Our last day in Vegas began at Canyon Ranch Spa, one of the country’s top 10 spas. I am a fan of lying around doing nothing while people pamper me and so was pumped to schedule treatment there. I was also excited for Kathy, who had never had a facial.
“I don’t spend money on facials because I’m saving it for a face-lift,” she argued with me.
“To me the facial is more for the chance to relax and less about what it does for my skin. Truly, my skin will glow for one day and then it’s back to its freckle faced self,” I said.
After checking in we took the “long walk” down the Fruit Loop hallway. Each section was painted a different color: purple, orange, lime green, etc. Like fruit loops. We were then escorted to the ladies locker room where we were each assigned a locker that was stocked with lush robes and spa slippers. After removing our clothes and wrapping up in the spa robes, we were instructed to wait in the lounge for our estheticians to come for us.
The dimly lit lounge had various types of couches, chairs and day beds arranged about. Some were sectioned off by sheers and offered reading lamps. Caren had barely curled up into a chaise when she was whisked away by her esthetician. Kathy and I arranged ourselves on a big round shaped chaise. It was big enough for two and had loads of throw pillows to nestle in to.
“This is so far from how I grew up,” I said to Kathy, overwhelmed with blessings.
“Me too. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be living the life I do now. Never would I have considered a weekend at a luxury hotel,” Kathy agreed.
“Nope. Me neither.”
“We are very lucky. We have good men, you know. A lot of wives wouldn’t be able to do this even if they have the means. Some men wouldn’t want their wives to leave their sight, leave them to care for the kids, spend this kind of money. We are very lucky.”
“We are extremely fortunate. We have very good men.”
We laid back into the pillows trying to be comfortable in our undeserved fortune. As we compared our lifestyles to our mothers and grandmothers, we were interrupted to be escorted back for our spa services.
I was immediately leery of my esthetician due to the fact that her face was a mess! It was completely plastic. Her high and pronounced cheeks did not move as her trout pout smiled and introduced herself to me. Her eyes had a faux sparkle. Perhaps it was just the glare from her very oily, penny colored, face. The whole point of facials is to naturally care for your skin so that it can age it’s best and here was this woman who has obviously taken several dips into the plastic.
Maybe she did all of that before becoming an esthetician… I thought to myself.
God Bless her, she was new to Canyon Ranch and got us a little lost on the way to our room. Can’t say that I can fault her for that as the place is a maze of treatment rooms and lounge cells. She found our room and instructed me to disrobe and make myself comfortable under the sheets on the treatment bed. She left the room to give me the privacy to do as instructed.
The sheets! They were soft as silk! So decadent! I’m going to check their website to see if they sell them. They must. They have to! They are the most divine sheets I have ever been in contact with. It was like second skin.
The Joker returned, flipped on the exam light and began to peruse my skin. I kept my eyes closed to protect them from the bright light and also so I did not have to look at her frightening expression. You know how those creepy porcelain dolls look? Imagine a great big one looming over your face. Ack!
My readers know there is plenty about myself both physically and internally that I disdain. There is plenty to loathe, however, there are certain attributes that I have been complimented on a enough in my life that I actually have come to believe and agree with. My legs, my hair, my lips and my skin are oft complimented on. (Though the Hair has recently fallen from graces. Explanation later.) In the few times a year that I have treated myself to a facial the lady has never complained about the condition of my skin. There are comments of small areas of sun damage that I had acquired in my youth (as my face has not gone with out 70 spf sunscreen since I was 23.) There is some aging, particularly a deep grooved wrinkle right between my eyebrows from frowning (why don’t I have laugh lines?) and there are a couple of areas that tend to clog but nothing major.
As the esthetician examined my face I nestled in for a relaxing experience.
“Oh…oh my…you scheduled this appointment just in time,” tsk, tsked The Joker. “You have a lot of clogging. Loads. I’m going to need to do some extractions if that’s ok with you.”
Though I was surprised to hear the heavy concern in her voice I was not opposed to extractions. I had some before. (For spa virgins this is basically where they squeeze out any of the crud in a clogged pore. Ew.) I told her to extract away.
