Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Jack Formerly Known as "Puppy" Is Oft-Maligned

Poor Jack. My little dog can't seem to catch a break. Only last week, he was highly-regarded by Hick as an empathetic rescue dog, one step below a St. Bernard bearing a cask of rum, when he clambered up on the belly of fallen Hick to see if he was okay. Or had bacon grease on his lips.

Friday, Jack was again canine non grata.

Remember back when Hick accused then-Puppy Jack of climbing up on the trunk of his 1980 Olds Toronado and taking a poop? As IF that squatty stocky heeler-dachshund with his extra-long spine could get up onto a car trunk! And remember when Jack ate the bacon sandwich Hick provided for him in a paper-plate place-setting on the seat of the Gator and left it unattended? Well, Hick is back in his accusatory mode.

Let the record show that we've been having trouble with the garage pooper again. In the past, all the way back to 2014, we've had a mystery pooper that gets in the garage, probably through the pet door. It's a small door with a swinging piece of plastic, set low to the ground, for the cats. I even had documented proof of previous poopings from my supersecret blog. From January 2014, and February 2014, and September 2017, when the pooper branched out to the side porch.

Now the mystery pooper has left several puddles of pee along the wall on T-Hoe's driver's side, and keeps pooping under the shotgun seat. Hick has cleaned out the garage of fallen mud that drips from T-Hoe's flanks in messy weather. Swept it out so clean you could eat off it. Though I wouldn't want to, because something has been peeing and pooping there.

Here's the garage and T-Hoe, the side of the crime against garage-ity.

Right under there is where the mystery pooper has been doing his business. Hick has shoveled it out and swept it clean. I think that's a stain there, because there was no new poop when I took the picture.

There's the frozen pee-puddle that appeared Friday morning, and some dead leaves that blew in when I opened the garage door.

I was in town Friday when my phone announced a text from Hick.

"Val I clean two big piles of looks like dog poop I'm not sure Jack's not the one getting in there and go and getting under your car but I cleaned it up"

That's quite detailed and lengthy for Hick. But even with his Hicklish language, I knew what he meant. He was ACCUSING JACK OF BEING THE GARAGE POOPER!

"It is not Jack. He can't get in. It's a possum. When I open the people door Jack goes in and looks for the cat. He does not go under the car. He goes to the cat food bucket and that house. You blamed him for pooping on your Toronado when he couldn't even get up there. Next time he should let you lay there when you fall! And not eat the bacon sandwich you share with him on the Gator."

"It just looks like dog poop that's all I'm saying but I don't know but he can fit through the door."

"I don't think so. Lock that door. Or set up your $100 game camera you used once at the BARn."

"Yeah. I may set the camera up to see what is getting in there"

"Focus it on that door. Or under my car. Did you see the pee by the driver's door? Jack would pee ON something. Not just a puddle on the open floor."

Hick forgets that we were having a pooping problem before we even got PUPPY JACK! I will be sure to point that out when he starts maligning my little buddy again. Meanwhile, he got the game camera, that was hanging on a tree up at HOS's place when he was looking for deer, and put it in the garage.

Last night, Hick left for the auction at 6:00. I was making a batch of Chex Mix, and I needed more containers to put it in. I'd left some in the back of T-Hoe, so I went out to the garage to get them. I forgot all about that game camera until I got back in the house.

I hope Hick doesn't accuse ME of being the mystery pooper when he sees me on the game camera.

I would take the fall, though, to protect this little guy.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Pizza Swerver and Centsible Val

Last week, Hick said that when he was done selling at his Storage Container Store on Sunday, he'd come home and we'd go to the casino for a while. He wasn't sure of the exact time, because he wanted to take advantage of the teeming crowd of junk-shoppers while the weather was nice.

Since the time was uncertain, I didn't know if we'd be having lunch at the casino, or supper. Hick usually comes home at 2:00. I didn't go get my 44 oz Diet Coke, because I didn't want Hick to arrive soon after I'd started swilling it. You don't want Val in the car for an hour after she's imbibed a barrel of caffeinated beverage. Hick texted me a couple of times that he was getting ready to leave, but that he had a customer. No big deal. It's not like we have a schedule these days.

My gambling purse was all ready to go, and I was just marking time. When Hick showed up, all I had to do was shut down New Delly and make a last stop in the bathroom. I came out to find Hick eating a sandwich.

