Friday, October 7, 2022

I'm Glad I Did Not Encounter Clyde Inside the Store

My errand day came early this week, because I wanted to get The Pony's house payment in our credit union account. He's persnickety about that. Doesn't like his check cooling its heels in my purse for a few days. Wants it to clear his bank. 
 
Okay. I picked up the check on Sunday, but didn't deposit it until Wednesday. I have an excuse! The credit union is always in a frenzy when it's time to compile and mail quarterly statements. I figured I'd give them time, since the 1st fell on a Saturday, to get their accounts in order before I popped in to trouble them with my deposit. I'm selfless like that.

Anyhoo... my errands took me to Sis-Town on Wednesday rather than Thursday. And look what I observed at the Sis-Town Casey's:

 
I don't know what it was. I forgot to ask Hick, who would have spouted out the make and model and some interesting (to him) trivia about what made it unique from the model year before and after.

To me, it looks like a Bonnie and Clyde car. My apologies to Bonnie, whom I did not notice sitting inside when I took the picture. She had her windshield open, too! The better to rain a hail of bullets upon my presumptuous rumpus, perhaps.

I guess Clyde had business inside. Though I did not notice anybody wearing a 3-piece suit.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Lesser of Pony Work Hazards

The Pony sent me a couple pictures on Wednesday, while on his route. One was a hole in the ground. Not very exciting, unless it's silently waiting to slurp up a foot and break a leg.
 
 
This hole looks like it had evil intent.

Also, another photo from the route:

 
"Dive bombed by a caterpillar. Just walking under a tree, and then PLOP."
 
That might be a caterpillar. It looks very close to an inchworm to me:
 
 
So dainty and neon and smooth. You know what they say about an inchworm that crawls on you. It's measuring you for new clothes. Like the ones The Pony got last week:

 
"My uniform stuff came in. Got some new pants that are gonna need hemmed."

The Pony didn't mis-order. ALL the pants come that way. You can't select a length.

The Pony might be a regular now, with a 40-hour-week. But something tells me that inchworm could be working overtime.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Hick's Ever-Expanding Product Line

Hick is still investing in his inventory, even though he will be closing up shop at his Storage Unit Store on or before October 30. Never fear! He will have fresh merchandise when he opens the SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) down in Bill-Paying Town at a different flea market. Of course he would have liked to keep the old location, but that's impossible with the owner shutting down the entire flea market. Hick says 40 renters have left. Raising the price of a unit from $95 a month to $135 is not helping matters!

Anyhoo... a guy Hick knows came by his Storage Unit Store last week, and said he had some stuff to sell. Hick went to check it out, and spent $500 on the items below, plus others unseen:

 
Looks like it's mostly collectible stuff. Hick says he can get $1000 out of it, not including the items he wants to keep for himself. No pictures of that. According to Hick, it involves 2 Budweiser light sconces, which he called SCONCHES, but I speak Hick, so I knew what he meant. Also a Lone Star Beer clock, a wooden fire truck, and a candlestick telephone.

I had to ask Hick what in the Not-Heaven a candlestick telephone is. He said, "You know. One of them tall black phones that you take the receiver off of to talk into." Which to a layman might not make much sense. But speaking Hick, I think he means an old black telephone that is tall and thin, with a cone-shaped thingy you take loose and put to your ear to hear. I think you talk into the column part, not that little cone part. It's probably something they use on the Andy Griffith Show.

Anyhoo... Hick has not slowed down his quest for merchandise. He's waiting for the electric company to come hook up the SUS2 to the power line. Says it's all ready to move stuff into. Neighbors, beware!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

I Fear That Hick May Be Wearing Out His Welcome Before He Even Moves In

Hick went down to the SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) on Sunday afternoon. He came home complaining. That's what he gets for going down there before his shop is officially established!

"There's gonna be some changes when I get down there. The lady in the unit next to me has her stuff set up all over! Between the units, and in front of mine! That's not gonna happen. AND the guy across the way is parking over on my side!"

"Why wouldn't they? Nobody is set up and selling in your unit. That's empty space. You'd do the same thing if you had that option. They don't know who you are. Your unit isn't open. So they're taking advantage of the extra space. I'm sure when you show up and start selling, they won't do that. They'll probably be mad because they're losing the space. But they have to know you're entitled to half the space between the units, and the area in front of yours."

"They'd better! Or we're gonna have problems!"

"You can't go in there bossing them around. Just say, 'Hey guys, I'm opening up, and I need to use my space.' I'm sure they'll be reasonable."

"They better be. Everybody up at my unit now likes me being there, because I bring in so much traffic. The guys come to buy my stuff, but their wives walk all around, buying other people's stuff."

"I'm sure they'll all learn to love you. IF you don't start out by bossing them around."

I might need to add that Hick should ignore any bicycles he sees leaned up against a unit!

Monday, October 3, 2022

A Not-Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Pony's House

Sunday being the second day of the month, and a day off for The Pony, who is now a REGULAR City Carrier... I headed over to Pony House to pick up his house payment! I was supposed to get there at 3:00, but I was running a little late because I got sidetracked at the Gas Station Chicken Store. It was virtually deserted on this bright fall day, save for one other customer.

