Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Missing Hick

Let the record show that the word "missing" in the title is being used as an adjective. Not a verb. NOT-HEAVEN, NO! Surely you didn't think ol' Val was missing her sweet baboo! Please! The thought of that makes my ribs sore in anticipation of a laugh-fest, and my ample buttocks sore in anticipation of falling out of my rolly chair during that laugh-fest.

Anyhoo... I woke up Tuesday morning to find Hick missing! Okay. That's semi-accurate. I woke up for a nanosecond when he tossed a pair of ankle socks onto the bed before going to get in the shower at 6:20 a.m. You know, because our bed is the only place he can get dressed in the whole 1600 square-foot house. Who knew a pair of ankle socks could make such an impact? Probably just me, and that princess with the pea tenderness.

Anyhoo... when I got out of bed at 9:15, Hick was gone. That's not at all unusual. In fact, he had mentioned two days ago that he might take HOSS (Hick's Oldest Son's Son) on a day trip before school starts up again. He was thinking maybe to the city to see the Transportation Museum, or to Metropolis, Illinois, to the Superman statue and museum. However, the last update I heard from Hick the night before was that he hadn't heard back from HOS, so he didn't know if they were going.

In addition, I had originally wanted Hick to give me a wakeup call at 9:30, since I had plans on getting a haircut and doing some shopping, and if the weather is cloudy (it wasn't) I don't always wake up after my 5-6 hours of sleep. However, I told him to forget it, because if he was with HOSS, I didn't want him fiddling with his phone while driving. It's one thing for him to sweave ME within inches of death due to his distractions, but HOSS is only 10, and doesn't have a choice whether to be swoven dangerously.

As I walked to the kitchen to unplug my phone, I heard a message come in. It was from Hick. It provided me with no clues to his whereabouts.

"I tried to call you at 9 for the rest stop this phone wouldn't call for some reason"

Since I wasn't needing a rest stop, I figured this was just Hick-text saying that his phone wouldn't word at the rest stop for my wakeup call. I had NO IDEA what rest stop he was talking about. If he was going to Metropolis, he wouldn't have had time to get to a rest stop. I don't recall a rest stop on the way to the city. The only rest stop we frequent is down by Springfield (MO), totally in the other direction. Did Hick change his plans? Was HOSS unavailable? Had Hick taken himself on a flea market tour, or to the Case Knife factory outlet in Lebanon?

I sent back an OK text, not wanting to call Hick, in case he was pulling out on the highway from the rest stop. I went on about my day. Still no word from Hick after the shearing of my lovely lady-mullet and Walmart excursion (where I spent 17 minutes in line).

At 1:45, I tried to call Hick. Maybe he was alone, and headed back home. The call immediately went to voice mail. At 2:00, I tried again. Seven rings, then voice mail. Huh. IF he had taken the knife route, he would be in no-phone-land for 36 minutes. Maybe that was it. No. It was not.

At 3:36 p.m., Hick called and said, "We're on our way back now." Further interrogation revealed that he had indeed taken young HOSS to Metropolis, and that they'd taken pictures and had lunch at Dairy Queen, and that it's a 3-hour drive one-way. Poor HOSS! I hope that was worth getting up and leaving at 8:00 a.m. on one of his remaining sleep-in days before school starts.

So the mystery of Hick's disappearance was solved. But seriously. How hard would it have been for him to leave me a paper-plate note on the kitchen counter of where he was going?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Sometimes, the Scariest Things Are Those You CAN Explain

We seem to having a spate of paranormal inactivity lately. The only odd things being the standard smudge on my spectacles that I leave in my office, and the light at the end of the pool table going off, then slyly coming back on when I turn to look at it. Oh, I heard Hick stumping around upstairs at 8:10 Saturday night when he returned from the auction. Except I heard him come in the door and stump some more at 9:15, the time he actually arrived home. So it's been pretty minor.

I still hear footsteps upstairs when I'm laying back in my OPC (Old People Chair) watching TV between midnight and 3:00. And sometimes, when I go upstairs to bed, I can feel someone/something in the master bathroom when I walk in. I don't turn on the light, so as not to disturb the breathered beauty sleep of Hick. I close the door behind me, and in that instant before I turn on the light, there's sometimes a palpable heaviness to the air, as if I'm not alone. Occasionally the crack of the floor tile settling over towards the toilet.

When I turn on the light, I halfway expect to see something in there with me. That's probably just PTSD from the time HICK was sitting on the toilet when I turned on the light! Sheesh! You'd think he could have closed the door, or had the light on, or called out, "I'm in here" when I walked in. Or maybe he is still trying to kill me (I'm pretty sure), and a heart attack is one of the ways he can't be traced.

Anyhoo... Saturday night, I changed into my sleepwear, turned out the light, and opened up the bathroom door to walk around the bed to my side. Let the record show that I'm blinder than a bat during this trek. My retinas are burned out from those seven giant globe lights over the bathroom sink. There are no landmarks to guide me around the end of the bed. We used to have a light out at Poolio, that I could see through the louvers of the french doors out onto the porch. But I guess that light doesn't work any more. I'm walking sightless.

I take it slow, and by the time I get to the corner at the foot of the bed, I can sense a faint glow where those doors are. So I reach out my left hand and feel for the bedpost. Then I know I'm at the right place to turn and walk along my side of the bed. I can make out the red numbers on my clock radio, but they don't illuminate even the rest of the nightstand. I have to feel for the edge of it before setting down my bubba cup of ice water.

Then I feel for the bed, to turn back the covers. I usually have to grip the side of the fitted sheet, and try to yank it down over the corner, because Hick has a way of spinning like one of those paper tubes in a cotton-candy vat, and rolling up in the bedclothes. Then I reach for my top pillow, to lift it up a bit, and perch it just right on my bottom pillow.


It was an ARM! A limp, living ARM laying across my pillow! Oh, the HORROR! I didn't so much lift it as wedge the back of my hand under it and try to shoo it back onto Hick's side of the bed. He snorted and started spinning, undoing the sheet-recovery that I'd just accomplished. But at least he was off my side of the bed. My pillow, however, was warm from his arm, and I had to flip it over.

I don't like a change in my routine. I really don't like finding an arm in my bed.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Goodies Not From Goodwill

Hick bought some stuff at the auction Friday night. Here they are on a table at his Storage Unit Store, with the plastic scooter he got the other day for $6. Speaking of that scooter, he said a girl around 10 wanted it, and her dad said she didn't need it. They walked off, and she was saying, "But I really wanted that!" Not in a whiny way. Just to let him know she DID need it! Hick said he saw the family walking all around, then as they were up front ready to go out, the girl came running back with $10 and bought the scooter. So he made $4 off it.

Hick got the two wrestling arenas and eight wrestlers all for a total of $2. Not the bigger wrestlers. He already had them, I think. He sold one arena for $5, and four wrestlers for $2 each. So he made $11 off his $2 investment and still has MEAT ON THE BONE!

He bought the two pink hair dolls for $5 total. Hick says they sing and dance and their eyes light up. He had several doll-lookers, but nobody was crazy about them.

When Hick came home, he puttered around in his Freight Container Garage, looking for more stuff to sell, and found two more items that he'd overlooked since originally buying those 18 storage units.

