Monday, April 19, 2021

Behind the Blue Door

Val is pretty good at following her hunches. Last weekend, my sister the ex-ex-mayor's wife, invited us to our first CasinoPalooza in over a year. I regretfully declined. At the time, I knew Hick had a medical procedure coming up, yet to be scheduled, and that The Pony was waiting to hear back from his conditional post office job. 
 
We ended up going to our new favorite casino a couple days later. I confessed to Sis on the drive down there. By text. 
 
"We are on our way to the casino. I didn't think you'd want to go, since this is the eve of your CasinoPalooza."
 
I was correct in that assumption. My instincts were also right on staying close home that week. I won a small fortune at our new favorite casino on Tuesday, and Sis later reported that they'd lost half their bankroll on their CasinoPalooza. That very morning before we left for our casino, Hick got his call from the hospital to give pre-op information, and schedule his surgery for Thursday at 7:00 a.m. AND on Thursday afternoon, while I was in town, The Pony got a call from the post office, with an appointment Friday at 11:00 a.m. It would have been very hard to receive that call inside a casino, and return from Oklahoma for this appointment the next morning.

Anyhoo... Hick survived his surgery, and The Pony had a brief pre-employment meeting.

"I went in to the counter like she told me over the phone, and the lady there said to go back into the lobby, and through the blue door. Then up to the second floor, down a hall to the Postmaster's office. It was kind of creepy on those stairs. They reminded me of the ones at college that nobody ever took.
 
 
She didn't really tell me much. The main point of the meeting was to let them take a copy of my driver's license and social security card, and to fill out an I-9 form saying I wasn't an illegal alien, and sign a paper saying that I would never tamper with the mail, because it's punishable by imprisonment.

She wanted to make sure I understood it's a LOT of WALKING. I said I figured that, and it doesn't bother me, because I walked to campus and back every day, since parking was so hard to find there, and the shuttle bus to my apartments didn't run after a certain time.

Also, they will add me to their rolls on the 24th, and then the following Monday I will probably start training. More specific information will be in an email they're supposed to send me this Monday."

So... The Pony seems to be really employed. He will see exactly what the job entails in about a week. He'll probably have one last hurrah and drive over to Steak N Shake for a last lunch.
 
I went to the main post office on Saturday, to mail my DISH bill that may or may not reach its destination by the due date of the 25th. I saw the blue door, which wasn't blue the last time I was there. It's probably been two months since I went inside. I couldn't resist getting this picture for you. I guess I was seen on the surveillance camera. I hope they can't tie me to The Pony...

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Gravy Train Continues to Fatten Val's Bankroll

If my bankroll was a rumpus, it would be overly-ample these days! That decision to leave the not-mine $10 on the Country Mart lottery machine last Wednesday has proved quite profitable in the karma column. On Tuesday, Hick took us to the casino. Even Steven was along for the ride.

On my second slot, I mined the elusive $200 nugget on Wild Wild Nugget! The Pony chastised me in A-Cad on the way down there, for saying I was planning to play "Gold Gold Nugget." I guess my subconscious knew what was coming.

 
It's hard to land ANY nugget, much less get them all the way across so you can get paid for the last column. Ain't it a beaut? That earned me $208.70. It has already switched over to the credit box. I had $10.15 in there when I hit this Wild Wild Nugget. Betting $1 a spin.

I wanted to play my Wonder 4 Tall Fortunes slot next, with Miss Kitty, but as I hobbled over, an old man jumped up and stepped around the corner and took it! Meh. It wasn't so much not getting on the slot as it was wasting the steps and being almost there. I headed back towards the restaurant area to play my new favorite, Jackpot Streak: Garden of Amazon.


I played a long time here. I hit several jackpot streaks, keeping my money even, but not enough to cash out and save. The Pony wandered by, when I was in the midst of another streak, and caught my Minor Jackpot win of $101.60. It's still counting up in this picture. I had gotten my credit up to 49.38 after putting in a twenty in the beginning. I was betting $1.60 a spin when I hit this jackpot.

From there it was time for lunch. The Pony ordered nothing, because he was full of McDonald's breakfast. Hick had the pulled pork sandwich and curly fries. Again.



Hick had enough BBQ sauce on there to scrape off and save for my sister the (former) ex-mayor's wife! [He was recently elected mayor again--and I DON'T mean Hick.] Also, Hick complained that "There's too much meat on this sandwich! Half would be enough. You can't hardly fit it in your mouth." Well. When I used to get that meal, I ate the meat, and part of one Texas toast. The other I gave to The Pony. Here I caught Hick in the act of ketchuping his curly fries.
 
