Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Hick Meets His Match

Hick has been working a couple days a week over at the Double Hovel. He was dismayed to find evidence of a SQUIRREL in the attic. Actually, it was Old Buddy who discovered it, since Hick sends him up to the attic to connect the new wiring.

Lucky for Hick, he had a squirrel trap left over from when he evicted such an unwanted tenant from The Pony's attic. Also lucky for Hick, nobody liked the eight bags of english walnuts (just slightly expired) that he bought at the auction over a year ago. So Hick had a trap, and also bait.

Of course the capture did not go as planned.

"I pulled up to the house, and saw my trap sitting on the left porch rail where I'd left it. That damn squirrel was sitting on the right porch rail, eating a handful of nuts! He was mocking me!"

"Where did he get the nuts?"

"I had laid a trail of them across the yard and up onto the porch, leading into the trap. They was all gone, and so was the ones inside the trap! The trap was sprung. I guess maybe it's not quite big enough. He must have gone in to get the nuts, and then it snapped shut on his tail and didn't latch, so he got out. WITH the nuts! I think I have a bigger trap I can use. I hope he comes back..."

"Oh, he's coming back! You're FEEDING HIM!"

Monday, January 30, 2023

Strike 2, and You're Beggin' For a Dust-Off Pitch

Yesterday, I mentioned the New Gal (new to me, not necessarily a new employee) who rubbed me the wrong way at the School-Turn Casey's by asking me IF I HAD ENOUGH MONEY to buy the scratchers I requested. Perhaps it was a self-perceived insult. Perhaps not. You're not going to like everybody in the world, and they're not going to like you back. Sometimes people's personalities just don't mesh, even in brief interactions. The trick is to be civil, and then avoid them in the future!

When I got in line last week, I saw that it was the New Gal who would be waiting on me. I was brave! I didn't step back and wait for the other cashier to be available. I stepped right up, giving her a chance at redemption. No chip on my shoulder at all.

I had winners to cash in this time. I hand them to the clerk, and tell them how much they're worth. I scan them with my phone app ahead of time, so I know for sure. I do this as a courtesy, because at Casey's, the clerks will ask. They want to make sure you don't have a big winner, because they can't pay out any ticket over $100. Once it's scanned, it can't be scanned again. So you'd have to buy your winner's worth of merchandise if that happened. I bypass the step of making them ask me how much the winner is worth.

Anyhoo... I told New Gal as I handed them over. I usually add whether I'm buying more tickets, or want the cash back. My jaw was unhinged to provide this info, but New Gal took hold of my tickets and spoke to the other clerk, who was having trouble scanning a ticket from the guy he was waiting on. So I didn't interrupt. They always ask anyway if I don't tell them. They scan the winners, print out a little receipt for their register, lay it on the counter, and ask what you want to do.

They got the other guy's ticket scanned by tilting it just right to read the barcode. New Gal scanned my tickets, put the receipt on the counter, and OPENED UP HER REGISTER DRAWER!

"Oh. I was going to buy more tickets with that."

"Well, I already cashed it out." She was pulling bills out of the drawer. "You didn't tell me."

What in the NOT-HEAVEN! That was not said matter-of-factly, but with an edge. Like an accusation. A method some people use when they don't want to be wrong. No way was I going to meekly take this blatant verbal abuse! 

"You didn't ask me." Said with the same tone New Gal had used with me. Take THAT, you passive-aggressive little twerp!

New Gal's demeanor changed. "Fair enough." She continued to count out my money. Even a bully can respect somebody who stands up to them!

"It doesn't matter to me. I can spend it right back to you."

Which is what I did. At least she knew I had enough money to pay for my tickets, heh, heh!

I am almost to the point of avoiding New Gal next time I go in there. I already do it with a young whipper-snapper at Orb K. I will wait for the next clerk, or just walk out if I see she's the only one working. I'm not spending my money where I'm not treated in a civil manner. Give me lip, or the cold shoulder, and I won't darken your counter. You never know... they could go broke without Val's scratcher business!

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Strike 1, and You Better Believe Val Is Keeping Score

A couple weeks ago, I stopped by the School-Turn Casey's for scratchers. There was a gal I hadn't seen before working the second register. That's not unusual. I'm only in there once a week, sometimes twice. I don't know all of them like I do at the Gas Station Chicken Store.

New Gal was the one available when it was my turn, so I stepped up to the counter. I was not cashing in tickets that day. I was getting a $30 ticket for The Pony, owed to him from a previous $50 winner I had bought for him. He doesn't like to cash them in, so he gives them to me to get more tickets later. He chose the ticket he wanted, and I owe him the rest at a later date. I was also getting myself a $10 ticket, and my crosswords, the $5 and $3 versions, plus the picture $3 ticket. So $51 I was spending that day. I always know before I leave home what tickets I'm getting, and what they'll cost. 

Anyhoo... I told New Gal what tickets I wanted. She scanned each one and laid it on the counter.