Hick said this Mad Max model is worth $200! But he wanted me to look it up. I did see one on eBay for $200, and one on Amazon for $224. Of course, Hick's has been opened, and has a hole in the box there by the headlight. He says he's going to ask $50 for it, firm, and if anybody objects, he'll tell them to "look it up on the internet!" Also, that if it doesn't sell there at his Storage Unit Store, he'll put it on Buy/Sell/Trade, where shoppers in the city can see it.

This is a Johnny Lightning Muscle Car set. They're all there. The information card has slipped out of that slot. These (the muscle car variety) are going for $34 on eBay. Not sure what Hick is going to ask for his.

Hick is cleaning off a special shelf for them at his Storage Unit Store. I think it should be up front, where he can make sure some ne'er-do-well doesn't open up the box and take one.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Val Was Almost a Tractor Trailer

This is gonna cost Hick another guilt trip. We were barely back in A-Cad after Hick tipped the casino valet than Hick announced: "I called the guy about fixing my tractor belt. You'll have to follow me." You might notice that this was not a request. It was a command.

Oh, I'll DO it. But that doesn't mean I'll be cheerful about it. It was as if Hick read my mind. We can't have THAT!

"I don't know why you're so grouchy about it. All you have to do is drive behind me."

"I know that. With my flashers on. When? I need to know a day ahead. Don't just spring it on me."

"Any day. I called him about this week. So he's expecting it."

"This is already Tuesday. Friday is out, because of your store and your doctor's appointment. So that means tomorrow or Thursday. Do you want to do it tomorrow, and get it over with?"

"That's okay."

"What time? Don't think I'm getting up early for this. You'll go when I'm good and ready. That won't be before 11:00. That's the earliest. So I just have to drive behind you while you make all the drivers mad, and then bring you back home?"

"I won't make the drivers mad. I can get that tractor up to 30 miles an hour!"

"People drive 55 or more on that road. They'll be mad."

"It's only five miles."

"Okay. So they'll only be mad for five miles."

"Why are you acting like it's so hard?"

"I don't like anything that disrupts my routine. I like a routine. I'll follow you while you make drivers mad, and bring you home. Then I'm free to go on to town for my soda?"

"Yeah. That's all you have to do."

I'm pretty sure I'll have to take him there after repairs are done, and follow him back. While he makes drivers mad. He didn't mention that part.

I jubilantly report that upon rising from my slumber Wednesday morning, I found a text from Hick (an actual text, not a paper-plate note) that he'd decided not to take his tractor for repairs.

"Val I'm not going to take the tractor out there it might cost $300 to do that so I can put the belt on myself."

I interpreted this to mean Hick will use his own mad mechanical skillz to put a belt on his tractor.  I speak pretty good Hick. He called later, and said that a belt for his lawnmower had cost almost $70, so he figured this one would be more, and then the labor charges. In Hick's own words, "I need to learn how to work on this tractor anyway."

Never mind that he has a spare tractor.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Last Week's Wealth is Still RepreCENTed

My Future Pennyillionaire Fortune continues to accrue. Part of it made a fashionably late appearance on Saturday, too late to be included with last week's totals. We can't let that go unrecorded.

SATURDAY, July 20, I found this dime at Orb K!

It was way over in the corner, kind of hard to retrieve. I nabbed it, though!

A face-down 2012, there in the detritus apparently invisible to the Orb K cleaning crew. Meaning the detritus. Not the dime. I'm pretty sure they would have seen IT.

MONDAY, July 22, I was back in Orb K, having made it a daily stop since last Thursday, when The Gas Station Chicken Store ran out of Diet Coke in their soda fountain.

These things happen for a reason, I suppose, because I found a DIME when I turned to get in line after ogling the scratcher display. You probably can't see it here, behind the work-boot heels of the corrections officer I'd been chatting with at the soda fountain. That white thing isn't the dime! It's unswept trash. The dime is in a spot of glare, at about the 8:00 position, across the crack, if you use that heart-shaped stain on the floor as the center of a clock.

Thank goodness my phone adjusted the light in the close-up. It was a heads-up 1981.

THURSDAY, July 25, I was back at Orb K once again. I might just as well sit on the floor there with a tin cup, waiting for coins to fall into it!

I was pleased to see a penny waiting for me, and also to see that the energy supplement shelf was well-stocked for the coming weekend!

I bent over to pick up my tail-flaunting 2001 penny with one leg stretched out behind me like a graceful figure skater. Kinda. More for balance than for beauty.

That's 21 more cents toward my Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!

2019 Running Total
Penny     # 79.
Dime      # 13, 14.
Nickel    still at 8.
Quarter   still at 4.

Penny  131
Dime  17
Nickel  6
Quarter  1

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

Hick Hits the Goodwill Jackpot

Our way home from the casino Tuesday afternoon was a Goodwill tour for Hick. He'd planned to stop at three separate stores, but was too busy making people mad in the fast lane to get over in time to take an exit.

The first Goodwill is quite close to the casino. Hick found an oil lamp there. My pictures aren't good, because I took them in the car.

Hick propped his lamp on a box of Puffs Plus Lotion. He hasn't dumped the mini wastebasket since his trip to Oklahoma last week to help The Pony's professor. And I have no idea how he got my junk mail in A-Cad, since he doesn't pick up the mail, and I don't drive A-Cad. Good thing I noticed and Painted it out, or you all might have showed up at my address!

Anyhoo... Hick got the oil lamp for $3. It's missing its globe, but he already has a globe, and says that after he puts it on, he can get $8 for the oil lamp at his Storage Unit Store.

Hick found other treasures at the Goodwill halfway home.

That's a little plastic scooter thingy. It was in perfect shape. The helmet was hanging on the handlebar, but with all Hick's sweaving, it fell off. You can see it on the floor, blue. Not for a child to ride on, but for an oversize doll. Heh, heh. I was thinking BRATZ, but looks like it's for the 18-inch OUR GENERATION dolls. I found one exactly like it on eBay for $41. Target seems to be the retailer, where the scooter is $29 new. Hick got his scooter for $4, and says he'll sell it for $8 to somebody's grandma, and make a little girl very happy.

Don't worry that Hick scalped somebody, or bought himself some hair extensions. Those tresses on the seat belong to...

...a horsie! Sorry I cut the head off that horse on the left. Don't worry, it won't show up in your bed. It's hard to take a picture over your shoulder while Hick is sweaving at 70 mph. Hick got one horse for $2, and the other for $1. He doesn't know why. He's going to ask $4 each for them.

Let's recap. Hick spent $10 on these treasures. He will be asking a total of $24. He is thrilled at the prospect of reaping a $14 profit.

He'll probably take less if customers want to dicker over the price.


NOW Hick says he paid $6 for the scooter, and is asking $18 for it. And says he sold two guns today, making a $45 profit on one of them and $5 on the other. Which is why I think it is foolish to have money tied up in guns, when he can make a $5 (or higher) profit on a doll scooter with very little money invested. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Val's Theory of Winningtivity

Hick and I didn't fare too poorly on his guilt trip to the casino Tuesday. We didn't leave BIG winners, but we both left with money. At this venue, that's almost a miracle.

We played slots for 50 minutes before meeting for our half-pound hot dog feast. Let's emphasize that Hick played for 50 minutes. I spent about ten minutes walking to and from the bathroom. I got off to a bad start, but just before heading back up front for lunch, I sat down at a Fu Dao Le slot. It's the one with the giggling babies that come out just before a bonus. Well. I didn't get the giggling babies, but I got a bonus! On the 5th spin! I hit the three green disc thingies on the middle reels. My bonus paid me $70. I took it and ran. Ran to a Buffalo Stampede slot, which was on the way to Burger Brothers. I only had about five minutes to play, which was unfortunate, because I was sure that Buffalo was going to pay me if I'd only kept playing.

