Yesterday at midnight Paul and I celebrated our first anniversary. Last year we were in Hawaii when the clock struck midnight (accompanied, might I add, by some of the loveliest people I know). I was actually going to post some pictures of last year, which would have shown off some of those very lovely individuals, but that’s when Paul had a little talk with me about how that could really get some of our closest friends and family members fired. So ERICKATCINDYLUCASJILLGREGANDWHITNEY? You’re welcome. (Note, ANGIENICKELSEYBEN and MYPARENTS…you weren’t up at midnight [with us, anyway], but yes, I have footage that's just as damaging. Some involves booze. Some involves triple chins. So again, YOU’RE WELCOME.)
Despite the fact that I'm suffering from a ridiculous case of butt clench in following picture, I’m going to show it to you, UNCROPPED, for three reasons: 1) It’s kind of cool because as you can see from the date, it captures the first 56 seconds of what Paul and I will from now on refer to as our BIG DAY, 2) it shows my brother, and his wife, Kat, in the background. Please make note of what my brother is doing. We had just walked back from the beach at this point. (Or were we just heading there? The former would have been smarter while the latter is more likely.) and 3) it contributes to one of my life list items, which is to take a family picture on Christmas and New Years every year. Because that life list item was an AFTERTHOUGHT, this photo is what I'm stuck with for last year's 12:00 a.m. moment.
Why does the picture look so HAZY, you ask? I can explain. Stay with me.
This year, we were in the middle of a lake. A frozen lake. We were sitting next to a bonfire which was burning in the middle of the frozen lake. (And hell, since I already mentioned butt clench, let me just say that it took until midnight for my butt to unclench itself from the terrifying drive we took ACROSS the lake to get us to the bonfire. The real Alaskans did not seem to be alarmed.)
The chair that the bottle of champagne is sitting on is actually about to be burned in the fire. That thing IN the fire? That’s Whitney and Greg’s china hutch. Whitney has been dying to get rid of that thing since she acquired it with the purchase of their lovely home. What we failed to bring, of course, was their Christmas tree, which could have been set a flame with a hot cup of TEA if someone were to walk too closely to its branches while taking a sip.
Paul SO looks like an Eskimo and not an islander in this pic. Hey, WHEN IN ROME!?!
It was fun to ring in the New Year (and our anniversary!) with Whit and Greg again this year, as they stood up for us on our wedding day. However, I’m not sure we could top last year’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Though there were fireworks, it was a pathetic effort. To others, perhaps, who have never been to Waimanalo, HI on New Year’s Eve, it might have seemed like something really special, but to us, it just didn’t quite have the impact. Let me quickly explain why.
On New Year’s Eve last year, the crew of friends who ventured down for the wedding had originally thought we’d head to Waikiki (the only night we’d likely be in Waikiki for the entire duration of our trip). However, when a local told us that it’d be in our best interest to stick around Waimanalo, we decided to stay. I’m not sure exactly when we began to realize we’d made the right choice, but when we saw what appeared to be somebody’s uncle buying $5,000 worth of fireworks earlier that day at COSTCO, we really started raising our eyebrows at one another, if you know what I mean.
The fireworks show started at oh, I don’t know, 3:00 in the afternoon, and it did not stop until 3:00 in the morning. To attempt to describe to you how extraordinary this experience was would be nearly impossible. Let me say this: we were having dinner out on the Lanai when the fireworks were really getting warmed up, and we could not have a conversation. We were literally screaming across the table at one another. “PLEASE PASS THE SALT. THE SALT. THE…oh, forget it.” At one point, when there was a 5 second delay in between booms, my bff, Angie, randomly shouted across the table: “And THAT’S how I got that rash!” As you can see, I’m still riding the coattails of that little gem.
Anytime I try to explain it to someone who wasn't there, I can always tell when they lose interest, as if to say,“Quit telling me this boring story about fireworks, baby Huey.” But those of us who witnessed it that day look at one another with a deep sense of understanding.
Let me be clear, though - it ain’t no professional show, my friend, whooohoho no, it’s neighborhood rivalry at its finest. I’m fairly confident that much of what we saw go off that night wasn’t even legal. And the booming went on, and on, and on. (Interestingly, our neighbor at the beach house, who complained when someone blew their nose outside on the Lanai past 9:00 p.m., didn’t seem to mind the fireworks...not that we could have heard her if she were yelling from her window. Maybe when your neighbor spends $8,000 on fireworks, you just say thank you and shut the hell up.)
I knew we were really stumbling upon something special when I rounded the corner of the beach house at one point in the evening to see my brother speaking in to his video camera, documentary style, describing what was happening around him. He was really getting some good footage when it turned midnight. Because, well, it was…oh forget it. Just go there.
Anyway, so we weren’t in Hawaii this year. We were on a frozen lake. And there were a few sparkles here and there but mostly there was coors light, good friends, and you know, that guy I married exactly a year ago. And that was alright with me. So Happy Anniversary, Paul! I’m confident that 50 years from now we won’t be able to hear fireworks or stare at a china hutch burning in the middle of a lake in Alaska, but baby, I’m confident you’ll still light my fire.
p.s. Please excuse and typos. I'm running on like, 5 minutes of sleep. We're in the Seattle airport on our way home.
p.p.s.s. Greggie, thanks for the sweet pics.