Thursday, November 30, 2023

Val Just Can't Help Herself

I've been attracting lottery wins like my weirdo magnet pulling in weirdos! It's like my scratcherdar is in overdrive. I seem to put myself in the right place at the right time and pick the right ticket. Tuesday was a prime example...

That's a $500 winner, by cracky! I matched every number, plus the candy canes that are automatic win symbols, and the top bonus area with a leaping reindeer. I always scratch off the matching parts first, then go back to check the prize if I have a winner(s). I was anticipating a $100 winner. That first reveal was quite exciting.

This winner came from the School-Turn Casey's. I had planned to go there on Monday, for a change of pace. I normally go on Thursdays. But Thanksgiving week threw me off, and I had been last Tuesday. I changed my plans Monday, since I was in 10Box buying some groceries. I just used their lottery machine instead. But Tuesday I headed over to the School-Turn Casey's, for a $10 ticket and some crosswords. There are only two of the $10 tickets there, and I chose this one over the Red 777 version. It just spoke to me. I'm glad I listened!

Seems like only a couple weeks ago, I had another $500 winner. Oh, that's right. It was 13 days ago! Not that I'm complaining.

Not posting this to brag, or pretend that I know how to pick winners. Only to let others share vicariously in my gambling habit without risking their own cash!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

A Pre-Pony Postal Impropriety

Way back before working for the USPS was not-even a glimmer in The Pony's eye, an incident occurred that rattled my mom to her very core. No, I'm not talking about the drunk man who stood beside the road, leaning on our rural mailbox for several hours while Mom peeped out to see if he'd left yet. I'm talking about my mother's kindheartedness, and propensity for avoiding confrontation.

My mom's best friend, Irma, would often bring things to her and leave them on the porch. Perhaps a cinnamon roll in a bag, draped on the doorknob. Or some tabloids. Just little treats every couple of weeks or so, and the magazines every week. With the garage, you couldn't tell if Mom was home. Irma didn't want to ring the bell and have Mom come up from the family room to see who was there. She'd call later to see if Mom found the stuff. 

They used to teach together, and ride to work in a carpool. No formal visit was necessary. They could talk on the phone for hours, sometimes giggling like schoolgirls until they cried. Irma had some knee trouble, and Mom didn't want her to walk up the porch steps, or make any extra effort just for her. She told Irma that she could just leave the magazines in the mailbox, instead of walking up on the porch. 

Around the holidays Mom made cookies. She got a card to thank Irma, and put some cookies in a baggie. Left them in the mailbox for Irma to get when she dropped off the magazines. 

A couple days later, Mom was surprised to find a card in the mailbox.

"Thank you for the nice card. It made my day. It means so much that somebody appreciates what I do. The cookies were delicious. I am so happy to be your mail lady!"

Well! That threw Mom for a loop! She didn't know what to do. She hadn't told Irma that she was leaving her anything. So she couldn't really apologize that Irma didn't get them. The mail lady was the mother of one of Genius's friends, from the next town over. Mom had never really met her, but the mail lady knew that Mom was Genius's grandma. Mom didn't want to make her feel bad by telling her that the card and cookies weren't meant for her. So she did nothing. Except tell me the story.

I think Mom handled it just right. She said nothing to the mail lady, and got another card, which she took with cookies to Irma's house.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Everybody Sees Them But Val

The ol' Val eyes ain't what they used to be, but I know I'm not blind. I'm just not seeing ladybugs all willy-nilly, day in/day out, like SOME people around here. Hick is the latest beneficiary of a ladybug sighting. He sent me a text on Saturday:

"Look at the Beatles on the b. I just bought the clock"

It took me a minute to understand what Hick was trying to say. I suppose he let Autocorrect fill in the Beatles. I was wondering what Paul, John, George, and Ringo had to do with that clock. Then I zoomed in for a closer look.

How fair is THAT? Hick doesn't even call them ladybugs! Why does HE deserve to see one, when it would mean the world to me?

Everybody stop cutting eyes at each other, and cease your crazy temple twirly fingers to play the world's smallest violin for Val!

As for the clock, it is a hark back (never heard of a hark forward) to the days of Griesedieck Brothers Beer, a St. Louis brewing company. Hick paid $35 for the clock, and said it's probably worth about $100.

"What will you sell it for?"

"I'm not selling it. I'm keeping it. With my collection of beer stuff."

That means somebody is not going to get it for the low, low price of $40.

 As for the ladybug... I suppose it will fly away home, trying to remember if its house insurance is paid up.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Nobody Can Accuse The Pony of Hamming It Up

The Pony worked on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  He sent me a text at 11:00 a.m.

"Gotta say, this is a first."

"Wow! Was that left for a relative to pick up? Or for the regular carrier? Or maybe someone dropped it off for the homeowner?"

"I have no clue, but I'm not touching it!"

"Not today, Postal Inspector!"

Let the record show that some people leave holiday bonuses for their postman. But also, Postal Inspectors allegedly plant items in random mailboxes to test the integrity of the employees. They are not supposed to pick up anything but outgoing mail. I think they are allowed to accept a gift up to $20 in value, once a year. I don't know the specifics. I haven't read the regulations. Only the discussions I see on the USPS unofficial site on Reddit. Sometimes carriers post pictures of odd things they've found in mailboxes, with the response being: "Not today, Postal Inspector!" A lot of times, it's loose $20 bills, or bags of weed.

