Thursday, March 31, 2022

Not That I Wasn't a Believer Before...

More shenanigans from our unseen trickster here at Thevictorian mansion!

Thursday morning, I decided to go to town early (for ME) before the main part of the rainstorm moved in between noon and 3:00. I usually don't get going until 2:00. 

The Pony had just left for work at 9:00, due in at 9:30. Poor Pony, it was too warm for his waterproof jacket, and also for his official USPS windbreaker. But he planned to wear the windbreaker anyway. Just the official cap to protect his head. I think he needs one of those safari kind of hats.

Anyhoo... we're not here to talk about The Pony getting soaked delivering the mail. We're here to assess the latest unexplained phenomenon in this house.

I decided to put off my shower until later, so I could get to town faster. I was in the master bathroom, standing at the sink, picking up the pick I used to unthread the tangles in the limp stringy mane that comprises my lovely lady-mullet.


What in the NOT-HEAVEN could that be? It was kind of behind me, kind of to my left. The area beside the vanity. I turned to see what might be out of place. Nothing really noticeable. Wait a minute! There was a tube of BenGay wedged between the wall and a jug of distilled water Hick uses to clean his breather. 

I know Hick does not store his BenGay between the wall and his distilled water jug. He's a hoarder, and shoves "collectibles" in every cranny in his BARn and Freight Container Garage, but not items that might be used a couple times a year.

There's a small shelf on the wall between the vanity and the big triangle tub. It holds some of Hick's prescription medication bottles. No room for that BenGay tube. It's too tall to stand on end there, and besides, no bottles were out of place. AND that BenGay tube would have needed to fall off the shelf, and hurl itself backward to land against the wall.

Further investigation showed a clean space in some dust that was on the corner of the tub. An oblong clean space. That BenGay tube had been laying there, and had flipped or flung itself over the side, across about six inches of space, to lodge on the distilled water jug.

Obviously, our entity had been expecting The Pony. Not me...

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Hick, the Master Scratcher

Hick is full of surprises. Yes, he's also full of other stuff, but today we'll just talk about the surprise part. I called him this morning to clarify some itemized Pony House purchases that he wishes to be reimbursed for. Right before I ended the call, Hick blurted out:

"Oh, I bought some lottery tickets for you."

"What do you mean you bought them for me?"

"I was in Casey's this morning, and the gal was trying to get rid of some of the dollar tickets. So I bought 30 of them."

"What kind were they? I don't play the dollar tickets. I don't win on them. Pony does. Unless they were the 7-11-21 game, I don't want any. The Pony likes those."

"Okay. I'm going to my dentist appointment now."

Well. It wasn't 15 minutes later until I got a text from Hick:

"They are the 7-11-21."

"Okay. I might buy a few."

Another 20 minutes, another text:

"I scratched 5 tickets won $30.00 and two tickets"

"Now I don't want to buy any."

It would be foolish to think there would be any more good winners in that string of 30 consecutive tickets. Not interested in throwing away my money.
When Hick came home, he handed a strip of tickets to The Pony, who was sitting at the cutting block after eating supper.

"What are these for?"

"I bought 30 of them. I scratched five, and won $30 on the first one, and two tickets. You can scratch the rest for me."

"What do I get for my cut for scratching?"


The Pony scratched them anyway, while hearing my story of Hick's offer to sell me some.

"You were smart, Mom, not to buy any. He won $2 and four tickets in all the rest."

"Well, that's pretty good. I spent $30, and won back $38."

"Or you could have just bought ONE, and won $30."

Hick is generally not that lucky. He'd better be careful on our upcoming CasinoPalooza.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

"Keep Your Hands Off My Mom's Package!"

Can you believe The Pony refused to post a note like that in the mail room? What kind of kid won't do that for his loving mother, who has fed him and housed him and pampered his broken ankle since he graduated from college at the height of the pandemic???

Let's back up a minute. So I can explain how my package became up for grabs, to be manhandled and pawed by grubby hands all willy-nilly after hours and at prime peak sorting hours.

I ordered a yellow ink cartridge for a dinosaur of a printer that Genius gifted us with when he moved out of his college house to take a job with Garmin and live in a fancy apartment in Kansas City. That printer worked fine as my second printer, sitting on a workshop bench on the other side of the wall from my dark basement lair. 
Then my HP printer at my right elbow quit printing. It still copes and scans, but won't accept a print job. So all my printing needs were done by the behemoth in Hick's workshop. Even though 99.9 percent of my printing is black and white, the yellow cartridge ran out, and now this gargantuan electronical beast won't print anything, even in grayscale. 

