm

Your pictures are great..maybe next year I won’t be so lazy and I’ll get my tripod out. Joshua fell asleep during the fireworks outside, and the city’s show was right by our house as well.

 
apple | 7/7/2008 8:27 pm

You got that right. I can’t sleep without white noise.
I can never take good pic’s of fireworks…how did you do that?!? I even have a fireworks setting on my camera and that didn’t work either.

 
charlotte | 7/7/2008 8:27 pm

Wow – I don’t even know how to take pics of fireworks!! Yours are just beautiful! And I’m glad Bubbers wasn’t bothered. Give him a couple of years;)

 
Wandering Nana-Linda | 7/7/2008 10:10 pm

I am amazed. Your pictures are wonderful. We use to put our fireworks together with neighbors but nothing like this. Can we come to your house next year? (if we’re still here). I have never heard so many fireworks going off as I did here. It’s like a war zone. In SLC the month of July was always noisy because you also had the 24th.

 
Melissa | 7/7/2008 10:16 pm

Wow – those were awesome pics of the fireworks! (And I love that “furry” purple one, too.) Great job! And I have to laugh at that fan, because I always thought I was weird for having my kids sleep with a fan on, year round. ;) It really works! But, like Charlotte said – watch out for coming years…the year Matt was 2 it was really hard to GET him to sleep while what sound like the Revolutionary War was going on outside our little apartment… Poor kid was so scared. :( So maybe the trick will be to get Bubbers to sleep BEFORE it starts!

Anyway, it sounds like you guys have a fun neighborhood and had a great fourth!

 
Suzanne | 7/8/2008 6:22 am

What a great celebration to have in your neighbourhood. Your photos of the fireworks are wonderful.

 
Starwoodgal | 7/8/2008 6:52 am

Wow! Some folks in our neighborhood have street fireworks shows. The problem is, they don’t know when to stop. This is the third year in a row that three days after the 4th, they are stilling having a nightly fireworks show. Our city allows fireworks on two days out of the year, New Years Day and the 4th of July from 8:00 AM (why? who knows) until 12:00 AM. After that, it is illegal. Sunday night (the 6th) at 11:00 PM I had to asked them to please stop. (They were popping them again on Monday night and I bet they are out there again tonight). Makes me wonder how many fireworks did they buy? And, why did the POA allow them to keep going after the 4th?

 
Mamadallama | 7/8/2008 7:40 am

I mosied on over here from PW’s site to see your fireworks pix. They are really really good! We are also firm believers in white noise. I think it helped my dog and cats during the worst part of the celebrations here. Glad the Bubbers king got a good night’s sleep!

 
Jesse | 7/8/2008 8:09 am

Yeah, great pictures. I wish I had taken our tripod with us to the fireworks, but we didn’t have the extraordinary convinience of a show in our front yard! That is sooo cool.

 
Neighbor Katie ~;o) | 7/8/2008 9:33 am

Haha! It was fun to read this post and see all your awesome pictures! We told you it gets kinda crazy around here! *grin* We had such a good time with you guys, thank you so much for coming over and enjoying the festivities with us! Everyone really enjoyed your company! Now we have to plan our BBQ with just our families! You got some great pics of the fireworks, my camera tried, but just couldn’t get there! I need to get another one soon! Let’s get together soon, I still have to get your brownie dish back to you! I am bummed I didn’t get one, they must have been good, they were gone in a flash! ~;o) Take care!

 
Linda | 7/8/2008 1:38 pm

I stumbled on your blog from the Pioneer Woman. I love your shots of the fireworks! Kind of made me feel like I was right there!

 
alycia | 7/8/2008 8:43 pm

Wow! Maybe we’ll come to your house next year. :) Beautiful pictures!!! Did you use a tripod?

 
Heidi | 7/8/2008 9:01 pm

Hey everyone! Thank you for your awesome comments (and welcome Mamadallama and Linda!!).

I just posted a little thing with some answers to your questions, but here’s the long and the short of it:
1) No, I didn’t use a tripod.
2) Most of the pictures were taken with an f-stop of 8 and an ISO of 400.
3) Does that mean anything to anyone?? :):)
—–
Hello Neighbor Katie!!
Thank you so much for your comment–you were totally right. :):) And thank you for your awesome hospitality! We had a total blast at your BBQ–eating delicious food, playing volleyball and, of course, Bubbers loving your fish tank and cool toys. :) Thank you so much for inviting us–your friends were so fun and welcoming. It was a wonderful way to celebrate! We are so lucky to have such fantastic neighbors.

 

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