I'm Baaaaaaaack…

Well, I am back from my cruise on the Mexican Riveria with my in-laws, and this vacation made my Top 5 for A LOT of reasons: beautiful weather, zip lining, and not one fight. Ok, well, maybe just ONE…

I was a little nervous about going on this trip, because I had already decided — after "enjoying" a visit now and then to a casino — that it is in my best interest not to gamble. The first night at sea, there it was: THE CASINO, through which I had to travel for all my family meals. I knew I was in trouble!

This whole damn thing started when I was only around 10 years old. During a family trip to Lake Tahoe, I wandered into a casino and hid in a corner to watch the adults play. I wanted in. So I paged Mr. M with an emergency phone call and told Mr. M to please put my five dollar bill down on lucky 17 at the roulette table.

The pit bosses chased me out, of course, but Mr. M remained agreeable. I waited patiently in the hotel room to find out if my number came up.

Well… Mr. M had been in the midst of a serious winning streak, and to be perfectly honest, my call threw his whole game off. So, after what seemed like an hour, Mr. M came up to my room and handed me back my five dollar bill, along with another five dollars in exchange for my promise to never page him again without a real emergency. He also asked that I stay in the hotel room until the adults were back and warned me NOT to spend my profit but to SAVE it for a rainy day.

To ensure that I would not lose my original $5, he gave them to me in the form of a chip, which I, of course, could not cash in at the casino.

When the coast was clear, I was off to the hotel gift shop to see what I could get with my five dollar chip and my new-found wealth of five bucks cash. And there they were, my VERY first PURCHASE, two of the biggest dice I had ever seen.

I walked up to the cashier and purchased the big dice. When I tried to use the
chip to buy another pair for my best friend Annie, the lady pointed out that I was not an adult so I could not use that five dollar chip. Well, I had tried… I ran back to the room with my giant dice and my five dollar chip.

When Mr. M walked in the room — still not too thrilled with my "emergency page" — he told me to give him back the five dollar chip and my five bucks cash, and that he would hold it for me until the trip was over.

Shit! What do I say?

All I could think to say was that I had lost the cash, but that I still had the chip.

"How could you lose $5 sitting in a hotel room?” he asked.

With my best poker face I told him that I went down the hall to get some ice and somehow lost the bill. He knew I was lying, and I could tell, but I was determined to get home with my new big dice, which I had hidden in my luggage.

Back in the comfort of my own home, settled into my bed, I finally took out the big red dice and felt horrible! Back and fourth in my head I tried to figure out how I could explain myself to — you guessed it — Mr. M,
a.k.a. My Father, to whom I had lied. All I wanted was to be like all of
the hot shot adults.

At about 2 o’clock in the morning, after a lot of tossing and turning, I
went into my parents room and fessed up about the whole thing. But rather than yelling and screaming at me, my parents simply asked me to please learn from the experience and understand that gambling is very serious and that is why it is not legal until you are AN ADULT.

I learned all right, but when I flew to Las Vegas for the first time with my husband — already Legal, of course — I put a dollar into the first slot machine I saw in the airport after we landed and WON a jackpot.

Who wins jackpots at the airport? Apparently, this genetic lottery

After years of being ridiculously lucky in casinos, however, my time was up.

So… back to why there was a little fight on the family vacation.

The second to last night, at the beginning of dinner, I told my husband that I was going up to the room to get a sweater, but I could not control myself any longer…

I made my way toward the room, and before I knew it I was singing "mama needs a new pair of shoes" with my new gambling friends (who were college guys from USC and U of A) at the craps table. Every time I threw the dice — bada bing — my pile of chips would grow in front of ME and the guys, along with a fantastic new version of "Momma Melly just got all of our moms a new pair of shoes." I thought to myself, "Howard is going to kill me." But, hey, I had just made a lot of money.

An hour later, I walked back to the dinner table (without my sweater) to
see the look of complete dismay on my husband’s face, and even worse, on my kids’ faces.
I handed Howard the cash and felt that same sick feeling that I felt when I lied the first time about gambling.
It was NOW official: all the fun, all the cash, and even the great new cruise ship song of "Melly just bought all of our Moms new shoes" were not worth the price of disappointment that I had bestowed on my loved ones.

The reason for the picture of the donkey and I is to show you a visual
of how I felt after that one and only fight:

Picture the donkey the other way around.

The last night of the trip, when my brother-in-law Joel tried to get me to play poker with him I proudly said, "no thanks." Then I went back to the room with my forgiving husband and fell asleep in his arms to the sound of the rocking waves, the smell of the fresh clean air, and memories of all the fun things we did on our family vacation.

I will share those pics with you when I receive them from my niece

"Momma Melly" is officially in retirement right now, deleting all e-mails from college guys at USC and the University of Arizona.