Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Ponygeist Housenanigans

 I got a text from The Pony at 10:37 on Sunday night:
"Ghost activities followed me,  apparently! Razor just fell, over in the shower."
"Yikes! Calm here for a while now."
"It was up on the flat shelf in the corner since this morning! No movement! Now I'm in the bath and it just suddenly fell!" 

"Tuesday will be Grandma's birthday. Coincidentally."

Not that I think knocking a razor off a shower shelf is a sign from my mom. That's not her style. She was never a prankster.

My dad, however...

The Pony never knew his grandpa. He was only two months old when my dad died. I wasn't working that year, and took The Pony out to their house every day. Dad definitely knew The Pony. He used to sit with his knees up in his recliner, Baby Pony laid on them, talking away. He made the most of those two months.

When The Pony was a toddler, just graduated from crib to plastic car bed, I was sometimes astounded to find him tucked in JUST RIGHT when I'd check on him through the night. Covered up to his chin, arms under the blanket, not a wrinkle. The Pony would tell stories of seeing his grandpa in his room at night, "making sure everything is okay."

Like I said, The Pony would have no memories of his grandpa, although there were pictures on the wall outside his room. 

Something to think about.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Just in Timber Land

We've been having a spate of rainy weather over the past two weeks. Wind, too! You may recall that our electricity was off for 21 hours due to a tree limb tripping a breaker or something on the power line. AND, the day after it was fixed, we got a notice while at the casino with Genius that our power was off AGAIN, due to a limb falling on a line. At least that was fixed before we got home.

The Pony had sent us one picture of a tree down on a car from his route during the storm where our power went out. While we were in the casino with Genius, he sent another two pictures.

One of his work friends was on this route, and just getting ready to cross the street when a tree in that yard fell over! It happens to be on a street just past the Dead Mouse Smelling Post Office, where I drive by on my way to do my errands every Thursday.

That's a BIG tree. Though not as big as the pecan tree over at Pony House.

I'm really glad that thing is on the ground now!

Sunday, May 29, 2022

The Pony Will NOT Be Getting a Silk Purse, Nor Chicken Salad

Hick finished up his work on the back of Pony House this week, putting in gutters. He says the discoloration on the bottom of the walls can be cured with power-washing and a little bleach. I think the whole house-back needs to be painted white. Hick wants a stain.

"It ain't gettin' painted white."

"The back of the house should match the rest of the house."

"The Pony don't want the house white. He wants it blue-gray."

"Well. Then the back should be painted blue-gray."

"That will be up to The Pony."

Yeah. I'm pretty sure The Pony has not been a fan of the wood look. Anyhoo... Hick had some gravel poured behind the house. Partly to help with drainage, and partly because he was contemplating a concrete driveway coming in from the side street. So The Pony could have off-street parking, and not deal with the running water that forms along the front street during storms.
Hick met with a guy Friday night to show him the area, and tell him the plan. The guy said he would get back to Hick with an estimate.

"How much do you think that would cost?"

"Oh, probably around $3000, or $3500."

"I don't know if we can swing that right now. We've used up all the money allotted to Pony House."

"Pony has money. He can pay if he wants it. Or it will just raise the cost of his house that he's paying for."

Hick received the estimate on Saturday afternoon.

"It looks like we ain't gettin' a concrete driveway for The Pony! That guy wants $6500! That's crazy!"

"Yeah. I think The Pony can do with a gravel driveway. What will that cost?"

"I'll need another load of gravel. This one doesn't go all the way to the road. Maybe two more loads. The whole thing will come to around $450."

"That's a lot more reasonable. And gets The Pony off the street."

There's a saying around these parts. 'You can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh!t.' And also, more common: 'You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.'

One thing's for sure. We made The Pony a safe, livable house. Not the Taj Mahal.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Three For the MONEY

Val had a better-than-mediocre week in her quest to fill her Future Pennyillionaire coffers. 
SATURDAY, May 21, I went to town to drown my broken-cell-phone sorrows with some scratchers. I started to clamber out of T-Hoe at the Backroads Casey's, and saw an uplifting sight:

I'm glad there was no busybody sitting in that van to witness my shattered phone snapping this picture.

It was a face-down 1973 penny. Still in focus with my broken-phone camera!

TUESDAY, May 24, I had to change my plans due to the Casey's over in School-Turn Town getting its weekly delivery from a semi truck parked across the storefront. I substituted a stop at Orb K. This just gave me grief due to a line-jumper. But at least Even Steven made things right when I came back out to T-Hoe.

There it is, in the dark spot running under T-Hoe. Isn't that a nice reflection in T-Hoe's dirty flank? The actual handicap spot on the other side of the blue-marked walkway? Funny how Country Mart has about eleventy-billion handicap spots, yet Orb K, and the Gas Station Chicken Store, and the Liquor Store have only one. I guess convenience is not supposed to be a thing for the handicapped.

