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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Because Nothing Can Ever Wind Up As Planned! (Dad & Atlantic City)

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Because Nothing Can Ever Wind Up As Planned! (Dad & Atlantic City)

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little red riding hood
We've been planning with my parents for a couple weeks now to take a day trip to Atlantic City. It's a little over two hours away, and a couple local bus companies have deals with the casinos where you get a certain amount of gambling money with the purchase of your ticket. Dad made the trip reservations for Friday, two days ago, for the four of us, my sis-in-law Erin and father-in-law, and a bunch of people my parents work with.

Early Friday morning, Bobby gets a call from my mom: They're not going to be able to go because she's taking my dad to the hospital. She's pretty sure he has appendicitis. :^|

Bobby and I get ready and get on the road; the bus is supposed to pick us up at the Park and Ride off of Cromwell Bridge Road, which is just under an hour away. (We live in the middle of nowhere, so that's actually a normal drive for us to get anywhere "civilized" that isn't Hanover or Westminster.) We get to the Park and Ride at 8:20, forty minutes before the bus is supposed to pick us up.

I close my eyes and take a nap while Bobby reads. Next I know, it's 9 o'clock, so we both start getting ourselves together, since the bus is usually precisely on time. 9:10 comes--no bus. A guy comes up to the Bobby's window and introduces himself as one of my parents' coworkers; we're all starting to get a little concerned that the bus isn't here yet. Bobby gets Internet on his phone, so he looks up the bus company number and calls them. This is what I hear of the conversation:

"Hi. We're waiting at the Cromwell Bridge Park and Ride for a 9 AM pickup to Atlantic City. It's quarter after and the bus isn't here yet, so I just wanted to check in that everything was okay. ... Um. Yeah, we never got a call. ... We're not the only people waiting here. ... Golden Ring? That's a little ways away. Will they wait?"

A few seconds after hanging up with them, we get a panicked call from Erin that the bus is at the Golden Ring stop, where my inlaws were catching it, and we weren't on it, and the driver said the Cromwell Bridge stop had been cancelled, and we would have to meet the bus at Maryland House--a good twenty-minute jaunt up I-95--if we wanted to go on the trip.

Well, long story short, the bus company must have told the driver to wait because we got on the bus at Golden Ring, thankfully; we would not have gone to Maryland House, as that would have been almost two hours away from home for us, and I doubt we could have gotten there before the bus anyway.

When we got to Atlantic City, Bobby called my mom for an update on Dad. By this point, his appendicitis had been confirmed, and they were just waiting for the general surgeon to get an open spot in his schedule. Of course, now I wanted to be home! I felt terrible to think of my mom waiting at the hospital by herself while Dad was in surgery.

Dad, apparently, was furious about the bus mix-up and was trying to call the bus company from the emergency room to bitch them out, but Mom wouldn't let him.

Anyway, Bobby and I did end up having a good day. We walked from Trump Plaza (where we were let off the bus) to Tropicana, which isn't a far walk, but it was blazing hot that day, and we felt like ants under a magnifying glass. We went to Tropicana to get lunch at Carmine's, which is honestly a major reason why we wanted to go on the trip in the first place; neither Bobby nor I am much for gambling (we're both too cheap!), but we both love to eat, and Carmine's is really, really good. The walk back from Tropicana to Trump Plaza--where we each had $30 on casino card from the bus company--was miserable. I was wearing thin-soled sandals, and the bottoms of my feet were burned and blistered by the time we made it back, so I put the veto on any heavy-duty walking for the rest of the day. Usually, Bobby and I walk the length of the Boardwalk and back.

We decided next to play with our $30-a-piece, so we each played $10 on quarter machines with no luck. Then we found a vampire-themed penny machine called Count Money, and Bobby did pretty well on that one; we took turns, since there was only one. Our policy is that we cash out anything that we win over $10. This isn't as crazy as it sounds; my former boss Johnny was a high-roller at Tropicana and earned that status solely on slot machines. He and his wife would each take $100 to play with per day, and because the casino can only legally track the money you put into a machine--not the money you take out--they registered him and his wife each playing several hundred dollars per day, so they got ridiculous comps and benefits from the casino. Most people get into trouble because they win a little and then play--and lose--those winnings. Bobby and I are too cheap for that; if we win, we take it out and cash it in at the end of the day. Finally, we played two-cent machines called Coyote Moon, and I won a little on those. All told, we played only the money we got from the bus company and ended up winning $46.50, which was enough to pay for our lunch with 50 cents to spare! Not bad.

We spent the rest of the day walking around in the pier mall at Ceasar's and just wandering around in the casinos, looking at all the different games (we're both more fascinated by this than actually playing said games because ... yes, you know it--we're both cheap!) We walked down on the beach, then it was time to go.

