Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Journey To Buy A 44 oz Diet Coke Begins With A Single Step

Or so you'd think, huh? That all Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has to do is start her feet moving, grab her purse and keys, and walk out to the garage to fire up T-Hoe for a trip to town for her daily magical elixir. But you'd think wrong.

First, Mrs. HM must take her meds. Check her internet. Give a dog her two dogs, Puppy Jack and Sweet, Sweet Juno a bone from last night's pork steaks. Notice something in the yard that might be a chicken carcass, so wend her way down Farmer H's porch steps and into his rock garden filled with lava rocks and over the up-ended bricks that demarcate the infertile garden from the yard and over the two broken halves of the flea market bird bath, and out to the barren dirt spot to find one of Jack's old toys, the canvas duck that squeaks, covered with mud.

From there, she sees Jack's neglected plastic cat-litter-box pool, and dumps it and turns on the spigot for rinsing and refilling, only to be splattered with the gunk rinsing from the miniature rectangular blue pool, so much that her pajama bottoms and her CROCS are soaked!

Squishing back to the house, she laments how loose those Crocs are without socks and filled with water. Puts them on the back porch for drying, and starts a load of laundry for her jammies. That means she needs to gather some towels and other clothes to toss in. Then take a shower before going to get that 44 oz Diet Coke.

Oh, but first she needs to know how much the #1 son charged to her credit card (with permission) for a textbook ($79 and change, which was cheaper than his college bookstore) so she could take that money out of his college fund along with the money to cover the eCheck she sent his bursar for some fees last week. He was in class, but texted back the amount after shaming Mrs. HM for the interruption.

Off to town, finally, for the money transfer from credit union to bank. With a persistent message popping up on her new used Nexus 5X about upgrading to 7.0 Nougat. Yes, without much change, but maybe better battery life, advised #1. So I hit the update button, thinking it would just take a few minutes there in town with many bars (not THAT kind of bars). But then it said a restart would be needed afterward. And kept going and going and going. Making me regret that split-second decision.

Back to the gas station chicken store for my 44 oz Diet Coke, but since my phone wasn't done, I detoured to buy some lottery tickets at the Country Mart. Still not done. So back I went to the other town to have a delicious frozen custard. It's been almost a year. I've resisted. The plan was to enjoy one with The Pony on his farewell tour, but we never got around to it. Instead of ordering my favorite medium concrete with chocolate custard and caramel and chocolate chips, I wise-choiced a chocolate toddler cone. Can you believe that frozen custard was nearly flavorless? I swear, it was worse than Dairy Queen not-even-ice-cream. Though I DID slurp up every drop and crumb. Sadly disappointing.

Over to the gas station chicken store again, where I noticed that my phone had STILL not completed its mission. However, I always get maximum bars on that parking lot. I went in to get my 44, and waited five minutes when I came out, and it was done. Then I had to download that info. Then install it. So much trouble to go to for a 44 oz Diet Coke.

Tomorrow I can't have one, because I have to wait on a UPS delivery (Sooner football tickets) to give a signature. The world is SO unfair!

Retired people problems.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mrs. Hillbily Mom Is A Ninja

I have been feeling especially murderous today. Perhaps as murderous as I felt yesterday. AND my murder skills have been honed to a razor's edge.

No, silly. I'm not talking about walking around the porch of the Mansion, spraying wasps until they contort and die. That would mean WALKING. Nope. Wasps got off easy this year with Mrs. HM's killing spree. Like I always say, "Why go out seeking murder victims when the victims will come to you?"

I blame Farmer H for my two days of crime. Farmer H, who won't crap or get off the pot. Okay. That's kind of a lie. That analogy won't work. Farmer H does plenty of crapping. As evidenced by the evidence he leaves ON the pot. What I mean is, he can't make a decision. Not on the simplest thing. Well...unless it's spending money without telling me. $1000 here on shoe inserts from The Good Feet Store. $1700 there on a new riding lawnmower. $10,000 at the MO Conservation Dept's auction for a second tractor. That major stuff is easy for him. It's the day-to-day that trips him up.

Farmer H eats a banana every morning. Until he doesn't. He likes them kind of green and tart and firm. Like he likes his women. Problem is, they don't stay that way. Does Farmer H draw a line in the sand, and say, "I've had it with these bananas. They're too ripe for my tastes. I'm going to throw them out and tell Mrs. HM to get me some more. The store won't sell them to me. I'll have to wait until she goes." No. He does not. He lets those bananas sit there on the kitchen counter.

