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Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Party Post

Well, I had originally planned on blogging about each party as a separate post, but I failed to factor in the fact that attending all the parties would take away all the blogging time.  Thus, this shall be the party post....in abbreviated form because I am still tired from it all, so we will just cover the last week of it today I think.

Last Saturday there was a choice between the BPSU Party (BPSU being the Bermuda Public Services Union of which us technical staffers belong to) or The Snowball Party at the Southampton Princess which was the unofficial work party.  Until 2012, the hospital (which is one of the larger employers on the island) would rent the ballroom of the Southampton Princess for it's annual Christmas party, which was a formal gala.  Sparkly dresses and floor length gowns abounded, and the gents pulled out their finest suits, tuxes, and even a few top hats and canes were acquired for the occasion.  It was all Ritz, all glitz -- of course I loved it.  In 2012, long after all the gowns of the hospital's Cinderella employees had been ordered, the hospital announced a change in venue due to the recession.  It is a long fall from grace from the glamorous ballroom at The Southampton Princess to the asphalt of the hospital parking lot, but that was the plan for Management for its employees.  It was, however, not loved by all, and the term "parking lot party," became a common term around the halls whenever anyone was plotting a mutiny against the establishment.  From situations like this, the Fairmont was quick to pick up on the need for a nice night out for the island's disgruntled employees around the island who found themselves either without a party, or literally out in the streets like us.  They called it the Snowball Party, charged a fee and set up tables for 3 course meal, drinks, and a band and allowed anyone in need of a party to book a table.  The BPSU Party, being the same night, is hosted at the Bermuda College every year, and also has fantastic food, is free, and open to friends from all areas of the islands public services, so I always enjoy going and seeing loads of familiar faces outside of my usual crew.  Both parties were a success, but I can only speak about the one I was at, the BPSU.  There was loads of excellent food, a free drink to all attendees, and plenty of good conversation for all.  I have a few pictures of some of the attendees -- some of my ex-Bermuda-expats (who re-expatted elsewhere...i know, it's a confusing loop) will appreciate these smiles.

Cytology Superstars
All smiles here
Micro, Cyto, Med-Surg, Hyperbarics, and....Olds College Alberta cameo with Alastair
Oh, and of course, the party had 3 indoor rooms and a big open courtyard.  Indoors was a DJ and a dance floor.  Bermudians LOOOOOOVE a dance floor, and no matter how many years I have been here, the biggest hit is always (and has always been)...The Electric Slide.  Yes, the Electric Slide.  People get all serious and line up for the "boogie woogie woogie woogie" song that you may recall from 1987.  7 days and counting I still can't get it out of my head.  I find my self walking/rushing between a respiratory syncytial virus screen and a lumbar puncture singing "boogie woogie woogie woogie."  Sadly, no one at work finds this abnormal.  My Bermudian friend and colleague, Sakina, tells me that not only is it considered valid Christmas music, it is also wedding and funeral appropriate on the island.  Who knew?  Still not sure what the song is?  Here's a You Tube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mOY2eWO2qw  Now, once The Electric Slide is done and the dancing gets a little more down to it, it is only a matter of minutes before the Wobble song comes on.  It was only a couple of weeks ago that Sakina tried to teach me the wobble in the lab...I seem to lack a fluidity in the hips and am better suited to a dance move like the robot, but nonetheless, I now know the moves (however poorly executed) to the wobble.  This does involve sticking out ones backside and wiggling.  I have opted to give up on looking cool while doing it and just going for full on comedic relief...I do believe the move is now burned into the minds of most of the department.  And while I still can't get "boogie woogie woogie woogie" out of my head, it is interspersed with intermittent chants of "wobble baby wobble baby wobble baby wobble" and "back it up" -- I consider these two songs sort of Bermuda Christmas carols.  Here's Wobble for you (because I don't think my Saskatchewan friends will be familiar with it -- other than Cat, who is a repatriated expat) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd6UI6wEIsU

It's been too many days since Sunday so I can't remember at this moment what the crew got up to on that day, but I know it was something.  Then there was a random night at Flanagan's due to a failed hospitality attempt (co worker's son was on island and she wanted him to come out with some of the "young folk" -- whew, I can still fool a few people).  Shibby (aka Siobhan) and I decided to salvage the night with a quiet curry and visit with Eileen.  Eileen's Scottish accept drew over a crowd from Essex and it was only polite to stay a while and be sociable.  And then Siobhan's Irish accent lured over a fellow Irish bloke, who lurked and presumably eavesdropped on our conversation about work for a few minutes before declaring us "The Most Depressing Nurses ever," and telling the bartender to please give us a drink.  In my defense...I am not a nurse.  In Siobhan's defense, she was quick to retort "Well the patients here bite sometimes."  True story.  Got us a second round delivered almost immediately.  This led to a fascinated and stupified Irish audience (and Australian because the bartender was fascinated too) as we discussed all the reasons why nursing in Bermuda may create a less fun nurse than say Florida (where were were told the nurses are very fun -- you listening Meg Noha?), and, not being a nurse, I think I contributed some good points.  Pretty sure the bartender just gave us the next round in sympathy.  So, for a not fun nurse, a not fun not nurse, plus an angry Irishmen (he says they are born that way) and an Ozzie bartender, fun was indeed had by all and we left later than planned.

