Thursday, May 31, 2018

All Hands On Yecchhh

A couple days ago, Hick came into the homestead as I was getting ready to leave for town. He plopped down in the La-Z-Boy. Chatted just long enough to throw me off my stringent schedule.

"Well...I'm gonna go pee, and make me some lunch."

He went to the boys' bathroom, then to the kitchen, and started pawing through FRIG II.

"Did you eat all that roast beef?"

Sure. I ate an entire container of roast beef. Maybe that's why the Whos down in Whoville
never invited me for Christmas dinner, fearing they'd not get a cut of their roast beast. There are none so blind as a man who cannot see a container of roast beef right in front of him in FRIG II.

"It's right where it was. On the second shelf. On the right."

I heard him pop the lid. Rustle around, in what I assume was the act of opening a soft pack of Land O Frost wafered ham. I went into the kitchen and saw Hick at the cutting block, up to his elbow in a bag of deli-style pepper jack cheese.

"You didn't wash your hands, did you?"

"Listen to you. Always on me."

"That doesn't answer the question. I KNOW you've been digging through your junk (heh, heh, not THAT kind) this morning. You come in the house and plop down. Then you go pee. I guarantee you didn't do that hands-free. Yet I didn't hear any water running in the sink..."

"You don't eat my cheese anyway."

"Maybe that's why!"

"My hands aren't dirty."
"Sure. How would you like it if I went out and pulled ticks off the dogs. Then grabbed them a handful of cat kibble. Then scratched my butt. THEN made your food. Without washing my hands?"

"Maybe you do. I don't know."

Seriously? I just can't. Hick never takes responsibility for his actions. He always tries to deflect. I'm surprised he doesn't just resort to "I know you are, but what am I?" That's about as mature.

Even when Hick DOES wash his hands, the top of the paper towel roll gets black fingerprints where he holds it down to tear one off.

It's like washing his hands makes them dirtier.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Kind of Like Geraldo Opening Al Capone's Vault

Hick took his paintings to the city yesterday, to have them appraised at two auction houses (for free). Let the record show that I will continue buying lottery tickets. And that Hick has a job interview scheduled for Thursday. More on that another day.

Turns out Hick's Art Gallery grand opening in Shackytown will not reach fruition. Nor will we be able to retire (whoops, we're already retired) on the profits from his storage unit paintings. But we already knew that, didn't we? Hick, the eternal optimist, was the one holding out hope. In fact, he even told the ex-mayor my sister's husband that he saw one of those naked lady painting on eBay for $15,000. When we all know it was offered for $10,000.

Anyhoo...Hick and The Veteran took their paintings to the city, first to Selkirk, which has a last-Tuesday open appraisal every month. Hick said they walked in and saw two girls (most likely WOMEN) behind desks, so he assumed they were receptionists, but they were the ones doing the appraising. Except the one who looked at the paintings said she didn't really know anything about paintings, but that later in the day, another guy would be there. Hick didn't plan to wait, so this gal looked up the paintings ON THE INTERNET! Which Hick had done, and The Veteran, and Val too. So Hick was not impressed. He did not feel like filling out a contract and leaving his paintings there to be auctioned.

Next, Hick and The Veteran took their paintings to Kodner, after first calling and being told they could get a free appraisal before 11:30 or after 1:30. I guess people in the city take long lunches. Anyhoo...Hick said the Kodner guy, who does appraisals for Antiques Roadshow, seemed to know what he was talking about. Here are the details, as best I remember them from Hick's soliloquy with me a passive lump on the short couch.

This gal, sans her lacy bra courtesy of Val and Paint, is worthless according to Kodner, because she has a crack (heh, heh) in her paint, and a portion of her canvas that sags. Though he did say that a painting like her (by the same painter, Larry Vincent Garrison), sold for $150 according to their records.

Hick has a buddy up at the storage units who wanted this lady-painting, so he's going to offer and counter-offer her to him. He's pretty sure they'll reach a fair price. He's hoping to end up with $50 minimum.

The stallion on black velvet by Mexican artist Ortiz was valued at $50-75 by Kodner. The owner of the whole storage unit complex has shown great interest. In fact, he told Hick that if he'd seen it first, it would not have been in that storage unit when he sold it to Hick. So Hick is going to give him first chance at it. I would imagine the guy will get it for a good price, because Hick knows that one hand washes the other (probably not a good reference for Hick), and he likes getting notified of good units as they become available.

As Kodner was looking over this desert painting, Hick joked, "I could have painted that one!" And Kodner agreed. He said the paint was just dabbed on, that the brush strokes did not indicate an artist who knew what they were doing. Not in so many words, but that's the gist of it. He said Hick might be able to get $50 for it, but it would need a better frame.

Hick knows two gals who were looking at it, commenting that it would go great in a certain room at their local cowboy church. So he's going to offer it to them. He didn't state his price, but with them being gals, and it going in a church, I'm guessing he'll be reasonable, and that they'll think they got a bargain.

Kinkade's "A New Day Dawning" might bring $50-75, according to Kodner. The Ex-Mayor has expressed his liking for this one, but I don't know if his pockets are deep enough for Hick's liking. I think Ex-Mayor was willing to take it off Hick's hands and give it a home, though not necessarily be a purchaser.

This dark beach scene is actually some kind of metal, not a velvet painting as I first thought. The receptionist gal at the first gallery sent a picture to the painting guy who wasn't there. So they at least found it interesting. Kodner told Hick that it needs to be washed. That nothing will come off of it. And that it might bring $50-100. Something about it gives me the creeps.

Hick revealed no specific details on this river painting, other than Kodner said it might be worth $50.

So...that's where we stand on Hick's gallery. The grand reveal wasn't what he'd hoped for, but he's already moving on. He's put some of them on Buy/Sell/Trade. The Kinkade had 3 views, but no offers, when I last talked to him about an hour after he listed it. He put it up for $100, but is hoping for $50.

Like Hick said, "Even if we can get a total of $300-$350 out of them, that's pretty good money." He and The Veteran only have $50 each invested in this storage unit, and $65 already taken in from other items.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

New Info On a Subject That Was Tabled

After much nagging coaxing, Hick has provided us a full picture of the table some of you were curious about, from the background of the grandfather clock photo.

It is indeed a pretty little table, but in rough shape. It appears to be real wood. I thought it was unique, but when I quizzed Hick on the specs, he revealed that this table is really not so special.

"Oh, THAT table? I had two just like it that I bought at the auction for $7. Then I sold them to my buddy up at the storage units for $20. So I made $13 off them! They were in way better shape than this one."

"Yeah...but some people distress them on purpose."

"That's what HE does! He'll make money off them when he sells them. This one was in my storage unit. So it didn't really cost me nothin'. [I think he's forgetting that he bought the storage unit]. I figure I can get $10 out of it."

There must be some way to rough up this table more, or sand it down to be pretty. I'm going to believe Hick when he says he can get $10 for it, because I like its design.

Hick says furniture doesn't sell well at all. But Monday afternoon, he met a lady up at his Storage Unit Store to sell her a 21-quart pressure cooker that he'd listed on the local Buy/Sell/Trade. PLUS, he talked her into some mason jars. She's a canner.

I warned Hick, during his scheming to load up some mason jars and just happen to have them sitting there when she bought the pressure cooker..."She might not have the money. This IS a holiday weekend. It might not be easy to get cash. The ATMs run out."

