Saturday, October 23, 2021

A CENTennial of Sorts, Worth More Than a Hick Nickel

Even Steven is up to something. Sure, he provided me with pennies this week. But not only did he withhold the higher denominations, he DISTRIBUTED ONE TO SOMEONE NOT WORTHY!
On SATURDAY, October 16, I stopped by Orb K for scratchers. While waiting at the counter for my tickets to be harvested from the dispenser, I spied a special treat:
It was a heads-up 2014 penny. Unfortunately, my phone camera pretended to snap the closeup, but kept that picture as well as a car-rental agency kept a reservation for a guy with a horse-face and flaring nostrils. Thus one customer received a totally unnecessary ample-rumpusing. Sorry. I do believe somebody at Orb K finally swept the floor!!!

FRIDAY, October 22, I went in Country Mart to get my scratchers from their lottery machine. When I came back out, the sun was just right to point out a penny waiting for me on the sidewalk by T-Hoe!

Good thing there wasn't a wayward child revving that car-cart to run me down as I bent over to harvest my coin, and leave me cents-less!

It was a face-down 2020 penny, looking as if I had posed it to perfection. In reality, I zoomed in with my phone camera, and took the picture blindly, due to the sun's reflection off the screen. I DID crop it for centering purposes, but it was happily aligned like this.

Yes, I was pleased to be double-pennied this week. But just to shove my nose out of joint, Even Steven bestowed a special gift on Hick!

Hick found a NICKEL on a floor joist under the Master Bathroom of Pony House where he ripped out the the floor. Of course he sent me a picture. He probably spent the nickel! He does not understand sentimentality. I would have put it in a little frame for Pony to perhaps hang in that bathroom. 

"Was it an OLD nickel?"

"Nah. It was a 1980."

"Um. That's 41 years ago. SOME PEOPLE, like The Pony, would consider that old..."

I can't claim the Hick Nickel as my own. It obviously wasn't meant for me. I don't know who's sending Hick this coin, but they sure knew where he'd be likely to find it.

That makes 2 PENNIES this week, for 2 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune, reaching the 100 PENNY MILESTONE for 2021!


Penny       # 99, 100.
Dime         still at 12.
Nickel       still at 6.
Quarter    still at 6.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Customer Is Always the Rumpus of the Joke

I'm not happy with my treatment at the Sis-Town Casey's on Thursday. ME! A loyal customer who buys gas there once a week! I'm sure I'm keeping them in business.
To begin with, there was some jackrumpusery going on behind the counter. It was not clear which of the two registers were open, nor who was woking. I stood at the counter between the registers. Patiently. Two women were chatting, and one gave the side-head to a young man of about 20. "Go help her over there." Nodding at the left register.
I stepped over and told him I wanted $40 on Pump 3. T-Hoe is thirsty, with a hollow tank. That would only fill him halfway. I also told Young'un that I was cashing in two draw tickets (a $2 and a $3 winner), and buying more. He set to work scanning the winners, then tore off and printed my new tickets. It's always hard to hear in there, talking through the Plexiglass the the VIRUS can't jump over or slither under, and the employees wearing masks, and some machinery always humming. Perhaps their freezer. 

During Young'un's activities, two different employees stood by and watched. Nodded and walked off. I assumed he was training, since I hadn't seen him before. I didn't look at his name tag. He had everything done, and scanned my new tickets to ring them up. I saw that he had given a wrong ticket.

"Oh, I don't want this one. I said two Cash4Life with EZ Match. This is only one, without EZ Match." An honest mistake. I was just bringing it to his attention, to get what I'd asked for. This discombobulated Young'un. A bigger older women came over. I assumed she was the manager. She was quite short, and I don't mean in height.

"What did you DO?"

Before Young'un could explain, she locked eyes with me through the Plexiglass. I explained about the two Cash4Life with EZ Match. She printed them, and removed the other ticket I didn't want.

"That will be $52."

"Um. No, I think that's wrong. I had planned on giving you $60, and getting $5 back."

"Oh. Did you have gas?" [Seriously, she was asking ME, a customer with a possible motive to lie and save $40, rather than Young'un, her own employee?]

