1st Solo Trip to Vegas – picture heavy.

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.

IMG_0704The BBBLT is basically a BLT, with a crap-ton of bacon on it.  It was gooooood!
I tried to play some gamble, but I was just too tired.

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.

IMG_0750I 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.


Our newest addition.


I would like you guys to meet Chewie.  She is the newest addition to our household.
We adopted her on Saturday afternoon from the local SPCA.
We’ve been thinking about getting another dog for a while now.  As you know dear reader, Pappy passed in November of last year.  We wanted to wait a while for obvious reasons, but lately the time has just seemed right.  I was involved in a play for quite a few months but it closed a couple of weeks ago and a castmate of mine from that play works at the SPCA so she kept sending me pictures.  I would check out the website quite often.  In fact, in a funny twist of fate we almost adopted a dog that a co-worker of mine ended up adopting.  It was meant to be that we didn’t because those two are just like peas in a pod.
I’m not sure why, but this weekend just felt right.  We perused the website and picked out three dogs we wanted to see.  The first was a dog named princess.  She was a terrier/chihuahua mix.  We got there as soon as they opened on Saturday and while Rob walked the length of the dog kennels, I made a bee line for Princess and headed straight into her “condo”.
They board the dogs two to a “condo” so and as I walked in, an attendant was cuddling Princess’ roommate Pop Tart.  She was a funny looking fuzzy little thing but I paid her no mind.  I headed straight for Princess and scooped her up.  She was very affectionate but a little high strung.  I put her down and said hello to the attendant.  He told me that Pop Tart was the most relaxed dog he had ever seen.  I reached down and petted her and was shocked at how soft her fur was.  She looked like she would be a wire haired, but she was smooth as silk.
Rob came in and joined us and we both became very focused on Pop Tart, petting her and asking questions.  Eventually my castmate Leia showed up and by that time we had already decided.  We wanted Pop Tart.
We took her outside and walked around with her a bit.  Because we have another dog we are required to interact them together and see if it is a good fit, so Rob headed out to our car to get Shilo, while a dog behaviorist came at got me and Pop Tart.
We interacted them in a part of the facility that was very loud and Pop Tart was cowering and basically shutting down.  The behaviorist asked us to go to more quiet location and when we got there the dog was much more at ease.  We all talked for a while and watched the dogs, who were very indifferent to each other before deciding to proceed with the paperwork.
Long story short, we renamed her Chewie because of her resemblance to Chewbacca and took her home.
She was very timid the first day but seemed kind of okay.  By the second day she wasn’t eating and didn’t move from the couch.  The third day she still hadn’t eaten and by the fourth day I was frantic.  I scoured the internet and everything pointed to her just being scared and stressed out.  One website said to boil up some chicken and try that.
So last night I stopped at the market on the way home and bought one lonely chicken breast.  I brought it home and boiled it.  I put some calming essential oil in my diffuser and took the chicken off the stove to cool.
The smell of the chicken hit the air and I could tell Chewie was interested.  I pulled off a little piece and made sure it was cool enough before bringing it over to her.  She sniffed it, put it in her mouth and spit it back out.  I placed it next to her mouth where she was laying on the couch and stepped away.  She quickly scarfed it up.
My heart was dancing with joy as I pulled a couple more pinches of chicken off and brought them back over, sharing with Shilo as well.  Chewie ate them with no hesitation and jumped off the couch to follow me back into the kitchen when I went to get more.
I put some shreds in her bowl and she ate them up with vigor.  I put some more in her bowl and added a little kibble.  She quickly ate around the kibble and looked at me for more chicken.
Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.  🙂
This morning my husband said she ate kibble with no issue and again tonight.  She also has much more pep in her step and is much more social with us.
She is a very sweet girl and I’m so excited to have her in our family.

Vegas 2016 Trip Report Part Two

Hangovers when you are 42 years old are no f*cking joke.  Seriously.
I woke up on Tuesday completely and totally hungover, both from food and alcohol.  My stomach wasn’t sure it was on speaking terms with me but my head, that was screaming at me loud and clear.  My anxiety was through the roof and we had to change hotels.
I wanted nothing more than to lay in bed and “sleep it off” but knowing that I had done it to myself, I had to put on my big girl panties and soldier on.
Thankfully, Drunk Me had packed most of my stuff the night before knowing that Hungover Me would barely be functioning.
We showered and checked out of Caesar’s.  I was really sorry to see that room go and I’m hoping to dedicate more time there the next trip.  It was really the perfect room in the perfect location.  I let Rob walk the mile there and back to the car so he could drop off one of the suitcases while I sat outside the valet area drinking some Ginger Ale.
When he came back up we moved over to the Ride Share section and got ready for our first Uber ride of the trip.
Rob had used Uber once before about a year ago in LA when he attended the NAMM convention, but I had never used it.  I kept reading about how much cheaper and simpler it was but I have never really had a reason to use it until now.
Ten minutes later we were tucked into a car with a friendly driver on our way to Aria for seven bucks not counting tip.  Gotta say it was completely painless.

