Thursday, August 31, 2017

Plogging Along, Singing the Same Old Song, Back to Back

Way back in the early days of the information superhighway, before the blogosphere was fully formed, who would have ever thunk that a weblog would become a thing? Not this ol' Val, that's for sure. Then I figured out what a blog was. I had a supersecret one. Then branched out with this one. First it was a mommy blog. Then a daughter blog. Then a puppy blog. Let me tell you, by cracky, I'm ready to branch out again. Start my own thing.


Yeah. Don't go getting all excited. Don't call CNN just yet. It's not really newsworthy. Just a way for me to tell you that I'm going to blog about my found pennies as I find them. So at times, this may seem like a penny blog. Take it or leave it. Same as a floor penny. You may not want it, but somebody else might. So be forewarned, and hopefully not forearmed, depending on the concealed carry laws in your various states. I WILL display my pennies as I find them, on my PLOG.

Of course, like a watched pot peevishly refusing to boil, The Universe may make sure that I never find another penny, now that I've resigned myself to inflict my discoveries on my already-bored-with-them readers. So it's possible that you all might have dodged a penny. But not TODAY! I found TWO!

Sorry, antipennyites. Today you will have to be placated with the details of my day, which I'll put before the pennies. It did not start out to be a good day. Good thing I'm not a smoker, or I would have been tempted to join those Brownsville Station boys on floor number two. Nothing was going right.

I woke up with a malaise. Something disagreeable was gurgling in my digestive tract. I've had a pain in my right under-ear area for a whole day, every time I open my mouth. Last night when I chewed food, I had a shooting kind of pain like when you have the mumps and eat something sour. Surely you all had the mumps, right? No vaccine back then for us. I've also had a pain in my back for three days, which I attribute to poor posture when driveway walking. Add to that a pain in my joints because I didn't take my ibuprofen last night, lest it was the reason for my stomach ailment.

THEN as I got ready to leave for town, I realized that I hadn't heard Hick fling the dry dog food into the metal pans this morning on the back porch. So I went around to feed the dogs and give them water, which meant I had to unlock the house and go back in to the sink in the laundry room.

There were no good songs on the radio. All three of my usual parking spots were taken at Country Mart. AND I encountered a lottery ticket machine malfunction! (That story is coming up sometime in the future.)

It seemed as though my suffering would never end. I made a right at the light to head over to Casey's by the moat, rather than going through the light and taking the alley, since a lady almost rammed me barrelling out of the gas station chicken store parking lot yesterday into that alley. Of course once I made my right, there was a line of traffic about 15 cars long, so rather than pile up traffic behind me waiting for my left turn, I went on up for a mile or more, to loop around the dead-mouse smelling post office block, since there is absolutely no other place to turn around and get back on the road easily.

As I turned onto the Casey's parking lot, I saw that ALL PARKING SPACES WERE OPEN! The only customers were at the gas pumps. I toyed with the idea of parking by the door, but went on down several unmarked spaces to near the end. About two slots up from where I usually put T-Hoe. I gathered my winner and opened the door, and there it was!

I got my phone out of my pocket to take a picture, and just as I was focusing it, a car pulled in to park beside me. Yeah. Every other unmarked space available, and that car chose to park right beside me. I started to pull my door closed politely, but then I thought, "No. I was here. There are plenty of other spaces. So that lady can wait, or she can move over one."

See that? If she'd parked there, if I had been a bit slower opening up my door, if I hadn't gone up around the post office and come back, if I hadn't been tied up for 10 minutes in Country Mart...I never would have found that penny! That lady would have parked over it, or another car would have been on it, somebody else would have picked it up, or it might not have been dropped yet. Just saying, so many little things combine to make that penny-finding experience what it was.

From there, figuring maybe my luck was turning around, I went to the gas station chicken store for my 44 oz Diet Coke. By the road, not the alley. I parked over by the moat and went in. Right inside the door, I saw my second.

It looks shiny there, but it really wasn't. Not on the Abe side, anyway. A little old man was standing on that rug to the right. The side-counter area. He gave me a look when I bent for that penny. Too bad, so sad! If it was HIS, he should have scrambled for it like a football fumble. I don't think he even knew it was there. Probably just wondering what I was doing, stepping in the door and bowing down.

