Friday, January 5, 2007

Holiday Party Throw-up

Wednesday morning I nearly blew away when I walked into the office building, so when they said the storm on Thursday was going to be bad, I believed them. The office was abuzz with speculations and rumors and excitement, made all the more intense by the knowledge that our Christmas party was to be right as the storm was near its worst, and there was a home Seahawks game to boot.

The day of, we all stared out the windows waiting for the trees to start moving, but the branches were eerily still. We knew it was the calm before the storm. As the day aged, I wore out the weather websites and news updates trying to determine when exactly the storm was to hit. I had a hair appointment to get to.

I left the office with my boss, who wonderfully offered to give me a ride at the last minute. It. Was. Raining. Argh. I realized with a slap to the forehead that not only had I forgotten to change from my stilettos to more manageable walk through gusting winds and horizontal rain shoes, but I hadn’t grabbed my umbrella either. The wind hadn’t started yet, but the rain definitely had. Just how was I going to get back to the office with my hair looking anything like that of Bride o’ Frankenschtein? Oh, boy.

I ran into the salon, ten minutes late for my appointment, to find Wynn sitting in my stylist’s chair. He was running way behind. I painted my fingernails a deep merlot, while sitting at the station next to them and chatting away about living in Seattle and all the changes that Bellevue has undergone, and forty-five minutes later, Wynn emerged from Chuck’s talented fingers with her little afro smoothed into a sleek bob. After running out to Wynn’s car in torrential rains, I returned with her umbrella and settled in to have my hair done.

“I want red carpet,” I said, as he pulled out my ponytail, “Curls, big ones, but no prom hair. Definitely no prom hair. I’m going for Hollywood , not Sweet Valley .” And I cursed myself for not remembering that picture I’d pulled out of InStyle the night before.

He pulled his fingers through my hair, gazed at me critically for several moments, and an hour and a half later, I stood up with gorgeous locks reminiscent of that the models sported on Victoria ’s Secret Runway Show that was on the other night, just shorter. I thanked him profusely, then went up to the counter to pay.

“It’s much worse out there,” the receptionist warned as she handed me a plastic rain cap, “I’m so worried about your hair.”

What could I do? I had to get back to the office. I donned my coat, pulled the plastic over my pretty, pretty hair, pulled open the door and propped open the umbrella. Out into the tempest I went. As soon as I turned the corner, the umbrella was yanked inside out by the gusts of wind, and I found myself being pushed down the street. It wasn’t raining that much, so I tucked the umbrella under my arm and slipped and tripped my way as quickly as possible the 6 blocks back to my office.

By the time I returned the office was next to deserted. I grabbed my makeup back and quickly slathered on eight pounds of the good stuff, threw on my pearls and donned my dress. It was nearly six. Steve had left work in Bellevue at 4:45. I called him to find out how close he was.

“I haven’t even made it to the freeway yet,” he said gruffly. Traffic, the storm, hunger, and feeling bad that he was going to be so late were making him quite the irritated Englishman. “You’ll have to find another way there – take a cab, find a ride.”

I protested a little saying something about wanting to get there on time but with him, but that only upped the grump factor, so I asked one straggler at the office if I could ride with her. She said, sure, that we only had to wait for her husband. And wait we did. We stared out the windows at the traffic and wind and rain and waited and waited. Seven o’clock came and her husband still hadn’t arrived, and a call to Steve revealed that he still hadn’t made it to the freeway. I wished that I could call the Tower and tell them to hold the party off for an hour. Here I’d planned the whole thing, and I was but a mile away unable to enjoy it. If it hadn’t been for the water streaming from the heavens, and the high, high heels and the freshly done hair, I totally would have walked, but as it stood, I was all dressed up with no place to go, or no go to the place as it were, but that’s stupid.

