Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Even Steven Reads Val's Blog

I spoke too soon! Or DID I? Perhaps Val is an evil genius who set a trap for the elusive Even Steven, and fished him in like minnows after soggy cracker crumbs.

Seems like only yesterday [IT WAS] that I bemoaned the end of my lucky lottery streak. A day without a single win.

That situation has been rectified!

Since my little tickets had stopped winning for me, I decided to do the opposite. No, it is NOT a trick I learned from George Costanza. It's a tactic I have been using since the early days of scratching. If your strategy stops working, switch strategies! That's how I ended up with my $3 tickets to start with. I formerly eschewed them in favor of fives, but a slump led me to the smaller tickets.

I made a plan Monday night, to take some casino cash, and invest in a $50 ticket. That's the highest they go in Missouri. In fact, we didn't have one until this year. I played a couple (not on the same day!) when they first came out, just for the novelty of it. As I recall, I won back my $50 on one, and lost on one.

Anyhoo... I had my plan. To get that big fella at the Backroads Casey's. The Gas Station Chicken Store has TWO rolls of them going, which muddies the waters when I try to decide. I left home late, around 4:30, and was not feeling particularly lucky. I almost switched up to get it at the GSCS, but the voice in my head said: STICK TO THE PLAN! So I did. Even as I slid out of T-Hoe at the Backroads Casey's, I almost changed my mind.

Once inside, that big ticket did not give me a come-hither vibe. It was crooked in the case. Kind of dull. But still, I stuck with the plan. Which was to get that $50 ticket right there, and some of the newest $5 tickets there and at the GSCS and Country Mart. One for me, one for The Pony, and two to send Genius in the mail.

At home, I looked over the four new fives, and settled for the one numbered 057, since I'm the oldest of us all. Genius got 013 (the year he graduated) and 004 (for no reason except it was not close to 013). The Pony got 014 (just because that's how it worked out).

Here's my big ticket:

That's a $500 WINNER! I didn't even know what the symbol was when I scratched it off. I don't have this ticket memorized. I was just thrilled because I knew at worst, I was getting my $50 back. Here's what the top of the ticket looks like. It was too tall to fit into one picture.

It's not an interesting ticket, or even a pretty one. It's the color of our old state license plates. Kind of humdrum. But I'll sure take that $500!

Here's my new $5 ticket:

It won $50! Yay, me! This does not bode well for Genius and The Pony, but they have a fair enough chance. All four tickets were from different rolls. This ticket has four versions. I got the duck. Genius has a fisherman and a duck. The Pony has a deer. Nobody got the turkeys. I will be scanning this kind of ticket to enter the drawing for Hick. I don't desire a Big Cedar Lodge Getaway, but Hick does! On second thought... I DO desire one: for Hick.

We'll see if Genius or The Pony can win something. I wouldn't begrudge them a $500 prize.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Val Has Lost Her MoLo

Welp! It was bound to happen. I've lost my MoLo. That's my Missouri Lottery luck. I'd been having a good run. Streaks never last. So it's not unexpected. But surely unwelcome! Monday I was shut out! Not a single winner.

I blame Genius. His $500 winner arrived in the mail on Saturday. Surely Even Steven is confused! That is not MY $500. Even though I bought the ticket about a month ago, it was earmarked for Genius's weekly letter. I will cash in this ticket, but I owe Genius the money for it. The check is in the mail, heh, heh.

Now I'll have to dip into my fat casino bankroll to play the lottery. That's okay. Because lottery winnings go into my casino bankroll anyway, when I have an excess.

I don't like having Hick's luck. No wonder he doesn't like to play the lottery. It's not much fun if you can't get a winner.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Hope I Don't Have to Take a Baseball Bat to Hick's Knees

We got our credit card bills a couple days ago. We only have one real credit card, which we pay off every month. And a Lowe's credit card, which Hick signed up for without telling me, to get a discount a while back. We pay that off each month, too. Now that work on Pony House is next to nothing, there shouldn't be any charges at Lowe's.

Our regular credit card had only one charge due to me, for $9.99 to Spotify for the monthly payment. All the rest was for Hick's recent trip to visit Genius in Pittsburgh. Gas food lodging. No dispute there. Hick went to see Genius. It's a family thing.

The Lowe's bill was $203.50. I asked Hick if we bought anything at Lowe's, and he said, "No. It's all mine. For Bev's house. I'll give you the money like before."

Back-Creek Neighbor Bev pays Hick with a check every couple of weeks. He cashes it, pays Old Buddy his portion for helping, then gives me cash for our household account to cover the Lowe's, and I write a check to pay the bill. Hick isn't disputing the $203.50. But he hasn't paid me yet! I already mailed the payment for the credit card.

