Press Your Luck
Last year, my husband and I didn’t do too much to celebrate his birthday. I had only been at my new job for a few months and most of what was left of my paychecks was going towards catching up on bills and preparing for Christmas. As a result, his birthday was less than thrilling. Thankfully, 2011 was a good year to us financially and my husband was able to plan a trip to Tennessee for my 30th birthday. It was an absolute blast and I wanted to do something for his 27th both as a thank you and to make up for last year. Since his birthday was on a Friday and our little one would be gone that weekend, I decided to plan a stay-cation to the Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Indiana. Time to put on my game face!
I knew that if I told him in advance that we were going to the casino, he’d hold money back that he could spend on other things and I really didn’t want him blowing a lot of his own cash on his birthday. I immediately put aside $200 for each of us for gambling money and began sending invites to all our friends. I booked a king suite at the Holiday Inn Express which I highly recommend if you’re ever in the area. I coordinated an overnight stay for our dog and decided on the restaurant based on what were probably poorly veiled questions to my husband. He had no idea where we were going until we left and I gave him his chunk of cash.
One of the first things he said was “We should invite some people!” I played it off, saying people were busy and couldn’t make it. We arrived at the hotel around 4pm.
It didn’t take us long to get settled in and to Clorox just about every surface; we don’t trust the cleaning services 100% anywhere we go. I gave him a bottle of Crown Royal, which you can see above, and began making small talk about what we were going to do. Two of our friends were going to surprise him by knocking on the door at 4pm, but they were held up by an hour due to traffic so I went through everything I could think of to convince my husband to stay in the room just a little longer. Our reservations for dinner weren’t until 7pm so that another friend could make it, so I couldn’t even properly answer his question when he asked why it was so late. Honestly, it was the most stressful hour I’ve had in a while!
My hubby’s frustration (can you tell?) was worth it though because he lit up like a Christmas tree when he looked through the peephole and saw his friends in the hallway. They came bearing gifts as well; a hands-free Purell dispenser which is absolutely perfect for my husband. After a bit of chatting, we piled into the car and headed down the road to the casino.
One of our first stops was the Double R bar located right in the middle of the casino. They have just about every alcohol imaginable and feature a different drink special each month. After a drink and a bit of gambling with the automated card games built into the bar, we decided to join Club Centaur, the rewards program for frequent gamblers. There was a car giveaway that night so we figured we didn’t have anything to lose. Well, other than the cash we’d be feeding into the slots. Signing up gave us a fancy card with our name on it and an attached cord so we could wear it around our neck or whatever it is the kids are doing these days. We received $5 in casino cash and a coupon book for future visits. My husband also got a super fancy Happy Birthday necklace with flashing lights. I can’t decide if he was happy about it or not.
7pm couldn’t come fast enough! The last of our group met us at the Homestretch Steakhouse, which is located right by the horse track. We had an amazing view and made a mental note to come back when there are races. I ordered a Presidential martini due to the recommendations on various websites and while I was surprised to enjoy the blue cheese stuffed olives, I think the martini is just too strong for my tastes. My husband and I started out with seared ahi tuna with spicy mayonnaise; heaven on a plate! He had a bowl of lobster bisque; he offered me a bite and I nearly stole his bowl, it was creamy and flavorful. We both ordered the Filet Oscar for our main course; a 6 ounce steak aged 21 days and cooked to perfection, topped with butter and served with a side of perfectly cooked asparagus topped with fresh crab meat and hollandaise. Without a doubt, this was the best meal I have ever eaten. After our plates had been cleared, sous chef Terrance Hazard came to our table and serenaded my husband with a beautifully sung Happy Birthday, followed by a group picture on the stairs. I couldn’t have asked for a better dining experience and I’m so glad my husband was happy! Now that our bellies were full, it was on to more drinks and some serious gambling.
By serious gambling, I mean penny slots. I have a hard time making myself put a large chunk of cash into any machine and prefer to bet a few pennies at a time so I can gamble longer. I have never come out of this casino with empty pockets, but my husband tends to lose more than he wins. I hoped that he would have a bit of birthday luck and hit big. Sure enough, he eventually found a machine that agreed with him and won a nice chunk of money towards the end of our evening.
While my husband was busy winning us a down payment on a new car, one friend and I began wandering around and nearly ran into Gary from Teen Mom. It was overly hilarious to our inebriated brains, especially since we had been talking about Teen Mom in the hotel before heading to the casino. Of course, the natural thing to do was to follow him and try to get a photo. Blame the Long Islands.
Two of our friends stayed in the same hotel as us and stopped by our room to eat some Arby’s and take a few shots of Crown. We had a lot of laughs and my husband and I ended the night on a great note. I consider myself very lucky to be able to have little getaways like this with the man who I love. Happy Birthday, baby. I love you.