Hey girl. So I noticed that you were going through some shit. Like, seriously angsty shit. And I totally get that some of it is legit.
It’s not fun to get beaten up by your brother like you do. It’s even worse when people laugh at your problem and tell you that all siblings fight and that you are being super over dramatic. It’s even more worse when they do that behind your back and you hear about it after they told you how much they believe you and want to help you out of your situation. It sucks.
On this one, I can’t say that it won’t be a hard road ahead. It’s going to take years of therapy as an adult and a serious case of PTSD and let’s face it, a bunch of different meds until you find the right one…but you will survive. You will not only survive, but you will eventually rise above it and be able to tolerate your brother in small doses. He was going through a lot of shit too and you just happened to be the nearest punching bag…literally. Your fears that he is going to grow up to beat his future wife are unfounded, thankfully. He has found a balance.
On that note, that cutting thing that you are doing to fill the void? Knock it off. It feels like the right thing to do and I know that you just want to “feel the pain” to make it go away, but seriously. Knock it the fuck off. Later in life, you are going to wish that you don’t have so many scars. Because guuurrrrlll, we are going to have stretch marks and the two together are just not pretty.
Okay, now that the hard stuff is out of the way, you will find love. It will NOT be with any of the guys you had one sided crushes on in high school, but you will. I know it is painful to think that ***** and ***** will never know you exist, let alone be your first kiss, but I promise you that there are much better men out there and you will meet “the one”. Also, stop basing your importance in life on the fact that you have to have a man and be in love. If you can just let go of that, you can do amazing things. Realize that your self worth is not based on the fact that you are loved by a member of the opposite sex. You are having Daddy issues and that is a whole other blog… 😉
Also, don’t fall for the first guy that is cute and winks in your direction. You may feel like no guy will ever go for you and you better jump on that train before it speeds away, but that is so not true. You want to go with your heart and flip head over heels, but take a step back and look at it reasonably. (PS: I know that you will never do this because when you are a teen, there is no taking a step back and looking at it reasonably, at the prospect of love – especially first love) If you could do this, you might save yourself a few months of heartache.
Your friends are not always your friends and that is okay. High school is a fucking cesspool of human emotions and hormones. Every single person there is learning to try and be their own person while wanting desperately to be accepted, just like you. Here’s the thing, the acceptance part doesn’t mean shit. It feels like it does at your age…very much. It feels like your world is going to end when your “friends” decide they no longer like you for whatever reason and leave you sitting alone in the dark. It’s okay to feel that, because it does indeed suck ass. However, you cannot control how or why they came to that decision. I can almost guarantee you that it was influenced by something someone that they admired said and it caused this sort of ripple effect. Whether or not they agreed with that person, they didn’t want to be the person that they would insult next and cause their own social problem, so they played along. It sucks. It is inevitable. Children are childish.
This next one goes along the same vein…Fuck their judgements. Like seriously. What you love today and tomorrow is going to have absolutely no bearing on your friends or foes lives in the future, so fuck ’em. Love that band that everyone hates. Enjoy writing stories, songs or poems that other people think are stupid. Dance when everyone is snickering. ENJOY YOUR LIFE. It is not for other people to dictate to you how to live your life. This will be the hardest lesson to learn and more than likely, you won’t even realize it until you are well into adulthood. I’m sad about that, because I think about all the years of creativity wasted.
Peer pressure is dumb. When your friends tells you that they would feel much more comfortable with you if you just took a drag off their cigarette(and this is totally going to happen to you), stick to your guns and say no. You won’t want to do it, but you will feel pressured into it and that will in turn break that seal that you had on the fear of smoking/drinking/whatever. A fear of smoking is a healthy thing. Once you take that drag you will no longer care about how it might affect you. You already did it and you are still alive! So now it’s not biggie and you will try to bum smokes from friends. You aren’t addicted yet, but dang…aren’t I cool because all my friends smoke and now I do too. You will soon become handcuffed to a very unhealthy and expensive habit.
And, take it easy on your mom. She is also going through her own personal hell right now and on top of that she is responsible for two lives other than her own. She is doing the best she can and that is all she can do. You asking for things you don’t need and cannot afford are not helping. She feels guilty and responsible for the fact that your dad isn’t around and you are fucked up by it. She will go out of her way to get you that coveted item you think you need, even if it means going in to debt. You don’t understand that now, or maybe you do and don’t care. She just wants you to be happy, but she also doesn’t want you to follow in her footsteps in the bad decisions that she has made. She worries constantly about how you are going to turn out because she is working 60 hours a week to support you and cannot be there as much as she likes. So please, lighten up on her. You and your brother are pretty much all that she has right now and you are both being dicks.
I realize this is all very well for my 43 year old self to tell you. I’ve lived it. But in the end, I know that you are stubborn and you want to make your own mistakes. I can’t stop you from doing that. I can only caution you and hope you heed my warnings. Knowing myself like I do, I’m sure you won’t. Everything is a learning process, and I wouldn’t be the person that I am if I didn’t go through all the angst of my teenage/early 20’s years.
But seriously, don’t start smoking!
So some serious stuff has been going down in the Mackadoo Estates.
The Monday before last my husband was complaining of being run down. He figured he was coming down with a cold or blamed it on the super late gig he had the night before. I believe on Tuesday it was, he stayed home from work.
When questioned what was going on, he just said: “I feel weird…but I took some cold medicine and that is what happens when I take cold meds.” The next day he still felt “weird” and under the weather, but he is in the year end time for his work and had to go in. The next few days were a lot of the same. Going into work and coming home and going to bed really early. Sleeping for almost 12 hours a night – and that is highly unusual for him.
Rob and I have a compromise when it comes to sickness. If it isn’t getting better in a few days, we go to the doctor. Usually, we never have to resort to that, but we have a couple times.
Late in the week he started complaining of jaw pain. It was always on both sides so that ruled out a cavity. I wondered about TMJ, but he was able to stave it off with Advil so we let it go.
That weekend he let me know that he had sometimes been having chest pressure with the jaw pain. He had looked it up and those were symptoms of a mild heart attack.
Long story short…
On Sunday night we had an
argument discussion about how he wasn’t going Urgent Care per our agreement and that wasn’t fair. He wasn’t getting any better, he was just getting by. He swore that if he wasn’t 100 percent better in the morning he would go to the Doc In A Box. Fine.
Monday morning he woke me up saying that he wasn’t feeling well, but that his work was waiting for an important document to be emailed and if they had gotten it by 8:30 he would head into work and then to Urgent Care. If not he would head to Urgent Care and then work.
So I headed into work and on my first morning break I found an email from him stating he was too sick to drive himself to UC. He said maybe he would have me bring him later that night when I got home, or in the morning. I called him and told him I was coming home to get him.
My work was so cool about the whole thing, I gave them the readers digest version and they said: “see ya!” and I was out the door.
The wait time at UC was about an hour and a half. An hour and a half of sitting in a room full of sick people. One kid in particular who had never been taught to cover his cough and was hacking openly around the room while he looked for magazines to read. Not cool.
When we finally got into a room they performed an EKG and deemed it had a slight abnormality. Given his symptoms and the EKG she directed us to the ER. She told us that there was a blood test that could determine whether or not he had had a heart attack and only the hospital could perform it. They gave him some Aspirin to chew and made us sign a waiver that we were not going to be transported by ambulance and off we went.
At this point I am freaking out. I mean, I know we looked up the symptoms and heart attack was one of the causes, but that couldn’t possibly be what had happened! My husband is only 50 years old! Plus, he’s my husband, so he’s invincible duh! However, I hold my shit together because this is just the beginning of our journey and I can’t fall apart yet.
I drive him to the ER and because the UC had faxed over the info, we were taken in 1st thing for another EKG. After that it was a lot of waiting around and then answering questions, then waiting around and checking vitals, then waiting around and verifying insurance, then waiting around and getting a blood test. The ER was absolutely slammed and so we are now again subjected to a bunch of ppl hacking their heads off.
