Ari – A Celebration Of Life – Goodbye Little Buddy

The days of Feb 22 – 23 2016 are some of the hardest I have had to endure in my life. It was over these two days that I realized I was going to be losing my best Little Buddy, and then did finally help him to pass on. It would have been selfish of me to try to continue his life just to ease the suffering I would experience not having him in my life. I want to celebrate his life and the time we had together and not be saddened by looking forward to the time he won’t be a part of my life. This is for you my “Little Buddy” – I may…rather know I will have other rescues in my life but you were and are, and always will be so incredibly special to me…

I recognized it Monday, Feb 22 when you tried to get up from you bed as I prepared your food. I thought maybe your muscles had just stiffened over the night and you just needed some time to warm up and stretch out, but, after I helped you from your bed and brought you to your dish and you fell it was then I knew it was time to help you onto better times. We spent that day outside with me working in the yard. You loved so much to spend time outside just sunbathing. Working that night the minutes dragged, feeling like hours as I knew the following morning we’d be saying goodbye.

That Tue, Feb 23 when I woke I still prepared your food dish but this time you didn’t even stir in your bed and try to get up. I brought your food dish to you and you just turned your head. We both intuitively knew. And then you and I took one final ride in the car…oh how you loved car rides…

Ari:  January 2007 – Feb 23 2016

There is the poem “Live Your Dash” – now while I don’t know about your time before you came into our lives before January 2007, I do know that the time that composed your dash with us brought more joy and happiness to my/our lives than you will ever know.

January 2007, you were found loose, eating road kill, you background unknown but you certainly were a fighter…you did what you had to do to live.

We brought you in our home where you quickly established dominance over Gretchen. I am ashamed to say when Mrs VegasYellowchip first presented the idea of adopting you I thought you weren’t very handsome in your picture but very quickly you and I had developed a bond that could not be broken. You were my “Little Buddy”. You so quickly warmed up to us…I hope we helped make you life much better than what it was when you were found…you certainly made our lives so much richer.

We started a bad habit letting you sleep in the bed with us; now I don’t know how I will handle not feeling your body pressed up against mine. Feeling your breath so gently on my hand; the rise and fall of your body as I cradled you in my arm.  And in the morning feeling you stir and then you would jump out of the bed, pacing at my side, clicking your toenails on the hardwood letting me know it was time to go on our run.  You were my training buddy – I owe you credit for how I did on my runs. You were the best running/training buddy ever…always making sure I got my run in every morning. And the very few times I was sick you were so intuitive and just knew to lay around with me and not prompt me to get out of bed…such a smart boy.

But then the time came where it was too difficult to have you in bed with us. I got you your own bed which I would always move around to be right beside me, whether it was while I was at work, or in the living beside the couch or at my bedside.  I would hang my arm over the side of the bed so I could pet you and feel you. I’m not sure if I was reassuring you that I was there, or, was it more my reassuring myself that you were there.

I have so many fond memories of our times together.

There was our trip to Vegas when my sister bailed out on watching you & Gretchen. Truth be told, that was one of my best trips to Vegas trips ever.

Then there was the time the a/c went out in the house and as the temperature rose I said “let’s get out of here”…and me and you just rolled around, just two guys soaking up the AC in my car while we waited on the maintenance technician. When you I look at your face here I imagine you saying “thanks for the cool air Dad”

At dinner time you would strategically position yourself under my legs looking towards Mom as you knew she would be the one to crumb things on the floor…allowing you to move quickly and snatch anything she happened to drop. But you know I would always spoil you and throw you a treat when Mom wasn’t looking. And then after dinner all I had to do was snap my fingers and you would leap up onto the couch and position yourself between us.

Ari, I have no idea what my life will be like without you; but I do know that there will be a gigantic void that will never be filled with what you brought into my life. Coming home will, never, ever be the same…you would ALWAYS come to greet us, so excited, even if we were only gone for not even 15 minutes….you were, and always will be my “Little Buddy”

You were absolutely selfless – always aware and not liking any funny business going on around the house. You were so protective of me and Amy. Forever loyal. Forever loving. Forever selfless – you would lay yourself down for us if it was necessary.

