Saturday, September 19, 2020

Their Idea Of An Appointment, And MY Idea Of An Appointment, Is A Bit Different

Since March, I have not been able to enter my bank. No, it has nothing to do with that time I was all but accused of trying to deposit a fake check. It's a punishment for everybody. Granted, my branch is a small facility. On a good day, it's hard to shoehorn 10 customers in there, even if three tellers are open. Which rarely happened.
 
Now we are expected to do all our transactions at the drive-thru. I don't know about you, but I don't like saying my business into a speaker, while all cars waiting can hear me if the windows are down. However... we can go online and make an appointment, in 15-minute increments, to actually enter the bank, and speak to an associate.
 
I have 13 series EE savings bonds that mature this year. I usually take three at a time to redeem them. I hadn't done that yet when the bank closed its doors in March. The year is running out, people! I don't want a tax penalty if I wait too long for redemption. So I made an appointment for 1:15 on Wednesday. The form asked the purpose of my visit, since I didn't check any of the options provided. I was quite specific.
 
"I want to redeem 4 Series EE Savings Bonds that I inherited."
 
The bank website said it had sent me an email to verify my appointment. LIAR! It sent me an email the day of the 1:15 appointment, at 11:15 a.m. Not really a problem. I had written it down. The bank also gave me the name of the associate I would be meeting with. I didn't recognize the name. Not that I would.
 
Anyhoo... at 1:13 I walked from T-Hoe to the front door of the bank. I put on my mask. The bank website said a mask is required for entering the facility for an appointment. I had my folder of documents under my arm. Even though the bank website said the only thing I needed to bring was a picture ID. I knocked on the glass door of the bank. 
 
NOTHING.
 
I waited a couple of minutes, then knocked again. Harder. Finally a gal came to unlock it and let me in. She was the same gal who called the wrong entity on the cashier's check I brought from my credit union last year, and said they did NOT write me a check! THAT GAL! And who wouldn't let me withdraw money from my own account, because she said there was a 10-day hold on that check, even though my balance was far more than the amount of that check! But I digress...

The Bank Gal acted like she didn't know me from that debacle when I had asked for a supervisor (who overruled her). And I acted like I didn't know that she knew. She was also the one who had redeemed Series EE Savings Bonds for the first time, when I had brought them in last year.
 
She did not ask my name. I said I had a 1:15 appointment. She asked what for. I said to redeem 4 Series EE Savings Bonds that I inherited. Sheesh! You'd think they might check their schedule for such information.
 
Anyhoo... I ASSUMED that an appointment meant that I would be escorted to a desk, and sit across from a masked employee, and provide my documents, and complete my redemption.
 
The Bank Gal had a different concept of an appointment. To her, it meant letting someone inside her lair, like old times, to conduct business at the counter.
 
She WAS wearing a mask. Plain and businesslike black. She did not ask me for identification! I shoved the bonds (with my information already completed on the back), and the required death certificate, through the mouse-hole opening in the clear plastic divider that protected her from me. The bonds have my mom's name on them, and also my name with POD (pay on death). So I have to prove that Mom's dead, and I'm not a deadbeat stealing her bonds.

The Bank Gal took my documents and whisked away to a back room. She was gone a while. I stood at the counter. She might have said I could have a seat over in the waiting area. SHE knew how involved this process would be. I thought it might go quicker, since I had basically given her the training in it last year. Heh, heh. Yet she came back and fiddled around with her computer, and went back again to speak to someone unseen in an office. Lots of fiddling about with stuff, which is probably required. 

Meanwhile, I stood at the counter. And stood. And stood some more. My knees do not like standing. So I leaned. And leaned. And leaned some more. It took 27 MINUTES to complete my appointment! So much for my 15-minute time segment. Good thing nobody else had an appointment at 1:30. A guy DID come to the door. He knocked, but nobody went to let him in.

The other associate was working the drive-thru alone. Alternating the two lines that were open. She wore her mask under her chin. I suppose she did not have any appointments lined up for the afternoon.

As The Bank Gal (who was perfectly polite during my entire appointment, no accusations or denials this time) escorted me to the door to release me from my punishment... I commented that I'd be back in a week or two to do it all over again.

"I held off, thinking you would open back up, but I finally had to make an appointment."

"Oh, we can do this through the drive-thru! You don't have to make an appointment."

