What Are You Doing, New Year’s Eve? (#165)

Tonight, as I walked in the rain (with the dog, not Andy, don’t go thinking it was all romantic and shit), I thought about New Year’s Eve. It’s supposed to be a big party, right? Champagne, dancing, party dresses, sparklers, kisses?

That’s what movies say. That’s what TV says. Hell, that’s what my Instagram feed looks like, anyway.

But is it?

My mother threw the last big NYE party when I was 14. It was a costume party. My mom went as the Oracle of Delphi. She also went bra-less, found a young Marine who could waltz, and tore up the hardwood floor of our living room. So embarrassing.

I went as Sauron. No one danced with me. Even more embarrassing.

Perhaps the giant cardboard eye I hauled around all night was off-putting.

I don’t know what time my parents, siblings, step-siblings, and the drunk Marines called it a night. I stepped over a few of them on my way to the kitchen the next morning.

There was so much party debris in the kitchen, though, I couldn’t find the sink. I did a lot of dishes before anyone else woke up. When Mom finally staggered into the kitchen, she was delighted. “Oh, Autumn, thank you! I was dreading the mess! You are so thoughtful!”

I didn’t want to tell her I was only trying to find and clean a bowl, spoon, and counter for cereal. So I washed everything while Mom made coffee. And drank it. And made more coffee.


I was more of a nerd than a partier. Sometimes I celebrated the New Year with friends at the Stamp Drop at the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington D.C. (Yes, they dropped a giant, illuminated stamp instead of a ball. Now, though, the Old Post Office is a goddamned Trump Hotel. Those memories are tainted).

Usually I went back East from Christmas through New Year’s. I brought a boyfriend with me once. He drank so much he puked all over Ex-Stepmother’s carpet before 10 PM on New Year’s Eve, then called his parents and wept. I spent midnight assuring his parents that he was fine. And that was fine, because who wants to kiss drunk weepy vomit-mouth?

No one. I sent him home on an early flight the next day and never saw him again.

The one time I flew back to spend New Year’s Eve in California with my boyfriend, I discovered said boyfriend had been hooking up with a coworker of mine that he met at my office Christmas Party. He told her we were “just friends.” She believed him.

After that debacle, I wanted to spend that New Year’s Eve alone. My girlfriends dragged me out to a party. They would make sure I’d have fun. Lies. All they really wanted was a designated driver.

I gave New Year’s Eve a hard pass after that. Until I met Andy. Unfortunately, by the time I got myself out of his damnable friend zone, it was November and we both had plans for the holidays. He was snowboarding in Utah, and I was ice-skating on a frozen river in Ottawa with my friend M. We called each other at midnight and swore to be together next New Year’s Eve.

By then we were engaged. We went to New Hampshire for combination Christmas/ wedding planning, but planned to fly out early on the 31st for a NYE dance convention in Los Angeles. Finally, I would have the whole deal: party, dancing, champagne, and the man of my dreams to kiss at midnight.

Ha, ha, no. A blizzard hit. Our flight was canceled. ALL flights were canceled. I gave away our luxury hotel room and we played Trivial Pursuit with Ex-Stepmother’s friends till 10 PM.


The dream of a partying New Year’s Eve slipped away after that. We got married, and had no money for extra events. Then we got a house, and had no money for dancing. Then we got dogs, and got up early. Staying awake after 10 PM seemed like a lot of effort.

Mostly, I didn’t care. After traveling for Christmas, coping with my enormous, dysfunctional family, and getting on East Coast time, well, staying in and drinking Martinelli’s is about my limit.


This year, Andy caught a nasty cold from my family. He’s got infection-induced asthma. The man takes a break from wheezing only to cough, and cough some more, and then hit his inhaler.

Our big event today was seeing Rogue One. It was fabulous — the volume was so loud it drowned out all the phlegmy noises next to me.

Andy stopped coughing long enough to make a fabulous cheese fondue.

That was our whole New Year’s Eve. Not bad, really. But on my walk this evening, I saw shiny people, fabulous people, arriving or hurrying off to various events.

I trudged past the perfumed party people, smelling of wet fleece and wet dog and wondered:


It was a depressing thought.

Until Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister texted me: Still sick. Don’t feel like doing anything. Everyone else wants to party. I am going to be alone on NYE. Sad.

I took a quick look at various statuses on Facebook:

I’m half-asleep on the couch. Drop the damned ball already.

My dog wishes you a Happy New Year! (Picture of dog wearing party hat.)

This New Year’s Eve, I’m drinking NyQuil.

