Good News / Bad News

GOOD NEWS:  Not only did my thoughtful husband surprise me with tickets to see Barry Manilow in Las Vegas this past weekend, he also arranged backstage passes.  To meet Barry.  By some bizarre, small-world, friend-of-a-friend-with-connections thing, he managed to get it all worked out, surprising me with the news just a couple of days before we left.

BAD NEWS:  BARRY HAD BRONCHITIS.  We got to the box office Friday morning to pick up our tickets, only to learn that the show had been canceled, for both Friday and Saturday nights, meaning that there was no chance of re-scheduling.  Yes, we got our money back.  Yes, I was insanely disappointed.  I consoled myself with a trip to the Barry gift shop, where I scored a Copa Cabana t-shirt.  Hubs offered to buy me the DVD version of the concert, but I declined.  I mean, if I can’t see Barry while standing next to throngs of middle-aged women sobbing their way through "Mandy", then I just don’t want to see Barry at all.

GOOD NEWS:  We were in Las Vegas.  It’s not like there is any shortage of things to do.  We got tickets to Cirque du Soleil instead, and it was spectacular.  We also had a very swanky, high-priced, candle-lit dinner for two, the type of thing we never do.  After we ordered, the waiter asked us if we’d like to try their special twice-baked potato appetizer.  Sure, we said, and I will tell you that this potato was the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten in my life, and it’s a good thing, because…

BAD NEWS: …when we got our ticket, we learned that the potato was $85.  EIGHTY-FIVE DOLLARS.  It turns out it had truffles on it (ironically, I had picked them off.  If I’d known they were that stinkin’ valuable I would’ve put scraped them into my purse to make into a necklace later).  The lesson?  Check the menu first.  And invest in truffles.

GOOD NEWS:  We left the restaurant and strolled through the casino.  Walking past some deserted slot machines, we found $95 in cash laying on the ground.  Hubs picked it up, found the manager, and he tried to return the cash, suggesting they check the security camera to find out who it belonged to (I knew all those times he watched Oceans 11 would come in handy).  The manager looked at Hubs like he was a little crazy, shrugged, and told him, "House rules.  You find it, it’s yours."  So we shrugged too, and I concocted a fantasy in my head in which Barry had just been in that very casino and left that money behind for us.  If he couldn’t sing "Mandy" for me, he would at least finance my potato. 

BAD NEWS:  The hotel where we stayed is one that especially draws the young, hip, club-going crowd.  You can imagine that a couple of happily-married, middle-aged Republicans fit right in.       

GOOD NEWS:  People in Las Vegas wear costumes to dinner and the casinos on Halloween. 

BAD NEWS:  People in Las Vegas wear costumes to dinner and the casinos on Halloween. 

GOOD NEWS:  Even without Barry, we saw some amazing things.  The fountains at the Bellagio were, by themselves, worth the trip.  (I made a video of it for my kids, if you want to see it.)  One of our favorite parts was visiting an antique book dealer.  We spent nearly an hour browsing their stuff, our jaws hanging open.  The especially valuable stuff was behind glass (including–I saw it with my own eyes–a first-edition Pride and Prejudice), but some of the books we got to touch and feel for ourselves, including autographed books by Rosa Parks, Shel Silverstein, and Virginia Woolf.  Hubs pointed out that we came all the way to Las Vegas to get most excited about a book store, thereby confirming once and for all that…

BAD NEWS:  …we are nerds.

GOOD NEWS:  I’d rather be a nerd with him than be cool with anyone else. 

104 thoughts on “Good News / Bad News

  1. Queen B says:

    I absolutely cannot believe that Barry had bronchitis. Cannot believe it. I am so sorry.
    And just what kind of world do we live in where a waiter would fail to mention that the potato was $85?
    I’m glad you found the bookstore. (Only another nerd can fully appreciate that joy.)

  2. Doodlerah says:

    My husband and I went to Las Vegas a few years ago and were lucky enough to get a suite at the Paris casino. Our 17th floor room overlooked the fountains at Bellagio. I think we had almost as much fun just watching those fountains from our bed. It was a calm quiet place in a world of Vegas crazy…lol! Glad you had some adult time away!
    P.S.- Airn’t y’all so FANCY with your ritzy potato! How will you eat your plain jane taters now?

