Thursday, November 30, 2017

He Can Work It Out

Hick's freight container garage is still taking shape. A couple days ago, he did something else to it. I don't remember what. I kind of listen to him like I'm Charlie Brown and he's my teacher. He sent me a couple of pictures.

I'm pretty sure he was closing in the end walls. This being the end facing the gravel road. He also put on that metal skirting.

And this being the end facing down into our woods, with the BARn being out of frame to the right of this picture.

Today Hick put boards on the roof, in preparation for the metal roofing that he (and probably HOS) will install.

This picture was taken from over in front of the BARn. Hick got a lot of work done. With no help. When I drove by on the way to town, he was up on the roof, pulling those long boards up from the back of his truck. He had it parked over there with the boards stood on end. He'd thought of asking neighbor Tommy for help, but didn't trust Tommy to nail on the boards, nor use the tractor to hoist Hick up there in the bucket. Hick's pretty ingenious about figuring out ways to do things by himself.

He may have thought he was working by himself a couple weeks ago, but turns out he wasn't.

I don't remember if I used this picture already. But on November 21st, Hick had helpers. Or, as he put in the email with the picture, "Beatle bugs on my lumber." His spelling. Not mine.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Pit and the Penny YUM!

Val's encounter with the cheesecake did not end on Monday when the hippie tried to scam it from her. No siree, Bob! That cheesecake is most likely another instrument of Even Steven. Oh, I may have THOUGHT it was that funny encounter with the hippie meant to balance out the bad karma from the post office dude. But evidently, Even Steven had other intentions.

That night, I was relaxing with a late dessert in front of my New Delly screen in my dark basement lair. Let the record show that I have been leaving the light on. cheesecake looked delicious. It was chocolate, with a kind of red mixture on top. Not an actual swirl, not an actual layer, but something red mixed with the chocolate. I assumed it was the Chocolate Cherry slice, judging from the label, and I had selected it specifically for that reason.

I was about halfway through my cheesecake slice, savoring it, watching a live slot play video, when it happened. I took a bite, and immediately chomped on something crunchy. Not so much crunchy as hard and unforgiving.

"Oh, CRAP!" I thought. "I've broken off a piece of tooth. On CHEESECAKE!" You know how that is, right? You're feeding away in a frenzy, and bite down on a shard of enamel. Okay. Maybe not. Maybe you took exemplary care of your toofers. But every now and then, a piece of mine cracks off from around a filling. I hate it when that happens.

I spit out the offending shard and put it on the plate. It was covered with chocolate, so I couldn't see an actual tooth piece, but what else could it be? I searched around my mouth with my tongue, but could not find the location of missing molar part. Huh.

Of course I finished my piece of cheesecake! Did I mention that it was delicious? I just chewed more gingerly. Still didn't feel any broken tooth.

THAT'S what was I spit out! Not the dime. It's just a random coin that I grabbed to show the size of the THING that I bit into in my Walmart cheesecake! After soaking it in water overnight, I think it's a nut shell. Or a cherry pit. Here's the other side of it.

That's pretty sharp, don't you think? It could have done some damage to my mouth! Could have actually broken a tooth! I told Hick that I should complain to Walmart and show them my broken teeth and say that's what did it. Just joking, because that could bring bad karma, to lie like that for my own personal gain. Hick said I should tell them I went into anaphylactic shock because I have a nut allergy, and that's a nut shell. Not sure if he was joking. Probably. It's hard to tell. Hick was born without a sense of humor, you know. And I don't think they've perfected a transplant yet. can bet that I'm not throwing out the rest of the cheesecake.

In other news, yesterday my trip to town was bookended with a ladybug dive-bombing T-Hoe's driver's side mirror as I backed out of the garage, and a penny at my last stop. The ladybug was so fast that by the time I got my phone to take a picture, it had flitted away.

Here's the penny, though. A 1987 version. Not significant to me. It was right outside the gas station chicken store. It was NOT there when I went in. I'm always checking, you know. I was disappointed to find none. When I came out, my hands full of keys and 44 oz Diet Coke and two scratchers, I stepped over it and turned around, wondering how I was going to juggle that stuff in my hands to get my phone out.

I did it, though! I'm glad the woman and the man who separately entered after me did not come out and catch me, just in case they were the ones who dropped it. It was probably the guy ahead of me buying chicken, though. It was really my turn in line, but I waited and let him go ahead.

Even Steven seems to find a balance.


This was penny #63 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

That Hippie (Almost) Takes the Cake

As you may recall from yesterday, Val encountered another surly weirdo while line-waiting. She can't seem to catch a break from being berated by total (or in this case known) strangers. But you know ol' Even Steven. He's not one to let Val's weirdo life become unbalanced. Within the hour, he had begun righting the Bad Ship WeirdoTalk, in an effort to get Val's line-waiting life on even keel again.

I was over in Bill-Paying Town, waiting in line at Walmart. Again, I was second in line. There were actually three people ahead of me, but they were all together. It was an elderly lady sitting on a beeper cart, a young man putting the bags back in her basket, and a young lady roaming back and forth to the hot food display in the main aisle, bringing two cups of popcorn chicken to the register.

Once again, I was in no hurry. I grabbed the rubber divider thingy and put my stuff on the conveyor. The checker was a congenial sort, and held up a can of some product that might have been hair mousse. It was in a pinky-purple can with a little pointy top. "Well, I guess you're over 21, because we can't sell these to anybody under 21!"

"What? Why's that? It's just for my hair."

The young man helping her caught on. He looked kind of like Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. About the same size, maybe 10 pounds heavier and a couple years older, with the same bleached out long hair. He was wearing a blue and yellow tied-died t-shirt and cargo shorts on this 75-degree November day.

"Oh! I know...because it's like whippets! Like that stuff in the can! Um...REDDI-WIP!"

"That's not alcohol! Or a drug. Why can't they have it?" asked Grandma.

"They breathe it! The air in it that shoots it out! Nitrous!"

The checker nodded. "Uh huh. We can't sell it to them."

"I've done a lot of drugs in my time, but I've never done THAT, heh, heh. I know what it is, though."

I wasn't paying much attention. Just staying out of the way so that girl could go back for another popcorn chicken. I got the impression that this lady was a grandma getting help from her grandson and his girlfriend. Then I was jarred back into the present time by Dude speaking too me.

"Isn't that right?"

"I'm sorry. I wasn't listening."

"I told her, 'I think you're supposed to ring up that cheesecake on her bill, and then hand it to me!"

"Heh, heh! I don't think that's how it works."

"Didn't you hear? This is Buy a Hippie a Cheesecake Day!"

"I'd be more likely to buy you some Reddi-Wip!"

We both had a good laugh. I actually contemplated giving him that cheesecake! He was helping the old lady, and he was friendly, with a sense of humor, and wasn't begging, and not pretending to be anything but what he was. A hippie.

Let the record show that all that stopped me from bestowing that cheesecake upon him was the fact that I would have to put my stuff in T-Hoe and come back in to walk across the store and buy another one. We'd had cheesecake for Thanksgiving, and I'd given Genius some and Friend some and we'd all eaten some, and now it was the next week, and Hick and I were wanting more cheesecake.

