Thursday, June 30, 2022

Will Genius Pick a Peck?

Genius is still toiling out on the North .40 with his pepper crop. He sent more pictures on Wednesday, from his balcony field.

"Got your letter. My plan is indeed to pickle some and freeze some of my extra peppers. Plus hot sauce."

"My two other varieties are also starting to fruit! This one is a Tabasco."

"They look healthy. City air must agree with them."

"These are all Cayennes."
"Hope you can pick a peck for pickling peppers! Though not the Cayennes."
"The Tabascos will be the best pickled, I think. I plan to make a sweet chili sauce with the Cayennes. The Habaneros will probably be my hot sauce base."
"You are spicier than me!" 

"I'm just hoping they have time to ripen and stay healthy. Had a pest scare with aphids a couple weeks ago that I got under control quickly. But the two Habenero plants have been wilty for the last week or so and I can't figure out why."

"All I can think of is water. Too much or too little. Are they desert plants?"

"They don't like to be too wet, but they aren't quite desert plants. Watering helped at first and they perked back up for a day or so, but now they are sad again and they're too wet to water again so soon."

"They will make you worry over their health like a toddler!"

"They also perk up in the shade in the later half of the day, but if anything they already get not quite enough sun on the balcony, so I don't think that's it."

"Fertilizer? Like a plant spike?"

"That last watering also included fertilizer. I didn't expect a solution from you, haha, just complaining."

"I hope they pull through."

Well. I am a bit insulted that Genius doesn't think I can diagnose why his peppers are under-the-weather! It will be interesting to see what he makes of his harvest.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Has The Pony's Luck Run Out?

The Pony sent me a picture on Saturday afternoon, the day he returned to work after two days off, and his big jackpot at the casino.

"I'd get a lottery ticket if my plans weren't to go home, take a very cold shower, and crash because of this heat."

"Oh my gosh! That's retroactive casino luck! Want me to get you a ticket when I go to town?"

"Yeah. Are those $10 tickets with the 7 still a thing? One of those would probably be the best bet."

"Yes. With the flames? I'll get you a $10 sevens ticket. Symbolic for the flaming heat?"

"And, yknow, 7s."

DUH. Sometimes Val can be so dense! FYI, many casinos list their address as '777' something boulevard. Lucky sevens. Like the lyric in the Alabama song Dixieland Delight: "Lucky as a seven..."
This picture was from a Metris van, not an LLV (Long Life Vehicle). The Pony said they got in a bunch of the Metris vans recently. Hopefully to replace some LLVs! Anyhoo... that was 777 actual miles on it when he took that picture around 3:00 on Saturday. Here's a YouTube video of the USPS Metris from 2020, if you're interested in a tour inside and out. It's 6 minutes long.

Anyhoo... I got that ticket for The Pony. He just scratched it when he came out yesterday. LOSER! Oh, and he showed me another picture from a work vehicle:

"That's what the previous driver left for me! An apple core! It's so desiccated that it has almost disappeared. I'm not touching that thing!"
"Is that on the floor?"
"NO! It's in the little cubby thing on the dash!"
Again, this was in a Metris, not an LLV (Long Life Vehicle). Heh, heh. That apple core would probably be the nicest and newest thing found inside an LLV. Almost like a decoration.

Poor Pony. He's not lucky as a seven anymore.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Hick Daddy To the Rescue

The Pony can't outrun Even Steven. His Rogue's air conditioner has been broken for a week. But then he hit that casino jackpot for $2,392.51. He got two days off in a row. Then Even Steven came calling again. Saturday, The Pony didn't get off work until 8:30.

"Just clocked out. Not feeling great."

I missed the text, until 45 minutes later. My darn cracked phone didn't make a noise. I really need to see if the phone I want is in stock now. Anyhoo... I sent a return text at 9:17.

"Feeling better now?"

"Ehh. Headache and I don't have anything for it."

"Do you want me to get you some ibuprofen? We have that giant bottle that you put over the microwave when you and Dad installed the new one. I can send Dad over with them in the morning, before he opens his Storage Unit Store."

"If he was coming by, that would be good. I'll be at work by 8:00 though."

"He can bring some now! He just volunteered when I asked about tomorrow. I'll put some of the acetaminophen from the other giant bottle in with them."
"Nah. I'll be fine until morning I think. Making some pasta, then I'm gonna sleep."
"He will bring it now."
"No! He doesn't have to! I don't want to make him drive out this late!"
"He wants to!"
"He doesn't need to!"
"He's getting ready."
"OK. Tell him I'll have the front porch light on and door unlocked for him."
"Write the date on the bottle. It's an old one. And Dad is not wearing a shirt. Don't be afraid!" 

"OK. I just feel bad for making him come out."

"I wish I'd seen your text earlier. My phone was sitting right by me. No notification."

So off Hick went, wearing only cargo shorts and his camouflage Crocs. To deliver over-the-counter meds to The Pony, who gets migraines if he doesn't jump on a headache right away. At 9:57, The Pony said:

"He got it to me."

"Hope it makes you feel better. He's a good dad."

"He is. I still feel bad that he drove out here this late though."

"As long as you thanked him, he'll be fine."

"I did. I'm pretty sure, and I gave him a hug."

When Hick returned, he went straight to bed, to get his beauty sleep before opening his Storage Unit Store the next morning. He's usually in bed by 9:00. But not when The Pony needs him.