And away she did! The majority of my “relaxation time” was spent with this lady toiling away on extractions. I mean, she came after me like a miner excavating my skin. Dig, dig, dig. Through out this not so comfortable process she continued to scold me for making poor choices in the line of cleanser I chose. According to her I was going to have to upgrade. Obviously my skin was oily and not “normal” as I had described it because my skin was not dry at all despite living in an extremely dry climate. I clung to that weak thread of a compliment. She dug so hard into my cheek that I was sure it would be bruised.
Man will never let me leave again if I return from Vegas looking like I had been roughed up by pimps.
Finally, she moved on from excavating and applied various product into my skin. Each was applied and then removed. She then said she was putting on what was called a Rubber Mask. I’ve had masks before and was intrigued by this new one. I really enjoy how they apply the product during a facial, taking a brush and gliding it about the face in methodic circles. So soothing! Not with The Joker. She took her brush dipped in product and slapped it on to my face. Plop, blob, gluck all over. A little blocked one of my nostrils. I hoped she would catch that after applying it because, true to its name, the mask hardened into a sort of rubbery substance making breathing through that nostril difficult. She did not seem to notice the blockage though, informed me that she would step out for a minute and left.
I wondered if I could just endure the closed off breathway for a little bit. I still could breathe from the other side and, all else fails, I could open my mouth. It was super annoying though and I couldn’t take it any longer so I pulled my hand out from under the lux sheets and peeled away the rubbery blockage.
I can breathe!!! Man I hope Kathy’s facial is going better than this.
After strongly recommending a facial to her I would hate if she had a bad experience. I fingered the rubbery bit I had removed from my nose.
What should I do with this? I wondered. I didn’t want to lay it on the sheets…I rolled it between my fingers a bit and then flicked it across the room like the little booger it was. Just after disposing of the rubber bit, The Joker returned.
The exam light came back on. She hovered over me. Though her face was in the shadows I could still make out her brows in a scowl but her mouth fixed in that ridiculous grin. I closed my eyes tight shut again. The max was peeled away and she praised herself for how much improved my face looked now that it had been in her hands for an hour. I was suddenly afraid that I would look in the mirror to find it transformed and stuck with that fool ass expression she had. I was relieved to find that my face could still move and looked the same except for a few red spots where she had stuck me and dug around for these terrible “clogs” I had.
After getting back into my robe, The Joker escorted me to The Store and showed me every product that I MUST get to save my face from its wretched demise. With each bottle she put into my arms I got more and more pissed off.
I will not believe this woman. She will not take away one of the few things about myself that I am proud of. I have good skin damn it!
Not to mention I couldn’t buy this stuff if I wanted to, and not just because of the astronomical prices but because it would all be confiscated at the airport. Not a single travel size bottle in the place. Dumb.
I found Kathy in the store as well. She was rosy hued, glowing and had a serene smile on her face.
“How’d it go?” I asked her.
“It was wonderful! I loved it!”
We changed clothes and decided that since Caren was doing a different treatment that would take longer, I would get a new hair style while we waited. I have been mulling the idea of a short do for months! I love my hair and that it is easily managed. It’s very obedient and will pretty much go into any position I place it. I get tired of the same old, same old though and so after 3 years of long hair I was ready for something short and edgy.
I showed the stylist the hair cut I wanted. She disagreed with the long heavy bang, saying I did not have enough hair at the crown to pull it off but said she could definitely do something similar. So I let her. The end result was very cute and fun but as I left the spa my opinion diminish. With each glance at my passing reflection I began to lose my mo-jo. No longer young and sexy, I now looked domestic and aged. Often mistaken for a young mom in her 20’s I now looked like I truly am: a stay-at-home-mom on the brink of 40.
“Man is going to hate this. He always hates my hair short.”
“So what! You look great!” my friends raved.
“This suits your personality much more,” Caren said. “It’s so spunky and fun!”
“Really? I’m not seeing it…”
“Oh! It’s totally sexy!” she claimed.
We got cleaned up and headed for the strip as Caren insisted I could not stay on the resort for the whole trip. (Though honestly, I am certain I could’ve done another day of laying out poolside and sipping cocktails.)
