Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Pony Is Slapped In The Face By His People

Well, we're nearing the end of January. And you know what that means.


Uh huh. The Pony and I live for that show. It's on TBS Friday nights. We like it almost as much as The Amazing Race and Survivor.

During the first episode, we usually pick our winners. Except this time The Pony did not pick. I fear he is waiting until near the end to declare. That's not fair. He should pick at the beginning like I do. I have my eye on a NASA engineer gal who must know a lot of knowledge in her noggin. Did I say that right? She's very businesslike, no time for tomfoolery like getting to know each other and swapping personal stories while they're supposed to be making a Rube Goldberg contraption to open a banner with their team name.

Let the record show that the team with my NASA engineer won. They even unfurled their banner from the ground up, defying gravity. My other pick is a weird dude whose caption is "LARPer." That's because he LARPs. You know what that is, right? LARPing is Live Action Role Playing. The weirdos who run around in Renaissance garb, or Middle Ages apparel, waving fake swords and speaking oddly.

But wait! My LARPer was also a mechanical engineer! That's why I picked him. I figure he can put together just about anything for their challenges. The Pony begged to differ. "You picked him because he's like Genius, right?"

"Yeah. He reminds me of Genius. Except that Genius hates LARPing, and he's not a mechanical engineer, and he looks nothing like this guy. But other than that, yes, he reminds me of Genius. I know which one YOU want! That Bookworm. She is weird. But I think you like her."

"Eh. She's okay."

As different contestants were introduced, we waited to see who was most weird. That Cos-Player is something I never heard of. The Pony says that means she wears costumes for a living. Then we had a Comic Book guy, a Gamer, a Quiz Master, a Jeopardy winner, a Mathematician, a Neuroscientist, a Marine Biologist (I hope he knows how to save a beached whale with a Titlist in his blowhole), and the one that almost made me fall out of my recliner: The Brony!

Yeah. A brony is a guy who loves My Little Pony. He likes Star Trek, and has a huge Lego collection. plays video games, and is an Eagle Scout. And you'll never guess who he looked like. That's right. THE PONY.

"Look! Look! That guy looks like you!"

The Pony glanced up from his computer screen. I saw a slight smile/grimace cross his lips. Then he waved his hands sideways. Like an umpire signalling safe. He raised his eyebrows. Hit his forehead with the heel of his hand. "No. Just NO. That is so wrong."

"But...he's YOUR PEOPLE."

"Um. No."

Heh, heh. I don't think The Pony will be picking The Brony as his winner.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I'll Never Teh-eh-ehlllll

So yesterday just before lunch I got a call from the office. From the office worker, to be precise.

"The insurance man is coming. Make sure you don't have any candles burning."

How random, you might think. But no. There is a method to this madness. A few years ago, Arch Nemesis went off and left a candle burning in her classroom while she enjoyed her 18-minute cafeteria lunch. That's a no-no. Because the insurance man came that day, and raised quite a flap over a flickering flame. Because you know that while you're out of the room, all manner of flammable teaching accouterments are going to jump right into that candle. And for good measure, we are also banned from having those melty wax smelly pots going. On days when the insurance man is coming.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom leaves the aura of her room au natural. So I knew I didn't have to worry.

So today here comes The Little General down the hall. Mrs. Not-A-Cook was all discombobulated because she thought he was coming into her room with that clipboard. "WHAT have you done now?" I asked as she scurried by just ahead of him. She could, because her legs are longer than his.

The Little General spoke: "Or maybe it's Mrs. Hillbilly Mom." He ducked into my room. Looked at the back corner. "Yep. It's her."

"What do you mean? I didn't have a candle burning."

"You have a TV that's not strapped to the cart."

"I know that. That's what the insurance man wrote up last time he was here. Which was a long time ago."

"Well, that TV should have been strapped down."

"I'm not buying a strap and putting it on my TV. I don't even use that TV. The cart belongs to the library. They can have it back, and my TV, too."

"That doesn't matter. Wherever it is, that TV needs to be strapped down."

"I'm not the one to do it."

"You should have told Mr. Principal the last time."

"I'm pretty sure he's the one who told me. I don't get the report."

"Well, you need to tell him. Tell you what. I'm going to the store this afternoon. I'll get a strap."

"The last time my bookcase was an issue, too, because it isn't bolted to the wall."

"Oh! It has to be bolted to the wall."

"That means it can't be moved."


