Tuesday, March 28, 2017

This Post Should Self-Destruct in 60 Seconds

Hick has been texting me cryptic spy messages from Sweden.

On second thought...Hick has been communicating in his regular manner. Punctuation is not his friend. It's like my old nemesis, technology. And geography.

Sunday, on the way home from the casino with Genius and his Friend, I got a message responding to my report on Hick's query about our win/loss totals.

"Doing any better still train riding another hour"

I relayed that Genius was down, I was down $40 more than Genius, and Friend was up $40 for the day.

"O well almost to the hotel be careful Love you both"

"Sorry, Friend. Genius's dad says that he loves us both. I guess he likes you well enough...but he didn't mention it."

"Huh. Maybe he meant that he loves me and Genius, and left YOU out!"

"That's a possibility. You never know, the way he texts."

Later Sunday evening, Hick sent more code.

"I'm at the Hotel in my room shower and bed"

"Is it all one piece?" [asked Val, remembering the last time Hick sent a picture on one of his international espionage spy missions business trips to France, which showed a sink, toilet, shower combo that impressed him because it was 'molded all in one piece, like an airplane toilet!']

"No I'll take a picture love you"

And the next morning, which was the shank of my evening, at 1:31 a.m., Hick got right back to keeping me apprised of his situation.

"Good morning having breakfast"

"What do they give you, Swedish fish?" [said the non-world-traveler Val, who had a JV football coach for her History and Geography teacher, yet made VALEDICTORIAN in spite of it]

"Scrambled eggs and bacon and grapes"

"Good enough."

"They have boiled eggs and cold meats and fruit salads and cereals too"

"I'm shocked you're not having a pile of cold meats."

"No no cold meat" [said the Carnivore Laureate of Backroads, renowned for fitting (and eating) an entire rump roast in his towering bowl of Vegetable Beef Soup, carefully leaving out the 'juice']

"What are you now, a gourmet?"

"No no gourmet just telling you what they have in room now getting ready to go he will pick us up at 830"

Later in his day, and earlier in my next one...Hick reported that he was back from the hockey game he was taken to for his entertainment [who knew the Swedishans were so into hockey? Not this ol' Val] and that he'd had a great time.

"I'm watching a little TV then shower and bed"

No. I didn't ask him if the shower and bed was all one piece. Or why he was watching them.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Thevictorian's Fifth

Bear with me. There IS a message here.

Last night I was all jumpy due to noises above my head. With Hick gone to Sweden, I KNOW there is nobody up there walking around. I was minding my own business in my dark basement lair when I started hearing thumps at the front door. I turned down my underdesk heater to make sure no one was knocking at 11:00 p.m. They weren't. It could have been the dogs sprawling up against it, I guess, even though I heard them barking over by the goat pen.

I hollered, "What are you doing?" Twice. You know. Because that would signal burglars that an angry wife was ready to kick some butt over their shenanigans somebody was downstairs. And they could leave. And we could pretend this never happened.

Later, around 1:30 a.m., in my OPC (Old People Chair), blissfully heated and vibrated, I heard noises by the kitchen door. Walking. So I hollered again. "Hey! What's going on? I though you went to bed!" To allow the next set of burglars to leave, you know. Because obviously the man of the house was sleeping with a shotgun under the bed, just waiting for punks like them to break in. Apparently, even punk burglars need to use the facilities, because I heard walking in the boys' bathroom directly overhead. I won't lie. Usually this stuff doesn't faze me. But I was shakin' a little in my Crocs.

I went to bed around 3:30. Didn't notice anything unusual upstairs. I slept a little later than I'd planned this morning. I'd wanted to leave home by 9:30 to do the Walmart shopping. I didn't get away until almost 10:30. Hick had sent me a text. I had to check my internet usage, which can only be done on Shiba, my laptop. While I was logged on, I noticed that Bing had a picture The Pony would appreciate. He writes science fiction, you know. And I often tip him off to an inspirational photo. I won't put the picture here, because I am generally not a copyright infringer, but the link is here. It's the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea. Very futuristic. I didn't have time to send it to The Pony, since I was trying to get out of the house and get to Walmart without more delays.

