Friday, December 14, 2018

I'm Pretty Sure Hick is STILL Trying to Kill Me: Operation Kidney Overload

For some time now, my subconscious has been trying to tell me that Hick is not all he seems. He's MORE than he seems! Perhaps even an evil mastermind, bent on getting rid of Val, leaving no clues. As far as I know, Hick doesn't have a spy umbrella tipped with a poison needle. But when I asked him to put an umbrella in the car for me, he DID pick the one with the fabric coming off two of the spokes, leaving their would-be impalers exposed.

This week, Hick did me a favor. Okay, so it was a REQUESTED favor, so maybe it's more of a command than a favor. And he did it two hours late. Which may have been some passive-aggressive point-making on his part. But still. Hick did me a favor.

It was Saturday, and we were going to the funeral home at 4:30, to pay our respects to the ex-mayor's mother, who passed away at the age of 97. I went to town for my magical elixir, but The Gas Station Chicken Store was FULL of people getting gas. I could only imagine how long the wait would be inside, in their narrow aisles. I went to Country Mart to pick up a couple items, then went back. Still busy. I figured I could get a Polar Pop at Orb K, and also some scratchers. So I forsook The Gas Station Chicken Store and its customer overload.

Bad decision, because Orb K had a sign taped across their two soda fountains, saying that I could have water or lemonade, but that everything else was not working. Bummer. Like Richard Gere as Zach Mayo in An Officer and a Gentleman, I had no place else to go! I went home and sent Hick a request to bring me a 44 oz Diet Coke on his way home.

I started a batch of Chex Mix, trying to get a leg up on the 5 batches that I give away for Christmas. It takes a half hour to put the ingredients together, then two hours of baking at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes. Then it has to cool. Then be put in the containers. I was trying to get all my Chex gifts done before CasinoPalooza 3, so I wouldn't have to rush to do it when we get back.

Let the record show that I was also wrapping gifts before and during the Chexcapade. I have a lot of gifts that need wrapping, including those that Hick gets and assumes I will wrap for him. So I was pretty rushed. I'd need to finish a batch of Chex by 2:30, then eat some lunch, then get ready to go. I didn't even have time to check my innernets on HIPPY that morning, having to delay such business until lunch, after 2:30, at New Delly.

Anyhoo...Hick had gone to his Storage Unit Store, but the cold meant only a couple shops were open. So he closed up, and went Goodwilling. Then he went back to his Storage Unit Shed to meet people who were buying some of his stuff off Buy/Sell/Trade. He texted me that it would be a while before he got home with my soda. I replied that was okay, since I wouldn't have time for it until after 2:30 anyway. I told him that Orb K had a broken soda fountain, so he'd need to get my 44 oz Diet Coke at The Gas Station Chicken Store.

Here's where Hick's evil plot thickens.

This is what he brought me. From Casey's, which used to only have Pepsi products, but now has Coke, too! Who knew? Not this unobservant Val! You might notice that it's 52 OUNCES! Who in the Not-Heaven needs 52 OUNCES of soda? I am not a glutton. That is outrageous!

Anyhoo...Hick put my magical elixir in FRIG II while I was in the living room wrapping gifts. So I didn't see it until I was ready to have lunch. But I asked about it.

"Where'd you get my Diet Coke? The Gas Station Chicken Store? Did you see my text about Orb K?"

"I saw it. I got your soda at Casey's."

"CASEY'S??? They only have Pepsi!"

"No they don't."

"I've seen their soda fountains!"

"Val. I'm smart enough to KNOW not to buy Diet Coke!"

"They only have Pepsi! That's why I don't get my soda there!"

"Don't you know I'm smarter than to buy Diet Coke for you?"

"Well, what you bought WAS Diet Coke, that I asked for. So how am I supposed to know you're smart enough to get the right thing when TWICE NOW  you've said you didn't buy Diet Coke?"

"Oh, my word!"

When I got a look at the cup, I was pretty sure Hick was trying to kill me.

