Friday, March 31, 2023

Hick Ruffles an Old Biddy's Feathers

Hick got to the surgeon's office around 10:15. He went to the desk (he took his cane today), and told the gal he needed to talk to somebody about his pain.

"I called here two days ago, and nobody ever called me back. So I came to talk to somebody in person."

Old Biddy was not happy.

"Sit down over there, and I'll go ask somebody."

When she returned to the desk, she was even less happy.

"Come get these papers. You need to fill them out before you can be seen."

That made Hick perk up. It meant he was going to actually get an exam, which had not been in his wildest dreams when he left home. He filled out the papers, though what more he might have needed I can't imagine, since they have all his records due to the surgery. 

"They called me back at 10:45. I sat in the room until about 11:20, when the surgeon came in. Old Biddy came to check on me once, and made sure to tell me, 'You're at our mercy today.'"

What in the Not-Heaven? Was that a threat? If they had answered their phones like professionals, Hick would not have needed to drive 2.5 hours round trip to seek follow-up treatment for his post-surgery pain. Maybe this was the actual gal who didn't return Hick's call. But like he said, "I didn't want to push that issue."

The surgeon examined Hick. Looked at his incision. Said it was fine, but gave him some more betadine towelette thingies for me to swipe it with, due to one little hole at the bottom of the scar. As he said, "I pushed on it and squeezed it. I don't see any infection, but just in case, use this again."

He felt all around Hick's back. Then his hips.

"My back didn't hurt at all. He squeezed my left hip, and it was a little sore, but when he squeezed my right hip, it lit me up!"

The surgeon said he could feel arthritis in Hick's hips. He thinks they are inflamed, probably due to the fever Hick had last week. He said the muscle that runs across Hick's back, where he was cutting around, could affect both hips. He called in a prescription for an anti-inflammatory medicine, the name which escapes me. It starts with a C. Hick read the enclosure, and said it's non-steroidal, and used for people with arthritis to relieve pain and inflammation. He's supposed to take one every 12 hours, and has 60 of them.

Hick is supposed to keep his regular follow-up appointment next week. I think they will do x-rays then. Meanwhile, he got a letter to go for therapy. As he pulled onto the parking lot of that facility, he got a call from the surgeon's office. Not sure if it was Old Biddy, but she said, "You are probably not happy with that letter. It has another patient's name on it. I forgot to switch it out. So have the therapist call me, and I will straighten it out."

Good thing Hick is an advocate for his own care...

Thursday, March 30, 2023

A Taxing Day For Val

Time is getting away from me. I've been meaning to work on our taxes for weeks now. I was waiting to make sure we got all our documents first. You know you're supposed to have them by February 1st. Heh, heh. Like speed limits and center lines these days, that seems to be merely a suggestion. I got one mid-March. Which reminded me that I really needed to get to work on those taxes.

I DID get my TurboTax software. I have an external DVD thingy, since HIPPIE did not come equipped with bells nor whistles. I even knew where it was! For a few days I've been meaning to go through my checkbook register and sort out specific expenses so my info would be ready to plug in when prompted.

With Hick having his surgery, and me feeling the need to tend to him rather then let him fend, I kept putting off my tax prep. However... now I am eager to separate myself from Hick and his recliner and his groans. So when he forced our togetherness around 7:30 a.m., I remembered that the taxes were calling me.

Panic ensued when I plugged in my DVD thingy, and it kept making chirping noises on HIPPIE. Like the connection was being disrupted. I tried another port. Same thing. I got it to open, and found a HOYLE CASINO CD inside. Can you imagine that? I'm sure you can.

Anyhoo... I put in my TurboTax CD. Don't bother to ask why I don't download it. Even The Pony had a chuckle at the thought of our internet speed providing me a successful filing. Of course updates were needed. Good thing I was dragging my feet. The Missouri update only became available on March 23.

Anyhoo... I had to restart the process twice, because apparently the DVD thingy just stopped. Jiggling the wire made the light come on again. I was about to panic. Time is running out! I held my breath. Didn't touch the kitchen table. Chastised Hick when he waltzing-bear-ed his way through the kitchen to go to town, and leaned on the pedestal table that was once my mom's. The swaying didn't break my connection, so Hick escaped without visible scars.

Somehow, TurboTax found last year's return which HIPPIE had told me was damaged when he went into a coma and had to life-support himself back from the blue screen of death. So there's that. Much info auto-filled.

I worked on the sections that I knew the info. Fourth cat out of the bag, I was prompted for a 1099-INT that I did not possess! How can that be? It's freakin' March-end! All my forms should have arrived! I called Hick, who agreed to drive down to Bill-Paying town to our financial institution, and ask for a copy. Welp! Seems that since we earned less that $10 interest on that account (ain't THAT a cryin' shame!), they were not required to mail us a 1099-INT, so did not. Try explaining that to TurboTax, who demanded the amounts from Lines 1, 3, and 5. I just put in $0. It worked!

Of course I got to the point where I needed to compile the totals from my checkbook register. Like for assorted medical payments, and real estate taxes, and charity and such. Do you think I was going to take a break and close out my TurboTax? No siree, Bob! I wasn't about to take a chance on not getting it running again!

After all that, and sorting those payments into the proper categories, and adding up mileage... TurboTax told me that it was more profitable for me to take the standard deduction! All that work for nothing! All those payments from my health insurance premiums, and my Unfortunate HospitVALzation, and Hick's medical treatments and sky-high prescriptions. Some people must really be making a fortune by taking that standard deduction without having such expenses!

Then it was time to enter Hick's business info. Lucky for me, he came home right then after a lunch of Meat Loaf at the Senior Center. He had compiled his profits/expenses a couple days ago, because he's eager to get our refund, part of it being owed to him for cash he spent on Pony House improvements.

I was getting pretty tired of all this taxing tax preparation, but I figured it was just a hop, skip, and a jump into my state return. So I powered through. Got it all done! Six hours from start to finish, part of that being the compilation of info I should have done ahead of time.

Anyhoo... I never would have thought when I got up (from the short couch to avoid Hick) on Wednesday morning that I would have the taxes filed by 2:30 p.m.

Nothing like fear and faulty equipment to light a fire under Val's rumpus...

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Hick's Progress Takes a Turn

I am getting concerned with Hick's recovery from his back surgery. Ever since he got a fever last Thursday, his pain has intensified. The steroids that worked before for his leg pain have done nothing for his current hip pain. It started with the left hip, then went to both. He also says his muscles/nerves hurt where his legs hook onto his body. Like in the groin area. So I'm guessing it must be about the nerves, since a joint infection wouldn't jump from one hip to the other. Also, the fever is gone or just 99.1. 

