Vegas Musts that I Didn’t Do

June 30, 2007

* swim in the pool (and it was a really cool one, too)

* eat at a buffet

* see the Bellagio fountains

* see a show

* shop (unless M&Ms count…)

* smoke, drink, gamble, or get a hooker

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Love

June 29, 2007

My Mum told me after Little Red was born, “you love those whom you serve.”  We serve our children most, was her implication, and I was probably nursing Little Red at the time.

As I watch Little Red play with Earl Bird, kiss him, hold his hand, and offer his nose for a buffet, I marvel at his tenderness and complete lack of malice.  He truly loves his little brother.  There’s no “I love him because I serve him” or even “I love him because he loves me.”  With Little Red, he simply, purely, loves, with no condition.

I, on the other hand, have a lot to learn.


Epiphany

June 28, 2007

I think I’ve said “I’m an idiot” a million times since Tuesday.  Paul, who is kind to a fault, keeps saying, “you’re not an idiot.  You just get flustery sometimes.”  Fine, but I’m still an idiot.

But I’ve thought a lot about it, and started looking back at how many times I’ve been flustered lately, and how many times I’ve just given up and cried.  I’m fairly ok in the childcare category, but I realized I’m completely unable to deal with any other aspect of life.  How did this happen?  I can’t deal with anything?!?  Suddenly, it hit me.  I’m not as okay as I think I am.

I’m not okay.

I can’t cope with day to day life.  I get stressed out over every single little thing.  And I knew it was coming back in the winter.

I first realized it while watching a Scrubs episode in which Carla battles PPD.  I bawled, and at that moment I knew I was going to be in trouble if something in my life didn’t change.  I even remember talking to Sariah about the premonition. 

Even last month I remember having the thought that I wanted to go shopping.  There was nothing I needed and I really didn’t have money to burn.  I told myself that I needed to sit down and think about what underlying issue I was hiding by shopping, and I cried because I didn’t want to think about it.  I passed it off to being fragile because Paul was gone, but even then I knew it was more. 

While some of the things that I knew in January needed to change, have changed positively, they are marginal and I’m still teetering.  Reflecting on the accident was the wake-up call I needed to add up all the times I haven’t been right and that I’ve had too many days when I’ve realized I wasn’t thinking rationally but couldn’t turn it around.  I need to fix myself before something really bad happens.  Wish me luck.


How to Lose in Vegas without Gambling

June 28, 2007

Tuesday morning, after we loaded up the car and left the hotel, I began work on one of my summer passtimes — dehydration.  We were out on the street in the middle of the day, and it was naptime.  I had considered going to one of the outlet malls, but stubbornly determined to do something Las Vegas, and thought that something cool to see would obliviate our need for rest.  We went to check out the flamingo habitat at the Flamingo, as the Bellagio fountains didn’t start until 3pm (I planned on seeing those after we picked up Paul.)

To avoid driving the strip at noon I went along a back street, and we parked at the Westin.  Little Red protested when I unbuckled him, buckling himself back up. “No, Mummy, no,” he said.  “Drive.”  I asked him if he wanted me to drive so that he could sleep, and he said yes.  I told him he could sleep in the stroller but that we’d be in the car all night and we needed to walk around right now. 

It was a bit of a hike in the 110 degree weather from the Westin to the Strip and over to the Flamingo, but we did it.  Early Bird slept in the sling and Little Red, awake, sat lethargically in the stroller.  The habitat was cooler than the lion one, I thought, but we were all too hot and tired to really enjoy it.  I had forgotten the 1.5L water bottle in the car, and at this point we’d been out for an hour in the midday sun.

As soon as we got to the car we had a drink, and then we started sweating.  “hmmm,” I thought, “we’re dehydrated.”  I fed Early Bird and decided to head to the convention center to meet Paul.  I knew the convention center would be air conditioned and it would be good to pick up Paul and head out of town.

Someone had parked to our left, and closer than I would have liked, so I watch the car carefully as I backed up, and turned out as soon as I was sure I had cleared the car.  Instantly I heard the most horrifying grind and pop.  I looked to my right to see the square, cement pole I had just hit.  The passenger side mirror was lying on the ground.

Have you ever wanted a do-over so badly that you really thought you could make it happen?  I only wanted to go back one minute, or even 30 seconds.  I just wanted to go back long enough to check the other side before I turned the wheel so slightly.  If I just wished it hard enough . . .

