Tag Archives: gambling

Sleepless in Vegas

I returned from my Vegas girls trip almost a week ago, and I’m finally starting to feel like I am catching up on sleep and running on full capacity again. I have a bad tendency to maximize vacations. This means flying back home at midnight and still heading into work the next morning so as not to lose out on a minute of precious vacation time. (Pretty much how I live my life, rushing from one activity to the next.) Even with the vacation hangover, every exhausted moment I am paying for it is well worth it.

Stormy expected me to find blog inspiration in Vegas. At least she was hoping. I have been a little behind on my writing. My inspiration, and time, has run short—and it was even shorter with a vacation looming. For some reason, taking time off means working twice as hard before you leave and again once you get back. (In actuality, you don’t really get time off from work but just the same amount of work crowded into fewer days.)

Smiling for four days straight!

Smiling for four days straight!

So Stormy … I didn’t find any great Vegas inspiration (nor, admittedly, did I try) but I did full-heartedly enjoy it and lived in the moment for four straight days. Though, I have recovered enough to at least recap why I think Vegas is always a great vacation pick-me-up and well worth the week-long recovery (being 45 might play a part in my long recovery time, I used to bounce back quicker).

I know there are those who don’t love Vegas. For example, Stormy isn’t as sold on it as me. But I suggest you pack your bags, invite a couple of girlfriends and give it another try. If nothing else, you will be forced to live in the moment and be distracted from reality by the continual stimulation. Some of my favorite things about Sin City include:

The Sun – You don’t have to spend a full day traveling to find some much-needed sun. And once you are on your beach chair, being served your tropical drink of choice, Vegas feels as far away as a Caribbean resort. (And, if you preferPalazzo sand versus pool, you can always book Mandalay Bay.)  Lounging at the Palazzo pool being served pitchers of cucumber vodka lemonades is where is where we spent our days. No matter how late we got to bed, every morning we dragged ourselves out to soak up every minute of the sun. Another surprise benefit of Vegas was that by the fourth day we were too tired from sleepless nights to walk around with our stomachs held in or analyze our body flaws highlighted in swim suits. We just lazed in the sun without a care.

Gambling – I am not a High Roller and usually allot “entertainment” money that I am willing to lose, factoring in drinks are free when you gamble. None of us had illusions of hitting it big or plans to spend too much time at the tables. But, we did all enjoy the craps table. With some lucky rolling from all of us, our “entertainment” money (including tips we earned from the actual High Rollers at the table who were benefiting from our luck) kept us rolling all night.  In the casino is also where we discovered the strange passage of time in Vegas. One of us would look at our phone and realize hours had passed, that it was almost morning, and herd us all upstairs. Each day, exhausted, we would tell each other it wouldn’t happen again. Each night it did.

Adult Disneyland – Everyone is happy in Vegas. Sure, it seems a little corrupt and not the most wholesome of attractions. But how often do you gather with so many people who just let go and have fun? One night was dancing. One night was a show (if you’re not offended easily, “Absinthe” is incredible – I have never

A naughty puppet show ...

A naughty puppet show …

... amazing acts

… amazing acts

laughed so hard and out loud along with an entire crowd). One night was spent being tourists as we visited the dancing fountains, erupting volcanoes, and Chandelier bar. There truly is something for everyone and always something going on. You are surrounded by the best in shopping and food. I think there is even golf, if you like that sort of thing. No matter what your activity of choice is, everyone around you is also in a good mood and enjoying themselves a bit too much also.

Looking at the list above doesn’t do my trip justice. It is tough to explain just why you should go to Vegas:

So, to my lovely traveling companions: my sisters and “adopted” sister (the adoption happened on the dance floor and involved a Wild Turkey shot), I look forward to our new yearly excursion. I know a trip with the right people is incredible anywhere. But being in just the right atmosphere, Vegas, was the topping on the cake. Plus in Vegas, there seems to be more hours in the day to enjoy!

