Get your Fourth of July fix the smart way

No holiday tantalizes the senses quite like the upcoming Fourth of July. Nothing is better than a day filled with smelling sweet, succulent chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs as they rest on a lit barbecue pit, cooking to perfection. Except, maybe, walking into a kitchen that smells like apple pie, which forces you to check the freezer just to make sure there’s vanilla bean ice cream to dallop atop a slice.

Once the family is full of good food and conversation, it’s time to grab sweatshirts and blankets —for sitting on and covering up with here in the Pacific Northwest — and head out to your fireworks show of choice.

It’s a blast to cradle mugs of java and hot chocolate right under your face as you watch the spectacular professional fireworks and feed your need for the pops, whizzes and bangs associated with America’s birthday party.

As the slight smell of burning sulfur from the fireworks finale wafts through the chilly night air, your family piles back into the vehicle and heads for home. The kids get tucked in for the night with visions of warmer weather and an adventurous summer dancing in their heads.

Good times.

Or, you could go the other route, which could paint a different experience all together.

You could dump hundreds of dollars on fireworks and take them home, anticipating a night of lighting fireworks on the street in front of your house.

What fun there is to be had with frightening your neighborhood’s dogs and babies with the screeches and screams of a home-based fireworks show.

And tremendous is the damage you can do to your relationship with your neighbors when your show goes into the wee hours of the morning, preventing legions of folks from getting a good night’s sleep. Or when your neighbors — who didn’t have a personal fireworks show — awake to a front yard or driveway full of fireworks casings and black marks.

That doesn’t even take into account the adrenaline rush you get every time a spark gets a bit too close to a neighbor’s house, or better yet, a dry, 25-foot tall tree that has the potential to burn down your entire neighborhood if it lights on fire.

Or the adrenaline rush that comes when you hear the “fft fft fft” of the whirley bird that’s coming to give you an eight- to 10-minute helicopter ride to Seattle to treat your burns you got from trying to be a hotshot and hold a bottle rocket while your dopey friend lights it.

Ummm ... good times?

Don’t be that guy. Or girl.

Leave the fireworks to the professionals.

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