I didn't go to Vegas this year, again. Last year I had the shiny new job and deadlines so I didn't go. This year, I had the same job and the same deadlines and still didn't go.
The socially accepted reason is that leaving the parents alone is not a good idea. While the kids did a great job during the last adventure, it's not fair to expect that from them. Also, the Niece is in Arizona right now. So, that is a very valid reason to stay behind. The other is that there isn't anyone to stay with the puppy right now. Being a shelter dog, she doesn't like it much when her humans go away.
The real reason is I cannot. CANNOT. No, really I can't, travel with the brother-in-law. At this point in life, it is difficult to be in the same room with him; let alone being on a trip.
*Pause* (perfect example forthcoming)
Just now, I got a text from the sister-in-law looking for the name of the Japanese restaurant that we go to while down there. It's a local place, not on the strip. I am assuming that the google doesn't work down there. Because you know what's super fun? Making plans for people who are on a trip that YOU AREN'T ON. And, they've been there about seven times now so How in the Name of Dora the Explorer do you not know this information by now.
Of course Kevin can't say "Well, Surely isn't going because she hates traveling with you." And, the b-i-l already knows I don't like him so the fact that he is PUZZLED that I didn't want to go on this trip makes me want to kick bunnies.
One of Kevin's best friends is traveling with them on this trip. On the second day there he told Kevin "Dude doesn't trust street signs or nav." I KNOW, RIGHT!?!?! He questions everything and he is right and you are wrong. Street signs are wrong. I'm here to tell you: He is Never Right. The last time I went, he nearly caused a traffic accident because he was certain that Kevin was turning the wrong way and shouted over me who was giving directions, from my nav, while Not yelling. Our friend Mike doesn't suffer fools at all. He makes me look like Gandhi. Fortunately, he goes on this trip also so there is another buffer. I love when he is with us because he renders the b-i-l powerless. We have perfected eye contact high fives over the years. Meaning: it's not just me that has this issue.
Kevin just phoned, equally as frustrated as me, to say that the restaurant is on a different street than before and this apparently caused a systems meltdown. I double-checked and it's the same restaurant but hold onto your socks: In a DIFFERENT location!!! Inconceivable. What is happening!?!
Meanwhile, Kevin is at the racetrack with his friends and his brother stayed at the hotel today. Let's see...who has time and resources to solve this problem...thinking, hmmm...it's a puzzler, oh! I know! the person who isn't on the trip and four states away. I suggested to Kevin that he tell his brother to pack sand, which is actually pretty regular for us.
The b-i-l is the kind of guy who is curt to the wait staff then is puzzled when his food isn't exact or he's served last. He orders steak at a pizza joint and complains that it isn't good. (It's a G.D. pizza joint. "but it's on the menu", is his logic.) They left 45 minutes earlier than the two-hours already planned because he was worried about traveling. They left at 2:45 in the morning because it was easier than to argue with him.
Last weekend the brother in law was sick with the MAN COLD thus was completely disabled, as often happens with the sniffles. Everyone knows that. Then the sister-in-law got it the day before the trip and instead of postponing, she decided to fly on an airplane. While I wondered about exploding sinuses, a friend wondered about spreading her cold throughout an airplane. But this is the same person who needed a cane to walk but left it behind because it "was inconvenient on the airplane." You know because it was super convenient for me to go buy one the next day.
Tell me, why wouldn't I want to sign up for that? it sounds like so much fun! These are just a few examples and I can go on for DAYS with more. It's a constant stream of stuff like that. Here is a quick list, I can't help but share because it's comedic level nonsense:
I drive when we're there and the s-i-l wants to valet the car. Okay, great. But all the tips shouldn't be my responsibility. She eyerolls that I'm overly-solicitous to the valets, waitstaff, etc. She walks really slow, like people are annoyed slow. She alternately laughs and/or scorns homeless people. (I stopped that when I quietly said "It must be hell to live like that. Imagine what landed them there in the first place.") She likes to gamble all day and I would rather eat my hair. She likes to shop and see: eating my hair.
They are a dream team. No one can ever be as tired or as sore or as anything as they are. The amount of heavy sighs and groans are like traveling with unmedicated old people. Oh, and I missed that she now has ptsd from her car accident. (from four years ago) She now gasps and clings with every bump, stop, turn, movement that happens while in a car. Dude, I'm so bummed I missed that!
But back to the b-i-l. His codependency on his brother is a psychologist's dream. It is the worst kept secret amongst our friends.
I mean if Kevin goes to the bathroom to wash his hands, there goes the brother. If Kevin buys a t-shirt, he has to buy one too. (this makes packing for a trip fun. I call it "Which shirts won't make you twinsies with your brother.") If Kevin makes a joke or uses a catchphrase, his brother immediately adopts it as if he invented it. He'll tell Kevin's stories like he was the one or was there when he wasn't. If someone takes Kevin's attention away, there is pouting or interference. (once he thrust his cell phone between the two of us when we were in the process of HUGGING.)
You might be wondering about Kevin's role in this. He really is between a rock and a hard place. He was raised to coddle his brother because "That's just him" The fact that "That's just him" is part of the reason "That's just him" is completely lost on the family. We've been together 28 years and it has been A Thing the whole time. If I think about it too much, I get angry that they would mantle Kevin with that kind of pressure and responsibility.
Essentially Kevin is like a battered spouse when it comes to his brother. He HATES this analogy, and I get that. It's taken me years to make that connection. If he rebels, there are consequences. (Pouting, yelling, silence.) If he goes along, then it upsets me. If I do participate, then I have to squelch everything I am because hims feels gets hurt/offended by most of anything I say or do. If I withdraw then the b-i-l wonders why I'm not participating.
Reminder: he knows on a cellular level that I don't like him. There have been epic arguments about it. (none including me though because also: a coward.)
Kevin explained that I wouldn't enjoy the trip because he would be gone for 75% of the time. "But it's still a vacation" the brother-in-law states. This is the awareness he possesses. In a marriage, a vacation isn't an activity where your spouse isn't with you, you moron. But it would never occur to him to do something his wife likes or wants. Wouldn't even be a blip on his radar, thus the complete bewilderment when Kevin wants to spend time with his wife.
And, pulling the psychology hat on a little tighter: he is so codependent upon his brother that he WOULD do something that he doesn't want to do because his need to be with his brother overrides the unpleasantness of whatever it would be that he didn't want to do. He doesn't want to be at the track 24/7 at all but because Kevin does, there he is. He's been asked why and he gets defensive. "I am having a good time!" he invariably non-convincingly snaps. If I could post any photograph taken while they are there, you would see that indeed, a good time is not being had.
Again, we can't say "It's not a vacation when you're spending it with people you don't like." Because people are sensitive. hahahaha...sigh... I'm Sisyphus pushing to the rock up the mountain in this situation. "She can't go because there are responsibilities...But she could...She can't go because she doesn't want to...But why wouldn't she...She'd rather have a pelvic exam... Wait, what?"
If they didn't go, I would go and spend some time at the track with our friends and the rest of the time sleeping in and doing stuff I want to do alone. (which is my heaven, frankly) So, maybe next year I'll figure something else out, like leaving early or traveling separately.
But I just remembered that I did do that the last time we went. We were scheduled to fly out alone, have one day alone, then everyone else would join us. And they CHANGED THEIR PLANS. Kevin hasn't seen me so mad, like, ever. Their reaction was feigned regret and uncomfortableness. "No, you go ahead and do your thing...we'll figure something out..."
So that's why I'm Not Going.
And guess what? They found the restaurant. And there's a photograph and he looks miserable.