The first thing we did was go to Pechanga Indian Casino. It started off as a typical trip with Derek and I trading off spending time with Ashley in the food court and "helping" Craig out at the machines. Then, when it was my turn to "help" Craig out, Craig had to leave to go back to the car to get his cell phone. That's when the magic began. The machine he left me at went into the bonus round twice with three coins in and continued paying for 30 rounds in a row! I cashed out with 4658 credits (in pennies, not dollars, darn it!) and went back to the food court to wait for Craig with Derek and Ashley. You can see in the picture above that Ashley was having a party of her own with a giant piece of cake! When Craig got back, we headed back out to the machines and burned through some more cash for about another hour. We ended up leaving $10 ahead and with enough comps on our Player's Club card to fill the gas tank. Yay!
After that, we went to the opening day of minor league baseball at the Lake Elsinore Storm game. We got free tickets in reserved seats and free parking, so we were happy. It was a good game, too! They played the farm team from Arizona and both teams were pretty well matched, so the plays were really good!
Around the second inning, Derek bought tickets for a post-game concert. Mike Peters from The Alarm, who Derek and Craig have idolized for 26 years was playing at the Diamond Club and the tickets were only $5.00! On the way back to his seat, Derek literally bumped shoulders with Mike Peters because it was so crowded at the stadium. Derek noticed that he was headed over to the kids play area with his two sons, so he came and got Craig, found Mike Peters, and they introduced themselves as big fans. When they returned, Derek asked Ashley and I if we wanted to go over to the kids area to play with his kids. I jumped up, with dinner in my lap, and Ashley and I excitedly said, "YES!" So, we made our way through the crowd and played around in the kids area for awhile. Then, after that, we watched the rest of the game. Lake Elsinore lost 6-5.
During the last pitch of the game, something wonderful happened. Ashley lost another tooth! You can see it in her hand in the picture above. This is the eighth tooth she's lost so far and only two adult teeth have come in on the bottom. Now, she has this big smile with almost no teeth in front, top or bottom, whatsoever! It does look like the top two in the front are about to break through, but for now she only has her canines and molars to chew with. She's excited about getting her big girl teeth in, so losing this baby tooth was a big deal.
Now, to get to the really good part of the story - the concert! It was a small crowd of only about 50 people, which was depressing for Craig and Derek because he used to sell out huge venues in Southern California and in the UK, where he's from. But it turned out to be a fantastic experience! It was like we had a private concert with an icon - their idol! He played some obscure and popular songs from The Alarm and told us stories about how he came to write them. Half-way through he took a break from the stage and we got a chance to get to have wonderful conversations with him and we got to know each other a little. I took a picture of Mike, Craig and Derek (above) with my cell phone. (All the pictures turned out poorly because of the dim lighting and lack of flash - sorry!) Mike is a really great guy from Wales who is now in remission with lymphatic leukemia. He's playing all over the world with other big-named bands from the 80's speading the message of "hope, love, strengt
h," which is just what the world needs to hear right now, especially in these hard economic times. After the break, he auctioned off his acoustic guitar for his charity and Craig got it! The picture of Craig with the guitar is above. He paid $450.00 and the last guitar he auctioned went for $3,000! What a deal! Mike Peters autographed and personalized it for Craig and posed for pictures with him. (The production company is going to put it on their web site, but I don't have the URL yet.) That experience made Craig so happy that he was over the moon! I have NEVER seen Craig so happy before! He needed this boost especially since losing his mother to cancer on Christmas. Derek and I were ecstatic too because, OMG, we're hanging out with Mike Peters and Craig just bought his guitar! It was kind of funny watching Craig get all this attention from pretty girls after he paid for his prize. He was one happy man, let me tell you!
Mike played for over two hours for us and did an encore of three songs that people requested. He also played every song that Derek and Craig requested during the concert, too!
The concert ended about 12:30 and we had smiles on our faces that lasted through the next day. We talked excitedly until 3:30 in the morning about what an amazing experience that was. We'll never forget April 9, 2009 and we decided to celebrate this day every year to remind us of one of the very happiest days of our lives.