Anyhoo... those dang cartridges cost $300! But I found a re-somethinged one for $49. Two day shipping from Amazon! Of course The Pony asked if it was coming by FedEx or UPS or the USPS. When I got the email that it had shipped, I saw that it was by USPS. They deliver on Sundays, you know. They call it "Amazon Day."

It was supposed to be here by 9:00 p.m. Sunday, but The Pony said almost everybody was done by 3:00 on Sundays, now that the holidays were over. He said their scanner automatically sends a notice when the package is delivered, and that I'd get an email telling me.

I got a text. At 11:21 a.m. From The Pony:

"Your package was too big for the parcel locker. They're scanning it and bringing it back to the post office and I'll pick it up there when I'm off."

The rural carrier, not a close acquaintance of The Pony, had noticed the last name on the label, and offered to bring it back to the office and put it where The Pony could find it and bring it home.
Another Pony text came in at 1:44 p.m.

"Wasn't there yet. I'm going to Steak N Shake. I'll check back where they said it would be on the way home."

And another Pony text at 3:15 p.m.

"Doesn't look like she's back with it yet. Using the bathroom, gas, and then home. I'll get it from them tomorrow."

Which is what led to me asking The Pony to text or call someone at the post office, to put up a sign declaring that my package was off limits! Supposedly it was getting set unceremoniously on the desk of a specific city route, for The Pony to grab. With it just sitting there, who knows WHAT fate might befall my package???

Of course The Pony didn't want to make waves. He wasn't even due in until 3:30 on Monday. But he got up and ready anyway, and was called in to start at 10:30. Of course when he arrived, my package was missing. Which I learned by text:

"Not at the manager's desk OR the spot they said."

Now I am packageless! The best I can hope for is that the person who runs that city route put it on the manager's desk, who then gave it to the person running our rural route on Monday. So it will be driven around all day, and then brought back to the post office because it won't fit in the parcel locker down by EmBee. But if that's the case, at least I should get a little orange card to come pick up my package at the main post office.

It sure doens't pay to have an insider at the post office. Or to have a package too big to fit in a parcel locker...

Monday, March 28, 2022

The Letter About Nothing

Way back on March 9, I finished our taxes, courtesy of TurboTax. I submitted them electronically that night. Got an email notification that both State and Federal had been accepted. All that was left was to wait for them to process, and rake in the refunds. Yes. Now that we're retired, and spend a fortune on health insurance, we get a refund. It's usually a smooth process. That refund money is direct-deposited within a month or less.
Last week, I got a letter from the Missouri Department of Revenue! That is never something you want to see in your mailbox. Or laid on your kitchen counter by Hick, the mail-retriever. The DOR is not sending love letters. 
I slashed that envelope with a letter-opener. Because I am civilized, unlike The Pony, who peels the flap open raggedly where it had been glued, or Hick, who tears the END off the envelope. Heathens!
Inside was a formal letter explaining that the MO DOR had adjusted our 2021 Missouri Individual Income Tax Return. To review the adjustments on Page 2, and the detailed explanation of adjustments on Page 3. And that a check for the adjusted refund amount had been issued, unless the refund amount was adjusted to less than $1.00.
TurboTax had said there were no issues. Who does the MO DOR think they are? It didn't help that Page 2 showed the same exact pension amounts I reported from the 1099-R forms, and that Page 3 was not a detailed explanation, but a page of the tax return showing the exact same amounts I'd reported. Oh, and Page 2 said: "Please send your federal return and Form(s) 1099-R."
Well, crap! 

I have two broken printers! How could I send a copy of my federal return without going to make copies of my federal return? I sure didn't want to be in tax trouble! Of course the letter arrived Friday afternoon. Friday evening before Hick brought it in the house. So I waited until Monday to call for clarification, and then until Tuesday, because Mondays are probably really busy.

Huh. I guess Tuesdays are really busy, too, because when I called, the recording said my wait would be 50-55 MINUTES! Of course I decided I wouldn't wait that long. Surely another time would be better. Or not... I held on the line. I did other computer things while waiting. Twice, I had to make a pit stop in the bathroom, taking my cell phone with me. You know those things listen to your every sound...

Anyhoo... after ONLY 45 minutes, I got a real person. She didn't know WHY the MO DOR would have sent me a letter. She looked it up. Still didn't know why.

"It's possible that was just sent out in error."

"Well, I need to know if I have to send in my 1099-R forms like it says. Is that required? Because it shows the exact same amount I reported, the exact same amount that is on the 1099-R forms. AND the refund amount is EXACTLY the same as the refund amount on my tax forms I submitted electronically. The only difference I see is on a couple line items, which have a different line number, but the same description of what I'm reporting, and the same amounts."