"Yes. $40 on Pump 3. And here are the tickets." 

 I started grouping like tickets together, to show how they added up. Then she got all snippy with me!


Sure you can, Hitlerzilla. I thought, but didn't speak. She proceeded to turn over the tickets I was buying, one by one, calling out their code numbers, while looking at the register readout. They all checked out just fine. The whole time, she was sighing and giving side glances at Young'un.
I was the only one in line when we started, and now there were two customers behind me, a man with two grade-school kids, and another man. 

"Jeannie, see if anyone has cash."

"No, I already asked."

"Well, take HIM at the drive-thru register." Hitlerzilla turned to Young'un. "Now what did she give you? Did you take that off?" Young'un said he did. $5 worth of winners.

At the risk of having my head bitten off through the Plexiglass, I said, "I had one $2 winner, and one $3 winner."

Hitlerzilla looked through the receipts Young'un had printed out. "Oh. That's it. $55."

I gave her the money, grabbed my tickets and change, and turned to leave. The next guy stepped up, and laughed. Hitlerzilla was ROLLING HER EYES! It was all I could do to hold my ire by muttering under my breath, 

"Can't ANYBODY do a job right in this place?"

Pardon the Not-Heaven out of ME! How dare I do business at their store, and purchase the products they offer for sale! 

The way I see it, this whole crapshow could have been avoided by:

 - Training new employees completely, or supervising them until they learn all transactions.
 - Less personal conversations and more work.
 - Fix their card-scanner that's been down a month, so they don't need to do cash-only at one register.
 - Do not mock the customers or berate the help

- Accepting $8 in change instead of the $5 I was owed, thus cheating them out of $3.
- Taking a ticket I did not want, and foregoing two that I did.

I'm sick of their shoddy customer service! I'm not going back there... until next Thursday, when it's time for T-Hoe's gas.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Pony Does Not APPRECIATE Such Behavior

Remember back in June? Hick had his nose out of joint because The Pony bought his own whole milk (not a version that Hick drinks) to have for breakfast before work, and told Hick, "I would appreciate it if you did not drink my milk."

As much as it caused a frosty response, that statement did, indeed, preserve the milk. Perhaps The Pony should have lay in wait, to spring the same appreciation on Hick about the Symphony candy bar I bought him as a treat. It was the big bar, with many little rectangle pieces to be broken off and savored. The plain Symphony, not the kind with nuts and crunchy things. The Pony has simple tastes, unless he's buying one of every wine ever imagined, or exotic gourmet sauces and oils to add to pasta.

Anyhoo... I bought the Symphony with my groceries on Tuesday. The Pony got off "early" at 4:00! After working only 8.5 hours! In fact, he had clocked out before I was home from town. He got home before I did, and carried in my groceries. I guess his feet were teeming with energy, conditioned for another 3.5 hours of walking.

Anyhoo... Hick was not yet home. The Pony cranked back in the recliner to do some computer gaming, and enjoy some Symphony. Shortly after Hick arrived home, The Pony ran his 2-hour bath in the big triangle tub in the master bathroom. I served Hick his supper, and sat down to chat. After consuming his delicious Frito Taco Salad, Hick reached over and picked up something off the side table, next to the TV remote.

"What's this?"

"Oh! That's The Pony's Symphony I bought him as a treat."


"So don't eat it. I guess he left part of it there. I just got it."

Let the record show that Hick has no shortage of SWEET TREATS that he absolutely should not consume. Yet he does it anyway. By sneak or by blatant disregard for other people's concern for his health! He has two kinds of individual ice cream cups, one vanilla with strawberry or chocolate swirl, and the other half vanilla/half chocolate. He has bags of Christmas cookies and animal cookies that he bought at the auction. He has expired Russell Stover chocolates that he bought at the auction. He has chocolate-covered raisins that he asked me to buy for him. And right then, I offered him an alternative treat:

"There's an individual bag of Little Debbie mini oatmeal cakes, like little cookies, that I bought Pony a couple weeks ago, and he didn't want..."

"Okay. Where are they?"