  3. Amy says:

    We love this story. I had my husband read your post about finding out about the Barry trip when you posted it and then read this one tonight, too. We both were amused. Maybe because we are the potato-eating, truffle-scraping, happily-married, bookstore-loving types. 🙂
    Sorry you missed Barry. 😦

  4. Stephanie says:

    I have DREAMS of going to Vegas for Halloween! I’ll bet the costumes were out of this world! Guess I should start planning now.
    And I can’t believe Barry had bronchitis when you had passes for BACKSTAGE!!! The show I saw him do in Albuquerque over 20 years ago was great–I can’t imagine how good the Vegas show would be. ~sigh~

  5. Robyn (3girlsmom) says:

    Well, at least the found $95 paid for the $85 potatoes. And I really don’t understand truffles. I mean, come on. It’s a fungus.
    I’m also from Montgomery, AL, so the signed Rosa Parks book would’ve been incredible to see. I grew up after the civil rights movement, but in the heart of where it took place, so it is very close to my heart.
    And LOL about the happily married, middle aged, Republican comment. That’s SO me and my hubs, too.
    Bum.Mer about the Barry concert. Stinkola on that. Glad you had a good time, tho.

  6. chilihead says:

    Please tell me you have pictures of all the costumes. I have pictures of YOUR kids in their costumes. 😉
    Which Cirque did you see?
    I can’t wait to talk to you about your trip!

  7. susieshomemade says:

    I love this post sooooo much!! $85??? My jaw dropped but then, when you found the $95 we cheered!! I say we because at this point I was reading it aloud to the family:-) Awesome! We have got to get back to Vegas:-)

  8. Kim H. says:

    Oh my word…WOW! All that and Barry was out sick. What a bummer – but way to make the best out of it. I’m so impressed that your husband did all that – what a catch and a half! 🙂
    And the potato – holy Batman! Please tell me you licked the plate clean.
    Score on the $95 – loved that your husband tried to be honest. That speaks to the kind of people you are.
    Glad you found an aweseome book store – and nerds of the world unite!
    Great post! 🙂

  9. Megan says:

    Ooo, sounds like our bad vacation vibes sort of rubbed off on you. But not really, I mean, you had a weekend getaway with your husband and all. Stinks about Barry and the potato, though.
    Barry and the Potato. Book title maybe?

  10. amanda says:

    oh geez… made me giggle all the way through. that is the true love that we have too, thats a great way to describe it- the ‘i’d rather be a nerd with him than be cool with anyone else’ type of love, too great! i love it! glad to hear it turned out good!!!

  11. Tara says:

    I’m truly impressed at your ability to turn the trip around and have a great time regardless of Barry’s illness.
    So when will your husband be taking you back for the real deal and no illness? 🙂

  12. Vicki says:

    Thaaaaaaat’s about the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time – my heart breaks that your dreams were dashed when you got there, but it just goes to show that attitude is everything – and of course, being with the one you love.
    And yes, Cirque is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on the planet, so I’m glad you didn’t miss out entirely!

  13. Kristen M. says:

    The Bellagio Fountains are my favorite thing in Vegas. Everything else is a bit too much on the trashy side for me including the “costumes” that are worn everyday. (“Everything” might be too broad a statement, I’m sure there are some decent places in Vegas – like the bookstore.) My in-laws live in Vegas which is the only reason I go. One day I do want to see a Cirque du Soleil show.

  14. Annie says:

    We had gone to Vegas once and that was one too many times, IMHO. Both of us really disliked the place. How was CDS? I have seen La Nouba in Orlando and it was amazing. But my SIL was telling me that there is some “tasteful” n*d*ty in the Las Vegas version. Just wondering if that is true.

  15. Holly @ Crownlaiddown says:

    OH, I am SO excited that you go to see that book!! My Chris and I would totally fit right there with yo and your hubs. We are total book nerds. When the flooding happened in Galveston, we were so sad that our favorite old bookstore would be lost. Of course, we do care more about people…but we do like books.
    Sorry you missed seeing and hearing Barry, Shannon!!

  16. Anna says:

    I love how you formatted this… it made it so interesting. And the $85-dollar potato? Hilarious. I’m glad you covered it with the cash you found lying in the casino. Who would have thought?

  17. Elizabeth says:

    My husband was in Vegas last weekend and he said the same things. Everything was crazy expensive and wildly exotic. The people were interesting and scary at the same time.
    About the mystery $95. . .

  18. Kathy says:

    $85 for a potato???!!!??? No wonder the server asked if you wanted it… boost his tip by $10 – $15. Wow. Sounds like you had fun inspite of the bad news part.
    Love the post.

  19. Shannon says:

    $85 potato! Whoa! Suddenly I no longer feel the need to complain to my husband about the cashier that asked if we wanted cheese in our chili and tacked on a $0.40 charge for it.

