Tuesday, February 28, 2023

They've Got His Back

Hick's back surgery was Monday. It was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. He needed to leave home by 4:10 a.m. I am not a highway driver, and not very mobile for finding my way around a medical complex and sitting to wait for a six-hour surgery. The Pony and The Veteran stepped up to transport Hick to his destination.

They left here at 4:00 a.m. in The Veteran's truck. When The P and The V left to go get breakfast at 8:00, Hick had been wheeled back to surgery, but was not yet on the board as IN PROGRESS. By 9:00 when they returned, Hick was indeed IN PROGRESS. At 10:15, they got a call from the nurse that every thing was going well, and that Hick should be in recovery between 1:00 and 3:00. Hick had said all along that it was a 4-6 hour surgery. They were putting pins and metal plates in his back, connected to his hip area or pelvic girdle, I assume. Hick tried showing me with his hands, not using anatomical references.

Anyhoo... at 1:12, they had another call. The surgery was going well, but Hick would not be out until at least 3:00. At 3:30, The V called to say that Hick was in recovery. The doctor said the surgery went well. But that Hick was missing a bundle of nerves that controls his foot or feet! The V said they always knew Hick was weird. Anyhoo... the doctor said obviously Hick has those nerves somewhere, since he has been walking his whole life, but they're just not in the compartment where they should be found. Heh, heh. When Hick had surgery on his big toe after dropping a 5th-wheel trailer hitch on it, they found out he was missing a bone, too. Hick is a bargain human. He comes with less parts.

Hick was supposed to have a room by 4:00, but it was 4:45 before that happened. The P and The V went up to visit with him. According to The P:

"We are up here with him. He's awake and aware." At 5:00, "Still talking to doctors and stuff." At 5:12, "He says his pain is about 2/10, didn't want to use his morphine button, but just pressed it."

"They say it's better to stay ahead of the pain. Harder to get it under control when it really hurts."

"Yeah. They brought up a liquid diet tray and some dessert things that hopefully are fine since they know he's diabetic. He's enjoying the push popsicle thing."

"Yeah. Probably starving."

At 6:00, "We're still with him. He's got his phone, and we're getting ready to go."

At 6:07, Hick called me for 3 minutes and 47 seconds. He sounded not like himself. Probably from having a tube stuck down his throat for six hours. He was slurring a little bit.

"Are you on morphine?"

"No. I'm on a diabetic diet."

"MORPHINE! Did you just push the button?"

"No. I can't get up. They say they won't get me up and moving until tomorrow."

"How are you laying?"

"On my back. I couldn't get up if I wanted to. I have so many tubes hooked up to me."

"Are you in pain?"

"Not too bad."

"I won't bother you. You can call ME. Or text. When you feel like it."

"I cain't text! I cain't see! It took me five minutes to call you! Some stuff they put in my eyes."

"Okay. Well. I'll just wait to hear from you."

"Yeah, I'll call you later tonight."

"TONIGHT! I doubt that!"

"Yeah. Maybe not tonight. I'm getting ready to push the morphine button."

I'm surprised he managed to say 'goodbye' before that morphine took him! 

Anyhoo... I'm relieved that this ordeal is over, and I hope the next couple days are not too stressful or painful on Hick. I want the old Hick back! He needs to crawl around under that flip house!

Monday, February 27, 2023

Rockin' Around Thevictorian Enclave

Remember a couple weeks ago, when our enclave was trying to round up funds to fix the gravel roads? A couple days after that, a lady who lives back behind us somewhere, on the other gravel road, asked Hick where he got his rock. She had been quoted a price of $205 for a load, and Hick got his from his buddy, Buddy, for $190. He shared Buddy's info with the lady, who said she wanted to order a load of rock.

Hick had let people know that he got a load on Thursday, and was going to spread it around on Monday. Can't be out tractoring when there's money to be made at his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) on the weekend! It wasn't a big deal, because Buddy dumped it along the main road down by the creek, in the manner of a dump truck dumping: down the middle until the rock ran out. As people drove over it, the rock would spread to the sides, but Hick was going to blade the road to spread the rock evenly, and fill in some low spots.

Either Friday or Saturday, as I went to town, I saw a lady on a Bobcat (the machine, not the beast) spreading Hick's rock. I called to tell him and he said, "That's fine. Then I won't have to do it!" So he was not possessive in the least. I said it looked like more rock than I'd noticed on Thursday, and he said maybe that lady had gotten her own rock, and was spreading both.

Anyhoo... I put T-Hoe's window down and slowed to thank her, but she didn't even stop! Granted, she was wearing sound-canceling headphones, and had both hands full steering and moving the blade. But she WAS facing me, and could see what I was doing. I gave her a thumbs-up, still with no reaction. Oh, well. I tried to show my appreciation anyway, so that's on her. 

When I started to town THIS Saturday, I saw a surprise at the bottom of Hick and Buddy's Badly Blacktopped Hill:

That is certainly an odd place to leave a load of gravel! This is where our gravel road joins the main gravel road, that runs from the back entrance two miles to the left, to the main entrance by Mailbox Row, about a half mile to the right.

