Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Sorta Like a Backroads Midas

Hick scores more free stuff than any person I've ever known. NOW, it seems to be rubbing off on Old Buddy, his paid helper. I got a text from Hick on Tuesday, about a change of plans.

"I'm running Old Buddy out to Nick and Bev's house. They're giving him a couch and chairs. So I'll probably be home around 3:30."

Well. This was a bit disconcerting, because Hick is under doctor's orders to not lift anything over 10 pounds. I'm pretty sure a couch and chairs weigh more than that.

"You shouldn't be lifting."

"I'm not."

Of course I had to wait until Hick got home for more details, since in the middle-er of nowhere, nobody can read your text. They were already on the way.

"How did you load the couch and chairs if you didn't lift anything?"

"Nick came home from work early. So him and Old Buddy did it."

I didn't ask how it got unloaded. Old Buddy usually has several people living at his house, so maybe they did it.

There are perks to working with Hick. Like free stuff.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Hick Does Some Home Work

Mark your calendar, people! Hick did a handyman job around OUR HOUSE!
Let the record show that it took five minutes. And that it was his own idea, and nothing I had asked for. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
The job involved our washer. Hick pulled it away from the wall, and checked the cold water hose. Cold water entering the washer has slowed to a trickle over the years. Takes a long time to wash a load of clothes. I have nothing but time. It didn't really bother me. But Hick is a man of impatience.
You may recall that Hick does his own laundry, after expecting me to pick his dirty clothes off the floor of our bedroom in my $17,000 house during our first year of marriage. I told him I'd do the laundry that was in the hamper, but I was not picking it up off the floor. Rather than conform to my rules of washing, Hick declared that he would do his OWN laundry. Alrighty then. It was not exactly a punishment for me.
Anyhoo... I guess Hick doesn't like waiting too long while sitting in his recliner on a Sunday evening watching Yellowstone while his wash is sloshing around in the laundry room. So he announced that he would be fixing the washer's water connection. 

Of course he also said he would be doing it while I was in town, because he didn't want to hear me complaining. About what, I'm not sure. However, he showed up two hours before I left for town, right after I'd put a load of towels in the dryer. He forged ahead and fixed the hose while I was sitting at the kitchen table with HIPPIE.

Now if I could only get Hick to decide that the basement stairs need a rail...

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Pony Has a Soft Spot, and It's Not In His Head

Conversation at the Thanksgiving Dinner table turned to how lucky The Pony is.
"I'm so glad you have your little house, so you're not wasting money on rent. Now it will be yours. And it's so close to work, you hardly spend any money on gas. No commute to waste time. Your job is secure, unless you start stealing mail! And you have insurance and retirement benefits. Plus, you're pretty much on your own. You don't have to deal with anyone. Just go in and get your stuff done. You can listen to music or podcasts while you're on a walking route. And if anybody wants to complain, they're probably not going to tell you to your face. They'll call the office!"
"I know. And when people want to talk to me, I have an easy way out. I just say, 'I really have to get back to delivering. I'm on a schedule.' So that ends it. But yeah, they don't complain to me. Just talk. Old ladies, mainly."
"You might be the high point of their day. Waiting for the mail to see if they get anything. And the added bonus of somebody to talk to."
"There's one old lady who must have had knee surgery, or hurt herself. She was on one of those scooter things."
"That's not a knee. More like an achilles tendon, or ankle injury."
"Anyway, her mailbox is by the road. Down a hill! So I've been carrying it to her, and she thanks me. She said next time she makes cookies, she'll put some in the mailbox for me."
"That's a sweet thing to do."
"There's another old lady who must have the fattest dog I've ever seen in my life. Next to Sparky, your Favorite Gambling Aunt's dog. This one's a chihuahua. She's always waiting by her door. I take the mail to her, too. I try to help, but I can't take too much time."

If I didn't know better, I might think The Pony is developing a slight case of caring about people.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Visits to the Convenience Store for Gas and Lottery

Friday I went to the Sis-Town Casey's to get gas for T-Hoe and scratchers for myself. I always park at the pump, and go inside to pay as I get my tickets. I don't like using a card for gas. We're a cash household for incidental stuff like that, unless going on a trip.

On my way back out to pump the gas, I was dismayed when a small car pulled into the striped walkway where I must descend from the sidewalk. These old knees don't like uneven surfaces, and even on a ramp, I must creep down slowly. Anyhoo... this car blatantly parked RIGHT IN THE RAMP AREA as I was gimping towards it.

I resisted the urge to give the driver my teacher stinkeye. You never know who's packin' these days. So I limped down the sliver of ramp left available for me. Didn't even slam my fist down on the hood of their blue compact car, which was also an urge.

Once back to T-Hoe, waiting for my gas to flow in, I took a picture for evidence! These were not people in need of a ramp (which they had blocked). It was two young gals. In fact, the driver remained in the car! If her companion had needed the ramp, or to be let out near the door, she could have parked there momentarily for the disembarking, then moved her car and come back for the pickup. But no. They were obviously entitled to park in the striped walkway.

As you can see, there is a parking space available one car to the right. Which would leave the handicap space they also blocked, as well as the striped walkway, available for those who need them.

I suppose they thought they could avoid the $100 fine for parking in the handicap space, though clearly they are preventing anyone else from using it. Nor could anybody get a wheelchair up that sliver of ramp they (probably unknowingly) left available.

Two tires in the handicap space, the rest of the car in the striped walkway. No excuse for that.

My standard practice is to block out any license numbers, because people don't ask for their personal information to be exposed on my blog. I'm not making the effort this time.

These two were kind of asking for it...

