Grandma Alexis 

I have been to Las Vegas a bunch of times, but only ever for work. When you travel to a place for work, sometimes you get to find out what's around and explore a bit, but not always. Somehow, I've never gotten to actually SEE Vegas, unless you count the inside of a conference center.

Which, I don't.

Even with my limited life experience, I knew what was going to happen when I plopped Alexis down in the middle of The Strip. That girl was born with a Werther's in her pocket and a "Tsk tsk" on her lips. There's a long list of reasons I refer to her as Grandma Alexis and she will fully admit every one of them is accurate.

Vegas definitely wasn't going to be her kind of place.

The short version of how things played out is that I was right; It's definitely not her place. The longer version involves a slow process where things worthy of her disapproval piled one on top of the other. It started with the plane full of Dudebros on the way there. Each "Duuuuuude" and "Broooo" she heard was countered with an eyeroll and THERE WERE A LOT. The plane was full of 20-something guys who were pounding shots so they'd be ready to hit the ground running. Between the swearing, which oddly makes Alexis uncomfortable, and the awful stories they were telling each other, she was done.

There was an upside to the large mass of dumb boys, though. Alexis swore to never EVER date a Dudebro. She made me swear to tell her if she ever fell for a guy who was that dumb. So, victory!

Once we arrived in Vegas, I actually expected Alexis to take a bit of liking to the place. She looooooves Times Square. The Strip isn't that different, really. But while Alexis liked the crowds and lights and general crazy, she super didn't like that everyone was walking around with drinks. She was all in for the music that blared everywhere, but why must there be a woman wearing a bikini standing there?

Oh, the bikinis. There were actually very few mostly naked women standing around for photos (maybe because it was too hot?), but once Alexis spotted a pair, her eyes fell right on out of her head. I actually spotted them before she did, so I had the pleasure of watching her face as she initially spotted them.

It was amazing. 

I wish I had video, actually. It was THAT amazing.

I don't know why it's so fun to watch Grandma Alexis cluck, but it totally is. I made it even more fun by explaining that sometimes nudity is a feminist act. It didn't stop her from being flabbergasted when there was a mostly naked woman dancing on top of a bar in one casino, but it did help her remember to keep her disapproving face put away. More than ever, I think she fully appreciates that there is more than one way to successfully venture through life.

On our last day wandering around, I asked Alexis if she would want to return to Vegas at any point. She was pretty sure that "It's okay, but I'd rather go other places." Between the heat and the drinking and the swearing and the nudity, it's just not her thing. But, as she explained why it wasn't her kind of place, she said, "You know who would love it here, though? Mila. Mila would feel like she's found her people."



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The Boiling Point

While I was born in New York and grew up in North Dakota, there was a window in there where I lived in southern California. An Air Force brat through and through, I was there for about four years or so when I was a toddler/preschooler There's this thing I've always thought about those four years -- they must have been THE four years. As in, I swear they shaped me in weird ways that continue to this day.

Exhibit A: You guys, me and the Pacific time zone are besties. We go together like peanut butter and jelly. I don't need an alarm clock when I'm on the west coast because I naturally wake up plenty early to cope with the day. And that thing where I'm bad at going to bed before midnight? It magically vanishes. I go to bed at an almost reasonable hour when I'm away from home and in the correct time zone. And it doesn't go away as time passes. I stay a happy Pacific Time Zoner indefinitely.

Exhibit B: Gosh, I love the dry heat. I super really love it. My hair always looks good, I swear my skin is better, and I'm just plain happy. Give me 100 degrees every day, please.

So, traveling to Las Vegas with Alexis reinforced that Exhibit A and Exhibit B are still true. I still belong on the west coast and Vegas is west enough. Everything about it fits me.

Go ahead and guess who hates it, though. Go ahead. 

DING! It's this girl!

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I spent an insane amount of time trying to convince her that complaining about the heat would not make it cooler. I also spent entirely too much time trying to get her to respect the clock. Every day she would be ready for bed just as it was time to hit Vegas with all we had. The party doesn't start until the sun goes down.

Alas, Alexis apparently is wired for Pittsburgh. I've never heard her complain about the heat in her hometown, which makes no sense because 85 and humid is THE ACTUAL WORST. It was around 105 degrees pretty much the entire time we were in Vegas and I was totally okay with it. I wanted lots of water and to take breaks in the air conditioning, but Alexis was MISERABLE.

So miserable.

But it was a dry heat! 

Until that day when it wasn't. Well, okay, technically it still wasn't humid, but when we found ourselves standing at Hoover Dam (every trip has to have an educational day, okay?), it was 115 degrees. Legit. 115 degrees.

Nothing is "dry" about 115 degrees because existing causes you to pour sweat. By the time we marched across the Dam and checked out a bridge and did the whole tour thing, I was drenched.

And Alexis was pissed. 

"This would be a lot more fun if we weren't walking on the sun," she reported.

"Oh, c'mon. It's still pretty cool. I'm having fun, anyway," I replied.


I'm not entirely sure that she's wrong.

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She Enjoyed This Way Too Much

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