Tuesday, January 31, 2017

This is Why I Give Hick an Allowance

Can we talk too much about Hick's bargains? He doesn't think so. A couple days ago he went to Lowe's. Just for one board, he said. Probably to make more shelves, the better to hold more junk.

When Hick came home, he was all a-tizzy. He doesn't show outward excitement all that often. He tromped into the kitchen as I was warming his leftover sausage/cabbage/potato concoction, and three corn muffins.

"I can't believe it. They NEVER have any bargains when I go down to Lowe's in my truck. But when I take the car, they have stuff I want that won't fit! Like tonight! Up front, they had 22 PIECES OF SIDING, all for only TEN DOLLARS! That's over a hundred dollars worth of siding. For TEN DOLLARS! It would cover--" (and here, Hick rattled off the verbal arithmetic, calculating square footage, and I tuned him out).

"I don't know how much that is."

"It would cover TWO WALLS, Val! TWO WALLS!"

"Too bad you were in the car."

"Yeah. I called HOS, and he came and picked it up for me!"

"I guess we'll be getting another shed..."

"I've got two more started. I've got the skids already, and the lumber."

Yeah. It never ends. Here's Hick's bargain.

The pieces of siding were not scattered all willy-nilly across the parking lot. Or in the road, like that piece of J-channel I stopped my car to pick up for him the first year we were married. Do you know how hard it is to shove a piece of J-channel into a Toyota Corolla?

As Hick made sure to inform me in the email where he attached the pictures, it's 22 pieces, 12-feet long. I wonder if the front and back of our new shed will be green. Or the opposite sides. Or a front/side. Or a back/side. Maybe we'll have two sheds, both with green front walls.

The possibilities, like my retirement days with hoarding Hick, are endless.

Monday, January 30, 2017

As Long As No Chicken Was Smothered

The gas station chicken store has a new taste treat to offer. I saw the sign taped on the glass of the chicken-warmer yesterday. Smothered Potatoes. I asked the cashier guy if he'd tried it. He's always recommending the other stuff to me, even though he knows I stick to chicken. He's promoted the burritos and chili and mini tacos. He likes spicy. He even said he puts hot sauce on spaghetti.

Anyhoo...the sign described the Smothered Potatoes as mashed potatoes topped with mixed vegetables and steak, covered in a red sauce.

"Have you tried the Smothered Potatoes?"

"Actually, I have." That was it.

"Oh. No recommendation?"

"Um...it wasn't one of my favorites. Just personally speaking. It didn't seem to have any flavor."

"Yeah. You seem to like spicy."


I went about the business of getting my chicken. Filling my 44 oz Diet Coke. As Cashier Guy was ringing up my order, two more customers came in. Cashier Guy said to one, "Sorry. We're out of burritos!" The dude said he would wait for the chicken gal to make more.

"What? You're not recommending the Smothered Potatoes to him?"

"Naw. I just didn't like them."

"Well, some people don't like their food mixed together."

"To tell you the truth, it was the steak." He shot his eyes to the chicken gal.

"There you go! Complaining about my food!" They rib each other all the time. "There was nothing wrong with the steak."

"There were only two little pieces!"

"That's all I'm allowed to put on!"

I looked at Cashier Guy. He was trying to be a good promoter for the store. But he was also honest. I shouldn't have stirred it up in front of the other customers. I just couldn't help myself. When he finally stated his real problem with the Smothered Potatoes, I saw the absurdity of the situation, standing in a gas station, discussing steak.

"You know...it's $1.99."

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Be Careful What You're Not Even Wishing For

I made the mistake of showing an interest in Hick's hoard. Not so much showing an actual interest, as asking for details about the random picture he sent me from the BARn when he first used The Pony's Christmas present to put together his shelves.

This little faux pas was akin to asking an old person, "How are you?" Now I have more information than I wanted. Today, Hick sent me FOUR pictures. He's proud of his BARn collections. Yeah. I told him the other day he was a hoarder, and he said haughtily, "Val. I'm a COLLECTOR!" Which is just another name for a hoarder, if I remember correctly.

Anyhoo...now I must share my good fortune with you, and show you more BARn shots. Ironically, you would probably be unable to have a shot at the bar in Hick's BARn now, because all the space is taken up with his...collections.

This one is my favorite of the four new photos. Those boards at the top? That was Hick's Friday night project. He took them to work so he could use a machine there (a mill, he says, to which I said, "What?" and he said a milling machine) to cut the notches for hanging his goblets. Or schooners. Or whatever those beer glasses are called. The bucket collection started with a couple he found in my stuff right after we got married. Or probably before. Hick is a well-known snoop. Anyhoo, I had attended a couple of St. Louis Strassenfests during my checkered-past college years, and everybody knows that you have to drink your beer out of a bucket there. So sad it's no longer a thing. The Strassenfest. Not beer drinking. I like Hick's collection of trays, culled from assorted flea markets and Goodwills and received as an occasional Christmas give from Val herself. Hick's pretty easy to buy for. Because he collects a little bit of everything.

This looks like a hodgepodge area, though I guess he will eventually refine it with a more specific theme. Those giant bottles are BEER! I'd never heard of such a thing. I asked if it was champagne. Nope. Beer. He said they were made by Anheuser Busch, and were sold in a kit. Of course I questioned him on that, because to me, a kit is something you make for yourself out of parts. But he described more of a gift set, like the bottle with four glasses. Yes. They still have the beer in them. They are for collection purposes only in Hick's BARn.

Don't try to drink one of Hick's Cokes, either!

This collection here is a bit contentious. It's Hick's Rams Table. Hick says he can't find as many Rams collectibles now that they are gone, baby, gone from St. Louis. He can, though find jerseys at Goodwill, but he doesn't collect them. I say EFF THE RAMS! I was a loyal fan of the football Cardinals until Arizona stole them. And I was a loyal fan of the Rams, even back in the Rich Brooks days. And especially during the Cryin' Dick Vermeil era. I gave Mike Martz a year, but his vision was not mine. Still. I was fairly neutral on the subject. But now? NOW? EFF THE RAMS!

Sorry. I forgot my purpose for a moment.

Yes. Hick has a lot of junk. But it's HIS junk, and he's quite proud of it. I try to be tolerant. By his own account, Hick had NOTHING growing up. Not even an indoor toilet to pee in. So if he wants to have stuff now, who am I to deny him? He's worked hard all his life. He can afford it. I am not going to destroy his dream of owning one of every single item in the universe.

He's off to a good start.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

I Know It's NOT "Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine"

Since being lectured told-off chastised sent to bed without supper given the cold shoulder gently reminded about keeping me informed of his general location, Hick has either sent me a text, or left me a paper plate message within several hours of his escape departure. It's not so much that I must keep tabs on him, as I resent him questioning my every move when I make my daily 1/2 hour run to town for a 44 oz Diet Coke, while he disappears like cake on a teachers' workroom table.

