Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Convenience Store Tales 2 : Nothing in Life is FREE

It's no secret that Val goes to The Gas Station Chicken Store every day, rain or shine, in (mild) sickness and in health, only casino trips and ice storms and fever delirium keeping her away. I'm a loyal customer, paying $1.69 for my 44 oz Diet Coke. I know it costs them mere pennies, but my magical elixir is my extravagance. That, and scratch-off tickets. Which I also buy at The Gas Station Chicken Store. I do not, however, buy my gas there.

Ever since I came home from assorted teaching jobs throughout the state, I've had a regular place to buy my gas. It used to be the 7-Eleven out by the park. But they went out of business. Then I switched to a Casey's a couple of blocks over, on the way to and from my bank. However...I got some bad gas there, and it clogged up my fuel filter, so I switched to a different Casey's. I've gone there for years now, the prices good, no problems with my cars, in a convenient location. Now that one is going out of business.

I might have to start buying my gas at The Gas Station Chicken Store. Those of you who live in states where you're not allowed to pump your own gas...don't flip out! It's not all that hard. Except I admit that I AM a bit nervous now. I know how Casey's pumps work. But The Gas Station Chicken Store pumps are OLD SCHOOL. Like back in the 60s when my dad would pull up and tell the attendant who came out, "Fill 'er up." Squatty thick rectangular pumps, with the handle and and spout and hose on the side. So old that they don't even need a switch flipped inside to activate them. I've heard the clerks tell confused customers when they come inside, "No. Go ahead and pump. We're old school. Come in and pay when you're done." I'm pretty sure I'll be able to learn how.

There's a reason I think I'll start buying my gas at The Gas Station Chicken Store.

"But Val!" you say. "That is NOT a gas hose! That's an AIR hose! What does that have to do with pumping your own gas?"

Read the sign, people!

What if I'm out and about, and T-Hoe turns up lame? I'm not going to pay A DOLLAR for air! And let's let the record show right now that I HAVE gotten air there in the past, without buying gas! I was stealing, people! Stealing air! Granted, the sign was not up back then. It's a recent addition.

Something tells me Lady Owner is kind of bitter about other convenience stores charging cheaper prices on gas. She has the best location, a corner right off the highway. Four pumps. But I suppose other, bigger, more inconveniently-located stores are undercutting her prices. So she must recoup her losses somewhere!

Let the record further show that it took me three days to get a picture of this sign, because there is ALWAYS a vehicle there using the air hose.

I seriously doubt that any of them paid A DOLLAR for their air.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Convenience Store Tales: Utter Shock

Breaking news, my blogfriends! The Casey's where I buy gas for T-Hoe is CLOSING! How can that be? Should I have been buying my 44 oz Diet Cokes from there all along, too? Have I put them out of business by driving one town over for my magical elixir? Nah. I don't think so. Casey's doesn't have Coca Cola products any more, anyway. I wouldn't switch to Diet Pepsi, even to save a convenience store.

There I was last Friday, happy as a clam, having found my behind-the-store penny after moving away from the parking spot in front of the dumpster, waiting in line to trade in some scratchers...when the lady behind me commented on some sign sitting on the counter.

"Oh, is that the 28th? What's So-and-So going to do?" I guess she was a regular.

"I don't know. Right now, she's going crazy," said the short mannish woman clerk who is so nice.

They continued talking, and I gathered that THE STORE IS CLOSING. A lady not wearing a Casey's smock, who must be high up in command, was standing with her back to the front window. "We just can't compete with Waterside Mart. We don't have room to expand."

A policeman by the front door (not a guard, just standing out of the way, opening and closing it for people while he waited) said, "I thought it would hurt the Convenience Barn more. But they're doing fine."

Indeed. Casey's is on a V slice of property, roads on two sides, and a car wash behind, and cannot expand in any direction. I guess they're going the way of the Dodo Bird.

Anyhoo...I was in line to pay at The Gas Station Shicken Store the next day. The Lady Owner was clerking, since I'd passed the stern older lady clerk going outside to her car carrying lunch. As Lady Owner made some notes on a receipt, I waited patiently, and decided to make small talk.

"I just found out yesterday that Casey's in Next Town is closing. I was shocked."

Lady Owner looked up at me. Eye contact. She, too, looked SHOCKED!

"If that's true, I'll...I'll...I'll KISS YOU!"

Well! That's a bit presumptuous, don't you think? A bit forward of her. We're not even on a first name basis. I imagine she calls me Correct Change Lady. I know her initials. That's what everybody calls her, and what they call her store. Hick went to school with her brothers.  According to Hick, who had NOTHING growing up, not even indoor plumbing..."They didn't have much."

Lady Owner went on to say, "That little store controls the gas prices in the whole county! And them having only TWO PUMPS! Them and Whatstheirname Oil."

"Oh, I remember! All the way back when I was in high school. The gas wars! With them and the lot across the street. That's been closed a long time now. But I'm surprised, because Casey's is always busy when I go by."

"When you sell gas at $2.09 a gallon, and it's costing you $2.19 a have to do a LOT of other business to make up for that."

"I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that's what they were talking about. Closing. You could go in there, and spy on them, and read whatever that sign was on the counter..."

"No! I have never set foot in another convenience store in this county, and I never will! It's just not done."

So much for spying.

Anyhoo...Lady Owner was thrilled with this news. I could almost see dollar signs in her eyes. I think if she found pennies from heaven, she would pinch them until all their luck was squeezed out, and they were mere dried husks that would waft away on the wind, impossible for me to find.

She's a businesswoman all right. More on that tomorrow.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Garnius Workdy

Please bear with me. I started writing this tale on January 8. Of course, I was still in the midst of recounting CasinoPalooza 2 for you, so it had to take a back seat. Actually, it kind of got left asleep on the bus after the driver parked at the bus barn, swept up, and went home. Thank goodness the weather has been mostly moderate, and I wandered by at the right time to retrieve it.

This is the 3-week anniversary of the start of Genius's career with Garmin!

That title was just a working shorthand to hold the draft until I was ready to flesh it out. I DID capitalize two letters to make it an official title now. That was supposed to represent "Genius Work Day." I'm kind of informal with my drafts. Speed right through them without benefit of corrections, hoping I'll remember what I meant at a later reading.

Genius's first day was January 8. I didn't want to bother him. I figure Garmin doesn't look too kindly on Momcopters hovering over the workplace. They might even have equipment in place to shoot one down! If any company would be able to detect an unwanted intruder, I would think Garmin would be near the top of the list.

Genius called me at 5:17 p.m. that first day. He was in the parking garage, getting ready to start his commute. He has an apartment in Kansas City (the Missouri side) even though he works in Kansas. He has since determined that his drive takes 20-25 minutes, if he leaves before 4:50 or after 5:20, and 40-60 minutes if he leaves in between. So he adjusts his schedule accordingly. Both ways, he is driving opposite the heavy traffic, so there's that.

I really wanted to hear all about his first day. He'd been so excited to start. I asked how his first day went, and Genius said, "Okay. I guess." Not his usual ebullient self. Like something was wrong.

"What's the matter?"

"Oh, nothing's wrong. It's just that my computer doesn't work. So I have a learner laptop, and I couldn't do much of anything all day."

