â€œAm I a Snob, or, Piss and Moan Do Vegasâ€ :Ãž A couple of other possible titles are: "Spas, Shopping and Shows", or, "Is Bringing Your Wife to Vegas a Good Idea?" Or, â€œPart Wimp, Part Pussy, or, God I am a wussâ€. How this trip came about is a combination of luck, timing, and a heavy dose of coercion. About 3 months ago, my brother informed me he was going to Vegas on a guy's weekend to celebrate the 40th birthday of several of his friends. He told me I should come. I saw several things wrong with all of this. Don't get me wrong, any trip to Vegas is better than no trip to Vegas, but......well, I'm married. For most of you guys out there, that is explanation enough. Sometimes I read "my wife knows me, understands me, and therefore lets me go to Vegas a few times a year" in trip reports. I find myself wishing I were that person. Anymore, it takes me a better part of a year to earn enough points to get to go. So this was reason number one not to go on this trip. I didn't want to burn my shot at Vegas on going with a bunch of guys I don't know that well, staying downtown, and going at the guaranteed coldest time of year. I knew my point balance was low, especially in regards to Vegas because fortune had seen to it that I had been 5 or so times in the last couple of years. So I decided not to. It would come up several more times, and my wife even said, "you should go", on more than one occasion. I was set in my decision, at least up until about 4 days before. I finally did the math and with Allegiant Air having $49 fares each way and sharing a room, my total tab (bankroll aside) was well south of $200. I vacillated for two more days. I finally decided to do it and just wanted to check airfares one more time before I "asked" the wife. But alas, I had waited too long. Within 1 hour, no more tickets were available on Allegiant. Suck. I was now severely depressed. Over the course of the weekend, my brother called several times asking where things were, and telling tales of the trip thus far. At one point he called me halfway through a mudslide with extra shot from La Bayou. 3 sheets were in the wind and the 4th was steadily making its way up the pole (his drunk ship has 4 masts, as opposed to the usual 3). They were on their way to Hooters where they had 2 private tables arranged. Sob, sob, and sob. Then it hit me. Why not plan a trip with the wife? I looked on Allegiant's site and found several dates with $49 fares. Then I dug through my casino offers and found a doozy from TI. $59/night + $75 free play, 2 buffets, yada, yada. Again, doing the math, my wife and I could do airfare, room, 2 meals and several other extras for $377. So I wrote it up on a sheet of paper (she is one of those people who needs to "see it on paper"), and pushed in front of her while she was on the phone. That way, it could sink in a little before she said no, especially since it sounded like she was having a "yes" conversation with her mother at the time. I knew my timing was as good as it was going to get, because every time my brother called, she felt bad for me that I wasn't there. The written "proposal", I thought, was the perfect plan. It's all right there, and the numbers are small. After she got off the phone, she approached me and asked me about it. Now, I had to go to work quickly before she mentally pooh-poohed the thing. We went with another couple the winter before, and I don't think she had that great of a time. So I went on and on about where else could we go and stay at a 4-star hotel, have world-class dining, shows, and spas (that likely sealed the deal) for that cheap. My answer was â€œno whereâ€. Reason being, Allegiant flies from my town to Vegas only. And being in Bumblefark, Montucky, all the other airlines charge $300 just to board a plane, let alone get anywhere decent. The saying "over a barrel" is fitting. So she agrees. All we need to do is arrange for the grandparents to watch the ankle-biters.................. No dice. They are leaving town for 2 weeks the same day we want to go. In fact, we have to drive them to the airport. Pththththththththth!!!!!!!!!!! So we decide to talk the next day from our respective jobs and try and find another time in the near future to go. Disaster I should have just booked it all that morning at work. She might have been a little upset at first, but would have gotten over it, perhaps by our 50th wedding anniversary, but over it nonetheless. I wait all day for her to call me, but she hasn't. So I think of some stupid reason to call her. At the end of the conversation, she says "Oh, and about Vegas.....I'm not ruling it out, but......". "Seven, line away". Blah, blah, blah, "go somewhere warm", blah, blah, "go with the kids", blah, "Hawaii", blah, "Orlando", blah. You get the picture. Pissed, to be sure. That evening, my brother calls me one last time to tell me about his helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon. I tell my wife about it and she says she wants to ride in one. "World-Class shopping, shows, spas, food, and helicopter rides" I says. "Book it", she says. "Dealer Busts. Winner!" We aren't past the finish line yet. The soonest we can both go, and have the kids taken care of is Feb 4th - 7th. Being naive, I just assume that since I am such a high roller (yes, that's a joke folks), TI will gladly extend the offer that expires January 31st by just a couple of days. So I ring up casino marketing fully expecting to be taken care of. I