A couple of months ago, I was nominated for a couple of regional Emmy Awards for some stories I did for the TV station I work at. This was exciting news and I was even more pumped to learn that the awards ceremony would be held at Belterra Casino on the Indiana/Kentucky border. All I know about casinos and gambling I learned from watching Oceans 11, 12, and 13. So understandably, I thought it would be a very exciting experience. I wish I had been wrong.
Who else would I ask to accompany me but my best friend and blogging buddy, Sarah? We piled into the car on Saturday afternoon for the 2 hour trip north. We had no idea it would end up being a dangerous road trip up Kentucky’s back roads during which squirrels, bikers, and tree branches tried to unsuccessfully kill us. It’s a good thing I’ve been practicing my driving skills on Mario Kart lately, or the squirrels may have succeeded.
We got to the casino and discovered the check in time of 4pm they had given us was a rather loose interpretation. Our only option was *gasp* sharing a king sized bed if we wanted a room. After joking with the clerk that we would need a pillow fortress to separate us, we got up to the room, looked at the bed and realized that he thought we were serious.
We got dressed and ready and headed downstairs for what would be a 4-hour ceremony. Hosted by none other than Mr. Nick Clooney (of George Clooney fame, of course).
Although I did not end up winning any Emmys that night, you can see that this golden statuette I did win at the end of the night was a good deal better than an Emmy.
Since I was at a casino for the first time, of course I wanted to try my hand at gambling. We dressed down after the awards were over and headed with loaded pockets to the casino floor. I was not prepared. I should have done more research because when I got down there, the only game I could identify was roulette. Which I would have played, had there not been a long line of people who intimidated me just because they looked like they knew what they were doing. And I did not. So I settled down at a slot machine. An easy start for your first gambling experience, right? NO. The first button I pushed made the machine steal ten dollars from me on a single turn.
After about an hour of slot machine gambling Sarah and I realized that, limited by our lack of gambling know-how, we were better suited to finishing out the evening with some Ben & Jerry’s and HBO.
We went to sleep with the pillow fortress between us but that is not the end of the story. At roughly 3am, we were awoken by a bright flashing strobe light coming from the wall, a loud horn, and an electronic voice telling us to remain calm. As you can imagine, this combination of events was not conducive to calmness. After countless minutes of this alert repeating itself, another alert replaced it telling us that everything was all clear. Foolishly believing this, we tried to get back to sleep. We had only been asleep for half an hour when the whole process repeated itself. The alarm went into meltdown mode and the alarm and the all clear mashed together in a horrifying mixup of noise.
By 4pm, it was finally over. We went back to sleep and woke up groggy and grumpy. The checkout clerk reluctantly told us some nonsense about a fried circuit board malfunctioning. Sarah and I put two and two together and figured out what really must have happened….Nick Clooney + a Casino = Oceans 14. Heist!
Chrissy is forgetting the part of the night where she yelled, for fifteen solid minutes to a blinking alarm light, “WHAT IF I WERE *&#@ EPILEPTIC!” The alarm did not care for her hypothetical disease and continued to make the room resemble a scene from Jurassic Park.
Our one comforting thought during this whole ordeal was, ‘Well, maybe they’ll give us free breakfast’.
We were foolish. What casino gives away free things? Not the one we were staying at. We had vowed not to eat there unless they apologized about the alarm. Our self righteous indignation was only affirmed when Chrissy practically had to shake down the hotel employee for some kind of explanation.
We left….foodless. In the amazing ‘swag bags’ we had received at Emmy’s contained a map of the nearby town (and that was about it). ‘Granny’s Kitchen’ was a place that sounded like it had food. It could be homespun and possibly adorable. To be honest, it could have been a cockroach infested cesspool… I just needed coffee.
We got there and it was everything you need a town diner to be, regulars and curmudgeonly waitress included. We walked in and were automatically labeled ‘new.’ After we ordered, we were shown their acceptance of us as they mocked our food choices and our inability to eat it all.
It was good but filling. After paying and not making eye contact with the waitress/owner/mocker we left with less dignity and waistband elasticity than when we came in. Making our way back to Lexington we felt the weekend had been a success. The only winnings may have come in the form of alcohol, but that’s better than an Emmy any day. Right?