Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's Hard Out Here For a 'Dict

This morning I stopped by Orb K to cash in $50 worth of scratch-off winners. I like to vary my ticket purchase venues, and I have pretty good luck at this store.

There was one clerk working. I stopped on the way to Walmart, because the parking lot wasn't very full. I don't like to make people wait while I do my gambling. Some of us addicts are like that.

I was the only one in line at that two-register counter. The clerk moved to the middle, behind the mini liquor bottle display case, to scan my winners. I stepped over by the other register to look at the scratch-off ticket display, which is like a poster board with a plastic front, leaning up against the counter from the floor. While I was standing there, right in front of the doing-business portion of that register, a man came in from outside. He boldly squeezed by my left shoulder, and


The clerk moved from behind the mini liquors to right in front of us, and said, "Oh, Henry, do you need another one?"

Henry (may or may not have been what she called him...Val is not good with names) shoved a bright green $20 ticket across the counter to her, and said, "Yeah."

W. T. F. ?

Since when did this become proper convenience store etiquette? I was clearly there before Henry. I was being waited on at the time. Yet he flagrantly jumped line, and the clerk served HIM ahead of me! What if that was a ticket I was going to buy? What if it was a grand prize winner? How fair is that? Would I have the right to sue for my rightful ticket? I'm sure they have surveillance video. Should I have raised a ruckus, in order to document the interaction?

Now don't you worry about Val. That is NOT the game she was planning to play. Still. How fair was that?

I won $60 off my cashed-in $50, and am not losing any sleep over the line-jumper. It's not all THAT hard out here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

There's a New Rogue in Town

Thevictorian family was in a bit of a pickle after The Pony beat the not-heaven out of his little Rogue. Here it was, Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, and The Pony needed a way to get back to OU on Sunday.

The Pony, an eternal optimist (or perhaps just naive) said cheerily (but who wouldn't, after just escaping the clutches of death), "Maybe we can find a really good deal on Black Friday!" Yes. Maybe. But having never had to do anything for himself concerning the purchase and title and insurance requirements of his previous vehicles, The Pony did not consider the logistics of buying a car on the day after Thanksgiving and having it ready to drive to Oklahoma at 6:00 a.m. Sunday.

I just wasn't seeing it. Though I didn't want to mention that to The Pony. After all, he had just cheated death. VAL wasn't going to be the one to bring him down.

Hick spent the whole night thinking about the situation. At least from around 8:30 when he got home, and 9:00 when he went to bed. The next morning, he had decided to let The Pony take the 2002 TrailBlazer that we inherited (paid off my sister the ex-mayor's wife for) from my mom.

"I could take him out there, but I have work on Monday. And I don't want him to be without a car. He can drive your mom's car, and HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) and I will go about halfway with him. I'll switch off driving so The Pony is rested when it's time for him to go the last 4 hours by himself. We can go look for a car, but I don't think we'll find one in a day. It's worth a try. They had four or five Rogues on the Whitepoor lot in town."

Thanksgiving afternoon, we went looking at cars, and saw several that would do. This lot never puts the prices on. Hick says they're really high. He's only had luck with them one time, and that's when he bought Genius's Ford Ranger.

Friday morning, Hick and The Pony left on their quest. The Pony was excited. As excited as he gets. These Rogues were 2012 and 2013 models, with AWD and back-up cameras. The one he wrecked was not AWD, and had no back-up camera

Hick sat down to talk to the salesman at Whitepoor Auto Sales, and was SHOCKED that he was asking $5000 more than fair market value, according to our internet calculations.

"He was CRAZY! I told him no way was I going to pay that. That I don't know how they sell any cars there, they're so high. And he said, 'Well, we sell five or six cars a day.'"

"They probably do. I think they can charge that because they finance for people who can't get money anywhere else. Buyers pay more, because at least they can get a loan."

That doesn't help Thevictorians, who are cash buyers when it comes to used vehicles for their boys.

"We left. We've been to three other dealers, and they don't have what we need. I'm heading north to look in the city. The Pony saw some on his phone, and they're reasonable."

So...Hick and The Pony bought a car Friday. At $3000 off the sticker price on the lot. Which Hick had to remind the salesman, and The Pony had to get out his phone and show him what it was advertised for online. He honored that price. They drove home...are you ready for this...a 2013 Nissan Rogue.

Pretty much like The Pony's wrecked car, except red instead of black, with a back-up camera and AWD, and 39,000-something miles instead of 49,000-something.The Pony forgot to take a picture in the daylight, but we got one Saturday night after supper.

We will transfer the license when The Pony comes home for Christmas in three weeks. Shouldn't have to pay tax on it, because it's replacing the wrecked car. Insurance has been transferred. We're waiting on the insurance adjuster and the check.

