Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Down is the New Up

The Great Radiohead Road Trip: Vegas

-Ricky Gervais                      
(a proclamation he made upon reading Carl Pilkington's vacation journal after reading about everyone in the pub sitting around watching a cat lick itself) -one of the podcasts we listened to during that all night drive down that provided much needed amusement at 2:30 in the morning.


I woke up a new woman.  The world felt like my oyster- I was in such a good mood.  Life felt amazing and I felt like I wanted to give everyone I saw and met a hug.  I was just filled with such a great feeling and so much love.  Part of it was feeling a weight off my shoulders that the concert part of the trip was done.  The anticipation and excitement I had felt for months was over and the stress over something going wrong that would prevent me from being at the concert was all over.  Not only was it over, but the event was so fantastic, all those feelings were replaced with a peace and euphoria and love for all human kind.  I could now relax and enjoy the trip on a different level.  We went down to breakfast and then packed up the room.  Seven people in one room made for one crazy room to pack up and get organized not to mention the line to shower and get ready whilst doing it.  But we did it.  Then the bill got slipped under our door and we found out that they only decided to charge us for one night since we checked in after 4 in the morning and did not get maid service that afternoon.  Awesome!  Matt and I recreated the setlist from the night before too on my ipod using the on-the go playlist feature.  As we were packing the car I mentioned to Matt that I had every song except of course for Identikit, which is a song that they premiered on this tour, so it is only available  on youtube from uploaded concert videos.  I told him sadly that I had no idea how to get a youtube video on to my ipod.  "I do", he said.  I brightened up and we grabbed his mac and we ran back into the hotel to the dining area and he was able to download the video, remove the audio (from the very concert we had attended- people were so on top of it!)  He doubled the audio so it would play out of both speakers and downloaded it to his ipod- all in a matter of minutes.  I was so excited because it just wasn't going to be the same if it wasn't complete (especially without Identikit- my favorite new song).  

Matt drove first and I was in the front.  Everyone was in a good mood.  We were driving through this tiny town in AZ, and Sue noticed that we passed a little doggie grooming shop.  We pointed out that it was a weird business to see in a very small town especially when it's just about the only business we passed.  We started making jokes about people getting their bichon Frises groomed.  Then someone said something about dingos and so I made the rather innocent throw away joke, "can you do something about these dingos?"  and it was like we all pictured the exact some thing in our heads (some very fancy, prim and proper establishment, ladies grooming these snobbly little dogs and some farmer in dirty overalls bursts in with 3 or 4 snarling dingos on chains, slobber, blood and dirt caked all over their muzzles, and he asks that with a scratch of his head)  Ok, so I don't know if it was exactly like that in everyone's mind, but very very close.  Anyway, that line became the line of the trip.  We laughed so hard.  It came up at least a few times every hour.  This is one of the perks of traveling in a car with a bunch of siblings- same sense of humor.  We amuse each other very easily.  Then after a while, Matt and I started our setlist and talked concert with much excitement and detail and fond memory (I later was given the tip that the entire concert was available digitally on line and so I downloaded that, it is the whole concert in it's entirety including everything Thom said in between songs.  It is the greatest thing ever and makes my old setlist of the studio versions of all the concert songs seem like a pile of puke).  Sue and Cat watched the last episode of Sherlock (I brought the dvd and the two finally got to see it).  I'm not sure what B or the kids did to tell you the truth.  If I were to guess B listened to both things a bit and napped, and fielded Scout's questions like "are we there yet?"  and Elle sat and smiled and probably fit a nap in. 

 We were getting close to Hoover Dam, and the car seemed to struggle a little bit and concerned Matt and I.  But was something like car problems going to happen on the greatest holiday in the world?  No way.  The concerning behavior just disappeared.  We got out of the car and explored the dam a bit and walked along the awesome bridge.  I think the best way to tell this part is simply through pictures.

