Saturday, July 31, 2021

COINS Are the New Easter Eggs

They lie in wait, the coins meant for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune. Baking in the sun, wallowing in convenience store floor filth. Waiting, waiting, to hitch a ride home in Val's pocket, to live in her ice cream dish goblet on the kitchen counter. Easy pickin's. Like an Easter egg hunt for toddlers, with the plastic eggs in plain sight, ready to be pounced on.

MONDAY, July 26, a penny screamed for attention as I left the liquor store clutching my scratchers.

Can't hide from Val. Not even trying to camouflage yourself in a yellow handicap stripe.

It was a heads-up 1973 penny, right in my path back to T-Hoe. I think I heard my finger sizzle as I picked it up. Very hot that day.

The pressure was off, already having a penny for the weekly Saturday CENTSus. But Even Steven had my back this week. THURSDAY, July 29, I discovered a bashful penny in the School-Turn Casey's.

Playing hard-to-get, this one was!

It was a face-down 2021 penny, getting sullied by the creeping crud on the tile floor. BUT WAIT! I stepped back to make sure I had a good path through the candy pegboard to stick my shoe in there and drag out my future fortune, and saw...


It was a face-down 1999 quarter, the New Jersey coin, that shows Washington crossing the Delaware, I think. You'll have to take my word for it, or Google the New Jersey quarter to see a clearer picture.

The pennies were both heads-up. A 1998 and a 1987. Welcome to the Future Pennyillionaire family. You might be cheering, celebrating Val's stellar coin week, BUT WAIT! On my way back to T-Hoe, I again had a treat waiting for me...

It's almost as if those handicap stripes have a magnetic attraction for coins! Here's a dime!

It was a face-down 2018 shiny dime. My pants were nearly sagging off my ample rumpus with the day's coinage! Good to see silver again.

That makes 6 COINS, and 39 CENTS, this week for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny       # 77, 78, 79, 80.
Dime         # 9.
Nickel       still at 4.
Quarter    # 5.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1

Friday, July 30, 2021

An Out of This World Vacation

Hick sent me a couple pictures from his trip out west to see his brother. None from Area 51. Can you believe it? But they DID go there. And also here:

What do you mean, you can't read it? You know how Hick takes pictures! Tiny subject in center, surrounded by surroundings. It's the Little A'Le'Inn. Hick said it's about 40 miles from the closest town. I wouldn't be surprised if you could see that town in the vast space surrounding that sign. They went inside, too.

Not sure why I find Hick's photos to be so... how you say... BORING, and devoid of human interest. I guess he's a just-the-facts kind of guy. Anyhoo... of course Hick had a story about their visit here.

"We was sitting inside, and saw two ladies drive up in a fancy Mercedes. They came in and Bro said, 'Hey, I'll trade you my scooter [he rides one for medical reasons] for that Mercedes.' The lady said, 'I'm not sure you really want to make that trade.' Turns out the tire on the other side of the car was flat! It was one of those run-flat tires. It has hard rubber in it, so you can drive on it until you can stop for a new tire. There's no spare. She had beat the sidewall off that tire, driving on it. She said she called Triple A, and they were sending a tow truck. But they might have to tow her all the way back to Vegas. That's about 150 miles. We said there was a town 40 minutes away, and she said she'd tried that, but they didn't have the kind of tire she needed."

Leave it to Hick. Go all the way to Vegas, and have a story about a flat tire.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Liars, Dang Liars, and Hick-clarations

When I came home from town Wednesday, I noticed Hick over at the BARn. SilverRedO was parked in front of the door, and Hick was carrying something across his arms. I swear, that something looked like a pizza box! I don't care if Hick eats pizza over at the BARn. He has the Original FRIG over there, stocked with beverages. But it was 3:30. Almost time for supper. 

I probably would have forgotten all about it, but I was a little bit unhappy with Hick. I had seven bags of groceries, and four six-packs of his Diet Mountain Dew in T-Hoe's rear. I had been hoping for help carrying them in. It's not like The Pony can trot out and do it for me, what with his broken ankle. Besides, the heat index was 107 on Wednesday! For those of you who don't believe in the heat index (joeh!), let's just say it was 96 degrees, with really, really high humidity.

Anyhoo... Hick will usually turn to look at a vehicle driving by in front of the BARn. But this time he didn't. Just kept walking. In a hurry to open up his pizza, I suppose! Of course he came to the house right after I put away the last grocery.

"How convenient. Groceries are carried in and put away. Good timing."

"Oh. I didn't know you were over here."

"Well, all your soda is still out there."

"I just carried in soda!"

"That was before you left on your trip TWO WEEKS ago! And there's only one pack left inside."

"Well. I'll get it later. It's HOT."

"What were you carrying into the BARn? It looked like a pizza box!"

"Oh. That was something I got for the storage unit."

"A pizza?"

"No. It was fishing reels."

"In a FLAT box?"

"Oh. That was trash."