This is the first ham I've seen in a mailbox. I think The Pony was wise to leave it!

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Thevictorians' Dessert Cornucopia

When I was shopping for the final items I needed for Thanksgiving Dinner, I went overboard on the desserts. Part of it was guilt for not making them myself. I usually make an Oreo Cake for The Pony, and a chocolate pudding pie for Hick. The older I get, the less effort I feel like expending. After all, I was making three sides, plus The Pony making his own Stovetop Stuffing that he loves so much. I figured storebought desserts would suffice.

The five desserts were: 

Marie Callender's Chocolate Satin Pie: we had this a previous year, on a whim, and Hick and I both love it.

Marie Callender's Banana Cream Pie: Hick loves banana cream pie, and I also like it.

Triple Chocolate Cake: it's shaped like a bundt cake, with a chocolate glaze icing, and mini chocolate chips sprinkled on top. We all like chocolate cake.

Mini Blueberry Muffins: The Pony likes them, and used to get the individual bags of mini muffins. These came in a clear plastic container, one dozen.

Chocolate-Covered Brownies: not full size, but like mini brownies, in a clear plastic container smaller than that holding the mini blueberry muffins. The Pony loves brownies, and I figured he would love chocolate-covered brownies even more.

I planned to send half the Triple Chocolate Cake, what was left of the Mini Blueberry Muffins, and all six of the Chocolate-Covered Brownies home with The Pony. Hick got to choose which pie he wanted me to set out to thaw. He picked the Banana Cream Pie.

Anyhoo... The Pony and I were still giggling about old times, chipping away at our enormous plates of savory food, when Hick pushed his empty plate away, and announced he was getting dessert. We paid him no mind, as usual. He got a knife and a paper plate as we continued to reminisce. And then we heard it!


The Pony and I cut eyes at each other. That didn't sound right.

"Uh. Dad? I don't think your pie has thawed out yet."

"NO! Get something else. Let the pie wait until later."

Of course Hick does not listen to us. Especially when DESSERT is involved! He brought his plate of pie to the table, and commenced poking his fork into it.


"No. Don't eat that! Let it thaw!"

Hick put that bite of pie into his mouth, and started chewing. CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH!

The Pony and I looked on in horror, as Hick proclaimed, "It's fine." He continued to chew. It sounded like he was eating light bulbs! 

Once the slice of pie was finished, Hick got up again. He came back with a slice of the Triple Chocolate Cake. Which was blessedly silent as he ate it. 

THEN Hick went back to the counter, and got himself a Mini Blueberry Muffin. 

The Pony and I were still eating our regular food. We were both too full for dessert. In fact, The Pony declined the Mini Blueberry Muffins as part of his leftovers to take home. He DID take all the Chocolate-Covered Brownies, and half the Triple Chocolate Cake. Also Chinese Tupperware containers of ham, roasted vegetables, stuffing, half of the sliced assorted cheeses pack, his remaining Sister Schubert's Rolls plus a still-frozen pack to bake later. And two individual salads that I had made for him, with the bottle of Peppercorn Ranch Dressing.

The Pony's reason for declining the Mini Blueberry Muffins?

"I can't eat too much. My route is not as much walking as I used to have."

By the following evening, Hick's Banana Cream Pie was no longer crunchy. He really likes it.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Val Baby-Steps Her Way Out of the PENNY Shortage

The curse has been broken! Whoever had a voodoo Val doll with a reverse magnet strapped to it, repelling all pennies, must have tired of their shenanigans, and at least flipped that magnet on Tuesday!

On my very very good day, TUESDAY, November 21, I hobbled out of the Gas Station Chicken Store and was immediately accosted by a shining PENNY!

Just try to miss THAT one! The day was cool and sunny as I made my way around three towns. I guess dusk was falling early, or a cloud passed over while I was inside buying scratchers. The object of my desire was under the roof by the gas pumps. You can see Hick's pharmacy across the moat, and a sliver of a car parked at the Casey's in the uppermost leftmost corner. But all I had eyes for was that penny!

It was a face-down 2002 penny, showing me its rumpus. What a cheeky Lincoln! I suppose he was embarrassed to show his face, after avoiding me for nigh on two weeks!

My hopes for breaking last year's records are as dim as the light in this picture. But I'll keep trying! Nobody ever became a Pennyillionaire by giving up.

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


Penny           # 81.
Dime             still at 17
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, November 24, 2023

Thevictorians Strap On an Extra-Large Feedbag

The Pony came out to join us for Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday. Hick picked him up on his way back home from organizing his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2). That way, The Pony could enjoy a cocktail, smug with the knowledge that his chauffeur would be driving him home. Of course, the chauffeur also had a cocktail! If you classify a shot of Wild Turkey in a red Solo cup with Diet Coke as a cocktail.

Actually, that was the ONLY turkey served in Thevictorian household on Thanksgiving, as Hick had requested ham this year. And don't worry, he had plenty of food and time to sober up while The Pony and I remained at the table chatting long after Hick had his three desserts and retired to his recliner to watch football.

The Pony was a big help. I had asked that he arrive one hour before we planned to dine, to help with last-minute prep. He's a fantastic workhorse, our Pony. He made his own Stovetop Stuffing. And tore off foil to cover my hash brown casserole. Checked the roasted vegetables as they heated. Got out the plates and silverware. Baked the Sister Schubert's Rolls. Mixed the drinks. Timed the assorted foodstuffs and removed them from the oven. I really appreciate my little Pony.

