Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Made a Laughingstock By the Mockingsocks

The Pony does his own laundry. I barely know when he's been in the laundry room. He uses his own detergent (Tide Pods that didn't get eaten), and cleans out the lint trap in the dryer. But last week, I saw a sign. Two socks on top of the dryer.
They were what we used to call "footies" in the 70s. The low sock that only covers the shoe area of your foot. Mine always had those dang pastel yarn balls on the heel, to keep my shoe from eating them. They were not much of a deterrent. 
Anyhoo... today's socks must be made of some magical fiber, perhaps shed by unicorns as they dream. No pom-poms on the heel. They stay in place. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own two nearsighted eyes. The Pony peeled off his socks as if they were a layer of skin applied for the express purpose of 11 hours of shoe-wearing. They hadn't inched an inch down into the shoe.
In fact, The Pony appears to be wearing socks even when he is barefoot! His feet look like those of our dear departed (although HE hated US 23 hours and 59 minutes a day) tuxedo cat, Stockings. Dark legs, white feet. It's an occupational hazard for mail carriers, according to Reddit.

The socks on my dryer did not match. Same style, different color. One white. One black.

"Pony. You have two socks on the dryer."

"Yeah. They're not a pair. I can't find the mate of either one."

"I knew they weren't a pair. One white, one black."

"Your eyes must be really bad! There's no white sock in there."

"Is too! I'm not color blind!"

"I'll prove it to you... 
Huh. I don't know how THAT happened. I could have sworn it was gray."

"Maybe it got too clean. Did you hear anything while you were in there?"

"No. Like what?"

"Some music. A song. Singing?"

"No. Why would I?"

"I'm pretty sure those socks were mocking you. I heard them! They must be fans of Three Dog Night: 'A sock is white. A sock is black. Together we conspire, to hold you back...'

"Um. Yeah. That didn't happen."

The Pony sat down to put on his socks before his afternoon shift.

"There's only one sock now. See this? I'm wearing the black one. I'm not sure these socks really match. But they're the same color."

I guess The Pony is better with socks than with belts. Or maybe not. Considering that another black sock must be missing for him to use an odd one and have a mismatched pair.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

I Stopped Myself From Belting The Pony, and He Lost It

The Pony does not get his uniform allowance until after his probationary period is over. The new hires wear their own clothing. Sometimes which includes booty shorts and tank tops. Not on The Pony, of course! And they all have an official USPS cap, and an ID badge. The Pony bought some plain shorts and V-neck T-shirts in dark blue and gray, which he mixes and matches. 
Depending on The Pony's assignment and route, he may walk 9 to 11 miles a day. His shorts are fitting more loosely. So he bought himself a couple belts. The Pony is not generally a belt person. He got home Saturday night, and went straight to the big triangle tub for his 2-hour soak. The next morning, I noticed he'd left his belt hanging on the end of my towel rack. 
I thought about taking the belt to The Pony. But that was wrong. He should get his own belt, so he'd remember in the future to keep track of his stuff. You know what they say: "If you give a Pony his belt, he wears it for a day. I you make a Pony get his own belt, he can go a lifetime without dropping his pants in public." Or something like that...
The Pony fetched his belt. I remember it well. We were having a laugh about another article of his clothing as he carried it behind the couch I was sitting on. But Monday, when it came time for work, The Pony couldn't find his belt. He was scheduled to go in at 3:30, for the first time ever, for a half day.
"I can't find my belt."
"You got it out of my bathroom."
"I know. But I don't know what I did with it."
"You went in the laundry room. Remember? We were discussing your--"
"I'll check. Nope. Not there. I've got to get going. I guess I can wear my other belt."
The Pony carried it out to the living room. It's like his plain belt, only the braided style.
"How do I fasten this belt? There's no holes in it!"
"You just poke that thingy through the weave. Like where there's a seam where it's braided."
"Oh. I didn't know how it worked. I'll look for my other belt when I do laundry."
"Did you put it in your laundry?"
"It's probably in my shorts I wore to work."
"You haven't been to work since you hung your belt on my towel rack. You were off Sunday."
"I think you're confused."
"No. I think YOU'RE confused!"
The Pony was a bit miffed by that statement. So much that he partially pouted and declared that he was NOT bringing in his water jugs for filling, that he had enough water left in one for a half day. Sure. Water left in the car in 90-degree temps from SATURDAY. He came back and went to FRIG II for ice. Even being displeased with Mommy Dearest is not enough to risk heat exhaustion.
Anyhoo... I showered and got ready to fetch my magical elixir from town. As I was putting on my socks, which I do at the piano bench, I noted The Pony's BELT, hanging on the end of the piano. It was 3:20. I figured he was about ready to clock in. So I sent him a text that I'd found his belt. 
I hope he was impressed. I used a piano keys emoji thingy.

Monday, June 28, 2021

At Least We Don't Have to Shoot The Pony!

Last week, The Pony reached a milestone. The halfway point of his probationary period, 60 calendar days of employment. Then two days later, he almost bought the farm!

Let the record show that since he began delivering the mail, The Pony has sustained two injuries. One being the sprained (?) wrist from carrying a heavy awkwardly-shaped package. And the other being the sliced flesh of his pinky-finger from an attack cat as he slid the mail through a door slot. I guess SOMEBODY doesn't want to receive bills...

Anyhoo... I was a bit concerned to get a text from The Pony on Saturday evening.

"I stepped in/broke open a hole that went up to my knee. I'm fine, will explain more later."

Of course I was on the edge of the short couch, hardly able to endure the 90 minutes of suspense, as The Pony treated himself to Little Caesar's pizza on the way home. I gave up after an hour, and went to my lair for distraction. I was quite relieved when the rest of the story was revealed.

