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Monday, April 12, 2004

Imagine feeling like your body has been folding in two and crammed into a suitcase. Yup, that’s about the sum of it. Does anyone know how much room is in the back seat of a Mustang convertible? At least with the top was down it gave the illusion of more room.

I’m sure the guys were quite comfortable being in the front seats, but all the doll and I could think about was how long it would be before we could pull over and unfold our legs.

After spending more time with the doll, I realized she has really grown on me. We have a lot in common and really get along pretty well. So I guess I will call her by her name, Desiree. She has not, however, lost her nickname, as Steve ended up carrying her back to our motel room Saturday night.

The skies were blue and after season of winter it really was a nice day. But, it was only 55 degrees so doing anything over 30 mph in a convertible is just crazy. Being a girl and always having her hair on her mind, I came prepared. I brought my favorite hooded Fashion Bug jacket. It’s so cute too, black with gray faux fir around the hood and the cuffs. We didn’t even get to the bottom of our road before I had the hood up and my pink lens sunglasses on. They all got a good laugh as not only did I looked like a very fashionable Eskimo, but Desiree, who was not as prepared, had her army jacket wrapped around her head and ended up looking like an Arab. Steve brought his camcorder, and although the whole time Earl was filming he never pressed the record button, we could at least “hear” how much fun we had.

We drove about hour and pulled into a TGI Fridays for a quick potty break and some refreshments. I knew we weren’t in Pennsylvania anymore, as the bill for 5 drinks came to $35. My forehead felt flat from the wind smacking against it for so long.

Back on the road. Soon we hit the tolls and almost instantly the temperature dropped like 10 degrees. The smell of the ocean was all too familiar. I hadn’t been near the Jersey shore in YEARS, but no one forgets the aroma of salt in the air.

Finally, just as I started to fear that I might be permanently crippled from my sitting situation, we arrived in Atlantic City. It was just like what my dad described; very gaudy. Lots of money, boy. Lots of bling bling. But how exciting! Earl and I had never been to AC before. Kinda funny too; people from all over the world are attracted to this flashy, tacky, gold city. After passing all the ritzy hotels, we pulled into our little Econo Lodge, situated right next to The Tropicana – how convenient.

This Econo Lodge was your basic depressed looking motel; had that trashy style about it. The doors to each room were addressed with dirty, crooked numbers occasionally lit with lamps drowning in dead bugs. The concrete hallways were attached to the outside and flooded with tiny lakes. The rooms had that motel soap and hospicide smell and we wondered if we should have brought a black light with us, just to be sure what we were getting ourselves into. We decided we’d rather not know.

But who spends time in their room anyway? Steve was so excited to show Earl and me everything about this town. He paid for EVERYTHING. This guy has a lot of money and he doesn’t flaunt it, he just spends it. He paid for all our food, all our drinks, and those silly little cart rides on the boardwalk. Those cart guys pushed up for 2 miles and Steve flipped ‘em a $50 like it was nothing.

We got to the Taj Mahal about 7:15 pm, so we had to hurry. We figured if the show was scheduled for 7:30, Godsmack would probably start playing around 8ish. Still we got inside in time for Ill Nino, who was amazing. I had never seen them before, and they were very, very good.

But Godsmack, they were OUTSTANDING. I had never seen anyone in concert who actually sounded better live then on a CD. They had a perfect, studio quality live performance. It was absolutely incredible. Anyone who has a chance to see them live, go! I haven’t been able to move my neck or look down since Sunday from dancing so hard, but it was the best concert I’ve been to in a long time!

For the rest of the night, Steve kept saying, “Oh my Godsmack, they were great!”

After the concert we hit the casino, which was very convenient being that it was all the same building. Earl was stuck at the black jack table because Steve kept insisting that was where the big money was. The money was there, but not for Earl. In a total of 3 hands, he lost $50. I knew he didn’t want to be at any of the tables, so I dragged him away and we all played the slot machines. I think Earl won about $70 and I didn’t win anything (which is what I was expecting as I have the worst luck). I only took $50 to play with, which was smart ‘cause once it was gone, that was it.