I'm definitely not an expert, and in fact don't have even a nodding acquaintance with IRONY, but I think this qualifies! My Genius son with a just-graduated degree in computer engineering started his first day of work at Garmin, and they gave him a computer that didn't work!

Anyhoo...they said he'd have it back the next day. I'm pretty sure I'm messing this part up, but he mentioned that they were using a picture that did something weird when the year switched to 2018. His was the first computer it was discovered on, but by the end of the day, there were a couple of dozen with the same problem. So they were using his to figure it out. Genius wouldn't elaborate. He kind of treats me like that SNL character, Your Company Computer Guy. "I won't even bother to try to explain it. You wouldn't understand." Maybe he should have tried for a job in Garmin's IT department!

I asked if he brought his lunch, or went out. Genius said he ate in the Garmin cafeteria with members of his team. Marine team. Not the fighting kind. The fishy kind. That's what he works on. Equipment for underwater. Like fish finders. He says he will probably take his lunch most days, since eating in the cafeteria could get expensive if he did it every day.

Genius also found out that he gets an employee Sprint discount. Which he applied to our account, since his phone is still on our bill until the contract runs out. He has offered to pay his portion, but since the discount will more than cover it, I don't think I'll charge him! It's good enough that he's taking over his own car insurance.

Last Friday, Genius got his first payday. And also the relocation money that he didn't have to pay out of pocket, because Hick helped him move. I think his health insurance kicks in next Monday.

I asked for a picture of his desk/office, but Genius said they are not allowed to do that. I asked if he was really just pretending to work for Garmin, and was part of some secret government project. He denied it, and even stopped short of calling me a conspiracy theorist, though I think I heard him snort with disgust.

Genius shares his office space with 3 other employees. He says the whole department is guys, which is no surprise, since gals were rare in his major during his 4.5 years of college. He has an L-shaped desk, with a 3-monitor computer spread out over the main part. On his left countertop (he IS left-handed) he has electronic gew-gaws to fiddle with. He said they cannot take pictures because they are working on things that have not been released. So they are, in effect, top secret. His office is usually dim, lit by the monitor screens, because that's how his workmates prefer it.

Today, Genius texted me that he will be filing his own tax return for 2017. I'm going to miss my little deduction.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Progress of the Storage Unit Baron, Week 1

Hick has been hard at work cleaning out his storage units. As you may recall, he bought 18 of them, for a price of $1100 cash. Today, he gave me back $500 to return to our checking account.

Hick sold three of the units to his second son, The Veteran, for $350. If you are good with math in your head, like Hick, you'd know that his 18 storage units cost him an average of $61.11 each. Yes, I used a calculator. So, again using a calculator, I figure that on those three, Hick has made a profit of $166.67. Not too fond of those three sixes together...

The three units that The Veteran bought are stuffed full of things that Hick hasn't seen yet, but knows can make him a profit. However...he doesn't have the time (uh huh, my TOLD YOU SO was hard to keep trapped behind my lips) to sort them out and store them. He has eight units that he's currently dealing with, having trashed or transferred the contents of the others to his new Freight Container Garage. He thinks he might pay the rent on two of his newbought units, and keep some of the bigger stuff there to take up to his Storage Unit Store on good-weather weekends, on his trailer, so he can bring them back if they don't sell.

Here's one he took the picture of after taking some stuff out. He's not very good at following my instructions, our Hick! The up-ended couch is trash. He brought it home and burned it. Wrapped in blue are a leather loveseat and chair that he's planning to sell for a couple of hundred dollars. Above them is a car bed like Toddler Genius used to have. Hick already burned that mattress, and the one leaning against the back wall. He thinks the washer and dryer are operable, but he's going to pour some water in the washer to try it out. The TV is junk, even if it works, because Hick says even Goodwill and the church stores won't take them anymore. However...around here, I could imagine kids using it to play their video games or watch DVDs on. I had a lot of students talk about not having regular TV, but watching movies every night. Backroads isn't really an enclave of Rockefellers. Hick's favorite item here is the table in the left foreground. It has sides that fold up to make a regular size table. The only drawback is that is has only three chairs, not four.

These treasures also came out of that unit. Hick is keeping Santa and the Angel. I don't know why he made her face the wall. The wheels are off a Dodge car or truck. The tires are slick and useless, but Hick says he can get $25 apiece for the wheels at the junkyard. The jack is broken because they tried lifting something too heavy, and a little knob/arm/sticky-outy-thingy that pushes must be welded to be replaced. Hick thinks he will probably just sell it for aluminum scrap, but if he can find someone to weld for him, he might fix it. That box is a holder for garden hose. He might keep that as well. You know, because we can't have our grounds looking all junky.

Of course the best thing in this unit was already spoken for when Hick bought it. The desk. It's old, and the only thing wrong is a broken leg. The owner of the business told Hick as they looked over the 18 units that his son had dealt with the renter of this one, so had first pick. He said he wanted the desk only. The weight bench is in working condition. I don't know if there were weights in this unit, but Hick has another one with a really good weight bench and a treadmill (clothes rack for some!) and weights.

So...right now, I have recouped 45% (gotta love a calculator) of our investment money back from Hick. So he's not in the doghouse, and he's out of OUR house, and having a good time, with visions of a small fortune dancing in his virus-clogged head.

HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) has been helping him haul stuff intermittently, and for his trouble, was awarded several pairs of Wrangler jeans, flannel shirts, a jacket, two jugs of laundry detergent, and a large projection TV that he wants for his son to play games on and watch movies! HOS's son was awarded (free of charge, on the condition that he helped without whining) a small hatchet that he wanted to buy with his two dollars, which Hick would have sold for five dollars.

Everybody's happy.
Except maybe the people who didn't pay their storage fee for three months.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Bumper Crop Falls Into Val's Coffers

Look away, antipennyites! Val has harvested a bumper crop of coins this week! She has reaped four days of finds, seven coins, and a total of 29 cents. Pretty sure that's her one-week record. Here are updated 2018 stats for the week:

PENNY #7 - January 24, 2018 (Wednesday) Gas Station Chicken Store counter, 1981

PENNY #8 - January 25, 2018 (Thursday) Gas Station Chicken Store parking lot, 1974

PENNY #9 - January 25, 2018 (Thursday) Gas Station Chicken Store parking lot, 1984

PENNY #10 January 26, 2018 (Friday) Gas Pump Casey's, behind store, 2014
[DIME] #4 - January 21, 2018 (Sunday) River City walkway, 1995

[DIME] #5 - January 25, 2018 (Thursday) Backroads Casey's parking lot, 1979
[NICKEL] #1 - January 25, 2018 (Thursday) Backroads Casey's counter, 2005

DIME #4 - The week started on Sunday. Don't they all? Sunday, January 21, Hick took Val to the casino. The weather was mild, so he parked in the south lot at the opposite end from the casino. The regular parking area we use. About halfway up the covered walk, I saw something on the concrete.

"What is THAT?"

"It's a dime."

"No! No, get away from it! I'm taking a picture. Don't pick it up!"

Unfortunately, this lucky dime (1985) was NOT a good omen for slot play.