My cat wishes you a Happy New Year! (Picture of cat wearing 2017 glasses and a look that says it’s leaving a hairball in owner’s shoe tomorrow.)

Last reminder for 2016: Steve Bannon, a key member of Trump’s transition team, someone he wants as an advisor in the White House, is a racist and an anti-Semite.

My ferret wishes you a Happy New Year! (Picture of ferret is lame, it has no accessories.)

And then M texted me:  I’m watching football! You?

Me: Changing my desktop picture.

M: Par-tay!


Happy New Year, Everyone. If you partied, good for you! And if you didn’t, well, a) You’re in good company, and

b) You won’t spend tomorrow cleaning up after drunks.


Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

45 thoughts on “What Are You Doing, New Year’s Eve? (#165)”

  1. Hahaha this is hilarious – from going to a party as Sauron to the lame ferret with no accessories. Despite being in a romantic place – a snowy town with pretty lights – my fiance and I spent NYE eating at the only place that seemed to be open and serving food (a Japanese fast food place full of single dudes) then went to bed. Today on new years day we are again in a pretty snowy small town but again literally nothing is open and it looks like we’ll be eating all three meals from 7/11! I think we must be getting old

    1. For some reason the smiley face emoji at the end of this disappeared making it seem even more depressing haha

  2. So true! The conflicting desires to party like “everyone else” and to avoid those silly, drunken parties. We had a nice compromise this year, an early dinner at a nice Italian restaurant. Crab salad and red wine.

  3. Happy New Year Autumn!

    This is the second New Year’s Eve I’ve planned to happily stay at home. Previous NYEs I worked. Yuck.

    So you’re not alone. Planning to go out for brunch tomorrow. Personally I prefer to do things on New Years Day and avoid the drunken revelry the night before.

    Andy’s sick and you aren’t? Congrats. Hope he gets better soon. I envy your immune system.

    1. Brunch sounds great. Brunch will also break my resolution to lay off sugary and fatty and yummy things this year. No wonder it sounds so good.

      Working on NYE as a physician? That sounds like the most unpleasant night to work. But as a writer, I can’t help thinking, “I bet he got such great material…”

      Well, I might have escaped getting the cold from all the babies and kids, but I probably won’t escape getting it from Andy. He’s demanding his NYE kiss! But maybe my semi-feral, germ-laden childhood will continue to work its magic. Too bad Andy didn’t have more siblings and pets.

      Happy New Year back atcha! Thank you for reading!

  4. I’ve never been a big partier, so I’ve never been a big NYE’s person. It’s rare for me to be out, so I understand.I just can’t be bothered with all the traffic and drunkiness. How lame am I? I don’t care! Happy New Year, dear. All the best to you and your family, xxoo

    1. I think it’s been so long since I experienced the drunkenness…nope. Never mind. I just had Christmas with my family, so I’ve no excuse for forgetting the joy of drunken persons when you’re the only sober one. 🙂 I think it’s more the idea that you’re supposed to be celebrating with friends, but you’re not, and then you begin to wonder, wait, DO I HAVE Friends? What is wrong with me? Then you realize all your friends are also at home, and whew, you haven’t been left out or anything.

      1. Hey that is so me! Thinking I am the only one staying home and falling asleep in front of the TV waaaaay before the ball drops. Thank heavens for like-minded friends and bloggers like you!! Happy New Year!

  5. Happy New Year, Autumn! Sorry to hear Andy was coughing up a fit, storm and possibly a lung, and really hopes he gets better soon. Haha, the movie drowned out all the coughing noises…I was surprised Andy didn’t shake the entire row of seats with the way he sounded.

    Like Lani, I’ve never been a big partier. Or even a partier at all. I’ve went into one club in my life and that’s about it. One year ago I went out to take photos of the NYE fireworks. I got a good vantage point but in the end the crowds annoyed me.

    Last night at midnight I was sitting in front of my laptop and was doing my next blog post, looked out of the window to see some fireworks and then back to the blog. And some chocolates with raspberries over them. And some juice. Not too bad at all. Low key just the way I like it 😀

    1. Happy New Year, Mabel! Your NYE sounds lovely, and wait, sort of familiar, what with sitting at the computer, hearing fireworks (all illegal!) and writing a blog post. I WAS in excellent company.

      Yeah, I think it’s different when you actually PLAN out a NYE deliberately. We sort of fell into doing nothing, partly because of 10 days traveling and then Andy’s illness. And then I felt like, “Wait! Is this wrong? Is this lame?” Only to discover that there was no wrong. Just different, and filled with my people.

