Surviving New Years Eve

December 31, 2006

9:30 am -- After attending to the morning pet rituals (any one who has dogs knows how this goes), checking email, rereading last written chapter of WIP and sending off the first third of the WIP to critique partners, posting a short blog message for the new year (one word says it all), updating MySpace (adding friend requests, approving messages, and replying) ... I jumped in the shower allowing myself thirty mintues longer than my normal one hour that it usually takes me to get ready for a gig.

11:15am -- Unfortunately, I was PMSing (any woman who suffers from this can sympathize. Any man with a significant other who suffers from this can imagine my mood). I didn't like any of the five outfits I tried on, hated the hair piece I normally love and which normally saves me time. So in a frenzy I finally settled on the very first ensemble I tried on, hoping I looked classy and somewhat sexy, and hoping I didn't look as fat as I felt (did I mention the PMS?). I yanked out the hairpiece which meant I had to re-style my own hair which meant I had to forgo applying false eyelashes which meant I didn't feel properly glammed for a NYE gig. Should've taken them with me and applied later, but forgot. Grr. Ten minutes behind schedule, I blew out the door.

11:30am -- I arrive at the Taj Mahal casino, amazingly, on time. However, I have had nothing to eat thus far and only one cup of coffee. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm suffering caffiene withdrawl at this point. This on top of the female thing. Cranky and depressed, I grab an overpriced coffee and croissant as I whiz past a food vendor and down to the promotion area. I get all of the details for this particular sweepstakes and mentally prepare, forcing myself into happy mode for a twelve-hour emcee gig.

12:00pm -- I make the first announcement. From here on, I'll announce the sweepstakes details and a winner every thirty minutes up untill midnight. In between announcements, I stand in the bustling atrium smiling and answering patron questions that range from, "Where's the bathroom?" to "How do I get to the boardwalk?" Two most frequently asked questions: "Is there a Starbucks in this casino?" and "How do I get get in this sweepstakes?" Except early on in the day, it wasn't bustling so much. In fact, it was sort of boring. I stood there, trying not to look as cranky and depressed as I felt and reflected on current characters and stories that I'm working on.

2:00pm -- I think to myself, "Only ten hours to go."

3:35pm -- Feeling weak. Race up to that food stand, scarf down an overpriced hotdog and soft pretzel, zip back down the escalator, race-walk to the bathroom then back to promotions where I pick up the name of the next winner and return to the atrium to answer more questions and deliver the 4pm annoucement.

6:00pm -- Half way through shift. It's bustling now. To all of the patrons who smiled at me, told me I looked pretty, and wished me a Happy New Year--bless you. To all of the patrons who bitched at me about how much money they spend in this casino and how they never win any of the sweepstakes and that for all the time and money they spend in this joint they weren't even invited to the NYE party--take up knitting or reading or fishing or television (as opposed to gambling), I beg you. (Read: Get a life.)

7:35pm -- An obsessive-compulsive man who looks as if he could be homeless visits me for the fourth time in four hours. I genuinely feel for him and have smiled and nodded and responded as kindly as possible over and over. Only now, I'm really tired and at a loss as to how to respond to a three sentence story that I have now heard thirty times. Plus, he's standing right in front of me, in my personal space, rocking side-to-side looking at me intently with hooded eyes, and I'm starting to get creeped out. I'd motion for a security guard but they're busy policing all of the children parents have dragged along to the casino which I don't understand since there is nothing for the children to do in this casino. But I digress.

7:40pm -- Obsessive-compulsive man is joined by cranky local woman who is convinced the sweepstakes is rigged. They stand in front of me, side-by-side, each ranting their personal sagas... at the same time... for ten minutes straight. Must. Escape. I excuse myself to collect the name of the 8pm winner, suck on my tenth Halls cough drop, and remind myself that this gig pays really well. I'm thankful, really, I am.

8:05pm -- Dragging now. Race up to food court for a cup of coffee with a double shot of espresso.

8:35pm -- I should have assumed I'd be responsible for some sort of countdown hoopla--it's NYE after all--but there was nothing in my contract, nor in the script they'd given me, only details regarding the sweepstakes. Thus I was taken off guard when approached at this point by a PTB and asked to create excitement just before midnight and to lead patrons hanging out in the atrium in a countdown. Mind you this would be at the end of my 12 hour day and I was already pretty burnt. "No problem," I assured the casino executive as I flashed a big smile and thought... Need. More. Coffee.

9:00pm -- Super bustling now. Lots of young people arriving. I find myself blinking at the hoardes of twenty-something females in their mega high heels and super short skirts pondering their lack of clothing and wondering when I'd turned into my mother. *g*

9:30pm-11:45pm -- A blur.

11:55pm -- The TV monitors kick over to Dick Clark's Celebration and I morph into Hoopla-Girl. Not sure where I channeled her from, but she did a pretty good job of whipping the surrounding patrons into a proper noisy NYE state. Countdown. Happy New Year! People kiss and hug and I feel a little depressed because my husband is working in another casino just now at the opposite end of town. And I'm not keen on hugging a drunk stranger. Suddenly, out of the blue, my entertainment agent (who is also a longtime friend) breaks through the crowd and nears me with a big smile. He and his wife (also a friend) must've been in the exclusive NYE party. He hugs me and says, "We couldn't let NYE pass by with you out here all alone." Cue tears. Me, not him.