Good thing I got a picture before it's all gone!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Even Steven Is Such a Tease

That ol' Even Steven really has me guessing. First, I think he's making a point about my line-waiting persona, then he flips the script and cancels it out.

You may recall that as of late, I've had people cutting in front of me in line at Burger Brothers and convenience stores. I've had that dude push a door closed in my face, and the Donut Man have a tantrum because I asked if he was in line so I didn't cut in front of him.

Today I went to the main post office to mail The Pony's weekly letter. The Thanksgiving holiday threw me off schedule. I got there around 11:10. The mail doesn't go out until 11:30. I had plenty of time. I take my letter to the counter to make sure it's not overweight for one stamp. As I went through the glass doors to get in line, I was pleased to see only one person ahead of me, and two workers behind the counter. The lady worker went to the back, but I knew I was next.

I was passing the time (all of 10 seconds) by surveying the floor for possible pennies. I heard the Counter Clerk tell the man leaning over filling out a form, "Maybe you can finish up over there. I have a customer behind you."

Fill Out Man got all hateful. "I thought I WAS finishing up!" Don't know why he had such a chip on his shoulder. Counter Clerk got a kind of stern look on his face. Quite a few of our postal workers are military veterans, and they don't take crap. He motioned for me to move forward, and Fill Out Man snatched up his paperwork and stomped to the left. He shot me a glance of contempt.

"Oh. If I'd known it was YOU, I wouldn't have moved!"


Is Val not meant for waiting in a line? Should I just become a recluse, and put my mail in the box with the red flag up? Have my groceries and 44 oz Diet Coke and scratchers delivered? Because this whole line-waiting thing doesn't seem to be working out for me. It's not like I rushed in and elbowed Fill Out Man aside, demanding to be waited on right that instant! I had plenty of time. I was next. I had not said a single word. I wasn't breathing down Fill Out Man's neck, or tapping my foot, or sighing, or asking if he was about done. I was standing, silent, behind him in a line, leaving him plenty of personal space to do his business.

Counter Clerk frowned his way. I stepped up to the counter as beckoned, absentmindedly pushed my letter across the counter, and turned to look at Fill Out Man. I'll admit my first thought was, "Oh, crap! It's not that Donut Man, is it?" There was no other reason I could think of, no other stranger who could have such a strong aversion to my line-waiting presence.

Counter Clerk set to weighing my letter without me even telling him. I'm in there every week. He knows why. And he must also know that I'm not a line-waiting rabble-rouser.

You know, there are people who joke with you in line. Val can take a joke. Like last week at the casino again, in line at Burger Brothers, when a group of four was actually there ahead of Hick and me, placing their order. The cashier looked at the last man in the group, and asked if he wanted to order a drink. The guy was holding one of those metal beer bottles, blue, in his hand, and slurring his speech a bit. Not that there's anything wrong with that. He was in a casino, ordering lunch, not driving a school bus full of young 'uns. The cashier looked up at him, and said, "Oh, no. You won't want a drink. You already have a beer." And the guy said, "I'm just holding it for that lady back there." And nodded his head, and turned to look at me. Okay. That was pretty funny. I might have even cracked a smile.

What I'm getting at here is that this post office Fill Out Man was NOT being congenial, and spouted his comment in a terse tone, no hint of humor at all in the wrinkles beside his eyes. Yeah. I noticed that when I looked at him and SAW THAT HE WAS NOT A STRANGER!

Fill Out Dude was the parent of a couple of my former students. I had no beef with him or his offspring. They were smart and got good grades. The son was on the scholar bowl team, a year behind Genius. Hick and I saw this guy all the time at their meets. I even sat by him (he being the one to make that seating decision, since I was there first) when Hick wasn't there. Let the record show that this guy had a reputation as kind of a loose cannon. Nobody wanted to cross him, and staff groaned when they saw him enter the school. Let the record also show that we'd never had harsh words, and that (unbeknownst to him) I was even one to stand up for his son when other faculty were a bit harsh in their judgement of perceived misbehavior from him.

NOW Fill Out Dude was taking out his displeasure over being asked to move aside on ME?

I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was just his dry sense of humor. Very dry. Mojave Desert dry. I caught his eye (since he kept staring at me) and said, "Hey. What have you been up to lately?" Just making conversation. Acknowledging that I recognized him.

I still got the same tone. Sour expression. "Running errands for my kids." He went back to filling out his form.

"Me too. Mailing a letter to one." Counter Clerk tossed my letter in the OUT bin, and told me it was fine with a single stamp.

I got the Not-Heaven out of there.

Tomorrow...the flip side of Even Steven's coin.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hick Is Already Using His New Garage, as Val Bugs Out

Hick's storage container garage is making progress. Being Hick, he couldn't wait to start playing with his new toy. Looks like he's already parking one of the tractors inside.

Much like how you could still throw a cat through the south wall of the shed in True Grit that Mattie Ross (of near Dardanelle in Yell County) and her daddy let Tom Chaney live can still throw a cat through just about any wall of Hick's storage container garage. And that roof looks pretty leaky, too. But I suppose Hick is just visualizing his vision, and has parked the New Holland inside. Or he's been raising one or another of his older sons up to do some work in the rafters.

This is from the back wall, the back being toward the road side of the property, looking out the door end, toward the woods. Hick has a plan for a regular large garage kind of door, I think, but he's going to put up a cheaper one for now.

In other news, I didn't make a trip to town yesterday, being busy with our Thanksgiving Saturday preparations. But I made it today, a bit late, and stopped by Orb K at the last minute for two scratcher tickets. My rightful parking spot by that big metal storm drain lid was taken, so I parked next to it. I had my eyes cast down, looking for pennies on the sidewalk and parking lot. No luck today, nor inside on the tile.


On the way out, I saw something I had not noticed on the way in. I carefully walked past, plopped my two tickets and T-Hoe's keys on his hood, and took a picture.

Ladybugs! Three of them, from what I can determine. I don't know what that glaring part of the image is. It was not on the sidewalk to look at with the naked (heh, heh, says my 13-year-old self) eye as I lifted my phone for the picture. I guess maybe it's a reflection off the bumper of that truck, or some refraction from my phone itself, or its camera lens, perhaps from laying it on the kitchen counter where olive juice spilled.

Here's a closer look at two of them, but the third was up to the right, out of frame.

Ladybugs. As good as a penny in Val's eyes. Though not capable of being used as legal tender.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving on Saturday with Genius

After days of preparation, making a special trip to Walmart on Wednesday, risking life and limb, putting my toes at the mercy of numerous beeper carts, to pick up ingredients for the favorites Genius had requested...we had our Thanksgiving meal today at 1:00.

Let the record show that I did the majority of preparations on Friday. I peeled 27 of the 36 eggs I'd bought on Wednesday and boiled on Thursday, to make Genius's potato salad and deviled eggs. I wrapped his green bean bundles (bacon around green beans, doused with butter and brown sugar, sprinkled with garlic salt, to be baked for 45 minutes at 350 degrees). I deviled 14 eggs. I peeled potatoes I'd boiled on Thursday, and peeled more eggs, and slapped together the potato salad. I baked bacon to be used in the 7 layer salad, and let baby carrots cook along with it for flavor.

