Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What doesn't happen in Vegas....

Hang with me, dear Diary....this is gonna be looooong!

Our trip to Vegas started bright and early on Monday, July 14th. Well, not so bright and early. We aimed for 7:00, and left about 10:00. We decided a good breakfast that didn't involve unwrapping the main course while steering with your knees was probably the best option.

A couple of days before, I had an idea that was just too sappy to be believed. I hesitated to share, for fear of looking like the true blue sap I really am. But I was even too big of a sap to keep it too myself, so I shared.

And guess what? Ranger had the same idea already.

So, us saps-in-a-pod executed the sappy idea. We each built a playlist of songs that reminded us of one another. Go ahead, say it.....ewwwww.

If it's any consolation, it would be a source of pissing me off.

We headed out across the varied terrain of southern Utah. I sent a quick "Happy Birthday!" message to Greg, who had been dreading the day because something always bad happens to him on his birthday.

He responded: "It's already gone to shit. My friend broke my bong and didn't tell me about it." I told him I was sorry ab out that, and yes, his friend should have fessed up. Greg managed to spend the rest of the day on the back porch, smoking pot, so he ended up feeling better about the whole thing pretty quickly.

Ranger and I bumped along the backroads and highways, singing along to the music and admiring the scenery. Southern Utah is really astonishing. We finally pulled in to the town Ranger wanted to find on this little side trip -- Hanksville. Looks to me like Hanksville has a gas station with a store built into the side of a mountain, a restaurant, a few trailer homes, and one impressive rock shop.

Yep, a rock shop. Which is why we were there. Ranger led me through the shop, nearby barn, and grounds, showing me exceptional examples of all sorts of stones, gems, fossils, and the like. Amazing. I saw a dinosaur bone as long as a couch. He told me about the owner, an elderly man with amazing stories to tell. He said he was afraid of when the old man died and his kids started dividing up the property.

We went back in the store and Ranger inquired after the owner.

"He passed away back in May," the old woman said. "Kids have the place up for sale. We'll see what happens. They asked me to stay on since I've been here for 30 years."

The asking price? $700,000. You could just see it pain Ranger. He's never wanted so much money, so badly.

We headed off down the road, through a place called Duck Creek. The road wound through the mountains, through beautiful forests, at a glorious temperature of 53 degrees! Loved it. We ran into a little traffic jam, stuck behind a slow-moving family of wild turkeys. A couple of times, we stopped to give right-of-way to deer.

We finally hit the interstate and headed to our accommodations for the night, in Mesquite, Nevada. Ranger had played with the voices on the GPS and we were hearing all of the directions in a female Australian voice.

"Exit right, to Mes-quat."

"What did she say?" I asked.

Ranger was already laughing. "I think we're entering MesQUAT, babe."

As we made the turn, we played one last song from his playlist, and Ranger learns that I can really belt out "Memory" from "Cats" with the best of them. He's surprised, and that makes me smile.

So, in Mesquat, Nevada, we checked into the Casablanca Resort and Casino. I called home to check on my kiddies. Son was seeing the doctor about a football injury he aggravated. Daughter finally (FINALLY) got a birthday card from her dad (nearly a week later) and some money. She was happy to have heard from him.

As I talked, I watched my water-sign Ranger in the pool. More like, in the waterfalls. The water cascaded over him, as he let the road stress dissolve away. He's never happier than when he's in the water.

We changed and went to the hotel's buffet. Which would prove to be a gastronomical mistake. A huge gastronomical mistake.

I'm not a gambler. But walking back through the lobby, we spotted something that gave me the quivers. A Star Wars slot machine.

No kidding. With Yoda sitting on top.

Ranger dragged me away, knowing I'd be unable to resist on my own. And we retired for the night. A restless evening of gut-wrenching indignities, silenced only by the glories of Immodium. I climbed into my soft, cotton wolf-print nightshirt and snuggled into bed with Ranger for a much-needed sleep.

I love sleeping beside Ranger. Our bodies fit perfectly. He makes me feel safe and warm. I just love it. We woke early in the morning and made love until nearly checkout time. I thought of it as the first of many pleasures of this trip...but I would be wrong. It would be the first and last.

Now this might be TMI, but I don't much care. Before leaving on this trip, I was being bothered by what seemed to be a blemish on the "upper labia" portion of my nether-regions. On the very edge of the skin above where I have to pee, to be exact. I know....don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

I told Ranger, hesitant because I didn't want to look deformed or mutated or gross to him. I was embarrassed by it. He held onto me and assured me that no matter what, I was beautiful to him and he'd take care of me. He wanted to know if making love to me would be a problem, and told me that if it was that he was happy to just literally sleep with me.

