Sunday, September 23, 2018

Another Incident of Things That Go SPOOK in the Day

Looks like Val is not only a Weirdo Magnet, she's also harboring a hidden paranormal vortex.

You may recall that several months ago, Chinese condiments jumped off the shelf while Val was perusing Walmart's pickle and olive section. That time, I was on the aisle all alone.

This time, I had a witness, though I did not have her sign an affidavit for evidence. I got a picture, which is good enough proof for Genius, so it will have to satisfy any naysayers.

I only dashed into Walmart for few items. Two of which were Hawaiian Rolls and hot dog buns. I'd just turned my cart onto the bread aisle, and was looking for the freshest dates on the hot dog buns. Not touching them. Just leaning over to peer at the dates on packages stacked on the three shelves allotted to hot dog buns, having pulled my glasses down off my head to look through the bifocals.

I sensed someone behind me, and glanced around to see if I was in the way. No. A lady WAS behind me, but she was looking at the frozen dinners in the freezer case opposite the bread. As I turned back to mind my own business, I saw a loaf of bread shoot out at the other end of the aisle! I was startled, but also relieved, because that witness could see that I was nowhere near that fallen loaf, so I wouldn't be mentally blamed for it.

That's my witness, way down there at the end. I waited until she went by, so as not to look like a freak taking a picture of floor-bread. I think it must be a loaf of raisin bread, because that section is past the regular breads, down towards the tortillas and muffins and donuts and snack cakes. I didn't go all the way down there to find out. It's best to avoid temptation when shopping before lunch.

When I zoomed in on my picture, it looks like that loaf came from the top shelf. There might even be another purplish colored package ready to take the plunge. I did try for more of a closeup with my phone camera. And when looking at THIS picture...

I noticed ANOTHER fallen item on the floor. I did not see this one jump. Maybe I have a doppelganger who went down that aisle before me. I think that flat package must be a box of snack cakes or honey buns.

Is this some kind of metaphysical phenomenon? Like the belief of some former students that you can balance an egg on its end during the equinox? My last SPOOKING incident at Walmart was June 24th, three days after the summer solstice. And this latest incident was September 21st, one day before the autumn equinox. How can anyone possibly balance an egg on its end if loaves of bread can't even balance themselves on Walmart shelves?

I don't know what's going on here. I have shopped for more years than I care to reveal, and I don't remember stuff flying off shelves like this.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Fortuitous HapPENCEstance

This week gave me a penny early, on SUNDAY, September 16th, at Waterside Mart. Good thing I put my phone in my pocket to capture the evidence!

I wasted no dime in documenting this discovery, and snatching it for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

A face-down 1999, deceptively shiny for Ol' Abe to be so long-in-the-tooth.

I wasn't really dwelling on finding more, but THURSDAY, September 20, a bit of good luck fell right out of EmBee's mouth and into Val's hand.

Of course it was face down. I seem to get more than my fair share of that kind. Then again, I seem to get more than my fair share of pennies. Thanks, Littleton Coin Co, for sending me this FREE mint condition 2018. So beautiful that it looks as if somebody tried to pilfer it before it got to me. Or else those post office scanning machines are only meant for dime thickness.



Of course I found more pennies for my Future Pennyillionaire collection after having this edition of the Saturday CENTSus done and set to automatically publish. Uh huh. Just one scant hour from going to press, I was gifted with TWO pennies at Orb K on SATURDAY, September 22nd.

While waiting for four angst-spewing clerks to finish up their personal drama, I spied this one at the junction of Mounds and Butterfinger. Sorry for no closeup. Those clerks had me so discombobulated that I forgot to tap the TAKE THE PICTURE BUTTON on my cell phone. I had it zoomed in and everything, but the gal who came back with my ticket said, "Here it is!" Sheesh! She could have taken the money I had laid on the counter already and let me finish my thought (perhaps illicit) picture-taking.

This one was so dirtied with tar or some substance that it almost looks like a dime when you zoom in. I could barely tell that it was face down. A 2015.

In contrast, the 1995 face-up Abe that I captured outside looks positively shiny for his age.

I would have nabbed this one on the way in, but a man and woman with a dog on a leash were kind of monopolizing the area to stay out of the rain. They were gone when I came out. You can see the paw prints. I think it was a pit bull/heeler mix, from the stocky body, size, and big standup ears, black, with a peppering of white mixed in.

I might have to start letting these Saturday CENTSus posts languish until I'm safely back home from town, and then manually publish them. Of course if I do that, I'm sure to return home penny-less.


For 2018: Penny  # 94, 95, 96, 97.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 14.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 4.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 172, 173, 174, 175.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Dime # 20.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Nickel # 4.

Friday, September 21, 2018

How Much Is That Doily in the Washer?

Hick has a new item at his Storage Unit Store. Not so much a NEW item, as a DIFFERENT item. That is in fact pretty old. Uh huh. Hick does not live by gun sales alone. He has branched out into...are you ready for this...hold onto your (hopefully not-smelly hat)...


That's what Hick calls them, anyway, although I don't consider some of them to be actual doilies. A few look more like embroidered handkerchiefs. Or table runners.

Anyhoo...Hick has been sorting through his original hoard of the 18 storage units he bought, and found some doilies. They were not in sellable condition, so Hick brought them to the house to put in MY washing machine, using MY Tide, and OUR well water and OUR electricity. I really think I need to write up a pro-rated bill for his business expenses.

Oh, yeah. Hick also used MY dryer. I know. I was shocked, too. When I yelled upstairs to him, "You didn't put those doilies in the dryer, did you?" Hick affirmed that he had already done so. HE says they came out just fine. I would not have recommended it. In my mind, doilies are lacy and fragile and need at least to be hung to dry, if not hand-washed.

I might run a load of plain, detergented water through my washer before putting my clothes in there. We left home at 9:30 that morning, and Hick had put his doilies in the washer to simmer. When we returned at 4:00, he said, "The water's all brown! I'm going to run them through another load!"

Hick has a customer who LOVES doilies. He's going to sell her a box of them for $20. She'll be getting a bargain, and Hick only has $5 in that batch.

We were away on a surprise casino trip while Hick was doily-laundering. Of course we had to stop by Goodwill, where Hick bought a big bag of DOILIES! He said they were in good hygienic shape, and did not need to be washed before he could make money off them. Let the record show that Hick left the car running for me, with the radio on.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I'd Say She Deserves to be Called a Rockcar

Tuesday was a bright, beautiful (though hot at 91) almost-fall day to drive to town for a Dairy Queen lunch.

Oh, I didn't have a Dairy Queen lunch. I was merely passing by on my way to the pharmacy. When I spied another lady who was probably going to regret driving to Dairy Queen for lunch.

Dairy Queen used to have a problem with people running over their blacktop curb entering the parking lot. You'd think they solved the problem by putting those big rocks at the corners, so people could see where the drive started.

Apparently not.

I feel bad for taking this picture. Let the record show that the driver was NOT standing there when I lifted my phone, but by the time it snapped the photo, she had walked around the back of her car. To her credit, she did NOT give me the stinkeye.

I don't even want to laugh at this scenario. Maybe if she was a know-it-all Millennial, driving distracted by her cell phone. I have a feeling this is somebody's grandma, retired, maybe picking up lunch for herself and her husband, cutting the corner a little too sharply while keeping an eye on those people coming out of the Hardee's drive-thru. Or maybe an out-of-towner, who got caught up in the right-turn-only lane, planning to make a big square through Dairy Queen's lot to get back on the main road.