Good news is, that lady paid Hick $100 for the pressure cooker. She wanted the mason jars, for which he was asking $20, but she said, "Oh, I don't think I have enough money on me!" After digging through her purse and counting out change, she came up with $17.

Hick took it. A sale is a sale.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Taste Is on the Tongue of the Perceiver

Yesterday Hick grilled some bratwursts and hot dogs for supper. For my contribution, I set a tub of one-day-to-expiration Walmart slaw on the cutting block, and opened a can of Bush's Maple Cured Bacon beans. Oh, and I diced an onion, too, because Hick likes to add it to his beans, but not have it cooked with them.

Actually, I offered Hick those beans like he was choosing from a wine menu. I went out on the side porch where he was presiding over Gassy G, and asked if he'd rather have the Maple Bacon or a new kind, Bush's Grillin' Beans, Steakhouse Recipe. At first Hick tried to wriggle off the hook and make me choose, but I grilled him (heh, heh, GET IT? I grilled him, while he was grilling our supper) until he picked the Maple Bacon. Which is just as well, because I only bought the Steakhouse Recipe last week, and when I took the Maple Bacon out of the pantry, the expiration date was June 2018.

Jack was dancing around on the back porch, thinking I had something to give him, when all I had was a can of Steakhouse Recipe beans in my hand. He was actually dancing, like a circus poodle, all up on his hind legs, which is a precious sight to see, what with Jack's extra-long body. He had great balance. He's like the Baryshnikov of half-dachshunds.

"No, no, Jack! I don't have anything for you! I can't pet you. I just washed my hands."

Jack took it pretty well. He looked like he'd just taken a dip in the fake fish pond recently, not dripping, but not dry, either.

I went back inside to switch out the beans. I used my hand-crank can opener, and shook those beans into a copper-bottom saucepan. After first pouring out some of the liquid into a red Solo cup. Not that I was going to drink it, of course. Hick likes his beans like his soup: without liquid. But I added a little bit back, because that's where the flavor comes from.

I moved to FRIG II for an onion out of the crisper. You're probably not supposed to reFRIGerate onions, but I do. As I was grabbing one just the right size for dicing and feeding to Hick, I felt something sticky between my ring finger and bad finger on my left hand.

"Huh. I must have got some of the Maple Bacon bean juice on me!"

Without further thought, I put the onion in my right hand, shoved that crisper closed with my left, and stood up, licking the bean juice off my hand.

Except it wasn't bean juice.



I guess I hadn't rinsed my hands thoroughly, singing the Alphabet Song, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (they're the same melody, you know) to gauge the proper amount of time for killing germs. Perhaps I'd shortcut the process in order to get outside quicker to Hick. No good ever comes of that. And now I'd eaten soap, without even getting in a good string of swear words. Bath and Body Works Deep Cleansing Lemon and Mint!

At that moment, Hick came in to ask me something, but my mouth was so soapy that it's a wonder it wasn't foaming. I guess I bluffed an answer good enough, because Hick went back outside.

No way was I going to tell him that I washed my own mouth out with soap.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Breast Laid Plans

Saturday, I had to drive over to Bill-Paying town for a yearly mammogram. It's not high on the list of things I enjoy, but since I'm retired, it's not like I have any other pressing engagements. I was instructed to arrive 15 minutes early. The drive takes me 45 minutes if I don't get behind a tractor or a bicycle road race or encounter construction slowdowns. I also allow time to stop by the bathroom before checking in, because you never know how long you'll have to wait after arriving early.

The volunteer greeter at the hospital information desk was excessively cheerful and perky. I guess she's retired, too! She reminded me of Joyce Bulifant, the 1970s perky actress. The minute I stepped through the sliding-doors, she hollered joyfully across the lobby, "HOW CAN I HELP YOU?"

"Well...I was planning to go to the bathroom first..."

"Oh! Well. Go ahead!"

So glad I had her permission. I went past the desk and did my business, then came back. She directed me to sit in the arrangement of chairs I had just walked past twice. A man soon arrived and asked for Vee. Not really. But it wasn't exactly Val. He used a diminutive form of my real name, not the official legal one that is on all my hospital and doctor nurse practitioner records. So I wasn't sure he was talking to me. It's like somebody named Joseph getting up when they called for Joe. It's probably the right person, but possibly not. I asked to make sure, and went with him to his cubicle.

Once my information was updated, cubicle man called a volunteer to take me back to the mammogram waiting area. They've changed it since "updating" the hospital. It used to be an L-shaped kind of suite. I am not a fan of progress. There used to be a little waiting room, with a changing room adjoining it. You were let in to change right before your appointment, told to go into the adjoining-to-it mammo machine room when you were ready, and leave your stuff in that changing room. The door to the waiting room was locked, so that no one else was getting into the changing room until you were dressed, and left through the waiting room. Easy peasy. The only problem being that one time the fire alarm went off while I was changing (what are the odds of THAT?) and I had to go out in the hall until they made sure it was just a drill.

Anyhoo...NOW there is a different waiting room, with the entrance on a different hall. The volunteer told me as we entered the empty waiting room, "Here's the waiting room. Men come in here too." Then she took me to the adjoining changing room, told me to change, and GO SIT IN THE WAITING ROOM! How jacked-up is THAT? "You should put on one of these. And if you don't feel comfortable, you can also put on one of these." She first pointed to the patterned white-and-floral bat-wing kind of shawl thingy with snaps down the front. About as long as a football half-shirt jersey. That's what you wear during the mammogram, and they flap part of it over your shoulder for maximum exposure while squeezing the goods between two slabs of plexiglass. She next pointed to a pink kind of short-sleeved scrub shirt that wrapped around with no snaps, and had a tie like a martial-arts robe.

I figured if I was covered up with that scrub shirt, it wouldn't matter if I had on the bat-wings thingy. The technician would just tell me to take my arm out of the sleeve, and I'd be exposed as much at the other garb would allow. No way was I going out in a waiting room where MEN might be, wearing only that bat-wing thingy. And why should I have to double-up on my exam clothing?

Seriously, guys! How about if you were going to have a prostate exam, and the doc wanted you all read for easy access when you entered the exam room? So the worker who led you to the changing room gave you a little loincloth to wear, and told you that you might be sitting in the waiting room with women? Okay. You'd probably like that exposure. But I, for one, do not.

Anyhoo...I was sitting in the waiting room, all undressed/dressed, at 9:45. Early, you know, for my 10:00 appointment. At 10:00, another lady was shown in, taken into the dressing room. The volunteer dropped her paperwork through a mail slot in the wall under the TV. New Patient came out wearing both exam garments, and made small talk. At 10:10, the mammogram technician came out of the mammo machine room. She looked right at me, and then said, "Her time was actually scheduled before yours." How she knew who I was, and who the other lady was, and which of us arrived first...I don't know. Unless there's a hidden camera watching the waiting room.

"Okay. That's fine." I knew I was early. No big deal. Even though I was there before the LATE New Patient, who obviously arrived 15 minutes after her appointment time. Still. Nobody made me get there early. And what else was I going to tell that technician? Something like, "Fie on you, you boob-squeezing tyrant!" Nope. I was okay with waiting. Maybe she really took that New Patient ahead of me because SHE was wearing both of the proper shirts, and had put her own clothing in the see-through plastic bag, while I had stuffed mine into my movie theater purse, having first removed the shaker of 3-year-old fake butter flavoring at home.