even suck up big time to the gal on the other end of the phone. Nope. "Sorry Sir, that offer is only good through the end of the month". "No sh$t? I missed that". So then I pull out my proverbial ace-in-the-hole, if you will forgive the tired saying, and tell her that I am fairly certain that I get casino rate all the time. "Sorry sir", that is also expired. Thanks for pissin' in my wheaties. It finally dawns on me that I hadn't stayed at TI in well over a year. My spring trip was supposed to be there, but my Vegas buddy hates TI, so we opted for the Mirage and that pool, at 3 times the price. So I ask what she can do for me, it being my anniversary and all (bold faced lie) and she tells me rooms are $299 a night. WTF? I think she read straight through my BS and was going for the throat. I had their website up while we were talking and it showed a rate of $179. Gee, no thanks. By the way, I have no idea how casino marketing works, but I have to say that this was fairly stupid. I can see not honoring the offer past its expiration. But if I play enough to get offers in the first place, wouldn't it make sense to bend a little to keep my business? At the very least, why quote me a rate that is far more than any non-player could get it for? Like I said, I must have verbally rubbed this gal wrong. I probably shouldn't try and bullshit someone who wades through it all day, everyday. I move on, a little wiser. So now I have a dilemma to deal with; not only is the room not $59, it's Super bowl weekend and I have no privileges anywhere. Between then and about 3 days before we left I had more reservation changes than Michael Jackson has had plastic surgeries. Everyone wanted at least $250 for SB Sunday night. Long story short, I started out with Sunday night at the Luxor and the next two at the Mirage. I ended up with Mirage for the first night and TI for the second two. I made and canceled 4 separate reservations and even had 3 simultaneously at one point. I normally don't give service businesses a second chance. You piss me off; you lose me as a customer. Period. But I made an exception, because I love TI. If it were spring, I would opt for the Mirage and their pool. But I like TI's lower requirements (maybe that is changing) to earn offers. It is also my favorite casino on the strip. We are almost there, I promise. I watched room rates like a hawk, checking several times a day, hoping for something to break loose. When it was all said and done, I got TI for $109/night on their "Innovation" offer. Strip view, Free Play, food and beverage credit, some 2-for-1's, and spa credit. Incidentally, I booked this on Wednesday, Jan 31st for $159/night and called twice before we left because the rates continued down. This is one piece of advice I have to offer to other low-rollers like me. Decide where you want to stay and book the room. Then keep checking, and checking, and checking again. Most places will change your rate if they go down, but you have to call. They don't volunteer it. Reality Left Bumblefark, Montucky on Allegiant's direct flight at 8:45 PM MST (15 minutes late) and arrived at McCarran on time at 9:30 PST. We stopped to pee, and our bags beat us to the carousel. Well, that isn't altogether accurate. My wife's bag did, mine did not. I am nothing, if not paranoid. You see, I am too cheap to pay for drinks when I am not gambling. This can turn into a great number of drinks if you are like me, and drink pretty much 24/7. We usually get a car and hit Walmart on the way to the hotel, but decided against getting one (I knew if we got a car I would spend all of my precious Vegas time in Primm, Green Valley, and any other shopping district you can name). Where was I? Oh yeah. So the wife's bag comes right off. Mine didn't. It immediately occurred to me that TSA had confiscated my bag due to it being full of booze. I had 2 huge Nalgene bottles full of the Captain in there. Again, I am totally paranoid. A huge sigh of relief hit when my bag came out. My bag was the very last one, mind you. I later decided that the thing to do from now on was "check" a cooler? Why not? You are allowed two bags. I also asked TSA and found out you are allowed 1 gallon of alcohol in your checked luggage. Gee, only a gallon? I think there should be a special exception for Vegas arrivals. No line for a taxi, but soon to follow is the first loss of the trip. We get a d--khead. And I mean serious. So we hop in and he asked where we are going. I say "TI, and no tunnel, please". Hey, I even said please. So a$$face says, "The meter runs either way, if you want to sit in traffic, it is no skin off my nose". Thatâ€™s too bad, because he could use a little less skin on his nose. Let's get to the heart of one of my trip report titles..."Part wimp, part Pussy...Wuss". I suppose I should give full credit to the writers of the movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", for that one, just to avoid any copyright infringements. So we head out, and I know we aren't headed for the tunnel. Good so far. But then I start to heat up a little when we pass Paradise. Hmmmm. Then we pass Koval, still on the strip. If I werenâ€™t such a wuss, I would have spoken up. Then I realize that mister loser doesn't like being told what to do, so he is going to teach me a lesson. You see, I am not very assertive, but when given the opportunity, I will gladly lay into someone. They just have to open the door. So I was waiting for him to make some crack, like...."see, strip is always gridlocked". To which I would have replied "that's why you should have taken Paradise like any other honest guy". But he didn't, and I didn't. We finally get down to about Paris and see the reason for the slow traffic; two bicycle cops have a car stopped over two lanes of traffic (takes balls to pull a car over when you are on a bike), and the 4 perps are spread with their hands on the car. Anyway, we pull into TI, and he says..