"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer In my opinion, that's how my wife was in regard to Las Vegas. Of the 30-40 Vegas trips I've made, she's refused to accompany on nary a one, primarily because of a negative perception. I've tried explaining the allure Vegas has on me and other like-minded souls, but to no avail. For many years, she has been baffled with what she calls my "obsession" with all things Las Vegas. It was with that backdrop that a situation finally presented itself that made a joint husband/wife trip to Sin City doable. Since we were planning to spend Christmas with our daughter in Salt Lake City, I suggested we fly to Las Vegas first. She reluctantly agreed. The two major selling points were a departure from nearby Rockford (on Allegiant) instead of Chicago and the chance to see Hoover Dam. Suddenly, I was a man-on-a-mission. Desperately, I wanted to present a view of Las Vegas to her that would alter her bias and perhaps validate my existence as a Vegas aficionado. It's almost like bringing the date home for the first time and hoping for approval from the parents. With the several weeks to prep, I begin to do research - what activities would appeal to her, where to stay, eat, etc? Even time management came into the equation - how best can I space activities out to allow for maximum enjoyment? I consulted the T2V board and came up with several ideas of what to do with her. Foremost, I must take into consideration her needs and wants instead of my own. If I was a first-time tourist and brought her out, this thing would have probably flopped. However, being a seasoned Vegas traveler and having spent untold hours on the T2V board prepared me for what lied ahead. Finally, after much thought and diligence, a plan was in place. Dec 20 As we made the 25-minute trip to the Rockford Airport, at least, we cleared one hurdle. A major storm was rolling into the Midwest, but we would beat it by a day. Additionally, the bad weather Vegas had earlier in the week was clearing up and the forecast looked promising. My wife appreciated the ease of flying out of Rockford versus Midway Airport. Maybe, this trip might work after all. We arrived on time, picked up a rental car and headed to In-N-Out, a place that I promised my wife would be a gem in the tawdry world of fast food. She's never been to and In-N-Out and was impressed. Okay, we're on a roll, but the toughest part of the trip is approaching and I'm nervous. Soon, we will be checking in to our home for the next four days - the Eastside Cannery. It was chosen for its newness, proximity to some of our activities and the fact she did not want to be near the Strip. Plus, the $29 special on room rates didn't hurt. The reason for my nervousness was twofold - my wife, well aware of my proclivity for "roughing" it, asked that we at least stay someplace nice in Vegas; plus I was about to do my first-ever $20 trick request. Eastside Cannery is sight unseen (other than internet viewing) by me and I'm hoping the rooms are up to her standards. Scoring on the $20 trick will go a long way in insuring that. Entering the small lobby, I size up the three candidates (I mean clerks) for $20 trick recipient-ism. My intuitive sense tells me that Heidi looks the most willing. I allow another couple ahead of me, purposely waiting for her window to open up. As a novice $20 trickster, I fumbled around a bit with the bill, credit card and license and finally stammered out, "Um, um, say Heidi, do you have any upgrades available?" "Well, she says, we're pretty full." (bummer) "But, let me see what I can do." (renewed hope) After much clicking around, the magic words come out, "I was able do something for you on the 13th floor. I think you'll like it." The elation I felt at that moment was pretty darn high. The hotel room would be a critical component of the trip and I just hit a home run. Upon entering Room 1335, it more than surpassed both our expectations. It was a corner room that had floor-to-ceiling windows with views of both the mountains to the east and the Strip to the west. There was a jacuzzi, flat-screen TV, oversize walk-in shower, mini-frig, comfortable king bed and plenty of space. However, we couldn't enjoy it right away, as kick off for the Las Vegas Bowl between Arizona and BYU was only 45 minutes away. Since my wife is a football nut, I scored tickets to this sold-out game. Being from the Midwest, we don't have the opportunity to see bowls games in person, so this worked out perfect. We sat in the upper reaches of the south end zone among fans of both teams and had an excellent time. The banter between fans was clever, but clean. At our last college game together, my wife passed out on a brutally-warm Labor Day weekend at Ann Arbor. The 30-degree weather at Sam Boyd Stadium was a welcome change. The only drawback was monster traffic snarls getting in and out of the stadium. It's not designed to handle big crowds. Dec 21 After a good night's sleep, our plan for Sunday was to relax and watch more football, this time the pros. I tried to convince her that a Las Vegas casino sportsbook is one of the coolest places one could go to watch the games. She politely declined, with the explanation she did not want to be anywhere near where gambling took place. I respected that, but when four games came down to the wire in the final minutes, I hightailed down to the books to watch the ending of each game. Sunday NFL-football watching in a book remains one of my favorite Vegas activities. Later, we drove to Sunset Station for the buffet. The only drawback was hordes of locals taking advantage of the final day of a 2-1 newspaper promo. My wife didn't mind the wait, as she said Vegas buffets were superior to the stuff we get locally. Dec 22 As we depart the Cannery for Monday's activities, I beginning to feel more relaxed. My wife is enjoying herself and the stuff planned for today will be a snap. From a T2V suggestion, we hit up Ethel M's chocolate factory and cactus garden. As a chocolate lover, it's a big hit with her. Then it's on to GVR for the lunch buffet, which also meets her criteria. She suffers from colitis and is limited in what she can and can't eat. She's very pleased with the variety of quality of GVR's buffet. The trip to Hoover Dam was a slam dunk. She's been wanting to tour it forever and I could fondly say, "yeah, Vegas really does have a lot of interesting place to see, doesn't it." We did the $11 Power Plant tour. I could take it or leave it, but the important thing was that she enjoyed it. The highlight of the day for me would come later - watching MNF between the Bears and Packers in the confines of our room. Unfortunately, the first half sucked for Bear fans, prompting my wife to suggest we eat dinner instead. To get back in time for the second half, we ate in house, at the Cannery's $7.99 buffet with an old Nevada Palace 2-1 coupon. It wasn't much of a buffet, but it did have medium-rare prime rib. The night ended with an exciting come-from-behind victory by the Bears. Man, everything is coming up roses on this trip. Dec 23 In plotting the itinerary, I saved the biggest bang for the last. My T2V research indicated 'Mystere' was a must see for first-time Vegas show-goers. One of our kind board members even offered to get the local's discount for me, but it didn't work out. That's okay, the $172 total price tag for two very good seats to this show was worth it, especially to my wife. Another big Vegas score with her. For pre-show entertainment, she was treated to the 3:00 & 5:00 fountain shows at the Bellagio, both of the classical-music variety. Bingo! Another score. I scouted these out in advance, wanting this type of music versus an Elvis Christmas song. Between fountains acts, we had lunch/dinner at their buffet, which I had been touting to her for years. After eating, she was in total agreement. Pressing my luck, I even pointed out the Bellagio craps tables that my son and I had played many a game on. She nodded her head, neither offering approval or disdain, just acceptance. Before heading the 'Mystere', we went to Encore, which had just opened a day earlier. A friend of mine does the interior designs for Steve Wynn and I was curious of her impressions of it. Being a HGTV buff, she's kind of into that stuff. She preferred the Bellagio over Encore. That's okay I told her, the same guy did both places. Dec 24 Up early and onto Salt Lake City via SouthWest Airlines. Final thoughts: By trying to be of service to my wife, I had a rewarding experience. As the trip unfolded and she became more and more enamored with what Vegas had to offer, there was sense of relief on my part. It was fun for me to see her perceptions slowly change over the four days. And, I didn't rub it in our face with the old "I told you so". Instead, I was grateful she had a good time. She even thought she might like to come back again another time. My Vegas and her Vegas will never be the same, but she's come to respect Las Vegas in a whole different light.