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Pony Crosses the Finish Line in the Lead

It was 12:30 when Hick stopped by to tell me he was ready to leave the casino. The Pony was somewhere in the maze of slots behind me. I bargained with Hick for a little more time, since The Pony and I were having fun, and had money left to gamble. Hick grumpily agreed to 1:15 as our departure time. I said I'd tell The Pony, since he checks in with me more often than with Hick. AND The Pony checks his texts.

The Pony passed by around 12:45, and said he was going back to play his favorite Brazil game on the Wonder 4 Spinning Fortunes over by the opposite wall. I told him I'd work my way over there, but that we had to leave at 1:15 to meet Hick by the door. 

Since I move slower than Uncle Joe at Petticoat Junction, it took me a while to meet up with The Pony. In fact, it was 1:00 when I got there.

"I can't believe we have to go so soon! I still have slots I want to play."

"I know!"

"And I have money left to gamble! I could play this game for a while, but NO, we have to leave too soon."

I was playing Buffalo Gold at the slot on the left end, the #1 slot of those four. The Pony had saved it for me, since he was playing #2. As I had caned over there, I saw The Pony glancing over his shoulder looking for me. Hick was grousing around in parts unknown.

"What time is it NOW, Pony?"


"Crap! I'm going to play faster! Gotta get as much gambling in as I can!"

"I'm going to raise my bet to MAX."

"Whatever works for you. I'm keeping mine the same. Just faster."

At 1:10, The Pony hit a bonus. It was the SUPER FREE games, meaning he got to play all four screens. And he was on a $10 bet!

"Um. Mom? I just hit a hand pay! This one screen alone is over $1,400!"

"OH CRAP! You don't have your ID! I hope they don't deny you the jackpot! You know how it always says any malfunction voids all pays. What if they use NO ID as an excuse not to pay you?"

"I don't know. There's nothing I can do."

"When they come over, just act normal! When they get to the part about seeing your ID, search all around, like you have it, but then can't find it."

"I have my WORK ID. And my old license before I renewed it..."

"Nope. I could jump over there and act like I was playing it, but there are cameras all over. You can bet they'll review the camera before they pay. To see who was sitting there when the bonus hit. So that would put us in even more hot water."

The Pony let his bonus play out. Then the screen went gray, and the loud JACKPOT kind of music started playing.
"Yeah. I'll just act like I'm looking for my license. It says CALL ATTENDANT. Do I need to push that button for SERVICE?"

"No. They'll know! Believe me, everything is monitored. They'll be here. Looks like we're not going to be meeting Dad at 1:15. I better call him. He never looks at his texts."

I called Hick, who was less than thrilled to hear that The Pony was getting a hand pay. 

In case you can't see the amount there in the line where it says "You have won a JACKPOT," it was $2,392.51.
"I'm sorry that's so loud, Mom. I had the volume down to MINIMUM, but it just did this on its own."

"Yeah. They do that on purpose. They want everybody to hear when there's a hand pay, because it makes people think THEY can win one, and maybe they'll gamble more!"

The attendants showed up, two gals who congratulated The Pony, then fiddled with the machine to stop the music. Attendant 1 started getting The Pony's information.

"What do you want to do about taxes?"

"I don't know. I don't know anything about taxes!"

"You probably want to have them all held out right now. Then you won't have to worry about it at tax time."

"Yeah. I should do that."

"Okay, so you want both federal and state held out of your jackpot?"


"I'll need to see your ID."

"Sure." The Pony dug around. Pulled out stuff. A $5 bill fell to the floor.

"Oh! Don't lose your money!"

"It's just a five. I'll get it in a minute. Huh. I don't think I have my driver's license with me. I have my work ID. I work for the post office. And I have my old license. And I have a picture of my current driver's license on my phone. Is that good enough?"

"No. We need the actual license. Are you sure you don't have it?"

"Yeah. I'm sure..."

"Okay. Let's get all the other information. We'll do the paperwork. Get your picture. Then we'll issue you a voucher for the money, and you can come back to get it when you have your ID."

"Oh! Is there a time limit on that? Like, can he come back tomorrow?"

"He can come back TODAY if he wants. Do you live far away?"

"An hour. I'll probably come back tomorrow."

Anyhoo... it took a long time to get all that info together. Hick was sitting to my left, at another bank of slots. You'll never find a bigger fun-sucker than Hick in a casino after he's spent his money.

"I think I'll just go out to the car and wait."

"It's 97 degrees! Why would you do that?"

"I can sit out there as well as I can sit in here. I'll run the air conditioner."

"GAS? That's just stupid. It won't hurt you to sit here with us."

Seriously. How could Hick not be THRILLED for The Pony's hand pay? Then we all discussed The Pony's return. Which meant in his no-AC Rogue. I had volunteered to ride up there with him the next day, because it's Hick's Storage Unit Store day. But I wouldn't do it with no AC. So we agreed that The Pony could drive A-Cad. But then Hick said:

"I'll bring him back up this afternoon. To get it over with."

Which is what eventually happened, after a stop for lunch on the way home, and The Pony driving his no-AC Rogue back to Pony House for his license.

"I'm going to leave my voucher here in the Acadia while I go get my license. Because I wouldn't want to get back up there and not have my voucher..."
The Pony gladly paid for our lunch and gas.

The amount The Pony cleared from his $2,392.51 jackpot was $1,722.51. They told him the voucher was good for five years! I can't imagine anybody waiting that long to claim a jackpot.

