Monday, October 31, 2022

Hick Would Forget His Head if It Wasn't Screwed to the Wall

This was the last weekend for Hick to sell at his Storage Unit Store. Sunday afternoon, he moved some more stuff down to the SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) in Bill-Paying Town. He's got most of it there already, doing it every evening, a little at a time. Saturday night, he said,

"I'm taking the car tomorrow so I can move my deer head. I don't want it to get wet in the back of the truck and it's supposed to rain. I want to get it put up in my new place. I don't want to sell it, but if somebody offers me the right price, I WILL!"

I'm not sure where Hick got this deer head. It must have come in a trade of multiple items. Hick's old deer head was bought for him by me and Young Genius for Christmas one year, over at a local indoor flea market. Of course Hick had mentioned it every day for weeks, making sure we knew WHICH flea market had it. Young Genius walked right up and asked for it. I paid.

The gift deer head was down in Hick's creekside cabin. He used to go down there quite a bit in fall and winter, lighting a fire in his wood stove, taking a pot of chili (courtesy of Val) down to heat. He'd just sit there doing nothing, enjoying his collector's kingdom. Our old dog Grizzly, the half beagle/half chocolate lab, would come inside and lie on the floor. Hick could never get Juno to enter. 

Hick got busy with other things, like Shackytown Boulevard real estate, and didn't visit his creekside cabin for a while. He was devastated to discover that mice had eaten the hide off his deer head! So I know that's not the one he moved to the SUS2.

Nor did Hick shoot a deer to earn his own head. Way back when I first met him, he would "hunt" with his cronies out here, before we bought our 10 acres. They used to joke that Hick had a couch and TV and refrigerator in his tree stand, such a MacGyver was he! Mainly, Hick fell asleep in his tree stand. Then he built his first themed shed, which could most accurately be described as Tool Shed, and hunted from inside it, on the ground. His hunting days ended when he saw our now next-door neighbor drive by, stop, and (from his truck) shoot a deer walking across the field towards Hick's shed. He still helped butcher it, though, for a share of meat.

Anyhoo... I'm glad Hick didn't forget his head.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

No Reward For the Chivalrous

When Hick the do-gooder bestows favors upon people, he seems to be rewarded tenfold. Not that I begrudge Hick his good fortune. I, too, do nice things for people. Sometimes it results in coins strewn in my path, after I enable people by paying for their 10:00 a.m. liquor, or their vapes. Sometimes nothing. And sometimes, it seems as if I would be better off NOT doing a good deed.

Saturday, I walked into the Gas Station Chicken Store with two scratcher winners clutched in my old-lady hands. A man was coming up the aisle from the soda fountain. It was a dead heat to the register.

"Go ahead."

"No, you go ahead. I have lottery, so it might take a minute."

"All right. Thank you."

This Dude had a 32 oz fountain soda, and a snack. As he set them on the counter, he asked for two packs of cigarettes. The little cashier gal had to ask his age. He was 38. Plenty old enough to buy tobacco products, but the boss was hovering around, and I think the policy is to ask if you look under 40. Anyhoo... then she had to ask more about his brand of cigarettes, to make sure she got the right kind. Then he went to pay, and said,

"OH! I have to run back to my car. I'm so sorry. I left my card out there."

"Did you have gas?"

"No. I'll be right back. Sorry."

Off went This Dude, running out the door. The little cashier gal raised her eyebrows at me. 
"If I'd known THIS..."

"I hope you weren't in a hurry today!"

"No. I'm never in a hurry." 
[Which doesn't mean my knees enjoy standing for prolonged periods.]

This Dude returned, apologizing some more, and scanned his card to pay for his snack, soda, and cigarettes. He thanked us for our patience, and left.

I cashed in $45 of winners. And later discovered I'd won $45. I guess my niceness was rewarded with breaking even. Although I had to cool my heels a while to do it.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Common CENTS Says It's Gonna Be Hard to Break Last Year's Record

Time is running out on the 2022 portion of Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune. Last year's total of 124 pennies will be hard to achieve, at this rate of one single penny per week!
MONDAY, October 24, I found a penny coming out of the Liquor Store. Why a penny was coming out of a liquor store is beyoooond me! Heh, heh. That's just a little penny humor. Of course I was the one coming out of the Liquor Store, not the penny.
It was at the bottom of the ramp leading me back to T-Hoe in the parking lot. HOWEVER... a car had pulled in, and was wanting to park in the space beside it. The driver kindly waited for me to walk out of ramming range before pulling into that spot. This ruined my chance for a photo op! I will kindly give the THANK YOU wave to anybody waiting for me to cross, while not revving the engine. So I just snatched my penny and limped away.
Here it is, posed on the console of T-Hoe, on top of my $6 winning scratcher that I was saving to scan at the lottery machine in Country Mart. It was face-down, a 1986 penny that looked kind of charred.

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


Penny          # 100.
Dime            still at 20.
Nickel          still at 6.
Quarter       still at 6.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, October 28, 2022

Now Is the Time of Day...

