Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Texas 2013 Day 7: Independence Day

Texas 2013 Day 7: Independence Day

Today will be our... Independence... Day!!

One of my main interests in coming to Texas was to see how Frank and Jess's families live and also where they (and many of my other friends here in California) grew up, but also to see and take part in a true American experience: the 4th of July celebrations. I've never done this at someone's home before as I'm usually either traveling or at the amazingly wicked Skywalker Ranch BBQ (something my inner 10-year-old still can't believe he gets to do). So I was excited to try something new this year and spend the time at my buddy's Grandparents' place in the middle of Texas. Needless to day, it was friggin' AWESOME.

Frank's Grandpa came in the morning quite early and was just so sweet. I helped him by carrying a heavy box of tools and putting up some American Flags around the house, and chatted for a while. He was so impressed that I carried the heavy tools that he told tons of people all day how helpful I was. What an awesome fellow! :) That was super fun.

From there, I was on such a mission to get Frank's Dad's internet working at the lake house that I was on the phone with Time Warner for... 1.5 HOURS. It was pretty epic. Frank high fived me several times saying I was the only person in the world with enough patience to stick with it for that long. It seemed to be working temporarily on a reboot of the router, but the Wireless settings kept disabling themselves in the router settings. It was super weird and clearly happening remotely from their server. I talked to a few levels of people before finally getting to the super technical person who figured it out in 1 second after I told her exactly what was wrong. That was awesome and after a while I finally got it working so everyone could use it. That was good, and nice to accomplish something technical for the day!

After that endeavour, it was definitely time to meet, greet, and definitely eat. There was some amazing fried chicken which rocked, Brisket that Frank's Mom had made (OMG!!!!!), Marshmallow mandarin pineapple coconut pasta salad (!!), Potato salad lovingly made Jutan-friendly with Turkey Bacon instead of Pork Bacon, Deviled eggs, Hot dogs and burgers, Dips, Coconut pound cake, Butter nut cookies with whipped cream pie, little coconut squares, Peach cobbler, Watermelon and more. As you can imagine, it was the most awesome thing ever.

Criewe and the awesome brisket
Potato Salad!
Mac and Cheese
Love how the chicken looks like a football
Everyone going for it!
Good times
Jess and this crazy whipped cream pie
After plenty of eating and chilling out in the garden, introducing Michal to everyone and just having an awesome time all together, we headed to the water and spent a bunch of time in there. We met the guy who was going to judge the boat parade and the dock decorations, he came into the party for a bit to get some salad and a beer!! Haha. And then... the Boat Parade!

Me cheering on the boat parade!
Chillin' out
More salads
So Texas-y
Having fun and enjoying the weather
The Boat Parade was awesome and one of the things I was most looking forwards to cause it sounded so unusual. It was cool, just lots of locals from other cottages along the lake, driving their boats down the lake in a big circle and flying American flags, Texas flags, the odd Confederate flag (which I was told is not necessarily terrible, it's more just of a "pride in the South" kindof thing, it's not meant to have any negative connotations in this context), and people honking horns, drinking beers and cheering and just generally having a good and incredibly pleasant time. We jumped off the dock into the water and chilled and waved at the people driving by on boats. It was super fun, and exactly the kind of experience I was hoping to have. Just great!!

After that, chatted a bunch with all of the uncles, cousins, grandparents and so on. People were super nice and thought it was cool that Michal and I are from Canada. We had a great afternoon of getting to know people and takin' 'er easy, July 4th BBQ style. When people started to head home, we helped clean up and ate some leftovers and spent some time planning the rest of the week. Then we took off to Wal-Mart, wow it is HUGE here. The main aim was to get some necessities like marshmallows for making s'mores. :) It was surprising to see such a large Wal-Mart (not quite as nuts but slightly reminiscent of the BNL Supermarts in "Wall-E"), but we had a pretty interesting and insightful conversation with Jess about the pros and cons of these kinds of megastores in suburban areas. Good times.

Continuing the trend of doing super American-y stuff today, we went to buy some Fireworks. This reminded me a lot of the Simpsons episode where Homer goes to the Kwik-E-Mart-like store inside of the beach town they are staying at to buy fireworks for July 4th:

Haha. Anyway, that was super fun. The guy at the stand was hilarious, as we were taking forever to decide which ones we were going to buy, he said we should just buy one of each, and "come back tomorrow and tell me how it worked out!" That's hilarious because they are closed after the 4th. :) We headed back from there and Wal-Mart with some massive marshmallows for s'mores, Monsters U Band-Aids, and Iced Tea tea bags. Pretty solid haul!

Back we went to the lake house for a fire and some s'mores, which was messy and awesome and a great opportunity to snap some adorable photos with the girlfriend.

Michal laughing at me trying to eat a Smore
Then we blew up some fireworks. That was pretty cool, I'd never lit any before and Frank knew all about this and how to do it safely. We lit them in the boat and then pushed the boat out into the water, and followed some good safety rules. It was super fun and I spent some time taking photos and trying to capture a few of them.

More fireworks!
Back in for some more fried chicken (naturally), and leftovers. And then right to bed, happy and full from a day of fun, good neighbours, excitement and good times.

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