Monday, April 20, 2015

Oops! He's Done It Again.

I would think our canine fleabags would be upset with Hick, since he has been usurping their cozy shelters of late. That man simply cannot stay out of the doghouse.

You'd think he might have learned by now. It's not for lack of Val telling him what to do. I suppose he simply has selective hearing. I know I've told him. I know YOU know I've told him. I daresay I could give you a quiz on the rules of Val's house, and you would all pass with flying colors. Except maybe Joe H, because he seems to be a contrarian sometimes. Not that there's anything wrong with that if you don't live in my house. I won't even call him that name his wife is so fond of.

Sunday was rainy and cool here in Backroads. I brewed up a cauldron of ham and beans. Don't think it was easy for me. I'm pretty much a warm-in-the-oven or heat-in-the-microwave cook. According to Hick. Uh huh. I know I am. But what is he? Yeah. I guess I told HIM if he ever figures out how to read my supersecret blog.

Great Northerns, they were. Using the second ham left over from Easter. A few plops of minced garlic, several generous splashes of Vlasic Mild Banana Pepper Rings juice, a sustained grinding of fresh black pepper, all simmered to a desirable thickness, served with a side of Jiffy Corn Muffins and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Yeah. I'm not getting my cooking show on the Food Network any time soon, am I?

Because I'm a bit of a gourmet, I prefer some sliced pepper rings in my bowl of cornbread/bean mush. Hick wanted only extra pepper juice, but said if I was slicing an onion, he would have some. So of course I sliced an onion. I left it on a plate on the kitchen counter for Hick to feed upon when he returned from his animal duties. We never have a sit-down meal. You never know when Hick is going to announce that he's off to Lowe's for some vital part for some gadget he broke.

Much later in the evening, near the stroke of midnight, I ascended the stairs from my dark basement lair. At the top, an odor struck me. I followed the near-invisible plume of scent, like in a cartoon featuring Pepe Le Pew, and arrived in the kitchen. All food had been cleared from the counter. I supposed that Hick had learned his lesson about not leaving onion slices there overnight. I reached for the door handle of Frig II to make sure that the bean pot was indeed stored away for leftovers.


Not the pot of beans. The onion smell. Whew! So strong. But I didn't see any onions. I shoved a few items around on the top shelf. And there it was. A baggie full of leftover sliced onions. Who does that? Why would you save sliced onions? They stink! And they lose their flavor. I don't think the price of one onion is going to send Thevictorians to the poorhouse. But if it does, I would totally get a kid like Oliver Twist to be the scapegoat and ask for more gruel.

I grabbed that offensive food bundle and took it out on the back porch and shook those onions out onto the ground below. Then I zipped the lock on that baggie and stuffed it down in the trash.

I know I have told Hick that we don't save sliced onions.

Of course, after a few hours in the bed beside Hick, I was wishing for that onion smell again.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Tale of Two Minis

Only last summer, I was lamenting to my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel about the quality of Blizzard that is dispensed at the Backroads Dairy Queen. What? You think we talk shop? Nope. We have actual lives. We don't live at school. Especially Mabel. Now.

My issue with the Blizzard was the consistency. Ice cream should not run faster than Usain Bolt. Mabel said the workers must turn that Blizzard upside down as they hand it to you. "The not-heaven, you say!" But Mabel insisted that was their policy. I did not think so. I had never seen a DQ worker turn a Blizzard upside down. That would have been pure folly, just asking for trouble, like turning a urine specimen bottle upside down. So I boycotted DQ for a while. Okay. You wouldn't actually call it boycotting, because I still went there to get chicken strips for The Pony. But I did not partake of their liquified frozen treats. Until Friday.

Val is a TV watcher, you know. And I could barely click a channel recently without seeing a DQ commercial promoting Blizzards, and declaring that the worker would turn your Blizzard upside down when handing it to you, or the next one was free! Part of me wanted to run out and get a Blizzard, just to see that ersatz ice cream plop out onto the pavement. Then I figured that our local franchise would have some excuse not to do the flip.

