Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Lottery Tales: A Literal Lottery Tale From the Mouth of a Guy on a Beeper Cart at Country Mart

I was getting Frogger tickets out of the right-side lottery machine at Country Mart on Monday, when a guy on a beeper cart pulled up to the left-side machine.

"Are you buying all the winners out of it?"

"Trying to! Not having a lot of luck lately, but I cashed in two $1000 winners on Wednesday."

"Good for you!"

"I just hate it that we have to drive to the city to do that."

"I know! Sometimes I give tickets to my friends. I tell them, 'Anything over $50, we'll split.' I gave a ticket to one of my lady friends, and she won $1000. So we drove to the city, and each claimed half."

"Yeah, and then they don't take the taxes out. It's like winning $500 apiece on separate tickets."

"Uh huh. We got our checks, and she said, 'This couldn't have come at a better time. I really needed it.' That made me feel bad for her, and I ended up giving her my money, too."

"That was a nice thing to do."

"Well, I figured she needed it more than I did."

As he was leaving, he encountered a guy at the door, and they both stopped, telling the other to go first. Beeper Cart Guy told him, "I'm sitting down. Go ahead. It won't hurt me to wait a second."

Such a different experience than my last encounter there with a beeper cart guy!

Monday, April 22, 2024

Lottery Tales: The Long Strange Trip Home

As Hick was parking at the state lottery office on Wednesday, I suggested that he reset his phone for the trip home. Perhaps "suggested" is not quite the proper word. I told Hick at least four times that he should reset his phone's directions.

"I know how to get back."

Uh huh. Hick had taken me to the lottery office at least three times, but did not remember how to get there. So I'm supposed to believe he knows how to get home??? When we left, Hick took a left turn.

"I'm pretty sure you needed a right. That's how we came in."

"I know how to get home, Val. I always go this way."

Of course it was wrong. We went under the highway we needed to get onto. Hick even said,

"That's it up there. We're going under it. I should have turned earlier."

We drove into a residential neighborhood. Hick made a left turn, and used a driveway to turn around. But instead of re-programming his phone, he pulled out onto a major road. THEN he stopped. To put the info into his phone. 

"Why couldn't you have done this on the side street? Now we're in traffic."

"They can go around. It's two lanes, and we're by these cones that block off the right lane."

Anyhoo... the phone (which I read to Hick, not wanting his eyes off the road) told us how to get back to the highway. So sad. Hick might have made it home in time for his meat loaf lunch at the Senior Center, had he only reset his phone before we went in early to our lottery office appointment.

We got back on the major six-lane highway. Made our exit onto the three-lane highway that turns into two lanes. Then Hick had a bright idea.

"I think I'll get a car wash. This car is filthy." Said the man who drives so fast on our gravel road that mud splashes up onto the windows.

We have FREE car wash privileges at the dealer where we bought A-Cad. Back in 2015. All you have to do is get in line and drive through the automatic car wash. No money needed. Of course there were other people with the same idea. Including a white pickup truck with no dirt on it whatsoever. I think that guy must drive through the car wash every day on his lunch hour. 

There were four cars ahead of us. Hick said each wash took four minutes. But I guess he wasn't accounting for the time it took each one to sit in the air-blowing part before leaving. Thus delaying everyone behind them from pulling forward. We spent 30 MINUTES getting a FREE car wash.

That might not seem like much delay, unless you are an old lady who calculates your drive time by your pee schedule. I had plenty of time for a straight drive home. But the delay was an issue. Of course Hick didn't mind. Because once we got home, he jumped out of A-Cad to use nature as one big toilet (like Jeff Goldblum's character in The Big Chill), while I had to get my stiffened knees out of A-Cad after a 2-hour drive, and hobble into the house. I made it!

Hick needs to be less hard-headed when it comes to getting directions.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Some Days You're the Tire, Some Days You're the Frogger

The Universe has been jackpot-blocking Val! I've had a couple weeks of not-winning. Oh, I can manage to win money-back on some tickets. But no good jackpots. Just the minimum. Saturday was especially trying. I felt like the star of my current favorite ticket.

At least I enjoyed moderate success, with a win from the right-side lottery machine at 10Box:

Val was exhausted from jumping through all the hoops The Universe placed in her path to achieve this $25 win on that $5 ticket. 

Let the record show that I go to the Gas Station Chicken Store every day for lottery tickets. I like the crossword, and Frogger. In addition, I go to one other random business. Sometimes Casey's, or the Liquor Store, or 10Box, or Orb K. They are all located in Backroads. I go to whichever one I feel like will give me a winner. That decision is made before I leave home.

Saturday was not a good day for planning. According to The Universe.

Gas Station Chicken Store
I pulled onto the lot, and saw a red sedan in my rightful handicap parking space. I looped around, and parked in the space behind it, next to the FREE AIR hose. No handicap plates, no placard. I just sat there waiting for it to leave. My knees were not eager to take extra steps. After three minutes, that sedan started up and left. Not sure what was going on, but nobody came out and got in with the driver.

The Gas Station Chicken Store had my crossword ticket. They were out yesterday. But they had no Froggers. The Man Owner had told my favorite cashier that people don't like them. So he put a different ticket in their slot.

Backroads Casey's
I could see there were no cars in their parking spaces, save for the maroon mini-van that belongs to the Old Gal who is nice to me. I headed over there, only to have a black truck pull in and park sideways next to my handicap space. I could still park there. But a worker and an old dude who looked like Willie Nelson in blue Dickeys work clothes were standing on the sidewalk, smoking. Cigarettes, I assume. Though it WAS 4/20. They were in the area where I would have to step up on the sidewalk, holding onto T-Hoe's hood. No thank you. Not getting out and trying to elbow my way onto the sidewalk. I left.

