Thursday, February 11, 2016

If Wishes Were Horses, Then Farmer H Would've Taken HM For A Ride

Farmer H spilled the beans tonight on what he was going to give me for Valentine's Day. What he WAS going to give me. If he had it to give.

Seems there was a contest on the local radio station. A contest concerning a nearby winery. Farmer H called in, but tonight the winner was revealed, and it was not he. What could I have received for Valentine's Day?

The winner's package included an overnight stay and a tasting tour of the winery. Chocolate-covered strawberries. A bottle of wine. A meat and cheese tray. A special breakfast.

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not keen on spending the night away from her own home. She does not drink wine. She is not one for a big breakfast. Chocolate-covered strawberries, however, as well as meat and cheese, are compatible with her tastes.

Thanks, Farmer H. It's the thought that counts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Foreshadowing Of What Lies In Wait On Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Retirement Days

Woe is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! She had a personal day scheduled for Tuesday, and the universe once again conspired against her, conjuring up a snow day out of a few flurries. So...you see what happened here, right? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had a snow day Tuesday, and had to go back to work Wednesday without even getting her day off! A day not ticked off of her 96 accumulated leave days.

We were SO on schedule. President's Day lay ahead of us. The Pony's birthday. He was looking forward to being off school on his birthday. All we had to do was get through the week without missing a day, so as not to use that Monday as a makeup day. There was nothing in the forecast, set for Newmentia Town, Hillmomba, through that day. Just a chance of snow on the Sunday before it, way out, long range. The flurries didn't even register on that forecast. Not even a snowflake symbol at the top, not even a  < 1 in notation. Monday, all at once there were snow showers on the meteorologists' lips. Scattered. Winds 30 mph. The scattered snow showers stopping at noon. Or 1:45. Or 4:00. Or 8:00 p.m.

I got up Tuesday morning, went to take my thyroid pill, made the part of The Pony's lunch that needed making. None for me, though. I had a personal day scheduled! I had promised to stop on the way to school for The Pony to pick up a donut. I took a shower. Farmer H's phone beside the sink made a noise. Which reminded me. I went to check my cell phone on the kitchen counter, charging, just in case my sister the ex-mayor's wife had sent word of her daughter's little girl, who is very sick and in the hospital.

WHAT'S THIS? A TEXT TO THE FACULTY OF NEWMENTIA? NO SCHOOL TODAY!
However, we WILL be in session on President's Day. A text that came in at 5:11 a.m. One minute after I left the kitchen for the shower.

I looked out the front door windows. The ground was white. I took the phone to show Farmer H, who was standing in all his birthday suit glory at the bathroom sink. "Look at this! It says we're not having school today!"

"Huh. That was my Number One Son. He says to watch the roads, they're really slick."

"You need to go through town. Not up that back road."

"I'll be fine. I always go the back road."

"I know how you drive! You can't be getting off the road. The wind chill is 8 degrees."

"I have an extra coat in the car."

"I can't come rescue you! I'll go off the road, too! Then we'll ALL die. Freeze to death!"

"I guess I could call in sick."

Yeah. No. Backroads your crazy butt to work.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Who Needs A Doctor When You've Got The Innernets

I have a bum knee right now. It's the left one, the one that's had surgery twice. Thursday I twisted it getting into T-Hoe, and by Thursday night, it was throbbing and swollen and made a squishy sound when I moved, and was almost impossible to walk on. I really missed The Pony (at his academic meet) to carry my tuna salad downstairs.

I swear that knee hurt even more AFTER I took my nightly aspirin as a blood-thinner. Even laying in bed, it hurt. Felt like it was on fire. By Friday morning, the pain was so severe that I felt vomity. But I went to school, because I had work to do that only I could do. It's never convenient to use one of those 96 sick days when you need them. Around 8:00 I took an acetaminophen. I don't like to take medicine so close to my regular morning meds. Then at 11:30, I reluctantly took an ibuprofen. Besides, a teacher can't drink too much, or that will require a trip to the bathroom too many times. A bathroom shared by too many women. It's kind of like we're on restricted fluids from 7:30 to 3:00.

Farmer H probably didn't even notice my difficulty. When I mentioned the pain, he said, "Huh. Maybe you have gout. You should go to the doctor." That's his answer for every illness. Go to the doctor. Not a shred of sympathy. Go there and get pills or an operation so you can serve me, Woman! That's what it seems like.

