The pristine snow remains from days ago, held in place by a static thermometer and undeterred by a bright, but cool sun. The boulevard dazzles with multiples of ice diamonds, affixed to the tips of tree branches and smooth expanses of yet to melt snow. We tumble into it, out of the minivan and onto the icy sidewalk. A stream of kids and partially zipped boots, stray mittens, grocery bags and leftover coffee cups pour from the van and find their way into the house. Mostly with some double backing by Mom and Dad.
There's anticipation in the air, at least for Chris and me. The kids don't really get that it's a holiday. The last opportunity for indulgence at the end of a string of holiday enablers. But Dee and T know that kid wine is involved, a drink known to most as sparkling apple cider. If you need another preschool motivator, offer kid wine. They get so excited, I'd swear it was spiked.
The prize for us are the King Crab legs. They poke out of the newspaper lined Costco bag, waiting for consumption in our new giant icebox known in other seasons as our back deck. Soon we'll boil and crack them, swirl them in melted butter and lemon. Then we'll eat them and maybe die. Happy in 2011.
Before the celebrations begin, there are potatoes to bake and later load with real butter and ranch dressing. They'll undergo a quick cook in the microwave because we returned home from our errands later than expected. We have health insurance deadlines to meet and end of year checks to write and post before the end of the business day. And also nap and quiet time before dinner. Dee and T oblige, with promises of a special dinner and a kid movie, and of course, some kid wine. I must be raising a bunch of future drunks.
The kids didn't know about the fireworks saved from this year's gloomy, 40-degree Fourth of July, when I was grumpy and not in the mood for fireworks, despite the fact that it was unnecessary then to clear off a square of snow to create a launch pad.
Six months later I'm downright giddy planning a "I voted for this guy 'cause I hate the other guy" kind of New Year's Eve party. The thought of ringing in 2011 "with" Dick Clark depresses me. I wanted to do more to protest than simply falling asleep on the couch.
So I created my own party. First, I found a life partner, then I rounded out the guest list by birthing some kids with limited expectations and early bedtimes. I worked in a fancy dinner for myself, some real wine, and voila!... seven hours later I'm asleep on the couch, with the sound of Dick and Ryan droning on in the two minute intervals between commercials.
I admit it. I watched the ball drop, but it wasn't a highlight. That came from the channel where I watched a crowd of people in Vegas watch the ball drop on their respective big screen. I call it a trickle down New Year.
So...now I'm trying to get a direct line to you before the holiday weekend ends. While my posts and comments to you came in fits and spurts, please know that I had a great time blogging with you this year! Thanks so much for your thoughts and attention and all the best in 2011!