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Future PENNYillionaire Val Gets Lucky on a Breast Quest

The week started out with terrible bad luck! I spied a penny on the floor of the Liquor Store on Saturday. Since nobody was at the counter, I went straight there, intending to get that penny on my way out. But NO! A man came in behind me, and PICKED UP THAT PENNY!!! You snooze, you loose! He didn't even take a picture of it! What good is a single cent unless you are a conscientious collector?

SUNDAY, November 20, I showed up at Country Mart because Save A Lot was bereft of breasts! I didn't want a full turkey, so I had to go looking elsewhere. It was meant to be, because when I stepped out, I saw a penny!

Not that large circular piece of trash behind the tire. It's by that bird-poopy white splotch, just below it, at about the 5 o'clock position. 

It was a face-down 1986 penny, chillin' on the pavement. Then warming in my shirt pocket.

FRIDAY, November 25, was not Black Friday at all for Val! It was a red-letter day for penny-finding! I went to the Sis-Town Casey's for T-Hoe's gas, and found a penny waiting for me at the counter.

Good thing it wasn't waiting for that little gal in the sneakers!

It was a face-down 1994 penny.

At my next stop, Country Mart for my $3 scratchers, I was rewarded with no winners, but a treat on the way out.

A beauty there in the late-afternoon shadows!

This was a face-down 2019 penny. So pretty there on the pink tile.

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


Penny          # 110, 111, 112.
Dime            still at 20.
Nickel          still at 7.
Quarter       still at 7.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, November 25, 2022

The Day Val Was Happy She Turned Down Thanksgiving at the Casino

Last week, Hick offered me a way out of preparing Thanksgiving dinner. He said we could take The Pony to the casino that day, and eat their special meal, saving me much effort in the kitchen. At first I considered it. Hick had already told The Pony, who said he was fine with it. However, as much as I am stressed over holiday meal preparations... I did not want to steal Thanksgiving from The Pony. Val is NOT going to be the Thanksgiving Grinch. 

The Pony works hard, and then has to find himself something to eat in the evening after not taking a lunch break. Surely he would enjoy some of Val's home-cooked vittles, rather than just a restaurant meal of items he might not like. The menu at the casino was Cajun Turkey, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Green Beans, Corn, Roll, and a tiny cup of cranberry something. The Pony would eat turkey, mashed potatoes, and the roll. 

Nor did I want to rob The Pony of a casino visit, since Hick had already mentioned it. So I decreed a casino trip for Tuesday, The Pony's day off. And our regular Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. I did cut back on a few sides, and bought my desserts at the store.

I'm really happy I made that decision!

The Pony showed up at noon to help me with last-minute stuff like setting the table, baking the Sister Schubert's Rolls, and making the generic Stove-Top Stuffing. He also said he'd set out all the side dishes on the counter so I didn't have to get up.

Not gonna lie. I was seconds away from saying we might just eat off (the good) paper plates this year. Seconds! As a prelude, I said,

"I think I'll just drink my soda out of the can this year, and put it in my cooler cup."

"I'll put ice in the glasses for everybody. Here, I'll get out the fancy plates."

So cheery was the usually droll Pony that I didn't have the heart to go low-rent on the table settings. I was SO HAPPY that I had spent 2 hours preparing The Pony's favorite, deviled eggs, and not subjected him to a casino holiday meal.

Hick poured his bottle of sparkling Wild Cherry water into a glass of ice, The Pony had a can of Coke, and I had my new favorite, Shasta Diet Cola. I didn't subject everybody to a photo of their plate, but here's mine:

The turkey breast turned out to be FABULOUS! I even got the top skin roasted to a golden brown. There's a generous portion on my plate, along with the special deviled egg, the roasted vegetables also loved by The Pony, a couple rolls, and the boxed stuffing. Plus olives, of course. I gotta have olives with turkey. My freshly-poured Shasta is bubbling, and a bowl of 7 Layer Salad awaits my fork. The pack of Pepper Jack cheese in the background was for Hick and The Pony. The Pony makes little sandwiches of his turkey and rolls. In fact, The Pony had a pan of rolls all to himself, and Hick and I shared. We like ours darker on top, while The Pony prefers his almost doughy.

The Pony and Hick had cheesecake for dessert. I waited until later in the evening to have some chocolate cake. Hick carried his own plate to the kitchen counter, and The Pony cleared the rest, scraped them of tiny scraps onto a dog plate, and helped me get things put away.

I had already prepared Chinese Tupperware with deviled eggs and roasted vegetables for The Pony to take home. He gathered some turkey, wrapped up his pan of rolls, and took the pizza-shaped slice of chocolate chip pan cookie that I had bought for him.

The Pony is such a good-hearted fellow, for being one whom testing showed doesn't really care about helping people. No shade to Genius, who remained in Pittsburgh, and made a cornbread casserole and Green Bean Bundles, his own favorite. He and Friend had Thanksgiving dinner last weekend with people they hang out with there.

A much better time was had at our own kitchen table than at a casino. The Pony even showed me a picture of his new furnace filter.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Chillin' With The Pony

Now that the weather finally realizes that we are moving towards official WINTER, The Pony has a complaint. Not so much a real complaint. But The Pony's version of a complaint. He was supposed to come out Tuesday at 9:00 to join us in a trip to the casino. I sent him a text to make sure he took his ID, because THIS casino checks his every time. Also, I wanted to make sure he was up and getting ready.

"Yeah. Gonna shower when I can stomach getting out of my blankets."

On the drive, I brought up this topic.

"Is your house cold?"

