Sunday, December 31, 2017

And...We're Back

CasinoPalooza 3 was NOT a financial success! Let's put that out there right away. Don't want to violate the Truth in Blogging Law. That's not to say that Val had no wins whatsoever. She had a few big fat wins. But you know how that have to spend money to win money. She was already in the hole when the first biggie came in, and even though she stashed that away to bring home, the next day's results dug that hole a little deeper. Lucky for Val, she had some more late-night success. Her saving grace was Downstream, the casino where she had two free nights.

As with previous CasinoPaloozas, we check in around 3:00-4:00, then head out to make a loop of four other casinos. We return around 10:00-11:00, with some of us still in a gambling mood, and others in an imbibing mood, and one ready for a snooze. I hit a $494.80 bonus on Buffalo Gold around 11:30, salvaging my losses at the other assorted casinos that night.

As if that wasn't enough, I kept playing, and hit another bonus of $207.00 around 1:00 a.m. Of course I kept playing. This was the only game giving me anything back. It's not that I wasn't happy with those winnings. Thing is, we go to Oklahoma on the CasinoPaloozas so we can play the VGT games that have random red-screen bonuses. They were NOT paying this trip! I might as well have stayed home and gone to our regular casino, which has SIX Buffalo Gold slot machines.

Anyhoo...let the record show that ALL OF US (adults) came home losers this trip. Oh, I still had half the money I took to gamble with. But I was not ahead. Nor was Hick. Nor my sister the ex-mayor's wife. Nor the ex-mayor himself. The only winners were Genius, who was $60 ahead the last time I talked to him, although he said he might go high-rollin' with that $60...and The Pony, who, while not actually in the black, was only down about $25 for the three days. Genius's Friend was somewhere in between, I think, because while he bemoaned his losses, next thing you knew, he was waving a ticket worth $60 or $80.

So...with the attitude of we may lose, and we may win, but we will never be here again...we all took it easy, and had a blast. More stories to come in the next few days.

And now, here's a tale that brought a smile to my face.

On the very last day, after a tearful goodbye to The Pony, and another tearful goodbye to Genius, Hick said we could play for an hour before we checked out. I was back at my favorite (and only) paying machine. Hick went roaming, and said he'd meet me back there at 11:30. Sis and the ex-mayor were also having a last hurrah before they checked out and departed.

I hit another bonus about 10 minutes before time to leave. I was watching it count up when I was distracted by Hick. So no picture of this one. I was sitting at a kiosk of Buffalo Gold slot machines. I guess you can call it a kiosk. There were 4, arranged in a square circle, if you know what I mean. Hick approached from my left. I was proudly planning to show him my accumulating bonus, while at the same time a little ticked off that he chose RIGHT THEN to show up, and ruin my enjoyment of my bonus. Imagine my surprise when Hick walked up to the lady at the machine on my left.

"Four hundred and eleven dollars! That's a good one!"

The lady looked at him with fear in her eyes. Welcome to MY world, lady! And I don't mean just because he's Hick. I mean welcome to the world where weirdos pop up when you least expect it, and insert themselves into your business with no warning for no reason.

"Uhhh...huhh..." she murmured. While grasping her purse and cashing out her ticket.

"Oh. I'm sorry. I thought you were my sister-in-law. I didn't mean to be nosy. I just...thought you were her. I'm sorry."

I let Hick flounder for a moment. The lady caught my eye. I tried to reassure her, before she had a panic attack, or screamed for help, or swung her purse to smack Hick in the jewels. "Really. He thought you were my sister. We're here together."

The lady gathered her stuff and left. Too bad I didn't have time to switch to her machine. Hick came over to my side and acted like he hadn't just scared that lady into white hair overnight. I lectured him (you didn't think I'd let such a teaching opportunity go by without a lesson, did you) about how you can't just go up to people in a casino and comment on their winnings. Hick didn't see anything wrong with his actions. He decreed that it was that lady's fault, for looking like Sis from the back.

He never met a stranger, our Hick. And has never been locked up. Yet.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Weirdos and Walmart Checkers Conspire to Make Our Val Bummed

So...last Sunday, after I was done bashing the heavily-sighing, "gotta dig for it" postal clerk at the dead-mouse-smelling post office for giving attitude when I dared to take my orange postcard to pick up a package...I alluded to having a problem at Walmart the same day.

Oh. I had problems all right.

I wanted to get something Christmasy and colorful for dessert after Christmas dinner. Something I didn't have to make. Something I only had to put in my cart and pay for. Easy peasy. I chose some mini cupcakes with festive red and green frosting. Not only did I choose those festive mini cupcakes...I spent about five minutes picking up packages and turning them around and making sure I got the very best festive cupcakes available. The ones with unskewed icing. Pleasing to the eye. Pretty AND tasty.

You know how it goes at Walmart. The checker scans your stuff and puts it in bags on that turntable lazy Susan bag holder thingy. And you take the bags off the hooks as she spins it around, and place them in your cart. The checker handed me the rolls as she bagged them. So I could put them in the child-seat part of the cart and not smash them. Sometimes they hand you that fragile stuff, sometimes they set it up on top of that turntable lazy Susan bag holder thingy so you notice it and take care of it.

Checker announced my total. As I was wrestling with that dang chip-reader that flops down when you touch it, Checker took my last bag, the one containing my festive mini cupcakes, and walked around the turntable lazy Susan bag holder thingy to put them in my cart. Which she did by slinging the bag in sideways like it held clothing or towels.


Okay. So she really only ruined four of them. Smashed a red and a green, messing up the frosting, and turning over two greens so that their frosting became skewed. I was in no mood to call her out, because I was IN A MOOD! A mood that started when I had to wait in line for quite a while, with a weirdo behind me.

This weirdo didn't know me. I didn't know him. He became overly familiar by walking past my cart (tight squeeze) to get to the man ahead of me, who must have worked with him once upon a time. After they exchanged pleasantries, Weirdo got back in line behind me, leaving the worker guy to pay for his stuff. I was putting things out of the lower section of my cart. Putting the cold things together, saving the fragile things for last. Here's where Weirdo gets weirder.

"Want me to put something out for you?"


"You're good?"


I find his over-familiarity a bit off-putting. If not downright creepy. Who does that? Offers to take things out of a stranger's cart? I didn't want him touching my goodies!

As always, I tried not to engage. You can't show kindness to a weirdo, or you're stuck with him. This was a bald Uncle-Fester-looking guy. He kept trying to make small talk, which I ignored. I'd acknowledged him. Now it was time for him to shut the eff up. I had the things out of the bottom, and got back behind my cart to push it forward, putting the fragile things (like my festive mini cupcakes) on the conveyor. I had put the divider out as soon as all my stuff was on.

