Saturday, February 17, 2018

Shallow Thoughts, By Val Thevictorian

I have nothing to complain about really. Winning here and there all willy-nilly on scratchers and at the casino. I don't have to get up and go to work every day. I have a 44 oz Diet Coke when the mood strikes. A loving husband who tolerates me. No debt. Comfortable income. Two healthy boys with a college education. Yet I feel like something is missing.

Oh, yeah. That's because IT IS!

Here I sit in my dark and lonely basement lair seven days after my birthday...still waiting for a card from each boy. That's not right, people! I used to wipe their butt! I send them a letter every week, regular as clockwork, one with money, one with scratchers enclosed. Yet they cannot take time out of their busy carefree lives to send a freakin' CARD to their mother on her birthday? Not even an eCard! And The Pony had the gall, on the day BEFORE my birthday, to say that my card would be a little late. Since he'd been busy with classes. Okay. That was 8 days ago. WHERE'S MY FREAKIN' CARD??? Sure, Genius called me at the stroke of 9:30 a.m. on my birthday. Excuse me. Did Hallmark declare bankruptcy? I think not. It seems that cards are still in fashion. For sons who LOVE their mother!

Yep! What I'm having here is ONE GREAT BIG MOM-PITY PARTY!

I had to be careful with that designation, you know. Don't want people thinking I'm a GREAT BIG MOM having a pity party. I mean that the pity party itself is great big. Not with a sheet cake and buttercream icing, and balloons, pointy hats, and that clothespin game with a mason jar. Or pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Not-Heaven, no! That's like an actual party, even though Val might be sulking and stubbing her toe at the tile, refusing to have a good time, after others have gone out of their way to make her birthday special.

Nope. That's not it at all. Because absolutely neither boy has gone out of his way to make my birthday special. Or even wedged five minutes into their own day. Except maybe Genius, who did allot five minutes to a phone call. C'mon, guys. It's not like I'm going to be having many more of these, you know. At least not with all my faculties.

I am seriously considering a paragraph on this topic for their weekly letter.

Silly me. As if they actually read the words on the paper that wraps their money or scratchers.


At 12:53 today, I discovered MY BIRTHDAY CARD in the bowels of EmBee. That's MB. The mailbox.

It's from The Pony. And of course it's not an actual birthday card. It's a FABULOUS card. Close enough. It still puts him ahead of Genius on Val's Who deserves a treat? list. The Pony even wrote a message inside. And some of it was even readable!

The Mom-Pity Party is winding down now. Everybody drive safely.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Back-of-the-Book-Blurb #97 "The Climes, They Are A-Changin'"

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book-Blurb. I have 150 words to convince you to fake-buy my fake book. This week, Val is all about enlightening the masses. Do you know your conspiracy theories? If not, I've got just the fake book for you! And if you DO know your conspiracy theories, I can probably convince you to buy my current faux release without much effort. C'mon! You're already on a government watch list, just from clicking on my page. Might as well get the latest fake book while you're here!

The Climes, They Are A-Changin'

Santa takes a tropical vacation after the holidays. Now, in 2099, the tropical vacation has come to Santa.

As a closet conspiracy theorist, Santa is still in global warming denial. He sits in his BPA plastic chair, contemplating chemtrails, digesting GMO food, waiting for the moon to rise so he can explain to the elves how the Apollo landings were faked.

Santa is still married to Mrs. Clause for the tax break. Her female life partner has moved in, (not that there's anything wrong with that), and neither one of them are baking Santa's cookies. Just as well. Santa has been cutting back, ditching the cookies and milk for a high-protein diet of tuna, despite it being loaded with Fukushima radiation.

What toys is Santa designing this year? Will Elvis and Michael Jackson and Tupac give him any ideas when they drop by to serenade Santa on the summer solstice? (150 words)


Fake Reviews for Val’s Fake Book

Yellow Plastic Chair..."Get a load of this guy, telling people he's only eating tuna! That's like Thevictorian telling people that she's a fake writer! I refuse to support her. No matter how many times she tells people the secret to her success is 'butt in chair.'" 

Blue Shorts..."You think YOU are mortified, after being exposed to one of Thevictorian's fake books? What about US? We wrote the book on mortification! And much better than any fake effort ever made by Thevictorian."

Melanin..."We're in short supply here at the North Pole. A few more months of ultraviolet radiation, and Santa won't be needing that red suit! He can deliver presents au naturel, in his BIRTHDAY red suit! And speaking of red...that's what color Thevictorian's face should be, after fake-writing this fake book!"