Finally we get an ER room and he is hooked up to a monitor. After a few minutes the ER doc pokes his head in and says that not all the labs are back but it looks like he did in fact have a heart attack and they are waiting on the rest of the labs and someone from radiology to take a chest xray. He quickly starts to disappear behind the curtain, but um no.
“I’m sorry, which labs are back and how do you know that he had a heart attack?” Asked the normally soft spoken wife.
The doc then went on to explain to us that when one has any sort of heart trauma, a chemical is released into the bloodstream and stays there for like a week (details are sort of fuzzy on this so I might have the timeframe wrong). The test did show that chemical in Rob’s blood. He told us he would be back when he knew more.
People began to come in and out and check on different things and Rob started cracking jokes. Like he didn’t have a care in the world. I will always thank him for that and I suspect the whole reason he did it was to keep me from melting down.
Everything else happened at a lightening quick pace. The chest xray showed his heart was not too large and his lungs were not filled with fluid so that was good news. A cardiologist came in and explained they would need to perform an angiogram to check his heart for blockages. They would go in either thru his groin or his wrist and shoot some dye into his arteries to see what was going on. She gave us three scenarios:
1) No blockages and it was just some random heart blood vessel blip.
2) Blockages that are not too severe that they can insert balloons and stents to clear them.
3) Major blockages and they need to go in for open heart surgery.
They gave us all the specifics of everything so we understood that if they had to do stents that he would have to be on a blood thinner for at least a year as well as all the risks for surgery.
Before I knew it, they were rolling him out of the room and I was driving home to let the dogs out and feed them, have a small breakdown and head back.
In the hour and a half it took for me to do that, he was already out and in good spirits.
They had found one artery that was 100 percent blocked so they put in one stent and that was that. He was told that he was on bedrest for the next couple of hours and he was not to put any sort of stress or pressure on the right wrist where they had performed the angioplasty.
They brought him some food, but he had passed the point of starvation hunger where his stomach could tolerate much. He had a little bit of chicken noodle soup and a bite of bread and then I brought a basin over because he was ready to hurl. He managed to keep it down but we then had to figure out the bed pan situation because he had to pee.
With that taken care of he took a little more food and was ready to rest. I think we saw a nurse that explained more at some point but honestly, things were a bit of a blur by that time. I was running on sheer adrenaline and was ready to crash at any moment.
Eventually Rob told me to go home and go to sleep, there was nothing more I could do since he was going to go to sleep. So I did.
I must say this. I texted a few ppl while I was waiting in the ER for Rob and every single one of them offered to come sit with me. I’m not saying that that I don’t know how much my friends mean to me, I’m just saying that it takes a crisis like this to put it in perspective.
So I went home and the dogs were very confused as to why Father wasn’t home with us. The fact that I was bawling my head off probably did not help the situation. I got on chat with my good friend Koly who immediately offered to come down and spend the night. I politely refused because I was not in a way where I could see anyone face to face. Chat was fine because I could walk away, but I was basically an emotional wreck and to have someone in front of me telling me it would be fine would be my breaking point.
I tossed and turned all night getting very little sleep. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but the way I was sitting all day in the waiting room chairs while staring down at my phone had strained my upper back pretty badly. That in turn was calling on my pectoral muscles to compensate. So basically every time I laid down I would get a pain in my chest and be convinced I was having a heart attack as well. Did I mention I’m a hypochondriac? Yeah, there is that. Every single pain, I was wide awake thinking: “No Kelly, you cannot have a heart attack now! Rob is having his. I cannot afford to upset him at this stage in the game!” I know, I’m quite the prize.
In the morning work had already cleared me not to come in. We were told by the nurse that it was hopeful Rob would be discharged that day. I showered and contemplated a cat nap, but I was plagued by the same problems as the night before.
Eventually around 8 or so Rob texted me that he had no news, but to head on over whenever I wanted, so I did.
We spent the day hanging out in his room. When he slept I would go out and find a comfy chair in the lobby to rest on since his room only had one of the waiting room chairs to sit in.
After his walking around with no complications and staying until the afternoon, he was finally discharged. He is to be on 5 different meds and we have a follow up appointment with the cardiologist that performed the angioplasty on Tuesday to go over all the information.
I went into work on Wednesday because Rob said he felt fine. I kept my phone out with permission from my boss’ in case he needed anything(he didn’t), and by mid day I had this wicked tickle in the back of my throat. I kept clearing my throat and then there was a flood of post nasal drip that was happening. Our office Christmas party was that night so while I attended that, my heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t feeling well and I was just wanting to be with my husband. I did have fun, but was glad to get home where I could get comfy and make sure Rob was okay.
Thursday morning I woke feeling decidedly under the weather, but not so much that I couldn’t go into work. I had the post nasal drip thing and was feeling kind of funky as well has a dry cough and a feeling of weirdness.
The weirdness turned out to be a fever. I checked my fever at work and found it to be about 101.5 at the max. I took and Advil and finished what I needed to workwise before heading home around three.
Now the last thing I wanted was for Rob to catch whatever this plague was that I picked up in UC so we brought down the air mattress from storage and put that in the front room for him to sleep on.
I went to sleep around six that night but couldn’t get any solid sleep until around eleven. Every time I laid down I would start coughing. I managed to get about six hours of sweaty sleep. My fever had gone down to 99.6 but was still lingering. I took another Advil and then a shower and was off to work. I was still icky but felt better than I had the night before when I had no appetite and no interest in doing anything but laying in bed.
Made it through work sanitizing my hands every five seconds and covering cough so not to get my coworkers sick and headed home. I posted up in the bedroom with my laptop and wrote most of this blog before conking out and getting a really good nights sleep finally.
I woke up around three this morning coughing and hacking up all the crap that had been ingested into my lungs over the past couple of days, but my fever had finally broken without the assistance of Advil and overall I felt pretty darn good comparatively. Dropped off again around six thirty this morning and woke drenched in sweat around 10:30.
The bed in the bedroom has been stripped and dressed with fresh bedding and Rob is napping in there while I enjoy feeling mostly human for the first time in a couple of days. All my germy sheets an blankets are in the process of being laundered and even though it is cold, I have some windows open to get some clean air circulating.
So far Rob swears he doesn’t like he is getting sick. And the good news is that he has been taking Congaplex (an all natural immune booster) since last Monday at my request when he thought he was getting sick, so hopefully that will work in his favor. *knocks wood* I really don’t want him to get this. The coughing alone would cause such stress on his newly mending body. Ug.
So that has been my week.
What I have learned from this adventure (that is not over yet):
I have amazing friends and family. Again, not that I didn’t know that before, but when put to the test it proves to you who really cares about you and who doesn’t and ppl really stepped up.
I am stronger than I think I am. Not by much, because I’m pretty much a basketcase 80% of the time. However when I need to be, I can hold it together to get what needs to be done. When it is done, I will crawl into the corner and cry for hours, but NOT until then.
Stress + The Flu = An excellent weight loss tool. As of this morning, I have lost 7 pounds since Monday. 😉
In all seriousness though, while this week has been rough and I still haven’t fully comprehended it all yet, I am grateful. I’m so grateful that we caught it when we did. I’m so grateful that we heeded the warning signs and didn’t take it that lightly. I’m grateful for the amazing technology in modern medicine (while I may not agree with all of it) that got my husband on the way to healing so quickly.
Also, hug your friends and family and tell them you love them. Every day.
We left around nine in the morning on Saturday the 18th from Monterey California. We normally head out after work on that Friday night but a friend of ours was having a Pre Thanksgiving party in Tehachapi so we just rearranged our plans by half a day. The result was more traffic than we are used to, but we still made really good time.
The party was nice, lots of great food and great people. We stayed for about two hours before hitting the road again.
The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful, thank goodness. We arrived with plenty of time to check in for our one night at the Downtown Grand and grab some food for later before getting ready for the show of the night.
We had never stayed at the Downtown Grand and since the price was right and we like to hit downtown at least once per trip we booked the first night there. It was sheer luck that we found out a few days prior to leaving that GWAR would be playing downtown that night.
