Monday, April 30, 2018

Not the Sharpest Cheese in FRIG II

Sometimes, Val can be a little wacky. But she still pretty much keeps the vehicle that is her life mostly on the pavement, usually between the lines. Hick? Not so much. He's a sweaver behind the wheel of an automobile, and also a sweaver when piloting his own life vehicle. AND he tries to persuade ME that HIS way is the norm. I'm not having it! Oh, and by persuading, I mean that he repeats himself louder, and smirks like I'M the one who is crazy.

Friday night, I made Hick one of his recent favorite suppers before he left for the auction. He'd been to auctions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday already. But he couldn't miss this one! Since he kept wandering around the kitchen while I was getting it ready, I told him he could make his own plate this time. That involved cutting open the huge potato, slathering on butter and sour cream, then adding the BBQ pulled pork to the top, then the shredded cheddar, and putting two dill pickle spears on the side.

I know Hick. He's barely functional, it seems, when his self-prepared meal isn't hot dogs. I had the potato baked, the meat warmed, and set out the butter, the sour cream, and the cheese on the cutting block. [Let the record show that I forgot to set out the pickle spears, and Hick went without pickles. Yes. It WAS too much effort for him to turn around and open the door of FRIG II]

I also laid a knife beside the butter, and separate spoons beside the meat and sour cream. Plus a sharp knife and a fork for eating. Normally, I even pour some shredded cheddar into a Styrofoam bowl, because I don't want Hick sticking his stubby fingers of questionable hygiene into the whole bag of cheese. But this time, he kept coming into the kitchen, and I don't like stumbling over him and turning to find him RIGHT THERE. So I had merely set the bag of cheese on the cutting block, figuring that surely Hick was smart enough to shake it onto the top of his potato. It's not rocket science, you know.

I left the kitchen, because I can't stand people right up on me. I have a large personal-space bubble. I was leaning over the back of the couch, talking to Hick over my shoulder as he prepared his own plate. I turned to emphasize a point, and caught him in the act.


Are you kidding me? Do you know how long it takes to scoop shredded cheddar out of a bag on a fork? You get about three shreds with each forkful! Forks have cracks between the tines that shreds of cheddar can fall through. Forks do not have a rim on the side to hold shreds of cheddar on the fork.

"I can't believe you're using a fork for that!"

"I knew better than to use my hands in it, or you'd have a fit."

"Did you ever think of just shaking it out?"

"No. What's wrong with a fork? Everybody does it."

NO NO NO NO NO! Everybody does NOT do that! Do they? Seriously? Have any of you ever dipped shredded cheese out of a bag with a fork? Because either Hick is gaslighting me, or I need to do some research on societal norms these days.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Yes, I Know That I Was Pickin' Up the Penny Meant for Me

Remember that song by Highway 101? The Bed You Made For Me? Maybe not, if you were too highbrow to listen to country music back in the late '80s. I was a-courtin' Hick back then, and all he listened to in his car was St. Louis WIL, with Debbie Conner and David Craig. So this song was on a lot. really has nothing to do with the tale I'm about to share with you, except I kind of borrowed from the title.

It's no secret that Val does not believe in coincidences. All interactions lead to a person being at a certain place at a certain time. Kind of like pit-stops on the road of life. Kind of like a more recent song, Meant to Be.

I'm pretty sure the penny I picked up at the park on Monday was meant for me.

Here's the deal. I haven't stopped at the park since early fall, 2014. The Pony and I used to meet my mom there, to pick her up to ride along with us to Bill-Paying Town. Or to give her some leftover fried rice, or brown bananas, or used tabloids. Or sometimes even The Pony himself, if he was spending the night. Since Mom was unable to drive after Thanksgiving 2014, our meeting place was retired.

Last Monday, running errands, I noticed that one of my tires only had 27 pounds of air, and needed 35. I stopped to put some in, and discovered by the magic of T-Hoe's sensors when I drove away, that I'd put in 49 POUNDS of air! So I needed a place to pull over and let some out. I wouldn't even have been near the park, but when I left The Original Waterside Mart after getting that air, I made a split-second decision to turn left to go to the bank a few days early, rather than right to go back home.

There was no really good place to pull off before the park, because of the businesses with available lots, and the traffic flow. So I veered off onto the road by the park on my way to the bank. I didn't even park the right way, nose in. There wasn't a soul around. So I just drove along that parking area and stopped, as NOT LUCK would have it, in the area where we used to meet Mom.

I'd already been around T-Hoe's front bumper once to let out air. But I still had too much in. So I got back out, and saw the penny as I headed back to my front passenger tire for more air-letting. I'm certain this penny was meant for me to find it. So many out-of-the-ordinary decisions put me in that place at that time.

Seriously, what are the odds that I would stop in that exact spot?

Looking back down the road the way I had come:

And forward to all the rest of the space where I might have stopped:

Yet I parked T-Hoe right there. Just so. Not ON the penny, not OVER the penny, not IN FRONT OF the penny, where I would have missed it. In fact, I DID miss it the first time, but my sloppy air-letting made me get out and go past it AGAIN, which is how I found it.

Of course, Hick says it was JUST a coincidence. Maybe you agree.

I, myself, do not.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Val Had a Cents of Deja Vu

I had a feeling this was going to happen, just like in the past. I had my Saturday material all written and pictured-up and set to publish itself automatically while I was throwing money away with careless abandon at the casino. Uh huh. Had my penny story all ready for the week...and of course, once I got back, found a penny that very day, messing up another of my Future Pennyillionaire weeks, which start on Sunday, and end on Saturday. Like a calendar, you know.

SATURDAY, April 21, there it was, at my feet in Country Mart, as I checked out with some bananas for Hick, and other items I cannot recall.

It was a shiny 2016, face down. Of course. I snatched it up quicker than you can say Val Thevictorian! Put it in my shirt pocket for safekeeping.

But what to my wandering eye should appear, as I turned from buying scratchers at the machine I like here...but ANOTHER penny!

Scarcely five minutes had passed when I found this shinier 2014 version near the inner exit door!

Face up! Helping the odds even out. I snatched this one before that man at the other scratcher machine saw it, and put it in my pants pocket so I could remember which was which.

SUNDAY, April 22, I was thrilled to see my Future Pennyillionaire fortune build, with the discovery of another drop-in-the-goblet at Orb K.

This penny was a 1994. The year Genius was born! What could be luckier than that?

Finding it FACE UP, that's what! Oh...

...unless perhaps it's finding a SECOND PENNY on the walk back to the car. I almost missed this one, hiding in that crack. Had to back up and take a closer look.

Yes, it was definitely a penny. A 1979, face down. Again, that first inside penny went into my shirt pocket, and the outside penny into my pants pocket. Don't worry, if I find three, I have another pants pocket!

Actually, the luckiest thing this week was on MONDAY, April 23, when I found a penny in the middle of nowhere. I'm not even going into that whole story today, but here's the penny.

It was pure happenstance that I was able to harvest this one. I might tell the tale in a couple days. Or tomorrow. BEWARE, antipennyites!