"Yeah. The bedroom. And the closet in the bathroom. And there's a place by the corner kitchen cabinet where I feel a draft. Also, my furnace makes a noise. I only notice it when I'm home."

"Go fix Pony's house! He's paying for it! His house shouldn't be cold. That furnace is new."

"What do you have it set on, Pony?"

"72. I want to get an actual thermometer, and see how far off the temp is from the thermostat."

"It said to put the thermostat on an interior wall. That's why it's in your hall by the laundry room. I wish I had put it in the living room."

"The living room is kind of cold, too."

"I put the new weather stripping on your front door."

"Now it sticks."

"Well, that's what weather stripping does. Closes up the gap. Maybe your furnace filter is dirty. That could make the noise you're talking about."

[Seriously? Hick has not changed our furnace filter in YEARS! I'm sure it's due. He had taken to writing the date on the furnace every time he changed it, because I accused him of taking too long. I'm pretty sure that last date is probably from before Genius went off to college in 2013. Of course Hick will never tell, and I'm not going down to look for myself. ALSO, I'd like to know how The Pony's furnace filter got so dirty, with the furnace being NEW, and installed this summer...]

Anyhoo... The Pony said he picked up a furnace filter at the grocery store across from the post office after work on Wednesday. We'll see if that helps raise his temperature.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Horror of Hick's Spouse

Hick went to a new doctor on Monday, about a growth on his left shoulder. He had one removed before, and this one has been getting larger, and is a bit painful. He had an ultrasound of it a few weeks ago, or an MRI. I can't keep up with all the constant improvements on my almost-six-million-dollar man. Anyhoo, when Hick's doctor office called about the referral, he was given a choice of three specialists. 

"I don't really care. I don't know none of them. So it don't matter. Can't you pick one? Huh. Well..." According to Hick: "I picked the one with the easiest name. Hoping that he wouldn't have an accent, and I'd be able to understand him." Which seemed to work out pretty well.

Hick came home with a stack of 4 x 4 gauze bandages, and a roll of shiny tape that's woven so you can tear it.

"He cut it off right there in the office. Says it's a fatty something, like it said on the radiology report. I have to go back in two weeks, because he said he didn't take out the sack. That it was swollen and infected, so he'd let it calm down to make sure he could get the whole thing out."

"Eww! Was it something like off of Dr. Pimple Popper? You know I can't stand that show. But when she says it looks like chicken fat? Was that it?"

"I don't know, because I didn't look at what he took out. He done it all by himself, without a nurse to help or anything. He said I can wash it and then bandage it up again. He warned me that there will be a hole. Said that I might want to sleep on a towel tonight, in case it bleeds. It don't hurt at all."

"So I'll be bandaging it for you?"

"Yeah. I cain't reach it by myself."

"Should I put triple antibiotic ointment on it?"

"I don't know."

"Didn't you ask him?"

"He didn't say. Just said to wash it and bandage it."

"Well. I guess it couldn't hurt to put some ointment on it..."

Anyhoo... Tuesday morning, Hick was ready for me to change his bandage. He had taken a bath the previous night, so didn't mess with washing his fresh shoulder hole. He sat on a kitchen stool by the cutting block. The area didn't look too bad.

"Huh. Looks like he wadded up that 4 x 4 gauze pad. It's all folded to about the size of a golf ball, and taped down with two strips of tape. Looks like it might have oozed a little. There's pinkish dried blood under the edges of the tape, but the gauze doesn't look soaked. Do you want me to rip it all at once, or pull it?"

"Just pull it. OW!"

"I'm pulling it like you said! It's really stuck. Now I have to peel the gauze off. It might be dried."

"He said there'd be a hole."

"Okay. OH! It's stuck. Here. I'm going to pull on it. Uh... uh... YUCK! It's stuffed down inside the hole! The gauze! AGHH! I'm going to be sick! It won't stop coming out! It's like he twisted a corner of the gauze, like a worm, and stuffed it down in that hole! I must have pulled out three inches! And that part isn't even bloody! He's right. There IS a hole! It's shaped like an eye! On its side. Pointy on top and bottom."

"Huh. He DID say there'd be a hole. So not to be surprised. But Dr. Pimple Popper sews up her patients."

"Well, he said he's going back in to take out the rest. So maybe that's why. She takes it all out at once."


"I guess I'll fold up this gauze, and put a little ointment on it. But I'm NOT stuffing it down inside that hole!"

My handiwork looks like it survived the day. No leakage that I can see. And now I'll have a chance to do it all over again. Hopefully, the experience won't be so horrendous without pulling a long tail of gauze out of Hick's shoulder hole.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

A Curious Choice

Times, they have a-changed. It used to be that you could get some pretty good stuff as casino promotional giveaways. Pots and pans, dishes, glassware, luggage, a cooler, a camouflage backpack and thermos. I know it wasn't based on the amount gambled, because Hick and my sister the ex-mayor's wife had the same offer as the ex-mayor and me. And we're high rollers, while the other two are penny-pinchers.

We've slacked off on the city casinos over the past couple of years. But we DID go to take The Pony, that time he hit his big hand pay jackpot while forgetting his ID. So some promotional offers have been arriving in the mail again. I was shocked by the one I got yesterday. Do you know what the December giveaway is?


That just seems WRONG! Not because I'm the next Carrie Nation, or consider alcohol beneath me. But because surely there are laws against this! Right? Apparently not.

The card DOES say that the alcohol is not allowed on the gaming floor. So instead of picking up your item in the "Velvet Lounge" as usual, you have to get it on the Promenade. Which I think is a fancy word for that long hallway from the hotel check-in desk, past the restaurants, to the casino entrance.

