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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on August 20th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 24

Veni, Vidi, Vegas

She went, she saw, she bought the T-shirt

BY ARIEL WATERMAN


What a month July was here at Waterman Estate! It started off with a bang to remind my husband, The Brit, why his people lost the war. I must say, he does look good in red! July culminated in our trip to Las Vegas so that he could attend the annual ICPCR cigar convention, and I could meet up with my mother for some Vegas fun with our grandson, the Britween.

The Brit was once a purveyor of fine cigars for a leading tobacco company. Cigars were all the rage then, and they’re still mighty popular. I love the smell of a good cigar. When I came home from school as a child and smelled that lovely, earthy scent, I knew my grandfather was visiting.

So, on to Vegas, baby! This was an event filled with firsts and lasts. It was the first time the Britween had been to Las Vegas and flown on an airplane. These two experiences were greeted with wide eyes filled with wonderment.

It was probably the last time my hubby would get to attend this cigar convention where he planned to reconnect with old friends, co-workers, and clients. It is also the last time I will knowingly (but unwillingly) venture into a place with a temperature higher than 75 degrees.

It was not the first time I had left the house and forgotten my cell phone. This would prove to be the bad omen that I should have heeded from the moment I noticed it missing.

The TSA agents at Santa Maria airport were lovely people and treated us with kid gloves as they respectfully patted the Brit and me down. We both have knee implants that set off the alarms, so we get extra special attention. But I don’t mind because the pat-down was sort of like a free mini-massage, and I’ll take whatever I can get.

The flight was all too brief as I watched our Britween’s eyes grow wider and wider as we climbed higher and higher. By the time we reached altitude, I thought I would have to chase his eyeballs as they popped out and rolled down the aisle.

Then we landed. And deplaned into hell. I could feel my skin and hair withering away in the searing climate.

The taxis in Las Vegas are a culture all their own. I had rented a small motorized scooter for my husband, due to a knee problem he has. Getting a taxi equipped to load one was akin to seeking the Holy Grail. The taxi drivers were from all over the world, but only two were from the United States and none was from Vegas. But they all knew that city, glitzy top to gritty bottom, and were better than any concierge or travel agent for getting the low down on what to do and where to eat. I dropped The Brit off at the convention center, and Britween and I headed to our room.

We stayed at the Trump Tower Resort Hotel, the height of my experience. As I gazed out of our 29th-floor window, the shimmering heat made Las Vegas look more like the Star Wars planet Tatooine. I would have been quite happy to stay in that gorgeous room and be waited on by the friendly natives. The room service menu was terrific and reasonably priced, and the staff was professional and gracious.

The Britween was in total shock and awe. The room had a small kitchen with a touch-operated stove, refrigerator, teakettle, and blender. The bathroom was palatial, with a huge, deep Roman tub equipped with triple-powered water jets all around. The marble-lined shower could have been rented out as a small condo, and the large, white towels were ultra-soft. The bathroom mirror ran the length of the wall, and had a television set into it.

“Oh my God! How is that possible” cried my shocked and awed grandson. “I am so taking a bath and watching Nickelodeon tonight!”

The beds were heavenly. The next morning The Britween crowed, “Wow! Last night I slept like a king, and I still have great hair!” The Brit slept like a king, too, but has no hair.

I ended up renting a second scooter for me because walking was painful as I am still recovering from a pelvic injury. We decided to make our way to the convention center via the Strip on our scooters. We looked like two oversized wind-up toys. The only thing missing was a remote in the Britween’s hands.

Suddenly, some jerk in an SUV pulled into a driveway right in front of us, cutting us off. Outraged, I honked my scooter horn emphatically. It sounded like the roadrunner on helium. “Meep, meeeep!” This resulted in my loving grandson suffering spasms of  laughter. “You honked your horn? Really, Grandma? He’s in an SUV on the Vegas Strip, Grandma! He can’t see you, and he sure can’t hear you! You really honked your horn? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!” Yeah, wait until I change the will, kid.

Laugh that off.

The Brit went to his convention, and Britween and I met Mom, who stayed at Harrah’s. We took in the sights at the Luxor, where my young man purchased a cool T-shirt. Then on to Caesar’s Palace to check off another wish on his bucket list—dining at Gordon Ramsay’s Pub Burger.

The lamb burger simply melted in your mouth, according to my grandson, but I would never know. I used Mom’s phone to check on my spouse. (Remember that bad omen?) He spoke the fateful words: “Do you have my wallet?” I did not, and neither did he anymore. I left Mom, Britween, and burgers to go rescue my husband.

Fortunately, his best friend, Tom, had found his wallet and gave it to me. Meanwhile, my wandering Jew was racing on his scooter in a panic around the food court in the convention center and crashed into a Chinese food booth. He must have misread the sign. It said “Take out,” not “Take us out!”

When he later told me he had met and spoken with actor Armand Assante over cigars, I could have died. I love Armand Assante! But did The Brit take a photo of the man of my dreams, or mention his lovely wife who might like to have an autograph? No! Crikey, I didn’t even get to see an Elvis impersonator!

Finally, it was time to fly home. We landed at Santa Maria airport and, as I deplaned, I felt a cool coastal breeze on my face and thanked God. I couldn’t wait to kiss a bovine on the way home. Mooove over, Armand!

The latest man of Ariel Waterman’s dreams is Donald Trump, who knows how to make a gal feel at home. Mr. Trump, please send your autograph via her editor, Ryan Miller, at rmiller@santamariasun.com.