Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Pony Recants

Remember that cracked window in The Pony's campus apartment? I brought up the subject as we were discussing his checkout procedure. Which seems to be dropping off the key at a designated time, and gettin' the heck out of Dodge. His OU email said that care has been taken so that residents don't have to have personal contact with anyone else.

Heh, heh. Which means the inspection will be after The Pony is long gone. Probably to his detriment, rather than his benefit. Perhaps I'm cynical, but I've never known any property manager to err on the side of the tenant. Might as well leave your burnt-on oven spills, and crumby carpet, because they always say they're keeping your deposit for a CLEANING FEE.

Anyhoo...I mentioned that he'd probably get charged for the cracked window.

"Oh. I looked at it again, and it's not so much of a crack. A scratch, maybe. Or it could be a bug's trail."

"WHAT? After all that drama? Next you'll be telling me it's a hair, and it fell off."

"I haven't looked at it that close. I could be."

I swear! If The Pony gets me in trouble for violating the Truth in Blogging Law, he's going to pay my fine!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Certainly I Must Have It

Every day I learn something new! Or maybe I don't, because I'm suspicious by nature, and like to question authority. That doesn't mean I DEFY authority, of course. But I make authority SHOW ME before I let it reel me in like a stupid fish that bites a bare hook.

I am getting fed up with TV news that likes to PLANT A SUGGESTION by way of a question. Like asking a supposed expert: "Don't you think this means there will be a shortage of pork and chicken in the grocery stores?" So much for finding any meat on my next trip to town.

The most annoying event was Sunday evening, when I started reading about supposed studies that showed PEPCID to be a treatment for the VIRUS!


Sitting there in my dark basement lair, I could practically hear the muffled scraping sounds as millions of people wriggled their way out of their toilet paper castles, and headed for Walmart to strip the shelves of my beloved Equate Acid Reducer Complete. Darn you, hoarders! By Monday morning, it was on several cable news stations. Not even worth a trip to town to try and nab a bottle. Thank goodness I'd just opened a new bottle of 50 tablets the day before. Why can't the news report that creamed corn is an antidote? I don't begrudge anybody my share of creamed corn.

Furthermore, I cannot keep up with the symptoms! Every day, I hear a new one that convinces me I must have the dreaded VIRUS. So far, I run through my checklist each morning, once I wake up and ascertain that I'm still living.

Dry Cough
Shortness of Breath
Aches and Pains
Nasal Congestion
Runny Nose
Sore Throat
Loss of Appetite
Red Eyes
Fizzing Sensation on Skin
Testicular Pain
Red Lesions on Hands and Feet

About the only symptoms I have truly ruled out are: testicular pain, and loss of appetite!

Oh, and now we hear that a TIGER has tested positive for the VIRUS, and a CAT, and a PUG! So stay six feet away from your pets, I guess. And tigers.

I'm thinking of adding an extra trip to town every week. I'm going stir-crazy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Rounding Up The Pony

Believe it or not, The Pony is graduating from OU next week!

Well. Graduating, such as it is, by an online virtual commencement showing a picture of each graduate in their cap and gown, listing their honors. What a rip-off! Four years at a major university, earning a degree in chemical engineering, for this! Not that I wanted to hobble across campus, rubbing elbows with a (then-assumed healthy) crowd, plopping my ample rumpus on a folding chair for three hours...

Anyhoo...The Pony chose to remain on campus when they sent students home to virtual classes after spring break. At first he had a week of social-distanced time in the lab, continuing his research with nano-particles. Then that fun was dashed when everything went to online learning. I don't begrudge him his time still on campus. The rent was paid for the semester. No mention of any refunds for housing or meal plans.

Here's the problem. With Stay-At-Home-Downs in Missouri and Oklahoma, rounding up The Pony is not a walk in the park. I will not be able to go! It takes 8.5 hours to sweave from here to Oklahoma. WHAT IF THE RESTROOMS ARE CLOSED?

Because they are, you know. Almost everyplace you go these days, they have slapped up signs that say NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS. Or OUT OF ORDER if they don't want to argue. I have a sneaking suspicion it's because they don't want ne'er-do-wells stealing the toilet paper. way could I make it all the way to Oklahoma without a potty break every two hours. So Hick suggested that I remain behind. Surely he didn't have any other reasons...

We are pretty smart about planning our Oklahoma trips. The last time we went to Norman to visit The Pony for his birthday in February, we reserved our room for graduation. Three nights! For commencement, convocation, and packing up The Pony to move him home. Last week, we had a phone call from La Quinta (our 3rd choice after the local casino, and Holiday Inn Express, are booked up), canceling our reservations due to closure for the VIRUS.

Huh. Seems like most of the Norman hotels were closed. EXCEPT...Riverwind Casino. Oh, the casino itself was closed. But their hotel was OPEN! Because it's an essential service. People have to have somewhere to stay! You ain't a-woofin'! I was afraid Hick was going to have to sleep on The Pony's couch for two nights. But I got him Wednesday and Thursday at the casino hotel. Now those nights are SOLD OUT, along with the weekend. I guess we're not the only ones bringing our little Pony home that week.

I'm pretty sure the usual steak dinner will not be possible. Fast food in the car will have to suffice. Even though Oklahoma has been opening up businesses, and Missouri is supposed to start on May 4, I don't think we should count on anything being normal about this trip.

Poor Pony. It's going to be a tough job market to crack.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Bagging On a Double-Sticky, Two-Bowl, Fizzer of Ineptitude: Episode 3 of "This Is the Time of Day When We Talk About the Most Recent Things You've Done Wrong"

Sigh. The title alone has exhausted me. Hick has outdone himself this time. He BBQed some hot dogs for supper, on Gassy G-Lite. Sounds like a night off for Val, doesn't it? I knew better. As soon as I walked into the kitchen after ascending from my lair. Lucky for me, Hick came back into the kitchen while I was heating up some Maple Bacon Beans.

"I just stepped in something sticky, here by the sink and counter."

"Oh, well. I didn't pour my BBQ sauce there."

"The floor wasn't sticky when I got my lunch ready earlier. I wiped it up, though. It was kind of clear, but pulled the lint off my sock."

"I don't know what to tell you Val. I'm going back out to watch the hot dogs. Just came in for a plate. You know, my homemade beers are really good. But they fizz so darn much when you open them that I lose half the bottle!"

"AHA! It was beer fizz that I stepped in!"

"No. No. I didn't even open it until I was outside this time..."


I went out to give the dogs some old pizza crust, and look at frogs in the fake fish pond while Hick finished grilling the hot dogs.

"I didn't put any sauce on yours. Since you told me last time."

"Look at that! You wasted half a bottle of BBQ sauce."

"No. No. I just forgot that I wasn't putting any on yours."

"That bowl is half full of sauce that you'll have to pour out."

"I did get a little too much sauce... Here. Are these black enough for you?"

"I like them a little darker, but seeing as how you've already taken them all off the grill, they'll be okay. You could have held up ONE to ask me."

Hick continued getting his own hot dogs off the grill, handing me a plate, which I carried inside. I got out the new pack of SLAW to put on the cutting block with a spoon. Otherwise, Hick won't make the effort to eat any. Speaking of Hick, here he came in the door with his hot dogs.

"Yuck! I was setting out the slaw, and I put my hand in something really sticky on the edge of the cutting block!"

"Huh. That could be BBQ sauce. That's where I poured it in the bowl."

"Go ahead and get your plate ready. I'll have to put away the rest of the food before I can eat. I don't want any of this slaw. I'd rather have slaw with chicken. So you can put that back in the fridge." I bent over to get a container for the leftover beans. Hick chose that moment to get a spoon out of the drawer blocked by my ample rumpus. He's the moth to my flame.

"WHOA! That's a lot of beans! I need to get a smaller container for the leftovers."

"It's just a bowl of beans, Val. Not all that much."

"Most people just put a pile on their plate..."

I turned to see that Hick had already left the kitchen. I heard the La-Z-Boy kick back. I saw that Hick had put his hot dogs in the container I set out, but had left off the lid, not put them in FRIG II, and had also left the dirty paper plate for me to throw away. Oh, and he'd left out the slaw.

"Don't worry. I'll clean up your mess and put away the slaw."

"I thought you were having some."

"No. I clearly told you I DON'T WANT ANY SLAW. Oh, crap! I just put my hand in that sticky stuff again. I guess you didn't clean it up."

"Oh. I didn't know I was supposed to do that."

"Well, you admitted you made that mess. I figured you understood it should be cleaned up."