Every morning on the way to work, that DQ sign mocks us. The big sign out front by the stop light that advertises the Blizzard of the Month. It's impossible not to notice, especially after we finish counting the number of cars waiting in line at the window of the drive-thru liquor store. This month the Blizzard is Salted Caramel Truffle. So for 17 days, I'd been reading that sign. And on Friday afternoon, after picking up The Pony's corsage for his prom date, we stopped. The Pony is not an adventurous creature. He only wanted a shake. But I ordered the mini Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard.

Well. Taped to the drive-thru speaker was a page of 8" x 11" paper in a clear plastic sleeve with a list of limitations (in large font) that make the "next one free" offer null and void. Apparently, you can't have your next Blizzard free if you alter it in some way, like asking for chocolate ice cream in place of vanilla, or asking for different ingredients to be substituted, or ordering more than one Blizzard per car. Heh heh. Because everybody knows that chocolate ice cream weighs more than vanilla, of course. I was not so concerned with getting a future Blizzard free, because if one is runny enough to plop out of the cup, then why would I want another one? So I substituted my vanilla for chocolate, and pulled around.

The girl took my money and handed me The Pony's chocolate shake. Then she grabbed my mini Salted Caramel Truffle and FLIPPED IT OVER and back before handing it out the window! I was flabbergasted. I had violated the first rule of Blizzard Flip, and still that little gal flipped my Blizzard.

We pulled around to the parking lot and into a slot so I could eat my mini. "Look, Pony! It's actually frozen. Not soupy. And look at the side of the cup...frozen blobs of chocolate ice cream. I bet they put this in a blast chiller, like on Cutthroat Kitchen, while I was in line. No way that ice cream on the outside would freeze to the cardboard."

"Technically, Cutthroat Kitchen uses an anti griddle. I think it's Chopped that uses the blast chiller."

"Okay. Whatever. But the main thing is that they still turned my Blizzard upside down, and it was actually frozen, like ice cream!"

Since that experience worked out so well, I went back today, after taking The Pony to return his tux at 2:00. Let the record show that neither of us had lunch, and he wanted a chicken strip basket. Of course I got a Blizzard. Val does not live on Mystery PEEPS alone.

I ordered my Blizzard exactly like I did on Friday. The girl took my money and shoved my Blizzard out the window. No flipping. That thing was as thin as the vegetable beef soup served in the Backroads High cafeteria.

Of course I'll have to go back a third time to figure out what is the norm. It's scientific research.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Peepers Keepers!

Do you know what's more unpopular than Carrie at the prom?

These things:

It's true! I was in Walmart on Thursday, and they had a bin of these right by the door, in that seasonal stuff that won't sell, that they're trying to push at a deep discount just to get it out of the store. Of course I bought some! There were ten packages, and I took four. That's because I LOVE PEEPS!

"But Val," you say. "How do you know you love THESE PEEPS, when you don't even know what flavor they are?" Flavor? Who cares what flavor? Not Val. They're PEEPS, by cracky! I thought I'd seen the end of them until at least Halloween. You know. When Walmart starts putting out their Christmas stuff.

Last night I ripped open a package and sampled them. I think I showed amazing restraint, actually, what with buying them before noon on Thursday, and waiting until Friday night during Amazing Race to open them. Now, as for the flavor...I'm not sure. They smelled really familiar. I took a whiff, and said to myself, "Oh. I know what that is." But my nose and tongue couldn't quite put their finger on it. I'm pretty sure it was either sour green apple, or angel food cake.

Anyhoo...I've got me some PEEPS. Doesn't matter if they're two weeks past their official holiday. Doesn't matter if they were cooling their beady eyes in a bargain bin. Doesn't matter that they're almost as pale as Sissy Spacek.

Even Carrie got a date for the prom.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Out of the Hands of Babes

Yesterday I had to miss work for some lab tests before my doctor’s appointment next week. That’s what 95 sick days are for. I get 10 more next year, but the catch is, I can’t accumulate more than 100. So it’s use ‘em or lose ‘em, and they’re part of my contract, so…I no longer try to go all day without eating or drinking so I can provide my blood sample after a full day of work.