After lunch, I had another 90 minutes of playing time. I wandered through the quarter three-reel slots. They didn't pay me. I tried a new slot for me, Power Strike. I'd call that one a draw. I was only betting 30 cents. That's HICK money! I went on toward the back, to one of my favorites, Dancing Drums. I must say, I spent entirely too much time there, and inserted too much money, at 88 cents a spin. That's the minimum. It usually gives me a bonus. Not this time. People came and went at the other two Dancing Drums at my kiosk. I didn't hear them hit a bonus, either. Time was running out. I only had twenty minutes left before I needed to start up front to meet Hick. I was kind of annoyed with Dancing Drums. I was going to make them dance, by cracky!

I thought of taking out my player's card. Sometimes that changes my luck. But I left it. I fed that slot a twenty, and hit the 2X button on the bet. That was $1.76 a spin. The reels spun, and BONG BONG BONG! I hit the bonus! What an extraordinary stroke of good luck. Not only to hit it, but to have a 2X bet in, which would make the payoff better!

I snuck a picture for you, of the total after my bonus. That's $122.60. Not so much snuck, as blatantly took it. I tried several times while the bonus was counting up, but it was blurred. I was lucky to get this one. I figured the rowdy folks at the gaming table directly behind me had the attention of the eye in the sky. Besides, I've never been accosted for taking a picture in this casino.

You can bet (heh, heh, see what I did there?) that I cashed that ticket and ran. Okay. I fed in my $70 ticket, and cashed out the new total, and hobbled across the aisle to another game I'd never played, to kill the last minutes of my casino time. Don't even think that I considered walking up front with time left!

This new game was also an Asian theme, and spit video coins up top every so often. I was playing the minimum of 60 cents per spin. It was kind of fun, but I had no sound on my machine. Oh, not to worry, because a rotund man sat down at the middle machine, to my right, and his wife took the one on the other side of him, and BOTH of their machines had sound. MAX sound. They seemed to be winning up a storm, but I figured mine would have been making those noises, too, every time I hit a little win. That machine wouldn't let me play my twenty down to nothing. In fact, it kept going up, and even when I'd decide to cash out the next time my total went down to a value ending in 5 or 0, it kept winning. I finally hit what I declared was my last spin, and won the progressive bonus of $24 and change. So I cashed out. I mean put in my other ticket, so it was all on one, and headed up front.

Here's what I left with:

That's taken from the top of the toilet paper holder in the women's bathroom. They're always very clean! Before posting it, I had to Paint out the bar code. We don't want somebody printing one off the internet, making their own voucher, and trying to scam the casino! I don't know how they came up with that time stamp, because I know for a fact that this picture was taken at 2:29 p.m. central daylight time! I was very conscious of the time, since we were supposed to leave at 2:30. Of course, that's not all profit, because I had to put in some money to win it. But my casino bankroll is bursting with good health.

Hick lost $8 for the day, and he was ecstatic! That works out to only losing $2.83 per hour! He'll make it back when he sells the Goodwill purchases he made on the trip home.
More on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A Gambler Wagers On Her Stomach

Hick took me on a guilt trip to the casino Tuesday. It was completely his idea. Lunch was apparently mostly on me. And he also stopped at two Goodwills, missing his turn for the third because he was yakking and sweaving over in the next-to-fastest of five lanes.

We left home at 10:35, and valet parked (Hick treats himself sometimes) at 11:40. Hick decreed that we would meet for lunch at Burger Brothers at 12:30. I couldn't decide on whether I wanted a burger, or the half-pound hot dog. Here's the menu. I am not a hot dog aficionado like Hick. I've seen him get one there before, though, and wished I had chosen it, when they didn't cook my burger right. I decided I'd rather have the sure thing instead of taking a chance on getting a mealy over-done burger. They're fantastic when cooked just right, medium, all juicy and dripping and slightly pink inside.

Anyhoo... while I was still deciding, Hick finished ordering, so I had to make a snap decision, which was the hot dog. Oh, my. What a hot dog it was. The pictures don't do it justice.

Yes, it was a foot long. I could have chosen the Italian sausage (with peppers and onions), which would have been a bit fancier, but I didn't want spicy meat. Hick likes the spicy meat, but not the peppers and onions. He ordered his hot dog with a side of pickles and not-cooked onions.

I think Hick was still adding onion and more pickles when I snapped this picture. The pictures don't make them look nearly as appetizing as the burgers, but these hot dogs were more tasty than the badly-done burgers we've gotten on occasion. You may think, "EEWW! Hot dogs!" But bear in mind that Hick and Val are simple people, with simple tastes. Which does not mean we are without manners. Well. One of us, anyway.

I used a black plastic knife to saw my hot dog in half. For better manageability. I even had a knife for Hick, which he declined, and chose to PICK UP his entire foot-long hot dog with pickles and onions. On the first bite, the bun came apart. Yet he still refused to cut it. I don't know why I expected any different from the man who, in another casino, sitting at a little bistro table next to the wrought-iron rail next to a major walkway, picked up his little bag of Lay's Potato Chips and tilted his head back and shook them into his mouth. At least he used his fingers on the onion rings this time.

I must confess that I ate that entire hot dog! I chose to dip it alternately in ketchup and mustard, rather than line the bun with it. I knew that bun would separate. I couldn't finish all the fries, though. Which I guess was a good thing, because look what I found in them.

Yes, that's how many I had left. Finding those rotten ones really had nothing to do with my loss of appetite. I was just full. But still, I was outraged to discover that I'd been served a bad potato! It doesn't really take all that much to outrage Val. Hick, on the other hand, turned down my offer of fries because HE was full, and said that the rotten ones were no big deal.

"What? I think the person who cut up the potato should have at least taken out the rotten part!"

"It was probably a machine that cut the potato."

"Well, a person had to put it in the machine! And a person had to fry it! You can't go serving rotten produce to people in a restaurant. Not even in a casino!"

Seriously! What if a squirrel head fell into the potato-cutting machine? Would they leave it in there with the cut fries? Would they fry a squirrel head and serve it to me? I don't think so!

Anyhoo... when we were paying, I used my $10 food credit comp. I also had $6.74 in MyCash that Hick declared, "Yeah, use that!" I didn't really mind, because to use it for free play, it's only worth half that, and you can't use an amount less than five dollars. Hick contributed $.92 in MyCash. Our bill came to $3.88. Hick had the debit card out to pay, but put it away and used cash. Heh, heh. That was probably gun-money profit from his Storage Unit Store.

I did enjoy my half-pound hot dog and some unrotten fries.
Tomorrow we'll talk winnings and losings.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Maybe It's a Guilt Trip

Let the record show that Hick did not mention one word about the legal paper I created for him. I took it upstairs and left it on the folder where he had the whole set of papers. Some for signing by This Guy, This Guy's Wife, and HOS (Hick's Oldest Son). Yeah. The deed STILL hasn't been transferred on Hick House! I guess the wait now is for HOS to sit down with Hick and the bad-hay-baling lawyer for signatures and notarizing. HOS has a new job, so I guess they have to work around his schedule, and the bad-hay-baling lawyer, whose practice is in the city, an hour drive home.