I wiped up the mess. Rinsed the slaw spoon. Put away the slaw. Contained the beans and put them in FRIG II with my own leftover hot dogs. I had my plate ready to go, then I went to the short couch to rest for a minute before descending the rail-less 13 stairs to my lair.

"This is the time of day when we talk about the most recent things you've done wrong." I swear I heard Hick chuckle.

"Well, I can't imagine what else I've done wrong besides all the stuff you just told me!"

"When I put the hot dogs in the fridge, I saw that you'd left the ziploc bag for the rest of the hot dog package BLOWN UP LIKE A BALLOON! You do realize, right, that we put stuff in the baggies to keep the air OUT. And having them inside a bag full of air is kind of useless. It's like when my dad used to blow up the bread sack and say that it was to INSULATE the bread with air, a good insulator, to keep it fresher. As if it was something that needed insulation!"

"I do admit that I didn't squeeze the air out of the baggie before sealing it. And I agree that blowing up the bread sack is not good for the bread."

See there? Our little Hick is making progress. Getting him to acknowledge his wrong-done things is half the battle.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Every Hick Sure Tells a Story, Don't He?

Sometimes, Hick is more entertaining than the TV shows he watches. Thursday night, he took me on a journey as sweavy as a trip in A-Cad with himself behind the wheel.

"The other night, I was watching that Alaska police show. Some lady found a bobcat that had been attacked by a porkypine. They pulled out the...uh...the porkies, and--"

"You mean the quills? They pulled out the quills?"

"Yeah, whatever. They pulled them out, and got the bobcat healthy again. They was lettin' it out of its cage to go back to the wild. It could hardly walk. It staggered all around, and tried to BITE them! They said a bobcat will act that way if it has rabies. So the trooper shot it."

"Wait! They took care of it all that time, to let it go, then he SHOT it?"

"Yeah. He killed it. They shipped it off to test for rabies, and it had it. The rabies."

"Well. That's a nice story."

"What I was tryin' to tell you was...the other day, down on the sharp curve where that lady ran off in the purple car in the snow, and we drove her home to the cabin where the headless body was found in the septic tank...I saw a cat run across the gravel road there. It hardly had a tail. Just a stub. I think it was a bobcat."

"Oh. Okay."

That's actually pretty believable for a Hick story. And not at all a strange happening for the Backroads area.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Val Has Been CENTSured By Her New Used iPhone 8

Do you want the good news first, or the bad news? Seeing as how you're all happy-go-lucky cockeyed optimists like Val, drinking from your half-full foam cup of 22 oz of Diet Coke... you'll get the good news first.


Uh huh. Only two days of hunting, and I bagged a trophy on each of them! MONDAY, April 20, I had to park way down at the end of Country Mart. That's where I'm sure I can get T-Hoe's door wide open when I return. Nothing can park on my left. Nothing was parked in the three spaces to the right of me, either. So I cut across them, on the way to a cart parked at the corner of the building.

It was directly in my path. Almost as if it was left there just for me!

Now for the bad news! I took a picture of the full view. TWICE! Showing the parking space yellow lines, and the cart at the corner of the building. But you know the stubbornness of my new used iPhone 8. This was a face-down 2019. Pretty as a picture on an iPhone 8 can be, with the sun glaring down making a reflection. This one turned out well. I guess my iPhone camera could not resist keeping the close-up.

THURSDAY, April 23, at the Backroads Casey's, I found this one.

I almost walked past it, on my way back to T-Hoe. But there it was. I hadn't even planned on stopping at this Backroads Casey's, but I left the School-Turn Casey's in a fit of pique without buying my intended scratchers, due to their ridiculous social distancing charade. Not so much the store's fault as the customers' interpretation of the floor dots. was awkward taking the photo. Not because somebody might have been sitting in the driver's seat of that van. But because I couldn't exactly grasp my boughten scratchers between my teeth like I used to. I had to clutch them in my armpit, while juggling that new used iPhone 8 like an apprentice clown with buttered fingers.

It was a face-down 1998. If I had better eyesight, or a bigger phone screen, I would have taken a better close-up. This was a face-down 1998. The year that gave us The Pony!

That's TWO CENTS this week, in two days! I'm battin' 1.000, if you get my sporty drift!


Penny       # 39, 40.
Dime        still at 8.
Nickle      still at 3.
Quarter  0

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, April 24, 2020

Val Emerges Briefly, To School Society, Then Returns to Her Lair

I only make two trips to town, on Mondays and Thursdays. You’d think they would be fairly without incident, since we ARE on a Stay-At-Home-Down suggestion. But no. I’m in more danger on the county roads than if I was being held captive by disgruntled septuagenarian infecteds at a nursing home in Washington state!

Monday, I was tooling along our county blacktop road in T-Hoe, at about 45 mph, giddy with excitement for my outing. I rolled down the hill past the Motel Baron's rental house, past the Motel Baron's rich-house driveway, past the house where my mom hit their dog with her TrailBlazer. I was in front of that fancy house where the Great Pyrenees used to chase cars. I saw a red pickup truck, not a Ford, flying down the gravel road beside that house.

You know how you can estimate where you’re going to meet an oncoming car? Surely everyone has that skill. Like when I’m approaching the low water bridge, or that bridge on the way to my bank, with the concrete sides. I just look at a car and instantly know at what point I’ll meet it, on the bridge or not, if I don’t change speed.

I knew this red truck was going to slam into T-Hoe’s driver’s door if we both continued at the same rate. I had the right-of-way, you know. But that truck kept barreling down that gravel road. It looked like it wasn’t going to stop! I hit the brakes (one of the few things that still works well on T-Hoe). FINALLY that red pickup locked up its brakes, and SLID ABOUT 10 FEET ON THE GRAVEL, only stopping when the front tires hit the blacktop! T-Hoe was about 20 feet from the aborted collision site at that time. Good thing I’d hit the brakes!

As I rolled by at my greatly-reduced speed, I turned to stare at the blond gal between 18-39 who sat behind the wheel. My mouth might have had a mind of its own, and said a few unkind words through the glass. I couldn’t control it. My adrenaline was pumping.

The red pickup pulled out on the blacktop road and followed me, catching up just past the sharp curve. Oh, you wanna play THAT game, Blondie? As I waited at the stop sign to pull out onto the lettered county highway, Blondie on my bumper, I held up my new used iPhone 8. Little did SHE know that I couldn’t take her picture, due to its mercurial functioning. Just the sight, though, and the thought that she’d been DOCUMENTED, made her linger quite a while before following me onto that highway.

I was way over the bridge, halfway up the next hill when she pulled out. She kept way back, as I drove the legal 55 mph into town. She lucked out at the Save A Lot junction, when two cars pulled out between us. Unlucky for Blondie, they took another route between the mushroom factory and the funeral home. She was holding her distance when I made my turn for the dead mouse smelling post office. She kept on going uptown. Guess I showed HER!

Don't be acting the fool, people! Stay-At-Home-Down be darned, we must remain civil, and refrain from broadsiding innocent Vals in their 12-year-old Tahoes.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

iDon't Love My New Used iPhone

My new used iPhone 8 is leading me down the primrose path. There I am, enjoying the peaceful interlude, when I notice that my barefoot feet are treading on slimy slugs. The farther I stroll, the bushier the foliage grows. Thorns grasp at my non-trendy old-lady clothes. My face is wrapped in a spiderweb strewn across the path at Val-head height. Which blinds me, causing me to not notice the trap lined with pointy sticks, overlaid with cedar boughs that don't hold Val's weight. While the birds perched above drop doo-doo on her head.

It is essentially a match made in Not-Heaven.

Don't think that I can't operate my new used iPhone 8. Recall that I only need it to perform three functions. 1) Text The Pony. 2) Take pictures. 3) Make calls. I understand how to do all three. I'M not the one dragging my feet in this relationship.

Sometimes my texts will go through. Usually I can receive The Pony's texts. Last night, Hick was on the list for another episode of "This Is the Time of Day When We Talk About the Most Recent Things You've Done Wrong." Because I sent him a text concerning supper, and he didn't respond. Only he DID! From the porch, where he was grilling on Gassy G. He swore he replied. Even showed me on his own phone, an LG Stylo 5. And I DID receive Hick's texts. Three hours later.

Taking pictures is a crapshoot, not a photo shoot! Sometimes it works. Sometimes I can take the picture, but then the screen goes black. The phone shuts off and restarts. Then says Safari cannot connect to a signal. Even though I'm in a place where it was previously working.

I've only made one call. To Hick. It worked.


