Today turned out to be Aunt Nancy Day, our annual floating autumn holiday that occurs sometimes in October, but mostly in November. I didn’t know about it until earlier this week, when I received the electronic invitation. Frankly, I’d forgotten all about it. What with hyperbarics, Halloween and general fall festivities, housesitting for Diamondqueen and That Poor Man, and Cubs pennant fever, I’d quite forgotten “my” day. (This post from 2007 explains the origins of Aunt Nancy Day.)
As has been the case for years now, no Hooligans were involved in the celebration. That’s just weird, although God knows it’s almost impossible to get S.Hooligan to go anywhere in public with us. However, Aunt Nancy Day has become a big outing for me, Diamondqueen, and Mom. Today we tried lunch at Firebirds, our first visit (really good, but rather expensive), then went up to the casino near Lebanon to tangle “with the one-armed bandits,” as my e-invitation had said.
Before that, there were gifts at lunch. Diamondqueen gave me (on behalf of the Hooligans and the animals) DVDs of Arsenic and Old Lace and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, plus a $25 gift card to JoAnn’s. Quite extravagant by my standards, but certainly welcome. I’d looked everywhere for Arsenic and Old Lace, including the library, in the weeks leading up to Halloween; we got it from Netflix in the nick of time. It’s one of my favorite movies any time, but especially at Halloween. Mom and I developed the tradition of watching Planes, Trains, and Automobiles the night before Thanksgiving, either by ordering through Netflix or catching it on cable. Nice to have my own copy of this as well.
Mom, who has no real reason to give me anything (I consider Addie a sibling, not a niece), staked me to $25 for gambling, plus she always gives me $20 to play for her, except she never accepts the winnings or the original stake when there’s some left. (Mom enjoys sitting in the big room with the grandstand overlooking the racetrack. She watches some of the televised horse races or simply reads.) Today I could have given her back her $20 with $10 for myself, but she made me keep everything. (Okay, you try giving a determined 83-year-old her money back.)
I’m a very pansy-assed gambler. I play only the penny machines and rarely bet more than the minimum. Of course, the lie about penny machines is the minimum is usually 25 cents, so you’re really betting a quarter a pop. I never expect to win money at the slots. I allot a meager sum I’m allowed to lose, and the game is to see how long I can make it last. We never stay more than ninety minutes to two hours anyhow, but on my more reckless days I can shoot through the money pretty fast, even with those skinflint bids.
It’s always fun to win, of course. I did well today with a slot machine that had a “hot roll” feature: If three hot roll icons roll up on the screen, you get to “throw” dice electronically. I won about $22 on my first hot roll opportunity with only ten minutes until we were scheduled to leave, so that’s why I had anything left over at all.
Part of the game is to find a machine that gives a consistent enough return to stretch out my money and keep me interested. Another machine I played today kept doubling my money every time I got down to around $2. I must have played that machine for forty minutes. I stick with really traditional machines because I simply don’t understand the fancy new ones. As Diamondqueen said, “I look for machines that have sevens.” I’m so old fashioned I even miss pulling the lever on the machine, and the electronic recreation of spilling coins is just lame. Some of these old school slot machines still have levers, and every so often I’ll push it down for old time’s sake.
I did waste some time (and too much money–like $6 or so) on one of these newfangled contraptions. The only two games I play on Facebook are Bejeweled Blitz and Zuma Blitz. When I spotted a Zuma Blitz slot machine, I couldn’t resist. It cost 50 cents minimum per bet and had all kinds of bells and whistles, literally; and I never did figure out how the damn thing worked. The payout was lousy, too, at least for how I was playing. Maybe there was a strategy of some kind, but I couldn’t see it.
So, it was a very enjoyable Aunt Nancy Day–minus dogs and Hooligans. It’s really nice to get to go out with Mom and Diamondqueen, but part of me misses the years when the Hooligans were invested in the celebration, complete with handmade cards. I keep saying the kids are too old and I’m too uninvolved with their upkeep now to justify a day of celebration, but the truth is I think Mom and Diamondqueen would miss the party.