Anybody coming from the left, and trying to turn up our gravel road, would have to maneuver around that pile of gravel. Hopefully not at night, unexpectedly! There are no street lights in the middle of nowhere.

Coming back home, I got another view of the pile:

I take a left to go up Hick and Buddy's Badly Blacktopped Hill to get home. Going forward would take me past our other property atop the hill, and on out to the other entrance on a different blacktop road. Ne'er-do-wells like to use our roads to cut five or six miles off their travels, and toss trash all willy-nilly out their windows.

It looks like somebody might have taken a bit off the top while I was gone to town! 

Anyhoo... when I left for town on Sunday, the pile was gone. It had been spread up the hill I'm sitting on to take that last picture. It's a beast to climb when the roads are icy, and it gets muddy in the rains. So that was a good use of this gravel. 

Now we only need the other 32 families to contribute...

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Val Leaks Luck Like a Horseshoe Hung Upside Down on the Wall

You might say that Val is known for her luck with the lottery. Okay, she's known for other things, too, like her ample rumpus, creaky knees, smart mouth, and lack of geographical knowledge. But she's quite noted for picking winners when buying lottery. Sometimes others like to use her for their own Val-gotten gains. When Hick has some money he wants to invest in a scratcher, he asks me to buy it for him. The Pony relies on me to buy him a Cash4Life draw ticket every day. I don't mind. I'm buying tickets anyway. But sometimes, my luck goes to THEM, and not to me.

Like Friday night, on The Pony's Cash4Life ticket. I don't bother to check on the numbers after the drawing. I check the next morning. "Morning" being around noon or 1:00 p.m. I glance at the Cash Ball, and then the five "white" numbers. 

Besides the $2 price of the ticket, I also pay an extra dollar for the EZ Match feature. I don't have to check that. If it's a winner with EZ Match, the little machine that prints it out gives a "Ta da DAAAA" sound. Then I look at it in the car to see what was won. It's usually $2, $3, or $4, though the chances are different on each ticket.

Anyhoo... when I checked The Pony's ticket on Saturday morning, I noticed that he had the Cash Ball. I also saw two white numbers, and thought he'd won $4. To be sure, I always type it into the Check My Tickets feature on the MOLottery website. Scanning on my phone takes too long for draw tickets, and is not always reliable, according to the many complaints about the app and draw tickets.

Anyhoo... when the results came up, I was surprised:

The Pony actually had 3 white numbers, and the Cash Ball. He won $100! The screen also shows what those same numbers won on previous draws. I sent The Pony a picture, and he said, "We only needed two more numbers to win CASH FOR LIFE!" True. But getting those other two numbers might be beyond Val's capabilities. I wonder if my luck gets watered down the more I use it.

For anybody who wants to throw Val a pity party... I only won $10 on my scratchers.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

One Singular CENTsation

It was a good run while it lasted. But my bountiful coin harvests have dwindled until this week, only ONE coin made itself available for picking.

SUNDAY, February 19, I was waiting a considerable time in line at the Backroads Casey's. So many people paying with plastic for small purchases of snacks. I can't complain about the guy directly ahead of me, though...

He was paying with PENNIES! Loose pennies! Counting them out from handfuls. Don't jump to the conclusion that the penny beside the drink cooler came from him! I never saw one drop the whole time I was waiting. That penny was there when I came in the door. I suppose it's possible he dropped it while farther back in line, before I came in. If so, THANKS, DUDE, for the cent!

Do you know what this guy was bying with his pennies? A bucket of Fireball Whiskey! The plastic buckets filled with those mini airline bottles. I don't know how many come in a bucket, or the cost, but I see those buckets everywhere. Let's hope this dude got actual whiskey! Because a few weeks ago, there was a news story that some of these little bottles contain NO WHISKEY! That they look exactly like the bottles that DO contain whiskey, with the exception that they are just called FIREBALL, and not FIREBALL WHISKEY.

Anyhoo... this was a heads-up 1984 penny, saving me from a shut-out.

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


Penny           # 26.
Dime             still at 3
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        still at 0


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, February 24, 2023

Hick, Hick, Hick, Hick-in' a Ride

I was on the way to town Thursday when I saw Hick at Mailbox Row, elbow deep in EmBee. I stopped at the end of our gravel road to put on my seat belt. Hick climbed back in SilverRedO and turned in beside me. Of course this is where we must have a conversation, not at home with him in his recliner, and me on the short couch.

"I just came from Mick the Mechanic's. I was talking to him about working on my truck while I can't drive after my back surgery. What time do you go to town?"

"Um. What time is it NOW? 4:00?"

"Yeah. I guess so. When will you go tomorrow?"

"I usually get out of here a little earlier. Maybe 2:30."

"Oh. Well. You can give me a ride home tomorrow. I'll leave my truck at Mick's. Just call me when you're ready to come home, and you can pick me up."

"You usually don't get home until 5:00 on Fridays."

"Yeah. That's what I'd like to do."

"That's kind of late for me to wait to go to town."

"Well. Whenever. Just call me, and it will take about 15 minutes for me to get there."