I felt so sick.  I was so upset.  I would have cried if I had had more to drink.  My wishing wasn’t helping anything at all.

So I picked up the pieces and opened the passenger door which made a horrible creak and groan, and I felt even worse.

When I got back into the car Little Red chirped from the back seat, “Mummy broke the car!”

Off we went to pick up Paul.  I taught Little Red about confessing your sins on the drive, and blurted the news to Paul almost as soon as I saw him –not on the way out to the car as I had planned.  He had to stew with the news for nearly an hour before he finally got off work.  Poor guy, I know I distracted him and I hadn’t wanted to do that. 

“How bad is the damage?” he asked. 

“It’s really bad.”

When we got to the car and he looked at it, I cried.  And I cried the whole rest of the day.


The Great Escape

June 28, 2007

When Paul’s alarm went off at ten to seven on Monday morning, I was beat.  We had, of course, stayed up late with his brother the night before.  Little Red asked one of us to hop into bed with him and I told him to climb into my bed.  He rolled over and closed his eyes, so I did the same.  I think I vaguely remember opening my eyes again and not seeing him in his bed, and I hoped that he wasn’t being too much of a bother to Paul as he dressed.

The next thing I remember was Paul coming into the room (–I didn’t even hear him leave for breakfast!) and telling me that he found Little Red with a security guard knocking on doors to find his parents.  He had, apparently, snuck out to find Paul.  Little Red wasn’t scared at all, and even led everyone to believe his name was “Nick.” 

It was the best possible outcome for such a scary scenario, but of course I felt horrible about the whole thing.  I cried.  I explained to my fearless explorer why he should never, ever do that again, and then we tried to get ready for the day. 

Somehow in the course of getting the four of us dressed, Paul and Little Red got locked in the bathroom.  I tried ramming it from my end, and Paul tugged at the door from the inside, but the shaft didn’t want to budge so there was nothing we could do.  I called maintenance who sent someone promptly.  Just before the man arrived, Paul and Little Red simply opened the door.  The guy from maintenance decided to replace the handle anyway, to avoid anything like that happening again. 

After we walked Paul down to meet his coworkers (and I took Paul’s car keys as I was still shaken from the caper and had left mine way up on the 19th floor of the south tower) we zipped over to the Grille for a breakfast burrito to go.

It was then that I remembered seeing our parking pass on the vanity in our room, so back upstairs we went.  In the elevator on the way up we met a lady who, as soon as the doors closed, exclaimed, “there’s my buddy, Nick!” Quickly the mystery unravelled.  She was the one who found him at the elevators (quite a trek from room 19112!, but I always knew he had a great sense of direction.)  She was the one who deduced through his thumb that his name was Nick.  She was the one who called security.  Did she misunderstand him or did he give an assumed name as a part of his caper?  We’ll never know.  I was glad to meet her, and thank her personally, but again rattled and upset by the reminder of the horrific event. 

We made it all the way to the 4th floor of the parking garage when I noticed I was missing my room key (which I needed immediately for my parking validation.)  I had probably left it in my room when I grabbed the parking ticket, I thought.  I headed to the front desk, by way of the bell desk, to get a new key.

Johann, from Sweeden, was courteous and polite as he towered over me and explained that because the room is only in my husband’s name, he alone could request a new key.  As near to tears as I could be without crying, I said, “but he won’t be back until 10 o’clock tonight!”  (and I have only one diaper in the stroller, and one extra set of underpants, and what will we do about naps and what will we DO?!?!?)  I frantically pulled cards out of my wallet: my driver’s license, Paul’s aquarium membership with a picture of both him and Little Red, the zoo pass with both of our names . . .

Johann kindly said, “does he have a cell phone?”

“Yes!” I exclaimed, relieved.  “Can we call him?”

“I don’t have an outside line.  Do you have a cell phone?”

“No,” I replied, again empty and deflated.

He took pity on me, copied Paul’s #, and disappeared into the depths of the hotel.  While he was gone I comsumed myself with worry.  What if his phone is turned off (as it should be at the time, as the convention had begun.)  I hated that I was bothering him at work.  Would he get in trouble?  What would happen to the boys and me if his phone was turned off? 

Johann returned, gave me my driver’s license, and magnetized a new key.  I thanked him profusely and went straight to the car, where we finally ate that breakfast burrito.  It was two hours since we left the room with Paul, and we were finally leaving the Golden Nugget.