I knew I had twisted the knee a little, but I didn't know why it hurt so much. In fact, both knees had been screaming since Monday, but it was bearable. I figured that I had been overworking them, what with duty before and after school on Monday, and walking back and forth to the computer labs with four of my classes on the hard, unforgiving, tile-over-concrete floors of Newmentia, wearing my old almost-cushionless worn-out shoes, from Tuesday through Friday. I had thought my knees might feel better. I have recently dropped 10 pounds, and find it SO UNFAIR that my knees actually hurt MORE.

Sunday, I got to perusing the innernets. "How long does gout last?" I asked my off-and-on BFF Google. Huh. Three to ten days. I did see a very slight improvement on Sunday from what it had been on Friday. I took another bite of my tuna salad, my new favorite protein-rich meal. And for the side at lunch, I had a can of sardines in mustard sauce. They just sounded good. In fact, they bumped an apple from the menu. I continued my gout research.

Mmm...those sardines were tasty. My dad always liked sardines in mustard sauce. The rest of the family, not so much. Nor Farmer H. I have to put THAT can in a baggie like the tuna cans, so his delicate nostrils are not offended. Oh. There were some reasons for gout. A list of factors that can cause uric acid buildup. That's what makes the crystals that cause the painful gout. Kind of like kidney stones in your joints.

WAIT A MINUTE!

Nine Triggers of Gout Pain!

Aspirin (I have to take one every night, but it's better than that devil medicine Xarelto)
Diuretics (Um...that's built into my blood pressure pill)
Dehydration (Can't drink at school!)
Extra Weight (Guilty as charged)
Fasting (No, but I HAVE cut back considerably, thus the loss of 10 pounds)
Menopause (It's about that time)
Injury (Twisted my knee Thursday!)
Uncomfortable Shoes (YES! But my feet don't feel like gout. Just the knees.)
Family History (Nope. Not me. I must not have gout after all!)

Well. Eight out of nine ain't good! So I looked at another site, and found out that TUNA and SARDINES are high in purines, which cause the buildup of uric acid, which causes gout! I put down my fork and sealed my sardine can (with a couple of small fishies left) inside their baggie.

So there I'd been thinking I was doing great, alternating between my leftover meatloaf and tuna salad, eating protein and lowering carbs, cutting back...and that's what causes gout attacks!

Still, I have not been to the doctor. I have not been diagnosed. Farmer H gets gout. He has some emergency pills for when he has a flareup.

After my fact-finding mission, I told Farmer H, "You might be right. I have been living eight of the nine triggers of gout pain." To which Farmer H replied...

"You don't have gout. I had gout. I was in the hospital for four days. Your knee would be all swole up and hot and red, and you couldn't stand to touch it."

"Oh. Okay. Like my knee was all swollen, and hurt laying in bed, and I had to use the cane to get from the bed to the bathroom, and Friday the pain made me want to throw up. The nurse when I had my gallstones told me I had a very high pain tolerance, as did both nurses when I had both babies without painkillers. But I must not have gout, because now you don't think I do."

"I have a high pain tolerance!" Said the all-about-me man who declared his throat was closing, and went to the ER to be diagnosed with a virus that gave him a sore throat. The same man who cried that he had a brain tumor, and went to the ER, to be diagnosed with an ear infection.

Yeah. I probably don't have gout. But I'm laying off the tuna, drinking more water, and getting another pair of shoes. Oh, and trying not to injure myself.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Fine For Me, But Not For Thee

Yesterday morning, I asked The Pony if he would put a sock on my foot. I hurt my knee last week, and have been hobbling around with a cane in the Mansion. I drag my leg along at work. One of the pupils advised me, "You might want to see a doctor about that." They're selfless, my pupils. Always have my best interests at heart.

So The Pony put my sock on while I was laid back in the La-Z-Boy. "You know, I did this for you plenty of times."

"I know. I don't mind. I feel bad for you."

"It's just that bending that knee really hurts, and I have to get through The Devil's Playground, and then stand in the kitchen fixing Super Bowl snacks for your dad, and I don't want to hear that grindy sound when I bend it."

"There you go, Mumsy. How's this?" The Pony squeezed my foot around the instep. It was surprisingly relaxing.

"That's great. You're really good at that."

"I know. Remember third grade?"

"Yes! I couldn't believe it! We were talking along, right here in the living room, and you were telling me about something that went on in class, some lesson. And when I asked you what you said, you told me, 'Nothing. I was under Mrs. Cooper's desk.' Which made me holler, 'Under her desk? WHAT were you doing under her desk?' And you said..."