Am I evil for mentally seeking a curb to run over, or wishing for a downpour and big trucks to follow on our 4-mile trip home?

I guess I can adjust my schedule to suit Hick's needs. It's not like they stop selling scratchers at a certain time. Besides, this will be the last time Hick gets to shoot the bull and chew the fat with his cronies for a while. His surgery is Monday.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

T-Hoe is a Stinker

I had to do my errands a day early this week. Of course rain started pouring when it was time for me to leave. On my way to the bank, I passed a dead skunk in the middle of the road. That's a song, too, you know. From the 70s.

Anyhoo... it was mutilated, lying on the center line. Nothing anybody could do but continue driving past. When I put T-Hoe's window down at the bank drive-thru, I smelled SKUNK! I was hoping the smell wasn't in the water droplets along the window edge, since my armpit was resting there when I reached for the canister.

When I got to the Sis-Town Casey's for T-Hoe's gas, the smell was strong when I got out. Surely all that rain would have washed off the skunky spray during my travels! Yet when I came back out to the pumps, there was the smell again. 

By the time I left the School-Turn Casey's and started back towards Backroads, I'd had enough of that smell. Maybe it was INSIDE the car! I put down the front passenger window, and the back seat window behind me. Temps were in the mid-50s, so I wasn't cold. I made sure the ventilation was not on recirculate. I drove five miles like that. It seemed to clear out the odor. Yet when I got out at Country Mart to get my $3 scratchers from the machine, the skunk smell was waiting for me as I stepped out.

I don't know what to expect when I go out to the garage tomorrow, considering that T-Hoe has been marinating in skunk juice for 24 hours.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Strapping On the Casino Feedbag

Our casino lunch last Tuesday was nothing remarkable. The menu seems to have been changed, allowing for fewer selections. I hope it's not the beginning of the end! Usually there are a few specials on the holiday week. But there was nothing special for Valentine's Day. Unless you wanted to make reservations for the sit-down restaurant. Not us!

The Pony ordered his usual chicken sandwich. Or so he thought... When he joined me at the soda fountain, he was kicking himself in the rumpus.

"I meant to order the FRIED chicken sandwich, but when she asked, I said GRILLED. Oh, well. I guess it will be good enough."

"Go back and tell them! Dad is just now paying. They haven't given the ticket to the kitchen yet. You can still change it. They're the same price."

"Nah. That's okay."

The Pony wouldn't say fried chicken if he had a mouthful of it! He avoids confrontation.

Yes, there really IS a piece of grilled chicken under those toppings. The Pony hasn't gone vegetarian. He HAS applied fresh nail polish...

I had the BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich. It is now on a bun, rather than on toast. Sis also had the BBQ Pulled Pork. She asked me if I had ever requested EXTRA BBQ SAUCE! Let's not forget the fiasco last time Sis asked for BBQ sauce.

"No. It's mostly on the bun. I have enough."

When Sis's sandwich arrived, she told the gal, "I have a question. I'm not going to cry if you say no, but can I get some extra BBQ sauce for my sandwich?"

"I will have to charge you 50 cents."

"Okay. Never mind." When the gal left, Sis said, "I have 50 cents. I have all this change in my purse. But I'm not using it to pay for sauce."

Hick had the Fried Catfish with Onion Rings. I had thought about having the catfish. It is a former favorite of mine.

Good thing I didn't order it. Hick gave me a piece, when he was almost done. It was a nice plump piece of catfish, so I was not at all leery of it being fried skin, like I got one time. However... after one bite, I gave that piece back to Hick!

"OH YUCK! That's terrible! It's so fishy! They must have changed suppliers. This takes like it just came out of a pond. Like I took a bite right out of the side of the fish. YUCK! I will never get that taste out of my mouth!"

While I was not jealous of Hick's catfish, I WAS jealous of his onion rings. I swear, no matter what side Hick orders, he always gets a separate container full of it! While mine is always sharing the cardboard bowl with my main course. ALSO, I have never gotten pickles along with my catfish.

Here's an epiphany I had while complaining about Hick's giant onion ring portion. Hick is the one who always PAYS for the order! He gives his name. He's the first to order, so they know what he is getting. And he's the one who ADDS THE TIP at the counter before sitting down! 
I feel so Sherlock Holmesy...

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Journey of 85 Miles Begins With a False Sense of Security

On Valentine's Day, The Pony and I hopped into A-Cad to be driven sweaven to the casino by Hick. He was actually on pretty good driving behavior. Not too fast on the curvy two-lane blacktop. Very few wake-up bumps thumping under the tires. 

The weather was sunny and clear. A highway sign closer to our destination flashed a message that 50 mph winds were expected, and to drive safely. I figured we would be past that area on our way home, where such a forecast was not in effect.

The Pony and I were lured into a false sense of security. He was fiddling on his laptop when we took the exit and headed through city streets to the casino. I was texting Sis, who was about 30 minutes behind us. Telling her we were about to go past her college.


A-Cad tilted sideways! I was up in the air. Then I slammed back down, collapsing my neck into my shoulders. My right knee felt like it had been turned inside out. For an instant, I thought A-Cad was going to drive along on two wheels like a stunt car launching off a ramp. 

