Friday, October 28, 2005

The End of the Longest Month Ever

Finally...we've reached the end of October. Ok, I know it's not over until Monday night, but still--close enough. This has been the longest month I've endured for a very long time. It all stems from the end of last month when it was so slow out here in Vegas that I only had one day of work per week for a stretch. And travelling to Tennessee also took a big bite out of my wallet, so I was flat-ass broke for the last three weeks. I'm talking so broke I took all of the random dollar chips I had laying around back to the casinos for gas money. I emptied my change jar into the Coinstar machine to buy groceries--and what fine groceries I did buy! Basically I lived on PB&J or tunafish sandwiches for the past three weeks. (Well, I still have some goodies from Omaha Steaks left in the freezer, so don't feel too sorry for me. Of course I didn't have any A1, though...)

Luckily, the past two weeks were very busy at work and we made some excellent tokes, so when the direct deposit hit just after midnight with one of my largest casino checks ever, I was off to fill up the gas tank and get some tastier food. First of all--I found gas for $2.52 a gallon, which has been unheard of in this town since I first moved here. Score! I squeezed in all that would fit. Then I hit Del Taco for some south-of-the-border goodness. Man--I'd almost forgotten how great jalapenos tasted. I scarfed down my Macho Nachos and Big Fat Steak Burrito in record time, then laid down contented, enjoying the last watery remains of my fountain Coke. It was pure bliss to someone who'd been living on Peter Pan and strawberry jam.

After sleeping till around noon today, I had to get up and go do some errands. First stop, the bank--had to get more cash to pay the rent, since the ATM limits me to $300, and also make sure they got my new address up to date. Suprise! Bank was closed. Apparently, today is a holiday. Can you guess which one? Me neither. But it was one I hadn't heard of before. It seems that all of the Washington Mutual employees were off celebrating Nevada Day with their loved ones. Of course I don't know the proper protocol for commemorating such an event, but when they open back up on Monday I'm gonna make sure I find out and start stocking up on the party favors for next year's festivities.

Anyhow, I ran a few errands and ended up at Walmart--the last place I ever want to go under any circumstances. Obviously, in this town, wire strippers are more rare than black pearls with embossed pictures of the Pope. Sure, here in Vegas you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a regular stripper. But wire strippers, forget about it. Not found at the hardware store. Home Depot was out. Forget the electrical aisle at the auto parts store. Harbor Freight tools? Nope. So I bit the bullet and went to Wally World. Made in China (naturally...), but they had them. I also bought a great heavy-duty nonstick thick-as-an-engine-block saute pan which looks like a great thing to throw during a domestic disturbance, but in the meantime allows me to flip eggs without a spatula. Bam!

One humbling lesson that I relearned today was that I sure am glad I have a few marketable skills, because I think one of the all-time shittiest jobs in the world has be working as a Cart Wrangler at WalMart. Especially when said Walmart is built on a hill that slopes down about 200 yards to Tropicana Boulevard and it's six lanes of shopping-cart Frogger. Hey, I might have wasted seven years in college (Yeah, they're called 'doctors'...), but at least I'm working indoors.

But the best thing about today, besides the sunny 75-degrees and the fact that it's Las Vegas, is a new discovery that I made. My local Von's grocery store sells the Greatest Invention Ever (at least in the food category). Lime-flavored ice cubes! Oh hell yeah. So I got me a bottle of Parrot Bay, a two-liter of Atlanta spring water (Coca-Cola to you yankees out there), and poured myself a glass of Instant Caribbean.

Yeah mon--it's good to be back in the Islands!


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