April 9, 2009

What happened in Vegas?

Remember when I ranted about my profound disgust for Disney the other day? Then, my baby girl puts the smackdown on me that is worthy of a princess. Nice, real nice. At least she did not insist on buying it. Thank the Lord above, I don't think she yet realizes the items in the Scholastic flyer are available for actual purchase. Le Target? Is another story. She spent our entire visit on Monday with a Spongebob toy clutched desperately to her chest declaring for all to hear, "I wanna buy dis! I WANNA BUY DIS!" Fortunately, she is part magpie so I was able to distract her with something shiny in the checkout stand as I surreptitiously stuffed the offending toy away in the endcap.

So, the other night I booked our tickets for Vegas later this month. And a few weeks ago, I ordered the Cares Kids Fly Safe seatbelt system. Physically, there is no possible way I can travel with two kids, two carseats and luggage. If we lived in a country with coolies or porters, sure - I could manage it. But in America? Folks are all by their lonesome, when it comes to traveling. Instead, I am renting a car and two carseats when I get there. I have heard horror stories regarding renting carseats, but I have had really good luck thus far doing this. *FuriouslyRapsOnWood* Also, I will post a review on the Cares Kids Fly Safe system after the trip. I was really hesitant to pay such $$$ for it, but decided it was an investment in our Traveling Future since it can be used for quite a few years.

So, I am finally getting to see my friend J and this is actually the express purpose of the trip - yes, my friend J, the same one who has a mass of Pancreatic Neuroendocrine tumors, which is about as much as fun as it sounds (say it three times fast!) She has a really big doctor appointment coming up in LA this month. An appointment that involves all sorts of scans, measurement of tumors , blood tests, etc. I am going to stay back in Vegas to help watch her daughter and keep her mother company during what will be a long day of waiting. I am hoping Team Chaos will help in entertainment, I suspect her daughter is going to have a blast having playmates. J has had to avoid playgroups and such because germ-laden children are low on the totem pole at this point (which is one of several reasons my trip out there was delayed for so long.)

I have not been to Vegas in over 2 years - I would really prefer to get out there about once a year. Therefore, I am experiencing an odd mix of excitement and trepidation. I am excited to show my children one of my favorite cities - a city that holds 25+ years of memories for me. Some good, some bad, some bittersweet, some unbelievable, some sad, some hilarious. And everything in between. In my 25 years of going to Vegas? I have done a lot, folks. Experienced my first hangover, was in a wedding, attended a funeral, attended another wedding, drove to Red Rock, stayed in some gorgeous hotels, stayed in a dump, drove to Hoover Damn, won some money, lost some money, drove to the Valley of Fire, ducked bats while swimming, enjoyed romantic dinners, enjoyed seafood buffets, played holes of golf at an early morning tee time after having been up all night long, attended bachelorette parties, flipped a lot of cards, slid a lot of chips, roadtripped to San Diego, pulled a lot of slot machines, roadtripped to Area 51, and rolled loads and loads of dice. Loads.

And that is not counting all the sweet, treasured memories I have with my family (although, I still blame my cousin for the first hangover.)

I do not talk about J very much here, I simply do not feel it is my story to tell. And I am probably living in a bit of denial, in my safe cocoon here in Kansas, sending care packages her way. Patting myself on the back for "helping". But. I am very scared for her. Every email, every phone call leaves me a little weak in the knees and teary-eyed. It is difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact my friend could die and leave a 15 month old daughter behind. In what universe is that possible?

To give you perspective on J: in college, she always kept saline in her apartment for all of her late-night study buddies in case our contact lenses bothered us. Or how about this: J has been sending me care packages to thank me for the care packages I have sent her. Yes, folks. My friend who has cancer has been sending me care packagages. And even apologized for how long it took to get one of them out. The mind boggles, no?

For a long time, my visits to Vegas were tinged with a sadness, my grandpa fought emphysema for a good 3+ years and to watch someone die slowly like that is tough, to say the least. And then, I watched my step-grandma go through the grief process. There was a year or so, where everything was bright and sunny in Vegas. And now it seems the clouds have returned.

I am not sure what I will find there in a few weeks, but I suspect I am not going to like it very much. I want a miracle, dammit.