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Truth Time: Vegas wasn’t the best. PART ONE

So I’ve been putting off writing up my trip report because a few different factors.

The biggest is: we didn’t have a great time.

We weren’t sure what we were getting into, going to Vegas in the middle of a pandemic, but we knew that we wanted to renew our vows in Vegas in the year that would have been our 20th year anniversary, so we just went for it.

We booked a executive suite at Harrah’s.  We had never stayed there before and we knew that we would want a large room, since we would be hanging out in it a lot of the time.  We are both still scared of COVID and so our goal for Vegas was to renew our vows, meet up with a couple ppl and then mostly hang out in the room.  The room we booked was a two room suite that promised enough room between us while being stuck together for an entire week.  That is important.  😀

We packed up and hit the road Saturday morning (10/3/20).  We made good time but the traffic was heavier that we expected.  We arrived in Vegas around five PM if I remember right.

This is where the first monkey wrench found its way into our plans.  So we parked in the parking garage and made our way down to the check in desk.  For whatever reason, Harrah’s has a floor that is one floor above the check in desk and that is where the parking garage elevator spits out.

At this point we are both toting two suitcases each and a backpack.  We spy an escalator but not much else.  There are elevator places but they seem to be reserved for the hotel rooms.

So here’s the thing…I’m afraid of heights. Like SUPER afraid of heights. Looking up at a tall building while on the ground scares me.

Stairs without a railing are just NOT an option and escalators…well, they are the bane of my existence. I have to hold on to both railings and if we are going down I have to have Rob in front of me in case I fall. It had never happened but my worst nightmare was not getting my foot flat on the step and getting that one rising step push me off balance.

I think you know where this is going.

I was tired and I thought for whatever reason in my stupid little head that I would be able to handle this escalator with a suitcase in each hand and not being able to hold the railings. I made Rob go in front and attempted to get on the stupid stairs. Basically my worst nightmare came true. I wobbled as the stair expanded below my foot and down I went.

I can’t even describe it to you right now because it was pure panic. I felt myself hit the stairs on my left hip and all I could do was hold a death grip on the luggage and blink stupidly as I laid there.

Rob was telling me to let go of the first suitcase so he could help me up and I couldn’t comprehend. A wonderful older man saw me fall and ran down behind me on the escalator grabbing the other suitcase and telling me to let go. It felt like it spanned about a half an hour but eventually I let go of both suitcases and pulled myself up just as we were nearing the end of it.

I don’t really want to go into more detail as this was a horrific experience, but basically we thanked the man behind me and I sat down for a minute to get my bearings.

Eventually we found the check in and my Total Rewards CC was declined. We tried Robs and that was denied. Finally we put the charge on a debit card and the front desk lady told me that she wouldn’t charge me a deposit fee since we were Diamond. I said no worries because we weren’t going to charge anything to the room.

Up to the room we disinfected the hell out of it and got unpacked. We were still shaken by my most stupid of falls and just sort of putted around.

Eventually I took a shower to kind of wash off the day and started icing my hip. My legs are pretty torn up by the escalator stairs but they don’t hurt and there was not blood. My hip was swollen and sore, but I hoped that wasthe worst of it.

Rob went downstairs to see about getting more stuff out of the car and when he came back up he said that the mask wearing tonight is at a minimum and we should stay up here in the room tonight.

Fine by me.

We were both wondering if the trip was already ruined before it got started.

 

Day Two:

Sunday was super chill. We woke up and snacked on the food we brought with us, played with our lego kit and watched TV. Doesn’t sound like much but it was a little bit of heaven.
I was super sore this day but I knew that I would be. The worst was getting out of bed in the morning. It got really stiff over night and every step hurt on the way to the bathroom. Now it is sore when I get up from sitting but the first couple of steps it feels better. I was just hoping it would get better fast, or I might not be able to wear the cute chunky heels I wanted to for the renewal the next day. Oh well.

Game plan for the rest of the day was to go get our renewal duds out of the car and get something to eat.

Either way, I wanted to be in bed really early as we had to be at the Las Vegas sign by 6:30 the next morning. Ug…thankfully this is the only part of this trip where we have to get up early.

We laid around in bed and then ventured out to the living room area to watch TV and build our LEGO kit.

Later in the afternoon I took a bath in the wonderful tub and then we headed down for food. Just some pizza slices from the food court but we didn’t need a lot.

 

Back at home…Night Mom.

 

Where do I begin?

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.

It started with a heatwave.  The biggest one we have had this summer and possibly prior.  It got up into the 100’s here in the valley and that is pretty much unheard of.  We get a couple of weeks of good heat each summer.  Never enough to actually get air conditioning installed, but enough to make it fairly uncomfortable unless you are laying perfectly still in front of a fan going full blast.

We also live out in a wooded area and it is California.  If you know much about California, you probably know that we are tinderbox of a state every summer.  One false move and the whole place could go up in smoke.  It’s even more dangerous when there is excessive heat.  I think you can see where this is going…

The Saturday night before last, we had thunderstorms.  Not the kind we used to get back home with downpours and wind and all that jazz.  In fact, we got no rain at all where I live, but lots of lightning…that is what is referred to as Dry Lightning and it is dangerous AF when you are in the middle of a bone-dry summer.

This lightning storm sparked all kinds of fires around the state and one of them was fairly close to where we live.  Not anything we had to really worry about, but it made everything extremely smokey and ash rained down all over a ten mile radius of the fire.

The following Tuesday, I was on my way home from work early.  My stomach hadn’t felt good all day and all I wanted to do was come home and lie down.  I got about two miles from my house and was passed by a fire engine heading in the direction I was already going.  I knew that wasn’t a good sign, but there is an assisted living home that is a quarter mile from our house and sometimes the fire trucks come out there on medical calls.

A couple of minutes later I was passed by a Cal Fire pickup truck.  Now I KNEW it wasn’t good.

As I crested the last hill towards my house I saw the smoke in the sky and the panic I had been trying to suppress hit full swing.  I pulled into our driveway and Rob met me out by the car.  I asked how far away it was and he said the nearest he could tell it was bout three miles or so up the hill.

The rest of the afternoon was spent monitoring Facebook community groups and the Cal Fire page trying to find any information on the spread of the fire.

