Friday, May 31, 2019

Hick House Outside: Shed 05-25-19

Alternate Title: Hick, The Elephant Man

Remember that old concrete shed at Hick House, that Hick said used to be a garage for a smaller kind of car back in the day when Hick House was built?

You can see part of it here, behind the trailer that Hick and HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) were using to load up with trash during early renovations. It was basically three concrete walls, with a bunch of junk inside. Hick thought it would make a good shed, for storing a lawnmower, with shelves to keep tools or stuff there wasn't room for in the basement.

Hick had some metal thingies to span the top, with plans for a slightly slanted roof. Nothing fancy. He thought he had enough metal roofing left over from his Freight Container Garage, but he didn't, so he bought metal roofing. Hick put his blue tractor on a trailer and took it to town for something to do with Hick House. While it was there, he scooped out all the junk inside the shed walls. That trailer was gone by then. HOS put up the spanny thingies, and a week later, after all the rain stopped, he and Hick put on the metal roof. I asked Hick to send me a picture of the shed with the roof on it. Here's what I got:

Hick's caption for that photo was: garage roof standing on the porch. Heh, heh. I'm sure Hick also knows a man who shot a tiger in his pajamas. His word order is not always what I, myself, might choose.

As you might imagine, I gave Hick a piece of my mind for this photo. Oh, come on! You know Hick can always use more gray matter. I told him I didn't just want the ROOF part of it. And also told him he's like a man describing an elephant. One day, I might think an elephant was a long and thin and ropelike. Another day, another description, I might think it was a patch of rough skin. And another, I'd believe that an elephant was a large flexible hollow appendage. It was hard to convince Hick that what I really wanted was a description of the whole elephant. I think my story was lost on him. I'm almost surprised that he didn't drive to the zoo and send me a picture of an elephant.

Several days later, Hick got me another picture of the Hick House shed, with its roof:

They will trim off that board, and cover the gaps between the top of the concrete and the roof with strips of metal trimmed from roofing material. Hick has two wooden doors that used to be on his BARn, before he got a garage door on it. HOS says one of his buddies has an actual garage door. Not sure which they're going to use. Probably the one easiest available when they're ready to put it on.

Here's a slightly different view, from the front. I guess Hick was afraid to only give me one choice of photo again.

Now HOS has a usable space, where three useless walls once stood. That car will fit inside, but the nose hangs out. Hick says cars were smaller back then. This isn't intended to be a garage. Although when I drove by two Fridays ago, Hick's blue tractor was parked inside.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Marker Boarding and More Unexplainables

Of course a couple hours after I showed you Hick's handiwork putting in a marker board in the sunroom/kids' playroom of Hick House... he finished trimming it out. I added the completion photo to yesterday's post, but in case you don't want to look back, here it is:

Just between you and me, out of the mouth of Hick... Mrs. HOS (Hick's Oldest Son's missus) was not too happy with his choice of gray paint. Even though she is on record as saying she wanted the toy box at the other end of the sunroom trimmed in gray. And the trim of the windows and doors being gray. Hick is kind of hard-headed, and said (to me), "I painted it, and I made it gray!" He also said that it didn't look good with white paint. Whether he actually tried painting it white, I don't know. I DO know that he made a special trip to Lowe's for a gallon of gray paint, which cost him $13. As much as I hate to agree with Hick, just on general principle... I think gray was the best choice!

In other news, I got a text from The Pony at 11:45 Tuesday night. You may recall that he is living in his student apartment for the summer, at the University of Oklahoma.

"Well, my phone is possessed."


"I was playing music while texting my Bestie. On a thing that doesn't play ads. Well. The music stopped. What sounded like a dozen ads all started playing at once, overlapping each other (which shouldn't be possible with how phones work since I had nothing open that could even play one). Then this weird discordant music that was nowhere near what I was listening to started playing with staticky sounds in it that almost sounded like breathing or a heart beating."


"Then the phone started talking. Through the weird and terrifying music that didn't stop when I took out my earphones (which pulling out the cord is supposed to stop any audio). It was saying something that most definitely wasn't in English or Spanish or anything I recognize and it kept getting louder. It didn't shut up until I tried to record."

Of course I told The Pony about my toilet brush jumping off the toilet on Monday.

"And, like, the recording caught the echo of something I think (since what I had on TV sounded nothing like that) and it sounds like it's saying "pull (or maybe put) her back."

"That's weird. Are you okay?"

"Freaked out because the jump from instrumental music to that was terrifying by itself, and phones physically should not be able to make that kind of discordant noise."

"It must be picking up some signal. Like when Alexa goes crazy on people."

"I emailed you the 1 second clip thing my phone recorded with what to me sounds like the words "pull her back."

"Do I want to listen to it here in my lair right now?"

"It's just a 1 second thing that's about as distinct as anything you hear on ghost shows. "

(Which I refuse to watch at night, alone.)

"Tell me if you hear what I did from it."

"I heard nothing."

"Not even a sound? Or just not words?"

"Nope. Nothing."

"Okay. That's freaky. My phone isn't playing the sound on it anymore."

"My media player showed that it played. I repeated. Still nothing."

"Turn the sound up. I found it. My phone has to be at literally max volume for me to hear it."

"Have you been into the wine?"

"No, I haven't been ! My date took the bottle home, thank you very much."

"That is kind of unusual." (Meaning taking home the wine!)

"I have to have it repeat constantly to hear it. It also sounds like "Who was that?" You hear it now?"

"Max volume, with my speakers turned up, maybe a BOING kind of sound at the very end. Something. Not words. Or maybe THAT if it's a word. Sounds more mechanical like BOING or BLOOP."

"Yeah. The music and voice as far as I could tell shut off as soon as I hit record. I definitely don't remember hearing that until I looked at the recording."

"No sympathy for my toilet?"

"Imagine if your computer suddenly started playing sounds like it was possessed and talking to you in the middle of the night, then compare which is more scary."

"Well, I don't go out of my way to attract such things, like wearing a freaky wooden mask. They need to know their place, and I ain't entertaining."

"You made me do that for a blog picture or something!"

"Oh. I guess it was Genius who wore that mask down the steps and hollered to wake me from my recliner slumber. It's probably your neighbors doing some wizardy kind of prank on your phone through the walls."

"My phone doesn't have any of the bluetooth or other mobile sharing options enabled. I was staring at the phone during it. Nothing should have been making any sound."

"Some things are always on, even though your think you turn them off. Like that tracking thing I turned off, yet it still shows my every move."

"Mom. I know more about technology than you. There's only three things on my phone that can play sound without it being up and looked at, or showing an active thing. Notifications in general, the music app that had paused itself, and phone calls. That trip thing is probably because of Google. Their location stuff is different from the phone's GPS."

"Okay. I've been schooled."

Seriously. I know nothing about how phones work. I'm HOPING The Pony just has an active imagination, or fell asleep momentarily and dreamed that.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Hick House Upstairs: Sunroom 05-28-19

Because you've all been really good, I am going to reward you with another glimpse of Hick House. There hasn't been much to report, what with the tedious things like wiring and plumbing and sweeping and drywall-ceiling-ing and painting. There are some visible changes, but not quite move-in ready changes.