Uncle Weirdo Fester kept crowding closer. You know how it is. You can hardly reach back to the chip-reader floppy thing to pay, because a weirdo is all up in your space. I almost threw an elbow to back him off, but at the last minute he took a step back, and made an obvious show of looking anywhere but the floppy keypad where I was typing in my PIN. I got my receipt and took off.

When I got home and unpacked my bags, I found an item I didn't buy. Oh, I PAID for it, all right. But I didn't buy it.

WHO buys that? At Christmas? It costs $2.27 a roll, by cracky! I already had plenty of tape. It's even Scotch tape. But it comes in a three-pack and is more economical than ONE roll of Magic Tape in the hard dispenser. At first I thought, "Bonus! Free tape!" But then I looked at my receipt, and saw that I'd been charged for it.

The only consolation is thinking about Uncle Weirdo Fester getting home, ready to wrap his package (heh, heh, I said package), and not having any tape.

That inadvertent revenge only cost me $2.27. Plus tax.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #91 "Tough Times at Poverty Line High"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Sit back. Take a ride with me. You can pass the time by reading my latest fake book. A fake book about real budget cuts that are slashing the costs of providing free public school education to all. When you slow down in a school zone, or wait for a crosswalk monitor to put down her hand-held STOP sign after the children are safely across the road...reach down and dig around for some loose change. Use it to fake-buy Val's latest fake book! Don't get held back while all your blog buddies are falling for Val's promotion.

Tough Times at Poverty Line High

Budget cuts have hit Poverty Line High. Teachers held contests to find ways to save. Now paperless and bookless, students read and turn in assignments on their phones. EVERYBODY has a phone! No excuses there.

Tech school students have doubled up the districts buses to use half the fuel. Extra pay for stunt drivers is more than made up when doublebuses take shortcuts down embankments, flipping to have room for the next route's riders. The only modifications are seatbelts made by the FACS class, to hold students in the upper bus seats, and welding two buses together, done by tech school dudes who hang out at stock car tracks on the weekends.

Now parents are sticking their noses where they don't belong. Something about "safety concerns." Will students and staff be allowed to proceed? Or will the school board flip out a big red STOP sign? (146 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Jeff Spicoli..."All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and not to read a fake book by this fake writer.  I'd rather sit in Mr. Hand's class without snacks than do that!" 

The Wheels on the Bus..."We're going round and round on this one. The concept is solid, but we wheels only get half as much grease. On thing we're NOT going round and round on is the future of this fake author. She's wanting to take the route to success, but she's not making all the stops."

Otto, Bus Driver for Bart and Lisa Simpson..."Fifteen crashes and not a single fatality! Can these bus stunt drivers say the same? I think not! I know one person who can't. This fake author! Ninety fake books, and considerably more than one fatality. Don't fake-buy this fake book unless you are comfortable taking your life into your hands!"

Chang and Eng..."This might have been the perfect job for us--had we not been busy fathering 21 children between us. And we DO mean between us. This fake author should have no job at all. She's like a parasite that clings to you, one that you cannot rid yourself of."

Cosmo Kramer..."I gotta get me one of these buses! I could get TWICE as many people on her for my reality tour. I'll have to cut out the pizza bagel, and switch the bite-size Three Musketeer to a mini KitKat bar. They can break off a piece for their neighbor. One thing's for sure. I would never sell my experiences to this fake author for her autobiography! Nobody would ever believe that she knocked out Mickey Mantle at fantasy baseball camp. Just like they won't ever believe that she's a real author."

A Ticonderoga #2 Pencil..."I want my shade of yellow back! Not from the doublebus. That's cool. I want my shade of yellow back from Thevictorian. She's a sniveling coward who can't write, even fakely, and rips people off with her fake books worse than The Good Feet Store with their outrageously-priced shoe inserts."

Thursday, December 28, 2017

It's a Hoard Candy Christmas

Christmas Day was pretty busy for me. Not that I'm special. I know it's busy for everyone. Well...everyone but, perhaps, Hick and The Pony.

I was cleaning up after Christmas dinner. Genius helped clear the table, and Friend rinsed off the dishes and collected the silverware and helped put some cold items in FRIG II while Genius gathered games they were taking to Friend's family's celebration that afternoon. I continued working away, washing all the dishes and the glassware, to let them dry in the dish drainer before starting on the pans.

It wouldn't have hurt to have a little assistance in tossing some leftovers to the dogs, or bagging up the trash to take it out. But sadly, I was alone. I figured that maybe Hick and The Pony were just dense. You know. They'd be glad to help, if only they knew that I needed help. So I went into the living room to put them on the spot.

Hick was rocking SnoozaPalooza '17 in the La-Z-Boy. I guess eating all that food in 15 minutes tired him out. Lest you doubt my previous revelation that Hick covers his face when he sleeps, even while wearing his's the proof. A pic, so it DID happen.

The Pony was plumb tuckered out. Apparently, digesting six Sister Schubert's rolls and half a stick of butter is quite taxing. I gave up on the pipe dream of getting some help, and went back to finish clean-up by myself.

Later that evening, after warming some leftovers for The Pony, and doing the same for Hick, and actually delivering it to his La-Z-Boy (!), I got to looking for a treat. Just a little something. I remembered that Niecey had given us a container of candy and cookies the night before, at my sister the ex-mayor's wife's Christmas Eve party.

Huh. I didn't see that container anywhere. I know that we brought our stuff home. I unpacked my box and put it away. When the treats were handed out, the passer-outer told me that they had given ours to Hick. But I didn't see what he did with his stuff. So I asked.

"Where's the candy that Niecey gave us?"

"I don't know. Where did you put yours?"

"What do you mean? It was for both of us. Whoever passed out the gifts said they gave ours to you."

"No. We each had one."

"NO. She gave US one. And they said they handed it to you."

"Well, I brought MINE home."

"Where is it? It's ours, and I want some."

"Where's your stuff from last night?"

"I put it all away! I did NOT have a container of candy and cookies! Where did you put 'yours'?"

"I left my stuff in the car last night."

"Where is it now?"

"With my other stuff."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"In the BARn. I took it to the BARn."

"OH! So you're HIDING it in the BARn! And you're going to sneak-eat it! You're not even supposed to have sugar! You shouldn't have it over there in the BARn."

"I was putting away my presents. My Coke stuff she got in Atlanta. It was just in the box with my stuff."

"Yet you LEFT IT THERE!"

"We EACH had one! I don't know why you're so worried about what I did with MINE!"

"Pony! Text your cousin Niecey and ask if she gave me and and Dad the container of candy, or if we EACH got one!"

"She says it was for both of you."

"SEE! I would like to have some of it."

"It's in the BARn."

Well. Of course I had to send a text to Niecey.

Niecey, thanks for the cookies and candy. When I asked Hick where it was, he said we each got one. Further interrogation revealed that it's now in the BARn. Because that's where everyone keeps their Christmas candy, I suppose. I don't know when he found the time to stash it there. For all I know, he's eaten it already!

