Monday, February 25, 2013

Year of the Snake: The Great Vegas Escape

We left early on Sunday morning all excited and ready to get there. Never getting to see this side of the United States, the drive was breath taking. My sister, also a walking jukebox, had two Ipods loaded and blaring. I think we sang all the way there and myself, I got caught up on some new tunes I hadn't head like Florence and the Machine, Paramore, and reconnected with some Totally 80's that we still remembered every single word to. The drive wasn't too bad as we got to see the mountains, the Black Canyon River, The Hoover Dam, and the Joshua Tree National Park which all were well, just God's gifts to this world I think. I actually got my kicks on Route 66 which tickled me to death. We ate Zots, the frothing, fizzy candy from our childhood along with some gummy worms. We passed funny small towns like "Nowhere" population 1 and El Mirage which we didn't see a whole lot, which made it even funnier. Their were parts of AZ and NV that I swear could have replicated Radiator Springs out of the movie Cars. When we finally reached Nevada, we had no choice but to pull out Elvis and start singing Viva Las Vegas! We laughed so much on the car ride, belting out some of the worst and best music of all time. I hadn't done that in a long time and bless my Brother in law, our driver, who had to listen to it all for six hours.

There was so much "eye candy" and as a person who pays attention to details, Vegas did indeed have every little nook and cranny filled with stuff to look at. We arrived at our hotel, the Hard Rock Casino (which by the way priceline has rooms for 39.00 a night and I had a suite overlooking the city). I loved it immediately! Who wouldn't mind walking into some place that the Valet takes your hand and calls you Ma'am, all while Aerosmith is playing as loud as it can! Then right above the entrance is this sign which just made it more appealing to us.

Come On In. Why yes, yes we will, Stevie Ray!

So it seems to me that Vegas has some sort of time continuum where time just stands still. We arrived about two and got our suite. Since the car ride was long, the tub was a two person and you always have to check out your rooms...we took some down time to rest and clean up. I have to admit, the first thing I figured out what that my room had windows that opened up, a Bose system that had surround sound even in the bathroom (they totally had me at Bose and Surround Sound) and a bed? A king size bed that had no C-Pap machine attached to it. No dogs, no husband snoring; a king size that was all to myself. I jacked that music system up, Adele's Set Fire to the Rain, was echoing through the room. I opened the windows to have the curtains blowing in the room with the breeze and after changing clothes? I got on that King size bed, with its thick, downy coverlets, bed covering and pillows.....and I started jumping. I haven't jumped on a bed in years but, it was something I have wanted to do for apparently no reason in particular. It was just that release I needed, I'll admit it. Who out there just jumps on a bed anymore? It was a side of me I needed to see for myself so I can now cross that off that 101 list. I jumped for ten minutes to different music then danced around the room. I laughed at myself because I must have looked like a deranged 30+ year old trying to be that teenager who uses the hair brush to sing in the mirror. After my jumping, I took the longest bath in my life. If I could have one wish, just one in my home of all the things that are out there. It would be one of those really deep, two person tubs. The kind that doesn't have a little round thing that automatically starts draining the water if it gets too deep. All of us could use one of those. I think it should be standard issue in this life of ours. Something about bubbles, deep water and just floating away does something to the soul I think. I dunked under water, I scrubbed, I soaked away the pain, the weight of the stress and the heartache. Somehow, after all that? I just felt normal again. My second wish is for Hard Rock Casino to send me the King sized cloud that they have in their rooms. I swear, you will feel like you were in heaven and man....did I sleep.

I took two hours to do my makeup, hair and get dressed. At home, this would be knocked down by an hour and a half, so I took advantage of the time. No knocks on the door, no doggie noses under the door poking through, no whining, no yelling....just music playing and me trying to figure out who the person was in that mirror. We all met up downstairs and explored every nook and cranny Hard Rock had to offer. The place was jumping even at that hour and there were so many iconic pieces on display, you couldn't help but stop and just lust after each one. Ok, well maybe its just me as I am that into music. If I ever met a musician in person, I would probably faint. Ha! Everyone was just so freaking nice. I mean, it was like being on another planet nice. No one there staring, no one to start asking dumb questions about why we have a service dog, no one grabbing my hand and freaking out. While I missed my husband terribly, it was nice to feel normal again. It was nice to be around nice people who although just worked there, really didn't have to be nice at all.

We hit every casino that night from the Flamingo, the Mirage, the Luxor, Caesar's Palace, Bellagio and many others. We just walked and looked around. We played a few penny slots, winning some and losing some. We decided to splurge on one nice dinner while there which landed us at the Caesar's Palace to dine that the most expensive buffet I have ever seen. The Bacchanal Buffet could land you anywhere in the world and try different things, all prepared by Master Chefs. It was totally worth the price and I decided since I knocked a few things off my 101 list...might as well knock some more off. So I tried new things I would never get or stayed away from like Oyster Shooters,  Ceviche, raw oysters on the shell, watermelon cut up with cubes of Feta cheese in a balsamic dressing all tied with a small strip of chive. Crepes made right before you, lamb chops and so much more. 500 items from all over the world you could sample and honestly? I think you could eat there several times and never have the same thing twice! It was a gluttonous feast I will admit but just different and exciting. Some things were so beautiful you hated to eat it.

