Sunday, January 21, 2018

Before There Were Themed Sheds, There Was This Booth in the BARn

Nothing much to report today, except that Hick has been adding to his Coke collection in the loft of the BARn.

There's too much going on there for my liking. But then, Hick never does anything to conform to my liking.

Let the record show that I don't know where he's keeping his 11 Coca Cola Barbies. There are only 3 or 4 different varieties in his collection, but he has multiples.

Zoom in, and enjoy!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A New Trend For Val's New Year?

It's been 12 days, and I know the question on everybody's fingertips is: "Have you found any pennies lately, Val?"

Well. Except for maybe the antipennyites, that's the question. The antipennyites are probably thinking, "At last! That ignoramus Val has given up on foisting her loose change upon us!" Not so fast, antipennyites.

Since we last convened the Almost Weekly Meeting of the Backroads Pennyphile Association, Val has discovered two pennies. AND THREE DIMES!

Here's a summary, before we get to the pictures. I'm going to keep a running tally throughout 2018.

PENNY #5 - January 12, 2018 (Friday) Backroads Casey's parking lot, 1985

PENNY #6 - January 14, 2018 (Sunday) Gas Station Chicken Store parking lot, 1969
[DIME] #1 - January 17, 2018 (Wednesday) Gas-Buying Casey's parking lot, 2008

[DIME] #2 - January 20, 2018 (Saturday) Orb K parking lot, 2014

[DIME] #3 - January 20, 2018 (Saturday) Orb K by counter, 2010

Yes, I need to ask Hick to find me another receptacle to store my Dimes from Heaven. I didn't think there would be a need for such a thing, since during the entire year of 2017, I found a total of six dimes. But today, I found TWO! And another one three days ago. So in 2018, I've already found half the number of pennies I found all last year.

We'll start with the dimes. Because I say so, and you don't really have a choice. Uh huh. I DO have a way of endearing myself to the antipennyites. Surely they can't be antidimeites as well. That would almost seem like they were actually antiValites.

Dime #1 - I didn't get a picture of this one in its natural habitat. You'll have to accept it posing on T-Hoe's console. I'd just pumped gas, and went inside to pay and get a couple of scratchers. My gas amount was $24.99. I never let T-Hoe's tank go below half full. I wasn't taking a chance on running it a few cents over. I WANT pennies, I don't want to PAY pennies. Those I save for my 44 oz Diet Coke correct change.

As I entered the store and got in line, I saw this dime (2008) on the rug in front of the counter. You can bet I was antsy that somebody else would snag it! I waited until the person ahead of me paid and left, then bent over to pick it up. Val doesn't put her face down by people's butts. You can also bet that I was planning to take my 1 cent change after my transaction. But I felt guilty about taking that dime, so I magnanimously said, "You can keep the penny." I still came out 9 cents ahead.

Dime #2 - I parked way around at the end, by the drive-thru line at Orb K. Got out looking for a penny, and immediately saw a dime (2014)! It's there. You just have to look for it.

It was a little scratched up, but you would be, too, if people had been driving over you while you laid on the blacktop.

Dime #3 - Inside the store, I was trading in a scratcher when I glanced left, and saw this dime (2010) over by the front wall.

I didn't want the clerk to think I was a secret shopper, or going to disparage their cleanliness on social media, so I said, while she was scanning my ticket, "Oh, I found a coin." I took two pictures, picked up the dime, and turned back to the counter. She said, "You say you found a coin?" Like she thought I was going to turn it in to her! Find your own dang dime, sister! I dropped it in my pocket and replied, "Well...I was going to keep it, because I consider it good luck." Lucky indeed, that she didn't jump over that counter and try to wrest it out of my shirt pocket.

Penny #5 - This penny (2014), the fifth one found in 2018, was on the Backroads Casey's parking lot as I was going in to trade in a scratcher. I was parked closer to the door than usual, because the three lower spaces I prefer were taken. Otherwise, I wouldn't have found my penny.

Finally, a penny that was heads UP! Lately they've been tails. Not that I believe I'm going to get a goocher from my Pennies from Heaven.

Penny #6 - This penny (1969) might not have been meant for me. Or it was especially meant for me. I had not planned on going to town on Sunday, January 14. Hick took me to the casino, and on those days, I usually go without my 44 oz Diet Coke. But he wanted to come back early for a new auction, so I told him I'd drive myself to town, that he could get his car and go ahead to the afternoon auction. This one is really hard to see. But once you get your landmarks, you can find it.