The late departure meant I was not going to go to the hospital parking lot party.  And Siobhan got called into work on short notice so couldn't go (like that isn't depressing on its own).  The parking lot party was actually supposed to be the week before.  It had been cancelled due to inclement weather...that's what happens when you host parties outside in winter after all.  It was announced that it would be held the following week in the Botanical gardens which shares a property line with the hospital.  A few skeptics (funny ones too) suggested that the hospital may have actually just contracted us out to aerate the lawns with our heels.  We all paused and wondered how likely that was.  See...the parking lot party angst runs deep.  Somehow, they made 3rd change in the week and moved it to Pier 6, where I had never been.  By coffee break I had been convinced to go.  The email from management saying it was fine to attend in scrubs anytime between 5 and 10pm made it easier as well -- worst case scenario could roll in after work and grab some food, say hi to a few people, and carry on home.

Lanell and the Labbies Rocking It
I arrived, and the place was decorated very nicely, the food was again great, the company very nice, and one was given all the free wine or swizzle that their hearts desired.  The Rum Swizzle is one of Bermuda's official cocktails, a tasty rum punch, which the wise (me) chose to add some sprite to because they were very very strong that evening.   I do believe the establishment won back a few of their flock that evening.  And because it's Christmas in Bermuda, well mostly because it's Bermuda, there was a dance floor and before you knew it everybody was Electric Sliding and Wobbling all over the place.  The department was out in full force.  Even Lee was there, although I suspect he was just there waiting for the wardrobe malfunctions.  There were a few, possibly not the ones hoped for, and they were aaaaalll documented on smart phones for review Thursday morning.
Lee...sad at the lack of wardrobe malfunctions
As far as the dancing goes, Miley Cyrus should come down here and get a tutorial on how this thing is to be done.  In the Caribbean, club dancing has evolved in a way that I presume is so that your hands are free to hold your drinks.  Seeing one of my colleagues who knew how to dance in a sandwich (that I did not expect to see her in) caused me to throw up my arms and give her a "whhhhhhhaaaaaaaat?" look when I caught her eye.  She coyly looked over her shoulder and took a long slurp on her swizzle (held with 2 hands) and lifted and dropped her butt onto the frontal nether-regions of another colleague and casually wobbled off.  I only wish I had the moves.  Instead, I did the robot towards the door but ran into Albert and his nursing crew by the door.
What Happens When Labbies Let their LabCoats Down.
Albert had a little dance story of his own.  You see, he was touring Hollywood a couple of weeks ago and two old ladies stopped him on a hill and asked if they would consent to some photos.  As this scenario unfolds, one of the old ladies is Betty White, and apparently they were looking for some hot guys (quote unquote) to twerk with them which may be on an upcoming TV segment.  So while I was asking questions to fine tune this mental image of Albert twerking Betty White (freaking out Dev in Qatar on his 70 inch TV), it turns out that Albert was not the twerker, but the twerkee!!  I am not sure I am ready for this on TV.
Albert, soon to be dominated on world wide TV by Betty White, surrounded with his swizzles and stormies
I did eventually make it out, and swore to stay in and prepare for Christmas for the rest of the week.  Just as I got through the door at home I got the email from Phil asking if I would be attending the Friday night event of....The Twelve Bars of Christmas.  My Achilles Heel is that I said I would do everything this year that I had not yet done...so really, I was honour bound to break my oath made minutes earlier and agree.

And so....on Friday was the 12 Bars of Christmas.  I was too weary to even bring a camera, but I certainly wish I would have.  In my wisdom, I decided to squeeze in a load of laundry after work and did not join the 12 Bars of Christmas until Bar 11, where I lined up a couple of non-alcoholic beer (my deception was quickly discovered by Hovi, who after 10 bars was still able to notice this in the dinginess of the pub in a crowd).  This late starting point gave me the advantage of both finishing, and being in the best position of observation of the antics.  No one, however, told me that it was a costume event...and so I sat sipping my O'Doull's amongst several slurring elves, some weaving reindeer, a Christmas tree, and several Santas.  Note to self...nothing is ever not going to require the camera from now on.  Everyone made it to Bar 12...The Beach, and no one really seemed to mind that I cheated by showing up very very late and not drinking alcohol.

So, that's it...my excuse for non-productivity for the week, the Bermuda Christmas Party Season.  I hope you are all having a festive season, wherever you are, and should you hear the Electric Slide or The Wobble...think of us :)