All gambling and no learning make Val a happy gal.
Hick seems to have a vendetta against Val's happiness. It is not enough that Val funds his gaming bankroll with hard-won stashes from her own endeavors. And that she is perfectly agreeable to him going out on his own, exploring Goodwills and thrift stores and antique shops. Val would be perfectly happy (SO much about Val is perfect) sitting in the hotel room with her books and internet, chillin' in the air conditioning, plenty of ice water and a bathroom at her disposal. A vacation, of sorts, from catering to the feeding and upkeep of her helpless males.
No, that freedom is not enough for Hick. He must drag Val along, in the 99-degree heat, to walk ten steps behind him and participate in things that do not interest her at all.
Let the record show that Hick DID attempt to appease Val's wishes Thursday morning, the plan being to head to the casino after breakfast, stay until money ran out, have some lunch, and return Val to the hotel. Then Hick would be on his own to explore the city. However...the universe had other ideas.
We got up a half hour later because that's when Hick set his alarm. On the way to the casino, we encountered heavy traffic, so much that we took the first available exit from the highway entrance ramp line. A semi truck had just been involved in an accident, burst into flames, and blocked the only way to the casino! Well. Only way, unless we drove 30 miles out of the way to get there, then 30 miles back. We could have gone to a whole new casino for that distance. Don't you worry about the truck driver. Nobody suffered serious injury, BUT the highway was blocked until after evening rush hour, due to hazmat cleanup crews.
Since it was only 10:15 a.m., Hick decided that we should tour the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Let the record show that Hick had placed that on his exploring itinerary for the day. I figured he would take me back to the hotel, see his sights, and then come back so we could try the casino again. Hick, however, said we would tour the museum, then try the casino again. (I didn't know until late afternoon when I checked the internet traffic reports what had happened on the highway.)
Val does not dislike museums. Val's knees dislike standing. So Hick was well aware that this educational outing was not Val's cup of Diet Coke. Still, he insisted. I'm sure I don't even have to mention that Hick did NOT drop me off at the entrance, but drove merrily to the parking lot, even two spaces farther from the entrance than necessary, and waited impatiently for Val to peel her sweaty butt from A-Cad's leather seat and extract her knees from the car.
Off Hick went, at break-knee speed, down the sidewalk to the first street that needed crossing. He stopped, and in true Hick fashion, took this picture with his phone:
Maybe you can see it, there in the center...a buffalo! A fake buffalo. On the corner across from the entrance to the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. We crossed that street, and then another street, and walked across the vast front pavement to the door. There were numerous commemorative stones bearing names of the museum's benefactors paved right into the pavement.
Again, in true Hick fashion, he told the lady at the desk we wanted two tickets. Without asking the price. Val is not a miser, but she likes to know the price before she purchases something like...oh...I don't know...maybe some $1000 inserts from The Good Feet Store, or a secret new lawnmower. "Sixteen dollars," the lady said. Huh. We could have cut that down to $8 if Hick had let Val sit in the car. But with the temperature at 99 degrees, he probably would have been on the news that night, second story, after the casino-highway-truck fire.
The lady explained the main exhibits, suggested where we should start, and what direction to follow. We meandered to and fro, taking in the history of life and its Earthly beginnings, up through critters crawling out of the ocean and developing legs, as well as the increasing complexity of plant life and the classification of species. Then there was a room about plate tectonics and fossil dating. Pretty much the stuff I've been teaching for oh...let's see...28 YEARS!
We DID see the progression of Oklahoma's native people, with different fossil finds and arrowhead points. That was the best part. Also not-too-shabby was this mammoth statue:
Heh, heh. It was a mammoth statue of a MAMMOTH, by cracky! Here's a little story about the trouble it took to get it in there.
We also took the elevator with the glass back up to the second floor, so we could look down on the dinosaur exhibit:
Hick made me stand around for an hour and 45 minutes! I told him I would be unable to walk through the casino after that workout. My knees ain't what they used to be. I was breaking out in a cold pain sweat by the time we left, despite sitting a couple of times on their really low padded benches, which kind of added to the problem. His answer: "Well, you'll be mostly sitting, there." EXACTLY! And why I would rather be sitting there than standing looking at stuff (some diagrams were the exact same ones I had in my textbooks) I have taught for 28 years.
Maybe the next time we go somewhere, I can arrange for Hick to tour a saw-blade factory.