Cussy, as I will call her, was an old lady about my age. She had a helmet of short gray hair, and large round dark sunglasses. She was a perfectly nice old lady, in jeans and tennis shoes, with a gruff voice. She carried three cans of Coke to the counter, and said she wanted to also get some scratchers. She paid CASH!

Anyhoo... my favorite clerk was telling her: "Yeah. I've never seen that message come up on the screen. Here it is." She handed back a ticket, but I was behind Cussy, and couldn't see what kind it was.

"That's why I didn't want you to cash it out. Only scan it for me."

"Well. They made sure I COULDN'T! 'DO NOT CASH. RETURN TICKET TO CUSTOMER.' I couldn't miss that!"

There was some more back and forth talk. Cussy got her new tickets. And mentioned that the ticket in question was a $1000 winner.

"Did you get that one here?"

"Yes. Yesterday."

Of course I inserted myself into the conversation. "That must be why I can't win! You're getting the winners!"

"It's one of the tickets you buy everyday, too!"

OUCH! That was a dagger through my heart! Turns out it was the purple $3 ticket I am so fond of. Cussy gathered up her stuff. She was a nice chatty gal, informing me that one time she won $5000, and Woman Owner filled out the paperwork for her to send in to the lottery office, and she had her check back in her mailbox within 3 DAYS!

"I just can't bear the thought of going to the city to the lottery office to cash it in. It's so dangerous up there these days. I hope Woman Owner can fill the paperwork out again for me."

Once Cussy had left, after buying the three tickets I was there to get (!), I mentioned to Favorite Clerk: "Yesterday I bought TWO of that ticket!"

"I know! And you never do that."

"Yeah. I guess I set her up to win. Well. Good for her. I'm always happy for a winner. But I'm happier for a winner that didn't win on MY FAVORITE TICKETS!"

Oh, well. That win wasn't meant for me. I'll get another one. Eventually...

At least The Pony forked over his house payment check with no problems.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Hick Falls Backrumpuswards Into Another Bargain

Hick may not have any luck at the casino or buying scratchers, but he sure reaps unearned rewards with bargains that drop into his path. He sent me an email Friday afternoon, but it didn't come through until Saturday. 
 
"Did you get the picture I sent you?"
 
"No. What now?"
 
"I found a bicycle! It was leaning up against the lockers when I got there. So I took it. I'll take a free bicycle that nobody wants!"
 
 
I guess Hick just threw it into the back of SilverRedO. That picture is from where he parks beside our garage. I hope there's no homeless person wandering around on foot, looking for his mode of transportation. Although a homeless person shouldn't have access to the keypad to get through the gates of the storage units. Nobody complained of missing a bicycle on Saturday, when Hick spent the morning at his Storage Unit Store. I guess it just got left there by the Spare Bicycle Fairy.

Hick says he can get $25 or $30 for the bicycle. Not sure where it is now. You'd think if he was selling it at his Storage Unit Store, he would have left it up there, and not driven it home in SilverRedO. Maybe it's destined for the SUS2, when Hick gets his business underway there at the end of the month. Not sure there's a call for bicycles in November, but maybe it could be a Christmas gift.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

The COINS Are Back in Town, the COINS Are Back in Town!

I wonder if they were askin' if I was around, how I'd been, where I could be found. I hope someone told them I was livin' out of town, drivin' an old man crazy! 

Somebody must have spilled the beans on my whereabouts. It has been a very good week for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune.
 
TUESDAY, September 27, stopped by the Sis-Town Casey's for scratchers. My favorite parking space was open. Barely. The three spaces to the right of it were taken by a sideways-parked panel truck, its metal rumpus backed up beside my space. As I tried to catch the eye of the two guys wheeling out a dolly, a truck parked in the handicap spot across the striped walkway from me on the right backed out. SO... I moved over to the handicap space, to allow the dolly guys access to the ramp in the striped walkway, without going around T-Hoe's rear to get to their panel truck. I'm selfless like that.

 
When I came out after my transaction, my reward was silently screaming for me to claim it.

 
It was a heads-up 2013 Abe Lincoln, not at all handicapped.
_____________________________________________________________________

THURSDAY, September 29, I was back over in Sis-Town on my regular errand day. I went in the main Post Office (work-home of THE PONY) for two books of stamps. I reluctantly became the meat in a gossip-lady sandwich as we were in a line parallel to the counter, and a long-lost acquaintance came in and started jawing at the gal ahead of me. I didn't much like being in their spittle-zone as they boisterously recalled old times. 
 
A man, woman, and child were trying to get passports. They didn't have the little girl's height, so the man whipped out a metal tape measure and tried to stick it under her shoe sole. She was having none of it, and kept moving her foot. The clerk told them to move to the side, where the young man clerk I like had to take over. The next customer wanted a duplicate key to his P.O. box, and had to answer a lot of questions to prove that he was who he was, before being told they just don't hand out duplicate keys. After that, the line moved quickly. When I came out, a treat awaited:

 
No, not the old gum. The PENNY!