This morning's paper-plate memo did nothing to dispel the rumor that Hick is an undercover international spy. He writes in code, portions of it indecipherable to Val. I'll let you try your hand at Hick's handwriting. Yes, I know that Joe H has an unfair advantage, due to reading Mrs. Cranky's shopping list. That's one of the perks of being an intermittent JERK!, I suppose.

Here's the message:

Let the record show that I saw this note when I was jarred out of a sweet, sweet slumber at the inhuman hour of 8:30 a.m., when the security company that monitors Hick's workplace called for him, regarding an alarm at their secondary building. Let the record further show that Hick has not worked since Thursday...today is Saturday...and he isn't scheduled to work again until Tuesday.

So...there was my message written in Hickese on a paper plate on the kitchen counter. Here is what I thought it said. I'll put it at the end, below a divider, lest it poison your brain and spoil your attempt at code-reading. Best of luck. I'm betting on Joe H to provide the best translation, though there's not a prize, and I'm not playing favorites. I don't-really-care-about all of you equally.

Happy decoding. Don't cheat and read somebody else's before giving it a try!


I read this message as:

"Gone to town then work in barn might get aircraft ruder gay corn ring Tom now am if we this."

Let the record show that Hick has a buddy named Tom. And that I called Hick to see what the Not-Heaven he was trying to tell me.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #45 "Go Ask Alma"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Get one before the cupboard is bare! This week's fake book is SWEET! Treat yourself to Val's latest inauthentic tome, and satisfy your literary tooth. Nine out of ten reviewers surveyed don't recommend it.

Go Ask Alma

Alma Green teaches Spanish at a midwestern high school. Her true vocation, though, is selling black market edibles. Officially, Alma's students call her Senora Verde. But behind her back and wide-brimmed sombrero, they advise fellow rule breakers to "Go ask Alma" when somebody needs a dose of flavor.

Yes, public school cafeteria regulations prevent students and faculty from enjoying tasty meals. Alma saw the market right away. Tired of bland bread, sunflower seed butter, mushy noodles, saltless Saltines, sawdust-tasting little donuts, cheeseless broccoli, and golf-ball-size apples for dessert...Alma's clandestine customers are willing to pay big bucks for food they will actually eat.

Can Alma keep mining her mother lode indefinitely? Or will she get caught with her hat down? Will the peanut girl get revenge for that unplanned ambulance ride to the hospital? Get yourself a heaping helping of "Go Ask Alma" to find out! (145 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

JIF..."Choosy moms don't choose Thevictorian's fake books. I'm surprised there hasn't been a rash of allergic reactions. Let this one rot on the shelf."

Skittles..."There's no accounting for some people's tastes. Especially not the ones who buy this fake book. They are the kind of people whose rainbow would end in a cow pasture. After the first green grass of spring."

Kit Kat Bar..."Gimme a break! Nobody better even share this fake book with me! Seriously! I'm about to snap!"

Unready Cheez-It Cheese Wheel..."This book sucks. Thevictorian sucks, too. I found that out when I fake-read her last fake book: Ice Bank Mice Elf."

Lay's Potato Chips..."The only good thing we can say for Thevictorian is that you CAN stop after one of her fake books. In fact you could stop BEFORE one, but we're trying to be nice here."

Mr. Chips..."I'm afraid that anybody who fake-buys this fake book says GOODBYE to sanity. I will never forget this author, and will be on the lookout for any of her progeny who try to write like she does. As for now, Thevictorian owes me 100 lines. Lines that are NOT from this fake book."

Mr. Dobbins, Tom Sawyer's Schoolmaster..."If I had caught Tom looking through my copy of this fake book, I would not have whipped him. Just being exposed to this tome is punishment enough. I rue the fact that Tom did not rip every page in it."

Miss Landers..."Leave it to Thevictorian to destroy the English language with her fake book. Her prose is as ugly as the three-eyed monster on the sweatshirt Theodore Cleaver wore to school. His teacher, Mr. Collins, had to send him to Mrs. Rayburn's office! I'm sure Val Thevictorian's early teachers never expected her to go wrong, either. But she has. And no amount of slips-that-should-have-been handkerchiefs can make up for this unforgivable act."

From Sir, With No Love..."I am sick of Thevictorian's foul language, crude behavior, and sluttish manner. There are certain things a decent woman keeps private, and this fake book is one of them. Those of you who encouraged her are just as much to blame. I am going to leave this book blurb for five minutes, and when I come back, this disgusting fake book had better be burning in that stove to incinerate the stench. If you must read this rotten fake book, please do so in your home, and not in my classroom."

Virgil Tibbs..."They call her Mrs. FIBS! This fake book is a real crime. Thevictorian has no idea what goes on inside a school. She will come to no good end if she continues to sell herself in this manner."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I'm Reasonably Certain It Was a Hardware Malfunction, and NOT a Deliberate Lock-Out

What has Hick been doing with all his free time, now that he's 40% retired? Let's see...tomorrow I expect him to be busy not-fixing the lock on the front door that quit working tonight when he went out and in that portal.

That door worked perfectly fine last night when I turned the little center thing in the knob to unlock it, took the dogs their evening snack, and came back in and locked the door by turning the center thing again. Tonight, I turned the doorknob to go out with the snacks, it already being unlocked because Hick came home a little early while I was still walking in the driveway. Actually OFF the driveway, sinking into mole tunnels, as he passed by in the Trailblazer.

Anyhoo...I pulled the door shut behind me as usual, and it made a clanging noise and popped back open. Huh. I tried to pull it shut, same thing. The squishing-in thingy wouldn't go back in. Wouldn't slip into the door latch. Not even when I turned the knob. Of course Hick got up from the La-Z-Boy and came over and wrenched the doorknob back and forth and pushed on the quishing-in thingy with his thumb, and said, "I don't know what you're talking about. It works."

Of course when I tried to get back in after feeding the dogs (let the record show that the wind chill was 27 degrees), the door was locked. Doorknob wouldn't turn. I banged on the door (why use that doorbell that didn't work for 20 years, that Hick might have fixed a couple years back, just to be disappointed if he didn't) and Hick said from the other side, "NOW what?"

"The door's locked! Let me in!"

"The door isn't locked. There." Hick made a big show of turning that doorknob from the inside handle, and twisting that center lock thing. Making me look the fool. Never mind that the squishing-in part was not moving at all as he turned the knob.

"It doesn't work. I have to be able to get back in the house once I go out."