Meanwhile, Dad made it out of surgery okay. We got more of the story now: Apparently, he had been having pain for two or three weeks but hadn't said anything about it. Because he'd waited so long, his white blood count was really high, and he was being kept overnight. When we got home, we met Mom and went out to dinner--very late, around 10 PM. She hadn't eaten anything but snacks given to her by the nurses all day. It was a late night, and we were exhausted by the time we made the hour-long trek back to Manchester.

While we were at my parents' house, we saw that the bus company did call them: at 8:59 AM, one minute before we were due to be picked up at the Cromwell Bridge stop. :^|

Yesterday morning, Dad was ready to go, but when he stood up, his blood pressure would drop and he'd get lightheaded, so they decided to keep him again--it was possibly a reaction to the anesthetic, he was told--and he ended up staying last night as well. Today, they did blood work and discovered he was anemic, so he's still there, having received two pints of blood today, and will stay overnight again.

We also finished the kitchen floor and harvested our first honey this weekend, but that's for another post. What a weekend.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • I hope your dad is doing well!

    Dad, apparently, was furious about the bus mix-up and was trying to call the bus company from the emergency room to bitch them out, but Mom wouldn't let him.

    That sounds exactly like me under the circumstances! I also could totally relate to your experience of being ants under a magnifying glass. I have had that feeling a few times in the past week. Most recently walking a few blocks from from my eye doctor appointment to Alex's Taekwondo class on Thursday.

    I have always used exactly your same method for gambling. Strict budget and no re-gambling of winnings. I've usually been able to cover expenses--food and transportation. I have done it in years, but always gambled anytime we had reason to cross from California into Nevada. Or in Nevada airports.
    • I want my dad to take that personality test! He's whatever a forceful, no-nonsense perfectionist would be. I've no doubt we'll get a free trip out of whatever conversation he ends up having with the bus company.

      I've never been further west than West Virginia but have a former (and much beloved) student in Vegas currently and so will likely end up there at some point before the year is out to try the infamous Nevada gambling. I am really a cheapo. All I can think about is what I could do with the money I'm pouring into those machines. That's curbs any urge to court Lady Luck.
  • I haven't gambled for many years, but when I did I had a strict budget and would re-invest no more than 10% of my winnings back in.

    So sorry to hear about your father. It's always frightening when a parent is laid up. I hope he bounces back quickly.

    Bus companies - you think they would have determined their schedule earlier than they did! Poo on them!

    - Erulisse (one L)
    • I just talked to my dad on the phone, and he sounds great and it looks like he'll be home tomorrow. *crosses fingers*

      The bus company cancelled the Cromwell Bridge stop, supposedly, because they are doing construction at the Park and Ride. That was true, but there was still plenty of parking. That seems like a situation where contending with construction would have been favorable to the cluster**** that ensued. But what do I know! I don't run a bus company. :D
  • Wishing your dad a speedy recovery. He doesn't sound like the sort who's pleased to stay in hospital for long!
    • Certainly not! :) I just talked to him, though, and he sounds good and should be home tomorrow. *fingers crossed*
  • (no subject) -
    • I have a family member who makes what I consider to be very bad and impulsive gambling decisions. (Granted, I am so conservative when it comes to personal finances--probably the only area where I'm conservative!--and the thought of losing even $50 makes me feel ill.) It's a scary notion to me. When my husband worked for the feds, a coworker of his was fired for putting several thousand dollars of gambling debt on his government credit card. Ouch. So that seems a smart decision to avoid that mess if you can. :(

      It looks like my dad will be home tomorrow; I just talked to him. I have my fingers crossed! :)
  • I hope your dad will soon be fine. *hugs*
  • Silly man! I'm glad he's on the mend. So much for being 10 feet tall and bullet proof.
    I'm like you - gambling isn't my thing and I like to quit while I'm ahead. Glad you had a good time despite the stupid bus company. If they cancelled the stop for any reason besides an emergency that day they should have contacted the customers at least the day before the bus trip. What they did was just rude!
    (Insert Mom type voice) ALWAYS wear sturdy, comfortable walking shoes!! Fried feet are not worth the agony of looking stylish!
    • Apparently, they cancelled the Cromwell Bridge stop because they're doing construction at the Park and Ride. Which they were ... but it wasn't anything that was all that much of a hassle, and there was still plenty of parking. Calling one minute before the scheduled pickup time is so not acceptable! Even if the number they called had been a cell number (it was my parents' home number), we still would have barely had time to make it to Golden Ring. Also, I had no clue where Golden Ring Plaza was--that's an area I know only passingly--but thankfully, my parents' coworker did, so we followed him.

