Tuesday, July 31, 2007


My day off is finally here! I swear, these last few days at work have been a soul-crushing exercise in my ability to keep from absolutely snapping and going ape-shit nuts. Seriously, I think I need a vacation.

Last night, I was in no mood to be at work at all, and we were at the beginning of a new 'extra' pay period this month. So the first thing I did when I arrived at the casino was put my name at the top of the Early Out list and write 'ASAP' next to it, thinking that I'd get cut loose within the first two hours of my shift, just like I'd seen happen with a few of my buddies earlier in the week. Then I saw the roadmap and learned that I was scheduled on one game with just one other dealer, meaning, basically, I'd be working 20-minutes on, 20-minutes off. A cakewalk, to be sure, but it makes for a looooong night. So I figured that my chances were good that they'd launch me out of there within a half an hour.

But no. I was sent to the dealers' equivalent of the Seventh Circle of Hell, the ONLY $5 blackjack game in the entire casino, because some dipshit on the extra-board called in sick. Luckily, it was only for an hour, and they found a string of two other games to put me on. Still, talk about a bummer. I didn't want to be there in the first place, I thought I was going to get to go home right away, and then I got stuck on the worst table in the casino (besides Let It Ride). Ugh. At least I was at the top of the early-out list.

Sidebar--Another thing that's been pissing me off lately is the fact that we are the only casino in all of Vegas that actually lowers the table limits on the weekends, which makes absolutely no business sense to me at all. Seriously--all week long we have one--maybe two--five-dollar blackjack tables. But then on Friday and Saturday nights, we open up an entire pit with nothing but five-dollar games. It's like ringing the dinner bell for every flea and loser in a twenty-mile radius. Couple that with the fact that if there are four dead five-buck games sitting all in a row, and I'm one of those four dealers standing there doing nothing, I am *always* the first person that the people who only have a $40 gambling bankroll want to come up and play with--it's uncanny. Seriously, they'll walk right past the other three dealers and directly to my table. It doesn't matter if I'm on a six-deck shoe game that's sitting between two double-deck pitch games being dealt by hot Asian chicks (yeah, like we've got lots of those on our shift...)--they'll walk up and sit down with me like I'm their best friend in the world. I guess I need to work on my scowl...

And it doesn't matter if they've only got twenty or forty dollars to play with--they'll last an hour, minimum, or at least long enough to score a free pack of smokes that they feel they're entitled to. But if a hot girl in a low-cut top who's tipping me a five-spot every other hand sits down, I'll bust her out of $500 in less than ten minutes, guaranteed.

Life just ain't fair sometimes...

Well, the hours started plodding by, and I got no love from the bosses. Finally, at 1:00 am, I'd done twenty minutes on a game and got tapped out.


So, I was fairly excited, and asked the boss with the roadmap if that meant I was going home. He looked at me like I was out of my mind and said Hell no--I've only got nine dealers in the entire casino scheduled until 4:00 am and you're one of them...


Talk about being pissed off. The smart-ass in me asked how it was possible that there weren't enough dealers around to let me go home, but at the same time we had so many dealers that we were only doing twenty minutes a round. But they didn't have an answer to that one...

So I took the long walk back to the dining room, pissed off again. To add insult to injury, when I got back, they tossed me back onto that god-awful $5 bj game for another hour. At 2:20, I took another break, the highlight of which was the fact that there was bacon and eggs available in the dining room. So I had a small plate of breakfast, resigning myself to the fact that for the ninth week in a row, I wouldn't be getting the early-out I requested on my 'Friday' night.

When I went back at three, a bunch of dealers from the graveyard shift showed up, so I finally got to pull the ripcord. Thank god. I was hot, sweaty, exhausted, pissed off, and in need of a strong cocktail. I punched out before they could change their minds, and headed for the exit without looking back.

It was hot and just stupidly humid out when I left, and the arctic blast of the A/C in my truck was a welcome relief. When I drove up to the apartment, I could see the living room lights on, meaning Rob was still up watching tv. As soon as I opened the door, I was enveloped in the most amazing aroma. Rob had spent the entire evening cooking a monster feast--a huge pot of minestrone and another crockpot full of Italian beef.

Oh hell yeah. He was just starting to dig in when I drove up, so I headed to the shower with the instructions of something along the lines of Fix me a plate, bitch!

I hosed off all of the casino funk, dried off, changed clothes, and parked my ass on the couch. Rob, clearly inspired by my hash-brown casserole creation last week, had decided to out-do me and just went completely Julia Child crazy in our kitchen last night.

I gotta hand it to him--that minestrone was the absolute best I'd ever had--I don't know what kind of spices he used, but the veggies were outstanding--cabbage, tomatoes, chickpeas, zucchini--it had everything in a meaty broth. And he topped it with fresh-grated Parmesan cheese, which I'd never even considered doing with minestrone. I sat there happily slurping away, making all kinds of Oh-my-god-this-is-f*cking-good sounds. But that wasn't all. He'd also fixed me an Italian variation of the French Dip, complete with au jus, that was even better than my previous favorite offering from the Golden Gate deli. I immediately regretted eating the bacon and eggs at work, because I was too full to finish all of the delicious grub sitting on the plate in front of me.

But we've got a shiatload of leftovers, so we're good to go for the rest of the week. And I don't care if it's not soup weather--that minestrone is damn good. My system may go into shock, however, having all those good veggies in one place. I told Rob that I don't think I've had any veggies except onions, peppers, and mushrooms for about a month, and all this stuff in the soup might throw me off-kilter. But it's so good, the veggie-overload would be worth it

So there I was, shoes off, feet up, sitting on the couch, my disposition improved 100% since I got out of the casino, with a satisfied belly full of great food. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, Rob showed me something on the DVR list of scheduled recordings that made my whole day. This coming Sunday, five days hence, is the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

Steelers versus Saints. Oh hell yeah.

NFL football is back, I've got two days off, and if I could just get my hands on some boobies, life would be damn near perfect.


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