Friday, January 1, 2016

Starting the Year Off Right

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to 2016. Okay, whew! I'm afraid that's all I have the energy to say, so goodbye. Just kidding! Well, sort of...'cuz last night's shindig was a humdinger, I tell ya. (Wait, do people still use that word? I mean, you know, "folks younger than the rocking chair set?" Eh, I'm just gonna go with it...)

Fortunately, Team WestEnders was situated at the location of the festivities, so we had a relatively quiet day...alternating periods of restful relaxation and sociable chatting with our host family (hmm... that makes us sound like participants in an Exchange Program...which I suppose we technically could be...if you count "the South" as a foreign land)...with frantic bursts of cleaning and cooking and general party preparation.

At last all was ready for the invading hordes--um "distinguished guests"....oh, hold on, these are OUR friends I'm talking let's just say "invitees" and leave it at that. And boy oh boy, they came en masse. There were kids of all sizes--and their parents, of course--and enough food to satisfy a small army (which we kind of were, at that point) and free-flowing beverages all around. (Yep, I was hitting that Diet Dr. Pepper pretty hard, in case you're wondering...I sure do know how to live it up, don't I?) With the Orange and Cotton Bowls on as background noise and dozens of conversations going on in multiple rooms, the decibel level approached...well, "deafening" seems pretty darn accurate.

And for the first time in...I honestly can't remember how long...there was a packed living-room-full of revelers young and around the TV waiting for the famed ball to drop in Times Square. Now, the adults were calmly, with dignity and decorum (Ha! Mostly our understated behavior by this time was due to increasing exhaustion and the glorious sweet promise of impending BEDTIME. But whatever...) watching the screen for the cue to welcome in the new year and share well-wishes with the crowd.

However, the youngsters...began shouting along with the countdown at 59-seconds, at the top of their collective, enthusiastic lungs. I doubt it was any louder in NYC, quite frankly. But the important thing was, my boys and I were blessed to be able to greet 2016 surrounded by an awesome group of pals. And as a super-bonus, a little while later we got to stumble downstairs (when the caffeine and cookies wore off...leading to the very first sugar crash of January...) and sleep off the effects of a 7-hour mega-bash, without having to drive anywhere.

We all appreciated this particular perk--"maximizing precious pillow time"--even more, a few short hours later on 1/1/16 when we blearily cracked open our eyes to get started on the next round of social-butterflying. After a brief breakfast (which for me consisted of "filling the largest mug in the house to the brim with the Nectar of, "coffee") we headed out to my dad's house, for an Extended Enders gathering. In this case we got to spend quality time with aunts, uncles, and cousins that we don't have the chance to see very often. The grown-ups enjoyed their conversation, while the 7 kids (ages ranging from 7 to 15) ran amok in the yard, competing in spirited-but-friendly games of football, soccer, and basketball.

Eventually we needed to return to HQ and regroup once more. We took advantage of the opportunity to graze on post-fiesta leftovers--thereby adhering to several well-known Holiday Truths, such as "there's no such thing as 'too much chips and salsa'"; "treats consumed between Thanksgiving and whenever-Winter Break-ends have FAR fewer calories than usual"; and "the virtue of choosing a serving of raw veggies in the face of all the other tempting options totally cancels out that ginormous slice of cake you scarfed down immediately afterwards". (Or I could be making s...tuff....up. I'm okay with that...) Then there's more college football (for the ones who actually care at all about that nonsense, anyway) and copious amounts of lounging on the schedule for this evening.

Because tomorrow (whatever the heck day it is, I've lost track by now), we get our butts in gear fairly early, for a loaded day of frolicking in the old hometown of Olney. Yeah, I think I'd better go complete my nighttime routine, before the adrenaline runs out and I fall down wherever I happen to be sitting (or standing, Heaven forbid) at the moment. And so, ta ta for now...

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