      I don't do stylish shoes, so no worries! :) I do shoes that will fit my deformed feet; three bone spurs on the left foot means I wear what will fit, and a bone spur on the ball of my right foot means no heels. My sandals were one of my most comfortable walking shoes; I just wasn't anticipating the heat baking the bottoms of my feet the way it did. (However, the shoes are rather cute ... :^P)

      And just talked to the 10-foot bulletproof man, and he should be home tomorrow. :)
      • Well alrighty then - the bus company cancels due to construction - which takes forethought and planning and leaves NO excuse for the lack of timely notice.

        Hmmmm...all those bone spurs and no one has suspected plantars fascietiis (sp?). Bone spurs can aggravate the tendons and the result IS painful beyond belief! I have one on my heel but my round of pain was caused by the swollen tendons that were rubbing it as the foot moved. it's a thought but worth looking into. The lack of pain is worth it. I don't suppose you've considered having the bone spurs removed? After all, you've got the cute sandals, might as well have the happy feet to go with them. As for high heels - no way jose' - I haven't worn heels in decades and don't plan on starting any time soon.

        I'm very glad to hear that Mr. 10' tall and bulletproof is on the mend and headed home. Bet he won't take any bus trips in the near future!

  • Well, glad you were able to enjoy your trip, despite the less-than-ideal beginning! Also glad your dad went to the hospital and got that taken care of...sounds like it was already starting to leak (if his white blood cell count was high), so that could have gone much worse. But what a stressful day for both your parents, when they were supposed to be doing something fun with you all! Glad he's okay now, and I wish him a speedy recovery.
    • Dad has terrible timing when it comes to surgery. He had surgery once before--cardiac bypass about 10 years ago--and ended up going in to the hospital the day before we were supposed to go for a week in Ocean City. I just talked to him, and it looks like he'll be home tomorrow--good news! I'm crossing my fingers that he does.
  • I'm glad your dad's doing better, and I hope he can come home soon.
  • I hope that your dad will be better soon. And how lax of that bus company to call *one minute* before departure that the station was changed! I'm glad you still managed to have a good time though.
    • Even if the number they'd called had been a cell number (it was my parents' home number, and they live a half-hour away from the park and ride), it's at least a 10-minute ride to Golden Ring, assuming no traffic (which is not a good assumption at 9 AM on the Baltimore Beltway!). To add insult to injury, they didn't even leave a voicemail. Terribly unprofessional.

      My dad should be home tomorrow--thanks for the good thoughts! :)
  • Wishing your father a speedy recovery.
  • Oh dad... how typical to walk around with pain for so long... *sighs*

    I don't think I've ever been in a casino.. to gamble. I did had to retrieve a running child from it once a while (because the indoor kids gym is next door) LOL

    How are you feet doing?
    • I do that too--avoid medical attention like the plague--so I can't say anything to him! :D He's supposed to be home tomorrow.

      I had to laugh at retrieving a running kid from a casino--and the idea of a kid gym right next door! That would never fly here! Casinos are viewed as sinful places and appropriately sequestered from the innocent. ;) It was a huge deal when Maryland not only legalized slot machines but approved a casino on the same grounds (not attached) to our biggest shopping mall.

      I find casinos to be interesting places if only because they so blatantly play on human nature. In one, we found a bar with very, very cheap alcoholic beverages. The people one finds there are interesting characters as well.

      The feet are good. During our walk on the beach, I soaked them in cold salt water, and that took out the sting. They never hurt to the point of limping; they were just uncomfortable for a few hours.
  • It's a bother to stay at the hospital but I find it's preferable to what's become regular here which is to send patients home the same day of the surgery if it's nothing too big. That happened to my husband last year (granted the operation was *very* minor) but I would have felt better if he had stayed one night. Good to hear your Dad is doing fine.

    All I can think about is what I could do with the money I'm pouring into those machines.
    Same thing here!
    • They likely would have sent him home the same day; he had a "lapi appi" or laproscopic surgery with only tiny incisions, but for the plummeting blood pressure and anemia. It's very commonplace here too.

      Same thing here!

      Okay, so my flist not only has the same personality as me, but we are also apparent misers when it comes to gambling! :D
  • Glad to hear your dad is going better, but indeed, what a miserable turn of events! *hugs you!*
  • Sending good thoughts for your dad's recovery!
  • I'm glad your dad's op went well, and I hope he's better soon. What a scare!

    Gambling. Mmm. Last summer I spent two nights in Las Vegas without stepping into a casino. I stayed in the hotel and slept my jetlag off instead. I agree it's fascinating watching people's reactions, but I just wanted the sleep badly.
  • I hope your father's continuing to recover well, without any more complications!
  • All my best wishes to your dad. As you know, I have a soft spot in my heart -- well, abdomen -- for appendicitis patients.

    But I'm glad you got to go and play and win anyway. Good for you!
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