"Do you have enough money for these?"

OH NO SHE DIDN'T! I was shocked. Surely that's not what she said to me! I was so stunned that I dumbly said, 


"Do you have enough money for these?"

Well. That is definitely what she said. Not cool. But you know Val. Not keen on making a scene. Avoids confrontation. Maybe New Gal was one of those socially awkward people. Like The Pony. Saying things that don't come out quite right, no malice aforethought. I'd give her the benefit of the doubt. I didn't even shoot her my teacher stinkeye, with the left eyebrow arched in disbelief.

"I have more than enough money for those."

I didn't say it in a hateful manner. Just matter-of-fact. After all, SHE asked ME the original question. And indeed, I do always have extra money in my pocket, in case I see something I just have to have.

New Gal rang up my tickets, and I paid her the money. Exact change. I thanked her, scooped them up, and left.

Here's the thing. I don't appreciate being asked such a question. Do I look like I sleep out back on a bed of rags and regrets? Is my clothing unkempt? Do I have my empty pockets pulled inside-out? Do I stink of unwashedness? Was I carrying an old sock full of coins? 
NO! NO! NO! NO! And NO!

Farmer H, upon being forced to listen to my tale of mild outrage, said that perhaps New Gal has had customers ask for tickets, and then they don't have enough money. Huh. Not MY problem! Surely they taught New Gal how to void a transaction before turning her loose on a register. I've seen clerks pull a ticket, and it's the wrong one, and they just stick it back in the slot to give the next person who wants that ticket. It's not like they have to fill out a ten-page form in triplicate.

ANDDDDDDDDDD, unless New Gal asks every single customer who buys lottery tickets if they have enough money, then I feel like she was singling me out for some unknown reason. I don't appreciate it.

Still, Val is not one to make (nor carry) a stink. I didn't say anything to New Gal about it. But I have my eye on her. Especially since the stunt she pulled on Tuesday...

Saturday, January 28, 2023

You COIN't Find Silver Every Week

Val's 2023 kick-off silver-finding spree has come to an end. But I'm not complaining!

I'm glad I drove to town on the afternoon we had 8 inches of snow! Of course, it was off the main roads by the time I left home Wednesday, and most parking lots had been cleared. Like the Backroads Casey's, where I stepped out of T-Hoe on WEDNESDAY, January 25, and saw

A penny demanding my attention! 

It was a face-down 1997 penny, camouflaging itself like a chameleon against the wet asphalt.

But wait! Once inside the store, I saw ANOTHER penny lurking at my feet.

I had to look carefully, since this Casey's seems to have hired the person who was formerly in charge of keeping the floors clean over at Orb K!

Poor ol' Abe looked like Peanuts' PigPen, wallowing in that filth! Once home, he got a vinegar bath, at which time I discovered he was from 1985.

THURSDAY, January 26, I had some good and bad luck at the Sis-Town Casey's.

I was sure I could get that penny out from under the rack with my shoe-toe. The clerk was quite compliant, asking if I minded to WAIT JUST A MINUTE. Of course I didn't! I had already taken my picture, and set about poking my foot under the rack. From the front. From the side. From the front again. Dang it! I couldn't get any traction! The dude behind me offered to get the penny, and I gratefully accepted his offer. No closeup, but it was a heads-up 2018 penny. I know, because Dude flipped it over like tossing heads or tails as he picked it up with one hand and presented to me on the other.

But wait again! As I was walking out the door, I saw ANOTHER penny at my feet. I did not stop for a picture, lest my paid-for gas expire before I could get to the pump. So I picked it up and put it in my jacket pocket, so as not to confuse it with the rack penny in my shirt pocket.

It was a face-down 1998 penny, shown here on my kitchen counter.

FRIDAY, January 27, I waited until after the 3:00 rush to enter the Liquor Store. They have free fountain sodas for the prison workers, I think.

I guess their GOOD rug is out being cleaned, heh, heh. But this one didn't distract me from finding the penny that was waiting for me.

It was a heads-up 1992 penny, now resting more cleanly in my penny goblet.

That's 5 COINS this week, for 5 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           # 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
Dime             still at 3.
Nickel           still at 0
Quarter        still at 0


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, January 27, 2023

Kissing Car-sins

When I left Country Mart on Monday with my groceries, I wheeled my cart/walker behind T-Hoe to load them in his rear. Little did I know that Yodeler was the driver of the car parked in the space on my left. Littler did I know that she was going to leave her cart with the yellow plastic child-car attached up against T-Hoe's bumper! They were not touching, but if they were human, their bumper/lips would have been almost touching!

It's not a big deal for most people to wheel a cart around another cart, or walk around the other side of their car to avoid it. It IS a big deal for me, with my shopping and wait-standing knees aching from my shopping spree. I had to go around the other way, and then move that cart to get by!