As I left, a flatbed tow truck was there, lights flashing, with the Tow Driver walking around the car, looking at it. I don't know HOW he expected to get that car on his tilting flatbed, without scraping the bejeebers out of its undercarriage. Hick said he should have brought the regular tow truck, with a hook, and he could have hoisted up the back end and set it down off the rock. Maybe blog buddy Kathy will know, since her HeWho has tow truck experience.

Maybe this will help you understand why I am so paranoid about other Backroadsians on the roadways with me. I only made two stops, and after this one, I was almost sideswiped by a mid-size gray junker at the Orb K entrance. Seems that some people don't understand that a center turn lane is for making LEFT turns, not RIGHT turns across the regular lane filled with flowing traffic.

YIKES! Upon zooming in...I think maybe she IS giving me the stinkeye!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Uninvited Quests

Hick and I are pretty set in our ways. We do our own thing all day, and unofficially check in at night, before supper. Monday evening, I was on the phone with Genius in my dark basement lair when I heard Hick stumping around over my head, as if on ankle bones instead of feet. Nothing new. That's how he walks.

When I ascended from my lair, Hick was suspiciously absent. I set out the leftover chicken pot pie, not wanting to warm it until I knew when to expect him. Just before 7:00, Hick showed up in his orange and white floral print swim trunks. That's odd, because he swims in his blue SpongeBob boxers. Hick said he'd been scrubbing Poolio, with HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) manning the filter thingy and dumping the basket from outside. Funny how now that Poolio is being closed for the winter, Hick decides to clean him up. Anyhoo...that explained the regular swim trunks. Allaying my suspicions that Hick had been entertaining a rural harem (perhaps composed of night-wandering New York heart-broken gals).

I said I was going to warm up supper, and Hick went to take a shower, as he always does after a dip in Poolio. Which seems kind of redundant to me. He came back to the living room a few minutes later, set for the evening, in only his tighty-whities, and reclined in the La-Z-Boy, waiting to be called for supper.

A couple minutes later, I heard a knocking at the front door. Huh. That is very unusual. Nobody belongs up in our labyrinth of gravel roads. We weren't expecting anyone. Hick said, "I don't know if somebody knocked, or if it was one of the dogs wagging their tail."

"Oh, it was a knock." I figured it was probably HOS, back on the 4-wheeler, having forgotten to tell Hick something. I continued dipping out chicken pot pie into bowls for microwaving, separating the top crust to warm in the oven. I assumed that Hick would answer the door, thinking nothing of his tighty-whities, since I'm so used to him running around like that, a scantily-clad king in his castle.

Well, run he did! Hick popped out of the La-Z-Boy and trotted around the short couch and into the bedroom. "Gotta get my pants!" Heh, heh. Never mind that by now, it was 7:30, dusk had fallen, and the inside of the living room was lit up like a department store window, for the viewing pleasure of whoever was at the front door, with its two window panels on each side.

It was some lady on a quest for her lost dog. I heard her voice. Asking Hick if he'd seen a dog. Next thing I know, with chicken pot pie bubbling in the microwave and crust hopefully crisping in the oven, Hick came back inside and said he was driving the Gator down to the creekside cabin, to look for this lady's dog. She had just moved in across the creek from us on Saturday, and she and her husband accidentally backed over their dog's foot. It ran off, and being new here, she was afraid it couldn't find its way home.

Let the record show that our dogs have been barking their fool heads off every night, so they might know something of its whereabouts. Or maybe it came up on the porch to eat their dog food. Anyhoo...Hick didn't find her dog, but we'll keep an eye out for it. Hick said it's black and white, and looks like a collie. So I imagine it's some version of a border collie.

I feel bad for that dog. And maybe a little bit bad for Hick. When he came back in the house, he rang the doorbell. "It works. I don't know why people always knock."

Indeed. I don't know a lot of things. Like why Hick sits around in his tighty-whities.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Val Is a Crazist

On Sunday afternoon, I went to the main post office. No, I was NOT looking for a can of sardines in tomato sauce that some kind soul might have left out for me. Uh uh. I was dropping off my DISH bill, because I pay it by check through the mail, and for some reason it takes about 10 days to show up as being credited to my account. Can't have Val getting her innernets cut off!

Anyhoo...I could have dropped it in the drive-thru mailbox in Backroads, but I don't really trust the dead-mouse-smelling post office as much as the main branch. Besides, that would cost me a day in the delivery race, because the deadline at the main branch is 11:30, where they load it all on trucks for transport to the regional center. You may recall that Val is not an early riser, so I wanted to make sure it went out Monday.

The pick up time is 11:00 at the dead-mouse-smelling post office, which I think means it gets hauled around with mail pickups throughout the county, to be sent off the following day from the main post office. It's not like they send a truck over there to get mail from that specific box, and rush it to the main post office to go out by 11:30.

I prefer to take my mail inside the lobby and drop it through the slot in the wall. There are two drive-thru mailboxes at the main post office, but I have to drive on the wrong side of the street to reach them, not having a passenger to do my bidding.

There are 10-15 parking spaces at the main post office. Here, I'll re-run the long shot of my sardine can find, just so you can picture it.

On a Sunday afternoon, that place is deserted. I guess nobody else has trouble with their DISH bill, or checks their post office box on a Sunday afternoon. Anyhoo...I pulled in, thinking, YEAH, nobody is going to park next to me and keep T-Hoe's door from opening all the way! I had my choice of every single parking space, but I took the one closest to the door.

As I opened T-Hoe's door to step out, I saw a person crest the hill by the railroad tracks and the fire house, and start down a zig-zag dirt path. You can actually see the path in that picture, past the flagpole. He was at least 50 yards away, wearing a white baseball cap, a light-colored polo shirt, light shorts with pockets, and white tennis shoes. Though I don't think he was coming to or from tennis, because there are no courts around there. He was neither old nor young.

You know Val, always suspicious of anybody entering her surroundings. I was a bit wary of going in, with nobody else around, and This Guy headed in my direction. As I've mentioned, I've seen unvehicled people cutting through this parking area often, without utilizing the post office itself. So I was already putting myself on hyper-alert as I slid past T-Hoe's running board to the pavement.


Well, now. I suppose it behooved me to return a greeting. No one else was around. This Guy was obviously talking to me.


Normally, I would not engage, but my Weirdo Magnet has been less powerful lately, and I was caught off guard. Besides, it's not like I was inviting This Guy to high tea. I merely returned his greeting.

"Are you in nursing?"

WHAT IN THE NOT HEAVEN? What kind of crazy-talk was THAT? What was it even supposed to mean? Was he injured, and looking for medical attention? Do I look like a nurse? It's not like I was wearing scrubs, or a retro white uniform dress and white tights and crepe-soled white shoes and a cardboard hat pinned to my lovely lady-mullet. People stop me often in stores because they think I work there, but nobody has ever asked if I'm a nurse. Surely he was not inquiring as to whether I made a living or hobby of suckling infants! That would be just creepy. And now, I had GREETED him, and he was heading this way! Looks like my Weirdo Magnet had found a power source.


I shook my head as I went inside. How do I get myself into these predicaments? Surely there was a camera somewhere in that lobby, or outside. For later evidence, should anything inopportune befall me. I did not rush right back out the door. I knew that at the rate This Guy had been walking, he would be just about to T-Hoe. I went down along the wall of post office boxes, looking at the assorted sizes. Noted that they had two recycle bins sitting there, but no wastebasket that could take a sardine tin off one's hands. When I figured that This Guy would be past the post office, or leaning up against T-Hoe waiting on me...I went back to the glass doors and out.