Hick outdid himself Thursday evening. There wasn't enough time to discuss the most recent thing he'd done wrong! It didn't help that he spent three hours at the funeral home paying respects to a high school classmate, which seemed to be more of a class reunion that his actual reunions. Evan Val can't fault someone for giving an old friend a final send-off. So I'll let his lateness slide.

Before he left, Hick brought in the mail, and said that the only thing we owe on the Lowe's bill should be paint for Pony House. The rest of it was materials for Back-Creek Neighbor Bev's house, which Hick reimburses us for when I write the check for the Lowe's bill. He uses a Lowe's credit card to get a 5% discount.

Anyhoo... in reviewing the statement, I did not see any paint. The bill was for $680. When Hick returned, I was elbow deep in his supper, which was spaghetti, and required a skillet, a saucepan, a large pot, a spatula, ladle, pasta gripper dipper thingy, two spoons, a fork, a bowl, and a pizza pan for garlic toast. I did not have time to sit on the couch for our nightly session of This Is the Time of Day When We Discuss the Most Recent Thing You've Done Wrong. So strapped was I for time that I even ate spaghetti for supper! I do not like spaghetti, but it was better than making another meal for myself. Almost.

"Oh, I didn't see any paint on the Lowe's bill."

"Maybe it was on the last one. Did you see it on there?"

"No. But we DID pay something on that bill for Pony House. It came to about $140."

"Oh. That should be the paint cost. But I thought I just bought it to go on this bill."

"Maybe. You can look at this bill when you're done eating, and tell me where the paint is."

When Hick looked at the bill, I was eating my own spaghetti, trying not to choke as part of a noodle went down my throat before I was done chewing the other end.

"There it is. Right there! Valspar. The paint."

"How am I supposed to know that's paint? Look! It says:


"Valspar. Everybody knows that's paint."

"Not me. Nowhere does it say PAINT. I thought it was those valves. Besides, where's the price? It doesn't itemize. It's everything you bought that day."

"Well. I lay down the receipts on the counter. So it should be on there."

"When I get done eating MY supper that I'm in the middle of, and put away the leftovers, and wash up the dishes, then I will look at the receipt."

"Okay. But that's about right. It was $160."

"WAIT! You just told me it was $140."

"That's when I thought it was on the other bill. Ask Pony. He was with me. It was $264."

"I'm eating my supper. That's not my job. You should be giving me the receipts for Pony House."

BZZZZ. A text from The Pony.

"House paint would have been around $237. That's what Lowe's lists on the site for the color and type we got in the 5 gallon bucket."

"Dad says $264, but the credit card bill didn't itemize. First he told me it was $140. Then $160."

"Yeah. I know. $237 should be right."

"So NOW you've got The Pony texting me while I'm trying to eat?"

"He agrees that it's $237. I'm fine with that."

After eating the rest of my cold spaghetti, and doing my kitchen chores, I looked for the receipt in the stack of Lowe's receipts on the kitchen counter. The most recent receipt was June 5. THIS IS OCTOBER! I have no idea what Hick has done with those receipts. Maybe he gave them to Bev. Maybe they're in a stack in SilverRedO. 

Hick is getting charged $237. He's lucky I'm not adding on pain and suffering.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

From the LaBORatory of Pony Thevictorian

It's no secret that The Pony has had training in the scientific method. His interest lies in the chemistry field, not biology. Still, he knows his way around a lab. He sent me a picture Saturday evening:

"That looks like mold." [In retrospect, I should have lauded my biology background, and said "That looks like a colony of bacteria growing on agar."]

"Why do so many people say that? You're the third one to say it's moldy or like algae!"

"Um. The visual? And because we have eyes?"

"How? It's just green and bubbly! Does this angle help?"

"Yes. It reminds me of water you might find while spelunking."

"Man, I like caves, but don't think I'd ever want to scuba dive, even outside of one. I thought you would appreciate the green. It's wine:30, and for an experiment, I've added a bit of blue vodka. That made it green."

"Blue vodka to wine? What is that, like 200 proof?"

"Let's see. 3/4 wine at 11 proof. 1/4 vodka at 60 proof. You do the math."

"No. I'm not doing math!"

"I think that should come to about 18 proof. Maybe."

So it goes. The not-mad scientist having a glass of bubbly on the night before his day off.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Blue. Very, Ma'am.

Pony House is gradually being transformed from the faded white steel siding into the vision The Pony has for his home. He picked out the color, but I was skeptical of the hue when he sent me a snippet of his bathroom wall. That's the shade he had in mind. I didn't think it would look right on a whole house. I stand corrected:

I like it. I really like it. It's bright in the afternoon sun, but even that doesn't look out of place in the neighborhood.

The side angle from the back driveway makes the siding look like vinyl. Not that many people would think that was anything to brag about. But it looks better than the faded steel siding before Hick used the pressure washer on it and painted. More modern.

