Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Val, the Invisible Woman

For one so ample in the rumpus, Val sure gets a lot of overlooking. It's like I'm one of those house-owners in Beetlejuice. I can be standing RIGHT THERE, and people totally ignore me. Perhaps I need to make a suit of work-zone-yellow-green, and wear a beanie with spinner on my noggin.

Tuesday at 4:10 p.m., I was minding my manners in line at the Liquor Store. The customer ahead of me had just left. As I took a step towards the counter, a young girl strode through the door. She was about 10 years old, holding a styrofoam cup. Girlie stepped up beside me, and the 20-something clerk looked right past me, and asked how she could help Girlie! I know she noticed her just come in. She was moving, and I had been standing there.

Here's the thing. No good can come of making a child feel special in a liquor store!

"My mom just bought a Diet Mountain Dew at the drive-thru, and the guy gave her a regular Mountain Dew."

"Okay. Give me the cup. I'll pour it out and put Diet in it."

Clerk then proceeded to leave the counter, go to the back room where the drive-thru soda fountain is located, and leave us standing there side by side. She was gone quite a while. The guy at the drive-thru turned to face us, leaning his skinny rumpus insouciantly against the window. I have no idea what THAT was about. The drive-thru line was so long that it was blocking one entrance onto the parking lot. He made no move to come wait on the counter people. Which now numbered five.

Clerk came back and gave Girlie the soda. It was not MY mistake. I am a paying customer same as Girlie's mother. I am unaware of any unwritten societal rule that says you get cuts if you leave the store and find out your order was messed up.

I will stop short of throwing elbows like a rebounding Dennis Rodman at a young girl not-in-line at the Liquor Store. But that doesn't mean I think her behavior was justified.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

A License to Shed

Hick has been spending time working on his latest shed. I'm not sure it has a theme yet. It has been sitting on Shackytown Boulevard for months. Maybe even a year. I think one wall needed to be completed, and the roof. Hick suddenly became consumed with finishing it, because he had things he needed to store inside. So he brought Old Buddy out here to help. For pay, of course.

Anyhoo... Monday morning, Hick sent me a picture: "My morning project."

I'm guessing this shed is finished now. It might be the one Hick planned on being a schoolhouse. I remember complaining about using that nice window that could have been better suited to Pony House. Though I don't know if any of the existing windows in Pony House had dimensions that would have been compatible with this replacement. Or maybe it could work in the Double Hovel flip house. I just think putting this window in a SHED is wasteful, no matter what the theme of the shed. Even if it was a special Nice Window Shed...

I'm not a fan of those license plates. I guess that was Hick's morning project. No idea where the street sign came from. Nowhere around here. Probably from an auction.

Now I'm on edge, waiting for the groundbreaking of the next new shed.

Monday, May 29, 2023

The Stomach Finds Work For Idle Hooves

The Pony put a hold on a route in Backroads while another carrier is on vacation. Instead of his usual day off of Tuesday, it gave him Mondays off. Like an actual weekend! Sunday and Monday, two consecutive days! In addition, the Monday holiday meant that The Pony would also be off Saturday, since his day off fell on the holiday.

Or so The Pony believed. Technically, he was correct. Of course The Universe does not always favor fair play, nor The Pony's feelings. On Friday, he was told that he would be working on Saturday.

The Pony is a good egg. A steady, dependable worker. He has been at his job for two years now. Building up good karma. It doesn't matter much to the post office, which runs on union rules and seniority. But The Universe must have a soft spot for our little Pony. I got a text on Saturday morning at 9:30...

"They were going to force me to work today on my holiday, but then for some reason when I went in they said I could leave. So NOT-HEAVEN, YEAH! I got home and made a big breakfast."

"That's definitely a big breakfast! I wonder why they let you go. Anyone else?"

"I was first on the list since I was the only one being made to go in. The others volunteered, and thus got paid less."

"I suppose more volunteered than they needed?"

"I think the usual suspects they expected to call out didn't."

"Were you first on the list to be made to work because of the hold down? And it not being your regular day off, maybe? Or because of seniority?"

"No. I was first to get off because I was the only forced one. I was forced to work because I'm the most junior, even though it was supposed to be my day off."

"Okay. So seniority."

"Yeah. Reverse seniority, technically."

"Technically, I stand corrected."

So The Pony go this 3-day weekend anyway, with only a short interlude to get showered and dressed and drive three blocks to the post office. All he lost was the delicious anticipation of that 3-day weekend on Friday evening.

But he DID gain a delicious breakfast from being up and about earlier than he would have if he'd been sleeping in on his holiday.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Scarlett Petter, Or Why Hick Must Be Interrogated Like a Criminal

On my way to town Tuesday evening, I got a curious text from Hick.

"I got to go get a new dog leash the dog run under the gator and it got wrapped around the tire."

Of course this sounded like an incomplete story to me. I couldn't press for details, since I was driving on the lettered county highway with a speeder nudging T-Hoe's bumper. But you can bet the next time I had Hick cornered, I got the full story. In tiny increments...

"So Scarlett ran under the Gator? Did you let her loose to run around with the other dogs?"

"No. That brown dog barked at her, and she ran under."

"Wait. You mean Copper Jack? How did Scarlett get under the Gator if she wasn't loose? Why were you driving over in her area?"

"I was going to work on my new mower over at the BARn."

"Wait. Her cable doesn't reach that far."

"I drove the Gator over by her house to pet her. I was stopped. He barked, and she run around behind the Gator to get to me. She got her cable over the left rear tire. That's on my blind side."

"So it got stuck there?"

