Thursday, November 23, 2017

Even Steven Has Been (Or Will Be) Working Overtime

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Last year at this time, The Pony totaled his Nissan Rogue on the drive home from OU for the holiday. NOTHING can replace my little Pony! His miraculous escape of injury (or worse) tops the list of my thankfulness.

Genius is graduating from college this year, and has a job with Garmin starting January 8th, earning more than my salary upon retirement, after 28 years of teaching. Farmer H is still kickin' (and me screaming), and our life is good. We don't want for anything, and we're still ambulatory and have most of our wits about us. We are able to help others as the whim strikes us, and don't take anything for granted.

Since The Pony elected not to drive home 9 hours for Thanksgiving dinner to eat rolls and butter and Oreo cake, Farmer H and I drove out to spend this past weekend with him. Luck was with us, and not just in keeping Farmer H's sweaving under control and all four of A-Cad's wheels on the road.

Our first stop was at a Casey's in Steelville, for our regular bathroom break. Farmer H doesn't like to use a business's facilities without making a purchase. We were not ready for gas yet, and he asked if I was buying something. I said I would cash in a $15 scratcher winner for three more tickets. One of them was a $25 winner. I took that as a good omen for our trip.

On I-35 headed towards our exit to the hotel, we saw an old Chevy truck like my dad used to drive. I've been looking for one for years to show Farmer H, since I didn't know that year or model. Coincidentally, that day happened to be my dad's birthday, November 17.

We arrived in Norman and checked into our Holiday Inn Express and Suites. We were able to nab a ground floor room, only one room away from the exit/entrance door. This was great for my bum knee, because walking like a pirate with a peg leg does not lend itself to lengthy strolls. In addition, Farmer H was able to park in the space right in front of that door in all of our comings and goings.

After carrying our things in, we went straight to The Pony's apartment, where I was treated to a magnificent sunset.

I can't get enough of that painted sky!

We took The Pony out for a Chinese buffet supper, and when we returned to his apartment, I found a 2015 penny AND a 2017 penny on the floor of his apartment.

Riverwind Casino was our destination on Saturday. The Pony made a $227 profit. I was able to cash out a pretty good ticket. Sorry my phone camera went crazy. I don't have time today to flip that picture.

Even though our lunch with The Pony at Cheddar's was lacking in baked potatoes, Farmer H and I had a good (and profitable) lunch on the way home Sunday, when we stopped near Joplin at Downstream Casino. Another good cash-out for me. Don't go thinking that's all profit! It takes money to make money. But my gambling bankroll was increased considerably on this trip.

Monday morning I left for town, and found out that we were the proud recipients of an overnight gift. A tire. I snagged a picture of it on the way home.

While out and about, I found a nickel at the Casey's across town. I won $85 on scratchers when I cashed in my $25 winner.

Tuesday, I found a penny (1984). Farmer H found 3 ladybugs on his lumber for the storage container garage. We got a check in the mail for that Christopher Reeve disability insurance that apparently was kind of scamming us, a class action settlement, in the amount of $380.37.

And yesterday, I found this in the road! Okay. There's no picture. I had it sitting on the cutting block, but Farmer H took it outside to let it rest for eternity on a garage shelf. I don't have time to take the picture, but it was a giant bolt and nut looking thingy. Farmer H said it was some kind of bushing or something for plumbing pipes. Whatever. Sometimes you feel like a nut...sometimes you find one in the road.

It's going to be quite a crash when Even Steven's evening comes around!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

If It Weren't For Bad Luck, I'd Have Some Fresher Breath

The Truth in Blogging Law decrees that I can't use "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all," for my title. Because I'm actually a pretty (pretty, as in fairly, not as in beautiful) lucky person. But every now and then, something doesn't go my way. Sometimes I come down with a malady called The Dropsy. Oh, not the illness from the 18th century. My own case of The Dropsy. Where I drop almost anything I touch.