"I was walking through a yard I've walked through before, when all at once, my leg kept going down when I stepped. I guess I didn't see the hole, or it was covered up and I broke through. It was almost as deep as my knee! I fell forward onto my knees, and caught myself with my hands. Didn't break the elbows like I usually do when I fall like that! So I'm okay!" [Yes, The Pony has previously broken both elbows, one requiring surgery.]

"Whew! You could have broken you leg! Or torn the cruciate ligaments in your knee! They need surgery within three days to be like new again."

"But the best part is: I DIDN'T DROP THE MAIL!"

The Pony was so earnest about saving that mail! The USPS doesn't realize what a thoroughbred they have in The Pony.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Like Dressing Your Triplets in Striped Freddy Krueger Shirts

Welcome back my friends, to the serenade of the world's tiniest violin! Do you have any sympathy for me yet? For T-Hoe's 8 POUND tire? It's taking on a life of its own. That tire needs its own MySpace Facebook  LinkedIn Pinterest Twitter TikTok  Instagram account. Or whatever's all the rage these days.
It had 32 POUNDS of pressure on Friday, after Thursday's repair. That's driveable. But the other tires had 35-36. I want all my tires to be the same. Like dressing your triplets in striped Freddy Krueger shirts.
Of course T-Hoe has FOUR tires. I'm a realist. How many of my readers have had quadruplets? See? So maybe they HAVEN'T all had triplets. But I bet they know a set. In all my years of teaching, I never had quadruplets. But I had triplets. Anyhoo... I'd like all my tires to be the same.

I tried to remedy the matter on Friday. I pulled up to the Gas Station Chicken Store's air hose. Never mind that sign they have on the building.

No. I don't buy my gas there. Too confusing with juggling my correct change 44 oz Diet Coke and cashing in scratchers. But since I'm there every day, I'm sure they wouldn't mind me partaking of the FREE AIR, seeing as how I'm a regular. No doubt they make more profit off that daily soda than off a once a week half tank of gas.

I saw right away that the ne'er-do-well who used FREE AIR ahead of me had not coiled the orange air hose sweetly on the rack. I kind of doubt they got gas, or paid a dollar for the FREE AIR, either. Anyhoo... I stepped out of T-Hoe and walked around his rear to take the cap off that tire valve. WHAT IN THE NOT-HEAVEN???

There was no cap on T-Hoe's tire valve!

I might have been rassen-frassen a bit, as I picked up the FREE AIR hose and pulled it over to T-Hoe's tire. WHAT IN THE NOT-HEAVEN???

There was no round ball thingy with a pointy stem inside it, that makes the inside air WHOOSH out of the tire as you jam it on the valve!

The metal end of the FREE AIR hose was just a round circle. I could put my finger through it. It looked like the socket end of a combination wrench. Huh. I guess the ne'er-do-well ahead of me had helped himself to the business end of that FREE AIR hose. 

A man got out of a truck parked in the handicap space in front of T-Hoe, and said,

"Do you need some help with that?"

"No. It's broken! A part is missing. And I just got my tire fixed, so it shouldn't need air anyway, and they KEPT THE CAP OFF THE VALVE STEM! I'm kind of having a bad day. But THANK YOU for offering to help."

So I went back home (after magical elixir and LOSING scratchers), and parked T-Hoe in the garage. On Saturday, the pressure in my repaired tire was 31 POUNDS. Another pound down. Lucky for me, the Gas Station Chicken Store had thrown good money after bad:

There was a new nozzle on the end of that FREE AIR hose! I still didn't have a valve stem cap. Which I pointedly pointed out to Hick later, he having pooh-poohed my chagrin over it, saying that he had a bunch of them over in the BARn.

"I put more air in my repaired tire. It was easy, because the Gas Station Chicken Store had a new nozzle, and I DIDN'T HAVE TO SCREW THE VALVE STEM CAP OFF AND ON!" 
I don't think my attempt at shaming had much effect. Hick is pretty much shameless, shame-free, unshameable.

Anyhoo... when I checked the sensor readout afterwards, both my rear tires [REALLY! The REAR tires!] showed 40 POUNDS of air, after driving in the 90-degree heat. We'll see what my repaired tire shows on Sunday.

I'm hoping for 35-36 POUNDS... like the other three remaining quadruplets.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Sing a Song of FivePENCE

Ma may me mo mooooo... Ma may me mo mooooo... I'm warming up. You better have your affairs in order, because the fat lady is about to sing! After, of course, doing her grade-school vocal warm-up. With so many people waiting for me to sing, I don't want to throw out a vocal cord.
It's been a good penny-week for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!
SATURDAY, June 19, I came out of the Gas Station Chicken Store and found a penny that I'd missed going in!

It's there. Really! At the apex of a triangle formed by those two cigarette rumpuses. It was blocked by T-Hoe's door when I got out, but as I opened it up to get back in, the glint caught my eye.

It's a very photogenic face down 2021 penny, shining in the sun.

TUESDAY, June 22, I left my phone in the car as I dashed into Country Mart to get scratchers out of their machine. I haven't found a penny there since that man beat me to one in front of the ticket machine. So I assumed it would be another dry run. You know what happens when we ASSUME! We find a penny without a way to prove it by pic!
This rugged 2001 Abe was heads-up on the salmon-colored tile in the vestibule between the two sets of sliding double doors. I snatched him up before a roving old man could claim him! There he is, posed on a $3 crossword scratcher. It was a loser. But I was a winner! Of a new old penny.
WEDNESDAY, June 23, provided me another penny at Orb K. There it was, glinting at me from the entrance to the cattle chute of last-minute snack selections you must be herded through to be waited on.
Orb K's attempt at coercing Val into buying snacks continues to fail. I'm not spending my scratcher money on SNACKS, by cracky!