The Liquor Store
Not many cars on the lot for a Saturday afternoon. So I planned to go there. Except a car was coming out of the lot, taking up room I needed to pull in. AND the light changed, so I would have to wait for 20+ cars before turning left. No thank you. I got in the left-turn lane to go to 10Box.

I nabbed the closest handicap space. Went inside. The left machine was out of Froggers! So I got a crossword. But I couldn't get to the right machine because a worker and her friend were standing in front of it. Not buying any tickets. Just standing. Watching. Then the worker said, "Oh, do you want to use this?" And I said, "Yes, I'd like to get my Froggers."

That gal said she thought she saw a new Taxes Paid $5 ticket when the machine was running its video it does when people aren't using it. I've not heard of such a ticket, but they've had them in the past. Anyhoo... I got two Frogger tickets out of it. Had I known how the rest of my search would go, I'd have gotten more!

Orb K
Leaving 10Box, I figured I could stop by Orb K on my way out of town, to get a couple of Froggers. The parking space I like was taken. So I went around the sidewalk to the end, by the pay vacuum, to park and wait for that vehicle to leave. Well. There were seven cars in front of Orb K. I waited for five minutes, and NOBODY came out! So I figured there was a slow cashier, or everybody was trying to use their card and having problems. So I left, and headed back under the overpass and into town, to try Casey's again.

Backroads Casey's (2)
I could see from the stoplight that Casey's had a full parking lot. Including the handicap space. So I scrubbed that try, and pulled onto the lot of the Liquor Store.

The Liquor Store (2)
Only about five cars there, so I parked and went in. They were OUT OF FROGGERS! Such a disappointment. I got a couple of other tickets, but they turned out to be losers.

Anyhoo... at least I won $25 on one of my Froggers from the 10Box right-side machine. And $10 on a crossword from the Gas Station Chicken Store. And $5 from a crossword out of the left-side 10Box machine. Not getting rich, but it's something. It's the least The Universe could do, after thwarting my efforts in a quest to buy Froggers.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Lottery Tales: A Token of Appreciation

When the lottery gal slid our checks through the metal trough, she also gave a little token of her (MOLottery's) appreciation to us. They didn't used to do that. However... they used to have good items you could get when you redeemed points that you earn from losing tickets. Oh, how times have changed!

The old prize system had several tiers of goods you could trade your points for. Redeem them for coupons for future tickets, or coolers, camp chairs, small electronics, picnic sets, BBQ grills. I can't even remember the stuff now, but it was worth saving your points to get the good stuff. 

The prize redemption changed several years ago. Now all you can get are tickets, magazine subscriptions, and gift cards. No actual merchandise. Just online stuff that nobody really wants. I feel betrayed.

In-store giveaways were better than the current stuff. The lottery lady was at the Gas Station Chicken Store a couple years ago, with a table set up, and a wheel to spin if you bought tickets. I won a pair of plastic sunglasses, and a little spiral flip notebook. 

Anyhoo... here's what the lottery gal gave us:

SCRATCHERS! For scratching scratchers. I don't know if I'll use one. I have my "lucky" quarter that I have used for years. No need to upset the applecart. But you can bet that I will take Hick's scratcher. After all. They were MY winning tickets, bought with my weekly cash allowance money. Hick will never miss this plastic gadget.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Lottery Tales: Inside the Inner Sanctum

I don't know the appointment times of the other two winners inside the state lottery office. Since that gal complained that everybody was showing up early, I assume they could only have been 9:50, or later than our 10:00 appointment. As I mentioned, appointments are every 10 minutes, and we got there at 9:45.

I was going to make this title: A Hick, an Indian, and a Black Guy Walk Into a Lottery Office. But I figured that would offend some people. I don't describe people out of malice, but only because I try to set the scene in my tales. In this case, showing that it's not just Missouri rednecks who play the lottery.

The Indian Guy (Asian, not Native American), was not talkative. He kept to himself, filling out his forms, then waiting for his turn. The Black Guy was more vocal. He looked at a blown-up ticket on the wall, and said, "Look at that! Wouldn't that be great to win?" It was a $50 ticket, and the win was $1,000,000. There was a 500X multiplier, for a $2000 prize.

Hick said, "I know the guy that sold that ticket!"

I figured Hick was just talking out his rumpus as usual. But I asked the guy's name, and Hick told me the name of his store. Which was listed on the ticket info on the wall. So I guess he really DID know the guy.

Anyhoo... Black Guy said he had won $15,000 on a $5 crossword ticket. I play those every day!!! But the highest I've won is $100. He said he scratched off the top puzzle, and won nothing. He was disgusted, and tossed that ticket onto his "losers" pile. Then at the end, he took it back and scratched off the bottom puzzle. He was shocked that he had a multiplier that made his win $15,000. 

What makes that story worse for me is that Black Guy got his ticket in a town near where Hick used to work, halfway between the lottery office and Backroads. Dang it! I was happy for his win. But I see a nearby big win as a sign that I'm probably not going to get a big win on that ticket.

Anyhoo... we left while wishing each other luck in the future. I'm always happy when somebody wins big, even it it isn't me.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Lottery Tales: The Payout

Wednesday, Hick drove me to the St. Louis lottery office to cash in my two scratcher winners of $1000 each that have been languishing in (one of) our safes. I've been meaning to get around to it. Really. There didn't seem like a good time, what with Hick's busy schedule of flip houses and Senior Center lunches and Storage Unit Store business and medical appointments.

One was from May 20, 2023. That game ended last fall, but you have six months from the end date to cash in a winner. It was only good until May this year! I knew that all along. The other was from Feb 12, 2024. So it still has a while to go, but better to get both done on the same trip.

