Sunday, May 31, 2020

Gaslighting the Gaslighter

Hick has a habit of poo-pooing my statements and concerns, while imagining his own declarations to be decrees read by a manservant from a scroll of parchment, after tooting a long horn.

Like when I told Hick I couldn't get home on our road because there was a car on fire. First thing he did was mention that he'd heard sirens, so MAYBE that could have been about a car fire. We live just under 5 miles out of town (or so we've told the insurance company), and I assure you that the only time we can hear sirens is if the vehicle it emanates from is on our gravel roads. Yet Hick could not accept my statement as a simple fact. He hopped on the Gator and drove down there to look for himself.

I swear, if I told Hick the sky was blue, he would chuckle in his annoying way, and say, "Oh, Val. I don't know about you sometimes... EVERYBODY knows the sky is green. But whatever you say..."

Hick will also go into detail explaining something to me, all the while incredulous that I have never heard of such a thing. This generally concerns mechanical contraptions that I have no experience with, and am unable to refute Hick's proclamations of fact. The one exception being the little metal bar I found on the road, and researched to be a gadget used for balancing tires. All the while, Hick mocking me that such gadgets had a different shape, and different markings. Heh, heh. I was happy to rest my case after providing Exhibit A, an internet sales page with a picture of my find and their bulk price.

Anyhoo... Hick has a couple of bugbears that vex him to no end. One being water splashed from the bathtub onto the wall. Let's hope that The Pony, in his advanced years, does not do that any more now that he's back home. Another Hick trigger is a door not fully closed. Mainly, a closet or pantry door. Or the one to the laundry room. It's not good enough to have that door pushed to, almost closed. Nope. Hick will walk through the house and push or pull them until they latch. It's as if he's afraid something will pour out the crack like a Pandora's Box. Or the Lord's vengeance from the cracking open of the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The third thorn of contention in Hick's side is the running of the air conditioner. Or furnace. He's obsessed with how long the blowing cycle is on. Last month, Hick declared that something was wrong again. He couldn't go to sleep, because he kept waiting for the furnace to kick off. How he could even hear the blower running is beyooooond me, what with his breather making so much noise.

Anyhoo...Hick called his regular heating and cooling company, but they were closed due to Stay-At-Home-Down. Luckily Hick had other contacts who worked for other companies who were a bit more lax in their perception of essential services. He called one, who got him a slot within two days. Of course it was on a Friday, Hick's busiest day. He got tied up at the hospital with the friend he's helping with her cancer treatments. Which left ME to deal with the workmen.

Hick had explained to them that every couple of years, this happens to our heat pump, and his regular company says there's a small leak they can never find, and they add Freon to the system, and it works another couple of years.

After spending about a half hour fiddling around with the system out back, the two repairmen left without making any repairs. I'm just a stupid unbelievable woman, but I DID go out on the back porch and tell them that Hick thought it was probably low on Freon, due to a small leak. They declared that our system was NOT low on Freon. They even called Hick to tell him the same thing. The only good part of this exercise in futility was that Hick was WRONG about the Freon, and that the repairmen didn't charge us anything.

Hick came home and opened up the part of the HVAC that's in the basement. He said he washed the coil and rinsed off the mesh filter. The heat was running normally, kicking on and off. Hick SAID. Then a couple weeks later, time to switch to air conditioning, and the blower was running all the time again!

Hick called his regular heating and cooling company, now open. He made sure he was here when they arrived. He followed them around back and watched them work. Funny how they FOUND a small leak. Said they repaired it. And filled the unit with Freon. At a cost of $225.

Sure, this meant that Hick had been right all along about the Freon. But something just tickles my funnybone about those other repairmen assuring Hick that Freon was not a problem with his unit. And Hick grousing about that for several weeks, since he'd been SURE that WAS the problem.

Uh huh. How does THAT medicine go down, Hick? Knowing that you're right, but having someone insist that you're not.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Val Had Grown PENCE-ive, Contemplating Her Future Pennyillionaire Fortune

The week was not kind to Val. Or WAS it...

Since last week, the citizenry of Backroads must have developed fingertips as sticky as a tree frog, so unfindable were pennies at Val's regular hangouts. I'd almost given up on even a meager harvest, by the time Thursday rolled around. There I was, getting a new phone, without any pennies to photograph with it.

THURSDAY, May 28, we got home from the phone-buying excursion around 1:00, so I headed for town. Still plenty of time for a 44 oz Diet Coke. I had my brand new Samsung Galaxy A51 on the charger in T-Hoe when I arrived at the Gas Station Chicken Store. I left it there as I started inside. Some YAYhoo was parked sideways across the gas pump entrance by the store. Forward, back, forward...not sure what he was trying to do, but it sent me on a path around behind him, by the propane tanks. Here's a picture I took of the area on Friday.

Of course I'm showing you that, because not even 30 minutes after I returned home with my new phone, I found a PENNY there. What a coincidence, huh? Here's the penny posed on The Pony's bed of fast-food salt in T-Hoe:

It was a 1955 face-down penny that had been scraped to look newer! Might have been there since 1955. I don't normally walk over that way, but take a more direct route to the door.

I chastised myself for leaving my phone in T-Hoe, and headed over to Country Mart. Where I also left my phone charging on the console. I guess The Universe decided I needed a smack-down to make me pay attention. Because when I returned, to my not-often-used parking space,

I saw a penny under T-Hoe's driver's door! All I had to do was reach in and untether my phone from the charger. I think it takes a pretty good picture! That is NOT my cart, nor a puddle left from my incontinence!

This was a face-down 1982 penny. Quickly harvested by me, myself, and I.

FRIDAY, May 29, I headed for Sis-Town to do my Thursday errands that had been delayed by my phone-buying trip. At the School-Turn Casey's, I was slightly disgruntled when the clerk told me her MoLottery scanner was on the fritz, and could not read my winner. I forked over cash instead, and turned to leave. Whereupon I discovered

My first QUARTER of the year! Please note all the wasted space in this Casey's since their remodel. Yet the counter area doesn't even have room for social distancing! People are crammed in like cattle in a chute! As Hick would say, "Some ENGINEER probably designed it!"

My magnificent specimen was a 2003, head-up. This is one of the state quarters, and it happened to be the MISSOURI version, with the St. Louis Arch and Louis and Clark on the back. I rarely see that kind in my change.

A very good week, pulling through at the tail-end, to contribute 27 CENTS to Val's Future Pennyillionaire coffers.


Penny       # 58, 59.
Dime         still at 11.
Nickel       still at 3.
Quarter    # 1

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, May 29, 2020

A Hick and a Val Walk Into a Sprint Store

But not without a mask!

Hick penciled me into his busy schedule for Thursday morning. Sheesh! You'd think I'd asked him to trim my toenails with his teeth, scrub the floor of a Port-A-Potty with his toothbrush, and enter a Rocky Mountain Oyster-eating contest! Funny how Hick is quick to jump to the aid of casual acquaintances and long-lost friends, but when it comes to Val, he's not so keen on giving her three hours of his time.

Anyhoo... the Sprint store that will allow me to buy a phone without leasing has re-opened. I checked their inventory the night before, and saw that they had the LG Stylo 5 that Hick has been using for months now. So I know it works, and he can give me tips on how it works. I made an appointment for 11:00 a.m. I tucked my new used iPhone 8 into its coffin box, and off we went on our 45-minute journey.

Hick was disgruntled, and treated T-Hoe roughly. Had Hick been a cowboy, and T-Hoe a horse, Hick would have been tossed on his ear, and needed a clown to rescue him. Hick also made a wrong turn after saying he knew exactly where this store was, since he'd bought his own phone there. We arrived with 8 minutes to spare.

Of course upon walking to the door, we saw a sign that said, "Use Other Door." And on THAT door, a sign that said, "Nobody Admitted Without a Mask." Hick has a surplus of them, from transporting his friend to her cancer treatments. I had mine from my recent doctor's nurse practitioner's appointment. While we were masking up, another customer dared invade our space while he strapped on his own mask.

