Friday, June 30, 2023

Something TOO Coincidental to be a Coincidence

Hick has been moving things out of his original SUS (Storage Unit Store). In fact, he was successfully moved out on June 10, according to the email sent to him by the owner of the facility. He took a lot of his merchandise to his SUS2, and put the rest of it in a themed shed on Shackytown Boulevard. A couple times a week, he goes out there in the afternoon to look through his stuff, like Scrooge McDuck wallowing in his gold coins.

Anyhoo... when I came home on Tuesday, June 27, I saw a lottery ticket on the kitchen table next to HIPPIE. 

"Hey! What's this ticket for?"

"I found it in my storage unit stuff."

"Why is it on the table?"

"It's a $5 winner. You can cash it in for me. Some guy used it to pay for something he bought from me. I don't remember what."

"Well. I haven't seen this ticket for a long time! It's probably expired, but I'll look it up."

Just as I suspected, that game ended on December 30, 2022. The rules said that a Missouri scratcher expires 180 days after the game ends. According to my estranged BFF Google, the 180th day after December 30, 2022 was June 28, 2023.

Seriously? Hick, in his rummaging, found this ticket the day before it expired?

I took it to town on Wednesday, and the gal at the Gas Station Chicken Store scanned it and cashed it with no problem. I got Hick one of the new tickets that came out on Monday.

Ain't it purty? My favorite color, and my favorite kind of scratcher: a multiplier. Oh, Hick's ticket was a loser. But still, he had a chance! Better than if he'd waited one extra day to find that old winner.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Once Again, Fortune Kisses Hick Gently on the Forehead

Hick was not happy with the Senior Center lunch on Tuesday. It was tuna salad. Hick detests tuna salad. But he ate it.

"I already paid my money! Of course I ate it. Half of it, anyway. We had tuna salad, two rolls to make sandwiches, and some kind of white cake for dessert. She posts the menu the day before, but I hadn't looked at it."

Anyhoo... on Wednesday, the Senior Center had turkey and gravy, mixed vegetables, and cherry crisp for dessert. And Hick got there in time to play bingo before the meal! He sent me a text at 10:45.

"My bingo price today"



Hick thinks he might sell his new ice cream bowls. I'm wondering what's up with the rolled-up toe-catching rubber mat on the floor next to his table! That's just waiting to break a hip!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

News, Yet NO News, on the Double Hovel

You may recall that Hick had last talked to Random Guy, who was trying to buy the Double Hovel, on Saturday, June 17th. He had offered a purchase price lower that what we paid for it, before any of the renovations were done.

We figured that would be the last of it. We are not playing games with offers and counter-offers. Our asking price is firm. We didn't list the property, we don't need to sell.

While we were waiting for our Bandana's meal to arrive on Wednesday, June 21st, Hick's phone rang. I figured it was one of his buddies with stuff he wanted to sell. Hick is all the time driving to town to look at fishing equipment and other good-sellers. Imagine my surprise when Hick hung up and said,

"That was Random Guy, wanting to know if I could show him the house."

How conveeeeenient! NOT! We were 45 minutes from home. An hour from the Double Hovel. About to enjoy a meal with our Pittsburgh son we see once a year if we're lucky.

"I told him I could be there around 2:30 to let him look around. We should be home in time for me to get the keys and get over there."

Heh, heh. I told Hick to drive SilverRedO, not A-Cad. To look as poor as possible. I got Hick's report later that evening.

"It was two young guys, a black guy and a white guy. I think they are probably the labor. They were around 30. Seemed to know what they were talking about. I showed them the work I had done. Then we looked at the beauty shop. The one guy said, 'Looks like a tear-down to me.' I said, 'It might be. I haven't even been in here to look at it yet. It might turn out to be a garage, not an apartment. Depends on the condition of the floor, and how it looks after I clear out the beauty shop stuff.'

The one guy said that they were looking at several properties after ours. He took a lot of pictures. Said he would have to talk to his financial backer. And that we would hear from him. We'll see."

Yeah. That's how I look at it. We'll see. I didn't think they would even want to look at it, after the first (and second) offer. Maybe Random Guy will call. Maybe he won't. I don't even know if Random Guy was one of the lookers.

Meanwhile, Hick and Old Buddy finished the framing on Tuesday. Put in a closet in one of the bedrooms. Hick will be buying the drywall on Wednesday. I'll ask for some pictures, but you never know when Hick will remember.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Val Has a Bone to Pick with Bandana's

We met Genius for lunch on the day after we took The Pony to the casino. Genius and Friend were passing through, on the way to Boys State, where Genius works every summer as a manner of giving back, since he attended as a high school student. He works in the IT department.

Anyhoo... he only had a brief window of time for lunch. They left Pittsburgh at 3:00 a.m. I'm sure several cups of coffee were consumed. Time was even shorter than he imagined, having opened an email he'd been ignoring, and finding out he was invited to a fancy-schmancy dinner event. So he had to budget in a stop to buy a dress shirt.

We chose to eat at Bandana's BBQ. Not because we are such fans of the food, but because it's at a convenient location near the city, easy for us to meet and for Genius to get back on the highway.

Hick had the pork, with baked beans, garlic toast, and what I think is potato salad. Could be mashed potatoes, but with no butter or gravy, I'm not sure. He added sauce to his pork, from one of the six squeeze bottles on the table.

Friend had the turkey, with baked beans and fries. He gave one of his garlic toasts to Genius, who was toastless.

Genius had a burnt ends sandwich off the lunch menu, and a side of macaroni and cheese. His sandwich looked tasty.

