Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Empress And The Pill

Okay. First things first. As you know, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom refuses to take the title of EMPRESS of Hillmomba. Some would see that as a sign of weakness. EMPRESS clearly denotes the lesser ruler when compared to EMPEROR, much like a cinnamon babka takes a backseat to a chocolate babka. So for all intents and purposes, which, I might warn all you young whippersnappers who I am sure flock to this blog daily, is NOT written as intensive purposes, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is truly the EMPEROR of Hillmomba. But today she needed a catch title, so humor her, and EMPRESS it is.

This morning when I went to bed at 12:30 a.m. (getting the old body clock reset in order to arise at 3:00 a.m. for surgery on Tuesday), I had a most unsettling encounter. As I walked past the bathroom sink to crawl into bed and be gouged for five hours by Farmer H's talons, I felt a stabbing pain in my left heel. A stabbing pain unlike Farmer H's talons in my right calf.

A few inappropriate and profane words might have escaped my dainty lips. I can't be sure, because it is possible that I lost consciousness momentarily due to the severe pain in my left heel. Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not some pampered concubine, who has servants to rub lotion into her delicate feet.four times a day. No. No servants. No lotion. Not even delicate feet. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's feet are more akin to hooves. And they have a thick pad such as an elephant might tread upon. So you can imagine the nature of an implement which might cause Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to feel a stabbing pain in her left heel. "REEK! REEK! REEK!" No. That's not the smell of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's tootsies. It's the stabbing sound from Psycho. To emphasize the level of pain.

I stopped. It's not like I could keep walking with a three-foot-long poisonous thorn piercing my heel. I held onto the counter, picked up my foot, and reached to pry the offending object from my flesh.

It was a clear gel pill about half the size of a pea.

Well. We all KNEW I was royalty. No need for Farmer H to drop a med to secretly test the pedigree of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sometimes It Seems Like Everybody I Talk To Has Been Playing A Game Of Telephone

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is having a bit of surgery Tuesday morning. Nothing really major, more like diagnostic, but nothing exactly minor, because general anesthesia will be involved. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is no fan of general anesthesia. She wakes up very slowly. But at least she wakes up! So far.

My favorite gambling aunt called me earlier this week. She heard it through the grapevine. It took me by surprise, I must say. Wondering how she knew. Seems that her son, my cousin, who works for Farmer H, told her that he took me to the hospital Monday for surgery. Silly cousin. It was pre-surgery certification! Can nobody get a story right in Hillmomba? No. As you soon shall see.

Anyhoo, we shot the bull for a while, but Auntie Gambler kept bringing the subject back to the one subject I really don't want to think about. No. I don't mean the start of school. That will be the subject I don't want to think about after Tuesday.

"I told Sonny, 'Not Hillbilly Mom! She won't be happy about that at all. She'll go crazy! She does NOT like to have surgery!'" Said Auntie Gambler, who has surgery about twice a month.

"Yes. It's true. Don't be telling people. I'm not really discussing it."

"Is your sister okay? She's on the prayer list at church. Is she sick?"

"WHAT? I haven't heard anything like that. My mom would have told me."

"Oh. I just heard she was on the prayer list."

Let the record show that my mom and sister go to the same church, but Auntie Gambler goes to a totally different denomination. Funny that somebody in her church would put my sister on their prayer list. I guess. I don't really know the proper etiquette for prayer lists. But you would think one would start with her own church and fellow parishioners, rather than horn in on somebody else's list. (So I asked my mom today if Sis was sick, because she was on the prayer list, and Mom said, "Well, she burned her little finger by dipping it in a pot of something boiling that she was cooking, and she didn't know if to peel off the blister because she didn't want to get an infection. But other than that, she's fine, I think, and she's not on OUR prayer list.")

Then Auntie Gambler turned the subject back to my surgery. "Oh, you'll be fine. It's amazing what they can do now with anesthesia."

"Well, in 2010, it wasn't so amazing, because I really had a lot of trouble when I had my thyroid out. But they say this time there won't be an intubation, only a mask over my face."

"Oh, I had that when I had a colonoscopy! You'll LOVE it! It's the stuff they gave Michael Jackson."