PENNY #7 - Wednesday, January 24, I was paying for my 44 oz Diet Coke at the counter of the gas station chicken store. For some reason, I stepped back and looked down. I usually scope out the area before I reach the counter.

I was in such a rush to capture my rightful penny in its natural habitat that I got my New Balance in the picture.

This 1981 treasure was so corroded that it looks like a dime from afar. But I knew it was a penny.

DIME #5 - Thursday, January 25. I got up late(r) and headed to town. From the minute I climbed into T-Hoe, I heard my favorite songs on the radio. My purpose was to cash in one winning scratcher, a $100 winner bought the day before. On my first stop, at the Backroads Casey's, my parking was thwarted by a van that took my intended spot as I waited to make my turn. That put me down the sidewalk farther. The day was not as cold as I'd imagined, so I climbed out of T-Hoe and took off my jacket, reaching in to put it on the back seat. As I turned to close T-Hoe's driver's door, I saw it!

Right there in the crack, at the light/dark corner! A 1979 dime!

I'd have stepped over it and not noticed, except for taking off my jacket. And I wouldn't have found it at all if I'd gotten the parking space I wanted.

I went inside and bought two scratchers. As I turned to exit, a glint by the counter caught my eye.

A NICKEL #1 - ! I rarely find nickels from heaven. There's my toe getting into the act again. I was in a hurry, because a close-waiter behind me in line was kind of crowding.

I didn't even care if he thought I was some kind of weirdo for photographing and picking up this 2005 beauty!

On to the gas station chicken store, where I debated at the light where I was going to park. My rightful spot, the first space, was open. But I'm used to parking over by the moat now. A split-second decision put T-Hoe by the building, risking getting trapped by a close-parker. I walked around the back of T-Hoe to go inside, and looked back.

That's TWO PENNIES #8, #9, my friends! A 1974 and a 1984. Look close. By the shadow.

A pretty one, and a pretty dirty one. Such a great day, and a personal record of a dime, nickel, and two pennies. That's 17 cents in one day!

PENNY #10 - Friday, January 26. I stopped by my gas-pumping Casey's between mailing the boys' weekly letters, and running in Walmart. I parked by the dumpster, leaving plenty of room at the air hose. It's always busy there. I had just turned off T-Hoe when I saw THE GARBAGE TRUCK come out of the car wash lot behind Casey's. I'm pretty sure the driver was cursing me. The truck slowed for a minute. I started T-Hoe and backed out, but the trash truck had gone past, and turned down an alley. I drove around back to park and got out. As I turned to close the door

I saw a penny (2014) that was rightfully meant for me! Who else was going to find it way around there?

It was pretty beat up and kind of camouflagy on that pavement, but it didn't get by Val! Good thing the garbage truck scared me around back. I wouldn't have seen it if I was a scofflaw and remained parked in front of the trash bin that said NO PARKING on it.

You never know what forces are at work to lead me to these coins, but I seem to find a lot of them.

Not to get off my favorite topic of MY PENNIES...but you know that trash truck comes once a week for five minutes, right? Yet people are supposed to refrain from parking there the other 55 minutes/23 hours/6 days? Can't they just put up a sign for a certain day? Or say from 10:00 to 2:00 on that day? Like parking signs on streets? future Pennyillionaire Fortune is growing weekly. Whether you want to hear about it or not.

For 2018: Pennies #7, 8, 9, 10.
For 2018: Dimes #4, 5.
For 2018: Nickel #1

Since 2017 (the beginning), these were Pennies # 85, 86, 87, 88 .
Since 2017 (the beginning), these were Dimes #10, 11.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Nickel #1.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb #95 "Ties That Find"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Do you enjoy a good who-done-it? If so...maybe you can tolerate Val's latest fake book, a mediocre where-was-it-done. Join her fake protagonist as he travels over hill and dale, hitting many a dusty and dried-up trail, to find items that may only have value to the family searching for it. Find yourself some fake money and get your fake copy today! Spare change adds up. Check those phone phones...slot machines...soda machines for coins! Or keep your eyes peeled for Pennies From Heaven. It all adds up, you know!

Ties That Find

Windsor Knotts is in high demand. He's a finder of lost things. Keys to granddaddy's Studebaker. Ollie-Anne's baby teeth. Gold doubloons The Admiral stashed away after the war. And people! Papas who skipped town. Spinster aunts who went to meet a beau and never returned. Kids who didn't make it home from school. Windsor works free for law enforcement, and charges a nominal fee to the public.

Windsor is nothing without his tie, passed down through the family, all of whom have a knack for finding. All of whom carry a strand of the family rope. Its origin is uncertain, but its results are anything but. Windsor whispers his target...the tie stretches out to lead him in the right direction.

Now a noted crime family wants to use Windsor's talents for no good. Will he and his tie take the job, or will Windsor simply tell them, "'Fraid not." (149 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Needle in Haystack..."I'm pretty confident that good reviews for this fake book are gonna be about as easy to find as ME." 

The Blind, Who Now See..."We once were lost, but now we've found...that this fake author is not worth wasting time for. This wretched fake book cannot be saved. In ten thousand years, ten thousand monkeys typing on ten thousand typewriters could fake-write ten thousand fake books ten thousand times better than this one."

Quarter, Lurking Behind Child's Ear..."This fake author must think that talent can appear out of thin air. Or thin hair. Nobody will ever chortle in delight at finding this fake book."

D.B. Cooper..."This fake book should be tossed out of a plane over the Pacific Northwest, and hopefully remain unfound for more than 48 years. Way more."

Loser, Weeping..."I am weeping with JOY! Heh, heh! Because the finders of this fake book have to KEEP it! Nyah, nyah, finders!"

Lost-and-Found Box in a city of slovenly people with poor hygiene..."When one of Thevictorian's fake books are left behind, and tossed into me...I regurgitate it! I can't help myself. Soiled and stinky clothing are ambrosia compared to this fake author's rotten fake writing.

Alcatraz Escapees..."We've spent nigh on 2 years trying to get back into Alcatraz, ever since this fake author started fake-releasing her fake books. Do you know how hard it is to paddle a raft made out of raincoats? It's worth the effort, though. Thevictorian's fake writing is more hideous than the papier-mache heads we left in our beds. We hope this fake review doesn't leave any clues to our whereabouts, or get people discussing our case again on the news."

Colonel Sanders' Bow Tie..."If only ties like myself were fashionable for women...I would wrap myself tightly around the neck of Val Thevictorian, and perhaps cause her to cease to draw breath, therein freeing us from the burden of hearing her hawk her fake books every week. I swear I would! No chickening out! If every failure is a stepping stone to something better...Thevictorian could have walked across the Atlantic by now, and picked up a Nobel prize for fake literature."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Hopefully, One Woman's Toys are NOT Another Man's Treasures

Hick has been hard at work with his Storage Unit Empire. I smelled smoke a few minutes ago, and sent him a text to see if he'd set our grounds on fire. Like that time he decided to burn off the dead grass during the winter, and the fire line headed toward our cedar-sided house, the cats and dogs waiting patiently for mice to shoot out of the smoke. Today he replied, "No. I'm burning, but only my pile is on fire." I guess he cleaned out a lot of non-treasures.