 
It was a heads-up 1969, kind of smoothed-out. But also out-of-focus. Darn phone.

From there I was off to the School-Turn Casey's for (you guessed it) scratchers! While waiting for them to be torn, I noticed what every Val out on the towns for errands likes to see:

 
It was a DIME! I was on it like Juno on little Jack's treats!
 
 
It was a face-down 2001 dime, all monochromatically dramatic in black and gray.

Errands done, I was headed back to Backroads to the Gas Station Chicken Store for my daily crossword scratcher. Just where I was meant to be, because when I opened T-Hoe's door to disembark, I saw that I was expected:

 
It's like somebody left that penny there on the concrete tire-bumper so I didn't have to wave my ample rumpus so high to pick it up!

 
It was a heads-up 2003 penny, caught between light and not-so-light. Into my pants pocket it went, and I entered the store to tease the checker that she had been waiting for me. YES, she said, she had!

"Are there coins on the floor? People keep telling me there are coins, but I haven't come out to pick them up. I told them, 'There's a lady who comes in here that collects them, and even takes pictures!'"

"Well, I don't see any now. But I JUST FOUND ONE outside where I parked. So I guess the ones inside were not meant for me, or they'd still be here."
______________________________________________________________________

FRIDAY, September 30, I was back in the Liquor Store. No mean feat, since the road in front of it was blocked off with orange-and-white-striped pointy things. I went around them. A lady in a black SUV was cutting through from the Country Mart side of the lot, and slammed on her brakes to let me cross. Nope. I motioned her on. 

"I'm really slow. You go on ahead."

"I don't really know where I'm going with all these detours!"

"Well, you can't go up the hill! But I guess you can turn around on the street beside Casey's."

In I went, and found my good-deed token on the filthy rug:


Don't be fooled by the rug-spots! There is a single penny above those three spots.

 
I promise! That's really a penny! My phone camera is not helping. It's a heads-up 1981.
_____________________________________________________________________

That's 5 COINS this week, for 14 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!
______________________________________________________

2022 RUNNING TOTAL

Penny          # 93, 94, 95, 96.
Dime            # 18.
Nickel          still at 6.
Quarter       still at 6.
 
2021 FINAL TOTALS

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6
_______________________________________________________

Friday, September 30, 2022

How Do You Keep Hick Busy?

Sell him 125 sheets of insulation! That will keep Hick plenty busy! 
 
He's been working on his new storage unit store, the SUS2, over in Bill-Paying Town. The weather has cooperated, with daytime temps in the upper 60s/low 70s. So Hick and Old Buddy Helper have been putting up insulation on the ceiling and walls. PAID FOR BY HICK, you know. So the catty complainers can't justify their bitterness.

 
They've got the ceiling done, and the lower walls. He might be leaving that pegboard for hanging his merchandise. I'm pretty sure this was taken from the front, looking toward the back. Because I don't see a door, and I can't imagine that Hick would have put in a window, only to cover most of it up.

 
Yes, that IS a large stack of insulation still left. Seems like 125 sheets IS a lot. But don't you worry about Hick. He will have a use for that leftover insulation...no reveal until it's official.

Hick has four more weeks to sell at his current Storage Unit Store. I think he'll have this one stocked when it's time to open up. Of course, that will be November. Traditionally not a booming business at flea markets. Just depends on the weather. At worst, he'll have his other project to keep him occupied until springtime at the SUS2.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

A Fine Kettle of Fish Laid Upon My Table

I really must pull Hick away from all of his side jobs, and get him to finish building my proposed handbasket factory. There's going to be a great need for handbaskets. I saw more evidence of society's decay on Sunday, when I stopped by Save A Lot.

What in the NOT-HEAVEN is this:

 
Looks like slot machines to me! Right there at the end of the dairy case! How is this allowed? Save A Lot is not a casino! It's not even floating, which I think is a condition of a casino in Missouri. It has to be on a body of water, or floating on pontoons in a man-made lagoon derived from a body of water. I don't care enough to look it up. I'm sure you have time to investigate on your own.

Anyhoo... what are these no-armed bandits doing in my grocery store? I mean, come on, we've now accepted that it's normal for grocery stores to give vaccines. But GAMBLING? I'm afraid to think of what might be next.

No, I did NOT try to play these games of chance. Silly readers! You know that Val could not perch her ample rumpus upon such a high stool!

Here's a closeup of the screen:

 
Somebody won $13.60. Or at least that's what they cashed out, I suppose. This does not seem legal. Or ethical. People who enter a casino KNOW what they're getting into. They know it's a place for gambling. Gambling. Not necessarily winning! They go in with the knowledge that they might lose money. People who enter a grocery store do NOT know that! Well. Other than the outrageous price of food these days. I sure hope nobody spends the food budget gambling on these contraptions.

There's gotta be a loophole, or something about these machines of which I am unaware. I'll keep you posted on what I find out. NO. I am NOT going to try them. I prefer my slots to be the real thing. In a casino.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

She Must Have an Iron-Clad Constitution

Never a dull moment in the Gas Station Chicken Store. While waiting in line Tuesday, the reason for my wait exhibited questionable hygienic behavior.

