Monday, September 26, 2016

A Tale of Two Subways

It was the best of sandwiches, it was the worst of sandwiches, it was the age of retirement, it was the age of first-jobbiness, it was the epoch of baby boomers, it was the epoch of millennials, it was the season of great expectations, it was the season of work-on-a-Monday, it was the lunch of hope, it was the lunch of get-out-of-here-I-was-gossiping-in-the-back, it was the beginning of autumn, it was the first day of the rest of your life; I had a sandwich.

Oh, dear. Kids these days just don't have the same work ethic as the oldsters. Sorry to break that news to you. I'm sure you hadn't noticed. Today's lunch just reminded me of this phenomenon.

I  ran to town (not for my 44 oz Diet Coke, that was just a happy side trip) to deposit the OU refund check for The Pony's first semester into his college savings credit union account. He's actually making money his first semester at an out-of-state university. Can't beat that with a stick! We don't expect it in future years, because housing is only paid for freshman year. But it's nice while you can get it. Anyhoo...I went in Walmart for a couple of crucial items I didn't get Friday when I did the shopping. Namely, Sno*Caps, which they were out of then, and my new favorite fast food: Great Value Salisbury Steak Frozen Dinner.

I am sure you all shudder at Val's dietary habits. But her choices over the past six months have led to significant shrinkage. And NOT the cold water frightened turtle kind. So I stopped by the in-store Subway after my shopping. It's not like I ordered the foot-long tuna salad, one of my favorites. I haven't enjoyed that repast in quite some time. Wise choices, people. (With the exception of picking up lunch from Subway.) I had the roasted chicken on wheat, with spicy mustard, tomato, pickles, and onion.

Is it just me, or does roasted mean something different to us than it does to Subway? Because I imagine a fowl fresh from the oven, perhaps with crackly skin, meat that is moist and tasty. Subway seems to think roasting involves soaking in a metal vat of water! Go figure! I order it not so much for the taste as for the good source of protein. They can't soak the protein out of my chicken, by cracky!

Anyhoo, I remembered why I don't frequent the on-premises Subway at Walmart today. Only two reasons, actually. The food, and the service. Which are kinda in the top two of why you would go to a certain food establishment. We have three Subways around here. The one I go to by Save A Lot and the one inside Walmart are owned by the same person. You could never tell that if you didn't have insider knowledge. The one in Walmart is the lesser Subway.

Oh, what's that? You want me to get on with it? Here's the scoop. I paid for my groceries and went into Subway. It was still early. Around 11:00. Only one guy was in there, already with his sammich, sitting at a table, eating. I saw two girls in uniform in the back, talking. This Subway is backwards. You go in, go all the way to the opposite end, then build your sandwich working your way back to the Walmart. I know they saw me come in. I stood a few minutes, looking at the reverse set-up that was different from the last time I was there, circa 2010. Nobody came to wait on me. So I dinged the bell like the one they have at the dead-mouse-smelling post office.

A gal in her late teens/early 20s came out. She was polite enough. Got right to the order. Asked all the right questions. BUT she mutilated my bread. At the OTHER Subway, I saw a lady throw away TWO LOAVES of bread. For my sandwich. She cut it in half, and it didn't lay like she expected, and she tossed it. I remember thinking at the time, "She could have used that bread. She must be causing them a lot of losses if she does this every time." Still, I got a good sandwich from her. Notice that she was a LADY, not a GAL.

This Gal sliced the wheat loaf in half just fine. But in opening it up, she tore the end. TORE IT! Like, two inches of the curvy end ripped across. It was a flap at the end of the sandwich. I was sure she was going to get me different bread. But she didn't. She went on building that sandwich. Here's the thing about the lesser Subway. They think they're hiding the fact that their roasted chicken sits in a metal vat of water. They're not. I saw Gal reach behind the counter and grab it with tongs. It still dripped. Just because it's not out front for me to see her lift the lid and go fishing for it does not change the facts.

One thing the lesser Subway has that the greater Subway doesn't is PRETZELS. Giant, doughy, bigger-than-a-human-head twisty pretzels! Plain. With salt. With cinnamon sugar. Oh, how I would have dearly loved a giant pretzel! But I made the wise choice not to partake. I paid a dollar extra for my lesser sandwich (I can't believe it costs more here) and headed for my soda and home. Once there, I sliced more dill pickle and a whole red onion and added them to my sandwich. Nom nom.