Today we'll look at the upstairs room at the front of the house, with the window looking out over the porch to the street. HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) has been working on the upstairs, tearing out wallpaper and painting. Hick bought a 5-gallon bucket of paint a few days ago, for $30. As you might imagine, it's not the best of paint, but will allow more coats over what HOS has done.

The light bulb is over the stairs. That's the entry to the upstairs.

On the other side of that partition where the stairs come up, Hick built a toy box.

Mrs. HOS will do the painting of the toy box. She wants it to be gray, to contrast with all the white. The boards on the front came from the basement. The lid was part of somewhere HOS trimmed, and Hick told him to save it. There's a wire handle to open the top, if you look close enough, next to the drill with orange parts. Right now, Hick's toys are in the way! That door to the left goes into the "Fleetwood Mac" bedroom (that was the poster on the wall when we took possession). It will be the bedroom of HOSS (Hick's Oldest Son's Son), who is 10.

At the other end of the sunroom, Hick put up some shiny board. He calls it marker board, because you can write on it with dry-erase markers. Good for a kids' playroom. 

Of course he just put it up and took the picture. Still needs to trim around the top and bottom. The baseboard heater needs some cleaning up from HOS's overzealous spray-painting. It ain't quite beautiful, but when you remember what it looked like after forking over the $5000 for the house, it'll do.

Hick finished the trim on the marker board.

That baseboard heater cleanup is still HOS's project, though!


Let the record show that Hick House has always been about making a safe, livable house that will pass city inspection. Nothing fancy. Just a home without a payment, to improve as HOS is able. I think it's coming along splendidly with that qualifier.

Let's not forget how this sunroom looked during the first walk-through:

There are the stairs and toy box area. The closet was torn out.

This was also the sunroom, looking at the wall with doors to the two bedrooms. That messed-up wall is now the marker board wall. The walls and ceiling have been stripped down to the boards, and are awaiting more paint.

Hick ran out of his renovation money on Monday, and in fact has already gone over by $40 for smoke detectors, which he installed yesterday. He says this linoleum floor in the sunroom is usable, and only needs a good sweeping and mopping. He has also scored two rooms of carpet (with pad) from backcreek neighbor Bev, who is having hers removed next week to install new carpet. This will be put in the other bedroom, with some left over for HOSS's room, which also has a usable floor. Hick was given a rug by a buddy at his Storage Unit Store, he bought another at the auction for $20, and Mrs. HOS got one for free at a yard sale. They currently solve the flooring needs of the living room.

Hick is saving the rest of the plumbing for last. Says it can be done in 4 hours, a day at max. HOS dug up the front sidewalk with the tractor, against Hick's wishes, and instead of capping the concrete where it was damaged, with about 4 bags... Hick now has a hole to fill that will take 16 bags, and require forms. The master bedroom has the drywall halfway done on the ceiling. That's about all that remains, other than cosmetic last-minute touches.

Yes, progress is being made. Hopefully, next week Hick House will be ready for the inspector.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Things That Go CLANK in the Late Morning

Perhaps I've mentioned that I'm not an early riser. By the time I get up, all the worms have been taken. Not that I want to catch any, or even wrestle them away from an industrious early-bird. I'm in no hurry to get my day started.

Monday, I was up at nearly the crack of dawn: 8:50 a.m. By 10:20, I was willing to stop watching Stripes right in the middle, to take my shower. I was feeling especially bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, out of bed so early. I bagged up the bathroom trash, and even cleaned the toilet.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Hick has been neglecting to put a new light bulb in the ceiling light/fan by the toilet and shower, just so I can't actually SEE what excretions he might have left on or around the toilet. It seems odd that this light has been out at least two months. Hick is well aware. The fan part still works, but not the light. The six big Showgirls-makeup-mirror-suitable bulbs over the sink light most of the bathroom. But when the frosted glass shower doors are closed, it's a little dim in there.

There I was, in the twilight of my shower at 10:30 a.m., going about my personal cleanliness routine, when I heard a CLANK!

"What in the NOT-HEAVEN? I wasn't even moving! I was just breathing in the mist to open up my sinuses. How can something fall? WHAT fell?"

I ran through the possibilities in my mind. I have a tube of conditioner that I rest on top of the very '80s gold metal trim of the sliding shower doors. Hick has a toothbrush, toothpaste, and razor balanced on the end by the wall. Huh. That's it! Sounded like a razor falling off the door frame.

I turned slowly, careful of where I put my feet. Don't want to step on a razor when you take an aspirin every night to keep your blood thin! I got turned around, but didn't see a razor on the floor of the shower. I know the light was dim, but I couldn't find ANYTHING on the floor of the shower. The regular items were still perched atop the door frame.

When I opened the shower doors to get out, I saw the culprit. The toilet brush, a goose-neck-bent kind, had slipped off the edge of the toilet. I had balanced it there to drip dry after the scrubbing. Still, I don't know what made it fall. It was steady when I left it, and had been hanging on there for at least 10 minutes. At the time it fell, I wasn't moving at all in the shower.

Sometimes I hear stuff in the bathroom while I'm along in the house, trying to sleep. Like water will start running, then stop. As if suddenly dripping out of the shower nozzle.

Oh, yeah. Those two lower strings lights on my Christmas tree (still up!)... went off again two Sundays ago. Have stayed off. But another strand lit up really bright, in the middle of the tree, last week. And Saturday night, I heard Hick walking around upstairs over my lair (in the doorway of the bedroom and master bathroom), and about five minutes later he called me.

He was 20 miles away, just leaving an auction.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Hick and Val Continue Their Gun Battle

When I ascended from my dark basement lair to make supper for Hick on Saturday evening, he was kicked back in the La-Z-Boy, waving a stack of money at me.

"Oh. Are you giving me that?"

"NO. It's what I made today."

"How much?"

"Four hundred and twenty-one dollars."

"That's good. Now I don't have to pay you back anything out of my lottery winnings."

"Well. I didn't say THAT. We owe me a lot more than that." 

"I mean we don't have to pay you back until after the camper sells."

"Maybe. I sold two guns today."

"I always told you that you had too much money wrapped up in those guns. What'd you make, forty dollars profit on them?"

"No. I sold a .22 shotgun / 410 rifle combo. It was a Rossi. Not real common. I made thirty dollars profit on it. And another shotgun, for five dollars over what I paid for it."

"Ha ha ha! You didn't EVEN make a forty dollar profit, then!"

"Yeah. But I got rid of them. I'd had the one for over a year."

"THAT'S WHAT I WAS TELLING YOU! Too much money tied up in the guns!"

"Well. Now I've got my money back."

Sheesh! If only I could have found a way to make him think of that himself before now.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

A Stunning Development at Hick's Storage Unit Store

Hick started out telling me how good his business was at the Storage Unit Store on Saturday. Then, almost as an afterthought, related the following story.

"I was standing outside talking to prospective customers when I heard a POP! Like a gun! I went inside, and some guy was telling this other guy, 'You know, bud, you just wasted a $50 cartridge!' Come to find out, this guy, probably in his early twenties, had been looking at the taser I got from backcreek neighbor Bev. HE SHOT IT!