But my point, of course, was to sincerely thank you. And not to tattle on the selfish candy thief to whom I am married.

NIECEY: "Hahaha! So it's basically already gone! Next year, just for you, I'll make you your own container! I will even put your name on it."

"Next year! I'll be watching him like a hawk! I knew he was up to something, because he was so evasive during questioning."

NIECEY: "You'll get your own. Don't worry. Sounds like Hick."

"Hick is many things, but a good liar is not one of them."

NIECEY: "Hahaha! Well, I am so sorry that he stole all of your candies. I promise to make you your own next year."

"That's okay. I was mainly trying to debunk his theory that we each had one, and that I'd lost mine. Mission accomplished."

NIECEY: "Perfect!"

Lucky for you, I have a picture! Not of MY share of candy and cookies. No siree, Bob! It's in the BARn, or in Hick's stomach, or in his descending colon. But this is the container that The Pony got.

It looks tasty, but I would never ask The Pony to share his with me. I have some of my own. Somewhere. Possibly in the BARn.

Thank goodness my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel gave me some homemade chocolate-covered cherries.

I shared some with Genius, because he loves them. Not gave-him-some-to-take-home shared. More like you-can-have-one-if-you-want shared.

I don't know if Hick has been into them. Maybe I should start counting.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Come On Down and Play Thevictorian Family Feud!

Heh, heh! Not so fast. This isn't some juicy expose' on Val's kin. Just another one of the games we played on Christmas Eve. Surely you know how to play Family Feud...don't you? If so, you are ahead of selected Thevictorians.

Here's our head-to-head face-off podium, with some results in the background:

The game got off to a rocky start when the host, Niecey, redistributed the already-chosen teams. Let the record show that we were told, after being seated, that it would be one half of the room against the other. Fair enough. Val was on a team composed with Wrong Way Blue, WWB's husband, The Pony, Neph, and Babe's Daddy. We were all cheering and trash-talking the other team, when Host Niecey serendipitously declared that the teams were not fair! That Wrong Way Blue and Val should not be on the same team.

Huh. That must have made the other team of Hick, Genius, Friend, Ex-Mayor, Babe, and Matriarch feel like imbeciles, what with Host Niecey pretty much declaring that they had no chance against our powerhouse brain trust. Do you know what she did? Host Niecey moved Val to the other team! Switched out Val with Matriarch. There was much booing, most likely because my team wanted to keep me, and the other one didn't so much want me. Anyhoo...what was done was done, and I switched.

Another bone of contention was that rather than "100 People Surveyed," the answers we were supposed to guess came from "What Host Niecey Thinks." The first question caused a kerfuffle. "One hundred Christians surveyed (not really, I didn't go out and talk to 100 people, it's pretty much what I think) said THIS is a sign that Christmas is coming." When results were in, with Val and her new team winning, The Opposition complained that none of their answers made the survey, because obviously these "Christians" supposedly surveyed must have their own church and an odd set of values. They declared that the question was misleading, since none of the answers had anything to do with Christianity, but only general things like snow, colored lights, and cold weather. They were overruled.

A further giant thorn in the side of The Opposition was the denial of their answer "PRESENTS" in Round 2, which posed the non-question, "Name something associated with Santa." The Opposition was quietly grumbling throughout Val's Team's answers as we got every single one correct. But when the last answer, which happened to be the #1 response from What Host Niecey Thinks, was "GIFTS," The Opposition started looking for pitchforks and flaming torches. Again, Host Niecey overruled them, stating unequivocally that PRESENTS were not the same as GIFTS.

Six rounds we went, the family feuding more at the end of each one. Val's Team emerged victorious, winning the group prize that had enough for everyone. Here's my share:

Yes. My teammates took the good colors of stretchy key ring (can be used to hook onto your casino player's cards, you know) and the good flavors of Blow Pop chapstick. I'm okay with pewter, though, instead of pink or green. And grape. Even though it's the flavor I detest most.

After all. Val is a WINNER, by cracky!

Let the record show that Sister Schubert appears in that picture purely by accident, as I was warming leftovers and had the bag from the rolls providing a white background for my Feud swag.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Race is On and Here Comes Hick Up the Backstretch

Christmas Eve dawned all picturesque and good-will inspiring. I finished up some of my pre-Christmas dinner preparations, like deviling the eggs, and wrapped a couple of final presents. The view out my kitchen window was holidayish. All that was missing was Christmas carols. I don't have a radio in the kitchen, and even though the living room TV is plenty loud enough to hear, if I had put on one of the DISH channels that plays Christmas music (saw one Christmas morning with kittens and puppies in front of a fireplace!), The Pony was watching something else. He DID take a picture for me, out the kitchen door:

You may not see the snow falling, because the flakes were small. Take my word for it. SOMETHING had to make that coating on the back deck.

The day flew by. Genius and Friend arrived around 4:45. We visited briefly, then all piled into A-Cad to attend the yearly Christmas Eve party thrown by my sister the ex-mayor's wife. As you know, games are part of the festivities. This year, we each had a Christmas cracker thingy, and inside were paper crowns, and jokes, and AN ELF. Those elves were made for racing! We had two preliminary heats, and then finals.

The pit crew got the racers ready for those of us who couldn't reach the start line. You might notice that Hick is the arm not dressed in festive Christmas colors. Or even colors suitable for a Christmas Eve party.

I was the Green Elf, and as (bad) luck would have it, Old Orange Hick was in the lane next to me. He kept giving me the bum's rush right off the track! At least I wasn't Wrong Way Blue.

The racers needed refueling by hand crank a couple times before they completed the race. So I might have had a chance, if I could have stayed on the track.

We had a photo finish. Looks like I would have been proud to be Wrong Way Blue, because that little elf redeemed herself and won our heat, making it to the semifinals against Babe (the almost-4-year-old daughter of my niece), and Babe's Daddy.

The finals came down to Wrong Way Blue and Babe's Daddy. It was a dead heat, and Babe was given the honor of breaking the tie. She chose the winner to be: "NOT YOU, Daddy!" So Wrong Way Blue took home the trophy. The purse. The special prize in a stapled-shut gift bag. It was a giant container of mixed nuts, a $9 or $10 value. Congratulations, Wrong Way Blue. Hope you don't have a nut allergy.

Old Orange Hick didn't even apologize for his moving violations. Apparently, he is also a sweaver on foot.


Let the record show that Val and Thevictorians are leaving Wednesday morning for CasinoPalooza 3. There will be a fresh post each day, and comments answered late night or early morning. The CasinoPalooza tales themselves will be next week.

Because what happens at CasinoPalooza 3 stays in Val's head until she has time to reveal events properly.

