Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What a Week!

It's hard to believe that it's already been a week since my latest excursion into the world of Vegas buffoonery, but time really does fly when you're having fun.

It all started last Tuesday night. I wrote that the plan was to meet up with Skip, aka SoreEyes, down at the Main Street Station. Well, I got down there at 7pm, left the truck in the capable hands of the valet and ambled through the Main Street Station for the first time since that gathering of buffoons back in the middle of the night last March highlighted by Marty prancing around in Angy's Imperial Palace bathrobe. Just walking in the doors of the casino gave me a little blast from the past and put a smile on my face.

But when I walked over to the brew pub, standing outside was not Skip, but Chris, aka HabanaMan. It seems that they have very similar-sounding names/email addresses, so I got them confused. Perhaps I should pay more attention to the emails I get...

Anyhow, he introduced me to his younger brother, whose name escapes me at the moment, but had just recently turned 21 and was a Vegas Virgin, and the three of us went inside and got a table. Dinner was excellent--I had that same bbq bacon cheeseburger I had last March, Chris got a prime rib, and his brother opted for the 4-cheese pizza.

Chris insisted on covering the check, which was cool, but I insisted on providing dessert--I'd brought an assortment of cigars from the ol' humidor to share. After paying the tab and making a pilgrimmage to the Berlin Wall, we found an open Pai Gow table.

The three of us took our seats, broke out the cigars, and ordered drinks. Unfortunately the dealer was hot, getting two pair or better on damn near every hand, and I burned through almost a hundred bucks in quick order. But the conversation was excellent, as were the cigars. Unfortunately, some jackass decided to join us and immediately started bitching about the cigar smoke, even going so far as to pull his shirt up over his nose while he was sitting there. Of course, we weren't being rude, and going out of our way to blow the smoke away from him. But hello, dumbass, don't walk up to a table with three guys smoking cigars and then start complaining that the smoke is bothering you--you'll find no sympathy.

But the cards were so cold that we decided to just get out of there. We piled into the truck and headed out to Boulder Highway for the low-limit white-trash goodness of Boulder Station. Unfortunately, it was more of the same, except my cards were so bad that it was almost comical. It started out well, as I had $3 on the Fortune Bonus on my third hand, plus a buck up for the dealer, and I got four deuces! Nice hit. But it was all downhill from there, and I burned through another $150 before finally waving the white flag of surrender. I think Chris only lost about $40, if I recall, but his brother didn't win a single hand. He had the comment of the night after getting wiped out first--

You guys are chumps! At least I never had to pay a commission...

Although we were having a good time, the gambling just wasn't happening for us. I knew I had to get up earlier than usual the next morning to pick up Angy at the airport, so we decided to call it a night. They were staying at the Wynn, but since Chris' brother had a huge two-page list of Things To Do, I dropped them off at Mandalay Bay for a little bit of sightseeing and a quick game of Spot the Hooker. I drove home and went to bed, my wallet being lighter to the tune of $200+.

The first thing the next morning I had to take my roommate to the bank and such, as his vehicle was being repaired. As soon as I got back, I checked and saw that Angy's flight was arriving a half-hour early, about five minutes away. I jumped back in the truck, stopped at the gas station to top off the tank and drive it through the car wash, and picked up a Diet Coke for her and a Diet Coke with Lime for me. As soon as I got to the baggage claim, she was standing there alone with her suitcase.

Not only did her flight land early, the luggage had already arrived and everyone else had gone. She said she'd only been waiting about ten minutes though. But we loaded it up--size and number of suitcases no longer being an issue due to the fact that I now have a pickup truck, instead of a beater car with a trunkload of spare parts. I popped in the traditional picking-Angy-up-at-the-airport cd, ABBA's Greatest Hits, and we were on our way to the strip. I long-hauled her through the tunnel, due to the heavy traffic on Tropicana, and shortly thereafter we were unloading at the Paris valet.

There was no line at the registration desk at 11 am, so Angy got out her ID, credit card, and a $20 bill. I gave the clerk her ID and such, slid the twenty over and politely asked if there was an upgrade available. He said that he'd certainly try to find one. After a few minutes of typing away, he told us that we could get an executive suite on the 27th floor. Unfortunately, it was non-smoking and offered a king bed only. She needed a room with two queens because her sister would be arriving the next day, and of course Angy can't be in Vegas without a cigarette in her hand, so that was two big Unlucky Strikes. Nothing else was available, except a huge upgrade to another type of suite that would cost another $80 per night, so we declined. The clerk was well-mannered enough to return the twenty spot for coming up empty, so we gave him a ten-spot for the effort. She ended up just taking a standard room on the fourth floor overlooking the pool and Eiffel tower, but it wouldn't be ready for a couple more hours.

