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Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Odd Little Nice Day

The freak snow "storm" that showed up today (more like rain/snow/occasional sleet with much of the snow and sleet melting upon impact and the rest disappearing tomorrow) was the setting for a weird, fluky but ultimately rather good day.

It started with my alarm going off at 9:15 this morning (well, technically yesterday morning since I'm writing this a little past midnight, but go with me here). I turned it off and went back to sleep. I dreamed that the Phillies were playing, and I was suddenly called in to play third base. I was so excited! Then the batter hit a soft line drive that clanked off my glove for an error that allowed a run to score. At this point there was a pitching change, and I decided to run into the clubhouse for some reason. I was walking around, talking to someone in there for a couple of minutes. Then I heard a noise and realize that the game resumed without me. I wasn't bothered by this. I was like "Oh, well" -- and then I went out into the seats and sat down to watch more of the game. (And then I found myself out on a street with all of my family. Not sure why.)

I woke up, looked at the clock radio...and it had no time. My power had gone out. I checked my watch -- it was 10:30. I looked out my bedroom window and saw that the rain that began while I was asleep had already mixed with snow, earlier than predicted by the forecasters. I went down into my basement to check the fuse box (although why would it be a blown fuse? Hardly any electricity was being used at that time). Then I called PECO to see if they were aware of it (their automated system said they were working on it). I checked the clock that's on my oven, and saw that it was stopped at 10:15, meaning it hadn't been out long.

A little after 11, the power returned. Just then, I looked out my window and saw a FedEx truck, and there was a knock on my door. The driver had left a package. It was maybe five feet long, but not heavy at all. It was marked "fragile." I don't know why but I thought it might be a fishing rod or two. Although it had my house address on it, it had someone else's name. Perplexed, I brought it inside, went upstairs to shower and get dressed.

After noon, I went out. The snow had changed back to mostly rain. There was the beginnings of some slush on cars and grassy areas. My plan was to take the route 84 bus to Franklin Mills and decide what to do from there. However, on weekends it runs just once an hour, and when I got to the corner I realized I missed it. Not wanting to stand in the cold for an hour, and not wanting to go back home and wait (because I would not have gone out again if I did), I hopped on a route 66 bus heading south on Frankford Avenue.

I got off at Frankford and Cottman Avenues, and found quite a bit of slush on the ground here -- even on the sidewalks. I took the route 70 bus over to Roosevelt Blvd. and Cottman, and had lunch at McDonald's. After that, as the precipitation re-switched to snow, I went to the corner and the first bus that pulled up was one that was going to Parx Casino. This is the one that was formerly known as Philadelphia Park -- they changed their name when they built the new casino building and moved the casino operation from the racetrack's buildings. I hadn't been there since the new place opened. A lack of money will do that to you.

But I had gotten an email from them at the beginning of the month saying that they missed me, and gave me $10 in free slot play to use by the 31st. Since I have my mom's birthday party tomorrow and work Monday, this was my last chance to use it. I had my club card with me just in case, so off I went to the casino. As the bus, heading north on the Boulevard, passed Grant Ave., I noticed it was less slushy. It seemed strange to me that the more southern location (Frankford/Cottman) had more snow/slush, with the storm moving up the coast, although it's not exactly a great distance.

I got to the casino, sat down at a 25-cent slot machine and about two minutes later, five quarters at a time, immediately lost the entire $10. Not once did I win. I wasn't going to go home that quickly, though I didn't want to stay that long. I moved to a penny slot machine and put in a twenty. It was one of those where the bet lines are all over the place because there are 7 video reels and 5 symbols on each. It had a special bonus if you got a multicolored "77777" symbol on each of the three middle reels. Playing the maximim 150 credits (or $1.50) at a time, I was winning some small amounts (sometimes more than the $1.50 I bet, more often less). Then I got the bonus.

The top video display had a list of jackpots, from 350 to...well, I've forgotten the top one. Maybe 30,000. Next to each one was three 7's. Some of them began to spin and then graphics popping up showing things like "Held" or "Won" over the jackpots and number of spins left. I have no idea what "Held" was supposed to mean. It was really confusing. Nothing like the Wheel of Fortune bonus spins where you see the wheel spin and stop on your prize. Eventually the display said that I had won 7,500 credits -- or $75.00. On a penny slot machine!

I played a little more, checking the schedule for the next bus headed back to Frankford Terminal (via Franklin Mills, which was where I'd have to route 84 to get home), and the bonus came up again. One of the "Held" symbols showed up on 15,000 credits. I got excited, thinking maybe that was going to be my prize -- another $150! -- but after the machine was done, I had won a measly 450 credits. At this point I cashed out, with my $83.25 ticket to redeem. I had won $63.25 on my $20 investment in only about a half-hour.

I caught the bus to Franklin Mills. By this time the rain/snow had pretty much stopped, and as I made my way into the mall there was the smallest, briefest cloud break and a bit of sunlight vainly tried to slip through. I decided to check out the movie times at the AMC theaters there, and ended up having arrived in time for the 3:15 showing of "Paranormal Activity 3." If you read this you know I've complained about not seeing many movies lately, especially since I began the new job, so I was very pleased. (As always, I'll review it in a later post.)

After the movie I left the mall, and the snow had resumed. At this point I thought to myself, with all the rain-snow switching, that this storm was clearly a bi storm. My friend Kurt and I were talking later and we tried to finish the term. We came up with bi-meteorological (which I think is too long) and bi-atmospheric. If you have a suggestion, leave a comment.

I got home and found a note taped to my door. It was from someone who lives across the street, asking about the box FedEx delivered. He tracked it and knew it was delivered but didn't get it, and discovered it was left at my door. The person sending it reversed the last two digits in the address. His note included his phone number so I called, and he came and took the box away. I'm glad I didn't open it. I was tempted.

I spent the evening relaxing -- much-needed with my new schedule, as I've mentioned. I do appreciate weekends again. Also, now I can look foward to snow days if they occur during the week. I can root for blizzards again, and other than today being Saturday, we're off to a good start!

Oh, and one last bit of breaking news since I began writing this: a little while ago I checked the numbers. I won $7 in the Powerball lottery.

Good night!

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