Thursday, February 22, 2007

Las Vegas - 2007 Kristin & Adam & Kids

For the record: After a two and 1/2 years of this, we have determined that retirement is more pleasing than we had imagined. We thought that doing only what we wanted, when we wanted would get old. We can report that any such fear has not been realized. It only get's better. Kat’s dad passed away 7 months ago and we spend a fair amount of time with her Mom, glad that we made the decision to locate in Virginia.

Tuesday, February 20 2007

Tis a beautiful day here in Richmond, the first warm day (53 deg.) in a while. We await our flight to Las Vegas where we should meet up with my son Adam, his wife Kristin, and their four kids this evening. We eagerly anticipate the moment when we first set our eyes on the little kids. It has been about a year since we last saw them in New England.

A couple of months ago A&K found some really cheap round trip flights to LAX and asked if we would join them. They planned to spend a couple of weeks driving around the southwest. Since neither Kathy nor I are too fond of the left coast, we suggested we rendezvous with them in Las Vegas at some point.

They have been gone a week already and (according to some emails) spent some time in San Diego with my brother Richard and his wife Lucy. As usual any visit with my brother is a trip unto itself. He and his wife are such gracious hosts that you really don't want to leave.They stayed in the cottage behind Rich and Lu’s home, and we can tell you from experience that it is perfect for the two of us. I'm sure the six of them presented the type of logistical challenge that my brother craves. We think they also connected with Kristin’s brother who is living and working just outside Los Angeles.

The only arrangements we made were a couple of free nights at the Sahara, ("Dad, you've got be kidding, that place is a dump", per Adam) and a particular hotel at the Grand Canyon, where there is a native Indian dance during dinner.This will be the second time in 4 months that we have been to the area. The last was in November with our niece, Jemma, who had spent four months living with us.

We left Richmond on time then delayed for 2 hours at DFW due to bad weather elsewhere. Walking outside for a puff, we ended up chatting with an 82 year old spitfire named Rose (quick bio: Jewish, NY, lots of bling, particularly the Z ring she was wearing). According to her she drinks vodka and smokes every day, and never misses her lunch with friends at the Green Valley Casino, to which according to her, we simply must go. The three of us swapped stories, laughed, and the two hours flew by.

Looking at the bits of notes I scribbled (some in crayon) in the journal most of this is from recall. So unlike other blog trips (would those be "blips"?) there will be more pictures than words. And if this is being read by one of those aforementioned 4 kids I'm sure you are pleased by that news. And since you are also looking for your own name, here it is: Jami, Megan and Alyssa, Jonathan.

OK, and your picture as well:

Upon our late arrival at the airport we were greeted by Adam and two of the kids, right at the baggage claim. They looked "marvelous" clearly excited being in the greatest city in the world for sparkle.

Oh, did I mention BTW that we caved and stayed at the MGM Grand, and oh, did I mention also that we just happened to have an adjoining room, and oh yeah, each night 2 of the kids would sleep in our room and 2 with their parents? And, oh yes, how about that pool, and the kids do love to swim while their grandparents watch?

There are still remnants of the "family friendly" Las Vegas that was so heavily promoted a few years ago. For children there is a constant bombardment of the senses that make it a thrilling place to be. Instead of the lure of drink, naughtiness, and gambling, there is the ever present assault of primary colors, sweet treats, and thrill rides. Everything from the M&M store with it's rainbow selection and sidewalk hawkers to New York, New York's inside-outside roller coaster, the temptations just keep coming at you. Oh, isn't there something incongruous about that palm tree in front of the Chrysler building?

With chocolate running through their veins the little kids were ready to keep on trucking through the evening, so the adults figured some old fashioned walking and sightseeing was in order. We had four activities (none of which included sugar) planned for the tots; the volcano at the Mirage, the fountains of Bellagio, the pirate show at Treasure Island, and finally the light show down on Fremont Street. It was fantastic and the kids burned off most of their energy.

The adults (being in charge) hadn't eaten so we voted on Chinese food back at the hotel, where we would be minutes away from our room, and not subjected to any more strobe lights, water, or thunder. After ordering and while enjoying our first real meal of the day, the kids (all four of them) took this opportunity to fall into an insulin induced stupor, and fell asleep at the table. We had outlasted them. There seemed to be some sort of Pyrrhic victory in that. Sleep restores energy, but we figured we could worry about that tomorrow.

Just a thought: I would have written more but those 4 adorable kids sure do suck every bit of energy and life out of you. Kristin looks so good, we just marvel at her. We are dessicated shells. The week absolutly flew by and any “down” time that we may have used for reading or writing was consumed in a good way, by shared experiences with the kids and grandkids.

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