â€Next time you watch the Discovery Channel, keep in mind that it is Super Bowl Sunday, and Las Vegas' finest are out in force protecting your well-being. Obviously, this made no sense whatsoever. But he was stupid, so why should it. But he had to get the Discovery Channel shot in somehow. I didn't say anything and gave him $18 (which equaled a 45 cent tip) hoping to get a rise out of him so I could lay into him. He didn't bite. So we proceeded to check in. On the way, I tell my wife "I have got to get more assertive, and it starts right now". I told her that I didn't want to berate the guy while we were in his car, trapped and at his mercy (is that rationalization?). It just seems like a bad idea (wuss). So we hit registration and thankfully, it is empty. Ok, I am set up perfectly for the $20 trick. I checked online right before we left and knew they had Petite Suites available. So I had the $20 bucks in my hand. I knew the best time to slip it to her was with my CC card. But I wimped. I had several more opportunities to slip her the money and ask, but failed to pull the trigger each and every time. My wife even started laughing at me. So we got our key-cards and coupons and crap and headed to our strip view room on the 21st floor. I walked away from the front desk saying "wuss". I really am a wuss. I even tried rationalizing it to myself as I walked away. "She obviously had a bad cold, and I didn't want to lean in too close". No dice, you pussy. "We had a high-up strip view reserved, the petite suite could be anywhere". Nice try wimp. "You could have given her the twenty and gotten nothing". Try that line on someone stupid next time, like maybe your Neanderthal cab driver. Yep, I'm a wuss. Our room turned out to be very nice. Not Petite Suite nice, but nice. I stay primarily at TI and the Mirage. I have stayed other places, including the Bellagio. TI has the Mirage beat hands down on basic rooms. It really is no contest. Especially since TI did their minor upgrades, which included really good mattresses, bedding, and flat screen TV's. Couple all this with TI being my favorite casino, and all around fun place, it is a no brainer. Of course during pool weather, I will endure the crappy rooms, small bathrooms, and now the lame-ass decor of my once-favorite casino the Mirage. I think HM did a nice job of briefly describing what has been done over there. In my opinion, none of it is good. I thought the oasis in the desert was a cool theme. I liked the decor, and it felt Comfortable. But all of the awnings are gone, and that warmth has been replaced with a cold, sterile, modern/contemporary/euro-barf kind of feel. I am not going to waste your time or mine trying to describe how the place "feels". That is just too subjective, and thus too difficult. All I can say is that I hate it. And........just to throw salt in my eye, they took the little water slides out between the big pool and the kiddy pool. A$$holes. Upon noticing this, I immediately TM'd my Vegas buddies the following- "Mirage is f#cked over. Sob". Now granted, I know why they did this, because of people like me. Drunk, belligerent frat boyish idiots barreling down the slides at mach II, hooting and hollering the whole way, and half drowning little kids in our wake, and disrupting those other "need a liferâ€™s" solitude down there. Heck, my buddy and me could be directly responsible for their removal for all I know. But I can guarantee that we were the subjects of several people's complaints to management. Diatribe over. ......well, at least this one. After making myself a roadie (drink for the road) out of the Captain that arrived safely in my bag and the $2 coke from the vending machine, we made our way down to the casino to get my free play from the slot club. I went directly to a $5 machine and lost my free play in about 3 hands. My wife was not impressed. Frankly, neither was I. But I expected it, she didn't. We then did the opposite end of the spectrum, nickel video poker. She actually enjoyed it long enough to get a couple drinks, and then it was over to the Venetian for some food. I had heard many good things about the Grand Lux, and we just happened to notice it (I thought it would be impossible to find, like everything else in that place, what a CF, second only to Caesars), so in we went. Side note on Timeshare Hawkers: I have been to Vegas many times, and stayed on the strip every time but once. I have never been approached by one of these fine salespeople. Well, at least until this trip. Immediately upon entering the main casino entrance, we were greeted by a lady who said "Welcome to the Venetian, can I help you in any way". I started to ask where the Grand Lux was, and noticed "Marriott" embroidered on her coat. So I immediately said "no thanks". The wife didn't catch on, but I just kept walking. The wife shut her down pretty quick, and we were on our way. Ok, here is what I have to say about this- Attention casino owners: if you allow these people on your