This year, we were planning on ordering Asian C and forsaking all things New Years Eve (except the midnight tradition of bemoaning Ryan Seacrest). Instead, we ended up getting kicked out of the Ritz.
Pete invited us to his parents’ condo there to watch the family fireworks over the Common with Apryl and the kids. Free parking. Warmth. No First Night throngs. We'd be home by 9 p.m. It was perfect. There was a caveat, however. Pete’s dad was there. Let’s just say Mr. D is a mercurial fellow, mirthful one moment, misanthropic the next. You never know what you’re going to get. When at his house, the only consistent factor is the ever-present threat of getting kicked out at any moment. James has known Mr. D his whole life. I’ve heard all the well-worn stories of weekends at Pete’s house and have experienced them as well. While Mr. D is not a fan of company in general, he is truly not a fan of the company of children. It’s not that he dislikes them; he just doesn’t want them anywhere near his stuff.
Moments before we arrived, he’d suggested that Apryl and Pete and their 18 month old son, his own grandson, “get the hell out and go watch the fireworks on the sidewalk.” In the icy wind and 20 degree temperatures. But Pete's mom, the polar opposite of Mr. D, wouldn’t have it. Then, Worst Possible Timing Ever: The Griswalds ring the doorbell. Pete's mom hugged us and wished us a Happy New Year. Mr. D peeked out of the kitchen and looked at us like were wearing Stormtrooper masks and setting off firecrackers in the foyer. James was familiar with the "look" and suggested that we just leave, but Pete's mom, once again, wouldn't have it. “Don’t pay any attention to him. Come have some éclairs and Prosecco.” Then she flashed a look at Mr. D that suggested homicide and he quickly poked his head back into the kitchen.
We were successful at keeping all the kids on the opposite side of the house, except for five minutes when Paulie had to pee. I tiptoed past the kitchen, praying that Mr. D wouldn’t suggest we get the hell out and use the toilet at Starbucks. Mercifully, the family fireworks started promptly at 7 p.m. The kids were mystified by the display which was perfectly framed in the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Common. It was like the show was just for them. Seconds after the final firework was fired, the smoke still lingering in the air, Mr. D came out of the kitchen and unceremoniously handed us our valet parking tickets -- our final cue to get the hell out. All of us. Even his family. Fortunately, the kids were so juiced from the fireworks and the elevator ride that they didn't even notice we were personae non gratae during our 45 minute visit. Still, next year, we’ll be watching the fireworks on TV with Randy Price.