Hick was lurching and moaning when he got out of bed Tuesday morning. He took a pain pill and muscle relaxer. He's about out of both now. It's been four weeks since his surgery. He plugged in a heating pad and sat on it in his recliner. Within an hour, he said he was feeling better. That his pain was down to about a 1/10. Well. There's the pain pill and muscle relaxer...

Anyhoo... he felt pretty good, and left the house around 9:00. He was going to go in Walmart for his Diet Mountain Dew, but I told him NO, to not push it since he was feeling okay. He ate lunch at the Senior Center. Chicken Ratatouille, Salad, Biscuit, Banana Pudding. Then he took SilverRedO to get a new tire at Mick the Mechanic's.

I'm not sure where else Hick went. He got home around 4:00, hobbling like he hurt a lot. He had put in a call to the surgeon, but nobody ever called him back. He just wants to know if this is to be expected, and what he can do to relieve his pain. They never gave him any exercise plan for muscle strengthening, or for flexibility. I guess maybe after his 6-week appointment he might get one. He had asked about walking, since we have a treadmill, and they told him NO. But I think general walking on level surfaces is probably okay now, assuming he is surefooted, and wears his back brace. In fact, he took his walker out on the porch Monday afternoon and did a little walking. Said it made him feel better at the time.

Here's hoping Hick hears back Wednesday morning. He will call again. He needs therapy or testing or a method to ease his pain. He said that his pain pills had a note to contact the pharmacy. So maybe he can at least get a week's worth of refill on that.

Hick hates to be THAT patient who is always whining, but he had a taste of freedom, and now feels incapacitated.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Rarely a Day Without a Weird Encounter

Monday afternoon, I had to wait to use the lottery machine in Country Mart. Can you believe somebody had the nerve to stand there buying tickets??? Anyhoo... I stood back, at the end of an unused checkout register. I was in front of the double doors.

A little boy came in by himself. Maybe 4 or 5 years old. He reminded me of young Genius. A little cutie with tousled brown hair.

"Are you going to the potty?"

I was sure I mis-heard. Did I LOOK like I was going to the potty? I hope not! It's not like my rumpus was hanging out.

"I'm sorry. I didn't hear you."

"Are you going to the party?"

Oh. Maybe this little guy was coming in to pick up cupcakes or something for a birthday party. And he was just randomly asking people if they were coming.

"I'm not sure what you're asking me."

"I have to go potty!"

"Oh! It's over there. In the corner. Go down that little hall. It's there."

Seriously. I was NOT going to take this child by the hand and walk him to the bathroom. I have no desire to be splashed all over the news, and locked up for the rest of my life. You don't go anywhere near another person's child and the bathroom these days.

The little guy wandered over, and stood looking in the direction of the hallway with the restrooms. A man came in, saw him there, and said, "Go on. It's right there. I'll be waiting here for you."

What kind of guy lets his kid walk into a grocery store alone? And then won't take him into the bathroom. If it wasn't his kid, he'd apparently been tasked with the job of taking him to the facilities. Which he was NOT doing satisfactorily. 

The boy came back out rather quickly. He asked the man something, and was told, "No. We don't have time for that today."

Maybe he asked to have a party...

Monday, March 27, 2023

The Pony Has a Bone To Pick

The Pony had a bit of trauma on Friday, sitting down to his supper after a hard day's work.

"My boneless wings just had a bone in them! Very unpleasant crunch sound and texture, just glad I didn't break a tooth!"

"Dang! Where did the boneless wings come from?"

"Pizza Hut!!!"

Well. There ya go! Don't rely on a pizza chain to feed you chicken wings. Might as well go to KFC and order a steak. Maybe that dude suing Buffalo Wild Wings because their meat comes from breast meat instead of actual wings might want to try the Pizza Hut version.

The Pony's outrage reminds me of the first time Hick gave young Genius a chicken leg, and he demanded to know: "HEY! Who put the BONE in my chicken?" Like it was a conspiracy.

Kids these days. I fear they won't survive if the Apopadopalyspe (as Hick calls it) ever comes. They would probably toss out a whole chicken carcass, after butchering it and searching unsuccessfully for the nuggets.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Hick's Very Bad Day

Because Hick sees everything as a competition between us, he had to spike a fever of 101.5 on Thursday night. I don't begrudge him the title. I have been feeling better after 48 hours of yuck. But enough about me, it's all about Hick now.

He woke up Friday morning and said his fever was gone. I asked how he knew that, because he was nowhere near either of the thermometers that rest on the table between his recliner and the short couch.

"I know. Because when I felt my head with my hand, it wasn't hot. And I sweated last night in bed."

Still, he agreed to call his surgeon and report it, since the instructions said to call with a fever of 101.6 or higher. He was close enough. Also, he was calling because he had such terrible pain in his left hip that he TOOK HIS WALKER with him to town! He hasn't used that thing since his 10-day follow-up appointment! Since they took a piece of bone or did something near that hip, he thought he should report it. His actual incision, like an extension of his rumpus-crack, looked fine. No redness or heat or pus. Just a healing scar, no openings, not painful.

The surgeon's nurse practitioner called him back and said the hip pain was probably the nerves acting up, like when he had the leg pains. So she called him in a pack of steroids again, since they worked before. She had no idea what the temperature was about, but said that if the incision looked healthy, it probably was nothing to worry about. But if it continued, then go to a local ER and get checked out. As Hick turned into the parking lot of his pharmacy, he heard a POP. Didn't think anything of it.

Anyhoo... Hick mailed Genius's letter, and three bills for me. He went to his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) for a couple hours. He went to the Senior Center for a lunch of Glazed Pork Loin, Mashed Potatoes, Vegetable Blend, Roll, and Pie. They even gave him TWO large portions of the Pork Loin. Alas, poor pitiful Hick did not feel like eating. So he packed it in a to-go container after a few bites.

Hick got his regular weekly shot at his doctor's office. He skipped his Friday afternoon bull-shooting session with his cronies because he wasn't feeling well.

On his way home, a car behind him kept flashing its lights. The car pulled up beside him on the highway, and the driver pointed. So Hick pulled SilverRedO onto the shoulder and got out to look. He had a flat tire. So he went to Mick the Mechanic's shop to get it patched. They found nothing sticking in it. Hick ordered a new tire.

He came home and took his two "before breakfast" steroid pills. Then had a 2-hour nap. Then warmed up some of his Pork Loin. Then took his "after lunch" steroid pill around 5:00. By 8:00 he went to bed, taking his "bedtime" steroid pills. I'm pretty sure he took them all way too close together, but there's no telling Hick what to do.