Yesterday, while I was at the table enjoying our bargain lunch with my favorite gambling aunt, Hick sent me a cryptic text.

"I started cleaning the one I knew was going to be the worst one whole truckload of junk and probably one more this afternoon found a couple of interesting things I'll tell you later about."

Huh. Don't know why he made me wait. Not that the suspense was killing me. Later he said, "This one must have belonged to a woman. I found about 50 movie DVDs. And a bunch of her panties. She apparently really liked her toys!"


"Please tell me you threw them away!" I can never be sure with Hick. He's fascinated by the most unsavory things sometimes. And he didn't answer right away. So I kept repeating it. This made me think it was like when he stalls during an argument. I KNOW that he's lying. And he finally said that yes, he threw them away. YUCK! I felt like I needed a shower just hearing that tale. he sent me two more pictures.

This one looks kind of trashy. Maybe that explains the smoke I smelled wafting through the concrete walls of my dark basement lair. Zooming in, I see some things that might be promising in this one. Is that red thingy a tool cart? And a shop vac, maybe? I kind of like the magazine rack, even with a broken handle. Surely my Sweet Baboo knows how to repair such things. Somebody wasn't taking very good care of that guitar! The upside-down end table is a bit gaudy for my tastes, though. Oh, no! I see LADY SHOES! Great big lady shoes! Maybe this is the one with the toys. And maybe it wasn't a lady at all! I think I'd be wearing gloves if I was handling this stuff.

The other picture is of treasures already loaded into Hick's truck. You'd think he could follow a simple instruction, right? And take a picture of each shed before he digs into it? Just to show all of you, who might like to play along like you're on one of those "reality" shows. Like, would you bid on that shed, or not? And then I could tell you what was inside.

Hick says these cardboard-barrel-looking containers are FULL OF HOT WHEELS CARS! Still in the packages! Of course. Who would have that many loose Hot Wheels cars? Hick is planning to sort them (another time-consuming chore!) into bundles of five cars, and sell them at the auction like he's seen other guys do. Somebody will want ONE of them, and buy them to get that one.

I hope Hick takes a shower when he comes in. He said one unit was full of mostly old food stuff. And mouse turds.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

This Is Why We Can't Have Cheap Lunch Specials

My favorite gambling aunt sent me a text two nights ago, wanting to have lunch. I hadn't heard from her since before Christmas, except that brief phone call last week, when she asked what symptoms I had just before my gallbladder surgery.

Auntie was on the way home from Urgent Care, with a terrible cough, and said she had medicine for that, but she had such a pain in her side that she'd had to pull off the road three times, and vomited once. Oh, but she hadn't thought to mention the side pain to the Urgent Care doctor, even though she'd been having it off and on, because she was only there because of her cough.

Anyhoo...Auntie seems to be on the mend, and I didn't mention her gall bladder over lunch. I don't think that's done in polite company. And we ARE a couple of refined ladies. Yes, indeed. I was too busy updating her on our mystery pooper in the garage.

We usually meet at Pizza Hut. It's conveniently located between our homes. We used to drive over to Bill-Paying Town and have something fancy, like all-you-can-eat at the FelineFish Skillet, or something more spicy at a wild wings place. Now we just don't want to make that effort. We meet at 11:00, to beat the lunch rush, and because we usually sit around a couple of hours talking.

Last time we had lunch, I was disappointed to see that Auntie's bill was LESS than mine, when she had a Personal Pan, a salad, and a soda...and I just had a Personal Pan and water. I'm pretty sure it was a conspiracy on the part of the waitress. But I looked over both bills, and for some reason, my single little pizza was more. Auntie said I should have gotten the special. I was determined to do so today. AND to bring one home for Hick's supper.

As Even Steven would have it, our waitress had a short-term memory problem. I don't think she ever played in the NFL, but her noggin was seriously scrambled. She was wasted on something. I did not detect a whiff of illicit substance on her, so I don't know her excuse. But we had to tell her things two or three times, and still didn't get the result we expected.

To start with, we waited by the sign that said PLEASE WAIT TO BE SEATED, and when Wastetress came over, she said, "Oh, you two can go sit where you want. Our buffet doesn't start until 11:30." It used to start at 11:00. Not that we ever get it.

"Oh, we don't want the buffet. We're going to order off the menu."

"The salad bar is open, but not the buffet yet."

We sat down at the first table from the door. No need to walk any farther than necessary. Wastetress asked if she could get our drinks, and Auntie ordered unsweet tea (diabetic) and I ordered a Diet Coke. Wastetress said they only had Diet Pepsi, and I said I'd take it. We ASSUMED (you know the problem with that) that Wastetress would be back with the drinks and the menus.

"Here's the Diet Pepsi. But I forgot...did you want SWEET tea?"

"Oh, NO! UNsweet tea!"

"I wanted to make sure, because I forgot." Wastetress came back with the tea, but no menus. "So you both are having the buffet?" Even though it didn't open for a half hour.

"No. We don't want the buffet. We want Personal Pan pizzas. Don't you have a menu?" Auntie was starting to sense a problem. Wastetress acted like a light bulb went on over her head, and excused herself to go get menus.

"I don't see that Personal Pan lunch special. I don't see ANY lunch specials. I hope they still have it. I hope a soda comes with it. Because I don't really like Diet Pepsi, but if it's part of a special, you can bet I'm getting a soda and not water!"

When Wastetress came back, Auntie asked about the Personal Pan lunch special. Wastetress assured her that they had it, and said that yes, I could get one as carry out to take with me. So we both got a Personal Pan, one trip to the salad bar, and a drink. And I ordered the same to go, for Hick.

Let the record show that the salad bar was very good! It had just the right stuff on it. We both made a delicious salad, and when our Personal Pans came (mine without olives because that's what Auntie had asked to be left off of HERS, and hers WITH green peppers, which she had also asked to be left off), I made sure that Hick's to-go order was also the special. Yes. Wastetress even brought me a salad container to fill before I left.

Auntie reminded me to get a drink for Hick, too. So I filled the salad, then had to remember to ask for Hick's Personal Pan at the counter when I paid, and get him a drink, and ask for a bag to carry it, and ask for the senior discount. Auntie is good at ordering me around, making sure I get my money's worth. Though she let me down that last time when I paid more for a single pizza than all the other stuff.

Let the record show that I had already scoped out my receipt. The charge was the same for both mine and Hick's. $6.99. My Diet Pepsi was listed on it, and my single trip to the salad bar, but with no charge. Hick's Meat Lover's Personal Pan also showed $6.99, but did not show a salad or a drink, I assumed because I hadn't specified yet what kind.

An older, manager-looking lady took my money. I asked about the Meat Lover's, and she went to get it. "I just took it out." I asked for the drink, and she looked like I was robbing her.

"For the lunch special. I got one for carry out."

"It was not put in as a combo. It was put in as just a pizza."

"I was told it was a combo. It's the exact same price as MY combo. A Personal Pan was just $4.99 on the menu."

Ringer-Upper kind of sighed. "Well...I'll have to go make the breadsticks." It was my turn to look blank. "Oh. You don't WANT the breadsticks?"

"No. I got a salad. She brought me a container, and I already made it."