"I think it will fall apart if it gets bolted."

"It has to be. Kids could climb on it and it could turn over on them."

"You know, my posters fall off the wall, too, and they might slice a kid's jugular."

"I wouldn't bring that up."

So off went The Little General. Indeed, he came back (in a classroom full of kids, of course), to fasten a royal blue come-along across the top of my TV and under the shelf of the cart. RATCHET! RATCHET! RATCHET! He put that thing on tight. He thought. But the underside looked like the aftermath of the belly of a recalcitrant pony who decided to blow up his gut while the saddle was cinched, then let it out.

The Little General did not molest the bookcase. I only have four giant 3-ring binders on there with my self-built curriculum. I don't sense a casualty will be forthcoming.

I'm not telling on my bookcase. Other people get paid a lot of money to figure these things out.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Training Program Is Showing Limited Success

Last night Farmer H went to his new bowling alley to pre-bowl. He’s been bowling in the area of his workplace this year, because there weren’t enough teams for a league in Hillmomba. Since The Pony has his first Scholar Bowl meet today, Farmer H wanted to be a fan in the stands, thus the pre-bowling.

Farmer H leaves work around 4:15. He said he would grab something to eat at the bowling alley, so The Pony and I were on our own after his practice last night. The Pony wanted Domino’s pizza, which he has not had for over a month, what with visiting his grandma in the hospital quite frequently. We got home with the goods around 6:00. The Pony ate his in the car during the drive. He’s not picky about where he straps on the feedbag. I warmed some pizza while I changed into my comfortable dark-basement-lair-wear. By 6:15 I was seated in front of my New Delly, beginning to compute. And I heard it. The stump stump of footless ankles above my head.

“Pony! Your dad is home. Weren’t you going to give him directions to your meet?”

“Yeah.” Upstairs he trotted.

“Hey! Tell Dad there’s pizza in Frig II if he wants some.”

“He knows. He said he was just making sure he was allowed to have some.”

“Yeah. I already took some out for tomorrow for your snack before the meet.”

See? Farmer H was planning to eat at the bowling alley. I suppose he did. But still wanted some pizza. The point is, HE WAITED TO SEE IF HE WAS ALLOWED BEFORE HE HELPED HIMSELF!

Who said you can’t teach an old goat new tricks?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Twenty Winks Are Not Half As Good As Forty

Ho ho ho hum.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's sleep was interrupted last night. Interrupted first by Farmer H and his flapping man-hand that flicked my butt until I woke up. He denies the transgression, but short of him having a seizure until I got out of bed to complain, there is no reasonable alibi.

No sooner had I laid back down to slumber than Farmer H jumped up to go potty. In doing so, he nearly strangled me with the sheet that creeps two feet over the top of the quilt.

I readjusted that sheet to below my neck, took a breath, and was ready to nod off when the phone rang. Uh huh. At 2:15 a.m. Of course I got out of bed to answer. The phone is on my nightstand. Farmer H lunged off the toilet, it seems, because he hollered, "I'll get that." He must be two-timing me with Jake From State Farm. "No. The third shift must have left a door open. I'm not coming in. Reset the alarm. My password is BLEEP."

Then Farmer H re-entered the bed, sending me surfing like I was bobbing on a crest of the Bonzai Pipeline.

Just drifting off five minutes later when the phone rang again. Oh. Now it was the police department of the town where Farmer H works. Again, I rolled out of bed to grab the phone. What good is a nightstand if you still have to get up to reach things? But Farmer H had sprinted for the bathroom phone ahead of me. "I'll get it! Hello? Yes. Since the alarm company reset it, I'm not driving up there. Must be a bird got inside and is tripping the alarm. Okay. Good night."

Only it wasn't.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is A Victim

Not only has Mrs. Hillbilly Mom been slowly relieved of her Germ-X and Puffs With Lotion by her sticky-fingered charges, but now she has been further victimized.

This morning, first cat out of the bag, a pencilless person asked to borrow one. Having recently hit the jackpot when homecoming king and queen candidates roamed the halls passing out bribes for votes, I had a stylus to spare. A school-bus-yellow Dixon No. 2 / HB, with a jaunty silver cap and a full eraser. So I loaned it. Who is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to stand in the way of learning?

As you might assume, my Dixon was scarcer than a passenger pigeon flying over a woolly mammoth on his way to visit a dodo bird after the bell rang.

