Green Valley Ranch, Henderson, Nevada check in...

Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Henderson Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas, to our vacation rental in Green Valley Ranch, a newer community with massive amounts of stores, restaurants, gated communities and a  mere sprinkling of casinos. 

It doesn't feel like Las Vegas with its slot machines in every gas station or public building.  Instead it feels welcoming, safe, and low on tourists.

Entering the single family home for the eight days we reserved over Tom's birthday and Christmas, we knew immediately that we were "home."  A fresh smell wafted through the air (love that word!), welcoming us as we maneuvered through the door arms laden with "stuff."

Unloading my arms onto the living room floor, I ran about from room to room squealing with delight.  Each room had its own surprise to behold. 

From the stack of perfectly folded crisp white towels and washcloths in each of three bedrooms, two baths and an ample linen closet, to the full size bars of new soaps atop each stack, no stone was left unturned.  

The kitchen, fully stocked with every amenities, had a "working" ice machine, ground coffee, cream, some basic ingredients along with every small appliance we could possibly use.  Three flat screen TVs, a pool table, stereo and old fashioned boxed games were available for our entertainment.

The pool, although not heated and an extra $100 a day to heat (its too cold here now in the 30"s!) has a free-use hot tub (forgot my suit) in it well equipped yard with high top table, chairs, and a huge newer grill.  Too bad its not 90 degrees!

The rent for the eight days, although much more than we'll pay outside the US for most houses, was fair at $1500 which included a $250 cleaning deposit which we expect to get back.  We did the math.  Most likely we would have paid $165 a night for a hotel (including taxes) during the holidays, plus tips, valet parking, plus all meals in a restaurants and how much lost with easy access to gambling.  Surely we would have spent at least $400 a day for a estimate of $3200.

Staying in this lovely home, cooking for Tom's party, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day including our guests, our grocery and dining out budget is $1050, leaving us with a total of $2300 saving us $900 or more depending on how much we'd have lost gambling (we don't usually gamble but when its at hand, its hard to resist). 

This is the first Christmas in my adult life that I won't be shopping in a frenzy, wrapping gifts with elaborate hand made bows,, baking a wide array of delectable cookies and of course, decorating every corner of the house. In a odd way, it's liberating.  We'll miss family back in Minnesota and we'll revel in family and friends here in Nevada.  Life is filled with trade-offs.

Soon, we'll head to our two dentist appointments for our final cleanings, then off to the travel clinic for Tom's final Twinrix vaccine.  Then, to the grocery store for the ingredients for the lesser amount of baking I'll do this year. 

It won't be gluten free, low carb, sugar free, grain free, starch free.  It will be delicious, fattening, gooey, filling up this lovely home with smells that remind us of "home."  I won't take a taste.  Tom will take off a few days for this special time, his 60th birthday and some of his favorite treats.

Humm.  There's no rolling pin.  What shall I use in its place?

P.S.  After writing the above this morning then rushing out the door to the dentist's office, I had yet to post it.  Upon returning a few minutes ago, it was imperative that I amend it.  We just had the most amazing dental appointment in our lives, a referral from son Richard at Dr.Patrick Simone's office in Henderson, Nevada.

Walking into his plush well appointed office put me, a dental phobic, instantly at ease.  From the elegant upscale furnishings to the artwork to the well-equipped beverage bar and, the service, impeccable!  Even the restroom was a sight to behold with every imaginable accoutrement. 

It almost felt as if we should tip not only the receptionist but also Terry, the knowledgeable, personable and thoughtful hygienist.  Instead of the usual hand performed cleaning, scraping away at our gums and teeth, Terry used a laser implement as an adjunct to the traditional cleaning.  She used before and after photos that were shocking. 

After the cleaning she performed what she referred to as "sand blasting" the surface of our teeth with a high powered baking soda spray.  The taste was awful.  The result, mind blowing.  My teeth haven't been this white since I was a toddler.  We couldn't be happier. 

As we paid our reasonable bill of $226 (for both of us), they thanked us profusely handing us a giant apple pie!  Who gets an apple pie from the dentist?  I was thrilled with the bag of dental supplies Terry loaded up for our travel.  And then, this giant pie.  Wow! 

Need I say that we were impressed?  If you live near or around Henderson, or are visiting Las Vegas and a dental situation arises, Dr. Simone's office is the place to call.

Gee....for the eight days we're are here in Henderson over the holidays, this does feel like home...minus the grandkids, the grown kids, the friends, the beautifully decorated tree, the elegantly wrapped gifts, the over sized glass jars filled with home baked cookies, the Santa Bears adorning every corner and on and on.

Life will be different going forward.  Good but, different.

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