Here's the thing. Stores can only cash a ticket up to $600. Anything higher must be taken or mailed to one of the four lottery offices in Missouri. They are in Jefferson City, Kansas City, Springfield, and St. Louis. It takes us 1:20 to get to the St. Louis office. We've been there before, in the days before THE VIRUS. That's when office procedures changed. I guess it was an excuse never to change back to the old ways. Which is kind of what I'd been waiting for.

Used to be, you could walk in and cash your ticket with the "teller." Occasionally, there was another person there. It's a small office in an industrial park. Two tellers. A little waiting area with counters on two walls, a lottery machine (of course!), and three chairs. There are also single-person restrooms down a little hall. One for men, one for women. Though I suppose anything in-between could use one of their choosing, since the bathrooms are singe-occupancy.

Anyhoo... now tickets are redeemed by appointment only. It's easy enough to go online and schedule. They have appointments every 10 minutes, from 8:00 until 5:00, with an hour off for lunch. However, not every winner lives just down the street from a lottery office. Traffic is unpredictable. So you allow time to get there early. And wonder what will happen if you arrive after your appointment.

There were big signs on the glass double doors, telling you that they would CALL YOU when they were ready for you. Call you? Like, on your phone? Or once you're inside? The instructions were not clear. We got there at 9:45. Hick said surely they would let us in. He wanted that bathroom. And so did I. We watched a person walk up and go in. Then another. So Hick said the doors were not locked.

Well. They WERE locked. A woman's voice out of the wall asked if we had an appointment. Hick said yes, at 10:00. The woman's voice seemed a bit peeved. "EVERYBODY'S coming early today!" Okay, Goldilocks. Can you predict traffic? Would you rather have people late? Because I can't imagine a world where every person for those 48 appointments through the day would step up to the door on the stroke of their scheduled time.

I said to the wall box, "We just want to come in and use the bathroom. Then we'll come back out! And wait until our appointment time."

Goldilocks asked our name, and then said, "Well, you can come on in and use the bathroom, then come to the counter." She buzzed the door to let us in.

Goldilocks was the only teller working. In the past, there have been two. But the other window was vacant. The tellers sit behind a bullet-proof window, with a little metal trough to slide in your paperwork and ID. 

I had our paperwork done, except I didn't know Hick needed one as well, since we each claim half of the prize. We've done that before, but I guess I'd filled one out for him then, and forgot. Anyhoo... I took the form she gave me over to the counter, and it was done in two minutes. Just name, address, SS #, phone number, amount of prize, and how many claiming it. Imagine an office pool where 20 people (or more) have to fill out their form!

Goldilocks was perfectly polite after her initial tizzy over us being early. We were out of there at 10:00, with our four checks for $500 each. 

There is no mandatory tax withholding for amounts under $600.01. So our wins were treated like a $500 prize that a store could redeem, and just hand you the cash. So Hick and I each got a $500 check for each of the two tickets. It gets reported as "other income" at tax time. If the prize was more, they automatically take out the state and federal taxes, and give you a 1099G form to not-lose by next year's tax time. They don't mail you one in January.

Anyhoo... now THAT'S done! And I'm not going to complain if I win $1000 tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hick Calls It Black Light Bingo

I think it should be called BINGLOW!

Anyhoo... Hick said that on Tuesday, the Senior Center was going to the public library to play Black Light Bingo. It's half a block up the street, and one block down from the Senior Center. I asked Hick if they were expected to walk.

"I don't know. But I'm driving."

Heh, heh. The parking there probably put him farther away than just walking from the Senior Center. There's no parking lot. It used to be the building where I worked at the unemployment office. That parking lot has been taken over by the main post office, which is just behind it.

Anyhoo... Hick sent me a picture of the event:

Oh, look! Everyone is so happy!

Anyhoo... I asked Hick if he won a "price."

"Yeah. We had the choice of a book or a snack."

Heh, heh. I'm sure you already know what Hick chose! It was an individual pack of Oreos. By the time I found out, Hick had already eaten them.

Hick also went to play bar bingo later that evening. Didn't win a thing there. But I'm sure you knew that, too.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Val, the RumpusHole Magnet

Here we go again! One day shy of a week since my previous rumpushole line-cutter, I suffered the same indignity AGAIN! At the same store! Only this time no beeper cart was involved.

Like before, there was one line open, and it was backed up. Like before, I had only a few items, all in the child seat portion of my cart/walker. Some deli fried chicken for my supper (Hick was at an auction), a bottle of The Pony's favorite rum (you never know when they'll run out), and Little Debbie Zebra Cakes for Hick. Like before, there was no Diet Mountain Dew in the three displays where other Mountain Dews were located and advertised on sale.

On my way to the register, I had to walk through a family reunion. A 30-something dude carrying two cases of bottled water, an adult daughter, and a toothless, somewhat confused mom. They had an overflowing cart parked in the middle of the main aisle. The Daughter was questioning Mom about what else she wanted. Sonny seemed impatient. But he WAS holding two cases of bottled water.

I went past them and got in line. A gal with few items was ahead of me, and a woman with a stacked-up cart full of groceries was ahead of her. And someone just paying. After a few minutes, a young gal walked out and said she could help somebody. Opened up a register two lanes over. 

By this time the family was behind me. Mom and Sonny pulled out of my line, and went to the new one. Since my line didn't even have the piled cart unloaded yet onto the conveyor, I moved over to the new line. Mom was in the way, standing behind the cart, while Sonny tried to reach items and put them on the conveyor. He finally pushed the cart forward, told Mom to step into the cashier-place of the register next to our line, then pulled the cart back so she could go ahead. Then he could reach the items to set them out.

I leaned on my cart/walker, resigned to the fact that this was going to take a while. Another gal was in line behind me now. As I was daydreaming about being finished, I felt a rub on my rumpus. Well! I at least expected an "excuse me." But then Daughter whipped around my right side, and said,

"I need to get up here with my mom."