You might have to zoom in. It's pretty much camouflaged, but look at the end of the big pavement crack on the left. If it was a snake, it could have bit me! Laying right there where I was walking around the back-end of T-Hoe.

There you have it. Val has accrued unearned income of 32 cents over the past two weeks! Pennyillionaire, here I come!

For 2018: Pennies #5 and 6.
For 2018: Dimes #1, 2, 3.

Since 2017 (the beginning), these were Pennies # 83 and 84.
Since 2017 (the beginning), these were Dimes #7, 8, 9.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #94 "Amiable House"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Have you ever dropped child off at college? If so, you know how it tugs at your heartstrings, leaving your precious cargo behind. Will your kid make friends? Have a social life? Enjoy the full college experience? This week, Val's fake book hearkens back to that traumatic time. For the parent. Students probably don't even remember that first evening... Relive those thrilling days from the student perspective, with "Amiable House," the latest fake effort from Thevictorian. Order your copy today, and make room for it on your concrete-block bookcase.

Amiable House

The nerdy Tri-Lambs have found a new fraternity house. To attract attention of the incoming crop of co-eds, they've hung welcome banners from their second story. A catchy slogan like their friends the Tri-Deltas ("Delta Delta Delta, can we help ya, help ya, help ya?) is also being tried out: "After a Lambda wham-bam, you'll always get a 'Thank you, Ma'am!'"

Moms are landing helicopters on the lawn, and dropping off their daughters at an amazing rate, secure in the knowledge that these gentlemen will look out for their precious li'l gals. There seem to be an abundance of beverages to keep them hydrated, and it sounds like a movie night is planned, since the most-overheard welcoming phrase is an offer to "Netflix and chill."

Will a wholesome evening of G-rated fun ensue, or will Delta House, fresh off Double-Secret Probation, crash the festivities with an impromptu traveling toga party? (150 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Robert Carradine as Lewis Skolnick..."Revenge is sometimes necessary to right the wrongs others have done to you. That said, there is no revenge strong enough to right the wrong of Thevictorian's fake book release." 

Anthony Edwards as Gilbert Lowe..."I'm not a doctor, but later in my life, I play one on TV. One thing I know for sure is that reading Thevictorian's fake books is not healthy for anyone!"

Timothy Busfield as Poindexter..."My vision wasn't really corrected correctly until I was thirtysomething. With the release of Thevictorian's latest fake book, I wish I was still virtually blind."

Ted McGinley as Stan Gable..."With the release of this fake book, the last thing anybody is singing is 'Happy Days are Here Again!' This fake author could make every passenger on the Love Boat jump overboard before they even found love, just to get away from her soggy plots. Thevictorian may think she helms a fake book dynasty, but she and talent are perfect strangers. Now that I'm married with children, I struggle to protect my kids from bad fake literature such as this. Through hope and faith, maybe this washed-up old has-been will stop fake-writing."

Dean Wormer..."I am so pleased that Thevictorian is not writing about MY college fraternities that I've agreed to give her a fake review for the back of her fake book. So here it is: 'Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to write fake books, Val.' Come to think of it...similar advice didn't seem to affect that John Blutarsky fellow."

John Belushi as Bluto..."TOGA! That's what this author should be restrained with, her arms tied down tightly so she can't write any more. Seven years of college down the drain was nothing compared to the time I lost fake-reading this fake book."

Steven Furst as "Flounder" Kent Dorfman..."Being a Delta legacy, thanks to my brother's former membership, got me into this fraternity, but it does nothing for getting me out of hearing about this fake book. Somebody needs to visit this fake author late at night, in her office, with a pistol loaded with blanks, and a chainsaw."

Tom Hulce as "Pinto" Larry Kroger..."If I had a fake angel on my left shoulder, telling me to read this fake book, and a fake devil on my right shoulder, telling me to set it on'd better call 9-1-1. Could I compose a favorable fake book blurb for Thevictorian? Don't make me laugh!"

Otis Day and the Knights..."If anybody brought this fake author to a bar to see us perform, I guarantee that NOBODY would ask her to dance. She is unappealing, and her fake writing is as muddled as the lyrics of Louie, Louie."

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Skullduggery Is Afoot in Backroads

If it's not one thing it's another. Hick got a group text from our across-the-road crazy-dog neighbor. We have no gripes with her or her husband. They're good people. It's just their crazy rottweiler rescue dog, and the killer poodle, that we have issues with. Anyhoo...there's about 40 families who live out here in our compound. It's not an official compound. The land used to be part of a huge farm, and it was subdivided and sold in 10 acre plots.