Monday, December 25, 2017

I Really Don't Believe in Coincidences, You Know

Thursday, Hick and I went to see my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel. And by "see," I mean we drove down to have lunch with Mabel and her husband, and hand over the gold frames Hick has been buying for them at the auction and flea market and Goodwill, and also exchange Christmas gifts (and birthday) and Chex Mix and chocolate-covered cherries.

We never go anywhere, Hick and I. Not besides the casino. We get down there to see Mabel every few months. Let the record show that Genius rarely contacts us, unless he needs money or advice about money or help with moving so it doesn't cost him money.

The waitress hadn't even come to take our order yet when my phone rang with a call from Genius. Of course I answered. He might be in need of money, you know! Okay. He was not. He was calling to say that he was having his mail held until he got his new mailbox straightened out, and that there might be some of his mail, or a form from the post office, coming to our house. No big deal. I told him we were having lunch with Mabel (one of his former teachers), and Genius said to enjoy it, and hung up.

After a delicious lunch of chicken quesadillas (me), a fried fish sandwich with sweet potato fries (Mabel), chicken strips and fries not crispy (Mabel hubs), and a bacon and swiss burger with fries (Hick), we reconvened at Mabel's gorgeous mansion for the framing and gifting. I was standing at the kitchen counter unwrapping when my phone rang again with another call from Genius. His post office told him it might take 30 days to get a key for his mailbox at the apartment complex, because they were behind. He said he could still go to the post office and pick up his mail there, but he was worried because I said I'd sent him something.

I told Genius that it was fine. Only a Christmas card to welcome him to his new apartment. Nothing important included. No six dollars for Chinese food. No lottery tickets. No insurance card. No check. He was fine with that. Just wanted to make sure.

It's unusual for Genius to call like that. He's a busy guy, getting his future in order. I don't think the mail was a big deal to him, though it would have been eating away at me for the whole 30 days. was nice to hear from him. I don't worry about him being on his own in a new city, because he's so self-sufficient. I tell him he's my shining star. Not every letter or conversation, of course. That would be kind of creepy. No, just on special occasions. Like on his birthday card a couple weeks ago. And on his graduation card. "You will always be my shining star."

I would be flattering myself to think that Genius was just wanting to hear my voice while getting acclimated in his new surroundings, or wanting my assurance that everything was going to be fine. And he would say I was crazy if I thought that! He has a roommate, so I knew he wasn't lonely. He has money in his account to last until his first paycheck after he starts work on January 8th. It was just unusual. Getting two calls from him.

Back at home later than afternoon, I was busy making two Oreo cakes for HOS and The Veteran. Sitting at the kitchen table, putting on the icing and decorating with Oreos, I took a break for a little snack. NOT Oreos. I don't really like them.

On the kitchen table was a bag of candy I had left over from filling the stockings. An assortment. Delicious candy, like Reese's Christmas Trees, and mini KitKats, and bite-size Snickers, and those dark chocolate Milky Way bites. I didn't want to go overboard. I chose one piece of candy. A little square of Dove chocolate. They have sayings inside the wrapper, you know.

Funny how The Universe has a way of spying on your life like Alexa in her Echo Dot. I sent Genius a text:

"Sorry. I think this was meant for you."

Sunday, December 24, 2017

'Tis the Season, and There's Still No Pleasin' Val

Ah...Christmas, the season of good will towards men.

Good will is sorely lacking in Val's life. But you knew that already, right? All I wanted to do was run by the dead-mouse-smelling post office and pick up my last package on Friday. I TOLD you I was done with my Christmas shopping on time! I also needed a couple of last-minute items from Walmart. So off to town I went, after getting up at the crack of 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

The mailman lady had left an orange postcard in EmBee on Thursday, saying that I had a package that could not be delivered. I knew exactly what it was, and where it was coming from. It was a John Deere wall-hanging thingy for Hick's BARn, and also a John Deere temperature thermometer thingy that you stick in the ground. They're really better gifts than what they sound like, and something Hick would desire if he saw them.

Anyhoo...the card said the package was from another seller, one that I already had my items from. So I figured the mailman lady messed up. She's been delivering later each day, sometimes after 3:00, when it used to be before noon. It's a busy time for her, so I don't fault her for the lateness. But you'd think she could get the basics right. After all, she DID give me somebody else's package on Saturday, thus necessitating that I do her job for her, and get that guy his package (heh, heh, I said something about a guy's package!) in time for Christmas. Or at least Hick had to do her job.

Anyhoo...I went into the dead-mouse-smelling post office at 10:45. They close for lunch at 11:00. Only one customer was ahead of me, paying to ship something. It didn't take long until I had the full attention of the clerk. You'd think she would welcome me with open arms, wouldn't you? Seeing that all I had in my hand was an orange postcard denoting a package to pick up. No tedious package-weighing or change-making or listening to complaints. I stepped up and handed her my card. I even had my driver's license in my pocket, just in case, ever since that time they asked me for ID, even though they'd been handing out my packages all willy-nilly to a tweenage Pony and my mom, neither of which were asked for ID, my mom not even having the orange postcard, but merely saying she was there to pick up my package.

"I just need to pick up this package, please."

"I'm gonna have to dig for it. I just got my mail." Said with a heavy sigh, as if I was putting her out to ask for my package during working hours, by presenting a notice that her own agency had left for me, instructing me to come in and pick up the package.

Seriously? It makes me no nevermind, lady, how much you have to freakin' dig! You can call and rent a backhoe for all I care, and miss your lunch waiting for it to show up. Or you can get a post hole digger and start excavating. Or grab a good old-fashioned pickax and start chipping away at your building's concrete floor. Because last time I checked, it was your freakin' J-O-B to give mail to people it is addressed to. And while you're digging, could you maybe offer me your condolences for making my life harder, by requiring me to drive all the way to town to pick up my package, when I'm pretty sure you're in the business of mail DELIVERY, and not in the business of operating a mail store where people come and pick up things that other people have paid to have delivered to them.

Okay. So maybe that's being a bit rough on the young gal. But really, I was polite and within reason to present the card they left me, and ask for my package.

Don't even get me started on the fine how-do-you-do that I got from the Walmart cashier a half hour later...

Okay. You're going to hear about it anyway. I need to stockpile some stories to feed you while I'm celebrating Christmas, and heading out for CasinoPalooza 3.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Gift Horse

Today is the eve of Christmas Eve. The last mail delivery day before Christmas. Ol' Procrastinating Val got her internet shopping done on time, and all her presents delivered by yesterday. So imagine her surprise when she picked up the mail and saw a key to the package lock-box in the mouth of EmBee.

I took the key and opened the box. Huh. A package from Amazon. I didn't remember any outstanding gifts. But clearly, the mailman lady had left me a key, and now I had a package. Or DID I? Somebody else's name and address was on the shipping label!