I bought a bone-in ham, and butchered it on Wednesday afternoon while Hick was away at a doctor appointment. He said he wanted quarter-inch slices. Well. That ham was slippery! So the quarter-inch varied from slice to slice. Hick was going to have a ham steak sized slice, but changed his mind and took some random chunks. So I ended up with the other piece. He didn't make that decision until it was warmed already. Just slices The Pony and I selected, rather than putting the whole ham in the oven. Which was impossible anyway, because the giant bone was in Frig II's freezer to cook in a pot of Great Northern beans next week.

Anyhoo... here are our plates. We'll start with mine.

Yes, that's a giant slab of ham. I like the fat. I really do. But I had so much other stuff to eat that I trimmed off that fat for the dogs. Plus, The Pony tossed his trimmed fat onto my plate. I made a couple of mini sandwiches with the little rye bread slices leaned against the plate. No use wasting my rolls for that, like The Pony did for his sandwiches. Also on the plate is the hash brown casserole. Then I have my roasted vegetables in a bowl. They were great. You should have smelled them when cooking on Wednesday. Golden potatoes, baby carrots, and onions, covered with strips of bacon for flavor. The bacon itself was to be used in the 7 Layer Salad. It's the top layer, followed by shredded cheddar, mayo, peas, diced boiled eggs, chopped green onions, and romaine lettuce. Oh, and I have some black olives on the side. 

Now we'll take a look at Hick's plate.

Hick's plate is just too busy for me! I don't like all my food crammed together. Hick is quite generous with the butter on his rolls. That must be where The Pony gets his love of butter. This was Kerrygold, per The Pony's request. Hick made some comment about how he liked REAL butter, and The Pony said, "Um. That's Kerrygold. You can't get any realer than that!" And in fact went to FRIG II to get another stick of it, and show Hick the wording. Not sure if Hick was just babbling, or accusing me of not putting out real butter. He said "I like the butter, instead of margarine." Which everybody knows is in a tub in FRIG II, and not on the butter dish you see at the bottom of this picture.

And now for The Pony's trough. Brace yourself.

Yes, that's a whole pan of Sister Schubert's Rolls, just for The Pony. He even said, jokingly, I hope: "I'm putting them over here so you two can't get them!" Our pan was on the cutting block, where we had filled our plates, and was more brown on top, per my request. The Pony does not like the 7 Layer Salad, so I made his separate, and he added red onion. He was drinking spiced rum and Sprite, with a Coke on the side.

As you can see, Thevictorians have healthy appetites. Not healthy, as in good for your body. But healthy, as in we eat a lot!

In a few days I'll tell you about the desserts. No pictures of them. It's kind of too late! Which doesn't mean that they're all gone. The Pony took some home, along with my Chinese Tupperware containers of ham, roasted vegetables, two individual salads, stuffing, and a frozen pack of rolls to bake later. 

The Pony and I sat at the table finishing our plates (no room for dessert) and talking until 4:45! Then the chauffeur grew restless, and started dropping hints that maybe The Pony should round up the leftovers so they could hit the road.

A great time was had by all, and Hick was even on pretty-good behavior!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Terrific Tuesday

Tuesday was SUCH A GOOD DAY for Val!

It was errand day, due to the Thanksgiving Dinner not going to cook nor serve itself on Thursday. So I was off to Sis-Town to the bank, where I pulled into my favorite drive-thru lane where I can reach the canister without risking T-Hoe's now non-foldable mirrors. And mere seconds before a car pulled into the lane on my left, and a truck into the lane on my right. FIRST, baby!

Next stop, the Casey's, where T-Hoe did not yet need gas. A truck backed out of my favorite parking space next to the walkway with a ramp, so I waited and parked there. Inside, NO ONE was in line!

From there, I went to the main post office to mail a Genius letter, our electric bill, and several four figureses of real estate and personal property taxes. I went inside, to make sure the tax envelope did not weigh too much. No good comes of having your tax payments returned for insufficient postage! I also bought two books of stamps. The very polite clerk, an acquaintance of The Pony, was at the counter. With NO OTHER CUSTOMERS! 

Back at the Gas Station Chicken Store, I got my favorite parking spot, and only had to wait for one other customer to put his change in his pocket before it was my turn. On the way out, I found an object of my desire on the pavement as I walked back to T-Hoe. 

There was no traffic at the light, and I was able to make my right-on-red to head home. The next two lights I approached were both green. Nobody tailgated me, and I did not encounter a hay trailer!

Once home, my little Jack was waiting for me at the edge of the BARn field, and raced me to the garage. Scarlett was so preoccupied with Hick burning cardboard boxes while sitting on the tailgate of SilverRedO over by the BARn that she forgot to jump at me from the side porch. She ran back and forth, kitchen door to front porch, to look and make sure the object of her ADORATION was still sitting by his burn pile, and then back to see if I was ready to hand out a treat.

Inside, I discovered that Hick had swept the kitchen floor, cleared off his junk from the table, vacuumed the living room, and FIXED MY CLOGGED SINK! So getting Thanksgiving dinner prepared could be my focus the next day.

Oh, and a half hour later, I scratched my lottery tickets, and found:

TWO $100 winners on $5 tickets!

On the blue ticket, I had five prizes of $5, and three of the $25 power spots. On the crossword, I had three words in the top section: LILY, LET, and TEA. Which would have won me $5, except I had the 20X multiplier. Can't beat that with a penny!