He was moving around a little better on Saturday morning. I didn't ask about the fever. Without a thermometer, his answer is not accurate.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

The Even-ing of Steven Hits Val's COIN Collection

I've had a good run over the past few weeks, but Even Steven apparently thinks that I shouldn't rake in a big coin haul on a regular basis. Of course, I also had to skip two days of coin-hunting due to my fever and sickness. So who knows, maybe SOMEBODY found a fortune while I was out of commission.

Anyhoo... the week was off to a good start on SATURDAY, March 18, when I spied a special treasure at the Liquor Store.

See it? Between the feet of the grandma and granddaugher ahead of me? The mom had already made her purchase and stepped over by the door. That little girl was perhaps the most annoying child on the earth's face. She wasn't a bad child. Just annoying. She bounced around from side to side, poking at grandma, trying to make conversation. Not begging or anything. Just a bored kid, wanting attention. Her grandma sounded quite exasperated every time she told her to calm down. Who would expect such behavior from a child in a liquor store waiting for the family matriarchs to buy their liquor and cigarettes? My biggest complaint with this kid is that she kept blocking my photo of that penny!!! 

It was a heads-up 2021 penny. Little did I know it would be my lone find of the week.

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


Penny           # 36.
Dime             still at 6
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, March 24, 2023

How Time Doesn't Fly

I wish I could make an adjustment to the Space-Time Continuum. I am ready for this sickness to progress, so I can get over it. If only time would fly by as fast as it does when I'm in a casino.

Besides the fever, which has fluctuated between 99.1 and 101.2, I have a slight headache over my eyes, pain at the base of my skull, and an upset stomach. My eating stomach, not my poop stomach. I know I need to stay hydrated, but my stomach thinks otherwise. When I contemplate taking an itty-bitty tablespoon-size sip of water, it clenches itself shut like Jerry Seinfeld's lips when his girlfriend offered him a bite of pie.

At the lower temperatures, my face is ghostly white. At 101.2, it was flaming red. I slept off and on while sitting on the short couch under The Pony's fleece throw. I felt warm and toasty, and the shaking of my hands and arms stopped.

Right now it's 3:30 on Thursday afternoon, and I've managed to eat about half a handful of dry fake Honey Nut Cheerios. Plus several sips of water. Hick has forsaken me to drive 30 miles and look at fishing plugs. Not that he's such a help to me, but he's company.

I'm trying to let the fever run its course. I figure it knows that it's doing. After all, a fever has thousands of years experience in attacking what ails people, while I only have decades. I will, however, be taking my daily aspirin after I force down a few more cheerios. It might bring the fever down for a few hours, and perhaps give me a respite from the nagging faint headache.

I don't even miss my trip to town for scratchers. It's a relief to stay home. Although this is probably the day that the Gas Station Chicken Store will sell a big winner...

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Under the Weather

Val is not feeling her best tonight.

I checked the weather before I went to town. Hick said I would need a jacket, but my local source showed that it was 62 degrees. So I compromised and wore a long-sleeve shirt, no jacket. I almost had a heat stroke!

I felt fine once I got back home and in the house. Did my scratching. Ate some Dairy Queen soft pretzels with queso sauce. Hick went out to eat with The Pony, so I didn't cook any real supper. At 7:00 I went to the living room to watch Survivor. Came back to the kitchen table and HIPPIE at 8:00. I set out a fried chicken thigh from Country Mart deli that I was going to have for my actual supper. 

Things took an unpleasant turn. Around 8:30, my eating-stomach started doing flip-flops. I forked that thigh right back into the container, and into FRIG II. The back of my neck hurts, around the base of my skull. My shoulders have tightened up from the pain. I am freezing! Every third word, I have to back up and correct. My cold, cold hands are shaking THAT bad. Despite having the heater on under the kitchen table.

Just took my temperature. It's only 99.1. So no real fever to be alarmed about. Somebody please tell my shaking hands and roiling eating-stomach.

Rain is in the forecast for Thursday. All the way through Sunday. Flood warnings for Backroads. I have a sneaking suspicion that a drop in barometric pressure is wreaking havoc on my sinuses. They have been draining clear frothy fluid.

I'm calling it quits for Wednesday night. Going to put on my sock cap, and cover up with The Pony's fleece throw on the short couch. Hope to be back in the business of daily blogging tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Wham, Bam, Caught Ya, Spam

Hick has been waiting for a call back from one of his doctors. You know how it is these days, you can never talk to a real person, only leave a message, and hope they return the call. It is NOT his back doctor, so there's that.

Anyhoo... I had the landline phone with me at the kitchen table on Monday, because I was going to call my automated bank system to review my checking account transactions to see which checks had cleared. The phone rang. Usually, we let the machine take a message. But when I glanced at the number, I presumed it might be Hick's doctor. The area code and exchange looked like it was from that town.


"Hello? I am calling for Valrene..."

"WHO are you calling?"

"Val. Calling for Val."

That sounded a little to much like the LAND SHARK to me! Changing my name when questioned. Besides, he had a heavy accent. Perhaps Indian. I don't know anyone in India.

"What do you want?"

"This is Medicare--"

"Is this a SCAM CALL???"

"Yes it is."


I swear he said it was a scam call, heh, heh! I guess all you have to do is ask.

When I ran that number by Hick, it was one digit off from the town of his doctor. So if he calls back, I know not to feed the scammer. IF he calls back. It's been two days.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

You Need Your Head on a Swivel, and a Force-Field Around Your Car

The traffic situation in Backroads has deteriorated significantly over the past several years. People are batcrap crazy! There is no traffic rule they won't violate. 

When I left Country Mart on Monday afternoon, with my $3 scratchers (won $60 on one of them!), I took a little road that joins Country Mart to the main road I use to come into town. I wasn't going all the way to that road. It's hard to get out, with the traffic backed up at the light. I was only going to Dairy Queen, for some soft pretzels with queso sauce. This little road is a shortcut.

It's a road that has a mini mall on the right, with a Chinese restaurant, then my pharmacy. On the left side is a Convenient Care that sent me to the ER when I was almost dying of The Virus. There's a little road that comes across there, beside my pharmacy, entering into the Convenient Care parking lot. On the other side of that little road is the Dairy Queen on the right, and a Hardee's on the left. 

This road is used quite a bit. There's no stop sign on it. But there IS a stop sign on the road that comes across by my pharmacy. It's sometimes hard to see if you're on that cross road, because of cars parked at the pharmacy.

On my way to Dairy Queen, I saw a silver SUV smaller than T-Hoe rushing up that cross road. I'm a suspicious sort. I don't trust anyone on the roads. They have a habit of not using signals, darting out in front of me, crossing the center line as they approach me, and falling asleep at the stoplights when they are not running through red lights. So I hovered my foot over the brake pedal as I approached the cross road, keeping my eye on that silver SUV.

