Sunday, April 30, 2017

Just In Case You Were Wondering

We have had LOTS of rain. So much rain that I was TRAPPED like a rat this morning! Unable to head to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke and lottery tickets. I got up early, too! I was ready to leave at 9:20 a.m.

Of course Hick showed up at 9:25. Hick the Doom-Cryer.

"You're not going to town. Not now, anyway. The little creek at the bottom of the hill is over."

Yet he had made it back home, you know. Across that little creek. A mere three minutes before he told me that. So selfless, our Hick. Making sure he was on the right side of the rising water to be by my side all day!

An hour and 40 minutes later, I was ready to risk it.

Here are a couple of old pictures to give you an idea how high the creeks are rising this time.

Remember when the NO PARKING signs were put down by the low-water bridge last September?

You can see how the bridge dips down. I think those striped markers are three feet high. There's supposed to be a white metal sign with markings that measure up to five feet, but it's always going missing.

Here is a picture from December 27, 2015, showing what we consider a pretty big flood of that creek. No going over it, that's for sure! The water is at least six feet over the bridge deck. It was right up to the dip you drive down to get on the bridge.

Well, today, for fun, Hick drove down that way before he went to town. He sent me a picture. That's why I was up early, after hearing my phone and going to the kitchen to get it off its charger to see if anything was wrong.

Today you can't even get close to the creek, because it's flowing up the road for about an eighth of a mile. Lucky for us, we have our own relatively new low-water bridge that allows us to cross that creek down by our mailbox.

Once I was almost to town, I saw that the maximum security prison is having drainage issues again out front. There is no creek there. Just a kind of a small sinkhole that seems to be an outlet for the water table in times of heavy rain. Picture courtesy of Hick. This puddle was halfway across the road when I went by.

My regular route required a turnaround by a car dealer, due to a flooded creek. I've only seen it flooded once in my life, and it was about a fourth as deep as it was today. No picture of that one. I was on the road, turning around.

My alternate route took me over the Big River (yes, that's its name, we're not real creative folk here in Backroads, our other main waterway being the Flat River) by the gun club. I wonder if anybody came to the range today, saw the water encroaching, and said, "Oh, SHOOT!" Heh, heh. Gun humor.

Out T-Hoe's passenger window, the water level on the trees might give you some idea of how high the Big River has risen. Let the record show that I WAS parked on the bridge, not floating down the river at the time.

Let the record further show that the homestead sits high and dry, tornado bait, upon a lofty knoll, with nary a concern when the water comes up. The basement is dry, I have a porch to walk around when the driveway is rained upon, and as long as the power stays on, all is right with Val's world.

Except for that leak in the kitchen ceiling, courtesy of Hick's cut-rate roofers (who may or may not have caused the disappearance of Poor Dumb Ann).

Saturday, April 29, 2017

This Old Man

Some days, I think I have completely lost my senses, and other days, I only partially separate with them. Thursday was a complete day.

For one fleeting moment, I actually thought I might care about other people! I hope The Pony doesn't get wind of this! It's not something he could understand.

I walked into the gas station chicken store at 12:52 p.m. and headed to the soda fountain. YOU KNOW WHY! An old man stood at the side counter paying. Or trying to. The more I inadvertently overheard, the more it became clear that This Old Man was having trouble with his debit card. It wouldn't accept his PIN.

The short old lady clerk tried and tried. She was very patient with him. On about the fourth try, This Old Man said, "I don't want to hold you up." The SOL Clerk told him it was okay. That she had never seen that message before. She told him to try again while she rang up another guy at the main counter.

I waited in line behind guy at the chicken counter, but he was still waiting for his ticket and chicken, so I went around. The SOL Clerk called the Man Owner up to the counter. "Can you help me for a minute? I've never seen one do this?"

So Man Owner came out of the soda cooler area and flipped up the drawbridgelike section of the counter to get into the inner sanctum. He tried helping This Old Man with his card. "Huh. In all the years I've been doing this, I've never seen this message." He tried several different ways to ring up the purchase. "Huh. It looks like [at this point, I believe Man Owner started to say insufficient funds, but he dropped his voice and whispered something to This Old Man. I'm pretty sure Man Owner would have seen insufficient funds come up as the message before, though.] "I can't make it work, sir. Maybe you want to call your bank and tell them about the problem? I don't know what else we can do." Then he started writing on a scrap of paper. "Here's the message it gives us."

Let the record show that Man Owner is a really nice guy. He told me they used to let people run a tab, but then they wouldn't come in for a long time, and he and his wife would see them in another store buying stuff, avoiding their eyes. And that eventually, a few of them would come back and settle up. But they had to stop being so nice, or they would have gone out of business.

Now it was my turn. The SOL Clerk moved This Old Man's purchases off to the side, so they weren't taking up room on the glass part of the counter that displays the lottery tickets. It was a tall bottle of clear liquor, and two packs of generic-looking cigarettes. I paid for my 44 oz Diet Coke and went out to the parking lot. I could sense someone behind me, and as I rounded T-Hoe's rear, I saw that it was This Old Man. He was empty-handed. I guess he had given up. He got into a white, not-at-all-fashionable, compact four-door station wagon.

THAT'S the moment I had a brief spate of regret. I could have paid for This Old Man's purchases! It wouldn't take that much money away from my soda/chicken/lottery budget.

Yeah. I don't know what was wrong with me.

It's just that This Old Man was not belligerent. He didn't smell like alcohol or cigarettes. He was polite to the store personnel. He cared that he was impeding the flow of customers. Maybe he just needed a break. Maybe he really DID forget his PIN. Maybe the purchases were not even for himself. Maybe his wife had been bedridden for the last 20 years like Grandma Josephine or Grandma Georgina. Maybe her only pleasure was rotgut gin and a pack of smokes. Maybe This Old Man was out providing for his bedridden wife, and now had to go back and explain why he didn't have her stuff.


He was probably just one of the regular old alcoholics who frequent the gas station chicken store. I DO hope he didn't get the shakes. People can die from alcohol detox, you know.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #58 "Buried Secrets From the Sandbox"


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Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Do you have a soft spot for romance? Do you love cats? If either applies, then this week's fake book is for you! It's a tale of star-crossed lovers who can't deny their animal magnetism. Stock up on a fancy feast, groom yourself to perfection, and order your copy now.

Buried Secrets From the Sandbox

"I'm not sure WHAT happened," Rocky tells his psychiatrist. "One minute everything was as smooth as cream, and the next minute, Miss Kitty was caterwauling like she had her tail caught under a rocking chair. She kicked me to the curb! And all my stuff, too!"

Miss Kitty has her own side. She tells anyone who'll listen, psychiatrist or not. "Can you believe the NERVE of him? Always out cattin' around! Looking for more tail! Then pussyfootin' back home, creeping in on little fog feet. I've had it with Rocky! He is NOT a cool cat!"

Will Rocky and Miss Kitty resolve their differences? Or is Rocky up a tree without a fireman? Can he win her back with a romantic date, sharing a fish bone on top of the garbage can, followed by an evening of chasing a laser pointer across the wall? (144 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Morris the Cat..."Thevictorian's fake literature stinks! I am NOT just being finicky when I tell you that this fake book should be buried in the child-next-door's sandbox." 

Puff..."Look, Jane. Look, look, look. A book. A bad, bad book. Do not read it, Jane. No, no, no!"

Garfield..."I wouldn't read this fake book if it came with a 9-lifetime supply of lasagna! This fake book is so bad that even Odie wouldn't like it."