"FIFTY-TWO OUNCES? Why did you get so much? You know, right, that I won't be here sipping it all afternoon. I have less than two hours to drink it. And I can't drink MUCH, because I'll be at the funeral home, and I'll have to go to the bathroom!"

"They have a bathroom at the funeral home, Val."

"I can't drink all that now. I don't want that much on a regular day! And it's not in a foam cup. It will be hot."

"I was afraid the next smaller cup wasn't enough. So I got that one."

That's Hick's story, and he's stickin' to it.

The Casey's 52 oz Diet Coke does not lend itself to double-cupping.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

If Hick Tells You Something That's Too Good to be True...

Hick has a habit of helping me, which generally causes me more work. He also has a habit of putting off telling me things that are likely to elicit my ire, and then claims that he "just forgot." In fact, Hick is so "just forgetful" that sometimes I think I need to pin a note to his shirt explaining what he needs to do. One bone of contention is his habit of holding back receipts. I balance the checkbook. I pay the bills. I dole out cash when it comes time to purchase another Hick's Folly. You'd think he could at least keep me updated on his expenditures, so I can manage the cash flow.

Hick is on a short financial leash. I don't care what he spends his weekly cash allowance on. I DO care when he uses the debit or credit card and "just forgets" to tell me. Or when he uses the credit card for things that belong on the debit card. Like car repairs. I swear, lately we've been spending nearly as much on that as we spend on health insurance! of Hick's naughty pleasures is waiting until he goes to bed to lay out his receipts. Oh, he's a crafty one! He can have an hour of conversation with me during his supper, and not mention that he's used the debit card that day. I can flat out ask him if he used it, and he'll say no. But when I ascend from my dark basement lair around 3:00 a.m., there on the kitchen counter, where I plug in my phone to charge, will be a receipt, or several, from that day's transactions. Maybe the pharmacy, or the feed store, or Lowe's, or most lately, Mick the mechanic's shop. No amount of chastising can break Hick of this habit. Oh, he'll say he's sorry, and that he won't do it again. But he does.

Monday, Hick came in the kitchen door as I was stirring a batch of Chex Mix for my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel.

"Where have YOU been?"

"I'm getting the cars worked on. I told you. I just got back with the second one."

"Maybe...I don't really listen to that kind of stuff. I think you were getting A-Cad ready for CasinoPalooza 3."

"Yeah. I told you. It needed an oil change. I also got the tires rotated. And it needed a new cabin filter. That surprised me, as little as we drive it."

"I have no idea what a cabin filter is."

"For the air. In the cabin. The inside of the car. Where we ride."

"Oh. Okay."

"In fact, you'll be proud of me. I saved us money! I didn't do the car work myself, but I made a trade with Mick."

"For what?"

"I knew he'd want it! It's a Coke bar."

"I have no idea what that is!"

"Here. I'll show you a picture."

"I still don't get it. Is it like a table? Is that the top when you fold it out?"

"No. You move it away from the wall, and two sides fold out, and a shelf goes across, for a bar. That lady is on the front. She stays on the front. I got it for myself, to put in the BARn with my Coke stuff, but it won't fit right. Anyway, I traded it to Mick for $60. For work on the Acadia. The bill was $78, so I traded the Coke bar and some cash."

"That IS good! I thought it might be a couple hundred to get the car work done."

"Okay. Well. I've got things to do. I might go to an auction at 3:00. So I'll be in and out."

Any day Hick is going to an auction is a good day, because if it's an early one, I don't have to make his supper. I went on with my Chex Mix. Then wrapped a few presents. Hick came in to get some of his Storage Unit Store money out of the safe, for the auction. He was in and out in 10 minutes. I didn't notice until I left for town that Hick had put a receipt on the kitchen counter, by my Chex containers.

