The chances of all of us being home from school and work at the same time doesn't usually happen so we generally go see a movie or do something else together.
My wife suggested Park City. It's only a thirty minute drive. But, it was up and out of the city. The promise of clear blue sky sounded good. And then she remembered the Sundance Film Festival. That place would be packed. Wall to wall people and bumper to bumper cars. It would be like going to the post office on tax day or hitting the liquor store on New Year's Eve kind of packed. Black Friday all over again. Thanks but, no thanks.
And then we thought we could run to Idaho, and maybe pick up a powerball ticket, and maybe get lucky and maybe be winners. But, we've been doing that for twelve years and I think the most we've ever won at one time was $7.00 dollars. We've done that a few times. We have never collected any of that money. We spend more than that on gas getting there and back. It is a nice drive, but we are not powerball winning kind of people. We are powerball losers. Even in the 25 years I lived in Idaho before I moved out here I never won any money.
"What about Wendover?" My wife asked. The girls jumped up and down as though they had just been told they were going to Disneyland. "Yes, Wendover!" They screamed.
I was reluctant from the start. Spending almost two hours in the car driving anywhere was not something I was anxious to do. On Monday, all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and do nothing. It was already past noon before we even left the house. And as I've mentioned in the past, getting from point A to point B always takes us a while. We had to drop off some movies, pick up a prescription and go see a notary and sign some papers. These were all my things that we were doing and I wasn't really in the mood. Mostly because I have just been moody lately.
So...several minutes after 1 o'clock we pulled out of Salt Lake and drove through the dense smog that covered the valley. I'm pretty sure the smog followed us all the way to Wendover and stopped a few miles away from the border. Now if you are not from this area you are probably asking yourself, "What's Wendover?" Wendover lies on the western border of Utah. There are two Wendovers actually. Wendover, Utah and Wendover, Nevada. If you ever go there you want to be on the Nevada side. It is a little tiny Las Vegas. Another town that never sleeps.
I was not excited about going to Wendover. In fact, you might say I was in a foul mood. The plan was to drive for an hour and fifty minutes and to go have lunch. In a casino. With children. How was that going to work? I needed at least 3 hours.
So my wife took the girls to lunch and gave me $30.00 dollars and 30 minutes. I could do this. I could play on a dollar a minute.
The very first machine I stopped at felt right. Storm Chaser. I fed the machine a twenty and I watched as it racked up 2000 credits. I then played all twenty lines. Warming up I played a penny a line and then moved up to 2 cents. And then I played ten cents after I hadn't hit for a while. I was pretty elated when I hit the bonus round on a two dollar bet. This machine does all this free spinning stuff and slowly adds up as it plays out a bunch of free spins. Now twice this past week my math has been lousy. First, I thought I was 48 when I was actually 47. I really thought that I was a year away from 50. Fortunately my wife realized that I was only 47 and a reader commented to confirm it.
So I'm sitting there watching these tornados spin on the bonus round and I hit four Storm Chasers in a row. I have no idea what the pay off is for that or what line I'm even on and getting paid for. I just know that the number of credits I won was 100,000 and something. Cool! I tell myself, you just won a hundred dollars. But, what I didn't realize was that I was counting wrong. If I had won a hundred dollars, I would have had 10,000 credits. So feeling somewhat excited at the prosperity of winning $100 dollars I proceed to take some risks and started betting the maximum bet here and there and eventually I had taken my 100,000 plus credits down to 88,000. Now I tell myself I am going to quit when I get one more bonus round. Which happened right about then and the tornados started to spin and spin and spin for a good five minutes on a maximum bet. I don't even recall what I won on that play but it took me well above 100,000 credits. So I cashed out my game as promised. Cool! I tell myself again. You still have your hundred dollars. When the machine spit out my voucher and the receipt read $1,116 dollars and so many cents I still didn't get it. I was still back in credit land thinking that's code for a $116.00. So I take my voucher to the money exchange thing on the floor and I feed the voucher into it. And as I'm looking at the figure $1,116.00 slide into the machine upside down it starts to hit me. Did I just win a large sum of money? And just as the voucher is whisked away into the machine I felt it. My heart was moving.
By now my heart was really thumping and I'm thinking thank goodness I'm on these beta-blockers right now because I know my heart is pumping overtime. So I wait for the machine to spit out the money I just won and I pull it out and do the little palming hiding thing so as not to flash my big $100.00 bill (if that is in fact what I just won) and start counting hundred dollar bills. And there are 1, and 2, and 3 and then I stop with the hiding thing and put it away real fast. As you can imagine by now I am pretty excited and I'm thinking to myself, the next time Lois says let's drive to Wendover just go with it. Don't act like a big baby.
I went back to the restaurant and I must have been visibly glowing because Lois and the girls noticed my change of mood immediately. I gave Lois my winnings and she shoved it in her purse and off she went for a half hour. I sat there with the girls and I'll be damn if I didn't have the best lunch ever. It was a pleasant surprise to see a little extra money was going to help pay off some bills and buy me more beta-blockers.