Saturday, September 21, 2019

Beatles Boots Would Be CENTSational

Val needs a pair of Beatles boots. Or maybe just one. Not for fashion, but for functionality. AGAIN this week, Val was betrayed by her own footware, bereft of pointy toe.

MONDAY, September 15, I did okay. I climbed out of T-Hoe at the Backroads Casey's, and there was a penny waiting for me. Even Steven isn't making things easy this week. I have saved that picture to New Delly THREE times. Yet when I look in my pictures file a day later, it's gone. I save it again, and try to name it, and New Delly tells me that I already have a file with that name in this location. LIAR!

There it is, in the middle of the picture, just above that almost-horizontal line, in a dried river of something unpleasant. A 2015, heads up.

My hand shadow looks like a hungry dolphin. Starving.
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FRIDAY, September 20, I stopped by Orb K for scratchers. I saw a penny on the floor, but it was my turn at the counter. So I figured I'd get my picture and penny after the transaction. While waiting for the tickets to be torn off, I spied another penny, this one up against the base of the counter. Not within bending-over reach for me. I tried to scoot it out with the toe of my shoe, but it was unscootable.

When I turned around to nab the main penny, there was a guy all up in my business. So I could only sidestep, and bend over to grab the penny. No picture until I got back to T-Hoe.

It was face down in Orb K. I'm going to call that a 1993. Only because I tried to zoom in, and I know that the 1093 I saw is not feasible. It's upstairs right now, awaiting deposit in Penny Goblet 2, and I'm not walking up there to verify it. Oh, how I grow lax in my penny-collecting.

Don't let the backdrop fool you! That ticket did not WIN. An orange $5 ticket won $15. So there's that. But Abe's patina would have clashed with an orange background.
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2019 Running Total
Penny     # 100, 101 TRIPLE FIGURES, BABY! TRIPLE FIGURES!
Dime      still at 16.
Nickel    still at 8.
Quarter   still at 4.

2018 TOTALS
Penny  131
Dime  17
Nickel  6
Quarter  1

2017 TOTALS (Started in March, 2017)
Penny  78
Dime   6
Nickel  0
Quarter  0
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Friday, September 20, 2019

Hick Really Knows How to Stink Up a Joint

Wednesday night, I went into Hick's basement workshop to do some business in one of our three safes. It was after midnight. Hick had long been in bed. I'm in the workshop at least once a week. Mainly for the safe, sometimes for the color printer. This night, I was distracted by the sound of crickets gone wild.

I knew Hick had been in and out of the workshop that day. I'd heard the big metal door that exits to the Poolio area. He'd been staining the deck, using his tiny artiste's brush. I made a mental note to chastise Hick for obviously letting in some crickets.

On my way out, I detected an unpleasant odor. SHOO! That was nasty! What in the world? It stunk like pee! I know I haven't been peeing in Hick's workshop. I'm 99 percent sure HICK hasn't been peeing in his workshop. That's it. Nobody else in there. The pets are all outside pets. Oh, no! I guess it was RAT PEE! Surely not. We've never had a rat. But we do get cute little big-eared field mice every couple of years, as the weather turns colder. Which it hasn't. We hit 94 degrees yesterday! But those little critters aren't here long enough to cause a stink with pee and poop. They're not wary of the old-fashioned wooden mousetraps.

Well, that's just great. Hick has been planning a trip, and now he would be leaving me with a peeing critter in the basement! What if I caught the hantavirus while Hick was away?

Yesterday, Hick was up and down the basement steps, getting the camper title, and delving into his Storage Unit Store riches for his trip. Of course, he seemed to forget every time, that I had asked him to carry down a six-pack of Diet Coke on his next descent. So I hollered down to remind him. And as an afterthought, tacked on the pee situation.

"Hey! I was in the workshop last night, and when I walked by the color printer, I smelled mouse pee! It didn't smell like that last week. Or the last time I was at the color printer, getting your pumpkin sign for Trunk or Treat. So I guess we have a mouse infestation! What am I supposed to do about THAT?"

"Oh. I know what it is. I was meaning to throw that away. Let me go get it."