"You can get into the house! I'll take a look at that tomorrow." Said the man who went back to sit in his La-Z-Boy, having already professed that tomorrow he would be moving things around in his basement workshop (on the other side of a thin wall from my dark basement lair!) to fit in a new shelf to display his things.

Last long weekend when he was off, he spent three of the four days (one he took me to the casino) not-fixing the garage people-door, which has the same problem with the doorknob and squishing-in thingy.

During that non-repair time, Hick was working on a project in the BARn, using the new drill The Pony got him for Christmas. I don't know what was so special about that drill. I think something having to do with the way you charge it. Hick has one of almost every tool imaginable. The better to build shanties for Shackytown, I suppose. But for a couple days he was building shelves.

And painting them, and stocking them with his treasures.

I really hope our episode of Hoarders gets high ratings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It Rivals One of Hick's Towering Bowls of Soup

It's no secret that Val has been making wise choices for the past year, and is now a shadow of her former self. Granted, she's a fairly thick shadow, but still...progress is evident.

One of these wise choices concerns portion control. I don't deny myself scrumptious fare, I merely choose less. It's also no secret that Val finds slaw to be particularly delectable. Perhaps it's an inherited trait. In my opinion, slaw is the perfect complement to gas station chicken. I know I can't go hog wild on this combo. So...rather than slopping out serving spoons full of slaw onto a plate, in the manner of Hick, I instead use a ramekin to hold my slaw.

The thing is, the longer you've been making these wise choices, the likelier you are to become lax in your measurements. I confess that recently, my servings of slaw have looked like this:

No. I'm not proud. I am a bit disappointed with myself for dishing up a serving of slaw that looks like a bowl of ice cream scooped out at Baskin Robbins.

Still. Slaw is made of vegetables, right? How bad for you can it be?

On second thought...maybe I should walk an extra driveway this evening.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Val Sheds Some Light on the Reason for Her Late Arrival

Did you know that internet service doesn't work when the power goes off? Not here at Val's homestead, anyway. So I'm running two hours behind schedule today. I was just getting to my comments and today's tale at 3:50 Backroads time when WHOOSH! That's the sound of silence.

Let the record show that the dark basement lair is really, really dark without power. I'm supposed to have an emergency light plugged into an outlet under the counter in my office. Oh, it's plugged in all right. But it doesn't work. Good news is that the same kind of light works in the NASCAR bathroom! THIS time! When the light bulb burned out that time, it did not. I guess the power has to be off in its outlet to cue it to shine.

So...I had enough dim light find my way to the stairs and escape the lair. The main level was light enough, because the setting sun was coming through the living room window. I was headed out to walk anyway, at 4:20. So I thought I'd get a head start, but HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) started texting me to see if I had electricity. He moved in up on the other property this weekend. And then Hick called from work, because he saw on Facebook that the neighbor across from us didn't have power. She had reported it, and there was an estimated restoration time of 7:00. That was good to know, because...um...there's no internet when the power is off. Oh, I had my laptop, Shiba, fully charged. But she can't do much for me without internet.

Oh, yeah. And when your live on the edge of the horizon, and your house is all-electric, and your water comes from a well...you have one flush left in each toilet! Of which we have three. Nothing makes you want to poop more than knowing your power is off and your well won't pump! I held it, but (sorry to be so indelicate) I really had to pee, and unlike Hick, I do not stand on the back porch and let it gush. But I made a note to not flush until I really needed to, perhaps after my walk. And then I stood up and reflexively turned and pushed the handle! What a waste of a flush!

Gone are the days when, at the first inkling of a power outage, Hick declares a family emergency and leaves work to rush home and hook up the generator. Even when I had strapping young Genius, adept at finding the right breakers to trip, and the cords to hook up, and where to find the gas to pour in the generator, and which appliance combinations we could use. Yes. Those days are gone, baby, gone!

Hick did not even tell me he was going to be late coming home!!! There I was, sitting in his La-Z-Boy, wearing my shirt and sweatshirt and quilted flannel CPO jacket, and Carhartt sock cap, eagerly awaiting his Trailblazer coming up the driveway. But it didn't come! I had even wasted spent quality time (30 minutes) on the front porch with Jack and my Sweet, Sweet Juno after our walk and their evening snack.

So there I was, wondering what to do for light, as it was getting darker by the minute. Gone, too, are the days when I had a flashlight in every room. We made sure of that after Icepocalypse '06. But, as happens when you share a home with Genius...your flashlights and scissors and pens and tape and staplers disappear. Who knows WHAT kind of Frankensteinish contraption he has built and stashed somewhere under the floorboards or in the wall.

THEN I remembered what a bad mom I was, having forgotten to stuff the stockings with a certain pack of flashlights that I had bought for just that purpose. I had given it to Hick the day after Christmas, as Genius and I headed to the casino, and told him to put the batteries in so everybody could have one. Of course, being Hick, he did not follow instructions. While the cat was away, that rat did play...and not with a recently-batteried flashlight.

So...there I was, sitting in the dark, putting 18 batteries in 6 flashlights/headlamps.

I am sad to report that I was cutting open 3-packs of included batteries, and feeling for the knobby end and holey end by touch, on the FOURTH flashlight, before I realized that I could turn one on and be able to see what I was doing! Then I did the headlamps, and had all kinds of trouble trying to figure out the strap. That was when Hick arrived, and had that strap figured out in only five minutes! Don't call us if your technology goes down, people!

Good news is, the power came back on around 6:10. Right after we got all the lights going. Just in time for me to COOK for Hick.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Forecast: Completely Cloudy With a Chance of Casino

In an effort to keep Hick out of the house yesterday, I suggested we go to the casino. You know. I'm selfless like that. Hick's response was to shout, "THE CASINO? I just took you last week!" Which he did. But, I explained, the weather forecast showed 93% chance of rain at 11:00 a.m., and over 70% chance of rain all day long. With a high of 51 degrees. Besides, he'd still have all day Monday to screw off piddle around hammering and sawing and drilling and spending money on his little projects.

Of course my Sweet Baboo saw the logic in this scenario. So we left at 9:15 a.m. for the casino. Huh. There was NO RAIN! I had even told him we'd drive T-Hoe instead of A-Cad, because the car would just be splattered with mud and road spray anyhow. Still...we were already on the way. No sense stopping now, just because the weathermen failed again.

Hick dropped me off at the main entrance and went into the city to troll the Goodwill stores for treasures. Then he rejoined me about 90 minutes later. Let the record show that the casino was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli. And more miserly that George Costanza. Hick was only there short time, and lost all but $20 of the bankroll I gave him. Wait. I take that back. He also had another $20 that he took out of his allotment to spend AT GOODWILL! Making me his enabler, I suppose.