"I thought we were going to eat there."

"We will. We can have supper. I'm having a bacon sandwich. I didn't eat at the flea market today."

That meant Hick was planning on supper at the casino, so I rummaged through FRIG II for something to take in the car. I found a piece of Casey's pizza wrapped in foil. It was only about 3 days old. I'm a fan of cold pizza, so I just carried the foil to the car with me. I waited until Hick was off the curvy blacktop, and on the divided highway before trying to eat it.

I unwrapped the pizza slice and took a bite. The best part, that triangle tip at the end. I set the slice back on the foil, which I had laying on my thigh. Let the record show that Val's thigh is ample enough to use as a dining table.

All at once, that pizza slice jolted off my leg, and tumbled towards the floor of A-Cad, only to become entangled in the open-zippered top of my gambling purse, which was between my feet.

"I should have known that it wasn't safe to lay that down with you sweaving like you do."

"Val. I'm not sweaving, as you call it. I'm just driving. You are too dramatic. I didn't make your pizza fall on the floor."

The Not-Heaven he didn't! I only wish Sir Isaac Newton had a cell phone, so I could call him and then hand the phone to HIck to hear about Newton's First Law of Motion, which says that pizza does not jump sideways off a lap, no matter how depressed it has been feeling lately.

"How can that happen on a straight road at a constant speed?" 

Hick had no retort, pithy or otherwise. I picked up my pizza and continued to consume it. It hadn't hit the floor, and even if it had, A-Cad is almost like new, not even driven by a little old lady from Pasadena, but only by Hick for trips to Oklahoma, and Val to town if T-Hoe is out of commission.

In other news, I found a penny on the Walmart parking lot yesterday.

It was in that differently-abled walkway by the differently-abled parking spaces. I usually cut down that walkway from my spot over halfway to the end of the lot, but yesterday there was a man walking a differently-abled gal along there, so I kept to the car lane as I went inside. Coming out, I took that route, and couldn't believe my eyes. A special penny, just for me.

This was a 1982. The year I went from my first teaching job to my second, halfway across the state.

Today I stopped by Orb K and parked way around at the end. I found no pennies on the way in. The wind was chilling at 37 degrees, whipping my lovely lady mullet into a disheveled haystack on my noggin. The wind also made my eyes water, in combination with the bright sun. On the way out, I had a different angle on the sun and wind. Something caught my eye.

Yup. By the red car. I couldn't quite me sure. I stood on the edge of the curb, looking. A NICKEL! A nickel on the lot is worth five pennies in the pocket! As I was getting my phone ready for a picture, holding new scratchers between my teeth, lest the wind carry them to Oz, I saw A DIME! Wow!

I swear it's in there. The nickel is to the left of that blob on the yellow stripe. And the dime is to the right of the stripe, almost at the bottom right corner of the picture. You have to zoom in, or take my undisputed word for it. Undisputed! No disputes allowed!

You're not going to believe this, but as I looked down to see if stepping my sore knees off that curb for a better picture would be feasible, I saw A PENNY!

Of course I hobbled down and snatched up that penny, and forgot all about a better picture. People were in cars at the gas pumps, anyway, probably at that very moment calling the cops about a weirdo taking pictures of the parking lot, or casing cars. I took the money and ran.

I might reach pennyillionaire status sooner than anticipated.

These were pennies # 67 and 68 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection. I don't keep a tally of the other coins. First Penny this post, 1982. Second Penny 1972, Dime 1974, and Nickel 2000.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #88 "Sleeping With the Dishes"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. This week, Val brings you the tale of a spoiled little rich girl. Unfortunately, her riches only went as far as her daddy's mansion door. Marriage has made getting what she wants more challenging. Even the tiny things. I hope this fake book's fake sales go swimmingly. C'mon! Don't be a drip! Order your fake copy today!

Sleeping With the Dishes

Margo's having second thoughts about her tiny house. She'd persuaded her husband, Chip, to withdraw his teacher's retirement money to finance the itsy-bitsy home. Now that it's built, Margo wonders what she's gotten herself into. Right now, it's the bathtub. Technically, it's the country sink. Chip, against it, put in an extra large one to make a point. It would also act as bathtub and washer.

