Friday, April 3, 2020

The Rude Intruder

Hick was home for lunch on Wednesday, after taking his friend to the city for her procedure that was needed before her chemo. She had a 7:00 a.m. appointment, so Hick was up at 4:00 to pick her up at 5:00 and make sure they got there on time. Of course she'd been given wrong directions, to an office that was not the surgery center. By the time they googled it and found out it was next to a fast-food restaurant four miles away...they arrived at 7:04. It did not affect her appointment.

Hick did not have to use the JAR he found for his pee-pot, because they allowed ONE person into the waiting room for each patient. They checked his temperature and all that. But at least he had use of the indoor facilities.

Anyhoo...Hick was home at noon for hot dogs and chips. He said he was going out to mow the yard. Shocking how much it grew over a few days. Spring has sprung. The dogs were excited to chase after the Gator as Hick drove over the get the riding mower. I could hear him in the front yard, and see him pass by the window on the mower, as I got ready to go to town for a few items from Country Mart.

As I stood at my mom's piano, in the hallway by the boys' room, under the pictures of Mom and Dad and a Glamour Shot of my grandma, one foot on the bench as I put on my socks... I heard the kitchen door creak open. I cocked an ear. Something wrong here. Then it hit me!


Hick was mowing the yard. I heard the mower still running out front.


It dawned on me that maybe Hick had gone out that door, and not closed it until it latched. It will open if there's a draft. Like if somebody opens up the front door, the kitchen door will be pushed open from the air movement if not latched. But nobody was opening the front door.

As I was contemplating the possibilities, I heard the kitchen door creak again as it closed.

"HEY! HEY! What's going on?"

No burglar is getting in MY house while I'm around! I dashed through the kitchen, sock-footed, and flung the door open. Jack looked at me quizzically. "Oh. Hey, buddy. What's up?" I barged past him, that terrible, terrible watchdog, to look around the corner of the porch, toward the garage.


It was Hick. Putting on his vest that he'd gotten off a kitchen chair. He'd left the mower running out in the yard.

I'm pretty sure he's trying to kill me... this time by fright.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

You Can't Send a Hick to Do a Val's Job

Hick and I don't run errands together. That never ends well. But Tuesday, we gave it a try, before the home-confinement goes into effect on Friday. Before the entire county shows up at Walmart for apocalyptic supplies of toilet paper on the 1st.

Since I was driving, Hick was the go-fer. At the main post office, I handed him money, and gave him instructions. Kind of like pinning lunch money to a little kid's shirt.

"Here is $11. Ask for a book of flag stamps. It will cost exactly $11. Get the stamps first. Put them in your shirt pocket. Then get the boxes for the boys' Easter package. Two boxes. They're flat. Unfolded. The LARGE Flat Rate boxes. They're on shelves across from the counter. Under the windows. They're white. You know. The ones we always use for the boys' packages. And get some labels. They'll be right there by the boxes."

"Them boxes won't cost me nothin'?"

"No. They're free. Because you pay so much to mail them, heh, heh. They WANT you to take them and use them."

Off he went. My little Hick. Eager to accomplish his mission. When he returned, I saw the stamps in his pocket. Good job, buddy! But then I noticed the boxes he was putting on the back seat.

"Wait a minute! WHAT are THOSE? They're BROWN! Those are NOT Flat Rate boxes."

"What do you mean. They was the only boxes I saw."

"I don't think so. Maybe they have two sets of shelves. I've never seen those boxes. Look. They don't say Flat Rate on them. These will cost by weight. Easter candy is heavy!"

"That's all they had! Here's the labels."

"Those aren't the labels we use! Can't you remember?"


"You've helped me tape them! You've taken them for mailing! Look. These labels say Priority Mail EXPRESS! That will cost a fortune! I'm not even sure those boxes are free..."

"Huh. Maybe I should have paid for those boxes. They seen me, though. They seen me walk out with them, and didn't stop me."

Heh, heh! Hick might beat me to being the next Public Enemy. On the way home, I stopped by the dead-mouse-smelling post office. To prove to Hick which boxes he should have gotten. Imagine my surprise when Hick remained in T-Hoe. At least he acknowledged that the boxes I returned with, as well as the labels, were different.

Not the same color, not the same size, different labels.

Hick says he'll use these boxes for something else. I'm sure he will.

The labels we use.

The labels we don't.

Hick does not seem to be very observant. Don't ask him for a description of a purse-snatcher. When we went in Walmart, I gave him a list with items in order of his route through the store. I made him take pictures of three items before we left home, so he'd get the right ones. He did with 2 out of 3.

He's learning.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Hope This Doesn't Put the Kibosh on My Pennyillionaire Fortune

Welp! It's happened. On Friday at 12:01 a.m., our county officially enters a lock-down stay-at-home phase. Thanks to the five women who are VIRUS-positive. A wedding guest, three home health care workers, and an 78-year-old who didn't travel or associate with known infecteds.