I had the loaded baked potato, with a side of slaw. They gave me generous helpings of butter and sour cream. I didn't touch the butter, but used the sour cream to hold together my mealy potato when I got down to it. The topping was excellent, with beef and pork and more cheese than was necessary. I gave the larger of my garlic toasts to Genius and Friend, because strapping young men need carbs more than our gal Val. Genius ripped it in almost-half, and declared that he was taking the larger portion. The slaw there always disappoints me, because it is like slaw soup!

There was one little problem with my loaded baked potato:

The very first bite, which I assumed to be a nugget of pork, was actually a BONE! Good thing I didn't break a tooth! It made me cautions while feeding on the rest of that behemoth.

In catching up with their lives, we found out that Genius's balcony peppers are not growing as well as last year's crop. Genius still loves his job, which is programming driverless vehicles for a company that starts with the first letter of the alphabet. Mostly known for their driverless semi trucks in the state of Texas right now. Friend received a promotion, which entails more money and a supervisory role in his team of employees who set up credit card presentations for corporations, often traveling internationally. 

A nice visit was had by all, and we went our separate ways with full bellies.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Let the Record Show that Hick Was Never a Boy Scout

You might consider Hick to be a man who is always prepared. You would be wrong. He can often MacGyver everyday objects to solve a unique problem, but that doesn't mean he's prepared to deal with a known problem.

One of his current problems is the Port-A-Potty at the flea market where Hick has his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2). I'm not sure if I wrote about it here or there, but the owner has taken to locking up those Port-A-Potties on days other than Saturday and Sunday, because a homeless person was in one for over two hours, and she was fearing a drug overdose might happen. 

In his typical charming way, Hick persuaded her to give ONLY HIM the combination to those two padlocks! So now when he's hanging out at his SUS2, Hick can always get into the Port-A-Potties. However, that doesn't solve another problem with them that he experienced a couple months ago. I wrote about it on my supersecret blog, but the gist of it is that somebody took all the toilet paper! Hick had to use napkins from McDonald's, provided to him by a buddy.

On Saturday, Hick was once again feeling a bit... indisposed. He rushed to the Port-A-Potty, which was unlocked. He got there just in time to do his business, but then realized that THE TOILET PAPER WAS GONE!

"All three big rolls! There was just a little part of the cardboard that one was wrapped around, and I had to use that to wipe my butt!" 

"Didn't you just win TWO WHOLE ROLLS of toilet paper at the Senior Center?"

"Yeah. I didn't have it with me. It was in my truck. But I took one of them to the Port-A-Potty and left it. For somebody else who might need it."

Let's hope that somebody else doesn't take it to keep beside their three giant stolen rolls.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

A Carrot on a Stick for The Pony

The Pony is looking forward to July. He has put a hold on a route in Backroads. The guy doing it now is going away for some reason I did not inquire about. He had told The Pony about his plans a while back. So The Pony got the hold, which means that route is his for the month of July. I'm not sure if the guy is coming back. Maybe not, in which case the route will be up for bid. Of course The Pony would bid on it, but he's low nag on the totem pole, the very newest of the regulars, and anybody else wanting the route would be awarded it ahead of him.

The main attraction of this route for others is the day off: MONDAY. Which would give the route-holder an actual weekend! Two days off in a row! The Pony likes that idea, but has other reasons that he likes this route.

"It has the best bathroom stops! And there's Domino's if I want lunch. This was one of the first routes I was given when I was a CCA (City Carrier Assistant), and I know it well. It is assigned a Metro, not an LLV (Long Life Vehicle). So that means it has air conditioning! A fan just doesn't cut it in the summer! This route usually gets done on time. The thing people don't like about it is that if it can't be done on time, the office rarely sends help over there. I would love to have this route, but I'm sure other people will bid on it for the day off."

It's possible that the hold could last longer. The 30 days is the minimum The Pony would have on this one. Assigning the route to someone who bids on it could possibly take longer. You know how the post office is never in too much of a hurry... 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

A COINsiderably Better Week for Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune

Things are looking up in Future Pennyillionaireville! Though last week was a shut-out, it appears that Even Steven has returned from vacation.

THURSDAY, June 22, I stopped by the School-Turn Casey's for scratchers. Sadly, I became one of THOSE people who park all willy-nilly regardless of painted lines. It wasn't my fault! A white work truck was parked sideways across the lines, and I just put T-Hoe into the empty spot beside it. Of course, when I came out, that white work truck was gone, and another truck had parked in the real space in front of T-Hoe. That's when I saw this QUARTER, and got my photo.

It's there. Really. Look at T-Hoe's valve stem in the tire. Then draw an imaginary line to the 8:00 o'clock position, and see it between the large pale grease spot, and the pattern of small grease spots above it. Doesn't help that the quarter was the color of a penny...

This was a face-down 2001 quarter, one of the states varieties. North Carolina, with the Kitty Hawk and a Wright Brother. At first I thought it was unfair to only show ONE Wright Brother. Then I realized that the other one had to be flying the plane!

When I started out after buying my scratchers, I was excited to see a treat in my path:

This is before I knew about the quarter, so I was excited to see that my penny-less streak was broken.

It was a face-down 1991 penny, shining in the afternoon sun. BUT WAIT...

As I started out the exit door, I saw ANOTHER treat on the threshold!

This was a heads-up 1994 penny.

Apparently my phone camera did not like this Abe as much as the first one!

FRIDAY, June 23, fortune smiled upon Val again as she came out of Country Mart.

I made sure nobody was sitting in that truck before I parked my cart/walker and took the picture!

It was a face-down 2011 penny. Hot to the touch! I'm lucky I didn't brand my fingertips.

That's 4 COINS this week, for 28 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           # 56, 57, 58.
Dime             still at 9
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        # 3.


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, June 23, 2023

The Pony Pays Some Karma Forward

The Pony got to work on his favorite route Wednesday. He sent me a text around 3:30.