Nermal..."As the world's cutest kitten, believe me when I inform you that this is NOT the world's cutest fake book! I have just returned from a short sojourn in Abu Dhabi, or I would have warned you sooner."

The Cheshire Cat..."Thevictorian has a lot in common with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Her fake book makes me smile. Then again...everything makes me smile. We're all mad here, though. And I'm not talking about crazy. We're mad that Thevictorian was able to fake-publish this fake book!"

Sylvester..."Thufferin' thuccotasthh! I took thith fake book off of Granny'th nightthtand, planning to use it to whack Tweety thenstheleth. However, thith fake book ith UTHLETH! It'th not even a good whacker."

Tom..."Thevictorian has about as much chance of making it as a successful author as I have of catching Jerry and eating him. And let's remember, I've been trying for a lot more years, and putting a lot more effort into it."

Sassy..."For Thevictorian to succeed on her JOURNEY toward popular fake-authorship would indeed be INCREDIBLE! Without a Shadow of a doubt, I would say she has no Chance."

Milo..."Even my friend Otis could not save this abysmal fake book from obscurity. It should be tossed in a box and floated down a stream through the wilderness, never to be seen or heard from again."

That Darn Cat..."If only bank robbers would kidnap this fake book and hold it for ransom...I would NEVER lead the FBI to their hideout!"

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Harry and David and Bubba and Casey

You know how sometimes, you're digging through the closet when the seasons change, swapping out coats for jackets or sweaters, and find MONEY in a pocket? Yeah! Sweet! FOUND MONEY! It's like Christmas, except you're getting something you can really use, and not a Dollar Store candle or a calendar full of lighthouses.

Yesterday, I found something even better. FOUND CANDY! My heart races with the memory.

Let the record show that Thevictorians are not all OCD about cleanliness. If cleanliness is next to godliness, then we may not be the heatheniest heathens at the end of the good-intentions-paved road, knock-knock-knocking on Not-Heaven's door...but we're third or fourth in line.

We don't have weeds sprouting from the dirt on our kitchen floor, and we're not treading on discarded pizza boxes. But we're kind of lax in our housekeeping habits. When I lived alone, I was a neat person who used my Bissell sweeper once a month whether I felt like I needed to or not. Once I married Hick, I saw the folly in trying to keep up. It was enough that I dumped his toenail clippings out of my (Dollar Store) candle on the mantel, and dug his banana peels out of the cushions of the La-Z-Boy. You can't really blame Hick for his slovenly habits (heh, heh, did I REALLY just type that) because growing up with two brothers, his mom was always in the hospital, and his dad was blind. I don't really think he had a notion of how houses were cleaned, other than his dad sweeping the floor barefoot so he could tell when he was done.

Anyhoo...enough of setting the scene to prepare you for the shocker that I am about to reveal. You know when Christmas is, right? Uh huh. It was LAST YEAR! December! Five months ago!

We have a gift bag that has been sitting on a kitchen stool under Hick's cuckoo clock since Christmas Eve. Oh, don't start tsk-tsking and cutting eyes at each other and fanning yourself with a dainty lace hanky! It's not like we have rats running around gnawing a hole in that gift bag. It has stuff that was won at my sister the ex-mayor's wife's Christmas Eve party games. Stuff from the Dollar Store or Big Lots. A dollar limit per item. She puts them all in different gift bags we recycle every year, and we play a game where they get passed around, and then you can trade yours for somebody else's IF you can remember what they had.

This bag on the kitchen stool is a bigger bag, with a couple of those items in there, and also my gifts that I just haven't put away. The main one is a bunch of assorted liquid soaps from Bath and Body Works. They're just going under the kitchen counter a few feet away. AND they were saved from the clutches of Genius when he was here last casino trip, and wanted some soap since he moved from his college house into a college apartment. So I was smart leaving them there, see?

Anyhoo...I don't even know what possessed me to look in that bag yesterday. I'm sure I had no intention of putting the stuff away. It's only APRIL, you know! I think I was looking to see if The Pony had left a gift card in there so I could put it in this week's letter. And I found THIS!!!

Sis knows the way to my cold, cold heart is over the lips, past the gums, into the stomach with sweet yum-yums! And apparently she thinks I'm pretty dirty. But hey, I like my soaps, and I really, REALLY like my chocolate-covered fruits!

Of course I grabbed that bag and rushed downstairs with it, leaving the soaps for another year day. I showed remarkable restraint, though. I did not rip open the fruits (see how healthy that sounds) and begin feasting. I propped the bag for a picture, right there with my bubba cup full of ice water, and my old Casey's insulated cup with a bottle of Diet Coke to add to my 44 oz as it weakens during the day. Let the record show that the Casey's cup was never MY soda cup. I had a huge one, the size of the bubba cup, but I don't know where it is. I think this little shaver used to be my dad's, and he used it for coffee. But it's just the perfect size to slide a cold 20 oz bottle of soda. Or can.

After PEEPSfeast '17, I have to be careful of overdoing the snacks. That would be an unwise choice. So I am limiting myself to one fruit of each color per day. I think Sis would be proud to know that I have made her treat last for six months.

I don't plan to tell her.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Do Not Take the Stand to Defend Yourself, Juno!

Did you ever have the feeling that you might have stumbled upon a situation in which you don't want to be involved? Not only do you not want to be don't even want to know what's going on. Like when Elaine stepped into the hospital room and saw Jerry holding a pillow over George's face. And Jerry said, "Oh. Elaine. What are YOU doing here?" AWKWARD!!!

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon some doggie doings. I don't even want to know! The look on Juno's face obviously says, "Oh. Val. What are YOU doing here?"

Yes, my Sweet, Sweet Juno apparently has something to hide. Jack seems to find it pretty funny that Juno has been caught in the act. The act of WHAT, exactly, is a mystery.

And Jack can't even look me in the eye, lest I read his mind and decide to dish out not a tasty treat of cat kibble, but punishment to both parties!

You'd think we were missing a gift wallet made of Bison leather, monogrammed, with RFID blocker, from Sharper Image

Let the record show that all cats and chickens were present and accounted for. And the Gator still had all four tires.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Same Guy Different Car


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You know how Val is Everywoman? How somebody always thinks she looks familiar? Well...there's a guy just like her!

No, I don't mean a guy who looks like me. Not-Heaven NO! I hope not! And so does the guy! But there's a guy who seems familiar. To me, anyway. And I saw him on Friday. Except I didn't know it yet.

As you may recall, I got up way early (for ME) on Friday, because the air conditioner repair guy was coming, but Hick didn't bother to tell me when. So it could have been any time between 8:00 a.m. (an hour when I am usually still a-bed...don't be hatin'...I paid my early-morning-riser dues by getting up at 4:50 a.m. the last 18 years of my working life) and 5:00 p.m.

I had several errands to run, one of them being to mail the weekly letters for my college boys. Along the way, I stopped at the Casey's where I get gas (NOT AT ORB K!!!) to buy a lottery ticket. That's the place I won $200 last Monday. Not so on Friday. But I distinctly remember stopping there (for a lower denomination ticket, of course, because lightning doesn't strike the same convenience store twice a week) and that I didn't get gas.