The Casey's penny on the left is from the year 200 D. Yeah. I can't read the last digit, because it has been driven over and scraped off. The gas station chicken store penny on the right is from 1994. That's the year Genius was born, in a deep and dark December. I've added them both to my pennies from heaven stash, and only last night asked Hick to find me a container for them at the auction or Goodwill. He said, "Oh. I just saw the perfect thing at Goodwill on the way home. It was about a foot tall, and wide, like a martini glass, and made of really thin glass." I think I may have to be more specific in what kind of container I want, because that doesn't sound like the perfect one to me. I found two pennies, #30 and #31.

I've got myself a PLOG, and a leg up on being a pennyillionaire before I'm 2089 years old. That's a random age. Don't go trying to calculate pennies per year.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Gas and Dash

Today, in Val's continuing series on breaches of convenience store etiquette...

What is it with some people? They are so entitled that a convenience store springs up at a location just to serve THEM! Their own personal convenience store! "I can see a line. But lines are for thee, not for me!"

Tuesday, I filled my 44 oz cup (they're kind of fragile if you have powerful thumbs, you know) with Diet Coke, and went to stand in line behind a lady cashing in a $1 scratcher winner (amateur!), in the paying-for line on the aisle between the chicken counter and the fifths of whiskey. I think they have other spirits, but all I ever see is about 20 varieties of whiskey, none of them being Farmer H's preferred brand of Wild Turkey.

As I walked up to the $1 Lady's back, I noticed a short guy at the side of the counter, over by the door. I assumed he was checking his draw ticket. They have a machine there where you can scan them. I also saw a tall bald man standing back, between $1 Lady and Short Guy. I knew he had been there before me. He was chatting with Lady Owner, who was over by the ice cooler. It's really a pretty small store.

$1 Lady got more tickets. Paid for her coffee, stepped back, and said, "Oh, I'm afraid I took this gentleman's turn." How convenient, to acknowledge it after her transaction was complete.

Man Owner looked at me. I looked at Tall Bald Man and nodded my head. "He was here first."

"Oh, you go right ahead!"

So I did. I stepped up to the counter, and held out my winning scratcher. Short Guy was now talking to Lady Owner, while Tall Bald Man waited in line behind me. Out of the blue, as Man Owner was stapling my winning receipt to the ticket, Short Guy rushed up, tossed some bills on the counter, and said, "I had $32." Then he rushed out the door.

Man Owner said, "Oh, the diesel?" Because he also has to keep track of the pumps while ringing up people. You'd think that after a lifetime of doing this, it would come easier. But he's always uneasy, and kind of slow, and sometimes mistakey. He's a really nice guy, though.

As Short Guy was busy not letting the door hit him on the rumpus, he barked over his shoulder, "Yeah."

I guess the fact that he paid at all is something he needs to be patted on the back for, because at the Casey's today, a guy drove off, after sending his two women inside to buy something, AND they denied they were with him, and even verbally abused one of the four clerks standing around the door. I got there just as they were going out, and heard the aftermath. I'm pretty sure they got a license plate or partial, because the manager was saying, "We'll get him next time."

At this moment, $1 Lady chose to ask, ""Ma'am, do you keep this end?" It was her red tickets for the weekly gas drawing. I don't know why she was asking ME! I told her I didn't know. So she started asking Man Owner. He was methodically ringing up my purchases and taking off the winnings. "Oh, I guess he's busy now..."

A lady behind me told $1 Lady how to enter her tickets into a cardboard box. THEN $1 Lady started asking, "Excuse me, did somebody win the drawing this week?"

I swear, people these days don't know how to WAIT IN A GOSH DARN LINE!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Val Hasn't Always Made a Lotta Cents

If you were expecting a tale of how things go wrong at the checkout...get in line! Get in line right behind Val in the Walmart over in Bill-Paying Town, and hold your breath until tomorrow. Because this is not such a tale.

There I was, having just put my items on the conveyor, this checker having enough sense to pop that little rubber divider bar at the end of the previous customer's groceries. I put out my heavy things in jars, my coldstuffs, then my soft breads, then the hot General Tso's Chicken and wings. I left the two four-packs of strawberry-flavored water that Hick favors on the side of the cart, and pushed it forward, careful not to invade the space of the check-writing lady.


Yes, I'm sure you'd already guessed by now. From the title, or the thumbnail, or the picture showing above the fold. I can't seem to stay away from pennies! This was the last thing on my mind while standing in line. I usually just look in parking lots, or as I enter the door. But here was a bright shiny penny, not at all new, free for the taking.

