I recently returned from Las Vegas. Let me tell you about it.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love Britney Spears, I always have. She’s was one of very few remaining stops on my concert bucket list, but I didn’t ever hold my breath waiting for her to come to Nova Scotia. Since I’m a seat snob and have to be in the front row for concerts and baseball games, I wouldn’t be happy seeing a show at the Bell Centre or anywhere like that, so I just assumed it wasn’t in the cards for Britney and me.

Let it never be said that my husband doesn’t know his way around a birthday present; imagine my surprise to find out a few months ago that he had booked a trip for us to visit Las Vegas, where Britney was scheduled to start her new residency the middle of February. He had planned everything himself as a 40th birthday present for me. What a guy.

Flights were booked, a hotel on the strip was reserved, and I had in my modest, Cape Breton grip two front-row tickets to a February 25 date with the legendary Ms. Britney Spears.

So of course she would cancel her Las Vegas residency. Of course she would.

C’est la vie.

Anyhow, we were left to decide if we wanted to cancel, postpone, or go elsewhere. It will come as a surprise to a total of zero people that the moment the concept of “go elsewhere” was floated, I was furiously Google-ing the Blue Jays’ schedule. Unfortunately for me, the September three-game series in Baltimore that I had planned in my head within five minutes of Britney cancelling, was quickly vetoed by my travel partner, much to my disappointment. (I’m by far the biggest Jays fan at the MacDonald compound, what can I say.)

It was mutually decided that we would make a Britney-less visit to Las Vegas, just him and I, to relax and blow off some steam. Most of our vacations have included the kids, so with the exception of accompanying each other for business travel, this would be our first getaway as a couple.

Neither of us had been to Vegas before, and we decided early on that we would forego buying show tickets and just wing it the whole trip, entertainment-wise. As our friends learned of our vacation plans, many past visitors gave us tips and advice for making the most of our trip. One friend in particular was very enthusiastic about our prospects, having visited several times with his wife, so it was a good laugh and a welcome surprise to receive a text that announced the both of them were going to join us! Even funnier was the text shortly after to say another couple, also friends of ours, were tagging along as well. By the time the week was out, two other friends joined in to round out the group, and there we were – Las Vegas, party of eight, coming through.

As a micromanager of just about everything in my life, it was very difficult for me to know that I was going to be traveling and not have an hour by hour itinerary of our entire trip. I resisted the urge to have show tickets bought, meals planned, shuttles booked, tours arranged, and schedule finalized. I did, however, create a spreadsheet with show dates and times, and arranged them on a labeled walking map of the Las Vegas strip. You know, for reference.

We are all set to go. I had packed like a Kardashian, of course, as I do every time I travel (you just never know when you might need four pair of high heels, I always say), and my dad was kind enough to hold down the fort here, to tend to my dog and feed the youngest MacDonald in between Fortnight matches. We left for Halifax the night before our outbound flight, with a pocket full of annoyingly- uniform American cash, little in the way of pre-vacation rest, and our fingers crossed for an available upgrade to business class.

The plan was to hit the casino and put everything on red, in hopes of going to Baltimore in September, after all. Stay tuned.