Sunday, January 31, 2021

Two Winners and One (Double) Loser

Hick was the big winner on our casino trip during Wednesday's snow storm. He left with a little more than double his bankroll. I also left with a profit. Not double my bankroll, but a profit. More that two cents, heh, heh! The poor Pony lost about half his bankroll. He was barely a loser until I changed the plan, and stayed another 15 minutes. To be fair, I am NOT taking the blame he wants to place on me. I was in a bonus, and he could have stood by to watch, rather than dashing back into the slot rows and re-feeding slots the money he had cashed out.

Even worse than a monetary loss, The Pony suffered an indignity!

"People in the casino are just RUDE!. There was a lady sitting next to me, at the back wall on the big dragon game, smoking."

"Did she get the smoke on you?"

"No. But when she got done smoking, she coughed. I mean, she was wearing a mask, but when she coughed, she TURNED AND FACED ME AND COUGHED RIGHT AT ME!"

"Didn't you have a divider?"

"Yeah. I think we had a divider. I was just so shocked that she'd turn RIGHT AT ME to cough!"

"I had one hold her cigarette under the divider, so the smoke blew on me."

"They're just rude."

Preachin' to the choir, Pony!

Here are some colorful slot pictures. Because I go to the casino so you don't have to! This was the bonus that delayed The Pony into a bigger loss.
I hit the Super Free Games bonus on Wonder 4 Tall Fortunes, in the Indian Dreaming game. It took me all the way to the top, but didn't pay much. To be fair, I was betting $1, which is 25 cents per game on the regular 4-game screen. AND I was down to 27 cents left from my twenty when I hit the bonus. So I'm not complaining.

A regular bonus, with the single screen, paid me just as well before lunch.

 It was only 10s, but that X3 symbol helped.

My best win of the day came soon after we arrived. It was the second slot I played.

This is Wild, Wild Nugget. It shows my bonus win (after 15 free games) of $239.25. In the bonus, I hit two WILD symbols in that red-edged section on the left. Then I hit some NUGGETS in the gold-edged section. I DID get a pic of the nuggets:

I had a X3 and a X2 multiplier from the WILDs, but I cut off part of the screen. Below is a pic showing just how important those multipliers were in adding up my bonus total.

The nuggets added up to $27, but the X3 and X2 multiplied it by 6, for a delicious extra total of $162. That's what helped my bonus total reach $239.25. Anyhoo... this slot was giving free games like crazy, so I played it a long time, switching my bets around from 50 cents to 1.00 to 1.50. I was lucky to be on 1.50 when that bonus hit.

I'm definitely missing my special Buffalo Gold slot that has been removed. They've added a Buffalo Diamond, of which I am not a fan. The Buffaloes didn't come out for me on the Tall Fortunes slot, either. I'm still a loyal Buffalo Val, but these other two slots made me happy (and not a loser!) this trip.

Tomorrow, we'll cover the dining situation.

Saturday, January 30, 2021


Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune week was off to a slow start this week! Not a coin in sight until WEDNESDAY, January 27. I wasn't expecting to find a coin, but the casino thought otherwise. As I got up from my last slot at 3:14, to meet Hick up front at 3:15... I almost stumbled over (not the crazy carpet pattern) a PENNY!
Of course I had to stop for a photo-op. I also took a close-up, but it was blurry. My phone doesn't like to zoom in. It was a heads-up 2019 penny, lolling around where it had no business, not by a cash machine, not where you could insert a penny into anything. I doubt a drinker was tipping a server with change, or taking coins back after a purchase. They're GAMBLERS, by cracky! Not penny-pinchers.
As I took a step, dropping that one in my shirt pocket, I saw ANOTHER PENNY, hidden behind the stool leg.
A 1994, heads-up. It's always good to leave the casino with some money in your pocket! This penny didn't take a good close-up, either.

THURSDAY, January 28, I took a trip to Sis-Town to mail Genius's letter at the main post office. I stopped by the School-Turn Casey's to get some $3 scratchers to tuck into the envelope. Lucky for me, there was a coin waiting. Sadly, I could not get a picture. It was way under the hanging bagged snacks in front of the register, and there were three people waiting behind me. So I didn't tarry to take a photo.

I DID scoot that coin out with my shoe-toe, and display my ample rumpus to the waiting crowd, to retrieve my rightful coin. 

It was a QUARTER!!! A face-down 2015 North Carolina quarter. I only found ONE quarter in the whole year of 2020! This was a momentous occasion! I hope it was an omen that Genius's tickets will be winners. Here it is, safely back in T-Hoe, where no alley-dwelling villain could attempt to snatch it away like Charlie Bucket's Golden Ticket.

That's 3 COINS this week, for a total of 27 CENTS! 

Penny       #  8, 9.
Dime         still at 1.
Nickel       still at 0.
Quarter    # 1.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1

Friday, January 29, 2021

Gouging Hick's Lies Out

Hick received a rare complaint from a prospective customer at his Storage Unit Store last weekend. As you may recall, Hick likes to move merchandise. He will sell everyday items for a dollar profit. Sometimes 50 cents. However... he is more protective of his high-demand items. He won't let them go for a song. He's in business to make a profit, by cracky! Not to give merchandise away. Well. Except for the Wonder Woman items he buys to give to that Down Syndrome daughter of one of his regulars. He puts them on a shelf, and the daughter "shops" to find them. She's delighted when he has something.

Anyhoo... a man was looking at Hick's ammunition. It's pretty hard to come by these days. I know nothing about firearms and ammunition. I'm betting that none of you do, either. So if I mess up the details, you probably won't notice. Here's the story straight from the Hick's mouth.

"A man came up and looked around and said, 'Well, you're really gouging!' I asked what he meant, and he said my price was too high on my .45 ammunition. 'You're taking advantage of the situation.' I told him, 'Buddy, I make $5 a box profit.' He said he could get it cheaper somewhere else. So I told him to go ahead. Didn't matter to me."

