Monday, July 25, 2011

If a home sells in Henderson, does anyone notice it?

Mrs. Hall furrowed her brow and studied the listings for Henderson, NV. "The prices are still unbelievable in this area. It's not as close as I would have liked, but the neighborhood is clean and neat. Are you game?" Mr. Hall finished tying his new two-toned oxfords and stood up. "Let's fire up the engines."
The poor little rental had but a measly 2000 miles on it when the Halls picked it up in Seattle, WA; it could be reasonably argued that the engine was scarcely broken in. Such was not the case by now- the odometer was still smoking from the previous day's run when Mr. Hall pulled it under the hotel canopy. Mrs. Hall emerged, ipad, map and charging cables in hand, ready to navigate.
"Apparently Del Webb owns the entire southwest side of Henderson," muttered Mrs. H. The area was as scrubbed clean as Disneyland- there wasn't a flower or a stone fence out of place. The streets were eerily quiet. Though there were a number of gated communities, several were not, affording the Halls an opportunity to view several listings up close. "I like it," started Mr. Hall. "Looks safe and neat." "I think it looks like something out of 'The Stepford Wives.' " confided Mrs. Hall. "Besides, I'd really like to be closer to town. A little edginess sort of appeals to me." It was clear they were separated by some difference of opinion. "Wait a minute- what's that?" he said. Pulled up in front of one of the sale properties was a silver pickup towing a trailer. On the trailer was a massive bright gold figure of Buddha. "Wow. Is that moving in or out?" wondered Mr. Hall aloud. "If it's moving in, there may be some hope for this place yet!" laughed Mrs. H.
Stopping at a local shopping center, they checked out the nearby services, broke for lunch and reevaluated their choices. "What do you want to do?" asked Mrs. Hall. "I want to ride the monorails and hit the slots. What do you want to do?" sighed Mr. Hall "I want to shop for that white dress I need for the big meeting in Oriskany. Wanna forget houses for now and just play?" He nodded gleefully and radioed in a request for flight deviation. A short hour later, they were boarding the monorail.
Walking through the shops, they encountered several wedding parties. Mrs. Hall recalled reading that approximately 315 weddings a day take place in Las Vegas. While some of the wedding parties were clearly less formal than others, there was no doubt, a wedding in Vegas would be a memorable one.
Clinking their glasses together at the cafe overlooking the garden at the Bellagio, they considered how much had changed in the two years since their last visit. Vegas was jammed, even in the off-season, but apparently still not immune to the effects of the recent Great Recession. On the face of things, the Bellagio looked the same, but looking closely one could see that the old casino was somewhat toned down; the little extras that one came to expect were more pedestrian compared to before. The waitstaff there seemed almost petulant.
The only exception was the Wynn, which seemed even more luxurious than ever. Mrs. Hall wiled away the time betting the ponies at Arlington Park in the sport book arena. (Betting hunch bets is always a risky business, and even though she would have dearly loved to win with $2 down on Homeboykris to Show, the horse sat down and took a nap somewhere around the first turn.) Mr. Hall made a killing on the slots in the afternoon and he sprang for her white dress at the fashion mall across the street.
The Halls could feel themselves falling under the spell of the town. "I love it out here," sighed Mr. Hall and Mrs. Hall had to agree. The weather was gorgeous, the shopping phenomenal and the atmosphere electric. They watched the dancing fountains from the rental as they sat caught in traffic one evening. They leaned over the railing at the Palazzo to watch the boiling volcanoes spewing "lava" in front of the Mirage while strolling the strip.
On their last evening in Vegas, Mrs. Hall confessed that it had been nearly 20 years since she'd had a lobster dinner. Mr. Hall vowed to remedy that immediately. They chose a quiet little steakhouse in the Forum Shops (to accommodate Mr. Hall's palate as well) and for a few very enjoyable hours savored their last meal in town.
Early the next morning, they returned the little rental- fairly dusty and 2500 miles older- to the airport and flew off. Mrs. Hall fell asleep smiling, lost in a reflective fog, as they flew over the jewel of the desert. Mr. Hall leaned back as far as was possible in the crowded quarters of the airplane, and managed to develop a cramp. "I hate flying commercial," he grumbled. Past pilots can be a trial to fly with on a good day, and corporate ones can be the worst.
The airline was late getting into O'Hare and the Halls missed their connecting flight. The editors of the Monitor, being cognizant of the sensibilities of the Gentle Reader, have opted not to repeat Mr. Hall's commentary on the state of the airline industry at this time, but it's safe to say he offered not only a toasty editorial, but some fairly ripe suggestions for the CEOs as well.

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