Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chips Ahoy!

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Ahoy maties! I had an exciting time this past week. I had my first ride on a boat – oh, I’m sorry – I mean a ship. She was a big ol’ sturdy vessel, big enough to hold my friends and I and a whole plethora of others. There was a host of amusing activities in which to partake. But let me explain how we ended up on this adventure.
My friends have come to count on me to come up with something interesting to do every week. I’m flattered, but some weeks there just isn’t much going on. I figured we would just have to lay low this week… or so I thought. All one has to do is make inquiries of others, and someone will come up with a good idea! This one was my brother’s idea…
The World Series of Poker’s tournament of Champions is this week in Las Vegas – no we didn’t go to Vegas. I know that playing poker doesn’t look too exciting, but certainly you know by now that if I was going to play poker there was going to be some flare involved! Fortunately my brother is quite the poker player, so it didn’t take much arm twisting to cajole him into agreeing to be our chauffeur on our poker outing.
There were no establishments in which to play poker in North Carolina, but we tippy tapped and found a viable option in South Carolina – Myrtle Beach to be exact. The usual cast of characters packed into Tristan’s car and we started our 2+ hour journey to Myrtle Beach. I wasn’t sure specifically where we were going, but Tristan seemed to know. The rest of us just messed around playing “hangman” with a pencil and some paper that we found in the car. Every time it was Malcolm’s turn to make up the puzzle, it would be a chicken related item. He used the actual word “chicken” twice, but he also used more subtle hints like “drumstick” or “hot wing”. We finally had to drive through KFC so we could move on to more challenging words!
When we arrived at our destination it was amazing. We had no idea we were going to be playing poker on a boat. Evidently, playing poker on the east coast is a very serious business and must be conducted way out in the ocean in international waters. A few in our group were a little afraid of getting on the boat and being surrounded with nothing but water, but I thought it sounded like fun!! We sent Tristan to buy the tickets and then we headed to the ship to start our adventure.

We had to wait an hour until we were out in international waters, so guess what they had going on to fill the time? A buffet!! How great was that? Corny had brought along the money he had made in tips at the Wal-Mart so he paid for all of us to enjoy the buffet. We were hungry anyway from the long ride so we welcomed a chance to pig out! Since Malcolm was wearing his bucket hat, he decided to refill it with the chicken wings from the buffet. We had no idea how fortunate that move would be!
After the hour was up, the captain announced that the tables were open for gaming. We reluctantly stopped eating and followed the crowd into the poker room. It was quite crowded but we managed to find a table with enough seats for those of us who wanted to play. Lucy wanted to play the slot machines – oooh shiny! – and Bobbi wanted to enjoy the view of the ocean from the top deck. The rest of us settled in for our poker education.
Our first problem was the chips. We had used all of Corny’s money for the buffet, and hadn’t realized they were going to make us buy the chips with which we needed to play. Well, why would we know that?!?!?!?!? We were all busy mewing at each other when Malcolm quietly plopped his bucket of chicken wings on the table. We all stopped talking and smiled. Malcolm may not say much, but he is a thinker! We asked the dealer if he minded if we used chicken instead of chips. He had to check with the pit boss, but his boss said it was okay. I think they were just trying to keep us away from the buffet! We divided up the wings and started to play!

After a while Malcolm had eaten most of the chicken wings. Lucky for us, Tristan came to visit. He had done very well at the Texas Hold ‘Em table and wanted to share his good fortune. He bought us all a stack of chips. That way when all the wings were gone we could still play!
The chips presented a whole other problem. We tended to bat them around the table and sometimes someone would bat it so hard it would go flying across the room. It was especially fun when they were piled high. The dealer was very nice and tolerated our silliness, but he did look relieved when we decided we would join Lucy at the slot machines.
We figured the slot machines were probably more our style. The slot machines were so pretty with their flashing lights and bells. We found Lucy having a great time - she had won a bunch of money and she also wanted to share with us. Such great friends! We all sat in a row and screamed and laughed and moaned as we pulled the slot machine arms. We squealed with delight any time we were a winner, no matter how small the winnings. There was much ooohing and aaaahing every time the lights would start flashing wildly. Now this was more my speed!

We played for a long time. In fact, we played until the captain announced we were out of international waters and the gambling would have to stop. We headed back to the food and noshed for a while. Suddenly we realized that we hadn’t seen Bobbi in quite some time. We knew she didn’t want to play the games, but we couldn’t imagine what she had been up to all this time. We went to the top deck to look for her, but she wasn’t there. There was a crowd gathered at the back of the boat, so being the curious cats we are, we had to find out what was going on. We poked our heads up over the rail and could not believe our eyes. I thought I was adventurous, but there was Bobbi rivaling even the hardiest of creatures.

Now, I’ve seen people water ski, but I have never seen anyone ski along a wake so large. We were in a huge ship, so you know the wake was scary huge. Little Bobbi was just scooting back and forth across the wake hitting the edge just right so she would pop high into the air and land with a couple of bounces in the middle of the wake. She was quite entertaining! When the boat started to slow as we neared the dock, one of the crew members pulled her in to a loud round of applause. Bobbie blushed and said she was just having some fun. She told us that her cousin is Twiggy the water skiing squirrel, so the knack for water skiing runs in her family.
The ship docked and we said goodbye to all the crewmembers. We used some of our winnings to tip our poker dealer who had been so patient with us. We also used some to pay Tristan for the gas we used for the trip and dinner for all of us on the way home. Even after that, we still had enough money left to stop at Petsmart to buy a feather on a stick for each of the felines! We bought Bobbi a bag of nuts and Corny some special high speed bird seed.
We were all exhausted by the time we finally pulled up the driveway. I slept the whole next day!
Hope you have a great weekend! Happy 4th of July! I’m not sure what’s going on around here for the 4th, but I’ll bet there will be something!

Love & licks,

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