In addition to not performing my necessary functions, my new used iPhone 8 is heavy as lead. Slippery. Who designed this thing, anyway? The ON button is opposite the VOLUME buttons! So when I have to turn off the phone to see if I can remedy the texting problem, it messes with the volume. I am ready to chuck this phone as soon as I pay if off (since they wouldn't let me buy it outright), and get a different one!

It's better than nothing. At least I've had intermittent use of a kind-of phone over these weeks sincy my Nexy died.

I figure that once I make a final deposit into The Pony's account (since I have that app working), and we get him home from college (there's a whole 'NOTHER story), I'll get a different phone.

Hick says not to tell Genius.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

What Flies Behind

Last September, Hick lost his trailer.

He didn't so much LOSE IT as he found out (from two state highway patrolmen on the front porch at 11:55 p.m. on a Sunday night) that it was wrapped around a broken-off electric pole in another county, abandoned, after doing a felony worth of damage.

Hick went to the towing place to look at his trailer the next day. Both axles were bent, the tongue twisted. Hick valued the trailer at $1500. We have a $1000 deductible on the insurance, and a replacement cost for a trailer (it wasn't insured separately, it was an old trailer) of $500. Hick said it would cost more than $500 to fix the trailer, and $300 to have it hauled back home so he could salvage tires and a winch. He said it wasn't not worth it. We were just out a $1500 trailer.

Hick has been yearning for a trailer for 8 months now. He doesn't use a trailer frequently. Maybe a couple times a year. Hick likes to have one, just in case. I couldn't see forking over $1500 at Christmas time for a trailer to be parked for the winter, over by the BARn. We agreed that we would wait until tax refund time, and siphon off a health insurance premium (no excitement here about getting a refund, since it only pays future bills) so Hick could have a trailer.

Since we got our tax refund last week, Hick spent most of his waking hours scouring the internet and countryside for a trailer. He was quite excited to find one online, in Arkansas, for $1450. I told him he had no business driving to Arkansas right now. Hick went shopping locally. The same trailer he could have in Arkansas for $1450 was $2800 around here. Even with Hick showing them his Arkansas bargain, and offering cash on the spot. Sheesh! I guess these trailer dealers think the world will be beating a path to their door once Stay-At-Home-Down is lifted!

Anyhoo... The Veteran knew Hick had been looking for a trailer. He saw one online Monday morning, and sent a link to Hick. Hick got all excited, because it was what he wanted, and it was listed as "$1600 or Best Offer." He called the number at 8:00 a.m. (Hick and The Veteran are early risers), but didn't reach anyone until several hours and several calls later. It was a gal who said, "That's my dad's trailer. Here's his number."

Hick made arrangements to be in the city to look at it within 90 minutes. He rushed home to raid the safe for his cash stash, made a bologna sandwich to eat in SilverRedO, and said he was going to buy a trailer. He met the guy on a parking lot across from his office. Trailer Man is in the repossession business, but this was just a random parking lot, not where he keeps repo-ed stuff. Anyhoo, the trailer was Trailer Man's personal property, and not a repo.

Trailer Man: "I have two other guys coming to look at this."

Hick: "What will you take for it?"

Trailer Man: "What will you give me?"

Hick: "$1400."

Trailer Man: "Make that $1500, and it's a deal."

They shook hands. They hooked the trailer to SilverRedO.

Trailer Man: "Follow me to my house, and I'll get you the title. I don't want to mess with this. My daughter told me she'd put it online to sell it. I just want to be done with it."

They took off, Hick following him to a ritzy section of town, where rapper Nelly had a house that was featured on MTV Cribs. I guess the repo business is pretty lucrative. As Hick said, "He must not need that $1500 very bad. For all he knew, I'd take off another direction, pulling his trailer. I hadn't give him the money yet or nothin'. I guess he knew the license on his trailer, though."

It's a homemade duck-bill dove-tail trailer. For hauling cars and farm equipment. (I'm not even cropping out Hick unsightly hoard. Like the trailer he made from the camper shell of The Pony's truck.)

I wasn't all that impressed. Hick's other trailer had sides. Hick says this one has the holes where you can slide in the metal sides. But he likes it without sides, because then you can open up the vehicle doors when you drive a car up on it. Also, it has that drop back to drive a vehicle (like one of Hick's tractors) on. The only thing this one doesn't have is a winch, that Hick lost on his wrecked trailer.

Oh, well. Hick is happy. That $1500 has quit burning a hole in our bank account. Hick headed to the bank Tuesday morning to reimburse himself.

Let the record show that Val is not getting anything good with any of the tax money. Not even a box of Sno-Caps. Only healthcare, during a time when doctors won't even jab you in the butt on the parking lot.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Whoopsie! Val Has Edited Herself

Nothing to read here today. Val has withdrawn a post to protect the guilty.

I've had a story simmering in DRAFT since September 18 of last year. It's still not ready to be served to the public. Instead, I'm passing out a virtual rice cake to each of you. I know it's not as delicious nor as hydrating as the meaty fare and tea I was about to spill. So sue me!

Tomorrow you will get the information, without the explanation, of the subject this pulled post was leading up to. Don't get excited. It's not that great.

Consider this a little gift (along with the free virtual rice cake!) to help you pass the time. You can imagine all manner of situations which would be off limits for over-sharing VAL to put out there...

Monday, April 20, 2020

She Carried An Onion. Let's Not Start Polishing Her Food-Grammy.

Always the unpaid intern, never the star. That's Val's life in a nutshell. A nutshell she has been sealed into by Hick, with bad caulking. That man just can't appreciate anything!

Join me in my nutshell, for the 3rd installment of our continuing series "This Is the Time of Day When We Talk About the Most Recent Thing You've Done Wrong."

Hick has been running to and fro, all willy-nilly, across the county, despite a decree that put us in Stay-At-Home-Down. I have to plan ahead on the timing of supper, and what sumptuous feast I will be providing. Hick had baited me with a Casey's pizza, saying he saw they were half-price on Friday, before switching to amnesia on the topic after coming home from his visit to his "closed" Storage Unit Store on Saturday.

"I'm going out to weed-eat around the house."

"When will you get the pizza?"

"Oh. I forgot about that. It might have just been for Friday. It came across my phone."

"Okay. I haven't planned anything."

"I can warm up that taco meat that's left over. I can eat it with chips."

"Yeah. You can add cheese and sour cream and salsa. I'll come up around 6:30 and slice an onion for you. Use the triangle chips, not the round ones."

"Okay. I'm going out."

Let the record show that I didn't mind the disappearing pizza. As long as I wasn't expected to pull a 7-course meal out of my Christmas-two-years-ago knit hat with fluffy balls on the ends of the chin strings, it didn't much matter. I can always find something quick to make for myself.

I went down to my lair around 4:00, and at 6:30 started upstairs to slice that onion. Which of course meant that I'd also be warming the leftover taco meat, setting out a portion of shredded cheddar, and also the jar of salsa and tub of sour cream, each with their own spoon. Just like I do for tacos, with the exception of not having any tortillas to warm.

Huh! There was Hick, in the La-Z-Boy, spooning something off a paper plate.

"Don't tell me you already ate!"


"I was on my way up here! For the onion."

"I just came in and warmed it up myself."

"Did you slice an onion?"

"No. I'm done now."

"I TOLD you I'd be up here around 6:30. It's 6:37, and you're DONE!"

"I never do anything the way you want me to do it."

"No you don't. But that's not the point. If I'd known you were doing it yourself, I wouldn't have walked up 13 steps, when I'm not ready to make my own supper yet. You could have texted me that you were fixing your own supper. How hard is THAT? Takes 10 seconds."

"I don't know what you're carrying on about. Alls you were going to do was slice an onion."

WHOOOOOOOOOOSH! That is the sound of steam rushing out of my hot head!

That is SO untrue! No way would I have simply sliced one onion, and called Hick in to make his supper. He KNOWS I would have had all the stuff ready! Slice an onion??? MY AMPLE RUMPUS!

This situation reminds me of two of my favorite bad movies. Not so much bad, as mediocre movies that people like to watch over and over.

Like Dirty Dancing. When Baby, to justify her presence at the staff party, tells Johnny,  
"I carried a watermelon."

Like Coyote Ugly. When Rachel is jealous that Lil and the coyotes are congratulating Violet on her debut after singing on the bar. "She sang along with a jukebox. Let's not start polishing a grammy."

I wouldn't even have minded the unnecessary walk up the steps, if Hick had just accepted our discussion of the most recent thing he did wrong, and left it at that. I believe his lecture about me only wanting things done MY way was uncalled-for!