Ringer-Upper told Wastetress (who had walked by and asked if I needed a bag--good thing, because I'd forgotten, in all the wangling over the special) to run me an unsweet tea (hope she remembered, or Hick might be in a coma or shock right about now). THEN I dared ask for the senior discount. And got another robby look.

"If you have one...I thought you might have a senior discount..."

"Oh. We do." She fiddled around with the computerized register. And took TWO DOLLARS off my total! Whoop-ti-do! My bill went from $15-something to $13-something! Can't beat THAT with a stick!

Or get it ever again, apparently.

I sat back down and chatted with Auntie some more. Then she went to pay as I was leaving. As I drove past her car, she was just coming out the door. She motioned me over.

"Val. That lady said they don't have the Personal Pan lunch special any more! But it's still in their system, so they let us have it. And that they're not supposed to give a senior discount with a special! And she said our waitress has only been working here for five days."

I think that kind of explains a lot.

Here's Hick's meal. All for the low, low price of $6.99 plus tax, minus a senior discount.

The salad container (didn't I build a pretty salad?) is fogged up, because I had everything in FRIG II for a while before I decided to take a picture. Let the record show that Auntie was upset because Hick got a take-out drink in a big plastic cup, and when she asked for hers to go, she got a small cardboard cup. But to be fair...she DID have three refills while sitting at the table.

I think we got a Not-Heaven of a deal! Don't ask for it at your local Pizza Hut, though. It's not on the new menu.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Storage Unit Baron

Hick called me yesterday, just as I was stepping into the shower. It's like he has X-ray vision through walls and across many miles, always a knack for getting me at the most inconvenient time. Besides, the phone on the wall right beside the shower has a ringer problem. So I had to run to the living room to answer.

"My buddy has 17 storage units for sale."

Okay. Right. Hick just called to let me know that. Isn't that what you'd think, after a statement like that? NOT-HEAVEN NO! I just said, "Oh." Not, "Good for him." Or, "That's amazing." Let Hick proceed. I wasn't going to make it easy for him.

"He wants eleven-hundred dollars for them."

"Oh. Do you have that much?"

"No. I don't have that much. I haven't been selling. It's winter. And I bought that auction stuff."


"That's really a pretty good deal."

"Oh. Well. We've talked about renting out storage units..."

"Not to BUY! He's selling the contents. From people who haven't paid."

"We don't have that kind of money right now. I mean...we DO...but I don't really want to take it out of savings. We just paid taxes and Christmas and all the car insurances for six months, and the house insurance, and the umbrella policy..."

"I'll make the money back. Once I sell the stuff. He says there's a bunch of tools in one of them. And a washer and dryer..."

"It's not like those shows you watch! They PLANT stuff in there. People don't put their GOOD stuff in a storage unit and not pay the bill."

"You'd be surprised. Anyway...I need to tell him..."

"Is that him I hear? Is he right there listening to you?"

"No. That's my sellin' buddy. He'd like to get them. But he doesn't have the money. He says he'll help me move the stuff, and maybe there'll be something in there that he wants. Because he'll do it for free..."

"How do you have to pay? There's money in checking, but I don't have that laying around the house. I'm not giving you MY money!"

"He wants cash. And I don't expect you to give me your money. Like I said, I can pay it back..."

"Yeah, but we won't get it all at once. It will be a little here, and a little there. And we still don't have the money back that we loaned your Brother 1." That's where I made a mistake. I KNOW that Brother 1 is deceased. But I always say his name first, even when in my mind I'm picturing Brother 2.

"Heh, heh. I can guarantee you that if we loaned money to Brother 1, we're not getting anything back! Not even if we dig him up."

"I know. I meant Brother 2. Besides, we DID loan Brother 1 before, and he DID pay us back. But I'm not counting on this one..."


"If you really want it, I'll go to the bank and take out the money. What cut do I get when you make this big profit?"

"'ll get a cut..."

Here's the thing. I don't begrudge Hick a project that makes him happy. He was lit up like a toddler on Christmas Eve, talking about the storage units. His voice, anyway. This gives him something to look forward to, and devote his time to. Especially something that gets him out of the house. But he's already got his little business going, and that giant albatross, the Freight Container Garage. Besides, we've been without his paycheck for four months now, while he just takes a small stipend of his 401K while waiting for social security to kick in.

I guess it would be petty to deny him this pipe dream, after loaning money to Brother 2, and giving Tommy a car, and paying a house payment for HOS. At least Hick asked me before saying he'd take those storage units. It's not like he went out and bought a $1700 lawnmower without telling me. Or $1000 shoe inserts from The Good Feet Store.

So...we (I consider myself part-owner, since funding came from our joint account) are the new owners of the contents of 18 of these:

I'd asked Hick if he couldn't bargain down the price, and he said that he'd ALREADY bargained UP the number of storage units from 12 in the beginning, to 18 when they shook hands and exchanged the cash. We might need to discuss his bargaining methods.

They're not all side by side, and they're across town (Backroads is a little town) from the storage units where Hick runs his flea market storage unit store. Owned by the same guy, though.

Here's what he saw inside one of the first units they opened:

Looks like we've at least got us a new artificial Christmas tree! And a grandmother clock. Hick says it's not as big as a grandfather clock. But that it has keys for winding, so it's not some cheap knockoff. I guess so. Whatever he says. He thinks it could bring a couple of hundred dollars.

You're sure to get updates as they develop. Hick has two weeks to get all the stuff moved out of the 18 units. That's more than one a day that he has to empty. He'll be pretty busy. That money might just be a good investment...

Monday, January 22, 2018

It's Enough to Make You Weep

Sunday, Hick took us to the casino. His sweaving was pretty much under control that day, and the weather was good. We parked on the south lot and walked in. Did you know that, according to my Shaming Bracelet that Genius gave me for Christmas, it's 0.2 mile from that parking lot to the women's restroom? According to Hick, I walk a half mile on these casino trips. I think it's a little more, since I make multiple loops around the casino waiting for people to get off my favorite games. And multiple trips to the restroom.

Anyhoo...for a couple days, I was not feeling good about this casino trip, because Hick said we needed to be home by noon, which meant NO BURGER for lunch! Actually, that not-looking-forward-to feeling must have been a sign not to go, because I lost a bundle of my gambling stake. But I DID have a good time, and also a tasty burger, because Hick's helper in his Freight Container Garage project, HOS (Hick's Oldest Son), was sick as a dog, and unable to help out Sunday afternoon. usual, the heavily-accented order-taker at Burger Brothers messed up the order. I'm not really blaming him. It could have been one of the makes-it-his-way-despite-the-order cooks who sabotaged my burger this time. Mine was actually cooked to order, medium, just juicy enough, but not raw. Hick's, ordered the same, was well-done. Heh, heh! It only cost me a big loss for Even Steven to give me a tasty burger.

The problem with my burger was that I ordered it with only pickles and onions. And it came with only pickles! I was coming back from the restroom (gotta get those tenths-of-miles in) when I saw Hick sitting down with the tray of food. I bemoaned my lack of onions. "Can't they ever get anything right? I only have pickles!"

"Do you want me to go get you some onions?"

"No. That's okay. They won't give you just onions."

"Sure they will. I'll go get them."

