Story of the Month: Search for a Slush Puppie

StoryoftheMonth

I mentioned in a previous post I attended a conference in Las Vegas last month.

While most guys my age would be excited to see the sites, do some gambling, maybe take in a show or take part in some kind of illicit activity I had only one goal in Las Vegas: Get a Slush Puppie.

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I lived in Las Vegas 1985-1986.  One of my most vivid memories is walking back from the air show at Nellis Air Force base, stopping at the local 7-11 and getting a Slush Puppie.

I live in the south east now and we have Icees.  Everywhere are Icees.  They’re good…but they’re no Slush Puppie.  Slush Puppies are icy, thick, crunchy…all the greatest aspects of an iced fruit dessert.  They live somewhere in between Sno-Cones and Sonic Slushes.  But with a flavor that is all their own.  I haven’t had one since the 80s…and I wanted one.  Specifically cherry.  I remembered RED Slush Puppie.

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The Bellagio…they had no Slush Puppies…

I stayed at the Bellagio and searched Google maps for a 7-11.  I found one on Koval lane and walked from Las Vegas Avenue, down Flamingo, to Koval.  I discovered a couple things quickly.

First, Las Vegas is an awful city to walk around in.  You can’t cross at every intersection.  The sidewalks go up and over the streets in many places which sounds like a good idea, except a lot of the time they send you back the way you came or (cleverly) back through a hotel.

Second, the gloss of Las Vegas Avenue wears off about a block after the hotels.  it gets very suburban commercial very quickly.

Third, though this may have just been new to me, the HUGE building that says it keeps books is not in fact a book store.  Turns out it’s a bookie’s.  Again that last one may have just been me.

So on I walked to Koval and, to my horror, discovered the 7-11 had a slushee machine!  Thwarted I walked back down Koval, the Am-Pm had an Icee Machine, as did the Shell station.  So I went back to Las Vegas Avenue.

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Caesars Palace…sans Slush Puppies.

Walking back up LVA, I found that every convenience store had some kind of drink fountain.  I proceeded past Caesars and then walked back down toward New York, New York, stopping in two Walgreens and a CVS.  Two had Icee machines one had a generic iced beverage fountain.

I was on my own walking around in search of a Slush Puppie for around three and a half hours…to no avail.

The next night a friend and co-worker of ours who lives in the area took us to Old Vegas.  I actually loved Fremont Street far more than the glitz of New Vegas, but still was desperate to find a Slush Puppie.  We stopped at Container Park and a couple of souvenir shops in Old Vegas…again all of them had drink fountains…none had a Slush Puppie.

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Circus Circus taken from the car as we drove by…they don’t have Slush Puppies there…

On the way back I saw Circus Circus, the only casino I visited in Vegas when I lived here in the 80s. It was good to see the big creepy clown again…but the lack of Slush Puppies made the trip far less successful than I’d hoped.  Bereft of Slush Puppies I returned to Nashville.

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Old Vegas Casinos…which don’t serve Slush Puppies.

After returning home my boss, who had to hear my various schemes to get a frozen dessert surprised me at work with a bag.  In the bag were ten little pouches…each pouch had a Slush Puppie I could put int he freezer and have whenever I wanted.

Turns out the Slush Puppie I looked all over Vegas for was available at home, in the stores.  Not quite the same (I’d kill for one from a fountain machine!) but after cracking one open I soon found I was also after the wrong puppie!  I remembered strawberry.

It goes to show you…you may go thousands of miles in search of something…and find that maybe what you wanted was a lot closer to home than you thought.

Treat Yourself: Take a Mini Vacation

Little fact: In 2011, CNNMoney reported Americans forfeit around $34 billion in vacation days per year. That is the total amount of money from unused vacation days. Ouch.

This statistic and recent planning inspired me to write about the importance of taking a break. This weekend I took my son to Kentucky for our annual mini mom/son vacation. Yes, work will be a little crazy when I return. Yes, it cost a little money. And yes, it was totally worth it.

The sunset and beach in Panama City, FLWhy Should You Take a Mini Vacation?

We all need a break, especially if you have a physically demanding job or sit at a desk all day. Our bodies get stiff, and our minds run 100 mph to keep up with our schedules. I am not suggesting a vacation with crammed schedules full of things to do. I’m talking about a vacation with fun activities and relaxation – think hot tub, beach, a hike or run, ziplining, or a quite dinner and drinks. And I strongly urge you to turn off your phone. Gasp!

Relax and Recharge: There are a number of sources that argue the mental and physical benefits of vacationing. Getting away allows us to have fun and relax, and we tend to sleep better. When we pack up and drive off, we break the monotony of everyday life and free ourselves – even if only for a couple of days. These trips are especially important for kids because they sit in class all day and deal with being kids. If you remember being one, it kind of sucked.

Make Memories: It’s a dismal thought, but do we begin dying the moment we’re born? It’s an interesting argument, and if so, we don’t have a lot of time to make memories and do everything we want. My son loves our mini vacations and will always remember his parents taking him to nearby attractions and cities, good restaurants, and spending quality time with him. I hope he will do the same with his family and friends.

Reflection and Connectivity: In our family, our mini vacations are times when one parent travels with our son. Last year, my husband and son went to their first NBA game in Memphis. This year, I took our son to one of the scariest places on Earth. Our little vacations are a time to grow closer, talk about anything, and try new things and foods. It’s all about spending time together or even traveling on your own. Taking a break can also jump-start creativity and inspire you to work harder.

We stay distracted and busy all the time, so it’s time we shut down like we do our computers and cellphones. Money and time are often factors, so here are some resources that may help:

51 Mini Family Vacations from Parenting.com

Inexpensive Mini Vacations from Easy Money Tips

The Mini Vacation from Travel+Leisure

It’s also a cool idea to vacation in your own city or take a day trip. We often overlook nice hotels and popular attractions that are in our own backyard.

If you’ve taken a cool mini vacation, feel free to tell us about it in the comments below!