Chip decrees they'll cut back on other items. Cleaning supplies. Margo's eyebrows double as Brillo pads for dish scrubbing. Which bathe with her, as Chip drives the tiny house to its new location, sloshing water acting as an agitator for the three pairs of his pants Margo wears to wash. And keep warm. No water heater here. Only Margo's body heat.

Will Margo come clean about her change of heart? If so, will she be sleeping with the fishes instead of the dishes? (149 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

A Kitchen Sink..."They can cut back on everything but me! Speaking of cutting back, a certain fake book editor had better not show her face around here. This whole debacle could have been prevented if Thevictorian's fake book had been trimmed of fat."

Garbage Disposal..."I am willing to do my part in making the world a better place. Toss Thevictorian's fake books this way."

Dish Drainer..."Thevictorian is all wet."

Dawn Dish Soap..."A little duck told me that if he has to see another fake book from Thevictorian, he will seek out an oil slick and let death take him."

Alan Jackson..."I's all right to be little bitty, it's all right to live in a little bitty house, but it's NOT all right to have not even a little bitty bit of talent, and fake-publish fake books. Who's cheatin' who, Thevictorian?"

Surendra Kumar Apharya..."A grain of rice is too much space to allot to Thevictorian for her next fake book."

Texas..."No room here for Thevictorian and her fake books. Hit the road, Val."

Rhode Island..."It pretty much goes without saying that I stand with Texas."

A Certain Part of Michelangelo's David..."Thevictorian shows her shortcomings as a fake author with this fake book. If only she shared certain attributes with the Venus de Milo, the literary world could have been spared. Eighty-eight times."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Jack, a Hick, and a Back Walk Out of a Freight Container Garage

Hick has been feverishly working on his Freight Container Garage this week. And I DO mean feverishly. He seems to have come down with a virus, and is stuffed up and nasally and spewing illness all willy-nilly over my side of the bed while hooked up to his breather overnight. That hasn't stopped him from putting the metal roof on his Freight Container Garage, though.

HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) has been helping him from mid-morning into the afternoon. His boss has been gone all week, so Hick is giving him a side job. Mostly a top job, as HOS is the one to climb up on the roof and screw down the metal, while Hick feeds it up to him as he needs it. I tried to take a picture of the progress last evening when I took the trash dumpster to the end of the driveway.

There it is, mostly done except for the end on the left, as viewed from the driveway, through the stand of trees and across the sinkhole. I even captured Hick in a gray hoodie, leaning over the trailer that the remaining roof pieces are stacked on.

Hick said he saw me taking a picture (what is he, anyway, some kind of nosy spy?) of his roof. I said he should send me a better one, and he said he hadn't taken any pictures! Poppycock! When I came back from town, I saw that they had the other side of the roof finished, and I was sure Hick would have been documenting his progress. We'll see if he sends me one before this goes to press! He did, however, go over in the dusk and take one on his way to Lowe's for more screws to sink into this money pit.

It's here! New photo of the nearly-completed roof, with HOS up top. Don't mind that junk in the background towards the BARn. That's the old pickup Hick is going to put inside this garage for rebuilding. Also his other trailer, still hooked to the John Deere tractor from the hayride/weenie roast. And some pallet lumber like he used to build the shower for the solar car team a couple summers ago. Hick wastes nothing.

Last week, HOS had to go to work, and Hick was putting up the end walls and tin alone. That's when he thought Jack took his hammer. Actually, he thought it evaporated, and I was the one who thought Jack took it. Even though it later turned out that Hick had hung it on a different board than what he first thought. But I digress...I told that story elsewhere.

Anyhoo...Hick had been working alone all day, and was closing up the Freight Container part where he stores his tools, and stepped down wrong as he made his exit.

See that first (and only) step? It's a doozy.

"I stepped down out of the freight container, and slipped on the gravel. I fell flat on my back. I was laying there a minute, and your dog came over. He walked up between my feet, and climbed up on my belly, and looked me in the face. I really think he was just making sure I was all right."

"That. Or hoping you had another bacon sandwich like the one he ate off the Gator seat."

Yeah. He's a pretty loyal little dog, our Jack.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ah, Sweet Irony of Life, Again You've Found Me

Hey! Have you heard? Val is planning to become a pennyillionaire? I'm pretty sure I might have let that slip once or twice. Unless you've been shacking up under a rock with a Geico caveman, this should come as no surprise to you.

Well! Apparently, The Universe also got wind of my plans. Look what I got in the mail today!

