Finishing the adventure

Monday, our last day in Las Vegas… We woke up and lounged for an hour or so, refusing to get up. We’re on VACATION, damn it, nobody is gonna tell us where to be! We started the day with room service. Now, ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved room service. For some reason it just seems so FANCY, so luxurious… The woman who delivered breakfast actually giggled a little when she saw two men staying in a room with one bed, which made me laugh.

We didn’t leave the room ’til almost noon — we traded some music, took our time with breakfast, made some phone calls… When we finally emerged, we went downstairs and hit up a bar for a quick St. Patrick’s Day pick-me-up. The bartender disappointed us by revealing that they had no green beer… until Sal discovered a couple of bottles of green food coloring hidden behind a bottle, and we taught the bartender how to make beer green without staining his hands. A crowd started to gather when they saw him making it; we started a trend!

A pretty girl sat down and asked for something fruity (I raised my hand, and Sal shooshed me) He eventually mixed her something and handed it over, which she LOVED, and she wanted to know the name of it… He shook his head and muttered “it doesn’t matter” and moved on to another patron. Seems our bartender didn’t have the heart to tell her it was a “screaming orgasm” 🙂

After a quick stop at a hot dog stand in the hotel, we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the Strip. In particular we spent a bunch of time in the Paris Hotel & Casino. It’s so beautiful in there — the ceiling is painted like a sky, so it feels like you’re outside. We came back to our hotel, grabbed some ice cream (shut up — VACATION) and decided to have, you guessed it, a nap. Hey, a lot of green beer and walking around will tire the hell out of you!

We awoke to the phone ringing — my brother-in-law Hal was calling to say he was on the way to come pick us up. My sister Melissa was on her way home from work but needed a few minutes to unwind after work, so Hal came to get us solo. We had a nice chat on the way back to their home. Arriving back at their house, a woman comes out of the front door and demands to know where her baby brother is. IT’S MY SISTER! I haven’t seen this woman in 12-13 years. I didn’t remember her being so short! It was so great, being reunited after such a long time.

A fifteen year-old boy sticks his head out the door and says hello. Turns out this is my nephew, who was a toddler the last time I saw him. Toddlers get BIG after thirteen years! Working our way inside, we see a huge pile of books stacked up on the floor, and I realize there’s no doubt we’re related. I even took a picture of it. A lot of the same authors that my other sister Janet and I used to read… Our taste in fiction must be hereditary, even though our father wasn’t much of a reader. Hidden inside the house is a young girl — probably 13 or so. She’s beautiful, but shy and sarcastic. In fact, both kids share some common traits… smart, sarcastic, with a smugly caustic sense of humor… They remind me of someone, but I can’t figure out who it is… Oh wait, it’s ME AND ALL OF MY SIBLINGS.

We had dinner together at one of their favorite restaurants, a little sushi place not far from their home. Oh, it was marvelous — we had some good food, some good sake, and a lot of conversation. One thing about my family — we’re not shy people. Lots of storytelling, naturally, and of course Melissa had to pull out a bunch of photos of me as a child. (Evidence of this outrage is in the Las Vegas album of photos on here) Oh well, at least my mother wasn’t there to tell Klingon stories.

I should shut up now.

The family took us back to the Strip after dinner so we could get on with our last evening in town. We asked them to drop us off at the Bellagio instead of the NY,NY so we could enjoy the water show. Yes, it was gorgeous — a definite must-see when you’re in Vegas. We wandered around the Strip, at night this time, and checked out other casinos for a short bit. The Bellagio is gorgeous, naturally. Caesar’s Palace is really nice as well, and had a nifty (but absurdly overpriced) martini bar. Beth, the friend from Charlotte who was out in Vegas also, stopped up and shared a cocktail or two with us. We sat around, shootin’ the breeze, talking about nothing and everything, sipping martinis. Bliss.

Tuesday, on the other hand… Not so blissful.

Started the day with room service, which was a nice finale to the NY, NY. Got a cab to the airport, and went to check in… Only to discover that my flight had been postponed by 4 hours (a nice way of saying it’s going to be cancelled but they haven’t pulled the plug yet) due to maintenance issues.