"That's on me." Said Hick. "Now there you go with the tears. I don't know why you have to be so dramatic about everything. You're ruining everybody's trip."

Well. Excuuuuuse me! It wasn't Hick's knee that had been turned inside out. Sorry that I don't travel while on a morphine drip!

No need to blame ME for driving up on a curb that extended from a sidwalk. All the other cars seemed to have avoided it. In fact, Hick and A-Cad have avoided it on all other trips to this casino. So pardon me for my body's response to joint trauma.

Good thing I had my cane with me. It took twice as long to get out of the car and into the door of the casino. I'm surprised Hick didn't miraculously cure his own back issue with that daredevil stunt.

By the time we started home at 3:30, two acetaminophen had calmed my jointly nerve endings. I was hoping there was no such curb sticking out on the side of the road back to the highway. Again, I was texting Sis. They had taken an alternate route, and were going in Krispy Kreme for some Valentine donuts. When I looked up, a fine mist had started. 

As we merged onto the northbound lanes of the interstate, that mist turned to a downpour. Lucky thing Hick had discovered A-Cad's windshield wiper problem from our last casino trip was a broken motor that squirts the fluid. He'd had it fixed by Mick the Mechanic a few days earlier. So we had working windshield wipers. Which are absolutely no help, no matter what the speed, in a heavy downpour on a highway with spray kicked up by truck tires.

It wasn't only the semi trucks, but the regular pickup trucks that passed us or that we followed around the semis. After about 10 miles of this, my nerves were ready to snap.

"I can't see a thing! You need to back off this truck. And you need to stop passing them! You know that they're going to pass you again. Back and forth! Just back off and get out of this bunch of trucks!"

"You cain't get away from trucks, Val. This is the highway."

"You can too! I did it all the time when I drove on the highway. I've ridden with Pony, and we backed off. Then that group of trucks gets up ahead of you, and you're not in them, swapping back and forth on the uphills and downhills."

"Weren't you listening to me on the way back from Oklahoma? I counted 47 trucks in one mile, coming in the other direction!"

"Well, you have passed this ONE TRUCK 47 times! Just back off!"

Of course Hick did not heed my advice. The wind was picking up, though thankfully not yet 50 mph. That would certainly have been a nightmare while beside those semis and unable to see the road in front of us. It was not a pleasant trip. The Pony was in the back seat, "Psht, psht-ing" at us like Dog-Whisperer Cesar Milan. What works on a dog does not work on Hick!

By the time we reached our exit to get back on the twisty two-lane blacktop, the rain had mostly stopped, and the sun was out! Which was another problem entirely, because it was setting, and coming in under the sun visors. AND reflecting off the wet blacktop with a vengeance. Once again, we were blinded while trying to drive. Seeing nothing but glare, unable to tell which way the road was turning.

"I can't see a thing," said Hick. "But I'm slowing down, and listening for the wakeup bumps to tell me if I'm going off the edge."

If I was less amply-rumpused, and more knee-bendy, I would have kissed the driveway when we finally stopped in front of the garage.

Monday, February 20, 2023

The Pony in the Winner's Circle

We went to our local casino on Valentine's Day. That's because Tuesday is The Pony's day off, and we were celebrating our birthday month. My sister the ex-mayor's wife, and the ex-mayor, met us there. We had limited success, if you count "not losing much" as a success! Like my best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel, a non-gambler, says: "You're not really losing anything. It's the price of your entertainment and good time with your family for a few hours."

Actually, Hick left with a profit in his pocket. He can't remember exactly how much, but says it was more than $20 and less than $50. The Pony was an even bigger winner.

That was a picture he sent me at 12:36. I didn't hear the text come in. A casino is kind of a noisy place! So The Pony walked around to tell me. We were each on opposite endcaps of a row of slots. I'm shocked he left his machine unattended. As he said quickly, "I'm going right back!" I would have left that slot after such a win. Lightning doesn't strike twice, you know. Except when it does...

This was at 2:41, with the caption: "Did it again." On the exact same slot. He didn't sit there the whole time! He played other machines, and we had lunch.

I was quite happy for The Pony. I was having enough luck that I left with 95 percent of my casino bankroll. So technically a loser, though I felt like a winner.

I felt like even more of a winner after I survived Hick's drive home. More on that later...

Sunday, February 19, 2023

The Same, Yet Different

When Genius called to chat on my birthday, he said he would be going out to brunch with some friends. Not to celebrate my birthday, of course, but as a pre-planned event. When the topic of my casino breakfast came up, he decided he would be having the chicken and waffles. He's had it numerous times, at assorted restaurants. Never disappointed, he said. 

After the brunch, Genius sent me a picture of HIS chicken and waffle breakfast:

I'm pretty sure Genius's brunch was not at a casino sports bar! Though it does look like he's having a cocktail.

Let's look back at my chicken and waffle breakfast:

I like the variety of Genius's plate, but the quantity on my own. Somewhere, there's a delicate balance. Maybe not all that delicate, since we ARE talking about waffles and fried chicken...