Waiting inside were two young men who acted like bouncers, ready to throw us out for noncompliance. They were wearing their own masks, and the minute we walked in, they rushed to their hand sanitizer pump as if we were infecteds emanating waves of cooties.

The encroacher behind us was actually in the wrong business, heh, heh. I guess he wanted the nail salon next door. Off he went, still masked.

I stated right away that I was there to pay off my iPhone 8, trade it in, and buy an LG Stylo 5. Bouncer 1 looked at Bouncer 2, and they bantered about its availability. Even quizzed ME about whether I had seen that listed in stock for their specific store. Which of course I had, I'm not an idiot, I know there are two stores in that city, and only ONE of them sells outright with no lease.

Bouncer 2 went off to the back of the store, and returned saying there were none. I said they needed to change their website and stop luring people in for a bait-and-switch. Then they switched me to a Samsung Galaxy A51. Yes, it was more than I'd planned to spend. But I WAS getting back the difference by trading in my iPhone 8. And it would be over and done.

Can you believe how inquisitive they were about why I wanted to get rid of my iPhone 8 after only six weeks? Hick had forbade me to tell them of its problems. "Just tell them you're not an iPhone person." So I did. And Hick blurted out, "It shuts off all the time, and she cain't text or take pictures with it!" Anyhoo... they said it sounded like a software problem. Made me no nevermind! I was chucking that lemon and getting a NEW SAMSUNG GALAXY A51.

It's not a high-end fancy phone. I still would have been happy with the LG Stylo 5, WHICH those Bouncers said they used to have a bunch of, because a lot of people came in asking for them, but then they boxed them all up and sent them back, because SOON, the LG Stylo 6 is coming out!

That seemed pretty stupid to me, to get rid of them if so many people were asking for them. No doubt after seeing them on the store website. Then again, they probably upsold all of those people a Samsung Galaxy A51, too. My first clue was that they knew just what to offer me, and that they were out of cases for them. There are few things shadier than the cell phone business, except for insurance, and used car dealers.

Anyhoo... after 30 minutes of breathing my own fetid breath in that mask, I had a new phone that actually works! I LOVE IT! I'd take a picture of it for you, but...well...I'd be using it to take the picture.

I sent Genius a text, wanting to share my good news. And do you know what he said?

"Good luck."

How rude is THAT? Of course I had more to say to that snotty young whippersnapper!

"It works! Yet I don't sense your joy in my happiness..."

"You're the one who bought a used one when I could've gotten you a new one just fine."

"Well, I will just have to be happy by myself. Like little gremlin Gizmo, while you are being Stripe on Christmas morning."

Let the record show that Genius recommended the iPhone, and was not concerned about the used one. He HAD offered to order me a new iPhone, but didn't know when he would have time to set it up, and how long it would take to mail it to me. Not to mention getting my information off my dead phone that was his hand-me-down. All of which would have left me without a phone for a week to 10 days. So it's not like Genius was being Mother Teresa for poor old Val.

Anyhoo... I LOVE MY NEW PHONE! Have I mentioned that?

Thursday, May 28, 2020

When It Rains, It Pours, But When It Flames, It Stops

I had a series of rather unfortunate events befall me on Wednesday. First cat out of the bag, The Pony took an early shower (by early, I mean 10:00 a.m.), because he was headed to town to have lunch with a friend. That put my shower off until later, when the water had time to warm up from his 30-minute soak.

By the time I was leaving our gravel road, The Pony was returning. I garnered some information, that being the level of the creek at the main low water bridge was low enough that I could take the quickest route to town. We'd had heavy rains overnight that brought the creeks up quickly.

Of course the approaching dark skies opened up as soon as I got to the prison, nearly blinding me in the deluge. But a half mile farther on, near Hick's Storage Unit Store, the roads were dry, and the precipitation a sprinkle.

"Oh. I'll just go mail these two bills first, and come back for my scratchers and 44 oz Diet Coke. The rain will have stopped by then."

No. It hadn't. The rain was sluicing down like Niagara Falls. I was soaked by the time I got inside the Gas Station Chicken Store. I was wetter than when I stepped out of my after-noon morning shower. I couldn't carry an umbrella in because I needed my hands for magical elixir, scratchers, and key-ring unlocker-clicker. Of course, once I got buckled in, with my magical elixir stowed away in the cup holder, the rain had dwindled to an occasional droplet.

Drenched, I headed back home, almost hit head-on by a white pickup with flashing white lights as I turned onto our blacktop county road. Then the same truck ran up on T-Hoe's bumper about a mile later, so I pulled over to let him around.

Well. At my turn onto the gravel road at mailbox row, I was STOPPED by an adult kid waving his arms. The white pickup with the flashing lights had just gotten there. Three men were climbing into their own pickup, in front of the mailboxes, to drive away.

I turned down the radio (Backfield in Motion, by Mel and Tim, on the '60s station) and put down my window to talk to the 20-something kid in orange shirt and khaki shorts.

"What's going on?"

"My car is on fire!"

Indeed. I glanced up the gravel road, and saw a small white Chevy sedan sending up plumes of gray smoke from all the cracks around the hood. As I looked, small flames licked out.

"Oh my gosh!"

"I know! I was just driving along, and it started to smoke. So I got out."

"Well, I live up in there! How am I going to get home?"

"I don't know!"

"Are you sure I can't go by it? Look. I can fit through there. It will only take a minute."

"Oh, no. You shouldn't take a chance like that."

"I guess I can go out around and come in the other entrance. But the creeks out there are probably overflowing. LOOK! There's another guy trying to come out."

With that, the kid ran back towards his flaming car, intent on going around it to tell the driver of a white minivan that he couldn't come out this way. Sheesh! I could have given him a ride over there! It seemed pretty dangerous to run by a flaming car without the protection of T-Hoe around him!

Anyhoo... I drove past the white pickup with the flashing lights, parked on our low water bridge. He hadn't done anything remotely helpful. Didn't direct traffic or inspect the flaming car. I suppose you get what you pay for with volunteer firemen.

I drove on, took the other route that consisted of 4 miles of blacktop out of my way, and two more miles on gravel, past the Crazy Stick-Road Man's property, to get home.

At least the creeks had receded. Plus I had a story to tell! Too bad the downpour didn't come when the car was on fire. Then again, that kid would have gotten drenched worse than I did.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Messages Continue

The Pony made his exit from the living room Tuesday night, to run bath water for his nightly soak in the big triangle tub in the master bathroom. He came back to stand in the doorway and discuss recent job rejections from his plethora of applications. Once talk turned to gun bargains, he said he'd had enough. This left Hick and me to our daily discussion of the most recent things Hick has done wrong (nothing blogworthy).

All at once, The Pony was back!

"You're not going to believe what I found on the side of the tub when I went back in!"

"Yes. I am. I'm guessing a LADYBUG!"

"YES! I'll get you a picture."

The Pony said he tried to pick it up to let it go outside, but the ladybug flew. Perhaps away home, to rescue her children from a house fire, but more likely around the bathroom, to appear again at a later date.

That was uplifting. Our visit to the cemetery on Thursday...not so much. I always stop once a week, for a drive-thru visit. The Pony happened to be along for the ride. As we were getting ready to leave, my eye was drawn to an object a little farther away.

"Pony. Do you SEE that? It's just a little creepy."

This is the month of MAY! The week before Memorial Day. Why is there a little Halloween doll standing in the cemetery? And looking RIGHT AT ME? About a month after every season or holiday, the grounds crew cleans out seasonal stuff.

I hope THIS wasn't some kind of message!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

This Probably Isn't Helping the Current Paranormal Situation

Sitting in the La-Z-Boy last week, my eye was drawn to the front door. What was THAT? Something hanging on the front door that wasn't there before. WAIT A MINUTE! I know what that is! A little gift I tucked into The Pony's holiday treat box last Halloween.