SHIT.

The lady at the counter was really nice — she must’ve tried fifteen different options. She tried to put me on the same flights that Beth was on back to Charlotte, through Delta, but they were sold out. Tried to get me home through Orlando, but they were sold out too. She even tried to put me on the same flight as Sal and have me return to Charlotte by way of NYC, but that didn’t work — flights to LGA were sold out, and there wasn’t going to be another flight from JFK to Charlotte that evening. I eventually had to wait two hours, fly to Phoenix, change planes, and get home to Charlotte.

Now, I know I’m being bitchy… but damn it, I had a First Class direct flight home, getting in a little after 6pm… Instead, I’m in a window seat next to an obnoxious couple who threw a FIT when I had to use the bathroom mid-flight. You’d think I asked them to carry me to the bathroom on their shoulders, they were so inconvenienced. On the longer flight, four hours from Phoenix to Charlotte, I was in the MIDDLE seat.

To my left, a Middle Eastern man so obese that he oozed over about 1/3 of the way into my seat. The arm rest wouldn’t even go down, he was so fat. And of course, when I tried to put it down on two separate occasions, he stared at the window like he didn’t even know that I was trying unsuccessfully to put up some kind of divider between us. Now, I know that it’s not cool to dog on people who are overweight. Hell, I’m not in the condition I’d LIKE to be — I’ve often said I’d do anything to lose weight except diet and exercise. But I wear a 33″ waist on my jeans, people… I’m not THAT out of shape, sheesh! I just don’t understand how you get so fat that you can’t even fit in a seat. HOW DO YOU LET YOURSELF GO THAT FAR? I mean, I’ve lost nearly twenty pounds in the last three years, through very simple changes in my food choices. DO SOMETHING. Being fat is one thing — being so fat that you cause problems for those around you is something else entirely.

It turned out to not be TOO bad of a flight… I had to press too closely to the guy on my right to escape Captain Twinkie to my left, and he apparently wasn’t fond of showering, but he seemed to understand my situation and scooted over towards the aisle to give me some room. He even chatted amicably with me about my iPhone while we were taxiing to the gate. Nice guy, all things considered. In between I watched “Rendition” on DVD (great movie — check it out!) and tried unsuccessfully to nap. We didn’t land til shortly after 10pm.

The weather was nice — I actually drove home with the top down on the car. The most entertaining part of the evening, though, was at the lil’ toll-booth for paying your parking fees. The woman leaned out, sees me and my car, and goes, “Sugar, you’re back AGAIN? Didn’t you just get home a few days ago? Where were you off to THIS time?!”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how you know you’ve been traveling too much.

Vegas was great — it was a fantastic trip, with great sites, adventures, and people. I’m definitely going back, either Labor Day weekend in September, or Columbus Day weekend in October. Who’s with me?

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7 Responses to Finishing the adventure

  1. […] were living there at the time, so we had made plans to spend an evening with them. I’ve chronicled that in detail in a blog entry years ago, but the short version is that we enjoyed a bit of time at their home and a lovely dinner together. […]

  2. Dorinda Lowery says:

    I need to gather pictures of you and Melissa. I remember Melissa flying into Cancun to join us on one of our many family vacations. When we went to the Myan ruins, you and I sat on rocks and watched the adventurous Sissy Missy and your Dad climb all the way to the top. Melissa always told you that she had probably ruined it for you as a teenager because we (myself and your dad) now knew all the tricks that teenagers pulled. She was so full of life and no one could ever refer to her as dull.

  3. Patty Burnham says:

    Melissa was a colleague of mine at DOE here in Las Vegas, and we shared an (admittedly) off-beat sense of humor. She was witty – to those who “got it” – always kind, even under stress, and will be greatly missed. I am so sorry for your loss.

  4. Barbara Zoscak says:

    I just heard about Melissa. I’m so sorry for your loss. Melissa and I worked together at DFAS for over 8 years. The last time we talked was around June 2010. How did she pass away?

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