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    Sunday, December 31, 2023

    Don't Dream It's Over

    Realizing tonight is New Year's Eve, and I that get some sort of a fresh start with 2024 tomorrow, I thought it would be good to bang out this final post for this trip, and leave this year behind me.

    The trip was not just a vacation, not just a Vegas trip, but a whole lot more. It was a coping mechanism, a pilgrimage, a ritual, a way of saying goodbye to places that meant so much to the Quad Queen and I, and by extension, a way of saying goodbye to her, of acknowledging that those days are done.

    It was absolutely the right thing to go to Vegas for Christmas.

    I got to see some old friends that knew Karen well, and some staff that knew Karen well. Breaking the news to them was extremely difficult, but I'm learning that facing and going through each of these difficult things is required in order to move along in the healing process.

    It was also a good idea to blog the trip. People seem to enjoy reading my dreck, and it is really good mental exercise and relaxation for me. It's also work. It keeps me out of the casino each morning. It keeps my mind off what happened to Karen. (Well, except when I'm writing about that very thing.)

    Did I have fun in Vegas? I sure did! I had some glorious success on stupid video keno! After 7 days I was even and then I started to get sick. (The sore lungs were the start of some sort of virus.) I think that threw me off my game, somewhat, but even so, losing $600 over 9 days is quite respectable.

    One day I asked Karen, how many times can we go to Vegas? She said, "As many times as you want". We agreed 100 trips would be enough for a lifetime. Well, she made it to 60 some trips.

    And I don't regret any of them, given where I am in life now.

    Sometimes I would wonder when would the last trip be, would I know? I used to think about this upon departure.

    That last trip with Karen, I pretty much knew it would be her last. And I was right, sad to be right, but it finally happened.

    In Vegas, I did a lot of grieving. In my room, at random times, I would just talk out loud, asking nobody, "How can this be? Are you really gone? How is this fucking possible??? How can you not be here?"

    And of course, there was never any (audible) answer. Sometimes I'd cry, sometimes just a little, sometimes a lot, and the tiniest portion of my being would move from the 'this can't have happened' side to the 'this did happen, she's really gone' side.

    I remember after one win on Keno ($500 I think), I just stayed calm. I played to an even amount, cashed out, and headed up to the room.

    And I walked in, closed the door, swung my fist and jumped up and let out a huge YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I mention this so you know, yes, it wasn't all waaa waaa waaa poor me, part of it was celebratory and invigorating, and yes, those emotions in me are not completely snuffed out. I'm still able to have fun. All it takes is a boatload of hundies.

    I got back two nights ago, loaded up with over the counter meds, and slept well. The next day, I knew I truly was ill. I just hung around and watched TV and did the minimum.

    Today I felt a lot better. And I felt something else. A kind of peace. And a state of relaxation. I haven't felt this in a long, long time.

    There are a lot of emotional hurdles you have to overcome when you lose someone you love. The first this. The first visit to some place. The first encounters with your close people. They all trigger that horrible, horrible emotional pain that I am so tired of.

    But I've been back to Flusherville, I've been back to our house there, seen my family, seen my friends from the plant there, dealt with the paperwork. And now I've been to Vegas, to all the places where we had so, so much - well, not just fun, but LIFE. So much life!

    With those hurdles crossed, maybe I am a few steps closer to some kind of peaceful existence. I'm no fool, I know this is really going to be heavy for a number of years, and will continue for the rest of my days in one way or another. Muted, but there. But the memories will become happy ones, not triggering ones. I'll see a photo and I'll think, oh man, was that a great day.

    I just have to get there somehow. I've been through so much this year that I know I can do just about anything this hard.

    I also recognize that I'm not alone. So many of you have reached out and shared your own losses, grief, sadness. And I ache for you. This is part of life. It's all around us. I'm not special. I'm just hurting and doing what needs to be done, just like all of you out there.

    The main difference is that I'm able to make typey-typey about it.

    Now about the details of the trip and the wrap-up.