He was lucky. The thing went right past the leg of his wife, and almost hit the other guy standing there. The wife started getting on him. Not exactly telling him he was stupid, but she might as well have. You could tell that she was not happy with him. He said, 'You stay here! I'll go down to the ATM and get some money.' So he was trying to do the right thing. I don't know what he was thinking when he shot that off!

Anyway, Shooter came back with $80. He tried to hand it to me. He said, 'Sorry. Here's for your trouble.' I didn't take the $80. But that taser is no good without a cartridge. I'll have to replace it to sell the taser. I'm asking $250 for it. They're $750 new. I could have just taken the $80 and give him the gun, but I'd be losing money. I took $60. The cartridge will cost me $55. I can't believe people! He's lucky he didn't hit his wife or that guy. Then they REALLY wouldn't have been happy!

I don't have nothin' in that gun. Bev gave it to me. But still, it's mine to sell."

"Well, now you can tell people, 'I know it works. Some idiot SHOT IT while looking at it."

"I knew it worked. Bev used it. Well, her husband used it. ON HER! She wanted him to, so she could see how it felt."

"Wow! Did it make her go limp and fall down? Did she start shaking?"

"I don't know, but she didn't fall down, because she was sitting in a chair. She said she couldn't move, though."

"They shot it IN THE HOUSE?"

"Yeah. I don't know why they do things like that."

I think Hick might need to put that taser up, to protect himself and others from stupidity. Put it in a case or something. So they have to ask to look at it. I wonder if somebody could sue him for having it where people can grab it. I'm pretty sure I know Hick's answer: "All our stuff is in a trust. You can't sue a trust."

My answer is, "Better safe than sorry." Even if Hick isn't really sorry.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

That's the Way the COIN Clanks

For two cents, I'd tell you about the coins I added to my Future Pennyillionaire collection this week. Oh, wait! I AM telling you! About the TWO CENTS I found.

SUNDAY, May 19, got the week off to a good start when I stepped out of T-Hoe at Country Mart. Alas, the week did not live up to its initial promise...

Yeah, you might need a little help with this one. To be fair, the sun was making a glare on my phone, and I wasn't even sure if I had the penny in frame. I did, though. There in the middle, like the third point of a flat sideways triangle using those two white spots above and below that big crack. Heh, heh. I said big crack!

It was a year 2000, heads up. Kind of dirty, but still shiny enough to get my attention.

FRIDAY, May 24, was problematic. I pulled onto the parking lot of The Gas Station Chicken Store, weaving through all manner of gas-getters and bad parkers. I guess people were getting an early start on the holiday weekend. I figured there would be a crowd in the tiny story, not conducive to penny-picturing. I threw caution to the wind, and left my phone in T-Hoe. As I turned to close the door, I almost reached in to snatch that phone off the console, and put it in my pocket. But I didn't. It's not like I've been finding 39 pennies a week any more.

You know what happened, right? Yes, in the tradition of cookies crumbling, and balls bouncing, Even Steven taught me the lesson: That's How the Coin Clanks. I take that phone in every store, every day, just in case I see a coin. But the ONE TIME the phone was in the car, I found a penny! Right by the door, on my way out. Of course I picked it up and put it in my shirt pocket.

Once I reunited with my phone in T-Hoe, I posed Old Abe on the air conditioner vent. Just to prove he happened.

There's Hick's pharmacy, CeilingReds, in the background, across the moat.

Gotta give 2017 Abe his close-up. He, too, was looking up at me when I bent down to liberate him from the tile.

Because I'm such a Pollyanna, a rainbows and unicorn kind of Val, an eternal optimist... I'm looking at the bright side. I may have only found two pennies this week, but that's TWICE as many as I found last week!

2019 Running Total
Penny   # 61, 62.
Dime   still at 8.
Nickel  still at 7.
Quarter  still at 1.

Penny  131
Dime  17
Nickel  6
Quarter  1

2017 TOTALS (Started in March, 2017)
Penny  78
Dime   6
Nickel  0
Quarter  0

Friday, May 24, 2019

Your Cheatin' Mart

Hick finally won something on a scratch-off ticket! I know. He almost needed smelling salts as well. It was just one number that matched. The very first one. He expected to win $5, but it was $20. That's really good for him. Of course, I kind of rained on his parade when I showed him my $15 winner and $50 winner for the same day.

Anyhoo...Hick wanted me to cash in his ticket and get him four more. I agreed. I was heading to Walmart the next day anyway. After shopping, since it was nearby, I decided to go in the Casey's that took over the Waterside Mart at the corner where we used to turn to drive to school.

I was wanting to save part of my winnings. I figured I didn't want to cash in the $50 and the $20 winners there, and buy Hick's tickets, because they'd probably give me back a fifty dollar bill from under the money tray. I don't like fifties. So I cashed in the $50 and the $15 winners, bought Hick's four tickets, and was due $45 in change. In my head, I imagined this would take the form of two twenties, which I'd stash away, and a five.

The clerk was shunted off to the other register by a higher-up, possibly a manager. She scanned the winners, announced, "That's sixty-five dollars," and started tearing off the four tickets I selected for Hick. When she went to the register, she changed her mind, and stepped back to the one she'd started at. Didn't matter to me. I was standing between them, by the ticket display. A register's a register.

Clerk rang up the four tickets, looked at the receipt she'd printed for my winners, and lifted the money drawer. She took out a stack of fives, and started rapid-counting them like a bank teller. She stuttered there for a minute, and counted again. Then handed me the stack of fives: "Here ya go. Forty-five dollars."

I took my (Hick's) tickets in one hand, and the stack of fives in the other. There was a lady customer behind me, and I folded over the fives, stuck them in my shirt pocket, and headed back to T-Hoe. Well. That didn't go as planned. So much for getting my two twenties and a five. I started T-Hoe toward The Gas Station Chicken Store for my 44 oz Diet Coke, and to cash in the $20 winner to get some tickets of my own.

Once on the parking lot of The Gas Station Chicken Store, I counted out correct change, and put a $1 bill in my pocket for magical elixir payment. I took out the stack of fives, which were taking up considerable room in that pocket. I straightened them all to face the same way, and counted them up, planning to set aside 8 of them.


There should have been 9, you know. I was due back $45, and the clerk had even said so as she handed me that stack of rapidly-counted fives.

What in the NOT-HEAVEN! No way would she believe me if I drove all the way back (okay, just about 3 miles) to Casey's (formerly Waterside Mart) to tell her of my short-changing. Dang it! Why didn't I count it right there at the counter before putting it in my pocket? It's even CALLED a COUNTER, by cracky!

Of all the bone-headed moves made by Val that she has later regretted, not counting those fives is near the top of the list. Which might tell you something about the number and severity of Val's boneheaded moves. They don't happen often. Not regrettable ones, anyway.

No, I don't think that clerk deliberately scammed me out of five dollars. I guess they might have noticed the register being $5 over at the end of the shift, but maybe not. There was more than one person working out of that register.