Hick disappeared from view. I heard the workshop door. He came back to the steps, carrying a clear plastic circular piece of packaging that had once held a pool floatie.

"I put it in the basement, because I didn't want Jack to get it and chew it up. That darn cat peed all over it."

"Oh. I thought it smelled like cat pee, but I knew that wasn't possible. The cats stay outside."

"I'll take it out to the dumpster."

Whew! Can you imagine the smell in the dumpster when the trash guys open it up on Wednesday? After it baking in the 94 degree heat, and humidity almost as high?

Only Hick would bring an object soaked with cat pee INTO the house. He was probably waving it like a drum major's stick, while leading his parade of ONE, marching to his own drummer.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

There's the Right Way, There's the Wrong Way, and There's Hick's Way

Hick has been underfoot all week, using his tiny artiste's brush to paint stain on the porch boards. It was his own idea! It's not like I'm a drill sergeant punishing him, like handing him a toothbrush to scrub the floor of the latrine.

The GOOD thing about Hick being home is that for five minutes of the week, he's readily available to help me bring in the groceries if I ask. Don't think such a task would occur to him on his own. Tuesday, I sent him a text when I climbed back in T-Hoe with my 44 oz Diet Coke.

"I'm on the way home. If you're there, you can help me unload groceries in 10 minutes."

Coming up the driveway, I could see Hick sitting on the metal chair on the side porch, where I usually set the groceries as I'm going back to the car for more. He waited until I was parked, then entered the garage through the people door. I put the window down to give him instructions. It's not rocket science, but Hick needs direction. He leaned in the passenger window as I talked.

"Ooh! It's so COOL in here!"

Yes, it was. Because not far into the summer, he actually had Mick the Mechanic put freon in T-Hoe's tubes, after years of me claiming that the air conditioner was not blowing cold air. Hick was briefed on the bags to be carried, and I popped open the hatch. Once around there, Hick said,

"Ooh! It's cool in HERE, too!"

I'm starting to think I need to limit his hours in the sun with his artiste's brush. Anyhoo... Hick took in the cold goods as instructed, and I started bringing the other bags to the side porch. So he carried in from the porch level, and I carried in on the ground. No extra step-climbing. Once inside, I rushed to the bathroom. Hick said,

"I have to go to the bathroom, too!"

Don't worry. We didn't go together. I went to the master bathroom, where I changed into my lair clothes, and Hick went in the Blues bathroom, between the boys' bedrooms. When I came out, Hick was sitting on the long couch.

"Oh. You aren't putting stuff away?"

"Was I supposed to? I don't know where things go. I didn't think you'd want me to."

Not a big deal. I knew he wouldn't help. He's only done that one time, while I was waiting outside with two armloads of bags to hand him directly, not set down, because of meat and dogs. When he finally came out, he said he'd been putting stuff away. Like bananas in the bowl, and bread in the cabinet. Again, not rocket science.

Anyhoo... I went to the kitchen, and discovered perhaps the most achingly inefficient way Hick had dealt with an item.

Groceries included a Walmart deli three-meat thin-crust pizza. It comes in a box, to be refrigerated until used. I told the checker not to bother with a bag. The square box never fits in the plastic bag. It rips the side, or tips out, because it's taller than the handles. So Hick had carried it in in his hand. No bag. Just a pizza box in his hand, with other bags looped over his arms.

You'd think the easier thing to do with that pizza was to open the door of FRIG II, and set it inside. There was plenty of room. No clearing necessary. But the pizza was not in FRIG II. It was on the stove. Not merely set down absentmindedly. To put it there, Hick had to pick up a saucepan that I keep sitting there to boil water for instant oatmeal. He had to put the saucepan on top of a rectangular metal tray. Then move the tray with the saucepan on it to the back burner of the stove. Leaving him room to set down the pizza box on the front burner area. Which was two steps past FRIG II.

The Right Way: carry in the pizza, open the door of FRIG II, and set it down on a shelf.

The Wrong Way: trip and fall on the pizza, knocking it out of the box and its wrapper, for the dogs to grab.

