Friday, October 20, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #81 "Norman Veranda"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. This week, Val serves up a bio on a new rising star. Whether it's pure entertainment you seek, a hearty meal fill your belly, or a rags-to-riches story of a new entrepreneur...Val's latest fake book will leave you sated. To broaden your horizons and tempt your palate and update your fashion sense...order your fake copy today!

Norman Veranda

Norman Veranda is not content to sit on the porch and sip sweet tea. Norman seeks the spotlight, whether performing weekends as the headliner at a local drag show, or slinging hash in his daytime job as a short-order cook. Now Norman is starting his own line of unique headwear, called Campy Chapeaus.

Unfortunately, Norman's arch nemesis, Babs Marley, is being a real pain, complaining copyright violation about Norman's latest creation, a knit hat with several stripes, adorned with jerk chicken, rice, fried plantains, coconuts, and limes. Will one bad apple send Norman's dreams up in smoke, and put an end to his bread and butter? (106 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Rag on the Fifer's Head in The Spirit of 76 Painting..."Far from being a revolutionary work of literature, this fake story is a trite reminder that nobody wins in war OR in the fake-reading of one of Thevictorian's fake books!"

Baker's Chef Hat..."This fake book will not rise, despite being overly inflated. Thevictorian herself is a crusty tart who is not on a roll, her 81st effort falling flat. She is toast."

Plastic Baseball Helmet Sundae Dish..."Thevictorian strikes out with this fake book. Like my contents, it starts out sweet, but you soon grow tired of it, and within a few moments, you realize that it's a muddled mess just waiting for the garbage can."

Diver's Helmet..."I might be made of brass, but even I am not strong enough to endure Thevictorian's latest fake work. I would rather be 20,000 leagues under the sea than fake-read the fake writing of this drip!"

Beekeeper's Mask..."I am very good at my job, but even I cannot protect you from the sting of this atrocious fake book. Let's hope nobody develops an allergy to Thevictorian's fake writing, because I don't believe there's enough benadryl in the world to save the few fake-readers. The buzz I hear is that this author is a killer...of the English language."

Fencing Mask..."Let me pointedly advise you to be on guard when Thevictorian hawks her fake books. Most of you won't be able to handle them, and it's my attempt to foil her efforts to thrust them upon you."

Book on the Head of a Future Debutante at Finishing School..."Don't let this fake book catch you off-balance. Society frowns upon low-class hacks like Thevictorian. Her fake work is not even fit to adorn the lice-riddled heads of common backwoods hillbillies as they practice walking with regal bearing to try to infiltrate the upper classes."

Magician's Hat..."My owner may pull rabbits out of me, but he can't make this fake book readable. He's a magician. Not a miracle worker." 

Egg..."I'm all over Thevictorian's face. She must have been fried when she fake-wrote this fake book. She's a rotten fake-writer, her brains are scrambled, and she makes me boiling mad! It would all be over, easy, if she would just stop writing."

Link Sausages..."Too many words, stuffed into too little space! Thevictorian's fake writing is like War and Peace wedged between the covers of a Little Golden Book."

Bacon..."What a ham! Thevictorian thinks she smokes the competition, but she really needs to be cured of that attitude, and stop writing and invest what money she has left into pork belly futures."

Beans..."I am sometimes called The Magical Fruit. The more you eat of me, the more you toot. But even that flatulence could not possibly stink as much as Thevictorian's fake book!"

Tomato..."Unlike the misnamed beans above...I am an actual fruit. There's no truth to the misconception that early settlers thought me poisonous. There is, however, every truth to the belief that Thevictorian is no writer!"

Mushrooms..."You must think we've been kept in the dark and fed crap if you believe that we'll fall for this fake book! Oh, wait..."

Thursday, October 19, 2017

If You Sell a Hick a Parking Meter

Remember Hick's yard sale parking meter? He has it in one of his sheds over in Shackytown. A few days ago I called him, just to find out where he was. Oh, I didn't need him for anything. I didn't want him to come home. No siree, Bob! I was only curious as to his whereabouts, kind of playing a little came I call: How long can I go without seeing Hick? In this case, not very long, because he was not involved with a project, but merely a couple hundred feet away, admiring his treasures.

Of course my little scheme backfired, because Hick decided to come over to the house and tell me something he'd discovered.

"I put a nickel in my parking meter, and IT WORKED!"

"Oh. Good for you."

"You can get an HOUR for a nickel!"

"That's nice."

I guess maybe he'd been sitting there for an hour, watching it work. I didn't want to ask. He might have brought it in the house so I could admire it, and watch to see if it was accurate.

Seriously. What does it matter if that thing works? Is anybody going to watch it? Will he barricade people in his shed, and only let them out when time is up?

Besides, that parking meter is only a head. To get a pole to hold it up would probably cost me several years worth of savings bonds. I think a piece of pipe like he got to make his blacktop roller would be a little too big. So Hick most likely would not go the recycle or free or friends in parking-meter-pole places route, and I'd be out some funds. He might possibly even want to pour some concrete, buy a new concrete drill, and hold that parking meter down with screws that went through the laundry in his pockets and caused the purchase of a new dryer!

