My annual new year's eve party went well as always. It was definitely more crowded now that word has gotten around that there’s always my house to go to on the north side of town when you’re out by the lake and sick of driving in the snow. Everyone stayed til about six, then several took off for their own beds while a few remained behind to warm my couches and the floor for a couple hours. Despite being ill, I had a great time.

The day started with me getting up at eight in the morning to go to work. When I awoke, I noticed I couldn’t breathe. I found this to be alarming and immediately ran to the nearest bathroom in search of a remedy. I took some nice southing cough syrup, which helped a little. Being the stubborn fool that I am, I still went into work despite not being anywhere near healthy. After several hours I just put my head down on the counter by the register and closed my eyes, the store spinning wildly around me. My manager sent me home, despite being busier than usual and only have three people on the clock. When I left, there were only two. I hope everything went well.

I got home around two thirty and watched tv for a few minutes waiting for a Sudafed to kick in. It didn’t appear to be working, so I abandoned the world of the living in hopes that sleep would cure me. I woke up around six to the sound of subwoofers pounding in my ears (and head). Someone was watching a movie in the family room with the surround sound on. I got out of bed and cleaned up, got dressed, and watched a little of As Good As it Gets until I heard unusual voices coming from upstairs. My brother had six or seven kids over sitting around the kitchen counter drinking Pepsi and Captain Morgan. Amateurs. My parents had left earlier to go out to dinner with their double date partners, Ron and Deb.

More people kept showing up for my brother, including several girls I had known in high school. We hung out for a while, they borrowed a water bottle, we played with flashing lights and drank pineapple orange juice from sea mist colored Manchester double-old-fashioned glasses, which I had bought for my mother last year for Christmas. We reminisced and then they left to go do their thing. I remained in the kitchen area supervising the underage drinking that was being carried out beneath my nose. After they had finished several beers and a fifth between them, they decided it was time to drive to Hamilton. I took my brother’s keys and said No fucking way.” That didn’t go over so well, but eventually they let someone else drive.

People started showing up around eight thirty for my par-tay. The first to arrive were little Mary and several of her friends who I had never met before. They were very nice girls. We hung out around the dining room table until more people arrived, and then we moved downstairs where there was more space to lounge and whatnot. The Game Cube was brought out and suddenly there was a massive Super Smash Brothers tournament underway. I returned upstairs to leave notes on the doors for everyone else who stopped by to just walk in and go down the stairs to their right. Soon there were dozens of people swarming through the house, eating cheese and crackers, carrots and celery, tickling each other on the floor and, of course, the ever-present video games. We watched the ball drop on tv, and then things calmed down somewhat. There was much Euchre playing and Scategories, Egyptian Ratscrew and Monopoly followed by Rush 2 on N64. We were entertained by my silly American Bulldog jumping at the light fixture on the ceiling, which he will never reach despite his enthusiasm. Gus (the doggie) later fell in love with Dennis, Stacy’s boyfriend, and refused to leave his side. The infatuation might have had something to do with Dennis’s location, which was within reach of a tray of ham and summer sausage.

During the final bout of Monopoly, there only remained six guests plus myself. Then everyone fell asleep, Meagan on the floor in my room, everyone else out on the couches and the floor in the family room.

I woke up around eleven thirty this morning to discover everyone who had stayed the night had left for work or various other reasons already, except for Meagan, who was face down on the floor in my room, unmoving and wrapped in half a dozen blankets plus a sleeping bag I had dug out of the closet for her. We ate pancakes and hashed browns for breakfast, then played a round of fifteen games of Bust a Move on N64. I never realized how old that system was getting until last night and this morning, when we had to unplug the controllers after every round because they would take on minds of their own and begin to move in ways we did not want them to. Once we plugged them back in, they would work beautifully for ten minutes or so, and then need to be reset again. I think they have taken more than their share of beatings for one lifetime and may need to be retired soon.

The rest of today was dedicated to a lengthy nap in hopes of having my health return. It didn’t work. Here I am, full of NyQuil and several little while pills, a few more oval pills with blue writing on them, and a large glass of water and an ever bigger box of tissues by my side. If I am not well by tomorrow morning, my cold will wish it had never found its way into my lungs. Beware!