Good thing! It did not even slow at the stop sign! Whipped right out in front of me, headed for DQ or Hardee's. Not even rushing to the Convenient Care! No emergency health issue.


It's a warning signal, you know. Though I don't know that it did any good, since the car was already in front of me, my brakes jammed on, T-Hoe's bumper almost kissing that white SUV's bumper. I gotta say, slamming on the horn at least made me feel better...

That silver SUV turned into DQ and pulled up to the drive-thru line. I followed. Because that's where I was going. The women behind the wheel ordered two mini M&M Blizzards. SHE HAD A CHILD IN THE FRONT PASSENGER SEAT! I could see that when she handed a Blizzard to it, its small arms reaching for the treat.

Seriously, lady. It's one thing to drive like a maniac when it's just YOU. But to put a child in danger is reprehensible. She left the parking lot headed the same way I was going. Making a left turn, proceeding back to the cross road, another left, another left, and a left at the stoplight to head out the lettered highway past the prison.

Well. How awkward. I'm sure she thought I was stalking her. It's not my fault she pulled out in front of me, and then took the same route I use to get home. I bet she was getting nervous by the time she crossed the high bridge over the big river. I was kind of relieved that she kept going when I made my left turn onto our blacktop county road.

I hope my honkage at least made her contemplate the error of her ways. In the very least, it let her know that I KNEW she ran that stop sign.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Skunks Are Gonna Drunk

When I stopped by the Gas Station Chicken Store last week, there was only one other customer, parked on the opposite side of the store. He came out the door as I started around the corner from parking. There was nothing really remarkable about him. Just a 50s-60s man, wearing jeans and a red cap. He was carrying a paper sack with the top folded down. I noticed that, because most people don't get a bag at the Gas Station Chicken Store. Something square was in it. I assumed a six-pack of beer.

Anyhoo... I went in the door, and my favorite clerk greeted me.

"Hey, tell me that guy who just left didn't get in the driver's seat."

"I don't know. He was walking to his truck. Red cap, carrying a six-pack of beer?"

"No, it was a pack of the little Fireball bottles."

"Let me look..." I went back to the door and pushed it open, looking through the glass and up towards his parking space. "He's behind the wheel. Nobody else in the truck."

"Dang it! He swore to me he wasn't driving! I asked, before I'd sell him the Fireball. He swore he wasn't driving. He was already drunk as a skunk. I say 'already,' but he was in here yesterday like that. Maybe he hasn't sobered up since then!"

"Well. Watcha gonna do? You didn't make him drunk. He didn't drink it here. You asked, he lied. You can't run out and watch every customer get in their car, and jump on the hood to stop them."

He had already driven himself there. She can't hold him at gunpoint and refuse to let him leave. Pretty sure he wouldn't wait around for the police to show up. I don't know what more she could have done. Not-selling him the Fireball would not have made him any less drunk. 

I bet next time he comes in, she gives him a piece of her mind! And probably refuses to sell him liquor until he brings in his 'driver.' Let him complain to the owners. I'm sure they will back her up.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Good Thing The Pony Isn't Skittish

Never a dull moment when The Pony is on the job. I got a text Saturday afternoon:

"Got a story for you today. Remind me when I'm off!"

I had full intentions to do so, after shopping and putting away groceries. But The Pony caught me while I was in Country Mart, and I couldn't respond until I got out to T-Hoe. They must have a jammer in that store! I can never get a text to send. Anyhoo... The Pony gets off work at 4:00. His text came at 4:18.

"So! To preface this I'm fine!"

As if that isn't something to make me wish for my helicopter to come off the blocks!

"But also, I had a gun pointed at me today!"


"Guy was coming out of his house as I walked up to do their mail, a bunch of stuff under his arm as he kept the dogs from running through the door. So, I hand him his mail. Look down as I'm starting on to the next house, to make sure I don't trip on something, and the hand with all the stuff in it has a little black pistol in it pointing right at me, like a foot from my stomach!"

"Dang! Did you report it?"

"I told the manager. But I'm not sure he even realized it was happening, so like. It's not worth making a fuss over and calling the postal inspectors in, since he was already leaving the house like that and didn't pull it on me like the one back around when I started did to that rural carrier."

"He probably answers the door like that."

"Some people might, but this time at least he was half out the door as I walked up and in his car leaving by the time I got to the next house."

"So not specifically for you. Maybe couldn't see your uniform." [It was 21-degree wind chill.]

"It wasn't me knocking on the door or anything. Manager's response when I said that the day was fine 'except for the guy that pointed a gun at me' was a very fast and very serious 'Say what now? Seriously?'"

"Well, Missouri IS an open carry state, I guess! Maybe he was one of your dad's customers, heh, heh!"

"Open carry doesn't include pointing it at people! But yeah, this was just him being dumb."

I can't believe The Pony went on about his work business after that scenario, but he's a stable fellow. No harm, no foul. A sports reference which The Pony would not be picking up as I laid it down.

For some reason, I imagine a drug connection to the guy's stuff under his arm, and paranoia. But that's just my conspiratorial mind working overtime.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Chugging Down the Tracks Toward PENNYillionaireville

Another good week for Val's quest to become a Future Pennyillionaire! 

SATURDAY, March 11, proved profitable in the Backroads Casey's.

It's there. Way over under that bag of chips with the green bottom.

It was a heads-up 2022 penny, all shiny and bright. A credit to my penny goblet.

It was with broken heart that I left three fallen comrades behind in the School-Turn Casey's on Sunday, March 12. I could plainly see them, but they were under the feet of an addled customer. Not sure what substance she was enjoying at the time, but she was quite jittery, and had a husband who kept poking his head in the door telling her to get out to the car. She would reply that she was JUST CASHING OUT, and they'd mouth at each other some more. She told him to come get his ice cream, but he refused. Sitting on the counter were two soft-serve ice cream cones, sitting each in a little plastic sundae cup, starting to melt down the cone. I thought she might finally CASH OUT and be done. I was the next customer. But no. She told the cashier, "And I want... um... I want... um... I want... um..." over and over and over, until she picked two of the $3 scratchers I was about to buy.

Anyhoo... it was sadly my turn at the other register, and then a couple of rough-looking workboot-clad toughs stepped over to my rightful coins, while a third of their ilk was breathing down my neck, having no concept of personal space. So I had to leave behind two pennies and a dime!!!

MONDAY, March 13, I found a treat at the Liquor Store:

That's a lady in front of me. Not a dude. She was having trouble with her draw ticket slip, forgetting to fill in part of it, so had to do it over. I don't mind waiting for a fellow gambler. I was only afraid somebody might dive on that penny and rob me. And what's that contraption? A heater/dryer? Did they perhaps shampoo that filthy rug??? It looks cleaner than usual.