I was finally called in at 10:25, where the mammo tech ignored me momentarily to sit at her desk behind the machine, saying, "I'm transferring your records from the old system to the new one. That's why I'm running behind." Uh huh. Because ever since that hospital was eaten up by a big conglomerate, it makes sense to pay mammogram technician wages for data entry work.

Anyhoo...the actual exam only took about 10 minutes, and it didn't matter one whit which of the provided clothing I wore. I'm just sayin' men should resist the urge to invade the mammogram waiting room.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Val's Pennycents Was on Alert

Coming down to the wire this week, I'd at least scored ONE SINGLE PENNY to save my Saturday Cents installment. So the pressure was off. I was not desperate to nab another. Which meant, I guess, that my penny-finding muscle could relax, and let my penny-sense take over.

Here's the penny that found me on MONDAY, May 21st. I had no business finding it, you see. A change of plans put me there. Actually, it was my foul temper that put me there. I had every intention of stopping by Waterside Mart on my way home from a doctor nurse practitioner appointment. I was not pleased with the behavior of some office workers, and when I saw that my three favorite parking places at Waterside Mart were taken (TAKEN), I went on by, deciding to purchase my scratchers at Country Mart.

Turning into Country Mart's drive, I saw that two of my favorite parking spots there were also taken. TAKEN! So I went down the row to my third-favorite, put T-Hoe in PARK, climbed out, and saw...

A penny waiting just for me! Take THAT, Waterside Mart!

It was a 2016, which, as you can see (if you zoom in), was FACE DOWN. I'd like to say it brought me luck on scratchers, but sadly, it did not.

On FRIDAY, May 25, almost zero hour for penny-finding, what with me preparing my posts a day very first stop provided my penny. I was headed to the main post office to mail the weekly letters for Genius and The Pony, and I needed to pick up two scratchers (at two different places) to stick in Genius's envelope.

I went into Orb K, surveyed the ticket board as I waited, second in line, then stepped up to request my scratchers. Wait a minute! What's this? A PENNY? A penny laying on the advertising mat on the counter. Not near the register. On the edge, almost teetering. A loose penny! Waiting for me to pick it up! Not on the floor. Not near the TAKE A PENNY dish. It was a good two feet diagonally away from that penny-dish. As soon as the clerk squatted down to tear off my tickets, I scooped that penny off the counter and put it in my pants pocket.

That's not stealing, is it? Because I really don't want that on my permanent record! I figured a penny on the counter is fair game. It doesn't belong to the store. The customer ahead of me had a chance at it, and didn't take it with him. Maybe someone had found it on the floor and laid it on the counter! Saving me a step in my penny harvest. I didn't get a picture, though, because I didn't want to look suspicious. Didn't want to draw attention to myself. I was pretty happy walking out the door with my new penny, which turned out to be a 1994 (the Genius year, how fitting) which had been FACE DOWN on the counter.

My second stop on the way to the post office was Waterside Mart, for two more tickets. Surely you don't think I'd buy one for Genius and not get one for myself! I got my business done, and decided to make use of their restrooms, since I still had a couple more errands ahead of me. I got THAT business done, and on the way out, taking the next aisle over that I wouldn't have been on if I'd not made that pit stop...I saw a PENNY ON THE FLOOR!

Uh huh. Right there on the large gray tiles of Waterside Mart. Forgive me for not getting a picture! There was a worker there on his knees, opening a cardboard box to stock a shelf. His head was about two feet away from my intended penny. I didn't want any questions, so I merely stooped to pick it up, and slid it into my shirt pocket. This one was a 1992, also FACE DOWN.

Once home, I figured you did deserve some kind of picture. I know how you look forward to Saturday Cents!!!

There they are, waiting to join their brethren Abes in the penny goblet. Not that grungy dime over in the corner of the picture! That's actually after I brought it back in the house and tried to scrub it! I was getting my 44 oz Diet Coke money ready last week, and couldn't tell if it was a dime or a penny, except by comparing the size. I didn't want The Gas Station Chicken Store clerk to think I was pulling a fast one, and passing off a penny for a dime. It came from the change I bought from Hick out of his Storage Unit Store collection. two newest pennies look like they have different Abe Lincolns on them. They're like fraternal twins, not identical.

Yes, Friday was a good day for Val. Two pennies found in her first two stops. And on the last stop, at The Gas Station Chicken Store, a LADYBUG appeared right in front of my eyes as I pulled up to the moat to park! I grabbed my phone to take a picture.

What? You don't see the ladybug? That's because it was too fast for me, and crawled up onto the roof while my camera was snapping the picture. I got a nice shot of a storm cloud, though. And the tops of the lights in the CeilingReds parking lot.

But WAIT! Rocketing even closer to the zero hour of 4:49 p.m., when this pre-prepared Saturday Cents was supposed to publish itself on SATURDAY, May 26th...I found ANOTHER penny on my way into Orb K at 11:40 a.m. Ain't that always how it goes? I swear, if I'd had a hoarder house stuffed with small metal forks, and was going to be evicted in two hours for over-forking...I bet I couldn't PAY a teenage girl to throw one way with her paper plate of barbecue!

Anyhoo...I saw this penny on the way in, right on the corner where the two sidewalks come together, where Orb K has now installed a brand-spankin'-new FREE AIR machine. I went past it, because a lady in a black SUV had just parked there, after first pulling in beside T-Hoe way down at the end space, even though this one and four others between us were empty. I figured she'd be gone when I came out, and I could abscond with my rightful penny.

But NO!!! She was still there. Hang it all! I said to myself, speaking like Huck Finn in Tom Sawyer. I'm taking my rightful penny, and I'm taking a picture to prove it happened! Though I WAS careful not to bend over with my ample rumpus facing the windshield of that black SUV. LOOK! You can even see part of her bumper in my picture. She had pulled closer, and was hanging over the sidewalk since I went inside. I'm sure it wasn't to thwart my penny-pinching.

Face down, it was, a 1994 (the Genius year). Funny how I'd just been texting Genius before I went in Orb K, about his new pet, a rescue doggie. So...I found four pennies this week, and ALL were face down. Maybe The Universe is trying to tell me something. I'm not pickin' up what it's layin' down. Except those face-down pennies.

Yeah, Friday seemed to be my lucky day. Not for my scratchermania, though. Only won $5.

Still...sometimes two pennies and a ladybug make you feel richer than a scratcher jackpot.


For 2018: Pennies # 40, 41, 42, 43.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 8.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 2.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 118, 119, 120, 121.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Dime # 14.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Nickel # 2.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Maiming of the Shaming Bracelet

You might recall that one of my Christmas gifts from Genius was a Fitbit type of wrist monitor gadget (made by Garmin, of course) that counts my steps and distance walked every day. It beeps if I'm not on track to meet my daily goal, so I refer to it as the Shaming Bracelet. Still, I strap that judgmental finger-pointer on my arm every morning, and wear it until I go to bed.

Several times, the Shaming Bracelet has tried to abandon Val, throwing itself down 5 of the 13 basement stairs, dashing itself to the floor mat of T-Hoe, and on Wednesday, diving to the hardwood floor of my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel's country palace. I was lucky to find my fitness friend each time, and re-apply him to my wrist.

Last night, I made a horrific discovery.