Here's the shiny 2001, FACE UP! The tale of how I got here to find it is extraordinary in my opinion, but just a coincidence in Hick's. We all know how much stock I put in Hick's opinions...


For 2018: Pennies # 33, 34, 35, 36, 37.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 8.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 2.

Since 2017 (the beginning), these were Pennies # 111, 112, 113, 114, 115.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Dime # 14.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Nickel # 2.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Hick's Little Ducky

Let the record show that along with his penchant for picking up knives at auctions and flea markets...Hick collects ducks. Not real ducks. Not rubber ducks. Just things like decoys and knickknacks and duck-related oddities. I know this comes as a shock to you, that Hick is a collector of ducks. What with all signs pointing to him being a collector of just about every single thing on earth.

He came home from one of his various auctions the other night with a special treasure.

It's about 2 inches long. Kind of heavy for its size. A brass duck key ring with a working blade. I guess you could call it a pocket duck knife. I must admit, I held it and opened it up and pronounced, "That's really cool."

Hick says he bought it with a bunch of keychains. I asked him what they looked like, and he said, "I don't know." Which seemed kind of fishy to me. Hick said he'd already taken them up to his Storage Unit Store, but that he'd send me a picture later.

Yeah. Now I know why Hick didn't remember any of the other keychains. They're a bunch of junk! I guess he might get a dollar out of them. Or give them away with other purchases. Nothing there that I'd want. In fact, I'd say, "No thanks. I'm not hauling your junk away for you," if somebody offered ME one of those keychains for free.

Anyhoo...Hick says he paid $5.50 for the whole lot of them. He saw the pocket duck knife in there, and that's all he wanted. But as with many things at the auction, he had to take the rest of the junk to get that one item.

Heh, heh! I just Googled it, and found one that sold for $5.50. I guess Hick knows his antiques! Although his looks like it's in better shape. Then again, I found one just like it that somebody had turned into a necklace by putting a chain through the key ring, asking $70.80 for it.

I think I'll print that out and show Hick! He might think he got a treasure!

Blog buddy Fishducky might appreciate this little gewgaw!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Leatherman Returns

Remember how Hick found a Leatherman tool in one of his storage units? A broken Leatherman, granted, but still, a Leatherman. Which has a 25-year warranty.

Here's the one Hick found. All gadgets were in working order except the pliers, which were broken. I sent it back to Leatherman in a small flat rate box on April 12. On April 19, I got an email saying that either the repaired or replaced Leatherman was on its way, due to arrive on April 24.


As luck would have it, the mail was late that day, and Hick is the one who picked it up. So I'm the one who did all the work, filling out the online return form, going to the post office for a box and label, bubble-wrapping Leatherman within an inch of his life, and taking him back to the post office and paying over $7 for his trip. Yet Hick enjoyed the unveiling. Could he drive 1 mile up a gravel road with the mail, to allow me to share in welcoming Leatherman home?

No. He could not.

Hick got the key out of EmBee, and the package out of one of the four lock-boxes next to our mailbox row. He opened that up before he even got back in his truck, I bet. By the time he got home, he had Replacement Leatherman in his velcro case, with mud already clinging to one side of it.

I don't think Hick had any intention of showing me Replacement Leatherman! He DID take a picture, but when I saw it, I know that he did not do Replacement Leatherman justice. I asked to see him for myself, and took my own picture.

Replacement Leatherman is an upgrade! He's a Leatherman Super Tool 300. The one Hick found didn't even have a case. Hick says he thinks he'll KEEP this Replacement Leatherman, although he prefers his own smaller Leatherman to carry around in its worn leather case on his belt.

Hick said he would not sell his own Leatherman, because it has sentimental value. Some guy he used to work for gave it to him, a long, long time ago before Hick even met me. So it's at least 30 years old. It's a little smaller, with only one saw blade.

Poor Hick. He'd given me the regular mail, which included a catalog from some company that sells knives. On the back cover was a LEATHERMAN! I showed it to Hick. "Isn't THAT a coincidence!"

"Yeah. It's just like my old one!"

Hick got to looking at it, reading the description. He seemed a bit crestfallen. I couldn't imagine why. His sentimental Leatherman was still going strong. No flaws. Had the case. Maybe he was just taking a sweave down memory lane, feeling melancholy.

"Huh. I woulda thought mine cost more than $25."


"Look. At this one in the catalog that's just like mine. It's $25."

"Oh. Well. It's the thought that counts! That guy didn't HAVE to give you ANYTHING! An now you have that Leatherman to remember him."

I looked at the catalog. That darn Hick! He was reading the price UNDER that Leatherman. The one that went with some brightly-colored, one-blade knives. Not the price BESIDE that Leatherman, describing it, with a price of $200.

"You are looking at the wrong price! Your Leatherman is now $200! So I imagine it cost more than $25, even back then."

Granted, that catalog has a pretty high markup on their items. The Replacement Leatherman itself goes for around $79 on most websites. Still.

Hick didn't say anything. His face lit up. I think he's pretty proud that he was worth more than $25.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I Guess Hick Thinks Three Heads Are Better Than One

You might recall that Val has been having heebie-jeebie issues in her homestead. An especially active session that started last Sunday with loud thumpings, and continued through Thursday with cabinet doors opening by themselves. Yes, Val mentioned such happenings to her loving husband, Hick. Who pretty much pooh-poohed her worries. Hick is a well-known pooh-pooher.

Not only did Hick not take my concerns seriously...he sent me a text on Thursday afternoon.

"My newest find"

"YIKES! That's creepy! What are the details? Where from? How much?"

"Got from D. $5 I like for Pony's shed"

"Keep it out of the house!" Only I used an emoji thingamabob for HOUSE. Because I'm cool like that.

I'm not having these items in my house! No siree, Bob! Not putting this kind of thing under my roof! Now, The Pony's roof? That's a different matter. I'm not out there to hear thumps. Or see that objects have moved even though nobody has touched them.

So...Hick bought two heads. Or one head and one mask. For some reason, he thinks they fit in with the decor of The Pony's Knife Shack. It's turning into one great big little anthropological museum. Not a boy's childhood sword and armor shack.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Val Stands Up For Herself

You'll be proud of me, I think, for showing my assertiveness at the casino on Saturday.

Okay, maybe it wasn't so much assertiveness as shock. But still. I think you'll rally 'round me. Maybe start humming Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down." Take my photo off the wall of Spineless Jellyfish Bloggers, and move it halfway to the wall of Growing-a-Spine Bloggers.

Here's the scoop. Hick and I got a later start than normal, due to his large Saturday crowd at the Storage Unit Store. So I knew that we only had 1:45 of prime gambling time. Which included the long walk in, long walk out, and bathroom time. I was prepared. I knew which machines I wanted to play, and how much I was willing to spend on them. As soon as we entered the people-counter contraptions, Hick and I went our separate ways, with a time to meet for a burger. Then we were leaving, directly after the burger.

