Sunday, April 30, 2023

Even a Do-Gooder Has to Draw the Line Somewhere

Hick came home from his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) with a story on Saturday.

"An Amish family came in today. They had two of the cutest little girls I've ever seen. Wearing their bonnets, with freckles on their nose. They looked like they could have been twins. I asked them if they were, but they didn't answer me. They just grinned. I guess maybe they're not supposed to talk to people? The little boy was about 10, and he talked."

"They have probably been taught not to talk to strangers!"

"But their parents were right there beside them."

"Maybe they're just shy. They're probably not out around a lot of people they don't know. What were they loolking for in your store?"

"The dad took a BB gun off the wall, and asked what was the lowest price I'd take for it. I have $20 in it. I told him $15. He put it back."

"Well. You can't just GIVE things away..."


That's not a bad price for a BB gun. But people have to consider their budget these days. Also, you don't want to offend anybody by seeming to offer them charity. I know it bothered Hick that the little boy couldn't have the BB gun. Otherwise, he wouldn't have mentioned it.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Triple COINage For Val

Val's Future Pennyillionaire week was off to a fast start on SATURDAY, April 22. I stepped into the Backroads Casey's to find a line waiting at the left register. I stood a respectable distance behind the last guy, who was holding a soda and a slice of pizza. But wait! What was THAT?

At the unmanned right register, I spied a treat for me (a PENNY), and a treat for Blog Buddy River (TWO sizes of Snickers).

It was an old-timey 1977 penny, heads up. I ample-rumpused it into my pocket, and was embarrassed by the old lady clerk stepping over there, saying, "I'll be with you in a minute."

"Oh, no! I'm not next. I'm just getting this lucky penny!"

Can't be too careful in a convenience store line! I didn't want to be pelted with soda and pizza.

SUNDAY, April 23, my luck continued over at the Liquor Store. I was waiting to pull forward into a parking space, so as not to be blocked in by the drive-thru line. The guy had just gotten into his car, but was not moving. So I got out of T-Hoe, and of course he pulled away. However...

I would never have seen this penny in the yellow corner of the parking spaces if I had pulled through, and crossed in front of T-Hoe.

It was a heads-up, upside-down 2006 penny, rescued by the pocket of Val. But wait! I went inside to do my scratcher business, and on my way out, I found another!

Good thing I picked up that penny-impersonating Milk Dud a couple weeks ago, from over by the freezer and charcoal briquets, or it might still be there!

This was a face-down 1993 penny. Not a Milk Dud.

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


Penny           # 44, 45, 46.
Dime             still at 8
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        still at 1


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, April 28, 2023

Destination Reached, Though Perhaps By a Different Route

It has been almost 9 weeks since Hick's back surgery. He is feeling pretty good right now. Says his hip pain is around 1/10. His back doesn't hurt. He is still taking that anti-inflammatory pill that his doctor gave him when the pain was 15/10. Hick walks around unaided by cane or walker, doing his regular activities, and is working on the Double Hovel again with his helper.

Thursday morning, as Hick was putting his shoes on, he commented:

"Yesterday I got on the scale I have over in my Freight Container Garage, and it shows I've lost 35 pounds!"

"That sounds right. You LOOK like you've lost that since your surgery."

Hick has been saying other people have made that comment as well. He has to make sure he has a belt, so his pants don't fall down!

While Hick was in town, I perused the internet for the news of the day. Huh. There was an article about diabetes medicine. You might recall that I had trouble getting Hick's refill for him while he was in the hospital. The pharmacy was out of his regular med, because of people having it prescribed off-label for weight loss! So the diabetics had to make do with some other brand.

It was this new brand that I was reading about. It said this drug is even more likely to cause weight loss than the other! In fact, most people report a weight loss of 34 pounds!

Well. Hick has still lost weight. It might not be solely because he's cut back to one Casey's donut every morning instead of two...

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Val, Out of Her Element

When The Pony was here for Easter dinner, I warned him that my oven did not seem to be cooking evenly. Wouldn't want anything to go wrong with the Sister Schubert's Rolls that The Pony was in charge of. He LOVES his rolls. In fact, we bake one pan for Hick and me, and one pan for The Pony...

Anyhoo... The Pony agreed upon checking the rolls that something seemed off. At the time, we solved the problem by turning the pans around to brown evenly. We both looked around inside, to see if we could spot anything amiss, and we could not. 

For the past couple weeks, I have been trying to figure out the problem. I was dying to touch the bottom element to see if it was working, but I didn't have the gumption. It did not seem to be lighting up when I heated the oven. Setting food on the lower rack, and putting the oven 25 degrees hotter than directions called for, the food came out okay. I told Hick, and he said that maybe the element was bad. Seems like we replaced it only a few years ago. The oven itself is 26 years old.

Hick went to the kitchen to stick his head in the oven. He was trying to get a phone picture of the model number so I could order a part. I heard his muffled exclamation from the living room.

"I found out the problem! Your element broke in half."

I swear it wasn't like that when I was checking the oven to see why it wasn't working! I would have noticed it! So would The Pony, if it had been like that on Easter. It was completely attached, as recently as the day before Hick looked at it.

Anyhoo... no judgment on the state of my oven! Chex Mix doesn't clean up after itself, you know! I spent 45 minutes looking for this Lower Baking Element for my Whirlpool oven model number. Ordered one a few days ago. It got here Wednesday, and Hick had it installed before I got back from town. The new one glows a bright orange. 

Now I'm no longer out of my element. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Hope You Don't Blame The Pony When the Price of Stamps Goes Up Later This Summer

The fair weather has barely started, but the post office is prepared! The Pony told me so.

"They're offering us Gatorade for free, as a hydration thing, and like, while I usually take one, it tastes terrible! Like my mouth after a nap! At least for the blue one. And I doubt the others are better."

"Ooh! I like the lemon lime. It was delicious when I was sick. Drink it like medicine! Stay hydrated."

"I'll see if they have that one in the fridge Wednesday."

"Take anything that's free! You can always give it away to Dad if you don't like it."