So... Hick ate the mini oatmeal cake/cookies. You know what else he ate, don't you?

The Pony had Wednesday off. He came to the kitchen as I was getting ready to leave for our yearly meeting with our financial advisor.

"Did you eat some of my Symphony, Mom?"

"No. I always ask before I take something. I have those Dove dark chocolate squares. I like my Symphony with the crunchy stuff."

"Well, there are TWO SQUARES of my Symphony missing."

"Dang it! Dad picked it up last night from the table, and I TOLD him not to eat it!"

"I'm pretty sure I had half left, plus two squares. I guess I could be confused..."

"I doubt it."

The Pony got an early jump on his nightly 2-hour bath, around 4:30. When Hick got home, and was eating a repeat of his Frito Taco Salad, I inquired about the Symphony.

"Did you eat some of The Pony's candy bar?"


"You act like that's okay! I TOLD you not to eat it! AND you ate more than ONE square. WHY did you eat it? You even had the oatmeal cake/cookies after your ice cream!"

"Well. It looked really good."

I later revealed the confession to The Pony. Nothing more was said, but I could tell he did not APPRECIATE Hick's behavior.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Accommodating The Pony

Hick bought three more lights for Pony House at the auction Monday night. He did NOT share a picture with me! Why even bother to tell me if he's not going to provide PROOF?

Tuesday, Hick was working at Pony House when The Pony himself called. This is twice now that The Pony has asked Hick to pick up some lunch for him. Heh, heh! I need to ask who's paying! Anyhoo, last time was on Friday, when The Pony was working in Backroads. Of course he wanted Hick to drive over to the next town to Burger King to pick up a Whopper. So the excuse that, "Well, I knew Dad would be at his Storage Unit Store, so I thought he could bring my lunch," kind of stretches logic. It's not as if he asked for something right there in Backroads, like Hardee's, or Casey's, or Dairy Queen.

Hick asked The Pony why he didn't just get his own lunch, rather than eat it on his 10-minute break.

"Dad. I get PAID for my break, but I don't get paid for a half-hour lunch!"

Anyhoo... I guess on Tuesday, The Pony did a walking lunch, because Hick said he stopped by Pony House to walk through and take a look. To be fair, he WAS delivering on the route that includes Pony House. No word on what was for lunch.

WEDNESDAY is The Pony's day off. He had planned to go over to Bill-Paying Town for his favorite meal of Steak N Shake. And to stop by Walmart for socks and deodorant. THEN he had second thoughts when he saw me cooking hamburger for a taco salad on Tuesday night.

"No, I don't want tacos, but if you have some of that hamburger left, I might make myself hamburgers tomorrow."

Uh huh. After working 8 straight days, a 20-minute trip to Steak N Shake is not so appealing on a day off! Not when you can lie around the house and play computer games with your FEET UP. I guess maybe The Pony can wear holey socks another week (or 8 days), and maybe not smell so fresh. 
I even patted out his hamburgers for him, but he'll have to stand to cook them. Hick and I have our yearly appointment with our financial advisor around lunch time. I'm meeting Hick there, and hoping to sneak out early. No need for me to sit around while they chew the fat over collectibles and firearms.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

O Pecan Tree

O Pecan Tree, O Pecan Tree
How heavy are your branches
O Pecan Tree, O Pecan Tree
How fragile are your branches

Your boughs so green in summertime
Will soon be gone in wintertime
O Pecan Tree, O Pecan Tree
How heavy are your branches

Let the record show that PECAN tree is debatable. A couple of the tree-trimmers who came to inspect the tree and give an estimate were not sold on the pecan narrative. They said a pecan tree usually does not drop branches like the Pony House tree. Hick swears there are pecans in the yard that have fallen from the tree. I asked if maybe they were hickory nuts, but Hick swears they are pecans. As does THIS GUY, the one who sold us the $5000 Hick House.

