Sunday, September 30, 2018

Ugly Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Friday, I parked beside an ugly car at the bank. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. This car was obviously new. A Chevy Camaro, I presume, but Val is not a gearhead. Muscle cars don't appeal to me enough to learn their looks. Anyhoo...this car was bright blue. A color that does not belong on a car. Imagine the color of Pepto Bismol, but blue instead of pink. It was like that. A little research points this shade to being called Riverside Blue, on the 2019 Camaro.

That's not the issue here, though. An ugly car is an ugly car. It's the lady inside that I must discuss. She was sitting in the driver's seat when I parked. A gray-haired lady. Perhaps a retired elementary school cafeteria worker. You notice I didn't say cook. first I didn't think much about her or her car. I parked T-Hoe in the middle of the space, not even cheating over, because the car on my left had left plenty of room for my door to open. I went inside the bank and did my business.

When I returned, gray-hair was still sitting in her Camaro, texting, with her window down. Again, I didn't think much about this, though I'd noticed upon walking behind her car that it was parked kind of cattywompus. Still within the lines, but with the nose closer to T-Hoe, and the trunk farther away. At an angle, but still within the lines.

You know how it is when you come out of the bank after doing business. Sometimes there's some housekeeping to do. Sort through a stack of money, perhaps. I was about to do that, when I saw that gray-hair had gotten out of her Camaro. Oh. Okay. I'd wait for her to walk inside. But she didn't! She stood right there at T-Hoe's passenger window. I even looked over, thinking she wanted to talk to me. Nope. She was just standing there, beside her Camaro, by her door handle, with her face right at T-Hoe's passenger window! Not really looking in. Not that I could catch her at, anyway, when I looked over. She had her phone up. Texting. Or pretending to.


But you know how I am. I didn't want to offend Grandma Nosey, by having her hear those door locks, with her standing right there barely a foot away from T-Hoe. I surreptitiously laid my stack of money on the armrest of T-Hoe's driver door. So my gut and boobage, and the purse on my lap, were between the cash and Grandma Nosey's line of vision. What in the Not-Heaven was she doing? I would have backed out and counted my money in a safer place, like an abandoned parking lot, if I'd thought I could get out of that parking space without pinning Grandma Nosey between T-Hoe and Camaro.

Something tells me Grandma Nosey has done this before. Might even make a habit of it. Because she was wearing one of those neon yellow plastic vests, like cops wear at an accident scene! I still don't know what was going on there. But I do know this: Ugly is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. Because a car parked on the other side of the Camaro, a man got out, and said to Grandma Nosey,

"Nice car."

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Encroacher and Val Were Both Shod in CENTSible Footwear

The penny-pickin' was slim this week, until I found TWO on TUESDAY, September 25th. My good (Future Pennyillionaire) fortune started with Walmart's contribution to my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

Let the record show that I had first stopped by the cemetery for a Mom visit, on my way to Terrible Cuts, Walmart, and Waterside Mart. I only stayed two minutes, though, because as usual, an intruder picked up the pull of my weirdo magnet. Seriously. There are multiple paved roads through that cemetery, with labeled sections, a fountain in the back, and a mausoleum at the lower end. I had just parked. Less than 30 seconds elapsed before a white SUV cruised down the very path I was on! How does that happen? Mom must be located in the Party Central area, even though a sign proclaims it to be the Garden of Love.

Anyhoo...that car lingered behind me, then inched closer and closer. Creepy in more ways than one. It went by slowly, turned left, and made its exit. They weren't even visiting anybody! Just showed up to spoil my party at Party Central. Of course I mentioned to Mom that AS USUAL, we had a party crasher, so I wasn't staying.

Funny how I found two pennies after that brief visit. That's a penny per minute! I was all excited, thinking that would equate to $60 per hour! Um. No. That would be 60 CENTS per hour. Not a good salary at all. I'm sure Mom would have no comment on such tomfoolery, even though her former 4th grade students probably know how to calculate penny-cash better than that. best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel must have been spinning in her expansive-walled, golden-mirror-lined house! She's a retired calculus teacher, you know.

Walmart's parking lot was not as full as usual, so I parked T-Hoe closer down the aisle, across from a different cart return corral. I normally park right beside a farther-away rack. As you can see, it was PENNYficial to me to do so!

No matter how I angled my phone, the face-down 2016 Abe was flashy.

From there it was off to Waterside Mart, where I spied this beauty on my way to the bathroom. They have amazingly clean bathrooms at Waterside Mart.

A lady traversing the tile from the soda fountain to the deli counter stopped in her tracks. I guess she thought I was photographing a crime scene, even though I told her I find a lot of pennies, and take pictures of them. Yes, that IS perfectly acceptable women's footwear in the Backroads region.

This 2017 was face-up, although Abe was head down.

On FRIDAY, September 28th, I found another face-up treasure, at Casey's, by my bank.

You deserve an award for eagle eyes if you can spot this 1990 penny! It's in the closest gray square, about the midline horizontally, and in line with the white sign advertising $2.99 beer. If you zoom in close enough, I guarantee it's there!

I almost missed it, but as I stepped up on T-Hoe's running board after paying for gas, it caught my eye. Which meant climbing down for a picture before snatching it up.

Val has vowed to let no loose penny go unclaimed!

For 2018: Penny  # 98, 99, 100.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 14.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 4.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 176, 177, 178.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Dime # 20.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Nickel # 4.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Dr. Smelly-Good

You know what smelly-good is, don't you? In case you don't speak's cologne. At least according to Hick. Who fancies himself an expert on smelly-good. A connoisseur, if you will. As if he graduated summa cum laude, with a doctorate in smelly-good.

Last Friday, it dawned on me that Hick would be attending his high school reunion on Saturday, and he was sure to wear cologne! That might not be cause for alarm with your everyday run-of-the-mill generic male reunion attendee. But with Hick, such an event could be cause for an Air Quality Alert in the red zone. Like Tina Turner singing "Proud Mary," Hick never does anything nice and easy. After he has applied his smelly-good, the house smells like an explosion in a French wh0re factory. For days.

I knew that measures must be taken to prevent me from succumbing to anaphylactic shock. I don't have a diagnosed clinical allergy to cologne. It only happens when Hick is around. My eyes water, my nose runs, and I feel like I can't breathe. So, sitting on the short couch while Hick marked time in the La-Z-Boy, waiting to bolt out of there at the stroke of 6:00 to head to the Friday night auction, I broached the subject.

"Do you think you could go out on the porch tomorrow, to put on your cologne before the reunion?"


"I don't want the whole house to stink. It chokes me."

"Val. I just splash it on."

"THAT'S THE PROBLEM! You need to DAB it on. I can't breathe for days after you've put on your cologne in the house."

Hick gave me that look, barely refraining from twirling his crazy finger. He also did not suggest that I shared DNA with our crazy back-creek neighbor Bev. He was quite reserved, actually, in his dismissal of my concerns. In fact, he didn't say anything at all.