Later that night, Steve gave Earl a hundred dollar bill because he felt bad that Earl lost money at the black jack table. This guy is so generous. I hope to learn from him.

I felt as I was feeding quarter after quarter into these machines that it was not only hopeless, it was pointless. Why am I just sitting here giving these machines all my money? I couldn’t answer that question, but while I sat and pondered it, I just kept putting quarters down its greedy little mouth. Once in awhile, it spat 4 back to me, like it was throwing me a bone or something.

After a couple hours Desiree and I had to go find the restroom. We excused ourselves from the guys, and started out on the journey of finding the ladies room. But my feet were killing me! I HAD to take my shoes off. I walked around in my socks for the entire night in that casino, and it wasn’t until the end of the night that staff people started noticing. I was in tears telling them that my feet were throbbing - please don’t make me wear my shoes! I would put them on, walk behind a slot machine, and peel them off again.

During our search for the bathrooms, two strange guys approached us and tried to pick us up. At least that’s what I think they were trying to do as they were speaking half English and half Spanish. We kept walking away and they kept following us. The next thing I know is this little staff guy comes shooting over and was really persistent that I put my shoes on. I just starred at him as he was telling me to put my shoes on. Pretty soon, I could see his mouth moving but all that I was thinking about was why he couldn’t understand that my feet were so sore that I could hardly walk on them even in my socks, and why he didn’t notice us trying to get away from these two guys. My shoes weren’t even an issue an hour ago, but now they were more important than being bothered by two strangers. I don’t know if the staff guy was done talking to me, but I put my shoes on anyway, which just made me mad. I decided that these other two guys were an annoying nuisance, so in my mind, they were “harassing” Desiree and me. I asked the staff guy,

“Why are you bugging out over my shoes when these two guys are harassing us? Where are you priorities?”

Do you know, he didn’t care about those guys. He only cared about my shoes. Meanwhile, the two guys heard the word “harassing” and took off pretty darn fast. There was no point in arguing with the staff guy about it, and I limped away.

Finally we made it to the bathroom. That is where we meet two girls who did not look they were old enough to be in casino. As we were washing our hands, the one girl who was finishing up in the stall was talking about her $150 pair of jeans her daddy bought her, so of course we had to wait for her to come out to see this thing. She came out and I ask if these were the $150 jeans. She was proud to say they were. Funny, they were surprisingly ugly. They had funny stitching on the pockets and were really not attractive. The entire idea of someone making a pair of jeans that could cost so much was not as ridiculous as knowing someone who would actually own a pair. I had to ask her how old she was; she said 21 (umm, no). I asked her if she still lived at home and she said yes. Then I told her, in a nice sort of way, to enjoy her daddy’s wallet while she can, because if she ever has to experience life for what it really is, she would shopping at Walmart. She smiled sweetly and giggled. I don’t think she knew what a Walmart was. But if she watched The Simple Life, she would know that it was NOT where they sold wall things.

Of course after we left the bathroom, both of us had lost our bearings. And how do you describe a particular row of slot machines to someone so they can help get us back? Desiree wanted to sit down at the bar for a minute, so I told her to stay put while I went back to look for the guys. I knew I had to go up one flight on the escalator, but after that, I had no clue.

I wandered around aimlessly for almost 20 minutes. Before I knew it, I was completely lost. Every slot machine looked the same. My cell wouldn’t find a signal, and I feared no one would ever find me again. I wandered around and around. The red and purple multicolored swirled carpet and all those bells dinging from every direction only made things worse. Pretty soon I decided I better go back to Desiree. After a several rotations of running into the same escalators going up, I had to flag down a staff girl to help me. I told her I needed to get back to some bar that I left my friend at and it’s downstairs. She basically drew me a map in the air to the escalator that headed down. After that, I was on my own.

