He comes home a winner (Las Vegas, Day 2)

Yesterday was a long day and today felt even longer. You already know that yesterday (Sunday) started at about 6 AM for me, when I headed to the gym for a light workout (arms and shoulders). Well, eventually, Jen and Jason got up and we all scrambled off to First Breakfast. I had a massive waffle with a hunk of whipped cream the size of a softball on it. After breakfast, we went back to the room, but with Doug still sound asleep, we figured we needed to be elsewhere.

We went to the pool. At 9 AM, with the flower of youth still asleep in their swinish slumbers (see “Doug” above), the average age of poolside attendees coincides with the outdoor temperature. We three therefore brought the overall temperature down a degree or two. We sat in the sun for a while and then Jen felt it necessary to move into the shade where we discovered a new smell. It wasn’t pleasant. Mom and Dad, who had hiked their way across the city in search of a specific, rare bean of coffee finally made it to the pool, and since 10 AM was rapidly approaching, we felt it was time enough for Doug to get up and for all of us to head out for Second Breakfast.

Doug was still sleeping when we got up to the room and after 10 minutes or so, he’d managed to finally wake up. We packed up our things, checked out of the room, and moved everything to Mom and Dad’s room, which had the exact smell one would imagine to find if you were locked in a closet with a dirty ashtray. No one else seemed to mind so I didn’t press the point. We headed off to Paris to have brunch at a place whose name slips my mind, but whose, eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast linger in my memory as tasty. The service at the restaurant was debatable, depending on who you talk to. Doug would say the service was fine. Dad would say, “What service?” (Of course, Dad ordered the locks, eggs, and onion sandwich and then had them take off the locks, which are the best part. I offered to eat his locks, but they restaurant apparently uses some kind of mix and things grew extremely complicated thereafter. Still, my pink lemonade was refreshing!)

After second breakfast, we headed to MGM to see the lions. Some trainers went in to play with the lions and Doug worried over this. “What are they, nuts?” he kept repeating. He would turn to the stranger next to him, “Would you believe those guys?” he would ask incredulously. People took lots of pictures of the lions and the lion cubs. Jen spent the time in the bathroom with, what in our family we call “an attack”. It had nothing to do with the lions.

Dad had obtained tickets for he an Mom to an 8 PM comedy show featuring Robin Williams and at that moment, felt the sudden need to pick up the tickets at once nothing else would do gotta have those tickets by god! So he went to pick up the tickets and the rest of the crew headed over to New York, New York so that Jason, Doug and I could ride the roller coaster. We gave everything in our possession to Mom and Jen to hold onto for us (with the circumspect promise that they wouldn’t gamble it all away) and then we threaded our way through a noisy arcade to wait in line for the roller coaster. Only, there was no line. We nearly walked right on and although I’d been on it once before, it was still fun listening to Jason scream like a girl. I lost 50 cents somewhere on that roller coaster so that the ride actually cost me $13.

We told Mom and Jen we’d meet them at the exit, but we didn’t define what we meant by exit so there was some confusion while we sent scouts out looking for them. (One scout actually. Jason disappeared during that time, off to the men’s room with an “attack” of his own.) Jen had been wanted to go to Excalibur to find a particular slot machine and off we went. Of course, she couldn’t find the machine, but some people decided to gamble anyway. I wasn’t ready to gamble yet. Instead I gambled by proxy so that I could learn. I gave Doug $100 and told him that he could keep half of any winnings over $100. We found a $10 blackjack table and in about an hour’s time, Doug turned the $100 into about $160. I got my hundred back and we split the winnings 50/50.

By that time, Dad had gotten the Robin Williams tickets and probably some more sleep as well. We headed back to the hotel to decide what to do next. Having watched Doug play blackjack, I felt a bit more confident and said that if we could find a table together, I would play. We went out a-searching. Eventually, we found some spots at a $15 table. Doug and Mom played for a while. Mom won some, Doug lost. When Doug finished, I took his seat, put down my $100 bill and made sure he stuck around so that he could help. I was nervous and it wasn’t all that fun, to be honest. I didn’t want to lose my initial investment. I guess you have to be willing to do that if you are going to have a good time. Nevertheless, when I stepped away, after 45 minutes or so (maybe an hour, I’m not sure), I had about $135 so I came away ahead. It was my first real gambling experience and it was mildly fun, but I felt like a wreck after.

Dinner time! There was a new burger place in Paris with a fancy french name that I swear translated into something like “The Burger Bra”. That’s where we went and burgers and quesadillas were the order of the day. I couldn’t eat much, though. For some reason, I was still feeling pretty full; I think it was the stress of the gambling.

After dinner, Mom and Dad had to head off to their show, so we said goodbye. Doug headed off to the airport at about 7:30 and Jen, Jason and I headed to the airport at about 8:15 PM. We checked in at our respective airlines and then I headed over to Jen and Jason’s gate to wait with them until they left. Once their plane departed, I headed to my gate where I had a 2 hour wait. I was already tired, and worried I wouldn’t sleep on the plane, I took a Tylenol PM. Once I boarded the plane, I fell right to sleep and I actually slept most of the way home. I arrived at Dulles at about 7:30 AM and was on the road before 8:30 AM. I drove all the way up to Hunts Valley, north of Baltimore, where Balticon was being held. By the time I got there, I was pretty tired.

We packed a lot into a very short weekend trip, but Mom was surprised and it was a lot of fun. We’ll all be back together (plus three) in a month to spend 7 times as much time together on the cruise through Italy and the Greek Islands.