Like sands through the hourglass, this day of our life flowed into Saturday. Hick was in and out, gathering things for the reunion, helping decorate the school gym. I didn't see much of him, and was down in my lair when he left for the big event. He came home about 10:30. I heard him stumping around upstairs, and heard the La-Z-Boy crank back when I went to my OPC (Old People Chair) to watch TV.

I had a bout of phlegm-hacking while in my OPC, but didn't actively think of its cause. Until I went upstairs to bed around 3:00, with the smelly-good odor growing stronger with each step. Hick was already sawing logs, which you would think might be hindered by his breather. But no. I lay awake for over an hour, unable to sleep, my eyes watering, my nose running, wheezing, and coughing up phlegm. I mentioned my dissatisfaction to Hick on Sunday afternoon.

"But Val. I went out on the porch to put it on."

"I guess you put on too much. I sat in your La-Z-Boy while I was warming my supper after you left. My hands smelled like that stuff all night. And that's AFTER washing my hands and slicing an onion! I guess it was on the chair arms, and the remote."

Hick had no further explanation for how just splashing on cologne on the porch could make the house reek.

Here's the thing, guys. It's called MODERATION. A little can go a long way. I suppose that's a foreign concept to some of you, judging by how you regard boobs. So let me try to be more specific. Enough is as good as a feast. You don't have to put the entire pot roast from the pan of vegetable beef soup into your bowl, piled high above the edges. A couple of beers will give you a buzz, you don't need the entire 12-pack. See how that works?

I'm pretty sure I'm sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher...

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Claire in the Chairs (With Stubble)

Every day when I leave home, I crank up T-Hoe's radio in search of old favorites. Let's just say that I scan through 11 stations, only 3 of them being what my boys might consider acceptable. Another 3 would pass Hick's muster. And the remaining 5 play classic rock from the 60s and 70s, with a little 80s hair bands thrown in. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Once I backed out of the garage, I used my phone to check in at Terrible Cuts for a much-needed trim of my lovely lady-mullet. The app revealed a 16-minute wait, which was surprising for a Tuesday near the end of the month. But not unacceptable. It takes me about 15 minutes to drive to Terrible Clips.

Upon arrival, I saw my name on the computer screen for check-ins. Under my name was another: Claire. One lady was sitting in the chairs waiting, so I assumed she was Claire. She was directing a somewhat flamboyant dude on how to cut an old man's hair. Let the record show that the last time I saw a dude cutting hair in Terrible Cuts was...oh...let's see...about...NEVER! He was good, though. As far as being pleasant with people and making small talk. That old guy's hair didn't turn out too bad, either.

The other current customer was also an old guy, being cut by a young gal I have never seen there. She was done with him shortly. After sweeping up, she called me over. I hoped that Claire didn't feel resentful, since she was sitting there before I arrived. But it was clear on the check-in screen that I was #1, and Claire was #2. While waiting, a lady had come in, saw our names, and left, muttering that it was too busy. Two old ladies came in after her, and both of them checked in at the register, even though my eventual cutter told them there were two ahead of them. Me and Claire.

Midway through my mullet-trimming, Flamboyant Dude finished with Old Man, and took him to the register to pay. Let the record show that his personable personality earned him a $5 tip on a $12 haircut! Anyhoo...Old Man turned to Claire, who appeared to be his wife, and asked if she was checked in. Claire said, "No. They're too busy today. I didn't check in. I have things to do." SHE WASN'T EVEN CLAIRE! gal was a pretty good haircutter for Terrible Cuts. She took off just enough, and made both sides even, layered it, and didn't hack the bangs. While My Gal was cutting, and Flamboyant Dude was flattering one of the old ladies by telling her she didn't look 64 (I'd assumed she was 74), the door chimed.

A muscular gray-haired man came in. He was wearing a purple T-shirt with a logo I couldn't read in the mirror. I noticed, because purple was my school color, and I always look to see if I know people wearing such shirts. I didn't.

Anyhoo, when Purple Shirt came in, Flamboyant Dude looked over and said, "Have a seat, Claire." So Purple Shirt sat down.

What in the Not-Heaven? Was Flamboyant Dude joking around? Was I missing something? You know how crazy the world is these days. I looked again. Was there something I hadn't noticed? No...I didn't think so. Purple Shirt was a tall man, dressed in man clothes, with some gray beard stubble.

"They know who I am," Purple Shirt said, as My Gal turned around to look at him.

"Oh. You're Claire." This all went over my head, even when My Gal added, "Do you want me to put your name down?"

THEN it became crystal clear. Purple Shirt must have used his wife's Terrible Cuts app to check in. So her name is the one that came up.

Anyhoo...getting back to that radio of the songs I heard was "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." Which reminded me of "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)" just because of the name Judy. And it was on my mind when I started writing this, thus the title.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

There Are None So Blind as She Who Lets Hick See (Part 2)

As you may recall from yesterday, I spent Saturday morning L'Orealing my lovely lady-mullet, only to discover that I had a screw loose.

Anyhoo...I put those glasses on the kitchen counter and went to finish dyeing in the shower. Once out, I sought my little screwdriver, kept handy on the kitchen counter, since the little see-through packet also holds a mini magnifying glass, suitable for dating pennies. It was much easier than repairs at work used to be. Because I had my NEWEST bifocals there, and could actually SEE the tiny screw as I put the end of the screwdriver in the slot. THERE! All done!

I picked up the glasses to try them, and saw with horror that THE LEFT LENS WAS MISSING!

I'd screwed them up tight, but without a vital component. Which I hadn't even noticed was missing, even though you can clearly tell, in this picture I took before the turning of the screw.

What in the NOT-HEAVEN? I hadn't heard a lens clunk to the kitchen floor, like I always heard it hit the classroom tiles. I carefully retraced my steps across the kitchen linoleum, onto the living room carpet, over to HIPPIE. No lens! That was impossible. Lenses, like matter, cannot be created nor destroyed. That glass is ground at the optometrist's office, I bring it into the house, and it stays there, somewhere, unless I take it outside.

After much searching, bending down farther than I find acceptable in my life of leisure, I checked the one place left. The glasses case on the table beside the La-Z-Boy. THERE IT WAS! The lens was in the case, which I leave sitting open, merely resting the open glasses inside until needed.


Well. That was embarrassing. It explained why I couldn't focus, and my vision felt 3-D-ish. But it also begged the question: "Why did the lens fall out when I barely use those glasses?" Of course there's a logical answer. And of course it involves Hick. Who mentioned a while back, when caught in the act, that "Sometimes I use them to look at my phone, if I've left my glasses on the bathroom counter."

Let the record show that Hick has a giant bowling ball head. A hereditary trait, passed on to my own young'uns, verified by my baby-birthing apparatus. Genius used to mention, if teased, "My skull is big because of my large brain, while yours, on the other hand, is empty." In fact, Hick's second son, The Veteran, had to have his Army helmet specially ordered, so massive was his noggin. The stretching of my glasses frames going on and off Hick's face every time he got a message on Facebook must have worked that screw loose, and the lens out.

Of course I had to confront Hick, when he came home for lunch before his reunion.

"When is the last time you used my glasses?"

"I don't know. A while ago."