I'm pretty sure Wednesday will not be able to compete. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Dinner and a Tree

Tuesday was the Thanksgiving Dinner at the Senior Center. Hick was grousing about it the night before. Apparently, they did not consult him before choosing the menu.

"They ain't even havin' real turkey. [Never mind that Hick decided WE would have ham, because he likes it better than turkey.] It's pulled turkey. Like pulled pork. Only turkey. And there ain't no dressing. And instead of pumpkin pie, they're making pumpkin cake!"

When he got home after paying his $3 and eating this unsatisfactory meal, he was raving about the green beans.

"They had these green beans with ONIONS in them!"

"I put onions in my green beans."

"No! Not that kind. You know how you put bacon in your green beans? They put onions in theirs. Crunchy onions. I don't know what you call them."

"You mean like people put on top of their green bean casserole?"

"I don't know. Maybe. But this was just green beans. With crunchy onions in them."

"I'm pretty sure they didn't cook it that way. They probably put your green beans on the tray, then sprinkled some of the French Fried Onions on top. They come in a can."

"No. They was mixed in."

"Well, if they'd been cooked that way, the onions would not be crunchy."

"Anyway, them was good."

Hick sent me a picture between lunch and arriving home.

"I won this Christmas tree at bingo"

"That's a Charlie Brown tree!"


We discussed it when he got home.

"Do they ever have bingo prizes that aren't used?"

"Yeah. Today they had a mitten. TWO of them! And something else."

I think Hick probably meant an oven mitt. Two. Not to say that they're exactly used, but more like re-gifted as a bingo prize. Anyhoo... I'm sure the elderlies like to win something. Hick certainly does! And if you look closely at his "new' Christmas tree, it has lights on it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The Ladybug Magnet Is Still Attracting

A couple weeks ago, I showed pictures of The Pony's close encounters with ladybugs, bemoaning the fact that I have not seen a single one. Still haven't. But The Pony has!

On a brick wall, on Wednesday Nov 8...

And another one later that afternoon. "Dive-bombed my forehead from inside the truck."

Then a little herd of them in a mailbox on Friday, Nov 10...

Another one getting personal on Wednesday, Nov 15...

Another, hopefully not heading for his jugular vein, on Friday, Nov 17...

And on a mailbox yesterday, Nov 20...

"You are a ladybug magnet!"

"Yeah. Especially on bad days."

I guess that holds true. At 4:56, The Pony texted:

"Not feeling super lucky today. Since I've still got an hour-ish of mail to do."

Let the record show that it was dark by 4:30, with rain falling, and 45 degrees. I'm hoping The Pony had his headlamp. He said he keeps one in the car. If only he remembered to put it in his satchel. He hasn't been getting overtime yet this year, so he might have forgotten.

I consider the ladybugs lucky. You never know. In the time it takes for The Pony to snap a picture, his route is altered ever so slightly. It only takes an instant for an accident to happen. So these ladybugs COULD be lucky after all...

Monday, November 20, 2023

Take Hay While the Sun Shines

On my way home last week, around 4:00, I came up on a slow-moving vehicle. By its nature, I figured it wasn't going far. I had about 1.5 miles left to get home, so settled in to mosey along at 5 mph.  That road-blocker would either turn, or I would, within a short time. Thankfully, shorter than I had imagined. Less than a quarter mile from where I came upon it.

I gasped as we started down the approach to the low-water bridge. That vehicle dipped two tires off the right-side edge of the road! Lucky the whole thing didn't tip and lose its load!

Coming up off the low-water bridge, I was on level straight road, and could take a picture. I figured a tractor was pulling the trailer, thus the slow pace.

As you can see, there was no room to pass. Not that I contemplated it. I was just relieved that no traffic was coming the other way. This load was about to turn onto the driveway to the left, by that telephone pole up ahead. Not that it had a turn signal, or a driver with an arm long enough for me to see a manual signal. Oh, and you might notice that the bales were NOT strapped down! Just stacked on the trailer.

THIS is why it was going so slow. The procession was led by this little bobcat. That's what we call them, though this one is actually the John Deere brand, which I think is called a track loader. I asked Hick if such a little thing could load those large round bales, and he said sure it could, plus even heavier things.

There was a truck actually pulling the trailer. Again, nothing was strapping down those bales! There is at least one, and maybe two, over the wheels, sitting on the round ends, not visible from this angle. So at least 9 bales, maybe 10, on that trailer, ready to roll all willy-nilly if it tips or is hit by another vehicle.

I'm glad they got out of my way without incident! It would be hard for me to back T-Hoe over the low-water bridge to a turn-around place.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Among Things I Did Not Want To Hear

Hick was looking at the Facebook page of our enclave on Saturday evening.

"That woman who lives down behind us? Over the creek? The bear got into her shed last night. Tore up three bags of feed for her goats. And was on the hood of her car. He left footprints."

"She's lucky he didn't eat a goat! Did he eat all the feed?"

"I don't know. Some of it, anyway."

"I hope he doesn't get into our garage! Since you keep the dogfood in there. Even though it's in the plastic trash can with a lid. And not in a bag."

"He could."

"I bet that's why the dogs bark their fool heads off every night. Maybe they'll keep him away. But he could have been the one to take their food bowls out into the front yard. He wouldn't have to come up on the porch. Just stand up and grab one in his mouth. Then if the dogs were annoying him, he'd go to the front yard. Did that woman have a dog?"