Hick better not mess with me! I played softball in junior college, by cracky! Fast pitch, not that slow giant arc of a pitch lobbed at the plate like a grapefruit. I swing a mean bat! I watch TV! I know how to recoup money from a deadbeat!

I'll remind Hick a couple more times. $203.50 is nothing to him. I've already said I'm keeping the $3.50 as my fee for filling out his tax and business license paperwork. That's pretty cheap. And it will buy me a $3 scratcher!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Used Things

Hick's world has come crashing down around his ears! On Thursday, he got a message from the guy who runs the Storage Units that a shake-up is coming! NO MORE FLEA MARKET!

Yes. I heard your collective gasp. Same with Hick's cronies who also sell their wares at this place. Without going into too much detail... seems there is a financial issue, and the place has to be run by a management company for a while, which will not allow a flea market, due to insurance issues.

Hick and his cronies are out on their ear! Oh, they can still rent a locker. But they can't sell anything on the premises. Five people left the first day, taking their business over to Bill-Paying Town, the next closest flea market/storage unit facility.

Here's the deal. Hick JUST PAID his locker rent (for two lockers that comprise his Storage Unit Store) for 6 months! Paid it mid-July, starting Aug 1, and now must stop selling by October 30. Oh, and Hick also paid his city business license for the next year, effective July 1. He is crushed. He SO LOVES his Storage Unit Store! He's also worried about some of his cronies, who rely on this flea market to supplement their income. 

Hick is weighing his options. At first, he thought he might just sell out his inventory and be done with it. He doesn't really want to re-establish himself over in Bill-Paying Town, which is 25 miles of commuting for him. He had a scathingly brilliant idea to set up shop by the auction, a distance of 5 miles, but the owner has to think it over and discuss it with his wife as to whether to rent an empty building there to Hick.

I hate to see Hick uprooted. He has many friends at the Storage Unit Store. He would miss them, plus his wheeling and dealing, and the money he makes. Like he says, he has a while to think it over. His rent is paid. He doesn't have to move anything just yet. The slow season is on the horizon.

Dang the in-charge person that let this happen! This is why we can't have nice used things.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Val's Gonna Need a Bigger COIN Pocket

I might need to start hauling a wheelbarrow to town, if I expect to have a repeat of this week's coin quest!
SATURDAY, August 20, I arrived later than usual to the Gas Station Chicken Store. It was meant to be. As I slid out of T-Hoe's driver's seat, I spied a treat:

No idea what caused that duck-head-shaped wet spot coming out the employee side-door. Maybe a leaky gutter, from the look of the splash on the door.

I nabbed that fine silver, a face-down 1990 dime, without the door opening to conk me on the noggin.

SUNDAY, August 21, I was double-lucky at the Liquor Store. Only one customer was inside, just enough to allow me time to capture a penny obviously waiting just for me.

Such a festive party atmosphere! Not sure what alcoholicness was in those pretty bottles.

It was a shiny, face-down 2019 penny that I pocketed before buying my scratchers. On the way back to T-Hoe, I had to shake a leg to avoid being run down by a faux SilverRedO. Which meant I had to make an about-face maneuver to capture my setting-sun discovery...

I'd walked right past it on the way in. The reverse angle of the sun set it off coming out.

This was a heads-up 1997 Abe Lincoln, risking non-life and no limbs from tire treads.

MONDAY, August 22, found me back at the Gas Station Chicken Store. Inside, this time. With a surprise gift that revealed itself on my way out.

The customer behind me was not the most stylish man-about-town. But at least he was shod, and wearing clean socks. I had to set my scratchers and change from winners on the ledge beside the register, to take my photo. The woman next in line was oblivious to my strangeness, she chatting a bit loudly on her cell phone.

It was a bright, heads-up 2020 dime, my second silver of the week! Both courtesy of the Gas Station Chicken Store.

THURSDAY, August 25, I was back into my regular routine, running errands. At my first stop, the School-Turn Casey's, I spied a hider upon return to T-Hoe:

Hiding out on the cusp of light and dark. Barely noticeable. Except to the eagle eye of Val.

It was a heads-up 1996 Abe Lincoln, standing on his head.

From there I headed to the Sis-Town Casey's for T-Hoe's weekly half-tank of gas. Again, as I was returning to T-Hoe, I found my prey:

Looks like this Casey's thinks winter is coming! Or at least deer season, mid-November. Although most deer hunters I know are camping out IN THE WOODS, a place where firewood is readily available.

No, it's not from 1002! It was a heads-up 1992 penny. Added to my growing stash.

FRIDAY, August 26, I was in line at Country Mart, all the way back by the pickles! That's because only one checker was open, with about 7 carts ahead of me. My favorite little guy opened a second register, and some of the line split off. I was tempted. He IS the best bagger they have. But I was third if I stayed. Good thing I did.