12:05am -- I announce the last winner of the sweepstakes, grab my bag and wish the promotions gang (really nice, really hard working people who dealt with their own crap that day) a happy new year. Exhausted and hoarse, I make my way to my car, calling my husband to wish him Happy New Year only to learn he's dealing with his own set of NYE problems and won't be home until after 2am. *sigh*

12:40am -- Let the dogs out, check my email, have one more phone conversation with Steve and collapse in bed.

January 1, 2007

This morning I have no voice and my knees hurt terribly, but I have regained my sense of humor. I relayed my day to Steve in great detail and we laughed several times. At some point yesterday, when I was at my most stressed, I knew that I'd look back on most of it and laugh. Still, yesterday was tough on several levels. Standing in that atrium, my past (more animated)entertainment life clashing with the current more sedate me, I did a lot of reflecting.

The old me, the performer me versus the older me, the writing me. A very public life versus a more solitary life. This moment I'm looking at the galleys for ALL ABOUT EVIE that I have to complete this week, the book proposal I'm trying to revise by mid-month, and the looming February deadline for my WIP and thinking I have never been so happy to be overwhelmed with my writing career. I am thankful for every chaotic minute and look forward to the hectic new year.

Counting my blessing and all of you are among them. Wishing you a peacful, joyous new year brimming with inspiration!

What about you? What did you do yesterday? Any reflections or resolutions?


Mary Stella said…
Happy New Year, Hoopla-Girl!! I know that's a really difficult way to earn money -- ACK on your feet for 12 hours straight??? I can imagine your empathy for the OCD man and the cranky woman -- to a point.

Hope you and Steve can enjoy a really restful day, my super-talented friend.
Anna Lucia said…
Probably this is not the best time to point out that caffeine and high-carb, processed foods are what makes PMS worse?


Sorry, sorry... I am sorry you had a tough day, but I love your take on it, and the humour and compassion that shines through.

Me? I was mostly in bed with the inevitable follow-up to PMS and a sinus headache. But I still looked back on 2006 with a sort of jaw-dropped amazement at all that's happened.

2007's gonna be fun!
Beth Ciotta said…
Happy New Year, M!! As you have knee difficulties yourself, you can imagine. :) Steve has to work today and I'm writing. After yesterday, anything is restful.

Anna, I did not know that about those foods. Although I didn't have much choice yesterday. It was pizza or a hot dog. I'll keep that in mind for the future though! Feeling much better today, BTW.

Your day sounded about as fun as mine, in a different way. However, you are right. Much to celebrate about 2006. And 2007 only promises more excitement! Congrats again on selling that first book!
Tori Lennox said…
I'm in awe. I think I probably would have killed somebody, or several somebodies, if it had been me. *g*
Julia Templeton said…

I enjoyed your post. I don't know how you do it. No wonder you look half your age ;). All those hours running around...

I spent NYE with dh, our son and his girlfriend. We went out to dinner, watched a scary movie :0 and went to bed about 11pm. I listened to fireworks from midnight to 1am, and then watched a couple episodes of REGENCY HOUSE (great research) before falling off to sleep. Got up and made a big breakfast for the family.

I'm excited for this year, and have made a long list of resolutions-- both personal and professional. Like you, I'm thankful for the writing projects that keep me on my toes. :)
Kelly Parra said…
Holy cow, Beth!! What a night! Sorry it was a tough one, but happily amazed you pulled it off. =D

Happy New Year and best wishes in 2007!
Beth Ciotta said…
Tori, naw. You wouldn't have killed anyone. Glared at maybe though. LOL

Julie, I want your New Years Eve. LOL Sounds like a fabulous night. Good luck with all of your resolutions. I didn't make a formal list, but I do have some very firm goals in mind. Word for te year (aside from 'Peace')-- Discipline.
Beth Ciotta said…
*waving madly to Kelly* I KNOW 2007 is going t be a very exciting year for you! :) All best!
Anonymous said…
I have PMS, way too many sweets over the holidays and a dentist date lurking. And because I'm too lazy to write a new post for my blog, I just adpated an old academic essay that no one will read because it's too, well academic. But at least I didn't see any people I didn't want to see. :)

Happy New Year.
Anna Lucia said…
Carry bananas! Or oat-bars! Or even some dark chocolate with nuts and raisins in it!

Beth Ciotta said…
At least you can write an Academic essay, Gabrielle. Not sure I'd be up to tackling one of those. All best in 2007 and good luck at the (ouch) dentist!

Good advice, Anna. Now if I'd only heed it. :)
Jewell said…
Ah, Beth

I know your coffee jones in the morning as I share it. As you well know.

I think the reason you lubs me is because Dorine and I hauled a coffee maker all the way to NYC in my car. (grin)


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