It's 5:00 am in Hendertucky, I'm wide awake, I've got a fresh pot of coffee, and I'm sittin' at the keyboard, waiting for that lightning bolt of inspiration to hit.
Why am I wide awake at five o'clock in the morning? Well, I'm usually up working at this time of night, anyways. And damn if I didn't sleep all day yesterday, too. Seriously, that long shift I did overnight on Wednesday just kicked my ass. When my normal-hour colleagues work an eight-hour day, they usually have about three hours worth of breaks sprinkled in amongst their work. When I work that long on graveyard, I generally don't take a break. Usually, I'm locked down after the first hour or so, and if there is only one game after 3:00 am, then I'm the only one dealing it all night long.
The one question I get all the time is 'What if you have to go pee?'. Well, in that case, I can have the floorman jump in the box and deal a few hands for a couple of minutes while I hit the head. It works out well because usually at that time of night, they're pretty bored, and that way they can also earn a few bucks in tips, too. As far as having to pee goes, well, that's usually not an issue. I can hold it for hours. My biggest 'problem' is that my toke pocket gets so full that it starts to spill out onto the table whenever I lean over. That's not cool, and even though players, for the most part, are very generous, all it takes is one drunk to speak up and say Damn--look at all that money that's leaving the game and going to the dealer! and it just ruins the mojo. So discretion is the key.
Besides, I can get $60 worth of dollar chips into my shirt pocket comfortably, and if it's a really good game, I can force $80 in there, but after that, I'm out of space. I usually push about 30 pots an hour, so it's fairly easy to judge how much I'm making while I work. But that's just if you're making a buck a pot. A lot of times, thankfully, players will toke two or three bucks a pot, and sometimes, if you get a real George in the game, you'll get a redbird or more for every pot. That's why dealers always want to deal the ram-jam crazy action games--bigger pots mean bigger tokes. Besides that, it's much more interesting and fun to watch.
Believe me, sometimes late at night I get stuck in those watching-paint-dry games where everyone limps in, checks to the river, and then turns their cards over. Yawn. In a game like that, it would save time just to deal the cards face-up... I would much rather deal the high-drama big action games. The down side of that is that they usually don't last very long. Sometimes, however, I get lucky and everyone in the game has got that magical combination of deep pockets and big ego.
Anyhow, my game on Wednesday night was one of those big games where everyone had huge stacks in front of them and nobody wanted to go home. But once I got done, it felt like I'd been on one of those March Madness-style benders, minus the cool buzz, the glitter, and the naked stranger in my bed. I was worn out and sore from sitting in one position all night, bent at the waist and stretching out to gather in bets every few seconds for hours on end. For sitting on your ass all night, it's a good workout. But it still doesn't compare to the cardio blast you get from dealing a crowded dice table full of strokers.
Once I was able to finally go to bed, I literally slept all damn day. I woke up around 3:30 in the afternoon, returned all the calls I'd missed while I was asleep, and then called up AC. The plan was to spend the evening hauling a couple of truckloads of boxes and small stuff over to his new place, but when I called he said that he was all done. Once he got out of work that morning, he decided not to go to bed and got most of the moving done. Just about the time I was waking up, he was getting ready to go to bed. Whew! I'm not sad about not having to do that...
I stayed up for a couple of hours and finished off all the intricate drive-me-crazy brown pieces of the puzzle. Now the entire bottom half is done. By the way, here it is:
All that I have left is the sky and clouds. Yeah, I'm fully aware of those three missing pieces there in the ocean, but they are solid blue with no ripples or waves or anything, so they will turn up eventually while I'm working on the solid blue sky.
I guess that means that today I'll head over to Michael's and look for some frames or some way to mount the thing. I'll probably finish it off this weekend, if not, then sometime next week. After that, I'll glue it together and hang it on the wall over the TV. And then it's on to this one:
The puzzle I'm currently working on is 'only' 1500 pieces, but this next one is 2000 pieces. It's called 'Belem' and the picture above is the print that the puzzle was made from. Now, here's something you probably didn't know...
I had this puzzle about ten years ago, back when I had my condo in Phoenix and life was good. The terms 'internet bubble' and 'recession' weren't part of the everyday vernacular, nor was '9/11'. Anyhow, it took up my entire dining room table, and on weeknights I'd pop a few Jimmy Buffett CDs in and work on it for a few hours.
I remember that I was studying for my NASD Series 8 registration at the same time (I believe it was designated as 'branch manager', but all it meant is that you could sign more forms and do more approvals than a regular broker--still a must-have for the career path I was on back then). I'd study for a bit, get burned out, work on the puzzle for awhile, come to a roadblock, and go back to the books, lather, rinse, repeat. That was my life for about three months straight.
But then my cats discovered the puzzle--I had two of them and they just loved to steal the pieces and bat them all over the house. More than a few times I'd find a chewed up piece under the couch. Eventually, they treated it as their favorite toy and ruined it, so I tossed it. I no longer have the cats, the condo, or the Series 8, but now I've got the puzzle again, thanks to one of my generous readers. This time I'll finish it. (And even though it was ten years ago, one of those kitties is still alive and doing well, living the life of luxury with Eddie B's parents).
While I was up, finishing up that section of puzzle I'd been working on, I got hungry again. I still had two small potatoes left in the produce basket that hangs over my counter, so I peeled and sliced them and made another batch of home-made fries. Yep, that recipe still works--they were just as awesome as the first batch.
I considered, briefly, going out and playing some poker last night, but my heart just wasn't in it. A week ago, I took a series of ridiculous bad beats that had me scratching my ol' bald head for days. Seriously--if you can flop or turn a full house four times in five hands, yet still lose every single hand, then you have to question whether or not poker is the game for you. I don't have any idea what the odds are against that happening, but I've got to figure that it'd be easier to win the Powerball instead, and it won't hurt nearly as much when you come up empty...
So I just stayed home and went back to bed around 9:00 o'clock.
Around 10:30 or so, I got the mother of all teases when my phone rang. It was the poker room calling, asking if I'd be able to 'come in an hour early'. I wasn't scheduled, but said that I would be more than willing to come in, and then the floor man was like "Oh damn. I forgot that it wasn't you that was working tonight, sorry. Never mind."
That sucked. I would've loved to have picked up another shift last night (and I woke up and called in at 2:30 just to see what was happening, and they still had a crazy no-limit game going with a full table).
I've been up since then, clearing a few things off of my DVR and surfing the internet. Besides a quick trip to Wallyworld and the craft store, that's pretty much the agenda for the day.