Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Crick Is Not Just A Stream In Hillmomba

Reminiscing can be a pain in the neck.

So can typing on a DELL jkeyboard. See what I mean? I have never liked this keyboard. The one I really liked went away. I can't remember if it went kaput, or if the #1 son commandeered it for one of his projects like tha ttime (more evidence) he set up two monitors and eight speakers and had his desk at the bottom of the basement stairs looking like the control center of the International Space Station. Anyhoo...he was all helpful and such, and said, "Here. Just use the one that came with your computer." Easy for him to say.

I have never grown used to this dang thing. That's why we left it in the box for so long. It has a mumber pad and a bunch of arrow keys and /insert/home/pagy up/delete/end/page down/ where the regular letter keys could be swpard out to make themselves more comfortable. As you can see, my log posts would get done s lot faster if I didn't have to go back and coarrect every line. I am really a pretty good typer on a keyboard that cooperates.

But this is not abou my keyboard. the one that refused to capitalize when I hit the shift key, but makes me go back and hold it down for an uncombortable amoutn of time until it takes. Anyhoo...here are the notes made my Mrs. hillbilly Mom for a couple of posts she was anticipating:

Woollly bear caterpillars
Reminiscing can be hazardous to your heal a bapoin in the neck
Hil; poeply

You might recal that I have already covered the Woolly Bears. And that bottom one says "Help People" if you can't tell. The middle one is what we're here to deal with today. I'll start correcting my error forthwith. That middle line says, "Reminiscing can be hazardous to your health, a pain in the neck." 

yeah. Oops! It got me again. I have a pain in my neck, because last night, I spent two hours reading through some old copies of my high school newspaper that we found cleaning out my closet at Mom's house. The pages are yellowed and fragile. I was kicked back in my basement recliner, wearing bifocals, also trying to watch Big Brother After Dark on that crappy POP channel that has six minutes of commercials for every four minutes of show. I normally record it and start watching after the first hour, fast-forwarding the commercials. So there I was, tilting my head just right to read through my bifocals, then trying to tilt down to see the TV through the distance part of my glasses.

Along with the crick in my left neck/shoulder/back, I've been having a tingle like a funny-bone twang in my right shoulder/side/arm.

I don't need the high school newspapers to tell me that I'm old.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Will Never Be On The Evening News At This Rate

Today on the way back from town, I saw two woolly bear caterpillars. You know the woolly bears. The black-and-rust bristly woolly worms that can allegedly predict the winter harshness. Uh huh. Since my guys here at the Mansion refuse to get me persimmons every fall, and the weather forecasters are paid the same whether they are correct or not (they might as well be called WHETHER forecasters), I rely on the woolly bears for my snow day hopes and dreams.

Last year, I saw many, many woolly bears crossing the road in July and August. They were solid black. And we had 21 SNOW DAYS!

Today, the first woolly bear was black. The second one was about half black, on the ends, with his middle half being rust-colored. Okay. I was really concentrating on seeing that second one because he was on blacktop, whereas the first one was on that new section of concrete road behind the high school where I should send The Pony because we live in their district. So there I was, squinting past T-Hoe's black hood, watching that woolly bear creep across the blacktop...and...well...I just...um...might have...accidentally...run over him.

Perhaps I only ran over half of him. Because in my rearview mirror, I could see him squirming, but he wasn't really making any progress. I figured one of those birds flying around would make quick work of him. That's the breaks, you know, when you're a woolly bear caterpillar, and you have that big band of rust around your waist, and don't blend in with the blacktop.

Of course scientific rumor has it that the woolly bears come in all variations of black-and-rustedness, depending on their age. Poppycock! I saw a plethora of solid black ones, and we had 21 SNOW DAYS. That's good enough for me. No need to repeat that experiment!

I would prefer to use the knife/fork/spoon persimmon predictor as well. But even though I ask Farmer H and The Pony to get me persimmons, which they tauntingly talk about every fall, "Oh, the persimmon trees are FULL of persimmons!" they never seem to bring me even ONE persimmon to slice open.

"They're still green. I think you need to wait until they ripen."

"Oh. Okay. I'll bring you one."

"I forgot."

"Persimmon? They all fell off the trees now."

"I can't. The goat and pony ate them all. The only ones left are way up high. I can't reach/shake them down."

Yeah. It's hard out here for a whether forecaster.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

All Over But The Lie-In

The Pony has made his bed, and tonight he must lie in it.