I made an immediate right turn, to get a free soda before sitting down to play. Complimentary Diet Coke in hand, I started towards the back of the casino, to play a Fu Dao Le slot at an .88 bet. I took a glance at the three Buffalo Gold slots as I walked by. I haven't been able to get on one for about the last five times we've been there. That's the problem with going on a Saturday. It's busy. I looked across the middle of the casino, to the other set of three Buffalo Golds.


Let the record show that I've had near-misses at snagging one of these prime bandits. Twice, I've been headed for one, only to have someone coming at me from the opposite direction, walking faster, sliding in about two steps ahead of me. Or coming around the kiosk while I was still wending my way through the old folks. Disappointing, but to the spryer go the Buffalos.

You can imagine my excitement at seeing this Buffalo Gold laying fallow. It was on the right side of the three on the opposite kiosk. I knew I had my work cut out for me. I had to get around the unused table games that go down the middle of the casino. You can bet I had my eyes peeled for interlopers. I was more aware of people entering my space than an NFL running back shooting through the line. NO! Old walker-lady coming! Whew! She didn't want it. A man coming up from the other side! Nope. He took a different game! Look out! Darn people, walking down the main aisle! Why do I have to stop and let them continue? Almost there...


I set my soda cup down on the shiny black console. Put my left hand on the back of the chair to spin it toward me for planting my ample rump. Had my right hand in my gambling purse, pulling out my player card.


What in the Not-Heaven??? It was a tall gray-haired lady coming around the other side of the kiosk. She was even with the Buffalo slot on the left end of those three, while I was at the one on the right.


That's the look I gave her: ?

If there had been a camera filming the whole thing (heh, heh, as IF there weren't about 10 surveillance cameras surreptitiously recording me), I would have turned to look right into the lens, and raised my eyebrows.

"SHE (pointing to the lady playing at the middle Buffalo Gold) SENT ME A MESSAGE!"


Again. I gave her a blank look. What was I SUPPOSED to do, GIVE it to her? I THINK NOT! I shrugged, sat down, and started playing. The Interloper huffed a great sigh. I didn't turn to engage her. I didn't turn at all. I busied myself with playing Buffalo Gold. It's been a long time.

Let the record show that at no time did The Interloper's partner-in-not-very-good-crime say anything at all. Made no nods. Didn't engage. Kept playing her own Buffalo. Might have had a slight smirk on her face. Even though I had immediately turned my sound down to next-to-nothing, Pard craned her neck to see my machine at the slightest sound of a payoff or bonus. The Interloper showed up to my right, around the kiosk, on some kind of dragon game, I think, that my sister the ex-mayor's wife used to play. I could feel her goonin' at me (that's staring, in my former-student-speak). I didn't look up. Just played my Buffalo.

I hit THREE bonuses! They're hard to get on Buffalo. On the first two, I was betting the minimum of .60 when they hit. They weren't great bonuses, but they gave me money to keep playing. I had put in a second twenty, and was betting 1.20 a spin when the third bonus hit. I thought Pard was going to break her neck trying to see what I won. She started asking. And since she had been polite enough to me, and hadn't gotten involved in the almost-fracas, I told her. I had 43 free games, and won $150. I cashed it out and left. I'm pretty sure The Interloper almost broke her neck diving for that machine. But I didn't look back.

Seriously. Who did she think she was? I was clearly there ahead of her! My soda was already parked, claiming ownership. The machine wasn't saved. No card in it, no money in it, the chair not leaned up against it. Nothing. It was fair game, and I got there first. My hand was on the back of the chair. The Interloper was at least four steps away.

That disgruntled entitle-ist (she should have THAT painted on her probably-dimpled rump, like a golf ball) had absolutely no claim on that machine! I can't believe she thought I'd pick up my soda and let her have the Buffalo, just because she SAID that the other lady informed her it was open! If I'd been trying to hang onto a game until Hick could make his way there, I'd have put money in one machine, and my card in the other, along with the soda cup, and tilted the chair until he could walk over there. At the very least, I would have leaned over with my hand on the chair, and told anyone who asked, "My husband went to the bathroom. He'll be right back."

I wish I'd thought of something snappy to say to The Interloper. I was kind of like a deer in the headlights. A very brave deer! I couldn't believe what she was trying to pull!

What about you? How would you have handled it? Would you say something? Give up the slot machine to her? Ignore her? Start sing-songing, "Too bad, so sad..."


In case anyone has an inquiring mind...I left the casino with every penny I took in, plus an extra $31.02 after playing for an hour and 45 minutes. Sure, I could have cashed out and left right after my bonus. But where's the fun in THAT?

And here's a 3-minute YouTube video of some random guy hitting a better bonus than me, in case you want to know what Buffalo Gold is like.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Telling On Myself

Oh, oh, telling on myself
Oh, oh, telling on myself
Well, there's nothing to lose
And I've got nothing to prove
Telling on myself...

Yeah. I'm not Billy Idol. If I could cut a deal, I'd ask the world to squeal...but for now, I'm telling on myself.

Remember how that little door on Hick's gun cabinet opened by itself last week? And I left it open, and 24 hours later, it had opened itself even more? Well...perhaps I've been a little jumpy in the basement these past few days. And blog buddy Linda mentioned how her little guy talked about seeing an unfamiliar man in her bed. Which made me think of something Genius went through back at that age. So maybe you can understand how this tattle-worthy event came about.

Saturday night, I came back to the homestead without Hick. We'd returned from the casino, and he picked up his Trailblazer at the Storage Unit Store, then left for the auction. I stayed in town for a couple items at Country Mart. By the time I got home, it was just getting dark. I'm not easily spooked. I've lived in the country for a long time. I'm not afraid to enter an empty house alone.

I went about my business. Changed clothes and went down to my dark basement lair. I was a bit apprehensive as I checked that cabinet door, but it was closed, like I'd left it on Friday night. Around 9:00 I went upstairs for a snack of some Raisin Bran. We'd had our lupper (lunch/supper) at 4:15, which threw off my meal schedule of 2:00 lunch and 7:00 supper.

The kitchen light was on, and the mini-blinds open. We get the morning sun from that direction, and leave the blinds open all the time. That side of the house faces the woods that run down to the creek. I never think of anybody peeping in. It's about a 15-foot drop off the wraparound porch.

As I was at the counter, those three big window to my right shoulder, across the kitchen sink counter and the kitchen table area...I was startled by Juno barking. It was her I MEAN BUSINESS bark. Her house is right outside the kitchen door. Granted, Juno carries on like this when the neighbor dog Copper Jack comes up on the porch to walk around and get a drink from her water bowl on the other side of the curved bump-out area where those windows are. "KNOCK IT OFF, JUNO!" I said it more for my benefit, because I imagine she heard me say "wah-wah-wah, JUNO!"

I glanced at the windows, expecting to see the shadow of Copper Jack's sleek orange body walking by, tail raised to show Juno that he would not be intimidated. WAIT A MINUTE! THAT WASN'T COPPER JACK!