"I tried. I forget if it was the pale blue or the regular blue. But it had that disgustingly dry taste of a mouth after a nap. As if sleeping after having sugar. Terrible to taste! But definitely a good idea to at least mix it with sips of water during work!"


"I'll try to keep grabbing one a day."

"As long as they last. Hope they're not running a tab..."

"It's just dumped in the break room fridge. The manager is clear that we should take them."

That's definitely a sign of good will, I think. The Pony is still excited about the neck towel he got last summer. It seems to go a long way in helping him forget the year-long battle he went through to get his worker's comp settlement for his broken-ankle medical bills and eight weeks off work.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Whistler's Father

As I climbed out of T-Hoe at the Gas Station Chicken Store on Monday (parked not-supposed-to-ily in the handicap space behind the FREE AIR space), I heard a shrill whistle. Rounding the corner of the building, I saw that it was a young boy in the passenger seat of an old pickup truck. He was probably about 5 years old. The Boy reminded me of cheeky Prince Louis, but with a crewcut. He was jumping around in that truck cab like a little monkey. The whistle was impressive, though, for one so young. He wasn't even using his fingers.

I went inside and got in line. A few minutes later The Boy's father came in to pay for the gas he had been pumping. He was only there for a minute, and went back out the door. Huh. I figured he didn't want to stand and wait inside. But what he did was yell:


Looking past the cashier out the front window, I saw The Boy running around the back of the truck! My heart skipped a beat. Such a dangerous place for a young child! The Boy got back in the truck, and The Father came back inside. Keeping an eye on him through the door.

After paying, I was walking past that truck when a piercing whistle almost burst my eardrum! The Boy had waited until I was mere feet away from his window to exhibit his skill.

It's the teacher in me, I guess. I couldn't help myself. 

"Oh, trying to get into MORE trouble?"

I kept walking. Didn't even look at The Boy. He was just wanting attention. Not getting it from me! I'm sorry, but I don't encourage misbehavior in other people's children. I refuse to pretend that it's cute for a kid to be bratty. Even cheeky Prince Louis.

It takes a Gas Station Chicken Store to raise a child...

Monday, April 24, 2023

Backroads Hazards Part 3: The Road Magician

After being turn-robbed by a white sedan on the street beside the post office, I continued through the FIVE-WAY STOP and got on the next street to go to the School-Turn Casey's. This street has a sharp curve to the right, where you can turn onto the street that runs in front of The Pony's house. I wasn't visiting The Pony that day. Just rounding the regular curve.

There were two bright orange signs beside the road. MEN WORKING, and FLAGMAN AHEAD. Okay. I know the drill. Be aware, and ready to stop. Careful not to run over any construction worker toes. Around the curve, I saw a little dozer working beside a house. I couldn't see over the crest of the hill. Nothing was blocked in my view, unless that dozer was going to come onto the road.

With no cars ahead of me, I still crept along. There was a worker standing on the right, where the shoulder would be if that road had a shoulder. He was wearing a bright green vest, and a hardhat, holding a metal rod taller than himself. The kind of metal rod that has a sign at the top, red with STOP on one side, and orange with SLOW on the other side.

Problem was, I couldn't see either side. Worker was holding it so I could only see the edge. There were no streets coming from my left or right, so no cars needing to see the sign. I needed to see the sign! What was I supposed to do? Go SLOW? Or STOP? Or cruise through at the regular speed limit, since I was not being given directions?

That Worker was a real magician, making two signs disappear! It wouldn't surprise me if he also made his job disappear...

I crept along, choosing the SLOW option that I was not offered. When I crested the hill, I saw another worker, holding his sign so that I did indeed see the orange SLOW side. I had a 50-50 chance, after all. I was certainly glad he had oncoming traffic stopped, since there was also a dozer on the other side of the hill that was partially in the roadway.

Not a good Thursday on the road for Val. I feel like I only have six lives left.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Backroads Hazards Part 2: Lawbreakers Gonna Lawbreak

Delivering mail in Sis-Town must be a nightmare for The Pony. It's not exactly laid out on a grid. Some streets are mere fragments. Some have a different name halfway through. The phrase, "You can't get there from here," could be the city motto. Hick knows how to get everywhere, having worked for the city in his early years. I know a lot, having lived there during my formative years, with nothing to do on Saturday nights but drive around with your friends.

Anyhoo... there is one intersection that I find particularly loathsome. It's a FIVE-WAY STOP.

It was there that I encountered my second Backroads Hazard on Thursday. I had just dropped Genius's weekly letter into the drive-up mailbox behind the post office. It requires the driver to park on the wrong side of the road, unless you have a passenger to do your mailing. That's okay. The street there is only used by post office workers, who are used to driving on the wrong side of a car, so are probably not fazed by wrong-side drivers.

Anyhoo... I had turned onto the street that runs beside the post office, to head toward my next destination, the School-Turn Casey's, and then home.

This street runs north and south. I was headed north. I stopped at the stop sign to wait my turn. I only needed to go straight across, and one block down, past my mom's old church, to where this street ends and I take a main road.

So here I was, at the FIVE-WAY STOP, waiting my turn. The cross street is Main Street. It runs east and west. West was to my left, which would take me up a big hill in the direction of the home of my sister the ex-mayor's wife. To the right would take me downhill, past my credit union, and toward an area of town where The Pony broke his ankle. But I was only going straight across. Waiting my turn...

The fifth part of this FIVE-WAY STOP is a street that runs parallel to the street I was on. It was to my left. Railroad tracks between us. A road that runs past the firehouse and city hall and the police station. There is nothing across from this fifth street's stop sign. The cars must go either west or east, onto Main Street. 

As I was waiting my turn, for the only other vehicle to pass by me, a black truck that was to my left on Main Street, heading east across my path... my peripheral vision detected a white sedan moving along the firehouse street towards the stop sign. 

Just a few more yards, and the black truck would be by me, allowing my turn. I eased my foot off the brake, getting ready for the accelerator.


That white sedan rolled through the stop sign, made a right, and followed the black truck! Didn't even stop! It was MY turn, by cracky! MY TURN! If I was not an observant person, I would have collided with that white sedan. Which, did I mention, DID NOT WAIT ITS TURN? Didn't even stop!