Rob was quite confident that we would be fine for the night as it would take at least a day or so for the fire to travel the terrain it would need to go to get near us.  I was not so sure and told him I would feel much safer if we voluntarily evacuated to his dad’s house.  He begrudgingly agreed and we packed up the pooches, a few important items and left.

The next day I headed to work and Rob headed back to our house.  The smoke was thick and the fire was raging but he was very insistent that we weren’t in any danger, after all they were evacuating people to a place less than a mile down from our house so we must be fine.

When I got home from work, I reluctantly agreed to spend the night if he was SURE that we would be fine and then we settled in for the evening.

Around seven that night we were watching the Cal Fire press conference on the fire when they announced that they were evacuating  up to a quarter mile above our house.  We were alarmed and talked about evacuating.  A few minutes later, Rob was outside and happened to see our neighbor who is a firefighter.  He told Rob that he had been pulled off the line fighting the other fire near us and told by his bosses to go home and prepare his home for evacuation.

The fact that this fireman was pulled from active duty to go evacuate his house by people who SHOULD KNOW gave us a good scare and we spent the next two to three hours packing up everything we deemed important and loading up our cars.  We showered and then headed over to his dad’s house to stay for a few days or more.

That was on Wednesday.

On Thursday I called my ailing Mom and she expressed concern over what was going on.  I didn’t really let her know the severity of the situation, just that we were hanging out at my father in laws to be extra safe.

Mom hadn’t been doing so well over the last year.

A few months back she finally admitted to her legs swelling…she has apparently been hiding it for quite some time.  From myself, my brother and the CNA’s at her assisted living home.  When they got too big for her to function very well, she finally fessed up.  With some convincing from the staff at her apartment and my brother and I, she finally went to the hospital.

She was in there for quite some time.  In addition to the largely swollen legs, they found fluid in her lungs and around her heart.  They said it was a form of CHF brought on by the fact that she never used the CPAP machine she was prescribed 10 to 15 years ago because it was uncomfortable.  Welp, uncomfortable as it was, she needed it for a reason and now her heart was struggling so hard each night that it couldn’t keep up the battle with her lungs…or something like that.

The end result was CHF and some blood clots in her legs because she had let them get so big and was so sedentary.  At least that is how I remember hearing about it…it’s been a while now.

She was put on blood thinners and stayed in the hospital for a couple weeks before being transferred to a rehab where they were trying to build her strength back up.

She walked a slippery slope with diuretics.  They pumped her full of them to help get the fluid out and then her kidneys would show some damage from it.  They would back off of the diuretics and she would fill right back up with fluid.

Long story short, she was in and out of the hospital a couple of times and eventually wound up back in rehab this month.  It a facility that has a rehab, a nursing home and a hospice all in the same large building.  Her first visit there was in the rehab.  On this visit she was in the nursing home facility because she needed extra care but she was still receiving PT and OT.

They just couldn’t keep the fluid from invading her body and in the end, she was given the choice of going back to the hospital or being transferred to the hospice unit in the facility.  She chose hospice.

Less than two days later, she was gone.

The day she was transferred to hospice, I had gone off to work.  We were still evacuated from our house due to the fires and Rob had gone home to see if he could pick up some more stuff we forgot to get before the evacuation became mandatory.  My brother called him that morning and let him know what was going on.

I got a text from Rob saying to call him, it was about my mom and it was important.

The short of it is that she was being moved to hospice and I should call her ASAP because it didn’t sound good.

I went into the conference room at work and called. While they didn’t have a phone in her room, a nurse brought her cell phone down to mom.  Mom of course couldn’t hear me because she was over half deaf and the nurse went to fetch a portable phone.  Mom could hear me on that but then my cell dropped the call.

I called back and didn’t get an answer.  It was like the worst possible comedy of errors I’ve ever experienced.  I was frantic at that point.  I ran outside to get a better signal and finally got a nurse on the phone.  I was crying and explained what was going on.

She said: “Baby, you can’t talk to your mom sounding like this, she’s going to get upset…” and tried to calm me down.  She told me that I was lucky that my mom was still coherent and talking and I would be able to come visit her before she passed.  I told her no, I wouldn’t.  I lived in California.

She got real quiet and then asked if I had any video chatting on my phone.  I told her I had facetime.  She told me to take down her cell number and facetime her, she would bring me into my mothers room.

An that is just what I did.  She was an angel. By that time my brother was there so essentially, my mother got to have her two kids “in the room with her” one last time.  We didn’t talk for long because she was tired from whatever drug they had given her.  That was the last time I talked to her.

I tried to call her again the next day (Saturday) but she wouldn’t wake up for the nurse to get the call.  The nurse even put the phone by her ear and asked me to talk hoping it would wake her but that didn’t happen.  All I heard was this horrible rattling from her lungs.

She passed that evening.

Since then, I’ve been shifting from numb to sad to angry to everything in between.  All of which while wondering if we were going to have a house to come home to.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this fast.  She was only 75 years old.  Her mind was all there right up until the end, but her body was tired.  She complained one day to me that she was the youngest of her sisters and she didn’t understand how she was the one that was so sick.  I told her that she was the one that worked 60 hours a week for the better part of 20 years.  Her body was worn out…but her mind was strong.

The mandatory evacuation for our house was lifted today and we were able to come home.

The fires are not over by any stretch of the imagination, but at least they are starting to get contained and the air quality is so much better right now. *knocks wood*

I don’t have a clever way to end this and I apologize that it was pretty all over the place.  I had to get up and walk away from it several times to collect myself.

Miss you Mom.

Stay at home means….

Okay so I need to explain that I live in a very tiny area on the central coast of California.  It’s very eclectic and we like to sort of not socialize in our little village.

I can count on one hand how many visitors we have had in our house in the fifteen years we have been living here.  We don’t do guests and we like it that way.

This weekend alone, we have had two people try to invite themselves over to our house.  A couple of days ago, we had a distant neighbor that we don’t really know but was friends with my husbands grandfather, come knock on our door and start a random conversation.

Our immediate neighbor in our backyard doesn’t live there permanently…it’s his “vacation home” and he actually lives in San Jose.  He comes down here to this house, maybe six times a year for a weekend or an event and then we don’t see him again.

