So, yes, I was on vacation. I don't know why I don't like to just come out and say it. Well, actually I do. I think it's because I don't feel like I *should* take vacation so don't like to admit it when I do! Plus, I know Las Vegas can bring out some strong emotions in people - some love it, some hate it - and I like to keep most of my blogging focused on business. But, since I was gone for a whole week, I want to post a few random musings from our trip.
First, though, let's start with us getting ready to leave -
Apparently, Bug really wanted to come with us. I had my suitcase out on the couch, waiting for those last few things to be added, when she jumped right in and made herself comfortable. She really missed us while we were gone - she didn't stop meowing for HOURS once we returned! Maybe she was just trying to tell me about HER exciting week?
We arrived in Las Vegas Thursday morning, which was unusual for us. We usually like to go Sunday through Thursday - leaving late on Sunday night and taking the red-eye/overnight flight on Thursday - so are there for about 4 days. For some reason we couldn't find cheap enough airfare this year, so we ended up going Thursday - Tuesday, which amounted to 2 more days than normal! (The airfare WAS cheap, but we really prefer Sun-Thur.) Another note about flying - I was *VERY* disappointed to learn that you don't get the fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies on Midwest flights until AFTER 10am! Our flight was earlier than that, so no cookies. :(
In the airport before leaving, I bought a couple of puzzle books, mostly word searches. I thought they'd give me something to do on the flight and also take up time when I just wanted to hang out in the room. It was a smart move and they definitely ended up "saving" me some money! The more time I spent in the room, the less time I had to lose money!
And, since money was an issue, I didn't take as much as I have in the past, and tried to regulate it better. That first day, I don't think I played much at all. After lunch, and check-in, I played a little and then Scott did a poker tournament. Usually when he plays poker, I also hang out in the room. Not that I couldn't play slots, but I was determined to rest a lot on this trip, so I did just that! Puzzles and napping . . . not a bad way to spend the first day. We also had free internet in our room, so I brought the laptop. This really made me less anxious because at least I could check in every day just to make sure all was well in Kitty Grrlz land.
One of the main reasons we go to Vegas is so that Scott can play poker. Going during this time, lots of places have tournaments that would get you into the big World Series of Poker which I think starts soon. So, he plays poker, and I play slots. The funny thing is, he tends to be very unlucky in poker (plays really well and ends up losing because someone else gets lucky on the river!) BUT he is SO LUCKY when it comes to slots!!!! He won TWO small progressive jackpots while we were there!!! They were both won on the SAME kind of machine I won on last year, and that he won on two years ago. He hit one early on so was able to do a bigger tournament as well as a couple smaller ones, and the other one later so was able to come home with it. He also gave me a little money since by the weekend I was a bit behind where I wanted to be. This also coincided with our "bum around the Strip" day. See, we usually stay downtown, but always venture up to the Strip at least once. We went to the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood (our favorite buffet), and then went to a couple casinos. We weren't really feeling it, though.
BUT, before we had left that morning (this was Sunday), I made a couple bets on the NASCAR race that was happening that day. Scott noticed that Joey Logano's odds were crazy - 80 to 1! - so we bet on him. A $5 bet. I usually do lots of these sports bets before we go - I take all the crazy long shots on football and hockey, and a few on baseball and basketball. The thing is, the last two years I haven't had money to make the bets. It always becomes one of those, "If I win, I'll make some sports bets." Of all the crazy sports bets I've ever made, I've not won a single one of them. Oh, I've come close - I had the Rays last year for the World Series and have also had teams bet on for the superbowl get as close as the playoffs. But, no winnings.
Until NOW! Joey Logano actually WON that race and I finally won a long-shot sports bet!!!! Woohoo!!! Thank you, Joey Logano, and Mother Nature (since rain definitely played a factor in the victory.)
That win really helped as then I was able to get through the last few days way ahead of my "daily limit" and thus also came home with money!! In my opinion, any time you can come back from Vegas with money in your pocket, you win!