"It got wrapped around the wheel."

"While you were sitting there? I'm not getting it. Why did you need a new leash. Or do you mean the cable? Did it break the cable off the top of the screw thing?"

"No. I didn't know it was caught. The cable. I started driving over to the BARn. I noticed Scarlett was running along with me and the Gator. She was AHEAD of the Gator. I thought, 'Somethin' ain't right...' Then it wrapped more around the wheel and pulled her under the Gator."

"So you almost killed her???"

"I could have. It was hard to get her loose! She wasn't hurt, though. I mean, I'm sure it didn't feel good for a minute. Until I got her loose."

"At what point did you notice she was running along past where her lead reaches?"

"I was about halfway to the BARn. The cable stretched out that eyelet thing that attaches it to the swivel on top of the screw thing. I could probably just bend it back with pliers, but I can't get the cable loose from the Gator until I take off the wheel."

Yes. That's a little different from the original story that Scarlett ran under the Gator. 

Poor Scarlett. I have a feeling this is not going to help keep her from running away! She must be pretty sure we are crazy captors, trying to kill her.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

A Case of Weekja Vu in Future Pennyillionaireville

Second week, same as the first. Okay. Technically, it's 21st week, same as the 20th. Same number of coins this week as last.

TUESDAY, May 23, I was leaving Orb K when I saw a penny not wanting to bid me adieu.

Not sure what's in the boxes on that pallet, but they've been sitting there for two weeks. I set my just-bought scratchers on them to use both hands for my penny-pictures.

It was a face-down 2012 penny, just waiting to be hoisted into my shirt pocket.

WEDNESDAY, May 24, the Backroads Casey's was the place to be.

The chatty customer who had already completed his transaction bought me time to snap a picture.

It was a face-down 2006 penny, which I snatched up before noticing...

He had a companion on my right, which had been blocked from my sight by the rumpus of the chatty customer. Of course I grabbed it, too. A heads-up 2016, looking like he'd had a rough life. No idea what the colorful debris is next to it on the floor.

THURSDAY, May 25, my errand day proved profitable in the penny business, if not in scratchers. At the School-Turn Casey's, a penny awaited at the cash-only register.

Of course I stepped up. I'm a cash-and-penny kind of Val.

This was a face-down 2020 penny, free for the taking.

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


Penny           # 51, 52, 53, 54.
Dime             still at 9
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, May 26, 2023

The Scarlett Jetter

Scarlett was back on her lead for a week. Hick was working on his latest shed over on Shackytown Boulevard. I'm not sure of its theme. He and Old Buddy were within speaking distance of Scarlett, so she had some entertainment for the weekdays. On Friday afternoon, Hick let Scarlett loose so he could sit on the porch with her for a while. 

I heard them romping. One of them, anyway. Before my shower and town trip, I went out on the front porch. Hick sat alone in a chair next to the pew.

"Where's Scarlett?"

"I don't know. She went over by the garage. Or maybe she went under the fence to Big Jack's house."

"SCARLETT! SCARLETT! Come on, doggie!"

Within a minute, Scarlett came from the garage area and up on the porch. Wagging her rumpus with her stub tail. I patted her and sweet-talked her for a minute. Then she forsook me for the hand that feeds her. Practically crawled up into Hick's lap. He gave her a couple pats and told her to get down. She was sitting next to him when I went in to shower. Little Jack was pacing around.

While in the shower, I heard dogs barking, and the Gator. I figured maybe Hick was taking the dogs down to the creek for a swim. Or just letting them run. He was back in the house when I put my shoes on for town.

"Scarlett was running around in the front yard. Then she started up the driveway. I hollered at her to stop, but she kept going."

Yep. Our little escape artist jetted right across the gravel road and down the neighbor's driveway. The doggie parents of the Killer Poodle and Crazy Rottweiler who used to chase Juno up onto our own porch, gnashing at her hindquarters.

"I started up the Gator and went to get her. She was standing on the porch with our neighbor. When I got there she tried to run off, but Neighbor Lady grabbed her and held her. Said her dog was about to tussle with Scarlett. I got her and brought her back to put her on her lead. I guess we'll have to keep her tied up a little longer."

Well. At least Scarlett wasn't loose to run under the garage door four times, making it open every time I tried to close it. It makes me sad to see her tied up at the side of the house, but we can't let her run to different houses all willy-nilly. Just like Jack was trained, with the aid of Mr. Shocky, not to chase the neighbor's horses... Scarlett will learn not to run down strange driveways. No good end can come of that, and Hick can't babysit her indefinitely.

This is a continuing story...

Thursday, May 25, 2023

A Bad Case of Scarlett Leaver

You may remember how we got our new dog Scarlett by saving her from life in a crate while her owner was at work. We got her on a Tuesday night, and put her on a lead in the side yard until she learned she belongs here. Hick decided she was ready for release on that Sunday afternoon.

Scarlett roamed around the porch. Jack accepted her. Copper Jack was nervous and went back home. Hick sat on the porch a while with Scarlett. I went out for petting and sweet-talking. Hick came in for supper, and we assumed everything was fine. I heard Scarlett intermittently on the porch. We had some rain that night, but not a storm.

Monday morning, Hick could not find Scarlett. He figured she might be out roaming with the other dogs, and would come home and find her food.

Around noon, Hick was over in Bill-Paying Town at his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2). He was playing around on his phone, and saw a picture of Scarlett on the Facebook page of our enclave. He called me with minimum details, and I had to interrogate him for the facts later.

