Posts Tagged ‘casinos


A wonderful week with a wonderful girl

Erin and I have been together for quite some time now… since before the days when Facebook and Twitter (and now, I suppose, Google+) were hard at work keeping everybody appraised of what everybody else was doing at any given moment of the day. As a result, I sometimes worry that my compositions telling the world how we enjoy our adventures together have become redundant. But I enjoy telling and sharing, and I know Erin enjoys it as well. So while you may well know an awful lot of what I’m about to say if you follow us on those aforementioned social networking sites, that’s okay. It was worth living all over again.

  • Erin arrived on Sunday, July 3. This wasn’t a trip that was planned months in advance — just a few weeks ago, Erin realized she could sneak in a visit with me and my family in time for our annual Fourth of July extravaganza. Being an extravaganza on the Fourth, though, that meant there was an awful lot of work to do on the Third. After I picked Erin up from the airport and got us lunch, she was sweet enough to help my mother watch my niece, Maggie, while I joined my father, brother, and brother-in-law in assembling the tents for the barbecue and taking care of other such preparations. After it was all done, we went out for dinner and then headed our to the St. Charles Parish Independence Day Fireworks, held (as always) on July 3. We got there a little later than expected, however, and Erin and I joined my sister Heather, her husband Will, and little Maggie on the side of the interstate watching the fireworks from a distance. And despite some mosquito invasions, it was still great.
  • Monday was the bash. My family has had these barbecues for as long as I can remember, and once again Ama was flooded with Petits, Faucheuxs, and numerous other families that have married into or befriended ours over the years. There was — as always — way too much food, but there was an unexpected surprise this year. My family has done this for over 30 years, and on all but a handful of occasions, the event has been soaked by rain. This year: not a drop. So we all got to swim, there was a marathon Pictionary session, we ate several herds of grilled animals and several vats of homemade ice cream, and everybody went home happy.
  • On Tuesday, the excitement calmed down, Erin and I got down to a more conventional visit for us — beginning with helping to babysit Maggie while my sister was at work. Maggie was little more than a month old the last time Erin saw her, and now she’s close to nine months, so she was looking forward to playing with her again. She also introduced Maggie to her friend Wash T. Dynosaur, the traveling Apatosaurus. After Maggie settled down we headed out — I got Erin (and Wash) a snowball that matched the pendant I gave her for her birthday, we did a little shopping, and went to see what has become my favorite movie of the year so far — Super 8. I’ve seen it before, but Erin hadn’t, and she was very satisfied in her choice of film. (She also got some Raising Cane’s chicken, something she can’t yet get in her home state of Pennsylvania.)
  • Wednesday was the day we began to get adventurous. Erin, being more of a traveler than I am, was looking to do things we’d never done before. We decided on a tour of Destrehan Plantation, one of the many gorgeous old plantation houses that line the Mississippi River here in Louisiana. I’ve been to the Plantation many times for various events, but I don’t think I’d ever taken the tour before, so we both got an education before heading out for some more shopping (it was Wednesday, new comics had come out), then meeting up with my family for dinner at the Quarter View restaurant in Metairie.
  • Our adventures continued on Thursday as we traveled to Baton Rouge, a place Erin has wanted to go for some time. We realized early that we would have to do this again, as there were just too many things to do in that lovely city than we could accomplish in one day. We did manage to get lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger, found a used bookstore Erin located online, and hit the Mall of Louisiana. Later, we met up with my brother Chip and his wife Kayla, who live in nearby Gonzales, and they took us to a great Mexican place for dinner. It was a great little visit, especially since (living in Gonzales as they do) they don’t get to join us as often as the rest of my family.
  • On Friday we headed into the French Quarter in New Orleans, something we’ve done many times before, but always enjoy. But my friends, I’ve got to tell you something. Friday… was… hot. I’m talking about “gallons of sweat cascading down your face” hot. After a few hours walking around and talking pictures of Wash at local landmarks, we headed off to the New Orleans Area for our next “new thing.” Will — an athletic trainer whose job happens to include working the New Orleans Voodoo arena football games — got us tickets to the team’s final home game of the season. We met up with Heather there, bought some dry Voodoo shirts to change into (we’d sweat through our other ones) and enjoyed the festivities. The Voodoo didn’t have a great season, but we had fun.
  • Saturday was the day we got together with my friends, something we try to do at least once each time she’s in town. We met up at Izzo’s Illegal Burrito (it’s as good as it sounds) before heading back down into the French Quarter. After a few hours of wandering around, we decided to find some place a little cooler and went into Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. With our semi-regular Vegas trips, Erin and I are old hands at casinos, and we find we really do enjoy doing them together, especially when we come out ahead. The rest of our group didn’t fare as well as we did (sorry about losing that parking garage ticket, Mike), but we put in $20 and came out up $139. Not too bad. Afterwards, we all had dinner at a new TGI Friday’s that opened in Metairie — good food, but you could tell it was a new restaurant. The servers were overwhelmed. I’ll go back to the restaurant, but not for a few months.
  • Sunday was the day Erin went home, which is always sad, but was made worse in that she had an early flight. We managed to have lunch before I had to take her off to the airport and fare her well, but it wasn’t as bad as it sometimes is. We’re going to see each other again in just a couple of weeks, when we travel to Maine together for a friend’s wedding.