It was a face-down 2004 NICKEL! That design on the back threw me off. At first, I hoped it was a quarter. But no. A nickel is good enough for me!
THURSDAY, May 26, I stopped by the Liquor Store on the way to mail Genius's weekly letter. I needed two scratchers to enclose. Good timing, because I found
A special surprise waiting for me.
It was a heads-up 1976 penny, messing with my phone focus. Those rugs have a habit of doing that.   _____________________________________________________________________

That's 3 COINS, for 7 CENTS this week towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune.


Penny          # 44, 45.
Dime            still at 8.
Nickel          # 2.
Quarter       still at 2.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, May 27, 2022

Now Val's a Rumpus-Hole Magnet

It's hard out here for a gimp. When I'm not being shoulder-slammed by glass doors, I'm being bypassed in line as if I'm not even there, and whacked inside my protective T-Hoe case! I won't go into the line-jumper here, but she was discussed on my super-secret blog

Wednesday, I went in Save A Lot for some replacement foods for those lost in the Great Electrical Outage of 2022. When I got back to T-Hoe, I took a moment to write down the amount of the transaction in my checkbook register. I'm an old fogey like that.


I had a moment of PTSD, and reached for my right shoulder. It was fine. But in doing so, I looked out the passenger windows of T-Hoe, and saw a late-20s blond wench who had just SLAMMED her door into the side of T-Hoe as she got out. She reached back inside her small white SUV, and grabbed a little boy by his arm, dragging him out. 

"Umm... HELLO! I'm sitting in here! WHY DON'T YOU SLAM YOUR DOOR INTO MY CAR AGAIN? What is your problem, you idiot!!!"

Yeah. I said it. I KNOW she heard me! How could she not? She was standing inches from the side of T-Hoe. She hurried into the store, not daring to look my way.

What the ACTUAL EFF is wrong with people???

There was no reason for her slamming. Yes, as I have revealed before, I park T-Hoe on the right side of a parking space, to leave more room for my driver's door to open. HOWEVER, as I have also pointed out, I do not park on the line, and I do not park over the line. I was within my space. In fact, when I went into the store, there was NOBODY parked on my right. So Blond Wench KNEW when she parked there how close I was to the line. SHE is the one who chose to park her car as close to me as she did.

I was spittin' mad! Not only was that a rumpushole thing to do, but I THINK SHE MIGHT HAVE KNOCKED SOME DUST OFF T-HOE'S SIDE!

Seriously. T-Hoe was born in 2008. He is not in pristine condition. Some of his plastic door trim is curling away from the metal. But that doesn't mean he's a punching bag for self-important Blond Wenches to take out their frustrations!

Restoring my faith in humanity, two good eggs uplifted my spirits to counteract these two ne'er-do-wells. When I was trying to cash in my $500 scratcher winner, the gal at the Gas Station Chicken Store couldn't do it.

"I don't think you can cash one this big, but when might one of the owners be here to do it?"

"Yeah, I can only go up to $300. Man Owner should be here tomorrow. At least until noon."

"Okay. I can come back."

Working Man behind me: "They'll cash it for you over at Country Mart. They did it for me before."

Soda Drinking Woman at the soda fountain: "I tried at Country Mart, and they said they couldn't do it. I had a $500 winner on Saturday, and I couldn't find anywhere that would cash it. Until I went to Walmart, and only the cashier at the cigarette-selling register could do it. So you could try there."

Working Man: "Country Mart is worth a try."

"I will try it. I'm headed over there anyway to buy some of their dark meat chicken special. So I'll ask."

Soda Drinking Woman: "They might. It could have been because I was there on a Saturday. They might do it for you today."

See? So many people willing to help me with my $500. Well. Maybe not SO many. But enough to counteract those two rumpus orifices.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Doorman #2 Says "Psych!"

Just when Val thinks someone is throwing her a bone, that bone gets yanked away and slammed over her head. Or shoulder.
Sunday, I was on my way into Orb K. I'd parked to the right side of the doors, in my favorite space next to the handicap walkway. A man came from the gas pumps and passed me up. No big deal. I'm slow. As he neared the double doors, a young man came from the opposite side, and pulled open the glass door on the left, holding it for Gas Man.
As I got closer, Door Holder stood still, motioning for me to enter. He was a skinny dude, wearing a black gaiter mask patterned with a skull. Such a gentleman, though.  

I thanked him as I crossed the sidewalk to enter the left door.


The glass door on the right slammed into my right shoulder! Not so much the glass itself as the metal trim on the door. Thankfully, I had touched my left hand to the held-open door on the left, and was able to stay upright. 

The Slamminator was a chubby fellow with a red beard. Not a pointy meth beard, but a bushy mountain man beard. I had seen him standing inside that door, by his fat wife/sister/daughter as I crossed. No knock to them. All three were smaller than Val. My point is that I could obviously see THEM through the glass door, so surely they could see ME.

I was already 3-4 steps inside the establishment, rubbing my shoulder, when I heard a mealy-mouthed "Sorry." Which must have come from The Slamminator, who had left the store as I staggered in, going out ahead of his womenfolk.
I did not turn around to dignify that p-poor apology with an acceptance. I'm guessing that one of the chubby women had told The Slamminator that he need to say something.