"I'd say you probably don't need to mail in those 1099-Rs. You can if you want. If it will make you feel better."

"No. I don't want to mail them. I just need to know if I'll be in any trouble if I don't."

"No. I don't know why you got that letter. It shows we made a direct deposit to your account on the 17th."
"WHAT? I haven't even been checking on that. So I already have my refund?"
"Yes. That's what it shows."

"Since it says my return has been ADJUSTED, does that mean I'll need to check anything about an AMENDED return when I do my taxes next year?"

"No. It was only an adjustment. Nothing was amended."

"Okay. That's all I need to know. Thank you."

So the horse's mouth says it doesn't know why I got that letter. Apparently, it did not hold up my refund. No wonder the phone waits are so long. The MO DOR is busy sending out unnecessary letters that have no bearing on the status of the tax returns.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Hick's Kind of Furniture Store

The Pony took some pictures while at the furniture store with Hick, buying his couch, mattress, fridge, and washer/dryer. I guess it was while Hick was dickering with the salesman, or before they were accosted by a salesman.

This is Hick's kind of furniture store. They have assorted collectibles to take your mind off how much money you're about to drop. Last time we were there, buying our recliner, they also offered free popcorn and soda. It's the largest furniture store in the area, so we have shopped there often.

This is the feature that most impressed The Pony. The faucet pouring water out of nowhere. He also liked the deep sea diver.

There was also a ship in that indoor body of water supplied by the faucet from nowhere.

The canoe is high and dry, though! It was there before the nowhere-faucet-made lake.

For the landlubbers who are more athletically inclined, there's a gold bicycle.

And for all the Hicksters, there's an old gas pump. Hick loves that kind of memorabilia. Maybe it has something to do with his first job at 14, working at a gas station for all the candy and soda he could consume.

If Hick had a building that large, he would probably set up something like this. Oh, wait. Hick has TWO buildings that large when combined. With nothing in them for sale.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Even Steven Provides a COINacopia This Week

Such a fantastic week in the Future Pennyillionaire Fortune quest!
SUNDAY, March 20, I stopped by Orb K for scratchers. Somebody was parked in my favorite spot by the giant manhole cover, so I went all the way around the corner, almost to the drive-thru lane, and parked in the last space. When I stepped out, I knew that I was meant to park there!
The minute I slid out of T-Hoe, I spied a penny! It's in that grease spot. I took a picture, and when I checked it to make sure I got the penny in frame, I saw ANOTHER penny!!! It was on the yellow parking line.

The first was a 2001 penny, face down. I can't believe that's the first one I noticed.

The second penny was a heads-up 1977. I grabbed them both, putting them in separate pockets to to remember which was which. I could not see the date at that time. I proceeded past the for-pay air pump, around the corner of the sidewalk, and to the front door of Orb K.

Wouldja lookie there! On the door frame, the threshold! It's a NICKEL, by cracky! My first nickel of 2022. I could not get a closeup, because somebody was waiting to come out. Thanks for not knocking my noggin with the door, Somebody. This was a face-down 1976 nickel. It shared my shirt pocket with one of the pennies. But WAIT!

While getting for my scratchers, I looked down and saw the THIRD penny waiting for my capture! I was almost in need of extra pockets.

It was a face-down 1982 penny, poised in the filth of Orb K's floor. They just can't get it together in the housekeeping department.

THURSDAY, March 24, my luck continued. I went to Country Mart for some rye bread to make Reuben sandwiches, and on the way in, by my old nemesis the PLASTIC KIDDIE POOL, I found a penny!

It's almost camouflaged, there below the crack, near that gray chip in the sidewalk. If you were concentrating on the kiddie pool, wary of an attack, you might have missed it.

This was a face-down 1981 penny. Welcome to my collection, friend. 
From Country Mart, I continued to the Liquor Store for scratchers.

Well, hello there, little buddy. I didn't see you until that man got his cigarettes and left. I've got some friends for you to meet.

This was a heads-up 1992 penny. Unfocused by my phone.

On to Orb K again, the scene of my magnificent haul on Sunday. It's my last stop on the way out of town. I go there at least once a week. Sometimes twice. Not every day.

This was an opportune time to stop. I got my favorite parking space. And right at my feet on the way up the concrete ramp was a DIME! My first dime of 2022!

It was a face-down 2000 dime. Welcome to my tall ice cream goblet!

Yes, it was definitely a good week for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune. 
That's 7 COINS, for 20 CENTS added to the coffers!