It was a bill for $249.51. For rotors and brakes on the Trailblazer. Because, you know, he just forgot to tell me about it while we were standing in the kitchen discussing repairs on the cars.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Val Might Have To Call Someone Besides Hick For Bail

Perhaps it's ironic (maybe not, I seem to have a mental block when it comes to irony) that Hick and I were just discussing LIVE PD on the very day that we were involved with the police. We're fans of LIVE PD, you know. Every Friday and Saturday night, Hick watches the later run of the live show when he gets home from his auctions. I record it to zap the commercials and the boring parts, like when they spend 10 minutes in a car chase. Heh, heh! I can catch them way faster than 10 minutes! Our viewing patterns kind of take the stuffing out of a live show, I guess. But we're okay with that.

Anyhoo, I sometimes tell Hick that I think parts of that show are fake. Some people show up more than once. They make some weird references that feed my conspiracy theory appetite. I know they only show the interesting cases. But come on, people! It's like every driver on the roads has a stash of weed! And why do they find so designed for sexual pleasure? Who drives around with that stuff?

Anyhoo...we were sweaving along the blacktop county road on the way to a funeral, talking about the last episode, arguing whether the drunk lady in the passenger seat, sitting on the side of the road, was really driving, or if her son had been, even though he wasn't at the car, and she said he went to get gas after his girlfriend picked him up.

"I think she was driving and moved over to that side. She was way too belligerent if she hadn't done anything."

"Well, her son came back, and said he'd been driving."

"Of course he did. He's her son! She might have called him to bring gas, and cooked up that story."

"She was stupid. If she hadn't kept running her mouth and cussing the cops, they'd have let her off. But she had to get up in their face, and went to jail. She deserved it!"

Anyhoo...then I asked Hick if we had enough gas. He's pretty careless about filling up A-Cad after his jaunts which he thinks I don't know about, but I do, thanks to my BFF OnStar. 

"Yes, Val. We have almost 3/4 of a tank."

"Huh. I can't see the gauge from here, but okay. I bet you never got that running light for my T-Hoe, either."

"No. I didn't get it yet."

"It's been two weeks! I'm going to get pulled over by the cops. Then they'll think I'm drunk because my ears with your Hickovirus won't let me walk a straight line, and my knees won't let me stand on one foot. Then they'll search T-Hoe, and find my bag of weed. Then they'll find my vibrator. THEN I'll run my mouth at them, and they'll arrest me for being disorderly in public!"

"Well, that last part is for sure!"

"I can't believe you think everything on there is real. Does HOS [Hick's Oldest Son] drive around with a vibrator in his car?"

"I don't know. He might. But I hope not."

Hick always opposes my viewpoints, just on general principal. Of course, he might not be as cynical, having not spent 28 years as a teacher.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A-Cad Takes a Whacking, and Val Keeps on Yakking

After our little adventure Sunday, a twisted case of vehicular assault, with A-Cad being the victim...Hick and I played WHAT IF?

Here's the thing. We'd made many stops that day. Been to a funeral, shopped in Walmart, stopped at Casey's for scratchers, and at the Gas Station Chicken Store for my 44 oz Diet Coke. The scene of the crime, Orb K, was our last stop before heading home.

Let the record show that when I got back in A-Cad at The Gas Station Chicken Store, with my 44 oz Diet Coke, Hick took off before I had my seat belt on and my purse situated. He's always done this. When HE'S ready, off he goes. I'm lucky I had both legs in the car. We were just pulling off the lot when I told him,

"I can't find my phone! Wait. I have to find my phone!"

Hick was on the road behind The Gas Station Chicken Store. Little more than an alley. But he couldn't sit there. He turned around on a closed auto repair shop parking lot, and went back.

"We have to see if it's laying in the parking lot! What if somebody already picked it up? What if you ran over it!"

"You'll see in a minute. You'll see it on the lot."

Nope. No phone. Hick parked back in the same spot.

"I've looked in my purse twice. Here. I'll do it again. Nope. I know it was in my jacket pocket when I went in. This is why I just can't go anywhere with you! I get all discombobulated. You interrupt my routine. I'm not used to getting out this side of the car. Or being IN this car! I don't feel it in my pants pocket. Here. Let me get out and stand up. I'll look some more. I hate to go in and ask if they've seen my phone..."