It’s cool, he’s a cool neighbor.   He always calls us and thanks us for being great neighbors and gives us gifts at the holidays.

Having said that…he has been out here EVER SINGLE WEEKEND since California announced the shelter in place.

Like, the governor said: “Don’t leave your house unless you absolutely need to!” and he said: “Cool, Imma go visit my vacation home for a couple days and then go home and then do the same thing every single weekend…that’s what you meant right?”

We aren’t especially alarmed (though we jokingly call him the “big city virus spreader”) because he isn’t within six feet of our personal space, but he takes off at least three times a day to go places and that is what worries me.  You are told to stay in your house.  Not only do you NOT stay in your house, you come down here and then don’t even stay in THAT house!!!

I keep telling my husband that I want to shout at our neighbor through a safe six foot window space that he is “doing the shelter in place wrong!”

Also the neighbor next to him that is using the house as an Airbnb (thankfully not since the virus thing started) came down tonight and spent the night.

Also, also, I have seen at least five packs of people coming down to access the river this weekend due to the heatwave right now.  They are in groups of 4 – 6 ppl and they sure as shit aren’t social distancing.

(Side note, *future post about how this summer is going to suck because people aren’t locking the gate that accesses the river….*)

It’s these sorts of thing that makes me crazy.  I WANT to stay home, but I cannot.  I have to work.  Yet people are getting antsy because they have been told to stay home and they want to rebel.

I get that you want to make money.  I totally do…that isn’t what this rant is about.

This rant is about the people who treated this “quarantine” as a vacation.  Don’t lie, some of y’all did.  “I get to stay home for three weeks and never have to get out of my PJ’s??  Awesome!”

And now you are antsy.  You have been in the house for a month, you have binge watched everything on Netflix and this is no longer fun for you.  And there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight in the near future.

To those people I say: Fuck You.  Guess what…nothing has changed in the last month except your attitude.  You are now chomping at the bit to leave your house and you now think it is “unfair” that you cannot.  While three weeks ago, you clapped along with being a hero so you could sleep in and not have to answer to your boss, now you no longer think it’s necessary because you are bored and want to go get a haircut or play golf.

If that is the case, you never thought it WAS necessary in the first place and only played along to get your stimulus check and have some time off of work.

Suck it up buttercup.  Currently, wanting to leave your house is a LUXURY, NOT A RIGHT!  Not while people are dying. I happen to own several very special humans in my life that are at very high risk of potential death to the virus should they get it.  My mom has ever single one of them…lung disease, diabetes, heart disease…and my husband has a heart condition.  My best friend back home has COPD and is paralyzed.  It’s not like she can get away from someone that has to share her personal space like her caregivers, if they choose to not follow the guidelines and go out to socialize because they are bored.

Y’all need to not be such whiny bitches and stop being so effing selfish.  Because that is the bottom line.  It is blatant selfishness to risk the lives of others so you can feel better about yourself and your day.

Are you healthy?  Is your biggest problem that you want to leave the house to go work out or get a hair cut or your nails done?  Guess what…there are many ppl that have DIED from this virus that will never get to do those things ever again so why don’t you shut the fuck up and not be such a fucking tool..you are NOT THAT IMPORTANT!

You don’t know if you are carrying this virus for up to 21 days!!!  You may feel fine and think it’s perfectly okay to go out and about…but you don’t know that!  When I was posed with the question of when I might vacation again when Vegas opened up I said: “Not until is it proven safe.  MY GOOD TIME IS NOT WORTH ACCIDENTALLY KILLING SOMEONE ELSE!!!!!” Read that again.

And now read it one more fucking time!

Vegas 2019 TR Part 3

Woke up far to early for my tastes on Thursday morning and headed over to Flights at the Miracle Mile for the VMB meetup. I made the initial reservation for 14 based on the people stating they would be there on the meet up thread, but it turned out to only be six of us. No worries on my end…it’s Vegas. Plans change, people lose track of time and shit happens.

It turned out to be a lovely meet with some great peeps and I really enjoyed myself a lot. Flights is a pretty cool place if you get the chance to go. It’s an airplane theme but “Flights” also refers to how they serve their drinks and food. I had a flight of mojitos and split a flight of breakfast hash with Rob and Aussieonthemove and then Rob, Martin and I split some sort of ice cream lava cake deliciousness. I didn’t think to take any pics of the food because I was starving, but we did get a pic of the group.

Once we all dispersed, I hit up LUSH at the mall to get a refill of my cuticle cream and we headed back up to the room. We laid around for a couple of hours before getting ready to head downtown for the night.

The hubs had recently reconnected with a friend of his from either elementary school or jr high on Facebook and she had just moved to Vegas a few years ago. We met up with her for ice cream last year and had a great time so we put out an invitation to her and her husband to meet up at any point this trip. They said they wanted to join us for when we hit Downtown to do the Mob Museum.

We caught The Deuce downtown and it took forever. It’s not the first time we’ve used the bus, but we had forgotten how long it takes when it’s busy. We noted to ourselves to Uber next time while grinning and bearing it.

We got there before our friends so we slotted around for a bit with no real wins but no great losses either and then met them at the Mob Museum around six.

We had never been, but it had been on our list for a couple of years. We really enjoyed it and while we stayed for two hours, we all felt that we really could have had another go ’round and see a lot of things we may have missed. It’s a LOT of information.

At the end we went down to the Speakeasy in the basement, but due to the lack of food (it was all appetizers), our friends didn’t want to stay as they were starving. I was kind of bummed because I wanted to have a drink or two and absorb the ambiance of it, but I understood that they had come straight from work and it was a weeknight for them…plus they were down to walk the block or two to Nacho Daddy and that was another place that we had never been but was on our list to try.

Once again I took a buncha pics at the Mob Museum so I will post a few here and leave a link to a photo album with the rest.

Link to the rest of the photos: Mob Museum Pics

At Nacho Daddy, Rob and I split the southern fried chicken nachos and they were really good.

Once our bellies were full we parted ways and we headed back to the hotel on the bus.

Bonus photo below is one of those photo kiosks at the Mob Museum. We were legit looking like this when we tried to figure out how to take the photo and then thought it was funny enough to stage it like that for the actual photo.