I only moved it enough so I could squeeze past, holding onto T-Hoe's hood. Another lazybones had left their regular cart out in the open. I didn't walk mine all the back inside, but I DID park it alongside that metal container that houses propane gas tanks. After all, I had taken it from there to go inside and shop with. So it's not like I brought out an extra cart for them to deal with. I put it back where I got it, off the sidewalk middle so that people could walk by.

Anyhoo... I don't think it would have been a hardship for that husky 10-year-old boy to push the car-cart up against the building when he got out. He wouldn't have thought of it on his own. Yodeler could have told him to do it while she was putting her bow-legged hip-baby in his car seat. But that might have been teaching him responsibility.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Rush Hour at Fort Knox

I was baffled by the line at the Country Mart service desk on Monday, when I tried to cash in my $500 scratcher winner. I'm always there between 3:00 and 4:00. I've never had a problem cashing such a ticket. I ask if they can do it, the worker checks the register, and says they can.

There was an older man completing a transaction. He pocketed something, and walked past me out the door. A 30-something woman with a young boy was next. Not sure of her request, because my attention was grabbed by the other 30-something woman waiting behind her.

Yodeler yelled out a child's name. Several times. At the top of her lungs. She was holding onto one of the two carts that have a yellow plastic car attached to the front end. Inside that car was a husky boy of perhaps 10 years old. He had barely squooshed himself behind the wheel. He was enjoying his driving time, silent and observant.

The quarry Yodeler was trying to trap appeared between two checkouts. He was a thin child around 7-8 years old, wearing one-piece footy pajamas. He got a loud talking-to for wandering off, Yodeler taking no guff as she gestured at him with her left hand, the right supporting the butt of a toddler who was at that very moment becoming bow-legged from riding on Yodeler's ample hip.

Not shaming Yodeler for her appearance. Healthy food is expensive, and exercise is hard when you have three kids to keep track of. I AM shaming her for her loud mouth, and for allowing the husky boy to ride in the cart-car while the extra-svelte waif in his footy pajamas was left to ambulate through the store on his own.

I am not a big fan of people-watching like my mom was, so I left that area to do my shopping. After I completed it and checked out, I went to wait by the service desk to be serviced. Nobody was there, but I figured they must be on a break, or assisting someone else. A congenial bald man came through the front doors, and came to stand a respectable distance from my side.

"Nobody in there?"

"No. I figure they'll show up in a minute."

"Is the bell there?"

"Yeah. I see it. Want me to ring it?" I reached over and gave that silver bell a tap. It dinged, but not loudly.

"Huh. Looks like they modified it."

"Yeah. They put a muffler on it!"

Baldy walked around the U-shaped counter. I feared that he was going in behind it. But he just took a good look and came back out.

"You're right. Nobody's in there."

"There were two working in there earlier. They were pretty busy. I did my shopping first."

"I wouldn't be surprised if this place goes out of business. They're so high on everything."

"I KNOW! But it's more convenient for me than driving to Walmart and walking around there."

"I was just in Walmart yesterday. Spent $67 on NOTHING! They are high, too."

The Busiest Woman in Country Mart came through the front doors, pushing 20 carts. She rushed over to the service desk.

"Too bad you can't find more to keep yourself busy!" I'm not sure she appreciated my humor, she was huffing so hard from her exertion. "Can you cash a $500 lottery ticket?"

"No. I don't have enough in my drawer. You might try tomorrow. They usually make a bank run between 12:30 and 2:00."

"So I should get here before then?"


Of course that meant getting up before I even went to bed! I went to the lottery machine to cash in my small winners for more $3 tickets. Baldy walked by me on his way out.

"I think they can cash a big ticket at the Gas Station Chicken Store."

"Yes. But the girls can't. Only the owners. They leave around noon or 2:00. So too late today. But thanks anyway."

On Tuesday, I DID leave home early. I got to Country Mart around 10:30. Again, I waited and waited for someone to come to the service desk. It was a young woman I'd never seen there. I suppose we keep different hours.

"Could you cash a $500 lottery ticket?"


"Oh. I was here yesterday afternoon, and they said this was a good time, and you should be able to do it."

"No. I can't."

She was not at all customer-friendly! No reason. No excuse. Just a flat-out NO. Didn't even look in her drawer. I don't know why they would be making a bank run with less than $500. I was there early enough that they might not have had their deposit ready, since it was still an hour or more before the regular bank trip. I'm guessing that perhaps Monday was a day when a lot of people were cashing a government check of some kind, and used up the cash on hand. But you'd think there would be some cash taken in from 4:00 to 8:00, and the next morning from 8:00 to 10:30.

Anyhoo... I went down the street and through the light and cashed my ticket at the Gas Station Chicken Store, since it was early enough that Man Owner was still on the premises. He was very friendly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Busiest Woman in Country Mart

Monetary rewards are not the only thing scratchers bestow upon Val! I have enough stories resulting from my recent big win to last a week. The biggest problem is the order in which to tell you. Such a hardship for a daily blogger to have...