I went on to get in the maze-line through the candy hook pegboards, rubbing my shoulder, saying to nobody in particular, "That kind of hurt." I figured I'd probably get a bruise on the soft inside edge of my shoulder.

While in line, I glanced outside and saw the quartet standing beside T-Hoe! In the blue-striped handicap walkway. I don't know what they were discussing, but HERE CAME THE SLAMMINATOR BACK INTO THE STORE! Not only that, but he didn't pick up any merchandise. He got in line behind me!

For WHAT? I'd like to think those gals shamed him into coming back to make a formal apology. That's just wishful thinking. The Slamminator said nothing. Of course I rubbed my shoulder sarcastically, if that's possible! Overacting. Because I could.

I didn't see what The Slamminator paid for. Maybe a scratcher? Maybe a lighter? I just know that he came out the door behind me. Sadly, I did not think to stand in wait and slam it into his shoulder. He was off the curb and past me before I reached T-Hoe.

What the ACTUAL EFF is wrong with people???

Since I could see HIM through the glass door, I'm sure he could see ME. It's GLASS, by cracky! Made to be transparent. 

And to think my original take on this situation was to be SHOCKED at the niceness of the skull-masked door-holder...

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Even Steven Restores My Faith In... Even Steven

Saturday, we finished our breakfast and headed into the casino. Right inside the turnstile, as we were formulating our plan, a slot machine caught my eye.

"Look! Down there, the Buffalo Gold."

"I like the Buffalo slots," said Genius. "We can all play. I'm going to get a coffee. You guys go on and I'll meet your there."

On the way, I was sidetracked by a Wonder 4 Tower at the kiosk before the Buffalos. I sat down at it, and Friend sat down to my left. Nobody was at the Buffalo. We didn't feel obligated to save it. Genius came along with his coffee, and sat down at the exact Buffalo Gold slot that had caught my attention. He probably didn't spin three times before we heard the bonus sound!

"Huh. Looks like there was a reason I noticed that Buffalo Gold!"

I kept playing my Wonder 4 Tower, but Friend got up and went to watch Genius's bonus. He got 72 free games! And 13 buffalo heads! It took a while, but I think Genius ended up with about $280 on his bonus, at a 60 cent bet. 

We moved on, playing Buffalo Revolution, where Genius and I both got modest bonuses, and Friend finally got ONE. We sent Genius to scout out a dragon machine along the wall, but people dared to take up seats so we couldn't play together. I wandered back there, and by accident found The Pony's favorite slot!!!

The Pony was working, and couldn't be with us, but I sent him a picture. He loves the Brazil Gold game. Of course he was excited. [FYI, this is the kind of machine where I won my $8,600 jackpot on Buffalo Gold.]

"You HAVE to take me there sometime!"

The Pony has never been to River City, being first of all not old enough, and then River City fell out of favor with Hick and me during Stay-At-Home-Down. So it will be Pony's first trip there when he gets a day off that's not a Friday. Hick will not give up his Storage Unit Store business!

I had given Genius and Friend some gambling money, and they had their own as well. They pooled their money (heh, heh, BEFORE we started playing and Genius hit that bonus) for the two hours we played. Genius did quite well. Friend, not so much. In the end, they were $4 under what they started with! I count that as a win! They had their money back, and got to keep what I had given them.

Hick and I did NOT combine our money! He lost what he took to gamble, plus what I had given him. I lost half my casino bankroll that I took in. So it was not a profitable day for Thevictorians.

Back home, Hick was in a hurry to go to town for some kind of business transaction. He let me out of A-Cad behind the garage. I normally set my gambling purse on the dash as I climb out, but this time, in the name of time, I had it around my neck. Jack came to greet me as I was getting out of A-Cad. He normally behaves himself once yelled at, but this time he persisted in jumping up with his stubby legs and digging claws on my own legs. One being the hole-y leg from our last CasinoPalooza. I have to be careful getting out, or I bang that spot on the edge of A-Cad.

"Jack! No! Get down! Bad dog!"

Little Jack, so glad to see me, persisted in trying to get closer to me. I leaned over to push him away, then slid out. As I turned to close the door, BEING CAREFUL THAT MY LEG WAS NOT IN THE WAY, I saw my cell phone on the pavement. It had flipped out of the side pocket on my purse as I leaned over. Of course it landed on the gravel that is scattered on the concrete carport. The bottom half of the screen was SHATTERED! It still worked... but I risk slicing a finger artery every time I swipe at it.

Anyhoo... I'd been having quite a problematic few days. Power off for 21 hours starting Thursday afternoon, throwing away all of FRIG II's perishables on Friday, losing half my casino bankroll on Saturday, plus breaking my cell phone. 
On Sunday, we planned to go get me a phone as soon as Hick got home from his Storage Unit Store. I just wasn't feeling it. I sent him a text around 1:00.

"Stay as long as you want. I can wait until Tuesday to get a phone."

"No problem!"