"How much were you charging?"

"I'm asking $45 for a box of 50. I paid $35 for these, but they're really hard to find now. I saw Dunn's Sporting Goods HAD them for $35, but they'll only sell people ONE BOX. By the time you pay the tax up there, it will cost you $40 for a box. I'll sell people more than one box if they want it, at a price of $40 a box. If he can find it cheaper, then let him buy somewhere else. I'm betting that he can't. Because I can't even find any now."

"So you could have made $10 profit on that box?"

"Yeah. But it would have cost me $40 now to replace it. So really I'm only making $5 over what the going rate is. If that guy comes back wanting it, I have a good mind not to sell to him. I wouldn't want to cheat him!"

It's not like Hick is selling student-size bottles of hand sanitizer for $100. Or single rolls of toilet paper for $5. He's asking market price for an item that people don't HAVE to have. The seller can ask what the market will bear. Doesn't mean he's gouging.

It probably doesn't help that the same .45 ammunition was $21 a box a couple months ago... Hick can't let it go for that now. He's NOT a charity!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

I Didn't Even Know He Was Feeling Depressed!

More tomfoolery has reared its unexplained head in Thevictorian household!

Tuesday, I got back from town around 3:15. The Pony ate his Burger King lunch as he scratched off his $100 winner. I prepared my lunch tray, then changed into lair-wear before my descent down the 13 stairs to the basement. I asked The Pony to carry my tray and drinks.

I was in the kitchen, grabbing my cell phone, when I heard The Pony exclaim,

"Uh. Mom ? I think you need to see what I found down here!"

That's never a good thing. The worst experience in the past was when 10-year-old Genius said it, and there was a giant millipede marching across the braided rug. I gave him a glass bowl to trap it until Hick got home from work. Genius swore that the heavy bowl was MOVING as the millipede tried to escape. The most tame experience was then The Pony found Tank, our BEAGLE, in the basement, lying on the couch! All of our dogs are outside dogs. I've never known one to turn a doorknob. Somehow, Tank had gotten into the house while we were at school, and made himself at home. Hick thinks the basement door didn't latch, and Tank pushed it open and came in.

Anyhoo... this time, The Pony got my attention. I went to the banister and looked over.
That's my SCARF! The scarf my mom gave me, way back when I was teaching, and had parking lot duty in the winter. It's been hanging on the banister for years. You know how you forget something is there. It just belongs. Here it is, after The Pony replaced it.
It's a long, dark-green scarf, knotted at the ends. Long enough to balance. Not short. Not slippy-slidey silk. Just a store-bought (with LOVE!)  knit scarf. We don't touch the banister there. The scarf is heavy enough that it doesn't flap in the breeze if The Pony trots by on the way to his room, the door to which is in the upper right corner area, separated by that white strip of wall from his bathroom at the top middle of the darkness.

Sometime between when I came upstairs around 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, and returned home at 3:15, Scarfy took a dive! Sure, you may suggest that The Pony brushed against it. But The Pony has been back here since last May, and has never done that before. There are shoes lined up against the base of the banister there, so you can't walk close to the rail.
Let the record show that we were planning a trip to the casino the next day, and 3 inches of snow was in the forecast...

Our resident paranormal force is stepping it up!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Nice Moms Finish Last

Nice moms finish last when they give a scratcher ticket to their offspring every day. Like Tuesday, when I got my hot arthritic hands on the newest scratchers that came out on MO Money Monday, but were not yet out for sale at my regular hangouts.

Yes, there was a new $20 ticket, and a new $5 ticket. They are TIMESERS! That's what I call the tickets that have multipliers. I love a good TIMESER! Anyhoo... The Pony had a winner for me to cash in, to get him a new $20 ticket. I wanted one myself, but I told him that if the Gas Station Chicken Store only had one roll of them in the case, I would let him buy it. I don't like to buy consecutive tickets off a roll, because you're guaranteed to get a loser.

I was in luck! They had TWO rolls of the new $20, and TWO rolls of the new $5. Which The Pony did not give me money for. I got two of the $20s, and asked for two of the $5s. 

"Oh, I'm sorry! We're out of that roll of $5s."

"Okay. I'll just take one, then."

I had other business, at the bank over in Sis-Town. I then went to the Sis-Town Casey's for T-Hoe's outrageously-priced gas. I refused to pay $2.44 a gallon for the mid-grade I usually feed him. I opted for the lowest grade at $2.07 a gallon. Heh, heh! T-Hoe is on a diet!

Inside, I bought another of the new $5 scratchers. So I had two of each of the new tickets.

When I got home, I allowed The Pony to pick which of the Gas Station Chicken Store $20 tickets he wanted, and I said,

"I'll even let you have one of these new fives, even though you didn't pay, and I don't give you charity on days that you can buy a ticket for yourself. BUT you will have to pay me the $5 it cost when you win something again."

The Pony agreed. He picked the $5 ticket from the Sis-Town Casey's, and the lowest numbered ticket of the Gas Station Chicken Store $20s. Off he went to scratch while eating the Whopper I had picked up for his lunch.

"Oh, Mom. You're not going to be happy. I scratched off the first row of my five, and every number is a winner!"

"NOOOO! I've been in a slump! That is MY RIGHTFUL TICKET! I bet it's a win-all."

"Yep. Looks like it. The whole second row is winners. Do you want me to look at the amounts, or bring it in there so you can watch me scratch them off?"

"Bring it in here! I can pretend that it's mine, which IT SHOULD BE!"

Yes. The Pony won $100 on the ticket I gave him. [Let the record show that since we were headed to the casino the next day, I wouldn't be making my trip to town to cash in tickets. The Pony wanted his funds, so I said I'd buy it from him and cash it in later.]

"I'm always happy when you win five or fifteen dollars on the tickets I give you. But a HUNDRED? Not so much! Remember, you still have to pay me five dollars for it!"