I will listen to Hick when he starts making MY supper every night, and starts his own blog series called "This Is the Time of Day When Val Listens to Me Lecture Her After She Tries to Do Something Nice For Me."

Sunday, April 19, 2020


Such a sad state of affairs, when I have to use a weekly grocery shopping trip as the most interesting thing to blog about. You can bet that I'm going to dissect it seven ways to Sunday, like my college Human Anatomy and Physiology class half-monkey, to get every benefit I can from it!

Oh, for the days of casinos and 9-hour sweaving trips with Hick!

Anyhoo...I was startled to see a sign at Country Mart on Tuesday. ONE HOUSEHOLD MEMBER ONLY. Right there in front of the inside cart corral. On a stand. In bold. Next to the free-for-customers hand sanitizer and Chlorox wipes station. Not that it mattered. I guess other people missed that sign while getting their carts...

Parents seem to be frazzled! One lady stepped up to the purple tape line at the Some Items or Less Line. They're kind of lax about items at Country Mart. This checkout has no conveyor, but if it has less of a line, everybody goes there anyway. Nobody is ever turned away.

Anyhoo...this lady had a couple items in her hand. She was either having the shakes from some kind of withdrawal, or she was at her wit's end with her son. Had to tell him many times, "STAY RIGHT HERE! Don't go any farther! I mean it! Get back here!" At least she tried. You know how grocery store kids always want to get right up on you. Thank goodness I wasn't in that line. My smart mouth might have asked how their households knew each other.

See what a great job teachers used to do? We were YOUR FREE BABYSITTER! Now you have to drag your own kids everywhere with you, and violate the ONE HOUSEHOLD MEMBER ONLY rule in Country Mart.

Another guy had two daughters with him. Blocked a whole aisle by parking his cart in the middle (MEN!), him standing on one side, a daughter on the other, while he sent the other little gal back to the end (where I was looking for 10-inch tortillas), to put back a bag of candy she was asking for. If other people's kids didn't annoy me so much, I would have offered to buy her the candy. Although that offer in itself could open up a whole new can of worms these days (Candy, little girl?). And she looked like she didn't really need any extra candy. But you know Val, a soft touch, always wanting to help others, like the morning she gave a dollar to the 11:00 a.m. alcoholic in the Gas Station Chicken Store to buy whiskey.

Oh, and ANOTHER lady was accompanied by the most annoying child ever to violate a shopping rule during a pandemic! I thought they'd never get away from the Golden Delicious Apples that I was picking up for Hick. That lady must have pointedly commanded that li'l gal to GET OFF THE CART about 10 times. She was standing on the end with the handle. So the lady couldn't push the cart. And Li'l Gal couldn't push the cart, because her feet were on the bottom bar. Any slight movement would tip the cart backwards.

SHEESH! The way that lady was talking to her, Li'l Gal must have been the stepdaughter. Because I don't think I could ever be so controlled with my own blood child. Not that there should be a difference, but having been a stepmom myself (and also a teacher!), I know that you kind of buffer your chastisements with virtual cotton batting and bubble wrap to temper a volatile reaction that may or may not be egged-on by youngsters trying to provoke you, testing the boundaries, as any normal child will do as a way of establishing their place.

Anyhoo...I (inwardly) whined because I couldn't go within six feet of the Golden Delicious apples, and then I found myself similarly trapped by the same argument at the bell peppers, while I was awaiting romaine lettuce.

I'm not advocating that people spank their child in the grocery store, or at all, but I UNDERSTAND. (Yes. I stole that concept from Chris Rock.) In the very least, a trip out to the car for a stern talking-to might prevent future episodes of recalcitrantness in the grocery store.

I don't have a solution for how people are supposed to shop for essential items if they have kids too young to leave in the car. If a store allows one kid, or two kids per adult, then what about a person with three kids? Or MORE!!! There is no solution.

Don't tell me about online ordering and picking up curbside! The Schnuck's over in Bill-Paying Town just recalled ALL brands of their ground beef with a SELL BY date of April 19. The curbside shoppers are OUTRAGED! The meat was spoiled. One lady bought it Thursday, took it back on Friday declaring the rottenness, and was denied even the opportunity to replace it with something else of the same value. She said she will never shop there again.

It's anarchy out there! You can go inside and smell your own meat, or take a curbside chance.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

If It's CENT To Be, It'll Be

Even though Val chills in her lair these days, only venturing out twice a week, for groceries or mail... her Future Pennyillionaire Fortune awaits. On Monday, April 13, I spied a penny meant just for me, hiding in the floor mat at the Backroads Casey's.

I had plenty of time to spot it, standing my designated distance from the counter.

This 1977 was buried face down, with the rubber mat pulled over his back. Waiting!

Also on Monday, a second penny awaited me, at Orb K!

It was harder to see this camouflagy cent. No rug here.

This face-down 1995 penny was as clever at disguising himself as Peeta in The Hunger Games!

On the way to mail the boys' letters THURSDAY, April 16, I noted a lonely little friend at the School-Turn Casey's.

It was a face-down 2019, in the indoor shade of the cashews. Which look delicious.

Yes, I exposed my ample rumpus to pick him up, after first dragging him out with my toe.

I can't believe I was worried about not finding pennies with limited hunting opportunities. If I'm meant to find pennies, I'll find pennies!

That makes three this week, in two days.


Penny       # 36, 37, 38.
Dime        still at 8.
Nickle      still at 3.
Quarter  0

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, April 17, 2020

Nothing But TIme

Sitting around doing nothing for two weeks, Val has been lucky not to go the way of the cat, due to her curiosity. Too much TV in the background while checking the innernets on HIPPIE every morning. I glance up, not really paying attention, during the brief bouts of cable news between commercials.

Until the past few days, it seems that every person being interviewed from home had a BOOKCASE behind them! I guess that's to show you they are an authority on their subject matter. It got to the point where I wondered whether they were actually at home, or in a studio, with interchangeable bookshelves, and a vast library of books. Lucky for me, I had already taken these living-room pictures off my dear departed Nexy before his demise.

This first dude is a regular expert on FOX. A doctor. Not anything particularly interesting about him, until I noticed the book that he had propped up in the background. Do you guys do that? With your own personal bookshelves that you would position yourself in front of for a TV interview? Do you set one book up all special, to show the title? I don't. Mine are piled all willy-nilly on top of the shelved books. The overflow.

This was way back on April 2nd. I don't know who that's a photo of, but that propped-up book title is "FALSE ALARM." Not sure if this falls into the category of IRONY. In more recent interviews with this doc, I haven't seen that book. In fact, I think we only see the shelf with that globe lamp thingy. I wish I could read those book titles in the stack, but when I took the picture I was only comparing bookcases, not intending to become a forensic photographer.

I didn't get a picture in time of the representative for the airline stewardesses, talking about how they're either out of work, or in danger because of no face masks. She had a book on her shelf about labor unions! Uh huh. A sure signal not to mess with her!

This gal below on MSNBC has a modest bookcase. I suppose she's not a very established authority on the subject she was experting. She was like Authority Lite. I only snapped her for another bookcase example. And because she looks like one of Ron Howard's two daughters, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jessica Chastain. (Oh, come on! Like you don't see more of a resemblance with Jessica and Ron than with Bryce!)

I guess Ron's third (alleged) daughter has that phone on her bookcase because she is discussing the confusion of applicants CALLING about their small business loans! I'm tellin' ya, these TV people are all about mind games. Like Sheriff Joe Arpaio making his inmates wear pink undies! Mind games!

The next interviewee didn't have a bookcase! Like people who are so poor they don't have a pot to pee in. If she didn't have a bookcase because she was poor, I know what she spent her money on. EYELASHES!

Seriously! If I was a doctor on the front lines, being interviewed from an exam room, with my stethoscope draped at a jaunty angle around my neck, I'd be sure to put on a tight-necked sweatshirt that's the color of hospital scrubs, and glue on my longest, bushiest fake eyelashes! Because of course they won't act as a fluffy magnet to pick up any VIRUS droplets.

And furthermore, I would not just rely on that stethoscope to prove I was a doctor. I'd have a pocket protector filled with assorted scalpels, and maybe some tongue depressors, and a monogrammed pen that was a gift for graduating from medical school, to use for scribbling out prescriptions.'s a good thing I don't spend too long in front of the TV. I'm better off in my dark basement lair.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Sometimes, Hick Just Burns Me Up

It's time for Episode 2 of the continuing Stay-At-Home-Down series: "This Is the Time of Day When We Talk About the Most Recent Things You've Done Wrong."