It's a booklet of offers from one of the casinos we will be hitting during CasinoPalooza 3. This is on the front, to the left of my address. No missing it! Even though they spelled pennyillionaire differently, I'm pretty sure the meaning is the same.

Oh, and before I got home to find this surprise in the mailbox, I had stopped by Waterside Mart for some scratchers, where I found TWO PENNIES!

One on the way to the bathroom:

Which was a 2017.

And while waiting in line, I saw another penny eager for the grasp of my sweaty fingers:

It was under the edge of the counter, much like the one I found in Orb K yesterday. This one was ALSO a 2017. Good thing. Because I was so rattled at finding the second one, and the clerk asking if he could help me while I was taking the close-up, that I then picked it up and dropped it into the exact same shirt pocket as the first penny.

I'm pretty sure the clerks are going to suspect me of being a secret shopper. Maybe they will treat me nicer, and sweep up better. Though let the record show that Waterside Mart has the friendliest clerks and is the cleanest of all the convenience stores I frequent.

I'm not even sure this is irony, but I latched onto that concept for my title. As you well know, Val and irony are not besties, with irony being pretty much misunderstood by Val.

Anyhoo...looks like signs are pointing to me becoming a pennyillionaire one of these way or another!

These were pennies #65 and 66 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

HO HO HO! Santa Spends Some Time Detailing, and Even Steven Has a Hearty Laugh

Santa has been pushing the elves hard to get ready for his impending breakfast with some preschoolers on Saturday. Here's part of the gifts he will be pulling from his bag. Not the Bacardi and Coca Cola mug in the back, nor the other sad flea market items that go to Hick's BARn to die.

These are just the ones that will appeal to the boy young 'uns. According to Santa, "I also have 13 buckets and shovels, and 10 lighted swords, and 4 star wands. Still got to go get some girl things." As Santa says, at that age, kids don't really care all that much which toy they get. He's not averse to giving these vehicles to the li'l gals if he runs out of what he terms girl things, or if they ask for one of these. He just tries to find toys that are safe for that age group. Santa usually forks out $80-$100 on this event, which goes a long way with those elf salaries, and in the places they obtain their goodies.

Overgrown Head Elf Hick spent a considerable amount of time away from his precious new garage-in-progress to wipe down these future gifts with what he calls "Wet Ones." A term which gives me the willies, but also one used by my mom when she talked about cleaning something up. I'm pretty sure it used to be a brand name, and maybe still is. But at work (when I earned my keep) we just called them "wipes."

For his trouble and his time, Santa sometimes receives a gift card to a restaurant, but always a big THANK YOU, and best of all, the joy of the children.

I got skunked today on my scratcher tickets. Cashed in four winners and didn't win diddly back on the new ones! I cry shenanigans! Okay, no I don't. I've been doing pretty well on the casino visits, so it only stands to reason that the scratchers have to give. I have a tidy nest egg for my CasinoPalooza 3 bankroll, which has doubled over the past two months.

Anyhoo...I was feeling the urge to stop at Orb K. I'd already cashed in my biggest winner at the gas station chicken store, and bought two tickets. I have a habit of heeding my hunches, so on the way out of town, I pulled into Orb K. So much for that hunch, since I won nothing. BUT...while standing at the counter waiting for the clerk to tear off my selected tickets, I noticed something on the floor under the overhang. I poked it with my toe, thinking it was possibly some petrified gum, or scrap of cardboard. Nope. It was a PENNY, by cracky!

I didn't get a picture in its natural habitat, because there were several people behind me, and I didn't want to look like a weirdo. I bent down and picked up that penny, though, and put it in my shirt pocket. Here's the photo after the fact, from the safety of T-Hoe.

Let the record show that it was laying face down in the store, and the back is kind of tarnished, and it almost blended into the tile. This penny was a 2004. I don't recall any major event in my life during that year. Still, I acted on my hunch. Rather than it netting me a big winner on a scratcher (or any winner at all), it led me to this penny.

You never know. That delay in my trip home might have allowed me to avoid a deer leaping out of the woods, or a distracted driver over the center line. You have to take what The Universe dishes out, and don't look back.

This was penny #64 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Full Moon, Strange Things

Okay, maybe what Hick did isn't the strangest thing he's ever done. I think tucking the banana peel down in the cushions of his La-Z-Boy might top that list. Or losing half a donut under his chair in the hospital recovery room while waiting for The Pony to come back from elbow surgery when he was a young 'un. But this time his auction purchase may have gotten out of hand.