"Um. You are NOT making me feel any better about this. Michael Jackson. And where is HE now?"

"Oh, they'll control it. It's the best sleep you'll ever have."

"Well...if I wake up."

I swear. I don't know why people have to tell me stuff like that. Why can't they just find a pregnant woman and tell her about their 72-hour labor?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Loses Her Head. Again.

Perhaps you remember how I was completing a little project with cutouts of my own head. Surely you remember. It was only yesterday! Try to keep up!

I had found those two errant heads on the floor of my classroom, under my desk, and The Pony scooped them up lest Cus snatch them for voodoo purposes. I put them in a manilla envelope with the finished project. This morning I took out the finished project, and went looking for my heads.


Great. That meant I had left a head behind. No good could come of this body part faux pas. I was near panic. "Pony! I lost my head! I only have one head! I think the other one is at school!"

The Pony ran to my aid. He's a good son, even though he refuses to get a tattoo of a heart with "MOM" inside. And to ride in the front seat with me. But for pretty much everything else, he's a reliable workhorse.

"It's not here?" The Pony squeezed the sides of the manilla envelope and peered inside. "You're right. There's only one. Huh."

I turned from the kitchen counter to comb his hair. The Pony is maturing, but he still has certain grooming issues.

"Hey! I found your head! Right there! Now you don't have to worry about making the wrong impression." He grabbed my head from the floor, right beside the metal leg of the cutting block. We both sighed with relief.

I went on about my business of the day. My project was a rousing success, considering it was constructed by ME, on work time, with limited resources. I propped it in my glasses case in the control center of T-Hoe, just under the temperature control buttons. My face was facing the shotgun seat, where my mom would be riding to accompany me on my bill-paying session.

SWEET GUMMI MARY! Mom spent an hour and a half riding around with me, and didn't blink an eye. There my head was, scant inches from her leg, and she did not even notice! If my head had been a snake, and if my mom had been wearing her gray sweatpants with the hole in them, I could have bit her. Don't get me wrong. My mom WAS wearing pants. Just not the gray holey ones. She had on shorts. So even more skin was exposed to my virtual venom.

When we got home, Mom gathered up her Rally's sandwiches, brushed the ice cream cone crumbs from her purse, and started up the driveway to get her newspaper. She almost got away into the house before I said, "Wait a minute! Didn't you notice THIS while we were riding?" I thrust my head taped to two drinking straws out the window into Mom's face.

"Well...I didn't. I thought there was something there, but I didn't really look at it."

"What do you think?"

"It's good. Why did you make this?"

"You don't need to know. But don't you think I did a good job coloring it in? See the flush of my cheeks? Doesn't it look like me?"


"Does it look more like me than my driver's license photo?"

"Oh, YES! That is terrible! I'm so sorry for that! I wish you could get a new one."

Uh huh. The true horror of my driver's license photo rears its ugly head again. A cutout of my face, filled in with colored pencil, looks more like me than the actual license. Which is, perhaps, a good thing, and speaks well of my artistic talents, and the incompetency of the local license bureau.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Workplace Crisis Narrowly Avoided By The Paper-Thin Skin Of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Head(s)

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom avoided a potentially potent workplace faux pas today. An inadvertent mistake that could have caused far-reaching consequences throughout the upcoming school year.

I scurried off to Newmentia for a day filled with prepping my room for the arrival of students in three weeks. That was the plan, anyway. However...the best-laid plans of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and Co. often go awry. The Pony hustled into position in the front row, and called for the resumption of his previous day's quadruple feature: Underdog. That got him busied, with his laptop open for multitasking.

My laptop was cantankerous. I KNOW I plugged him in correctly. If he was a patient lingering on life support, I was sure he would not succumb to a pulled plug on MY watch. I hailed The Pony, who came back to my control center, sighed, "Duh!" and pushed the power button in the top middle of my keyboard area. Well. I KNEW I had to turn on the power. But apparently using the push-button on the dock has been my habit, and it was showing a green circle around it, perhaps those three brain cells were unplugged from my nogging during my recent unfortunate hospitalization.

