Friday, May 25, 2018

The Maiming of the Shaming Bracelet

You might recall that one of my Christmas gifts from Genius was a Fitbit type of wrist monitor gadget (made by Garmin, of course) that counts my steps and distance walked every day. It beeps if I'm not on track to meet my daily goal, so I refer to it as the Shaming Bracelet. Still, I strap that judgmental finger-pointer on my arm every morning, and wear it until I go to bed.

Several times, the Shaming Bracelet has tried to abandon Val, throwing itself down 5 of the 13 basement stairs, dashing itself to the floor mat of T-Hoe, and on Wednesday, diving to the hardwood floor of my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel's country palace. I was lucky to find my fitness friend each time, and re-apply him to my wrist.

Last night, I made a horrific discovery.


I take full responsibility. At least once a day, my Shaming Bracelet catches on something. Perhaps the loops of the plastic Walmart bags I used to carry two bubba cups full of ice, and one 44 oz Diet Coke down to my dark basement lair. Or tangled in the tatters of my favorite old shredded baby blue sweatshirt that I toss on to ward off the chill of the air conditioner. So perhaps this prong has been compromised daily for the past five months.

That's how it latches. Two opposing prongs slip into notches on the band. Then you turn a dial that holds them in place.

This morning (barely) around 11:50 a.m., I bemoaned the loss of my Shaming Bracelet to Hick. He was kicked back in the La-Z-Boy waiting on his tighty-whities to finish drying (the LAUNDRY, people, he didn't have an accident), and I was on the short couch, prolonging my trip to town.

"I'll have to tell Genius. Maybe there's a way to fix it. I've been putting it in my shirt pocket, but I don't think that counts all my steps."

"Can't you just tape it?"

"That would look stupid! But I guess I could."

See? That's the problem. I sometimes listen to Hick. I went to the living room closet and found six rolls of tape in disposable dispensers left over from Christmas that we'll be looking for come Christmas. I took one and (after scraping my finger on the serrated plastic edge) tore off a little piece of tape. Do you know how hard it is to try and slide a piece of clear tape between your wrist and your Shaming Bracelet without it bending or sticking? With no offer of help from you Sweet Baboo who came up with the idea, only inches away?

I finally got the tape under the band of my Shaming Bracelet, wrapped it around, and stuck it to itself.


"Hey! How am I supposed to get this off tonight?"

"Haha! I guess you'll have to cut it."

"The scissors won't fit between the tape and the band!"

"Well, I guess you'll have to use a sharp knife."

"I don't think we have a knife THAT sharp in this house."

"Sure we do. There's a couple. I have a pocket knife--"

"I am NOT letting you near my wrist with a sharp knife!"

Let the record show, people, that I have NOT been feeling depressed. If something happens to me involving a slashed wrist, Hick needs to be interrogated six ways to Sunday while hooked up to a polygraph. I'm pretty sure he's trying to kill me, you know.

I sent Genius a picture. Even though he was working, and I was stealing Garmin's time. I felt entitled. It was THEIR Shaming Bracelet. Which Genius had told me was virtually indestructible.

"How ratchet is THIS?"

"How'd you break it!"

"My Shaming Bracelet is maimed! One of the prongs broke off the fastener. It has gotten caught on things. Dad said to tape it, but now I'll have to risk cutting my wrist to get it off! Do they have replacement fastener thingies I could pop in?"

"I'll have to look."

By bedtime, that tape had loosened a bit. So I was able to escape without spilling any blood.

Until Genius finds a solution, I suppose I can tape it on every morning, and cut it off every night. At least I didn't let Hick tape in on. He'd probably use gray duct tape, at tourniquet tightness. Or loop it around my neck for good measure.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Unit 19 Was a Keeper

I have been revealing items Hick found in his latest storage unit acquisition. He doesn't even know everything he got yet. He and his son The Veteran each paid $50 for it, and hauled everything to Hick's Freight Container Garage. The guy who runs the storage unit facility had called Hick to offer it to him, and let him look inside. I'm not sure how they came up with the selling price, but Hick partnered with The Veteran because he needed the manpower to move everything in two days.

