Dateline: Friday, 2:30 p.m.
Yesterday, I wrote about a phone call I got from an old-lady friend of my mom on Wednesday evening. Always my mother's daughter, I ended up talking for 45 minutes long-distance on the Mansion land-line after returning that old lady's call. I finished yesterday's post with a mention of how expensive that call was going to make our monthly AT&T bill this time. But how it wouldn't surprise me if a source of money to pay it turned up before the bill arrived.
Color me not surprised. And color today's Missouri Lottery Golden Ticket green:
Uh huh. I won $100 on a scratch-off ticket today. Pure coincidence...perhaps.
The day did not start off well. Last night, sitting in my OPC (Old People Chair) with the heat and the pulsing vibrator running non-stop (I have to restart them every 15 minutes when they shut off automatically) I mentally planned my daily town trip.
I needed to get the boys' weekly letter to the main hub post office before 11:30, because The Pony's was a manilla envelope with mail enclosed. Of course I would need to pick up some scratch-off tickets, and cash in the day's winners. I always plan my ticket purchase the night before. Can't plan any earlier ahead. I just wait until I get the right vibes as I think of the 7 convenience stores, spread over three localities, that are worthy of my ticket purchases.
When I'm going to buy a Golden Ticket, I consult my list of previous purchases. These are costly tickets, and nothing to be trifled with. I look at my list to see the number of the ticket I last bought at a specific store, and whether it was a winner or loser. There is only one $100 winner in a roll of 20 tickets. I don't want to buy one from a roll where I know the $100 has already been won. The little guy in the gas station chicken store will tell me if I start to buy one, and there was just a winner.
I decided the best bet would be to pick up my Golden Ticket at Country Mart, where they have two vending machines selling them. The last one I bought out of the right machine was a loser, and it was ticket number 19, the last one on a roll. So I knew a fresh roll would be in there now.
After getting that ticket, I would head on two towns over, to the main hub post office. Then I'd pick up a Beef Burrito Supreme for the non-working-Friday Farmer H's lunch that he'd requested. And maybe some chicken soft tacos for myself. The last stop would be the gas station chicken store for my 44 oz Diet Coke. Yep. I had my day planned out the night before. Not that I'm like my sister the ex-mayor's wife or anything...
So...I started to town in my green shirt (ST. PATRICK'S DAY!), not seeing the dogs, who were disloyally hanging out with Copper elsewhere. Before I was even off the county blacktop road, A BLACK CAT RAN ACROSS THE ROAD RIGHT IN FRONT OF T-HOE!!!
Oh, dear! What to do, what to do? That couldn't be a good omen! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a semi-superstitious person. She likes to keep the same routine when things are going well. Uses the same lucky quarter to scratch her tickets. Sets her two bubba cups and 44 oz magical elixir in the same order on her desk. Lays her tickets in the same place to await scratching. Puts out her aspirin and ibuprofen in plain sight for taking after supper. NOW a black half-grown kitten had scampered from left to right across Mrs. HM's luck.
I had half a mind not to cash in yesterday's tickets or buy more. To have a moratorium on scratching for one day. HA HA HA! Like that would happen. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is WEAK! She wanted her Golden Ticket!
On I went to Country Mart. Imagine my chagrin when I avoided a barreling cart-pushing hag as I tried to enter through the automatic OUT doors, like a seasoned bullfighter avoiding a loco toro, and stepped up to the right side lottery ticket machine, and saw the marker in front of my Golden Ticket that said OUT. Unfair! Unfair! This was going to be my winner! I checked the left side machine, which was also OUT of Golden Tickets. Well. Don't that just beat all? I picked up two ten-dollar tickets from it as I had planned. And left.
Well. My day was NOT off to a good start. I headed for the post office. It was Friday, you know. When I most often did the Devil's Playground shopping before Farmer H started not-working that day. I hadn't been by the cemetery yet this week to talk to Mom. I'd tried on Tuesday, but two guys on a green tractor were working in her plot area. I turned in there on the top road, and saw those two guys again! With their green tractor. I don't mean to rat anybody out, but seriously...how much can you do in a graveyard with your tractor if you aren't digging somebody up or covering somebody over? Were they milking this job all week? I kept T-Hoe rolling. Talked to Mom through the window as I passed. "Well, Mom, we made it back from our trip to Oklahoma. I talked to your friend [NAME REDACTED] on the phone. She really misses you. I can't stop now. Those men are here again. I'll try again another day." Mom would understand, you know. She would join me in complaining about those men daring to do their job right when we wanted to talk.
On I went to the post office. A guy was mailing a big tray of non-profit, and a tray of profit. He had to write two different checks, he said. In the meantime, his fidgety boy-child of almost-school age flipped and flopped and flung himself along the counter, never taking his creepy eyes off me, even when a line formed behind me. I mailed my mail and went back to T-Hoe. Now I had the problem of where to get my ticket.
On my drive over, I had contemplated going to the Casey's General Store I frequent for tickets out by my bank. Every time I thought about it, I did not have a spark. No. Not time yet, my intuition shouted. I had a $100 winner from there on March 8, and it was ticket 001. They might still be on the same roll, and I already had the big winner off it.
I considered the Waterside Mart (no longer by the waterside since their new store was built up the street) by the stoplight on the way to my bank. I wasn't going to the bank today. But I didn't think it was time to buy my Golden Ticket from my other sources. I never go to this Waterside Mart. Haven't been there since I went with The Pony back when it first opened, at least a year ago, more likely two. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like I should go there for my ticket. It wasn't far from the post office. Closer than the Casey's.
Parking at the Waterside Mart was awkward. I wasn't used to their set-up, and had to drive through the gas pumps to the store. I vaguely remembered where their cashier was stationed, over on the left. Good! They had a display of tickets on the counter. But there was NO GOLDEN TICKET in that display! The clerk was joking around with a customer over by the deli. She gave me her attention immediately. Friendly-ly. Just like in the newest Waterside Mart over by my turn to go to Newmentia.
"May I help you?"
"Yes. I'm going to buy a lottery ticket. Do you have the Golden Ticket?"
"Sure do! Would you like one?"
"Yes. I'd like one Golden Ticket, please."
She grabbed it off the counter behind the display, rang it up, and pushed it toward me. "Good luck!"
The minute she shoved that ticket across the counter, my heart dropped into my stomach. NOOOOO! It was ticket number 000. I HATE to get ticket number 000. It's the first one on the roll. Even though I had a $100 winner on one in my streak of three-days-in-a-row one-hundreds, I do not like the 000. I had just thrown away my money! For NOTHING!
When I climbed into T-Hoe and grabbed my pen to write initials on the back so I'd remember that it came from the post office town Waterside Mart...my unglassesed eyes realized that it was ticket number 005! NOT 000. Whew! Dodged that bullet. Then I had quite an optimistic feeling about my Golden Ticket.
The rest of my outing was fairly uneventful. Except for an oddity I stumbled upon down by EmBee...but that's for tomorrow.
I scratched off my Golden Ticket after lunch. I saw right away that I had ONE number that matched. After scratching the whole thing, I went back to scrape off the gold and see how much I won. I figured it was probably the cost of the ticket. But that would be fine! My money back to play again.
I always start on the cents side of the amount. Huh! What was wrong with this winner? I expected my little centsy zeroes. But these were FAT zeroes. BECAUSE THEY WERE PART OF $100, by cracky! They don't put the cents on those.
I kind of had a feeling that my phone call reimbursement would show up. I just didn't think it would be the very next day after I wrote that post.