I had to park way around the end (darn those people with leaky tires taking up my rightful parking spot!) and in doing so, kept the beer man from his rightful parking spot. Too bad, so sad, Beer Man. Don't you worry about Beer Man, though. He had plenty of room to park in the alley beside the car wash behind Casey's. I did him a favor, actually, because he would have had a devil of a time getting that big ol' beer truck back out on the road if he had parked along the side of the building like I did. I left the store, Beer Man was coming in, wheeling some cases on a dolly. That's his job, though. So he should be glad he has one, no matter where he has to park. I ducked my head as I went past him. I KNOW he knew I was the one who parked there. But hey! His giant beer truck was nowhere in sight when I parked. It was a done deal. In fact, I was standing beside T-Hoe, reaching in to check my phone that had just beeped, when he pulled up behind me. I should be mad at HIM, really, because no way could I have backed up if somebody parked in front of me. Which they almost did.

There was a guy who'd been in front of me inside the store. An older man. He had cashed in $10 of winners, and traded them for more tickets. One of them being a kind I was buying. I should have heeded my head-voice and switched to another kind of ticket, but I was feeling all-powerful that day, and was sure that HE had taken a loser, leaving the winner for me. Listen to your head-voice, people. I won nothing there.

Anyhoo...this old guy got into a white sedan that was parked all cattywompus down in front of me, next to a light pole. I would not have gotten out of the lot except that I had made sure to leave room for a sharp right turn back out to the main thoroughfare. This old guy was taking his time about leaving. I figured he was scratching his tickets.

I went on about my errands. The last stop on the way back home was the gas station chicken store. Their Diet Coke has been real and spectacular lately. As I was drawing my 44 oz elixir, I sensed a guy move past me to the beer cooler. Which is the same cooler as the milk cooler and the 20-oz soda cooler in the gas station chicken store. It's not a very big place. He selected a case or box or suitcase or whatever you call those giant packs of beer cans now.

I wasn't really paying attention. It's not like I'm Carrie Nation. I don't care if people imbibe. Don't make me no nevermind if they traipse around with a wineskin slung over their shoulder like a gambling purse. I'm often in close quarters with customers in the gas station chicken store who emit the fumes of the by-products of alcohol metabolism. They're usually quite cheery. This guy didn't have that smell. I only noticed his purchase because it was 9:23 a.m. An hour at which I am either sawing the logs of the retired night-owl, or clicking the bones of my femur, tibia, and fibula together like an obese oxymoronic skeleton, trying to get going for the day.

Let the record show that in Walmart, there are signs posted in the liquid department about no alcohol sales before 9:00 a.m. Not that I'm there then. And not that I'm buying alcohol. Hick's bottled water is in that section. Strawberry Water. Sam's Choice, I think. Not sure. I just know where to grab two four-packs every week.

Anyhoo...I wondered if this guy set his alarm to get up and buy his Stag or Old Style (don't know my beers, but I know it was some retro kind of brand that I'd seen my grandpa drink) as close to the permitted time as possible. But again, it was just a curiosity. I wasn't planning to pull out an ax and chop into his brew.

I paid for my soda and got a ticket there for good measure (won $40 on a 20) and headed to T-Hoe. As I was settling in, checking my phone, buckling up...I saw the beer man stashing his stash in the trunk of a white sedan. Wait a minute! Why did he look so familiar? Was he that guy from Casey's, a whole town over, who had not-blocked my car? And then it hit me.


The old Guy who I'd seen a while back while parked in this very same spot, stumbling around a silver sedan just like this white one!


I can only surmise that the Staggery Man back then was indeed drunk. And that since then, he's had a reason to get a different sedan. And that he must drink really fast in order to achieve the level of inebriation I saw him at the last time, at 11:00 a.m.

I guess first instincts are usually correct.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Everywoman Val is Now a Felon (Allegedly)


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Let's face it...Val has one of those faces. Not the kind that launched a thousand ships. This is Missouri, by cracky! We're not in the ship-launching business.

Nope. Val has one of those faces that only a mother could love, and then even her not so much, recalling the comments made over Val's new driver's license photo.

Okay. So the kind of face Val has is one that is familiar to people. They think they know her. They think she works at whatever establishment she happens to be shopping in at the time. They even complain to the Walmart clerk that they know me, and that I am deliberately lying about who I am.

Sometimes, people even walk up beside her while she's boxing her groceries, and hand Val a wad of cash inside Save A Lot. They just think they know her.

That's not always a good thing.

Thursday, I went in Orb K to cash in a lottery ticket. The clerk who usually deals with me was walking around the store with a box, putting merchandise on the shelves. I went to the counter and waited. It's not like I had a pressing engagement.

The wait was much longer than one would expect in a convenience store. The lack of people was disturbing, like in The Langoliers. I kept glancing around to see if there were other workers or customers. Finally, a short older woman shaped like Humpty Dumpty came out of the area where Orb K has a drive-thru window. Her dark hair was combed back from her forehead, pulled back severely, and not in a flattering style. She wore a dark brown t-shirt with no collar, and a slogan written in tan across the front.

Brownie walked out of that drive-thru area carrying a clear plastic food container that might have held something such as a wrap. She put it in their sandwich case area. "I'll be there in a minute, Ma'am." Then went back to the drive-thru section and disappeared.

Still, I waited. My winner in my hand. A line of three or four people had formed behind me.

Brownie came back out, and stepped up to stand behind the counter. I slid my winning ticket across to her. But before I could say anything, Brownie said, "This one?" She looked over her shoulder. Then back at me. "Did you get gas yesterday?"

"No. I never get gas here."

"No? Okay. WRONG LADY."

A thinner, more put-together, offical-looking woman with stylish dark hair stepped out holding a clipboard. To take a peep at me, I guess. Then she disappeared back behind the drive-thru wall.

Seriously. They have cameras in those places. How many dirty black 2008 T-Hoes could be pumping gas every day, with a driver who looks like Val?

Let the record show that Val don't tug on Superman's cape. She don't spit into the wind. She don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger...and she sure as Not-Heaven doesn't get her gas at Orb K!

I am a lottery and soda kind of gal. If I was a Steve Miller Band song, my title might be
"The Diet-Coker."

A jackpot tryer, a heavy sigher, a Diet Coke buyer.
I ain't out to cheat no one.
Not a trucker, no cat-humper (sorry Puppy Jack!) nor a K gas pumper.
I buy my vices and I'm done.

If only the walkabout clerk could have come over to vouch for me! Anyhoo...Brownie didn't seem all that invested in calling the fuzz to haul me to the big house. She cashed my ticket and gave me my new selections and I was out of there.

Wait a minute! What if Brownie and that suspicious gal had the regular workers tied up in the back, and were about to run a scam on Orb K...

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Universe Knows Val Well, Or Else the Feds Have Programmed Sirius XM Radio to Read Minds


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On Thursday, I stopped by EmBee to pick up the mail. I was kind of excited, due in no small part to the fact that I glossed right over those three envelopes from American Family that would later turn out to be bills for insurance premiums. Yep. Those future lottery-winnings-suckers didn't even register. All I had eyes for was an oversize postcard mailer thingy from River Bend Casino. It's one of the seven establishments that my sister the ex-mayor's wife and the ex-mayor and Hick and I patronized during Casinopalooza.

Yes, that whole mile of thumping along the gravel road, my 44 oz Diet Coke sloshing like my left knee after a long-ago injection with radioactive dye during a lab test before MRIs were popular for detecting soft-tissue injuries, I was reminiscing about the good time I had during Casinopalooza. How I prefer those Oklahoma casinos, with their red-screen bonus VGT games to the IGT games in Missouri casinos.