What to do? You can't re-lock a post office lock box. The key won't come out. So I couldn't put it in the right guy's mailbox. Besides, the lock box won't re-lock. So that package would be there for the taking. I couldn't drive the package to the dead-mouse-smelling post office, because it was now 3:30 p.m., on a Saturday, and they were closed. The earliest I could take it would be Tuesday. The day AFTER Christmas. And I'm pretty sure whoever ordered this would want it before.

I took the box home. But before I could get there, I saw somebody in the front yard/field. Two somebodies. And two critters. Looks like The Universe gave Val a gift horse. TWO!

You have to zoom in, because I stayed back so as not to spook those nags. They'd gotten out of their pasture when a dude on a red tractor opened the gate to take in a giant round bale of hay. Neighbor horses just LOVE our yard. Over the years, we've had many of them gallop through, or stop and munch, or trample our little garden we used to plant out back.

Anyhoo...once the neighbor nags were imprisoned again, I took my unordered gift up to the house.

Hick was sitting in the La-Z-Boy on a heating pad, having done who knows what to his butt again. He'd better not mess up Casinopalooza 3, is all I gotta say! Hick programmed that address in his Garmin, and set out to deliver it. He later said the lady was out in her yard, and looked AFRAID when he drove up.

"No wonder. We live out in the middle of nowhere, and then you show up with that crazy Santa/meth beard! I'd be afraid, too."

"Val. I was IN THE CAR!"

"Still. She didn't know you."

"She went in the house for something, then came back out."

"Probably to get her shotgun. Or concealed weapon."

"She came out and said she didn't know what her husband had ordered. I told her maybe it was her Christmas gift."

"Way to go, Santa, giving away that guy's surprise gift!"

"She wasn't rude or anything. She appreciated it that I brought the package. But she was kind of nervous."

"Oh, well. If it was me, I definitely would be glad if somebody brought me my last-minute package that the mailman lady messed up."

"Yeah. They appreciate it."

So...Even Steven sent me two gifts, and then took them back, because they weren't really mine. What kind of giver is THAT?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #90 "The Dog Leaps in On Little Croc-ed Feet"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Sit back. Take your shoes off. Unless they're CROCS, of course! The most comfortable foot-protectors ever invented. The star of this week's fake book. You know you want it! There's nothing better than wearing a pair of Crocs--unless it's reading about them!

The Dog Leaps in On Little Croc-ed Feet

Pick Pickerson, a thief on a mission, needs stuff to sell or pawn, to feed his hoarding habit. He doesn't want the valuables, only to convert them to money, for bargains at Goodwill, flea markets, and auctions.

Pick likes to be comfortable on the job. He dons his size-8 quick-Pick shoes before heading out for break-ins each night. The gently-used brown Crocs he got (legally) at Goodwill are much kinder to his feet than the $1000 shoe inserts from The Good Feet Store. Almost as good as the camouflage Crocs he wore out last week.

Last night Pick had to beat feet to escape an over-eager watchdog. Funny how that dog didn't bite him. It jumped out of a shadow and pounced on Pick's Crocs, chewing like there was no tomorrow. The 47th incident of such an attack. Will Pick switch footwear to avoid future close encounters of the canine? (150 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

The Good Feet Store..."We highly recommend these Crocs for anyone with a $1000 in their pocket. Thevictorian's fake books, however...we don't recommend to anybody. Not even for a cut of the action."

Old Baby Blue Sweatshirt belonging to Val Thevictorian..."I find these shoes to be a good accessory to ME! I look really good in comparison. This author, on the other hand, has nothing to make her look good in comparison. She IS the comparison. Val Thevictorian is the Croc of the literary world. She'll make you sweat as you read her, and unable to rid yourself the stink afterward."

Nancy Sinatra..."These Crocs are made for walkin', and that's just what they'll do. Walk right past this fake book's shelf and save fake money for you!"

Blue Suede Shoes..."Step on these filthy foot vehicles all you want, just as long as you stay offa ME! Thevictorian makes me blue. With her pseudo-writing."

George Costanza..."Crocs are even frowned upon by people who know that draping themselves in velvet is socially unacceptable...but do it anyway. I'm pretty sure Thevictorian's fake books will never be taken into a bookstore bathroom. They're not even good enough to fake-read on the toilet."

Rebecca DeMornay down at the Homeless Shelter..."Thevictorian's fake books may not be toilet books, but people STILL keep bringing them here. The homeless don't want Thevictorian's fake books! Even muffin stumps and chicken skins and lobster shells are more palatable."

Thursday, December 21, 2017

We Whined and Dined The Pony

One request The Pony made, for the 10 days that he's home for Christmas, was to go eat at Lambert's, the Throwed Roll Restaurant. We've only been there a couple of times. It's at least a 90-minute drive for us, maybe two hours depending on which way we go. Because things have a way of going all wonky when we plan them out, Hick declared that we'd go on Tuesday. Even though he'd been driving hundreds of miles on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

We decided on lunch, to make the trip there and back during daylight hours. Off we went in A-Cad, on the two-hour route, in order to stop and get The Pony some new shoes. Can't have him prancing all over Oklahoma unshod when the winter wind comes sweeping down the plain. The crowd wasn't too bad when we got to the restaurant at 1:00. We didn't have to wait to be seated. Got our booth on the first row, three booths back. Where we were on the main roll thoroughfare.

Our waitress was right with us, filling our drink orders, giving us time to decide what we wanted. She seemed to have a slight attitude problem. Not cheery. Like she was put-out to wait on us. Which I'm pretty sure is a task listed in her job description. She was still a bit surly when she returned with the drinks. She was a young thing, maybe college age, maybe a few years older. I brought it up to Hick, but he said I was imagining it, even though The Pony concurred that she had a bit of an edge.

We tore paper towels off the roll to use as our plates when the dinner rolls started being thrown. We each caught a worthy specimen, and set to eatin'. The Pony prefers just butter. Or the butter-like product provided in tiny tubs in a large tub on the table. Hick likes his the same way, and would have liked some apple butter that was brought around by a lady with a bucket, but we had no plates yet, so he couldn't have it. I enjoy honey on my rolls. I write plural but I only had one. They're HUGE.

A guy went by with fried potatoes, which Hick wanted, but again, we had no plates yet. The Tater Dude caught his eye, and said, "I feel ya, man. I'll be back." The food arrived, in a pretty timely manner, it's just that when you get there, you want to try all the stuff that's going around right then. I had my heart set on some blackeyed peas, but they were slow in coming.

The Pony had the shrimp, with applesauce and cornbread. In this picture, he had set his bowl of applesauce aside to make room for some of my baby carrots.

I had the chicken livers. They come with gravy, but I specified without. That's a big ol' pile of livers right there. The Pony said, "Do you know how many chickens it must have taken to make your plate?" Huh. I might have told him that the ocean called, and it was running out of shrimp...but I didn't. I also had the baby carrots, and SLAW (which wasn't all that great). In this picture, I have set aside my bowl of not-that-great slaw, in order to make room for some fried potatoes from Hick's hook-up guy (he gave me too many, which ended up in Hick's skillet), and some blackeyed peas (which also weren't that great). The livers, though, were FABULOUS.