It's a little dark, because The Pony wasn't out of bed early enough to take a picture with the morning sun streaming in through the kitchen. It's a skeleton. Just a cute little trinket to bring a smile in the Halloween box.

The Pony said he had it on the OUTSIDE of his apartment door at OU, and that

"Nobody even bothered it. I took it off when I was packing to come home. But they stole a couple of my other magnets when I put them out there."

"Well...of course they didn't take it. Fear of bad juju!"

The Pony actually had to rearrange the arms for this picture. Since at first, he'd posed it according to his droll sense of humor.

Disregard the SANTA with Genius's name whited-out. Probably these two items shouldn't be hanging together. You know what the letters from SANTA can be rearranged for...

Monday, May 25, 2020

3 Bags Fool

There's some funny business afoot in my lair. I'm sure there's a perfectly logical explanation. I just haven't discovered it yet.

In the kitchen Saturday afternoon, I was distracted by a phone call from Hick, just as I was picking up my lunch and magical elixir to carry downstairs. The Pony volunteered to take them for me. By the time I got down to my office, I was still discombobulated from Hick's jabberwocky.

When I stepped through the portal, I noticed a gray plastic Walmart bag on the floor by my newest rolly chair. The one I don't sit in because the length of the seat makes me unable to lean back without a gap in the lumbar region when my feet are on the floor, or unable to bend my knees over the edge if my back is against the chair back. I DO have a stack of plastic bags on the chair. I recycle them for trash bags.

"Pony! Have you been in my office--oh, wait! You were just there, carrying my stuff."


"There's a Walmart bag on the floor by my chair."

"That was NOT there when I just came out."

"It's okay. You must have created a draft when you walked by. You're faster than me. I guess your wake stirred them up."

That's logical, right? Because I haven't added or removed any bags from the chair lately. None have fallen off. So it must have had something to do with The Pony stirring up a current of air. I pushed the bag out of the way with my shoe toe, and proceeded to my old rolly chair in front of New Delly.

I'd been there a little over 10 minutes when I heard something behind me. A rustling. I turned to see a second gray Walmart bag on the floor! Well. That was a bit curious. There are no heating/cooling vents in my office. Nor outside the doorway. I was sitting still. I doubt the tap-tap-tapping of my fingers on the keyboard created enough breeze to disturb those bags. Huh. Maybe once The Pony's wake had caused one to fall, the others were more precarious. Yeah. I'm sure that was it.

With such a logical explanation, I thought no more of it, other than to tell The Pony while I was upstairs during supper time. He thought it a bit curious, but a bunch of nothing compared to some things that happen around here.

My evening hours in the lair proceeded as normal. I didn't get down there with my own supper until around 8:30. I prepared three blog posts ahead. Watched some YouTube. Read some local news. Bemoaned the dearth of conspiracy videos over the holiday weekend.

Wait! What was THAT? A rustling... over my left shoulder. I turned to see a white plastic bag from Country Mart slowly rolling down some assorted bags on the counter along the wall of my lair. What in the NOT-HEAVEN? As I looked, it stopped. It was kind of wadded-up. It hadn't been sliding. Rather, it was rolling over. Rolling toward the edge. Yet stopped when I saw it.

I have no explanation for that one. Third time's a "DARN!"

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A Game of What's-That and House

With The Pony home from college, I have a sometimes-companion in my dark basement. He comes down around 10:00 p.m. to watch assorted DVR-ed shows with me. Mostly cooking competitions. We are currently enjoying Supermarket Stakeout, and Camp Cookout (in Martha Stewart's field).

Most nights, we hear activity upstairs. Tuesday, The Pony had already gone up to bed around midnight:30. He first goes to the kitchen for ice in his water cup. I heard something in his bathroom above my head in my OPC (Old People Chair).

"That's you, right?"

"I'm getting ice, yeah. It's the freezer."

"No. I heard something in your bathroom."

"It's not me! I'm in the kitchen. But I'm going that way."

I heard him walking down the hall by the piano and wall of family photos.

"You're not going to believe this, but I heard it in the bathroom as I came up to the door. And when I reached in to flip the light switch, I heard it MOVE in the bathroom! It's like the noise when you step on a certain part of the floor, like over by the thermostat. Only IN MY BATHROOM! Like something was trying to get away as I reached for the light."

Wednesday night, I heard walking in the front corner of Genius's room, while The Pony was in his own room across the hall. Although The Pony said, "Maybe it was the dogs." Not unless they opened the front door with their paws, and went into Genius's room. The thud of a footstep on carpet is different from the thump of a dog flopping down on the porch boards.

Look what The Pony discovered when he went into his room after our errands on Thursday!

Walked in and exclaimed, "You'll never believe what's on the floor of my room!" That could have been many things, but luckily it was only a PENNY, heads-up, from 1994. That's the year Genius was born. Looks like somebody, or SOMETHING got the wrong room!

Even more mysterious, that penny photo disappeared from my PICTURES file, where I'd saved it the day before, and from my email, where The Pony had sent it! Not in SPAM, not in trash, not in FILES, not in my computer at all, even with a search. So The Pony had to re-send it. It had nothing at all to do with my new used iPhone 8. Only The Pony's phone, and New Delly.

It's almost like the house is re-calibrating, now that The Pony is back.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Val Is the Captain of the PENNY-Four...

My Future Pennyillionaire Fortune is still smiling on me, waiting patiently for my arrival.

SATURDAY, May 16, at 2:46, after the Saturday CENTSus had already gone to press, I discovered two pennies waiting for me!

On the left is a 2015 penny that was found heads-up under the counter of Orb K, with a new used iPhone 8 that committed hari kari, in my hand. On the way back to T-Hoe, I found ANOTHER one, a 1973 face-down penny on the yellow stripe that marks the handicap walkway.

On TUESDAY, May 19, I left that blasted phone in T-Hoe when I dashed into the Gas Station Chicken Store for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. Of course I spied a penny next to the brick support post holding up the gas pumps roof.

It was another retro coin, a face-down 1966, posed here on a future losing ticket. I wish I knew why that phone lets me take a picture in T-Hoe, but shuts down immediately when I try it inside the store. Hick says he'll drive me to get a new phone on Thursday. We'll see.

FRIDAY, May 22, I found a sweet cent right in front of the door to the Backroads Casey's. I thanked the man who held the door for me after he went in, but then let it close to bend over, showing ample rumpus and risking empty noggin, to pickup that penny from in front of the other double door. No wasted energy carrying a bum new used iPhone 8 in my pocket. So I noted that it was heads-up, and later had The Pony snap it, and tell me it was a 2012.

Here it is, courtesy of The Pony's Samsung, perched on his $10 winner, our new favorite ticket.

Four cents this week, and still sailing towards the Port of Pennyillionaireville!


Penny       # 54, 55, 56, 57.
Dime         still at 11.
Nickel      still at 3.
Quarter   0

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, May 22, 2020

There's a New Weirdo in Town

Val is sucking weirdos into her orbit like a boss! Like a supergiant star, her gravitational pull traps weirdos passing by. Giving them no choice but to enter Val's driveway and draw ever-closer.

The Pony and I had just returned from an ill-fated trip to town on the Thursday errands. I was standing in the kitchen, still in my town clothes, when the dogs went crazy. I attributed it to their delicious snack of bread soaked in chicken juice, and the chewable bones left from the previous day. Juno will shoot out of her house like a wily eel, to grab any morsels Jack has not yet hoovered off the porch boards. Juno also objects to Copper Jack eating the treats I toss to him behind her house. There's often a ruckus once I close the kitchen door.

"Um. There's a strange truck coming down the driveway," said my early warning system, The Pony.

"What do you mean? What does it look like?"

"It's a black truck. With a camper on the back, maybe..."