I did get there eventually. Her husband arrived; we crawled through traffic, and took three elevators up to the 75th floor where the party was in full swing. I made a bee line for the bar, where I ordered a lemon drop. I gulped it down before hungrily throwing down a coconut crusted jumbo shrimp. I ordered a vodka tonic and settled in to enjoy the party after calling Steve to find out that he was just minutes away. Everyone shared their horror stories about getting through town to the party, and all the ladies admired each other’s dresses. We all looked fabulous. And of course, there was one woman in a red dress. I joked that I was supposed to be the diva, but it’s okay. My shoes made a good splash.

There was much more drinking and eating in the next couple of hours. We had a great time. My boss handed out the little presents, which had been our secret mission to find. No one knew they would be getting anything like that except him and me. So there was great laughter. He ended up getting me this hilarious shoe organization thing. Then we got our “office presents” – a $50 gift card to Starbucks and a spiral notebook Wynn and I designed. With that, the party was pretty much over, some people left to brave the storm, others like me went across the hall to the bar, where I had my fifth and final drink. Shouldn’t have done that.

The storm was rocking the building. Everyone was saying so. Not me. I kind of remember people pressing their faces against the windows to get the whole effect of the back and forth motion of the building, and I kind of remember people asking me if I could feel it. I suppose the alcohol canceled out the motion. Or something.

When we left the bar, I went back to the room to collect my gifts. Gone! What? I asked everyone. None of the clean-up crew had seen it, the desk staff was clueless, and I was one pissed off little drunk chick. “This is a private club,” I ranted. “I shouldn’t have to worry about theft here. My things were right here,” I motioned to the table we’d occupied earlier.

I wish I could say that the items were recovered, but it turns out my stuff and the gifts of three others for a grand total of $350 went “missing.” I was pissed, but there was nothing to do about it then.

Steve collected me and got me home where I promptly ran to the bathroom, struggling with the zipper to my dress to I could throw up without getting anything on it. I was a sight to behold, boobs hanging out, throw-up streaming out, and a dress gathered around my waist as I knelt my the toilet. After I was done, I drunkenly realized that because I’d left my camera on my desk at the office, I didn’t have any pictures of me. I pulled my dress back on and mumbled to Steve that he needed to get a picture of me.

But by the time he came into the bedroom, I’d passed out. How gentile of me. Below are the pictures he managed to get with my Blackjack phone. All that money spent, and this is all I had to show for it.

The next morning, Steve yelled at me to get out of bed. I was going to make him late for his meeting. The world was still spinning. I felt HORRIBLE, but I didn’t want to be the girl who stayed home because she had a hangover. Oh yeah, and there was no power. Lest I forget to mention, there was a huge storm. It knocked out the power. But life goes on, so I eventually pulled myself out of bed, stumbled around in the dark to put on whatever clothes were nearby (we are so not even emergency prepared AT ALL) and somehow made it out to the car. I realized dropping Steve at work was out of the question, since my blood alcohol still must have been point one something, so we drove together to my work. I shielded my eyes from the blinding street lights and groaned in agony, begging Steve to turn down the radio. I groaned and groaned, and when we pulled in front of my office, I realized that there was no way I would be able to handle it just then.

“Take me to your work; I’m going to have to sleep this off in the car. That’s all there is to it.”

So we went to Bellevue, he went to work, where there was no power, I went to sleep in the cold, cold car, woke up took three hours to go 10 miles because of accidents, trees in the road, no street lights and really, really bad route decisions. Work was deserted when I arrived. Most people had no power, or the streets were too icy to even get out of hilly driveways. So I sat at work with theworsst hangover of my life until lunchtime when Lee and Wynn took me to Dick’s for some greasy hangover cures. Bless them.

The club where we had the party gave us a gift certificate to make up for what was “lost,” and when I went home I had power, but Audrey’s room was flooded. Whee.

So that’s it -the story I have written in bits and pieces, probably wanders too much and desperately needs some editing, but I’m done. I really only posted it because I’d built up the dress so much. Here it is.