I was not familiar with their music, but obviously knew of them from their wild stage antics. My husband had always wanted to see them, but without actually putting in much of an effort to make that happen. So when this landed in our laps, he was pretty happy.
We checked into the room with no problem. The room was cute but quirky. There was no temperature control in the room. There was this weird vent thing that led directly to outside, but no real way to control how warm or cool it was. It turned out to be a non issue for us because we were literally in the room to sleep and shower, but it was just weird to me.
My husband headed out to see the opening bands for the show and I walked down to Pizza Rock to get some calzones for when we got back from the show. I brought them back up to the room and had some drinks while waiting for my husband to text that GWAR was about to go on.
When he did, I walked down to the venue and joined him. We were pretty close, I’d say about third row on the right.
The show was totally worth it. It was loud and I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics, but the theatrics and stage blood that showered the audience was just hilarious and a great time. We got soaked as did the rest of the audience and we loved every minute of it.
As we walked back to our room, people were waiting in line to get into a club. One kid looked at me and said: “Where did you get all the blood??”
I said: “GWAR baby!” and he said: “OH MY GOD, NO WAY!!!” It was pretty funny and proves that to some people, seeing a GWAR show can be a bit of a bragging right.
We were exhausted from the drive and the show so we got back up to the room, ate and hit the bed right after a quick shower to wash the blood off. (BTW, it took a total of two showers and multiple scrubbing to get that crap completely off. Also, the bra I wore to the show is stained forever. I soaked it for two days and it looks like a weird tie dye massacre)
Woke up and showered again. This was the day we were to move over to the Flamingo, but had a little time to kill. We headed over to a dispensary. My husband has a medical card and had visited this particular location before, but since it is legal now this was my first chance to go in and check it out. Pot is not my cup of tea. It makes me feel very out of sorts and not in a good way most of the time so I can only handle the tiniest quantities and generally try to avoid it, but it was really cool to see all the stuff and the whole process of obtaining it.
From there we hit the grocery store next door to get more water, sodas and snacks and finally headed over to the Flamingo. Interesting thing that has changed from last year is they are charging for parking now unless you are a platinum or up member. I guess this is just the way it is going to be from now on with all the big casinos in Vegas. Sucks.
On a plus side, you can see the Bellagio fountains from the top floor of the parking garage.
Checked into the room early. Our room was not ready but a similar room was if we were interested. It wasn’t as nice as we usually have in the GO rooms off of the Spa tower but getting able to check in early for a slightly less nice room was worth it to me so we said yes.
We relaxed in the room for a bit. My husband opted for a nap and I headed downstairs to gamble for a few. Didn’t have much luck, but a couple of Buffalo machines kept me busy for a little while.
Tail tucked between my legs, I returned to the room to find an awake and very hungry husband. We decided on Margaritaville for some take out and ventured back downstairs. While we waited a took a few more pics of the surrounding strip area.
We didn’t do much else this day because we wanted a day to chill before the next couple of busy days.
Hotel room change. We had double booked the Flamingo with a two night MyVegas comp at the Mirage.
Our original plan was to grab some White Castle and hit the wax museum this morning before checking into the Mirage, but my husband’s stomach has other ideas.
I’m pretty sure he has gallstones and has for a couple of years, but he refuses to go to the doctor. Anyhoo, had a flair up this morning and it took until around noon until he felt better.
No biggie as we had no plans on Friday so we will just figured we would move the museum to that day.
We got up, showered and caught a cab to The Mirage. We didn’t realize how close it was so we figured we would probably just walk back when we return to the Flamingo on Wednesday.
Check in was a breeze. I didn’t do the 20 dollar trick but was offered a one bedroom suite for 75 bucks a night and took it. Since this reservation was a Myvegas comp, I had no problem with this at all. The desk clerk said it’s normally 150 for this upgrade but because the week before thanksgiving is a slower time The had cut the price.
At any rate, this suite was bigger than my friggin house. I’m pretty sure I want to live there.
We enjoyed the room very much but soon it was time to get ready for our 5:00PM reservation for Portofino. We got a 2 for 1 entree comp via MyVegas so we got dressed up and headed out.
It was all very nice. The food was amazing. I felt the service could have been a little faster given how few there were in their at that time of night. It took us about fifteen minutes to settle our bill after we gave them our credit card. Also, there was a photographer going around taking pictures of people before their meal and I found that a little obnoxious, but that’s just me. Overall though, we really enjoyed it.
We ordered the Burrata Agnolotti and the Veal Osso Buco. We shared them both and each was equally good.
Once dinner was done we headed over to the theater to see the Beatles LOVE Circ show. We both got tickets comped by MyVegas and since we had never seen a Circ show, we were really excited!
The show did not disappoint! I’m really afraid of heights and our seats were in the third tier, so I was a little freaked out at first, but once the show got started I was just in awe! So much talent and the music and effects! Everything was just fantastic!
Once the show was over we didn’t really want to leave the room because it was so nice. Eventually I went down to Pantry to get a midnight snack and was waited on by a fella with a mullet tucked into his collar. Listening to him try and flirt with the chick beside me and seem super intelligent, made me giggle. A lot.
He couldn’t have been more than 18 if he was a day.
Back up in the room we ate, watched TV and hit the hay
Today was my girls day. My friend Koly was in town as well and she was going to treat me to a Spa day at the Reliquary Spa at the Hard Rock. We arrived around 11:00 and spent a couple hours in the saltwater pool before getting our individual massages and then hitting the hot tub and the pool yet again. I have no pictures because this was all about us and the relaxation. I rarely get to spend this much time with Koly anymore so this was very nice just to catch up and hang out.
Around four we got showered and ready to head over to Harrah’s. We had comp tickets to Menopause the Musical and wanted to get a bite at the Diamond lounge before the show. That is exactly what we did.
I have seen Menopause years ago with my mom. I decided to see it again for two reasons. 1, I am much more closer to the change than I ever was when I first saw it and can relate a lot more and 2, I was excited about the addition of Cindy Williams.
Well, #2 turned out to be a bust as she had injured herself and would not be in the show that night. There was no understudy, and the show was the same as when I saw it before. That tells me that Cindy Williams is probably only there to give sight gags. What I saw on youtube backs that up, but I was still disappointed I didn’t get to see her. I am a HUGE fan of Laverne & Shirley.
Still, it was a really nice day and I was glad I got to share it with Koly. She actually owns a theater company where we live (it’s how we met) and it was interesting to just be with her in an audience where she or I had nothing to do with the show. Normally she is directing and I’m acting. It was funny when we compared notes after, how we had mentally casted the roles with the local talent we are familiar with in our area and we were both pretty much in agreement. LOL!
We said our goodbyes and I headed back to the Mirage.
My husband had decided to head back over to the Flamingo that day since he had more toys in our room there. He didn’t want to be bored and watch TV all day in the room when he had his guitar and paint supplies over at the other room. He’s not much of a gambler.
I got up to the room and had some cocktails. I went downstairs and played some machines but my luck was just not with me this trip at all. I machine hopped more than I cared to and couldn’t hit a thing. Finally, I threw in the towel and hit Pantry for another midnight snack to soak up the cocktails. Mullet boy was there but this time I was waited on by a large man with a booming accent that kept calling me sweetheart, honey and baby (icky shudder!), at least the fish and chips were good.
I’ve been wanting to take a solo trip to Vegas for a while now. In fact we just got back from Vegas in April, and that started out as a solo trip for me and suddenly turned into a partial solo trip for Rob
with me joining him for the last three days of it. Not sure how that happened, but alas, he gets much more time off of work than I do.
Well, this month my work decided to shut down on a random Friday to get our new cubicles up and running. As I was bragging about this to my husband that I actually had a day off and he didn’t, he mentioned that it would be perfect timing for a flight to Vegas. You see, Allegiant flies out of our hometown in a straight shot to Vegas and back, but only twice a week. Once on Thursdays and once on Sundays.