Anyhoo... when we last convened to discuss the Pony House Pecan Tree, Hick was waiting on Tree-Trimmer Guy to get a license to do business in Sis-Town. Hick and I were discussing this very topic on Thursday evening when Hick got a text from Tree-Trimmer Guy, providing a picture of his city business license! I don't know what it cost. Hick thinks probably around $86, the cost of his building permit. He DID see on the copy that Tree-Trimmer Guy's business license is good until July 1, 2022.

Hick and Tree-Trimmer Guy met to finalize their contract on Friday afternoon. Tree-Trimmer Guy raised his price from $3000 to $3250, and Hick agreed. He is having the entire tree cut down, not just trimmed. I will worry less about it falling on Pony House that way, although I hate to lose such a large shade tree.

Tree-Trimmer Guy said he is working a regular job. He had been trying to get on with this guy for a while, and just got hired. So he will be cutting down Pony House Pecan Tree on the weekends. Except for Sundays. He doesn't work on Sundays. This does not bother Hick. He is not in a hurry, just happy to have the project underway. He went by on Saturday after closing his Storage Unit Store, to watch the process.

Hick says it is only Tree-Trimmer Guy and TTG Wife doing the trimming. Tree-Trimmer Guy climbs into the tree, secured by a safety harness, and crawls out onto a limb, which he ties off in a 4-foot section, then cuts and lowers it with a block-and-tackle. TTG Wife helps from the ground, and drags the brush out of the way, then hauls it off. Together they take the cut sections to the concrete pad up by the garage to stack it.
A story about that ladder coming up later! 

OOPSIE! One of the wood hunks fell onto the corner of Pony House! Hick told Tree-Trimmer Guy that he could fix the damage, or Hick would deduct money from his fee, and fix it himself. Tree-Trimmer Guy said he would fix it. Hick still holds the purse strings. He's not worried.

Hick came home Saturday afternoon to GET HIS TRACTOR! He loaded it on his trailer, and hauled it to Pony House. So Tree-Trimmer Guy and TTG Wife could use it to move the wood! Hick says insurance will cover any accidents. He is trying to make it easier for the Trimmers to move that wood up the slight hill to the concrete pad. "They can load it in the bucket of the tractor, and drive it up there."

Hick went over to the neighbor's house and knocked on the door, just to tell him that the Trimmers would be working there off and on. This one didn't want the power turned off like one of the other candidates. Neighbor Guy opened the door, and told Hick,

"Just a minute, I've got some money for you."

"I didn't come over to ask for money. Just to tell you they'll be working over here."

"Oh, I went and took out the money like I said. I knew they were working. I was watching, and the guy knocked his ladder over. I went to get it for him, so he could get out of the tree. His wife was gone in the truck, hauling off the brush when it happened."

Neighbor Guy gave Hick five $100 bills. Nice and crisp, but I'm pretty sure he's a smoker. Anyhoo... THAT'S a good neighbor! Let's hope nothing falls and smashes his property.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Val Gets a Crime-Fighting Lesson at the Gas Station Chicken Store

The more you know...

Sunday, business was slow at the Gas Station Chicken Store. It was just me, at the soda fountain filling my 44 oz Diet Coke, and Man Owner puttering around wiping down the counters (they close at 5:00 on Sundays), and Woman Owner behind the counter waiting on customers. As I walked up front, a man stepped one foot in the door.

"I just want you to know, my son is getting gas, and then he's got to leave for work. I'm in my truck, and I'll be getting diesel fuel around at the side, but I'm going to pay for both of us when I'm done. So he's not driving off. I'll be paying for his gas and mine."

"All right. Thank you for telling me. I don't feel like running fast today!"

They both laughed, and the guy went back out as I set my magical elixir on the counter.

"He thinks I'm joking, but I'm serious! I cleared off my counter so I can get out fast!" [There's a section that flips up like a drawbridge, where she'd moved the merchandise that sometimes sits there.]

"What are you going to do if you catch someone, grab onto the bumper?"

"I've stopped people before! There was one time that I stopped a stolen car! I didn't know it was stolen at the time. I just wanted my gas money. It was a couple years ago, a car from Michigan. There were four guys in it, and I ran out as they were trying to get away, waving my arms and screaming at them to stop. They DID!"