Water, The Matter Formerly Known As Snow..."We have changed state, from solid to liquid, and I know I speak for all of us molecules in wishing that Val Thevictorian would do the same. Change from a state of consciousness to a state of unconsciousness! That should put an end to these fake books! Thevictorian is like an atom. She can't be trusted, because she makes up everything!"

Randy Quaid..."I could play Santa. If I ever work again. We all know that the government and the Illuminati are out to get me. If only Thevictorian was a good enough writer that the Star Whackers would want to off her! I swear, that fake author is nuttier than a...than a...nuttier than ME!"

Tide Pod..."It's time for me to come clean. After fake-reading Thevictorian's latest fake book, I wish that I could bite into myself. Devour myself like an ouroboros. Put an end to the fake suffering that is living in a world with Thevictorian's work."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Hoard of the Rings

Hick has been sending me pictures of his storage unit finds intermittently. Once you get past the horror of seeing his pinky finger, you might notice these shiny baubles.

UGH! Yeah. Sorry to spring that one you. It gives me flashbacks to the time Li'l Val was in 7th grade, and looked down at her 5th-grade sister Li'l Future Ex-Mayor's Wife's bare feet crammed into gold strappy sandals about two sizes too small.!

Anyhoo...Hick's been trying to figure out how to tell if the jewelry is worth anything. First he said he would take it to the pawn shop. I said that he won't really know what it's worth there, because a pawn shop won't give him what they think it costs. And I also told him that a jewelry store probably won't want to appraise it, because they would be doing work for free. What's in it for them if people walk in off the street (or storage unit lot) clamoring to know if they're going to get rich with their newly-mined gems?

While mulling this problem over, Hick found another ring.

He sent this one with the caption: "My newest find big diamond I hope." I told him that the picture was blurry (who would have imagined, him taking a picture with one hand while standing over by the woodpile), so he said he'd resend it the next day.

That's probably an even worse focus, there at the bathroom counter. The point is, Hick found these rings, and he wants to sell them at the auction or his Storage Unit Store, but he doesn't want to give away a crown jewel unknowingly.

At the doctor's office, he showed a lady in the waiting room. I'm thinking that HICK was in the waiting room, and she's one of the staff. He had the one with the single pinky/purple stone, I think, and she offered him $30 for it. He almost took it, but he told her he'd have to think about it.

Yesterday, Hick went to the pawn shop, where the guy told him he doesn't deal in silver, and said he sends everybody to a diamond store over in Bill-Paying Town. Hick took his rings there, and the lady behind the counter ("She wasn't nowhere near as nice as the pawn shop guy!") told him that the gold was just plated, and that the silver ring was junk. I asked about the stones, and Hick said, "She didn't even mention the stones, so I figured they weren't nothing either."

He also said that he has a contact at the auction who deals with jewelry, and he's going to ask on Friday night. But that if the lady is in the doctor's office Friday afternoon, and still wants that one for $30, he'll sell it to her.

Hick just wants to unload his merchandise. He sold a love seat and chair the other day for $50, and has a lady coming to look at a couple of tables on Friday. He's been listing stuff (with pictures) on the county Buy/Sell/Trade website.

Last night, he sold me $25 worth of change. Yeah. He counted it out himself, but I guess I'll trust him. He found a big jar of it, and says that $25 is not even half. I always need change for my 44 oz Diet Cokes. So I might even buy more change from him.

That's Hick. Getting his money back a few cents at a time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I Can't Beat Them, So I'm Joining Them

My trip to Walmart yesterday made it ever the more obvious that people these days only care about themselves!

Granted, I raised one of them myself. The Pony, you know, really doesn't care about helping people. But still, he's not to the point of selfishly making his own path through life easier, by refusing to yield in a game of chicken with society. He may not care about helping people, but he doesn't go out of his way to hinder them, either.

You can't be nice to people any more. You get no acknowledgement. Sometimes you even get a box of donuts slammed down on the counter when you are careful to not step in line ahead of some chewing-the-fat-with-good-old-boy dude who's all the way across the convenience store. There is no reciprocation for your niceness. Hold the door open for someone, and they barge on through the next portal of the double-doors, letting it swing back at you.

I don't know about your Walmart, but our Supercenter has two sets of sliding doors. Clearly marked above each one is ENTRANCE and EXIT. As you're coming out of the store, one even has DO NOT EXIT on it, a laminated white sign with black letters hung across the glass at chest level. This signage is not even taken as a suggestion. It's like the whole population of Backroads consists of a race of CONTRARIANS. They always do the opposite. If they were characters in Bel Kaufman's "Up the Down Staircase," she would have had no title.

