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Monday, January 10, 2005

It was Friday night, the night of our company Christmas party. After five hours of Christmasing it up, we decided that it was not a good idea to drive home, after all, we were an hour away from home. To my surprise, our boss invited us to stay at his house. He was drunk, so perhaps he didn’t realize what he was doing. Now, I do not consider my boss one of my favorite people, but my husband thought it would be a good idea to accept his invite. Perhaps it would get us in with the ‘cool’ work people if we went over there. Maybe we could become one of the elite; you know, the ones the boss invites to BBQs and stuff. So off we went to his house.

I was not excited to say the least and Earl begged me to be on my best behavior. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing his beautiful house with his beautiful lawn in his beautiful neighborhood. But as it turned out, he was a gracious host and one of those best friend drunks, the “I love you, mannn” types. I only broke from my good behavior once. Something just slipped and I couldn't stop it. It was when he started preaching about how Earl and I are the future of the company, it just made something snap in me. My boss told me those exact words 2 years ago, approximately two months before he fired Earl. Of course, after another year passed, he noticed his great mistake and hired him back, but hearing it come out of his mouth again was a direct lie to my face. So I kinda said,

“Hey, déjà vu. The last time you said that, you fired Earl.”

His lawyer’s jaw just dropped and he almost dropped his drink from laughing so hard.

My boss looked at me with drunk eyes and said,

“I don’t remember that.”

And suddenly, that was that. The whole moment was over. At least I finally got to say it to his face and that made me feel better. I recovered by adding,

“If we’re all going to start fresh, we need to clear the air. And I believe I just did that.”

Then he raised his glass and made a toast to new beginnings.

We spent the rest of the night drinking Cosmo’s and Apple Martinis with his wife and his lawyer, with an occasional visit from their two little sleepy kids. When it was finally time to crash, they offered to let us sleep in the guest room or at least on the leather couches in the living room, but Earl wanted to be as uncomfortable as possible so we could wake up early and get the hell out of there before we had to do the whole ‘good morning, why don’t you stay for breakfast’ routine. We laid a blanket and some pillows down on the carpet and made a night out of it.

Morning came pretty quickly, along with a hefty vodka hangover. I don’t normally drink vodka, or any mixed type of drink for that matter, so this hangover was a whole new world to me, and I painfully found my way up to use the bathroom. It must have been close to 7am. I came back to the living room and remembered I had a glass of water somewhere on the floor. Of course, I knocked it over trying to reach for it. That’s just great. Just what I wanted to do with a blinding headache - Thinkkk. What do I do now? I know, a towel. Yeah, that’ll work. I know it's only water, but it spilled on my boss’s carpet. So I fumbled my way to the bathroom again and grabbed the only hand towel I could find. It was one of those nice holiday ones with the pretty lace and stuff on it. Reluctantly, I grabbed it off the rack and went to wipe up my mess. Then of course, I was left with a wet holiday towel. I couldn’t do this anymore. Thinking hurt. So I just kinda put it back on the rack. After all, it was only water. So it had some carpet fuzzies on it... I wondered if that was improper educate. What would Miss Manners say?

We stumbled to the door where I had most of our stuff gathered... which is when I realized I could not find my purse. Unbelievable - I seem to be misplacing that thing alot lately. Perhaps I should just staple it to my side - I creaked across the floor looking for it, as the thought of having to come back inside after discovering that it wasn’t in the car after all, didn’t seem so crafty. After a few minutes with no luck, I could only pray it was in the car. We decided to chance it.

I whispered to Earl to open the front door. Holy buckets. Why isn’t anything easy? It was guarded by the dreaded snowman door stomp. He was all dressed up complete with top hat and striped socks. We both stared down at him, remembering him from the night before... how he would instantly start playing Christmas music when anyone tried to move him.

Oh he was really cute, flashing his 'you’ll never leave without waking the baby’ smirk. Somehow he was funnier last night.

Try being stealth-like with a singing snowman blowing your cover. Earl gently slid him away from the door... and off he went with a chorus of We Wish You A Merry Christmas, only it seemed more like he was screaming it. Earl picked him up and looked for an OFF button. Nothing. Then he started to shake him. He even tried to rough him up a bit, but the snow freak wouldn’t give in. We dumped his snowy ass in the corner and made our cool escape. One things for sure, I would never hire us to be cat burglars. We can’t even get past a snowman; God forbid there’s an alarm. On the other hand, no one woke up so I guess we aren’t that bad.

We tip-toed ourselves into the car, stepping over my purse on the floorboard, and started it up as quietly as possible... As we backed out of the driveway, I swore for a second I could hear the theme song from Mission Impossible... Finally, we made it home around 9am. The plan was to take a nap for a couple hours and then wake up and clean the house. Uncle Mike was coming to visit us for the first time and I wanted the house to look nice. He said he was coming at 5, so we had lots of time... (stay tuned for a blog about that one.)

Sunday I had a message on my phone. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever heard. It was a recording from a radio station, and the message was “How To Be A Good Guest During The Holidays So You Get Invited Back” – there were several rules to follow including proper table manners, but the one that stood out was,

If you spill something, don’t just clean it up and hope it won’t be noticed – Fess up. You host will be much happier knowing you were honest.

Monday morning I pulled into the company parking lot and parked my car. I was still thinking about the irony of that message. I honestly wondered - could my boss have set that up to bust my chops? Did he find the fuzzy towel and step in a wet spot and put two and two together? Did he wonder how rude someone could be as to spill water on his carpet and try to hide it? Is my boss really All Knowing like he says he is? Nooo. He's not that cleaver. But, I have never had a radio station leave a message on my phone, especially about holiday manners. Perhaps it was a higher power just reminding me not to tangle up webs by practicing deception. I started up the sidewalk when he pulled up front and met me on the walkway. He was still being my best friend. I decided I wasn't taking any chances. Without batting an eye, I confessed to him that I spilled water on his carpet but cleaned it up so no worries.

I did not tell him I put the towel back on the rack.

I may be going to hell for that one, but if that's all it takes to go to hell then we're all in deep trouble.

As you could imagine, he could care less. Now if I had said the same thing to his wife, well, I can only imagine she may have over reacted as I could totally see her doing that. You know how women can be. I was able to unburdened myself to at least one of the two, and it just happened to be the less caring one. And if he didn't care about the water, then he wouldn't care about the the towel. My job is done.

I'm back in heaven.