I went to the front door and stuck my head out. There was a man in a flannel shirt and jeans, with unkempt hair and a white beard, walking under the carport where SilverRedO would be parked, if Hick was ever home to protect his loving wife. Copper Jack was barking his fool head off. As if an air conditioner repairman had dared invade his our territory. White Beard paid him no mind. No flinching, no picking up rocks to arm himself.

"Hey, there. Is Hick home?"

"No. He had to take a friend to the emergency room."

"Oh. Hope it isn't anything serious."

"Well, she had a procedure at the hospital yesterday, and isn't feeling well today."

"That doesn't sound good. I was just hoping to find Hick. My tractor quit, and I thought he might know about it."

"Is it in the road? Can it wait? Because Hick IS really good with tractors, but I don't know when he'll be home."

"It's on my land, on the other side of the trees. I ran over a shoe. I don't know WHERE that came from. But now my tractor won't run."

"JACK! JACK! No, not you, little buddy. JACK! That big dog's name is Jack, and so is our little dog here." I patted my Jack's head as he stood with his front feet on my leg.

"MY name is Jack."

"Oh. Sorry. That dog isn't even ours. He barks at me like that, too. Well, I can give Hick a message that you came by, and about your tractor. Or I could give you his number."

"I might have it here. Or I could give you MY number to give him."

"Well, I don't have anything to write with, and I'm not smart enough to put it in my phone. I don't have it with me either."

"You know his number? [DUH] Go ahead and give that to me. Okay. I'll call him right now. That way the number will be in my phone."

So off went White Beard, walking back down Hick's brick sidewalk with his phone to his ear. I told The Pony it must be a pretty weak tractor, for a SHOE to make it stop running. I thought tractors were tougher than that. The Pony said he obviously meant a HORSESHOE. I disagreed. Any fool knows where a HORSESHOE comes from! Several people out here have horses, and ride them along the roads.

As much weirdo traffic as we've been getting, I almost suspect Hick of putting up one of those tear-off papers in the grocery store, for a Help-Me Man service.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Hick the Secret Heavy Drinker: Episode 5 of "This Is the Time of Day When We Talk About the Most Recent Things You've Done Wrong."

You think you know somebody...

I went to Country Mart on Tuesday. They had a sign on the door that they'd be closed for inventory on Wednesday. Hick says that's what they SAY, but he knows from teenage experience working in a gas station that a new owner has to close a business for at least 24 hours, or he's responsible for paying all the taxes. Of course I don't know anything about that stuff. So Hick might have made that up on the spot.

Anyhoo... I was not surprised to see a sale on the soda aisle. They had six-packs of bottled Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Coke at 3 for $9.00. That's not cheap compared to Walmart's $2.50 apiece, but it saved the gas to Walmart, and the annoyance of traipsing through that one-way maze.

I bought 3 six-packs of Diet Mountain Dew, and 3 six-packs of Diet Coke. When I got home with the groceries, that little weirdo kid threw me off my game. I had told The Pony he could leave the soda until the next day. Of course Hick went to bed at the crack of dusk. 9:20 p.m., to be exact. So I didn't have a chance to tell him about the soda. I didn't even go up for supper, because I'd brought him a deli meal from Country Mart.

Imagine my surprise when I got a text at 10:30 a.m. saying:

"Got soda and water didn't get diet coke saw one on table"

"Okay. I have 3 of each in the back of the car."

It would have been nice if Hick had TOLD me he was going to Walmart! Of course there were other things he could have picked up. Which brings us to 

Episode 5 of "This Is the Time of Day When We Talk About the Most Recent Things You've Done Wrong."

No, it's not even about going to Walmart without telling me! When Hick came in from mowing the front yard/field, I asked about the text, and he handed me the receipt. According to him at that time:

"I was out of soda, so I went to get some. You was asleep when I left. I didn't know you got some."

"You were asleep last night when I hollered up to tell you at 9:20!"

THEN I looked at that receipt, once I got down to my lair. I'd already written the total in the checkbook, and would have thrown the receipt away, except I had written Hick's Sunday profits from his Storage Unit Store on it, to update yesterday's tale.

Again, not a big deal. I threw away the receipt once I added Hick's profits to yesterday's comments.

THEN, after I'd made supper for Hick and The Pony, I was sitting on the short couch while they ate, Hick in the La-Z-Boy with chicken tacos, The Pony at the coffee table with lemon pepper chicken and baked potato. The Pony set it off, just making conversation after I'd asked him if he wanted me to get him some Sprite at the store. He did not.

"Dad, I can't believe you bought all that soda! Mom has some out in the car."

"No she don't. I carried it in."

"Yeah. Now you have 9 six-packs!"

"No I don't! I only bought 4."

"Uh. No. You bought 6."

"Yeah, Dad. There's way more than 4 on your chair in the kitchen."

"Because I brought in the soda from the car."

"I saw it on your receipt! You bought 6."

"No. I bought 4. I bought 6 strawberry waters."

"I saw the waters. But you also bought 6 Diet Mountain Dews!"

"Well, if I did, that was just a mistake, because I went through the self-checkout. I might have SCANNED 6, but I only GOT 4."

"THAT'S EVEN WORSE! That means you PAID for two extra that you didn't get!"

"Well, I might have done that. But I'm pretty sure there's only 4 on the receipt."

"I still have it in the trash down in my office. I'm going to dig it out!"

Okay. I did. And I was as wrong as Hick. He only paid for 5, when he got 4. But STILL...

This was definitely the Time of Day When We Talked About the Most Recent Things Hick Did Wrong.

Shhh...we're not telling Hick that I spent an extra $3.00 over Walmart's price, getting those Diet Mountain Dews and Diet Cokes at Country Mart, while he spent an extra $2.50 (plus tax!) on a phantom six-pack of Diet Mountain Dew.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Vampires and Weirdos

Will social distancing stop a vampire? I don't know. What I DO know is that it won't stop a weirdo. You know. A weirdo, who can't resist the pull of Val's weirdo magnet. Not all weirdos are bat-crap crazy. But all weirdos are still weirdos...

Tuesday, I came home from town around 3:30. I saw a kid walking along the gravel, on the dog-groomer neighbor's side of the road, even with our driveway. He looked about 14. As I turned in, Kid waved at me. Just that hold a hand up, howdy neighbor kind of gesture. So I did it back, through the window of T-Hoe, not even turning my head to make eye contact.

I continued toward the house. It's a driveway 1/10 mile long. I had told The Pony I would honk to let him know I was home, so he could carry in some groceries. At the carport, I gave a single honk as the garage door opened, and pulled in. I could see my little Jack, and Copper Jack, behind the house on a squirrel chase. They scatter when I come home.

Once I'd maneuvered T-Hoe inside without folding in the mirrors (only one works), I sat in the garage to await The Pony, and open the hatch. A movement caught my eye as the people-door opened. I assumed it was The Pony, and looked up, only to see


"Uh? Yeah? Did you need something?"

"Oh, I heard your dogs barking, and came down to see if something was wrong."

"No. Nothing wrong. They chase squirrels behind the house every time I come home."

"Oh. They're good dogs."

"Yes... my son is coming out to carry groceries for me..."

With that, The Pony appeared. Kid moved away from the door, and began petting the dogs on the side porch. The Pony came into the garage, and cut eyes at me. If he was more sophisticated, he might have done the crazy twirly temple finger.

"I KNOW!" I hissed. So as not to be heard by the interloper.

"I mean, WHAT?"

"I don't know! He said he heard the dogs barking, and came to see if everything was okay."

The Pony gathered up the groceries and abandoned me. I closed the main garage door, and went out the people door. The Kid was still there. I did not appreciate him waltzing onto our homestead and poking his head into the garage! What if he was one of those cabin-breaker-inners!

"Where do you live?"

"Way up the road here, on the hill."

"Oh, did my husband give you a ride in his red truck?"


"He's not home right now. He took a sick lady to the hospital."

"I wondered if maybe he might have some work to do. I'm really bored."

"Yes, especially with school out for so long. I think I saw you guys down in the creek a while back. That's something to do."

"Yeah. It's nice."

