I'm back. Now I need a little vacation after my vacation.
We left on Wednesday morning at 6:30. It was an icy blizzard outside and the canyon was terrible, probably the worst I've ever driven in. I even almost slid off a time or two. It was quite a relief to make it to the airport.
We arrived in Las Vegas and got our rental car without incident, it just took a long time. I think we've decided it would be worth driving next time to save the money from the flight and rental car, because you really don't save that much time when all is said and done and it cost us each about $100 for the flight and the rental car was $150 with all the taxes. (The lady there told me it was 33 percent tax on rental cars. Definitely not worth it.) Also with driving we wouldn't have to worry about the time so much and also we wouldn't have to worry about how we were going to get everything stuffed into our suitcases. We were allowed only one suitcase each at 50 pounds and Kim's suitcase weighed 51 pounds on the way there. We took care of the problem by putting all her heavy shoes in our carry on bags (which we brought empty) on the way home. I was a little worried about that one, but it all worked out.
Anyway, we stayed at Mandalay Bay, which my brother got for the great rate of $75 a night and it was really nice. My only regret there was that we didn't set foot anywhere near the pool, which was kind of why we picked that hotel in the first place. I would have liked to at least look at it or sit in a chair and read a magazine for an hour or so. The weather was pretty nice most of the time, warm but not hot, but really windy. The last day it was really windy and rained really hard. Not great for the outdoor shopping center we were at. As I was walking down the corridor, the wind was so strong it whipped my shirt up and it was not a loose shirt at all. Crazy. Thank heavens for modest undergarments.
Anyway, the first day we were there, we hit every Ross store within a 20 mile radius and let me tell you, there were plenty. They have some nice, big Ross stores and they aren't picked over like the one we have here. The good thing too was that in Utah they mainly have sleeveless dresses and in Las Vegas, most of the dresses left have sleeves, which is what I want. I found this really cute dress in one Ross store that was about 4 sizes too big, but at the next store they had my size just sitting there waiting for me at the end of a rack, like it knew I was coming. Only $19.99 too. Last year I found a dress at our Ross that I loved, but it was 2 sizes too big. I bought it anyway and hung onto it for a couple of months, hoping they'd get my size in. They never did, so I finally wore it even though it is a little big and not as fitted as I'd like. Of course I found the exact same dress, in my size, at the first store we went to. Yes, I tried it on and it did look better, but not enough to lose sleep over. I also found a cute skirt for Morgan for Easter and a nice church top for Ally, some sandals for Austin and a nice tie for Hal. (Okay, and a couple of tops for myself.) All in all, a successful shopping day. I only bought things we needed and if they didn't like what I bought, I could return them to our store.
That night we walked the LONG way to the strip. We were trying to get to the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood. On the way there we got accosted at the MGM Grand. This one guy was intent on giving us free show tickets. (One thing I should mention here is that Kim always attracts attention. She is tall and beautiful and blond and very statuesque, everything I am not. In fact I feel rather invisible next to her, but it's okay. She is nice to me so I don't hold how she looks against her. It is interesting, though, to see how everyone notices her.) We didn't want to go to any shows, and especially not if we had to listen to a sales pitch. Then we saw the oxygen bar and said that's what we wanted to do. The guy told us to talk to the guys over there, but not to pay full price. He was right about that. Business must not have been good because the guy there was more than willing to cut us a deal. We ended up getting hooked up for $10 each, which I guess was reasonable. I'm glad we only paid that because either it wasn't working (and it looked kind of dirty, which freaked me out) or it wasn't worth the money. We couldn't tell any difference at all. We then told the guy we'd rather switch over and do the aqua massage for the rest of the time. He took Kim over and stuck her in the machine. Then he came over and tried to sell me a little machine you attach on your back and it contracts your muscles like the machine they use at physical therapy. It did feel good, but I told him I wouldn't buy one if I hadn't seen one for sale before and I had nothing to compare the price too. He went from $200 to $80 but I was still pretty dubious of the whole thing. Then he told me he could throw in the $20 I was going to pay for the massage. I said I didn't want to pay more for a massage. Then he told me Kim had paid for her massage. I didn't think Kim had paid because it was our understanding that we would switch from the oxygen to the massage for the same price. He kept saying she did pay. I finally walked over to her to see if she really did pay him. She said he had strapped her in and then said she had to pay him. Anyway, it was all a big mess. I hate things like that. I ended up paying him $5 for 5 minutes because I had nothing better to do while I was waiting for Kim to finish and I think that was fine. (So really, we each ended up paying a dollar a minute.) It was a lot better than the oxygen, which was stupid. I guess we learned some kind of a lesson in there, but I can't quite articulate what it was.
Next we walked the rest of the way to the shops. Our backs felt better, but our feet were killing. We went to Sephora and spent quite a while looking around there. After looking around at a few more places we began the long, excruciating journey back. Once we got to the Excalibur we were able to catch a tram to Mandalay Bay but we were in pain. We got in just in time to get some gelato and sit and people-watch for a while. That gelato was heavenly! I had almond and banana. Yum.
The next day my tongue hurt but I couldn't figure out why. It felt like I had burned it or something. We had a quick breakfast and headed to the regular outlets. I went to the usual store that Hal and I go to. They had nice t-shirts for me and the girls so I bought quite a few in different colors. Kim couldn't find anything much at that outlet, so we headed to the one she really wanted to go to. It had all the expensive brands in it. I'd never been there before so we used the GPS Kim had brought. We had dubbed the lady "Betty" yesterday, as she was getting us to the different Ross stores. Now Betty and I had developed a love-hate relationship by this time. A GPS is smart, but it can't reason. There were a couple of times a street wasn't marked or blocked off temporarily so we had to find another way to get there. I think my new, least favorite word is "recalculating". (Betty did get us out of a couple of jams, so for that I am grateful.)