Yep. My thoughts drifted to the upcoming Casinopalooza 2 planned for mid-May. I was pleasantly reminiscing as I turned T-Hoe into the long, long driveway. I absentmindedly punched the radio over a couple of stations, looking for a better song. I stopped on Prime Country, my old standby.

It was David Frizzell and Shelly West, singing "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma." With the chorus of "You're the reason God made Oklahoma, and I'm sure missing you."

Pretty sure the Feds have developed a way to read minds through On-Star or Sirius XM.

I guess we should all start to worry if I develop a habit of tuning in to Shelly West singing "Jose Cuervo."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Even Steven is Too Fair


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The best-won wins of Val Thevictorian always go awry.

Oh, dear...remember way back, when Val had the good fortune to win $500? You may not have noticed, unless you scrolled back up to see the update on the story about my $200 win on Monday.

So there I was, pretty happy about my recent good fortune, thinking that my good deeds have put out some good karma to the universe...when actually, it was just foreshadowing from Even Steven.

On Thursday, the very day I cashed in my $500 winner, I picked up the mail and saw three insurance bills: $193, $190, and $99. That adds up to $482 for ORV (off road vehicle) insurance.

"Oh, dear," I thought. Or something similar. "There goes my big win to pay for the insurance on Hick's Gator, Scout, and Kawasaki."

And then Hick came home, and as I was telling him about the insurance bills, I noticed that the thermostat was set on COOL to hold at 73, and yet the temperature inside the house was 74. So the repairman came Friday and found that the fan motor had burned out, to the fee of $453.

Looks like I'm due for another big win before the month is over...

If Even Steven is really a fair kind of guy, you know.

Otherwise, I have to think that the insurance bills are a regular occurrence, just with questionable timing this year. And that Even Steven was generous enough to give me $247 profit off my two big wins.

The thing about Even Steven is...he's EVEN. So something else is about ready to break.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #57 "This Old Spouse"

Want to help the Missouri S&T Solar Car Team get to Australia?

There are still 19 days left to donate anything from a dollar (no perk included) up to $2,500 (your name on the side of the Solar Car).

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Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Have you ever grown frustrated with your spouse? Do too many years of togetherness make you wish he/she was absent so your heart might have a chance to grow fonder? If so, then Val's latest fake book is for you! It's the story of a gal who puts her foot down and kicks her hubby to the curb, down the boulevard, onto the freeway, and across the continent.

Order now, and you'll have the added bonus of getting in on the ground floor underpinnings of the Tiny House Movement! That's right! Win a chance to purchase your very own tiny house for the low, low price of only $140,000. That's a steal! And all that chance will cost you is the price of Val's latest fake book. Prices may vary. The more you make, the more Val charges. Reserve your copy today!

This Old Spouse

Gabe Jenkin is on the road again. He's not quite sure what he did this time, but his ol' lady was spittin' mad! It could have been the ear wax he wiped on her steering wheel, or the entire pot roast he piled in his towering bowl of vegetable beef soup, or the skidmarks he left on the toilet seat. All Gabe knows is that he needs to get while the gettin' is possible.

Gabe pays $5 for an old camper trailer at a flea market, and covers it with wood from shipping pallets that he picks up at night behind closed businesses. VOILA! The perfect tiny house! Since his wife kept the truck, Gabe pulls his house from campground to campground like a rickshaw. Like a terrapin airing out from his shell. Can Gabe survive without his wife telling him when to breathe in/breathe out? (146 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Bob Vila..."I will be serving Thevictorian with a cease and desist order for using this title. I gave her fake book a try, but it made me wish I was plastered. She lacks a solid foundation in literature." 

Norm Abram..."I like what Gabe Jenkin did with this Tiny House. I hope he made room to hang a second fiddle, and put in a rack to hold plaid shirts."

Abraham Lincoln..."I tried to read this fake book by firelight, but I ended up chucking it into the fire. I hope that in four score and seven years, everybody has forgotten this fake book was ever fake published."

Mary Todd Lincoln..."I can't resist a good fake book. Unfortunately, THIS is not one. At least I got my fake copy for free. If I had to PAY for this fake book, it would drive me crazy."

Fine Young Cannibals..."She drives us crazy! Thevictorian, we mean. With her fake books. She is neither young, nor fine. In fact, Thevictorian leaves such a sour taste in our mouths that we are reconsidering the whole cannibal thing."

Patsy Cline..."I'm crazy. Crazy for loving this fake book. Ha ha! Fooled ya, didn't I? Thevictorian may have sweet dreams of becoming a famous fake author, but she'll fall to pieces once she reads the fake reviews."

Aerosmith..."Thevictorian drives us up a wall. We go crazy, and not in a good way, over her fake writing."

Randle Patrick McMurphy..."I know crazy when I see it. And I am NOT crazy...about this fake book. The writing is so bad, it makes we wish I had a lobotomy!"

Crazy Eights..."Thevictorian is at sixes and sevens with us. Her fake writing is no match for real literature."

Crazy Joe Davola..."If I ever meet this fake author on the street, she's better hope she's wearing a motorcycle helmet for protection from my roundhouse kick. NEXT TIME she'll invite me to her launch party!"

Chock Full O' Nuts..."One of our nuts is missing, and that nut's name is Thevictorian. We smell trouble brewing! She is armed with a keyboard, and her writing is considered by most to be a sign of the apocalypse. Everybody doesn't like Thevictorian. Have you seen her? Maybe we should have her paged, like in Porky's, when they paged Mike Hunt at the restaurant. 'Thevictorian? Has anybody seen our nut?'"

Almond Joy..."Upon fake-reading Thevictorian's fake book, we suddenly realized: this is one of the times we don't feel like a nut."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Val Has a Slack Attack


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Just a couple updates on past topics. Because I don't feel like pouring my cold, cold heart and dark, dark soul into a real post today. I have two letters to write to my college young 'uns, and a fake book to fake-write by tomorrow. No need to make life stressful when I can be lazy, watch YouTube slot machine videos, and fondly reminisce about my big lottery win yesterday.


The Missouri S&T Solar Car Team is cruising (get it?) right along on the way to their fundraising goal. In fact, they were so near their destination that they set a NEW goal! Yes indeedy! At last check, they had raised $2800 toward their original goal of $3000. Now they're on the road to FiveThousandDollarville!

We have a suggester in our midst! Our very own fishducky proposed a name for the new solar car. I don't know what it was, and she doesn't have to tell, but just between me and her...if you are the one who proposed "Solar McSolarface," I have it from a good source that it's probably not going to be the name the team selects. So you can try again. Don't cost nothin'!


Remember these?

Gone. All gone. And you know what else is gone?


Also gone. Gone, baby, gone! They were suggested by blog buddy Kathy. Maybe not so much suggested, as I picked up the information from her, perhaps telepathically, what with us practically sharing the same make and model of husband, and neither of us having a penchant for suffering fools gladly.

The Cotton Candy PEEPS went first. They were okaaayyyy. Nothing to write home about. I guess they vaguely had an essence of cotton candy, since I knew that's how they were marketed, and the box with their name was sitting right there on the TV tray that I use as a table beside my OPC (Old People Chair). The disturbingingest part of the Cotton Candy PEEPS, besides their eyeballs being located all willy-nilly over their noggin...was the fact that they were PINK inside! That's right. The whole PEEP was PINK! That's unnatural, people! PEEPS are meant to be fluffy sticky white inside.