"Well, I'm pretty sure the people waiting behind me in line would not be happy to sit there for 27 minutes with the line not moving."

"Oh. We could tell you to drive around front, and then we could bring it out when we were finished."

Not bloody likely. Who knows how long it would take if they're also servicing the drive-thru in the midst of doing my bidding? Besides, I don't feel like folding up the death certificate to fit it into a canister. Those things aren't free, you know. It has to be an official copy.

Anyhoo... my banking business was done. Done politely. But not in the form of an appointment.

Friday, September 18, 2020

I Think I've Found A Way To Horrify The Pony

Don't read this while eating lunch. Please. I implore you. I've got no business with you today. Stand clear. As Rooster Cogburn might have advised you if you were the Parmalee brothers in True Grit, about to ride toward him in a gun battle to the death. I'm about to tell you the story I used to finally horrify The Pony, much in the manner HE horrifies ME with tales of hairwads in the shower drain, or demonstrations of how he can touch a multitude of my things and hold them in his bare feet.

Let the record show that The Pony had just moments before been in the kitchen as I put my lunch on a tray, telling me how he'd been up at 3:00 a.m. and wrestled with old hair wrapped around that plastic stalk thing that sticks down under the metal drain plug in the bathtub shower. I was not curious enough to ask why he chose such an hour, because that would have continued the conversation.

Anyhoo... The Pony settled down on the long couch, with a turkey and cheese sandwich on the coffee table, watching the eleventy-millionth rerun of a Food Network Guy show. I was actually just making conversation when I asked if he'd heard the news about a state official in one of the Dakotas, who had said he hit a deer on the way home from a political event, and then the next morning was discovered to have killed a PERSON with his car.

Not that I think this is funny. We had a local state representative involved in such a political faux pas several years ago. Drove home drunk from a New Year's Eve party, hit a roadwalker with the side mirror of his truck, switched out drivers, went home, and didn't tell a soul. The victim eventually recovered from brain damage, and the political guy was caught after a surveillance camera at Hillmomba High School showed him tossing beer cans into the back of the truck, and the ol' driver switcheroo with his wife.

Anyhoo... I went on to tell The Pony, who was not participating actively enough in the conversation for my likes,
 
"Of course I read it in the UK Daily Mail. So there's that. But it was pretty interesting. In his picture, he looked just like the kind of guy who would do that! The comments were mixed. Some people said maybe it was too dark to stop. Maybe he thought he really hit a deer, and couldn't do anything for it. Or maybe he wanted to get home and sober up before calling anyone, since the event he came from was at a bar and grill.
 
But here's the one I liked best! A lady said it could happen. That she had been involved in such a situation. Some guy had hit a person on his way home at night, and left the scene. He thought he'd hit a deer on the highway. The next morning, this lady was driving to work, and traffic kept swerving. They saw a deer carcass on the highway. A rack of broken ribs. But then a driver stopped, and saw that IT WAS A MAN'S RIBS AND TORSO! And--"
 
"STOP!"
 
"Why? I'm just telling you what happened--"
 
"STOP! I am EATING!"
 
"Just how someone might THINK they'd hit a deer--"
 
"I said to STOP!"
 
By now I was laughing so hard that I could barely get the words out or catch a wheezy Muttley breath. The Pony jumped up, grabbed the stump of his sandwich, and galloped off to his room.
 
"I was just...was just...uh...uh...trying to say...uh...that they walked all over the highway, picking up assorted body parts!"
 
SHEESH! Can't The Pony take a joke? He can stretch out his feet to me, rub them on the remote, talk about clipping his toenails and unwinding hair from a drain plug... but he takes off high-stepping like a prized Lipizzaner stallion because I want to share a little current news with him??? Not just on his high horse, but actually BEING his own high horse!
 
Anyhoo... in finding this method of torment, and in finding my title, I remembered an old song I really like. I Think I've Found a Way by Katie Belle and the Belle Rangers, from the indy movie Niagara, Niagara. Check it out! It's not exactly an uplifting movie, but it's an old favorite. Oh, yeah. I have the soundtrack. They're all great songs. ______________________________________________________________________

HEY! If you like that kind of music, you can go here and scroll down and all the songs from the soundtrack are on this YouTube channel! I promise it's not about body parts. _______________________________________________________________________

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Terror At The Mansion: The Bloating

Let me back that up. TERROR might be too strong. Let's call it MILD DISCOMFORT. I don't want to violate the Truth in Blogging Law. Even if it means making my headline less sensational.

