Friday, August 26, 2016

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #23 "On the Wingtips of Love"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. So stop pussy-footin' around and just do it!

On the Wingtips of Love

Seamus meets the perfect woman. In a personal ad! He polishes his car and calls for his dog, a heeler. A peach cobbler in the boot, Seamus drives roughshod toward town, mindful of a crash that could leave him hanging over a power line.

Seamus lives outside the box, a straight-laced, well-heeled fellow who speaks with a brogue. Hopefully, this gal will take a shine to him. What’ll she be wearing tonight? Flats, clogs, open-toed heels, mules, Chuck Taylors, or...dare he hope...boogie shoes? And if he toes the line, will she end up in only her slippers?

Across town, the old lady kicks off her Sunday shoes and dons Crocs. She's no longer footloose and fancy free, what with all these kids she doesn't know what to do with.

Will Seamus and his lady make a perfect pair? Or will he get the boot when she socks it to him? (150 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

The Good Feet Store…Get this fake book FREE with a real purchase of $1000 or more.” 

Odor Eaters”This fake book stinks to high heaven. And believe us, we KNOW odors!” 

A Summer Stock Troupe Performing "Swan Lake" in a Midwestern Dinner Theater…”This fake book is nowhere near en pointe. Thevictorian doesn't have an arabesque to stand on. We would like to jete' this fake book directly into the wastebasket. No matter how you pirouette it, this fake book is real merde.” 

Top-Siders…”Thevictorian could not get a grip on her subject matter. She is headed for rough seas, skidding down a slippery slope, with no hope for smooth sailing in her faux-literary future.” 

Boots…”We're made for walkin', and that's just what we'll do! Every day us boots are gonna walk into the loo...and flush this fake book. Until there are no more fake copies left."

Birkenstocks…”This author is not at all sensible, and she makes us uncomfortable."

Crocs…”Our attorney will be issuing a cease-and-desist order forthwith. We refuse to have our name dragged through the mud by this broken-down, so-called author. Even though our name would wash clean quite easily with a garden hose.” 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

He's Still Gonna Need a Line and a Babe Before He Makes it Down to the Crawdad Hole

In case you are tired of The Pony Farewell Tour (and smart enough not to voice your opinion here, or let Val get wind of it through scuttlebutt in a blog comments game of telephone) we will now go back to our regularly-scheduled program of Nit-Picking Hick.

Hick has moved that cat bed, which was really a shoeshine box, which he declared was a shelf, over to Shackytown. I'm not sure which shack received the honor of its company. But The Pony's Knife Shack was allowed to act as background for the outdoor photo.

As you might imagine, the item posing on top of the shoeshine box is going into Hick's Fishing Lair. You might recognize it as a cane fishing pole. Though Hick sent me two emails about it, and didn't call it that in either one. In the email with the picture, he merely said, "The can pole." The other email had two other pictures, with the message, "Today's spoils along with a Cain pole in the fishing shack"

We won't go into those other spoils here today, because I need some pertinent facts about them that I can't tell from the picture. But I WILL leave you with some texts from Hick himself that just came in as I was typing up his Cain can pole story.

"Val I am at the Doctor's for my shots and I am going to try to get a shot for my poison ivy got it all over"

"If it's not one thing it's another. Be careful if they give you Benadryl. It puts you to sleep. I had it for my ampicillin reaction. You can buy it over the counter in pill form. Stops the allergic reaction and swelling."

Let the record show that I was concerned that Hick might be driving after a shot of Benadryl. Apparently Hick thought I was being mean and denying him the standard of care, or trying to be cheap with his meds.

"I know. But I am getting my other shots and a shot works quicker than a pill"

"To put you to sleep on the way home, certainly!"

"No you will be surprised what my face looks like"

"Don't make me laugh before I even see it."

"We owe Buddy 240 for the two loads of rock I will pay him tomorrow night when you  give me the money"

"Wait. You said that was coming out of the rock money."