"An empty pizza box?"

"No. Actually, it was a box a gun came in."

"More like a box a pizza came in! Your story sounds a little fishy to me. So many changes in what you carried in. Just pick one lie, and stick with it!"

Seriously. I don't care if Hick had a pizza over at the BARn. He could have said it was an old pizza box from SilverRedO, and he was carrying it in to throw away. I don't know what it actually was, but it was flat like a pizza box, and I don't for a minute think fishing reels or a gun came in that box. Hick does not throw away gun boxes, and he does not keep guns over at the BARn. Fishing reels are thicker than what that box looked like it would hold.

Anyway... it's never a bad idea to let Hick think he can't put anything over on me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

This Might Have Prevented a Speeding Ticket

Hick bought himself some new wheels on his trip out west to see his brother. Didn't even consult ME! Just like that time Hick left in a huff, and I saw him three days later riding a new lawnmower around the grounds. Only this time, he kind of returned in a huff, and it only took two days before I found out about his new ride.

Ain't she sweet? Can you see her toolin' down the street? I think this purchase might actually be a bargain. According to the message Hick sent me with the photo:

"Peddle car I bought for $49."

Yes. I know. PEDDLE car. Though in this case, that little pedal vehicle IS LITERALLY A PEDDLE CAR! Here it is in the back of A-Cad, up at Hick's Storage Unit Store where he unloaded it. He's going to ask $125, and says he'll take $75. Shh... don't tell anyone.

If you zoom in on the back, the brand is InStep. Looks like it was called the InStep Pink Lady Pedal Car. I never had one as a kid, but I had a FIRE ENGINE. Although I don't think it was an InStep. Maybe a Murray. More boxy, with ladders on the back. 
This Pink Lady would not have been conducive to good sibling relations. With the fire engine, my sister the little future ex-ex-mayor's wife could drive, and I could stand on the back, holding onto the ladder racks. No, I did NOT tip it over!. We'd ride it down the sidewalk hill in front of our house, and it would get going so fast that Sis had to take her feet off the pedals. At the bottom, we had to make a quick left, and turn it over in our neighbor's yard, to prevent flying off the sidewalk side into a creek. Rough sidewalks in our town! No rails as the sidewalk crossed over the creek that flowed under the street.

Some kid will be very happy to have that Pink Lady. Even if it's an adult over-grown kid buying it for nostalgic purposes, and not actual driving.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Turns Out the $6 Orange Juice and $7.98 Lettuce Actually WERE Bargains...

Hey, have you heard? Hick went to Vegas for 10 days! And all I got was this lousy NOT-T-SHIRT! Oh, I'm not complaining. No siree, Bob! That would be so uncharacteristic of me! No, I'm not complaining. Just pointing out that sometimes, some people might want to re-think what they're complaining about.

"Oh, I got you something in Vegas," said Hick on Sunday evening. He and The Pony were looking at fixer-upper houses on The Pony's laptop at the kitchen table, as I got Hick's supper ready.

"It's not a $3 pink change purse, is it? Because I don't need any more of those."

"No. It's a good present."

"Did it really come from Vegas? Or was it from a truck stop somewhere along the way?"

"It came from Vegas! I got it in a gift shop."

"A real gift shop? In a casino?"

"No. Not gift shop. I said thrift shop! It cost me $12."

Hick set my gift on the table. It had been in his collection of items he'd put on HIS side of the kitchen table.

"I knew you wouldn't wear a t-shirt. So I got you a snow globe. From Vegas."

"Oh. Yeah. It really DOES have snow in it. Glitter snow." Said The Pony, giving it a shake. "Um. Uh. Wait a minute. Does it...uh. The sign is broken off."

"Oh. It DID break? I wondered if I could get it here without breaking it."

Seriously? Did Hick drive A-Cad off-road all the way home? How would it break, riding in a car? Albeit a car traveling 72 mph in a 55 mph work zone.

"I don't know if it was like that, or it came off when I turned it over to shake it."

"The sign was okay when I bought it."

"In the thrift store. For $12. I'm not so sure that was a bargain. Even if it wasn't broken. Doesn't sound very thrifty to me."

"I just thought it was something you would like."

"I DO like it. Maybe there was a big earthquake, and that landmark Vegas sign fell down."

Looks like Hick can't catch a break with his out-of-state sweaving, but The Pony caught an ankle break right here at work, doing what he was supposed to do, and I caught a break in my special snow globe gift from the thrift shop.

Compared to the $6 orange juice and the $7.98 lettuce, this thrift gift was not a bargain.

Monday, July 26, 2021

He's a Swerver, He's a Weaver, He's a Las Vegas Leaver

Hick returned home Saturday night around 11:30, having driven 15 hours straight. He did not get off to a good start. Within 10 minutes of hitting the road, Hick was pulled over for a moving violation. SPEEDING! What were you expecting, a sweaving ticket?