Anyhoo, nary a thank-you from Hick. No comment on the high quality of my workmanship. I could probably bale hay better than that barrister, too! I told Hick we need to deduct at least $10 from that lawyer fee. Of course, if we're going by the hour, it would be considerably more.

I though about fishing for a compliment from Hick. Or trying to shame him for not appreciating my mad keyboard skillz. That stuff doesn't work on Hick, though. So imagine my surprise when he came in from puttering around at the BARn (I guess he had some de-Jack-itizing to do), sat down on the long couch, and said,

"I just came in to see if you're still alive. And to see if you might want to go to the casino tomorrow."

FIRST OF ALL, who says that to his wife? Unless maybe he's been trying to kill her all these years (I'm pretty sure of it). Why can't Hick just leave off that first sentence? Am I supposed to think he's doing me a favor? Because I don't. Maybe he was going to celebrate if I wasn't. Maybe he had to call off a party! Does he know something I don't? And if he was just randomly checking, before I started to decompose, I wouldn't know anyway, because I'd be dead! So maybe we'd better have a talk about him blatantly telling me he thought I could be dead, only 3.5 hours after last seeing me before leaving the house...

The good part, though, is that he suggested a trip to the casino. I know he has an ulterior motive (besides maybe killing me). I asked why he came up with this idea, since he'd spent two days staying at a casino in Oklahoma last Monday and Tuesday. And he said he thought maybe he'd go by his Goodwill stores in the city. Uh huh. I KNEW he wasn't just thinking of me and that grueling 43 minutes of work I'd put in on his legal document the night before.

Anyhoo... I haven't been to a casino for about six weeks now, and I haven't been to this one for a long, long time. So long that my comps have dropped off to almost Hick level. At least I'll get a burger or a giant hot dog for lunch.

If I can avoid getting caught, I might even take a picture...

Monday, July 22, 2019

Hick, the Gift That Keeps On Giving...Me Work

A Val's work is never done. She's a mixer, she's a nixer, she's a legal tort fixer, she types her blog posts on the run.

Seriously. Hick springs work on me at the last minute, like it's my JOB or something! Tosses a wrench into my well-oiled machine, after a leisurely day of doing nothing, footloose and fancy free, the only chore looming on the horizon being Hick's supper. I was halfway done with that. I'd promised him spaghetti, so I mixed his sauce in the morning. Don't think it took a lot of effort. I use a canned sauce, and add hamburger, mushrooms, minced garlic, a packet of sugar free sweetener, and grind in some black pepper.

Yes, all I had to do was boil up some noodles, and pop frozen garlic toast into the oven. Then I could put away leftovers and clean up the mess. All told, it only took 45 minutes out of my evening. I sat down on the short couch to rest before making my own supper. I don't like spaghetti.

Well. First cat out of the bag, Hick said that HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) has a buddy in a little pickle, currently cooling his heels in the Crossbars Hilton, wanting his wife to sell some of his guns for cash. Even though I wasn't wearing shoes, I think my heels could have carved out ruts in the blacktop for forty feet, as I screeched on my brakes at that prospect.

"Surely you're not gonna buy those guns! What if they're stolen? What's the guy locked up for, anyway? If it's for theft, I'm pretty sure you don't wanna get involved in this."

"I don't know. I can get a picture of his wife's driver's license on my phone, to prove she sold them to me."

"All that proves is that you took a picture of her driver's license! Why don't they just pawn them, if they're legal?"

"Because I'll pay them more money. He might need the money to get out."

"That's HIS problem. I really don't think you should do this. I sounds shady."

"The guns are at his dad's house now. So the wife will have to get them from him. He's not gonna give them to her if they're not legal."

"Or he WILL, to get rid of evidence! So he doesn't get caught with them!"

"I don't know. First I'll see if she comes up with them."

Yeah. I'm a NIXER. Doing my best to put the kibosh on gun-running. Then Hick springs the latest chore on me.

"I've got the papers from the lawyer. He forgot to put the property description on the form This Guy has to sign. I'm not taking the papers back to him. I said you can write it in. You have good writing. Here's the form. Right there, between those paragraphs. Write in the description from THIS page."

"How in the world am I going to do that? And file it in court? I don't think so."

"Your writing is way better than mine. You don't want ME to write it."

"Can't I just type up the paragraph, print it, cut it out, and lay it in the space and make a new copy?" [Don't even suggest scanning it and inserting the description and then printing it. For me, that would be like recovering the original moon landing technology, and flying back there overnight.]

"Yeah. I guess you can. But it might be easier for you to just type that whole page over and put it in there."

"Well. I guess I can do that. When do you need it?"

"Tomorrow morning."

"It's already 7:30! I have other things to do, you know."

"I'm sure you can find the time. How long can it take?"

That's easy for him to say. I still had to make my own supper, clean up, eat it, type up two blog posts to publish the next day, and find the pack of paper I needed for my printer, since it ran out with the boys' letters Thursday night.

FYI, that little task took 43 minutes. Would have been less, but it took forever to figure out why I couldn't get the same spacing. I had the fonts figured out, and the size, and when to center and when to justify the left margin... but that darn spacing wouldn't decrease. It was on single space, but still too far apart. After much trial and error, I figured out that I was spacing after each paragraph, so each time I'd spaced to start a new line, to make my sentences begin and end with the same words as the original form... I was actually double-spacing between lines. Got it fixed! Now the rest of the night is mine! Such as it is, here in my lair at 11:19 p.m.

A Val's work is never done until Hick-given projects are complete. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

When One Door Closes, It May Never Open Again

Alexander Graham Bell never said that. So don't quote me as quoting him.

Hick took a little trip last week, out to Oklahoma to build a device for The Pony and his professor, in their lab. He did some research, spent money on the part, devoted three days time, and received nothing in return. It's a long and convoluted story, told elsewhere, but the point is... Hick was gone Monday thru Wednesday last week. And I survived!

In fact, I thrived. Did as I pleased, without trying to please anyone else. Oh, come on! Don't act like I never do anything for Hick anyway. He's back now, and our routine has resumed. I have stopped bagging up the trash for myself, and he has returned to ignoring it until not a single plastic drinking straw can be placed atop the jenga-summit.

The heat has been oppressive. I even cautioned Hick to stay inside and NOT mow the yard on Thursday or Friday. It's about six acres, not a little patch of grass. It takes him several hours on the riding mower. I didn't want him getting heat stroke, which could cut into my time, what with applying cold wet towels to his flushed flesh, or driving him to the hospital. He agreed not to mow. He messed with a few of his treasures over in the BARn or Freight Container Garage, getting ready for weekend business at his Storage Unit Store. Then he came inside to do some laundry (you know why he does his own).

Hick was already gone up to the storage lockers on Friday morning when I left to mail the boys' weekly letters. The heat hit me when I stepped out the kitchen door. Took my breath away. Only my Sweet, Sweet Juno greeted me, with a lackluster sweep of her feathery tail. She plodded to the side porch for a few crumbs of cat kibble. None of her usual exuberance. No jumping or yelping or wiggling or doggy-smiling.

When I came home, T-Hoe's mirror thermometer said 98 degrees. Juno was standing at the edge of the BARn field, and took off for the house. Copper Jack was by her, at the edge of the largest sinkhole, by the driveway. That was unusual for them. They generally don't hang out there, unless the crazy deadly (to chickens) neighbor dogs are loose and plotting attack. My little spotted Jack was nowhere to be seen. So he missed a tasty stale hamburger bun that Juno and Copper Jack had for their treat.