As you might imagine, I never got a response to that last one. What's the point of selling all the rocks off your land if you can't use the spoils to buy more rock to fix the roads? I guess I'll have to sweet-talk Hick while he's groggy from the Benadryl in order to get into the safe for the money I'm going to give him to pay for the rock.

There's more than one way to shoeshine a sleeping cat.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

From The Pony Who Brought You a JINE-a-cologist

The Pony has been having a blast at college.

Monday night he sent several texts about what a great first day he had. Supper was spaghetti and cake. When I asked if he was carb-loading, he said, "NO!" Even though yesterday he had french toast for breakfast, and nothing else until evening, which was chips, because he was waiting to have Papa John's pizza with a girl he met in class.

"Why didn't you have lunch?"

"Because you only got me 2 meals a week, Mother Dear." Let the record show that this is a dirty lie! Oops! He sent another text right away: "12!" Let the record further show that The Pony himself picked out that meal plan, which includes money on his card to be used in the restaurants in his dorm complex such as an all-you-can-eat Chick Fil A. And that 12 is the maximum number of meals per week offered on a meal plan.

Since he IS The Pony, and I AM Val Thevictorian, our text conversation turned to the Oxford comma. Yeah. Like you didn't spend time discussing that with YOUR freshman son the first day of college classes. I sent him a link with the following example:

The Pony, in turn, sent me a picture he had taken that day, with the following explanation: "My friend wondered why I laughed as she was helping two guys carry a box of books." Knowing The Pony, I would assume he was laughing because she was HELPING PEOPLE, and he, himself, was not. But you know what happens when we assume. Here's the picture of the box his friend was helping the guys carry:

"Where did they get that box?"

"I have no clue. lol"

" somebody's parent a JINE-a-cologist? Heh, heh!"


"Did you tell her, or did she read it?"

"Told her."

"I know better than to ask why YOU didn't help them carry it. That would be considered HELPING people. Something for which you have no affinity. You'd be more likely to find oil having intimate relations with water! Do you like my analogies?"

"Very nice."

Yes, I think The Pony might just make it on his own.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hello, Oklahoma Oil-Driller, Let Me Thank You For Your Time. You Work a 40-Hour Week for a Livin', To Move This Convoy on Down the Line

On our way back from Oklahoma, there wasn't much to see. That's because there's really not all that much IN Oklahoma. Though I'm sure people who live there would beg to differ. Funny how I rode with The Pony, chatting with him the whole 9.5 hour drive, not paying much attention to the landscape...and glanced out my window just in time to see that same billboard with the ladybug crawling on a guy's finger. The one I saw when we took The Pony to his orientation camp back in June. Quite the coincidence.

The trip back home was under overcast skies. While sitting at a stoplight (not sure why these are even necessary in Oklahoma) we saw a really, really long train of tanker cars. I managed to catch the tail-end of it.

That oil train was not nearly as creepy as the two convoys we saw farther across the state. If I was a conspiracy theorist (which Genius says I am, although I contend that I only READ ABOUT conspiracy theories) I might think something was afoot.

There was a convoy of more than 20 of these trucks in Oklahoma, before we got to Joplin. And another convoy of more than 20 between Springfield and Rolla. I know that Fort Leonard Wood is near Rolla. But I used to take classes at the fort for my Master's degree, and I'm not sure they have room for that many trucks.

You might think these are different pictures of the same truck. But you'd be wrong. One has a light on it. And different stuff on the back.

I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of the truck convoy in Oklahoma. I thought there was just one truck. Then another. But by the time we'd passed over 20 of them, I kind of wished I'd had my phone ready. These are from the Missouri convoy, though they were both just alike.

I wish I had taken a picture of every single truck. I know how fascinating you must find them! Alas, I only got these four. But they were almost never-ending. Like clowns getting out of a tiny car. Just when you thought you were seeing the last one, there was another! And another!

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might think these trucks were scarier than clowns. But I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I'm not even afraid of clowns.