It was a great time, and as always, I’m left more in love with her than ever. If you spent a few minutes with her like I have, I know you’d feel the same.

Here are some photographic highlights of the trip. If you want, you can see more in my Flickr album: Family Summer 2011.

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Time Travel Tuesdays: How the Men Recharge

Back in the dark days before Erin, a frequent topic of conversation in my Think About It column was my utterly inadequate performance with women. It was therapy in the worst way. Another topic which has stayed with me over the years are the various ways I find to relax on those rare occasions I find an opportunity to relax. This classic column, from May 21, 2003, combines both of those topics in one dandy package.

How the Men Recharge

I don’t know how you women out there do it, but when the time comes for men to recharge their power cells, there’s one thing that works better than everything else — time with the guys.

Every so often we need a male bonding, testosterone-inducing, estrogen-free atmosphere in which we can kick back, relax, and spend a preposterous amount of time talking about women. I did such a thing last weekend when I joined two of my best friends, James and Jason, for a weekend in Biloxi, Miss.

Jason is a member of some long organization with lots of initials that was having its convention this week, so he conjured up the plan to go a couple of days early and have James and I hang out with him. I’ve been to Biloxi many times in my life, but this is the first time I’ve ever driven there myself, and consequently, the first time I’ve ever really been able to take in the scenery. I’m not talking here about the blue, cresting ocean or the white, sandy beaches or even the scantily-clad women prowling the two. No, I was amazed by the number of giant fiberglass animals that adorn storefronts there. You want to buy beachwear? Take a walk through the enormous shark’s mouth! Need a Biloxi snowglobe or painted pet rock? Right under the giant alligator, my friend. Want the best Italian food on the beach? It’s right under the sign with the gorilla on it!

After driving past this menagerie and approximately 17 billion Waffle Houses (the good people of Biloxi evidently really like their waffles), we arrived at the hotel. After recuperating from the drive, which wouldn’t have been so bad except that it was somewhere around 105 degrees outside (rough estimate), Jason suggested we hit the casinos, which I knew had secretly been his plan all along.

I’m not a gambler, my friends. I am cursed with a strange affliction, a combination of horrible luck and incredible timing. This means that bad things happen to me, but only at the funniest possible moment. I could walk underneath a ladder with a paint can 13 times holding a black cat and nothing would happen, but the instant a brown-eyed lass I’d been flirting with walks by, the paint will fall and I would match the side of the building. Games of chance are not for me.

But we went into the casino anyway and, not wanting to look like a dork while my friends played, I relented and slipped a ten into one of the slot machines. I pushed the button a few times, a little disappointed that the lever is apparently obsolete, then the machine started making weird noises. “What happened?” I asked Jason.

He leaned over and looked. “You just won $75,” he said.

I got worried immediately. There are things going on in my life right now that will require a certain degree of luck, and I’d hate to think I blew my allotment on a slot machine.

Fortunately, none of us felt like gambling for long and we retreated to the restaurant in the casino for dinner. I’m not a beer drinker, but Jason is constantly giving me advice as to which ones I would like. Thus far, he has always been incorrect. I tasted one such beverage that I hated, so he told me to try something called a “Biloxi Blonde.”

“That’s one of my favorites,” said our waitress, a redhead named Cassie. Trusting Cassie’s judgment more than Jason’s, I ordered one. I took a sip, looked at her and said, “Yeah, this is better.”

She smiled and left, at which point I turned to my friends and said, “This tastes terrible.”

“Then why did you say you liked it?” James asked.

“Well, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings…”

The bill arrived, and for all three of us, the size of the tip is directly proportionate to how cute the waitress is. I don’t know what we think is going to happen — no waitress has ever chased Jason down in a parking lot and screamed, “You gave me a $5 tip on an $11 tab — I must bear your children!” Still, we do it anyway.

James gave up trying to calculate an appropriate tip first and just announced he was giving her $7. Jason, who is afraid of math even when the credit card company has to do it, rounded the tip so he’d have an even number, which resulted in him giving her $7.02.

I would not be defeated by those two.

“Gimme that check,” I said, grabbing my own bill and, under gratuity, proudly scribbling, “$7.03.”

I won,” I said to the others.

I wish I could have been there when Cassie saw her tip. “Look at this, this guy left me $7.03. No, the chubby guy, the one who lied about liking the beer. You think I could still catch him in the parking lot?”

So in all, she made $21.05 off three guys who were out for a weekend to hang with the boys, which somehow seems like it bears a degree of cosmic justice. Overall, though, it was fun. We should do it again sometime.

But I’m only going to the slot machines again if my life, at the moment, happens to suck.

Blake M. Petit was fully recharged until he got into his car to drive home and realized it was hot enough to bake bread in there. So he got a wad of banana nut dough for the ride home. Contact him with comments, suggestions or the number of that gambling help-line just in case at

May 2023

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