property, and let them pretend to be employees of your establishment, I will not patronize that, or any other property you own. Period. It is tacky beyond comprehension. I hear a lot of people complaining about them, and like I said, one has never approached me. Perhaps that is because I usually go with friends, and therefore don't fit the demographic. And people, tell me if I am wrong, but I have never seen these idiots at the Wynn, Bellagio, Mirage, or TI. I really want to believe that these casinos realize it is in very poor taste, and therefore don't allow it. Like with most other things, I am likely wrong on this as well. I will also never step foot inside the Fashion Show mall again either. Although I have never been there willingly before, anyway. That was trip tax, as the wife wanted to shop. Sh$t, F@#K, [email protected][email protected] We ordered the Asian nachos on prior recommendations, and some buffalo chicken thingies. The waitress said appetizers couldnâ€™t be ordered after mid-night. I said it is exactly 12:02. She said she will try it on the computer and if she doesn't come back, we are golden. Golden we were. The food was excellent. However, it was soooooooooooooo salty. Just to put things into perspective, I have picked up a saltshaker maybe 5 times in my entire life to salt my food. So consider the source. But after a couple of each of the appetizers, I just couldn't stand it anymore and had to cry uncle. It is too bad, because it was excellent otherwise, and very reasonable. I had one beer then switched to water, which I drank like a camel. Did I mention how salty the food was? Damn it was good though. We wandered around a little more and eventually made it back to TI for a little more VP. I walked the wife up to the room and tucked her in for nighty-night (she goes to bed very early) and headed back down to the casino. The nickel craps table was packed, so I opted for some more VP, which is pretty sad. Prior to the trip, my wife said I had to come to bed at the same time as her. I told her we would talk about it once we got there. So we did, and I had to promise I wouldn't leave TI. So I played about every damn machine I could find (I found a 7/4 payout on one JOB !!!!!!!!!!) I knew VP was not good below $5 at TI, but was hoping I could find something palatable. So I headed for the tram to the Mirage (I rationalized to myself that it was ok to take the tram to the Mirage, as that wasn't really leaving, right?). But alas, it stopped running at 1:00. So back to TI for more toiling on the crappy payout VP. I tried to like slots, but just couldn't pull it off. I managed to entertain myself and get enough free drinks until about 4:30 when I cashed in. I brought some clothesline pins for the drapes, hoping to sleep in. But since wifey went to bed early, she was up early. I heard the toilet flush and I sat up and said, "I'm in!". Too bad that meant I was in for shopping at the Mirage. Damn it! So we went down to the Starbucks for an overpriced coffee and a bagel for the wife. After that, we hit the tram to the Mirage to look around for a little. God I hate shopping. All of those overpriced dumps should be required to have chairs and TV's for the spouses of their shoppers. But the wife's spa time was rapidly approaching, so soon I would be off the hook for a bit. I played a bunch of VP at the Mirage to stay on their radar. I still hate the new look, but with my face plastered to the video screen, I decided that it couldn't bother me that much. And playing nickel and quarter VP I never went without a drink. Interesting note: my cocktail waitress was about 68, and called me "hon". Not that there is anything wrong with that. Or is there? Maybe it is part of their new theme; Seasoned, plump, friendly, European cocktail waitresses. Hmm. I actually broke even and put a good number of points on my card. After this I went on my walkabout. I hit the VP at CR, as the craps table was packed. Plus, I have heard too many bad things about the pissy dealers there. And if looks are any indication, these guys were as surly as they come. Besides, I rarely win. Why lose money and get hacked on by John Piss and Burt Moan? Last time I was there, I actually rated their drink service as superior to the Barbary. This time I had to settle for the $1 self-serve Michelob's at the bar. I walked through about everything on the way to BC, including O'Sheas hoping to get a shot from the midget leprechaun. I didn't see him. Maybe he was under a table. I was also hoping to see a naked poker dealer, but decided free viewing probably didn't come with the deal. I think the scent that the Flaming-o pumps in is Marlboro-Vanilla. Seriously. I didn't see many people smoking. They need a new scent. Once at the BC, I was rather excited to see that it appeared un-Harrahtized, at least to me. Maybe they haven't taken over yet? I guess I still see it listed on Boyd's website. No matter. I will be really sad to see that place imploded. But I would rather see it blown up than see 6:5 BJ with CSM's and $15 mins all day and night. Maybe the 6:5 is already there and I missed it. I played some 3-card poker for the first time ever, and that is my new favorite game. I suppose it has a huge house edge. That would figure, especially since I like it so much. But I hit a straight on the bonus for a tidy win. I then made $40 or so on VP before the wife called. I told her I would meet her back at the room in 1/2 hour. Yeah right. Several