Penny          # 18, 19, 20, 21, 22.
Dime            # 1
Nickel          # 1
Quarter        0

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter          6

Friday, March 25, 2022

Pony House Progress: Living Room

The Pony had a day off Thursday, and headed over to Pony House to help Hick. They got the living room floor almost finished. I say ALMOST, because what I thought was a hole in the corner turned out to be a couple of flooring pieces that are not yet in place. The Pony says Farmer H needs to buy one more box of flooring to get TWO PIECES.

The living room still needs to be painted, and the trim put down along the floor. Also, the joint between the living room and kitchen, from where this picture was taken.

After almost-finishing the living room floor, Hick and The Pony headed out to look at furniture. The Pony bought a couch, a refrigerator and ice-maker, a mattress and box springs, and a washer and dryer. They decided on the stackable version. Hick said the only regular washer they had was a small version, only suitable for washing a load of underwear. Heh, heh. Hick knows all about washing underwear, since his little tantrum right after we were married. His refusal to put his dirty clothes in the hamper resulted in him doing his own laundry.

Here's The Pony's new couch:

The pillows come with it. I think he should have asked for stuffing to be added to them!

And now, for your consideration, I present Hick's newest idea: using the barnwood flooring to cover the lower portion of the Bathroom 2 wooden wall. To use it like wallpaper, or paneling, up a little higher than the windowsill, with a chair rail topping it off.

Hick loves the idea, because he thought it up! The Pony says he thinks it will look good. I HATE IT! I think this will be too many different shades of wood, too many different textures. This barnwood flooring is not needed. It will detract from the rugged wood look of the original planks. 
What say YOU? Don't be afraid to hurt my feelings. It's never been an issue before, heh, heh!

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Hick is Not Just "The Baconator"

The night after Hick won the 10 packs of Oscar Mayer bacon for $1 in the table drawing at the auction... he went to a different auction, and won the table drawing again. This time the ticket was $2. Hick won LUMBER. As with all table drawings, you get to choose which item you want from the sellers who have donated something for the table drawing. So conceivably, Hick could have won 10 more pounds of bacon, worth $70.

Anyhoo... he chose the lumber. That's because Hick LOVES wood, heh, heh. This was 9 boards. 10-foot-long 2x4s. Hick said they're going for about $12 apiece right now. Which means he got $102 worth of lumber for $2.

I don't know how Hick finds so many bargains. He might just as well put a chaise lounge out in the front yard, and wait for free expensive items to fall from the sky. Of course they wouldn't land on him, but beside him, stacked neatly. Somebody driving down our gravel road might stop and fan him with a palm frond, which would draw the attention of the next passer-by, who might stop to drop grapes in Hick's mouth. Chocolate-covered, of course.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

It's Not the Marble Floor of the Taj Mahal

Hick bought some flooring for Pony House. First he bought something to cover the flooring. He got two rugs at the auction. He paid $10 each, and says they are about 5 feet by 8 feet. No, they don't match. "But they're similar!" says Hick. The Pony wanted a couple of rugs, because he likes to kick off his shoes and socks when he come home. And he likes to sit on the floor in front of the couch, eating or computing on the coffee table. Which he will also need to buy or accept for free from Hick's Freight Container Garage Emporium.

That's the most colorful of the two.

Here's the other rug. Similar.

Hick also bought some flooring to fix the bad part of the original hardwood floors. Not necessarily "fix," but patch the worst parts with a little accent corner. He said this flooring was only $23 per box. So he might do the whole living room with it.

At first The Pony was not sold on the flooring, after looking only at this picture:

"I'm not sure I like it. Is that DIRT? Is it just dirty? Because it might be okay if it was cleaned off."

"No. Dad said its pattern is BARN WOOD. It's supposed to look like that."

"Oh. Well. Maybe."

The Pony went over to Pony House to help Hick on Tuesday. They put down the flooring from the Master Bedroom door across the living room to the furnace room. After discussing scrubbing the original hardwood, and maybe leaving it for the rest of the living room... a decision has now been made to invest another $150 on more of the BARN WOOD flooring, to cover the entire living room

For that price, I think it's the best decision. Not sure how those rugs will look on it! But they might be going in the two bedrooms instead.

This is standing in the Master Bedroom, looking out towards the furnace room. Hallway to back door and Half Bath on the left.

This is standing by the furnace room, looking towards the Master Bedroom, hallway to the back door on the right. I think doing the whole living room with the barn wood flooring is going to turn out great.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Two Frights Don't Make Me Strong

Shenanigans have returned to our hillbilly mansion.

