Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year

Our first New Year's Eve in Raleigh turned out a lot better than I thought it would. I guess, I should take it as a sign of great things to come and adjust my usually rather pessimistic outlook accordingly.

First of, I got a very pleasant surprise at work - a promotion to a Project Manager (up from a mere Project Coordinator) and a very nice raise. Better yet, even though I went in fully prepared for some serious negotiating, it was not to be - my boss brought up the promotion and the raise himself. And since what he offered was about twice what I hoped to get out of the year-end review, I was simply stunned. Miracles do happen :)

Another nice surprise was that we were not busy at all on 31 December. And we even closed early, at about 3:30pm. That never happened before. Usually we get these awful last-minute projects right before a holiday that keep us busy until all hours. For example, for Christmas in 2005 I didn't get off work until after 7pm!

But the biggest nicest thing that happened was that my parents finally made it to NC. They arrived on Friday afternoon bearing gifts. Their blue Toyota, quickly dubbed "Welcome Wagon" was loaded with enough food to serve a holiday feast to a small and ravenous nation. Along with food, some baby stuff, and IKEA furniture, they brought plenty of crazyness and disorganized authoritativeness that distinguishes my family.

In the next 2 days we tried to show them the area, secretly hoping that they would like it enough to consider moving within the next couple of years. We already had rosy pictures of free baby-sitting on select weekends and generous helpings of freshly baked four-cheese pirogis (my Mom's specialty). And so we tried to go to the Monet exhibit, which was, as usual and to my father's great relief, sold out. And we took them to several of the stores that they do not have in Rockland County, NY (i.e. Trader's Joe). And we fed the ducks at Lake Jonhson. And we went on short walks along the greenways and around the neighborhood. And we drove through the downtown, pointing out all the advantages of living in the capital city. And did I mention reviewing real estate prospects in the area? Alas, that was not to be. It's not that the parents remained completely unresponsive to the area's attractions. It's just considering our past, they don't entirely believe that we'll stay put for any significant length of time. To be honest, we're not that certain either, again, given our previous history of almost semi-nomadic existence.

For New Year's Eve Mom pretty much took over the kitchen and I was not going to object either. I was a bit sick and anyway, it was getting rather difficult to move much with a size 42 belly. But I did my fair share of holiday cooking. I made a pot roast (ok, so it was pre-marinated and then done in a slow cooker; but I did cut the veggies) and an apple pie (ok, so what it had crust made out of Pillsbury sugar cookies). And Mom made a traditional "Olivier Salad" and tons of little sandwiches and other yummy stuff. So our little card table was positively overflowing with food. Chris made me proud by eating not one, but two herring sandwiches! I think he's getting more and more used to weird Russian food. Mom drank two tablespoons of champaign and got tipsy. Dad entertained us by calling all his friends and acquaintances to wish a happy New Year.

Xander, oblivious to the holiday, stretched out on the floor acting cute. We stayed up until midnight and heard fireworks at the FirstNight Raleigh celebration in the downtown. All in all, it was a very nice New Year's celebration. And the important thing was I finally didn't bother making any resolutions!