"Massaging her feet!"

"Yeah! And then I really had a fit. 'Massaging her feet? Why would you do that? And why would you be under her desk?' And you told me..."

"Because she asked me to, and that's where she was sitting."

"Then I said, 'Do you mean she takes off her shoes while she's teaching?' Remember what you told me?"

"No. There are big parts of my childhood that I don't remember."

"You didn't know the word for sandals. You said, 'No. She wears those strappy shoes. Where her toes stick out. So I can massage her feet with her shoes on.' I was HORRIFIED! You know how I hate feet! And the thought of you sitting under a teacher's desk, with your hands all over her feet...I made you promise to stop doing that!"

"Yeah."

"I wish I didn't remember it."

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Get In Line Behind The Universe, Triscuits

Lately, I have been on a side-dish kick of sharp cheddar and Triscuits with a pickle on the side of the side dish. So tasty. I was not worried Thursday night when I ran out of Triscuits. I had a box in reserve, you see. A box of Triscuits lasts a long time around the Mansion, because The Pony and Hick are not fans like me. Mmm...Roasted Garlic Triscuits. So delectable with a thin slice of sharp cheddar, then that crisp bite of dill pickle from the Save A Lot condiment aisle.

Yes, a box of Triscuits lasts a while, what with me only eating four of them perhaps once a week, until now. I have had that reserve box sitting on the upper counter of my dark basement lair for at least two months. But that's okay! Triscuits don't go stale! Even the open box, as long as you fold over the waxed-paper kind of bag inside, and put a chip clip on it. I mainly eat Triscuits at my New Delly.

The Pony and Hick were at his academic meet Thursday night. I whipped up some tuna salad for myself, not the good kind, but only tuna from the can with a dab of mayo, to be eaten with a fork, not on a sandwich, because I had my Triscuit/cheddar/pickle side dish. I took the last four Triscuits out of the box, but I didn't worry, because I had the reserve box.

Friday, I made pizza for The Pony and Hick, because The Pony loves it, and Hick was going to the auction. They both took their plates to their respective TVs. I had the leftover meatloaf, and my Triscuit/cheddar/pickle side dish. I knew we'd be going to The Devil's Playground Sunday to replace my reserve box. So Friday night, I opened up the current reserve box and took out four Triscuits for my sharp cheddar. I slice that cheese off a big two-pound block that has been butchered into four half-pound blocks. Then I break two slices in half. That way, you have just the right amount of cheddar for the right amount of Triscuit for the right amount of pickle bite.

Only Friday, something wasn't quite right. What's with this cheese? It tastes off. Sure, it was the last of that half-pound block. Maybe it picked up a taste from the other food in Frig II. Or maybe the pickle rolled against it before I got to the side dish. That's odd. Maybe it's just that one half-slice. No. Definitely the other slice, too. I almost don't want it. It's not the same. But I only have two Triscuits left now. And half my pickle. Maybe the next bite will be better. Nope. Definitely not better. This almost makes me not want my Triscuit/cheddar/pickle side dish any more.

I debated on eating the last Triscuit on my plate. I turned to look at it, so lonely there beside the grease spot left by the meatloaf. And in turning, spied the Triscuit box at my left elbow, on the business level of my lower counter, the one where New Delly resides. WTF?

The reserve box that I had just opened said Rosemary & Olive Oil!

No wonder my Triscuit/cheddar/pickle side dish tasted off! I was not eating those delectable Roasted Garlic Triscuits! I was eating Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits! I might as well have been chewing on my sweet, sweet Juno's nose again! YUCK!

The Pony swears that he is not the one who picked up those foul crackers. I think he is. But we can't remember that far back to who was on the chip aisle that shopping trip. He is not known for his attention to detail. Still, it was an easy mistake. We remember that Triscuit had just changed the look of the box. In fact, we were both on the aisle the first time The Pony noticed, and he pointed it out to me. What we didn't know was how similar the packages are now with the different flavors.


Even the Triscuits conspire against me.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What, The BEEP?

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is so...um...mature that she remembers when beepers were outlawed in schools. In Newmentia, anyway, back even before it was a gleam in an architect's eye, and held court in the top floors of Basementia. Yes, beepers were on-your-person non grata back then. Can't have kids checking to see that somebody needs them immediately. Uh huh. Back then, we had a phone in the office, monitored by a secretary constantly, so that if a parent needed a pupil, they only had to call the school and their kid would get the message. What's that? We have than NOW, too? Of course we do. So explain to me why parents want to call and text their kids all the live-long day. Nevermind. That was a rhetorical statement.

