Friday, January 4, 2008

Best Person To Find Cash And Treasures

I must tell you of my recent adventures. Sunday, I was away without the children. I made my daily trip to The Devil's Playground, and on the way home, I stopped by my lucky convenience store to cash in a $20 winner that The Pony had scratched off. I bought a variety of tickets, and decided to scratch two of them myself. I always let the kids do it, which is not quite so much fun. Except for The Pony, who is the luckiest child in the world. The #1 son is like a storm cloud over my head. He rarely wins. Even if he chooses the tickets from my hand, and we give The Pony the remainder, #1 loses and Pony wins.

Once I got to scratchin', I saw that I had a winner on a $5 Blackjack ticket. $50! WooHoo! I scratched a $10 ticket, and won $20. This was such a good turn of events, I took the rest home for The Pony, who didn't win at all. "That's OK," said The Pony. "You won, and there's always the next time." He's a regular Pollyanna, that boy.

On Wednesday, we went to make the Mansion payment. We doubled it. Just because we can. But anyhoo, on the way, I stopped at my lucky convenience store to cash in my $70 winnings. They were crowded. Two people were waiting in the cramped quarters to buy gas-station chicken. They waved another lady ahead. When she was done, they were still waiting on chicken, so I moved to the counter. That goofy lady who just finished moved to the next register. "Oh. I want some lottery tickets." Now why she couldn't have completed her business in one transaction, I don't know. That tied up one register again, and I had just been served at the second. And the chicken people were now waiting to pay. The guy who took my tickets had a devil of a time finding the verification code. Then he tied up the ticket machine while the other clerk needed it. A chicken lady sighed. I felt bad. Maybe she was on her lunch half-hour. She'd already waited at least 10 minutes since I'd been there. I turned and said, "If you'd been done, I would've gone back to the end." She didn't say much. My clerk finally got my tickets receipted. Then he said, "I don't have enough cash to pay them. I just opened my register." So then I had to go to the other register to get my $70. He gave the tickets with their stapled receipts to the lady clerk. She rang them up, and shoved a twenty across the counter at me. "There ya go." WHAT! I said, "I had a twenty and a fifty winner." The male clerk verified it. She looked back at the tickets, and coughed up my fifty. "Oh. Sorry." Well, with that fine how-do-you-do, I was not ABOUT to buy my tickets right then. Karma, baby! I had a bad feeling. First, from the chicken people having to wait because of the double-clerk faux pas. Second, because it just didn't feel right. I took my $70 and hit the road, Jack.

The kids were expecting tickets. They only whined for a minute. We made a slight detour on the way to pick up my mom to ride with us and have lunch, a slight detour to another lucky convenience store. It was crowded. I did not stop. I stopped at the one near my mom's house. I bought my Million Dollar Raffle Ticket, the PowerBall, and one of my favorite tickets. I told #1 son, "Don't even think about it!" and handed it to Pony. He promptly won $10. Got my money back on that ticket. Which reminds me, I still haven't cashed it in. I think it's in the car or the bottom of my purse. That's neither here nor there. I had been planning to spend more of that $70 on tickets on the way home, but I just didn't have a good feeling. This was the same day we had that incident at The Devil's Playground with the gift cards. Karma. It wasn't happenin' for me that day.

Today, we had to go back to The Devil's Playground. My mom was going to meet us in the parking lot for some left-over spaghetti sauce. (We're a thrifty lot. We may spend money willy-nilly on lottery, but we can't waste a dollar's worth of spaghetti sauce). Mom was on her way back to a nearby town to visit with some of her old teaching buddies. I had planned to stop and buy some more tickets on the way to The Devil's Playground. Naw. I decided to wait until the way home. I sent #1 and The Pony into Papa John's Pizza, which is conveniently located inside The Playground. The Pony had lunch, and #1 took Lappy and soaked up free internet. I bought some sausage, bananas, cheese, pajamas for the boys, shampoo, toothpaste, and acne medicine (somebody's 13 now). Enough to use up those gift cards. I went to Papa John's and saw that The Pony was just on his first slice. In came my mom. I told the boys I was taking Grandma out to the car while I loaded the packages, and I'd be right back. Outside, I cut the cheese for my mom, and made her smell it. It's not what it sounds like. It was that cheese with oregano and spicy salami that smelled like the blackberry field. Anyhoo, Mom chastised me until I put on a coat, and I went back in, and bought the boys some Dibs out of the ice cream cooler, and then headed to McDonald's. Normally, I would tell the #1 son it was pizza or nothing, but I was feeling charitable today. We passed through the drive-through quickly. Very unusual.

Then I stopped at my favorite convenience store, home of the $70 chicken incident. I planned on one more Million Dollar Raffle ticket, two of my $10 favorites, and two of the $2 kind that's a new game. There were three people ahead of me paying for gas, getting receipts. That's kind of unusual, especially since two of them were old ladies. I bought my tickets with a fifty from my winnings the other day, and pocketed my change. In the car, I gave #1 his choice. "I want this one. And this one." He was fiddling with his Lappy, but The Pony got right down to it. "I don't need a coin, Mom. I still have my lucky one." He's been using that coin since Christmas. We were not even out of the parking before he squealed, "I've got a winner!" #1 rolled his eyes. Loser. The Pony kept scratching. There are 20 chances on that kind of ticket. And he kept squealing "Winner!" He had 15 winners. #1 said, none too nicely, "I'm going to come back there and strangle you!" I was calculating in my head. 15 winners x $5...I thought The Pony had himself a $75 winner. Then he said, "I saw part of the prize on that middle one where I scratched too far. "It looks like $50." So now I'm thinking 'That could be $120 if the rest are $5.' The Pony went back to scratchin'. He squealing like mad each time. "FIFTY DOLLARS! FIFTY DOLLARS! FIFTY DOLLARS!" Until he squealed, "ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS!" He had uncovered ten $50 prizes, and five $100 prizes. Yeah. My Little Pony scratched a $1000 ticket. Sweet Gummi Mary!

Even though that $1000 would buy a lot of tickets, I'm going to get the #1 son a new laptop. He's going to pay for half, out of allowance withholdings. He has declared he will give Lappy to The Pony, free of charge. I also told HH I'd give him $100 for a new pair of boots. Oh, and me? What do I get. Umm...nothing. Because I'm selfless that way. I've been downloading claim forms and W-9 instructions. You can bet I'm sending this by certified mail. The lottery offices are only open M-F, 8:00 to 5:00. I'm not using my last day off to drive to the city.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, those $2 tickets were both losers, but #1 won $50 on his ticket. Of all days. This would have been quite a celebration for him. But The Pony stole his thunder by scratching first and winning more.

None of us are complaining.

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