Monday, January 23, 2017

Forecast: Completely Cloudy With a Chance of Casino

In an effort to keep Hick out of the house yesterday, I suggested we go to the casino. You know. I'm selfless like that. Hick's response was to shout, "THE CASINO? I just took you last week!" Which he did. But, I explained, the weather forecast showed 93% chance of rain at 11:00 a.m., and over 70% chance of rain all day long. With a high of 51 degrees. Besides, he'd still have all day Monday to screw off piddle around hammering and sawing and drilling and spending money on his little projects.

Of course my Sweet Baboo saw the logic in this scenario. So we left at 9:15 a.m. for the casino. Huh. There was NO RAIN! I had even told him we'd drive T-Hoe instead of A-Cad, because the car would just be splattered with mud and road spray anyhow. Still...we were already on the way. No sense stopping now, just because the weathermen failed again.

Hick dropped me off at the main entrance and went into the city to troll the Goodwill stores for treasures. Then he rejoined me about 90 minutes later. Let the record show that the casino was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli. And more miserly that George Costanza. Hick was only there short time, and lost all but $20 of the bankroll I gave him. Wait. I take that back. He also had another $20 that he took out of his allotment to spend AT GOODWILL! Making me his enabler, I suppose.

Anyhoo...the casino odds were not in my favor, either. I lost my shirt. LOOK AWAY! I'm hideous without my shirt! Okay, so in all actuality, I still had 80% of the money I took in. But still, that's more than Val usually loses.

We DID have a delicious burger, so juicy that grease dripped down my arm and onto the table. I could have given a Hardee's commercial burger-eating gal a run for her money. What with me losing my shirt and all...

When we walked out of the casion, THE SUN WAS SHINING! The temperature was 53 degrees. I had robbed Hick of a day outside, riding his Gator, terrorizing potholes and downed trees and neighbors who put sticks in the road. HEY! The weather is not my problem! I looked at the forecast online, even the updated version at 1:00 a.m.

Today, the wind was blustery, the sky overcast, and temperature at 43 degrees at noon. You know what I told Hick? "Sorry about yesterday and you missing nice weather. Today is terrible. You COULD take me to the casino..."

Heh, heh.

Let the record show that I was joking, but he thought I was serious. Let the record further show that Hick took off for the local Goodwill store. I guess that twenty was burning a hole in his pocket.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Scrick Factor

This is what retirement looks like:


And this:



And this:


Yes. This is what only 40 PERCENT retirement looks like. I think I might have misspoken once about Hick taking 60% retirement. Silly me. The math is the first to go. Hick is working 3 days a week, at 60% pay and full insurance benefits. So he's gone to work three days a week, and here the other two, plus the weekend. He's making the most of his time here at the homestead. As you can see.

Oh, that's just the stuff I can SHOW you! Saturday morning, I stepped on something in the kitchen. I'm not sure what it was. It was in front of the stove again. Surely you don't think VAL ever spends any time in that area! I was in my fresh socks right after the shower. My fresh NEW socks, worn for the first time. And something got a grip on the toe area of the left foot. It stuck. Pert near pulled that sock off. Not all the way off. Just about halfway off. Like a kid's sock after playing in the snow for an hour, and then taking off his snow boot.

I looked at the floor and didn't see much of anything. As far as I know, Hick didn't make eggs in secret before I got up, and he didn't have a plate of leftovers from the Felinefish Skillet to turn over and drip slaw juice in the floor. He DID say he had a Subway sandwich for his supper, because he went TO WORK to load a big shelf he wants to put in the basement. You know. To display his STUFF.

No, I only saw a little speck of something. Unrecognizable. It was smaller than a dime, and grayish in color. I wiped it up with a wet paper towel. That's standard procedure around here, right? Still, my sock was bespoiled. I just stuffed my foot in a Croc and went about my business.

