Girls gone wild!

by Debbie Carini

I went on spring break with a college student last month. I’m not going to lie—it was pretty wild. We stayed up late, ate crazy things and gambled.

As a middle-aged (I hope I live to be 100!) adult, there are certain things I miss about my youth:

A. My mom cooking, cleaning and pretty much taking care of all of my needs,

B. My only responsibility being dusting the living room every other week, and

C. Summer vacation, winter break and spring break!

I can’t say I ever enjoyed a true collegiate spring break experience. Somehow, I never made the trek from my alma mater, Rutgers University in New Jersey, to Ft. Lauderdale in Florida. But I know from watching spring break coverage on MTV (preferred viewing of my teenage son) that debauchery is the rule on those sun-soaked beaches. So I responded with enthusiasm when my daughter, who is a senior in college, decided to come home instead and spend her last spring break in the family quarters.

My husband was halfway around the world in Australia (work-related) and my son was experiencing his first college spring break in the great northwest with a car full of friends (and an earful of warnings from me: “Don’t get in any trouble—the only lawmaker I know in Canada is Dudley Do-Right!”)

So it was just us gals.

Manicures and spa treatments almost instantly come to mind for a girls’ weekend, but we—a mom who has never met a clearance rack she doesn’t like, and a daughter who has sustained a year-long experiment in purchasing only recycled fashion—had other things in mind. We shopped-till-we-dropped at neighboring thrift stores and ventured to funky second-hand shops in Hollywood,. And then the grandparents—a pair who have never met a gambling establishment they don’t enjoy—called to say, “Want to go to a local Indian Casino?”

With “champagne wishes and caviar dreams,” we headed through the desert to a glistening tower of potential riches. I’m sure you’re imagining wads of cash or cups full of coins right now, but I was actually sitting in the back seat of the car thinking about the free buffet (unlimited dishes of jiggling gelatin, mashed potatoes with gravy, and sliced meats from the carving board!).

Much to my good fortune, we headed straight for lunch upon arrival (in case you’re wondering, Mexican food and Italian food and Chinese food do taste pretty good all mixed together). 

Then we were off to gamble. My mother ran to her “lucky” slot machine and my daughter and I took up 2 empty stools nearby. In an unprecedented streak of good fortune, I doubled, then tripled my initial investment. 

But my daughter had no such luck. She quickly went through her allotted “funny money” and even after I shared winnings from my pot, she was done. I too started to watch my little electronic pile of winnings wither away (no more clanking change—all the machines are digital now).

We decided to find Grandma and Grandpa, who were also nearing their limits. As we headed out, I stopped in the gift shop and used some of my winnings to buy candy. On the car ride home, I was happy to enjoy a chocolate bar. I’d spent a fun afternoon with my family, feasted on a crazy amount of carbs (did I mention there was macaroni and cheese, too?) and finished the day $1.38 ahead of where I started. I was the happiest person on the highway!



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