That's my Sweet Baboo! Before he turned into...well...I'm getting ahead of myself.

Hick came back with a cardboard dish full of sliced onion and pickle. "They gave me both!"

"That's a lot."

"I like onion. I'll eat some, too."

Not that I begrudge Hick some sliced onion that should have been on my burger. I decided to eat it on the side, right out of the cardboard, rather than pile it on the burger and have it slide off. Those are really thick burgers. I just put on a couple of rings.

I eat slower than Hick. And I started to wish I HAD put all the onion on my burger. Because that pile of onion slices was dwindling at a rapid rate.

Here's a picture of the evidence:

First of all...perspective. That's a lot of ketchup, but not as much as you might think. My cardboard dish is the same size as Hick's, and as the onion and pickle dish. I always wrap my burger in a napkin (for juice-soaking, so it doesn't drip on my shirt and require dabbing with Diet Coke to remove the grease stain) and the brown waxy wrapper. I was almost finished, and good thing, too, because Hick was STILL reaching over to feast on my forgotten onion that he'd gone back to ask for. It came out just right, with some pickle slices left over.

Hick got fries this time (his are mostly gone, those are mine, some of which I gave to him when I thought I'd made him wait long enough), instead of onion rings. Then he made a comment which I found shocking.

"The onion rings haven't been as good lately. I like my onions like THIS."

"Wait. You gave me some last time. I thought they were fine. What do you mean about the onions?"

"I like 'em crispy like this. Not soggy. It's like they cooked them too much in the onion rings."

"You know that onion rings are fried, right? And you can't really have onions that are just sliced, inside a deep-fried batter?"

"Well, they don't have to make them soggy."

"That's what happens to onions when they cook. They get softer."

"Well, there's something about them that I don't like now."

Huh. I guess that means no more extra onion rings for me. Hick says next time we get a burger (who knows when, since I'll have to make scratcher profits to build my casino cash up again), he's going to ask for his pickles and onions on the side.

Surely they can't mess that up. Right?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Before There Were Themed Sheds, There Was This Booth in the BARn

Nothing much to report today, except that Hick has been adding to his Coke collection in the loft of the BARn.

There's too much going on there for my liking. But then, Hick never does anything to conform to my liking.

Let the record show that I don't know where he's keeping his 11 Coca Cola Barbies. There are only 3 or 4 different varieties in his collection, but he has multiples.

Zoom in, and enjoy!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A New Trend For Val's New Year?

It's been 12 days, and I know the question on everybody's fingertips is: "Have you found any pennies lately, Val?"

Well. Except for maybe the antipennyites, that's the question. The antipennyites are probably thinking, "At last! That ignoramus Val has given up on foisting her loose change upon us!" Not so fast, antipennyites.

Since we last convened the Almost Weekly Meeting of the Backroads Pennyphile Association, Val has discovered two pennies. AND THREE DIMES!

Here's a summary, before we get to the pictures. I'm going to keep a running tally throughout 2018.

PENNY #5 - January 12, 2018 (Friday) Backroads Casey's parking lot, 1985

PENNY #6 - January 14, 2018 (Sunday) Gas Station Chicken Store parking lot, 1969
[DIME] #1 - January 17, 2018 (Wednesday) Gas-Buying Casey's parking lot, 2008

[DIME] #2 - January 20, 2018 (Saturday) Orb K parking lot, 2014

[DIME] #3 - January 20, 2018 (Saturday) Orb K by counter, 2010

Yes, I need to ask Hick to find me another receptacle to store my Dimes from Heaven. I didn't think there would be a need for such a thing, since during the entire year of 2017, I found a total of six dimes. But today, I found TWO! And another one three days ago. So in 2018, I've already found half the number of pennies I found all last year.

We'll start with the dimes. Because I say so, and you don't really have a choice. Uh huh. I DO have a way of endearing myself to the antipennyites. Surely they can't be antidimeites as well. That would almost seem like they were actually antiValites.

Dime #1 - I didn't get a picture of this one in its natural habitat. You'll have to accept it posing on T-Hoe's console. I'd just pumped gas, and went inside to pay and get a couple of scratchers. My gas amount was $24.99. I never let T-Hoe's tank go below half full. I wasn't taking a chance on running it a few cents over. I WANT pennies, I don't want to PAY pennies. Those I save for my 44 oz Diet Coke correct change.

As I entered the store and got in line, I saw this dime (2008) on the rug in front of the counter. You can bet I was antsy that somebody else would snag it! I waited until the person ahead of me paid and left, then bent over to pick it up. Val doesn't put her face down by people's butts. You can also bet that I was planning to take my 1 cent change after my transaction. But I felt guilty about taking that dime, so I magnanimously said, "You can keep the penny." I still came out 9 cents ahead.

Dime #2 - I parked way around at the end, by the drive-thru line at Orb K. Got out looking for a penny, and immediately saw a dime (2014)! It's there. You just have to look for it.

It was a little scratched up, but you would be, too, if people had been driving over you while you laid on the blacktop.

Dime #3 - Inside the store, I was trading in a scratcher when I glanced left, and saw this dime (2010) over by the front wall.

I didn't want the clerk to think I was a secret shopper, or going to disparage their cleanliness on social media, so I said, while she was scanning my ticket, "Oh, I found a coin." I took two pictures, picked up the dime, and turned back to the counter. She said, "You say you found a coin?" Like she thought I was going to turn it in to her! Find your own dang dime, sister! I dropped it in my pocket and replied, "Well...I was going to keep it, because I consider it good luck." Lucky indeed, that she didn't jump over that counter and try to wrest it out of my shirt pocket.

Penny #5 - This penny (2014), the fifth one found in 2018, was on the Backroads Casey's parking lot as I was going in to trade in a scratcher. I was parked closer to the door than usual, because the three lower spaces I prefer were taken. Otherwise, I wouldn't have found my penny.

Finally, a penny that was heads UP! Lately they've been tails. Not that I believe I'm going to get a goocher from my Pennies from Heaven.

Penny #6 - This penny (1969) might not have been meant for me. Or it was especially meant for me. I had not planned on going to town on Sunday, January 14. Hick took me to the casino, and on those days, I usually go without my 44 oz Diet Coke. But he wanted to come back early for a new auction, so I told him I'd drive myself to town, that he could get his car and go ahead to the afternoon auction. This one is really hard to see. But once you get your landmarks, you can find it.

You might have to zoom in. It's pretty much camouflaged, but look at the end of the big pavement crack on the left. If it was a snake, it could have bit me! Laying right there where I was walking around the back-end of T-Hoe.

There you have it. Val has accrued unearned income of 32 cents over the past two weeks! Pennyillionaire, here I come!

For 2018: Pennies #5 and 6.
For 2018: Dimes #1, 2, 3.

Since 2017 (the beginning), these were Pennies # 83 and 84.
Since 2017 (the beginning), these were Dimes #7, 8, 9.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb Friday #94 "Amiable House"

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 dropped child off at college? If so, you know how it tugs at your heartstrings, leaving your precious cargo behind. Will your kid make friends? Have a social life? Enjoy the full college experience? This week, Val's fake book hearkens back to that traumatic time. For the parent. Students probably don't even remember that first evening... Relive those thrilling days from the student perspective, with "Amiable House," the latest fake effort from Thevictorian. Order your copy today, and make room for it on your concrete-block bookcase.