We decided that we wanted to have lunch--but nothing too fancy. We were hoping for the cafe there at Paris, but the line was too long. And Le Provencal wasn't open yet. We also knew that Mon Ami Gabi still wasn't open either, and we really wanted to get started because the priority of the day was to get out to the BMW dealership out in Henderson so Angy could test drive that Nissan 350Z Roadster she was hoping to buy.

I suggested that we head out to Green Valley and eat someplace at The District, the Elephant Bar came to mind, as it was actually on the way to the dealership. Angy agreed, and we headed away from the Strip. While sitting at the stoplight outside of GVR, we noticed the Cheesecake Factory on the left, so we decided to go there instead.

We'd beaten the lunch rush and were seated immediately. Instead of a huge meal, we decided to just get drinks and appetizers. The first order of business was ordering some fu-fu drink called a Flying Monkey or something like that. It was some sort of banana-liqueur based milkshake that was damn good. We both agreed that we really liked it, but decided that getting liquored up before going out test driving an expensive car probably wouldn't be the prudent thing to do, so after that it was just ice water the rest of the meal.

We ordered some crab rangoon, an order of avocado egg rolls, and some spinach-artichoke dip. The avocado rolls were easily the best, the dip had almost no cheese in it, and the crab puffs were waaaaay too fishy--the crabs tasted like they were just about to turn, kind of like the tinge of sweetness you get just before the milk goes bad. Ick. I'd say it was a less than stellar meal from the Cheesecake Factory, although dessert made up for it. I had the coffee Heath Bar crunch cheesecake, and I forgot which variety Angy had, but both were excellent. The tab wasn't too bad, but we left there thinking that Grand Luxe is still a much better restaurant.

After that we headed to the BMW dealership for the test drive. The car was parked right there in front, but neither of the salesmen that Angy had been corresponding with for the previous three weeks were available. They finally scrounged up somebody to help us, and Angy took off on her test drive while I hung around in the lobby looking at cars I could never afford.

They got back a little while later, but she insisted that I take it for a drive to get a second opinion. She's used to driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee every day, so a little sportscar with a tight turning radius, short wheelbase, and a low profile was a new experience for her. I took it out for a spin and loved it. I drove it like it was meant to be driven, and came back with a pretty big grin on my face.

We sat down at the desk while the sales toad went back to 'get the numbers'. She'd done her research, and we'd already talked about what her final walk-away price was, and they were several thousand dollars away from it.

After finally writing it down on their offer sheet, circling it and writing TOTAL PRICE OUT THE DOOR, they made another unreasonable offer or two, prompting us to head for the door. They finally said they'd do the deal but for a hundred bucks more than our written offer. Again we headed for the door, but they finally relented. I'm sure the salesman absolutely hated me, because he figured Angy would be a pushover who really wanted the car and he thought he could talk her into whatever price he wanted, but that was not the case. We took a hard line and stuck to it, and Angy saved almost $4000 from their initial offering price. Unfortunately, we wasted a couple of hours doing that song and dance.

Once the deal was struck and they went off to process the paperwork, we told them that we'd be leaving for awhile and come back to pick up the car. We went back to my house to change clothes--it was a hot day and we were all sweaty and nasty by that time--and to pick up some booze for the hotel room. Angy put on her sexy little Hurricane Mikey tank top and we headed back to the dealer. For whatever reason, the new shirt really put the salesman off of his game and he couldn't concentrate. We figured that if she would've just worn that down there in the first place, we wouldn't have wasted so much time negotiating. But they got all the paperwork done in short order, washed the car and gassed it up. Angy followed me back to my place and the sun was just starting to set, making it easier to take decent pictures.

My camera is basically worthless now--you have to beat on it to get it to work, so all of the pics are on Angy's camera (and those pics should be arriving some time this afternoon once she wakes up after her epic cross-country road trip). My old-ass roommate thinks that Angy is the hottest thing going so he was out there in the driveway lusting over both her and the car, giving me a good laugh...

I also presented her with another surprise--she said that she's going to get vanity plates that say BCHCRZY, so I had a babydoll t-shirt made with this on the front:

Needless to say, she loved it.