Of course I had questions for Hick. I gave him the card to look at.

"It says to be sure and park in the parking garage to pick up your gift. What's the deal? Is it a drive-thru giveaway? How can they do that? You don't even have to go in and gamble?"

"No. It says you have to scan your player's card and get a voucher from the kiosk. So you have to go in."

"Oh. And walk all the way up by the front doors, where they used to have valet service, where there's the first kiosk. THEN come back to the desk by the parking garage entrance to get your bottle of hooch?"

"I don't know where they hand it out. But you have to get the voucher to get it."

"Huh. That just seems really odd. It's not like some special gift. You can get a fifth of alcohol for $20-$25. But it IS brand name. What was that... Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Bacardi?"

"Yeah. And two I don't know what they are. One looks like it might be wine. I like whiskey and bourbon, but I don't like rum."

"By the time we'd drive up there and back, the gas would cost more than the alcohol! You'd be better off just to buy your own!"

"I know. It does seem kind of odd."

"It would only make sense if you were going there anyway, to play and have fun. But I don't know why you'd have to park in the parking garage. It's not that much closer than the parking lot at that end. Unless maybe they want to make sure people take their bottle out to their car. And who's going to go every Thursday to get a bottle of alcohol?" 

"Yeah. It don't make much sense."

I'm pretty sure this is one giveaway that we're not getting.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Val Treats Herself To a Stretchy Chapeau

Since I hold the purse strings, and the entire purse as well, I bought myself a treat on Sunday. A GROCERY STORE SOCK CAP! Yes. Val is a fashionista. It cost $5.99, and is black, with an orange rectangular patch stitched onto the front with a black silhouette of deer antlers. Not a style I had been yearning for, but it will serve its purpose: to keep me warm(er) as I sit in the kitchen nook at night, typing on HIPPIE.
Hick walked into the kitchen last night, on his way to bed, and LAUGHED!
"Ha ha! You're wearing a sock cap!"
"Yeah. To keep me from freezing to death."
I'm not sure what I expected from Hick. He KNEW I bought the sock cap, because I asked him to set it on the kitchen table as I was putting away the groceries earlier. I did NOT expect Hick to laugh. Nor did I expect him to say,
"My poor sweet darling! Are you cold? Shall I set up a space heater under the table to take the chill off your bones? Should I turn the thermostat from 70 to 75? Perhaps put some weather stripping around those three windows that frame you? Buy you a buffalo-skin coat at the auction?" 

Yeah. That wasn't gonna happen. But he didn't have to laugh.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad, You Analyze, and There You Have the Stats of Strife

It is no secret that Val thinks the world is going to Not-Heaven in a handbasket. Common courtesy has flown out the window, and self-centeredness has oozed in. It's a continual source of strife for me. Yet this week has seen a new trend in Backroads.

Twice this week, lithe young men with shoulder-length braids (one with beads, one without) have held the door open for me at the Gas Station Chicken Store. Of course I thanked them, and let one go ahead of me, since he would have been there first, and was only paying for his gas.

On Thursday at the School-Turn Casey's, a county sheriff's deputy motioned me ahead of him at the counter. What a nice gesture. Maybe he was paying it forward, since the staff there have a habit of waving the law enforcement officers through without charging them.

Saturday, as I was headed down the hill by our neighbor's big red barn, I spied a car coming down the opposite hill. That part of the gravel road is visible, now that the trees have shed their leaves. Rather than continue down Hick and Buddy's badly-blacktopped hill, I pulled off to the side and waited. Waited for that red sedan to come up the hill, so that neither of us would have to put a tire in the ditch. Waited. Waited. Here came the red sedan. A young gal was behind the wheel, with another young gal riding shotgun. She kept going right past me, like she owned the place! No "thank-you" wave. No nod of the head in acknowledgement for my good deed. 

However... once I got to town, and was waiting fifth in line at Country Mart with only 10 bananas in my cart, a checker opened up a new line.

"I can help whoever is next."

I nodded at the people ahead of me. The next in line couple with a full cart did not turn and look. The guy behind them, scraggly beard, in a white t-shirt and jeans, with half a cart full, motioned for me to go ahead. 

"No, you guys are all ahead of me."

The thin man in black jeans behind him also motioned for me to go ahead. So I did. Paid cash for my $3.20 purchase. Such a nice gesture from the in-line crowd.

So, out of five incidents, four were acts of common courtesy, with only one selfish display of entitlement.

Four out of five ain't bad.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

How Do You Drive a Future PENNYillionaire Crazy?

Good news and bad this week, for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune. Let's start with the good, and end with the bad.
SATURDAY, November 12, I was over in Sis-Town to mail our county taxes at the main post office. Of course I took the opportunity to go in Casey's for scratchers. It did not prove profitable for scratchers, but for coins, it was the right move.

That's as close as I could get. It's a NICKEL! Heads-up, a 1992 version. The PENNY is from 2011, and face down. Can't complain, getting two-for-one, ample-rumpusing to pick them up.

SUNDAY, November 13, I got lucky at the Liquor Store. When I opened T-Hoe's door, I saw a penny waiting for me:

It was a little hard to see in the afternoon sun, and with parking lot trash distracting me.

So gunked up I couldn't tell if it was heads or tails, but a bit of scrubbing at home revealed it to be from 2013. Not all that old! A real PigPen of a penny!

But wait! As I came out the Liquor Store door, I spied TWO more pennies!

Of course I stopped for photographic evidence of the happening.