Saturday, February 18, 2023

One Less COIN to Pick Up, One More Heavy Sigh

I hope this isn't a trend! One less coin this week for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune. But still, a good enough week. Can't keep up the numbers and the silver week after week.

SATURDAY, February 11, a penny caught my eye walking into Country Mart.

Perhaps you'll appreciate my eagle-eye a bit more now. The penny is past the end of that crinkly crack in the sidewalk. You might have to zoom in.

The closeup turned out much better. It was a heads-up 1978 penny, basking in the late-afternoon sun.

SUNDAY, February 12, a penny was waiting for me at the Backroads Casey's.

This one is doing a pretty good camouflage job as well.

This was a face-down 2007 penny, chillin' by the drinks cooler.

Imagine my surprise on TUESDAY, February 14, when walking across the casino floor and seeing this in my path:

Heh, heh! How fitting is it that the name of this place is CENTury Casino? I still wonder how these pennies appear so far from the cashier and the money-changing machines. Surely anybody would have tucked away their money before strolling across a vast expanse of slot machines and possible pick-pockets!

The closeup didn't turn out so well, but it's a face-down 2014 penny. Found on the 14th!

THURSDAY, February 16, I spied another sneaky cent lounging on the parking lot of the School-Turn Casey's.

Good luck spotting this one yourself, amateurs! It's midline in the photo, near the bottom, almost midway between the first two center grease spots. But a bit below them, and closer to the spot on the right.

I kept this poor penny waiting way too long! I'm guessing that it's face-down. And even after a good soak in vinegar and a scrub with a green flat not-sponge thingy, the closest I came to finding a number on it was a 7. I'm calling it a 2017 penny, since it shined up pretty good, and there looked to be a shield on the back side, which was the style during that time period.

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


Penny           # 22, 23, 24, 25.
Dime             still at 3
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        still at 0


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, February 17, 2023

A Pest is a Pest and Causes You Strife, But a Dad is Your Father the Rest of Your Life

The Pony sent me a text at 4:27 on Thursday afternoon:

"Guess what was on my hall toilet seat when I got home!"

Huh. That was definitely a loaded question. I took a stab.

"A squirrel?"

"I wonder whose."

"No DNA test necessary." 

Here's the thing. Hick has no qualms about using The Pony's house as his personal toilet. It would be different if he was working there. But he's not. I have told him numerous times that this is THE PONY'S HOUSE! Hick has no right to pop in there to poop or pee on his whim. It's like breaking and entering, even though he has a key. The Pony pays good money to own that house. It's not ours. It's HIS. I would not mind The Pony coming into our mansion when we're not here, because it's his childhood home. He's always welcome. But now he's an adult, buying his house from us, and we have no right to go in when he's not home.

Hick disagrees.

"The Pony said he had pee on his toilet when he got home today."

"Oh. Well. I guess I didn't get it wiped off."

"You have no business going in there when he's not home."

"I was doing something for him. He asked me to."

"What? What were you working on?"

"He sent me a text this morning and said the wind blew his trash can out into the road, and he didn't have time to get it. So would I put it back on his porch when I came to town for lunch."

"That's OUTSIDE. You had no reason to go inside."

"Yeah I did. I had to pee. Besides, his trash can was in the road yesterday. I saw it."

That's Hick logic for you.

The Pony won't say anything about it. Not even to me. He is very appreciative of all the work Hick put into his house. But I'm pretty sure he feels violated. Everybody has a right to privacy in his own home. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Quest to be the Pettiest

Last year, Hick went to a meeting of residents of our enclave, down by the mailboxes. The subject was the quality of the gravel roads. In the 25 years we've lived out here, some of Hick's buddies have moved away. They used to have a good rapport, and meet up every few months with their tractors, to maintain the roads. Back then, everybody contributed money towards gravel for resurfacing. I say "everybody," but it was MOST people. There were always a couple of freeloading holdouts.

Anyhoo... Hick's ideas were shot down at that meeting. His idea that if every family would buy one load of gravel, it would go a long way to keeping the roads in good shape throughout the year. Some of the new upstarts made the mistake of talking down to Hick about the type of gravel to put on the roads. They went for the fine grade, and not the 2-inch Plus that Hick espoused for going down first. Hick washed his hands of that group. Especially after they dumped a couple loads of the smaller gravel, which was immediately swallowed up by the muddy surface.

"They can do what they want if they know so much. They don't need my input."

The only thing Hick has done to the roads since then was a couple weeks ago, when he took (one of) his tractors down to His and Buddy's Badly Blacktopped Hill, and scooped up gravel that had washed along the edge, and put it into holes in the blacktop.

Last week, somebody filled the biggest holes in the gravel road with gravel. Hick saw a message on our enclave's Facebook page about it.

"Huh. They're saying they got a load of gravel to use for patching, and want everybody to contribute to pay for it. They say it will be $13 apiece, that the load was $180. That will pay for the load of gravel, and for their tractor gas. In all the years we worked on the roads out here, none of us ever asked for gas money. That one load of gravel for patching does nothing. It'll be gone the next rain. I still say the best way is for everybody to buy one load of gravel, and start down at the mailboxes, and work its way up here."