"How could you let the lens fall out of my glasses and not tell me? I would have fixed them. I'm used to it. I thought I'd lost the lens for good. I looked EVERYWHERE! Then found it in the glasses case! And I thought my eyes had gotten really bad, because I was almost seeing double at my laptop."

"I didn't know it was gone!"

"Oh, sure. The whole lens is out. With the bifocal. And you think they work like normal?"

"Wait a minute. Which lens was it? The left?"

"Yeah. That's the only one that falls out. The left. Why?"

"Val. I'm blind in my left eye. So I wouldn't even notice."

Never mind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

There Are None So Blind as She Who Lets Hick See (Part 1)

Old glasses never die. They just get laid away. C'mon, glasses-wearers! Don't pretend that you chuck the old pair when you get new spectacles. What if you misplace the new ones, or your dad sits on them in the passenger seat of your car? Yes, that last one happened to me, when I was in my 8th year of teaching. It taught me to keep my glasses in the console, and it taught my dad to make his next pair of frames the kind you can twist seven ways to Sunday without breaking.

Anyhoo...I have glasses stashed all over the house. The two newest pairs, which I got a couple years ago, live in the kitchen and in my dark basement lair. The pair before them resides on the table beside Hick's La-Z-Boy. In case I'm not wearing my kitchen glasses on my head when I plop down on the short couch to share the mail with Hick in the evening. Or when I use my new laptop, HIPPIE, in the mornings while Hick is gone and I commandeer the La-Z-Boy. Of course the older prescription doesn't give me the clarity of the recent ones, but it's better than squinting and making out half the words.

Saturday morning, Hick was gone to set up his high school reunion. With him out of the house, I felt free to roam around while replenishing the hue of my lovely lady-mullet with L'Oreal Medium Brown. It's not like I was prancing around in my birthday suit. I was clothed in pajamas, with a towel around my shoulders. Rather than sit in the bathroom out of sight of Hick's judging eyes, I sat on the end of the coffee table at the front window, cruising the innernets with HIPPIE.

The hair dye always wipes off the earpieces of my glasses, but just in case, I use the pair from the living room on my dyeing days. I gathered everything I needed (remote control, water cup, cell phone, house phone, Puffs with Lotion [my nose runs after taking my morning medicine], and glasses). Putting my supplies on the coffee table behind me, and my glasses on my face, I sat down on the end, and flipped open HIPPIE.

That was strange. I had a hard time seeing the screen and keyboard. I felt like I was living in a 3-D movie. "Huh. I guess this prescription really IS getting out-of-date." It wasn't too bad. Better than no glasses at all. Besides, I didn't want to go to the kitchen for my newest glasses. When I finished dyeing, I took off my glasses, grabbed a Puffs, and wiped off the earpieces.

It was then that I noticed I had a screw loose.

This was the worst pair of glasses I ever had. No matter how much I tightened that screw, it always fell out. Not all the way out. It stayed in the little cylinder, but was detached from the frame that held the lens. When I wore them at work, taking them off and on my face several times per class period, I could get by about two weeks before I had to tighten the screw. If I forgot, the lens might fall out at a most inopportune time. Meaning in front of the students, giving them a respite from my droning while I made repairs. Can't have that!

CONCLUSION tomorrow...

Monday, September 24, 2018

What Old People Do on a Wednesday

Last Wednesday, we took a surprise trip to our new favorite casino. That means we didn't plan for it, just decided the night before that we'd use our cash comps good for the week, and have the buffet. Huh. If I'd known then what I knew when we walked in...I might have declined that casino trip.

The lobby and customer service counter was full of OLD PEOPLE! And by that, I mean people older than US! Well. I knew right then that having lunch at the buffet would be a problem. Lunch is served from 11:00 until 2:00. We arrived around 11:30, thinking we'd have time to gamble and then eat and then gamble some more.

When Hick and I met up front at 12:15, only three people were in line at the buffet desk. An old lady with a walker and oxygen, a probable-daughter, and maybe the daughter's husband. After getting their payment squared away (with the Probable Daughter thanking the Walker Lady for buying, out of her 800 points of casino comps), I noticed that the seaters stood that group of three along the wall. When they make a Walker Lady stand and wait, you know you're in trouble.

In fact, the buffet desk lady said to Hick, "I'm sorry. I'm not allowed to seat anybody else yet." We could clearly see all the tables were full, from the initial lunch rush of the THREE BUSES OF OLD PEOPLE. You know how old people are at a buffet. They are not in any hurry.

Hick and I looked at each other, and he grabbed his card back. "We'll come back."

No need to waste time standing in line for a buffet if you can better use that time to gamble! We returned at 1:15, with enough time that the buffet was still being stocked, yet no line.

I must say I enjoyed my meal. I DID limit myself to one plate this time, but I can fit a LOT on a plate. I had two chicken thighs. Or so I thought. However, one of them turned out to be some cut of the breast, but shaped like a thigh. Still, it was surprisingly juicy for being white meat. I also had two smoked ribs. They were good, but I didn't get barbecue sauce because that would have been too messy. I also had about half a cup of beef tips, which were a little chewy. And a coupe tablespoons of Mongolian Beef, with an accompanying couple tablespoons of rice to cut the heat. It didn't. For dessert, I had one Cheesecake Bite, strawberry flavor (the size of a petit four), and one homemade peanut butter cup.

Let the record show that I was STUFFED, even though I didn't finish the beef tips. Usually, if I'm having the buffet, I pull out all the stops. I don't know how I fit it all down. I guess this time, I had so much MEAT on my plate, it filled me up too fast. I'm no Fred Flintstone, but he would have appreciated my plate.

I lamented the fact that there was no FISH on the buffet. It's delicious. My second favorite thing there, after the fried chicken. Hick even asked if they had any fish, and the guy said, "We did earlier." Dang those old people, satisfying their fish-tooth while Val went without! They had fried clam strips in place of the fish. Nope. Your gal Val is NOT eating clam strips. No siree, Bob! Not in Missouri, which in case you are some kind of geography simpleton, is LANDLOCKED in the middle of the country. Sheesh! I'm sure better clams can be had in England, tucked in between France and Germany, along the coast of Europe! I'm not eating clams at a casino on the banks of the Mississippi.

Also, those old people must like pulled pork, because that was absent from the buffet as well. I didn't even check out the dessert bar, which is as long as the regular hot foods bar. Hick had some ice cream with assorted toppings, but passed up the bread pudding, which he normally loves. By the time he went back from his second plate to get dessert, the only Cheesecake Bites left were plain. Maybe I should have snagged him the chocolate chip one I saw when I got the strawberry. That's the trick, to get everything you want the first trip, and sit down with it. It works for everything but the ice cream.

Anyhoo...we went back to gamble a little more. Neither of us were winners, but I left with over half the gambling stake that I had been prepared to squander. Quick Hits was my savior this time.

I went by to pick up a mini water bottle on my way to meet Hick as we left. Huh. The top of that icy cooler was closed, with a sign on top that said NOT FOR GUESTS! Hick has always told me (and Sis and the Ex-Mayor) that this water is free for the taking. We always grab one. I suppose that violates the health code, for random people to plunge their hands into the water those bottles float in. More likely, though, the waitresses don't get tips for people grabbing their own water. Besides, you can get a cup of ice water from the free soda fountain. This casino even lets you carry out a cup of water or soda! That's unheard-of! They'll probably get a fine for it one day, from a secret ATF shopper, and put an end to it.