"I don't know."

"Surely dogs would run it off. To someone else's house where there are no dogs. You can bet our two and Copper Jack all join in together. I hope they're not so stupid to attack it. More likely just warn him off to protect the homestead!"

"You never know."

"I don't think a bear would eat a dog. Unless it was chained up and couldn't get away. Can't the Conservation Department trap it, and let it go somewhere like the Mark Twain National Forest? Where there's not any houses?"

"I guess they COULD. But the question is if they WOULD."

"Well. Somebody's going to shoot it if it keeps getting into stuff, or kills their pets."

"They might."

"Or somebody might get killed."

"A black bear won't kill a person."

"Would YOU stand out there and try to run one off???"

"Probably not."

I suppose now I won't be annoyed with the dogs barking their fool heads off all night. I'll think of it as protection from an ursine invader. But now I'll worry about the invader. 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Someone Is Pinching Val's PENNIES!

Skunked again! Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune had to tighten its belt again this week for lack of sustenance. I swear, it's as if there's another fortune-seeker out there stealing my pennies before I can get to them! But it's not all gloom and doom. Even Steven is a fair guy. The penny door might be bolted shut, but the scratcher door is wide open!

I used some of my casino winnings from Monday to buy a BIG TICKET on Wednesday at the Gas Station Chicken Store.

I do love looking at the closeup of my spectacular win!

Genius sent me a text asking how our casino trip went, when he got my letter on Thursday. I told him of my $140 profit, and then sent him my scratcher picture. He said, "Holy cow! You keep winning upwards!" To which I replied: "I have a knack. And a habit..."

I'd still be happy to find some coins next week.

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


Penny           still at 80
Dime             still at 17
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, November 17, 2023

The Bargain Magnet Attracts Again

Hick came home from his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) on Saturday with a bargain. It was in the back of SilverRedO, and Hick said he had to drive A-Cad for a few days until he could get his bargain unloaded. Didn't want it to get caught in the rain, which it turns out we only got a sprinkling of.

Hick's bargain was a 2-piece deal.

It's a washer and dryer for the Double Hovel flip house.

Hick was doing business as usual, and a fellow Storage-Unit-Store-y came in and told him, "My wife has some stuff for sale that you might be interested in." Hick went over to look, and saw the washer and dryer. At a price of $100 for the pair, Hick couldn't turn it down!

They came out of the house of the wife's parents. Her father passed away, and her mother moved into a nursing home. Hick installed them on Tuesday at the flip house. He ran the washer, and it works just fine. He has not yet tried the dryer, because he needs to get a power cord to plug it in.

Hick must have a heavily reinforced lap, because all the bargains falling into it have not caused injury.

Oh, and if you plan on making fun of our Christmas lights being up so early, the joke's on you. They've been up for about 10 years now.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Bingo Price Box

Hick was back to playing bingo Wednesday night. He even came home and took a 10-minute shower! Not sure who he was trying to impress...

He missed lunch at the Senior Center because he was working on the Double Hovel flip house. His cronies at bingo said the seniors were disappointed. They were planning to yell "HICK!" when he walked in the door. Because they are tired of him winning their bingo. That's how Hick told it, anyway.

"You mean yell because they were mad at you? For always winning?"

"No. They're not MAD at me. But they don't like it that I always win."

"Well. I guess maybe they can't see, or they can't hear."

"They do complain that they can't hear. But she says it plenty loud."

Indeed. If HICK can hear it, those numbers must be called very loudly!

Anyhoo... because he was hungry from missing lunch, Hick had two suppers:

The Buffalo Wontons, and the Potato Bombs. Looks like he also enjoyed an adult beverage.

Of course I asked what the grand prize was for the evening.

"Don't know yet. It's in a cardboard box they have this picture on their web page"

"That's Arnold Schwarzenegger. Don't know what he sells. Or who the woman is."

"That is just the picture of the chairs with the people screen shot in"

"I know that! I thought it was supposed to be a hint about the prize."

"No just how they are showing the price"

"What is the difference in a hint, and how they are showing the priZe? You are ridiculous. What's the point of showing that picture if it's not a hint? They might as well show a picture of a dog's rumpus! It would mean the same."

Funny how Hick didn't respond after that. When he got home, I asked what the prize was.

"I TOLD you what the prize was! It was two chairs!"

"WHAT? You never told me the prize was chairs!"

"I sent you a picture and told you it was chairs."

"No. You sent me a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a woman, saying it was on the web page."

"Yeah. It was a picture of the box. The box with chairs in it."

"How was I supposed to know that was a BOX? It just looks like a picture. It would be different if I saw the edges of a box. Why didn't you just say the prize was CHAIRS?"

"You don't understand nothin'!"

Apparently, I do not. At least nothin' coming out of Hick's texting fingers and illogical brain.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Welcome to Val's World

Tuesday morning, I had a regular six-month appointment at my nurse practitioner's office, which is over in Bill-Paying Town, in the upper floors of the hospital. Hick said he would drive me, which was a nice gesture, since it meant that I could be dropped off at the door, and not have to do extra walking.

My appointment was for 8:15, demanding my arrival at 8:00. Hick let me off, and drove A-Cad over to Lowe's to look for things he needed to finish the outside of The Pony's house. You didn't think he'd just sit in the parking lot and wait for me, did you?