He's checked into his dorm room at engineering camp. Tonight they will enjoy a sumptuous repast in the cafeteria, and have their first group meeting. The Pony must choose three branches of engineering to investigate. By day, the campers will learn about what the career entails, and then tour various facilities to see real-life applications of their proposed future vocations. By evening, they will compete against other teams in a challenge to build some kind of engineery contraption. Last year, it was a car that launched a plane. Or maybe a flying car. I'm not so engineery myself.

I asked The Pony if he wanted to pack some snacks. I think his MBS experience was weighing on his mind. He picked up a can of Pringles, a bag of Buncha Crunch, and a skid of Gummi Bears. Okay. It wasn't a skid. It was a 50-pound sack. Okay. It wasn't 50 pounds. The Pony said it was 5 pounds. Which is more than enough Gummi Bears for 5 days. He said he would be sharing, but after seeing him dip his hand in there, others may not want to partake. Of course, these will be HIS PEOPLE, so they might not care. I certainly hope drinks are readily available, and that The Pony will not have to resort to sneaking more than his share of grape drink from the pitcher at the table.

The #1 son also attended this camp. He was beside himself when the counselors traipsed the campers across the park to feed them, and they encountered LARPers! "Mom!" he said. "As if it wasn't bad enough that we were being led around like little kids, we had to go by the LARPers. This is truly a place for nerds."

I mentioned that possibility to The Pony. "I WISH! It would be great to see some LARPers!"

Just goes to show you. While nerdiness may be inherited...there are apparently different degrees at which the gene is expressed.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Maybe It's Less Traceable Than Arsenic

Farmer H grilled steaks this evening. He grilled a steak for himself. And one for The Pony. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had a hot dog. She bought only two steaks, you see, because her faith in Farmer H has been shaken.

Farmer H has always been a fantastic griller. Of course, having only my own father to compare him to, he has an advantage. My dad was known for incinerating all cuts of meat. I didn't know any different. Until I met Farmer H. We had a BBQ at Mom and Dad's house one summer.

"I can't believe what your dad did to those hamburgers! I asked him, 'Aren't they getting a little done?' And he said, 'Oh, I have to make them like that. That's the way the girls like them.'"

"WHAT? I though all BBQ hamburgers were like that. Dry. Tasteless. Hard to swallow. I always added a lot of extra sauce to mine."

"He thought that's how you and your mom liked them."

"Her, maybe. But Sis and I didn't know any different."

So...Farmer H always made juicy hamburgers, tender steaks pink in the middle, pork steaks moist with just the right char on the fat along the edges. So great I even complimented him. Until lately. The past year or so. Let the record show that Farmer H decrees who gets what cuts of meat.

"This hamburger is kind of medium. You'd like it. That little one there is for The Pony. He doesn't like much meat. That pork steak has a lot of fat and no bone. I know you like them that way. Here are the black hot dogs. You'll want them."

Of course I had no issue with this procedure. It worked out fine. Until lately. I would say that the last four steaks Farmer H has fed me were virtually inedible. Oh, I could chew on them like gum, and perhaps gain some protein. But they were tough. Gristly. Meanwhile, The Pony and Farmer H raved about how great their steaks were. Not lying, either. No spit-out parts left on their plates. Mine went straight to the dogs. They never complain about ABC meat.

No matter what steaks I bought, mine always seemed to be the bad meat. Two ribeyes and a T-bone. Never specifying who got what. And Farmer H plied his magic, and I got the one full of connective tissue. So I gave up. The Pony leaves tomorrow for a week-long engineering camp. I wanted to give him the proper send-off with one of his favorite meals. Steak. Corn on the cob. Homemade garlic bread. (He decided no baked potato this time, because he wanted to fill up on bread).

As I said, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had a hot dog. Which was done to perfection, if you can overlook the bucket of BBQ sauce coating it. I prefer my hot dogs with a black crust, not BBQ sauce. The Pony likes his hot dogs grilled with no visible char, and no sauce. I hope my dad didn't tell Farmer H that was how I like my hot dogs.

I may need to make a chart to hang over Farmer H's grill, showing how we each prefer our meatstuffs.

Friday, July 3, 2015

It Was All Just An Exercise To Sneak In Some French

Oh, dear. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom may have committed a life-scarring faux pas this morning when having a hasty conversation with the #1 son.