So time-consuming were the deviled eggs, potato salad, and green bean bundles that I ran out of time for making the 7 layer salad.

There it is, in all its magnificent glory, upon completion Saturday morning. Layer on top of succulent layer! Romaine lettuce, green onions, boiled eggs, peas, mayonnaise, shredded sharp cheddar, and bacon. Hick and I love it, but Genius prefers only five layers, leaving out the peas and mayonnaise. I make a separate salad for him, and he likes Bleu Cheese dressing on his. Of course the one in Frig II's door was expired. So I headed to town Friday evening to get some.

Look what greeted me at Country Mart's door!

This picture is actually taken from inside the store. A man was coming out as I entered, and he gave me half an evil eye when I stopped and took out my phone, looking at the penny. I figured he wanted it for himself. I hung around a few minutes, but he stayed there in front of the door, and a worker came out and played chicken with my cart, so I gave up. I was pretty bitter throughout my quest for dishwashing liquid and Bleu Cheese dressing. That was MY rightful penny! Left there for ME to find! Not some old guy who probably had never made a Thanksgiving dinner in his life.

Imagine my surprise after I checked out, to see that the penny was still there, kind of disguised by the color of the tile.

You can bet I nabbed that beauty (a 2014) and put it in my pocket! My mom's last Thanksgiving was in 2014. We always went to her house, and she cooked the meal. In 2014, on the day before Thanksgiving, Mom had a seizure while preparing some dishes ahead of time. My sister the ex-mayor's wife had gone to Mom's house to see if she needed any help, and was there to call 911.

This morning, I had ONE task left, and that was to make the 7 layer salad. I got all the layers ready before putting them together. Diced the green onions, peeled and chopped the eggs, and cut up the bacon.

As I was turning from the kitchen counter with leaves of romaine in my hand to tear into the salad bowl...I noticed something on the floor.

Can't have a family holiday around here without a couple messages from beyond...

Let the record show that this was penny #62 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #86 "Four Nags Over Missouri"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. This week Val puts her sharp tongue to wagging, and transcribes her diatribes to shame her kids into cleaning up their act. She shames fictional kids out of their slothful behavior. Get up off the couch, brush those Cheetos crumbs off your chest, and fish around under the cushions for coins to order Val's latest fake book! Cash or money order. No checks, credit cards, or Cheetos found under the cushions.

Four Nags Over Missouri

Sal Thethicktorian's amusement park has signs to direct folks to exhibits. They may SAY animals, but mean Sal's kids.

Want a SCARE? Take a gander at The Donkey...

You will also find The Donkey doing duty at the SLEEP exhibit. Not so Sal's other son, Wizard, who has always been an antisleepite.

The Donkey is an expert SCRATCHer, disguising his movements at venues such as an all-school Christmas program to look as if he's merely pulling his corduroy pants into a bikini bottom shape.

Wizard is a jack of one trade. If you want to GAG, seek out the display of his clothing bag brought home from basketball camp in Missi-freakin-sippi in July.

Will Sal's theme park be shut down by PETO (People for the Ethical Treatment of Offspring)? Or will Sal find a way to skirt the rules? (139 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

A Monkey, flinging excrement..."This is what Thevictorian's fake books are worth! Nobody wants to see her flippin' KIDS at an amusement park! They want to see ME! Why can't Thevictorian write about ME? If me and my 9,999 buddies had 10,000 computer keyboards, WE could fake-write a better fake book than this!

Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion..."My eyes weren't always crossed, you know. It seems to have happened shortly after reading one of Thevictorian's fake books. I think a good tranquilizer dart would go a long way towards protecting the world from Thevictorian's future onslaughts."

Those Happy Feet Penguins..."We have gone to the end of the Earth in an effort to protect ourselves from this fake author. We do NOT sing her praises, fake or otherwise. Our own Mumble cannot sing a note! We attribute his other-abled-ness to his dad reading one of Thevictorian's fake books while waiting for him to hatch, and losing the egg when he fell comatose due to a lack of plot."

PETA..."We cannot recommend this fake book. That would be unethical. This fake author's fake work is harmful to animals who live with ignoramuses who read her fake books. May we suggest that Thevictorian be relocated to a small wire cage, with no access to writing implements, and if she escapes, a coat be made out of her thin skin?"

Lab Rat #71,384..."We've been fake-reading Thevictorian's fake books for years now. I am the only survivor remaining from this double-blind test. Mamas, don't let your litter grow up to read Thevictorian!"

Willie Nelson..."I think that rat was plagiarizing me! Thevictorian would be wise to do the same."

Jim Fowler, assistant to Marlin Perkins..."I am glad that Marlin is no longer alive, because I fear that he would order me to read Thevictorian's fake book! That could be the death of me. I would sooner wrestle a 27-foot anaconda."

Thursday, November 23, 2017

What Genius is Thankful For, Regarding His Education

Just a short one today, on ACTUAL THANKSGIVING. I am starting early preparations for Thevictorian family Thanksgiving on Saturday. Those eggs aren't going to boil themselves, nor the 7 layers of the salad align themselves without help.

In an effort to redirect this form of questionable entertainment from the recent Hick and Pony I bring you Genius. He's starring in a propaganda film (yeah, he would really hate that insinuation) for his university. Okay. So maybe starring isn't quite accurate. But he has about 45 seconds of air time in the 4:28 minute video.

When he told me, I watched with my nose nearly touching the screen, eager to see him make his appearance. AWWWW! Genius has a regular haircut, kind of Leave-It-To-Beaver-ish, not the kind of shaved-sides, flap-on-top hipster coif I last saw him with. Plus, the beard is gone! And he's wearing a collared shirt! I think our Genius might just be able to make something of himself after all.

Yes. I'm bragging.

Here's the link, if you want to check it out. Genius makes his appearance at 2:10 and ends at 2:55.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Have Your Cake and Emoji Too

Let the record show that The Pony was a responsible gambler with the money I gave him to play on during our casino outing on Saturday. For the most part, he stayed with me, and we socialized while being robbed side by side by the one-armed bandits. Oh, and in case you don't frequent casinos...most of those bandits are armless these days.

Anyhoo...The Pony was raking in wins left and right, while I was not. When he'd hit a good winner, he'd say, "I'm cashing that out and saving it." Then he'd put away the ticket, and play on new money. Kudos to him! He cashed out $227 when we left. Anyhoo...this is not about introducing The Pony to a new vice. It's about embarrassing him (or not, he doesn't really seem to care about what people think) over his best friend.

Saturday night, we were chatting with The Pony at our hotel after lupper (late lunch/early supper). He bemoaned the fact that his phone only had 5% charge left. He had been texting intermittently, as young 'uns these days are wont to do, even while visiting with their loving parents who have driven 9 hours to see them for only the fourth time in a year.

"You can probably take me back to my apartment any time you're ready."

"Do you have plans? Who are you texting?"

"No plans. Just talking to GalPal (his friend who drove to Oklahoma City to pick him up at the airport after the airline snafu and nine-hour layover). She's been working on stuff with her sorority."

"Did you tell her you have CAKE?"

"No. But I will."

We took The Pony home. On the way, he said that GalPal had responded that she might come hang out for a while. The next day, on the drive home, I sent The Pony a text. I wasn't even sure he was up yet, but it WAS after noon, and I was bored.