In case you're not a country music fan, the title refers to this:

Monday, August 22, 2016

And Singin' Stranger Learned a Lesson 'Bout a-Messin' With the Wife of a Travelin' Man

Saturday morning, Hick had planned to leave Norman bright and early. We had a lot of road to put behind us. He set the alarm for 5:30, so I could get up first and take my thyroid med and shower, and then by the time he showered, an hour would have elapsed, and I could have breakfast. We would eat, and hit the road by 7:00.

I woke up at 5:20, and figured maybe we could even leave a few minutes earlier. You know. Because 10 minutes makes a big difference when you're driving 9.5 hours. Kind of like taking off your shoes before getting on the scale at the doctor's office.

We were downstairs in the lobby by 6:20. AND THERE WAS NO HOT BREAKFAST! Because, in his infinite wisdom, Hick assumed that when Hick is hungry, food will appear. Like people listening when E.F. Hutton talks. Or dead baseball players coming if you build it (baseball field in the corn). But it doesn't. Not on the free Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar on Saturday morning. Not until 7:00 a.m.!

Don't you worry about Val and Hick fortifying themselves before hitting the road. I had a pouch of Great Value Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal in my pocket. So I used one of their bowls, and drained some hot water from their spout, and used the cinnamon shaker sitting nearby. Then Hick grabbed me a boiled egg out of the cooler where the yogurt was kept, and I snagged a bagel from the clear case of muffins and and breadstuffs. A bagel staler than any bagel I had ever bitten into before. Like it was, perhaps, an original item from the 1600s. But it wasn't rock-hard. Just very chewy and dry, like it was made of that desiccant stuff in tiny envelopes in shoeboxes. I only ate half, after lubricating it with some cream cheese. A 50-cent-piece sized tub of plain, and another of strawberry. Unrefrigerated.

Hick went to the pancake maker. That's not a person. It's a machine. One that never works when The Pony is with us. He also had a boiled egg. And a cinnamon roll. And two glasses of orange juice. Not a proper diabetic diet, methinks. But who am I to judge? He called for his lab results today, and his A1C was 5.2. Which is, I think, good, because his doctor wanted it under 6.

Anyhoo...the breakfast staff was just on the other side of a swinging galley door, and we heard them mentioning that people were out there! That was us. The people. Every now and then they came out and fussed with the packaged goods on the counter. I was ever-hopeful that a pan of scrambled eggs was eminent. Until I made Hick go read the hours posted on a plastic plaque on the wall, and found out that breakfast really didn't start until 7:00.

So here it was, 6:40, and I chugged my second cup of water to dislodge that bagel residue from my throat, and I looked at Hick like, "Let's get going." He was finishing his last sip of orange juice. All we had to do was toss the plates, take the elevator upstairs, brush our teeth, and wheel out our already-waiting luggage. I figured we might get gone by 6:50.


Singin' Stranger felt the unavoidable pull of Val's weirdo magnet. We didn't know he was Singin' Stranger. Though in retrospect, he had the bowlegged walk of a backup musician circa Hee Haw's height of popularity. He came strolling across the lobby, making a beeline for our table. We were, after all, the only other people in that room. I could see him with the eyes in the back of my head.

Now if there's one thing Val knows about weirdos, it's DO NOT ENGAGE. Much like when a middle-schooler tries to pitch a fit over some imagined slight, you do not feed the fire. You go about your business and let the embers smolder until they go out. I kept my eyes down on my plate. Put the knife and spoon and bowl on my plate. Stacked my empty plastic cups. But Hick looked up and was caught in the web. Even helped wrap himself in the cocoon for later devouring.

Seems this Singin' Stranger had once lived in Missoui. In Branson. Worked in shows. Performed with his brother. Of course Hick had worked with some woman whose brother inherited a lot of money and moved his own local country music show to Branson for several years until the money ran out. Oh, it's hard out there for a temp country singer. Singin' Stranger went into the hospitality field, but kept singing as he could. He was offered a contract in Nashville. But he said no, if you don't want my brother too, I'm not going. Freed him up for more time to stall couples finished with breakfast and about to hit the road back to Missouri, I guess.