While I Was Out…

June 27, 2007

Two little girls came a little early!

Welcome, Moriah Donnette (born June 21st) and Olivia Isabel Irene (born June 24th) Hooray!  Alyson and ABQ, we’re waiting for you!


Synopsis

June 27, 2007

Paul’s boss met us in line at the hotel on Saturday evening to ensure that our check-in went smoothly.  (Good thing: the hotel charges $20 for a crib and he decided to foot that, too.)  As they chatted, Paul and Jim, Jim casually said, “and tomorrow is suit and tie.”  We had already turned around (within town) to go back for his garment bag with the suit, but had somehow completely forgotten about a tie and wouldn’t have realized until he dressed the next day had Jim not reminded us. 

Paul is such a tie guy, that as we related the story the next morning to Zaylore, one of his coworkers, Z simply exclaimed, “Paul?  forgot about a tie??” Thus, despite all my “when I ask non-gamblers what to do in Vegas they all tell me there’s a great outlet mall” complaining on the drive, the first thing we did in Vegas was hit the outlet mall.  Luckily, BrooksBrothers was having a sale so he got two ties for $40.  And we found a hard-to-find Cars car at KBToys to add to my rewards drawer (doubles as my sock and underwear drawer) because I buy cool cars when I see them, and hide them until I need them.

On Sunday we tried to keep things easy, as it was the sabbath and all.  Basically the boys and I explored the hotel and the surrounding areas.  None of us are used to the desert, so our adventures outside were always short-lived.  Early Bird would be staring everyone down in the hotel, but the second we stepped outside he would fall asleep.  Little Red would tell the strong desert winds, “stop it!” as they blew in his face.  For my part, as I was pushing a stroller and wearing a baby, I was just very hot.  It being downtown Vegas, I was also unhappy to have that much smoke blown in my face and in the faces of my children, and appalled at the number of inebriated people. 

Sunday evening Paul’s brother and sister-in-law visited us, and that was a lot of fun.  I’m glad they moved from Memphis to Las Vegas, they are happier, and they are closer to us! 

Monday morning was a nightmare, and the vicious cycle only ended by our trip to M&M World.  We had a lot of fun.  Little Red chose four colours for his bag of candies (and I’m so impressed that they are so complimentary!) and I picked up a Hot Wheels style replica of the M&Ms racer so sneakily that Little Red has no idea. 

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We walked by the lion habitat at the MGM Grand.  I was underwhealmed.  Yes, it was cool that we walked UNDER the lions as they slept on a glass floor, but there was very little pedestrian space and way too many people.  For the really good views you could pay $25 to have your photo taken with some cubs, but they won’t even let you see it if you aren’t going to have the photo taken.

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We were pretty pooped out by the end of that adventure.  We had lunch and took a loong nap (all three of us.) 

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Late Monday evening we drove out to Hendersen to see Andrew & Nancee’s place and visit with them, arriving back at the hotel at 10, just as Paul was getting in.

Tuesday was hectic.  I found out Paul’s boss checked everyone out on their way to the convention.  That was one less thing I had to do, but I found out during breakfast so then I worried about how much time we could spend in the room after being checked out, so we rushed out into the desert several hours before it was time to pick up Paul for the convention.  We tried to pass the time well, but we all just wanted to lie down and nap.  In retrospect I think we should have just gone shopping (haha.)

The nightmare finally ended when Paul finished long after we thought he would be.  We had an early supper at the Cheesecake Factory so that we could wander the forum at Caesar’s Palace, and hit the road.

Early Bird never really liked Las Vegas at all, the lights were obnoxious, it was loud, it was smokey, it was hard to keep a schedule, and it was hot.  When we came home and I put him down on my bed to get us all ready for bed, he smiled and laughed, happier than he had been all weekend.

Little Red, for his part, held up really well but was happy to be home, too.  He did a great job with the toilet, and even stayed dry in the diaper we used for the long car rides.  It was heartbreaking to hear him cry that he needed to go potty when we couldn’t stop anywhere, and it was hard to tell him, “just go in the diaper, it’s ok.”  But in the end he stayed dry (and only used clean washrooms — he refused at one stop because someone had carved their initials into the seat.)

Today all we’ve done is laundry, watch tv, and take a big nap.  It feels so normal and I’m happy to be home.  I’m glad the “smell of Vegas” is out of our clothes, and I’m glad to feel relative humidity (sorry desert rats, I need water.)