Ignore the dude grabbing 3 pints of ice cream out of the last-minute-temptation cooler. And the Halloween-ready woman ahead of him. Look just above the right orange corner-bumper on my cart. 

It was a face-down 2017 penny, unfocusable on my cell phone camera, which loves the tile. I was antsy worrying that the dude might step on it and pick it up!

That's 7 COINS this week, for 25 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny          # 78, 79, 80, 81, 82.
Dime            # 15, 16.
Nickel          still at 5.
Quarter       still at 6.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, August 26, 2022

Val Has a Beehive In Her Bonnet

Not-Heaven hath no fury like Val with a beehive in her bonnet. No single bee could convey her rage. If Val was pitted against a woman scorned in a cage match, that poor scorned woman would be vaporized by the glare of Val's stinkeye, piercing her with the heat of 10,000 suns.

Val was not a happy camper on Wednesday evening. And certainly not a happy town-traveler.

Remember how I stayed home for two days, because the long high bridge was being resurfaced? The period for resurfacing, putting that bridge down to one lane, was Tuesday and Wednesday, from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. So I waited. Bided my time. Set out for town after 5:00 on Wednesday evening.

I went out by alternate route, turning left at Mailbox Row. As I approached the bridge on the county lettered highway, I saw several bright orange signs. REDUCE SPEED. And BE PREPARED TO STOP. Then BUMP. 

Traffic was flowing. At the regular entrance from my blacktop county road, a piece of heavy equipment was parked. There was nothing on the bridge. Silly me. I thought that perhaps the bridge work was done. Yet across the bridge, I saw a white highway department truck. Lined up behind it were 6-8 cars. Huh. There was nothing telling me (nor the car ahead of me, already halfway across) to wait our turn for the bridge.


Indeed, the BUMP was still the same. The grooves and holes in the bridge still there. Except some holes had been filled with blacktop.

I think those cars lined up waiting were confused. I think that highway truck driver was just picking up signs at the end of the day. Because when I came home, all signs were gone except for the two BUMP signs. AND the heavy equipment thingy had been moved to a grassy area beside my county blacktop road.

Hick said they would probably be paving it Thursday morning.

"It don't take long to pave it."

"Well, I have to get to the post office, and get Genius's letter weighed. I put other stuff in it this time, and don't want it coming back postage due. I can't wait until after 4:30 to go to town."

"They'll be done by the time you leave."

I was not optimistic. I left home at 1:50. Took my alternate route. Didn't see any signs until the BUMP. The heavy equipment was gone.


Still no paving! Still the grooves! Who knows WHEN that bridge will ever get paved. It's kind of dangerous when cars swerve to miss the potholes, even the now-filled ones.

I managed to snap two pictures on the way home around 4:00 on Thursday.

Yeah. There's a bump just before where that car is. You'd better slow down, or you'll bounce your head off the ceiling as you go over the metal grid joint getting onto the bridge.

That's not new pavement! That's stripped-down, scoured-out pavement, with patches. Not very good traction in wet weather, with tires only getting limited contact on the grooves. Hope they do something before the frost comes. 

Not that I'd be up at that time... but school buses have to cross that bridge when they come to it.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Pittsburgh Genius Picked a Passel of Unpickled Peppers

It's harvest time on the North .40 that is Genius's balcony farm. Got a farm report from him on Wednesday morning.

"It's like everything ripened at once since yesterday morning! This was everything I had to pick today."

"These are my current totals:"

"Wow! You must be exhausted from the harvest."

"Between 20-30 of each variety were today. I thought I already had picked lots, but I guess not! Although I've probably picked about 70-80% of both the habaneros and cayennes. I think I've picked less than 50% of the tabascos so far."

"That's a lot of peppers for a balcony."

"I'm shocked at how well they've done!"

"Me too."

Let's hope that next year, Genius does not decide to get involved in pork bellies.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

No Mirrors on the Ceiling, No Pink Champagne on Ice

Val is a prisoner in her own home! Might as well be wearing a court-ordered ankle bracelet. Locked in without a key. Well. Without a lock as well. Just a prisoner of her own device. Not at the Hotel California. More like the Hotel Backroads.

There's a long tall bridge I must cross to get to town. Unless I want to drive 10 miles out of my way. I'm not that desperate. The bridge is being resurfaced, finally, after being scraped down and bumpy with a hole showing the water below, through only a rebar grid, for nigh on three weeks. 

The news was in the local paper. From 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, the bridge would be one lane. You don't know how people drive around here! Flying along at 75 mph on this lettered county highway, coming up over the hill where I pull out to get on that bridge. So I decided to stay home on Tuesday and Wednesday. Okay. Maybe venture out Wednesday after 4:30.

