Obviously, since I’ve made many posts last night and today, but I have so much to tell, I wanted to wait until I had time to write a lengthy post.
My visit with family went well. We got in Friday night, and per our arrangement, checked into the Venetian (!), called my sister’s house, then went to the Rum Jungle. We were supposed to hook up the next morning, and it was vital that we get to the house long enough before Cindy had to leave for work (at 2 pm) to have a decent visit. With one thing and another, though, we didn’t get there till 12:30. Driving over there, I was so tense you could have plucked me and played E. I kept saying, “This is payback time. For all the times Cindy was supposed to visit, and I was dying to see her, and she’d stay for an hour, or not show at all. Let her find out how it feels.” Contrary to my fears, neither my mom nor my sister said word one about our lack of punctuality. We had a good conversation, and Cindy actually remembered her role in one of my anecdotes, which she usually doesn’t.
Brad was…okay. I was semi-prepared for his appearance, but he honestly looks like Tim McVeigh. He was pleasant, and we talked about movies and music, then he told us stories about his job. At one point, he mentioned the n-word, and I deflated. I had hoped he wouldn’t be like that. I have less sympathy for him now. My mom said that she and Cindy had an “intervention” before we got there (they wouldn’t elaborate) and it seemed to have had some positive effect. Later, Cindy said that he was toeing the line in honor of our visit. Also, when I called and asked for my mom, he said, “Ann*, it’s for you.” She’d prefer to be called Grandma, but he didn’t used to call her anything. We enjoyed ourselves with him and my mom separately.
As for the rest of our visit, Vegas was GREAT! I had expected a tacky, dangerous, suffocatingly hot city, but found a definite class act. The Rum Jungle was my only real disappointment; they had a very small dance floor for a supposed dance club, they only played salsa, which I don’t like, and they wouldn’t let me in wearing my Hard Rock Honolulu shirt (not a stretched-out, faded old thing, but a crisp new one, black with a gray logo). We went on Star Trek The Experience and Race to Atlantis, both of which I recommend vehemently. We watched people gamble; it’s sad to see how many people won’t stop until they’ve lost all their original investment. But we didn’t see anyone sell the shoes off their feet or anything. Brad and Cindy steered us towards restaurants that were cheap and good; all the hamburgers were ambrosial, and on Sunday, lunch for three was 11 dollars. We also ate at the Nitro Grill; it’s definitely worth it for the food and the atmosphere. We did a lot of window-shopping, the highlight of which was the FAO Schwartz at Ceasar’s. We finally had to leave with our hands over our eyes, lest we see one more section we wanted to check out and thus be there till the next day. They had an amazing animatronic window display, with stuffed animals acting out scenes from ancient Rome. The gladiator being led from his cell was somewhat unsettling, but little kids wouldn’t know what that scene was depicting. We didn’t gamble, except for video blackjack; Mr. Rilch lost his entire $2, and I stopped when I was a nickel ahead. I didn’t find Suzie Creamcheese, but I didn’t look very hard, either. I also regret that we couldn’t get tickets to see Penn and Teller, but so be it. Next time, we’ll stay longer, and it will be at the Excalibur. Their medieval theme is carried out very tastefully, from what I saw.
Oh, and here’s the really cool thing that happened. Mr. Rilch’s dad sent us a $100 gift certificate for Ruth’s Chris Steak House. (Our favorite, almost the only one we’re familiar with, Fancy Restaurant. About $50-75 a person, but well worth it.) We were saving it to use in Vegas so we could smoke after the meal. Mr. Rilch had brought two cigars, one costing $3, the other $4. He had them on the tablecloth, where the wineglass would go. At Ruth’s Chris, they serve the steak on a hot plate, sizzzzzzzzzzling in butter. The server didn’t realize till it was too late that, as he put down Mr. Rilch’s plate, he was dripping butter all along the length of both cigars. He apologized profusely and sent over the manager. After stressing that he didn’t want the server to get busted, Mr. Rilch agreed to accept two replacement cigars costing $20 each. No-ot bad!
Remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.