      1. Part of me was just very eager for all the hoo-hah of the NYE celebrations to be over and get along with the next day. It’s one thing to celebrate and have fun, and it’s another to be carried away.

  6. So last night I had an early dinner with some very good friends at my favorite Chinese restaurant. We ate early to avoid the crowd so I wasn’t all that hungry. They limited the menu and took off the stuff I like best. When the menu said peppery sauce, it MEANT peppery sauce (mouth still in recovery). Evening went well until male friend started talking about Trump (which normally puts me in a bad mood). Then he admitted that he is very worried but didn’t vote for Hillary because well, she was female and Democrat and all that nonsense. I abruptly put my coat on and said it was time to go (it was either that or bop him right there — there is a reason I don’t pack heat). Next year we are having upscale nibblies at home (alone) with a good flick. So you see, despite the hacking, you had a very nice evening. #notgoingoutuntil2020

    1. I am very impressed with your restraint, Kate, not bopping that foolish, misguided male. And there’s no point in lecturing them on their stupidity now, when the horse has already left the barn and is racing around, ready to trample the shit out of the Constitution and American Foreign Policy.

      I hate it when restaurants screw with their menu (and yes, stupid Corner Bakery, I’m talking about you, getting rid of your Sriracha black bean soup in the middle of WINTER, for crying out loud). I mean, why do they think they have repeat customers? BECAUSE WE LIKE THE FOOD THEY HAVE. Duh.

      We should run the world. Or at least a restaurant or two.


  7. We went to a friend’s house but I was sooooo tired at 11:37 that I had to take a nap until 11:55 and then wake up again. So basically, I’m with you.

    1. No way! Going out to even a friend’s house is far too hip for us. Even if you took a nap. Although, if you cleaned up cat puke, you can be in the Quiet NYE Club. Let’s see if MC came through for you. 😉

  8. Haha I am also not really into New Year Parties. I think the last one (and only one!) I attended was back in 2008 or something otherwise I was always home with my parents.
    This year my brother was here once again. We did some little BBQ in the apartment (yay for electric table grills) watched with him The Grand Tour double episode while drinking a few beers. Later we went to my parents apartment watched the Finnish NEw Year celebration (same time also Finland’s 100 year anniversary) and later went out for some fireworks. All the time wife and Nathan were sleeping and did not see any of this 🙂

    1. So it was just the bros BBQing and drinking? Nice.

      I didn’t know it was Finland’s anniversary. I need to read up on Finnish history — they must have emerged in the middle of WWI, then. How did I miss that? Bet it is fascinating. A great year for fireworks, then.

      1. Yep this time it was mostly just a bro thing with one hour at my parents 🙂
        Finland became independt from the Russian Empire back in 1917, before it was the Grand Duchy of Finland. Before 1809 (or something like that) Finland belonged to Sweden on and off for several hundred years

    1. Before: view of a red NH barn with a frozen lake behind it and Christmas wreath on barn door.

      After: view of river under blue sky with snowy banks around it.

      I’m OCD about being seasonally appropriate.

      What’s your desktop?

  9. Oh man, you dressed up as Sauron when you were 14!?!? That is the greatest thing ever. Don’t tell me he was your favorite LOTR character!?

    I read an NYT article recently about how the newer generation (like the younger half of millennials) are homebodies compared to the previous generation. They think going out is too much work/hassle, and with so much to do at home now (like netflix) going out just seems so not worth it.

    The more I party, the more I think I’m way too old for this crap haha. Going out and partying it up really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, people just hype it up on their FB. For me, staying home with a good movie and a glass of hot wine is good enough (in fact, it’s heavenly).

    How did you and Andy like Rogue One?

    1. Nah, Eowyn was my favorite character, but I loved the “One Ring to Rule Them All,” poem and so if I was Sauron I could recite it and be all dramatic. This may also have had something to do with my empty dance card.

      People do hype up their lives on FB. But there were real shiny people getting into real cars and I suddenly wondered if I was totally missing, well, LIFE. I guess enough of my FB people don’t hype their lives, though, and brought me back to my senses.

      I did like ROGUE ONE. I liked it a lot, probably because *SPOILER ALERT* I figured out early that everyone was going to die and I was just rooting for “good” deaths. The movie delivered that and some humor. And it was gorgeous. The last act was pure WWII film homage at its best, complete with helmets, beaches, grenades, and no one gets out alive. They also one-upped the WWII film in terms of diversity, adding a woman and more than two ethnicities, so that was nice also. I’d’ve liked more women, of course, and more than one throw away shot of an Asian woman in an X-wing, so here’s hoping they manage that in the next movie.