I got my phone out of my pocket, and snapped a picture. I don't care if the old guy behind me emitting impatient vibes was giving me the stinkeye. I bent over and picked it up, putting it in my shirt pocket. Obviously, this penny was meant for ME.

It's a 1982. I don't know how it's so shiny, with Ol' Abe being so long in the tooth. I don't know of any big event in my life that happened during 1982.

For all you antipennyites...back at this time in 1982, I'd just started a new job. It paid $8,700. That's per YEAR! So anyone (none of my loyal readers, of course!) who wants to spout off about how teachers have it made, and are paid outrageous amounts (because you read about average salaries, which include administrators as well as teachers)...let the record show that in 1982, Missouri did not have a minimum teacher salary.

One thing's for sure: $8,700 is a lot of pennies, but even in 1982 dollars, it's not a lot of money. Maybe I'll tell you about my living accommodations later this week. Maybe not.

Sorry, antipennyites. Looks like you got shortchanged today!
(I really crack myself up sometimes!)

This was Penny # 29.

Monday, August 28, 2017

By Popular Demand

The Recipe

Bugles                                      1 bag
(if you like them, not in my original recipe)

Corn Chex                                 1 box
Rice Chex                                 1 box
Cheerios                                   1 box
Pretzels-stick                            1 bag
Pretzels-twist                            1 bag
Mixed Nuts                               small can
Cashews                                  small can
Pecans                                    half pound 
Vegetable Oil                            2 1/2 cups
Worcestershire Sauce                ?
Garlic Powder                            ?
Garlic Salt                                 ?

Pre-Heat Oven to 250

I use two 9 x 13 nonstick cake pans, and one larger roasting pan.
That's how much these ingredients will make.

Layer the ingredients in this order:

Twist Pretzels
Corn Chex
Mixed Nuts
Stick Pretzels
Rice Chex

Drizzle on the vegetable oil. Just under 3/4 cup for each of the 9 x 13 pans,
            just under 1 cup for the roasting pan. ( I have cut it back to 1/2 cup
            for the 9 x 13s, and 3/4 cup for the roaster, with good results.)

It will look like too much oil, but this will be absorbed during baking
            if you are a good stirrer, and bring the bottom pieces up to the top.

I don't measure the 3 ingredients below. Good luck!

Shake on some Worcestershire Sauce
(about 2 tablespoons in each pan) 

Sprinkle with garlic powder.
(about 1/2 a tablespoon in each pan)

Sprinkle with garlic salt.
(about 1/4 a tablespoon in each pan)

Stir the mixture gently before placing in the oven

BAKE AT 250 degrees for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

Take the pans out for stirring, and rotate them when returning to oven
You can't speed up the process, or use a different temperature.
Don't taste the pieces that fall out, because they won't get their full flavor
            until the last 15 minutes of cooking, and you might be tempted
            to add more of the ingredients, and ruin it.


Let the record show that this cutting block, shown in all its rustic glory, came from the basement of Hick's old factory, which was a manufacturer of butcher products like knives and saw blades. It is solid wood on a metal base, and weighs a lot. They don't make 'em like they used to. You could say the same about Chex Mix.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Gee, My House Smells Terrific

I don't mean to brag. Sure, I brag all the time, and I mean it. No inadvertent bragging for me. But this time, I'm just stating a fact. My house smells terrific. I am 55 minutes into a batch of Chex Mix. It takes two hours. You can't cheat. One of my old work colleagues tried that, even though I had given her my mom's special recipe, and strict instructions. Good thing that little boy in Chinatown didn't sell her a mogwai, because Backroads would be overrun with Gremlins now. I guess, being a math teacher, it made sense to her that two hours at 250 would equate to one hour at 500. No. It doesn't.

Anyhoo...this batch is just for Hick. And me, of course. The cook gets a share. I made some earlier, for The Pony, and we had a goodly portion. But now it's in our blood. Usually, the Chex Mix is given as a gift. But now we are greedy. Hick received a bottle of Wild Turkey as a going-away gift from a work colleague. And since our stash of Chex was down to almonds and Cheerios, I offered to make a new batch. Because I assume that when Hick sits down to watch his American Pickers show, a red solo cup of Wild Turkey and Diet Coke at his elbow, he'd like a salty treat to go with it. I'd even let him use a real glass, by cracky! Hick has worked hard all his life. No need to sell him short on the beverage container.

