Technically I didn't have time over these holidays to have a proper vacation. (I still have all sorts of papers to write.) But the overall pace of life is less frenzied during the semester break and it's a good time to catch up on all the relationships I've had to neglect for the past many months. Last weekend I went to New Jersey to see lots of family. This past one I went to Seattle, where two of my best friends live.
One of them has a whole bunch of friends who are avid gamers. So for New Year's Eve we sat around playing all sorts of board games and strategy games and party games until 4 in the morning. (I played Bohnanza, Puerto Rico, TransAmerica, and Apples to Apples.) At about 1 min. 42 sec. before midnight the 18 of us went downstairs to watch the final countdown on TV. After several "five, four, three, two, one!" countdowns prior to 20 and 10 seconds remaining, we counted down the final seconds, mocked the city of Seattle's festivities ("Hey, if we want to party like it's 1999, in Seattle that means we won't party at all!"), drank a miniscule portion of the vast collection of champagne that had been accumulated, and then went back to the games.
The next day we woke up to lots of leftover potato chips for breakfast, went out for fondue for dinner, and then went to another person's house for still more games (this time Can't Stop and Celebrity). Then my other friend picked me up on Sunday and I finally got to meet her kids and watch Huey Lewis and the News videos. It's so nice to have friends for whom watching HLN videos is just as much fun as it is for me... and it was really good to see her. I hadn't since exactly a year before, at a HLN concert actually (imagine that!).
After a pleasant, lazy bunch of Sunday hours catching up she returned me to the first friend's apartment. We had earlier decided to meet up with her boyfriend for sushi that evening. In fact, we'd become pretty fixated on the idea that we'd be eating sushi later that evening. It even came up in conversation a few times with the second friend - when she asked me what I'd be doing later I was very clear that it would involve eating sushi.
So when we called the intended restaurant and found it closed, we had no choice but to find another. My friend called the second place. "Are you open for dinner?" The answer was yes. "What time do you close?" Given that we were about to leave to go eat I teased her for asking such a redundant question. It was already 5pm. What kind of restaurant is open for dinner service at 5pm and closes by 5:30?
We left her apartment and pretty soon arrived at the restaurant a bit later, just a moment after her boyfriend. Whereupon we found a "closed" sign and a disillusioned employee outside.
Her boyfriend: "They're closed!"
My friend: "What do you mean they're closed? I just called and someone said they were open!"
Employee: "Yeah, that was me. I thought we were open, but it turns out we're not."
Apparently he had mixed up his days off. Earlier that evening he'd come in and set everything up, but sometime after we'd called he put two and two together when none of his coworkers were showing up.
Everyone was disappointed with the turn of events, but it turns out he was the sushi chef. After we asked if there was anywhere else he knew of nearby where we could get some he volunteered, "Well if you just want sushi I can do that. I just can't do teriyaki and things like that." But who cared about the teriyaki - we were there for the sushi. We HAD to have the sushi. "Yeah, if you wouldn't mind..."
So we ended up with a private sushi dinner. He was very good, and single-handedly served us the entire meal (complete with tea and some very interesting steamed mushrooms). At the end I think we left him a 40% tip, so hopefully that will salve the bruise on his ego from him kicking himself so much for his mistake.
(On the way home afterwards her boyfriend and I stopped off at an Office Depot to pick up some supplies for his printer. While we were paying the lights suddenly dimmed. "Are you closed?" we asked incredulously. "Oh yes, we've been closed for 15 minutes." So it turned out to be a very interesting evening of doing a lot of business with apparently closed establishments.)
All in all the few days in Seattle made for a really nice break. It was good to see my friends and get away from the drudgery for a while. Who cares that there weren't warm sandy beaches and tropical drinks being served poolside... This was all much more rewarding and fun.