2006 – A Nick Oddity

Every New Years Eve I find myself counting down the seconds until the next year hoping in my heart that the next year is better then the last. This year however I found New Years Eve very odd, because I cannot possibly imagine 2007 being as amazing as 2006 was, and I don’t even want 2007 to be better then 2006, I just want it to be more of the same.

One year ago, on New Years Eve, 2005 I came closer then I ever had before to attending a New Years Eve party. My brother, his girlfriend (now Fiance), a friend of hers, and a friend of David’s came over to my parent’s home and the 5 of us had a little New Years Eve party. I had fun playing the part of bartender and mixing martinis and Pina Colladas for the partygoers and then as Midnight approached we all counted down the seconds until 2006. When 2006 hit, we all shouted “Happy New Year” and popped our noisemakers, and David and Hannah kissed, and I kissed… nobody. As 2005 ended I once again, as I had year after year before, silently wishing that 2006 would be better then 2005. The only difference is, this time my wish was granted.

That night shortly after midnight I called Barbara, who was already a big part of my life and wished her a happy new year. January, 2006 saw me return to College and I once again tried out to be in the school play, this time Rumors, by Neil Simon. Again I got a part and I worked hard at rehearsals to be the best Ken Gorman I can be.

The play was at the end of February, in early February I flew to Fort Smith, Arkansas where I met Barbara in person for the first time, as well as her family. That afternoon she flew back with me to Texas and she stayed with my family for the next month. For the first time in my life I got to spend Valentines Day with someone special to me. Before, every time Valentines Day came around I was either not in a relationship, or was in one but my girlfriend was far away. Barbara stayed long enough to see me perform in the play. It was wonderful to look out in the audience when I took my bow during the curtain call and see her applauding.

Compared to her constant presence through the month of February, March was lonely as she had returned home. In fact it was so lonely that near the end of March I invited her to return. She did and we enjoyed each other’s company going on dates to movies and Six Flags.

April and May are said to be months of rain, and metaphorically this was true for me as well. Both the company I was working for, and a few of the companies I consulted for were starting to need my services less and less, and I started searching in earnest for a new job elsewhere. May was bad for Barbara too, she was driving hours every day to and from a hospital where her Grandfather was in poor condition. This was not very good for me either as I was constantly worried about her driving over those mountains without any means of communicating if anything happened to her. I realized that even though I had known her a relatively short while that I loved her more then life itself, and so as the month of May came to a close I made two relatively large purchases, a new cell phone for her so that she could stay in contact with me, and an engagement ring.

Barbara’s grandfather passed away on June 2nd, and as his wishes were to be buried in Texas, Barbara came down to my house and I drove her to the funeral and the wake afterward. It was the worst place to do this, but I knew it would be a while before I would have the opportunity to see her father face to face again, so while at the wake after the funeral, I took Barbara’s father aside and asked for his blessing to ask Barbara to be my wife.

Wedding Photo 2The rest of June was full of preparations. Because many of the jobs I applied for were out of Texas, we decided it would be better to get married sooner rather then later. And because July 2nd was Barbara’s grandparents’ anniversary, we felt that it would be a great way to honor Barbara’s grandfather to be married on their anniversary. We had a beautiful, small ceremony in my parent’s home (it’s amazing how well the living room was transformed into a chapel).

Following the wedding we had a wonderful honeymoon in Vegas. Once married I focused on working and trying to find a new job. In August I got my opportunity. The same friend who ran the website where Barbara and I met, also happened to have an uncle who owned a company in Silicon Valley. He suggested I send his uncle my Resume, and the next thing I knew Barbara and I were moving half way across the country to Mountain View, California.

These last few months in California have been very busy, but it is clear that my life has taken a definite turn towards the better. I love my new job and my new home near the California Coast. In November Barbara and I drove down to Los Angeles to spend Thanksgiving with my family at my aunt’s house. Christmas was spent at our new home in Mountain View, we decided we wanted to be at our own home for our first Christmas together. Christmas Dinner however we enjoyed with my boss and his wife.

We spent the week following Christmas wondering what we were going to do for New Years, wondering that is, until we got a phone call from Mike on December 29th. He and his family were traveling south along the California Coastline taking the long route back to Phoenix from Seattle. They were going to stop on the 30th in San Simeon, CA near Hearst Castle. Barbara and I thought that seeing a famous castle sounded like a great way to end 2006 so we hopped in our van and started driving down Route 1 towards San Simeon. We met up with Mike and his family and on New Years Eve day we toured the castle with him and his family. That evening we threw an impromptu party in our hotel room with Sparkling Cider and some home-made pumpkin pies that Barbara and I baked the night before.

So as midnight approached the 8 of us were playing monopoly and scene-it and eating pie and laughing, and I realized that I was no longer coming close to going to a new years eve party, I was at one. As midnight ticked closer we told our new-years resolutions, lifted our cups of sparkling cider and counted down out-loud the seconds, “10!”, I looked around at the smiling faces laughing as they counted, “9!” I laughed along, “8! 7! 6! 5!” at 5 seconds my eye caught Barbara’s, and there was a sparkle there that caused the entire year to flash before my eyes, the year raced forward, the ups and the downs until it reached the moment that I was standing on the faux-hard wood floor of the family room of my parent’s home. And in that second I was once again standing in my new suit next to Pastor Tom and looking across the family room made into a chapel at the kitchen. That sparkle I saw in my wife’s eye in that second matched the sparkle I saw in her eye as I saw her in her wedding dress for the first moment.

2006 was such a wonderful year, but I will always remember 3 moments, 3 separated seconds out of that year. The first moment, was the sparkle in Barbara’s eye behind her veil at our wedding when she came into view. A sparkle that, when matched with the view of her in her wedding dress was enough to freeze time and nearly stop my heart. The 3rd of those 3 moments, was that same sparkle, the same sparkle in her eye, in a hotel room, on New Years Eve, 5 seconds before 2007 arrived. I shall leave your imaginations to decide what the second of the 3 moments was, as I shall keep that moment to myself.

“4! 3! 2!” and I realized, every year before this I spent these last couple seconds wishing beyond wish, hoping beyond hope, praying with all my heart that the next year would be better then the last, but this time, I wasn’t. 2 Seconds left of 2006 and all I wanted was for those seconds to go on forever, I wasn’t ready to let such a wonderful year come to a close. “1…” but does it really have to? 2006 was incredible, and I am really looking forward to what is in store for me in 2007.

“Happy New Year!” I hope that your 2007 will be wonderful. Here’s to 2006!

  • Iris

    So great to catchup with you two. I have thought of you often since our and your move. May God’s blessing continue to flow and may you recognize each one of them. Keep us up to date on your job, new home and where you gain new family.

  • That is a great story, and not an ounce of fiction. Yes 2006 has been good to many of us, and our New Years Eve party may not have been with the ball dropping or packed streets with hundreds of thousands but it was everything and more then we ever expected.

    Nick and Barbara you added to our trip and experience not only that once but twise. We’re so pleased you could share in the festivity with us.

    And a special Thank you to Nevada, for being over booked and not tempting us to press on.

  • sue

    You two have been truly blessed. I’m so glad you both are together and that I have had gotten to know the both of you so well, you are like family to me. May god bless you through the new year with much love and happiness!

  • Danilo Stern-Sapad

    I’m glad you had a good year Nick. I wish you all the best – and I’m not just saying this cause you mentioned me on your blog! Also, I wanted to comment again to prove that I do use a Mac. I just happened to be on my little brother’s Windows machine when I posted my last comment. Anyway, I’ll catch you at work when I get over this blasted cold. 😉

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