Hick wanted to go by Whitepoor Auto Sales and flaunt the purchase paperwork to say, "I told you so."

The Pony and I discouraged him. No good can come of that.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Val Certainly Hopes No Other Idiots Out There Think You Can Get Parts to Fix Your Car at Auto Zone

Some days, Val is simply (simple being the active ingredient in this insult) too stupid to live, if you consult Hick on the subject. Which I don't know why you would. It's not like he runs a consulting service. He can barely open a pack of bologna for himself.

All last week, when he was on vacation from work, Hick had time to ridicule Val. Like when she worried that The Pony had left his clip-on sunglasses in his dorm room, and didn't have them for the drive back on Sunday. You may remember that it's about a 9 hour drive, depending on which route one takes through Oklahoma. For sure Hick should remember that, wouldn't you think? He's driven it more than anyone else.

Hick told The Pony they were leaving home at 6:00 a.m. Sunday. Fresh on the bent wheels of The Pony's accident, Hick wanted to alternate driving with him part way. So he was rested and could finish the final leg himself, in his replacement car. The plan was for HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) to drive along with them just across the Missouri border, then Hick would get out and ride back with HOS while The Pony continued on into Oklahoma.

Hick was having none of Val's concerns about The Pony searing his retinas while barreling into the sunset.

"Val. We're leaving here at 6:00 a.m. It's going to be dark. And even when the sun comes up, it will be BEHIND us!"

He chuckled and shook his head like Val was the equivalent of Poor Dumb Ann's even dumber brother, Cubby, who did not learn to walk down the porch steps until he was about 6 months old, and then chose to take a nap under Hick's truck and not get up when Hick started it to drive to town. Val was having none of Hick's condescension.

"Huh. When he's headed across Oklahoma to Norman, The Pony will be going WEST. That's straight into the setting sun."

"Val. He'll be getting there around 4:00 o'clock." Again with the smirk.

I'm not sure what time Hick thinks the sun starts dropping towards the horizon. I'm sure it's a little later in Oklahoma, but around here, the sun has set by 4:45, and comes in harshly on MY retinas by 4:00 as I'm driveway walking. Anyhoo...that's just one example. The real reason for today's post is to show you Hick's handiwork on T-Hoe's rear passenger window. And how he ridiculed me concerning his technique.

When we last convened, Hick and Val and The Pony and T-Hoe were sitting under a light in four parking spaces on the Menard's parking lot, with a weirdo pulling in beside them.

Hick had The Pony hold the glass up while he looked for something to stuff in the crack.

"Do we have anything in here to wedge in and hold this up?"

"Not that I know of."

"Oh, Dad. These oil containers in this Walmart sack between the seats? One of them is leaking. I moved it so I had room for my feet, and there was some on the funnel."

"Wait. That's probably just from the funnel. I screwed the lids back on tight. That's my Walmart funnel. When I put in two quarts on their parking lot. My Casey's funnel is at home in the garage."

"Okay. I just wanted Dad to know that it's leaking."

"I want Dad to find out WHY my oil is leaking. But he hasn't yet."

"Do we have anything in here or not?"

"Just that calendar that was on the seat. You can fold that up. My Pizza Hut coupon calendar."

Hick folded and stuffed and folded some more and stuffed some more. The glass still slid down when The Pony let go.

"I'll have to figure out something at home. I can't fix it here."

"I can just drive the Acadia tomorrow."

"How are you going to do that? We're taking that to Oklahoma."

"Oh. I thought you were taking your TrailBlazer. You were all willing to let The Pony take it back to school. It was good enough to get HIM there. And you're only going part way."

"Well, there's no reason to take that when we have the Acadia."

"Even if that leaves me with nothing to drive?"

"I'll find a way to hold the window up until I can get it fixed. I'll have to take the door apart. I imagine the cable broke. But I didn't hear the gear when I hit the button."

"Dad. Can't you just use cardboard and duct tape? Like on the Caravan? It lasted a LONG time."

"Do we have any tape in here? Look around, Pony."

"No. We don't have any."

So...we all buckled up and hit the highway, The Pony moving over to sit next to the window glass and hold it up. He said he didn't mind, because his phone was dead. So he didn't need his hands for anything anyway. After a couple of miles, Hick had an epiphany.

"Oh! I should have gone in Menard's for a door wedge to hold it up."

"Well, you can stop at Auto Zone on the way."


Yeah. I'm a regular idiot, it seems, to suggest that you go in Auto Zone to get parts to fix your car window. It seems that what you want to do is go in a lumber store and buy doorstop wooden wedges to use on your CAR WINDOWS! Uh huh. I'm surprised I've lived this long. At least I can open a package of bologna.