Hick's Way: carry the pizza past FRIG II, move items around on the stove, and set down the pizza for Val to put away.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Counting Our Chickens Before They Camp

Update on the camper!

After four months of little interest in the travel trailer that will refill our coffers after the $5000 House adventure... Hick thinks he has a buyer!

Let the record show that Hick took his own sweet time prepping that camper, from May through August, and pulled it up to the Storage Unit Store parking lot when summer was almost over. I've had little hope of unloading that beast before next April, when people get the urge to go camping again. Hick said that he was sure he could sell it for deer season, that hunters would be looking for a camper like that. Pshaw! I declared that deer hunters don't want some luxury camper that could be a home, but would be happy with a sleeping bag in the bed of a pickup, under a camper shell. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

Anyhoo... last weekend, Hick changed the listing on the camper, and slashed the price from $10,900 to $10,000. This bumped it up to the top of the Buy/Sell/Trade listings. Hick had three families call him to set up a time for viewing.

The first was a couple who liked what they saw, but said they had visited the local camper dealer, who was bringing a camper up from his lot near the bootheel for them to look at. They looked at ours on Friday evening, when Hick made a special trip back to town to show it to them. They were going to the lot on Saturday. Hick did not hear back from them.

The second couple called on Saturday, when Hick was busy selling his wares. The guy said he'd like to come look at the camper, as soon as his son woke up from his nap. Hick said he'd be at the units until 1:30. I drove by at 1:40, and saw a blue pickup (big enough to pull that camper!) parked in front of it, and a man's legs walking around. Hick said the guy said he was very interested, and that he and his wife (who also viewed it) would think it over.

The third couple was shopping at Hick's store when he got the call. They said they would like to look at the camper when the other family was done. Hick said they were older people, and wanted a camper to live in. They asked if Hick would deliver it to them, to their town about 20 miles away, and he said he sure would. They also wanted to think it over. Hick said no hurry.

Tuesday, Hick was putting merchandise away in his Storage Unit Store. He walked out to get a foam cup off the back of the camper (ne'er-do-wells!), and saw a guy looking at a smaller camper that had just been parked next to our a few days ago. That guy said he'd seen (the blue truck) people looking at ours, talking about how they really wanted it.

Tuesday afternoon, Hick rushed to my dark basement lair, declaring that he'd been talking to the blue truck man, who offered him $9000. Hick said we'd need a minimum of $9200, because that's how much we have in it. Which is true, if you include the $5000 house, the money put into renovations, and establishing the legal trust (through the bad-hay-baling lawyer).

Blue Truck Man said that he'd have to spend money to put an awning on the camper. True, it does not have the awning. Hick said that if he looked it up, that camper sells for around $13,000 (presumably including the awning). Anyhoo, Blue Truck Man said he was pretty sure that was his firm offer, $9000. Hick said he'd have to talk to me about it.

I'm pretty sure Blue Truck Man would cough up the $200 if Hick declined his offer. But Hick likes to rush into things, and I could tell he was itching to make that sale. So I agreed, not wanting to take a chance on waiting through the winter for another buyer. Seriously, though. If I really wanted a camper, $200 would not be a deal-breaker for me, and I'm hard-headed. I think Hick left money on the table, but it won't kill us to eat $200.

Of course I told Hick that the $200 would come out of his stash that he'd spent on renovations for the $5000 house. Funny, that look on his face.

Anyhoo... Hick sent a picture of the title. Blue Truck Man is going to the bank Wednesday, and will report to Hick how they will proceed with the almost-certain upcoming transaction.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Feds Owe Val Partial Benefits and a Pension

Over the past seven days, Val has done the work of two federal employees. Okay. Being a former STATE employee, I can understand why you're clamoring, "Seriously, Val? How much work could that actually be?" Yes. We all know that government employees have cushy jobs. Not ME, of course, when I was doing it. But everyone else.

Perhaps you recall last Tuesday, when I assisted a befuddled Mail Boy with a parcel delivery. Sure, I refused to actually take custody of the package, and deliver it myself. That was for his own good. You know what they say: "Deliver a package for a Mail Boy, and it gets his job done for a day. Teach him how to deliver a package, and he can do his job until he's old and wizened and beat down by The Man." Or something like that.

