Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Hick Meets His Match

Hick has been working a couple days a week over at the Double Hovel. He was dismayed to find evidence of a SQUIRREL in the attic. Actually, it was Old Buddy who discovered it, since Hick sends him up to the attic to connect the new wiring.

Lucky for Hick, he had a squirrel trap left over from when he evicted such an unwanted tenant from The Pony's attic. Also lucky for Hick, nobody liked the eight bags of english walnuts (just slightly expired) that he bought at the auction over a year ago. So Hick had a trap, and also bait.

Of course the capture did not go as planned.

"I pulled up to the house, and saw my trap sitting on the left porch rail where I'd left it. That damn squirrel was sitting on the right porch rail, eating a handful of nuts! He was mocking me!"

"Where did he get the nuts?"

"I had laid a trail of them across the yard and up onto the porch, leading into the trap. They was all gone, and so was the ones inside the trap! The trap was sprung. I guess maybe it's not quite big enough. He must have gone in to get the nuts, and then it snapped shut on his tail and didn't latch, so he got out. WITH the nuts! I think I have a bigger trap I can use. I hope he comes back..."

"Oh, he's coming back! You're FEEDING HIM!"

Monday, January 30, 2023

Strike 2, and You're Beggin' For a Dust-Off Pitch

Yesterday, I mentioned the New Gal (new to me, not necessarily a new employee) who rubbed me the wrong way at the School-Turn Casey's by asking me IF I HAD ENOUGH MONEY to buy the scratchers I requested. Perhaps it was a self-perceived insult. Perhaps not. You're not going to like everybody in the world, and they're not going to like you back. Sometimes people's personalities just don't mesh, even in brief interactions. The trick is to be civil, and then avoid them in the future!

When I got in line last week, I saw that it was the New Gal who would be waiting on me. I was brave! I didn't step back and wait for the other cashier to be available. I stepped right up, giving her a chance at redemption. No chip on my shoulder at all.

I had winners to cash in this time. I hand them to the clerk, and tell them how much they're worth. I scan them with my phone app ahead of time, so I know for sure. I do this as a courtesy, because at Casey's, the clerks will ask. They want to make sure you don't have a big winner, because they can't pay out any ticket over $100. Once it's scanned, it can't be scanned again. So you'd have to buy your winner's worth of merchandise if that happened. I bypass the step of making them ask me how much the winner is worth.

Anyhoo... I told New Gal as I handed them over. I usually add whether I'm buying more tickets, or want the cash back. My jaw was unhinged to provide this info, but New Gal took hold of my tickets and spoke to the other clerk, who was having trouble scanning a ticket from the guy he was waiting on. So I didn't interrupt. They always ask anyway if I don't tell them. They scan the winners, print out a little receipt for their register, lay it on the counter, and ask what you want to do.

They got the other guy's ticket scanned by tilting it just right to read the barcode. New Gal scanned my tickets, put the receipt on the counter, and OPENED UP HER REGISTER DRAWER!

"Oh. I was going to buy more tickets with that."

"Well, I already cashed it out." She was pulling bills out of the drawer. "You didn't tell me."

What in the NOT-HEAVEN! That was not said matter-of-factly, but with an edge. Like an accusation. A method some people use when they don't want to be wrong. No way was I going to meekly take this blatant verbal abuse! 

"You didn't ask me." Said with the same tone New Gal had used with me. Take THAT, you passive-aggressive little twerp!

New Gal's demeanor changed. "Fair enough." She continued to count out my money. Even a bully can respect somebody who stands up to them!

"It doesn't matter to me. I can spend it right back to you."

Which is what I did. At least she knew I had enough money to pay for my tickets, heh, heh!

I am almost to the point of avoiding New Gal next time I go in there. I already do it with a young whipper-snapper at Orb K. I will wait for the next clerk, or just walk out if I see she's the only one working. I'm not spending my money where I'm not treated in a civil manner. Give me lip, or the cold shoulder, and I won't darken your counter. You never know... they could go broke without Val's scratcher business!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Strike 1, and You Better Believe Val Is Keeping Score

A couple weeks ago, I stopped by the School-Turn Casey's for scratchers. There was a gal I hadn't seen before working the second register. That's not unusual. I'm only in there once a week, sometimes twice. I don't know all of them like I do at the Gas Station Chicken Store.