I took my $500 winner to Country Mart on Monday, hoping to cash it in and apply towards my casino bankroll for an upcoming three-day Oklahoma trip. It was at my regular Country Mart time, between 3:00 and 4:00. I was shocked to see a LINE at the service desk! More on those denizens in an upcoming story.

Not wanting to stand in line in a limited space, I wheeled my cart/walker through the store to complete my shopping first. Of course I needed bananas. Then some butter, sour cream, shredded mozzarella and parmesan, egg noodles, alfredo sauce--REEEEE! Cue the scratchy phonograph needle!

The sauce shelf had a bare spot. Around the alfredo sauce. I DID see two jars of the store brand generic alfredo sauce. The pink price tag under them revealed that it was one of the week's specials, with a discount of about 60 cents. I picked up a jar to check the date. I ALWAYS do that in Country Mart, due to an unfortunate cheese incident when shopping for my grandma's gift basket many years ago.

The expiration date on that jar of alfredo sauce was 2020! I don't even remember the month, because I was so shocked by the year. I put it back on the shelf, and picked up the other jar. Also 2020! Welp! Val doesn't spend her easily-won cash on expired goods. I moved over and checked the brand name alfredo sauce. Yes. There was one good until 2024. So I put it in my cart/walker.

As I was balancing Alfredo on top of my purse in the child seat of my cart/walker, an employee walked past. She was obviously looking for something along the pickle aisle across from the sauces, muttering to herself. I recognized her as one of the two workers who had been at the service desk when I came in.

"Did you know this alfredo sauce expired in 2020?"

"What? That can't be right!"

"I just put it back, because I'm not taking a chance and paying for it. I guess other people thought the same, since those are the only two jars of it left on the shelf."

She stepped over and looked at the jar where I pointed. Picked it up and turned it around.

"There must be some other explanation, but I can't see what it would be. I'll take this and show the boss lady."

Off she went, with the two advanced-age jars tucked into the crook of her elbow. After I moved deeper into the aisles and added some cream of mushroom soup, a 12-pack of Charmin Ultra, and a bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts to my cart/walker, I encountered That Gal up front by the checkouts. She had just mopped up something liquidy and placed a SLIP AT YOUR OWN RISK yellow sign on it.

I lifted up my pants legs and tiptoed through it to get in line. That Gal appeared behind the deli counter as I was checking out. From there I lost sight of her while putting the bags in my cart and going to the service desk. There's more to THAT STORY, too, coming up soon. But to jump the gun, let the record show that the next time I saw That Gal, she was coming through the front doors pushing 20 carts!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Just When I Was Feeling Cheated...

Yes, I was a little disappointed when That Lady told me about her $1000 lottery winner on a ticket I had waffled on the day before. Still, I was happy that she had a good winner. 

When I got home, I scratched my own tickets. I had a couple from the Backroads Casey's. Imagine the thrill when I uncovered THIS on my first ticket:

That's a $500 WINNER, by cracky! I like playing these tickets when I can afford to, because there are only 20 tickets per roll, and six or seven of them are winners. Every roll has a $100 winner. So my odds are 1 in 20 of getting a $100, and 1 in 3 of at least getting my money back.

That's as much of a closeup as I can get, and still show you my winnings. But WAIT! When I scratched my second ticket, I was also on the receiving end of luck!

Another $100 coming my way! I sure am glad I stopped by the Backroads Casey's!

Hick said he was happy for me, though his mood didn't seem all that festive.

I took my winnings back to Country Mart the next day, but like the guy with his hair stuffed up under his hat in that song "Signs," they didn't have a penny to pay! I'll have to go back earlier in the day. Such a hardship for my sleeping habits, but I think I can deal with it.

With my newfound fortune not yet paid out, I decided to get one of those tickets that had won big for That Lady who works at Country Mart. Not THERE, of course! I got one at Orb K. Imagine my surprise when the dude put it on the counter, and I saw that it was a newer version, with neon green instead of pink on that black ticket. 

I was resigned to losing on it again, until I uncovered that last number. Which was another 5X! Meaning a second $100 winner for me!

In the span of 24 hours, Val won a total of $747 (counting my $3 ticket winners as well). 

A winning streak is nice while it lasts. We'll see how far this one goes. Even though it means I will be losing sleep to get my big ticket cashed in. The only places that will cash over $100 are Country Mart and the Gas Station Chicken Store when an owner is on the premises.

Monday, January 23, 2023

A Day Late and $20 Thwarted

While standing at the right-side lottery machine in Country Mart yesterday, I was passed by one of the workers who always talks to me about winnings. She has extraordinary luck on tickets I won't even think about buying. The ones with the 1-in-10 odds. Like you pay $10 for a ticket, and the only prizes are $50 or $100. There's also a version that costs $20, with prizes being $100 or $200. She's always winning on them, to hear her tell it. I have no reason to disbelieve her. Some people are just lucky.