It was a beautiful shiny 2014 penny, heads-down, flaunting its rumpus-side. If my rumpus was that shiny, I would flaunt it, too! Not-Heaven, I flaunt it anyway, like when I took the picture and picked it up.

THURSDAY, June 24, I barely discovered the treasure awaiting me in Orb K.

They are so camouflaged by that coppery concrete! It's there! About halfway between the blue spot and the orange spot. 

It was a heads-up 2013 penny, sporting a sharp-chinned, wild-haired Abe Lincoln. The line waiting in the cattle chute behind me seemed restless, even though I had stepped between the registers to get this one. Perhaps they were experiencing rumpus-shock. I dropped that penny in my shirt pocket, turned to start out, and found ANOTHER PENNY WAITING FOR ME!

I couldn't, with clear conscience, pause for a picture, and rumpify those traumatized line-waiters any further. So I picked it up, and posed it in T-Hoe.

There it is, on a LOSING Black Pearl scratcher. They can't all be $100 winners like The Pony got! If only I'd known before buying it that I was destined to lose... Abe is looking a little more kempt on this one.

I found this 2009 version heads-up, but look at its tail! It's the elusive AXE LINCOLN! I think I've only found one other penny with the log Lincoln on the back. My phone camera would not let me focus on him, preferring those losing black pearls instead.

That makes 5 COINS, for 5 CENTS added to Val's fortune this week.

Penny       # 57, 58, 59, 60, 61.
Dime         still at 4.
Nickel       still at 1.
Quarter    still at 3.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1

Friday, June 25, 2021

Another Dissatisfied Customer

For once, it's NOT VAL! The dissatisfied customer is HICK! 

When Hick took T-Hoe to Walmart to get my bolt tire repaired (since Mick the Mechanic was booked-up), he was the third customer at the automotive department.

"They had two cars in there working on them. I knew I was next. They have a sign about customers being serviced in the order they arrive. I sat in the waiting area. I could see them in the shop. One guy with a crew cut was walking around, not doing anything. 

I was there over an HOUR! While I was waiting, they pulled in a car and changed the battery, and a truck that got an oil change! I was there ahead of them. There was two other guys in the waiting area with me. We got to talking about how they weren't doing work in the order they were supposed to. A worker lady came in, and she must have overheard us. She asked if she could help me with anything.
'I want to speak to the service manager.'
'He's on break, but I'm the department manager. Can I help you?'

I said, 'That guy with a crew cut has been walking around doing NOTHING for 20 minutes. I watched him from here. I was supposed to be next, to fix my flat tire, but they put in a new battery, and did an oil change on cars that came in after me.' 
She said, 'I'm sorry to hear that. Especially about a worker wandering around. I'll check into it. But sometimes, they WILL do other jobs they think will be quick.'

There ain't nothin' quicker than fixing a flat!"

"I don't know. All you have to do is unhook a battery, lift it out, and hook up the new one..."

"No. It involves a lot more. You don't know the housing. You have to unscrew things to get it out of the battery case, and then put it back to hold the new one in place. Plugging a tire is easy!"

Hick DOES know his way around car innards. So I'll take his word for it. T-Hoe's tire had 33 POUNDS of air in it when I got in that afternoon. 
"Did they not fix it right? It's already low!"

"I don't know how much he put in there, Val."

"I guess I'll have to watch it on the SENSORS that are correctly positioned now...

Thursday, it had 32 POUNDS. I've got my eye on it. I think on Friday, I'll put in a little FREE AIR from the Gas Station Chicken Store. Hope I don't pick up a bolt when I park by the air hose. I'm pretty sure that's where I got the flat. From that guy with his parts strewn out there, working on the roof.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

It's Not FREE Meat, But It's Pretty Close

Hick has become quite the hunter-gatherer now that the salad days of FREE MEAT from the Ponytail Guy have ended. Hick hunts down AUCTION food, and gathers it without consulting me.

"Did you get that picture I sent you of the bratwurst patties I got at the auction?"

"Yes. Where are they?"

"I put them in the freezer. The kitchen freezer."

"I only glanced at the picture."

"They look like they'd be pretty good. They're bratwursts, but shaped like a patty."

"I saw an article about hamburger-shaped hot dogs, to fit on hamburger buns. Somebody left a comment that, 'Wouldn't that just be bologna?'"

"Yeah. I guess that's right."

Here's the picture Hick sent from the auction:

Here's the message Hick sent with it: "Three dollars for 8 braugtwurts patties."

Not bad. He only spelled one word wrong. But it's kind of the key word. AND it's on the package label.

That $3 meat seems like a bargain. But it IS auction meat...

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Who Is Stupider? Val or Hick?

That's a rhetorical question. Unless, of course, your answer is, "Hick."

Remember yesterday? When I told you about T-Hoe's right front tire that had 11 POUNDS of air in it Sunday? Needing 35?  When I got in on Tuesday, that tire had 8 POUNDS of air!

"Oh, you silly T-Hoe," I might have said out loud, just him and me backing out of the garage. "It's just a bad sensor. We need to get that fixed."

My town trip was uneventful, though very late once again. At least the Gas Station Chicken Store stays open until 8:00 on weeknights. I got there around 4:45. Hick and The Pony were still in the city, Hick having undergone his medical procedure at 5:15 a.m., and The Pony on a quest to replace his broken phone on their way home.

I barely got back before they did. I had about 30 minutes to spare before A-Cad rolled into the garage. Upon entering the house, the first thing out of Hick's mouth was,

"You have a bolt in your tire."

"WHAT? The right front that was supposedly LOW?"

"No. The back right."

"The back right said it had 8 POUNDS of air in it today! But I know the sensors are switched, over the past 2-3 years, and the back tires are really the front tires."

"No. When we had the new tires put on a few months ago, Mick switched them."