She proceeded to get in front of me, and put a box of individual Oreo Puddings, a tub of margarine, and two boxes of crackers on the conveyor. Then she told the checker, "Tell us when it gets close to $250."

I'm not sure why they couldn't have continued their chatfest while Daughter went to get those last items, then got in line with all their groceries. I'm not even sure if all that was for Mom, since they paid for part of it separately.

Even more frustrating, Sonny was a rumpushole all his own. He wormed his way around to the end to put bags back in the cart. All the while complaining that the checker didn't do it! Daughter told the checker to ignore him, while telling Sonny that yes, they DID bag the items, but he had to put them in the cart. It's not like the checker could reach everything over the counter, or make a trip down to the end with every bag.

Sonny kept running his mouth. "Yeah. You all are REALLY working hard." Checker asked if he wanted the two gallon jugs of vinegar in a bag, and he said, "I always want my groceries in a bag." So Checker double-bagged the first one, and walked down to put it in the cart.

When they reached the $250 milestone, Mom had trouble using her card. It finally worked. Then Daughter paid for the remaining items with cash.

I don't know why I even bother to get in a line there. I might as well stand aside until nobody is waiting. Since they all feel entitled to go ahead of me anyway...

Monday, April 15, 2024

How Do You Like THAT Green-Apple?

Once again, Val sits atop her high horse, looking down her nose, askance, at a rumpushole who seems to think he's entitled to park in a handicap space with no documentation.

Yes, Val's nostrils are flaring in that rarefied air, her knees throbbing, her head about to explode, at the thought of an able-bodied person usurping her rightful parking space.

Granted, I was in the handicap space next to that one. But by the time I finished picture-taking to shame a rumpushole, the 10Box employees had added a string of carts in that striped space, that extended to the last white line of that area. I had to walk around them to get to the door. What's the advantage of a handicap space if it makes you walk extra steps?

Anyhoo, on my way around the rear of that motorcycle, I saw that it did not have a handicap license plate. Is that a thing? Can you get a handicap plate or placard for a motorcycle? This one had neither. 

Let the record show, I did not see anybody ride a beeper cart out those doors while I was standing at the lottery machines. Yet the motorcycle was gone when I left.

Is that a thing? Do handicapped people ride motorcycles? And if so, shouldn't they be held to the same regulations as car-drivers? I'm not saying that rider might not have COPD, or a heart issue. But surely the same placard or license plate rules should apply.

Otherwise, it's just another rumpushole in Val's elevated high-horse eyes.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

They're Multiplying

I mentioned a few weeks ago how Hick was astounded that the "business" behind the Gas Station Chicken Store was letting pallets pile up. Of course he wanted to get some of them for his themed-shed-building needs. But he was reluctant to ask about those pallets. I still haven't gotten to the root of that issue.

Anyhoo... on Saturday, I noticed that not only were those pallets still there, but they seemed to be multiplying!

Definitely the same pallets as before, plus more! A closer view reveals the extent of the accumulation.

Yet when I mentioned to Hick that there were even more pallets now, all he said was "FIRE HAZARD!" As if he would rather punish that business than ask about taking some of those pallets off their property.

I will have to investigate Hick's motive further.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Apparently, Parking Space Lines Are Just a Suggestion

Here we go again. The victimization of Val by a rumpushole who had no respect for a handicap parking space. This was on Wednesday at the Backroads Casey's. Let the record show that there is only one handicap parking space there. It is at the right end of the store. I parked T-Hoe with plenty of space left by the line denoting the parking space. I did not inconvenience anyone. There is no space to my right. I'm at the end.

Anyhoo... I went inside to cash in my scratchers and get more. Nobody was ahead of me. A quick exchange, and I was back out. EXCEPT... a rumpushole had parked in a space that wasn't even a space!

That is NOT a parking space! If I had parked T-Hoe without cheating over to allow door room, that rumpushole could not have squeezed his dented car in between. It may look like he's even closer to the other car, but that's just the angle of my photo.

Let the record show that T-Hoe's door has two notches for opening. ALL THE WAY, which allows Val's knees to bend enough to get in, and NOT FAR ENOUGH, which does not. This placement would not even have allowed the NOT FAR ENOUGH opening without hitting that rumpushole's car. The mirror is an added obstruction. Maybe if I was Slender Man with two good knees, I could have climbed  T-Hoe. I am neither.

I had to stand against the brick wall to wait for this rumpushole to complete his shopping and return. My knees do not like standing. I walked around to the passenger side to get my phone out of T-Hoe and take these pictures. Hobbling is more comfortable than standing.

As you can see, Val left enough room for T-Hoe's door to open fully within her parking space. Barring a 20-something rumpushole parking over the line into her rightful territory, because he didn't want to park in an actual space farther away from the door. Being entitled to park wherever he felt like it, you know.

I certainly hope Even Steven has access to the rumpushole's permanent record.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Hick, the Bargain Barterer

Hick enlisted The Pony to do his bidding without my knowledge. Of course, the secret didn't last long. A little Pony told me that Hick had asked him to purchase a notebook or some such electronic gadget, to keep track of his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) inventory. Hick paid The Pony the price of the gadget. And in exchange for getting it set up, and teaching him how to use it, Hick took The Pony to lunch. Well. The Pony's lunch. But Hick's supper. Because he ate at the Senior Center at 11:00, and took The Pony to eat around 3:00.

They went to a local Mexican restaurant on Wednesday, The Pony's day off.

Hick had the Shrimp Fajitas.

The Pony had the Burrito Azteca, which was supposed to contain beef and chicken. In fact, the waiter asked specifically if The Pony wanted the chicken included, to which The Pony said yes. But since the inside was "all brown" according to The Pony, he thinks he did not get the chicken.