    I had a lower budget this trip, and I took a lower daily budget, sometimes $200, sometimes $300 if playing where there were good machines.

    Video poker sucked for me. I would usually start with VP and when over half my money was gone, I'd switch to video keno and win it back. This happened over and over (Thank you to whoever was helping me with that).

    Sure I had a few quads, and about 3 straights flush, but no real VP success. Well, I had a few $100 hands, but I think that was the most I won.

    But look at these keno hits!

    That's for taking away my Super Times Pay, Fremont!

    And now, the nitty gritty.

    Out of pocket costs were about $1,700. Comps received were $2,135.

    I also received lots and lots of ko-fis and donations to support the blog. Thank you one and all! 'Preciate you 'Preciate you 'Preciate you!

    I've certainly had worse trips than that. Not too shabby.

    Well, I guess that about wraps this one up.

    In a few months I'll post that reallllllllly old trip report from like ancient times.

    After that... I just don't know what happens. I suppose I'll check in from time to time here so you can hear how it's going.

    Until then, stay savvy, and get Royals - apparently I can't anymore!

    Here's to a better year next year. From Flusher to you, from one Vegas pilgrim to another, have a Happy New Year.



    Friday, December 29, 2023

    In 1814 We Took A Little Trip

    Day 9 Part 2 Thursday Dec 28, 2023 and I arrived at Orleans, got my room forthwith, and decided on Chinese for lunch.

    Oddly, coincidentally, astonishingly, and I can't stress this enough, I got the room 1814. And now all I can think of is "The Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton.

    The Orleans is a lot bigger than it looks, some 1,800 plus rooms. I assume they all looked as 'gumbo jumbalaya shabby chic' as Battle Central 1814. It looks like they barely spent a french quarter on the decor.

    For some reason, known only to the El Cortez and the Orleans, the showers have windows in them.

    Good and different views from up here.

    I headed down to Ondori, the Chinese / Sushi place. For some reason the service was extremely slow. Like 45 minutes slow. And my food, although tasty, was mostly room temperature.

    Can nobody in Vegas produce a fucking hot meal out of a wok???

    Kung Pau chicken, spring roll, and fried rice, lunch special, around $15. It tasted good enough. But I'm sick of the half-assed restaurant experiences.

    Oh, hey, let me rephrase that. I've faced headwinds on my Vegas tribute trip dining journey

    It was around 2:18 pm approximately and my Keno game was done. I spent roughly 2 hours getting to the D and back to pick up my winnings of $17 and change.

    An absolute blowout. I put the money into admin to offset the illicit twenty from Wynn in the morning.

    So now, back at Orleans, I got parked, got my suitcase up to the room, and figured out what to do.

    My throat is still super irritated and I have this horrid dry cough. I wore a mask to the casino, and sat in the two rows of non-smoking machines (completely useless), and played.

    It was awful. I did try to go big on some of the play, and this was the extent of any success I had.

    It all just felt wrong. It wasn't fun. It was angering me. I wish I had left Vegas 2 days ago - I actually wanted to.

    The last $60 went into Stupid Buffalo Degeneration and I got no bonus. I never get a bonus. The people getting these bonuses all the time must be pouring in hundreds to get them.

    Half an hour, down $200, and that's it, the gambling done for this trip.

    Karen really loved the burgers at TGI Fridays (and we had some good ones) so I had a tribute burger and it was shitty. I ordered it medium well and it came grey and dry. At least it was hot.

    The server is never there to ask how the food is when it could make a difference. I'd already waited half an hour for a table, and I have to get up early tomorrow (like 5:30 am) and I don't have time to fuck around on my tribute burger journey.

    I pointed it out, and the server was really sweet about it, but I said I don't really want anything else, I've already eaten half. I just thought you should know.

    It sure looked good on the plate.

    So I'm finishing down $600 on the trip. It's pretty good for 9 days in Vegas, and I got tons of comps to offset it.

    I'll do a post after I get back to the Greacey Palms to do the comp math spin that will show I actually came out ahead, somehow.