The bloodletting was fairly uneventful, except that the phlebotomist must have had a fight with her husband before work, because she was not the most congenial of phlebotomists. Oh, she was technically proficient, but though her mouth said, “Have a nice day,” her eyes did not.

From there I headed to do the weekly shopping, because I will be without my helper Pony on Saturday due to a scholar bowl tournament and prom, and he will be one tired little Pony on Sunday. After shopping it was back home to spend 20 minutes carrying stuff in and putting it away. Then I had to do the dishes, grab some lunch, and head back to town to meet my sister the ex-mayor’s wife at two financial establishments to hash out our inheritance. Sometimes, a day at work is more relaxing than a day off.

Sis had her grandbaby along for the meetings. Babes is 15 months old now, a blonde cherub with a jolly good nature who is into everything. She was quite well-behaved for someone so sorely lacking in social skills. It was at Edward D. Jones that the incident occurred.

It was nearing naptime, and our little energizer bunny was slowing down. She sat on Sis’s knee, content to pound the table and important papers with a free ink pen that she had not yet thought to click open. After 10 minutes, Babes reached her arms plaintively toward me. I was flattered, not being around her much, and her at the age where the appearance of the Edward D Jones man around the corner had sent her scurrying behind Sis, with a look of apprehension clouding her blue-eyed countenance. Flattered, until Sis told Ed, “She does that all the time. Walmart…Schnucks…you name it. She walks away from me and reaches up for complete strangers to hold her.” Ahem.

So I put Babes on my knee. She was very good. She surveyed my area of the long conference table to see what items might be molested. I pushed my pen out of reach, and pulled my keys out of my purse. I have one with a red plastic guard around it that lights up when you push a black button. Babes was entranced. She played with it a good long time, trying to figure out where the light was coming from, and sorting through the various lengths and colors of keys, and turning the clicker over to inspect it. I had to sign some papers, so I passed her back to Sis.

“Oh, you don’t want to let her play with your keys! I did that a couple weeks ago at the credit union. Babes was laughing and pushing them back and for under the glass partition with the lady who was friends with Mom. We heard a beeper going off outside. I said, ‘Oh, sounds like an alarm is going off.’ When we went out, I found out it was my car alarm!”

“That clicker doesn’t even work for me. The battery is low. I keep meaning to switch it out with the one on Hick’s key. He only uses it when he takes my car to get perfectly good tires fixed. I have to push it a bunch of times to lock or unlock the car.”

We got our instructions on what to expect as the assets were divided. Ed told us he could only put our names on the accounts until after Mom’s assets were assigned to us. He said we could, however, put someone else on the account to transfer on death, in case anything happened in the meantime. I started giving Ed Hick’s information.

“Wait a minute! You mean you’re not putting ME on there?” asked Sis. She was joking. I think.

“No. Because what’s to stop you from backing over me as we leave this office?”

“Oh, come on. I’m not THAT bad a driver.”

“I never said it would be an accident. Maybe you’re a really GOOD driver.”

Sis signed her papers. Let the record show that she did not put me on her account to transfer on death.

We wrapped up our paperwork and headed out. As I started to open the glass-paneled door, I saw it.


Right there on Main Street. Where cars had been passing within inches for the last hour.

“Oh no!” Sis, with Babes on her hip, started emitting great belly-laughs. “I TOLD you not to let her play with your keys!”

“I can’t believe it. I can never get the back hatch to open with that thing. Every now and then The Pony can make it work. What is Babes, some kind of evil genius? Her powers are extraordinary!”

“Was there anything in it?”

“Just my coat. Three umbrellas. A long ice scraper. A box with some books.”

“It looks like it’s all here. Close it.”

“I can’t get this clicker to work.”

“Isn’t there a button inside? Ours has a button.”

“Right there. On the hatch.”

“It’s not working.”

“WHAT? Now I can’t get my hatch closed?” I, too, tried the button on the hatch. Nope.

