Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Little Big Mom

Since her recent retirement, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has nothing better to do than roam the countryside looking for trouble, her mouth itching to write checks her ample buttocks can't cash. She's like a female rabble-rousing Johnny Appleseed, sowing ill will throughout Hillmomba.

Take today, for instance...

For two months now, signs have been in place by the oft-flooded low water bridge to prevent parking along the side of the road. The county road department even plowed in a big ditch, but whether the purpose was for water drainage or parking difficulty is a moot point. The law now says DON'T PARK HERE. There used to be people there all the time. Or just cars, with no people in sight. Who knows what was going on? Sometimes fishing off the bridge, making it difficult for cars to speed across pass. Sometimes swimming. Sometimes dumping old couches and chairs. Perhaps illicit trysts. Or drug deals. Which, the last time I checked (not that I'm in the market for purchase or sale) was illegal.

Anyhoo...signs were put up, and a ditch was dug.

People can still break the law by straddling that ditch with their tires. I literally chortled with glee one day to see a car hung up in the mud there after scoffing the law. The fact remains, however, that people are NOT supposed to park there.

ANY TIME! Get it?

So this morning I went through around 10:00, and there was an old lady with a buzz cut sitting on the bridge on an upturned white ten gallon plastic bucket, fishing. Over by the NO PARKING zones were a truck and a car. Parked. The white pickup was directly in front of that NO PARKING sign, facing toward the creek. I swear that its mirror had to hit the sign as it parked. It was that close. The dark blue sedan was facing up the hill. I turned to look as I went by, wondering how one lady could drive two vehicles. Or if there was more going on than I first imagined.


Oh, well. I had my sunglasses on. I'm sure I was unrecognizable, throwing up my hands as it were, gesticulating wildly to convey "WTF! The signs say NO PARKING!"

I headed on to town on my everyday mission to procure a 44 oz Diet Coke. And I hatched a plan to snag a photo to put on my blog. A truck parked directly in front of a NO PARKING sign! That's never been done before, right? But matters were complicated by the presence of The Gatekeeper.

What was going on there? Was it a daughter who came along with her mom on a fishing trip? To make sure no ne'er-do-wells, like, perhaps, someone who would park right under a NO PARKING sign, would harm her? If so, then who put the truck there? Did the old woman drive the truck, and the daughter the car? If so, then why was the daughter sitting on the passenger side of the sedan? And had the old woman been ill, perhaps, resulting in the very short buzz cut? Was this on her bucket list, sitting on a bucket and fishing from a shallow creek? Or was she a woman who prefers women (not that there's anything wrong with that), who prefers a manly cut of her tresses? Too many questions for as-yet-uncaffeinated Mrs. HM.

On the way back, I was thwarted by a tractor in the middle of the county road, trying to go where no road went before, to some land that had been raped by the Rockers. Then a speeder ran up on T-Hoe's rear bumper. So I pulled off at the entrance to the sheep farm (the dog was minding the flock yesterday, but no sheep were seen today) to let it pass, and put my hand-me-down cell phone into camera mode. Mrs. HM was loaded for bear! She was going to get her picture of the scofflaw! From the side, to show the sign. No identifying license number. I waited for a school bus to pass. What kind of crazy route is that, a school bus out on the county road at 10:50 a.m.?

The thought of The Gatekeeper was weakening my resolve. What if The Gatekeeper hollered at me while I was taking the picture? I had my phone ready. It shouldn't take but a second. I could stop at the side of the road where a 20-something man asked if I needed help while I was taking the original sign pictures. If The Gatekeeper dared question me, I had a smarta$$ answer all ready, "I'm just taking a funny picture for social media. I'M not breaking any laws!" Heh, heh. That should put her in her place. After all, I live out here! Where did SHE come from, anyway?

I pulled back onto the road and proceeded over hill and dale along the dusty trail. I was afraid The Fisher would be gone. Nothing to see there. But as I crested the hill that drops to the creek, the one where I have the last chance to turn around if I see that it's flooded, I saw The Fisher, still perched upon her bucket.


No way was I going to stop and snap a picture! Not with that gal out of the sedan. No siree, Bob! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not about confrontations. So now I'm mad as not-heaven, and I'm going to take it again and again.

There's no need to order more checks for my mouth...but my butt needs to get a check-cashing card.