Hick was all wound up about needing to find something to fix that window TONIGHT! Because if it was down, the damn cats would be in it. So he decided he would get some of his already-bought wooden doorstop wedges from the BARn. He was going to park T-Hoe and walk over there, until I asked if I was supposed to sit out in the garage and swat cats until he got back. So he drove through our field and parked inches away from the BARn door and went in his people door and got the doorstop wedges and came out and started working on it right there in the light over the BARn door.

Here is Hick's handiwork Sunday morning:

Kind of hard to see there, with the bright reflection of my phone camera on a not-even-sunny day. So here's the view from across the inside of T-Hoe.

It's better than driving around with a window boarded up by cardboard and duct tape, though.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Val Eschews the Lagging Glass

Remember when Val was one of THOSE PEOPLE who work on their car on the Walmart parking lot? Well...Val is STILL one of those people, but she moved her repairs to the Menard's parking lot, and she now has accomplices.

With The Pony home for such a short interlude (and lucky to be home at all), Hick decided that we should take him out to dinner. You know. Because a Thanksgiving meal that took two days to prepare was not special enough for him. Hick took him to a Chinese buffet on Friday afternoon, and then asked him where he wanted to go for dinner Saturday night.

Yes, Val is VALiantly strapping on the feedbag and plowing through those Thanksgiving leftovers by herself while Hick and The Pony shun them that was prepared by Val! At least Genius loaded up a cooler full of turkey and ham and deviled eggs and roasted vegetables and 7 layer salad and Sister Schubert's rolls and bacon-wrapped green bean bundles and assorted sliced cheeses and black olives. He left behind a large pan of hash brown casserole (of which Val had made a WHOLE EXTRA ONE for him to take back) because his housemate buddy's sister had prepared a pan just for the buddy to take back to their college house. No word on what the other four guys might have stashed in their hobo bindle to share around the campfire.

Anyhoo...The Pony said he wanted steak. There's a Colton's over in bill-paying town, so Hick decreed that we were going. The Pony made plans with some high school scholar bowl associates (who are a year older than him) to go on a hike Saturday morning. At least they didn't have him hunting snipe. He left at 10:00 a.m. in a temperature of 39 degrees, having reluctantly agreed to wear some pants I found in the laundry room, having only brought home shorts and t-shirts in his wardrobe. He got home around 4:20. The irony of that time was not lost on The Pony, since Val took it upon herself to enlighten him before he left for college. I couldn't send my little Pony out into the world unprepared.

We left immediately for Colton's, in an effort to avoid the Saturday night rush. We got there at 4:53, but we were not successful. Seems that folks around here go out for supper earlier than septuagenarians on the Branson strip. Earlier than Morty and Helen with Doris and Jack Klompus at Del Boca Vista. The waiting area was packed. The only seat left was the little saddle on a stand. Let the record show that none of us took it. After waiting about 30 minutes, we were seated and served (excellently, I might add).

When we returned to the parking lot, we saw that a beat-up pickup truck (but who is VAL to disparage a vehicle lately) was parked at an angle right next to us, preventing The Pony from opening T-Hoe's door for his seat behind Ol' Sweavin' Hick. He walked around to the passenger side to use that door and slide across to his seat. T-Hoe has bucket seats in the second row. We keep that passenger side seat folded down, so I can see out the back windows when pulling out, and to set things on. The Pony had just crossed that seat and leaned over to close the door. As I opened my door, I heard a


"Huh. The window just dropped down as far as it will go. And I didn't even slam the door!"

That is correct. I all the time got onto The Pony for slamming the front passenger door. Which wasn't often, because he mostly sat behind me. But when he did, there was a terrible rattle. In fact, I used to ask him if he was trying to break out the window.

Hick tried the button, but that window wasn't moving. So he backed up and started driving! That's right. It was 46 degrees, dark, and we had 20 miles to go, most of it on the highway.

"Are you just driving home with the window down?"

"I don't know what you want me to do, Val. I can't take it apart here."

"Well, there must be something you can do."

Hick drove down the street behind the steak house, and turned onto the Menard's parking lot. There he went past about 20 spaces saying there was nowhere to park. There WAS! Everybody was eating at Colton's, not shopping at Menard's. He settled on taking up FOUR spaces right under a light. Uh huh. To make sure everyone could see Val, I'm sure. She had, after all, encountered someone she knew while waiting for a seat from which to eat steak. In addition, the dome light stayed on while Hick and The Pony wrestled the glass of that window. AND some weirdo pulled in and parked right next to us, even though there were many, many spaces available. We weren't even near the door!

Hick tried several fixes, none of which were a success. That's a story for tomorrow. With photos! We made it home with The Pony sitting on the seat behind me, leaning on the window to hold it up. He's a loyal workhorse, that Pony.