"NOBODY TOLD ME! You mean I've really been driving to town on 8 POUNDS OF AIR?"

"I don't think it's THAT low."

"You didn't check the back tire pressure! You only checked the two front ones."

"Well, you said it was the front tire."

"Because the sensor said it was the BACK tire! And they've been switched for two years!"

"Anyway... I'll take it to Mick in the morning and have him fix the tire."

"You're not supposed to drive for three days!"

"The doctor said as long as I feel fine I can drive. They just put it on the standard discharge form."

"Are you taking it over to air it up now?"

"No. It will be fine."

"What if it's flat in the morning?"

"I'll carry over the little compressor."

"You're not supposed to lift anything!"

"I'll be fine."

"That's not a good idea."

"I'll drive it over to the BARn now."

"Dad! You shouldn't move that big compressor! Do you need me to help?"

"I don't have to move it. I just pull out my hose."

"Yeah. He did that Sunday."

So... Hick drove T-Hoe over to quench his thirst for air. I don't know how much will stay in there for the drive to town. It's only about 4 miles to Mick the Mechanic's garage. Hick sent me a picture of the problem.

Good thing Hick looked at T-Hoe's tires as he walked through the garage after his medical procedure and being up since 3:00 a.m. Good thing T-Hoe's tire ended up with the bolt exposed when I parked. 

Now... who's stupider? VAL for KNOWING that low pressure in the right rear tire mean the RIGHT FRONT TIRE, as it had for over two years, since the last tire rotation? Or HICK, for not telling Val that he had the sensors switched back to the correct positions when he had Mick put on the new tires?

Not that it would affect your answer, but let the record show that Val can slice with a razor-sharp wit, and Hick never, ever, reads this blog...

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Val Is NOT Full of Hot Air

I felt T-Hoe pulling to the right a little bit on my way to town Saturday. A check of the tire pressure sensors showed 28 pounds of pressure in the right front tire. Not a big deal. They need 35, I think. That's what the others showed, 35-36. I made a mental note to tell Hick, and to keep an eye on it.
Sunday was Father's Day. I was running late after our bonus cow episode. I'd promised Hick and The Pony that I'd make them deep dish Chef Boyardee pizza from the box mix. They love that bready crust. The unofficial start time of the meal prep was between 5:00 and 5:30, I told my sous chef, The Pony.
By the time I was ready to shower, it was 4:00. So I'd have to hustle to get to the Gas Station Chicken Store for my magical elixir. They've been closing at 5:00 on the weekend, due to the inability to hire competent and dependable cashiers. I knew I'd be leaving home by 4:30, and it takes 10 minute to get to town. Plus another 5 by the time I walk out to the garage and give my dogs a handful of dog food pellets.

I climbed into T-Hoe at 4:35. Still time! My heart was racing like a pole position NASCAR racer awaiting the "Gentlemen, start your engines!" command.

WAIT! What's THAT?

T-Hoe's dashboard had popped up the CHECK TIRE PRESSURE message! I did. It said 17 POUNDS in the right front tire! I could probably make it to town on that. The Gas Station Chicken Store has FREE AIR, you know. The steering seemed okay. Better than the day before, even. I made it to the end of the driveway, and about an eighth of a mile to our neighbor's driveway when I checked again. 11 POUNDS!

Nope! That wouldn't do. I turned around in their driveway and headed back home. Hick has a compressor in the BARn. I drove through the field and into the front yard. I knew Hick could see me if he'd opened the blinds. Which he hadn't. So I parked and honked. And HONKED! Jack was barking his fool head off. I talked to him a minute. Then resigned myself to a walk through the uneven lava rock garden that Hick has cultivated by the recycled brick sidewalk, including up-ended bricks as a border. I am not surefooted! I had to grab onto the wobbly unattached top of the concrete bird feeder nearby to get onto the lava rocks. And then to the brick sidewalk, and up the front steps with the handrail that is a flat 2x6 that can't really be gripped with a hand. 

I was hollering "HEY! LET ME IN!" at the front door. Which was, of course, locked. So I used my key on the recycled doorknob that Hick takes off because it jams, then puts back when the new one jams worse. After much jiggling, I got the door open.

There was Hick in his recliner, fiddling with his phone. 


"IS THAT ALL YOU CAN SAY??? I've been honking and hollering for you to come out! I have a flat tire. 11 POUNDS flat! I won't make it to town now. I'll have to get my soda at Orb K."

"You can make it. Let's see." Hick came out and looked at the tire. "That's not flat."

"It looks flat to ME! I'm not driving on 11 POUNDS of air!"

"Let's go over to the BARN and I'll put some in."

"Hop in and I'll drive you."

"I can walk."

Which meant that I drove behind Hick in T-Hoe, riding the brakes, as Hick ambled along in his camouflage CROCS. Once there, he had to enter through a side door, open the big door, and pull out his hose (heh, heh), stretching it as far as it would go. I drove closer. Hick checked my tire first with a mechanical tire pressure gauge. The kind you can get for a dollar.

"You have 38 pounds."

"Try that again."


"Well. I guess it's right. Check another tire."

"This one is 35."

"Okay. I guess it's just a bad sensor. Get in and I'll drive you back to the house."

"I can walk. I have to close up the BARn."

So off I went to town. Arriving at the Gas Station Chicken Store at 4:53. Magical elixir procured, I could breathe again. Even though I was (and still am) driving with that orange-colored FLAT TIRE symbol mocking me from the dashboard.

Good thing T-Hoe's clock is set 9 minutes fast...

Monday, June 21, 2021

Hick Almost Has a Cow On Father's Day

I had just sat down at HIPPIE at the kitchen table, bright and early on Father's Day (12:30 p.m. actual time), when I heard the dogs going wild. Hick was at his Storage Unit Store until 2:00, so I knew it wasn't him coming home. The Pony was in his room enjoying a day off from delivering mail.