Hick said instead of live flagmen this time, they've put up stoplights at each end of the bridge. A red light that turns to flashing yellow. I guess that would work. IF you trust those maniac drivers to stop at a red light with no chance of a hidden camera to hold them to lawfulness. I, myself, do not.

The Pony was coming out Tuesday afternoon, to help Hick close Poolio for the season. I warned him about the bridge lane-i-ness, but that was before I knew about the lights. I told Hick I was worried about The Pony coming out now.

"He ain't stupid. He's been driving a lot for work. He'll know what to do."

"REALLY? Without a green light? I can imagine The Pony sitting there, cars piling up behind him, waiting for a green light."

The Pony got here. First words out of his mouth: "That bridge deal is CRAZY!"

"They was all done when I come through about an hour ago."

"They looked like they weren't working. Just standing there. But still..."

"Were you waiting for a green light?"

"No. I waited. But it was because the cars ahead of me were already halfway across the bridge. It's so far. I was afraid as soon as they got off, the line waiting would come at me while I was still on the bridge. And there's nowhere to go."

I understand. I'd rather be safe and LOSE MY CHANCE AT PENNIES AND SCRATCHER WINNERS than trust other Backroads drivers to obey a temporary traffic light.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Led-Led Pony Goes Job-Job-Jobbin' Along

The Pony is expecting a not-too-busy week at work. Several of the routes have recently been re-done.

"I give it a 50-50 chance I might get a two-hour day or just be off Monday, so long as nobody calls out. Apparently they can't send help for ten days on any route that's been changed, and that covers all of Backroads, half of Sis-Town, School-Turn Town, and half of Bill-Paying Town. Which wouldn't leave enough for big days for all of us on the schedule, even for a Monday."

"So you're getting closer to being a regular, I assume, if they're studying these new routes?"

"It should be. Pretty sure there's not going to be a definitive thing for the guy ahead of me until they certify the new route as full-time, and then they've gotta set up the T6. But it should be soon!"

"Enjoy the day off if you get it. Winter is coming!"

Then on Monday, Pony almost got his day-off wish.

"Woo. Gonna be a shortish one at least. Three-ish hours, maybe a bit more since I've gotta wait for the truck I'll get to come back."

"Getting paid to wait."

"Sadly not. I didn't clock in since there was nothing to do until my truck got here. There's a cat here:"

"Can't explain the cat."

"He's a stray that's been around here since last June."

"If you feed him, he will stay. Like a company mascot."
"He's been staying, yeah. I think one of the RCAs (Rural Carrier Assistant) is gonna take it home soon."
Heh, heh. I guess that cat likes the sound of cheeping chicks, and the smell of pickle juice. 

The Pony only lives two minutes from work. He trots up there whenever they call him if somebody can't make it, as long as he has nothing planned for his day off. He's second in line to make regular. 
This newly created route will also require a T6 route to be added. Which as I remember, is like a regular who fills in on the scheduled days off of other regular workers. The Pony says people want that job, because I think it means the days off are weekends. So there will be bidding, and the regular route of the person who gets it will open up. I don't know how much shuffling will go on, since everything is based on seniority.
Anyhoo... two regular positions will "soon" be available. One should go to The Pony.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Like a Bump Behind Some Logs

Nothing going on Sunday in Backroads. I was just sitting around like a bump on a log. Until I went to town. Where I sat like a bump behind some logs.
On my way from Country Mart to the light, this truck and trailer pulled out in front of me. There's the side entrance to the Liquor Store on the right, and a view of the Gas Station Chicken Store past the traffic light. Looks like my bump time could better have been used to wipe the dust off T-Hoe's dashboard!

That's a whole tree! I don't know where it came from. There's no forest down the road it came out of. Only Dairy Queen, Hardee's, my pharmacy, and the convenient care that treated The Pony's burn and saved my life by sending me to the ER to begin my Unfortunate HospitVALzation. So maybe this truck had loaded those tree chunks elsewhere, and had stopped off for some supper. It didn't go out my road, but hit the highway, headed south.

I found that pattern of logs aesthetically appealing. Not loaded all willy-nilly. The few twigs still attached are a nice touch. I'm no botanist, so I can't tell you what kind of tree that was. Wouldn't it be ironic if it was walnut, like the giant tree parts in The Pony's back yard.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Some Days, You Just FEEL Lucky

We had a dark-skied downpour on Saturday afternoon. I bemoaned to Hick that of course it would happen when I was ready to leave for town. I went to get dressed in my town clothes, and the sun came out!

