Friday, January 2, 2009

We Dropped the Ball . . .

Did the Clintons brave the cold and help drop the Times Square Ball? Couldn't tell ya'!

Did Aspen have to cancel all of its New Year's Eve plans because of a bomb threat? Wouldn't know.

Was it even 2009? The newspaper in the airport said so . . . so it must be true!

While many people favor to ring out the old and welcome the new with elaborate parties or trips to far off places (a DC friend of mine once flew all the way to Paris with his girlfriend just for dinner and trip up the Eiffel Tower (they didn't even spend the night - the suckers)) or even small gatherings with friends (witness Ghetto-Cues 98/99, 99/00 and 00/01 from my personal history) - Joy and I prefer the non-celebratory New Year's Eve route.

2003/04 - Our first New Year's Eve together. Spent in Wichita with me meeting the entire Terry side of Joy's family at a karaoke bash in Mom and Dad Terry's home (I helped sing "I am a Man of Constant Sorrow" and fell asleep at around 11:30 PM CT)

2004/05 - Home alone. Baltimore. We walked out in the backlawn at 11:57 to see the Inner Harbor fireworks. We were in bed by 12:05.

2005/06 - Went to celebrate New Year's and Jess' birthday with the (now) Maddens and Patrick and Joyell and Becky DeBottis. Were back on the road and home by 1:00 (including the one-hour drive back to Baltimore).

2006/07 - Just the three of us in Connecticut. I set the alarm for 11:59 PM. We were back asleep by 12:01. With Ava in bed with us.

2007/08 - My parents were with us here in Kansas. We had some dinner and some drinks in the basement. Stacy (Joy's cousin) and a few friends stopped by for a few minutes.

2008/09 - Best Western Syracuse Airport Inn, Syracuse New York.

Now - let me elaborate. It's not usually like us to "splurge" on a hotel room for the night so we can whoop it up and destroy the place and leave maid service to make it all better but something just got in us this year and we had to make it happen. What got in us, you ask? Why the stomach flu, sillies.

My father, God love him, contracted the stomach flu sometime on Monday. By the time we woke up Tuesday morning, it was all over (literally). In his stomach-controlled delusion he had trapsed all through the house and dragged his germs and ailment with him. We spent the entire day Tuesday like Ithacan nomads. We went to the Science Center, we saw Bolt (again) and then we went home and had nap time and then we went to Target, the mall, dinner, and to see Bedtime Stories. All just hoping to avoid the flu. We even looked at changing our flights but - for $525 - we figured we were better sick than poor. We thought we had made it. We loaded in to the car on Wednesday afternoon and headed for the hotel (something we all decided was for the best considering our early morning flight on Thursday) with healthy stomachs and full hearts.

We got to the hotel. Checked in to room 111 at about 3:30. Went down the hall. Snuggled up on the bed in our "spacious" room. Took a couple of pictures (like the one above). Clicked on the spotty cable and - BAM - Ava projectile vomited all over Joy, the bedding and one of the nightstands.

But it gets better. For the next six hours, we proceeded to just unpack more and more changes of clothes from our suitcases and called the front desk, rinsed the gunk out of the old stuff and prayed for mercy from above. There was, you see, no laundry available to hotel guests and they could not even provide us with fresh bedding as no one there had the key to the linen room (hmmmm).

We called it a night at about 9:30. Joy, having been more exposed than me, took the bed with Ava. I took the cold, cement slab floor with a towel for a blanket. The heater turned on and off every thirty to forty-five seconds. The smoke detector blinked green-green-red-green-red-red every four seconds. The couple in room 109 - uh - "enjoyed each other's company" immensely and repeatedly. The man in room 113 suffered his severe sleep apnea not-so-silently.

Ava begged for milk, food or a combination of the above not yet old enough to understand it would only make her feel worse. We "slept" in 10 minute intervals until, at 5:30 AM, we decided screw it. We all piled in to the bed together. We breathed fluish germs. We stared the reality of climbing on not one but two airplanes with severe stomach distress and "fasten seat belt" warnings in the eye and decided that our familial love would get us home either way.

Now - don't feel bad for us. We may not have rung in the New Year in "style." We may not have even rung it in at all but - in our own special way - we officially said "goodbye" to 2008 and we readied our minds, bodies and spirits for all 2009 might have to offer. Oh - and Joy nor I ever actually feel victim to the stomach bug (knock on wood) and our flights home went very, very smoothly.

It might not be a story that legends come out of but, as far as we're concerned, it is a New Year's Eve to remember and to never, ever repeat.

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