Let the record show that Hick and Val have been married for 30 years. During that epoch, Val has accumulated, under her apron belt, several years' worth of time in the kitchen. Hick...not so much. Unless he is grilling out on the porch, or making his own hot dogs in the microwave, Hick leaves the food prep to Val. The kitchen is a foreign territory to him. Might as well plop him down in Outer Mongolia without a topographic map.

During our last food-hoarding major grocery shopping trip before Stay-At-Home-Down, Hick bought himself some bake-at-home cinnamon rolls. Four tubes of them. He cooked one last week. And another Monday night. He doesn't announce such a treat, nor offer any to Val. That's okay. They're not that good.

Tuesday evening, I came upstairs to prepare supper, and found loyal, aged oven mitt with a 3rd degree burn! I concede that Mitty wasn't pretty. He gave me many good years, hanging on a hook of the cutting block accumulating layers of washed-and-dried grease, yet still protecting my dainty hands daily as I stuck them into the oven. So beloved was Mitty that his replacements remain clipped together and drawered away from Christmases past.

Anyhoo...when this most-recent wrongdoing was brought to Hick's attention, he DENIED BURNING MITTY!

I assure you, no matter how many odd footsteps and inexplicable noises I hear upstairs overnight, the only two people in this house are VAL and HICK. I am quite sure that I did not catch Mitty on fire. That leaves only one other source of his injury. Let me spell that out for you: H I C K.

Hick vehemently protested my pointed accusation suggestion that he had a hand in Mitty's damaged skin!

I may or may not have had a sarcastic edge when I said, "Huh. I sure don't remember setting fire to my oven mitt, which I've used without incident, almost daily, for so many years."

"I know! You don't remember ANYTHING!"

My vast sarcasm repertoire is lost on Hick.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Unbearable Likeness of Queueing

DANGER! Danger in the convenience store line! OOOGAH! OOOGAH! Heed the warning siren! Listen for directions. Val has taken one for the stay-at-home team to bring you this vital message.


I am not one to scream from the rooftops that the Apopadopalyspe (Hick's term) is here. I stay home because it's recommended and decreed. Not because I'm worried that masked and gloved employees of the county health center will descend upon me with a three-foot-long nasal swab if someone narcs on me. Not because I'm worried that I will inhale a roving aerosolized virus when a waft of the dead-mouse-smelling post office's air enters my snout. No. I'm all about obeying the new unenforced rules, but if I'm out to mail my Sprint bill, I'll stop for a 44 oz Diet Coke and scratchers.

Monday, my first outing since groceries four days ago, I stopped in Orb K for scratchers. They have a plexiglas barrier now in front of the cashiers. Yellow tape marks on the floor six feet apart for line-waiters. I was WAY back. Fifth in line. If many more people came in after me, they'd be dangling their rumpuses over the wake-up bumps of the Hwy 67 side lines.

Of course there were some rowdy scoffrule ruffians ahead of me. FOUR people, all dressed in khaki pants and brown shirts. I have no idea what company they worked for. They weren't the local prison guard uniforms. It's unlikely 3 men and 1 woman would coordinate their clothes like that. One guy was in line with a sandwich from the cold display. The others roamed around it, and to the line, and back to the food. I figured they were going to be line-cutters. To which I'd say nothing, but silently fume, and give them a scathing write-up on my blog. But no. They decided not to get anything, or were clever shoplifters, because they all went out, the gal complaining that the van was locked, and they needed the key from the line-waiter.

The line moved up. Once. Twice.


That's not an artist's rendering. That's not computer-generated. Not a mere likeness. It's a PHOTOGRAPH of bubbly spit on the floor of Orb K!

What kind of sub-human do you have to be to SPIT on the floor INSIDE a business?

I avoided it like the possible plague! I'm pretty sure this sputum needed to be roped off with yellow caution tape, by a hazmat team wearing respirators and full-body suits. Then the business closed down for six weeks for steam-cleaning and disinfecting and dismantling and shipping in a hermetically-sealed railroad car to be buried indefinitely in a salt formation under New Mexico.

But...being Val, I just bought my scratchers and left.

Not a winner in the bunch.

If you get out for grocery shopping, people, watch the floor. And not for pennies.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Another Paranormal Pony Tale

Easter Sunday started with a text from The Pony.

"I have a dry cough that started last night. Not entirely sure if it's being sick, or just from me having a window open during a storm. This one wasn't opened much, so I think there was a lot of weird dirt and mildew somewhere in the frame."

"Might be allergies."

"Yeah. There's also a scratch on the outside of my window."


"It wasn't there before. It shouldn't be there, since there's an intact screen on the outside."

"You know my feelings on this!"

"It's either a scratch or a crack on one side! Either way should not be there on the window I opened for the first time in 3 years and fell asleep with it open."

"Yes. It shouldn't be there."

I even mentioned this to Hick, adding that when he moves out, The Pony will probably be charged for a cracked window! 11:11 p.m. Sunday night, I heard from The Pony again. He's noticed that time for the last two nights, and sent me a text.

"11:11 again! With my phone at 11%."

"Yes. I would have missed it. I was writing about you for my supersecret blog."

"Remember that crack/scratch in the window I mentioned?"


"I just heard something knock on it while I was looking out, with nothing there. It's now a much longer scratch."

"Yikes! Maybe it was just the cracking. Or maybe someone tossing pebbles from the ground."

"Again, there's a screen."

"Maybe something is trying to get OUT!"

"The marks are on the outside of the window before the screen."

"You know my solution."

"Close the shades and ignore it?"

"Stop messing with Ouija and that music."


That message did not go through. Underneath it, on my new used iPhone 8, were red letters saying Not Delivered. And a red exclamation mark in a circle.

"Don't know why my phone didn't deliver that message. I'll try again."
AGAIN: Not Delivered. Red exclamation.

"Stop messing with Ouija and that music."
AGAIN: Not Delivered. Red exclamation.


"That's my solution."
AGAIN: Not delivered. Red exclamation.

"My phone isn't sending." 

Flash to Monday at 9:07 a.m. The Pony texted again.

"It was 70 yesterday. We're supposed to get snow tonight."

"That's ridiculous!"

"Not anything that will stick, but it says to expect some snow showers overnight."

"Did you ever get my message last night?"

"Not sure? The last one I got last night from you is, ironically, "my phone isn't sending."

"TWICE I tried to send my advice about your window! Stop messing with Ouija and that music. Both times it said "Not Delivered." SOMETHING didn't want you getting that advice!"

"That's like telling YOU to stop messing with your conspiracies!"

"Yet your phone delivered THAT message!"

"Your conspiracies clearly don't want you to keep looking into them!"

"Heh, heh."

Good one, Pony. Ya got me.

Monday, April 13, 2020

This Is the Time of Day When We Talk About the Most Recent Things You've Done Wrong

Yes, there's a new series here at the Hick-bashing cathouse! You'd think that after all these years, I would have just about covered everything there is to bash. But NO!

With the cross-county and state-wide Stay-At-Home-Down in effect, it has come to my attention that Hick needs a daily update. It happens while he is kicked back in his La-Z-Boy, eating the supper I've prepared for him from out freezer bounty. I preface our meetings with:

"This is the time of day when we talk about the most recent things you've done wrong."

I meant to bring this series to the forefront earlier, but my cell phone death took precedence. So at this first episode, we hop in the wayback machine and reverse to Tuesday, March 31. The Stay-At-Home-Down order was officially going into effect Thursday night, at 12:01 a.m. Hick and I had made a final trip to lay in a supply of NOT TOILET PAPER before Walmart was besieged with last-minute first-of-the-month hoarders. The main order of business was Easter candy for the boys' treat boxes. Yes. I still send my kids holiday boxes. They still have one foot in the mama's boy world, and one foot in the adulting world.

Anyhoo...when we got home, Hick carried in the regular supplies such as Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Coke and his Little Debbie Fudge Rounds (the giant ones), frozen blueberry waffles, and bake-at-home cinnamon rolls that were meant to wean him off his clandestine daily Casey's donuts. Along with bread and buns and mayo and tuna and Ritz crackers and a deli pizza. I said he could leave the candy out there, since the weather was cool, and it would be in the way inside until I was ready to fill the boxes.

Thursday, I went out to Counrty Mart for some onions and tomatoes, on my last trip to the Gas Station Chicken Store for a final 44 oz Diet Coke. As I put my groceries in the back of T-Hoe, a strong fragrance almost knocked me over when the hatch lifted.

