Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Val and T-Hoe Get Ample-Rumpused

Most days, I drive through Dairy Queen to pick up lunch for The Pony and myself, off the $2 menu. We like the chicken with honey mustard, and soft pretzels with queso sauce.

Thursday, I had made it from car #13 in line, to car #3. Dairy Queen's line usually moves at an acceptable rate. About 1 minute per car, sometimes faster. So people creep along, foot on brake, advancing to the pickup window.

I looked down at T-Hoe's clock, checking my wait time.


My foot held on the brake, as my head rocked back, then forward. A quick look in my mirror showed the old green truck behind me backing up a couple feet.


I put my window down, gestured with my arm like WT actual F? A guy got out and walked up along the building, almost to my window. He was late 20s/early 30s. Kind of stocky, with curly unkempt reddish hair. Wearing none-too-clean rust-colored cotton duck work pants, and a bright green t-shirt favored by road crews.

"I don't know what happened. My brakes give out. I didn't hurt your car, though."

"Well. You SAY you didn't."

"Yeah. There's no marks."

"I hope my neck and back are okay..."

For the first time, he lost that WhoGivesAnEff look off his face.

"Are you all right?"

"I guess I am."

"Okay then."

Wham Bammer skedaddled back to his truck. I was shaking from the adrenaline. The line moved up. Then my turn. I drove around the building, and pulled into the first parking spot by the exit. I got out, shaky-kneed, and walked around to check out T-Hoe's rear. It DID look okay. I didn't see any marks. I guess that truck bumper was just the right height to hit T-Hoe's bumper. In my mirror in line, I had noticed a crunched-in/broken fiberglass spot under the driver's-side headlight of that green truck. Don't know if it was old, or happened in the crash.

My intent was to get a picture of T-Hoe's (non)damage on my phone. And a picture of Wham Bammer and his truck as he came around.

Apparently, he was in training for the NASCAR circuit, because he sped out that exit like he was in second place on the final turn. I think he probably crapped his pants as he pulled from the side street onto the main road. A police car was turning in! And I know Wham Bammer had seen me and T-Hoe parked there by the exit.

The police car was headed across the street, to Hardee's. Where a small silver sedan had its snout all crumpled and a headlight displaced. It must have been hit coming out of the drive-thru there. The corner of the building blocks the view of oncoming traffic. A tilt-bed car-hauling wrecker was parked in the road, so I had to go out Dairy Queen's back exit.

Hick was not happy that I didn't get that guy's insurance information. HA HA HA HA! As IF that guy would have had insurance! No damage was done to T-Hoe. I don't believe the story of Wham Bammer's brakes failing. How did he stop when he backed up, and how did he keep from re-bamming me in line? I think he wasn't paying attention, and hit the gas instead of the brake. No other way he could have hit me so hard. Hick says MAYBE he could, if his idle was set too high, and he took his foot off the brake to creep forward.

Anyhoo...an hour later, the left front side of my neck was sore, after all my adrenaline wore off. Then the back right side of my neck started to hurt. It's still stiff and sore. Crackles when I turn a certain way. I've had a headache off and on for three days. Don't know if any of it is wreck-related. It's not bad enough to go to a doctor, to get a cervical collar, and sue Wham Bammer for half a million dollars (but settle out of court for $10,000) like Harry Morgan (before he was MASH's Colonel Potter) did The Partridge Family when Shirley rear-ended his Studebaker.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Some Disenchanted EVENing

The very day after my big jackpot, Even Steven set about balancing my life. It was Thursday, my errand day. What could possibly go wrong?

Val plans, Even Steven laughs. Laughs, after throwing a monkey wrench into those plans. Monkey wrenches. Monkey wrenches that he first juggles like a medieval court jester, then spins atop each other like plates on poles in a circus act, then flingss at Val like Chinese throwing stars.

On the way to the post office to get a box for mailing Genius his requested old Gameboy and games, I heard something rolling around in the back of T-Hoe. What in the Not-Heaven? A quick inspection outside the post office revealed two jugs of vinegar, four of which we'd purchased on Tuesday, to clean hard water scale off the inside of the big triangle bathtub. The other two of which The Pony had carried inside that day. One of them had leaked on T-Hoe's carpet. So I stood them up in my soft-sided insulated cooler, zipped the lid, and stuffed my winter coat around it to keep them from tipping over.

Of course the Backroads post office didn't have any Flat Rate boxes. Only Priority Mail. Which costs by weight, not a flat rate. Gameboys and games and a case are surprisingly heavy. So that stop was wasted. I'd have to go inside the main post office in Sis-Town, get a Flat Rate box, bring it out to T-Hoe, and pack the games in it there.