Anyhoo... That Lady went by, and said, 

"How have you been doing?"

"Okay. Not great."

"I won $1000 yesterday!"

"Wow! On one of those tickets I won't buy?"

"No. On that $20 ticket right there."

She pointed to a ticket that is black with pink and silver markings. The very ticket I had debated on buying the day before she bought it. I was wavering, and chose the newest $20 scratcher. Which lost. Should have eenie-meenie-minie-mo-ed it. That would have given me a fifty-fifty chance, rather than choosing the wrong one. There's a reason I rarely buy a $20 ticket, even this normal kind with odds of winning 1 in 3.04.

Anyhoo... I was happy for her. 

"So now you have to take it to the lottery office in the city!"


"Anything over $600 has to go through the office. So they can take out the taxes. But if you have somebody else to claim with you, you can each claim half of it, so that's below the limit, and they don't hold it out."

"I don't have to go to the office, because I have a friend who'll buy it from me! He works in the city, and goes by there all the time."

"Oh. That's a good deal for you."

Hick and I were debating later whether the guy would pay her the whole $1000. Hick thought not. That maybe he'd give her $750. Since he'd have to pay the taxes on it, and the gas to the city, and the aggravation. I thought he might give her more, but that the entire amount would be cheating himself.

Anyhoo... it's not our business. At least I know not to buy that ticket at Country Mart for a long time! That's the good part about talking to people about your wins. You can get info that makes your odds better.

More on yesterday's lottery activities tomorrow...

Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Incompetents Are Running Val's World!

We have been planning an Oklahoma casino excursion with my sister the ex-mayor's wife. Due to a snow storm headed this way during the drive time, Sis suggested we reschedule. Ex-Mayor called and had their reservations changed yesterday afternoon. When I tried last night, I was told it could not be done! At least by the customer service person who took my call...

Let the record show that Helper was very polite and gave good customer service, except for the little part about giving me no service! She said the computer wouldn't let her do it. She talked herself through the whole thing. So it's not like I was left with a dead phone. I heard every step. 

Helper said that she couldn't move my reservation because the new info for February wasn't in the computer. Even though we're still going to be there in January. I told her what my coupon code was, and how it said that it should be good for January.

"Ma'am, it makes perfect sense to me, like it does to you. But I am not able to access the information I need. I am not allowed in that system. I am near my 90 days, and I have had this problem every month. If you call back tomorrow morning, you should get someone who can do it. But don't call back after 2:00, because YOU MIGHT GET ME AGAIN! But maybe I'll know how to do it then, because as soon as I'm off the phone with you, I'm going to reach out to someone."

Even telling her that SIS was able to get her reservations changed did not make a difference. She said Sis must have talked to somebody before 2:00, even though Sis clearly said it was AFTER 2:00, because she had a cake in the oven that she was waiting on. But Sis DID say that when Ex-Mayor first called, the lady hung up on him! He thought he had just been disconnected, so he called back, and got somebody else. Heh, heh! I bet he had Helper!

Anyhoo... I'm going to call again and see if I can get somebody else to actually service me.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

If You Drop It, Val Will COIN

Carelessness is next to Val-wish-ness! So many people losing track of their coins this year!

SUNDAY, January 15, I was leaving the School-Turn Casey's when I saw a magnificent sight!

Heh, heh! All those sunglasses are watching it for me! My THIRD dime of 2023!

It was a face-down 2012 dime, patiently awaiting harvest.

TUESDAY, January 17, I stopped by the Sis-Town Casey's after dropping off The Pony's new auto insurance card. I was meant to be there that day and time!

Right in my path, hiding in plain sight from the unenlightened...

It was a heads-up 1995 penny, totally ignored by those dudes ahead of me.

WEDNESDAY, January 18, I had to wait in line for the Country Mart lottery machine. While standing a respectful distance, I watched another customer getting trinkets out of the kid machines. My mind wandered, but after my lottery machine turn, I saw...

A penny awaiting my pocket! I don't know if that guy dropped it, or if he was kneeling on it and I didn't see it at first.

It was a face-down 2012 penny. I can bookend this week's finds by coin or by date!

That's 3 COINS this week, for 12 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           # 8, 9.
Dime             # 3.
Nickel           still at 0
Quarter        still at 0


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, January 20, 2023

Be My Guest

Welp! There was a big prison break this week over in Bill-Paying Town! At first I thought I read that it was the prison, but Hick said it was the county jail. I haven't really been following the story, because something new always comes up to contradict what I thought I heard originally. At first I thought it was the medium security prison. Then the mental hospital next door to it. And now the county jail.

Anyhoo... five guys got out. I was chuckling inside, because there was such a torrential downpour that night, with temps in the upper 30s, that I figured those ne'er-do-wells would be wishing they were back inside their warm dry cells. THEN I heard that they stole a car. A small car. So I was imagining five full-size men in a compact car. 