 
I had the catfish nuggets and tater tots. The nuggets are buried under that mountain of tots. The Pony helped by eating some tots, which he dipped into my tarter sauce. I couldn't finish all of either. Since Hick didn't make a clear plastic purse of his pie (plain cheesecake) container this time to carry leftovers, we sadly threw away the dregs of our meals.
 
These food pictures look so dull! I don't know what was wrong with my phone camera. I guess it was all amped-up from taking colorful slot machine pictures, and couldn't muster the effort to make our food look tasty. Sheesh! It looks like we were having lunch with Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher in McDougal's Cave. Us eating pulled pork and catfish nuggets, and Tom and Becky eating picnic "wedding" cake.

After eating, we returned to the casino floor for another hour. I was able to get on my Wonder 4 Tall Fortunes with Miss Kitty. First of all, I hit several Tower bonuses. That never happens! I hit them on all three games I played. Buffalo Gold, Indian Dreaming, and Miss Kitty. The only one worth documenting was Miss Kitty.

 
I didn't even make it all the way to the top of the tower, but the results were pretty good! That's the end of the bonus, Game 10 out of 10. It paid me $381.40. I had fed the tower a few twenties, and had $3.79 left when I hit this bonus. I was betting the minimum on this game, $2.40 a spin (which is 60 cents for each of the 4 games. It IS called Wonder 4 Tall Fortunes).

I was the big winner for the day. Of course not all of that made it out the door with me. You have to spend money to win money. But I had every bit of my casino bankroll back, plus winnings in the mid three-figures (not counting the decimal places!). Even Steven shunned Hick. He lost $50. I'm sure he'll make it up in sales in one day at his Storage Unit Store. 

The Pony was not the biggest winner, but he hit the biggest jackpot. In fact, it was while sitting right next to me at Wild Wild Nugget when we first got there. He was playing Pompei, making me jealous as he raked in the cash.
 



The Pony took that picture for me. He's got a problem the opposite of Hick. Whereas Hick takes a picture with a tiny subject in the dead center, and way too much scenery surrounding it... The Pony has a problem with EXTREME CLOSE-UPS.
 
Anyhoo... his jackpot was $453.05. I'm not sure what he was betting, since I don't play Pompei. I'm guessing it was somewhere between $1.00-$2.50 a spin. He played back a bit more of his winnings than I did, but then again, he has less of a casino bankroll to start with. In fact, he deposited his $800-something winnings into his bank account from his solo casino trip on Friday, April 2. So he's in the plus column lately.

Yes, I'm going to ride this good-karma gravy train until it runs over the edge of a cliff. Then I'll jump off and take a solo side-car down the tracks until another gravy train comes along. A streak never lasts forever, whether it's winning OR losing.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Val's COIN-Confiscated Laundry

MONDAY, April 12, got my penny week off to a good start. I had stopped by the Backroads Casey's for scratchers, even before the Gas Station Chicken Store. That's because from the stoplight, I can see part of Casey's parking lot. No, I don't have such good vision that I can spot a penny! I do well to discern whether there is room to park in front of the store. Their lot is cramped by the gas pumps.

I took the alley behind the GSCS, across Hick's pharmacy CeilingRed's parking lot, and pulled up to the sidewalk in front of Casey's. I noticed nothing fit for harvest on my walk in. But when I came out, the sun was just right.



There it is, under the grease spot that looks like a heart-shaped cloud hanging over the head of an obese giraffe.
 
 
It was a face-down 1998 penny. The side with Abe's face was all skinned up. Like he was playing baseball, and slid into home plate face first. Or maybe was caught under a car tire that was peeling out.
__________________________________________________________________
 
WEDNESDAY, April 14, my well-laid plans were skewed all cattywompus when the Gas Station Chicken Store had a broken LOTTERY TICKET READER! That meant they couldn't cash in my winning scratchers, so I went places I didn't intend to go. Like Country Mart. 
 
I was heading way down to the end, where I can park with certainty that T-Hoe's door will not be blocked. Then I decided to stop where I was, and trust that a ne'er-do-well would refrain from parking in the no-parking striped zone, thus making T-Hoe's door just as safe.
 
 
I was obviously meant to park there, because when I opened T-Hoe's door, there was a penny waiting for me.



It was a face-down 1975, showing his age. Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune ice-cream dish goblet. Where old pennies go to not-die.

From Country Mart, I headed over to the Liquor Store. I had tickets to cash in! A car was in the parking space where I usually pull through, to be ready to leave their small lot. So I parked in the space in front of it. You know what happened, right? I was meant to park there!

 
A penny awaited my plucking! I saw the glint before I even stepped out. Look at the thin shadow from that sign, and follow where it would go if it reached across the yellow parking line about the same distance it is on the other side. Then you'll see the glinty hint of my penny.



