For those who’ve read Where’s My Wand, you may remember that Christmas at the Poole home was a cavalcade of gifts, as if The Price is Right showroom had exploded in our basement. As such, I wanted to create a memorable trip for my parents as a nod to the dozens of Christmases at which they had so diligently pulled out all the suburban stops.

I got them a suite at one of my favorite hotels, a super modern non-gaming property where the lighting is so dim and glamorous and the signage so discreet that you generally have no idea where the hell you are. Guests walk around with a determinedly blasé attitude, which tends to crumble a bit by the third time you pass each other in search of the elevator banks or the doors to the valet parking. But the rooms are super tasteful and the view from the ultra lounge on the 64th floor is breathtaking – the strip is laid out before you like a giant Monopoly board of candy-colored skyscrapers. They even have an outdoor patio where the non-acrophobic can show off by draping themselves nonchalantly across sofas as the wind blows a $17 martini out of their hands.

I also bought them tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show, Ka (my favorite show in Vegas), a wildly inventive show about war and separation and the price of love, or something like that. I’m never quite sure what is happening in Cirque shows, but when the stage goes vertical and warriors continue to battle on it, dissecting the storyline seems to take something of a back seat.

And I made reservations for a winery tour – yes, Virginia, there is a winery – and several semi-glam meals at which the six of us would toast the Immaculate Conception, the Three Wise Men and the Four Aces my mother-in-law was hoping to score on a video poker machine.

Mind you, I have about $1.98 to my name. This stuff was only possible because Vegas is still hurting, deals abound, and I actually enjoy scaring that stuff up online as I sit watching Modern Family or Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class: Dina Lohan.

I did all this to make a memorable trip for my parents. Really. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. After all, they have been ridiculously (and often imprudently) supportive of me my whole life. Whatever concerns they might have had about my sundry stupid life choices, they charitably kept to themselves.

Oh, sure, I suppose it could also have been a bid to gloss over any strained moments that might arise. After all, this was a meeting of the Mexican and Midwest mafias. And my book was sure to come up.

But that’s just silly. Right?

(More to come…)