My wife’s office Christmas party was this past weekend, which some of you might remember we attended around this time last year as well. Once again we had a good time, as in most respects it was more or less the same party all over again, but in various and sundry ways there are a lot of little differences which an intervening year can account for.
Obviously, first and foremost, this was not an occasion to make much of the cash bar or the wine pairings at dinner, since the pregnancies in our household tend to be abstemious affairs (on my wife’s part for obvious prenatal developmental reasons, and on mine because I really don’t care much for drinking alone). I had a lone light beer when we first arrived and my wife had a couple of ginger ales over the course of the evening. For us, that constitutes a fair amount of living it up.
And you would think that, since we weren’t within shouting distance of cutting loose self-indulgently, we’d make a pretty early night of it. I think that was out intention, too, at least at the outset, but funny enough things just didn’t go that way. On the one hand I think that’s a function of our ever-increasing comfort level with leaving the little guy behind. Exactly like last year, my wife’s folks came up to put the little guy to bed and then sit up waiting for us, but unlike last year whatever flutters of parent-child separation anxiety might have once accompanied us were nowhere in evidence this time. It has become no big deal, which sounds a little off-putting when I name it as such but I really do think it’s a healthy development all around. (Seriously, as long as Grandma and Pop-Pop are in the house, the little guy could not care less if mom and dad take off for a party, and good for him.) So, no nameless irrational dread compelling us to hurry home so that we might keep our offspring breathing through sheer proximity and force of will. And on top of that, we found ourselves playing craps in the fake-casino part of the party and getting on quite the tear with the winnings. Which not only helped to while the time away for a good portion of the evening, but also made us feel compelled to stay until the bitter end, because when they close down the tables and everyone cashes in their chips, there are prizes for those who’ve amassed the most winnings and it seemed like I might have a shot.
And so I did! Everyone starts the night with 50,000 in play money and I ended with 900,000. Granted, a chunk of that was because some of my wife’s co-workers did choose to leave early and bequeathed their chips to me on the way out the door, but the majority of it was purely due to a long streak I got on throwing the dice, which was followed by my wife going on an equally long streak during which I made and won some ridiculous bets like the 15-to-1 odds she would roll an 11 on her very next roll, which she proceeded to do. We make a dangerous team sometimes, my bride and I.
So we were up well past midnight, and came home with a brand new iPod Nano. Yowza yowza.
It’s also genuinely comforting to me that my wife’s office Christmas party has become another given in our annual holiday traditions. She’s been at the job for over two years now and when they were giving out awards to everyone who’s been with the practice five years I had no trouble envisioning her accepting her own crystal paperweight in another three Christmases. (Beyond that, it gets a little murkier.) It’s gotten to the point where I know her co-workers better myself, and when her boss seems happy to see me I can tell myself it’s because I legitimately helped her out hanging some oversized frames on the wall before their open house this fall, and not entirely a formality. And on the other hand when one of my wife’s colleagues mentions recently enjoying a Tales From the Crypt DVD marathon I can feel at ease enough to impress them with my recollections of the holiday-thematic Santa Axe Killer episode from season one. (OK, maybe the good doctor wasn’t so much “impressed” as “unsettled by my geek-level abilities of recall” but I’m just going to go ahead and say “impressed” anyway.)
So that was Saturday night and really only one (admittedly large) facet of a very Christmas-y weekend, but I think I’m going to have to dole the rest out over the course of the week. I’m not sure how much I’ll be online the next couple of days as I have that conference to attend tomorrow and Wednesday, but by the end of the week I’ll try to make up for it either way.