Of course I threw up my hands in disgust as it passed. That young girl driving had the gall to turn her head and LOOK AT ME! All the way facing me. Not even watching the road in front of her. The B-WORD might have escaped my lips.

Seriously. How hard is it to obey the law and come to a stop at a STOP sign? And then wait for each of the other vehicles at the FIVE-WAY STOP to go before you do. You only need to be able to count to four. Then it's your turn.

Hmpf! Police station right there, and never a cop around when you need one...

Saturday, April 22, 2023

A Tale of the PairoCOINal

Off to a late start this week with my penny-finding. It was Thursday before one dared to show its rumpus. Better late than never.

THURSDAY, April 20, I spied a sight for my sore eyes at the School-Turn Casey's.

Got my picture without ample-rumpusing anyone, too!

It was a face-down 2011 penny, cooling its cheeks on the tile floor.

FRIDAY, April 21, I motioned a guy ahead of me at the counter of the Liquor Store, and saw my reward when I turned to get in line.

What a sweet treat! It was even within reach of the toe of my shoe.

You may not believe it, but this was ALSO a face-down 2011 penny! I'm just glad it wasn't an old Milk Dud.

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


Penny           # 42, 43.
Dime             still at 8
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        still at 1


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, April 21, 2023

Backroads Hazards Part 1: The Universe Tries to Make Val a Jumpy Driver

Thursday was a day not fit for man nor beast behind the wheel of a vehicle! I took my life in my hands while running my weekly errands. I got out a couple hours early, because possible storms were in the forecast, leaving home at 12:30 rather than my usual 2:30. The day had just clouded up. Winds were 15-20 mph, with gusts of 40, and a possibility later of 60 mph wind and hail.

I headed straight to the bank over in Sis-Town. I don't take T-Hoe on the highway. Just local roads with a 35 mph speed limit in the populated areas. There I was, tooling along, homes on my right, an apartment complex on my left, when WHOOPSIE! Something flew out of the construction truck ahead of me. He was pulling one of those white closed-up trailers that I assume carry saws and pipes and tools. His truck was a flat-bed version. I had seen something on it what was black and bright green. Didn't pay attention. 


Good thing the wind caught it, and settled it on the road shoulder on my right! Actually, the wind catching it is likely what launced that object at me in the first place.


That death-missile landed with the jumpy part down on the pavement, and the six or eight metal poles sticking up in the air. I am SO GLAD they did not pierce T-Hoe's windshield and my skull and brain!

That got my adrenaline pumping!

Little did I know that I was in for two more surprises on my journey...

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Hick, a Man With a Mission

It seems like Hick is Not-Heaven-bent on filling up every empty space in our mansion. Kitchen table, countertop, end table, fake electric fireplace mantel, coffee table, long couch, top of the shower door frame, top of the mini deep freezer, top shelf of FRIG II... there's no space he will leave uncluttered.

Now Hick has branched out into filling up the wastebasket. I know it's made for filling. But Hick takes it to a new level. I try to consolidate our trash. To use fewer bags. Which means fewer trips to the end of the driveway to the dumpster. But Hick just tosses anything all willy-nilly into the trash. Actually, I think he calculates how to take up maximum space.

Whereas I will slide the paper plates down the side of the wastebasket, in effect making a sideways stack, Hick will toss them in flat. Like a Frisbee. So one plate can block a lot of room where other trash could be squeezed in. Same with his empty Diet Mountain Dew bottles. Sideways. Like building a floating dock on the lake. Rather than poking them nose-down between other items.

Wednesday night, Hick ate the last slice of cheesecake that was left from Easter dessert. He made sure to snap the clear plastic dome back onto the flat cardboard base. Then set it in the wastebasket like he was making sure not to tilt it and allow a nonexistent cheesecake slice to slide a centimeter sideways. That cardboard base could have been slid down the side in the stack of paper plates! And the clear plastic dome turned upside down, with other trashy items placed inside.

It's not rocket science. It's just common sense. Either Hick lacks it, or he's inventing his own version of manspreading.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

The One Hundred Dollar Man

On the very same day a random dude at the Gas Station Chicken Store told me I wasn't supposed to park in a marked parking space beside the building... I encountered another self-important customer at Casey's. Just a few minutes after the parking space incident! I swear, rumpusholes must grow on trees in Backroads. They are like kudzu, everywhere, aggressively choking the life out of the rightful inhabitants like Val!

Anyhoo... I was at the counter of Casey's, speaking the numbers of the scratchers I wanted, when a customer walked in and stood behind me. 

"Can you break a hundred?"

The cashier was one of my favorites. She's a bit droll. Some might call her cranky. But she gets the job done, and doesn't mess around.

"I don't know. You'll have to wait--"

YES! My cashier, a mature woman like myself (some might call her old) was standing up to this butter-inner! This ain't her first rodeo. She was really putting him in his place!

"--my manager just dropped the cash, and I don't know what's in the drawer."

So much for THAT assumption. Anyhoo... Cashier went on about her business of getting my scratchers, but Mouthy McMoutherson had to keep on with his business of not-waiting his turn.

"Of course I plan to buy a couple things..."

"I'll just have to wait until my drawer it open."

Why in the NOT-HEAVEN can't these rumpusholes wait their turn in line??? This guy was late-40s, with a gray ponytail, wearing cargo shorts. Does he not grasp the concept of A LINE? It's not like he was 50 customers back. He was directly NEXT in line. But I guess my business didn't matter. 

Seems like 99 percent of the time this happens to me, it's A MAN who can't wait his turn.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Seething Away Again in Self-ImportantVille

The Gas Station Chicken Store is infested with rumpusholes! Inside and out!

Monday, I pulled onto the lot from the back entrance, off the seldom-used street that runs behind the Gas Station Chicken Store and across the moat and Hick's pharmacy's parking lot, to connect to the Backroads Casey's. An SUV was parked in the space by the FREE AIR hose, but the handicap space was empty. These are the only two parking spaces on the side of the building. They are convenient for me, because they are on level ground, and I don't have to walk all the way across the parking lot while hindering traffic that's trying to leave.