It was too perfect! Rob had a gig that Saturday so he wouldn’t be able to go. I should note that it’s not that I don’t enjoy traveling with my husband, because I very much do. In fact, he keeps me sane
most of the times when something goes awry during a trip. But I have been reading solo trip reports online, and the fact that he enjoyed his own solo portion of the last trip, made me want to try it. It would be an opportunity to go do and see the things that he isn’t really interested in. I know he would go with me, but he’d bored out of his mind and I’d feel the need to rush through the experience instead of enjoy it.
Anyhoo, long story short, I booked my tickets and started planning what was sure to be a fun filled weekend of me time.
Thursday night I would arrive and be checked into the hotel by 10 at night. I would have drinks and go play gamble until I was sleepy and get some food and sleep. For Friday I decided to try a delivery grocery service I had heard good things about. They were set to deliver to my hotel between the hours of 11:00AM and noon. Based on that, I made plans afterward to go to the Cosmopolitan for the Chandelier bar and Eggslut, followed by the Bellagio for the Fountains, The Conservatory and High Tea at Petrossian Bar, followed by Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum at The Venetian and stopping for a Fried Green Tomato sandwich at Yardbird. Saturday I was going to go see Menopause The Musical at Harrah’s. I had seen it once with my mom eons ago, but given that I had just turned 43, I thought I would see more humor in it. Also, I had free tickets. After that I wanted to get a cocktail and a bowl of lobster bisque at Oyster’s Bar and Grill before coming back to the hotel to pack and gamble.
The reason I am going into such details on these plans is because they didn’t work out the way I wanted them to.
On my morning break at work on Thursday, I got a text from Allegiant saying my flight was going to be delayed by four hours. No explanation, just that it would hopefully be “on time” for its delayed time.
Well that was a bummer since my husband was originally going to drive me over to the airport after work so that we could have a nice dinner and then I would just board and not really have to wait.
I went through work that day debating on if I should just let him drop me off and have me have to wait six hours at the airport or if I should go home and at least get some rest before driving myself up there at the now delayed time. I had read that sometimes they lift the delays and if they do that, they don’t hold the plane for anyone who might not be at the airport.
In the end I split the difference. We drove home and then I drove back to the airport in enough time to board at the tail end of the boarding time in case the delay was lifted.
I had something to eat at the airport bar/eatery and three cocktails.
The flight didn’t end up leaving until after ten thirty that night, the time I was already supposed to be tucked into my hotel room in Vegas.
The flight was blessedly short, shaving 20 minutes off of its original flying time that was listed.
I arrived at the Vegas airport around midnight and headed for my uber.
“At least there won’t be any traffic at this time of night.” I told my uber driver, thus sealing my fate.
Two minutes later we ran into construction in a tunnel that eventually petered all four or five lanes into one. Nice one Kel!
I got to my hotel (The Linq) a little before one in the morning and of course there was a line at check in. Finally got up to my room around 1:30 and I was Exhausted!
Here is a little video of my room, in case you are interested:
The first thing I did was unpack and get out of my sweaty clothes. Vegas is HOT AF in June. I had a couple of drinks in the room and then got redressed and ventured downstairs in search of dinner. I already knew what I wanted and where I wanted it.
I got to Hash House A Go Go and ordered a BBBLT and sweet potato fries to go.
I headed up to my room and watched some crappy TV until I fell alseep.
My grocery delivery from Von’s was set for the hour block between 11:00 AM and Noon. I set my alarm for 10:30 and snoozed it a few times. It was not enough sleep. I managed to peel myself out of bed five before eleven, brush my teeth and hair and throw on last nights clothes in preparation for my impending delivery.
Around 11:45 I’m beginning to get a little worried. By 12:30 I am on the phone with the help line from the Von’s delivery website. After about ten minutes on hold I get a nice customer service woman that informs me that they had IT issues early in the day and the delivery guy will be leaving the store in about fifteen minutes. I am fifth in line for delivery. I asked for an ETA and she said at least two hours.
Okay fine. I’m not happy about it and I wish they would have called the customers to let them know there was a delay, but there isn’t much I can do at that point and now I know I can at least shower.
Which I do, and then I headed downstairs to the gift store to get some crackers and a ginger ale. I didn’t want to buy too much because I have a lot of snacks and soda and water coming from the delivery, but I needed something because I had drunk all the water in the room and needed to take my meds.
Back up in the room, I had what was leftover of my sandwich from the night before and some crackers. I updated my social media and had some drinks. I was really entertained by my pool view in the room.
I wasn’t that upset at the wait at that point, because part of this trip was to have some downtime…I just didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t in control of when that time would be.
Around three in the afternoon, I get a call from the delivery driver that he was about ten minutes out.
About 25 minutes later I get a call from the bell desk saying that my items had been delivered and would I like them to bring them up? Relieved that I might be able to salvage part of the day, I say yes.
The bell desk brings up a bunch of stuff in bags as well as my 12 pack of soda and 2 six packs of water. I chat with the gentleman as he unloads about how this is a great service and he is surprised more ppl don’t take advantage of it. I tip him and he leaves.
I go straight to the water and soda and put some of them into the mini fridge. I approach the rest of the bags and right away I know something is wrong. I had ordered one large bottle of cheap vodka, a box of pop tarts, a bag of doritos, cheetos and a box of mini chocolate chip cookies in addition to the soda and water and these bags were decidedly smaller bottle shaped.
I opened everything to discover 8 bottles of champagne, 1 large bottle of merlot, a bunch of bananas, 2 limes and a half dozen roma tomatoes.
I almost cried.
I had two options. I could pretend that nothing happened, go downstairs and get my snacks and booze and get on with my day, or I could call and report it. What would you do?
Knowing what I know now, I would have ignored it. However, the nature of the goods told me it was someone having a small party. And what if it was a wedding party? Their day has been ruined when they get my order of cheap booze and junk food! I couldn’t stand the thought of it, so I hopped on the phone to customer service assuming that they would come right back and pick up the wrong items so they could get them to the appropriate party.
After another fifteen minutes on hold I finally got another lovely woman on the line that was very sympathetic and I went through the whole story. We went over what I was supposed to get and what I got instead and a half an hour later she said she would have someone come pick up the wrong items but she couldn’t get a delivery out to me with my correct items until the next day between 11 AM and 1 PM.
At this point I should have said forget it, but there was nothing urgent in my order. I had some booze with me that I had brought in my suitcase and there were plenty of food options around. I said that was fine. I asked if I could just leave the wrong items with the bell desk and have the driver pick them up. She said she didn’t see why not and she would put a note in the account.
I hang up and text my husband all that is going on and then call down to the bell desk. I explain the situation and they inform me that they cannot just keep the items there. They are not allowed to have food or beverage sitting around there. They said once I hear from the driver, I am allowed to bring them down and they will deliver them to the driver.
Now I am crying. Did I mention I was PMSing? Yeah. I hang up. I am defeated. I want to say fuck the whole thing, but now I am in it because they know I have these wrong items that are WAY more expensive than what I purchased and they have my credit card on file.
I call back the customer service line and see if I can get an ETA on the driver. After a half an hour on hold I get a nice gentleman that tells me there is nothing on my account about someone picking them up. We go round and round and finally he tells me that they will just pick up the items when they drop off my correct items. I tell him to note the account and take his name and hang up. Exhausted.
At this point it’s well into the evening and the thought of trying to “catch up” on the things I wanted to do that day was just too much for my over tired brain. So I headed down to the casino to play some slots.
The Karma Gods were good to me that night. The machines were keeping me above water and the cocktail service was fast. Before I knew it it was eleven o clock, I was starving and could barely keep my eyes open.
I headed to Guy Fieri’s Kitchen and Bar and ordered the Mac N Cheese burger to go. A cutie pie of a bartender took my order and flirted with me, ensuring a big tip. I got my burger and headed up to my room.
Yes, that is delicious mac and cheese oozing out the top of that burger. It was as disgustingly good as it looks.
Saturday morning I woke up at 11:00 and showered. I packed up all the wrong items Von’s had shipped to me in my suitcase and waited for the call. Finally at around 12:30 I get a call that the guy is ten minutes away. He had no idea he was supposed to be picking up anything, but quickly agreed to it no problem. I told him I would meet him down at the Valet and headed down to the entrance of the casino where the uber driver had dropped me at when I first arrived Friday morning.