He was gone! Whew!

But here's the thing. When I had gotten out with my bill, I almost didn't lock T-Hoe's door as I went inside. I knew This Guy would hear it click, and I didn't want to seem rude. I talked to him when normally I would not. All because...he was a different race than I. You know how things are these days. I almost did not follow my self-professed safety rules of being an old lady in an isolated area with a stranger. All because I did not want to be perceived as racist.

Val IS a CRAZIST, though. So don't go asking her about nursing, out of the blue, when you don't know her, and nobody else is around. She just might ignore you.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Less Traceable Than a Melted Icicle

If looks could kill, Hick would be feasting on casseroles right now.

This morning (Saturday) I stopped by Save A Lot for sour cream and ice cream. Not to be combined in the same recipe. As the checker handed me the receipt, I noticed that the bagging counter was full. It runs the length of the front window, empty boxes underneath for your self-filling pleasure, and five metal stands holding plastic bags spaced equidistantly along the top.

Being a Saturday morning (or at least before 1:00 p.m.), there were a lot of customers shopping and self-bagging. All bag stands were occupied. I didn't want a box, because I would be stashing my cold items in the soft-side cooler I keep in T-Hoe's rear, and lifting them out again to carry into the house. OH! Lucky me! I saw a lady who appeared to be done. She was talking on her phone, five or six bags already in the bottom of her cart, and what looked like a 10-lb bag of potatoes. Nobody puts a 10-lb bag of potatoes in another bag.

Since this lady was done, I pushed my cart over to use that bagging stand. Phoney didn't get out of the way, though. She kept standing there at the end of her cart. I could still reach the bags. I only needed two. One for the individual ice creams, and one for the two tubs of sour cream. It only took about 30 seconds. I could hear Phoney saying that she had just checked out, but what else did she need to go back for.

Then Phoney hung up, and turned to me as I was snatching my final bag off the rack.


Phoney shot me the most lethal stink-eye I have ever observed. And that's after a 28-year career in teaching!

Then Phoney put a couple of items in a bag. I have no idea what they were. I pushed my empty cart back to the cart area, and left out the other door, rather than backtracking past Phoney to the end where T-Hoe was parked nearest.

I guess I was supposed to stand in the way of other customers entering and exiting the store, while waiting for Phoney to complete her phone call and resume bagging, even though I didn't notice anything left to bag. I thought she was done. She was NOT actively bagging when I moved in to use two bags. She was standing there talking on the phone. Not even touching her groceries.

Was I wrong? Did I deserve getting whacked by her peepers?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Hick Needs Curb Feelers

Just like you can't teach an old dog new's hard to get vintage Hick on the right path. He's always running into things. There was that suitcase (left sitting by the end table for a couple months) that he inexplicably fell over one night. I can verify that if a Hick falls in a living room and no one is there...he still makes a tremendous noise.

I understand that Hick is blind in his left eye. And that his belly eclipses his feet. But that's no excuse for running into things that have been in the same place for 25 years.

A few nights ago, I had just settled down in my dark basement lair, a bowl of chili at my left elbow, and an ice cream sandwich in my right hand. cream. Save A Lot has been out of my individual ice cream cups, so I had to take a lesser treat, and get Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwiches. That's the kind with a strawberry end, a chocolate end, and vanilla in-between. As I recall, I'd just finished the chocolate end when up in the kitchen there came such a clatter that I PUT DOWN MY ICE CREAM!

Seriously. I was afraid Hick was hurt. I shoved my bifocals on top of my head, took the baggie of ice off my knee, and rushed to the bottom of the basement steps at my fastest speed. I didn't look down, lest I see a snail passing me up.


"Yeah. I'm fine."

"What was that noise?"

"Oh, I hit the scale again when I walked in the kitchen."

From the sound of it, he punted that scale through the uprights from 63 yards out. The scale (and various incarnations of it) has sat beside FRIG II, and formerly the original FRIG, since we moved in. The scale is not in the way. There's a lip of the wall that sticks out about six inches. The living room carpet switches to linoleum. I can't imagine how Hick would walk so close to FRIG II to hit that scale.

I guess this must have happened a time or two when I wasn't home, or I would have recognized the sound. Maybe Hick needs a set of curb feelers for Christmas.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Some Days, Val Shows a Lack of Common CENTS

MONDAY, September 10th, I spent the morning making chili. I wrote out a check for some dues The Pony paid to a chemistry organization out of his casino winnings. With our phone reception almost barless at home, I figured I'd do the mobile deposit in town with a better signal.

Once the chili was done, I put it in containers, thinking about how much my mom liked my chili, and how I used to set aside a container for her. My first stop in town was Save A Lot, for saltine crackers to go with the chili. I get them at Save A Lot, because that's where Mom got hers, due to a young Niecy declaring they were the BEST, with just the right amount of salt.

The mobile deposit of my check into The Pony's account didn't work on the Save A Lot parking lot. I suppose it was because the front and back pictures of the check were taken on T-Hoe's console, in the bright sun. So I set that check aside to do my cracker-shopping, planning to try again at Country Mart, where I went for the sole purpose of visiting their scratcher-dispensing machine.

The sky was cloudy by the time I parked at Country Mart. The check was mobilely deposited without incident. I climbed out of T-Hoe to go inside, and before I even hit the sidewalk, I saw it:

In case you can't spy my 2004 face down Abe Lincoln, he's in line with the corner of the building, next to that little grease spot beside the big grease spot.

I took my pictures and started towards the door, but quicker than you could say The Pony Thevictorian, I found ANOTHER penny.

Right there in line with the corner, in the middle of the photo. This time, Ol' Abe was looking up at me in all his 2001 glory. Which wasn't very glorious. Little did I know that both pennies were visible in the first picture, if you zoom in enough.

Looks like the shoppers at Country Mart need to have their cars checked for leaking oil.

The week progressed without any more penny-sightings. On THURSDAY, September 13th, I had some business in town, and took the boys' letters to mail one day early. I stopped by Waterside Mart to get some scratchers for Genius's letter. My favorite parking places were taken. I've been know to drive on by when that happens. But this was on a direct route to the post office, and I needed those tickets for Genius.

You know how it is when you disrupt your routine. Everything seems foreign. You don't do things by rote without thinking. I parked T-Hoe in front of Waterside Mart's door. Something seemed amiss when I got out, but I chalked it up to my break in the routine. I even hesitated at the glass door, thinking it might open by itself like Walmart doors. THAT'S how much I was discombobulated.

Once inside, I requested my tickets, and THEN realized what was missing. I'd left my phone in T-Hoe. And right there on the floor to the right of the register was a penny! As if that wasn't bad enough, I glanced left, and saw ANOTHER penny over there! With no phone for a pic to show it happened! I picked up those pennies anyway.

This is the best I can do. After-the-fact evidence. Both face down. The dull penny from the right of the register, a 1991, and the shiny penny from the left of the register, a 2001.


Of course The Universe had to mess with me again. A scant hour and 15 minutes before this edition of the Saturday CENTSus was scheduled to publish...I opened T-Hoe's door at the Backroads Casey's, and found this:

Good luck seeing it! I know where it is, and even I don't see it in this picture, until I zoom way in. I'll give you a clue: it's a dime, not a penny. So it blends in with the pavement. Here's a better clue: it's between the top edge of T-Hoe's door shadow, and that petrified strip of stretched-out gum, which I think probably happened at the heel of my own shoe over a month ago.