I take full responsibility. At least once a day, my Shaming Bracelet catches on something. Perhaps the loops of the plastic Walmart bags I used to carry two bubba cups full of ice, and one 44 oz Diet Coke down to my dark basement lair. Or tangled in the tatters of my favorite old shredded baby blue sweatshirt that I toss on to ward off the chill of the air conditioner. So perhaps this prong has been compromised daily for the past five months.

That's how it latches. Two opposing prongs slip into notches on the band. Then you turn a dial that holds them in place.

This morning (barely) around 11:50 a.m., I bemoaned the loss of my Shaming Bracelet to Hick. He was kicked back in the La-Z-Boy waiting on his tighty-whities to finish drying (the LAUNDRY, people, he didn't have an accident), and I was on the short couch, prolonging my trip to town.

"I'll have to tell Genius. Maybe there's a way to fix it. I've been putting it in my shirt pocket, but I don't think that counts all my steps."

"Can't you just tape it?"

"That would look stupid! But I guess I could."

See? That's the problem. I sometimes listen to Hick. I went to the living room closet and found six rolls of tape in disposable dispensers left over from Christmas that we'll be looking for come Christmas. I took one and (after scraping my finger on the serrated plastic edge) tore off a little piece of tape. Do you know how hard it is to try and slide a piece of clear tape between your wrist and your Shaming Bracelet without it bending or sticking? With no offer of help from you Sweet Baboo who came up with the idea, only inches away?

I finally got the tape under the band of my Shaming Bracelet, wrapped it around, and stuck it to itself.


"Hey! How am I supposed to get this off tonight?"

"Haha! I guess you'll have to cut it."

"The scissors won't fit between the tape and the band!"

"Well, I guess you'll have to use a sharp knife."

"I don't think we have a knife THAT sharp in this house."

"Sure we do. There's a couple. I have a pocket knife--"

"I am NOT letting you near my wrist with a sharp knife!"

Let the record show, people, that I have NOT been feeling depressed. If something happens to me involving a slashed wrist, Hick needs to be interrogated six ways to Sunday while hooked up to a polygraph. I'm pretty sure he's trying to kill me, you know.

I sent Genius a picture. Even though he was working, and I was stealing Garmin's time. I felt entitled. It was THEIR Shaming Bracelet. Which Genius had told me was virtually indestructible.

"How ratchet is THIS?"

"How'd you break it!"

"My Shaming Bracelet is maimed! One of the prongs broke off the fastener. It has gotten caught on things. Dad said to tape it, but now I'll have to risk cutting my wrist to get it off! Do they have replacement fastener thingies I could pop in?"

"I'll have to look."

By bedtime, that tape had loosened a bit. So I was able to escape without spilling any blood.

Until Genius finds a solution, I suppose I can tape it on every morning, and cut it off every night. At least I didn't let Hick tape in on. He'd probably use gray duct tape, at tourniquet tightness. Or loop it around my neck for good measure.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Unit 19 Was a Keeper

I have been revealing items Hick found in his latest storage unit acquisition. He doesn't even know everything he got yet. He and his son The Veteran each paid $50 for it, and hauled everything to Hick's Freight Container Garage. The guy who runs the storage unit facility had called Hick to offer it to him, and let him look inside. I'm not sure how they came up with the selling price, but Hick partnered with The Veteran because he needed the manpower to move everything in two days.

Hick was at a funeral on Monday for an old classmate. Went out to lunch with still-kickin' classmates after. So he was not around to help The Veteran and his wife clean out some of the junk, like unsellable clothes. Though Hick said he, himself, would have donated them to the local church thrift store. Too bad, so sad, because The Veteran cast them outside, and they got drenched in the rain.

One item they DID know about was a grandfather clock.

I think it's kind of attractive. It's a Daniel Dakota brand, the least valuable of the three big grandfather clock companies. They're sold at Walmart and other chains. Hick says this one is solid wood, not veneer. I think that design on the face is called a Blue Moon pattern. I haven't found any grandfathers just like this one as I've perused internet clocks. That little burst pattern up top, and the design at the bottom add appeal. Hick has listed this noble chronometer for $160.

Sadly, this picture was taken by Hick over in his Freight Container Garage, where the guys have piled all that stuff willy-nilly. So much for building an expensive, unnecessary garage with an also expensive car lift thingy in it. I knew it would never be used as a garage.

You might notice, on the left side of the clock, the ProForm 390E elliptical machine. I saw a new one for $359. Hick went to his Storage Unit Store yesterday morning at 9:00 to meet a lady who wanted this elliptical machine, which he had listed on the local Buy/Sell/Trade. She paid $60 for it. Said that she pays $50 a month for a gym membership, and now she can exercise at home with her own elliptical. She lives in a more remote area even than Backroads. So she'll probably save a pretty penny on gas to get to the gym, too.

That's our Hick. Improving people's lives one piece of junk at a time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Patrons, Don't Let Your Paintings Grow Old Locked in Storage

Okay, all you fine-art aficionados, here are the other masterpieces that Hick found in his newest storage unit acquisition.

You might remember Hick's penchant for taking photos with a tiny subject in the center, and way too much surroundings surrounding it. I guess he did a little better this time, but apparently, he does not know that you can tap the screen on your phone and FOCUS on the important part. I had asked for another set of painting pictures, but the second batch was worse than the first, except maybe the horsie. Oh, and he included a new one that he'd not even mentioned. Here they are, with as much as I know about them.

This is a Thomas Kinkade, "A New Day Dawning." It looks to have been professionally framed. I think Walmart sells them. I've seen them listed between $15 and $225. I can't zoom in to read what's in the box or on that label, because Hick lacks focus.

This is a black velvet painting signed by the Mexican black-velvet-painter "Ortiz." Hick said it's labeled "Stallion." Or maybe that's just what he called it, though I'd think in Hick terminology it would be, "I've got me a horse." I think I saw it listed somewhere for $75, but I'm getting kind of foggy on my painting-search memory.

Hick says this one is signed "Alberta," but to me it looks more like Abberta. Or else the signer momentarily forgot how to spell their own name. I couldn't find anything like this one. Maybe it was painted by the previous owner of the storage unit.

I don't know anything about this one. No signature. Nothing. It's a river with nice lighting, and a shed being built or falling apart.

This one appeared for the first time today. I haven't had a chance to ask Hick anything about it. At first glance, I found it creepy, like a skull in a bathing suit. But when I zoomed in, I saw a woman. This also looks like a velvet painting.

As you might notice, Hick has spared no expense in his art gallery. Tasteful tubs support his priceless (currently) works of art. He'll know more next Tuesday, when he takes them to the city to be appraised.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hick Isn't Half the Five-Dollar Daughter That Val Was

Going through the swag of his latest storage unit acquisition, Hick found more money. Not a big jar of coins (from which I have already purchased over $40 in assorted denominations, for exact change to get my daily 44 oz Diet Coke), but paper money.

Okay. The Truth in Blogging Law requires me to reveal that Hick found a single bill. Technically, it was less than a single bill.

"Take this to the bank for me. They'll give you another one."

"I don't think so."

"Yeah they will."

"I thought you had to have more than half."

Because what a sweet deal THAT would be! Tearing all your bills in half and taking the pieces to assorted banks to double your money!

"I found it in the storage unit. It ain't gonna hurt to ask."

"Well. No. It won't hurt YOU. I'm the one asking. I bet they won't give me a five. This looks like less than half."