They still haven't bought the stain for the back wall, although The Pony has picked out the shade he wants. I think he said it was like a deck stain. Hopefully, this project will be completed before the weather turns cold.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Hick Might As Well Be Renovating the Winchester House

Hick has a lot of things on his plate. And not the tasty kind. He's got to finish work on Back-Creek Neighbor Bev's house, finish painting Pony House, wire his security system at his new SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2), and start work on one of our two new acquisitions, the flip houses.

The thorn in his side is Bev. She's quite particular about her new old house. Hick follows her directions to a T, but then she finds something unsuitable about the project. Yesterday, Hick discovered that Bev had spent the night in her camper in the back yard.

"That light makes a buzzing noise. We can't sleep in the house."

"Yes. It's a fluorescent light. The kind you asked for. They make a noise."

"Well, we can't stand it. We've been turning off the breaker every night."

"Bev. The breaker is not meant to do that. You can't be flipping it off and on."

"Then you need to put in a breaker box that I CAN flip off and on."

Hick might as well be working on the Winchester House. The one owned by the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, who thought the ghosts of all the people killed by Winchesters were coming for her. So the house was never finished. It was continually added onto, with doors and staircases to nowhere. That's how I remember reading about it, anyway. You can Google for yourself.

Anyhoo... Hick is going to need to set an end date to Bev's renovations. Otherwise, he might as well build himself a themed caretaker shed on the grounds, and save his gas money.

Monday, October 24, 2022

The Dry, Dry Pony Goes Droll-Droll-Drollin' Along

The Pony has never been much of a talker. No idle gossip, no jumping into conversations. He usually had his nose in a book all through school, or later in his Kindle. He was generally aware of what was going on around him, but didn't feel the need to participate. Of course the teachers appreciated him! By the time he was in 10th grade, and in the biology class of my Arch Nemesis, he had acquired a reputation.

"The Pony cracks me up. He doesn't say much, but when he does, it's hilarious. He has such a droll sense of humor." 

Yeah. Every now and then he'd pop off with something, catching you unawares with his dry delivery.

Sunday was The Pony's day off work. I took him some vegetables that I'd cooked in a roast. Yes, I also offered him some roast, but he only wanted the vegetables. He came out to T-Hoe in his driveway that Hick made behind Pony House, and wrote me a check for his share of the insurance on our new flip house(s).

I had picked up a scratcher for him. Just because. He won $10 on it. As he was putting down the window to scrape the scratchings off outside the car, he caught his arm in it.

"Ow! That pinched!"

No. I did not make fun of him for that. I'm the one who used to open up the console to get something out, and then slam it down on my hip fat.

The Pony had a bit of trouble getting out of T-Hoe. The door was locked, and he shot me a look like I was trying to trap him.

"Oh. I forgot that when I was scraping off my ticket, my arm hit to door lock and pushed it down. Duh."

Once standing outside and saying bye, The Pony added:

"Try to stay away from this door. It has tasted arm fat."

Okay. That cracked me up. You really had to be there.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

While the Rat's Away, the Professed-Nice Will Play

This was Hick's next-to-last weekend to sell at his Storage Unit Store. Around 2:00 on Saturday, he closed up shop, and headed down to his new SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) with a load of merchandise. He's been taking a few items down there every evening.

"I couldn't get near my place! There was cars parked in front of it, and stuff set up all around it! The lady beside me who's been real nice came over and said, 'Oh, you're here. I can move some of this.' We'll see if she does when I get ready to sell over there. I don't want a big fight trying to get my space."

We'll see, indeed. Of course they're going to push it to the limit until Hick is actually on the premises. I hope he sells the pants off them! Well. Maybe that's not a visual we want. But I hope he does a brisk business on his first couple weekends. 

That might be just more for haters to hate. But they'll see that Hick is a business force to be reckoned with. Nobody keeps Hick in a corner (with cars and merchandise blocking him in).

Saturday, October 22, 2022

One Singular CENTsation

Welp! Even Val can't rake in a major harvest EVERY week. So let's pretend that one is enough. Enough is as good as a feast. Or as Sgt Apone said in ALIENS: "Every meal's a banquet. Every paycheck a fortune. Every formation a parade."

I am grateful for the single cent that put itself in my path to be found on THURSDAY, October 20, at the Sis-Town Casey's.

It takes skill to spot a penny on a Casey's sidewalk, people! A rare talent. And perhaps a dowager's hump from constantly looking down.

This was a face-down 1982 penny, basking in the sun on a bright fall day. It was welcomed into my shirt pocket with open fingertips.

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


Penny          # 99.
Dime            still at 20.
Nickel          still at 6.
Quarter       still at 6.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, October 21, 2022

Ready to Renovate

Hick was supposed to get me some pictures of our newest acquisition, but he forgot the keys! So all I have today are views of the outside, and a bit of description. Here's the original view from the corner, showing both houses:

They were a package deal. Couldn't buy just one. We were able to get them for $51,000, which is more than we wanted to pay, but less than the asking price. Flip properties are scarce around here now, unless they are outrageously priced, or have the roof falling in, or a bedroom burned off. Yes. Hick looked at such properties. 
This one just had a FOR SALE sign out front, and wasn't listed with any agency, and wasn't found online. This is why we take a drive, or ask The Pony what he might have seen on various routes during work. There is virtually nothing listed for under $60,000, other than lots or acreage with no structures. This was at the high end of our limit, since we buy outright, with no loans. Don't have to worry about interest rates going up!

