Saturday, September 30, 2023

No Need For COINseling, Val's Fortune Opportunities Have Resumed

Back in action! Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune continues to fatten.

SATURDAY, September 23, I was leaving Orb K when my eye was drawn to the floor.

It was a penny near the cardboard display they've set up near the rolling rack in the background, to funnel people into the maze to the checkout.

It was a face-down 1988 penny that I gladly pocketed for my future fortune.

THURSDAY, September 28, I was even luckier when exiting the Sis-Town Casey's.

It's a dime, by cracky, waiting for me outside the door. Didn't even need to ample-rumpus any innocent bystanders! 

It was a heads-up 2022 dime, posed so photogenically. Welcome to my fortune!

That's 2 COINS this week, for 11 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           # 78.
Dime             # 16.
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        still at 4.


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, September 29, 2023

The Piper Comes Calling, With His Hand Out

I asked Hick what his lunch was at the Senior Center on Thursday.

"Pulled pork on a bun, sweet potato fries, and either Brussels Sprouts, or mixed vegetables. But I had both. And blackberry cobbler for dessert."

"So you could have both vegetables?"

"No. I asked for them. And they gave them to me."

"Because you are cook's pet!"

Who is not surprised? But then Hick went on...

"They asked me to wash dishes on Friday!"

"Heh, heh! That's what you get! For all the special treatment and take-home stuff they give you."

"No. My buddy is going to be gone. So they don't have anyone to wash the dishes."

"You mean you have to actually wash dishes in a sink?"

"No. Rinse them, and put them in the dishwasher, and then take them out."

Yeah. Such a hard task for Hick. One day of loading a dishwasher and unloading it.

"How many people eat there?"

"On an average day? About 12."

"So you only have to load and unload 12 dishes!"

"No. On meat loaf day, about 25 or 30 eat there."

"Is Friday meat loaf day?"

"I don't know. It's usually fish day. But that's a big day! 25 or 30 people!"

"Well. You won't exhaust yourself loading and unloading 30 dishes in a dishwasher."

Because, you know... DISHWASHER!

Thursday, September 28, 2023

That's Bananas!

Hick and I must have our daily potassium, without taking those awkward horse pills they gave me that time I ended up in the ER with severely low potassium. It's a chore, really, trekking to the store twice a week for bananas. I buy eight at a time. Four for Hick, four for me. One a day. It's not like I can buy a case of them and dole them out through the month.

The best bananas were from Country Mart. With my local store closed for renovations until October 18, I am loathe to drive over to Sis-Town to that branch for my bananas. Which means I've been getting them at Save A Lot. They've never had good bananas. Usually, their bananas are short and stubby, and ripen too fast. However, this week they were more green, the way we like them. There was a new drawback: STEMS!

Why should I have to pay for the STEMS? It's not like they can be eaten. When I pay by the pound, I prefer to be purchasing edible material. I won't go so far as to accuse Save A Lot of conspiring to defraud me by selling stemmy bananas. This is not a regular habit for them, unlike Walmart injecting their meat with water.

Anyhoo... this thought was on my mind because a few days ago, I was watching Extreme Cheapskates reruns and saw a lady who PEELED HER BANANAS before buying them! Seriously. She took a big ziploc bag, and left the peels in the bin with the other bananas. The look on another customer's face was priceless! I am fully aware that shows such as Extreme Cheapskates play up people's eccentricities, and stage some of the footage. This gal even picked the grapes off the stems, although such stems weigh next to nothing.

Save A Lot needn't worry. I don't have the guts to snip off the stems before buying bananas.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Inadvertent Thief

Rev up the sirens! Get the handcuffs and the taser ready! Val is on the loose!

I went to Save A Lot on Tuesday afternoon, and parked on the second row to avoid close-parkers. While walking to the cart corral to grab a cart/walker for my trek inside, a woman approached. She was pushing a cart with a baby in the seat. A non-walking baby, but able to sit up in the cart. I thought maybe she was going back inside, though I'd seen her unloading the cart at her car.

"Would you like this one?"

"Sure. But I wasn't going to take the baby!"

"Here. Go ahead." The Woman took the baby out of the cart and put it on her hip. 

I took the cart, put my purse in the seat just vacated by the baby, and headed for the store. The Woman and her hip-baby started towards the Dollar Store next door.

Once inside, I stopped by the lottery machine for some scratchers. Then I moved on to the bananas. I was perusing the wares when I heard, 

"Ma'am? MA'AM?"

I turned to see The Woman and her hip-baby coming up fast.

"I left my phone in the cart! My cell phone."

"Oh. Sorry."

I picked up my purse and stepped aside. When I lifted Percy (my purse) out of the child-seat, I saw the cell phone drop to the bottom section of the cart. I guess I jostled it just enough for it to slip through the wire slots of the seat.

The Woman picked it up and said "Thanks." I'm sure she was quite relieved that I had not already sold it on the black market.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Hick Is Not Like a Normal Person

Just one more thing normal people can do that Hick finds difficult...