Hick had left a large box of trash bags in there. He had mentioned at the time that Walmart was out of the regular kind we use, the big black ones with the drawstring tie. So he'd gotten the white kind with a lavender fragrance.

The boys' candy had been marinating in lavender fragrance for THREE DAYS!

When I broached this subject with Hick during our first session concerning his daily wrong-doings...he did not seem at all concerned.

I bet he changed his tune when he snuck some of the leftover chocolate candy, once I went down to my lair.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Genius's Val and iPhone Boot Camp

The first night of bringing my new used iPhone 8 home, Genius called to see how I liked it. That's what he said. If I had known then that I had just been drafted into his Apple army, and was careening down the primrose path to have my lovely lady-mullet shorn as a precursor to his draconian boot camp...I might not have picked up the house phone.

Genius started off in a conversational tone. Like a young-adult son who hasn't talked to his loving mother for six weeks. Little by little, he inserted specific commands concerning the tiny heavy albatross new used iPhone 8 he persuaded me to buy.

"Have you figured it out yet?"

"No. But I have that 2-hour YouTube video you sent me. So as I need something, I will refer to the specific chapter of those instructions."

"Here. Let me show you how to..."


By the time our hour-and-twenty-minute conversation was over, I felt like I had dismantled and rebuilt a Boeing 747. From 35,000 feet.

"That's okay. I have enough to get by for now. I'll check the video if I need something else. Or I'll call you."

"Well, I'm working from 8:00 to 6:00."

"I won't bother you then. I know enough to text and take pictures and make a call."

"Wait. There are three more things we need to do."

"I have to go to the bathroom..."

"Just a minute. It won't take long. Go to SETTINGS..."

"I REALLY have to go to the bathroom."

"You know, it's really hard to help you..."

"I TOLD you I would never figure out how to use an iPhone!"

"It would be the same going from an LG to a Samsung!"

"I don't know. I didn't have that chance."

"Come on, we're almost done."

"Hurry up. I REALLY HAVE TO go to the bathroom!"

I learned a couple things that evening. Like how I can never close out of something like with my Nexy (LG Nexus 7). Apparently, they stay open perpetually, with the most recently used on top of a fanned-out thing like windows, and don't use up your battery power. That's the perception I got from my drill sergeant Genius, anyway.

Oh, and he made me put in a security code, and now EVERY TIME I want to do something on my phone, I have to punch in 6 NUMBERS! I hate that! He said I have to, because I refused to put in my fingerprint. Well! I have such trouble with touch screens like ATMs and casino kiosks and other vital technology not recognizing that I'm a living human, I didn't want to take a chance on my new used iPhone 8 ignoring my touch when I wanted in!

Anyhoo...Genius called back the very next evening, to put me through more drills! During which he ridiculed me when I asked how to get rid of things that pop up on the screen, like a survey wanting to know how I liked my shopping trip at Country Mart, WHILE I was still inside Country Mart, again in T-Hoe, and once back home.

Genius swore he had never seen such a thing pop up on an iPhone, and demanded to know what it looked like, and forced me to spend 20 minutes learning how to take a screenshot and sent it to him. Except that the next time I got one of those notices on my screen, it wouldn't let me take a screenshot without punching in my 6-digit security code, and THEN it was GONE!

I appreciate Genius's help. I really do. But I feel like I should be able to decide WHEN I want to learn something, because then I'll remember it. And be more receptive to his commands.

Genius tried to whip me into shape like Louis Gossett Jr. making a jet-flyer out of Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman.

When it comes to help with my new used iPhone 8, like Zach Mayo about to be forced to DOR...I got nowhere else to go.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Val Is InnoCENT, Not a Weirdo!

How silly of me to worry about finding a penny on my limited outings during Stay-At-Home-Down! Nothing materialized on Wednesday during the phone quest, but on THURSDAY, April 9, Val's Future Pennyillionaire fortune increased by one cent! One is better than none, you know!

I had treated myself to the last of the chicken tenders at the deli counter, and picked up Hick's special individual ice cream cups of vanilla with strawberry and chocolate swirl, four six-packs of Diet Mountain Dew @ 4/$10, three cans of refried beans, a bag of onions, four little cans of mushrooms, and a half-loaf of Nutty Oat Bread.

Let the record show that my view from the deli counter (now with a green line to stand behind) showed empty shelves in the paper towel area. Also, of all things to be depleted, the Save A Lot shelves were bare of CANNED MUSHROOMS! I don't know what people are making!

Anyhoo...there were two checkout lines open. I got behind a lady who was getting out her bank card to pay. Wouldn't you know it, the card reader said her her card could not be processed. She tried again. No luck. I've had the same problem there, so I did not consider her a possible scammer like the couple who once tried (in that very checkout) to use a card that had the chip CUT OUT, and neither of their names upon it. the She 'un of Denial tried her card a third time, I noticed a miracle meant just for Val! A PENNY dropped to the floor, and landed by that gal's foot. I was trying to tell her. Really. But there was no pause in her chatter with the checker. It would have been rude to interrupt. THEN she said she was going to run out to her car to get some cash. As the cashier was asking if she was going to leave her stuff there, I snapped a picture.

Off went the She 'un of Denial, parking her cart full of groceries at the end of the counter. The cashier, wearing her gloves and face mask, apologized to me for my wait.

"Oh, that's okay. It's not like I have anywhere else to go! I'll just pick up this lucky penny here. I have a whole collection of them."

It was a face-down 2011. Now part of my Future Pennyillionaire collection!

Okay. So I know you're going to say I stole that penny from that woman. But I did NOT! She could have heard it fall, same as I did! Maybe it wasn't even hers. Maybe it had been laying on the shelf holding the card scanner.

Good thing we're past the days when you had to send off film to be developed. Somebody might have suspected ol' Val to be a weirdo who likes feet. I ASSURE YOU I DO NOT! I despise feet. I have a long history of blogging (here and on my supersecret blog) about my distaste for tootsies. I could not help it that my rightful penny landed next to her open toes.

The gal came back. Paid cash. Didn't drop any change. I WOULD have told her about THAT!

It was a single-penny week for Val, but much appreciated.


Penny       # 35.
Dime        still at 8.
Nickle      still at 3.
Quarter  0

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Attempted Resuscitation of My BPhF Nexy

When we last convened, my BPhF Nexy (Best Phone Forever, LG Nexus 7) was hooked up to life support on the back counter of the Sprint store over in Bill-Paying Town. Go-Getter Gal, the apparent boss of the office, was tending to him intermittently, while helping me set up an account for my new used iPhone 8.

GGG would step back and pick up Nexy tenderly. Then squeeze the bejeebers out of his power button, and jam the charging connector up his nether region.

"I think you might have a bad charger connection. Or a bad battery. You could go up to Interstate Battery. They might have something you can use. Wait!"

I saw it with my own two eyes! The screen came on, with all my colorful apps! But as soon as we exclaimed our joy, it disappeared. Back to black. Never to be seen again.

"Well. I DID notice that when it was on, it was in SAFE MODE. It just wouldn't stay on long enough for me to take it OUT of safe mode. And the battery showed it was charged to 97 percent. So that's not it. You might have a bad screen. I just don't think I can help you with it, but we'll plug it back in and try again later."

She was very helpful, that cheerful GGG. She got my account set up, doing it for me, to save time with my single-finger typing. Got my security questions. Wrote down my answers on a notepad for me to take along. THEN TOOK A PICTURE OF IT!

"Wait. Why are you doing that?"

"To store it in your phone. People are always forgetting. Then we can't help them when they come in. So you'll always have it, in the pictures on your phone."

Um. That did not set well with me, but I let it go. Also, she didn't capitalize any of the answers, like a pet name or street name.

"Okay, so when you put them in, you didn't capitalize them?"

"No. Why would I do that? It's just awkward to capitalize stuff."

Huh. Maybe THAT'S why people can't get into their phones! They're capitalizing those names that GGG entered sans capitalization! Just a theory. Nothing proven. Young adults these days...

GGG even found the app I needed for The Pony's remote financial deposits, and downloaded that for me. She was pleasant and helpful, while NotBoot sat there, having done his part by selling me the phone after saying he didn't have one, and trying to overcharge me with an unwanted protection plan. He was pleasant enough. Made small talk with Hick about his grandpa's tractor.

After about an hour, standing the whole time, I was more than ready to get out of there with my new used too-heavy too-small too-slippery iPhone 8. I thanked GGG profusely for her assistance. Hick said, "You oughta buy her lunch for all the help she gave you!"