"Okay. Just give me ninety-five for it."

"Who do you think I AM, your father? I don't carry around all those bills. I have twenties and ones. I'll wait until you have small bills. I'm taking this down to my lair to get a picture. I'll have to block out the barcode since you have sloppily revealed it."

This is where the Truth in Blogging Law requires me to amend my title. You'll see why.

My own new $5 ticket was a loser. As was the $20 ticket The Pony had paid for. [Yeah. No tears shed for him there.] I settled in to scratch my own $20 ticket.

 I had a TIMES! A 5X! I love to get a TIMESER! I called The Pony down to see it.

I had my own $100 winner! So technically, my title should be: Nice Moms Finish Even. Since I had my own hundo to match The Pony's win.

"Dang it, Pony! If I hadn't been so nice, I would have won $200 today!"

"Or... I could have picked THAT $20 instead of the one I took, and you could have won NOTHING, while I won $200!"

He's got a point there. I'm wiping my brow in relief. Thanks, Even Steven.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

It's the Anti-Crack

Not every morsel of FREE Ponytail Guy food is a delicacy. We've gotten some really good stuff, except for the "chicken" patties that looked like slimy fake sausage. So I'm generally pretty trusting of the FREE foods that Hick hauls home. I'll try a taste of it, unless I see that crosshatch-marked chicken-sausage patty again.

In the box of canned goods this time, we had crackers. Three packs of graham crackers, of which The Pony has eaten one. Pack, that is. The other two are a bit broken, but I can imagine him putting the pieces in a bowl to eat like chips. There was also a box of bougie-looking crackers that I filed away in my mind as something I would try. 

Sesame & Flax Artisan Crackers. Not something I would buy for myself. I'm a simple kind of Val. KRISPY Crackers are more to my liking. If I can't find them, I'll take PREMIUM Saltines, or the Save A Lot version of them. To get fancy, I have Ritz, or the Save A Lot version of them. Triscuits. Wheat Thins about very 10 years. Please pardon the clutter behind the crackers. That's my dog-snack staging area, so I can toss them out when I come in the door. There's some four-day-old pizza waiting for them.

Anyhoo... I took a few crackers out and put them on my lunch plate. I posed one for you.

Does it look like something you might try? I didn't wait until I got my lunch down to my lair. I took a little bite. Hmm... tasted kind of like dry ramen noodles. Same crunch and flavor. I used to like eating dry ramen noodles. However... the more time that elapsed since my sample, the worse the aftertaste grew. Ramen noodles didn't leave an aftertaste. I reconsidered my cracker snack, but didn't care enough to remove them from my plate. I thought I might give them one more try. NOT a whole cracker, though.

I wondered if maybe the crackers were just stale. When I opened them I saw that they were not even sealed! Only closed with a twist-tie. The box had been sealed, with clear plastic circles on three sides, that I had to slice through.

Of course they wouldn't stay fresh that way! I was shocked that the crackers were still crispy. Huh. I wondered how old they were. So I checked the box.

Well. That is not a good date for crackers! No wonder the taste was off. I surely HOPE that the taste was off! Or people who paid for that flavor got robbed!
Anyhoo... I called to The Pony to carry down my lunch tray and two bubba cups of water and ice, and my 44 oz Diet Coke. He's more surefooted on the basement stairs, and a big help at lunch time. I went to change into my lairwear. When I came out, I offered The Pony a taste of the crackers.
"Hey. Do you want to try these fancy crackers? I think they taste just like dry ramen noodles. Try one. Not a WHOLE ONE! They expired on June 30! They leave a little aftertaste."
"No thanks. I saw some on your plate. THAT explains the smell when I carried down your tray! I got halfway down, where my face was level with the floor, and I smelled the carpet. I thought that was weird. I don't usually smell the carpet. I wondered what was different. I even smelled the carpet in your office. But it was the CRACKERS!"

"Ooh. Yuck. I don't think they smell like carpet! Why are you smelling carpet? Now I for sure won't eat them. Maybe the dogs will."

I wonder if someone should call LYDIA, so she can use her LADLE to whack the person over the head who gave her expired crackers to an organization that funneled them to the Ponytail Guy. I will never know how delicious these crackers might have been, originally. I guarantee you I won't founder myself on them in a feeding frenzy. They're like the anti-crack.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Thevictorian Feeding Habits

At the risk of providing too much information ("TMI, Mom!" as Genius used to scream at me), I will share a slice of Thevictorian life from Sunday. BUT FIRST, as Julie Chen is noted for saying on every episode of Big Brother... you may want to do some supplemental reading to grasp the gravity of the possible situation. This gives you background info, a tale from my supersecret blog last week: The Great Laundry-Room-Freezer Archaeological Dig of '21.

Sunday, for lunch, I tried a tiny sliver of that unearthed fruitcake that is pre-2016. It has been frozen all these years, in its original see-through wrapper, inside its metal can. It might even be from earlier than that. But I threw caution to the wind, like Elaine eating J. Peterman's $29,000 slice of wedding cake from the royal union of King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

Hick, who purported all along that this fruitcake would still be good, and who snobbily declares that he is not a fan of fruitcake, said he would try a bite. So I pinched off a piece from my slice, sans red or green fruit, and delivered it to him. I took my lunch down to my lair before I could ask him for a review. Or see if he croaked.

For supper, I fried some of the FREE December-20-expired Angus hamburgers from the Ponytail Guy. The Pony mixed up a concoction of special sauce containing ketchup, garlic aioli, and garlic wing sauce to add to his pepper-jacked burger. Hick went with pepper jack and onions and pickles. I chose havarti cheese, mayo, onion, and pickle. We all agreed that the burgers had a good taste.

"You know, if we all get food poisoning, we'll know that we shouldn't have eaten the burgers. But if you and I get it, and The Pony doesn't, then we'll know we shouldn't have eaten the fruitcake."