The Vegas strip is an experience in and of its self. I do love walking the streets of a city with the sole purpose of getting a feel for its pulse. I love to be immersed in the culture of a place and I love, love to see stereotypes in action! There were the panhandlers dressed like various characters that you can pose for a picture with for the cost of a tip. I posed with a Transformer but I wish I would’ve held out for a pose with the show girls or with the Mini-Elvis. He was only 3 ft. tall! I love Little People, which is ironic since I have often been mistaken for one.
There were seedy characters about too and also big moving trucks that had scantily clad women on them advertising Girls! Girls! Girls! We Deliver!
“Those freak me out,” said Caren. “It looks like they actually deliver the girls from the trucks.”
“Well, let me remind you that human trafficking is real. I’ve seen enough CSI shows to know that we should not accept drinks from any strange men! Even if it’s from the waitress…she could be in cahoots with them. The next thing we know we wake up in the back of a semi full of women and are being shipped to Thailand to become sex slaves.”
“I’m not worried about becoming a sex slave,” Caren said, “I’m already married.”
While on the strip I bought a really cool skirt that can be twisted and tied into various styles of dress. You can make 100 different dresses from this thing! It came with video instruction. This is the kind of classy lady I am; buying my wardrobe off of the street. Then Caren took us into a shop in a mall that had the finale dresses that Olivia and Hannah wore in The Biggest Loser.
These wears were much finer than the street vendor garb. The girls encouraged me to try on this leather and chiffon number. In the dressing room I started to sweat it out a little as I noticed the price tag for $550. To get it on I had to put one breast in at a time. I got slightly light-headed while tucking in the second breast and imagining the dress ripping. How Man would love for me to bring home a shredded $550 dress. Once The Ladies were in place the rest of the dress laid lovely over my figure. All agreed the dress was smoking hot but a size bigger would accommodate the upper half much nicer. “Unfortunately” they did not have anything bigger than the 6 I had “slipped” on. Back in the dressing room I carefully dislodged my boobs and prayed that it would not require the jaws of life to free me from the frock.
I must not forget to mention that we stopped for lunch and cocktails at this very cool restaurant called Sugar Baby! They had the neatest candy themed cocktails! One was called a Lollipop. It was neon green and had lollipops garnishing it as well as candy necklaces. We chose the Twinkie. It was a 32 oz. dreamcicle flavored drink with a Twinkie on a cocktail toothpick, like a martini olive. It was delicious and just right for the three of us to share!
After shopping we went home to get dolled up for our “fancy” night. We had dinner reservations at Lakeside at The Wynn. Dinner there was very nice and we sat by a big window that overlooked the patio which was on the edge of a lake/pond. There was a large waterfall cascading down into the lake. Partway through the meal a huge animatronic frog rose up over the top of the waterfall and “sang” Luis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” It was…amusing. It was neat but kind of odd for such a fine dining facility. It seemed something more suited for Rainforest Cafe. Later music came on again and two glowing orbs floated out onto the lake. One was blue and one was red. They waltzed about the water top until they came together, moving up and down and around each other while making a gratifying sighing noise.
“Alright. I’m officially uncomfortable with this,” I said as I excused myself to the restroom. The ladies guffawed and chastised me for letting my mind go “there.”
When I returned the ladies were all laughing.
“You were right,” Stacey said. “At the end two baby balls came out!”
“See. I know inappropriate when I see it. Their balls need to conduct those sort of things in private.”
The last “bit” we saw were two huge red flowers that came out over the top of the waterfall. They opened and closed and swayed to the music. It was a rather beautiful little ballet. Still a little weird though.
Out of the restaurant you are in the lobby of a hotel/casino and it’s outlandishly decorated with lights and giant flowers. Everything was so fantastical, it was like being in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory except with out the Oompa Loompas. Well, if Mini-Elvis came in off of the strip then there would be Oompa Loompas so…we were close.
After dinner The Sisters went to cirque de soleil and the rest of us returned to Sugar Baby for dessert. I had a giant milkshake and the other ladies shared a monster sized ice cream sundae.
Afterward we got back out on the strip and headed towards our hotel. In order to cross the street using the bridge we needed to take an elevator up. The four of us boarded and the elevator began its ascent. Suddenly the whole thing shook and made terrible creaking and groaning sounds. Once again, Caren and I found ourselves gripping one another’s hands and praying for Jesus to not take us out in Vegas. When the doors opened we all nervously laughed, tried to play cool and exited the Death Trap.
