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?

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Senior Center Bingo, the Big Farm Upstate for Unwanted Gifts

Hick's latest Senior Center bingo "prices" were going to be yesterday's top story here at Val's cathouse, until The Pony suffered his newest dog bite. I doubt Hick minds being pushed from the headlines. I'm sure The Pony would gladly jump in the wayback machine if he could avoid being the news.

Anyhoo... Hick, much like a cat leaving mutilated tiny corpses on the porch in front of the door, proudly left me a text crowing about his win(s).

"My bingo winnings today. Won twice."

"A card, candle, and blanket?"

"Body lotion card and blanket."

"Why do you have a card? It looks like a sympathy card."

"It's a metal sign. Looks like a card."

I can't read what the sign/card says. I would swear that jar was a candle, but apparently Hick now has body lotion to sooth himself. And more preventative equipment for hypothermia. The jar says AROMATHERAPY. And eucalyptus spearmint. It's a sugar body scrub for stress relief. I think just seeing Hick slathered in that stuff would relieve MY stress, heh, heh!

As always, such an odd conglomeration of "prices" at Hick's Senior Center bingo.

Friday, March 29, 2024

A Heartbreaking Quirk of Staggering Unfairness

My heart broke a little more on Thursday, when I got a text from The Pony before noon. I'd been dreading it. Every time my phone buzzed, I had a feeling it was something bad about The Pony. I don't feel like that every day, but since I had talked to The Pony at 6:00 a.m., I felt that way on Thursday. With each check of the phone I was relieved that it was someone else. Yet the next buzz would put me in a panic again. Finally, the shoe dropped.

"Well. Guess what happened again."

I got a brief glimpse of the picture before I put my glasses on. My mind kept assuring itself that The Pony had merely fallen and skinned a knee. My mind was a dirty dirty liar. When I looked at the picture, I felt a wave of heat and weakness flood my body. I guess it was adrenaline.


"I should probably report it but I don't want to deal with that again and I've already got the antibiotic ointment since the other isn't even healed yet."

"Rabies info?"

"Guy said they're vaccinated. Good enough for me. Little yappy thing that jumped up. Because some people with boxes on their porch just can't wait until I'm outside the fence to get their mail."

"Well. Small chance of a house dog having rabies, anyway. That's gonna bruise."

"Just don't know how much longer I can deal with this."

"At least you've had a tetanus shot, and know the treatment protocol. I don't have a solution."

"Not any good solutions, yeah."

"Maybe bid on another route?"

"Next one coming open is worse. It has the druggy part by the produce distributor being sued for not paying the non-citizens enough, plus the Nazi tattoo shop."

"Forget THAT!"

Just before 5:00, The Pony sent another picture:

"Update after bandaging."

"Dang, that bruised fast! You can see the other teeth pressure points."

"It hurts. I think this one was, like, a French bulldog."

"They can't breathe right! And can't have pups without a C-section. Maybe biting is their forte." [Let the record show that the sole source of my knowledge is what I've seen on The Incredible Dr. Pol.]

"I guess. I don't know what else can go wrong this month!"

Around 8:00, The Pony sent me a bedtime picture. Shows off his mailman's tan, too!

"Not even 12 hours yet. I'm just gonna rest and hopefully wake up in time to test how stiff the leg is as the bruise keeps developing. We'll see how it goes."

Poor, poor, Pony! It's not the dogs' fault. They are just doing what dogs do. Protecting their people because somebody is in the yard or on the porch. It's the owners who deserve the blame, for putting the dog and the mailman in that situation.

The Pony DID report the incident to his manager right after it happened. The Universe owes The Pony an apology. This is two bites in two weeks. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Hopefully, a Case of Unneeded Sympathy

Hick is generally not in need of sympathy. Good thing, because he sure doesn't get it from me! Hick makes his own things happen, racking up good karma and reaping the benefits in freebies and help from his (sometimes newfound) friends. Still, Hick wouldn't be considered to have "good luck." He can't buy a winning scratcher, and can't win at regular bingo. Though he does have success beating the armpit-waist pants off the elderlies.

Anyhoo... as I type this, Hick is at a doctor's appointment. It has been scheduled for at least six months. It's 30-45 minutes away, at 9:45. Normally, it wouldn't be an issue for Hick, other than keeping him from working on the Beauty Shop renovation. Because such appointments usually involve cooling one's heels in the waiting room for a while, and then again in the exam room until the doctor is available, this visit eats up a lot of time. Which prevents Hick from eating at the Senior Center. They close at noon. Heh, heh, I guess it's true about the elderlies always eating early.

Anyhoo... while Hick was pre-cooling his heels on the long couch this morning, I asked what was for lunch. I'd forgotten the time of his appointment.

"I don't know if I'll be able to make it if my appointment takes too long. I'd have to leave there by 11:00 to get back in time. We're having ham. It's Easter dinner."

"Ohh! That's too bad. Can't they save you a plate?"

"She said they would if I call. But I don't know if I can get there in time to get it before they close."