New Gal was the one available when it was my turn, so I stepped up to the counter. I was not cashing in tickets that day. I was getting a $30 ticket for The Pony, owed to him from a previous $50 winner I had bought for him. He doesn't like to cash them in, so he gives them to me to get more tickets later. He chose the ticket he wanted, and I owe him the rest at a later date. I was also getting myself a $10 ticket, and my crosswords, the $5 and $3 versions, plus the picture $3 ticket. So $51 I was spending that day. I always know before I leave home what tickets I'm getting, and what they'll cost. 

Anyhoo... I told New Gal what tickets I wanted. She scanned each one and laid it on the counter.

"Do you have enough money for these?"

OH NO SHE DIDN'T! I was shocked. Surely that's not what she said to me! I was so stunned that I dumbly said, 


"Do you have enough money for these?"

Well. That is definitely what she said. Not cool. But you know Val. Not keen on making a scene. Avoids confrontation. Maybe New Gal was one of those socially awkward people. Like The Pony. Saying things that don't come out quite right, no malice aforethought. I'd give her the benefit of the doubt. I didn't even shoot her my teacher stinkeye, with the left eyebrow arched in disbelief.

"I have more than enough money for those."

I didn't say it in a hateful manner. Just matter-of-fact. After all, SHE asked ME the original question. And indeed, I do always have extra money in my pocket, in case I see something I just have to have.

New Gal rang up my tickets, and I paid her the money. Exact change. I thanked her, scooped them up, and left.

Here's the thing. I don't appreciate being asked such a question. Do I look like I sleep out back on a bed of rags and regrets? Is my clothing unkempt? Do I have my empty pockets pulled inside-out? Do I stink of unwashedness? Was I carrying an old sock full of coins? 
NO! NO! NO! NO! And NO!

Farmer H, upon being forced to listen to my tale of mild outrage, said that perhaps New Gal has had customers ask for tickets, and then they don't have enough money. Huh. Not MY problem! Surely they taught New Gal how to void a transaction before turning her loose on a register. I've seen clerks pull a ticket, and it's the wrong one, and they just stick it back in the slot to give the next person who wants that ticket. It's not like they have to fill out a ten-page form in triplicate.

ANDDDDDDDDDD, unless New Gal asks every single customer who buys lottery tickets if they have enough money, then I feel like she was singling me out for some unknown reason. I don't appreciate it.

Still, Val is not one to make (nor carry) a stink. I didn't say anything to New Gal about it. But I have my eye on her. Especially since the stunt she pulled on Tuesday...

Saturday, January 28, 2023

You COIN't Find Silver Every Week

Val's 2023 kick-off silver-finding spree has come to an end. But I'm not complaining!

I'm glad I drove to town on the afternoon we had 8 inches of snow! Of course, it was off the main roads by the time I left home Wednesday, and most parking lots had been cleared. Like the Backroads Casey's, where I stepped out of T-Hoe on WEDNESDAY, January 25, and saw

A penny demanding my attention! 

It was a face-down 1997 penny, camouflaging itself like a chameleon against the wet asphalt.

But wait! Once inside the store, I saw ANOTHER penny lurking at my feet.

I had to look carefully, since this Casey's seems to have hired the person who was formerly in charge of keeping the floors clean over at Orb K!

Poor ol' Abe looked like Peanuts' PigPen, wallowing in that filth! Once home, he got a vinegar bath, at which time I discovered he was from 1985.

THURSDAY, January 26, I had some good and bad luck at the Sis-Town Casey's.

I was sure I could get that penny out from under the rack with my shoe-toe. The clerk was quite compliant, asking if I minded to WAIT JUST A MINUTE. Of course I didn't! I had already taken my picture, and set about poking my foot under the rack. From the front. From the side. From the front again. Dang it! I couldn't get any traction! The dude behind me offered to get the penny, and I gratefully accepted his offer. No closeup, but it was a heads-up 2018 penny. I know, because Dude flipped it over like tossing heads or tails as he picked it up with one hand and presented to me on the other.

But wait again! As I was walking out the door, I saw ANOTHER penny at my feet. I did not stop for a picture, lest my paid-for gas expire before I could get to the pump. So I picked it up and put it in my jacket pocket, so as not to confuse it with the rack penny in my shirt pocket.

It was a face-down 1998 penny, shown here on my kitchen counter.