I still don't know what happened exactly, or if any have been apprehended. Hick sent me a text on Wednesday morning saying to be sure and keep the doors locked. I did. But it's not like they'd come out to the middle of nowhere. I'm sure they were long gone down the highway by then.

We live about five minutes from a maximum security prison where executions are carried out. It was built AFTER we built our mansion. In the beginning, Hick said maybe we should just leave the keys in our vehicles. You know, so any escapees would just take the car and go, and not try to come in the house.

That's classic advice from Hick, who says you'd be a FOOL not to burn your own house down and pocket the 50 percent of the replacement insurance that you won't need to rebuild, and who also advised me that next time I bake bratwursts in the oven, I should raise the temperature from 350 degrees to 650!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

I'm Not Saying She's Right...But I UNDERSTAND

Hick was happy as a pig in not-mud on Wednesday, back in his regular routine of eating lunch at the Senior Center. He can't just be one of the regular common people. He sits at the table with the workers! He said lunch was meatloaf, au gratin potatoes, broccoli/carrots/cauliflower, and cherry/peach crisp. He didn't rave about it.

The topic of conversation at Downtown Little Peyton Place was the recent actions of the interim mayor. According to Hick, last week she fired all the "young people" working for a certain city department, and said she would only hire "old people" from now on, because they have a better work ethic. 

Heh, heh! Don't look at VAL to complain about something like that! I'm not saying she's right, but I UNDERSTAND. My opinion carries no weight anyway. It's not our town.

Hick has a different take on the situation: "That's a lawsuit waiting to happen."

Which just goes to show, Hick has a background working in the public sector, and not the pretend-world of a school district.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Hick Wangles an Insurance Deal

A couple days ago, I mentioned how our homeowner's insurance had increased by 40 percent since last year. Hick was not having it! He researched the current cost per square foot for home construction, and set off to have a word with our agent. More specifically, our agent's office manager. He returned home satisfied, having agreed upon a yearly premium that is LESS than last year's premium! To be exact, $103 less. The concession was that he reduced the replacement value of our policy by 11 percent. Sounds good to me!

Here's the thing. Hick said the replacement cost we were going to be charged on our insurance was over twice what it would actually cost to rebuild. Perhaps it's based on a nationwide figure, not by region. It's way cheaper to build here than in the cities. Plus Hick knows how to choose reasonable contractors.

Anyhoo... I stopped by to chat with my sister the ex-mayor's wife on Monday, and had to relate to her the conversation we had over the weekend, before Hick could talk to someone in the insurance office. Sis didn't know anything about her own homeowner's insurance, because the ex-mayor handles their bills.

"Hick's going to the insurance office to talk to them. He says the replacement value they're charging us for is over twice what it would cost to rebuild our house. In fact, his exact words were: 'We'd be better off to put a wastebasket in the safe room [which has concrete walls, a steel door, and a steel plate for the ceiling] and set it on fire when we take a three-day trip to Oklahoma! Then when we come home, the house has burned, and we collect the replacement money, rebuild the house, and pocket all that extra money!'"

Sis clapped her palms over her ears.

"Tra la la! Tra la la! Don't tell me that! I don't want to hear it, so I can honestly say on the witness stand that I knew nothing about it! Hahaha!"

"Well, of course he would never do that. But listen to this! Hick's last sentence was: 
'You'd be a FOOL not to!'"

Sis laughed until she was breathless. That got me going, hardee-har-harring, until my nose ran.

After we settled down, we questioned how the house would burn down if the fire was enclosed in concrete and steel. Like Hick said, the replacement costs were off anyway, since half our square footage is the finished basement, which has concrete walls, and concrete doesn't burn or have to be replaced.

The consensus was that Hick did not think this scheme through. But he's definitely good for a laugh.


Hick's "plot" is not to be taken literally. He was being facetious, although I'm not sure he knows the definition of that word.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The White Cookie Evidence

Remember Cookiegate? When Hick was crinkling a cookie bag that he had hidden under his camouflage (of course) hat on the mantel, eating white cookies that he said were not Christmas cookies? Well, on Sunday evening, he brought up a bag from the basement for me! Don't worry. He still has six more left.

Not sure what all the fuss was about. The BEST BY date is over a year old!

I told the Cookiegate story to my sister the ex-mayor's wife, and showed her the picture. She said, "Where's the icing?" Good question. According to the label, the cookies are iced. You can see some remnants of a bit of icing. Not sure if they ever had much to begin with. I don't think it gets absorbed, or evaporates inside the bag. I told Sis, "Maybe that's why these cookies were being sold at the auction."

After Hick finished supper on Monday night, I heard that crinkling again. This time I knew what it was. So I hollered,

"Are you having your secret cookies again?"

"Yes. I swear, you could hear a mouse fart!"

Makes me hope he's not hiding a flatulent mouse under his camouflage cap.

