Yeah, although there are a few small clues scattered about the house (storage totes stacked in the dining room, empty bookcases in the living room), it still doesn't look like I'm moving just yet. All the pictures are still hanging on the walls, there is still a basket of laundry in the hallway, and there are still empty pizza boxes on the kitchen counter from four days ago when the guys were over playing cards. But I'm getting there, ever so slowly.
I was making a bit of progress yesterday when the phone rang early in the afternoon. Dave and Bobbi wanted to grill out, play some cards, and hang out in the pool for the rest of the day, and asked in I was interested. Oh hell yeah I was. So I grabbed my trunks and headed to their place.
Our first order of business was to hit Costco. They don't have a membership yet, so I took 'em down there to do some shopping. Dave won a few hundred bucks the night before playing poker (late that night after we hung out), so he said dinner was courtesy of all the donkeys in the Sunset Station poker room. Nice!
So we bought a big package of inch-thick ribeye steaks and a bunch of other stuff--to the tune of $170. And since I got him hooked on that Mexican Coke in the glass bottles, he picked up two cases of that, too.
Anyhow, we got back to their place and did a bit of prep-work for dinner, then just chilled for a bit, enjoying cocktails and channel surfing between the World Poker Tour, the Nascar race in Bristol, and the Cowboys/Chargers pre-season game.
Once the afternoon sun got behind the pine trees, we fired up the grill. Ribeyes like the ones we had don't need a lot of prep, so we just brushed them with olive oil and seasoned them with sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper, then let them rest at room temp for a bit. But we roasted fresh corn on the grill, while Bobbi sauteed a big pan full of mushrooms and onions.
Dinner was absolutely fantastic--besides the steaks and corn, we had baked potatoes which I swear were the size of my shoe (nobody could finish 'em) with all the fixin's , plus warm French bread with honey butter, and some killer cilantro-lime marinated shrimp cocktail. Oh, and dessert was pineapple upside-down cake with vanilla ice cream. Instead of beer with dinner, we put a bunch of those Mexican Cokes in the freezer, and they were icy-cold by the time we sat down to eat.
The four of us dined like royalty (that guy Steve who's buying my couch was there, also), and then once we waved the white flag on dinner, we played cards for a few hours. After our 'golf' game wrapped up, we all cannon-balled into the pool like it was caddy day at Bushwood.
It was nice to lounge around in the water after dark with a cold beer in hand. The water was just cool enough that it was perfect--these 112 degree days haven't succeeded into turning the swimming pool into bathwater, so after about an hour, we all had the chills, believe it or not.
We sat outside drip-drying for awhile, and then somebody suggested that we all head over to Sunset Station and play dice. Steve and Dave saw a dude playing a new 'system' that they wanted to try, so I agreed to go with them. Basically, what they were doing was placing the six and the eight, and keeping a field bet going the entire time (but not playing the pass line). Basically what that meant was that they had every number except the 5 and the 7 covered.
It worked for awhile, but it was a grind, and not very fun at all. I mean, just playing 'single-unit' style on a $5 game, if you hit the 6 or the 8, you only made $2 each time because of the field bet. (And this 'system' is only workable on a table that pays 2x on the two and 3x on the twelve). But just like any other dice 'system', it has it's flaws--namely, if you roll a five or a seven. Even so, it was interesting to watch, but then the table hit a spot of five people in a row going Point-Seven-Out, so that pretty much killed all the action.
While that was going on, I wandered a bit saying goodbye to all of my old friends and co-workers, and while I was doing that, I remembered one of the dealers there is a certified gun-nut, (we used to call him 'Tackleberry'), and told him about my ammunition stash. He was very interested in getting his hands on it, so I'll be calling him later today. If that deal falls through, well, I've got some other folks interested, too, so hopefully I'll be able to unload the stuff and get some road-trip money in my hands.
I also saw Kimmy and talked to her for quite awhile, and we said our goodbyes. She told me that she's also planning on leaving Vegas next summer. She too is sick of the grind (and she makes a damn good living out here!), and is heading back home to Ohio once she gets things squared away out here and sells her house. (I think she's gonna take a bath on it, but still, she'd rather be free of it). It seems that everyone is leaving this town in droves. Back a few years ago when it was booming, everyone was concerned about the unchecked growth, but now that the economy is so bad out here and people are realizing that Vegas doesn't have much to offer outside of the casino and resort business, and if that's in the shiatter, why stick around?
Anyhow, while I was having that conversation, my buddy James got out of work and tracked us down. It turns out that not only does he want my tall bookcase, but he also wants a bunch of my kitchen stuff. So as I'm typing this, I'm enjoying my last pot of coffee in my coffeemaker--he's taking it. He's also taking my blender and toaster oven (two things I won't be able to use at my new place, anyways, so they'd just go in storage), and also my old butcher-block knife set. Ever since I got that cool Japanese knife, that's all I ever used anyways, so my cutlery set just sat on the counter gathering dust. It'll be good for it to find a new home.
So I guess all the empty real-estate on my counter will provide a few more clues to my impending departure. Some of the other big stuff will be gone on Tuesday, and the couch is getting picked up on Saturday. By Saturday night, I'm hoping that my living room looks like the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, just a big stack of boxes and such, staged and ready to go. By Sunday night, this place will be empty of everything except a mattress, my laptop, and a duffelbag full of traveling clothes and toiletries.
By Monday morning, Vegas will be just a memory.