Greetings. I haven't posted a TR in a few years but this was a real fun trip I thought some of you may enjoy. Some of the references to local friends are people from another board but there are no inside jokes or references that you won't get so I think it's ok as it stands. Background: Normally, I wouldn't leave on a Saturday for a trade show that starts on Tuesday but my aunt wanted to take me to dinner for my birthday and, once the show starts, I don't get out until 6pm which, by itself, is wayyyy too late for them to eat dinner. She and her DH, Phil, had a gift certificate for Il Mulino at Caesar's Forum Shops. It was an anniversary gift (from October) from his son and daughter in law. They needed a ride to "town," as they call it, so they decided to share their anniversary gift with me for my birthday. There was some drama with my aunt, associated with this trip, but I got her all calmed down. Saturday 4/3: I had planned to leave San Diego at 8am which would have put me in LV about 1-1:30. Auntie wanted me at her house by 2pm (because we had dinner reservations at 5 and we don't want to be late) but I wasn't having that. After a 5 hour drive, I need to rest a little. I ended up leaving SD about 9:30 (my life gets in my way sometimes) and arrived at The M at 2:30 or so. My aunt only called me twice because her DH was freaking out that we would be late and she actually changed our dinner reservations to 5:30. I responded, "I will get you there by 5pm." [I'm not going to sit outside a restaurant and WAIT for them to open for goodness sakes!] She called me again, at 4pm, and, "What? You haven't left yet?" "I'm leaving now. I will be there in 10 minutes. We will get there on time." We got to CP at 5pm, as promised. The valet at The Forum Shops was kind of a zoo so I told Auntie and Phil to go up to the restaurant, since they move slowly, and I would be along. They finally gave me a ticket for the car and the valet guy asked me if I was there to shop. I replied, "I am having dinner at one of the restaurants." "Which one?" he asked. "Il Mulino." "Do you know where it is? Would you like me to tell you how to get there?" "Look at me. Does it look like I have problems finding food?" Il Mulino was lovely. I had the lemon chicken which I thought was divine. They give you many things to taste, before your dinner, courtesy of the chef. There was fried zucchini, mussels, and a couple of other things. The bread they put on the table was also very tasty. The servers address the women as "Bella." I liked that! After dinner, I took the folks home and made my apologies for not coming in since I really needed to crash. Now, you all realize I did not go back to my room and crash, don't you? Not a winning night! Stopped off at the Imagine desk and picked up my free shirt. I need another long sleeve T-shirt like the world needs another language so I gave it to Doug, my boss. Finally called it quits about 1am. Sunday 4/4: Doug normally leaves San Diego at the crack o' dawn on the Sunday before the show so he can unload the van and start setting up. Seeing as how it was Easter, he decided not to leave until later so set-up would be on Monday, leaving me with a free day. Guess whose aunt was absolutely thrilled that I would be able to spend the whole day on Sunday with her!! Of course, the other side of the coin was that, since my spending the day with her (on Sunday or any other day I'm there) means taking her shopping, the malls were closed for Easter so no Nordstrom. The day with them started for breakfast at The Red Cup Cafe at The M (I can't even catch a break to sleep late). The Red Cup Cafe no longer serves a breakfast buffet but they do offer a $2 discount, if you're over 50 and have a player's card. Phil went home and my aunt and I ventured off. Winds were crazy. There's a women's store in the Hilton that auntie likes so we went to the Hilton. The store was open so auntie was able to enjoy one of her shopping sprees. I went up to the clerk at the front counter and gave her my cell number with instructions to call me when my aunt was finished. May as well enjoy myself and show some love to the Hilton. Fortunately, the Hilton loved me back to the tune of about $100. After shopping, we were to meet Phil back in Henderson for dinner (at 4pm!). Auntie and Phil like to go to a place called The Village Pub. It is one of those ubiquitous places in the suburbs--a bar and grill, if you will--that is open 24 hours and features video poker. We all enjoyed their fish and chips. Prices were very good. Phil took auntie home and I made sure that they knew I was sufficiently tired so they did not insist upon my returning with them. Actually, I needed to get back to The M as Doris (Applegreenjade) and her BF, Bill, were coming over to meet me. They wanted to see my room. We picked up my next freebies, which were a bottle of wine and a logo jacket (windbreaker). I gave the wine to Bill. It actually looked to be pretty good but I didn't need to bring one more thing home with me. It was also pie day at The M. Threw enough points on my card for a free cherry pie. Bill left and Doris and I played some more. Since I had a car, I could take Doris home. Enough was enough so we headed over to Venetian. Doris got us in at one of their fancy player's lounges (gold? platinum? I don't know). We had a nosh of sandwiches and cookies. I love traveling with you platinum/diamond folks! We went over to play and I found a nice $1 VP machine that showed all kinds of love. Unfortunately, the love cooled and I gave most of it back. About 1am, we decided to eat at Noodle Asia. Doris got it comped for us and we had many tasty dishes including Shanghai rice cakes (my fave), sausage fried rice, beef chow fun with gravy and some dumplings. Lots of leftovers which Doris took home. Over my insistence at driving her home, she called Bill