"If they do fine, and if not fine."

"Okay...I'm the one who'll look like a pauper."


Now what was THAT supposed to mean? That I wouldn't be the one? Or that I wouldn't look like a pauper? Because obviously, I was the person taking that scrap of scrip into the bank. And somebody with money to burn wouldn't be trying to get five dollars for something that should go in the wastebasket.

When I stepped up to the teller, she looked unsure.

"My husband found this in a storage unit, and said you'd give me a new one for it. I told him I didn't think so." Just to show her, you know, that I wasn't a beggar, jonesin' for a fiver to buy a scratcher, or HEROIN.

She asked the teller working the drive-thru window. "Can we give a five for just a part of one?"

"It has to show all the numbers..."

Aha! I KNEW that the entire serial number was on there--

"...on both sides."

Well. So much for that.

I brought that scrap back home so Hick can keep it as a souvenir to remember his 19th storage unit.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Synchronicity Will NOT Be Denied!

In a case of blog literary art imitating Val's stagnant life...I bemoaned a lack of pennies from heaven last week. I had that blog post all written, had dotted every i, crossed every t, set it to publish automatically. And then of course I went to town on Saturday, and found a penny at 1:05, several hours before the grand reveal.

"Well, Val," you might say, "are you so gosh-darn lazy that you can't add a picture and a paragraph to that post?" No. No, I am not. The problem, you see, is that I did NOT get a picture. NOR the penny!

It was my last stop, at Orb K. I had parked in the farthest space, and surveyed both sides of the sidewalk, and the parking lot, on the way in. While waiting in the left line, I had scoped out the floor. Nothing. Not by the ice cream cooler, not up under the edge of the counter, not in my line or the one on the right. Nothing. Not even when I looked around the doors, and saw a 44 oz cup of what looked like water sitting on the ground. No pennies.

I traded in Hick's winning ticket (!) for $10, and joshed with the clerk, who had to scratch off the bar code because Hick is a rank amateur in the scratcher business. I got him two more tickets, and paid for some for myself. I picked them up and turned to leave, and SAW A PENNY glittering on the floor over at the next register.

MAN DOWN! That penny was the one we left behind, blogfriends, because there were too many witnesses to Val's crazy. Three customers in line. I'm not averse to making a fool of myself taking a picture and stooping to scoop up a penny if those line people are being me. But no, I will not walk over in front of a group to claim a floor penny. Same with the picture.

That penny was not there when I stepped up to make my transaction. Obviously, it had fallen while I was right there to find it. Yet I spurned the gift.

I thought about it on the way home. "Just let it go, Val. There'll be other pennies. You saw it. That's enough."

I passed Hick's Storage Unit Store, and saw that business was booming. Full parking lot. Good for him. The day was a little overcast, but 84 degrees. I love this time of year. Mid-May, when school lets out for the summer. The greenery bursting out all over. The smell in the air that makes me think of dreams for the summer ahead. Graduation at my old school was the next day. That made me think of The Pony's graduation, and my retirement, in 2016. Which led me to think how we were sad that my mom missed The Pony's own valedictory speech. That made me think about Mom's last visit with The Pony, in February 2015.

Yes, as T-Hoe chugged up the gravel hill that Hick and Buddy blacktopped over the bumps, I was reminiscing about Mom sitting in her own OPC (Old People Chair) at the nursing home during her rehab, with The Pony lounging on her bed texting, and informing her that he'd just sealed the deal on a prom date. His first ever date of any kind, actually. And we all rejoiced. I was happy that she was able to share that event.

A quarter mile later, I turned in the driveway, flipping stations on T-Hoe's radio. WAIT! It was that song, "Holes in the Floor of Heaven," by Steve Wariner. The song I always associate with my mom.

Sometimes, The Universe has to bonk Val over the head to show her that she's on the right path.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Could a HICK GALLERY Be On the Horizon?

Hick's building spree has been sidelined by his Storage Unit Store. Between selling there on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and going to auctions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays...he barely has time to lift a hammer any more. Hick's Shackytown has not zoned in any new structures for over a year. Maybe longer.

With his newest storage unit purchase, a 50-50 venture with his son The Veteran, Hick acquired some fine art. I showed you the painting of this Phone-A-Lisa last week (with an added brassiere, courtesy of Paint and Val), but here it is again. Just because, heh, heh.

Too bad our old blog buddy Stephen hung up his blogging hobby. He might have been able to advise Hick on hanging out a shingle for a Storage Unit Gallery of fine art such as this. Here's what Hick has discovered since sending out that picture to people who didn't really want it.

This painting, Hick says, is in the neighborhood of 12" x 18". Or maybe 18" x 24". You know how men are with measurements. It is oil on canvas, by Larry Vincent Garrison. Garrison was a former marine who became a portrait artist. He branched off from painting families to paint nudes. He has paintings hanging in Vegas casino lobbies, and galleries throughout the world. Garrison did most of his originals on masonite. The painting Hick found is an oil transfer on canvas. Whatever that means.

Here's the thing. The Veteran did some research, and found a Larry Vincent Garrison painting on eBay for $10,000. That's right. I said TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! Of course, that's just the listing. It hasn't sold for that. This got Hick and The Veteran all excited (more than just their excitement at viewing the painting). They know that they'll get nowhere near that amount for their naked lady. They're hoping to come out of it with a hundred dollars apiece.

Hick is going to take that naked lady to the city next week, to an auction house that holds walk-in appraisal days on the last Tuesday of the month. Hick hopes to sell it to the auction house outright if they give him an offer, or list it with them if the commission isn't too high. Because what is he going to do, really, with a painting of a naked lady? He's going to ask about the fair market value, and make his decision based on that.

He also found other paintings in that storage unit. I guess they're not as TITillating , because he hasn't sent me any pictures of them. He says he has a black stallion in a desert on velvet. No poker-playing dogs, as far as I know.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saved By the Mail, From Another Centsless Shutout

I was afraid I'd have to run a Hick story today (don't worry, I have plenty) due to a drought in pennies falling from heaven this week. However, at the last moment, I was SAVED by the mail.

Pardon my Paint skills. Seems I can draw a lacy bra on a nude portrait, but I can't fill an outline with the paint bucket. Even after TWO YouTube tutorials!

You might notice that even though The Universe dropped this sweet mailbox penny on Val, it gave a snide little laugh when making sure that penny was FACE DOWN!

The envelope might look a bit warped, but it's nothing compared to the Mother's Day card I received from The Pony.

No, I did not take a semester of private tutoring in Paint. I used the MARKER instead of the PAINT BUCKET, and painstakingly colored it in. Because I'm selfless like that, wanting to brighten up your reading experience with pictures. looks like either The Pony carried this around for a while to age it like fine cheese, or the post offices of Norman OK and Backroads MO were in cahoots to destroy Val's paper love before she could get it. This Mother's Day card arrived on Thursday. Let the record show that The Pony had warned me it would be late, even though he told a harping Hick that he was mailing it the Tuesday BEFORE Mother's Day.

I might have gotten it a little sooner, had my incompetent mailman lady put it in the actual mailbox to which it was addressed. Hick got a text from our across-the-road neighbor, the human mom of the killer poodle and crazy Rottweiler, that she'd gotten our mail in her box, and she would be putting it in ours the next day.

