Today is June 9th, 2007—I flew from Burbank CA to Las Vegas this past Wednesday after a miserable stressful day at work. Everything I touched went to shit! The program I need to use to download requests for new card holders from the bank for the crews on film and TV shows crashed for hours putting a strain on not only my company but the production accounts who had users who needed their cards to shop for the show productions. While waiting I was tossed at the last minute a task to do a QA testing on the next build release of software we own on my Mac—being in computer and product tech support I have one monitor with a KB switch that allows me to switch to PC, switch to Mac 10.3.9 (Panther) and switch again to Mac 10.4.9 (Tiger). I was emailed a link on the server to download the new build and test in 30 minutes on the Panther. Problem was—–the Mac didn’t have access to the server link so I couldn’t download the program—arghhhhhhhh—–now all the while I am getting calls for the credit cards from the studios and can’t give them what they want, and now I can’t do this short notice testing that is MANDATORY—so I get emailed the build. I download it to the Mac via a web e-mail program and try to install it. It froze the Mac–I couldn’t force quit the installer. I couldn’t cold boot—by the time I got it installed my time was up and I hadn’t tested—aaaaackkkk!!! I begin having major acid reflux from the stress—I didn’t take my prescription med for it that morning because it was packed in my suitcase—I just popped some (many) Rolaids and Tums to no avail what-so-ever- and counted down until I would be out of the office and off to Las Vegas to meet my family flying in from Minneapolis for my nephew’s (also from Minneapolis) wedding. They were all staying at Caesar’s Palace—I had a room for two days “right across the street” at Bally’s. Now mind you I am not a Vegas sort of person–haven’t been there much in my life time. So the time comes to go to the airport, my stress level is off the chart—I have my co-worker race me to the airport and drop me off at the curb—wooo hooooo, no more job stress! Mid week and home for two day weekend and I’ll be well rested and ready to take on the work demons again! Says who????
After I dragged my carry on through the corridors straight to the security check with my pre-printed boarding pass, I got dinged for not having my under 3 ounce numerous containers in a zip lock bag–and so while I packed them in their complimentary Ziploc, they confiscated my under 3 ounce favorite hand cream because the container was too big!!! Sons a bitches!! So off I go and get in my A line at Southwest and go to make a phone call—-digging like a frantic lunatic in my purse, dumping it out and no cell phone. I ask a fellow passenger if I can use her cell phone and I call my co-worker—sure as hell my cell phone is on my desk—QUICK!!! Drive back to the airport and bring it to me!!! Thankfully I work only 5-6 minutes from work…not so thankfully, the plane was set to leave in 25 minutes—I couldn’t leave my bag unattended so I had to run the corridor, dragging my carry on and wait for her at the curb—she comes tearing through the inside lane and tosses me the phone, I toss her in $10 bucks for her trouble and she curses at me saying it will be on my desk when I get back—now I have to race back in and through the security line yelling “I’ve already been here once, so unless you are giving me back my hand lotion, let me through!!” I am NOT calming down from my stressful day—my acid reflux is killing me but as I get back to the gate we are boarding—whew!!!!!!!!!! I have promotional drink coupons, I’ll have a couple to calm me down—-
The crew member says there is only time for one drink– one 2″ tall bottle of Bailey’s cost four drink tickets and they were out of milk—screw it, give me some ice, I’ll take anything!! Silly me!!! What I got was more acid reflux from the alcohol! The plane lands, I grab a round trip token ticket for the shuttle and am on my way to Bally’s, hot, tired, and emotionally drained BUT I am no longer at work, I am going to be with family, wooo hoooo—time to relax! I called my brother on his cell and told him I was on my way to Bally’s—they had just arrived at a restaurant in Caesar’s for dinner. “Great! Come straight over, bring the suitcase and meet us for dinner—it’s “just across the street,” he says–
I am in capri’s, short sleeves and slip on sandals—let me just say this here and now for those planning a trip to Vegas—there IS NO “just across the street!!” There is miles and miles of skyways that walk and escalators down and stairways up and more miles and miles through casinos and registration check-ins and forums and shops —my chest was heaving, my chins were splinting and the leather tops of my sandals were rubbing my feet like an angry Samoan (and don’t any Samoan cry racist, Angry Samoan is the name of a hard core punk band I’ve heard my daughter mention—so shutcherpiehole!!) I arrive at the restaurant ready for a wheel chair and my brother and niece come running, arms out-stretched so happy to see me—-I wish I could have felt the same—-I really wanted to but I had absolutely no energy left to feel anything but the need for Jenny Craig and a good podiatrist!!! But I settle in and catch my breath, and ask for a great fruit drink of which I am brought an alcoholic pomegranate drink with a rim full of sugar—and it was “so tasty too!! Just like candy!” :))) It’s Italian of course so I ordered something spicy and washed it down with a tall cold beer—chatted up my brother and sister-in-laws life time close friends who came for the wedding, met some of the younger generation nephews and spouses on my sister-in-laws side and had a nice time but ohhhhhhhhhhhh that acid reflux! After dinner I walked and walked and walked and walked to my hotel room—on the 14th floor with a lovely view of Caesar’s Palace “right across the street.” Below is a picture out my room window—-the little blue ball in the center says Bally’s yet I am taking this picture from IN Bally’s–right behind it is a tall gold building with a second tall one to the right, THAT my friend is Caesar’s Palace!!!!!