Oh, yeah. And upon further scrutiny as I drove across the low water bridge...that woman sitting on the bucket was a man, baby!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

We Probably Shouldn't Be Allowed To Roam Freely About The County

I had lunch with my favorite gambling aunt today. While neither one of us gets up with the chickens, we do eat with the senior citizens. Early. The plan was to meet at 11:00 for lunch, but Auntie sent me a text asking to move that to 11:30, since she didn't get up until 10:00.

We drove separately to bill-paying town, where we planned to dine at Bison Tame Legs. Neither of us had been there since last summer, when we took The Pony and Auntie's grandson. Who's in his twenties, but not one to turn down a free meal. Today it was just the two of us, though.

Let's not forget that Auntie, most recently on one of our culinary excursions, ordered fries at Pizza Hut. And that when we go to Burger Brothers at the casino, she orders an Italian Sausage. Farmer H, who likes his taco salad to come from Hardee's, sees nothing wrong with this. I kind of do. At Bison Tame Legs, I had the naked tenders. They may not be legs, but at least they're CHICKEN. Auntie, though, had the little street tacos. Sweet Gummi Mary! We could have eaten at Hardee's if I knew she wanted Mexican food! we were dawdling and fending off the waitress hungry for us to hit the road, Auntie said she had been to the city yesterday for a doctor's appointment, and that she ate at Tucker's. She highly recommended it, even though I rarely go to the city, and NEVER if I have to drive myself. But she insisted the food was delicious.

"You should look it up on the internet so you can see what they have."

"Okay. Is it a restaurant? Tucker's Restaurant?"

"Actually, they're a steakhouse."

"Okay. I'll look it up."

"Just look for Tucker's. It's by South County Mall. We were going to go walk around and look at stuff, but since neither of us can walk, we decided against it."

Let the record show that Auntie has new hips and they still hurt.'ll never guess what she had to eat at Tucker's that she was raving about. Oh, come on! You know better than to guess "steak." Uh huh. Auntie went to that steakhouse, and said they had the best PIZZA!

No point in this little tale, really. Except to point out that Auntie does not seem to choose restaurants for their specialty.

Let the record show my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel that my calendar is open for lunch any day between now's see...where's my social calendar...oh, yes...there it is...FOREVER!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Retired People Not-Even Problems

Dang the Devil! Off I went to The Devil's Playground this morning, index-card-list in hand, ready to fill my cart like a Supermarket Sweep contestant. Only not with 10 frozen turkeys and 10 cases of disposable diapers. I had places to go! Like the bank, because the #1 son needs a new pair of shoes. And the Casey's, because T-Hoe needed sustenance. And a 44 oz Diet Coke, because Mrs. HM needed her daily dose of magical elixir. No dilly-dallying was penciled in with The Devil.

So...I grabbed a cart from the corral by where I parked, but it was crappy, even for a Devil's cart. So after crossing to the next parking row, I left it and grabbed another one sitting by the Handicap Space concrete sign-holder. It was just as noisy, but steered straight, so I kept it. That's how Mrs. Hillbilly Mom rolls. Heh, heh! Get it? How I ROLL? Because I was rolling a cart, see? I crack myself up sometimes!

I went in the entrance door, and for the first time in a long time I was not almost run over by people exiting through it. The Pony was a stickler for instruction-following. So I always had to use the correct door, even though 90% of The Devil's people do the opposite. Of course my hollow victory was short-lived, because standing at the entrance to the Playground proper, two blue-vested blue-hairs were chatting with their hands, blocking my way past the seasonal shelf and the baskets of french bread. I had to swing way over, almost to the checkouts, to get past them.

Don't worry! I got my slaw! TWO containers, because they don't have the big ones anymore. The bananas were green enough. But when it came to the slaw mix, bagged lettuce, broccoli/cauliflower carrot aisle, another blue-vested soldier of The Devil's army had a cart parked in the way. Uh huh. That's the problem with shopping on a Monday. You'd think they could have their overnight crew do the stocking. Are you telling me that semi trailers full of fresh produce don't arrive until 8:00 a.m. on a Monday? You know that stuff was sitting in the storeroom, waiting. I barely contorted myself to snag a bag of slaw. Usually, The Devil's soldiers will move aside and say they're sorry. This one just ignored me. Oh, and they were fresh out of the bagged broccoli/cauliflower/carrots.

You know what else they were out of? My very special TV dinners, the Great Value Salisbury Steak with Potatoes! Darn the Devil! Darn him all to heck! I found my other items, and got the sour-faced checker who's really good at speed and bagging. So there's that.