It was a heads-up 1993 penny. The closeups never photograph well on that shade of carpet.

THURSDAY, March 16, I was leaving the Gas Station Chicken Store when something caught my eye. I have been fooled more than once by a silver foil circle that peels off the top of those little bottles of energy drink. So I pulled T-Hoe from the handicap space up to the air-hose space, and got out to take a look:

There it is, at the apex of the pointy triangle shadow from T-Hoe's door. Not the white thing beside the shadow, which is a cigarette butt.

I stepped past it to get a photo not darkened by my gargantuan shadow. It was a face-down 2007 dime. I'm so glad I stopped and risked being thought a fool for photographing a possible circle of foil!

FRIDAY, March 17, deja vu occurred! I pulled up to the Gas Station Chicken Store while my favorite clerk was outside talking on her phone. Since no cars were on the lot, I assumed she was taking a break while she could get one, since she works alone during the afternoons. I took my time getting out of T-Hoe, and noticed a little friend calling to me from the blacktop:

I took pictures and snagged my treasure before heading inside. I swear it was not there the previous day when I found my dime. I guess people stopping for FREE AIR must have holes in their pockets, and lose their change on the way back to their vehicle.

It was a face-down 2003 penny, happy to join my collection.

That's 4 COINS this week, for 13 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           # 33, 34, 35.
Dime             # 6.
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, March 17, 2023

Two Steps Forward

Hick seems to be on the mend. Only took his pain med at bedtime on Wednesday night. Didn't get up to take any more. Said he felt good. The lawnmower started, and he drove it around to the front of the house. So there goes his idea that it needs to be replaced! We'll see how long the battery holds its charge.

Another great event was his lunch at the Senior Center, where he got a DOUBLE PORTION of ham! Hick says they know he eats his food, unlike the "old people" who just pick at it. Of course being their pet has nothing to do with it in Hick's eyes. Today's lunch was: Glazed Ham, Yams, Beets, Roll, Fruit Pie.

Hick came home around 1:30, and went over to the BARn to work on a couple of fishing plugs. Then he sat down in the recliner and covered himself with the afghan. Probably took a nap while I was in town. When I got back, he said, 

"I probably could have done something today, but I figure since I feel so good, I don't want to push it. I'll just rest and heal."

That's a good idea, because on Friday he plans to go to his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2), then lunch at the Senior Center, then sit around shooting the bull and chewing the fat with his cronies, getting home around 5:00. So he needs his strength!

I am still pleasantly surprised at how fast Hick seems to be recovering.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Waiting For the Next Backstep

Hick took his pain med at 6:00 Tuesday evening. Then he took it again at midnight. I scolded him for not waiting eight hours, but he said IT'S THE EXACT SAME MEDICINE he was previously taking every four hours. True.

Anyhoo... he woke up refreshed and in minimal pain around 8:00 a.m. So I guess that tactic worked. He got dressed and went around to the back yard to get the lawnmower out from under the back porch deck! Said he was going to ask one of his buddies to come pour gas in it, since he can't lift the gas can. I cautioned him against doing too much. Can't be good on a new back to be bumping around on a riding mower for a couple hours!

Hick went to eat at the Senior Center: Fish, Cowboy Beans, Slaw, Corn Nuggets, 'variety of desserts.' I suppose his harem gave Hick one of each dessert! I haven't asked yet.

When he came home, Hick said he was going to the BARn to get his battery charger, because the lawnmower was dead. He at least drove the Gator over there. THEN he said something that really rankled me: "Huh. How old IS that lawnmower, anyway?" He'd better not be thinking of getting a new one! 

"I don't know, but I DO know that you bought that one without even asking me, when you got mad and left one day. Then two days later, I see you driving that new lawnmower through the front yard! $1700 that you did not even discuss with me!"

"I think it was a long time ago. Genius was still in college. I gave him the old mower for his college house."

"Don't try to change the subject!"

"I admit I bought the mower without asking you. But not because I was mad."

Huh. I suppose that was just a coincidence...

Anyhoo... the mower didn't charge up on the charger, so that saved Hick's back for one day. He looked up battery prices at Walmart, and they are around $25 for the mower. So his back better get ready for a workout. Provided he can get the gas poured in.

Oh, and he took his pain pill at 8:00 p.m., with plans to get up and take it at 2:00 a.m. So if two pills a night, six hours apart, work for his pain, that's better than taking three of them all day, eight hours apart.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

No, that's not an exercise prescribed for Hick's recovery from back surgery. It seems to be the state of his progress. Hick was out running around like old times the day after his follow-up appointment with his surgeon, spending a full day galivanting on Friday, almost a full day at his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) on Saturday, and then a half-day selling again on Sunday. He was doing so well, then had chills and a fever Saturday afternoon. Got over that.

Hick behaved himself on Monday, pretty much. Left the house around 9:00, went by to see about SilverRedO, then stopped by the pharmacy, and had lunch at the Senior Center. Seemed like his progress was back on track. But at 4:00 a.m., he was up complaining of leg pains. Sitting in the recliner, afghan pulled over his head, saying his pain was 8/10.

Well. Hick makes up his own pain scale. When he called the doctor hurting so much three days after his surgery, he said his pain was 15/10. That's not the scale! So was his pain half as much now? He said it wasn't as bad as in the beginning. And that it was from the knee down, not all the way from the hip. So I suppose that's a good sign.

"Did you take your pain medicine?"

"Yes. At 8:00, when I went to bed."

"Why didn't you take more? I heard you up around midnight."

"Because I ran out of that pain medicine yesterday. I took the new prescription the doctor gave me at my appointment on Thursday. It's a new kind that I take every 8 hours."

"What is it?"

"I don't know the name, without going in the bathroom to read the bottle. I just took one. But it doesn't seem to work as well as the old kind."

"You need to call the office and tell him! So you can get something that helps."

"I'll give this kind a chance. I just took one."

"So you can't take it again until noon. If you keep hurting like this, you should call in the afternoon."

Anyhoo... Hick went back to bed. He said he felt kind of okay after he got up at 8:00 and took a shower. Then he put on his jeans and actual tie shoes which he tied himself, and his back brace, and went to town to hang out at the Senior Center from 10:00 to noon.

While he was gone, I took a look at his new pain medicine. It's the same as his last pain medicine! The EXACT same thing. Hydrocodone with acetaminophen, with a number like 5-325 TB. The only differnce between the last bottle and the new bottle is in the directions. The old bottle says every 4 hours as needed, and the new bottle says every 8 hours as needed! Probably because when he was at the surgeon's office, Hick told him he had only been needing his pain medicine every 6-8 hours.

Anyhoo... I broke this news to Hick when he got home. He went to read the bottles for himself, and agreed that there was no difference except the dosage time.

