“I won! I won da money! (slumps over for a second) I won da money!”
~Sid Caesar, Vegas Vacation
I was making my way through Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas and spotted the new bank of “Grease” video slot machines. It was like a shining beam of light through the clouds…I swear I heard angels singing. All of the seat were taken however I spotted the machine I wanted. It was like it was calling my name.
This lady was playing it feverishly for a very long time but I just sat and waited my turn. Another woman approached me from behind and I could feel her breathing on my neck. I inched forward in an attempt to remove her from my personal space. She wouldn’t move and just continued to stand there. I was not going to let her take my turn on this machine!
As the credits wound down for the lady who was playing, I began to get more excited about my chance to play…wondering what the outcome would be. As soon as she made the motions of getting up to leave, the lady behind me pushed by me…almost knocking me over. I yelled…. “Oh hell no! I have been waiting here for over an hour and I was here first!” She fought me….she pushed my hands away as I attempted to insert my money in the slot. She was a much larger woman than I and I didn’t have much of a chance.
A slot floor attendant witnessed our scuff and quickly came over with security guards to break it up. The resolution went in my favor, as this psycho lady was hauled away and I was allowed to take control of the machine. With a big sigh and a satisfied smile, I put my money in, said a prayer, hit “max bet” and SPIN.
Three spins in I hit the bonus round. This bonus round was based upon the Grease movie song “Grease Lightning” sung in the auto shop. I was picking tools on the screen and watching my credits add up. All of a sudden I was down to the last choice and the screen cleared. Suddenly lights began to flash and up on the screen appeared the words “BIG WIN!”. Credits started to ring up and continued for quite some time. A crowd gathered behind me…what did I win?? It looked like $400…..wait, no….it’s $14,000!! I couldn’t breathe and then………
BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZ my alarm clock went off. Dammit!! oh well, it was a nice dream while it lasted. At least I know how good it feels to win that much money, even if it was just a dream. I am off to Vegas in a little over two weeks and you can bet I will be taking my chances with this machine. Even if I have to fight someone to get to it!
I was going to just leave up one post today but I felt the need to vent about middle school parent night yesterday evening. Let me start by saying, I live in an uber-suburbian area of North Texas. Think big, blonde hair, bedazzled flip flops and jeans, botox, extraneous amounts of jewelry, Expeditions and fat wallets. If you know what I mean…
I’m not knocking the neighborhood….we chose to live here. It’s safe, decent and the middle school is excellent. The kids aren’t so bad either. It’s just the parents that drive me nuts.
As I’m sitting there last night trying to somewhat pay attention to a ruthlessly long PTA meeting, I can’t hear a word the lady is saying over the LOUD speaker because of two chatty Cathy dingbat twins sitting directly behind me. I put up with it for a while but finally couldn’t take it anymore and waited out in the hall before visiting my son’s first class. Before I left I took a look around and wondered how I ended up in an episode of the Real Housewives of Dallas.
Before you think I’m being hateful, keep in mind that these opinions and observations are coming from someone who prefers the elusive and long distance web-based relationships within the blogosphere rather than real life, tangible ones. That is just me. You could call me anti-social, I just call myself careful and selective. At least I’m not fake. I still have my real boobs, my lips aren’t any bigger than the ones I was born with, I prefer Jason Mraz to Justin Beiber, I don’t own any clothing with sparkles or sequins, I have a few extra pounds on me, I don’t wear much jewelry or makeup and I still shop at Walmart. Yep, even for….gasp! Clothing sometimes.
I guess I’m the odd man out. I don’t dress to impress and I could pretty much care less of what others opinions are of me or my family. We are good people and we are REAL. I believe that friends or quality are more important than friends of quantity and that is why I have two best friends (who I call “lifers”) and their families who I hold dear to my heart. No need to be fake to gain shallow popularity. Unfortunately as I’m observing many of these parents and overhearing conversations, that’s what seems to be what was going on in that school last night.
In almost every classroom I moved from and to something struck me as funny and pretty much typical of the school’s demographic. From the father trying to impress his new fellow football parent “friends” by thoroughly describing his entire middle school experience from centuries ago to the mom who somewhat yelled at the Video Tech teacher when he admitted that he was a bit behind in updating his school site. I wanted to tell the father to shut the hell up, nobody cares and tell the mom to give the teacher a frickin break…it’s only the first week of school for crying out loud!
I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m not supposed to, and that’s ok. For now it is humoring me and giving me some great material to use on my blog. So buckle up and get ready for a bumpy ride as the school year gets rolling…this is gonna be good. We have football games, choir concerts and band concerts approaching. I’m sure that I will be dumbfounded and flabbergasted more than once and will want to share it with all of my loyal followers and friends out in Bloggerland who seem to understand all too well!
And just because no blog can be without a picture:
I’m trying so hard to get everything done before going on vacation next week and it has been extremely busy in the office to top things off. So, I am going to do the lame blogger trick and reblog a post I wrote a while back.
I have a lot of new followers so it’s possible it will be new to some. I promise to come back with some new interesting tips after vacay!
When we go on vacation, everyone always wants to have a good time but with today’s economy it is always good to know how to stretch those hard earned dollars. without sacrificing the experience. I have been called the crazy coupon lady by my friends and family because of my bargain hunting ways. We have been blessed to be able to travel as much as we do but we couldn’t do it if I didn’t utilize some of my “tricks”. I thought I would share some of them with you!