SKRICK SCRICK SCRICK

That's the sound of a Croc sole with something sticky on it going across a linoleum kitchen floor. (Apparently, Hick's floor-droppings take more than water and a paper towel to clean up. Who knew?) I know you've heard that sound. Like when you step in gum on a parking lot, and walk through the store. Even when I walked across the living room carpet with with my Croc, and down the basement stairs, I still got the SCRICK on the tile basement floor. That's unnatural. That sole should have been coated with mud particles from the carpet, like Oreo crumbs on a homemade donut, and remained silent.

Oh, but this is not the worst part of 40% more time with Hick! No siree, Bob! The worst part (so far) is:

OUR CYCLES HAVE SYNCHRONIZED!

That means that every time I walk toward the bathroom for my shower, Hick runs in from the front yard, where he has just parked his Gator all willy-nilly and stormed up the steps and fumbled with his key in the lock, and darts ahead of me to plop down on the toilet to take a crap. And let me tell you, people...Hick is no Thomas Jefferson sitting on a boot!

Not only do I have to inhale his business when he's done, while I am trying to get clean in the shower...but I have to listen to Hick while he's in there. I imagine that Thomas Jefferson, sitting on his boot in his waistcoat, taking a tasteful crap, remained silent. Not Hick.

"AHHH..." Like he's dining on succulent filet mignon. Like he's sipping $35 a bottle whiskey with Genius. Like he's having a relaxing massage administered by a grown-up high-tech love child from Shania Twain and Lorrie Morgan. (You can Google them. They're 80s country singers that Hick enjoyed. Very much.)

Let the record show that the last picture is NOT related to the last example of Hick's renewed household presence. 

Yes, Val's idyllic life, now with 40% more Hick, has changed dramatically.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Maybe Hick is Not Actually Trying to Kill Me, But Only Scheming to Get Rid of Me

About a year-and-a-half ago, I got the feeling Hick was trying to kill me. Accidentally, of course. Oh, his motives may have been intentional, but he planned to make it look like an accident.

Perhaps you remember me spilling Hick's beans right here on the innernets. There was the time he told me to take ALL SIX pills in a z-pack at once, the time he gave me my grandma's cane in the dark, which had been altered to no rubber stopper but a pointy duct-taped end, and the time he bladed the driveway gravel and denied it three different ways.

I'm trying to give Hick the benefit of the doubt. He is, after all, my Sweet Baboo. Maybe he doesn't actually want me dead, but only GONE.

Hick was trimming ice-storm-damaged trees and blading the gravel road yesterday when his buddy Buddy's wife stopped to thank him  She mentioned that her daughter lives in The Pony's college town, and that if he ever needs something, to let her know. In case his car breaks down, or some other pressing calamity. Hick told her, "If you ever make a trip out there to visit, I'm sure Val would go along with you."

REEEEEE!

That's the sound of Val's Crocs digging into the press-down tile on the concrete basement floor. Just one stinkin' minute! Does Hick not know my nature after 27 years of marriage? Like Stevie Nicks, I have never ever been a blue calm sea. I have always been a storm. The Pony comes by his not really caring about people naturally. By way of my genes. Not only do I not really care about people (hard to believe, I know), but I actively dislike a large portion of the human race. In fact, my personal motto, although I never asked my mom to make a cross-stitch for me to hang over the fake fireplace mantel, is PEOPLE PISS ME OFF!

I have no gripes with Buddy's wife. She's a likeable enough person. But that doesn't mean I want to be trapped in a car with her for nine hours. It's bad enough when I'm trapped with Hick, and don't have to hide my true nature. No way can I be congenial and polite for that long. Besides, there's the business of leisure time once there.

"Oh, you can stay in the hotel," said Hick magnanimously when I politely murmured (heh, heh) that I was not interested in a road trip with Buddy's wife. Sure glad I wasn't expected to share a bed with her at her daughter's house, like Matty Ross of near Dardanelle in Yell County had to share with Grandma Turner at the Monarch Boarding House in True Grit. AND how would I get around for a couple of days, assuming that The Pony would meet me for a meal, and then forsake me for his cronies and the 12th floor lounge with high-speed internet? There are no restaurants withing walking distance of our hotel. I guess I could squirrel away extra food from the breakfast bar...

