Next Step Therapy Blog: ‘Best Trip Ever – Part Two’
Tracy Cowles, CEO and owner of Next Step Therapy, submitted the following article:
BEST TRIP EVER (PART TWO)
Can Mama Cowles Keep Up with the Twenty-Year Old’s?
I woke up in my hotel room Saturday morning, day two of our Vegas trip, to discover that the covers weren’t even disturbed. I must have slept like the dead. I was also astonished to find that nothing hurt. Between my thyroid disorder, fibromyalgia, and the back pain I had been treating for months, I should have been half crippled.
I get ready, head downstairs, and get in the twenty- minute line for Starbucks. I get myself a Vente White Chocolate Mocha (size: Holy Crap, you aren’t actually going to drink all of that, are you?) I take my coffee to High Rollers, plop myself at a machine, light a cigarette, and begin my day. Around eleven I text Noah to see if they are up. This becomes a theme for the next week. I’m up and at ‘em, they are trying to pull themselves together in the morning.
We taxi to the Venetian.
The Venetian is one of my favorite places in Vegas. It is “Italian” themed, with marble floors and artwork ceilings, marble fountains, and seventy-year-old Italian men playing violins. As far as I’m concerned, they have the best shopping plaza. As we enter the shopping area, I see a crowd gathered around a sports memorabilia store, and from experience, I know WHAT is happening, just not WHO. On a previous trip, I had spent the money to meet Pete Rose and get pictures and an autographed baseball for Noah.
VEGAS TIP #2 – Vegas offers any number of sports memorabilia, music memorabilia, and movie/TV memorabilia stores. Google them before any trip, look under events, and see if they have any autograph sessions during your stay.
Kind of a thrill to meet Mike Tyson!
These stores are located at the Venetian, Caesar’s Palace, Mandalay Bay, the Mirage, and Planet Hollywood in addition to others.
The boys were going to walk right past, and I grab their arms. A store employee is outside, saying, “Come on in! You can get an autographed football and a picture with the man! Today only, for the next hour! Come on in!”
So, me not being terribly shy, I drag the boys close to the display window so that we can see who it is, and I hear Kahlil say, in whispered awe, “OMG, it’s Jerry Rice. THE Jerry Rice.”
Now, for Mama Cowles, who likes football, I think, “That’s cool.”
For Noah and Kahlil, who have LIVED football, they are within ten feet of a legend. Noah is pretty laid back, kind of stoic, hides his emotions. Kahlil is vibrating with excitement. I start to drag them into the store, and BOTH of them dig in their heels and look at me like I’ve got horns growing out of my head. “We’re not going in there, are we?”
“Well, yeah, we have to see how much it costs. I don’t know if its seventy-five dollars or three hundred.” Long story short, we go in, it’s $179 for a football to get signed and pictures, and, of course, I would need two, and the boys decide that as exciting as this is, they don’t want me to spend the money on that. Too many more days, Lord only knows what else we’ll run into….so we browse the store, and on our way out, one boy on each side, I stop across from Jerry Rice and give him my best grin.
Dear Readers, Jerry Rice has one of those “make your knees weak” smiles that travels the whole way up his face and lights up his eyes. He flashed me that smile, Kahlil snapped a picture, and we were off, with Kahlil saying, “Vacation made. Seriously. Vacation made.”
We toured the rest of the mall and got a table at an Italian restaurant in the main concourse. We have been discussing the fact that all of the performers in Vegas that weekend, Brittney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Carrot Top, etc., are also probably out and about, getting lunch, shopping taking kids/grandkids to the arcade. We could run into anybody, everywhere. The guys are more than impressed that I walked right into that Sports Memorabilia store without hesitation, so we discussed that you always have the right to check something out. If it’s a public event, that includes YOU!
We get artesian pizzas, handmade sodas, and Mama Cowles gets a Bailey’s on the rocks, while we sit and watch the opera that is performed every half hour in the concourse.
I am, seriously, in heaven.
I’m relaxed, having fun, and thus far, Noah and Kahlil are truly the best travel companions I have ever had.