We're not talking about those kinds of beepers today. And we're not talking about the cell phone, the biggest blow to the educational process before Common Core. We're talking about beeping. That infernal intermittent sound driving Mrs. Hillbilly Mom crazier than the narrator of The Tell-Tale Heart.

We're talking about the beep of the microwave once the timer goes off, and nobody opens the door.

Oh, Mrs. HM does not microwave food in her classroom unless she is standing right beside that heatless cooking implement. She only pops her lunch in once the pupils leave the room, and taps her foot until it's done, because she want so be on time (meaning not more than five minutes later than the lunch tardy bell) for the Semi Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank. Otherwise, she loses her seat. No, the beeper was not in Mrs. HM's classroom, but it WAS in her class.

All week, I have taken selected classes to the computer lab to work on their projects. In the afternoon, I was in the small lab, right next door to where The Egret holds her afternoon class. And The Egret is only there alternate weeks, as she shares a half-time job with Mrs. Not-A-Cook's husband. So...I'm taking roll at the beginning of my last class, and The Egret waltzes in and tosses something in the microwave that's located behind me. I didn't crane my neck to see The Egret. I know the sound of a microwave door, and the hum of one running. I had no idea what went in there, but I assumed The Egret would be back shortly to remove it. You know what happens when we assume.

The microwave went off. The Egret did not appear. The microwave sent out a plaintive BEEP. In fact, it sent out a plaintive BEEP every 60 seconds for 30 minutes. After the first couple of BEEPs, pupils turned from facing the wall and their computer screen to glance surreptitiously at Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. The way a dog looks at a person when the person farts. Kind of an inquisitive look, head slightly cocked. Questioning as to what just took place. After ten minutes and ten BEEPs, the looks became more accusatory. So I would turn and look at the clock with each BEEP to avoid their stares, and sigh.

Finally The Egret returned, opened up the microwave, and ripped open a bag that sounded like popcorn. I know it wasn't popcorn because there was no popcorn smell, and no popping noise. THEN The Egret said, "Do you have a doctor's appointment next week?" WTF? How did The Egret know I was going to be gone Tuesday? And why was she announcing it to the pupils? I swear, there's no HIPAA in education.

"Actually, I will be gone Tuesday to deal with some banking business pertaining to my mother's estate. She passed away one year ago yesterday."

Now any other person might have apologized for their inadvertent faux pas nosiness, but not The Egret. She substitutes on the side, and is always trying to drum up business for herself. Unless, of course, she is off on a month-long cruise and not available. I don't begrudge her go-gettitude. No, The Egret just said, "It's been three years since I lost Mom, and it never gets any easier. I didn't know you'd be gone. I just thought maybe you wanted to use up some of those 100 days you have. Didn't you ask for me?"

"Well, I did not. I didn't ask for anybody, because I never know which week you're on, and which week you're off and available."

"I'm here this week. So I'm available next week."

"But I didn't KNOW that, because I didn't see you here until now, and this is Friday."

"Yeah. It's crazy." And with that, The Egret took her bag of something that had been sitting in the microwave cooling for 30 minutes, and made her exit.

Beepers should still not be allowed in school.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Ridge Runs Through It

The other day on the way to town I saw one of our denizens on his tractor, blading the gravel from the edges back onto the road proper.

"Oh, good," I thought. "It's nice of him to take this time while the ground has thawed, and use his own time and his own gas and shuffle the roadstuffs back onto the road."

That lasted for a day. The next evening, I was forced to navigate a mid-ocean ridge. You know what that is, right? Deep under the sea, where the tectonic plates are diverging, and magma bubbles through the ocean bottom (heh, heh, I said bottom) and makes a ridge of new rock. Uh huh. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had to navigate a long hump of new rock, smack dab in the middle of her mile of gravel road, except that she wasn't deep under the sea.

The ground was no longer thawed, and this long snaky hump of rock takes up the middle of that mile-long gravel road Mrs. HM has to drive from the blacktop by EmBee to get to her Mansion. You can't really drive on your own side of the road, because that hump is in the middle. So you have to have two tires up on the hump, or two tires off the edge where there is no more road. You can't drive straddling the hump, because when you meet a car coming the other way, also straddling the hump, you both have to thump over that hump in a hurry to get to your own side.

People helping out make life so much more difficult.