I swear I saw a person out there, looking in! Just a glimpse! Then he was gone! My heart was pounding. Someone was up on the porch peeping at me! And there I was, plain to see, in a lit-up house, while he was out there in the dark, where I couldn't get a clear look! Not that I wanted to!

I thought of rushing to turn the mini-blinds closed. But that would put me closer to him. I looked at the doorknob. Thank goodness I had locked it when I came in. But the porch light wasn't on. Maybe I should go turn it on for Hick when he got home around 10:30. Yeah. That's what I should do. Go turn on the porch light. And if that creeper/peeper was out there, he'd know I was onto him. Maybe he'd scamper away. So I turned on the light, first hitting the wrong switch, which turned on the kitchen light over the table, illuminating me even more. I fumbled and got it off, and the porch light on. Flipped the mini-blinds built into the kitchen door frame. Nobody out there. Juno looking up at me, wagging her tail.

I toyed with the idea of closing those other blinds, but didn't want to get that close to the windows. What if that creeper/peeper jumped at me while I was looking out? No siree, Bob! I wasn't getting close to them. I went back to the counter to get my tray that had my cereal bowl on it. I couldn't help but look at the windows again. WHAT??? THERE HE WAS AGAIN!

It took a minute to realize that I was seeing my reflection in the middle window as I leaned my head back. Yet when I resumed my position at the counter, my reflection disappeared in the wood framing between the windows.

SHEESH! I'm gonna scare myself to death one of these days!

Anyhoo...I went back downstairs to my lair. When Hick came home, I went to holler at him from the bottom of the steps. Just regular talk about a text he'd sent me. Not actual hollering. I wasn't spooked any more, even though every time I walk past that area now, I cast furtive glances at the gun cabinet.

When I came out of my office about an hour later, to watch TV in my OPC (Old People Chair), something seemed off. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I first checked on the little cabinet door. Nope. Still closed. What was it? Oh! This area was too dark! Too dark by my office. Thank goodness I'd turned on the table lamp and the bendy lamp over by my OPC when I came out talking to Hick. Because both of the ceiling lights by my office were burned out!

What are the odds of THAT? I took a picture to prove it happened. We used to have a light over by the OPC that went on and off at will. Just when you'd think it was burned out and needed replacing after 3 days, it would come back on by itself. You can even see it in the picture, past the steps. It's just a bare bulb in the ceiling, no cover on it. As a matter of fact, once I sat down in my OPC, I noticed that THIS light bulb was also burned out! That's when it hit me.

I'd turned off the overhead lights when I went out to talk to Hick.

Yeah. There you have it. Val was scared of her own reflection, and forgot that she turned out the lights. You heard it from me first.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Misinformationarium of Hick Thevictorian

Hick has a habit of speaking to people as if they can read his mind. Giving only the bare bones of details, then seeming as if he wishes to shoot the message-receiver when they don't understand. He has had this habit since I met him, so it's not a recent build-up of Hickretirementitis that is fueling my tale.

I'm sure this habit is one that led to many of Hick's own tales of how the people at work didn't listen to his instructions. They were probably listening, but not mind-reading. When asked for clarification, one of Hick's tactics is to repeat the exact same words, only louder. Several times. Eventually, he throws up his hands, declares, "There's no talking to you!" and stalks away. Perhaps retirement has mellowed Hick, or perhaps his Poparm prevents the arm-throwing. Here's a mild example from Saturday's casino trip.

We were rushed for time, because we left later so Hick could do more business at his Storage Unit Store. I'm not complaining. I actually suggested the later departure. Now that warmer weather has arrived, more people are flea market shopping. Instead of our usual time of 11:30, I picked up Hick at 1:15. Only it was 1:30 when we left, because he was trying to close with 4 customers nosing around his unit. Heh, heh.

This time change would not have mattered much, except that Hick HAD to be back in time to get to the auction, because "They're selling some good stuff tonight." Okay. I'm not even complaining about my limited casino playtime. It takes us an hour to get to this casino. Hick decided we would eat right before leaving, rather than halfway through our visit. He decreed that we'd meet at Burger Brothers at 4:15, eat, and start home by 5:00. Since his car was at the Storage Unit Store, we'd be there by 6:00, which is when he usually leaves home for the auction. Again. Not complaining.

Of course Hick decided to try something besides a burger. He ordered the Italian Sausage, without peppers. It came covered with onions, and Hick said it was good. He ate every crumb. We were about 15 minutes into our trip home when Hick said

"That Italian sausage ain't sittin' well in my stomach."

"Do you want a Pepcid? Here. I have one in my pocket."

"No. That's okay."

"Go ahead. I have it right here. It always works."

"I don't know..." Hick took the proffered Pepcid, though he didn't look convinced. "I feel like I need to stop and poop. My stomach's churning."

"Oh. Well. You didn't say it was your LOWER stomach! Pepcid won't help THAT!"

"I know. I might just go when we get gas."

"Are you sure it was the sausage? Maybe it's just your Hepatitis A kicking in!"

"It's not Hepatitis, Val."

Getting gas took a long time. T-Hoe guzzled $47.58 worth, 18.889 gallons. I will admit that I let him get down lower than my usual half tank, because I knew Hick would put gas in him for me on this trip. We stopped right after we got off the main interstate, and onto the lesser interstate that takes us south to Backroads. It's about halfway for us. Even though Hick paid at the pump, he hustled into the building. I heard the story once we got a few more miles down the road.

"Whew! I really needed to go. The bathroom was FULL!"

Of course, that made me think of overflowing toilets, but being a longtime listener to Hick's mystery-speak, I figured he meant that it was occupied to maximum capacity.

"So the lady working there told me to just use the women's bathroom. I DID! Because I was in a hurry."

"That's hard to believe. It took you so long."

"I had to poop, Val! You can't hurry it. Even though it came out fast. I felt really bad when I came out of there. There was a pregnant woman waiting."

"ACK! That's TERRIBLE! Imagine the smell! Poor pregnant woman."

So...I actually deciphered Hick's intent with this one. The main stumbling block being how his stomach was upset. He should have just said he thought the sausage gave him diarrhea. Or that it made his intestines rumble. Or, like one of my former colleagues from the teacher lunch table, been a little more specific of his "stomach" ailment: "By 2:00, these chicken nuggets are going to be pecking their way out of my descending colon."

We had another visit to the Misinformationarium this morning, but that tale will be told elsewhere. Hick could make a pretty penny if he could sell tickets to that attraction.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

I Believe the ConCENTSus Is: Hick Is Not as Lucky as Val

Saturday again, and I am finally able to report that I found a PENNY this week! YAY, me! Has my luck turned around? Quite possibly. I also won over $100 twice this week on scratchers. Hick, however, was not so lucky. Meh. More about him later. Let's get to Future Pennyillionaire business.

My lone penny didn't reveal itself to me until Tuesday, April 17. That was the tax deadline this year, you know. Is that IRONIC? That I found a single cent on tax day? My taxes were already filed, though, and my refund directly deposited. So I didn't have to pinch that penny.