When we first bought our land, there were only about 10 families living here. All the roads are gravel, not maintained by the county. There was a metal gate that was kept locked. To enter and exit, you had to get out of your car (most likely a truck) and unlock and then lock the padlock on the gate. If somebody was coming to visit, you had to meet them there, or give them a key ahead of time. Both entrances, on two different county roads, had padlocked gates. It's private property, not a through road.

Then somebody stole the gates.

More and more landowners started building homes and living here. We've always looked out for each other. Nobody belongs in here except landowners and their guests. Not salesmen, not trash-dumpers, not headless-body dumpers, not traveling-meth-lab dumpers, not sight-seers, not thieves. In the early days, it was not uncommon for a landowner to follow a strange car and stop the driver and ask their business. And make it clear that this is not public property. There's no good reason for people to be in here unless they live here. Only unsavory reasons.

So...this evening, just before sunset, Hick gets this text from the across-road neighbor. She said that two guys in a champagne (guess she's hoity-toity) colored car stopped her on the gravel road, and asked if there were any public caves out here. She said they looked like they were on drugs. She told them it was a private subdivision, and they needed to leave. They went on up the road and turned around. As she said, "They were shady. Looked to be on drugs. Keep an eye out for them."

I heard our dogs going crazy this evening. I didn't know anything about the shady cavers then. Hick said he went outside to look around, and drove down the road a ways, but didn't see anything. Apparently back-creek neighbor Bev is now in the loop, because she also sent Hick a text to warn him. Not that we're all as conspiracy-conscious as Bev.

Seriously. It's January freakin' eighteenth! The middle of winter. Who goes looking for a cave at sunset on a Thursday night? NOBODY, unless maybe they're planning some kind of spooky ritual.

Yeah. We may sound paranoid to you city-dwellers. But let's not forget, somehow a headless body got by us, and was discovered in a septic tank a half mile up the gravel road from Val's homestead.

You can bet we're gonna be nosy and unwelcoming to strangers.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Oh, the Inanity!

This morning I got up bright and early at 9:15. That's fifteen minutes EARLY, people! I got up early so I could leave the house and go to Walmart (Hick got almost everything on the list I gave him the other day), and to pick up prescriptions, and of course get my very own 44 oz Diet Coke, not some second-rate concoction dragged in by Hick.

Anyhoo...first I washed up last night's dishes, then sat down in the La-Z-Boy with Shiba to spend fifteen minutes checking my blogs and the local newspaper online. But WAIT! There was no ONLINE to it, because I DIDN'T HAVE INTERNET!

Just when you have your whole day laid out ahead of you, bright sunshine, escape from the house, a tasty Diet Coke on the horizon, an afternoon and evening of internetting pleasure in your future...Even Steven jerks a knot in your tail.

Being a technology wizard, I knew just what to do. I restarted Shiba. Can you believe that didn't work? I tried to go to the number thingy in the internet address that will run a test and tell me my DISH internet connectivity. But I couldn't get that, because I HAD NO INTERNET! Funny how THAT works!

Then I went into the Network and Sharing Center thingy down at the bottom right of my lower task bar. That's what I call it, anyway. It showed me a big X between my house symbol and the internet. It took about 10 minutes, but somehow I accidentally found that thing in my left sidebar that says TROUBLESHOOTING. It's different on Shiba than on New Delly, so I doubt I could ever repeat the accidental steps.This troubleshooter told me that I had a bad IP address. The Not-Heaven, you say! It also mentioned the modem.

Well. I really did not want to disturb Genius at his new job. But I also wanted internet. I went down to my dark basement lair and turned on the lights and New Delly. Just on the off chance that ancient Shiba was the only one having problems. She was not. I tried all that stuff again on New Delly, and finally found the troubleshooter. Then it was time to bother Genius.

"My internet won't work. Can't get into the number thingy. Troubleshooting says modem has connectivity issues. It says to turn off the modem and unplug it for 10 seconds, then plug it in and turn it on. Now...WHAT'S A MODEM? Is that the thing by the basement door where the wire comes in?"

"Unplug the modem in the office and the one in the cabinet of my desk both for about 2 minutes. Sorry. Not the office. The workshop. With the blue lights up top by the basement door. And the one in the cabinet of my desk."

"Okay. Not sure what the one in your desk looks like. I get it confused with the router. Have them both off at the same time, or do one, then the other?"

