Soundtrack: Wally panting,Charley giggling, Jan singing, Jim and Jill laughing
Hotel: The Seagrave palace in Las Vegas
Today was a down day in Las Vegas. Thank God. After all of this driving I can’t tell you how good it felt to be able to sleep in a real bed, take a nice, hot shower and have some great meals and conversations with Jan and Jim.
I can count on just a few fingers the amount of times I’ve been in this house on Via Manigua in Las Vegas and I’ve never been as enamored with it as I am now. Jan and Jim have built a beautiful home here full of so many wonderful memories of their kids and extended family. It is tasteful, well appointed, comfortable and you just want to lay down on the soft carpet or throw yourself onto one of their oversized couches and take a 2 month nap. Yes, that could be the road talking. I can’t forget to mention the massive backyard that Wally absolutely adored and did so many laps around galloping like a horse – ears back, eyes wide, lips flapping. It’s quite a sight to behold. And then the pool, jacuzzi and separate pool house that is devoted to one thing and one thing only – no, not Jim’s love affair with the San Francisco 49’ers. It is Jan and Jim’s combined love affair with Hollywood; moreover, a tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Decked out with a massive big screen TV, a wet bar, couches that can swallow you whole, it is where any of us visiting in the past have gone to escape the heat, the LV strip and each other.
Today, Jan and Jim insisted that they get a chance to watch Charley and kicked Jill and I out of the house. After being together non-stop for the last 10 days we didn’t quite know what to do without having Charley and Wally by our sides. So we did what any couple would do given the chance, we went to the Las Vegas strip to drink and gamble.
We wound up at the Cosmopolitan and had a nice, quiet drink to unwind (minus the woman chain smoking right next to me. Why is that still legal!). I dropped a few bucks into some slot machines without any luck and decided to go to the bar to slake our thirst but not before giving Jill a $20 to go play her favorite game – Wheel Of Fortune. As I walked back with our drinks, I saw Jill get excited as she got a SPIN on the machine, which she tapped just as I arrived. We looked up and watched the wheel go around and around. It slowed as it went past $25, $75, $50 and then…stopped on $1,000. WOAH! In all the years I’ve played that dumb game I’ve never seen a $1 Wheel of Fortune machine hit the $1,000. Both of our jaws dropped and Jilly was understandably very excited (see picture). She quickly grabbed my hand and briskly walked us to the cashier to get her sizable bounty. While I mentioned the “possibility” of doubling our cash by slapping it down on black on the roulette table, she quickly shut me down. Have I mentioned that my wife is smarter than me?
Back at the Seagrave ranch, we glowed over our winnings just as Uncle Pete and Danielle arrived for dinner. We gorged ourselves on some amazing pizza and salad and caught up proper. They’re both so wonderful. We don’t get to see them enough.
After dinner we sat around feverishly trying to find batteries that worked for a device we had just bought for Jan. While the Seagrave house has so many beautiful relics from their past, we were surprised to learn that this also extended to replacement batteries. There were AA batteries dating back to 2008! Each battery we found was like finding a rare coin, we’d turn it over, find the date and shout out – “2010! What did you buy this for in 2010!” At one point, Jim got pretty punny and started putting the batteries next to household items making us guess what they were (see attached).
What a great down day it was. And one that we needed so very badly as tomorrow we start the long and final journey home. Oakland, CA, here we come!