Anyhoo...the casino odds were not in my favor, either. I lost my shirt. LOOK AWAY! I'm hideous without my shirt! Okay, so in all actuality, I still had 80% of the money I took in. But still, that's more than Val usually loses.

We DID have a delicious burger, so juicy that grease dripped down my arm and onto the table. I could have given a Hardee's commercial burger-eating gal a run for her money. What with me losing my shirt and all...

When we walked out of the casion, THE SUN WAS SHINING! The temperature was 53 degrees. I had robbed Hick of a day outside, riding his Gator, terrorizing potholes and downed trees and neighbors who put sticks in the road. HEY! The weather is not my problem! I looked at the forecast online, even the updated version at 1:00 a.m.

Today, the wind was blustery, the sky overcast, and temperature at 43 degrees at noon. You know what I told Hick? "Sorry about yesterday and you missing nice weather. Today is terrible. You COULD take me to the casino..."

Heh, heh.

Let the record show that I was joking, but he thought I was serious. Let the record further show that Hick took off for the local Goodwill store. I guess that twenty was burning a hole in his pocket.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Scrick Factor

This is what retirement looks like:

And this:

And this:

Yes. This is what only 40 PERCENT retirement looks like. I think I might have misspoken once about Hick taking 60% retirement. Silly me. The math is the first to go. Hick is working 3 days a week, at 60% pay and full insurance benefits. So he's gone to work three days a week, and here the other two, plus the weekend. He's making the most of his time here at the homestead. As you can see.

Oh, that's just the stuff I can SHOW you! Saturday morning, I stepped on something in the kitchen. I'm not sure what it was. It was in front of the stove again. Surely you don't think VAL ever spends any time in that area! I was in my fresh socks right after the shower. My fresh NEW socks, worn for the first time. And something got a grip on the toe area of the left foot. It stuck. Pert near pulled that sock off. Not all the way off. Just about halfway off. Like a kid's sock after playing in the snow for an hour, and then taking off his snow boot.

I looked at the floor and didn't see much of anything. As far as I know, Hick didn't make eggs in secret before I got up, and he didn't have a plate of leftovers from the Felinefish Skillet to turn over and drip slaw juice in the floor. He DID say he had a Subway sandwich for his supper, because he went TO WORK to load a big shelf he wants to put in the basement. You know. To display his STUFF.

No, I only saw a little speck of something. Unrecognizable. It was smaller than a dime, and grayish in color. I wiped it up with a wet paper towel. That's standard procedure around here, right? Still, my sock was bespoiled. I just stuffed my foot in a Croc and went about my business.


That's the sound of a Croc sole with something sticky on it going across a linoleum kitchen floor. (Apparently, Hick's floor-droppings take more than water and a paper towel to clean up. Who knew?) I know you've heard that sound. Like when you step in gum on a parking lot, and walk through the store. Even when I walked across the living room carpet with with my Croc, and down the basement stairs, I still got the SCRICK on the tile basement floor. That's unnatural. That sole should have been coated with mud particles from the carpet, like Oreo crumbs on a homemade donut, and remained silent.

Oh, but this is not the worst part of 40% more time with Hick! No siree, Bob! The worst part (so far) is:


That means that every time I walk toward the bathroom for my shower, Hick runs in from the front yard, where he has just parked his Gator all willy-nilly and stormed up the steps and fumbled with his key in the lock, and darts ahead of me to plop down on the toilet to take a crap. And let me tell you, people...Hick is no Thomas Jefferson sitting on a boot!

Not only do I have to inhale his business when he's done, while I am trying to get clean in the shower...but I have to listen to Hick while he's in there. I imagine that Thomas Jefferson, sitting on his boot in his waistcoat, taking a tasteful crap, remained silent. Not Hick.

"AHHH..." Like he's dining on succulent filet mignon. Like he's sipping $35 a bottle whiskey with Genius. Like he's having a relaxing massage administered by a grown-up high-tech love child from Shania Twain and Lorrie Morgan. (You can Google them. They're 80s country singers that Hick enjoyed. Very much.)

Let the record show that the last picture is NOT related to the last example of Hick's renewed household presence. 

Yes, Val's idyllic life, now with 40% more Hick, has changed dramatically.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Maybe Hick is Not Actually Trying to Kill Me, But Only Scheming to Get Rid of Me

About a year-and-a-half ago, I got the feeling Hick was trying to kill me. Accidentally, of course. Oh, his motives may have been intentional, but he planned to make it look like an accident.

Perhaps you remember me spilling Hick's beans right here on the innernets. There was the time he told me to take ALL SIX pills in a z-pack at once, the time he gave me my grandma's cane in the dark, which had been altered to no rubber stopper but a pointy duct-taped end, and the time he bladed the driveway gravel and denied it three different ways.

I'm trying to give Hick the benefit of the doubt. He is, after all, my Sweet Baboo. Maybe he doesn't actually want me dead, but only GONE.

Hick was trimming ice-storm-damaged trees and blading the gravel road yesterday when his buddy Buddy's wife stopped to thank him  She mentioned that her daughter lives in The Pony's college town, and that if he ever needs something, to let her know. In case his car breaks down, or some other pressing calamity. Hick told her, "If you ever make a trip out there to visit, I'm sure Val would go along with you."


That's the sound of Val's Crocs digging into the press-down tile on the concrete basement floor. Just one stinkin' minute! Does Hick not know my nature after 27 years of marriage? Like Stevie Nicks, I have never ever been a blue calm sea. I have always been a storm. The Pony comes by his not really caring about people naturally. By way of my genes. Not only do I not really care about people (hard to believe, I know), but I actively dislike a large portion of the human race. In fact, my personal motto, although I never asked my mom to make a cross-stitch for me to hang over the fake fireplace mantel, is PEOPLE PISS ME OFF!

I have no gripes with Buddy's wife. She's a likeable enough person. But that doesn't mean I want to be trapped in a car with her for nine hours. It's bad enough when I'm trapped with Hick, and don't have to hide my true nature. No way can I be congenial and polite for that long. Besides, there's the business of leisure time once there.

"Oh, you can stay in the hotel," said Hick magnanimously when I politely murmured (heh, heh) that I was not interested in a road trip with Buddy's wife. Sure glad I wasn't expected to share a bed with her at her daughter's house, like Matty Ross of near Dardanelle in Yell County had to share with Grandma Turner at the Monarch Boarding House in True Grit. AND how would I get around for a couple of days, assuming that The Pony would meet me for a meal, and then forsake me for his cronies and the 12th floor lounge with high-speed internet? There are no restaurants withing walking distance of our hotel. I guess I could squirrel away extra food from the breakfast bar...