I couldn't believe it! I kept checking my phone. Nodding absentmindedly. But HICK WAS STILL CONVERSING! (Note that Val did NOT say conversating!) At this rate, we'd never get out of there. I got up at 5:20 for nothing! I stood up from the table and threw away my plate. I came back and reached for Hick's plate. Tossed it in the trash. I started wandering past the back of the Singin' Stranger. Hick got the message. He stood up and slowly came after me, still conversing. I swear, Singin' Stranger followed us all the way to the elevator. And when we came down and started past the front desk, he tried to lure Hick in again!

"Did y'all get your bill under the door?"

"Um. No...but my wife took care of it. She paid with a credit card when she reserved it."

Singin' Stranger looked right at me. But I kept walking. Wouldn't meet his gaze. Didn't care what he said. "Yep. That's the best way. You know it's already done. You know your room is held for you--"

I went right on out those double doors. It was already 7:05. No way was I going to delay my journey home to  hear more about Singin' Stranger's glory days. I guess he's used to people being polite.

Heh, heh. He hadn't tangled with this ol' Val!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Once He Rose Above the Noise and Confusion, Sending Me a Glimpse From His Field of Vision

Oh, you're not about to get off this easy without more tales of The Pony Farewell Tour.

Let's skip to the day he moved into the dorm. That was Thursday, the date for all incoming freshmen. Hick rode over there with him to help unpack. The Pony's assigned move-in time was between 1:00 and 2:00. According to Hick, they were in the drop-off line until about 1:50. But still, all they had to do was get a number, let student workers take everything out of the car and put in a bin to take up to The Pony's 12th-floor room, then drive to a parking lot and ride a shuttle back to unpack.

The Pony sent me a text to say he was unpacked, and headed for a welcome activity. I asked for a picture of his room. And, being The Pony, here's what he sent me.

So...I thought maybe he sent this from the window by the elevator that's located at the end of his hall. And I saw that he also sent me this view:

Again, I assumed that was out the window by the elevator. He was excited when we took him down there for orientation camp, because he LOVES Papa John's Pizza, and the one near Backroads went out of business.

I sent back a text asking if that was taken from the hall, and he said no, his room. So I told him that when I asked for a picture of his room, I kind of meant the space he will be living in, so I can picture him there. That a picture of his room doesn't mean a picture take FROM his room. Then he sent me this:

By that, I could tell that The Pony made his bed all by himself. That's his desk there behind it. And what I assume is the door to the hall, and not the door to the bathroom. Since The Pony is a pretty good egg once you hit him over the head telling him exactly what you want...he also included this bonus pic:

I guess if he sits on the end of his bed, he can see Papa John's. All I know for sure is that for a while, every night when he lays his weary head to rest, I will cry some more.

I really miss that not-caring-about-helping-people little guy.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

This Makes It Hard for a Lady to Reveal Nothing

Maybe it's just me, but when I use a public restroom, I prefer a little privacy.

Some places have those six-foot high solid doors that go all the way to the floor. I think it's our local Buffalo Wild Wings. Maybe they're set up for clandestine trysts. And there might be some random casino with them (because people need a lot of privacy to count their winnings), or a country music show in Branson (because nothing says white trash like an over-the-top bathroom stall).


THIS is not a door that makes me feel secure! It was in the restroom just off the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express. We won't go into why I was in the public bathroom when I'm paying a fortune for a room there. Try to focus. This picture was taken from INSIDE the stall. And I can see right out! Sure, I know the slats make it easy to see one way, but not the other. But let me tell you, if an obnoxious child, or a perv came in and got down low to the ground (where obnoxious children and pervs like to hang out), they could see right into that stall!

Here's a view from outside:

Don't know what the purpose is for that kind of door. Saving wood? That's the only benefit I can think of. Nobody really wants to hear and smell what's going on in there, do they? Unless it is, perhaps, obnoxious children and pervs. There were only two stalls in there, and they were exactly the same.

Funny how the rest of the room looked normal.

Yes, those vented doors are better than the swinging saloon half-doors that I saw somewhere. And better than no door at all. But that's the only positive thing I can say about them.