The smell of Chex Mix roasting in the oven is delectable. It makes me think of Christmas, because that's prime Chex Mix season. Four or five batches, to give away. So every time I walk from room to room, and catch a whiff of that aroma, I immediately run through my mind the gifts that need wrapping, and the last-minute items I have yet to obtain. Except now, it's August. So I'm still ahead on the Christmas shopping.

The thing I miss most about making Chex Mix is the presence of my little buddy, The Pony. His absence makes my heart grow brokener. Oh, The Pony didn't actually help me make the Chex Mix. Let's not forget that he doesn't really care about helping people. But every 15 minutes, I'd yell, "Stirring time!" and I'd hear The Pony trotting up the basement steps to join me around the kitchen cutting block.

Stirring is a regulated process. First the big roasting pan comes off the top oven rack. Using two serving spoons, I dig down deep and lift the bottom morsels to the top, to breathe and roast, while the top morsels get a rest on the bottom. Then the roaster goes back in, and the two metal 9 x 13 cake pans get set side-by-side, so the overflow from one can flow into the other during stirring.

The Pony would stand by to pounce on the pieces that flipped out of the pan onto the cutting block. Sure they were hot. Didn't bother The Pony. Chex were his favorites, but he'd also devour the Cheerios and pretzels. This was before I caved under pressure from my sister the ex-mayor's wife, and her daughter my niece, and The Pony, and Hick...and started including Bugles. I confess that when The Pony was here, I was a bit reckless in my stirring. Today, only a couple of pretzels have fallen out.

Speaking of The Pony...he sent me a text the other day about this semester's books, and he added, "I'm eating a turkey, pepper jack, ketchup, and mustard sandwich now." I replied that I was sitting in T-Hoe in the garage, responding to his text, and the dogs were waiting for their cat kibble on the porch. Through the garage door, they looked puzzled. Due to the protective properties of the new metal garage roof (wonder if I could get myself a hat made out of that), the rest of The Pony's message was delayed.

"It's currently shaped like Oklahoma."

You can take The Pony out of Missouri, but you can't take the nerd out of The Pony.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Val's Obsession May Be Hazardous to Her Health

No. We're not talking about the 44 oz Diet Coke (plus more added later!) that she swills each day. Thanks so much for all the advice of the well-meaning antiDietCokeites. I'm not necessarily talking about the ones here, so don't get your noses out of joint. One of my colleagues (make that two, they were in cahoots, one in each building where I toiled) used to rant on about how diet soda makes you fat. Yeah. Let's see YOUR study, because in one year after I retired, and started having a daily 44 oz Diet Coke (plus more added later!) I have lost 114 pounds. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Oh, wait. Tobacco is bad for you.

Whew! My knees were growing tired up on that soapbox. Thanks for helping me down. No, we're not talking about Diet Coke being possibly dangerous to Val. We're talking about her obsession with finding pennies from heaven. Or the pennies finding her.

I had eight errand stops to make today. Plenty of opportunity to find a penny. I struck out at Save A Lot. But on my very second stop, Orb K, to cash in a scratch-off winner...

Yeah. No photo of Abe in his natural habitat, because that might have been dangerous. Or actually given me safety. Such a conundrum, these pennies. Would I stop in the middle of the interstate to pick one up? Don't be silly. Val doesn't drive on the interstate! rightful parking space by the crooked sewer grate and the yellow-striped handicap walkway was open. I gathered my winner, and my phone for possible evidence pictures. Alas, no penny was waiting for me. Not on the grate. Not on the blacktop. Not by T-Hoe's back tire. No big deal. I still had six stops left! I went up the little sidewalk ramp and headed for the double doors of Orb K. WAIT A MINUTE! What's THAT?

The glare almost blinded me, people! It was a brand-spankin'-new 2017 penny. Which probably came out in 2016, but I haven't gotten a lot of them yet. Though later when I dug through my change cup for correct 44 oz Diet Coke cash, I found one. For a moment, I was afraid I'd tossed my penny from heaven into the common change cup! Nope. A quick check of my shirt pocket revealed my precious heaven-penny, safe from spending.