Let's start our tour with the little house, although it will be the second one Hick works on. It's actually my mom's old beauty shop!
The inside is just one big open area (still with the beauty chairs, Hick said, though the seller might have moved them out before closing). There's a bathroom. Hick says it's about 400 square feet. The plan is to make it into an efficiency apartment, with a kitchen and bathroom. Maybe a dividing wall for a bedroom. Maybe not.

That's the beauty shop's nether region. Hick asked the building inspector what was needed to be up to code, and he said it had to have a toilet, sink, and a place to wash. So just a shower in the bathroom is fine. I think it could be appealing to a college student or an older person. It's less than 5 miles from the local junior college, which has a 4x4 program with a bigger college for certain degrees, like elementary education. Hick is thinking he will make it handicap accessible, because a college student wouldn't care, and an older person might need it. I think it would make a good mother-in-law house!

Behind the beauty shop is the main house.

This is the side of the house you see while standing in the back yard of the beauty shop. The house has a fenced yard, and a deck that Hick says needs to go away. He plans to put on a smaller porch, unless the supports are in better shape than he thinks, and can find some decking that is not too expensive. The fence is bent because a tree limb fell on it at some point.

There's a shed that's usable on the back corner of the yard. Needs some paint! The fence is good here in the back yard, and runs up to the alley beside the house.

Here's the front corner, showing the beauty shop in the background, and the alley beside.

Another view of the alley side. Hick likes the generous crawlspace, handy for plumbing. He plans to move the bathroom. 

Here's the front. Hick says the porch is sound. The house is about 1000 square feet. Two bedrooms, one bathroom. Hick might add a half bath. He says the roof and electric are good. The flooring will have to be replaced, and the kitchen re-done. It has baseboard heat, which Hick plans to leave, and add one of those wall units that will blow heat or air conditioning. He also says the windows are good.

We are all excited about our new project. Hick will have something to do during the winter. The plan is to sell, but we can always rent if the market is slow.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

It's Official!

Hick's winter project is now simmering on the back burner. He first has to finish his duties at the new old house of Back-Creek Neighbor Bev in the middle-er of nowhere. Then he must complete the painting of Pony House. But there's nothing else keeping him from our new venture:
I'm not sure what to call it. We got two houses for one purchase. They sit on a corner lot. One faces a main street, and one faces the side street. That carport in the background is NOT part of our house. It's across an alley from it.

More details tomorrow. What could we name this project? It's not for a specific person. Just two buildings to flip, and sell. I'm not very creative in naming. Perhaps 2fer Hice, heh, heh. Because we got two for one purchase, and hice is my plural of house, like mice for mouses, and lice for louses! More boring is the Double Hovel, which is not very nice. Maybe PairaHice. Or Hick'n'Pony Row. The Pony is our co-investor. 

What say you? Any opinions on the naming? Save your opinions of the actual buildings for tomorrow, when I reveal a tiny bit more.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Blue-ing of Pony House and Rue-ing of Hick

Pony House is gradually taking on a new blue hue. Hick has been working by himself for a couple afternoons, because his Old Buddy helper was feeling not up to stuff. Then again, neither is Hick. More on that after the picture.

Such a nice fall day. Hick has managed to paint the front and half a side of Pony House. Old Buddy is the ladder man. So if he's not available the next time Hick is ready to paint, Hick will move to the other side of Pony House and do the lower half. The more I see of his handiwork, the more I love that color.

And now for Hick's near-death experience.

Hick has been complaining that the backs of his legs hurt. Bad. My opinion is that it's sore muscles from doing work he's not used to. Like painting. And working on the electricity at his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2). He HAS climbed a ladder while working on both tasks. Just not high, or for a long time. Also, I suggested he talk to his doctor about his cholesterol med, which I remember had a warning about muscle pain as a side effect. He finally went to the doctor today, and is going to have some tests. Anyhoo... you'd think that would affect more than just the muscles on the back of his thighs.

Anyhoo... in talking off-handedly about his doctor visit, Hick said, "And I told her how sometimes I can hardly walk, and how I thought I was going to fall down when I tried to run the other day..."

"WAIT! You were RUNNING? What in the Not-Heaven?"

"To catch my truck." The Hick got that look like OOPS on his face.


"We was out at the lake, with the trailer, loading up the vehicle I was helping my buddy move. We had it over by the pond where we used to fish, on that hill, so we could just drive his truck right up on my trailer. And we about had it on there, when MY truck started rolling away."

"WHAT? Are you too dumb to put on the brake? And have it in park?"

