Thursday, December 27, 2012

V is for Vegas

Earlier this year, we had an opportunity to go to Vegas without the kids!

My mom was RVing through town with her husband, and she wanted to pick up the kids and RV them to CA.  It coincided beautifully with my best-friend-since-jr-high (N) going to Vegas with her husband and 4 or 5 other couples they are friends with.  I haven't been able to see N since my wedding in 2000!

Mom picked up the kids and they left the same day.  I didn't realize how unready I was to be without them for 5 days!  I almost started crying when they drove off!

After Vegas, Dave was flying home and I was flying to CA to stay with my mom for a few days and then fly home with the boys.  I was getting to CA at a time when mom didn't know if they were going to be there yet or not.  As we were saying goodbye in CO, she said, "Now there's a frozen dinner in the freezer.  You put it in the microwave for..."
Me: Mom.  I'm 42.
Mom:  You aaaaaAAARRREE?  [see where I get my sarcasm?]

So, Vegas....
Dave and I spent the first 2 nights in a boutique hotel that was far too cool for us.  Nearly everyone else we saw there.... all under 30 years old.  But we got it for free because we agreed to sit through one of those stupid timeshare talks.  The last 2 nights we stayed at New York, New York, which was where N and all her friends were staying. 

The first night there, we all met up at the Coyote Ugly bar and got completely smashed.  I think that Vegas trip was one long, tall drink.  I haven't stayed that consistently buzzed since my first weekend stationed in Germany.

The next day N had reserved a cabana at the NY, NY pool.  I showed up about 4p hung out for a few hours, and we all scheduled our evening.  N had also reserved a table at a nightclub (the one under the "Eiffel Tower" at the Paris.  Some of them were going to a show beforehand, and we were all going to eat together. 

I got my stuff and had dinner with them.  Then I took a nap in N's room and met them at the front door, dressed to the nines and ready to hit the club with them.  The ones not going to the show were going to go check in to get our table at the club.  It had to be claimed by 11:30p or they'd give it away and the show ended at 11p.

N and her husband (D) and I got to the club at about midnight.  When we were trying to find out where the table was, her friends texted her that we were "the table next to the terrorists".  Nice.  (N lives in Georgia, and most of her friends grew up there.)

What they were referring to was a table full of Sikhs.  Probably the second or third most peaceful religion in history. 

When we arrived, another of our crowd said, "If they leave all of a sudden, we're going too - before the bomb goes off."


Except for N and D, I avoided them for the rest of the evening.  I headed to the dance floor where I spent most of the night!

I met my next husband there.

It was one of those dance floors where no one really dances with anyone in particular but dances with everyone around them. 

This beautiful, young Middle Eastern man starting dancing with me.  I was game so I started dancing with him.  He got closer and closer and then we started talking.  He's from Canada, he's there with a bunch of his friends, first time in Vegas, he's 24.  He says, "I'm hoping to make this trip really memorable."  Then he stops dancing, takes me in his arms, and says, "I got it!  Let's get married!!"

I said, "Oh.  Baby.  I am NOT the memory you're looking for."

He was so pretty, though.... very tempting....

I was floating between the dance floor and our table.  We had table service with about 4 bottles of vodka and a variety of juices.  We were also close to the bathroom, so we got to see all of humanity (and all their shenanigans) coming and going there. 

Beautiful Man ended up being one of the Sikh boys (although he was the only one beardless and not wearing a turban).  Later in the evening, I was dancing with all the other Sikh guys.  They were all huge!  Tall and husky everyone (except Beautiful Man who was just tall.  And beautiful.)

There were go-go dancers on platforms at this club.  When I was dancing with the Sikh guys, the go-go dancer nearest us left, and a skinny, male go-go dancer took her place.  He was dressed in a full-length wide skirt that would make Marie Antoinette jealous.  He was shirtless but had a series of stretchy straps going around his bony chest.  His knee-high, patent-leather, platform boots matched the white-with-tiny-black-polka-dots arm warmers, which also matched the fabric covering his face.

One of the Sikhs asked me what was up with that.  His English wasn't as perfect as his beardless friend.  He said, "Is that.... girl?  Boy?"
I said, "Oh, that's a boy.  We sometimes call them "Queens" when they dress so flashy."
You should have seen Sikh's face!  It was like a light bulb went on, and he said, "That explains so much!!"

I had a blast that night! 

The next day, N, D, and I walked to the Caeser's pool to check it out.  It was SO hot that I nearly started a fire with my thighs when we were walking.  I was wearing a long, thin skirt and a tank top.  I had a rub mark on my thigh by the time we got to the pool.  Nice.