Do you know what happens to bananas on the kitchen counter? They start to get little brown spots. AND FRUIT FLIES! Technically, they are called Drosophila melanogaster. I studied them in college, you know. For genetics. We were very careful not to let them loose. We couldn't kill them, but we could freeze them. Dump them out of the test tube and look at their eyes and wings under a microscope. Then put them hastily back into the tube and freezer when they started to stir.

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ain't puttin' no fruit flies in a freezer.

It's bad enough when I see one flitting around the kitchen. But when they find me in my dark basement lair, one of us isn't getting out alive. Yesterday, it was almost ME! I can't stand these things! There I am, minding my own business, not typing up my blogs in a timely manner, and one of them dive-bombs my face. Uh huh. The days of lazily bobbing in front of New Delly's monitor, tempting me to take a swat, are long gone. These boogers are aggressive. They look like they've been taking steroids and lifting weights. I stopped just short of punching myself in the face to smash one. Good thing I had glasses on that I wanted to protect!

But...I noticed two of those behemoths circling counterclockwise. From in front of my face, over the computer tower, across the back of the monitor, and back towards me. SMACK!! Got 'em both! I'm a ninja, I tell you! Truth be told, they were probably trying to mate, and I squashed them in the throes of coitus. Too bad, so sad. What a way to go!

Of course there was that messiness of wiping off my palms and washing my hands. But they were still just as dead. I turned the light on and waited. Got another one on top of my Triscuits box. One on the monitor. One on the white rim of a red solo cup. And today, when one landed on my nose, I slapped myself! It felt so satisfying!

I bought new bananas today, and wrapped up the four left over in a plastic bag from The Devil's Playground. Tonight I sliced up two in a bowl with strawberries for Farmer H. Tomorrow he gets the other two.

We'll see if I'm provoked again tomorrow...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Albert, Nikola, Leonardo, And Isaac All Agree: Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Wise

My favorite gambling aunt has invited me to lunch mid-week. You'd think she could have invited me to the casino instead, wouldn't you! I'm sure she'd take me gambling if I asked her, any other day of the week.

Auntie is meeting with a couple of other retired Newmentia mentors. I know them, having worked in Lower Basementia with one, and paying the other, from Elementia, to take my ticket-selling game duties over the many years I was employed. Which I am not, currently. Nyah, nyah! I am seriously considering strapping on the ol' feedbag with Auntie. It's at the FelineFish Skillet!

Here's the thing. Mrs. HM has been cutting back. Making wiser choices. She's wise-choiced her way into dropping poundage over 5 tens-digits. Over 6. Over 7. Sure, there are still plenty of tens-digits waiting to be dropped. But Mrs. HM is quite proud of her accomplishment. And a lunch at an all-you-can-eat catfish house is not conducive to further falling poundage.

Auntie had talked about going to the FelineFish Skillert a couple weeks ago. You know, she said, it's really more economical to get the all-you-can-eat option. Because they bring you that platter, and let you box up what's left to take home. IF you don't have seconds on the original platter, of course. That's all well and good if there are only two of us. Or two of us and The Pony, like that one time when I had a meal for Farmer H left to cart home. But if there are four adults, most likely that platter of all-you-can-eat fare will be emptied. Or seconds asked for. So it is really NOT more economical, plus the temptation to overdo would be right in front of Mrs. HM.

I've already checked out the menu online. IF I go, I'm having the lunch plate of one meat and one side. Chicken and slaw. Sure, the wiser choice would be something grilled. But then what's the point of eating at the FelineFish Skillet? No use tempting fate by tempting Mrs. Hillbilly Mom with a bottomless plate of fried catfish, fried chicken, fried shrimp, potato wedges, hush puppies...and the million other sides that they try to avoid bringing you, even though it IS advertised as all-you-can-eat.

Mrs. HM did not get to be valedictorian by making unwise choices. No siree, Bob!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Farmer H Makes A Poor Pony

Here's what happens when you're the recently-retired Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, spending your day with the not-yet-retired but not-working-today Farmer H.