When Hick came home from his weekly doctor appointment and two-hour bull-shooting session with his machine shop buddy, I asked if he'd seen Jack.

"No, but I think he was out there this morning."

"Okay. Because I didn't see him when I left OR came home. Juno and the other Jack were there, though."

"I'm sure he'll turn up."

"Yeah. I hate to think of him jumping in the creek for a swim, and getting swept away. You know how high it got."

"He'll be fine."

"Well, he missed his treat this afternoon!"

Hick left for the auction around 6:00. At 6:15, he called me.

"I found your dog Jack! He was in the BARn. He tore up my insulation! Now I have to clean up the mess."

"So you LOCKED HIM IN THE BARn? Like you've done to Juno so many times?"

"Yeah. But Jack usually runs out. I pull the door closed real slow, so he has time. I guess he didn't get out last night."

"WAIT! You mean Jack was locked up in the BARn for over 24 HOURS? You came in the house around 4:00 yesterday. He was in there all that time, with no food or water? In this heat?"

"It's not that hot in there."

"Oh, so houses don't get hot inside in this weather? Why do people even have air conditioners? That is a METAL BARn, with a metal roof! But you're telling me it's not that hot?"

"Not really. It's not like he was out in the sun. That dang dog! You should see the mess he made! I'll send you a picture when I get to the auction. Oh! Here he is now. I'm up by HOS's old place. I guess Jack and Other Jack followed me up here."

"In this heat? After no food or water for 24 hours? I hope he doesn't have heat stroke! Running that far (half mile) can't be good for him right now! I hope they don't try to follow you all the way out to the county road (two miles)."

"Nah. They follow me over to Back Creek Neighbor Bev's all the time. That's where they think I'm going. They'll stop when I go past there."

"I feel so bad for little Jack."

"Why? You should SEE the mess he made! He destroyed my door!"

"I don't know how you can blame HIM! He's just a dog. When that door closes, he has no idea that you'll ever come back. To him, he's shut up in a cage, and he has to escape or die! No wonder Marley was going crazy last night. Probably heard Jack howling. And Juno and big Jack had probably been over by the BARn when I came home, and ran up to the road to meet me. THEY knew you'd locked up Jack! How many times have I told you to make sure they're out? Good thing you went to check!"

"Well... I didn't see him, and I got to thinking maybe he'd got locked in last night..."

Here's the damage:

Jack has strong digging feet!

He's also pretty mouthy, being half dachshund and half heeler. Always nipping and chewing.

Hick's view of the BARn floor, while standing in the little alcove with the steps leading up to the loft. I can't believe he's BLAMING JACK! What else was Jack supposed to do, other than try to escape this barren NOT-HEAVEN, and entertain himself for 26 hours?

A dog is meant to be free, looking up at you lovingly, not shut away in a dark BARn!

Available to greet you! Ready to adore you, even if you might not deserve it!

Hick, how could you leave this little guy locked up for 26 hours???

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Val's Future PENNYillionaire Status Just Blasted Two Months Ahead

Oh, how the worm has turned! The drought is over.

SUNDAY, July 14, I spied with my near-sighted eye TWO pennies on the camouflaging floor of Orb K. Yes. Not only was I excited to climb on the penny train again, I was relieved to have something to show for the week. Double somethings!

I made sure to get a picture, but didn't have time to get individual close-ups.

It was a heads-up 2018, and a face down 1991. Those clerks can be kind of impatient when you're bent over under the counter!

WEDNESDAY, July 17, I hit the mother-lode-in' jackpot at the Backroads Casey's! As I was walking in, I saw a quarter.

There's an exhibition of my photography technique, in silhouette. That's the newly-painted edge of the sidewalk, not a parking line.

It was a heads-up 2005, which I slipped into my shirt pocket. I was almost humming a tuneless tune of joy. I rarely find quarters. I'd barely taken a step when I saw ANOTHER QUARTER, to my left.

I'm being all prim and proper here, with my pinky finger extended. Like Hick eating chicken wings.

This was a 1985, heads up. It went into my left pants pocket. That's so I can remember which was which when I get home and use the magnifying glass to see the date. I don't know it's going to turn out as well as this picture, until I look at it on New Delly.

Imagine my surprise, on the way back to T-Hoe after buying a scratcher, to see a THIRD QUARTER waiting for me!

I'm sure it was there before, and I just missed it.

This was a 1990, also face up! It had to share my right pants pocket with T-Hoe's keys. Good thing it was my last coin of the day. I was running out of pockets!

FRIDAY, July 19, I almost missed a penny under the Walmart conveyor. I rarely find a penny in Walmart. People use plastic. And old ladies use checks. That's how I found this penny. Something was wrong with the part of the register that prints the amount on the check. A supervisor had to be called, and after leaning listlessly on the end of the conveyor, I stood up to stretch, and saw it.

Let the record show that I am NOT the person who ate some M&Ms and left evidence on the floor.

It was a face-up 2014. Looks like Walmart gives Orb K a run for their money in the lackluster floor hygiene sweepstakes.

Yes, this was a good week. I'm up 78 CENTS!

2019 Running Total
Penny     # 76, 77, 78.
Dime    still at 12.
Nickel  still at 8.
Quarter   # 2, 3, 4.

Penny  131
Dime  17
Nickel  6
Quarter  1

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

Friday, July 19, 2019

Crime Doesn't Pay the Charges-Presser

No, I haven't solved the Great Camper Caper of  '19. The camper from the storage unit lot is still unaccounted for. We don't really have a stake in that investigation, other than a possible buyer for our own camper. There's more on that story another day.

Back when Hick and I lived in town, in my $17,000 house, we were victims of a theft. Hick always parked the riding lawnmower under the kitchen window, and put a piece of metal on top. I guess that was as good as a garage. It's not like it was a fancy lawnmower. We lived in a $17,000 house, by cracky! I did most of the mowing at that house, because I was off in the summer, you know, while Hick was working a lot of overtime in the city. I used the push mower. Took an hour to mow our corner lot.

Anyhoo... one night we were snuggled in the waterbed Hick had contributed to the household, when there came a knock on the door. A pounding. Hick got up to see who it was. I, myself, would have pretended not to be home. It was the police!

"Sir, do you have a riding lawnmower?"

"Uh, yes."

"Do you know where it is right now?"

"Parked around back, under the kitchen window."

"Will you go see if it's there now?"

Well, of course it wasn't there. Why else would the police come a-knockin' at 2:30 a.m.?

People on the street across the river heard something, and looked out to see three young men pushing a riding lawnmower up the road. They called the police, because even in Backroads, we can't just allow lawnmower-pushing at 2:30 a.m., or pretty soon there will be anarchy!

The police pulled over the lawnmower, and asked the guys where they were going to mow a lawn at that hour. Where did they live? Which one did the lawnmower belong to? These hardened criminals cracked under such interrogation, and admitted that they had taken the lawnmower from our house.

Oh, that's not the strange part. To get this riding lawnmower across the river (called Flat River Creek, don't even get me started, is it a river, or is it a creek), they didn't merely push it. They carried it over the swinging bridge! That's right. Three guys picked up a riding lawnmower and carried it across a swinging footbridge rather than push it four blocks to get to the vehicle bridge.

Hick took the truck to rescue the lawnmower. I guess he didn't want to hitch a ride with the police, and ride the mower home at 3:00 a.m. Hick said, "I don't know why they didn't just drive it. The key was in it."