On the way to town, I saw more dark clouds moving in. I planned my stops so that if I got drenched, it would give me the least embarrassment in the last places I was going.

I parked at the Gas Station Chicken Store for my first stop, to cash in winning scratchers and buy two $5 tickets. When I opened T-Hoe's door, I saw a DIME! Lucky me.

From there I went to Casey's almost next door, and there was a parking spot available! Lucky me.

Next it was the drive-thru mailbox at the dead-mouse-smelling post office. I shoved in my phone bill and electric bill just as rain began to sprinkle onto T-Hoe's windshield. Lucky me.

By the time I got to Country Mart to pick up a pharmacy item for Hick, and of course buy my $3 scratchers, the rain was pelting down. My parking place at the end of the store was open. And when I walked in along the front of the building, the angle of the rain was blocked. Not a drop got on me once I stepped from T-Hoe to the building! Lucky me.

When I came down the driveway upon returning home, I saw a giant rainbow that stretched from Copper Jack's house across the top of our hillbilly mansion to the BARn area. It was too wide to get a picture, but closer to the garage, I was able to get one of a smaller rainbow behind the house.
What a way to lift my already-lifted spirits. Lucky me.
There's a closer view. If you look really close, you can see my little Jack peering over the side of the carport, waiting for me rather than chasing a squirrel. Lucky me.

Once inside, I scratched my lottery tickets, and had a nice winner:
That's $75 on a $5 ticket! Lucky me! I wasn't 20X Lucky, but at least I was 10X + Lucky.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Sustainable PEN(ny)ergy

You knew it couldn't continue at such a rate! Val's Future Pennyillionaire quest has been giving large for a few weeks. Now it's time for a respite/siesta/break. At least it wasn't a shut-out.

THURSDAY, August 18, I stopped by the Liquor Store for scatchers. A couple of them being "payment" to The Pony for driving Hick to a medical procedure at 6:00 a.m. on his day off. The Pony would have done it for free, but I hate to monopolize his time.

The Liquor Store was as deserted as I've seen it, which includes mornings at 7:00 in the days when we drove past it on the way to school! This time I was there around 10:45. Yeah. I had to get to town before Hick returned, and I had an invalid to supervise.

As I rounded T-Hoe's front end, I was greeted by a penny in my path. It's there. Really. In the midline of the picture, like if you draw a straight line down from that yellow sign on the building.  Down about mid-shadow from the truck that was parked next to me.

It was a face-down 2021 penny, shining in the sun. 

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


Penny          # 77.
Dime            still at 14.
Nickel          still at 5.
Quarter       still at 6.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, August 19, 2022

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Not-Trash

When I got home from town on Thursday, my little spotted Jack, and big neighbor dog Copper Jack, were barking their fool heads off, running across the concrete carport behind the garage, jumping over the side to chase (but never catch) the squirrels that eat dog food off the porch.
Those crazy fleabags! By the corner of the carport, beside the gravel driveway, yet not on the concrete, was more trash they'd dragged in. There has been a styrofoam container in various locations around the garage for a week now. It's currently on the property line between our back yard and Copper Jack's field. Looks like maybe it once held a convenience store hot dog. I don't know where they get these things!
Anyhoo... this new trash was a big clear plastic bag. Like a dry cleaner (remember those?) would put over the hanger. Or what extra parts would come in for put-together furniture. It had the black writing about how it's a suffocation danger. It looked like there might be a napkin or folded-up paper plate inside. 
Of course I went on past it. Yard trash lies in Hick's domain. He picks it up when he mows. Obviously, he hasn't mowed that fence line where the hot dog container currently rests! I forgot all about it. Until...
"Did you see that package outside?"
"Package? No."
"Me and Pony seen it when we come up the driveway. He picked it up."
"Oh! You mean that bag of trash? I don't know where those dogs get that stuff! Don't blame Juno. She wasn't even out there!"
"It's not trash. It's a package."
"I didn't order anything!"
"It's for Nick. Bev's husband. He had it sent here."
"I WISH THEY'D QUIT DOING THAT! Get their packages sent to their own house!"
"What even is it? Pony. See if it says on the package."
The Pony, having younger eyes, flipped the package all around. It was in a slick white envelope. About the size you could put a paperback best-seller in. (Remember those?)
"Huh. It says it's a threaded filter assembly."
"Oh. That's for his stove."
Why in the NOT-HEAVEN would he have such a small package delivered out here? Small enough for dogs to chew. Because you KNOW that UPS (the culprit this time) and FedEx don't give a fat rat's rumpus about where they leave a package. 

