Farmer H is a crafty old coot.
I was questioning him this morning about his monetary plans in the near future. Every day, I find three or four receipts laid upon the open expanse of my food-prep kitchen counter. It's wearing me down. Farmer H doesn't nickel and dime. He fifties and hundreds.
"I need to know what you're going to do with this money. The insurance money from the tree and the shed and the roof and the hail-damaged truck and car. We've got too much money sitting in the checking account. I want to stash it somewhere else."
"Well, I told you. I'm going to get the truck worked on to fix that rusted panel. But not for hail damage. I have to get an estimate. It will probably be less than $1000. And I already spent about $500 for lumber and tin to rebuild the goat shed. And I paid the tree man $800 and some cedars to haul off that tree. I'm not doing anything to fix the car. But I have to build some shelves to put that auction stuff on that you brought from your mom's. There might be another $800 in lumber and stuff for the goat shed and shelves."
"Okay. So anything from the insurance over about $3500 I can put into savings?"
"Yeah. That should be okay."
I know those figures above don't add up to $3500. And I know we have a little cushion built into the checking account that I don't tell Farmer H about. Because when he sees a balance, it's like he's got to run out and spend it until we're down to nothing.
Today when The Pony and I returned from The Devil's Playground, I saw a white van parked in front of the BARn. That's in addition to our own gold Ford F-250 Long Bed Club Cab and maroon $1000 Caravan and maroon Ford Ranger that belongs to The Pony and the $10,000 new used blue tractor and the old green FOR SALE John Deere tractor and the green Gator. Oh, we have other vehicles, too. But they were not parked in front of the BARn. I KNOW we don't have a white panel van (which had its back double doors open) emblazoned with Service Solutions.
"Pony! What's that van? Do we know anyone with a white van?"
"No. I don't think so."
"Wait a minute! Neighbor has a white work van. He works on air conditioners and furnaces for Hardee's. That might be him. I bet Dad's up to something. When I told him it was too hot to work on those shelves in the freight container today, he said, 'I'll do that in the BARn. With a fan.' Now why would he use a fan when he's got Grandma's old heat pump/air conditioner installed there?"
"I don't know."
I sent Farmer H a text. "What's with the white van parked by the BARn?"
Of course I got no answer. Not even four hours later when he traipsed through the basement in his tighty whities to go loll in Poolio for a respite from the 94 degree heat. I had to spring it on him when he came in to disrupt my free time in my dark basement lair. Dripping Poolio water.
"Hey! What was that white van doing at the BARn?"
"Yes. White van. The one with the back doors open."
"Oh. That was our neighbor."
"What was he doing here?"
"Oh. He charged the air conditioner."
"How much is that going to cost?"
"I told him I'd give him a hundred dollars. Sometime this afternoon."
Yes. A checking account ain't safe in a Mansion full of Farmer H.