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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Can't take me anywhere

First off, let me just wish everyone a very Happy New Year. As I write this, it's still 2006 back home on the east coast (this is a shout-out to all my peeps in Virginia, yo yo yo!), but I've always liked a little bit of time travel. So, in a very "Groundhog Day" kind of way let me say that I hope your experience ringing in 2007 is as great as one as I had last night.

That is, all except for the part where I spilled red wine all over the hosts' carpet. Yes, I am a freakin' moose apparently. There I was, talking to Martin and Amy, a New Zealand couple whose youngest son plays in-line hockey over here and wants to one day play ice hockey in Canada, when I somehow managed to tip over a nearly-empty wine glass that was resting on a CD case behind me. It wasn't my glass, as it happens, but I guess during the conversation I had managed to drift backwards a bit while shifting in place while talking, as you do.

Or maybe it's just me that does that, but even if you do as well, it was with a rather graceless shuffle that I suddenly sent the glass tumbling. Luckily there wasn't the sound of shattering glass, however you could certainly hear the 'galumph' sound that liquid makes when it spills forth and onto the floor. And down the wall. And all over the top of the CD case and two CD's lying there.

The hosts, Lorraine and Antony, are tremendously friendly and nice people and they told me several times not to worry about it, everything would be fine. A veritable congregation of guests had gathered round the hosts, and their daughter appeared with a roll of paper towels. After Lorraine had scrubbed the wall and case free of red wine, Antony had knelt down to scrub at the several dark stains in the carpet. One guest said that pouring lots of salt over the stains and leaving it overnight would do the trick, so this they then did.

I cracked a lame joke about how at least the CDs were safe, as I dried them off with a paper towel and inspected the discs inside. The joke was that, being that they were Early 80s compilations, they were far more important than the rug or wall and that since they were safe, all was well. The daughter laughed and again Lorraine and Antony were so good about the whole thing, as Antony put a hand on my shoulder and said, "Don't worry about a thing, mate, it's going to be all right."

Still, I felt a bit bad as while leaving a little later, there I saw Lorraine again inspecting the carpet. I sure hope that salt trick works!

It was just one of those things, and of course this wasn't a malicious spilling of the wine or anything like that. Had I wanted to be an unruly house guest I would have done something like torn the toilet roll dispenser off the wall while trying to use it to rise from the floor in the bathroom. But, unlike last year, there were no tequila shots and absinthe cocktails waging a war in my bloodstream, so fortunately I didn't do any real harm to my hosts' drywall this year.

I'd really like to get Lorraine and Antony a gift, not only for hosting such an excellent party, but for being so good about my clumsy faux pas. A bottle of wine normally makes for a wonderful gift, especially down here, however I think the irony of gifting them with more wine might be a little much for me. Any suggestions on a gift? Steam cleaner for the carpet perhaps?

But let me stop whingeing and tell you about this party. It was fantastic. I met so many friendly Kiwis and really enjoyed myself. Lots of them had been to the States at some point, and I got into a lengthy discussion with one of them about New Jersey and the airport in Newark and I-95 and how, well, even though Jersey is beautiful these parts of it would lend the casual passer-through to the conclusion that it is a grey, sooty dump. I also even got an NFL update from one of them who gets ESPN as he told me that the Giants beat the Redskins and earned their way into the playoffs.

They had a great spread of finger food that they brought around at regular intervals to us guests, of which there were about thirty. There were barbecued prawns, tiny egg rolls, blocks of camembert and brie cheese with crackers, and then at the end there was a marvelous array of desserts. Tiny eclairs, Greek New Year's cake (awesome!), lemon tarts, apple and almond cake, fresh strawberries, and a whole bunch of other trays of stuff that I couldn't fit onto my little plastic plate. When they weren't putting out a great spread they were going around making sure everyone's drinks were topped up and they kept a great bunch of music playing in the background. The music was a mix of bands like the Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, and a bunch of stuff from the late '70s and early '80s.

When midnight came and brought with it 2007, everyone joined hands and in a large, asymmetrical circle we all sang "Auld Lang Syne", punctuating its final verses by collapsing the circle then widening it back out repeatedly. It was really nice. Miraculously, nobody fell down, nor did any furniture catch fire as we lit off dozens of those 'poppers' that shoot confetti into the air.

One cool thing was that lots of their teenage kids were present at the party as well and they all had a really great time too. The drinking age is a lot lower here in NZ than it is in the States, so it was good for the parents to have their 'of age' kids around on New Year's instead of worrying about them being out and about somewhere. It was kind of like one of those chaperoned post-prom parties and if the kids thought it was 'uncool' to have the folks around during their New Year's party, it never showed. Everybody mingled freely and it was just a really great time.

I am really excited for 2007. It is during this year that I hope to obtain residency status here in New Zealand (the step before citizenship, which takes much longer). That is my biggest goal for this year. After that, I'm looking forward to a trip back home to the States, maybe one to visit Charles and Shannon in Vietnam before they leave in April, perhaps a trip to Aussie to see Danie and John at some stage.

And for next New Year's Eve, given my tradition of causing a bit of a ruckus in my hosts' homes, I am going to attend the next party situated inside one of those baby saucers. You know the ones, with the sling-like seat in the middle of a round innertube-like ring of protective hard plasitc, and the whole thing's on wheels? Yes, this way I can shuffle around to my heart's content, all without the danger of sending wine glasses flying or wall fixtures tumbling!

Have a safe and happy New Year's, everyone!

4 Comments:

Blogger Beechball * said...

I haven't yet read this, but I noticed that your last post is missing.. what happened to it - the taking the piss out one, lol. My new years was great an although my stomach is not agreeing with all the food I ate last night, I will make sure to read your post before the end of the night! :P

12:03 PM  
Blogger Beechball * said...

haha great post! What is the drinking age there? Here in lovely Canada it's 19, which I think is almost too young because we got lots of booze loveing people in these parts, lol. It sounds like a wonderful party andI can't wait to show you all the pictures and movies from our night last night! One tip for you and the baby saucer though.. stay away from the stairs! lol Happy New year Brandon!

12:11 PM  
Blogger Brooksie said...

I think the age of consent here is 18 now, although there is a groundswell to raise it up again. Very funny about the baby saucer and stairs, I hadn't thought of that! I'll bring my own baby gate as well then. Happy New Year to you, too, Lyndsay and I'll be looking for those pictures on your site soon!

12:42 PM  
Blogger DanaBurger said...

Happy Belated New Years Brooksie :)

6:46 PM  

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