Maybe it was psychological, or maybe Hick irritated the nerves because he climbed into and out of T-Hoe and SilverRedO. That's basically the only difference in his activity. We'll see how Tuesday night goes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Val is NOT Competing for Invalid of the Month. Really.

Day 2 of my paper cut. 

It's annoying. Just when I forget about it, I flip on a light switch, and I'm reminded that I am injured! It's on my right index finger, on the side, between my fingernail knuckle and the middle knuckle. Prime light-switching territory. 

It also hurts in the hot dishwater. Which has to be REALLY HOT for the cut-rate faux Dawn dishwashing liquid Hick got me 8 bottles of for free to work semi-efficiently.

Since I sliced my finger on the flap of the envelope from the electric company, billing for Hick's SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2), I find it only fair to blame Hick for my injury. I take no responsibility! I was using a letter-opener in the correct manner, but the edge of the flap was not sealed, and it was just lying in wait for my finger to brush against it!

Or I suppose I could sue the electric company for faulty envelope flaps. Might sound far-fetched, but just this morning (meaning 12:25 p.m.) I read about a guy with a lawsuit against Buffalo Wild Wings because their boneless wings are not really wings, but actually made from breast meat. He's saying it caused him financial harm. I guess because he paid for WINGS, when BREASTS are cheaper now.

Anyhoo... while I am feeling partially disabled, Hick is still on the mend. No fever yesterday. Didn't take his temperature today. He went to eat at the Senior Center. The menu was: Salmon Patty, 5 Way Vegetables, Roll, Cherry Delight. He didn't comment much about it, but brought home the March newsletter showing the menu.

On the way to town, I dropped Hick off at Mick the Mechanic's to pick up SilverRedO, who had been there two weeks getting his brakes fixed. So obviously Hick is able to climb in and out of T-Hoe and SilverRedO. He has been taking his pain meds and muscle relaxer only in the afternoon, and again at bedtime.

Not sure if this is really an indication of less pain, or more an indication that Hick likes to get out of the house and roam around during the day...

Monday, March 13, 2023

The Pony Sustains a Feeding Injury

Welp! Looks like Hick is going to survive. He came home early again from his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) on Sunday. It was 42 degrees, so not many customers, and he got a chill, and his legs hurt. Came home just before noon, and settled back in the recliner for a nap under that afghan again, scarcely six hours after awakening. Anyhoo... when he took his temperature two hours later, it was 98.5. So I guess he's going to make it.

The Pony, on the other hoof, had a little accident. At home, not at work. He was attempting to eat part of a big candy bar. He likes a Symphony. Not the kind with nuts, but the plain chocolate. He had already opened the big bar, and meant to snap off a few squares as a treat. But he BENT HIS THUMBNAIL BACKWARDS! I might be inclined to declare The Pony accident-prone...

Anyhoo... I commiserated with The Pony, telling him how I got a paper cut from an envelope flap while using my letter opener. The Pony is no stranger to paper cuts from envelopes. I felt kind of bad for complaining. 

It's like telling Hick that my back hurts.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

A Hickup in Recovery?

Since Hick was released for normal activity at his surgeon's appointment on Thursday, he has been galivanting around the greater Backroads area like his old self. I'm afraid it's too much too soon.

He spent Friday morning at his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2), then had lunch at the Senior Center, then took a nap in A-Cad in The Pony's driveway, a pee break in The Pony's house (making sure to leave no evidence), and sat around until 5:00 talking to his cronies at a local business. He was tired and in a 3/10 pain, then went to bed at 7:30.

Saturday, Hick again went to his SUS2. He came home at 1:30 and made himself a bologna sandwich. As I was leaving for town around 3:30, he was napping in the recliner under an afghan. I asked if he was sick, and he said no, that he was cold. When I returned, I made him take his temperature, since his head felt warm to my cold, cold hand.

It was 99.2. That is not a high fever. That would not even get him sent home from school. Still, I don't like the thought of post-op Hick having any fever. Though my best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel said she ran a degree of fever for several weeks after her knee replacement surgery. Hick said they took his temp at his surgeon's appointment, but he didn't remember what it was, and they didn't say anything to him.

I suppose it's possible that this is a normal response as the body repairs itself. Maybe he had a little fever all along, and just got a chill while out and about in the 42-degree weather with sleet and rain. Or maybe he's coming down with a cold, his immunity being lowered by his course of steroids.

We will continue to monitor Hick's temperature for a few days. Meaning I will command that he shove a thermometer into his pie-hole. There's an urgent care 10 minutes away. Hick's own NP only works on Tuesdays, but somebody else in the practice might see him. And I'm sure his surgeon would work him in if he thinks a fever is a problem.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

A COINSiderably Better Week for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune

Good fortune has arrived! That's a blurb that pops up on slot machines, just before you get a bonus or free games. It doesn't mean it will be a big winner, only that you are getting something special. I didn't see or hear those exact words on MONDAY, March 6. Only in my head, when I was perturbed about waiting to be waited on at Hick's pharmacy, and glanced at the floor:

I was THRILLED to see a penny and two dimes! Even more thrilled when I picked them up and bellied up to the counter, and saw a nickel and another penny! No picture of them, and no closeups, because I was sure I was about to be waited on...

Anyhoo... I picked up the following coins: Nickel 2018, Dime 1981, Dime 2016, Penny 2021, Penny 2018. I don't remember how they were oriented. At least this discovery took the edge off my anger at being ignored for so long by the staff.

THURSDAY, March 9, I came out of Country Mart clutching my $3 scratchers, and made a discovery when trashing my used-up winners:

A penny was sitting on top of the trash can! I took my picture and pocketed the penny.

It was a heads-up 1998 penny. Upon looking at the picture once I got home, I noticed that the soda bottle is unopened! I had assumed it was trash. I hope I didn't take somebody else's rightful penny! At least I didn't steal their beverage. But seriously. What kind of fool would leave their soda on top of a trash can for any ne'er-do-well to mess with?

FRIDAY, March 10, I missed a penny on my way into Orb K, but saw it on my way out.

I was stepping off the sidewalk curb when that penny caught my eye. I guess I stepped over it on my way in, though I was sure I thoroughly surveyed the area.

It was a heads-up 1993 penny, a bit on the dark side.

That's 7 COINS this week, for 29 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           # 29, 30, 31, 32.
Dime             # 4, 5.
Nickel           # 1.
Quarter        still at 0


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, March 10, 2023

The Hick Report

Hick was picked up by his buddy for a trip to the doctor on Thursday. Off he went in tan cargo shorts, braided belt, long-sleeve black t-shirt, back brace, ankle socks with a hole in the right big toe area, and camouflage Crocs. At least being unable to bend means that he does NOT wear the strap behind his heel! 

