Saturday, April 10, 2010

That's What I Get For Waking Up In Vegas

Before you say it, yes, I know, I'm a giant hypocrite. Every time I pass through/stay in Las Vegas, I blog about how much I can't stand the place. Casinos are huge, money-sucking pits that trap the poor and the elderly. They are glamorized in television and movies as the kind of place where you're likely to find Julia Roberts or George Clooney in formal evening wear. I don't know about you, but I've never seen anyone in a tuxedo there, certainly not the 80 year olds dragging their oxygen tanks from one slot machine to the next. I don't gamble myself, but when I pay $35 for a room in a casino, I feel like my good deal is being subsidized by Grandma's Social Security check.

So why exactly did I find myself voluntarily taking a spring break trip to Vegas this week? Because it was warm there. And the sun was shining. In Orem, we had Eeyore weather, gloomy and miserable, making me walk around with a frowny face and slumped shoulders. I had to get out of there, and fast. St. George wasn't even warm enough, so I decided to throw personal standards to the wind and go to Las Vegas.  That's how the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were lured there, by the way - it wasn't out of evilness or rebellion, it was because they had nice weather.  And cheap hotel rooms.  And all-you-can-eat buffets.

And you know, once you decide not to hold yourself up to your personal standards, life can get pretty fun. I could walk through smoky casinos and almost not cringe at the man shuffling past using a walker with tennis balls on the feet. I justified our trip by paying substantially more for a room at an Embassy Suites, instead of a casino hotel, which is basically like pitching my tent on the outskirts of Gomorrah. I could have the self-righteous satisfaction of disdaining everything that Las Vegas stands for, but still keep my commute short.

Seriously, next trip is to someplace with absolutely no ethical dilemmas. Like Wyoming. I can't see anything in Wyoming getting me all worked up.

We had a few requirements for this trip: 1) Be relaxed. No strenuous must-see lists. 2) Swim in the indoor pool as much as the kids want to. 3) Eat at Baja Fresh, or any other place that we don't have in Orem. The first two worked out pretty well, the third, not so much. We played things by ear, stayed flexible, and had no expectations. The kids had a blast in the pool. Unfortunately, we ended up eating at a pile of fast food place that were completely unremarkable. We aimed for a Baja Fresh a couple of times, but either Google had the address wrong, or the place had closed, or we just really blew it, because we never got to eat any of that fantastic, breath-killing salsa. I spent an hour driving around in search of a Dairy Queen that I had seen not 8 hours before, but was long gone by the time I got there. It felt like we were in Hogwarts and all of the hallways and staircases kept moving around. (If only there was a Room of Requirement full of ice cream...) At one point, Zack said we were in "Lost" Vegas because we kept getting lost. Clever kid, that one.

The only thing that was a complete bust was Ethel M's chocolate factory tour. I'll take a tour of just about any kind of factory - I don't know why, but I have a fascination with seeing how things are made. Maybe it comes from watching too much Mister Rogers and Sesame Street as a kid. (Do you remember the crayon factory? Or the milk one? Loved those!) A chocolate factory tour is like the best of both worlds! Unfortunately, Willy Wonka this wasn't. There was nary an Oompa Loompa in sight. In fact, there were no regular humans in sight either - the whole factory was shut down; nothing was going on at all. What a complete disappointment to drive 20 minutes to walk through an empty factory for one minute and then end up in a gift shop. Interestingly enough, Ethel M's has a cactus garden outside that ended up being way better. Who would have thought? A chocolate factory-slash-cactus garden? Anyhow, it worked. Here are some pictures:
I switched to the new Blogger format, and now I can't figure out how to type underneath photos.  This one, with Darcey crying, was basically what you would have seen most of the trip - she was always crying about one thing or another.  Although on Friday she came down with a cold, so it's possible she was actually sick the whole time and not protesting Las Vegas with me.  Also, the reason she looks like a homeless child with no mother is because she lost every single hair thing I brought with us.  I tried to put the last remaining clip into her hair (one of mine) and she refused.  I tried, I swear.

On Friday we went to a children's museum that the kids really liked.  It was just like the one in SLC.
Zack loved all of the building toys.

They had this crazy little booth where you go inside to know what a hurricane feels like.  The wind inside went up to 78 mph!  The boys loved it.

They decided to put on a show - Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney would be so proud.  Brad was in charge of costuming and he had probably too much fun.  No one was in charge of story, or dialogue, or props, so it was a very brief show with lots of costume changes.

On the way home, we stopped in St. George to see Ryan's family.  We kept waiting for the magical "the drive home feels a lot quicker" but it never hit.  New dvds that we borrowed from Bob's collection made the drive more pleasant, though - that's the last time I let the kids decide how many dvd's to bring - four was not enough.  We came home to a house with no hot water, and the nasty smell in the refrigerator didn't suddenly disappear, but the dorito crumbs on the floor hadn't attracted ants, so we count ourselves pretty lucky.  Somehow, being away from home for three days was enough to make me really like my house again, and my bed that has no two year olds in it, kicking me in the back all night.  I think that's the best part of this trip, being happy to be home again.


rachel said...

Yay! I am glad you got to go do something fun!

Drake Steel said...

Did you take the kids on a hike?