On the way to the main post office, I stopped for scratchers at the School-Turn Casey's. I took in my winners for cashing in. But the clerk said, "I can't scan them. Our system is down. I think Corporate is messing with it." So I had to spend cash that I'd earmarked for something else.

At the main post office, I brought out the Flat Rate box, packed it, affixed my already-addressed label, and took it in for mailing. I was a nickel short. So I had to go back out to T-Hoe to my change cup.

At my next stop, for gas at the Sis-Town Casey's, I was able to cash in those scratchers. But when I got back in T-Hoe, my keys fell down between the seat and the console. It was difficult to retrieve them with my own ample forearm, rather than The Pony's dainty appendage.

The very worst atrocity occurred at Dairy Queen, when I was picking up lunch for myself and The Pony. Let's just say another vehicle was involved.

Oh, and the Dairy Queen girl at the drive-thru window DROPPED A PENNY OF MY CHANGE, which slid into the slot they use for donations to some charity. So I was an accidental donator.

The second-worst unfortunate event was at home, involving an eight-legged intruder as I carried my lunch down to my lair.

Those two most unfortunate events will have their own individual posts.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Tale of the Hand Pay Off

During my fantastic slot win, it became obvious that the jackpot was going to give me my first-ever hand pay. 

When I went over $1,200, I tried to send The Pony a text that I got a hand pay. Only autocorrect told him I got a hand-BAG, heh, heh. Good thing I caught it. I don’t think his eyes could have stood any more rolling, after that tremendous ocular revolution during lunch, when I used Diet Pepsi to remove a stain on my shirt, explaining that it was for when I'd get my picture taken after winning a big jackpot.

I was also taking pictures of the slot screen, with that cocktail waitress behind me. I said, “I’ll get in trouble for taking pictures, but I’ve gotta try.” She said, “Oh, not if you don’t have anyone else in the picture.” Obviously, she never worked at Downstream Casino, where Val is Public Enemy #3!

She called the payer-offers on her radio when I was up to about $4000, to tell them they would be needed for a hand pay. When the guy came, he was wearing a clear face shield to protect himself from my cooties! Anyhoo… he asked if I wanted only federal taxes held out, or state also. I told him both. There’s a record of that money, and I might as well get it over with now, and not have the taxes dangling over my head until next April.The casino is required to take out federal taxes on a win over $1,200, but not state taxes.

THEN he asked how much I wanted in a check. I said, “You mean I can take CASH?” And he said yes, if I wanted, I could get it all in cash. So I jumped at that chance! He left with my ID and player's card, and returned about 10 minutes later with two other guys.

I signed the paperwork. He counted out $6,213.32 in 61 hundreds, 5 twenties, 1 ten, 3 dollars, and coins. I gave him a tip of $40 for his trouble. The casino channel I watch on YouTube says a tip of 1 percent OR $20 is sufficient, whichever is less. So while I felt cheap, I actually gave him twice what is standard (in Vegas, anyway). I'm pretty sure that's the reason he didn't count out 62 hundreds! Hick would probably have given him nothing. Hick won't even pay the paperwork fees when buying a new car.

The one casino guy got shut out, but all he did was carry out a clipboard to hand the guy who was paying me. The other one was a security guard who offered to walk me to my car. I told him I didn’t need that, because my husband was there. The Pony said he was probably wanting a tip, too! I figure it’s standard procedure to offer a security escort. If it had been night, I might have done it. But Hick was picking us up at the door anyway.

Here’s the thing! THEY DIDN’T EVEN TAKE MY PICTURE! Though they DID announce over the PA system that there was a ANOTHER BIG JACKPOT WINNER. So I had cleaned my casino uniform shirt with Diet Pepsi for nothing! I told The Pony that was irony, and he said it wasn’t. That irony would be if they took my picture, after I left the stain at lunch, saying, “At least I’m not getting a picture taken for winning a jackpot.”

The Pony also said they probably didn't take my picture because I took my jackpot in cash. Since people you see in the winner pictures are holding a big check. Heh, heh! I'd never be able to fit a giant check in my gambling purse! Of stuff it in the drive-thru canister at my bank! (Yes, I know they'd give me a regular size check for the actual jackpot.)

I can't believe Hick didn't come back to share in my celebration. The Pony went to find him, and reported that Hick just said, "Huh."

Anyhoo... I had a grand time sitting there at my slot, which was playing that little hand pay tune that I'd recognize anywhere. I was actually kind of sad when it quit after about 10 minutes. Normally, I'd be annoyed that it attracted attention. But I wasn't! I guess it was the endorphins. I even talked politely to a lady and her husband who sat down at the slots next to me, peering through the clear plastic to ogle my win.

I'm not even calling them weirdos.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

A Virtual COINucopia

Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune received a bountiful deposit this week!