"Did GalPal come have cake?" Let the record show that in place of "cake" I put an emoji of a slice of cake.

"Yes. And why are you using emojis? She only had a small piece but she also enjoyed Chex Mix."

"Because I CAN! They pop up at the bottom of my phone. I put extra garlic in the Chex Mix. I hope you didn't kiss, heh, heh."

"Mom! I've told youuuuu, she's not into dating."

"I know. Thus the HEH, HEH. Besides, I said kiss, not dating."

"Kissing is involved in that!"

"For all I know, you two had a drug and alcohol and cake and Chex Mix fueled orgy on your $227! Which doesn't necessarily involve kissing!"

"For the record, I'm showing her that."

"I have a warped sense of humor. If she tolerates being around you, she will get it."

"She says, 'Holy shit she sounds like my mom.'"

"See? That's not a bad thing! Now let's up the stakes exponentially...when you said you were showing her that, I could have said, 'Oh, is she still there? Roll over and wake her up, then.'"

No response.

"I know you're punching your forehead with your fist."

That was at 12:52. I did not get a response. At least we're still on speaking texting terms. At 4:05 when I informed The Pony that we were passing his favorite Steak n Shake, he replied. But only with, "Nice!"

Do you think I crossed the line? It's not like I said it in front of GalPal. I'm pretty sure the Blogosphere can be discreet about such matters...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Val Obviously Needs Some Binoculars in Her Helicopter

A disturbing fact came to light during our visit with The Pony. We only found out because I took him that surprise Oreo cake.

Let the record show that The Pony is nearing the end of the first semester of his sophomore year at OU. Meaning that he has been out from under our roof since August 2016. That's almost a year and a half. And that in August of this year, Hick went to Norman to move The Pony from his dorm room to an apartment in a university complex. I didn't make the trip, knowing that I would be of no help with the moving, and that I'd be whiny about the heat, and sad about leaving The Pony there all by himself. Again.

I gave Hick strict instructions to survey that apartment, and make sure The Pony had what he needed, be it cables to hook up his personal TV in his bedroom, or bedding that fit, or bathroom and kitchen supplies. And most certainly cleaning products, and food to get him through a couple of weeks. To take him to Walmart and get all the stuff and pay with our credit card. NOT to depend on The Pony saying that he would get it later. If left to his own devices, The Pony would sleep on a bare mattress, eat Papa John's every day, and spend his free time playing games on his computer. When Hick returned, he assured me that The Pony had everything he needed.

Flash forward to Saturday, mid-morning. We picked up The Pony for a jaunt down the highway five minutes to enjoy some slot play at Riverwind Casino. In case I haven't beat you over the head with it enough, gambling age for slots is 18 in the Indian casinos. We had a wonderful time, and The Pony and I both came out ahead. As we were leaving to have lupper (late lunch/early supper), Hick asked The Pony if he had Oreo cake for breakfast.

"Uh huh."

"Did you actually slice it, or just stick your face in it and start feeding?" I wasn't really joking.

"I sliced it. That was kind of hard, because my knife isn't long enough. I wish I had one like we use to cut the cake at home."

"You mean that silver-handled one?"

"Uh huh. Mine is too short. It gets all over the handle."

"What kind of knife do you have? Is it serrated?"

"No. I only have two knives. I guess they're what you call a paring knife. Like the only kind you allowed me to use, to cut my chicken or steak. The short ones."

"I can't believe you don't have a regular knife!"

"Well, I don't."

"Just use one of your butter knives," said Hick. "They'll cut cake. It doesn't have to be a sharp knife."

"I don't have any butter knives. The only silverware I have is plastic. And those knives aren't very long, either."



"Did you even put your cake on a plate?"

"Paper plate. The other day, I put my hamburgers on one to cool off, and they kind of soaked through."

"Why didn't you use a regular one?"

"Those pans I use to eat on are too big. And those containers you sent the Chex mix in are too deep. I use them to eat my noodles, though."

"Don't you want to wash dishes? Is that why you use paper plates?"

"I don't have any dishes."




"I thought I did! Pony! Didn't we look for them at Walmart? Or Goodwill?" Hick knew he was in for a grilling.

"No. I guess we didn't think of it. I don't really need them."


"I will! I'll drop you two off so you can visit, and I'll go to Target or Walmart or Goodwill, and find him some." Hick is good at finding a way to sneak off to Goodwill. He returned later, saying he bought The Pony two knives and two bowls and two plates and a set of silverware.

I knew I should have gone on that move-in trip! We're lucky The Pony hasn't been squatting in a park, sleeping in a nest of leaves, ordering Papa John's, and re-warming it on a whittled tree branch over a campfire.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Pony Ate Two of My Fingers

We stopped by to pick up The Pony at his apartment on Friday evening. The daylight lasts longer there. While Hick helped carry in the stuff we brought him, I waited in A-CAD, saving my knees for the third-floor ascension later. I turned to look around at the OU apartment complex, and caught the sunset.

It was breathtaking! As much as I hated to infringe upon my creaky knees, I hoisted myself out of A-CAD to capture this magnificent display without the leather headrest and car interior framing.

Well worth it, I say. We took The Pony out for supper at a Chinese buffet (his choice), and then went back to his apartment to visit for a while. Actually, until he suggested that we leave! "Doesn't your hotel pool close at 9:00, Dad? It's a little after 8:00 now. Maybe you want to go back." Sure. We only drove 9 hours to see him. But The Pony is The Pony.

Yes, Val is fresh back from Norman today, and resting up from The Pony's Thanksgiving feast before preparing our own. Not that most people would term The Pony's dinner a feast, probably. We took him the Sister Schubert's rolls and real butter and Chex Mix that he requested, and the surprise Oreo cake. But we did not partake. Maybe The Pony is saving them for actual Thanksgiving.

We asked The Pony where he'd like to go for a meal, and he said he was thinking about Cheddar's. He's never been there, nor have we. Haven't even heard of it, mostly, though I figured it was a chain. If not there, he said, then a steakhouse. Since we've been to steakhouses in Norman, and The Pony really seemed to have his tender heart set on Cheddar's, that's where we went. Sorry I don't have pics, but it DID happen!

We got there around 3:45, having spent the noonish hours in the local casino (gambling age 18 for slots), and The Pony, being a late riser, having eaten his breakfast (of Oreo cake) around 10:15. Even at this odd hour, Cheddar's had a good crowd.

Hick went all out, and even ordered an appetizer plate of potato skins, cheese bites, and chicken tenders. They came with sour cream, honey mustard, and marinara sauce. Let me just say that the marinara sauce was delicious! It was for the cheese bites, of course, but Hick kept dipping (double!) his potato skins in there. He said to give them some flavor, even though they had cheese and bacon on them, and came with the sour cream. Which I might add, had a hint of flavor that I didn't quite recognize. But it was just right! Subtle. Then I got to the bottom of the little bowl, and hit something solid. It was a slice of jalapeno! I put it on Hick's plate and told him THERE was his flavor for his potato skins. The Pony ate two of the three chicken fingers. I did not begrudge them. I was having them for my meal, so I let Hick have the third one.