Background on our Aria stay: This night is courtesy of the MyVegas game on Facebook. I’ve played on and off for years and since they were getting so skimpy with their comps, I never really cashed any in the last couple trips. End result was enough points to get a weeknight room at Aria. I was really excited about this as I’d heard nothing but good things about the rooms.

Check in was painless, it was around 11:30 and there was no line when we arrived.  Because it was so close to the holiday there was no wait either, our room was ready and we were asked if we wanted to upgrade to a strip view for $30.00.  Since the room was free, we figured why not.  Now that I’ve seen the view in comparison to Caesar’s, I wouldn’t pay thirty bucks for it again, but you never know until you try right?


We were given our room keys and we trekked back almost to where we had started to get to our tower.  The room was almost to the end of the hallway, making for quite a haul to get to and from our room, but it was just for one night.




The room was pretty great but I felt Caesar’s was better.
The one way it had CP beat was the tablet that controlled pretty much everything in the room.



From this device you could change the temp, turn on or off the lights and TV, shut or open the drapes, change the channel on the TV, order room service, order food to be picked up from an eatery downstairs…the possibilities were almost endless and we had quite a bit of fun playing around with it.

I was still feeling the hangover blues but it was time to go out and explore.  I had never been to the Cosmopolitan, but had always wanted to so we took the tram over to the Crystal Shops and made our way over to Cosmo.








The Cosmo was so pretty inside.  Pretty much how I had pictured it looking, lots of glitz and color.  The best part however was that we stumbled upon EggSlut.  I had heard about this place before and how great it was but that the lines were always horrible.  I never knew the location and since I don’t like to wait in line, I never bothered to find out.
Low and behold as we walked around the third floor…


No lines, no waiting!  We quickly ran to the cashier and placed our order.  I got the Bacon Egg and Cheese because that was what my hangover was telling me to get and Rob got The Slut, because…well, it was called The Slut.
We could not have been happier with our choices!  It was the most amazing breakfast sandwich I have ever had!  Like seriously, an orgasm in your mouth!!





With very happy tummies we toured the rest of the casino before deciding to head across the street to Planet Hollywood.  We both thought we hadn’t been there since it was The Aladdin, but we quickly discovered this was where we saw Evil Dead The Musical a couple of years prior.


Rob played some video poker for a bit while I played on my phone.  At that point we had been walking around for a while and I was thinking I would need a bathroom soon…the kind of bathroom need where I would want to be alone in my hotel room. 🙂 So we motored back over to Aria.
Once my urgent need was taken care of, we headed back downstairs to see what our options were for dinner.  We weighed our options and decided that the Burger Lounge was probably our best bet.  We hadn’t had a burger yet this trip and I was definitely over any sort of Asian food for the rest of our visit.  The other option we were weighing was pizza, but I knew were would get that downtown later so burgers it was!
I had some reward credits from signing up for the MLife credit card awhile back so we stopped at a rewards counter and transferred enough money over to cash points for our dinner.
We weren’t quite ready to eat yet so we headed up to our room for a few minutes.
As we were on our way back to our room through the hallway, one of the housekeeping staff was cleaning a room and asked how we were doing.  Rob said something like, “Oh, just walking the mile to our room.” and I said: “Yeah I’m earning the burger we are about to eat.”  She got a good laugh out of it.
The reason I mention this is because she was still cleaning rooms when we headed back out and she asked us if we wanted our room turned down for the evening.  I didn’t even know what that meant so we both said no, it wasn’t needed.  Rob said that we’ve never stayed at a place fancy enough to offer that.
She laughed and asked if we wanted the chocolates.
I said: “Hold up, I didn’t know there were chocolates available!”
She laughed again and reached into a bag, pulling out a handful of fancy looking boxes holding chocolates.  “Take as many as you want.”
Rob shoveled what she was holding into his bag, thanking her.  “We’re going down to the burger place, do you want anything?  Fries?  Onion rings?”
I could tell she couldn’t tell if we were for real or not so she just said: “Um…you pick.” I’m sure thinking she wouldn’t see us again.
Downstairs we ordered the burgers and then played a little gamble while we waited.