Sunday night, or rather the wee hours of Monday morning, I was sitting on the short couch watching True Dating Stories. I'm not a regular fan, but nothing else was worth watching. The Pony had gone to his room around 8:00 p.m., saying he wouldn't be back out until Monday morning at 8:00, to go in to work at 9:30. Hick went to bed around 8:45. Both of them had their bedroom doors closed, Hick to the left of me, Pony to the right.

At 1:50 a.m., there arose such a clatter that I must have jumped three feet off the cushion of the short couch. Okay. Maybe three centimeters. An ample rumpus is a difficult thing to levitate. The noise came from the boys' bathroom at the end of the hall, next to The Pony's bedroom. It sounded like a tornado had touched down in the shower, and was flinging assorted grooming product bottles all willy-nilly against the walls and the sliding door!

I did NOT jump up to investigate! My heart was pounding. I turned to look, but saw nothing through the open door of the bathroom and shower. I know for a fact that it was not windy inside the house. Nor were there earthquake tremors. The house sits on bedrock we had to blast to make the basement. It doesn't settle. Nobody was afoot. Nobody human, anyway. Not a sound from either bedroom. Nobody had been in that bathroom all night. Not since before The Pony retired around 8:00. He hadn't used the shower since 7:30 that morning.

So creepy. Not merely something falling, but a flurry of impacts. I figured I'd just ignore it. No need to go look, right? What could I possibly see? Maybe a shelf had fallen off the wall behind the toilet, scattering assorted collectibles that Hick had stashed there when the boys were boys. Like a St. Louis Cardinals baseball. A Blues hockey puck. The entire bathroom was done in a hockey design for Genius.

I continued sitting on the short couch. I had calmed down by the time the next episode started. At commercial around 2:10 a.m., I had a fleeting thought of going to look in the bathroom, to see if anything was on the floor.


That's the sound of a bedroom door opening. It came from The Pony's end of the house. I turned to look, but NOTHING HAD MOVED. The door was still closed.

Of course that spooked me, happening at the instant I had made up my mind to investigate. It was 3:15 before I got the nerve to go look in the bathroom.

On the floor of the tub was a bottle of shampoo, and a smaller bottle of soap with the pump top. I could see an empty space on the molded plastic shelf of the shower where they had probably been sitting. Plenty of room. I didn't touch them. The Pony could discover them for himself when he got up.

There was no reason for those two items to fall. And certainly no reason for them to sound like they were slamming into all surfaces inside that shower. I don't think shampoo and soap bottles bounce multiple times like a Superball.

Monday, March 21, 2022

I'm Pretty Sure I Can't Blame Hick for THIS Attempt on My Life

Friday I made a trip to Country Mart for a few groceries, and scratchers from their lottery vending machine. The day was bright, though a bit on the chilly side, with a northwest wind. At least I remembered my jacket this time. Turns out I should have worn not merely a jacket, but a suit made of bubble wrap!
No, I wasn't almost run over by that scoffparker. That vehicle wasn't even there until I came out, it was already (badly) parked.

Here's the deal. As I walked in, and subsequently out, I was careful to step lightly over the puddle of water left from the previous day's rain. Not because I thought it was slippery, but because puddles here have a tendency to be deeper than you might initially presume. I didn't want my pantlegs dipping in, and chilling my ankles as the wind hit them.
I was navigating that concrete stream when WHOMP! One of those plastic wading pools threw itself at my ankles! Let the record show that Val is not quick on her feet, which are attached to her shin-bones, which articulate with her knees. It makes me steely-nerved in games of sidewalk chicken with approaching walkers, but only because I cannot simply sidestep oncoming obstacles. I will go down!

Even though I'd like to lay the blame with Hick, I don't think he sabotaged this stack of plastic pools while I was inside the store. For once, I'm pretty sure Hick was NOT trying to kill me.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Hick Brings Home the Bacon

Hick went to a new auction Friday night. It's in the middle of nowhere. Farther into nowhere than Backroads. When he got home, he said, "Them people's crazy down there! A $450-$500 deer rifle sold for $900!" I guess that's what the market will bear in the middle of nowhere.

Hick sent me a text before he started home:

"I won 10 lb of bacon for a dollar"


"I also got some snacks for $7"

"That's why you shouldn't go to the auction when you're hungry."

Indeed. Hick decided at the last minute to go to the auction. He came home from his Friday afternoon fat-chewing session with his cronies at 4:30, grabbed a slice of pizza, and headed out the door, eating it cold. Not a regular rib-sticking triangle piece of pizza, but a square of thin-crust Domino's pizza with ham, mushroom, and onion.