When I came out 50 minutes later, I was surprised to see what Hick had bought:

It was a 10-foot piece of gutter for The Pony's front porch. I was too stunned to take the picture right away. This is back over near our bank, where Hick took the liberty of a detour to show me the outside of the Double Hovel flip house. But not long enough, or in a position advantageous for getting a picture of THAT.

Welcome to Val's World.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Loot or Consequences

Thevictorians made a trip to the casino on Monday. We have not been since June or July! That is an incredible amount of time for Val to hang onto her disposable income. It needs disposing! Hick had made a couple trips to Casino Town for business, but not to the casino. Even though he'd invited me, my knees declined the offer. So here we were, five months out of action.

Upon arrival, we all traipsed to the Player's Club to have our cards activated. You don't have to do that every time, but Monday's gimmick to draw people in was a points multiplier. Points get you free play here, but not much else. Not merchandise and free hotel stays like the Oklahoma casinos.

Anyhoo... we all had our player's card and our ID ready. Hick went first, and disappeared as usual. I went next. I noticed that the guy was taking a while to activate my card so I could start having my points multiplied as I played. I wasn't watching him, but was turned around talking to The Pony. Then I noticed the guy struggling to get my card off the ring that attaches it to my stretchy bright green phone-cord-looking loop that I keep it on.

"Oh! Am I getting a new card?"


I've had my old card for several years, so that was not a surprise. The Pony stepped up next, but kept the same card, just had it activated. To be fair, he had gotten a new card last time we were there, due to leaving his other one(s) at home. 

When I sat down at the first machine I play, which is next to the Pompeii machine that The Pony likes to play, I slid my card into the slot.

"Hey! Wait a minute! My card is GOLD now! What does that mean? Have I been demoted? I want my PLATINUM card back!"

"Probably. See? Mine is like yours. It's what they've given me the last two times I got a new one. But I still have $30 in free play! Just like you."

"Huh. Well. Dad has the gold card, and he only gets $10 in free play. I don't know if he even got that this time. He didn't get the thing in the mail like I did this time."

"I guess we'll find out when next month's offers come. We'll get less if it changed."

"Yeah. If you don't spend as much, the offers go down. I'm pretty sure you get your card status for one year. Maybe it's that time of year when they review your play, and assign your card. But if you play MORE through the year, I think they'll increase your status when you reach the limit, and upgrade your card. They just don't keep dropping it except when that year is over."

I guess time will tell.

We met for lunch at 12:45. The one lady who takes orders and brings out the food was BACK! We hadn't seen her in forever. She remembered us. And the other lady who had taken her place also asked where we'd been. Funny that this was that one lady's first day back! She was being re-trained on their new system.

Hick ventured away from his standard cheeseburger, and got the fried chicken sandwich.

Hick didn't mention his sandwich, so I guess it was okay. It's a nice plump piece of chicken. Even The Pony mentioned how it looked better than the thin scrap I got the one and only time I ordered the chicken sandwich. They sure didn't go overboard on the onion! And the pair of pickles looks a bit anemic. I'm guessing most of his special sauce was stuck to the top bun. I hope. Hick didn't even get his usual slice of pie this time! 

The Pony veered away from his usual fried chicken sandwich, and tried the Mississippi Burger.

It came with bacon, pimiento cheese, and jalapenos. The Pony said it was good, but he probably wouldn't get it again, because it seemed dry. He prefers the special sauce of the chicken sandwich, or mayo and ketchup, rather than the pimiento cheese. I prefer that The Pony either wear nail polish, or doesn't! Rather than rocking the chipped leftovers on his fingernails!

I couldn't decide what I wanted, so made an impulse decision from a sign on the counter of their current special, the Smothered Pork Po' Boy.

Imagine my shock when my Smothered Pork Po' Boy was delivered to the table, still breathing! The gal said that the gravy was on the side, for me to pour it over. Which was really how I preferred it, because imagine how hard that would have been to eat with the gravy on it! That's a crusty roll, with shredded pork, melted cheese, and grilled onions. 

I tackled my Po' Boy by slicing off a portion with a plastic knife and fork. Then trying a spoonful of gravy. That seemed the the least sloppy option, though I DID still get one splotch of gravy on my shirt. In the end, I mainly ate the innards of the Po' Boy, leaving 3/4 of the bread. If I had unlimited time, I would have dipped part of it in the gravy, holding that gravy cup under my chin in the absence of a bib. But Hick and The Pony were done way before I was, and I wanted to get back to gambling.

Score one for Val! This time MY fries came in a separate container, even though I ordered the combo, same as Hick and The Pony. I ended up sharing about 1/3 of them with The Pony, who had finished his already. And some of my gravy for dipping. I didn't mind if The Pony doubled-dipped, and he didn't mine if I ate gravy off my spoon and put it back in the container. Family blood is thicker than gravy.

Hick lost $60, The Pony lost 1/3 of his casino bankroll, and I left with a $140 profit. So a good day was had by one. We all enjoyed our outing. Even The Pony talked all the way there and back, rather than having his nose in his phone.

We might be returning next month, when The Pony has some time off.

Monday, November 13, 2023

If You Give a Val a Cleanser...

Sunday afternoon, I had the most scathingly brilliant idea. To clean my clean sink. The sink on the right side of my double sink combo, where I have the dish drainer, and put the clean dishes. The clean sink wasn't looking so clean. We have hard water, and get a limestone scale deposit if water sits or drips. I rarely run water down the clean sink, but the dishes drip it, and sometimes the turn on/off lever leaks a little down that side. The scale part was looking rough, and like it was starting to discolor. So I went looking for something heavy-duty to use, because Comet doesn't scrub off the scale.

