Yeah, baby, yeah! A trip to Vegas with Tom's best friend, Joel and his wife, Sharon. Joel's sister and brother-in-law, Karen and Bob (?... Bill? I really should know this since we're back), rounded out the group.
We were both pretty excited to be having our first overnight trip without children since being pregnant. Neither of us could wait!!
Okay, really the conversations went more like this:
(A week before the mini vacay) "What do you mean you paid for it now instead of just making a reservation?!? I paid extra bills this week so we'll be free and clear next week."
(Two days before) "They're not leaving Vegas until that afternoon?! So what time do you see us leaving? Two or three?!?!?! We'll be driving all night!!
Ugh! I can be so freaking whiney.
(The day before) "Listen, I know I'm turning into some sort of cranky old person and it's gotta stop. We can stay until they're at the airport. I mean, really, how often do these chances come up? Right?"
Thank god I can pull it together in a pinch.
One thing I'd used in my arguments for moving to this area is that we are 45 minutes closer to Vegas. Of course that's a damn lie if the grandparents are watching the kids and the dog at two separate houses back down the hill. In reality, we are an additional hour and a half away from Vegas. Thursday morning Tom and I were up well before the butt-crack of dawn and halfway down the hill before daylight. Kids and puppy were dropped off, the car was fueled up and away we went.
We had conversations (yeah... with an S) almost the whole way up. Tom had loaded up some CDs to listen to and we didn't even put one in until we hit state line. And then the one he chose was something he'd brought of mine!
The room was great, the bed was comfortable, the view was of the pool and Eiffel Tower at the Paris. Sharon and Joel were lots of fun. Everything was all hoohoolala until we met up with Karen and Bob (I'm going with Bob unless I hear otherwise). Seriousness presides over the blackjack table, dontcha know.
I'm not a gambler, and paying for the room in advance really did a number on our finances because of the bills I'd also paid, so throwing money at a game I rarely play isn't my gig. But I did have a great time hanging out with Tom and Joel. There wasn't a lot of conversation, and I didn't want to start any and ruin someone's concentration. Sharon was off playing slots and Bob (?) was doing his own thing.
Karen seemed okay at first, but then it turned out that almost every time I said or did anything, she sneered. Talk about a killjoy. I even took a picture of the group as we waited to go upstairs for dinner and she sneered then, too. It's photographic evidence, but I'd rather be able to wonder if I was imagining things. I understand making judgements about people and that we all get to choose our friends, etc. But what the hell? Have a little class; at least try to be subtle! Tom says that Karen doesn't seem to get him either, and that Karen and Joel's mom always gives the sense of disapproval or disappointment.
And what's with stating that "dinner will be casual, right? No getting dressed up," (exactly... we're going to Margaritaville) and then going up to her room and putting on a shiny blouse and heels?!? Tom said, "Maybe she didn't think she was dressed up."
Oh please. She's a woman. She knows the rules!
I was telling my sign class about her and gave her a name sign that clearly demonstrated my thoughts about her. The topic of that segment was "people who irritate you." Next week we'll balance things out by talking about people who enrich us. The anti-Karens, if you will.
Aside from Karen, the trip was a lot of fun. No, we didn't win any money; we lost it, but no more than we'd allotted. Madelyn got a cool train made of wooden blocks from FAO Schwarz (outlet?... not sure, but I was kind of disappointed in the selection) and Corey got an outfit from the Gap. The parents got thank yous in the form of candles and bath stuff. Can you tell I'm not really into the tourist crap? Happy me that Sharon loves to shop more than she loves to play the slots.
The trip home was equally fabulous. Tom and I have decided that I should drive to our vacations (when I'm all perky) and he should drive home (when he's trying to delay the inevitable). It worked really well.
Saturday evening we went out to City of Hope to see Ken. I figured I'd go alone, but Tom wanted to go, too, so we all went after Mad's (latest ending) nap (ever! naturally). He was readmitted about 10 days ago. In the span of less than 24 hours the leukemia was deemed to be present again (along with pneumonia) and had gone from 10% to 17%. His white cells are at 1 (I believe that means 1000, with normal being 140,000). The course of action now is comfort and finding a non-home hospice service.
Most of our hospices here are in-home. Nance has already cared for her mother-in-law through her death from cancer and neither she or Ken are especially eager to make her go through it again.
Their son is recently engaged and planning an August wedding. The doctor has asked the family to consider moving the date up. In the meantime, a commitment ceremony will be held on Father's Day at the hospital.
Is there any good news? Well, for some reason, Ken looks really great. He's gained 15 pounds since being there. Nance said it's because of IV fluids and steroids, and that it's harder to reconcile the fact that he might not be here in two weeks to a month because of how good he looks. Yeah, he's weak and shaky, but he sounds like himself. And his goatee is growing in dark instead of white like it would have before the chemo. So in a weird way, he looks younger, not at all old and gaunt like I'd expected.
Part of me... an embarrassingly large part... seems to be emotionally sheltered. I guess this is what denial feels like.
I have to say that I'm proud of Corey for going up to visit Ken. Madelyn couldn't even be on that floor. Tom and I figured we'd take turns hanging out with the kids, but Corey went up with me and even spoke!
Rounding out our weekend, we went and saw Rent last night. My niece performed with her high school drama group. It was closing night and everybody'd been fighting something, from fever and nausea to sore throats. Sarah and her classmates did an amazing job. There were one or two times when it seemed apparent that someone's voice might not make it, but they always recovered. I am not being biased when I say that Sarah was one of the best, most consistent performers. The play was very well done... I really did laugh and cry. Twice. And I wasn't alone.
And it wasn't the sort of crying Corey used to do when I'd try to sing him to sleep, "No song, wahhh!" I'd switch to humming and get a sobbing, "No hmm-hmm!!" It's clear that Sara does not get her voice from me, lucky girl. If I get any videos, I'll post them here. I took several photos with my expensive camera that I can't stand (the feelings are mutual, trust me). Almost all are blurry.
We were all curious about how "bad" the play would be, considering the subject matter. The only negative that any of us came up with was from Corey, "I couldn't watch Sarah dance like that. I had to avert my eyes." Honestly, I'm not sure what he was talking about. It wasn't like plays at my high school, but it wasn't outside the bounds of decency to me.
I know. Look who's talking.
So, many late nights and lots of highs and lows. But it was a good weekend. I wish it could have gone on a little longer.