Yeah. Nothing in that scheme of Hick's smacks of my demise. Just of my disappearance for a while. I can't imagine that he would want a few days away from me!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #44 "I Know What You Did Last Second"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Come on. It's not against the law. But you may look at the law from a different vantage point after you read this week's fake book. Have YOU ever broken the law? We have ways of finding out, you know. So to keep Val from dropping a dime on you, perhaps it would be best for you to pony up some cash for the latest volume to add to your Thevictorian Library. Cash is not as traceable as plastic, you know. Unless you consider the DNA you leave on it when you touch it.


I Know What You Did Last Second

Troy days are numbered. Since childhood, he's been breaking rules. Breaking laws. Now he's gone too far.

Little Troy put Pink Pet erasers in his shoes to be tall enough to ride the Scrambler. Lied about driving experience hours to get his license. Over-inflated his tires. Played his radio a skosh too loud while driving through the hospital zone. Stuffed his birthday party invitation into his neighbor's mailbox without a stamp. Watched an NC17 movie on cable at 16 years, 364 days. Bought a pack of vending machine cigarettes at 17 years, 364 days. Ate a box of liquor-filled chocolates at 20 years, 364 days old. Yesterday, Troy drove 39 mph on the interstate.

Now Troy is hiding in his bedroom closet, peering through the louvered door, awaiting the SWAT team. Because just a second ago, he ripped the tag off his new pillow.

Will Troy make it out alive? (150 words)

__________________________________________________________________

Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

D.B.Cooper..."If I was Thevictorian, no amount of money could make me show my face again. Her fake book made me want to throw myself out of a plane!"

Alcatraz 3..."We would swim the widest ocean to escape this fake author's work. First of all, it made our heads feel empty. We found this fake book tepid and bloated, yet it left us cold."

The Birdman of Alcatraz..."A little birdie told me this fake book ain't worth crap."

Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski..."Thevictorian needs to hole up in a shack in a remote woodsy area. MY writing makes more sense than this fake book. I predict it will bomb."

Al Capone..."If this fake author needs a hideout, I have an unopened vault where she can hang her fedora while she's on the lam. I'm not much for reading, but I'll drink a toast to her fake book."

John Coffey..."I wish she could take it back. I wish Thevictorian could take back this fake book. I can't read, myself, but folks has told me reading this fake book is like walkin' the Green Mile."

Paul McCartney..."The jailer man and Sailor Sam were searching everyone for a copy of this fake book. Nobody had one. Maybe I'm amazed. Actually, I'm not. It's crap. I'd rather read silly love songs. I winged this fake book across the room yesterday. Now I need a place to hide away. And so does Thevictorian."

Dr. Richard Kimble..."Is Thevictorian a one-armed man? Because this fake book was written as if the author had one hand tied behind his back."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bartender, Scrap-Taker, Scratch-Donut-Maker

When Genius was home for Christmas, I offered to send back some leftovers with him. He only had four days to eat or freeze them, though, because he was flying out on his west coast trip in the early morning hours of New Year's Eve. Part of the leftovers included Oreo crumbs left from the making of three Oreo Cakes. It's not that we're addicted to Oreo Cakes. I don't even like them Hick can't eat them, but The Pony LOVES them. One was for us, two were gifts.

Anyhoo...I had a bunch of crumbs left over that I used to garnish the top of the cake. Here's a picture of what you missed if you weren't having dessert with Thevictorians.



Don't think Thevictorians throw away perfectly usable food scraps. At first I thought Genius mught turn up his snooty nose at such offal. But no. Genius said he knew just what to do with those crumbs. The same thing I figured might cross his mind. Make a cocktail with them!

Val is a teetotaler, you know, but she watches TV. So I suggested some kind of drink that you might coat the rim of the glass with Oreo crumbs. Not a red Solo cup rim. A real GLASS glass. I tried to describe my vision in a rudimentary way, and Genius took off on a riff of assorted liqueurs and similar cocktails and what he had on hand in his college-rental-house liquor larder.