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Friday morning Rob let me sleep in until ten. He probably would have let me sleep in longer but I got a damn spam call on my phone and I had forgotten to turn the ringer off so I was blasted awake at ten by my obnoxious, but super catchy Adam Lambert ringtone. Remind me to change that to something more soothing before I go on vacation again…
This was our last day in Vegas and we didn’t have a whole lot planned. Our thoughts before bed the night before were to bus it down to the Peppermill, but this morning I decided I didn’t want to go any place that wasn’t within walking distance. We had had a late night and I have super anxiety on a good day, but when I’m sleep deprived it gets worse…public transit is not a friend to my heightened sense of anxiety.
So I made the executive decision that we would lay around for about and hour and then go over to Cosmo for some final gambles, followed by the Bellagio Conservatory and finally a late lunch at Mon Ami Gabi.
And that is just what we did.
So I have to say that this may be the only time that Rob and I ever left Vegas UP on our gambling budget. We take what we are prepared to lose and we are not big gamblers so inevitably, we usually leave most of it in Vegas.
Having said that, I LOVE THE COSMOPOLITAN!!! We gambled there for about an hour for the first time at the start of our trip and had the only winning session of the trip until today upon our return. I stuck a 20 into a Buffalo machine and came out 300 bucks richer. I’m sorry that I didn’t snap a picture of the machine or the ticket out, but it happened so fast and there was a guy on the next machine betting like 50 bucks a hand and I didn’t want to look like the geek that I am. Also, Rob came up as the second bonus in a row was finishing and I cashed out to show him the amount I had just won and he literally grabbed it and said “I’m gonna go cash it out, be right back!” before I could even try to get a picture. I think he was afraid I was going to stick it back in the machine and play it off. :p
After that I slotted around a bit with no real losses until we decided to head out. I felt like I was on a high from winning that much and I was going to ruin it if i just kept putting the same 20 into different machines.
We were about to pass through to the corridor to the outside when Rob made a comment that this side of the casino was totally quiet. I looked over and saw an empty Flintstones machine. I told him I wanted to play a 20 through that machine and he was agreeable so …
We actually won another 70 or so but we played it out so I could finish my cocktail as the machine went cold.
Left a casino in good spirits for once and headed over to the Bellagio.
Once again, I took a bunch of pics that I don’t want to clutter the blog with so I will post a few and put a link to an album with all the pictures.
Here is the link to the rest: Bellagio Pics
After that we boogied over to Mon Ami Gabi for a late lunch. It was around three in the afternoon so we had no problem getting seated on the patio…although it was quite a bit off to the side, right next to the servers/bus boys station so I could hear them talk about their conquests of the previous night while we waited for the meal.
We didn’t want to be super full so we got the baked goat cheese and the trout almondine to split. It was so super yummy.
Fat and happy, we returned to our home at Bally’s to start packing. After a week, our stuff was pretty spread out all over the room so it would take a while to wrangle it all into our luggage.
Around six or so we got a tap on the door and Housekeeping came in to do a welfare check.  Apparently if you haven’t had your room serviced in 48 hours, they have to come in an make sure you haven’t offed yourself or started making some sort of weapon of mass destruction.  I’m totally cool with this, I’d just never had it happen while we were in the room. We had been getting the room serviced every other day but since we were so near the end of the trip, when they called this morning I told them we were fine today.
The lady came in, and put up with our jokes about how trashed the room looked because we were packing. She walked to the middle of the room, looked at the ceiling, and then over to the window and looked out. Then picked up our room phone and dialed some sort of number and told us to have a great night before leaving.
I realize now the reason she probably moved toward the window was because Rob had his RC Car dismantled on one of the stools they offer and it probably looked really suspicious.
Saturday morning  Rob let me sleep in a little longer than planned and we headed out on the road around nine thirtyish.
Here are a couple pics of the progress on the Raider’s Stadium.
We made it to Jean without incident and hit up the “World’s Largest Cheveron Station” on the side of what used to be Nevada Landing. We discovered it last year and it is a wonderland of gas stations…like, it is HUGE and has so many fun things inside that you could probably spend a good part of a day just exploring it. I believe it is officially called Terrible’s Roadhouse.
I took a crap-ton of pics at usual, so here are a few and I will link to an album.
Here is the link to the rest of the pictures: Terrible’s Roadhouse
Once we got back on the road it was a fairly painless drive to Tehachapi, except when some jackhole tried to run us off the road and I had the worlds biggest panic attack. We made it to our friends house around two and found out that the other people that we were going to know there, had last minute issues and wouldn’t be showing up.
Rob and I are socially awkward on a GOOD day, but we managed to hang out and have a great time.  Also, there were dogs.
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After the party and resumed the drive home without much fanfare. We got home to a FREEZING house (Okay, not REALLY freezing for you east coasters but we had to shut off our space heaters before we left and they take forever to heat up again…so I was sitting in my bedroom typing this with fluffy slippers, sweats, a robe and a winter hat on my head. Fight me bro!

Okay, that brings this trip report to a close.
I had a really good time this trip but I think next year we might mix it up a bit and stay a few less days. If we do that we will probably fly and it will all work out. I hit my “I’m ready to go home” vibe around day six or so and while I am glad we stayed longer to recoup our money, I was pretty much done.
The thing is, after all the trips we have taken to Vegas together in the last 20 years, we are running out of things to do and as I age, I am running out of patience with being around so many people. Also, I don’t recover like I used to from a long night or several drinks.
Next year is our 20 year wedding anniversary and it is significant to Vegas because that is where we met and also got married (not on the same trip!) so we will visit Vegas, but we are already talking about breaking it up with a trip to Disney or Universal…of course that may change in 11 months when I am bit by the Vegas bug once again.

Vegas 2019 TR Part 2

Monday we ventured out to the Cosmo to sign up for their cards and get some points under our belts. While we have visited the Cosmo several times (Eggslut & Chandelier Bar) we’ve never actually given them any play so we decided to correct that. Not that we are huge players, but I figured we might as well. We ended up about 80 bucks for our trouble so I’m certainly not going to complain about that.

Once we were done there we walked over to Park MGM to check out the Hello Kitty pop up. I’m not sure why they show it located at the Park MGM as it is actually right out in front of NYNY, but whatever.