The Party Cake PEEPS were more delicious. Don't get me wrong. Val finds even the worst PEEP on its worst day (think THESE gems given to me by Hick and The Pony, found at Goodwill, quite possibly the survivors of a house fire) more tasty than than a gold-leaf-adorned gourmet dessert. But the Cotton Candy PEEPS were just not her thing. Whereas the Party Cake PEEPS, tasting mostly like a PEEP, possibly with a hint of vanilla, were more the texture and flavor she prefers.

There. That should tide you over until Val regains her give-a-durn.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This Week, On the History Channel...Narrowly-Averted Disasters


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The Titanic, the Hindenburg, and Val's 44 oz Diet Coke walk into a bar.

The Titanic says, "I'll have water, without any ice."

The Hindenburg says, "I'll have half a glass of oxygen, please. It's a good mixer for my hydrogen."

Val's 44 oz Diet Coke says, "I'm feeling torn. I'll just have an empty cup."

No. That's not a very good joke. In fact, it's not a joke at all. It's an elaborate set-up to relate what happened to Val on Monday, when she arrived home with her 44 oz Diet Coke.

Imagine a disaster being averted at the last minute. What if the Titanic had been hauling a bunch of those inflatable rafts, and they all blew up at the moment of iceberg impact...and plugged the rift in the hull? What if the spark that lit up the Hindenburg was as fickle as the spark that survivor people finally make while trying to start a fire...and fizzled out immediately?

You're dying to hear the WHAT IF concerning Val's 44 oz Diet Coke, aren't you? That's the whole purpose of this story! Good for you! Thanks (in advance) for keeping up!

I had a lot of items to carry into the house on Monday. I had stopped by Save A Lot for bananas, sour cream, pickles, a dozen eggs, and a bag of Loaded Baked Potato Chips. I had shopped at Country Mart for lotion, Pepper Jack slices, Sharp Cheddar slices, blueberry frozen waffles, and Lifesavers Wint O Green mints.

Disembarking from T-Hoe inside the garage, I draped my purse, loaded with the mail (and lottery tickets!) over my right arm. All the way to the elbow. Then the three plastic bags of those groceries. I had a small purple bubba cup of ice water that I tucked into the crook of my right forearm and side-boob area. I held the keyring with the house key singled out between my right index finger and badfinger...and I grasped the bottom of my 44 oz Diet Coke with my right hand.

That left my left hand free for closing T-Hoe's passenger door, pushing the garage door button for closing, opening the people-door doorknob to get out of the garage, pat my Sweet, Sweet Juno on the head, ruffle Puppy Jack's flappy ears, give each dog a pinch of cat kibble, hold onto the rail to ascend the four porch steps, and be ready to take the house key and unlock the kitchen door.

I made it all the way to the corner of the house. I was right beside Juno's dog house on the back porch. Four steps from the kitchen door...when it happened. My top-heavy 44 oz Diet Coke started to tip to the right. I was holding the narrow stub at the bottom. My right arm was so laden that I could not move it fast enough to adjust for the tippage. I did NOT want to lose my precious elixir! I squeezed the foam cup to hold on, and


I won't say that my life flashed before my eyes. But I WILL say that the carnage when the same thing happened with my Sonic Route 44 Diet Cherry Coke many years ago DID. And I had made it another step closer to the door that time.

But wait! Karma and Even Steven were with Val on Monday. She sure gets a lot of mileage out of turning in a found $5 bill! My caffeinated ambrosia was still mostly intact! Yeah! The pressure from that column of Diet Coke pushed that poked-in flap of foam back to seal the hole. Mostly. Take a look!

Sure, some squeezed out the X in the lid. But only DROPS were leaking out the thumb hole!

See it there? The slice from where Val poked in her thumb? It has sealed itself! Val wasn't taking any chances on that, though! No siree, Bob! Even if only a few drops seeped out every hour, that was still a few drops that Val would not be able to sip at her leisure, well into the evening.

I went inside, where I just happen to keep a couple of spare 44 oz cups in sizes from all my different dispensaries in order to double-cup and double-insulate my pampered beverage. I poured my Diet Coke into a fresh 44 oz cup, and used that damaged one as the insulator. Problem solved!

If only the Titanic and the Hindenburg had been so lucky.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Which Came First, the Good Deed or the Luck?


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Here! Take my hand! Sorry to leave you danglin' overnight. Come on back up here on solid ground and sit a spell while I tell you the rest of the story.

When we last convened, Val was headed for the Casey's General Store to put some gas in T-Hoe. She was worried about the smell of natural gas that had blanketed the area a couple hours earlier. No sign of the gas leak, so T-Hoe got a healthy snort of super unleaded, and Val got a scratch-off ticket. Let the record show that Val is not one of those people who stand at the counter scratching, then shoves a winner right back across to take another. Nope. Val hauls her tickets home to scratch at her leisure, down in her dark basement lair (with the lights on) while sipping her 44 oz Diet Coke.

But first I had to buy my 44 oz Diet Coke. I headed to the gas station chicken store. Their Diet Coke is especially delicious. My favorite parking space was available! I gathered my correct change and headed toward the door. What's THIS?

On the little homemade blacktop ramp they have in place of a step into the door, I saw something. Having picked up a trashy coffee cup on their lot before and disposed of it, I gave this refuse the eye. Wait a minute! That was a $5 bill! Folded all cattywompus, triangling back on itself, like somebody had stuffed that bill into a front pocket after wadding it up a little.

I bent to pick up that $5 bill. Not caring if somebody heading out the glass door disregarded my bowing noggin and made me see stars. Not caring who might be getting too much of a view of my ample buttocks, while sitting in one of the cars waiting at the traffic light over past the grassy area where blog buddy Sioux saw the 150-year town anniversary wooden birthday cake. We're lucky she didn't try to pop out of it and do a dance (with thumbs and little kicks), since the police back then were probably already on their way from the gas station chicken faux pas she pulled by putting herself-on-a-stick upon the soda fountain.

Anyhoo...yesterday I picked up that $5 bill and stepped inside.

"Look what I found in front of your door!" I handed it across the counter to the little Asian clerk guy who sometimes gives me a tip on recently-sold winners so I don't waste my purchase. "Do you think somebody will come back looking for it?"

Clerk Guy shot his eyes at Chicken Gal. In unison, they said, "Probably." Clerk Guy painstakingly unfolded that fiver, and set it aside.

"If nobody claims it, I guess you two can fight it out." I went to the fountain for my magical elixir. "You never know. It could be somebody's last five dollars. Or maybe somebody was going to use it to buy a lottery ticket."

No good can come of keeping something that's not yours, you know. Sure, I could have used that $5 bill to buy a scratch-off ticket. Maybe it would have been a big jackpot winner. Maybe I'll read about it in the paper tomorrow, that one of those workers won big on a ticket bought at the gas station chicken store. But maybe that was all the money somebody had left until Friday payday. And they needed a couple of gallons of gas to get them to work. All I know is...that $5 bill didn't belong to me, so I turned it in.

Sure, those workers might have laughed their not-so-ample buttocks off after I left. "Can you BELIEVE IT? She turned in money she found on the parking lot! More for us!"

Or they might have thought I did the right thing.

I bought two tickets while I was there. Turns out one of them won five dollars. But the one I got at the non-gassy Casey's?

I wonder if Karma and Even Steven are psychic. Or simply like to test people.


UPDATE WEDNESDAY (4-19-17) at 2:30 p.m.

