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The Villages
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Beginning the new year at the beach

Lisa DeMarco

Sometimes it takes an old friend to remind you that you are not alone. For me, this year, it only took some kind words from a gentleman who knows me well and still considers me one of his BFF, Lee.

A couple of days after Christmas, I realized that I had absolutely nothing to do this year for New Year’s Eve. My hubby Joey would be behind the bar working his charm, my grandson Jeremy would probably be running wildly through the neighborhood with his buddies. I figured I’d be lucky if I even made it until midnight.

In the past, I have always worked as an opening server on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. So I haven’t partied like a “Rock Star” in decades. It’s hard enough to wake up every morning at 5 am to go to work. After being semi-intoxicated, I never found it appealing to stay up until two or three in the morning and then attempt to perform my duties at the restaurant two hours later. As if my husband, a “Safe-Server Certified,” lifetime professional bartender, would ever let me work while under the influence. More or less be behind the wheel driving while every other menace is out there on the road. I don’t think so.

Honestly, I’m a homebody that way anyway. My house was always the designated “drop-off place,” where parents who wanted to indulge in the holiday spirits would leave their children for the evening to enjoy a fun and festive New Year’s Eve without having to worry about any safety issues. I’d keep the girls entertained all night, and my daughters’ slumber parties usually had a guest list of at least a dozen girls. Joe would skip off to work while they showed up, and he’d sneak back in after closing the bar when most of them had already crashed.

Then, as Joe put it, he would take over and be in charge. Basically, supervising them sleep while he was asleep until their parents came later in the day to pick them up, or I came home from work to clean up! 

With that, I am well-equipped to party-plan spectacular events for young ladies who like to drink apple cider out of wine glasses and eat fancy-looking hors-d’oeuvres while watching chick-flicks, dancing to the WII, and of course, doing each other’s hair and nails. Then, as the ball would drop, we’d run around outside banging pots and pans and lighting sparklers while screaming to our neighbors, “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”.

But if you ask me to organize even a simple playdate “inside” my home for a group of 6-year old boys, I would probably have a full-blown meltdown. I have a hard enough time properly communicating with adults males, more or less trying to convey something to a male adolescent. Not that I couldn’t write my column each week on “Jeremy Moments” alone. And I am sure my readers would find all my tales entertaining. However, I personally do not see these lessons he and his friends are teaching me to be amusing or necessary. Yet to others, especially mothers of boys, these incidents are hysterical!?

My best example:  One day, Jeremy and his BFF wanted to come in and play in his room. It was too hot to play outside, they whined, and they promised they were going to play one of Jeremy’s many board games quietly in his bedroom while I finished my usual daily cleaning. Surprisingly, I completed all my chores without my playlist being interrupted even once. Something was off. It was way too quiet, I thought, and my spider senses were going haywire. 

As I opened Jeremy’s bedroom door, I would have sworn I just walked onto a set of a “Jungle Safari” movie. They had taken all the sheets off his bunk bed and thumb-tacked them to the ceiling and walls, giving the room a giant tent feel. They used the top bunk as their ladder and slid the bed around each new spot they needed to tack. Ingenious, I admit, but not in my house! I can only guess what would have happened next if I hadn’t come in when I did. 

I have no idea how they managed to grab all the supplies they stuffed in there right in front of my face. But, as I danced around with my headphones on, jamming to old rock & roll while dusting and vacuuming, they secretively gathered every bed pillow and blanket, all the flashlights, some snacks, water bottles. You name it, and they had collected it for their camp. 

That is why the thought of ever trying to contain a group of “Tazmanian Devils” overnight would be something Joe would have to be in charge of because I would never be able to rest knowing those little monkeys were unsupervised in my home while I slept. I’d fall asleep quicker and more peacefully watching over a room full of newborns. Because babies, I know how to handle. “Man Babies,” on the other hand, not so much.

So, lacking any female support in Manatee County and feeling a little hormonally drained from all the testosterone I’ve been living with, this unexpected message from my #1 Villages Buddy really gave me the boost I needed.

With only these three little words, “How’s beach life?” Lee set off a spark.

Just then, like a lightning bolt to my brain, I realized I do still have two ladies I can count on to help me bring in the new year, “Mother Earth” and “Mother Nature.”

And with that, I decided to do something I never had the opportunity to do, celebrate the New Year on the beach! Again, I wasn’t sure how long my little man or I would last through the evening, but I planned to pack up my jeep and enjoy the adventure. With my wagon, hammock, pop-up tent, tailgate grill, and all the snacks and legal fireworks I could buy, I was going to take Jeremy to the beach. There we would eat BBQ, roast marshmallows, and make smores while sitting on blankets under a sky full of stars as waves crashed and the band at the bar played on.

Sorry to admit it, we didn’t make it until midnight. We did get to watch the sunset for the last time in 2021, though, which was a fantastic sight to see. Plus, we made lots of new friends from all around the world who were here on holiday, and we still managed to get home in time to watch the Times Square celebration on TV.

Not to mention, just before the ball was about to fall, I remembered one more faithful girlfriend I could share a New Year’s toast with, and that was “Brandy.” She is always available when I need her, and she is conveniently located in my liquor cabinet right next to a now exhausted “Elf on the Shelf.” 

Remember always celebrate responsibly and be kind to all your lady friends.

Laugh on. Peace out!

Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com

 

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