"Yes. But also the one in my desk. It should be the only box with glowing lights in my desk. If there are two, unplug both. Plug the one in the workshop back in first. Both off at the same time, but reconnect the workshop first."

"Okay. Trying now..."


"YAY! I'm a computer repair technician! THANK YOU!"

"You're welcome.

Yeah. That only took me 30 minutes from start to finish. And only 15 minutes of Genius's time. Lest you think this was a simple task for me, here's what I was dealing with.

The dreaded workshop modem. I can't even see it. I can't pull it down, because the wire is so short. I can kind of tilt it. No power switch. I can't pull the wire out of the back, but I figured out where it runs down to an electrical receptacle. But that was behind the box holding the artificial Christmas tree. Don't get me started on that creepy hideous clock that Hick had before we got married. It turns up in the oddest places.

Oh, but that was simple, compared to figuring out what resides in Genius's desk.

I still don't know what these are, but you can bet that I yanked the power cords out of the back of both of them. Located in different areas, of course. That I couldn't even see until I got a mini flashlight from my office, and wrestled them forward on their short respective leashes to see which of the wires actually was the power cord. The flash of my phone camera did an excellent job of illumination, though.

As you might guess, I am not in the habit of dusting these thingamabobs.

Whew! That was certainly a relief that I was able to fix my own internet! I thought I might have to call blog buddy Joe H. I hear he's a wizard at stuff like that...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

You Can't Send a Hick to do a Val's Job

I appreciate my Sweet Baboo. Really. It's just that he can't seem to do anything right. Even if he's really trying, and not doing it wrong so I won't ask him again.

Every time I go to town, I ask Hick if there's anything he wants. Notice that 1) I'm letting him know where I'm going, and 2) offering to bring him a treat, even though I'm pretty sure he goes to town several times a day himself. I say pretty sure, because Hick never tells me where he is. Not that it's much of a problem. It's more of a bargaining point for me to use in arguments.

Yesterday, Hick was missing from whenever he creaked out of bed until noon:twenty. When interrogated, he replied that he had told me last week that he would be working at back-creek neighbor (and conspiracy theory enthusiast) Bev's house on Monday. Never mind modern technology that could make a simple text of his whereabouts a reminder for Val. It's not like he had to paint a message on a cave wall, or chisel one in granite with newly-discovered metal and a rock.

Because Hick realized his transgression didn't want a repeat interrogation today, he left a message on a paper plate, telling me that the roads were clear, and that he'd be working in the BARn.

Hick also sent a text around 10:30, asking if I wanted to eat at the FelineFish Skillet. No. It's 4 degrees, with 15 mph winds. I don't want to get out. So I told him, and he agreed, and offered to get me a 44 oz Diet Coke from town. I didn't have one yesterday. The roads were too slick from ice and snow. This note could stem from the fact that yesterday, I berated him expounded on the deep sorrow in my heart that he had not thought to bring me a soda back from town, after he'd gone out just to see how slick the roads were.

Anyhoo, I texted back that yes, I would like a soda, and when would he be getting it. I have to plan my day, you know. It's not like I have nothing else to do. Okay. I don't, really. Now that I'm RETIRED. Nothing but write long-winded blog posts that take about a day and a half to get to the point. Hick texted that he would get my soda at 12:00 or 12:30.

Silly me. I thought that's when he would be arriving with it. I planned on how much more UFO Files show I could watch before starting the re-coloring of my lovely lady mullet. I timed my activities so that I would be ready to make lunch at 12:30, with my magical elixir on hand.

At 12:15, right before getting in the shower to finish the rinsing out of the L'Oreal, I heard stomping and a door slam. I opened up the bathroom door just a crack, and inquired, "Are you out there?"


"I'm coloring my hair."

I waited a minute for Hick to reply. Or come stand outside the door because he says he can't hear me. Nope. Nothing. Silly me. I assumed Hick must have already brought my soda, and was having his lunch. Hahahahaha! You know what happens when we assume.

When I was combing out my stunning not-gray hair, Hick came to the bathroom door and asked if all I wanted was a Diet Coke. He hadn't even left yet, and it was now 12:30. So much for Val's best-laid plans. I got assurance that he was getting it at the gas station chicken store. I started to tell him to take the scratcher out of my purse and trade it for another one, but he was GONE! Took off mid-sentence. Because he could sit for 15 minutes doing nothing, but couldn't wait 15 seconds for my reply.