Looks like that good deed DID come before the luck. Today (Wednesday, 4-19-17) I took some of my winnings and bought two of the Golden Tickets (at two different locations) and both were winners. The first was for $60, so I doubled my investment. The second winner? Take a gander at THIS:

That's a $500 winner.

You've gotta ride the wave while it's cresting, my friends!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Val Takes You To the Edge...and Leaves You Danglin'


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Today I headed off to town to meet my favorite gambling aunt for lunch. We decided on Pizza Hut, because it's close for both of us. I had the Personal Pan supreme, and she had a steaming bowl of pasta with red sauce. And chocolate chip cookies. Auntie always has the chocolate chip cookies, and takes some home with her. I, myself, resisted the temptation. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We were supposed to meet at 11:00, but I left early to mail my DISH bill at the main post office hub. I only got it Saturday, but it seems to take an inordinately long time to be credited to my account. I can't be having my internet slowed down, you know! After the post office I went by the bank for our weekly cash allowance, and then I planned to stop for gas and pick up some lottery tickets. I had some winners burning a hole in T-Hoe's console. Can't let those things go stale, by cracky!

Of course while I'm out doing something, rather than sitting idly on my rumpus in my dark basement lair perusing conspiracy theory websites...people want to communicate with me. Today it was Genius and The Pony. Genius wanted to share that his Solar Car fundraiser is now at 79% of its goal. Yay, Genius! The Pony bemoaned the fact that EVERYBODY is getting sick. I was a bit worried, since he texted me on Thursday that he was up all night coughing, and was going to pick up some OTC cough medicine on the way to class.

"Are you okay?"

"Still kind of snotty, but I caught it and got over it sooner than everybody else, I think.
I might have been a vector of infection."

That's chemistry major talk for you, I guess.

Anyhoo...on my way back through town to get gas before getting pizza, I saw that my time was running out. I didn't want Auntie to have to wait on me, because she was taking her little dog to the vet for some routine maintenance. Besides, that town SMELLED LIKE GAS! Natural gas. I had noticed it on the way to the post office, but it was REALLY strong on the way back. Surely somebody had reported that. That's why they put that smelly chemical in it--so people WILL notice and report it. There's a middle school just up a side street. Nobody wants kids blown to smithereens. I saw a car in front of me pull off to the side of the road and the driver pull out a cell phone. Maybe he was calling. Still...I didn't want to be pumping gas in case a spark set off an explosion. So I went on another mile to Pizza Hut. Like I would be safe there.

Auntie and I got to talking about old times, and the upcoming Casinopalooza 2 she will miss for a knee replacement. She said she had to go in Walmart after taking her dog to the vet, because the stray kittens she had taken in and was keeping in her spare bedroom had shredded the curtains. I told her that I had planned on getting gas, but the smell of gas was making me reconsider.

"I can always go tomorrow. I don't really NEED it today. I try to keep the tank over half full. I can wait."

"Why don't you just get it somewhere else?"

"I ALWAYS get it there. They have the super. The one in my town doesn't, but Hick is always buying gas there for the Acadia when we go on our trips. I won't, though."

"My car won't run on Casey's gas. It coughs."

"Mine is fine with it."

"Oh, and you always get lottery tickets. You are the luckiest person with those tickets!"

"I AM pretty lucky. In fact, I was going to get some when I got gas. I still can't decide."

We finished up our gossip, lunch being long gone, and headed our separate ways. I figured I'd go see if the gas smell was still strong. If not, I could take the lake road right across from Casey's back home, and try again tomorrow. Lucky for me, the gas smell WAS gone.

But you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out the extent of my luck.

Don't get all excited. I'm not quitting my day job. Oh, wait...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

I Thought I Might Have to Bake a Pie Right There and Slice It into Sections


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"Ahem! Hrumph! Ek ek ek ek!" Val demands your attention, clears her elderly throat of phlegm, tries out her newest language of DOLPHIN, and pulls her shawl closer around her shoulders. "You're not going to believe what happened to me on Friday when I tried to buy my prune juice 44 oz Diet Coke!"

Seriously, people. OMG! IDK WTF is wrong with these young whippersnappers today! IMO, if you want something done right, then you have to DIY. BTW, I imagine the most common POV of those young convenience store clerks that day was not TGIF, but "Why do I have to work on Good Friday?"

Let the record show that Val was not asking them to use a slide rule, write John Nash mathematical equations on a mirror, revamp Einstein's Theory of Relativity, devise a non non-Euclidean geometry, or even calculate the value of a penny if you start the month with one, and double your money every day. No. She was only trying to pay for her 44 oz Diet Coke with correct change, and trade in a winning lottery ticket for more.

Let the record show that the price of a 44 oz soda (with tax) at that store is $1.26. Val had in her hand a dollar, a quarter, and a penny. That's $1.26.

Val also had one winning scratch-off ticket that paid $40. It's not like the kids with their employee name tags had to look at the front and determine which numbers matched. No siree, Bob! All they had to do was hold the bar code of that ticket under their scanner, and the winning amount would pop up on their monitor.

Little Lord Clerkleroy got this part right. He scanned my winning ticket, and said, "You have $40."

"Thank you. I'd like a Frenzy, a Fifty Times, and a Blowout, and I'll take the other ten in cash. I have correct change for my soda."

See how simple that was? Those are three $10 tickets I wanted to buy. Little Lord Clerkleroy tore them off and laid them on the counter. He rang up a receipt for $40 and stapled it to my winner. That's their standard procedure. All he had to do next was ring up my three tickets I was purchasing, which he did. But he also added my soda to that total. Which is fine. I handed him my correct change.

"There. That's the correct change for my soda."

"Okay. I owe you $8.74 cents."

"No. I just gave you the money for my soda. You're holding it in your hands. You owe me a ten back from my ticket."

"No. Your ticket was a $40 winner, and you bought three $10 tickets. And the soda."

"Yes. And I handed you the right amount to cover my soda. I just need my change back on the tickets."

A girl clerk was fiddling around in the ticket case. " had a $40 winner, and you bought three $10 tickets and a he owes you back $8.74."

"No...I handed him correct change for the soda. He's still holding it. So I need my three $10 tickets I bought and $10 back from my $40 winner."

I swear. You'd have thought I was trying to rip off a bank, and they were stalling for their under-counter panic button to bring the police, while they nonverbally sparred over who would put the dye pack in the money bag.

An older (not older than ME, mind you, but older than them) woman stepped in behind them. She must have been the manager. "I see. You owe her $10." She reached into Little Lord Clerkleroy's open drawer, and pulled out a ten, and handed it to me, and shoved the tickets my way. "Sorry for the confusion, Ma'am."

Little Lord Clerkleroy was not going gently into that good transaction. "No. I owe her $8.74."

"I'm sorry. All I did was try to pay for the soda with correct change, to make it EASIER. I sure won't try THAT again!"

"Oh, no, Ma'am. It's fine. See?" She turned to Little Lord Clerkleroy. "She won $40. Bought $30. And gets $10 back. Because she PAID FOR THE SODA WITH CASH. It's in your hand."

At least that girl clerk might be excused, because she DID figure that amount in her head without looking at a register. And she may not have been looking up when I handed Little Lord Clerkleroy the cash. Kids these days! If it's not on a device and it's not digital, they're at a loss.

Let's hope their power doesn't go down.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Thevictorian's Family Vacation


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I don't want to get your hopes up...but Casinopalooza 2 is in the plotting stages!