I picked up that heads-up beauty first. A 1972. Then I reached for the other one, in that shallow puddle of snow-melt. WHAT IN THE NOT-HEAVEN??? That second penny was baked into the blacktop! I couldn't pry it out! What a cruel trick to play on Val! Enough to drive her crazy! I hope no one was watching me! And I can't believe I haven't been tempted by this bait before. I'm in there at least twice a week.

That's 4 COINS this week, for 8 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny          # 107, 108, 109.
Dime            still at 20.
Nickel          # 7.
Quarter       still at 7.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Guillotine Lies In Wait For Val

A former colleague used to take a different route to work every day. Well. Not exactly different every day, because there are a finite number of routes available to get around in the greater Backroads area. Still, he would vary his path, randomly taking different exits and roads. He said you never know when someone might be out to get you. He had a manner of speaking and dressing like a wiseguy. Just sayin'...
Anyhoo, though we teased him about being paranoid, perhaps there was some wisdom in his madness.
I have a certain day of the week when I do my errands. I go to the same places. Not always in the same order, but I am a creature of habit. At the bank, I prefer a certain drive-thru lane. It's the right height for T-Hoe's window. It doesn't have the fat concrete bumper thingy that makes me struggle to lean over and reach the canister. AND it is not fully under the roof, so my SiriusXM radio still plays while I'm waiting.
Well. Perhaps this creature is TOO habited. 
My favorite drive-thru lane was open. Not a car in sight, except in my least favorite of the three lanes. I pulled up and parked just right. Turned off the ignition so as to save that pricey gas. Put down T-Hoe's window, and reached in for the canister. Easy peasy. Just like normal. Until...
That door comes up from the bottom. If the drive-thru bay is not used for a while, that tinted little door closes. Then you push the SEND button, and it lowers itself. They even have a printed sign taped there. "Please Press SEND To Open The Canister Door." I know that. I've done it before. But on this day, that door was open. Just like when you pull up right after another car. 
What in the NOT-HEAVEN possessed that reverse guillotine? My hand was inside, gripping the top third of the canister, making sure I had a good hold so I didn't drop it while dragging it out. I sure don't want to maneuver T-Hoe to climb out and fish a rolly canister from underneath his belly.
As I was pulling the canister toward me, THAT DOOR STARTED RISING! And RISING! It hit the bottom of my hand, and DID NOT STOP! Even a car window will stop when it hits something, and reverse its direction. So will a garage door. But not the EVIL, EVIL FIENDISH DOOR OF THE DRIVE-THRU CANISTER SHOOTER!
My hand was perpendicular to the reverse guillotine. It hit the fleshy part of my hand under the pinky finger. It kept rising!!! I was trying to pull my hand out, starting to panic. In the drive-thru lane, nobody can hear you scream! Unless you first push the CALL button. I was seatbelted in, and have too much boobage to contort myself enough to use my right hand to push the call button. I don't think the teller inside can control that guillotine anyway.
I felt like a bear caught in a trap! I pulled and pulled, and finally scraped my hand through the every-narrowing opening. SHEESH! That was scary! My hand was throbbing, with a red patch that burned. The skin wasn't broken,  but it hurt like an Indi a burn you used to give somebody by twisting their flesh in two different directions. 

Of course I still had business to do. So I reached my throbbing hand out and pushed the SEND button. The door opened, and I quickly snatched the canister out. I was wary. Like that delivery guy on the commercial combatting the karate door. The teller spoke after I sent in my withdrawal slip.

"How are you today?"

"Fine. But this door almost cut my hand off! It closed on me while I was getting the canister. It's never done that before!"

"Oh, my."

I expected a bit more sympathy. But it wasn't the teller's fault. Unless she has a secret controller and was waiting to chop my hand off. Which is a bit far-fetched. Even for a conspiracy theorist such as Val.

Oh, there's a warning on that EVIL, EVIL DOOR:

Not that it helps any. Just knowing that "DOOR MAY CLOSE AUTOMATICALLY" does nothing to prepare you for having your hand chopped off. But I suppose it protects the bank from lawsuits by newly one-armed people.

The Universe conspires against me.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

A Stain Upon Hick's Reputation

Nothing much happening around here. So I'll show you the stain Hick put on the back wall of Pony House. It's not a good picture. You know Hick. He takes a panoramic photo with the subject a mere dot in the middle. And this was taken too early for sunlight to reflect the true color of the stain.

That's just the inner part. Hick has since done the whole back wall.

When I get a better photo, I'll be sure to share it! The stain actually looks good. It's the color of the roof. Darker than I had imagined, from the sample The Pony sent me. The Pony likes how it turned out. The stain cost more than the paint for the rest of Pony House! In fact, Hick had to go back for more, after the amount he used in the first picture. Apparently, that wood siding is very thirsty!

Speaking of the siding Hick chose for the back of the house... it's what he calls "cedar siding." Not what I call cedar siding. His main factor in choosing it was the price. I say you get what you pay for! It was cheap, because it came in 4 x 8 sheets like plywood.

There's a new house in a subdivision on the way to Sis-Town, just past the cemetery. They've been working on it for a while. Now that it's done, I noticed that they used the same type of "cedar siding" as Hick used on Pony House. They painted theirs white. IT LOOKS TERRIBLE! That house does not seem to belong in the subdivision.

I mentioned that this house had used his style of siding. Hick said he saw it:
"It looks like crap!"