Anyhoo... The Pony is apparently not good at bargaining. He has agreed to update Hick's gadget regularly, in exchange for a lunch.

Let the record show that still, The Pony is a better bargainer than Val. I do Hick's business taxes, pay his monthly electric bill, send in necessary forms, address required envelopes, and order occasional promotional items.

MY meal for Wednesday consisted of Monday's leftover ham salad from the Senior Center, which Hick brought home on Tuesday:

That's a small container, same as the one that contained a piece of coconut cake Hick also brought me. I'm shocked that he ate the cake at lunch, since he does not like coconut. It actually had no taste. Just white cake with whipped cream icing with coconut sprinkled on top. Still, it was better than no cake.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

An Uncommon Oversight

Hick has been off the hook here for FIVE WHOLE DAYS! I don't know how I could have let that happen! I don't mean he's been off the actual hook, out of the oft-occupied doghouse. Only that his shenanigans haven't been reported here. So of course I must rectify that oversight.

Don't worry about ol' Val. I don't have to scrounge for such material. There's a backlog! A cache. A cornucopia. An virtual old-fashioned root cellar, fully stocked. Today, we need only hearken back to Easter Sunday. Surely you didn't think I was done complaining about Hick when his top-heavy salad was criticized, allowing him to feast on the top 5 layers of the 7-layer-salad, leaving behind most of his lettuce and green onions.

Nope! There was more! More of nothing. Explicitly, more of Hick DOING nothing.

When Hick got up and left the table while The Pony and I were still laughing and consuming our feast, he left this behind. Because, you know, the waitress will get it. Never mind that I had all the dishes to wash by hand, as I'd done numerous sinks full while preparing the meal for two days. Never mind that when Hick stood up from the table, all he had to do was pick up those dishes, turn to his right, and set them on the kitchen counter beside the sink. IS THAT SO HARD??? It must be, for Hick. 

It's not as if I expected Hick to wash his own dishes. But the common courtesy of picking up his own empty plate would have garnered him a positive mention here! 

Don't mind the bags of bags hanging on Hick's chair(s). They don't bother me. They require no effort. They just hang around, heh, heh, until Hick takes them to his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) for bagging his re-sold merchandise. I'm not sure what's in his Merry Christmas bag, either. It doesn't concern me. Just that empty plate.

Hick might have at least left a couple dollars for the busboy and dishwasher...

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Betrayed By the Handicapped: Rumpusholes Come in a Variety of Abledness

While I was over in Sis-Town on Tuesday to get Hick's flip house cash out of the bank, I stopped in Country Mart for scratchers and sale soda.

One of the lottery machines was broken. So I had to wait on a lady to finish at the good one. Not a big deal. I stayed a respectable distance away, and organized the winners I was going to scan to pay for my new tickets. When she was done, I moved into place. A woman came by carrying a case of bottled water. She set it down, and just stood there. I assumed she was waiting to buy scratchers. Oh, well. I was there before her. I guess she had no patience, or didn't want scratchers all that badly. She left in a huff while I was still selecting my tickets. Maybe I even saved her money. I only won $13 on those tickets.

I then pushed my cart/walker into the store proper. Only one checker was open. There was a line of about 6 people. I passed through them to get Hick's Diet Mountain Dew, which was 3-for-$11 in the six-packs of 20 oz bottles. Of course there was no Diet Mountain Dew. Only regular, and other Pepsi products. This happens every time I try to buy it there. At least I was across the aisle from the alcohol, and picked up a bottle of the spiced rum that The Pony likes. It's hard to find. Not that it's special. It's a bargain brand, but he likes it better than Captain Morgan. Or the almost-as-cheap Sailor Jerry knockoff. 

I picked up a pack of pizza stick thingies from the hot food bar near the registers. Then I got in line. A man and woman were paying and putting stuff in their cart. He was holding a bag of ice across his belly. Not sure why he didn't just put it in the cart. The checker saw that he had it.

Behind them was a woman already putting her items on the conveyor. Then a gal in front of me, holding in each hand a bottle of BBQ sauce by the neck. No cart. As I waited, I saw a beeper cart coming down the side aisle from the pharmacy counter. I wondered if maybe the guy had gone there to pay, since there's an exit door at that end. But he kept coming at our line, perpendicularly. He was 50-something, wearing jeans shorts, a camouflage t-shirt, and camo cap. A regular good ol' boy, kinda chubby. 

I backed my cart/walker up, to give him room to pass through our line. I figured he'd circle around and get behind me. But no. He looked at me as I gave him room, and said,

"I was here first."

I chuckled, thinking he was kidding. Then Camo nosed his cart into the line, with his back to me, rather than passing through, and started talking to the BBQ Gal. Completely ignoring me. Asking her something about her mom.

What in the NOT-HEAVEN? If Camo had been in line, it was not when I got in it. He was 30 feet away, in the pharmacy area. So how could he have been there first? No savesies once you leave the line! He had a basket full of food, like a four-pack of steaks, and bag of potatoes, and bread, and other stuff underneath. More items than my two. AND he was sitting, while I was standing, leaning on my cart/walker, which is just a regular cart that I lean on like a walker. I was not having it. 

"Whatever..." I turned to go down to Lane 6, where another worker had opened up a register.

Camo then deigned to turn, and say, "Ma'am. I was just joking."

Yeah, right. That's why he put his beeper cart in line ahead of me, and ignored me to talk to BBQ Gal. Last time I checked, a joke is supposed to actually be funny. I was not amused. I was not about to stand there so he could pretend he was NOT the rumpushole.

I checked out, and was back in T-Hoe for five or more minutes, writing my purchase in my checkbook register, when Camo drove his beeper cart behind me to his car. 