A hand pay is any jackpot $1,200.00 or higher. You can get $1,199.99, with nobody being the wiser. But for $1,200.00 or higher, the amount must be reported by the casino, for tax purposes. Anything less, and you're on your own to report it as income.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Pony Makes a False Start

The Pony has been wanting to go to the casino where we took Genius back in May. He's never been there before, and has been waiting for two days off in a row, so he could still have a day of rest. Thursday was the day chosen for this adventure, with Friday the recovery day.

We decided to leave at 9:00. The Pony drove his broken-AC Rogue out to our house around 8:30. I had sent him a text at 7:45, just to see if he was up. Sometimes he sleeps in on a day off. Yes. He said he was up and getting ready to start out here at 8:15.

Hick spent an hour rider-mowing the yard while waiting. Because of course you want to head to the casino in brown plaid shorts, a gray shirt, and some grass clippings on your shoes. We left right at 9:00, and got there at 10:00. Hick dropped off me (and my cane), and The Pony, near the door and then drove to park. We were on a brick walkway, off to the side of the north entrance.

"Okay Pony. I'm going to carry my cane until I need it. We'll go on in and play, since Dad said we don't have to wait for him. Do you have your ID ready?"

The Pony got a deer-in-the-headlights expression.

"Um. I might not have it?"

"What do you mean, you MIGHT NOT HAVE IT? That's not a question! Do you have it, or not?"

"I don't have it. It's at home."

"Pony! What are you going to do, sit in the car for hours? You have to have an ID to get in! I guess we'll all just go back home. Dad is not going to be happy. Now we have to wait for him to walk up here."

I don't know why I didn't think about calling Hick. I was still so discombobulated over The Pony driving an hour to the casino WITHOUT HIS ID. 

"You know they'll ask. When we were here with Genius and Friend, THEY had to stop and show ID. And they're older than you!"

"I know..."
"How could you forget it? I should have asked you when I texted, but you always say, 'MOTHER, I am not an idiot!' So it wasn't worth it. Where IS your ID?"
"I know. I DO sound kind of like Genius treats you when you ask me stuff like that. I just didn't bring that billfold with my driver's license in it."

[Let the record show that like I have a separate gambling purse and money earmarked for that, The Pony also has a casino bankroll, and doesn't play out of his regular money. Besides, he was getting money at our house from the two $100 scratchers winners he'd left there for a couple months, waiting for me to cash them in for him for a casino trip.]

"Well. We'll go on and walk in, and let them officially deny you. It's air conditioned, anyway. And by that time, Dad will be up here. I'm going to use my cane. You just walk alongside me. I'll go through the turnstile thingies off to the side of the ID checker, and you just keep walking with me until they call you back to show ID. Of course we're here at a time when they're not busy!"

Off we went. As we rounded the little curve and got in sight of the main doors, I was leaning heavily on my cane. Walking slowly. At least the slowly part was not an act. I was headed to the center of the entrance, and then realized it was the big revolving door.
"What am I thinking! I can't go through a revolving door! Here. Let's go to this one over here on the right."
The Pony solicitously opened the first glass door and held it for me. I caned through. Then he opened the second glass door. In my peripheral vision, I could tell that the guy standing at the ID checking podium was watching us. I chatted with The Pony about the direction we'd be heading to find the slot machine he'd been yearning to play. I was between the Podium Guy and The Pony. I went through the the turnstile, with The Pony passing through another on my right. We kept slow-walking and chatting.


"Oh my gosh! I can't believe we just pulled that off. Keep going!"

"I know! That sign said to get in line to show ID if you're under 30. So I can act like I just didn't see it, since I was helping you."

"You won't really need it unless you get a hand pay, since we're not going out the other side to the restaurants. You're in. So nobody will ask. They never do here. I wonder what Dad will say."

"Don't tell Dad!"

"Okay. I guess he doesn't need to know that we almost had to go back home."

We went to The Pony's desired slot, the Wonder 4 Spinning Fortunes. That's the kind of slot I won my $8,600 on, at a different casino, which has since removed their bank of four of these machines. Now were were headed for four of them here. I'd won  my jackpot playing Buffalo Gold. The Pony likes the Brazil game. Each of these slots have four games to choose from, the other two being Whales of Cash, and Wild Leprecoins.

Of course there was a dude playing the #2 slot in the row of four. We don't like sitting by people! The Pony said I could go ahead and play, and he sat down at a Buffalo Chief slot right by them. I played at the #4 slot. Which took my money really fast, and gave me NOTHING in return!

"I'm going somewhere else. It's not hitting. If this guy leaves, text me, and we'll play. Or you can go play that one I was just on."

Off I went. I could see The Pony move to play the #4 slot. Then I meandered on around to a Wonder 4 Tall Fortunes to play Miss Kitty, who gave me a bonus quickly. 
It was the good bonus! Giving me the ability to build up the tower. I got all the way to the top. Not a great win, but enough that I cashed out at $80, to start my "savings" ticket. That's what I do. Put the good wins on a ticket, so I always leave with something, even if I play away the bankroll I brought that I was willing to risk. I never play off the ticket. Only put it in to add on a new bonus.
By the time I wondered back over to check on The Pony, HICK was sitting at slot #3! What a shocker. Hick never bets that much. The minimum on that slot is $1 bet, IF you play Whales of Cash. Hick had a mixture of the games, betting over $1 a spin. The Pony said Hick was having fun, and had played a long time on $20. That Dude was still there, standing behind slots #1 and #2, still playing. So I left again.
The Pony and Hick joined me later, and we all played a Luxury Line slot. The Pony played the Buffalo version, and hit a $170 jackpot. Hick and I were on the Timber Wolf version. I hit one that paid just under $100. I cashed out $80 onto my "savings" ticket. Hick was getting some play, but had only won $15 at the highest. We left him there, and went deeper into the casino. The Pony played some Egyptian theme slot, then found me at a Wonder 4 Jackpots playing Miss Kitty. Yes! I love my Wonder 4 games.

