I work for a virtual company, and the employees are spread out all over the country. My boss recognizes the distance and the camaraderie we might be missing by not being in the same office together, and to address this, gathers all the employees for a weekend of fun and some work. This year (my first as a full-timer), he transported everyone to Las Vegas and invited the spouses/significant others as well.
The weekend was incredible.
Lori and I drove down Saturday, leaving the boys with in the care of our neighbor Samantha who is home from college for the summer. We arrived in the late afternoon at the Aria, then met everyone for a dinner at Holsteins inside the Cosmopolitan. It was kind of surreal for me -- I'm used to working with all these people, but here they were at the same table for the first time. Dinner was great, and I walked Lori back to the hotel and then met up with much of the group to go to a club at the Bellagio.
The club was loud and crowded, giving me my first Murtaugh moment ("I'm too old for this s---") of the night. But, it was fun. I felt the knowledge of someone my age when "O.P.P." was played and I knew the lyrics and my twenty-something co-workers didn't. We eventually got out, and my though some of my co-workers urged me stay out longer for a few more drinks, Murtaugh was on my shoulder telling me to go back to the hotel. I listened.
Lori and I were up early the next morning, went to breakfast, then went down to the pool, where my boss had rented out two cabanas for the group. We enjoyed a few peaceful hours lounging in the sun and getting to know my co-workers. Plus, it was nice for once to be at the pool without the boys -- I love them, of course, but it was relaxing to not worry about where they were at just for a little while. Lori and I went to lunch at a fusion Chinese/Mexican restaurant (I'm not making this up) in the Cosmo, and we ate dinner at the Paris with the entire group. I swear, I gained five pounds this weekend -- everything was delicious, and the Newcastles tasted great all weekend.
Monday was a work day, as we had our conference that day. That went well -- I came away energized for my job in a way that events like this I imagine do. Lori and I went to dinner at an OK Italian restaurant in New York New York, and after walking her back, I met my co-workers again for some final hanging-out time at NYNY and lost $20 in a poker machine (but milked it long enough to get three free beers).
This was such a fun, productive weekend, and it was so nice for Lori and I to get away on a trip with just ourselves. We are back in Vegas in a week ...