Feeding time for Thevictorians. Kind of like a murder mystery/science experiment mash-up.

Let the record show that Hick was RAVING about the fruitcake. 
"That fruitcake was really good!"

"It's on the bottom shelf in its can. Feel free to have it whenever you want. But realize that fruitcake is not like a regular cake. You don't want a whole cake-sized slice. A little bit of fruitcake goes a long way."
Yes. Here it is, ON THE RECORD. I will not be an accomplice to murder by fruitcake.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Ponytail Guy's Meat is Overly Abundant

Hick harvested a rumpus-ampling load of food from the Ponytail Guy on Friday. He called to ask The Pony to drive up and get three boxes to bring home to our mini freezer. Then Hick drove more over to HOS's (Hick's Oldest Son) house, since he couldn't reach him by phone.
I swear, we could host a banquet for the CREECHERs with all this food! Here's a list of what I remember, in "helping" The Pony put it away:
pork shoulder (the size of a basketball!)
pork loin (2)
boneless chicken breasts (pack of 3)
Italian sausages (at least a dozen)
crumble sausage (big bag, suitable for pizza or sauces)
two pounds of ground beef
Angus hamburger patties (12)
individually wrapped pork chops (4)
graham crackers (3 packs)
fig bars (4)
artisan crackers
canned ravioli
spaghetti-o (2)
spaghetti sauce in pouches (4)
spaghetti noodles (1 box)
tuna cans (2)
cornflakes (giant bag)
refried beans
green beans
peanut butter


A produce box full of potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, and apples. Those will go great roasted with some of the bacon Hick brought home SATURDAY, in a white bag over his shoulder, like a MEAT SANTA CLAUS. He said Ponytail Guy's wife had repackaged it into portions like Hick had done with our previous bacon. About 9-10 slices in a pack. I think we have a whole hog worth of bacon!
There's just one catch... some of this meat had expiration dates as old as December 20. Which I think is okay, because labels say USE OR FREEZE BY the date. It smells fresh, the hamburger pack that I poked open to check. That pork shoulder was hard as a freakin' boulder, and about that size! So it was certainly solidly frozen.

Hick asked Ponytail Guy about the dates on Saturday. He said he hadn't noticed, but called his wife, and she said the people who brought them the boxes mentioned the dates, and said the items had been frozen the whole time. So I assume it's as safe as any meat I buy and re-package and pop in FRIG II's freezer. Heh, heh! NOT the mini freezer bottom layer from 2001!

We have SO MUCH meat that Hick is going to tell the Ponytail Guy he doesn't need any boxes for awhile. Not sure if he will still get them for HOS. Like I mentioned before, Ponytail Guy says they have trouble finding people to give all the food to. Thus the frozen meat dates, I suppose. 

We are set for main dishes. All I need to shop for are fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, our weekly bananas and oranges, and bread.

Next on the menu will be Angus hamburgers, and then a meatloaf. After that, we'll try a pork loin. Oh, and we still have a bag of apples, and a bag of potatoes from a couple weeks ago. Cooked apples will make a good side dish for the pork loin and pork chops. The Pony loves his potatoes baked. So the bigger potatoes in the bag will go for that.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

COINcident, Or Unusual Incident?

Val does not believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason. You may not understand or agree with the reason, but everything you do weaves a specific thread into your rich tapestry of life.

The Future Pennyillionaire Fortune was experiencing a week of famine, after last week's feast. I had not found a single cent all week. Friday morning, The Pony gave me my usual wake-up call. 

"Mom. It's 11:00. Time to get up."

"Okay. I'm working on it."

"Oh, Mom. You must have dropped a dime out of your pocket. There was one laying on the floor behind the couch. It was face up. I picked it up. See?"

"I never have a dime in my pocket! I didn't see anything on the floor when I came up to bed at 7:00. Wait! You picked it up? NO! Put it back! I need a picture! It's my first coin this week!"
It was definitely a dime! Put back into its natural habitat by The Pony. HOW did I miss that?

It was a heads-up 1999 dime resting on my carpet behind the short couch. Even The Pony said he didn't see it on his trip to wake me. Not until he half-turned around at the bedroom door, just prior to speaking. That's when he picked it up.

Here's the thing. I NEVER have a dime in my pocket. I don't carry change in my pants. If I find a coin in town, I put it in my shirt pocket. More than one will go in my pants. But I take them out at the kitchen counter when I get home, and look at the dates with my magnifying glass that I keep there.

I fell asleep in my OPC (Old People Chair) in the wee hours of Thursday night / Friday morning, watching Cagney & Lacey. It's a good series for insomniacs, of which I am not. Anyhoo... that episode where they were looking for stolen uranium was probably the worst one of the series. My heated chair was SO comfy. I didn't wake up until 7:00. By that time, Hick had already left for his Storage Unit Store. I didn't see any dime as I walked behind the couch on the way to bed. It WAS daylight already.

It's possible that Hick might have dropped the dime as he left, and I didn't see it on my way to bed. Logically, how else could it get there? But how would he drop a single dime? If he had a hole in his pocket, I would have found a trail of dimes and nickels. He saves his pennies every night in a giant red plastic Coke bottle bank, and his quarters in a jar on the dresser. I haven't found a dime in the house since way back when my dad died, and we found them all over the house for about two weeks.

Oh. Did I forget to mention... I stopped by the cemetery on the way home Thursday afternoon? Just for a short (one-sided) chat with Mom and Dad.

That's ONE COIN this week, a DIME, for a total of 10 CENTS toward Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!

Penny       still at 7.
Dime         # 1.
Nickel       still at 0.
Quarter    still at 0.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1

Friday, January 22, 2021

Sweets For the Sweet

It's a slow news day in Backroads. Hick hasn't been acting up enough to provide tales out of the Storage Unit Store. The Pony has forsaken me for a day with Second-Bestie, who is heading back to her senior year of college. So all I have left is a little gloating section concerning my gluttony.