FRIDAY, January 27, I waited until after the 3:00 rush to enter the Liquor Store. They have free fountain sodas for the prison workers, I think.

I guess their GOOD rug is out being cleaned, heh, heh. But this one didn't distract me from finding the penny that was waiting for me.

It was a heads-up 1992 penny, now resting more cleanly in my penny goblet.

That's 5 COINS this week, for 5 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           # 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
Dime             still at 3.
Nickel           still at 0
Quarter        still at 0


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, January 27, 2023

Kissing Car-sins

When I left Country Mart on Monday with my groceries, I wheeled my cart/walker behind T-Hoe to load them in his rear. Little did I know that Yodeler was the driver of the car parked in the space on my left. Littler did I know that she was going to leave her cart with the yellow plastic child-car attached up against T-Hoe's bumper! They were not touching, but if they were human, their bumper/lips would have been almost touching!

It's not a big deal for most people to wheel a cart around another cart, or walk around the other side of their car to avoid it. It IS a big deal for me, with my shopping and wait-standing knees aching from my shopping spree. I had to go around the other way, and then move that cart to get by!

I only moved it enough so I could squeeze past, holding onto T-Hoe's hood. Another lazybones had left their regular cart out in the open. I didn't walk mine all the back inside, but I DID park it alongside that metal container that houses propane gas tanks. After all, I had taken it from there to go inside and shop with. So it's not like I brought out an extra cart for them to deal with. I put it back where I got it, off the sidewalk middle so that people could walk by.

Anyhoo... I don't think it would have been a hardship for that husky 10-year-old boy to push the car-cart up against the building when he got out. He wouldn't have thought of it on his own. Yodeler could have told him to do it while she was putting her bow-legged hip-baby in his car seat. But that might have been teaching him responsibility.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Rush Hour at Fort Knox

I was baffled by the line at the Country Mart service desk on Monday, when I tried to cash in my $500 scratcher winner. I'm always there between 3:00 and 4:00. I've never had a problem cashing such a ticket. I ask if they can do it, the worker checks the register, and says they can.

There was an older man completing a transaction. He pocketed something, and walked past me out the door. A 30-something woman with a young boy was next. Not sure of her request, because my attention was grabbed by the other 30-something woman waiting behind her.

Yodeler yelled out a child's name. Several times. At the top of her lungs. She was holding onto one of the two carts that have a yellow plastic car attached to the front end. Inside that car was a husky boy of perhaps 10 years old. He had barely squooshed himself behind the wheel. He was enjoying his driving time, silent and observant.

The quarry Yodeler was trying to trap appeared between two checkouts. He was a thin child around 7-8 years old, wearing one-piece footy pajamas. He got a loud talking-to for wandering off, Yodeler taking no guff as she gestured at him with her left hand, the right supporting the butt of a toddler who was at that very moment becoming bow-legged from riding on Yodeler's ample hip.

Not shaming Yodeler for her appearance. Healthy food is expensive, and exercise is hard when you have three kids to keep track of. I AM shaming her for her loud mouth, and for allowing the husky boy to ride in the cart-car while the extra-svelte waif in his footy pajamas was left to ambulate through the store on his own.

I am not a big fan of people-watching like my mom was, so I left that area to do my shopping. After I completed it and checked out, I went to wait by the service desk to be serviced. Nobody was there, but I figured they must be on a break, or assisting someone else. A congenial bald man came through the front doors, and came to stand a respectable distance from my side.

"Nobody in there?"

"No. I figure they'll show up in a minute."

"Is the bell there?"

"Yeah. I see it. Want me to ring it?" I reached over and gave that silver bell a tap. It dinged, but not loudly.

"Huh. Looks like they modified it."

"Yeah. They put a muffler on it!"

Baldy walked around the U-shaped counter. I feared that he was going in behind it. But he just took a good look and came back out.

"You're right. Nobody's in there."

"There were two working in there earlier. They were pretty busy. I did my shopping first."

"I wouldn't be surprised if this place goes out of business. They're so high on everything."

"I KNOW! But it's more convenient for me than driving to Walmart and walking around there."

"I was just in Walmart yesterday. Spent $67 on NOTHING! They are high, too."

The Busiest Woman in Country Mart came through the front doors, pushing 20 carts. She rushed over to the service desk.