It was face down, and upon looking for the date (2000) I noticed that FDR's face was all skinned up. Don't tell me you knew that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the President on the dime. When I consulted my estranged BFF Google, as soon as I typed in "whose head," the auto-fill suggestions popped up "is on the dime." So there. Apparently there are a lot of people just as dumb as me.

Whew! I just beat the deadline! Got home and completed this by 2:17. And no, resetting the automatic publish time is NOT as much fun as trying to beat the deadline.

For 2018: Penny  # 90, 91, 92, 93.
For 2018: Dime  # 14.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 4.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 168, 169, 170, 171.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is Dime # 20.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Nickel # 4.

Friday, September 14, 2018

He Wasn't Even Wearing His French Wh*re Perfume

Hick got screwed at the auction. According to him. Got screwed royally. Which is probably the only thing royal that will very happen to Hick.

He and his Auction Buddy have been taking items up to a city auction near our old favorite casino. I think they did this for three or four weeks. They'd been going there to buy stuff for months, but the selling idea was recent.

First of all, they were disappointed that their stuff always went up last, after people had spent their money, and the crowd had dwindled. They could deal with this though, because as Hick said, "The sellers who've been there longer get their stuff put up first. That's only right. The longer we go, the more our stuff will get moved ahead of newer people."

Hick was not thrilled with his sales at this auction. He had sorted through his stuff, and taken some of the higher-end items with hopes of making more there than at his Storage Unit Store. Still, he was willing to ride it out, and see if he started making more in future weeks.

Well. NOW Hick has been screwed (royally) by that auction place.

"We're done! My buddy and me ain't goin' back there! Last Tuesday, there were only 3 people left in the audience when my stuff came up. Usually, the auctions let you take your stuff back if you decide not to sell. So I went to what was left on the table, and started gathering it up. I didn't take it up there to GIVE it away! The guy in charge told me to stop. He said he had to sell it. That's bull. Neither of us is ever selling there again!"

So...Tuesday rolled around this week. Hick had told me he was staying home, that his Auction Buddy was going up to get their money. That auction pays them a week behind. Auction Buddy was taking his wife and daughter, dropping them at the casino, and then going over to collect his money and Hick's. But Tuesday, the plan changed, and Hick decided to go along with him, since Auction Buddy's family decided not to go.

"Huh. I'm sure you'll still be looking to buy something."

"Oh, yeah. I'll buy. I've gotten some really good deals there."

"From people whose stuff gets put out at the end, probably, when nobody is left to bid."

Hick did not respond to that part.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A Dark Day (Some Call It Night) in HICKstory

"You might say I had a little experience coming home from the auction Saturday night."

Well, if you're like me, that gets your appetite all whetted for more info. Funny how Hick didn't bother to tell me of his adventures until two days later.

Hick gets home from that auction between 10:00 and 11:00. It's up north, so he comes in on a different blacktop county road, and down a two-mile section of gravel road that goes in front of HOS's (Hick's Oldest Son) house, along where Crazy Stick Road Man lives.

"I turned off on the gravel road, and thought I saw something. It was a girl with a suitcase! Just standing there, crying, trying to talk on a cell phone. I stopped to see if she was okay. You know the phones don't work out here. I put my window down, and asked what was wrong. She said, 'I came here from New York, for the love of my life, and he threw me out.' 

You could see that she was upset. She was maybe 29 or 30, with blond hair. Didn't have any idea where she was. I had to ask twice if she was all right. She said she had called the police. I sat in the car for five minutes, with the window down, just trying to talk to her. Nobody showed up, so I called the dispatcher.

I couldn't go off and leave her there. She couldn't walk to town. She didn't even know which direction town was! After about 10 more minutes, a deputy showed up. He was really calm and polite to her, trying to find out what happened. 

About five minutes after THAT, the K9 deputy showed up. He got out, and was a real asshole! He immediately started quizzing her, all condescending. He said, 'Well, what do you expect US to do? You HAVE been drinking.' She did smell like alcohol.

The first deputy said, 'All I can do is take you to a motel.' Here she was, six miles from town, after 10:00 at night, no idea which way to town or what roads to take, without phone service. He finally did take her to the Super 8. At least that was the plan when I left."

Okay, Hick is a nice guy, and he stopped to help. But what if the police hadn't shown up? THEN what was he going to do with that gal? She might have been a MAD STABBER for all he knew! It's not like he could bring her home for safekeeping. And if he let her in his car to drive her to town, you never know what she might have accused him of.

At least this adventure worked out okay. For Hick, anyway. I don't know what happened to the gal.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Heh, heh! Get it? The MOMENt. Like The Omen. But with an M. And a t.

Is it a bad omen if your chili sets off the smoke detector?

I don't mean that while you're cooking it, the alarm in the kitchen goes off. That could be caused by something on the burner getting charred. Or like when you open up the oven, and all that heat rushes out. Those kind of things happen pretty regularly for Val. She does not take it personally.

However...Monday morning I cooked up a pot of chili. Monday evening around 7:30, I went upstairs to take some of it out of FRIG II and warm it for my supper. Hick was gone to an auction, so I just ladled some out of the pot into a saucepan. Once it was hot (not boiling, mind you, just very warm), I put it in a styrofoam bowl for transport down to my dark basement lair.

There are 13 steps. At step #8, I stop to transfer whatever I'm carrying from my left hand to my right. That's because there is no rail, and I hang onto the bases of the banisters with my right hand until my position puts them over my head. From there, I use my left hand to balance myself with part of the framing around the stairs for two steps, and then grab the metal support pole holding up the main floor for the last three.

Let the record show that there's a smoke detector on that framing around the stairs. In the area above the 11th step.

There I was, holding a tray with a styrofoam bowl of chili, a ramekin holding 2 oz of shredded cheddar, and a mini cup of Caramel Swirl ice cream...when the smoke detector BEEPED. Not a full-fledged GET OUT NOW YOU ARE GOING TO BE INCINERATED steady pattern of alarm. Just a single BEEP.

After my heart settled down from the shock, I assumed that this smoke detector might need a new battery. I waited for more BEEPS after lengthy silences, but none came. Not a single one. So I guess that theory can be discarded.

Seriously. My chili is not even spicy. I can't believe it set off the smoke detector when I walked under it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Maily Taley

When I was a kid, we had this board game called Feeley Meeley. Not so much a board game, as a cardboard box with holes in each side. The object was to reach into one of those orifices (which were lined with flaps of felt so you couldn't peek inside) and pull out the most correct items, which were pictured on cards.

I don't remember how successful I was, but I'm going to say I won a lot, considering my opponents would be my mom and my sister the little future ex-mayor's wife, who was younger than me. Also, I might have sometimes tossed in extra objects while they weren't looking, which were not part of the game...

Anyhoo...the point here is that you might have known what you were expecting to be in that box, but occasionally you'd be surprised.

Kind of like my trip to the main post office every Friday. I expect to park, go inside to mail the boys' letters, and return without incident. However...

Last Friday, I put those letters through a slot in the wall. I didn't feel a need to go to the counter, because I had not included anything extra in either envelope. I know that I can get two scratchers and two pieces of paper in Genius's letter without it requiring extra postage.

I started my walk back to T-Hoe. I park up at the far end, because it's less likely that somebody will park too close to me there, and prevent T-Hoe's door from opening fully. Also, it's easier to back out, without a stream of cars driving past me looking for parking.

As I got closer to T-Hoe, I decided to share with you an object that I don't routinely see at the main post office. Why should I be the only one to appreciate it on the way in, when I could share my good fortune with a handful of readers as I returned?

I guarantee you that if I'd drawn such an object in a game of Feeley Meeley, I most certainly would have grasped this one in no time. Hopefully not cutting my fingers off in the process.