"It WAS, Val. But when he drove his truck up on the trailer, the back of the trailer went down. Where it was hitched, it pulled the back of MY truck up. Like a V upside down. It lifted my back wheels up. So they was the ones that had the brake on. And my truck started to roll forward. When it was all over and we wasn't hurt, it was pretty funny."

"NO! That's NOT funny! How did it stop?"

"Well, it wasn't going fast yet. I was able to yank open the door and hop in and get it stopped. My buddy was in bad shape, too, because he was sitting in HIS truck that was half on the trailer, and he couldn't get out. He said he thought I was going to fall and get run over by my own truck."

"You are such an idiot! It's like the time your tractor went in gear and you chased it through the field to stop it."

"Well. They both worked out okay."

No explanation from Hick on HOW he stopped his truck. Maybe he just steered it to where the hill made it stop rolling. I suggested that he put blocks in front of the tires next time. And he didn't even smart-mouth me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Getting Up At the Crack of Almost Noon

Tuesday will be spent with The Pony on his day off. We have three important mutual errands to accomplish. Hopefully we will encounter people who actually do their job right!

Such a hardship, dealing with proper business hours. I will have to get up EARLY to pick up The Pony at 11:30. It means I'll have to leave home by 11:00, a time at which I am usually asleep. I guess maybe I should go to bed before 8:00 a.m.

The Pony is an early riser, due to being gainfully employed. I know he'll be ready when I get there. He'd better be prepared to ride shotgun like a normal person, and not revert to his old ways of riding in the seat BEHIND me! Even during high school he did that, on our way to school and home! It was quite disconcerting in the summer months, when I'd be surprised by BARE TOES pinching my forearm as The Pony slipped out of his slides and reached his leg around the seat. Did I ever mention how much I hate feet? 

It's supposed to be chilly, so perhaps The Pony will wear actual shoes. Not to mention how hard it would be to surprise me with that toe-pinching behavior if he's sitting right beside me. 
I"m so cold right now, sitting at the kitchen table, that I can hardly type. We're expecting temperatures below freezing tonight. Hick scoffs at me and says, "Maybe you should go back down to your office." Do you think he's trying to get rid of me??? I pointed out how I don't have a working heater in my office. He said I do. I said only if you count that mini radiator that is too tall to fit under my desk, and only heats the back of my chair due to its placement. I think I need to find my sock cap with the giant ball on top, and the earflaps.

Anyhoo... maybe I'll have some tales to tell after my Pony adventure. Maybe not. 
But likely so...

Monday, October 17, 2022

Rules For Some of Thees

The Pony has always been a stickler for rules. A Young Sheldon kind of stickler, although Young Sheldon is pretty much a template of Young Genius.

When he got his job and went through orientation, The Pony proudly showed off his mailbag and dog repellent and first aid kit (in case the repellent didn't work, perhaps), and official cap. He also revealed some of the rules.

"We can't go in and buy liquor in our uniform. If we're buying mostly groceries, it's okay to have some alcohol in the order. But otherwise, we have to take off the cap, and the shirt, or cover it up, or turn the sweater inside out so you can't see the logo."

Of course The Pony follows such a rule. But apparently, everyone does not. I sent him a picture a while back, when I was at the Liquor Store buying scratchers.

"It's about to be RUM:30 for one of your work brethren or sistren! At the Liquor Store drive-thru."


"So much for not disgracing the UNIFORM. Just the vehicle."

It was 4:10 p.m., so I'm hoping the work day was over. I think that might be a rural carrier. I see the car a lot between Sis-Town and Backroads. Don't know if they have to clock in and out like a city carrier. If so, they were making a purchase on the clock. I'd complain about my tax dollars, but last time I did that, The Pony indignantly informed me that the USPS is NOT funded by tax dollars, but by themselves through the sale of stamps and postage and delivery contracts. Okay...
I don't think they're allowed to deliver the mail through a drive-up window. All the other times I've seen a USPS vehicle there, it was an LLV (Long Life Vehicle) or Metris van, parked in the parking lot. I just assumed they were delivering the mail, like I've seen them do down the block at Country Mart, and across the street at the Gas Station Chicken Store.

Anyhoo... I suppose that driver could have just been ordering a fountain soda. Or maybe vape products or cigarettes. My name's not Karen. So I'll keep this little secret.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Things That Go KERRRRCHHHH In the Morning

Saturday morning, Hick left for his Storage Unit Store around 6:45. I was still up, that being my schedule of late, watching TV. By 7:15, I'd decided to hit the sack. It was till pretty dark outside. I was snuggled down on my left side, with the blanket up around my ear, just drifting off to sleep. 
I was starting a dream of trying to help a bird like a small emu that had its head stuck in the tall woody stems of a big flower. The bird's owner was telling me to STOP, that she only wanted Dr. Pol to take care of her bird. He was tending to another unseen animal in the field behind me. Heh, heh. I think I watch too much of The Incredible Dr. Pol.