Anyhoo... I turned onto the lot, and made a wide curve to park in the handicap space. A white truck hooked to a pop-up camper was under the roof, sitting at the gas pumps. He waited for me to finish my approach, as he should, since I was moving, and he was parked. He inched forward a foot or two, anticipating driving off the lot, I thought, once I was parked and out of the way. 

Imagine my surprise when I looked in T-Hoe's mirror, and saw the truck's nose near T-Hoe's bumper, with the driver motioning me to back up. That was nice. But I was fine. Didn't need to straighten out. I put T-Hoe in PARK, and slid out. I adjusted my right knee so it would cooperate, put my phone in my pocket, clicked the doors locked, and grasped my scratcher winner.

The dude was early-30s, blond crewcut, a sunburn almost turned to tan, muscular like a man who works outdoors. He had his right hand on the steering wheel, and his left elbow out the window, truck still running.

"Sweetie? Are you getting air, or going inside?"

"I'm going in the store. I don't know about that other car parked in front of me."

"Well. That's not what you're supposed to do..."


I was shocked. I did not ask for his opinion. Who in the Not-Heaven made HIM the Mayor, Council, Judge, Jury, Executioner, and Police Chief of GasStationChickenton??? There are no signs limiting parking in those two spaces. 

There is a handicap symbol painted on the pavement of the space I was in. I do not have a formal handicap placard or license plate, because I have not attempted to procure one. This is the only establishment where I use a handicap space. I'm there every day. Sometimes a car is already parked there. So I park by the moat. Or I wait. Or I come back. 9/10 people I see parked there do not have a handicap plate or placard. I might raise an eyebrow if they're young and appear able-bodied. But I'd never say anything to them. Maybe they pulled a groin muscle during exuberant sex the night before...

Anyhoo... Truck Guy wasn't objecting to me using the handicap space without proper legal indicators. He objected to me using that space because he wanted to park his truck and camper in both those spaces to get FREE AIR!

Oh, he was polite enough to me when he inquired as to my business at the Gas Station Chicken Store, although I am most certainly NOT his SWEETIE. He only got judgmental when he learned that I was leaving T-Hoe parked there to go inside.

Here's something Truck Guy needs to learn. Some days, you will get to a parking space first, and can use it for your immediate gratification. But some days, you will NOT be there first, and you will have to WAIT YOUR TURN. 

But wait! It doesn't end there. As I was waiting my turn inside at the counter, Truck Guy came in and stood off to the side, and interrupted the checker to ask if he could borrow the tire pressure gauge. She turned and handed it to him. My tongue was itching to tell him "THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO!" But I held it. 

While I was having my turn, I noticed a lady leave the store with two young boys about 4 years old, the size that could have made them twins. As far as I could tell, she hadn't bought anything. Nothing in hand. They had been down the aisle, and then used the bathroom. She went around the corner of the building towards T-Hoe and the air hose.

When I came out, the SUV was gone. Truck Guy had backed his truck down from the back entrance so that the pop-up camper was in the parking space next to the air hose, and his truck was in front of that space, beside the dumpster. He could easily have parked perpendicular to that space before the SUV left. The air hose is quite lengthy.

I resisted the urge to pull up beside him, with my left arm out the window, and say, 

"Hey, Sweetie. Don't forget to move your truck and camper out of the way when you take the tire pressure gauge back inside." 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Goldilocks, Even Steven, and The Pony

The Pony did his own taxes again this year. He used my TurboTax software. In fact, The Pony got started before I did. All he needed was the product code off my TurboTax CD. Living in town, The Pony has internet speed fast enough to download the tax software online. Out here, it would probably take me past the filing deadline. So I use the CD. Today, for example, I had to update my Missouri Lottery app that I use to scan my scratchers, and it took 25 minutes!

Anyhoo... with the filing deadline looming, I called The Pony on Saturday to see if he had submitted his taxes. Because the previous two times I had asked, he said that he "had them done, but didn't hit 'submit' yet." He can sometimes be an absentminded professor. This time, he said they were, indeed, submitted.

"I'm not really worried about it. The refund I'm due from Federal is a dollar and something more than the amount I owe the State. So it's not like I'm gaining anything, or paying out a lot."

I guess that means The Pony's withholding is set up just right. The Pony can entertain Goldilocks, thanks to Even Steven.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

The Not-So-Great Sales Tax Caper

Hick is an honest businessman. He's not out to scam anybody, whether customer or government. He gives refunds or exchanges if a buyer is not satisfied with the merchandise. He pays his sales tax in the required time frame. So imagine our shock when Hick got a past-due sales tax bill from the department of revenue!

His sales tax is paid on a yearly basis. From January to December, due by the end of the following January.  We sent in the completed form with a check, which cleared. Done for another year. Or so Hick thought!

The past-due letter was dated April 10. That's the day we got it! How magical. The state of Missouri can make sure you receive the letter on the day it is generated! Even though the metered-mail stamp said April 7. Something fishy was stinking up this demand letter. 

Without getting too specific, Hick's sales tax was around $700. This bill was for about $1600. It showed a total due of just over $2200, with credit for the $700-something payment. Hick was mystified. How in the Not-Heaven could he accrue this amount of sales tax?

Complicating matters were two facts. In July, Hick received a No Tax Due letter from the DOR, which he needed to renew his business license. So obviously he owed nothing at that point. Then the original Storage Unit Store flea market closed in October. At which time Hick stopped selling, found his new location, and started working on his unit (heh, heh) to make it store-like, and install electricity. So he had no sales from October to December, save a couple of Buy/Sell/Trade transactions that didn't need his storefront. He still kept track of them, and included the sales tax in his 2022 total.

So... according to the DOR, Hick made a tremendous amount of sales from July, August, and September. Do you smell it yet?

The deadline to pay the past-due amount is April 25. Hick would just pay and be done with it, IF he thought he owed it. There is no way that he does. He tried numerous times to call the DOR for an explanation. You know how that goes. Nobody will talk to you in person, you only get a recording that tells you to go online. Which doesn't solve the problem when you need an explanation of these charges.