"The lady up on the road where they found the abandoned portable meth lab put Scarlett's picture out. She's sitting on that lady's porch. The lady said, 'Whoever this dog belongs to needs to come get it. I have two Yorkies, and I've had one killed by a big dog. So I can't go out until it's gone.' I called our neighbor across the road, and asked her to call that lady and let her know that I'm on my way."

That gravel road is on the way to the mailboxes. Hick supposes that Scarlett went exploring, and then couldn't find her way back, since the rain might have washed away her scent. It's not far. Maybe a quarter to half-mile from our house. Funny how she couldn't wait to leave here, then was sitting calmly on someone else's porch like it was her new home! Anyhoo... Hick went to pick her up.

"As soon as she saw my truck come up the driveway, she ran out to meet me. She jumped right in the truck, and I brought her home. She's back on the lead. I think she needs to be on it another week."

I think Scarlett was trying to find her way back to her old apartment home. That's the straight-line direction where she ended up on that porch. Of all the 360 degrees she could have roamed, that's the one she chose. I think she was looking for her former PERSON.

Anyhoo, this is a continuing story...

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Forgotten Freebie

Funny how I forgot to mention another FREE item that found Hick this week, when I told of Hick's latest acquisitions yesterday. 

One of his buddies called him and said he had a riding lawnmower that he didn't want! Which comes right on the heels of Hick doing something to our current riding mower last week, that resulted in a terrible rattle from something under the mower deck. Or above the mower deck, since I think only grass is below it, heh, heh! Anyhoo... of course Hick wanted it, because he figured he could salvage the deck, and make a Frankenmower out it and ours. 

"He said that this mower won't start, and that he doesn't really need it, because his yard is small, and he likes the exercise from using a push mower. So he's looking to get rid of this one, and thought of me. I'm going to borrow my buddy's little trailer to go get the mower."

I don't remember which day Hick went to get the trailer, but he picked up the mower the next day. Maybe in the future, somebody will give him a little trailer!

"I don't know how old this mower is, but not very. I got to looking at it, and it will run. The carburetor leaked gas down into the cylinder, so the piston couldn't move. I took out the spark plug and cranked the engine and flushed the gas out. Then I put the spark plug back, and it started fine. It smokes like a chimney, though. I'll have to change the oil because it's bad."

"So you got it for FREE?"

"Yeah. He didn't want it. It would be about $500-$800 for a used mower in that condition. Probably $1800 to $2000 if it was new." 

"I can't believe you get all this stuff."

"People remember me!"

Yeah. That's for sure...

In other follow-up news, Hick and The Veteran and Old Buddy got all the insulation blown into Pony House attic on Tuesday. They used fifty bags of insulation. So that's $500 for The Pony, plus the $50 in labor to Old Buddy, and the $100 in labor to The Veteran, who also helped load and move the insulation, and crawled into the attic to spread it around. Plus there was some foam insulation to go around an electrical thingy, and the rental of the insulation-blower. So a total of around $700 for The Pony to have his house insulated. Much less than the $2000 original estimate of Hick.

Oh, and that insulation-blower? It quit working shortly after they started blowing. Hick took it back to Menards, and the very polite lady gave him a different one. She said, "There's supposed to be a $5 fee to do that, but we'll waive it."

FREEBIE should be Hick's middle name!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The FREE and REDUCED Magnet Has Done It Again

Hick planned to put insulation in Pony House this week. He sent The Pony a text asking if he was okay with it, considering that The Pony is paying for any home improvements now. The Pony said it was fine, that he has plenty of money. His definition of plenty is different from ours. It's not THAT long ago that The Pony was a college student. Hick said he didn't mention the specific cost. So typical...

After finding out from Hick that he estimated it would cost somewhere around $2000 for such a job, considering the price of blown-in insulation, and labor, I sent The Pony a text to inform him. Of course he had not thought it would be that much. More like $1000, maybe $1500. He still said he had the money, but it would be easier if we paid it and he reimbursed us. We're fine with that.

Anyhoo... Hick had Old Buddy up in the attic, taping up electric wires that they were worried about a squirrel possibly chewing. Old Buddy found a dead squirrel in a trap. According to Hick, it had been there awhile. Not stinky, but dried-out, and you could still tell what it was. 

While working on prepping the attic for the blown-in insulation that's $16.99 a bag, Hick got a call from the guy who used to run the flea market. The flea market storage units that are being sold. He has to move a bunch of insulation that he had stored there, and wondered if Hick might want to buy it. For $10.00 a bag! Of course Hick did! He got all 120 bags! Not sure where Hick is going to store them! He might have to build a new themed shed! 

Anyhoo... Pony House will take 50-60 bags of the insulation. The Double Hovel flip house will take the rest. So Hick saved $838.80 (plus tax) on this insulation deal. With $419.40 being Pony savings. The Pony will probably be able to pay and be done with it.

The Veteran volunteered to help, and went to Menards for something, and said they have the insulation on sale for $11.50 a bag. Hick declined, reminding him that he already made a deal, which was still cheaper than that.

Oh, and while this was going on, Hick got another call, from Back-Creek Neighbor Bev, that she was getting rid of some shelving, and he could have it if he drove out to pick it up. Which Hick did. Said it was about $200 worth of shelving. Not sure what he plans to use it for.

Meanwhile, I was just sitting home, not-winning $1000.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Handicapped in a Different Way

What in the Not-Heaven is wrong with people???

I stopped by the Gas Station Chicken Store on Sunday afternoon, and was unable to put T-Hoe in my favorite parking space. Not that I'm entitled. It's not exactly reserved for me. But most often it's available for my parking pleasure during the 5 minutes or so that I spend inside buying my scratcher winners and losers.