  20. Janet says:

    Sorry to hear about the baked potato appetizer. I can relate….my kids and I spent $85 in the M & M store on fancy colored M & M’s. My husband almost had a stroke. I have never done anything so stupid. LOL

  21. Rose says:

    This is so crazy it must be true, even you, funny lady that you are ,could not have made this up!! Well, alls well that ends well. At least that what I’ve been told!

  22. Jenny in Ca says:

    Well, we’re nerds, too! Our date night every week concludes at Barnes & Nobles. To shake things up a bit, we might try a different B & N or even Borders…
    I can’t stop thinking about your potato!! I would have picked off the truffles too, ack!!

  23. Kitty says:

    So what was it about the potato that made it so tasty (clearly not the truffles)? Maybe we can re-create it (minus the truffles which I could only afford if I found money lying on the ground – not likely as I am not planning a trip to Las Vegas in the near future).

  24. Carrie says:

    Sorry you didn’t get to see Barry. Your truffle comments made me laugh…I needed that this morning.
    Las Vegas is definitely an interesting place with a plethora of interesting people. Glad you had a nice time with your husband.

  25. Wanda says:

    Wow! Sounds exciting! I’ve never been to LV. Good ole southern baptist girl, ya know?
    But…I hear the shows are amazing!
    Sorry to hear about Barry….but what a ton of other cool stuff you were able to do.
    Congratulations. It really must have been a blast.

  26. Jill says:

    Sounds like you had a great time! I am headed to Vegas this week for the first time with my husband and looking forward to it! So I loved this post, it got me in the traveling mood!

  27. Amy Beth says:

    Loved your post. It made me laugh!
    WOW! $85 potatoes?! I think I am definately in the WRONG business!
    I am so sorry you missed seeing Barry. My dh and I saw him in Cincinnati several years ago for our anniversary. He is a great entertainer.
    Las Vegas sounds interesting. My brother lives there…but I’ve never been.

  28. hogphan says:

    You forgot one other piece of good news. Didn’t you put $10 on the Razorbacks!? (or maybe you didn’t want to admit you PLACED A BET while you were there!!!!

  29. Jamie says:

    That stinks that Barry was sick!!! We were in Vegas overnight, but we arrived at 9 and had 4 little ones with us. We wandered the strip for about 2 hrs before they crashed on us and we only caught a glimpse of the Bellagio fountains as we drove by : (

  30. Lori L. says:

    You know you’re living right when you are magically reimbursed for a pricey potato. Who knows? Maybe Barry will read your post and invite you to his next show. Then you’ll know you’re really living right!

  31. Heidi says:

    I laughed out loud when I read about the cost of the potato! My husband and kids were just in Las Vegas this past summer. We got some gelato for a “snack”. All four of us ordered one (the smallest size)!!! The bill was $56.00! We ate every bite… then proceeded to McDonald’s for dinner!

  32. TracyB says:

    I am so sorry you missed Barry. I wouldn’t step foot into vegas with my fiance, until, one day he brought home Barry tickets! Hopefully I am going soon again.
    What is the bookstore you went to? Next time I go, I would rather spend hours in a bookstore than standing in line at a club! Count me in as a nerd too!

  33. TracyB says:

    another comment: the first time I read the post my eyes saw Photograph, not potato! I couldn’t understand at first why it was unreasonable!

  34. susan says:

    Sounds like all that went wrong was remedied by some rights – and you had a romantic weekend away. Jealous in the best way.
    Now – I wouldn’t knowly pay $85 for potatoes (waiter should have mentioned that) but, I LOVE food accented with truffles. They are less expensive in our neck of the woods and its just past that time where people have been out in the woods looking for them and other fungi. Love the smell and a teeny, tiny bit goes a long way.
    I almost cried when I read you scraped them off your potato – almost.

  35. sarah says:

    I think it’s awesome that the money you found not only paid for that crazy potato, but gave you a little extra leftover! Glad you enjoyed your weekend with your husband, even if it was kind of disappointing.

  36. Mandy says:

    My hubby and I just went to Vegas and saw Cirque do Soliel, KA and loved it. We stayed in the hotel where Barry Manilow performs, funny, I could totally relate to this post! I loved the Good and Bad! Great post.

  37. Alyson says:

    Sounds like you had a great trip, even if you didn’t get to see Barry. I guess you and that $85 potato were meant to be since you found the $95 – that is great!

  38. Tabitha (From Single to Married) says:

    I’m so glad you were able to enjoy your trip even after the disappointment of the canceled show. I can’t believe that the potato was $85!! Wow! You gotta love Vegas! Everybody should see it at least once, if nothing else than to watch the people. 🙂

  39. HisLifeformine says:

    I’m so sorry you missed Barry Manilow. It was such a wonderful gesture of love by your husband and the time spent was precious even without the main attraction. Hey, maybe that made the ‘main attraction’ your husband?

