Sunday, June 12, 2016

When Minutes Move Slowly ...

I just got back home after being away for two days. This is certainly one of those times when life is a challenge.

As many of you know, my mother is 90 and has been teetering on the edge health-wise. My brother, thundering36, had her admitted to a hospice house early last week since she seemed to be having some major problems. I worked half a day on Friday and got in my car later that afternoon to take the ride up north. I had only gotten a few blocks from home and was texting thundering36 that I was on my way. He returned my message, saying that I needed to come to the hospice house immediately. I drove back home, had my wife pack her things, and the two of us drove up to see my mom.

Unfortunately, the inevitable will soon happen. My mom is going to die. Now it is just a matter of coping and waiting. I can't begin to describe what it is like seeing your mother winding down, just biding time while her body begins to shut down and she will take her last breath. In what now appears to be a fortunate twist, I had experienced seeing this once before when my father-in-law passed away. All you can do is try to make the person comfortable in his or her last days or hours. It is an extremely emotional time with lots of crying, kissing, stroking of hair. And as much as it hurts, you pray that things end quickly with as little suffering as possible.

I am grateful for the many supportive messages I have received from blog readers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, poker acquaintances and friends in general. Believe me, it helps. It also helps me to follow the exploits of friends on twitter or in their blogs to keep myself grounded in the rest of the world instead of being trapped with no outlet in the horrible situation I am forced to be in.

My mother is stubbornly fighting death. And I always thought that I received that trait from my father. There is no way of knowing how long she will last, so my wife and I decided to drive back home for tonight and spend a night in our own bed. Based on a talk with a hospice nurse, it seemed that tonight was a good time to sneak home. She, of course, told us there were no guarantees that my mom would not die this evening or in the early morning hours. I replied that I am a gambler and was just wanting to play on the right side of the odds!

So this month has started out just about as badly as a month could. My wife was informed that she will not be rehired back into her job next school year and was let go with a degree of callousness that I could likely not touch even in my most horrible times. Our sump pump malfunctioned when somehow a stick got caught in it, flooding our basement. I canceled a spur of the moment trip I planned for Las Vegas last week and had to cancel the vacation to New Orleans that my wife and I were taking this coming week. And now we wait for my mother to pass.

Once again, thanks to my friends, near and far, in person or via electronic, computer or social media, who have reached out to me. It helps -- it really does.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Decisively Indecisive

I am usually a believer in a sort of Karma that if things are meant to happen, everything just seems to fall into place. With that in mind, I got a wild hair to go back to Las Vegas after seeing all the excitement with the WSOP's first event. Flight reservations were made, a hotel room was booked, and I even decided to extend the stay an extra night. Everything seemed to be going well, but then ...

Boom -- everything seems to be falling apart. Even between the beginning of this post late at night and the continuation the following afternoon, it just looks like the Karma is just not right. So today I am fighting an internal battle with myself. I will probably make a decision by the end of the work day.

In general poker news, I played at Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, IL last weekend. I was doing well until the big hand. I was UTG and looked down to see AA. I raised to $12. Unfortunately, there were several callers. However, Dan, an extremely tight player, was the last to act. He went all in. Yowsa! I had somewhere in the area of $450 behind and Dan had maybe $300. I went all in. Everyone except for one shortie immediately folded. He thought about it and also folded. Either Dan or his wife, Sheri, who was also sitting at the table, asked "Do you have Aces?" I replied yes, and Dan muttered that he had Kings (as opposed to the dreaded pocket kings). As expected, the flop brought a King, leaving me only two outs. They didn't come, so instead of having a stack of around $700-800, I had a single stack of redbirds. Thank you, poker gods. About a half hour later, they finished me off when I flopped trip Jacks with a 10 kicker. The table lucksack stayed in the hand with me after my flop bet, so I pushed all in after the turn, a 6c. He said "You're not gonna like this" and tabled his hand -- J-6! That was it for me. I headed out to the parking lot to drive home.

Earlier this week, I had to drop my youngest daughter off on the east side of Chicago. With Harrah's Horseshoe Hammond only a 15-20 drive away, there was an easy decision to make. Of course I went to Indiana! Unfortunately, my drive on the Chicago Skyway (toll road that goes around Lake Michigan and into Indiana) was nasty as rain came down like you wouldn't believe. I got into The Shoe and headed to the men's room. The floor in there was wet, and immediately I was on my back. What a start!

After about a half hour wait, a new table opened and I was seated. The most memorable hand was when I flopped top two with Q-J. The turn was a Qc, which, unfortunately, completed the club nut flush draw for another player. Can you say stacked? I had a nice session at The Shoe, which took some of the sting out of the nasty session at Par-A-Dice a few days earlier.

So ... we shall see what my next move is. For my friends who are playing in any WSOP events -- best o' luck!