"Phone's almost dead, but I've got a story for you once I'm home!"


I'm always up for a Pony story. You never know if he narrowly avoided calamity, or if a customer left him a treat. This story was no treat.

"I was hungry while doing my route. Since it was the Backroads route, I thought I'd get Domino's. Well. In my heat-addled state, I didn't realize until I'd already paid online that I put in the Sis-Town Domino's! Obviously, I couldn't go get it!"

"Oh, no!"

"So I texted the supervisor that I like, and I'm pretty sure she went and got it so it didn't go to waste! Or at least I never got an 'are you picking it up' call. So I assume she did."

"That's good karma. I hope you didn't go hungry."

"I did for lunch! But when I got back to the office, I got three pieces (the ones without sausage) back after the supervisors and PM had some. It's warming now."

"Well, there's that! Sorry you went without lunch, but they will look upon you favorably."

You can't go wrong buying a round of pizza for the bosses... even if it's unintentional.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Weirdo Trap in the Casino

Let's be clear. Val did not SET a weirdo trap in the casino. Laws, NO! M-O-O-N. That spells "Val was almost trapped by a weirdo at the casino." Everybody knows that. Especially Tom Cullen. [If you're not a Stephen King fan, you might not get it.]

I was at my favorite slot machine, the Wonder 4 Tower, playing away with abandon, hitting Tower bonuses several times. That's not common. What IS common is that I didn't win much on them. So no pictures. At least it's fun to have hope for a few minutes.

Anyhoo... I was sitting on my stool at that slot machine, which is on the end of a row. To my right, I saw a lady pushing an older man in a wheelchair. They moved to the row of slots that was to my right, and a bit behind me. "Oh, how sweet," I thought. "Taking that old man out to play slots."

Next thing I knew, the stool that had been at one of those slots was up against my right side! They're tall stools. The back of the chair was against my right hip-fat. If I gesticulated too wildly, my right elbow would hit that stool. You can't just scoot a casino stool out of your way. You can hardly push them back in with two hands once you have arisen. They are HEAVY! They don't scoot. 

The Pony came up to tell me it was almost time to meet Hick for lunch.

"Looks like I'll be getting up to my left!"

"Yeah. I would say so."

Seriously. That woman did not have to put the unwanted stool right up against me! That's is weirdo's work right there!

Speaking of lunch...

I tried the chicken tenders. In the past, when The Pony had them, the chicken tenders looked just like the Dairy Queen version. Flat, with extra-hard crunchy batter. This time, they were juicy strips of white-meat chicken, with just the right amount of batter. I chose the BBQ sauce for dipping. Shh... don't tell my sister the ex-mayor's wife! Although I had enough that she could have shared it with me. Notice that my combo came with my chicken perched atop a bed of fries. 

In true Val-discriminating fashion, The Pony's combo came with a separate cardboard box of fries!

At least it wasn't full to the top, like they used to give Hick, the payer of the bill.

There's The Pony's main course (and Hick's arm). It was a Catfish Po' Boy. The Pony was both excited and disappointed. He could not pick up the sandwich to eat it! Too much stuffing! So he had to use a plastic knife and fork. Also, the bread was cold. But he DID like the taste. I think that's remoulade sauce drizzled over it.

I didn't take a picture of Hick's food, because he got the Chicken Tenders with BBQ sauce, same as I did. But he DID treat himself to a piece of pie:

That is Cookies & Cream Pie. This slice is twice the size of what they've been serving lately, although it's the regular size they used to give out.

As for the gambling... you might notice that there are no slot pictures. That's because nobody got a big winner. My most successful time was after lunch, when I played Horses of Helios until it was time to leave. I won some money back. In fact, I left with a grand profit of $1.08. I'm happy with that!

The Pony left with money, but also left some there, losing about 1/3 of his bankroll. Hick was the winner of the day! Took home a $72 profit! That's unusual for Hick.

Not sure when we're going back. That $1.08 will be burning a hole in my gambling purse.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

The Pony and Hick Finally Let Val in on the Joke

We went to the casino on Tuesday. More on that tomorrow. This casino is in a college town. On our way from the highway to the casino, we drive down a street that features several "dispensaries." In case you haven't heard, recreational weed is now legal in Missouri. What better place to set up shop that across from a college, heh, heh.

Anyhoo... as Hick was driving, and I was taking my morning meds hoping he didn't run up on a giant curb again, The Pony was reading the signs.

"Heh, heh! That was a good one. Their sign said, 'If weed puns are a sin, I will see you in HAIL!'"

Hick laughed. "Yeah, that's a good one."

"Don't you think, Mom?"

"I don't know. I don't get it. I didn't see it."

"It said, 'If weed puns are a sin, I will see you in HAIL!' Don't tell me you don't know what weed is!"

"I KNOW what weed is! I don't see how that's funny."

"How can you not understand that, Val? 'If weed puns are a sin, I will see you in HAIL!'"

"Repeating it louder does not help me get it! I would have to see the sign!"

"Mom. He's saying he'll see you in hell. But it's spelled I-N-H-A-L-E! Like when you smoke weed. You INHALE."

"WAIT! You mean both of you were pronouncing inhale as in HAIL? No wonder I didn't get it. I was wondering what frozen precipitation had to do with weed! That word is INHALE. You don't pause between the syllables! That's what confused me!"

"Suuuuure Mom."

Seriously. Those two are just alike.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The Phone Goes Silent

Hick has not heard back from Random Guy about the Double Hovel. Not since Saturday, when Hick rejected the first offer for less than we originally paid, and the second offer which was less than what we have in it after initial renovations. No tears are being shed at this juncture.