Yeah. Nothing in that scheme of Hick's smacks of my demise. Just of my disappearance for a while. I can't imagine that he would want a few days away from me!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #44 "I Know What You Did Last Second"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Come on. It's not against the law. But you may look at the law from a different vantage point after you read this week's fake book. Have YOU ever broken the law? We have ways of finding out, you know. So to keep Val from dropping a dime on you, perhaps it would be best for you to pony up some cash for the latest volume to add to your Thevictorian Library. Cash is not as traceable as plastic, you know. Unless you consider the DNA you leave on it when you touch it.

I Know What You Did Last Second

Troy days are numbered. Since childhood, he's been breaking rules. Breaking laws. Now he's gone too far.

Little Troy put Pink Pet erasers in his shoes to be tall enough to ride the Scrambler. Lied about driving experience hours to get his license. Over-inflated his tires. Played his radio a skosh too loud while driving through the hospital zone. Stuffed his birthday party invitation into his neighbor's mailbox without a stamp. Watched an NC17 movie on cable at 16 years, 364 days. Bought a pack of vending machine cigarettes at 17 years, 364 days. Ate a box of liquor-filled chocolates at 20 years, 364 days old. Yesterday, Troy drove 39 mph on the interstate.

Now Troy is hiding in his bedroom closet, peering through the louvered door, awaiting the SWAT team. Because just a second ago, he ripped the tag off his new pillow.

Will Troy make it out alive? (150 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

D.B.Cooper..."If I was Thevictorian, no amount of money could make me show my face again. Her fake book made me want to throw myself out of a plane!"

Alcatraz 3..."We would swim the widest ocean to escape this fake author's work. First of all, it made our heads feel empty. We found this fake book tepid and bloated, yet it left us cold."

The Birdman of Alcatraz..."A little birdie told me this fake book ain't worth crap."

Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski..."Thevictorian needs to hole up in a shack in a remote woodsy area. MY writing makes more sense than this fake book. I predict it will bomb."

Al Capone..."If this fake author needs a hideout, I have an unopened vault where she can hang her fedora while she's on the lam. I'm not much for reading, but I'll drink a toast to her fake book."

John Coffey..."I wish she could take it back. I wish Thevictorian could take back this fake book. I can't read, myself, but folks has told me reading this fake book is like walkin' the Green Mile."

Paul McCartney..."The jailer man and Sailor Sam were searching everyone for a copy of this fake book. Nobody had one. Maybe I'm amazed. Actually, I'm not. It's crap. I'd rather read silly love songs. I winged this fake book across the room yesterday. Now I need a place to hide away. And so does Thevictorian."

Dr. Richard Kimble..."Is Thevictorian a one-armed man? Because this fake book was written as if the author had one hand tied behind his back."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bartender, Scrap-Taker, Scratch-Donut-Maker

When Genius was home for Christmas, I offered to send back some leftovers with him. He only had four days to eat or freeze them, though, because he was flying out on his west coast trip in the early morning hours of New Year's Eve. Part of the leftovers included Oreo crumbs left from the making of three Oreo Cakes. It's not that we're addicted to Oreo Cakes. I don't even like them Hick can't eat them, but The Pony LOVES them. One was for us, two were gifts.

Anyhoo...I had a bunch of crumbs left over that I used to garnish the top of the cake. Here's a picture of what you missed if you weren't having dessert with Thevictorians.

Don't think Thevictorians throw away perfectly usable food scraps. At first I thought Genius mught turn up his snooty nose at such offal. But no. Genius said he knew just what to do with those crumbs. The same thing I figured might cross his mind. Make a cocktail with them!

Val is a teetotaler, you know, but she watches TV. So I suggested some kind of drink that you might coat the rim of the glass with Oreo crumbs. Not a red Solo cup rim. A real GLASS glass. I tried to describe my vision in a rudimentary way, and Genius took off on a riff of assorted liqueurs and similar cocktails and what he had on hand in his college-rental-house liquor larder.

Genius, you also know, is not a stranger to demon rum. Not only does he have a little Captain Morgan in him, he has $35-a-bottle black label whiskey, foreign-sounding aperitifs and cordials, and four cases of assorted beers from his music festival trip to Kansas City last year. I'd say Genius is probably about 75.5% alcohol. He might just as well be called Ronrico 151! (See? Val does her research. And went to college. And listened to the Georgia Satellites' "Railroad Steel"--that reference is around the 3:00 mark.)

Anyhoo...Genius didn't come back to the homestead after his trip, due to icy weather and flight changes. So when we took his car to him, I took the baggie of Oreo crumbs. Last week, he sent me a picture of what he used them for:

Yes. I was surprised. Those aren't gonna give anybody a hangover! Genius made donuts!

WHOOP! WHOOP! What's that? I hear the sound of the Spelling Police trying to pull me over! Eat my dust, you overhorsepowered frustrated schoolmarms! Val will NOT pull over! It's DONUTS here! We're not living in the 1800s!

I can see why Genius and his housemates buy their paper towels by the 6-pack! I asked if he used biscuit dough. That's a quick way to make donuts, you know. My mom used to do it, with some cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. And if that was Nutella. Genius is a big fan of Nutella.

"No. We made our own dough. It's literally just flour, yeast, eggs, milk, and time. And we made chocolate glaze."

I didn't ask who was getting that tiny one in the back.

I'm pretty sure I know where Genius's inspiration came from. His west coast trip. Namely, Voodoo Doughnuts. (The spelling here is a nod to their proper name. Don't think Val is afraid of being roughed up by the Spelling Police.) More another day on that excursion.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Stealth Nom-Nommer

Strange things happen around our house all the time. I refuse to believe that it's because I'm strange. Stuff happens. It's my job to figure out why.

Yesterday I relayed (heh, heh, the subject was ELECTRICITY, and I said RELAYed...guess you have to be the wife of a man who does factory electrical work and mom of an electrical engineer to get that) how our power went off three times at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday night/Monday morning. Hmm...I'm starting to wonder if 3:00 a.m. really is the witching hour. LAST night/early this morning, again at 3:00 a.m., the light bulb over the area by the TV and my new OPC (Old People Chair) started to dim. It brightened up. Dimmed. Brightened. FIZZLED OUT! It's still off today, so maybe it just burned out at that coincidental time.

The kitchen has also been the scene of lighting/electrical phenomena. Nothing recent, though. It's other stuff I find in the kitchen. I could swear my pans in the big metal drawer under the oven have been rearranged. The drawer with the big spoons and spatulas and dipper and cheese grater seems to have been ransacked, not wanting to close because things aren't nested the way I usually store them. Sometimes a bowl has specks of dried cheese on it, yet I've been doing dishes all my life by hand, and should know better. I even asked Hick if he'd been into that oven drawer when I put my muffin pan back in there the other day. He said he never messes with the dishes.