We had gotten the housekeeper a regular burger, but because there was some sanfu with our order, we got an extra thing of fries on the house so we got her a complete meal.
On our way back up to our room we discovered she had passed our room and was all the way at the end of the hall.  I’m pretty sure she didn’t think she would ever see us again and probably thought we were crazy when we showed up with her food.  She was laughing hysterically and thanking us.  It was pretty funny.
Since we were at the end of the hall, we took that opportunity to take some pics out of the windows there.






After my exhausting day being hungover in the city of sin, we went to bed fairly early as were were starting our third leg of the Vegas tour and heading to Golden Gate downtown the next day.

Background: Almost every trip for the last couple of years we have always said we would stay the last night at Golden Gate because we never had and always wanted to just to say that we did. However we ended up cutting those trips short by a day and always cancelled our reservations. This year we finally doing it.
I opted for a suite since it is the only suite that we would be able to afford in Vegas, for the last three nights.

Check out of Aria was pretty painless, I did it over my cell phone which was kind of cool.  We ubered back over to Caesar’s palace parking garage and got our car out to make the trek over to Downtown.
The drive was pretty easy, it was the day before Thanksgiving and while it wasn’t as barren as I would have thought, there was still a lack of people at this point.
We parked in the GG parking structure–just kidding!  I mean Parking LOT.  🙂  It was too early to check in so we left our luggage in the car while we made the half hear-ted attempt to see if our room was ready.  No sale, the clerk told us to come back around one because even though check in was at three, due to the Holiday, it might be ready early.  Rob and I later joked about the difference between the hotels we had stayed in so far.  CP said the room wasn’t ready but we will put a rush on it and send you at text when it is(got the text ten minutes later).  GG said the room is not ready, feel free to keep checking back.  We thought that was kinda humorous.
We took a look around outside and while Rob said he wasn’t really hungry, I was really excited to try Pop Up Pizza at The Plaza across the street.  I’d read some really good things about it.
We ordered and sat down to wait.  Fifteen minutes later we were still waiting.  I’m not one to cause a fuss when it comes to my food service, but how long could it take to heat up two slices?  Apparently they had given our order to someone else, but they quickly rectified the situation and we were given our two slices of heaven.


After we ate, we headed over to Binion’s to get the annual picture with a million dollars and get our slot cards updated.  We played a little bit, but nothing was feeling very nice to us.  It was around one at that point so we headed back over to GG and were able to check into our room.



It was a pretty nice room, just a little funky with the bathroom situation.  Either way, we were very happy with it.

Our plan for that day was to take a long nap and get up early morning to crawl around Fremont St.  It didn’t work out quite the way we had planned but we still had fun.








Got our annual Dunkin’!!!  God I miss DD coffee!









Finally we were done so we got some take out from the diner downstairs from our hotel and headed up to bed.

We slept in the next day.  It was Thanksgiving and we had some friends driving in from Monterey, but they wouldn’t get there until that afternoon so we putted around the room, watching bad TV and relaxing.





Vegas 2016 Trip Report Part One (picture heavy)

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…

Goodnight Sweet Prince

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.


Another Pappy Update.