Poor Pony. He was waiting on me to walk back around to near where we came in, so I could play Wonder 4 BOOST. But I said I wouldn't leave until I got to a multiple of $20 on my "savings" ticket I had put in to gather up some of my winnings there. Wouldn't you know it! I hit a bonus while trying to do that.

Yes. I hit the JACKPOT jackpot for Miss Kitty. Which was $240.95, then I got my 10 free games. THEN I had to play that off to a multiple of $20, heh, heh. The Pony was okay with that.

We walked over to my Wonder 4 BOOST, which is where I encountered the MANSPREADER. I gave all the games a try on it except for Rhino, which I don't like. The only one that was giving anything back was Whales of Cash. I played it on $2 a spin, which was 50 cents a game, since those Wonder 4 slots let you play four games at a time. I hit a Super Free Games bonus, which meant I got to play all four screens in it, instead of just one:

The best part about my bonus was one screen within those 15 spins. A screen that paid me $6.00 x 16, which was $96 out of that whole $124.40 bonus!

Those whales act as wilds, and in the bonus are also 4x multipliers. So I had four clams, times 16. Which was $96. Take THAT, you MANSPREADER! The meek shall inherit the clams.

Anyhoo... I was having a great time, and building up my "savings" ticket. It wasn't all profit, since I was still spending my casino bankroll. But I was ahead. The Pony was doing okay, and also having fun. But then Hick appeared at my left elbow, saying he had spent all he wanted to spend. You know what THAT means, right? It means everyone has to leave, because HICK is ready to leave!

TO BE CONTINUED... as The Pony's lack of ID returns to bite him on the rumpus.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Val COINtinues Her Future Pennyillionaire Quest

There was moderate luck in the penny search this week.
SATURDAY, June 18, I parked T-Hoe in the blazing heat on the blacktop parking lot of Country Mart. Upon sliding out, I turned to see that I was meant to have my favorite parking space.
See that unraised tent in the far background? It's fireworks-selling time in Backroads! There's a time limit on sales. I think they couldn't open until 11 days before July 4th. Not sure. Didn't look it up.

It was a face-down 1998 penny, all brilliant in the sun. Lucky I didn't get 3rd-degree burns from picking it up! And that it didn't burn a hole in my shirt pocket and fall out. I think the temp was 99 that day.

SUNDAY, June 19, I was back at the Liquor Store. Good thing I'm not still teaching. There might be rumors of my alcoholism, heh, heh. Even thought I only buy scratchers. One of my colleagues could never live it down after he was seen in the beer tent at the local Labor Day Picnic. That's why I would never even buy Hick's beer in Walmart. He had to get it himself. Tongues gonna wag!

Sorry to make you feel like you're on a listing pirate ship! I don't remember holding my phone at such a weird angle. But this reminds me... when I last bought Hick's Wild Turkey in Country Mart, I noticed a humorous (to me) product nearby. It was like a knock-off of Captain Morgan's Rum, with the name of Sailor Jerry. Heh, heh! I thought that was clever, and even The Pony, a rum-drinker occasionally, had a chuckle when I told him.

This was a heads-up 2019. Take my word for it. Not a pretty penny. I wish my phone could either consistently take terrible pictures like this one, or fantastic pictures like the previous penny. The inconsistency drives me crazy. I don't know whether to remain optimistic, or resigned.

WEDNESDAY, I did my errands a day early, to free up Thursday for a casino trip. I found no pennies over in Sis-Town, but back in Backroads, a stop by the Casey's netted me a copper.

No, I was not trying to get all artsy-fartsy with the framing. That lady kept moving, and I was lucky to capture my distant view of that penny.

It was a heads-up 2006 penny. Mine for the taking.

Almost-next-door at the Gas Station Chicken Store, I found another!

I don't find many coins at the Gas Station Chicken Store. I guess people are more careful of their money there, or use them to add towards their 10:00 a.m. whiskey purchase.

This was a heads-up 2012 penny, though it looked like it had accumulated many more years of filth.

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


Penny          # 52, 53, 54, 55.
Dime            still at 8.
Nickel          still at 3.
Quarter       still at 5.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, June 24, 2022

Manspreaders Gonna Manspread

Val is usually pretty even-keeled in public. She doesn't like to make a scene. No center of attention for our ample-rumpused, lovely-lady-mullet-sporting gal. But sometimes, it's really HARD to maintain a neutral countenance.
Thursday, The Pony wanted to go to the casino where we took Genius when he was here in May. The Pony has never been to that one, due to his age, and then the VIRUS making a good time more difficult. So we hit the road bright and early in cool A-Cad, and not in The Pony's broken-AC Rogue.
A good time was had by most. Story to follow on Sunday and Monday. However... Val had an issue. A VALID issue. One should reasonably expect to sit at a slot machine and play unmolested, un-encroached-upon. Val was batting .500 on that expectation.

Yep. There I was, having a good ol' time, drinking my free Diet Coke with a dash of lemonade, playing away on Whales of Cash on a Wonder 4 Boost, on the end seat that I prefer... when a MAN sat down next to me. I do mean NEXT to me! Almost ON me! 
So I stabbed with my cane and yelled at the louse, "HEY! What gives you the right?"
No. I didn't really. But I WANTED TO! Look at that hairy knee that does NOT belong to VAL!  It is definitely within my space! Nothing prevented him from fitting under his own slot machine! Nobody was in the way. There were four slot machines in that row. I was in #1, he chose to squeeze into #2. See the PLAY button? I had to reach over his knee to push it! But I was too smart for that! I just pushed the button where you choose the amount of the bet, right in front of me. 