Wednesday afternoon, I was preparing my foodstuffs and drinkstuffs for a trip down to my lair at lunch time. I always take my two bubba cups, the purple and the yellow. The yellow cup seems to insulate better. So I put water in it to sip throughout the afternoon, and ice in the purple cup. When it's time to go upstairs and prepare supper, I pour the water into the purple cup of ice, and take the yellow cup up with me, to refill with ice for adding to the ounces left of my 44 oz Diet Coke. When I go out to my OPC (Old People Chair), I pour the water from the purple cup into what's left of the ice in the yellow cup.

The yellow cup of waters sits beside me on the nightstand by my bed, convenient for sipping. It provides water (now cool, no ice left) for taking morning meds or pre-town acetaminophen if it's going to be an active-knee trip. Once I get back home and start lunch prep, I pour out that left-over water in the yellow cup.

Are we clear here? I was pouring out water from my yellow bubba cup, which had been in there overnight. As I watched it go down the sink, I saw something THAT WAS NOT WATER! It was

A PALE BLOATED DISC A LITTLE SMALLER THAN A DIME!

Sweet Gummi Mary! What in the NOT-HEAVEN had been soaking in my water while I was sipping it? As the glob slithered down the drain, the virtual lightbulb over my head flashed on. Good thing it wasn't real! I don't need to be electrocuted right now.

In the evening, a couple hours after supper, I have a snack. The current snack sitting on my lair desk is Best Choice Trail Mix: Mountain. I don't know what it has to do with mountains. Unless the mountains are made of peanuts, cashews, almonds, raisins, and M&Ms. They're not ACTUAL M&Ms. They're generic, with no lettering. And the colors include a weird brown the color of an almond.

Anyhoo... I have a habit of picking out the M particles of the Trail Mix, and setting them on top of my water cup. So they get cold, and crunch.

I guess one of them slid down into the opening where the straw goes when I'm actively drinking out it. And sat there on the bottom, fermenting, all night.

I haven't seen anything so disturbing (water cup related, of course!) since Genius was a toddler, and I let him sip out of the straw of my early edition of bubba cup while we were running errands. When I poured it out to refill in the evening, the water was browner than the Mississippi! I think my mom had been sneaking some fun-size candy bars to Genius when I was driving.

At least THAT polluted water didn't have a bloated particle that had been swelling all night while dwelling at the bottom of my bubba cup! Poking it with my straw, and swallowing a chunk, might have been even worse than seeing it go down the drain.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Even The Back Yard Sock Can't Solve This Problem

As you read this, Mrs. HM will be cooling her heels in a cubicle at the bank. I suppose there are worse places to cool one's heels. NOT-HEAVEN, for example! Thank the Gummi Mary, I have no plans to go there. Or in the open cargo door of a military transport plane, the kind that rolls out tanks with giant parachutes. Or in a current classroom with 35 masked 11th-graders. No thank you. I would hot-foot it out of any such places, and find somewhere else to cool my heels.

Anyhoo... with the banks eager to TAKE IN to my money, but not allow me to TAKE OUT my money since mid-March, I've had to bite the bullet and schedule an appointment to in order to interact with my old friend, MY MONEY. There are only so many things you can do through a drive-thru canister, you know. 
 
Nobody is allowed inside the lobby without an APPOINTMENT, and the ATM in the back wall of the bank always kicks out my card saying NOT AVAILABLE when I request the amount I had taken out weekly for years. Of course, to get THAT straightened out, I would need to go inside. Which would need an APPOINTMENT!

Anyhoo... I have a pile of Series EE Savings Bonds that are begging for redemption. One for each month of the year. So I am up to 9 savings bonds that need to be dealt with. Don't want a tax penalty! You may recall that the last time Farmer H and I embarked on a mission for such redemption, the bank tellers grew apoplectic in a quest for THE MEDALLION. I told the tale on my other blog. That was when we had a whole stack of bonds, and were required to mail them off to the US Treasury Department somewhere up north.

You can redeem a small number of savings bonds at the bank. For cash, or to deposit them in your account. I don't remember how many that is. I'd been doing them three at a time, and that worked. The tellers were only bumfuddled momentarily, and then one would grab somebody authorized to use THE MEDALLION.