To hear Hick tell it, he was perfectly innocent. Railroaded! Ensnared in a speed trap!

"I saw a cop pull out after me. It took me about a quarter mile to get over to the side of the road. He said I was speeding."

"How fast were you going?"


"What was the speed limit?"


"So you WERE speeding."

"Not by much. But THEN he tried to say I was speeding in a work zone! That it should have been a 55 miles an hour speed limit. All because there were some orange cones along the road. They weren't even ON the road! They were way over to the side!"

"Was there a sign that said WORK ZONE?"

"If there was, I didn't see it! He wanted my license and insurance and registration."

"So? You had them all, right?"

"Yeah. It took him forever. I was watching him in my mirror. I thought maybe he was going to let me off with a warning. I didn't see him writing a ticket. But apparently, his motorcycle had a computer in it, because he came up and handed me a PRINTED TICKET! He said he was giving me a break by not writing my ticket about the work zone. I could fight it in court, but then I'd have to go back there to do it. So I'll just pay it. I have to go to TRAFFIC SCHOOL! He said I could do that in Missouri. I think I might have to do that before I can mail in my fine!"

"Yeah. Well. You do the crime, you do the time. And the fine."

"Yep, one of Henderson's finest got me. It wasn't even a state cop. It was a city cop."

"Hey! You. Are. Guilty. Don't blame the boys in blue!"

Of course, I'm the one who'll have to address the envelope and write out the check for Hick's crime spree.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Orange Juice and Lettuce, an Arm and a Leg

Apparently Hick has been texting The Pony while on his trip out west. One message was:

"Don't order orange juice at the casino. It costs $6."

I'm guessing Hick meant at a restaurant in a casino where he stayed in their hotel. He's not one to go gambling in the morning, and not one to order orange juice at night. I couldn't wait for him to get home. Oh, all the little digs and jokes I could make about the $6 orange juice!

But then... I went to Country Mart on Friday. Not for orange juice. I was in the produce section, though. I wasn't feeling well that day, and was in a hurry to grab my few items and get back home. I picked up rolls for The Pony, and bandaids for his scrapes, and a bag of shredded lettuce. I have the makings for some nachos, and needed lettuce. 

At the register, the checker said she made a mistake.

"I rang your lettuce twice. I can't take it off. We'll have to wait until she comes back from the bathroom."

I suppose she meant the gal in charge, with a card to override something in the register. I was not feeling well. Did I mention that? A sinus headache, and woozy dizzy spinning sensation when I turned my head wrong. 

"Never mind. I'll just pay. And hold a grudge every time I come in here! Really. I don't want to wait. I'll just pay it."

How much could some shredded lettuce cost, anyway? I don't always look at prices if it's something on my list, without other choices to compare. I figure it was probably $1.99 or thereabouts. 

Imagine my surprise when I got back to T-Hoe, and saw that my bag of shredded lettuce was $3.99! So I had actually paid $7.98 PLUS TAX for one bag of lettuce!

We won't be talking about the $6 orange juice...

Saturday, July 24, 2021

One Stop COIN Shop Floor Slop

Such a bounty to report this week! And I got them all in one place! [edited to say MOSTLY] It was technically a last-week find, because it happened on Saturday, after I'd already put the Saturday CENTSus to bed. Tucked it in, fetched it one last glass of water, threatened it to stay under the covers, and not to leave the room or call me for anything other than an emergency. And THIS is the thanks I got:

Look at that! A quarter, two dimes, and two pennies! Too many for individual close-ups. I had a heads-up 1999 QUARTER, face-down 2021 and 1977 DIMES, and face-down 2020 and 2016 PENNIES. Can everybody join me in telling Orb K: "SWEEP YOUR GOSH-DARN FLOOR!"
But WAIT! What you can't see, off to the right, is another penny that I only saw as I was leaving. So I had to pick it up and resist ample-rumpusing those in line behind me for a picture. I snuck one in T-Hoe, though.

It was a 2009 heads-up penny. The special kind...

With ol' Log-Lincoln on the back!
FRIDAY, July 23, when I had no business over in Sis-Town, I was compelled to make a special trip to mail my electric bills. Of course I went up the street to Casey's, because the invalid Pony wanted to try the NEW $3 crossword scratcher that I discovered there the previous day. [He had a $10 winner!]
While in line to pay for more gas, after hauling around The Pony's broken ankle all week... I spied something to my liking under the tempters hanging on the front of the counter:
At first I thought it was a penny, from the color. But the size didn't seem quite right. It wasn't until I leaned down for the close-up that I saw its true color.
It was a bright, shiny, 2020 DIME, heads up, even though this picture makes it look tarnished. My phone has trouble distinguishing picture-worthy coins from no-details-needed background.
So convenient this week, getting all my coins at one stop! [Plus one more!] Less ample-rumpusing! That makes 7 COINS, for 58 CENTS, towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny       # 74, 75, 76.
Dime         # 6, 7, 8.
Nickel       still at 4.
Quarter    # 4.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1

Friday, July 23, 2021

Yes, I'm Sure You're Shocked By Another Job Not Done Right

Wednesday, I did more chauffeuring for The (lame) Pony. Don't get me started! After our most recent trial and tribulation, The Pony ordered our lupper from Pizza Hut on his phone app. I was piloting T-Hoe through the law-scoffing Backroads traffic, dwelling on the BROKEN ANKLE SPECIALIST APPOINTMENT QUAGMIRE in which we were still enmeshed, and not paying direct attention to his droning of the order.

