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December 31, 2001: New Year's Eve

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The entire documentation team (with the exception of our manager, so that made a whopping four of us) were all clustered in one of the tiny conference rooms hashing out a template to use henceforth for chapter introductions (you can just taste the excitement, can't you?) when one of the development managers poked his head in the door.

"Did you guys get the email from **big cheese boss**?" he asked. And at our blank looks - because we'd been hashing out the aforementioned template for the past hour or so - he continued. Seems that **big cheese boss** fired off a company-wide email, telling everyone to go home early and have fun.

Well, heck. Don't have to tell us twice! We were almost finished with our meeting anyway, so we wrapped everything up and then scooted out of there.

So I got to come home 3 hours earlier than planned - giving me time to do absolutely nothing productive except park myself on the living room couch and read or watch TV until shortly before 7:30, when we both dashed upstairs to change. My parents came over to help us finish off Richard's birthday cake and then we headed off to the play.

The musical theater company just keeps getting better and better. They did Little Shop of Horrors for their New Year's Eve production, and did a marvelous job. The guy who was the puppeteer for the plant had an incredible amount of energy, and the man who played the dentist (and every other small bit part in the play!) was perfect. With the exception of forcing the audience to cringe through "Suddenly Seymour" with the guy playing Seymour forgetting how to sing in tune, and a few spots in "The Meek Shall Inherit" where the band, chorus, and soloists lost each other, it was one of the most entertaining shows we've seen them perform.

Once the play was over, the festivities began. There was a buffet of quite possibly the blandest Chinese food ever made waiting for us for dinner, followed by a table piled with cheesecake and pie for dessert. And then around 11:30, after taking over an hour to set up and get ready, the band finally began to play. Most of us got out in the aisles and danced to the music, even forming a few impromptu congo lines and once doing the bunny hop. Age ranged from very small to very old, so it was a rather wide mix of people present, but it all worked out to a lot of fun.

People were going around the theater passing out horns and party hats and cups of champagne or sparkling cider. We cheered in the new year with plenty of noise and singing and danced a little more and then when the four of us could barely keep our eyes open as we sat down to rest, we decided that perhaps it was time to go home.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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