Another unusual thing about this casino...they had handouts of their payouts! That sure wouldn't happen in the Oklahoma casinos. Probably not the St. Louis ones, either, though I haven't been to them in many months.

Here's a picture, to prove it happened. Looks like they must do it every week.

This is much better than trying to look at pictures of their winners, and figure out which slot machine they're standing in front of.

I don't know if this list of Hot Slots could be a benefit, or a hindrance. 

Do you play the machine that has demonstrated it will pay out? Or shun it because lightening won't strike twice? Good thing I didn't notice these handouts until a half hour before we were leaving. They were on the Cashier's counter, when I was cashing in my comp coupons. Which are given in CASH here, and not in free play.

I wish we could figure out what day somebody is bringing THREE BUSES of old people to the casino, and plan around it. You'd have thought they would do that on Mondays, which is designated as Old People Day. Or as their promotional material calls it, Better With Age.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Another Incident of Things That Go SPOOK in the Day

Looks like Val is not only a Weirdo Magnet, she's also harboring a hidden paranormal vortex.

You may recall that several months ago, Chinese condiments jumped off the shelf while Val was perusing Walmart's pickle and olive section. That time, I was on the aisle all alone.

This time, I had a witness, though I did not have her sign an affidavit for evidence. I got a picture, which is good enough proof for Genius, so it will have to satisfy any naysayers.

I only dashed into Walmart for few items. Two of which were Hawaiian Rolls and hot dog buns. I'd just turned my cart onto the bread aisle, and was looking for the freshest dates on the hot dog buns. Not touching them. Just leaning over to peer at the dates on packages stacked on the three shelves allotted to hot dog buns, having pulled my glasses down off my head to look through the bifocals.

I sensed someone behind me, and glanced around to see if I was in the way. No. A lady WAS behind me, but she was looking at the frozen dinners in the freezer case opposite the bread. As I turned back to mind my own business, I saw a loaf of bread shoot out at the other end of the aisle! I was startled, but also relieved, because that witness could see that I was nowhere near that fallen loaf, so I wouldn't be mentally blamed for it.

That's my witness, way down there at the end. I waited until she went by, so as not to look like a freak taking a picture of floor-bread. I think it must be a loaf of raisin bread, because that section is past the regular breads, down towards the tortillas and muffins and donuts and snack cakes. I didn't go all the way down there to find out. It's best to avoid temptation when shopping before lunch.

When I zoomed in on my picture, it looks like that loaf came from the top shelf. There might even be another purplish colored package ready to take the plunge. I did try for more of a closeup with my phone camera. And when looking at THIS picture...

I noticed ANOTHER fallen item on the floor. I did not see this one jump. Maybe I have a doppelganger who went down that aisle before me. I think that flat package must be a box of snack cakes or honey buns.

Is this some kind of metaphysical phenomenon? Like the belief of some former students that you can balance an egg on its end during the equinox? My last SPOOKING incident at Walmart was June 24th, three days after the summer solstice. And this latest incident was September 21st, one day before the autumn equinox. How can anyone possibly balance an egg on its end if loaves of bread can't even balance themselves on Walmart shelves?

I don't know what's going on here. I have shopped for more years than I care to reveal, and I don't remember stuff flying off shelves like this.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Fortuitous HapPENCEstance

This week gave me a penny early, on SUNDAY, September 16th, at Waterside Mart. Good thing I put my phone in my pocket to capture the evidence!

I wasted no dime in documenting this discovery, and snatching it for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

A face-down 1999, deceptively shiny for Ol' Abe to be so long-in-the-tooth.

I wasn't really dwelling on finding more, but THURSDAY, September 20, a bit of good luck fell right out of EmBee's mouth and into Val's hand.

Of course it was face down. I seem to get more than my fair share of that kind. Then again, I seem to get more than my fair share of pennies. Thanks, Littleton Coin Co, for sending me this FREE mint condition 2018. So beautiful that it looks as if somebody tried to pilfer it before it got to me. Or else those post office scanning machines are only meant for dime thickness.



Of course I found more pennies for my Future Pennyillionaire collection after having this edition of the Saturday CENTSus done and set to automatically publish. Uh huh. Just one scant hour from going to press, I was gifted with TWO pennies at Orb K on SATURDAY, September 22nd.

While waiting for four angst-spewing clerks to finish up their personal drama, I spied this one at the junction of Mounds and Butterfinger. Sorry for no closeup. Those clerks had me so discombobulated that I forgot to tap the TAKE THE PICTURE BUTTON on my cell phone. I had it zoomed in and everything, but the gal who came back with my ticket said, "Here it is!" Sheesh! She could have taken the money I had laid on the counter already and let me finish my thought (perhaps illicit) picture-taking.

This one was so dirtied with tar or some substance that it almost looks like a dime when you zoom in. I could barely tell that it was face down. A 2015.

In contrast, the 1995 face-up Abe that I captured outside looks positively shiny for his age.

I would have nabbed this one on the way in, but a man and woman with a dog on a leash were kind of monopolizing the area to stay out of the rain. They were gone when I came out. You can see the paw prints. I think it was a pit bull/heeler mix, from the stocky body, size, and big standup ears, black, with a peppering of white mixed in.

I might have to start letting these Saturday CENTSus posts languish until I'm safely back home from town, and then manually publish them. Of course if I do that, I'm sure to return home penny-less.


For 2018: Penny  # 94, 95, 96, 97.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 14.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 4.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 172, 173, 174, 175.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Dime # 20.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Nickel # 4.

Friday, September 21, 2018

How Much Is That Doily in the Washer?

Hick has a new item at his Storage Unit Store. Not so much a NEW item, as a DIFFERENT item. That is in fact pretty old. Uh huh. Hick does not live by gun sales alone. He has branched out into...are you ready for this...hold onto your (hopefully not-smelly hat)...


That's what Hick calls them, anyway, although I don't consider some of them to be actual doilies. A few look more like embroidered handkerchiefs. Or table runners.

Anyhoo...Hick has been sorting through his original hoard of the 18 storage units he bought, and found some doilies. They were not in sellable condition, so Hick brought them to the house to put in MY washing machine, using MY Tide, and OUR well water and OUR electricity. I really think I need to write up a pro-rated bill for his business expenses.

Oh, yeah. Hick also used MY dryer. I know. I was shocked, too. When I yelled upstairs to him, "You didn't put those doilies in the dryer, did you?" Hick affirmed that he had already done so. HE says they came out just fine. I would not have recommended it. In my mind, doilies are lacy and fragile and need at least to be hung to dry, if not hand-washed.

I might run a load of plain, detergented water through my washer before putting my clothes in there. We left home at 9:30 that morning, and Hick had put his doilies in the washer to simmer. When we returned at 4:00, he said, "The water's all brown! I'm going to run them through another load!"

Hick has a customer who LOVES doilies. He's going to sell her a box of them for $20. She'll be getting a bargain, and Hick only has $5 in that batch.