"Surely they could keep it until tomorrow. I know they're not supposed to save food. But it would be just for you. If you had it at home, you'd save it for a day in the refrigerator."

"Yeah. I don't know."

Poor Hick. He doesn't ask for much. Well. Except an extra tractor, and five lawnmowers, and a freight container garage with a car lift that has never been used, and some cast-off shipping pallets. But he loves his senior lunches. Seems like he missed another holiday dinner due to a different appointment with a different doctor last year. 

I really hope Hick gets his ham.


Hick was able to get to the Senior Center by 11:15, to enjoy his ham dinner. He didn't take a picture! 

"It was a slice of ham, pretty thick. And green beans that was more than just green beans, like there was something in them."

"Like green bean casserole? Maybe with mushroom soup? What about fried onions on top?"

"Yeah. That might be it. But no onions. And we had potatoes. Some kind of stringy potatoes, and they was about like the green beans, with something in them."

"Stringy? Like shredded hash browns?"

"Uh huh. And cake."

"Wait. You still have a compartment on your tray with nothing in it. Did you have a roll?"

"Oh, yeah. A roll."

"What kind of cake."

"I don't know. Just cake. It had white icing."

"No flavor? Did it have any color?"

"It was kind of pink."

"So maybe strawberry something mixed in."


I don't know about you, but Hick's Easter dinner doesn't sound all that great!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Hick Would Be Having Flashbacks Of Linguine With Clam Sauce

Many years ago, when we were first married, and living in my $17,000 house in town... Hick volunteered to go to the store for me. It was the days before cell phones. I gave him a list. Yet he returned home with not one item on that list, having spent $35 in 1990 money. Most of his haul was cookies and snacks. Yet he had also bought himself a TV dinner that was Linguine With Clam Sauce. 

I have no idea why Hick wanted that TV dinner. He's not a seafood aficionado, and the young HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) and The (little future) Veteran seemed to like my cooking just fine when they stayed with us on weekends and for the summer. Anyhoo... Hick ate his TV dinner, and was sick for days! He turned a shade of green that I didn't know existed in humans. I told him that's what he got, for eating something with clam sauce in a landlocked location. Even though the "freezing" part should have provided safety.

Now comes The Pony, apparently grown out of his days when he only ate chicken nuggets and hot dogs and bread with butter and jelly. He told me to guess what he had for supper a couple days ago. I could not. So he sent me a picture:

NOOOO! Glowing in the light of The Pony's computer is SUSHI! My stomach did a routine that would be the envy of an Olympic gymnast! Looks like The Pony had the California Roll. Where, you might ask, would The Pony get such an item in the midwest?

At the grocery store, of course. And it's MARKED DOWN! At the store known for selling expired items if you're dumb enough not to check the dates!

I don't know if The Pony turned green. I do know that he was having a bit of an intestinal issue with gasses, not solids.

At least he didn't buy it at a gas station.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Hick the Do-Gooder Drives Again

A couple weeks ago, one of Hick's buddies talked to him down at the SUS2 (Storage Unit Store 2). Said he had been to the eye doctor because he was having issues. Seeing squares over things, needing to tilt his head to the side to see better. The local eye doctor referred him to a doctor in the city. But he didn't have a way to get there.

Hick said he would take him to the city for his appointment. Eye Buddy said he didn't want to impose. He'd find a way to get there. It's an hour drive from here. An hour twenty minutes from the SUS2.

A couple days ago, Eye Buddy talked to Hick again.

"I know I said I didn't need you to take me to my eye appointment. But I really don't have any other way to do it. I hate to ask, but I don't think I can get there any other way."

"I said I'd take you, and I will. It's not big thing. Not a problem. Just let me know the day and time."

Hick says it is sometime next month. He doesn't mind at all. Must be all that good karma that brings Hick so many freebies.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Not-Heaven Hath No Fury Like a Hick Un-Affirmed

Hick was almost apoplectic last week, having a hissy-fit over that business behind the Gas Station Chicken Store that distributes the Amazon packages to re-sellers.

"Have you looked at it? They have tons of pallets stacked on the side and behind the building! I don't know what they plan to do with them. It looks like they're just going to keep putting them there. That's a fire hazard! I called the city and told them about the pallets. They didn't seem very concerned. Alls they said was that 'they'll look into it.' I'd love to have the wood from them pallets. They shouldn't be able to pile them there."

"I haven't noticed it. I'm more concerned with not being able to see when I try to pull out of that road. AND all the vehicles that park along the alley, making it hard for traffic to get through."

So... the next time I was at the Gas Station Chicken Store, I DID notice all those pallets. Here's a view from the FREE AIR parking space in front of my rightful handicap parking space:

This was during a lull. When the pallets full of stuff were gone from the back field, and from in front of the business where they block the view of traffic. Lots of pallets there.

A LOT OF PALLETS! I don't know if the city has any ordinances about storing pallets. 

I do know that when Hick talks about them, his eyes might as well reflect several themed sheds constructed with that wood. Hick used to bid on the discarded pallets at his workplace, to keep them from being hauled off to the landfill. Well. It's not like Hick was concerned with the environment and recycling. He just wanted construction materials for his themed sheds.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Well, Surprise, Surprise

Another text from The Pony on Saturday afternoon:

"Same house. That's a nope."

