I've been home for a few days but I didn't have the energy to post this until today. Sorry for the delay! Sunday, March 14, 2004 I had a 9:15 am flight into Las Vegas. I had car service pick me up at 7:00 am and there wasnâ€™t much traffic, so I got to the airport rather quickly. For some reason, Continental Airlines shut down the main check in area just as I walked through the door and sent everyone over to another area, which was a hassle since it was at the other end of the terminal. I thought Iâ€™d save a bunch of time by printing out my boarding pass online, since the last few times I was there, they had a special line for people that did that and it was always empty but not this particular day. No such luck! After waiting for quite sometime, the kiosk they made me use to check my bag crashed and it took another 15 minutes to get it back up and running and then I had to drag my bag to the security screening area to wait on another long line. Then, I had to go through the metal detector and the regular line was horrible, but since Continental let me buy back my Elite status this year, I was able to go through the shorter line but had to walk halfway across the terminal to do so. After that, I went up to the Presidentâ€™s club to hang out and e-mail Hurricane Mikey one last time. (Mikey and I have been exchanging e-mail many times each day getting psyched for the trip) Since it was a Sunday morning, I couldnâ€™t get a drink but I knew that ahead of time and bought some airline bottles of vodka from the liquor store, so I was prepared. My flight left on-time and was basically uneventful although it did arrive a little late and there was some turbulence. It was a full flight and they were offering vouchers for $350 if anyone wanted to wait until the 3:00 pm flight. I was tempted but didnâ€™t want to waste almost the whole day at Newark Airport. It just wasnâ€™t worth the compensation. It took a while to collect my suitcase and even longer to get a taxi cab. I got the scariest cab driver possible. As soon as I got in the car I asked him to take me to The hotel at Mandalay Bay, but not through the tunnel. He went off screaming about â€œcheap a-holesâ€ and I said, Iâ€™m not cheap but I just donâ€™t want to be taken advantage of. He went on and on about how everyone in Vegas is cheap and theyâ€™ll gamble tons of money away but he always gets screwed and how he hopes everyone loses every penny they have and about how Jews were responsible for the spike in the housing market there and itâ€™s their fault he canâ€™t afford a house and about how much better communism is than capitalism and on and on and on. I was tempted to argue with him but I was scared heâ€™d bury me somewhere in the desert so I sat there quietly while he screamed the whole way. I was SO glad when that cab ride was over. There was a line at THE hotel but it moved quickly. My room wasnâ€™t ready yet but they allowed me to put my stuff in there. (Nice room but no fridge or coffee maker and no easy access to the pool) I donâ€™t like flying and needed to settle down so I dropped my stuff off and went to Raffles CafÃ© for some chicken noodle soup and then I spent the rest of the day gambling. I wasnâ€™t winning but I hit a few small things to keep me going. A friend that I used to work with really needed a vacation and wanted to come so I let her tag along. My flight was too expensive by the time she was ready to book so she was on a late night flight and got in around 9:00 pm. We went to bed around 11:00 pm. Monday, March 15, 2004 We were both still on East Coast time, so we woke up around 4:30 and showered and then went down to grab a bite to eat. My first class wasnâ€™t until 9:30 am. We were downstairs by 6:00 am but couldnâ€™t get anything to eat until 7:00 am. My friend doesnâ€™t really gamble but she watched me. We grabbed turkey sandwiches for breakfast at around 7:00 am at the Kona CafÃ©. After that, my friend walked me to register for my sessions and then she went to the pool and I gambled until it was time to go to class. My classes were uneventful. Most were boring but a few were interesting. I got back to the room around dinner time. My friend said she went over to the Luxor after the pool. She wanted to see the strip and this was her first trip to Vegas so we walked from Mandalay Bay down to Harrahâ€™s. We stopped at the Bellagio for a few fountain shows and grabbed dinner at the Harrahâ€™s buffet. I shipped some Hurricane Mix and snacks to myself so we could have drinks up in my suite when the rest of â€œthe gangâ€ arrived but they never made it. The mail lady here is supposedly tracing the package but Iâ€™ve lost all hope at this point. Anyway, I stopped at the liquor store by Harrahâ€™s and picked up a bottle of Stoliâ€™s and stopped at CVS for some mixers on the way back to the hotel. We got back around 11:00 and my legs hurt. Iâ€™m not sure how far the walk was there and back but it was much too much for me. I paid for it the rest of the trip. Tuesday, March 16, 2004 Woke up at 3:00 am, not by choice but because my friendâ€™s friend was sending her text messages via cell phone and her phone was making all sorts of noises. I tried to go back to sleep but it kept going off. Personally, I need my sleep. I canâ€™t focus on classes if I am sleep deprived. I felt like crap the entire day and I didnâ€™t want to hurt my friendâ€™s feelings so I waited until I calmed down and I asked her to shut the phone off or to go in the other room because I need my sleep for the rest of the week. She said she only needs 3-4 hours of sleep a night but I told her I need much more than that. She still got up early for the rest of the trip but she went downstairs until 7:30 am so I could sleep. My classes were ok. My friend went out by the pool and spent most of the afternoon out there. Bazootch got in and called me and I gave him the key to the free room I had for him and Mikey at Mandalay Bay. Hurricane Mikey got in around 9:00 pm and I gave him the other key. We walked over the Mikeyâ€™s room so he could get his stuff and then we went over to Luxor so Mikey could teach me how to play Craps. I had a blast although the table wasnâ€™t kind to us and we called it a night. Wednesday, March 17, 2004 Got up around 7:30 ish and met Bazootch and Mikey at the buffet. My friend Pat was going to meet us but she got caught up and was late