Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

My son, who has a REAL day job using his college degree and everything, has a hobby of blowing things up. He is actually a licensed pyro-technican, meaning he can legally blow things up.

True story - one day I got a very interesting telephone call regarding my fourteen year old son's tendencies to blow things up. It went something like this:

"Hello. This is the Federal Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms. Is (my son) there?"

Good grief. My mind was racing. What in the heck had he been up to NOW?? Was my kid in lockdown somewhere waiting for his mother to bring bail money??

Um. Well, no, he's not here. He's at school. This is his (gulp) mother.

Are you aware of his interests in procuring a copy of federal laws pertaining to explosives, from us - the Federal Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms?

Um. Well, I know he likes to blow - er, I know he likes fireworks. A lot. Is there, um, a problem, sir?

Well, we here at the Federal Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms need to follow up on all unusual information requests. Can you tell us why your son may need this information? 

Let me understand - my son is wanting to know the laws for explosives? Is that an unusual request?

The Federal Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms not allowed, by law, to give a minor this information. You may inform him of this. And from one parent to another - keep an eye on that boy.

Ah. Of course. I'll pass along your message. Have a nice day!

When I collared Son after school, he was indignant. "Mom! Do you think I would ask what the laws were if I didn't CARE about breaking them? Geez."

He had a point.

Fast forward another fourteen years and he still loves blowing things up. Legally. He's part of a team that puts on an amazing fireworks display every year at several venues near Seattle, including the Emerald Downs racetrack. Yup. That's my boy with his hands on the laptop that fires off these kaplowies and kabooms. It's all computerized these days. They spend days wiring fuses and setting up all these explosives so that they are connected to a laptop computer, which activates the fuses to fire at specific times. Here's a clip from his show last year:


Leslie at SugarAndSpiceADK. said...

Happy Fourth, Julia--funny post!!! Hey, I'm starting Methotrexate tomorrow, since Azathioprine was so toxic to my liver....this may be, too, but my rheum. is willing to give it a try. Any advice? Have you ever been on this medication, or know anyone else with SS who has? You can always e-mail me at Thanks for any input--you are always so informative!!!

Anonymous said...

Can I join your family? Please? I love fireworks, and would love the excuse to become a pyrotechnic groupie. Saw a very brief show last night, and am really wanting to see a big blowout like your son did last year.

Happy Fourth.

Kelly said...

Julia, that is such a cool job for your son to have. I'm sure my son will be watching some of your son's fireworks in Seattle tonight. Was he on the team that did the fireworks from the Space Needle on New Years? They were awesome!

Julia Oleinik said...

Anonymous, be very very careful for what you ask for. We are an extremely weirdo family....hehe.

Kelly, my son didn't do the space needle fireworks, but he always does the New Year's Eve ones up on Crystal mountain. He does the city of Bellevue Fourth of July ones too. The show at Emerald Downs is his biggest one, I think. It will be interesting to see if he keeps up this hobby one he's married.

Laura said...

Oh my! He definitely helps keep your life interesting, doesn't he?

That's a GORGEOUS show. We are staying home this year and having a potluck with neighbors, setting off the legal street ones ourselves.

I think next year I may take us to a show, since someone apologized that all theirs will be legal since the police are cracking down this year. Um.

annie said...


You have a very interesting family...and a real firecracker of a son. Wishing a belated happy 4th of July.