"You have the money," I said. Picking up my purse that was bursting with my unspent Stay-At-Home-Down week's cash allowance.

"Here!" said Hick. Tossing a wad of bills across the counter to Go-Getter Gal. "Have lunch on us."

All the while, NotBoot sat there forlornly behind his recently booted computer.

"Well, that's not fair! He helped us too!"

"I don't have no more money. Nine dollars was all I had!"

"Oh. I guess you'll have to share, then! Get something you both can eat."

I bet those two were never so happy as when Hick and I finally pulled out of the parking space, and they were certain that we would not be coming back.

We never did get Nexy to wake up. I'll pack him in a cardboard box and mail him to Genius, who loves to get elbow-deep in a torn-open cell phone. Nexy cannot be popped open, like my old phone, which would spill its guts every time I dropped it on the garage floor, battery shooting one way, back cover the other. Which I guess was a good thing, because he never broke, what with the exploding parts absorbing the force.

Genius doesn't remember if Nexy has a SIM card. There's nothing around his perimeter that would suggest he has one. He's sealed up tighter than Fort Knox. Maybe tighter, if my conspiracies are true...

Anyhoo...for the sake of time and your eye health, the story of Genius's Val and iPhone Boot Camp will have to wait until SUNDAY. At least you'll have some weekend entertainment.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

I Carried the Corpse in My Purse

Farewell, LG Nexus 7. I hardly knew (how to operate) ye. Our five or six years together are surely memorable. I think. With our photos lost, I can't be certain.

I tried to revive Nexy all through the night. Hooked him up to a lifeline on the kitchen counter. When I went to bed around 4:00 a.m., I saw no signs of life. I pulled the plug.

When I got up at 9:30, I gave Nexy one more try, suggested by Dr. Google. To plug in, and immediately press the START and VOLUME DOWN buttons. Hallelujah! I got some red writing on the screen! I volumed-down to the BOOT LOAD selection. Got a START arrow. Pressed the START button. Got a lime green robot, lying on his back, with his belly flapped open. Then the four colorful Google circle thingies spinning. Oh, I had hope alright!

Sadly, removing the power and immediately reconnecting, per Dr. Google, all I could get after an hour was the big white battery. When we arrived in Bill-Paying Town at the Sprint store, Nexy's possibly last-gasping corpse in my purse, he appeared deader than a doornail. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

NOBODY was in the Sprint store. Just me and Hick and a dog named Boo--no it wasn't! Me and Hick and a young man who had to boot up his computer, having been open for 45 minutes already, but unprepared for business.

I told him immediately what I wanted. An iPhone 8. Genius's recommendation, at a cost of $450. A simple little phone for Val. No bells and whistles needed.

Young NotBoot said he didn't have any.


"My son looked it up last night, through our Sprint account, for your store. It showed AVAILABLE. I looked it up myself, on your website. It showed AVAILABLE. If you don't have one, we'll go somewhere else."

I took back my 99%-departed Nexy. My last billing statement. Turned on my heel. Had Hick call Genius, to see if he thought the Samsung Galaxy A50 android for $350 would be acceptable. He said it was up to me. Along with a few choice words concerning NotBoot. While I was way over at the door talking to Genius (that place was the size of half a tennis court), Hick hollered,

"They found one!"

Well. How conveeeeeeenient! NotBoot had consulted a Go-Getter Gal in the back room, and she found an iPhone 8. Though it was refurbished, or whatever they call their trade-ins. I asked Genius if that would be acceptable. He said it would, as long as it wasn't "all crappy with scratches." It was not.

Wanting to get it over with, and not order online and not know how to work anything when I took it out of the box, I brandished the body of Nexy again, to see if maybe they could extract his entrails for transplant into the iPhone 8. More on that attempt tomorrow.

The price of the used iPhone 8 was $240. Reasonable enough. Of course NotBoot reiterated that he could not sell me the phone outright, that I would have to lease it. The nearest Sprint store that could sell us a phone (where Hick got his last phone) is near the city, and CLOSED right now. So I agreed to the lease for 18 months at $10 a month, with the last $60 due after that. NotBoot assured me that I COULD pay off my lease early, online. He actually said I could do it on my phone (!!!!!), but obviously my reputation had not preceded me.

Anyhoo...NotBoot did some fast-talking, and said he was putting it on my bill blah blah blah, and that would be $15 per month. REEEEE! Hick and I cut eyes.

"Wait! What did you say you were putting on there?"

"You phone, and the protection plan--"

"No. I don't need a protection plan. Take that off! You said $10 a month, and that's what I'm paying. I barely use a phone. If I break it, I'll buy another one."

"Well, you'll have to still pay off the lease on the broken one before you can get another phone."

"Not a problem. I wanted to buy it outright to begin with! No protection plan."

Man! You gotta watch those "young a$$holes," as Hick refers to them.

Once the fingertip signature circus was over, Go-Getter Gal began ministering to Nexy. If she'd held a mirror to his virtual lips, I would not have wagered a weekend penny that Nexy could have fogged it up. That will be tomorrow's tale, along with Genius's Val and iPhone Boot Camp.

I know this isn't the most exciting of cliffhangers. But then again, what else do you have to do? You're a literal captive audience!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Death Knocked at Val's Door, and Let Himself In

MY PHONE IS DEAD! Not only merely dead, it's really most sincerely dead!

Oh, I tried various revival techniques, courtesy of Dr. Google. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Bupkis. Not even a call to my electronic miracle worker, Genius, could save the patient. I tried his "plug it in all night" advice. I think that might be akin to me turning a malfunctioning electronic gewgaw off, then on. Or using System Restore when my computer goes on the fritz. It doesn't really do anything but make me feel in control. And sometimes coincidences make it seem like I've fixed it.

Anyhoo... with Hick driving his friend to the hospital, and me without a cell phone, I had to rely on contacting Genius by email! Sure, I have a landline. But that's LONG DISTANCE to call Pittsburgh! I waited until noon, and sent the email. Genius is working from home now, designing the driverless car, but I thought he could spare time on his unofficial lunch hour to call me. Apparently, he could not! I had to send another email after 6:00. Genius dutifully called.

"Well, that phone is at least five years old. You can order one online."

"THEN what will I do? I don't know how to set up a phone!"

"I can talk you through it."

"I looked up the Sprint stores, and the one over in Bill-Paying Town is open! Reduced hours, from 11:00 to 6:00, but it's OPEN! Can't I just get one there, and they can set it up for me?"

"You can. It's risking your life, but you can."

"Dad says they're all young smarta$$es in there anyway! According to our local tally, only 9 people in that town have the VIRUS, and I figure they won't be working in the Sprint store. I can stand 6 feet away and make a transaction. I wash my hands! Or Dad says the best way would be to order a phone and have it sent to you, and you could set it up and send it to me. But that's a lot of time."

"It would be easier for you to get it at the store. They'll set it up."

"So when I walk out, I'll have a phone that works, with all my stuff on it?"

"Well, if your phone is dead, it won't have all your stuff on it. No. But you can mail the old one to me, and I'll see if I can find a sim card and get your pictures."

"I looked online, and found a phone that they have in stock. It's a Samsung, for about $192. I don't need anything fancy. I only call, text, and take pictures. I don't play games or do internet searches or watch videos on it."

"Well, good luck with THAT. It will probably only last you a year. Those cheap ones aren't that good. You'd be better off getting an old iPhone."

"I don't know how to use an iPhone! And how will I send money to The Pony? That app was on my phone!"

"You'll have to get the app again. If you already had a password and account, all you have to do is sign in when you get it. It will work the same way. You'll love an iPhone, once you get used to it. In about a week, you'll have it mastered."

"Wait! I'm trying not to cry and laugh at the same time. A WEEK? That's for a normal person! It would take ME six months!"

"Oh, come on. Send me that phone link, and I'll look some up, and then email you back with the choices."

He did.

"That phone you found is crap. Forget about it. Here's a Samsung A50 for an android, and the iPhone 8. They will both require you to learn how to use them. I included a link to an iPhone instructional video. It's two hours long. You don't have to watch the whole thing now. Just take a look, and see if it would help you. The iPhone is $100 more, but I would be willing to pay that $100 just to make you get it!"

"Speaking of that, we are STILL PAYING FOR YOUR PHONE on our bill!"

"Yeah. And?"

"Well, I don't mind it myself. But Dad brings it up every now and then. Usually when he talks about how you're rolling in dough. He says, 'That boy can afford to pay for his own phone!'"