Hick ordered a ribeye (medium well) and shrimp, with a loaded baked potato and Caesar salad. The Pony ordered a ribeye (medium rare), with a baked potato (butter only) and Caesar salad. They came with a croissant-looking roll with some kind of sauce drizzled on them. I ordered the chicken fingers with honey mustard sauce, fries, and SLAW (what else would you expect?).

Here's the deal. We had finished our appetizer, and Hick and The Pony were nearly to the bottom of their giant Caesar bowls, when the waitress appeared, and informed them that the kitchen was out of baked potatoes! I'm pretty sure they would have known that when the order came in, but she said she was JUST informed. So you can't blame the waitress. Missing baked potatoes roll downhill, I'm sure, and she was at the bottom. She said we could wait 30 minutes, or she could substitute mashed potatoes. Hick and The Pony both agreed to take the mashed potatoes. They came piled high in a little bowl, enhanced with bacon.

Here's the deal. I think that Hick and The Pony should have been offered some type of compensation. Maybe a discount, or a free dessert. That's how you do business. If you're out of something, why should people pay the same price for something they did not choose to order? Anyhoo, they got nothing but mashed potatoes in place of a baked potato. That's what The Pony had been talking about since we brought up where to eat. That he wanted somewhere with steak, and a baked potato. He ate about half of his mashed potatoes, and said they were good, but there was too much of them. That might have been for my benefit. The Pony generally likes his food on the plain side. Like potato and butter only. No bacon or seasonings.

I must say, the food was delicious. Especially the slaw, but all of it was tasty. The waitress asked us if we were celebrating anything when she brought out the appetizer platter. Maybe they like to sing happy birthday and make a production. Or maybe we looked like disadvantaged bumpkins who wouldn't be dining at her chain unless it was a special occasion. Anyhoo...when she asked if we were celebrating anything, Hick said, "Thanksgiving."

Not sure why she looked surprised. Unless she thought, "These bumpkins don't even know what day Thanksgiving is, and that turkey is usually the main course."

I would still term our (early) Thanksgiving with The Pony as a success. I think he would, too.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hick, the Pea-Pickin' Penny-Pincher

I mentioned yesterday that Hick and I were surprised last Sunday to see the casino parking lot almost full. We don't park in the parking garage, even though it's free. We park out at the end, in an open lot. I'm pretty sure there are still surveillance camera pointed seven ways to Sunday out there. Normally, we only encounter about 10-15 cars in that lot.

This parking lot is at the opposite end of the complex from the casino. I use the walk for my daily exercise, since it's too dark when we get home now for my driveway walk. Hick and I cut through the corner of the parking garage, go up a long covered sidewalk, share a compartment in the revolving door, and walk past the check in desk for the hotel, and the event center, and shops, and restaurants. As we got out of the car, I said, "Maybe they're not all in the casino! Maybe there's a corporate seminar, or a wedding reception, or some big event in the event center." Sure enough, there was.

Hick was nearly purring with excitement as we strolled down the carpet in front of the event center. He was holding my hand, and for once, I didn't try to get loose. I kept my grip on him.

"Look, Val! There's your event. See the sign? 'Models Line Up Here.' Maybe I should get in line, heh, heh!"

"You're not model material."

"Who said I wanted to be a model? I just want to stand in the line!"

Indeed. There were many sweet young things dolled up in dresses milling around, the line reaching from the tables inside that we could see, to the area along the wall on the other side. They had left a gap in their line for the carpeted walkway.

"That's not happening."

Maybe some of those prospective models brought parents or boyfriends along, who were killing time by playing in the casino. In any case, I mentioned yesterday how it was crowded, but that I was a winner this time, even though Hick (winning the last three visits) was not. We had a good time, and a good meal. When it was time to leave, Hick was busy losing the last of a twenty, and told me to go ahead and cash out.

Maybe that's the way men think. Maybe that's how they're wired. Just walk over and get your cash from the machine. Not this ol' Val! I'm always leery when cashing out. I'm an old lady with un-runnable knees. I feel vulnerable. There are usually people lined up three deep at those cash-out machines up front. I don't need anybody looking over my shoulder to see how much I'm getting paid from my tickets. I most often accumulate tickets until I'm ready to leave, because if I have cash, I might be tempted to put it back in a machine. When I have tickets, I don't play them.

I had a goodly sum of money on those tickets. I'd won back all I put in, plus $200 extra. I like to cash out round numbers, so it's easier to keep track in my head of how much money I'm down or ahead. Sometimes I'll have odd change on them, but generally the dollar amounts I cash out at zeroes and fives for ease of adding and subtracting.

Hick finished losing his money, and came to stand beside me at the money machine. He stood sideways, facing my right side, between me and the other cash-out machine, while I fed in nine tickets. After the first two, Hick jabbed a ticket at me. "Here! Cash this one, too." That was going to throw me off. I knew how many tickets I had, and the approximate amount I was getting back. Now this. I looked down at Hick's ticket, and it was 19 cents.

Hick refuses to leave any money in a machine. Sometimes people leave a ticket of a few cents on the machine, because they don't want it. If somebody playing next to me has struck up a conversation, I might hand them my ticket of a few cents. Just to spare myself the trouble of cashing it if I've already cashed in my main money, and am playing a couple of dollars while waiting for Hick to come back from the bathroom. Lately, though, I keep the cents and cash them, and use them for my 44 oz Diet Coke change.

When the money came out, I grabbed the bills, folded them once, and put them in my front shirt pocket. Nobody needs to know my business there. I can sort it in the car going down the highway at 55 mph. I scoop out the coins and put them in my pants pocket. Funny thing about that casino cash never gives out dimes! Always quarters, nickels, and pennies.

Hick had been watching that cash-out machine total up my tickets. As soon as I scooped out the coins, he held out his hand, palm up. "WHAT?" I though Hick was joking, like he was taking a cut of my money. No. We keep it separate. I didn't hold my hand for his winnings on the last three trips. But Hick was insistent.

"I ain't jokin'. I thought you'd give me those three nickels and two pennies for my ticket."

"WHAT? You really want the change back? I need change for my Diet Cokes!"

"Well, I gave you a ticket for 19 cents, and thought you'd give me back the 17 cents you got out of the cash machine."

Hick never ceases to annoy amaze me. I gave it to him, after some of his passive aggressive squabbling that..."I don't want it, keep it, keep the 17 cents, forget it."

Anyhoo...that's not the Hick-drama that ruffled my feathers the most. While standing at the ticket cashing machine, I saw a guy behind Hick bend down and pick something up.


Remember, those machines only give out quarters and nickels and pennies. Somebody would have picked up their quarter or nickel. I'm pretty sure that dude got my rightful penny while Hick was blocking it from my view.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Side-Eyes

Last Sunday, Hick took me to the casino. It was way more crowded than usual, and extra smoky, but that doesn't stop Val. It's a casino, by cracky! Not a meditation retreat, nor an oxygen chamber.

For once, I had a really good session. I always have a good time, but I don't always win. This time, it was like every machine I sat down at wanted to pay me. Right away. Only two machines blatantly took my hard-won scratcher profits without giving anything back. We played for about three hours, then had our supper at Burger Brothers. It was tasty, and without incident.