When I make Hick a Wild Turkey and Diet Cola before supper, I use TWO Solo Cups. They are not actual Solo Cups. They're the store brand. And as such, they are a bit flimsy. So when you pick them up, they get all squeezy, not firm. So I use two, and Hick returns one to the stack when  he brings them in to throw away the inner cup.

Imagine my surprise, on my way to change out of my town clothes, when I saw that Hick had taken apart his double-cup! So my effort was wasted. He was squeezing the bejeebers out of that cheap cup every time he hoisted it to his lips for a sip.

"Why did you take your cups apart? I did that so it's not so squeezy. So you don't spill."

"Every time I take a drink, it goes down into the other cup."

"How is THAT even possible? Don't you know how to drink out of a cup?"

"I know how to drink out of a cup, Val."

Seriously? And when he brings the cups back, he just puts the bottom one back on the stack? If it's been having Wild Turkey and Diet Cola seeping into it? I call shenanigans!

I also double-cup my water for taking meds in the morning. And the cup I use for my Diet Shasta Cola if I want to add ice rather than drinking out of the can. I've never had a problem with my beverage leaking into the bottom cup. And I have normal lips, not those overinflated smackers that adorn Hick's mouth. In fact, I use my cups over and over. The water doesn't get it dirty, and the one(s) I use for soda are fine after a quick rinse after emptying.

How in the NOT-HEAVEN is Hick not able to drink from a cup? If he only uses one cup, does the liquid drip down the side and onto his chest or hand? I don't get it.

Just one more normal activity which Hick is incapable of performing like a regular human.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Hick Does Not Duck His Responsibilities

Hick got a call Saturday evening from a buddy giving him a tip on merchandise for his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2). Seems that Walmart had some duck calls on clearance for $10 each. I don't know what kind, but Hick said he could get $20 for them at resale.

Of course Hick wanted to go to Walmart for some duck calls. However... he leaves home at 6:00 a.m. for his SUS2. I assured him that Walmart would be open at that time. But Hick was not willing to go on the way to his SUS2, because he had loaded some merchandise in SilverRedO that he thought would be unwise to leave unattended while he was in Walmart. Even if he covered it with something.

"That's okay. I doubt there will be a lot of people rushing to Walmart on a Sunday at the end of the month, looking for a bargain on duck calls. You can get them on your way home."

"I promised The Pony I would stop by to help put together a desk."

Well. Such is the busy life of Hick, fraught with responsibilities.

Turns out that Hick went to help The Pony when he left the SUS2 around 4:00, and his buddy bought some duck calls for him.

No word on whether the buddy will get a cut of the action. 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Just Why?

On Friday I called in refills on my regular prescriptions. Not a new thing. I was waiting for a text to tell me when they were ready. I thought I got one. Instead, it was a text from a phone number I'm not familiar with. The message was:

Review your prescriptions at [pharmacy name] now. With a link.

Well. That was something new. I clicked on the link, and it took me to a website that wanted me to enter my birthdate to confirm my identity. NOT-HEAVEN NO!

Yes. I am the suspicious sort. How did I know this was a legitimate site. It said something about my provider. Which I assumed must be my doctor. This had never happened before. Why would I need to review my prescriptions. I backed out of that website.

Later I got the regular text from my pharmacy that my prescriptions were ready. I picked them up without incident. But the next day, I got another text telling me it was a reminder that I had not reviewed my prescriptions. Why would I need to? I already paid for and picked up my prescriptions. So I consulted my estranged BFF Google about that phone number. 

Seems the phone number was legit. It was for something called A*I*D*E*R*X. Without the stars. The more I looked into it, the more curious I became. It is apparently a service for pharmacies. The pharmacy is the "provider" that is referred to. And it supposedly is to boost "compliance" with prescriptions. Since a percentage of prescriptions called in are not picked up. The whole thing seems to be designed to make more money for the pharmacy.


I opted out of that service. No need to put my birthdate out there for a hacking of my information. That's the only thing I could see happening. I take my meds as prescribed. I pick up my prescriptions when they are ready. 

Somebody somewhere is just dying to gain access to personal information.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

That's NonCENTS!

You knew it was coming, right? The Evening of Steven. Can't let Val rake in silver coinage and not be evened out by some goose-egg weeks.


Kind of makes me wish I'd embarrassed myself by nudging a fellow customer's rumpus with my noggin while fetching a lone penny at the Liquor Store. Not really. I'll take a loss rather than risk charges for inappropriate contact!


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


Penny           still at 77
Dime            still at 15.
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        still at 4.


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, September 22, 2023

The Main Proze

Just when I got used to Hick referring to the bingo prize as a "price," he had to go and change it. Sent me a text Wednesday night with a picture labeled: MAIN PROZE.

This time it was a smoker. Hick did not win. But you knew that already. I think he DID know the guy who won. Hick said it took a long time for someone to win. They have to keep drawing until somebody gets an X on their card. That's the rules. The main PRICE/PROZE is for the last game of the night, the 9th game, and it has to be won.