Let the record show that Farmer H has to work most Saturdays. But not today! I asked him to set the alarm for 7:00 a.m., because I'm not gadget-friendly, and I had to put together a couple of contest submissions and get them to the dead-mouse-smelling post office by the deadline, TODAY, during its ever-changing hours this morning. The alarm went off, and Farmer H announced, "It's 6:30."

"I didn't want to get up at 6:30. That's too early. In fact, I want to sleep until 7:30, because I was up until 3:15 putting everything together. All I have to do is seal it up and take a shower and take my medicine."

Farmer H got up when I did, and said he was going out with the tractor to move some gravel along the sides of the road.

"Will you be in my way when I try to go to town?"

"No! Well. You can go around me. On the gravel that's there now. And you might bring back something for lunch while you're in town."

"Okay. If you're not going to the auction or anywhere tonight, I'm going to make some vegetables and pork steaks, Shake 'N' Bake." Because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, Gourmet Chef, is IN THE MANSION!

Imagine my surprise when I left for town at 10:00, and saw no signs of Farmer H. But there was a vehicle parked by the BARn door. Backed down in there. Secretive like. I couldn't see it very well, because I was driving, and the land where the BARn is dips down away from the road. Of course I called him.

"Where are you?"

"Where am I?"

"Yeah. I don't see you on the road. And whose truck is by the BARn?"

"I'm smoothing out rock on the road to the cabin. Truck? Mine."

"No. Yours is there too."

"Oh. HOS's father in law was going to cut up that dead tree on the other property. For firewood."

"Then why's he backed down against the BARn door, all secretive?"

"Oh! That's my Trailblazer."

"Why is it there? All secretive. Not over under the carport."

"Um...because I brought home a paint sprayer from work. I'm going to use it to spray sealer on the BARn roof where it was leaking."

"What do you want for lunch? Burger, chicken, pizza, sandwich...?"

"A bacon burger would be good. From Dairy Queen."

"Okay. But I'm going in Save A Lot for the bananas you didn't tell me you needed when I asked before going to The Devil's Playground yesterday. And to get some lottery tickets. Then gas. And my soda." Farmer H did not seem to care that I had many errands that had to be done at separate establishments. I went on to town, and called him when I returned a little before noon. "Your sandwich is coming down the driveway."

"All right. I'll be up in a while. I'm mowing around the cabin." Let the record show that I have never known grass to grow around the cabin, because it's down in the woods, and grass doesn't grow in the woods. But I knew for sure that Farmer H was not going to be there to carry in the bananas and onions and potatoes I bought at Save A Lot. Or his own burger that I got at DQ. Or my purse or 44 oz Diet Coke. Farmer H is not a very good Pony.

That stuff didn't carry itself in, either. My old-lady arms are covered in bruises from draping shopping bags over them and crushing the tender skin of my blood-thinned flesh. I hadn't been home ten minutes, barely enough time to put stuff away and start my own lunch of taquitos to cooking, when Farmer H came to get his burger. Making a comment that HOS was over at the BARn, and they were getting started on the roof. Making me feel bad that I had brought nothing for HOS. Though, to be fair, my psychic powers did not tip me off that he was going to be there when I returned. Farmer H told me not to worry about HOS. That he had offered him half the burger, but HOS declined, and ate two pieces of cheese from the original Frig over in the BARn.

I threw a pack of baby carrots in the roaster pan identical to the one on the porch that holds cat kibble. Peeled and sectioned five onions. Cut up some potatoes, leaving on the peel (The Pony really DOES make less work for me when he's gone). Then I sprinkled some powdered Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix on those veggies. That stuff is amazing. It's the AVON Skin-So-Soft of the food world! After that, I laid half a package of bacon strips across it, put on the lid, and stuffed it in the oven at 300 for a couple of hours. No vegetables are going to come out underdone on MY watch!

More old-lady-self-arm abuse occurred as I put two bubba cups of ice in a plastic bag with my 44 oz Diet Coke between them, draped it over my arm, and picked up my plate of taquitos to carry down to my dark basement lair. Where the phone rang at 2:38 with a notice from Farmer H's workplace's security company notifying him that a burglar alarm at the main building went off at 2:33, and the police were responding. I had to call Farmer H on the house phone, which, in a travesty of justice, is long distance for us to call our own cell phones. My cell phone was upstairs, and without The Pony to fetch it or his dad, I am resigned to spending a dollar every time I have to call Farmer H.

