Sunday, October 15, 2017

Is ANYTHING Real Any More?

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a well-known skeptic. Maybe not so well-known...but definitely a skeptic. She's a show me kind of gal from the Show-Me State. In fact, Mrs. HM herself used to doubt the existence of paranormal manifestations claimed by ghost hunters or just plain crazy people, as Mrs. HM thought of them in the privacy of her own skull. Until she saw a headless man in her very own basement, and an unexplained entity in a high school gym where she worked.

It's also no secret that Mrs. HM is a fan of reality TV. On occasion, she has watched the show Hoarders. It's not a favorite. Not a must-see kind of show for her. But this morning, it was on as she was getting ready to leave for town, and simultaneously checking her checking balance and recent transactions on the automated phone line.

WAIT A MINUTE! Somewhere along the lines of cleaning out a house for an old lady who had a $10,000 investment in Christmas ornaments ruined by mouse pee, and an infestation of an estimated 1000 mice living inside her refrigerator...workers were carrying jugs of urine out of the house and standing them in rows on the lawn.

!!!

Seriously. It's not that I can't believe an old lady would pee in a gallon water jug because her plumbing no longer works. It's just that the show said there were 100 gallons of urine removed from the bathroom. It was in clear plastic jugs, like water jugs, kind of rectangular in shape, with a flat plastic strap for carrying. I don't doubt that a mentally ill old lady might forget to throw out her urine. Or that she might put it in those water jugs for lack of a better system. But here's the thing: EVERY JUG OF URINE WAS THE EXACT SAME SHADE OF YELLOW!

At first, I admit that I just thought, "Sweet Gummi Mary, old lady! Hydrate yourself! That's kind of a dark color, and you surely need more fluids." Then, as more and more jugs came out to be stacked beside the first 8 or 10...I noticed that they were all EXACTLY THE SAME SHADE OF YELLOW! No way! I call shenanigans! That pee had to have been harvested over at least 100 days. No way was she taking in the same amount of fluids and putting out the same amount of urine. Those yellows should have varied!

Here's my theory. I saw one of the "volunteer" or paid clean-up crew carry out two jugs, set them down, and go over and vomit between two parked cars. I'm guessing that there must be some kind of rule about your Average Joe carrying body fluids around in a gallon jug. Or that the workers decided they had to draw the line on toting pee. I think the show must have filled those gallon jugs with something else (with or without the knowledge of the workers), to simulate pee, in order to film the helpers carrying them out.

Maybe things like this are what prompt Farmer H to call me a conspiracy theorist.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Even Santa Has His Limits

Farmer H has always been good with kids. His own kids may beg to differ, but even though he is sometimes a strict disciplinarian, Farmer H has a way with youth.

Every year he plays Santa for a local pre-school group at a local high school. He also used to take a day off work and do it for the boys' daycare facility. Farmer H spends his own money (okay, some of our household money, earmarked for such purchases) on little gifts that he stashes in his Santa bag. He has the full suit, and a fake beard, and some Santa-looking glasses that he perches on his nose. It's an event he looks forward to.

Farmer H also attends his grandkids' (from pre-school age to high school senior) sporting events and school programs. He visits them regularly, and entertains them every now and then with Barry the mini pony, Billy the goat, and Poolio the...um...pool. That's not to say that he's a push-over. If he picks you up and says you'll get to do the fun things after helping him...you'd better come prepared to help him! No playing with your phone or video games, no heavy sighing or whining. If he says to pick up sticks (his favorite chore to dish out to young 'uns), you'd better pick up sticks without giving him any lip. Or you won't get your fun activity, you will instead be taken back home with a lecture about how it hurts him more than it hurts you.

That said...about a month ago, when we had Farmer H's RetirementPartyPalooza, some damage occurred to one of Farmer H's prize driftwood lawn decorations.


As you can see, this is no small lawn decoration. Okay. It's not much of a lawn decoration at all in my eyes, but Farmer H likes such things, and spares no effort in harvesting them from around Hillmomba. This one looks more like a whole tree root system, and I imagine it came from down at the low water bridge, transported most likely by one of Farmer H's tractors. He hasn't fully landscaped this side of the Mansion, because it's where the chickens used to hang out and take cover under the porch when it rained. Otherwise, there'd be some pricey lava rock there instead of the dry pebbly dirt.