Anyhoo... Hick arrived home with two chocolate Entenmann's cakes, two boxes of chocolate Entenmann's donuts, and a bag of mini Reese's cups. He paid $3 for the cakes, $3 for the donuts, and $3 for the Reese's. The Pony checked the date on the cakes, and they were ONLY three days past the sell-by.

As for the BACON, Hick had 10 packs of 16-oz Oscar Mayer bacon! The price on that at Walmart is $6.98. So Hick got about $70 worth of bacon for $1. It was frozen. The sell-by date was February 27. 

Hick paid his dollar to enter the drawing. The winner could pick any item from any of the sellers, except for the $950 deer rifle. Leave it to Hick to pick the bacon.

There's the bacon. Looks pretty good to me. It will probably be okay for a while frozen.

There's the cake. Thankfully, I won't have to use a slice to replace a missing piece of the wedding cake of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII, bought at another auction for $29,000.

There's the donuts. The Pony loves them. I am also overly fond of these chocolaty treats. Apparently Hick is also a fan, because I had one Friday night, The Pony had one Saturday morning, and by Saturday evening, only 3 were left in package of 8. The Pony saw Hick eat a donut Saturday morning before he left for work. I suppose Hick snuck another two while I was in town Saturday afternoon. Lest you have forgotten, Hick is not supposed to have sugar. 

Not that we're complaining, of course. Hick spent his own money on the treats. We're only worried about his health...

Saturday, March 19, 2022

A CENTS-less Tragedy: One Abe Left Behind

There was a bargain on draw tickets from the Missouri Lottery on THURSDAY, March 17. If you bought $6 (three plays) on Cash4Life, The Pony's favorite ticket, you got a FREE Powerball ticket! With the PowerBall jackpot at $147 million, and since I buy the Cash4Life anyway, I went to two places to purchase them. Of course one was the Gas Station Chicken Store. The other was the Casey's across the moat, and past Hick's pharmacy.
I hadn't been in the Casey's for a couple weeks. The parking is hard to navigate, and they're usually busy. This time, I found a space. Good thing, since my other go-to lottery stop, the Liquor Store, was busy with St. Patrick's Day customers.
Looks like I was meant to be at Casey's.

TWO pennies were waiting for me. I doubt they had been there for two weeks, though. I was able to get photos and nab them, because that register was closed, and I let another customer go ahead of me at the open one.

The penny on the right was a face-down 2001. I am happy to report that nobody was ample-rumpused in the harvesting of this penny.
The penny on the left was a face-down 1999. Sadly, a woman and her preschool daughter were ample-rumpused as I picked this one up. Don't you worry about them! They were compensated by that register opening up, and being served ahead of me.

As I stepped back, and got in line at the open register, I saw a THIRD penny under the candy rack. That was when a clerk opened up that register. Also, it was my turn to step forward at my register. I was pretty sure I shouldn't shove that woman and preschool daughter aside to try and nab that penny. No need to George-Costanza-in-a-smoky-apartment-birthday-party them! There was only a slim chance I could stick my foot far enough under the rack to get that penny, anyway. Oh, the tragedy of one Abe left behind!

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


Penny          # 16, 17.
Dime             0
Nickel           0
Quarter        0

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter          6

Friday, March 18, 2022

Not as Taxing as It Might Have Been

It's that time of year again. Not springtime. Not Daylight Savings Time. TAX TIME! I finished ours last week. Started it one day, finished the next. The process was slightly more complicated this year, with Hick's business license and the requisite sales tax. Funny how nobody else at the storage unit emporium has a business license or pays sales tax. But that's not Hick's business...

Anyhoo... I had to jump up to the next level of TurboTax, just for the business portion. I don't know if that's the cause, or the fact that I didn't save last year's return on my HIPPIE, but instead on a flash drive. Whatever the reason, TurboTax did not import my information from last year's return. So I had to enter more details manually. That was a slower-downer.

Anyhoo... I can't believe how easy it is to do my taxes with TurboTax. I used to take the paper route, and had to order forms and publications that I needed. It wasn't all THAT hard, but tedious, flipping back and forth, referring to many pages. It's so simple just to answer questions, enter info, and click to the next item.

The Pony is doing his own taxes this year! Of course I lent him my TurboTax CD. No way could we download it with our internet speed out here in Backroads. All it took was a $22 investment in a plug-in CD drive last year, since my New Delly uses Windows 7 Professional, which is no longer compatible with TurboTax, and HIPPIE does not have a CD drive. AND I can use TurboTax 5 times, on different devices. Too bad Genius decided to have his taxes done by a professional this year, and can't join in the wealth.