Hick got home around 3:30. I chatted a few minutes before leaving for town. I wanted some scratchers to drown my sorrows. Since the Liquor Store had room to park where I wanted, I stopped there first. I guess I was meant to be there at that time:

I told you I've been enjoying those $3 tickets. This one won me $500! Good thing I didn't go looking for a phone that afternoon! I would have missed out on this winner.

Oh, between my casino bankroll loss, and the price of the phone I had picked out online... this comes within $20 of those expenditures.

Good Old Even Steven.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Boys Are Back in Town, Hangin' Down at the Casino's Breakfast Grill

Genius was in town over the weekend, and we met up at River City Casino. It was actually Genius's idea. He doesn't go to casinos very often, but knows I like them. He didn't have much time to visit. Only the window between 9:00 a.m. and noon.
Anyhoo... with no other restaurants there being open at that time, we sat down for breakfast and to talk.
Hick had the biscuits and gravy:
He said it was not as tasty as he had hoped. Maybe it had something to do with all that pepper he added! He got a full order, and didn't finish. The waitress came by and asked if he wanted some more gravy on his remaining biscuits, but Hick declined.

I had the sausage/egg/cheese biscuit:

It arrived a bit askew, but I remedied that. It was quite filling. I couldn't eat much of the hash browns that came with every plate.

Genius also had the sausage/egg/cheese biscuit:
He made a dent in his hash browns. Of course he had coffee, rather than the water of myself and Friend, and the orange juice of Hick.

Friend had the breakfast burrito:

Here he is, displaying it for the camera like Carol Merrill displaying a showcase on Let's Make a Deal. That burrito is as big as a showcase! Friend could not finish that behemoth.

Our conversation involved the reason Genius was in St. Louis for the weekend. I hope he's not reading, because I always manage to get a few details wrong.

Hick: "So you said you were here to be in a wedding? Whose wedding?"

Genius: "One of my best friends from college. I'm not sure if you met her."

Hick: "I think we did, that time we took a bunch of you to lunch."

Val: "What are you in the wedding? Like, a groomsman or something?"
Genius: "Actually, I am on the bride's side--"
Friend: "He's a bridesMATE!" 

Genius: "Yeah. Well. I don't really like that term. But I'm with the bridesmaids."

Val: "I hope you're not complaining that your dress is not flattering, and that you paid all that money for it, and will never wear it again!"

Genius: "Actually, the bridesmaids all are bringing their own dresses. That they've worn in other weddings, or for some other event. The color scheme is PASTEL. So as long as the color fits, they don't all have to look alike. The bride assigned everyone a color, so the groomsmen have the same color accents as who they're walking with. I have the same tux as the groomsmen."

Val: "What color do you have?"
Genius: "Yellow. I have a yellow tie."
Val: "Are you walking with a groomsman? Does he match your color?"
Genius: "Yes. I'm fine with that. And he DOES match my yellow tie."
Hick: "Friend, what are you doing while all this rehearsal is going on?"
Friend: "Sitting at the Plus One table with the other Plus Ones."
Val: "I hope you're not too rowdy!"
Friend: "Not yet, anyway."
Hick: "So your mom said you're staying at an Airbnb?"
Genius: "Yes. It's like a mansion!"
Val: "Just for the two of you? You must really have money to burn!"
Genius: "No! The whole WEDDING PARTY is staying there! Not just us!"
Val: "Oh. That makes more sense. You didn't say that back when I talked to you."
Anyhoo... we chatted for over an hour, and then rolled ourselves out of the restaurant to go to the casino. 

More on that tomorrow...

Monday, May 23, 2022

Hick, the Badwill Generator

With no electricity, our house has no water, no flushes, no FRIG II, no oven, no microwave, no internet, no phone charging, no air conditioning, no breather. It's a big deal. That's why we have a generator. That's why I wish it was a WORKING generator!

Friday morning, with power still out, Hick tried the generator. It's on wheels, parked in the garage, about the size of half a steamer trunk. When Genius still lived at home, it was a manner of minutes from when the power went off until he and Hick had that generator humming. It's not big enough to power the whole house, but Hick could give me electricity for my lair, for the basement TV, for FRIG II, for the well pump, and lights. By adjusting which breakers he turned on or off, I could cook. We could have heat if needed, from the fake fireplaces.

Friday morning, Hick pulled out the generator, on its two flat tires. He had to go to the BARn for pliers to turn on a part of it. Then he remembered that the generator needed the carburetor rebuilt. We haven't used it in about six years. I'm SHOCKED that Hick hasn't had time to get to that carburetor!

Hick went to town. I assumed to his Storage Unit Store, as he does every Friday morning to open at 8:00. But he was back home within the hour, with two cans of ether to spray into the carburetor of the generator. I stood on the back porch by Juno's dog house, listening to Hick on the sidewalk to the garage with the generator. It ran in fits and starts.

"I can keep it running with the ether. I'm coming in to turn on just the breakers for the kitchen outlet so you can charge your phone, and the pump, and the refrigerator to let it chill again. You need to go flush both toilets to fill the tanks. You can save yourself some cups of water, too."