Indeed... at least the dark stain is an improvement. Once you get an accurate view of it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Pony Is a Lucky Dog

Every day on my scratcher rounds, I buy The Pony a draw ticket for Cash4Life. It's a $2 ticket, with a drawing every night at 8:00. I don't check the ticket until the next morning. Sometimes The Pony wins $2, $3, or $4. A few months ago he won $25. I text The Pony with a win like that, but otherwise I just wait until he has a couple small winners, and buy him a scratcher with it.
Since MOLottery updated their app, it has become difficult and annoying to use. You have to log in every single time, even to scan a ticket. That's gotta be illegal, don't you think? Shouldn't a person be able to scan for a winner without giving all their personal info to the lottery? I'm not complaining for myself, of course. I gladly submitted mine so I can be eligible for second-chance prizes.
Anyhoo... This app is SO undependable. Last night it told me three separate scratchers had been discontinued! I wasn't born yesterday! I know those tickets are nowhere near expiring. So I waited a couple hours and scanned again, which indeed confirmed my wins. But imagine a novice getting that message. They might throw away a winning ticket! The lottery is crooked, I tell you! But that doesn't keep me from playing.

Anyhoo... now I wait until I fire up HIPPIE and use the website to check The Pony's Cash4Life. First I checked the Cash Ball. It was 03, as was the one on The Pony's ticket. That doesn't win anything unless he also matches at least one of the five regular numbers along with it. I glanced at his ticket, memorizing the first three numbers, and looked at the winning numbers. THEY MATCHED! The first three numbers, that is. 

The Pony had three numbers and the Cash Ball, which won him $100. The odds of winning that are 1 in 1,471. Congrats to The Pony! He was pleased to hear the news.

It was also Val's lucky day. HICK PUT IN TWO LIGHT BULBS!

Yeah. It's not like he fixed the kitchen door, or got a new toilet seat, or put a hand rail on the 13 basement stairs. But he DID replace the two burned-out bulbs of the trio of bulbs in my overhead kitchen light. Maybe he wants to see what I'm serving him, heh, heh.

Still. A win is a win. Baby steps...

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Val Commits Murder and Reveals Her Modus Operandi

On the way to town Monday, there was a bit of trash in my path. It was on the county blacktop road, before the low water bridge. Looked like a wadded-up bag of something. So I steered T-Hoe to straddle it. You don't want to needlessly run over something that might puncture a tire. No telling what was inside that bundle.

As I passed over the obstruction, I saw another such obstacle MOVE! It unfurled itself and ran off the road and into the woods. Huh. It was a squirrel that had been hunkered down with its tail over its back. When I came home, I saw a limp squirrel lying on the pavement near where I had avoided that trash.

WELP! Looks like I murdered a squirrel. He must have knocked himself out by ramming his head into the side of a tire. He wasn't flattened, nor bloody. So it must have been a strong knock in the head.

I'd prefer NOT to kill an animal on the road. But let's face it: squirrels are just rats with more aesthetically-pleasing tails. There are a million more to take that one's place.

If I had kept going without steering to avoid him, that squirrel would probably still be alive. Or at least not dead by the tires of T-Hoe. They survive by darting from predators. So he could have judged my speed and direction, and avoided being hit/hitting the tire. My evasive tactics threw off his timing.

Furry rodents of Backroads, beware the rolling death machine that is piloted by Val.

Monday, November 14, 2022

The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes, and the Handyman's Wife Sleeps in a Drafty House

Hick is such a handyman! He's renovated Hick House where HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) now lives. He's renovated Pony House, where The Pony now lives. He's worked  six months at updating Back-Creek Neighbor Bev's new old house in the middle-er of nowhere. Lined Shackytown Boulevard with themed sheds. Is preparing to start renovations on the Double Hovel houses. Anybody with a structure would be hard-pressed to find a more qualified self-taught carpenter than Hick.

Hick leaves our hillbilly mansion every morning between 6:15 and 7:00. Sometimes to work on Bev's house, sometimes to get to his Storage Unit sales. He always leaves by the kitchen door. Most days, he locks it behind him. I'm usually getting ready to go to bed at that time, for my four or five hours of sleep. I'm sure Hick wants to keep me safe from any roving marauders. At least he wants to keep his treasures safe from them.

Sunday morning, and by that I mean 11:45, the time I arose to bake some brownies to take The Pony when I stopped by later in the afternoon... the kitchen felt a little cool. I'm always cold. Our thermostat is set on 70 degrees to temper the high cost of heat in our all-electric house. So I didn't think too much of it. I'm always cold when I get up, and sit at HIPPIE within the three-windowed alcove where the kitchen table resides.

I mixed the brownies and slid the glass pan into the oven. Went to sit at the table. The floor seemed extra-cold. It's linoleum. I could feel the heat leaving my soles through my socks. I glanced at the kitchen door to see if Hick had turned the lock button in the middle of the doorknob, and saw


Light! Sunlight! Flowing straight in, along with 30-degree air! [Technically, from a physics teacher standpoint, that draft was heat LEAVING the kitchen out that crack. Heat always flows from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. Those faster-moving molecules were shooting out the door, leaving those behind to spread farther apart, slowing down and losing energy. No charge for the lesson.]

Hick had not closed the kitchen door! He had perhaps given it a push. But the frame swells sometimes, and you have to give it a stern push to make sure it's closed. And sometimes, you have to give it a stern push to open it to get out, lest you slam your face into it trying to take a stride too quickly.

The previous day, Hick had done almost the same thing. He had pushed the door enough that light and air were not flowing in, but it was NOT closed all the way. Not latched, even though it was locked.

When we settled in for This Is the Time of Day We Discuss the Most Recent Thing You've Done Wrong, Hick heard my complaint. And replied,

"Huh. I might of. I remember giving it a push to close it. Sometimes I come back and make sure it's closed. I guess I forgot."