"OMG! A pack awaits!"

"One is leashed, one is a puppy, two are loose."

"Still, two against one plus a satchel."

Seriously, why would somebody leash ONE dog, and not the other three? Is that one the biter? Doesn't make sense. All or nothing should be the rule.

In other news, Hick sent me a text at 3:18:

"I have  surprise for you when I get home."

Well. That's a warning or a blessing!

"That's good. Will it affect supper? I'm thawing some peas."

"No. It won't."

Huh. So it could be news of something we've been fretting about or looking forward to. Or it could be a treat somebody gave him. You never know with Hick. He thinks I'm a mind reader, though sometimes he doesn't give me much to read.

This time it was a GOOD surprise! Hick brought me two halves of a soft pretzel! That's on a small paper plate, not the large version.

When he brought it home for the reveal, I had already put some generic store brand sour cream and cheese potato chips in a bowl for my snack with a Diet Shasta Cola for a treat while scratching my lottery tickets. I promptly poured that bowl of chips back into the bag.

Hick's treat was delicious. I was planning to have the other half later, since those soft pretzels get rock-hard if you save them until the next day.

In other news... Hick took the individual bag of flavored popcorn that he had "given me" a few days earlier. That's okay. The picture on the bag showed that it was drizzled with chocolate and peppermint. Probably left from Christmas. And I'm not a big fan of peppermint.

Hick's was a nice surprise. The Pony's text was no surprise at all.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

The Pony Is No Dumb Bunny

The Pony sent me a text and picture on Friday afternoon. Let the record show that it was 10 days after he suffered a dog bite on the job. Still had a couple of antibiotic pills remaining to take from that injury.

"Eff people! Four unleashed dogs = four streets on that loop not getting mail."

"Serves them right!"

"Yeah. Worst house on the route. Has one of those loose at least once a week, is the house where one snapped its leash. It's two houses down from where I park for the loop, so when they're loose, none of the places get mail unless I have time to dismount the three other streets. Since there's no way to walk them without going by that house."

Also let the record show that there's a leash law in the city of Backroads, which is where The Pony delivers mail. The Pony's manager has complained to the city numerous times about them having a dog problem. Which they deny.

This picture was taken out the window of The Pony's USPS vehicle. 

I see three dogs there when I zoom in. Maybe I missed the fourth, but two of these dogs are pretty big. Nothing I would want jumping on me or taking a chomp on my extremities. Postal workers can fill out a dog card or cite animal interference when wildlife or tame life make them feel unsafe to deliver the mail.

Not sure how much I updated The Pony's injuries, but here's what his bites looked like four days after the last attack:

The Pony said the ointment he got at Urgent Care made the wound look dried-out and scabby. The puncture was still leaking fluid, and hurt a lot. With his hand not "feeling right" when gripping the mail. Like a delay in getting the sensation.

The upper arm injury was also part of the bite. The Pony first thought it was just a scratch from a paw, but in re-enacting the event, determined that it was actually a bite. 

"When I bend my arm like I had it during the attack, the lower and upper arm line up exactly to make one bite."

USPS policy is for carriers to put their mail satchel between themselves and a biting dog. They are told this during their training. I thought it was from days when satchels were actually leather, and could provide protection. The Pony says the nylon satchels are effective if you have time to use it as taught.

"We're supposed to put our arm down in the satchel. It's even better if we have a lot of mail in there. It acts as padding so the dog can't get a grip. But even without mail, it will keep the bite from being worse. I barely had time to get my satchel up. But that dog couldn't get a good bite, except for that one tooth. I was lucky the people were there to get it off me, and that it didn't knock me down when it jumped to bite me."

Anyhoo... I can understand how The Pony might be dog-shy so soon after his attack, with his wounds not yet completely healed. But it's also common sense that you don't get out and traipse across the territory of three loose dogs when you don't know their temperament or rabies vaccination status.

There's a reason several streets in Backroads were denied home mail delivery a year or two ago, and a set of outdoor post office boxes built for them to receive mail. It's a case of the few impeding the rights of the many.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Val Does Not Suffer the Stink-Eye Gladly

Thursday, I stopped by the School-Turn Casey's for scratchers. There was one clerk working, and one guy ahead of me as I got in line. Clerk started talking to him about the schedule, and how it's difficult for her. Not something you might discuss with a customer, you'd think. She was mid-30s, old enough to know better. She didn't greet him like they were friends. 

A guy clerk came out of the kitchen area to the other register, and asked me,

"Are you paying cash?"


I noticed a sign turned sideways saying that register couldn't take cards. That seems to be a regular problem at this location. Guy Clerk didn't so much ask me as spit out the words accusingly, as if he was hoping he didn't have to wait on me.

I handed him my two winners. "I'm cashing in $10, and buying more tickets. I'd like a number 7..."