Hick set the breakers, found in the electric box in the bathroom closet, then went back outside. I heard Gennie start. I did my duties. But Gennie was CHOKING! Sputtering. On. Off. On. Off. After about five minutes, Gennie stayed quiet. I checked my phone. It had charged 1 percent! Hick came back in the kitchen.

"I had to stop. I kind of started a little fire. Good thing I had the fire extinguisher in the garage. Well. Now I know all I have to do is rebuild the carburetor."


"Maybe next week."

"That won't help us NOW!"

"No it won't. I'll get you the car charger and put it in your car. It's that fuzzy thing you always ask what it is in the compartment under the backup camera. It's attached to a car charger. Take your phone cord. It should plug into a little hole in that charger. Stick it in the cigarette lighter. I got the garage door open for you. So you can get out."

Around 11:00, happy as The Pony with a USPS-supplied blue towel, I virtually skipped out to the garage. Sure, I was unshowered, my hair a haystack. But I was going to town to get some scratchers! To pass the time until either darkness fell once again, or our electricity was restored.

What I saw when I descended the porch steps made my blood run cold.


Further investigation showed that there was no charger inside. I searched A-Cad for the "fuzzy thing." Nothing was in that little cubby where it usually resides. 
I called Hick, but only got his voicemail. "There is no charger in T-Hoe, and I can't find it in the Acadia. AND you left T-Hoe's hood up! Now you won't even answer the phone!!!"
Seriously. I think a few tears leaked out. But whatcha gonna do? I was left to my own devices to find and fix my devices.
I went back to A-Cad. Looked in the console. In the trays between the seats. In the back seat area. Felt along the cords. NO CHARGER. I moved some junk around on the floor between the back seats. A cord! Wait. It was attached to the Garmin. Not a charger. More rooting around. I FOUND A CHARGER! On the floor under some of Hick's Goodwill swag.

That charger didn't fit my phone! And I couldn't figure out how to lower T-Hoe's hood. I looked at both ends of that stick propping it up. Couldn't see where it should come loose and fold down. I leaned over the engine compartment, feeling the top and bottom of the stick. Nothing. No clue. WAIT! That looked like a hydraulic kind of setup. Like a little part of the stick would slide into the bigger part. Just like on the sticks that lift T-Hoe's hatch.

I pulled down on the hood. Nothing happened. Tried it from the side. Nothing. Went back to the front, and pulled harder. Aha! The hood closed. I heard it click. I was barely up the driveway when I knew I had to find some way to charge my phone. It was at 15 percent. I looped through the yard-field, and went back inside for the other end of my phone charger. To see if I could fit any part of that other charger into it. Nope. I rummaged through T-Hoe's glove compartment. Another charger! Which didn't fit, either.

The only other alternative was to buy a charger. No way was I going in Walmart. I had no idea what kind of charger I needed. No Sprint store in Backroads. No T-Mobile. But wait! There's an AT&T store! And that's what we have for our landline. So I wouldn't feel guilty about going there and asking a bunch of questions, like I might at the Cricket store.

Two guys were standing in front of the AT&T store smoking. I had to walk RIGHT AT them, to go up the sidewalk ramp instead of stepping up the curb.

"Can I help you with something?"

"I'm looking for a car charger for my Samsung Galaxy A51. I've tried several, but the plug won't fit."

"I think I know just what you need. Do you want the gizmo or the gadget?" [That's what I heard. I know he said the technical names of two different versions of the charger, but it didn't register in my simple mind.]

"I'm sorry. I have no idea what that means."

"Okay. Let's try this one. You can plug it into the cigarette lighter, and also plug a wire into it."

"Yes. That's what I want."

"It will be $35 plus tax."

"That's fine. Can we open it here when I pay, and try it? And if it doesn't fit, I'll return it immediately!"

"I'm so confident it will work that I'll open it right now, before you pay. See? It fits just right."

"Yes! Thank you so much! This is probably the easiest thing I'll do all day. You've been very helpful."

I took my charger out to T-Hoe, turned my phone on, and it started charging immediately. You know what happened next, right? I got an email from the electric company that our power had been restored.

You also know what happened after that, right? The next day, I broke my cell phone.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Val Is Not the Brightest Bulb in the Bedroom