Good thing that smart-alecky guy wasn't there, to chastise me for parking in the space by the FREE AIR hose! It's only a few steps farther, but I do hate to make it harder for people to get air. My main complaint with the taking of my preferred parking space is the method used by the parker. 

I suppose those white lines demarcating the parking space are to be regarded as mere suggestions! I can't criticize The Parker for using the handicap space without having a handicap plate or placard, because I DO park there myself without such accoutrements. However, at least I park within the lines!

Inside, that man was standing off to the left of the register. At the time, I didn't know he was The Parker. He was a stocky man, perhaps mid-30s, affable enough, buying a fountain soda. I motioned him ahead, since he were there before me. Yet he demurred.

"That's okay. Go ahead. I need some directions to Highway Numberty-Number."

Well. That seemed really odd. Because if you look at the photo, through the overhang of the roof, you can see a stoplight at the intersection where the signs clearly state that it is the junction of Lettered Highway and Highway Numberty-Number! While sitting at the light, you can literally SEE the overpass and entrance ramps! 

Anyhoo... I only realized that guy was The Parker when I had climbed back into T-Hoe, and was marking my scratchers so I could remember where they came from. Here came The Parker, getting into his car. I waited for him to move out of my way, not trusting him to not back into me if I drove behind him. If his parking ain't that good, you never know about his driving! Oh, and I didn't back up, because somebody needing the FREE AIR hose had pulled across behind me to reach the hose. 

I hope The Parker obeyed the road stripes better than the parking stripes!

Sunday, May 21, 2023

This Week in VALstory...

Such a good week for Val! Luck was riding shotgun with her in T-Hoe.

It started on Sunday, May 14, with a $3 crossword scratcher from Orb K. The gal who gave it to me giggled and said, "Oops! That's the last one." Au contraire. It was the FIRST one. I guess they had loaded the roll backwards, and had been dispensing them in descending order, because my ticket was 000. I am not a fan of the first ticket on the roll. I would rather have the last than the first, but preferably anything in between. So I was not overly optimistic when  I scratched. 

I had 8 words! That's worth $100. So I'm not hatin' on the 000s for a while.

Then on Monday, May 15, I had ANOTHER $100 winner. This time from Country Mart's left machine, on a $5 crossword. I didn't take a picture of that one. It's not such a big deal to me on a $5 ticket. That was on ticket number 056. That roll only goes to 059.

Reveling in my good fortune, I went high-rollin' on Wednesday, May 17, with a $30 ticket. You might not believe this, but it won $100. That's not really remarkable, so no photo. There are 20 tickets on a roll, and six winners, with one on each roll being a hundred. Still, it's nicer to win $100 than nothing for your thirty dollars! That one came from the Liquor Store, and was also ticket number 000.

Well. You can imagine my elation at such a good week, all in the span of four days. I was prepared for the pendulum to swing the other way. Not even money back on Thursday or Friday. But enough to combine with my weekly allowance to keep playing, after stashing away the majority of my good fortune in my casino bankroll. 

Saturday, May 20, I was more-than-pleasantly surprised! I had planned to buy the newest $10 ticket at the Liquor Store, but forgot it while talking to the cashier and getting my $3 tickets. So I figured I could get one out of Country Mart's machines. Decisions, decisions. Left machine or right machine? I picked the left machine, because that's the one I seem to get the best winners from. It did not disappoint.

I found the WIN ALL symbol on the last row of this $10 scratcher! When I saw the first prize was $50, I was speechless! And then when they were ALL $50 prizes, I was dying to tell Hick. But he was in the bathtub. So I held my tongue until after supper (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob), then showed him my ticket. That's a $1000 winner, by cracky!

That means we will have to drive to the city, to a regional MO Lottery office, to claim my winnings. It's by appointment only now. In 10-minute increments. So I guess we'll have to get there early and wait, because you never known when traffic might be tied up. Such a terrible problem to have...

Yes. It was a VERY GOOD week for Val's scratchers. Three $100 winners, and a $1000 winner! Now I'm ready to be Even-Stevened. Winning streaks never last. But neither do losing streaks.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

The Latest HaPENNYings in Future Pennyillionaireville

Not a bad week here in Future Pennyillionaireville. The pennies were plentiful.

SUNDAY, May 14, I spied a treasure on my way out of Orb K.

I had to politely decline the door-holding of a man headed inside, so I could document my cent.

It was a face-down 1971 penny, showing its advanced age. It proved to be good luck, though, because I won $100 on a $3 crossword ticket that I bought just before finding it!

At my next stop, the Liquor Store, I again found a penny on my way out the door:

Good thing the store wasn't busy, and my noggin was saved from a door-knocking as I bent to retrieve my rightful penny.

It was another blast from the past, a face-down 1973 penny.

THURSDAY, May 18, was also double-lucky for Val's penny quest. Unfortunately, the Sis-Town Casey's was not conducive to picture-taking! But I posed my find on a $3 crossword when I got back to T-Hoe. It did NOT reward me with a win.

This 1978 penny was found heads-up on the floor. Is it just me, or does Old Abe look like he has two faces? Like that optical illusion of the young girl in a feathered hat, or the wrinkly old crone.

The School-Turn Casey's also contributed to my Fortune. 

The guy in front of me must have had eyes in the side of his head. Even though I made no gasp of glee at the sight of that penny, and he couldn't see the face of my phone, he acted paranoid about his feet. I assure you, Val is NOT the person who will be taking foot pictures for later gratification! I hate feet!!!