I also have to thank Elvis and Star Wars! Those last couple days, I played alot of Star Wars - they have different machines and I was playing the one for the first movie, and it was doing things I've never seen before - hitting 5 of a kind all over the place! I think I got more out of that machine than I got from the sports bet!
With slots, if we stay disciplined, we have a system. Start with a certain amount, if you win and get over what you started with, cash out, pocket the winnings and put the original amount back in. IF you keep winning (which i was doing for awhile), you WILL come out ahead - or at least even - because you are still always working off of that original amount, with the "winnings" pocketed.
The thing is knowing when to stop. Unfortunately, I was chasing a bit by the end, so didn't end up with as much as I could have, but still feel I ended up ahead.
Then, there was Elvis. One of our favorite places downtown is this little corner slot place called Mermaids. They have girls out front in tropical costumes, and they give you beads as you walk in. They also have the most attentive waitresses - if you want to drink, go to Mermaids. We are usually barely through the door before they are there asking if you want anything. This can be a bad thing, though, as sometimes the goal is to NOT drink. They also have .99 hot dogs and deep-fried twinkies and oreos! They are also the only place left downtown (I think) that has slot machines that actually take and give coins! There is just something so cool about the sound of hundreds of quarters cascading out of a machine!! We also like it, because it can take up more time - cash out and feed those coins in one by one! Anyways, there was an ELVIS machine there that seemed to be doing pretty well, hitting a lot of the bonuses and just paying out alot. Usually, though, there was someone playing it, except for the last day. We finally got a chance to sit down at it. I put in 3 quarters for a max-bet spin and got the bonus right away! By the time I was done I won at least $200 on that machine alone. Once it started to slow down on the bonuses, though, I had to stop.
A few more comments on Mermaids - I do love it, but prefer it during the day. At night it can get a little crowded/rowdy and really loud. My favorite time for Mermaids is mid-day and early afternoon. And, another reason we like it is because they remember us - the waitresses know what we want and the manager even recognizes us from year to year. Early on, we were even mistaken for locals, which I kind of like. It has a lot more "corner bar" feel to it than "tourist strip" and that is what I prefer.
It's probably why I like downtown/Fremont Street in general better than the Strip. The Strip can just be so huge and intimidating and sometimes crowded. And, since we do tend to go in the summer when it is so hot (100+ degrees every day we were there, I think), downtown is nice since you are almost always walking in casinos or under the Fremont Street Experience canopy (that's the light show - this summer they are doing a 60s theme and also had a Michael Jackson tribute up. the only one we watched, though, was the "American Pie" one since that is one of my favorite songs!)
Anyways, we capped off the week with a bit of Pai Gow Poker. We had sat in on the Craps and Pai Gow Poker free lessons the first day we were there, but then never ended up playing either, until that last day. We played a bit, but didn't do very well. I may play a little more next time we go, though, just because it is something different than slots.
We ended up leaving for the airport sooner than usual as neither of us really wanted to spend or lose any more money. We got there 4 hours before our flight!?! It was a long 4 hours since we were both exhausted and just wanted to be home. But, before we knew it, we were on the plane getting our fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies! (Seriously, I love that they do this and I know it's just 2 cookies, but it is way better than peanuts!) Our flight arrived half an hour early and we were home by 6am. Bug sure was happy to see us, and while I am *definitely* happy to be home, I'm also not quite ready to get back to reality. I've got a few things I'm going to try and do the next couple of days, but I probably won't get back to my "regular" schedule until Sunday or Monday.
Look for new yarns to start appearing in my etsy shop on Monday, hopefully!
In the meantime, though, I am extending my shipping specials and sale sections through the holiday weekend as part of the Fourth of July Sale on etsy.
Kitty Grrlz Hand Spun Yarns - SALE SECTION HERE
Kitty Grrlz Hand Knit Items - SALE SECTION HERE
Plus, Free Shipping in the USA and $5 International Shipping.
All specials will end on Monday, though!