I got out, and as I was turning back to A-Cad, I saw my phone on the passenger seat. It had fallen out of my jacket pocket, I guess as I was wrestling to put on my seat belt while Hick was bumping A-Cad over the raised gas pump manholes getting off the lot.

"There it is! Whew! I'm so glad I found it! Remind me not to put my phone in my jacket pocket on CasinoPalooza 3! I don't want to lose my phone in an Oklahoma casino!"

"Yeah. For sure. You can't carry it in your jacket pocket any more!"

From there, we went to Orb K, and happened upon Young Yeller just as he was walking toward us in a fit of pique.  What are the odds of that guy being mad at someone behind him, almost walking right into A-Cad, and taking out his anger by punching our car? Pretty astronomical, I'd say. we left the church lot where I wrote out Hick's police statement, I said,

"If only I hadn't lost my phone over at The Gas Station Chicken Store, that guy wouldn't have punched our car."

" might have been inside Orb K with him, and he did something crazy. Or I might have run over him. You never know, Val."

So true. I believe stuff happens for a reason. I don't know if THIS reason was for us, or for Young Yeller.

Maybe that delay while dealing with him kept us off the road and avoiding a collision with a reckless driver.

Maybe it put me in the right place in line for buying a ticket that somebody will win big on at Christmas.

Maybe getting locked up is what Young Yeller needed, to help him deal with his drug issues.

Maybe the incident prevented Young Yeller from committing a worse crime.

For some reason, The Universe put us there at that time, for that interaction. I just don't know the reason.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Live Backroads PD

Sunday afternoon, Hick's butt had help cashing the checks his mouth was writing. Good thing!

I was out on the town with Hick, having attended a funeral, bought Chex Mix supplies at Walmart, and picked up my 44 oz Diet Coke at The Gas Station Chicken Store. We were on the last leg of our journey, stopping by Orb K to pick up some scratchers for Christmas gifts. I try to buy them on different dates and different places, not wait until the last minute.

Anyhoo...Hick turned A-Cad right, onto the entrance to Orb K's parking lot. A thin guy in a brown Carhartt jacket and yellow sock cap (I think the Millennials call them beanies) was walking off the lot, turned around backwards, yelling and waving his arms, arguing with a dude following him.

"Look out! That guy is going to walk right into us."

We were probably going all of 5 mph. But what was Hick to do? The guy was barely a step away from A-Cad. If Hick stopped, he would for sure run into us. So Hick kept on, at the same speed, assuming, perhaps, that we'd get  out of Young Yeller's way.


"What in the NOT-HEAVEN was THAT?" It sounded like Young Yeller had thrown something on A-Cad's roof! Something heavy.

"That punk just hit the car!"

Hick does not suffer fools gladly. He put A-Cad in park, and jumped out the door. I could tell by the jut of his chin that Young Yeller was in for a rude awakening.

"Hey! Stop! Get back here!"

Surprisingly, Young Yeller, who had crossed that entrance and was now weaving through a used-car lot, turned and came back.

"You don't hit someone's car, Bud!"

"I didn't hit your car."

"Yes you did!"

"I pushed your car. Out of my way."

"You need to keep you hands off other people's cars!"

"Oh? Do I need to push YOU?" Young Yeller stepped to Hick, getting up in his space, and poking his finger in Hick's face. "Huh? Do YOU need a push? Huh?"

DANG! I was turned around in the seat, afraid that Hick was gonna open up a can of whoop-butt on Young Yeller! And he with a Pop-Arm!

"HEY! Don't you talk to that old man like that! Get on out of here! You'd better get going!" Another guy, who had been putting gas in his car (a Mustang, according to Hick, who always notices his cars), had left the pump and walked over to intervene.

So obvious was the fact that Hick and Young Yeller were about to throw down, the manager of Orb K ran across the lot. "I'm so sorry! We've called the police. This guy was in the store, and scared a little girl. He was waving around his bag of weed, too. He has no respect for anybody!"