Passing Casino Royale we heard the melodious sound of Vegas drunks Karaoking.
“Yes! Karaoke! We have to stop here guys! Michal loves to Karaoke!” Caren said.
But the other ladies bowed out and went home to sleep before flying out the next day. Caren and I pressed on into Casino Royale and followed the wails until we found the Karaoke bar.
To say that Casino Royale is several hop skips and a jump down in class from The Venetian is an understatement. The Karaoke bar had all of 4 people sitting in the audience and two performers on stage. Caren told me she wanted to check out the black jack tables as they had only a $5 buy in. I went and looked through the Karaoke albums. It had none of the songs that I routinely practice and so I passed on the chance to perform and being discovered in Vegas. Caren also passed on the chance to win big at a $5 black jack table and instead lost a fist full. Disappointed we decided to move on but then something caught Caren’s eye.
“Oh my gosh! Michal, look! It’s your future!”
There standing near the Karaoke stage was a woman who was 85 if she was a day. Her gray hair was piled high on her head. She was dressed in hot pink from head to toe. Pink fishnet stockings, leotard and a bustier whose cups runneth over with her crepe skinned bosom. The ensemble was topped off with hot pink fairy wings.
“There you are! She is so you!”
I was not sure if I liked this but I couldn’t deny the possibility of some day finding myself loitering near a karaoke stage dressed like a slutty fairy in Vegas. I’m not gonna lie. I did try to pack my peacock tail for this very trip.
We liked the old lady and decided to embrace the lewdness and slum it. We went deeper into Casino Royale. As we walked by a craps table a “gentleman” hollered an invite to play to us. I watched a little of the play at the table while the Jersey Boy who invited us ever so suavely complimented Caren and I by calling us “a pair of hot chicks.”
“I said you two are hot! Don’t I get a ‘thank you!'”
“Oh yes, thank you,” we said but I had been trying decide if I wanted to get involved in the game. The filthy chips were deterring me. Also the fact that I seem to have the worst luck.
I touched the table while the shooter prepared his dice. The roll was good. I kept my hand on the edge of the table a few more rolls. All landed well and so I decided the previous night was a fluke and I was not bad luck after all. Caren and I bought in.
“Alright! We’ve got hot chicks playing!” The Jersey Boy cheered.
“Ah. You are one of those guys that think a pretty girl brings luck to the table,” I said.
“It works! I’m telling you.”
“Well, you haven’t played with me yet. I’m bad news mister.”
Roll after roll went in favor of the players. Caren and I were having much more fun winning little bits at the cheap tables than losing big at the fancy ones! It was a completely different scene. There was no sign of players like Cee Lo Green who was betting thousands. Instead we maybe…MAYBE had a thousand on the whole table.
“I hear a New York accent.” The Jersey Boy said to me.
“You hear wrong,” I said.
“Nah. I hear some sort of accent. Don’t you?” he asked the guy next to him whom we later learned was his brother. “Where are you from?”
“Colorado by way of Texas.”
“You don’t have a Texas accent.”
Caren is just snickering through this whole exchange.
“Are you two sistahs?” he asked.
“Yes you are. Look at yous. One blonde. One black hair. Yous gotta be sistahs.”
His logic astounded me. Seeing as how neither of us had blonde or black hair and how it would be more likely that sisters would have similar colored hair… The Jersey Boys then started some Bibbidi Bobbing Beep Bop.
“Have they been doing this all night?” Caren asked the player next to her.
“Yeah,” he half sighed, half chuckled.
“Hey! Hey! Come play with us man!” The Jersey Boys were now shouting to a guy in a Hawaiian shirt at another craps table.
“Is that another brother?” I asked.
“Yeah! But he doesn’t play with us. Hey moron! Come ovah here man! We’ve got hot chicks!”
“He seems to be avoiding you…” I said. The brother next to me acted offended while the more sober brother laughed and agreed with me whole heartedly. After a few wins Caren and I gathered our chips and cashed out.
“Awww! Yous guys should stay!”
“You scared ’em off ya moron.”
