Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

When The Holiday Does Not Feel Like The Holiday

New Year’s Day.  Only Christmas and Halloween have as easy a date to remember.  For New Year’s Day, it is the easiest to remember, the first day of the year.

The night before, called New Year’s Eve is often spent in revelry either with friends, family, or with Ryan Seachrist on the television.  For children, it is most likely the only evening that they are allowed and encouraged to stay up well past their bedtime.  For some grown-ups like me, I look at 12:01am as the time to start preparing for slumber.  The next day is normally a work day.  So at least 5 years, this is the case.  When New Year’s Day falls on a Friday or Saturday, I will have the following day to recover from the overindulgence of food and drink.

Over the last ten years, about seven of our last New Year’s Eves have been spent with my in-laws, dining at a fancy restaurant who has reduced its menu to five or six selections (none of which are cheesesteaks or cheeseburgers) and raised its prices as high as $20 over what it normally would charge.  Now I made the comment about the food selections because I am a picky eater, and with the entrees offered, the restaurant clearly is not Burger King and will get upset with special orders.  I tried once, only once to order from the children’s menu for some “plain” fare and was nearly kicked to the curb for ordering chicken nuggets.  I personally did not see the big deal.  Both my daughters were getting chicken nuggets.  And then I was supplied with the reason for their lack of approval.  “We do not serve chicken nuggets to adults.” 

I guess that the restaurant figured I would make a stink about paying $69 for an order of chicken nuggets because after all, the bottom line was, I was an adult, taking up an adult space on the busiest night of their business.  As if some other adult would have been willing to sit with a family of strangers because that one seat was open due to the finicky eating habits of a grown up who had to be removed from the rest of the table of eating adults.  Quite honestly, I have a problem paying that much money for any entree, but knowing I was going to be stuck paying an “adult fee” for my meal, at least I would have eaten all of my chicken nuggets rather than just stared at a plate of something I could not pronounce (my rule of thumb – if I cannot say it, not gonna eat it).

The remainder of time on those evenings are spent back in one of our homes, where we continue to shove food down our throats, for me, usually it is a meal’s worth, all kinds of snack foods:  cheeses, ring bologna, cookies, etc.  We attempt to play some sort of game stalling time until the countdown to midnight.  And then it arrives.  The second round of clockwatching begins so that I can get some sleep.  It will be another day of glutiny and partying, followed the next day by the return to work.

Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and others are not very big party days, so recovery to return to work on Monday is not that difficult.  But New Year’s Eve this year was Monday, New Year’s Day is Tuesday, and return to work is Wednesday.  It just does not feel right to return to work on hump day, when we have not worked the week at all yet.  And it never fails, all the other big party holidays like Christmas and Halloween and July 4th, all have those roving holidates, making the return to work the next day if you have partied the night before, as bad as waking with a hangover.  But when you assign the name “New Year’s Day” and that automatically implies January 1st, I guess we do not really have the choice of the day of the week to celebrate it.

We often take the opportunity to look at the coming of the new year to look forward to what lays ahead.  New Year’s Day next year is on a Wednesday.  I do not see a lot of motivation to work on Monday to party Tuesday and Wednesday, and then go back to work for just two days.  I say, we start declaring holidays to cover whatever days it takes to get to the weekend.

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