Guy Clerk stepped behind the tall ticket case. Girl Clerk said something to him while finishing up the other customer's transaction. Guy Clerk responded. Then told her he SAID she could go. Maybe on a break, maybe she was leaving, since it was 4:00.

Then Guy Clerk peered around the case with his beady eyes burning into me, as if to say "AND?" I told him a number 12, and he turned to talk to Girl Clerk some more. Then gave me the stink-eye again. "Anything else?"

"Did you get the number 12?"


"Okay, and a number 16."

What I really wanted to say was, "Excuuuuuuse me! I didn't know if you were done with your conversation yet!"

Let the record show that Val is always prepared for her lottery transactions. Names the tickets, forks over the exact amount of cash, and is done. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, nice and breezy, done! I name off the ticket numbers as the clerk is tearing off the previous one. I don't spout out a long list of numbers. But I can't do that when a clerk is not looking at me, but is preoccupied with talking to a co-worker.

I guess it's too much to expect those clerks to do the job they are being paid for before they take time for a gripe session about shift schedules.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Hick Gets Stuffed By the Senior Center

Hick was on a roll Wednesday at the Senior Center. Well. A roll is about the only thing he didn't get there! He sent me a picture of his lunch. With a lunch like this, who needs supper? I was suspicious. You know how Hick has connections there. He eats at the workers' table. And they often give him extra.

That's an open-face beef sandwich, mashed potatoes with gravy, three-bean salad, crab rangoons, and cake. Looks like Hick started with the dessert, heh, heh!

"It looks like they gave their pet extra food!"

"No. Everybody got that amount. Only 11 people here today."

I guess that also explains all the stuff Hick won at bingo.

There's some more of the Little Debbie Swiss Roll Cereal that I want to try, yet have not seen the last box of it that Hick won. And some tortilla chips. I hope the t-shirt is extra large, because Hick's going to need it with all this food they're giving him!

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The Pony Cannot Cure Val's Paranoia

During our regular 6:00 a.m. phone call on Tuesday, I explained to The Pony about my odd mailbox encounter on Monday. His insider information did nothing to calm my nerves about a gal wearing brown clothes lurking behind the mailbox.

"Um. All of our uniforms are blue. No brown."

"Oh. Uh. Not even Postal Inspectors? Maybe they have a different kind of uniform?"

"Not that I know of. Why would they? They are still postal employees. They may have their own style of uniform, maybe, like security, but I doubt they'd be brown."

"Huh. I was hoping maybe it was just the worker from the Backroads post office (the dead-mouse-smelling post office!) being late to pick up the mail from that box."

"I saw both of the workers from that post office around 11:00, and neither of them were wearing brown."

"What if it was somebody trying to break in, who didn't know the color of the uniform? You know they're having a lot of problems in the city. So much mail being stolen out of the boxes, and checks being altered to steal money."

"Well, she would need an arrow key to get the mailbox open."

"Is it the same all over the country? Because I was reading that the crooks have the arrow key and that's how they break into the mailboxes."

"There are seven different arrow keys. Around here, out of our office, we use three different ones, for the different cities."

"So maybe she had an arrow key, and was trying it to see if it worked, and then she or some other crook could come back after dark and steal the mail. Because I can't imagine being so brave as to do that in broad daylight, in front of the post office, about 100 feet away."

"Maybe. But she would have to be kneeling. The locks are way down low."

"Maybe her fiddling with that piece of paper was just a decoy to excuse why she was there, hanging around the mailbox."

"I don't know. It seems kind of odd to me."

"You are NOT making me feel any better! I wish I had kept my Menards bill and took it to the main post office!"

I just don't trust anybody these days. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Hindsight Makes Val Paranoid

Monday, I was headed to the bank to get money to reimburse Hick for his cash outlays on the Beauty Shop part of our Double Hovel flip house. I also had the Menards bill ready to mail, which I planned to do at the main post office over in Sis-Town, which is where the bank is. The I figured that I could save myself that loop and just put it in the drive-thru mailbox in Backroads, since I would be passing by it on the way.

As I approached the drive-thru mailbox, I saw a white SUV parked on the non-mailing side of it. That's where the postal people scoop out the contents into a white plastic box at 11:00 a.m. But this was 2:00 p.m. So I didn't know if they might be running late, or what the situation was. The woman standing by the mailbox was wearing brown clothing. That's unusual. Postal uniforms are blue.

Still, I pulled up to put my envelope in the snout of that mailbox. The Pony says that it is officially called a "snorkel," not a snout. For a moment, I considered asking that lady if it was okay to drop it in there. Then again, when I read that USPS section on Reddit, postal workers are always complaining about customers bothering them when they're trying to do their job. So I held my tongue. She did not look up or acknowledge me, so I figured she was sending a subtle signal not to bother her.

I put my bill in the snout, and drove away. Immediately, I regretted my actions! Why didn't I just keep that bill, and continue to Sis-Town and mail it at the main post office? What if this lady was some imposter, trying to break into the mailbox??? As I made a U-turn (everybody does!) after mailing, I saw that she had a piece of paper in her hand, flapping in the wind. Like she was trying to tape it to the mailbox.

