Here we are, ante up, back for another round of Broadway West, The Vegas Edition. If you need to catch up, go here. We are also going to do a two-for-one Thursday, and do a little Brown Eyed Girl. If you'd like to catch up, go here
Before we start (since it's mostly you regulars stopping by today) let me catch you up on how my mother is doing. Right? Are you thinking to yourself, geez Sharon, you left town and forgot all about your Mom. Not entirely true, which she would confirm because I call her 2 or 3 times a day. Allow me to specifically say that I try to make one of those calls at 12:05 pm, because that is exactly when Rush Limbaugh comes on and I know I am bugging my Dad just as he sits down. Let's not get all political here, but allow me to say that interrupting my Dad's daily Rush dose brings me oodles and oodles of joy. Every single day I pretend like I am having a crisis and every day he falls for it, and 15 minutes in he figures out that it was all a ploy to get him away from the radio. While my Mom is home, it has the added bonus of saving her from listening to him (my Dad blasts the radio--it's exhausting to hear it over the phone, and twice as bad in person) so I figure it's the one little thing I can do to help her out. The problem is that Rush goes on for 3 hours, and as much as I can talk and talk, I do run out of things to say eventually, so she's left with listening to Rush for 2 1/2 hours or so, trapped on the couch. And just for kicks, he leaves Fox news on at the same time. It's a joy. This is not nearly as much a political commentary as it is a comment on the sheer volume my father insists on, and the fact that he has two things going at once....and everyone seems to be yelling all the time.
Which brings me to the following announcement: My mother is going back to work part time on May 1st. Right? Isn't that exciting? Curiously, she is working 10-2, which conveniently gets her out for the entirety of Rush...not that that is why she is doing it....
So backing up a bit, you might remember that I left Cincinnati after 12 days, and my Mom was still in the hospital. At that point in time, considering that she couldn't even make it to the bathroom from her hospital bed, and getting her to walk in a circle in the hall was a major accomplishment, the fact that we are talking about her going back to work 6 weeks later is...frankly...crazy.
And I'm really proud of her.
And I am grateful that Rush Limbaugh pushed her out of the house.
I'll write again after her first day of work and report.
But for now...let's get back to the Vegas list...remember it? (It's been over a week, I don't blame you). I'll recap:
The main question I am asked about this time in my life is–”What was it like to live in Las Vegas?” Let me try to hit the main points. Feel free to jump in if I miss something.
1) Is there more to Las Vegas than the strip? The outlying areas of Vegas are mouth droppingly beautiful. No one quite knows that because (as we learned during our orientation at The Wynn) the average trip to Las Vegas is 2 1/2 days. A weekend. People arrive, check into their hotel on the strip, drink and gamble at their casino, walk two doors down and drink and gamble at that casino, and so on. They might go see a show, they probably will go to a buffet, and they will leave. It is rare to leave the strip, and I must tell you that is a shame. If you need a guide to the mountain ranges and National Parks in that part of the country, please contact Rob Meffe who (I think) saw everything. That man was constantly hiking. I’m not exaggerating. My cast can back me up on this, because half the time he was playing park ranger to a bunch of cranky and hung over actors who’d said, “Hey, I’ll go hiking with you!” on their day off, and then had to actually follow through post cocktails.
2) Is there a lot of drinking in Las Vegas?
3) Are there really whore houses?
Yes. I think they are legal? I think? I’ll have my fact checking team check that and get back to you. I can tell you that there is not a billboard in Vegas that doesn’t flaunt fake boobs and pasties. (This just in, my husband Rob Meffe told me they are not legal in Vegas, but they are legal in Pahrump, Nevada. I asked him why exactly he knew this information, and he said “There is a great hike there.” Of course there is.)
4) Are their kids in Vegas?
Yes. Charlotte will tell you all the girls are blonde. I will tell you that their mothers show up at school drop off (at 8am) perfectly coiffed and wearing heels. It’s intimidating to a New Yorker.
5) Are the buffets any good? Are they really only $5.
They are really expensive (for the most part) and they are good at certain casinos. The biggest thing is, they are easy and quick. I think I ate at a buffet once the entire time I was in Vegas.
(This starts the new list)
6) Is Vegas always so hot?
No. Vegas, you might be surprised to find out, has seasons.
Let's just do a quick weather.com report on the averages in Vegas.
January--Average high is 58 and the average low is 39. It gets cold! The trees (the ones that are not indigenous, because in reality I don't think there are indigenous trees with leaves) actually turn colors and the leaves fall of, just like anywhere. You have to wear a coat and at night add a hat and scarf and mittens (rarely). I can report in that I was completely and totally 100% over it in regards to how cold it got in Vegas. It has a winter. Not fair.
That said, the swimming pools (for the most part) stay open. It is possible that a winter day can hit 70 or 75, so just in case, the pools have to be at the ready. Most of the big hotels close the majority of their pools (there can be a half dozen different pools at one casino) and leave only one of two open. If you go, even if it is a chilly day, wear sunscreen. The one thing that is always true in Vegas is that the sun is strong.
The good news? By April, there is perfect weather. Perfect. 80 degrees + and sunny every day. Same is true with October, so if you are planning a trip, plan for one of those two months.
Do not go in July, August or even early September, because it is 104 degrees or more, and I'm not kidding, it's so hot you could die. And I mean that literally, if your car broke down on a remote road and you had to walk, you could keel over and die. I once went running when it was 102, and almost became one of those skeletons on the side of the road with the tumbleweed floating by. Thank God smart Rob Meffe came looking for me with a bottle of water.
Fun fact about any desert. Once the sun goes down, no matter what month of the year, the temperature drops by at least 20 degrees. Summer nights in the desert are magical. My cast spent many-a-late night in the summer desert air swimming in a giant spa we called the "spool" because it was warm like a spa, but big like a pool. More on late nights in the spool later. Immediately everyone who was in Vegas with me just got nervous. Reminder to them--because I was the one with a little kid, I went home early and didn't always see what went on, so feel safe. What happened in Vegas appears on this blog, but what happened at the spool stays at the spool.
7) Do you see a lot of snakes and scorpions? No, and I was on hiking trails. I don't think Rob ever saw a snake either, but we did see wild donkeys (burros) all over Red Rock Canyon.
8) Is there really a mafia presence in Vegas?
My pals Vinnie and Guido and Tony have informed me that their boss would prefer that I don't answer that question.
I can tell you this, while 99% of the people we met in Vegas were great, there is a very palpable community of sleazy people in Vegas. Rob heard a phrase that I think is true, "Everyone is running away from something." We were running away from New York, so I put us squarely in this pile.
9) What can you do with kids in Vegas? Play outside, go to the pools, enjoy the sunshine. It's great for kids, but I will tell you that I watched her like a hawk. Something about the sleaze factor in Vegas kept Rob and I on the watch at all times (we had a particularly creepy neighbor who sat on his porch all the time, silent and looking. Icky.). The sexual nature of the city makes it like walking around Times Square in the late 80's, but take that square footage and make it into a whole city.
10) What is it like to work at a Casino? Do you gamble all the time?
This is probably my favorite question and I will unpack my bags a bit and stay a while. I have a lot to say about what it is like to work in a Casino, and even more about what it is like to do a show in a Casino. But for today I'm at almost 2,000 words and I'm off to bed.