In my neighborhood, you have to be prepared for almost anything.

The boom was too close.

Logically, I knew someone wasn’t detonating a half of stick of dynamite right outside my bedroom window. The glass was still intact.

I peeled back the curtain to stare off into the night. I didn’t see any debris falling against the night sky. I heard no thuds of any size hitting my yard or the roof.

I checked the clock willing my eyes to focus. 1:13am. I listened for the kids to stir. Nothing.

My next breath was a whispered curse in the direction the boom had come from.

My cursing was rewarded with fast pops one after another. Long ago, I’d learn to distinguish fireworks from gun fire.

But none of it was comforting.

With wildfires a plenty in my state and half my neighbors also on the no-watering-the-lawn bandwagon — part of my block is a tinder box ready to go up in flames.

There’s pretty much zero regulation against fireworks in my neighborhood.

I didn’t know that when I bought the house. It wasn’t even a factoring decision at the time of buying. It was the best house for the right price within the window I had to purchase.

As I tried to go back to sleep, I resolved I would never do that again. If I ever purchased again, it would be in a neighborhood where fireworks (outside of sparklers, smoke bombs, or pop its) are not allowed.

I dread the Fourth of July here. It means low-quality sleep most nights the entire week and sometimes after of. If you live in Utah, then you also get fireworks around July 24th, a state holiday that celebrates some of the first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint pioneers.

When I was a kid, these large fireworks were reserved for city-wide displays in a central safe location. Driving to the fireworks show and perching ourselves on the banks of the Columbia River was just something we did.

As a homeowner, I now watch the fireworks show I experienced as a child scattered around a three block a radius.

And I wait, sleep deprived, hose in hand, for a large enough spark or lit debris to touch down and catch.

My father was spent a good part of my childhood as a firefighter and an EMT. Even with the smaller fireworks in the driveway, dad was always on guard and on call. He was very vigilant and now I understand why.

I’ve seen fireworks misfire, go off in unplanned directions, or just flat out explode.

One year, someone had a firework they launched fly horizontally into the house across the street. It happens.

Every year, I’m out there soaking my roof and the very dead, brown lawns with a hose.

Celebrating is one thing. Having your home damaged or harm come to family members because untrained individuals are playing with large aerial fireworks and 1/2 sticks of dynamite is unacceptable.

Being woke up in the middle of the night on a regular basis wondering if we’re under attack just adds insult to injury.

If people aren’t allowed to discharge their firearms in the city limits, then they shouldn’t be allowed to fire such large fireworks either.

Until then, I’ll be in the yard with my hose.