One of my Christmas gifts from Hick was a humongous box of candy. I mean a behemoth of a box of candy! I've let it sit around, looking forward to ripping the plastic wrap and the lid off it. I told The Pony that we'd get into it when he came down to watch some of the new season of Worst Cooks in America. Sadly, we had three episodes on DVR before The Pony could spare me an evening. 

Yes, OF COURSE I was eager for The Pony's company! Not just waiting for a chance to open the candy! The opening of the candy was all gravy! A boatload of gravy. The box hangs over the edge of the couch cushion!

Anyhoo... I didn't get a picture of my candy when we first opened it. I only thought of that the next night, when The Pony did NOT join me. I warned him that I would continue eating my candy, even without his company. Are you ready for the big reveal? 
There are some odd reflections there, but you get the gist of it. My favorite piece so far has been the dark chocolate nut caramel. The Pony was trying for a milk chocolate cashew cluster, but got peanut instead. There's a decoder on the BOTTOM OF THE BOX, but not a chart saying which piece is where. Who puts the decoder on the bottom? Russell Stover, I guess! Good thing The Pony didn't flip it over to look! 

Yes, I know that American chocolate is horrible. I don't need to be informed. I am not a chocolate snob. These chocolates are a delicacy for ME! I'm a simple Val, you know.
I hope you appreciate the effort it took to bring you this photo. Trying to take the picture on the dark couch made my phone shut down FIVE TIMES! I had to do a forced restart FIVE TIMES! Looks like candy is hazardous to a Samsung's health.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Shooting a Pain in the Neck

Hick has been having some pains ever since he installed his surveillance cameras up at his Storage Unit Store. I'm sure it must be coincidental, but that's when his gallbladder pain started and also a pain in his shoulder. You may recall that Hick had his gallbladder removed, and that pain has abated. He has been thinking the arm pain is due to his neck vertebrae. He had that problem before, and had surgery to put titanium plates in to hold the vertebrae in place.

After a test and a specialist or two, Hick learned some good news and some bad news. The good news is that his titaniumed vertebrae are fine. That surgery held up. But he has degenerative disc disease in some OTHER vertebrae. 

The problem has gotten worse. Not only the pain that was keeping Hick from sleeping, forcing him to get up at night and sit in the recliner. But also a loss of strength in his left arm and hand. So much that he couldn't bring his fingers together to grip anything. He couldn't pull on his boots. Couldn't lift much of anything.

A neurologist told Hick that me might need surgery, but that first he was sending him to another doctor. Hick says he's just a general practitioner. I don't know if he specializes in pain management or what. Hick's quest was to get his strength back, not just get rid of the pain. I'm not sure how many Advils he's been popping, but they do nothing to solve the problem. 

The GOOD news is that the second doctor said he would try a shot in Hick's neck. Hick wasn't sure what it would be, but I assumed a steroid. I used to watch ER! I know that they used steroids to stop swelling, and maybe reverse paralysis in some of their injured characters. 

Anyhoo... Hick had his appointment on Tuesday. He had to lie very still while the doctor stuck his flexible needle in under instructions from a radiologist looking at an x-ray. Hick THOUGHT it was a needle, but it might have been a long tube. It was on his blind-eye side, so Hick isn't sure. He said it hurt while it was going on. They told him it would take about 10 minutes, but it only took 5 minutes. By the time Hick sat up, he could bend his fingers across his palm and touch fingertips together again. He had more strength to grip. 

Hick said he was a bit dizzy from sitting up, and they asked if he was okay to walk out. He was. He said his arm tingles a little like when a limb goes to sleep and gets feeling back. But most of the pain is gone for now. He is scheduled to get one more shot. I'm not sure when. If this doesn't solve the problem, the neurologist wants to do surgery.

So... Hick got shot on Tuesday, and it made him feel better.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Val's Nearly FREE EggMuffin

When we make our semi-weekly trip to the casino, Hick drives through McDonald's and orders the 2 for $4.00 Sausage/Egg/Cheese McMuffin. The Pony gets a meal to himself, but we each have a McMuffin, no side, no drink. So Val is well aware of the taste of a Sausage/Egg/ Cheese McMuffin.


Not that it's something that takes VALedictorian brains to do. It's simple enough. But I've done it ALMOST for FREE!

Of course, I don't get up early enough to have it for breakfast. So mine was supper last night. I used our store of Ponytail Guy FREE foods. The only thing here I bought is the English muffin, which I got in a 4-pack from Save A Lot.
My EggMuffin has a FREE sausage patty, baked in the oven until a little crispy on one side, a FREE American cheese slice, and a FREE egg poured from a carton marked Whole Eggs. I toasted the muffin in my skillet, with a little bit of mayo spread on the inside. It got a little char on the high points. The hot sausage was placed on the cheese. Then I cooked my egg, ground some black pepper on top (oops, not free), and put on the muffin top.

That's the actual order the McDonald's uses when building their Sausage/Egg/Cheese McMuffin. Mine tasted JUST LIKE IT! Maybe a little better!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

People Bend Over Backwards (Farther Than Chinese Acrobats) to Please Hick

Hick must exude a pheromone that hypnotizes people into doing his bidding. Something he gives off, whether chemical or psychological, makes people line up to ask how high they can jump for him.

I was a bit concerned about Hick yesterday. I saw SilverRedO parked over by the Freight Container Garage when I left for town around 1:30. I hadn't heard anything from him all day. He didn't come in for lunch. No text about what he might be doing. He'd been keeping me updated for a week or two. But now he was incommunicado. When I got home, I forgot to look for SilverRedO as I went by, since it involves turning my head around backwards like an owl. I told The Pony to send him a text.

"Do you have your phone in there? Text Dad and see if he's okay. If he doesn't answer, I'm going to send you over to check on him. His truck was over at his new building when I left."