things required my attention on the way back. Some more VP, my BC drink dried up in front of the Carnaval Court, so I had to get a roadie and some more pop for the room at the convenience store. I have also come up with a way to tolerate the porn slappers. I actually take everything they give me, and actually ask for more. Shoot, why fight it. Plus, it really throws them for a loop when you ask them which one they like? I figure it doesn't hurt, as long as I wash my hands really good afterwards. I also got a kick of looking over all of the cards while in an expensive store waiting on my shopping wife. Hee, hee. Once back at the room, it was time for a late lunch. The wife had noticed Buchon at the V, but I told her we needed to see the inside of another place, preferably one less confusing, and devoid of timeshare pimps. So I suggested Zoocrackers or the clubhouse thingy at Wynn. After seeing the setting at the clubhouse grill, we opted for that. It is very classy, and only a 15-minute wait for an outdoor table. It truly is a fantastic setting for lunch. That is good, because the food and service sucked the ass out of a whale, big time (speaking of Piss and Moan). Seriously, it was crap. Our waitress took our order and brought our check. Period. And she probably passed our table at least 25 times in between. We both ordered burgers, which were really pretty sketchy. The patty was more shaped like an oversized meatball. The beef was, well, I can't say for sure that it was beef. It looked like beef. Maybe it was some of that well sought after Australian "kangaroo-burger". And being more round than flat, by the time it was cooked all the way through (ordered medium rare), it was fairly well carbonized (that's burnt folks) on the outside. The veggies that came with it were very fresh, as was the bread. The fries were simply ordinary. They were breaded, which I hate. I am going to call this visit an aberration. Our waitress was obviously in a bad mood (no excuse), and it was about three in the afternoon, not exactly prime lunchtime. Again, not likely a reasonable excuse for the poor food quality. If I stuck to my usual guns, I would never return. But some how, the setting made up for everything else. Well, almost. I tipped accordingly on the service. Somewhere right in between zero and insulting, just to keep her wondering. I also really enjoyed watching the total hacks on the golf course. Funny thing was, we only saw 5 golfers in the entire 2 hours we sat there. But boy did they all suck. I just hope they all had their rounds comped. If I paid $500 to play that badly, I'd hang up the clubs. I suck as bad as these guys, but I usually play for free. After lunch, I took some time to really walk around the Wynn and soak it up. I think my opinion has changed dramatically. I wasn't really taken by it at first. I was solidly in Bellagio's corner. But I took time to notice the little things this go around, and the Wynn really is spectacular. It is definitely crisper, and every bit as "top-notch" as the Big B, if not more so. With that said, the Wynn will never be able to compete with two very important advantages of B: 1) location. 2) Being the first casino in Las Vegas whose real theme is pure class. I do hope Steve does well with it, however. I feel bad for him, having what he built from the ground up ripped from his fingers. Next I had to endure more shopping at the Forum Shops. I drooled over the Joe's menu while the wife looked at shoes. I'll bet I talked at least 4 groups of people into getting a table while there. The maitre 'de should have slipped me a finsky. Hey, why not? Seems like everything else in Vegas deserves a tip. Best beef in Vegas, in my opinion. And if you have never had Stone Crab, give it a try. Next question-Why is it so hard to find the casino from within the Forum shops? Seriously. Isn't the idea for people to get lost IN the casino? The signage to find it is lame, if not non-existent in key areas. If I were in charge..............but what the heck do I know? My observation-Caesars is by far the smokiest of the biggies. Hands down. I can't say for sure that it is a higher concentration of smokers, or poorer air handlers. Either way, it was almost intolerable there for me, and I smoke stogies. It was also the only place I walked out of and actually had to change my shirt do to the smell. That is just an observation, not a criticism. I only say that because I have been bitching like my beans have been in a vice thus far. Next up was dancing at my favorite spot in LV, the Carnaval Court. I have had many memorable evenings here in the past, and was hoping for a repeat performance. The band was good, despite playing 80's music. I hated the 80's, with few notable exceptions, all of which they happened to be playing. Lucky. But the crowd just didn't seem to get into it. The wife and I endured serious embarrassment and went right up in front of the stage to try and entice others to do the same, and hopefully get the party started. Nothin, doin. Deciding that we looked like a couple of dipsh$ts up there, we gave up the good fight and headed out. Next we sat at the dueling piano bar for a bit, never really ever getting too much into the act. One of them was very talented, and did a heck of job on Bohemian Rhapsody. But the comedy and audience heckling was lacking, so we left there for greener pastures, up the stairs to Toby Keith's. Now I thought for sure I was hitting a home