Genius, you also know, is not a stranger to demon rum. Not only does he have a little Captain Morgan in him, he has $35-a-bottle black label whiskey, foreign-sounding aperitifs and cordials, and four cases of assorted beers from his music festival trip to Kansas City last year. I'd say Genius is probably about 75.5% alcohol. He might just as well be called Ronrico 151! (See? Val does her research. And went to college. And listened to the Georgia Satellites' "Railroad Steel"--that reference is around the 3:00 mark.)

Anyhoo...Genius didn't come back to the homestead after his trip, due to icy weather and flight changes. So when we took his car to him, I took the baggie of Oreo crumbs. Last week, he sent me a picture of what he used them for:


Yes. I was surprised. Those aren't gonna give anybody a hangover! Genius made donuts!

WHOOP! WHOOP! What's that? I hear the sound of the Spelling Police trying to pull me over! Eat my dust, you overhorsepowered frustrated schoolmarms! Val will NOT pull over! It's DONUTS here! We're not living in the 1800s!

I can see why Genius and his housemates buy their paper towels by the 6-pack! I asked if he used biscuit dough. That's a quick way to make donuts, you know. My mom used to do it, with some cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. And if that was Nutella. Genius is a big fan of Nutella.

"No. We made our own dough. It's literally just flour, yeast, eggs, milk, and time. And we made chocolate glaze."

I didn't ask who was getting that tiny one in the back.

I'm pretty sure I know where Genius's inspiration came from. His west coast trip. Namely, Voodoo Doughnuts. (The spelling here is a nod to their proper name. Don't think Val is afraid of being roughed up by the Spelling Police.) More another day on that excursion.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Stealth Nom-Nommer

Strange things happen around our house all the time. I refuse to believe that it's because I'm strange. Stuff happens. It's my job to figure out why.

Yesterday I relayed (heh, heh, the subject was ELECTRICITY, and I said RELAYed...guess you have to be the wife of a man who does factory electrical work and mom of an electrical engineer to get that) how our power went off three times at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday night/Monday morning. Hmm...I'm starting to wonder if 3:00 a.m. really is the witching hour. LAST night/early this morning, again at 3:00 a.m., the light bulb over the area by the TV and my new OPC (Old People Chair) started to dim. It brightened up. Dimmed. Brightened. FIZZLED OUT! It's still off today, so maybe it just burned out at that coincidental time.

The kitchen has also been the scene of lighting/electrical phenomena. Nothing recent, though. It's other stuff I find in the kitchen. I could swear my pans in the big metal drawer under the oven have been rearranged. The drawer with the big spoons and spatulas and dipper and cheese grater seems to have been ransacked, not wanting to close because things aren't nested the way I usually store them. Sometimes a bowl has specks of dried cheese on it, yet I've been doing dishes all my life by hand, and should know better. I even asked Hick if he'd been into that oven drawer when I put my muffin pan back in there the other day. He said he never messes with the dishes.

On Sunday morning, I woke up to see Hick standing over in the corner of the bedroom. That's a bit unusual. He's usually bouncing me up and down on the mattress (like I'm a jolly good fellow in a blanket toss) as he puts on his socks. Or he's flipping on the 2000-watt lights he recently installed in the ceiling fixture. Or slamming the bedroom door to shut out noise so he doesn't disturb me. So it was odd that I woke up to no jouncing or light or noise, and saw him standing there in his tighty-whities in the early morning light.

"What are you doing?"

"Just getting my clothes. I FREEZING!" And with that, Hick slithered back under the quilt, jouncing and flopping and yanking the covers and TALKING to me like I hadn't just gone to bed four hours previous.

"Well, I guess there's no going back to sleep now."

"Val. It's SEVEN O'CLOCK!"

"You may have slept for ten hours already, but I just went to bed at 3:00. I'd hoped to sleep some more."

"I don't care if you sleep. Go ahead."

"That's easy for you to SAY! Now I'm wide awake. I thought you were getting your clothes. Ready to leave to wherever it is you go every morning."

"I'm going to work on HOS's electric in his trailer. But first I'm going to take a shower."