Fortunately, I was able to trace my steps once I got off the escalator. I found Desiree and suggested we go back to the motel and wait for the guys. She agreed, but neither one of us knew how to get back to the motel. We walked out the closest door and flagged down a cab. Meanwhile, she had left a mug of about $100 worth of quarters on the bar.

She just made someone’s night.

We told the driver that we needed to get to the Econo Lodge. He asked if it was the one on the beach or the boardwalk. We had no idea, but opted for which ever one is closer. He put the cab in drive, drove less than 100 feet and stopped in front of the Econo Lodge. Oh my god. How did that happen? I don’t know, but we just got a taxi to take us next door. And the driver charged us $5! You’d think he would have just pointed to the motel, but I guess that’s not how they make their money.

It was okay to laugh at something like that because for a minute, Desiree and I agreed there was no way that we could be at the right Econo Lodge, and the taxi driver was about to turn around and take us all the way down to the other one on the boardwalk, where we would have gotten out and banged on the door of room 221, only to find that we were at the wrong motel, and then have to talk a cab back to where were at now, so it was funny because that didn’t happen. At the last minute I recognized Steve’s license plate and made the taxi stop. Amazing the things you remember.

We climbed up the stairs to get to our room, hopping over the huge puddles of water. I was glad to get back to the room not just because my feet hurt so badly, but because I had to use the bathroom something fierce. It was at that moment we realized that we didn’t have the key to get in. I started doing the pee-pee dance and I knew it was only a matter of time, and we’re talk’n seconds. To make matters worse, the whole 4 second taxi ride had us both laughing until we were crying. I told Desiree that if I didn’t find a bathroom that very second I would be extremely sorry. We rounded the corner, jumping over the tiny lakes, and Desiree grabbed a huge laundry cart and rolled it next to a wall away from any light and told me to go.

If I had a choice, I would have said no thank you. But as it would seem, my choices were limited and her idea looked pretty good. After suffering from colitis for most of my life, I have very little shame when it comes to relieving myself in strange places. So, I darted behind the cart and dropped my drawers, just in time too. Desiree was standing guard, although I could hear her having a conversation with someone. I looked up only to see this kid popping his head over the cart. I can’t believe Desiree is not only shooting the shit with someone while I’m peeing, but allows him to sneak a peak.

I shout at Desiree, Who’s that and why is he watching me?

She pushes him back and I pull my pants up. At this very moment, Earl and Steve are walking down the hallway. Of course, all Earl sees is me pulling my pants up and some kid watching. I heard him say, what is my wife doing? It was all too funny. I had a hard time explaining it without laughing.

Earl replies,
“We lost you two at the casino, so we come back here knowing you have no key, and I find my wife with her drawers dropped peeing behind a laundry cart that Desiree is holding on to at the same time she us engaged in conversation some kid who’s watching the whole thing.”

I said, “Yup, that about some it up.” I was more excited to tell him about our taxi ride.

They couldn’t believe the cab story. And in the morning, Steve was kind enough to point out exactly the distance of our ride – I still can’t believe that the driver didn’t just point to the motel.

But that was what happened in the morning, it was still night time. Well actually, it was 5:30am. Earl and I collapsed on the bed and crashed hard. I think we were asleep in a matter of seconds. Steve and Desiree were not only still awake, they were ready to go out again. So they did.

When Earl and woke up in the morning, we learned that the two of them went out for a late night (rather “early morning”) snack which consisted prime rib, seafood platter, and chicken quesadillas. It was on their way back that Desiree kicked it into rag doll mood. Steve ended up carrying back to the motel. That didn’t surprise me. I was just curious how he able to carry her that far.

Luckily we had a check out time of 1 pm, which was very nice since we didn’t wake up until 12:15. We gathered our stuff and headed out into the cold, rainy Easter Sunday. I was sure that I would get car sick sitting in the back all the way home with the top up.

Everyone wanted to stop and eat somewhere, but being that it was holiday, it was hard to find a place, even in AC.