Hick was at a funeral on Monday for an old classmate. Went out to lunch with still-kickin' classmates after. So he was not around to help The Veteran and his wife clean out some of the junk, like unsellable clothes. Though Hick said he, himself, would have donated them to the local church thrift store. Too bad, so sad, because The Veteran cast them outside, and they got drenched in the rain.

One item they DID know about was a grandfather clock.

I think it's kind of attractive. It's a Daniel Dakota brand, the least valuable of the three big grandfather clock companies. They're sold at Walmart and other chains. Hick says this one is solid wood, not veneer. I think that design on the face is called a Blue Moon pattern. I haven't found any grandfathers just like this one as I've perused internet clocks. That little burst pattern up top, and the design at the bottom add appeal. Hick has listed this noble chronometer for $160.

Sadly, this picture was taken by Hick over in his Freight Container Garage, where the guys have piled all that stuff willy-nilly. So much for building an expensive, unnecessary garage with an also expensive car lift thingy in it. I knew it would never be used as a garage.

You might notice, on the left side of the clock, the ProForm 390E elliptical machine. I saw a new one for $359. Hick went to his Storage Unit Store yesterday morning at 9:00 to meet a lady who wanted this elliptical machine, which he had listed on the local Buy/Sell/Trade. She paid $60 for it. Said that she pays $50 a month for a gym membership, and now she can exercise at home with her own elliptical. She lives in a more remote area even than Backroads. So she'll probably save a pretty penny on gas to get to the gym, too.

That's our Hick. Improving people's lives one piece of junk at a time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Patrons, Don't Let Your Paintings Grow Old Locked in Storage

Okay, all you fine-art aficionados, here are the other masterpieces that Hick found in his newest storage unit acquisition.

You might remember Hick's penchant for taking photos with a tiny subject in the center, and way too much surroundings surrounding it. I guess he did a little better this time, but apparently, he does not know that you can tap the screen on your phone and FOCUS on the important part. I had asked for another set of painting pictures, but the second batch was worse than the first, except maybe the horsie. Oh, and he included a new one that he'd not even mentioned. Here they are, with as much as I know about them.

This is a Thomas Kinkade, "A New Day Dawning." It looks to have been professionally framed. I think Walmart sells them. I've seen them listed between $15 and $225. I can't zoom in to read what's in the box or on that label, because Hick lacks focus.

This is a black velvet painting signed by the Mexican black-velvet-painter "Ortiz." Hick said it's labeled "Stallion." Or maybe that's just what he called it, though I'd think in Hick terminology it would be, "I've got me a horse." I think I saw it listed somewhere for $75, but I'm getting kind of foggy on my painting-search memory.

Hick says this one is signed "Alberta," but to me it looks more like Abberta. Or else the signer momentarily forgot how to spell their own name. I couldn't find anything like this one. Maybe it was painted by the previous owner of the storage unit.

I don't know anything about this one. No signature. Nothing. It's a river with nice lighting, and a shed being built or falling apart.

This one appeared for the first time today. I haven't had a chance to ask Hick anything about it. At first glance, I found it creepy, like a skull in a bathing suit. But when I zoomed in, I saw a woman. This also looks like a velvet painting.

As you might notice, Hick has spared no expense in his art gallery. Tasteful tubs support his priceless (currently) works of art. He'll know more next Tuesday, when he takes them to the city to be appraised.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hick Isn't Half the Five-Dollar Daughter That Val Was

Going through the swag of his latest storage unit acquisition, Hick found more money. Not a big jar of coins (from which I have already purchased over $40 in assorted denominations, for exact change to get my daily 44 oz Diet Coke), but paper money.

Okay. The Truth in Blogging Law requires me to reveal that Hick found a single bill. Technically, it was less than a single bill.

"Take this to the bank for me. They'll give you another one."

"I don't think so."

"Yeah they will."

"I thought you had to have more than half."

Because what a sweet deal THAT would be! Tearing all your bills in half and taking the pieces to assorted banks to double your money!

"I found it in the storage unit. It ain't gonna hurt to ask."