I did not take that weirdo's bait. I ignored him until he left. I think my string of bonuses might have discouraged him from continued play.

Don't get me wrong. I WANTED to scream at that guy. Jab my cane down hard on his toe as I stood up and swung my ample rumpus toward him. But I was winning! So I endured. I had a little fantasy to keep me calm.
Whine, whine, everywhere a whine, echoing the casino, speaking Val's mind.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

FedEx Shenanigans in Outer Backroadsia

On my way home Tuesday, I met a FedEx truck coming down the hill as I was ascending the peak approaching Mailbox Row. I moved over to make sure it had room. There's a big drop-off on that side, even worse than the area on my side where Hick parked SilverRedO in the snow on the day of my release from my Unfortunate HospitVALzation.

In my mirror, I saw that FedEx truck put on the brakes. Stop. The backup lights came on. What in the Not-Heaven? There's only one driveway in that area. Surely he couldn't have passed the ONLY driveway while listening to his directions. I didn't see that truck actually pull into a driveway. It was just backing up in the road before I lost sight of it.

Wednesday, again on the way home, I was crossing the long bridge just before my turn onto the county blacktop road, when I saw TWO FedEx trucks coming towards me. They put on their signals, and went down that very blacktop road.

Why would we need TWO big boxy Fed Ex trucks, at the same time, delivering on our blacktop road? Was somebody mail-ordering a house? They were moving at a fast clip, and lost me on the curves. Until they didn't. 

I came up over one of the roller-coastery hills, and saw both those FedEx trucks parked. In my lane. Flashers on. It's not like I could go around them, because in the oncoming lane was ANOTHER FedEx truck, parked, flashers on. AND the driver was not even in it! The driver, a slip of a red-headed girl, was standing in the "yard" of a house on that side, talking to several folks sitting on a couch on the porch. 

The two FedEx trucks ahead of me started moving. I guess the lead one could see over that hilltop, and the second FedEx truck followed. I, however, could see nothing but the crest of the hill. Such a decision. Sit there in T-Hoe indefinitely until the chatty redhead moved the parked FedEx truck. Or creep over the hill, hoping nobody on the other side was tired of waiting, and had steered their vehicle into MY lane to go around.

I chose to creep over. Slowly. Ready to ditch T-Hoe if need be. By driving him into the ditch, of course, not ditching him by jumping out! 

Lucky for me, nothing was coming the other way. I got over that hill, and saw, at the bottom of the next one, those two FedEx trucks parked in the road down by the low-water bridge that floods all the time, in the area where a baby muskrat likes to frolic. The drivers got out. One stood between the trucks. The other walked around to the wooded side.

I tried to call Hick, who had sent me a text that he was leaving for town. I didn't want him driving up over the hill and hitting that parked FedEx truck! By the time my call went through, here came SilverRedO down the hill I was ascending towards Mailbox Row. I warned him that there were two FedEx trucks on the muskrat playground, and one waiting over the next hill.

When Hick returned from town, he said that as he went through, all THREE FedEx trucks were parked on the muskrat playground. He thought they were going to transfer packages.

I've seen them parked at the end of our blacktop road before, out by the long bridge, truck-butt to truck-butt, transferring packages. Why they'd go a mile or more down into the middle of nowhere on a curvy hilly blacktop road to do that is BEEEYOOOOOND ME! 

The Pony has said that sometimes he and his PO brethren meet to transfer mail. But they do it on a residential street where there is parking. I don't expect FedEx to drive another whole TWO MILES into town to transfer their rural packages. But they were already over a mile down into the middle of nowhere, causing possible accidents. So there's that...

Just one more reason for me to dislike FedEx. As if tearing up our yard, calling us a business, and saying we were closed for a holiday so they kept the package on the truck, were not enough.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Somebody Puts Hick in a Corner...of the Dog House

Hick should probably build a dog house over on Shackytown Boulevard. Build it three or four stories tall. A high-rise dog house. He might as well be comfortable. I'm not the only one to put Hick in the dog house. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Tuesday evening, Hick was rummaging around in FRIG II for his Chinese leftovers of Hunan Chicken. Offhandedly, he said over his shoulder:

"When Pony and me went to Captain D's on Sunday, I brought home two hush puppies."

Aw. Dear, sweet Hick! He was going to offer me his leftover hush puppies. I composed my face so if he turned around, I could look truly surprised at his generosity, and accept graciously.

"I was planning to give them to Jack and Juno [ :( ] but I forgot them in the truck. This morning on the way out to Bev's house, Old Buddy saw them on the floorboard--"

"OH NO!"

"Yeah. And when we got there, he gave them to Bev's dog."

"Whew! I was afraid you were going to say Old Buddy ATE them! Like The Pony's 2nd Bestie, who ate that year-old chocolate chip cookie she found on the floor of his car!"

"No. He just fed them to Bev's dog. But Bev saw him, and had a fit! She started lecturing us. 'How DARE you give my dog food! If you feed her table scraps, she will never eat her dog food!' She really carried on about it, and we had to apologize and promise never to do it again."