"Too bad you can't find more to keep yourself busy!" I'm not sure she appreciated my humor, she was huffing so hard from her exertion. "Can you cash a $500 lottery ticket?"

"No. I don't have enough in my drawer. You might try tomorrow. They usually make a bank run between 12:30 and 2:00."

"So I should get here before then?"


Of course that meant getting up before I even went to bed! I went to the lottery machine to cash in my small winners for more $3 tickets. Baldy walked by me on his way out.

"I think they can cash a big ticket at the Gas Station Chicken Store."

"Yes. But the girls can't. Only the owners. They leave around noon or 2:00. So too late today. But thanks anyway."

On Tuesday, I DID leave home early. I got to Country Mart around 10:30. Again, I waited and waited for someone to come to the service desk. It was a young woman I'd never seen there. I suppose we keep different hours.

"Could you cash a $500 lottery ticket?"


"Oh. I was here yesterday afternoon, and they said this was a good time, and you should be able to do it."

"No. I can't."

She was not at all customer-friendly! No reason. No excuse. Just a flat-out NO. Didn't even look in her drawer. I don't know why they would be making a bank run with less than $500. I was there early enough that they might not have had their deposit ready, since it was still an hour or more before the regular bank trip. I'm guessing that perhaps Monday was a day when a lot of people were cashing a government check of some kind, and used up the cash on hand. But you'd think there would be some cash taken in from 4:00 to 8:00, and the next morning from 8:00 to 10:30.

Anyhoo... I went down the street and through the light and cashed my ticket at the Gas Station Chicken Store, since it was early enough that Man Owner was still on the premises. He was very friendly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Busiest Woman in Country Mart

Monetary rewards are not the only thing scratchers bestow upon Val! I have enough stories resulting from my recent big win to last a week. The biggest problem is the order in which to tell you. Such a hardship for a daily blogger to have...

I took my $500 winner to Country Mart on Monday, hoping to cash it in and apply towards my casino bankroll for an upcoming three-day Oklahoma trip. It was at my regular Country Mart time, between 3:00 and 4:00. I was shocked to see a LINE at the service desk! More on those denizens in an upcoming story.

Not wanting to stand in line in a limited space, I wheeled my cart/walker through the store to complete my shopping first. Of course I needed bananas. Then some butter, sour cream, shredded mozzarella and parmesan, egg noodles, alfredo sauce--REEEEE! Cue the scratchy phonograph needle!

The sauce shelf had a bare spot. Around the alfredo sauce. I DID see two jars of the store brand generic alfredo sauce. The pink price tag under them revealed that it was one of the week's specials, with a discount of about 60 cents. I picked up a jar to check the date. I ALWAYS do that in Country Mart, due to an unfortunate cheese incident when shopping for my grandma's gift basket many years ago.

The expiration date on that jar of alfredo sauce was 2020! I don't even remember the month, because I was so shocked by the year. I put it back on the shelf, and picked up the other jar. Also 2020! Welp! Val doesn't spend her easily-won cash on expired goods. I moved over and checked the brand name alfredo sauce. Yes. There was one good until 2024. So I put it in my cart/walker.

As I was balancing Alfredo on top of my purse in the child seat of my cart/walker, an employee walked past. She was obviously looking for something along the pickle aisle across from the sauces, muttering to herself. I recognized her as one of the two workers who had been at the service desk when I came in.

"Did you know this alfredo sauce expired in 2020?"

"What? That can't be right!"

"I just put it back, because I'm not taking a chance and paying for it. I guess other people thought the same, since those are the only two jars of it left on the shelf."

She stepped over and looked at the jar where I pointed. Picked it up and turned it around.

"There must be some other explanation, but I can't see what it would be. I'll take this and show the boss lady."

Off she went, with the two advanced-age jars tucked into the crook of her elbow. After I moved deeper into the aisles and added some cream of mushroom soup, a 12-pack of Charmin Ultra, and a bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts to my cart/walker, I encountered That Gal up front by the checkouts. She had just mopped up something liquidy and placed a SLIP AT YOUR OWN RISK yellow sign on it.

I lifted up my pants legs and tiptoed through it to get in line. That Gal appeared behind the deli counter as I was checking out. From there I lost sight of her while putting the bags in my cart and going to the service desk. There's more to THAT STORY, too, coming up soon. But to jump the gun, let the record show that the next time I saw That Gal, she was coming through the front doors pushing 20 carts!