Hick also sent a picture of his supper:

"Shrimp in chili sauce."

"Doesn't look very filling to me. And too spicy. But as long as you like it, and it makes your head sweat, it's fine."

"My head is sweating right now!"

That's what happens when Hick eats something spicy. His head sweats. They're a good size for shrimp. Perhaps Hick was full that day already, after having ham salad at the Senior Center.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Cook's Pet Scores Again!

The fish is barely frozen in FRIG II, and Hick is bringing home treats from the Senior Center again! Don't act like you're surprised. He sent me a text on Wednesday:

"I'm bringing some ham salad home far your supper"

When Hick came home, he proudly displayed his wares. Sure, I know ham salad doesn't look so appetizing. But it takes me back to my childhood school lunches. On chili day, we had a bowl of chili, plus half a ham salad sandwich, and half a peanut butter sandwich made with Karo syrup. I always traded my peanut butter half for someone else's ham salad half. 

Anyhoo... I asked Hick how much was in that giant container.

"I don't know. I didn't look. But my buddy took some of it home to feed his dogs."

"Huh. Now I'M a dog!"

"No. But what we don't want, we can feed the dogs."

Funny how Hick was gone to his bingo and not having supper at home Wednesday night, and planning to go to a football game on Thursday night. So it is doubtful if he will eat any of the ham salad before it's too late. 

When I took the picture, I opened up the container to see how much ham salad was inside. From the light shining on it earlier, it looked like the container was half full. Not quite...

Maybe it was 1/4 full, considering the middle had been scooped out. Probably for Hick's buddy's dogs! Not that I'm complaining. A little ham salad goes a long way.

I toasted some Nutty Oat bread for a sandwich. I didn't have any plain white bread to make a school-style sandwich. It was good, though a bit salty. I'll have some on Thursday for supper, as will Hick, if the football game gets rained out. I've never heard of that happening, short of lightning, which you won't know until the game is being played.

Anyhoo... the dogs and I have benefitted from Hick's popularity with the cooks at the Senior Center.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Gas Station Chicken Store Hot Potato

Only one customer was ahead of me Tuesday when I entered the Gas Station Chicken Store. I was shocked to see that my favorite cashier was working. Not her day. But I was even more shocked to see that the thirty-something dude paying with a card was standing with his heel almost on a FIVE-DOLLAR BILL!!!

"Is that your five dollars? I know it's not mine."

"Oh. Um. No. It's not mine. Do you want it?"

"No! It's not mine."

Dude handed it to the cashier, who laid it on the register while the dude finished paying for his gas and a suitcase of Miller Lite beer. Which he almost forgot! Started walking off until she reminded him.

Anyhoo... when I stepped up, I said, "At least you'll get five dollars when your shift is over!"

"No. I have to put it in the drawer."

"WHAT? I should have said it was mine, and then I could have given it to you!"

"Do you want it?"

"No! It's not mine. Too bad it goes to the Woman Owner."

"This morning she gave me a nice bonus! A crisp $100 bill!"

"Ooh! That was so nice! I will never say anything bad about her again!"

"Yeah. The schedule has been changing. They called me in today. Early. Buy that was really nice."

"Yes. You deserve it."

Anyhoo... I guess floor money goes to the house! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Teach a Man to Fish, and He Must Make the Effort. Make a Man Cook's Pet, and He Will Have Fish for the Rest of His Life.

You're not going to believe this. Wait. Who am I kidding? You're going to believe every word. HICK GOT MORE STUFF FOR FREE!

Friday around noon, Hick called me. He usually doesn't get home until 5:00. He does his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) in the morning. Then eats at the Senior Center. Then goes to his weekly doctor appointment for a shot. Then sits around shooting the bull with his cronies at someone's shop.

"I'm bringing home some fish. Then going back to town to the doctor."

"Okay. We can have it tomorrow night. I already have the chicken for tonight."

"It's a lot of fish."

Well. That was an understatement! Hick brought home two fish dinners with slaw and fries, and a container of cod, and another of catfish. Plus four desserts!

I would have preferred the tartar sauce NOT submerged in the slaw, but I suppose it was kept cool by that arrangement.

We were already having a supper of fried chicken I had picked up Thursday, along with green beans and bacon that I had made on Friday morning. But I said I'd have one of the dinners for my lunch. Hick already had plans with The Pony for Saturday evening. So I said I'd have the other dinner then, for my supper.

There were four huge pieces of catfish, with fries.

Six slabs of cod! Indeed. It was a LOT of fish.

Hick packed up three pieces of the cod to take to his SUS2 for Saturday and Sunday lunch, with one for a buddy on Saturday. We had fish and leftover green beans on Sunday. I had some cod, Hick had some catfish. I made my own tartar sauce, which I must say was delicious. We have some fish in the freezer now for another time.

One brownie, and three of the cherry/peach crisp desserts.

As for the desserts, they were gradually consumed over the course of days. I spoke for the brownie. I'm not much of a pie kind of gal, but I forced myself to eat one! I had to consume mine in installments. It was SO sweet!

