“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” (But not in this case)

It is June 23, and as Dick drops me off at the Redmond Airport, my thoughts are on Las Vegas.  Susan’s birthday is tomorrow and when she turns 50, she will join her brothers Michael (52) and Kirk (51) in the next decade of her life.

My flight leaves at 11:45 AM and arrives in Las Vegas at 7 PM, as I have a 3 hour layover in Seattle.  My son-in-law, Mark and I have been planning this surprise for 3 months and thus far, Susan has no idea.  The plane arrives right on schedule, and as I walk towards the terminal, the 103 degree heat hits me like a ton of (hot) bricks.   In a way, I enjoy this as it has been so cold in Bend. 

Mark and I text back and forth as our plan takes shape.  They have reservations for a show, and are scheduled to leave their hotel (Vdara) at 8:30 PM, which gives me plenty of time to hop a shuttle.  WRONG!  The terminal is huge, and so from the main terminal, I quickly stride through the throngs of people, who are anxious to get to the casinos, and realize I need to catch a tram to the baggage and exit area.  In all the confusion, I go out the exit where the cabs are lined up, only to find out, I’m on the wrong side of the building.  A security guard helps me back into the terminal where I finally go out the right doors and onto the street to await the hotel shuttle.  It is now 7:40 and the perspiration is dripping down my face.  I’m so stressed that I won’t get to the hotel by 8:30 and ruin the surprise.  When the shuttle finally arrives, I sit for another 20 minutes waiting for other passengers.  At last we are on our way and I think all will work out.  WRONG again.  The driver stops at 2 places on the way.  I’m feverishly texting Mark that I won’t arrive at their room before 8:30.  It is now 8:27 and I rush through the hotel’s doors to the elevators.  Murphy’s law?  Mark texts me they are on floor 30, room 32.  Guess what?  In all my haste, I take the elevator to floor 32, room 30!!  I’m now back in the elevator and it is at 8:30 that I finally find the room, ring the doorbell and step aside.  Susan answers the door and sees no one and then I appear.  Her shriek of surprise is so loud, I believe everyone in the hotel heard her! 

We have just a few minutes to chat and then Susan and Mark take off for their show, and I check in to my room in the same hotel. 

As I lie in my comfortable bed on the 19th floor, I am finally relaxed and ecstatic that we pulled off the surprise without Susan having the least bit of suspicion!!!

June 24

To celebrate Susan’s birthday, we eat a late breakfast, stroll the crowded and noisy streets of Las Vegas, and pick up our tickets for the show at the Mirage (Cirque du Soleil).  We have time to cab over to the infamous “Pawn Stars’ shop.

Before the show, in Susan & Mark’s room, we sip on champagne and chocolate covered strawberries (compliments of Kirk) .  The temperature this evening is 99 degrees!

I had reserved my ticket to the show after Mark told me what seats they were in, so another surprise for Susan when she finds out I’m sitting next to her!  This performance is the Beatles Love show.  It’s hard to describe.  So much going on that my eyes are going crazy taking in all the colors, the costumes, the women and men dangling from ropes high above us.  The dancers, the music.  I’ve never seen anything like this!  And with all this activity going on, there is the Beatles music playing throughout.

We end our evening with a delectable birthday dinner at a lovely restaurant within walking distance of our hotel.  I have to awake at 4:45 AM the next morning to make my early flight back to Portland and then into Bend.

June 25

I arrive at the Redmond Airport at 12:10 PM, and as I’d hoped, Dick is waiting for me with Olivia and Rafael.  They had spent the night with “abuelito.”  What a great end to a beautiful weekend.

This is our last week at our “River Retreat”  I plan to post a recap of all we’ve experienced and then Joyce’s Journey will begin “Chapter 2.






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