- DRIVE don’t fly. While I understand that some people cannot do this due to their location and their destination location, if you are at all able to do it then it will save you money. We have driven from Dallas to Orlando about 6 times and we would do it again. With the outrageous prices of airfare nowadays, it’s a no brainier. Even with the high gas prices we were looking at a comparison of $520 in gas money vs. over $1200 for 4 airline tickets. We do not normally stop along the way but even if you stay at a low-cost hotel for the night it is still saving you over 50%. Look for fun places around where you live that you can handle the drive to. Try places you have never been before. You never know, it could end up being your best vacation yet?
- Catch deals BEFORE your trip. Sign up on Facebook,websites and coupon blogs such as www.couponingtodisney.com , www.discountdivas.com , etc.. There are hundreds of great savings blogs out there that post the most up to date offers and deals. For example, last time we went to Disney one of the blogs posted an offer from Kroger in which if you bought so many $$ in gift cards you got extra points to save on gas. Because we drove, this was a win-win situation. I bought Disney gift cards to use on our trip and racked up the gas points which saved us $$ on gas for the road trip. If there are items that you are looking to purchase for your trip, look for sales and free shipping offers. One of my favorite websites for online shopping (and real-world shopping too!) is www.retailmenot.com .
- Travel with other family members or friends. Who doesn’t love a big family vacation? Combine your trip with that of your parents, siblings, cousins etc… Share a rental car and hotel…therefore sharing the cost too and cutting your expenses at least 50%. Is someone in the group an airline or hotel employee…senior or member of AAA? Take advantage of their travel discounts (if they let you!).
- Have a garage sale! We do this before every summer vacation. Over the year so much junk accumulates in the house that by the time the next summer rolls around, we are in the position to have a nice profit off of a garage sale. Go through your kids’ rooms as part of spring cleaning. Set the items aside until you are ready for the big day.
- Share meals at amusement parks. This is particularly helpful if your kids are younger. Instead of buying 2 adult meals and 2 kids meals…buy 3 adult meals and have your kids share one of them. If you aren’t a big eater, then buy a kids meal for yourself! They are not that much smaller than an adult meal usually (not at Disney anyway!) and after a week in the parks, this can be a huge savings!
- Stay at a vacation rental, not at a hotel. If this is at all possible, research rates on vacation rentals via www.vrbo.com . We do this when visiting anywhere other than Disney. Because there are so many perks to staying at a Disney property, we always stay on site. However, other places you will find that you can rent a 2-3 bedroom apartment, loft or house (!) for much less than you can stay in a small, cramped hotel room with just 2 beds and 1 bathroom. We have rented several properties in the past through this website and they have all been in pristine condition with very friendly owners. Also, if your rental has a kitchen you can take advantage of making your own breakfast or lunch therefore saving a few bucks there.
- If you go to Las Vegas and gamble….even if it is just a little….get the players card before you play. We haven’t paid for a hotel room in Vegas for over 10 years. This is because from our first visit we have been using our players cards everywhere we go. We get free room offers, free food, free slot play, discounted show tickets etc.. It keeps us going back because we know that all we have to pay for other than fun money is the travel getting there.
- Sign up for credit cards or shoppers cards that offer airline miles or cash back. If you like to fly rather than drive, this can be a huge deal for you. See if your favorite airline is running any promotions to get extra miles. I know that AA was doing a promotion that gave you a few thousand miles just for signing up You will save a lot of money and your kids will still have all the fun things that make a vacation special.
- Don’t buy drinks, bring them! My favorite thing is to buy boxes of instant drink packets (Crystal Light, Wylers etc.) when they are on sale and stock up for a few months before the trip. Then instead of buying sodas and bottled waters that can cost anywhere from $2-$5 each…ask for ice water at any of the quick service counters (it’s free!) and make your own drink. Carbonated drinks are dehydrating in the summer heat anyway so this is also a much healthier option! I empty the boxes and put the packets into Ziploc bags. Easy to carry and they don’t take up that much space.
- Don’t book your travel on 3rd party websites such as Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Hotwire etc… While these sites seem to be saving you money — you will lose out int he long run. These companies are 3rd party wholesalers. This means that they are allowed to have so many hotel rooms or airline tickets at a deeply discounted rate per day. Then they inflate the cost and sell to consumers on their websites. Most of the time, you are able to find the exact same or even lower deals just by going directly to the hotel or airlines regular website or your travel agent. Once you have booked with one of these wholesalers, consider yourself locked in completely. No changes are allowed, no cancellations and most importantly …. no refunds. And, if you do run into a problem and need to speak with someone be prepared to be put on infinite death hold until someone picks up — even then be expected to proficiently speak some obsolete foreign language just to get your point across. Have I made myself perfectly clear? Don’t do it.
- Consult with a travel agent. Along those same lines, I must mention how time-saving and money-saving this option is. Of course I’m biased but I actually didn’t realize what a lifesaver a travel agent can be until I started doing it for a living. Most of us live very busy and hectic lives. You probably don’t have time to scour the Internet for hours each day looking for travel deals and discounts. You definitely don’t have time to check them every single day, as deals change more than most people change their underwear. Have a travel agent can help you with this. We don’t charge you any fees (if yours does…find another one!) and have all of the resources to always find the best available deals. If something better comes up before your travel — we will find out about it and change it no problem! Have a cancellation or change? It’s ok, don’t panic. Your TA will take care of it for you and inform you of all of your options. Most importantly, we provide personalized service and peace of mind. We get to know you and your family and are here to make your vacation the most memorable one yet.
I hope you enjoyed my tips; I have many more however I will save them for another time. If you follow these guidelines, this will save you a ton of $$ and you can save that for other vacation experiences because memories last forever!
Do you have any $$ saving tips to share that I haven’t listed? I’d love to hear them! Please Comment.