Anyhoo... I'm sure more fish (and who knows what else) is in store for us, courtesy of my cook's pet.

Monday, September 18, 2023

What's New at the SUS2

Hick updated the storefront of his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) last week.

It looks appealing enough to me, though I am not one to frequent flea markets.

Hick has also taken to advertising by means of giving away free key chains. 

He turned them so they don't show the side printed with his store name and phone number. The key ring is attached to an aluminum bottle opener, that also will flip up the tabs on beverage cans. I think they make a colorful display. Hick has more of them, but put a few in a beer glass so customers can choose the color they prefer.

Is it just me, or does Hick's store look like a place you could find a mogwai or Harry Potter wand? Seems like he has a little bit of everything. Including half-consumed bottles of Diet Mountain Dew.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

The Cadaver Bone's Connected to the Hick Bone

Hick went back to the back doctor last week. He received a good report. Things are healing as they should. He is still going to keep taking the gabapentin. 

Hick has not been having any pain issues lately, other than soreness from tripping at HOSS's (Hick's Oldest Son's Son) football game on Thursday. The announcer called for people parked in a certain area to move their cars, and as Hick was walking behind a parked truck, he tripped over a speed bump. Guess that slowed him down! HOS was beside him, and asked if he was all right. Seems that he was.

Anyhoo... Hick sent me a picture of his back x-ray. Like a proud parent of implanted screws and plates and cadaver bone and new growth, he'd like me to share it with you. Don't worry. There won't be a slide show. 

That's a view of both sides of the spine. Rods and screws installed. I'm surprised Hick didn't have more post-surgery pain! I cut off the top of the computer screen showing Hick's info. So don't think he's been fooling me and is just at that clinic for Botox!

That's one side. According to Hick, the square is the cadaver bone. The ghostly white area around it is where Hick's new bone is growing. That's a good thing. Eventually, it will stabilize Hick's vertebrae.

I'm glad we don't have any magnets on FRIG II, lest they jump off and attach to Hick's back.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Val Has Another Double, Clink Your COINS in a Toast

In a case of deja vu all over again, Val nabbed two coins this week for her Future Pennyillionaire Fortune. Of course there's only one captive that is shown in the wild. Val is taking no chances on a glass door to the noggin. Not until some company markets a coin-harvesting helmet.

TUESDAY, September 12, I was coming out the door of Orb K when I couldn't believe my luck. Well. I could believe my luck five minutes prior, when a clerk on break almost knocked me off the curb in a hurry to get to her cigarette that she whipped out as soon as she reached the sidewalk space in front of T-Hoe, next to the propane gas cabinet.

Anyhoo... Orb K has just fixed their left double-door. It has had a sign taped to it for at least a month, directing all ye who enter to use the OTHER DOOR. I had almost abandoned hope on it ever being fixed. Yet there it was, swinging as normal with a hefty push from within to escape. No way was I going to bend over right in front of the newly-working old door! Even if it struck my rumpus, that would topple me onto my head. I grabbed my coin without taking two photos in its natural habitat.

It was a QUARTER! The king of coins! Here it is the next day, posed on my kitchen table. I had forgotten (!) it in my shirt pocket.

It was face-down like this when found. Without my glasses, I didn't recognize the state. Back home WITH my glasses, I also didn't recognize the state until reading the writing. I've never seen a New Mexico quarter before. This one is a 2008 version. A simple design, yet striking.

WEDNESDAY, September 13, I stepped into the Gas Station Chicken Store and saw a future goblet-dweller waiting for me!

It was a DIME! Right there where my back is turned while I wait in line. In fact, I gave up my place in line to snatch that dime get a picture and claim my rightful ten-center.

It was a heads-up 2018 dime. So photogenic! Props to my phone camera for allowing itself to be reined in like a champion Quarter Horse.

That's 2 COINS this week, for 35 CENTS towards Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune!


Penny           still at 77
Dime            # 15.
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        # 4.


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, September 15, 2023

Hick's Nighttime Bingo Record Remains Intact

Shockingly enough, Hick did not win the grand prize at Wednesday night bingo. He didn't even send a picture of the "price." Said they didn't put it out until later. I guess his phone camera turns into Cinderella at a certain point...

Anyhoo... Hick reported that the grand prize was "a Nintendo." Don't know if that's currently a hot gaming system, or if it's something more modern, and he just equates it with a Nintendo. Said it was a square white gaming system. In a box, new, I am assuming.

Hick DID send a picture of his supper:

Not just two pretezels. It was an order of four. They look tasty enough, with that beer cheese dip. Hick said he had a late lunch, and the pretzels were all he wanted. Along with two beers...

So no winnings to report again this week. But the bingo keeps Hick off the streets and in a sports bar, so there's that...

Thursday, September 14, 2023

The Leaning Tower of Amazon

Some peoples ain't too smart! Not saying I'm a genius, but... well... I WAS VALEDICTORIAN! Besides teaching physics to high school students. So I know my way around center-of-gravity. 