I guess $5 is cheap enough tuition for the School of Hard Knocks to teach Val this valuable lesson: always count your change before leaving the counter.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Common Sense and the Future Chemical Engineer

The Pony is spending the summer in Norman, Oklahoma. He's been doing research in a lab on the OU campus. He's majoring in chemical engineering, you know. Last week, he sent me a picture.

"Research is expensive. A 15 ML bottle of the particles is 500 dollars."

"Wow! If you break it, do you buy it?"

"Nope. But I'm not going to break it."

"Oh, the picture just loaded. It's plastic."

"Yes, but the stuff inside is 500 dollars. 1 micrometer spheres. It's kind of irritating that it's a dripper bottle. We have to guesstimate how much 150 microliters is from drops."

"Can I share that picture? To prove it happened? Probably cropped."

"It's probably fine. Nothing confidential. AFAIK." [I assume that means as far as I know]

"It's not like I can give details of what you're doing. That's like our old dog Grizzly telling someone how to fly a 747."

"Here's the tray of the solution. Overnight, it should dry into a film with embedded particles distributed throughout. Which I'll then try to make into ellipsoids. (IE, from 1 micrometer spheres, to 2 micrometers by .5, at their longest and widest points. Think a football.) Like, a hundredth of what was in that bottle turned the same amount of water cloudy, like diluted milk. Which is also, in fact, a colloidal system. The solution here is actually cloudy. The picture didn't translate well."

"So it only took $5 worth to turn it cloudy?"

"Essentially. Meaning that it takes very little of these nanoparticles to make visible changes in things."

"Good thing! Because they're so expensive!"

The Pony also alerted me on Monday around noon that campus had called off classes all day, due to tornado forecasts.

"Keep an eye on the weather. Go to your shelter. You don't want to be on the third floor in a tornado!"

"I'll go if it gets bad enough. I'll try not to sit in the hot tub during a tornado, and softball-size hail. The meteorology students stand on the roof of the weather center and watch the sky."

Later that afternoon, after watching reports on TV, I sent a text to see if he was okay.

"Not even rain here. Perfectly fine outside."

Wednesday afternoon, I got a text at 3:38.

"Another tornado watch!"

"Stay vigilant, so you don't get locked out of the shelter like that Simpsons episode."

"It takes 20 minutes to clean up and cool down my lab trials. We had a total of 7 minutes from when they sent out the tornado watch text to the announced time to get out of the building."

"So you can't get to a shelter on time?"

"It's just frustrating. I was, technically, 7 minutes late in leaving the building after the 3:30 deadline."

"So where are you riding out the storm?"

"I'm walking home. It's not expected to really hit until 4:30 at the earliest."

"Gosh! Get to your apartment shelter! Is it too late for that?"

"No. It's just a watch. You've raised a true midwesterner. I don't mind walking in weather. It's not even bad."

That's the last I heard from him. I'm sure he's okay. Pretty sure...

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hick, the Silver-Tongued Salesman

Hick finally had good weather for a Saturday at his Storage Unit Store. He's a pretty crafty salesman.

"I took some shoes up there to sell. They don't sell real well, even though they're new in the box. You're lucky to get $10 out of a pair of shoes. I had a pair of woman's sandals, size 11. I seen this girl walk by a couple times. She had really big feet. So the next time she came by, I said, 'I've got just what you need. Come in and have a look.' She tried them on and walked around. She loved them shoes! She went to get her dad, and showed him, and asked if she could have them.

I told the guy, 'For $8, they're yours!' He said, 'I only like her $6 worth, though!' The girl looked sad, so I said, 'Okay, $6, sold!' He paid for them, and she was thrilled. 'DAD! The box says they're $40 shoes!' Then the guy says, 'Now I have to get something for your brothers. Do you have anything for boys? There's three of 'em.' I showed him some binoculars I've had for a while, marked $15 each. He offered me $12 for one. Then he said, 'If I take them all, can I get them for $10?'

'Mister, you can have all three pairs of binoculars for $30.' He took them. Then the girl says, 'Dad! You spent $10 on the boys, and only $6 on me!' He just laughed. I said, 'How old are you, about 14?' And the girl said, 'I'm 11.' She really had big feet."

I'm surprised Hick didn't flat out say to her, "You've got big feet!" A couple years ago, we saw a relative, and the first thing out of Hick's mouth was, "You got FAT!" He wasn't trying to sell anything then, though.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Common Courtesy is Taking Its Last Gasp

We know that chivalry is dead. Even if a man might think about being nice, holding the door open for a lady, he's hesitant these days. He doesn't want to be accused of patronizing her. Chastised for helping what he must assume is the weaker sex.

Common courtesy is on life support. It's unconscious, riddled with tubes, but still gasping, perhaps squeezing your hand every now and then. Old folks like us hope that common courtesy might recover, but those young whippersnappers are chanting to pull the plug. That's what my experience has been, within the last year.

One dude making his exit from Casey's ahead of me actually PUSHED THE DOOR CLOSED in my face as he went out, with me just a step behind him. Most of those young people just dart through a scant opening, like Indiana Jones escaping from a tomb. Then it's my own fault if I'm not quick enough to get out.

Friday, at The Gas Station Chicken Store, I was headed inside. I could see someone coming out the glass door. They could see me, too. It was one of those awkward moments. For me, anyway. If I'd been on the inside, I'd have been torn whether to step back and let the other person inside, or barge out to get out of the way. But I was on the outside, you see. So I pulled the door open, and held it, staying behind it, out of the way, so they could exit.

There were three of the coming-out-ers. Guys, mid-to-late twenties. Judging from their attire and the parking lot vehicles, they were a work crew with a utility company, headed for their white company truck.


I don't do a common courtesy good deed for the thanks. I do it because it's the right thing to do. But it would be nice to be acknowledged.

Sheesh! So entitled! Or maybe just awkward with interpersonal communications, having been tied to cell phones for most of their existence. It's a sad day when an old lady holds a door open for three strapping young men, with no acknowledgement whatsoever. At least they didn't drop their chicken and push the door closed before I could go in!

I could imagine Genius, in one of his moods, playing devil's advocate, baiting me: "Why should I hold the door open for some woman? She has two arms, just like me. She's not handicapped. She can open her own door! I'm not her servant!"

Yeah, Genius might say that, although I've raised him better, and unlike The Pony, he cares about helping people. Even The Pony holds doors open for people!

Genius might say that, but he'd hold the door. He's a people-pleaser, as long as the people are not me and Hick.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Sunday Evening Misadventures of Hick and Val

Hick planned to grill some hot dogs for supper Sunday evening. He'd been at his Storage Unit Store all morning, stopped by Hick House to check on progress while he'd been away, come home to start filling Poolio, and mowed part of the yard that had grown back since he last mowed it three days ago.

However... I had looked up some properties that might interest Hick for flipping. I asked if he wanted to go look at them. Just drive by, notice the general condition, see if they might be worth the asking price. Of course Hick wanted to look at possible flippers! I had a list of ten. We knew where most of them were, but a couple had to be found with the Garmin.

I told Hick when we left that I had about an hour and a half for this excursion, since I'd been sipping Diet Coke all afternoon, and it would be making its exit. Hick scoffed. "Huh. This will only take about an hour." Still planning on grilling the hot dogs when we got home.