“Here. Just close it manually.” Sis slammed down the hatch. A puff of dust swirled up around her head as it latched. “NO! Your car is SO dirty!”

“Heh, heh. It IS kind of dirty. I live on a gravel road, you know. At least you got it closed. I was afraid Babes had really broken my car.”

“Look at you! You probably hit something before you went in, and opened your hatch, and now you want to blame this sweet baby! Ha ha ha ha ha!”

“Yeah, right.”

Sometimes Sis can be slightly amusing.

The scene, and the crime:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Family Tuxter

Hey, blog buddies, do you know what time it is?


Somebody around the old homestead is pretty excited. And it's not Hick and it's not Val. To say The Pony is looking forward to prom would be an understatement.

Is that the smile of a Pony who is simply looking forward to prom? No. Let the record show that The Pony is not one to exhibit great emotion. I'm surprised his feet are even touching the ground.

Lest you think I'm a really bad picture-taker...I AM! But not THAT bad. I had to crop The Pony's identity out of the photo. We're deep in the Blogger Protection Program, you know.

Here's another pic, showing his vest in all its coral glory. That's the color his date requested, as her dress contains a good deal of that hue. This photo was taken with The Pony's phone, so the tint is a bit different.

The tux workers rushed The Pony forthwith, and cinched his vest a mite tighter. He's a slender fellow. He reminds me of the banker in Monopoly in this photo.

So here's a little tale from the tuxedo rental shop, which is kind of like wedding and prom headquarters for this area. We arrived as one of The Pony's cronies was picking up his tux, and another was ordering a tux for next weekend for his girlfriend's school prom. There was another prom dude from a neighboring school district, and a kid trying on wedding party attire which included suspenders.

The Pony came out of the dressing room fairly quickly compared to his cohorts, only the wedding boy exiting faster, and he was not wearing a jacket, and said it was his fourth tux experience. The crony took so long that his mother called out to ask if he was okay. He was. The other dude held the record for longest try-on. In fact, The Pony was back in his cubicle getting dressed when Slow Dude finally came out for appraisal.

Slow Dude did not have family waiting. It was just Val, Crony, Crony's Mom, Crony's elementary-school sister, three tux shop gals, and Wedding Boy who witnessed his grand entrance. Slow Dude opened his louvered door and strode out like a king, thumbs hooked in the tiny pockets of his golden vest, WHICH HE HAD ON OVER HIS JACKET!

Yep. Slow Dude was wearing the vest over the jacket. I smiled. Crony did a double-take. Crony's Mom let out a giggle. Crony's Sister gaped in shock. The three tux gals ripped out big snorts of laughter. Wedding Boy said, "Dude."

"Oh, we don't mean to laugh at you! The vest goes UNDER the jacket." The tux shop gals are really nice.

"WHAT?" Yeah. Slow Dude could not believe it. He thought they were pulling his leg. "UNDER the jacket? WHY?"

When I asked The Pony if he heard what happened, he said he did not. After I explained, he commented, "Even I know THAT!"

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I Think I Understand How Those Cartoon People Walking Across Rocks in the Water Feel When the Rocks Walk Away Because They're Really Turtles

Last night I was draining The Pony’s rotini when I noticed something near my left elbow as I leaned on the kitchen sink. It just caught my eye, you know, how something not normally there will get your attention.

The sink is almond-colored, because when building the house, Hick somehow didn’t think I was serious when I said I wanted a stainless steel sink just like the one we put in my $17,000 house when we renovated the kitchen. The counter is burgundy. And on it, right beside the sink, mere centimeters from my left elbow, was a black olive.

Okay, it wasn’t a whole black olive, all oval and hollow and waiting to be put on the end of a child’s finger, or cut up to apply to a pizza. It was more of a sliver of black olive. “Hmm…” I thought. “When did I last eat black olives? I didn’t notice that one got away.” Let the record show that I usually buy my black olives already sliced, in a tiny can from Save A Lot, to put on super nachos. I had made super nachos on Saturday. So that was a long time for an olive sliver to sit on the counter beside the sink. Even in a household of Thevictorians. Besides, my black olives are sliced crossways, not longways. And this one was clearly long and oval, with pointy ends, not round with a hole in the middle.