He sent me the picture before he brought her home.

There she stands, regally, beside a tackle box that Hick also bought. There is a lag in our email out here in the hinterlands. Hick sent that email at the end of the auction, after I had closed out that particular email account, and my phone didn't pick it up until Sunday morning. By then, I had already been astonished to see her in person. By our kitchen table.

Don't get me wrong. She's a beautiful piece. And I hope I am not being offensive in calling a lady a piece. Even a wooden one. She's carved, you know, from one piece of wood. She's a beauty, and belongs where she can be displayed and appreciated. Oh, Hick appreciates her. He plans to stick her in The Pony's Sword Shack. He has quite the eclectic collection in there. From a metal suit of armor to a crest of arms to a Roman battle helmet to Japanese swords to a shield with a big red cross to those scary wooden masks. I suppose it's becoming more of a history museum than a Sword Shack.

Hick calls her his African laundry lady. Right now she's cooling her bare heels standing sentinel over the strawberry water. I feel sad that she will be shut away in a Sword Shack, but we are not artsy people with pieces on display under tasteful lighting. Hick paid $15 for her, which I think is as good a bargain as that bordello mirror. Too bad he doesn't have a Cigar Store Indian to keep her company. I guess that hollow knight will have to do.

Oh, and here's the Super Moon rising over the garage Sunday night.

I tried to get a closer view, but it did not turn out as I planned.

LOOK! I've discovered a new planet! Or captured a UFO on its way to our back-creek neighbor Bev's house, perhaps to anally probe her!

Full moon. Odd occurrences. At least I was not subjected to a HUMAN full moon.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

It Has Come To My Attention

"It has come to my attention..." That's what the principal used to announce over the intercom at my first teaching job, right before he revealed some horrendous problem that was perpetrated by us, the faculty, and needed rectifying ASAP by us, the faculty.

I kind of feel like that now. It's obvious that VAL IS NOT MEANT TO WAIT IN LINE.

No matter what I do, something goes awry in The Universe when I'm in line. From people slamming boxes of donuts down on the counter, cutting in front of me, cutting behind me making the rest of the line mad because they think we're in cahoots, asking for my cheesecake, asking for whiskey money at 11:00 a.m., pressing up against me so that my buttocks are violated, ramming me with a Walmart cart, rushing from the end of the line when a clerk opens a new register and asks, "Who's next?" I never seem to have a good line-waiting experience.

I would settle for neutral.

No special treatment necessary. You don't have to move out of my way to finish filling out your paperwork. I'll wait. I'll stand at a respectable distance, patiently, making no sound, drawing no attention to myself. All I expect in return is for people to hold their own position, not talk to me, not touch me, and not direct their misplaced anger at me. So simple. But it is not to be.

Friday, I was standing in line at the Casey's where I get gas for T-Hoe. I was buying scratchers, so I'd have two to tuck into Genius's weekly letter. I knew which tickets I wanted. I was ready to ask for them by number. I had the correct change in my hand. I got in line parallel to the counter. That's how the line works in this Casey's. The current customer is by the register, and the line flows along past the lottery ticket case, the unused register, the donut case, to the cooler and pizza ordering counter. A place for everyone, and everyone in their place, leaving a walkway from the door across the store for folks to enter and obtain their future purchases.

Only one man was ahead of me. An old guy I see in there often, who always buys one of the same tickets I like, a $5 Money Multiplier. He bought two tickets, and the short mannish woman who is SO FRIENDLY joked with him about it being $50. He looked at me and said she was trying to put one over on him, and I said I thought she was giving him the discount rate. Her banter did not slow down the transaction, and soon I was right there handing over my own money for my tickets. She told me good luck, I thanked her, and turned 90 degrees to walk out the door.


I came mere millimeters from having my right eye gouged out by the corner of a pizza box!

Some weirdo was standing just off my right shoulder, holding a pizza box aloft at my eye height. What in the Not-Heaven? I am 5'8", people! My eye is fairly high off the floor. Who carries a pizza box that high? I, personally, would hold it between my boobs and my waist. Which, thanks to the Playtex 18-hour sweatshop workers, are not in the same place. Who carries a freakin' pizza box at Val's eye height?