Anyhoo... The Pony started his federal return last night. How complicated can it be? He owns no property, has no itemization, one job, and a bit of interest and dividends. Easy peasy. Just for peace of mind, I'm going over it with him later tonight, since he's a newbie, before he officially hits the FILE button.

Now all we have to do is wait on our sweet, sweet refunds to electronically roll in.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Haste Makes Some Items Displaced

Hick is a good house-remodeler, but sometimes he rushes things. 
One of his buddies told Hick that he gets good bargains at stores like Lowe's or Menards by asking for a discount on dented items. Of course this news excited Hick. He was virtually rubbing his hands together in glee. "Get me a water heater, or washer/dryer, or refrigerator!"

The Buddy was on the lookout for a little over a week. He called Hick with news of a water heater at a Lowe's halfway to the city. Regular $599, available for $399. Hick told him to get it. The Buddy brought it to Hick at his Storage Unit Store, and they took it over to Pony House. Hick gave The Buddy $60 for his trouble. So still a good deal, as Hick actually had it delivered, and got help taking it into Pony House. However...
Hick had counted on the new water heater being like ours, with a 24-inch diameter. It's not. As Hick says, "It's short and squatty. The diameter is 25 inches. I guess I can fit in a washer and dryer. If not, I can pull them forward a bit, and put shelves on the wall behind them."

Also, Hick had the city turn on the water to Pony House. When he checked the kitchen sink, water sprayed out all over him! As Hick said, it was the fittings and faucet that came with the cabinets he bought off Facebook. So he went to get a new faucet.

Hick discovered that the new jetted Pony House tub takes a long time to fill. He wishes he had put in 3/4 inch pipe instead of 1/2 inch pipe. He told The Pony, "You'll need to start running your bathwater, then go ahead and fix your supper while it fills." This tub takes less water than ours, and the jets are more powerful. There are a couple issues that Hick needs to fix, but it's about a 30-minute job, he says.

Hick's workmanship might make for some odd conversation pieces in Pony House, but he works pretty cheap.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Pony House Half Bath: A Countrified Solution

You may recall that the Pony House Half Bath is tight quarters. It's a long narrow room that Hick stole from the Master Bathroom closet. Hick figured that guests need not traipse through bedrooms to take a pee or wash their hands, since he could fit in another bathroom in the common area.

I was concerned about the door. Hick planned for it to open into the bathroom.

"That could be a problem. What if somebody falls in there? You can't get the paramedics to them if the door slams into their body when you try to open it!"

"It can't open OUT, Val, because the hall is narrow. You can't leave the bathroom door open, it would block the hall."

"Then leave it closed until you go in there. I just don't think the door should open inwards."

Then I had the most scathingly brilliant idea!

"How about putting in a sliding barn door? I see it on those remodel shows all the time."

"I don't think that would look right."

"But it would work! It wouldn't take up the room inside, or block the hall."

So Hick put in a sliding door. I had no idea he was going to use an old closet door that he had, squirreled away over in the BARn.

"Well, that looks like crap. You need a different door. Or at least paint that one white, and paint a big black X on it to look like a barn door. And get rid of that door handle."

Then I saw a different style. "Or you could get some of those long arrow-looking things to put on the side. Or the top."

A few days later, Hick brought something over from the BARn. 

"You mean like this? I have a bunch of these."

"That's it! Yes, use those. Two, or maybe three, down the left side of the door."

"I think I'll paint that door a flat white. But I like the wood."

"No, that's not the right pattern on the wood. White will be good. And a different handle. Like a metal loop kind of handle. To pull the door."

Yeah. That's gonna work. Pony's cousin Niecy was all discombobulated when he told her his hall bathroom would have a sliding door.

"No! What's going to keep people from looking in the cracks? That's not good. You don't want that. People can see in when you're sitting on the toilet."

So Pony was questioning Hick about the privacy issue. Hick took pictures for Pony, showing that you can't see in the crack when the door is closed. He took a picture in the dim house, with the light on in the Half Bath, and you couldn't see the light through the crack. 
THEN Pony took Niecy on a tour of Pony House, and she said, "Oh, that's fine. I thought you meant a LOUVERED door, like a closet door that slides open and accordions when you pull on the handle."


Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Common Sense Nods Acquaintance in Passing, But Declines to Establish Residency

There's a town between Backroads and Sis-Town, where something is not quite right. Several years ago, they received a federal grant, and used it to "beautify" their little city. Said people passing through from one major highway, taking a route to get to another major highway, might think less of them if they didn't.