I was perturbed at first because she was WRITING A CHECK for lottery. Both scratchers and draw tickets. Her total came to $20. Not that it's a lot, but I wish people would just fork over the cash and be done with it! It's bad enough when they use their debit cards (credit cards are not allowed for lottery purchases). But a CHECK! Even slower.

She didn't start writing until it was all rung up, of course. Pulled out her checkbook and thumbed through for the right place. Didn't have a pen. So she used the one on the counter. The pen with a white plastic spoon taped to the other end, for scratching off the bar code on tickets submitted by amateurs!

Anyhoo... as I watched, ready for her to be done so I could move up in line, that old gal LICKED HER FINGER to tear out the check! That's right. LICKED HER FINGER after using the community pen, then tore out her check, picked up the pen again to write the amount in her checkbook register, then PUT THE PEN BACK IN THE HOLDER.

And... the cashier is the little gal who always wears a mask. 

That place is just a little Petri dish and we're all Gas Station Chicken future sicks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Mean Girls Are Already After Hick

By "mean girls," I mean the old men at the new storage unit flea market.

Hick was talking to one of his cronies who also got a storage unit down at the new place.

"He said them guys was talkin', and one of them was really mad. 
 
 'Just look at this new guy comin' in here. They've got him a locker up front, and they're payin' to put a storefront on it, and insulate it, and they're givin' him electricity!' 
 
My buddy told him, 
 
 'Wait a minute. They ain't payin' NOTHIN'! He did all that work himself, and he's the one payin' for it.' 
 
Then they didn't say nothin' back about that. I knew it was gonna happen. There's always somebody like that who's jealous of what you got, but don't wanna do nothin' for hisself."

Yeah. I think Hick will be okay. He's not a doormat.

Here's the latest picture from his new storage unit store, to be called the SUS2 
(Storage Unit Store 2).

 
Hick has the front wall done, but hasn't yet painted or doorknobbed his portal! Here's what it looked like a week earlier:

 
Hick only has a couple hours a week to go work on it, what with selling at his current Storage Unit Store, and working on Back-Creek Neighbor Bev's house in the middle-er of nowhere. Plus he had to drive to the city to get a bargain on insulation panels for his ceiling. Ended up paying $125 for 125 sheets. Didn't have to buy the whole 300-piece lot that was advertised.

Hick has moved in some of his storage racks, but I don't know about any merchandise. He and Old Buddy Helper tried to put in some of the insulation, but it was 99 degrees that day, so they gave up. Not sure of his electrical progress, because I don't know if he found the electric box he wanted.

It's coming along. Thus the feeding frenzy over his facility!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Confide in The (Jaded) Pony, Let the Spinning Wheels Spin

If you sit long enough at the stoplight in Backroads, the whole world will eventually pass you by. Here's a scene I captured on Saturday. Yes, of course I notified The Pony.
 
 
"Somebody's gonna lose a tailpipe!"

"Pfft. It's not even rattling on the ground."

"You're the expert! I'm going by NORMAL cars."

So... The Pony didn't seem overly concerned. Not concerned AT ALL. That LLV (Long Life Vehicle) took off like a rocket. Made a left turn, then hit the southbound ramp towards Sis-Town.

I guess it's one of the "CADILLACS" of the LLV fleet, with only a dangling section of the exhaust system ready to drop.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

At Least the Lunch Was a Win-Win-Win

We should have walked right through the casino to the grill! It's the only thing that gave us something for the money we put in!

I thought The Pony might try a new item on the menu, the Toasted Ravioli. He gave it a brief thought. Contemplated the Fried Dill Pickle Chips. Then settled on the Fried Chicken Sandwich. He asked that the pickles be left off, but took the sauce that was spicy, though its name escapes me. Maybe something cajun. He also took the side of fries, as usual.

 
I didn't get a good angle on the picture, but once The Pony bit into it, that chicken looked delicious! It was a hefty slab of white meat, juice visible, not at all dried-out. The Pony strapped on the ol' feedbag and devoured it!

I had my new favorite, the BBQ Pork Loin Sandwich. It comes on toast, regular bread, not the gigantic Texas Toast. Mmm... I had been thinking about it since we made plans to go to the casino.

 
OH MY GOSH! I want another one already, just looking at it! I avoided the tater tots in favor of the fries. They're pretty good. Though please notice my portion, and that most of them are the pointed edge fries, not the long center-cut square fries. It's the little things, people!

Hick ordered the Chicken Tenders, with honey mustard sauce, and Onion Rings. I thought that was a mistake, because The Pony has gotten them in the past, and they're just like Dairy Queen chicken tenders. Lucky for Hick, this was a new version.
 
 
They look a little overdone in the picture, but Hick said they were good, and ate every bit of them, no offers for tasting. Unfortunately for Hick, his Chicken Tenders came with a side of FRIES! So he had to tell the lady that he had ordered ONION RINGS. She sheepishly agreed, that they had discussed the availability of onion rings, and Hick had ordered them. So she said she'd go have them make an order.