This was a face-down 2006 penny, all shiny and bright, compared to the three 1970s amigos.

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


Penny           # 47, 48, 49, 50.
Dime             still at 9
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, May 19, 2023

Another Day, Another Work Hazard for The Pony

You'd think The Pony would start running out of work hazards. He's had the broken ankle from an unbroken sidewalk, and dog bites, and a gun pointed at his belly, and a flat tire, and gotten stuck in the snow. He avoided a tree falling on him, and was on the other side of the street when a house burst into flames. But here's a new one from Wednesday:

In typical Pony fashion, he was quite understated in the reveal.

"Today, I found a snake."

That was all. I assume The Pony gave it a wide berth, and didn't cut through that area, but went around. Out of respect for the homeowner, you know. And... well... the snake.

Looks like a big black snake to me. Hope it slithered away safely. There are worse enemies.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Perhaps a Good Thing, Since the Gatorade Ran Out

With the weather heating up, I asked The Pony if he was staying hydrated by drinking that free Gatorade that was stashed in the post office break room refrigerator.

"Oh, that Gatorade is long gone!"

Huh. Maybe they'll get another donation, or however it was acquired in the first place.

Saturday, The Pony sent me a text at 4:33.

"There has been a casualty at work today! My shorts!"

"Yikes! That's a lot of cooling!"


"Was that taken in the bathroom at Casey's? The tile looks familiar."

"No. In the work bathroom."

"Were you already clocked out?"

"No. I had less than a half hour left. I was done with my route, but doing some work inside before I could leave. I knew I had a little hole in my shorts. I squatted down to pick up a box, and I heard an unmistakable RIP!"

"Did anybody else hear it?"

"I don't know. But I know I'm going to need a new pair of shorts! I only have one left."

At least it didn't happen in the middle of the day, out on the route. The Pony was only four blocks from home, and at the end of the work day.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

At Her Mother's Day Dinner, Val is Showered With...

LOVE! Right? That's the most logical thing you would imagine Val to be showered with. But let's not forget that the people taking Val out to dinner were Hick and The Pony.

I chose to go on Tuesday, to avoid crowds, and at 1:30, because then we could have a big meal and not fiddle around ruining our appetite with lunch first. It was The Pony's idea to take me out, to the local catfish restaurant where we get the all-you-can-eat platter. Of course Hick paid.

There's one view of our platter. We chose all three meats: fish, chicken, and shrimp. You can see the fish piled high, and a piece of chicken, and some shrimp peeping out from under. I'm not a fan of the shrimp. They're okay, but I can get the same thing frozen from Mrs. Paul or Gorton. Hick and The Pony love them, though. In fact, they asked for more, and were brought a bowl the size of that slaw bowl full of shrimp! Which they also ate. I prefer the chicken. And the fish.

There's another view of the platter, where you can see the hush puppies. I didn't have any, preferring to stuff myself with the fish and chicken and a couple fries. Which can't be seen, being under everything else. We also had sides of baked beans and SLAW! Oh, and The Pony wanted to try a new item, the Crabby Cheese Bread:

We had to pay extra, since this item is not included in the sides selection, but is instead an appetizer. We had the small order, which was $4.99. It was delicious. I only had half of one piece, because I knew that The Pony and Hick liked it better. Also, I was not filling up on bread while waiting for that tasty fish and chicken to arrive! The only complaint I would have about this bread is to paraphrase the joke in True Grit about the chicken and dumplings. "Be careful of the Crabby Cheese Bread. It'll hurt your eyes. Hurt your eyes looking for the crab!" I think we saw two pieces of crab in the whole dish.

We arrived at 1:20, and didn't get our food until 2:00. I cry shenanigans! People who came in after us were served within five minutes! The only explanation I can offer is that people there during actual lunch time ate up all the food, and they had to fry more. Perhaps it was the chicken we were waiting on, since it takes a while, and came out piping hot. Anyhoo... take a look at our slaw and beans:

There is Hick with his sad, sad plate. The waitress brought out the bowl of extra tartar sauce right away. So Hick had it on his plate, waiting. Waiting. Waiting. In fact, I told The Pony that I might get food poisoning from the tartar sauce sitting out 40 minutes, heh, heh! The minute the rest of the food arrived, Hick dug into those beans while I was trying to get a picture. He's the only one who ate the beans (I sure wasn't filling up on beans before the real food!). Hick said mine are better, as these aren't really baked, just heated. The slaw is fantastic, and this photo doesn' do it justice. You can see Hick's jar of tea. He asked for sweet tea, but the waitress must have been psychic and knew he wasn't supposed to have it, as she brought unsweetened. She offered to take it back, but Hick said he'd just use the sweetener on the table.

I made sure to ask for their special chicken sauce, which is kept refrigerated and only brought out if requested. It's kind of a sweet and sour sauce in a squirt bottle. On the table already were some hot sauce which we don't use, and ketchup, and cocktail sauce for the shrimp. And therein lies my shower tale.

The Pony only uses ketchup on his shrimp. Hick likes the cocktail sauce, which was in an opaque bottle with a squirt top. As Hick used it, the bottom of that squeeze bottle grew emptier! It was like a reverse gravity event. Hick said it must have a false bottom. He tried to stick his fingers in the bottom, but it was not hollow. As we were getting ready to leave, The Pony picked it up to investigate while setting it back on the condiments carousel. He slammed it down on the palm of his other hand, like I do my squeeze mayo when it's almost empty.

Well. THAT was a mistake!

"Pony! What are you doing? I just felt something spray down on my head! Like raindrops!"