I know that I will struggle to retain the memory of how your wiry fur would feel as I petted you, and how your breath felt on my hand as we lay in bed, yet, even though those memories will fade over time, the memories of the time we had together, our morning runs, going to Vegas, riding around in the car together, seeing your wagging nub tail every time we came home…those will never fade. I will hold those dearly in my heart and mind forever.

Yes, at some point we will have another dog in our lives…another rescue. Know that you will NEVER be replaced, but the best way to honor you is to rescue another – but you will ALWAYS be “my Little Buddy”

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Running For The Dogs

In addition to Vegas and blackjack another hobby of mine is running. While I had to run for PT in the military and was good, it wasn’t until just this past year that I started participating in organized runs, including 5k, 10k and finally my first half marathon this May.

I haven’t written much about this but I also volunteer with a local dog rescue. Previously we had 2 dogs – a German Shepherd

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and a Jack Russell.

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The GS was first in our home and when the JR came in he “tolerated” her but was obvious he wanted to be the focus.

Mrs. VegasYellowchip  started volunteering with the dog rescue http://www.2darescue.org/ shortly before we had to let our GS pass in Mar 2014. Since our JR will be the only dog we have continued to volunteer with 2DaRescue. It has been therapeutic in dealing with the passing of our GS girl and a great experience. Bittersweet at times. It is easy to become attached to these dogs and when they are adopted while we are happy for them on the other hand it can be sad knowing we won’t be having that interaction with them any longer.

Next month on Oct 25th I’ll be heading west to run the Rock n Roll Marathon L.A. – the charity for this run is the ASPCA. http://www.runrocknroll.com/los-angeles/

I thought that would make it a good tie in to get pledges for 2DaRescue. My last ½ marathon was in May in San Diego. That one I ran in 2hr 5min.

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I am looking for pledges for every minute under that time I come in at – say $10 per min.

Couple of things – normally I run a 5k the day before, this run does not offer a 5k. Will that help or hurt my time? I still will probably pound out 3.10 mi at the hotel gym treadmill though.

Secondly, I have really taken a liking to Sunday Bloody Mary bar’s – not the best for training. Not as bad as beer but not helpful. However, I absolutely LOVE these dogs and will go balls to the walls for them so I will put myself on the line to perform for them.

I will post my bib # after I check in and you can check my results @ http://www.runrocknroll.com/results/ or follow me in real time @ https://www.competitorwireless.com/

If you want to make a pledge you can make your contribution via PayPal from the donate button on http://www.2darescue.org/#!donate/ctzx

Thanks every one for your support!

My Wynn Winter Stay

Just this past week I had the opportunity to take advantage of a winter offer from The Wynn.

This was my first stay at The Wynn, from my previous posts you know I am a fan MGM properties & the MLife program . I will say I was not disappointed in the room or the service however I still am more of an MGM fan. Perhaps it was the time of year or that I went midweek and the clientele were different than you might find over a weekend but I just have experienced a better vibe at MGM. But, I won’t write off Wynn – I would stay again.

My first impression was navigating from the self park to the registration desk. It had been quite some time since I had last visited Wynn casino so it may be because I didn’t have my bearings down well but the flow from parking to registration seemed a bit disjointed. Both Mirage & MGM seem to have a very direct, easy flowing route from parking to their registration desks. But, as I mentioned it had been some time since I had last visited Wynn so I won’t fault the hotel for this.

I didn’t have to wait at all to register and the check in process was very pleasant and went smoothly. The winter offer included 2 free breakfast or lunch buffets and the gal checking me in commented that I should use that on lunch rather than breakfast as there are more options. I thought that was a nice touch to point that out. I did not try the $20 upgrade (well, if I were to at the Wynn I would probably lay out a $50 – don’t want to look cheap). My room was on the 18th floor and she asked if I wanted to upgrade (with a cost, unknown how much) to a higher floor which I declined. I got a resort king and I was impressed with the room. It was a very good size but the thing that I LOVED was the amazing floor to ceiling windows.

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The bathroom is ginormous. A very nice shower enclosure, tub and double vanity with built in tv and separate room with toilet. There is also a digital scale – I’ve never seen that in a hotel room before.

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The room overlooked the golf course and pool. Too bad it was only in the 60’s so the pool was vacant and went unused by myself.