I got all logged in. I could have printed a page for the first day of school. But I still have over two weeks and three work days to do that. Besides. I needed to check on which ACT to schedule for The Pony, and call about his upcoming dentist appointment, and read a Globe and a National Enquirer, and put together a little project for tomorrow. I had only planned on going in one day before the official return. It's not like I could commandeer the Kyocera and run off all my worksheets for the year. Kyocera just got hooked up again yesterday afternoon, it appears. And I didn't want to be responsible for turning him on, just in case there was a malfunction. Not gonna be MY papers that get ripped out of Kyocera's innards, singing my guilt like just-swallowed canaries.

I got to work on my little project. Let's just say it involved making a printout of my head. Not like I put my head on the glass like some people do their butts, and hit the "PRINT" button. No. I had a little photo of my face. A head shot taken by the #1 son. First I had to shrink my head. When it was about the size of a school photo that kids trade with each other, sometimes before the package makes it home for the parents to decide whether they're going to buy them, I printed it. That's not quite the truth. First I called The Pony back to show me how to move my head down the page. You see, my toner is low, and it wouldn't do for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's face to be all blotchy for her little project. The Pony came back to my control center, sighed, "DUH!" and moved the invisible cursor above my shrunken head, clicked the mouse and hit the ENTER key several times. My miniscule head headed south like those Aliens soldiers on an express elevator to not-heaven.

"How did you DO that? I tried it, but I could never get the cursor to move above my tiny head!"

"Just because you can't SEE the cursor does not mean that it hasn't moved. Aye yi yi!" Let the record show that The Pony slapped himself across the forehead with his palm, much like he'd forgotten that he could have had a V-8.

With my new-found knowledge, I printed several pages of my miniscule noggin. Each came out a different hue of gray, depending on the usage of toner from that area of the page. I immersed myself elbow-deep in my project, which required The Pony to fetch my colored pencils and glue sticks and bendy straws from my classroom cabinets (which, my dear old ex-teaching buddy Mabel, were UNLOCKED).

Several hours later, and several movies louder, my project was done. I tidied up. Let the record show that The Pony and I bagged our trash in an old sack from The Devil's Playground so the custodial crew would not have to sully their dainty hands with it. Yesterday's Cheetos package, an individual bag of vanilla sandwich cookies, a Vienna Sausages can, a protein bar wrapper, and a can of Sardines in Mustard Sauce, with their accompanying black plastic fork, were all tied up, ready to pack out.

I gathered my tabloids and school bag and project and phone and glasses and Bubba mug of ice water, and announced that time was up, we were free to move about the rest of the world. As I went to push in my chair, I spied something under the desk. Two somethings. THEY WERE CUT-OUT ITSY-BITSY HEADS OF MRS. HILLBILLY MOM! The horror! I called for The nimble Pony to come scoop them up and shove them in the trash sack forthwith.

Can you imagine the next time Cus came in to sweep my room in preparation for opening day? Sweet Gummi Mary! What would Cus think? That Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had left her likeness to check up on Cus's cleaning habits? That it was a sick joke? A message to say, "I'll be watching you. Every move you make, every smile you fake, every wish for me to go take a jump in the lake...I'll be watching you."

Yeah. No need to start educational 2014-15 with a bounty on my heads.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Get By With A Little Help From My Pony

Today The Pony and I went to school to serve half of my time in the pokey working on my classroom before the start of the next school year. It was my understanding that I would only have one day to make up, but apparently the snow day status changed while I was incapacitated. The way I understood it was that we were to attend an all-day inservice for one of our three mandated days, then work a second day in our rooms, then come in sometime before the next school year on a day of our choosing.

I had a medical excuse for the inservice, which also went through the end of that week. Silly me. I thought a doctor's note would take care of that pesky day, use up a sick day, and then have one left to serve when I was capacitated again. Au contraire. I HAVE TWO DAYS TO MAKE UP! Good thing I called yesterday and asked the gal who runs my building. Yes, Mabel, we all know who that is. Not the one who WANTS to run the building, but the one who actually does. AND, she told me that one poor soul has to make up THREE days! That's preposterous!