Tuesday evening, I was getting ready to head upstairs and find some supper. Farmer H was supposed to attend a basketball tournament, so he said he'd warm his own supper ('bout to get him trained, maybe) of bacon, and carrots cooked in its juices. He changed his mind about the tournament, but I was still off the hook for his supper.

I was planning on some leftover gas station chicken, which I'd had the previous night, when Farmer H had said he was going to eat a hot dog at the game. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box to see that the chicken gal had given me a chicken with only one leg! Farmer H fessed up later, though, that he'd eaten a leg before he left for his game. was going on 8:00 Tuesday night, by the time I went upstairs. I have been off my driveway walk due to the knee pain, and I was in no hurry to go up the 13 steps to the kitchen. Until I started to get hungry. I knew it would take a little while to warm my chicken in the oven. Even though Farmer H was up there watching TV, I was pretty sure he wasn't going to make my supper. He doesn't do it by my specifications, anyway. You can't just microwave leftover gas station chicken, because then the skin isn't crisp. I decided to have a Life Saver Wint-O-Green Mint to tide me over during food prep. I have a big bag of them on the counter of my dark basement lair.

I was standing beside the counter, after peeling off the individual cellophane wrap, having just popped that mint into my gaping maw, when it happened. Perhaps I should learn not to let my maw gape. I went to close my lips, keeping that mint on the front part of my tongue that senses sweet.


That mint rolled out of my mouth, bounced a couple times on the tile, and rolled about five feet, all the way to the back wall under my desk!

Yeah! It was just wet enough to pick up any dust and grime that five feet of floor had to offer.

Oh! The mintmanity!

Lucky for me, I had a bag of approximately 86 more mints.

Yeah. I'm really pretty lucky.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

More Of A Caterwauler Than A Cater Waiter

Pardon me for sounding a bit put-out over something that's nothing. I'm sure my put-uponness stems from riding in the car with Farmer H for 18 hours over the weekend. It was in the car that this scenario presented itself.

We (and by we I mean Farmer H) were driving along I-44, somewhere between Fort Leonard Wood and Rolla, on the way back from our weekend in Oklahoma with The Pony. Farmer H's phone rang, and he took it out of his belt holster and answered. I would have preferred that he did not, what with sweaving along in the fast lane, beside semi trucks on that section of two-lane interstate with concrete dividers and no shoulder.

This is what I heard him say...

"No. We don't really have any plans. Genius is coming on Saturday. As far as I know, we're not doing anything on Thursday."


I couldn't hold it in. I could imagine Farmer H making plans or clearing the way for company on Thursday, when I had to start my pre-preparations for cooking the big Thanksgiving feast on Saturday. I've got 36 eggs to boil, and potatoes to boil, and a pie to make, and a house to clean. More food to get ready on Friday, and four dishes that have to be done on Saturday.

Farmer H got all hissy-fitty with me, glaring (which meant he took his only eye off the road to make his displeasure known). He turned his attention back to (not the road, surely you didn't assume the road) his phone conversation, and said...

"She means she's getting food ready for Saturday when Genius comes. I'll talk to her and see what we're doing."

Then he got off the phone and berated me for not keeping quiet.

"I was trying to make it look like we're not doing anything for Thanksgiving! You can never keep your mouth shut! You always have to blurt out!"

"What's the big deal! We AREN'T doing anything Thursday, but I am. I'm getting Saturday's stuff ready."

"That was REDACTED asking if we were doing anything, and did we want to get together on Thanksgiving."

"Well, no. We never do. We used to go to my mom's every year, and for the past two years I've cooked for US. You and me and Genius and The Pony. So I don't know what the big deal is."

"Well, you had to blurt out that you were cooking!"

"So? Lots of people cook on Thanksgiving."

"But I was trying to act like we're not doing anything, and then you had to blurt out that you were cooking!"

"For Saturday. For us and Genius."

"But REDACTED was asking if we wanted to get together. You should have just let me say we didn't have anything planned."