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After getting settled in the room I decided that I’d have dinner at Sinatra’s in Encore that night. The service was very attentive and the food was delicious. The overall experience made it well worth the price and I would recommend dining at Sinatra’s.

The following morning I grabbed coffee and a quick bit at The Tower Suite Bar. The two gentlemen working the counter were very friendly and engaging. It was a nice experience to sit and enjoy some coffee and oatmeal before heading out for the day.

I did take the advice of the check-in girl and did have lunch at The Buffet. As far as buffets go I wasn’t disappointed yet I wasn’t blown away. It was a decent buffet but I am glad it was comp’d.

After spending a day out on The Strip I was pleasantly surprised coming back to my room. When I left in the morning my bag was on the floor and I had left my clothes draped over a chair. When room service came she took the time to setup the luggage stand and put my bag on it and organized my shoes beneath and folded my clothes. She also organized my toiletries that I had strewn about on the vanity. That service goes above and beyond. I have never experienced anything like that in any of my stays in Vegas. Shout out to “Nancy” who worked the 18th floor of Wynn – you are top notch!

The following morning before checking out I stopped by The Tower Suite Bar again and the guys working the counter remembered me which is very nice. That does make a guest feel important when the staff remember you. There weren’t any issues checking out and the comp’d buffet was credited back to my room.

I was very impressed with the service and attentiveness and the property is beautifully maintained. I think the vibe may have been the timing of my stay. I will try The Wynn or Encore again – probably in the summer when I can enjoy the pool and check out Encore Beach Club.

Our MGM Grand Stay Well stay

It is no secret that I am a fan of MGM and MGM properties and my most recent stay in one of the MGM Stay Well rooms reinforced my appreciation for MGM even more.

On Black Friday Mrs Vegas Yellowchip and I attended Justin Timberlake’s concert held at MGM Grand Arena. Since I was driving up Fri AM and not wanting to deal with commuting and parking for the concert we decided to stay at MGM.

Checking for rates on the mlife page I found a very good deal on a Stay Well room and was very pleased with our stay.

Early in the week of our stay I received an email from an email from our MGM Stay Well Lounge representative welcoming us, recapping my reservation and providing check instructions. Check in instructions were provided because Stay Well guests have an exclusive check in.

Arriving Friday afternoon walking into the lobby there was quite a crowd at the check in line…but like an oasis in the desert I saw the signage over the door “Stay Well Lounge” – and upon entering we were immediately greeted and assisted by the staff.

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The check in process went smoothly and the representative asked if we have ever stayed in a Stay Well room, which we hadn’t. She went over the various amenities these rooms offered. I did not try the $20 trick to upgrade as I wasn’t sure what types of upgrades might be available on these types of rooms.

The Stay Well rooms occupy the 14th floor exclusively.

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This makes for a quick trip up to your room from the casino floor but your trip down may be cramped as you will likely find more guests on the car already from the higher floors. This floor has additional air filtration, but I have never had an issue with air quality anywhere in the MGM.

One of the features of the room that the lounge representative explained to us is that the tap water is filtered and is “safe to drink”, so, in a pinch I could drink from the tap rather than shelling out $3+ for the in room bottled water.  The shower has vitamin C infused water. While I didn’t notice any difference myself, Mrs Vegas Yellowchip said that she did.

Our room faced south with a view of Mandalay Bay and Excalibur. The window was dirty, but it is a desert environment and I’m not there to sit in my room and look out on some majestic landscape so I’ll give a pass on that one.

Friday night we had dinner after the concert eating at Pub 1842. Despite the hordes of people from the concert letting out we were seated readily. I opted to have the Peanut Butter Crunch burger and was very happy with my choice. Be warned…either be hungry or opt to split the burger with someone. The menu does not identify but the burger is a substantial .5lb! Since it was coming up on midnight I opted to pay out of pocket for the meal rather than take advantage of my room credit. This is one disappointing policy of MGM. I was offered a $25 per day meal/beverage credit but the credit does not roll over from one day to the next. It would be nice if you could use the credit cumulatively.

Saturday AM we had breakfast at the Grand Buffet. Mrs. and I really aren’t buffet people but the food was very good and we would return.