I think I will redeem four at a time now, over the next couple weeks. After first making an online appointment to visit my branch bank, and telling them the purpose of my business. I suppose that's so they can refuse an appointment to anyone who says, "I'm going to rob you." While inside, I will also withdraw our weekly cash allowance, and save myself a 30-minute wait sitting in T-Hoe at the drive-thru. 
 
Shh... don't let the bank's website hear you. I did not include that info for my appointment.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Come On And Take A Slow Drive

You know The Universe conspires against me, right? So when I'm in a hurry (rarely, because what else do I have to do), many roadblocks are placed along my journey. I mean LITERAL roadblocks.

Last week, I got a late start for town. I had several stops to make, and The Pony was waiting on me to get home so he could carry in groceries. I was also bringing him lunch. I didn't even leave the Mansion until 1:30.

Of course the mercurial MoDOT crew had decided to come back and work on a project they've been off-and-onning since the beginning of August. This time, they were pouring and smoothing a tiny blacktop shoulder (about 18 inches wide) on each side of the lettered state highway. They'd done the out-of-town side of the road a week prior.

So here I was, headed to town. Farmer H had sent me a text saying about where they were in their progress. I went out a different route, so as to come up behind them, rather than try to squeeze out at my regular junction where the shot-up stop sign stands.

There were signs warning of a one-lane road and a flagman. I came up behind a red car like A-Cad. But in front of it was a LOG TRUCK! Fully loaded! Not just fully loaded, but pulling a PUP! That's what Farmer H calls a half-truck hooked to a full-size truck. The pup was also fully loaded with logs. Those are tree trunks, people! Not little Lincoln logs.

A pace car (actually a pickup truck marked with MoDOT) came from over the hill, with 15 cars following it! The Pace Truck made a T-turn in the road behind me, passed me, and took its position in front of the log truck to lead us through the construction. It was about a mile. All across the big bridge high over the Big River (actual name).

While initially waiting for that Pace Truck to show up, I'd been trying to distract myself by planning what scratchers I would get, and where, and what items I might want to add to my shopping list. I hate waiting like that in a line of traffic. I feel trapped. It was on my own familiar road. I knew what was over the hill. But I was anxious. I didn't want to succumb to a panic attack. No rapid heartbeat and gasping for breath now! No. I would not allow myself to get to that place.

Scratchers always put me in a good place. So I was under control as I putt-putted along behind that red car like A-Cad. I couldn't see a darn thing because of that log truck and its pup, until we started over the bridge. It slopes downhill. Whew! Very little space to pass by the three big MoDOT trucks and the blacktop spreader and the blacktop roller that were parked on the bridge. We were in the opposing traffic lane. Almost to the end. And then we STOPPED! With me and T-Hoe about mid-bridge.

I looked in the mirror, and saw that two dump trucks had joined our convoy. Both loaded with rock! I don't know the weight limit of that bridge, but I'm pretty sure it hadn't been designed for all those heavy trucks at once, including loads of logs and rock!

Whew! Made it! I proceeded straight to the liquor store! For scratchers, silly. I don't recall if I had winners. If so, it was $10 or under, to be so unremarkable. I mailed some bills. Shopping went okay. I procured my magical elixir. Then I had to start back!

I knew the set-up. But I was still a little apprehensive. At least I was going home. With lunch and scratchers. Good times! But here we were, already stuck behind the construction crew. They were in front of the prison now, and halfway down the hill towards the bridge. 

Oh, this was great. A long line of traffic waiting for our turn. I was number 13 in the line. Numbers 7 and 9 were giant hay wagons. Flatbed trailers, each holding 8 giant rolled bales of hay. Six on the bottom layer, 2x2x2, and two more balanced on top of that layer. Most of the others were passenger cars or trucks. Not such a heavy load for the bridge. But the hay wagons could hardly squeeze across, with their bales having about 2 inches clear on each side, between the MoDOT trucks and the metal rail of the bridge.

It is not a journey I would like to embark upon again.

Slow Drive

Slow drive, make me wheezy
Slow drive, make me wheezy
Slow drive, make me wheezy
Slow drive, make me wheezy

I'm in no mood
The timing is tight
Let's get this moving
Or I'll have a fright

Oh, slow drive. Make me wheezy
Slow drive. Make me wheezy...