" I said, my husband isn't here. I don't know if he has any work. You could ask him next time you see him."


Still, the Kid sat on the side porch, petting the dogs. Copper Jack was on the brick sidewalk.

"That one isn't even OUR dog!"

"I know."

"He hates me. He lets anyone else pet him but me."

Kid snapped his fingers. Copper Jack started forward, but my little spotted Jack jumped off the porch and snarled and jumped up to hang onto Copper Jack's snout. There was a scuffle as they went around the corner.

"That little one is really jealous. They fight like that a lot..."

I kept walking around the porch toward the kitchen door. The Kid finally said, "Later." As I was out of sight.

He's just a kid. But I don't want him thinking he can come hang out here. I didn't mean to invite him just by waving. Now I'm afraid it's like inviting a vampire into your home. You can't really rescind that invitation. The vampire can come and go as he pleases.

I hope vampire rules don't apply to weirdos! Even KID weirdos.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Hick Needs to Keep a Closer Eye on His Purse

With the lifting of our Stay-At-Home-Down, Hick has been having booming business at his Storage Unit Store. He sat in the La-Z-Boy Sunday night, riffling a stack of cash at me and The Pony. Still miffed at the lost opportunity that time day, to discuss Hick's most recently wrong-done things, I made an attempt to snatch that cash stack out of his hand. Who knew Hick had such youthful reflexes, even with his Pop-Arm?

Anyhoo...Hick began droning about items he'd sold, mostly metal things that propel other metal things at a lickety-split rate when stimulated.

"Whoa! I don't care. All I hear is 'blah blah blah cash blah blah blah cash blah blah blah,' so you might as well just skip all the specifics, and tell how much you took in, and how much was profit."

"Oh, you remember that money bag your best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel gave me? The black one with the red-and-white striped lining? That looked like a lady's make-up bag? I've been keeping my gun receipts in it. I usually leave it in the refrigerator. The cabinet that I can lock. But it wasn't locked. Anyway, Saturday I found it laying UNDER the cabinet. So I picked it up and put it back. But then today, after everyone left and I was putting stuff back, I couldn't find it! It wasn't inside where it should have been, and it wasn't laying under like before. I finally found it, though, stuffed down in a crack. Somebody's been messing with it!"

"Well, you should know better. With important stuff like that, you need to lock it up! Or keep it in your truck."

"Them dang people get into EVERYTHING!"

"Yeah. You should know better! You can't leave it unlocked. It's like trying to hide Christmas presents from kids. They'll FIND IT, wherever it is, if it's not locked up."

"It's locked up now."

"You need to walk in there and see what people are doing."

"I did follow one kid in there today. I didn't trust him. And that one guy I suspect took my gun hasn't been back. Not since I put on my Facebook that I was pretty sure I knew who took it. That should tell you right there he's guilty!"

"Well, you should watch people closer, or not complain if they take something."

"Yeah, I know. You can't trust anyone these days."

Ain't THAT the truth!

Monday, May 18, 2020

This Is the Time of Day When Val ALMOST Commits a Done-Wrong Faux Pas

I'm sure you remember my continuing series, "Now Is the Time of Day When We Talk About the Most Recent Things You've Done Wrong." I was up to Episode 4 on May 1st, but curtailed the series, what with the exponential explosion of Hick's Fan Club! No, not really. I don't mind that Hick has a fan club. He just hasn't done anything major to warrant the next episode. Until...

Wednesday night, and by that I mean around 5:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, I came upstairs for bed. I went to FRIG II for some ice in my overnight (mid-morning) bubba cup. As part of my routine, I open the freezer and check to make sure the ice-maker lever is still in the "making" position. Not jutted out, with an errant scrap of ice frozen to the dispensing mechanism, or lifted by a single pile that has frozen together in the bin underneath it.

When I pulled on the handle, the door almost smashed into my face! It wasn't suctioned shut as normal. Huh. Something was blocking its closure. That something was the cheesecake that Hick got me for Mother's Day. Let the record show that I have not yet sampled it, but Hick has been going to town on it, as my mom might have said. More evidence of cheesecake shenanigans was the stickiness of the door handle.

Huh. I know Hick had been getting a piece regularly (heh, heh, shame on my 13-year-old self's sense of humor), but we'd had no problems with him closing the door. Something was off. I finagled the cheesecake around and made the door close again. I noticed that a block of hamburger I'd wrapped up had started to defrost on one corner. I surmised that the door must have been un-noticably ajar since Hick's nighttime snack around 9:00 p.m. The freezer had been unfreezing for about 9 HOURS!

All I could think, in my head, not out loud, was HICK! With the inflection Jerry used for NEWMAN!

Good thing I checked on the ice-maker! I had half a mind to lay into Hick as I lay down in bed. But no. I'd wait until the regular time of day for discussing the most recent thing he'd done wrong. At supper time.

When I rolled out of bed at 10:00, Hick was already gone on a mission seeking more merchandise for his Storage Unit Store. I commiserated with The Pony.

"Wait until you hear the latest thing your dad has done wrong! When I came upstairs for bed last night, the freezer door wasn't closed all the way! And the hamburger had started thawing! Dad left the door open when he had some of my cheesecake!"


"What does THAT mean? Did YOU have cheesecake?"


"Well. You left the door open. Good thing I didn't lecture Dad during the time of day when we discuss the most recent things he's done wrong! He would have denied it, and I would have called him a liar! I really hope you and dad are enjoying my Mother's Day cheesecake, the only gift I got, of which I have not yet partaken."

Later that night, The Pony was enjoying a bath in the big triangle tub. I told Hick,

"The freezer door wasn't closed when I came up for bed. Stuff was starting to thaw. I was all ready to blame it on you, but then The Pony admitted it might have been him."

"SEE? I'm not the only one who does things wrong around here. You need to talk to The Pony. He had TWO slices of your cheesecake!"

There's no honor among cheesecake thieves.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Val Has Not Yet Remotely Recovered

Having The Pony back home is going to take some adjusting. I'm not talking about his hour showers at the same time I usually take mine. I shouldn't have to call dibs on the hot water. Nor about FRIG II's diminishing supply of ice. From which I am used to filling THREE bubba cups per day. At least The Pony actually drinks the cold water cooled by the ice, from an insulated metal cup, and doesn't let it sit in a red Solo cup and melt, then fill another one, as Genius is wont to do.

No, what I'm talking about today is TV TIME! It's not like I watch a lot of TV, but in the mornings (those hours between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.) I switch from cable newses (gotta check the stock ticker to see how much I'm losing), to reruns of The Middle or Malcolm in the Middle, to select movies of interest. And sometimes Carnival Eats.

The Pony likes cartoons such as American Dad. Or marathons of The Simpsons. Or any cooking show. Thing is, he always has in earphones, and keeps his eyes on his laptop. So I don't see any need to change my viewing habits for him.

Once I hoist my ample rumpus out of the La-Z-Boy to take a shower before my town trip, it's a free-for-all. The Pony moves to the La-Z-Boy with his metal ice water, and grabs the remote. Not a big deal, since I'm moving on. But something that happened Thursday IS a big deal.

I was dressed for town, and sat down for a minute on the short couch, to see if The Pony wanted some lunch from Country Mart's deli. As we were chatting in front of Bart and Lisa, I glanced sideways at The Pony, and saw the most horrific thing since Hick used to walk down the basement stairs on the way out the basement door to Poolio in his birthday suit!

The Pony was sitting sideways, with his legs folded up to his left side. He'd had the remote perched on the left arm of the La-Z-Boy. It had slid off (or was purposefully moved) and now


Regular readers might recall that Val abhors feet. Can't stand 'em! They make her ill. The only good foot is a baby's foot. The best part of the baby, so tiny and cute. Then they become stinky adolescent feet, corny misshapen adult feet, and yellow-toenailed crusty geezer feet. I have to turn my head when feet come on TV. Don't get me started on that callus shaver infomercial from years back. Nor the If Toes Were Fingers commercial for Kerasol. [CAUTION: don't click if you abhor feet!]