Saturday PM dinner was at Crush where again we were seated quickly. Mrs. had the fish and chips which was the special that night and raved how good it was and didn’t have a fishy taste at all. I opted to have the Angus Mini Burgers. This meal we did take advantage of our room food credit.

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My blackjack play during this stay was ok, not spectacular but had fun none the less.

We used the lobby express checkout kiosk because the tv checkout function displayed a server error. All in all is was a good stay and great concert. We had a good time and once again MGM earned my loyalty.

Do I Want To Move To Vegas?

Do I want to live in Vegas? Yeah! But…do I really?

I’ve debated the idea numerous times. I love Vegas and visiting there. So, if I like it so much why not move there? The environment is very similar to that of my Phoenix home. Outside of the strip looking at the subdivisions it would be hard to see a difference between Phoenix and Vegas. Weather very similar as well. Outdoor activities, similar. Cost of living is somewhat higher but not by much. Not enough to make it a deal breaker.

But, if I moved to Vegas would it suddenly lose its luster? Would I tire of it? Living in Phoenix gives me ready access to Vegas pretty much anytime I want to go. An easy drive or cheap flight (although not sure given security screenings flying is any more time efficient than driving).

I do IT work and currently telecommute. I could easily setup shop in Vegas (however my job wants me to stay local). I could probably pick up some other freelance work, etc. I don’t think Vegas is necessarily a big IT place though, I could be wrong.

My wife is an esthetician and licensed massage therapist. While she wants to focus on esthetics work she could still fall back on or use her massage license to her benefit. I would think with all the resort spas that line of work would be easier to break into.

So, for those of you who have made the move to Vegas what are your thoughts? Regret the decision or love it? Should I maintain my long distance love affair, enjoying a tryst with the city every couple of months?

Best Dog Friendly Hotel In Vegas

There was a time awhile back where I ended up taking a trip to Vegas where I brought my dogs. Wife was going to attend a convention and I go just because it is Vegas. We had it planned that my sister was going to stay at our house and watch our dogs.

Well, as the trip got closer (actually the week of) my sister ended up bailing out on us…thanks a lot. So, now we had to scramble and decided that we would bring the dogs with us.

I searched for dog friendly hotels and found the Super 8 on Koval Lane which would accommodate my dogs. One of them was a German Shepherd so she wouldn’t have been able to stay at some of the other pet friendly hotels on the strip. Also, the Super 8 had the most reasonable pet fee compared to other properties.

As far as the Super 8, I was pleasantly surprised. The check-in process went well. The room itself, while not an upscale strip room, was adequate. The hotel itself was very quiet considering that there seemed to be a large amount of guests based on the parking lot.

The hotel had free Wi-Fi with pretty good throughput speed – yeah, no resort fee! However, as I said this was a few years back so that may have changed.

Located off of the strip, behind Bally’s there was a grassy boulevard area that I could walk my dogs along.

If I were to find myself in a pinch again needing to travel with my dogs to Vegas I would come back to this Super 8. Very, very reasonable rates with terrific service. Hell, I would probably stay here again even if I was traveling without my dogs.

Busy November In Vegas

Well after a long (too long in my opinion) hiatus from LV I have a busy November for myself.

First, I will be there the weekend of Nov 15-16 for the Zappos 1/2 of The Half Rock n Roll Marathon. I have yet to book my room but seems my MLife offers better rates than the race partners (all MLife properties too).

Then Thanksgiving Weekend it is back up to LV for Justin Timberlake @ MGM. I still have to book my room for this but will pick MGM. Since I am driving up Fri AM I want to be able to roll into town, check in, rest and freshen up then head downstairs for the show. I don’t want to have to deal with cabbing it to and from MGM for the show.

I am excited for both events. My training for the race is going well…getting 6.5 mil in around 53 minutes. JT concert I am really happy about. Originally we had planned on going to the Aug 8 show but couldn’t find any good/reasonable tickets on the secondary market. Then, just around my birthday I ran across the announcement that the November show had been added. I wasted no time getting tickets after they had gone on sale.

Depending on rates I may stay an extended time in LV @ MGM since our 10th anniversary is later that week. Now, if only MGM would cut me a deal for making consecutive & extended stay reservations 😉