Anyhoo...back at the front doors of Orb K...I was ready to pull my phone out like Quick-Draw McGraw. The penny was laying right in front of the glass door on the left. Almost by the hinge side. I couldn't see inside, because the 9:30 a.m. sun was blaring, and it's darker inside. So I placed my fingertips on the glass as I bent over, lest somebody swing that door open and conk me on my noggin. Good thing! Once I had that penny in hand, I stepped over to the door on the right (the proper way to enter, you know, although not many people here in Backroads do) and pulled it open. A late-teen girl was holding a Polar Pop, looking at me with a mix of curiosity and disgust, in front of the other door. I guess I was keeping her from her Polar Pop, since she couldn't be bothered to step over to the other door and make her exit.

Anyhoo...I could have gotten a concussion, perhaps. And fallen over, and dislocated my shoulder. Or broken my hip. And while unconscious, somebody else would have gotten my rightful penny! The catastrophe was narrowly avoided.

Someone is looking out for me.

Let the record show that is Penny #28. And I received four five-dollar bills from the Walmart cashier today, instead of a twenty, when I got cash back.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #73 "Matt Matt, the Sewer Cat"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Are you a giver? Do you enjoy helping others? Hows about helping VAL unload sell her fake book this week? You do that by fake-buying Val's fake book! Actually, there's an incentive. With each fake book fake-sold, Val will enclose a free gift! That's right! Absolutely FREE! You don't even have to pay an outrageous fee for shipping and handling. What? Why do you care what the gift is? It' FREE, by cracky! Okay. It's a possum, found by Val in her front yard. While supplies last, though. So fake-order your copy of Val's fake book NOW! Before she's all out o'possums!

Matt Matt, the Sewer Cat

Matt is a cool dude. A real hep cat. His first name's the same as his last. He's a proponent of the homeless. Hearing from his pal Rebecca DeMornay that they don't appreciate a diet of muffin stumps, and a library of toilet books, Matt decides to host a weekly dinner. No more reading for the homeless! He'll provide entertainment in the form of a small-game hunt. Then the prey will be roasted, and served on a platter made of old vinyl records. With a side dish of Mackinaw peaches! And Snapple to drink!

Soon Matt has a line around the block waiting for his Monday night feasts. A line longer than Papaya King. He goes about his business, happily humming "Desperado." Will Matt Matt find a donor to provide marble rye, and cinnamon babka and Junior Mints for dessert? (140 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Ben..."Matt, the two of us need look no more. We've both found what we were looking for. Wait a minute! Put that gun down! Do I smell garlic and butter? I assumed that when you said dinner, I'd be eating it! Thevictorian! You've created a monster! You dirty rat!"

Master Splinter..."Thevictorian's writing oozes with inauthenticity. She's definitely no Renaissance artist. We can only hope that she slows her output to a turtle's pace, and stops churning out a fake book a week. Her efforts are only fit for the likes of my arch-nemesis, Shredder."

Templeton..."I think this fake book is only good for gnawing. It IS tasteless, and quite dry. But I feel a kindred spirit with the author. Thevictorian is my kind of gal. We share many characteristics. None of them good."

Giant Alligators..."Hey! We were cheated! As if it's not bad enough to be a pampered pet when you're cute, and then flushed down the toilet when you grow up! Now we have been deprived of this Thevictorian woman coming down into the sewer to research her latest fake book. We cry shenanigans! How can she know what it's like down here if she never set foot down here? Just try it, Thevictorian, and you won't be needing The Good Feet Store no more!"

Pennywise the Clown..."Join us down here, won't you, Thevictorian? Don't worry about your fake book. It will float. As we all do...down here."

River of Pink Slime..."Who ya gonna call? Not Thevictorian! She's the strangest thing in this neighborhood. She's a waste of ectoplasm."

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Gumshoe Val Solves the Case

On my way home yesterday, a white truck shot out of a gravel road near my turnoff. I'd just crossed over the oft-flooded low water bridge, and was nearing the sharp right turn that takes me up and over the hill to EmBee's mailbox condo. I figured maybe the guy didn't see me, because there's a lot of foliage along that area, and some slight curves. So I was not shaking my arthritic fist at him for his driving shenanigans. No harm, no foul.

It came out of a gravel road that has its own concrete low-water bridge that's often flooded. In fact, the owner has dredged the creek with a backhoe before in an attempt to clear the channel. I know that, because the backhoe was parked beside the bridge, and also beside a large pile of creek gravel. Hick once declared that he needed some gravel for a project, and went down to load some up. He does that all the time with the silty sand down by the main low-water bridge on the county road. I'd cautioned him at the time that this guy might not want Hick taking his gravel. "He won't mind. I'll be helping him, really. I'll get rid of it, so it doesn't wash back into the creek."