Hick had the BBQ pork steak, baked beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and baby carrots, along with the pass-arounds of fried potatoes and fried okra. His came in a skillet for some reason, with three sides instead of two. Hick said his pork steak was not as good as the ones he makes on Gassy-G.

Anyhoo...we were all wrapped up in our feeding frenzy, barely starting on our dinner plates, when Hick ran out of Diet Coke. I feel for him. I really do. But I'm a sipper, not a chugger, and savor my beverage, especially when I have a lengthy drive ahead of me. It doesn't pay to be a Diet Coke glutton when Hick will be sweaving you home over 90 minutes of twisty road.

Hick kept looking for our waitress. She seemed to have disappeared. So much so that I thought maybe there'd been a shift change, though that was unlikely at a 1:30 in a restaurant that opened at 11:00. Hick told the Fried-Okra Gal that if she saw our waitress, to send her over for soda refills. He also told an older lady who was walking around asking if everything was okay. She went and got those refills herself, and was back in an instant with Sprite for The Pony and Diet Coke for Hick. I'm thinking she must have been some kind of manager.

Hick had that Waitress stuck in his side like a thorn. He kept complaining about her, saying I'd been right. And then she appeared! To ask if we needed anything. I'm thinking that Manager Lady must have had a word with her, because she was borderline polite now. Faux cheerful. Hick petulantly told her that we were fine NOW, now that we had some soda. Waitress started making regular appearances, each with a civil tongue in her head. I actually told Hick that I thought she was getting better. The Pony agreed. But Hick was still cranky.

I bet that Waitress came back three more times, to see if we needed anything. I think she was fishing, to see if we'd ask for take-out boxes and get the Not-Heaven out of there. We kept eating, telling her we were fine. Then Hick asked for boxes. She brought them, and Hick let her go. She came back again. I told her we were just putting our stuff in the boxes. She kind of lingered. Then left. Hick dropped the bill, then almost put his good eye out on his skillet handle while bending under the table to pick it up, The Pony not being persuaded to crawl under. Waitress came back, and STILL Hick didn't pay her.

I knew you paid at the table, because we'd heard the people on each side of us discussing it. In fact, they'd tried to use their card, and were told that Lambert's only accepts cash or check. I KNEW that Hick knew, because I'd said that we could send The Pony out for my purse, so I could write a check, or take out some of the Christmas cash I'd been shopping with. Hick said he had enough in his pocket from his auction money. So I couldn't figure out what was going on, and I finally said, "Did you pay yet?" Even though I knew he hadn't.

"Oh. Do I pay you now?"

"Yes." The Waitress wasn't elaborating. Just waiting for her money.

"Oh. I thought you paid up front on the way out," said Hick.

"I wondered what you were waiting for." I'm not going to be a party to Hick's petulance.

"He even dropped the bill on the floor, and wanted ME to get it for him," said The Pony. There is no loyalty among Thevictorians.

"Maybe he was going to leave without paying," said the Waitress.


That didn't quite seem like an appropriate thing for Waitress to say, given that she was already in Hick's doghouse. But maybe she was just one of those awkward people, thinking she was making a joke. I gave her the benefit of the doubt, even though she might have been getting all passive-aggressive because she got a butt-chewing from that Manager Lady due to Hick's comment.

Anyhoo...Hick took out his cash and gave it to her with the ticket, and Waitress left to get change. She brought it back and didn't try to keep it or hint for a tip, and Hick told her to keep the change, and gave her a bit more, which I think amounted to a 16 percent tip.

That Waitress should thank her lucky stars that Hick was full of bread and fried food!

While we'd been waiting for our plates to arrive, this came down the aisle

Cinnamon rolls bigger than a cat's head. Bigger than (formerly Puppy) Jack's head! These were not free pass-arounds, but a delectable treat to be had for the low, low price of $3.50. I'm sure The Pony would have enjoyed partaking of this coma-inducing dessert, but when asked, he said he didn't want one, as he was busy eating rolls and butter. I don't see how they sell any of these cinnamon rolls, with people being stuffed to the gills with regular food. I guess maybe they just get one to take home.

All in all, The Pony's requested restaurant meal was a success. Something special for him, and food that wasn't too bad. We all had our leftovers tonight. My livers were still fabulous. The Pony had a dozen shrimp, a roll and a half, and that huge slab of cornbread. Hick warmed his own food before we were ready. I'm pretty sure he used a paper plate and not a skillet.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Just the Facts, Ma'ams and Sirs, and a Little Filler For Good Measure

Here's the condensed version, in case you're an antiValswanderingferalpigtrailite:

In the past 24 hours, I've found 4 pennies.

Penny 1: Last night at Country Mart, going to buy scratchers for Christmas gifts. My noontime errand schedule was thrown off because we took The Pony out to lunch.

I made that door open and close as I stepped back and forward taking its picture. A 1989 version.

Penny 2: Last night at the gas station chicken store, my very next stop after finding the first one. You have to look close. It's in the crack of the door frame.

I made sure not to block egress and ingress, and snapped my pictures before pocketing that 1983 beauty.

Yes, the gas station chicken store could probably use an inspection from the health department. But I see it as they're increasing people's immunity to germs. C'mon. It was after 6:00 p.m. Nobody had time to sweep yet. It's not like there are chicken feathers flying around.

Penny 3: This morning The Pony and I went to the bank to see why he can't set a PIN on his account. I stepped out T-Hoe's door, and turned to find that penny lurking.

If it was a snake, this copper 2016 version would have bitten me!

The Pony came to peer at it, and exclaimed that it was FACE DOWN. I'm going to start thinking he's a penny snob if he doesn't come to his senses. I would NEVER leave a found penny just because it's face down. All pennies are welcome in Val's Found Penny Goblet.

Penny 4: On the way home from town, we stopped at the gas station chicken store today for a 44 oz Diet Coke, and two corn dogs for The Pony. On the way back out, hands full, I saw this little 1959 lurker.

I had to put my magical elixir and lottery tickets in T-Hoe and come back. I almost couldn't find it again. Conditions have to be just right for Val to see a penny obviously meant for her. If she can't see it, it must be meant for someone else.

Some people think pennies are good luck. Let the record show that I've already been having good luck, and if these four pennies are bringing me more, it must be TURBOCHARGED good luck. Maybe you could consult The Pony. He asked for a scratcher today, and I fanned out the five I'd just bought, and he picked a winner.

These were pennies # 72, 73, 74, and 75 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Day I Wished Hick Would LITERALLY Give Somebody the Shirt Off His Back

It's not every day that your son graduates from college. And it's not every day that's the day before your son graduates from college, and has an offer from the university photographer to take some graduation photos for free. might imagine that some thought would go into what to wear on this momentous occasion.