What in the Not-Heaven??? That was harsh. I was startled awake, my heart pounding. That noise was not part of my dream. What could make such a noise? It came from over my right shoulder. Towards the middle of the bed, and the master bathroom and door to the living room. I was home alone. The TV was off. Was something trying to make contact with me?

I was afraid to turn over. I mulled possible scenarios. Did the dogs drag something on the porch? Was the electric person actually reading the meter on the side of the house by the bedroom? Maybe scooting a metal chair out of the way? It wasn't down in the basement, where the furnace is on the other side of the house. Nothing in the bathroom makes noise. The smoke detector only beeps...


What in the Not-Heaven! AGAIN? This was just creepy. That harsh noise came from the same area. Slowly I turned. I didn't roll over. I could just see the top of the bathroom door. Part of the wall to the living room.


A light lit up! I have no idea what that light was. It was in the area of Hick's nightstand. Then it went off. Just too creepy! I checked my cell phone. 7:25.

I buried my head under the cover and tried to go back to sleep. My heart slowed. I heard the furnace kick on. At least with the air blowing, such a harsh sound might be less startling than in complete silence.

Sleep overtook me. No more harsh noises. When I got up at 11:30, I saw that Hick's digital clock on the clock radio was flashing 4:07. I thought nothing of it, other than Hick needed to set it right. He never turns it on. He just wakes up.

I went to the kitchen, and glanced at the microwave. Its clock said 0. Not flashing. Not dark. 0. Well, now. Perhaps the power had been off. But usually the microwave clock just goes dark. 

I'm guessing that something cut the power off earlier. Then it came back on. Then went off again. And came back on. The clock radio must have made that KERRRRCHHHH noise. Not sure what lit up the nightstand. Maybe the breather. Or the radio.

Not scary at all. Other than what could have happened to make a KERRRRCHHHH noise. It never has done that before when the power was off. Hick went to check the BARn later in the afternoon, and the power had not been off over there. It's on a separate electric line. We get a separate bill. So whatever happened, it only happened to our house.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Silver Fell, Silver Fell, It's COIN-(YAS!) Time in Val's Ditty

Whew! Close call this week. No coins to be seen, until Friday afternoon at the Backroads Casey's. A place I hadn't planned to go, until flummoxed by the traffic at the Liquor Store. I peeled out of that lot toot-sweet, and wheeled T-Hoe into the shockingly parking-available Casey's. For my trouble, I got a $3 scratcher winner, and this:
The cupboard might have been bare, but the floor wasn't! In fact, when I zoomed in on this photo, I think there might be another coin in that dust bunny in the corner! Hick agreed. But hindsight is losers-weepers. I'm not crying, though. Because I picked up

A face-down 2021 DIME! I luuurrrrrves me some silver!

But wait! When the woman in line ahead of me took her leave, I also saw THIS:

I guess the sweets are not in big demand like the savory snacks. Perhaps patrons have been dipping into the Halloween candy they've been buying since it went on the shelves at the beginning of September. Or maybe even BEFORE Labor Day.

ANOTHER DIME! It was a face-down 2022. I commented to the cashier that I'd just found two dimes, and she said, "You know, I've heard that when you find dimes, it means someone in Heaven is thinking of you." Well. There you go! Dimes always remind me of my dad, since we found them all over our house during the two weeks after he died. 
Funny thing, I went to the Gas Station Chicken Store next, and on the way out, I almost stepped on a LADYBUG! I was looking down, you know, for coins. I saw it walking, stretching out its wings, but didn't get a picture because my hand was gripping three scratchers and The Pony's draw ticket against the gusty wind. Didn't win a thing! But the distraction of the dimes and ladybug might have been enough to keep me out of harm's way from a crazy driver on the way home. You never know how much a few seconds can alter history.

That's 2 COINS this week, for 20 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny          still at 98.
Dime            # 19, 20.
Nickel          still at 6.
Quarter       still at 6.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, October 14, 2022

A Fantastic VALue

The Christmas scratchers came out Monday. I didn't even know! Why was I not notified? I am aware that the last Monday of every month is MO Money Monday, as designated by the Missouri Lottery. But this was NOT a last Monday. So I was not on my toes, ready to dash out and nab the latest offerings. I had to find them in the glass-topped counter at the Gas Station Chicken Store.

I always buy new tickets when they first come out, whether I think I'll like them or not. Gotta get the fresh ones! I got some for myself, and The Pony, and two to send to Genius. The Pony won $15 on his $5 ticket. I won nothing on any of mine. Which didn't mean I quit buying them!

Thursday, I was running quite late on my errand day. I had to get to the bank before it closed, and also to the credit union on the other side of town, to make a deposit of The Pony's money for an as-yet-unnamed purchase. THEN I was free to backtrack for T-Hoe's gas and my scratchers at the Sis-Town Casey's.