Apparently, this gravel guy had a game camera, and saw Hick loading up. Because the third time he went down there, the guy came out and said, "So YOU'RE the one who's been stealing my rock! Stop it!" Hick said sorry, that he thought gravel dredged out of the creek was free for the taking. That's the story according to Hick. He unloaded the Gator, and came back home.

Anyhoo...back to my hot pursuit of this white truck. It wasn't going all that fast. I was almost to my turn-off, so I wasn't too put-out by the lollygagging. At first I thought, "Look at this rumpus-hole, he's in the middle of the road going up this hill!" And then I thought, "Look at this rumpus-hole, he's on the wrong side of the road going up this hill!" I didn't like the fact that this guy was actually driving up the ONCOMING LANE. There's no center line, but I can tell where my half of the road is, and where it's not. I thought White Truck Dude might be looking in his wide mirrors at me and wondering where I came from. When such poor lane choice continued, I figured he must be texting. Because nobody in their right mind crests a hill in the oncoming lane. In fact, I kept T-Hoe back a bit so I'd be able to stop before the imminent collision.

The truck was a tricked-out crew cab with wide, wide side mirrors, and a fancy paint job. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if I had such a truck, I'd be a bit more careful with it, and not drive up the middle of the road on a blind hill. It's not like he was driving a $400 Sanford & Son truck.

White Truck Dude pulled off to the left at the top of the hill, into a semi-circle drive at a house we'll say belongs to Chilly. This is just a drive for the mailman, not a drive all the way up to the house. "Huh. Maybe that guy is messing with Chilly's mail! I've never seen that truck out here. It doesn't belong to Chilly. Unless he got a new one." I went on down the hill, and pulled over to the right, still on the road, to get out and check my own mail. After two or three minutes, here came that White Truck Dude. Going slow. I felt like he was eyeballing me. I waited in front of T-Hoe's bumper for the truck to pass.

White Truck Dude turned into my gravel road. It looked like he was going to stop beside the creek. "Huh. Does he live up in here? Am I in the way of him checking his mail. Wait! He was at Chilly's mailbox. Maybe it's someone putting stuff in mailboxes. Or STEALING MAIL!" My suspicions were not alleviated when White Truck Dude pulled farther up the gravel road. Started to stop. Then went on. I turned in and followed. That's how I get home, you know.

I was so suspicious that I grabbed my phone to take a picture.

I figured that one wasn't good enough evidence for the police when they attempted to crack the rural mailbox theft ring. Also, I had my finger in the way. YOU try driving a 2008 Tahoe up a gravel road tailing a ne'er-do-well while snapping a picture. So I took another one.

White Truck Dude continued to drive on the wrong side of the road, but everyone does that out here. He was either a really bad driver, drunk, texting, or avoiding holes he knew were in the road. At the first gravel road off this one, he turned left. That road is a dead-end. Even so, I was worried that he might go around or over the barricade up in there, and loop back, and see me going up my own driveway! Can't have that! He might have seen me take his picture!

My garage door wouldn't open! Five tries. Six! The dogs had run out under the carport, and were looking at me like, "What in the Not-Heaven are you doing?" They were ready to trot into the garage for a sniff, see if any cat kibble had been spilled, or if the gray cat they torment was inside, and then trot back out. TRY! TRY! TRY! This was like a horror movie! I didn't want that guy to see where I lived! FINALLY the door clanked open. I stuck my head out the people door for a minute, listening for a truck on the gravel road, before I went out. The coast was clear.

When Hick got home, I showed him the pictures on my phone. "Do you know who this truck belongs to?"

"Oh. That's Knobby's truck."

"Does he live out here?"

"He lives over on the other side. By that Italian guy who blocked the road. Why?"

"Well, he came out in front of me at the bridge where you stole the gravel, and he drove on the wrong side all the way up the hill, and he pulled in and stopped at Chilly's mailbox, then came down to our road, and kept pulling over, then going, and turned at the first road."

"He might have a mailbox up there. He lives in behind Chilly. He's an odd duck." (Sorry, blog buddy fishducky, Hick is known to be bloggically incorrect. He meant no offense.)