WHY would that happen? She was on the other side of the mailbox. Not the side people see when they drive up to mail something. Who would read such a sign taped to the other side? Surely she wasn't some random resident trying to post a lost dog sign. And why was she wearing brown? She wasn't driving a UPS truck. And most women don't run around town in matching brown pants and shirt, like the fabric for Dickies brand clothing.

Now I have to ask The Pony if he knows what was going on. That's his route, along the Backroads post office, though it's not his job to collect the mail from that box. 

I really wish I had my Menards bill back.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Convenience Store Capers: So Close, But Yet So Far

I walked into the Gas Station Chicken Store on Saturday, to find NO ONE THERE! No customers, no clerk. I knew it was the day and time that my favorite clerk should be working. Sometimes when business is slow, she is putting ice in the soda fountain, or grabbing a bite of her dinner in the break room. But there was no sign of her this time. I stood at the counter, perusing the selections. I am never in a hurry.

Fave came out of the bathroom shortly. 

"I heard you come in. Well. I didn't know it was YOU! I didn't want to yell out, 'I'm in here!' But if I had known it was you, I probably would have!"

"That's okay. I'm never in a hurry. You don't have to rush for me."

"I think I waited a little too long! I thought I would never stop peeing!"

"You have to take the opportunity when you can get it!"

"Did you hear about Casey's having a $100,000 winner?"


"The gal there told me, and I looked it up online. It's true. The $5 'Full of $500s' ticket."

"Dang it! Now there won't be a good winner around here for a while! I sure won't buy that ticket over there!"

I go in the Backroads Casey's a couple times a week. I DO buy that ticket, if they are out of my crossword or Frogger ticket. Oh, well. I guess somebody else needed that win more than I did.

In fact, I went over to the Backroads Casey's when I left the Gas Station Chicken Store. It's just across the moat, and over the side street from Hick's pharmacy. My favorite clerk there was working. The Older Lady with a blond ponytail.
"Here's my ten dollars to cash in. It's not $100,000, but better than nothing."

"Ha ha! I'm the one who sold that ticket! The girls over at 10Box said they wished I had won it. But I told them I don't buy here, I'm only the seller."

"I hope the winner remembers who sold it!"

"Oh, she did. She came in yesterday and gave me $385! I thought it was a prank! Then she told me what she won. I was shocked."

"That was really nice of her."

"I KNOW! It was the biggest tip I ever got! We had people in here all day, buying lottery. I told them, 'You know, it doesn't work that way. There's not going to be a jackpot here for a while."

So... good news for somebody, and for that clerk. I'm pretty sure I won't be hitting a big winner around Backroads for six months or more. But still, I can play to keep on playing.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Convenience Store Capers: A Heartbreaking Find of Staggering Regret

As you know, I have ceased my quest to become a Future Pennyillionaire. I no long pick up coins I find on parking lots or store floors. The pickin's have been slim, anyway. Only a couple sighted in the first two months of 2024. However...

On Saturday, as I walked up the slope to the door of the Liquor Store, I saw a penny. I resisted the urge to scoop it up. That's no longer my journey. I went past, noting several foil discs that must have held in the contents of small energy drink bottles. They often look like coins, and Val has been fooled more that once. 

When I came out, I saw another penny. And another! In fact, there was a small grouping, then a trail of pennies! It was the most fantastic thing ever! Like when I found a gaggle of pennies on the blacktop road down by Mailbox Row, figuring that a kid threw them out the bus window. I picked up those pennies, but not the ones at the Liquor Store. Such a shame. 

There were 15 PENNIES on that lot!

Yes. The lighting on the way back to T-Hoe revealed many more pennies. As if a numismatic Johnny Appleseed had scattered them there for me to find. I did NOT stoop to pick them up. I was on a downhill slope. Such an effort might have given me a stroke from the sustained pressure in my noggin while bent to collect them at a level lower than my feet. If I had turned to face uphill, I might not have seen them all, since I'd missed them on the way in.

The end of an era. This might have been my year to achieve Pennyillionaire status. Then again, as Hick says, a monkey might have jumped out of my rumpus.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Hick's Bingo "Prices" Could Outfit Us For an Expedition

Hick continues to win "prices" at lunchtime Senior Center bingo, yet lose at bar bingo on Tuesday nights. He's always proud to send me a picture of his winnings. Like on Wednesday, when he won another blanket. I swear, we could take a trip to Antarctica and be snug as two bugs in multiple rugs, with the collection of blankets Hick has won at bingo.

At first glance, I thought this was some knockoff Dollar Store version of Ugg boots. Still a viable option for our Antarctica trip. But Hick said it was a blanket. Then I noticed it was just the way that blanket was tied up with the ribbon.

On Friday, Hick crowed into my space in the kitchen while I was making chicken pot pie, to try and show me a picture on his phone.

"My new blanket is worth FIFTY DOLLARS. See???"

I did not see, being busy making supper. But I took Hick's word for it. He's pretty good with finding the prices for assorted auction finds. And the label on this one says CuddlDuds, which is at least a brand name that I've heard of.

