Good thing I took notes.
Wednesday, April 27th
Leta arrived at McCarran relatively late. I picked her up, and we talked and talked and talked--until we remembered that I had to get up at 7 a.m. the next day to teach class.
Thursday, April 28th
Leta accompanied me to my Creative Writing course, which I managed to instruct despite the lack of sleep. While I was teaching, my parents and sister arrived in town from Chicago, so we met them for brunch at Egg Works after class. We helped my parents check into Vdara, by which I mean Leta, Molly, and I plopped onto the comfy bed.
I still had to teach my composition course that afternoon, so Molly and Leta came with me, much to the amusement of my students. Afterwards, we met my parents and many of my writing cohort at Roy's for Happy Hour to celebrate Olivia's birthday. Eventually the party moved to Stake Out for more food and drinks. So glad my parents got to experience the divey, smoky wonder that is Stake Out. Back at my apartment, Molly and Leta napped while I waited to pick Meg up at the airport very, very late. But she arrived safely, and the Smear of Brain (the force that both keeps the universe expanding and glues it together) was finally complete.
Friday, April 29th
We slept in (thank goodness), and then Meg presented me with a gift-wrapped box. Apparently she, Leta, Molly, Felipe, and Gena had all gone in on a graduation present for me. But what could it be? I pulled off the ribbon and opened the lid to find...a large pile of York peppermint patties! But what were the candies resting inside? Carefully, I removed...A REAL HUMAN CRANIUM (legally purchased and medically sanitized). You wish you had friends who would buy you human remains and then carry them across the country for you.
The face of pure joy.
Seriously, thank you Meg, Molly, Leta, Gena, and Felipe. It is truly one of the best gifts I have ever received, and I love it. I'm trying to figure out where to display it now. I considered putting it next to Edgar (my chalkboard skull), but then I thought Edgar might get jealous because he's synthetic. I've also decided not to give the cranium a name, because at one point this person had his own name, and it feels rude to confer another name upon him without his permission.
Sometimes the decisions I have to make are not like the decisions other people have to make.
Anyway, after a brief trip to Starbucks for caffeine, we got gussied up and met my parents downtown at Park on Fremont for an early dinner. We sat on their whimsical patio, full of gutted carriages filled with flowers and walls lined with colorful antique plates. We also played on their adult-sized see-saw.
From there we walked to The Writer's Block for the big night--Neon Lit! All the graduating writers read from their theses and dissertations, including yours truly. Leta's parents met us there, so I had quite the cheering section. Everyone's pieces were amazing, and the evening was sentimental. Got a little choked up at points. I'm really going to miss everyone.
Looks like I was having a good time.
Wouldn't be a special occasion without an epic house party at Brett, Kayla, and Haider's place. There was a fire pit, a "punch" that consisted of mostly vodka, and a jerry-rigged karaoke machine. You can probably imagine how that went.
Saturday, April 30th
My guests and I were tuckered out on Saturday, so it was a lazier day than I expected.
We met both sets of parents at the Cosmopolitan for giant burgers and milkshakes at Holstein's. Like, so-giant-I-couldn't-fit-my-mouth-around-it burgers. Like, so-giant-it-came-in-two-separate-cups milkshakes. Once we were all carrying third-trimester food babies, we rebelled against traditional advice and decided to go swimming. One problem: the Vdara's pool was closed, I guess because some people can't deal with swimming during thunderstorms, or whatever. But Meg, Leta, and I don't let nature mess with our plans.
We soaked for a while, then went back to my place to change before we got more food, because that is definitely what we needed, we would have probably starved without it, oh em gee I can't believe my stomach didn't pop. We met both sets of parents for Indian food at Mint, which was something of an adventure because our parents aren't familiar with Indian food. We did manage to order after many menu explanations, and everyone was happy. I should say that everyone was happy until the end of dinner, when we realized that both sets of parents and my sister would be leaving the following morning! I am of the opinion that their visit to Vegas was decidedly too short.
We couldn't mourn for too long, however, as we had somewhere to be. My darling roommate Lulu, you see, works for a casino box office. So she got us free tickets...to Chippendales.
Did you know that Chippendales dancers go through 25,000 tank tops per year?
Here's the thing I didn't realize about Chippendales: these guys are terrible dancers. Three of them were fairly good, but the rest of them looked like a bad high school production about male strippers. It seems the main criteria to be a Chippendales dancer is not grace or rhythm, but rather, abs. They cycled through every stereotypical female fantasy, and/or members of The Village People: construction workers, cowboys, police officers, etc. Their tribute to the troops was perhaps a tad disrespectful, especially when one of them began stripping behind an unfurled American flag? No full-frontal nudity, of course (aw, shucks), but lots of butts, and since we were to the side of the stage, we definitely got some dick-sock views, too. I can't say that any of it was titillating, but it sure was delightful.
And what better way to end the evening than with a nightcap at Stake Out, complete with baskets of fries? We're the classiest.
Sunday, May 1st
I can't say for sure whether it was the Saturday tub party, or whether it was fond memories of my 26th birthday, when my friends visited Vegas and we got a suite in the Cosmopolitan for the night and had a little too much fun piling people into the room's Japanese soaking tub, but Sunday morning we were inspired to recapture that joy. Vegas.com has some fantastic same-day-booking deals, and that's how we ended up with a suite in the Aria.
But before that, Leta, Meg, and I decided to kick off the month of May by underwear shopping at Target, because why wouldn't we want to go underwear shopping at Target? We stocked up on supplies for the evening's festivities, and took a trip to the Container Park so we could eat gourmet hot dogs at Cheffini's.
Finally, we drove to the Aria and checked into our beautiful room. Before long we were joined by Shaun, Rachel, Tim, and Joe, who helped us eat snacks and drink pink champagne and have an all-around swell time. Two years ago at the Cosmopolitan, we managed to fit seven people inside the Japanese soaking tub. The Aria's soaking tub was significantly smaller, but we still managed to squeeze in six. I believe it to be a truly admirable accomplishment.
This is how you solidify friendships.
Monday, May 2nd
Because they live in such sunshine-deprived climates, Meg and Leta were determined to get into real pool at some point. Monday morning we did exactly that. We were only there for an hour, and I still got sunburned. I am the palest.
We checked out of the hotel, and were heading back to the car when Meg realized she had misread her flight information. That's right: despite being completely sober, she had managed to do the most Vegas thing ever and miss her flight. Fortunately, we managed to book her another one for later in the day, which meant that we got to keep her for a few more hours! Lunch at Tacos & Beer, lounging at my apartment. A lazy afternoon.
I'm a nice person, so I didn't go through with my plan to kidnap Meg, and she did eventually get on a plane. Leta and I took a long walk around campus, hiked to the top of one of UNLV's parking garages for a better view of the Strip. We spent the evening much the same way we spent her first evening here: talking and talking and talking.
Tuesday, May 3rd
Once again, I had to teach early in the morning. Leta tagged along with me whenever I wasn't in class, and that afternoon I had to take her to a plane. I didn't kidnap a single person! What was I thinking?
I am sad to see everyone go--it's rare that I get to dedicate an entire week to pure amusement. At the same time, it'll be nice to get back to a normal schedule, start sleeping again. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did, and I am eternally grateful that you all love me enough to come here and keep me company. I am one lucky lady.