The departure from Las Vegas is never easy for me. Before Jaki lived there, it was sad to say goodbye to the shows, the crowds, and the experience. After she moved there, it was sad to say goodbye to all those things and to her. This time, the departure was harder because of the gathering of others as close to me as she is.
I will not continue this blog in the melancholy demeanor it has begun. I am sad to have left, but there is a lot to celebrate with this particular trip.
It has been five long years since my Army family has gathered. Fragmented by betrayal, apathy, and the other relationship killers, the remaining members of this group of people were aware of the necessity to rekindle the love and friendship with each other. It is understandable that some would not be able to make it, but the group that spent time in Las Vegas this week was the best of them.
This reunion was the trigger event to get Matt and me to Las Vegas this time, but we decided to do the legal part of getting married while we were there. Before anyone gets caught in some upheaval, yes, we are doing the family ceremony in December. There are only one or two things that will change that and both are outside of our control. Those things are inevitable in life though.
The wedding was on Thursday at the Little Chapel of the Flowers – the same place my mom and Eric got married. We broadcast it over the Internet, but did not advertise very loudly for the event because we are putting most of the serious plans towards December. Planning two ceremonies did not appeal to me at all, so we limited the major announcement to immediate family until the night before.
I am impressed with the way the chapel handled the ceremony and our quirkiness. Matt was nervous, but looking at the pictures would count that as an understatement. There are some photos in which he looks terrified. The ones that show him smiling, however, will constantly remind me how much I love that smile.
For the rest of my life.
We got a basic package. Originally it was just going to be Matt and me, but my Army family insisted on attending. I have to admit to being overjoyed at this because I wanted to spend as much time as I could with everyone together.
We did not pay for a photo package. The photographer takes pictures during the ceremony and even the most basic package includes eleven 4×6 prints. We were having so much fun that the photographer gave us a small photo session and ended up taking just under 200 pictures.
Those will be posted on Facebook as soon as I am done posting this blog tonight.
As a gift, Jaki arranged a room for us at The Cosmopolitan for Thursday night. Let me say that I have never had a hotel experience like that one. The room was larger than a few of the apartments I have had in my life. The bathtub big enough for four people, if we were so inclined. The view from the 52nd floor showed the strip, the Belaggio fountain, and the mountain ranges that surround Las Vegas.
“Breathtaking” does not even come close.
For Friday night – our last night in Las Vegas – we rented a room at the Four Queens on Fremont Street. Our last night was going to be as epic as the rest of the trip. This seedy hotel basically consisted of beds, toilets, sinks, showers, and that is it.
But how would we keep the beer cold?
Saturday found us dragging our collective butts to get out of the hotel and moving for the day. With an early evening flight, Matt and I had some time to procrastinate the departure, so we gathered the group at Tommy Rockers for lunch. After food and good company, it was time to go back to Albuquerque.
There were tears, sure, but they were as happy as they were sad. I will see each of them again. Hopefully this time it will not be five years between visits.
We talked, we laughed, we cried, we drunk-dialed those who could not come with us, we reminisced the old times – both good and bad – and we remembered the reasons we were so close to each other in the first place.
I cannot even remember the quotes that were noteworthy, but I do remember something about a party in Jaki’s mouth at Nine Fine Irishmen and Jen threatening to rip out of the butt of her jeans before the night was over.
I feel a little bad for Ashley, who could not be there with us this trip. The drunk-dialing she received is likely record breaking. I am sure she had around 15 voicemails, each getting progressively longer as Jaki drank more beer.
I will miss each of them and not much makes me happier than watching how easily Matt fit into the group and kept up with… well, everything.