"I could. Yes. But I haven't switched it to my own account, because IT'S SUCH A GOOD DEAL that we have grandfathered in! I can't find another deal like that anywhere!"

"I figure it's worth it, to pay the $20 fee having your phone on our bill, just to have you on call for all my phone and computer problems. Or maybe it's $40, now that you don't have the Garmin discount, since you have a work phone provided by OOBER."

"That's a fair trade-off. I'm okay with that."

Are you sure on the prices? I couldn't make it give me a purchase price. It said "may vary." Only showed the lease price."

"I was logged into the Sprint website. It showed me if I hovered over the lease price."

"What's our password now? It makes me change every time I log in. Okay. Let me write that down."

"Or you COULD use a password manager..."

"No way! I don't want all my passwords saved in one place for someone to steal!"

"Mom! It doesn't work like that."

"That's what YOU say!"

"Okay. I could explain it to you, and you wouldn't understand. Or you can just believe me, with my four years for a college degree and three years of working IN THE COMPUTER FIELD!"

"I'll look at these phones, and talk to Dad, and send you an email in the morning before we go, to let you know what I'm doing."

"Do I need to call YOU, and give you a pep talk to make sure you get the iPhone?"


By the time you read this, Hick and I will be breaking Stay-At-Home-Down to venture to the Sprint store. While we're out, we might pick up some takeout food. AND I might throw caution to the wind, and get a 44 oz Diet Coke and scratchers.

Don't judge! I made it a week. I can make it another week, after driving by the post office to drop off letters, pick up medicine at my pharmacy, and grocery shop at customer-limiting Country Mart on Thursday. Then I'll stay home for another solid week, and learn my new iPhone. If all goes right...

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Val Is Slowly Losing Her Will to Blog

Here I am, trapped in my own home, no casinos, no scratchers, no daily 44 oz Diet Coke, shopping requiring a wait in a strung-out line to even buy groceries, a rotting hole in an infected blister on my leg and unable to see a doctor, and FORCED TOGETHERNESS with Hick. I was handling the situation. Keeping my sunny rainbows-and-unicorns disposition. Making the best of it. Until...


That's right. I'm pretty sure Hick had something to do with it. I was sitting on the short couch, having just gotten my phone back from Hick's meaty hand, after showing him a picture of the sourdough bread Genius made. I was merely sweeping my fingers together, shrinking down that picture, when the screen of my phone went black.

No amount of effort nor cajoling could bring it back. Sure, my cell phone is mighty long-in-the-tooth. It's a Nexus LG 7, I think. Something like that. When it came out, Genius waited extra time to get the BLUE version, rather than white or black. It's always looked GRAY to me. But he swore it was blue. Genius used it a couple years before he took our new phone offer for himself, and gave his old one to me. That thing's gotta be over 7 years old.

Anyhoo...Hick put in an emergency text to Genius. Who was busy watching a movie (!) and said he'd get back to me. When he called (on the house phone, good thing I didn't get rid of the landline), he said:

"Sometimes the older phones do that. The battery will go dead all at once, even if it shows 40 or 50% power remaining. It might actually be dead. You can try plugging it in to charge all night. Then we'll work from there if it's still dead. It's not like you can run out to the Sprint Store and get another one these days. If it's dead, you can order one online."

"I don't know how to make a new phone work!"

"Calm down. We'll deal with it."

I searched online, and found two possible fixes for it. I'll try them tomorrow, if the charging doesn't work. Can't hurt nothin'.

I'd rather have something go REALLY GOOD in my life, and blog about THAT.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Val, the Pale Recluse Hider

With my activities curtailed, I have no bait to lure you into my web. I'll just have to snag you as you wander by. Don't struggle! Skim through, and you're out. Don't want to end up like that Mary character, cocooned in the lair, in Aliens! The one who was still alive, and said,
"Kill meee..."

Now that we're on stay-at-home-down here in Backroads, I have only ventured out once since Thursday. That was to get the mail at the end of the gravel road. It's a mile, a dusty, uneven-footing mile, so I drove T-Hoe. Didn't see a soul. Not man nor beast.

After fetching my hard-of-hearing junk mail, I sat in T-Hoe with the windows down, listening to the babbling brook/cackling creek. Spring is in the air. It was a beautiful day to be out, though I couldn't be OUT, out. So I went back home, descended to my dark basement lair, and started working on my taxes. They're DONE!

Sure, I could go outside. We have 20 contiguous acres around our hillbilly mansion. However, if I'm not leaving the house every day for a trip to town, it doesn't enter my mind to go outside. The poor dogs have gone treatless, even though their tray of grease bread sits on the counter by the kitchen door. If the sun pops out, I'll try to get out on the porch, at least.

Not much to report about here, until I do my grocery shopping. I'd planned to go Monday, but yesterday's notice about Country Mart limiting the number of people in the store has me considering a reschedule for Thursday, when I get out to mail the boys' letters. Country Mart is never very busy, but this notice will probably make people flock there! I have no desire to wait in line to get inside.

I hope Hick does something interesting or irritating this week. For YOUR sake!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

2020 Important Documents. They Said.

Heh, heh! How many people will I get coming to read this, thinking it's important? That's not my intent. I only want to reveal the tactics being used to TRICK THE ELDERLY!

I got ONE item in the mail on Thursday. So of course it had my full attention. It looked kind of official. 

Please excuse the Puffs With Lotion that I ripped in half to cover my address.

So... if you got this in the mail, with the Statue of Liberty hoisting her flame, the HEALTH NOTIFICATION ALERT, postage paid, in this time of THE VIRUS...would YOU expect some important information?

Val did. She's not generally gullible, you know. She views life through a suspicious, jaundiced eye. Not many people put one over on Val.

With our county being recently placed on stay-at-home-down, I thought that perhaps this was something I should look at. Maybe it was about a possible exposure. I tore the perforated ends off, and opened up that important document.


its in bold caps, in case i really AM hard of heardind, i guess
,pore l;ike hard of typoign!

Yes. That's pure, unadulterated Val at the keyboard. Let me translate.

It was just junk mail asking if I was hard of hearing! In large, bold print, just in case I was, perhaps. Junk mail to trick me into responding so I'd be on a million hard-of-hearing scammer call lists. Val is not hard of hearing. More like hard of typing.

No, it was not a warning that I had been exposed to an asymptomatic carrier, with a need to self-quarantine. Nothing important at all.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

A CENTSational Last Week of Freedom for Val

The Future Pennyillionaire week kicked off SUNDAY, March 29, with a twofer at Orb K. I'd already surveyed the regular harvest zone. Nothing there. I turned my head to the right, and voila!

At the base of the hand sanitizer dispenser were my two cents!

I had just become the proud new penny-momma of a face-down 2002, and a heads-up 2011. More penny-power to me!

Val's last hurrah on THURSDAY, April 2, about 12 hours before the county-wide lockdown stay-at-home-down, was really worth cheering about! Her weekly errand trip yielded a drop in the old Future Pennyillionaire Fortune bucket at three separate stops!

The School-Turn Casey's had a DIME waiting for me. Wouldn't you know it, somebody had to be polite and HOLD THE DOOR OPEN for me, when all I wanted to do was jump on the dime like Shirley Feeney on a floor cracker! To be polite, I went on inside, did my business, and waited for the way out to hold my own door open, get my picture, and harvest my dime.

Don't let that door-jamb screw fool you! My dime was a face-down find from 1976. You know how significant that year was, right? It was THE VALEDICTORIAN YEAR!

After a stop at the post office to mail the boys' letters, I proceeded to the Sis-Town Casey's for T-Hoe's gas. That darn clerk was so speedy that Hick didn't get his saver club points for my purchase. At least I benefited by finding a floor penny!

I had to drag this Lincoln out with the toe of my shoe. I wonder how many of those snacks they sell, stashing them down in the corner like that.

I held up the line to nab my heads-up 2013 pretty penny. I did not give a fat rat's patootie!

Off to pick up some last-minute groceries, I hopped out at Country Mart, smug with my shirt-pocket dime and pants-pocket penny, and was shocked to see ANOTHER penny waiting for me!

It was right there where I couldn't miss it, next to my favorite parking spot.

This was a face-down 1980 cent. I snatched it up and deposited it in my right pants pocket.

What a fine send-off week to fill my coffers, just before my forced strongly-recommended self-quarantine. Five pennies and one dime! I'll take that any week!


Penny       # 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.
Dime         # 8.
Nickle      still at 3.
Quarter  0

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5