He can't set it up, even if he had an expensive pole or concrete monument to mount it on, and charge people to park out here. That would require quite a bit of fencing to funnel them into that ONE parking space. So much field, so little chance of someone making you pay to park in it.

Also, the door on that parking meter doesn't lock. So even if Hick could strong-arm several people into parking there for an hour, some ne'er-do-well would most likely rob that parking meter of its nickels.

Hick was all excited about his discovery, though.

You'd think he plans on becoming a nickelillionaire or something.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Like a Pea-Sensing Princess, Val Cannot Be Fooled

Monday evening, I ascended from my dark basement lair and heard a cacophony from the kitchen/laundry room area. Hick was kicked back in the La-Z-Boy, watching either The Andy Griffith Show or MASH.

"What are you doing?"

"Just a load of laundry."

"What have you got in there, a load of gravel?"

"No. Just my overalls."

"Did you leave the laundry room door open?"

"No. It's just the metal from the parts that hook the straps."

"I've heard your overalls in the dryer before. They don't sound like THAT!"

"Well, that's all it is."

"Sounds like you're destroying the dryer."


I went on about my business of driveway-walking and preparing supper. The overalls were done clanking by the time my walk was done. I didn't give it any other thought. Later that night/early morning, I put a load of laundry in the washer as I went to bed. I opened the dryer to toss in a Bounce and set the dials so it would be ready when I stumbled in around 5:30 to transfer my clothes to the dryer. Since Hick is a repeat offender of leaving the lint trap full of his clothing fuzz and cedar chips and strands of straw, despite numerous warnings...I reached down to empty it.

This is what I found in the grooves where the lint trap fits into its pocket.

I laid them on the kitchen counter for evidence. When Hick came in for lunch, I told him that apparently I was NOT as crazy as he tries to pretend, and pointed out my dryer discovery.

"THIS is what I heard in the dryer! They were laying in the cracks of the lint trap when I emptied it. Which YOU are supposed to do when you use it."

"Oh, they're just screws. I saw them on the counter this morning and wondered where they came from."


"They must have been in my pockets. I'll take them now."

I KNEW that wasn't the sound of overalls drying. And that this proves HICK is the one who has a screw loose, not Val.

Let the record show that Hick does his own laundry, because he took offense during the first year of our marriage (28 years ago) when I told him that I was not going to pick his dirty clothes up off the bedroom floor, and that he should put them in the laundry hamper. He showed ME!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sadly, It Was NOT a Penny!

Looks like my pennyillionairehood is going to take a little longer than expected. I have not found a penny for 10 days! Not for lack of looking, though! I am very observant. I keep my eyes on the pavement like a bloodhound keeps his nose to the ground after a prison break. Which means that sometimes, I find things other than pennies. No. Not escaped convicts. Things like this:

You don't know what it is, do you? That's because you don't have the eagle bloodhound eyes of Val Thevictorian. It's not the annoying toddler-car cart parked there, that blocked my way when I was inside shopping. Oh, I could have forged past it, if I had no qualms about decapitating a little blond girl who was lolling her head out the side as her inconsiderate mother blocked both me and a stockboy while parked for no apparent reason in the middle of the main aisle. Lucky for that little girl, Val has qualms.

Look closer there. Up against the wall, in the center of the picture. Not at the stains and weathered gum impersonating pennies. Had the autumn 11:30 a.m. sun penetrated the shadows, you might have caught a glint of the business end. Here:

It's a NAIL FILE! What in the Not-Heaven placed this item here in front of Country Mart for Val to see on her way out? A ne'er-do-well from an aborted robbery attempt? A butter-fingered family member of an inmate at the local prison, who unknowingly delivered a plain old cake to her loved one? A distracted, fashion-conscious housewife who wanted her nails to look presentable as she did her shopping? A delivery boy from the nearby Domino's who lost his concealed weapon for self-protection?

Unlike my rightful pennies, I did not pick up this nail file. It could be forensic evidence for a crime, if future charges are filed. Heh, heh! I crack myself up sometimes! Get it? If charges are FILED!

I'm hoping that those spots on the concrete are just rust stains.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Hot Friday Night in The Pony's Apartment

I received a text from The Pony on Saturday night. Let the record show that he is now living in an apartment off campus, though still part of the university housing system.

"My fridge apparently has a portal to Not-Heaven in it."

"Not sure I want to know! Like in Ghostbusters?"

"I was getting ice last night. One vent in the back of the freezer was hot to the touch and glowing red. I mean, I know refrigeration DOES heat. But not enough to make things glow!"

"Okay. Should you have that fridge checked out?"

"Nah. I doubt it."

"Did you tell Dad? He might know. About freezer vents. Not portals to Not-Heaven."

"Nah. It was just something funny. It's probably normal. You only see it when there's no other light."

"Not in FRIG II you don't!"

I consulted Hick when he got home from the auction. He looked at the picture. Looked horrified. A couple minutes later, Hick said that's probably so the ice maker can loosen the ice cubes so they fall out. It's probably normal.