MONDAY, June 22, I parked in my regular space by the moat at the Gas Station Chicken Store. As I glanced out the window, I saw a PENNY waiting for me! The glint of the sun was just right. Not so much for my picture, though, since clouds took over.

It's there, I swear, if you zoom in. See that sideways acorn shape? It's above that, center of the picture, about midway between the dark blobs on the right, and the two little dark blobs on the left.

It was a face-down 2020 pretty penny. Into my shirt pocket it went!

At my next stop, Orb K, I spied ANOTHER penny on my way inside.

Good thing I picked it up and put it in my left pants pocket! Because when I came out, two women were standing there, car hood up, bent over, peering at their engine. It would have felt wrong to stand behind them taking a picture!

This one was a heads-up 2001.

Once inside, I went to peer at the scratcher selection, which is on a board, leaning against the front window. It's quite awkward for the nearsighted, who can't see the numbers to select when standing in line at the far-right register. My mind made up, I went to get in line. Which was backed up along the cold food bin. I cut across by the chips.

Well! Looks like a certain Lincoln was expecting me!

A face-down 1986 Lincoln, to be exact. Into the right pants pocket for him!

Wouldn't you know it! When it rains pennies from heaven, it pours. An here I was now, deluged at the register, with a dime!

This one went into my shirt pocket, since a penny and a dime can coexist without switching identities, unlike two pennies. I can never check the dates until I get home to my magnifying glass.

It was a face-down 1975 dime.

Of course I was satisfied with this one-day haul for the week. But Even Steven thought I deserved more! So on THURSDAY, June 25, over in Sis-Town, he had another penny waiting for me.

Heh, heh! Looks like Even Steven has a sense of humor! You might think that's a wide array of pennies for me to choose from. But no. There's only one, among the dots of tar and dirty chewed gum.

It was a face-down 1964. Good thing I chose that touchy-handled pump #4, which I usually avoid. This time, I was paid a PENNY to squeeze the handle the whole time, since the little lever always clicks off after just a couple gallons.

Yes, it was feast, not famine, for Val this week. With 5 COINS, for a total of 14 CENTS.


Penny       # 65, 66, 67, 68.
Dime         # 13.
Nickel       still at 6.
Quarter    still at 1.

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, June 26, 2020

Val Goes To the Casino So You Don't Have To

I'm a giver like that! Uh huh. This isn't a case of bragging. I'm SHARING my experiences, so you can kick back in your La-Z-Boy and live vicariously through Val. I understand that some of you might not feel comfortable leaving your home, touching surfaces that have been touched by a myriad of people in assorted stages of health, eating food touched by other humans' hands, and breathing questionably-filtered air that can't even have SMOKE removed from it. So I will gladly do it for you.

If you want a 100% safe visit to a casino, Val's your go-to gal.

Wednesday afternoon, after lunch, Hick went to the front of the casino, and The Pony and I turned right, to go along the back wall near the restroom area. The first bank of slots I came to, just past the bar, was Wonder 4 Spinning Fortunes. I've never played it, but of the four game choices, I picked my favorite, Buffalo Gold. I put it on all four screens. The minimum bet is $2.40, which is 60 cents per game. I played that a while, getting some bonuses that paid around $27, and $5, and $17. It kept me playing. I had put in a ticket worth $20, and when it ran out, I put in a $20 bill.

I got up to $117. That made me bold, and I upped my bet to the second level, to $4.80, which is $1.20 per game. I was up and down, varying my bet back and forth, when the trend switched to all DOWN. I had $7.88 left when I hit four gold coins for the bonus of 15 free spins. The wheel spin gave me Super Free Games.

That means four screens playing at once, instead of a single screen that’s the regular Free Games bonus. Right away, I started getting two gold coins, which gives an extra 5 games. I was also collecting buffalo heads. I took these pictures to show you my amassing fortune, and that I had SO MANY free games! Little did I know that I would have something even better to show you later...

That bonus gave me ALL 15 Buffalo Heads! (First time I ever got all 15.) That means four other symbols automatically turned into Buffalo Heads. Which pay a LOT if you get them all the way across the five columns. AND I was getting the 2X and 3X bonus sunset symbols with them.  I also kept getting more free games! A total of 60!

This one screen paid me $18.00 x 24, which is $432.00! As you can imagine, my total winnings were growing rapidly! I snapped that picture, and was then astounded to see THIS ONE come up:

THIS ONE SCREEN ALONE paid me $36.00 x 48, which is $1,728. That's a hand pay! I was having a blast! Sorry for the extreme close-up, but I was distracted by the thought of my VERY FIRST hand-pay. That means it's too much money ($1,200 or more in Missouri), and taxes must be taken out, so you can't just cash out a ticket. The virtual gold coins were cascading across the screen, and those big letters are spelling out MASSIVE WIN.