Funny how no matter what Hick orders, he always gets TWICE as many fries with it as The Pony and I receive! Even when he doesn't even order fries!!!

 
Look at that! A full boat-load, when The Pony and I only got half our cardboard bowl full. AND Hick got the good long fries. He set them in the middle of the table to share. I ate more of his than mine. None of us finished our servings.

Heh, heh! When Hick's Onion Rings came out, he was gettin' no love from the kitchen! I've never seen him get that few onion rings before! They acted like he was running a scam to get fries AND onion rings, I guess. 

 
They're usually fatter, too! But Hick was satisfied once he finally got them.

Oh, and check out THIS new item: the GIANT KETCHUP BOTTLE on all the tables!

 
The ketchup is bigger than the soda cups! Not that I'm complaining. It's a bit awkward lifting that bottle when full. Almost takes two hands!

Yes, Hick ordered his usual slice of cheesecake. I can't give you a review, because it came while I was in the bathroom, and Hick was licking the last morsel off his fork when I returned to the table! Of course The Pony had Hick's back when I chastised him for not letting me get a picture.

"To be fair, Mom, your people have seen Dad's cheesecake before..."

Yeah. I guess you have. But you missed out on the pleasure of ending (or beginning, as with Hick) your virtual meal with a sweet treat!

Lunch is never a loser at this casino.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

A CENTSless Exercise in Futility

The landscape was bare this week, my friends. BARE! Bare as a baby's rumpus on a bearskin rug in 100-year-old photos.
 
Not a single penny put itself in my path. My Future Pennyillionaire Fortune had to tighten the virtual belt on its ice cream sundae goblet.
 
Still, I present the stagnant stats:
_____________________________________________________________________

That's 0 COINS this week, for 0 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!
______________________________________________________

2022 RUNNING TOTAL

Penny          still at 92.
Dime            still at 17.
Nickel          still at 6.
Quarter       still at 6.
 
2021 FINAL TOTALS

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6
_______________________________________________________
 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Sweaving Ms Daze-y

Thursday was our casino trip with The Pony. Don't ask! Nobody left a winner. Hick was probably the smallest loser, by way of spending less than The Pony and I. The Pony lost his shirt, and I lost my shirt and pants and socks! Good thing I didn't take my whole wardrobe with me!
 
Anyhoo... on Sunday I'll show you our lunch pictures, which was the high point of the trip. Today we shall be concerned with the trip itself, and Hick's logic. Hey! Stop laughing! Hick DOES have logic. Just a different form than most people in the world.
 
You may recall that Hick's method of driving is best described as SWEAVING. It's a combination of swerving and weaving. He'll drift towards the center line, or those wake-up bumps signifying the shoulder, and then yank A-Cad back.
 
I was chatting with The Pony most of the way, and only dared complain when were were about to veer under the belly of a semi truck like the Griswald family getting their tree in Christmas Vacation. As Hick's excursions go, this one felt fairly safe. UNTIL THE LAST 30 MILES HOME.

We were off the interstate, and back on a curvy, hilly, two-lane blacktop lettered highway. Hick had finished eating his giant 3 Musketeer candy bar, and had taken a break from tossing his head back to swill Diet Mountain Dew. He put the pedal to the metal. So obvious was the transition that I thought:

"This is like being on one of those rocket sleds NASA used to see how much G-force the astronauts could take!"

Okay. I actually said it out loud. Hick was in the middle of snorting and saying, "No. No it's not," when THUNK! A bird crashed into the windshield!

"Mom. Was that just a bird?"

"Yeah. I bet he's not flying anymore. I thought it was coming through the windshield to kill me! Dad is going so fast that even a bird couldn't get out of the way!"

"Oh, malarky! He was probably coming in for a landing."

Just then, Hick topped a curvy hill, and almost sideswiped a small red sedan. I gasped and threw myself against the passenger door.

"What are you doing?"

"You almost sideswiped that car! You were riding the center line, and he was riding the center line, and I thought I was going to die! You have to stay on your side when you're going over a hill!"

"I don't know why you're so jumpy."

"You just knocked a BIRD out of the sky! I'm still in a daze. Who can blame me for being jumpy!"

"I wish you would try shutting your left eye and try to drive!"

"I wish YOU would try shutting your... mm... hahaha, your mm... hahaha, your mm..." 

I was laughing so hard I couldn't talk. I could form my lips to say the word MOUTH, but I couldn't make any sound. It was one of those hysterical laughing fits. The Pony was watching me from the back seat, shaking with laughter, unable to help me, though I'm pretty sure he knew what word I was trying to say. I finally got it out, with much gasping and wheezing. I reached up to smooth down some tendrils of hair that had fallen onto my forehead (the party-in-the-back of my Lovely Lady Mullet is migrating to the front), and RIGHT THEN, a brown leaf blew against the windshield in front of my face, and skipped off.

"Mom. Did you think that leaf was coming through the windshield?"