We were away on a surprise casino trip while Hick was doily-laundering. Of course we had to stop by Goodwill, where Hick bought a big bag of DOILIES! He said they were in good hygienic shape, and did not need to be washed before he could make money off them. Let the record show that Hick left the car running for me, with the radio on.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I'd Say She Deserves to be Called a Rockcar

Tuesday was a bright, beautiful (though hot at 91) almost-fall day to drive to town for a Dairy Queen lunch.

Oh, I didn't have a Dairy Queen lunch. I was merely passing by on my way to the pharmacy. When I spied another lady who was probably going to regret driving to Dairy Queen for lunch.

Dairy Queen used to have a problem with people running over their blacktop curb entering the parking lot. You'd think they solved the problem by putting those big rocks at the corners, so people could see where the drive started.

Apparently not.

I feel bad for taking this picture. Let the record show that the driver was NOT standing there when I lifted my phone, but by the time it snapped the photo, she had walked around the back of her car. To her credit, she did NOT give me the stinkeye.

I don't even want to laugh at this scenario. Maybe if she was a know-it-all Millennial, driving distracted by her cell phone. I have a feeling this is somebody's grandma, retired, maybe picking up lunch for herself and her husband, cutting the corner a little too sharply while keeping an eye on those people coming out of the Hardee's drive-thru. Or maybe an out-of-towner, who got caught up in the right-turn-only lane, planning to make a big square through Dairy Queen's lot to get back on the main road.

As I left, a flatbed tow truck was there, lights flashing, with the Tow Driver walking around the car, looking at it. I don't know HOW he expected to get that car on his tilting flatbed, without scraping the bejeebers out of its undercarriage. Hick said he should have brought the regular tow truck, with a hook, and he could have hoisted up the back end and set it down off the rock. Maybe blog buddy Kathy will know, since her HeWho has tow truck experience.

Maybe this will help you understand why I am so paranoid about other Backroadsians on the roadways with me. I only made two stops, and after this one, I was almost sideswiped by a mid-size gray junker at the Orb K entrance. Seems that some people don't understand that a center turn lane is for making LEFT turns, not RIGHT turns across the regular lane filled with flowing traffic.

YIKES! Upon zooming in...I think maybe she IS giving me the stinkeye!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Uninvited Quests

Hick and I are pretty set in our ways. We do our own thing all day, and unofficially check in at night, before supper. Monday evening, I was on the phone with Genius in my dark basement lair when I heard Hick stumping around over my head, as if on ankle bones instead of feet. Nothing new. That's how he walks.

When I ascended from my lair, Hick was suspiciously absent. I set out the leftover chicken pot pie, not wanting to warm it until I knew when to expect him. Just before 7:00, Hick showed up in his orange and white floral print swim trunks. That's odd, because he swims in his blue SpongeBob boxers. Hick said he'd been scrubbing Poolio, with HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) manning the filter thingy and dumping the basket from outside. Funny how now that Poolio is being closed for the winter, Hick decides to clean him up. Anyhoo...that explained the regular swim trunks. Allaying my suspicions that Hick had been entertaining a rural harem (perhaps composed of night-wandering New York heart-broken gals).

I said I was going to warm up supper, and Hick went to take a shower, as he always does after a dip in Poolio. Which seems kind of redundant to me. He came back to the living room a few minutes later, set for the evening, in only his tighty-whities, and reclined in the La-Z-Boy, waiting to be called for supper.

A couple minutes later, I heard a knocking at the front door. Huh. That is very unusual. Nobody belongs up in our labyrinth of gravel roads. We weren't expecting anyone. Hick said, "I don't know if somebody knocked, or if it was one of the dogs wagging their tail."

"Oh, it was a knock." I figured it was probably HOS, back on the 4-wheeler, having forgotten to tell Hick something. I continued dipping out chicken pot pie into bowls for microwaving, separating the top crust to warm in the oven. I assumed that Hick would answer the door, thinking nothing of his tighty-whities, since I'm so used to him running around like that, a scantily-clad king in his castle.

Well, run he did! Hick popped out of the La-Z-Boy and trotted around the short couch and into the bedroom. "Gotta get my pants!" Heh, heh. Never mind that by now, it was 7:30, dusk had fallen, and the inside of the living room was lit up like a department store window, for the viewing pleasure of whoever was at the front door, with its two window panels on each side.

It was some lady on a quest for her lost dog. I heard her voice. Asking Hick if he'd seen a dog. Next thing I know, with chicken pot pie bubbling in the microwave and crust hopefully crisping in the oven, Hick came back inside and said he was driving the Gator down to the creekside cabin, to look for this lady's dog. She had just moved in across the creek from us on Saturday, and she and her husband accidentally backed over their dog's foot. It ran off, and being new here, she was afraid it couldn't find its way home.

Let the record show that our dogs have been barking their fool heads off every night, so they might know something of its whereabouts. Or maybe it came up on the porch to eat their dog food. Anyhoo...Hick didn't find her dog, but we'll keep an eye out for it. Hick said it's black and white, and looks like a collie. So I imagine it's some version of a border collie.

I feel bad for that dog. And maybe a little bit bad for Hick. When he came back in the house, he rang the doorbell. "It works. I don't know why people always knock."

Indeed. I don't know a lot of things. Like why Hick sits around in his tighty-whities.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Val Is a Crazist

On Sunday afternoon, I went to the main post office. No, I was NOT looking for a can of sardines in tomato sauce that some kind soul might have left out for me. Uh uh. I was dropping off my DISH bill, because I pay it by check through the mail, and for some reason it takes about 10 days to show up as being credited to my account. Can't have Val getting her innernets cut off!

Anyhoo...I could have dropped it in the drive-thru mailbox in Backroads, but I don't really trust the dead-mouse-smelling post office as much as the main branch. Besides, that would cost me a day in the delivery race, because the deadline at the main branch is 11:30, where they load it all on trucks for transport to the regional center. You may recall that Val is not an early riser, so I wanted to make sure it went out Monday.

The pick up time is 11:00 at the dead-mouse-smelling post office, which I think means it gets hauled around with mail pickups throughout the county, to be sent off the following day from the main post office. It's not like they send a truck over there to get mail from that specific box, and rush it to the main post office to go out by 11:30.

I prefer to take my mail inside the lobby and drop it through the slot in the wall. There are two drive-thru mailboxes at the main post office, but I have to drive on the wrong side of the street to reach them, not having a passenger to do my bidding.

There are 10-15 parking spaces at the main post office. Here, I'll re-run the long shot of my sardine can find, just so you can picture it.

On a Sunday afternoon, that place is deserted. I guess nobody else has trouble with their DISH bill, or checks their post office box on a Sunday afternoon. Anyhoo...I pulled in, thinking, YEAH, nobody is going to park next to me and keep T-Hoe's door from opening all the way! I had my choice of every single parking space, but I took the one closest to the door.