"Okay. So we ARE doing the curbside pickup, right?"

"Um. Are we? I order and place a time for pickup, and go to the drive-thru."

"The app doesn't let me do that."

"I bet it does."

"It says to park in the designated space, and they'll bring it out. There's a button here for when you arrive. They should bring it out within two minutes."

"Um. Okay? I won't know where to park. You'll have to point it out to me."

"It wants a description of the car. Black Tahoe. Would you happen to know the year?"


"Now I need your debit card."

"Okay. But I always order, then pay at the drive-thru."

"This wants it ahead of time. Because they will just bring out the food. Like Domino's. It asks where to put the order. Back seat."

"All right."

So we get there, and I see no less than five workers in their red visors milling around in the parking spaces opposite the drive-thru. With two of their delivery cars parked there, and about four empty parking spaces.

"Do I turn in here? Is that where we wait?"

"I don't think so. That's the drive-thru."

"Okay. I'll go to the other side. The regular parking lot. There's a car behind me. I can't just stop to look. Huh. I don't see any marked spaces. How will they know we're here? Should I go back around to the drive-thru side?"

"Maybe? We can look at those spaces."

Around I went. Still employees milling. Looking at US like we were crazy. No marked parking. Just their two delivery cars, and four empty spaces.

"Well, I'm going to the drive-thru. I'll ask there. I wish these people would quit staring at us. Hello. We ordered with the app, and don't know where to park to pick it up."

"Here. This is it. The drive-thru. That will be... OH! You already paid. Let me get your order."

She was polite and efficient. Or so I thought... From there, we headed across the next street, to get my Diet Coke from Burger King, since I didn't want to go into Backroads to the Gas Station Chicken Store. It's highway robbery, the price of a large BK soda! Anyhoo... as I was pulling away from the drive-thru, a boneless-wing-eating Pony said, 

"HEY! Pizza Hut forgot the two 20 oz sodas that came with our Personal Pan Pizzas!"

Indeed they had! It didn't concern me much, because they only had Pepsi products, and The Pony was getting both of them that he liked, one for today and one for tomorrow. A Root Beer and a Dr. Pepper, I think. I picked up the receipt. Yep! They were at the bottom, with no price by them, because they were part of a deal. Good thing we were only two blocks away. I went back to the drive-thru.

A totally different person slid open that window! In fact, he didn't even look like he worked there. Like maybe he was a random customer who'd snuck behind the counter. He had a Belushi-esque quality about him. And a wonky eye. Without a red visor. 

"Hi. We just picked up our order, but we didn't get our sodas. Here's the receipt. And could we please have a fork, too?"

"Okay. Let me see. I'll get them for you."

Off he went, and returned with the sodas in a bag, and a fork for The Pony, who was perfectly fine eating boneless wings slathered in garlic parmesan sauce with his fingers, but T-Hoe and I were not.

"He was nice. Not sure he was really an employee, but we got our bottles of soda. Was it just me, or did he have a wonky eye."

"Yes. But it's not really polite to mention that."

"It's not like I said it to his face! I just thought something was off."

Anyhoo... no amount of politeness in the world is an excuse for NOT DOING YOUR JOB CORRECTLY! But it helps... Please. I want to hear about service that was done right. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Hick Is Looking Out For Your Tax Dollars

Before he left on his vacation out west, Hick tried on a new hat: investigative reporter. It was not a good fit. Not according to me. And also The Pony. It was like strapping a pointy party hat on a prize pumpkin, the elastic chin-strap stretched to the breaking point. At least we spared Hick the sting of the snapped elastic. We tried to let him down easy.
"You won't believe what I saw at Casey's. A mailman throwing mail in the trash! Two tubs of it! In Casey's trash can! I got a picture of her. I sent it to The Pony, to see if he knows her. Look."
I wish I had that picture, but Hick decided to clean his phone out on vacation, and the very night I asked him to send me the pic, he said he deleted it the night before. Oh, well. Your loss. It was the back of the head of a dark-haired gal, pumping gas.
"What does this prove?"
"I didn't want to be obvious about it. She could see me while she was dumping the mail. But I got her at the gas pumps!"
"She's not wearing a post office hat. So she's not a CCA. If she was a regular carrier, she'd have a uniform. Did she?"
"No uniform."
"Was she driving an LLV?"
"No. A little white car."
"If she was a rural carrier, she'd have her own car, but it would have the US MAIL magnetic sticker on it, saying it makes frequent stops."
"I didn't see that."
"I don't think she works for the post office."
"Val! She had those white tubs they put the mail in!"
"Businesses have them. I've seen people carry them into the post office, push them across the counter, and then get another one full of their mail. They take it out to their car. Or sometimes they bring in a tub full of mail, to be sent out."
"Alls I know is, she was throwing two tubs of mail in Casey's trash."
"They won't like that! They pay to haul it away."
"I know."
"Here's an idea. Maybe this gal was getting rid of ads that had expired. Like store ads. The sale expired, and she had to get rid of them. Maybe they were even Casey's ads. You don't know what they were."
"Well, I'm telling The Pony."
"He's not the post office police!"
"No. But he might know her, and he can tell someone."
The Pony was not impressed. 
"Dad. Other people can use those tubs to bring in their mail to us. Businesses. I've never seen that person. In fact, I don't know anybody at the post office with dark hair. They're all blond Karens!"
Nice try, Hickraldo! That was almost as exciting as the opening of Al Capone's vault.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