I wanted to take some pics for her and it was kind of cool for the novelty of it. Rob got a coffee and I got a macaroon cookie thingie. Nice, but not worth the seven dollars.

We sat around and chatted for a while. We had originally planned to hit the Hunger Games Exhibit at the MGM, but decided earlier in the day that I could not justify the cost of doing it for as little as it seems to show. I can’t see spending almost a hundred bucks for the two of us to go look at costumes and read about stuff I already know about just to play with some bow and arrows after. I’d rather spend that money elsewhere, so we bailed on it.

We did walk through the MGM to get the monorail back to Bally’s. By then my feet were pretty much toast. We had thought about walking over to Ellis Island for some BBQ but I decided against it.  We ended up getting Wahlburgers instead and ate it in the room.

Slept in on Tuesday morning and then headed out around 12:30 to The Gordon Ramsey Pub and Grill at Caesar’s Palace. I’ve never had Beef Wellington and I only just learned that it was steak wrapped in a flaky pastry so I decided it was a MUST DO this trip. I have heard mixed reviews about it at GR properties, but I decided to do it because it was pretty much the only type of restaurant that we could use our celebration dinner at.

We decided that we needed to try the Beef Wellington and the Toffee Pudding for sure and we would see what else we might want from the menu. When we got there they had the “lunch special” that had both those items at $52.00 so we each got one.

I have to say that I really enjoyed it a LOT. I have nothing to compare it to of course, but I found both to be amazing and was so glad that we went. The wait staff was really great and I have no complaints at all.

From there we walked (very slowly as we were in a coma after the pudding) over the Flamingo monorail and caught one over to the Sahara where we walked a little bit further to The Strat and caught a cab to the Neon Museum for the Tim Burton Exhibit.

It was enjoyable overall. Having never seen the regular one I can say there were a few Tim Burton easter eggs around but I guess I just expected more. There is a pretty cool dome thing that you go in and there are these teeny tiny displays…I’m not sure how to describe it, but it was pretty cool and I’m glad we did it, but I wouldn’t go again.

I took a crap ton of pictures. I’m only going to post a few here, but I will follow them with a link to all the pictures I took in case you are interested.

Tim Burton Neon Museum Album

After the Museum we ubered back to Bally’s and chilled in the room for an hour before I ventured downstairs to gamble solo.  I didn’t win anything and lost 40 bucks kinda fast so I came back up to the room after grabbing some chicken tenders and biscuits from Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken. The chicken was juicy but barely breaded and it kinda tasted like the oil wasn’t quite hot enough, but the biscuits were AMAZING!

Wednesday woke us to a drizzly day in Vegas.  It had mostly cleared by that afternoon but you could hear more sirens than usual on the streets from our room and we actually witnessed a truck spinning it’s tires trying to get up the ramp to the parking garage. I forgot how slick the roads can get during the first rain after a long period of none.

Thankfully we didn’t have any plans to drive anywhere that day. Our plans to visit downtown that evening had been pushed back to the next night as our local friend that we were meeting was feeling under the weather and wanted to rest.

We did the Potted Potter matinee around two and it was really fun. Small crowd but the two guys really give it their all and get you into the spirit of things.

I will say that I can see how someone might be disappointed coming out of seeing this play if they went in with high expectations of seeing a Broadway type show. It’s just two guys with a bare bones set and minimal, cheap props but it is really funny and they have tremendous energy. There was room for a fair amount of improv and they were pretty good at it. I love that.

We chilled in the room for the rest of the afternoon before heading back downstairs to play some Twilight Zone Mini- Golf.  The hubs got a groupon for it a while back when we knew we were going to be staying here. We almost forgot about it but as it was raining again, it was the perfect thing for us to do that night. It was a lot of fun and the staff was super chill and had great senses of humor.

Took less than an hour to complete and that was stopping and taking lots of pics. Speaking of that, I once again made a separate album for all the pics I took and will post the link after the few pics I will post here.

After the golf, we stopped for the cheap Asian food from the food court and then I stopped off at the chair massage place so I could get a shoulder massage.

I am a fan of spas and massages but since there is no longer a spa at Bally’s and I was not trying to spend a bunch of money and walk longer than needed just to get my shoulders to calm down since we had a large spa tub in the room, I thought I would give this a shot. It was perfect. I paid 50 bucks for about 35 minutes with tip and I walked away feeling like a million bucks. Like my husband said, it was utilitarian but effective. I didn’t have the ambience of the spa but I got the desired result.

Twilight Zone Mini Golf Pictures

 

Vegas 2019 Trip Report Part One

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Headed out for the long drive to Vegas after work on Friday 11/15.  The drive was fairly uneventful with a small clusterfuck of a traffic delay in Paso Robles when we tried to stop for gas that we never got and got stuck for 15 minutes trying to get the less than a mile back to the freeway.

Arrived at Bally’s around one the following morning. Total nightmare to find out how to get to the parking structure. They do not make it easy, had to research on the phone as we were circling around Bally’s. Blah!
Our registration lady was an absolute doll, she laughed at all my husbands bad jokes and apparently upgraded us from a resort studio suite to the executive kind with the tub. It’s a smoking room, but I’m not going to complain as it’s pretty cool.

No gambling was done that night as it was almost two in the morning and food and bed were priority.  The only place open at that hour was S’barro’s in the food court so I grabbed two sad looking stromboli’s and a cheesecake and we were unpacked and in bed by four AM.

Saturday morning we were up at ten and off and running to the convention center to get Rob’s packet for the 10K race the next day.

He cashed in a MyVegas bogo for a 4 day pass on the monorail and off we went.
I have done the half marathon four times before and have always sort of enjoyed the Expo, not the crowds, but the activities and things. For some reason this year I found it lacking. Still just as many people but I didn’t see as much fun stuff. Meh, just my opinion.

We mono-railed back to the hotel and rested for a couple of hours. I’m no longer in the shape I used to be and at 45 with as little sleep as I got last night, I was FEELING it that day after all the walking around we did.

Having said that, we didn’t do much the rest of the day other than head down to the Grand Bazaar Shops and get some dinner from Ramen-Ya.  While we were waiting for our take out we perused a shop called It’Sugar and they had a lot of hilarious items.

