We officially settled into the condo when the cable guy arrived on Tuesday morning to set everything up. He was a chatty young guy in his 20s, an immigrant from Serbia, who know his European history in addition to his Eastern European professional basketball players. He hinted that China and Russia might go to war in the next decade, a scenario I had been contemplating for years. I told him we'd never let that happen because we need China to built us all of our stuff -- and Americans love stuff.
Speaking of stuff, Nicky and I packed super light because for $100 we could hit up the local chain retail mart and stock up our apartment. We rented a furnished two bedroom condo in a quiet part of Las Vegas far away from the Strip. The condo came with three couches, but no dining room table. I needed a desk as a main base of operations for the summer. We opted for a card table after we found four folding chairs in the closet that the owner had for some random reason. And yes, we have three closets, two of which are walk-ins and the size of some tiny NYC studios.
We have a balcony, which is only good when the weather is cooperative. The recent high winds have cooled off the city and we're welcoming the breezes before the transformation into triple digit Hades-like temperatures. On the down side, all the wind is kicking up tons of pollen and other gunk that attack my sinuses.
I'm taking notes on our neighbors... not to spy on them for Big Brother, rather for my own documentation. Since Vegas is a 24-hour city, people are coming and going at all hours, and it's been tough to get a read on everyone. I've been awake at different times, so I'm slowly figuring out who are my neighbors. There seems to be a 12 year old girl living upstairs. She bounces around a lot and I wonder if she's rocking out to MTV or if her Ritalin is just kicking in. I've only seen her mother once, which means she's a "latch key" kid. A couple of kids from adjacent condos come over to play - which is essentially them running up and down the stairs.
The corner condo is where the potential sketchiness goes down. Every day, there's a guy who just walks around in the street in front of the condos. He's talking nonstop on his cellphone and walks back and forth and circles adjacent buildings. Drug dealing? Human trafficking? I've never seen him without his cellphone. I assume that his roommate is another dude with a dog who shits on the little bit of grass in front of our condo. He cleans it up, and I'm always tempted to say something, but it's often best to gain more information on a potential nemesis/bad neighbor before I stir up the pot.
The other morning, Nicky and I heard a middle eastern guy screaming at the top of his lungs as he walked across the parking lot. He was on his cell phone and it sounded like he was talking to an IT guy about someone fucking something up and how he has to clean up everyone's bullshit work on his day off. The next thing I heard -- his car door slammed, his engine revved, and he pealed out of the complex.
Compared to the Redneck Riviera, our new condo is ritzy. We're considering buying a unit since there are dozens of cheap foreclosed properties in our complex. Nicky and I haven't come up with a nickname for it like we have for our summer digs in previous years.
Everyone knows (detailed in Lost Vegas) that I lived at a short-term rental/motel called the Redneck Riviera during my first summer in Vegas. My second summer in 2006 was spent in Henderson. I had been living with Grubby for a few months prior in a similar cookie cutter condo, expect our current walls are painted in a more chic Southwestern New Mexico motif instead of the standard eggshell white in Grubby's condo.
My third summer was spent at Del Bocca Vista, a gated complex less than five minutes from the Rio. Nicky and I both worked the most we had ever worked in the summer of 2007 and I dunno how we would have survived without living in something so close by. We considered renting a condo in the same complex last year, but the security and safety of the Del Bocca Vista had dramatically decreased since we moved out.
The fourth summer might have been our best accommodations... Scheckytown. Thanks to John Caldwell, he put up Nicky and I up at his fatty four bedroom house in Summerlin. We were also living with a pregnant Jen Leo at the time, which meant the pantry was constantly stocked with munchies and other food stuffs. We had a pool, hot tub, Wii, and they also set me up with a desk. I often wrote outside at night by the pool. I cranked out some of my best material (out of all my WSOPs) in the summer of 2008 -- much to the credit of the comfortable surroundings.
Last summer was a clusterfuck. Our digs at a faux-NYC loft south of the Strip was a headache from the get go. Security was super tight and I felt like a prisoner trying to get in and out. They always pestered us when we tried to go through the front gate. Plus, a lot of Nicky's co-workers (without cars) lived in the same complex, which meant that Nicky got stuck shuttling around her co-workers (at her own expense and generosity). All hell broke loose when the AC went out the day I came back from Phish tour. We were forced to live in two different hotels the rest of the summer. I spent the last two weeks of the WSOP inside the Gold Coast casino. In order to let Nicky sleep in peace, I often wrote inside the bathroom. I had no choice but to adapt to my surroundings.
That's why I vowed that we'd do a much better job with summer accommodations. No more writing while sitting on the edge of a toilet. I firmly believe that a positive creative environment leads to better work, and so far, our condo has been nothing but positive. In a short time, I've already cranked out a couple of quality posts...