Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Happy Birthday from My Valentine

It was "inevitable" (with a French accent): It was a perfect May afternoon 35 years ago in Monte Carlo, Monaco. I was 21, still young and impressionable, yet ripe for a love affair. Amazingly it's lasted this long despite the heartbreak the affair has put me through year after year.

What?!" you may ask. "You met Leonard in Monte Carlo and he's been breaking your heart for 35 years?!" Uhhhh....no.

I'm talking about putting a franc (roughly equivalent to a quarter in those days) into a slot machine and seeing $30 worth of francs come pouring out. Cha ching: I love you! In retrospect, maybe it would've been better if that darned slot machine had just kept the damned franc! I would not have fallen in love with slot machines and maybe I'd be driving nicer cars instead of a thirteen-year-old Toyota. We've been going to Vegas regularly for over 30 years and I NEVER WON A JACKPOT or anything more than $750 on one bet. Pa-the-tic.

Two weeks ago we woke up at 4:30 a.m to leave for our annual trip to Las Vegas. We got to Honolulu before 8 a.m. and found that the Omni flight which was supposed to leave at 11 a.m. would not leave until after 4 p.m. This was the first time ever we had such a long delay--and it was my birthday.  Oh super.

My mom was nice enough to pick us up at the Honolulu Airport and she took us to breakfast at Eagle Cafe. This was followed by shopping at Ward Avenue Ross to help ease the pain.

We got on the plane and seemed all set to leave at 5 p.m., but the plane was apparently enjoying its time in Hawaii and would slowly pull out, then stop, wait, go a bit, stop, wait, pull back into its gate...until we were delayed yet another hour. We finally arrived in Las Vegas after midnight.  Shower and go to bed?  No way, we had six hours of catching up to do! 

Jordan loves the Wizard of Oz penny machine so I decided to visit Chris Noth right next to her machine--that is, visit him in my favorite penny machine, Sex in the City.  I don't recall if I put in $20 or $40, but Chris and Carrie were nice to me and I took out an $80 ticket. 

When my mom dropped us off earlier at the Honolulu Airport, I got out of the car telling her "I think I'm going to win because I've been visualizing the "ten, ten, ten".  She laughed.  I should've also told her that on the Bejeweled "slot machine" daily spin just a week before, I had spun 3 blue gems and won a million bonus points.  Would she have laughed then??  Of course.

Well I took my $80 ticket blessed by Chris and stuck it into my favorite Ten Times progressive quarter machine, intending to sacrifice the whole amount if necessary.  I love the Ten Times machines because it's possible to win more in one spin than the other machines--of course the payouts in between are smaller, no doubt.  It took me about 30-40 minutes (maybe 35 in honor of the 35-year "love affair"?) of pushing the "Max Bet" button and at about 3:30 a.m., suddenly it happened: TEN TEN TEN. 

Now I can die and go to heaven---but I think I'll wait
for the three MegaBucks symbols instead!
 For the first time in 35 years, I actually hit a jackpot!  I did not scream---I just blinked and said "Oh...my...god!"    I won $21,927.   Later the slot attendant told me she'd be jumping and screaming if she'd won it, but practical me while ecstatic inside, was also thinking "Ok slot machine, you still owe me a couple more of these for me to break even!"  Nevertheless, it was the best trip ever to win that much just a few hours after arriving, because we were able to spend the whole four days without worrying about losing our shirts.  With temperatures in the 30's and 40's, that was a relief. 
Jordan and an enterprising/engaging Zorro.

And guess what, on our trip home, our plane had to turn around for a woman who was ill and once again we were delayed six hours. Isn't life interesting!?  

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