It was an empty sardine can, by cracky! Sardines in tomato sauce, from the looks of it. Which is SO VERY WRONG, because everyone knows that sardines should be in mustard sauce!

I have no idea why this tin was here. Surely nobody opened up a care package for a family member before mailing it, and snacked all willy-nilly on ill-gotten canned fish! I would hope that if they'd given such a treat to a begging bum that he at least was provided with a set of plasticware, lest he use his hands (possibly not all that clean) for utensils. AND if a good samaritan had offered that meal to a stray cat, couldn't he at least have dumped them out, so Kitty didn't have to lick the sharp edges?

Sorry for oversharing. I wasn't trying to lure you into a game of "post office." Really.

Monday, September 10, 2018

She Sprouts in Beauty

Not gonna lie, we've had more than our fair share of rain over the weekend. Since we live high on a hill, no bad came of the inundation, the only casualty being one of those orange-and-white striped marker thingies that keep people from driving off the side of the low water bridge. Of course the bridge was underwater for a couple days. We have an alternate route. So we escaped injury and inconvenience. We were very lucky.

We were also served up an inimitable treasure, which I discovered Saturday morning on the back porch.

What? You don't see the treasure? It's no wonder you guys haven't collected 167 pennies in the last 18 months!

There is Mother Nature's masterpiece. Dead center in the first photo.

I have no idea what's going on here. We've never grown a fungus on the porch, much less overnight. The previous evening, I had tossed the juice from a jar of dill pickles there, and also the brine from a jar of green olives. I usually dump them over the porch rail, but it was raining, by cracky, and I didn't want to melt, seeing as how my sweetness level is out of control.

Surely those fluids had nothing to do with the sprouting of the fungi. The deluge would have washed it all away in minutes. I suppose the conditions in the dirt in the cracks of the porch boards were just right.

Looks like it might be time for Hick (or his minion HOS) to replace some porch boards.

The bright color on such a drab day caught my eye, and made me wax poetic. Actually, it made me was plagiaretic.

She sprouts in beauty, in the night
In rainy times, and starless skies
And all that's best of dark, no light
Meet in her whorls, I realize
Thus risen with no eyes in sight
To party on like all fungis

HEY! Looks like it's called Dacryopinax spathularia.

And it's EDIBLE! Other links showed that it's sometimes used in a dish called Buddha's Delight. Well. It might have delighted Buddha, but to me, it's a nightmare!

That's not happenin'. I'm not even going to touch it.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The One That Got Away

Since people don't shop much at flea markets during a deluge while under flash flood warnings...Hick went to an estate auction Saturday. He thought he had another golden frame for my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel. I was informed by text at 12:56.

"I'm at auction at REDACTED's mom's I think Mabel will like this frame I'll try to get"

At 1:08 there was another message.

"Didn't get it 55.00"

"That's okay. She was never crazy about REDACTED anyway."

That's kind of a relief, because Babbling Hick would no doubt have spouted off too much information one of these days, and let it slip that he got the frame from a person known to both Mabel and us.

I suppose people pay more for frames at estate auctions than they do at regular weekly auctions. Or in this case, I'm inclined to believe that they were paying for the painting as well. I actually like that painting (or print, can't tell from this dim photo) more than the frame. This frame doesn't look like real wood to me. There's something too perfect about it. No chips or flaws. It looks like it was pressed out by a machine. Maybe they all are. This one just didn't appeal to me.

It doesn't really matter anyway. Hick didn't get it, and he didn't get it for MABEL, not for me.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Not a Very CENTSational Week for Val

Only one single solitary penny was harvested by Val this week. Found at Orb K on TUESDAY, September 4th.

Almost missed it. Walked right by on the way inside. Lucky for me, the sun revealed its presence on the way back to T-Hoe.

It was a 1975 face-down copper, put there just for me!

Either I'm not worthy of pennies right now, or there's a penny-burglar on the loose. If I come across that cent-nabber, I'm willing to share lunch. Hope he likes a crap sandwich. I also hope he's dressed like The Hamburglar. Because not only would that make him easier to spot...
It would look SO COOL!

For 2018: Penny  # 89.
For 2018: Dimes  still at # 13.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 4.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 167.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Dime # 19.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Nickel # 4.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Life is All About the Timing. And Driving Undistracted.

Let the record show that Val no longer rises at 4:50 a.m., as she did for the last 18 years of her working life. I'm barely drifting into REM sleep at that time now. When I first retired, I kept more normal hours, and was off to town around 9:00 a.m. for my 44 oz Diet Coke. These days, I'm lucky to leave here before 1:00, and sit down to lunch by 2:30. On days that I go to Walmart or the bank, I don't get home until 3:00 or 3:30.

This afternoon (Thursday, as I'm writing this), I got a text from Hick at 4:23.

"Are you okay there is a bad wreck county road is blocked"

"I'm fine."

"Ok bad wreck no traffic either way from around prison"

"Could be the sharp curve, or prison people pulling out trying to merge, or an escape, or the usual idiots crossing the center line."

"I'm at car shop and he says it's a garbage truck and two cars."

"Oh, no. There goes our low trash bill."

Let the record show that this was our trash day, things being delayed one day from the holiday.

Hick sent the text at 4:23, so I have no idea when the accident occurred, for there to be responders at the scene, blocking traffic both ways. We both travel that 3-mile stretch of road every day.

Sometimes, it's a good thing that The Universe has synchronized its meddling in your life. Like making sure you're sitting in your dark basement lair instead of driving along a 3-mile stretch of blacktop.


On the way to town this morning, I saw some new skid marks going off the road on the right side. Here's my theory: the garbage truck was headed out of town, and was either too slow, or perhaps stopped, and some impatient ignoramus tried to pass on the curve, and hit somebody coming the other direction.


The story was just in the local online paper 30 minutes ago! I was somewhat correct...

"The report states that the accident occurred at approximately 3:35 p.m. when DRIVER ONE, 34, of BILL PAYING TOWN, was traveling west on THE COUNTY ROAD east of A LITTLE TURNOFF. A vacant 2018 Peterbilt 337 trash truck was parked on the right shoulder of the road and partially blocking the westbound lane, according to the report.

The 2016 GMC Terrain driven by DRIVER ONE struck the rear of the empty truck, causing her vehicle to rotate and cross the center of the roadway.

A third vehicle, a 2010 Toyota Prius driven by DRIVER TWO, 42, of BACKROADS was approaching in the opposite direction from DRIVER ONE and struck the rear of her vehicle. Two passengers of DRIVER TWO's vehicle, PASSENGER ONE, 74, and PASSENGER TWO, 72, both of Oregon, were injured in the collision; PASSENGER ONE received moderate injuries while PASSENGER TWO received minor injuries. Both were transported by ambulance to Mercy Hospital.

DRIVER ONE received minor injuries in the accident and was privately transported to the Health Center in BILL PAYING TOWN.

Damage to the GMC Terrain and Toyota Prius are listed as totalled; damage to the Peterbilt 337 is listed as minor."

So...I was kind of right, except the trash truck was headed INTO town, and the driver causing the crash might possibly have been inattentive rather than an ignoramus. I missed the part about the trash truck being driverless and parked.

One thing's for sure. I'd rather be driving a GMC Terrain than a Toyota Prius.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Universe Synchronizes Its Meddling in Val's Life

Sure is funny how coincidences work. Funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha. Don't be expecting any laughs, because I don't have the right raw material to work with today.