I was wavering on my ticket selection. I decided on a $10 Christmas ticket, and a blue $5 ticket I've been having luck on these past two weeks. In fact, LAST Thursday I had two $50 winners on this blue ticket, one of them being from the Sis-Town Casey's, and the other from the School-Turn Casey's. So I thought I was pushing my luck to buy another one when they were likely in the same roll as last week. I'm hard-headed, though, and that's the one I wanted. It won $50! Sorry I didn't take a picture. I don't take them for winnings that "small!"

Anyhoo... as I said, I also got a new $10 Christmas ticket:

It's a pretty ticket, and easy to scratch. And quite a good VALue for my $10 investment this time! That's a $500 WINNER! I always scratch off the numbers, and wait until I see how many are winners before I uncover the prizes. So I was happy enough, thinking there were probably $5 prizes under each winner. In fact, the prospect of winning $50 was thrilling in itself. And then I uncovered the first candy cane symbol, and saw a $50 prize. That's when I knew I was in for something good.

My theory is that new tickets are sent out with some good prizes frontloaded, to keep people buying them for quite a while. Like these Christmas tickets. Get some good prizes paid right out of the gate, then slack off the big ones until closer to Christmas, and the end of the ticket.

Sure. It's all random, right? I'm pretty sure there's a program that decides when, and what area of the state the big winners go to, to keep scratcher prizes balanced, and interest keen. Then again, I'm a known conspiracy theorist.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

And Now For the Outside...

Hick had been busy all summer working on Back-Creek Neighbor Bev's new old house in the middle-er of nowhere. He's about to wrap up his current projects there, since the house is now livable, and they are out of their camper in the back yard. Just when he thinks he's done, Bev comes up with another project. Hick had to tell her that he has other things to do right now, and is phasing out her renovations.

The SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) has the electric hooked up. Hick has been moving merchandise every evening. There is a current lull in place for a future time-sucker that will demand Hick's attention. So The Pony saw his opportunity to request paint for Pony House.

"I know Dad has been busy. But I'd really like to get some paint on the outside before the weather gets too cold. Otherwise it will have to wait until winter is over."

Hick is no slouch when it comes to starting new projects. Finishing, yes. But starting, no. He and The Pony went to lunch on Monday, and made a trip to Lowe's for paint. They were supposed to do it on Sunday afternoon, but Hick "forgot." Poor Pony. He waited all day for his dad to call. Put off a trip to Walmart and didn't eat lunch. Waiting. Waiting. It makes me want to weep for The Pony. It was probably 3:30 or 4:00 when The Pony realized he had been stood up.

Anyhoo... they bought the paint, a blue the color of The Pony's bathroom, he said. I was not sure it would look good. I'm not really a fan of blue. Gray is more to my liking for a house exterior. But I gotta admit, once I saw it actually ON the house, I think I'm becoming a fan.

The day was overcast, with rain in the morning. Which didn't matter much, since Hick took the power-washer over to prep the exterior. The plan was to paint the porch first, to see how it would look, and then decide if The Pony wanted the rest of the house in that color. He does. It's actually brighter than it looks here. There's Hick's Old Buddy in the act of painting. The trim will be black, like the front door. 

More to come as the project progresses. The Pony had picked out a stain for the back wall that's wood, but Hick rushed through Lowe's without looking or buying. Hopefully they'll still have some when the painting is done. Hick already has some black paint for the trim.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Hick Does the Almost Unforgivable

We have been enjoying an ice cream renaissance here at our hillbilly mansion. Country Mart had a sale a while back, and I bought some Blue Bunny ice cream. It's delicious! Even though it isn't on sale now, I still buy it. Of course Hick doesn't NEED it, due his delicate medical condition. But just try telling HIM that. 

Because we have different tastes, I buy two kinds. I alternate between Cherry Chunk and Mint Chip. Hick is adventurous, and has experienced Bunny Tracks, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cookie Dough, and something that's vanilla with cookie dough, chocolate chunks, little M&M thingies, and a caramel swirl. I don't know which kind he was on at the time, but he ran out.

"You can have some of my Mint Chip before I go to the store. Just leave me enough for an ice cream cone."

"Oh. Okay. I like that kind."

Hick never met and ice cream he didn't like. Only an ice cream he didn't like as much.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, and didn't pay attention as he dipped out his (MY) ice cream at the cutting block.

"There. You have enough for a cone."

"Okay. I'll have it after while."

Hick had long since gone to bed by the time I got out the ice cream tub to make my cone.

Does that look like enough ice cream for a cone??? Let me answer for you (as I used to tell my students who deliberately refused to incriminate themselves when caught red-handed while participating in shenaniganery). NOT-HEAVEN, NO! 

I even have the smallest cones available in Country Mart, some kind of Keebler product.

See? I posed the cone in the ice cream tub. No way is that ice cream going to provide me with the cone to which I am accustomed!

I put all the remaining ice cream into my cone:

Yeah. Val is not some spindly waif who feels stuffed after eating her ice cream cone filled level with the top. Even more heartbreaking is what I had to do to get ice cream showing above the top of the cone:

I could only have ice cream in the MIDDLE of my cone. Not in the bottom, or a scoop on the top. Yes, I took these pictures so I could use them to shame Hick. As you might imagine, that didn't happen!