I guess I need to hire a handyman and his old man helper to come fix my kitchen door, at the rate of $40 per hour.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

We're Not Ready!

Hey, it's not Thanksgiving yet, and Backroads had its first snow! That's unusual here. Sometimes we're begging for snow to have a white Christmas, but we don't get our first accumulation until mid-January. I had no idea snow was coming. Just heard a random comment Friday afternoon from a smoking worker sunning herself at break time on a bench at Country Mart that "We might even see some snow next week!" 

I glanced at a story on the news Facebook page. Saw a little map with shading that showed Backroads was a region that might see some snow. No mention of accumulation.

Welp! Hick went out Saturday morning at 6:40, and found THIS:

"Looks like we got about 4 inches."

"WHAT? Do you need to sweep off the steps for me? Can I get to town?"

"It won't last. It'll be gone by the time you go to town. It was 80 degrees Thursday. The ground is warm."

Huh. Somebody forgot to tell the ground how warm it was, because all that snow was still there at 2:30. At least the steps were clear, and the roads and parking lots. It was 28 degrees. 30 in town.

I sent The Pony a text at 6:41. I knew he had to get up for work.

"Have you looked outside?"
"Not yet. Snow, I assume?"
"We have 4 inches. Dad says it will melt by the time I go to town."
"Probably in the sun. It's only supposed to be 37 today. Haven't left my blanket cocoon yet."
At 6:55, The Pony sent me a picture from his bathroom window:
"Doesn't look like 4. But definitely an inch or two. Could be because I'm looking out my back window. Might be less just from being that close to the house."

"I guess you can get out. Dad says it looks fluffy."

"Not sure if I have a scraper, but I'll just walk out early to defrost, then do the jug of cold water if I have to. Or if somehow I can't back up the hill, just text the manager and walk."

"Sweep it."

"Oh yeah. My broom's soft and fine for that. I remember when kid me had the idea to use the stiff push broom in the garage and you two were horrified!"

"Be careful today. Are you walking or driving on your route?"

"Half and half. Early part driving. Later walking."

By 7:38, The Pony was heading to work:

"Defrost in progress. Maybe it was close to 4 inches."

As far as I know, The Pony didn't have any work difficulties. That he mentioned. Though he DID work until 5:30, when he usually gets off at 4:00 now. I didn't have any trouble in town, since I wasn't walking through random yards.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Val Puts In Her Two CENTS

Not a great harvest this week, but not a shutout!
SATURDAY, November 5, I had to park over by the moat at the Gas Station Chicken Store. A truck was parked in the handicap spot that is so convenient for me. Nobody handicapped was in it that I could tell. But it had a camper hooked to the back, that was sitting in the space by the air pump. Perhaps they were getting air and then went inside.
That's my view across the moat, past Hick's pharmacy, looking at the side of the Backroads Casey's in the distance. Hope you're not squinting to see the coin! I took a picture of it, but my phone did not recognize that I was alive, and did not snap it when my thumb pressed the button. A car was waiting to cross, so I just took my closeup and picked it up.

Anyhoo... had I been in my preferred parking space, I would have missed this treat when I returned:

It was a very skinned-up 1978 Abe Lincoln, showing his face in the late-afternoon sun.
SUNDAY, November 6, I was shocked to find the floor of Orb K almost CLEAN! Clean enough to spy a coin on the floor, anyway.
With nobody behind me, I ample-rumpused to my heart's content. Got both pics.

It was a heads-up 1983 penny, transferred quickly from floor to pocket!

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


Penny          # 105, 106.
Dime            still at 20.
Nickel          still at 6.
Quarter       still at 7.

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, November 11, 2022

Val Is Beaten to the Punch by a Roving Do-Gooder

As I stepped into the Gas Station Chicken Store on Thursday afternoon, a woman was coming out. A 30-something man stood at the counter.
"What was she trying to do, get some gas and couldn't afford it?"
"How much IS a gallon of gas?"
"You know, I could pay for that."
"Is she still out there? She might be gone."
The Man went to the door and opened it. Peered around the pumps. 
"Looks like she's gone. I wouldn't have minded to do that."
Indeed. I would have paid for a gallon of gas for her. You know, as long as she didn't CUT LINE to ask for it, heh, heh! I've never seen this guy in there before. He was just buying a soda, and was going to use his card.
"There's a $3.00 minimum to use your card."
"Oh. Uh. Give me a couple of these lottery tickets. A number 2 and a number 3. I can buy them with a card, right?"
"Yes, as long as it's a debit card, not a credit card."
So The Man paid by tapping his card, and started out. Leaving his two $1 scratchers on the counter.
"Wait. Sir? You're forgetting your tickets!"
"Oh. Thanks."
He must have been passing though the area. As far as I know, I'm the only one who pays for other people's stuff at the Gas Station Chicken Store. The Man must not have had a lot of money in his account, since he asked the price of a gallon of gas before offering to buy it. That makes him a better Do-Gooder than Val.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Val's Power of Attraction Cannot Be Denied

Let the record show that Val's Weirdo Magnet continues to pulsate, as strong as ever. It was pulling in fresh weirdo meat at the Gas Station Chicken Store on Monday, and not the line-jumper kind.

I had approached from a different direction, having returned from a doctor appointment and early voting. So I was coming in the back alley to the parking lot, having to drive past the air-hose parking spot to get to the handicap spot in front of it. A truck was parked by the air hose, and I couldn't go around it to the handicap spot because a white convertible was parked all cattywompus beside it. Perpendicular, almost. And a guy had that air hose stretched across behind the truck, to the rear tires of that white convertible.