Yes, the very day after I'd smugly congratulated myself on not having to deal with an issue like blog buddy Joe's insurance woes, I received notice of my own in the mailbox. Such a coincidence.

AND, two days after digging up a month-old picture of Hick's progress painting his Freight Container Garage...I got a text from Hick with a picture of current progress painting his Freight Container Garage. Let the record show that I did not mention that picture or garage in the interim.

Sometimes, The Universe makes sure you are on the right wavelength, I guess.

Hick prefers not to paint the higher-up sections. So he hired HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) to stand in the bucket of the tractor and be lifted up to cover those lofty areas. Looks like Hick is keeping with a gas station theme. This is the back side of the Freight Container Garage, I think. Where the big doors are for driving stuff inside. The smaller people-door is on the front.

I don't know much about painting, and I don't know about your opinion, but that particle-board wall looks mighty thirsty to me! I would think a primer was needed, or it's going to take more than one coat of paint.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

It's Better When I Get to Order Off the Menu

As I write this, it's Tuesday, and Val is not having a good day. Some people might call it a real crap sandwich of a day. Oh, not if you're a high-class snob who lifts your pinky-finger to sip exotic teas, and eats caviar on toast points, and rides around in a limo with a jar of Grey Poupon in the glove compartment. But if you're Val's people, that's what you might call it.

Val's crap sandwich is not contained between two soft rolls. Not-Heaven, no! Who do you think she is, Heidi's grandmother? Val's crap sandwich has moldy bread, tooth-chippingly stale, but thankfully comes without au jus (because it IS a crap sandwich, you know, and nobody wants to think about that kind of jus). It's bad enough that the main component of the crap sandwich has the consistency of potted meat, just yearning to ooze out the sides of the moldy stale bread, and drip onto your (of course) white shirt.

The sides on a plate of crap sandwich ain't that great, either. Not a crunchy baby dill, but an unseemly sweet gherkin. No sour-cream-and-onion chips, only Nacho Doritos that smell like vomit. Or perhaps a flaming Carolina Reaper. Hot enough to singe the epithelial cells right off Val's esophagus, and set her taste buds retracting like frightened turtles' heads, to pack their bags and abscond for parts unknown.

Yes, the crap sandwich day started down by the mailboxes. No shifty strangers, just a parked car, it being driven daily to the bus stop by a 15-year-old boy, to save his parents the trip. Inside EmBee, I discovered a bill for $649 for a medical test that my insurance deigned to cover. I somehow expected a little more for my $1498 per month health insurance premium. No doubt I am the victim of THE WHAMMY JINX caused when I read about blog buddy joeh's insurance tribulations only Monday. Not that he had anything to do with THE WHAMMY JINX. I suppose I just got too comfortable, thinking "better him than me."

Once I got to town, I observed the new lane changes. Seems like the only difference is the newer paint, and the lines being dotted white ones instead of solid. Because at no point did I see any arrows or instructions on the pavement, just that portable sign scrolling that the right lane is right turn only. Yes, while waiting at the light, I saw a pickup truck pulling a trailer blow through that light in the right turn lane, going straight. Silly city administrators. Nobody pays attention to lines and portable signs. You need TICKETS handed out all willy-nilly for the first month!

In line at Orb K, I let an old man (heh, heh, he was probably younger than me, just balder) go ahead of me. Actually, he was already ahead of me, wrapping up his transaction (no, that's not a safe-sex euphemism, he had already paid and then remembered he wanted something else). I encouraged him to go ahead, telling him that I was looking at the lottery tickets.

HE bought lottery tickets, though the draw kind not scratchers, and took over 5 minutes. Not like I had anywhere to go. Why rush home to bite into my crap sandwich? If there's ever any meal that you should not have to worry "Will it keep till I get home?" it's a crap sandwich meal. Elderly Dude said, upon completing his transaction, "I hope you at least get a good winner, after waiting all that time."

Let the record show that I did not. In fact, the shavings that I whisked aside with the back of my hand after scratching formed an "L" on the desk in my dark basement lair. An "L," people. Do you see the significance of that? An "L," for LOSER!

After that exercise in futility, it took me 90 minutes to scan and attach my insurance and resulting bill documents into an email to my insurance representative. Perhaps you've been let in on the non-secret: Val is not good with technology. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to do it again.

That little chore finished, while browsing the innernets, I saw the emails go from 5,856 to 5,857 in my email tab along the top of the screen. But NO, it was NOT that punctual insurance rep, but rather the bursar of The Pony's college with his monthly statement, showing the remainder of his tuition and fees over what was covered by his scholarship, and what I have already paid since July 31st for housing.

Knowing that it will be reduced by over $3000, to nearly nothing, once the remainder of his National Merit package (heh, heh, The Pony's package) is disbursed, does not make me any less annoyed at having to watch for it every day until the 25th, so I can be sure to not forget to pay the final amount. You'd think they could pin down a date for the release of those funds, rather than say "after August 31st." It appears magically in the account, and you don't get another update or reminder of the due date before a penalty kicks in.

Thevictorian people problems. I suppose if those things are all I have to complain about, I'm doing okay. I guess...

I whined because I was served a crap sandwich, but then I realized I married a man who doesn't give a crap.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Hick-Mabel New Arrivals

Looks like Hick is still picking up golden items for Mabel. She might have to build her own themed-shed museum if she wants everything Hick has to offer.

First of all, we have this THING. Not sure what it is, but maybe a headboard for a twin bed? The topper decorative thingy for an elaborate curio cabinet? Your guess is better than mine. I think it would be lovely with a fresh gild of gold, but I'm not sure how it should be displayed.

Next, we have another frame.

A really BIG frame. Square, this time. The picture inside is not altogether unpleasant. I had trouble getting the photo, because any other angle yielded me the bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds.

As you might have's been another slow angst day in Backroads.

Monday, September 3, 2018

There's Nothing Happening Here

For what it's worth...

Nothing is going on in Backroads. Nothing outrageous, nothing enraging. Nada. The only item out of the ordinary is one of those portable signs that scrolls a message. It's by the Hardee's turn-off, advising motorists to be extra alert for lane changes coming on Tuesday, September 4th.

I checked the local paper, and it seems that MODoT stripers will be making the right lane a RIGHT TURN ONLY lane (it's about time!), and changing a merge lane on the other side of the lights into the regular lane, with the current regular lane becoming a left turn lane by the Casey's. Got it.

So...all I have left for you is an old picture I don't think I shared, about Hick's Freight Container Garage.

The reason I didn't share it, possibly, is that it was taken by Hick out of focus. He wanted to show me that he's painting it barn red. Or, looks like to me, train car rust. I suppose freight containers ARE that color, what with hauling freight on trains as well as trucks.

Still, I was expecting Hick's Shackytown structure made to look like a railroad car to be painted this color. Obviously, he has it. Maybe he didn't get around to the final coat, or maybe he's squandering all that paint on this unnecessary depository of hoarder crap.

I'm pretty sure he has most of the Freight Container Garage painted now, except for the highest parts. This is the front side, towards our gravel road. Not that you can see it from the road, what with all the trees.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Val Thevictorian: Crime Stopper or Fun Sucker?

On my way to town Saturday around noon, I decided to stop and pick up the mail. I park on the edge of our gravel road, and walk across the county road to get to EmBee. As I drove along the creek, I saw four young people frolicking in the creek. You may be surprised to hear that I did not begrudge them this pleasure!