One of the other residents put on Facebook that he was going to suggest that in July, we go back to how it used to be. How we should get several loads of gravel and start spreading down at the entrance by the mailboxes. Hick says isn't that funny, how now it's that guy's idea. Also that if we wait until July, the roads will be almost impassable.

Hick called Buddy, who has a dump truck and hauls rock now that he's retired. He said that price was pretty cheap. That he charges $190 for a load. Hick says he's going to get a load of gravel, and have it spread down on the main road, by the mailboxes, where the potholes are the worst. He's not going to ask anybody for money. Just send out a notice that he did it.

I doubt anybody else will do that. They are so worried that somebody might drive on THEIR gravel... I told Hick not to expect anybody to pat him on the back for his deed. That most likely, the talk will be how Hick didn't pay his $13 for the road gravel.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Sis, a Stickler for Common Cents

We went to a local casino on Tuesday. My sister the ex-mayor's wife, and the ex-mayor, joined us there. Sis saves all her casino change for Babe, her granddaughter. Not sure the intended purpose, but she's done this for years.

Some casinos no longer give change out of the money-changer machines. You go to cash in your ticket, and the machine will give you bills, but ask which of their charities you'd like your change to go to. Sis wants her change to go to Babe! So she will take her ticket to the cashier.

This local casino DOES give change from the money-changer machines. Sis didn't know that, us just having returned last week from the Oklahoma casinos, where change is not always given. So when Sis cashed out a ticket for 95 cents, she went to the cashier.

"I gave him my ticket, and he scanned it, and my change rolled down into the dish. I picked it up, and it was two quarters, and four nickels. I looked around on the floor. Didn't see anything. I walked away, and counted my change again. Two quarters. Four nickels. That's only 70 cents! I'm not gonna take it! That's MY money, and I should get the full amount! I went back and told the guy, and he gave me a quarter. Just imagine if that happens to people all day long, day after day! The casino is keeping part of your money!"

You don't want to get on Sis's bad side! Especially when it comes to Babe's funds. This reminds me of when grocery stores ring up your items at regular price, even though a sale is in progress. If you don't check your receipt, you don't know. Sure... it MIGHT be a simple mistake. But it might not!

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Even Steven Gives Val a Belated Birthday Gift

I didn't invite him to my pity party, but Even Steven still came through with a late birthday present. It was on Sunday night, while Hick was partying his rumpus off eating FREE FOOD over at the neighbors' Super Bowl party. I had just sat down to scratch, and my first ticket was a loser. The second one, however...

Was a winner. A $500 WINNER!!! Quite a thrill, thinking it was a loser, and then uncovering that symbol on the last space.

Of course I showed Hick as soon as he came home from the Super Bowl party, empty-handed though he had been encouraged to bring some food. And I told him it was all because he and his BAD LUCK were out of the house when I scratched.

I got this ticket at the Liquor Store. First stop when I got to town. I had actually planned on going there, and getting this very $10 ticket for myself, plus a different $10 one for The Pony for his upcoming birthday. They were out of the ticket I wanted for him, so I had to get his at the Gas Station Chicken Store. We'll see if he wins anything... I actually feel guilty for soaking up all the luck with my own ticket, but this is an older game that I would never buy for The Pony.

Some people are just born lucky, I guess. Sure, I buy a lot of tickets. But I bet (heh, heh, I said BET when discussing gambling) there are other people who also buy a lot of tickets, and still don't have these wins.

Monday, February 13, 2023

NOT EVEN a Paper-Towel Bag-Fish on Super Bowl Sunday

Let the record show that Val had a birthday last week. You may wonder why I didn't post pictures of all the gifts that were showered upon me. There's a simple explanation. I got NOTHING! Just a card with a signature. The Paper-Towel Bag-Fish was not even for my birthday!

This hardly seems fair. All the years I've made sure Hick had gifts, even though his birthday falls in that awkward pre-Christmas time slot. My best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel sent a text to ask if I had a buttercream icing hangover. Nope. That would mean that somebody had thought enough of me to get me a cake. I'd throw myself a pity party, but that would be sad, such an activity overshadowing the NOTHINGNESS of my birthday festivities. 

Anyhoo... we were invited to the neighbors' Super Bowl party last week. Hick responded that he would be there. They wanted to make sure how much food to prepare. I did not want to go, even though it's just across the gravel road. And it has nothing to do with them having the dogs who killed our 39 chickens a few years back. I'm just not a social butterfly.

Sunday afternoon, as I was on the way to town at 4:00, Hick sent a text that he was tired from working all day in his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2), and not going to the Super Bowl party, but coming home instead to take a bath, and did I want him to pick up Captain D's for supper. I did not. Because I was having 4-day-old fried chicken, having planned ahead since he'd be gone. Besides, I'd just HAD fish, the Paper-Towel Bag-Fish, the night before. If only his offer to pick up food had come on my birthday...

Furthermore, I told Hick that was a crappy thing to do, skip the party, after telling them he'd be there. It was supposed to start at 3:00. They had said to come whenever. But nobody was there when I looked down their driveway at 4:00. About an hour later, Hick sent a text that he had stopped by their party on his way home. I assumed he would just put in an appearance, watch the kickoff, and then come home.