Next time you see one of THOSE PEOPLE trying to repair a car on a store parking lot...give a little nod. It just might be Val.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

And Now, the True Shocking Story of Thevictorian Thanksgiving

Once we got The Pony home safe and sound from his car crash, Thevictorian family Thanksgiving could commence. The Pony and Hick arrived around 7:30 on Thanksgiving Eve. They'd had time for a two-hour chat in Hick's car, so The Pony was Val's for the evening.

There was nothing shocking that night. We picked up like old times, watching DVRs of Cutthroat Kitchen in the dark basement. The Pony was proud that I had solved The Mystery of the SNICKING Soda Tab Sound. He chatted about his collegiate escapades. Which, as you might imagine, were pretty tame, him being The Pony.

Thursday after the feast, Hick busied himself (unasked-for and unwanted-by Val, and futilely) as a dishwasher in the kitchen. The commercial Maytag guy sitting on the kitchen floor licking each place setting would have gotten them cleaner. But I guess it's the thought that counts. Even if it means you have to wash everything again later when you find the feast morsels cemented to the silverware and dishes.

In the living room, things got lively. Genius picked up the shock collar that we bought to fry the living daylights out of train Jack not to run across the road and chase the neighbor's horses, and not to chase our chickens that are left (5), and not to chase the cat he doesn't like because unlike the male cats, she won't let him hump her.

"Huh. What's THIS?"

"Oh, that's Jack's shock collar. I haven't read the instruction book yet. Here it is."

"I don't need that."

Genius fiddled with the remote control.

"It's for dogs 8-20 pounds. We think he weighs around 12. What do you think I should start with? I'm going to tell him "NO!" and then hit the buzzer and then shock him."

"I don't know. Let's see how strong it is."

Genius put the electrodes (or whatever you call those two pointy things on the collar) on his forearm.

"Don't do that!"

"Why? It's not going to hurt me."

"I guess you DO weigh more than 20 pounds. But you don't have fur!"

"Hush up, woman!"

Genius fiddled with the controls and shocked himself.

"I can hardly feel that! That was on 1. Let's try 2."

He continued shocking himself at sequential settings. Up to 5.

"I wouldn't recommend trying that above 5. It's uncomfortable."

Of course The Pony wanted to try it.

"Meh. It's not THAT bad on 5. Let's try 6. Huh. Hot pleasant."

Then Genius had to get it back and try 6.

"That smarts. Let's see about 7. Not good."

The Pony demanded another round.

"Seven smarts. I'm trying 8! Yeah. That hurt."

You know what happened next. Genius HAD to shock himself on 8. No way was his little brother going to out-electrocute him!

"Uh. Yeah. You don't want to put it on 8!"

"I don't plan to put it on anything for myself! I'm not shocking myself. How about Jack? What do you think I should start on? Remember, he has that thick fur."

"Yeah. But he also weighs 12 pounds. Here, Mom. You try it."

"NO! I don't want to get shocked!"

"It's nothing! You won't even feel it!"

"Don't you put it on anything besides 1! I don't trust you!"

"I won't! It's on 1. Here. Give me your arm."

Genius shocked me, and it was NOT pleasant.

"Whoa! I'm not doing THAT again!"

"It was nothing! Here! You try it!"

Genius held the collar out to his friend, who had been laughing his head off at Thevictorian shocking party

"No. I'm good. NO! Get that thing away from me. No! I don't want to! No! Oh, all right. Yow! No! I'm not doing it again!"

Genius got to fiddling with the controller again. I had told him it had 16 settings, but he swore it only had 8. And we had gone through all 8. And then...

"Oh! It looks like there are two sets of settings. Once you go through 1-8, it starts over on another level at 1 again. We were in the second level."

"So you mean that when you shocked me with the 1, it was really the 9? How could you do that to your own mom?"

"It didn't hurt and you know it! You're not a little dog! For him, I'd try it first on 4. On the first level."

I never have to worry about Genius finding a job. In case the whole computer engineer thing falls through, he can apply at prisons in states with the death penalty. There's nothing like a man who loves his job.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #36 "Make Her Day"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Are you ready for some action? THAT got your attention, didn't it? Sorry, I don't mean a romantic physical interlude. Are you ready for a fake story with dangerous doings by the heroine? Not to be confused with doing heroin, of course. This week Val has a fake book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. IF you put an overstuffed pillow behind your back. Don't be a stinker! Fake-buy Val's fake book today!

Go Ahead, Make Her Day

Sal Thethicktorian works on commission. The more bottles of over-priced perfume she sells, the more her bank account expands. Don't even walk by the fragrance counter if you don't plan to fund Sal's firearms fund. This whole salesclerk gig is not only a means for Sal to buy her play-pretties, it's also a cover for Sal's REAL line of work. BO Assassin.

