Part 1: Preparations

As with many good ideas, the idea to head to Vegas rose from a random comment while intoxicated at Jenna's house one weekend last November. Instant excitement quickly gave way to procrastination and time went by without any progress planning the trip. The magic of email renewed interest in the idea at some point in January and bank accounts were emptied and credit card limits were reached as tickets were booked and hotel rooms reserved. (With writing like that last sentence, I feel like some English author writing a Christmas story in the 1800's. I'll try to improve the content of the report from here on.)

Mandalay Bay was the hotel we finally decided on, after rejecting the Mirage and Luxor in favor of the lush resort prominently featured on Mandalay's web site. After making that all-important decision, we also laid out a number of goals for the trip, chief among them getting Danny-boy married. I think we all agreed that it was time for Moskow to find a good wife that would make him into a man. Preferably, it would be a Russian woman who had just arrived in Las Vegas and also happened to be looking for a husband. I couldn't be bothered with the tedium involved in actually thinking this idea through so, in retrospect, it was an idea probably doomed to failure. But never say never; I'll get to it later.

Other goals consisted of miscellaneous items like not spending more than 64% of your total life savings (which may not have been accomplished) and not taking a trip to the emergency room after a fall from the top of the Luxor pyramid. Dan also seemed to have the goal of seeing Siegfried & Roy perform, despite the tragic removal of Roy's face by a friendly tiger that occurred last year. He also felt the call of craps and he was dead set on losing his money while screaming out "SNAKE EYES! NOOOO!" My goals were more modest; I intended to make $3000 playing blackjack and to get six "showgirls" while on top of the Luxor pyramid. These goals all met with varying degrees of success, which I'll also get to later. I think there was also the idea of playing poker at a table with chimps and dogs, but I'm a little fuzzy there.

If only they had opposable thumbs...

Schultz-dawg and girlfriend Courtney were to arrive in Vegas on the 8th, two days ahead of everyone else, so they were relied upon to check in at the hotel and ensure all was well. A voicemail I got around 5am the morning before departure assured me all was going according to plan before we arrived. I think the message consisted of someone yelling "Where are you?! We're in Vegas!! Wooooo!" Obviously, I was glad to find out that they were, indeed, IN Vegas and were, indeed, enjoying themselves (the "Woooo!" portion of the voicemail). Either that or they were shrieking in pain, I really wasn't sure.

So, the flights were booked; the hotel rooms ready, now all that remained was actually getting on our planes and headin' to Vegas--YEEHAW!