It was a 1960 model. I didn't see it until I was walking out the door at Country Mart. There it is, on the pink section of tile. That spot on the blue tile is a WASP, by cracky! Is THAT ironic? Is it showing the sting of tax day? I really need to get a handle on this irony thing.

Face down again. Really. My odds are not even even about finding half of my rightful pennies face up. But I'm still pretty lucky, more than 50% of the time. Hick...not so much.

There's a Country Mart connection here. It's where I found my precious lucky penny on Tuesday. And the source of some bad news for Hick on Monday. Although he didn't know it until Tuesday, because I only saw it online in the local paper Monday night. There I was, scanning the front page, and I saw a picture of the County Health Center. "Oh," I thought. "That's where I just got Genius a copy of his birth certificate for his passport. I wonder if they've got some new service?"

As soon as that thought went through my head at the picture, I read the headline: Hepatitis A Warning Issued. "Ooh! That's some juicy news. I wonder where it's at?" Imagine my surprise when I saw:

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is investigating a case of Hepatitis A in a food handler who worked while potentially contagious at Country Mart deli.

Uh huh. In Backroads!

Anybody who ate there between March 21 and April 4 might have been infected with Hepatitis A! Well. I KNOW that Hick ate there between those dates. I don't know how many times, but he was going for biscuits and gravy there pretty regularly. AND he saw Neighbor Tommy there a lot.

I copied and pasted and printed the story, and left it on the bathroom counter for Hick when I went to bed Monday night. Hick had a doctor's appointment Tuesday (routine), and mentioned it to his doctor nurse practitioner. She said not to worry about it unless he started showing symptoms. Which, according to the article, could take 3-4 weeks. The article also said that most people who get Hepatitis A fully recover from it. The exceptions being the very young, the very old, or those with compromised immune systems. Huh. Hick is 2-for-3 on those.'s not the worst luck that could happen. But it doesn't hold a candle to finding a penny on the ground, or winning at scratchers! Yeah, the possibility that you might have eaten something that could give you Hepatitis A isn't all THAT bad. Until you realize that it's spread by eating food that was contaminated with feces from somebody's hand. That didn't originally come from their HAND, you know.

After I touched the buttons on Country Mart's scratcher machine on Tuesday, I slathered on the Germ-X once I got back in T-Hoe. I've seen plenty of their employees buying scratchers.


For 2018: Penny #32.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 8.
For 2018: Nickels still at #2.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny #110.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Dime #14.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Nickel #2.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb #101 "The Written Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Thevictorian"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. This week, Val uses a work of art as inspiration for her own fake art. She paints with broad strokes, though. Little nuance. Don't expect intricate relationships among her poorly-fleshed characters. Consider this fake book as a lesson in how not to write. We all have to start somewhere, and Val is a veteran teacher. Cough up those pennies, to assure yourself a coveted place at the knee of this great master.

The Written Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Thevictorian

Word on The Street is that a new old bird is coming to town. To teach the citizens a lesson. A lesson of the wrist bone being connected to the elbow bone. Without such a connection, it's impossible to shake your fist at young whippershappers crossing your lawn.

After a game of leapfrog gone horribly bad, Kermit is wishing he had stayed off that lawn, and taken his chances crossing a five-lane road. Or gone a-courtin' Miss Piggy. Now, though, he has unwillingly donated his body to science. He'd complain, if that cat hadn't got his tongue.

Will Kermit come to his senses and pick a bone with his dismantler? (110 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

The Count..."Greetings. It is I, The Count. One. One terrible fake book by Thevictorian. Two. Two terrible fake books by Thevictorian. Three...wait a minute. I do not think I can count this high! AH AH AH! Sadly, I am not joking." 

Cookie Monster..."Hello! Me here to warn you. This fake book bad! Make me want to lose cookies!"

Frankenstein..."Bread good! Thevictorian's fake book BAD! Like fire. BAD!"

Bert..."Aghhh! This fake author makes me so MAD! My unibrow is frowning."

Ernie..."I wouldn't buy this fake book if it came with a free Rubber Duckie."

Grover..."I would like to present this fake book as a fake gift to my fake friend, Mr. Johnson."

Elmo..."This fake book does not tickle Elmo!"

Oscar the Grouch..."I barely have any room to live in here! People keep throwing this fake book into my can!"

Big Bird..."I think I could write a fake book like this. Just as soon as I get done teaching the anatomy of a frog."

Kermit the Frog..."If I ever get off of this dissection table, I swear I will make sure that Thevictorian never fake-writes another fake book--or my middle name isn't THE!"

Rembrandt..."As one great master to another one who considers herself a master...I would like to celebrate the release and subsequent recall of this fake book with Thevictorian, by taking her out to dinner. We'll go Dutch, of course."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

I Don't Mean to Dwell on These Anomalies in My Dwelling

I'm a science teacher, by cracky! Even though retired. I don't like things I can't explain.

I can figure out a Criss Angel stunt in no time. Offer explanations for David Copperfield tricks. But I can't explain why the door of Hick's gun cabinet opened by itself, and KEEPS OPENING WIDER!

I don't live in Grandfather's Mansion at Silver Dollar City. My floors are level. My house is square, not off-kilter. Doors can be opened and closed without incident. A billiard ball placed on the press-down tile will stay in place, not roll away. Has a rift in the Space-Time Continuum opened up under the basement stairs of my homestead?

The heavy glass door on the 1970s stand-up stereo cabinet next to that gun cabinet did not come open and swing wide. What's going on here? Did this little door pop open all at once? Did it swing open slowly, with or without a haunted-house creaking sound? Or did it creep, creep open slowly? So slowly that the eye could not detect motion? There are no vents in that area. No windows. It's not like I create a draft from the speed of my body rushing to the mini fridge.

Here's an even more disconcerting piece of information. That door has opened itself farther over the past 24 hours! Now I have to make a conscious effort to avoid it when I approach the mini fridge. That's how far it has encroached on my space. Now I only have two feet of space to walk, not three.

Seriously. I took another picture Wednesday night, for comparison purposes. To prove to myself that it's not just my imagination.

First picture, taken Tuesday night/early Wednesday, at 12:51 a.m.

Now below, the second picture, taken Wednesday night, at 11:51 p.m. Funny how I'd loaded this on my computer this afternoon, yet when I went to add it to this post, it had disappeared, so I had to do it over.

That door is DEFINITELY open WIDER!!! What's up with that?

Just in case I had the angle wrong when I took the second picture, I decided to compare the pictures from the back side of the door.

Here's the original, although it's a copy, because my New Delly lost it in the files the first time I had gone back to look after saving it. Taken at 12:50 a.m. on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

Below it the comparison picture I took at 11:50 p.m. on Wednesday night.

Definitely open wider.

What's inside, you might wonder? Only Hick junk. That has no doubt been there since he put the cabinet in 20 years ago.

As far as I can tell, it's an old-style tape recorder. To the best of my memory, Hick had the voices of HOS and The Veteran on there, from when they were little shavers, before I even met them or him. Also looks like more Hick junk. Gloves. Socks. A rain poncho. Some shop towels. And something rolled up in tube form.

