I proposed to my wife nine years ago on New Year’s Eve. Since then we’ve been through some amazing, and some not-quite-as-amazing times. That near-decade has seen the births of our two kids, career changes, moves, and more.
Ever since we’d been dating, we had spent New Year’s Eve downstate with her family, which was always a lot of fun. We’d make homemade eggnog, and play cards after the kids had gone to bed, waiting for the ball to drop. It was always a loud, elaborate affair.
This year was the first year it’s been different. Not only are things tense with her family right now, thanks to her bone-head brother actively demolishing his marriage in the most cowardly and idiotic way possible, but I had to work both last night and today.
So, for the first time since we’ve been together, New Years Eve would be just US.
That is…if I could make it home from work in time.
I work what we call ‘C-Lines.’ 3PM to 11PM….and I have a 43 mile drive home. On a good night, if the weather cooperates and I don’t get stuck behind someone too scared to drive at night, I can make the trip in 49 minutes since the entire drive is on state highway, posted at 55 miles an hour.
We really didn’t have plans for the night, but given everything that’s been going on with work and family, I really wanted to be there for stroke of midnight and get my kiss…hell, its ALL I wanted.
I left work with my GPS telling me my ETA would be 11:42PM. Awesome. Perfect. Except I had to stop for fuel. Coffee that is. I had plenty of gas in the car. I grabbed a cup of coffee and hit back on the road.
New ETA: 11:48. Lost 6 minutes in the gas station. Off I go, and IMMEDIATELY get stuck behind not one, but two cars traveling ten miles an hour under the speed limit. By the time one turned off and I passed the other one at a blistering and possibly unsafe speed, my time had been moved up to 11:50.
The first leg of the trip screamed by. I wasn’t speeding too much- the road is famous for long, sweeping bends and sneaky deer that use the road to commit suicide all the time, so I was being cautious. Still, I made up a few minutes, I was back into the 11:40’s.
The second half of the trip I get stuck behind MORE drivers who apparently had nowhere to go. So….I did the worst thing imaginable.
I tried an as-yet untested shortcut.
And got lost. Turned around actually. I had to double back and get back on course with the time closing in, and my swear words getting louder.
I missed a turnoff and had to go to another street, adding more time.
I got stuck behind third car.
When I broke loose from it, I DID get sort of a heavy foot, but in the end I made it with ten minutes to spare. At 12:00 I got my kiss, and by 12:10 we were in bed after the most quietly intimate New Years Eve we’ve ever spent together. As much as we love our respective families, we cherish little moments like this one together when its just ‘us.’
Happy 2016 everyone, and I hope your celebration- no matter if it was intimate and simple, or as elaborate as donning adult diapers and drinking your face off in the crows at Time’s Square- was as fulfilling and happy as mine was.
I have no idea where this blog will go in 2016. But I’m hoping like hell you’ll stick around so we can find out together. See you on the next page.