I'm Surprised They Didn't Have a Petting Zoo

Hick sent me a picture from his travels. Said he was sitting at a Subway, having breakfast. But wait! That's not the WRONGEST thing about this revelation.

Doesn't look like any Subway around here! Nor like any casino around here. According to the sign, they also have a...

Bowling Center - too bad Hick didn't pack his shoes and bowling ball.
Parking Garage - must be a ritzy joint.
Kid Quest - what in the Not-Heaven? Do you go on a quest to find kids? Perhaps your own, that you're trying to lose?

Theaters - who wants to see a show, with all the other stuff to do here?

Arcade - I'm down with that. Almost as much fun as a casino, and cheaper! I hope they had those quarter-pushing games.

Restrooms - AHA! It IS a ritzy joint!

I see one of Hick's favorite slots right there in the front: Mr. CASHMAN. Technically, this one is Cashman Bingo. But I bet Hick played it.

When he got all the way to his destination of Near-Vegas, Hick and his brother went to a couple casinos. 

"I swear, he's just like you! He won $700 at the first casino, and $500 at the second one. I didn't win nothin'! AND the next night, as he walked out of the bathroom, he found $100."

Hick is good luck to those who gamble with him... The bad luck sticks to Hick.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Hick Advises From Afar

Hick called the next day to talk me off the ledge. I was a bit upset over single-handedly being responsible for the impending death of Poolio. Since I couldn't move the lever or find an OFF button, I was relegating to watching Poolio gurgle his last breath as his filter clogged before Hick returned. Thank goodness Hick called on the landline while I was in the house. So I didn't get disconnected. Which is not to say the call was a success...
"I just don't know what to do. I can't move the lever."
"It looks like it's in the right place, in the picture you sent."
"So I'm already backwashing?"

"No. It's in the place it's supposed to be. Where I left it."

"But the lever is at BACKWASH."

"The LEVER. You need that little thing on the other side to be at backwash."

"WHAT? That nub?"


"Well, I can't get the lever to move."

"You have to push down on it until the nub lifts out and you can turn it."

"I know how a nub works. I can't lift it up."

"All you do is turn off the pump and push down on the handle and it will turn."

"WAIT! I have to TURN OFF the pump first!"

"Yeah. That's how it works. It won't turn unless the pump is off."

"You might have told me that to start with."

"The Pony knew. He said he knew how to do it."

"He never once told me to turn it off!"

"That's all you need to do. It will be okay until I get back. Just turn off the pump."

"How am I going to do THAT? There's no switch. And no breaker."

"There's a switch, Val. It's a toggle switch on the back of the pump."

"The BACK? It's ROUND. I've looked all around it, and can't find it."

"Not that part. The PUMP."

"It IS the pump! The black thing I'm trying to move the lever on is the pool pump."

"No. The pump is the long thing on the left."

"How was I supposed to know THAT?"

"Everybody knows what a pump looks like!"

"Not everybody!"

"Just turn off the switch on the back of the pump. You won't have to worry about it."

"I said I can't find it!"

"Then unplug it."

"NO! I don't want to get electrocuted!"

"You won't get electrocuted. Just use two hands and pull out the plug."

"There's black electrical tape on it. No. I'm not doing that."

"Then look for the switch on the back of the pump."

"Okay. The BACK? You mean on the pool side?"

"No. On the back."

"The pool side IS the back. As I'm standing here looking at it. Tell me: Is it on the pool side, the house side, the neighbor side, or the chicken pen side?"

"It's on the BACK!"

"Stop it! Tell me which side!"

"Right in front of you. If you kneel down, you'll see the switch!"

"KNEEL DOWN? That won't happen."

"Put your hand down on the back of the pump, and you'll feel the toggle switch!"

"The BACK? Which SIDE? By the pool? Or by the house?"

"By the house! The BACK!"