I didn’t buy any of those, though I wanted to.  If I bought all the things I wanted to there, I wouldn’t be able to fit myself or Rob in the car for the drive home.

This is what I bought…I feel like I will go through them quickly:

The Ramen was super yummy and decadent.  The only Ramen I have ever had comes in a little block in a shrink wrap package with a flavor packet so this was amazing!

It was soooooo goood and I fell into a food coma.

On Sunday we slept in and kicked around the room for awhile.  Rob’s 10 K didn’t start until almost four so we had some time to kill.

When we finally got on the Monorail, it was just packed full of people-like body pressed against body…have I mentioned that I am claustrophobic?

The great thing about the 10K people is that they are just fun.  They know they are only doing six miles and they are all wearing the wristband that gets them a free beer at the end.  They have hardly trained because they are just going to walk it and take pictures.  This is the PARTY Monorail.

When I did the half marathons all those years ago, the entire monorail was full of people being completely silent, stretching and trying to get in the zone.  Which I get, but it was such a different dynamic to see that it was almost laughable.

Anyhoo, we finally got to the stop at Sahara and walked over to the start line.  There was a whole lotta humanity there but I braved it out and then left him to head over to where I could see the start of the race and get pictures of him running.

Once that was done, I mono-railed over to Flamingo where I played some gamble and then headed over to Flamingo to play gamble and then to O’Sheas to get a frozen Bailey’s.  Once I got that I walked over to the finish line but I couldn’t get to his side because everything was still all blocked off since the marathon was in full swing.  I texted him and then met him over at the Bally’s area as he was getting off the escalator.

Once we were done with the race, we stopped at Giordano’s and got some Italian food.  We got an Apple and Blue Cheese Flatbread, Alfredo Lasagna and a Chopped Salad.  It was all delicious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

Tales of Withdrawals and Chronic Pain

I think that I need to give myself a break. During the first three weeks of a my antidepressant tapers (or in this case my being off them all together) I cannot allow myself to get caught up in anything more than a simple task.
Anything that gets even the slightest bit complicated sparks a raging fury that is followed by helpless tears and I can’t control it once it starts.
I learned this last night when I had to replace my credit card number on all the places I have it stored. Netflix and Hulu were a snap but Itunes was giving me fits. I realize today that I probably need to update to the newest version…whenever it’s outdated it gives me trouble trying to get to the most simple screen.
I ended up changing it on my phone, but not before damn near overturning my desk and everything on it from sheer anger. I wasted way to much time and put myself in a crap of a mood for no good reason. I just needed to walk away.
That is not an easy thing for a person as stubborn as me to do. So I ended up going bed in an upset state, sleeping poorly and having horrible rage filled dreams.
I just need to NOT.
To give myself some time and walk away when things start to get even the slightest bit difficult. It’s not a permanent thing. In a couple of weeks everything should start evening out and I can go back to being hard on myself if I have to.
Not now. Now is the time to practice self care. Time to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head at 6:30 in the evening if I have to. This is not forever.
This will pass and life will get back to normal again. I just need to take it easy on myself until it does.

On that note, I will probably be journaling more to get this shit off my chest. It isn’t fair to my husband for him to be my only emotional punching bag right?
He’s being amazing. So great that every time he comes back with a supportive comment when I’m a seething bitch I feel horrible and dissolve into tears.
I mean, it would be easier if he was being a dick back…I’d at least feel justified.
I totally don’t mean that by the way.

I guess I should talk about the issues that he is going through right now.
About three or four months ago he started getting these random but pretty severe pains. They would travel from his shoulder for two days to his wrist for another two days to his knee to his elbow to his fingers and so on and so forth.
At first I was convinced it was due to the injectible cholesterol meds that his doc had put him on. He had been on them for a few months but one of the side effects was muscle pain. After much nagging on my part he got permission from his cardiologist to stop them for a couple of months to see. It seemed to get better for a small amount of time and then it got much worse.
When the pain traveled to his wrists and fingers he went to his GP, we suspected carpel tunnel and it was all but confirmed by the doc. He told him to get wrist braces and sent him for blood work.
The wrist braces helped a lot but he was still in a lot of pain and it would still move from one random body part to the other.
The blood work came back and the doc told him that he needed to go see a rheumatoid arthritis specialist and gave him a referral.
It took a week to get a hold of the specialist only to be told that he would have to fill out some forms to see if he would be accepted as a patient.
I’m sorry, what??
How does that even work? If you are in the business of helping people you shouldn’t be able to pick and choose who you help. I get it if your practice is full, but that wasn’t the case.
Three weeks later he was rejected as a patient with no reason given.
It turns out that getting into this kind of specialist in our area is not an easy task. It has been almost three months and he still hasn’t been able to get in to anyone yet. The man is in agony 70% of the time but apparently that isn’t a big deal to anyone by he and I.
He is missing work and when he IS at work he is so far behind on his load because he is in too much pain to get it all done.
He is popping Advil like candy and now I’m working about his stomach lining and kidneys because of it.
The worst part of it is because he can’t get seen, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. He is just in pain all the time and knows that there is no end in sight.
It’s really putting a strain on everything. His patience is gone and I don’t blame him. He’s gotten better, but he can still be quite snappy when his pain is severe. It’s in my nature to want to try and help and it aggravates him when I keep asking if he is okay or how I can help.
It bothers me a lot to see him in pain all the time and know there is nothing I can do at all to make it go away or even alleviate it a little.
I just want to make everything better for him.
I guess that is what he wants to do for me with my withdrawals too.
Our household is a hot mess right now, but we will get through it.
We will celebrate 19 years married and 20 years together on the 26th of this month.
I love that man with everything I have.

Off The Antidepressants!