As I opened T-Hoe's door to step out, I saw a person crest the hill by the railroad tracks and the fire house, and start down a zig-zag dirt path. You can actually see the path in that picture, past the flagpole. He was at least 50 yards away, wearing a white baseball cap, a light-colored polo shirt, light shorts with pockets, and white tennis shoes. Though I don't think he was coming to or from tennis, because there are no courts around there. He was neither old nor young.

You know Val, always suspicious of anybody entering her surroundings. I was a bit wary of going in, with nobody else around, and This Guy headed in my direction. As I've mentioned, I've seen unvehicled people cutting through this parking area often, without utilizing the post office itself. So I was already putting myself on hyper-alert as I slid past T-Hoe's running board to the pavement.


Well, now. I suppose it behooved me to return a greeting. No one else was around. This Guy was obviously talking to me.


Normally, I would not engage, but my Weirdo Magnet has been less powerful lately, and I was caught off guard. Besides, it's not like I was inviting This Guy to high tea. I merely returned his greeting.

"Are you in nursing?"

WHAT IN THE NOT HEAVEN? What kind of crazy-talk was THAT? What was it even supposed to mean? Was he injured, and looking for medical attention? Do I look like a nurse? It's not like I was wearing scrubs, or a retro white uniform dress and white tights and crepe-soled white shoes and a cardboard hat pinned to my lovely lady-mullet. People stop me often in stores because they think I work there, but nobody has ever asked if I'm a nurse. Surely he was not inquiring as to whether I made a living or hobby of suckling infants! That would be just creepy. And now, I had GREETED him, and he was heading this way! Looks like my Weirdo Magnet had found a power source.


I shook my head as I went inside. How do I get myself into these predicaments? Surely there was a camera somewhere in that lobby, or outside. For later evidence, should anything inopportune befall me. I did not rush right back out the door. I knew that at the rate This Guy had been walking, he would be just about to T-Hoe. I went down along the wall of post office boxes, looking at the assorted sizes. Noted that they had two recycle bins sitting there, but no wastebasket that could take a sardine tin off one's hands. When I figured that This Guy would be past the post office, or leaning up against T-Hoe waiting on me...I went back to the glass doors and out.

He was gone! Whew!

But here's the thing. When I had gotten out with my bill, I almost didn't lock T-Hoe's door as I went inside. I knew This Guy would hear it click, and I didn't want to seem rude. I talked to him when normally I would not. All because...he was a different race than I. You know how things are these days. I almost did not follow my self-professed safety rules of being an old lady in an isolated area with a stranger. All because I did not want to be perceived as racist.

Val IS a CRAZIST, though. So don't go asking her about nursing, out of the blue, when you don't know her, and nobody else is around. She just might ignore you.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Less Traceable Than a Melted Icicle

If looks could kill, Hick would be feasting on casseroles right now.

This morning (Saturday) I stopped by Save A Lot for sour cream and ice cream. Not to be combined in the same recipe. As the checker handed me the receipt, I noticed that the bagging counter was full. It runs the length of the front window, empty boxes underneath for your self-filling pleasure, and five metal stands holding plastic bags spaced equidistantly along the top.

Being a Saturday morning (or at least before 1:00 p.m.), there were a lot of customers shopping and self-bagging. All bag stands were occupied. I didn't want a box, because I would be stashing my cold items in the soft-side cooler I keep in T-Hoe's rear, and lifting them out again to carry into the house. OH! Lucky me! I saw a lady who appeared to be done. She was talking on her phone, five or six bags already in the bottom of her cart, and what looked like a 10-lb bag of potatoes. Nobody puts a 10-lb bag of potatoes in another bag.

Since this lady was done, I pushed my cart over to use that bagging stand. Phoney didn't get out of the way, though. She kept standing there at the end of her cart. I could still reach the bags. I only needed two. One for the individual ice creams, and one for the two tubs of sour cream. It only took about 30 seconds. I could hear Phoney saying that she had just checked out, but what else did she need to go back for.

Then Phoney hung up, and turned to me as I was snatching my final bag off the rack.


Phoney shot me the most lethal stink-eye I have ever observed. And that's after a 28-year career in teaching!

Then Phoney put a couple of items in a bag. I have no idea what they were. I pushed my empty cart back to the cart area, and left out the other door, rather than backtracking past Phoney to the end where T-Hoe was parked nearest.

I guess I was supposed to stand in the way of other customers entering and exiting the store, while waiting for Phoney to complete her phone call and resume bagging, even though I didn't notice anything left to bag. I thought she was done. She was NOT actively bagging when I moved in to use two bags. She was standing there talking on the phone. Not even touching her groceries.

Was I wrong? Did I deserve getting whacked by her peepers?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Hick Needs Curb Feelers

Just like you can't teach an old dog new's hard to get vintage Hick on the right path. He's always running into things. There was that suitcase (left sitting by the end table for a couple months) that he inexplicably fell over one night. I can verify that if a Hick falls in a living room and no one is there...he still makes a tremendous noise.

I understand that Hick is blind in his left eye. And that his belly eclipses his feet. But that's no excuse for running into things that have been in the same place for 25 years.

A few nights ago, I had just settled down in my dark basement lair, a bowl of chili at my left elbow, and an ice cream sandwich in my right hand. cream. Save A Lot has been out of my individual ice cream cups, so I had to take a lesser treat, and get Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwiches. That's the kind with a strawberry end, a chocolate end, and vanilla in-between. As I recall, I'd just finished the chocolate end when up in the kitchen there came such a clatter that I PUT DOWN MY ICE CREAM!

Seriously. I was afraid Hick was hurt. I shoved my bifocals on top of my head, took the baggie of ice off my knee, and rushed to the bottom of the basement steps at my fastest speed. I didn't look down, lest I see a snail passing me up.


"Yeah. I'm fine."

"What was that noise?"

"Oh, I hit the scale again when I walked in the kitchen."

From the sound of it, he punted that scale through the uprights from 63 yards out. The scale (and various incarnations of it) has sat beside FRIG II, and formerly the original FRIG, since we moved in. The scale is not in the way. There's a lip of the wall that sticks out about six inches. The living room carpet switches to linoleum. I can't imagine how Hick would walk so close to FRIG II to hit that scale.

I guess this must have happened a time or two when I wasn't home, or I would have recognized the sound. Maybe Hick needs a set of curb feelers for Christmas.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Some Days, Val Shows a Lack of Common CENTS

MONDAY, September 10th, I spent the morning making chili. I wrote out a check for some dues The Pony paid to a chemistry organization out of his casino winnings. With our phone reception almost barless at home, I figured I'd do the mobile deposit in town with a better signal.

Once the chili was done, I put it in containers, thinking about how much my mom liked my chili, and how I used to set aside a container for her. My first stop in town was Save A Lot, for saltine crackers to go with the chili. I get them at Save A Lot, because that's where Mom got hers, due to a young Niecy declaring they were the BEST, with just the right amount of salt.

The mobile deposit of my check into The Pony's account didn't work on the Save A Lot parking lot. I suppose it was because the front and back pictures of the check were taken on T-Hoe's console, in the bright sun. So I set that check aside to do my cracker-shopping, planning to try again at Country Mart, where I went for the sole purpose of visiting their scratcher-dispensing machine.