Let the record show that this is the dog WE KEPT FOR BEV while she was between campgrounds, living in her camper. And also the same dog who BIT Hick in the early days of working on Bev's new used house. Hick didn't have a fit over THAT! 
So you'd think Bev might cut him some slack over two hush puppies. What in the Not-Heaven? It's not like they fed her dog dried-out splintery chicken leg bones, or a whole turkey carcass five days after Thanksgiving. I doubt that dog's appetite was spoiled. She's a DOG, by cracky! I know people are protective of their pets, but perhaps Bev could have handled the issue a bit more diplomatically.

Considering all the figurative fires Hick has put out for Bev lately, she might want to choose a better battle.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A New Menu at the Casino

Last Tuesday, Hick had business down in Casino Town. He let me know the night before, in case I wanted to ride along. Of course I did! He dropped me off, and then came back after meeting with his pawn shop lady. 
We headed to the grill and partook of the new menu. Let the record show that their prices have gone up, and their portions have been reduced! I used to get the pound of catfish nuggets, which are now 3/4 of a pound. That alone would not have kept me from ordering. I just wanted to try a new item: the Smokehouse Burger.

It's a 6 oz burger, 4 oz brisket, BBQ sauce, 2 onion rings, on a toasted wheat bun. I left off the jalapenos. I made it a combo, with a drink and tater tots. They only gave about half the amount of tater tots I used to get with a combo. They were kind of overcooked, or fried in old oil. I was disappointed. I love my crispy tater tots.

That's a closeup. I must say, that brisket burger was delicious! I took the onion rings off to eat separately, because they were so fat. They were tasty, except for one bite...

A long piece of ONION SKIN pulled out of the breading! I don't mind using the onion all the way to the outer ring, but I draw the line at eating the SKIN! I also draw the line at eating tater tots fried in old oil.

Yes. I didn't finish my tots. I didn't mean to waste the ketchup. It would have come out right if I ate all the tots. Don't worry about Val accidentally losing a pound! I still ate all the brisket burger!

Hick had the new Shrimp Po' Boy and fries. And a Cookies and Cream Pie, but you've seen that before. It's off to the side.

Sorry. Were you distracted by Hick's shirt? Before we left, I asked if he was sure he wanted to wear it. Yep. He said it's some kind of NASCAR shirt he got while visiting his brother in Las Vegas. I told him it reminds me of the eyeball monster shirt that Beaver Cleaver wore to school and got in trouble.

Hick enjoyed his Shrimp Po' Boy, but not so much all the lettuce and bread. I think that lettuce looks like the fake parsley that separates cuts of meat in the grocery store cooler. Hick gave me his leftover fries, and the tomato slice he didn't want.

I tried the tomato, but it was tasteless. I tried one of the fries, but Hick had ruined them with pepper! Anyhoo... we both enjoyed our sandwiches, and agreed that we would have them again.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Toiling Out On the North .40

I got a text from Genius on Sunday. Hick got a Father's Day phone call, but he did NOT get a picture.
"My pepper plants on the balcony are growing their first peppers!"
"What kind are they?"
"These are habaneros. I have two other varieties growing - Tabascos and cayennes - that aren't fruiting yet."
"I THOUGHT they looked too shrivelly to be bell peppers."
"Yeah, habaneros always have that shrivelly look to them."
[Let the record show that I was relieved to find out these were habaneros, and NOT bell peppers from which Genius was withholding water like a 1960s football coach denying his players at 2-a-days in August!]
"I am impressed by your green thumb."
"These aren't actually *quite* habaneros, they're red habaneros, which are in the same family, but a slightly different variety that should be a little less spicy. In theory, they grow better in this area, so I planted them instead."
"Any tomatoes? A person gave Pony a tomato while delivering the mail."
"No tomatoes - I am not a big tomato fan and didn't want to use any of my very limited space on them! Though I will probably have far more peppers than I can possibly use!"
"At least you're not growing zucchini. They would take over the city!"
"Squash is the same way. Maybe once I have more space to grow them in."
"You could refer to your balcony as The North .40..."
Leave it to Genius to take up farming in the heart of Pittsburgh. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

The Pony Continues to Reap the Benefits of His Vocation

Thursday, The Pony sent me a text, and shared a photo with me. 

"Today's weird thing: a house gave me a tomato."

"Heh, heh! I LOVE tomatoes! Don't waste it!"

"Gotta figure out something to have it with when I go shopping. Did you get the picture? It's a BIG tomato!"
Nice tomato! I'm sure The Pony could dice it up and use it in a taco or burrito. He likes that stuff. Looks like he has a few days to decide, while it ripens.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

The Rumpus COINS

Other People's Rumpuses! That should be the title, but it needs a coin reference. I am not pleased with the update that overtook my laptop HIPPIE! It's crap! I can't open the pictures in PAINT. And the new cropping feature is pitiful!

SUNDAY, June 12, I was rewarded at my faithful Liquor Store when I stopped for scratchers.

My apologies to this lady's rumpus. I only wanted a photo of the penny at her feet.

It was a heads-up 1992 version, waiting for me under the counter.

FRIDAY, June 17, I was back at the Liquor Store. Perhaps I have a problem... Anyhoo, I was thrilled to see another present left just for me.

No, it wasn't that man's rumpus! It was the penny at his foot.

It was a heads-up 2014 penny. I wish my dang laptop had not updated, and perhaps you would have had a more aesthetically-pleasing view of this penny after I cropped the photo.

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


Penny          # 50, 51.
Dime            still at 8.
Nickel          still at 3.
Quarter       still at 5.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, June 17, 2022

Wednesday, 12:33 A.M.