I was waiting to pull out of the alley behind the Gas Station Chicken Store (not as mysterious a situation as it sounds) on Wednesday, when a white pickup truck passed by, headed for the light. I think I gasped audibly. I am not a pickup truck driver. I don't haul loads of anything besides groceries that slide around in T-Hoe's rear. But I knew that the load in that pickup truck was an accident waiting to happen.

The truck was in the left turn lane at the light. I was going straight, and the road markings put me ahead of the pickup. So I couldn't look into the window and motion to the driver like a normal person. What I did was jab my thumb at that truck as I rolled by to my stopping point. The driver surely didn't think I was giving a thumbs-up! It's hard to make a pointing motion in the air backwards over your shoulder.


The load was a pallet of Amazon boxes, stacked about 7 feet tall, wrapped in plastic. Except for the two on top! One of those was hanging haphazardly over the edge. Ready to topple off to the right. Which was way it was going to slide when that pickup made the left turn. Oh, how I wished I could get a picture. Oh! And that nobody got hurt from a falling package, or in an attempt to pick up a "free" package from the road in that busy intersection.

Anyhoo... I watched as the left turn arrow went green. The pickup eased its way into the intersection. Creeping along. Taking that left turn slooowly. Just when it straightened out, PLOP went the package onto the pavement. I don't know if the driver was watching in the mirror, but he immediately turned right into the parking lot of the Liquor Store. I couldn't see the rest of the story, because my own light turned green.

LUCKY ME! When I came back to the light after picking up my Dairy Queen lupper (lunch-supper), I saw that white pickup still parked on the Liquor Store lot. I was third in line at the light, so I had opportunity to take some pictures to prove it happened! Sorry about the window spots. If I'd realized how bad they were, I'd have put the window down.

There's the white pickup, parked behind the red one in the drive-thru lane.

There's the Leaning Tower of Amazon. Only ONE box on top now.

Not sure if this gal was the driver or a passenger. Surely not a random thief cutting herself a "free" package!

Not sure where the fallen package is. Maybe she's working on it but that one looks plastic-wrapped. Maybe she didn't look back over her left shoulder to the street. Or maybe somebody jumped out and stole it. I really hope she did something with that remaining box balanced on top. I couldn't stick around to find out. My light turned green.

Sooo... if you ever wonder why your Amazon box has the Not-Heaven beat out of it, remember this Leaning Tower of Amazon.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Another Bingo "Price" That Got Away

Hick played bingo again last Wednesday night. At the sports bar, where his competition is younger than ancient. I'm sure you will be shocked to hear that he won nothing. He DID send me a picture of the grand prize that night:

Still new in the box, a 65-inch TV! I don't know what Hick would have done with it if he'd won. We already have a big screen TV in the basement. And it's kind of large to put in our living room, unless we plan to watch from the kitchen. Still, it would be nicer to win it than not.

Hick is off to play bingo again tonight. I'm sure he'll send me a picture of the "price." Not holding my breath for him to win.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

More Freebies For The Hickster

Hick sent me a text at 10:26 on Monday.

"You like plums they have free ones here"


"I got you some ill bring them home"

Didn't bother to say WHERE or WHO the plums were coming from. But what's the worst that could happen? If I didn't like the looks of the plums, I could chuck them off the back porch. I'm sure we have wildlife that would find them delicious.

Hick arrived home around 2:00, with a plastic bag of plums. 

Don't you worry about Hick, the plum disliker. He had a treat for his own self. GRAPES!

Hick said the Senior Center was giving them out. And that the people there were eating the plums like they were good. I suppose the grapes were something they saved especially for their "pet." I spied a couple of smooshed ones at the bottom, and picked them out. So one bad grape can't spoil the whole bunch.

One of these days, Hick's going to bring home a 7-course gourmet meal. Maybe just not all the courses in the same day...

Monday, September 11, 2023

Enduring The Universe's Unwanted Gift

What is wrong with people??? Specifically, the species called The Backroadsian Male.

I was at the counter of the Gas Station Chicken Store on Sunday evening, trading some winning scratchers for some more winning scratchers. I was the only one in the store. Chatting with my favorite cashier. But then trouble arrived!

One guy. Perhaps early 40s. Stood behind me awaiting his turn. But he could not shut his mouth! He was obviously a regular. Bantering with my favorite cashier. She was cordial enough, but her attention was on me. The current customer.

On and on he went! At one point, I turned around to see if he was on his phone, so constant were his comments. Perhaps he was loudly chatting with a wife or friend. But no. No phone. He thought his comedy routine took precedence over my transaction. 

I don't monopolize the cashier during anyone else's transaction. I keep my mouth shut. If it's busy, I rarely make a comment. Just get my business done. But this guy! He thought he was The Universe's gift to the Gas Station Chicken Store. His vocalism interfered with my business. I could hardly hear what tickets were sold out. And my favorite cashier was almost flustered into ringing up my purchase wrong.