When our electricity went off Thursday at 4:30, Hick had high hopes that it would be back on by 6:00, so I could warm up our leftover pepperoni and sausage deli pizza that I got at Save A Lot. Sadly, we were still sitting there waiting. No idea just where the mechanism of the outage occurred, or how fast it would be resolved.
By 7:30, Hick decided he would go to town and pick up some food. When he came back with Hardee's burgers, darkness was falling. I got out two candles. Hick scoffed. "Well. I hope I have something to light them! I might have a lighter somewhere." Never mind that Hick regularly lights the grill, Gassy G  Jr. I don't think he's rubbing sticks together for that.
"Why don't we just use these matches right here in the cabinet." Heh, heh. Hick really has no idea what's in our cabinets. Soon we were having a duel between Crisp Fall Leaves, and Sugar Cookie.
Hick went to bed right after he ate. As the night progressed, those candles started drowning in their own juices. I took Crisp Fall Leaves out on the back porch, and poured the wax over the rail. I left the door open a crack, so I didn't lock myself out! 
Do you know how dark it is in the country, with no electricity, and no stars or moon? I didn't want to go back out to drain wax from Sugar Cookie. I poured it on a cardboard paper plate on the cutting block. I left the candles burning, and went to bed around 9:00. At that time, Hick got up to sleep in his recliner, because with no breather, he was not getting a good breath. 
I swear, it was almost too dark to sleep! The same, whether my eyes were open or closed. I tossed and turned. The frogs out back by Poolio were deafening. It sounded like I was in a rain forest. One of those frogs sounded like a turkey!
SILENCE! All the frogs stopped! Huh. I figured there must be a predator afoot. In fact, I thought I heard something. Maybe on the end porch, under the bedroom window. Or on the back porch, on the other side of the french doors in the bedroom. It was NOT the sound of Hick snoring and gasping in the recliner. It was like a growl. A menacing purr. No pattern to it. The more I held my breath to listen, the more I became convinced that it was INSIDE THE BEDROOM!
Dang it! And I couldn't see what was in there with me! 

Actually, I had a mini metal green flashlight, that was left over from a set I used one year as stocking stuffers for the boys. But I didn't want to shine it! I didn't want to see a critter in my bedroom! My heart was pounding. My neck muscles tense. I could holler for Hick, but he may not hear me, and it would irritate the beastly intruder. I didn't want to get up and go to the living room, because I'm slow! My bare ankles could be gnawed bloody by the time I got to the bedroom door.

I took a deep breath. Held it. Listened intently. Aha!


Sometimes, my imagination gets the best of me. Like in the dark, with no electricity.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

A Lottery-Shop Quartet of COINS

 SUNDAY, May 15, I was leaving Orb K when I spied a penny I must have missed on the way in.

It's right there in the middle of the photo. Shiny copper against the gray concrete.

This was a heads-up 2015 penny. I had to wait as two oblivious, perhaps anti-pennyite, customers trod over it before I could snap the picture.

MONDAY, May 16, I tried to capture a coin in the Liquor Store. Oh, I got the actual coin:

But only a closeup to reveal my treasure here, a 1980 heads-up penny. I TOOK a more panoramic picture with my phone, but the phone didn't KEEP the picture for me! I didn't know it at the time. Even if I had known, I don't think I could have taken another picture, because my ample rumpus was being crowded by a close-waiter.

THURSDAY, May 19, I was in Country Mart for my $3 scratchers out of both machines. On the way out, I saw TWO pennies waiting for me!

Imagine, if you will, trying to snap a picture of a penny OUTSIDE the door, and another INSIDE the door, while that door kept automatically closing and opening! I feared I might need to use my ample rumpus dividing line as a bicycle rack of sorts, to hold that door and keep it from closing!

Outside was a shiny face-down 2002 penny. Sticky with something, I discovered when I snatched it up. But it washed off in plain water at home.

Inside was a heads-up 1977 penny. Not sticky. I'm lucky my head didn't get closed in that squirrelly door while picking it up!

That's 4 COINS, for 4 CENTS this week towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune.


Penny          # 40, 41, 42, 43.
Dime            still at 8.
Nickel          still at 1.
Quarter       still at 2.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, May 20, 2022

Val Is Powerless

Val has been powerless for 21 hours!!! It has been a giant slice of Not-Heaven!

Thursday was errand day. The forecast was clear, until 5:00-6:00, when precipitation chances went from the teens to 85 and 68 percent. I knew I'd be home by then. In fact, when I pulled T-Hoe into the garage at 4:15, some giant raindrops had just begun to plop. Once inside, I saw that Hick was not watching Gunsmoke, but the St. Louis weather.

"What's going on? Are we having a tornado? You never watch the weather."

"Not yet, but we could! There's severe thunderstorm warnings! Winds up to 60 miles an hour!"

"Oh. That's news to me. Were you worried about me?"

"Yeah. I didn't know where you were."

"Huh. Maybe I should cook the second half of our pizza at 5:00 instead of 6:00. In case we lose power."

"That might be a good idea."

I went to change out of town clothes, and the lights flickered off. And on. And off. And on. Five or six times. Then they stayed off. It was 4:30.

"I hope that comes back in time for our pizza!"

"I'm sure it will." Said Hick. Jinxing our electricity for 21 hours.

The Pony was still out on his route. We were worried about him. Good thing he checked in. Although the picture he sent did not ease our worries.

"Since you're probably gonna ask: I'm still out delivering mail in this rain. It is very wet."

"Be careful. Our power went out a couple minutes ago."

"Just got a notice that my internet got knocked out. Guess I'm glad I'm working!"


"Multiple trees down on this street. One landed on a car."

Later, when The Pony clocked out at 7:40, he shared the other news.