The Pony found a house in his neighborhood that would make a good flip. Just in case we would surprisingly get our asking price on the Double Hovel. It had only been listed for 1 day, and is on a street close to the post office. A main street, with lots of traffic. Hick said the Double Hovel is in a better location. 

Anyhoo... it's good to have a backup plan. I don't particularly want to part with the Double Hovel until it is finished. Like Dan Fogelberg says, "Changing houses faces in the middle of a dream gets you old." We can't afford to get much older!

Hick agrees that our two houses will be easier to sell than one, from the standpoint of people wanting to generate income to help make their payments. So I'm pretty sure he's not going to lobby to sell the Double Hovel at cost, and take that money to put into this new find.

When Hick and The Pony looked up this new house over Father's Day lunch, Hick said that Random Guy is probably making an offer on it. He would have found it as easily as The Pony if he was looking up properties online. No skin off our bulbous proboscises! It's not like we were stalking Random Guy, begging for a buyer.

Life continues as normal for Thevictorians. 

Monday, June 19, 2023

Congratulations, It's a DOG!

I will stop short of passing out cigars with the title printed on them. But there are some updates on our new dog Scarlett. You may recall that we adopted her from a policewoman who had to keep Scarlett closed up in a kennel in her apartment up to 10 hours while she was at work. And that Scarlett was put on a lead in the side yard until she learned that she belonged here. Also, that Hick almost decapitated poor Scarlett when her lead got caught around the Gator axle.

Anyhoo, after three false starts at letting Scarlett free, and three subsequent rescues by Hick when neighbors called to report her sitting on their porch, we kept her back on the lead. When Hick was outside working, he'd let her go. But then tether her again when he came inside.

Last Sunday, Hick gave it another try. He let Scarlett loose around 2:00 when he got home from his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2). He had planned to tie her up again overnight, but didn't want to go back outside. Scarlett was roaming around the porch. We were due for a light rain overnight. I was concerned that she would get lost again, but on Monday morning, she came to greet Hick when he went out to feed her and Jack. Since she had stayed around all night, Hick left her loose.

I could see Scarlett walk around the porch. Every now and then, I opened the door to pet her and Jack. Last I saw of her was 11:30, in the middle of Deal or No Deal reruns. When Hick came home at 2:30, Scarlett was gone. Of course we hoped she was just exploring, and would return, like when Hick worked outside, and saw her leave and come back.

Scarlett was still gone when I left for town at 4:00. Still gone when I came home at 5:00. By 6:00, we had sort of given up hope. Hick had been constantly checking Facebook to see if any of our denizens were reporting a strange dog. Nope.

"Well, I don't know what to do. We tried. We gave her every chance to have a nice life. Better than living in a cage. All she had to do was stick around. Food every day. Freedom from a crate. It's almost like she felt more secure while being tied up. Maybe that's all she ever knew. Freedom was too much for her. At least we have the gravel roads. So she probably won't get run over while roaming. I'm betting that somebody sees, her, and takes her in their house and keeps her. She's a pretty dog. And friendly."

"Yeah. I bet somebody takes her. And she may be happy inside."

"She's got a collar, but there's no ID on it. Besides, dog thieves don't care about a collar. But once they see how hyper she is, they might regret what they've done!"

"I woulda thought she could have figured out she belongs here by now."

We were sad. But at least didn't feel like Scarlett was in danger. Wherever she was.

At 6:30, after supper, I opened the back door to some leftover onion slices off the back porch. Scarlett came trotting around the corner of the kitchen windows, followed by Jack.

What in the Not-Heaven? She acted like it was perfectly normal to disappear for six or seven hours. I was certainly glad to see her. Gave her a good petting, and half a slice of bread as a treat. She has stayed home all week. 

Now Scarlett lies on the porch and doesn't pace. She does not run in the house as long as we say NO when we open the door. She doesn't jump up, but sits down at the first NO when she looks like she's planning to jump. 

For the last two days, Scarlett has come out to the back of the garage, barking, when I come down the driveway. She runs in the garage when I open the door, and waits for me to get out of T-Hoe. She doesn't jump in as long as I say NO when she looks tempted. She looks expectantly for her treat when I go in the house without closing the door all the way.

Scarlett has been coming around from the front porch with Jack when I leave for town. Running beside him, like they might be together. Not simply coexisting in the same space. She has a doggie smile on her face. Like she's happy. 

Sunday evening, Hick opened the front door to see if she was on the porch, and reported:

"Now Scarlett is humping Jack!"

I think Scarlett has finally realized that she's a DOG.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Where the Double Hovel Stands

Last October, we joined financial forces with The Pony to invest in a flip house. Flip houseS
A 2-for1 deal. We looked quite a while to find a suitable property. Prices were high at that time, and flip houses hard to find. Most were more than we were willing to pay, or needing too much bone-work to fix them up. Our construction-savvy Hick knows his way around a hovel. 

I put a couple pictures here, but if you want to see the others, just click here, or on the DOUBLE HOVEL tag at the bottom of the post.

Anyhoo... we decided on this property, with a house that had been rented and needed repairs, and a vacant beauty shop that still had the fixtures in it. That's the beauty shop below, house in the background.

It's a quiet street, corner lot, a mile from the center of two towns, in a good school district. Hick's plans for the beauty shop are to make an efficiency apartment. It could be good for the elderly, a college student (local junior college is less than 5 miles away), or a single parent with a young child. The main draw of this property being TWO houses. So an investor would have two rental properties, or an owner could live in one house, and rent the other to help with payments.

This is the main house, that had been rented until a couple months before we bought it. The old owner was going to make repairs and then sell, but just wanted to get rid of it. We have put money into it, though some of our input is FREE Hick stuff, and Hick's unpaid labor. The electricity is done, and the plumbing almost done. Plus roof repairs inside, and re-framing to add a second bathroom. One new toilet is in.