The only damper on the afternoon was that I could not get on my favorite machine. There are six of them, three on one side of the casino, three on the other. They are part of a circular grouping of tall machines. I like to play Buffalo Gold. It has a minimum bet of 60 cents, and a maximum bet of $6.00. I usually low-roll at 60 cents, because the money is in the bonuses, and it takes a while to hit a bonus. But on this day, I was hitting them regularly. That's not to say that I was a big winner, but I had accumulated more money than I brought in.

Anyhoo...I finally got on one of those Buffalo Gold machines about 45 minutes before we were supposed to leave. I had camped out at a different machine, just around the carousel from a Buffalo Gold. I played, having decent luck on that game, too. But I wanted my Buffalo. An old man and lady were on it. Then the man left. The lady kept lingering. I could only see one side of her, not how much she had left. So I couldn't judge when she might get up so I could dart over there and claim the machine.

Finally, that lady got up. Wouldn't you know it? I was in the middle of a bonus on mine! I couldn't just leave it running. Anybody could step up and claim my ticket. I watched a vulture pounce on my rightful machine as a younger lady walked up and sat down. There went my chance! We'd be leaving soon. I played a little more. I'd put in a twenty, and was now up to $85. Hick wandered over. Watched a minute. Then said he was going to get a soda. I kept playing. Lost a little back. I'd just hit another bonus when the Buffalo lady got up! Crap! Another chance, and I was missing it!

Just then Hick reappeared! "Go! Now! Sit down in that chair! I'll be there as soon as my bonus stops! Get that machine for me!"

Hick looked puzzled, but he did what I said. I've trained him well. He sat down, I cashed out, and he gave me the Buffalo Gold game. He went to seek his fortune elsewhere, and I started playing. I kept hitting bonuses. They didn't pay very well, but the FUN is in the bonus, because you have the HOPE of winning big. Even betting 60 cents. Hick came back to check on me with about 15 minutes left before time to go.

"I only have a twenty in here. I'm either playing it up to $100, or playing it down to nothing. I've been waiting all day to get on this machine."

Hick stood a while watching me. I suggested he grab a chair from a machine people hadn't been playing. At that moment, the Buffalo game next to me opened up. Hick sat down on its chair.

"You can't sit there! People would kill to get that game! Get up. Somebody will want to play it."

Hick put in a twenty and started playing. As with mine, he got a bonus right off, betting 60 cents. He was soon up to $35, and kept playing. I'd hit a bonus too, and when the money counted up, I was at $99.99. Heh, heh! That's NOT $100! So I kept playing. Hick was too. He declared that we would stay only another half hour. I was having a great time, up and down, hitting bonuses. We had about ten minutes left when I sensed someone behind me.

I do NOT like people behind me. I guess it's my paranoia acting up. I've never liked it. I sit in the last row at the movies. When we had faculty meetings I sat at the last table, my back to the wall. I don't like T-Hoe to be tailgated. I just don't like it. Not even taking pictures with the kids, knowing somebody would give me bunny ears. Don't get in Val's space, and don't stand behind her.

To make matters worse, every time I tried to glance over a shoulder, that presence shifted. Moved out of my peripheral vision. I don't know what kind of fool they took me for, but Val is an ex-teacher, you know, and she does not suffer fools gladly. She most certainly does not tolerate creepers creepin' up behind her. There are ne'er-do-wells in casinos. Like that little lady in Oklahoma who came up and PUSHED MY BUTTONS IN THE MIDDLE OF A BONUS! You never know what might happen.

I leaned over to mutter my discontent to Hick. He glanced behind me, and said, "It's just a guy watching." INDEED! That wasn't happenin'! Seriously. You don't know if someone might push your Cash Out button and grab the ticket, or if he's just trying to intimidate you into getting off the machine. I'd waited all day. I wasn't giving it up until I hit $100 or $0. I started taking my time between spins. No excuse for anybody to stand and watch. I wasn't in a bonus. It was not entertaining. The only reason to stand there was intimidation, I think, to drive me away from that machine so he could have it. Too bad, so sad. I'd nabbed that machine fair and square, after waiting for several hours.

I wasn't so much afraid of foul play (Hick was right there beside me) as I was annoyed at the intrusion. The nosiness. The invasion of my personal space. Most people would get the hint if you were looking over both shoulders at them, and complaining to your husband.

Then I had the most scathingly brilliant idea! I took out my phone. You have to be careful. Casinos don't take kindly to recording. I acted like I was checking the time. I got my camera all ready. I'm not techy enough to switch the camera to the other side, like for taking a selfie. So I turned it around, where NOSY could plainly see the back of my phone, with the lens looking at him. I held it at my shoulder, and TOOK A PICTURE!

Yeah. That didn't turn out so well. I got a section of my shoulder. My ear. My purse strap. BUT NO CREEPER!

Let the record show that the flash is bright! And when it went off, Nosy hit the road. I saw him as he walked away. A portly fellow, in khaki shorts, a blue striped shirt, white ankle socks, and white tennis shoes.


Oh, I got that machine back up to $105 and cashed out. I got up off the machine and waited for Hick. I left the casino with a $200 profit over what I took in.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #85 "The Sinker"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Anybody who loves art should jump at the chance to read Val's fake effort this week! To find a smidgen of beauty in her tale of a new-age sculptor who is making money hand over fist on the backs of the greats who came before him. Okay. Maybe that "smidgen of beauty" is an exaggeration on a grand scale. But maybe you can give the book to a high school student to tear up the pages and stuff them in chicken wire as they build the homecoming float. C'mon. You don't want to be thought of as a kid-hater, do you?

The Sinker

July No-Ma'am is an up-and-coming artist. He has developed a method of replicating famous sculptures in miniature. He drew inspiration from childhood play with Shrinky Dinks, and viewings of Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

No-Ma'am is on the lips of many a collector, and in the tackle box of even more rich fisherman. While a No-Ma'am looks classy sitting in a shadow box, its functionality has set the angling world on fire. Now you can make a statement while casting your line. No-Ma'ams are the perfect sinker for the fisherman who likes his tackle upscale. Jealous competitors are threatening to file an injunction to stop July No-Ma'am from stealing ideas (and actual sculptures) from other artists. July says he is at liberty to do so. Ironically, while shrinking down Lady Liberty.

Will this prove to be the end of the trail for No-Ma'am, or just a bunch of Chicago bull?
(150 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Atlas..."?" (shrugged)

The Emperor..."I like this guy's clothing! I'm pretty sure it's suited for hanging out underwater by a hook. This fake author, though, is all wet!"

Thomas Jefferson sitting on a boot taking a crap..."Not since I was found relieving my bowels at an auction has there been such a stir over a statuesque man in this position! I was a man ahead of my time, acquiring valuable real estate for my country. Let me just caution you that anyone who buys this fake book is even crazier than that Seward fellow who bought a frozen wasteland from the Ruskies."

 A bathroom stall wall..."There he sits, broken-hearted, his chance for fame, Thevictorian thwarted. For a good read, do not EVER call Thevictorian's number. I have scrubbed myself clean of that filth."

The Band..."Take a load off, VALly. Sell your book for free. Take a load off, VALly. Your authorship was never meant to be. Even fakely."

Otis Redding..."I think SOMEBODY has been sittin' on the dock of the bay, wastin' time!"

