My 40th trip around the sun is on – Part 1

Bob, Doug and Drew

When last we chatted about my 40th birthday I was crawling out of bed on the South Side waiting to see what was coming next. What happened was one of the best 24 hours I’ve had.

Bob, Doug and Drew

Pens vs Tampa Bay

First part of the surprise weekend was my brother showing up to the hotel at 11:30am with tickets for for the 12:30 Pens faceoff with the Lightning. While the Pens got a royal screw job by the officiating, the D failed them in the 4-2 loss. Plus side were the sweet seats by Fleury in section 116 and you realize how small that ice really is when you’re close. It was great to have legroom, which we don’t have in the 200 level, and the chance to shoot the breeze with my brother. It’s hard for us to get time away from the kids to hang out so this was a seriously needed event. After a few beers and a pic with the Mario statue, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

Can someone please pick us up?

The Holiday Inn Express on the South Side continued with their epic weekend of mismanagement. I stayed at this hotel previously and loved it so much it was my main recommendation to folks coming in for beer fests and conventions but now, not so much. First they oversold the hotel and gave away our room so 2 single beds turned into king size bed and a pullout couch. The night manager promised us it would be fixed the next day so what do we get, the day manager saying “well he lied to you. I don’t have anything.”.

Nice eh? Oh it gets better.

As we’re trying to find a solution since our friend Christine will be staying with us also, a group of guys come up to the counter and tell the manager they went into their room and found a woman laying on their bed! Another guy who just checked in also shows up and says he walked into his room and a guy was on the toilet doing his business! They were giving out rooms that were already occupied. Realizing the debacle unfolding, a room opened for us.

Part of staying here is you get a free shuttle that travels 3 miles. Perfect! We wanted to head to the casino across the river. “He’s at Duquesne, he’ll be here in 15 minutes. You have time to switch rooms.” is what we were told. We switch rooms in 5 minutes and get back to the lobby where we find out “Oh it’ll be another 15-30 minutes. He kinda does what he wants.” Now we’re irritated as the window for casino time is shrinking before dinner.

I do a mad install of Uber, Lyft and Ztrip. Lyft is booked, Ztrip wont have a ride for an hour and Uber, well Uber is insane. While they had drivers available the trip to go 2 miles would cost us $22 because of that surge pricing. UUUGGGGGHHH! We were ready to hoof it to the subway.

As if the gambling gods knew we were in need, a Yellow Cab pulls up with a hardcore gritty yinzer who LOVES his casinos at the wheel. We hop in and spend the next 10 minutes getting lessons on what to play, who has the best buffets and what you need to do to hit big. If there’s an ambassador for Pittsburgh, it needs to be this guy! Totally awesome!

HEY HEY We’re the Monkees!

We have an hour before dinner so how can we maximize our casino time? Slots! Actually that’s the worst way to do it but all of the Black Jack tables were full and I have no idea how to play the other games. I need a sign though, what slots do I play? This is when a theme song from my childhood rang loud… “DAYDREAM BELIEVER!”. That’s right, they have Monkees slots machines! Only thing that can make this better would be a Back to the Future game.  In fact, Rivers Casino, get on that!

Drew and I had no idea what was going on but every roll played the song and I was geeking about it. 20 minutes later I finally caved and cashed out my big $.15. What did I tell ya, big winner!

We head to the bar and await our friend Christine who will be driving us to dinner. 2 Manhattans for me and a few Jack n Cokes for Drew and we’re ready to go.

This is where the night gets interesting. More tomorrow!

This is post 7 in the “100 Days of Blogging” with the Pittsburgh bloggers. If you’d like to find out more about the group, join us on Facebook.

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