Here is a view zoomed in:
but the actual DISTANCE is the first picture! RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I took my prescription for acid reflux and dropped into bed—30 minutes later the bile surged to the top of my throat. I spent the next 30 minutes upchucking the day’s stress and then slept like a baby!
I woke up Saturday morning and decided to go downstairs and have some breakfast before the 12:30 wedding. It didn’t take long on my walk through corridor after corridor just to get to the elevator to realize my feet were in deep doo! I knew blisters were just around the corner. I had even put on my flip flops for the walk to try to give them a rest but it didn’t matter. The rubber thong between the big toe was like rubbing salt into the wound. Every step was pain and I waddled like a side show in a carnival all the way across the casino to an escalator up to the buffet—when the hell did the $1.99 all you can eat buffet’s turn into $14.99 rip offs????? As you can tell I don’t hit Vegas often!! So I ate breakfast and fed my acid reflux it’s morning dose and went back to my room. Along the way, the temptation was too great and I threw some money into the penny slot machines and actually came out a little ahead—as I don’t care for gambling either I struggled back up to my room, watched some TV and then dressed for the wedding—off I went over the river and through the woods to Caesar’s Palace to see my nephew marry the woman of his dreams.
The wedding was short and sweet and I finally got to meet my niece’s husband who is a career military Air Force pilot–a B-52 trainer to be exact. He was a sweet guy and they make a lovely couple–after the wedding we went to Lago’s for a buffet reception which again was very lovely—I was as surprised as the bride and groom that so many people came from all over the world to see them get married as not a one of us was from Nevada—it wasn’t very big, maybe 45 people but from as far away as France and Hong Kong, New York and Minnesota and then short hop me from California–I was really happy to be a part of it since I missed my nieces wedding—even as the blisters puffed up and filled out, even as the prescription anti acid AND Rolaids didn’t work well, I was still happy to be with family–
I returned to my room hobbling all the way, just plain miserable–I thought leaving the stress behind at work and coming to Vegas for a couple of days and then going home Friday night in time to relax over the weekend was just what the doctor ordered—-well my doctor must have been a WITCH doctor because things just kept rolling downhill. My brother decided to take us all by cab to downtown Vegas which is a ways away from the strip. Downtown is the old part of Vegas—nothing glitzy and glamorous in comparison to all the high rises and bumper to bumper traffic of Las Vegas Blvd. Downtown also has some of the original casinos from when my brother and I were kids—40-45 years ago—at a time when Mom and Pop left us out in the car while they rushed in to gamble for 30 minutes because kids weren’t allowed inside and there was no “Circus Circus” or any other number of places like today where you can leave your kids—for a price of course—everything has a high price tag in Vegas–even a tiny box of band-aids was $5.00 which I refused to pay. I told them to piss off!! Boy—I showed THEM! I let my blisters kill me instead! Hmmph!