You know how you have that 7th sense? Like how you can blink right before a bug flies into the window to your soul? Or how, when you're sick and need eye drops, you happen to blink just before that drop lands on your eyeball? I had that instinct, and jerked my head to the left and avoided having my eyeball hanging down my cheek like something pictured on Beaver Cleaver's forbidden sweatshirt.

"OH!" said the weirdo wielding that weapon of eyelash destruction. And pulled the box back a bit as I feinted. "I'm sorry!" You bet your rumpus you're sorry, lady! Who does that? Who stands on the RIGHT side, the door side, of the customer being waited on? When there are three people already lined up on the left, waiting their turn? And who holds a pizza box that high, so close, like a tween licking his hand and holding it next to his friends face, and calling his name so he turns around and gets a saliva facial?

"Whoa! That was close!" I kept on going, didn't engage, got the Not-Heaven out of there while I still had both my peepers. Jeepers, creepers! I didn't need a pity party, and my adrenalin was pumping. 

I suppose that high-pizza gal was with somebody else who was paying, and had picked up the pizza and was reluctant to leave the store until it was paid for, but didn't want to clog up the line or block access to treats. Maybe I should have some signs printed, and give them out for free.



Seriously. Who does Val have to mock around here to have a normal line-waiting experience?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Picker Hick Scores Again

Hick doesn't have enough to do. Building a garage, operating his storage container store, buying at the auction twice a week, selling at the auction once a week, going on his Goodwill tours, doing odd jobs for our back-creek neighbor Bev, hiring himself out to supervise electrical work by homeowners, and taking me to the casino when the whim strikes him...isn't enough for that go-getter! So Hick has selflessly volunteered to be a go-getter, or at least a go-looker, for my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel. He's her picker on retainer. For free.

Mabel has some pictures and posters that she'd like to frame and hang in her home. She is in the market for gold frames. They can be wood, metal, or plastic, just as long as they are gold, and kind of fancy. Let the record show that Mabel makes a trip to New Orleans every year, and the style she is looking for is a frame that would look suitable hanging in an old mansion in that city.

Hick has already found several frames, and we took them to Mabel a couple weeks ago. She now would like the same style of frame, in a very small size, or a very large size. Hick has already found a large one. Today, he found a special treasure.

"You might see if Mabel wants this it's a mirror $20.00. You might call her because it probably won't last. 20 that's what he wants."

Can you believe Hick actually sent a text asking if I could send Mabel the picture, to see if she wanted it? I don't know about you, since you don't know my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel...but I knew immediately that Mabel would want it. I told Hick to buy it. Even if she didn't, I was sure Hick could make money from it in a re-sell.

Phone service is iffy in these parts, and sometimes pictures take a while to be sent and received. So I sent the picture, then called Mabel. Who didn't have the picture yet. We spent a little time catching up on assorted gossip and fact. I described the mirror, and of course she wanted it. Sight unseen. I'm glad I gave Hick the green light.

After the call, when Mabel checked out the picture, she sent a text: "I LOVE IT!"

Of course she does. Hick has a golden picker's eye. If you ever want to furnish your house like a New Orleans bordello, Picker Hick is your guy.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #87 "Driving the Low Bus"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. This week's fake book is the maybe-true story of a winsome dachshund who teaches folks the value of our elderly population. He's always ready to listen to their stories of yesteryear. Never too busy to visit and VALidate their feelings. If you buy no other fake book of Val Thevictorian's this year, make it this one. C'mon. He's got an adorable little costume that gets tongues wagging.

Driving the Low Bus

Mack is a good boy. He doesn't grind anybody's gears, doesn't leave oil slicks on the carpet, and understands that objects in his mirror are older than they appear. Mack is a therapy dog for local nursing homes. He's always ready to lend a soft ear when his new friends want to talk.

Now funding has dried up for Mack's therapy dog program. As if somebody in charge of allocating tax dollars suddenly threw out the STOP sign, and forgot to fold it back in. When Mack twists free of his leash and darts into traffic, nipping a runaway toddler's heels to spur him to safety, the community is split on Mack's consequences. Some feel that Mack should be put down for biting a human. Others want to reward him for saving a life.

Will Mack's newfound notoriety lead to enough donations to keep the therapy dog program going? (149 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Lassie..."Not since Timmy fell down that well have I been spurred to such action. To make sure this author never writes another fake book!"