That's 45 minutes of my life I will never get back. And now I have to go BACK for the dinners and the broccoli/cauliflower/carrots later in the week.

I hope I can find time in my busy schedule...

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Mansion Is NOT An Unlimited Canine Buffet

You might recall that for a while, we had trouble with the neighbors across the gravel road from the Mansion. Not so much a problem with the neighbors as with their aggressive, chicken-killing, pet-attacking standard poodle and bob-tailed brown dog. For a while now, those dogs have been penned up. Oh, don't think it was because of our chickens. Farmer H let them know, and they said they'd been trying to get their invisible fence fixed. But the devil dogs still ran rampant. And then they killed the fowl of the people who live on the land behind them, and the dogs got penned. Maybe those other neighbors made some threats. Or some promises. solved our devil dog problem. Thank the Gummi Mary the penning happened before we got Puppy Jack. I don't know how I would cope if I found him murdered in the yard.

Puppy Jack has his moments. Lots of moments. He's a chaser. If it moves, Jack's on it. Loudly. He is not, however, a killer. He chases all of our cats if he catches them moving across the yard. If they're on the porch, he just tries to hump them. He chases our chickens and guineas and turkey. Not so much the turkey, who stares him down. The guineas, who I am convinced are Satan with feathers, squawk their tiny heads off, and run like the wind. The chickens run around like their heads have been cut off, dropping feathers here and there, like when the guineas grab them by the butt and swing them around. Still, Jack has not harmed any of our animals, though he HAS made their heart rates increase.

One thing I noticed about Jack is that he seems to be STEERING the fowl to where he thinks they belong. For example, if I walk over to the BARn field, and Jack sees two or three chickens over there, he runs them down, barking, until they take off for the roosting tree or feeding area. It took me a while to decode this pattern of Jack's behavior. Farmer H feeds the fowl in the evening, right after I am done with my walk, and I think Jack knows that they belong in that area. Every time I see him chase one, he's making them run to the pen/tree/feeding area. Maybe I'm projecting sense that Jack doesn't have.

Our side neighbors have a dog. It's quite breathtaking. I don't know what kind. It has a golden/mahogany shiny coat, like a boxer color, but it's not a boxer. It's tall and muscular. Seems friendly enough. It has just recently matured into doggy adulthood. It used to sit at the edge of the front yard, just across the property line of its own acreage. No problem. Just sat and watched me interact with Jack and Juno, until they smelled him and ran at him and he left. Then he started sitting his ground, and they'd run up to an invisible wall, and bark at him. Whenever I caught him in the yard, I'd stick my head out the front door and yell, "Get out of here!" And he would.

Several weeks ago, Big Mahogany started coming around in the evening. That's when Jack and Juno have their snack on the porch, then frolic in the front yard. Big Mahogany sat by the garage, watching. It seemed like he wanted to play. Jack and Juno did not like that at all. Bark bark bark. Jack would dash at Big Mahogany, then hold up, because he DOES know that he's a little shaver, and could be chewed up and spit out. Big Mahogany started to feint and wag his tail. Like he wanted to join in playing. For a couple of nights, they all played chase, though there was none of the friendly biting and wrestling that Jack and Juno have between themselves.

THEN...I stared seeing Big Mahogany in the front yard in the daytime. Jack and Juno yapping at him. It was like their line of defense shrunk. From the edge of the yard, to the driveway side, to the front yard proper, to the imaginary line from porch to well spigot.

The fur hit the fan a couple Saturdays ago, when HOS was with Farmer H over by Shackytown, and Big Mahogany came charging across the front yard chasing the turkey. Farmer H's turkey! Bore down on him like a locomotive, until Turkey flew up into the roosting tree. Let the record show that Turkey does not usually roost in the tree. But he sure got up there in a hurry, even though all his feathers didn't.

Did I neglect to mention that Farmer H had been finding piles of feathers for a couple weeks? Like the three piles of white ones I can point out from the porch right now, fresh from last week? Two under the cedar tree in the front yard where the chickens have a dirt bath, having scratched the grass away. And one in the side yard, towards the chicken pen. Not just errant feathers here and there, like we find often. PILES of feathers. Like a chicken exploded. Farmer H has only found one body, though. One of his latest chicks, that was now half grown. We stared with seven of them, and have two left. Not to mention 30 chickens total a few weeks ago, and now only 9 remaining.

That dead little chicken, and the turkey incident, are stuck in Farmer H's craw. We like our side neighbors. But I DID take a shot at Big Mahogany with the 30-year-old BB gun the other day. He turned to look at me like, "AND...?" Didn't even run off.