This time, not only will my sister the ex-mayor's wife and the ex-mayor himself be Val's gambling companions...there will be two special guests. Oh, Hick is going. Val needs a driver, after all. I know Hick. Hick is a thorn in my side. And I assure you, people...Hick is no GUEST!

Don't set your sights too high. I regret to inform you that my favorite gambling aunt will not be making the trip. She has some joint surgery to attend to, and will not be optimally ambulatory at trip time. So who else is left? GENIUS and tentatively THE PONY will be joining us! Slot-playing in Oklahoma is permitted at the tender age of 18, and The Pony has already surpassed that milestone.

We're still a few weeks out. Val is gathering resources for bankrolls. She's had a good scratch-off week. Not good enough to fund three thirsty money-sponges. YET. Okay...technically, I DO have enough, what with my last big winner. But why use up my stockpile when I could be adding to it a little between now and then?

I'm pretty sure HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) will volunteer to take care of our animals again. Remember when Hick was in Sweden, and I got HOS those lottery tickets for taking care of the sitting hen? He scratched them last Sunday.

HOS won 5X $20 on his ten-dollar ticket, and $2.00 on his two-dollar ticket. That's a total of $102. I shared it elsewhere, but thought inquiring minds here might like to know.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #56 "The Strong Harm of the Claw"

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Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Have you ever been around someone who drags you down with constant complaining? Who criticizes your every move and thought? Then this week's fake book is for you! It's the story of a young boy who yearns to escape the vice-like grip of his mother's affections. She only wants what's best for him, but has questionable ways of showing it. Don't be a hermit! Come out of your shell and put in your fake order for this week's fake book!

The Strong Harm of the Claw

Jimmy can't believe his luck. When he made a wish before blowing out his birthday candles, he imagined his always-complaining mother living her life as a crab. And the next morning, when he went to wake her up, there was a CRAB on her pillow! No sign of Mom. It probably didn't hurt that Jimmy had made the same wish when he saw a shooting star, and when his friend Susie found an eyelash on his cheek. And when he discovered that old lamp and started shining it in Susie's garage.

Will Jimmy take his crabby mom to show-and-tell? Will she come out of her shell and get involved with Jimmy's soccer team? Can she ever make amends for all the angst she has caused in his short life? Surely she will go to the beach with him! Find out, in "The Strong Harm of the Claw." (147 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Mrs. Paul..."There's something fishy going on here! I was frozen in horror at some of the antics of Jimmy's mom. Let me mince no words: This fake author is like a square fillet on a round bun. She leaves me cold." 

Joe, reviewing from his office in his Crab Shack..."Boy, was I ever steamed when I fake-read this fake book! It's an insult to crabs! This fake author must be some kind of dungeoness who spends all her time in a dark basement."

Flipper..."Ek ek ek!" Translation: I'm a dolphin, you idiots! How can I fake-read a fake book? I'm too busy, trying to learn a new language called Clickety Click."

Hermit Crab..."I don't read a lot of books, but even I know that this fake author oughta just scrap the whole writing thing. If I was Thevictorian, I'd try to disappear off the face of the earth, and find somebody else's old home to move into for free. Oh, wait..."

Ant, taking a breather while moving a rubbertree plant..."I don't mean to sound discouraging, but who in the Not-Heaven told Thevictorian she could write? Anyone knows Thevictorian can't. She certainly has some high apple-pie in the sky hopes, when in reality she's a rotten apple not fit for a pie. Now excuse me. I need to get back to moving my plant."

Mrs. Edna Krabappel..."Thevictorian should be ashamed of herself. I have assigned her to write on the board 100 times: 'I will never write another fake book.' I hope she learns her lesson."

Pollyanna..."I don't like to be critical. I always try my best to see the bright side of things, and the positive qualities in people. But pardon me while I say, 'THEVICTORIAN SUCKS!'"

Crabs (yes, THAT kind)..."Thevictorian is like a plague upon the nation! We must stop her epidemic no matter what it takes. Be wary of what your friends are readying, people. Because once you pick up Thevictorian's fake book upon their recommendation, you are reading what THEIR FRIENDS were reading, who were recommending what THEIR FRIENDS were reading, and SO ON!"

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Time For Equal Time

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Perhaps Val has been remiss in her weekly graveside chats. A possibility which occurred to her at 1:55 a.m on the night/morning of Tuesday/Wednesday, April 11/12.

It is no secret that Val stops to chat with her dear departed mother on the way to Walmart every week. And that while she cuts up and pours out her heart and sometimes even holds discourse with the wrong grave...she seldom speaks with her dad, who is HELLO laying right there beside her mom! Yes. That IS quite rude, isn't it?

Let the record show that my dad was a fantastic guy. We got along great, and he did everything he could to support me both emotionally and financially. I got my sense of humor from him. The fact remains, though, that I was closer to my mom, I had an extra 20 years with her, and I'm still trying to let her go. She's the presence I sense around me all the time. Not Dad.

My dad died of cancer. He knew it was coming for about a year and a half. He was in pretty good health for someone dying, right up until the last four weeks. I went out to the house every morning with The 2-week-old Pony, to visit from 8:00 to noon. Sorry, Little Toddler Genius. You went to daycare during the week.

Dad was a big believer in me. He bought me my first calculator, when calculators were uncommon. Seventy-five dollars it cost! A thick Texas Instruments brick that I needed for my sciency/mathy courses. Becoming a valedictorian ain't cheap, you know! Dad knew when to tell me to cool my jets, and when to believe there was actually something behind my rantings. I remember him taking a half-day off from work to go up to school and have a chat with the principal, because I felt that I did not deserve the grade I had gotten first quarter in my history/geography class.

"Dad! I've NEVER gotten a B+ before! We haven't even had a test! Or turned in any papers! All we do is sit, while the teacher talks to his football players! I don't know how that gets me a B+. We don't even have BOOKS! Just pamphlets to read. But nobody does, because all he does is talk to the football players and make fun of that boy Wendell who doesn't play. They call him Wendy!"

So...even though I didn't want Dad to go up there because it embarrassed me, he did. And the principal called the teacher in privately afterward, and later informed Dad that the teacher said, "Who? Oh. She must be one of those girls who sits in the corner." He thought he was doing us a favor, giving us all B+s. But you know what? We started doing presentations out of the pamphlets twice a quarter. I'm pretty sure the football players loved me for that...

Anyhoo...another time there was a big deal about an all-day track meet that conflicted with visitation at my grandpa's funeral. It was my mom's dad's funeral, right there in town. I went to visitation the night before. But this track meet had been scheduled way ahead of time, and I was part of the track team. My mom and grandma said I should go to the track meet, that Grandpa would have understood. My dad said I should forget the track meet and go to the funeral. At the last minute, he let me go to the track meet. After the funeral, I saw him outside the fence at the track meet. I went over to see what was wrong, and Dad said he just came by to apologize for making things difficult.

Yes, Dad taught me to play baseball, to shoot a basketball, to shoot a BB gun, to bait a hook, and even take the fish OFF the hook. He taught me to drive, to change the oil, and change a tire. He taught me that having no curfew made me bring myself home earlier than the time he would have specified. That paying as you go is better than relying on credit. And that you always do your best, look out for the other guy, and stand by your word.