Oh yes, I also almost got run over by a car at the first outlet center. I was walking to the car to put our bags in so we could shop some more and a man stopped his car right in front of me in the crosswalk to drop off his wife. I just kept walking behind his car and then he started backing up! The car literally bumped into me. Some other people saw what happened and started yelling at him. I felt really embarrassed, so I said I was fine and took off. I think I was kind of in shock but I wasn't really hurt.
The Premium Outlets were really nice. I even loosened up and bought some things I probably wouldn't usually buy. (My mom had generously given us each some money, so every time I didn't want to pay as much for something I would say I was buying it with the money she gave me.) They had a Skechers outlet so I bought a couple of pairs of summer shoes (they were buy one, get one half off, so I HAD to buy the 2nd pair). I do like Skechers. I have a hard time finding shoes to fit my (wide) feet and also they are so comfortable. I bought a pair of Skechers last year, cringing at the price, but they are worth it to me for the comfort factor. I think it has something to do with the flexible soles. We also each bought a pair of jeans and a shirt at the Lucky outlet. I also got a couple of inexpensive necklaces and she got a really cute top at another place.
So basically, we shopped till we dropped.
That night we ate on the strip (we drove) and we were exhausted and hungry. Then we looked around the Venetian and the stores there a little. It took us so long to get back to Mandalay that we missed the gelato shop so we didn't get any that night.
When we got back to our room, I tried on a couple of my t-shirts. Kim told me they were way too big. I know she was right, they did look kind of sloppy. I'm always worried that my shirts will get too short so I get them big. We went back and exchanged them the next day. I hope they don't shrink too much! I really wish pants would get higher up in the waist like they used to be. That would solve a lot of problems. It is nice to shop with Kim because she keeps up on styles and knows what looks good. She is more in style than I am. I'm more into comfort, so it was good to have her opinion. I especially need to try and quit buying my pants too big. (Oh my, how things have changed since junior high. I had one pair that I loved that I actually had to lie down on the ground to zip up. Ouch! How embarrassing is that to admit?) My pants always sag and then it looks like my legs are even shorter than they are. Apparently, pants that sag in the behind are not attractive to the general population, though they are quite comfortable, generally. I need to start making friends with my belts, I guess, because I can't really buy a whole new wardrobe of pants. The good thing is that right now, the girls and I are all roughly the same size, so if something doesn't fit one of us, it will usually fit someone else.
Our last morning we got up, got ready, checked out and headed straight for the gelato. That was our breakfast. I figured out what the matter was with my tongue. The almond gelato had little sharp pieces of almond in it and also the gelato had little ice shards all through it. It literally shredded my tongue. There are cuts all through my taste buds. I'll have to be careful next time I buy some (because there will definitely be a next time).
This time in Las Vegas I did something differently than I usually do, I didn't eat at a single buffet. I'm still trying to decide if that's a good thing or not. I kinda missed the fresh shrimp, but the gelato more than made up for it.
We decided to wait and eat lunch at the airport, so we checked in at 2:30 instead of 3:30. Everyone kept warning us that it takes at least two hours to get through security because it is so tight there. So, we got there three hours early, so we could eat a leisurely lunch. Security wasn't too bad at all so we started looking for a place to eat. The best we saw was a little Chili's takeout that didn't have a very good selection. So that day all we ate was gelato and southwestern egg rolls. I wasn't feeling too great. I did eat a granola bar that was in my bag but it was pretty sweet so that didn't help much. About that time we found out that our plane was delayed an extra hour. Apparently they had bad weather in Burbank or something that delayed the flight, so we ended up being in the airport for four long hours. We will definitely drive next time. We found a Brookstone store while we were killing time, so we sat in the massage chairs for about ten minutes until we got kicked out.
Anyway, we made it home around 11:00 p.m. and the weather was fine in Utah, so the drive from the airport wasn't bad. It was nice to be home and the house didn't look too bad (there were some rather dubious looking green cookies that Morgan had made). I think I even kind of missed everyone a little bit while I was gone. I was pretty exhausted, so I went right to bed. (I did happen to notice when I was checking on the kids, that Austin was wearing the same shirt he was wearing when I left. Coincidence? I hope so, but I strongly doubt it.)
I was brought back to reality pretty quickly the next morning, because the first words I heard were, "I think I need some dry underpants."
I had to get up anyway, because I learned that Hal had signed us up for the first deep cleaning assignment of our church. So, at 8:30 a.m. I was scrubbing toilets and mopping bathroom floors. Our old building had only two bathrooms. This new Stake Center has eight, counting the Stake Presidency's bathroom (which we didn't have to do) and the cute little Nursery bathroom (which we did do). There were six families signed up, but only the Bryans and our family showed up. Let's just say I didn't feel like going home and scrubbing our own toilets any time soon. We hurried to be done in time to get home for the first Conference session. Next time I don't think I'll be gone right before Conference weekend again. It was too rushed so I couldn't enjoy Conference as much as I usually do.
Last night I was still pretty exhausted. The cat had to practically do a tap dance on me to wake me up to take her out, not just jump up on the bed like she usually does. I also asked Morgan why she had the bathroom night light in her bedroom because I saw it there when I was taking the cat out. She said it wasn't in her room. I looked and sure enough, it was still in the bathroom. I also realized that there was no way it could have been where I thought it was in her room because there is not a plug there up on her wall. I must have been hallucinating while I was walking back up to my bedroom. I definitely need to catch up on my sleep.
All in all, my trip to Vegas was pretty fun. Definitely worth doing. There are some things we would do differently, so I think we'll have to do it again in a few years.