Scout had some concerns about Elles being on such a high bridge and held her hand for a while.  Ever the good big sister.

(Not the best pic with the wind and such, so I'll keep this one small)

So after that little break, we proceeded to Vegas.  We were all excited for Scout to get her first experience of this unique city.  I use the word unique, cause I'm not a huge fan, but it's fun for a minute.  Sue hooked us up in a pretty cool Marriot.  It was downtown, just a little off of the strip and our room was on the 12 floor.  It was designed very modern and cool and was 20 stories tall, with a swimming pool on the roof.  We explored all that for a bit. 
 There was a fire by the pool which we thought was neat.


Then we went out and finally got our Mexican- not quite the experience we were gunning for, but it was fine.  Scout was pretty tired and winy the whole time so that was really fun.  She was a little homesick and missed daddy.  It was pretty dang late when we finally made it to dinner I suppose.   I only got to eat like 3 bites of my fajitas. 

We had two rooms this time, cause there was one less bed in each.  Scout and I took the bed, and Sue took the hide-away, which had a chase lounge next to it, so Elles slept on that next to Sue.  It worked great.  We pretty much just went to bed after dinner.  Still pretty worn out.

That next morning, only half of us went to breakfast, and brought up a few things for the other half.  Then some of us went swimming.  It was pretty cold, but the pool was rad, we couldn't help it.  Plus, Scout had turned into a swimming pool freak.  

 Little E kept to the sidelines that day- it was cold!

 Then we had to get back to the room so we could pack up and head out of there.  We got cleaned up and dressed and then while I packed and stuff, Scout played on the ipad.   She has this app game that is a horse that you take care of and she bought it this little leprechaun outfit that was really funny (it was st. Patrick's day).  Then she was out of "coins" and saw this little blanket that you could put on your horse to cover it when it's cold and I was feeling generous, so I purchased her a little pack of coins for .99 and let her get her horse the blanket thing. 


Then while I was still sitting next to her, she started mumbling something and then said, "I'm going to get that too" and I look in time to see the little "purchased" pop up thing that told me that she had just purchased something onto my itunes account.  "That is impossible" I thought, she does not know my password.  I take the ipad from her and after doing a little digging find out that she had just purchased 5,000 "gems" for her horse.  I couldn't believe my eyes and checked to see how much 5,000 gems cost.  Well, let me tell you- 5,000 gems cost $99.99.  I about flipped.  I couldn't believe that was possible.  What sane person made this even a possibility??  Who in the world would spend $100 on such a thing?  And how was it possible my 6 year old was able to?  I thought you had to put your password in every time you made a purchase.  

I found a few things out that day.   One thing I learned is that once you put your password in, there is a 15 minute period where you don't have to put it in again for any purchases.  Yep.  ARG!  I railed on Scout a bit I am afraid.  I wouldn't have been so upset with her exactly- way more at the situation, but she copped an attitude right away (looking at it rationally, I can see that she felt really bad and scared that she had done something pretty bad and was embarrassed and upset and never would have dreamed that she just spent one hundred dollars).  So she copped an attitude to save some face and so I was fairly hard on her initially.   I went quickly into Matt's room who is my mac/apple extraordinaire and told him what had just happened.  He immediately begin googling and I went back to my room to talk to Scout again.  I tried to comfort her, but she was pretty upset.  She was embarrassed that everyone seemed to think this was a big deal like mom did.  You know, I've thrown 100 dollars away more then once in my life, but for some reason, this scenario really bothered me.  I went back to Matt and he kind of whispered that it didn't look good.  This happens quite often actually, we read about some kids spending over 300 dollars on these things, and the parents don't find out until like a month later when they get their credit card bill. 

