Friday, March 12, 2010

Down On The Corner

Ok, so maybe Thursday wasn't so boring after all. Maybe it was because I actually left the house and got stuff done. Seriously, earlier in the week I'd forgotten where I'd parked my truck because I went from Saturday morning until Tuesday night without leaving the apartment complex. And since it was cold, windy, and rainy that entire time, the furthest I got from my living room was a stroll to the mailbox and a trip to the trash dumpster. So when I left for work late on Tuesday night, I had to think pretty hard about where I'd parked as I was locking my front door.

But I guess I'd had enough of the boredom, so I made a break for it yesterday around noon. Like I mentioned previously, I'd been on a frugal kick lately, and part of my overall strategy was to stay home. I knew that if I were out running around, I'd have to spend money. So I went back into 'Early 2002' mode, when I was flat broke, unwilling to spend my last twenty-dollar bill. It worked for awhile, but I can't be a hermit forever. Besides--the sun was out, finally.

Oh, it was still a bit chilly out, but knowing that, I'd left the truck out in the open instead of the covered parking, and I got a bit of the greenhouse effect going for me.

Anyhow, after visiting Aaron Brothers last week and getting an estimate of around $260 minimum to get my puzzle all framed up, I was kind of at a loss as to what to do. I mean, I really want to get a nice looking wall-hanging, but man, three bills sure seemed like a lot. And another thing--the guys at Aaron Brothers were insisting that I glue the puzzle together and then get some double-sided tape and stick it to a foam board before I brought it in. They would take it from there, then spend about ten days or so working their magic, and still charge me almost three Benjamins. For some reason, I just got a nagging feeling that there was a better way.

Doing my 'due diligence' on the internet, it's almost gospel truth that puzzles should not be glued at all. I mean, even though I'm a total rookie at this arts and crafts stuff, common sense dictates that if you spread a bunch of white goop all over the front of your puzzle, you're gonna alter the image--even if it dries clear. And even gluing the back isn't ideal, because the liquid can and will seep through. The bottom line--the more I thought about it, the more I just didn't like the overall concept I was getting from Aaron Brothers.

So yesterday, I drove down the road to Michael's craft store. First of all, oh holy hell, it was a tabernacle of craftiness. The place was *huge*. And they were busy as all get-out, too. No sign of a recession in there. So I made my way to the back of the store to the framing area, and told the dude at the counter what I needed and wanted. Yes, they could certainly help me--I was told that they frame puzzles all the time for people. Nice! Not only that, he told me of their method of heat-transfer, where no glue is required.

The way I understood it is basically, I just bring in my loose (finished) puzzle on the foam board or a big piece of plywood or whatever, and they just slide it onto their backing material. Their backing material has some sort of chemical on it and when they put down the mat and such, they just put the whole damn thing into an industrial-sized panini maker and cook it for a few minutes. The chemical turns into an adhesive, and without gluing the puzzle together, each individual piece is attached to the backing material, along with the mat. Then it's just a matter of glass and building a custom-sized frame (that's where the expense is--glass ain't cheap, and neither are one-off frames). Anyhow, the whole deal is gonna come to just over $200, which is much more reasonable. Not cheap, but still, a whole lot easier to swallow.

So I told the guy that I'd be bringing it in today. It'll still take almost two weeks to finish, but then I will finally have something to hang on my bare walls. And as soon as I drop off this one, I'll start on the 'Belem' puzzle on my newly-vacant dining room table.

Once I took care of that business and wasted a few minutes browsing around at the craft store, I headed over to one of the smaller local poker rooms to kill an hour or two. I was tempted to hit Costco or maybe take in a nice lunch, but I decided against spending the money. Besides, I convinced myself that I needed to keep my poker game sharp and that even if I lost a few bucks, that's still better than dropping two bills at Costco on a bunch of staples and cleaning supplies.

When I got there, there were only a couple of low-limit games going, no tournaments, and no no-limit. I got a seat at the 4-8 table, and just a few hands into it, a gal I know showed up and took the seat next to me. We had a good time catching up, and even though I started off in the hole (two draws that never made it), eventually I caught a few hands. Surprisingly, pocket Jacks even won a decent pot without improving. I played for about an hour and a half, and on my last hand I had 8-9 of Diamonds. I limped in, as did four or five other people. The flop hit me right upside the head--it was 6-7-10 rainbow, so I had the nuts and didn't really have to worry about a flush.

