Monday, March 19, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

Yesterday, we returned home from a long weekend in Las Vegas.  I always enjoy visiting Las Vegas, but find that what I enjoy even more is coming home.  As you might expect, there is no shortage of craziness in Sin City; and I tend to prefer my quiet life in Kansas.  This trip was the second in what has now surely become an annual tradition of visiting gambling central during the first two rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (click here to read about our last trip).  I don't gamble; my husband, however, loves betting on the basketball games and playing Craps.  The possibility of getting nothing for my money does not appeal to me.  I don't understand table games, and I don't enjoy watching my money slide into a slot machine, not knowing if it will ever return.
Not so sure about that....
Shopping, on the other hand, is something I can get excited about.  Not only because Las Vegas has super outlet malls (I love getting bargains on good quality merchandise), but also because I am running out of clothes that fit.  Before we left, I was down to only one pair of jeans (and no other bottoms besides exercise pants), and had a pretty slim selection in the shirt department.  Because it's easy to get out of hand -- especially on vacation -- my husband and I each had an allotted amount of cash to spend.  This worked out well for me, not so much for the hubby.  Generally, he has Lady Luck on his side, but unfortunately for him, Vegas wasn't very kind this year (I guess the Rain Man formula didn't work out so well).
On our flight to Las Vegas (I may look happy, but I was pretty peeved that
the FSA lady threw away some of my hair product -- she did allow my protein powder
to go through, though, so I guess that's something).

My husband with his bet sheets for the Sportsbook at The Mirage.
Another thing that excited me about this trip was that I knew I would get to spend time with Andi, my future sister-in-law (which isn't something that I get to do all that often).  She is marrying my husband's brother, and I couldn't have hand-picked a better wife for him.  We both were warned that we would not see much our better halves in Vegas, so we would have to be self-reliant (fine by me, I was armed with cash and ready to go).  We walked the strip, found the mall (I bought a new pair of Tom's and some running shorts), and then found ourselves comfortably seated at the bar at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.  I know, I gave up sweets and soda for Lent, but it was firmly decided (by way of my sister, sister-in-law, and CrossFit sisters) that margaritas are not, in fact, soda OR sweets.  Phew!  We started with delicious frozen strawberry margaritas.

We were enjoying our drinks when a couple of gentlemen squeezed in next to us at the bar.  They were probably in their late 40's, and hilarious.  This is the conversation that followed (I can't remember their names, and one barely spoke, so they shall be known as "guy").

Me: Would you like us to scoot down a chair so you have more room?
Guy: I think we're fine.  Actually, I want you to scoot down four chairs.  You can't sit by us.
Me: Sorry.  One is all I'm offering and now I'm not moving.
Guy: You need to go sit across the bar.  I don't like you're attitude.
Me: I've been told that before, and I'm fine with it.
Guy: *Laughing*  You girls are alright.

After we laughed some more and discussed where we were all from, what we did for a living, kids' names, etc., they asked if we would drink some margaritas if they ordered a Margarita Tower.  We both let them know that we were fine ordering our own drinks.

Guy: Well we're ordering one, and it makes ten drinks, and we're not manly enough to finish the whole thing.  If you had margaritas in front of you, would you drink them?

We told them yes and thank you.  The bartender passed out cups of ice with salted rims.

Guy: That's all you get.
Me: Salt on the rocks?
Guy: Yep.
Me: That's fine.  This will help me out.  I've been trying to work on retaining water lately.

After the Margarita Tower was gone, they went on their way and we stayed with our rears firmly planted on our bar stools and decided to split a sandwich for lunch.  Andi and I discussed going to a club but quickly decided against it (because clubs are always way too loud, way too crowded, and way too expensive -- and we don't dress like the girls who get in for free).
With our frozen strawberry margaritas.  When we asked the bartender to take our picture,
he said "I would love to but I left my camera at home."

The Margarita Tower.
I don't drink liquor on a regular basis (mostly just on special occasions and at my monthly CrossFit Girls Night Out), so lunch was promptly followed up with a nice long nap.  Later we picked up the guys at the Sportsbook and headed out for dinner at Bahama Breeze.