It was 88 degrees, and there was a newer-model gray crew cab truck parked on the bridge. I was actually about to give them mental props, for NOT parking on our privately maintained private gravel road. The kids looked to be mid- to late-teens. Three girls and a boy. One girl was bigger, perhaps 16 or 18, with two thinner girls about the same age. The boy wasn't all muscled, so I'm guessing he was maybe 12-13 years old. They weren't in proper swimwear. Just cut-off shorts. Maybe tank tops or bikini tops for the girls. I didn't pay that much attention. Only noticed a group of older kids jumping and splashing in the knee-deep water, and noted that they looked dressed for playing in the water, yet not like they had set out for a day at the beach.

I parked T-Hoe and started to open my door to get the mail...and the GRAY TRUCK DROVE OFF! What in the Not-Heaven??? That was a strange turn of events. I had barely even glanced at that truck, wondering if someone was in it, waiting on the splashing kids.

Then I saw a small black car parked on another private road across the bridge, which had been blocked from my view by that gray truck. I guess that black car was what the creek-splashers had arrived in. It slowly dawned on me that whoever was in that gray truck was CREEPY AS EFF! Why would they be parked right on the bridge, where they could look right up the creek, and watch a group of frolicking adolescents which were 3/4 girls?

Had I interrupted some ne'er-do-well(s) who might have had unsavory intentions towards these young people? I don't know what was going on behind those tinted windows. Nobody parks there to get their mail. Why would they leave when they saw me stop and open T-Hoe's door? I sure wish I had gotten a picture of that truck. But I had assumed it was legitimately with the creek kids.

As I started to pull out onto the county road after getting the mail, I saw headlights through the foliage, so I held back, lest I pull out in front of an oncoming car. It's a shady section of the road, and T-Hoe's daytime running lights also come on there, too. I waited. Waited. Huh. Was I mistaken? I was sure I had seen a vehicle coming. I inched out onto the blacktop, and saw that a small red car had parked itself along the road before it got to the bridge or the creek kids' car.

What in the Not-Heaven times two! I can't keep up with these people. Maybe they were just out to have some fun on the holiday weekend. I'm happy they didn't park on our road. I don't mean to suck the fun out of every situation. Yet I'm puzzled (and a bit concerned) about their intentions.

When I came home about 2:00, the red car was still parked there. Here's the view as I came down the hill by Mailbox Row.

My gravel road is there on the left. The bridge (where the gray truck had been parked) is straight ahead. The little road where the creek kids' car had been is on the right just past the bridge. And the red car is still there.

No idea why that red car would park there. If it's out of gas, it could have coasted to a better out-of-the way place to park, while the driver took a 4-mile walk to town. Obviously, it's nobody who belongs here, stopping to pick up mail. You'd think drinkers or druggers could find a safer spot to revel in their vices.

I don't know what's going on around here. But by golly, I'm either a hero for thwarting a possible abduction or a wanking episode...or I ruined somebody's holiday weekend.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Val CENTSed It More Than Saw It

Whew! I was coming down to the wire Friday morning, not a penny in sight all week for my Saturday CENTSus report. I scurried into Casey's to get scratchers to stuff in Genius's weekly letter on the way to the post office before the mail went out.

You know, if I haven't seen a penny yet in the week, I am constantly scanning the ground for them. I'm a Lincoln Hog. Any spare penny is going in my shirt pocket, for later gobleting. My eyes move from right to left, then from left to right. Like the return carriage on a typewriter. You DO remember typewriters, don't you? It's like I have a mine detector, covering every inch of ground to save my squad from annihilation. Or in this case, to snag someone's lost penny. I'm as thorough as a differently-visually-abled human with a white cane sweeping the terrain in front of them. If there's a penny, I will find it.

Only Friday morning, it was more difficult than usual. I had already asked the not-overly-cheerful young lady behind the Casey's counter for my selected scratchers. I was having a mini pity party for myself, having not seen a penny upon entry. A mini pity party. With those tiny cupcakes that Walmart sells 12 to a container, and individual vanilla ice cream cups with flat wooden spoons, playing pin-the-whisker-on-the-hamster, wearing enough tiny elasticized pointy party hats to make my head look like a medieval mace, because nobody came to my mini pity party, even though I'd sent out invitations the size of matchbooks. You remember matchbooks, right?

Anyhoo...I was standing there, waiting for my scratchers, almost out of breath, wallowing so hard in my self-pity...when I was compelled to LOOK AGAIN on the floor towards the door.

Do you see it? I almost didn't. But I glanced outside to see if anybody was, perhaps, late arriving for my mini pity party (it would be a shame if I had to eat all those cupcakes and ice cream and win the prize for pinning the whisker on the hamster)...and I SAW IT!

A 2017 shiny beauty, in the corner of the door frame, face down! Stop the mini pity party!


For 2018: Penny  # 88.
For 2018: Dimes  still at # 13.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 4.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 166.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Dime # 19.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this is still Nickel # 4.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A Common Cur is Shown More Courtesy

Wednesday, Hick and I took my favorite gambling aunt to our new favorite casino. We all lost, but that was kind of expected. We DID enjoy a splendid lupper (lunch/supper, eaten at 4:00 p.m.) at the casino buffet. And Hick and Auntie made a shopping stop at Goodwill.

Hick was looking for anything that looked resalable for a profit at his Storage Unit Store, and Auntie was looking for bowls. Not for eating out of. For her cats to eat or drink from. She didn't find any. Hick got a whiskey decanter, and two Avon bottles, one that was a Stanley Steamer car, and the other a horn that looked like it was for a black powder rifle. I'm guessing they once held cologne, not perfume. Not the whiskey decanter, of course. Hick paid under $3 for all of it, and thinks he can get $10. It's all about having variety to keep people coming back. They'll eventually buy something.

But that's not the point of this story, because it's NOT ABOUT ME!

I didn't wish to accompany them while they meandered the aisles of Goodwill. So, as I always do when it's just me and Hick, I chose to sit in the car. Usually, I have a book with me, but since Auntie was our guest, I figured that would be rude, so I didn't take one. I figured I could just listen to the radio. Val figures, Hick laughs.

Let the record show that Auntie is probably not quite 5 feet tall on her tiptoes. And A-Cad, unlike T-Hoe, does not have running boards. Auntie was pretty sure she could get into A-Cad, saying she only has trouble (two knee and two hip replacements) getting in and out of low cars. Still, I'd asked Hick if he had a step to take along. Of course he did! A wonderful little step, with an oval handhole in the middle, and non-skid surface. He'd found it in one of his storage units. It reminded me of what a train attendant might use to assist people getting on and off a train.

Anyhoo...once Hick parked at Goodwill, he went around to get the stepstool out of the back. Auntie said she was fine getting out, and she'd just slide down. Hick said, "Okay, we'll use it when we get back." And he LEFT THE STEP beside A-Cad while they walked toward the store.

At that instant, I realized that he was LEAVING, and that he had not left the key in the ignition as usual, with the car running. I hollered at him. LOUDLY. But he kept walking, chatting with Auntie. So I was left in a car with all windows rolled up, no radio, and a nifty little stepstool beside the driver's side passenger door.

You know the kind of people who shop at Goodwill, right? People looking for bargains. And what better bargain than a nifty stepstool for FREE? I was more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. More jumpy than a kid all hopped up on Mountain Dew trying to play Whack-A-Mole. I was constantly turning my head, watching people enter and leave the store, cars driving by, people getting out of vehicles, making sure they were not coming by to snag that nifty stepstool.