Don't that just beat all? The ONE DAY that I am late snooping through her mailbox to see if something of mine has been put in the day it's been put in there, but she picks up her mail before me! Dang! It's like I just patched a crack in my concrete steps, and then a guy goes walking by with a wheelbarrow of concrete...

Oh, and she also had the DISH bill that I'd been anticipating for days. Meaning that I finally got it on the 17th, with it being due by the 25th. In case you haven't been picking up what I've been laying down, mail travels in and out of Backroads at a pace slower than a lame Pony Express nag catching a ride on the back of a turtle.

Oops! Let's not forget the Future Pennyillionaire Fortune update:


For 2018: Penny # 39.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 8.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 2.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 117.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Dime # 14.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Nickel # 2.

Friday, May 18, 2018

THIS is Why My Rotors Can't Rest

I like to think that I'm always available for my boys, should they have questions about how to survive on their own. Like how to cook a hamburger. How to get into your locked car on the Walmart parking lot if your clicker has a dead battery. Where to find Vicks VapoRub, because there aren't any of those little jars on the pharmacy shelves.

So when The Pony sent me these pictures, I felt obligated to assist.

"Should I be concerned this was just sitting out?"

"Dang! You need to report that! Hope you didn't step in it. Wouldn't want you to lose a hoof! Is it by your door? Since you're in university housing, I would think that could leave them open to a lawsuit. What if a visiting toddler got into it?"

"It's labeled CORROSIVE. It was sitting outside when I went to get the laptop, gone when I got back."

"Oh, no! They contaminated your living quarters! Probably had a clogged drain somewhere."

I showed Hick the picture, and he said it was chlorine. Although the bucket says CONTAINS SODIUM HYDROXIDE. Hick wasn't so much worried about The Pony stepping in it as he was with him breathing it.

You can bet either one of us would have been on the phone to the apartment complex office, asking why this leaking corrosive was sitting outside our apartment. I guess kids these days are so used to being bubble-wrapped and protected, they don't think anything dangerous would be left out in the open like that.

At least The Pony knows that CORROSIVE is usually not a good thing. And called for advice.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Phone-A-Lisa

Hick has done it again. He bought another storage unit.

Of course he didn't ask for my input. He only told me after the fact. And that's because I was expecting him home for supper. He sent a text of what he had done, to explain why I should delay making his supper until 6:40.

He also sent a picture to show me what was in his new storage unit. Oh, not a full-scale picture of its contents. Or something valuable like that previous cache of Tupperware, new in the boxes. Not even his Rainbow Vacuum. Nope. He sent me a picture of ONE ITEM from that new storage unit.

[Please forgive me. I added a foundation garment. The innernets just ain't ready for the undoctored image.]

"Painting from locker oil painting"

"Great. A porn portrait."

Within a few minutes, I had a text from The Pony.
"Well. Dad just sent a picture of a topless painting he found."

"Yeah. To me, too."

According to Hick, The Pony responded to his picture with:
"That was totally not necessary. But niiice."

Hick says that he paid $100 for this storage unit, and has to have the stuff moved out in 24 hours. He commandeered The Veteran to help him, with the enticement of 50% of the goods or profits.

I'm pretty sure The Veteran is not getting half of the painting.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Strawberries Have Come Home to Roost

Some Even-Stevening occurred (with a vengeance) last night in Thevictorian household. Hick had come home from the auction. I heard him crank back in the La-Z-Boy. When I finished up what I was doing on New Delly, I went out to talk to him from the bottom of the stairs.

Normally, Hick mutes his 32-level TV volume (18 is sufficient for most people) and communicates while remaining in the La-Z-Boy. But this time, Hick stumped over to sit on the end of the long-couch arm. That discombobulated me, and it took a moment to regain my thoughts. I was in the middle of telling Hick about The Pony's computer-buying experience when he just walked off.

"Hey! What are you doing?"

"I feel sick. I have to go. I feel like I need to poop AND vomit."

Yet he took off stumping into the kitchen! When he should have made a left turn to reach the boys' bathroom in five steps, or a right turn to reach the master bathroom in ten.

"THAT'S not where you go to be sick!"

"I was throwing away that bowl from the strawberries. I came in and felt hungry, but then I started to feel sick right after I ate them."

"What else did you have?"

"Just some fish sticks and macaroni at the auction."

"Oh! Well. That must have done it. Were they greasy? Because that's not long enough to get food poisoning from it."

"No. Just regular fish sticks."

"What else did you have with JUST THE STRAWBERRIES?"

"Nothing. I had about three sips of that bottled water. That's it."

"Well, it must be the pulled pork you ate at the flea market on Sunday. Or something from the buffet at the casino last night. Do you need to go to the hospital?"

"No! My stomach is just upset."

"Huh. So you could eat the strawberries after I fixed them for you..."

"I said I was hungry when I came in."

"But you weren't going to eat them when I was about to throw them away."


"When was the last time you got anything ready for ME to eat, and put it in the refrigerator so I could have a snack later?"

"It's probably been a few years..."

"It's probably been NEVER! Just sayin'."

He knows I'm right. But to avoid admitting it, Hick hustled his tighty-whitied butt back into the bathroom.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hick Is Not a Berry Good Fellow

I was putting away groceries in FRIG II this evening, while Hick was standing at the kitchen door, ready to head for his first auction this week. I saw a tipped-over, clear box holding 8 strawberries that had been there all week.

"Oh, I guess I can throw these out. Looks like you're not going to eat them."

"I like strawberries. I just didn't get to them yet."

"Come on. It's not like you're going to cut the tops off them yourself."

"Yeah. You're probably right."

Seriously. How hard is it to cut the tops off 8 strawberries if you want them for a snack? Here's the thing. When I make the evening meal, I'll get strawberries ready for eating. But often times, Hick shows up at irregular hours to make a sandwich for lunch. Or he says he'll warm his supper from leftovers when he's ready to come back in the house. Or he says he doesn't want some items until later, while he's watching TV. I'd already served up our strawberries earlier in the week, and 8 were left over.

Rather than throw them out tonight, I cut the tops off those strawberries after Hick had left.

Yeah. It's not rocket science. It takes about 90 seconds to wash them and lop off the stems and put them in a bowl for later. I set them on the top shelf of FRIG II, next to the bottles of Diet Mountain Dew, and sparkling water, that I put in there for Hick when he "forgets" to make sure his drinks are cool for later.

Why should I be the one to slice those strawberries, for Hick to have for a snack? Seriously. It's not like the olden days when the man worked for wages to support the woman, and she worked at home for free. I've had a career my entire life, same as Hick. We are both retired now. I appreciate how he mows the yard four months of the year, and takes the vehicles for repairs. I'm sure he appreciates having his food brought into the house and prepared for him 365 days a year, and his dishes washed (by hand).

However...I think that Hick is capable of cutting the tops off strawberries, rather than letting them sit there and rot because he wants them, but doesn't want to take the effort to prepare them, or throw them out if he is not in a strawberry mood.

This is the kind of thing, guys, that after 30 years makes us complain, and possibly even call you a JERK.

Oh, I'm sure you're oblivious to our resentment at being the EXPECTED ones to take the tops off your strawberries. As much as I love my Sweet Baboo, I think there are things that he can do for himself.

It's not all about the strawberries, you know.

Think for a minute. When was the last time YOU cut the tops off 8 strawberries, and put them in a bowl in your own FRIG II for your lady to enjoy later as a snack?