I'd like to think the driver got out and left it on the porch, and the dogs dragged it out to the driveway. But their track record leads me to believe the driver just tossed that package out the non-existent door of the truck, and drove off.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Pony Is NOT an Animal

I got nothin'. So let's have lunch with The Pony. 
Most days, The Pony skips lunch. He works through his lunch half-hour, and grabs a snack when he stops at a convenience store for his bathroom break. Sometimes, Hick will pick up a burger and take it to The Pony. He can eat it on his break, or take bites as he leaves and enters the LLV (Long Life Vehicle) on his route.
There is one route where The Pony will pick up lunch for himself. He knows the timing of this route, and can order ahead to pick up Domino's when he drops off their mail. That's what he did Tuesday. 


"Looks like a pizza."


Well. That's fitting. The Pony loves pasta, and The Pony loves bread. Don't think he buried his face in that pasta bowl like an animal! The Pony uses a fork to strap on the old feedbag.

The picture didn't really make me want pizza. I prefer thin crust, like a cracker, for my Domino's pizza.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The Elusive Even Steven Has Resurfaced in Pittsburgh

Seems like Even Steven has been hopping around lately, bestowing good, foreshadowing bad, even continent-jumping to visit Blog Buddy River across the pond. Tuesday afternoon, he popped up in Pittsburgh, where Genius was scratching some hoarded lottery tickets.

I send Genius two scratchers per week in his letter. He sets them aside until he has a few, then commences scratching. I had just steered T-Hoe out of the driveway, onto our gravel road, when I heard a text come in. I stopped down by Mailbox Row to check my phone.

"Guess who just won $500 on a Fistful of $500 ticket from last week!"


"Deal with it! I haven't had a big winner since college."

"Congrats! I rarely buy those Fistful of $500s for myself. They look cartoony. Where from?"
[I put initials on the back, so I know where they came from. In case of a big winner, I don't want to buy the same kind of ticket there for a while]


"That's the Backroads Casey's. I'm happy for you. Would have been happier for MYSELF!"

"I'm sure you would've!"

Heh, heh. I'm happy for Genius. Really. Here's the kind of ticket, though it's not his:

That's actually a picture from June 2, when THE PONY won $100 on this kind of ticket. I wrote about it on my super-secret blog back then.

Anyhoo... Genius can't cash that ticket outside of Missouri. He's sending it back to me, and I'll write him a check, then cash it in at the Gas Station Chicken Store. They're one of only two businesses that will cash over $100 winners.

Maybe Genius will put some of his newfound wealth into next year's pepper crop...

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

By Hook or By Crook(ed Parker)

Stay vigilant, Val! Even Steven is on your tail. Or in this case, on your ample rumpus. Only yesterday, that pointy screw-hook thingy was itching to pierce T-Hoe's tire, and now a crooked parker has tried to block Val's re-entry into T-Hoe.

All three of my favored parking spaces were taken when I pulled into Country Mart's lot to procure my $3 scratchers. So I chose a space on the end of a row running perpendicular to the building. It being on the end, I of course cheated T-Hoe over to the right. Even though nobody was parked in the space to my left, you never know what might be there when you come out. I've spent enough time standing and waiting on ne'er-park-wells to return and move their too-close vehicle so I can open my door.

Good thing Val is pro-active. I was only inside five minutes. Maybe less. But here's what greeted me when I stepped out the door to reunite with T-Hoe.

I pulled T-Hoe's driver's door open all the way. Slowly. There was about a half-inch to spare between my door and the side of the F-150. NOTHING was on the other side of that truck! And look at all the carts abandoned in the front edge of that space. Surely there was a better parking slot that that one! 

I don't mind other people cheating over to the right, as long as they're still within their lines, and don't cram up on a car already there. This F-150 wasn't even parked straight. It was all cattywompus, with the rear left tire over by the other white line.

Some people need their parking privileges revoked! Even Steven needs to shower his attention on someone else for a while... now that he's done with the GOOD STUFF for Val.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Don't Turn Your Back on Even Steven

Val has some amazing good luck. But it comes with a price. There's usually a catch.
Friday, I had a $100 scratcher winner. Yay, me! Saturday, I had another $100 scratcher winner, along with a $50 winner. Double-yay, me! I love winning. But I know it doesn't last. Winning also makes me a little nervous. I'm always looking over my shoulder for Even Steven...
Good thing! When I got out of T-Hoe on Sunday afternoon, to cash in that $50 winner, I stepped down and looked over my shoulder. Something metallic glittered on the pavement. Since it wasn't coin-shaped, I went on inside. 
Upon return to T-Hoe, I took a closer look. What I saw sent shivers up my spine. I'd have taken a picture right there, but a lady was sitting in the car parked next to me, and that would have put my rumpus in her face, with only a thin window of safety glass between us. So I didn't take time for a picture there, but only bent quickly to pick up the offending metal.
I deposited it on T-Hoe's console and heaved a sigh of relief.
There it is on my kitchen table. Hick told me the real name of it, but to me it sounded like a lesson from Charlie Brown's teacher. It's about 2 inches long. That point was just waiting to stab T-Hoe's tire when I cut the wheels to back out of my parking space. I'm sure an optimal angle of twisting and grinding when I turned the wheel would have flipped that pointy end into the precise position needed to pierce my tread. 

