Friday, September 21, 2012

Week 18... High Fives, Smiles, & Frowns


This week, I want to share with you my story of our trip last weekend to our "Home away from Home," our favorite (only because it's the closest) casino, L'auberege du lac Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Where high fives, smiles, and frowns are the norm.

Casino time for Donna and I is always a special time because there is nothing more than we like doing better than contributing to the Louisiana State General Fund.  Heck, we should be allowed to vote in the upcoming elections in Louisiana, based on our contributions over the years to the "General Fund."

Having said that, I want to preface this story by making it very clear that on any size scale, Donna and I are to be considered "small-time" gamblers.  Yes, we do love to go as often as is possible.  But, we will never be confused with "High Rollers."  Have we been lucky?  Absolutely.  Have we been snake-bit?  You better believe it!!!  But, on any level, when your Roulette number hits, when your Slot Machine goes "ding-ding-ding," when you hear the Dealer say, "Winner," it's pretty dang hard to beat that "moment," relatively speaking.  

This was a trip planned by Donna and her sister for sister's birthday and included her husband and myself.  A quick overnight stay...  there Sunday by 1:00pm and on our way back home by 3:30pm Monday afternoon. 

Donna gets excited when we plan a casino trip...  There are three phases of her excitement.  1:  Planning and confirmation.  When we plan our trip and settle on dates and then book our room, she gets that glow in her eyes and flashes that smile that I love so much.  2:  Billboard sightings.  While on our way there, the very first casino billboard near Louisiana reflects to her that we are getting close and she let's me know every single time.  And finally, 3:  The arrival.  When we pull up to the front door valet parking (free, but of course), check our car, grab our luggage and walk through the doors, I can feel her happiness, her excitement.

As you walk through the doors, as in any Casino Hotel, there is an immediate and constant "noise," a buzz (ding-ding-ding), if you will, and a smell (cigarettes) that instantly says, "Casino."  The cigarette smell...  We can do without, but it's just part of the package.  A quick check in at the front desk and off to our rooms to "dump the luggage" and back down to the land of neon lights, smoke, and ding-ding-dinging...  our home away from home.  Let me try to give you a quick 26 hour visual of our time at the casino...

The Comp:  Otherwise known as the "hook."  It's how they reel you in.  They offer a "Complementary" stay (free room) to get you there.  They smile and greet you at every turn.  You can almost hear them, through their grinning white teeth, saying, "Come on in...  sucker (show us the money!!!)."  They comp your meals and feed you after you "feed their machines" with your dollar bills.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not complaining.  I love me some free rooms and grub.  I'm "hooked."  Donna's "hooked."  Let's be honest. 

The Bad (part 1):  Ok yo:  Remember us walking through the doors and all the excitement just twenty minutes earlier???  Well, right off the bat, Donna is feeding the Slot Machines cold hard cash and the machines are not going "ding-ding-ding."  I'm in the Hotel Bar watching the remaining portion of the Houston Texans football game, of which they are winning.  I'm smiling.  I call Donna and ask her to come have a libation with me.  And when she shows up a few minutes later, there is no smile, a certain amount of cash is now gone from her possession, and we have barely been there one hour.  She mumbles, while frowning, "I'm depressed."  And it's five hours until dinner.  Yikes!!!

My Game of Choice...
After the Texans game, we ventured back out into the casino for my favorite game, Roulette.  38 numbers on a board, separated by colors of black and red.  A wheel with a ball that goes round and round until it eventually falls into a slotted number from 0 to 36 or 00.  If it lands on your chosen number, you win.  If not, you lose.  I could play for hours on end, if only my cash supply was endless.  I too fed the "machine" and did not enjoy a "return."  Donna suggested going up to the room and "chilling" before getting ready for dinner.

The Good:  Dinner...  at Ember Grille and Wine Bar there in the Hotel.    Libations, good food, and good company with the "Birthday Girl" and her husband.  When not gambling, Ember is Donna's favorite place to be.  

A "Happy" moment = Smiling!!!
Good wine, really good food, and a very nice ambiance is a "win-win" for me because she has forgotten, for the moment, "losing," and has found her smile again.  If Donna is smiling, Slu is smiling.  

The Bad (part 1a):  Back into the casino for a late night effort to recoup our losses.  Ha!!!  More contributions to the "General Fund."  Frowns!!!  And a couple of weeks ago, we were so excited about this pending trip.  Go figure.  On a brighter note, I persuaded (was not very hard) Donna to have one last libation at the Casino Bar before going to the room, while playing her favorite Video Poker game.  And finally, some (just a tee-tiny bit of) redemption as she won just enough to leave on a somewhat happy note.  Tomorrow would bring new chances of instant wealth.  Or...  

The Monday Good:  No matter what you play, if you play long enough, the "winnings" will come.  It cycles.  And on Monday, Donna found her groove.  I semi found my groove.  But Donna was on fire.  Just enough to win back everything she had lost the day/night before.  And then some.  My numbers were hitting on the Roulette table and I was getting some of mine back as well.  All is good, high fives are being thrown around, and smiles are back.  We know each others numbers and when we are not sitting together, when our numbers hit, that glance and smile from across the table says to the other, "Boooooooya!!!"