Young Yeller turned and walked back through the used car lot. Midway up the hill (across from Hick's Storage Unit Store flea market), he took off running. Hick said later that he must have been afraid of that Mustang Dude kicking his rumpus. Hick thanked Mustang Dude (who apologized for calling Hick an old man) for getting involved, and shook his hand. He got back in A-Cad, and drove me over to my favorite parking spot, which had been vacated by a girl in a JEEP during the altercation. Who had driven by us, where the manager apologized to her profusely as well, and assured her that the police had been called.

Inside, the girl and boy clerks were talking about Young Yeller. Boy Clerk said, "We've had drunks in here before, but never one as belligerent as that guy!" And Girl Clerk agreed. "He didn't have any respect for anybody!" Which seemed to be a common consensus among Orb K workers. I guess they wished he was only drunk, and not under the influence of whatever made him so aggressive.

I bought the scratchers and re-joined Hick, who had been walking around A-Cad looking for damage. He though Young Yeller had smacked the back hatch, and didn't see a mark. We left Orb K and started towards home. Cresting the hill, we saw a police car with Young Yeller bent over the hood.

"I oughta pull in there and tell them what he did. To make their case stronger."

"Well, there's no room on that street, because of the police car."

"Yeah." Hick continued down the hill.

"You really should stop, though. Pull in that church lot."

Hick sat, debating whether to go tell the police what happened. "I'll walk over there. Just so they know." He started up the sidewalk, and stopped a little distance back, waving his hand. You can't just walk up on a policeman while he's cuffing a Young Yeller. By then, another police car had arrived, and came to take Hick's statement. They walked back to A-Cad, looking for damage. Hick said the didn't think there was a mark, but the policeman found the fist-dent on A-Cad's flank, right over the light.

The other cop came down and looked at the damage. He asked the one talking to Hick to give him a form to fill out for his statement. "So I don't have to walk all the way back to my car to get one." Of course Hick got in the car and handed it to me. Giving me a box of Family Size Cheerios from the back, so I had something flat to write on.  Both cops told Hick they thought the dent could be popped out by people who fix hail damage. Hick is supposed to get an estimate, and give it to the police to attach to his statement. The value might affect the charges for Young Yeller.

This is why we can't have nice things! Random Pot Heads punch your car when they're busy yelling backwards while fighting with other innocent convenience store customers.

Young Yeller got hauled down to the county jail (Crossbars Hilton, according to Hick) over in Bill-Paying Town. He was on probation (not sure for what) and his bag of weed didn't do him any favors. After capturing Young Yeller, the first cop left to take him either back to Orb K for identification, or on to the Crossbars Hilton. Hick's cop was headed back to Orb K to look at security camera footage, and see what he could of Young Yeller's antics. I don't know if the cameras have that wide angle to get the altercation at the edge of their lot. Maybe, if they use it to look at gas pump drive-offs.

UPDATE: The estimate for A-Cad's repair is $922.95. Mick, Hick's on-call mechanic, says it would take about 7 hours. He also says he might be able do it cheaper, but that's what he'd charge an insurance company for repairs.

Never a dull moment when Val is out on the town with Hick...

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Top On, Top Off, THE TOPPER!

Sorry. For anyone stopping in to see if Val has her top off...SHAME ON YOU! The Truth in Blogging Law requires me to inform you that this tale has nothing to do with ladies' women's tops falling off, accidentally, or on purpose. I was merely making a play on an old commercial jingle with my title. I'm pretty sure you'll know the one...

What we're actually here to discuss today is the topper that Hick put on our Christmas tree this year. I was right there when it happened, having thumbed myself all the way back in my OPC (Old People Chair), with the heat AND massager on for my achin' back. Hick does no job without seeking admiration, and stepped over to the tree he'd decorated an hour previous, and said, "How do you like the tree topper?"

"Oh. That looks like a new lady. Not our old angel..."

"That's because it's not a lady. It's a dog."