Funny that it's really no different from the precautions that have been in place for two weeks already. The restaurants have been closed to eaters. No gatherings. I imagine there will be another toilet paper shortage, starting Wednesday, from people who get their money on the 1st, just learning this news. That darn Hick has even suggested that we pick up a pack, even though we have 10 rolls of Charmin in the hall closet already. I nipped that idea in the bud. We don't need it. Our usual purchase is a 9-pack or 12-pack as we run out. I'm pretty sure we'll be fine.

It won't affect us much here in Backroads. The main difference being that Hick won't go to his Storage Unit Store, and I will be making my 44 oz Diet Cokes at home. This "order" from the county commissioners instructs us to call the county health center if we spot violators. Not 911. Not the sheriff's department. Also, it's open-ended, which has the reluctant homer-stayers in a tizzy.

I'll be going to the grocery store a couple times a week. Once for Country Mart, once for Save A Lot. They each have things they do well. The butcher at Save A Lot has enviable meat, heh, heh! I also prefer their romaine lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and tortilla chips. Huh. I must be hankerin' for some taco salad. Country Mart has Hick's special individual ice cream cups, vanilla with swirls of strawberry and chocolate. Also, we like their deli food. The bananas and tomatoes and onions are better there. It's not like we can have carry-out delivered, here in the boondocks.

Of course, since I'll be in town anyway, I'll drop by the Gas Station Chicken Store for my magical elixir on those days. And perhaps a scratcher or two. Until then, I'll be making my own, lesser, elixir. And not scratching.

This guy might be the last of my big fortunes for a few weeks:

I picked him up at Country Mart (left side machine) on Monday. This is an old ticket, out for several years. I buy it when I find it. I never had the MONEY BAG symbol before. It means WIN ALL. Of course every prize was the minimum on this ticket. That's how this dapper dude keeps his MONOPOLY, I suppose. Still, I'm not complaining! That's another hundo. Only two days after my last hundo!

Hick has said that he'll give up his daily clandestine donuts. We'll see. We're making a run on the grocery store on Tuesday, because I get my money on the 31st. Not that we don't have a considerable cushion in the account to cover it anyway. It's just our way to stay on budget. Hick has already named items he wants to replace his daily donuts. They're not really an improvement. Little Debbie Cakes, or (probably "AND") some bake-at-home cinnamon rolls.

I hope I can still find pennies during my five-sevenths (5/7) lockdown!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

You Get a Crystal Ball and I'll Get a Pole, Honey

No. Hick and I are not going fishing. He has fishing poles on the brain, lately. All day long, he putters around in the BARn, repairing and sorting some of the hundreds of poles he's bought at the auctions. He does a good business on them at his Storage Unit Store. Now that he can't sell, he's refurbishing his stock.

Hick knocks off his retired work around 5:30 or 6:00. He comes to the house for supper, and to commandeer the living room TV. I think he was watching Cabin Masters, when he said,

"See that? Their stair rail?"

"No. You should have said it when it was on the screen. I don't know what you're talking about."

"Well, I'm going to do that. Only make my stair rail with fishing poles."

You can probably imagine the look I could not keep off my face. First of all, we have no need for a stair rail. Not unless Hick is planning to build some stairs to nowhere. Maybe he's going to be like that Winchester lady and her mansion. More incredible than the lack of need for stairs was my concept of a STAIR RAIL made of FISHING POLES.

"How can you even do that?"

"They wouldn't have the hooks on them, Val. And I'd take off the reels."

"SERIOUSLY? I can't imagine using a fishing pole as a stair rail! A rail is to steady yourself if you start to fall. Or prevent a fall. I can't imagine being able to walk up or down stairs trying to grasp a FISHING POLE! I wouldn't even be able to get a grip on it. Much less support myself on that flimsy thing."

"Fishing poles are strong, Val. They don't break. Or you'd break them catching a fish."

"How could I even hold onto it? They're so thin!"

"Naw. A fishing pole can be as thick as a man's finger."

"That won't support me if I'm holding on to walk down the stairs!"

"Val. The actual rail is still going to be a board. The fishing poles fit into the board. Like the spokes."

"OH! You mean the fishing poles will be the BALUSTERS!"

"Yeah. You can't ever understand nothin'!"

"You don't explain yourself! Nobody could have figured that out from what you said! You said you were going to make a stair rail out of fishing poles!"

"Anyone else would have known what I meant. It's you. You just don't get things."

I beg to differ. Unless everyone else has a crystal ball to see what's in Hick's head.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Val Narrowly Avoids Becoming a Public Enemy Again

HOPEFULLY! The fact is that Val might not avoid becoming a public enemy again at all. It rests in the hands of the United States Postal Service. The dead-mouse-smelling post office, specifically.

See that blue postcard? It's my THIRD NOTICE! Who knew that reporting your personal information that's already on record about eleventy-billion times was so time-sensitive? Not this ol' Val. I got the Census papers a couple weeks ago, I think.When we returned from our mini palooza with my sister the ex-mayor's wife. I set it aside. I was tired from traveling, you know. And then I had to get back in the swing of my daily routine at home, which consists of doing absolutely nothing.