When I got down to the county road by EmBee, I saw that the creek was way up, so I turned left instead of right, to take a little detour of a couple miles by the auto body guy, and miss the low water bridge that always overflows.

Since it was my Walmart day, I stopped by the cemetery for my weekly talk with Mom. I put the radio on Sirius XM Prime Country for her. George Strait was singing a song I didn't know. I told Mom about Sunday's trip to the casino with Genius. And how Hick had seen the ladybugs in the BARn, and The Pony had seen a ladybug in the Student Union. That reminded me about the Bing picture. So I picked up my phone to text him. As I swiped the screen to get into the texting thingie, I heard a familiar intro on the radio.

Holes in the Floor of Heaven. By Steve Wariner.

This is the FIFTH TIME I have had this song start playing in some association with my mom and The Pony. It shook me up. I used to think I was just stringing together these associations, making connections that weren't really related, because I have a hard time letting go of Mom. Like when people look at shadows or a pattern in wood grain, and see a face. Human brains are wired to make sense of stuff like that. But this is one too many coincidences for me!

I know that Mom does not control the playlist for Prime Country. That it's probably planned out months in advance. But like the flap of a butterfly's wings in New Mexico might lead to conditions that cause a hurricane in China (if you believe in the Chaos Theory)...something put me in the cemetery at that time, with the radio playing on that station, starting a text to The Pony, at the moment that song started to play. I had frittered away my time with conscious and unconscious decisions that put me in that moment. Sheryl Crow might as well have hopped into T-Hoe's back seat, trying to out-sing Steve Wariner's "...watchin' over you and me" with "...every road has led us here today" from Diamond Road.

Just as I was getting ready to groove with Mr. Wariner, those two men who have interrupted my graveside chat on three out of my last four attempts came chugging up from a side road on a 4-wheeler pulling a cart. All I had managed of The Pony's text was: "Bing is futuristic today!" I left then. My Mom conversations are not a spectator event. I drove the mile to Walmart. Parked. Finished my text to The Pony.

"Stopped by the cemetery to talk to Grandma. Those darn men interrupted me again. As I scrolled my phone to text you, you know what song came on, right?"

"Holes in the floor of heaven?"

Yeah. I think The Pony and I both get the message.

I'd apologize for making you all amble down this rabbit trail with me today. But let's face it. You were probably meant to. And you most likely needed this exercise. Not in the physical sense.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

We're Not in Capistrano Any More, and Those Aren't Swallows

Last week, I mentioned how I was concerned about not seeing any ladybugs, fake or real, in person or on TV or a billboard, on our recent trip to Oklahoma to visit The Pony. To us, ladybugs remind us of my mom, since she had a drop-ceiling full of them in her family room, and we teased her about refusing to exterminate them, choosing instead to vacuum them and turn them loose outside. Shortly after Mom died two years ago, at the beginning of February, we had a string of coincidences with ladybugs in our house and car.

I ALWAYS see a ladybug, or multiple ladybugs, when we go visit The Pony. But not this time. I got to hear my Mom-song on the radio, though, right after I dialed The Pony, and was waiting for him to pick up. That was the next best thing. I still haven't seen any ladybugs. I guess I'm not the one who needs them.

On Tuesday, The Pony saw a ladybug in a study lounge at the Student Union. "I didn't notice it. Another kid pointed it out to me. It was on the back of a couch. He told me to look, because he was afraid of it. I told him they're nothing to be afraid of. We were going to catch it and let it go outside, but before we could, the ladybug flew over to the wall, and crawled under it."

I guess Mom is moving in at the OU Student Union, to keep her eye on The Pony as the semester winds down. Actually, she must be pretty busy, trying to be in multiple places this week.

Hick went to the BARn Friday to put away some Goodwill items he bought. He was headed up to the loft area, where he has his Coca Cola collection, and his bar full of memoraBEERia, when he saw THIS on the landing, where the steps turn back on themselves. It's a little gathering of ladybugs. Perhaps (for security purposes) I have not advertised the fact that Hick was leaving Saturday on a spy mission work trip to Sweden.

Looks like Mom was telling Hick "Bon voyage!" Or wishing him a safe return.

Or maybe...she was drinking a toast to Hick's trip, saying, "Good riddance!"