The house phone rang again at 3:38. With a message from security that a burglar alarm had gone off at the main building at 3:33. And the police were responding. Another robber, another dollar. I called Farmer H. He sputtered that THERE WERE PEOPLE WORKING A SHIFT AT THE PLANT, and he didn't know HOW they could be setting off the alarm and not turning it off. So he had to drive 40 minutes to work, fiddle with that alarm, and 40 minutes back. He got home at 7:17. To the vegetables that were sitting on the back burner in their roasting pan, and a pork steak that was still in the glass 9 x 12 that I couldn't wash until he did something with that meat.

I think Farmer H is ready to retire. I think I might almost be ready for him to.

Friday, August 26, 2016

There's A Special Place In The Devil's Playground...For Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's schedule is all wonky, what with her Devil's Playground shopping accomplice all the way across the state of Oklahoma. So today I did the weekly grocery shopping. Alone. Without even Farmer H (a poor substitute for the grocery-carrying and putter-awayer Pony) to assist upon my return to the Mansion.

First cat out of the bag, I could see we were going to have issues. And by we, I mean ME, Even Steven, and the Universe. I don't know what I've done to merit such evening. At first I was like, "Yeah! Right on! Sweeeeeet! This rawwwwks!" I do have a touch of the 70s and 80s trying to bubble to the surface, you know. Because there was a parking space near where I wanted! Third from the end, down by the pharmacy side of the store.

Normally, I would have sent The Pony down there on foot, and would have parked at the grocery end where I would do my cart-pushing like an old woman at the casino with a 4-wheeled walker, and come out that same door again. But today, I was on my own to pick up an 8-pack of Irish Spring Moisture Blast (we're not THAT dirty, just like to stock up), and Sensodyne ProNamel Gentle Whitening (doesn't excel in the whitening department, but allows one to drink mass quantities of Diet Coke and ice water without wincing).

Let the record show that Even Steven has a warped sense of humor. The open parking space was no bargain. I had to stick out like a sore thumb, due to the idiot in the space across from me. I even took a picture, because I could, and because I'm like that. But I did NOT show the license plate number of the idiot. Now that I'm retired, I am a kinder, gentler Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

What's up with THAT? Don't say the car in the space across from them was parked way back when that silver car pulled in. That's a poor excuse. Your parking area is defined by LINES, people. Not by the room left on the other side of them by idiots. Unless you're Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, of course. I HAD to park way back, lest T-Hoe kiss the bumper of that idiot's car. No way was I leaving a perfectly good half-a-parking-space open while I drove around trying to find one as close. It's Friday, you know. That last one of the month. People get their checks then! Not me, of course. Mine comes on the last business day, directly into my account. But a lot of folks get checks on the last Friday, as evidenced by the crowd inside.

Of course when I came out, that silver car was gone. But the idiot who took its place was also way across the line. Just not quite that far.

I really must light a fire under Farmer H to get my proposed handbasket factory up and operating.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Scammers Are In Cahoots!

You know what you spend most of your time doing when you are recently retired? Besides noodling around on the innernets, I mean. And driving to town risking life and limb on narrow roads frequented by semi truck flatbed trailers loaded with giant rocks so you can pick up a 44 oz Diet Coke and email yourself pictures from your camera because SPRINT is a piece of work, and only gets 4G (or ANY G) in town.

You spend most of your retirement time answering the phone. From your loving husband who can apparently see through the land lines and calls the moment you plop down in his La-Z-Boy with a bowl of oatmeal, after just washing a sink of dishes and boiling a dozen eggs, necessitating you to jump up and run to the phone too late before the answering machine picks up. Or picking up calls on both land line and cell phone from numbers with wonky area codes. At least you do if you have a son who is 18-going-on-13, recently dropped off in the wilds of Oklahoma to fend for himself. Just in case, you know, it might be some kind of emergency.

Funny how those calls are not all that important. Because Farmer H simply wants to know how you're doing. I can only imagine him contemplating whether to tell me to "Go towards the light," or "Get up out of my La-Z-Boy and build some trusses for a roof to join my freight containers, Woman!"

The call to my cell phone was a breather. I didn't actually hear anyone breathe. But it sounded like an open connection. Within 60 seconds, the land line rang. Having already gone crawling back to my estranged BFF Google once today, I sought advice on this second number, and discovered that it's the Windows Computer People! Eager to help me with my computer security problems, as they have selflessly helped tens of other people this week with theirs!