Today marks 9 days off of my antidepressant Celexa or rather it’s generic Citalopram.
As stated in previous entries, I have been on this drug for over 20 years…possible 25. It’s been so long that I don’t even remember but I know it was before I met my husband and that was 20 years ago this month.
When I first embarked on this journey, I didn’t think it would take over a year. And truth be told I wasn’t even sure the goal was to get off them completely.
The question I was asked most often when I tell people I am getting off my meds is: “What makes you think you should get off of them?”
The simple answer is that I don’t think that they are working like they did when I first got on them.
The more complicated answer is that ever since I found out how my body has become dependent on them, I have felt the need to not take them.
It’s not an addiction as such. When I smoked, and I quit or was forced to be without cigs for any length of time, I would CRAVE a smoke. I would NEED a smoke. When I couldn’t have one, I would become irritable.
My body does not CRAVE the antidepressant in that way. I never once sat here and thought “Man, I just gotta take that pill. I NEED to take that pill!” What I do have is the mental and physical withdrawals from the medicine that my body had gotten used to after 20 + years of taking it.
As the chemicals in my brain have to learn to function on their own for the first time in two decades, they are letting me know their displeasure.
The symptoms are not really any different than when I had been reducing each dosage in my tapering.
I started this journey at the max dosage of 40mg. On July 12 2018 I took the first step by reducing my dosage to 30mg.
Per my doctor 6 weeks was a good amount for a taper. She said that if anything were to go wrong, it would be during that time frame.
I honestly don’t remember how severe the symptoms were at that point because I wasn’t logging them, but I know I stayed on that dosage for seven weeks just to be safe.
On August 30th I reduced the dosage yet again, this time to 20mg. Again, I didn’t log my symptoms but I know my anxiety was really high on this taper and I stayed on it for 9 weeks before reducing to 10mg on November 1st.
This is the taper I started keeping notes on and talked about them all in a previous entry. Mostly it was like PMS on steroids. Angry and filled with rage followed by uncontrollable sobbing and tears.
Other more minor issues were stomach discomfort, feeling tired, a general feeling of disconnect, some dizziness and just a overall feeling of Meh.
Read the other entry for more in depth details on the symptoms.
Due to a very high stress environment and my anxiety, I stayed at the 10mg taper the longest.
This brings up the question: “Kelz, if you were feeling very stressed and anxious, how do you know it wasn’t being on a reduced dosage that was causing these feelings?”
The answer is that I don’t for sure know that…however I can tell you that there were circumstances that made my life very stressful during that time. If those factors had not been in my life, I am positive that I wouldn’t have felt nearly as bad.
I knew that my withdrawals typically lasted for 3 weeks at their worst and there just never seemed to be a good time to start another taper knowing everything that was on the horizon with me.
I said before that when I first started this, I didn’t know if I wanted to come off the meds completely or just reduce my dosage, but at this point I wanted off! Knowing what my body and mind was going through coming off these pills made me hate the fact that I was even on them in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, they helped me when I was first put on them. A lot. But at no point was it ever explained to me by any of the many doctors that prescribed these to me over the years that I could ever get off the meds. Nor was I told that the mindfuck that happened to me when I forgot to take a pill or two was withdrawals from the meds. I just thought that it meant I clearly needed to be on these pills. If that was what my personality was like without them, I must need them. Never knowing that it was a temporary thing and it would eventually go away.
Now that I had that knowledge and was quite frankly pissed off that I could have been medication free for years had I known, I was determined to get off the stuff.
I attempted to taper down to 5mg after 12 weeks but after two days and an increase in a stressful environment I went back up to 10 and stayed there for another 21 weeks.
Eventually, I knew there was a 2 week break coming from my major source of stress so I started the 5mg taper on June 24th of this year (2019).
I’m not sure if it was because the dosage reduction was half of what it normally was or the fact that I had been on the last taper so long, but I didn’t feel like the withdrawals were as bad this time around. I was also very gentle with myself and after the first week took a weekend to myself in a hotel room just for the sole purpose of relaxing.
I did have rage, tears, all of that but I felt like it was on a much smaller scale and lasted less of a time than the other tapers.
After six weeks on that taper, on August 5th 2019 I stopped taking my meds altogether.
The first part of the week was fine. Great, in fact. I think it had a lot to do with how proud I was of myself for finally getting off the pills.
On Day 5 I felt my emotions let go and I spewed forth with all the anger and crying for no reason.
This weekend was pretty bad with me crying a lot without knowing why other than it was the damn withdrawals.
Yesterday was pretty good and today hasn’t been that bad…I’m hoping I’m over the worst of it right now but I’m not going to hold my breath.
The things I’ve noticed most the last day and a half is that I am totally scatterbrained. Like total ditz mode and it is really bothering me because I am so NOT that way.
The one great and shining light in all of this is my husband. He has been beyond supportive and he is going through his own personal hell right now. He hasn’t been officially diagnosed because he can’t get into a damn specialist, but they think he has rheumatoid arthritis. He has been in pretty severe pain every day for the last ten or so weeks.
I will blog about that later, because that is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. The reason I mention it is because even when he is in agony, he has been an amazing source of support for me during this tapering thing.
He has never liked the idea of me being on the medication in the first place and when we first got together he tried to get me to consider getting off of them. I did for a week or so but of course had the withdrawals and went right back on. I didn’t know that was what it was, I just assumed my depression was raging again without the meds so I MUST still need to be on them…so many years and money wasted on these damn things.
So needless to say he has been my biggest cheerleader during the last year. That is saying a lot when you consider that he is the one that gets the brunt of all my anger and tears when they show up.
This weekend as he was holding me while I was sobbing he told me: “You are doing a great job…you don’t think you are, but you are doing amazing.” and that meant so effing much to me. Of course it made me cry even harder, but that isn’t the point.
He is being so beyond fantastic with me when I am snapping at him for no reason. Especially when he’s in pain and is being snappy himself. I cannot praise him enough right now.
So what have I been doing in place of the meds?
CBD Oil
L-Theanine
Electrolytes
Min-Tran
I do a half a tincture of CBD oil every morning upon waking. I will usually skip this if it’s a weekend and I know I’m not leaving the house.
I do one 200mg of L-Theanine in the morning and one before bed. <—I’m going to do a seperate blog about this amazing supplement a little alter.
The electrolytes and Min-Tran are as needed.

ETA: Tonight the rage and tears have come back. I cry even more because I wonder if I will ever feel normal again, but I think that every single taper…

1st full day in Maine 2019

We were supposed to be at mom’s at eleven this morning to take her out for a full day of appointments and shopping.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
When I woke up for the final time at 10:30, I rolled over and told my husband the time and that we were going to be late and also that I didn’t care because were were on vacation.