Monday, January 16, 2023


The world is revolving around Hick again. He didn't get home from the SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) until after 4:00 on Sunday. That's two hours late! Without a call, too. And here I was, waiting for him, to fill out his state business tax form and send in his sales tax. I'd even gone to town an hour early to get back with daylight left to sit at the kitchen table.

I guess Hick lost track of time, since he excitedly spouted that two of his buddies had rented storage units next to him! Now he will have part of his crew back together, and more sellers to attract buyers to his area. Apparently the old lady who had been parking in front of Hick's unit is not a good draw.

Also, Hick wants me to buy him a legal pad, since he used up his old one itemizing his cash payments for labor and materials for Pony House. Now he's on the Double Hovel list. AND he'd like two ledgers to record his business transactions for the SUS2.

Hick and Old Buddy will be buying drywall on Monday, to start on the bathroom at the Double Hovel. For the one of you who recoiled in horror at the sight of the toilet there, Hick WILL be buying a new toilet. Perhaps not on Monday. He's going to work on framing. Then he'll have to do some plumbing, but at least he can get under the Double Hovel house, unlike Pony House, where the crawlspace was limited.

Tuesday, Hick will be going by our insurance office to complain about our homeowner's insurance increasing by $1,100 since last year. Not even a claim! He looked up replacement value on our mansion, and our coverage is based on TWICE the cost per square foot that Hick says it would take to build. So he will either pay one month and look for a new insurance company, or change the policy to $1,100 less coverage. Such a shame. We've been with this company for 30 years, and always pay the amount in full. But common sense tops loyalty for Thevictorians.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Hick the Freeloader Is Back in Action

For my purposes, Hick being a FREELOADER refers to him loading up free stuff! People seem to trip all over themselves giving things to him! They probably play rock/paper/scissors to see who gets the honor.

I came home from town on Saturday, and saw that Hick had left me a little treat on the kitchen counter, next to the sink. Of course he didn't come in to boast about it until after I had carried in and put away all the groceries.

"Look what I got you! It's what you use, right?"

"Well. I HAVE used it. But it's Great Value, and it takes three times as much, because the suds don't last long, and it's not good with grease."

"It's green apple. The kind you use, anyway. Besides, it's FREE! My buddy got a bunch at the auction, and he gave me EIGHT bottles of it!"

"Yes. That IS good, since it's free. I can use three times as much!"

They do look very similar. Almost as if Great Value was trying to trade off the brand name of Dawn! Dawn, the dish liquid that can wash baby ducks clean of oil slicks! Hick fell for it, anyway. But at least he didn't pay for it.

My Dawn is labeled as "hand soap." But nobody uses a bottle like this as hand soap. It's dish detergent for me! Works just like dish detergent.

As I was getting ready to brag tell you all about my gift via the Blogosphere, I looked over to the kitchen chair where Hick had stashed his bounty. Not only were there seven of the bottles of Great Value in that box, but I saw TWO additional bottles...

Perhaps JUGS is the word I'm looking for. Hick didn't specifically say that those were my jugs, heh, heh. Maybe he is going to use them for power-washing the Double Hovel. 

Anyhoo... once again, Hick has raked in FREE STUFF!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

This Year's COINtdown Is Off to a Good Start

Nothing makes you find coins like saying you're going to stop looking for coins!

SATURDAY, January 7, I braved the counter of Orb K to pick up some scratchers. There's a cashier I don't like, but lucky for me, she wasn't working! Even better, I saw a treat on the floor.

Somebody's New Year's Resolution must have been "sweep the floor," because Orb K was looking particularly clean this day.

It was a face-down 2016 penny, far enough from the wall that my shoe-toe could drag it.

My next stop, the Gas Station Chicken Store, was also fruitful:

My heart skipped a beat when I saw it waiting there for me, not at all camouflaged.

This was a face-down 1980 penny, a blast from the past.

SUNDAY, January 8, my Fortune continued to accrue. 

Waiting for me to step over it to get to the counter of the Backroads Casey's was my SECOND DIME of the year! Two weeks, two dimes. I could get used to that!

This was a face-down 2022 dime.

MONDAY, January 9, found me strolling out of the Liquor Store near sunset, clutching scratchers.

I was soon clutching something else...

My second 2016 penny of the week, though this one was heads up, unlike its predecessor.

TUESDAY, January 10, I was still on a roll.

Back at Orb K, it was deja vu all over again! I swear, I thought I loaded the same picture twice! But no. This is a different penny.

A shiny face-down 2021.

WEDNESDAY, January 11, I could hardly believe my streak still continued!

It can't get much more noticeable than this. Right in my path to the sidewalk of the Backroads Casey's.

Keeping with the trend, this 2013 penny was face-down.

Even Steven put me in my place on Thursday. I saw a coin at the Sis-Town Casey's, but it was too far under the snack rack to fish out. So I let it be. There'll be more...

