Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Happy New Year!

I can hardly believe 2004 has come and gone already. I can remember as a kid painfully counting down the last few days until summer break from school, or waiting the seemingly endless weeks until our family's annual vacation in the Outer Banks of NC. I can also remember being warned by my mother: "Don't wish your life away. Enjoy being a kid. Life passes quickly enough when you grow up. The older you get, the faster time passes." She was right.

Friday, New Year's Eve, my office was technically open. We were given Monday, Jan 3rd off for New Year's. However, two weeks prior I had comically complained during our staff meeting that the federal and local governments and all of my friends' companies were off on Friday, and that our weird post-New Year's observance was negatively impacting my social life. ;-) My boss told me I could have Friday off without using leave. What a guy! In reality, I have worked so much overtime (for which I am not financially compensated) that I deserved about 2 weeks off without using any leave, but I decided to take Friday, New Year's Eve to start.

Joe and I ran a couple of errands and did a little housecleaning (even though a LOT of housecleaning would have been appropriate), then picked up his mother Evelyn and headed to a party being hosted by our friends Kerry & Hugh.

Kerry & I know each other from high school. In our junior year we were assigned as partners in a teen counseling program. We made up topics we thought fifth graders should know about (divorce, teen age drinking, getting good grades) and would present these to the students in fun, interactive ways. Kerry & I weren't really "friends" in school - we didn't hang with the same people, but we did have some common acquaintances in several classes. We graduate and 20 years goes by. Then, just prior to our 20 year high school reunion, I get an email from Kerry inviting me to a pre-reunion cocktail party. She saw my email address on the reunion website. Joe & I went to the cocktail party and really enjoyed seeing Kerry & her husband, Hugh. Since then we have done lots of social stuff with them and they have really become close friends.

Kerry's father George is a widower who lost his wife to cancer about the same time as Joe's mother Evelyn lost her husband to leukemia. They are the same age and share many interests. But we are not trying to 'hook them up'. Both of them enjoy socializing but are not interested in romances at age 75.

So, me and Joe and Evelyn arrive at the New Year's Eve party and are warmly greeted by Kerry, Hugh, George, and another old high school acquaintance Tom, and his wife Alicia. A few others stop in along the way. We had lots of yummy snacks like Moroccan hummus, pita triangles, jalapeno hummus, baby carrots, kalamata olives, kaluah brownies, mini chocolate pecan pies, assorted cookies and beverages. We had a lot of fun just eating, talking and laughing. George kept trying to get everyone to agree to putting in a movie, but we pretty much overruled him in favor of just talking.

Shortly before the stroke of midnight we hurriedly filled several champagne flutes with bubbly, and then counted down with the clock on the TV program... "5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!!" Everyone clinked glasses, took a sip, and hugged each other, repeating "Happy New Year". Then we began talking about our New Year's resolutions... going on a diet, exercising, watching less TV and reading more books, finishing home improvement projects started earlier in the year, and for George: having knee surgery so he can move about without pain again.

In relating this now it certainly doesn't sound that exciting, but we sure did have fun!! Shortly before 1am we said our goodbyes and headed back to Evelyn's and then home. By the time we got in bed it was 2am and I was exhausted. But I looked forward to the next day, as we planned to drive up to the beach and finish moving our stuff from the old place to the new. (More later about the places at the beach.)

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