We had some time to kill before we needed to move on, so after an extremely leisurely lunch, we hiked to Madame Trusards Wax Museum and took the tour, which included a 3D movie at the end, complete with getting splashed by water. We then took a taxi to Planet Hollywood, went to the box office, got our tickets for the night’s show, and then hit Planet Hollywood’s’ mall, the “Miracle Mile Shops,” so named because it is one mile around. We hit stores, and we found another tattoo shop, which started another round of “should we get tats, how much would it cost, do you know what you would get, do you really want to spend four hours getting hurt in Vegas?”
We get in line for the show, and I’m having mixed feelings, just like I did the night before with Grand Funk Railroad. Would the guys enjoy it?
So, I say, “Hey, you guys let me pick, and I did my best to choose things that I thought you would enjoy, but maybe LIONEL RITCHEY isn’t something I should have picked.”
Noah says, “It’s going to be great!”
Kahlil says, “Are you nuts? Lionel Ritchey is one of my heroes, and if he doesn’t do “All Night Long,” I’m gonna pitch a fit!”
The Lionel Ritchey show was excellent, the man is a genius, and all three of us agreed that it was well worth going. But, now we were hungry. It had been a long time since pizza at the Venetian. We go to “Dicks Last Resort Restaurant.”
I’m laughing while I type this.
The “Dicks” restaurants are a chain, and its “gimmick” is that the staff treats the customers like dicks. Folks, not for everybody, you need to know what you are walking into, and you need to have the right frame of mind. It’s an experience.
We get seated, and our waitress balls up a piece of white table paper, throws it in the middle of the table, says, “fix it” and walks away. Fortunately, I had warned the boys. She comes back a minute later with a handful of 20 pieces of silverware, drops them with a clatter in the middle of the table, and says, “What are you little sh#$%S drinking?” We order a diet Pepsi, Sprite, and iced tea.
She says, “No alcohol? On a Saturday night? What are you, Fu#$% Mormon?”
Ok…let me explain some things.
I believe with all of my heart that laughter is the best medicine, and that sharing a laugh and an experience with someone is bonding. Over this so far two-day vacation, I have discovered that Kahlil could be my own biological child. He has a wicked sarcastic tongue with no filter, as do I. We, 100%, get each other. But Noah, my heart, has an innate ability to play straight man to everybody else’s ridiculousness, to the point that his timing should earn him an Academy Award.
Dick’s is most famous for taking that white table paper, folding it into a 2.5-foot “chef” hat, and writing something foul on it, making you wear it the entire time you eat. The waitress came around, folded up a hat, slapped it on Noah’s head, and walked away. The fun of this is, the person wearing the hat can’t see what it says. Kahlil and I are in hysterics. We tell Noah what his hat says.
I regret that I cannot tell you, dear reader, what his hat said, because this is a family-friendly blog, and I do not want to lose my privilege of writing for the Explore sites.
Noah is not amused. Kahlil and I laugh like fools. The waitress gets a table of 12 behind us, gets busy, and leaves Noah sitting there in his hat. Under normal circumstances, all three of us would have hats.
Eventually, the waitress gets caught up, and Kahlil and I get hats, too. Again, I cannot tell you what they said. Mine was a complete insult to both my intelligence and sexual understanding, Kahlil’s could be taken as a compliment, Noah is still jacked. Meanwhile, there is a bridal shower going on behind us, and those ladies can barely stay on their bar stools. The live DJ is playing things like “YMCA” and every table is doing the motions. Every third song is Karaoke. There is a balloon artist who makes cute dogs and cats for the children (who brings children here???).
Kahlil and I are dying. Wiping tears away from laughing so hard. It’s a circus. It’s a party. We’re stone-cold sober and can’t stop laughing.
Noah continues to play straight man, saying, “It’s not that funny,” while wearing his foul chef hat.
Kahlil keeps saying, “I love Vegas. I LOVE Vegas.”
We managed to choke down our food without needing the Heimlich maneuver, and when we left, I left my hat on the table. The boys wore them up to their rooms. If you think poor Noah was despondent over his hat and the laughter, clearly not since he continued to wear it to his room, and take pictures of it, and put it on Instagram.
We went to bed, at midnight-ish, which was 3:00 a.m. our time, after a full day. We had shopped, had seen Jerry Rice, had seen Lionel Ritchey, and laughed till we cried.
Yes, Mama Cowles can keep up with the twenty-year old’s. At least for two days.
We’ve got six to go.
Next Week: Watch for “BEST TRIP EVER (PART THREE).”
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