"A branch fell on a carrier on (road near our house) and cracked their windshield. I'm fine. Except for a little piece of metal I just pulled out of my foot. It started to hurt after the rain started. Changed shoes, helped for a bit. Started up again before I clocked out. Pulled my sock off. Felt like a splinter. What I pulled out was a tiny piece of metal. I dropped it before I could get a picture. Smaller than a grain of rice, but definitely metal."

So The Pony may pull up lame, but at least he doesn't have to throw away all the food in his refrigerator.

More on our powerlessness on Sunday...

Thursday, May 19, 2022

More Rumpusholery Is Afoot

The rumpusholery continues. There's a new rumpus orifice in town. When I came out of Save A Lot on Wednesday, I found a ne'er-do-wellmobile parked nose to nose with T-Hoe. There was no reason for that!

When I parked, only a white mini SUV was beside me, on the left. They pulled out as I was gathering my purse. Yes, thank you for asking. My purse DOES have a name. It's Percy. Get it? Anyhoo... no other vehicles were around T-Hoe. It's the middle of the week. Afternoon. Nobody is grocery shopping. I kept an eye on T-Hoe as I worked my way through the store. The whole front wall is windows. I was watching to see if a close-parker was going to block my door.
T-Hoe should have been just fine. Two open spaces on the left, with the two across from them also open. Two open spaces on the right. One across from them open. But no. This rumpushole HAD to park across from T-Hoe, TOO CLOSE. At least it didn't affect my door opening all the way.

Over the line, that scoff-spacer!

What if I needed to open the hood and tinker around with T-Hoe's engine?

That's less than a license-plate length! Some tooth-pick-leg person might have been able to shuffle through, but not Val. No. I am NOT blocking out the plate number.

SOMEBODY has boundary issues. Yes. It IS Val...

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A Possible Literal Dumpster Fire

I don't hear from Genius often. He's busy working, still programming driverless vehicles. Working from home comes with some distractions. He sent me a picture Tuesday afternoon.
"Garbage truck just caught fire outside our window."

"Maybe garbage truck fire is the new dumpster fire!"

Then Genius sent me a closeup of the side of the garbage truck:

"Your Trash is Our Gas is a rather unfortunate slogan in this light."

Genius said he was riding in a Tesla recently, and the driver asked the passengers if they wanted him to put it in the self-driving mode. Of course they did! Genius was not impressed.

"It made two lane changes without signaling, and almost hit a car during one of them. Then it tried to run through a red light, and the driver had to slam on the brakes."

Genius was appalled. He says that's what you get, when you try to add the self-driving feature later, and not build it from scratch, then manufacture the car around that technology. Or something like that.

Genius is braver than I am. I would not want to ride in a driverless car, or ever a drivered car on the driverless feature. Not even a driverless car programmed by Genius.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Pony is Happy As a Clam

It doesn't take much to please The Pony. He's not materialistic. He's satisfied with his Hick-renovated 100-year-old house. He doesn't need chandeliers or voice-activated appliances. He's content.

You might think that work would be drudgery for The Pony, who would rather be a-bed, playing computer games. The Pony has adapted to work. Sometimes a bit too much, I fear...

Tuesday, I got a text from The Pony at 1:30. I'd been worried about him in the heat, which was an unseasonable 94 degrees. No time to acclimatize for those postal workers.

"Today's going fast. It's hot, but they handed out cooling towels."

"Ooh. Cooling towels are the new heat packs!"

"Yeah, but reusable!"


"They're very large and a very nice blue."


Here's the thing. For The Pony to be so excited about a TOWEL given to him by his employer... well, that seems too close to Stockholm Syndrome for my comfort. To be thrilled at such a small gesture, such an insignificant perk, a not-too-costly freebie from his work-life captors.

The Pony is happy as a clam! Happy as a lark! Happy as a pig in s--- SLOP! Happy as a puppy with two p--- Okay. Proper decorum prevents me from sharing further hillbilly similes. But you get my drift. You're pickin' up what I'm layin' down.

That free cooling towel made The Pony's day.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Some People Are Such Rumpus Orifices!

Sunday afternoon, we had a downpour before I went to town. I'd checked the forecast, which called for temps in the low 80s, and perhaps some rain around 8:00 p.m. at a 60 percent chance. The rest of the day, the likelihood of precipitation was in the teens. Well. I was quite shocked to hear rain around 2:00, just before I got ready for town. Hick came home from his Storage Unit Store, and said there had been marble-size hail, and we were currently under a severe thunderstorm warning.

Huh. As if THAT was enough to keep me from town!

While I was changing, the wind started up, and I heard the rain pelting the side of the house, despite the overhang of the porch. Still, I was determined to go to town. By the time I left, the skies, had lightened, and the rain was a sprinkle.

Three miles from home, where the county blacktop road abuts the county lettered highway... I spied an unusual sight. Hick had made no mention of it when he got home 30 minutes earlier. I couldn't get a photo from that angle, but I got one on the way back home.

This is right off the well-traveled county lettered highway. You can see it passing by. Somebody pulled over there onto our blacktop county road, and dumped that old TV.

No. They were NOT being kind, offering a TV for free. If you want to do that, you set it at the end of your driveway. They were deliberately dumping trash on our rural road, rather than spending a couple bucks to dispose of it properly at the county landfill. 