"YEEEEEE! Please tell me that the remote is NOT in your feet!"

"It is laying on top of my foot, propped up ever so gently by the index toe of my other foot."

"Please! Get it off your feet! Put the remote back on the table!

"It's fine where it is. 

"NO NO NO! What if Dad picks it up, and fiddles around, and taps it on his lip?"

"He'll never know."

"But YOU will! And I will!"

"I am touching something else with my toes now. Look."


"Come on..."

"Is it something of mine?"


"Because my stomach is churning at the thought and the previous sight."


The Pony was holding his PHONE between his toes, extending his foot off the La-Z-Boy.

"Do you want me to hand you the remote?"

"NO! For the love of all that is NOT Not-Heavenly, please wipe it off. Now. Do it! Get something to disinfect it! I can never watch TV up here again!"

"Do you want me to hold something else? The house phone? Or what about your vibrator?"

[Let the record show that my "vibrator" is shaped like a bug with four rounded feet, bought at Walmart to sooth my sinus headaches, and that The Pony takes great delight in mentioning it. At least we're not in the same classroom any more.]

"NO! I put it on my face! For my sinuses! It would be like putting your feet on my face! I can't believe you won't wipe off the remote!"

"I can't. I'm laughing so hard that I'm weak!"

"It's not funny! It's terrifying and sickening!"

I laughed till I cried. I couldn't get up and hobble away. The Pony still clenched his own cell phone between his toes, which are as long as fingers.

Later that evening, we giggled when Hick picked up the remote.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

It's HaPENNYing!

Looks like The Universe has been put on notice that Val is BACK! Back on her Pennyillionaire quest. Five days out of seven, a coin was waiting for her.

Aha! I caught one in the wild! SATURDAY, May 9, I spied a penny as I stepped out of T-Hoe at the Backroads Casey's. Of course my new used iPhone 8 went dead the second I tried to take a picture. So I restarted it, and took one, and set that phone down, not even looking at it the whole way home.

I call this technique iOutsmart my iPhone! Once home, I didn't mess with it until I got down to my lair, logged into my email on New Delly, and then sent the photo to myself. It worked. THIS time. Sorry no closeup. I know how you love to look at random pennies! This was a heads-up 2013 penny, laying there waiting for me to park in an unmarked spot, step out, and notice it.

SUNDAY, May 10, I went in Country Mart to look for a specific scratcher requested by The Pony. All my regular parking spaces were filled, so I had to park out front. There was a person at the one working scratcher machine (I think Country Mart is either getting new machines, or getting out of the lottery business!), but I could see over his shoulder that the selection was poor, with over half the tickets sold out. I did not see The Pony's requested Queen of Hearts. So I left.

On the way back to the car, right in my uncommon path, was a PENNY!

Of course I didn't have my cantankerous new used iPhone 8 with me. So I had to pose that face-down 1981 gem on T-Hoe's dashboard. Sorry for the shipwrecky kind of angle. I was showing my position in the parking lot.

TUESDAY, May 12, I was out and about with my doctor nurse practitioner appointment. On the way home, we stopped by the Sis-Town Casey's for some scratchers. All losers, sad to say. But I DID find a penny!

Unfortunately, it was up against the counter, near a lady's foot. So I had to wait for her to leave, then scoop it out with the toe of my shoe. No time to try for a picture with my questionable new used iPhone 8 lemon.

It was a face-down 2011, posed here at my kitchen counter, on the sticker they slapped on my shoulder to visit my clinic.

WEDNESDAY, May 13, I was leaving Orb K with my scratchers, taking a roundabout route due to the floor tape and other people daring to patronize one of my lottery hangouts. Just before I got to the door, at the end of the whiskey shelf, I saw a DIME on the floor! Didn't have my virtually useless slick brick of a new used iPhone 8 in my pocket.

It was a heads-up 2014 dime, about the size of the Monopoly man's head, posed here on my ticket (which later won my $10 back).

THURSDAY, May 14, I bypassed the School-Turn Casey's, where I'd intended to buy scratchers, because the parking lot was full. Instead, I went to the Backroads Casey's. I was meant to, I suppose. Because outside the door, I saw a PENNY! A face-down 2015. I risked my noggin being crushed by an exit-ing customer, and flaunted my ample rumpus to some workmen in a white truck eating their lunch. That cent went right into my shirt pocket.

Once inside, I saw TWO PENNIES under the edge of the counter gum display. As soon as the old man ahead of me left, I scooted them out with the tip of my shoe. Got 'em! A heads-up 1975, and a face-down 2018.

There they are, lined up left-to-right, on the dusty, dusty dash of T-Hoe. There's my de-germing doctor nurse practitioner appointment mask at the end, waiting for Hick to put it in his truck for Goodwill shopping (he says they require it). And a poster for this month's outrageously-priced pizza special on the front wall of Casey's. I think it's Philly Cheesesteak.

Anyhoo... Val and her Future Pennyillionaire Fortune had a good week!
Seven coins, worth 16 CENTS!


Penny       # 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53.
Dime         # 11.
Nickel      still at 3.
Quarter   0

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, May 15, 2020

This Hick-Bashing Must Stop

Oh, wait. I don't mean to be misleading. Surely you didn't think the title meant that I am going to stop bashing Hick! M-O-O-N. That spells (according to Tom Cullen in The Stand)
"No way am I going to stop bashing Hick! Then I would have no content!"

No, we're talking about an experience Hick had at our favorite Chinese restaurant. We haven't had food from there in a long time. Probably not even during 2020. With The Pony home, and my doctor's nurse practitioner's appointment taking up the afternoon, we decided on Chinese for supper Tuesday night. Hick is always the picker-upper.

The Pony sent Hick a text so he wouldn't mess up the order. Sweet & Sour Chicken with fried rice for himself. Hunan Pork with white rice for me. Hunan Chicken with Fried Rice for Hick. And two orders of crab rangoon.

I guess a lot of people wanted Chinese for supper. Hick had to wait a long time. Of course, he doesn't call it in. He walks in to order, and waits. He was chatting with another woman waiting. When our order finally came out, and he paid and picked up the bags, the worker who brought it took his money and said, "For how many people? Five?"

Hick said, "No. There's just three of us."

As he was walking out, the lady he'd been talking to said, "Wow. Nothing like being called a fat-ass when you pick up your order!"

Heh, heh! I told Hick that I would have said, "No, it's all for ME! One person!"

I'm sure that worker lady was only asking to see how many fortune cookies to toss in. But still, Hick was surprised by the question.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Mask of a Man's Fiasco

There I was, admitting to my doctor nurse practitioner that I'd opened up my mask while in the exam room alone. Seriously! Did you expect Val to be like one of those freaks who wears a mask alone in their car while driving? No offense to any of you freaks who might be reading this, of course...

He sat down on his rolly stool, and said, "No you didn't!"

I let him believe that. So he can sleep at night. I noticed that HIS mask was like mine, only green instead of blue. What gives? Did he have a SPECIAL mask, while mine was made by 4-year-old Chinese children, and imported at a price so outrageous that my state is suing China? Before I had a chance to ask, he said

"These aren't bad. Upstairs, I have to wear the N95 mask. I had an elderly couple there yesterday who stayed longer than I expected. They had a lot of questions. I had to stop TWICE, and say, 'Give me a minute,' and [here he inhaled and exhaled loudly a couple times]. It's really hard to get a breath in those masks."

"My husband said that at his factory, nobody could wear them unless they passed a physical that their lungs were okay. And that there were limits on how many hours they could wear the N95s. From OSHA."

"Oh, they tested all of us first. Then they said 'Here. These are just as good.' And gave us these green ones!" He raised his eyebrows. "Wait. There are limits to how long you can wear them?"

"Yeah, supposedly. I don't even like these paper ones. This is the first time I've worn one."