Once there, we bought drinks, and for mine I chose a cranberry mojito.  Wow.  What a fabulous beverage for a hot day!!  When the liquid was gone, I went to have the bartender fill it with water.  Water, fresh-crushed cranberries and mint over ice.  Equally fabulous!  The bartender was very sweet.  He filled my cup many times for me.  I went back SO many times and he was very patient and refilled without complaint.  He also started giving me cranberry juice along with the water,  refusing any kind of payment I was trying to give him!  I tipped him a $20 when I left (the original alcoholic one was $26). 

Dave wasn't there for that either, as he was sitting at Poker tables most of the time.

Dave was nervous that I'd be mad he wasn't going to these N-planned activities (she actually sent us all an hour-by-hour spreadsheet with her planned things prior to our trip - love that girl!).  He said, "They're going to think I'm an asshole!" I told him, "This is your vacation, too.  They're going to think I'm an asshole if I make you go to this or that and you sit there bored and miserable the whole night! Go play Poker!!"

He had a good vacation, too!

Our last night, we played Poker together.  We were in a tournament with about twenty people.  N's husband and a guy she works with were also in the tournament. 

I took second place in that tournament and won $250 - Splee!!

All that time in Vegas and here's the only pic I took the whole time...

Do you see it?  It's a Gargoyle's profile in the shower...

I suck at Paint, but how about now?  Do you see it now?
My trip to CA was a good time, too.

My dear friend (also since jr. high), Peeps picked me up from the airport.  She and her wife took me to an amazing dive to have tacos ($1.25 each and the best I've had in years), then we went to her favorite dive bar and had a couple of beers. 

Her wife went home and her.... cousin? showed up.  He drove us to Hanford to drop me off at my mom's.  It's nearly an hour drive, and we were laughing our asses off the entire way.  Love those people!

Here's Peeps wearing the Thank You hat I made her.
Here's the two of us together (with a little monkey running up behind us to greet me!)...

CA was a great time, too!  I took the kids (and my mom) to Wild Water Adventures (which used to be Clovis Lakes when I was a kid) - it's a water slide funpark.

I took the kids to Yosemite, and to meet my dad (this was months before the disaster trip in October).  The last time my dad and his wife saw my boys, D2 was a babybaby, we're talking when he was roughly about 3 months old (so T would've been about 2 years old).

That Yosemite trip ended up being nightmare trip for us!  We were in the car for literally TEN hours.  Four hours to Yosemite. 

Great place that.  LOVE Yosemite.  The kids got to do a Junior Ranger thing...

They also got to climb rocks and trees and everything else that crossed their path....

We saw this really cool cabin....
Just kidding, it's a miniature vignette someone had made...

After Yosemite, we tried to find my dad's place.  I asked a Ranger the quickest way to get to Groveland.  He told me to go out the South gate.
We should've gone out the North gate.
We ended up driving for TWO hours what should've taken about 30 minutes.  AND we ended up on a switchback highway for nearly all of that two hours. 
We got to see my dad and his wife for about 45 minutes.  We had pizza together, took some pics, then hit the road again to avoid having to drive home in full dark.

  Which we ended up doing anyway because it was already so late. 
Four hour drive home.  We got home around midnight. 
The boys were troopers.  They didn't complain and didn't ask me, "Are we there yet?"  Not once.
They did say that they never wanted to go back there again. hah!

On my last night in CA, I bought Me-n-Ed's Pizza for all of us.  I tipped the delivery driver $5, explaining that delivering pizzas for Me-n-Ed's was one of my first jobs ever.  Love that pizza!  Canned mushrooms and all!

I also met up with my high school sweetheart for a beer.

My high school sweetheart is roughly the same height as I am - 5'2".  He's always been an aficionado of classic cars.  He's got a '55 Chevy Bel Air wagon, a '57 Chevy truck he borrowed from his dad and just never gave back.  He used to have a '67 Chevy Impala (my personal favorite), but it got wrecked a few years back.

Anyway!  He shows up in a HUGE, modern truck.  Like obnoxious huge.  Like so big that when you opened the doors, it actually had little mechanical sidestep things that came out to help you get in to the cab of the truck. 

I was laughing my ass off!

We went for a beer, but had a hell of a time finding a bar.  Which is weird because small valley towns like Hanford are usually filthy with them!  We ended up at Chili's.  We had a beer, reminisced for awhile, and generally caught up. 

Both trips were a much-needed respite from the stress of our daily lives.

I miss my CA friends and family so much, and it's so nice to be able to finally see them all!  My mom wants to have the kids coming out in the summer become a yearly thing.  I'm fine with that! 

We used to go with my mom to see her sister (and family) in AZ every summer.  Not always the best time (AZ in the summer??) but it was time spent with family and that's a good thing.  If she wants them for awhile in the summer then Dave and I can have a vacation on our own (sweet!) and/or I can hang in CA for awhile with them (also sweet!).

Looking forward to the next summer's adventures, Ruth!

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