Farmer H knows The Perpetrator. In fact, The Perpetrator was here only the day before, supposedly helping, but more mischief-seeking instead, according to Farmer H. In fact, The Perpetrator had jumped up onto several tree limbs around the BARn and Shackytown area, swinging on them until they broke off. The Perpetrator was given a safety lecture about getting the wrong limb one of these days, and being conked on the head and knocked unconscious. By the limb. Not by Farmer H. There are tree limbs enough to spare in Hillmomba. His precious driftwood, though, not so much.


"I seen it coming. They was all out at the side of the house, goofing around, and The Perpetrator got to showing off, and jumped up on my stump and JUMPED UP AND DOWN! I knew it was going to break, but I didn't say nothin', because everybody was there. The Perpetrator knows better. We already had a talking-to about not jumping on tree limbs. After it happened, The Perpetrator looked around, kind of sly. The Perpetrator knew it was wrong."

I don't know if Farmer H has since addressed this behavior with The Perpetrator, whose age has not yet reached double digits.

I have a feeling Santa keeps a mental list, and doesn't need to check it twice.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Crap Sandwich Served Up On A Flimsy Paper Plate

Friday the 13th has not been kind to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!

I left for town to mail the boys' weekly letters at the main post office. I got there in plenty of time. During my travels, I heard NO good songs on the radio. The parking lots of Waterside Mart and Casey's were full to the brim, so I had to park all cattywompus down by the drive-thru exit at Waterside Mart, and at the edge of the grass under the sign where the Casey's workers park. I found no pennies, despite stopping at five different establishments. AND I won ZERO dollars on my scratch-off tickets!

In contrast, Farmer H found TWO pennies today! Uh huh. A 2015 and a 1984. He found one of them at the CASEY'S where I usually stop when I go to the bank. I didn't go out to that one today. But it seems there was a penny waiting for me, and FARMER H snagged it! The other penny, he found inside a car dealer's building.

"I went in to talk to somebody, and there it was, right on the floor by his desk. I leaned over and picked it up! He didn't say nothin'."

Of course not. Because pennies are not special to other people like they are to Mrs. HM. I can't call that one my rightful penny, though, because I don't hang out at car lots. I DID tell Farmer H to go to that one, though! He's looking for a cheap car for our neighbor Timmy. I guess between that, and the good deed Farmer H did yesterday by driving a strange woman 12 miles to the substance abuse treatment center, he was due for some Even Stevening.

I felt like that episode of Seinfeld, "The Opposite," where Elaine finds herself turning into George.

Maybe Farmer H should have bought my lottery tickets for me.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

There Are Limits To Mrs. HM's Magnanimosity

Lest you think Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a ray of sunshine beaming over a unicorn ranch where fluffy kittens frolic through fields of cotton candy...I have my moments.

I don't go out of my way to be mean to people. Sure, I use situations to teach them lessons. But there's no malice aforethought.

Today, for instance, a car was waiting to get out of a gas station parking lot on my right, and onto the road. I was stopped at a light, fourth car back. I could have conceivably held my position when the light turned, and let that car out and into my line of traffic. It would have been simple. Just give the magnanimous wave. A nod. Be a good samaritan. Notice that warm feeling of helping others emanating from behind my liver.

However...

Behind me were five cars waiting. Waiting for that light to turn, same as I. Was it worth their ire to let ONE car out? To possibly miss the light myself, and at the very best scenario for me, get through the light while those behind me did not?

I had to think this one out. Make one driver happy, make five drivers mad. OR...make one driver think I was a rumpus-hole, make five drivers pump their fist in the air and yell, "Right on!"

The needs of the few DO NOT outweigh the needs of the many.

Same as in a classroom. As much as you want to have patience with the troubled youth demanding your attention with attention-seeking behaviors...the rest of the class deserves to be educated. The squeaky wheel must take a back seat sometimes, so the average kids can learn.

I did not let that car out. I went through the light. I saw in my mirror that NONE of the other five cars behind me let that car out, either. A semi truck behind them did, or was quite possibly just slow moving forward while going through the gears.