On Sunday morning, I woke up to see Hick standing over in the corner of the bedroom. That's a bit unusual. He's usually bouncing me up and down on the mattress (like I'm a jolly good fellow in a blanket toss) as he puts on his socks. Or he's flipping on the 2000-watt lights he recently installed in the ceiling fixture. Or slamming the bedroom door to shut out noise so he doesn't disturb me. So it was odd that I woke up to no jouncing or light or noise, and saw him standing there in his tighty-whities in the early morning light.

"What are you doing?"

"Just getting my clothes. I FREEZING!" And with that, Hick slithered back under the quilt, jouncing and flopping and yanking the covers and TALKING to me like I hadn't just gone to bed four hours previous.

"Well, I guess there's no going back to sleep now."

"Val. It's SEVEN O'CLOCK!"

"You may have slept for ten hours already, but I just went to bed at 3:00. I'd hoped to sleep some more."

"I don't care if you sleep. Go ahead."

"That's easy for you to SAY! Now I'm wide awake. I thought you were getting your clothes. Ready to leave to wherever it is you go every morning."

"I'm going to work on HOS's electric in his trailer. But first I'm going to take a shower."

That was odd. I assumed that Hick was out of the shower, gathering his clothes. That's how it usually works. Why would he get up and gather clothes and then be freezing? Peculiar. I tried to go back to sleep while Hick was in the shower, but that wasn't happening. He got out and dressed and left, and I gave up. I got up and went to the kitchen for my medicine.

That's odd. The paper plate I had on a tray that I'd carried up from the basement at 3:00 a.m. was gone. Hick never throws anything away! And the winning lottery tickets that had also been on that tray were laying on the kitchen counter, where I prep the food. AND two spoons from Hick's after-supper snack that had been laying beside the sink were gone. This was a case for Mystery Inc. Jessica Fletcher. Columbo.

When Hick returned for lunch, I quizzed him on the lottery tickets.

"Why were my tickets laying on the counter."

"Why were your tickets laying on the counter?"


"Oh. I moved them."

"And where's my plate?"

"Your plate? What plate?"

"The paper plate that was on my tray with the lottery tickets under it."

"Oh. I threw it away."

"You NEVER straighten up the kitchen! Why did you do that?"

"Why did I do that?"


"Oh. I made myself some eggs."

Let the record show that there was no sign of egg-making. No pan, no spatula, no plate, no bowl, no fork. Hick hasn't gotten eggs from his remaining chickens for a month or more. I have two cartons of eggs in FRIG II that are store-bought.

"Where did you get the eggs?"

"Where did I get the eggs?"


"Oh. From the refrigerator."

"WHICH eggs did you use? Because one carton was hard-boiled."

"Yeah. I was going to tell you about that. I cracked one of them and found out."

"So you made eggs and then got rid of all the evidence! WHY do you do that? It's not the first time I've caught you doing that! WHO does that? Makes eggs and then washes the pan and puts it away? That means you had to dry it. Nothing in the sink drainer with the other dishes to put away. AND you never wash anything else! Just your own stuff! What if I did that?"

"I do too wash other stuff."

"Huh. This would be the first time. Besides, there was NOTHING there to wash. I did the dishes after supper!"

"I washed them two spoons layin' there by the sink. See? I do things around here."

I swear. Hick had gotten up, closed the bedroom door so as not to "bother" me, secretly made eggs for himself, washed the pan and spatula and fork, and two spoons, put them away, (all the while in his tighty-whities, mind you), and then come into the bedroom freezing before his shower.

I assumed that Hick had used an egg and thought I would notice that it was missing. That's why he was "going to" tell me. When I noticed. I might have, I don't know. It's been a while since I boiled them, and I vaguely recalled having six boiled eggs on hand. They were probably getting old. I got out that carton, and found THIS:

I could tell the minute I opened the carton that it was time to throw them out. YET HICK HAD PUT THAT CRACKED EGG BACK IN THE CARTON!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The One Where Hick Gives Val the Electric Chair

Stop your cheering! It's not what you think!

Hick is at a loss every Christmas over what to give Val, the woman who has it all. Sometimes (once) he hits a home run. Like the year he gave me a chair for the desk in my dark basement lair. He did that again last year, a bigger chair. Not BIG, as in a gargantuan seat to hold Val's elephantine buttocks. A bigger chair. Fancier. Leather or pleather rather than cloth. With a higher back. Padded armrests. Not quite as comfortable as the old chair. But the thought counted. It sits in the lair, ready for when Val calls it to duty. Let the record show that it's a perfectly good chair. But the seat is a bit too long, coming right to the bend of Val's knee-backs. And it makes her butt sweat.

This year, Hick gifted me with a recliner. He thinks it was a surprise. He went to great lengths to conceal his activities. He might actually have pulled it off if Genius hadn't called me out of the blue, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, asking me if I'd ever thought of getting one of those chairs that help you stand up.


That's what I call an OLD PEOPLE'S CHAIR! I had to be diplomatic about what I said. What if Genius was planning on getting me an OPC for Christmas? Probably not. I imagine they cost a bundle. So I thought maybe he and Hick and The Pony would all go together and get me one. Let the record show that I did not really want an OPC. But who am I to spoil the gift-giving karma of someone else?

"Well...I'd never really thought seriously about one. I remember seeing how your grandma used hers at the nursing home when she was in rehab. It seemed to work okay for her. I would never get one for myself. To me, it seems like the beginning of the end. Like I'm too feeble to stand myself up. What's next, laying on the couch until the fabric grows into my skin?"

Let the record show that I often have trouble standing myself up, especially from low seats, and have to stay there a few seconds to let the synovial fluid in my knees redistribute itself before I can walk. That doesn't mean I want an OPC. Genius was quite diplomatic about it.

"Okay. I was just asking. I know you have a hard time getting up."

"Yeah. But I do. And I'm fine."

So...Hick would make pointed comments about going to look for my present. Wanting The Pony to go with him. Saying he wasn't picking up my present until Christmas Eve. There were some suspicious goings-on in the basement workshop on the other side of the thin wall in my dark basement lair. Christmas morning, Hick told me not to come downstairs yet. I heard some scuffling around down there. THEN all three of the guys came back up and asked me if I wanted to go down first to open gifts. The boys ALWAYS go down first, to see their gifts and their stockings hung by the fake fireplace with nonchalance by Hick, and then lovingly filled by Val.

I told them to go first, and I would follow. They stood at the bottom of the stairs, watching ME. Not looking at the pile of gifts under the tree. I gimped my knees down the stairs and then turned to head for my old blue recliner.

"OH! A new chair! What a nice surprise!"

Yeah. Val is all about letting others have the gift of giving.