  40. prasti says:

    sorry to hear you didn’t get to see Barry :(. BUT you got to see Cirque de Soleil. how neat (though I’m sure it can’t replace the opportunity to see mr. Manilow).
    sounds like you two had a fantastic time together. how romantic 🙂

  41. Jenni says:

    AN $85 POTATO??? If it had been gilded, it wouldn’t have been worth it. LOL!
    And I am SO SO SORRY that The Man had bronchitis. What a colossal bummer!! I would have consoled myself by the deep abiding certainty that God was preserving me from making a huge fool out of myself, or something. Ya just never know what He was saving you from.

  42. Mary says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry that Barry was sick! I’m not a huge fan myself – only out of nostalgia, because my mom is a big fan. But I can’t believe that a) your husband went to all that trouble, and b) you were unlucky enough to go when he was sick. I’m glad the rest of your trip went well!

  43. kittyhox says:

    My husband and I took a trip to Las Vegas about five years ago (pre kids) and discovered that we, too, are big nerds. Not cool enough for Las Vegas. We saw not one but three or four IMAX movies and went to every animal show in town.
    Sorry about the Barry disappointment. I’ve inserted my own favorite singer (Billy Joel) so that I can truly appreciate your disappointment.
    $85 potatoes! My husband is a chef and I was still shocked. Neat how you got “paid back!” When were in LV my husband’s boss sent us to a restaurant (Aqua) and told us to order that one menu where the chef makes lots of little dishes, on him. I can’t remember the term for that. I almost passed out when I saw the bill was almost $500!!
    Gosh, I’m going on and on. Anyway, I’m glad you had such a special experience and I hope you’ll get to see Barry soon!!

  44. Christine says:

    Amen sister!! Love that you guys had such a great time in Vegas! The last time we were there we went to a Renoir exhibit in the gallery at the Bellagio. If we’d known about the rare bookstore I’m sure we’d have ended up there too!! Vegas is a blast even if you are a big old nerd! Glad you had fun even if you missed out on Barry!

  45. GiBee says:

    WOW! The fountain video was fabulous! Did you add Singing in the Rain, or did they choreograph the fountain to the music? So cool!!
    And, I would consider that $95 a God wink… can you just see Him now, saying, “Shannon, stop worrying about that silly potato … Here. It’s on me! No relax and enjoy your time with your husband!” Yep. It was a God wink.

  46. Maria says:

    I’m glad your time in my city ended up being fun. Those of us who live (and were born here too) here rarely go “down to the strip”, but I must admit the $85 potato made me curious. Sorry you missed Barry, I’ve heard the show is great and I would love to see it myself. Please visit us again!! (and the locals love to stare at the “costumes” around town too ha ha) 🙂

  47. k&c's mom says:

    So many times we have planned that trip and things have gotten in the way.
    You get there and things get in the way.
    Life can be funny like that.
    And like your $85 potato…

  48. Molly says:

    I don’t even know what to say I’m so disappointed for you!!! Missing your Barry!
    Of course he financed your potato. It really was the least he could do.
    I bet your husband was just sick about it, after all the planning and surprising he managed to do. I’m glad you had a good time together though. What a treat!

  49. Lizzie says:

    AWW:( I’m sorry Barry wasn’t able to sing. I read that on Twitter and I was sad for you. (Even though you couldn’t MAKE me go to one of his concerts;))
    Crazy about the potato. My sister talks about truffles. I tell her must be nice to be rich;) lol

  50. Lori says:

    What a memorable trip! My heart soared with jealously when you said you were going to MEET BARRY (!!!!) and fell when you said he was sick. I feel for you, girl! (And I just coincidentally blogged about Barry – sorta – today too!) Way to look for the blessings along the way, and thanks for sharing!

  51. Shalee says:

    Oh, I’m sorry about missing Barry, but good for you for taking it in stride!
    And seriously, I would have gazed at that first edition P&P for as long as Mr. Right would let me stand in that store.
    I would be a total nerd with you.

  52. Chelsea says:

    I’m still in shock about the $85 potato, and the less-than-forthright server who neglected to mention the price. But I love even more that God, who does care about the small stuff, gave you that $85 back PLUS tip. What a great story!

  53. Jenny says:

    Oh no! I am so sorry the concert never was!!! Bummer! I was there the 19th-23rd for vacation. Quite a city! I found 5.00 laying on the ground! Can you tell us the location and name of the bookstore? I would like to visit if/when I go back!

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