Sunday afternoon, when I thought The Pony was most likely out of bed, or at least contemplating it...I sent him another text.

"Look at today's Bing photo. It reminded me of a castle, but it's a reservoir in England. Cool. NOT cool? When I typed that, it said BONG. Thank goodness my estranged BFF Autocorrect was looking out for me! Oh...and Dad said your freezer is supposed to do that, for the ice maker to release its cubes. Don't tell me you don't have an ice maker!"

"Haha! And I do have one!"

"Hopefully you mean an ice maker and not a bong!"

"An ice maker, Mother."

Well. You can't be too sure. What with that portal and all...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Hick's Freight Container Garage Progress

The road to the freight container garage has been a long one. In fact, there's not even a real road to it. This newest Hick project is located on the 10 acres next to our house and BARn 10 acres. We added it later, when the owners were finally willing to sell. Hick bought the freight containers a few years ago, with this garage in mind. It was such a good deal he couldn't pass it up. So they've been sitting over there, hidden by trees, slowly filling with junk.

The first thing you need to build a freight container garage (after the freight containers, of course) is a foundation. Concrete work is surprisingly expensive! It will be half the cost of the whole project. The next thing you need is a crane.

A crane is not nearly as expensive as you might think. At least to me. I thought this one was a steal at $300. He charged by the job, not the hour. I think he was here 3-4 hours or less. He DID have to wait for Hick and HOS to unload the freight containers of junk so his crane could lift them.

This was accomplished by running straps under the freight containers, with Hick and HOS guiding the containers into place on their concrete foundation. This is Hick. I can tell by the overalls.

It seems like dangerous work to me, but HOS was up to the task. I guess the crane guy knew what he was doing, but the makeshift platform and tires in the air look a bit perilous for my tastes.

Hick and HOS made sure the placement was exactly right before giving the OK to the crane man. It's not like they could push it over a skosh later, once he had gone.

Satisfied, they unstrapped the freight container. It's not going anywhere any more. Jack and Juno are exhausted from all the hard work. In the background, you can see a couple of lights that Hick will eventually hang. He has plenty, after hauling home 25 or 50 (you don't think I listen to him, do you) from work right before he left, that were being thrown away.

With the freight containers in place, they were just waiting for the concrete guys to find a day in their busy schedule to come back and pour the garage floor. This is from the back side. If you look under the left freight container, you can see a sliver of the gravel road.

The floor made it look more like it may one day become an actual garage. The plan is to put trusses over the top, close it in, and have a garage for working on cars, where Hick plans to rebuild his old '67 Chevy pickup truck. The freight containers themselves will be used for storage.

Hick bought a used lift from some guy HOS knows. It cost slightly more than the trusses, but only about 1/5 of the concrete fee. He borrowed a concrete drill from our across-the-road neighbor to anchor it to the floor. Of course Hick has a concrete drill, but he said his isn't long enough. I'm just glad he didn't decide he had to buy one!

Looks like Hick and HOS had to sit a spell and admire their handiwork. The dogs decided they needed a break, too.

Jack hit the bottle pretty hard. Juno was not about to refuse a beverage. She looks like an old lush.

Once the trusses are built and delivered and put on...I'm pretty sure there will be more pictures.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Just a Tease

I know you've all been waiting for it...

Okay. Maybe not. You almost didn't get THIS much, by cracky!

Hick's freight container garage has been an ongoing project since March or April. It was supposed to get going back then. But we had a really rainy spring here in Backroads. So the first step, the pouring of the concrete footings, couldn't be done because the ground was too mushy for the concrete truck to drive through the field.

Hick went round and round with people, trying to get this concrete poured. Something always came up. Finally, he got things lined out for September. It happened in fits and starts, with Hick chomping at the bit, ready get these freight containers over the finish line.

Anyhoo...I'll give you a pictorial soon. HOS's wife took some pictures for Hick, who said he "forgot" that I wanted some. Of course, Hick can take 20 different angles of a beer mug he got at Goodwill for a dollar, but not a single picture of a large-scale project like the construction of a garage.

I have the pictures in my email account. All I had to do was download them and put them here. You know what? I only tried ONE picture tonight, and it disappeared! Ever since Genius built me a new computer and upgraded my stuff, dealing with pictures is like trying to eat gas station chicken with both hands tied behind my back. I looked everywhere for that picture. Under today's date. Under the date she sent them to me. Under the date I thought the event took place. NOWHERE could I find that picture! I decided maybe I'd only copied, not pasted it to my pictures file. So I tried to paste again, and got a duplicate notice thingy. I scrolled all the way back through September. Nothing.

Being a bit of a backwoods, backwards, less qualified, non-calabash-pipe-smoking Sherlock Holmes...I decided to go into the properties of that picture. Well. Looks like it was taken on March 5 of 2015 at 2:40 a.m.! Seems that somebody forgot to update the clock on their camera when they got it. After that discovery, my dear Watson, the picture turned up under that date in my pictures file. I didn't even rename it yet. Now that I know where to find it, they'll all go there anyway.

Tomorrow, I'll share a little more of the visual progress.