Fifteen minutes later I get a call from the driver asking which valet I was at. I told him the front entrance. He said he was at the back valet by the High Roller. He said to give him ten minutes and he’d come around front.
Twelve minutes later I get a call saying they won’t let him into the front valet because his truck is too big. I told him I would come to him and call him when I get to the back valet.
Only, I couldn’t find the back valet. I managed to find the uber pick up at the bus lobby somewhere around the side of the casino and called the guy back. He said that he couldn’t park there either, but for me to hold tight, he was grabbing a hand truck and coming to me. And he did.
Five minutes later a very apologetic man greeted me and we exchanged our goods.
By 1:30 I was finally done with the Von’s fiasco and delivered the correct crap up to my room.
I had a few drinks in the room and watched in amusement as there was a twerking competition at the pool from my view.
I had originally planned on seeing Menopause the Musical that day but since I had already seen it and the tickets were free, I opted out in favor of doing the Cosmo and Bellagio that I was supposed to do the day before.
I grabbed a Lyft over to The Cosmopolitan and headed up to the second floor of the Chandelier Bar.
This bar is just stunning. It was also a very relaxing environment. If the drinks weren’t fifteen bucks a pop I could have stayed here most of the afternoon and just chilled. However, I was on a mission. I bellied up to the bar and ordered my Verbena.
I had never had one before but had heard all about them. It is their signature drink, but it is not on the menu. It is basically a margarita. It’s tequila, lemongrass syrup and lemon juice mostly, but the key ingredient is the Szechuan Button.
The button is actually a flower. It’s purpose is to activate your salivary glands to make you a super taster. Thus changing the taste of the drink with each sip.
As the bartender brought over my drink he asked if I had ever had one before. I shook my head so he explained that I should take a sip of the drink first to get the original tasted, then I was to chew the “button” and get it all around in my mouth and tongue before swallowing the flower. Then as it made my mouth go off like a sparkler, I should drink more of the drink and get all the different tastes.
I did as he said, tho I did not swallow the flower. For some reason in my head I was scared of what it might do to my stomach if it was going to do funny things to my mouth. At any rate, as I spit the flower into my napkin discreetly, I began to feel the buzz in my mouth. Just little tingles at first that became a pins and needles sensation. You know how it feels when you foot goes to sleep and the feeling starts to come back. That buzzy, prickly feeling? Yeah, that was happening to my entire mouth.
My face after chewing the “button”
So it did alter the taste of the drink quite a bit and it was a really good experience that I am glad I tried…but I really can’t stand the taste of tequila, so I wouldn’t get it again. I wonder if you can request the flower with other drinks…hmmm.
Once I had finished the drink and my mouth returned to normal, I paid my bill and set off for EggSlut. I wasn’t that hungry so I got the bacon egg and cheese sandwich to go and headed over to the Bellagio.
There was a fountain show going on just as I approached.
Inside I visited the Conservatory which was done up in an Asian theme.
After that I was going to Uber back over to the Linq, but I realized I would be able to catch the hot food being served at the Diamond Lounge at Harrah’s so I had the driver take me there instead.
There was a small line, but for free food and drinks, I was willing to wait five minutes.
After I ate, I headed to the high limit slots. Rob had wanted me to run a hundred thru a machine on so many pulls to see what I would get. I managed to screw it up and lost the hundred pretty quickly.
I walked back to the Linq and rested in the room for a bit, before heading down to the Flamingo and gambling some more. I gambled at the Linq and Flamingo, but the machines had dried up on me. Knowing I had to get up in the morning for my flight and that I would be depressed if I lost anymore money, I hit up Haught Doggery for some mini corn dogs and headed back up to my room.
I packed up most of my stuff, ate and went to bed.
Sunday morning I woke up, showered and packed the rest of my crap up.
I ubered to the airport (first uber driver called me twice, couldn’t find my location AT THE UBER PICK UP and canceled the transaction) and waited around for my flight.
There was a slight delay, but once they fixed whatever the problem was, they herded us like a bunch of cattle onto the plane. “All zones boarding! Doors will close in five minutes!!” Like it was our fault that the delay happened.
Once we took off I experienced some of the worst turbulence I have ever had in my life. I know it’s bumpy going in and out of Vegas due to the extreme heat, but this was bad. At one point I could feel the plane drop a few hundred feet all at once. It was seriously freaking me out since I hate flying in the first place.
Finally after about fifteen minutes of being tossed around it settled into a nice smooth flight.
So that was my first solo trip to Vegas. A very large comedy of errors.
Knowing what I know now, I would have just let the whole Von’s thing slide and gone to the CVS down the street, leaving the champagne to the hotel maid as a tip. It would have been money lost, but in the long run my time would have been better spent on such a short trip.
But hindsight is 20/20 and at the time I thought I was doing the right thing.
I still had fun, it just wasn’t the fantastic weekend I had planned for myself.
Either way, Vegas is out of my system for now and I will do whatever I didn’t do this trip when we go for a week in November.
Just back from a week in Vegas. Lots of fun was had, lots of hotel room changes and lots of relaxation. It was a very nice trip.
We headed out Saturday, the morning of the 19th. We normally drive out the Friday night after work, but a friend of ours was having her annual Pre-Thanksgiving party at her parents house in Tehachapi on that Saturday. Since we were going to be passing right through there on the way to Vegas, we decided to just wait a day and head out first thing in the morning.
We were on the road by eight after dropping off our beloved Shilo at the vets to be boarded. It was her first time being boarded without her brother Pappy so I told the girls to make sure she got extra lovings that week. They understood completely as they knew and loved Pappy as well. On a plus note, I didn’t cry when I dropped her off.
The drive was pretty uneventful, just the way I like it.
We arrived in Tehachapi right on time, which of course meant we were the first ones there. We met Cheryl’s lovely family and I was very excited to see there were at least six dogs milling about. I was in Dog Heaven!!!!!
We chatted with Cheryl’s family for quite a while as more guests began to trickle through. Our friends Kate and Jason arrived so we new more people but we really enjoyed chatting and getting to know more people. Hopefully the planets align next year and we can make the party again. It was a lot of fun, but we had to cut out after three hours to get back on the road so we missed the ornament exchange, which I hear is the highlight of the party. Oh well, Vegas beckoned. Who am I to say no to the city of sin?
While stopping at the party broke up the drive quite nicely, it made for a very long day and it seemed like FOREVER to get from Barstow to Jean where we would be spending our first night.
Background: Years ago, we used to stay there quite often because it was cheap and we loved the old school machines and the free arcade downstairs. However, the last time we stayed there was over five years ago and they only had a smattering of machines and one place to eat open. It was touted as a buffet but they only had like two options on what you could get. We figured it was on its way to demolition town and haven’t been back.
We had read recently that they are under new management and making improvements so we figured “what the heck?” might as well see what it’s looking like now. It’s only one night if we hate it.
We rolled up to the only Casino left in Jean called “Gold Strike” around nine thirty I think and headed inside. Even though none of the signage has changed outside, the inside signs claimed it was now called “Terrible’s Roadhouse” as it has been bought out by the Terrible’s Casinos. I believe it is JETT gaming, not sure. Anyhoo, there was actually a LINE at registration, which was rare when we stayed here before. We had a nice chat with a fellow waiting in front of us about Monterey and his visits there in his youth.
Check in was pretty painless, and we got our new players cards at the same place. So off to our room on the fifth floor, about a mile down the hallway. Seriously, we had never stayed on the fifth floor before because there was never anyone else staying at the hotel when we were. We were always first floor, right off the elevators. It looked like they had all the rooms full. Which is great for them I guess. The room was nice. I could tell the upgrades for sure. Gone was the grandma bedspread that crinkled whenever you sat on the bed. There was a CD player from the 90’s on the nightstand that didn’t appear to work when we put a CD in it, but it served well as a clock.
