*******************Last night I went to The American Group holiday party (well, I guess technically it's a post-holiday party but if you consider any party to be a holiday then it's definitely a holiday party!) held at the newly remodeled Holiday Inn here in Norwich. This party is thrown annually and is a way for the company to say thank you to all of its employees - not only those of us at American Ambulance but also the other divisions of the company - The Marina at American Wharf, American Professional Educational Services, Macara Vehicle Services, Connecticut Ambulance Billing Services, and the Harbor Bistro. Needless to say, it makes for quite the gathering and is an event that everyone seems to look forward to every year.
As it's a semi-formal event there is a lot of discussion in the months leading up to the party regarding what we're going to wear - at least for us women. I don't think the men give it much thought; throw on a suit and tie and they're good to go. They have no idea how lucky they have it! No agonizing over hair or make-up or clothing and I bet there's not a single guy that worries about the chances of wearing the same tie as the guy sitting two tables over from him! Come to think of it, I don't believe I've ever seen a man have to take his shoes off halfway through the night because they're killing his feet! Sigh, the torture we women put ourselves through is ridiculous but I think we kind of enjoy it in some sick and twisted way!
Every year there is a lot of anticipation prior to the holiday party; the anticipation of seeing what your co-workers are going to look like wearing something other than a uniform, the anticipation of wondering who is going to wear the most revealing outfit, the anticipation of seeing who might be the first to "fall out" of their dress on the dance floor (sadly it happens more often than one would like but it can be hard to dance to "Cotton Eye-Joe" without the occasional wardrobe malfunction!), the anticipation of how good the food is going to be compared to last year, and - of course - the anticipation of finding out who is going to be named the new Employee of the Year.
Because I'm one of those poor souls who never went to their high school prom, this party is about as close to one as I'll ever get (pretty pathetic, eh?) and I thoroughly enjoy going. Granted, it might not seem that way during the entire course of the evening to those who sit within earshot but I really think that it's one of the highlights of the year and I am grateful to my boss for giving me an excuse to go out and buy a nice dress once a year. I'm not the hair and make-up type (now there's a major understatement!) but it's nice to break out of the mold at least for the evening.
I have to say that everyone looked very nice last night - the men were handsome and the ladies were lovely and everyone just seemed to be having such a good time. Well, most of the time ... there were moments here and there but there always are and they needn't be brought up in any detail here. Even Cinderella's evening wasn't perfect but she had a great time at the ball.
After the Service Awards, after the Star of Life Presentation, after the Power Point Presentation, which recaps the year in pictures, was the announcement of Employee of the Year. This year's winner came as no surprise to anyone as he has been an Employee of the Month every year for the past three years and is more than deserving of the honor. I don't think anyone would argue that 'Cookie' was not the best choice and I'm sure that he'll enjoy his parking space for the next twelve months - I know I did when it had my name on it.
After that the DJ kicked up the music, the dance floor was opened up, and the real fun began. Personally I don't dance. I lack the coordination, the rhythm, and the guts to get out there to let loose and have a good time. I wish I did but I'm the lethal Hart-Orlomoski combination that just doesn't dance despite the fact that I took dancing lessons at Armand's School of Dance in downtown Norwich many, many, many years ago with my oldest brother and four cousins. Aunt Eleanor said that it would build character if we went but I'm afraid we all fell short of that goal. I think the only reason we really went was for the requisite stop at Dairy Queen on the way home!
At any rate, I enjoyed watching everyone else having a good time and am always amazed at some of the people who are the best dancers as they just don't look like they would be. Of course, when you're used to seeing someone walk around with a stethoscope hanging around his or her neck and trauma sheers poking out of their pockets, you just don't picture them on a dance floor! Which just goes to show that looks truly can be deceiving.
I stayed later than I had planned and didn't call it a night until almost midnight which may not seem very late to most people. However, when you've been up since 5:30 in the morning and have to get up the next morning at the same time it most definitely is late! When I finally walked in the door at fifteen minutes after midnight I was read the riot act by my 14-year old daughter who asked me if I knew what time it was and why didn't I call to tell her I was going to be out so late?!? Kids! Oh well, at least she knows exactly what I'm going to be saying when she gets old enough to start going out so it will come as no surprise to her!
Now ... I need to figure out what I'm going to wear next year ...