Caughtcha, Even Steven! I know you'll try again. I'll be watching.

REALLY watching. I had another $50 winner.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

There Are None So Uncharitable As Those Who Collect For Charity

When Hick closed up his Storage Unit Store on Saturday afternoon, he drove SilverRedO over to the church of my sister the ex-mayor's wife and the ex-mayor. Ex-Mayor is on some committee with the church. They were having a big yard sale, and he'd told Hick to come when it was over, and he could have some of the leftover items. Let the record show that HE contacted Hick, who would otherwise have had no knowledge of the sale. Ex-Mayor said they would need to get rid of the stuff that didn't sell, so Hick might as well take some of it.
When he closed up his store, Hick called to ask if Ex-Mayor still wanted him to come over. Ex-Mayor said yes. So off Hick went, along with Old Buddy in his own car.

"They had all the stuff set up inside, in the cafeteria area, and down the hall, and into the rooms. We looked around. Your sister and the other ladies who was taking money already had it counted, and were leaving.
We loaded up some stuff. I had an old school desk, with the built-in chair and a flip top. And a John Deere tractor picture, and a couple of pictures of Hummels. I wanted them for my sheds out here. One old guy there pointed me to a couple other pictures. One was Blue Boy. He said, 'You got a couple pictures there, you might as well take them. They're nice ones.' As I was leaving, one of the church ladies came out and said, 
'You can't just take that.' 
I told her my brother-in-law the ex-mayor had told me I could have it. Another lady came out, and said that she had been standing there when Ex-Mayor called me, and that he'd said I could have stuff, and he'd made no mention of any money. Then another lady came out. She had apparently called Ex-Mayor, and agreed that he said I could have the stuff. Then the one who had a problem with it said,
'I donated that desk, and it has $30 on it.'
So I told the Nice Old Lady who talked to Ex-Mayor. 'Here. Take this $30 for the desk. It's worth that.' I gave it to her. But the Problem Lady said,

'Those pictures you have were marked $80 for the pair. You can't just take them. We at least expect a donation.'
So I said to the Nice Old Lady, 'I don't have no problem with giving you a donation.' And I handed her $50. I said, 'Is that okay? Or do you want more?' And she said, 'That's fine.' So I said, 'You're good with that?' And she said, 'Yes. We're good.' But the Problem Lady just stood off to the side, frowning.

Then Old Buddy said, 'Should I give you something for what I took?' And they didn't have no problem with his stuff. He had a cot, and a box of records, and a Jesus picture. He gave them $10 anyway. Which made me feel bad, because he don't have much, and I was the one who told him he could come get some stuff.

I got a call later from Ex-Mayor, and he said he knew who was complaining about me, but that he told them to let me have the stuff. He said that they have a guy coming from the church store over in Bill-Paying Town to get the rest. There must be a whole tractor-trailer load left. He said some of that stuff is five years old. They were just trying to get rid of it during the city-wide yard sale. I told him there was no way I could have taken that much stuff. Maybe that was his intention, but he never said that."

"That would have made me so mad that I would have unloaded all the stuff and left it, letting them keep their donation. THEY could be the ones to have that on their conscience. Not me."

"I thought about that, but I really wanted the desk! I asked Ex-Mayor if he wanted me to bring the stuff back, and he said of course not. They got $90 for it, between me and Old Buddy."

"Can you make your $80 back by selling it?"

"Nah. Like I said, part of it I want to keep. Pictures don't sell. And I got a box of CDs to give to Old Buddy anyway, because that's the kind of stuff he sells."

Let the record show that I criticize Hick for everything under the sun. But two things he is NOT are a thief and a grifter.

Like he said, people "donate" stuff to the church to sell for charity, then act like they want them back if they don't get the price they put on them! Where's the charity? Once you give it away, it's not yours any more. Just because you write a price on it doesn't mean you THE CHURCH will get that price.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Val COIN't Knock It Out of the Park Every Week

No silver for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune this week, but the coins were still flowing. Enough is as good as a feast.
SUNDAY,  August 7, I wheeled my cart/walker to the lottery machine at the front of Save A Lot, and saw a surprise:

This lottery machine has only been there a few months. Looks like a regular arcade is taking form! You can't see it, but to the right of the lottery machine is one of those coin-pusher machines. You put in a quarter, and see if you can knock off other coins or the folded-and-taped $50 bill laying on top of them. You get to keep what falls out the slot. I love those things, but haven't played one since The Pony was a tweenager. 
There's a cash machine, heh, heh, to the left. And a machine I've never played, that has some good prizes you try to get by lining up a thingy to take it out of its slot. Oh, and a GRABBER machine, which I also enjoy, and which The Pony is a master of. I miss playing these money-stealers with The Pony. But I still have my scratcher machine!