Something's just all out-of-whack here. The first set of pictures had one including the mini fridge that was on my phone that night, but gone the next day. Then I had those two original door pictures jump from PICTURES to FILES on my New Delly. Then today I lost one of the newer door pictures (the front side) and had to load it again. AND when I went out to compare the doors around 2:45 today, just in case they had opened even wider (they hadn't), I came back to my office to find that my computer had shut down, and was on that black screen of hope-not-death, counting down 30 seconds to restart itself. Four times while I've been writing this, I've gotten that pink bar up top that says something is wrong and Blogger failed to post or publish.

I'm not a religious person. Not a pray-er. But I won't watch movies like The Exorcist, or have an Ouija Board in my house. I avert my gaze or fast forward if some demon-related pictures pop up on something I'm watching on the History Channel or YouTube. Better safe than sorry. I'm not a ghost hunter, but I don't believe everything you see on those shows is faked.

I believe there are forces we don't understand. I like logic and order in my world, even though you might not think so from the state of my housekeeping. So this weird door-behavior bothers me. What is making those noises upstairs? What opened this door? Is it a sign of good things to come? Or a warning to beware? Is there a battle of good and evil going on here? Why do some of these happenings seem routine to me, yet others frighten me?

All I know is that energy is neither created nor destroyed. It just changes form. Surely there are forms of energy of which we are currently unaware. Imagine telling someone in the 1600s about microwave energy, or television, or cell phones. You'd be burned as a witch!

I don't know when The Pony last noticed this door had opened by itself. But I DO know that I started hearing the recent thumpings on Sunday night, April 15th. More on Tuesday night. I also heard a bunch of them last night in the master bedroom over my dark basement lair, while Hick was gone to an auction. In fact, it started about 45 minutes after he left, and I thought he'd come home early. He hadn't.

Pure coincidence, I'm sure, but let the record show that my dad passed away in the early morning hours of April 15th, 1998.

Go ahead. Cut eyes at each other. Make that twirling motion at your temple with your finger. It won't be the first time. Nor the last.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Night Bumping

Sunday night, I was startled by a big thump right over my head, in the boys' bathroom. The one only used by Hick now, during daylight hours, when I am in the master bathroom. In fact, that thump repeated itself.

It wasn't so much a THUMP, which implies a muffled plop. It was more of a CLANG-POUND. Like a monkey wrench falling into a cast iron claw foot bathtub. Which we don't have. Oh, I'm pretty sure Hick has a monkey wrench...just not a cast iron claw foot bathtub. The one in the boys' bathroom is a tub/shower enclosure with sliding doors. Probably fiberglass or plastic. I don't know my plumbing materials.

Anyhoo...I'm used to thumping and bumping and footsteps and the sound of someone turning over in Genius's bed. Even some disco-feet milling a while back. They might startle me momentarily, but they don't really get my hackles up. This CLANG-POUND made me pause. And think about whether I should be scared. Because it was something different, I suppose. It came a little after midnight. Maybe midnight-twenty. I'm often not in my OPC (Old People Chair) at that time, leaving my lair around 1:00 a.m.

Also, either Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon, I'd heard something else out in the basement area. A kind of click, but not the one The Pony and I used to hear. The one sounding like a pop-top soda can being opened. I solved that one, you know, while sitting on the toilet. It was the wall clock in the NASCAR bathroom. I don't know why The Pony and I never figured out that sound came every hour, as the hands reached a certain location. with all things creepy around here, you can't dwell on them or you'll go crazier. So I kind of make a mental note, and see if there's going to be recurrences, or if they're one-offs. Monday, Hick was running around, NOT-seeding the grass in the front yard. I was left to my own devices all afternoon. I did not notice anything amiss in my comings and goings between my dark basement lair, the mini fridge, and the NASCAR bathroom.

Around 6:30, I went upstairs to make supper for Hick. When I came out of my office, an anomaly caught my eye.


I think I stopped dead in my tracks. My jaw might have dropped. No doubt my heart rate increased. I went past the open door, giving it a closer look. WHAT IN THE NOT-HEAVEN! Doors don't just open by themselves. Though I will say that this door or the other one has done it twice, when The Pony was still living at home. He's the one who always went downstairs first, and he noticed it. Asked me about it. I knew nothing.

The Pony had closed it. And the next day, it was open again. After the second closing, it has stayed shut. So that's almost two years that The Pony's been gone off to college, with no acting up by this cabinet door. And before that, we lived here for 17 years without that door opening.

I stood at the bottom of the stairs and hollered up to Hick. To ask if he'd been down in the basement looking at his gun case. He said he hadn't been down there at all on Monday. happened between the time I last was at the mini fridge around 4:00, and 6:30 when I came out of my office.

No, I did not bump the cabinet while at the mini fridge. I'm at the mini fridge at least four times a day, putting part of my lunch in there until I'm ready for it, taking out a bottle of Diet Coke, putting back half a bottle of Diet Coke, and getting that half bottle out again. I have never bumped into that cabinet. My feet stay flat on the floor. Shuffle, actually. It's not like I kick out a leg when I bend over.

I told Hick not to touch that cabinet if he came down. That I was going to get some pictures. To prove it happened, you know. I was going to wait until daytime, but since the light doesn't reach that area much anyway, I took them in the middle of the night. Kind of creepy. One didn't even show up on my phone the next morning, even though I'd taken it and looked at it to see if I was keeping it. So I had to take it the next night. Here it is:

Is it just me, or is that door open WIDER than in the first picture? Creepy. Plenty of room there, people, for me to stand and transfer stuff in and out of Mini Frig. See the press-down tiles? That's 3 feet. And my butt is too high to hit that door when I bend over. And not so big that it hits the gun case, either!

Here's a pic taken from the door of my dark basement lair.

Don't judge! It's a partially-finished basement, by cracky, and I'm a slovenly housekeeper.

Let the record show that this is Hick's steal-me gun cabinet. He puts a couple guns in there so if anyone breaks in, they'll take them and not look for the good guns, which are locked up in a gun safe with the handguns. He's a bit of a collector, our Hick. I'm sure you would never have guessed that. I don't know why he doesn't keep them ALL locked away, but that's just Hick's logic.

Anyhoo...this door-opening activity is kind of a creepfest. I'm not liking it.

Not sure what's going on here, but I've been leaving it open. To see if it closes itself, perhaps. Or maybe because I don't want to find it open again.


Okay, the supernatural plot thickens. I just emailed myself a replacement picture of the one that disappeared, and another one, taken from my office door. Imagine my surprise, upon saving those photos to New Delly's Pictures, to find the OTHER two pictures missing! The ones taken of the front and back of the open cabinet door. When they'd been there last night, and I'd even put them in the draft of this post. A search revealed that those two photos (thank goodness I'd named, them, instead of relying on those random numbers that my phone gives them) are now classified as Files. I never would have found them. Even though I could have re-emailed them to myself. SO...I saved those two in Pictures again, where they showed up as COPIES.