Hick appeared at half-time, carrying a six-pack of Michelob Ultra Light with four bottles gone. He said several other neighbors had been there. They had pulled pork sandwiches, something else I don't remember, and PICKLE SOUP. I called BS on that, and Hick swore it was true, that the soup had pickles, potatoes, and bacon. Which I believe is potato soup with pickles added. 

Anyhoo... Hick did not ingratiate himself to me when he added:

"She told me to bring some food home, but I said no."

"WHY? I could have had some tomorrow!"

"Well. I would have had to find a way to carry it home."

What in the NOT-HEAVEN? I'm sure the neighbors had paper towels, and there are still old Walmart bags in SilverRedO...

Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Paper-Towel Bag-Fish

Hick surprised me on Friday by walking in while I was snoozing at 12:30 p.m. He never comes home midday on Fridays. His excuse was that he'd bought some dog food from a guy, and brought it home before galivanting as usual. He also added 

"I brought you a piece of fish from the senior center. It's in the fridge."

When I checked later, this is what I found:

A piece of fish, wrapped in a paper towel. Which was a bit off-putting. Of course I had to quiz Hick later that evening, on the origin and transport, after first complaining of the mess.

"Why did you put a piece of paper-towel fish on my glass shelf? The grease will be hard to clean. It's cold. I don't want to wash the whole shelf!"

"I'm sure you can get a paper towel wet with hot water and soap, and wipe it off."

"How about YOU get a paper towel wet with hot water and soap, and wash it off? Couldn't you at least have put it on a plate?"

"I don't know why you're complaining. I brought you a piece of fish."

"How did you get a piece of fish?"

"That was lunch at the senior center. I ate mine, and a guy brought me two more pieces. I ate one of them, and brought this one to you."

"How long was it in your truck?"

"Just from the senior center to here. So about 20 minutes."

"You just carried it out in your hand? And brought it in the truck?"

"No. It was wrapped in the paper towel. And in a bag."

"It was in a baggie?"

"No. I took it out to the truck, and put it in an old Walmart sack. I had several in there. Then I brought it home and put it in the fridge."

"That does not make me feel confident that I won't get food poisoning!"

"It will be fine, Val."

We'll see. Here's a picture of the fish unwrapped:

I warmed it in the oven at 400 degrees, and ate it Saturday night. It tasted fine. We'll see if it makes me indisposed within the next 24 hours...

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Cinco de PENNO

Not a bad week at all for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune.

SATURDAY, February 4, I stepped into the Backroads Casey's and was confronted with an unclaimed treasure.

Yes, of course I claimed it for my own!

It was a face-down 1974 penny looking for a forever home. Mission accomplished.

MONDAY, February 6, found me at Orb K, due to the parking being too inhospitable at the Backroads Casey's. I was meant to be at Orb K. Even though my favorite parking spot near the door was taken. I put T-Hoe at the end, in front of the coin-operated vaccuum, feeling not a bit guilty for blocking it, since it bore a taped sign saying it was not working. I opened T-Hoe's door to see this beautiful sight:

Yes, indeed! There were TWO pennies peeping out from under T-Hoe's door.

The first was a heads-up 1977 penny, with Lincoln looking right at T-Hoe.

The second was a heads-up 1982 version, giving me the cold shoulder.

THURSDAY, February 9, I was back in Sis-Town at the Casey's, getting T-hoe's gas on errand day. Waiting in line made me antsy, fearing that some weirdo other penny collector might nab my rightful coin before I had a chance.

Got it! I might or might not have been holding my breath while waiting my turn.

It was a face-down 1993 penny. The clerk asked, "Are you taking a picture of something?" I held my tongue and did NOT tell her that was MY business. Or ask her if she had a guilty conscience for not sweeping. I can be civil. She has no strikes, and is not my nemesis. Yet...

FRIDAY, February 10, I was back at Orb K, again due to the parking situation at the Backroads Casey's. This time I got my good parking spot. I almost had to ask for my tickets at the far-away register, but I told the clerk I was stepping over to see the numbers on the tickets. He asked the old lady clerk who was puttering around and trying to get away at the nearest register if she could wait on me. Heh, heh! He really outsmarted her. She grudgingly got my tickets, though not impolitely.

While standing there, I saw a treat at my feet. The penny by the wall, not the paper thing impersonating a bill. 

It was a heads-up 1985 penny. Looks like the same person is still in charge of floor-sweeping.

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


Penny           # 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.
Dime             still at 3
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        still at 0


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9

Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, February 10, 2023

Two More Trials From My Nemesis

Remember that New Gal who was not very congenial about my scratcher purchases? Asking if I HAD ENOUGH MONEY to pay for them, and then snapping at me for her hasty mistake? I had two encounters with her this week!