"What's wrong with just saying that we're having dinner on Saturday with Genius? How about THAT? Because I guarantee you that REDACTED wasn't inviting US to Thanksgiving dinner! That would have been, 'Are you doing anything? Would you like to come eat with us?' NO! REDACTED was fishing for an invitation to bring 8 people to have Thanksgiving dinner with US! We've never done that. If I'd planned on that, REDACTED would have been invited by now. I don't know why you said you'd check with me. Unless you're making ME the bad guy now. Because I'm not extending an invitation, like, 'Oh, come and eat with us. I'm making it anyway.' No. That's a lot of work. We've already been roped into having your RetirementPaloozaParty here, and a hayride/weenie roast. I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner for anyone but us."

Is that so wrong? Can you see how I feel? I guess men don't understand, because all they have to do is sit down and eat for 15 minutes, then get up and watch football or roam around outside on Gators and 4-wheelers. All that shopping and preparation and cooking and cleanup are MY duties. I'm not adding congenial-hostessing to the list. It's not like extending an invitation for a spinster aunt to bring a bowl of roasted parsnips and join us.

I would not dream of planning a celebration or get-together, and then having it take place at someone else's house. Am I overreacting? Was this just an innocent request to get together? Wouldn't REDACTED have suggested a restaurant, or an event, or extended an invitation to the REDACTED family home?

And why couldn't Farmer H simply have said, "We're having our Thanksgiving with Genius on Saturday. HM is getting stuff ready on Thursday and Friday." Then it's on REDACTED to counter with another plan, or not.

What say you?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Interfamilial Incident Narrowly Avoided

On the way to Norman, Oklahoma, to visit The Pony, Farmer H was having a heyday with me as a captive audience. He was regaling me with tales of his junking business, like how much he spent, and how much he sold stuff for. All the while, I was being whipped side-to-side by his sweaving, my neck mimicking the motion of a snake charmer's cobra, unable to nod off for a restful nap thanks to Farmer H's droning because of the roar of the bumpity-bump lines when he crossed the center or onto the shoulder.

"And I got a bunch of stuff for my Santa kids. I have some little cars, and some balls, and some other stuff at the auction. This age, it doesn't matter so much if it's for boys or girls, because they like everything."

Let the record show that Farmer H has played Santa for a local Parents As Teachers group for many years. He doesn't HAVE to provide toys, but he does. One year he took The Pony with him to hand him stuff out of his sack. I know The Pony dressed in a red sweatshirt and wore a Santa hat, but he drew the line at elf shoes.

"Oh. When are you doing that this year?"

"On the 16th."


"Yeah. The 16th. I have her text about it. I can look it up."

"Genius graduates on the 16th. We will be in College Town. I already got the room for the 15th, so we'll be down there all morning and afternoon on the 16th."

"Huh. I better call her!"

No answer. The lady was probably screening her calls. When we stopped at a stoplight in the next town, Farmer H sent a text. Another 60 miles down the road, he got a response. We were at a rest area at the time, though I don't think texting while driving could make Farmer H's sweaving any worse.

"Yeah. She says we can do it the 9th. It's a little early, but the kids won't mind. As long as it's on a Saturday close to Christmas."

This afternoon, I checked my phone after putting away groceries and retiring to my dark basement lair. There was a 20-minute-old text from my sister the ex-mayor's wife.

"Whenever you have time, will you check with Farmer H to see what day breakfast with Santa is? Our PAT lady told me it was on the 16th. Just got a text from her reminding me it is on the 9th????????" (Sis babysits her granddaughter, Babe, during the week)

"They had to change it. Genius graduates on the 16th. I told Farmer H on the way to Oklahoma and he called her and they changed it. Good thing, or a lot of kids would have been stood up by SANTA!"