"Well. No. It won't hurt YOU. I'm the one asking. I bet they won't give me a five. This looks like less than half."

"If they do fine, and if not fine."

"Okay...I'm the one who'll look like a pauper."


Now what was THAT supposed to mean? That I wouldn't be the one? Or that I wouldn't look like a pauper? Because obviously, I was the person taking that scrap of scrip into the bank. And somebody with money to burn wouldn't be trying to get five dollars for something that should go in the wastebasket.

When I stepped up to the teller, she looked unsure.

"My husband found this in a storage unit, and said you'd give me a new one for it. I told him I didn't think so." Just to show her, you know, that I wasn't a beggar, jonesin' for a fiver to buy a scratcher, or HEROIN.

She asked the teller working the drive-thru window. "Can we give a five for just a part of one?"

"It has to show all the numbers..."

Aha! I KNEW that the entire serial number was on there--

"...on both sides."

Well. So much for that.

I brought that scrap back home so Hick can keep it as a souvenir to remember his 19th storage unit.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Synchronicity Will NOT Be Denied!

In a case of blog literary art imitating Val's stagnant life...I bemoaned a lack of pennies from heaven last week. I had that blog post all written, had dotted every i, crossed every t, set it to publish automatically. And then of course I went to town on Saturday, and found a penny at 1:05, several hours before the grand reveal.

"Well, Val," you might say, "are you so gosh-darn lazy that you can't add a picture and a paragraph to that post?" No. No, I am not. The problem, you see, is that I did NOT get a picture. NOR the penny!

It was my last stop, at Orb K. I had parked in the farthest space, and surveyed both sides of the sidewalk, and the parking lot, on the way in. While waiting in the left line, I had scoped out the floor. Nothing. Not by the ice cream cooler, not up under the edge of the counter, not in my line or the one on the right. Nothing. Not even when I looked around the doors, and saw a 44 oz cup of what looked like water sitting on the ground. No pennies.

I traded in Hick's winning ticket (!) for $10, and joshed with the clerk, who had to scratch off the bar code because Hick is a rank amateur in the scratcher business. I got him two more tickets, and paid for some for myself. I picked them up and turned to leave, and SAW A PENNY glittering on the floor over at the next register.

MAN DOWN! That penny was the one we left behind, blogfriends, because there were too many witnesses to Val's crazy. Three customers in line. I'm not averse to making a fool of myself taking a picture and stooping to scoop up a penny if those line people are being me. But no, I will not walk over in front of a group to claim a floor penny. Same with the picture.

That penny was not there when I stepped up to make my transaction. Obviously, it had fallen while I was right there to find it. Yet I spurned the gift.

I thought about it on the way home. "Just let it go, Val. There'll be other pennies. You saw it. That's enough."

I passed Hick's Storage Unit Store, and saw that business was booming. Full parking lot. Good for him. The day was a little overcast, but 84 degrees. I love this time of year. Mid-May, when school lets out for the summer. The greenery bursting out all over. The smell in the air that makes me think of dreams for the summer ahead. Graduation at my old school was the next day. That made me think of The Pony's graduation, and my retirement, in 2016. Which led me to think how we were sad that my mom missed The Pony's own valedictory speech. That made me think about Mom's last visit with The Pony, in February 2015.

Yes, as T-Hoe chugged up the gravel hill that Hick and Buddy blacktopped over the bumps, I was reminiscing about Mom sitting in her own OPC (Old People Chair) at the nursing home during her rehab, with The Pony lounging on her bed texting, and informing her that he'd just sealed the deal on a prom date. His first ever date of any kind, actually. And we all rejoiced. I was happy that she was able to share that event.

A quarter mile later, I turned in the driveway, flipping stations on T-Hoe's radio. WAIT! It was that song, "Holes in the Floor of Heaven," by Steve Wariner. The song I always associate with my mom.

Sometimes, The Universe has to bonk Val over the head to show her that she's on the right path.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Could a HICK GALLERY Be On the Horizon?

Hick's building spree has been sidelined by his Storage Unit Store. Between selling there on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and going to auctions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays...he barely has time to lift a hammer any more. Hick's Shackytown has not zoned in any new structures for over a year. Maybe longer.