Monday, September 14, 2020

Try As I Might, I Could Not Stomach The Pony's Skin

We don't let anything go to waste around the Mansion. Paper towels used for drying after hand-washing can be used again later, after they dry. Okay. I'm the only one who does that. Farmer H and The Pony don't wash their hands in the kitchen sink. That I know of...

Uneaten food (HAR HAR HAR!), that rare commodity, is set aside for the dogs' treats. Plastic lids off assorted canisters such as potato sticks, or canned nut lids, are used as Hillbilly coasters (which are in turn, though not authorized by the management of this Mansion, used to collect clipped toenails).

So... it should come as no surprise that on Sunday evening, The Pony offered Mrs. HM his skin.

"I don't want it. I don't have any use for it. I'm going to have my bath. Do YOU want my skin?"

"Sure. Leave it in the kitchen. I'll take it down with my supper."

Well. My supper was quite filling. Crispy, beer-battered fish (the frozen kind, of course, I didn't build a boat from the oaks in the back yard, borrow Farmer H's trailer without authorization, launch myself into the river, reel in my catch, brew up some beer for battering, and fry them myself), and a baked potato. Once finished, I gazed sadly (longingly!) at The Pony's skin, right there at my left elbow, in front of New Delly in my now-lit basement lair. Looks like the dogs will feast on The Pony's skin.


I'm pretty sure the dogs will eat it. The Pony's skin is well-buttered. And look at all the meaty bits left clinging. This was a giant baker meant to go with the tiny scrap of Lowe's Parking Lot Filet Mignon that Farmer H bought a while back. Three of which are in the freezer. Yet he's been dragging his feet to grill them. So I figured we should at least use up the potatoes.

We hate to let anything go to waste around here.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

If It's All The Same To You, I Actually Prefer To Shower Alone

No, I'm not heading toward a shower reveal to rival Psycho. No stabby music links for you. But you MAY feel my horror. 

I said HORROR. Not that w-h word that a fifth grade student misheard from my fifth-best old ex-teaching buddy, Jim, when he announced on the first day of school back in 1984 that if students didn't turn in their homework, he would be a holy horror. In fact, that young lass inquired at her very own dinner table that night, in her very own home, to her very own parents, one of whom was a school board member, "Can a man be a wh*re? Because my teacher said he would turn into one if we don't do our homework."

Not that I wouldn't let you feel my w-h word if I had one. Because if I did, he/she would be already paid for. So I suppose that would not be frowned on. Though I don't know if a w-h word is paid by the hour or by the feel. But in the interest of good faith, if I subjected you to feeling my w-h word, I would pay extra if need be.

Anyhoo... last Wednesday, I slid open the front shower door to turn on the water and let it heat up. It's a very '80s shower. One little step in, as long as a bathtub (though it's not a bathtub combo, since we have the big triangle tub), with double doors of that opaque glass, with gold metal trim. Yes. Very '80s, although built in 1997.

Anyhoo... I had disrobed, felt the spray to approve the temperature, and stepped my left foot in when I SAW IT! 

I WAS NOT ALONE IN THE SHOWER!

In the back corner, to my right, stood...

DUN DUN DUNNNNN! THE TOILET PLUNGER!

Oh, the HORROR! Nobody wants to shower with a toilet plunger! Am I right? We know where those things have been! And I do not associate such a place as somewhere I would immerse my unclothed body with the purpose of getting it CLEANER!

Dang that darn Farmer H!

I'd heard a noise overhead from my lair on Tuesday evening. A pounding. A rhythmic pummeling of something. In fact, I'd asked Farmer H, when I ascended to the main level for supper preparations, if something was wrong up there. I didn't want a mystery. My mind has a tendency toward outlandish scenarios. Like perhaps he was stomping a herd of rats that had fallen out of the ceiling. Not that such a thing has ever happened, of course. Just those two little field mice in the ceiling light/fan.

Farmer H had divulged that he indeed made that commotion while he was plunging the shower drain! Oh, dear. Is that a thing? I know that hair can clog up a shower drain. Even though we have a gold-colored disc thingy with holes in it that I assumed would stop too much hair. Sweet Gummi Mary! It's not like THE PONY showers in there!

Then the added horror of it hit me. How Farmer H uses the shower as his personal bidet, eschewing toilet paper. Eww! How wrong were those last three words used together?

Anyhoo... I backed out of the shower, slid the doors the other way, and lifted the toilet plunger out of the shower.

I prefer to shower alone.