to come pick her up which is just as well because my eyes were glazing over and I would have gotten lost getting out of her neighborhood, I'm sure. We left V about 2:15 am and I finally fell asleep about 3. Seriously, I'm not 21 anymore. What am I thinking? Monday 4/5: OK, I need to check out of M, check into NYNY and meet Doug at Mandy Bay to help with the booth. Doug calls me and asks me to check in at NYNY and bring my iron since the table covering got a little wrinkled. No problem but I have a comp buffet at M that I need to use. I had a very satisfying meal and headed off to NYNY. Brought a few things up to the room with me and grabbed the iron and hid it in my briefcase. The booth was pretty well set up when I got there so I spent time on Doug's laptop checking my emails at the office. Long story short: The wireless connection at the exhibit hall was spotty so Doug hooked it up to his cell phone which was fine except that every time he got a call, I lost the internet connection and the man gets a call every five minutes! I was not in a good mood, at that point, and I got ready to leave. Doug asked me if I wouldn't mind picking up a 3 pronged extension cord and a black tablecloth while I was out and about. No worries. So, before I left San Diego, I found out that Giada De Laurentiis would be autographing her new book at Sur La Table at the Miracle Mile Shops. Doug's wife is a big fan and she didn't get to come with us so I thought it would make a nice gift for her. I got to PH about 4:30 and went in and bought the book. The line for the autographing was like a line for a Disneyland ride. I started chatting with the gentleman behind me so the time went quickly. Once Giada showed up (scheduled for 5pm) at 5:10, the line moved very quickly and efficiently and I had my autographed tome in hand by 5:45. Matthew (Mister Keno) met me at the store and he was very excited to see Giada. Since I was stuck on line, I gave MK $20 and my TR card and told him to run up some points for me. Matthew and I left to take advantage of my free buffets at Red Rock. The drive out was nice with very little traffic. When we got to RR, I realized that I didn't have my player's card so there was a woman in the change booth who was very kind and got a new one for me. I was sitting at a machine, waiting for her (yes, I put some money in). When she returned, I put my card in and found out I had $30 in free play (XPC). I figured I'd take care of that after dinner. The buffet was very good. I found many enjoyable dishes, including one of my favorite desserts: bread pudding. After dinner, I made my way over to the Goldfish machine that showed me a good time back in December. I played the $30 and ran it up to about $75, without hitting even one fish food bonus, so Matthew dodged the proverbial bullet by not having to do the fish food bonus dance with me. LOL. Yes, there's a dance when you get a fish food bonus. We headed back so I could take Matthew home and he mentioned that there was a Walmart by his place. I figured Walmart would have the extension cord and the tablecloth. I'm not a Walmart girl--I'm a Target girl--so I assumed they would have these basic items. They did not have ANY tablecloths so I didn't even bother to look for the extension cord. Matthew mentioned that there was a Target at Flamingo and Maryland. With only a few minutes to spare, we headed over. Naturally, I missed the turn into Target so, yes *sigh*, there was a LEGAL U-turn involved. Note: Last year I made an illegal U-Turn on the strip. I'm still getting grief over that! Ten minutes before closing, we walked into the store. Found the black tablecloths right away. Now, I would like to take this opportunity to mention something to our few members who teach math: If your students EVER say they will not use the good knowledge you are trying to impart to them, here's what happened. The tablecloths come in different sizes, as you might expect. For the life of me, I couldn't remember the formula for determining the area of a cylinder (we were covering the case for the booth display). Naturally, I ended up buying one that was too big. I figured that out the next morning when I remembered the formula! Dropped Matthew at home and made sure he took the pie with him. I wanted to get him one last November when I was there for free pie day but the line at the player's club was way too long then and I had to make a members' meet so I felt like I owed him one. Tuesday, 4/6: Trade show 10am to 6pm. After the show, I was to meet Doris and Bill as they were taking me out to dinner for my birthday. They decided we would eat at one of the restaurants at MB so I just hung out there as I was dressed in my business attire and I didn't bring dressy clothes with me, except for what I wore on Saturday for dinner with my aunt. Showed some love to MB as I would like to stay there next year. I had to do something while I waited! I'm not sure what time they showed up (8pm maybe?). We were going to eat at Shanghai Lilly but that is closed on Tuesdays so we went to Strip Steak. They had a very nice prix fixe menu so we all got that. It was a choice of soup (crab chowder) or salad, a half organic chicken or poached prime rib and dessert (a root beer float with two kinds of ice cream: vanilla and sarsaparilla, a chocolate ribbon and two freshly baked-- I mean hot out of the oven--chocolate chip cookies). They brought out a little tasting thing, compliments of the chef, which included 3 different flavors of french fries and 3 different dipping sauces, one of which was ketchup. There was also a very nice focaccia bread that we all enjoyed. I had the chicken. It came with truffled mac and cheese which was, OMG, sooooooo good. I liked this place a lot and would eat there again in a New York minute. It was very generous of Doris and Bill and I don't think I thanked