I was rushing to town to give a tour of Mom's house, and I heard my phone make that little noise that means it wants attention, so I cautiously took a look, but rather than open an email proclaiming it contained pictures of The Pony from MBS, I instead took it upon myself to call the sender, #1. We had a conversation that covered college tuition, his scholarships, his new rental house, his food budget, furniture, MY PRINTER that he got me such a deal on, but now wants to take with him, and how I miss him being here, not the sandwich-making service he expects, but his humor.

"I know. I AM the only one that gets your warped sense of humor."

"That's right. Your dad has no sense of humor, and sometimes The Pony is just warped."

"Yeah."

"Still, he has his moments when he's kind of funny. Like that time he said, 'You need to get on your phone and send Dad a text: Nellie says hello.'"

"I don't get it."

"You know, that time he found Nellie's charred skull on the front porch when we got home."

"WHAT?"

"You know. After your dad put her out of her misery, but it took two shots, and then two more shots, and several hours, and then your oldest brother came out and helped him cremate her."

"Nellie's DEAD?"

"Oops. I thought you knew. Um. She was sick, and down behind the house, and couldn't get up to eat, and Dad just wanted to make it quick for her. And then he didn't tell The Pony, and the next morning I saw Ann with something in her mouth in the front yard, and told The Pony to go see if she had killed a chicken, and The Pony came back and said he didn't know what it was, but it looked like a hunk of meat, but it wasn't a chicken. Then sometime during the day Dad sent him a text and told him that Nellie died. And when we got home, he ran around to the front porch because he thought we got a package, but it was Nellie's charred skull. So he wanted me to tell Dad, 'Nellie says hello.' Which is kind of morbid and wrong, but it made me chuckle."

"I can't believe you guys."

"Sorry. I thought I told you. But don't worry. Your cat Genius really did die in his sleep, and Dad buried him in the yard next to Grizzly."

"I hope."

Oh, well. That boy doesn't come home enough. He's out of the loop. I really thought he knew. If he read my blogs like a devoted son, he would have known.

C'est la vie. C'est la mort.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

He Could Have Built A Whole New House Easier Than This

Nothing is ever simple where my sister the ex-mayor's wife is concerned.

We are in the throes of house-selling. Yes, we've been removing personal items from Mom's house a couple of days per week. No rush, you know, because I'm off for the summer, and she's off permanently what with retiring before me, the true older sister, which is her excuse for why everyone in the community thinks' SHE'S the older one.

The plan is to sell the house without using a realtor to suck up our inheritance. We have a buyer within the family who has been pre-approved for the moolah. Unfortunately, we did not have a price to quote him. The appraiser Farmer H hired took his own sweet time, promised a date the report would be available, then traveled to a not-so-close town without signing it. Which put us off a weekend. Then Sis did not confirm my offer to have Farmer H quote the price to the relative, with whom he works. That kerfuffle, and the fact that Sis went a day without responding to my follow-up text, put us another two days behind. By the time Buyer was informed of the price, it was Friday afternoon. That meant he had to wait until Monday to see about his loan. It was just a formality, really, because we are not haggling over the price. Blood is thicker than money.

Things went swimmingly for him, except for the fact that his loan entity needs a signed document quoting the selling price, any stipulations, and the date we want to close. They even said it could be handwritten. Just so they know the price he is quoting is the actual price we agreed to. Doesn't even need to be notarized. He just needs a paper with both signatures to carry in to their office, and they can start the loan process.

Sis left on vacation this weekend. I've been trying to reach her since Monday afternoon. Yes, I know she's on vacation. But she said all along that it would be great if we could sell to Buyer and be done with it. So...I told her I would need to get her signature, somehow, on a document. And she informed me that she was on vacation, and without a printer, but she would be glad to try and get me that signature.

Farmer H was all selfless and crap, taking his precious work time on the job and typing up a document that he believed showed all pertinent information. Of course it took me 30 minutes to re-do that document. One would suppose that it should AT THE VERY LEAST have the correct address of the property. I'll give Farmer H credit. He had two of the four numbers correct.

So...I tried to find out how Sis could get this document. The Pony Express could have delivered it more speedily than our actual process. I printed the document and had The Pony take a picture, which I saved in Windows Photo Gallery. I sent it as an attachment in an email. I told Sis that Walmart can print pictures from a phone. That she should get it printed, sign it, take a picture, and send it back to me in an email or text. Then I could print it and sign it.

