See You Again, Hello, Until Next Time

view from the dog park at Planet Hollywood

view from the dog park at Planet Hollywood

Another night of letting my face hit the pillow with instant sleep results – the kind of sleep where if I snored (more than the baby sounds Caleb claims I make), drooled (when I dream about food), or lip smacked (something my sister used to ask me about) – I would’ve done all three. And only to awaken early… no late… well, Deanna was up and about at 8:30 am when I opened my eyes and rolled back over. We were both up before that on Sunday in excitement to get to Vegas.

Now, here it is Wednesday morning, and we had slept in. Deanna was busy cleaning (don’t want to be the smelly one on the plane, or planes) and repacking her bags to make sure she could bring most of her stuff back home. She handed me a bag of trail mix bars, but before I could put them all in my purse, she said I only need take some for the ride home. We were sharing again. Something we always did in school growing up, and I used to want to be her sister, but she told me their relationship wasn’t the same and I thought about my sister – sometimes sharing, other times fighting. With best friends it’s always the former.

leaving the parking garage

leaving the parking garage

I took a Mojo cranberry almond and Larabar coconut cream pie bar and put them in my purse. Deanna still has great taste in food – or maybe that’s her mom’s cooking and our childhood creativity (that’s another story) – and great taste in friends (though I haven’t met the Aggies in her life).  Sunshine and dogs at 10:15 am, breakfast at 1045 am. We pick up smoothies from Jamba Juice, I got the PB Chocolate Love, and then walk over to PBR Rock Bar & Grill (yes, the same one we were at last night) to check out their morning menu – especially the French toast – what I’ve craved, besides jello shots since I got here.

We both got the classic French toast – dipped in crème brule batter and topped with candied pecans and powdered sugar. We were only able to make it halfway through the Texas toast slices of sweetness before I asked for a box. I would be enjoying our leftovers later. And I usually don’t take a bag, but took one this time so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding syrup where I didn’t want it – in my mouth, and sometimes on my fingers. When we receive the check in its little black holder there is a message in nine different languages on one side.

proof we were there together

proof we were there together

“Our international guests often ask about tipping. No service charge or gratuity has been added to your bill. Quality service is customarily acknowledged by a gratuity of 15-20%.”

When the waiter came back he realized I was reading it and mentioned that’s the reason they do the math for the customer and have the 15-18-20% tip amounts suggested on the bottom of the check. These amounts were pre-tax and I’m used to adding in tax, so I changed my amount, tipped him well, and we were on our way to the airport. I dropped Deanna off at noon – her flight in an hour or two – and then parked along the road on the way back to The Strip and the highway and pulled out my long list of possible to-do’s while in Vegas. It seemed overwhelming, and then I decided to visit the old strip – the Fremont Street Experience before driving home.

I had Google mapped it before the trip, to see if it was walking distance and decided that 4.6 miles was too much on foot – I knew I should’ve brought my bike, but we had been told that this was the happening place for St Patty’s – and if that’s the case, I would’ve had to leave my bike somewhere and taken a cab back to the hotel. But since I drove today, I would circle around the block and find a parking spot for a dollar an hour with a two-hour limit. Only once have I not paid attention and put more money in trying to get more time – it doesn’t work that way, but I’m sure the city appreciates the extra income.

Fremont Street

Fremont Street

The first thing I see is a garden-dog-bus on acid with kids feet, but hey, it has pretty colors and I like weird things. What I wondered more about, but not enough to go inside, was the sign “over 350 lbs. eats free.” The name of the place is Heart Attack Grill – and I wonder if they have some deal signed with a cardiologist with a shady office next door or maybe it’s only free salads on offer or maybe a cruel joke that only the business finds hilarious. I continue my walk to get under the covered sidewalk – a large metal awning that covers the main strip – and a smart idea for all the day drunks that forgot to apply sunscreen and buskers that are out shirtless trying to make a buck.

I notice some of the places on my list are here – The D, Binions, and Golden Gate – but have forgotten it in the car, so I will take what comes of the two hours I paid for. There are boots with handles and deep-fried Twinkies, stranded men and feathered women, and broken escalators and a toy horse race machine for 8-12 players. The ceiling balls have spirally tips, the pools have water slides, and the lunch tables are empty. The bathroom is peacefully quiet. This part of town is like the calm before the storm – like ghosts or Andy’s toys waiting for you to leave the room so they can come out and play.

Golden Nugget outdoor bar

Golden Nugget outdoor bar

I make it to the border – Primm, NV – around 5:00 pm before having to stop for gas and caffeine. I thought I might make it all the way home just on the energy from Vegas, but it only has so wide a circumference and I was riding into the sun, and into the darkness. Upon seeing Buffalo Bill’s and Whiskey Pete’s I thought about stopping for the night, but I had a home to get back to and a husband that would be off work in 24 hours that would be waiting to see me – not some being-near-gambling addict that I could become. And there were still the dogs in the car to think about.

I got home around 9:00 pm. It was dark. I had put over 700 miles on the car roundtrip and the math says that it only cost me a seventh of the price to drive versus fly. A fifth of the monetary damage of this vacation was spent outside Sin City – that’s all I’ll say about that. And then Sparky goes jumping in the front door that I unlocked and flying out the backdoor that what the…!!! I’m about to be robbed and raped! As my heart tries to decide if it will choke me to death or plug my anus, I go to the back door and check for signs of forced entry – there is none.

salt shaker and pepper grinder

salt shaker and pepper grinder

I call Sparky back in the house, then I turn on all the lights and with phone in hand check all cabinets and closets. I’m checking for hidden people or anything missing, but as it turns out – while I was gone, Caleb had a day off. Him and some of the guys went and played disc golf and his Frisbee bag got dirty, so he washed it in the ktchen sink, then threw it on the back steps to dry in the shade and “must’ve left the door open” on accident. I finished unpacking the car. How mad could I be? Even if our stuff had gotten stolen my being angry wouldn’t help fix the issue, but it would give me permission to be steamingly upset.

As I lay in bed with plans to sleep for the next 24 hours I get a text from Deanna letting me know that she wasn’t robbed or raped, her plane wasn’t taken hostage, her bags made it through security, and her ride was there to pick her up. Then the Facebook update comes in about “sure to set multiple alarms to get up for work tomorrow” and I can only thank Caleb for the privileges he affords me – spending too much on vacation and then coming home to sleep it off with no other responsibilities but to keep him happy, our house clean, and my dogs alive. I’m grateful that there is more than one way to show someone you love them, because even though you love to hear it, it feels good too.

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