The funny part was that we could NOT find the remote for the television. We looked everywhere we could think of, but it was just gone. I called down to the front desk and they said they would bring someone by with a new one. I told her just get one to the front desk as we would be heading downstairs anyway and she said that was fine.
We ventured downstairs and were very disappointed to find that the arcade in the basement now charged for the games. One of the best features of Jean when we had stayed there in the past was that they had all the games set to free so you could play to your hearts content after you ran out of money upstairs in the casino. 🙂
I figured that would be the first thing they would change, but I had remained hopeful anyway.
They had a lot of slot machines in the first half of the casino near the entrance, where they bar and the stage for live bands was, but the other half near what used to be the restaurants is now taken up by an “exhibit” called MOVIE CARS. This is basically a handful of cars from the Fast the Furious movies as well as the car from Back to the Future and the Batmobile from the TV series, all roped off with signs next to them so you can take pictures of them. It’s a cute way to kill about five minutes, but it takes up a lot of real estate.
We didn’t gamble much but I did play a Big Bang slot and another one I can’t remember, just to get my chops ready for Vegas. Otherwise we were pretty darn tired so we got the remote from the front desk and headed back up to the room.
After putting around for awhile I headed downstairs to Denny’s for dinner while Rob headed out to get more water and such out of the car.I arrived and got there while they had a few ppl wanting to check out. I grabbed up a menu and waited no problem.
When it was my turn the hostess indicated she had to go do something for another patron.
I told her no worries, I was on the first day of my vacation, I had all the time in the world so she disappeared for about two minutes and came back.
I placed my order while joking around with her. A burger and milkshake for my husband and pot roast melt for me She was really nice and I could tell they were understaffed. I paid with a five dollar tip.
She asked if I wanted any extras. I said just ketchup, she raised her eyebrows and asked “ranch?”
I fell in love.
When I came to pick up my order, she kicked the door open from the kitchen with her foot and approached me with a bag of food and Two milkshakes. She told me that she made me a second one on the house since I was on vacation, and she made it properly, starting with vanilla and then adding the Oreos. She was a kick in the pants and I loved it.
Sunday morning there was no real reason to get up early. Check out was at 11:00 and we couldn’t check into our next hotel until the afternoon so I enjoyed sleeping in. We were up and ready to go by ten thirty. The shower was made for someone the size of my mom(she’s 4″10″) and there was very little water pressure, but we made it through.
We had a voucher for two free “value slams” at Denny’s so we ordered one to split and got coffee.
A half an hour later it became apparent they lost our order, but we were in no hurry so we just went with the flow. In case you are wondering what a value slam is, it was 2 eggs, 2 pancakes and 2 pieces of bacon or sausage. I got bacon.
The drive into Vegas was pretty uneventful, we parked in the parking garage of Caesar’s Palace at the earliest spot we could find. As we would later find out from our Iphone tracker, that was about a half a mile away from the Lobby.
We had never stayed at Caesar’s before.
Background: Two years ago I signed up for the CET Total Rewards credit card and have used it faithfully as I would my debit card. Groceries, gas, dining, bills etc. Since it is money I am going to spend anyway, I just pay it off at the end of the month with my checking account so I don’t have any interest and there is no annual fee. Last year I earned enough points to pay for our stay at the Flamingo and some shopping in the gift store. This year it will be paying for our two nights at Caesar’s. I highly recommend getting the card for anyone on the fence about it. It has really come in handy. We normally would never be able to afford this hotel without it.
We kept the luggage in the car because we were still early, so we trekked the half mile to check in and were told of course that our room wasn’t ready, but the lady said they would put a rush on it and that as soon as it was available she would text me.
Since we knew that was going to happen, our plan was to walk over to Casino Royale to get some White Castle. We don’t have those around our neck of the woods in Monterey, and I’ve never had them. However, Rob had and he was very keen on getting some and introducing them to me. There was a small line, but it went pretty quickly.
This is in no way shape or form gourmet cuisine, it was more like an assembly line process. In no time we had our massive amount of sliders, half with cheese, half without and a thing of french fries and a thing of onion chips. I had no idea what onion chips were, but had I known we would have skipped the fries and got two servings of those!
While we were in line we got a text from Caesar’s that our room was ready so we grabbed our grub and beat feet out of there to get back to check in. I made a joke that they were going to kick us out of the preferred check in as soon as they saw the White Castle bags in our hands. 😉
Check in was painless, we got our keys and headed up to the Augustus Tower room.
The room was nothing short of amazing. As I said, we don’t get to stay in places like this very often and this was a real treat! The room was large and luxurious and the view was insane! A full view of the Bellagio fountains! We soaked that in for a bit while snacking on our WC spoils but eventually we had to make the hike down to the car to get our bags.
A mile later we were back up in our room, kicking off our shoes and relaxing for a bit
I truly enjoyed this room, it was easily my most favorite room that I’ve stayed in in Vegas. I kept telling Rob that I was in my happy place, the whole two days we stayed there.
At some point, I got out of my PJ’s and put on real people clothes to go downstairs. We wanted to explore a bit and see about dinner choices, but first we wanted to check out the diamond lounge. I was really impressed with the lounge, but didn’t want to be taking pictures of everything like a total newb, which I was. But there was a nice little snack buffet to choose from and the drinks were fast and made from the good stuff. We sat at a table with our snacks, but there were plenty of couches to sit around on and watch TV with your drinks if you wanted. It just felt extravagant and that is not something we get to experience every day. It was pretty nice.
We headed out from there to explore a little. We played a bit but nothing major and wound up getting dinner at the food court. Chow mein for me and Carne Asada fries for Rob.
We didn’t do much else for the rest of the night, but watch the fountain shows from our hotel room. 🙂
Monday we got up and ready. We headed down to Brioche and got a tasty and filling pastry before heading over to the Bellagio. I hadn’t been to the conservatory in many years so I was excited to check it out. It was really pretty of course, all decked out for fall and while it was crowded, we were able to get quite a few pics.
After we were done, we headed over to the Fountains and waited about ten minutes. Thankfully I checked my phone and realized they weren’t going to be running for another two hours. We decided to take the long way back to the hotel to get pictures of the strip.
We had a dinner voucher we needed to use that night. We didn’t really want to go sit down anywhere so we knew we wanted take out. There were very few high end restaurants that opened before 5:00 PM so we based our choice on the fact that we didn’t want to have to wait if we could help it. We decided on Bejing Noodle for that reason. That and I love Asian food.
It was quite a lot of food, but if we didn’t use it we would have lost it. I snacked a bit and watched more fountain shows.
In the end decided I should go back down to the lounge just because.
I drank way too much there. They served the good stuff and it went down a little too smooth. I gambled a bit but thankfully realized I needed to put myself to bed.
To Be Continued…
I started writing this the day after we put Pappy down, but couldn’t finish it until now. His passing was actually on October 25th.
Monday night we changed Pappy’s bandages and found that his tumor had ruptured. It was dripping blood and his leg was completely swollen. His paw was turning to the side, almost like it was numb. It rattled us to the core. We decided to bring him in to the vet the next morning when they opened with no appointment.
This morning we called at 7:30 and they said to bring him in at 8:45 as an emergency visit. A few minutes later the doc called back and asked if we could wait until 9:00 because someone had just cancelled and therefore it wouldn’t be an emergency visit, saving us a hundred bucks. Whatever, we said yes.
At that point the dogs were already loaded in the back of the car and Pappy didn’t want to come out. He hadn’t been very mobile lately, so I went out to him and spent about a half an hour talking to him and making my peace. Rob and I pretty much knew where the day was heading. We were hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. Pappy and I had a good long talk about how I knew he was tired and in pain and I was just being selfish and it wasn’t fair.
Finally the time came and we headed to the vet. They got us in right away and the doc was in agreement with everything we were telling him. The tumor was huge and it wasn’t going to go back down. He said the leg was swollen due to the tumor cutting off the circulation and that wasn’t going to get better. The bleeding from the tumor was not going to stop because the skin was torn and would not grow back. When we told him the blood had started to stink that morning, it was as if the doc felt that was a key fact. And when I told him Pappy seemed to have no real joy any longer other than the false hunger from the steroid, we all knew what we had to do.