By day, Sal squirts unsuspecting customers with scents. By later-in-the-day, Sal travels the city, a mercenary stink-alleviator. Sal's means do not always justify by her ends. Sal's ends are permanent. She ain't shootin' scent, and she ain't shootin' blanks. Sal sends those stinkers to high heaven. Or the other direction. You have to know someone to hire Sal.

Which high-profile client is in the market for Sal's services? And who do they want sniffed out? (137 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Limburger..."This spoiled author has curdled my taste for fake books. Her cheesy effort has spread thin my tolerance for future fake works churned out by Val Thevictorian."

Dog Poop…"This fake book is a steaming pile that somebody needs to clean up. I can't believe the publisher didn't relieve themselves of this piece of crap rather than let it hit the fake-book stores."

Durian…"Like me, this fake book should never be opened in a poorly-ventilated, densely populated area. Somebody could be trampled in an effort to escape the stench that is Val Thevictorian's fake writing.”

That Valet Parking Attendant From Seinfeld..."Not even a BUM would accept THIS fake book for FREE! Good luck getting rid of it. You'd have a better chance donating a toilet book to Rebecca DeMornay's homeless shelter."

Rotten Potato…"The eyes have it. Thevictorian's premise is half-baked at best. This fake book made me wish I was loaded. This author deserves to be sliced on a spiral, a stick inserted through her middle, and deep fried in oil.”

Tomato Juice…"There IS no remedy for the odor this author's fake book leaves behind.”

That Sniffer Who Tests Armpits For Deodorant Companies..."You couldn't pay me enough to read this stinker! I tried, but my gag reflex was working overtime, and I don't get paid for overtime."

The Flatulence of a Teenage Boy After Eating a Crave Case of White Castles..."What died inside Thevictorian for THIS fake work to come out of her? I only read two pages, because my teacher assigned it, but I had to quit because I thought I might puke. This fake book cleared out my classroom faster than a fire drill during the first week of classes."

Denmark…"Something is rotten in the state of Thevictorian's gray matter! I don't know whose butt the author's head was up to get this fake book published, but it smells like they had been sitting on it during an 18-hour trip across the southern United States in an unconditioned auto with vinyl seats. During late July."

Junior High Gym Locker..."I don't mean to brag, but Thevictorian's book could use ME as an air-freshener. This fake book reeks."

Odor Eaters..."We'd like to give this author a swift kick in the pants. Her malodorous fake work is a literary miasma. Even WE can't alleviate the rancidity that emanates from this fake tome."

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Val's Thankfullest Thanksgiving EVER!

It's Thanksgiving, and I can't possibly be more thankful. Yesterday, I got that call no mother ever wants to get. Okay, not so much a call, as a text. Here's the deal. The Pony left Norman, Oklahoma, at 7:00 a.m. to start his considerable drive home. He had instructions to keep me posted as to his whereabouts, whenever he stopped for gas or food. He's a good egg, that Pony. He started with breakfast at McDonalds right there in Norman, and then hit the road.

At 10:03, The Pony informed me that he had just stopped for gas in Muldrow. Hick and I didn't know where that was, and The Pony's response was, "Along I-40." Which didn't help. I knew he was going by his Garmin (which is a GPS, in case you didn't know, manufactured by the company Genius had an internship a couple summers ago, and is going back to this summer), and would get here when he got here.

Hick was expecting him to take the Hick route, which is always different, and included a turnpike stint last trip. He was kind of in a snit, searching for that town out on the porch with his cell phone (chances are that we CAN'T hear you now, with our SPRINT service). So I asked The Pony how far he was out of Joplin, and The Pony said, "I don't know." Actually, he said, IDK. He further added that he was going on a route through Arkansas (which I enjoyed but not Hick) to avoid the turnpike, and that his ETA was around 5:00.

I was shoulder-deep in food preparation, and secure in the knowledge that my little Pony was on the way, and would be here just around dark. The night before I'd had that anxious feeling, like before my canceled casino trip, but told myself to calm down, it was normal to worry about your kid driving home from college in holiday traffic, and to stop dwelling on it. Which didn't really help much, but that busy food prep took my mind off of it, and I was in communication with The Pony intermittently, and couldn't wait for him to arrive. I'd set aside some deviled eggs for him to nosh on, and had picked up some cookies for him to try, and we'd sit in the basement and watch some Food Network, and chat like old times.

At 12:19, The Pony said he'd stopped at Steak N Shake in Joplin (don't go there if you value your time!) and that the Arkansas trees had been beautiful. As with each text, I signed off with "Love you. Be careful." And he said that he would. His new ETA when he left Steak N Shake was 5:30.

At 2:33, The Pony sent me a text that he was at the rest area halfway to Genius's college town. I knew it wouldn't be too long until he turned off I-44 and headed home on the last stretch of two-lane blacktop. I gave him my usual sign-off. I knew he was still on track to be here between 5:30 and 6:00. Hick was planning to go watch a basketball tournament, so I would  have The Pony all to myself for a while.