But that's not what this story is about. Hick gave me an OPC with electric controls to lift it up and let me out. The same electric controls that HEAT the seat and back, and MASSAGE the back with three different settings. I do like the chair. It doesn't lean me quite as far back as my old blue recliner. And my feet won't go up as high. But the old one doesn't have a heater or massager, and it's a BLEEP to get out of.

Sunday night, or more truthfully the wee hours of Monday morning, I was all kicked back in my OPC, heater toasting, massager humming, watching a DVR of Kate Plus 8. I know the time was 2:55 a.m., because I had ten minutes of show left, and had been hoping to go to bed at 3:00. It's no secret that Val is a night owl. I'd been playing my new computer game The Pony gave me for Christmas, and lost track of time. Long hours at New Delly make my back want that heater/massager in my OPC.

So there I was, not a care in the world, the world being my oyster, really, although I am not a fan of shellfish (who WOULD be, in Missouri), with nothing to do the next day except get Hick out of the house, basking in the joy of my forever vacation.


The DISH and TV and furnace went off.


The TV came back on. DISH ran its loading program. The furnace kicked on.


The DISH and TV and furnace went off.


The TV came back on. DISH ran its loading program. The furnace kicked on.


The DISH and TV and furnace went off.


The TV came back on. DISH ran its loading program. That third time, the furnace stayed off.

I didn't want to wait for the DISH programming to load. I didn't know if the DVR would work anyway. I SURE didn't want to mess something up with the remote, and no boys in the house to fix it. So I decided I would wait a minute to see how long that loading took. It always says about 5 minutes, but sometimes it's faster.

WAIT A MINUTE! The thought hit me all at once. If the power goes off and STAYS off...


I had that thing powered down and cranked up before you could say, "44 oz Diet Coke!" What if I was all the way reclined? I would be trapped like a turtle on its back! Unable to get out of the chair. There's a table with a lamp on the right side, and a table holding the remotes and some books and junk on the left. I couldn't roll out of the chair. I couldn't fold it up with my feet and a side lever like my old blue recliner. Hick would never hear me screaming, the way he sleeps with the quilt up over his breathered head on the other end of the house.

I'm not very knowledgeable on the true meaning of irony...but I think it would be pretty ironic if the chair that Hick bought me so I could get up out of it became the instrument of my imprisonment.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cedar? I Wasn't Even Lookin' For Her!

Sunday morning, I stepped out on the back porch deck to admire Mother Nature's recent handiwork.

Okay. I actually stepped out to throw some garbage over the rail. You can do that in the country, you know. It's not like there are classy ladies with parasols strolling along below, with their gentlemen chivalrously giving them the position next to the building, so the garbage won't land on their head. We don't need to go into the type of refuse I was tossing. That's a story for the future.

I had to be careful as I bellied up to the rail. The ice glaze had thawed some in the previous afternoon, and refrozen overnight. As I readied my refuse for rural recycling, I heard a noise. Huh. It was a thumping noise. Like somebody chopping wood. Fast. Hick was down at his cabin, having sworn to wait until the full melt to trim broken limbs, and he uses a chainsaw. This noise was closer.

Then movement caught my eye. Aha! It was one of Hick's chickens. Pecking at something. Sounded like a frozen snowball. I squinted and tried to see what that fowl was fiddling with. Wait a minute...that was no fowl...that was a WOODPECKER! So I suppose I should have typed, "A ha ha HA ha!" But that would have been too much foreshadowing.

You have to look closely to see him/her (males and females look alike to us, though not to other woodpeckers, I'm sure). That's the extent of my phone camera zoom. But it's there all right. A massive red-headed woodpecker. Already had a good chunk of that fallen bark chipped away, and bare wood exposed. I guess it's hard to hold onto ice-coated tree trunks with your zygodactal feet (two-toes-forward and two-toes-backward) after an ice storm.

If you're interested in bird feet, here's a good chart!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Jury of My Pee-er

Last Monday, Hick and Val made another car trip. Half of the way together. You know what THAT means!

Hick drove Genius's dent-repaired Mariner out near college town to give it back to him, I followed/then led, in A-Cad, and we met Genius and a friend to have lunch. Then Hick drove A-Cad back home, with Val riding shotgun. Let the record show that Val was still smarting over Hick leaving her hanging in Casey's on the way back from the Oklahoma trip one week previous. But she tried to let Hick turn over a new chauffeur leaf. She tried.

As lunch was wrapping up at the tater patch, Val excused herself from the table to use the facilities. Hick had done so at the beginning of the meal. Delicious taters devoured, leftovers boxed up, two large Diet Cokes sipped for Hick, and one for Val, we were ready to hit the road for our return trip.

Along I-44 for 10 minutes until our winding blacktop turnoff, we chatted about Genius and his west coast trip. About The Pony and his ear. About how it's sad when they both return to college.

"Except for my internet! The Pony stayed off of it, but Genius was only there for a day and a half, and he used 40% of my monthly allotment! Now I have to limit myself, or pay ten dollars for more to get me through the month if I run out."

"You should get out more, and you won't NEED so much internet!"


We had been having a perfectly good conversation up to that point. This is not one off-hand comment from Hick. He is ALWAYS telling me what I SHOULD do!

Let the record show that there are many things I tell Hick that HE should do, but those are just things to guarantee his survival. And mine. Let the record further show that Val would never dream of telling Hick, "You should spend more time on the computer, instead of running around buying flea market junk." OR "You should stop spending all that money on lumber and tin for your sheds, and go buy scratch-off tickets instead." Nope. That's what he likes to do. We each have a weekly allowance to use in the way we see fit. I'm not the boss of him. I don't forbid him from leaving the grounds. In fact, I encourage it. Out of the goodness of my heart, you see.

On the other hand, Hick has, at various times, told me that I spent too much time walking (as exercise, around the yard and barn field, where he could keep tabs on me at all times), too much time going out to supper (once a week, with my mom, for two hours, over a period of about 6 weeks until the iron foot was put down), too much time watching football (the NFL on Sundays, college on Saturdays, during the couple of years that I won the local newspaper's weekly football contest TWICE, at $100 prize money each time), too much time reading (while sitting in the house, on weekends and evenings), and too much time playing team trivia (with a team of teachers from work, about 4 times per school year, on a Saturday night from 6:00 to 9:00). Let the record show that these TIME-CONSUMING activities were not concurrent, but in different phases as each was banned. And that the house, meals, and boys were not neglected, although Hick had to keep an eye on the boys during the yard-walking and trivia. But they're his kids, too, right?

Sooo...back to the car trip and Hick telling me to get out more...

"You know, I would never tell YOU to spend more time ON the computer. Just like I would never tell YOU that you should stay up until 3:00 a.m., and sleep until 9:00. But you are all the time telling me that I should go to bed early, and get up earlier."