This would be put to the test.

As we packed up to go, Greg texted me. "Gambling?" he asked.

I told him about the Star Wars machine, but that I was afraid to lose what little money I had.

"Always pain the future is!" he said. Then, "Let go you must, of that which you fear to lose!"

So, in the hotel lobby, I faced my fear. I put my one and only dollar bill into the machine.

Five minutes later, I was less one dollar.

So, when people ask me if I lost in Vegas, I say yes, one dollar. They say that's good! I say, no, I only wagered a dollar!

And so we headed to Las Vegas. We listened to his sappy playlist all day Monday. So, I say, "It's my turn now!"

He says, "Hey! We didn't go through my 162 songs yet!"

162?!?! Okay, he has more music than me. I have 56 songs, but they are just as meaningful to me, and just as meaningful to me that he hears them.

"I don't care!" I say. "We heard yours all day yesterday. I think ten hours is long enough. MY TURN." And I get my turn, for the shorter drive to Las Vegas. What dominates my playlist, though, is how many of the same songs we picked for each other. Gotta love that.

Ranger has been to Vegas many times, so he headed straight for the strip, so he could watch my slack-jawed, small-town girl reaction to the larger than life spectacle that is Vegas.

Everything is just so freakin' HUGE! And at night, it's HUGE with lights and pyrotechnics!

When we get out at the hotel, my door won't close. I checked for the seat belt being caught in it and try again. It shut. A couple of days later, Ranger would discover and break the bad news to me. It wasn't a seat belt in the way. It was my beloved iPod. (It still plays, but the screen is busted.

We check into the hotel, and I start organizing things. I look up to realize it's 3:00. I'm due to hear the keynote speaker (and see my boss) at 4:00. Dang. I change into professional-type clothes, and Ranger and I head out to find the way to the conference. I'm staying at Harrah's, but the conference is next door at the Venetian. Turns out to be about a 15-minute walk. By the time we get there, I realize that little blemish is really bugged by walking. And it's not so little anymore. More like walnut-sized.

So, I find a spot among the HUNDREDS of people at the conference. I listen to our keynote speaker - Steve Wozniak of Apple. He's signing books at the opening reception for the Exhibit Hall, but I don't get in line. Wish I had, but I was starting to be in some serious pain.

Oh, and I met a colleague of South Carolina's. How odd is that? But wait! It gets even more odd.

I get back to Ranger and change clothes for dinner at a really yummy buffet. I even get to take some cotton candy back to the room. Ranger is very sensitive to my pain. He draws a bath for me. Gives me something to sleep in that's soft, made with satin and chiffon. He curls around me in bed, and turns on Season 2 of "Feasting on Asphalt." Gotta love it.

It's a rough night. I can't sleep. I get up early and head to the conference. I have meetings with vendors, conference sessions, a meeting with our sales reps for different products we use, and dinner with yet another vendor. Dinner is weird.

But before dinner time, something else bizarre happens. I'm in the Exhibit Hall, about to leave for a session. Someone catches my eye. Could I possibly see someone I know? I circle around and peek at her name tag.

Sure enough. It's my (get this) high school senior History teacher. From Lubbock, Texas. No freakin' kidding. I stopped her and introduced myself, reminding her of my maiden name. Her eyes went wide and she remembered me. We talked about our lives, and my kids. Suddenly, she realized I graduated in the 80s, and we both feel old. Freakin' unbelievable.

End of the day, I head to dinner with the vendor. We (my boss and I) are meeting the sales rep and the company CEO for drinks and dinner. The restaurant is very nice. VERY nice. I looked it up, thank goodness. I get to the door and give my name. The hostess takes me to where we are gathering in the bar. I round the corner and see....

breasts. An 8-foot painting of a couple apparently having sex, with her breasts prominently featured. I hope I masked my initial shock as we all shook hands and I took a seat, with the painting behind me. I sat down and looked up, to see....

more breasts. The paintings are a theme, apparently.

We make small talk for a half an hour, then we are shown to our table. The CEO comes in late. In the dining room, they place your napkin on your lap for you. There's a wine steward, a bread girl, a bus boy, and a waiter. They all fuss. I'd be more impressed if I weren't so preoccupied with the 8-foot tall paintings of the same couple trying out new positions. The dining room is apparently a breast-free zone, though.

I found it difficult to concentrate on the Italian CEO's spiel while trying to figure out exactly which body part I was seeing where, doing what, in the painting behind him.

