sky-lantern-father-sonYou know that feeling when you realize that your actions are going to be personally responsible for the entire neighborhood burning down to the ground?

No? I do.

But do you at least know that feeling when you realize that your actions could very easily set the whole lawn on fire?

No? Really? Hm. I do.

But, come on. Do you at least know that feeling when you realize that your actions could very easily leave your most cherished loved ones maimed and charred for life?

No? Like, really? Weird. I thought everyone would know those feelings.

I sure do after our first massively failed attempt at sending a sky lantern high into the troposphere.

It all started with one excited seven year old. A company long ago had sent a box full of “flying stuff,” and it has been sitting in Noah’s closet for, oh, I don’t know… Two years?

He finally drug it out, bored to death on a day when he wasn’t allowed on his iPad, and cranked it open.

It was admittedly a very neat box of stuff. It had all sorts of things in it for him to build. Within a couple hours he had built his very own wooden catapult. He had built his very own helicopter. And, he had prepared this ginormous sky lantern for us to light and send into the sky once the sun went down.

Now, it should be known that I am an expert with fire. As in, I am as expert as they come.

When I was a teenager I burnt down a good portion of my parents’ basement after setting a cardboard box full of jam onto the stove. Oh, and did I mention that my delightfully chubby teenage belly bumped against the knob turning the thing to high right before I left the room to drop a twosie? That was a fun one.

Another time I decided to make creme brûlée for some of my friends at Christmastime. As I was torching the sugar on top, I mindlessly raised the flame torch right at the face of the girl I was dating. I missed her hair and her face by, oh, I don’t know. 4mm. I singed a nice hole into her collar though. That was a fun one.

When I was eight, my parents forbade me to chop wood for the campfire. I ignored them because campfires are awesome when you’re eight. I stole my uncle’s hatchet and headed into the woods to make the best campfire ever. Oh, and then I chopped straight through my thumbnail and nearly severed the top of my thumb. All in the name of awesome fire. That was a fun one.

Another time I was making yams. I put too many marshmallows on top. With the size of the fire which erupted in the oven, you’d have thought I was cremating a body in there. The neighbors thought that one was real fun since my smoke alarms didn’t go off for an hour straight.

That resulted in a giant glob of melted rubber and plastic all over the stove where my brand new salt and pepper grinders had just barely stood so proudly. So strongly.

Rest in peace Halle and Oliver (that’s what I named the grinders). You were awesome for the three days I had you.

So. Anyway. Yes. I am an expert with fire. Which is why nothing should have ever gone wrong with something so simple and fun as a sky lantern.