So I decided to take my walk to the elevators, go down and across the casino to the escalators down to the Monorail!! Thinking I was being smart I purchased a one day pass for 8 bucks that would allow me to ride to any casino I wanted. Well all my blistered, red, swollen feet wanted was a ride “next door” to Caesars to meet my family and go downtown. Let me just warn any future visitors to Las Vegas—————-the MONORAIL does NOT take you right to each casino. You exit at a stop that is for several casinos and then walk along moving flat escalators to downstairs escalators to upstairs escalators, into casino doors, across the casino to the registration desk and to the front doors to the next Casino. I paid 8 bucks and walked the same damn length I had been walking for two fucking days already! What a pisser!!!! But I made it there and could hardly wait to walk around downtown. Luckily I had my medical card with me—I saw many elderly folks on electric burgundy carts—so many the same that I am sure there was a place to rent them—I was really starting to feel the need but I didn’t want to damper the bright occasion so I tried to complain as little as possible—so off we went in the cab with Dr. Dave as he called himself—he really was a riot as he gave us the guided tour through the neon lights of “off” Vegas—like an off Broadway feel.
We passed by old wooden stores that had gifts and antiques with running white lights trying to make it stand out on the otherwise darkened deserted street. We passed by a huge warehouse that holds a lot of Elvis memorabilia. “Dr” Dave pointed out the old industrial building wrapped in barb wire to protect its contents from vandals, and the homeless along the street corners–but he had a way of doing so with humor—we all had a great laugh and a fun ride. He dropped us off outside the Frontier and 4 Queens hotels and I immediately went back in time to when I was ten years old or so and sat in the car with my brother in front of these very hotels that really WERE right across the street from each other. But now the street was closed—the long blocks were turned into a promenade with street vendors and an over head canvas cover from one end of the closed area stretching blocks to the other end. Every half an hour the “ceiling” above the streets would show a different computer generated light show which was cool. Anyway as we stepped out of the cab I offered to pitch in but wasn’t allowed to–I tried a couple of different times to treat but was shut down—it felt nice but I also felt the internal guilt I seem to carry if anyone does something nice for me. We stood outside on the closed street for a few minutes just looking around and then went inside Binions Casino to play some slots. It was at this time that I couldn’t find my prescription glasses. Panic rose in me because I had already left my cell phone at the office and thought I had lost it once again in Vegas. With all the discomfort I was in I hadn’t really been thinking clearly and paying enough attention. I emptied out my purse and my glasses were gone. I know then for sure they somehow fell off my shirt (Ladies!! Don’t tuck them inside the front of your shirt like the guys do—they just don’t have that cling like theirs do—theirs must stick to the sweat of the hair on their chest!! ) My brother seemed to think that perhaps I left them in my room which I knew I did not because I used my cell phone in the cab and I needed my glasses to read the phone list—I could never read it without them. And did any of us know the name of the cab company, or the cab number or get a receipt? Hell frickin’ NO!!! So now I’ve lost my only pair of eyeballs—-while they all gambled I walked down the street until I found a gift shop that sold reading glasses. Prepared to pay the Las Vegas highway robbery, I was amazed that I found a pair that I could actually read with for $7 bucks! I made about $40 bucks off a 2 cent machine with Russian ducks dancing for me so that sort of felt like a reprieve from my continuous bad luck. When we returned to the strip we took a two dollar double decker bus—I asked my sister-in-law why my bro didn’t have us take the bus there instead of that expensive cab ride—she just shrugged her shoulders as if to say, “that’s him.” The bus let me off CLOSE to Bally’s so my blistered right foot didn’t have to suffer nearly as long. I spent half my entire time in Vegas walking barefoot except on the carpet leading down the corridor to my room. It was beige with flower patterns and I had visions of stepping onto a discarded heroin needle by some jet setting junkie holed up and getting aids so I made sure to limp along as best I could in my flops. Word of advice—if you are ever going to Vegas, take comfortable, broken in tennis or walking shoes –NOT sandals—you will be sorely sorry, literally.
