May 18, 2009

Triple digits

Yesterday was the hottest day so far this year, what do we do? Yardwork. Frank trimmed all the palms and trees in the backyard. I was the clean up crew. We have a large pile for the garbagemen to take and another massive pile on the side of the house that we'll slowly put out to the curb each garbage day. We can't overwhelm the garbagemen, otherwise they won't take any of it. The trees look taller and nicely manicured. After another day or two tending to the vines and fallen leaves, the backyard will be set for summer.

Even though we worked all day it still felt like a leisurely Sunday. We dipped in the pool regularly to keep cool. The water temp has been great, we've been able to maintain 82 degrees with ease.

It definitely feels like summer has arrived. And I love it! We've been grilling everyday. The other night we took the Firebird out and cruised out to the Hoover Dam. That bypass project is extraordinary. Between that and the dam, both are sights to be seen. The drive was great, there's nothing better than cruising with the t-tops off and feeling that warm breeze across your face.

On the way back from the dam we visited an old friend, the Skyline Casino on Boulder Hwy. Before we moved, every vacation we'd hit the Skyline for dinner. They had the best deal in town, a 20oz porterhouse steak with baked potato and salad bar for $4.95. They had the best dinner rolls, too. I can't tell you how often Frank and I sat in our Lansing (IL) apartment wishing we could dig into the Skyline steak dinner. I think we even booked a trip or two as a result. Then, after we moved, we drove clear across town regularly for that steak special, the price went up a couple bucks over the years, but it was still a great deal. We'd hang out while waiting for a table or after dinner and play $2 blackjack or try our luck at slots and video poker. Usually we'd break even. It was surefire goodtime. About a year later, the casino started sprucing itself up, I think it changed hands... the porterhouse special was replaced by some shitty hunk'o meat and they raised the price another dollar. The value was gone. It was no longer worth the drive clear across town.

It's been four or five years since we've been back. Frank convinced me to stop in and play. We walked through the doors and not a thing has changed. Smoke still filled the air, coins, yes, actual coins dropped out of machines - it was music to my ears. Full pay video poker was plentiful and there was one $3 blackjack table. Frank hit four of a kind on Double Bonus, his jackpot dropped one quarter at a time filling the slot bucket. He didn't even need a hopper fill, he was a winner twofold. Next we played Joker Poker with the double up option. We LOVED the double up feature, years ago, we played for hours at Treasure Island and Sahara. The extra gamble was always fun. All in all, we had an enjoyable time visiting our old friend. It reminded me of a time when things were simpler - maybe the were, maybe they weren't, but it was nice to recall old memories; and see not everything changes, although, it's too bad that 20oz porterhouse dinner isn't still around.

From the Skyline we drove up to the Eastside Cannery. It was one casino opening we missed since living here. We're not out that way often so I suggested we check it out. Frank made bets for the Preakness then we tried our luck with slots, video poker and keno. There was no luck to be had, in fact I witnessed the poorest luck I've ever seen. Frank sat down at a penny slot, he played ten dollars and barely hit any paylines, eventually losing it all. Then, he moved to the machine right next to it and spun over and over again without a single win until his ten dollars was gone. Usually they throw you bone and you'll get at least one bet back, but not this time, he won zero credits. We lost another $20 playing keno and then hightailed it out of there. The casino is just like the original Cannery. Just another casino, it doesn't offer anything I can't get close to home. The only chance we'd go back was to cash in Frank's Preakness bets, but those tickets were losers. We won't be back.

We headed back home after that, it wasn't long before the grumpiness from our losses was replaced with joy from that warm breeze gently dancing across our faces as we passed the neon and city lights. Oh yeah, summer has arrived.

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