OR she could just sign and date a piece of paper, take a picture, and send that to me. Because, you know, I could forge copy that onto the document and give it to Buyer. I guess Sis doesn't trust me. She said she spent two hours in The Devil's Playground, and had to buy an 8x10 of the document, sign it with a Magic Marker, and wanted to know how to send it to me.

Last night, I got a text from Sis asking if I got the picture. Nope. Only the text. Because apparently Sis has chosen the only place on Earth with no phone signal for her vacation. A text will go, but lots of data, no. As of this morning at...well...NOON...I still had not heard back from Sis, nor did I have a picture of the document.

THEN IT CAME THROUGH! It was a slideshow kind of text. I had The Pony save it in my photos, then email it to myself. Glory, glory, hallelujah! I had that document ready to print! But guess what? My ink cartridge was low. I've been shaking it for a couple of weeks now. So there was a big white line down the middle of our document. I traipsed down to my lair to shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake that cartridge. To no avail. Thank the Gummi Mary I've had a spare sitting there in the box waiting until absolutely necessary. So we opened it up, took out the clear tape thingy, removed the old cartridge from the laser printer, checked the code numbers to make sure we had the proper cartridge, and inserted it. With difficulty. It didn't want to snap into place. Finally, it did.

THE PRINTER JAMMED! It jammed each of the ten times we removed the jam and reinserted the cartridge and tried to print. I can't thank the #1 son enough for saving me $50 by ordering a generic laser cartridge. Uh huh. The numbers matched. It should have worked. But no. A tiny little hole was about a centimeter off, and the flap thing over the bar thingy had raised markings instead of recessed. Plus, a tiny portion of plastic broke off the edge, at a place where nothing is really happening.

In the midst of this hectic print job, Farmer H called to chat, because he was on his way to lunch. BEGONE, FARMER H! My secretary The Pony got rid of the caller by telling him I was in the middle of something. The we got back to re-inserting the OLD cartridge after a solid round of shaking. But still, the white line.

I HAVE ANOTHER PRINTER! Remember, the one that #1 got me from college that was being discarded, the color laser, for such a bargain? It's in the workshop, so I had forgotten about it. Yes. It worked. We got the copy. I signed it. I delivered it to Buyer around 1:45 this afternoon. He was reading it in the front yard of his mom's house in the drizzle. I wanted to scream, "BE CAREFUL, THE RAIN MIGHT RUIN IT!"

Let the record show that Buyer has taken this whole week as vacation from work so he can get this done. Now it is Thursday, and Friday is a holiday for many people and businesses. If something is wrong with that document, Buyer will be back at work before we can ever get another signed form for him.

Death makes life really hard sometimes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Suspects SOMEBODY Of Stabbing A Voodoo Doll In Her Likeness

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a giant woman. She's more than five-and-a-half feet tall, but less than six. So chopping things on her kitchen counter should not cramp her style. It's not like she's a contender for a Guinness Book record. Surely the standard-height countertop would not tax the sacroiliac of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. But it does.

There I was, chopping mushrooms, slicing a tomato, readying a baked potato for The Pony...when my back was slammed with a spasm that made me unsteady. I tried to lean back to escape the clenching clutches of this spasm. Tried walking around all bent over backwards, as The Pony might do if he wanted to help people, which we know he doesn't. That tactic was not very effective, because it's pretty darn hard to chop mushrooms and slice tomatoes and butter a potato while bent over backwards.

My mom always said I came from a long line of bad backs on her side of the family. I would think a description of a crooked line of bad backs, perhaps, would be more useful, since I associate long with a straight line stretched out, not a curving clenched spasm. Anyhoo, apparently her brother in Alaska had a tough time with his back, and others before him.

It hurts along the place where one's butt crack begins, if one was uncouth enough to discuss one's butt crack on a super secret blog. The muscles there (yes, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has muscles in her butt) lock up tightly, like when you get one of those foot cramps that bows your foot down like the letter C. Or one in your calf area that points your foot like a ballerina. I'm not one for getting Charlie Horses, so I can't similize that one.

Sometimes if I sit down and lean the right way, the spasm eases, and I feel normal again. As normal as Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ever is. This getting old is for the birds. For red-rubbery-necked turkey vultures.

I sure hope my back is not spasmy once I retire! Which is less than 365 days away, you know!