Tuesday I was in the School-Turn Casey's on my way to pick up The Pony's house payment. Of course all the other clerks were on a break, and New Gal was the only one at the register. I considered leaving, but there was only one other customer, wrapping up her soda and cigarette purchase, so I stepped in line. New Gal rewarded me by 


Seriously. Like that can't wait until a lull. Gotta do it right that moment when I step up to the counter. I didn't put a hex on her or anything. Really. I didn't wish for her to fall off the ladder, or for some cigarette cartons to conk her on the noggin. Nope. I just waited until she was ready to serve me. Can't say it was with a smile on her part.

Heh, heh! I guess New Gal was stewing in her own juices about having to wait on me. She messed up! She didn't ring up all my tickets! She kind of caught on. Was shuffling through them, a bit discombobulated. Counting how many tickets, looking at the electronic receipt thingy, counting tickets.

"You forgot one of the $3 tickets. You're $3 short of what it should be."

Not even a thanks! But New Gal rang it up right, and I paid her WITH ENOUGH MONEY in exact change. It was a double laugh on her, because she sold me a $10 ticket that won $50! Revenge is sweet.

Thursday, I was back there on my way home from mailing Genius's weekly letter at the main post office. I sighed with relief when I entered, and saw another lady behind the register, and New Gal standing over by the deli counter, chatting with another employee. I breezed past her and got in line. 

Of course that other clerk had a problem with some man complaining about something that went wrong earlier, around 2:30. So Other Clerk called to New Gal to come take over RIGHT WHEN IT WAS MY TURN! I can't catch a break.

New Gal asked what I wanted, and got out  my tickets. She rang them up and told me the total. Threw no shade this time. I guess I've almost broken her like a wayward colt or a naughty puppy. I stopped short of killing her with kindness, but I was cordial while giving her the look that said, "You know that I know that you're a little ne'er-do-well."

Thursday, February 9, 2023

So Much Food, So Little Evidence

I can't believe I forgot to get pictures of our meals during the three-day casino trip! I didn't take pics of slots, because I never had a brag-worthy win. But the food was good.

Tuesday night, we stayed at Downstream Casino because of the weather. Nobody was hyped about a big meal, so we ate at the little grill off the casino. Hick had a pepperoni pizza, Sis had a quarter-pound hot dog with chili, the Ex-Mayor had a chicken sandwich without bread, and I had a grilled cheese and bacon burger with fries. Everybody enjoyed their choices.

Wednesday morning, we were supposed to meet at the coffee/donut shop between the check-in desk and the elevator to the tower where Sis's room was located. We used to eat at a breakfast buffet, but it has been closed since the VIRUS shutdown. Anyhoo... we got a text from Sis while in the elevator. She said there was another choice for breakfast now, in the SPORTS BAR! Which is inside the casino.

We waited for Sis and Ex-Mayor to walk up and join us before walking into the casino. And waited. We were afraid we had misunderstood, and Sis might be waiting for US to walk down to the donut shop. But no. Further communication revealed that Sis was waiting for a donut! She brought it with her, in a bag she held flat on its side, to the Sports Bar.

Hick and I ordered the breakfast plate. Mine with scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, and biscuit. Hick's with over-easy eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast. Ex-Mayor had an omelet. Sis asked for two sausage patties and a biscuit. She is known for ordering off-menu. She wanted to make a sausage biscuit to accompany the chocolate-iced Long John she brought from the donut shop.

We learned that our waitress works one day a week at the donut shop, and also loves those Long Johns. That at 3:00, the leftover donuts are declared unsellable, and taken to the employee break room, first-come, first serve. 

Wednesday evening, we had supper at High Winds Casino. That's the place Sis once asked for the Frito Chili Pie, and was told that she could not get it after 4:00 p.m. This time, the waitress said that of course Sis could have it. Just not for the $5 special price. That it would be $8. Sis was fine with that! She got her Frito Chili Pie, and could not eat even half of it. Because they gave her $8 worth.

Ex-Mayor had Chicken Monterey, Hick had steak with a baked potato and mixed vegetables, and I had the chopped steak with mushrooms and brown gravy, accompanied by sides of slaw and fries. The food is very good there. We will continue to patronize their restauant on future trips.

Thursday morning found us again at the Sports Bar for a sit-down breakfast. Sis went without her donut. She had the omelet with only meats, so she didn't get her full five items that were allowed:

Sis didn't consider getting more than one serving of a meat, I guess. She had a toasted english muffin and hash browns. Notice she has liberally sprinkled the whole thing with black pepper.

Ex-Mayor also had an omelet. He used all five of his allowed ingredients:

Ex-Mayor chose whole wheat toast and hash browns to accompany his omelet.

Hick is a habitual creature, and went with the same breakfast as the previous morning:

Hick added a bowl of sausage gravy this time, to his over-easy eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast.

I had the most interesting breakfast of all. The one I had wavered on the day before:

That's CHICKEN AND WAFFLES, baby! With a mini pitcher of syrup, some butter, and a container of "spicy caramel dipping sauce." The spicy turned out to be cayenne, I think. The waitress said it wasn't very hot, and that they include it with their sweet potato fries for dipping. I was not a fan. Gave it to Hick for his toast. Nobody would take the butter. The chicken was crispy and delicious. The waffle just right. I will have it again next time.

None of us made a profit on this casino trip, but we all ate more than enough!