The perpetrators got locked up. Two of them made bail, but one of them, a former student of mine (he didn't even know I lived there) had other charges. He sat in the county jail, awaiting trial. Sat there, in fact, for half a year. The wheels of justice move slowly in Backroads. Of course Hick pressed charges. He missed three days of work, months apart, to appear at the trial. Which kept getting rescheduled because time ran out before our case on Law Day.

Back then, Hick was an hourly worker, not management. Each day he missed cost him $150 in wages. On the third day he missed for court, when it was announced that the case would not be heard that day, Hick went to whoever had such power, and said, "I want to drop the charges." Of course they were shocked. Why now? What changed Hick's mind?

"That kid has sat in jail for six months already. I'm not missing more work for this. That lawnmower wasn't even worth what I've lost in wages. I don't care what you do with him, but I ain't missin' another day of work over this trial. Do what you have to do."

I can't remember if the kid got out, or if he had to wait for his other trials. All I know is that we had our lawnmower back, and Hick was tired of losing wages to do the right thing.

Did we learn our lesson about leaving our stuff out? Nah. A few months later, someone took our push mower. Is there a moral to this story? Not really. It's amazing how much your stuff appeals to people when you live in a $17,000 house.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

He's a Slammer, He's a Rammer, He's a No-Thank-You Wham-Bammer

What, exactly, is wrong with people? Seems like I've asked this question before, resulting in various opinions.

Wednesday, I had just parked T-Hoe at Orb K. I was perfectly within the lines of my parking space. Pretty sure if you got out and measured, the tires wouldn't have varied more than a centimeter difference in their distance from each side line. I had no need to park crookedly. I was in my preferred space, the one where my door opens up into the yellow-striped handicap lane where the sidewalk is ramped.

I like that space, because I don't have to step up on the sidewalk. It's not a designated handicap space. That's the one across the striped walkway. Has a wheelchair painted on the pavement, and one on a sign in front of it on the building. My space is up for grabs, for any degree of abledness.

I was grabbing my phone off T-Hoe's console when I saw the Slammer pull into the space on T-Hoe's right. That kind of surprised me, because the car in the space past that was encroaching on the line, leaving this empty space a bit tight. Yet here was a newer model gray SUV pulling in. Just as I glanced at it, the driver opened his door.


Rammed his gray door up against T-HOE's black side mirror. Thump! As he did so, he looked right into my eyes. I guess he didn't expect me to be sitting inside. His look was like, "Crap." Not an, "Oh, crap! That door got away from me! Oops!" Not an, "Oh, crap! She saw me do that! She's gonna say something!" Just a, "Crap. I got caught."

Slammer climbed out of the car and moseyed inside, all decked out in the local uniform of dark t-shirt, untucked into old jeans. He was joined by another such clad dude, perhaps a brother, as they both had the same not-quite-shaved short haircut without a part. Not that there's anything wrong with that. People can wear their hair any way they want. Slammer looked neither like a fancy-pants entitled snob, nor a tattooed ex-con. Just a regular guy, perhaps mid-to-late twenties.

I don't think any damage was done to T-Hoe's mirror. I didn't walk around to look. There wasn't much room between the cars. There were 8-10 other parking spaces available, but Slammer chose that one. It's not even a big deal, since the glass remained in T-Hoe's mirror, focused as before. He IS a 2008. Not pristine. Has some hail damage. Always dusty or muddy from our gravel road. It's just the IDEA of Slammer ramming his door into the mirror, and not even giving the sorry shrug, or saying anything as I climbed out as he walked by.

To rub salt in my out-of-joint nose, while I was in line inside, Slammer got in line right behind me. Yeah, I know, what was he supposed to do, leave without paying? I don't mean that. I mean that Slammer got in line RIGHT BEHIND ME. Like, looking over my shoulder behind me. I swear his breath moved my lovely lady-mullet. And he was off to the side a bit. So when I looked over at the scratcher display leaning against the front window to my left, I saw how close Slammer was to me, in my peripheral vision.

What, exactly, is wrong with people these days? Can they not judge personal space or distances between cars? And common courtesy is growing more uncommon by the day.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

More of Hick's UNIT-y Goodness

Hick also won the auction lottery at a smaller auction last week. Again, he paid a dollar to enter the raffle. I guess this auction didn't have great items to choose from, because Hick picked a clock. When he told me, I was thinking maybe it was an antique, or a unique shape. You know, because he seemed so proud to tell me about it.

"Can you get me a picture?"

"No. I already sold it."

"What did it look like?"

"Just a clock."

" set on a mantel? To hang on the wall?"

"Just a wall clock. Round."

"Did it have wood trim or something?"

"No. Just gold trim. A clock like you might get at Walmart for $10. I sold it for $5. I made $4 off of it, because it only cost me a dollar to win it!"

Hick gets excited over the most minor things...

He also got a nice frame the other day for my best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel. We're long overdue for a visit. You may recall that she likes fancy gold frames with a New Orleans kind of vibe. Hick finds them for her, and when he has several, we meet for lunch, and to display his wares. Mabel buys the ones she likes, and the others Hick brings back to sell at his Storage Unit Store.

"I got a nice frame for Mabel. I sent you a picture."

"I had just opened up when one of the ladies who sells up there came walking over. 'I've got a frame for you. How much will you give me?' I said I'd give her $5, and she said, 'Okay!' I think Mabel will like it."

Not sure what he'll charge Mabel. He doesn't have to make a large profit. Any profit will do.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Hick Pads His UNIT

I'm talking about Hick's Storage Unit Store. Can't have anybody getting the wrong idea from my bait-and-switch title. I don't need a fine for violating the Truth in Blogging Law. I'm enough of a public enemy already, what with driving without a license for almost a month.

Hick is always re-stocking his Storage Unit Store. He sells a good amount of stuff, and buys new old stuff at auctions several nights a week. What he really enjoys, though, is getting something free from Back Creek Neighbor Bev, or one of his cohorts at the storage units. He makes sure to tell me,

"THAT'S where the money is! Selling something I ain't hardly got nothin' in. It's all profit!"

Let the record show that there's a custom at Hick's auctions. All the sellers put something on a table up front. Tickets are sold for a raffle of these items. The winner gets to choose ONE item from the table, and then the others are sold in the regular manner, by bidding. Friday night, Hick won the raffle, and chose a tool chest:

"I paid a dollar, which got me five chances to win. I picked a portable tool chest."

"Okay. Send me a picture of it."

Saturday afternoon, I called Hick on the way home from town, asking about the picture he had forgotten to send.

"Oh! I just sold it! I have to go, so I can get a picture! The guy's leaving with it now."

Heh, heh. So there's the picture, in front of Hick's Storage Unit Store. According to him, the guy said, "What are you doing, taking a picture of my tool box?" I don't know what excuse Hick gave him. What a weirdo, taking a picture of an item he just sold. I'd never do anything like that...

According to Hick, this rolling tool chest is worth $79 new. I didn't find one for that price when looking it up. (It's always a good idea to verify Hick's information.) I don't know if this is the 24 gallon or 50 gallon tool chest. It was hard to find a picture like it, with the yellow wheels and yellow latches. Looks like it comes with a tool tray inside. Hick said the guy who put it on the table at the auction got all the ticket proceeds, which added up to $66.