We saw one house that Hick thought worthy. It had a good roof, newer windows, and siding that didn't need replacement or repair. The neighborhood was good, with people out mowing their lawns. It's on a corner lot. Even better, it's in foreclosure! Sometimes the bank will cut their losses and take only what's owed. The only down side is that it's in a town that Hick's flipping buddies have told him is stricter on permits for renovations. So he's going to call and check on it. Let the record show that we are just in the "thinking about it" stage, and not planning to buy a flipper immediately.

Another house that caught Hick's eye was larger, and would need more work. But it was big enough to add a second bathroom. As Hick got out to look in the windows, he stuck his head back in A-Cad. "This one's not rented, it is? They might not like me peeping in the windows!" Heh, heh. It was NOT rented. Maybe the fact that there were NO curtains or shades on any of the windows would have been a clue for him. I ribbed him over that, until...

The next-to-last house was in my childhood neighborhood. Just down the street from my favorite gambling aunt's house. Again, a corner lot. Not in great shape, but a passable asphalt shingle roof, aluminum windows, and a big back yard. Hick actually went inside the enclosed front porch to peep in the house windows. When he was around back, a squirrel came up over the roof, jumped to a tree limb, and down onto the roof of the house next door. I guess he hadn't been expecting a visitor.

When Hick got back in A-Cad, he said, "It looked like someone was living in there! One room had clothes hanging, and a mattress!"

"The papers don't say it's rented..."

"Oh, it's not rented. That's the only room with anything in it!"

"Probably a squatter."

"I doubt that. It's probably something they left when they moved out."

"This house has been listed for over 400 days! I'm pretty sure people would have had time to get their stuff out. I think it's a squatter!"

"Well. You'd think they would have at least put up a curtain!"

"Yeah. Because that's what squatters do..."

We did not resolve that debate. Hick still likes the one house that's in good condition. It had a note taped on the door that said, "Do not occupy. Has not been inspected."

Anyhoo... this little flipper-house tour was now at 2.5 hours! It was 7:30. Hick said we'd pick up something for supper. He had wanted Chinese, but it takes about a half hour wait for the food. Besides, last time he went on a Sunday, it was closed. Hick thought that was just for Mother's Day, but he agreed to something faster. He chose Taco Bell. I'd just had taquitos for my lunch, but I agreed. He pulled into the drive-thru, and saw a sign taped to the menu: "We Are Out Of Beans and Sauce." Hick looked at me. Then turned to order two Burrito Supremes.

"Sir? We are out of beans. Do you still want a burrito?"


As we drove off, we could hear, "Sir? Sir?" I seriously doubt she was going to offer us anything free. You know. Because then they would run out of THAT. Hick was dumbfounded.

"How can you run a business and not have ingredients to make what you sell? Who wants a burrito without beans?"

So... we continued towards home, with Hick deciding that we would have Chinese food, since I agreed to try and wait. He was happy, because Chinese had been his first choice, but I still thought they'd be closed. Which they were!

That severely limited our options, since we were already in Backroads. The Gas Station Chicken Store only has chicken on the weekdays now, because they're still trying to hire cashiers and cooks. Country Mart's deli would only have "old food" left by 7:30 p.m. We didn't want pizza, so Domino's and Casey's were out. Dairy Queen had a packed parking lot. Hick decided on Hardee's chicken strips. Which are pretty tasty. So that was supper. With honey mustard sauce, of course.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

I'd Have Thought I Was Being Scammed for Being a Woman

Hick is starting to view the world in the eyes of the newly retired. Even though he's been retired for over a year. He made a lot of contacts in the working world. Was always getting free tickets to Cardinals or Blues games, and once for the St. Louis Rams. His boss put the kibosh on that, though. The boss thought it was not fair, and that such swag should be shared by all employees in the plant. So when such items arrived, addressed to Hick, they were taken, and a random drawing was held.

Hick was not really bitter about the new procedure. He's not one to dwell on such things. He did say that the company reps were not happy about it. "They say, 'We're sending them to YOU, not to some random hourly worker.' I'm the one who deals with them on a regular basis." Sure, there's the concept of kick-backs, and one hand washes the other. But Hick is not the type to be influenced by free gifts. He did business with the entities best suited for the company's needs. He also started getting things mailed to his home address, and not by his own request. I think my favorite was the two loaves of bread, blueberry and pumpkin, that we got every Christmas season.

Anyhoo... back when he was working, and we had a problem with our air conditioner/ furnace, the company we bought it from couldn't get here quick enough. A couple times, they didn't even charge us. That's what being a manager of facility maintenance can do for you. Yes, Hick did his work business with the same company. But nobody forced him to buy our air conditioner/furnace from that company when we built our house.

Thursday, our air conditioner wasn't rising to the occasion. As temperatures rose outside, so did they inside. It started when the electricity went off for 90 minutes. After that, our air conditioner couldn't seem to cool. Set at 74, it let the inside temp rise to 76. Once the sun went down, it cooled to 74 after a couple of hours. Hick went to look at the outside unit, and pronounced the coil to be "not-cold."

Let the record show that I've complained about this air conditioning/heating unit for years. It seems like we're always having a problem, and calling a service man. The one who showed up this time, I think known to Hick, said they haven't made a service call here in three years. That's a miracle, if accurate. That would mean we haven't had a problem since The Pony went off to college. That's how I measure time these days. Pony, and post-Pony.

I remember when we had a problem with the thermostat, and got a replacement. Also a time that the service man said there was a leak in the thing that holds the freon. A slow leak, he said. I'm not sure why it wasn't fixed, or a part replaced. Perhaps the cost would have been more than recharging with freon.

Let the record show that Hick was here for the service call (he missed his regular Friday afternoon bull session with his buddies), and that he accompanied the service man to the unit, and also brought him into the basement to check out the part that's inside. The diagnosis was low freon. Or perhaps NO freon.

It cost $481. That's $81 for the diagnostic service, and $400 for freon.

I guess that's only $133.33 per year. Not counting the service call.

Hick says we're lucky that they worked us in the next day. He'd only sent a text to his contact there on Thursday night, after hours. Good thing he cultivated those work relationships with people like himself.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

One of Val's CENTSes Is On the Fritz

This week's path to Future Pennyillionaire was short. Truncated. A road nearly not taken.

TUESDAY, May 14, I thought it was off to a good start. I had to park at the opposite end of Orb K's lot. How dare people stop for their convenience needs when I was on the hunt! I'd no sooner stepped out of T-Hoe than I saw it.

Just past the sidewalk peninsula that separates parking from the drive-thru lane. Of course I dashed out there to rescue Ol' Abe.

From the looks of him looking up at me, I was too late. Yes, that's his face. I couldn't read the date, even with a magnifying glass. I'm guessing around 2014, from the shield design on his tail side.

When I came out of the store and climbed into T-Hoe, I couldn't believe my luck. I spied ANOTHER penny! I might need to park here more often.

See it there, in the corner of the curb? Near the left side of a triangle formed if you draw a line across those cigarette butts? Yeah. I thought I saw it, too. Went to the trouble of getting a picture. Two.