run on this one with the wife. She loves country. But once we were seated, she wanted to leave. She hated it, so I was faced with the embarrassment of walking out. I hate doing that. After a couple of minutes it started to grow on her, so we wound up staying. I had a bad stomach all week (chewing on Alka-Seltzer like Pez) so I obviously ordered something very fitting; the Super Spicy, Acid Reflux, Butt-Hole Burning, Shiat a Flesh Doughnut, Ulcer Causing Variety Platter. None of it was really all that hot, but it didn't help my belly much, either. It was all very tasty. After the grub, we wandered over to the bar to listen to the band; Lefty Lucy, I believe. They were very good. We never cut the rug, but stayed for quite some time. We watched a rather eclectic bunch dance the night away up front. One guy was wearing a kilt, and had a nose ring (big round one piercing the skin in between both nostrils, and was solid tattoos. Normally, I wouldn't guess country was his poison. Again, I put the wife to bed and headed back down to the TI casino after some heckling again about coming to bed. No thanks. Love ya Hon, but Vegas is downstairs. Good thing, too. I found an empty $10 3-Card Poker table and bought in for $100. The dealer really hustled me to play the "pair-plus" bonus. I wasn't going to, but decided what the heck. Well that was a good thing, because my second hand was 3-of-a-kind. Thanks! I'll take that. "Oooooo, black chips, ey?" I am not sure, but I think I got a good Vietnamese butt-chewing, too. I pushed the black chips aside and played on the reds for a couple more hours. I couldnâ€™t believe the number of pushes, and even wins I was getting with just high cards. Again, I would love to hear what the house edge is on this game. My track record is to wind up liking the sucker games. After a couple of hours, I couldn't take it any more. I put my last $90 out and just tucked my cards without looking. Yep, I lost. Stupid drunk brain. Thanks to the wife's peanut-sized bladder, a flushing toilet woke me up by 9. I guess once you have kids, it is best to give up the ghost on sleeping in. So we grabbed some coffee and headed for the Mirage pool. Since TI's pool was closed for maintenance, we were allowed to use the Mirage pool (kiddy one. Main pool was also closed for maint.) I guess I have restless leg syndrome, because I can't sit still for more than about two seconds. My wife could have sat there in the sun all day long. So I decide it is happy hour. I find the counter at the little cafe out there is open for drink service, and get myself a Fosters, and the wifey a big Pina Colada. The beer calmed the nervous leg down enough for me to sit still for at least a half an hour. After much prying, I convinced the wife to move on. At first, this seemed like a win. But I traded sitting in the sun, drinking beer for shopping at the Venetian Canal Shops. Not a good trade. Especially since we had to endure the timeshare slimes again. I am sure most of you know this drill. I stand around outside shop, after shop, after shop, for hours, the whole while hoping that someone will just come kill me. My luck continues, and no one does. When I finally receive word that the suffering is over, we start making our way out, wherever that is. Walking past one of the "sidewalk" cafes, I make eye contact with someone I swear I recognize. After a double, and triple take, I decide I just saw Newt sitting there having lunch. So I double back and snap a photo from 40 miles away as proof. Good enough for me. We walk past one more time to be sure, and yes, confirmation. So the wife (not a wuss) decides she wants to shake his hand. Fair enough. And since she obviously has bigger nuts than me, I will follow along and let her do the dirty work, and I will reap the rewards. She asks if he is Newt (his wife, or whomever he was with did not appear very pleased with our intrusion) and he says yes. So we both shake his hand and are on our way. FYI- if that was his wife, that might explain why he is wavering on running or not. I don't think she liked the invasion of privacy. Imagine if he did run. Regardless of your politics, a very nice guy indeed. Now very hungry, food is on my radar. So I ask wifey what she is in the mood for. Fully expecting to hear "Buchon", I actually hear "How about Ellis Island?" "WHAT?" Folks, I never thought I would hear those beautiful words leave her lips. About a $5 cab ride lands us at the critically acclaimed, often sought after dining utopia that is Ellis Island. The food was excellent as usual. The beer was decent, as usual. No match plays were put to use, as blackjack had been very bad to me thus far. The wife went to look for a cab, while I went to get a roadie. I order a "Wheat Beer", and once out in the sunlight, realize I was given a "root beer". Anyone else see anything wrong with that? Oh well. The wife did better and found a cabbie that was there for free pizza day. He was very nice and didn't mind driving us the short distance to BC to see Big Elvis. He informed us that he is losing weight. Having never seen him, I can't say. But he did stand a lot during the act. The cabbie also says that BE claims to be the love-child of the late, great King himself. That I didn't know. But the sad part is, the Elvis estate is unwilling to pony up any DNA for comparison purposes. No sh$t. If they had an open door policy on that, imagine how many people would be rolling the dice on that one? So after a set or two, we tap into BC's outrageously efficient drink service, then walk back to TI. Once there, we find some openings on a nickel craps game and buy in. Choppy, then crappy. Both of our buy-ins are gone in about 40 minutes. I am unfulfilled. After that, my wife decides that we should check our respective bankrolls. Not thinking, I give her the number. She immediately informs me that I have lost/spent/pissed away $150 since this morning. "Yeah?