The next day (Friday) I was going to meet Jenny, the girl who helps me behind the scenes keep my medical web site running. She has been a great help and lives in Vegas so I told her I would buy her lunch to thank her and meet her. She called me on my cell phone just before noon, as planned to let me know she was behind Bally’s by the parking lot. I told her I was out front by the main entrance where the cabs and valet parking attendants were. She said no problem, she would be there in a couple of minutes then. She would be driving a silver Jetta. So I walked out the front doors and crossed the circular driveway to be on a side where she could easily swoop in and I would just jump in and off we’d go not holding up the day long traffic. Several minutes later, I see a lady in a silver car driving up and she waved at me–I waved back and ran around the car and hopped in— “Hi! Nice to finally meet!” I say—”I don’t know how you guys deal with all the walking in this town.” She waved her hand at me as if blowing if off and said, “You have no clue—but—-you’re lucky I had the day off today.” We both smiled as we reached the end of the driveway about to turn out on to the strip heading for a good Greek gyro lunch. But it kind of surprised me that she was older than I thought. I was sure I had seen a picture of Jenny a year ago or so and I know her and her husband were trying for a baby but she looked older than I remembered and too old to be trying to have a kid….well it happened so fast I really can’t remember how, but I said something to her that included her name being Jenny and she did a double take and said, “No, I’m Susan.” and I was like “What???” and then she asked if I was so and so and I said “No, I’m Jeannie.” So I had gotten in the car with a stranger that was not only a stranger but the WRONG stranger!! Luckily she had turned out the driveway but hadn’t gone very far. She hit reverse and screeched back into Bally’s drive way again nearly giving me backwards whip lash! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! She said she was looking for someone in a teal shirt. Mine was as bright royal blue as they come! DAH!!!!!!! Maybe she had lost her prescription glasses too and was viewing me through desperate over the counter ones. So I head back to in front where I was and there in front of the doors stood a woman in what could be called teal if one was color blind. I asked her if she was waiting for someone, and she looked at me and questioned, “Susan???” ”No, Susan is over there waiting for you—go get her!” Then Jenny drove up, we went to lunch and had a good laugh about what were the odds that two women in silver cars were each picking up a woman they’d never met at the same time…..it was hairball!!
Vegas was just too much excitement for me and it was about to end with a bang!!
After lunch Jenny dropped me back off in front of the hotel. Check out time for me was 11 AM and it was now 2 PM so I was officially homeless in Vegas until my plane departure at 8:15 PM. I checked my bag at the bell desk and figured I’d spend a few hours at the pool downstairs. Swim for a while and get in the jacuzzi and then maybe hang out with family and have dinner before heading to the airport. Well silly me!! I had pictured an indoor pool kind of like at the YMCA—-I had to take the escalator down, walk though all the shops and then I came to the door that led to an outdoor pool—it was a HUGE area—like a beach—a huge pool with probably 200 lounge chairs, a tiki bar, a few other snack and drink bars, a terrace cafe, outdoor rest rooms and tunes blasting from a DJ. Being 55 I thought I had just entered spring break for college!!! There was no jacuzzi to relief the stress in my neck and back so I grabbed a table with a market umbrella for shade since I didn’t pack any sun tan lotion. Being fair skinned and heat intolerant (although I have to say it was only about 90 degrees so for June in Nevada that wasn’t bad) I wasn’t about to be out in the sun for long. The pool was like ice at first but at least it felt good on my feet—it froze them so I couldn’t feel them so it had it’s advantages—After I swam all I was going to swim I still had about 4 hours to kill with no place to go. I had plenty of time on my hands to review my trip to Vegas and was emotionally drained. I crossed to the other side of the pool where the tiki hut was empty and unattended. Thinking it would be the quietest place to grab some zzzzz’s I dragged a lounge chair back behind the hut to the vine covered wall in the shade. I had put two quarters in a locker by the rest room to lock up my purse and was going to sleep for a couple of hours to kill time. I even set the alarm on my cell phone so I wouldn’t by some small chance over sleep. I put my shorts and shirt on over my bathing suit, balled my towel up for a pillow and laid my weary head down to rest. It wasn’t but 10 minutes later that I heard a huge roar over my head. I looked up and saw that I was laying just below the tracks for the Monorail which passed through about every ten minutes. So much for quiet time to relax and snooze! I couldn’t have scripted this comedy of errors any better if I tried! By then I was just too damn tired and distraught to care. I stayed put and catnapped until my brother called. He and his wife “walked across the street” to Bally’s to meet me at the pool. Bro called from just inside the door and said he couldn’t come out—so I went in—he in his Docker slacks, not pool ready didn’t want to walk out there so I walked—-no, I hobbled along side them through the shop area where they each grabbed something to eat in a food court area. They offered me lunch but with my stomach and acid reflux (which I completely believe was stress related) I was afraid to eat anything—I didn’t want to be sick on the plane and it wasn’t too long before I would have to head to the airport to make damn sure I got through security and caught my plane on time on a Friday night! I hugged and thanked my brother and sister-in-law and said my goodbyes as they headed back to their hotel. They were going to catch the 10 PM Cirque Du Soleil Love show. I headed back to the casino to putz around a little bit before picking up my luggage to head to the airport.