I then got up  and puttered around the BNB.

Called mom and told her we were going to be late and that I would call her when we were on our way out the door.

Putted around some more and we finally got showered and got to Mom’s around one in the afternoon.  Hey man, I’m on vacation okay???

We got to Mom’s and got her squared away in the car.  We took a trip to our credit union to pull out money for both of us and then headed to the one musician shop we know of in Augusta to get Rob a set of strings for the guitar he left at moms that broke string while we were gone.

Next was getting mom’s blood drawn.  This is so Maine to me, but it was a Quest Diagnostics that was attached to a local pizza joint.  “Hey Marge, I just got my cholesterol reading done, let’s go split a pepperoni!”

Then we got ourselves some Dunkin Coffee and headed out for her foot doctor.  We were there for about a half an hour and the doctor and I chopped it up over flying and hereditary webbed toes.  He was a pretty funny guy.

Next stop, Walmart.  Mom needed to do her monthly shopping and we were ready willing and able.  Who knew a 75 year old woman could wear us out so fast??

After that we headed back to her apartment.  This was a lot of excitement for her in one day and quite frankly for us as well.  We hung out for a few minutes and then headed back to the BNB with our stuff we bought.

I have spent the last couple of hours painting my nails and snacking while my husband has been playing guitar.  Soon we will eat and hit the hay.

Dang we take interesting vacations, don’t we??

Annual Maine Trip Fiasco–I mean Report!

We are in Maine for our annual trip.  I wish I could say the journey was easy, but I can’t because it wasn’t.

We were scheduled to fly out of San Jose on Friday night after work.  The flight was at 10:45 and would fly us into Boston where we would catch a connecting flight to Augusta where my mother currently lives.  We had a friend scheduled to give us a ride and so after work we ventured out to Rob’s parents house where the ride was going to pick us up at seven.

We were early but that was okay because Rob’s brother was in town with his twin sons and it was nice to see them again for even just a minute.

As we were saying goodbye to them so they could go back to their hotel, I whipped out my phone to take a picture and noticed a notification from JetBlue saying our reservation was cancelled.

Ummmm, what?

Long story short, Rob spent about a half an hour or so on hold and then speaking with the Jetblue staff.  The flight was cancelled due to weather on the east coast and there was nothing to be done about it.  We were rebooked on the same flight for the next night.  We were now going to be missing a full day of our vacation.

There is a reason we book the red eye out on a Friday night.  I only get a certain number of vacation days a year and I want to obviously maximize them if I can.  When flying to Maine we lose almost two days traveling time so to lose another day was NOT cool.

Having said that, we went home and regrouped.  There were only a couple of things that needed to be rescheduled and it didn’t seem like that bad of a crisis in the grand scheme of thing…just extremely frustrating.

The next day we managed to make the flight out of San Jose on time and all seemed right with the world.  We got to our connecting flights gate in Boston and got some Dunkin Donut sandwiches because were were starving at that point and then waited almost two hours for them to tell us our flight was delayed by about an hour.  The next announcement a half an hour later was that the flight was cancelled altogether.

Rob and I were already sleep deprived at this point and pretty much fed up with the airlines shit.  We went up to the desk to see what we could do.  They told us that we could get refunded or we could rebook for the five thirty flight that night–no guarantee that flight wouldn’t be cancelled either.

After speaking with a slightly more informative employee we were told there was a bus that was leaving in fifteen minutes that could take us to Augusta and get us there by one.  It was nine fifteen in the morning at that point.  We were told they would have to pull our bags from the current flight (what flight?? It was cancelled!!) and then we would have to race down and catch the bus.  The instructions were all very vague but I was over flying at that point and told Rob we should just get the bus.

We ran downstairs and I went to retrieve the bags while Rob jetted out to catch the bus that no one seemed to know where it was.  We made friends with another guy in the same boat and between the three of us we finally found the bus stop…where about 50 other people were waiting for the same bus.

About fifteen minutes later the bus finally pulled up and due to a weird quirk of fate, we were finally in the right place at the right time and were one of about 15 that got to board that already almost full bus.

That bus took us from Boston to Portland and then dumped us out at a station to catch another bus Augusta.  We were last in line for that one and were very worried we wouldn’t get on, but thankfully we did.

FINALLY, after trying to start this trip on Friday night, we actually arrived at our destination at around 1:30 today.

The only shining beacon of hope in this story so far is that our contact at the HERTZ rental desk in Augusta is an absolute angel and goes above and beyond to make sure we get our rental car.

You see dear readers, this is not the first time that Jetblue has bent us over like this.  Last year almost the exact same thing happened.  We figured it was a fluke, but the bottom line is that the HERTZ desk in Augusta isn’t open on Sundays.  Both trips we risked not getting our rental car and further ruining our plans, but Michelle has saved our butts both times.  She got all the nessesary info from us including photos of our drivers licences and signature all via email and then had someone at the airport hold the keys and the paperwork for the car until we could get there to pick it up even though they were officially closed.  If I ever meet Michelle, I’m buying her a steak dinner…or a diamond…or you know, just giving her a really big hug.

So she came through for us yet again and we were able to uber (yes, Maine finally has those now) over to the airport and get our rental car.

Since we hadn’t planned on coming into Maine on Easter Sunday we had an initial plan of stopping at a grocery store to get stocked up for our Airbnb and then getting our favorite take out food from a local restaurant. Well, as it turns out there isn’t Jack Crap open in August on Easter Sunday.  No grocery stores, not even WALMART for crying out loud!  EVERYTHING was closed.  We managed for find a Subway that was opened and got some sandwiches to bring back to my mom and for us to eat later.

Finally we got to see my mom for a few hours but exhaustion was overtaking us.  We bid mom farewell for the night and headed over to the Airbnb we booked where we are currently relaxing in our PJ’s and will probably not last much longer before heading into sleepy-nigh-nigh-land.

So we basically lost two whole days of our short one week trip and I’m not pleased about it, but I know there isn’t a whole helluva lot we can do about it.

I’m never flying into Maine in April ever again!!!

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About Me

 

I am a 40 something married woman living in California.
I enjoy knitting and crocheting, watching crap movies, snuggling with my two adorable dogs and trying to be a good person.

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