John Donne..."This fake author had better stay on that dock! She's not an island, you know. I think we all know what that bell is tolling for...THEVICTORIAN'S CAREER!"

Electric Light Orchestra..."The city streets are empty now. The lights don't shine no more. Everybody is barricaded inside, upon hearing that Thevictorian released another fake book. Reading such a tome is enough to make mankind give up the will to live."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

So Long, Farewell, A-Sweaving I Must Go-ooo UPDATED FRIDAY 11-17-17

Hick and I are off to Oklahoma bright and early Friday morning. That means a 6:00 a.m. departure from the driveway. It's an 8-to 9-hour trip, so I will be inconspicuously still here, due to scheduled posts to cover my absence through Sunday night. I'll take my Shiba with me, and if I'm not too tired, I'll soak up some of that hotel's free internet to answer comments.

Even though I expect Hick to demonstrate his usual combination of swerving and weaving for 493.8 miles, he DID take precautions to make sure we have a safe trip. He took A-Cad for an oil change, and he had the tires inflated to 35 psi each! Didn't even give me any lip this time about the air in them heating up on the way, so the pressure should actually be in the 20s. I think my BFF OnStar's email on Tuesday, suggesting monthly vehicle maintenance, made him see things my way.

The Pony doesn't want to spend two days on the road, coming and going for Thanksgiving. So we are taking Thanksgiving to The Pony. Actually, we are taking real butter and a package of Sister Schubert's rolls to The Pony. That's what he asked for. And Chex Mix. Shh...he's also getting a surprise Oreo Cake. Don't anybody let that slip. Of course we'll take him out for a real meal or two while we're there.

We have a busy holiday season coming up. Should I print out a newsletter and mail it to all of you? Just say the word...

Actual Thanksgiving will be on Saturday the 25th for us. That works best for Genius's schedule. Also, you heard it here first...Casinopalooza 3 is on the horizon! That will happen a couple days after Christmas. Let the record show that this may be an epic Casinopalooza, what with my sister the ex-mayor's wife, the ex-mayor, Genius, Genius's Friend, my favorite gambling aunt, and possibly The Pony all attending this time!

If I can't get a blog post (or week of them) out of THAT, then I need to hang up my keyboard.


But before I go, I must announce that today I hit the trifecta! A penny, 11:11, and a ladybug!

I had a doctor's appointment, picked up some items in Walmart, stopped for scratchers, and decided to wait until I return from my trip to pick up the prescriptions. Just then I got a text from the pharmacy saying they were ready, as I was leaving the scratcher place. I guess the pharmacy filled them automatically when the doctor renewed them for six months. Since I'd been in a hurry to make the doctor's appointment on time, I didn't make my weekly stop by the cemetery. But I did on the way back to Backroads. Just for a minute. Sharing the specifics of our upcoming Pony visit.

Then I headed over to my pharmacy. I was so burnt out on looking for pennies and not finding them that I said to myself as I opened T-Hoe's door, "I'm not even taking my phone with me this time." I closed the door and clicked the lock, and saw

Yes. A penny looking at me on my path to the sidewalk. Go figure! It was a 1972. That's the year I started high school. So I clicked the door unlocked and got my phone to capture it.

When I got home, I pulled into the garage and shut off T-Hoe and picked up my phone from the console to put it in my shirt pocket. Of course the screen comes on when I touch it. The time was 11:11. I petted the dogs and gave them each (including neighbor Copper Jack) a handful of cat kibble. Then I got my Walmart bags out of the back and climbed the steps to the porch. Of course I forgot one bag. It was flat, so I didn't notice it. A pizza pan (only 88 cents at Walmart) to put an Oreo Cake on for The Pony. He's not getting my cake carrier!

I went back out for the pizza pan, and as I started up the steps after retrieving it, I almost put my hand on a ladybug on top of the rail. It wasn't there when I went in the first time.

It sure is getting coincidenty around here.

This was penny #58 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

UPDATE!!! Friday, Nov. 17, 2017

On the way to Oklahoma this morning (Friday), at our first stop for a bathroom break, at a Casey's in Steelville, MO...I came out of the bathroom, walked up to the counter, and saw a PENNY shining up at me. I didn't have my phone to take a picture. Isn't that the way it always goes? Who would have expected to find a penny on the way to Oklahoma to visit The Pony? I had left my phone in the car.

Here's a picture of it, though, laying on top of Shiba in the hotel room. It's a 2015. That's the year my mom died.

When we were two hours out of Norman, Hick told me, "It won't be long now. You're going to see your baby soon." I told him I'm always excited on the way out, but then I realize that we will be leaving him there, just like when we moved him off to college. The next song on the radio was Patty Loveless, "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?"

Let the record show that driving down I-35 on the last 15-minute leg to Norman, Hick spotted an old truck being pulled on a trailer. For years, he has been trying to figure out the kind of truck I describe that my dad had. Whenever he comes up with something, I google it, and that doesn't look like the one. THIS was the one! Hick said it was a 1957 or 58 Chevy 3100 stepside pickup. My dad's was brown, with maybe a white top on the top of the cab, as I remember. This one was a restoration in progress. The color was kind of a primer brown all over. Oh, yeah. My dad's birthdate was November 17. Which just happens to be TODAY.

But there's more! After supper with The Pony at a Chinese buffet, we stopped by his apartment for a visit. on the way to the bathroom, I almost stepped on a penny. It was a 2017. I sat down to watch TV, and under the window, I saw ANOTHER penny! A 2015. Granted, The Pony is a haphazard housekeeper. But I claimed these pennies as my own. The Pony even offered me more, from a pile of loose change on his coffee table, but I declined. That would be cheating.

Yep. Still coincidenty around here.

These were pennies #59, 60, 61 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Garage Raisin'

Hick's storage container garage is still under construction. He finally got the trusses delivered. Being Hick, he chose a local merchant for his truss needs. The price was cheaper than using the big chain, and Hick likes to patronize mom and pop businesses. Of course, being Hick, he had great expectations. To Hick, two-to-three weeks for delivery meant that two days later, he was wondering if his trusses were done. One week later, he went to see about his trusses, because to HIM, it had been two weeks. He ordered them on a Tuesday, and the following Tuesday made two weeks. Those Tuesdays were in two separate weeks, you know!

Anyhoo...Hick finally got his trusses, I'm pretty sure in the third week after he ordered them. He went with a different pitch than he'd originally planned, because he needed a bit more room above, and it was way cheaper to buy the lumber and built a little wall to extend the height, rather than have trusses made to an odd specification.

Hick is pretty good at framing walls. Of course, he can always use some help for the high stuff.

I commend The Veteran for trusting Hick's tractor-operating skills enough to stand in the bucket.

The trusses were then ready to be installed.

A work in progress. The Veteran spent the day putting up trusses, and then Saturday was HOS's turn. I noticed the progress on my way to town.

As you see below, even my zoom isn't very zoomy. But I WAS way out on the road.

Hick still takes pictures the way he took them of The Pony on his college tour. Far away, with the subject small and centered. I'm pretty sure he was in the field on the Gator for the pic below.

The roof will be metal. Probably white. It will come out to hang over the edge of the storage containers. Estimated time of completion of the storage container garage is the end of the year. Eventually, Hick plans to cover the sides of the containers with metal. Like a pole barn would look, if you know what a pole barn is.