Wait a minute! That wasn't my dog! Like a mother knows her children's voices, I know my fleabags' barks. Even Copper Jack's. I could hear my little Jack, who has a higher-pitched bark. This one was even higher. Like a little yippy dog. I went out the kitchen door to investigate. Juno darted out of her house. I was in the midst of talking to her, rounding the first corner toward the garage, when my little Jack came scrabbling around the corner from the front porch. I'm pretty sure there was a thought bubble over his head, filled with assorted leftovers I've given him as treats.

"Hey, Jack. What are you barking at?"

I noticed a 4-wheeler parked halfway down our driveway, facing the garage. And a red Gator-thing parked at the end of the driveway, by our address sign. What in the NOT-HEAVEN? I went on to look down the front porch.

A gangly 13-year-old-size boy carrying a helmet was walking down the steps. I used my teacher voice.

"What's going on?"

"Our cows are in your yard."


We both shrugged. He walked around the side of the house towards the back yard. I started back around to the kitchen. Not my monkey, not my circus. No way was I going to look for a cow. Nor yell at my dogs for doing what dogs are supposed to do. Literally. They have ONE JOB, to bark when there's an intruder. So I wasn't going to discourage them. Copper Jack isn't even mine!

I sent Hick a text:

"There's a man and two boys wandering around by the pool. Say their cow is on our land. Dogs are going crazy."

That was at 12:34. At 12:50, Hick replied:


Good thing it wasn't an emergency!

When Hick came home and heard more, he said they were gone. 

"They left a bucket of corn in the yard. I dumped it out."

"Wait! Maybe they left it so the cows would come out of the woods."

"Too late now. They can find their corn over by the sheds. I fed the squirrels."

"Why would you feed the squirrels?"

"It keeps them off the porch."

"I guess you kept their bucket."

"It's hanging on the well spigot."

So... technically, Hick ALMOST had a cow on Father's Day. But all he really got was a card from me that said Happy Birthday (marked out) because Country Mart was out of Father's Day cards last week. And he got three Coca Cola ornaments for his collection, and a little Coca Cola cooler, and some lottery tickets. He had a $50 winner on a $10 ticket! Plus another $5 winner.

Hick didn't seem at all upset over missing out on a cow.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Living In a Honey Badger World

Back when I was teaching, the kids had a favorite saying: "Honey Badger don't care!" Used when somebody was particularly ruthless in their speech or actions. They got if from a video going around, about a honey badger fighting a cobra.

When I venture out of the house these days, I feel like I'm living in a honey badger world. People DON'T CARE! They don't care about being rumpus-holes! They almost dare you to confront them on their rumpus-hattery! Not that I would, of course. Nope! I learned MY lesson after an old man had a fit because I politely asked if he was next in line, while he was standing off to the side shooting the bull with another old man.

Anyhoo... Thursday I stopped by the Gas Station Chicken Store as usual. There was a work van parked in the handicap spot at the side of the building, where I park to dart in for my 44 oz Diet Coke. Actually, the work van was parked in TWO spots, which are parallel parking. A lady in a gray sedan had parked behind him, kind of sticking out into the gas pump entry area. I went to the front of the van, to park in the rest of the space by the FREE AIR hose. I'd have parked over by the moat, but a truck pulling a bass boat was taking up that whole side of the lot. It's the only place he would fit. 

You can see the van there, in T-Hoe's mirror. Remember that objects are closer than they appear! I had backed up so as to be in most of the parking spot, and not sticking out in the road behind the store. I marked out the license number and the business website painted on the van. The guy was right there WORKING on a ladder between the van and building. He was not in the parking or driving area. His ladder was set up inside the concrete parking curb thingies. A fold-out red ladder, not a long one leaned against the building. He was doing something with the roof.

I'm not sure why he wanted his van right there. All his equipment was sitting on the pavement by the ladder. He could have parked over by the front of the lot, and not taken up that space. It wasn't a big deal for me to walk an extra 25 feet, but it was awkward to get into the space in front of the van.

When I came out, I saw that T-Hoe was blocked in! A lady in a white sedan had cut across T-Hoe's front bumper to air up her tires. I'm pretty sure she shouldn't have been using the FREE AIR that the Woman Owner used to have a sign for, saying you could only use it if you bought your gas there! Which she did not. Never went inside. The pumps are old-school. No card reader. You take the hose and lift a lever, and pay inside when you're done. They're quite trusting at the Gas Station Chicken Store. And have good cameras...

Anyhoo... I was not too pleased about White Sedan's parking technique. If it was ME, upon seeing that the air hose area was taken, I would have parked off to the side and waited my turn. NOT blocked someone in.

From this angle, it might look like she's not all that close. But if you were to zoom in, you'd see that it was like someone fired a small sedan across T-Hoe's bow! That's aggressive parking right there! The air hose was long enough that she could have parked on the other side of the street and still used it. It took several minutes for her to re-coil it and hang it up. I'm actually kind of shocked that she did that! Probably just wanted to hold me captive a bit longer. No, I did not blur out her head, or the I [HEART] MY BOSTON TERRIER on her window. She does not deserve anonymity. It's not like she's doing a job up on the roof.

Dang honey badgers!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Two CENTS Are Better Than None

It was slow-going on the penny harvest this week. Nary a sprout, nary a blossom, no sign of fruit about to be borne. Until THURSDAY, June 17. I went in the Liquor Store to pick up a couple scratchers for Hick, for Father's Day. Shh... don't give it away.

I almost drove on by, because the Red Bull truck was backed up to the door, and there was a line of cars at the drive-thru window. But there WAS a parking space that was convenient for me. So I resigned myself to a wait inside. Lucky for me, there were more cars than people. Only two ahead of me. As I stepped up to be next, I saw it!