"I'm just seeing if I can shake it down."

"Stop! You're spraying it all over me."

"You didn't get nothin' on you, Val."

"How do YOU know? I'm the one who felt it."

"You're making a big deal. But I think some of it is on the wall."

"SEE? I TOLD you it sprayed out."

"I think that's old, Mom."

"Nope." I wiped it off with my napkin.

"Well. I don't see any on YOU."

"Right here! On my shirt!"

"Maybe you dripped some chicken sauce while you were eating."

"No. You sprayed it on me. I don't know why you and Dad don't ever believe me."

"Oh. Wait. On your forehead? There's something there..."

Yeah. I wiped off a glob of cocktail sauce from my forehead. At least The Pony told me before somebody later mistook me for a crime victim when I went to buy my scratchers.

We left that special dinner full of seafood and fowl and filler. You can't take any home if you ask for more. Since Hick and The Pony had that bowl of shrimp, we had to leave the remains. Which only consisted of the bowl of beans, and five hush puppies. Thevictorians don't play when it comes to ALL YOU CAN EAT!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Genius Promotes Tourism. Kinda.

I talked to Genius on Mother's Day. He was sitting on his balcony in Pittsburgh. Said he was two weeks behind getting his crop into the field pots. He'd better plant some pots of pretty peppers if he expects to have a harvest this year!

Genius said his potato salad turned out well. He used a waxy potato variety. And added more mayo than I use, along with celery seed, and perhaps some apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar. Some kind of vinegar, anyway. So now he has his own recipe.

I asked if his apartment pool was open yet. He said they never drain it, but it turns a bit green, then they treat it. He thinks it will be ready by Memorial Day. He's been walking to work. The weather is nice. In fact, some of his friends were riding jet skis already.

That made me think about the river that runs near his apartment. I asked him if fishing was allowed there. He had a tale about how the EPA ran tests on that river a while back, and forbade people from eating fish caught in it. IF they could catch any fish! According to Genius, the main problem was the water TEMPERATURE of 95 degrees! Because the factories just discharged their cooling water into the river. Anyhoo... Genius thinks the fish are safe now that emissions have been controlled for years. Though he DID say, 

"I wouldn't eat any fish caught there! But yes, some brave people DO fish in the river."

Monday morning at 10:30, Genius sent me a picture:

"Here's one of the brave ones fishing."

Heh, heh! That could be a postcard. Or maybe a tourism poster. Looks like a lot of trouble and expense for somebody who did not plan to eat the fish. So I suppose they're safe enough.

Monday, May 15, 2023

A Little Dash of Catchup

I asked Hick what he did with his FREE 15 bottles of Diet Pepsi, and 12-pack of Miller Lite. He instead started on a story of his Old Buddy's woman drinking 8 tallboys the previous night. Not making a connection, I just treated it as a Hicktale, and commented that if seemed to be a lot of beer for a woman to drink in one night. To which Hick replied, "I didn't MAKE her drink it!"

Well. That needed some further investigation. Turns out the Miller Lite beers Hick got for FREE were tallboys, which are 24 ounces per can for that brand! So each tallboy is the equivalent of 2 regular beers!

Anyhoo... Hick's mind immediately jumped to that story because he GAVE his FREE Miller Lite 12-pack to Old Buddy. I guess maybe his woman was celebrating getting FREE beer...

On the Scarlett front, Hick released her from her corkscrew tether on Sunday afternoon. He sat on the front porch with her for a while. Jack came along, and both dogs lay calmly on the porch with Hick. When Hick came in the kitchen door, Scarlett walked right in! Guess she's making herself at home! We had to tell her NO, and Hick led her out by the collar. I'm sure she was confused, having been a house dog before starting her life with us.

When I left for town, both Jack and Scarlett came to greet me. I usually toss Jack a scrap of bread on my way to town. Maybe a half-dollar size piece. I took two. Jack was eating his, but Scarlett walked along with me. I mean WITH ME. She got under my legs as I went down the steps. Maybe she was leaning on me to keep me from leaving. Not to worry, I go down one leg at a time, bringing both feet onto the same step before going down another one, all the while holding the handrail. So she was in no danger of tripping me. However... while she was preoccupied with my movements, Jack also ate Scarlett's bread!

Here's where the problem began. I waited until I started T-Hoe to open the garage door. I usually do that first as I enter the garage, but I didn't want Scarlett running around there. I got backed out, and here she came as I had just hit the remote to close the door. In she went! Which stopped the door, making it raise again. I called her out. Closed the door. Back she went! We played this game FOUR TIMES!

I'm guessing that Scarlett is not familiar with garage doors. She'd run in, go to the front to the people door, then look up at the garage door as it raised itself on the track. Finally Hick came out to the side porch in his tighty-whities. He'd been running a bath as I left. I guess he heard the garage door commotion. Finally I got the door down before Scarlett ran back in. Then as I started up the driveway, she trotted along behind me. Hick called to her and stopped her. He says if she chases SilverRedO tomorrow morning, he's going to put her back on her lead. She'll probably catch on to that faux pas within a week.

As I was sitting at the kitchen table with HIPPIE, I would see Scarlett come around the porch, walk past the kitchen windows, and not come back. Until 10 minutes later, when she'd come back around again. Always the same direction, the way Hick had led her when he brought her home. I guess she is doing laps, making sure we are all okay inside the house. Like she's protecting a herd from predators!

Scarlett and Jack are getting along well, until he tries to hump her, and she snarls. Which is as it should be. He doesn't fight back. She's just standing up for herself.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

The FreebieLoader Strikes Again

As usual, people are loading up Hick with FREE stuff! I don't know how he does it. At least this time, there was a chance for someone else to get a share. 