I bet out, a couple people called, and then somebody raised me. So I re-raised, and it knocked everyone else out except the raiser, who just called. Hmmm. Right then I figured him for a straight draw. Any set probably would've re-raised, and if we had the same hand, he definitely would've re-raised me.

The turn was a red Ace, putting two hearts on the board. Now, I was about 99% sure that my opponent wasn't holding hearts, but he could've had low connected hearts and the turn would've just given him nine more outs. I bet, he just called.

I must've been zeroed in yesterday, because I remember thinking Damn, give me a black four on the river, and I'll be damned if the dealer didn't burn and turn and toss out the Four of Clubs!

I still had the nuts. So I bet out. My opponent immediately raised! That sent me a mixed signal. I was either going to win a nice fat pot or we were going to chop it, basically just getting our own money back.

So I re-raised him, and I saw him grit his teeth. He called and said I'm gonna pay you off, but I'm guessing you had me all the way. I said Yep and showed him the nuts, and he mucked his suited 5-8. It was a nice fat pot and at that very moment, I had doubled my buy-in to $200. So I racked up, cashed out, and hit the door. Not bad for an hour and a half's work.

I came on back home and attempted to take a cat-nap for a bit, but since I use my cell phone as an alarm clock, I can't avoid the text messages that come in on a constant basis. So sleep never happened. I'd been up since 11:30 the night before, and I was dog-ass tired. But I had to haul my butt over to Silverado Ranch and pick up Andrea at 5:30--we had some furniture to move.

I got up after about fifteen good minutes of shut-eye, put on some shoes, and loaded Linda's furniture dolly into the back of the truck. Yes, it's still sitting in my storage closet after all these months. I keep telling Linda I'm bringing it back, but the truth is, I haven't been to her place in months. So I'm babysitting it. Anyhow, the dolly has a problem with the tires--they have a slow leak and go flat after a couple of days. And since I rarely use it, I had to stop at the gas station and air 'em up again.

Oh, and since pretty much the entire population of Vegas (I mean, the people who don't live in Summerlin or Spring Valley), lives in Silverado Ranch, traffic was a cast-iron bitch at 5:30. I finally got to her place and had a Holy Shiat! moment. Andrea and Kimmy are next-door neighbors. I mean right next door to each other--they almost share a driveway. Yeah, that Kimmy, the one I used to call the Future Mrs. Of course I hadn't been to her place in almost two years now, and I knew that her and Andrea lived on the same street, but damn, next door neighbors? Small world. (On the other hand, it gave me a great idea for a reality show. I'd call it The Girls Next Door, and... what? Oh, never mind).

Anyhow, we headed off to my old neighborhood in search of her couch. Turns out that her friend lives about a block away from Lars Vargas. But the couch wasn't that heavy--just bulky as all hell. The two gals and I could easily lift and carry it, so we had it loaded in about 30 seconds. I tied it down with a bundle of rope that's been riding in the suicide door of my truck for over two years now (Rob and I bought it at the Walmart in North Vegas when we were moving his stuff from his first ghettofabulous apartment into the Man Cave).

We took the safe route back to her place, crawling along Horizon Ridge, avoiding the rush hour traffic on the 215. Loading the couch was easy enough, but getting in her front door was a challenge. I can't really come up with an appropriate and colorful dirty metaphor for the act of deflowering her narrow doorjamb with that huge love-couch, but after much pushing, pulling, panting, and sweating, we finally got it in there.

She had to go to work, and I had to go to sleep, so we said our goodbyes, planning on meeting up next Friday night at the MGM. Suddenly I realized how tired I was, so I came straight home, not tempted in the least to go play poker at one of my favorite spots. I kicked off my shoes, hit the shower, and grabbed a cold Mexican Coke from the fridge. I think I lasted about fifteen minutes before passing out with the light on, face down on the corner of my book.

At some point I must've reached up and turned off the lamp, but then I slept straight through until almost 3:00 this morning, damn thankful that work didn't need me last night. Tonight however, is a different story.

But I'm up and ready to get my Friday on. I've already made a pot of coffee and a can of biscuits. Once the rest of the world starts moving, I'm gonna take that puzzle down to the craft store, hit the bank, and maybe play a little more poker. And then it's the weekend!


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