Careful. Don't think that glob of chew, or random dirt, is the penny! The Liquor Store is not going to make any list of tidiest convenience stores.

It was a face-down 1999 penny, shown in extreme close-up because my phone camera's 3 lenses have minds of their own. I think they do a round of rock/paper/scissors to decide which one snaps the pic.

On the way out, something in the parking lot caught my eye on the way to T-Hoe. Of course I stopped to get a picture!

Not a very interesting picture. It's like one of Hick's photos! All surroundings, tiny subject. There's the penny, above the cigarette-rumpus.

This was a shiny 2021 penny, face down. You can tell the blazing sun was on it, which is what interfered with my panoramic picture. I couldn't see jack squat on my phone screen. I just aimed in the general direction of the penny.
That makes 2 COINS, for 2 CENTS, clinking into Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune ice cream dish goblet. Nothing spectacular, but at least something.


Penny       # 55, 56.
Dime         still at 4.
Nickel       still at 1.
Quarter    still at 3.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1

Friday, June 18, 2021

Let Me Take You To Shackytown...

Hick has been working hard on his school-themed shed. Here's the latest picture he sent. I don't notice a lot of difference from last time, but he's out there in the heat every day, hammering away with his PopArm. 

It looks like a building. Now Hick is waiting on the roof. He says he needs to order some trusses. At first he thought he had some metal he could make them out of. I don't know what happened to THAT plan! Of course this had to be done when lumber prices are at an all-time high... I don't know why it can't wait for prices to come down. Hick insists that he has to get it under roof. Really? It's wood. That comes from trees. That have been standing in the rain since the beginning of time. It's not like he has all his collectibles in it already...

Looking down Shackytown Boulevard, I told Hick that his themed sheds look like OUTHOUSES from this angle! He was not amused.

Behind the School Shed is the Little Barbershop of Horrors, The Pony's Knife Shack, the Fishing Lair, and the Railroad Car Shed. Hick is getting quite a collection. I hope squatters don't move in. They'll need an umbrella if they choose the School Shed.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hick's Cardiologist Went To Prison!

Oops! Maybe that's a bit sensational. A bit too click-baity. I have accidentally left out a word: LETTER. Hick's cardiologist LETTER went to prison! Hick has been waiting on that letter. It has a list of pre-procedure instructions to be followed.

When I got back from town Wednesday afternoon, Hick said,

"I finally called the cardiologist and left a message. The gal kept telling me she'd sent it, but I told her I ain't got it yet."

"I know why! It went to prison!"


This conversation was being held over the porch rail, as Hick pulled the lawnmower out.

"I got it out of the mailbox. I knew you'd been expecting it. But then I noticed it had been mailed TWICE! It has two cancellation marks. But the address is EXACTLY correct."

Yeah. There in the lower right-hand corner. Eastern Reception and Diagnostic. That has nothing to do with a medical clinic. That's a state prison, baby! I guess they thought the name could actually persuade local citizens and denizens to BELIEVE that it was just a reception center, only housing inmates a couple weeks before deciding where to farm them out to other parts of the state prison system. Nobody really fell for it. It's a full-blown prison. They do executions there, too.

Anyhoo... I have no idea how Hick's cardiologist letter made a stop at the prison. For all I know, the worker who mailed it is incarcerated, heh, heh! Which might explain the shoddy customer service he's gotten so far. Except this is a men's prison. And Hick talked to women.
It had other cancellation marks like this on the back of the envelope. I can't figure out how it left the prison on June 11, and came out of St. Louis on June 14. I guess Hick should have received it on the 11th, but it was mis-delivered, and sent back out with the outgoing mail. 
The Pony had no explanation. And he's an insider!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Val Used to Be a Weirdo Magnet, But Now She's Just...

Surely your weren't going to finish that title with WEIRDO! Because that would be wrong. Literally, and showing a total lack of concern for Val's feelings. I am a woman, not a weirdo!

Anyhoo... I haven't been attracting nearly as many weirdos as I did before the VIRUS. Maybe they're all staying home. Maybe it's not worth weirding it up just to give Val something to write about on her blog. I totally understand. I can still find something to write about. Even if the weirdos are not forthcoming, something WEIRD my way comes.

Monday, I had to wait, holding my ever-weakening 44 oz Diet Coke, due to a snafu at the Gas Station Chicken Store. The woman ahead of me had trouble paying. Man Owner was manning the register. I bet he cleared out his machine and had that woman try her card 10 times! 

I don't hold it against the customer. It wasn't her fault. I blamed it on the Stone-Age card scanner used by the GSCS. It's a little fat rectangular device that reminds me of a 1989 GameBoy. It sits on the counter at the end of a wire, and the customer sticks the chip part of the card in the bottom of it. Since that didn't work, she had to try sliding the magnetic strip. Finally, I think by a stroke of luck, Man Owner and the gal hit the magic combination to charge that purchase as a credit card transaction. 
Not so unusual an experience. Except that TUESDAY, June 15, I was second in line at Save A Lot, and the customer had trouble paying. Save A Lot has a more modern system, mounted on the check-out counter. Again, the checker tried at least 10 times to get that card to work. The customer asked if she could pay by check.
"Um. We don't take checks any more. And the manager and assistant manager just left."
"Well, I don't know what else to do."
I might have suggested that she drive a couple blocks to an ATM, but I didn't want to be a smart-rumpus. After all, it was not the customer's fault. By that time, there were five other customers waiting behind me. So two other registers were opened. I'll be darned if all those customers weren't checked out, bagged up, and back home with their feet up watching a DVR of the Westminster Dog Show while I was still waiting.
"Well... I guess I could put my groceries back in my cart, and go to another register..."
Thing is, they'd already closed one, and the other just had one customer in progress. So they'd probably have slunk away to the back of the store by the time I got over there. I didn't just have one or two small items. I had a bag of tangerines, a bag of grapes, pack of tortillas, box of chocolate chip granola bars, box of coconut granola bars, bag of Caesar salad, tub of pulled pork, two packs of paper plates, and a Rice Krispie treat bar for The Pony. 

