GOOD NEWS: Not only did my thoughtful husband surprise me with tickets to see Barry Manilow in Las Vegas this past weekend, he also arranged backstage passes. To meet Barry. By some bizarre, small-world, friend-of-a-friend-with-connections thing, he managed to get it all worked out, surprising me with the news just a couple of days before we left.
BAD NEWS: BARRY HAD BRONCHITIS. We got to the box office Friday morning to pick up our tickets, only to learn that the show had been canceled, for both Friday and Saturday nights, meaning that there was no chance of re-scheduling. Yes, we got our money back. Yes, I was insanely disappointed. I consoled myself with a trip to the Barry gift shop, where I scored a Copa Cabana t-shirt. Hubs offered to buy me the DVD version of the concert, but I declined. I mean, if I can't see Barry while standing next to throngs of middle-aged women sobbing their way through "Mandy", then I just don't want to see Barry at all.
GOOD NEWS: We were in Las Vegas. It's not like there is any shortage of things to do. We got tickets to Cirque du Soleil instead, and it was spectacular. We also had a very swanky, high-priced, candle-lit dinner for two, the type of thing we never do. After we ordered, the waiter asked us if we'd like to try their special twice-baked potato appetizer. Sure, we said, and I will tell you that this potato was the most amazing thing I've ever eaten in my life, and it's a good thing, because...
BAD NEWS: ...when we got our ticket, we learned that the potato was $85. EIGHTY-FIVE DOLLARS. It turns out it had truffles on it (ironically, I had picked them off. If I'd known they were that stinkin' valuable I would've put scraped them into my purse to make into a necklace later). The lesson? Check the menu first. And invest in truffles.
GOOD NEWS: We left the restaurant and strolled through the casino. Walking past some deserted slot machines, we found $95 in cash laying on the ground. Hubs picked it up, found the manager, and he tried to return the cash, suggesting they check the security camera to find out who it belonged to (I knew all those times he watched Oceans 11 would come in handy). The manager looked at Hubs like he was a little crazy, shrugged, and told him, "House rules. You find it, it's yours." So we shrugged too, and I concocted a fantasy in my head in which Barry had just been in that very casino and left that money behind for us. If he couldn't sing "Mandy" for me, he would at least finance my potato.
BAD NEWS: The hotel where we stayed is one that especially draws the young, hip, club-going crowd. You can imagine that a couple of happily-married, middle-aged Republicans fit right in.
GOOD NEWS: People in Las Vegas wear costumes to dinner and the casinos on Halloween.
BAD NEWS: People in Las Vegas wear costumes to dinner and the casinos on Halloween.
GOOD NEWS: Even without Barry, we saw some amazing things. The fountains at the Bellagio were, by themselves, worth the trip. (I made a video of it for my kids, if you want to see it.) One of our favorite parts was visiting an antique book dealer. We spent nearly an hour browsing their stuff, our jaws hanging open. The especially valuable stuff was behind glass (including--I saw it with my own eyes--a first-edition Pride and Prejudice), but some of the books we got to touch and feel for ourselves, including autographed books by Rosa Parks, Shel Silverstein, and Virginia Woolf. Hubs pointed out that we came all the way to Las Vegas to get most excited about a book store, thereby confirming once and for all that...
BAD NEWS: ...we are nerds.
GOOD NEWS: I'd rather be a nerd with him than be cool with anyone else.