I resisted the urge to give Camo a one-finger salute as I drove past him loading his trunk.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Didn't Even Have to Fly My LearJet Up to Nova Scotia

Gotta say, yesterday's total eclipse of the sun was real, and it was spectacular! It was supposed to occur at 1:52 p.m. in Backroads, but was fashionably late. I dragged a kitchen chair out on the back deck, and was rassenfrassen about this event being a big bust. The partial solar eclipse in August 2017 was more impressive. But a couple minutes later, my nonexistent socks were knocked off.

The temperature cooled. The sharp-edged shadow of the roof on the porch gently faded until gone, and it was dark! Not black dark, like I'd need a flashlight. But deep, deep, dusk, darker than our standard for beginning to set off fireworks on the 4th of July. I could see the light shining out from the kitchen windows. I wish I had taken a picture of that! But no, it only lasted about 40 seconds, and I was mesmerized, and fighting off two dogs trying to crawl into my lap. Not because they were scared, but because they love me.

The Pony was planning to take his break at that time. Hick was over in Sis-Town, partying it up with the elderlies. They had a viewing party out on the sidewalk. Hick sent me a picture of his lunch:

I like the eyes and tongue on his sandwich, heh, heh! The menu said he was having:

Saturn Sandwich (Ham Salad)
Solar Salad (Spinach Salad)
Space Soup (Cheesy Broccoli)
Eclipse Cake or Fruit

I had forgotten the menu, and asked Hick what was in the bowl. He said it was potato soup. Probably didn't know the difference in cheesy broccoli and potato soup!

Hick also send me a picture of the festivities. I've not blocked his face this time, since he's already wearing sunglasses to disguise his identity!

Hick found his cap with a sunburst on it, and lettering that said, "Where were you August 1, 2017?" That was the partial solar eclipse. He was mad that he couldn't find his Area 51 t-shirt, which he got when he visited his brother in Las Vegas a few years ago.

Anyhoo... it was a memorable experience. Genius got a good picture in Pennsylvania, but I have not asked permission to show it.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Hopefully, The Pony Has Someone Watching Over Him

With my parental helicopter up on blocks, I hope The Pony has somebody watching over him as he completes his route on Monday. The latest update on his March 28 dog bite shows the expanded bruise, but the wound seems to be healing. The Pony said on April 6 that it had a big knot. Felt like a strand of barbed wire running down to his calf when walking. He thinks a muscle is stiff/caught in that area, since he can trace it with his finger. 

There have been signs that someone might be looking out for The Pony. Like on Monday, APRIL FOOLS DAY, at 2:19, when I got this text:

"Guess I'm just really feeling my own mortality given I have this next to me to deliver:"

That's no joke!

Then at 3:02, I got another illustrated text:

"Aww. Guess Grandma is watching and worrying too. Just showed up in the middle of my mail:"

That's kind of random. Along with Saturday's uncommon sighting:

It's not often that The Pony goes into Country Mart. Maybe once a month. But here was a cake that caught his attention.

Anyhoo... with the total solar eclipse happening Monday, while The Pony will be delivering the mail, I want to caution him to be alert. Not because I think the apopadopalous (as Hick calls it) is about to happen. But because people will likely be out in their yards, looking at the sky. And they might have their dogs with them, or in the yard as usual. Dogs like to protect their people. So I think The Pony should be extra alert. And not deliver with loose dogs, even though their people are out. Also, you never know when animals might react differently due to an eclipse. Supposedly, animals sense an earthquake coming, and exhibit unusual behavior. I guess that could happen with a total eclipse.

Better safe than sorry, but I don't want to make The Pony anxious. Maybe I'll just mention how dogs might be over-protective of their people.

Don't want to spook The Pony, but I'd like him to take extra precautions. Since he's such a tasty treat to those dogs, you know.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

The Pony Relaxes After a Tough Week

On Saturday, The Pony could finally exhale, after a tough week of delivering mail on a leg afflicted by his second dog bite in a week's time. He treated himself to a bottle of wine, Raspberry Tart. And a steak to cook for dinner. 

"Gonna run by Country Mart, grab their best steak plus some stuff, and get good and sauced while making a steak/salad/pasta dinner, once I'm off."

"Be careful."

"Yes, I'm gonna try not to scald my hand with butter and oil again."

"Ooh! What kind is that?"

"No clue. It was labeled as 'beef rib steak.' There's a random bit of bone in half of the tail part. And another on the side. But it smells good."

"Bon appetit!"

The result looked pretty good!

Aww. There's The Pony's mail satchel in the background. Looks like a delicious meal to me.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Never Let a Solar Eclipse Go To Waste

Backroads happens to be in the path for the total eclipse on April 8. I found out when I walked into 10Box a couple weeks ago, and saw that they had t-shirts on sale to commemorate the event. It's kind of a big deal. Our next "partial" solar eclipses will be in 2028 and 2029. I don't see anything about our next TOTAL solar eclipse.

Anyhoo... I can't blame the store for taking advantage of this rare event. Their display I saw on Friday was actually kind of cute. I didn't buy anything, but I took pictures.

From the right, they have Starburst candies, Orbit gum, Little Debbie Star Crunch, Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies, Sun Chips, Brachs Starlight Mints.

Again from the right, they have Sunny D drink, Milky Way candy bars, Starry lemon-lime soda. I don't get the Salted Pistachios, though their label proclaims them to be "Wonderful." And I was skeptical about the apples, until I read their pricing label, which called them Cosmic Crisp Apples. Oh, and behind the Brachs candies, you can see a box of Solar Viewing Glasses.

I'd say this is clever marketing! A tip of my non-existent hat to 10Box, for not letting a solar eclipse go to waste!