The sky was cloudy by the time I parked at Country Mart. The check was mobilely deposited without incident. I climbed out of T-Hoe to go inside, and before I even hit the sidewalk, I saw it:

In case you can't spy my 2004 face down Abe Lincoln, he's in line with the corner of the building, next to that little grease spot beside the big grease spot.

I took my pictures and started towards the door, but quicker than you could say The Pony Thevictorian, I found ANOTHER penny.

Right there in line with the corner, in the middle of the photo. This time, Ol' Abe was looking up at me in all his 2001 glory. Which wasn't very glorious. Little did I know that both pennies were visible in the first picture, if you zoom in enough.

Looks like the shoppers at Country Mart need to have their cars checked for leaking oil.

The week progressed without any more penny-sightings. On THURSDAY, September 13th, I had some business in town, and took the boys' letters to mail one day early. I stopped by Waterside Mart to get some scratchers for Genius's letter. My favorite parking places were taken. I've been know to drive on by when that happens. But this was on a direct route to the post office, and I needed those tickets for Genius.

You know how it is when you disrupt your routine. Everything seems foreign. You don't do things by rote without thinking. I parked T-Hoe in front of Waterside Mart's door. Something seemed amiss when I got out, but I chalked it up to my break in the routine. I even hesitated at the glass door, thinking it might open by itself like Walmart doors. THAT'S how much I was discombobulated.

Once inside, I requested my tickets, and THEN realized what was missing. I'd left my phone in T-Hoe. And right there on the floor to the right of the register was a penny! As if that wasn't bad enough, I glanced left, and saw ANOTHER penny over there! With no phone for a pic to show it happened! I picked up those pennies anyway.

This is the best I can do. After-the-fact evidence. Both face down. The dull penny from the right of the register, a 1991, and the shiny penny from the left of the register, a 2001.


Of course The Universe had to mess with me again. A scant hour and 15 minutes before this edition of the Saturday CENTSus was scheduled to publish...I opened T-Hoe's door at the Backroads Casey's, and found this:

Good luck seeing it! I know where it is, and even I don't see it in this picture, until I zoom way in. I'll give you a clue: it's a dime, not a penny. So it blends in with the pavement. Here's a better clue: it's between the top edge of T-Hoe's door shadow, and that petrified strip of stretched-out gum, which I think probably happened at the heel of my own shoe over a month ago.

It was face down, and upon looking for the date (2000) I noticed that FDR's face was all skinned up. Don't tell me you knew that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the President on the dime. When I consulted my estranged BFF Google, as soon as I typed in "whose head," the auto-fill suggestions popped up "is on the dime." So there. Apparently there are a lot of people just as dumb as me.

Whew! I just beat the deadline! Got home and completed this by 2:17. And no, resetting the automatic publish time is NOT as much fun as trying to beat the deadline.

For 2018: Penny  # 90, 91, 92, 93.
For 2018: Dime  # 14.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 4.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 168, 169, 170, 171.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is Dime # 20.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Nickel # 4.

Friday, September 14, 2018

He Wasn't Even Wearing His French Wh*re Perfume

Hick got screwed at the auction. According to him. Got screwed royally. Which is probably the only thing royal that will very happen to Hick.

He and his Auction Buddy have been taking items up to a city auction near our old favorite casino. I think they did this for three or four weeks. They'd been going there to buy stuff for months, but the selling idea was recent.

First of all, they were disappointed that their stuff always went up last, after people had spent their money, and the crowd had dwindled. They could deal with this though, because as Hick said, "The sellers who've been there longer get their stuff put up first. That's only right. The longer we go, the more our stuff will get moved ahead of newer people."

Hick was not thrilled with his sales at this auction. He had sorted through his stuff, and taken some of the higher-end items with hopes of making more there than at his Storage Unit Store. Still, he was willing to ride it out, and see if he started making more in future weeks.

Well. NOW Hick has been screwed (royally) by that auction place.

"We're done! My buddy and me ain't goin' back there! Last Tuesday, there were only 3 people left in the audience when my stuff came up. Usually, the auctions let you take your stuff back if you decide not to sell. So I went to what was left on the table, and started gathering it up. I didn't take it up there to GIVE it away! The guy in charge told me to stop. He said he had to sell it. That's bull. Neither of us is ever selling there again!"

So...Tuesday rolled around this week. Hick had told me he was staying home, that his Auction Buddy was going up to get their money. That auction pays them a week behind. Auction Buddy was taking his wife and daughter, dropping them at the casino, and then going over to collect his money and Hick's. But Tuesday, the plan changed, and Hick decided to go along with him, since Auction Buddy's family decided not to go.

"Huh. I'm sure you'll still be looking to buy something."

"Oh, yeah. I'll buy. I've gotten some really good deals there."

"From people whose stuff gets put out at the end, probably, when nobody is left to bid."

Hick did not respond to that part.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A Dark Day (Some Call It Night) in HICKstory

"You might say I had a little experience coming home from the auction Saturday night."

Well, if you're like me, that gets your appetite all whetted for more info. Funny how Hick didn't bother to tell me of his adventures until two days later.

Hick gets home from that auction between 10:00 and 11:00. It's up north, so he comes in on a different blacktop county road, and down a two-mile section of gravel road that goes in front of HOS's (Hick's Oldest Son) house, along where Crazy Stick Road Man lives.

"I turned off on the gravel road, and thought I saw something. It was a girl with a suitcase! Just standing there, crying, trying to talk on a cell phone. I stopped to see if she was okay. You know the phones don't work out here. I put my window down, and asked what was wrong. She said, 'I came here from New York, for the love of my life, and he threw me out.' 

You could see that she was upset. She was maybe 29 or 30, with blond hair. Didn't have any idea where she was. I had to ask twice if she was all right. She said she had called the police. I sat in the car for five minutes, with the window down, just trying to talk to her. Nobody showed up, so I called the dispatcher.

I couldn't go off and leave her there. She couldn't walk to town. She didn't even know which direction town was! After about 10 more minutes, a deputy showed up. He was really calm and polite to her, trying to find out what happened. 

About five minutes after THAT, the K9 deputy showed up. He got out, and was a real asshole! He immediately started quizzing her, all condescending. He said, 'Well, what do you expect US to do? You HAVE been drinking.' She did smell like alcohol.

The first deputy said, 'All I can do is take you to a motel.' Here she was, six miles from town, after 10:00 at night, no idea which way to town or what roads to take, without phone service. He finally did take her to the Super 8. At least that was the plan when I left."

Okay, Hick is a nice guy, and he stopped to help. But what if the police hadn't shown up? THEN what was he going to do with that gal? She might have been a MAD STABBER for all he knew! It's not like he could bring her home for safekeeping. And if he let her in his car to drive her to town, you never know what she might have accused him of.

At least this adventure worked out okay. For Hick, anyway. I don't know what happened to the gal.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Heh, heh! Get it? The MOMENt. Like The Omen. But with an M. And a t.

Is it a bad omen if your chili sets off the smoke detector?

I don't mean that while you're cooking it, the alarm in the kitchen goes off. That could be caused by something on the burner getting charred. Or like when you open up the oven, and all that heat rushes out. Those kind of things happen pretty regularly for Val. She does not take it personally.