Let the record show that there is an alley on the other side of that gas station parking lot that takes you around the block, to come out on the same road, a bit farther back from the stoplight. That's what I'd have done. But I don't go to that gas station.

It's too hard to get out.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Once A Teacher...Always A Teacher

I had to teach someone a lesson today. A DRIVING lesson! More specifically, he was treated to Speed Limit Guided Practice.

There I was, waiting for a turn at the roundabout. It's not a very high traffic area, this roundabout. The high school is down one road, and the hospital nobody goes to is on another, and the bowling alley on a third, and the highway entrance/exit roads on the fourth. Normally, I might have to brake and wait for a truck coming off the highway. Or maybe a random car going partway around from the school road to the hospital road that continues to town, going right beside the gas station chicken store.

Today, that roundabout looked like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris! So many cars and trucks, coming from all roads! I was stopped, waiting for a lull so I could go from the hospital road to the school road, in order to head from Hillmomba to the next town and the main post office. I got my chance as a semi truck came around, and took the hospital road. With his trailer blocking other traffic from entering the roundabout from the bowling alley road, I scooted T-Hoe partway around and coasted down the school road.

Let the record show that the speed limit on that road is 30 mph. Gravity was pulling T-Hoe along at 35 mph. I can usually coast at that speed almost the entire length of that school road section, until the uphill part right before the stop sign at the outer road that runs past the cemetery and the hole-in-the-wall steak restaurant. Usually, I do. Since I'm not going 10 mph over the speed limit, you know. Only five.

All at once, a maroon minivan appeared in T-Hoe's rearview mirror. Very close. I daresay that object was even closer than it appeared. I doubt you could have fit a frog hair between its front bumper and T-Hoe's rear one. Well. This would not do. I did not feel safe at that speed with a tailgater encroaching on T-Hoe's personal bubble automobile space. There was nothing to do but slow down to the actual speed limit! That's 30 mph. Not a smidgen over. If Tailgater didn't like following me at 35 mph, let's see how he liked following me at 30 mph!

Not so much, I think. He backed off a car length. Which was as good as a victory for me. To celebrate, I continued at the exact 45 mph speed limit on the out road.

I think Tailgater was still going 30 mph. I could hardly see him in the mirror any more. But it looked like he had a car on his bumper.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Oh, The Places I Went!

Today was a jam-packed errand day, due to my unfortunate illness yesterday. I had business to do at Save A Lot, Country Mart, the dead mouse smelling post office, The Devil's Playground, the bank (drive-thru AND lobby counter), The Devil's Playground South, Casey's, and the gas station chicken store.

Of course there were incidents and accidents along the way. I'll only tell you about my most favorite one today. I had brains in my head, and feet in my shoes, and I steered myself in the direction of booze!

Now don't go thinking Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is off the wagon. I wasn't intentionally steering myself in the direction of booze. The booze was just there, where I was steering myself. Steering my Devil's Playground cart/walker, actually. They have moved all the merchandise to different aisles. I am always forgetting now where to find my standard staples. Today I was looking for nuts. Nuts to go in Chex Mix, and nuts to go in a different treat that may or may not be mentioned here or there.

The nuts used to be on the candy aisle. I could have easily grabbed them when I got some treats to send The Pony in a care package this month. But no. The Devil has moved  his nuts. I was headed down the chip aisle, oblivious to the pretzel twists that were also on my list, having forgotten that I forgot them in Save A Lot, my usual pretzel store. There they were! The Devil's nuts! They're on a main aisle now. One that runs straight back from the door at the front of the Playground, toward the Employee's Only door at the back.

There I was, trying to grab the appropriate Devil's nuts, when a woman wheeled her cart around the center display in that main aisle. I don't know why The Devil has to clog up the main thoroughfares of his Playground, but he does. I was over as far as I could get to the right. I was practically touching The Devil's nuts. I waited for her to get by so I could move forward and away from the shelves so I could get a good look at the low nuts, the ones almost on the ground.

I think perhaps I, or that woman, and quite possible I AND that woman, let out a sigh of exasperation, and possibly a semi eye-roll at the other. There was barely enough room for two cart/walkers to pass. Thank the Gummi Mary it wasn't a beeper cart playing chicken with me! Anyhoo...I stayed put, against The Devil's nuts, and That Woman wheeled her cart/walker past me.