Friday, April 5, 2024

Val Does Not Look Fondly Upon Her Recent Salad Day

Hick has a knack. A knack for getting himself into the doghouse. Not a knack that somebody would wish to have. It just comes naturally to him.

At Easter dinner, Hick went first with his plate. That's not a problem. The Pony and I deferred to him. It was a bit of a problem that Hick sat down and immediately started eating. Feeding like a ravenous beast while The Pony and I were still filling our plates. He was almost done with his salad by the time I got to the table. Annoying, but not doghouse worthy. No, the canine-coop exile was BECAUSE of the salad.

I had set the beautiful 7 layer salad on the counter, with two spoons beside it. Let me tell you, that salad was a work of art! I didn't get a picture this time, put imagine a bigger version of The Pony's salad in a square see-through bowl.

I shredded a block of extra sharp cheddar this time, rather than taking the shortcut of using already-shredded cheese. Here's a picture of a previous 7 layer salad, taken the evening before Thanksgiving back in 2017, just to show you the construction.

I set out the two serving spoons to act as salad tongs. I turned and saw Hick digging in with only one spoon.

"I put out two spoons for that."

"I cain't use two spoons."

Huh. As IF he was expected to use them like chopsticks or something. Who can't use two spoons? Hick, that's who. The man who will pick up a slab of ham from the container on the cutting block to make a sandwich, then carry that slab of ham over to the paper plate stack, and struggle to separate a plate with one hand. Or holds his bowl at the stove, using his belly to keep a pan on the burner, while digging out potatoes and carrots. Rather than setting down the bowl, to hold the pan with his other hand.

Anyhoo... when I got to the 7 layer salad, a section of the bacon, cheese, mayo, peas, and eggs was missing. But the romaine hearts and diced green onion remained at the bottom. I suppose, like how Hick prefers his vegetable beef soup without liquid, he prefers his salad without lettuce! 

Oh, Hick got a little lettuce. You can see it left in his bowl he was picking at as I sat down. 

But my own  bowl of 7 layer salad was not nearly as flush with cheese and bacon as in years past, when Hick at least attempted to appear civilized in front of Genius and Friend.

A travesty of salad-serving. Doghouse worthy. That's Val's lot in life, following around after Hick, eating the lettuce he shuns when dipping his salad.

Thursday, April 4, 2024


Mark your calendar! Hick has WON a "price" at Tuesday night bar bingo!!! He was happy as a puppy with two-- Well, that's not a phrase befitting for a lady such as Val. But Hick was HAPPY! He first notifed me at 7:20 p.m., with a cryptic text:

"I want it, bingo, I'll show you when I get home. It's adore stop."

Heh, heh! Whose curiosity wouldn't be piqued by such a message? Though I rarely wish for Hick to return early from bar bingo, I was not as disappointed when he arrived at 7:40.

It's a DOORSTOP. About 18 inches from stem to stern. Or from the top of the turners to the bottom of the body. Silky material, cushy, like maybe stuffed with old plastic grocery bags, not beans. The bottom is weighted. 

It's a plump little guitar.

Quite 3-dimensional. Right now it's sitting on the kitchen chair where Hick parks his rumpus to eat holiday meals. It could double as a back pillow. 

Anyhoo... I knew you would be excited to learn that Hick has broken his always-losing streak at bar bingo. But he was disappointed to read on his phone Wednesday night that somebody had won a big prize at his OLD bar bingo: $1100 for the grand prize, I think. Not as good as the $8000 his buddy won at the current Tuesday night location, which is why they switched. 

Maybe Hick will go back to the Wednesday night game. You know, following the jackpot.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Hick's Infatuation With His New Bingo Server May Not Be Reciprocated

We have a FRIG II full of leftovers from our Easter feast, but of course Hick went off to his bingo night to eat bar food. Not only that, but to further negate all the hard work I put into our food, Hick had to send me a picture touting his new food server at bingo night. Rub it in, why don't you! You've got it made. Shame on me for not fixing your plate on Sunday, and feeding it to you while fanning you with palm fronds!

Anyhoo... I got a text from Hick at 5:30.

"Our new food server at bingo."

"Genius would love that!"

"Yes I sent him a picture."

I'll go out on a limb here, and say that Hick didn't tip the server. I was about to ask him what in the Not-Heaven he was doing eating a SALAD, but then I realized that wasn't Hick. Hick doesn't wear a Nike shirt.

Did Hick win at bingo? You'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out...

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The Easter Feasters

The Pony joined us on Sunday for an Easter feast. I didn't go all out this time. Just ham, roasted vegetables, 7 layer salad, deviled eggs, stuffing, Sister Schubert's Rolls, and chips with dip. Now that I type it out, it seems like a lot!

The Pony certainly had recovered his appetite! He loves the roasted vegetables. Also the Schubert's rolls. That's The Pony's own personal pan. He doesn't like the peas in the 7 layer salad, so I made him a separate salad without them. He's got ham and cheese and sliced red onion, stuffing, deviled eggs, and plenty of dip for the chips.

My plate included a sandwich. That's how I like my ham. It was on Nutty Oat bread.

Okay, the ham overlapped the bread, but I had the thin slices, not like Hick's. I also love the roasted vegetables. A token couple of deviled eggs, a couple rolls, and my 7 layer salad. With which I had an issue, but don't feel like airing that now.

Hick wanted a giant slice of ham steak. I did not begrudge it.

There's that slab of meat, with deviled eggs, vegetables, stuffing, baby dills, and the 7 layer salad. Looks like Hick is not concerned with elbows on the table. Nor does he hold out his pinky finger on the fork. It's not like we're high society etiquette espousers. Not even a tablecloth or glass glasses.

What you can't see is Hick's attire. Black shirt, with neon-colored faces on it. He was wearing a KISS t-shirt! Not that there's anything wrong with that. But neither The Pony nor I had ever seen it before.