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Follow-Up Report on Hick's Wrong-Again-ness

I do believe this VALidates Val's concerns over A-Cad's tire pressure. It's our monthly OnStar report that popped up in my inbox on Saturday, March 18th. I was too busy with Casinopalooza to let you in on this development back then. Looks like OnStar never heard of tires heating up to the proper pressure, but rather expects them to be inflated to the proper pressure, and then heat up to whatever tires heat up to.


Val high-fives herself in vindication.

Notice that OnStar makes no mention of the ambient temperature. Let the record show that temps were in the 50s/60s/70s when Hick's argument was in effect. And that we do not routinely get these OnStar tire warnings every month for December/January/February/March, when temperatures sometimes drop into the teens at night, and tires suck in their breath.

Maintenance Due

Remaining Oil Life: 17%
Mileage: 11,095
Based on oil life and mileage readings, next required maintenance will be due soon.

Please see dealer section below to schedule a service visit soon.

  View maintenance summary

Odometer-Based Maintenance Items

Based on your current mileage, no items on the additional maintenance list are due at this time.
Tire Pressure: Low (Add Air)
One or more tires are low and need air. Inflate them to the recommended tire pressure listed below as soon as possible.
Properly inflated tires can improve your fuel economy, vehicle performance, and tire life.
Recommended tire pressure - Front: 35 psi,
Rear: 35 psi
Left Front:
Low, 29 psi
Left Rear:
Low, 30 psi
Right Front:
Low, 29 psi
Right Rear:
Low, 27 psi

Friday, March 24, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #53 " 'Ho-Girl's Vegas Vacation"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. This week, I bring you the tale of a country bumpkin who hits the road to Vegas to seek her fortune. Will she fry her liver with free drinks, bet the farm she doesn't own, become the headliner of a musical revue, or turn into a do-gooder who sews blouses for those poor girls who've lost their shirts? I wager you'll want to try your odds on this week's fake book. Can't read if you don't pay! Fake-order your fake copy today.

'Ho-Girl's Vegas Vacation

Nevada Georgia Virginia Idaho is ready to make a new start. She leaves Beaver Toe, Arkansas, to the taunts of her former high school classmates, sprawled across the park bench in front of Woolworth's Five and Dime. "I da HO! I da HO! Make sure you tell them high rollers your name when you get there, gal!"

Nevada thumbs several rides without difficulty. A Kenworth pullin' logs, a cab-over Pete with a reefer on, a Jimmy haulin' hogs, and 11 long-haired Friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus. She's as happy as a pig in crap when she sees that the town of Las Vegas has erected (hee hee, that makes her giggle) a special sign to welcome her.

Will Nevada realize her dream of becoming a showgirl like she saw in Showgirls? Or will she become an actress to rival the talents of Elizabeth Berkley? (146 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Cher..."This fake book gave me a headache! I need a bottle of Dr. Good. I know gypsies, tramps, and thieves, Thevictorian. And let me tell you, none of 'em are gonna lay their money down for THIS fake book!" 

Tom Jones..."She's got no style, she's got no grace, she's no lady! Talkin' about Thevictorian. And Thevictorian is no author! Whoa whoa whoa, she's no author!"

Phyllis Diller..."I love this fake book. I keep it on my nightstand. Just the other night, I used it to knock Fang unconscious."

Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford..."Thevictorian, you big dummy! You ain't no writer! This fake book is a real piece of junk. Yet surprisingly, it's worth NOTHING! You hear that, Elizabeth? This ain't the big one, honey!"

Totie Fields..."I've been fake-reading this fake book for two hours, and all I've gained is the knowledge that I lost two hours. Thevictorian, as a fake author, doesn't have a fake leg to stand on."

Milton Berle..."Thevictorian will never be as big as me. She just can't measure up. I'm known as HUGE in the business, and she's not even known. I'm pretty sure it's going to stay that way."

Charo..."Cuchi, cuchi!"

David Copperfield..."Making the Statue of Liberty disappear was a snap compared to trying to make Thevictorian's fake book sell. The only way she's going to see any dividends is if we cut her in half with a laser."

Penn and Teller..."A review of Val Thevictorian's fake book? I'll let Teller speak for us on this one. Teller?"


Phil Hellmuth..."If this book was a poker hand, I would fold! No bluffing about it! I don't think Thevictorian is playing with a full deck."