"I don't wear one when I go shopping. I know enough that if I hear someone coughing, I'll go to the next aisle. And if something feels off, I take another route."

"I know not to touch my face. I spent 28 years teaching. It only took a few years to get that."

"Oh, yeah! And you've been exposed to everything already, too."


"As long as you keep your distance, and don't touch above your shoulders, it's fine."

"I didn't really want to be here today, just for prescriptions."

"This is the safest place you can be! It's the non-infection floor. If' you'd had a temperature, they would have whisked you up to the third floor and put you in a room!"

Again. Not making me feel any more comfortable about that 'whisking' thing. But here's the worst part of the whole doctor nurse practitioner trip! He listened to my lungs, then said,

"How about we skip the bloodwork today, and wait until November for that?"

"Um. Okay. Sure."


Oh, well. The clinic lab is on the third floor. I guess it's just as well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Val in the File-On Mask

I survived! Still kickin'! Wore my mask, and kept on tickin'!

Hick dropped me off at the front door of the hospital/clinic. He condescendingly said,

"You go in that door right there."

"Thank you so much! I've been coming here 25 years, while you go to a plain old office where they give shots in the parking lot, and use a different hospital. I'm sure I know how to get inside."

"I'm just tellin' ya, because you used to go in over there."

"No. I've never gone in over there. This is the main door."

"Well, when I drop off my friend, she sometimes goes in that door over there."

"I'm not going to chemotherapy, you know."

Anyhoo...Hick left for Menards to get a spring of some kind, and I went inside. Which surprised me, thinking that I'd be met outside by a roving temperature checker. But no. They had a table set up inside the automatic door, with two masked gals, one wielding a thermometer gun that she poked squarely in the middle of my forehead.

Apparently I was not too hot to handle. She gave me a mask. "We've been asking everyone who enters to wear one of these." Indeed. I'd heard her spiel to the people ahead of me who filed along the table, keeping their floor-marked six feet behind their predecessor, each receiving a mask as they passed the checkpoint.

I complied, because as we all know, I was there seeking drugs, and this was the route to get them. My mask was blue, pleated paper, with elastic ear handles. I put it on, and mosied to the elevator, not wanting to get in with the other two people inside.

I made it to the second floor office with difficulty! I could not see anything! Just that dang mask under my eyes. Couldn't see the floor to step into the elevator, couldn't see to get my insurance card out of my shirt pocket. Couldn't see to sign the electronic permission thingy. Getting on the scale was a whole new exercise that required grabbing the side bars with both hands, and nearly bending over to see my feet step up. That mask was creepin', even though I'd pinched the little nose-formy thingy at the top, and pulled the pleats open to cover under my chin. The top edge of it kept hitting my bottom eyelashes! That seems unsanitary!

That's the good part, though, that I was put into an exam room after checking in. No waiting out front. As the nurse said, "If you come over to the door, I can put you in a room." Which sounds kind of sinister if you're a conspiracy theorist.

Anyhoo...she took my vitals. Temperature again. It was 96.something, through my ear. No fever here! We got the pulse-ox (96, probably due to me breathing in my own carbon dioxide in that mask), and pulse (71), and blood pressure (138/84, not exactly great, but not bad, considering my fit of pique at having to be there at all, not to mention wearing a mask). She asked about the prescriptions, then said my doctor nurse practitioner would be right in.

Here's where Val was a bad, bad gal! While waiting alone in the exam room, I REMOVED THE ELASTIC FROM MY LEFT EAR, AND FLAPPED MY MASK OPEN TO BREATH ROOM AIR! Every time I heard voices stop, I was wary. I waited to hear a scurrying outside the door, and then I put my ear loop back on!

Good thing, too! My doctor nurse practitioner flung open the door, shouted "HI!" and backed up to grab himself a mask. Heh, heh. Of course I had to tell on myself.

"You just did that, trying to catch me with my mask off! I confess...I DID have it off while nobody was in here with me."

The rest of the story tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Add Drug-Seeking to Val's Public-Enemy-ing Crimes

As you read this, I am on my way to the doctor. DON'T THINK I WANT TO BE THERE! I am only going to comply with the archaic policy that my prescriptions cannot be refilled unless I have an in-person appointment with my physician nurse practitioner every 6 months.

I understand the need for monitoring a person's health. Testing them for side effects of the medicine. But let's not forget that for 7 WEEKS, those physicians nurse practitioners did not want anything to do with their regular patients! Even those like Hick, who need a weekly shot. Had to get it standing in a parking lot, IF the employees showed up. Which they did not always.

Of course my prescriptions ran out of refills the very week that Missouri relaxed the Stay-At-Home-Down. You'd think that my physician nurse practitioner could have given me a courtesy refill for one month. Then seen me with an appointment, after things settled down a bit. He's done that before, when I had other plans, and the available appointments didn't match up.

Sheesh! It's not like I take anything good! Just a generic blood pressure med, and a heart-slower, and a pill for my thyroid that was removed back in 2010. To make matters worse, he refilled the heart-slower, but not the other two! What in the NOT-HEAVEN?

Anyhoo...I read in the local online newspaper that my clinic/hospital facility, as of May 6, would be requiring every single person who enters to wear a mask! I am not looking forward to this. It will make me feel claustrophobic and breathless. Val is not mask-friendly! You'd think with her life as a public enemy, she would have at least a passing acquaintance with masks. But no. I do not like them in the store, I do not like them at the door. I do not like a mask, you see. The thought of one can suffocate me! My mindset is that I will wear a mask when they pry one on my cold dead face!

Hick says I will be better off using a cloth or paper mask they issue at the door, rather than the cup-shaped ones he has from painting, that look like something a football player would wear to protect his nether regions. Hick has seen them (the hospital/clinic masks, not the football players' nether regions) when he takes his friend for chemotherapy.

Anyhoo...I expect my blood pressure to be elevated from my fit of pique over the whole scenario. I will wear the mask, but only because I am seeking drugs! I understand that the masks are to protect other people, that they do little to protect my own self. I don't begrudge other people their lives. But I am not Covid Val, a carrier to rival Typhoid Mary!

They can't take my temp and suck my blood fast enough!

Funny how one week, chronically ill people, those needing non-emergency surgery, expectant mothers, and some needing chemo are not allowed to visit the healthcare facilities, but the next week healthy people are commanded to come in, or else must do without the maintenance meds they have taken for 15 years. It's like one minute food is on the grocery store shelf, and the next minute it's garbage in the dumpster.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Rules for Thee, But Not for Me and He

Val just can't stop public-enemying!

Last Thursday, I stopped by the bank to withdraw our weekly cash allowance. I used to get it from the ATM in the back wall of the bank, but when they put in the new machine, it would only give me part of what I wanted. So now I bypass that step, and go directly to one of the three drive-thru lanes. It's not like I can just waltz inside the lobby any more.

Anyhoo... I was excited, because two drive-thru lanes were open, with only one car at each. I got in line, my withdrawal slip ready to go. After only five minutes, it was my turn! I put in the slip requesting my cash, along with a dollar, and a note asking for two rolls of pennies. Gotta have my correct change for 44 oz Diet Cokes!

The teller took five minutes (I guess they were still waiting for a commercial during their soap opera), and then said through the speaker,

"I'm going to need to see your ID."

"Okay. Sometimes I have to send it in, sometimes I don't. I never know, or I would have included it with the withdrawal slip."

Seriously. I've banked here for 20 years. EVERY WEEK I withdraw the same amount of cash from my checking account. I'm sure it shows on screen when they bring up my account on their computer. It's not like I'm some random schemer cruising by out of the blue to scam a wad of cash. But okay. I'll dig out my driver's license and sent it in while the people behind me fume. Good to know that my bank isn't just handing out my money indiscriminately.


A couple weeks ago, when Hick wanted to reimburse himself with the money he spent on his new used duckbill dovetail trailer, he went to the bank drive-thru, with a withdrawal slip written up in MY penmanship, needing only his signature.