We asked if the shot could take place in the back of the van, much like we did Romie’s all those years ago. They said no problem and we all went outside.
I gave him a kiss and told him I loved him several times and then I turned my back. Rob held him while they gave him the shot and he passed away. I couldn’t watch. I couldn’t with Romie and I couldn’t with Pappy. I have been told that sometimes the dogs will have seizures or other types of things and I know that I couldn’t handle that.
Rob and I said our goodbyes and then took Pappy to Rob’s parents house to bury him next to his brother Romie.
It was a quiet ride to Salinas, punctuated with my sniffles and outright sobs.
When we got there Rob told me to take Shilo in to see his mom while he and his dad did the digging.
I did so, and while Shilo proved an interesting distraction, I was still a wreck.
Finally, Rob poked his head in and said: “Let’s boogie.”
We headed outside and he got Pappy from where he was wrapped in a blanket in the back of the van and we headed out to the gravesite. Rob placed him down in the grave and we both shoveled some dirt onto him. Rob finished as I commented on how Romie was probably rolling in his grave about how he thought he was finally rid of the little brat and now had to spend eternity next to him. Heh.
We said our goodbyes and headed home. I went from numb to wracking sobs to numb again. It was a very rough day.
Wednesday I was still pretty much a wreck but I went in to work. It was very hard to face all the hugs and people telling me they were sorry. I know that they only meant the best, but it just made me cry harder every time. I left early that day.
Thursday I managed to go most of the day without bursting into tears.
Now three weeks later I can say that I still miss him terribly and I tear up every time I think of him and what we had to do, but I feel a sort of peace. There had been over two years of fear and impending death since his cancer diagnosis. So much anxiety over surgeries and treatment options. As horrible as it is to say, I feel that a weight was lifted. The two years of dread had finally come to an end and he was no longer in pain.
It isn’t that easy of course. I think about him daily and miss him with every fiber in my being, but I feel that we made the right decision.
According to the vet and the interwebs, Pappy should have never lived as long as he did with the type of cancer he had. The web says something like 6 months, and our vet said she would have predicted him gone over a year ago. That was very reassuring. I don’t regret a single thing. I am glad we chose no chemo or radiation as I have heard from many personal sources since, that it just makes the dogs miserable no matter what the “experts” say to the contrary.
Pappy was my love and my light and I am so glad he came into my life almost ten years ago.
So I’m not sure if you’ve been following the news about the California wildfires, in particular the Big Sur or Soberanes Fire. If you are local to my area, how could you not? Between the smoke and the fire trucks everywhere, it’s been a pretty visible presence in out location.
If you aren’t, let me fill you in. The fire started on Friday July 22nd in Garrapata State Park near Big Sur. It was in remote area that had lots of rough terrain and spread very rapidly. Because of the landscape it was very difficult to fight on foot and that is what helped the fire escalate so quickly.
Today, as of the last announcement this morning it is sitting at 43,400 acres burned and only 18 % contained. 57 homes have been destroyed and more than 2000 are threatened. There has been a state of emergency declared and we have had one fatality.
The good news is that we have over 5400 personal fighting this fire for us. Firefighters have streamed in from across this great state to assist us with trying to contain this disaster. They are doing everything they can for us, the problem is that they can’t fight a fire they can’t get to.
Rob and I discussed the reason we think that it is so little contained is because they are just securing the perimiter of the fire and letting the uninhabited forest within burn. They have been so amazingly diligent at getting all the lines bulldozed and they have been lighting the backfires for the last couple of days. *knocks wood* Things seem to be going well on that side of the operation.
They released the information today that this fire was set off by an illegal campfire that was left unattended within an area of Garrapata State Park that you aren’t even allowed to camp in. I’m trying REALLY hard not to dwell on this fact, because it makes me VERY angry and I know there is nothing we can do about it now. Even if we were to try and catch the people, how can you prove it? And if you can prove it, what then? You can throw them in jail, yes but does that bring back Robert Reagan, the 35 year bulldozer operator that was killed, leaving behind a wife and two beautiful children while fighting this fire? Does it bring back the almost 60 homes, including all memories within that have been destroyed? Obviously, no it doesn’t. It just makes me crazy to think that this whole thing could have been prevented. THINK, people! You are in the middle of a HUGE drought, do you really think it’s a good idea to light a fire in the middle of a tinderbox of a forest??
On Sunday, Rob and I noticed some people in our backyard using our neighbors currently vacant porch. Upon closer inspection we discovered that it was a group of firefighters having their lunch. They have been out here where we live on an “over protection” mission, tagging houses in case we need to evacuate. Rob quickly gathered a cooler full of water, sodas and 5 hour energy shots and brought it down to them. It was literally the least we could do to help the men that are trying to save our houses and neighborhood.
This morning I had some things put in perspective for me. As I woke up my thoughts drifted from: “I just want to go back to sleep!” and “I don’t WANT to go to work!” to “Oh Gawwwd, I have to do *name simple yet time consuming task* today, it’s going to take FOREVER!” and then I thought about all the things I COULD do at the house (but wouldn’t) if I could just stay home. You know, the usual. “Grumble, grumble, grumble…Me, Me, Me”
After I got showered and dressed, I ventured to work and as I passed through the village I saw about seven or eight fire engines stopped at various markets and gas stations. Firefighters were holding coffee and water and getting back in the trucks, getting ready to start their work day. Their work day. They were getting ready to risk their lives to save my house and a lot of them had bright smiles on their faces.
And I was bitching about having to wake up and go push paper for eight hours. Really Kelly? It was a pretty big eye opener for me.
This blog is all over the place, but I’m just trying to sort my head out. The other thing that struck me about this whole thing is that sometimes, it takes a tragedy to make me feel good about humanity again. What with all the political crap flooding my facebook page, it was nice to see all the simple handmade signs around the village. I’ve posted some below. I didn’t take those pictures, but I’ve seen a good number of them on my ventures in the valley this week.
Oh and the bulldozer driver that lost his life? Someone started a gofundme account soon after the horrible accident to support his wife and two kids. It was only asking for 16,000 as a goal, but in just five days it has swelled to almost 95,000 dollars! I know it won’t bring him back, but the generosity brought me to tears. Here is the website if you want to donate. I hope that you do.
For my husband and I, Las Vegas used to be a wonderful playground. First and foremost, it was where we met. It was also where we got married a year later. Mostly though, it was the only place we could really afford to take a vacation.
When we were young and stupid it was three day weekends, several times a year. We lived in Phoenix at the time so it was just a five hour drive to our paradise. We could pay $25.00 a night for a crackerbox of a hotel room at the 4 Queens in downtown Las Vegas, and get drunk and fed for very little money. 4 Queens used to have a late night room service deal where you could get four different full on dinners for five bucks each. It was our favorite.As we got older and it wasn’t so much about the drink and the gamble, it was still the most affordable place to vacation for us. The hotel rooms were cheap compared to other “vacation” options as were the food and entertainment options. We weren’t really into seeing premium shows, so it worked for us.
Since we have moved to California, our Vegas trips have dwindled to once a year. However, instead of several short visits, we usually stay a week and a half or so.
As prices have increased, we have stuck to downtown. Primarily at the El Cortez. We find the tower rooms quite roomy for the prices and we like a lot of the food options around there.
I should mention, that I have also run the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon four times and our last few visits have corresponded with that.
In the past couple of years a disturbing trend has occurred. The dreaded Resort Fee. If you are unfamiliar with this, let me explain. It started with the high end casinos. They started charging a nightly fee alongside their room rates. They called it a “resort fee” and it was said to cover access to certain things. The most popular that I have seen are wifi, water bottles in the room, the ability to go to the fitness center. Basically things that should already be amenities included in the price of the room, in my opinion.
We scoffed when we saw that and stuck with downtown, until slowly but surely it began to creep into our beloved ghetto haven. Not only were room rates increasing as they tried to improve the downtown vibe, but now they were tacking on the resort fee as well. Not nearly as expensive of a fee as their strip counterparts, but still there nonetheless.