and because I had to go to class, I told her we couldnâ€™t wait any longer so we went in. She eventually joined us. By this time, my stomach was killing me. I suffer from acid reflux and the doctor tells me that itâ€™s due to stress and anxiety. The lack of sleep and tense situation made that believable. I was in agony! Bazootch and Mikey were playing in a poker tournament that morning. I went to a few classes but played a little hooky, so I could hang out and have some fun. I grabbed the study materials for the class I skipped and after two Long Island Iced Teas, I lost the study material. I didnâ€™t realize it until I got sober again. Oh well. Mikey and I went back to Luxor and played some more craps. After waiting for a very long time, it was finally Mikeyâ€™s turn to throw the dice and they changed the table minimum from $5 to $10 and wouldnâ€™t grandfather us in, which wasnâ€™t very nice. We immediately cashed out. We went back over to Mandalay Bay and Mikey kept me company while I played a little roulette. I didnâ€™t win but after all was said and done, I was only down $10 for the session. While we were there, Vegas Jer came by. I donâ€™t remember the rest of the afternoon though. We met up around 6:00 pm. We were supposed to go to Red Square but it was crowded so Mikey, Jer, my friend and I grabbed burgers and hot dogs at the deli in the sports book. We met up with everyone and hung out until it was time for the limo. While waiting, I met LV Terry and 3 Cats and her husband Jim, all very nice people! The limo ride was a blast. We drove downtown because everyone wanted shrimp cocktail from the Golden Gate. The line was long but 3 Cats walked right up to the cashier and cut the line!! After the shrimp cocktails, (and the bottle of water that LV Terry bought me, thanks again) we drove along the strip and everyone (except me because my stomach was bothering me) was drinking champagne and tequila. They were even giving shots away to people on the strip while we were stopped at traffic lights, in between drunken cell phone calls! It was a wild and memorable ride!! We eventually stopped off at the â€˜Welcome to Las Vegas Signâ€™ and had our picture taken. We went to the Orleans after that. Mikey, Vegas Jer, 3 Cats and I played some craps. Mikey and I doubled our money, which was nice, especially after taking such a beating at the Luxor. I was pretty tired and needed to rest because I had class again on Thursday so I took a taxi back to the hotel. Mikey, being the nice guy that he is, walked me outside to make sure I got into a cab ok. Thursday, March 18, 2004 I donâ€™t remember what time I got up. As the week progressed, things got fuzzier and fuzzier. I went to breakfast at Raffles CafÃ© with Mikey, Jer and my friend. After that, I had to go to class. All the guys were checking out of Mandalay Bay and into the Las Vegas Club that afternoon. I was hoping to hang out with Mikey to play more craps but that didnâ€™t work out. I went to my classes and then spend lots of time on the phone trying to set up a contingency plan in case my flight was cancelled due to snow in the Northeast. I called the front desk and they wanted to charge me $499 for the extra night. I went online and everything in town was basically sold out. I decided to call the slot club to see if they could offer me the casino rate and the guy said that was no problem and quoted me a price of $189, which wasnâ€™t bad. Of course, I have problems trusting people because they never do what they said they will. I stopped off at the front desk to confirm everything and not only did he screw up the rate for Friday but he also screwed up my reservation. He changed my Thursday rate from $169 to $189 and put a rate of $289 instead of $189 in for Friday and put in a rate of $599 for Saturday and had me checking out on Sunday. After wasting Â½ hour there, the gal went back and fourth between me, her boss and the host and got it corrected. (My flight did depart on time and the snow wasnâ€™t a problem but I needed to be sure I had a back up plan, just in case) After this, I took a long shower. My friend Pat was out and she said sheâ€™d meet me at the Tropicana so we could go downtown to meet the guys. I really wanted to go without her since she doesnâ€™t gamble and the cell phone text message thing every five minutes was getting on my nerves, but she gave me an earful and was a little sarcastic because I went out without her the night before and she kind of knew that I was having much more fun with the guys. I felt obligated to hang out with her. Iâ€™d never been to the Center Stage Restaurant so we made reservations for 6:30 pm. I met my friend at 4:45 pm at the Tropicana and we got on the bus. She had a bus pass and I figured, what the heck. Bad idea! It took about 1 Â½ hours to get from the bus stop outside the Tropicana to downtown. I called home a few times along the way. My 12 year old daughter got on the phone and said â€œmom, stop being so cheap, get off the bus and take a taxi cab or youâ€™re going to be 60 by the time you get thereâ€ but I was at the Riviera at that point so I figured, why bother? We made it there just in time for our dinner reservation. A waste of 1 Â½ hours! Dinner was good and I enjoyed the light show from there. After dinner, we met up with Mikey and some of his friends at the Golden Gate and then went back to the Las Vegas Club. I played a little video poker and some Elvis slots. Mikey was playing black jack. At about 9:00 pm, I decided that we should probably head back because we had to leave for the airport at 5:00 am. We walked back to Neonopolis because I wanted to stop in the new Gamblerâ€™s Museum but it was closed so we caught a cab and called it a night. I didnâ€™t see Vegas Jer or Bazootch before I left but I went over to see Mikey. I was sad to go! I definitely want to go back again when everyone is out there. I had so much fun. If I didnâ€™t have class or my friend with me, it would have been the ultimate Vegas trip! What a great bunch of people! I miss Mikey!!!! Friday, March 19, 2004 The snow was expected to clear up before the plane was scheduled to land. Everything was on-time and uneventful. I got home and my husband and daughter were happy to see me. They bought me a bouquet of white tulips (my favorite) and a can of WD-40, because they said I was so tight (cheap) that I was squeaking!