I mentioned that last week started a whirlwind of traveling for us. We went down to KC on Thursday and came back Friday. Rich and I were home about 4 hours before we headed to the airport to take off for Las Vegas. We left Lily alone with the dog as we would be gone less than 48 hours and she is 16.5 years old…and pretty responsible. There were supposed to be some storms on Friday night, but by the time we left, the local weatherman had cancelled the alert day and said it would track south of the area and it was weakening. We felt pretty comfortable in that we would be back in the early afternoon of Sunday.
In Feb 2020, for my birthday, Rich got me tickets to go see a UFC event in Lincoln in March. I was pretty sick at the time from the chemo and COVID cancelled the event anyhow. We didn’t get our money back but got a credit. Fastforward a year and we needed to use our credit or lose it. Rich shelled out some extra money and we got tickets for the first open UFC PPV fights in Vegas which were open to the public. This happened to be a huge card….with Conor McGregor fighting Dustin Poirier for a trilogy thriller. UFC 264 was the place to be on Saturday night if you were in Las Vegas….unless of course you were at the Bruno Mars concert or the Garth Brooks concert. So there were 3 big events going on after Vegas had just reopened with live shows and everything. Unfortunately, the state is still paying unemployment to people like taxi drivers. Only 30% of them were working as the others chose to collect $900/week to sit at home. Las Vegas, which is a place that thrives on customer service, was having issues everywhere we turned – hotel service, taxis, food service…everywhere. It was 117 degrees on Saturday….and cooled to 110 as the sun set and we waited in line with hundreds of others to catch rides back to our hotels. 117 degrees….it is a dry heat, I will give you that. But so is an oven or a hairdryer on high heat. It is still hot. We did spend some time in the pool. We stayed at Trump Plaza. The rooms were awesome. The pool felt like bath water but was somewhat refreshing because it was wet. We did a lot of walking….a LOT of people watching….(there is no other place to people watch than Las Vegas on a busy weekend). The fights were amazing. Rich and I had 7th row seats so had a pretty good view of the octagon. For the prelims and the first few main card fights, we sat even closer as the ultra rich folks didn’t come until later. (I don’t understand that at all.) We got there 30 minutes before the fights began so I could walk right up close to the octagon and see the commentators getting ready to broadcast. Little known fact…Bruce Buffer (the announcer on the microphone from the octagon) dances a lot to the walk in music. He also does a series of stretches in the octagon before the first fight. It was pretty neat to see things live and behind the scenes. I did miss being able to hear the commentators but my son, Tim, was filling me in on the main stuff I might have been missing. I have been a UFC fan forever…Tim and I rarely miss watching the fights and listening to MMA podcasts during the week. There were quite a few famous people there watching. President Trump was one of them. Paul Pierce (aka “The Truth”) from the Celtics was there. He is retired now but was one of the Big Three back when the Celtics were great a few years back. We are big fans. He took photos with us. The owners of the Raiders and Patriots football franchises were there as well as some other fighters and Hollywood celebs. This was a bucket list item for me that Rich has helped me check off. On to the next bucket list item….which happens in the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile back in Omaha…..the weatherman was mistaken. Storms hit Omaha HARD on Friday night. Thunder, lightning, rain, and most of all wind, just blew up the area. By 11:30 p.m. on Friday, the power was out at our house. I was in contact with Lily and all was good. We figured it would be fixed in the morning, no big deal. She did mention the trees looked like they were bending in half. We would find out later that the winds gusted up to 78 miles an hour in Omaha and 96 mph at the Eppley (our airport in Omaha) which tied as the strongest wind gusts ever. These were not spinning wind, but straight winds, which can do a real number to trees. As Saturday wore on and there was still no sign of power being restored, we called our good friends, Ed and Wanda down in Bellevue to help out Lily. They had to wait a few hours to get to her as a second round of storms swept through. They were kind enough to take Lily and Tallinn to their home for about 24 hours until we could get back into town to get them. They also set up our generator (this is not our first rodeo with no power in this house) to plug in our fridge so we wouldn’t lose all our food. What awesome friends! They are like family to us…especially our kids. They are known as Miss Wanda and Mr. Ed to all three kids and they have known them for 14 years….Their son is Joe’s best friend. We are so blessed to have them in our lives and even more so when we needed someone to take in Lily during this freak storm. Fastforward again to today, Monday. We finally got our power back midday. In the beginning, there were nearly 190,000 without power. It is dwindled down to about 20,000 at this point. The amount of damage this did to the trees in the area is amazing. There were 6 tree limb dumping sites opened almost immediately. Two were closed today because they were full. Those were the ones nearest us. We are in an older part of Omaha with 50-75 year old mature trees. Our store had to be closed on Saturday because of a lack of power as well. Lily is coming with us this next trip! We want to thank the hard work of OPPD and the electrical line workers who came up from Missouri and were working in our neighborhood around the clock the last two days helping to get power restored. These guys rock!