It was a face-down 2017 penny, tarnishing on the tile.

MONDAY, August 8, I contemplated leaving my phone in T-Hoe, due to a deep-dipping dark cloud hanging over the Backroads Casey's. I recall that such a choice usually leads to me finding a penny, so slid it into my pocket. Wouldn't you know it! I had scarcely rounded T-Hoe and stepped up on the sidewalk when I saw that I had chosen correctly:

Waiting on the sidewalk, right in my path! Good thing I had my phone camera.

It was a face-down 2021 penny, shiny even before the clouds opened and pelted it with a deluge.

Once inside, I almost broke my arm patting myself on the back for bringing in my phone.

ANOTHER penny was waiting for me. And behind it was its buddy, a dime. That's what broke my heart! I was unable to procure that dime. Too far under the counter. My foot is not big enough to slide it out. I couldn't bury my face in the David Sunflower Seeds to fish about blindly with my hand. So I had to leave that dime behind. So unfair! But I stop short of carrying around a stick to prod coins out from under counters.

This was a face-down 1977 penny, now longing for his dimey companion, cold-shouldering the other coins welcoming him to my 2022 penny goblet that looks like an ice cream sunday dish.

THURSDAY, August 11, I walked out of Country Mart juggling my just-purchased $3 scratchers from the machine, and the folded winners I'd scanned in to buy them. I stepped over to the little wastebasket with the swinging lid and threw the used winners away. WAIT A MINUTE! What was that I'd stepped over? I turned around to look back:

Not just a sticky spot on the rug, but a penny!

A face-down 1993 penny. As I took my pictures and bent to pick it up, the double doors behind me and those in front of me alternated opening and closing. I guess I was in the eye of both as I moved to and fro. I have a magical ample rumpus!

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


Penny          # 73, 74, 75, 76.
Dime            still at 14.
Nickel          still at 5.
Quarter       still at 6.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, August 12, 2022

Next Thing You Know, He's Gonna Have 76 Trombones

Hick the wheeler-dealer is at it again. He spent $250 on a bunch of stuff out of the back of a guy's truck. Once again, Hick is in the music business. Here are his purchases, as described by Hick himself. So don't fault Val for any inaccuracies!
The beige one on top is a Rickenbacher steel guitar. Hick saw one on eBay with an asking price of $1100. One of his buddies said it could go for $1100-1500. Hick says he'll take $300 for it.

The wooden one beneath it is a Yamaha guitar that Hick thinks is worth $700-800, and he'll take $350.

This is a mandolin with case. Hick thinks it's worth $700-800, and he'll take $350.

"What in the NOT-HEAVEN is THAT?" You might ask. At least I did. Hick says it's a ukelin. I asked if he meant a ukulele, which does not look like that, but Hick said no, he meant UKELIN. It was made in 1917. Hick says he couldn't find one looking it up, but he will take $200 for it. I didn't have any trouble looking it up, and I think that's way too high, unless this is some special antique. Good thing Hick is not set on his prices.

This is a Rotary Deluxe Parlor Guitar, made in the 1930s. Hick thinks it's worth $500-700, and he'll take $250 for it. I don't know where Hick looked up his prices. This seems high for what I saw on my estranged BFF Google. I know Hick has a buddy who deals in musical instruments, and he talked to him about these items already.

Hick had a guy interested on Thursday afternoon, and told him he'd sell all of them to him for $1000. The guy wanted to see them. Hick sent pictures, but the guy didn't open them yet. So maybe he thinks Hick is a crazy stalker and is ignoring the number. Or maybe he changed his mind. No skin off Hick's nose.

Hick put pictures on his Facebook page right before his bedtime Thursday night, saying "Come see me at my Storage Unit Store this weekend!" His phone lit up with questions. One guy wanted his phone number, and called within seconds. He wanted Hick to save them for him to look at Friday evening, but Hick said, "If I get an offer, I'm going to sell. You can see them if they're still available."

I know nothing about these instruments or their worth. Hick is usually reasonable with his prices, but after looking at a couple of these, I think he might be a bit high. Depends on how much somebody wants them, I guess. And if they want a price where they can make money to resell them.

One thing I'm pretty sure about is that Hick will get his $250 back. And at least a 50-cent profit!