Wienermobile..."I would pick up this little fella any time I saw him hitchhiking. That fake author, though, is a hot dog of enormous proportions, and deserves to hoof it to her eventual destination. Which I'm pretty sure is Not-Heaven!"

Mustard..."Thevictorian needs a good dressing-down. She is not a good author, not even a fake one. I do not relish the task of reviewing any future fake books of hers."

Urban Street Vendor Hot Dog..."I'm so upset that this fake book got fake published that I'm boiling mad! I'm steamed! Thevictorian put the cart before the dog on this one. This fake book was not ready ready for fake publication. Too much filler."

Chicago Hot Dog..."I agree! Thevictorian has thrown in everything but the kitchen sink! Do not bite on this fake effort."

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza..."Thevictorian is crusty and thick-headed and full of it! Qualities that might be good in a pizza are not good in a fake author. Do not fake-order this fake book."

Open Fire..."I don't mean to start a flame war, but how I would love to get my licks in on this fake author! At least the Wienermobile knows that Thevictorian will eventually roast."

Polish Sausage..."I love this fake book! I highly recommend it to avid fake-readers everywhere. It's bound to be one of the top sellers this year. A literary fake masterpiece!"

Hot Dog going around the movie theater Ferris wheel..."Thevictorian makes my head spin. She seems to be putting on a show of being an author. The way this fake book turned out, I'm shocked she didn't demand that the author credit go to Alan Smithee."

Thursday, November 30, 2017

He Can Work It Out

Hick's freight container garage is still taking shape. A couple days ago, he did something else to it. I don't remember what. I kind of listen to him like I'm Charlie Brown and he's my teacher. He sent me a couple of pictures.

I'm pretty sure he was closing in the end walls. This being the end facing the gravel road. He also put on that metal skirting.

And this being the end facing down into our woods, with the BARn being out of frame to the right of this picture.

Today Hick put boards on the roof, in preparation for the metal roofing that he (and probably HOS) will install.

This picture was taken from over in front of the BARn. Hick got a lot of work done. With no help. When I drove by on the way to town, he was up on the roof, pulling those long boards up from the back of his truck. He had it parked over there with the boards stood on end. He'd thought of asking neighbor Tommy for help, but didn't trust Tommy to nail on the boards, nor use the tractor to hoist Hick up there in the bucket. Hick's pretty ingenious about figuring out ways to do things by himself.

He may have thought he was working by himself a couple weeks ago, but turns out he wasn't.

I don't remember if I used this picture already. But on November 21st, Hick had helpers. Or, as he put in the email with the picture, "Beatle bugs on my lumber." His spelling. Not mine.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Pit and the Penny YUM!

Val's encounter with the cheesecake did not end on Monday when the hippie tried to scam it from her. No siree, Bob! That cheesecake is most likely another instrument of Even Steven. Oh, I may have THOUGHT it was that funny encounter with the hippie meant to balance out the bad karma from the post office dude. But evidently, Even Steven had other intentions.

That night, I was relaxing with a late dessert in front of my New Delly screen in my dark basement lair. Let the record show that I have been leaving the light on. cheesecake looked delicious. It was chocolate, with a kind of red mixture on top. Not an actual swirl, not an actual layer, but something red mixed with the chocolate. I assumed it was the Chocolate Cherry slice, judging from the label, and I had selected it specifically for that reason.

I was about halfway through my cheesecake slice, savoring it, watching a live slot play video, when it happened. I took a bite, and immediately chomped on something crunchy. Not so much crunchy as hard and unforgiving.

"Oh, CRAP!" I thought. "I've broken off a piece of tooth. On CHEESECAKE!" You know how that is, right? You're feeding away in a frenzy, and bite down on a shard of enamel. Okay. Maybe not. Maybe you took exemplary care of your toofers. But every now and then, a piece of mine cracks off from around a filling. I hate it when that happens.

I spit out the offending shard and put it on the plate. It was covered with chocolate, so I couldn't see an actual tooth piece, but what else could it be? I searched around my mouth with my tongue, but could not find the location of missing molar part. Huh.

Of course I finished my piece of cheesecake! Did I mention that it was delicious? I just chewed more gingerly. Still didn't feel any broken tooth.

THAT'S what was I spit out! Not the dime. It's just a random coin that I grabbed to show the size of the THING that I bit into in my Walmart cheesecake! After soaking it in water overnight, I think it's a nut shell. Or a cherry pit. Here's the other side of it.