That was odd. I assumed that Hick was out of the shower, gathering his clothes. That's how it usually works. Why would he get up and gather clothes and then be freezing? Peculiar. I tried to go back to sleep while Hick was in the shower, but that wasn't happening. He got out and dressed and left, and I gave up. I got up and went to the kitchen for my medicine.

That's odd. The paper plate I had on a tray that I'd carried up from the basement at 3:00 a.m. was gone. Hick never throws anything away! And the winning lottery tickets that had also been on that tray were laying on the kitchen counter, where I prep the food. AND two spoons from Hick's after-supper snack that had been laying beside the sink were gone. This was a case for Mystery Inc. Jessica Fletcher. Columbo.

When Hick returned for lunch, I quizzed him on the lottery tickets.

"Why were my tickets laying on the counter."

"Why were your tickets laying on the counter?"

"Yes."

"Oh. I moved them."

"And where's my plate?"

"Your plate? What plate?"

"The paper plate that was on my tray with the lottery tickets under it."

"Oh. I threw it away."

"You NEVER straighten up the kitchen! Why did you do that?"

"Why did I do that?"

"Yeeesssss..."

"Oh. I made myself some eggs."

Let the record show that there was no sign of egg-making. No pan, no spatula, no plate, no bowl, no fork. Hick hasn't gotten eggs from his remaining chickens for a month or more. I have two cartons of eggs in FRIG II that are store-bought.

"Where did you get the eggs?"

"Where did I get the eggs?"

"YES!"

"Oh. From the refrigerator."

"WHICH eggs did you use? Because one carton was hard-boiled."

"Yeah. I was going to tell you about that. I cracked one of them and found out."

"So you made eggs and then got rid of all the evidence! WHY do you do that? It's not the first time I've caught you doing that! WHO does that? Makes eggs and then washes the pan and puts it away? That means you had to dry it. Nothing in the sink drainer with the other dishes to put away. AND you never wash anything else! Just your own stuff! What if I did that?"

"I do too wash other stuff."

"Huh. This would be the first time. Besides, there was NOTHING there to wash. I did the dishes after supper!"

"I washed them two spoons layin' there by the sink. See? I do things around here."

I swear. Hick had gotten up, closed the bedroom door so as not to "bother" me, secretly made eggs for himself, washed the pan and spatula and fork, and two spoons, put them away, (all the while in his tighty-whities, mind you), and then come into the bedroom freezing before his shower.

I assumed that Hick had used an egg and thought I would notice that it was missing. That's why he was "going to" tell me. When I noticed. I might have, I don't know. It's been a while since I boiled them, and I vaguely recalled having six boiled eggs on hand. They were probably getting old. I got out that carton, and found THIS:


I could tell the minute I opened the carton that it was time to throw them out. YET HICK HAD PUT THAT CRACKED EGG BACK IN THE CARTON!

WHO DOES THAT?


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The One Where Hick Gives Val the Electric Chair

Stop your cheering! It's not what you think!

Hick is at a loss every Christmas over what to give Val, the woman who has it all. Sometimes (once) he hits a home run. Like the year he gave me a chair for the desk in my dark basement lair. He did that again last year, a bigger chair. Not BIG, as in a gargantuan seat to hold Val's elephantine buttocks. A bigger chair. Fancier. Leather or pleather rather than cloth. With a higher back. Padded armrests. Not quite as comfortable as the old chair. But the thought counted. It sits in the lair, ready for when Val calls it to duty. Let the record show that it's a perfectly good chair. But the seat is a bit too long, coming right to the bend of Val's knee-backs. And it makes her butt sweat.

This year, Hick gifted me with a recliner. He thinks it was a surprise. He went to great lengths to conceal his activities. He might actually have pulled it off if Genius hadn't called me out of the blue, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, asking me if I'd ever thought of getting one of those chairs that help you stand up.

REEEEE!!!

That's what I call an OLD PEOPLE'S CHAIR! I had to be diplomatic about what I said. What if Genius was planning on getting me an OPC for Christmas? Probably not. I imagine they cost a bundle. So I thought maybe he and Hick and The Pony would all go together and get me one. Let the record show that I did not really want an OPC. But who am I to spoil the gift-giving karma of someone else?