So...The Pony and I wended our way down my dark hall, passing amongst the innards of the teacher workroom, which was locked up tighter than my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel's cabinet full of scissors, rulers, and giant yellow glue sticks, with a sign on its door that said, "Keep Out. Wet Wax." To make sure that all were in compliance with this signage, a sentry sat guard, fiddling with his cell phone. I asked if he was watching wax dry, and he said that was one of the perks of his job. But seriously...he came in to see if he could help me with anything in my room. AND he's one who came in to chat with me when I hobbled in for an hour in June to get my grades completed. He's a good guy.

I know you're not going to believe this, but The Pony and I had to hook up all of my electronic accouterments. It's true. The room itself was pristine. All my furniture was just where it was supposed to be. Nothing was missing. BUT my electronic control center was in a shambles. It was in a heap. A pile. A wiry ball of snakes with assorted plugs on the ends. Sweet Gummi Mary! You know how Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is with technology.

The Wax Watcher must have heard my screams. He came right in. Told me they had put everything back just like my diagram, but I had left off one measurement of the number of tiles from the door to start my desk rows. Oh, silly Wax Watcher! I am not the OCD beast that Cus makes me out to be. That was a minor blip on my radar. Though I DID notice, and did not fault the custodial crew. No, it was the thought of being there to work for two days, and having nothing to work with.

Wax Watcher said that they are not allowed to hook things up, because they really don't know what they are doing. Which is funny, because he has helped me other years, and even whittled the plastic coating off some wire to get my sound to work again. But I understand. There must have been a decree somewhere down the line about not putting one's finger in other one's pies.

I know you're really not going to believe this, but The Pony and I set to sorting that rat's nest of alternating-current umbilical cords. We first attacked the amplifier/dvd/vcr trio tower. That's because The Pony wanted to watch movies while I worked. Oh, dear. That took an adjustable screwdriver and some trial and error, but we got picture and sound.

Next I wrestled with the phone. It took The Pony three tries to figure out how it balanced on a detachable base. It had two wires coming out of the back. I discovered that one needed to be hooked into the wall. Clever me, to have been alive before cell phones. The Pony discovered that the other wire needed to plug into the back of my laptop power dock. Oh, how I laughed. "What does a phone have to do with my laptop, you silly Pony?" Turns out he was right. Which I didn't know until four phone calls later.

The printer was a beast. It had NO wires snaking from its blocky body. We had to try the ends of many different cords until we made one fit. We had power. But nothing hooking it to the laptop. SO...again, we tried various cords until we found one that fit both the printer and the dock. VOILA! I could print.

The laptop was docked. The mouse and number pad hooked up. The main a-lot-of-pins screw-in connector was hooked up to the dock. It looked like all systems were go. I fired that baby up.

And I had the network but no internet. About 10 calls to The Techster, our new guy, with several remote accesses, and my internet AND my gradebook issues were resolved. I salute The Techster. A big thumbs up. I might even excuse him for coughing on me last May at the faculty meeting.

Yes. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom connected her own electronic control center without the help of the #1 son. For the FIRST TIME EVER.

Excuse me now. My arm has grown tired of patting myself on the back.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fake Doctor, Doctor...Mrs. HM? Can You Tell Them, What Ails HM?

Oh, dear. I took my mom to get the stitches out of her face today. Darn that doctor! Mom was done before the frozen custard shop opened! Ain't that a fine how-do-you-do?

So, we did the next best thing. Culver's was open. And Culver's has frozen custard. We had never tried it before. We went to lunch there one day after one of our numerous medical appointments, and reached the conclusion that Culver's is too bready. Too much bread for the meat. My best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel says that Culver's is tasteless. Pretty. But tasteless. She had a bad piece of fish. Not so much a bad piece of fish as a piece of fish that looked all presentable and edible, but which was, in all actuality, tasteless.

I went to the drive-thru for a small chocolate concrete with Oreos (mine), and a small vanilla cone (Mom's). Mom said it was really too much, but since we are newbies at Culver's and don't know the menu, I did not spy a child or toddler cone to get for her. We both pronounced our frozen treats delicious, and decreed we would return at another time. Bill-paying Friday is coming up, you know.