It doesn't help matters that it's prime income tax time for procrastinators. Hick called a Tax Guy in town and made an appointment, which he couldn't get until Saturday. He took a copy of our state and federal income tax returns, in case information on them had spurred these new sales tax charges. [Found out they had nothing to do with Hick's sales tax.]

Tax Guy went online to look at Hick's sales tax info. Not sure if he has special access, or if Hick (meaning ME) could have looked this up at home. Anyhoo... Tax Guy found out that Hick had been billed THREE TIMES! No explanation. Not billed quarterly, as some accounts are set up. It still showed that Hick's business pays annually. But there were THREE billings. Tax Guy edited the account to delete two of them. Not sure how he could do that! Maybe Hick could have done it, though that would seem to be a system rife with fraud possibilities if a person can just delete what they think they don't owe!

Anyhoo... the only issue, the reason we could not figure out in even numbers that this original bill was 3X the actual amount due, was because unbeknownst to Hick, the Backroads city tax rate had increased at some point during the year. So he actually DID owe more than the $700-something, but it was an amount of $31. NOT $1600. Which is quite a difference!

Tax Guy said he'd send it in for Hick for a fee of $20, or Hick could do it online himself for free. Hick said for Tax Guy to do it and be done with it. Except when he tried, the website would not take our debit card, and would not take a credit card. So Hick had to drive home for a check (you don't think I let him carry those around, do you???) and drive back to give it to Tax Guy. So I guess it's a good thing we didn't try to do it online. 

Hick says next year, he will take his business records to Tax Guy to pay his sales tax. The new SUS2 location is outside of city limits, so there's no city sales tax to deal with, just county and state sales tax. It's really not complicated, providing you don't get triple-billed by the government...

Saturday, April 15, 2023

I'm Back in the Find-Life Again. All the COINS Who Dodged Me Once Have Shown Themselves Again.

I'm back, baby! Got my coin juju going again.

SATURDAY, April 8, I started into the Backroads Casey's, and found a treat in my path. Kind of in my path. 

Who puts an ice machine on the sidewalk like that? When a car parks too close to the sidewalk curb, you can't get by! It's not even level! Hick says that will affect something in its innards. I'm not sure where they used to keep the ice machine, but it wasn't on the sidewalk!

Anyhoo... enough editorializing. It was a face-down 2001 penny. Chillin' next to the ice machine. See what I did there?

WEDNESDAY, April 12, I was back at the Backroads Casey's. What a beautiful day! As I stepped out of T-Hoe, I spied my first QUARTER of 2023!

There's the Liquor Store in the background, and the Dairy Queen drive-thru past that.

It was a vintage model, a face-down 1987 quarter. 

THURSDAY, April 13, was a lucky day for Val. I came out of the School-Turn Casey's, and found a penny waiting in my path back to T-Hoe.

Good thing nothing was parked in that space, like there was when I went inside.

It was a heads-up 2003 penny. Didn't even need to wait for my magnifying glass at home to see the date!

That's 3 COINS this week, for 27 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           # 40, 41.
Dime             still at 8
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        # 1.


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, April 14, 2023

The Price of Being Nice is Precisely 22 Minutes and a Return Trip on Complaining Knees

No good deed goes unpunished. Val knows that. She did NOT need a reminder from the Universe on Thursday.

I went in the Sis-Town Casey's to pre-pay for T-Hoe's gas, and buy some scratchers. I waited my turn in line. Only one checker was working. She's one of my favorites. Always polite and cheery. When it was my turn, I told her how much gas I wanted, on Pump 5, and began to name my scratchers by the number on the case.

Checker was distracted by another worker wandering behind her as she entered in my gas pay. Checker relayed that she had taken the hair clip off the drop slot where they feed their big bills. Apparently it had been jammed with a stuck twenty. 

As Checker was tearing off my tickets, Other Worker knelt down beside her, fishing out that mangled twenty, and said, "This will have to be given out."

Dang it! I was supposed to get back $20 in change. That's how I had calculated it, after deciding how much gas I wanted to give Hungry Hungry T-Hoe's 26-gallon tank, and which scratchers I desired. So now I would be getting that torn twenty that's no good for lottery machines or slot machines!

Anyhoo... Checker waved my scratchers in front of their scanner, laying them aside, and then took the $100 bill that I gave her. She held it up to make sure the see-through thread ran through it, and then stuck it in the slot that had previously been jammed. She gave me back the mangled $20 in change, AND ALSO A $5 BILL!

"I don't want to cheat you, but I don't think I'm supposed to get this five back. I should only be getting twenty."

Checker went through the receipt. Thumbed through the tickets. And said that it was right. I disagreed. I counted out the ticket amount, and added the gas. It came to $80. Checker still said no. And got out a pencil, saying "Let's do this the old-fashioned way." She showed me her calculations, and talked me through them. I still disagreed. I showed her my counting with the tickets. She compared them to her pencil list.

Actually, Checker could have solved her problem initially by counting how many tickets she rang up. That's usually what the checkers do if something seems off. I pointed out that she had not counted my $5 crossword ticket. 

OH! The lightbulb went on over her head. I'm not faulting her. She was interrupted a couple times by Other Worker, who kept trying to help, which only muddied the waters. And there was a line waiting, which finally Other Worker started to serve.

Checker voided the transaction, but it said NO TRANSACTION FOUND. I don't know how that happened. Anyhoo... she got it all rung up again, and took back the $5 bill. And apologized.

"That's okay. Now is my gas going to pump? Because it's been a while since you put in my pre-pay, and one time I went to the bathroom before going out to pump, and it had expired, and I had to walk all the way back in." 

Clearly they can see that Val is not one who is wont to do extra walking!  I take my cane to the casino, but not to the convenience store. I can hobble in and out. But I'm not capable of a marathon.

"Oh, yes. I just put it in again. It's fine."

Then I did the walk of shame, past the line I had held up for so long, even though it was no fault of my own. Unless you count NOT TAKING $5 THAT DIDN'T BELONG TO ME.