Amiable House

The nerdy Tri-Lambs have found a new fraternity house. To attract attention of the incoming crop of co-eds, they've hung welcome banners from their second story. A catchy slogan like their friends the Tri-Deltas ("Delta Delta Delta, can we help ya, help ya, help ya?) is also being tried out: "After a Lambda wham-bam, you'll always get a 'Thank you, Ma'am!'"

Moms are landing helicopters on the lawn, and dropping off their daughters at an amazing rate, secure in the knowledge that these gentlemen will look out for their precious li'l gals. There seem to be an abundance of beverages to keep them hydrated, and it sounds like a movie night is planned, since the most-overheard welcoming phrase is an offer to "Netflix and chill."

Will a wholesome evening of G-rated fun ensue, or will Delta House, fresh off Double-Secret Probation, crash the festivities with an impromptu traveling toga party? (150 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Robert Carradine as Lewis Skolnick..."Revenge is sometimes necessary to right the wrongs others have done to you. That said, there is no revenge strong enough to right the wrong of Thevictorian's fake book release." 

Anthony Edwards as Gilbert Lowe..."I'm not a doctor, but later in my life, I play one on TV. One thing I know for sure is that reading Thevictorian's fake books is not healthy for anyone!"

Timothy Busfield as Poindexter..."My vision wasn't really corrected correctly until I was thirtysomething. With the release of Thevictorian's latest fake book, I wish I was still virtually blind."

Ted McGinley as Stan Gable..."With the release of this fake book, the last thing anybody is singing is 'Happy Days are Here Again!' This fake author could make every passenger on the Love Boat jump overboard before they even found love, just to get away from her soggy plots. Thevictorian may think she helms a fake book dynasty, but she and talent are perfect strangers. Now that I'm married with children, I struggle to protect my kids from bad fake literature such as this. Through hope and faith, maybe this washed-up old has-been will stop fake-writing."

Dean Wormer..."I am so pleased that Thevictorian is not writing about MY college fraternities that I've agreed to give her a fake review for the back of her fake book. So here it is: 'Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to write fake books, Val.' Come to think of it...similar advice didn't seem to affect that John Blutarsky fellow."

John Belushi as Bluto..."TOGA! That's what this author should be restrained with, her arms tied down tightly so she can't write any more. Seven years of college down the drain was nothing compared to the time I lost fake-reading this fake book."

Steven Furst as "Flounder" Kent Dorfman..."Being a Delta legacy, thanks to my brother's former membership, got me into this fraternity, but it does nothing for getting me out of hearing about this fake book. Somebody needs to visit this fake author late at night, in her office, with a pistol loaded with blanks, and a chainsaw."

Tom Hulce as "Pinto" Larry Kroger..."If I had a fake angel on my left shoulder, telling me to read this fake book, and a fake devil on my right shoulder, telling me to set it on'd better call 9-1-1. Could I compose a favorable fake book blurb for Thevictorian? Don't make me laugh!"

Otis Day and the Knights..."If anybody brought this fake author to a bar to see us perform, I guarantee that NOBODY would ask her to dance. She is unappealing, and her fake writing is as muddled as the lyrics of Louie, Louie."

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Skullduggery Is Afoot in Backroads

If it's not one thing it's another. Hick got a group text from our across-the-road crazy-dog neighbor. We have no gripes with her or her husband. They're good people. It's just their crazy rottweiler rescue dog, and the killer poodle, that we have issues with. Anyhoo...there's about 40 families who live out here in our compound. It's not an official compound. The land used to be part of a huge farm, and it was subdivided and sold in 10 acre plots.

When we first bought our land, there were only about 10 families living here. All the roads are gravel, not maintained by the county. There was a metal gate that was kept locked. To enter and exit, you had to get out of your car (most likely a truck) and unlock and then lock the padlock on the gate. If somebody was coming to visit, you had to meet them there, or give them a key ahead of time. Both entrances, on two different county roads, had padlocked gates. It's private property, not a through road.

Then somebody stole the gates.

More and more landowners started building homes and living here. We've always looked out for each other. Nobody belongs in here except landowners and their guests. Not salesmen, not trash-dumpers, not headless-body dumpers, not traveling-meth-lab dumpers, not sight-seers, not thieves. In the early days, it was not uncommon for a landowner to follow a strange car and stop the driver and ask their business. And make it clear that this is not public property. There's no good reason for people to be in here unless they live here. Only unsavory reasons.

So...this evening, just before sunset, Hick gets this text from the across-road neighbor. She said that two guys in a champagne (guess she's hoity-toity) colored car stopped her on the gravel road, and asked if there were any public caves out here. She said they looked like they were on drugs. She told them it was a private subdivision, and they needed to leave. They went on up the road and turned around. As she said, "They were shady. Looked to be on drugs. Keep an eye out for them."

I heard our dogs going crazy this evening. I didn't know anything about the shady cavers then. Hick said he went outside to look around, and drove down the road a ways, but didn't see anything. Apparently back-creek neighbor Bev is now in the loop, because she also sent Hick a text to warn him. Not that we're all as conspiracy-conscious as Bev.

Seriously. It's January freakin' eighteenth! The middle of winter. Who goes looking for a cave at sunset on a Thursday night? NOBODY, unless maybe they're planning some kind of spooky ritual.

Yeah. We may sound paranoid to you city-dwellers. But let's not forget, somehow a headless body got by us, and was discovered in a septic tank a half mile up the gravel road from Val's homestead.

You can bet we're gonna be nosy and unwelcoming to strangers.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Oh, the Inanity!

This morning I got up bright and early at 9:15. That's fifteen minutes EARLY, people! I got up early so I could leave the house and go to Walmart (Hick got almost everything on the list I gave him the other day), and to pick up prescriptions, and of course get my very own 44 oz Diet Coke, not some second-rate concoction dragged in by Hick.

Anyhoo...first I washed up last night's dishes, then sat down in the La-Z-Boy with Shiba to spend fifteen minutes checking my blogs and the local newspaper online. But WAIT! There was no ONLINE to it, because I DIDN'T HAVE INTERNET!

Just when you have your whole day laid out ahead of you, bright sunshine, escape from the house, a tasty Diet Coke on the horizon, an afternoon and evening of internetting pleasure in your future...Even Steven jerks a knot in your tail.

Being a technology wizard, I knew just what to do. I restarted Shiba. Can you believe that didn't work? I tried to go to the number thingy in the internet address that will run a test and tell me my DISH internet connectivity. But I couldn't get that, because I HAD NO INTERNET! Funny how THAT works!

Then I went into the Network and Sharing Center thingy down at the bottom right of my lower task bar. That's what I call it, anyway. It showed me a big X between my house symbol and the internet. It took about 10 minutes, but somehow I accidentally found that thing in my left sidebar that says TROUBLESHOOTING. It's different on Shiba than on New Delly, so I doubt I could ever repeat the accidental steps.This troubleshooter told me that I had a bad IP address. The Not-Heaven, you say! It also mentioned the modem.