Monday, May 14, 2018

You Say Died, I Say Murdered

Friday afternoon, I got that text that no mother wants to get from her college son.

"I think I might need a laptop."

Let the record show that The Pony has been offered a laptop on numerous occasions over the past several years. The very youngest that his current (well, formerly current) laptop could be is 4 years old. I'm thinking it might be a little older. That's because I remember distinctly asking The Pony if he needed a new laptop for college when he went away in August 2016, and I would not have done that if he had a fairly new one.

I also remember that the last one he got was custom-ordered by Genius, who came home to set it all up for a Christmas present, so it would be ready to go on Christmas morning. So I kind of feel like it was even earlier than Christmas of The Pony's junior year of high school.

Anyhoo...part of The Pony's National Merit Scholarship to the University of Oklahoma included a $2000 cash stipend for a laptop. He didn't want it at the time, so that money is sitting there in his college savings account. It's not like getting him one is a financial hardship. Hick will be happy that we don't have to dip into our retirement nest egg, which you may recall, is the grouping of rocks down behind the house, left to be mined at a later date, that the man who bought our other rocks wanted.

"After my final Wednesday, I tripped and spilled a bunch of water on it. I got it off and a friend from IT helped me try to dry it out afterwards, but it's not booting up and she thinks it might be fried."

Well. That's unfortunate. But not like we've never experienced this before, what with Genius and the coffeed laptop. A laptop ain't safe in a house of hydrated Thevictorian men.

The Pony DOES always have a cup of ice water with him. So I don't have any reason to doubt that scenario, other than just a general shenanigan-dar that teachers develop. The Pony is very fortunate that his last final was over, and summer school doesn't start for a couple weeks. Because he's taking an online class along with a regular class. So the only hardship is in physically getting a laptop into his hands in time for that.

The Pony is kind of particular. He does a lot of computer gaming in his off time. And his major is Chemical Engineering, so I'm pretty sure there are certain things that laptop needs to be able to do that a basic one off the shelf at Walmart won't. We both put in a text to Genius, starting with NEED NEW LAPTOP. If nothing else gets his attention, that would. Also, we included that Genius wouldn't have to do anything to set it up, because The Pony's friend in IT could do it. So all Genius had to do is look over some laptops online, and see if their specifications will run what The Pony will need.

Here's where problems arise. The Pony can't receive packages from FedEx or UPS at his university-owned apartment complex. The clubhouse used to accept them, but stopped within a few weeks of The Pony moving in. He had nothing to do with the policy change! He said another resident complained about a situation, and the solution was to stop all such deliveries, and holding the package for residents to pick up within a couple days. They DID, however, put in lock boxes for U.S. Postal Service deliveries, alongside the mailboxes. According to Genius: "No company is going to ship a laptop through the post office. It will be FedEx or UPS."

Genius suggested that The Pony get a high-end laptop sold at the university bookstore. That's where Genius got one when his quit the day before an important presentation. Lucky that Genius backs up his work. I think that's the laptop that later got coffeed. Genius said The Pony could probably even have it billed on his bursar account.

Anyhoo...The Pony looked into it Sunday, and said the laptop would actually come through the IT Store, which won't bill to the bursar's account, and in fact he only got things billed that way before due to his National Merit scholarship, like certain textbooks.

So...the quandary now is getting the money to The Pony to buy a laptop, after he goes to look at three of them on Monday. These are in the $900-$1400 range, and there'll be tax, and Genius suggests a service plan. Just because. I can't say that I disagree.

Hick and I will be gone to a casino on Monday, as my Mother's Day gift. There is no cell phone reception in that casino. We're leaving at noon, and I kind of doubt The Pony will even be out of bed by then, much less have looked at three laptops, and know the price of the one he chooses. I figure I'll just do a remote deposit in his credit union account, which should only be PENDING for a couple hours. I can reimburse myself later from his savings account that's here locally, and not in Oklahoma.

My very own Shiba is at least 11 years old, ancient by laptop standards, a doddering decrepit companion, runs Windows 7 Professional, and tells me every time it starts up that something is no longer supported. At least it's not infested with ants...

Yet The Pony's laptop is the one that died. Huh. More like was murdered, I'd say. We can't rebuild him, but we can replace him.

It's really hard running other people's lives from home! Even harder from a casino.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Gift Tailor-Made For Val

You'll never guess what Hick is giving me for Mother's Day! No...not a $3 pink change purse and two boxes of Sno-Caps. That gift is SO a-couple-years-ago. Hick is pretty crafty. He didn't even have to spend $3 and Sno-Cap money this year. He's taking me to a casino! Okay. So maybe some of you guessed that already.

My gift trip will be on Monday, to the casino where I won the hourly drawing and received $100 cash. I had a choice of that casino, or our regular one, with Hick pointing out that he would also buy me dinner if we went to the irregular casino. Glossing over the fact that we both will get a FREE buffet. He's a keen one, Mr. Hick.

Since we're on the subject of casinos, Val will take this teaching moment to give her thoughts on blog buddy JoeH's casino thoughts last week.

Joe never met a casino loser. He's talked to casino winners, and casino break-eveners, but either the losers shun him, or New Jersey is the place I need to gamble!

Let the record show that while Val may share some individual wins with you, she still makes it clear (if you read the regular-size fine print) that she is not an overall winner. Let's see how I've brought that fact to light on various posts. This detail has been revealed by phrases such as:

CasinoPalooza 3 was NOT a financial success!

[Genius]...took home over half of his gambling stake.
 (still a loss, not a break-even, not a profit)

Let the record show that this was not a profit trip.   

Let the record show that Sis and the ex-mayor emerged winners at the end of the night, while Val and Hick did not.  

Our wallets did not grow fatter on Oklahoma Casino Minipalooza, but our waistlines most certainly did.   

A NET LOSS OF $35.38.   

CasinoPalooza 3 was a blast. I had a great time, even though I parted with some of my tightly-clutched pennies.   

Of course, if I actually win, I'm most certainly going to tell you. Maybe more than once! But here at the (unbagged) cathouse, you'll hear the facts. That's because Val is not taking a chance on violating the Truth in Blogging Law! No siree, Bob! Val ain't goin' up the river to the big house for lyin'! OR risking a negative notation on her permanent record.

As a frequent casinoer, I am bound to have wins on individual machines. That doesn't mean that I left the casino with more money than I took in. Or even the same amount that I took in. Uh huh. Val is not a violator of the Truth in Blogging Law. She sings like a canary, and doesn't take the 5th.

Any time I leave the casino with part of my casino bankroll intact, I consider it a personal victory...NOT A WIN! And I don't break even unless I exit with the exact amount I took in. There's a reason it's called gambling, and not winning.

It's my own money I'm losing, money that I've earned over my lifetime, wagered a bit at a time, and kept cumulative "winnings" separate from household funds. Same as with Hick's junking money now. We're not on the dole, give to assorted charities, and help out local down-on-their luck folks we think could use a hand up, by providing vehicles, food, living quarters, travel money, or restoring electricity.

It doesn't bother me a bit to say that I'm a loser.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Not a CENTsational Week For Val

I regret to inform you that this weekly report on Val's Future Pennyillionaire Fortune is bereft of pennies! I know, right? That's like finding no hot dog in your bun! No biscuits under your gravy! Only 43 oz of Diet Coke!

