Monday, December 15, 2008

Gambling on New Orleans

Christmas in New Orleans.

Dan told me that we could plan our New Orleans wedding in two weekends over the internet, no problem.

I said We had to see the venues in person.

We had this conversation a few times. I was always right. Dan kept trying to be right, but he never was.

My freelance work assignment was coming to an end mid-December, and so I decided to book a trip to New Orleans the week before Christmas to check out venues in person. Since Dan is already taking a week off to go to California for the holidays, he couldn't come, so I recruited my mom, who is retired and can take trips with her daughter when she wants. Plus she brings major bonus points to the table: She's a major slot-machine queen in Atlantic City and so she scored us a free hotel room at Harrah's. We even got upgraded to a suite. New Orleans? 70-degree December weather? Gambling? For Dan, this means instant jealousy. I was definitely right about this one.

While my mom can take trips with her daughter when she wants, she really doesn't. Besides for our crazy Polish road trip to Kazimeirz Dolny, we've never gone together anywhere just the two of us. My mom always has Ted at her side. She is not really a traveler. She prefers home cooked meals to restaurant dining. When she does go anywhere, she goes to Atlantic City, and she eats at the buffet at the Showboat Hotel (because it's comped for big rollers, holler!)

Mom and I left a Continental flight from Newark this morning (btw: they charged $15 per checked bag AND they don't give you envelopes for tickets anymore--what???). Like a good
Polish mom, she packed us a sandwich for the trip in case of starvation. Actually she packed us two turkey and cheese sandwiches, a tall tin of Pringles, two bananas, a ziplock bag filled with grapes, a giant bag of peanut M&Ms and a giant bag of Werther's Originals. For a three hour plane ride.

I made big plans for this trip. This past month, I have been doing tons of research and have already learned a lot about New Orleans, particularly event venues and Catholic churches and restaurants and neighborhoods. I even mapped out an itinerary. It's typed.

Today was the only day I didn't plan. I figured we would spend the day walking to some of the churches nearby the hotel. But that plan got foiled after we walked for ten minutes to the first church (which was locked), and my mom was so tired and out of breath she looked like she was going to pass out. Alarmed by my mom's lack of fitness, I decided we should head back to the hotel (she agreed), where I promptly lost my mom to the casino. We did meet up briefly for the buffet at Harrah's. Mom was too tired to venture into the French Quarter to check out the yummy-looking restaurant I wanted to go or eat beignets at Cafe du Monde.

New Orleans is not the kind of place you should be walking alone at night, so I passed the evening playing some slots...I don't really like gambling, or any kind of game for that matter. I won about $60, lost about $45 and stopped when my eyes starting hurting and it wasn't fun anymore.

When I was around 10 years old, my mom, Ted and I went to Las Vegas. As they played, I remember being sequestered in the children's room, where I had to watch boring movies and play games that I didn't want to play (didn't like games then either.) I have a memory of my mom trying to leave me in the corner of the casino floor until she got scolded by the guard. Twenty years later, I sit in my hotel room alone, I see the playground of New Orleans outside my window. Cajun food, beignets a'calling. Today was all about Mom. I don't blame her, she doesn't get out much. But tomorrow will be all about the itinerary. And we'll be driving everywhere from here on out.

1 comment:

Jezabelle said...

It is awesome when you make memories, especially if those memories include yout mom. Isn't it kinda weird that now when you are grown up you act like your mom and then your mom as a child? I found that out recently when I took my mom to see chiropractor, and later to see the Nutcracker.