A couple days ago, I mentioned that a Random Guy called Hick to see if he wanted to sell the Double Hovel. Hick said not really, but he might think about it. Random Guy said he found the Double Hovel on Google Maps. He's part of a team that buys and renovates houses. His financial partner was out of town, but he would call back to see what price Hick had in mind. Hick was going to ask for 10 percent over what we have invested in the property. The Pony and I (and apparently all five of my readers) thought that was too low!

Hick said if we sold, he would probably look for another house to flip. So I know he's not wanting to sell because he doesn't feel physically capable of renovating the Double Hovel. As he pointed out, the hard work is done. It's just the drywall, paint, flooring, kitchen cabinets, and a deck left, since the AC/heat will be hired out. He says between the two buildings, we'll probably have to invest a certain max amount in expenditures. Could be less, depending on the condition of the floor and foundation in the beauty shop. 

Hick thinks the finished property will sell for a minimum of double what we paid for it. That's according to what a couple of his local buddies have sold their flips for. At best, we might get another 50 percent of our initial investment, depending on the market when we are ready to sell. The main selling point being TWO HOUSES. This property cannot be split for sale. It will be an income-producer for whoever buys it.

After discussing our potential profit, and what we had already put into Double Hovel, we arrived on a selling price that is 35 percent profit on our current expenditures. That would give us the minimum profit we could get upon completion. I made it clear to Hick that we don't NEED to sell. That our asking price should be X AMOUNT, firm, and buyer pay all the closing costs. NOT A PENNY LESS! In fact, Random Guy is lucky I'm not asking for gas money to drive to the closing, heh, heh!

You can probably see where this is heading. Hick is not known for his negotiating skills. In fact, I banned him from accompanying me on a car-buying trip for that reason. Hick's technique is: offer, counter-offer, split the difference, split the difference, handshake. Hick likes to be a nice guy. I'm not afraid to be a penny-pinching b!tch. I don't care what the other person thinks of me. I didn't make it through 28 years of teaching by having a soft shell. Sometimes you have to stick to your plan, no matter how unpopular it might be.

Anyhoo... Random Guy called Hick on Friday to ask more questions. Like the condition of the beauty shop, and what it will need to fix up. Also whether we have financing. First of all, Hick is NOT this guy's contractor. He needs to get his own rumpus over there and look at it, not ask Hick what is needed to fix it up! You'd think finding out that we did NOT finance it might have been a clue that we are not desperate to sell. Hick told Random Guy that after the work he's put in on the main house, we need to get X AMOUNT for the Double Hovel. BUT THEN... Random Guy asked, "What if we have a reasonable offer less than X AMOUNT?" And Hick said HE WOULD ENTERTAIN IT!

Saturday, Random Guy called Hick and offered $1000 less than what we originally paid for the Double Hovel. The Pony said this was an insult! I don't blame Random Guy. He's a businessman, out to make the most money he can. I don't hold that against him. Hick laughed, and said, "You're wasting my time with that offer." So Random Guy says, "How about if I meet you in the middle?" And added on $10,000. Hick snorted at that and said, "No." I think Random Guy needs to look up the definition of MIDDLE, heh, heh.

Anyhoo... Random Guy said, "I'll talk to my investor. But we don't know what we're going to do with the beauty shop." And Hick said, "I don't either. I might make it an apartment. But it might end up being a garage. I'll have to see when I get the other house finished."

It's not like we are sitting on pins and needles waiting for the next call. It's fine if we never hear from Random Guy again. I'm pretty sure he found out what we paid for the Double Hovel. It's public record. After all, he found our name as the owner to call us. It's pretty gutsy to offer LESS than we paid, after the electric, plumbing, and an added bathroom have already improved the property. But that's just doing business, I guess. Or trying to...

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Val Grows COINcerned

I hope this isn't a trend. One coin last week (though it WAS a quarter). And NO COINS this week! It's not for lack of looking. I have a pain in my shoulder/back, which might have been caused from the crick in my neck looking for coins every time I was out of T-Hoe.

Sorry there's nothing to report. You'll have to go elsewhere for your weekly view of assorted rumpuses, footwear, and leg tattoos.

That's 0 COINS this week, for 0 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           still at 55
Dime             still at 9
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        still at 2


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, June 16, 2023

Fortune Smiles Again on The Hickster

More free stuff for Hick! It must have been burning a hole in The Universe's pocket, just waiting to be bestowed upon Hick. 

The Senior Center has bingo. I don't think it's every day, but more than once a week. Hick can't always make it on time. He barely gets there for lunch some days. But on Wednesday, he made it. Sent me a text at 10:57.

"Just won all this in bingo"

"Wow, your butt will be clean, but my life might be in danger!"

In case you can't see those prizes, Hick won 2 rolls of toilet paper, a set of copper knives, and what appears to be a re-gifted candy dish. I swear, Hick was happier than a puppy with two pe-----, I mean happier than the Dad in A Christmas Story when he received his "special award." Anything he gets free is a major thrill for Hick.

"I usually don't get there in time to play, but today I walked in for the last round."

"Was everybody else mad that you waltzed right in and won?"

"Not really."

Yeah. They probably already had enough toilet paper and candy dishes, and they live upstairs and don't need knives for cooking.

Hick is excited about Friday's bingo, though he might not make it because of selling at his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2).

"They're supposed to have some really good prizes. For Father's Day."

It's not all that hard to top toilet paper...

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Hovel Sweet Hovel, a House Call

While Hick was gone to see a man about a back yesterday, a mysterious phone caller left a message on our house phone. It still has problems, that line, because I have yet to go online and schedule repairs. The problem is coming from outside the house! We know, because Hick had a gadget that he plugged into the outside wall jack to check our house line, and it was fine.