"Dad. What are you wearing?"

"A t-shirt."

"I know. But KISS? Why? Do you even know the name of anyone in the band? Do you know any of their songs?"

"No. But The Veteran gave me this t-shirt. So I'm wearing it."

An interesting choice on Easter Sunday, for dinner. Although Hick DID go to his SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2) to do business from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00. Maybe he was trying to impress his customers. Said he had "several" lookers, but no buyers. I might have predicted that, except for the "lookers" part.

You may notice that the plates of The Pony and I are full. The Pony set my plate down while I was putting a couple cold items back in FRIG II. Hick had gone first, filling his plate. He was already chowing down while The Pony and I got our food! You'd think he could have waited, and not gone after it like a ravenous canine.

Anyhoo... dessert was just a choice of storebought stuff. Some M&M cookies, iced brownie bars, and cinnamon sweet rolls. The Pony took home all the brownies, and ate a cookie. Hick had a cookie and a sweet roll. I had a cookie later that evening.

We all enjoyed ourselves, and Hick took The Pony home at 5:30 with a bag of leftovers.

Monday, April 1, 2024

The Pony: On the Route to Recovery

The Pony has been having a hard time with his most recent dog bite that he incurred (heh, heh, inCURred, get it?) on Thursday. Said it was very painful, because it didn't just hurt if he bumped it on something, or lifted a heavy package. It hurt every time he took a step. Or turned over in bed. In fact, he only slept a couple of hours on Thursday night. Took his morning shower at 2:00 a.m., and just laid around. 

Friday morning, The Pony debated on going to work. He sent the manager a text, and she replied that they were fine, to take off (using his leave, of course) and rest that wound. Two minutes later, two other people had called out. So she said IF The Pony felt like he could do anything, he could come in.

The Pony is not one to slack at work. He said he'd do a couple laps around the house to see how well he could walk, and would try to come in. He ended up casing some mail for a couple hours, but then clocked out, not feeling like he could do the walking on the route. It must have been The Pony's lucky day, because somebody was retiring, and they had donuts and biscuits and gravy at the office. A couple people said they didn't want to sit next to The Pony, because he's a dog-bite magnet. The Pony partook of a bear claw and some gravied biscuits, then went home and spent most of the day sleeping, with his leg up.

That's from the post office, not quite 24 hours after the bite. The bruise has spread, and the bite hole was leaking a bit from standing.

The Pony had more sleep on Friday night, but the leg was still very sore on Saturday morning. The Pony dosed himself with Excedrin and ibuprofen through the day, and went to work.

Around noon, The Pony sent this picture.

"About to take a bathroom break and change the bandaid. It's looking pretty unhappy with me today, but the red around it is normal, going off the last bite. It's draining a little, but clear and not bloody."

On the phone that morning, The Pony revealed more about the incident. It was a house with a fenced yard. The owner has requested that the mailman use a certain gate to enter (which The Pony did) to put the mail in the mailbox on the porch. He has FOUR dogs, all French bulldogs. They are house dogs, and only come out when nature calls, or maybe to play sometimes. The Pony has not encountered them out in the yard while delivering the mail. 

This time, he thinks the owner didn't know he was still in the yard. The owner opened the door to get his mail, and either let out the dogs, or they escaped. One ran up behind The Pony and bit. The owner didn't see it, but noticed the commotion, and said, "Did she get you?" The Pony said, "Yeah. It's okay." And kept going, not wanting to stand in the yard with four dogs, one which had just put a tooth in his leg. The owner hollered that all the dogs had been vaccinated. The Pony said he didn't notice the blood until a few steps down the sidewalk, because his shorts had been rubbing on it and soaking it up.

Anyhoo... The Pony got home at 4:45 on Saturday.

"Everything either hurts or is numb. I'm just gonna crash because I've got no appetite."

At least The Pony developed an appetite by 1:30 on Sunday, when Hick picked him up to join us for Easter dinner. I guess going without lunch and supper the previous day will do that for you!

More on the Easter dinner tomorrow...

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Hick Has the Scoop. Kind of.

Saturday, when I parked T-Hoe in my rightful handicap space at the Backroads Casey's, I saw that the right side door was covered with cardboard! Casey's has two glass doors at the entrance. Obviously, the one on the right was not to be used, though they didn't have a sign on the outside. Only on the inside, where a handwritten piece of paper said, "Please Use Other Door."

Of course I was dying to know what happened. The Old Lady Clerk who seems gruff, but is friendly with me, and recently sold a $5 ticket that won $100,000, was at the counter. I resisted the urge to interrogate her about the door issue. It's bad enough she was working on the Saturday evening before Easter. And probably got that question from all the customers. So I just paid for my tickets and left. Out the proper door, you know.

At home, I told Hick about the door. Thinking I knew something he didn't.

"Yeah. It was broke."

"Wait! It was broken this morning at 6:30 when you were there?"

"Yeah. The gal said it opened too far, and hit the stopper, and broke."

"Like, from the wind? I never saw a stopper there by their doors. You mean the hinge thing?"

"No. The hinge is what the door hangs on to open. The hydraulic thing at the top, that opens the doors."

"Oh, that thing. That's what I meant. Not the actual hinges. Did the wind catch it?"

"No. It was a mad customer. Shoved the door open too far on the way out."

"What was he mad about?"

"I don't know."

"Well, how could they let it go all day? How can they close up with cardboard for a door?"

"They don't close."

"What? They're open 24 hours?"


"When I worked at a Casey's, we closed at 11:00. And opened at 5:00 a.m."

Hick is not a very good reporter. He's missing a few facts. What kind of psycho asks what happened to the door, but doesn't find out what the disgruntled customer was disgruntled about?