Apparently, the thought that came to Hick's head was: I think I'll wear a shirt that hasn't seen the outside of my walk-in closet for nigh on 25 years. A shirt that is older than Genius, the graduate himself.

Hick actually had about 5 chances to change that shirt. When he came to the living room in it, and sat down on the long couch, I asked him.

"That's not what you're wearing, is it?"

"I thought I would. Why?"

"No. Just no. I don't think you want that in graduation pictures for eternity."

"I don't know why not. It's a good shirt."

"I'm pretty sure you have something better. Didn't you have a solid red shirt, kind of that style?"

"Yeah. But I gave it away when I got fat."

"I know you have something else."

"You even bought this one for me."

"Well...back when it was in style. Back when western was a big thing, because of Garth Brooks."

"I think it looks good."

So I let it rest. Close to time for us to leave, I reminded Hick that he might want to go get a different shirt. Nope. He didn't. As we left the house, I again asked if he was really wearing that. Yes. He was. AND he had added a vest!

We stopped by the dead-mouse-smelling post office to mail a bill on the way out of town, and I tried to get a picture of him walking out. My camera has that lag time, though. And he was back in the sweaver's driver's seat before I knew it. But I took the picture anyway. Because you wouldn't believe from a mere description that it could be so awful unless you saw it.

Hick looks like he could be in a Kenworth, pullin' logs, 'bout a mile outta Shaky Town, about to put the hammer down. Rather than behind the wheel of A-Cad, on the way to be in his son's graduation pictures.

Don't get me wrong. I don't claim to be a runway model for commencement fashion. I eschewed my regular button-front shirts with a side pocket, though, in favor of something a bit more refined.

Tasteful. Solid color. Not pulling attention away from the graduate. Let the record show that Genius DID roll his eyes when his dad stepped out of the car upon arrival. That vindicated me, at least.

Seriously. I might just as well have worn my favorite old ratty baby blue sweatshirt for those graduation pictures.

Let the record further show that the wind was chill that day, and some of the pictures were taken outside, on campus. Hick put on his black Goodwill hoodie (emblazoned in gold with MIZZOU) to stay warm, thus covering the floral print of his blouse shirt. I suppose that it was lost on him that we were not on the Mizzou campus, that Genius did not graduate from Mizzou, and that the main color associated with Genius's college is dark green. As if that in itself might deter one from wearing a Mizzou hoodie in the graduate's photos.

Let the record also show that Genius's Friend, who was along with us after having lunch that day, did not have a jacket, and was shivering, but still declined to wear Hick's vest to keep warm, even though he was not in the pictures. Yes. A recent college graduate preferred to risk hypothermia rather than be seen in a tan corduroy vest that could have preserved his core temperature.

To the graduation itself, Hick wore a short-sleeve, mostly-white, polo shirt with a thin blue stripe, large grid pattern. Not that there are any pictures of it.

Monday, December 18, 2017

They Find Me, I Tell You!

This is always a busy time of year. Not just the holidays. We have Genius's birthday, and then Hick's birthday, and we also had Genius's graduation over the weekend.

On the two-hour drive to commencement, Hick took time out from sweaving to converse with me about this milestone in Genius's life. We discussed how my mom was still with us when he started college, and how she wanted a copy of his schedule and a map of campus, so she could think about what he was doing during the day. As we drove into College Town, we argued over which dorm Genius lived in freshman year, and which one he was an RA in the following year. We knew which was which, but we couldn't decide on the name for each building. Hick pointed out the Chinese restaurant that Genius used to walk to, that had resulted in my mom sending him $6 a week for the special. A tradition I continued for her after her passing.

We got there at 2:00 for the 3:30 commencement, and found parking with ease in the lot Genius had recommended. Almost had a kerfuffle with a lady with a cane over saved seats in the auditorium. Just like movie theater seating, when you get there an hour early and then, as the preview are rolling, an usher asks you to move over so latecomers can waltz in and take your chosen seats...the announcer kept reminding people that seats could not be saved. As you might imagine, people who had arrived two hours before the ceremony were not receptive. We only had two seats saved, and that cane lady wanted six. She had to make do with five, and was not happy. As it was, HOS had to hold his 7-year-old son on his lap for the two-hour ceremony, because we just had seats for him and his wife.

Anyhoo...sitting there with Hick, waiting the last hour for it to start, I mentioned that my mom would have probably ridden out there to see Genius graduate. "Oh, yeah," said Hick. "You couldn't have kept her from it. She would have been so proud of him."

Poor Hick. He's on the road again today. And it's his birthday. He spent Friday and Saturday driving to College Town, and Sunday driving down to Joplin to meet up with The Pony halfway from Norman, Oklahoma, so HOS could drive him partway so as not to fall asleep like the time he crashed his car and could have perished. Then Hick and HOS picked up the truck loaded with Genius's apartment furniture that he doesn't want, to bring it home. NOW, in the fourth day of his travels, Hick is on the road to Kansas City with Genius, to haul stuff to his new apartment.

We'll celebrate Hick's birthday tomorrow. While I was in town Sunday, picking up some of The Pony's favorite foods before his evening arrival, I figured I might as well look for a birthday card for him to give Hick. The Pony knows it's his birthday, but with finals all week, and packing for the trip home, and getting up at the crack of dawn to leave on this journey...I was pretty sure he hadn't gotten a card yet. He's a bit of a procrastinator like me.

I was looking at the rack of cards in Country Mart, because I wasn't going all the way to Walmart today. I've still got Christmas preparations to do. I looked at the birthday section, but didn't see anything that grabbed me. So I moved down toward the section that said HUMOR. Next to it, something caught my eye.

See it there? Just daring me to notice it?

I didn't get it, because it wasn't the kind of birthday card The Pony would have given Hick. And it wasn't particularly humorous, instead having a message about blessings. But you can bet I'm going to show Hick the picture.

I'm pretty sure that if mom was able, she would wish Hick a happy birthday.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Val Solves the Case of the Disappearing Parachuter

A few weeks ago, I was standing in line at Save A Lot, and out the big front window I saw a parachute. Not a round kind of parachute, like a WWII paratrooper might use, or the shape of one of those giant space capsule ocean-landing parachutes. This one was a long kind of parachute. The kind that people use to maneuver around more easily.

I kept watching, wondering where that parachute was going to land. There's an old man-made lake bed that's been converted to a drag strip. I figured that would be the most logical place, but I couldn't figure out why someone would want to jump here. When I got to the gas station chicken store that day, the cranky clerk said that she'd seen it, too. So I wasn't hallucinating, even though I never saw that parachute descend.