It was my bedtime when Hick got himself ready. I really should have supervised his attire a bit more closely. I saw the shirt. Put on his socks and questioned the hole, but was told it wouldn't matter, because they'd be in his Crocs. I had laid out shorts that I had washed the day before, assuming he would wear them and not the ones he wore to the blood draw on Tuesday.

When I got home, Hick was hobbling across the kitchen as if in a hurry when I got the door unlocked.

"I was coming to let you in."

"I have a key. Did you pee on your pants?"

"What? No."

"There's two spots on the leg."

"Oh. These shorts have always had a spot."

"And you wore THOSE to the doctor?"

"Yes. It don't matter."

It does to me! I'm sure other people assumed Hick had peed his pants, seeing him doddering through the medical facility with his walker! 

Anyhoo... Hick said the doctor was happy with his progress. Said everything looked good, and that he could resume his regular activities. Not to overdo bending and twisting, don't lift more than 15 pounds, go slow if using the riding lawnmower, driving allowed as long as not on the painkillers. No walker or cane needed if he feels comfortable without them.

"Did you and your buddy stop for lunch like you planned?"

"No. He didn't want any lunch."

"Did you give him gas money?"

"I bought his gas. He said he needed to fill up, so I went in and paid. About $35."

"So you haven't eaten since breakfast?"


"Do you want a sandwich?"

"Yeah. That would be good."

I'm sure it would be good. Having someone else make it for you, when you've been released to resume regular activities! Not sure why Hick couldn't feed himself before I got home. It was 4:00! 

As you might imagine, the Hick previously known as "invalid" is planning a big day on Friday, starting with his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2), then lunch at the Senior Center, then shooting the bull and chewing the fat with his cronies at a local business owned by one of them. I hope he doesn't overdo it.

Hick says he will come home if he gets tired. I think he should ease into these activities, but there's no telling Hick what to do.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Hick's Day Out

Hick hitched a ride with day-off Pony on Tuesday, for a trip down to Bill-Paying Town for a blood draw unrelated to his surgery. The lab is in a storefront, so no long walk. The Pony waited in the car, and Hick took his walker. He is getting around SO MUCH BETTER now. Just uses the walker for balance. He moves around the house without it.

I cautioned Hick before he left at 9:45 that this trip might be tiring, since he had just been sitting around the house recuperating. And that he probably shouldn't try to push it and have lunch out with The Pony. Well. You know Hick...

When I hadn't heard from them by 12:15, I was getting concerned. Then I got a text from The Pony:

"Dad's in the pharmacy. Then home."

"That took a long time."

"We stopped by the Senior Center so he could eat and catch up, and I did Walmart shopping while he did that."

"Okay. Hope it wasn't too tiring for him."

"The Senior Center was his idea, and he seems fine. He's moving so much better."

Indeed. I think Hick was showing off! He said when he walked into the Senior Center, everyone was in awe of how much better he's walking now than he was before the surgery. And that his harem in the pharmacy was also impressed.

As for the "tiring" part... Hick said it was a little strenuous, but not too bad. Although he went to bed at 8:30 Tuesday night, and got up at 7:30 Wednesday. Then had a nap from 2:15 to 4:00. And went to bed at 7:30.

Hick has a follow-up appointment Thursday with his surgeon. I think he will get a good report. I took off his vacuum dressing, and the incision looks great. I'd share a picture, but that might not be everybody's cup of tea. He thinks he counted 22 stitches. It's 4-5 inches long. The skin seems well on its way to healing. Only a very slight ooze of plasma stuff the first day after un-patching, and now nothing.

Hick is hoping for permission to drive. He's not feeling much pain, though he just stopped the steroids two days ago. He's stretching his pain pills from the 4-hour prescribed dosage to 6 or 8 hours. Says his pain right now is about a 2/10.

I don't know who will be happier for Hick to resume his regular schedule...

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Once Again, Val Spreads Joy Throughout Her World

Weirdo alert! Val's magnet is still pulling them in!

Tuesday, I had to park at the end of the building to visit the Sis-Town Casey's. As I parked, I saw a man pushing his bicycle along the sidewalk. He appeared from behind their enclosed dumpster, and leaned his bike against the concrete wall. He walked to the corner, and peered down the sidewalk in front of the store. I thought nothing of it. Maybe he was meeting someone. He wandered back towards his bike, and I climbed out of T-Hoe and went inside.

As I was settling myself in T-Hoe upon return, The Guy walked halfway towards me, and said through the windshield,

"Ma'am? Ma'am? Do you have two quarters?"

I shook my head no, and he nodded. Wandered back down the sidewalk and disappeared behind the dumpser.

Since I don't buy my daily 44 oz Diet Coke any more, I don't keep my coin cup on the console. It's put away inside. Don't need 100+ projectiles flying around if I have to slam on the brakes. However... when I looked down, I saw a handful of coins in the top of the console itself. I think I got them a couple times when I just bought bananas, and didn't use my debit card, but paid cash. It was four quarters, two dimes, and a nickel.

Anyhoo... you know Val is a sucker for helping people. I don't know what he wanted those quarters for. Laundry? A snack? A tiny airline bottle of booze? Not my business. But since I had them to spare, and wasn't using them, it was only sensible to give them to someone who needed them.

I saw The Guy wander back towards his bicycle. He was around 38-40 years old. Dark brown hair almost to his chin level. Wearing a Karate Kid bandana tied around his head. Thick glasses. A couple teeth missing. Not dirty. Just kind of scraggly, but shaven. I motioned to him. He came around to my window.

"I just looked, and found these coins. Here."

"Thank you! You are so nice! You go to church, don't you?"

"Well. I used to."

"You are a good person. Thank you."

It takes so little to make some people happy...

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

A Trio of Tried Patience: 3) Val Does Not Play Chicken Well with Others

Did you hear that noise last Wednesday? It was The Universe chanting BWAH HA HA! Messing with Val in her week of need, getting her all riled up before Hick's homecoming from back surgery.

My plans to gas up T-Hoe at the Sis-Town Casey's foiled, I pulled up to the pump at the School-Turn Casey's on my way home from errands. I went in to pre-pay. I'm not one to use a card to buy gas. There was a problem last summer with objects being attached to the pump scanners that stole money from people's accounts. Besides, I'm just an old-fashioned kind of Val, who likes to pay with actual money.

Anyhoo... my transaction at the counter concluded without incident. I started out the door. It's a double door. Two glass doors. Push to get out, pull to get in. You can see easily through the glass. Being an obeyer of society's unwritten rules, I kept right. Pushed on the door to start out. A dude was walking across the lot, starting in. Of course I assumed him to also be an obeyer of society's unwritten rules. I know you are shocked to hear that he was not!