Back at T-Hoe, the pump was not reset. It would not dispense the gas I had just paid for. So I had to walk back inside. I was glad that Casey's does not sell rotten tomatoes! The line was restless. Other Checker saw me first, and said, "Now what?" Not in a mocking or hateful way, but in kind of a smug way to show Checker that SHE would never have had such a problem. 

Before Other Checker could solve my issue, Checker saw me and said, "Now it should work. I just did it again."

Back across the parking lot to T-Hoe waiting patiently by Pump 5. Which DID work this time.

I don't set out to be THAT PERSON who holds up a line. But in case you were born under a rock and have been living in the cabbage patch... lottery is tightly regulated by the government, just like its cousins ALCOHOL and FIREARMS. 

At the time, I was only concerned about Checker's register coming up $5 short. It wouldn't have, because she didn't ring up the $5 scratcher. However... the lottery count would have been off. No record of that ticket. It would have been like somebody (possibly an employee!) stole it. 

I really was doing her a favor. Not sure she sees it that way, but I won't hesitate to get in her line again. Unsmugly, even. Meanwhile, I've got a mangled $20 bill to pass off to Hick. His people don't mind. A little tape won't hinder it from passing hand-to-hand.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

19 Days Late and $10 Short

Hick has been forgetful lately. I suppose it's a factor of sitting home with nothing to do after his back surgery, and all the days running together. He has missed a couple of appointments, like a six-month eye doctor appointment he thought was the next day, even though he had it in his phone. Then he showed up a day early for a different appointment with the doctor who put the zapper thingy in his back.

A couple months ago, Hick got a letter from a classmate who is organizing their class reunion. He always works with her in the planning, and had some duties in procuring a keychain momento, and some lanyards, and a cake. The reunion is in June. So he still has time for the cake and the lanyards. He already has the keychains. However...

The letter came with an enclosed stamped envelope for mailing in the attendance fee of $10. Hick said not to worry about it, that he would give her the money in person when they had a meeting to discuss the reunion. She lives in the city now, but was coming down for a little committee meeting. Their class is so small, I think half of them are on the committee!

Anyhoo... the meeting was scheduled for the day that Hick had to drive himself to the surgeon's office to see about pain relief for his hips. So they rescheduled the meeting for Thursday of this week. Except it was actually on MONDAY! Hick was in the middle of doing something else, but showed up for the last half of the meeting after she called and asked where he was.

Of course Hick forgot to pay his $10 fee for the reunion.

"Don't worry. She knows I'm coming. I'll get it to her."

"Do you just want me to mail it?"

"Yeah. Go ahead."

I got out the envelope last night, and saw that it's not simply a matter of mailing the fee. There's a 3-page form about current activities and what Hick has been up to for the past several years. Plus a recent photo should be included. The RETURN BY date was March 25th.

Hick says he will fill out his papers tonight, and I can mail it tomorrow. He will text her a picture. We'll see if he remembers...

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Signs of Improvement For the Hickster

Hick seems to be feeling better. The sighing has stopped. He mostly sleeps through the night. If he has to get up for the bathroom, he goes right back to bed, rather than lurching through the house groaning, trying assorted chairs like he's the understudy for Goldilocks. 

Most mornings he awakes without pain. Then after a shower, says it's around a 2/10. He has been taking the acetaminophen sparingly, not consuming his full 3000 mg per day quota. If he spends a long time at his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2), Hick is achy when he comes home. He will take a hot shower, and apply Arthritis-Strength Hempvana to his hips. Unlike the original strength, which is odorless, this version smells like BenGay and Icy Hot had a baby. A really stinky baby, whose scent is strong enough to be used as a bioweapon. When Hick walks through the living room, my eyes water worse than a recalcitrant ne'er-do-well on the receiving end of pepper spray. 

Tuesday, Hick had Old Buddy come out to replace the belt on the lawnmower. Hick mowed the whole front yard/field. He seemed to feel no ill effects. He also had physical therapy on Monday, which did not interrupt Monday night's sleep.

Baby steps, people. Baby steps. The surgeon said it takes a long time for the bone grafts to grow together.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Another Missed Opportunity

I had a chance to be helpful last week, but that train left the station before I could get on board.

It was in the Gas Station Chicken Store. A kid was standing off to the side of the register. He looked like a Goth throwback. Tall and thin, wearing a black hoodie (hood up), with black stringy bangs drooping over his forehead. I assume that he had a respectable boy-mullet extending past his collar under the hood.

I think Hoodie was trying to pre-pay for gas. He had no other items on the counter. The cashier was telling him the card reader wasn't taking his payment. I think it was $20.

"Oh. Uh. Just a minute. I need to check my bank."

Hoodie went down the aisle by the soda fountain, fiddling with his phone, before I could offer any assistance. I could have handed him a twenty from my lottery pocket, and not thought twice about it. Though I WAS thinking twice, since I didn't say it right away. I didn't want to offend Hoodie. Maybe he really was having issues with his bank. Then again, maybe he was a teenager who didn't keep close tabs on his balance. Or maybe a recent deposit had not yet been credited. 

Anyhoo... I was about to ask the cashier what was going on, but another customer came in and stood behind me. So I didn't want to get the cashier in trouble for talking about another customer, or embarrass Hoodie by voicing my suspicions in front of that customer. Then another one came in, and I didn't want to hold up the line.

As I was leaving, Hoodie stepped back up, and said, "When you're ready, we'll try 15."

Then I felt worse. It's nothing to me to hand a stranger a twenty, no questions asked. I'd hope somebody would do that for my own boys if they needed it. Oh, I'll claw and scratch for a few cents, if I think I have been cheated at the register. But forking over un-asked-for cash to somebody who might need it is not an issue for Val.

Monday, April 10, 2023

The Pony Is Getting Acclimated for Summer

We've had some rain and wind lately, but spring is definitely here. The Pony sent me a text last week. With a picture:

"The season of tanlines and sunburns begins anew."

The Pony tans like Hick, rather than freckling like me. It is perhaps more noticeable because The Pony keeps his fetlocks shorn. So there's no shade from his fur to hinder a tan. As far as I know, The Pony has not followed in his father's hoofsteps and had a pedicure.