As I was contemplating this rogue black olive sliver, and watching the boiling water drain from the yellow plastic colander, I sensed movement from the corner of my eye.


Yeah. How is that possible? Let me tell you how that’s possible. It was a bug! A BUG. A black bug walking across my burgundy kitchen counter. I grabbed a Puffs With Lotion and snatched up that critter forthwith. And…it didn’t even have the decency to crunchy! I’m not sure what type of bug that was. I had barely recovered from it being an olive. It was not your typical roach. It was narrower. And not crunch. Maybe it was some kind of fancy flying roach or beetle. But now it was a dead squashed bug of indeterminate origin.

Let the record show that Thevictorian household does not have a history of insect infestation. Sure, we have wasps on the porch every summer, and ants that come in under the kitchen door once a year, and an occasional millipede in the basement, and an odd field mouse here and there. But we do not have roaches. Or olive-slice-looking bugs. Where it came from I don’t know. It’s not even like it had an encrusted-silverware smorgasbord on which to feast. The only items on the counter were a sharp knife which had been used to slice an onion the night before, and a fork that had speared a dill pickle out of a new jar.

I don’t know where our visitor came from.
But I’m pretty sure Hick had something to do with it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Pony Is No Heidi

This morning The Pony had to be at school by 6:45. That's A.M., you know. So we had to leave 40 minutes early. It's not like we had to get up any earlier. But our schedule was disrupted.

I am normally the first one up. I take my thyroid medicine, because I only have a sliver of a thyroid left, you know, and I have to get my body systems in working order. That med says I should take it an hour before a meal. So I pack the lunches, take a shower, wake The Pony, and try to catch a quick chair nap before time to grab a packet of two mini sausage biscuits and take my other two meds. That's the routine.

This morning I had to find the tax receipts from the past two years so Hick could transfer the license on my mom's Trailblazer, since we bought out the half belonging to my sister the ex-mayor's wife. Then I had to write out a check for estimated taxes, because what with Genius being an RA this year, and still having his scholarships, the school is kind of paying him to attend, and the deadline for paying estimated taxes first quarter is April 15. Which is only one day away.

Then I had to scrounge up some spending money for The Pony, who was going with our school team to compete at the W.Y.S.E state finals which so happened to be held on the campus of Genius's college. (Unfortunately, they did not win any medals, but still, they qualified to compete at the state level). The Pony said the bus was leaving at 7:00, and that they might stop for breakfast and eat it on the bus if they had a drive who allowed it. For that reason, he declined my offer to drive him through Hardee's so he for sure had a stick-to-his-scrawny-ribs protein breakfast in case the plans fell through.

I had to grab my second-tier meds and take them on the drive, what with time being of the essence. So I heated my two mini sausage biscuits in the microwave with two drawer pulls for the handle, and wrapped them in a paper towel, and off we went. We had reached the county road when it was time to take those meds and eat my breakfast.

"You know, Pony, my sausage biscuits are now hard as rocks. It would have been nice to have a soft Hardee's biscuit."

"I never said YOU couldn't go through there. I just said I didn't want to."

"That's okay. I'll make do." I bit into one.


"What WAS that?"

"Just my sausage biscuit."

"You don't have to eat those."

"Oh, but I do. That, or take my meds on an empty stomach with only water sloshing around. That's not good." I took another bite.


"That's terrible. A biscuit should not sound like that."

"You're tellin' ME!"


"That might or might not have been a tooth."

"I can't believe you're eating those."

"I still have a whole one left to go. You're welcome to a bite if you'd like."

"No. I'll just sit back here, silently judging you."

"I think you need to review the definition of SILENTLY."

Let the record show that The Pony did NOT get to stop for breakfast, because four members of his team were fifteen minutes late. The Pony said that was okay, because one of the others had a box of Krispy Kreme donuts.

The trip takes about 80 minutes. I imagine they all hit a sugar crash at around the time they started the competition.

Let's see who can figure out that title!