I put that Census envelope in a safe place, meaning to get to it. Then I got a letter. It was from the Census, and I had my original paperwork. So I figured it might be inquiring whether I got the first Census envelope. I set the letter, unopened, with my big Census packet.

Huh. Next thing I know, I get a blue postcard telling me my response is required by law. Ought-O! I opened up the letter. And decided I needed to fill out that Census form. Took about 5 minutes.

I put it in the mail today. Not sure it's going to arrive in Arizona by April 1. I still have a DISH payment that was mailed in February that never got to Pasadena, which is why I usually drive five more miles to the main post office over in Sis-Town, rather than using the local dead-mouse-smelling post office. DISH's issue was resolved with an internet payment on the due date when I saw that my check was still sightseeing out west. I'm pretty sure the Census will consider my info better late than never.

In other news, devoting all that time to providing my Census details did not keep me from playing the scratchers.

Another hundo for Val. Looks like I'll have quite a bit of time to build up my casino bankroll.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Should We Worry About Hick?

That's a loaded question, I know. Loaded, overloaded, overflowing, ready to burst and spray smart-a$$ comments from Val over a distance of six feet.

It's been 13 days since our last casino visit in Oklahoma. Hick and I are healthy as horses, although Hick is a sniffly nag. He's not yet ready to be beaten. No fever or cough or anything but snot. He's had it twice since we came back, and it goes away in a few days. I think he might have a little allergy thing going on. He mowed the front five acres yesterday, right before his sniffles returned.'s no secret that Hick is a regular do-gooder. He has promised to drive a friend to a city hospital next week. Twice. Once to get a medical device removed, and the next day to have a chemotherapy treatment. Normally, I would not begrudge this woman my husband for two days. For whatever reason, her grown children cannot take her. She planned to drive herself the first day, but Hick volunteered for that task also.

Here' the kicker. The gal told him two days ago: "You can't go in with me."

That's a good thing, probably. That Hick can't go into a hospital where there might be sick people. But I'd think the least sick place would be the area where they're treating outpatients with chemotherapy. Hick is fine with sitting in SilverRedO, fiddling with his phone. It may take hours. Nobody knows. What has us both concerned is:


The city is on lockdown, according to the local news. Normally, Hick would shop at Goodwills while waiting, and use their facilities. He can go to a gas station, since they're still open to business. But are their restrooms? Even the local Country Mart has a big sign now saying NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS. A buddy told Hick to go to a Walmart. We try to stay out of the crowds lately. But I guess if Hick has no other option, that's what he'll do.

Of course, being Hick, he has his own solution.

"I'm going to take myself a can to pee in, just in case I can't find nowhere."

Saturday, March 28, 2020

When PENNIES Rain On Val, They Pour

It was the best of times, it was the BEST of times! Val had a great week in her quest to become a Pennyillionaire. A great week that was actually a great DAY.

On SUNDAY, March 22, I popped in Orb K for a 44 oz Polar Pop Diet Coke. The Gas Station Chicken Store had forsaken me! With a note on the door saying,

"CLOSED. We decided to go home for the day. See you tomorrow!"

Anyhoo...I was obviously meant to be there at the late hour of 3:35 p.m., because I discovered TWO PENNIES at my feet!

Of course I documented my discovery with individual portraits.

A heads-up 1989.

And a heads-up 2001.

As I was paying for my pop (we don't really call it that here) and scratchers, I glimpsed the most beautiful sight. TWO MORE PENNIES that had been there all along. They're even in the first photo, but I was oblivious.

Yes, towards the corner are two well-camouflaged cents.

Allow me to introduce you to heads-up 1983 Mr. Lincoln.

And his shiny but bratty 2014 cohort, showing us his tail.

You might think Val would have rested on her quadralaurels right about then. Been satisfied with her four cents (enough to inject into TWO separate conversations!), and mosied on home to sip 44 oz of a lesser Diet Coke. But no. This is VAL! The Future Pennyillionaire!

Ever vigilant, something caught my eye on the way out. I had to squint. Move closer. Bend over, extending my ample rumpus.

YES! That WAS a penny! Hope you can see it for yourself.

Val lets no penny go unpicked! I set my magical elixir on top of the Sprite tower, to take the photos and harvest the last of my crop.

But wait! Another great day was coming! FRIDAY, March 27, I again found myself at Orb K, because the Gas Station Chicken Store had no pizzazz. No fizz. No carbonation on Thursday. I told the girl behind the counter, and she said she'd check it. But I wasn't taking any chances. I'd made do with Diet PEPSI on Thursday. Not risking it.

I was obviously meant to be at Orb K instead, according to the penny I spied upon disembarking from T-Hoe. I glossed over that shiny bit in the foreground, thinking it was a piece of foil. After stepping over it on the way to snap my penny pic, I noticed that it was, indeed, a dime!

The penny was a 2019, heads up.

The dime, also heads up, was a 2015.

It was a fruitful week in Backroads. Val Thevictorian had a good harvest.


Penny       # 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29.
Dime         # 7.
Nickle      still at 3.
Quarter  0

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5