It was like some great stuffed overflowing taco that Jamie Oliver might pretend the public schools are funded to feed to their students. Cram-packed with chicken, tomatoes, dill pickles, red onion, and spicy mustard. Several times I looked down to see a sliver of onion resting upon my shirt. The inner paper that I had swaddled my sandwich in grew porous with juices. And spicy mustard. It quickly became as sodden as an overnight diaper. But that didn't stop me from enjoying it! Once I ate the plain crusty bread that broke off the end. You don't think I would throw it away, do you? Have you smelled Subway's bread? point, back when I started, was that the younger generation does not seem to place importance on a job well done. A job done well-enough is fine with them. We aging baby boomers beg to differ.

So let me tell you, Little Miss Subway, just trying to get by: It was a far, far better sandwich that I made, than you will ever do; it is a far, far better work ethic that I have, than you will ever know.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wench Tried to Run Me Over!

Let the record show that Val has no bone to pick with Save A Lot. Most of the time. Sure,there's that recent unpleasant business of their Grade A Large Eggs lately, what with them turning up not-so-fresh a mere week after being boiled, a mere week after their expiration date, when in the past, they have remained tasty for months after that date.

Today I stopped in just for a minute. Hick mentioned yesterday that he would like some spaghetti with meat and mushrooms in the sauce. "I hated that stuff The Pony liked." Meaning pasta from Walmart's deli area, such as Chicken Tortellini, or Four Cheese, or Italian Sausage. Never mind that Val does not cotton to long spaghetti noodles. She can whip up another dish for herself.

So...I stopped for some shredded lettuce (never know when you'll get the urge for Super Nachos), canned mushrooms (even though I have the real ones in Frig II), hamburger (Save A Lot has their own butcher, and really good meat not injected with water like Walmart's), Sno*Caps (they don't carry them), and a TV dinner (because sometimes Val doesn't feel like spending 30 minutes making herself Super Nachos).

At the counter, I noticed that one bag of my two shredded lettuces was already turning brown. That's no good! The date was October 2nd. I sure didn't want to buy something that was rotten. I don't know how much that shredded lettuce cost, because I am so wealthy I don't look at prices I already threw away the receipt. But I'm sure it would have been enough money saved to buy a 44 oz Diet Coke, from Orb K if not from the gas station chicken store.

Let the record show that this was one of the young checkers, not the seasoned Methuselah's granddaughter with coal-black hair. She looked at me like I had two heads (maybe it was just my coal-black hair, fresh from a box of L'Oreal only this morning, though it said Dark Brown). You'd think I had squeezed that shredded lettuce trying to turn it into coal, the way she looked at me.

"I don't know what you want to do with it, but I really don't want to buy it, since it's already turning brown."

She stuffed it under the counter, probably to put back on the shelf, even though I have not noticed this practice at Save A Lot, but have seen it just down the road a piece at Country Mart. She rang up my items and gave me change from my twenty. While waiting for it, I noticed a penny on the floor. Last week I also found a penny on the floor, right there at that same check-out in Save A Lot. It's the one I always go to, on the end. Also last week, I found a penny on the parking lot of the gas station chicken store, right on the blacktop parking lot by T-Hoe's driver's door as I was getting back in.

I don't stoop to pick up pennies because I need them, being so wealthy that they are insignificant to my fortune but because you know that saying, "Find a penny, pick it up, all the day you'll have good luck." I'm a pretty lucky person anyway, but may it's because of these pennies! Besides, I can always use the pennies to hand over correct change, as I like to do, for my 44 oz Diet Coke.

Today must have been my lucky day, because as soon as I bent over (not something Val enjoys doing, but it IS becoming easier, what with her cutting back lately) that there was another penny on the floor at the end of the conveyor. I had already moved the cart with my groceries the checker put in it, and had put my shopping cart over in its place for her next customer's groceries. She handed me my bills and coins, and I stuffed them in my pocket.

"I'm just going to pick up this penny here..."

As I bent over to grasp it between my left thumb and forefinger,


She grabbed that cart I had parked exactly like the other one before it, and yanked it toward her, then shoved it back. WTFNH? (What The Freakin' Not-Heaven?)

"Oops! You almost got me!"

"Oh. Sorry."