Going into the store, I had to stop dead in my tracks just as those doors on the ENTRANCE side slid open for me. Because coming OUT that side (ignoring or nose-thumbing the DO NOT EXIT notice) was a lady pushing a cart. Just like I know when I'll win a collision in T-Hoe vs Hyundai, I knew that I'd lose a collision of Val vs loaded cart. That gal even had the nerve to sigh heavily at me because she had to steer to one side. Too bad, so sad. I'm NOT backing up from the entrance to let a cart out.

Once inside, I seemed to be shopping with a busload of visitors from the U.K. Everyone I met with an oncoming cart was rolling down the LEFT SIDE of the aisle! People! In the U.S., we KEEP RIGHT! It's the civilized thing to do. I can't believe we had a sudden influx of Brits in Backroads. I'm betting it was just CONTRARIANS. Several times, I had to pull over and let them by, because they were not giving an inch.

On the way out, I had to rein in my cart at the EXIT door, because a lady and man were COMING IN. Seriously. They were half my age. With working knees. Unencumbered by a cart. And they couldn't walk five more feet to the ENTRANCE door? At least, after passing me, allowing me to start on my way out again, he said to his companion, "You came in the wrong door." Kudos to him. He probably wasn't gettin' any later that night.

I swear! I can't beat them, so I'm joining them.

I had snagged a prime parking space. Sure, it was three rows over from the doors, almost to the embankment with an apartment complex up top. And it had taken me three trips around the parking lot to get it. But it was ON THE END! I love a parking space on the end! You can cheat over into that yellow-striped triangle area (as long as no CONTRARIAN has decided to park in it) and allow plenty of room for your large Tahoe door to open all the way.

So there I was, unloading the cart into T-Hoe's rear. I heard a car idling. When I looked over my shoulder, I saw a red truck sitting in front of the store. In the white-striped walkway area. Just sitting. As if parked. But with a blinker on to turn my way.

Huh. Maybe he's sitting there waiting for this space.

Normally, I would have hurried my unloading/loading, hopped inside, and backed out. Because I'm a nice Val. I could have done my checkbook business at my next stop, the Gas Station Chicken Store, before getting out of T-Hoe. But then I thought

NO! I ALWAYS write down my receipt amount in the checkbook when I come out. Uh huh. After first GermXing my hands, and putting the debit card back into its slot in the checkbook. Then I subtract to show the running balance. Why should I put myself out, just to let that guy have my space? Maybe he should be driving up and down three rows to find a good space of his own. EFF HIMMMM!

Okay. Maybe I got a little carried away. That red truck guy hadn't done anything to me. He was just waiting, blocking traffic, not bothering me. I went on about my business at my normal pace. Got in and did my checkbooking.

If I'm going to be so outnumbered by CONTRARIANS, I might as well join their ranks. Temporarily, anyway, as the situation merits.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Righter Place, Righter Time

Funny how yesterday, I had a little story worked up about being in the right place at the right time. How I seem to find my (rightfully meant for me) pennies, and see ladybugs (that remind me of my mom) when I'm least expecting it.

Well. Yesterday. I was definitely in the right place at the right time.

I was on the way to the bank to cash in (actually, they deposit it straight into your account, so there's a record of it for taxes) six EE savings bonds. At this rate, we're going to end up like last fall, when we took the initial batch of A THOUSAND MILLION BONDS (okay, over a hundred) to the main bank, in search of somebody with a MEDALLION. Yeah. I'm pretty sure you remember that quest, since I dwelt on it for A THOUSAND MILLION DAYS (okay, a couple of posts). Anyhoo...all we (I) have to do is take one to the bank every month as it matures, and they cash it (actually, deposit it straight into your account, so there's a record of it for taxes), but we (I) forget.

With nothing to do all day every day except make a trip to town, I grow bored with the route I take to the bank. So I decided to go on through Backroads, past the dead mouse smelling post office to mail our yearly personal property assessment thingy that Hick finally wrote a trailer on, and marked out an old one, and marked out Genius's car after I reminded him. Poor Genius. He transferred the title on December 29, heh, heh, garnering him an entire year of tax on that vehicle. He'll learn the tax ropes soon enough. point is, I changed my route at the last minute, in the 1/8 mile section of county road between the prison and the turn-off by the bowling alley. The lake road brought me out at the Casey's where I usually get gas for T-Hoe. The one that's closing on February 25th. For good. I hadn't planned on stopping there yesterday. My plan was to get a couple of scratchers at the Casey's where the Crazy Donut Man flipped out when I asked if he was in line. I've only been back there twice since then, I think, when I used to go every week. Anyhoo...I figured I like this gas Casey's better, and it's going to close, so I pulled in there for my tickets.