However...Monday morning I cooked up a pot of chili. Monday evening around 7:30, I went upstairs to take some of it out of FRIG II and warm it for my supper. Hick was gone to an auction, so I just ladled some out of the pot into a saucepan. Once it was hot (not boiling, mind you, just very warm), I put it in a styrofoam bowl for transport down to my dark basement lair.

There are 13 steps. At step #8, I stop to transfer whatever I'm carrying from my left hand to my right. That's because there is no rail, and I hang onto the bases of the banisters with my right hand until my position puts them over my head. From there, I use my left hand to balance myself with part of the framing around the stairs for two steps, and then grab the metal support pole holding up the main floor for the last three.

Let the record show that there's a smoke detector on that framing around the stairs. In the area above the 11th step.

There I was, holding a tray with a styrofoam bowl of chili, a ramekin holding 2 oz of shredded cheddar, and a mini cup of Caramel Swirl ice cream...when the smoke detector BEEPED. Not a full-fledged GET OUT NOW YOU ARE GOING TO BE INCINERATED steady pattern of alarm. Just a single BEEP.

After my heart settled down from the shock, I assumed that this smoke detector might need a new battery. I waited for more BEEPS after lengthy silences, but none came. Not a single one. So I guess that theory can be discarded.

Seriously. My chili is not even spicy. I can't believe it set off the smoke detector when I walked under it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Maily Taley

When I was a kid, we had this board game called Feeley Meeley. Not so much a board game, as a cardboard box with holes in each side. The object was to reach into one of those orifices (which were lined with flaps of felt so you couldn't peek inside) and pull out the most correct items, which were pictured on cards.

I don't remember how successful I was, but I'm going to say I won a lot, considering my opponents would be my mom and my sister the little future ex-mayor's wife, who was younger than me. Also, I might have sometimes tossed in extra objects while they weren't looking, which were not part of the game...

Anyhoo...the point here is that you might have known what you were expecting to be in that box, but occasionally you'd be surprised.

Kind of like my trip to the main post office every Friday. I expect to park, go inside to mail the boys' letters, and return without incident. However...

Last Friday, I put those letters through a slot in the wall. I didn't feel a need to go to the counter, because I had not included anything extra in either envelope. I know that I can get two scratchers and two pieces of paper in Genius's letter without it requiring extra postage.

I started my walk back to T-Hoe. I park up at the far end, because it's less likely that somebody will park too close to me there, and prevent T-Hoe's door from opening fully. Also, it's easier to back out, without a stream of cars driving past me looking for parking.

As I got closer to T-Hoe, I decided to share with you an object that I don't routinely see at the main post office. Why should I be the only one to appreciate it on the way in, when I could share my good fortune with a handful of readers as I returned?

I guarantee you that if I'd drawn such an object in a game of Feeley Meeley, I most certainly would have grasped this one in no time. Hopefully not cutting my fingers off in the process.

It was an empty sardine can, by cracky! Sardines in tomato sauce, from the looks of it. Which is SO VERY WRONG, because everyone knows that sardines should be in mustard sauce!

I have no idea why this tin was here. Surely nobody opened up a care package for a family member before mailing it, and snacked all willy-nilly on ill-gotten canned fish! I would hope that if they'd given such a treat to a begging bum that he at least was provided with a set of plasticware, lest he use his hands (possibly not all that clean) for utensils. AND if a good samaritan had offered that meal to a stray cat, couldn't he at least have dumped them out, so Kitty didn't have to lick the sharp edges?

Sorry for oversharing. I wasn't trying to lure you into a game of "post office." Really.

Monday, September 10, 2018

She Sprouts in Beauty

Not gonna lie, we've had more than our fair share of rain over the weekend. Since we live high on a hill, no bad came of the inundation, the only casualty being one of those orange-and-white striped marker thingies that keep people from driving off the side of the low water bridge. Of course the bridge was underwater for a couple days. We have an alternate route. So we escaped injury and inconvenience. We were very lucky.

We were also served up an inimitable treasure, which I discovered Saturday morning on the back porch.

What? You don't see the treasure? It's no wonder you guys haven't collected 167 pennies in the last 18 months!

There is Mother Nature's masterpiece. Dead center in the first photo.

I have no idea what's going on here. We've never grown a fungus on the porch, much less overnight. The previous evening, I had tossed the juice from a jar of dill pickles there, and also the brine from a jar of green olives. I usually dump them over the porch rail, but it was raining, by cracky, and I didn't want to melt, seeing as how my sweetness level is out of control.

Surely those fluids had nothing to do with the sprouting of the fungi. The deluge would have washed it all away in minutes. I suppose the conditions in the dirt in the cracks of the porch boards were just right.

Looks like it might be time for Hick (or his minion HOS) to replace some porch boards.

The bright color on such a drab day caught my eye, and made me wax poetic. Actually, it made me was plagiaretic.

She sprouts in beauty, in the night
In rainy times, and starless skies
And all that's best of dark, no light
Meet in her whorls, I realize
Thus risen with no eyes in sight
To party on like all fungis

HEY! Looks like it's called Dacryopinax spathularia.

And it's EDIBLE! Other links showed that it's sometimes used in a dish called Buddha's Delight. Well. It might have delighted Buddha, but to me, it's a nightmare!

That's not happenin'. I'm not even going to touch it.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The One That Got Away

Since people don't shop much at flea markets during a deluge while under flash flood warnings...Hick went to an estate auction Saturday. He thought he had another golden frame for my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel. I was informed by text at 12:56.

"I'm at auction at REDACTED's mom's I think Mabel will like this frame I'll try to get"

At 1:08 there was another message.

"Didn't get it 55.00"

"That's okay. She was never crazy about REDACTED anyway."

That's kind of a relief, because Babbling Hick would no doubt have spouted off too much information one of these days, and let it slip that he got the frame from a person known to both Mabel and us.

I suppose people pay more for frames at estate auctions than they do at regular weekly auctions. Or in this case, I'm inclined to believe that they were paying for the painting as well. I actually like that painting (or print, can't tell from this dim photo) more than the frame. This frame doesn't look like real wood to me. There's something too perfect about it. No chips or flaws. It looks like it was pressed out by a machine. Maybe they all are. This one just didn't appeal to me.

It doesn't really matter anyway. Hick didn't get it, and he didn't get it for MABEL, not for me.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Not a Very CENTSational Week for Val

Only one single solitary penny was harvested by Val this week. Found at Orb K on TUESDAY, September 4th.

Almost missed it. Walked right by on the way inside. Lucky for me, the sun revealed its presence on the way back to T-Hoe.

It was a 1975 face-down copper, put there just for me!

Either I'm not worthy of pennies right now, or there's a penny-burglar on the loose. If I come across that cent-nabber, I'm willing to share lunch. Hope he likes a crap sandwich. I also hope he's dressed like The Hamburglar. Because not only would that make him easier to spot...
It would look SO COOL!

For 2018: Penny  # 89.
For 2018: Dimes  still at # 13.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 4.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 167.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Dime # 19.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Nickel # 4.