It's not like this guy was Adonis, and my favorite cashier a raving beauty who could not resist his charms. She is married, with adult children. It's not like she's a waitress enduring such attention to garner a good tip. 

Seriously! What is WRONG with people! It's like this guy didn't get enough attention as a child.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Pony Mutilates His Sausage


When The Pony left after our cookout on Monday, I sent home four of the apple brown sugar bratwursts that Hick had grilled, along with a whole pack of buns, deviled eggs, cheesecake slices, and a loaf of bread. On Tuesday night, he sent me a text:

"Warmed the sausages!"

"You CUT them???"

"Yeah! I cut them in half to do the bowling alley way. I was warming them in the pan and didn't think they'd warm with just moving around and flipping. Too fat."

"I microwave them for 30 seconds, then put them in the oven at 300 for five minutes to get the outside snappy."

Let the record show that when The Pony was a young 'un, he and Genius were in a bowling league at the old bowling alley. They served smoked sausages that they split in half and cooked on the grill with a weight on top of them. So they had a nice char on both sides. That was the boys' favorite lunch. Unfortunately The Pony always added KETCHUP to his!

Anyhoo... I can understand his attempt. But what a travesty to treat these juicy bratwurst to such a sad end! I can even see the apple chunks inside. I'm sure they still tasted fine, just without the snap and squirt of grease when bitten.

I certainly hope no ketchup was involved...

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Two-COIN Val

Two-COIN Val is neither as colorful nor as exotic as Toucan Sam. It's safe to say her sweetness level is also sub-par. Two-COIN Val does not flitter around promoting vibrant eye-catching cereal rings, but rather plods through the week waiting for dull pennies to find her. It worked twice this week.

THURSDAY, September 7, "my" handicap parking space was taken at the Gas Station Chicken Store. The culprit was an old Oldsmobile Cutlass, a 1980s version. No handicap plates (not that I'm pointing fingers!). Driven by the guy, a 1990s version, who was in line ahead of me, buying a case of Miller beer. I suppose he didn't want to carry it far. I don't begrudge that dude "my" parking space. The air hose spot was available. And when I came out with the Cutlass gone, I found this:

Believe it or not, that's a heads-up 2022 penny! Of course I couldn't tell until I got it home and used a magnifying glass. I could barely discern the head. My darn phone camera blinked like it took a full picture, showing the corner of T-Hoe, the back alley, and the antique store across it. But no such picture was found! Anyhoo... if I had parked in "my" space, I would not have had this penny, as T-Hoe's left rear tire would have been parked on it. Looks like that penny is no stranger to having tires on its face.

FRIDAY, September 8, a penny was waiting for me inside the Liquor Store. Nobody was at the counter, so I stepped over that penny to do my scratcher transaction. (Won $76!) I was holding my breath that the two customers who came in after me were not penny collectors. They weren't. I'm sure you're shocked...

See how tempting this little copper was? Flaunting itself shamelessly on that non-bearskin rug? You'd need nerves of steel, or heavy medication, to resist, don't you think? Apparently the guy and gal who came in after me were nervy and drugged!

It was a heads-up 1988 penny, patiently posing while I ample-rumpused the nervy druggies who were now in line at the counter. MINE! 

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


Penny           # 76, 77.
Dime             still at 14
Nickel           still at 1
Quarter        still at 3


Penny           124
Dime              21
Nickel              7
Quarter             9


Penny        124
Dime           14
Nickel           7
Quarter         6

Friday, September 8, 2023

What FedEx Says, What FedEx Means

Remember last week, when I was eagerly (well, indifferently) awaiting the arrival of Hick's two new pairs of shoes? And they didn't show up, despite the notice from FedEx? How odd that every time I checked the tracking link, those shoes were IN TRANSIT. Last location given was Olathe, Kansas. I suppose those shoes were vacationing. Taking in the sights. Touristing from within their cardboard box.

They're HEEEERE! Arrived two days ago, by the same red-headed man-cherub who delivered my printer. He was just as polite as before. I commend him for sticking with this job longer than the previous dozen or so FedEx drivers we've had, making only one appearance.

Now Hick can stroll the greater Backroads area in comfort, walking on a cloud in his new older-model Skechers, gathering freebies all willy-nilly, and beating the high-waisted pants off elderies at Senior Center bingo.

But this post is not about Hick. It's about VAL! ME ME ME!

I have cracked the FedEx code!

When they send an email proclaiming that a package will be delivered by


What they really mean is that it will get there


You're welcome. Now you can plan accordingly for the receipt of your future packages.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Hick Needs Constant Supervision in the Kitchen

You can't kid a kidder, you can't cheat a cheater, and you can't fool a teacher. Seriously. Hick should know by now. The more details he puts into his "explanations," the easier it is to detect his untruths.

Hick was planning to play bingo on Wednesday evening. He came home early. Said he'd fix himself a meal of our grilled holiday leftovers around 3:30, and leave at 4:00. I was just getting ready to shower when he came in from mowing at 3:00.