A few minutes later, the house phone rang. I was unable to answer, being in the master bathroom changing into my lair-wear. I heard The Pony answer.

"Oh, Mom. Dad says he's going to get something from one of his buddies. And that he doesn't need anything for supper. He has part of a sub sandwich from Casey's. They made too much."

Huh. Imagine that. I got the full story later in the evening, not straight from The Pony's mouth, but from Hick himself.

"I went in Casey's to order a 6-inch sub. The girl behind the deli counter said, 'I'm going to make a foot-long if that's okay.' I said it was, and she made me a foot-long, and only charged me for the 6-inch sub."

If I only knew what Hick emits from his pores, I could bottle it, and he could sell it at his Storage Unit Store, and give me a 50-percent cut of the action!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Val's Second Rodeo

Let the record show that this is not the first house of unusual happenings where Val has resided. And Val has resided plenty of places. Not because she's a troublemaker who gets evicted! There have been college houses and apartments, and early employment rentals in assorted towns, and summer sublets while pursuing her master's degree. But there is only one other home that exhibited regular paranormal activity.


The childhood home built by Val's parents when she was a tween, moved into when Val started 7th grade. A nice brick split-level house on the outskirts of town, built on several acres purchased for that purpose.


Oh, so typical. A house by a graveyard. Surely Val's imagination must have been working overtime during adolescence. Scaredy-cat Val, who did not want to join in a slumber-party Ouija Board attempt to contact JFK (yes, her friends were nerds), in the basement of a brick house down the street from her future $17,000 house. Scaredy-cat Val, who did not like to look over the rock fence into a graveyard behind the church where she would later have her wedding, while on an evening ride after watching town-team baseball games.

Actually, the graveyard behind Val's house was seldom in her thoughts. It was across a two-lane blacktop highway, which was later widened to become a two-lane concrete highway. The highway bisected our acreage. Some of our land actually adjoined the graveyard. When we first moved in, Dad took us on a tour of the property, showing us the orange corner markers. We also walked around the circular gravel road that enclosed the graveyard. Not a big deal. Broad daylight. Nothing scary. But there's something I haven't told you yet.


My maiden name, of course. The Pre-Thevictorian Graveyard. Most people knew what it was called. It even had the unusual spelling of our fairly common last name. Folks would ask about our relatives buried there. Of which there were none. We had no idea why the cemetery had that name. None of our relatives had owned property in that area. This wasn't a new graveyard. Few funerals and burials happened while my sister the little future ex-mayor's wife and I grew up there. Some dates on the graves went into the 1800s.

No, we didn't think about the graveyard much, even though looking out the kitchen window we could see the wooden sign hanging with our last name on it. We didn't even connect the graveyard to a curious phenomenon.


The footsteps were in the master bedroom upstairs, over the family room. We all heard them at some time. I usually thought it was another family member, since I was rarely home alone. The footsteps would start in the hall between Sis's room and the master bedroom. They'd walk all the way across the bedroom, past the two double sliding-door closets, and into the bathroom. Where they'd stop. They never went the other way. Never came out of the bathroom. Oh, and you could look out that bathroom window and see the graveyard.

Once Sis and I had moved out, Mom said they still heard the footsteps. She worked during the day, and Dad came home for lunch, since he worked in the Southwestern Bell building (before they were broken up!), in town only five minutes away.

"Your dad says he has heard those footsteps while sitting downstairs eating a sandwich and watching TV. He thought somebody had broken in, and grabbed a bat to go upstairs and catch them. But nobody was there."

See? Hearing phantom upstairs walking must be a family tradition...

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Creepers Gonna Creep, DVDs Gonna Leap

 More unexplainable activity! This time, in MY LAIR!

Thursday night/Friday morning, about 2:10 a.m., I heard walking upstairs in Genius's room. Of course it was not Genius. He is living in Pittsburgh. His room is a catch-all for items we are planning to do something with. I'd say nobody goes in there but Hick, maybe once or twice a month, to deposit or retrieve something.

I know I heard the walking at 2:10 a.m., because I was sitting in my OPC (Old People Chair), watching a Cagney & Lacey on DISH channel 291. It comes on at 2:00 a.m. now, along with an afternoon version at 3:00 p.m. I had just gotten comfortable. The opening credits and commercials were done. I heard walking. 
It was three footsteps. Maybe four. I didn't think much of it. Just glanced at the clock. I assumed The Pony had gotten up for the bathroom. Not that he does his business in Genius's room! The boys' bathroom is between their bedrooms. Directly over my head, as you may recall from the seeping toilet incident.

I hadn't heard The Pony's bedroom door open, though. Nor the bathroom door close. But maybe I wasn't paying attention, with my show just starting. I didn't hear any more walking until after 3:00. This sounded more like it came from The Pony's room, to the bathroom. Again. Not a big deal. I gave it no more thought. Not even to blog about. The upstairs walking is pretty routine.

Friday around 2:30 p.m., The Pony carried my lunch tray down to my dark basement lair. He came trotting back up the steps.

"Oh, Mom. You don't want to go down there yet. I came to get my phone. A bunch of stuff is on your office floor, right where you walk to your chair. I'm getting a picture, and then I'll pick it up for you."

"What KIND of stuff?"

"Stuff off your shelf, I guess. There were four things. A box of envelopes, two DVD sets, and a single DVD case."

"Oh. That big box of envelopes? I have it on the end, and as I use up the envelopes, it isn't heavy enough to act as a bookend. Did it fall on my desk by the computer?"

"No. On the floor. Between the door and your chair."

"I don't see how that could happen if the stuff fell over."

"You can come look, but I'll pick it up so you can walk there. I'm still getting a picture."

I won't show you the picture, to shame me for my heater-burnt clear plastic chair mat, and dusty floor, and crumbling tiles. But I WILL take a picture from my chair in front of New Delly, and show you what I THOUGHT had fallen, and what actually fell.