Today, I was in line at Orb K when I saw that same style of parachute again. A long chute, multicolored. I got my phone ready to take a picture, but that guy dropped below the roof over the gas pumps. When I went out the door, I stuffed my scratchers in my armpit, and used both hands to get that camera ready, and zoom in. From this vantage point, I could see the jumper again, up above the gas pump roof. I took a picture, then got out of the way of the door and walked back to T-Hoe, keeping an eye out for when that jumper landed. Again, I didn't see him. I guessed that maybe he had descended while I was walking, and was now on the ground over in the dry lake bed, way past the Save A Lot plaza across the street.

Eager to see what my picture looked like, I opened up my phone and saw a picture of the parking lot blacktop. Darn that delay on my phone camera! No wonder I take a picture of Jack, and only have an empty field when I go to look at it.

Anyhoo...I drove on home, after a short affirmation about how I really DID see that parachute. I wasn't imagining it. I'd seen a man opening his car door looking up at it, too. Imagine my joy at rounding a sharp curve by the sheep field, the one just before the curve where I saw the pheasant, and noticed that parachuter in the sky above the sheep field. Now bereft of sheep and watchdog. I pulled off at the sheep gate to get a proper picture.

Funny how he was way higher than I saw him in town. Maybe there was another parachuter. Maybe a plane was dropping them off at intervals, though I hadn't seen a plane at all.

Closer he came. I could see the color of his parachute. He even waved at me. And then I saw the solution to my parachute mystery.

Zoom in, my blogfriends! Zoom in! He has a fan kind of contraption on that parachute! He's blowing himself across the sky all willy-nilly as he takes a whim.

No wonder I never saw him come down. He's probably flying to his house, wherever that may be. Not landing behind the Save A Lot like a common parachuter.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

And the Feat Goes On

Hick is still working on his Freight Container Garage. It's all under roof now. A couple days ago, he installed the garage door. It's an old one he had from somewhere, with plans to use it eventually. The big one will have to wait, since Hick has already gone over budget.

There was a minor glitch with this garage door, as Hick couldn't get it to work right. He said the door went up, but he had to put a lot of effort into it. He adjusted the spring several times, then drove the Gator over to the house to look at our garage door springs there.

"This spring is a totally different shape. But it should work the same way. I'll go wind it tighter. Again. See if that works."

"NO! It might snap and kill you!"

"It's not gonna kill me, Val. It's wrapped. The most it will do is startle me if it snaps."

"Well...go get a new spring. Quit messing with it."

"It'll be fine, Val. I don't need to buy a spring."

You know...Hick was right. He got that problem worked out by the end of the day. Turns out he had the spring on BACKWARDS!

He's been putting insulation in the ceiling, I think. Or something on the walls, to block the drafts. That Freight Container Garage is coming right along.

As you can see, Hick is already using it as a garage for his Gator. When he's over there. He usually parks the Gator behind his 1980 Olds Toronado if he's in the house. I hope (formerly Puppy) Jack doesn't hop in it and take a poop!

That's the actual side of the freight container. Hick might be planning to put a door in one side, to go from the container to the garage. And then he's got his New Holland tractor sitting in there, too, for lifting assorted sons up to work the high beams.

There's his car-lifting thingamabob that he had to have. I guess he's going to become a Goober and run a little garage like down in Mayberry. NO gas pumps, though. I'm drawing the line! Only Thursday, I called to tell Hick I was headed to town, and on the way out, I met his buddy, Buddy, driving a dump truck full of gravel. The pile of gravel which I noticed beside the Freight Container Garage when I returned. This might turn out to be like that Winchester house. Not because Hick is afraid of spirits, but because he seems to be afraid of finishing anything.

It sure looks different from when he was just putting the floor down.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #89 "Do You Smell What I Smell"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Ladle yourself an eggnog, brew up a hot toddy, break out the peppermint schnapps, and pop the cork on that jug of moonshine you've been saving for a special occasion. It doesn't get more special than the release of Val's latest holiday-edition fake book. Put it on your list, and check it twice. You'd be naughty not to buy Val's new fake book. Twice.

"Do You Smell What I Smell?"

Sal Thethicktorian is sorely disappointed that her Great-Aunt Effie won the sniffing competition at her sister-the-former-governor's-wife's Christmas party last year. Many items were sniffed that day, from holly to frankincense to a snowman's balls to a reindeer's butt. But Effie identified them all in record time, including the major stumper: an overgrown elf's armpit.

Finishing only seconds behind Effie, Sal has vowed to wrest that title from Effie's liver-spotted hands, and rip the championship belt out from under her waist-boobs. She's been practicing for months to identify the most obscure scents she can find. Will Sal emerge victorious this year? Or will (that effing) Effie repeat as champ? (108 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Will Farrell as Elf..."Does somebody need a hug? YES! Everyone who reads this fake book! It's terrible! I'd rather eat gum off a subway railing, or have my spaghetti without maple syrup, than read this rotten book! This Thevictorian lady needs to be on Santa's Naughty List."

Mr. Grinch..."I wouldn't touch this fake book with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole! I wouldn't give it to a seasick crocodile. The three words that best describe Thevictorian's writing are: stink, stank, stunk."

Little Town of Bethlehem..."See how still I lie? There's a reason for that. I don't want Thevictorian coming here on her fake book tour. At least the dreamless sleep without having nightmares after fake-reading her fake book."

Sal's Sister-the-Former-Governor's-Wife..."This fake book is not based on truth! It's all a fabrication by Sal. I throw tasteful parties with top-notch games and coveted prizes. Nothing about me is substandard like Sal's fake writing. Sal once parked her Yukon in our driveway and ran over a bone and got a flat tire. Yuck-On was so dirty that I was embarrassed for the BONE! Just like I'm embarrassed for people who are mistakenly given a gift of Sal's fake book for Christmas."

Irish Spring..."I'm a deodorant soap made to handle a man's sweat. But even I'm not strong enough to stop the stench that emanates from Val Thevictorian's fake writing."

Irish Spring Commercial Actress..."Irish Spring is manly, yes...but I like it too. Unlike Thevictorian's writing, which is liked by nobody, man nor beast, and especially not by a woman with a discerning literary palate."

Dixie Cup..."I am being held here against my will! I don't know which is worse, my rim touching the armpit, or my base touching Effie's nose. And to top it all off, I hear that I'm disposable! Please, please, please...whatever you do, don't drop me in the wastebasket on top of one of Thevictorian's books. On top of a magazine, next to an eclair in a doily, would be nice."

B.O. emanating from armpit..."Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Cup! You must have pulled the short straw this time, because your relatives are busy serving up Jello shots. Thevictorian's relatives are probably contemplating serving up shots to her. Shots of elephant tranqulizer, to immobilize her so she can't write any more fake books."

Underwear Tester..."I see a future for Great-Aunt Effie as a deodorant tester. At least she'll only have to smell the ARMPITS of the testees! As for Thevictorian, I see nothing but garbage in her future. Her writing skill stinks."