Still... to me that blanket is just something somebody didn't want, so they re-gifted it to the Senior Center as a tax credit for charity.

Friday, March 15, 2024

The Pony Gets Back On the Horse

After a regularly scheduled day off on Wednesday, The Pony returned to work Thursday. He was apprehensive and sore. Of course I worried all day. I was especially thinking of him around 12:20, the time when his dog bite occurred on Tuesday. Then my phone buzzed with a text. The Pony sent me a picture of the scene of the attack.

This is where The Pony was walking along, having just delivered mail to the house on the right. He was headed up to the corner, where he turns to put the mail in the box on the front porch of the dog house. No car was parked there at the back porch on Tuesday. One or maybe both of the elderly people was on that back porch. The 110 lb Cane Corso was lying behind the trash cans. The Pony did not see the dog until it ran out in front of him. The Pony couldn't get the dog spray out of his satchel in time.

I mistyped the original account of the incident. The Pony said the residents of that house were not at home. Just the elderlies, who he thinks are the parents of one of the couple, and are visiting for two weeks from Florida with their dog. It was the elderly man who stayed with The Pony while the elderly woman brought out the hydrogen peroxide, ointment, and bandaid.

This picture gives me chills. WHAT IF a child was skipping along that sidewalk??? I shudder to think what the dog might have done to a child. A visiting dog should not have been off leash this close to a public sidewalk. I let my dogs run free, but they are on 20 acres. Not a few feet from a public pathway.

Anyhoo... can't go back in time and un-bite The Pony. The puncture wound looks to be healing, though oozing fluid. Here's a picture:

That's from Thursday morning, about 40 hours after the bite. The skin is wrinkly from the compression bandage overnight. Looks like the swelling has gone down.

The upper arm is showing more color in the bruise.

This one is from Wednesday afternoon, about 24 hours after the incident. I still stand by my theory that this is also a bite, not a paw scrape. It's not like this dog was a heavyweight boxing champ. That's a lot of bruising for a paw.

They don't look too bad for the aftermath of a canine attack. The Pony was a lucky dog.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Travels With My Placard: An Inconvenient Two-th

Tuesday was not a good day for traveling with my handicap placard. I stopped by the Gas Station Chicken Store for scratchers, and came out to find myself blocked in! Yes, I could have backed up a full car length, into the area where cars drove out from the gas pumps under the roof in front of the building. But T-Hoe's backup beeper doesn't work, and people these days keep driving behind you, even if they can see that you are actively backing. So I settled down to wait until I was unblocked.

There was a middle-aged man airing up his trailer tires. I waited until he walked around to get back in the truck before taking the picture. I wasn't on a shaming mission, just wanting to show how inconsiderate people are. This guy could have easily parked along the side of the road up there by the dumpster. That FREE AIR hose is plenty long. People do that all the time if both of these spaces are taken. 

They were really close, and that angle was irritating me, complicating my escape. The middle-aged man's ample middle-aged wife was sitting in the truck with her window down. Even though T-Hoe's windows were up, I could hear her when M-A Man got in the truck.

"She took a picture!"

"Why would she do that?"

"I don't know. But she got out her phone and took a picture! That's just stupid."

Heh, heh. If you don't want your picture taken, don't park like a rumpushole!

From there, I headed over to the Sis-Town Country Mart to get some soda for Hick, and some fried chicken which they did not have. Anyhoo... when I got there, ALL FIVE of the handicap spaces were taken. TAKEN! Like the seats Elaine was trying to save for Jerry and George and Kramer. Except instead of being empty, these spaces were full.

I drove down into the lot to sit for a minute. One car started backing out, so I pulled up, ready to cross over the drive that is actually a street with a stop sign. But the minute that car got out of the way, another car that had been waiting at the stop sign whipped into it! That was annoying. I was pretty sure I had more insurance, but I couldn't guarantee that I was older. So I refrained from giving it a Kathy-Bates-Fried-Green-Tomatoes ramming.

Had to park way down in the lot, to be near the cart return. No way was I going to park closer, then have to take a cart to the return and walk back to T-Hoe. You can't just leave a cart on that sloping lot.

Of course when I got back and unloaded my groceries into T-Hoe's rear, there were two handicap spaces open, and another car backing out. Too late for me! Who knew that 2:30 on a Tuesday was prime time for the elderlies to be out and about with their placards? Not this old Val. It wasn't even the beginning of the weekly sales, which is on Wednesdays.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Val's Words Come Back to Bite The Pony in the Arm

Do you ever wish you could take something back? Like I did, the moment it left my lips while talking on the phone to The Pony Monday morning. I had the audacity, when discussing his skinned knee, to mention "At least it's not a dog bite."

I even mentioned my regret in the last sentence of my blog post I wrote that night:

Of course you know what happened on Tuesday! When I heard a text on my phone at 12:14, my stomach tied itself in knots. I looked. Yes. It was The Pony.

"Bit by a dog. Will call you later."

Immediately, I got that panicky feeling. Like a tingly feeling all over my body.

"Dang! Are you going to a doctor?"