I packed a small overnight bag with swim trunks and such, grabbed some cd's from the truck, and we took the new car back towards the Strip. The sun was going down behind the western mountains, and the dusky twilight provided the perfect atmosphere for us to drive down Las Vegas Boulevard with the top down listening to Elvis tunes.

We got back to Paris, dropped off the car, and got the room keys. The room was nice, and I have to admit that besides the more expensive rooms at the Venetian,TheHotel at Mandalay Bay, Rio, and some of the new towers at Caesars, Paris has the nicest rooms in Vegas, at least that I've experienced. (They don't allow people like me into the Four Seasons...)

As a side note--I used to think that Mirage was the greatest hotel in all of Vegas, but with all of the changes, I'm beginning to think that it may not be the case any longer. I've stayed at Paris a couple times now, and overall I think that I like it even more than the Mirage. I know, blasphemy...

Anyhow, we unloaded our stuff, mixed a few drinks and had some snacks to take the edge off. Lunch was pretty filling, but we ate early and didn't want to have to eat dinner. We relaxed for awhile, waiting for it to get completely dark so that we could take full advantage of the convertible in working on our neon tans. After about an hour or so of answering and sending random text messages to our absent compatriots, we headed back downstairs. Angy's nephew was in town with a friend, and they agreed to meet us downstairs at the 'Hooker Bar'--I'm sure that's not the official name, but that's what we've been calling it for the past couple of years. We had a couple of rounds, telling stories and having a few laughs before heading out. Being a dumbass, I agreed to go back out to Boulder Station to take another beating.

As much as I like the casino at Boulder Station--it's a great casino, just in a shitty location--I've never won a dime in the place. Not one dime, ever. We both lost a hundred bucks in less than a half an hour, and turned around and left. The drive back to the Strip was especially enjoyable in the new convertible, raising our coolness factor exponentially.

We got word that Vegas Jer was in town, and told us to meet him at the Paris dice tables around 10 pm. We got back and found him on a hot table with several green and black checks on his rail. We hung back waiting until the run was over a few minutes later. Jer cashed out and we tried to figure out where to go next. Angy and I, still smarting from our Boulder Highway Beat Down, were looking for low-limit blackjack. Jer just wanted to hang out. We all wanted to drink, so we figured on something within walking distance (and there was no way to get all three of us into the car, anyways).

We wandered through Bally's, but nothing looked promising. We stopped at a bar looking for fruity drinks, and while waiting for the bartender to make our huge pina coladas in souvenir glasses, all of the tv's suddenly changed over to the news coming out of London about the foiled terrorist attacks. That pretty much stopped most of the activity in the surrounding areas for a few minutes until everyone figured out that Nothing Bad Happened, and after that it was business as usual. We took our silly drinks and headed for the Barbary Coast. Jer gave the dice a run, basically breaking even, before we decided to just head on down to the Imperial Palace. It was a nice night for walking, and we had a pleasant slightly-buzzed walk down the Strip.

We finally settled in to a $10 'double deck' game, but it took us a few rounds before we realized what a joke that was. They had eight decks in a shuffling machine which spit out 104 cards at a time. Unfortunately, it was the only game in town, so to speak, so we stayed there instead of walking away in protest. Yeah, I guess we're part of the problem, but fun was the priority, not maximizing our advantage. We realized just how bad it was though, because every time we got a blackjack, they'd give us a string of Mardi Gras beads. On a regular shoe game, you should be getting about six blackjacks per hour. I sat at that table for over three hours and only got four snappers.

It took Angy almost two hours to lose her hundred bucks, but I was treading water pretty well. Jer started pretty hot, but got crushed.

We were playing in the Champagne Pit, but it was damn near impossible to get any champagne. Once I threatened to just stick my head in the fountain and suckle directly from the teat, the waitress finally brought some over. Good god, it was horrible. Angy was laughing her ass off watching the facial expressions of Jer and I as we drank that swill. And it didn't mix well with all of the other stuff we'd been drinking that night, either.

Once Angy and Jer left the table, I started to actually win, and started earning a few green chips for my effort. I more than quadrupled up, and decided to color up when a very annoying drunk couple sat down and started using the I've-never-heard-of-basic-strategy method. I went to the cage to trade in my black chips, and saw Jer at a 3-card poker table, and Angy was at the bar playing video poker and sipping on a Captain and Diet. I snuck up behind her and said Hey mama, would you come back to my hotel room with me for a hundred bucks? while simultaneously dropping a Benjamin in her lap. She said Hell yeah--Let's go! much to the amusement of the other folks at the bar.