Not sure what's going on here...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What Hick Does Instead of Letting Grass Grow Under His Feet

Let the record show that we have an area in the front yard where grass is sparse. It's been an ongoing degrassination. I guess it started when we got the chickens. At one time, there were 36 or more chickens free-ranging across the yard. You'd think chickens wouldn't make much impact on the 4 of our 10 acres that are cleared of woods. However...did you ever see a chicken pen with a grass floor? Not past two days of having chickens in it, I bet.

Then Hick started his goat dynasty. At one time, there were 13 goats (Hick is not superstitious) being herded across the yard. The Pony would let them out, and they'd follow the one lead goat, Goatrude, wherever she decided to graze. They were pretty well-behaved, those goats, and only crossed over the gravel road one time. Their worst habit was standing on hind legs to eat my lilac bush.

The Pony didn't have to follow them with a crook-ed staff. He sat on the front porch, and when they strayed, or he was ready to come back in after serving his hour or two playing computer games on his laptop (there's an electrical outlet on the porch), he would clap his hands, and Goatrude would run toward him. Then The Pony would run toward the goat pen, step aside, and they'd all run in. It helped that he always gave them a scoop of grain when they returned.

All along, Hick has used the front yard as an easement to get to the BARn, and later to Shackytown Main Street. At one time, Hick must have driven 15 or more vehicles across the front yard. Not to mention his Gator now, several times a day.

As I believe I mentioned...we have an area in the front yard where grass is sparse.

Hick said he bought some grass seed at the auction the other night. He's been saying that when we get a nice day, without a downpour, with temps out of the 30s, and no gusty winds to blow it away...he's going to sow his seed. Heh, heh! You know what I said.

Anyhoo...Sunday night, Hick said he was going to spread that grass seed on Monday. I never did see him out front. I found a Lowe's receipt on the kitchen counter when I got up. And I saw Hick right before I went to town, sitting on the long couch. It was a bit disconcerting, not having any idea where he was, then walking out of the shower to find him there. Again, no mention of his plans. Only a comment that he'd gone up to his storage unit, and the wind was really cold.

Indeed, at 34 degrees when I left for town, that wind chill felt like it was in the teens or low 20s. The sun was intermittent, and when I came home, there was no evidence of Hick. I resisted the urge to send him a text to see where he was. I sure didn't want him to think he should come home!

At 2:40, I got a text.

"My new fishing pool display rack for selling poles"

I will admit that I spent almost a minute looking for a pool, trying to figure out where he took that picture. Then I realized that it was Hick-text, and deduced that he meant a fishing POLE display rack. Plus I saw the holes he'd bored into that $24 worth of wood he bought at Lowe's. I reminded him that he needed to reimburse the household account for that money spent on his Storage Unit Store. It was as if Hick had set a trap for me!

"UH UH! I spent MY money on grass seed! So it's a trade!"

Not sure if he actually spent $24 on auction grass seed. He didn't show me THAT receipt.

Anyhoo...Hick has been buying bunches of fishing poles and reels at the auctions. They usually cost him around $1.00-$2.50 apiece in bulk. Then he sells them for $5.00. He seems to be doing a lot of business in them lately.

Hick overheard a guy up at his Storage Unit Store location asking one of the other sellers, who's a carpenter, if he'd make him a fishing pole rack. The carpenter said, "What do you mean?" And the guy said, "Like that one over there. And pointed to the other rack that Hick had made a couple weeks ago, that keeps blowing over when the wind kicks up.

"That carpenter guy said he didn't think it would be worth the time for him to do it, for what he'd have to charge. And the other guy told him to think about it."

"You should have told him that YOU could build him a fishing pole rack! You could charge him $50.00, and you'd make a good profit. How long did that take you to make?"

"It took me about 2 hours, once I had the lumber. I have to be careful. I didn't want to step on that carpenter's toes. If the guy comes back and the carpenter doesn't want to do it, I might offer to build it. You can't go making the sellers around you mad."

When I mentioned the grass seeding, Hick said, "I'll do that tomorrow."

We'll see. Literally. It's right out the front window.

Monday, April 16, 2018

One More First

Genius called Friday evening. Let the record show that Genius never calls just to chat.

"I want you to talk me into or discourage me from buying a new car."

"I can do that!"

Genius has been driving a 2006 Mercury Mariner since he went away to college in 2013. Hick got a good deal on it, and it was kind of a luxury version of a 2006 Mercury Mariner. Genius was perfectly happy with it, even though it had over 100,000 miles on it when he got it.

I was perfectly happy with that Mariner, since it withstood Genius's foray under the wheels of a semi truck, a la the Griswolds in Christmas Vacation. Okay. Genius didn't drive all the way under the truck. He fell asleep at the wheel on his 2-hours one-way commute home to his college apartment from his internship job, and merely bounced off a couple of the 18 wheels. A lesser car might have dented like a Diet Coke can.

With his Mariner getting older, and a daily commute of 36 miles, from Kansas City MO to Olathe KS...I figured Genius was ready to upgrade. After all, it's on his dime now! I'm pretty sure that advice was just what Genius wanted to hear. He had already looked up the new car he yearned for, and priced it and his trade-in. He had a dealer in mind. He had already called his insurance, and knew the monthly premium. In addition, Genius had set aside money for a down payment, and researched monthly loan payments.

"I think getting a new car is a good idea. The Mariner isn't going to last forever, and you need something dependable to get you to work. In any kind of weather."

"Okay, then. I'm going to buy a new car tomorrow."

Genius doesn't fiddle-fart around. He was off to look at the car of his dreams that evening, with plans to visit a second dealership on Saturday. They didn't have the exact color he wanted, but he said depending on the price, he might be persuaded.

Friday night, Genius was offered a deal that was less than what he'd planned on, with the exact car that he wanted. "Mom! It had SIX miles on it when I drove it!" However, cool-headed Genius got the offer in writing, and left the lot, still intent on visiting a second dealership. Which he did, on Saturday. He sent me a text while I was in the casino.

"Second place beat them by about $300 overall, although initially came in at $2000 higher. I just committed to $XX,XXX before my down payment."

"Okay. So you're getting it at the second place?"

"I am."

"Didn't come out ahead by a lot, but $300 is $300."

"Do you like the car as much?"

"They had the same one, actually. Just didn't have it online."


I won't show you the picture of Genius's car, because I didn't ask him for permission. But it's a Honda CR-V in Modern Steel, I think, with a gray interior with fake wood accents. I know it's AWD, and I'm pretty sure it's the EX-L version. Genius said it wasn't the base model, and it wasn't the fanciest.

I guess I'll have to call this one The CRaVe.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Leatherman Is Injured

One of the more recent treasures Hick unearthed in his storage unit swag was this:

It's a Leatherman Super Tool. Says so, right there on the side. Sad thing is, Leatherman is not so super these days.