Anyhoo... Hick says he sold it for $22.50, and the guy was happy to pay that price. He did NOT say that he got it for a dollar. Honesty may be the best policy, but sometimes it's good to keep some things to yourself. Especially when you're padding your UNIT with almost-free items.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Hick Tales From the UNIT: Honesty Is the Best Policy

Hick couldn't wait to tell me a story from his Storage Unit Store on Saturday. In fact, he told me on the phone while I was driving home, rather than giving me monosyllabic answers and pretending he had a customer, to get rid of me.

"This couple came in here to look at one of my guns. It's new. Still in the box, still has the thing in the trigger so no one can pull it. They looked at it a while. Took it out of the box. Looked down the barrel. Then the guy asked what I wanted for it. I told him $300. He looked at his wife. They kind of acted surprised. 'Really? $300?' he says. And I told him yeah, $300. He said he'd take it, and paid me for it. Then him and his wife started talking, all wound up.

'We just looked at a gun like this down the row here. The guy said it was new, but when I looked down the barrel, I could tell it had been shot. And he was asking $450 for it! I can't believe that SOB flat-out LIED to me about it being a new gun!'

No wonder they questioned me about the price! I guess I could have got more out of it, but I only paid $212 for it, and it goes for $350 brand new in the store."

"Can you really tell if it's been shot by looking down the barrel?"

"Yeah. Shooting it wears away part of the blueing. Even if you clean it, you can tell it's been shot."

"Oh, well. I guess it's worth more to some people to pay extra to buy one there, so they don't fill out all the paperwork."

"Maybe. This guy didn't seem like that type, though. I don't think he'll be shopping from my buddy any more! Buddy comes up here all the time. Sometimes he buys stuff from me. He'll say, 'You're asking too much for that.' But he pays it. If it's not something he wants, he'll tell me, 'You should ask more for that! You're selling it too cheap.' I think he doesn't want me taking his business."

Hick must have the right price points. He does a good business. Whether he makes a dollar profit, or 88 dollars profit, he's fine with it. As long as he's not losing money.

The title could have been: Honesty Is the Best Policy, and a $150 Discount Doesn't Hurt.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Val is Public Enemy Number 9,999

No. I didn't steal a camper off the storage unit lot. I've committed a crime far more insidious than broad-daylight Backroads-highway robbery.

Friday, I went to the bank. You know, the one where the teller practically called the police, when I tried to deposit a check from my credit union down the street, and she called the St. Louis branch that the check was written on instead, and they denied cutting me a check (because they hadn't).

Anyhoo... I stopped by the bank with a threefold purpose. To deposit money in The Pony's account that he only uses to pay his bank-issued credit card. To withdraw our weekly cash allowance. And to trade three ones for a roll of nickels and two rolls of pennies. Gotta have correct change for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke.

Because I seem to be always on the verge of criminality with my bank of 30 years, I make sure I'm prepared every time I go inside. Always have my checkbook to show the account number to prove I'm actually a patron. Make sure to take in ID. Point out that The Pony is on a JOINT student account with ME. That's because one time they denied my deposit into Genius's account there, even though I had his printed deposit slips. Apparently, it's against the law to deposit money into an account without your name on it, even though that person has the same last name and address as you.

Anyhoo... I walked through the door and saw NOBODY waiting! There were two tellers in their windows. Both greeted me. The one on the left was the gal who almost had the paddy wagon after me. The gal on the right I'd never seen before. So of course I went to the right, saying nonchalantly, "I don't know which of you wants me, but I always turn right."

Just then, the Would-Be Val Arrester had a customer needing her at the drive-thru. Needy said, "I just deposited my check for $290, and I'd like to know what happened to the $90!" Uh oh. My Teller turned and said over her shoulder, "Only two hundred is available the same day. That's probably all it is." So Would-Be Val Arrester looked it up on her terminal (without any pertinent info that I could tell). She must have just served Needy, and still had the account on her screen. Because she glanced at it, and said, "That's right." And went to the microphone to explain. She must be some kind of rule-stickler crusader.

Anyhoo... My Teller looked up The Pony's account and took my money and gave me a receipt. Then I gave her the withdrawal slip for the weekly money from Hick's and my account.

"Do you have ID? I only ask because I haven't seen you in here before."

"Sure. I usually use the drive-thru." [unless I'm trying to rip them off by depositing a fake check]

Imagine my shock when I pulled my driver's license out of my shirt pocket, and saw THE UGLIEST MUG EVER SHOT BY THE DMV.

"Oh, no! I've brought in my old license! See? It's expired. I can go out to the car and get my current one. It will only take a minute. Should I do that?"

"No. It's okay." She shoved the old license back at me.

"Seriously. Would I give you a picture like that if I was trying to pull something? It's so embarrassing. The other one is better. I just grabbed the wrong one."

My Teller counted out the money for me. Then she gave me my coin rolls. It was almost as if she was in a hurry to get rid of me! I gathered up my moolah and went back to T-Hoe. First thing I did was get out my checkbook to shove that old license in there, and make sure I had the legal one.


Well. Wasn't THIS a fine kettle of fish! I didn't have a valid driver's license with me! I was driving without a license. I felt so ashamed! As soon as I got out on the road, I called Hick, who was at his Storage Unit Store.

"I just lost my driver's license! I'm driving without a license! I just found out at the bank. All this time, I've been driving around without a license, thinking it was in my purse! There are only five places it could be: in one of the four shirt pockets that I wear to town, or my gambling purse. I don't wash those shirts every time. I only wear them for an hour or two, to get my soda, and back home. So I hang them back up. I'm wearing one now, so my license could only be in one of the other three, or my gambling purse. I think I took my license in Country Mart the other day, when I was worried that their card-reader wouldn't work, so I took in a check and ID."

"Oh, well. It'll turn up. When you get home you can look, and if it's not there, you can go to the license office and get another one."

"Yeah. They have it already. They're not going to take another picture. They'll just mail a new license to me."

"They might take a picture."

"No. Then everyone who didn't like their picture would be saying they lost their license. Believe me, I spent 6 years stewing over that scenario. Don't you think I'd have tried that, rather than use that bloated-face drunken-eyed picture?"

"Yeah. I guess you would've. Anyway, they won't make it right there. They'll have to mail it."

"I know!"

Good thing we only live six miles from the license office. So I calmed down, knowing the worst scenario was a few dollars, and an extra hour of my time. When I got home, I searched the shirts, but the license wasn't in the pockets.

The left outer pocket of my gambling purse held the last player's card I'd used, and the right held two of the local casino player's cards that I'd left behind on our last CasinoPalooza. The zippered money pouch inside only held money. Snap leather money pouch only held money. The zippered quilted pouch held some Puffs, chapstick, bandaids, AND MY VALID DRIVER'S LICENSE!

You know what this means, right?

Val has been driving without her license since she returned from CasinoPalooza 5 on June 15.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Has a Message Been CENT?

I'm starting to get the feeling that I need to make a change. Heh, heh! CHANGE! As in coinage. Perhaps I need to adjust my daily 44 oz Diet Coke route, to get to town earlier. Because my penny harvest seems to have withered on the vine. Only ONE penny this week!

TUESDAY, July 9, I almost missed it. Would have missed it, except that my regular parking spaces along the building were taken, and I had to park out in the main part of Country Mart's lot. On the way back to T-Hoe, I spied it. Give me some props for that! I bet YOU can't see it. Almost dead center in this photo, between those two dark blobs, the right one kind of pointing at it like an arrow.

It was a 1975, face down, giving me false hope for a pennyful week.