I called Southwest at 6 PM to check flight status of my 8:15 PM plane only to hear the automated update say my flight number was due to leave at 10:15. I thought, “WHAT???” I am sitting at a slot machine, so surely I am hearing things. So I made my way out the casino and called back and spoke to an agent. She said the planes on the east coast were grounded due to bad weather so the flights were being delayed. Well first of all why the fuck is a plane on the east coast being used to fly people from Vegas Nevada to Burbank CA??? &&^%^*^^%%$$@$#@#$)(*(&!!!!! Now what in the hell was I going to do? I was frantic and one episode away from a nervous breakdown. I had watched the drama of Paris Hilton earlier that day as she sobbed in the back of a sheriff’s car being taken back to jail and I thought, drama, DRAMA, she should see what drama is—live my three days and then cry!! I hung up and quickly called my brother and told him I had no where to go–he had me walk “across the street” to their room and stay there. I arrived looking like a street urchin and my sister-in-law pulled out some bandages for my feet and they said there were snacks and if I was stranded I could share the extra bed with my niece. I could watch TV etc. So they left and I sat there feeling helpless and angry and depleted and sorry for myself until 8 PM when I called the recorded message back to see if the 10:05 plane was still on time. It said it was but I didn’t trust the recording. With the way my luck had been I figured maybe it hadn’t been updated so I transferred to an agent. I got a southern gal who lazily drawled that my flight was not leaving at 10:05. I asked her if the plane had even left the ground back east and she said no. Right then I was about to slit my wrists. She said all I could do is keep calling back every hour. I hung up and was one jerk away from bawling my eyes out—-but I just sat there and tried to watch CNN on Paris Hilton—and I didn’t want to be a blubber mouth like her so I sucked it up. But my gut told me to call back–it had only been 15 minutes but I wanted to hear the recorded message for the flight and it still said 10:05. It hadn’t been updated to say the flight was delayed. I needed to know for SURE because I had to get to the airport on time on a Friday night in Vegas! So once again I transferred to an agent who said the plane was leaving at 10:05—I told her I had just called and an agent told me no, so which the HELL was it? She said they got another local plane and were getting a crew together and it would be leaving at 10:05 and if I waited too late I would miss it.
So I flew out the door knowing there was no turning back because my brother was at the show at the Mirage with his cell turned off and I had no key to get back in and no way to get one either. I either got on a plane at 10:05 or went postal–one or the other–I really felt like I was ready for a major melt down. I stepped out to the curb at Caesar’s and took the round trip token out of my change purse. How did I contact the shuttle? I put on my $7.00 reading glasses and squinted my eyes to read the coin and could barely make out a number on it but called. The dispatcher told me the next shuttle wouldn’t be until 9—I freaked out whining my dilemma to her and told her I needed to get to the airport NOW–I need to check in and get on a delayed plane. She put me on hold and then came back and told me the shuttle was “just across the street” at the Flamingo. I could feel my eyes suddenly bulge and take on the look of a deer in headlights as I waited for her to tell me to just walk “ACROSS THE STREET” but glory hallelujah!!!!!! She told me he would be there in 5 minutes to pick me up. Thank GOD I didn’t have to walk “just across the street!!!” The driver showed up and he was as Russian as the lucky Russian Schlotski duck 2 cent machine that gave me $67.00 downtown Vegas—I thought this must be a good sign—the Russians are FOR ME!!! )) I told him he was my hero, and off we went. I tipped him five bucks and got right in through security. I even had enough time to wolf down a burger at Burger King and didn’t even get late night indigestion. But I was very weary and it showed. The plane didn’t get off the ground until almost 10:45 but I was LEAVING LAS VEGAS and was never so damn happy in my life!! I ordered a Baileys (still out of milk so over ice) with my free drink tickets on the plane and the guy didn’t even take the tickets–just handed me the drink and said he’d get the tickets later—he must have sensed my weariness. I didn’t get home until midnight but it will be a cold day in hell before I see the city lights of Vegas ever again!