The first times I did the marathon we stayed actually stayed in Jean because the prices were so high due to the marathon itself. My husband dropped me off and then picked me up at the finish near Mandalay Bay. The second time were were staying at the El Cortez and I figured I would take a cab home…along with EVERYONE else. Rob ended up picking me up again at Mandalay Bay after I called him crying about how the taxi line was literally a mile long.
The next year they changed the finish line to exit near The Flamingo. We booked early enough to get a discounted rate that was good enough to forgive the resort fee. All we wanted at that point, was a place to stay where I could catch the monorail to the start of the race and not be too far from home at the finish line. It worked perfectly. The rest of the trip was spent at the El Cortez.
By the next year, I had discovered a little Facebook game called MyVegas. It was a game that you played that actually paid you our with rewards at MGM hotels and casinos. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen! Back in those days the winnings were plentiful and the rewards were amazing. I wound up getting three comped nights at the MGM Grand minus the resort fees. We had never stayed there because it was just not in our budget, but at 21 dollars a night, it was suddenly on the table. The room they offered was a tiny little room but by sheer luck, we got upgraded to a regular room at check in because it was available sooner and it was closer.
That year we also booked one night at The Flamingo so that we had a place near the finish line. The MGM was near the start and the Flamingo was near the finish. It worked out very well for me that year, because I hadn’t trained much and I was in a LOT of pain. 🙂 In case there was a question, we stayed downtown at El Cortez the beginning of the trip.
Last year, I didn’t participate in the marathon, but my husband did the 10 K. In the previous year, I had signed up for the Total Rewards Visa card. It has an offer that if you spent a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time you got a huge chunk of rewards points. So I started using it like my debit card, paying for everything. At the end of the month I payed it off with my debit card, no harm, no foul, no interest fee. By the time Vegas rolled around that year, I had enough to pay for three nights at The Flamingo as well as some food and shopping comps. The rest of the time we stayed at El Cortez. Are you sensing a theme?
That brings us to planning this years trip. We don’t have our dates hammered out yet, but given the time off I could possibly have left after Korea this year, it will be towards late November, early December and frankly, I’m just discouraged. Without doing the marathon this year, we had nothing tying us to any certain hotels so we thought we would look at the non strip variety like Orleans and Station Casinos. Nope, every damn one of them has succumbed to the resort fee as well as “renting” fridges and internet.
So I decided to hit up my myvegas game where I still have many points that I just haven’t used in a couple years, only to find they have changed too. They no longer offer consecutive comped nights. In fact you can only be comped one night at any of the casinos they offer per trip, and the comps they do offer are few and far between. They have come down hard with regulations on the game that make it not even worth it to play on a regular basis. I have 200,000 worth of reward points that I will likely never use now because it is too complicated to bother any more.
I understand that Vegas hotels are business’ and must adjust themselves to the changing times, but I think this is a mistake. But I guess people like Rob and I aren’t the majority, and as long as people are willing to pay the high prices, resort fees and whatever else, they will continue to thrive. It makes me sad though. Vegas was the one tradition we had left and I hate to leave it behind.
Having said that, anyone know what Reno’s policies for resort fees are??
Rob and I were supposed to carpool for the first time in forever, so I got myself ready very slowly while trying to pretend I was fine. We were short staffed at work and I didn’t want to add to the problem, so I tried to fake it.
Monday morning we woke up and were out of the hotel by ten for our next adventure: Lotte World.
When we first started looking into things to do on this trip, I was amazed by the number of theme parks I found. This particular park was close to where we were staying and looked to be pretty large so this was the one we planned on. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The first part of the park is all indoors. Since it was a weekday and we got there fairly early, there were no lines for any of the rides when we showed up. We looked around for a few minutes. Rob convinced me to get on the Sinbad ride which was very much like Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney. I wasn’t fond of the drops, but it didn’t kill me.
We spent the rest of the morning wandering around looking at things, with Rob going on some of the scarier rides by himself. I did go on both the Air Balloon ride and the Monorail, which is pretty good for a gal that is afraid of heights as I am.
We shopped, we ate, we walked close to five miles according to our Iphone pedometer thingy. It was a lot of fun. We didn’t cover the entire park but by late afternoon our feet were just done. We had done more walking in the last week than we had in the last couple of months, so our feet were telling us to give it a rest. We did as much as we wanted to do though before calling it a day. We did stop and go through the Folk History Museum and a little bit of the Lotte shopping area before heading back to the hotel.
I soaked my feet in the tub while Rob went out and got us food for dinner. Sandwiches, both with a Korean twist as most “American” food has here. We ate, watched wacky Korean TV and went to bed.
Tuesday morning we woke up and got packed up. I checked out the breakfast in the lobby and got a bagel and a coffee to bring back to the room. We were fully packed and checked out right at ten when hotel check out was.
Over the course of our “weekend” away I had two things that I wanted to acquire. One was a smaller wallet for my traveling purse with a way to attach it to the keyring inside my purse. This is so I could easily access my military ID and my subway pass since those were the two things I used multiple times daily. The other was a backpack. I had failed to bring one with me on the trip, opting for a very large purse instead and I regretted the decision almost as soon as we started traveling.
On the way back to the hotel on Monday, at the subway station, we found both. We had seen variations on both of them at different shops throughout the trip, but I was never sold on them and they were pricey. I’m so glad I waited, because I found exactly what I was looking for and they were only ten bucks each! Score! The backpack made my traveling home so much easier that that big purse. I was never really sold on the purse in the first place so I left it in the hotel room with a note that said: “Free Purse!”. If housekeeping could read English, they lucked into a pretty cool present.
Once we got home and unpacked, Rob was off to have a dinner with his work contacts, so I hung around the house for a bit. Liz and I eventually got out to Itaewon for a coffee, then we went to a pottery shop Liz had recommended to look for souvenirs and found a few cute things before heading home.
We had dinner delivered that evening from a sandwich shop. I got a club sandwich but the fries were actually what I ate for my meal. Philly Cheesesteak fries. Waffle fries covered in steak, cheese, onions and peppers. It was sooooo gooooood!!
I headed to bed early to read before sleeping. Rob got home and came to bed around ten stinking of garlic from the Korean BBQ he had been to. I stopped reading around eleven and tried to sleep, but it was a no go. I read some more and eventually got to sleep around one or so in the morning. I just was not tired at all. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized what had happened. I had coffee twice that day. The last coffee around five in the evening. Anyone that knows me fairly well knows that I am pretty sensitive to caffeine. Coffee after one or two in the afternoon, I’m up for most of the night. Oops!
Wednesday we had planned to go to a place called the Sheep Cafe and then Times Square, but little Joshua was having a bad day. He was not in a good mood from the time he woke up, couple that with him headbutting the back of my skull and having a scream/cry session for about 15 minutes…he was just not having it. (You better believe I felt horrible about the headbutt thing. I had to go upstairs so no one saw me cry over it) We had planned on having a “dead” day on Thursday so that we could possibly catch up on anything we hadn’t done on the trip, so we just moved that day to Wednesday instead. That allowed Jim and Liz to stay home with the kids and try and get them back on track.
We did take a quick trip with Jim to the local McDonalds. We had seen some Korea specific options advertised so we wanted to check it out. We got a Bulgogi Burger and a Shrimp burger and of course some fries. 🙂 Jim got something called the “Hot All Over” burger, which I guess is an attempt that McDonalds is trying out to give a fresher more six dollar burger option. It looked pretty good and Jim said it was much better than the usual Micky Dee’s fare.
Rob and I walked over to Itaewon and got some food souvenirs and a couple of hats for us before heading home. Later we took a little nap (I mostly read), and then the boys went out to get pizza for dinner. We got a Bulgogi pizza, and one that was half shrimp and half bacon and potato. The crust on that one was mashed sweet potato with a cream cheese mix. It was so freaking good I could barely stand it.
Soon after it was bed time, as the next day would be our last full day in Korea.