Let's look back... THERE! Hope your head isn't spinning from that rapid trip in the wayback machine. Since Saturday, June 22, until now, Saturday, June 13... I have found only TWO PENNIES! That's two pennies in three weeks! Only 2/3 of a penny per week! The pickin's are slim.

Here's a message I've been getting this week concerning my scratcher play. No matter how many tickets I buy, or whether they're the $5 tickets or $10 tickets... I have had one winning ticket each day, worth ten dollars. What kind of message is that?

Val is still the TEN DOLLAR DAUGHTER!

Also from the wayback machine, there are many stories of how my mom used to give me five dollars every time I took her some leftovers and gently-read National Enquirers and Globe tabloids. So I referred to myself as the Five Dollar Daughter. A couple times, she gave me TEN, so I was promoted to the Ten Dollar Daughter. I did a blog search of it, and got a list of out-of-order posts about my adventures with Mom.

It was good to reminisce. Which may have been the message The Universe was sending me.

2019 Running Total
Penny          # 75.
Dime    still at 12.
Nickel  still at 8.
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, July 12, 2019

Nobody Puts Val Behind a Closed Camper Door

Getting ready to write my weekly letters to Genius and The Pony, I was struck by the realization that nothing happened this week. Well. Except for finding a towering rock monument down at the low water bridge, and almost severing my had-none toe in the shower with a shampoo bottle, and the whole town almost collapsing into the old lead mine, and getting an emergency call from Jamaica about some mangy dogs, and that camper being stolen from up by Hick's Storage Unit Store. Other than that, it was the same ol' same ol'.

I can't even really rant about Hick. I was sure he was deliberately snubbing me when I got back from town yesterday. As I came up the driveway, he was fiddling around in the back door of SilverRedO, which was parked beside the camper in the front yard. I knew he'd been planning on putting in some trim, but it had been too hot. The temperature was about three degrees cooler than the previous day, so I guess Hick was making hay while the sun shines. Hopefully, his board-trim-hay was made better that the Hick House Trust lawyer's hay.

Anyhoo... I fully expected Hick to walk over and greet me in the garage. If he's around, he generally does that. Offers to carry in any groceries I might have stashed in T-Hoe's rear. I didn't have any groceries this day, but Hick didn't know that. I waited a couple minutes before putting down the garage door. No need to decapitate Hick if he was going to help. No sign of him, so I closed the door. Even my Sweet, Sweet Juno had come into the garage. She never does that! Because we closed her up in there the day she came home from the vet after her very special operation, because she was all woozy from her medicine, and the vet said not to let her out to run for 24 hours. So Juno associates the garage with a prison where she had her insides ripped out.

Anyhoo... still no Hick, so I carried in my 44 oz Diet Coke, gave the dogs some stale bread as a treat, and started to get my lunch ready. I figured I'd ask Hick if he wanted some lunch, too. He usually isn't home. I don't want to spoil him with TWO prepared meals a day, but I was only warming up some frozen taquitos, and it wasn't too much trouble to toss a few extra onto the pan.

I went to the front porch, planning to holler at Hick and ask if he wanted some lunch. Can you believe he was inside the camper WITH THE DOOR CLOSED? Ain't that a fine how-do-you-do! I was going to offer him some lunch, but he was deliberately snubbing me. He KNEW I just got home. Huh. I'd still offer him lunch, but he was going to get a piece of my mind as a side dish, for snubbing me with a closed camper door! I got my cell phone to call him. You don't think I'd walk down the steps and across the yard to talk to him, do you? He CLOSED THE DOOR almost in my face!

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Yes. That's 10 rings. Just as I heard the caller unavailable voice pick up, I ended the call. Part of me hoping that it was Hick finally answering. Which would mean I hung up on him. Like he'd CLOSED THE DOOR almost in my face! Huh. No lunch for you, then!

Thump thump thump, thump.

That was the sound of Hick's feet on the porch steps. He walked all the way around to the kitchen door. I guess he didn't have his key. He came in all sweaty, and plopped down on the long couch. "Hello hello." I, of course, was in the La-Z-Boy.

"I can't believe you didn't walk over to talk to me! You saw me coming up the driveway! I saw you at your truck! And the dogs even barked and ran over to me! Not only didn't you come to talk to me, you SLAMMED THAT CAMPER DOOR SHUT! I was going to holler at you from the porch, to see if you wanted lunch."

"Actually, the WIND slammed the door shut. So then I turned on the air conditioner, because I've been sweating to death out there. I came in to let it cool off for a minute. I already ate lunch in town. I had to go get a board."

Well. No lunch for HIM! Good thing he ate in town. Seeing as how he hadn't even come in to talk to me, but only as a coincidence, to avoid heat stroke, with no explanation at all as to why he snubbed me when I arrived home.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Backroads Highway Robbery

Hick made a shocking discovery on Monday. Made it by listening to his buddy who owns the storage units, who had made the actual shocking discovery on Sunday.

"I went by my Storage Unit Store this morning to put some stuff in it, and my Owner Buddy said somebody stole a CAMPER on Sunday! It was parked at the back, with the other vehicles. Somebody drove through the gate. Broke it. They hooked up to the camper and pulled it off! He saw the marks where they dragged the chocks through the gravel for a ways. Anybody who owned it would have moved them chocks. And wouldn't have crashed through the gate.

He was walking around sometime Sunday afternoon, after most of us had left, and saw that the fence was down. He noticed the camper was gone, but couldn't reach the owner until Monday. She's a retired lady whose husband died. Her sons and her take it camping. Sad thing is, she didn't have any insurance on it. I told him, 'Dang! I wish I'd parked mine up here! I have it insured for $8000. That would solve the problem of selling it!'

My Owner Buddy watched his surveillance tape. It happened Sunday morning. In the daylight. He had pictures of a white flat-bed truck pulling the camper along the side street. It made a left turn onto the blacktop lettered highway, and came out this direction. I told him I know the guy down the road here has TWO of those white flat-bed trucks for his construction company. But I don't think he'd steal a camper. He doesn't need money. But one of his workers might have had the truck. My Owner Buddy said the police know of another truck like that out the road farther. They couldn't see the plates, though.

My other buddy gets up there early. He said he was there around 5:30 Sunday morning, and that he DID see a truck pulling a camper down that side street a little later. He didn't know they were stealing it. Just thought somebody came to get their camper. I guess they'd already plowed through the gate when he got there."

That storage unit compound is really big. Here it is, from the windshield of T-Hoe, up on the hill. It goes way back to that treeline. The units are in a U shape, with some more in the middle. Vehicles being stored are parked along the back fence, by the trees. You can see the little office on the far right edge of the picture. Hick's unit row, and the side street, are on the other side of it. Not pictured.

I couldn't get a better picture while driving. I was waiting here to pull out of Orb K. Good thing the fireworks people left, or their tent would have been in the way. That's their semi trailer full of fireworks, waiting to be pulled away. You might also notice in T-Hoe's mirror that it was 93 sweltering degrees when I took this picture.

"So he has all those security cameras, but couldn't get the plates?"

"Yeah. That part at the back is fairly new, where the vehicles are parked. He hasn't got around to putting up cameras there. Not too long ago, somebody broke in and stole all the batteries out of those trucks from the company that does electric. They were insured, though. My Owner Buddy says HE has insurance. He's going to see how much he gets for that camper. He said he might be interested in buying OUR camper, to give to that lady, because he feels bad for her."

Some people are all right. Others are just no-good ne'er-do-wells.