Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Champagne Is Best At 175 Feet

I usually don't care much about New Year's Eve. We usually leave NYE celebrations feeling disappointed. I think it's because we WANT an excuse to go crazy and party big. But it never really happens. So for the past couple years, we've just stayed home, invited a couple friends over, and stayed up playing games and watching the Space Needle fireworks on TV.

This year, as NYE approached, we didn't even get THAT far. The night before NYE, I received a text from our friends asking if we had plans. Thus began the most impromptu New Year's Eve night on the town, double date in history. Because it was so last minute and low-key, our expectations were low. Anything beat staring at a TV screen, right?

The night turned out AWESOMELY. It was JUST what we needed!

After work, my boss invited me to join him and the other partner for happy hour. The three of us drank a pitcher of PBR at a dive bar and talked about various inappropriate topics including Catholic sex, pedophile jokes, three-ways with Joan Rivers and Kathie Lee Gifford, and ethnic stereotypes. (My bosses are pretty awesome.)

An hour later, I slipped away to meet my date and our friends at the ferry terminal in downtown Seattle. I planned to take them to a new bar that had opened up in the area but after 30 minutes of me leading them (by foot) in circles, we gave up on that idea and headed to our restaurant.

Since I had only begun my hunt for NYE reservations at 9:00pm the night prior, my favorite places were booked until super late in the evening. My only requirement for dinner was that our restaurant have tablecloths. Finally, I scored 7:45 reservations at Palomino. They had tablecloths. I was happy. And it went pretty well.

After a ginger peach martini, lemon drop, and the creme de mint-y goodness of an After Eight shot, we were feeling pretty good!

As we were paying for dinner we decided it would be a great idea to find some champagne and sneak it onto the ferris wheel ride of downtown Seattle. The ferris wheel is a brand new attraction to the downtown waterfront and, at 175 feet high, it is the largest observation wheel on the west coast. We managed to sneak into a local drugstore just 5 minutes before closing and walked out with our prized possession of $7 champagne!

I was so excited about the ferris wheel until the moment I stepped foot into the ferris wheel pod. I nervously sat down in my seat, clenching tightly to the edge, and demanded that no one MOVE A MUSCLE or rock the pod.


After a couple sips of bubbly (which we decided to call "burpee" for obvious reasons), I quickly overcame my initial trepidation about traveling nearly 200 feet in the air above the Puget Sound. Then I was back to my mischevious self.

Food and drinks are not allowed on the ferris wheel. This fact alone made our champagne taste 100x better. The riders in the neighboring pods cheered and laughed as the four of us popped the cork, took turns passing the champagne, and sipping right from the bottle. The views were excellent.

The company was even more excellent!

After the ferris wheel, we slunk into a nearby bar where we enjoyed one last round of drinks before midnight. Three minutes to midnight, we paid our tab and ran three blocks to the ferry terminal where we expected to see Space Needle fireworks in all their glory. Turns out, the Space Needle is farther from the ferry than I remembered. And there were just a FEW buildings in the way.... (see the ferris wheel to the left?! so gigantic!)

Despite the very tiny firework show, we rang in the New Year all smiles and laughter and in the company of our good friends who we do not see nearly enough. Then, my husband and I promptly boarded the 12:15 ferry back to my parent's house where we passed out in my old bedroom, our two kids peacefully sleeping in the room next door.

Even with our last minute double date, low expectations, and wandering Seattle without any real plans, NYE was a huge success.

Happy New Year!

I was not planning on making any New Year's resolutions. I never do. But this whole evening has convinced me that I need more spontaneity in my life. Here's hoping 2013 brings more impromptu adventure with friends and family.


  1. Ah, happiness, that elusive phantom--pops right up when you aren't planning on it! Happy New Year!