I called him five minutes later, when I made my exit from the bathroom, and he was at the turn where the sheep are herded and the parachute guy flies over. I mentioned that I'd wanted him to trade that ticket, and he said he hadn't heard me talking. But he DID NOT offer to buy me a ticket! I KNOW he had the money. I'd laid out his weekly allowance, and it was gone. He knows I would have paid him pack. He's just being contrary. So I'm not paying him for the 44 oz Diet Coke! That'll learn 'im!

Sooo...he got back with my magical elixir around 1:15. I was carrying a six-pack of bottled Diet Coke downstairs. Gotta survive if I can't make it to town again! Anyhoo...I heard the kitchen door slam, and Hick was gone again! To parts unknown, most likely the BARn, but I don't care enough to track him down, because now I have my 44 oz Diet Coke.


It didn't taste like the Diet Coke from the gas station chicken store! Of course I sent Hick a text proclaiming that fact. I didn't want him to think he'd gotten away with pulling a fast one on me! But I didn't see how. The cup was the cup used by the gas station chicken store. Orb K has a cup with K on it. Casey's doesn't have Coke products, only Pepsi. There's a liquor store across the street that I think has a soda fountain, that might use those cups. And another convenience store up by the truss-maker, across from the concrete factory that makes big long bridge supports and stops traffic moving them. We never go to that one.

Hick responded right away to my accusatory text.

"It came from there it was a new batch it ran out as soon as I started getting it the grouchy old lady changed it"

I won't go so far as to say it's something unpredictable, that in the end was right. Because I'm not Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day. But I WILL say I should have figured something like this would happen. I would have said, "Oh, I'll be back tomorrow," and gone to my second-choice purveyor of 44 oz Diet Coke, which is Orb K. Not made the clerk (especially that one) change it right then for me. Bad karma. No good can come of that.

Anyhoo...I have a 44 oz Diet Coke today, after going without one yesterday. I figure that with enough added Sugar Free Cherry Limeade powder, it should be okay. I'm definitely going to town tomorrow. Come snow or high winds.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Auction Hick One Zero Six

Hick went crazy at the auction a couple weeks ago. He bought a whole lot. And by that, I don't just mean many items. He bought the whole kit 'n' caboodle of one seller. It was on Saturday, January 6. Just in case anybody is trying to figure out the title. Which is probably unfair to blog buddy River, since I'm pretty sure they don't put the month first in the date.

I think I know where my Christmas hat came from! He'd bought a bunch of hats before this auction, singularly, and showed me some for the grandkids. I suppose these are ones that didn't sell alone. He also says some of those packages contain FISHING GLOVES! Never heard of such a thing. Maybe they're for cold climates. Or for catfish "noodlers" to wear!

On top are two chairs, I think he said. That fold up in a case, like for hiking. I've zoomed in, but don't remember everything Hick was babbling about. There are three pairs of new shoes here, on the bottom shelf. Tennies and two pair of  "flippers," as he calls them, which are what we used to call "thongs," the weird kind back then that didn't go between your toes, but are called "slides" these days, and not considered weird. Plenty of Gain laundry detergent there, and Snuggle fabric softener sheets, and Lysol toilet cleaner. Hick's going to be clean, and well-shod, I guess, with no static cling.

He's got shoes for kicking butt, and notebooks for taking names! And a couple of canes to balance himself in case he hurts his butt-leg area again, like he did that one time at the auction.

With plenty of appliances to make give him more time for doing both. I sure he wants to keep that hot dog spiraler thing for himself! That stuff on the right is just some of his nails and screws. he took these pictures after he unloaded his treasures in the BARn.

Hick also saw these frames last week at a local church store, but Mabel is not interested. These are wood. They are marked $30, so Hick said to send Mabel a picture first, because he thought that was a little high. Sometimes he'll go ahead and buy stuff anyway, if he thinks he can make a profit re-selling them at his Storage Unit Store. This time, he did not think they would sell for that.

Hick said these frames have been sitting there for months, and he never sees anybody looking at them. Then he want back there the next day, when I heard from Mabel, and said there was a lady picking them up and asking about them. She put them down, though, and said to the person running the place, "Don't you think $30 is a little high?"

Anyhoo...Hick bought all that stuff in the first four pictures for $75. He thinks he can get double that when he starts selling out of his Storage Unit Store again, when the weather warms up. Or he might take them to a different auction and sell them.

It keeps him off the street. But more importantly, it keeps him out of the house.