But next time, I may be willing to give up the 4:00 am nights at the crap table in lieu of just a little more sleep. I came home and had a childlike meltdown my first evening back, when I couldn’t get my daughter to prance nicely off to bed upon my request. I was dying to go to sleep myself. And as I melted down, I caught the wide-eyed stares of my children, frozen so as not to fuel the rage any more. So though I may not have found a Vegas inspiration, I did find insight into the irrational mind of a tired tantruming child. Maybe I will be more understanding the next time I keep them up late for fun and am punished for it later.

Stormy, I think you should give Las Vegas another shot!

 

 

 

 

What would you do with 1/53 of a fortune? A whole lotto stuff!

lotteryThree weeks ago, unbeknownst to me, the Powerball jackpot reached $600,000,000. This is a lot of dough. However, not being much of a gambler, I wasn’t aware of the hype surrounding the potential payout until a coworker mentioned she was collecting $20 from anyone who wanted to go in on tickets. I just laughed and shook my head.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I will let it be known that I have been known to bet on things in the past. Generally speaking, I’ll bet on things like which artist recorded a one-hit wonder or what movie actor started a career on which sit-com. Smarty-pants bets, with the common thread being my desire to prove I know more than my opponent does of matters about which nobody really cares. Often I win, because I have a surprising memory for trivial facts. Occasionally, I lose and have to eat a well-deserved piece of humble pie.

“Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.”

Pope John XXIII 

However, I rarely partake in institutional gambling—where it’s simply a matter of me trying to beat the odds against a corporate entity, state government or Native American tribe. I know this type of gambling wouldn’t exist if the house didn’t have the advantage, so it’s easy for me to pass by a slot machine or blackjack table. In fact, during my last trip to Vegas (for work), I didn’t so much as plug the penny slots.

Yet, I was surprised by my reaction to my coworker’s invitation to participate in the pool. Not because I was passing up a bet, but because I wasn’t that enticed by what should have been a tempting jackpot. I realized, much to my astonishment, that I actually have pretty much everything I need—and the remaining things I most desire can’t be purchased with a gambler’s winnings.

This hasn’t always been the case. For many years I thought most of my problems could be solved with more money. Lack of an education? Money for tuition. Lemon of a car? Money for a new one. Lousy job? Seed money for starting my own business. Etc., etc. However, after slowly finishing school and building my career, I now have little debt, a comfortable nest egg, and money for small luxuries and occasional big ones. When I realized how far I’ve come, I felt a sense of accomplishment. At the same time I was concerned: Was my Powerball apathy a sign of depression? Could I seriously not figure out a way to spend millions of dollars?

All around me coworkers fell under the spell of the potential jackpot and ponied up their $20. Even the president joined in. Jokes were made about what a ghost town the office would be on Monday when everyone simultaneously quit. Although I like my job, I eventually succumbed to peer pressure—the jackpot wasn’t the incentive, but holding down the fort as one of the few “left behind” was not an appealing thought.

In the end, 53 individuals joined together to increase their odds of winning by a miniscule degree. And when I challenged myself to consider what I’d do with 1/53rd of the winning jackpot, I actually came up with a few enticing ideas:

  1. We could move to a really nice, one-level house that would make life easier for my husband as his Parkinson’s progresses.
  2. I’ve always wanted a shiny convertible.
  3. I could invest in my brother’s restaurant.
  4. I’d pay more of my kids’ college tuition/student loans.
  5. I’d buy a vacation home in a warm location that all of my extended family could share.
  6. I’d also enjoy being able to offer greater financial support to my favorite causes.
  7. And finally, a month in Bora Bora would make next winter much more tolerable (yes, Barbigrrrl, I’d take you with me).
This seems like a good spot to ride out the Minnesota winter!

Whaddayathink? This looks like a good spot to wait out my next Minnesota winter!

I’ll admit that I didn’t really give the lottery a second thought after I dove into the pool, but that’s okay. It’s no secret that we didn’t win, but I didn’t have a shred of disappointment. I decided I was already pretty lucky—I have everything I really need and my imagination is still intact. 🙂