Anyhoo... yesterday, I stopped to pick up the mail on the way to town. I was delighted to find my DISH bill on top of the pile of junk mail in EmBee. That meant I could write out a check, and mail it while I was in town, saving a valuable day in the molasses-slow transit of my bill from Backroads, to Palatine, Illinois.

While sitting on T-Hoe's comfy leather seat, I saw the world pass me by. Or at least three vehicles leaving our compound, a big brown UPS truck turning in, and a white USPS Jeep driving by. That last one embedded itself in the back of my mind. Something off about that. OH! Since my mail had already been delivered, WHY was that USPS Jeep going by again? Drove right past Mailbox Row.

Within several minutes, that USPS Jeep was back! Coming from the other direction, across our low-water bridge, headed back towards town. Only NOT! Because it turned onto our gravel road, stopped beside T-Hoe, and waited for me to put my window down.

There was a Mail Girl inside this time. Looking like she'd just turned her tassel and tossed her mortarboard in the air this past May.

"Excuse me...can you help me? Can you tell me where Misty Meadows is?"

"Keep going up this gravel road. It's the first road on the left."

"Does everybody live up there?"

"Uh. I guess so. Everybody on Misty Meadows."

"Do they have mailboxes down here?"

"Yes, I would imagine."

"I don't think I'm supposed to deliver to a house. This is my first day."

"The kid last week said he could go a half-mile, but no more."

"Are you sitting here waiting for a package?"

"No. I'm paying my DISH bill to take to town for mailing."

"I guess I'll pull over by the mailboxes and look for the address. Are you leaving?"

"Yes. Right now. I'll get out of your way."

SHEESH! I'm going to need a cut of those federal paychecks if I'm responsible for getting packages delivered. It's almost like nobody under 50 has any common sense, and needs a job-mommy to hold their hand while they do their job.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Val Is a Walking Target for Bank Robbery

They must see me coming a mile away. Probably have a network of tin-can-and-twine phones to inform each other of my progress as I tool along in T-Hoe. Nothing electronical that can be detected if I decide to investigate.

Not only did my bank cheat me out of $20 by a faulty ATM dispenser, and deny my appeal... but now my credit union has hopped on the Val Has Deep Pockets And Won't Even Miss It bandwagon.

Last week, I stopped by the credit union to take out cash that I'd spent on The Pony's fall tuition. I make an e-payment, then withdraw cash from his college fund to replace it in our checking account. The total withdrawal was $151.25. Yeah. I know. That's AMAZING for a semester of out-of-state tuition at the University of Oklahoma. The Pony has a really good scholarship.

Anyhoo... I had the same teller I usually get at the credit union. A young gal of around college age herself. She's quite congenial. Started typing on her computer before I even shoved the note card bearing The Pony's name and amount through the little scoop under the glass divider. I often declare that the denomination of the bills doesn't matter, since they're just going to be deposited at my bank within 10 minutes. On this day, I needed a $5 bill back, to include with another deposit.

"I'll need two fives. The other bills don't matter."

Young Gal turned back from her money drawer.

"Ha, ha! I hope I have the right amount! We'll find out."

Not something that would make me confident, but she's never messed up before. She counted out six 20s, two 10s, two 5s, and a 1.

"There you go." She slid them through the scoop, on top of the yellow withdrawal receipt that I'd signed.

I thanked her, folded the bills, and put them in my shirt pocket. No need to ask for an envelope for that amount. I didn't want to carry it, because there was an old man with a walking stick and a trash bag sitting on a bench outside. Better safe than sorry, though an attempt by him to rob me would have looked like two Galapagos tortoises chasing each other.

I headed for the bank. Stopped for gas. Made my deposits. Took out our weekly cash from that demon ATM at the bank. It was on the way back to Backroads, for my 44 oz Diet Coke, that I thought:

"Wait a minute! I didn't get my quarter! The credit union gal only gave me bills! Not the quarter!"

