Full timers often talk about the fact that you absolutely have to treat this lifestyle as “regular life” and not “vacation”. Even the most experienced of us struggle with that on occasion and when you hit a spot that you frequently vacationed in, even more so. For us Las Vegas was our “go-to” vacation spot. Lee came almost every year for the National Association of Broadcasters conference and saved up all year long to really enjoy himself. He brought two of our daughters here when they turned 21, and he and I came on several other occasions. So it’s not surprising that when we hit the town those old vacation feelings were stirred up. But of course, it’s not vacation. He’s here to work, and we are also here to see if we could spend winters here. Still, we added a couple of days at the beginning of this work trip, and a day at the end, and the desire to “live it up” a little is strong. Eat an expensive dinner, do some gambling, see a show, all the things that have been a regular part of our Vegas trips in the past. Those things all cost serious money though. The days of cheap buffets and show tickets are largely gone, and we could easily blow a month’s entertainment and dining-out budget in one day here. So what does that leave? That’s a good question in a town that is one of the best in the world at “helping” you spend your money.
On Tuesday I dropped Lee off at the Mirage so he could work and I took the truck to get an oil change. We pre-bought all oil changes and regular services with the truck so I can go to any Ford dealer for those maintenance visits. I picked Friendly Ford here in town and after some difficulty getting me into their system, they did a nice job. While I was waiting, I had a nice long chat with my Mom (who also loves Vegas and has a timeshare here) and then decided to go to the Bellagio. All of the casinos are celebrating the Chinese New Year this week and the solarium of the Bellagio was decorated to match. Generally I am a big fan of the solarium, but this time it fell a little short, although I had a wonderful chat with the woman running the Chiluhy glass store. Lee and I tried glass blowing a couple of years ago and the Chihuly folks are some of the best in the world. The pieces for sale start at $5K, but as someone who has tried it, I now know the level of artisanship required to get those pieces. To me it is art, and the woman was very nice even though it was obvious I didn’t have the kind of money it would take to buy one of those pieces. So feeling a bit emboldened I decided to wander a bit and took $20 out of an ATM machine to play some slots. So the ATM’s have a $5.95 fee AND you can take up to $3K out!! The main screen starts at $100 and I had to go to a secondary screen to even get the $20 selection. Sure! We’ll help you spend your money! Since I was feeling a little ritzy I played a 25 cent machine (I always play pennies or nickels) and very quickly lost my $20 and felt very wasteful and a little bit guilty. $20 can buy a lot in our new life. I wandered outside to see if the fountain shows were playing, but they don’t start until 3pm on the week days so finally just went back to the truck and left.
OK, so the pretending to be rich feeling fell flat, let’s try something totally different. I used to travel quite a bit for work and in the evenings often watched Pawn Stars. It’s always on, for one thing, and you can really sort of half listen to it in the hotel room. Plus, I like Rick and the history of the items. I had read it was best to go early morning and mid-week, so off I went. It was busy but not packed and it looks exactly like what you would see on TV. None of the stars were there, but I had a great moment of luck when a salesperson pulled out a $100,000 2001 Patriots super bowl ring. The sign on the ring says “No, you can’t touch it”, but he brought it out for a potential buyer. Since I was standing there and basically drooling, I asked if I could see it. He was a little gruff about it, but relented when I said I was a huge Pats fan and let me take a picture of it. Then I asked to touch it and he let me, so yes, I have touched an actual Patriots Super Bowl ring. It was really pretty!! I liked the shop actually, they had some cool stuff, and I bought a $15 T-Shirt and was on my way. Still the touristy things were not really doing it for me, and since I needed to stop spending money I went back to the rig and went on a domestic binge. I cleaned everything in sight and even baked a carrot cake. The I watched all the Bachelor’s I had been saving up and basically just chilled. Not the most exciting of days but better than the alternative of wandering around and spending money.
Wednesday, Lee needed the truck for work so I spent some time blogging and then looked to see what kind of work was here for me in Vegas. I was pleased to see there was a lot of opportunity out there for someone with my skill set, although it is more difficult to find short-term positions in my field. Lee has had some great conversations with some local folks here and it seems there is plenty of work for him as well, so it definitely seems like a good choice for us when we come back from Alaska in the fall. After I did all the cleaning and job searching though, I sort of ran out of things I needed to do. Here I was in a city where I used to have so much fun, Lee was working really long hours and I felt …well bored. I’m not saying I haven’t had the occasional moments of boredom over the last year, but they have truly been brief. Between acclimating to the lifestyle, working my old job, dealing with the logistics of moves and new places, being with friends, and working through the emotions of the lifestyle, there hasn’t been much down time. There hasn’t really been much down time in my life in general. I was always a person who filled things up with kids, work, school, Lee…my days have always been overfilled. So here I was with some precious time finally, and I had no idea how to fill it. That’s not exactly true, I have a list of things I always said I would work on if I ever got the time. Home projects, craft projects, reading more books, more time researching the lifestyle, starting to write a book of my own, are all things I would think of with longing and the idea if I only had the time I would do them. I didn’t do any of those things. I played computer games, watched some TV, and sort of wandered around aimlessly spending my energy on not walking over to the casino and spending money. And I really felt like I was in a parking lot all day which was not so fun.
Thursday was a half day for him and he and his friend Brian, who he is working with, came back to the rig and we went to the buffet at Circus Circus for lunch. I was thrilled to get out a bit, but terribly disappointed in the buffet. $17.99 was waaaay overpriced and frankly I have had better buffets for way less money. Still it was great getting to see Brian and we hung out until Brian had to go back to work.
Friday Lee was working noon – 10pm so I decided to ride with him and then walk back to the camper. The Mirage is one of my favorite casinos and Treasure Island and the Fashion Show mall are also on the way back. I went through tons of Celestial face moisturizer in Quartzite and they have a Lush in the mall.
Everything was great until I left the Fashion Mall. The walk between the fashion mall and Circus Circus is on the sketchy side and I was definitely glad that I didn’t do it at night. Still it was a nice way to spend a few hours and walking around and taking pictures doesn’t cost anything. Saturday I finally worked on a project I have been putting off for some time. My awning really needed cleaning and since I am in a parking lot and no one is next door to us I figured why not. It was pretty hard to do since our awning doesn’t fold down and I had to use a ladder and it is no where near as clean as I wanted it to be, but it does look somewhat better than before. Lee’s last work day is today from 4pm – 2am and then we have Sunday as a day off together. Looking forward to it.
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