I'm sure Hick will provide more updates as he wants to brag sees fit.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

When Val's Humane, You Snore

As you may recall (even if you only scrolled through to look at the pictures), Monday I took a picture of a yellowjacket that I narrowly avoided squashing on my porch handrail...and later saw a LADYBUG in the picture, on the other side of the handrail. Ladybugs are a special symbol for me, which I associate with my mom.

Yesterday as I started to the garage for my daily trip to town, I saw the yellowjacket again. He was crawling on the second porch step. That yellowjacket was movin' mighty slow. Slower than Uncle Joe on the porch of the Shady Rest Hotel. The temperature was in the 40s, so that yellowjacket was sluggish. I briefly thought of stepping down on him, and never worrying again about accidentally getting myself stung reaching for the rail. But I didn't.

It's not like I'm an animal rights activist. I don't think an old soul has come back to inhabit that yellowjacket. I wasn't wearing fancy shoes that I couldn't bear to sully with yellowjacket guts. That insect was right in my way, but I stepped around him (paying special attention to the handrail in case he had friends) so he could remain alive. He wasn't bothering me. I was in HIS house, he wasn't in mine. No need to crunch his exoskeleton just because he's not cute and fluffy.

At the bottom of the four steps, I thought, "I wonder if that ladybug is still here, too!" So I leaned over and looked at the back side of the rail, and you'll never believe what I saw. Well. I guess you WILL believe it, because I'm making a big deal out of it, AND

I HAVE A PIC! So obviously, it DID happen. But you'll be shocked at the rest of the story. Or maybe not. Because I have a pic of THAT too!

Now there were TWO ladybugs! Even stranger, it looks like one of the beetles that I always see (still ladybugs to me), and an ACTUAL ladybug!

Gosh! I hope I wasn't interrupting anything untoward. Like a secret mating ritual. Like the interbreeding of a beetle and a ladybug. Or even worse...that one was not devouring the other! Also, I hope they were not destined to be intertwined in that webby-looking mass, to be saved alive for future consumption, like Ellen Ripley's ill-fated crew members in Aliens. Anyhoo...I took that discovery as a good way to start my out-of-the-house day. Seeing TWO ladybugs!

On I went to town, where I stopped at Waterside Mart for two scratchers. No other customers were at the counter. I went to the only clerk working, at the register on the right. He got my tickets out of the case, I handed him exact payment, and turned to my left to head for the door, and saw

A glint on the tile floor! A PENNY! Just for me! My rightful penny! A 2016 version. That's the year I retired, and the year The Pony graduated from high school (VALEDICTORIAN, you know!) and went off to college.

I turned back to the clerk as another customer was approaching him to pay. "I'm just going to grab this penny." Not that I had to tell him, of course. It was on the floor. Fair game, I say! Even though they had a penny tray on the counter above. It was way back from the edge, though. So I don't think anyone was giving away this penny to the common pot. They were just careless and the forces of the universe put it there where I was stopping that day and dropped it. I like to warn the clerks, though. Because sometimes they think I'm a common weirdo (I'd really like to see how they describe me on their blogs), or even worse, they think I'm a secret shopper, and get all panicky and extra-polite to the next customer while giving me the side-eye.

Anyhoo...I found two ladybugs and one penny on Tuesday. It was also a very good day.

Let the record show that this was penny #57 for my Future Pennyillionaire collection.

Monday, November 13, 2017

It's a Bug, Heart Tug, a Virtual Hug, Flyin' in to Get a Look From Me

Song lyric alert! Anybody...anybody...? Can you place my title?

Sunday started out to be a really good day for me. Hick was off bright and early to try selling stuff at his storage container store. Business had not been good on Saturday, that being the first day of deer season. As Hick says, the women come and buy things, but they come with their husbands. He said only a few other flea marketers were marketing, because they expected business to be down. So Hick only put in a couple of hours there Saturday, and came home to work on his storage container garage.

Sunday, Hick had said he probably wouldn't stay long at his StShSt (Storage Shed Store, copyright by Val), and that he'd be home around 11:00 to take me to the casino. I had a couple of errands to do, and left for town at 9:30. The day was kind of dreary and a little cool, but I like that kind of weather. No sunglasses needed. No sweating.

I hopped in T-Hoe, turned on my seat heater, and cranked up the radio. Three of my current favorite songs came on. I was happy as a lark, some cool tunes to listen to, a casino trip a couple hours away, lunch at Burger Brothers, and some scratchers riding shotgun, to cash in and use for gambling money. Yep! I was on top of the world, swinging it by the tail, it being my oyster for the day.

Just as I pulled in the garage when I returned home at 10:34, I got a text from Hick.

"We are having customers so I'll stay awhile yet sold almost 50.00 this morning"

"Okay. Just pulled into the garage. I'll have a nap."
"Not in the garage."


Not a big deal. We had the whole day ahead of us. It's not like we had anywhere else to go or rush back for. I could see Grown Puppy Jack on the porch, eagerly awaiting my disembarking from T-Hoe. Or the handful of cat kibble that he knew was in his immediate future. I gathered my purse and water cup, and set them down on the porch shelf while I grabbed some cat kibble. Juno heard the rattle of the kibble, and galloped out to nose her way in between me and Jack.

I picked up my purse and water cup again. It felt strange not to have a 44 oz Diet Coke in hand as well. I put them in my right hand so I could grab the porch rail Hick put in by the steps. WHOOPSIE! Almost put my hand on a BEE!

That wouldn't do! I'm not allergic (that I KNOW OF, but my dad was), but a sting could have hurt, and interfered with my gambling plans. I hobbled up the steps without benefit of the rail, and set my purse and water cup down yet again, this time on Gassy G, and grabbed my phone to take a picture of the narrowly-avoided havoc-wreaker.

Technically, I think that fellow is a yellowjacket. [Pardon me while I digress. Despite what this link says about yellowjackets, I don't know anybody who has ever called a critter like that a "sweat bee." No siree, Bob! A "sweat bee" is a tiny black bee-looking critter around these parts, about 1/4 inch long, that likes to get on the inner crease of your elbow on a hot day, and sting you if you bend your arm.]

Anyhoo...I took a quick look at my phone picture to see if I'd even gotten that bee-jacket-thingy in frame. Yes. But you could barely see it. At least I couldn't, without my glasses. So I walked to the other side of the rail, and zoomed in, trying to avoid the prancing, newly-energized-with-cat-kibble, Jack and Juno.

Hick came home at 12:15, while I was watching the end of one of my favorite movies on TCM, National Velvet. It was the weigh-in scene, before Elizabeth Taylor won the race and fainted, and was found out to be an adolescent girl and not a foreign jockey. Oopsie! Sorry for the spoiler, but you HAVE had 73 years to watch it. Not like it's a new release. We watched the end, and left for the casino, where I had a wonderful time and a delicious burger.

Later Sunday night, as I was saving the pictures to my New Delly in preparation for this blog post, I clicked on both photos to see which would look best. Of course it was the closeup. I added it to the post, and then looked back at the other one, to see if it would add anything to the mix.



Yes. Val had a very good day on Sunday.