Oh, yeah. It was pretty hot, because we stopped there on the way to the casino, and it was around 2:00, and pretty hot. Did I mention it was pretty hot? Especially inside a car with the windows rolled up. I'm sure, had I been a baby in a carseat, or a dog hopping from window to window, people would have called the police to rescue me. But since I was just an old lady sitting in the shotgun seat, now and then laying my head back with my eyes closed...nobody gave a hoot.

When the culprits returned, Auntie DID agree with me that a stepstool is a terrible thing to leave unattended, and said she had also raised that question with Hick. But she agreed with HIM that they figured I was smart enough to open up a door if I got too hot. Because, you know, of all the cool air that would flow into a single door on an Acadia, off the blacktop parking lot.

They're welcome for me guarding the stepstool. Even though they didn't thank me.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

I Love the View of Shackytown in the Morning

While perusing my backlog of pictures for anything remotely interesting...I happened upon a couple of Shackytown photos from when Hick was on his Iowa tour. I snapped them one morning when I was out tending the goat and mini-pony. By morning, I mean shortly after noon, as I was getting ready to leave for town.

Hick seems to have cast his themed sheds aside like so many old shoes. I can't believe Shackytown Boulevard has WEEDS growing through the gravel. The Old Hick would have soaked those suckers in so much poison hand-mixed and squirted from a tank that they'd have been dead and withered within minutes.

Here we have The Pony's Sword Shack, followed by the Fishing Lair, and then the Railroad Car Shack. I thought Hick was going to paint it that rusty red railroad car color, but maybe he hasn't gotten around to it, and that's just his primer layer.

The original Little Barbershop of Horrors is first on Shackytown Boulevard. The lady is the one he brought home for The Pony from Germany. I don't know what she's doing on a barbershop porch. Perhaps enticing customers. As for the wire birdcage thingies with what looks like duck decoys inside...Hick only knows. I suppose there wasn't room enough for them on the narrow porch of the Fishing Lair.

Perhaps, as the weather cools, Hick will clear up those pallets laying around. I'm hoping. Hoping that they are not left in place for the start of new themed sheds.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

You Never Know WHAT Hick Will Find at an Auction

Here's an update on a couple of auction finds that Hick procured for my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel. As you might recall, Mabel is interested in gold picture frames, and items in a New Orleans style. My apologies for being remiss in sharing these two treasures from May.

Who doesn't need a wooden fleur de lis, and a ceramic tray for serving chips, dips, or condiments? This photo does not do that tray justice. It is beautiful! It is also from a casino, so we assumed it was a giveaway item that somebody got rid of at auction. It's still wrapped in plastic, brand new! Mabel would never get one of these on her own, since she's not a casino-goer. We're not sure where this one is, but it looks like they must have some pretty good swag.

Looks like Hick also obtained some of his (in)famous fishing poles at this auction. At least he didn't find another Thomas Jefferson Sitting on a Boot Taking a Crap.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Another One in the Series of Continuing Misfortunes of The Pony

The Pony just started his junior year at the University of Oklahoma last week. He's done remarkably well at living on his own (we won't count that ill-fated drive home his first Thanksgiving), considering how he'd barely been out of his own stall and paddock for 18 years. Sure, he had that Portal to Not-Heaven in his freezer, and he survived another freezer mishap when he was sure it was safe to keep glass bottles of root beer in there indefinitely. But overall, he's weathered the living-on-your-own storm.

A couple weeks ago, he scared the dickens out of me when he sent me a text:

"A bird just attempted a murder suicide on me. I was on the highway going about 70, and it just dived down out of nowhere and slammed into my passenger side mirror, and knocked it into the folded in position. I was just about to get into my exit lane, so I'm fine, but the sudden THUD and missing my most important mirror was very scary. The mirror looks fine. The bird is likely not."

"The mirror has some bird-shaped dust on it, but folded back out into place fine. I might have to adjust it when I leave. As I got off at my exit, I could see the bird in the other mirror, just laying on the highway with its legs sticking straight up. Luckily I got to my exit and it required just left turns to get into Steak-n-Shake. The car that got off right ahead of me swerved a little when it started driving, and I was most worried that it had hit my windshield or something from the sound of it."

"I got food and a shake and no longer have that heart pounding feeling. Also, you'll appreciate that the old couple next to me is talking about their bingo money."

"Just leaving now. The bird somehow knocked the inner mirror off kilter too, so I had to adjust it before I went."

That's the most he's ever texted me at one time. I know he was just occupying his time while waiting for his food, but he also seems to have been a bit shaken up, I think.

Good thing ol' Val is always available to commiserate.

Monday, August 27, 2018

There's an Outside Chance that Hick Might Be on the News, or Cooling His Heels at the Crossbars Hilton

Let the record show that Hick has always aspired to be a land baron. He grew up with nothing, and has done pretty well for himself. It didn't happen overnight. Hick began his quest by buying tax sale property.

I remember it well, crossing the blacktop parking lot between my townhouse building and Hick's apartment building, to chat with him while he sat on top of the apartment complex picnic table, perusing the tax sale list in the local paper. It didn't hurt that he was grilling hot dogs on a Weber, playing a country radio station on his blue Chevy Citation (with one red fender) radio with its windows down.

Hick's concentration was often broken by a car driving by to the newest apartment building across the little creek. "Huh. I know that guy. He must have got out. Robbed a bank." Or by something in the paper itself. "I can't believe that old lady died. I ran over her one time with the city truck."

One of the first pieces of property, in fact THE first property Hick purchased was a strip of land along a blacktop business route near my old high school (where I was VALEDICTORIAN, let's not forget). We (other apartment dwellers and I) used to tease Hick that he could plant spaghetti on his "farm." It wasn't even a full lot, and cost him about $50 thirty years ago.

Since that time, we have faithfully paid the taxes on it every year (less than $2), because, you know, Hick wouldn't want someone buying it right out from under him on the courthouse steps if it went three years delinquent. About 20 years ago, a guy built a car repair business on the curve that Hick's property borders. Hick wasn't all that thrilled, but wasn't upset, either. His strip of land was still there, and somebody, either the Repair Baron or the highway department, trimmed the weeds every summer.

NOW Hick has branched out into the political arena, campaigning for a local county clerk candidate, and has the idea of putting a campaign sign on "his" property. He went by, and noticed that Repair Baron had blacktopped over his strip of property.

Hick went to city hall to make sure they had a record that he owned this strip of land. They did, and gave him a copy. They said Hick could put any sign he wanted on there, but no billboards. So Hick set off on the journey of five blocks from city hall to the Repair Baron's business, to inform him of the impending signage.

The Repair Baron wasn't there, but his wife was in the shop. Hick explained how he owns that strip, and sees how it's now been blacktopped, and has the corner of a garage sitting on it. He relayed his intention of putting up some signs, and Repair Wife said that they were planning to put a sign for that very candidate there anyway. Everything seemed agreeable when Hick left.

NOW Hick says he plans to ask Repair Baron to buy that property from Hick for $500. "He's already using it like it's his. But if I wanted to cause problems, I could! He's blacktopped and built on land that's not his. If you really look at it, I think he's also on the highway department right-of-way. They might be interested to find that out..."

"There you go, causing trouble. It's not hurting anything. You can't do anything with that land. You're not using it. I don't think he's going to pay your $500."

"I might ask for $750, because I imagine he'll want to talk me down!"

"I guess you could always build a fence on it, which would block the sight of his business. And put whatever signs on it you wanted. Maybe ads for a competitor."

"He's been using it all these years for nothing. I think he'll pay just to have it done with. Or I might tell him that if he'll fix the two rust spots on my 1980 Toronado for free, I'll call it even, and sign the property over to him."

Always a scheme percolating in Hick's noggin.