Matt made some calls to tech support and then suggested I get it taken care of now, since he figured if I act immediately I have a better chance.  Well, I tried to fill out some email forms apple sent me and tried to navigate through their help site and wasn't getting anywhere.  I called my bank and they saw the transaction but said it was considered a pre authorization so they couldn't help me.  At this point, we were late to check out and not ready to either, Elle had breakfast all over her still, Scout was hiding from everyone under the covers and I was too frazzled to want to try to deal with it anymore.  So I dropped it, and wanted to just carry on with the day and try to sort it out when I got home.  How far things had come from the euphoria of the concert!  While we were piling our luggage onto the trolley, I sighed and said, "I need some Radiohead".  Sue sympathetically shook her head and agreed.  It made me smile and giggle a little that she honestly took that somewhat seriously.  I really did need some though.  


We cheered Scout up finally and got out of there.  Then we packed the car and we had one of those black luggage things you put on the top of your car for extra space and it's pretty hard to close once we have everything packed in there.  I tried and failed and so Matt tried his hand at it and was unsuccessful.  He finally jumped off the bumper with his hands still at the top of the black thing and slid down the back of the car like he was hanging on the edge of a cliff losing finger grip slowly.  At the very last second before his fingers lost contact with the edge and he fell we hear this little "click".  He did it!  It was such a funny image and he didn't even know he was successful.  Anyway, it was very funny to us.  So we drove around and showed Scout the strip, then we took her to Circus Circus and played games and watched some circus performances with the lamest clown in history.  It was just sad.  But the acrobats were really good.  
Once again, Scout reaped the rewards of being the only kid with a million adults and we played the horse races with the balls you know- and we won her a giraffe pillow pet.  Then Matt and Cat and Sue all tried to win her a horse at this basketball thing, and they all got really close (you have to make a basket with both balls you were given) and after a few attempts each, I tried and channeled my mommy vibes that were thinking that this-had-gone-on-long-enough-and-enough-money-has-been-spent-this-needs-to-end-now and I miraculously did it with my first dollar.  Yeah baby.  Those vibes can be powerful.  
We had had enough by that time.  We drove the strip again and Matt was minding his own business when this lady in the passenger side of a car yelled at him, "learn how to drive!"  He seriously hadn't done anything!  He hadn't switched lanes cutting her off, she wasn't even behind him.  There is no way that anything Matt may have done affected that lady.  But she was MAD!  She was banging the side of her car, and just beside herself with rage.  She also had very few teeth and looked like a crack addict and was obviously drunk.  We laughed so hard.  She went on her way and a few minutes later, as we were stopping at a light and approaching her again, we notice her banging on the side of her car again totally in another rage and we realize that she is upset at the car in front of her.  We laughed again.  Then we lost her for a few more minutes and then pulled along side of her again at another light and couldn't wait to see what she would do this time.  She surprised us by noticing that one of our headlights was out and she and her husband were very helpful giving us directions to the Walmart to get ourselves a new one because cops give out tickets for that.  She had no memory of us or her anger at Matt and his invisible terrible driving skills.  She also had no idea that she became the second tag line of the trip.  It wasn't only "learn how to drive" either, we used it a myriad of ways. She also didn't know that she amused my daughter SO MUCH.  No one liked the "learn how to drive" line better then Scout.  In fact, she used it in her writing assignment that next week at school. 
 Ah, to have seen Scout's teacher read that.....

Moving on.  We went to the Luxor so Scout could go in a pyramid.  She wanted to be Scooby Doo while in it.  So we all had our characters assigned to us and we went.   