These scammers must be working together. If you answer one bogus call on your cell phone, the next one calls your land line. You know, to verify that it's a working number so they can sell it to other scammers. I wouldn't be surprised if they're not watching me through my computer screen. Wait. The one for New Delly doesn't have a camera. But I need to tape over that one on my Shiba laptop upstairs. Which might wreak havoc with the Skype session The Pony is planning when he's not too busy eating Papa John's pizza and stalking coeds from Chemistry class.

It's a wonder I can get anything done all day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One For All And All For Naught

Today Mrs. Hillbilly Mom outsmarted herself.

I know that's hard to believe. Because Mrs. HM IS so very smart. A former valedictorian, in fact. Have you heard?

So...we had a major downpour this morning. Internet was down. Even the TV went off. It lasted about an hour, or 90 minutes. I figured surely those ROCKERS would give it up. They can't even turn their giant flatbed trailer around in there on a good day with firm soil.

I headed to town at 10:00. I could see that our main gravel road was kind of chewed up in front of the Mansion and BARn field. So I supposed that big truck had gone past at least once to turn around up at the other end. The field where the rocks were being loaded was bereft of people, but full of ruts about 18 inches deep. Their Bobcat as parked there. And a white pickup truck. As I passed by the neighbors' barn, which is almost in the gravel road, I gave a long look at the opposite hill where I would be going. You can see it through the trees if the foliage is not too thick. Nothing.

Down the hill and around the bend I went. On to Save A Lot and to get my 44 oz Diet Coke. Today without the company of a former student. I had been gone about an hour. EmBee only gave me a sale pamphlet from The Lighter Side. I stuffed it in my purse for later disposal, and crested the first hill, keeping an eye on the barn hill for a giant flatbed semi.


The white cab of that semi truck was visible through the trees. Right at the top of the neighbors' barn hill. Such a predicament. I could drive on up, since it looked like the semi was stationary. But where would I put T-Hoe's tires to get around it? There's a deep ditch on the side of the road. Decisions, decisions. I couldn't do it. Have I mentioned that I am sick of these ROCKERS? I kept going. Up the long hill that goes past our separate 10 acres that we bought for the boys. Out the back entrance to the compound. A distance of two miles on gravel.

I figured that the semi would notice I wasn't coming up the hill, and would come down. Go about its business. Then it would be out of my way when I came back. But which way would it go? Would it follow me up the straighter section of gravel? No problem. Or would it go out by EmBee, and take the blacktop road with only two curves? The road I would be coming back on.

Mrs. HM remained ever vigilant. Watching the blacktop for signs of muddy tread. Ready on those two curves to get over. Quick. But the signs did not materialize. Nor did the creekside gravel road by EmBee look any worse for wear than when I had come in 15 minutes earlier. I crested that hill before the neighbors' barn hill. And there was the white semi! Still in the same place. I'll be ding dang donged! All that for nothing. How was I going to get around that truck? I put T-Hoe in 4WD. Just in case I got off in the muddy deep ditch.

Wait a minute! What's this? A white pickup truck came from the other way. I looked to see if it was our next-door neighbor in his city public works truck, but it was instead an old man with white hair. And he stopped! Almost beside me. Yet he didn't roll down his window. Only took out a cell phone. So I proceeded. Ever vigilant.

My detour had gained me nothing but wasted time.

When I got to the top of the neighbors' barn hill, that semi was not sitting there! It must have backed up. Maybe Whitey called and told the driver to get out of the way. Because it was parked on the wrong side of the road, with 9 of its 18 wheels on the land of the rock-giver, and 9 of its 18 wheels in the middle of the gravel road. Where a center line would be painted if you could paint a gravel road. I got over in the squishy grass by the neighbors' horse fence, and eased around.

As I passed, I saw the path that semi (fully loaded with giant rocks, all strapped down) had taken to park like that. It had driven along the load of 2-inch-plus gravel, scooped generously into our ditch to combat erosion down the hill, that Farmer H had paid his buddy, Buddy, to haul for him last night. And now it was packed into the mud by that rock-loaded semi.

I suppose Farmer H outsmarted himself, too. Paying for, and spending two hours scooping and smoothing gravel, to make an unintended parking spot for the ROCKERS.