I thought it was this stuff on the right. The box of 150 envelops, and the ER complete 7th season DVDs. They haven't actually toppled before, but in the previous box of envelops, they got shoved over as it became almost empty. But no. They were fine.
The items I saw on the floor are behind the manila envelopes. I set them back up there, and noticed that the ER box was lightweight. It's an ER computer game, not DVDS. Under it, though, is the Seinfeld Season 7 box set. It is HEAVY! There are four or five individual plastic DVD cases in the box. Under Seinfeld are 17 Kids and Counting (the Duggars before they popped out a couple more kids). It's an individual DVD case that has two discs inside. Not real heavy, but heavier than the ER computer game. The other box of envelopes must have been on top of them. I moved them down by the door. To redistribute the load on my shelf! 

It's a small box, only 40 envelopes, and I don't think it's full. So not too heavy. I don't understand how only that one section got flung off the shelf. Nothing else moved. Just those four items in a single stack. They didn't cascade down onto the counter below. They leapt right to the open floor.

It's like that time when Genius still lived at home, and we heard a noise in his room, and found that a board game had jumped off his top shelf. Only one. Just shot off the shelf and onto his carpeted floor. Nothing else was disturbed. Except MY NERVES!

No critter could have been running along behind them, as everything up there was flush with the wall. If a critter stood on top and jumped, its tiny handlike feet would have pushed the stack against the wall. Newton's 3rd Law of Motion: Action/Reaction! Besides, there's been no sign or sound of any critter-intruder since Hick sticky-trapped that freakish baby mole.

I'm glad The Pony acted as my scout, finding the disarray before I walked into it, holding my magical elixir, two bubba cups of ice, and a lunch tray! I might have screamed and thrown my arms up and SPILLED MY 44 OZ DIET COKE!

At least the activity was between 2:00 a.m. when I left my lair, and 2:30 p.m. when I returned. Not sure if the phantom footsteps were related.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Val Convenience-ly Finds Her PENNIES This Week

I'm liking the way 2021 rolls! On SUNDAY, January 10, I was off to fill up T-Hoe with gas, and stop by some Casey's convenience stores for scratchers. I hopped slithered out of T-Hoe at the Backroads Casey's, stepped up on the sidewalk, and saw a penny waiting for me! Also a used cigarette, but I don't smoke.

This tarnished penny might have been hidden from lesser eyes than Val's.
It was a face-down 2000 penny, with an odd patina for one so young. It was almost chameleon-like in its coloring against the sidewalk.
From there I headed to the School-Turn Casey's. On my way in, an amazing surprise awaited.
Don't be distracted by their sign for delicious pizza! The business at hand is PENNY-FINDING! And there it is!

This was a face-down 1995 penny, poised for packing in my pants pocket.

Of course I was practically skipping back to T-Hoe, being two-for-two in Casey's stops and penny-picking. On to the Sis-Town Casey's, which did NOT disappoint!

Perhaps you are not as observant as penny-seeking Val. Do not be distracted by men's rumpuses. There are TWO pennies in that picture! The first is a couple tiles behind the left heel of that blue-shoed guy. It was a 1997 heads-up penny.
The second penny is at the counter, under that bag of Bugles snacks, a heads-up 1994. You snooze, you lose when Val's around hoovering up floor cents! 

But that's not all! On MONDAY, January 11, at the casino, another penny awaited. Sadly, it was almost the only money I left with!

There's really no reason for a penny to be cooling its tail under a slot machine. You can't put pennies in them! The place for a floor-penny would be across the casino, near the change machine. It DOES dispense quarters, nickels, and pennies when you cash in a ticket. No dimes, though. Never dimes in a casino change machine.
This was a heads-up 1998 penny, fishing me in like a catfish to stinkbait. I'm sure the person at the slot next to me thought I must be really broke, to stand on my head picking up that single cent. I guess if they thought that, they were a true psychic, because I really WAS that broke when I left a couple hours later.

That makes 5 PENNIES for 5 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune this week.

Penny       # 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Dime         still at 0.
Nickel       still at 0.
Quarter    still at 0.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1

Friday, January 15, 2021

Three of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

Have you run out of your March 2020 stash of toilet paper yet? We did. The Pony is my personal shopper. He had it on the list. Our preferred brand is Charmin Ultra Strong. Their slogan should be: Good For Ample Rumpuses. Last time he did the shopping, The Pony couldn't find it. In fact, there was only one pack left on the shelf, so he took it. 

"I thought it might be good enough, Mom. It's Charmin Ultra Soft."

No. It was not the same. It was too soft. I guess that's how they came up with the name. But we managed. It took 4 squares instead of 3 to get the job done optimally.

Anyhoo... on The Pony's last shopping trip, he was again left to make a decision, seeing as how our favorite was out of stock.

"This time I got another kind. It says STRONG. So it should be better."

I assure you, sadly, that it is NOT. Not better than SOFT. Not at all STRONG. When I took the first squares off the roll, I thought it was a case of the two-ply being separated for a few squares. But no. The more I unrolled, the same single-ply remained.


I told The Pony, and he was shocked. He took a look, and he agreed. But at least he has been forewarned. I dropped a roll over the stair banisters to land on Genius's old desk, to put in the NASCAR bathroom when I went down to my dark basement lair later.

"NOOOO! It bounced off, and rolled across the floor, getting filthy with the dirt it gathered."

"Mom. It's not that dirty. Considering where it's going to end up."

That Pony! He has such a droll sense of humor.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Real Life Drama, and Val's a Good Mama

Hick and I still had the ol' feedbag strapped on when The Pony finished his lunch and headed back to the casino floor. I gave Hick some crispy catfish skins, and he gave me the last three bites of his burger. Of course I pulled off that fake-parsley-looking lettuce. He doused his skins in ketchup, perhaps because there was no more mustard, heh, heh!