Turns out it wasn't a penny at all! It's hard to tell with the sun glinting off the screen of my phone. My first clue was when I couldn't pick it up. STUCK! And soft. You can bet I pantomimed picking something up and putting it in my pocket. For the benefit of the car at the drive-thru window. Wouldn't want anyone to think Val is crazy...

So I actually only found one penny this week, of indeterminable age. Better one than none! Maybe I even learned something. Like I might need new glasses. Or at least to wear my glasses.

2019 Running Total
Penny   # 60.
Dime   still at 8.
Nickel  still at 7.
Quarter  still at 1.

Penny  131
Dime  17
Nickel  6
Quarter  1

2017 TOTALS (Started in March, 2017)
Penny  78
Dime   6
Nickel  0
Quarter  0

Friday, May 17, 2019

Val Should Have Stayed In Bed, Perhaps Until Now

Some days, it doesn't pay to get out of bed at 6:40 a.m. Especially when you left a wake-up call for 7:00. And your waker upper further misleads you by justifying that it's really 6:50, which is almost 7:00.

There really should be parking spaces closer than the last row, when you arrive at 8:40 for your 9:15 doctor's appointment with a nurse practitioner. And the phlebotomist surely knows that she only needs to enter the vein, and not jab all the way through it, twist it around, and come back in on the other side. Plus, using my favorite color (she must be psychic) of lime green stretchy wrap does not negate the pain of her pokings, nor excuse the tiny scrap of gauze meant to staunch the torrent of my life fluid released by her gouging.

Yes, my day did not start out well, and it continued downhill from the third floor lab after my blood siphoning. I reached up to smooth my lovely lady mullet, and felt the hair on my crown (of my head, silly, but wouldn't it be fabulous if I actually wore a crown!) matted with a crispy substance. Huh. I guess the tick I plucked out of my hair the day before had actually chomped on my scalp before capture, and my morning shampoo had dislodged the healing scab, leaving my platelets and fibrin free rein to start over. It felt like they might actually be building me a crown!

I was able to stop by the bank without incident, and switch a ten for a roll of dimes, two rolls of pennies, and four ones. That correct change for my magical elixir isn't going to make itself.

From there it was on to Walmart, the suckiest place on earth. Only four out of 20 checkouts were open. I thought I had a good one. Only a lady already paying, and a couple behind her with three items. THREE ITEMS! However, the paying lady couldn't get her card to work. Or the next card. Or the next. I don't know if she wrote a check, or found a working card, but she was baffled by how to sign her name on the chip-reader thingy. So the man of the couple showed her. Meanwhile, I couldn't get to the conveyor with my multitude of items, because the couple did that thing Hick always tries when he goes with me. Meaning he goes ahead of the cart, and stands there to pay, while the empty cart and woman pushing it are in the way. Not out by the bag carousel where they should be. That little trip cost me an hour of my life that I'll never get back.

At the Gas Station Chicken Store, I was 5th in line to pay for my 44 oz Diet Coke. Everyone but an old feeble guy used their card in the chip reader, which takes three times as long as cash. AND the lady two ahead of me bought the two scratchers I had planned to get. So I switched, because I'm superstitious like that. Good for me! One of the new picks won me $15, and the other won me $25. I swear this was the high point of my day, cashing in a $15 winner and winning back $40. Although I didn't know it yet, because I don't scratch until I'm home, sitting in my lair with my beverage and lunch.

Which, had I only known, was going to be much later this day. I still thought my luck was on the upswing, though, because Hick was in the yard on the Gator when I got home, and came to carry in the groceries! I was so hot and tired that I sat down to chat with him after putting stuff away. He was in a hurry to get to town, but sat down to list the camper on some form of media for sale.

We had been chatting for only five minutes when the lights went all disco with a power about-to-be outage. Ain't that the way it goes? After 6.5 hours of Not-Heaven, our electricity went off at 1:10, when I was ready for a well-earned lunch after fasting all morning for the blood test and then errands. Did you know that our house is totally electric? No air conditioner. No water, because the well pump runs off electricity. No internet even for HIPPIE with a charge, because of the magical non-seen juju of the router. At least I knew I had a flush in each of the three toilets. Hick said I had two. Then he abandoned me for town, saying "Oh, well. They'll get it fixed sometime." You know what else doesn't work without electricity? The ice dispenser on the door of FRIG II.

I couldn't figure out how to text my electrical outage to Ameren Missouri. It kept saying their procedure had changed. So I called them, using the contact I'd had The Pony put in my phone, which Genius had ridiculed. They said 53 homes were without electricity, and it should be back on by 3:15. So I set about writing out six checks for $1699.20 each, to take to school to cover our health insurance premiums for the next six months. Have I mentioned that I don't trust the mail? And I sure don't want to drive over to school once a month. They keep the checks in a file, and take them out as they're due. My best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel taught me that trick.

At 2:20, I saw an Ameren truck drive up the gravel road. I called Hick, but can you believe he didn't want to chat with me? Even though I had nothing to do except wait to bake as the temperature rose to the 88 degrees that was the outside temperature. I sorted through our casino offers for an upcoming palooza. Then at 2:35 decided to go get my lunch ready and put limes in my 44 oz Diet Coke and be ready at the stroke of 3:15 to head down to the lair.

At 2:39, the power returned. So I wasted good electricity time getting my lunch ready. Oh, and of course when I tried to squirt out mayo for my sandwich, it gave a farty noise, and a gob plopped down onto my Croc. You know how a Croc has holes for ventilation? Apparently, they're actually magnets for blobs of mayo. Because that's where it landed. I slid my foot out, and the mayo was in a perfect circle on my black sock. So there was some cleaning up to do.

I had barely gotten New Delly fired up, and had not even gotten to my sandwich when Hick returned. He had led me to believe that he wouldn't be home until around 6:30 (by saying "I won't be home until around 6:30"). As you might imagine, I was a bit apprehensive about the footsteps I heard pounding down the stairs. I was in the NASCAR bathroom at the time, without the door closed, and wondering if I should holler, "HEY! Is that you?" Or try to be quiet and hope the thief would go into the workshop and try to carry off three safes bolted to the floor. I decided on the quiet route, and returned to my lair, where Hick found me and started babbling about something I don't recall because I wasn't really listening, since he had not wanted to talk to me on the phone when I had nothing better to do.

Anyhoo... I finally got those scratchers scratched, and thought the bad luck was over, until I went upstairs at 6:30 to make Hick some supper. That's when I noticed it was awfully hot, and saw that the thermostat said the house was 76 degrees, even though the air conditioner was set for 74. Hick went out and checked the unit (heh, heh), and said the coil wasn't cool, and we probably need freon or coolant or something that is regulated and he can't do. So he's calling the cooling people to see if they can come Friday.

Of course Hick is never home on Friday. He is taking This Guy to his back therapy, and then going to his Storage Unit Store, and then to his weekly doctor appointment, and then driving around to shoot the bull with his buddies like he does every Friday. So I guess I'm stuck letting in the cooling guy.

Yeah. It doesn't pay to get up at 6:40 a.m., unless you count $40 as good compensation for a series of unfortunate events. I'm pretty sure I'll be seeing that woman from the Gas Station Chicken Store on the news for winning the top prize on one of those two tickets I had planned on getting...