â€ She is dumbfounded. I, on the other hand, feel pretty okee dokee with it. That is what you do in Vegas. You come and spend money. Unless you are lucky, then you leave with more than you came with. 8-9 trips in, I know better. The berating continues, and I finally ask how much the spa cost. Now after being married for 10 years now, you would think I would have learned one, very simple thing by now; why die proving you are right? You guessed it. I just ruined the whole trip. She decides that she needs to shop more, alone. I decide that I shouldn't let it get me down, and that I should make the best of my momentary freedom. So I head for the Wynn. Along the way, I decide to give Hurricane Mikey a call to see if we can meet up. He informs me that even though it is 75 degrees out, the water pipes leading to the house are broken, and he is in desperate need of a shower before any plans can be contemplated. So we decide that I'll call back in a little while and see where things are. So I continue to the Wynn for some very cheap VP. I knew I had better not meet up with the wife later with a thinner wallet. I played the 1 cent hundred play for about 2 hours on one twenty, and consumed an even six-pack of Corona along the way. I can't argue with that. I fell slightly short of getting the 50 points, assuming they are even still doing that buffet promotion. I fall just short a lot in life. Sigh. Leaving the Wynn, I decide to try HM again. At the very least, my hope is that the wife will forgo the hostility while in the company of a stranger. Classic deflection scheme. Plus, I really want to meet the guy. So I ring him up. Now keep in mind, we have never met. All I can say is that perhaps he is TOO nice. He should have just told me to bugger off. I could tell he wasn't waiting by the phone in nervous anticipation to come hang with me, but I have a hunch he would have. He is obviously that nice of a person. But I decided that I had far more to gain by our get together than he, so I let him off the hook. Anyway Mikey, all you missed was banal chitchat with a drunk ass hick from Montucky, and a cigar. I can personally guarantee you that even if all you did that night were read the paper and pass some brown, that was likely the more rewarding option. That conversation took place on my way back to TI. I decided that I would take $40 bucks to the high limit VP and hopefully win back some to get out of the doghouse. I turned the $40 into $80 and walked. I then handed the wife my last $140 and said she was in charge of the money from here on out, since I was obviously incapable, thus proving her case that I am immature. Damn, drunk brain. Wrong thing to do, guys, just in case you were wondering. Deeper I fall into the pit of despair. So we head to Paris for dinner at Mon Ami. I dug myself a little ways out of the hole I was in by entering Bally's so she could hit the shops on the way to Paris. She was really pleased with this. It did backfire a little when she mentioned that she would like to stay there next time. No insults intended, but that place is just good for someone else. We waited maybe 4 minutes for an outside table in a packed house. Even at 10 at night, it was plenty warm. We lucked out and saw Viva Las Vegas twice during our dinner, which was very good. Our waiter was a dink, though. What a bummer, when everything else was so perfect. My philosophy is that he turned pretty sour when we informed him were splitting an entrÃ©e'. Next we pop across the street to the Big B for a little roulette. I had brought some money and numbers to play for a coworker. They all lost, three times. I think this was the third, and now final time that she will be staking me. The wife also contemplates betting a hundy on one hand of blackjack. And yes, I pass on mentioning to her that if she loses that both of our loss numbers for the day will be equal. I have finally learned not to die trying to be right. Well, at least for that day. So next we hit the conservatory. All the while the wife is making cracks about staying here and there. Good news- she wants to come back. Bad news- she wants to stay at Bellagio, Wynn, or Paris. We walk back to TI via the usual stomping grounds looking for some fun. We decide to hit Kahunaville for use of one of the free drink coupons that seem to litter the floors at TI. I usually wind up getting my ass handed to me when I use a coupon at this forking place. The sad part is, I like it. Not getting f--ked, just the place. I just need to remember to forgo the coupon crap. A word to the wise, just throw the coupon in the trash. So the wife orders the most expensive drink on the menu. Ok, that one I am paying for and mine will be free, since it will be "of equal or lesser value". So I tell him I want a big beer. I point to one of the massive champagne shaped glasses (plastic) they have. He tells me I can't have beer in that. "Ok, just give me a big beer, then". Next I see him filling said big glass up with beer. So her drink was $8.50, and I pull out a ten. "What do I owe ya?" "Twenty", he says. I push the coupon toward him. He picks it up and says that covers the wife's drink. The beer is twenty. "What, your a comedian?