Living Quietly in Sin City

Despite the provocative slogans and the recent tragedy, it is possible to live quietly in a place where you can gamble in a grocery store. Oddly, I’ve never seen anyone in that little room full of slot machines tucked next to the produce except for a security guard who probably checks IDs.

Las Vegas has a certain well-cultivated reputation designed to bring in visitors for weekend escapes. Who hasn’t heard the slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?” Or my favorite, “Just the right amount of wrong.”

Surrounding the high-rise themed hotels, headliner shows, glittering signs that light up the sky for miles and miles are homes on quiet, tree-lined streets with neighborhood parks, neighborhood shopping centers, neighborhood schools and an array of restaurants.

Eyebrows shoot up when we tell people we’re living in Las Vegas. It wasn’t planned, but life has a way of working things out. We’re cruisers and “the plan” was to live on our boat for spring and summer and into fall. To do that, we needed a land base. We’d promised our house in Sonoma to our daughter’s family until our grandson graduated from high school. Las Vegas was a good choice—warm in the winter, inexpensive housing, and lots of amenities.

The plan first went awry when Capt. Mark decided to have the boat painted. We packed the car, headed for Washington to get on the boat, but it wasn’t ready. We took our time, saw plays, visited family, took sightseeing side trips and back roads. When we got to Seattle, it still wasn’t ready. We left the car at the airport and flew back.

Wise decision. Two weeks later Capt. Mark had a stroke. The boat’s still in Washington (the car is here, thanks to our son), and we’re still in Las Vegas.

I miss cruising and I miss our wine country home in Northern California. But I’ll tell you what I like about living in Las Vegas. If you’re going to have a medical emergency, this is the place to be. Capt. Mark was taken to a hospital certified as a stroke center. He recuperated in a rehabilitation hospital that provided four hours of therapy every day. He came home and had a choice of twenty Home Health firms to continue his therapy. Now he’s back to outpatient therapy in a facility designed to fine-tune his walking and strengthen his weak arm.

Last week we discovered the main library, a facility a half a block long with more family amenities than I can describe here. It is going to be our favorite place. In addition to the main library, there are thirteen branch libraries and eleven more in outlying areas.

My first hint that Las Vegas actually catered to families was when I saw school buses picking up children inside gated communities, practically at their front doors.

Maybe Las Vegas is not so sinful after all.

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