Liberace..."Trying to read this fake book was like trying to play a piano with 87 keys. It can be done, but the result is less than satisfying. Thevictorian is a Plain Jane in the fake-writing world. She seems to be a bit unsophisticated, like her main character. I'm as sure about that as I am about the fact that I'm a confirmed bachelor."

The Rat Pack..."You're tellin' US! She thought WE were something for a lab critter to carry its college books in! We won't say she's unsophisticated, but this girl thinks a turn-down service is an agency that politely declines dates for her. Okay. We WILL say she's unsophisticated. And a terrible fake author."

Milton Berle..."Me again. Talk about embarrassing! Thevictorian asked ME if I was just glad to see her, or if I had a roll of quarters in my pocket. QUARTERS! Can you believe that? It's silver dollars, baby! More than you'll ever get peddling your fake book. And there's nothing fake about my...er...roll of silver dollars!" 

Siegfried and Roy..."We don't mean to rip on Thevictorian, but we ain't a-lion when we say this book tore us apart. She hasn't got a tiger by the tail, that's plain to see, nor one in her fake-writing tank. We are shocked that this fake author hasn't been mauled by the other reviewers. Oh, wait..."

Kenny Rogers..."You never read your fake book when it's written by Thevictorian! That gal really needs to learn when to fold 'em. As in, the pages she has written, and then stuff them in the paper shredder. This fake author is a loser, or my face isn't Kenny Rogers!"

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Perhaps I Am Really Val Thief-ictorian

We had a good time at the escape room in Norman. It’s called Cracked. They have a website. There are four different rooms. The Pony picked the one called Heist. I had thought of the one (can’t remember its name) about students trying to escape from detention. Anyhoo…this one was like an art museum, and you had to get codes off the backs of the paintings before your hour ran out. Well, we got royally cheated! Not just because we’re stupid. We know we’re stupid.

The first painting had a description on the wall next to it that it was an interactive painting, but people over the years had take parts off of it. Let the record show that when we went into the room, and the guy was giving us instructions about not destroying anything, or putting holes in the wall…I noticed a black duffel bag under a row of three chairs against the wall. I was pretty sure it was something to do with the challenge, but I didn’t mention it. The guy left, and we had 60 minutes to find the codes and put them into a tablet or notebook or some electronic happy sunshine garget (exact wording advertising a cell phone that Genius wanted me to buy him off the internet from China when he was in 6th grade) mounted on the wall. That right there would have been enough to keep me in the room for eternity. But The Pony knew how to work that newfangled contraption.

The first painting had two wooden knobs on it as the centers of flowers. They were the same shape as the plastic knobs Hick put two of on our microwave to replace the handle that broke off. Knobs. You know what to do with knobs. You pull on them. That’s what I did, but The Pony and Hick said not to break the painting. We’d been warned about that. So I tried to twist them. They didn’t. I saw that the painting was screwed into the frame, but the top right screw was missing. So I tried to pull that corner to see if the whole thing would pop out. “Don’t! You’ll break it!” Again, my minimum-wage-worker-fearing companions cautioned me not to pull on that painting. We tried all combinations of the petal numbers and flower numbers and how many colors and the date of the painting. Nothing. We did the one clue they gave us on the garget. It said everything we needed was in the room. Duh.

After a while, Hick said, “This is bull. I’m asking for another clue.” The guy had said we could, just open the door. He said everything we needed was in that black dufflel bag. So we got that out and there was a black box (locked) that said something about safety. Well! I pointed out that there was one of 20 small pictures on shelves on the wall that was titled Safety whatever-it-was, and Hick put in the date on that picture as the combination for the black box, and it worked! Inside were knobs for the other six flower centers. The Pony put them on. They were magnets. He could move them and hear something behind the painting. I thought maybe you could use those magnets to drag the code or something across the back of the painting to the open corner and take it out. We tried and tried. Hick started saying, “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen! We don’t have any time left, and we haven’t even got the first one done. Pony, go ask for another clue.” The Pony didn’t want to, but he did.