The last few days, Pappy’s tumor has increased in size.  I’m not sure if he hit it on something or not, but it had definitely gotten large, discolored and very hard.  I noticed just how large it was last night.  I made a mental note to mention it to Rob the next day.
Rob has been deep in rehearsals for the play he is doing the last couple of weeks so we haven’t really seen each other much.  The play opened last night so I knew I would get to see him a little bit this afternoon after his nap.
This morning, Rob was crawling back into bed for his nap, just as I was waking up around eleven.  He mentioned that Pappy’s tumor was really big.  I told him I realized it as well.  He said we need to keep an eye on it and make another appointment with the vet to see how to proceed.
Just for reference sake, his tumor started the size of a small grape.  It is now the size of a medium sized apple.
So rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, thanking the universe for 12 plus hours of much needed sleep and headed out to see Pappy who was chilling in a sunbeam on the living room carpet.  He didn’t look comfortable and upon closer inspection, his tumor was bleeding.  It was sort of weeping blood in a few spots on the seam of the scar where they last took the tumor off.  Almost like it was just stretched to it’s limit and had no more give.
I grabbed the phone and called my vet.  They were only open for another hour, but they said to bring him in as soon as possible.  Thankfully, they are only a mile from my house, so I threw on yesterdays clothes, mangled my hair into a sad looking ponytail and put Paps in the car.
They took him in right away, and at this point I am a hot mess.  Not just because I literally had just gotten out of bed, but because now that they had him and I could relax for a second I started my meltdown.
Long story short, they attempted to drain the tumor but the only thing coming out was more blood.  So they wrapped it in soft cotton and wrapped that up very tightly with a double sticky ace type bandage.
The vet then gave me some antibiotics to prevent the skin from being infected, told me to keep it wrapped and check it on Monday to see if it had gone down or stopped bleeding.
Here comes the reality:
I asked the options going forward.  She said that there were two issues.  One, that we do nothing and the skin around the tumor possibly becomes ulcerated and starts to slough off, knowing it won’t grow back and then she used the U word.
The second is that we have the tumor removed for a third time, knowing that it will not stop it from coming back.  Knowing that at this stage in the game and at his age, there are risks undergoing that surgery.
I asked her to bottom line it for me and she said that in all honesty, she never thought that Pappy would be here right now.  Given the type of cancer that he has, she said that she never expected him to last this long and it is VERY rare for a dog TO live this long with an active grade 3 mast cell tumor.  Also taking into consideration that he’s still relatively happy and eating and not throwing up or showing other signs of sickness, other than old age – she basically said that we were doing all the right things.  He is still on his steroid, benadryl and pepcid.  We added the Turkey Tail Mushroom about a month ago and I added some canine hepatic support from my work for his liver when his labs came back high.
While her words should be and kind of is reassuring, it doesn’t change the fact that my little man probably doesn’t have much time left.  I’ve been really avoiding thinking about this.  Like A LOT.  The reason behind that should be obvious, but now it’s time to try and get myself prepared.  I don’t want to because just typing this out has left me in wracking sobs for the last ten minutes, but I need to start mentally preparing.
It sucks out loud.
So there is the update on my baby boy.  For better or for worse.

I'm not doing so well. Pappy Update

Pappy’s tumor has gotten quite large.  What started as a little bump, slowly grew to the size of a plum and then rather rapidly to the size of a lemon.  Even faster it reached the size of an avocado.

We decided to have him checked out again at that vets.  We haven’t changed our minds as far as treatments go, but we wanted to get their opinion since it had gotten so large and he had been wanting to lick it lately.

They ran some blood work and the results weren’t great.  His liver levels were off the charts.  They were supposed to be in the 100 something range and they were at a shocking 4000 reading.  I don’t understand medical mumbo jumbo, but the vet was pretty sure it has spread throughout his body.

The good news was that his heart and lungs look good.  He’s still in good shape other than his arthritic butt and hind quarters – but that is just age.  He still doesn’t act sick and thanks to the Prednisone, there is NO decrease in appetite.  The end result is that either old age or cancer is going to get him.  They don’t know which one will do it first.  They told us to watch for lack of wanting to eat and rapid weight loss.  They also said that we can leave the tumor alone, but if it gets bigger or starts bother him and he wants to itch it, they can do a drain on it and see if they can remove most of it.  I’m not really interested in having him go under anesthesia again at his advanced age, but we’ll see.   The other possibility is that it could rupture and we would need to have them do that anyway.

They also told us as a natural alternative we could look into something called Turkey Tail Mushroom.  It’s supposed to help boost immune systems and has been showed to help fight cancer.  We got some on Monday and started him on it.  We will see how that goes.

So we are keeping him on the steroid, anti histamine and stomach pills.  I have also added an all natural liver support supplement I got from work and now the Turkey Tail Mushroom.

While Pappy is doing relatively okay other than the whole cancer thing, I am not.

I have never had to deal with this sort of thing.  Yes, we had to put Romie down at 16 years of age and that was the hardest decision I have EVER had to make in all of my life, but it came on suddenly.  It all happened over the course of a couple of days.  He just lost control of his back legs and eventually refused food and water until we had to bring him in and it was the only humane thing to do.  I still hurt from that, but at least it was sudden.

The only other experience I have at losing a close loved one was when my grandparents died, and to deal with that I became bulimic.  I don’t function well with grief.

I’m not good at knowing my dog is going to die soon but not knowing when.  He could go on for a year and that would make me very happy, but the very real possibility is that it could happen much sooner.  I am not handling the situation very well.  I wake up in the middle of the night and put my hand on him just to make sure he’s still breathing.

I literally can’t even talk about this with my husband or friends because I can’t stop bawling long enough to get words out.  Typing seems okay.  I can cry and type at the same time.  That is why I am blogging this.   I need to get this out of my head.