Hick saw somebody new on our enclave's Facebook page. Somebody who just moved here. She said she had some FREE items if anybody wanted them. One of the items was Mountain Dew Zero. You know how Hick loves his Diet Mountain Dew. So of course he rushed over as soon as he saw the offer. Never mind that we were getting ready for Survivor to come on. 

Hick had more to tell when he came back with his loot.

"She only had three bottles of the Mountain Dew. I took them. Then she gave me 15 20-oz bottles of Diet Pepsi. And a 12-pack of Miller Lite. She said she just started working at that gas station in town. The one that has been closed for a while, across from the concrete factory, next to the truss company. She said they were giving away all the stuff on the shelves, and that's how she got it. She didn't want anything to go to waste."

Oh, it won't go to waste around here!

That Hick is a Freebie Magnet.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Better Late With SILVER

Late, but not forgotten. That's the tale of this week's coin quest. There was nothing. No hope on the horizon. It was almost as if ANOTHER penny-seeker was getting to town ahead of me! Someone who dared to sleep at night, arise before noon, and hit the pavement during early business hours.

THURSDAY, May 11, I finally spied my first coin. It was a penny at the un-used register of the Sis-Town Casey's. I was in line at the working register, and dared not leave it to claim that penny. But wait! What was that in front of me?

No, not a lady in tropical shorts, already sporting a tan, with questionable choice in nail polish. Nor the BOGO sign for likely expiring items on the counter. Nope. It was the DIME under the red bag of Gummi Unicorns! I'm tellin' ya, nobody's got an eye for silver like Val Thevictorian, Future Pennyillionaire!

It looks like a nickel in that photo, but I guarantee it was a dime. Face down, a 2013. Also, those Gummi Unicorns don't look too appetizing. Is it just me, or does it look like a pile of limp unicorn carcasses? Not a good advertising strategy!

That's 1 COIN this week, for 10 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           still at 46.
Dime             # 9.
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, May 12, 2023

Scarlett's First Day in Her New Home

Hick went to town Wednesday morning before 8:00, to get a cable rig so Scarlett could run back and forth in the yard. Of course Walmart was out of that item. Hick didn't want to take the time to drive over to Bill-Paying Town to PetSmart, because they might also have been out. So he bought the next-best thing, which was a curlicue spike with a swivel on top. It works just as well, and gives Scarlett a large area to stretch her legs. 

Hick said that at first, Scarlett romped around, enjoying her semi-freedom. By noon, she had settled down to lying in the grass, and coming to greet him when he walked over. Hick also mowed the yard. Scarlett was not a fan of the mower, and went as far away as her lead would allow. But when Hick would stop the mower and call to her, she would run over for a petting. 

Jack made several visits. I went out to check on Scarlett in the early afternoon, because I finally heard her bark! She has a bit of a gruff voice. Lower than that of Jack or Juno, but not as deep as Copper Jack the neighbor dog. She was looking past the BARn field. Maybe she heard other dogs. Anyhoo... I got a few pictures from the porch. No good closeups. It's hard to catch lightning in a bottle!

Jack shows Scarlett who's the boss.

Scarlett shows Jack that she submits to his reign as top dog.

Copper Jack bemoans the loss of his best friend to the new gal in town.

On Thursday afternoon, Hick let Scarlett off her lead while I was running errands. We had not discussed this! He said at first, Scarlett meandered around the area of Shackytown Boulevard, and took a poop beside SilverRedO. Then she took off! 

Of course Hick was worried. He got on the tractor and drove around our 10 acres next to the 10 acres we live on. Didn't see her. He drove the tractor back up the road, and saw Scarlett coming up the driveway of our across-the-road neighbors. She settled in beside the tractor and trotted along with Hick down our driveway. She got in front of the tractor, and Hick lowered the scoop thingy, which scared her and she veered away.

Hick said that Scarlett did NOT want to get reattached to the lead! But she came when he called her, and he got ahold of her collar. He said we could probably let her loose now, since she came back. I think it's still too early. Give her a few more days. She might have followed Jack's scent down that driveway. Or Hick said maybe she heard their dogs. Jack and Copper Jack were in our yard when Scarlett was loose, but they did not follow or interact.

We are quite besotted with our beautiful new girl!

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Frankly, Scarlett, We Give a Fam

When Hick showed me the two pictures of the for-free dog, it was obvious she was an Australian shepherd. In one pic, she was sitting in the back seat of a car, with an expression that suggested she might have been a naughty girl. Like when a dog acts ashamed. Or maybe she was just self-conscious of having her picture taken.

"She don't look too big. Smaller than Juno."

"Yes. I don't see any pit bull in her. We could take her."

"All right. I'll tell them."

"What would you do, go pick her up tomorrow?"

"Yeah. Wait a minute! They're bringing her out."

"Tonight? What will you do with her tonight? We don't have a place to keep her!"

"I'm pretty sure they'll bring her in a crate. We could use that, and give it back later."

"Make sure you offer to pay for the crate. We'll need it anyway if she has to go to the vet. But they might not bring it. She was sitting in the car in that picture."

"I will. If they don't bring it, I can put her in the garage overnight."

"I don't like that. There's too much that could hurt her in the garage."

"We'll think of something. They'll be here in an hour."

"WHAT? That soon?"

"I imagine she had to get ready for work tonight, and wants to get it done."

"It's going to rain..."