Anyhoo... when I listed to the message, I could hear the guy's name. Through a lot of static, I discerned that he was asking about our Double Hovel flip house(s). I could make out the address, and his phone number, but the most pertinent item was indecipherable. He was either asking if we wanted to RENT or SELL our property.

When Hick got home, I made him listen. He said the guy was asking if we wanted to SELL. He called the number, and the guy must have been in the middler of nowhere than we are, since Hick was out on the porch where we get cell phone reception, and still couldn't hear. The guy said he would call back in about an hour. He did. 

Said he's part of a group that buys and fixes up houses for resale. Wanted to know how much we want for the Double Hovel. Hick said he was in the middle of renovations already, having put in electric, and working on the plumbing right now. Told The Guy that he'd need to discuss it with his wife and son, and see what we have in it already, and how much we want.

I've been compiling the figures, accounting for free stuff Hick has put into it, as well as what Hick's labor is worth. The Pony and I don't care if we wait until it's complete, or if we sell now. We just want to make a decent profit. Otherwise all Hick's hard work was for naught. If Hick doesn't feel like finishing it, we will defer to him.

Hick says he's fine with finishing the project before selling, but that we should hear what The Guy offers. The Guy said it would be a cash deal. Here's the thing. When we bought it, it was a seller's market. Houses were going for over the asking price. Flip houses were hard to find. NOW it's a buyer's market. Buyers are hoping to snatch up properties that people can't afford payments on. That's where we're sitting pretty. The Double Hovel is owned free and clear. Ours was also a cash deal, heh, heh. So we don't HAVE to sell. We can wait it out while renovations are completed.

Hick says we should get at least 10 percent over our expenses. The Pony and I say it's worth more than 10 percent. That's a slap in the face to all of Hick's hard work. 

The Guy is supposed to call back at the end of the week. Hick doesn't think he'll want to pay what we ask for. So be it. No skin off my nose. Only off Hick's hard-working knuckles.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Proof of the Monkey Biddyness, and Hick Sooths the Savage Beast

Hick had his appointment with the back surgeon yesterday. Still no phone call reminder for confirmation. Of course he took the appointment card he had to beg for, just in case... He sent me a text at 11:13, which was 13 minutes into his appointment time.

"Waiting on doctor they say he is running behind"

"At least they're letting you see him."

"She asked if I had went over and got x-rays and I replied yes last week and she was surprised to hear that said usually same day I told her yes that was what I thought too"

"Same Old Biddy?"

"No nice lady at front desk"

"That other one did it on purpose! Still getting even with you for daring to go in without an appointment when you had pain and they didn't return your calls."

"Who knows also asked about a call confirming my appointment she was surprised I didn't get that either"

"It's that one gal, I'm sure!"

When Hick got home, he said that he had to talk to Old Biddy to make his next appointment. She was grouchy, but he saw a picture on her desk of a child and Santa. He started telling her that he plays Santa every year, and that his own kid recognized him at daycare. She said her grandpa used to play Santa at school, and she called him Grandpa, and a lot of kids knew him because he was the janitor.

Soo... Hick managed to charm that snake! At least for a day.

As for his back, the surgeon said everything is healed as expected. Hick can stop wearing the back brace. He's had a week or two of burning pain in the front of his right leg, from thigh to ankle. The surgeon said that is common. He fixed the lower vertebrae, but the one above them is now putting pressure on the nerve. He gave Hick a med for nerve pain, gabapentin, to take at night, which is when the pain is worst, while lying down.

I forgot to ask Hick if he has an appointment card for his next appointment and x-rays! He said the doctor asked him why he didn't get x-rays the same day. There was definitely some Monkey Biddyness going on with this current appointment(s).

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The Bleepin' Beeper

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, I was awakened from a short-couch nap by BEEP! Then another. BEEP! No regular pattern, just odd intervals. It had stopped when Hick got up around 6:00. I forgot to mention it to him. It was obviously one of the smoke alarms slowly (and irregularly) dying.

Around 10:00, I was in the boys bathroom, and heard it again. I had thought the BEEP was coming from the smoke alarm there in the hall. But it didn't sound that close. When I came out, I paused to lean over the stair rail, listening for the smoke alarm at the bottom of the 13 rail-less stairs. Of course that bleepin' BEEPer wouldn't make a peep.

No sound the rest of the afternoon. Later in the evening, when Hick was home, it started again. Hick said it was in our bedroom! No way! He had been in there with the door closed when it started, and now it was no louder than before, with the door open. And in a totally opposite direction of our bedroom.

I thought it was the kitchen smoke alarm. After all, that one gets the most use. Not that I burn down the kitchen every night, but that's the alarm that always goes off when I cook something in the oven, then open the door.

Over the next several days, the BEEPs grew more frequent, but still came at irregular intervals. I finally convinced Hick to take out the battery of the kitchen smoke alarm. Which required a trip to the basement to get the short stepladder thingy that my mom gave us one Christmas. Now the battery is out. The BEEPing has stopped.

I feel so liberated, able to burn up whatever food my heart desires, before Hick gets a battery to replace the 9-volt that died.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Val's Steel-Trap Mind is Still Snappin'

Genius sent me a picture on Saturday evening:

"This shirt feels very '70s pattern."

"Yes! Hope you're not channeling a disco lounge lizard vibe! And more of a cool disco party dude."

"Laughed at the 'disco lounge lizard vibe.'"

"I was in my prime during the disco days! I know the culture."

"Friend's is in a similar vein, but a bit less so."

"Oh my gosh! Does he have a part-time job at Shakey's Pizza? I don't remember their uniforms, but that was my first impression."