I was jawing with Hick about things we might do while The Pony was home, and washing up the dishes I'd dirtied, when my phone buzzed with a text. It was 4:04. "Oh. That's probably him, saying he just turned off on the last stretch. Let's see." It WAS a text from The Pony.

"I just wrecked. I'm ok though, calling 911 now."

Well. My heart dropped into my stomach by express elevator.

"He's had a wreck! The Pony had a wreck, and he's calling 911. He says he's okay."

Hick immediately went out on the porch and started trying to call him. He finally got through, and we could hear the highway patrolman who had just showed up. The Pony later said that trooper had been about a mile behind him, and got there while he was still on the phone with 911. Other cars had stopped and their occupants walked over to The Pony to see if he was okay. He was getting ready to call AAA for a tow, but the trooper said it was only 10 miles into College Town, so to save those tow miles, since The Pony had a great distance to travel to school from home. He said our insurance would pick it up, no problem.

The Pony thinks he fell asleep. I think he is luckier than a PowerBall winner. Look at his poor Nissan Rogue.

Above, driver's side front. Hick said the motor was hanging out. This made it clear why, when he asked The Pony if the car was drivable, The Pony said, "Um. I don't think it's going anywhere."

Above, driver's side rear. At least it still has its tire.

Above, passenger side rear. Not gonna roll on THAT wheel.

Above, front end. The Pony said the windshield was barely cracked. And that his driver's door window is the ONLY ONE that did not break out. You can see a side air bag, but the driver's air bag did not deploy.

In case you're wondering how The Pony could possibly have beat this little car all to not-heaven, here's where it came to rest.

According to The Pony, he was driving along with the cruise control set on 70 (the legal speed limit). The next thing he remembers, he was headed for those railroad tracks in the background. He went partway up the incline, then the car turned left. The Pony doesn't remember turning the wheel, or hitting the brakes. He hit a wooden railroad pole that looks like a short telephone pole (can't see it, behind the big trunk) and ran through a bunch of thin bendy trees, where the car slowed enough to stop.

He thinks he fell asleep.

I was handling it while waiting for Hick to go rescue him. Even though Hick could not call him back. Only got voice mail. As did Genius, who was on deck to go pick him up from the place where he was towed. As did I, until an hour later, when he finally answered my text, saying his phone had been dead, and then calling Genius with the location. Genius was going to take him to his college house, but Hick was only 10 miles away by then. I shudder to think how fast he drove. Yes, I was handling it just fine, until I saw this picture. 70 mph off-road, headed up that railroad embankment...he could have flipped, he could have hit that big tree head-on, he could have had a limb pierce the windshield and his brain. He could have veered left, and pin-balled into other cars or semi trucks.

Yes, The Pony was wearing his seat belt. Yes. He got hurt.

The Pony suffered a scratch on his little finger. Right hand. THAT'S IT. No other car involved. No passenger. No paralysis. No dismemberment. No brain injury. Just a tiny scratch on his right pinky finger.

Val is very thankful today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This Homestead Ain't Big Enough For the Two of Us

It it's not one thing, it's another. If Val isn't a day late and a dollar short, she's a day early, and the recipient of infinite riches. Which brings us to today. Thanksgiving Eve. Something happened three hours ago that made me the thankfullest person in the universe. But we'll save that for Thanksgiving day. On with the Holiday Week of Hick. It's like the Summer of George.

Hick took the whole week off from work. He's been doing that for years. I suspect to thumb his nose at me for getting two-and-a-half days off every year. Heh, heh! He couldn't top my time off this year!

Hick has been underfoot, helping me with stuff I don't want help on. For example, he has spent two days cleaning The Pony's room. Too bad he wasn't available when Fukushima needed some scrubbin'. Hick is always ready to drop what he's doing, though, to run stick his nose where it doesn't belong. Like right in the middle of Val's business.

Yesterday, for example, when those dad-burned drawer knobs were intent on de-shirting Val every time she bellied up to the kitchen counter to work on some pre-pre-Thanksgiving dinner preparations. What Hick doesn't know is that Val survives perfectly well, and even thrives, without him rushing out to lecture her on crashing into things (when the knob was wrenched loose from the button gap on my shirt and the drawer sprung back into the cabinet) and complaining (which involves Val's potty-mouth ranting at the universe in general, and has nothing to do with Hick whatsoever, so he needs to quit eavesdropping).

This morning I asked a simple question, while I was whisking a sugar-free chocolate pudding pie for Hick's enjoyment tomorrow. He had been to town to the doctor for a shot, and had just returned, without even stepping into the kitchen with a greeting, and was puttering around first in The Pony's room, and then at the bookcase in the living room. The bookcase he filled up with Val's books when we moved in, his selection criteria being "the ones that were the prettiest."