I am not doing well.  When I am not on the verge of tears, my mood can be described as salty at best.  I’m lashing out at friends that don’t deserve it and inwardly seething all the time about things that shouldn’t be a big deal.  Like traffic, or the fact that I can’t find a certain shirt.  We’re talking FULL ON RAGE here people.  I want to punch and kick and hurt things.  This morning I realized I wanted to cut again.  I haven’t cut in at least twenty years but this morning the urge was there just as plain as day.  Cut the skin, let the blood flow, release the pain.

I didn’t and I won’t because I’ve come way to far to resort to that shit, nor will I stick my finger down my throat and throw up the feelings, but it’s a little unnerving to me that it came on like that.  I just don’t know how to deal with this.

And you can tell me it’s just a fucking dog until you are blue in the face, (black and blue, because I will probably punch you if you said that to my face.) but it’s so much more than that.  If you knew just one fraction of love that this dog has given me in the last ten years, you would be openly weeping right now.  I know that every dog owner goes into the adoption process knowing it is only temporary.  They are only with us for a little while, but the quality of that time is so amazing.  If you are not an animal lover, you will never understand.  This is my child.

So yeah…not doing well with this.  I’m tempted to click on one of those online therapy ads I see pop up on facebook.  I did a great deal of therapy in my early adult years and it did me a world of good.  Maybe talking to a stranger about this would help.  I don’t know.

I guess I should just be glad I realize that this is the reason I’ve been feeling so shitty, but no, that doesn’t really help.

There is no real point to this post.  It’s not a cry for help.  I will not cut.  I will not start binging and purging.  It is just a means to try and hash out these emotions and get them out of my head.  I will probably write more of them as the weeks go on.  Please feel free to skip over them.  Life isn’t all sunshine and roses right now.


Big Sur Wildfire

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??

I digress.

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.


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Update on the Papster

So a while back I wrote about Pappy’s cancer.  It’s not something that I like to think about, let alone write about, but it is still there.

His tumor came back for a third time quite a few months ago.  I didn’t publicize it, because…well, we aren’t going to do anything about it.  I didn’t want to hear from all the people that think they know better than me, that we should do chemo or radiation or at least get this third tumor removed.

I recently had a lengthy conversation with our seasonal neighbors that came back into town.  They had a very similar situation with their old dog Maggie.  They opted for the chemo and they regretted it.  They said it made her so sick and in the end, for the minimal life it can extend for an already old dog, it’s just not worth it.  I was so glad to have had that talk, because it reaffirmed all our decisions on keeping Pappy comfortable in the time he has left.

This morning I had to bring Pappy in for his annual check up.  I was dreading it, because I was sure they were going to tell me what a horrible dog mother I was for letting this cancer just fester in his body instead of taking some sort of action, other than the meds he is currently on.  I was wrong.

I was very pleasantly surprised when the Dr. told me that she thought we were doing the right thing.  She said that at almost 14 years old, he had lived a good life span and that the other vet they had there just put his dog on chemo and he doesn’t think he would do it again.  She told me his dog was sick for days after every treatment and wouldn’t eat.  I *knew* those doggie cancer specialist fuckers were lying to me when they said chemo doesn’t effect dogs at all like it does humans.  Bastards.

The doc said that Pappy is doing AMAZING for having had this cancer as long as he has.  She was shocked when I told her that he still doesn’t exhibit any signs of being sick.  Just standard old slowdown.  He can’t jump up into the car anymore because of his back legs so we lift him.  She agreed that was a good idea, especially since his tumor gets aggravated if he bumps it.  I told her he’s kind of gotten used to us babying him.  She said: “He’s got the right idea!  Hell, he’s gonna be 14.  He needs a butler!”  Heh.

So the vet visit I was dreading turned out to make me feel very good about what we are doing.  He’s not hurting.  He’s not suffering.  He doesn’t even know he is sick!  He just has a INSATIABLE hunger from the steroid and constantly things he is starving…which is good since a decline in appetite is a bad sign in this case.

She did say that she probably won’t update his rabies and the other 3 years shot that is due in January, because they don’t want to compromise his immune system with the cancer.  I said that I was fine with that.  If he is still with us at that point I will be so happy I won’t care about anything else.

As I write this with tears in my eyes, he is asleep in his bed on the other side of the couch.  He is my love.  My sweet, sweet baby boy.  I am not ready to let him go, I never will be.  But I’m happy that right now, he isn’t hurting and will be with us for a bit longer.

Vegas, how you disappoint me.

las-vegas-sign460x300For 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??

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.