FRIDAY, January 13, was not at all unlucky. 

A penny had plopped itself in front of the door at the Backroads Casey's.

Of course I risked a knock on the noggin to pick it up! A face-down 2018 for my pocket! All told, six out my seven coins this week were face down. Strangely enough, it doesn't seem like bad luck.

That's 7 COINS this week, for 16 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           # 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Dime             # 2.
Nickel           still at 0
Quarter        still at 0


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, January 13, 2023

Val Might Be a Public Enemy Again

Winter has found us again. It was 36 when I parked T-Hoe beside the Gas Station Chicken Store. Winds were forecast to be 17 mph. When I opened my door, the wind almost cracked it off the hinges! Good thing it wasn't coming from the other direction, or it might have slammed my whole body in the door!

I rounded the corner and opened the glass door to enter the Gas Station Chicken Store. That wind was whipping along under the roof, past the gas pumps. When the owners are there, they put a heavy trash can beside the little blacktop ramp leading to the threshold, to catch that glass door before it can be smashed against the brick wall. I was extra careful to hold onto it and pull it shut behind me.

The man ahead of me caught my attention. He was just a 50-something man, in a baseball cap and Levis and black New Balance shoes. His jacket was the show-stopper. It was not new, but well worn. Leather. PURPLE leather! I was intrigued. Maybe because I spent so many years teaching in a school where our colors were purple and white. 

Anyhoo... Purple Leather completed his $52 gas transaction, and took the red tickets for the weekly drawing to win a rolling jackpot for free gas. He stepped aside to tear off the half of the tickets to deposit in the cardboard drawing box behind me. 

I cashed in a $40 winner, and spent $19 of it back. Joked with the cashier. She said she heard there was snow in Jefferson City. Her daughter lives there, and had send her a picture of the kids in their snow jackets. We were hoping it was not headed this way.

As I started out and took my first step down the ramp, clinging to the glass door for support, I felt the wind's force trying to force it open farther. I held on, and pulled it to close as I took my second step out the door.


Purple Leather was behind me, trying to get out the door!

"OH! Sorry! I thought the wind was grabbing it!"

"Haha! I wondered why you were slamming it on me!"

"I didn't mean to!"

"It's fine!"

No good deed goes unpunished. I hope they don't print my picture from the security camera, and put it up on the wall next to the gas drive-offs!

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Spending Money For Nothin', Getting Sinks For Free

Hick found a good deal on some innards for the Double Hovel. The best deal you can get, because it was FREE! He saw on Facebook that a distant cousin of his had a bathroom sink/countertop and vanity that she was giving away. All he had to do was go get it.

Like I said, she's a distant relative. Hick didn't know her address, but it's 15-20 minutes south of the SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2), where Hick was headed Wednesday morning to arrange his new old fishing plugs that he bought at the auction Tuesday night. Cuz sent the address right as Hick was leaving home. 

He said the vanity was actual wood, not particle board. He had a picture of the sink/countertop, but didn't send it to me, only showed me on his phone. I was worried that he couldn't load it himself, with his back issues. But Hick took his dolly, and after wheeling it to SilverRedO, he leaned it against the tailgate and then tipped it up and slid it in. He's pretty good at working smarter, not harder.

Hick had a buddy on top of the Double Hovel Wednesday, with temps at 62 degrees, to patch the gully area of the roof where it was letting water seep into the bathroom. So what he saved on the sink/countertop/vanity can pay for that.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

He's a Steak-er, He's a Baker, He's a Giant-Cookie Maker

I hadn't talked to The Pony for a whole week!  So Tuesday evening, I called. Told him to set a timer, that I wouldn't take more than five minutes of his time. I know how precious days off can be.

The Pony said he made some more cookies like he brought for dessert at Christmas dinner. They are chocolate chip/peanut butter. He also added some white chocolate chips to these, along with the regular chocolate chunks.

When my call time expired, The Pony said he'd send me pictures of the cookies. Perhaps just to torment me. They are SO GOOD!

As you can see, The Pony doesn't fool around making little cookies! I suppose it's a time-saver.

They remind me of the giant Casey's cookies, which I presume come frozen like their donuts, and only need to be warmed.

"The cookies look great. But I am intrigued by the neon green fork!"

"Part of the utensils you and Dad gave me! They're good for stirring stuff. No scrapey or scratchy sounds."

"Hope they made up for not having plates for a whole semester!"

The Pony did not reply to my last text...

When Hick and HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) moved The Pony from his dorm into a campus apartment his sophomore year, I sent along a cute set of the plastic silverware that I found in the Dollar Store. It was Hick's job to get The Pony stuff for the apartment during that move-in weekend. Like cleaning supplies and wastebaskets and toilet paper and trash bags and kitchen stuff.

It wasn't until The Pony came home for Christmas that year that he mentioned he only had paper plates. Hick was in the dog house for about a week.