"Come on, Val. That's not normal for a man and wife to go to bed at different times."

"AHA! There it is EXACTLY! MAN and WIFE! You see me as your property, to do with as you wish."

"No. Husband and wife, then. We should share our life. Do things together. For each other."

"I do things for you. When's the last time you did anything for ME?"

"I don't know. But you don't do anything for me, either. You never do anything for me except make my food!"

"Oh, how about the 3 or 4 times a week I put soda in the fridge for you, because you're too STUPID to do it for yourself, and never have any cold soda for supper?" (Okay, perhaps that was a bit harsh. As you might expect, Hick objected. But I had a counter argument.)


"Oh. Then you're just LAZY! You KNOW you'll want cold soda, but you don't put it in the fridge on purpose, because you figure I'll do it for you!"

One of these days, Val is going to learn not to poke the bear while the bear is driving on twisty two-lane blacktop. But Monday was not that day. Hick put the pedal to the metal, and just about ran us off a curve. Pardon my body for flinging into the door and then rebounding back into the neutral space between driver and passenger. And gasping from nearly having the breath knocked out of me by slamming into A-Cad's armrest.

"FINE! YOU drive!"

"I DID! On the way out here!"

"Yeah! You drove 65 and 70 miles and hour!"

"Oh. Like you're doing now?"

"I want to go first on that road! You'll go too fast and leave me! (Let the record show that Hick did this in a prissy, womanly falsetto, which I suppose was meant to be a mockery of my request to be the lead car on this section of the drive.)

"I must have been going the right speed. There were 4 cars ahead of me, going EXACTLY the same speed, 60 miles per hour. So I guess it was NORMAL!"

"I'm done. There's no talking to you!"

"Yeah. THAT'S normal! Like this morning, when I agreed to go your way out of town, when we were getting gas, and I told you, 'I don't know the road to turn on if you get ahead of me.' And you chuckled and said, 'I won't get ahead of you.' WHO DOES THAT? THAT'S not normal! You STILL didn't tell me the name of the road!"

"You are on that road all the time! You should KNOW the turn. I'm not going to say, 'And then you turn left on such-and-such road.'"

"BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW IT! You always use the Garmin, and you have no idea of the road name!"

"Oh, I really used it today, didn't I?"

However, the details of our loving repartee are not the main point here. The main point is that again, because of his fit of pique over Val's not-normal car-passenger behavior...Hick careened as fast as on his bird-killing trip. On the same roads, AND, rather than leaving me standing in the middle of a Casey's Convenience Store while he hid behind A-Cad...he buzzed right past that same Casey's at 30 in a 20. Right on by. Didn't even turn his head to look at it. I'm shocked that I didn't feel the car's vibration from him shaking with mirth at this figurative nose-thumbing, bird-flipping, "EFF U!" to Val.

Let the record show that we always stop at Casey's for the bathroom. But not this day. Let the record further show that 12 minutes up the road, Hick pulled over at a roadside park. He left the car running, opened his door, stepped his feet onto the snow-covered road, unzipped, took IT out, and peed. Like a racehorse.

Don't think I was letting this shot across my bow go unanswered. I had the cannon ready.

"You did that on purpose! You didn't even stop at Casey's so I could use their bathroom. You know I can't go here. You did it to SHOW ME! To get back at me because you don't like hearing how I don't want to be controlled by you."

"Oh, sure. I did it on purpose."

"You DID, and you know it. We always stop there!"

"Sure. If we've been traveling for hours and hours. We went by there only 40 minutes after we left lunch."

"Forty minutes PLUS your Goodwill shopping spree where I waited in the car. Besides, YOU just had to go. So much that you pulled off and peed in a park. THAT'S real normal, isn't it? Exposing yourself."

Hick had made himself my judge, jury, and executioner. He had judged that Val was not fit for the basic human right of a place to pee, determined that Val was guilty of daring to question his authoritay, and executed the driving maneuver that swept her past the last toilet in 36 miles.

Don't you worry about Val, though. She really didn't have to go anyway. She went at lunch.

Sometimes, it's just the principle of the matter.

Let the epic record show that both Hick and Val survived the trip, and neither has any permanent scars to show from it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

If the Ladybugs Don't Get Val, This Earwig Will!

These darned old coincidences are wreaking havoc with Val's self-perceived credibility. Go ahead and make that twirly finger motion by your ear, and cut eyes at each other as you read on. This was not today's planned subject. It thrust itself upon me.

We had a bit of an ice storm Thursday night through NOW. The roads aren't all that bad, since the temperature hovered within three or four degrees of freezing, and MODoT's pre-treating was effective. I don't know how SOME PEOPLE managed to wangle a day off work on Friday...

I say that because I was in the city today. I saw the city. And let me assure you, the city looked nothing like THIS:

In case you need a closeup, there's this:

That's not just a little glaze. That's at least a half inch of ice right there. But still, our roads were FINE! So we did what any country bumpkin would do on a Saturday with a weather advisory...and took our 4WD Tahoe to the casino!

As we were driving for about a mile on the lettered highway, from a blacktop county road to the interstate, Hick and I were talking about my mom. He drives her old 2002 Chevy TrailBlazer to work every day, you know. And during the last ice storm, he had trouble getting over a little hump from the county blacktop road onto the lettered highway. He said he thought to himself, "Hmm...I shouldn't have had any trouble there." And when he could barely pull out onto the interstate over the next hump, he thought, "This 4WD isn't working!"

Yes, we talked about how Mom had always told us she couldn't get out of her driveway in ice and snow. And how we'd kind of ridiculed her, though we prefer, in retrospect, to think of it as teasing. How we'd cajoled her, trying to make her leave that TrailBlazer in 4WD when she parked it in the garage. I, myself, had asked her what she was saving the 4WD for, because obviously, it was made for chores like pulling out of her driveway!

Uh huh. Hick and I reminisced about Mom avoiding winter driving. And proclaimed how bad we felt for assuming it was HER, not the car, that had a problem.

As we pulled out and started up the interstate, a song came on the radio. A song that I've only heard on the radio three times now in the all my days of listening to car radio:

Holes in the Floor of Heaven. By Steve Wariner.

The other two times I heard it were also associated with my mom. The first time, Hick, The Pony, and I were driving to a writer's conference two summers ago, and I had just switched the radio to a country station on SiriusXM.


The second time was the day I got the great news from my principal that I didn't have to march in with the faculty at graduation ceremonies, and sit behind the valedictorian (The Pony) and salutatorian as they gave their speeches (where I missed hearing Genius's speech, because of how the speakers are set up), but could sit out front like a regular parent.


Interesting timing today. Darn coincidences.