Here's the happy ending. So far. We haven't seen Big Mahogany for about a week. Yet when I go out to walk, and Jack and Juno start yipping and frolicking alongside me, I HEAR Big Mahogany, through the trees, in the direction of the side-neighbor homestead.

Here's Farmer H's theory. Big Mahogany had been killing the chickens. Probably after Farmer H left for work in the mornings, because the dogs had been waking me up (I know, tragic!) barking at something in the yard. Since Farmer H only found the one body, he thinks Big Mahogany was taking the carcasses home, and that neighbors found them in their yard, and thought, "OH SH!T, that's Farmer H's chicken!" So they penned up Big Mahogany. Because good pens make good neighbors.

Let the record show that Side Neighbor Gal had also seen Big Mahogany sitting in our yard one evening, and stopped her car on the gravel road and yelled at him to get home. Not that it worked. But she tried. And that the side neighbors had a pretty black lab a while back that somebody shot and laid at the end of their driveway. That dog WAS rambunctious and a nuisance. But you don't just kill somebody's dog unless it's killing a person at the time. Anyhoo...that might have been on their mind, too, when they penned up Big Mahogany.

So...we haven't lost a chicken or found a pile of feathers for about a week.

But I'm looking for a dog-friendly shock collar for Puppy Jack.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Eyes Have It

Today I was minding my own beeswax in the line at the gas station chicken store, a 44 oz Diet Coke in my left hand, and a plastic bag containing a cardboard box containing fried chicken looped over the same forearm. The reason for my wait was the inconvenient convenience store behavior of customers who dared patronize Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's favorite establishment at the same time as she.

The newest cashier dude was trying to explain a lottery procedure to two old ladies who had already paid for their purchases. After they finally exited, two young dudes took their place. I swear one of them was a student of Mrs. HM about four years ago, a transfer to play a sport, clever enough to pass with minimal effort. He was absent more than he was there, so he may not have recognized me. However, he DID seem to be avoiding my gaze. Usually I give them a curt greeting, just so they know that I know who they are.

The guy the anonymous pupil was with got some gas, some PowerBall tickets, and started quizzing Cashier Dude on recent winners on various scratch-off tickets. THEN he pulled out his checkbook. I can't with these people! I just can't!

While I was treading chicken fumes in line, two ladies and a loud girl came in. Loud Girl was, perhaps, 9 years old. The first thing out of her mouth, LOUDLY, was "My sister thinks you're cute!" I thought she was talking to Anonymous Pupil, because he was the best-looking guy in the store. He did not respond. Didn't glance left, nor right. Loud Girl went down the next aisle with the ladies. They pulled a cup and ran ONE fountain soda. "Gotta get Grandma's soda." I don't even know if one of them was Grandma. And I surely don't know why it took three of them to get one soda. They stood close behind me, perhaps waiting for the chicken tender. The two ladies carried on with each other. "She's going to get us thrown out of here!" And, "Yeah. I don't know why she has to be so loud all the time."

Anyhoo...they were behind me. Loud Girl flitted around, loudly, and darted past me to grab a plastic spoon with a pen taped to it from a holder on the counter. They use that for scratching scratchers that novices don't know enough to have ready, showing the bar code to be scanned for the winning amount. Or for customers to use to write checks. That guy at the counter ahead of me was using the one from the active register.

Then Loud Girl turned into one of those cats that has to someplace else immediately. She tore around me like a non-champion barrel racer, and hit my bagged chicken box, making it swing to and fro, shaking my arm, agitating my 44 oz Diet Coke.

"Oh. I'm sorry."

She stopped and turned to look at me. Morphing from cracked-out cat into a headlight-mesmerized deer. I did not reply. That's what happens when you are allowed to get away with nonsense, and not have your butt swatted from an early age, or get escorted back to the car with a firm grip on your wrist, for misbehaving in public places: somebody gets their chicken rattled and their magical elixir shaken.

I gave her the teacher stink-eye. In case you are not an education insider, let the record show that this look is NOT accompanied by a smile.

"So sorry..."

Loud Girl continued out of the store, and came back shortly, a bit more subdued, and took a different route to get back to her insouciant minders.

No. It's not cute when you let your offspring run amuck. Good luck in five years.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hillmomba People Problems In A Nutshell

This morning was beautiful! All sunny and bright, temps in the low 50s, a brisk feel to the breeze. I headed to town to mail the electric and trash pickup bills. More evidence (SEE?) that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom actually pays the bills she receives! I pulled over at the dry-fountain park beside the drive-thru mailbox that is apparently a black hole where expense checks to Oklahoma Ponies are concerned.