We ended up at a diner, where we all got breakfast foods. Desiree was popping airplane shots of vodka in her orange juice, praying a little hair-of-the-dog would cure her hangover. Funny how we all ordered large amounts of food, yet we were full after just a few bites. Steve felt guilty that he had won so much money when none of the rest of us had any luck. He tossed a hundred dollar bill at me and one at Desiree. He insisted that we take it as he only wanted to share in his good fortune.

How incredible was that?

Earl and I insisted that we pay the bill this time, so we pulled out the $100 Steve had just given us and took care of the bill. Steve insisted on paying the tip, but all he had were hundreds and two fives. So the waitress, who was a charming girl from Russia (I’m told AC is a popular place for Russians to settle) got a nice $10 Easter tip on a $40 bill. She brought us out a bunch of Styrofoam trays and we loaded up Steve’s trunk with leftovers. I could hardly climb into that back seat after such a night. My knees felt shot and my feet still hurt.

Finally we were ready to go, when instead of backing out of the parking spot, Steve pulled forward and ran over the cement block in the parking lot. Remember, not only are we four people in a Mustang, but it’s a very recent purchase of Steve’s so he was pretty upset. Desiree and I just look at each other. I could only envision the four of us standing in the rain lifting a Mustang up and over a concrete block. But we were told to stay in the car. Earl got out and stood on the block while Steve slowly backed back over it. Horrible scrapping sounds of metal on concrete made us all quiver. Fortunately, the car and the tire seemed fine and Steve was all happy again.

Well the car got us home. 10 minutes before we would have been at our house, Desiree insisted that we stop at Wendys so she could use the rest room. All I keep thinking was,
Come onnn. We’re almost hommmeeeee. But after my potty experience the night before, I knew, when you have to go, you have to go. So we stopped briefly and then within minutes we were being dropped off up in front of our house.

At last! Nothing like being home, being in your own shower, being in your own bed.

We had arranged to have someone take care of the dogs. But the last visit was hours ago, and the dogs had plenty of time to get into trouble. Earl and I walked in the door only to find they had dragged down the crock pot that we had cooked a ham in right before we left. Although the ham was safe and sound in the fridge, the ham bone and juice was still pot – our bad. So I had a lovely mess of juice to clean up, from both the ham and from their hinnies.

I was so happy that the whole trip was pleasant and we had a great time. I was even happier that I didn’t forget or loose anything….

… So I thought. It wasn’t until I went to take out my contacts and hop in the shower that I realized – I could not find my glasses. I had only worn them once. It was earlier that morning when I woke up. I feared that I had left them on the sink at the motel when I put my contacts back in. After I looked everywhere possible, I called Steve and left a message on his voice mail to check his trunk and their bags. I also called the motel. They told me to call today when house keeping comes in.

So here it is today, my neck is still sore and I have to wear my contacts at work, which is awful since I can hardly stand to look at my monitor after just a few minutes. I have my bottle of saline though and have been drowning my eyes every hour. I called the motel and they did not find any glasses. So either the maid had the same prescription as me (in which I feel for her) and kept them, or I didn’t leave them there.

I’m still waiting for Steve to call. I can only hope he found them, but I’m not counting on it. I’m giving him one more hour, and then I’m calling the eye doctor to make an appointment. You see, it isn’t as simple as just getting a new pair because I haven’t had a check up in two years and the doctor will make me come in. Then you have to go pick out the frames and wait for them to be made. I am not looking forward to this.

Always my luck - just when I have taxes, car insurance, and everything else in the world due.

As Earl reminds me, the lenses were scratched and the frames were wobbly, but I loved those glasses. I feel naked and lost with out them. With my luck, they don’t even make that brand any more.

Steve wants to go back to AC on the 30th. Earl has already accepted. Steve already has a room reserved at the Borgata (which is a major step up from the Econo Lodge). I have never been in a nice hotel like that. I bet they even have bathrooms on the ground floor. They better; I’m sure their hallways are carpeted. Guess I’ll find out in a couple of weeks. I’m sure I’ll find something to blog about in the meantime.