I found a bottle of Clorox Cleaner and Bleach in the laundry room. That seems like an odd name, but I'm no marketing genius. I brought the bottle out, pulled my glasses down off my head, and grabbed the little magnifying glass I used to check for penny dates. The instructions on that cleaner's plastic-wrapped bottle were in very tiny font.

Well! Good thing I read it! According to the bottle, I needed to wear a hazmat suit, a bullet-proof vest, and reach my arms out of holes in a lead shield! Oh, and make sure I wore a respirator, and had poison control and a plastic surgeon on speed dial. And, if I'd ever had a breathing problem, or heart issues, I should absolutely not use this product.

Since I wasn't supposed to let it touch my skin, I got out a pack of rubber gloves. Even though the cleaner said not to let it touch rubber! For ventilation, I did not want to raise the mini blinds and open the three kitchen windows, which would involve moving four chairs out of the way, and leaning over the table. I figured I could prop open the kitchen door, and then turn on the whole-house exhaust fan that is located in the ceiling of the laundry room adjacent to the kitchen. I even used a cardboard box about 10 inches wide to prop the kitchen door open, knowing that when the exhaust fan whooshed on, it would pull the door closed.

I put my glasses back up on my head so as not to trip on my own feet using the bifocals as I walked to the laundry room. I pulled on the chain hanging between the washer and dryer, to activate the exhaust fan. Nope. Not budging! What in the NOT-HEAVEN? I tilted my head back to see if something was caught on the louvers that should have opened to start the exhaust fan. 

Welp! Tilting my head back sent my glasses to the cold hard gray ceramic tile of the laundry room floor. I heard two pieces skitter. That's not a good thing. Also, I couldn't find those pieces! I wasn't wearing my glasses, heh, heh! Nah. That wasn't it. I can see pennies without them. But the midnight blue metallic color of my glasses frames kind of blended with the gray of the tile. And the lens that had popped out was see-through, because a lens would be useless if it wasn't.

By leaning my head, and creeping softly by scooting my Crocs, I found an angle that allowed me to spot both glasses and lens. I got the lens popped back in. Gave up on trying to start the exhaust fan. Went back to the sink and put on my yellow rubber gloves. Spritzed the Clorox Cleaner and Bleach into the clean sink. Let it sit the recommended 30 seconds. Then started scrubbing. Parts of the scale scrubbed off. Since I had not fainted from lack of oxygen, I gave it another spritz. Scrubbed. Then did a third round. Most of the scale was removed. Not all. But I was ready to call it a day and go to town.

As I rinsed off the yellow rubber gloves (whose package said they could be washed and re-used), I noticed a buzzy/gurgling sound. I've been having trouble with my washing sink's drain. I've told Hick, but you know he can only do work for other people, and not at home. I've told him that it seems like a clog down in the curvy pipe under the sink, because when I run the water to get it hot enough for dishwashing, after a while it will start to back up. Oh, and when I let out the dishwater, some of it comes up in the clean sink drain. Hick says that sounds like an air bubble. NOT TO ME! But I'm no free-lance plumber who rolls around in other people's poop under their house to put in a 45 degree angle pipe...

Anyhoo... as I heard this buzzy/gurgling sound, I thought maybe those strong chemicals in the Clorox Cleaner and Bleach might be eating through a clog, since I'd rinsed some down the drain of the clean sink. I tilted my head to listen, and was shocked to learn that the noise was NOT coming from the drain! It was coming from the WINDOWS. 

While the door was propped open for ventilation, FIVE stinging critters had come inside, and were now flinging themselves against the window panes, trying to get back out. Idiots! If they wanted out, why had they come in? They might have been wasps, but had shorter bodies, like a hornet, but without striped butt-ends. Whatever they were, they were not happy. 

I picked up my flyswatter, but didn't have a clear shot at a clean kill through those mini blinds. There were two critters at each window, but only one at the window behind my computing chair. If I tried to raise the blinds to swat them, one was sure to get away at each window before I could smash them.

Lucky for me, there was a can of RAID Wasp and Hornet Spray sitting on the end of the kitchen counter by the door. It has been there against the wall since we had our yearly ant invasion several months ago. I grabbed it and gave a squirt through the mini blinds at the first window. Aha! Got 'im! The second critter at that window had no idea what was coming for him. After four more squirts, all five of those would-be stingers were writhing in their death throes on the little ledge of the window frame where the turny lock thingies are.

I went out on the porch to see if we had wasps on a nest above the door, as we've had years past. But there were only three desiccated nests, looking like they'd been long abandoned. I sprayed the one directly above the kitchen door anyway, stepping back to avoid the dripping. Scarlett and Jack came running, thinking a treat would be forthcoming. Nope. They got a kind word, and that was all. Not even a pat from my as-yet unwashed post-gloved hands.

After that, I figured it was safe to remove the five corpses on the windowsills, with some Puffs With Lotion for shrouds. After giving them a satisfying CRUNCH, I put them in the wastebasket.