"Oh, I'd hate for you to do THAT! I'm so sorry. This has never happened to me before."

"Not a problem. It's not your fault. Same thing happened yesterday over at the Gas Station Chicken Store. It must be ME! I'm bad luck!"

"This has been happening all day. At all of our stores. It's something with our system."

Had I been a SAINT like Hick, I might have paid for the woman's groceries. I'm pretty sure she would have written me a check. But I only had money for MY purchases in case my card didn't work. It's not like I travel around Backroads with my casino bankroll.

Anyhoo... all at once, the lady's card WORKED! And mine did, too. I was standing next to her at the bagging counter, when she apologized again.

"Don't worry about it. I'm not in any hurry. You couldn't help it."

"You know, I always think there was some reason for things like that to happen..."


"Like maybe it kept me for being in a car accident..."

"I KNOW! I think the same thing! And maybe yesterday I avoided something, too. Maybe I'M the reason we got held up. You just never know."

Being held up by a wonky card-reader two days in a row is unusual enough, but something else happened in Save A Lot while I was in line. A big-boned lady was bagging her groceries at the counter, which runs along a window that shows the whole parking lot.

"OOH! What in the world! LOOK AT THAT!"

Everybody looked. There was a dust tornado spinning across the front window. Right in front of the store, along the glass. The whole parking lot is blacktop. I have an idea how the cartoon Roadrunner-looking dust tornado formed. About a mile or two down the road, there are the "sand flats" that used to be a lake bed, where dragster races are held. I guess the dust got picked up there, and it touched down in front of Save A Lot. It hadn't been windy at all. It was a bright sunny day, temps in lower 90s.

On the way home, while switching through my six AM stations, and 12 SiriusXM stations that I have tuned-in, I heard an announcer say, "... and it's Global Wind Day."

What in the actual Not-Heaven? Who ever heard of THAT? Right after seeing a dust tornado.

I was going to say that I used to be a weirdo magnet, but now I'm just a WEIRD magnet. But maybe I AM the weirdo...

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Even a Bank Teller Knows Better

Is another woman trying to steal Hick's heart? Like a lake dweller stealing his lot by buying property that doesn't belong to the seller?  Or in this case, is a woman trying to steal Hick's heart by way of a journey through his stomach?
Women should know better! You can't go around feeding other women's husband's all willy-nilly! Even a bank teller knows to ASK before offering a sweet treat to child. Grown men are remarkably similar to children when it comes to FREE FOOD!

I had just served Hick what he declared was a delicious supper. Spicy BBQ pulled pork on a tortilla with shredded cheddar, diced onion, and sour cream. Then out of the blue he said,

"My buddy's wife made a GREAT ham salad at the auction the other night."

"Ham salad?"

"Yeah. She used that FREE ham we got from the Ponytail Guy."

"I still have half of that ham in the freezer. I guess I could thaw it out. Add shredded cheese, mayo, and pickles. That should just about do it. Do you want onions in it?"

"Yeah. Onions would be good."

"Any special rolls, or just bread?"

"I'll eat it on bread."

Huh. As I recall, I have never served Hick ham salad. I don't know if Buddy's Wife packed a cooler for the auction, or if she is wife of the auction owner and sells food there. Or maybe she was giving out FREE samples to get men hooked, planning to sell them next time. I didn't ask Hick, lest he reveal more food he had been given by strange women.

The best ham salad was served on our school lunch trays during the '70s! We had it on Wednesdays, which was Chili or Soup Day. You got a bowl of chili, and two half-sandwiches cut in a triangle shape. That intrigued me, because at home, our sandwich halves were cut in rectangle shapes. Anyhoo... one sandwich was ham salad, and one was peanut butter with syrup. Or sorghum. Something sticky and sweet. 
I always traded my peanut butter for ham salad. It was an easy trade! Also on the tray was SPINACH! I gave it away, no trade necessary! Some kids loved that spinach. They drenched it with vinegar from the little glass cruets that looked like pitchers. You'd never see something like that sitting on the lunch tables these days!

Anyhoo... I'll have to dice my leftover FREE ham. I don't have a grinder. My mom did. She'd stick it to the kitchen counter with its suction cup feet, and grind the leftover Sunday roast. Combined with Miracle Whip and relish or diced sweet pickles, it was quite tasty. But she didn't go serving it up to other women's husbands...

Monday, June 14, 2021

I Had Your Win On the Tip of My Fingers, But I Let It Slip Right Through My Hands

That title comes from an old Eddy Arnold song. Kind of. He was my mom's favorite singer. So of course I know the songs, having heard them during my formative years, when Mom would put them on the stereo while doing her household chores in the summer. Of course, Eddy was singing about love, and not about lottery tickets.

I buy scratchers every day. I include a ticket for The Pony. I don't have to. He doesn't ask. I'm a giver! I can't help it. When I start to town, I ask The Pony if there's any specific ticket that he wants. And he always says, "No. It really doesn't matter."

For the past two weeks, I've been getting him the newest ticket, because it's new, and the Black Pearl, because he had a $100 winner on it three weeks ago, when I gave him money for the machine at a truckstop on the home from the casino. Before that, he liked the HOT CASH ticket.

Sunday, I bought my tickets at Country Mart. They have two machines. As I passed by on my way in, I noticed that the machine on the left was out of the HOT CASH. That was the ticket I intended to buy for The Pony, since the new ticket I got him the day before was a loser. After paying for my groceries, I went to the machine on the right. I bought a crossword ticket for myself, and the HOT CASH for The Pony. 