He has only one good plier. If you are a tool aficionado, you will understand that pliers with only one plier can't ply. Don't even get me started on the similarities of the Leatherman Super Tool with a missing plier, and Hick, the sometimes super tool, with his Poparm. Sometimes, life imitates junk, I suppose.

Anyhoo...Hick says that Leatherman tools have a lifetime warranty. Like Case Knives. He wants to send it in and have it repaired. Hick already has a Leatherman Super Tool, but you know guys like Hick. They can never have too many tools. Hick says he might keep it, or sell it at his Storage Unit Store, asking $40 and accepting a $30 offer.

Of course, being Hick's enabler right-hand computer gal, it falls upon ME to get this process going. I checked out the Leatherman website, and found the form and instructions for returning an item. Also, the warranty is not for LIFE, but rather for 25 years. AND the rules are that it's a warranty for the original owner, and not somebody who bought in bulk, or from a flea market or yard sale or storage unit. Shh...

I filled out the information form, submitted, printed a copy with a bar code for return purposes. Hick loosely bagged his tool and shoved it in a box (heh, heh). I unrolled it from the three Country Mart plastic bags, and surrounded it with bubble wrap, then put it back in the Priority Mail box. Also filled out the address label, and ponied up the $7.20 shipping cost.

On the way to the Post Office, I leaned over the back porch rail to chat with Hick, who couldn't even be bothered to turn off the lawnmower (the surprise mower that cost $1700, not that I'm still bitter).

"The warranty is only for 25 years. Your tool looks pretty old."

"It's like mine. Mine's from 1998. So this one should be good."

"You might have to provide the original receipt." (As IF people hang onto those things for 25 years!)

"They won't ask for that."

"AND, they don't repair or replace for people selling them at flea markets."


We'll see what develops. I looked some up online, and a new Leatherman Super Tool is $79. I guess it's worth $7.20 to send it in and see what happens.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

I'm Getting a Cents of Feast of Famine

Yes, it's famine right now in the Future Pennyillionaire quest. The good news least I found TWO pennies this week. That makes two pennies since March 30th! That's only 1/7 of a penny per day! Oh, how I remember when Backroads was virtually flowing with pennies. Ladybugs sailed the indoor skies! Ah...those were the salad days. Or the SLAW days.

It's been a long dry spell. I didn't find my first recent penny until Wednesday, April 11. I had stopped by the dead-mouse-smelling post office to pick up a small flat rate box for Hick.

If I hadn't parked like an entitled jackass, and if I hadn't been putting that box in from the passenger side...I never would have found this one. Yes, I'm parked that far away from the curb! I ain't proud. There was a guy on a motorcycle in the space behind that one, and T-Hoe's backup beeper doesn't work, so I pulled in nose first, and this is evidence of why I shouldn't do that again.

This was a 1991. He was so skinned up that the 1991 is my best estimate. I'm pretty sure of the 99 part in the middle, and certain of the 1 in the front, because this isn't the year 2991. The last 1 is by a process of elimination, not seeing any curves, or a sticking-out part like from a 4 or 7. Face down, of course.

Then next penny was a pleasant surprise at Orb K on Friday, THE 13TH. I'd just climbed out of T-Hoe, and a little red car was acting like it wanted to park where I was standing with the door open. Even though the next actual parking space was across a five-foot wide yellow-striped handicap walkway.

I didn't budge, though, because I was trying to get this picture with the sun shining on my phone, and in fact my camera stopped working. So I only have this cropped version of a bad photo. You'll have to look close, but the penny is in that U shape of light by my head shadow. Right about in the middle of that U.

This was a 2005. Face up, though you can't tell from that angle, after my massive body eclipsed the sun. I snatched it up before the red-car guy could get out. Just in case he thought I'd found a treasure and was going to claim-jump me.

In old news, last Saturday, at the casino, I found a LOT of pennies, just waiting to pay me in a Miss Kitty slot machine on the Wonder 4 Wheel.

I've never won this jackpot before! It was in the middle of counting up my win when I snapped the picture. The jackpot was $208.25. Not a great fortune, but better than playing out the rest of my $3.60 and getting nothing! The jackpot resets to $200, so this was not a great feat.


For 2018: Penny #30, 31.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 8.
For 2018: Nickels still at #2.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny #108, 109.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Dime #14.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Nickel #2.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb #100 "The Bulky Blabbermouth"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. Stranger than fiction? This week's fake book pays homage to one of Val's fallen comrades in the Blogosphere. Some of you will recognize the similarity of this fake book's protagonist to one of her former regular readers. It's pure coincidence, though! Legally. Get your fake copy today, even if it means that you have less money to spend at the starving artist sale down at the Holiday Inn.

The Bulky Blabbermouth

Tired of his travels to the far corners of the world, the Bulky Blabbermouth has booked a vacation at Club Dead, in exotic New Jersey. His days are spent toasting his old friend, the Cantankerous Elderly Gentleman, with dirty-water cocktails, while Mrs. B and Mrs. C relax on the beach. The Bulky Blabbermouth is a shadow of his former self, and likes to parade around in short-shorts, a style he borrowed from another buddy, famous for crossing state lines.

Will Bulky return home to peacefully fill his days with painting masterpieces? Or will rabble-rousers hired by Goodwill picket his garage studio over his habit of haggling for lower-priced frames? (109 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Whales, waiting to beach themselves..."We wish this Blogosphere celebrity would clear out. We have NEEDS, you know! Unlike this fake book. Which NOBODY needs." 

The Beach..."I am so despondent after reading this fake book that I'm doing away with myself one grain at a time. Some people call it erosion, but I consider it my goodbye to this cold, cruel world of Thevictorian's fake literature."

Mysterious Carcasses of Mysterious Beasts, washed up on shore..."Much like Thevictorian, we don't know what is wrong with us. And, much like after fake-reading her fake writing, people grow nauseous when they see us."

Plum Island..."I'm in the vicinity, and I offer this fake author a FREE weekend getaway! Nobody deserves it more than she."

Pier..."I will selflessly make myself available for this author to take a loooong walk."

Sunburn..."The sting of this fake book never goes away. Not with time, not with a cold shower, not with a barrel of Unguentine."

Conch Shell..."I've heard that if you hold Thevictorian's head up to your can hear the ocean."

Hermit Crab..."My family tree is sawing off the branch that Thevictorian belongs to! We are ashamed that she takes the ideas of others, and uses them for her own fake books."

Tsunami..."The wave of Thevictorian's fake books over the past year has proven quite destructive. Warnings should be issued before each fake release."

Speargun..."Ain't THAT the truth! I am spearheading an effort to ban Thevictorian's fake literature. She is feeding us a line of crap, and many people have been triggered by her pointed barbs. If we put her under enough pressure, and give her enough rope...I think we can rig up a mechanism where Thevictorian gets the shaft."

Sex on the Beach..."I am one thing Thevictorian will never have! I will make it my life's work to keep myself out of her mouth. Even a dirty-water cocktail would be embarrassed to be tossed down Thevictorian's hatch. If she falls off the wagon, I will be so consumed with shame that I might just schnapp!"