"No. I just happened to be fixing my hair. And trying to figure out what Dad is wishing for! Let me get this right... You want me to CLOSE MY LEFT EYE, and drive like you, so I can endanger our lives the same way YOU do??? What kind of wish is THAT?"

Never a dull (or safe) moment when you ride shotgun with Hick.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Breaker, Breaker, Some Why-in'

I haven't been descending the 13 rail-less basement steps to my lair since I returned from my Unfortunate HospitVALzation. At first it was due to lack of breath, while recovering from my pneumonia. Then it was because my knees don't like the return journey. Going down isn't too bad.

Anyhoo... Wednesday night, I wanted to watch a couple TV shows during the time Hick watches Dr. Pimple Popper. He was kind enough to volunteer to hike down those steps and sit in my warm vibrating OPC (Old People Chair). My shows started at 7:00. Imagine my surprise when I walked to the living room and saw Hick in his recliner.

"Hey! You said you'd go downstairs and watch."

"I know. I went down at 6:30, but the TV says NO SIGNAL. So I came back up. This one's working."

"Wait. What do you mean NO SIGNAL? The weather is fine."

"It's supposed to get bad later."

"It's fine now! Look outside. Just an occasional lightning flash."

"Well, the screen is black, and down in the corner it says NO SIGNAL."

"That's not from weather. WHAT DID YOU DO TO IT???"

"Nothing. I just turned it on. Then it said NO SIGNAL."

"Did you get a picture at all?"

"Yeah. When I turned it on. Some man was talking. Channel 29."

"We don't get Channel 29. We get 30 and 24. Nothing in between. Do you mean 129?"

"No. I'm pretty sure it was 29. Then it just went black. When I put it on 183 for my show."

"Did you give it time to come on?"

"Yeah. But it went black and said NO SIGNAL."

"How did you turn it on?"

"Just like up here. I hit the red button to turn on the TV, and then the other button here for the satellite."

"Wait. You need to hit BOTH red buttons! One is TV, one is satellite. You hit something else and got it in the wrong mode!"

"No I didn't. I hit the red buttons."

"That is NOT what you just said and showed me on this remote! I know what you've done. It will take another remote to fix it."

"I'll just sit up here and watch my show at 8:00."

"Nooo.... mine go until 10:00. I'll go down and see if I can fix it."

"You don't have to do that. Pony can fix it tomorrow when he comes out."

"That won't help you watch your show."

"No. Don't. You'll hurt your knees. That's why you didn't want to go down and watch."

"I can't stand knowing that you BROKE THE TV! You can't do ANYTHING by yourself!"

"It's fine. I don't have to watch."

"I'm going down there, as soon as a commercial comes on. I have to put it back on HDMI 1. That's what you've done. It's in the wrong mode. And it takes one of those other remotes."

"I'll go back and check."

"DON'T touch another remote! Then I won't be able to figure out what you've done."

"I'll just look at this remote again."

I heard Hick turn the TV on and off about five times. It made that little BING sound as it came on. But I never heard a show. He finally came back up.

"I can't get it to work. Just black screen and NO SIGNAL."

"I'm going down. DO NOT touch this remote here, unless it's to MUTE if I holler at you. You do know where the MUTE button is, don't you? Don't touch anything else!"

"I know how to mute, Val."

Anyhoo... I went down those steps. Slowly. Sat down in my OPC. Turned on both red buttons. Got a black screen with NO SIGNAL. Picked out the TV remote. Found the MODE button. Pushed it once. That brought up a column of settings. It was on the top one, marked TV. I pushed the down arrow to HDMI 1. VOILA! The screen came to life with picture and sound. I put it on Channel 183 for Dr. Pimple Popper. Hollered at Hick. And he came down to watch.

I hoisted my ample rumpus back up those 13 rail-less stairs. Might as well have gone down there myself to watch, since I had to go down and up the steps anyway!

Halfway up, I made sure to tell Hick: "YOU'RE WELCOME!"
 
I don't know why a man who worked on million-dollar machines and wired a factory from scratch can't turn on a TV without breaking it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The One That SHOULD Have Got Away

Fresh off our Pony-job celebratory meal last Thursday, Hick and I were open to eating some fish. Some family non-business took Hick over to Bill-Paying Town last evening. So of our fast-food choices, Captain D's was in the forefront.

Well. It has certainly changed since I last ate their food way back before my Unfortunate HospitVALzation. Hick got us both a fish dinner. And two orders of breadsticks, which each include 2 sticks at this venue, though the one in another town gives 4.

Anyhoo... the fish is now in rectangular pieces, looking like pressed fish. And it tastes FISHY! Never used to. It used to be nice and flaky. Don't get me started on the breadsticks! Instead of 2, my order was 1.75. At least the taste of the breadsticks was the same.

 
I posed one of my fish next to my 1.75 breadsticks. It was still crispy. The batter itself had not changed. Unless possibly to include half a dump truck of SALT! It was almost inedible, but you can bet I ate every crumb. 