them enough! I think we we left about 11. Got back to NYNY and put some time in at VP with my free play. I had a good run, including a straight flush! Went to bed too late (yet again). Wednesday, 4/7: The first good thing that happened this day is that I got to sleep in a little. Doug had a box shipped from the office and he wanted it there by 8:30 so he could pick it up before he went to the exhibit hall. I suggested that he not pay the extra money and have it delivered standard overnight which would get there by 10:30 and I would pick it up! That gave me time to have a nice breakfast at America Cafe. I went to pick it up at 10:30 and it wasn't there yet. They assured me that it probably was there but it went to some central receiving for processing so it wouldn't get to the business office right away--maybe another half hour?. What to do, what to do? Yeah, you guessed it! And I won a little money too! Trade show all day, 10 to 6. Spent a lot of time on Doug's laptop reading my emails, my Facebook page and ELV and enjoying all my birthday wishes. I had a big smile on my face. Doug wasn't amused but I didn't ignore any customers or anything. At 5pm, they opened bars and brought out appetizer type food. This consisted of lumpia, a Mexican style shrimp cocktail (served in a shot glass), sliders and little grilled cheese squares with pastrami. Those were the bomb right there!! Normally, our booth isn't anywhere near where the food is and I usually have to send my reps out to get stuff for me, but this time it was right in the aisle across from the booth so I had a field day! After that, I really didn't need dinner but, for the past two years, Eric (one of our reps) has been promising me a steak dinner at Ellis Island. This was the year and I was going to eat steak! Six of us, Eric, Scott (Eric's brother), Don (one of our reps), Dan (Scott's partner), Doug and I, went out to celebrate my birthday!! Dan and Scott got there early because they were dressed casually. The rest of us were in suits so we wanted to go back to NYNY to change into jeans and it was decided that we would meet at 7pm. I walked in a little late but scored a parking spot right outside the front door (don't like the garage very much). Eric and Don were already there and we didn't know how long we'd be waiting but they were calling numbers that weren't even close to ours. Eric and I decided to shoot craps. We made a pact to each go in for $40. I accidentally left my money back at the room (see what happens when I rush--me not carrying money into a casino? Sacrilege!). Went to the ATM and pulled $100. They had a $5 table so we were just playing the minimum. When the dice finally came to Eric (there were only about 4 or 5 people playing), he had an amazing roll. At one time, his point was 10. I threw a $5 chip on the hard way and darned if he didn't roll it!! Yay!!! Colored up with a $75 profit, after tipping. We all ordered the steak--except for Doug. He was convinced that a $6.95 steak had to be horrible (even after Scott and I both assured him that it was, in fact, very good). Doug had a hamburger. He took one look at our steaks and I think he fully regretted his misgivings. After dinner, the boys wanted to drink some more and, being cheap, they wanted to drink for free so some gambling needed to take place. They wanted me to drink too but I explained that I was driving and was not willing to risk a cavity search at the local lockup. They were putting $2 into nickel slots and celebrating their 25 cent wins. LOL. After a fashion, somebody decided that we should take over a blackjack table. There was a $5 table completely open so the 6 of us sat down. We all bought in for $20. Now, I'm not a confident blackjack player. Generally, though, I get what you're supposed to do. Fortunately, I sat next to Dan, who seems to know what he's doing so he helped me. I won a few times. Twice, I had a 9 and a 2 dealt and I doubled down but didn't pull the necessary 10 and lost both hands. Tossed my last $5 chip at Len, the dealer, and told them I needed to leave. No regrets about the loss (plus I still had $55 left from craps). I had a great time with them. Dan, whom I had never met before, told me that I was a "fun girl." I take that as extremely high praise. Sometimes, when people only know me professionally, they don't realize that I know how to hang out with "the guys." What I needed to do was go to Wynn where $75 in free play was awaiting me. I threw it into a VP machine and ran it up to $150 but then it went cold and I gave it back--except for the $75! That left with me. There's some construction over at Encore, fronting the strip, so there are some challenges to getting in and out of Wynn. Back at NYNY, I took $20 and put it into a Goldfish machine. Ran it up to $70 and cashed out. I planned to be in bed by 10. Who thinks that happened? I didn't even leave Wynn until after 11. I'm a mess but it was a really fun birthday. Thursday 4/8: Last day of the show. A short day--10am to 2pm. Not too many customers milling about. Mostly exhibitors visiting each other's booths. A good day for meetings with reps, OEM's and such. I helped Doug tear down the booth and I guarded the stuff at the van while he and one of his partners, in another of his businesses, brought everything out. Doug is the only person who is allowed to load the van. I was going to wait for him and follow him back to San Diego but he didn't seem to care either way so I got on the road, after gassing up and getting some provisons at Jack in the Box (what was I thinking?) and the AM/PM mini mart next door. Provisons included food and lots of caffeinated beverages. Even so, I still had to pull off the road once to rest my eyes. See? This is why I wanted to be in bed by 10. I made great time back home. Cruised at about 80 almost the whole trip. Thank you for reading this.