Brandon’s birthday isn’t for about another week, but since he’ll be on his monthly drill with the Army that weekend, he wanted to celebrate a week early.

Which happened to be the same weekend “The Peanuts Movie” came out. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it on here, but anyone who’s ever met my mother knows she loves Snoopy. The running joke leading up to the weekend was that Brandon was gonna celebrate his birthday seeing that movie whether he wanted to or not. And they did end up going–my mom’s best friend, Lisa, wanted to go with her Friday night but Brandon already had other plans, so they pushed it to Saturday. I missed out because I started Saturday rotation at work last week, but my mom asked if I’d go with her a second time so she could see it in 3-D since the early showing that fit everyone’s schedules was just the regular version.

So yeah, brandon saw “The Peanuts Movie” in the weekend he wanted to celebrate his birthday, but he got to do some other stuff, too. He wanted to come out to Washington and gamble.

Now, since we started gambling locally, our casino loyalties have shifted a few times. My mom and Grandma used to stick to Wheeling, and I got to tag along once on my 18th birthday back before Wheeling introduced table games and upped their playing age to 21. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the experience at the time, but in retrospect, I’m especially grateful that I got to do it since Grandma died a year or so later. Both my maternal grandparents loved gambling, and coming of gambling age and being able to share that with her even just once was so great. But I digress.

When casinos came to Pennsylvania, we ditched Wheeling. For a good couple of years, we stuck to Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, with its huge buffet and fun games. And although my stubborn gameplay saved me money–I tend to stick to the same games and quit and move to a new one once I’m down only $5 or $10–my family was consistently losing money.

We’d previously avoided The Meadows in Washington because my mom had never done well there, but when she started losing at Rivers, she decided to switch it up, and it’s been our go-to ever since. We even spent an evening at the horse races once over the summer.

it started out like a normal trip–I took out some cash, we met up, got some food coupons as a promotion for buy one, get one half off at the buffet, started playing, lost a little, won a little. I sat down at one of my beloved Wizard of Oz machines. Now, some machines display your monetary in balance in credits, and some display it in dollars. Just depends on the settings. I wasn’t really paying attention and did notice my balance didn’t seem right, and I didn’t put it together that I was at a nickel machine–normally, at a penny machine, if you have, say, 1,000 credits, it’s $10, and my brain was in penny-machine mode, for some reason. So after a few minutes, I hit for 5,000 credits, which I was pretty excited about as it was. And of course, I started losing not long after, so I cashed out…and to my surprise, got a voucher for around $270, which included my winnings and whatever I’d put in to start with. Because I had a brain lapse and forgot I was at a nickel machine, what I thought were winnings of $50 were really $250.

When I told my mom which machine it was, she said, “Of course.” Because I play the Wizard of Oz machines all the time. Paul and I also both did pretty well on new Jurassic Park machines, which were really fun. The only games Rivers has that The Meadows doesn’t that I do miss are Princess Bride slots, but as far as I know, Rivers doesn’t have Jurassic Park. Or as many Oz.

The original plan was to eat at the new-ish Primanti’s right down the hill, but the casino was having that promotion for the buffet, so we opted for that instead. We’ve never eaten at the buffet because it’s expensive, but my mom says it’s worth it when you can get a deal on it like that. We’ve eaten at the Rivers buffet plenty of times and although it may be bigger (and it has sushi), we agreed that The Meadows buffet is superior in quality. It was brunch so I don’t know what, say, the dinner is like, but they had a bunch of really good, neat pastries and breakfast dishes. Small selection, but high quality.

We kept playing after that. Paul pretty much quit after he started losing, and I was up and down–I never had as much success as I did earlier and I actually lost some of those winnings, but I still came out ahead and walked away with double what I came in with. And even then, I hadn’t even spent all of that when I won.

And then there’s that lucky bitch Brandon, who was $900 richer by the time we left. This is the second or third time he’s done that.

Sounds like everyone did reasonably well–Paul lost but mostly only played with what I gave him, and my dad lost but my mom’s suspicious that he says he loses and just keeps the money she gives him to play with. I think my mom at least broke even, and Kelly was up about $170, which almost covered car repairs she needed.

As for me? I paid in cash when I bought groceries, plus I bought some clothes on a trip to the outlets afterwards.

Brandon loved his present, too. I knew he’d like it, but I didn’t expect his level of excitement. I got him a Star Wars ugly Christmas sweatshirt and two belts–one Assassin’s Creed, one another Star Wars. He apparently needed belts, too. What luck!

All in all, it was a fun and successful day of gambling. As for the rest of my weekend–today–it’s been lounging with some laundry in my near future.


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