Well. I really did not want to disturb Genius at his new job. But I also wanted internet. I went down to my dark basement lair and turned on the lights and New Delly. Just on the off chance that ancient Shiba was the only one having problems. She was not. I tried all that stuff again on New Delly, and finally found the troubleshooter. Then it was time to bother Genius.

"My internet won't work. Can't get into the number thingy. Troubleshooting says modem has connectivity issues. It says to turn off the modem and unplug it for 10 seconds, then plug it in and turn it on. Now...WHAT'S A MODEM? Is that the thing by the basement door where the wire comes in?"

"Unplug the modem in the office and the one in the cabinet of my desk both for about 2 minutes. Sorry. Not the office. The workshop. With the blue lights up top by the basement door. And the one in the cabinet of my desk."

"Okay. Not sure what the one in your desk looks like. I get it confused with the router. Have them both off at the same time, or do one, then the other?"

"Yes. But also the one in my desk. It should be the only box with glowing lights in my desk. If there are two, unplug both. Plug the one in the workshop back in first. Both off at the same time, but reconnect the workshop first."

"Okay. Trying now..."


"YAY! I'm a computer repair technician! THANK YOU!"

"You're welcome.

Yeah. That only took me 30 minutes from start to finish. And only 15 minutes of Genius's time. Lest you think this was a simple task for me, here's what I was dealing with.

The dreaded workshop modem. I can't even see it. I can't pull it down, because the wire is so short. I can kind of tilt it. No power switch. I can't pull the wire out of the back, but I figured out where it runs down to an electrical receptacle. But that was behind the box holding the artificial Christmas tree. Don't get me started on that creepy hideous clock that Hick had before we got married. It turns up in the oddest places.

Oh, but that was simple, compared to figuring out what resides in Genius's desk.

I still don't know what these are, but you can bet that I yanked the power cords out of the back of both of them. Located in different areas, of course. That I couldn't even see until I got a mini flashlight from my office, and wrestled them forward on their short respective leashes to see which of the wires actually was the power cord. The flash of my phone camera did an excellent job of illumination, though.

As you might guess, I am not in the habit of dusting these thingamabobs.

Whew! That was certainly a relief that I was able to fix my own internet! I thought I might have to call blog buddy Joe H. I hear he's a wizard at stuff like that...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

You Can't Send a Hick to do a Val's Job

I appreciate my Sweet Baboo. Really. It's just that he can't seem to do anything right. Even if he's really trying, and not doing it wrong so I won't ask him again.

Every time I go to town, I ask Hick if there's anything he wants. Notice that 1) I'm letting him know where I'm going, and 2) offering to bring him a treat, even though I'm pretty sure he goes to town several times a day himself. I say pretty sure, because Hick never tells me where he is. Not that it's much of a problem. It's more of a bargaining point for me to use in arguments.

Yesterday, Hick was missing from whenever he creaked out of bed until noon:twenty. When interrogated, he replied that he had told me last week that he would be working at back-creek neighbor (and conspiracy theory enthusiast) Bev's house on Monday. Never mind modern technology that could make a simple text of his whereabouts a reminder for Val. It's not like he had to paint a message on a cave wall, or chisel one in granite with newly-discovered metal and a rock.

Because Hick realized his transgression didn't want a repeat interrogation today, he left a message on a paper plate, telling me that the roads were clear, and that he'd be working in the BARn.

Hick also sent a text around 10:30, asking if I wanted to eat at the FelineFish Skillet. No. It's 4 degrees, with 15 mph winds. I don't want to get out. So I told him, and he agreed, and offered to get me a 44 oz Diet Coke from town. I didn't have one yesterday. The roads were too slick from ice and snow. This note could stem from the fact that yesterday, I berated him expounded on the deep sorrow in my heart that he had not thought to bring me a soda back from town, after he'd gone out just to see how slick the roads were.

Anyhoo, I texted back that yes, I would like a soda, and when would he be getting it. I have to plan my day, you know. It's not like I have nothing else to do. Okay. I don't, really. Now that I'm RETIRED. Nothing but write long-winded blog posts that take about a day and a half to get to the point. Hick texted that he would get my soda at 12:00 or 12:30.

Silly me. I thought that's when he would be arriving with it. I planned on how much more UFO Files show I could watch before starting the re-coloring of my lovely lady mullet. I timed my activities so that I would be ready to make lunch at 12:30, with my magical elixir on hand.

At 12:15, right before getting in the shower to finish the rinsing out of the L'Oreal, I heard stomping and a door slam. I opened up the bathroom door just a crack, and inquired, "Are you out there?"


"I'm coloring my hair."

I waited a minute for Hick to reply. Or come stand outside the door because he says he can't hear me. Nope. Nothing. Silly me. I assumed Hick must have already brought my soda, and was having his lunch. Hahahahaha! You know what happens when we assume.

When I was combing out my stunning not-gray hair, Hick came to the bathroom door and asked if all I wanted was a Diet Coke. He hadn't even left yet, and it was now 12:30. So much for Val's best-laid plans. I got assurance that he was getting it at the gas station chicken store. I started to tell him to take the scratcher out of my purse and trade it for another one, but he was GONE! Took off mid-sentence. Because he could sit for 15 minutes doing nothing, but couldn't wait 15 seconds for my reply.

I called him five minutes later, when I made my exit from the bathroom, and he was at the turn where the sheep are herded and the parachute guy flies over. I mentioned that I'd wanted him to trade that ticket, and he said he hadn't heard me talking. But he DID NOT offer to buy me a ticket! I KNOW he had the money. I'd laid out his weekly allowance, and it was gone. He knows I would have paid him pack. He's just being contrary. So I'm not paying him for the 44 oz Diet Coke! That'll learn 'im!

Sooo...he got back with my magical elixir around 1:15. I was carrying a six-pack of bottled Diet Coke downstairs. Gotta survive if I can't make it to town again! Anyhoo...I heard the kitchen door slam, and Hick was gone again! To parts unknown, most likely the BARn, but I don't care enough to track him down, because now I have my 44 oz Diet Coke.


It didn't taste like the Diet Coke from the gas station chicken store! Of course I sent Hick a text proclaiming that fact. I didn't want him to think he'd gotten away with pulling a fast one on me! But I didn't see how. The cup was the cup used by the gas station chicken store. Orb K has a cup with K on it. Casey's doesn't have Coke products, only Pepsi. There's a liquor store across the street that I think has a soda fountain, that might use those cups. And another convenience store up by the truss-maker, across from the concrete factory that makes big long bridge supports and stops traffic moving them. We never go to that one.

Hick responded right away to my accusatory text.

"It came from there it was a new batch it ran out as soon as I started getting it the grouchy old lady changed it"

I won't go so far as to say it's something unpredictable, that in the end was right. Because I'm not Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day. But I WILL say I should have figured something like this would happen. I would have said, "Oh, I'll be back tomorrow," and gone to my second-choice purveyor of 44 oz Diet Coke, which is Orb K. Not made the clerk (especially that one) change it right then for me. Bad karma. No good can come of that.

Anyhoo...I have a 44 oz Diet Coke today, after going without one yesterday. I figure that with enough added Sugar Free Cherry Limeade powder, it should be okay. I'm definitely going to town tomorrow. Come snow or high winds.