Thursday, May 16, 2019

THIS Old House was $17,000

Way back in 1988, when I bought my first house, I found a bargain. There was a little old lady living in it, and she was moving across town. I lived in a townhouse at an apartment complex, where I met Hick. He just had a one-bedroom apartment there. Hick's a simple kind of guy.

The $17,000 house is just up the street from Hick House. I took a picture of the downhill side the other day. Every time I drive by, it makes me sad. It has fallen into such disrepair that it's probably just worth $17,000 again, even though we sold it for $44,000, I think.

Doesn't that poor thing make you want to weep? The gutters are going to come clanging down any day now. They've even boarded up the basement windows that were one of my reasons for wanting this house! That's a walk-out basement. The part on the back was originally a detached shed, but Hick turned it into a bedroom. There's an entryway between it and the main house, with a door to the driveway. Convenient for carrying in groceries and a baby.

The little window is over the kitchen sink. The big windows are in the bedroom. This is a double corner lot. There used to be a big tree near the stop sign. To the right, out of frame, is an alley where we got the bricks for our current sidewalk Hick built out front. Those bricks were slick as snot in the snow and ice! That's the way I usually came in, to get to the driveway. The city dug up those bricks and piled them all willy-nilly, when they decided to blacktop the alley. They were free for the taking.

Every time I tried to get a picture of the front of the house, there was a truck parked there. But Hick got me a picture, out the window of SilverRedO.

We had put on all new siding. The basement and window trim was painted Battleship Gray. I still remember going through the paint sample cards to decide. We didn't have that ridiculous little trellis thingy. Our porch was cedar, the natural cedar color, as was the front of the house around the door. As you can see, that's not vinyl siding. It was cedar. Like an accent wall thing. Hick built the porch rails, which were also cedar color.

The bumped-out part on the left of the porch is an addition to the living room we made for a computer nook. It has an octagon window that you can't see. The front door is the one we put in, with a glass storm door for winter, changed to screen for the summer.

That big bushy plant used to be my LILAC BUSH! I actually had two, the dark purple flowers and the light purple flowers. As well as two big rose bushes. Not that I have a green thumb. They were there when I bought the house. The driveway is just on the left of that big bushy thing. It goes all the way through to the alley in back. Very handy for not having to move a car to let the other one out.

Anyhoo... way back then, I had Hick take a look at this $17,000 house with me. He's the one who recommended my real estate agent. I knew Hick would fix up that house for me. For FREE! He's a giver like that. So... I bought the house. Hick updated the wiring, made some improvements in the bathroom, and started looking at what I could do with the basement. Hick must have really liked that house, because he proposed to me before the end of the school year, and we were married by Thanksgiving.

The first major project was building a room for Little HOS (Hick's Oldest Son), and Little Future Veteran, who were 9 and 7 years old. The house had only one bedroom, and the boys would be there alternate weekends, and in the summer. Hick put up a wall in the basement, and built in bunk beds. It was on the back yard side of the basement, under the kitchen.

Even though they had to share their room with the washer and dryer, the boys loved it. It had black-and-white checked tile, like a NASCAR winner's flag, and the bunks were bright red. Hick could have built their room to exclude the washer and dryer, but it would have been smaller, and without windows. I think he made the best design choice. Besides, it's not like I did laundry while they were in their room.

The rest of the basement was what the boys called their "apartment." It had a couch and chairs and a coffee table and TV with Nintendo. They had a wild time down there, playing with loud toys that didn't roll on the carpet upstairs. I can't thank my grandma enough for giving them those toys...

Eventually, Hick gutted an old shed on the back of the house, and made it into our master bedroom. Baby Genius arrived, and took the old bedroom upstairs. The big boys were by now 14 and 12, and weren't about to move upstairs. Not when they had their own apartment!

Sometime between the basement project and the added master bedroom, Hick totally re-did the kitchen. I know the boys were with us when we picked out cabinets, because the three of us sighed so much that we could have shriveled up like deflated balloons. Of course Hick was having a blast, roaming around in Central Hardware and Hoods (probably a local chain). I think he almost cried when Central Hardware went out of business. I don't know if he has the same attachment to Lowe's.

I hope HOS enjoys his $5000 house as much as we enjoyed the $17,000 house.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hick House Bedroom: Window 05-09-19


Seriously. He really didn't. Hick brought that pair of window-paned doors home, and leaned them against the garage, along with the old front door, and an interior door that he replaced. I saw them with my own eyes, before he stored them in the Freight Container Garage.

Yes, Hick sometimes knows what's good for him. He told me, before he put in this very-similar door-window, that he had found ANOTHER window-paned door over in the BARn. One he'd forgotten about, which was just a single door. So he figured it wouldn't hurt to cut it up and turn it into a window. Hick was really in love with that unopenable door-window idea.

Here it is from inside. Hick's other option was to build in a window air conditioner, and close up the rest of the opening. He said if it was HIS bedroom, he'd much rather have a window to look out on the porch and front yard. So now there's a window.

Hick also said there had been a fire in Hick House, and that's what the mess is in the ceiling. He didn't know if it was wiring, or what, but that the water damage came from fighting the fire. And that there was also smoke damage on the paint/wallpaper, which is why the walls had been all yellowed. No worries about an electrical fire in the future, since Hick replaced all the wiring.

HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) scraped the ceiling of the master bedroom this week. Hick and HOS bought drywall for the ceiling, which HOS is putting up, with assistance from a buddy. Hick doesn't want to be on a ladder trying to hold drywall with his PopArm. He took some drywall screws over for HOS last evening. HOS is kind of nocturnal, like me. He's also got a buddy coming to help finish the plumbing.

I don't know if Hick House will be ready on Hick's original timeline of June 1. He says we'll keep the electric in our name until July 1, but after that, HOS takes over the upkeep of Hick House. Once the inspector comes and approves habitability, they'll get the water turned on in HOS's name. They've already been catching rainwater in a bucket, and using it to flush the toilet. So that part of the plumbing is operational.

Not long now, until HOS has himself a house for life, loan-payment-and-rent-free!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Next For Hick: A More-Than $5000 Traveling House

Work on Hick House is winding down. For Hick, that is. He will be busy this week, taking This Guy to physical therapy after his back surgery, and This Guy's Wife to the city for a follow-up after her broken-hip surgery, and T-Hoe to Mick the Mechanic for an oil change and brake inspection. So... Hick has put HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) on a detailed task list. The plumbing needs finishing, the master bedroom needs drywall on the ceiling, and an upstairs bedroom needs painted. Also, the outdoor shed needs a roof, and the rest of the siding needs hanging. We'll see how this delegation of duties pans out.

In between overseeing all this rehab (of house and man and woman), Hick is sprucing up the camper he will be selling to recoup the cost of Hick House.

It's parked in the front yard right now, while he makes sure all systems work. For anybody who knows campers (like Blog Buddy Kathy), this is a 32 foot (according to Hick) 2011 Forest River Salem RV. He's asking a little more than the price of Hick House and renovations costs. Hick will be washing the grime off the outside. The inside is in good shape, though the stove will be getting a Hick-scrubbing, because it isn't as sparkling as he'd prefer. The back part is where an outside kitchen folds out, with a sink and stove and refrigerator.