      What did you think?

      1. YES!!! Eowyn was also my favorite character!! I was upset that Aragon went for Arwen, cause she was so useless. Just goes to show that the smart, beautiful, badass women always get passed up for some dumb bimbo… but at least Eowyn got another solid dude in the end, despite being left in the dust by Aragon.

        People on FB may show off their fancy night out, but what they don’t show off is their head hanging over a toilet the next morning and the sorry state of their bank account from all the drinks/uber/fancyrestaurants. Definitely not as glamorous.

        I liked Rogue One and I was not SPOILER ALERT even remotely aware that everyone bit the dust in the end. I was REALLY SHOCKED. Although it was a bit of a downer, it was nice to have a different kind of movie ending that wasn’t all hope and rainbows. I prefer the Force Awakens a little more. Loved Jet Li in this movie. Liked the female protagonist but still prefer the one in Force Awakens I think. It was entertaining but I still thought Dr. Strange (despite white washing) was a better movie overall.

        Hopefully Disney doesn’t fck up the Mulan movie. Really looking forward to that.

        1. Wait! I saw a very glamorous-looking photo of you on Instagram for NYE and now I’m wondering how long before you were worshipping the porcelain goddess after that. 🙂

          Yes, Disney. Please don’t fuck up Mulan.

  10. When I was a teenager, going out in New Year’s Eve was the coolest thing ever. I think I was 16 the first time my parents allowed me to go to a New Year’s Eve party (which in Spain means you pay a lot of money for an entry ticket that allows you to get unlimited drinks and some food bites). I got a black velvet dress and high heels. A friend did my make up. I don’t even want to dig for those pictures because I looked pretty bad.
    That was the last time I went to a New Year’s Eve party. The club was CROWDED. Unlimited drinks? There were so many people it took me 30 minutes to get close to the bar every time. The “food” was a tray of small thingies every 2 hours which would be devoured by the crowd in 0.1 seconds. I didn’t manage to try any. Oh, and that was the first and last time I wore high heels in my life.

    After that scarring experience I still went out some NYEs, but to bars without entry tickets. Anyway, they were more crowded than usual, drinks were more expensive and guys more drunk and annoying, so I just stopped trying to go out altogether. I hate hate hate going out in NYE. Well, in general I never go out. People still smoke in bars in China. Blergh.

    Happy new year!!!

    1. Biggest perk of moving to California was that they outlawed smoking in bars long before anyone else. How novel it was to come home without my hair reeking and cigarette burns in a jacket!

      Yeah, NYE sounds pretty terrible — heck, going out to a bar AT ALL sounds pretty terrible — after your description. We are all homebodies now, I guess. It probably starts as soon as you get a dog, right? Or maybe the dogs are just an excuse to avoid partying: “I have to stay home, the fireworks are going to freak out my dog,” “I have to be home to let my dog out to pee,” etc. Our dogs enrich our lives in so many ways, including excuses. 😉

      1. Yes, in Spain smoking in bars was also banned a few years ago. I remember the uproar and complaints haha, the bar owners said they would go bankrupt because no one would go. Whiners. Smokers just got used to smoking outside the club and everybody was happier about clothes not smelling like an ashtray.

        The dog is a great excuse haha. But I have always been a poor partier. Even when I was in college I would start to yawn at around 12 hahaha.

  11. My husband and I enjoyed a nice dinner at home. We ordered Thai food from the ‘hole in the wall’ place we often eat at [the food is awesome] and my son had sweet potatoes [he is a big boy now ;)]. Then, my son and husband fell asleep at 9 and both woke up 10 minutes before 12 to ring in the new year. As usual, there was a small fireworks display where we live [as there is every weekend] and we watched the Taipei 101 fireworks on TV.

    I have danced the New Year’s night away several times in the past and have enjoyed the fireworks displays many years as well. However, last year made me rethink the effort it takes to see the massive fireworks display as I was pregnant, sick because I was pregnant, and sick as a dog with the biggest headache and runny nose.

    So, I much preferred ringing in the new year in the comfort of my home with my two boys! 🙂 Sometimes simple is better!

  12. Happy New Year Autumn.

    There were people around but my NY was quiet. I was a good girl.

    You can still recalled events that happened when your mum was around!

    1. Happy New Year back to you! I can still recall quite a bit about my mother, whole conversations, etc. This is a gift my younger siblings don’t have, and I try and share my memories with them. But the questions I have now are very different from the ones I asked as a child or teenager, and they will go forever unanswered.

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