"Oh. Um. Well. I don't have my glasses on right now."

"Yeah. I got it out of my storage units. Them people had all kinds of dog stuff!"

"Well. I'm kind of surprised. But it's fine."

Yes, people. Val's Christmas tree topper is a DOG! It's not like I run a doggy daycare. Or a kennel. Or like I'm a dog breeder, a dog groomer, a dog walker, a doggy psychic, a dog whisperer, or a card-carrying member of the Westminster Kennel Club. Sure. I have two dogs. I love them. But I don't want them on top of my Christmas tree.

Good thing our basement is only partially finished. A ceiling would prohibit Hick from displaying his canine Christmas angel.

The unfortunate fact that it looks like the neighbors' chicken-killing Crazy Rottweiler does it no favors in gaining my acceptance.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

ExtraCENTSory Deception

Pickin's were slim this week until THURSDAY, Dec. 6th. I'd been on the lookout since Sunday, but obviously no pennies were meant for me. I was not worthy. Not even on Monday, when I stopped by the cemetery for my weekly visit, and saw that the flowers were gone from Mom and Dad's grave!

We'd had trouble early on, with grave-robbers. Not taking people. This isn't a real-life Muff Potter situation, and I wasn't swinging a dead cat after midnight to rid myself of a wart. No, the grave-robbers were taking the screw-in flower-holders, and selling them as scrap metal. So Sis and I voiced our concerns, and the cemetery people (workers, not residents) gave us a plastic flower-holder as a replacement. Which is not nearly as good, but at least nobody wants to steal it.

Anyhoo...I figured our bout of high winds last week probably blew flowers out of many holders. The wire wastebasket in that area was full of plastic flowers, and I don't think there was a rush of people trashing their old flowers and putting on Christmas displays. Once they blow across the Garden of Love, the workers can't determine which flowers go where, so they clean up and dispose of them.

Anyhoo...seeing as how Mom had been deflowered left without any flowers, I promised to return with some fake foliage for the season, and went on to Walmart. I couldn't find any good arrangements, but I settled for one with fake pine needles, fake berries, and fake poinsettias. I stopped again and put these plastic plants in the plastic vase. That made me feel better. Kind of good-deedy.

Anyhoo...I went back to Walmart on Thursday, to pick up some gifts for Babe, who is the 4-year-old daughter of Niecy, who is the daughter of Sis. I was going to drive back through and check on the Christmas plastic flowers at the cemetery, but there was a truck parked along there, and I don't like to interrupt people. So I just hollered (windows up, I'm not crazy!) from the main road to Mom and Dad that I couldn't stop, but I'd gotten all my Christmas gifts I'd been shopping for.

I only had one stop left, that being the Gas Station Chicken Store for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke, and scratchers. A new clerk was clerking, and two of her customers had problems, no fault of hers. One couldn't get his card to work. Another came in to say that the lady who'd left ahead of me had gotten the wrong cigarettes, and he wanted to trade them even for a different brand. While New Clerk was taking care of them, the Chicken Lady stepped over to help me. I stepped left to get to her register, and that's when I saw...

Not the expected penny, but A DIME! If I hadn't moved over, I never would have noticed it!

It was a 2014, face down. That was the year Mom had her seizure the day before Thanksgiving. and found out about her brain tumor thingy that caused it. The last year we had Christmas with her.

I think those are some kind of fake plants on the back of that dime. Dimes always make me think of my dad, because we found them all over the house in the months after he passed away, way back in 1998.

I'm pretty sure this dime was a reward for my good-deediness with the fake flowers. You can believe what you want.

For 2018: This was still Penny # 122.
For 2018: Dime  # 16.
For 2018: Nickels still at  # 5.
For 2018: Quarter still at #1.

Since March 2017 (the beginning), this is still Penny # 200.
Since March 2017 (the beginning), this is Dime # 22.
Since March 2017 (the beginning), this is still Nickel # 5.
Since March 2017 (the beginning), this is still Quarter #1.