It has a slide-out section, and also an outdoor shower behind that. According to Hick, it's just like a hose, but the specs list an outdoor shower.

Here's the living room, as you come in the door. The part that slides out. The couch makes a bed, as well as that table.

Looking forward. The main bedroom is behind the TV cabinet. Hick needs to get a TV to put in there. He says he'll probably get one at a pawn shop.

This looks back toward the bunk room. Bathroom is on the left, that wooden door past the refrigerator.

Here's the back bedroom. Bunk over outdoor kitchen area on the left, and a table and fold-down bunk on the right.

The wooden door is the bathroom door opened, this section just has the curtain, Hick says.

I was sure he had a picture of the bathroom, but I'm not finding it in my files. Maybe I just looked at it on his phone, and he didn't sent it. The bathroom has a sink, toilet, and little tub with a shower.

Anyhoo... Hick has put it on Buy/Sell/Trade, and put a picture up at his Storage Unit Store. He's had several inquiries. Once everything is good to go, Hick will be putting it on display up at the Storage Unit parking lot, where he can give tours. He said our neighbor wanted to look at it, so he told her she could walk over and go inside. He called me to tell me not to yell at her. AS IF! I'm so sure I would stick my head out the door and say, "Go on, now! GIT!"

Monday, May 13, 2019

When You Care Enough to Spend the Very Least

I cried (shenanigans) because I got a $3 change purse, and then I met a Val (in the mirror) who didn't get one.

Perhaps you remember my tale of a previous Mother's Day, when I bemoaned the fact that I received a $3 pink change purse, and two boxes of Sno-Caps. Not that I was expecting diamonds, or a new car, or even shoe inserts from The Good Feet Store. No, I don't care all that much about the gifts. It's just that Hick rakes in the swag on Father's Day. Three or four gifts, things he collects, like beer or car memorabilia, and usually some kind of tool as well.

Hick might not want to get his hopes up this year.

I got a card from Hick. Both boys say they've got one in the mail. I got a call from Genius, The Pony, and The Veteran. I got a text from HOS, who I talked to for 40 minutes on Friday. So I'm not a gift-seeker. It's just that ONE OF US seems to put more effort into such a holiday than the other.

Oh, I also got this. Frozen custard. Chocolate, with caramel and that hard shell chocolate stuff. Hick had a brownie special something. I don't think it has the diabetic seal of approval. You might notice that Hick dressed up for the occasion, wearing his funeral home suitable John Deere sweatshirt.

Yes, I got frozen custard for Mother's Day. It cost more than $3. Not that I'm counting...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Wanna Get My Picture on the Front Door of the Gas Station Chicken Store

Val feels like sharing a tune:

I'm a Diet Coke buyer
I'm a frequent flier
And I'm loved by my old Hick spouse
I blog about pennies and I blog about HOS
And our five thousand dollar house 
I take blood pressure pills
I get lottery thrills, but the thrill I can't ignore
Is the thrill that'll getcha when you get your picture
On the Gas Station Chicken Store door

Last week, I was waiting for the Man Owner to wait on me at The Gas Station Chicken Store, while he finished a transaction at the card-reader contraption. Woman Owner grabbed my shoulders as she squeezed behind me, lest I lurch back with one of my elephant legs and cripple her. That store is not very big. Woman Owner proceeded to the section of the counter to my left that raises to allow entrance to the register area. She had a paper in her hand. I recognized it as a color printout from their outside surveillance camera.

Woman Owner reached for the tape. That made Man Owner really discombobulated. He kept glancing at the picture. She held it up to him.

WOMAN OWNER: "I'm going to put it up, in case anybody knows him. We owe him money. Do you know him?"

MAN OWNER: "I do. But I don't know his name. He was just in here! You're not really putting up his picture, are you?"

WOMAN OWNER: "I am. We owe him $13.49! She overcharged him, and we need to give it back."

MAN OWNER: "I don't know if I would do that..."

Woman Owner held the picture up to me. Written clearly across the top was: DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN? WE OWE HIM MONEY!"

WOMAN OWNER: "What do you think?

ME: "Well, I'd think it was funny, if it was MY picture. It says you owe him money. But some people might not think it's funny..."

Woman Owner laid down the picture while we were talking. A new customer had stepped over to the counter by her register. He was reading it upside down.

NEW CUSTOMER: "Oh. You owe HIM money."

As Even Steven would have it, Man Owner rang up my transaction wrong during this discussion. He was overcharging me by ten dollars. Of course I had already planned out my purchase. I had the exact change of $1.69 ready for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. I knew that I was cashing in two ten-dollar winners, and buying two five-dollar scratchers, and a ten-dollar scratcher. I think Man Owner must have rung up that ten-dollar ticket at the beginning, and again at the end, because he was expecting $11.69 from me.

MAN OWNER: "Does that sound right?" He always asks me that. He's only been doing this job about 20 years, you know.

ME: "No. I should just own you for the soda. I traded in twenty dollars, to buy two fives and one ten dollar ticket."

He cleared out the register and rang it up again. Right this time.

MAN OWNER: "There. That's better. Sorry about that!"

ME: "It's okay. I thought I might get my picture on the door! Because you'd owe me money."

 In case you didn't guess the song at the beginning, I borrowed a little from Dr. Hook's 
"Cover of the Rolling Stone." 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

CHANGE on the Horizon for Val

Just when I'd almost given up my pennyquest for this week, I opened T-Hoe's door on THURSDAY, May 9, and saw

a shiny face-down 2014 nickel silently screaming for my attention. I waited for the car parked next to me to leave before hopping out with my phone camera. Wouldn't want anyone to think I was a weirdo, you know.

I swear, both of these photos seemed more in-focus on my phone, without my glasses. Maybe the lens was fogged up from humidity... This was at the Backroads Casey's.

After picking up my 44 oz Diet Coke at The Gas Station Chicken Store two doors down, I headed for Orb K. Which was also coinly accommodating.

I didn't need those glasses to see, or a drumroll from that drum stick to call my attention to the face-down 1999 penny, waiting there just for me.

I hope the guy behind my behind has recovered from exposure to my ample rumpus as I bent over to snatch this beauty before some squinty-eyed ice-cream-lover absconded with it.

FRIDAY, May 10, the Casey's over in Walmart Town was also generous.

This 2012 beauty was heads-up, hiding just far enough under the edge of the counter to make retrieval harder than it needed to be.

Let the record show that nobody was behind me in line for a rumpus view. I think I can hear the collective sigh of relief.

So... seven cents for Val this week. So far. There's still Stop-the-Presses Saturday to deal with, as I'm scheduling this Friday to publish automatically.

2019 Running Total
Penny   # 58, 59.
Dime   still at 8.
Nickel   # 7.
Quarter  still at 1.

Penny  131
Dime  17
Nickel  6
Quarter  1

2017 TOTALS (Started in March, 2017)
Penny  78
Dime   6
Nickel  0
Quarter  0