I think the last time I stayed up until midnight for New Year's was 2008, and that was unintentional. New Year's Eve is a holiday for single people, childless couples, and parents with children old enough to let them sleep in on January first. So we don't celebrate New Year's Eve - and won't for a long time to come - in the Sherwood Family House.
This year Brandon had three days off, thanks to the Soviets reinventing Christmas as New Year. Normally we would have done something fun with the children to celebrate - after all, who doesn't like a holiday - but we're leaving in less than three weeks and fun was not on the agenda for Brandon's three-day holiday. Instead we had day one of The Great Baku Purge.
The day started off with haircuts, since all of the boys had been growing theirs out since early November and Brandon had been complaining for at least three weeks that he was starting to look like the fifth member of the Beatles. After some screaming, a lollipop or two, and a lot of blonde and brown hair swept off the floor we moved to the next task. Brandon showed his undying love for me by emptying out all of the plastic pots filled with a mixture of Azeri clay masquerading as dirt and cat poo and then scrubbing all of the pots so we could move them to our next post. I had been looking at those pots for months and debating how much I really wanted to save money by hauling them along. It's times like that - when Brandon is outside in the cold mud scrubbing cat poo only because I asked him to - that I'm grateful for a wonderful husband who puts up with my preferences.
While he was turning our mud-pit yard into a greater mud pit I took down the Christmas tree and decorations. I had had thought at some point about leaving it up for the New Year so we could get double holiday out of it, but the urge to clean took over and the tree was the first thing to fall. After the tree and the pots came the coat closet and associated shelves and shoe racks. Coats and shoes too small for anyone to wear got carted upstairs and I sorted through the accumulated detritus of two years' worth of shoving things into convenient dark shelves.
After that came the pantry, then my painting and sewing corner (goodbye for the next year) followed by the two buffets harboring every little piece of junk that nobody could find a place for. Then the kitchen and two years' worth of crumbs were swept out of various drawers. The bookshelf got a vicious culling (books are quite heavy and who really wants to haul around college textbooks they haven't cracked for over five years?) and we finished the night around nine o'clock with a half-hearted swipe at the freezer.
Somewhere in the middle the children got fed (twice) and sent to bed after putting a movie on for themselves.
Brandon and I couldn't bring ourselves to go down to bed after the children so instead we stayed up late watching Sherlock (only three years late) and drinking mint tea. When we dragged ourselves into bed a little after eleven I heard a strange booming noise. What was that? Gunfire? Explosions? Oh, yes, fireworks. I turned to Brandon and gave him a kiss. "Happy New Year. See you next year," before rolling over to sleep.
And then we got up the next morning and did it all again. Twice. I tell you what, we really know how to party.