When I left the restaurant, I texted Ranger and headed to the Blue Man Theater. No, I didn't get to see the show. I'd been in the Blue Man Store earlier in the day, which is right by where my meetings were. The sales clerk took a liking to me and told me how to make it into the theater lobby at 9:00 to get autographs. Ranger and I were racing to this point, with Ranger bringing the items for my kids to be autographed.

Mission accomplished. Blue smears on a performance-used drum head for Daughter and a baseball cap with a blue hand print on top for Son.

Ranger and I grabbed some dessert and wine. Again, he drew a bath for me, gave me something silky and soft to sleep in, and tucked me into bed. During the day, Ranger had stocked our little fridge with my favorite juice, sodas, and snacks.

But I was alarmed. Walnut-sized had become golf-ball-sized. And getting worse. Dang. Exhausted, worried, and in pain, I was watched over all night.

I dragged myself out of bed, away from Ranger's protective arms, early the next morning for a breakfast meeting. My 15-minute walk was excruciating. Ranger had found another route that took me along the sidewalk on the strip. I hated that. It was longer, hotter, and full of people hawking call girls. Heck, just full of people. Ranger insisted on going that way, but I stuck to my backdoor route. It was quieter, cooler, with less people. And no hookers.

I was distracted during breakfast, talking to the guy who did my job about 2 years ago (and did it badly, I might add). I got some questions answered I'd wondered about. I debriefed my boss on my many meetings. Then, he let me know he'd be disappearing with his wife soon. "See you back home," he said.

I checked out my schedule and called Ranger. "I think I'll be done about 2:00," I told him. "I have a big 'gala' event tonight, but I don't know that I have to be there long."

"How about a nap?" he said. "I can have the air conditioner waiting for you."

I agreed. Before heading back to the hotel, I went to the bathroom. The problem with slick marble floors is that you can't see wet stuff on the floor. As I settled in to do the deed, my foot hit something wet and I slipped. Slamming down on this nasty cyst I was fighting. Guys, I think I have a new appreciation for what it feels like to be racked. Oh dear god, what pain!

In the hotel room, I slipped into something skimpy and cool, and assumed a position on the bed that maximized air circulation to all parts possible. Ranger settled in with me, sitting beside me as we chatted and joked. We laugh A LOT.

He got up to go to the bathroom and stopped. "Punkin," he said. "Were you bleeding before?" He's looking at my nether-regions with concern.

No, I had not been bleeding. My reason for growing concern had ruptured. Ranger was sweet enough to go make a purchase for me I hadn't made in years. Maxi pads.

I did not attend that gala event that night. We stayed in and nursed my problem to a manageable level. Then, we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, where I'd wanted to get something for Son.

At the hotel again, Ranger once again tucked me in and watched over me, with the addition of giving me a hydrocodone to help me sleep through the pain.

The drive home was shorter, without the side trips. I dozed a lot, and Ranger encouraged me to doze as much as possible. He was worried about me. When I was awake, we listened to the rest of his playlist.

I called my doctor. "Get to the urgent care office here tonight," they said.

"What if I'm not there in time?"

"Then get there first thing in the morning," they said. This couldn't wait.

When Ranger's list ran out, I happily turned to mine. Okay, so I couldn't read the screen, but I could sound out the clicks to find it! But he was lukewarm about hearing it. He watched the scenery instead of listening. He didn't react at all to the sweet songs I'd picked out for him. He talked through most of them.

Maybe it was the pain making me a little emotional, but my feelings were hurt. I eventually turned off my list and switched to the 80s channel on XM Radio.

Finally, we got home. Late at night. I dropped off Ranger and his gear. He hugged me and said, "You know, I had a good time anyhow. What didn't happen wasn't important. I just wanted to be with you, and I had you to myself for four nights. That's wonderful to me."

He's very sweet, yes?

I made the painful drive home. My family delighted in their souvenirs. Finally, I crawled into my own bed and slipped into sleep.

My getaway hadn't turned out the way I expected. At all. The aftermath is still to come. Still, as I went to sleep, I had the distinct pang of missing Ranger's presence beside me.


Walker said...

I think alot happened in Vegas that is more important than what didn't happen and the best part is that doesn;'t stay in Vegas but goes home with you.

I'm sorry you had to deal with your "walnut" on your trip but Ranger showed that he take care of you when you needed it.

Blogget Jones said...

Well said, Walker. I think you're right about the unexpected things turning out to be more meaningful.

~ellen~ said...

Holy cow! Please take good care of yourself, and let us know what happens with your labia issue.

I will be sending positive, happy labia energy your way!


Blogget Jones said...

Thank you, Ellen! I'm needing all the happy labia energy I can get!

;o) BJ