A cocktail waitress had stopped behind me, commenting along. Not in an intrusive or tip-seeking way, just watching to see what I’d get. She said, “I bet it’s going to be around $8000.” She’s either psychic, or has stood around watching a lot of bonuses!

I finished with $8,629.60. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! After tax withholding, it was $6,213.32.

More about the pay-off, on Sunday.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Who Knows? The Foreshadower Knows!

Wednesday, we drove down to our favorite casino. Hick went a couple weeks ago, but this is my first casino outing since March 18, when we were in Oklahoma. I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited. The Pony went along, since now he's BAA AAACK, and he's over 21.

Hick dropped us off at the door, and went to do his own business for his own business. Not Goodwilling, though, because he stopped by there on the way to the casino! Can you believe that? How he PROLONGED my anticipation?

Anyhoo… the casino lobby had a giant maze of posts and straps set up to funnel us cattle to the gate. Since there was no crowd, we didn’t have to zig-zag through it, but we DID have to walk all the way to the other side and come back to the entry point. The Pony got carded, but for some reason they assumed I looked over 35, and didn’t ask me for ID. Can you believe THAT? (It’s a rhetorical question.)

I got a new card, since this is now the CENTURY CASINO, not the ISLE. I played some Wild Wild Nugget, and lost $20. Then I moved on to a Wonder 4 Boost, where I played Wild Americoin for about an hour, until lunch. I lost some and won some back. I was down about 1/4 of my casino bankroll at lunch.

Hick had a regular cheeseburger with fries:

The Pony had a regular cheeseburger, with fries:

Except The Pony had asked for his burger without lettuce. Do you see a problem? The food came while The Pony was in the bathroom, and Hick told the waitress lady which burger was his. Yes, he had taken a bite by the time The Pony returned, and said, "Um. I think you have my burger." They switched them out, and peace was restored.

I had a Grilled Chicken Club, with tater tots. Love my tots!

Yes, there WAS a small piece of chicken in there. What you can't see is the abundance of bacon. And the tomato. It was quite a tasty sandwich.

During lunch, while eating my Grilled Chicken Club on Texas Toast, I dripped some bacon/tomato juice on my shirt. It was my regular casino uniform, the pink plaid shirt. I wear it because it shows stains the least! Of course I know how to weaken a shirt stain, that done by drizzling Diet Coke from my straw, and scrubbing the area. Stupid new CENTURY has Pepsi instead of Coke! But I gave my shirt the Diet Pepsi treatment.

The Pony was busy rolling his eyes at me. So I said, “Come on! You KNOW it works! Besides, I don’t want a big stain on my shirt after lunch, when they take my picture for the big jackpot I’m going to win!” More eye-rolling. Little did we know that this would prove to be


But I'm getting ahead of myself! That's a story for Friday.

There's only one food place open now at this casino, but it's the one we always went to. They've limited their menu to sandwiches and hot dogs. No more pulled pork, or nachos. We waited forever for someone to come out and take our order at the counter. I told The Pony that we could have just grabbed a salad or prepared ham and cheese sub out of the cool case, and gone to sit down and eat them. But The Pony said, "Um. Casino. Cameras everywhere."

Somebody raised that Pony right. Or else he thinks out his intended crimes very thoroughly.

Anyhoo... the lady who took our order and brought our food to the table wore a mask, and gloves. She handed us each a foam cup for soda, with a lid and paper-wrapped straw already inside. No refills allowed. Also, no napkins on the counter, no contraptions that dispensed plastic silverware, no ketchup pump. Here is a basket of condiments she brought us.

Okay, we'd already taken out most of the ketchup, the napkins, the mayonnaise. Those are hand sanitizer packets in the foreground. Normally, I would have left the unopened condiments on the table. I hate waste. But we just threw them away this time. Like I told Hick, "They can't give these to anybody else after we've touched them. And nobody at home takes a lunch any more. We don't need them."

Yes, a good time was had by most. A better time might have been had if we had stuck with the original plan of going to Lambert's the Throwed Roll Restauant. But may not! I'm getting ahead of myself again! You don't get that story yet!

I didn't see anybody but staff wearing a mask. No temperature checks to get in. There were clear plastic weirdo-repellers dividers between the slots. Nobody got in my space. I didn't hear any coughing or sneezing. All counters had clear plastic shields to keep people from breathing on the staff. Plenty of spray mist hand sanitizer thingies were placed around the gaming floor, and at the entrance to the restaurant.

I'm looking forward to going again, because...

OOPS! You're not getting that story until tomorrow!