A woman knows the sound of her house. A house built by her husband, and lived in for the past 25 years. The metallic clang, when trod upon, of the ductwork too close to the floorboards at the juncture of the kitchen/living room. The squeak of the floorboards under the kitchen linoleum at the end of the counter. The squeal of the opening kitchen door. The pops and cracks and clunks of FRIG II's icemaker.
A woman also knows the sound of something in her house that is not explainable by human standards.
Our house is built on solid rock. We had to blast rock to get our basement. Our phone line runs through a shallow trench to the pole, barely covered by dirt. Even the sinkholes up by the road are not crumbly. They have solid rock sides, having been formed long ago. Our house does not settle. We sit on solid rock. Never even had a basement leak.
When Genius was in his early teens, he and Hick updated the boys bathroom to reflect Genius's like of hockey. It has some memorabilia that Hick gathered from somewhat famous players at assorted tool shows he attended for work. Hick kept the NASCAR stuff for himself, but gave the hockey stuff to Genius. He also found some pieces at auctions. There's a little shadow box thingy that holds the smaller items, like a puck. There's a towel rack made of a hockey stick. They did the floor in shiny whiteboard, with colored tape and stencils marking it like a hockey rink. Then put some kind of sealer on it, that has yellowed a bit with age. That floor is slippery in socks! You might as well be a novice on ice.

Anyhoo... Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, at 12:33 a.m., I was sitting on the short couch, watching a marathon of Chrisley Knows Best. And I heard it.


Of course there were no boys living here to enter that bathroom. Hick was asleep in the master bedroom at the other end of the house, with the door closed. NOBODY was walking into that bathroom.

The sound was just like when a person steps in there. Not a clunky tread from shoe soles. Not a creak of the floor. Just the sound of someone stepping on that surface. Like a crackle as the weight is transferred onto the foot. I heard it once. LOUD. Then again. Just as loud.


Would you? I didn't want to see anything in there. I just said out loud, 
"Oh no. Let's not do this."

That was it. Only those two steps. I guess now that The Pony has moved most of his beauty product bottles out of the shower and off the sink, there's nothing much to fling around in there. The couple that are left are mostly empty. Not so dramatic to fling.

I'm going to be really upset if that bottle-flinging starts up again, now that I've mentioned it!

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Continued Coverage of Hick

Hick is still at it, taking care of problems created by other people who THINK they know what they're doing, but have no idea.
Again, he was at the other middle of nowhere, working at Back-Creek Neighbor Bev's new used house. I forget his original purpose there that day. Perhaps running some electrical lines in the basement, or perhaps water lines. Also advising Bev and Nick to get a professional waterproofing company down there, rather than just painting the walls with water repellent. 
Anyhoo... Hick was stopped at the kitchen door by a new refrigerator. Bev wanted a gas-powered refrigerator, so she can live off-the-grid if the power goes down. But she was frantic that day, because "The refrigerator won't fit in the house!"
The fridge was sitting on the back porch, which had been enclosed to make a room. This must have been common back in the day, since both my grandpa and grandma had these rooms at the back of their houses, just off the kitchen. 

"I don't know what you're talking about, Bev. That refrigerator will fit. I measured it. Your door is 31 and 1/4 inches wide, and the refrigerator is 30 and 1/2 inches. There's 3/4 inch to spare!"

"Well, we tried to move it in, and it won't fit!"

"How did you and Nick get it this far? I know it got delivered to your neighbor."

"We took the truck over and loaded it with the dolly. Then drove it here and unloaded it. We didn't have any trouble getting it in the back door. Nick pulled the dolly up the stairs, and I stayed at the bottom and pushed."

"Yeah. That back door is 36 inches. And that's a good dolly, with the strap. Why can't you get it in THIS door?"

"It's not big enough!"

Hick measured again, and in doing so, saw a latch that was sticking out from the door frame. Like to put a padlock on. He and his buddy pulled out the four nails holding the latch, took it off, then moved the refrigerator in.

Another problem solved by Hick.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Hick Has Got THIS Covered, Too. Althought Not Efficiently.

We picked up Domino's pizza on Sunday. The Pony tipped us off to a half-price special that was ending. We won't get it otherwise. Not worth the price.
Anyhoo... we had pizza left over. I warmed it in the oven Monday evening. Hick ate in his recliner in the living room. I was sitting at the kitchen table. Not because I'm a refined lady, but because that's where my laptop HIPPIE is set up. Hick came back to the kitchen too soon, with his plate.
"Didn't you eat it all?"
"No. I'm full. I've got two pieces left."
"Are you saving it?"
Hick rummaged around behind the wastebasket, in that little alcove under the kitchen counter that was made for a dishwasher. He got the pizza box he had stashed back there until time to take out the trash.
"You're using that big box to put 2 slices of pizza in the fridge?"
"You COULD put it in foil, you know. Not the GOOD foil, the non-stick kind. The cheaper foil."
Hick got out the good foil. Hmpf-ed. Put it back. Got out the cheaper foil. And pulled out a giant section and tore it off. About 18 inches worth.
"Seriously? Why would you need THAT MUCH foil for 2 slices of pizza?"
"It's not too much."
Hick laid the foil on the cutting block. Then put the 2 slices on it side by side.
"Or you COULD put one on top of the other, which would use a lot less foil."
"Okay. I can do that."
Hick stacked one slice on top of the other. Not lining up the shapes. But with the crust of one opposite the crust of the other. Thus making a lumpy rectangle, rather than a simple triangle.