We got lunch while there at this deli and the prices were insane.  A soda was over $4!  *grumble grumble*  I was a little extra annoyed that day by prices and I was in the wrong city to be annoyed about spending superfluous money.  I shook off the ipad thing as well as I could, but there was just a subtle little grey cloud over me because of it.  
We got roped into this magic carpet picture thing because the guy appealed to Scout by asking her if she wanted a magic carpet ride.  We knew this was a lame a Vegas tourist trap that would be ultra stupid, but we did it and actually laughed quite hard at the whole thing.  We were laughing at how stupid it was and how not us it was, while I believe our movie maker thought we were genuinely having a great time and totally into it.  We had some laughs again watching the little movie we made and the bad camera tricks (especially Elles being abandoned on the carpet while we ran around it and she looked like a bug on her back with her long skinny legs sticking straight in the air.  Anyway, we weren't about to take any of it home and the lady trying to sell to us was annoying.  Kind of fun, but lame as can be.  We decided it was time to go.  We walked out of the Luxor to a MASSIVE rain storm.  Rain was pouring down the side of the pyramid in sheets.  (UP: all the skanky, skimpy, girls prancing around in their st. Patrick's outfits weren't very happy.)  We drove around in the rain and couldn't figure out how to exit Vegas and get on our way.  We drove around forever trying to get out of Vegas.  We knew the weather was bad everywhere and we really needed to get a move on.  In fact, it took so long we were still in Vegas the first time Scout asked if we were almost home.  Sigh.  I was so over Vegas.  I just wanted to leave it behind me.  It either rained or snowed the entire way home.  It made things tense and we only had one headlight and we couldn't find a Taco Bell in St. George.  It took a long time to get home.  


We got home eventually (around 1 or 2 I think).  We did have some good times and some great laughs on that drive.  I also decided that I was going to get that hundred dollars back because the trip was so enchanted by the Radiohead gods, they would never let such a lame thing happen- not on the amazing trip of joy.  The trip had been too awesome so far.  Also, I decided if I did have to end up paying for it, perhaps it was a small sacrifice to pay to keep things level and even.  Everything else had just been too awesome. 
The girls and I went in to a sleeping Rob and all gave him hugs and kisses.......... and so ended The Great RH Road Trip. 


I did some googling on my own that next day and found a blog where a guy describes a similar situation that had happened to him and invited other parents to share their experience with it.  Most were actually getting refunds from Apple.  They said that you have to explain the situation and they will hopefully refund you, but they make it clear that this is a one time deal.  So I wrote my own letter to Apple- positive, honest and I went the honey route as opposed to the vinegar one.  Sure enough- I got a reply a few hours later telling me they will refund it, but yeah, this is a one time deal.  She gave me some info on how to disable in app purchases.  I thanked her profusely and told her that Apple had a very loyal customer in me.  I really didn't want to disable having the option of in app purchases, but found out how to do something better-  adjust my settings on the ipad so you ALWAYS have to enter the password to make a purchase- and that is a password Scout will never ever know.  (Not that she would make that mistake again.)  The money was back in my account in a day or two and everyone was happy for me, Scout was happy, Rob was happy, and I was so happy and knew that the rh gods smiled a little too.

Here's to the greatest holiday in the world!!  That was one for the history books and much better then watching a cat lick itself in my opinion.

I just told Scout this week that even though they refunded mommy's money, they didn't take the gems she bought back.  So this is going to be one fancy virtual horse.

 "Get yourself together
Let the light pour in
Pour yourself a hot bath, pour yourself a drink
Nothing’s gonna happen without a warning
Down is the new up
What is up, buttercup
Down is the new up, is the new up"
-Down is the New Up               



Amy said...

Fun to read about all your fun, including the downs. I'm glad you had such a great trip. A never to be forgotten experience. You feel the exact same way about Vegas than I do. And, just think how many people leave Vegas losing a LOT more than a $100.00. I'm glad you got your refund and I'm glad that Scout got the fancy up her horse. Scout's writing assignment at school cracked me up, along with all the funny lines which amuse us so easily. We have the best family ever!

Haley said...

Agreed, very fun to be clued in on all the happenings of your trip. I also feel the same way about Vegas. Also glad you got your refund! That happened to my sister in law Jessica! Her son Bentley (Scout's age) was playing a smurf's game on her ipod touch and bought like a castle or something worth about $200! She also got refunded though. That's good that they do that. Fun for Scout to go to Luxor and Circus Circus, I loved going there as a kid. Glad you guys had a great trip!


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