Then I went to the left machine. I wanted two of the $3 crosswords, and a $5 ticket for myself. I had to wait for a guy ahead of me. Without being a creeper, I leaned on my cart, and watched to see what tickets he was buying. He turned around a couple times, but I feigned disinterest, and gazed at the stuffed-animal grabber machine. Give me an Oscar!

Anyhoo... I had my eye on an old ticket, the $2,500 a Week For Life. You can hardly find them anymore, but I don't win much on them. The longer I stood there, the more my eye was drawn to the newest $5 ticket, the FIND 500. I could hardly take my eyes off it. I haven't bought them for myself since the first week when they came out. I figured maybe the lighting was just different from where I was standing. And green IS my favorite color. I had every intention of getting the older ticket when I stepped up to the machine. But instead, I got the new green FIND 500.

The whole time I was stowing away the groceries in T-Hoe, I was thinking about that ticket. It's number 012. That's a good low number. I got The Pony a HOT CASH. I never get myself a HOT CASH. Number 028. Also a good number. I guess I could give The Pony a choice of which one he wants. I'm sure he'll take the HOT CASH, for a change. It doesn't really matter. I don't play either one. I'll take the one he doesn't want.

After The Pony carried in the groceries, I pulled the two tickets out of my purse.

"You can either have the FIND 500 (I handed it to him), or the HOT CASH (I handed IT to him)."

"Oh. I'm taking the FIND 500."


"You offered it to me!"

"I thought you'd take the other one."

"It's number 12! When I saw that, I thought 'I'm taking it!'"

"That's what I thought! That ticket made me buy it. I couldn't take my eyes off it."

"Well, you gave me the choice."


"Oops! You're not gonna like this! The first number I scratched off is a winner! And another winner! A THIRD winner! FOUR! I bet this one is a win all. Like that other one I had!"

The Pony continued to scratch. It was, indeed, a win all. Then he scratched off the amounts.

You can tell The Pony scratched this one. Like a psycho. He starts at the bottom, too.

Oh, and what did "my" HOT CASH win? NOTHING!

LOSER! I really thought The Pony would choose this one. Who knew that he's developed WIN-DAR since I've been giving him tickets?

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Are Signs...Mockin' the Scenery, Provin' It's Mine

Hick made another visit to our lake lot. He wanted to see if New Owner had moved his stuff off OUR property. And also to add his own special touch.

Granted, Hick used stencils and spray paint, and put our actual name on his sign. But I can PAINT, too. So a little bit of manipulation, and I've made my own special sign. [Dang it, I forgot to change the actual number!] You get the gist of it. Hick made his sign out of a metal shelf. He posed it alongside assorted other junk collectibles. That might be the leaning tire that Jack jumps on to rummage through Hick's trash for chew-toys.

Out at the lake lot, Hick discovered that the lumber under the tarp is still there. And he got a picture of a sizeable tree that was cut down. Looks like we're now the not-so-proud owners of a brush pile and a grove of stumps. And some trash.

As with most of Hick's photos, you get the panoramic view. The felled tree and the stumps are in the background.

When Hick put up his sign, he tried to take down New Owner's sign. He couldn't get it off the tree. I guess it had a mighty long nail in it. Or perhaps a bolt. Don't think easygoing Hick suffers a squatter lightly. 
"I couldn't get his sign off the tree, but I spun it around so it's upside down."

Can anyone else foresee a feud developing?

I told Hick that John Jones was probably watching him the whole time, through the cracks of his mini blinds from his house across the road. 

NOW, The Everchanging Story, as told by Hick, is that...

"John Jones TOLD me that he showed the guy our lot before he sold it. John said that HE (John) mistakenly thought it was Lot 526." [as referenced in the two previous installments]

"I don't know how he could MISTAKENLY do that! He knew right away that he had a culvert pipe on his own Lot 527, when you brought that up. So how could he think his lot was twice the size, and adjacent to Lot 525? He knew EXACTLY what he was doing! I hope New Owner demands his money back."

Hick said the Bobcat was gone. He didn't see it anywhere, but now he thinks it might actually belong to John Jones. I don't even want to hear about his logic for that.

Meanwhile, I'm giving it about a month until Hick's sign disappears. John Jones might need to sell some scrap metal to start paying New Owner back, for selling a lot that didn't belong to him.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Nothing CENTSational to Report

The Future Pennyillionaire Fortune of Val Thevictorian was not shut out this week. Nothing earth-shattering, but a respectable showing. 
SATURDAY, June 5, I found a rare penny in the Gas Station Chicken Store. The penny itself was not rare, but the FINDING of it was. People are tight with their money at the Gas Station Chicken Store.

Not sure about that angle. Makes me feel like I'm on a rolling ship. I'm pretty sure the tile is worn from people bellying up to the counter and peering into the glass-topped lottery ticket case... and NOT from pennies dropping there all willy-nilly.

It was a face-down 1980 penny.

THURSDAY, June 10, I stopped by the cemetery for my weekly one-sided chat with my mom. Five minutes later, I stepped out of T-Hoe at my next stop, the School-Turn Casey's, and saw VALidation of that visit:
It couldn't have been in a more noticeable place for me. There by the two spots. In my beeline for the sidewalk. At first I thought it was another 2008 penny, with special meaning for me. But alas, it was not.

It was a heads-up 2003 penny. I snatched it up like a helicopter mom grabbing a plastic egg filled with candy at a toddlers' Easter egg roll! That was MY penny, by cracky!

That makes 2 COINS, for 2 CENTS this week toward Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune.


Penny       # 53, 54.
Dime         still at 4.
Nickel       still at 1.
Quarter    still at 3.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1