Here’s where we got cheated! The guy came in and asked how far we were, and what we thought, and we told him about trying to get what was behind that painting, and he said this is what you needed to do, and GRABBED THOSE TWO KNOBS AND PULLED ON THE PAINTING JUST LIKE I HAD DONE IN THE BEGINNING! Nothing happened. He shook it. He jiggled it. He twisted it. Finally, he yanked really hard, and that painting came off. SERIOUSLY! He had told us not to break things, and this didn’t even work unless you forced it. I call shenanigans! He could have at least given us some time back. There was nobody else there, and the room had not been booked after us.

Anyhoo…we moved on to the next painting. Now this one was really hard, and I don’t think we would have gotten it, even with our stolen time. There was a big painting with symbols on it. The clue said something about BLUE, and some symbols were in blue. Things like equations. Like n - @ , and p - *. The Pony turned those 20 small pictures around and saw that there were symbols written on the back of them with white-out. We tried to look at where they were on a keyboard, because that’s what the "Safety" picture was of. Of course that didn’t get us anything. I thought that we should use only the symbols that also had a corresponding number on a keyboard, and those would be our code number. Nope.

After asking for a clue from the guy, because all the tablet told us was something about symbols, he said the order was important. Well. We’d moved them from their original positions. But I don’t think it mattered, because Hick and The Pony put them in order by the year on them.

And then our time ran out!

The guy came in and showed us that once in year order, we only had to look at the LETTER from the equations, not the symbols, and they would spell out in words our code number. Like seven twenty-three nine. Yeah. We’re pretty stupid. Maybe Genius being there could have helped us. Or maybe there would have been an actual murder in that room for a real crime. Hick was getting hot under the collar and The Pony was giving up. I was just glad I had a chair to sit in, even though Hick kept grunting at me indignantly when he was trying to put the pictures in date order. Even though there was plenty of room for him to reach over my head and put them on the shelf.

Now here’s where IRONY comes in. I am really learning what that means now, I think. We went to Golden Corral and ate lupper (late lunch, early supper) and then went back to our hotel and talked to The Pony for a while. As we were leaving to go by his apartments where he’ll live next year, and take him back to his dorm…he reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys.

“Oh. These are from that duffel bag at the Escape Room. They’ll probably want these back.”

Yep. The Pony had stolen the props from the Heist escape room! It’s on Campus Corner, so as we went past, Hick pulled into the parking lot and told The Pony to run them in while he turned around. The Pony got back in the car with a funny look.

“The door was locked. I guess he’s gone, even though their website says they’re open until 8:00. So I put the keys on top of the mailbox by the door.”

I guess that guy found them Monday morning. Or else I’ll be getting a bill. It’s not like they can’t solve that crime. We were the only ones in there that day.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fourth Time's a Charm?

On Sunday, Hick and I left Casinopalooza to head for Norman to visit The Pony. As usual on such a trip, I was excited to be heading toward him, forgetting that we would be leaving him behind in less than 24 hours.

Let the record show that I saw nary a ladybug on this trip. I ALWAYS see a ladybug when we go visit The Pony. But not this time. Not flying around me, not on a TV show, not on a picture texted me by The Pony when one lands on him, not on the big billboard going toward Norman. I don't know if I didn't look out at the right time, or if that billboard has been taken down or papered over. I saw not a single ladybug.


After we got A-Cad back on the highway after our final rest stop at a McDonald's about 45 minutes from Norman...Hick asked what we were going to do first after picking up The Pony. He had mentioned that he would like to go to an Escape Room. He's quirky like that, The Pony. Fun for him is being confined for an hour to see if he's smart enough to get loose. I picked up my phone to text him. He was probably just getting out of bed. Our ETA was 1:25 p.m. The Pony needs his beauty sleep.

"I'm just going to call him. I hate to text. It's even harder with your driving."

"I can't help the roads, Val. We're not on the turnpike. That's where all the money goes."

"Be quiet. I'm calling."

As I waited for the phone to start ringing, a new song came on the radio. Yep. A song I've heard before. "Holes in the Floor of Heaven." By Steve Wariner. The last 3 times I heard this 1998 golden oldie, there were circumstances involving my mom.


"Pony! Do you hear that song?"

"No...the radio isn't coming through very well."

"It's Holes in the Floor of Heaven. It just came on."

"Aww..." The Pony started singing it from memory.

I'd like to think that Mom was along for that part of the ride.