It was a face-down 2013, as brilliant as Val Thevictorian herself!
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FRIDAY, April 16, was an extra-special day. At my first stop, the Backroads Casey's, I opened T-Hoe's door to get out, and found this!

 
No, not the waxy smashed earbud thingies in the other parking space, but the DIME waiting for me by the yellow line.


It was a heads-up 1976 FDR dime. He's looking pretty chiseled here. As you might imagine, I was THRILLED to find a DIME! Little did I know that there was another one waiting for me at home!

I usually don't count a home coin in my tally. But this one was in the washer as I was getting out my load of socks and underwear. I heard a CLINK, and saw Franklin Delano Roosevelt looking up at me from the bottom of the washer! Hick had done a load of shorts and underwear the previous afternoon. Looks like he didn't clear out all his pockets. I had no claim to that dime, which is why I TOOK IT!

I didn't get a photo of the bottom of my washer. It's clean! It's a WASHER, by cracky! It washes itself every load. But my phone was across the kitchen, and I didn't want to walk all the way back to get it. I'm kind of lazy like that. I'm sure that comes as a shock to you. Anyhoo... I CAN give you an electronical artist's rendering:

 
This was a heads-up 2017 dime. Sorry, FDR. I'm not very good at drawing with a mouse. Your head is a bit flat, which probably explains your pessimistic expression.
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That makes 5 COINS this week, for 23 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune.
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2021 RUNNING TOTAL

Penny       # 38, 39, 40.
Dime         # 2, 3.
Nickel       still at 1.
Quarter    still at 2.

2020 TOTALS
Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1
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Friday, April 16, 2021

This Honesty Business Really PAYS OFF!

It has been one week since I found $10 left in the lottery ticket machine at Country Mart. And left it there. In that one week, I have had a tremendous run of luck! In fact, yesterday I had this:

 
That's a $100 WINNER! There in the middle, I found the 20X symbol, with a $5 prize. Yes, when I saw the 20X, I invited The Pony down to watch the reveal. You never know when it might be spectacular. Though $100 is nothing to sneeze at!

I don't put my wins here to brag. I put them here because I GAMBLE SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO! I'm selfless like that. So what I'm really doing is telling you that we've been riding a winning wave. Sure, it's bound to crash into the rocky cliffs before much longer. But right now, we're riding a gravy wave!

The found money that I left behind was on last Wednesday. The day after that, I had TWO $50 winners. Monday, I had that magnificent $500 win. And Tuesday, I scratched off another $50 winner. It was on the way home from the casino. We won't talk about that today... but it was a profitable trip.

I don't take pictures of $50 winners. That would be crazy. Who DOES that? Not this old Val.

Anyhoo... my point is that I feel like my luck might not have been so good if I'd used the $10 that didn't belong to me in the ticket machine. I believe that everything you do leads to you being in a certain place at a certain time when you're meant to be there. Win or lose. So taking the time to tell the cashier about the found money altered the pattern of my life over the past week.

Let's recap. So you can remember what you won this week, vicariously through me: 
$50, $50, $500, $50, $100. Pretty good for a week. It thumps the stuffing out of my Future Pennyillionaire Fortune. More on THAT tomorrow, and more on the casino after the Saturday CENTSus.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Sasquatch Rides Next To Me In T-Hoe

Monday evening, Hick was watching Pawn Stars. I never watch, so it might have been an old episode. But it was new to me. A guy brought in a gold dollar coin, which he said had an imperfection. He was hoping to get $10,000 for it. That's a little steep! Even for a staged TV show.
 
Anyhoo... this coin was a regular George Washington dollar. Not really gold, just gold in color. Mainly made of bronze. The Guy knew that. His determination of the value was because he got the coin from general circulation. His brother found it in a roll of dollar coins. And it had a big bubble deformity on each side. Like a ladybug got trapped under the metal.
 
Pawn Star Rick looked at the coin with a jeweler's eyepiece thingy. And said, "That's not real. It has been cast, not stamped. The Treasury stamps out US coins. They started making George Washington in 2007. This is counterfeit. Not even a good one. It looks like the sand stuck to the coin when it was cast. The lines are not defined in places."
 
Heh, heh. Not only was The Guy not getting $10,000 for his irregular coin, his George Washington dollar coin wasn't even worth a dollar! I gleefully pointed this out to Hick. 
And said,

"I have one of those out in my change cup in T-Hoe."

"No. You don't have one of them."

"Yeah. Maybe not George Washington. I haven't looked. But I have a gold dollar. I'm always mistaking it for a quarter when I reach in."