"I can put her on the back porch by the laundry room. It's always dry. That's where we put Grizzly when we brought him home."

"It stormed that night, too! And he was afraid of thunder his whole life! She's used to being inside. She might be scared."

"She'll be fine."

"Make sure you find out her name!"

For the next hour, we felt like expectant parents! Hick went out to sit on the front porch and wait. I went to the kitchen table and my laptop, to get my mind off of this big step in adoption after losing my Sweet, Sweet Juno only six weeks ago. When our bundle of joy arrived, Hick brought her to the kitchen door. He had her on a leash. She started to walk right in. Of course Hick didn't allow that.

"Her name is Scarlett."

"She's BEAUTIFUL! What did Jack think?"

"He sniffed her. He's right here. I offered to pay for the crate, but she wouldn't take no money."

Hick was trying to control Scarlett with one hand, and carrying the wire kennel with the other. He got it set up by the laundry room, and I went out to look.

Scarlett filled that kennel. She could stand up without ducking her head. And turn around. And lie down. That was it. A tight fit. It made my heart hurt to think of her trapped in there 10 hours a day. And to know that she'd be in there all night on the porch, during a storm.

"Here's how to work the door of the cage. I don't think you should take her out. She's STRONG! And she'll try to run out when you unlatch it. The gal said she's a runner. She'll take off if you let her loose. I'm leaving her leash on, so I can grab it. I'll take her out to pee before I go to bed."

Jack was curious, sniffing through the kennel. I reached in to pet the top of Scarlett's head. So soft! She was a friendly girl, wagging the remnants of her bobbed tail. I wished I could explain that she was only going to be caged up overnight. Hick had plans to go get a wire run the next morning. We used to have one that he'd used for a couple of other dogs when we got them, but I don't know what happened to it.

Anyhoo... Hick put a small dish of water in the kennel, and we went inside. It was 7:30. At 9:00, Hick took Scarlett for a walk in the front yard so she could pee. He said she had already been fed that day. Then he put her back in for the night.

"I don't think you should take her out at all! She will rip your arm off! She don't walk on a leash real good."

"I'll go out and talk to her through the night, since I'm up anyway. Just so she knows people are here. And in case she gets scared of the storms. She might go deaf from those frogs making all that noise! She's an inside dog!"

The storms came in around 10:30. Rain. Thunder. Lightning. I went to the laundry room to go out and check on Scarlett. Jack was lying by the door, beside his water bowl. I guess he was keeping her company! He usually retreats to the inside of a hay bale over by the old goat pen during storms. Scarlett was fine. She stood up and wiggled when I spoke to her.

At midnight:30, I went back out. The rain had stopped. I figured it wouldn't hurt to take Scarlett out and walk her down to the end of the porch. In case she had to pee. 

This was kind of a mistake... I managed to get her out without an escape, but slammed my arm in the gate twice to keep her in. I got hold of her collar, and then her leash. That little dog could pull both Hick and me on a dogsled! Easily! I think she could pull my ample rumpus across the splintery porch boards with no problem! My wrist is bruised from the tension on the leash I looped over it, even though I was holding the leash with my hand.

We walked down to the end of the porch, where there was a scattered pile of cedar shavings from when Hick had filled the dog houses during winter. I thought Scarlett might use it to take a pee, but she did not. She just pulled me along. I made her stop, and she stood up with her paws on the railing that overlooks Poolio. I petted her, and she turned to lean on me. Such a sweet girl! Just wanting love. Jack followed us. Not barking, not growling. Just sniffing. Then trying to get in a hump, so I swatted him off. Scarlett pretty much ignored him. So I figure there won't be any fighting.

Scarlett did not bark all night! No whimpering. Just a good quiet girl. I think Jack made regular inspections through the night.

More on Scarlett's first day here tomorrow.

Sorry, no closeup. This is a temporary set-up. Scarlett will run free with Jack after a few days to learn that she belongs here, with her new family.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

A Startling Yet Tempting Text

I was minding my own beeswax on Tuesday afternoon, sitting at the kitchen table perusing the innernets on HIPPIE, when my phone buzzed with a text from Hick. All spelling is his...

"You want a Australian healer female already fixed"

"Maybe? How old? Do you think Jack will accept her?"

"Genius's high school friend's sister is trying to give one away"

"Why? Does it bite or tear things up?"

"Its brown and not to big it pees in the house but we woouuld do outside"

"Brown? A real heeler is speckled. Orange like Jack. Or gray."

"Its. Brown maybe mix A lot like junoe"

"No picture?"

"Its on face book ill try and down load pictur"

"Maybe it's an Australian shepherd, not heeler?"

"Maybe I cant find it now so I sent that friend a message to see if I could get a picture"

"We would have to keep her tied up a few days, probably. The dog, not the friend! Make sure there's no pit bull in her!"

"I will. Haven't heard anything back yet"

"Okay. Somebody else might want it."

While I was in town two hours later, Hick sent another text:

"I got pictures of dog when you get home"

Hick also got more information later in the evening. 

Both Genius's friend, and her sister, are former students of mine. The Sister works in law enforcement. The dog is an Australian shepherd. She is left alone in an apartment while her owner is at work. That's the problem. Like The Sister said, the dog pees in the house when left alone for up to 10 hours during her shift. Who wouldn't??? Dogs can't use a toilet! Because of the peeing, and the dog tearing things up while left alone, The Sister has to keep her in a kennel. Or more accurately, a large wire crate. She hates that. The Sister, as well as the dog. She wants the dog to have a good home where she can be outside, not kept in a crate for 10 hours a day or night.

More on this story tomorrow...