"Okay, that reference is too old for me."

"It was a pizza chain where my mom and dad took me during college visits."

"Google to the rescue..."

"I can definitely see it."

"No wonder! Almost identical! I don't have Alzheimer's yet!"

Not too shabby for Val's cognitive abilities, eh?

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Continued Monkey Biddyness at the Back Surgeon

You may recall that Hick had trouble with a nurse/receptionist at the back surgeon at the end of March, when he was experiencing severe pain after his surgery, and nobody returned his calls. She was a bit rude, and gave him paperwork with the wrong patient name to take for physical therapy, then said it was Hick's fault!

Anyhoo, Hick has had one or two regular follow-up appointments since then. Always the same routine: x-ray, then the surgeon visit. The x-ray area is separate from the doctor's office. They tell patients not to worry if they are running late due to x-rays, because the surgeon will know they are coming when he gets the x-rays sent to him.

Hick likes to be punctual. His appointment was Thursday at 11:00. It takes about an hour, perhaps a little less, to get there.

"I'm leaving here at 9:30, to make sure I have time to get the x-rays before my appointment. The doctor told me, 'Go to x-ray first, then I'll see you to go over them.'"

Hick was a little concerned that he hadn't gotten a reminder phone call about his appointment.

"Are you sure there's no message on the house phone?"

"Yes. I'm looking at it right now. No new messages. Nothing from the doctor in the missed calls section. Do they have your cell number?"

"Yeah. I didn't get nothin' on it, either."

"Are you sure you have the right day? Remember how you missed your eye appointment by going on the wrong day!"

"It's right. June 8, 11:00 a.m. I have the card they gave me right here. They wrote "x-ray" on it. Thursday IS the 8th, right?"

"Yes. That's Thursday."

Anyhoo... I got a text from Hick at 11:06.

"They did x-rays but I have to come back on the 13th not sure why they did it that way this time"

"So no doctor today?"

"Yeah no doctor today don't know why. That aggravates me because now I gotta make another whole trip when it took 10 minutes for x-rays. And I had never been given an appointment card for the 13th."

When Hick got home, he said Old Biddy was the one who told him he didn't have an appointment. She's the one who made him that card a couple months ago when he was there. You'd think if you're having an appointment two months out, you'd be getting a card with the date. Just like Hick got for the x-rays. Which he assumed also entailed his surgeon appointment, like the other times. 

"That's suspicious. I think she did that on purpose. Otherwise, you would have had two appointment cards. One for the x-ray day, and one for the surgeon."

"I told her I didn't know anything about an appointment on the 13th. She just kept saying, 'The doctor isn't here. He'll see you on the 13th.'"

"Huh. Maybe he was tied up in surgery. But you'd think she would have told you that was the reason. I'm pretty sure she's holding a grudge since that time you went without an appointment because they wouldn't return your calls, and then the surgeon said he would see you. She doesn't like being overruled!"

"Something's funny about it. I'm gonna ask him when I go next week. I made her give me an appointment card for the 13th, because she wasn't going to."

"THAT'S good! Because she would probably try to say you didn't have an appointment!"

I will keep you updated. Maybe it was Hick's error all along. Or not...

Saturday, June 10, 2023

The Blind Leading the COIN-Chaser

This week was a repeat of last week's Future Pennyillionaire quest. Only better. Still just one coin, but it was a doozy!

WEDNESDAY, June 7, I stepped into the Backroads Casey's and felt my eyes pop out like one of those Bug-Out Bob dolls.

No, not from the sight of those poorly-stocked snack racks, but from that QUARTER on the mat in front of me!!! My second quarter of 2023.

It was a face-down 2003 quarter, the Alabama version with Helen Keller on the back. Supposely Helen is one of the rarer state quarters, though I doubt that she's even worth a dollar. She will be chillin' in my penny goblet, not on the market for resale.

That's 1 COIN this week, for 25 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           still at 55
Dime             still at 9
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        # 2


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, June 9, 2023

Hick Brushes Off Val's Help

When I got home from town on Wednesday afternoon, a surprise awaited me on the porch. It was a paintbrush lying on the side porch, with damp spots around it. Huh. Hick has not been painting anything, nor staining. I recalled that he uses a paintbrush to apply BBQ sauce when he grills. I wash that paintbrush, and it's not as big as the one I saw on the porch. Still, perhaps Hick has been holding out on me. Or maybe he uses a different brush to clean off the grill before putting on the meat.

As I was pondering this find, my little Jack went over and started licking the paintbrush. I know Jack is not big enough to get up on Gassy G Jr and steal a brush. So maybe Copper Jack snatched it, and my Jack bullied it from him.

Anyhoo... I picked up the paintbrush and put it on top of Gassy G Jr, planning to tell Hick, and make sure he didn't use it without me washing it first. Jack looked forlorn when I took away his lick-toy.

Of course Hick walked by this brush twice. Once coming into the house, and again after going out to fetch some of his Diet Mountain Dew from T-Hoe's rear. You'd think something out of place would catch his eye. Then again, Hick's eye on that side is blind. So maybe he has an excuse.

Anyhoo... when I told him about the brush, Hick said,

"That can't be mine. I always bring it in for you to wash. Might belong to Neighbor. Them dogs is always going over there."

"Well, if that's where it came from, I'm sure OUR Jack is the one who took it. Copper Jack hasn't bothered anything here that I know of. And I doubt he brought his own BBQ brush over here to put on our porch. He stays off the porch, because Jack and Juno would chase him when they caught him up here."

I'm pretty sure nobody wants that brush back. I'd just give it to Jack, but I'm also pretty sure he'd eat the whole thing. He's a chewer.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

The Mortification Is Real

I picked a good time to go throught the Dairy Queen drive-thru on Wednesday. Only four cars ahead of me. The line moved quickly. I was sitting behind a lone car before I knew it. Behind me, a single car pulled up.