I took Mom home, refusing her offer of five dollars for my time and gas, and picked up The Pony from her short couch. We had to do the Devil's Playground shopping, since our routine has been thrown off by my medical summer and the #1 son's pop-in visits. We had a short list, which was carted in no time. The Pony went to the game room, and I was processed by the fastest Devil's Handmaiden who ever trod upon the mulch of The Devil's Playground. Kudos to her! I'm not just saying that because she said she loved. me. I wish she had not dared speak that love's name, but she was SO happy that The Pony and I put our heavy items in the cart with the bar code on top. You'd think we were heavy drinkers, what with a case of Diet Coke, a twelve-pack of Country Time Lemonade, a six-pack of Welch's 100% Grape Juice, and a six-pack of Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice.

On the way home, my stomach started to rumble. And by stomach, I mean the entire length of my digestive tract. I was starting to feel like Farmer H, who can't hold his Chinese. Except I held mine for right at 24 hours before it started jabbing me with invisible chopsticks, trying to escape. I was not in such distress that I had to miss a stop at Voice of the Village for my new guilty pleasure, a 44 oz cup full of ice with a shot of Hi-C Pink Lemonade Drink.

To add insult to my Chinese injury, I put too much ice in my cup, and some Hi-C spilled over the top when I pushed down the lid. Like any conscientious refill-buyer, I took the olive green hand towel they lay on the counter, and wiped up my mess. I had to jab in a straw and suck out some of the excess.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, I told The Pony, "I might have to wait before unloading the groceries. I think I have Dad's urgent problem. And to make matters worse, I had to suck some of my too-full lemonade out of the cup, and now there is even less room in my ascending and descending colons. Maybe I have lactose intolerance."

"Um. No."

"Look at this idiot! She has no idea where she's going. She's going to pull off in that giant hole. Nope. There she goes across two parking lots." I pulled out on the road and crested a hill. "Oh, no you don't! Wait right there! You're not cutting in front of ME!" I glanced in the mirror at The Pony. "Or maybe I just have intolerance."

"Uh huhhhhhh."

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Self-actualized self-diagnoser.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cock O' The Walk, Struttin' His Stuff

Apparently, the animals missed me today when I was at the doctor's office.

Juno ran to greet me behind the garage, while Farmer H said hurtful things about her being my stupid dog. Meanwhile, the really stupid dog, Ann, lay on the porch, thumping her thick tail that has a tendency to rattle the window screens when she's out front.

Farmer H deserted me to rush to the bathroom. That man just can't hold his Chinese. I gathered my two purses and my water cup, then stopped to pet my sweet, sweet Juno and snag a handful of cat kibble for her. That was Ann's cue to walk three feet to the steps, and stand with drool pooling under her muzzle while she thought, "Sometimes this means food." I swear you could almost see those cross-eyed squirrels running on a hamster wheel that are her brain. I gave her a miniscule pinch of kibble. Because, as I told her to her face, "I just don't like you as much."

Then, what to my wandering eyes should appear but a full-grown rooster on a sidewalk Farmer H holds dear. Yes. A rooster. Coming at me in peace, not like a floggin' rooster despised by Renee Zellweger as Ruby Thewes on the porch with Nicole Kidman as Ada Monroe in Cold Mountain.

No, my fine feathered friend has a name: Survivor. That's because we came home one day soon after his arrival at the Mansion, and found him in the jaws of Ann. The #1 son jumped out of T-Hoe and grabbed the soggy rooster from the salivating maniac's maw. AND HE WAS OKAY! So his name became Survivor. Here he is, a fine specimen of roosterhood. He is the chicken we have had the longest.

Yes, my chicken has large talons. You can't see them here. Survivor has never spurred the hand that feeds him. We had a little checkerboard black-and-white banty rooster that flew at Farmer H every chance he got, digging his tiny (but apparently sharp) talons into Farmer H's ample belly. Let the record show that Farmer H did not laugh and let it shake like a bowl full of jelly. He snatched up a blue plastic show shovel and swung at that banty rooster like Babe Ruth in his heyday. Mother Nature, karma, and Farmer H are ALL harsh taskmistresses. I can't call Farmer H a taskmaster, because of that time he reached his hands into his coverall pockets and found dual nests of pink, hairless baby mice, and screamed like a schoolgirl.

Welcome to Hillmomba, land of fearless roosters and quivering farmers.

Is it just me, or is that chicken pigeon-toed?