I looked down in my pocket. Nope. No quarter. Dang it! I wasn't going back to the credit union. Not for a quarter. I'm not THAT cheap! Not like my mom, who bought select-a-size paper towels, and tore them in half. Um. Wait. I buy select-a-size paper towels. And cut them in half with my kitchen shears to take down to my dark basement lair. But that's different! If I have a guest, I'll let them have a whole select-a-size! And so what if I also tear my Puffs With Lotion in half before blowing my nose? I blow my nose a lot! So I'm saving money on Puffs

Huh. That took a surprising turn. But, no. I did NOT go back for my quarter. Too bad if her drawer was 25 cents off. It's JUST a quarter. I don't want to be labeled as DIFFICULT. It's not like I'd draw magic marker eyebrows on Uncle Leo at the doctor's office.

Still. That 25 cents was not their money. It was MINE. Why should I be seen as petty for trying to recover it? Where do we draw the line? A dollar? Five dollars?

I don't know. But I didn't go back.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Casino Chatter

I've been holding out on you. It's true. I went to a casino and didn't keep you informed. I know how you love to hear about my casino trips. Some of you like to live vicariously through Val. Some like to feel superior to a gambler. Some want to hear about my lunch. Some like to feel superior to a junk-food eater. Some like to try to gather evidence to report me to the IRS. (Heh, heh! That's a JOKE, IRS. No need to read further.) Yes, writing about my casino trips is a win-win-win-win-win situation. Except for losing money.

Last Sunday was rainy, and bad for Storage Unit Store business. So Hick asked if I wanted to go to the casino. Not my new favorite, but the one in the city where my burger is questionably cooked, and I get rotten fries occasionally. Of course I agreed. I don't have any pictures this time.

I was in line, waffling between the burger and the giant hot dog sausage, when Hick turned around and said, "There's your buddy." It was the order-taker who always uses my MyCash when I don't want to use it for food, and who mysteriously makes my burger come out over-cooked. I knew right then I was getting the giant hot dog. It was delicious, and my fries were unrotten. Hick had a burger which was UNdercooked, and onion rings.

I had a good time throwing away my money. Unlike usual, I hit three or four bonuses, from $81 to $151. Just like usual, I used that money to gamble further. That's why they call it gambling, not CASHING OUT AND SAVING! When the day was done, I'd incurred a loss of $40. Actually, $39 and change. I didn't even mind, because my casino bankroll is still healthy, and I had fun with the bonuses. If I hadn't kept feeding one machine, thinking it would pay me back, I'd have left with a couple hundos. Oh, well. It's like the fishing tale of the one that got away. IF you spend $39 and change on bait, and allow your big fish to jump back in once they're in the boat.

The only thing that marred my casino experience was Chatty Daffy. He was a dude sitting next to me at Wonder 4 Towers. It's hard enough to find that game open. I'd have played there even if I knew what he'd be like in advance. Anyhoo... of all the times I've played this slot, in many different casinos, I've only hit the TOWER feature twice. And one of them was this very day.

As you might imagine, I was excited. I got that TOWER feature after just a few spins. I settled back, to watch my bonus play out. Chatty Daffy just had to strike up a conversation.

"Oh! You got the tower!"

"Uh huh."

"I never get the tower. Good luck."

"Thanks."

You'd think he might have sensed how I wasn't in a talky mood, so abrupt was I, barely responding, at a level just above ignore. But he didn't, he chatted on and on, commenting on each spin, about what I won, and how he and the lady on the other side of him had been doing. I just nodded, trying to enjoy my TOWER bonus. Only the second one of my lifetime, you know.

As it turned out, my tower went up to the next-to-top level. Didn't pay me much. I think around $18 and change. That's a travesty. The lowest bet (which I was playing) was $1.60 a spin. I didn't mind so much, though, because at least I got the TOWER bonus, and had a chance for a good win.

What I minded was Chatty Daffy thinking I was there to make a new friend. Or that I needed his play-by-play on my bonus. I'm sure some people would have chatted with him and enjoyed it. Not me. I can find any old weirdo to come up and talk to me unwantedly for FREE, by cracky! I don't want conversation when I'm paying to entertain myself.