Caren and I laughed our way out of the casino and laughed harder when we saw the 85-year-old fairy now holding a sign advertising for Scientology.
Back on the strip we headed for The Venetian. The night life was in full swing. We passed several bachelorette parties and groups of frat boys, panhandlers, and hookers. Then for the third time on our Vegas trip Caren and I thought we were about to die as a man in a ski mask headed towards us.
“Oh no. That’s not good.” Caren said.
But the man just walked on. He wasn’t a bad guy out to rob, rape or kill anyone. He was just a freak who thought it would be fun to walk the Vega strip with a ski mask on. Jerk.
Being back in The Venetian felt like home! The lights were brighter and though many a woman had apparently sat in their cocktails; they had soiled dresses that were clearly more high dollar than the 85-year-old fairy’s get up. We circled about like the gambling sharks we were to see where to attack.
“WOOOOO!” Cheering erupted at a table set up in front of a big wheel. It was not roulette but was similar. Well, it was similar in that there was a wheel with numbers and you bet on the number it would land on. The choices were 1, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 40. There was a red and black 40 but otherwise the other numbers were just numbers. The buy in was $1.
The table was surrounded by about 6 guys who were all in tears with laughter at the stupidity of the game. They also couldn’t leave it.
“You ladies have GOT to play this!” they howled. “You’ve GOT to! It’s the best game in the casino!”
As soon as Caren and I placed a bet the cocktail waitress appeared to offer us a complimentary drink. The biggest entertainment at the table were our bevvies and these silly boys howling at their misfortune. Apparently they had been trying for nearly an hour to win on the 20. (One of the biggest pay outs.)
“This game is gonna make us rich! One dollar at a time!” one would rave and then they would all fall apart laughing.
After another 20 more minutes of unfortunate turns of the wheel they finally bowed out of the game.
Still laughing one of the guys leaned into his buddies shoulder.
“We played for an hour,” he told us through laughter. “Our buddy lost $100 on that stupid game!”
“One dollar at a time…” Caren laughed.
We all fell apart with laughter and Caren and I decided it was a good note to end on.
Back in our fancy beds, sleep came fast. Morning came quicker and we all headed to the airport. While on the elevator I heard a woman say “OMG!”
“That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard,” I said to the ladies. “It’s lame enough when people type it. Like ‘LOL.’ I hate that too. It seems so insincere. Did I really make you laugh out loud? How loud? Was it a chuckle? What?”
Our flight was full and none of us were seated together. I apparently drew the short straw and was the only one of the group who was sitting in the last row. I couldn’t believe how unlucky I was to be flying the last row for both my arrival and departure from Vegas!
“I can’t believe this. The back seats don’t recline. My seat mates will probably be smelly.”
Someone offered to trade with me but being the shortest in the group it seemed right that I took the spot.
“Did you text Man to tell him you are on your way home?” asked Caren. “He’ll probably say ‘nice.'”
“I did text him but he responded ‘cool.'”
“Oo! Sounds like Your Man is excited for your return. That’s Man excited,” Caren explained to the rest of our group. “He says ‘nice’ for everything. ‘Honey, how do I look?’ ‘Nice.’ ‘Honey, I wrecked the car.’ ‘Nice.'”
After boarding the plane and settling in to my seat I texted Caren:
Me: So far so good. It seems my seat mates are clean. However we do have a loud chewer in our midst…
Caren: I’d explode. Good luck to you. Maybe you’ll get a nap.
Me: That would be nice. I’ll just lay my seat back and…oh wait. No.
Caren: GL (Genuine Laugh)
Me: BRG (Betty Rubble Giggle)
The flight was uneventful except for the fact that the whole back of the plane ended up feeling sick (probably due to poisonous fumes being pumped in to the plane). Once we were in our car and headed home I handed Caren my phone.
“Check it out. I texted Man that we had landed.”
My text: Landed.
*Let it be noted that I did send a letter of complaint to Canyon Ranch about my disappointing facial. They responded with an apology, a promise to address the issues and 50% off my facial! Yea! I told them one unhappy lady out of 6 was not bad. They said, “You’re right. It’s not bad, but we strive for excellence and hope that when you and your friends return, you have a much improved experience.”