Hick was looking all shifty-eyed past my shoulder. He does that a lot. He has a very judgemental expression. 


Then I heard it. The server who had brought our low-on-mustard condiments, and who had taken our order at the counter, was walking across the dining area, cleaning tables.

"She's choking," said Server, without panic, but meaning business, to a guy with an ID badge. He was most likely higher-up the casino chain than she. He was in the bar area. He came over to check out the situation.

I turned to see a lady about my age sitting at a table, taking slow, shallow inhalations, and making short, weak coughs. I was immediately relieved, because I could see she was moving air. That's what I said to Hick, who looked ready to spring into action. If you are truly choking, you can't get air in or out, can't make a sound. That's why the universal sign of choking is wild gesturing, pointing at your throat.

I wasn't trying to keep Hick from helping. Only to imply that panic was not necessary, that a Heimlich was not warranted.

A lady companion stood behind Choker, patting her on the shoulder. Not in an effort to dislodge anything, but trying to calm her until help appeared. Badger walked over to the table, asking if she was all right. Choker weakly replied that she was choked. Badger asked if she wanted assistance, and she declined. Badger stayed a few minutes, observing, as Choker quieted a little. Still coughing weakly, taking shallow breaths. Badger asked again if he could help, and she said no. Badger went off into the casino.

Hick said, "He should have called someone over anyway."

"I'm sure they have someone with medical experience here on their payroll."

"Yeah. They'd have to. He could at least have them come check her out."

Hick used to be head of his employer's safety committee. He knows his legal stuff. When we left the dining area, Choker and her buddy were still sitting there. I guess she was recovering slowly. I know that nobody wants to go to a hospital right now. But if she was really afraid for her life, I'm sure she would have let the casino people take a look at her. Maybe they came over after we left, just for a CYR moment. [CYR = Cover Your Rumpus]


On the drive home, Hick stopped at a truck stop/convenience store because he has a bladder the size of that in a baby mole. I turned to catch The Pony's eyes. Yep. He was unbuckling his seatbelt. We get scratchers there out of a machine. I handed him money, with instructions to get me $3 and $5 tickets. He returned with mine, which I stashed in my gambling purse until we got home. I think I won $15. The Pony lost on the tickets he bought himself, which he scratched while we drove.

"Oh, Mom. I could have got you a bonus $10 ticket! There was one laying in the bottom of the machine, that somebody forgot to pick up. I left it there."

Hick was shocked. "What? You left it there? SOMEBODY is going to pick it up. Nobody's coming back for that. We're on the highway."

"It wasn't mine. So I didn't take it. It didn't belong to me."

"I found one it the Country Mart machine, and chased the old man who was there ahead of me, to give it to him. Another time, I walked off and left $5 in the machine. I figured, 'Oh, well. Whoever found it must need it worse than I do.' Everything happens for a reason."

"It wouldn't have hurt to take this one, Pony."

"No. It wasn't mine."

"You did the right thing, Pony. No matter who gets it."

I hope it wasn't a big winner...

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

If Wishes Were Pony's Then Hick Would Be Denied

We went to the casino on Monday. This was a week later from our usual schedule. I guess it threw off The Universe. WE ALL LOST! Not just a little. We lost our shirts. Our whole wardrobes. Overseas sweatshops will need to double their workforce and cut wages in half, just to supply us with clothing to replace them. 

Hick lost the least. The Pony next. And Val was the biggest loser! I lost 90 percent of my casino bankroll! Not my casino bankroll for life. Don't you worry that Val won't be able to gamble any more! Just the bankroll that I keep in my casino purse. I still have my Oklahoma casino bankroll, and my saved-up (safe-ed up) bankroll from previous big scratcher winners, and my big slot jackpot. Still. I don't like to lose. I've been very lucky to play so long on my casino purse bankroll.

Anyhoo... we had a tasty lunch.

Why does Hick's pie always look SO DELICIOUS? I wish I hadn't wavered in line, and had gotten a slice for myself!

Hick had his usual double cheeseburger and curly fries. I caught him in the act of ketchuping his fries.

Am I the only one who thinks his lettuce looks like the fake parsley that lines the dividers in the grocery store meat case?
I tried the catfish nuggets. The Pony has had them before, and they looked so good.
Of course when I get it, the food is somehow less than what I saw when The Pony ordered it. Yes, it was good. But I wouldn't call these "nuggets," so much as "crispy curled-up strips of fried catfish skin." Some of them had a little meat on them. At least the cornmeal batter was good, and the tartar sauce was adequate. Although The Pony had gotten a full cup of it, while I saw mine as half-empty. I scooped that flavoring off the top, too.

The Pony was "not really hungry." He went with his standard hot dog and fries.

I just noticed this time that the menu board on the wall says this is a Nathan's hot dog. I'm glad The Pony didn't try to break a record by eating 75 of them in 10 minutes.

Now... here's the scandal of the day. When the gal (not the old lady this time) brought out our food, she had the usual handful of condiments. She offered me hot sauce for my fish, but I don't roll that way. After she left our vicinity, The Pony dug through the ketchup stack looking for mustard.

"Huh. She didn't bring us any mustard this time."

"Yeah she did. I put one on my burger."

"Um. There isn't any more for my hot dog."

"Here. I didn't use ALL of it. My packet is in the pie container." 
"NO! Never mind. I'll just eat it without mustard."
"Huh. I guess I DID use it all."

Seriously. Who brings 20 packets of ketchup, but only ONE of mustard? Poor Pony. Hick always grabs the best stuff for himself first. Surely he must have considered that mustard is for a hot dog.

Tomorrow, you won't get any pictures of slots. Although I SHOULD have taken some, to hang on the WANTED wall of the post office for stealing my casino bankroll! 
No, you won't get any pictures tomorrow. But you'll get a slice of drama in real life from the casino restaurant, and an altruistic tale from the ride home.