The lady in the car ahead of me got a chocolate dip cone. It looked delicious, but I'm not a fan of DQ ice cream, preferring the soft pretzel sticks for a savory treat. I watched the worker hand out the cone, and take the lady's cash. Change came back out the window quickly.

Inside that car, I could see the lady holding her cone, and putting her change in something on the console. 


What in the Not-Heaven? Where did THAT come from? It was not me. But I was afraid that lady would think I was honking at her to get out of my way, since she already had her treat. 

NO! It wasn't me! I was not in a hurry. You can't just take off driving a 2-ton vehicle while holding a chocolate dip cone in one hand, and change in the other hand! Better safe than sorry. Sorry for a wreck, or sorry for dropping your treat.

I suppose the HONK came from the car behind me. It looked like a couple teenage passengers. Maybe one of them reached over and hit the horn. Maybe it was a joke. Maybe they could only see the hands reaching out the window, and not the lady getting her change stowed away.

Anyhoo... let the record show that Val has a horn, and is not afraid to use it. Like the day before, when a Speedy McSpeederson came round the curve on our blacktop county road by the sheep field, more then half on my side of the road. I slammed on T-Hoe's brakes, and pounded the horn. Tragedy narrowly averted. T-Hoe almost lost his front bumper!

Anyhoo... I hope that lady didn't think I was the one honking. But she probably did. Falsely accused! For once Val didn't earn her scorn.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

To Be a Fly on This Wall, You Must Be Properly Composed, and Suitably Framed

Genius has had an interest in photography since his early teens. He had several different cameras, and advice from the school newspaper's sponsor. He ordered his own chemicals, and used Hick's basement workshop to develop his film. Some people just "get it." I am not one of those people. Seems like whatever picture Genius takes, it turns out just right. 

A couple days ago, Genius said he'd been updating the photo wall in his apartment.

I assume Genius took these assorted landscapes on his many travels. Heh, heh! I forgot to ask if the box of tissues was there for anyone compelled to weep at the beauty of his art!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Kind of Soon For Another Winner

I should be in the middle of a losing streak right now, after my $1000 win a couple weeks ago. Well. Tell it to The Universe! If I could pick a winner whenever I wanted, I would space them out. Uh huh. Sure I would. But I'm not going to turn down the win I had on Sunday:

That's a $500 WINNER! Kind of unusual this time. Started off with the first six numbers matching. Then one didn't. I had been thinking it was going to be a win all kind of ticket, matching every number. But only twenty out of the twenty-five matched. THEN I figured it was probably going to be $10 prize under each number, for a $200 winner. But no! I was shocked when I revealed the $25 prizes!

I'd been eyeing this $20 ticket for three days at the Gas Station Chicken Store. I'd go in to buy my low-roller tickets, and this would catch my attention. Finally, I decided that I could take a chance on it. I love a multiplier ticket. And with my recent good fortune, it would not break my lottery allowance. So I took it. I was kind of disappointed when I saw my favorite clerk yank it out of the case. Meaning that it was obviously the last ticket on the roll. Nothing to tear it away from.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and scratched it first. I saw that the first number was a match, and knew I would at least get my $20 investment back. That's always a relief on the big tickets. Anything else is gravy. Well. Val was soon swimmin' in gravy!

I got up early didn't go to bed on Monday morning, so I could get to town while the owners were at the Gas Station Chicken Store. They leave before 2:00, and clerks can't cash anything over $300. Casey's stores will only cash tickets up to $100. Only the Gas Station Chicken Store and Country Mart will cash up to $600. Anything $601 and above has to go through a Missouri Lottery office.

Anyhoo... I saw the owners' car parked out front. It was around 11:30. I also cashed in $25 of other winners, and bought more tickets. I held the $500 winner back, and asked the clerk, an old lady I rarely see, due to the hours I keep, if she could ask one of the owners to come up and cash it for me.

Old Lady Clerk kind of hemmed and hawed. She mumbled that one of them was right back there. But she didn't say anything. She scanned my other two winners, and got my tickets. I was waiting for her to pick up the phone and call back to their office. But she didn't. I was due $1 in change, and Old Lady Clerk riffled through the cash drawer. She mumbled something like, "I don't know if I have enough for that." Then she gave me my tickets and my dollar. Like we were done!

"Well? Can you call one of them to come cash my ticket?"

"They will just ask ME if I have enough money to cash it."

Huh. Well. I guess she really didn't want to be bothered. There was only one customer who came in behind me. Yet she acted like this was a done deal. She never actually SAID she didn't have enough cash in her drawer. I got the hint. 

"I guess I'll just take it over to Country Mart. They'll cash it for me."

So I did. The lady at the service desk was very polite and friendly. She took that money out right there and counted it in view.

"I can give it to you in hundreds."

"That's fine. I just want to cash it. I don't care about the bills. I got it yesterday over at the Gas Station Chicken Store. Last ticket on the roll."

"Oh. Yes it is. We usually have more big winners on the FIRST ticket."

"I've heard people say that, but I just don't like a first ticket. Too bad you can't cash a $1000 ticket I got here a couple weeks ago. I still have to make my appointment to take it to the city."

"That is so ridiculous, those appointments."

"I know! They never used to have appointments until the VIRUS, and now they won't go back to letting people walk in. I only ever saw one other person there in all the times I went to cash tickets."

A guy behind me cashed in a $100 winner. The gal said, "That will probably be the last ticket we can cash in today. That uses up my money." Good thing I got up early didn't go to bed!

Anyhoo... I found a place to cash my $500 winner. Such a terrible problem to have.