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Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday Mug Shot (2/25/08)

Las Vegas, Nevada

I have been to Vegas once in my entire life and still, I could write a novel based on this mug! So, I'm going to do a short Q&A session for this mug to cover a few of them!

Q. When did you go to Las Vegas?
A. May 1995

Q. Was there a wedding involved???
A. In fact there was, but not a Vegas wedding! My friend Jeff and I were going to Barstow, California, where Kelly was getting married!

When Kelly got engaged to Carl, she was excited. This was going to be the bells and whistles wedding that did NOT start off her first marriage. This was to be the send off into matrimony that would be the setting for a better future than the first time. The only thing that would twinge a littler at her heartstrings on her "perfect day" was that she wouldn't have any of her dear friends from Michigan, not even her best friend to be her maid of honor again.

She told me that she was sending the invitation anyway, not to feel obligated and she understood that I had to work that weekend. Memorial Day weekend was the big soccer tournament that I produced every year. There was no way I could just skip it. She had asked a friend from California to be the Matron of Honor in person, knowing that she had both a Maid and Matron of honor in spirit for that day.

Truth be told, in 1995, Heather had been my Associate Producer for over a half year. She had been through some of our big events and the responsibilities of the day-to-day sports coverage and she had co-produced the charity hockey game we did with the Detroit Red Wing Alumni, the biggest event the sports department had even done. I felt completely comfortable leaving the onsite executive duties in her hands for the weekend. She was a little apprehensive about that at first, but in retrospect, she felt great about how well things had gone under her direction for that big event.

After settling with Heather the details and clearing it with out boss, I put in for the long weekend off and let Kelly know I would indeed be there and Jeff was coming with me! I could hear the ear to ear smile on the phone. Her Dad wasn't able to make it out to California and she asked Jeff to give her away. She also told me that her very pregnant Matron of Honor might just end up needing a stand-in and I'd have my job after all. I did make it very clear to her that I had no qualms with not being in the position of honor. Hey, I didn't even now I'd make it until just a before the wedding!

The wedding was beautiful, outdoors with a gentle breeze that caught her veil and engulfed both her and Carl during the bridal dance. It was a breathtaking moment!

Oh, and the "Junior Maid of Honor" opted to be an interior part of the dress and wait until after the Wedding Day to make a grand appearance!

Q. So, you weren't actually IN Vegas then?
A. Oh no, we spent time in Vegas too! We extended the vacation a little, three nights at The Maxim.

Q. So, gambling? Did you play poker???
A. Well, it was long before the Texas Hold 'Em craze and my interest in it, so no, I didn't play any table games. I suppose now, I'd bring more "play money" and perhaps get into of one of the less pricey tournament. You know, the tournaments they have for tourists who won't hand over money in big sums all at once? The tournaments for those of us who prefer to give all of our money to the casino a little at a time. But on that trip I discovered video poker!

We were part of a package tour that included shuttle from the airport. When we got to the Maxim, our bags hadn't arrived to our room yet, so we went down to the casino. We sat down at the video poker machines and I was trying to figure out how to use it. I gathered from what was on the screen in front of me that I needed to put 5 quarters in it. I hadn't figured out that I could only use one to make the game work! Well, I put my dollar twenty-five in and hit the deal button. As I recall, it was hearts. I had four of them. So I hit the hold buttons for the four and hit deal again. Another heart! My first time sitting in front of a quarter poker machine, I put in the maximum bet and got a flush! Needless to say, although I tried a few slot machines, the video poker was my game for the weekend.

And the video poker was steadily good to me, too! I came out of that first evening a few quarters ahead and pretty much stayed there until Kelly met us to escort us to Barstow. After we got back from Barstow we took a little walk in Vegas. When I say a little walk, I mean five miles...one way. A Vegas block is way bigger than a common city block! And with as big as everything is in Vegas, Exalibur really looked like it was close to Maxim! We hit every casino on the way to Exalibur playing a little slots or video poker at every one of them. I bought a dollar token to take home from every casino we went to as souvenirs.

The last day, Memorial Day, I think. You lose track of hours let alone days in Vegas, we were waiting in line for brunch. As the line snaked through the video poker machines, I told Jeff I was going to stop and win the tip, how much should we leave? He laughed at me and said we'd leave however much I won. I grabbed a quarter out of my purse and said, "Be back in a minute." A few minutes later, I'd spent my quarter and won the tip. Our server got ten bucks!

We spent our last hour in the Maxim casino while we were waiting for our bus back to the airport. I still had money left, so I pulled out the stops and bought a roll of dollar tokens for the video poker machines. I was moving up from the quarters for my last hurrah. Can you say, "FULL HOUSE, BABY!"

I brought $300 with me that I'd saved to gamble away in Vegas. I came home with over $100 of it left. Like paying $300 for an event and winning a big door prize, I consider myself having been a winner on my first trip to Vegas.

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