Dude could clearly see me coming out the door. He grabbed the handle as I had it partially open. Oh, no. Not to hold it and allow elderly ample-rumpused bad-kneed Val to exit. But to force himself inside, like an ill-mannered not-salmon, walking upstream in a one-way-only land-current.

Dude stood there. STOOD. In Val's way. I could not get out! What was I supposed to do, let go of the door and walk around him? I was there first! Dude could have let go of the door and stepped aside for a moment to allow my exit. Stepped, in fact, over in front of the societal-implied entrance door. Which was on his right. But no. He just stood, a healthy though perhaps dim young man, in the way of an old lady.

I indeed had to walk around that guy to get out of the store. What in the actual Not-Heaven? 

When I started pumping T-Hoe's gas, giving me time to survey the front of the store, I understood more of Dude's problem:

He was a chronic ne'er-do-well! He had taken up all the parking spaces save one, on the left side of the store. I'm sure that was just an oversight. Leaving a space open...

There is room on this Casey's parking lot to park along the side, and not take up parking meant for four vehicles. He almost blocked the drive-thru with the bumper of his truck! Of course, a Dude who won't move one step to get out of the way of an old lady is not going to walk extra steps to get inside the store.

Monday, March 6, 2023

A Trio of Tried Patience: 2) A Failure to Petroleate

The Universe was rubbing its hands together, chortling with glee last week, messing with Val's patience during Hick's surgery week. 

With The Pony picking Hick up at the hospital Wednesday at 3:00, I took off for town. I needed to do my Thursday errands a day early, because I knew I wouldn't want to leave Hick home unattended. A regular trip to town can be accomplished in 30-60 minutes, depending whether I need to grocery shop. But an errand trip is at least 90 minutes, sometimes 2.5 hours, because I have to drive to Sis-Town.

The long bank wait on Monday had prevented me from gassing up T-Hoe while in Sis-Town that day. So it was still a regular part of my errands. I parked at Pump 4, my usual, since it is directly across from the handicap ramp to the sidewalk. No stepping up and down without a handrail for Val's knees!

As usual, I locked up T-Hoe (no carjacking of Val's valiant steed!) and hobbled into the store to pre-pay and get scratchers. Both registers were manned. A customer at each register. I was next in line. At this store, it's one line. Then the next customer gets served at the register that opens up.

My turn came at the left register. The clerk was a young guy who is always pleasant and efficient. As I stepped up, he said he could help me, but would have to ring it up at the drive-thru register. Not a problem. I always pay cash, so no need to hand over my card to him. It's no skin off my nose that I couldn't enter my gas purchase to add points to Hick's rewards account.

"I'd like $24 on Pump 4. And some scratchers."

Young Guy got out my scratchers, and waltzed off to the back to the drive-thru register. He returned quickly. 

"How much gas did you say you wanted?"

"$24 on Pump 4. Here, you can go ahead and take my money now."

Off he went again. I get an amount ending in $4, because that gives me $6 for my two $3 scratchers, and I come out with an even amount to pay. Since I top off T-Hoe's tank each week, I usually get $24 or $34 in gas.

Wait! Here was Young Guy again.

"I'm sorry. You might want to move your car to a different pump. The nozzle is gone."

"Oh! Well. I guess I didn't notice it wasn't working. I'm not going to move it and walk back in. I have things to do. So I'll just go without the gas today."

Off he went, and brought back my change. Wished me a pleasant day, which I returned to him. He's really a nice guy, always seems to enjoy his job.

On the way out, I was chastising myself for being so oblivious to a broken pump. I guess I just didn't see the sign on it.

Oh, wait! There WAS NO SIGN ON IT! And no, unlike a certain New Jersey cranky old man... I choose not to put diesel (the green nozzle) in T-Hoe's tank.

Seriously. What kind of store has a pump with no nozzle, and doesn't put a sign on it, block it with cones, or rope it off with caution tape?

Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Trio of Tried Patience: 1) The Bank Line

The Universe has been working overtime to conspire against Val. Of course it came the week when Hick had his surgery, and Val's nerves were frayed like cut-off jean shorts in the '70s.

Monday, I was in a hurry to get to town and back home to meet with The Pony and The Veteran, and hear details of Hick's surgery and condition. I had to take a check to the bank and deposit it for Hick. I was there fairly early for me, having given up sleep to get there and back in time. So it was during regular banking hours. Just a deposit. I went around to the three drive-thru lanes.

I don't like the first lane, because it has two giant pillars that make it hard to get T-Hoe close enough for me to reach the canister. Sometimes I have to open T-Hoe's door and lean through the window. The middle lane had a car pulling away, so I went there. The third lane had a car already doing business. So I knew I would be next.


This was not even the faulty door that almost guillotined my hand a while back! That's the third lane. Anyhoo... I pushed the SEND button like the instructions say, to open the door. Nothing. I could see the canister inside, through the smoky glass/plastic. But that door would not rise. I gave up, and drove out, through the alley, and back into the third drive-thru lane.

As I waited, and waited, a truck pulled up in the first drive-thru lane. Great. It would get a turn ahead of me. I waited some more. A car pulled up in the second drive-thru lane. And the door opened and gave that lady access to the canister! I call shenanigans! So now there were two customers who'd get turns ahead of me. 

Not much seemed to be happening. After 15 minutes, the car ahead of me got their stuff back in the canister, and drove off. So I pulled up and snatched that canister before the door could close, and put in my deposit slip, Hick's check, and my driver's license. Because even though there's no sign, they ask for it, under the pretense of "looking up your account," although that's on the deposit slip, not my driver's license, and since I have two accounts there, how does my driver's license differentiate anyway? But I, as always, digress...

The other two vehicles didn't seem to be getting much service. I was growing more impatient by the minuteS. The teller spoke through the magical canister house:

"So just the deposit today?"

"Yes. That's it."

"All right. I'm working on it."

More and more waiting. It had been 25 minutes since I got in that line! During normal business hours, with only two other customers in line. Finally, the teller spoke again.

"I'm sorry. My computer just went down. I don't know when it will be back up."

"Can you just deposit that check when it works? I don't need a receipt!"

"Well... I guess I can do that..."

"Then do it. I've been waiting 25 minutes, and I have to be somewhere."

Seriously. This bank has two fax machines that don't work, and they're pretty sure the ones at the main bank over in Bill-Paying Town don't work either. Their coin-counter doesn't work, and they're pretty sure the coin-counter at the main bank doesn't work. And now their computers go down in the middle of the business day.

Why don't they just scrap the whole electronic thing, and start trading in bushels of corn, pigs in pokes, and beef on the hoof?