I don't know who officially signed off on this project. Hick said it could have been the city commissioner, who would most likely have discussed it with the councilmen. Or that maybe they had to submit several projects, and the feds made the choice for them. Maybe my issue should be with the contractor who did the work. It's one of those things where I don't know where to point the finger.

Don't point the finger at VAL! I had just left a stop sign when I snapped this picture for evidentiary purposes. For cryin' out loud, I was only going 20 miles per hour! And the last time I checked, letting dust accumulate on a dashboard is not a crime.

Anyhoo... do you see the problem here? It's not an isolated occurrence.

The mailboxes are in the middle of the sidewalk! Who does that? Woe is the hipster jogger pushing a 3-wheeled baby carriage, tipping the infant into the grass while trying to squeeze past!

Surely somebody must have noticed this before all the mailboxes were put in. It's not a problem on the other side of town, where the mailboxes are on the porches. Over there, the problem is the islands of concrete sticking out into the road, limiting parking, and preventing cars from pulling over to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

You won't convince me that this is the normal way to accommodate mailboxes. 
But go ahead and try.

Monday, March 14, 2022

He's NOT Getting His Own Themed Shed

Hick bought himself a trinket at the auction Saturday night. He's quite proud of it. This one is fairly large as trinkets go. Hick sent me a picture, with a message that it was "red skeliton."

As you can see, it is a figurine of Red Skelton. Hick says he has batteries, and "...dances or sings or something." I'm pretty sure he doesn't DANCE. I don't see any way for his legs to move. But I guess there's room for a speaker to play music or a song.

"He's got batteries in him, but they're dead."

"You'd better take them out! Before they corrode."

"Yeah. I have to put more in to see if he works."

"What are you going to do with him?"


"Over in the BARn?"

"Or in one of my sheds."

"Oh, no! He's not getting his own themed shed is he?"

"No. I don't think so."

Red cost $5. He isn't for sale. Not even for a .50 profit. I'm pretty sure Red would be welcome in the Railroad Car Shed. With the hobo theme and all.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Save-A-Lot Has Old Timers Locked in a Case in the Freezer Section

Technically, Save A Lot has Old Timers locked in THREE cases in the freezer section!

That's outrageous! How can they get away with this? There must be some kind of law against it. I've never seen Old Timers locked up in the freezer section in any other stores. 

What's worse, other shoppers push their carts along, IGNORING the Old Timers! Not giving them a second glance. Not even casting them a first glance. 

I was so determined to spread this information that I stopped my cart/walker to take a picture. At least I could show Hick. I was sure he'd have something to say about it. A woman carting past me said,

"Oh. I never noticed that before."

"Yeah. They've been here a couple weeks now. I'm going to show my husband."

I took three pictures. To show you the grand scheme of the lock-up:

There they are! The Old Timers stacked like cordwood in their three cases.

The Old Timers are restrained! And exposed! Held captive right next to a cardboard bin of accessories to help women see better.

How can anyone put a price on an Old Timer? Save A Lot apparently had no problem.

I asked Hick about this unseemly display. Hick knows his Old Timers! Because I thought these might be Case Knives. Not because they're in a case. That's a well-known brand of pocketknives. So, too, is Old Timer. 

Hick sells a lot of knives. He says these are reasonable prices. I hope it doesn't cut into his .50 profits! Save A Lot is just down the hill from Hick's Storage Unit Store.

As for the Old Timers being locked in a case in the Save A Lot freezer section? Nevermind...

Saturday, March 12, 2022

An AsCENT From Last Week's Total

This week Val managed to surpass last week's penny find by one! SATURDAY, March 5, I was waiting at the counter of Orb K for my scratchers to be counted out, when I looked down, just in case.
Right at my feet appeared a star for this week's Saturday CENTSus.

It was a heads-up 2021 penny, so shiny on that filthy floor.

The short-lived spate of luck continued when I popped into the Liquor Store for scratchers on SUNDAY, March 6.

The minute I stepped out of T-Hoe and closed the door, I had a little friend waiting for me.

It was a heads-up 1994 penny, whose age was a mystery until I took him home and rubbed Old Abe with my new green scrubby thing.
But WAIT! When I came back out, somebody else was cooling his tail on the cold pavement!
He'd probably been there all along, observing my ample rumpus from behind while I bent over to pick up his dirty buddy.

It was a heads-up 2012 penny, all dapper and clean, the Felix Unger of this Odd Couple.

That's 3 COINS, for 3 CENTS this week towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune.


Penny          # 13, 14, 15.
Dime             0
Nickel           0
Quarter        0

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter          6