I felt like I had eaten free salsa in a retail shop where a hipster doofus had "accidentally" dumped a packet of desiccant. [2:23 minutes of Kramer as H.E. Pennypacker]

Oh, and I told Hick to ask for "lots of tartar sauce." This is what was put in his bag:

 
ONE container. It looks big there, but it's smaller than the base of my red Solo cup in the background. Just the size of a ramekin. Chivalrous Hick went without, and allowed me to have ALL of that tartar sauce! You'd think somebody doesn't quite grasp the concept of "A LOT," or else it was just the window person being passive-aggressive.

Anyhoo... this meal from Captain D's doesn't deserve to be called a Fish Dinner. I suppose we've been spoiled by our last-week feast. Or we expect too much of fast-food workers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Hick's as Excited as a Hoarder in a Junk Store

Hick is excited. I know that, because those are the exact words that came out of his mouth: "I'm excited about this."
 
He is making plans to trick out his new Storage Unit Store. I guess maybe it shall be called The SUS2. He went to check out the flea market surrounding it on Sunday afternoon. Hick's plan is to put in electric, set up his surveillance cameras, blow in insulation so the metal roof won't drip condensation on his merchandise, and get a storefront ready.
 
Poor Hick. The owner approved his request to put in electric, but he can't find the right box thingy he needs. Everyplace is out, with none expected for three months. So he's going to look nearer the city, or try to get one online. Also, he found out that blowing in insulation would cost around $1500. So he decided to go with the sheets of insulation. 
 
A lady at another unit told him, "Oh! I wish I would have known. I just took down the insulation from my ceiling. I thought about holding onto it to sell, but figured it would take up room while I was waiting, and I just threw it away this week." Bummer. It would have fit Hick's roof exactly, since it came out of the same kind of roof.
 
However... Old Buddy found that kind of insulation online. It will require a drive to the city, but it's 300 sheets for $300. Hick is hooking up the trailer to go get it. Not sure how many trips that might require. He has measurements and knows how high a stack is, and how he can lay some sideways. 
 
Hick can't work on Back Creek Neighbor Bev's new old house this week, because she's sick. So he and Old Buddy came out here and worked on Hick's storefront over at the BARn.

 
Looks like Hick is building a Chinese Nesting Unit! You pull up the garage door, and there's another door! This is just the beginning stage. The framed-out front wall. I suggested that it might have been easier to move all his stuff INTO the unit before building a wall and fitting it through a smaller door. But Hick declared that the HAD TO get that wall up first, so everything will fit right. Whatever. I'm not a carpenter. 

We all know that Hick is happiest when he has at least one project underway.

Monday, September 19, 2022

The One That Got Away

Can you believe that Val FORGOT TO SNAP A PICTURE OF HER FEAST before eating it??? What in the Not-Heaven is wrong with me? On our special night out (okay, 3:53 p.m culinary expedition) to celebrate The Pony's "promotion," I let a fantastic photo op get away from me. I blame gluttony.
 
We went to a local catfish house. Haven't been there in a few years. Last time it was lacking, compared to previous visits. Then we didn't feel like strapping on the old feedbag over our mandated masks. But a visit to this place has been simmering on the back burner, just waiting for a special occasion.

We chose the all-you-can-eat option. Seriously. Did you really think we'd just order a dinner? There are three meats to choose from, and we chose them all: catfish, shrimp, chicken. We were also allowed three sides. Those were SLAW (my choice), baked beans (Hick), and potato wedges (The Pony). The dishes are served family style. You can ask for more if you run out of something. The catch is... you can only take home the leftovers in a box if you DON'T ask for more. Otherwise, they charge you to take your leftovers, which THEORETICALLY (and probably legally) they can't re-serve anyway. But I guess it cuts down on grifters who pay $16.99 for all-you-can-eat, and then want to take home what they can't eat.

Anyhoo... when that platter arrived, it was a thing of beauty! Potato wedges, hush puppies, catfish, shrimp, and chicken piled high. Leaned inward like outer logs on a just-built campfire. All our mouths were gaping. I'm pretty sure a gasp escaped my pie-hole.

Sadly, by the time I remembered to take a picture, this is all that was left:

 
Yes, I AM embarrassed that our feeding frenzy robbed you of your rightful vicarious feast. All that's left on the platter are potato wedges and hush puppies. There's a bowl of fish that we got extra. Don't worry, we polished them off. Nothing left behind except one hush puppy, and a couple potato wedges. I didn't have room to eat a hush puppy. They used to provide ramekins of honey butter, but not any more. The Pony loved slathering that on his hush puppies.

Here is my plate at the time I remembered to take pictures:

 
I didn't eat MORE than Hick and The Pony. I just ate slower. There's a piece of catfish I broke in half. Potato wedges. And CHICKEN! I love the chicken. It's my favorite. It might look burned, but it wasn't. Just right. So moist inside. Boneless white meat chicken. I made the mistake of honestly answering The Pony's question about its boniness. HE HAD A PIECE! "All this time, I thought there were bones in the chicken!" Oh, well. That cat is out of the bag. I still had TWO pieces of chicken for myself. There's the sweet and sour sauce for the chicken on the right. You have to ask for it special, because they keep it in the fridge, not on the table. Also, there's about my third serving of SLAW, and some tartar sauce, and some ketchup.