"You said you were leaving me enough ice cream for my cone! Then I get it out of the freezer after you're in bed, and THIS IS ALL THAT WAS LEFT!"

"Huh. It looked like enough for a cone."

I'm pretty sure the bowl he had piled high looked like enough for three cones! It really does not benefit me to be nice to Hick... If I pulled a thorn out of his paw, he would STILL eat me, and hope he didn't step on any more thorns.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Not Enough Hours In the Day to Discuss Hick's Most Recent Wrongdoings

Hick might need to take a day off from his multitude of projects. There is not enough time to adhere to the nightly interaction I call "This Is the Time of Day When We Discuss the Most Recent Thing You've Done Wrong." Hick is getting away with shenanigans, only enduring my stinkeye or heavy sighs in place of a nightly stern talking-to!
Over the past couple days, Hick has been allowed to skate on the following behaviors:
Left the porch light on all day, from 6:15 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., after watering the dogs. Yet he has plenty to say about other lights that get left on. It's not like I even knew, because it was daylight when I was up and around, and the porch light was not observable.
Threw away my Hardee's Tupperware! Put that black plastic bowl right in the wastebasket after finishing some canned pears that had been stored in FRIG II. I had to rescue that bowl myself. It once held a Hardee's Chicken Bowl, and is a great size for storing single servings.

Dipped his chili with a SLOTTED SPOON. Not the dipper I provided. So essentially had beef and beans for supper. No juice.

Flipped the slotted spoon awkwardly across the top of the stove, splattering the juice over four burners. 

On the second night of chili, clanged his spoon against the glass bowl several times with each bite, like a chuckwagon cook beating a triangle to call the cowboys to supper.

The most egregious behavior was revealed by Hick himself on Monday evening, before I could read a text from my informant, The Pony.

"I don't know if The Pony told you this or not, but when we got back to his house after buying paint and having lunch... I went in his bathroom. When I flushed it, I saw that the Lowe's bill had fell out of my pocket, and was swirling down the drain! I almost got ahold of it, but it went on down."

"EWW! I'm glad you didn't grab it. Nobody wants THAT! Now what am I supposed to do for keeping a record of the paint?"

"It's on the Lowe's bill. It will show up on the Lowe's credit card."

Still. Not the way I like to handle those expenses. 

I'm saving the very most wrong-done incident for another day. It deserves a post all to itself. With pictorial evidence.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Progress Is SO Inconvenient

As if it's not bad enough that my main route to town has been compromised with bridge work, and from there, all three routes to Sis-Town slowed by road work...

NOW the main intersection in Backroads is distracting drivers with work on the electric lines!

These intermittent lane closures thwart my path to the Gas Station Chicken Store, Country Mart, the Liquor Store, my pharmacy, the dead-mouse-smelling post office, and two routes to Sis-Town, home of Pony House, my bank, the main post office, and my credit union. Not to mention two Casey's, for gas and scratcher purposes.

Val does not like change. If she had it her way, she'd be pulled to town in a goat cart, holding a lantern if her trip had her out after dark. Communication would be by smoke signal or tin-can-and-twine telephone. Entertainment a heated game of mumblety-peg, and supper a Flintstone-esque rack of ribs, washed down with well water.

The times, they are a-nnoying!

Sunday, October 9, 2022

PROOF That The Universe Conspires Against Val

I was getting ready to leave for town Saturday afternoon, when The Pony sent me a text from work.
"Imagine if you'd parked here."
"NOOOO!!!! The coinmanity!!!"

"It's in a driveway though, or it would have long since been picked clean!"

"That would not stop me! Take first, apologize and return if caught. But those pesky RING cameras..."

Seriously. This is just a slap in Val's face from The Universe. The Universe is spanking Val's rumpus. So many coins, and so little opportunity for Val to obtain them! I count 9 quarters, 2 nickels, and 12 pennies. Somebody's pocket must have exploded!

Good thing The Pony did not reveal the address.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

It's Hard Out Here For a PEN-P

Cutting it close this week. It's hard out here for a penny-picker!

THURSDAY, October 6, I stepped into the Backroads Casey's to find a penny waiting by the not-open register.
You can be sure I was ample-rumpusing like a fiend! Poor people in the next line. Not only were they subjected to that view, but they also missed out on capturing this penny!

It was a face-down 2021 penny, close enough to the edge of the rack so my shoe could drag it out for my collecting pleasure.

FRIDAY, October 7, I rounded the counter of the Gas Station Chicken Store for my scratchers. Waiting for me was a penny!

Of course I photographed it and picked it up! Nobody else was in there, so I wasn't holding up the line.

It was another face-down 2021 penny. That must have been the popular flavor this week.

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


Penny          # 97, 98.
Dime            still at 18.
Nickel          still at 6.
Quarter       still at 6.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, October 7, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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