That's pretty sharp, don't you think? It could have done some damage to my mouth! Could have actually broken a tooth! I told Hick that I should complain to Walmart and show them my broken teeth and say that's what did it. Just joking, because that could bring bad karma, to lie like that for my own personal gain. Hick said I should tell them I went into anaphylactic shock because I have a nut allergy, and that's a nut shell. Not sure if he was joking. Probably. It's hard to tell. Hick was born without a sense of humor, you know. And I don't think they've perfected a transplant yet. can bet that I'm not throwing out the rest of the cheesecake.

In other news, yesterday my trip to town was bookended with a ladybug dive-bombing T-Hoe's driver's side mirror as I backed out of the garage, and a penny at my last stop. The ladybug was so fast that by the time I got my phone to take a picture, it had flitted away.

Here's the penny, though. A 1987 version. Not significant to me. It was right outside the gas station chicken store. It was NOT there when I went in. I'm always checking, you know. I was disappointed to find none. When I came out, my hands full of keys and 44 oz Diet Coke and two scratchers, I stepped over it and turned around, wondering how I was going to juggle that stuff in my hands to get my phone out.

I did it, though! I'm glad the woman and the man who separately entered after me did not come out and catch me, just in case they were the ones who dropped it. It was probably the guy ahead of me buying chicken, though. It was really my turn in line, but I waited and let him go ahead.

Even Steven seems to find a balance.


This was penny #63 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

That Hippie (Almost) Takes the Cake

As you may recall from yesterday, Val encountered another surly weirdo while line-waiting. She can't seem to catch a break from being berated by total (or in this case known) strangers. But you know ol' Even Steven. He's not one to let Val's weirdo life become unbalanced. Within the hour, he had begun righting the Bad Ship WeirdoTalk, in an effort to get Val's line-waiting life on even keel again.

I was over in Bill-Paying Town, waiting in line at Walmart. Again, I was second in line. There were actually three people ahead of me, but they were all together. It was an elderly lady sitting on a beeper cart, a young man putting the bags back in her basket, and a young lady roaming back and forth to the hot food display in the main aisle, bringing two cups of popcorn chicken to the register.

Once again, I was in no hurry. I grabbed the rubber divider thingy and put my stuff on the conveyor. The checker was a congenial sort, and held up a can of some product that might have been hair mousse. It was in a pinky-purple can with a little pointy top. "Well, I guess you're over 21, because we can't sell these to anybody under 21!"

"What? Why's that? It's just for my hair."

The young man helping her caught on. He looked kind of like Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. About the same size, maybe 10 pounds heavier and a couple years older, with the same bleached out long hair. He was wearing a blue and yellow tied-died t-shirt and cargo shorts on this 75-degree November day.

"Oh! I know...because it's like whippets! Like that stuff in the can! Um...REDDI-WIP!"

"That's not alcohol! Or a drug. Why can't they have it?" asked Grandma.

"They breathe it! The air in it that shoots it out! Nitrous!"

The checker nodded. "Uh huh. We can't sell it to them."

"I've done a lot of drugs in my time, but I've never done THAT, heh, heh. I know what it is, though."

I wasn't paying much attention. Just staying out of the way so that girl could go back for another popcorn chicken. I got the impression that this lady was a grandma getting help from her grandson and his girlfriend. Then I was jarred back into the present time by Dude speaking too me.

"Isn't that right?"

"I'm sorry. I wasn't listening."

"I told her, 'I think you're supposed to ring up that cheesecake on her bill, and then hand it to me!"

"Heh, heh! I don't think that's how it works."

"Didn't you hear? This is Buy a Hippie a Cheesecake Day!"

"I'd be more likely to buy you some Reddi-Wip!"

We both had a good laugh. I actually contemplated giving him that cheesecake! He was helping the old lady, and he was friendly, with a sense of humor, and wasn't begging, and not pretending to be anything but what he was. A hippie.

Let the record show that all that stopped me from bestowing that cheesecake upon him was the fact that I would have to put my stuff in T-Hoe and come back in to walk across the store and buy another one. We'd had cheesecake for Thanksgiving, and I'd given Genius some and Friend some and we'd all eaten some, and now it was the next week, and Hick and I were wanting more cheesecake.

Good thing I got a picture before it's all gone!