What in the Not-Heaven??? I was trapped in a Who's On First routine! I told Hick I would deal with it later. When I got back from town, I went out the basement door and stuck my phone down by the FRONT of the pump, and took a picture:

After viewing the pic, I reached down, felt the switch, and turned it OFF. That's the picture I provided. Not the original, blurry from the humidity on the lens, that showed me the switch location. What an awkward place to put a switch! Where you can't see it unless you stand on your head. Although The Pony, when consulted, said that most people probably have their pump mounted higher than ankle level.

In addition, The Pony feigned ignorance of the "turning off the pump before moving the lever" issue. But he was quick to admonish me, when viewing my pictures from Poolio-side:

"Mom. You can see right there on the lever! It says 'DO NOT CHANGE POSITION WITH PUMP ON.' So it's really your fault. Not mine or Dad's."

The Pony needs to realize who waits on him hand and broken foot...
Anyhoo... Poolio didn't get a backwash. He's just sitting stagnant until Hick returns.

Monday, July 19, 2021

How Many Invalids Does It Take to Change a POOLIO Nub

When Hick left on his vacation out west, he was depending on The Pony to take care of Poolio while he was gone. 

"Look at the water. See that little ripple? As long as it's doing that, it's fine. Otherwise, you need to backflush and clean out the filter every couple of days. Come down here and I'll show you how."

"I know how. You've had me do that before. I know what to put it on, and how to clean out that filter."

"Okay. Don't forget."

Well. The Pony didn't forget. But two days later, he was unable to hobble around to Poolio on crutches to do this duty. Guess who's responsible now...

I looked out at Poolio on Friday, and the sight chilled me to the bone. Dead water! Like being becalmed in the Horse Latitudes. No movement. No ripple. Water surface as smooth as glass. I guess the pump wasn't running right, or something was clogging the filter. I'm not a pool boy!

"Pony. Tomorrow I have to do something with Poolio. I sent Dad a text. He said if you couldn't explain it to me, to just turn off the pump until he gets back. I guess you'll have to sit in the door of the laundry room, and talk me through it."

"Yeah. I don't think I can get over that threshold."

Of course I was doing a load of laundry, so The Pony turned off the dryer so he could hear me from down below the back porch. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear him at all. It was like when Yaphet Kotto was being lectured by Sigourney Weaver in the original ALIEN, and he kept opening a valve and letting steam whoosh out just to annoy her and make her yell louder. Only I wasn't being passive-aggressive with The Pony. I had an air conditioner in my ear. 

"You might have to go turn off the air conditioner until we can get this done. I can't hear a word you're saying!"

"Can you hear me now?"

Barely. The Pony had somehow gotten the student desk chair that he's using as a wheely chair up over the doorjamb, and was sitting above me on the back porch. I still could only make out about 1 in 3 words. AND The Pony had the gall to say that he couldn't talk louder because it hurt his throat! I guess the neck bone's connected to the ankle bone.

Anyhoo... when I'd walked out the basement door to get a look at the set-up, this is what I saw:

There's a part of the air conditioner unit on the left, that was WHOOSHING in my ear. And that bubble thing that reminded me of a Weber Grill. Mmm...BBQ! A little shift of perspective to the right, and I had a post holding up the pool deck to grasp onto:

Sure, that's an easy little step for young whippersnappers to hop around on. But not for Val, whose knee-joint-bone configuration feels like two glass toothpicks on either side of an old fragile Christmas tree bulb. So may dangly things in which to get caught, too. As you might have surmised after all these years: technology is not Val's friend.

I assumed I would be moving that lever thingy. I think that's what The Pony was mush-mouthing from above. Here's a look at the settings:

The Pony kept kind-of telling me to put it in BACKFLUSH. Which it was already in! Only I think they called it BACKWASH on the label. You can't read it here, but it's under that lever. I pushed down on the lever, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. A spurt of water drenched the bottom half of my shirt. I don't even know where it came from! 
Maybe it wasn't all the way in the notch. The Pony was not much help. He could hear me, but I couldn't hear him. He refused to go turn off the air conditioner.

"No matter what I do, it won't turn!"

"Are you pushing down on it?"

"YES! So hard that it looks like the whole top might pop off!"

"I think it did once, and water shot out the top, but somehow Dad fixed it again."

"I can't fix it if that happens! No matter how hard I push, that little nub won't go high enough to slide around to a different notch. It did ONCE, and then I put it back like it was. Now it won't move either direction!"

I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure that out, and move the lever. I was trying to find a place that said OFF. Just turn it OFF, like Hick had said.

"It would be great if there was an OFF switch! Or even a breaker!"

"No, there's no breaker for Poolio. And I think Dad might have just run it in conduit, so you won't find a plug-in."

Part of this was discussed when I came back in, and could hear The Pony. I was in tears by that point. I didn't ask to be Poolio-master. Hick should have made better plans before he left! I sent him a text, but the last one I had from him said he was headed out to the pool at his brother's place. That's probably some kind of irony, but I wasn't in a mood to sort it out, freezing in my wet shirt in the air conditioning of my lair.