"You don't have one like THAT. You might have that lady. Or that other one. What do you call it? Sasquatch."

"Um. Susan B Anthony. She's not a GOLD dollar. And I'm pretty sure [it was hard for me to get the words out, I was shaking with such mirth] you mean SACAGAWEA, not Sasquatch!"
 
Now I wonder which one I have, but it's not worth walking out to T-Hoe as I'm writing this on Monday night. I'm hoping my dollar coin is worth a dollar. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Hick Is Egging Me On

Monday was clean-out day for FRIG II. Not that I am so organized as to have a schedule. It's been a week since the Easter feast, and we still had some delicacies left. 
 
I tossed out a Chinese Tupperware container-and-a-half of roasted vegetables. The soup container containers. We had three of them, and I ate heartily of what I wanted of that dish all week, so no big deal. We usually have some of it left, even on non-holidays. There was a smidgen of potato salad. Not even enough for a decent serving, had I been feeling particularly Teflon-stomached to consume 10-day-old potato salad. But the most heartbreaking item I purged from FRIG II was the DEVILED EGGS!

I worked so hard on those eggs. Eggs don't devil themselves, you know. They take boiling, and peeling, and precise slicing, and just the right amount of three wet and two dry ingredients for the filling, and careful rationing and dexterous forking to stuff them, and the division of green olives into three segments to place two slices on each egg... about an hour and 45 minutes total when the eggs peel easily.

Hick and The Pony LOVE deviled eggs. I could do without them. In fact, I only ate a broken white used to scrape the filling from the bowl at the end. So they could have more. They each eat 2-3 halves per meal. And grab a couple for a snack, or for The Pony's breakfast. I made 22 deviled eggs. My real Tupperware deviled egg container holds 16 halves. The other six were in a sandwich container for Hick and The Pony to enjoy on Saturday, the day I made them. A preview, if you will.

Monday, I took the deviled egg container out to the back porch, and tossed 9 DEVILED EGGS over the side. That is a travesty. Hick professed (upon interrogation over the rail as he was sitting in the Gator when I later left for town), that he had eaten 3 eggs, twice. That must mean the 3 samples last Saturday, and the 3 with his Easter feast. That leaves The Pony with 3 samples, 2 during the feast, and 2 later, because I saw them sitting out on the cutting block in a bowl, because he likes them room temp.

Hick is too lazy to pick up the deviled egg container from the bottom shelf, and take off the lid and put them on a plate. That's the only conclusion, since Hick claims how much he LOVES deviled eggs. I know he was fixing himself a ham sandwich, and potato salad. And on another day or two he had the roasted vegetables as a side dish. He ate the 7-layer-salad in normal leftover amounts.

We will have a family meeting before I make another batch of deviled eggs. I may require a signed contract committing to the consumption of a specified number of deviled eggs...

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

In Case You Doubt That Even Steven Is Looking Out For Val's Finances...

Remember last week, when I discovered that somebody had left $10 credit on the lottery machine in Country Mart? And I tried to tell the cashier, in case they came back looking for it? THAT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

Not only because the very next day, Even Steven rewarded me with TWO $50 winners. But because on Monday, Even Steven further showed his appreciation for my attempted good deed:
 

 
That's a $500 WINNER, baby! Those don't come along every day. In fact, the last one I had was back in 2017. I knew when I scratched off 12 matches that something good was afoot. I sent a text to The Pony to see if he wanted to watch the reveal. He didn't reply, so I set it aside, and moved on to my $3 scratchers. 
 
I've been allowing myself one of these big ones occasionally since my two $50 winners. I got one of these tickets Saturday [# 001 on a roll that goes from 000 to 029], and won my $20 back. Then I skipped a day, and felt like the time was right on Monday. I got it at the Gas Station Chicken Store. [# 017] It's the only place that still has this very old ticket.

I hadn't even finished my $3 scratching when I heard the thump of The Pony's hooves on the 13 rail-less basement steps.

"Did you start yet? I JUST NOW got your text!"

"No. But I'm ready. Let me put the song back on that I was listening to when I scratched it." 
 
[Not that I'm superstitious or anything... Let the record show it was Bob Dylan's "Shelter From the Storm Take 1," the version that plays over the credits at the end of the movie Jerry Maguire. This is it, but my track from Spotify had a better sound.] 
 
"Look. 12 matches! I KNOW they don't have a $120 winner. So it will be better than $10 under each symbol."

OH MY GOSH! The first one had $40 under it! The Pony was quick to calculate. 

"I think you have a $500 winner. I bet it's ten of the $40, and two $50."

The Pony was right!

Now I'm living on Even Steven's credit. I have to do $500 worth of good deeds for a while. I'm okay with that.