Let the record show that in place of SANTA I used a Santa emoji.
Because I'm cool like that.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Their Punchline Was Right On The Mark

Even Steven and The Universe are jokesters extraordinaire. Those two wacky BFFs can't seem to rein in their madcap ways when it comes to Mrs. HM's life.

As you recall, Farmer H has started a storage shed store (StShSt). He's always running around, acquiring new old merchandise, or hauling his accumulated treasures to town. His primary vehicle is my mom's 2002 Trailblazer. It made a good work car for him, beating it up and down the highway from early 2015 until his recent retirement. Last Friday, I got a text from Farmer H at 2:50 p.m.

"Had to get two tire's for the car cord exposed a little over 200.00 on credit card"

Farmer H later revealed that he had been working in his StShSt, sorting and arranging stuff, with his Trailblazer parked out front. Not many other flea marketers were marketing that day, because of deer season kicking off the next morning, and few customers showing up.

"I had the wheels cut from when I backed in, and as I came out, I saw that the rubber was all worn off, down to the cords. I had to get some tires on there quick. And I had just come from Bill-Paying Town (14 miles) up the highway at 65 miles an hour! I'm lucky I didn't have a blowout. I don't know how long I've been driving on them like that."

Well. When you need tires, you need tires. It always comes up when you're least expecting it.

As you recall, Farmer H took me to the casino last Sunday. For once, I was on the winning end, and not Farmer H. You know how much profit I cashed out?


Funny how that's just a little over $200.00.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I'm Pretty Sure That Dude Scammed Me For No Benefit Of His Own

When Farmer H and I go to the casino, we always eat at Burger Brothers. I find their fare particularly delicious, even though their delivery methods are questionable. Their restaurant has a section with tables, and an order counter, right in the casino itself. It also has a more restauranty section with an entrance on the main walkway out front, which has its own ordering system.

Anyhoo...Burger Brothers used to give you a little disk when you ordered. Like a hand-held Roomba, about the size of a dessert plate. When your order was ready, that disk would buzz, and lights would flash. It was really convenient to take out into the slot area and play for the 15 or 20 minutes you were waiting. I don't know about YOU, but Mrs. Hillbilly Mom goes to the casino to GAMBLE, not to sit at a table waiting for food.

Okay. I only used the disk like that one time, when I was there by myself, having been dropped off by Farmer H and others on the way to a Cardinals game. Usually, I have a companion, like Farmer H or my favorite gambling aunt, and we chat about our big wins, heh, heh, while waiting for the food. Now, however, Burger Brothers no longer have those vibrating disks. For a while, they were calling names. Hollering out your first name when your food was ready. Now they've taken to giving you a verbal number. That's what they holler out. So you pretty much have to sit at the tables, and hope to hear your number. Hick gives up, and walks to stand like a creeper and watch the counter until he sees what looks like our order.

As you might have deduced by now, Mrs. HM hates change. Her favorite gambling aunt even went so far as to accuse her of having OCD. She's allowed. She's family.

Not only was the announcement of the order changed, but Burger Brothers also came up with a new sauce that they slather on the burgers if you don't tell them NO SAUCE. It's terrible. So you have to ask FOR things like pickles and onions, but ask NOT TO HAVE the sauce. That's not really a big deal, except that all of the order-takers are foreign. Okay. Maybe they are citizens. But their English is definitely not their first language. There's one little guy who's always polite, but it takes him a while to put in your order. He's making sure he gets it right, though. Farmer H thinks he is Bosnian. Not that it's here nor there.

That little guy almost always waits on us. Yet the order seems to be a few dollars or cents different each time. Once I thought he was giving us the senior discount. Another time I thought he was just being nice, waiving the less-than-dollar amount we went over my $20 food coupon. I also thought maybe he was confused.

Because there's been ANOTHER change in the Burger Brothers ordering system. Before, I would hand over my food coupon, and sign the receipt, and pay whatever difference. But lately, the little guy has been asking for my player's card. No big deal. I unhook it from its lanyard. I'm pretty sure the little guy checks the coupon online now. They've been pushing for people to stop the mailings, and present their player's card for their rewards.

