Las Vegas has marked many milestones in both Tree’s and my life.
I lost my virginity here when I was 16. Woohoo! Just kidding, it was actually very anti-climatic. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself with the pun).
Then I landed here briefly around age 23 during my run-riot days and, of course, made things worse. Suffice to say this is not the best town to bring a habit.
Then 7 years later, at a wine tasting event at the top of Mandalay Bay, I first laid eyes on the love of my life, sitting pretty as he was in his tight t-shirt and smooth olive skin, just waiting for me to land in his lap and profess my undying love. Woohoo!!!! For reals this time.
A couple years after that, I got a phone call while I was in LA from one of Tree’s climbing friends telling me that Tree had fallen 40ft at Red rocks and was being helicoptered to a nearby hospital. That sucked. But oddly enough that accident, as horrible as it was, changed the trajectory of our lives. Before the accident our relationship was like a series of honeymoons–once a month we’d meet up somewhere and have a lot of fun–but we could never figure out how to reconcile my dreams and his dreams. Then, during Tree’s recovery, he was in a wheelchair for 5 months and needed a lot of help. So I would fly up to Seattle on the weekends (I was going to UCLA during the week) and relieve his mom (or dad or brother) to take care of him. Somehow between pushing him to Starbucks and cooking him dinner, we were finally able to ‘see’ a future together. It’s funny how sometimes our deepest dreams–the ones about love, commitment, and intimacy–are hiding in the most mundane places.
And, now, six years after that, we’re back in Las Vegas, plus one. In fact, in just a few days Tree and I will celebrate our 9 year ‘getting together’ anniversary. As much as we love reminiscing about those raucous days in Sin City, when we were in our early thirties and stayed out all night partying like rock stars, these days as a family are infinitely better.
Soleil walking through downtown, the coolest part of Vegas by far.
This time around we have Soleil, and it makes all the difference.
Honestly, I always thought parents just let their kids roam around Circus Circus while they played slots all day. I had no idea Vegas had so much to offer…. like GIANT PENGUINS!
And GIANT UNICORNS!
And GIANT ROCKS!
We spent at least a couple days a week rock climbing. Well, Sol and Tree rock climbed. I just went along for the nature ride and to spot Soleil. Unfortunately, I’ve STILL been nursing my shoulder injury, which some X-rays and an MRI later has turned out to be a pinched nerve in my neck caused by three herniated discs. Physical therapy here I come.
Last night Tree and I were lying in bed, his feet swollen after a long day climbing, my neck and shoulder aching after a long day of being mom, and we were trying to picture what we were going to look like in another 10 years, 20 years…we couldn’t bear to think beyond that. We should have had at least one more kid to help Sol push our wheelchairs.
Tree had some great climbing days, too. Thank you Lorenzo for keeping my honey safe! Now put a helmet on, dammit.
I carry these childhood pictures of Tree around in my wallet. He must be around 8 years old.
Now look at that smile. Some things just never change.
I like to look at his kid pictures when I’m mad at him. It reminds me that underneath it all, we’re just kids in grown up bodies living grown up lives.
While Tree was off having his fun, Soleil and I were hitting the Strip! Okay that’s a lie. But we did go to the Gilcrease Animal Sanctuary with Lisa (Lorenzo’s wife), her friend Michelle, and their kids, and we saw goats, pot belly pigs, ducks, geese, pheasants, mules, and more animals I can’t remember.
And then all four kids got naked and one little boy pooped behind a bush, and we got kicked out. Who says the party stops after having kids? They don’t even have to be drunk to strip down and defecate in public. But don’t worry kids, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! Your secret is safe on the Internet.
A goat named Houdini stole Elijah’s banana, and then this funky chicken stole my celery stick. What a racket.
A big highlight was when Abuelita came to visit, and we went to Red Rocks….
and to the Springs Preserve, where we saw an awesome show performed by rescued parrots….
and then we painted a miniature bird house and ate anything we wanted at the brunch buffet. If you think saying no to a 2 year old is hard, try saying no to a grandparent.
“You warriors are good. Real good.”
“The best. Can you dig it?”
…Or maybe just in a Clif bar commercial.
Tomorrow we head out toward Bishop, California which will be decidedly more wild than Vegas. As much as we’ve loved being here, we’re longing to get outside the city and camp a little.
Also, I pretty much finished decorating the Bounder so next post will be an interior tour.
And, other big news, my new web site is currently being built and will hopefully launch next month. It will continue along the same lines as Sprinter Life with daily life updates but with more to offer like free guides, road recipes, essays, and a question and answer forum. I want to keep the same openness and honesty, and obviously highlight doing rad shit in beautiful places, but I have some higher aspirations, too. As I get closer to launch date, I’ll share my whole vision with you all. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know. I’m all ears!
Okay, you want to know the new name? Sneak preview!