I went on to the bank and did my bond business, which was surprisingly easy. All I had to do was sign the back (of all six) and put my personal information on them. I'm sure the people behind me in line weren't happy, but too bad, so sad. I'm older, and I have more inherited savings bonds. It took about 20 minutes, and I even stepped out of the first line and went to a table to fill out my bonds, because I didn't want to make people wait. Then I got back in line to finish up.

From the bank, I went to Walmart, a visit which will probably have a story entirely its own soon. Then I went by the Gas Station Chicken Store and actually got some chicken for supper, because by now, it was already 3:30, and I still had all the purchases to unload, and hadn't even had any lunch OR a single sip of my magical elixir, and I didn't want to rush upstairs to cook something a scant two hours after I'd settled into my dark basement lair. was going on 5:00 when I got around to scratching my tickets.

Looks like switching my route and my lottery store was a good decision. I'm pretty much a believer in following a hunch. I did that one dark rainy night, and avoided rear-ending a broken-down car parked on the shoulder of the highway. This time, though, I just won $1000. On a $5 ticket.

I'm almost afraid for the eventual EVENing of Steven.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Right Place, Right Time

Friday I asked Hick if he needed anything from town when I made my daily trip to the Gas Station Chicken Store for my 44 oz Diet Coke. I also planned to run in Country Mart for a few items that didn't require a trip all the way to Walmart. Hick said he needed some Q-Tips. That altered my plans a bit.

I always go in the OUT door of Country Mart. They're not marked, like Walmart. The IN door is down at one end of the building, and the OUT door at the other, by the checkout. It's not a big deal. A lot of people go in the OUT door there, depending on what they're buying. Several registers are always closed, and you can cut through them. There are carts down at the OUT entrance, too.

This time, since Hick needed Q-Tips, I parked at the pharmacy end of Country Mart, and entered through the IN doors. I got my cart, and steered it slightly right, for the Q-Tip aisle. Normally, I would have gone in the OUT entrance, straight ahead to the bananas, then down the left side of the store for the cereal and Bugles and ice cream.

I left the Q-Tip aisle (got him store brand, of course, for half the price) and got on the next aisle, a main one, to head to the back of the store and go left towards the produce for Hick's bananas. That happens to be the aisle with the greeting cards. As I neared the display, I thought, I might as well get Hick's Valentine card while I'm here. It will save me from the crowd at the Walmart Valentine cards next time I go.

Well. You might remember what happened last time I looked at cards at Country Mart. I swear, that wasn't even on my mind as I pulled my cart alongside the racks, and started looking in the Valentine section for relatives, namely HUSBAND.

It jumped out at me, though.

I wasn't looking for a SON card. My boys are old enough now that they would find that creepy. They gladly accept a heart full of chocolates, though, and some scratchers. I wasn't looking for a GRANDDAUGHTER card, either. But there, one row over, and one row up, from the HUSBAND cards, was this ladybug card. With the ladybugs conveniently showing just above the card below it that could have blocked out the images. And a MOM card beside it.

I guess I'm reaching. Stretching this coincidence. But I didn't see any DAUGHTER cards in the immediate vicinity. And daughter IS at the end of granddaughter.

I'm still counting it as a ladybug sighting!

If Hick hadn't asked for Q-Tips, I wouldn't have been in that end of the store to see it, and the Valentines would be gone by the next Friday. I guess Hick's dirty ears put me in the right place at the right time.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Wait

Well. You're never going to believe what happened yesterday, after the day's blog post had already gone to print, as it were, painstakingly pictured and captioned and organized and referencing the dearth of pennies from heaven last week (from SUNDAY to SATURDAY, people!).

Uh. I found a penny. It was at 1:13, according to the time stamp on the picture. I briefly toyed with the idea of pulling that set-to-publish post for Saturday, and writing up a new one. Then I thought, Why would I want to take all that time, pushing back my lunch and lottery scratching, to make things accurate for the three or four (I'm an eternal optimist, by cracky!) people who might actually read it? Why, indeed? So now the Truth in Blogging Law decrees that I must notify you that facts yesterday were incorrect. I DID find a penny that week (from SUNDAY to SATURDAY!), but was too lazy to update my blog. So sue me. Not really! I detest frivolous litigation!