It's a shame, isn't it, that I have to drive all the way to town so that I have enough signal to make a mobile deposit in The Pony's account? Even though the #1 son told me before I left that all I had to do was connect to the Mansion's Wi-Fi. Yeah. I heard you snort. Same as me when he provided that cockamamie tidbit like he wasn't doing something the equivalent of telling our old dog Grizzly (several years deceased) how to fly a 747.

That bit of cell phone banking only took me TWO tries! I might start looking for part-time work in the technology industry! Anyhoo...I was glad to have that chore over, so I could pull away from the dry fountain, because a lady a few houses down from the Bed and Breakfast that I parked across from had been giving me the side-eye while pretending to be cleaning out her car. I hope that doesn't mean that I look like a crazy clown. I'm not used to raising suspicion all willy-nilly like some weirdo who got thrown out of the gas station chicken store a couple summers ago for taking pictures.

I stopped for my 44 oz Diet Coke, then headed for home. I was enjoying the beautiful fall weather as I rounded the corner where the sheep-watching dog is employed. Not there today. Nor were the sheep. Must be in a different field, away from the road.


WITNH (What In The Not-Heaven) was THAT?

I thought I had been shot at! That a brick had been dropped off a highway overpass onto my windshield! That a derelict dump truck had propelled a rock of 3-inch minus at my T-Hoe with its un-flapped tire! It was all I could do not to jerk T-Hoe back and forth across the road like Farmer H on a normal day of driving.

Up on T-Hoe's roof, where there is unfixed hail damage (though we got the insurance payment for it), among the rails of the luggage rack, I heard skittering. That was unsettling. I heard it twice. In two different sessions. Then nothing.

Sweet Gummi Mary! I had no idea what was going on. But thankfully, there was no star crack in my windshield. I figured I would look up on the roof by standing on the running board when I got to EmBee to pick up the mail. It was about a mile and a half away. All the while, I was wondering what was up on my roof. Had a limb fallen down? Did a bird hit me and flop up there, injured? Was a squirrel or possum on a limb that gave way? Because I was right under a tree when that non-mark-leaving CRACK happened. I made up my mind that I was NOT touching an injured critter. It could lay there and start stinking, and wait for Farmer H to remove it.

Once I had stopped in the road beside EmBee's mailbox condo, I didn't want to look. But I HAD to look. So I got out and turned around.

Well. Wasn't THAT anticlimactic? Looks like a hickory nut had fallen off a tree and hit T-Hoe's windshield as I drove by. I was only going 20 mph. Or LESS! Because that's a 90-degree curve right there by the sheep field. Those hickory nuts sure do fall hard! Of course, they're not in a soft cushiony green cover like a walnut. No siree, Bob! Hickory nuts are in a WOODEN cover. Looks like this one split apart, the other parts skittered under T-Hoe's luggage rails and fell off, and the nut and this section got wedged.

Whew! That was a relief! It made for a pretty picture. But I almost needed a defibrillator for the initial shock.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

My Mind On My Mint And My Mint On My Mind

As you may recall, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been making wise choices. While she would love to kick back in her basement blue recliner every evening with a plate of FUDGE, she resists the urge. In its place, and in her LIT basement lair, she has a bag of LifeSavers Mints: Orange. Okay. She also has a bag of the Wintergreen, too, but we're not talking about them today. A few from each bag in the evening, and sometimes 1/3 box of Sno*Caps, and Mrs. HM is sated.

Last evening, I was getting ready to play an online crossword puzzle, and reached for an orange LifeSaver mint. They're not minty at all. Just orange. But not the clear kind like a regular LifeSaver. These mints are solid white, with orange speckles. So anyhoo...I had my eyes on the crossword puzzle, and felt something amiss with my mint.

That picture is after I had already opened the wrapper. But I put the pieces back in just like they were. I thought, you see, that a mint had broken in shipping. But then I took out the two halves, and they weren't mates at all! Not even proper halves. One was bigger than half. If I tried to put them together, I got this:

Yeah. It says "LIFE SAAVERS."

How could this happen on the assembly line? I watch that Food Factory USA show. There are computer and/or human checkpoints where something like this would get kicked out. It's called quality control. Somebody was asleep at the switch.

You know what, though? It still tasted the same.