I'm just happy this was not a broken-ankle picture!

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Prove To Me That The Universe Does Not Conspire Against Val

Prove it, I say!

If The Universe did not conspire against Val, would the following scenario have happened?

Tuesday, we went to our favorite local casino. The menu at the grill where we always have lunch has changed. And not for the better. They have fewer selections. I chose the Fried Chicken Sandwich combo, which The Pony has consumed on a couple of occasions, and declared delicious. I had them leave off their special sauce, which is a bit spicy, according to The Pony. Otherwise, our order was the same. Yet when our sandwiches arrived, there was a glaring discrepancy.

The Pony's sandwich, as evidenced by his blue nail polish, was plump and juicy. While mine was thinner than the shoe leather on a black-and-white-movie's hobo. How fair is THAT?

Here's a picture of my cardboard "plate."

The Pony gave me his pickles, and I gave him my sauce, which they served on the side. He used it for dipping his fries.

Here's The Pony's cardboard "plate."

At least I got more fries than The Pony! Though that is hardly a consolation for having chicken leather instead of a plump juicy breast filet... And yes, I shared my fries with him.

In a perfect world, or even a FAIR world, Val would get the same chicken portion as The Pony.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Penny-Finding Is Not For the Faint-of-Heart

Ya can't find 'em all! Obviously, Val's penny-hunting skill is on the fritz. Only one single solitary cent was captured this week. But not for a lack of trying...

THURSDAY, April 6, I was relieved to see my old friend, that dirty dirty rug at the Liquor Store. He did not disappoint.

That coin was waiting there just for me. So I photographed and harvested the meager crop.

It was a face-down 2003 penny, charming my phone camera into taking an in-focus picture on this filthy rug.

But wait! On my way out the door, I spied another treat.

Chillin' beside the freezer, next to the charcoal and lighter fluid. I got my photos.

But something seemed amiss! That was no penny!!! I put it in my pocket anyway. You know, so as not to appear a fool for photographing it. Turns out it was an old Milk Dud. Which I tossed out the window at the Gas Station Chicken Store.

Told you my penny-finding skill was on the fritz!

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


Penny           # 39.
Dime             still at 8
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, April 7, 2023

What the Surgeon Says

Hick had his 6-week appointment with the back surgeon on Thursday. The Veteran rode along with him, either for moral support, or a free lunch on the way home. Hick said he had to walk the length of our driveway (which is 1/8 of a mile) from the parking lot to the reception desk. Then that distance again to get to the x-ray part. I asked why he didn't have The Veteran drop him off at the door, and Hick said, "I drove." Seriously? He couldn't figure out a way to get out of the car and have The Veteran get behind the wheel to park???

Anyhoo... since Monday, I noticed an ooze coming out of a tiny segment of Hick's incision. When he was there unappointmented last week, the surgeon pushed and squeezed all along the incision, and said he got nothing out of it, but noticed a little gap near the bottom. A little opening about 1/4 inch vertical. He gave Hick some more of the betadine wipes for me to scrub with every morning after his shower. After looking at it and poking around on Thursday, the surgeon said it's nothing to worry about, but not to take a bath until it's closed up. And it wouldn't hurt to add some antibiotic ointment to it every day.

Hick can pretty much go about his business as usual, with the exception of not lifting more than 15 pounds. His bone grafts are growing together. The surgeon said that from what he saw on the x-rays, he would not do anything to Hick's hips. He said it looks like the bursa are inflamed. Hick had that problem a long time ago in a knee. They drained it with a long needle, and Hick says they took it out when he had his knee surgery a couple years later. That's a new one on me.

Anyhoo... the surgeon said that Hick should keep taking that anti-inflammatory medicine, which is not really a painkiller, but should help the bursa inflammation. He said he could give Hick another medicine to fight the inflammation, but it would also hamper the bone growth. So he'd rather go with a local medication that will only affect the hip. The surgeon (actually one of his colleagues) will give Hick a shot in his hip bursa in a week or two, to help with the pain. In the meantime, Hick can take up to 3000 milligrams of acetaminophen a day. That's only six pills. He said the liquid version works faster, but knowing how Hick doses himself with liquid meds, I think that's a bad idea.

Hick is still hobbling a little. He took his cane with him today. But once he got home, he left for town without it. Says his pain is around 2/10. He had one good night of sleep, only getting up three times through the night. The Veteran helped him program his breather so it isn't blasting so much oxygen into him while he sleeps. Supposedly that can wake a sleeper. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Hick Treats His Feets

You may THINK you know Hick. But you really don't. He treated himself to a pedicure on Monday. That's right. Drove to town and paid $28 (plus a $7 tip) for a young woman to tend to his feet. Paid with his own money. I think that gal earned every cent!

In case you have been living under a rock for the past 10+ years, let the record show that Val ABHORS feet!!! Even so, I would (if not gladly) minister to Hick's podiatry needs during his time of incapacitation. In fact, I tried to clip his toenail when he asked me to, shortly after his back surgery. Hick can't bend, you know. And that grabber thingy they gave him does not have a toenail-clipper attachment.

Yes, I touched (!) Hick's stubby feet. Tried to find the toenail he said was cutting into his next toe. But there was nothing to clip. The toenail wasn't even to the end of the toe. No rough edges. The Pony tried as well. Same result. We could not find anything to snip off. Unless we amputated part of a toe!

Anyhoo... Hick says there are several places in Backroads that do manicures and pedicures.

"I went in, and the little gal set me on a vibrating chair, and took off my socks, and trimmed my toenails for me. She massaged my feet. Filed off the callouses. Rubbed lotion on them. She chattered to me the whole time, but I couldn't understand a word she said. Then she tried to look at my fingers, and I told her, 'I can cut my own fingernails! I just can't reach my feet.' For $35 a month, it's worth it to get your feet taken care of. I told my buddies."

Can't say I'm jealous. I'm pretty sure Hick just wanted his toenails cut. Though it seems kind of creepy for a man to go there. I hope all their customers are just there for the actual service provided.