Next time I get the urge to clean the clean sink, I'm going to sit down and think it through.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Something About This Seems Ironic

Saturday was the first day of deer season here. We see deer quite often. Hick says one runs along on three legs, and must have broken a leg at some point, because it sticks out at an odd angle. Before so many people lived out here, Hick and his buddies would sit in tree stands and wait for a perfect shot. In fact, Buddy, of the Badly Blacktopped Hill caper, got mad at our next-door neighbor because he shot a deer headed across the field towards Buddy's tree stand. Shot it from his truck, heh, heh, on his way home. Not that it's legal to do that... but on your own property that you and your buddies have given each other permission to hunt on, what's the harm? He still used his deer tag and reported it.

Anyhoo... this Neighbor is the human dad of Copper Jack. He keeps Copper Jack tied up during deer season, partly because he's deer-colored, and perhaps because Neighbor doesn't like being followed by his dog when he's trying to hunt. Neighbor is a lifelong hunter. He eats what he kills. He's not just in it for sport. I heard him shooting his gun Friday evening. Must have been getting the sights set, because of the number of shots, all coming from the same place, across the fence from us, and not in the woods. He's not such a bad shot that it would require so many to take down a deer.

Anyhoo... hunting hours are from sunrise to sunset, but most hunters get out early in the morning. They may stay out all day, but Hick says deer are usually on the move early, or in the evening when they go to water before bedding down for the night.

As I was going up the driveway on my way to town Saturday around 2:00, a couple hours earlier than usual, I saw two deer in our across-the-road neighbors' horse field. They don't have horses any more, and leave the gate open. These were two big does, grazing, stopping to raise their heads and look at T-Hoe before grazing again. I hadn't heard any shooting all day. So I guess the deer action was in the yards, not down in the woods!

I'd say this was irony, but I'm still not exactly sure how to apply the concept of irony...

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Oh, NO! It's HaPENNYing Again!

Just when Val thought things were looking up again for her Future Pennyillionaire Fortune, she had another week when her looking down did not yield any results! I've been skunked again! NO pennies picked up nor seen. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

I don't even have a story of a near-miss. 

If Beaver Cleaver's best friend Larry Mondello lived around here, he could dump some change out of his mother's sewing basket, and say the coins fell out of the pockets of a stunt pilot flying upside down. Then I'd have a lot of coins to find...

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


Penny           still at 80
Dime             still at 17
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, November 10, 2023

The Adoration is Strong in This One

When I left for town on Thursday, the dogs were missing. I figured maybe they were over at Copper Jack's house next door, since I was leaving a couple hours earlier than normal. As I went up the driveway, Jack appeared, and then Scarlett, coming from the direction of neighbor Tommy's house, and not under the fence from Copper Jack's. Oh, well. Too bad, so sad. I had tossed their pre-town thumb-sized scrap of bread onto the side porch, for them to find, or not.

Hick was making deals and sorting stuff at his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2), and got home before I did. He had driven A-Cad instead of SilverRedO. I saw it parked over on Shackytown Boulevard when I came down the driveway upon my return. Only my little Jack came running. By the time I had parked T-Hoe in the garage, Hick was pulling in with A-Cad. I gave him my key to go unlock the door.

As I came out the people door of the garage, only Jack was waiting. We had a mini love-fest, Jack whimpering with delight to have all the attention to himself, without leaping Scarlett to contend with. 

"Where is my Scarlett? What have you done with her? She wouldn't miss her treat!"

Jack did not answer. It was quite unusual for Scarlett to be off on her own, since I'd just seen her before leaving for town. Once inside, I asked Hick.

"Where is Scarlett? Have you locked her up somewhere accidentally? Only Jack is here for his treat."

"She was just out there! While I was putting stuff in my shed."

"Are you sure you didn't close her in?"

"I'll go look."

Hick stepped out on the front porch and called to her. 

"Here she comes. She thought I was still in the shed. She was laying over there waiting."

How Scarlett could miss Hick coming out of the shed, getting in A-Cad, and driving to the garage, I'll never know. I guess she is used to him driving SilverRedO. Or maybe her attention wandered, and she was sniffing around Shackytown Boulevard. Once Hick climbed into A-Cad, she would not have been able to follow his scent.

The adoration is strong in this one. Scarlett might have laid out there by the shed all night, waiting for the object of her adoration to come out!

Anyhoo... Scarlett ran to the front porch, and that rascally Hick ducked back inside without petting her! She came romping around to the kitchen door when I called her, and got the day's treat, which was half a slice of Hawaiian bread.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Bingo Odds Played By Hick

Hick went to the Senior Center for lunch on Wednesday, in time to play bingo. That was a good decision. He won TWICE!

Hick's first prize was Girl Scout cookies and a popcorn ball. The second was Chinese Checkers. He plans to sell the Chinese Checkers at his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) for $5. That's the price that was on the box. I'm pretty sure he will eat the popcorn ball and the Girl Scout cookies. If he hasn't already!

There's an empty popcorn ball wrapper because the lady gave Hick one when he went through the lunch line. He said EVERYBODY got one, if they asked for it! That's his story, and The Pet is sticking to it!

Lunch was catfish, slaw, fries, and cherry cobbler. Hick decided not to go to Wednesday night bingo at the sports bar. None of his friends were going. Shame. He was planning to have the buffalo wonton thingies for his supper. Instead, he came home to make himself a bologna sandwich with pepperjack cheese. As Hick said, "I LIKE bologna!"

Anyhoo... I'm sure Hick didn't miss anything at bingo. It's not like he's ever won there. He said on Sunday night, his friend won the grand prize: a coffee maker worth $90 at Walmart. Oh, and she doesn't even drink coffee!

Better luck next week for Hick at night-time bingo.