â€ "No, is that bad?â€ Gee, what do you think? $20 for a big glass of Miller Lite piss? That is a sick joke, dude. Ok, then. Here's $22. Bye. He says that is easily 5 or 6 beers and $20 is a great deal. I offered to sell it back to him then. He didn't bite. You see, what he actually said was "like $20". In other words, he made it up. I'll bet he didn't even ring the beer up and just pocketed the whole $22. No receipt was offered or given, which is a first in Vegas for me. Now very pissed, and growing weary of watching the "flair" bartenders practice with the plastic bottles, we move over to watch the dueling pianos. These guys are far more musically talented than the ones at Harrah's, and much funnier. One poor lady, dubbed "sugar tits" was the butt, and head, now that I think of it, of many jokes. He also hacked on anyone talking on a cell phone. My phone rings, so I go around the corner, and it is some friends from home wanting to meet us. So I just hand the phone to our social director, and she takes it out of the bar. To Caesar's we are going. So I tell the wife that we should leave through the back so we don't get heckled. Ha, ha. He sees us leave and gives us all sorts of shit, but thanks the wife for not using her phone during the performance. That reminds me of a diatribe I was going to have about Bluetooth earpieces. But I think I will forgo the cheap shot, and continue hacking on other things. By the way, we went up to the room for a pit stop, and I "metered" my giant glass in at only 3.5 beers. Bartender math, I think. So we head to Caesars to meet our friends at the Shadow bar. I had heard, but never seen. Nice. Hard to pretend you aren't interested in the screens though. On our way out, we were greeted by the dancers, who were sadly clothed. "Nice work. Tight". Next we give C Court one more shot. Same band, same crowd, same result. Ditto for the Piano Bar. So we decide to hit IP for some blackjack. Once inside, the gang decides we have to play at one of the dealertainer tables. Trouble is, the only available table is $15. Somehow, the very persistent wife of our friend convinces the pit boss to open up a $10 table just for us. But she informs us that we better play. I haven't enjoyed myself much this week playing blackjack. I have been questioned; even by dealers for certain Basic Strategy moves that I know are right. So I decide to sit this one out. This works great for me since the wife doesn't want to drink anymore. She orders the Buds, and I drink them. Anyway, our dealer is Elvis and he is the best dealer I have ever encountered, bar none. Before starting the game, he asked everyone's name, and never forgot it. He was funny, helpful, and did a heck of a job pretending he wanted everyone to win. And win our group did. The pit boss was obviously sweating it, and pulled our dealer several times, until she gave in to our whining and let him come back. One time he did leave to get up in the little stage to sing "Satisfaction", very well I might add. The pit boss got a little pissed when I started dancing right in front of the table, and then many others followed suit. I think that whole pit shut down to come dance, or at least watch. She did blush when I offered to have Elvis' kids. Finally, Elvis was out for good, and Michael was in. He was also very nice, but that is just too creepy. I would have much preferred that he/she/it was a prick, I mean a$$hole, I mean, never mind. After far too many over-the-top McCauley Kaulikin (sp?) cracks from me, it was time to hit the road. Everyone in our group had doubled up. That included me, at least my BAL. Once back at TI, I tried to talk everyone into some 3-card poker, but the wife and her good sense sent everyone to bed about 5 AM. I did manage to make a complete ass of myself begging the front desk for a late checkout. I think she finally conceded and gave it to me so I would shut up and leave. Turns out I didn't need it. We got a 6:30 wake up call from our realtor back home. Ooffffffffffff. I was pretty shattered the next day. Normally, I just start drinking right away again in the morning to put off the hangover. But since I had to work the next day, I decided the most prudent thing to do was to tough it out. It was tough, let me tell you. We had a 1:00 check out, so we headed back to the Mirage pool, where I almost blew chunks, several times. I left the wife at the pool and went back into the safe darkness of the casino where I managed to choke down 2 big bottles of Gatorade. Each sip left me wondering where the nearest garbage can was. But I survived it, and by the time our plane took off, I was feeling right as rain. Once home, we found our littlest one had come down with a nasty chest cold. So we didn't get much sleep that night. Then I woke up the next morning with a fever of 103, body aches, and the worst sore throat I have ever had. Great. I still have it. So Vegas takes my money, my dignity, and now my health. Does this qualify as an "unhealthy relationship"? I have nothing witty to say in closing. I won't apologize for it being too long, or too boring since you are all grown ups and can make your own choices. If you have read it this far and would give anything to get that hour of your life back, just remember that chances are, you are at work.