    I don't like it when trips end with terrible play, anger, losses, and frustration, but that's the truth of it. I've had to face a lot of hard truths in the last two years, and I'm getting good at it.

    In days gone by, I would have been taking a stake of $500 or $600 on the last day (and sometimes on all days), trying to catch a hail Mary.

    My savvy nature prevailed this trip, and my daily budget was often $200 - which makes it hard to get through the low spots, but overall it worked out. And I stuck to that $200 today, so yay savvy me for not making the trip a horrible loser by going nuts on the last day.

    The battle of Orleans is over, and I lost.

    In my next post, I'll wrap up and jot down what this experience meant, how it went, how I felt about things, and that sort of crap - and yes, the accounting spin, don't forget that.

    More to come!

    To 1814 we took a little trip

    With a wallet full of Jackson's down the mighty Mississip'

    We took a little bacon and we took a little beans

    And we caught the bloody tap out in Casino Orleans

    Jardin Me

    Day 9 Part 1 Thursday Dec 28, 2023 and it's my last morning at Wynn. One more day of vacation, then I get back to retirement.

    Sounds pretty good, but I think I should partly unretire and get a job this summer. Maybe Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer will take me back as a Senior Grommet Inspector.

    I slept well and woke at 6:00 am again, but I've got irritated lungs and a nasty cough. It's not from illness, it's from smoke. Where I was sitting last night, cigarette smoke was wafting overtop of the machines and I stayed in it too long.

    My poor lungs are crying for mercy, so I took a shower, took them out, gave them a good rinse and wrung them out. They're good as new.

    Since I gave feedback to server and manager at Terrace Pointe, I couldn't go back there again. Readers have suggested Jardin, so I headed there for breakfast to use the remainder of my resort credit comp. I arrived right at opening.

    It's a beautiful room, and I was led to a small table next to the kitchen entrance, alongside the ramp, with a view of the waiting area.

    The Single Lonely Diner table par excellence.

    I chose to sit the other way and be exposed to the business of the staff.

    As a Single Lonely Diner, I didn't mind too much. We second class patrons should be glad to have a table at all in such a busy establishment. After all, I really should be eating at the bar for maximal revenue per square ass, staring at a TV showing football highlights, and answering penetrating questions from the 'tender such as, "...Where ya from?"

    When faced with such cross-examination, I like to say I was born and raised in Chicago, and then argue that one can get a perfectly authentic deep dish pizza outside of Chicago.

    My experience at Jardin was quite pleasant. The service was good, people addressed me directly, and the breakfast was hot and delicious. The sausages were cuttable in spite of their natural casing. And of course, the coffee was really good, as it is throughout Wynn.

    Any any jam that comes in its own cute, tiny little jar is gonna be good, you just know it.

    It was a great start to the day, and erased the sour feeling I'd had the day before.

    As a favor to the staff for letting me watch them tend to the hive, buzzing in and out and in and out like pollen-laden worker bees, I left the restaurant promptly, without lingering over my coffee.

    Well done, Jardin!

    No way was I going to do any gambling at Wynn, after the debacle yesterday. So I only played a twenty from admin money that nobody needs know about. (Got nothing.)

    It was a beautiful day in Vegas today. I had to cash in my Keno ticket at the D at some point, except there will still some games left (and it wasn't looking good).

    I had to check out of Wynn, so I set about getting packed up and hauled ass out of there about 10:45.

    The checkout total was a breath of cheap air - only $17 and change for 3 nights at Wynn.

    Where to now?

    I had a second go at planespotting and found a place to park where the planes landing on runway 26R go right overhead. I had a fun time trying to get some decent pictures of them - it's surprisingly difficult with just a cell phone.

    Geeky? Yes. Boring? To most. Cheap? Now you get the point.

    I also parked at the official observation area at the side of the runway, but they are doing construction there and it was hard to see.

    Next stop, the Orleans, where I figured I could check in, and get my $75 food credit happening for lunch.

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