"What are you going to do?"

That's an innocent question, right? Because sometimes Hick runs off without telling me, and I'd heard him the previous day declining a rabbit hunting excursion due to the shot appointment (heh, heh, Hick couldn't go shooting because he had to get shot).

"I'm cleaning up!"

"I just asked a simple question. You don't have to give me attitude."

"Well what do you THINK I'm doing? I'm cleaning off this bookcase."

"There's a whole pile of your papers here on the kitchen counter I'm going to be using, if you're wanting to clean up. You don't have to ruin every holiday with your attitude. You've done it since the day I met you, with both sets of boys."

"I don't have no attitude! Fine!"

With that, Hick came in and started throwing his sugar free candy from the counter into a wire bucket (also on the counter), grabbed some papers, and picked up several items off the kitchen table and disappeared I suppose into the bedroom with them, and then stationed himself back at the bookcase in the living room. I was done pouring his pie into the not-sugar-free crust, and turned to grab the thawing sugar-free Cool Whip from the cutting block for the topping.

There was Hick, standing behind the couch, going through the pages of one of my books that had been stacked on top of the waist-high bookcase!

"What are you doing?"

"What do you mean, what am I doing? I'm cleaning off the bookcase!"

"Looks like you're going through everything."

Let the record show that Hick is a well-known snoop, having been caught red-handed many years ago going through Val's personal correspondence from before she ever knew he existed. Let the record further show that he also had the nerve to complain about Val's prior dalliances. As if she should have known she would one day meet him, and refrain from speaking to members of either sex over the age of 18. So Val does not take kindly to someone rifling through her stuff, even it if was only a loser lottery ticket being used as a bookmark.

"No. I'm not going through everything. This just fell out of the book when I moved it."

Let that mighty fat record show that the book was laying on its back, and Hick moved it to the back of the couch, still laying on its back. So Val is unsure how gravity could make something "fall out" of the pages of that book.

"Huh. No wonder it took you so long in The Pony's room. You must have been looking through his stuff." (Like a crime scene investigator or a prison guard on a cell shakedown.)


With that, he stormed out of the house to go to town to buy mouse killer for the BARn. Or so he pretended.

If Val expires before her time, please check her neck for the marks of a spring-loaded metal hammer, and her mouth for tasty cheese.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

DOH! Oh, Dear! A Female Tear. HEY! A Plot Seen By No One.

Did I just wake up from a Rip Van Winkle snooze? First, my Blogger dashboard is all wonky and unpleasant, making me jump through extra hoops that I did not have to do only this morning. Now I have to click a sidebar category to see my reading list, rather than it popping up at the bottom of the dashboard. And yesterday it only gave me ONE post showing on my blog instead of seven as I have it set.

Also, I think Hick is now some kind of genius.

Don't take that to mean a SMART genius, like our son, Genius. Or an orange striped-cat like Genius's dear departed cat, Genius. No. I think that Hick might now be some kind of simple genius, who...I don't know how to say this...just might have...kinda...okay, literally...OUTSMARTED ME today!

Maybe it was because I was so thrilled to get rid of him around 2:30 (this double retirement thing happening in December is simply not going to work out!) that my guard was down when he called home at 3:06 to tell me about a paint sprayer.

It was kind of my own fault, really, because I am a gambler. But one who doesn't know the secret to survivin'. I don't know when to hold 'em. And just this morning, I told Hick about the points I've accumulated on the molottery website by entering losing ticket numbers. Uh huh. I've had a few over the years. And you can use those points to buy merchandise. The Pony refused a tablet or notebook or some newfangled electronic gewgaw just before leaving for college. I knew better than to ask Genius (the son, not the dead cat) if he wanted something like that, because he custom orders his play-pretties. I did, though, see a tent/sleeping bag/camp chair/cooler package that I though he might like. He goes camping every year with his Boys State fellow staffers.

Anyhoo...I mentioned that to Hick, who said, "Genius already has a tent." So I told him about some items in the TOOLS section of the points store, not because Hick is a tool (at least not 50% of the time) but because he enjoys tools. And there happened to be a paint sprayer on there, but Hick thought it was a cheap one, and could tell (or he was bluffing like a better gambler) just from looking at the thumbnail picture that it was really a reverse vacuum cleaner that sprayed paint. He said he really NEEDED a paint sprayer, and that he'd seen one down at Lowe's. And as happenstance would have it, a mere four hours later, Hick was off to Lowe's!

But that's not the outsmarting part.

When he called at 3:06, he said that yes, he saw that Lowe's had ONE of those paint sprayers. But that he'd just wait until Friday to go look at it. Because there would be a good sale. Uh huh. Hick is not even a simple genius when it comes to the ins and outs of Black Friday.