The next morning Andi joined me at one of the many YMCA's in Las Vegas for a grueling CrossFit WOD.  You may remember a while back a workout named "Karen" (150 wall ball shots) that almost broke me.  This particular WOD was "Karen" plus some.  I was incredibly anxious about doing this workout again (I'm not sure that Andi knew how tough the wall ball shots actually are).  But, I selected a ball two pounds heavier than the one I used last time, and I did it!  I was faster, stronger, and I didn't cry at all!  Andi did great, too -- she even beat my score.  I think I may have converted her into a CrossFitter (even if her leg muscles were in knots the rest of the trip).  Then we were off to the outlet mall for some serious shopping.
Medicine Balls + Sweat
After we decided that there was nothing left to buy, we dropped our goodies at our hotels and headed back Margaritaville for round two of frozen strawberry deliciousness; plus chips, salsa, and guacamole.  When our bellies couldn't hold any more goodness, we moseyed across the street to the sportsbook at The Mirage, where the guys were quickly becoming a permanent fixture.
They were hard to spot from afar because there were 300
men in the room who all looked the same from behind.

At The Mirage

I was lucky enough to get to hang out with my old friend, Shellie, for a few hours.
The next morning was St. Patrick's Day.  As you can imagine, a holiday that includes green beer makes Las Vegas visitors even crazier.  At breakfast the waiter told me that I was going to be in trouble because I wasn't wearing green.  "I didn't pack anything green.  And I was hoping to get pinched," I told him.  Afterwards, we opted to go down to Old Vegas (Fremont Street).  This was my first time ever to take a taxi (if, of course, you don't count airport shuttles and the cycle rickshaw in Charleston).  So as not to disappoint, we met our fair share of wild people on Fremont as well (including an incredibly intoxicated girl who was buying drinks with the money her husband gave her to get her nails done -- she couldn't remember where her car was but knew she had to drive to Oklahoma that same day).  There were a few live bands that seemed to keep large groups of drunk people entertained for short periods of time.  During one song, the singer shouted out "One hundred dollars!  Two hundred dollars!  Three hundred dollars!"  I looked at my husband and said "Listen honey, she's counting off all the money you've lost."  I was immediately the proud recipient of the death glare.  I suppose it was too soon for him to find humor in the situation...
The hostess at this restaurant was not impressed with me...
... but the statue said she liked my moves.

I am really disappointed that I look like Sloth from The Goonies here,
mostly because I had to pay these girls to take a picture with me.

Hanging out in a casino on Fremont - a nice lady gave me some green beads.
Kansas girls.
My husband and I left Fremont and went back to the outlet mall so he could get some shirts.  While he was in the fitting room at Hurley, I was browsing and apologized to a fellow shopper for being the way of her reflection in the mirror.  "You're okay," she said "I can see through your arms."  "That's good," I told her "I've been working on my invisibility."  "I can tell," she laughed.

We made our way back to the hotel (in what we overheard locals calling a storm, but was actually a heavy drizzle) in order to clean up for our date night (I made him promise to take me to one show while there).  We tried a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner (loved it -- except for the plantains... what the hell are those nasty things?), and then watched The Beatles: LOVE by Cirque du Soliel.  This was our third time seeing a Cirque du Soliel performance (we have previously seen Mystere and Zumanity), and, as always, it was AMAZING.  I am telling you, they never disappoint.  I would love to see all of their shows (with the exception of the Chris Angel one -- he scares me a little).
Outside the theater.

The groovy dude taking tickets.


Inside the theatre.  Before the show had started...
Right before I got in trouble for taking a picture inside the theatre.
Exhausted from the hubbub of Las Vegas, and knowing we had to be up early to get to the airport, we headed back to our hotel room to call it a night.  Our flight and drive home were uneventful, and we arrived at our quiet house tired and mildly dehydrated (making CrossFit extra tough this morning).
Flight back to Kansas
My parents graciously offered to keep our son and pooch while we were gone, plus a few extra days.  We decided that the dog will probably be more excited to see us, since the little guy is probably eating up all of the attention from Grandma and Grandpa.  We, however, miss them both terribly.  We have enjoyed the break, but our house is creepily quiet when no little feet or paws are running around (and I don't know what to do when I don't have anyone to take care of).  I am very anxious to go retrieve them both tomorrow, but for now I am going to enjoy this rainy day with a hot mug of coffee.
This owl mug is my favorite because it reminds
me of my sweet little Grandma.

Take a vacation.  Relax a little.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

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