Guess that'll learn me to buy the spoiled lettuce next time.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Law and Order: SSVU (Sweet, Sweet Victims Unit)

The other night I went out to sit on the front porch pew while Hick was on the way home. I usually give the dogs an evening snack. It's usually a bit later, after Hick has already fed the chickens, and after our supper is done. So...I was a bit early going out the front door, and I caught the dogs in the act:

If you look closely among the chicken feathers (Jack plays a little game with the chickens called, "I won't kill or eat you, but I will make sure you get plenty of exercise"), that's an egg laying in front of Jack's feet. Don't be so hasty to blame my Jacky Boy. Juno has one of her own, in her mouth. Uh huh. Jack saw me and pretended he wasn't doing anything wrong. But brazen Sweet, Sweet Juno actually picked her egg up and tried to abscond with it hidden in her jowls. Except there was nowhere to go.

She laid down in the side yard with it for a few moments. But one of the roosters was onto her shenanigans. You can't see it in the grass, but she left it there. Probably went back later for it. I tried to get a picture with her laying there, facing toward the left, with the egg between her paws, when she saw that rooster...but she was too quick for my new used phone camera.

Both dogs ran to the porch for their treat. I can't remember what it was that night. Probably the last three of the frozen mozzarella sticks left from the Super Bowl (two for Juno, one for Jack--cut up). Hick came up the driveway, and Jack ran to bark at him. He's aggressive like that. Hick got past my guard dog and came to sit in the rocking chair that he got me when Genius was an infant, which he insisted on putting on the front porch when we brought home my mom's piano, when Genius was 20, away at college, and liked rocking in that chair about as much as he did when an infant: not at all.

"Don't look now, but I caught your dogs with an egg. Each. I was hoping that was the golf ball you used to put in the chicken house, hoping to make them sit on the eggs, but it's still right down there under the yucca plant."

"Them dogs! I knew they was eatin' my eggs! I hardly get any anymore."

" DO let them roam around the yard. So you never know where to look for them."

"Yeah. That's how I find 15 or 20 all together, and don't know how old they are. Then they're no good."

Hick went to feed his chickens."

"Right there! In the side yard? That's where Juno left her egg."

"I see it. You dumb dog! It's an egg all right. I'm trying to tell if it's green."

"I DID throw some old eggs off the back porch on the weekend. They were from the store. About six of them. Maybe they found them around back."

"That's a white egg. Not mine. We haven't had chickens that lay white eggs for years now."

"So they DIDN'T get your eggs."

"No. Not this time. But they will!"

So quick to accuse. My precious pets were only doing their part for the environment and disposing of garbage that I had flung on the ground. They really need to get a better attorney than Val.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #27 "Everybody Nods OR Go the EFF to School"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. The latest volume in Val's very, very valuable fake-book collection is an educational tome. What better market to fake-sell fake books to than public schools?

This week's fake book has legs. Figuratively. Not literally, like a coffee table book about coffee tables. Schools worldwide might want to purchase a classroom set for use when the real teacher is "sick" and the sub who rearranges the furniture and eats the reward candy from the bottom drawer and takes the kids for a walk around the building and tells dirty jokes has to be called in. To teach a lesson on always ending sentences with a preposition. Or in this case, perhaps, a proposition.

Everybody Nods -OR- Go the EFF to School

Finally, a textbook that teaches teachers how to get control of a class! Pass out this fake book to  your students, and get ready to run down the hall for a cup of coffee, a corner slice of Teacher Appreciation Week sheet cake with buttercream icing, and a gossip session with your cronies. Don't worry about leaving students unattended. They'll be ASLEEP!

No need to slip them a mickey. No need to walk around the room bopping them with the wooden mallet that you accidentally picked up from the strong man bell-ringer booth at the Labor Day Picnic. No need to lecture on the phospholipid bilayer.

Put "Everybody Nods -OR- Go the EFF to School" on your requisitions next spring. It’s economical. Only a classroom set is needed. You don't want to check one out to every student to carry home. Then they would be sleeping there!

Order now! (149 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Rip Van Winkle…"Imagine my surprise when I awoke from a lengthy slumber to find this fake book clutched in my gnarled hand. I recommend it to husbands whose wife has a sharp tongue and meddling nature."

Grandpa JoeThank goodness I was not reading this fake book to Grandma Josephine, Grandpa George, and Grandma Georgina while we were bedridden for the last 20 years! I fear that I would have slept right through Charlie's tour of the chocolate factory. I do highly recommend it, though, to that little Veruca Salt.” 

Sleeping Beauty…”I was given this fake book as a gift. Unfortunately, as I thumbed through the pages, my finger was nicked with a paper cut. I immediately fell into a deep sleep. Lucky for me, a handsome prince was stalking me. His kiss revived me. I cannot recommend this fake book, because of the shoddy workmanship with the razor-sharp pages.”