I sent him a text anyway, and Hick called me the next morning. That's tomorrow's story...

If you're a mechanical wizard and know exactly what my problem was, I am not really in a mood to hear that now! So hold that advice until you find out what HICK told me.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Gloom of Night...But Break of Ankle DOES Stay a Courier From the Swift Completion of His Appointed Rounds

The Pony broke his ankle near the end of his delivery route on Thursday. 
He sent me a text at 4:30 that he had fallen, and was resting before trying to get back to his LLV (Long Life Vehicle) about a quarter-mile away. Said his ankle hurt, but would support him. He had notified his supervisor, who was waiting for further information in case he couldn't get back.

"I don't know what happened. I had already gotten back to the sidewalk from a yard, and taken three or four steps. I don't remember the sidewalk being particularly rough. I don't think I stepped on a rock. Maybe I might have stubbed my right toe, but I don't think so. It was my left ankle that turned, and I heard a POP. I skinned my left knee in two places, and my left elbow has a chunk out of it."

I got this information bits at a time. Of course I was worried. I'm about 20 minutes away from where he was delivering. He said he didn't need me to come there. Later, he filled me in on more specifics.

"I was sitting on the sidewalk, leaning on my hand so the blood could flow down from my elbow. I didn't get blood on the mail! A lady and her daughter saw me while driving by, and she stopped. She had a little travel first aid kit, and she handed me a gauze pad that she had poured saline on, to wash off my cuts. She said she saw blood on my knees, and that's why she stopped. 

While she was helping me, the lady that lived at the next house I was delivering to came out. She said she was a nurse practitioner. I gave her the mail I had ready for her. She went back in the house and came out with a real first aid kit. She checked my ankle, and said it was definitely sprained, if not broken. She gave me a cold pack to put down in my sock, and cleaned off my elbow and put gauze on it and wrapped it up. She put bandaids on my knee.

I was going to walk back to the LLV, but she said she would drive me. Her husband came out with a bottle of cold water, and helped put my mail and packages in the car. She gave me her card and said if I need anything, to call her. What kind of luck is THAT? Breaking your ankle in front of a nurse practitioner's house!

I drove the LLV back to the office and went in and my supervisor took a look at me and said, 'This is definitely a worker's comp case.' She took pictures and filled out forms and sent me to Urgent Care. The one I went to in Backroads has changed hours, and was closed when I got there a little after 6:00. So I had to drive over to Bill-Paying Town. They took x-rays and said they think it's broken, but they gave me a disk with the x-ray, and said they'll make me an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, Tuesday at the earliest, before they'll know. I'm going to Burger King on my way home. I'm starving.
They took me out to my car in a wheelchair and told me not to walk on my ankle. They put a brace on it. I have a prescription for antibiotic ointment, and crutches."

By that time, it was after 8:00. I told The Pony I thought we had a set of crutches hanging in the garage by T-Hoe, from when Hick had knee surgery. So I met him at his car, and brought him through the garage doors to avoid the gravel and Hick-brick sidewalk. Friday we got crutches and ointment and tried to get the 18 pages of paperwork filled out that the supervisor had not been able to fax on Thursday night. It needs the orthopedic doctor, so there's a hold on that.

Right now The Pony is resting comfortably enough in Hick's recliner, biding time until Tuesday. Urgent Care called on Friday morning to say that yes, there is a break in his fibula by the lateral malleolus. The Pony is not steady on crutches, and will not even put the left ankle down to balance himself.

"Oh, come on! You're not putting full weight on it, yet for three hours you were WALKING on it at the post office and in Urgent Care!"

"Well, you do have a point there..."

A fellow CCA broke her ankle the week before The Pony. She has TWO breaks in it, and is now in a cast, out six weeks. It was on a different route, about three miles from where The Pony was delivering. Her LLV was parked at the top of the steps she had to go down to a house. So she climbed the steps on her broken ankle, but didn't have to walk far to her LLV. 
My theory is that this office is working those CCAs like dogs. Not malevolently. They are so short-handed. Six days a week, 10-11 hours a day. Sure, they are compensated with overtime and double-time, but they don't have time for their body to recover. Some days The Pony has 9-11 mile routes. With both of them, their broken ankle happened near the end of the day. I think their legs get tired-out and heavy. But what do I know? I am not a consultant for workplace injury.
Here are some pictures taken by The Pony. A misshapen ankle, and some bloody scrapes. If you're squeamish, you might not want to look.

Waiting at Urgent Care, with the cold pack in his sock.

Elbow wrapped by the nurse practitioner Good Samaritan on his route, and knee bandaid.

Knee scrapes, a glimpse of ankle.

The elbow, missing a chunk that is on a nurse practitioner's sidewalk.

The star of the show, the broken ankle.