We watched Jer for a few minutes, and he was lucky enough to win back all the money he lost at the blackjack table, plus a few hundred more. He colored up and we decided to go back to our home base and have some breakfast in the cafe. Unfortunately, I had a Margaritaville moment and blew out my flip-flop, so instead of walking, we coughed up six bucks for the cab ride to Paris.

A drunken Vegas breakfast at 5 am is always a great time, and this was no different. Jer and I both had steak and eggs, while Angy had French toast. We were exhausted, and I couldn't even come close to finishing my meal. Angy still had $90 worth of vouchers good at any Harrah's-owned restaurant, so breakfast was free. Jer had to be back at the airport an hour later (he was only in town for about nine hours), so he opted to just wander the casino, but Angy and I headed back to the room for some much needed sleep.

The next thing I knew, it was 11:30 the next day and her sisters were dragging their luggage in and waking us up. Those blackout curtains really work--I thought it was only like 8:00 am. We finally crawled out of bed and got ready for the day--'the day' consisting of laying by the pool and drinking pina coladas.

And that's pretty much what we did all afternoon. Unfortunately, I had to work that night, so Angy drove me back home around 6 pm. She found her way back to the Strip and proceeded to have much more fun that night than I did.

We'd made plans to have lunch at the Wynn buffet the next day, but her and her sisters had waaaay too much fun the previous night, and I didn't hear from her until she got up out of bed that afternoon/evening around 5:00 pm. Of course, I couldn't afford to take any time off, so we firmed up plans to meet up early the next morning for our cabana day.

I got home at 4:30, hit the sack and got back up at 9:00 am. I showered, put on some pool clothes and headed back down to Paris. Angy, her sister Gail, and I went down to the pool and got our cabana at 10 am sharp. Of course I wish I had the pictures, but they are forthcoming. But the cabana was pretty cool--it had a tv, fridge, table, couch, and four chaise lounges, plus all the towels we'd ever need. It came stocked with fruit juice, bottled water, and soft drinks, and they said they'd be bringing a fruit basket around at 11. Angy and Gail went to the little shop to look at new bathing suits, while I turned on the tv and snoozed on the couch while our bikini-clad private hottie waitress availed herself every five minutes or so making sure all of our legitimate needs were taken care of.

We ordered frozen fruity drinks, which were actually not very good, and also some lunch from the cafe--the smoked turkey wraps were absolutely delicious. Since the drinks weren't very good, Angy had the foresight to empty a couple of water bottles and refill them with rum, and we snuck them down to the cabana and made our own mixed drinks. Smart chick, that Angy!

In the midst of our drunken phone calls to more of our absent friends, Andrea showed up. I missed her bunches and it was great to see her again. It's funny because Andrea, Angy, and I are just about the most opposite three people on the planet, but when we get together we just click like the musketeers. It's probably a good thing that we can't get together more often, otherwise we'd just get into trouble. But this visit was more mellow than previous get-togethers, and we had a wonderful afternoon just hanging out, sipping drinks, and lounging by the pool. We still had our share of laughs--now that Andrea has a boyfriend, I told her that I wished she were twins so that I could have the single one. Or even better, she could be triplets and I'd get the other two to double up on me... And it was always worth a laugh whenever Angy did something goofy to say in a loud voice Knock it off mom, you're embarrassing me! because invariably people would look at us and scurry off speaking in hushed tones...

The day ended much too soon, and I had to go back to work. The sunshine and drinks had taken all of the energy out of me and it was all I could do to stay awake and make it through my entire shift that night. But I made it. I ended up sleeping away most of the day on Sunday, as did Angy and the girls due to their evening's worth of buffoonery at the Carnaval Court and Hogs & Heifers. At some point that day, Angy decided that instead of shipping the car home, she'd just drive it home by herself. I offered to make the drive with her, but she insisted that she could do it alone and didn't need to throw a wrench into my week.

So we had our farewell breakfast at the Peppermill on Monday morning, which I wrote about previously. She hit the road at about 1:00 in the afternoon and promised to call me as she made her way home. We talked a few times in the past day and a half, and she called me around 1:00 am this morning, saying that she was just a half hour away from home.

I'm glad she made it without a breakdown or any other incident.

But that brings us to today. The water still hasn't come on, but I see that my roommate is home, so I'm sure it'll get handled today. I just wish it would've happened last week when I had access to a nice bathroom with unlimited hot water at the hotel.

In the meantime, I think I'll try and get a little sleep. Maybe when I wake up the drought will be over.


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