You know what happened, right? Hick sent in the slip, and the teller sent out $1500! Let the record show that Hick drops by the bank once in a blue moon. Maybe twice a year, if that. Yet he had no trouble getting cash from our account!

That's not all! When the teller returned my license and my envelope of cash, I noticed that the canister was missing my two rolls of pennies. And the dollar I'd sent in asking for them. I tried to ask. But you know how it is. Once they're done with you, they're done! I pushed the CALL button.

"Excuse me. I don't see my two rolls of pennies. It's okay if you can't sent them out. But can I at least have my dollar back?"

"Oh! I just forgot! Here. I'll send them right out!"

Well, no she couldn't, until I sent back in the canister for the third time. I'm pretty sure the driver behind me had already performed a ritual to make my future a bit more difficult.

So let's recap. I have to provide my ID to get cash from my account, although I've banked there 20 years, and stop by that branch at least once a week. Hick the stranger can score $1500 when he drops by, without identifying himself. The teller can "forget" to send out change, and keep the dollar, with nobody but the customer (ME) checking on her.

Yeah. VAL is the problem, right?

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Less Pompous, Due to Circumstances

The Pony and Hick arrived home safely on Friday, around 3:45 p.m. Without my albatross carcass around Hick's neck, they made the trip in 8 hours and 15 minutes. They had left Norman at 7:30 a.m., with only a gas station donut for sustenance. Though to be fair, they had dined on steak for two nights, because that's the only kind of restaurant that was open for dining. They SAID. much for scheduling a time to check out of his apartment. The Pony did some investigating Thursday night, and saw that the drop box had been left out. So Hick came by at 7:30 Friday morning, they loaded the bedclothes and towels in the car, dropped the key, and hit the road.

They were home in plenty of time for The Pony's virtual graduation at 7:00. The Pony decided that we would watch on HIS laptop, rather than my HIPPIE, because The Pony's was designed for gaming, and has a larger screen. He set it on the coffee table, and the three of us sat on the long couch like the Simpsons in their opening credits. The Pony was on the end by the picture window, Hick in the middle, and I on the end I called before they could choose!

For an online affair, it was efficient. A main speaker, an introduction of heads of the various colleges of study. Some student leaders. The interim president's head was angled in the direction of The Pony. "See? He's speaking right to you!" Funny how that worked out with our seating arrangement.

I had asked The Pony if he wanted to put on his cap and gown, but he did not. A slideshow, with Pomp and Circumstance playing in the background, showed assorted campus landmarks, and stills from special events. The Pony exclaimed at people he knew, and events he'd attended.

"This song always makes me think of the 18 graduations I had to sit through in a gown, listening to it."

"This song always makes me remember having to PLAY IT," said The Pony, a former tromboner.

Sadly, The Pony had opened his OU box of graduation accouterments before I came upstairs to make supper. I knew that, because he announced, as I trudged up the stairs,

"Um. I should have read the instructions. I opened this tube, and red and white ribbons shot out! I think that was supposed to be at the end of graduation! Oh, well. I'm picking them up." 

And with that, he gathered those shiny ribbons and stuffed them in the kitchen wastebasket. Not much on ceremony, that Pony.

The streamed commencement lasted about 40 minutes. Genius watched it from Pittsburgh. On his own terms. Halfway through, he texted The Pony congratulations, and said he had watched it on 2X speed. At the end, rather than going through the slideshow of all graduates, The Pony showed us his own special slide in cap and gown, taken by a friend who had not been sent home during the Stay-At-Home-Down. He also showed us the one of his Bestie. It was bittersweet, having such a momentous occasion played out on our living room couch.

At the end, the interim president of OU said that graduates might want to send in photos of their graduation moment. The three of us looked at each other. Hick in his t-shirt and jeans, The Pony in stretchy pants and t-shirt, and me in my threadbare everyday lairwear of 20-year-old purple-and-white striped shirt and striped sweatpants.

"NO! I don't think so!"

The Pony agreed.

Congratulations, Pony, on your Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. The world is your oyster. Though at present time, it might be difficult to crack.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Due to HapPENCEstance, Val Was Forced to Artistically Render Legal Tender

Oh my gosh! This week, as she was released from Stay-At-Home-Down, free to roam about the back roads, the skies opened and rained down coins harder on Val than those rocks on Carrie White's house at the end of Carrie. The Stephen King novel, not the movie.

SATURDAY, May 2, I cast off the shackles of Stay-At-Home-Down, since it technically was due to end on Sunday, May 3...and headed to town for a 44 oz Diet Coke and scratchers. In Orb K again, I spied a PENNY! It was a face-down 2006, wedged under the edge of the counter. I fished it out with the toe of my shoe (my own this time, and not The Pony's castoff), and exposed my ample rumpus to pick it up.

It was technically last week, but after the Saturday CENTSus went to press! Of course my new used iPhone 8 was in the middle of restarting after shutting itself off, so I didn't get a photo. You'll have to make do with my artist's rendering in PAINT. I am SO OVER THIS iPHONE!

SUNDAY, May 3, I was double-lucky! I found two coins, AND I got a later picture of them to stay on my new used iPhone 8 long enough to save it on New Delly!

It was in the Backroads Casey's. They were spread too far apart for one picture. And you KNOW I can't take two with my current phone lemon.

I DID get a picture out in T-Hoe, with them laying on the scratcher I bought inside. I wasn't triple-lucky, though. The ticket was a loser. But I had my heads-up 1999 quarter, and my face-down 2015 penny. So there's that!

MONDAY, May 4, I scored a penny in the Backroads Casey's! Sorry for posing it on my kitchen counter.

The minute I entered, I spied this under the candy racks between the registers, just in front of the SCRATCHER display! A heads-up 1979 dirty-faced Lincoln. Sorry, social-distancers. Somebody got an ample-rumpusing! Didn't even take my new used (lemon) iPhone 8 in with me. I got a picture in T-Hoe, which did not survive the ride home.

But the one from my next stop did! While not actually capturing the next one in the wild, I DID get him in T-Hoe, in front of Orb K, where he was blending in with the tile floor. I almost missed him. Good thing I know that squinting can focus eyesight.

It was a heads-up 2011 penny, posed here on a scratcher that won me $5. Money back! To play again...

WEDNESDAY, May 6, I dipped my toe into the Walmart waters for the first time in ages. Imagine my surprise, when putting my last bag in the cart, to see a PENNY laying there at the end of the checkout, between my cart and the checker to my right. Of course my phone chose that Kodak moment to go black. It didn't help that the guy behind me tried to ram my ample rumpus with his cart to hurry me along. Sheesh! Like people have anywhere to go in a hurry these days!

There he is, once home, and that dang phone working again. A shiny 2007, which was face-down in Walmart, but posed for you here on top of my 44 oz Diet Coke, since he's so photogenic.

That makes SIX COINS this week, for a total of 30 CENTS! Free money!


Penny       # 43, 44, 45, 46, 47.
Dime         # 10.
Nickle      still at 3.
Quarter   0

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, May 8, 2020

Moving The Pony Home

Just a little photo The Pony sent me on Thursday, to illustrate his horror at this move:

Translation: "Halloween Stuff." The 3 valedictorians in this family bear no ill will towards Hick. We embrace him, with all his foibles. We do not ridicule him for his spelling. [To his face.] Yet our sensibilities are offended.

This is A-Cad's rear end. Theses orange tubs are many years old. Came from the BARn. Probably stuff Hick had before we were married. The current tubs are the blue kind, in the background. The variety we have in the workshop on the other side of the wall of my basement lair, arranged on shelves built by Hick.

The Pony's Nissan Rogue is supposedly loaded with soft items like clothes, and important electronical thingies like his TV and laptop and tablet. Probably that Not-Heavenish Ouija Board as well...

If Hick didn't even have to lay down ONE of the back seats of A-Cad for this move, it speaks of the little material wealth The Pony has accumulated in four years. He's a simple creature.