"Yeah. Manager coming to drive me. Since it's on my arm."

I was really worried. The Pony usually deals with his dog bites, and doesn't leave work. Getting the manager involved must mean it was serious. I felt a little better when The Pony sent me a picture:

That is right after the dog people applied a bandaid. So it was a false sense of security for me, but probably why The Pony sent it.

"Get rabies info? Is that above or below the elbow?"


"It swelled a lot."

"Yeah. It did that instantly. And yeah, she's got all her shots they say, they've got the papers."

"What kind of dog?"

"Mid size black one. Muscular, not sure the breed."

"If it let go, probably not a pit bull."

"Some Italian purebred thing I can't spell."

By 1:00, The Pony was back at the main post office.

"At the office. Gonna call Dad since not 100% trusting myself to drive to an urgent care, and don't want to make work drive me. Going to the one management said the last dog bite went to. Sent the last guy there for stitches, but we don't think mine will need it."

By 4:00, The Pony said, "Done and doctored. Meds picked up." And by 5:00, sent me another text: "Got Chinese food. Phone was dead. Could call any time if you need to talk to reassure you I'm okay!"

Of course I called immediately, and got more of the story.

The dog was a 110 lb Cane Corso. It belonged to an elderly couple who are here visiting for a couple weeks, from Florida. They were all sitting on the back porch of the homeowners. The Pony came walking along the main sidewalk, having just delivered to the house next door. He was heading for the corner, where he would turn and take the mail to their mailbox on the front porch as usual. He could see the people on the back porch, but not the dog, because the trash cans were blocking it. 

The dog (unleashed) jumped off the back porch and ran across the yard and in front of The Pony. The Pony was surprised, took a couple steps back, and was putting his satchel between him and the dog. That's the training they get at the carrier academy. 

"It was so fast that I couldn't get my dog spray out of my satchel. That's what the manager asked. There's no denying that I had my satchel out in front, because my blood ran down into it. I'm not happy about that, but at least it didn't get on the mail.

The people started yelling at the dog, and it got down. Then they came and grabbed it by the neck and took it inside really fast. The residents asked if it got me, and I said it did. Then the man stayed with me while the lady went in and got peroxide and antibiotic ointment and a bandaid. They put it on me and I called the manager. The old people had a copy of the dog's vet records, showing it was up-to-date on all its shots. The manager took a picture of it."

"WAIT! They had a copy with them? They didn't have to call and get it emailed? WHO carries their dog's vet records with them??? To me, that just says THAT DOG HAS BITTEN SOMEONE BEFORE!"

"I don't know if it has, but yes, they brought the records with them. My manager told them somebody would probably be coming to ask more questions about it."

"I am SO SORRY that I even mentioned a dog bite when talking about your knee!"

"Mom. It's not your fault."

"Well. At least you won't have to worry about it happening there again..."

"Yeah. Because they'll be taking it back to Florida. This was the last place I would have thought I'd get bit. I've seen them there with the dog last week, but it's always on a leash, or they rush it into the house when they see me cross the street. But today I was already on their side."

"The homeowners are probably afraid of a lawsuit, since the dog was staying on their property. At least the dog had its shots. I don't know what the post office does to try and get the money back for the doctor bills. That adds up to a lot, considering all the bites in all the cities in all the states!"

"I don't know either. I just know it took so long at the urgent care because they had to enter the paperwork for the workers' comp claim."

Anyhoo... The Pony sent me a few more pictures. That's your warning if you don't want to look below.

The Pony thinks those are claw scratches, but I'm not convinced it's not teeth trying to get a grip.

I guess The Pony might have put on a bigger bandaid (knee sized!) before riding over to urgent care with Hick. The medical people said it was GOOD that it was bleeding so much, because that helps clean out the wound. Then they proceeded to spray something not peroxide and not alcohol-based in it, to rinse it out. The Pony said he could see the different skin layers.

The Pony thinks this wound on his upper arm was from a paw and claws. I think not. I don't think a paw would bruise like that in the space of two hours. I think that's another bite.

More bleeding from the cleaned-up puncture on the forearm.

Urgent care hooked The Pony up with some big bandaids, like the one on the upper arm.

And one under the pressure bandage on the forearm, which they said should stop the bleeding. The Pony got a prescription for cephalexin. They said the preferred drug for dog bites is amoxicillin, but The Pony is allergic. I told him to watch out for a rash, because I had a reaction to cephalexin.

Anyhoo... I guess we're not worrying about the skinned knee infection any more.

It's kind of scary that the dog jumped up to bite The Pony's arm, rather than taking a chunk out of his leg like the other biters.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

A Pony Knee Update

The Pony sent a new picture of his recent injury. I didn't like the looks of it, but The Pony is taking precautions. He also said he sent me the BEST original picture of his skinned knee, and that the ones he sent to Hick showed the blood trail between the times he wiped it off.

According to The Pony, he was walking along a sidewalk as usual, but the residents had parked their car on the side he usually walks on. When walking on the other side, he tripped, because tree roots had pushed up the slab of sidewalk. The Pony said it's the old style of sidewalk, kind of a yellowish color, where you can see the little rocks in it, and not the smooth gray kind of sidewalk.

