Monday, January 01, 2007

No hangover for me...

I didn't wake up with a hangover this morning.

Traditionally, on New Year's Eve, my wife and I get together with a couple of long-time friends of ours, Steve & Fran. We've been doing this for around the last ten years or so. We only see each other a few times a year so it's always nice to catch up and see in the new year with one another. Typically, we eat a variety of food, drink a lot and play some light games.

We usually take it in turns to host the party. Last year it was at our house as my wife, Deb, was 8 months pregnant. At that time she couldn't drink and ended up going to bed early as she was feeling tired (which was not that strange as she would give birth just over three weeks later). Steve, Fran and myself saw in 2006 playing games and drinking.

This year we decided to have it at our house again as we had an 11-month-old baby and it would just be easier for us. We were looking forward to catching up with Steve, Fran and their two little boys (3.5 and 1.5 years old) as we hadn't seen them all for about six months.

The plan was they'd come over to our place mid-morning on New Year's Eve, we'd spend the day around the pool, the kids happily playing with each other, we'd have a nice lunch and a few drinks, Steve and I would play a few games of BattleLore, Deb and Fran would chat over a few glasses of champagne, we'd retire to the back deck in the afternoon for a lovely dinner and some more drinks, all the kids would be bathed and off to bed early and the rest of the evening would be spent talking, laughing, drinking and playing games.

What was I thinking!?! We're all married with kids now! As well as that, Deb and I have had a pretty exhausting Xmas period. Our younger daughter had been sick for a few days over the last week with periods of high temperature. She'd been waking up in the middle of the nights crying with a fever and although we could manage it with medication, she just wasn't sleeping well. And neither were we. We were both very tired and staying up to midnight on New Year's Eve was looking less and less appealing.

So I called Steve a few days ago to suggest we just make it a lunch-time get-together this year. Fran answered and told me that their whole family had been sick over the last week and they were all recovering. Lunch on Sunday was fine as they also felt they wouldn't be able to go the distance on New Year's Eve.

We ended up going over to their place for lunch. Deb wasn't going to drink much so she was the designated driver. I, however, was drinking. And drinking my favourite beer, Hoegaarden , a white beer brewed in Belgium. At AU$79 for a carton of 24 x 330ml bottles it is relatively expensive but I usually only buy one a year at Xmas. And yes, I do have the special Hoegaarden glasses from which to drink this nectar of the gods.

We had a light lunch and talked and drank while the kids (5.5, 3.5, 1.5 and an almost-1-year-old) played together. Steve also had a 5-litre mini-keg of Bitburger, a pilsner beer brewed in Germany and insisted that we both finish it off. Hey, who was I to argue?

Although I'd brought several games to play I'd left them in the car. With that many kids of that age to watch over it would have been impossible to get into a game. And that's fine, I expected as much, so I just sat back and enjoyed my beer and the company.

So, my New Year's Eve drinking session began at around midday and finished about 6.00pm. Although I'd drunk a lot, I'd paced myself well. I'd managed to maintain a perfect level of mild inebriation throughout the entire afternoon.

We'd had a lovely afternoon and all been surprised at how much each other's kids had grown in just six months. With a committment from Steve that we'd get together soon to play BattleLore, we said our farewells. A stop on the way home to pick up some Chinese take-away, a quick bath for the kids, and we were all in bed asleep by 9.30pm.

That's what life with young kids means now - no more late night partying and drinking. Oh, and no more hangovers in the morning. I guess that equals things out...

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