"I guess you can find everything for yourself."

"Yeah. I'm getting ready to warm my food here in a minute."

"Okay. I'm getting in the shower. I should be out before you leave."

It was about 3:10 when I left the living room. And 3:50 when I came back. 

"Mmm. I smell baked beans!"

"Yeah. Them was good."

"What's that noise? What's running in the kitchen?"

"The microwave."

"What's in it? I thought you were done eating."


"NOTHING! You can't run a microwave with nothing in it! It's not good for them! Why would you do that?"

"I got it on the wrong time. There's no OFF button! I couldn't make it stop!"

"How long has it been running???"

"Just a couple minutes."

"What did you set it on?"

"Seven minutes. I meant to put my food for 1:30, but I hit the 7 somehow. And then I wanted to add 30 seconds after it, but I hit 45."

"The microwave has been running for 45 minutes???"

"No, Val. Only a couple minutes. I took my food out after 1:30 went by. And I couldn't stop it."

"It stops when you open the door."

"But it runs when you close it. I couldn't get the time off."

"How in the world did you hit 7 thinking it was 3? And then 4 and 5, thinking it was 3 and 0?"

"I don't know, Val! I didn't have my glasses on!"

"Why didn't you just hit the red button?"

"There's a red button?"

"I'm looking at it right now. There. It's off. How hard was THAT?"

"I didn't see no red button."

"Do you only see color with your glasses? I think you left it running for 45 minutes, hoping it would be done before I came out!"

"No. It just turned back on when I ate."

"You've been done for a while, it seems. I don't see a plate."

"I just threw away my plate before you came out. And that's when I turned it back on to finish the couple of minutes."

"It's REALLY hot! And if it was off while you ate, why would you turn it back on when you threw away your plate?"

"I don't know Val! It was only on a couple of minutes, because I couldn't stop it."

When I got home from town, I took a picture of the microwave for evidence. I can't explain the warpy ghostly door frames and wallpaper border. It's just a trick from the glassy surface of the microwave keypad. I took two pics, and they both came out like that.

Clearly, there IS a RED button that says STOP. I suppose Hick wanted it to say OFF. And look at the placement of those numbers. Not sure how he thinks they were arranged. Looks pretty standard to me. All I did to stop that microwave from running was open the door, hit STOP, and the clock went back to normal. Even if Hick had just hit STOP while it was running, it would have stopped. Maybe leaving the remaining time on there. But it would not have been running.

Something is not right with this story... 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Hick's Labor Day Grillfest

With the Labor Day holiday, The Pony had three days off in a row. That rarely happens. He said he wouldn't mind coming out for a grilled steak, since he had missed the 4th of July because he was hot and exhausted from working. Hick said he didn't mind what kind of steaks I got. I took the apple/brown sugar bratwursts out of the freezer. I'm not a big steak fan. Also, The Pony would have some leftovers to take home.

Of course he didn't ask for them, but I made deviled eggs. I know The Pony likes them, but didn't want to put me to any trouble. Our menu was: Porterhouse steaks, bratwursts, salad, baked potatoes (a Pony request), deviled eggs, baked beans, and Sister Schubert's Rolls (found in the freezer, left from Easter, I think). 

Hick picked up The Pony on his way home from his SUS2 around 2:00. He was surprised he didn't have much business, because sometimes people get out and about on a holiday. He started grilling around 3:20, and we ate at 4:00.

The Pony's plate. He's definitely not going to waste away! I DID tell him to bring his appetite. He had a bratwurst and Porterhouse, baked potato (a Yukon Gold variety, because he likes them better than my baking favorite of a russet). A deviled egg, his own pan of Sister Schubert, and a salad with red onion specially requested. His salad had romaine lettuce, a boiled egg, mozzarella cheese, red onion, and Peppercorn Ranch dressing. You can see extra red onion on the plate in the back. He took a bite out of it like an apple after he peeled it! Maybe it had something to do with his rum and Coke! Also, there's a mini bottle of Sprite. You'll be relieved to learn that he did NOT use that ketchup on the steak nor the bratwurst.

Hick's plate. Don't you like how he insouciantly hangs that Porterhouse off the side of the plate? Hick is a carnivore. He declined a salad, so it wouldn't fill him up. He went back for a bratwurst when done with his steak. He cut his potato into fourths, and added butter. Had a good helping of the baked beans, which he loves, and three deviled eggs. A couple rolls, too. And a Wild Turkey and Diet Coke, that he started while he was grilling.

My plate. Would you believe that I was the last one finished, even after Hick's added bratwurst and slice of cheesecake? I'm a slow eater. I fully intended on getting a second bratwurst, but I was too full for that or dessert. My salad is out of sight to the right. It was romaine, boiled egg, cheddar cheese, a home-grown tomato, and Ken's Blue Cheese dressing. I have not yet sliced open my baked potato. I like my baked beans in a separate container, since I don't like chasing them around the plate. My deviled egg was one of the "lesser" deviled eggs. My olives lost their pimiento in the jar. So I took one for the team, and left the pretty ones for Hick and The Pony. I've got my metal water bottle, and a Shasta Diet Cola for hydration. I ended up with two Sister Schuberts, out of the pan designated for me and Hick.