Dad even got me a teaching job! The very one I just retired from, after 18 years. Funny how Dad was no longer living when he got me that job. In fact, that's HOW I got my job. At Dad's funeral, I sat next to my favorite gambling aunt, who had been married to Dad's brother. She said they had an opening at school, where she worked at the time, and that I should apply. "Oh, they fired me once. They're not going to hire me back!" But I applied. And they did.

On the morning of the first day of school, I was diapering The Infant Pony, getting him ready to drop off at daycare. Genius was handing me a Huggie when I smelled it.

"Do you smell that? It's tobacco! Like your Grandpa mixed for his pipe!" It was part Kentucky Club, part cherry. Captain Black, I think. He kept it in the square plaid Kentucky Club can.

We smelled that on another first day of school, when the boys were older, both riding with me, back when I still drove on the highway. We had just passed a local motel/lodge by where we always turned off on the way home. And there it was, inside the car, the aroma of a cherry blend pipe tobacco.

Tuesday night, I was burning the midnight-1:45 a.m. oil in my lighted basement lair, trying to figure out how to redeem series E and EE U.S Savings Bonds. My sister the ex-mayor's wife and I both have quite a stack of them. Mom had put half of them Pay On Death in my name, and half in Sis's name. The original bonds were bought by Dad, once a month, rain or shine, regular as Hick going to Goodwill on a Thursday night.

Hick and I had been to our bank that day, asking about cashing them in. We had held off, due to the taxes we'll be incurring, until I retired and his income was also less. We kind of got the runaround at the bank. Nothing is ever easy. The barely-twenty-year-old teller said SHE could cash a bond. Then Hick shoved a stack at her and said, "I've got this many." She called a supervisor.

Anyhoo...I was online that night, typing in serial numbers and issue dates, using a tool from treasurydirectdotgov to compile a list, and check maturity dates. It got me thinking about Dad buying those bonds back then, with our future in mind. I finally called it quits after I barely got started. It's going to take a while. But it's a good problem to have.

I went out to sit in my OPC (Old People Chair) and watch some DVR Dawson's Creek before bed. I had not even gone though one cycle of the OPC's heat and massage settings when I smelled it. Cherry blend pipe tobacco. It lingered for about five minutes.

Thanks, Dad.

This week marks the 19th anniversary of his death.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

And I Thought a Rawhide Chew Bone Would Be Too Big

Want to help the Missouri S&T Solar Car Team get to Australia?

There are still 27 days left to donate anything from a dollar (no perk included) up to $2,500 (your name on the side of the Solar Car).

Or suggest a name for free! 

What has this four-legged little whippersnapper been up to lately?

That's a picture I snapped of Jack while Hick was living it up in Sweden and I was feeding the livestock in his absence. I was not actually taking the picture of Jack. He has a way of getting into frame when I hold up my phone. I was actually going to take a picture of what appears to be the green rim of a snowshoe around Jack's front paw.

It's a snake. A rubber snake. At first I thought it was real, then I thought it was a fishing worm that Jack found somewhere. That location IS right across from Hick's Fishing Lair. However...HOS's wife said it belongs to their son. That it's a trick snake, made to look like it's alive if you rub it the right way. So I told her to take it back to the boy before Jack ate it. Don't know if the kid dropped it here or Jack found it while he was snooping around up at their house and brought it back.

BUT...once I started trying for that photo, then looking at the result to see if it was blogworthy...Jack lost interest and returned to the tire of Hick's Gator that you see behind him. No. Jack didn't pee on the tire.


Hick told me a while back that he caught Jack chewing on the Gator tire. I told him he was making that up. What kind of dog chews on a Gator tire? A half heeler, half dachshund, it seems. There Jack was, his head sideways, gnawing like a beaver felling a tree. Of course when I tried to get THAT picture, Jack stopped and posed. Still licking his lips from his tasty tire, though.

I guess that's what he'd been doing while I fed Billy the goat and Barry the mini pony, then stopped when I turned to walk back past the Gator. Couldn't resist returning to it though.

Does anyone have job opening for Puppy Jack?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Hear That? It's Val in Her Helicopter!

You know how when you work in an office, some mother is always selling stuff for her precious child? Like Girl Scout cookies, or overpriced Christmas wrapping paper, or magazine subscriptions, or fundraiser candy bars?


Don't assume that just because I don't work any more, and you don't-work in my non-office with me...that you're off the hook! I'm spreading my brochures out right here in the break room for the next 28 days. That's how long Genius has left on his Crowdfunding campaign for Solar Car.

Let the record show that I don't expect you to donate. But if you're on social media, which I am NOT, save my little Blogger venture...perhaps you could put a link for him if you believe in his mission. SOMEBODY out there might just be an alumnus, or like getting skinned knuckles working under the hood of a car, or appreciate go-getterness in young college whippersnappers, or...maybe...their heart melts for solar power. You never know who might see it, and wish to donate. Not everybody in this world is selfishly spending their fixed income on food, shelter, and medical insurance able to spare money on other people's dreams. So I understand. No hard feelings. And a link is FREE, by cracky!

Go here

to read about this latest Missouri S&T Solar Car Team quest.

You can even suggest a name for this year's car if you go to the NAME SUGGESTION link.

If you go to that main link, you can see a video, and read a little bit about this year's Solar Car race. It's in Australia! And it costs $25 a day to keep the team supplied with WATER! Also on that page is a picture of Genius. He's third from the left in that thumbnail row of 4 guys. You can click on his face and read a short statement from him. He's a former Solar Car president, but not the one mentioned in the 2-minute video of his friend Connor, one of last year's drivers. Also, Genius made the video, and wrote the script.

Genius will not be making the trip to Australia. That would require that he take off the entire fall semester, and he's due to graduate in December, so that's not feasible for him. The team that is going will be able to get a co-op credit for this venture, which means it will count like they're working for a semester (though they don't get paid anything), and their scholarships will still be there for them when they return to school spring semester. They will be spending 32 days in Australia.

Genius doesn't know if we will be able to follow the race this year, due to the remoteness of the outback, but as long as they can get internet connection, the team will keep us posted on their progress by social media.

Let the record further show that Val has made a donation. It's not like she's asking you to jump out of a plane while she rides it back to the runway. Yes, even though I would rather spend my once-earned cash on scratch-off tickets, the lottery has been good to me lately. So the Solar Car benefits. Besides, it's TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

The link is going to be at the top of my posts until the Solar Car campaign is over. Just because it's not hurting me to keep it there, and it's not hurting you to skip over it. Genius says people can donate one dollar or more. It looks like you have to start at $25, but THAT'S NOT TRUE! That's just the level to get a perk. If you actually click on the donation link, you just override the $25.00 in the box, and type in how much you want to give. Oh, and if you scroll to the bottom, you'll see that for the low, low price of only $2, can get your name on the side of the Solar Car! Yeah. That's not the donation I made.

Genius says they are attempting to raise funds in a variety of methods, and with this one they hope to help with costs of getting the Solar Car and the team to Australia. He estimates costs will run in the neighborhood of $50,000. For example, the team will have a convoy of 4-5 vehicles, each of which costs $50 per day. He stressed that there are OTHER WAYS TO HELP! That if you know somebody with a business who would like to donate materials, or have contacts who can help with freighting the Solar Car, or deal with an engineering firm that might want to sponsor the car, or have a company that could donate machining time to working on parts...please contact the Solar Car team. Genius has his email address in the box when you click on his face!

Okay. Y'all can go back to gossiping now, and eating the frosting off that half sheet cake that somebody got for their retirement party. Just remember, these brochures are right here on the table if you want to look through them...