Here it is:

Found at Orb K, at the last minute, less than four hours before my already-written tale was scheduled to post automatically, while I was standing in line waiting for the lone clerk (on a Saturday at lunch time!) to scan my scratcher winners and hopefully provide me more future winners.

This was a 1998 penny, the year famous for The Pony's birth. I toyed with the idea of leaving that single cent. Because I'd already written that day's blog post, and set it to publish. But that wouldn't have been right. I'm glad I didn't leave The Pony hanging like that! Or laying. On a cold tile floor. In front of a rack of Chili Cheese Fritos. I'm sure the ten people in line behind me wouldn't have minded one bit. Too bad, so sad. They should have timed their convenience store visit better.

Anyhoo...I didn't really make them wait extra. My picture-taking and penny-nabbing was done while the lone clerk was scanning the winners and tearing off my new tickets. I don't care one whit that those unfortunate BEHIND-MEs got a glimpse of my ample buttocks as I bent over to pick up my treasure, or that they thought me weird. Maybe one of them needed an idea for a blog post that day. So I was actually providing a valuable service.

Even Steven has a sense of humor, I guess. Because on the way into the store, I'd seen a coin shining out by the welcome mat. It looked like silver, though. But I fully intended to pick it up on the way out. If nobody else snatched it from under my nose. That's what was on my mind as I walked past the long line of BEHIND-MEs waiting to pay. Good, I thought. They'll be tied up there a while, and won't be coming out the door while I'm standing there taking a picture and picking up my second coin. Out I went, holding the door open for a borderline Millennial who actually thanked me.

Got my picture.

Leaned over to pick up my coin, which I still couldn't quite decide whether was of the dime or nickel persuasion.


That was not a coin at all, but a bedazzle bead that must have fallen off somebody's purse. It was like a domed clear gem on one side, and a flat black sticky-panel side on the other. Not gonna lie. I was pretty embarrassed to be bamboozled like that. But I didn't want to let on to my BEHIND-ME audience that might have been watching from inside. So I pocketed that gem, and walked it all the way around back to T-Hoe. Where I tossed it to the cold hard faded blacktop of the parking lot.

I didn't regret until I was at home, in my dark basement lair typing on New Delly, that I had not gotten a closeup of that coin-impersonator. Maybe you can zoom in and see it, maybe not. C'mon! Admit it! YOU would have been tricked, too! It looks just like a silver coin. Especially if a person (cough, cough, VAL) is not wearing prescribed vision-enhancers.

Maybe somebody out there is collecting bedazzle beads found in parking lots.
It's meant for them.

For 2018: Penny #12.
For 2018: Dimes      .
For 2018: Nickel-----

Since 2017 (the beginning), this was Penny # 90.
Since 2017 (the beginning), still at Dimes #10, 11.
Since 2017 (the beginning), still at Nickel #1.

 Oh, yeah...that title? Just a slight bit of plagiarism. It's sincere flattery, you know.

The Wait

I pulled into Orb K, was sad about lack of cents
Lucky I’ve got a blog that allows me a space for vents
Even Steven can you tell me, where a gal can find a coin 
“That’s a super secret club, that you have yet to join.”

Here’s a penny for you, pick it up it’s free
Here’s a penny for you, Heaven-sent by way of me

I picked up that cent, after snapping a quick photo
Even though 10 people were lined up, waiting for me to go
Too bad, so sad, though…I pocketed that cent
Maybe someone above...was sending me a hint

Here’s a penny for you, pick it up it’s free
Here’s a penny for you, Heaven-sent by way of me

On out the door then, I spied another shine
I bent down to pick it up, so I could make it mine
Even Steven my friend, what are you doin’ now
"Don’t even worry Val, about the why or how."

Here’s a penny for you, pick it up it’s free
Here’s a penny for you, Heaven-sent by way of me

Steven, you have evened me, I see this one’s a fake
"Val, you should know by now, it’s about the give and take."
Ol’ Steve, my friend, I’m learnin’ kinda slow
He said, “That’s okay Val, get back in your T-Hoe."

Here’s a penny for you, pick it up, it’s free
Here’s a penny for you, Heaven-sent to you through me

Driving T-Hoe home, and contemplating fate 
Do we have a time to go, an expiration date
If I could look mine up, I don't believe I'd dare
I'll let fate steer me as I'm meant to be then and there

Here's a penny for you, pick it up, it's free
Here's a penny for you, Heaven-sent to you through me

Thank you. Thank you very much. I'll be here all week. Every week. As long as I can type. Put those lighters away. No encores. T-shirts and CDs are available for purchase on the way out.