So...Val solved the case of the suspicious pickup truck. Still, what business did White Truck Dude have down at the bridge? Hope he wasn't stealing gravel! And what's with stopping at Chilly's mailbox? And why was he pulling over? You don't think he was suspicious of ME, do you? That's ridiculous!

Sometimes...the paranoia wins.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Val Makes a Comeback: Good News, Bad News Edition

After yesterday's poor attempt at entertainment, rest assured that the Old Val is back. She is fired up about something, by cracky, and has her mojo back! That's the good news. The bad news is that it concerns her overdone topic of convenience store encounters.

What in the not-heaven is wrong with these Millennials today? I'm not talking about the young Millennials around Genius's age. I KNOW what's wrong with them. I raised one, you know. Uh uh. I'm talking about the old Millennials. In their thirties. Old enough to know better, but just don't give a rodent's patootie.

I went into the Casey's today to get a scratch-off ticket. A loser, I might add, which exacerbates the situation. I'll never get back to the casino at this rate. Anyhoo...I went inside and got in line. This is the Casey's across the moat from the gas station chicken store, beside Hick's pharmacy, CeilingReds.

Two women were standing at the counter paying. I stood a respectful distance back, not needing to be in the hip pocket of their Daisy Dukes. I was nearly straddling one of those yellow signs proclaiming WET FLOOR. I had my money in hand, all ready to go. I was saving yesterday's big winner to cash in at the gas station chicken store, lest they think I'm a loser, only buying. Because what people think about me in a convenience store matters. Unlike that Old Millennial who came up beside me.

Old Millennial was carrying three 44 oz sodas. That alone makes him suspect in my book, because Casey's only sells PEPSI products. Anyhoo...he moved up beside the counter, and set down his three foam cups. I don't fault him for that. Did you know those things are flimsy and can be pierced by a thumb? I waited, knowing I was next, as one of the women got her change and started out. I assumed they were together, but as the payer went out the door, a man stuck his head in and said, "Get me a pack of smokes."

Daisy #2 had three tall cans of energy drink on the counter. I think it was Monster. And let me just say, those Monster people should be proud of their marketing strategy, because I would never buy a Monster, but these cans were very pretty, in assorted colors, with a coordinated flip top. Daisy #2 asked for the smokes, and then said she was also paying for the gas on pump two. The clerk said, "He'll have to hang up the nozzle first." And Daisy #2 said, "He just got off work. He hasn't had any sleep. I made him go pay bills with me." So they looked out the window, while Old Millennial and I were cooling our heels in line, until he did. THEN Daisy #2 took out her checkbook! Because I'm sure she had no idea that she would be using it before the actual time to hand over payment.

THEN a new clerk came out of the back room. She opened up the register by where Old Millennial had set down his 132 oz of drinks. "I can help someone here."

Do you think that Old Millennial said, "Oh, she was first. Go ahead." NOT-HEAVEN NO! That smug sonofagun let her ring up his purchase, and got out his plastic money to scan. That's some nerve right there. I had been waiting behind the Daisy Dukes a couple of minutes before he even got in line. Oh, he KNEW I'd been there first. He was just shifty.

You know, if Old Millennial had acknowledged that I was there first, even with a little head nod, I would have magnanimously said, "Oh, go ahead. You already have your sodas on the counter." I know they're hard to move. Even though he wouldn't have needed to move them for me to say the number of my ticket, and hand over the cash. Yep. I would have let him go ahead of me. I'd have been ticked off about giving up my turn, but I'd have done it.

Oh, wait. That's a moot point, because Old Millennial TOOK MY TURN! Without my blessing! I feel violated. That's not right! Effing Millennial! He needs a Baby Boomer beatdown!

As I was going back to T-Hoe, 30 seconds later, my transaction being complete...I saw Old Millennial in the red pickup parked next to me. That was parked all crookedy, I might add, having seen some poor dude trying to wedge himself into the driver's door of his little silver sedan on the other side of it, as I was on the way in earlier.

"I hope that was worth it. Taking my turn. You piece of Millennial crap." I muttered under my breath as I walked past. Because muttering at the top of her lungs is not Val's style. Not my finest five seconds. The older I get, the more entitled I feel. The less inclined I am to take crap.

Thank you. I'll be here all...well...the rest of my life. Shaking my arthritic fist at people who dare to even look at my lawn.