"Well...I'd never really thought seriously about one. I remember seeing how your grandma used hers at the nursing home when she was in rehab. It seemed to work okay for her. I would never get one for myself. To me, it seems like the beginning of the end. Like I'm too feeble to stand myself up. What's next, laying on the couch until the fabric grows into my skin?"

Let the record show that I often have trouble standing myself up, especially from low seats, and have to stay there a few seconds to let the synovial fluid in my knees redistribute itself before I can walk. That doesn't mean I want an OPC. Genius was quite diplomatic about it.

"Okay. I was just asking. I know you have a hard time getting up."

"Yeah. But I do. And I'm fine."

So...Hick would make pointed comments about going to look for my present. Wanting The Pony to go with him. Saying he wasn't picking up my present until Christmas Eve. There were some suspicious goings-on in the basement workshop on the other side of the thin wall in my dark basement lair. Christmas morning, Hick told me not to come downstairs yet. I heard some scuffling around down there. THEN all three of the guys came back up and asked me if I wanted to go down first to open gifts. The boys ALWAYS go down first, to see their gifts and their stockings hung by the fake fireplace with nonchalance by Hick, and then lovingly filled by Val.

I told them to go first, and I would follow. They stood at the bottom of the stairs, watching ME. Not looking at the pile of gifts under the tree. I gimped my knees down the stairs and then turned to head for my old blue recliner.

"OH! A new chair! What a nice surprise!"

Yeah. Val is all about letting others have the gift of giving.

But that's not what this story is about. Hick gave me an OPC with electric controls to lift it up and let me out. The same electric controls that HEAT the seat and back, and MASSAGE the back with three different settings. I do like the chair. It doesn't lean me quite as far back as my old blue recliner. And my feet won't go up as high. But the old one doesn't have a heater or massager, and it's a BLEEP to get out of.

Sunday night, or more truthfully the wee hours of Monday morning, I was all kicked back in my OPC, heater toasting, massager humming, watching a DVR of Kate Plus 8. I know the time was 2:55 a.m., because I had ten minutes of show left, and had been hoping to go to bed at 3:00. It's no secret that Val is a night owl. I'd been playing my new computer game The Pony gave me for Christmas, and lost track of time. Long hours at New Delly make my back want that heater/massager in my OPC.

So there I was, not a care in the world, the world being my oyster, really, although I am not a fan of shellfish (who WOULD be, in Missouri), with nothing to do the next day except get Hick out of the house, basking in the joy of my forever vacation.

<DARK>

The DISH and TV and furnace went off.

<LIGHT>

The TV came back on. DISH ran its loading program. The furnace kicked on.

<DARK>

The DISH and TV and furnace went off.

<LIGHT>

The TV came back on. DISH ran its loading program. The furnace kicked on.

<DARK>

The DISH and TV and furnace went off.

<LIGHT>

The TV came back on. DISH ran its loading program. That third time, the furnace stayed off.

I didn't want to wait for the DISH programming to load. I didn't know if the DVR would work anyway. I SURE didn't want to mess something up with the remote, and no boys in the house to fix it. So I decided I would wait a minute to see how long that loading took. It always says about 5 minutes, but sometimes it's faster.

WAIT A MINUTE! The thought hit me all at once. If the power goes off and STAYS off...

MY OLD PEOPLE CHAIR WON'T WORK!

I had that thing powered down and cranked up before you could say, "44 oz Diet Coke!" What if I was all the way reclined? I would be trapped like a turtle on its back! Unable to get out of the chair. There's a table with a lamp on the right side, and a table holding the remotes and some books and junk on the left. I couldn't roll out of the chair. I couldn't fold it up with my feet and a side lever like my old blue recliner. Hick would never hear me screaming, the way he sleeps with the quilt up over his breathered head on the other end of the house.

I'm not very knowledgeable on the true meaning of irony...but I think it would be pretty ironic if the chair that Hick bought me so I could get up out of it became the instrument of my imprisonment.