Don't worry. Just because I have no new pennies this week doesn't mean I can't give you pennies. And by give you pennies, I mean to view. A picture of all pennies to date. Not a loan, not a stipend, not a gift. ONLY a picture.

For comparison, I give you the fabulous penny goblet holding the to-date collection on September 1, 2017.

 Yeah. I've got more now than I did then.

Still not a full goblet, but getting closer.

I'd say it's about 1/3 full now.

Compared to just a scattering across the bottom then. I don't think I have the count back then, but right now, it stands steady from last week at

For 2018: Pennies still at # 38.
For 2018: Dimes still at  # 8.
For 2018: Nickels still at # 2.

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 116.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Dime # 14.
Since 2017 (the beginning), this was still Nickel # 2.

Not that I'm trying to make you memorize my collection. Just putting it here so I only have to look back one week to add to the total IF next week I find a penny.

Also, please forgive the forlorn appearance of Poolio. Hick just uncovered him a couple days ago, and is in the process of filling him and shocking him back to life. A process which started with the relocation of several frogs to the green fake fish pond that Jack uses as his personal swimming pool, and the removal of two frog skeletons from Poolio's bottom.

Which is saying perhaps more than I should.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Terror at 85 Degrees

For 28 years, Val had nerves of steel. Not much rattled her in the classroom. The captain of the ship must maintain an even keel. Be ever-ready to act or react with composure in the event of dangerous undercurrents and havoc-wreaking marauders.

Now Val is retired.

I'm not really a jumpy gal, even though reports of seeing (what I thought was) a dude peeping through my kitchen mini-blinds might lead you to think otherwise. I'm generally calm. Don't like to make a scene. But having Hick roaming at will is getting on my last nerve. Whether he is or isn't gaslighting me remains to be proven. Every time I hear something unexplained, and explain it by naming him as the explainable...he denies that he was out of bed walking around, or that he came into the house slamming the door while I was sleeping. Okay. He admitted to coming in at 8:45 a.m. last week, but not to entering or leaving at 9:15. I clearly heard both, and looked at the clock each time. He's lying, we had an intruder, or I need Ghostbusters on speed dial. I got home from town and set about putting away the few groceries I had picked up at Save A Lot. This week has been really hot. No spring, just straight from winter to summer. It was 85 degrees when I stopped T-Hoe at the end of the driveway, and got out to wheel the big green trash dumpster back to the garage. I'd considered leaving it until evening, when the sun was down, but I wanted to get it over with. I parked it and walked back up to T-Hoe, then drove to the garage with the air conditioner blasting. It was not quite a long enough trip to cool me off.

Once inside the house, I didn't want to crank up the air conditioner. I was planning to descent to my dark basement lair anyway, and it's cool down there. But while stowing the purchases and getting my lunch together, I was roasting. We keep the thermostat at 74 degrees, which is fine if you're just lounging around, and haven't pulled a big green dumpster 2/10 of a mile over gravel in the bright sunlight.

Whew! My scalp was soaked, sweat trickling down my forehead and around my ears. Sheesh! I washed my doggy cat-kibble hands, and let some cold well-water run over my wrists, but I was still sizzling hot. Oh, what the Not-Heaven! I took off my shirt. There. I said it. In the privacy of my own kitchen, I partially disrobed. Hick was selling at his Storage Unit Store. I saw his Trailblazer there as I went by. They had customers walking around. Hick stays open on Fridays until 1:00, then goes to have lunch, and from there to his doctor's office for a shot for his pernicious anemia. He has a standing appointment for Fridays at 2:00.

I had the freezer stuff put away, and had set aside the baby carrots and onions that I'll be using tomorrow. My Chicken Bacon Ranch pinwheels were already on my tray. My 44 oz Diet Coke had been Cherry Limeaded, and a bubba cup filled with ice. Oh, wait. I wanted to look over the mail.

Juno was going crazy out in front yard. Then Jack started yipping. I figured they were carousing with Copper Jack. Juno hates him, you know. And I'd just doled out cat kibble when I came in, so Copper Jack was in her sight. Dang those darn fleabags! I heard thumping on the back porch, and saw Juno lope around toward her water bowl and food dish.

Back to ripping open the mail with a letter opener Hick got me at Goodwill. Not the cute little sword one. It proved too fragile, so he found another. Huh. A little bill from insurance for added liability we put on the 10 acres where HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) is living. A little refund check from insurance for lesser coverage on our aging 4-wheelers. The Sprint bill. More barking. This time on the back porch.


The kitchen door was yanked open! And there I stood without a shirt! I'm surprised that letter opener didn't end up embedded in the ceiling.

"Stop your screaming. I came home to get my medicine I forgot this morning." (Hick takes it to the doctor's office, and they give him the shot. It's cheaper that way.)

Do you know how hard it is to pull a buttoned-up cotton shirt over your head while you are shaking with adrenaline?

"You don't have to put your shirt on. It's just me."

"How was I supposed to know IT WAS YOU? It could have been anyone! So don't tell me not to scream. I was minding my own business, without a shirt, in my own kitchen, and the door yanked open. So don't TELL ME to stop screaming! Why don't YOU stop popping up when you're not even supposed to be here?"

Hick didn't even slow down. He strode through the kitchen on the way to the master bathroom for his medicine, and then made the return trip clutching it in his hand.

I'm pretty sure he's trying to kill me. So it's probably a waste of breath to ask him to look for a defibrillator at the auction.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Backroads Mystery

We have a problem, my blogfriends. Right here in Backroads City.


I know, right? Such a problem to have. We (it takes a village to find a million-dollar winner) don't know who bought the winning ticket. But you'll never guess who sold it. Okay. Maybe you will.


Don't you worry about Val being the problem. I don't buy PowerBall tickets, and that's the game that won the million dollars on Saturday night's drawing. I first heard about the news on Monday, when Man Owner told me as I bought two scratchers.

"Oh. Well, that's GREAT! I'm really happy for the winner. Because I don't play PowerBall. Now if it had been won on a scratcher that I buy, I might not be so happy for them..."

I should have figured something was up, because three dudes were standing right outside the door, leaning on the bed of a pickup truck, when I came in. One of them was saying, "Sure, it was ME! I'll go home and get it."

On Tuesday, the winner still had not appeared. Lady Owner was working, and she asked the lady ahead of me if she'd checked her PowerBall tickets yet. The lady said no, and I audibly gasped. She might have been the winner! She still had a chance, until she checked her tickets. Lady Owner said she hoped the winner was someone local, "Not just someone passing through, from Minnesota to Texas." Not even sure we're on a direct route for that journey. But I understand her sentiments.

By Wednesday, word got out. The local paper ran an article, basically stating that there was a million-dollar winner bought on PowerBall at The Gas Station Chicken Store. With a quote from Lady Owner that she was planning to call the Missouri Lottery office to see it the prize had been claimed, but she'd been too busy.

My sister the ex-mayor's wife sent me a text at 7:29 p.m. Probably during a commercial break for Survivor. I know she's a fan. "Are you the million dollar winner from The Gas Station Chicken Store?"

"No. I don't buy PowerBall."

"Okay. Just checking."

Hick thinks the winner probably knows they're the winner, and is waiting to talk to a lawyer before claiming the million.

Maybe I should send out a preemptive denial to Genius and The Pony. Just in case they hear about it. Don't want to get their hopes up, you know.