The last time we were there, the man ordering ahead of us told the little guy to use his MyCash. It's money you earn while playing, and you can use it at restaurants, shops, for slots, or for cash. If you take it as cash, you only get half the amount. I think it's equal for restaurants and slots, and doubled for shops. Don't remember. Anyhoo...I normally use mine for slot play. For example, last time I had $14 and change, and I just loaded it on the last slot I was playing. I normally accrue around $10 each visit.

So this man ahead of us said to use his MyCash, and he signed for it, and that was that. Because the little guy had been asking for my player's card and scanning it, I did not get out my coupon. It shows the dates on them, but says to present your player's card to use your coupon. We ordered, the little guy asked me something, and I handed him my card. That's what I though he was asking for. He reached out his hand. And I thought he was asking me if it was my card, rather than Farmer H's card.

Anyhoo...he announced the total as $11 and change. HUH? I said it was usually just a couple of dollars. Same order. But he shook his head and asked for the $11 and change. Farmer H took it out of his pocket and paid. We were bumfuzzled by the new total. And Farmer H wanted to be reimbursed by me!

We played some more after eating, and didn't think about it again until last Sunday when we went back. I was going to use the MyCash, and checked the balance, expecting to see a little over $10. NO! There was only $3 and change.

THAT LITTLE GUY HAD USED MY MyCash BALANCE TO PAY FOR OUR FOOD, not the food coupon! Dang it! I can't gamble with a food coupon!

I guess it was just a failure to communicate. We had a different guy from a different country last Sunday, and he took the coupon, and put the rest on MyCash. I guess now I'll have to start using it up before lunch, because I'm pretty sure that snafu is going to happen again. It might even be the policy that the employees are being given.

Don't give me MyCash and then take it for food!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mrs. HM Takes The Cake

Right now I'm in Norman. Oh, the miracles of scheduling on the innernets! We have brought Thanksgiving to The Pony. He's a simple beast. Not much of a turkey eater, must be coaxed towards ham, mainly survives on Sister Schubert's rolls, butter, and Oreo Cake.

I must admit that this was not my best result. Nor was the photo my phone gave me. It looks like we live in a medieval dungeon. I gave that cake my best effort, though. After having a headache on Monday and Wednesday, waking Tuesday night in my OPC (Old People Chair) to find something had gone horribly wrong with my GOOD knee! The left one. It is very painful in the front, just under the kneecap, in that squishy part towards the inside. I figure that in reclining, and rotating my left leg while crossing my right ankle over the left one...I dislodged some loose cartilage or previous scar tissue. That's the one that's been operated on twice. This must have relodged itself in the wrong place.

I spent Wednesday walking like a pirate with a peg leg! And Thursday, too. Farmer H had to do my trash dumpster duties, and I'm pretty sure he drove the Gator and pulled it along.

Anyhoo...I hope I'm ambulatory enough to make it up to The Pony's 3rd floor apartment. Farmer H has assured me that they are the "low" 7-inch steps. That seems pretty high to me. We'll see. As long as there's a good handrail, I think I'll make it. Though the quest to scale Everest might be easier for the young and fit than this attempt for me.

Anyhoo...I'm not a master baker (heh, heh, says my 13-year-old self). That cake is from a box mix, and the icing (we don't call it frosting in Hillmomba) is from a tub, and the Oreos are...well...Oreos! I couldn't find a cake carrier after hiking across The Devil's Playground, so I spent 88 cents for a pizza pan, and covered it with foil for The Pony's convenience of cleanup. It will be protected on the journey by the top of my own cake carrier, which will be making the trip home with us.

I'm sure The Pony will be pleased, no matter what his cake is resting on. I'm also pretty sure this is one of the foods he wanted most, but didn't ask for so he could spare me the work.

He's a good egg, The Pony.