With his newest storage unit purchase, a 50-50 venture with his son The Veteran, Hick acquired some fine art. I showed you the painting of this Phone-A-Lisa last week (with an added brassiere, courtesy of Paint and Val), but here it is again. Just because, heh, heh.

Too bad our old blog buddy Stephen hung up his blogging hobby. He might have been able to advise Hick on hanging out a shingle for a Storage Unit Gallery of fine art such as this. Here's what Hick has discovered since sending out that picture to people who didn't really want it.

This painting, Hick says, is in the neighborhood of 12" x 18". Or maybe 18" x 24". You know how men are with measurements. It is oil on canvas, by Larry Vincent Garrison. Garrison was a former marine who became a portrait artist. He branched off from painting families to paint nudes. He has paintings hanging in Vegas casino lobbies, and galleries throughout the world. Garrison did most of his originals on masonite. The painting Hick found is an oil transfer on canvas. Whatever that means.

Here's the thing. The Veteran did some research, and found a Larry Vincent Garrison painting on eBay for $10,000. That's right. I said TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! Of course, that's just the listing. It hasn't sold for that. This got Hick and The Veteran all excited (more than just their excitement at viewing the painting). They know that they'll get nowhere near that amount for their naked lady. They're hoping to come out of it with a hundred dollars apiece.

Hick is going to take that naked lady to the city next week, to an auction house that holds walk-in appraisal days on the last Tuesday of the month. Hick hopes to sell it to the auction house outright if they give him an offer, or list it with them if the commission isn't too high. Because what is he going to do, really, with a painting of a naked lady? He's going to ask about the fair market value, and make his decision based on that.

He also found other paintings in that storage unit. I guess they're not as TITillating , because he hasn't sent me any pictures of them. He says he has a black stallion in a desert on velvet. No poker-playing dogs, as far as I know.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saved By the Mail, From Another Centsless Shutout

I was afraid I'd have to run a Hick story today (don't worry, I have plenty) due to a drought in pennies falling from heaven this week. However, at the last moment, I was SAVED by the mail.

Pardon my Paint skills. Seems I can draw a lacy bra on a nude portrait, but I can't fill an outline with the paint bucket. Even after TWO YouTube tutorials!

You might notice that even though The Universe dropped this sweet mailbox penny on Val, it gave a snide little laugh when making sure that penny was FACE DOWN!

The envelope might look a bit warped, but it's nothing compared to the Mother's Day card I received from The Pony.

No, I did not take a semester of private tutoring in Paint. I used the MARKER instead of the PAINT BUCKET, and painstakingly colored it in. Because I'm selfless like that, wanting to brighten up your reading experience with pictures. looks like either The Pony carried this around for a while to age it like fine cheese, or the post offices of Norman OK and Backroads MO were in cahoots to destroy Val's paper love before she could get it. This Mother's Day card arrived on Thursday. Let the record show that The Pony had warned me it would be late, even though he told a harping Hick that he was mailing it the Tuesday BEFORE Mother's Day.

I might have gotten it a little sooner, had my incompetent mailman lady put it in the actual mailbox to which it was addressed. Hick got a text from our across-the-road neighbor, the human mom of the killer poodle and crazy Rottweiler, that she'd gotten our mail in her box, and she would be putting it in ours the next day.

Don't that just beat all? The ONE DAY that I am late snooping through her mailbox to see if something of mine has been put in the day it's been put in there, but she picks up her mail before me! Dang! It's like I just patched a crack in my concrete steps, and then a guy goes walking by with a wheelbarrow of concrete...

Oh, and she also had the DISH bill that I'd been anticipating for days. Meaning that I finally got it on the 17th, with it being due by the 25th. In case you haven't been picking up what I've been laying down, mail travels in and out of Backroads at a pace slower than a lame Pony Express nag catching a ride on the back of a turtle.

Oops! Let's not forget the Future Pennyillionaire Fortune update:


For 2018: Penny # 39.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 8.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 2.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 117.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Dime # 14.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Nickel # 2.