"WHAT? You want to go down there in that crowd? Good luck with that. It will be sold before you even get there."

"It's on the bottom shelf."

"Like that will keep it hidden. You don't even know if they'll have a special on it."

"Don't they discount everything in the store?"

"Um. NO. Didn't you look up their Black Friday ad to see if it's on there?"

"No. How do I do that."

"Here. I'm at my computer. Huh. Eight pages. Let me go through them. No. I don't see a paint sprayer. They have FRIGs like ours. For $400 off, they say. And washers and dryers. And toolboxes. But no paint sprayers."

"Huh. They have it marked down right now. It's $229 but it's regular $336. I'll just wait and think about it."

"Good luck with that. I'm sure they'll get more between now and Christmas. I don't know about the price."

"Well. What do you think?"

"If you really want it, that could be your Christmas present."

"I need a paint sprayer. I don't really need anything for Christmas."

"I guess you can go ahead and get it."

"Do you want me to use the credit card? Or the debit?"

"Use the credit card, because I'll deposit some Christmas money to pay it off."

"Okay then. If you're sure. I'll go ahead and get it."


Monday, November 21, 2016

Because That's How Val Rolls

Hick has still not been forthcoming with the stories he was so excited to tell me upon his arrival in Sweden. At least he wrote them down in his little black (note)book that he carries for his expense report. So at some point, if he doesn't read "flaming globes of Sigmund," you will be privy (heh, heh, I said PRIVY) to those experiences.

Until then, Hick is at Val's mercy. As it should be.

The week after he returned from this overseas jaunt, Hick did indeed turn in his expense report. He had the reimbursement check back within two days, and left it on the kitchen counter for me to find when I got up. You know. Rather than handing it to me the night before. He also left me a note. On the check stub.

Lest you think that Hick has torn out my kitchen counter and installed one made of rough-hewn oak, that picture was snapped out on the porch rail, because my new hand-me-down phone does not take good pictures indoors.

Notice that Hick is very specific in the amount that he (thinks he) is owed. Not that it's a lot of money he's claiming. It's only 4.5% of the total expenditure. My question is WHY does Hick think that he's entitled to this cut of the money?

Don't think I begrudge Hick compensation for his time. I believe his employer takes care of that. He is paid a salary. He can take a day off at the drop of a hat if he has an emergency, or even a broken well pump that needs fixing, and not be docked in pay or vacation days. His position is technically considered management, and not an hourly worker, and has benefits and unwritten duties commensurate with such.

My point is that the gas for Hick's mileage to the airport and back was put on our credit card. The vehicle he drove was paid for and insured and upkept by money from our checking account. So I am unsure why Hick thinks this money is due directly to him. I see it as paying back expenses that we expended. Not expenses that he paid out of his pocket.

Furthermore, when I brought this scenario to Hick's attention, broaching the topic with,  
"I thought you charged your gas on our credit card, and it was on the bill I just paid..."

Hick quickly replied, "Oh, I don't care if you keep the $20 for gas!"

Meaning that he gave up TOO easily! And acted like I was pocketing that money, as a GIFT from him, due to his magnanimity.

Anyhoo...I put the expense check in the bank, and kept out $200 to give Hick. Which I laid on the kitchen counter overnight.

He'd better appreciate my magnanimity.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Val Can't Look this Gift Horse in the Mouth...

...because it doesn't HAVE a mouth.

My husband went to Sweden and all I got was...

Actually, Hick DID bring me something from his world travels this time. He brought me a horse. He also brought me a story, but I'm not so sure of its authenticity.

It's a red wooden horse, perhaps four inches tall from hoof to back, not quite as tall as the Kurt Warner bobblehead that he also brought me, though it was of a more local origin, which he presented me at the time of the horse-giving. No pictures of Kurt today, but I should have gotten one of them side by side.

According to Hick, the Swedish people used to carve wooden horses as toys for their kids. Because they used a knife for carving, and knives are sharp (Hick is an expert on this subject, since he has made his living working with machines that make knives and saw blades out of huge bands of steel), the carvers often cut themselves. Because they didn't want the blood to scare the kids, they painted these wooden horse toys red.

I cannot find any information that lends credence to Hick's explanation of a whittlin' faux pas as the basis for the red color of these Swedish horses. Not even after my extensive research which consists of the first two Google links, and wikipedia. I'll let you check them out for yourself, lest you think I would deliberately show Hick in a bad light, or mock his knowledge of Swedish folklore. You know that Hick always get the benefit of the doubt and a stellar slant here at Val's cathouse.

Still, Hick did good. I wouldn't have been surprised if he had brought me nothing.
Or Swedish fish.

Alternate titles: "Giddy Yap!" and "Tally Hick!"