All wrapped up, with 20 miles to go. To drive himself home.

Now it's hurry up and wait for the orthopedic appointment, and then six weeks to heal.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

The PENNIES Arrived Fashionably Late

 Almost a shut-out this week for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune. Almost. It came down to the wire on THURSDAY, July 15, when I found my long-lost Lincoln in the Sis-Town Casey's.

My photos are getting more like Hick's every day. But if you squint, you can see my penny there, near the unbooted foot of Annie Oakley. No. I'm sure the real one is dead now. But that skirt just set me off. I guess I'm lucky that gal didn't pop me one for taking what she might assume was a picture of her gal-hooves.

It was a heads-up 2005 penny, and not so lucky. The scratchers I bought were losers, and the $20 of gas only moved T-Hoe's gauge up a quarter of a tank.

But wait! FRIDAY, July 16, was a very bad day at Thevictorian household, but I was cheered up by a stop at Country Mart. I explained to The Pony, riding shotgun, "I'm taking my phone. Sometimes I find pennies in here."

"Huh. There's one RIGHT HERE in the parking lot beside us. A shiny penny."

"WooHoo! I've gotta get it before somebody parks there!"

It's there! Good eye on The Pony. In that opening with the dark round spot, and the long spot pointing at the propane tank lockup. At about the 12:00 position in that circular opening.

It was a face-down 2019 penny. A man parked in the next space came out of the store, and asked if I was all right. Well. That's debatable...

"Sure. I collect pennies. I'm getting a picture of this one first."

"If you want to find pennies, go to the McDonald's drive-thru in the mornings. It's covered with them. I should know. That's what I do for a living! I mean... I don't pick up pennies for a living! I do maintenance, and I always find a lot of them."

Heh, heh. Kind of an odd pickup line. At least he made sure I knew he was earning a living. I went on inside, thrilled with my find. Nothing at the kiddie vending machines. I got my bag of limes (The Pony is hitting the rum bottle) and my scratchers, and started out. WAIT A MINUTE! What's THAT?

There it is, behind the beeper cart! In the square of watermelon colored tile, not the salmon.

It was a face-down 2020 penny, almost identical to the other one. Funny how my phone changed the color so much in the closeup.

So, after a late-week rally, that makes 3 PENNIES, for 3 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune.


Penny       # 71, 72, 73.
Dime         still at 5.
Nickel       still at 4.
Quarter    still at 3.

Penny     134
Dime        25
Nickel      10
Quarter      1

Friday, July 16, 2021

If You Want a Job (Or a Lottery Ticket Purchase) Done Right...

Val is your gal! Your go-to gal to go buy your lottery ticket! Every ticket's a winner! Well. Not really. But I have more than my share of good ones. Like the one I bought out of Country Mart's right-side machine on Wednesday:

That's a $100 WINNER on a $3 TICKET! Can't get much better than that! Well. It could. If I won the grand prize. But I'm fine with $100. I found 8 words. Can YOU find them, after I've already scratched them off? This is the most confusing ticket of them all. Good thing I scan them. I knew this was a winner right away, but when I went back to look at those words again, they were hard to see. Sometimes I miss a winner when I only find 3 words. It always gives you 2 words, which is a loser.

Anyhoo... here they are, in case you don't have a lot of time to waste and look for them:


Yes, I picked that ticket out of a machine. Slid my money in the slot, and poked the screen. Unlike the clerk at the Sis-Town Casey's on Thursday, who could not even give me the correct ticket that I requested. They have them in a case, numbered. So when I ask for a number, they look at their dispenser behind the counter, and tear off the kind of ticket in that number slot. I think this Casey's has about 25 selections.

Anyhoo... mistakes can happen. When the clerks lay them on the counter, I see the colors and patterns and recognize the tickets I've asked for. If it's a wrong ticket, I point that out and they give me the right one. THIS clerk laid them face down on the counter! Of course I trusted that she had the right tickets. She literally has ONE JOB. Okay. Maybe 10 or 20 jobs. But it's not rocket science. I didn't ask her to flip them over. I was busy punching in Hick's number to get free stuff on his rewards account. It doesn't work for lottery purchases, but I was also buying gas.

What I wanted was a big crossword ticket. What I got something else.
It doesn't even look like a crossword ticket! I would have spotted it right away, even though distracted by punching in the number for Hick's rewards, had the tickets been laying face up. 
I don't like this Wheel of Fortune ticket. I only bought them the first week they came out. It's not orderly enough for me! I like to see the numbers in straight rows, and scratch them in an orderly manner. When you pick up a Wheel of Fortune, you have no idea where those numbers are lurking! Once you find one, and you've played this ticket before, you can kind of figure it out. Anyhoo... this error-given Wheel of Fortune was a loser. 
So let this be a lesson to you! Don't trust a clerk to hand you the WINNING scratcher!

Heh, heh! If that mistaken ticket had been a big winner, or EVEN a winner, Val would be singing a different tune!