CRASH!

That Woman had a flat box that might have held shelves or a bookcase or a little table. You know, the put-together furniture that comes in a flat, rectangular box. She had put it crossways in her cart, not on the bottom shelf. It was hanging out a bit over the right-hand side of her cart. And it HIT A 30-PACK OF BUSCH BEER! The giant cube in bright orange cardboard! For the Halloween holiday, I imagine.

The Busch was felled by That woman! It tumbled off the top of the display, and landed on a corner, and split partway open, cans of Busch rolling, cans of Busch spurting beer like mini fountains! It was a glorious sight to see!

"I'm getting out of here," I told That Woman. Essentially declaring that it was not MY fault. Which it wasn't. She stayed at the scene of the accident. Lucky for the other shoppers, the carnage was lodged between the big pallet displays in the middle of that main aisle. There was still room on each side to continue cart/walker pushing. If that dang woman had been keeping to the right like normal, on the divided highway of the main aisle, she wouldn't even have been on my side, and the disaster would have been avoided.

Anyhoo...a stockboy came by. That's the beauty of smashing a 30-pack of Busch right in front of the Employee's Only door. "Oh. I think you're the one who helped me last time I made a mess!" said That Woman as the stockboy called for backup on his radio. Seeing as how she was taking responsibility, I turned my cart around to head back past her, on the way up front to the checkout.

"She was trying not to hit me. So she wasn't being reckless."

"It was just this box sticking out of my cart. I forgot about it."

Stockboy didn't seem impressed. I left them there with several spraying fountains of Busch at their feet. I sent a text to Farmer H telling him of the carnage. He was quite concerned about my safety.

"Get any on you?"

No. I did not. Which made it the perfect bloggable accident.

Monday, October 9, 2017

How Many Sick Days Does A Retiree Get?

I've been a little under the weather today. No. That's not right. I've been sick as a dog! Like when poor Puppy Jack was shaking and vomiting foam and wouldn't come out from under the first building on Shackytown Boulevard, that time we think he ate a bad frog.

I didn't eat a bad frog. I might have gotten a bad burger at the casino, though it was delicious at the time. Or a bad pizza from Pizza Hut's $7.99 special. Whatever it was nearly put me out of commission. It DID prevent me from driving to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke and lottery tickets. So you KNOW I ain't a-woofin'! I was really sick.

Last night I kind of had an inkling of what was to come. My head got all stuffed up and I couldn't breathe out my nose very well and my eyes burned. I thought it was just the after-effects of all that cigarette and cigar smoke in the casino. I'm very careful to wash my hands and not touch my face while I'm there. I'm not picking up swine flu or chicken flu or HN51 or whatever variety of flu is going around. No siree, Bob!

I fell asleep in my OPC (Old People Chair) and woke up at 2:00 a.m. with a headache over my eyes. My neck kind of hurt, too, so I figured I slept on it wrong. This morning I still had the headache, only worse. I used some nasal spray, and blew a lot of clear snot out of my nose. A hot shower made my head almost tolerable for about an hour, but it did nothing for my nausea. I NEVER have nausea. But today, I did.

That's the main reason I didn't get my 44 oz Diet Coke. Nausea. I forced myself to eat a little pack of peanut butter crackers. That didn't make it better or worse. I kept my medicine down. That was the main concern. Around 2:00, I settled in front of my New Delly with a regular lunch of my Chicken Bacon Ranch pinwheels. Wouldn't you know it? I'd finally found ACTUAL Chicken Bacon Ranch pinwheels, only two days past their expiration date, and I couldn't truly enjoy them!

I had a 20 oz bottle of Diet Coke (the hard stuff) and an acetaminophen. Within an hour, I felt slightly better. No walk tonight for me. The dogs may miss their snack. Farmer H is having leftover Pizza Hut for his supper. We'll see if he catches anything...

This being sick is not much fun. It doesn't seem like an actual cold. Maybe a 24-hour thing. I hope I'm on the road to recovery. I might have to break out another 20 oz Diet Coke and pour it over ice from FRIG II and add my Great Value Sugar Free Cherry Limeade powder. Just so I don't go through withdrawal or anything.