Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vegas Memories - the Thursday Edition

I apologize for not getting these up sooner! I also apologize for the length of them, I can't figure out how to break them up - damn you, Blogger!
After spending an incredibly uneventful 40th birthday the day before (P. was out of town, but my office threw me a little shindig, so that was nice.) I did entertain the thought of taking the big day off (I kept thinking about that old Jim Gaffigan bit, “I can’t believe I’m going to work on my birthday. I can’t believe I’m doing laundry on my birthday. I can’t believe I’m paying for sex on my birthday.”) but knowing that I’d probably be dropping some major coin in LV, I decided to go in (besides, what would I do?) But, I digress…I flew into Las Vegas via AirTran, and did the old upgrade thing for the Atlanta-Vegas leg. On the way I watched “Tropic Thunder” on my Touch and corrupted the nice young attorney sitting next to me. He ordered coffee, I ordered a rum ‘n’ diet Coke. He quickly changed his order and followed suit. I’m such a bad influence! I arrived in Vegas in the early afternoon and, fortunately, so did my bag. I took a cab to the Mandalay Bay and checked in. Our room was lovely – 29th floor with a view of the massive pool area. I decided to take a walk around and get the “lay of the land”, because I knew that if I tried to take a nap, I’d pass out and miss the evening’s festivities (which would have been a crime!) As I walked through the casino and luxurious Mandalay Place shopping center, I pondered what was to be my first big decision of the trip – my first Sin City libation. I opted to go “tacky tourist” and grab a squooshy bottle full of 180 Octane (with a bonus shot of 151) from Fat Tuesday. Classy…

I returned to my room and got all dolled up for the big event – a VIP experience with Donny and Marie. Yes, that Donny and Marie. I figured that since my Peter Frampton meet-up aspirations were going nowhere, I could at least meet another of my early idols. I even brought the album cover (“Songs from the Television Show”) that I brought to school with me every day during D&M’s television heyday (the one with “A Little Bit Country” and “Deep Purple” on it.) I put on my snazzy new red satin dress and took a cab to the Flamingo. I grabbed a bite to eat (lettuce wraps - and a few Malibu ‘n’ diet Cokes for good measure) at a little bar called Voga before the show and enjoyed the scenery, it was “cute boy-o-rama” at the Flamingo for some reason. Once the theater doors opened, I got my VIP laminate and took my seat in the very front of the place. One thing about people who attend a Donny and Marie show, they’re chatty. I made friends quickly with the people at my table, a couple who were there for the fourth time. A nice gal from California, also there solo, named Kim and I bonded quickly. You’re never alone at a Donny and Marie show. The show itself was cheese-o-licious. D&M sang some songs together (and Donny grabbed my hand…I was in heaven). Marie then had her solo time, singing show tunes, a little bit of country (‘natch) and even an opera number. Her voice was awesome (since I was so close, I could hear her voice before it even hit the microphone), and she hasn’t gained back any of the weight she lost on Nutri-System. Donny, of course, was awesome – and yes, he sang “Soldier of Love” (I loved that song in the 80s.) I particularly enjoyed the sassy boy dancer who asked me how I was doing in the middle of the show. At the end of the show, we got on line to have some “quality time” with D&M. To their credit, they were all smiles and niceness to every single person in line (and I’ve got to imagine it’s gotta get “old” after a while.) While I waited, I was fascinated with a couple in front of me – a middle-aged dude with a fabulous blow-dried mullet and his artificially-enhanced, bleached-blond wife (picture what Loni Anderson’s character from “WKRP” would look like today. Not Loni, just her character.) Of course, I keeping with my awkward celebrity encounters, when it was my turn to chit chat, I immediately screamed “I love you!” at Donny. Like I said, these two were sweet to a fault and gamely played along. When I told Marie the sad tale of the battered album cover, she said to me “You are ADORABLE!” Well, that made my trip (actually, that and hugging Donny, which I repeatedly told my friend Susan for the rest of the trip. Me: “You know, I hugged Donny Osmond.” Susan : “I KNOW!”) Kim and I waited around for almost an hour after the show to get our pictures and I bought the only ones where I wasn’t completely fawning over D&M (and boy, there were a lot of those!) And the night was still young!

In a state of complete, celebrity-induced euphoria, I headed back to the Mandalay Bay, where Sue and Julia were getting settled in. They had a very chummy flight attendant on their flight and were enjoying a few complimentary tiny bottles of booze when I got back to the room. We got our act together and went in search of a place to keep the party going. We didn’t go far – we ended up at a bar made of ice in Mandalay Place. It’s called Minus 5, and it ended up being my unofficial “hangout” for the rest of the trip. It was crowded at the bar and we had to wait at the adjoining “lodge” before we could bundle up in parkas, booties and gloves and head into to the booze freezer. Jules went off to the little girl’s room and Sue and I went in and ordered a round of dirty martinis (mmmm…) Time ticked on, and Jules was nowhere to be found. We looked for her and called her cell phone. Nothing. Finally, a kid dressed in a penguin suit came over, pulled his mask up and asked us if we were with a girl in a wheelchair. He told us she had already gone into the ice bar. We asked him if he could get her back out and he said “I’m just a penguin” (this was his stock line, as Julia was the one who sent him out to find us in the first place and, when she asked him to fetch us, he repeated his catchy catchphrase. “I’m just a penguin” rapidly became the battle cry for the rest of the trip.) This is, believe it or not, the only night of the trip that ended a little “fuzzy” for me. In typical me fashion, I did fall down, but I didn’t get sick – and was up relatively early the next day for more fun!

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