The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
The same procedure as every year, James!
Every New Year's Eve, we continue to refine our 'Dinner for One' routine and let me just say, perfection is a long ways away.
Last year, for example, I made my dad's 'Shit-Hot Chili' but somehow forgot that we would be feeding children, who tend not to eat anything sporting a habañero. It's probably the tilde.
This year, I remembered to scoop out the ketchup with meat sauce before adding the ingredients that gives it its proper name.
Last year, we were forced to watch 'Dinner for One' on TV. Considering that they show the fifteen-minute skit every hour on the hour up until midnight, this might seem like an easy task, especially to the less unfortunate kid-less folk. Envy isn't the same as hate, is it?
This year, Angie bought the movie, so that we could watch it in the unplannable 'calm of the storm' that hits shortly before the feeding hour.
Last year Sarah made a salad. Her kids loved it. Our kids looked at it in puzzled awe and bemused wonder, but of course picked out the cucumbers.
This year, la Principessa figured out how to get my boys to eat a salad. Kinda.
This time they were picking out the cucumbers and the nacho chips, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. Maybe next year she can put Nutella in the salad dressing.
Last year, Sara brought Jell-O instead of a cake.
This year, she brought a cake instead of Jell-O.
Of course, she misspelled Frono and the first slice tasted like soap, but hey, you gotta start somewhere.
She of course argued that it was our spotless knife that must have still had dishwashing liquid on it. Yeah, that, or maybe you ran out of icing and decided to use liquid Dove.
Last year, Sebastian didn't get a Christmas gift. It's okay, he also didn't give any. Instead, he donated a bunch a money to help people needier than Angie.
This year, he tried to do the same, but I just pretended that we were married and ignored his wishes. Besides, Sebastian's a hard-core Trekkie and it's not every day that you find a pizza cutter that is shaped like the USS Enterprise (NCC-1601).
Another person totally digging the post-Christmas gift exchange was Tommy.
See, shortly after dinner, Sarah had asked him if there was anything that Santa had forgotten.
'Yeah, a rattle snake.'
'Of course. Silly Santa.'
Rather than ask how Sarah happened to have a stuffed rattlesnake in her purse, I simply moved on.
By the way, I do know that it was the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) and not the (NCC-1601). I just wanted to mess with hard-core Trekkies for a paragraph or two.
Last year, we spent about ten minutes watching children with no patience trying to melt lead by holding a spoon over a lit flame.
This year, well, we pretty much did the same thing.
Last year, when the kids got bored, Sarah and Angie took over for them. The kids clearly had no interest in this tradition, but Sarah and Angie clearly did. I think that they secretly rooted for the kids to give up so that they could get their fun on.
This year, well, they pretty much did the same thing, only this time they didn't have to wait as long.
After another hour of fun and games that ended with classic snippets like 'stop doing that to the cat!' and 'no, it's not time yet', we made our way down the street to our absolute favorite spot for blowing stuff up.
Along the way, we passed these guys and Angie only thought she was whispering.
'GROWN MEN WEARING FUNNY HATS ALWAYS CRACKS ME UP!!'
At least the guys were either nice enough or tipsy enough to let me take a picture. Frono!
Last year, I was the official time-keeper, resulting in a multitude of problems. The first problem was clearly that the kids were asking me for the time every 30 seconds. Problem number two was that I don't wear a watch, so I was digging my phone out of my coat on a bi-minute basis. The real problem, though, was that it was mighty cold outside and my sensitive hands wanted to stay buried deep in my coat pockets.
This year, I simply delegated the task to one of Santa's helpers.
Last year, I had to light every single firework that went off. Multiply that fun by three and add a lot of spastic screaming. Yeah.
This year, I brought along a big fat candle and let the boys unleash their inner Pyro all by themselves. David was the first to volunteer.
This all smelled like a good idea until Peter came running up to me holding a smoldering firecracker.
'Papa, this one didn't...'
See, I had failed to tell Peter that if you drop a firecracker into the snow and the fuse gets a little wet, it does still work, it just takes a few seconds longer.
I tried to explain this to the kid with no eyebrows, but I guess having your fingers in a pile of snow and screaming your head off makes it hard to concentrate on retroactive words of wisdom.
Ah, well, as I mentioned, we continue every year to refine our 'Dinner for One' routine. If Peter is willing to look at a firecracker by next year, he'll at least know now not to hold onto it once it's been lit. Until then, he'll just have to make the peace sign with his left hand.
Last year, we tried to force nature to go to bed right after the fireworks. What a crap idea.
First off, they were wound tighter than a two dollar watch. Second, the A dolts then went on to party until the clouds turned purple again, which was about the time that the well-rested night-shift came on duty demanding breakfast. And you all know who's not allowed in the kitchen.
This year, I encouraged them to stay up as long as they possibly could, hoping this would extend my unneeded beauty sleep. Kids are like adults in that sense, though. As soon as they knew that they could stay up and get away with it, all five of them racked out. Game over, man.
Last year, we played poker directly after getting the kids to bed.
This year, we decided to play Clue first. Despite all odds, guess who had a clue?
To be fair, Angie has only been practicing this game with the boys for the last two years.
To be unfair, she went from proving to everyone that she wasn't clueless to making farting noises on a champagne glass.
She wouldn't give up and kept claiming that she could play a beautiful melody. You call it whatever you like, Butter Buns, it's lovely.
Last year we ended New Year's surrounded by good friends, good times, and Angie's poker gloat.
This year it was thankfully the same.
Every New Year's Eve, we continue to refine our 'Dinner for One' routine and let me just say, perfection is a long ways away - hopefully.--------------------------------------------
Ladder Talk: [Sorry, no Ladder Talk tonight - maybe next year]
1) What was the best part of your day?
2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: ZZZzzz...OW, MY FINGER...zzzz...
3) What would you like to do tomorrow?