Jean Paul, in New York to run the marathon…”Don't be bringin' me this fake book! I had planned on a little light reading to relax the night before my big race, and this fake book caused me to oversleep! Kids should get out and exercise, not be subdued into unconsciousness by a textbook.” 

Snow White…”I heartily suggest that all school districts everywhere buy a classroom set of this fake book to use when a substitute is called in. It's as effective as a special apple in getting students to behave, and it's legal."

Those poppies in the Wizard of Oz field…”We are suing Thevictorian for a patent violation. There's no way her fake book could bring about such a deep level of sleep as our special ingredient."

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nightmares 'R' Us

Time for more Hick treasures. I feel it's only fitting to share my latest Goodwill with you. Because Val's a giver like that. Hope nobody's reading this with their glass of warm milk, getting ready to toddle off to bed.

I don't know what's up with Hick's fascination with masks. This is the third or fourth one I've seen, and just this evening, when I said, "Why the mask?" he replied, "Oh, you haven't seen all of them I've got over in the BARn."

That's also two ducks (H: "Because I like ducks") and a beer glass shaped like a football. I argued on the beer glass.

"How do you KNOW it's a beer glass? I thought it was a vase. I don't see the football."

"Because it says BEER on the glass, and it's shaped like a football."

Hick is recycling the world's trash four pieces at a time, it seems. Bringing it home to display in his sheds in Shackytown, some already existing, and some just a glimmer in Hick's near-future-retired eye.

Small duck, $1.00. Large duck, $1.00. Beer glass, $1.00. Mask, $1.00.

Nightmare potential? Priceless.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

EVERYBODY'S Working Except Val

On the way to town there's this field full of sheep. Sometimes they're shorn, sometimes they're fluffy, and sometimes they're gone. I don't know if the owner buys and sells them, or if he keeps them put up for a week or two for shearing. But mostly, they're out in the field. Lately, I've noticed an addition: a guard dog.

I am fascinated by working animals. How they are born and/or socialized to know their job, with some human training help for certain duties. I got a picture of this canine today on the way home.

Usually, he's inside the fence, but today he was out. He wasn't far from his flock, though.

They were just on the other side of that driveway. You may think this fella has it easy, watching after a couple of sheep. But there are more that those few along the fence!

At first I thought this was a Great Pyrenees, even though I know they're much fluffier and heavier. I also thought this dog would round up the sheep and herd them to different pastures. If what my estranged BFF Google told me is correct, he just guards them from predators. Not a member of the herding class, but the guardian class. Who knew? Learn something every day!

The best I can tell, this is an Akbash dog. I could be way off, but by looking at pictures and descriptions, that's the best I came up with. Heh, heh. He's probably just a stray mutt that I've romanticized into a working dog. If my hunch is correct, though, he cost a pretty penny. Here's a link to a farm that sells such beasts.

I found it interesting that a person can't train these dogs to guard livestock. They learn it from other dogs. AND the kind of livestock they'll guard depends on the kind they were raised with! In the description, it said some dogs will EAT the chickens, but other dogs will GUARD the chickens. That's what we need right there. A guard dog to keep the neighbor mutts from eating our chickens.

Not for $1400, though! You can buy a lot of replacement chickens for $1400.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Some Days, the Lines Between Weirdo and Magnet Are Blurred by Dappled Sunlight

Remember two days ago, when Val's faith in humanity was restored? When a stranger stopped to offer her assistance by the low water bridge, in case T-Hoe was out of commission? Scratch the phonograph record with the replacement needle found in Val's mother's safe. That lasted less than 48 hours. Val spat out the milk of human kindness like a mistaken sip of Diet Pepsi.

Two days later, mind you, after that Good Samaritan stopped to ask, "Y'alright?" and went on his merry way...Val found THIS at her own low water bridge:

That's not an artsy photo showing the autumn slant of the late-morning sun down by Val's creek. That's a bunch of trash left behind by ne'er-do-wells Sunday night! Looks like they had their makin' whoopie blanket, and a tasty treat of little donuts, and some...uh...toilet paper for a purpose we don't want to think about, and a bottle of water to rehydrate. Not sure if I got the water bottle in frame. The dappled sunlight threw me off. Plus I was sitting in T-Hoe taking a picture out the window. And you KNOW what happened the last time I did that!

What if my would-be savior had been trolling the back roads for a partner in lust? Had this stuff stashed behind the seat of his pickup, to entice a willing companion? He DID take off headed in the direction of Val's creek. Just sayin'...maybe he was out scouting locations for his private party.

There are a lot of weirdos out there, you know.