Anyhoo... here's what Saturday's skinned knee looked like on Sunday morning:

I can kind of see how the individual rocks in that sidewalk made their own gouge. The knee had undergone a shower and a bath by this time. The Pony said it was painful in the shower, and he'd tried to keep it mostly out of the bath water. Also, he was out of bandaids, having only an empty box in his cabinet, and headed for the store to buy some.

I said he should draw around the outline of the red area, to see if it expands. In which case he should go to the doctor for the infection. The Pony said he was planning to do that. His cousin had to do it with a spider bite one time. The Pony reminded me that at this point, it hadn't even been 24 hours since the injury.

Monday morning, The Pony reported that he had gotten large square bandaids, and that his knee had been oozing some stuff. That's to be expected. We'll see how a day of walking on it affects the wound. Which is on the part that must bend with every step.

I asked if The Pony was taking his bandaids and ointment to apply midway through the day. He was noncommittal! But surely that would be common sense. Not only in case the knee leaks, but simply in case of sweat loosening the bandaid.

Anyhoo... we'll see how it goes. It's not like a dog bite, which I made the mistake of mentioning. And instantly regretted putting that out into The Universe.

Monday, March 11, 2024

In Spring, a Gravel Road's Residents' Thoughts Lightly Turn to Loads of Gravel

Spring has nearly sprung, and our gravel roads are filled with potholes. Somebody with a tractor bladed them yesterday, and the lower section along the creek, by Mailbox Row, is greatly improved. However, with each rain, and each nightly freeze and thaw, those potholes regenerate.

Hick said our enclave's Facebook page had a request from our across-the-road neighbors that each family buy a load of gravel for the year. At the cost of $230. That's reasonable enough, with inflation. Hick said the last time he had a buddy haul a load of gravel for us, it cost $175. But he has connections. AND, I don't begrudge the spreaders of the gravel a pittance for their tractor gas, and time.

The deadline for collecting that gravel money is May 5th. Not that anything will be done if somebody chooses not to pay. It's not like you can ban them from driving on the roads.

We will pay our portion this week. I'm fairly certain that more than half of the 40 residents will pay nothing. They must think the roads repair themselves. Or that they are exempt from contributing. As with society, some people will feel entitled to reaping the benefits of others who pay for them.

It is what it is.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

The Pony Has Butterhooves

Poor Pony. He took a tumble at work yesterday. It wasn't even raining! He made it through two days of rain, no problem, other than wet feet. He was perturbed that the forecast called for the rain to end at 11:00 on Friday. So he changed into the dry shoes he had taken for that very purpose. Yet there was another downpour at 12:00. Still, he stayed upright.

Saturday was sunny and clear, temps in the 50s. That's what The Pony likes. He wears his shorts. But at 4:19, he sent me a text:

"Headed home. Had an ouchy."

"NOOOO! Triple antibiotic ointment."

At 4:50, I had a reply.

"I knowwww. Shower stung a lot."

At least The Pony has Sunday off, now that he's a regular. Maybe a little healing can take place. Hick is always questioning why The Pony seems to fall so much. I guess when you walk 11 miles a day, that's gonna happen. Or maybe The Pony looks at his phone while walking. Or maybe the sidewalks are broken, or people have uneven steps. 

Another thought occurred to me. It's common knowledge that one of The Pony's main food groups happens to be BUTTER. The Pony is a Butterton, just like those old commercials for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Only his preferred brand is Kerrygold.

Maybe the soles of The Pony's feet excrete BUTTER! And it's like Alien blood, and seeps through his shoe soles. Making footing slippery.

Whatever the reason, I feel bad for The Pony. And it's not just the unflattering angle of his photo. Nobody should have to bleed on the job.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Playing For an Unknown "Price"

Hick played bar bingo again on Tuesday night. I won't bother with his food photo, since he had the same meal as the last two times: cheeseburger, fries, and fried mushrooms. Hick says he just drinks soda at this location, since it goes so quickly he doesn't want to take a risk of driving home after imbibing. At the last place he used to play, he and his friends would get there around 4:00, and leave after 8:30. Here, he arrives at 5:00 or later, and leaves around 7:30.

Here's the "prices" from this week:

In true Hick photo fashion, you have the subject surrounded by lots of unuseful border. 

"I can't tell what they are."

"O'clock wine glasses t shirt"

"What's in front of the clock? Lookes like placemats."

"I think so."

I believe bar bingo has seven or nine prizes per night. So I asked Hick where the rest of them were.

"There was several gift cards."

"What was the grand prize?"

"I don't know. But I almost won it. One number off."

Does that sound fishy to you? Hick almost won the grand prize, but didn't know what it was? Surely he paid attention to what the actual winner got. You know. Since he was only drinking soda.

Since he's not winning anything, I'd prefer Hick went back to Wednesday night bar bingo, at the other location that is less than 1/4 mile down the road from this one. At least I'd see a variety of food, and Hick would be gone longer!