The Amusement:  If you are in a casino, you just cannot help but "People Watch."  If Candid Camera were still in business in this modern era, I'm telling you, casino's would be golden.  It's as if people have a mindset of, no matter what condition they are in, whatever ailments they may have, no matter how old they may be, nothing is going to prevent them from going to the casino.  They come in their "scooters."  They come with "oxygen tanks and wires."  They come with their "walkers."  They come in "wheel-chairs."  And they come with packs and packs of "cigarettes."  And come hell or high water, they are going to play the slot machines.  Because they just might hit the big one.  And to be honest, I'm sure they love it and have just as much fun as I do.  But the visual is pretty entertaining.  Walking through any casino, you will hear 10 different languages.  I never know if these people are excited or upset, but if nothing else, they are vocal.  And then there are the...  let's just say people from another Country (no, not South), so many, that on signs throughout the casino, the language is in both English and theirs.  The only hint I can give is that the majority of these people in the casino are just plain rude and they are clearly not bothered by it.  Also, it's always amusing to me to see so many people just outside of the casino sitting and waiting.  Just sitting and waiting...  I suppose for their spouse or friends to finish inside the casino.  And they wait.  Ha!!! 

The Monday Bad:  Ok...  it's getting to the point when its time to have a late lunch (free, but, of course) and leave.  Donna has made her money back.  I'm in decent shape.  But the two sister's have made a deal:  Before we go eat, they want to make a quick swing through the "High Limit" room.  You know, where the so called "High Rollers" roam.  And in about 10 minutes, they each came out "licking their wounds."  It was brutal.  And while they were losing, I sat back down at the Roulette Table.  And just like that...  Nothing but Frowns!!!  All around.

Back in the car and on the way home.  What was and what could have been.  But in the end, it never really matters whether you win or lose, it's always fun, although winning is MORE fun at least for us, and a good time was had by all.  And we are already planning our next trip back.  Gotta know we're...  Smiling.

Special Mention:  In honor of the NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour making its final "Journey" this week, which included the Houston area, I would like to post a couple of pictures I took on Wednesday, as it flew around town:

Making its final approach to land at Ellington Field...

The "Flight" being escorted by a T-38

Houston Texans Football:  A second consecutive 20 point Win by the Texans, as they beat the Jaguars 27 to 7.  We are now 2 & 0 and still alone in 1st Place in our division.  This week, we play the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos on the road in our first true test of playing a "quality" team.  Denver is 1 & 1 to start the season.  Week 2 Wagers:  Was out town and therefore, did not place any wagers.  Still at 3 & 1 (75%) and +$19 going into Week 3.

Libations Anyone???:  This is from Donna.  She loves her Wine, loves the "Perfect Poolside Drink" (Vodka Tonic), loves Margarita's, and likes an occasional Bud Light Lime.  But, on certain nights, when she is in a certain mood, she absolutely loves her Belvedere Martini, Slightly Dirty, with Blue Cheese Olives. If you like Martini's, Donna highly recommends this one.  Enjoy.

Market Watch:  Get out the Champagne!!!  This week, Facebook has climbed upwards almost $3.00 as it settled in yesterday at the close at 22.59.  She has a pulse.  We'll see if it continues.

The End:  Each week, I am amazed at the number of "Page Views" and I am humbled by the comments several of you make.  I hope Thank You never gets old for you as it is truly from the heart.  I appreciate your time each week.  Til next time...

Be safe, be smart, and always smile...  It's "Happy Friday"



  1. Well it sounds like you didn't go home a multi millionaire. But sounds like you had a good enough time to look forward to going back so you might be able to smile all the way home. :-) I hope so any way.....
    Big Sis

    1. Nope... no millions this time. But, always smiling. We did have fun and we always do. That's what counts. Thanks, "Lil Bro"

  2. Hey-O! Sounds like a fun time at the casino. We have to venture over to Nevada since even thinking of buying a lotto ticket would be frowned upon here in Utah. We always go knowing we'll never get rich but will always have fun (and a little tipsy..ahem, again Utah..) It's funny that you mentioned the smell of cigarettes. We always go with our friends and as soon as those casino doors are open, we yell, "We're home!!".
    Congrats to your Texans. 20 point wins certainly yell "Legitimate!" Unlike a certain unnamed team whose QB has forgotten what color his own team is when throwing passes :(
    Tell Donna that dirty martinis are a fantastic choice. Now, I'm off to find bleu cheese olives..
    Enjoy your weekend, Slu

    1. Ha... we will never tire of casino-ing!!! let's see how my texans do this week against denver.

      you'll have to let me know how your martini turns out.

      thanks, slu

  3. So where is the recipe for the Belvedere Martini, huh?? Enjoyed the post--I've never really gambled much (because the few times I did I lost BAAAD) even though we have some excellent casinos here (Hard Rock, Seminole...). But at least I could live vicariously through your post . Thanks for sharing this. BTW Donna is GORGEOUS!

    1. ha!!! i will have to work on a recipe for you. she usually only has them while we are out and about. thanks for the compliment... she is my life. thanks, slu

  4. was a terrific place to stay. The staff was very friendly and the grounds are beautiful! The room was a little smaller than I expected but it was very clean and comfortable and nic bovegas


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