"I'm surprised. You'd think they'd want to get away. Oh, but I guess they'd rather face you than have you call in a gas drive-off, since they were in a stolen car."

"I was standing there while they tried to get their stories straight, to tell me how they were going to pay, when a State Patrol car made a U-turn and came flying in here! The trooper jumped out pointing his gun, yelling 'Put your hands on top of the car!'"

Man Owner walked up. "I was out there by that time, and I put my hands in the air, and said, 'Hey, this isn't how you do it on TV!'"

"Turns out the car was being tracked by GPS. They got arrested, and I had to go to court 4 times! They tried them all separately. I got a letter from Judge Judy, wanting me to be on the show. They would pay us $500 each, plus our expenses to get out there, and the judgment if we won. 
I remember sitting on the bench over at the courthouse on Law Day, waiting to be called in. I leaned over and hollered at one of the guys who worked for us, 'Hey, David, did you get your letter from Judge Judy?' Well! All the noise stopped, like I was E.F. Hutton! Everybody looked at me. 
When I got in the courtroom, I mentioned it to the judge. She said, 'Are you going?' and I told her no. Then she said, 'At least you have a little self-respect.'"
"Wow! You could have been famous!"
"No way would I go be on Judge Judy! I've watched Judge Judy! She makes everybody look like a fool, not just the guilty people!"

Never a dull moment at the Gas Station Chicken Store.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Hick Has Been in the Bathroom All Week

Hick's project at Pony House this week was Bathroom 2, the bathroom off the second bedroom. I must have misunderstood when I thought he said he would start on Monday and be done Monday night! Even Hick is not THAT efficient. I think maybe he meant something about the floor? I must have listened like he was Charlie Brown's teacher, and only heard BATHROOM and DONE. Anyhoo... I'll tell the story in pictures.

It started with boards Hick removed from the walls of Bedroom 2:

Those long boards, leaning against the wall, here in Bedroom 2. Hick said he was going to use them on the floor of Bathroom 2. Not as floorboards, but as an extra layer of insulation material. He put down the wall boards, then the insulated blue board that's made for floor insulation, then the good plywood, then the laminate flooring that IS waterproof and made for bathroom use. As Hick said, "I'm using these boards because I HAVE THEM. They are free. More plywood is NOT free."

This is the corner where the sink will go. Bedroom on the other side of that wall, and to the right, is the wall that will be against the porch/back door area. Hick says the boards come with these markings on them, so you can know where the wall studs are, since wall studs are spaced at standard intervals which I don't remember.

This is where the shower will go. The wood wall is the back of the house, and the other board is against the porch/back door area. You can also see the marked boards on the floor. That's the third floor layer, the bottom layer being those old wall boards, then the insulation board, then this. Hick had a little problem on Monday, when he dropped his WRENCH down the shower drain pipe. He had to drive home to get his magnetic stick thingy to pull out the wrench.

Here's the shower, partially done, except for the back wall. The plywood will be covered by some shiny white board that reminds me of those school whiteboards for dry-erase markers. We have it in our basement, and it makes the room bright. Pony and I think Hick should leave the wood on the back wall, and the unseen wall to the right, which is the side of the house, where the toilet will go. Too much white board will make it look like a hospital! The contrast of wood and white will be good, we think. Hick will sand the wood and seal it. That different area, which was a window, will get a mirror. You'll see!

Here's the sink corner, and the sink drain pipe. No wrench lost in that one! As you can see, Hick has the laminate flooring down. I said it looks too small for a vanity here, but Hick says a vanity is only 20 inches deep, and then quoted me the measurements here, which I can't remember. Again, these two walls seen will be covered by the shiny white board. There's a brief glimpse of the door opening to the bedroom.

This is the back wall with the mirror in place of the old window. The reflection in the mirror is the window that is over where the toilet will be. The window still needs framing. I'm really liking the thought of these two wood walls contrasting with the two shiny white board walls.

That's it so far. I don't think Hick has put in the toilet, or there would be pictures. He might be waiting to tie in something with the plumbing. His helper has only been there once, because he's working another job.

That's the current progress on Bathroom 2. Not sure what room will be next.