No need for you to send flowers or casseroles or a box of candy. Val is still kickin'. Nothing to see here. Her near-death wasn't a gory sight. In fact, if one had a hidden camera on Val at the time, one might suspect she had merely nodded off before falling comatose and then nearly expiring. Val had a premonition, you know, that it was possibly her time. In fact, she brought it up with Hick the night before. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I had to get up at the crack of 7:30 on Wednesday, because Hick and I had an appointment with our financial advisor to review our portfolio. I guess that's what it's called. Look over the progress of our investments, and see if we wanted to change anything. We were summoned, actually. It's not something that we dwell on. Hick is of the opinion that stocks will rise and fall, and you don't really lose anything unless you sell. "I still have the same amount of shares I had before. I didn't lose nothin'!" We are investment simpletons, with Hick being the Einstein of this pairing. He's a low-to-medium risk kind of guy, and trusts the professionals to do the investing per his parameters.
Our appointment was at 9:30. We left home at 9:08. Make that 9:10. I forgot my phone, and before T-Hoe was even squarely facing out the driveway, Hick went back inside to get it. He's sprier than Val. Along the journey, I might have chastised Hick once or twice. "The speed limit is 30, not 45. They'll pull you over, and then be on the lookout for T-Hoe every day. I don't need that!" And "Is there one trip where we can actually drive on OUR SIDE OF THE ROAD, and not down the middle, or sweaving from side to side?" THEN I had the audacity to ask Hick if he would steer T-Hoe 50 feet off the main thoroughfare to mail the credit card payment. He refused!
"What time did you say our appointment was? 9:30? Well, it's 9:26 right now."
"Oh. Okay. The mailbox can wait. It's not even due for a couple weeks. We just got it yesterday. I don't know why you're rushing to that appointment. Last time, we got there early, and had to wait in the front room."
"Yeah. We're almost there."
In fact, we pulled up in front of the office, I hobbled in, and we were directed to have a seat. The time when I checked my Shaming Bracelet was 9:32. We made small talk with the office gal about how today's generation is crazy. "My husband has a young fellow who works for him who won't put his phone down long enough to do any work! AND he doesn't even have any heat at home. In the house his grandma GAVE him! He doesn't seem to care. When he gets home, all he does is play video games!"
Our advisor was finishing up a call, explained Office Gal. In fact, we could hear him. We were ushered back to his doorless meeting room at 9:38.
The conference table was laid with a single page, and stapled packet of four printouts. Hick's was the single, and mine the long version. My investment is in two accounts, one designated as a POD account from my mom, which I think was an IRA. We had line and bar graphs (in color!) showing our electronic money's progress through the year. I don't flip out at fluctuations. We had more than we started 2018 with, so I considered that a win!
Looking over the data took about five minutes, including my signature to take out some money from Mom's account, or get a tax penalty. Then commenced my long, drawn-out, near-death FROM BOREDOM! Hick and That Investment Guy (TIG) always shoot the bull. Endlessly. I wanted to pull out my lovely lady mullet strand by strand, jab icepicks into my peepers, pull a plastic bag over my head and inhale deeply, whack my temple against the corner of the conference table, and jab two paperclips into the skin over my carotid arteries, looping behind them, and twisting the paperclips to shut off blood flow to my brain.
On and on swirled the mind-numbing conversation of Hick and TIG. Of course TIG started with me. Because he's a gentleman like that. Just being friendly. "So, did you do any Black Friday shopping?"
"NO! I did five hours of Cyber Monday shopping. I'm not getting out on Black Friday!"
"My wife did. She went to the city. I got her a little .380 to carry in her purse. It's a Ruger. You can't be too careful these days. It's a little gun. Light enough for a lady. And it has a safety on it. I really like that for her. I told her, 'Take your gun!' Better safe than sorry."
"I know. The world has gone crazy!"
"Yeah. I'm pretty sure one of these nights, I'm going to be woken up by some guy kicking in my door." [Let the record show that TIG's house is a few doors down from my sister the ex-mayor's wife, in a really nice neighborhood, on an side road at the edge of town, where a ne'er-do-well might look for riches, and know he could hit the state highway for a quick getaway.] "It happened to a lady a few doors down. She had no idea who he was."
"Yeah. Watch that LIVE PD show, and see how hopped up on drugs some of these crooks are."
"Isn't that the truth! I know guys on the police department, and the stories they tell are scary. Like the one over in your town, where the guy was on flakka. Their strength is superhuman! A couple months ago, I looked out my front window and saw a van in my yard. The police had chased it there, and had the occupants out on my grass, cuffing them! I was hoping it wasn't a rolling meth lab, because I didn't want an explosion."
"I actually sell quite a few guns up at my Storage Unit Store." [Thus ensued a lengthy discussion of Hick's business practices.]
"That's one thing I don't know much about. I have old stuff, but I don't know its worth. I have a metal Coke cooler. I'm sure you know the kind. Like our parents used to have."
"It might be worth about $100. I have a Pepsi one."
"Take this thermometer over here in the corner. I have no idea what that's worth, but I'm pretty sure it's from the 1930s."
"I don't know about that brand. I'd have to look it up."
"They don't make things like they used to! And the cars these days! I don't mind that! I can start mine from inside the office, and have the seat and steering wheel warmer turned on, and be nice and toasty when I get in it! I don't drive my vehicles hardly any miles. Just here and home. I knew a guy who had a really nice SUV he was trading, and his was low miles, too. I really wished I needed one! It was such a good deal!"
"Yeah, that last one we bought three years ago has 30,000-something miles on it. Real low. I thought I had me a low-mileage truck, but now the guy seems like he don't wanna sell."
"My buddy has a fancy truck! He didn't really need everything it has on it, but it was such a good deal he couldn't pass it up. It cost $65,000 new! He got it new, but a year after it came out."
"That's more than I paid for my first house! It was only $17,000!"
"That's more than we paid for our REAL house! The one I built!"
"And I bet you thought it was a fortune back then!"
"Yeah, until I saw what other people were paying for theirs."
"I have some minnow traps, still in the box. The glass ones, with wire holders. Do you know what they're worth?"
"Not offhand, no. It would have to go to a collector, because you can't use them nowadays."
"You can't use a minnow trap? My grandpa always used that kind."
"Now you can't because you can't put glass in a stream. A fish might swim by and skin itself on broken glass!"
On and on it went. I might have lost consciousness there for a while. But my ears perked up when TIG said, "Well, if there's anything else I can help you with, just give me a call, and we'll set up a meeting."
AWW NOT-HEAVEN, NO!
Funny how the time on my Shaming Bracelet as we walked out was 10:38. I know we pay TIG by the hour for his services, but does he HAVE to take the whole hour??? I would gladly pay for 60 minutes and only take 5 minutes of his time.
I had told Hick the previous evening, "I am dreading this meeting. When you two start chewing the fat, I feel like I'm going to die of boredom. It's the same thing every time."