Here's a picture of Hick's belly, the baked beans and slaw, our icy jars of water (The Pony had Sprite), and the fish bowl, cocktail sauce for shrimp, and tartar sauce bowl:

 
Oh my gosh! I'm full all over again, just looking at the aftermath! I devoted myself to the chicken and fish. Hick had the fish and shrimp. And The Pony had shrimp, fish, and chicken. Plus most of the hush puppies, because Hick and I can't be bothered with that filler! If only I could have brought home the rest of that slaw. It's my favorite, a close tie with Captain D's slaw. I'm pretty sure that dumping the bowl into a baggy in my purse would have been frowned upon.

Dang it! I truly regret forgetting the picture of that towering platter of fried goodness. We may have to go back, just so I can capture the meal in pictures for you. I'm selfless like that.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

It's Official!

On Saturday, The Pony will join the ranks of the regulars. He will officially become a City Carrier for the USPS. 
 
He has not yet received his official official letter, but he has been informed. Sadly, he lost a portion of the 3 days of leave he had accumulated as a City Carrier Assistant since his 1-year anniversary in April, because there was no way to fit them into the schedule on short notice. Ain't THAT a fine how-do-you-do for being frugal with his benefits, and even working with his steak-oil-burned hand peeling like a molting reptile! 

Anyhoo... The Pony is not complaining. He received his handbook of benefits, and is shopping for different health insurance, and contemplating 401k contributions.

 
We already took him out for a celebratory meal, and a casino trip is planned for an upcoming day off. Congrats, my little Pony, on a lifelong career opportunity, with job security and benefits. Such a thing is rare as hens' teeth these days.

Tomorrow, a few pictures of the aftermath of our meal...

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Future Pennyillionaire Fortunes from Little A-COINS Grow

It had to happen sometime. Val can't harvest a hefty coin crop every week! Only A SINGLE COIN was waiting for Val this week, and at the very last moment.
 
FRIDAY, September 16, I sighed with relief upon spying my first and only penny!
 
 
It was at the Gas Station Chicken Store, in front of T-Hoe's tire, as I started to walk inside.

 
This was a heads-up 1984 penny, with some greenish discoloration on Abe's suit.
_____________________________________________________________________

That's 1 COIN this week, for 1 CENT towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!
______________________________________________________

2022 RUNNING TOTAL

Penny          # 92.
Dime            still at 17.
Nickel          still at 6.
Quarter       still at 6.
 
2021 FINAL TOTALS

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6
_______________________________________________________

Friday, September 16, 2022

While I Don't Find His Plight Funny, I Can't Help But Laugh

Thursday evening, Hick and I took The Pony out to dinner. Yes. We ate at 4:00. We're OLD FOLKS! More on this dinner at a later date. Heh, heh, as if I would do it at an earlier date!

Anyhoo... we were back on the highway, taking The Pony home, shortly after 5:00. Around here, that's when most workdays end. Hick veered A-Cad onto the off ramp, putting us in a line of 3-4 cars waiting at the light. I was distracted, turned back talking to The Pony, who was fishing out money to give me for buying him some scratchers as we stopped by the Sis-Town Casey's on the way to his house.

I had noticed a guy in a bright green t-shirt and orange safety vest with the gray reflector strips, standing at the top of the off-ramp. 

"Here's a guy beggin'."

"Oh. I thought he was a worker. That's what the guys working on our bridge were wearing."

"Well, he's got a cardboard sign, and he's walking along the cars..."

I was busy grasping The Pony's bills over my shoulder, counting them and folding them to put in my shirt pocket.

"He thinks you're giving him a donation. He's looking at you."

"WHAT? I was getting Pony's money! We were doing it all the way up the ramp."

I looked at Beggar. [He looked like that character Chuck, who works with Mike at the quarry in the TV series "The Middle." I really like that character. This guy... not so much.] I couldn't tell what his raggedy brown cardboard sign said, but I saw his face. He was LEERING at me! Like, "Oh, yeah, girl. You got me covered, babe." He had a smirk, and gave me a little head nod. And started walking back towards A-Cad!

The light turned, and Hick hit the gas. We sped by Beggar. I couldn't look.

"HA HA HA HA HA! I can't help it! I WANT to feel bad for him. But I can't!"

"Well, he WAS begging, and you WERE counting that money right in his face. No wonder he thought he was getting it."

"It had nothing to do with him! We were getting the money as we got off the highway. He shouldn't have been looking in our car!"

"I don't like how they beg at the lights. These days, anybody can get a job if they want to work. It might not be what they think they deserve, but they could have a job instead of begging."

"Sorry! I just can't stop laughing. HEH, HEH! The only way that could have been crueler is if we fanned out those bills and waved them in his face as we sped by! I really WANT to feel bad. I just can't!"

Really. That Beggar shouldn't have been looking in our window. I made no premise of proffering him that money. I counted and folded. Hick took off as I was shoving it in my pocket.

Too bad, so sad. But kind of funny...