And believe it or not, to ME, this whole story WILL be funny as hell—————-in a day or two!
I guess I wasn’t the only one who had a few things go wrong—I got the following e-mail from my brother two days later:
I still chuckle thinking about you getting into a complete stranger’s car.
Sorry about your delayed flight, but you made it home and all’s well that ends well.
Merr and my return trip should have been routine, but I guess nothing is ever routine with me. At first everything was going so smooth. I checked out of the room at about 9:00 a.m. and they let us keep the bags in the room until noon when we grabbed a cab to the airport.
So far so good. We arrived at the airport and I decided to do curbside baggage check since there was absolutely nobody there. I figured why stand in a long line inside when we can do it right here. Problems started when the first suitcase was 4 pounds over the limit. The guy made us take four pounds of stuff out of that one and put it into the other suitcase. So we had to open everything up and scrounge around trying to shift weight around. Actually I think it was the porter guy who decided to throw his weight around. Merr is convinced that we would not have had that hassle if we would have gone inside. But I kept explaining that we avoided the long lines inside. Then once we got the weight problem solved, we got hit for an extra $2 per bag for curbside check-in. So we paid it, but Merr was grumbling all the way through the door. I reminded her that we avoided the long check-in line inside. Naturally when we got inside…there wasn’t a goddam soul inside either, and we could have just gone right through. Merr got grumpyer right about then.
Next, as we were walking to the security lanes, Merr was carrying the large framed thing that we all signed at the reception. Seeing her appear uncomfortable, I said “Let me carry that frame. I have longer arms.” So she did. We got to the security check-in and we have to take off our shoes, belt etc. etc. and put everything in the tray and send it through. Then we walk through the thing and come out the other side and hope we didn’t set it off. I went right through without a problem, retrieved my carry-on and tray of stuff and took off. Merr followed and we got to putting our shoes and belt back on and getting all settled and she asks…”Where’s the frame?” “Uh…gee. I don’t know. I must have left it somewhere.” I says. Not exactly what she wanted to hear. So we go running back…and of course you can’t get out of the place once your’re in without going completely out and around and come back in way down the concourse. Damn! We (Merr) were in a panic and frantically trying to get one of the security folks to go back on the other side and see if there was a large frame sitting there. Actually, I didn’t know if I left it there or somewhere else. Again, not what Merr wanted to hear. But luck was with us (me) because the security girl found the frame and handed it over. Disaster avoided.
Then we walked (Merr carrying the frame) down to the gate area. We were about 90 minutes before our flight so decided to have lunch. There was a couple of fast food places right there and also a brew pub. I went in there and got a beer for $7.00 (yes…not a typo. $7.00). I returned to the table with my beer to guard the carry-ons while Merr went over to Burger King to get her lunch. When she returned, I would go get my lunch. It was a good plan. Teamwork. The problem was that her fries looked and smelled so good I decided to grab one. As I reached over to get a fry…I knocked my glass of beer over. It was a whole glass of beer, and it ALL sprayed everywhere, soaking up everything in its path…including Merr (as if I needed that). The mere term “grumpy” no longer applied. In fact I can’t describe the extremely high level of grumpiness the girl displayed. It took nearly every napkin and paper towel at Gate D to sop up the suds. Of course Merr’s clothing took a hit and she had that stale beer scent….kinda like a barroom floozy for the rest of the day. I’m sure the guy sitting next to her on the plane had questions…but he kept them to himself. If looks could kill, Merr would have been indicted for my murder as soon as the plane landed in Minneapolis.
The only good thing that came out was the frame was not hit with flying pilsner. Thank God for small favors. All in all…I feel quite fortunate to still be alive. We’ll see how the rest of the week turns out.
OK—so humor runs in the family! HAHAHAHAHA—I thought this was a great example of KARMA!!! ”Just across the ‘street’ MY ASS!!!” :))))