Everyone enjoyed the meal. Hick and The Pony said that part of their steak was a bit tough, but the rest was good. I bought them at Save A Lot, and this is the first time we've been less than satisfied with their meat offerings.

The Pony took home four bratwursts, a pack of buns, eight deviled eggs, several slices of cheesecake, the rest of his Sister Schuberts, and the bottle of rum.

I am still feeling full on the day after.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The Local Pony Express Is Not Just for Letters

I don't hear from The Pony every day. I figure he's busy with his job, and when he gets a precious day off, there are surely more things he'd like to do that talk to me. So unless the weather is bad and I feel a need to check on him, I let The Pony be the one to initiate communications. Sometimes he'll text me in the morning before work. Saturday, I got an unusual text at 9:30.

"I was 20 minutes late for work today because I'm a good person with a bleeding heart and I did my good deed for the day."


"The 20 minutes late is because my neighbor flagged me down looking desperate as I was leaving, and asked if there was any way I could take her to Walmart because her kids weren't answering and she needed something medical. She said it was fine if I took her and dropped her off, so I did, and thus, 20 minutes late. Neighbor, as in older lady that needs one of those walker chairs to go places and can't move well and doesn't have a car. The little house across the street."

"You did the right thing. Any problems at work? A stern talking-to? A warning?"

"No. I warned the manager. Well, 'A' manager. Turns out she's the one closing today, not opening, but since nobody said anything and she was answering I assume she let the ones here know before I got here."

"Hope that lady gets a ride home."

"Yeah. Hopefully she gets what she needed from there and then the taxi place answers or one of her kids does. But I made sure she was okay with me just dropping her off. And she said she was."

"Somebody there will help her, I bet. I'm proud of you. You are one of those hero mail persons, helping elderlies, even if she wasn't on your route."

"I just feel bad I couldn't do more."

"On a day off you could have, but you did what you could."

"Yeah. I didn't pry after she said it was an important medical thing. She didn't say it was urgent or a major emergency thing, just that she needed to get to the Walmart pharmacy for things. And on the ride she mentioned that she's probably moving in the next few days and it might be to one of the assisted living things where you can leave. She sounded so defeatist, like she might end up in a hospital fairly soon. And she offered gas money and I couldn't take that just for a ride to Walmart."


"I feel so bad for her. :( "

"At least you got her to the pharmacy."

Huh. Seems like only yesterday our little Pony was taking that FAFSA interest survey for college, answering that he didn't really care about helping people...

Monday, September 4, 2023

The Last Thing a Mailman Wants to Hear at the End of a Hot August Day

The Pony was near to clocking out on Thursday afternoon when he received some perplexing news, per the text he sent me at 4:05 p.m.

"Joy. Per my mail carrier, water main break or something right next to my house. Gonna pretend it doesn't exist for a minute and go get Chinese. He said it was, ironically, on [word associated with water] Street. He said they had it dug up two hours ago, so shouldn't be too much longer."

"They usually do a boil order for 24 hours after a water main break. Now you'll be having Chinese, and also be really dehydrated. Hope you don't get a headache. Check the city website for a notice."

"I signed up to get alerts."

A half hour later, I got pictures from The Pony's front yard.

"My water connection is off for now, unless I want to try running a filthy bath later."

"You are welcome to come out here and shower or bathe."

"No. No thank you."

"I guess you have three flushes. One in each bathroom! Unless you drive up to Casey's like Dad used to. You can buy jugs of drinking water."

"If I need water while it's still work hours, I can always take my water jugs to work."

At 8:00, the problem continued...

"Pump is still running."

"At least they didn't clock out at 5:00!"

"Yeah. They've still got people actively in the hole. I feel sorry for the poor guys standing in that pit as water sprays around them. The pipe is clearly spraying water both through the pumps and out the pit. It's BROKEN broken. I just tried my water. It runs. Just a big drop in pressure. Seems clean enough. So it's probably down the pipe from me."

At 9:00, The Pony provided an update...

"They upgraded 20 minutes ago to a firehose running across the side of my yard. Rather than just spewing from the pump. It runs across my yard and dumps out at the curb. Sleep is going to be difficult."

"Considering that's out my bedroom window. And I can even hear the water splatter. Don't wanna risk doing laundry and messing up my washer."

Anyhoo... The Pony barely got any sleep. Then he went to work with a headache. Saw the Subway Blimp on his route. Had an adventure the next morning. Then came home Saturday evening and sent me pictures of the aftermath of the water main break. Which had been fixed. 

That's on the side street next to The Pony's house. Pay attention to that little house in the background! It plays a part in The Pony's adventure on Saturday morning. Story coming up.

That's the curb by The Pony's driveway. I guess he's been parking in front of his house! Don't think I'll be driving over there until this issue has been FIXED fixed.