Well! That was a fine kettle of flat-tired fish! I had to swing wide behind the white convertible, circle around the two diesel pumps, and park nose-first in the handicap spot. Thus I had a perfect view of the action. The gal in that white convertible fired it up, and drove past T-Hoe to go out the front entrance of the Gas Station Chicken Store parking lot.

It was a little inconvenient, but I had my spot. No need to drag my blood-sample-depleted body across the lot from the moat. I reached into my purse for my winning scratchers to cash in, and was startled by a tap on my window!

What in the NOT-HEAVEN? It was that guy swinging his pink hose! He looked like a scarecrow in jeans and a plaid shirt. A tall, gangly man with a 1950s country-singer haircut. (Says the ample-rumpused Val, all smug with her lovely lady-mullet nearing record length.)

"Do you need air?"

I put the window down a crack. "No thanks. I'm fine. Just going in for lottery."

"All right then. I would put it in for you."

He continued to swing his hose. It was completely off the rack, and I suppose it might have been twisted. Surely there was a more efficient way to untwist it, rather than standing 20 feet from where it was connected, twirling it in an arc like getting ready for his rope-turning half of a double-dutch contest. He finally took a couple steps forward, so I could get T-Hoe's door open and climb out.

Was he scary? No. He reminded me of one of our old custodians who always put his arm around my shoulder and called me Babe. Not in a demeaning way. That's actually how he talked to all the female staff. Like, "Here Babe, let me get that for you," while you were wrestling the furniture around the classroom. It was a different time. Like Baby says at the beginning of Dirty Dancing, "...and it didn't occur to me to mind."

Anyhoo... that was a first. Having a random dude tap on my window to ask if I needed air.

Oh, well. It takes all kinds of kinds, as the Miranda Lambert song goes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The VALrus and the Censorer

The time has come, the VALrus said, 
To talk of many things:
Elections, coincidence, censorship-y stuff, 
Control by pulling strings.
And if some words can trigger those
With power that they bring

I woke up on election day with an email from BLOGGER. We are not besties. We do not communicate on a regular basis. We communicate NEVER. Yet there it was. Informing me that a post on my super-secret blog, by my alter ego, had been UNPUBLISHED for violating community guidelines!

Can you believe that? VAL, a valedictorian, ever-mindful of her permanent record, had published something that was a violation?

BLOGGER said I had the option to edit the post, and submit it for review, to have it re-posted if the offensive material was removed.

Here's the suspicious part. At least in MY mind:


Seriously. How in the Not-Heaven has that post survived for 8 years and 9 months, and just NOW been flagged as a violation??? Here's my theory: THE TITLE! Which was:

"Nominated, The Pony Will Run. If Elected, He Will Serve."

Is that irony? To have it rejected on election day? If not, I'm sure somebody will inform me in the comments of my ignorance of irony.

Anyhoo... that post was simply about The Pony, in his sophomore year of high school, being nominated to apply to attend Missouri Scholars Academy. That appeared to be the offending part. The link to Missouri Scholars Academy. Which had been fine for 8 years and 9 months, but just became a malware threat on election day.


Negating the whole purpose of THIS post. That BLOGGER is quite the jokester. I'm not laughing. Here's a link to that post, should you care to peruse it for yourself. It's not all that interesting. Some people might even be confused... I am NOT fishing for comments. I don't want them, actually, on an 8-year-9-month-old post!

Just sayin'. What are the odds of such a flagging? Yeah. I'm a well-known conspiracy theorist. But surely you don't think it was pure coincidence, with the title having nothing to do with it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Val Passive-Aggressively Calls Out a Gaslighter

Mark your calendars, people! Val stood up for herself in a convenience store line! Kinda...
I stepped up to the counter of the Gas Station Chicken Store on Saturday afternoon. Handed my $60-winning scratcher to my favorite clerk. A lady had motioned me ahead of her, saying that her husband was pumping gas, and she was waiting to pay when they knew how much. No pay-at-the-pump here!
Anyhoo... I stepped up. A dude was carrying his soda up the fountain aisle. So there were the three of us customers, secure in our order, waiting to complete our transactions. The Clerk was scanning my ticket, and printing the win slip for her register, when PUSHY came in the door. 
PUSHY stood at the end of the counter, right by the register, and said:
"I just want to get $20 on pump seven."
The Clerk glanced up at her. Said to go ahead. She turned to flip something on the box that controls the gas pumps.
"Huh. Let's just call it what it is. If I came in like that, I'd at least have the guts to say, 'I just want to cut in line. Give me $20 on pump seven.' Seriously. That's exactly what she was doing. Cutting in line. Don't get me wrong. I'm not in a hurry. I know it makes things run faster to turn it on. I'm not mad at you. It's just that she needs to call it what it is. NOT say she just wants to get her gas turned on. There are three people ahead of her."
"Oh. Sorry about that."
"No. I don't care that you did it. It's HER who has a lot of nerve to cut in like that. And to pretend she just wants her gas started. It's line-cutting!"
"Yeah. You're right."
"So just say it already! 'I'M CUTTING LINE TO GET MY GAS AHEAD OF ALL OF YOU!' Don't pretend. Again. I'm not mad at all. Only calling it what it is."

The Clerk wasn't at all discombobulated. She kept stapling my win slip to my ticket, and then pulled the new ones I asked for. We have a good working relationship. I didn't turn to see what the other two customers thought of me showing my rumpus.

I WAS kind of shocked they didn't cheer and hoist me up on their shoulders. Maybe if I had actually given my little speech in front of PUSHY herself! Then again, I didn't want her to open up a can of whoop-rumpus on me...