Heh, heh. They probably spent more in gas to drive it out of town than they would have spent to drop it off at the landfill.

People are such rumpus orifices.

What they need is a stern talking-to from Seinfeld's Rebecca DeMornay character. Like when she declared the homeless didn't want Elaine's muffin stumps, and said she might as well drop off chicken skins and lobster shells. Or perhaps an outdated TV in a rainstorm...

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Hick Is Tickin' Me Off

Thursday morning, I was out of bed at 5:30 a.m. for a trip to the bathroom. It happens quite frequently these days. I was up again at 7:00 for the same purpose. While sitting on the throne, I glanced down at my right shin.
Huh. What was that, a piece of lint from my black Doc Ortho sock? It wasn't there at 5:30. And I had taken off my socks when I originally went to bed. I reached down to remove the little piece of lint, and discovered that 
Not just a tick sitting on my leg. A tick ATTACHED to my leg! It was already dug in! How had that happened in just a span of 90 minutes, while I was sleeping? In bed. Not out roaming the countryside full of weeds. 
I picked off the tick, which tried to run up my thumb. I caught him before he hit my wrist. For his trouble, he got wrapped in a square of toilet paper, and flushed. No. I don't pop those ticks between my thumbnails like some people prefer to dispose of them. And mummy-wrapped in that square of TP, I knew he couldn't swim to the side of the toilet and crawl up and bite my ample rumpus later.
Of course I told Hick he had infested the bed with ticks.
"No I didn't."
Said the man who mowed the yard, BARn field, and adjoining frontage, walked the dumpster back from the end of the driveway, worked five hours in the back yard of Pony House, and did a rural property walk-through with a realtor as a favor to Back-Creek Neighbor Bev. Suggesting that I must have picked up the tick from the dogs.
Hick also blamed the dogs for two ticks he found after grilling on Mother's Day, even though he never pets the dogs, and had been up to his Storage Unit Store at the flea market for six hours. 

"I gotta pick up some flea and tick medicine for them dogs."

I agree that the dogs need their flea and tick medicine. It's that time of year. But Hick also needs to realize that he's trolling through the yard and picking up ticks on his pants and shoes. 

The dogs aren't allowed in the bed, you know. Not even in the house.

OH NO! As I was typing this on Friday afternoon, I reached down to scratch an itch, and discovered ANOTHER tick next to my belly-button! I wonder when THAT ONE hopped on...

OH NO NO! After Hick went to bed Friday night, I was sitting on the short couch around 11:00, and bent over to scratch the back of my left ankle, and found ANOTHER tick hooked on! It was under the sock. Where did THIS ONE come from? I'd been to town, showered, put on new socks, and had most definitely not been back to bed. I suppose when Hick brought in his infestation, they hopped off his jeans while he was sitting in his recliner. Which is one end table away from the short couch.

That's 3 ticks attached to me in less than 48 hours! I know that I'm much sweeter than Hick, but he needs to keep his parasites to himself! He was walking around by POOLIO Friday evening, siphoning water off the cover, so he must have picked up a new batch. This is when I miss our flock of 33 free-roaming chickens.

Maybe Hick can buy ME a flea collar...

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Let's Celebrate Val's Silver COINiversary

This week was Val's silver anniversary. Not Val and Hick. Val and her current Future Pennyillionaire Fortune's third week of finding SILVER COINS!
Wednesday, May 11, I made an unscheduled stop at Orb K for scratchers. The plan was to get them at Casey's, but the parking situation was not conducive to T-Hoe's extra-large door having free rein to allow Val's knees to bend minimally upon egress and ingress. So Orb K it was, the last chance on the way home.
I knew right away this wasn't an ordinary penny!

It was a heads-up 2018 DIME! I guess I was meant to stop at Orb K instead of Casey's. 

THURSDAY, May 12, was errand day. I guess my old alma mater let out about 20 minutes early, perhaps it was their last day of school. Or the last day for seniors. Because the Sis-Town Casey's was packed with people, some of them a bit short in the tooth. I nabbed the last available gas pump for T-Hoe, and went in to pre-pay.

I was not being a creeper when I snapped this photo. That's a loose coin, by cracky! I can't speak for the looseness of the woman.

It was a 2005 DIME, upside-down, heads-up. Because of the Short-Toothers with no sense of personal space so close behind me, I had to turn sideways, lest I bump them with my ample rumpus as I bent over to pick it up.
From there I went to the bank, then the main post office to mail Genius's weekly letter, and on to Country Mart for their lottery machine.

On the way back to T-Hoe, way down at the end of the parking spaces, I barely spied a penny waiting for me!

There it is, on the concrete to the left of the yellow parking pole. Gotta look close at that little chameleon!

It was a face-down 1990 penny. Of course I stopped to pick it up! Why else was it in my path?
That's 3 COINS, for 21 CENTS this week towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune.


Penny          # 39.
Dime            # 7, 8.
Nickel          still at 1.
Quarter       still at 2.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6