I don't know how the builder of Shackytown Boulevard can be so oblivious. I would have suggested one of our Chinese Tupperware containers, but I was afraid he might fold the pizza if it didn't fit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Hick Has It Covered

Once Hick retired, I thought he was no longer on call. I thought wrong. Remember how Hick has been doing work on the new used house of Back-Creek Neighbors Bev and Nick? And how he saved them from a propane explosion by fixing something the gas man should have done, and made their toilet work by fixing something the septic tank man should have done?
Saturday evening, before leaving for the auction, Hick got a phone call. Of course I was nosy. I'm a wife. It's my job.
"Who was that?"
"That crazy Nick. You know how my buddy and I fixed the pipe going into his septic tank? How we cut out some roots, and put PVC pipe on the end of the cast-iron pipe? Well. Nick said he was "fixing" it by chopping out some more of the roots with an axe. And he broke it."
"The AXE? Was it yours?"
"No. It was his axe, but that's not what he broke. He broke the PIPE. So now we have to go do it again. I TOLD him before we left that all it needed was concrete poured on it. Some of the dry mix that sets up fast. But goofy Nick had to go chopping around and break the pipe. He said he was going to Lowe's to buy some more. I told him we have some out there. To just WAIT for us to fix it again. This is why we cain't get nothin' done."
"You ARE being paid by the hour. More money for you."
"It's just annoying to get a job done, then have to do it over."
Heh, heh. Hick has just gotten a glimpse into VAL's world! Like when I clean the toilet, or finish the dishes, and then Hick shows up and I have to do it all over again within hours. At least Hick is getting paid for his efforts...

Monday, June 13, 2022

Nothing Is Certain But Death and Taxes. And Jury Duty. (Part 2)

To re-emphasize... I have no objection to doing jury duty. It's not pleasant, but think of all the (anonymous) people-watching details, and possible tales of an actual trial. I just don't feel like I could physically withstand the rigors of such a responsibility now.

Anyhoo... I was quite depressed after my call to the NP's office Monday, and my treatment by the RUDEST WOMAN EVER TO ANSWER A PHONE. I had very slim hope of obtaining a doctor's excuse from jury duty. I planned to call back on Wednesday afternoon.

I tried to mentally psych myself up for enduring the jury process. How early I'd have to leave when I got the notice, in order to hobble from that parking lot behind the annex over to the courthouse itself. How to adjust my medication schedule. How to look pitiful so MAYBE somebody with a seat on one of the few marble benches would offer me a chance to sit while awaiting entrance to the courtroom. And asking if I could be seated on the end of a pew, not in the middle.
Wednesday, around 10:00 a.m., my cell phone rang. It was the lady from the NP's office. Only now, she was the NICEST WOMAN EVER TO CALL SOMEONE ON A PHONE! I have no idea what changed her attitude. Perhaps the NP's demeanor when he talked to her. After all, he seemed quite sympathetic to me during my follow-up visit after my Unfortunate HospitVALzation, as if he'd been concerned that the Grim Reaper would abscond with me, even commenting,
"When we saw your name on the admissions list, I said, 'I do NOT wish this for this lady!'"
My NP had approved the letter of excuse from jury duty! However...
"Do you want to pick it up, or have us send it to your OnlineChart?"
"Well. Picking it up would be as strenuous as walking to the courthouse. My husband drops me off and picks me up from my appointments. So please send it to my OnlineChart."
"All right. Give us about a half hour."
I gave them three hours. No need to rush. When I checked my OnlineChart, the letter was not there. So I called the office. Went through waiting for an available operator, asked for my office, got the NICEST WOMAN EVER TO CALL SOMEONE ON A PHONE.
"I am not seeing the letter. I didn't have my OnlineChart set up yet. But when I got in, I saw several letters for other results and notifications. Just not the jury letter."
"Oh. Well. I don't know if it will let me send it again. I've never had anybody without their account set up. Huh. It's not letting it go through..."
"So I should come and pick it up? I can see if my husband can bring me tomorrow. Should I come up to your office? Can anybody else pick it up for me?"
"Only if you've filled them in on your HIPPA information. You can come up here, and we'll print it, or you can go to the main desk downstairs, and they can print it for you."
"Okay. I'll see if he can bring me."
[What in the Not-Heaven got into that gal, I wonder!]
"I don't think that will be necessary, but thank you so much for offering to do that."
"I don't mind a bit. Just let me know."

"Thank you. I will."

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. I called Hick, who was in the middle of another nowhere, working on Back-Creek Neighbor Bev's new septic tank. He was on his way to drop off his old-man helper, and headed over to Bill-Paying Town where my NP's office is. So he said he'd go by and see if he could get my letter.

But then he called me back. "Bev says she smells gas, and hears a hiss, and I have to go back to look at her gas line. I might still be able to make it."

"That's okay. You can take me tomorrow. But wait! I'm getting another call. So I have to go."

Yes. It was the NP's office calling me back. The NICEST WOMAN TO EVER CALL SOMEONE ON A PHONE.

"I was able to get another copy of your jury letter, and they system let me send it to your OnlineChart. If it's not there, call me back."

"Thank you so much!"

Yes. It WAS there. I was able to access it, and upload it to my online jury questionnaire! 

Although it DID say something like I should be excused due to "mental or physical impairments." I'm sure he meant physical. Right?

On Thursday, I got a text AND an email from the court system, saying that I was excused.

I'm currently paying my bill to Even Steven with a microwave that died on Wednesday night, and T-Hoe out of commission with a heater hose that broke on Friday.