Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence In Iowa

In all my years of full-time work, I think this was the first time that the Fourth of July fell on a Wednesday.  It really gives the work week an unusual twist to have half a weekend in the middle of the week, like a strange fantasy island of relaxation surrounded on all sides by the shark-filled waters of work.  Monday was Monday, Tuesday felt like Friday, today feels like the weekend, tomorrow will feel like Monday again, then Friday will be Friday.  By the time the actual weekend rolls around, I'll be so confused that I won't remember to show up for work on Monday.

The day started unexpectedly well when I found a workaround for my week-two Wimbledon woes.  Without access to cable or ESPN3, I thought my viewing would be limited to watching the online scoreboard update on the ESPN website.  But I landed a big win on the small screen--the iPhone came to the rescue again, with an assist from the Watch ESPN app.  I've had the app on my phone for months, but through my limited experimentation, I thought that all it did was provide a TV schedule for the ESPN channels, making it essentially useless.

Desperate to find a way to watch Wimbledon, I read more about the app and learned that Comcast customers could actually stream ESPN3 coverage on their phones. I wasn't getting my hopes up; I figured I'd have to be connected to wireless on a Comcast-powered network, but that wasn't the case.  I just logged in, and I had live Wimbledon coverage in the palm of my hands!  Sure, the app crashed quite a few times as a lot of people had complained about in reviews, but I was able to get small but high-resolution Wimbledon action!  All of the ingredients are back in place for a fantastic 4th.  I can how host a BYOBB party this weekend and convince everyone to crowd around a three-inch screen.  The BYOB, of course, stands for Bring Your Own Binoculars, and the extra B is for Breakfast at Wimbledon.

A Fourth of July celebration isn't the same without scorching hot weather, and Iowa delivered big--temperatures hit triple digits with plenty of humidity.  It made for a sweat-soaked run early in the morning and didn't let up all day.  Best of all, the forecast calls for more of the same:

I love heat and humidity anyway, but it only enhances the classic Fourth of July tradition of eating homemade ice cream.

The only thing missing was fireworks, but not having fireworks on the Fourth of July is an Ankeny tradition of its own.  For whatever reason, the city holds its "Summerfest" celebration the weekend after the Fourth, and with the holiday falling on a Wednesday this year, Ankeny will officially celebrate America's independence on July 15th.  For the locals, I suppose having something to look forward to helps avoid a post-Fourth of July letdown, but it's not so good for the out-of-towners.  I tried to satisfy my appetite for colored lights by setting fire to a box of Crayolas, but it just wasn't as majestic as the real thing.

Now I have to go mentally prepare myself to dive back into those shark-filled waters of work tomorrow.  I won't be as bad since I won't actually be in the office, but work is work, wherever it happens.  Regardless, thank you America--of all the freedoms we enjoy, freedom from work on a Wednesday is right up there with the best of them.

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