But that was okay. I still had five Dixons left. I loaned another one four hours later, because I am just stupid like that, and was delighted to see that the user must have feared that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a practicer of the voodoo art, and didn't want to take any chances on bad juju. Still five Dixons.

Oh, apparently there is a snatcher on the loose. Not so dangerous as a lopper in the park after dark, but still a nuisance. The snatcher must be a stasher as well, with a hoard of textbooks piled up to the rafters. If only he would also be inclined to fill the role of flasher, and open a raincoat lined with texts just outside my classroom door. Is it too much to ask for even 90% of the pupil congregation to hang onto their assigned textbooks for nine and a quarter months, AND BRING THEM TO CLASS? It seems that it is.

But WAIT! That’s not the kicker. In the midst of signing, eight, yes, that’s EIGHT absentee slips in one class period, my mechanical pencil disappeared from my desk. I don’t loan my mechanical pencil. In fact, touching such professional equipment is strictly forbidden. VERBOTEN! Of course Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has sleuth blood coursing through her veins. She carefully observed her surroundings.

“Hey! I need a pencil!”

“Here.” A student RIGHT IN FRONT OF MRS. HILLBILLY MOM’S DESK pulled a red mechanical pencil from his jeans pocket and hurled it across the room. It was JUST LIKE Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s red mechanical pencil—with the exception of a protuberant eraser. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s red mechanical pencil had a worn eraser. She has, after all, used that very pencil for a year and a half. In fact, she flipped that eraser over just last week, showing the flat side with a dark ring of pencil lead around the edge.

AND THERE IT WAS! In the front row, clutched in the digits of a yesterday’s absentee. Was Pencie picked up accidentally while grabbing the absentee slip from amongst the other seven? Or jacked, in a cold-blooded act of larceny, on purpose?

Don’t know, don’t care. I got out another mechanical pencil, yellow this time, as a replacement. I don’t want a writing utensil that has been sullied by student hands.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Allegedly Said The Raven

I know this is too much to ask. Quite forward of me, really. I need to be called on the carpet and given a stern talking-to for even suggesting it. But if it's not too much trouble, could you pupils please...

turn in today's work

put your name on your paper

turn in both pages of the two-page assignment

lay your two pages on the tops of the turn-in stacks, side by side

turn over the paper and do the back

actually write 15 letters in the 15 lines for the 15 matching questions

bring your book to class

not ask to borrow a book, which has been against classroom policy all year

stay in your seat and not shoot baskets with yesterday's returned assignment

make it 50 minutes without a potty break

make it 50 minutes without a drink break

As The Raven apparently said last year on an essay test of, what else, The Raven:

"That is all."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Path Less Traveled Has A Reason For Being Less Traveled

Don't hate Mrs. Hillbilly Mom for being beautiful. Hate Mrs. Hillbilly Mom for living in paradise.

Let the record show that you can put your hate on hold until summer. Somebody needs to pave paradise. Perhaps if the deal is sweetened with the option to put up a parking lot, it will happen.

Our gravel road is not so much gravel this time of year as squishy mud punctuated with potholes. Over-punctuated. Call the punctuation police. It's like the surface of the moon here. Like a real-life whack-a-mole game without the moles and whackers. Like a "before" picture of a teenager in a Proactiv commercial.

When I drive over our gateway to the world twice a day, minimum, I feel like a kid again. A kid in my grandma's bedroom, playing on her fat-jiggling machine with the belt strapped against my butt. I feel like a can of paint on the shaker. The innards of a maraca. James Bond's martini.

The only up side to this situation is that maybe the cut-through folks will stop cutting through. Or maybe we'll find a bunch of hubcaps that have been jounced off.

The sad fact is that our ZZ-Top-bearded shovelin' man flew the coop. Headed for the hills. Made a run for it. Made like a banana and split. Made like a baby and headed out. Hit the road, Jack. So we no longer have a guy who spends his days with a wheelbarrow and shovel, scooping up roadside gravel and patching the gaping holes. I miss him. I did, as you remember, stop one day and thank him. Not that I parted with any monetary appreciation. But hey! That guy was doin' all right! Most recently, he had a 4-wheeler, a trailer, two shovels, and a HELPER!

Farmer H says Beardie sold his place out here, and bought some land to the south of us. Probably on a paved road. I hope he remembers us if he gets bored.

You know what they say. The road to the Hillbilly Mansion is paved with potholes.