Heh, heh. Hick was talking about it on the way home from the casino. The Pony was snickering in the back seat. It happened about the time I was questioning the demographic of the clientele. Like how many men compared to women customers. Not to be sexist, but I can imagine some pervs going there for the wrong reasons. We may or may not have asked if Hick had a happy ending...

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

What's Next, Hiding the Forks, and Plugging Plastic Thingies into the Electrical Outlets?

Some days, it's dang hard to keep Hick alive. He's his own worst enemy. And MINE, too! 

For several days, or more factually NIGHTS, Hick has been sleeping, or more factually NOT sleeping, in The Pony's old room. Trying out a different mattress to see if that might affect his hip pain after back surgery.

I moved a couple of bins out of the way, and washed the bedding. But I did not do a deep clean of The Pony's room. That's The Pony's job. We're still waiting... he moved out last May. He DID gather up most of his stuff. And threw away some boxes that his stuff had come in. A big bag of trash has been sitting there, waiting for The Pony to find time to come back and finish the job. It's not really a hardship. We keep the door closed, and don't need that room.

Anyhoo... even though the bag of boxes was at the foot of the bed, not in a path where anybody would walk, Hick determined that The Pony needed to move that bag of trash when he was here briefly on Tuesday.

"Pony. On your way out, take that bag of trash and put it in the dumpster as you go up the driveway."

"Wait. There's another storm coming in tonight. The dumpster just got dumped this morning. We laid it down. There's no need to put trash in it now, because it might get torn up by the dogs, like the last bag of trash. It's bad enough that neighbor guy made his boys bring the dumpster down the driveway! Apparently they also had to pick up loose trash. I saw it in the bottom of the dumpster when I took out our most recent bag of trash before the dumping."

"It ain't gonna hurt nothin'."

"It can wait a day! I will drive it up and set up the dumpster on my way to town tomorrow afternoon, after the storm has passed through. Pony! Just carry the bag out and put it in the garage. I'll load it up tomorrow."

"No. It can go on top of the Acadia, Pony. Just set it on the hood."

I was getting ready to go to town. We had just returned from a 90-minute drive to the casino. Pony left, and I went to get my scratchers. No big winners! 

When I got home and parked in the garage, a thought hit me. I went to the Acadia and felt the hood. HOT! With a bag of year-old cardboard boxes sitting on top! I moved them onto a bag of dog food. Then went in the house to question Hick on his sanity.

"Them boxes ain't gonna catch fire!"

"Are you psychic? Bundles of rags catch fire in garages."

"That's spontaneous combustion!"

"AND... Are you saying dry boxes left on a hot car hood can't spontaneously combust?"

"Well. There's a 99.9 percent chance they won't..."

Uh huh. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

A Hick-Up in the Continuing Saga

Hick went to his physical therapy appointment on Monday morning. He dressed all sporty in his ankle socks and Skechers and shorts. He was a bit apprehensive about what he might be required to do, since the PTherapist had told him to dress in something comfortable, because he would be hurting when he was done.

Anyhoo... Hick had spent a restless night hopping from Pony bed to recliner to Pony bed to recliner. It's quite annoying to me, since he interrupts my overnight routine, and then MOCKS me with untrue facts.

"I wish you'd just settle down in one area for more than an hour and a half. This is really annoying."

"I can't help it Val. I hurt."

"I never said you didn't hurt. Maybe you should wait until a normal time to go to bed, instead of 7:30 or 8:00. Then you'd be tired enough to sleep."

"I can't sleep! That's the problem."

Anyhoo... Hick had gone to bed at 9:00 after we watched YellowJackets. Then he was up before 10:30 while I was watching the news to see the weather. He sat in his recliner for a while with an afghan pulled over his face. Then went back to bed.

I went to the kitchen to compute for a while. Next thing I knew, there was Hick, rummaging through the cabinet for two acetaminophen. Then back to bed.

Ninety minutes later, Hick was back up. He went to his recliner and turned off the living room light. An hour later he went back to Pony bed.

By now it was after 3:00 a.m. The TV DISH had shut itself off. I went back to the living room and turned it on to watch TV. Here came Hick.

"I can't stand it. I can't sleep. I'm going to put some of that Hempvana on my hips. It helps a little bit."

So he joined me in the recliner for about 30 minutes. Then back to bed, with instructions to wake him by 7:15. Except he was up at 6:00 for the bathroom, and said he was going back to bed. 

At 7:00 Hick again popped out of the bedroom, saying he was going to sit and watch TV before a shower. Oh, and that when he got up at 6:00, he had absolutely NO PAIN at all. And now it was about a 2/10 in his most painful hip.

Hick had the nerve to say that twice when he got up, I was sitting on the couch asleep! When I wasn't even in the living room, but in the kitchen until after 3:00, and had spoken to him the last time our couch-paths crossed at 10:30. Hick was trying to say that I had plenty of sleep, even though I might have gotten 3 hours total, from 3:30 to 6:00, and 6:30 to 7:00. He's either hallucinating about my couch-ZZZZs, or a doggone liar!

Anyhoo... when Hick returned home around 1:30, he said that after his PT, he felt really good. The PTherapist had put some kind of cold pack on his hip, and hooked up an electrical stimulator. He said the pain was coming from Hick's lower back, and that cold would help more than heat.

Hick has 7 more appointments. He has a list of home exercises. He went to Walgreens and got a cold pack thingy that looks like blue bubble-wrap. It has a strap to hold it against his back. He learned at the auction (!) that he can also get some kind of electrical stimulator thingy over-the-counter at Walgreens. So he has hope that he can relieve the pain.

It's good to know that the pain is actually a result of his back surgery, and not just arthritis, though he has that as well. Anyhoo... I'm wondering if more muscle relaxers might help that back issue. Hick can discuss it with the surgeon on Thursday. Maybe that arthritis drug is starting to help.

Hick also said that he has never been able to sleep in his stomach, but the PTherapist had him lie on it, and his hip quit hurting. So maybe he'll try a different sleep position now.

It's 10:19 p.m., and I'm waiting for Hick to make an appearance...