I took 25.00 to play with since I have never really gambled with machines. I did figure out which ones were loose, so took advantage of that, landing me quite a nice bit of extra spending money to buy t-shirts for my family and a few other odds and ends. I tried my hand at Craps and Black Jack because I have never done that, so adding that to my list. I got hit on by several men, which I will admit made me feel good. Sometimes I feel invisible to my husband so it was nice to have that reality check, that hey, you aren't that drudge, mom, caregiver, maid, driver and secretary at the house. I drank too many strawberry margaritas at each casino we visited (thank god the alcohol was free). We visited and walked around the Venetian Hotel which was spectacular in itself and brought many memories to my sister and I. We grew up as Army brats and traveled all over the world, Italy being our favorite. The inside is a masterpiece with its own skies, clouds and rivers with gondoliers and the operatic singers who steered, gave me goose bumps. We stopped for lunch at an outside but actually indoor, Italian bistro for fresh croissants and coffee, then we shared coffee gelato together. 

In between all that, I added to my 101 List with my ill gotten gaming money and finally got my first tattoo. At first, the artist said no to everything I suggested. I was either "too sweet looking", "too much of a softie" and it really irked me. lol So after asking me what I do for a living; just trying to get a general idea of who I was with this magenta and purple highlights...he agreed the best tattoo that I could get was an Ace up my sleeve and so we did it. For 30 minutes, I went between wanting to pass out (needle phobia) and crying but I never shed a tear. It represents all my hard work, victories that I did succeed and the many paper cuts I received while doing it. I didn't get it all done as I wanted only because I bled so much but we got a good start so I can keep adding on to it as I wish. Not sure because I lost count but this was most definitely on my 101 things to knock off this year. Nothing too trashy, not noticeable and if doing anything important, easily covered up. Did I mention that I have great respect for those who get these big suckers? Yeah it really hurt. I am such a wuss.

We visited Madame Tussards Wax Museum which was a ton of fun. I think out of all of it? That was my favorite. It is an interactive museum with props so you can take pictures and interact with the figures. It sits on the property of the old Sans Casino, home to the original Rat Pack. In the past year or so, it has been featured on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventurers, which both my sister and I are addicted to. So just the idea of going to a place that was haunted, was appealing but oh the laughter and fun we endured while there. Going back to my list, knocking off my second haunted place to visit, I boxed with Muhammad Ali, gave Johnny Depp a kiss and had my picture with my hand strategically placed in fun areas (hey, that's as close as I could get to the real thing. Cut me some slack. It's been a while ya know?). We danced with the Blue Men, sang along with James Brown and Prince, visited the dark alley with Michael Jackson, and played keyboard with Stevie Wonder. We sat in the crowds, cheering on Babe Ruth and drank champagne with many superstars like Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck. I even snuggled up to Hugh Heffner with bunny ears on. Ok, so yeah, they were made of wax but who cares right? It was just crazy fun! Overall? It was just a fantastic time, acting like goof balls and having no worries carried on our backs. I decided I am well into probably 50+ items on that 101 list that everyone keeps adding to. I might not completely suck at this one. I am also the first time, showing a picture of myself so knock that off the list. Probably not what you expected but hey, this is me. Take it or leave it.

Float like a Butterfly right?
 For two days, and two nights in Vegas I could just be me and I was me. I'd forgotten how much fun I was and that I wasn't just this drudge, robotic machine cooped up in the house. I rested not only my mind but my soul and to me, that is what I call respite care. While this blog in particular sounds more like a report that you would read on the Travel Channel or the Food Network, it was because for once....I wanted something to be written that didn't have PTSD or TBI intertwined with it. That's the point isn't it? I wanted to share that sometimes you just got to get up and go, let the wind carry you away and go find yourself. From here on out, its been decided I will no longer make excuses. I will not feel guilty for doing things for myself. No more will I be forced in a hostage negotiation with my hair just so I can release myself from the house. That support group I wanted to start in my area will be started in the next two months I hope if all goes well. I will start taking better care of myself and dress up, even if its just to go to the store. I will paint my nails more often, wear eyeliner and learn to laugh and dance more. Even if in my own home. I didn't realize how starved I was until my soul was fed and I felt alive again. I don't want to lose that feeling. I just want to be me again and stay that way. I don't need a therapist giving me advice, I don't need someone to cry to because I am past all that. Recreational therapy is where it's at ladies and gents. Acting like us again and being who we are before all this meteor of military crap hit our homes. I want laughter to make me fall apart at the seams; not damn stress. I want to hurt from smiling so much, not from the pain of dealing with all  of this. Somehow, someway I will keep this up. Finally, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do a radio interview, along with an interview by CNN. I decided there is no reason to just blog as I have in the past. So I can cross those off my list as well, leaving all but FOX news to cover! LMAO!

So to turn over a new leaf, here is a picture of me. I rarely have any pictures of just me or any that I wouldn't warrant the post office's Most Wanted wall. This is me. The real me and all of me. Do something crazy just for yourself. Doesn't have to be a trip or anything outrageous...just something to make you smile. Get dressed up for apparently no reason at all, do something outrageous with your hair and wear it like you stole it! Paint your nails a funky color and add some glitter just to make your step a little lighter. Pull out some of your old music that used to make your ass move and just do it. Who cares if the kids see it? They love when I dance around and follow along! Laugh like there will never be anymore laughter again and wine, it always helps when you have lots of wine!

 Just me-see? I do have a face!

 So back to the grindstone it is for me! Your loving, newly tattooed, purple toe nailed, pink and purple haired, bed jumping fool I am..........


  1. Hi Uncle Sam's Mistress! I rarely comment, but this post just warmed my heart so much. You've devoted yourself so much to other people- I am so happy you've taken some time to rediscover yourself! And no one deserved a fantastic Vegas vacation more than you! So glad you had a wonderful trip! And it's so nice to see the face behind the blog, too!

  2. I have followed you for almost three years - laughed with you, cried with you and for you and prayed for your strength and endurance along your journey. Today I stand and cheer you on and am so happy to meet "You"!

    I LOVE the hair cut and color - it's so sassy!!


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