Thursday, December 8, 2016

Two Women's Lunch Is Another Man's Supper

Wednesday I met my favorite gambling aunt for lunch at the FelineFish Skillet. We had the all-you-can-eat. It's only $3 more than a dinner, you know. So it's really more economical, because if you don't ask for more, THEY LET YOU TAKE WHAT'S LEFT ON THE PLATTER!

We got all three meats. Auntie especially wanted the catfish, and I especially wanted the chicken. We took a little shrimp, just because. It's all you can eat, you know. Even though only Auntie tried a shrimp. One. For sides, we got SLAW, baked beans, wedge fries, hush puppies, steamed vegetables, pickles/onions, and mashed potatoes.

The good news is, Auntie doesn't eat leftovers! She said I could take all the leavin's. It's on principle that she gets the all-you-can-eat. She wants more than two sides. Oh, don't you worry about Auntie going hungry by not taking some leftovers. She had a giant piece of pecan pie, and took what she had left of that. I guess pie is not a leftover.

I packed up two rectangular foam containers with 2 pieces of catfish, about a dozen shrimp, 1 chicken strip (for ME to have tomorrow), a pile of wedge fries (because they were cold when we got them), mashed potatoes, three hush puppies, and two tubs of tartar sauce. I had three round foam containers that I filled with slaw, baked beans, and the pickles/onions. They have some crunchy bacon-striped pork rinds that they put out when you are waiting, and I put them in a plastic sack. Auntie wanted me to take the tubs of butter as well, but I didn't want to be a hog.

The plan was for Farmer H to have the spoils for supper, and again the next day. Farmer H is no stranger to the leftover. It makes him no nevermind who has been munching on his food before he inherits it. C'mon. What's a few cooties from people related by marriage? It's not like the food in some countries (I'm lookin' at YOU, India), where people eat food from a market, where it has been sitting all day in the hot sun being massaged by fly feet.

Let the record show that we didn't eat off any of it. THIS TIME. We just picked it up off the platter, and gave him the sides that were left in the bowls that we had dipped out of and put on our plates to eat. Though in the past, we have taken him pasta right off a plate that was eaten from. Not a strange plate, of course, from another table. It was a known mouth with known saliva.

Anyhoo, I could have eaten more, but I have been making wise choices, you know. My feast was by no means all I could eat. I had three chicken strips and one piece of fish, two fries, a dab of slaw, and two pickle spears. I could have done way more damage to that spread. In fact, I only had the third chicken strip because Auntie was having that giant wedge of pecan pie. And believe me, it almost killed me to leave that one chicken strip, with the tasty special sauce sitting there in its squirt bottle at my right hand. But I resisted the urge.

I saved the biggest and plumpest chicken strip. I knew it would be quite satisfying for a simple supper after I met my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel for lunch the next day.

Farmer H was an hour late coming home from work. He bothered to call me at the time he usually gets home. After I had frittered away an hour waiting on him, ready to warm his leftovers in the oven to make them crisp. Once he told me he hadn't left yet, he was on his own. But I DID tell him the oven temp and time to warm them, and put some non-stick foil on a pizza pan for his warming needs. The two rectangular foam containers and the three round ones were stacked atop one another in a plastic bag on the top shelf of FRIG II.

I heard Farmer H stumping around above me when he got home. He didn't have any questions. So I figured he made his supper without incident. About an hour later, I went to the bottom of the steps and hollered up to him.

"Was your supper okay?"

"Yeah. It was good!"

"Is there some left for tomorrow? Or do I need to plan something else?"

You know. For appearances. To seem like I care about his well-being. I was sure there had been two meals there. You know where this is headed, don't you?

"I ate it all."

"Oh. Uh. ALL of it?"

"All but half of that chicken strip. And Juno ate that."

"What? I brought that for ME? You never eat the chicken!"

"I did tonight. Half of it."

"And Juno."

"Yeah. She really liked it."

That'll teach ME to save the largest, plumpest chicken strip! I daresay it would have been mighty tasty with the special sauce. If I'd known its soon-to-be fate, I would have saved the smallest, thinnest chicken strip.

Note made to self.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Farmer H Does NOT Understand How Puppy Jack Feels When He Is Shunted Aside By Juno

Farmer H apparently commands more respect than lowly totem-pole-bottom Mrs. HM. He is the filet mignon while she is the chopped liver. He is Dom Perignon while she is Pink Champale. He is a Lamborghini while she is a Ford Fiesta. People pay attention to Farmer H. People pay homage to Rodney Dangerfield where Mrs. HM is concerned. She don't get no respect.

Sunday morning, congested hacker Farmer H was at death's door, pounding on it like a landlord five days after rent was due. Or so HE thought. Off he went to Not-So-Convenient Care. They've moved, you know. From next to the Chinese restaurant next to Mrs. HM's pharmacy, which is in the mini mall behind Dairy Queen...to the building across the back street, where The Pony and the #1 son used to have a their doctor's office. He called a couple hours later to say he was at a pharmacy 20 miles away, over in bill-paying town. Sunday sickies can't be choosers. They are medicine beggars.

Let the record show that Mrs. HM was not at all sure that Not-So-Convenient Care would be open. After all, during a regular weekday, they were only open about 40% of the time their hours on the door proclaimed. That's good odds on scratch-off winnings, but not so great for vital medical care.

"Their sign on the door said they opened at 9:00. I was sitting there waiting for about 15 minutes. A couple of other people were there, too. Then three women pulled up and started to open the building, but nobody had a key. So they had to call somebody to bring them one. FINALLY they let us in. This guy pulled up and jumped out of his car and hurried past me to the counter. One of them ladies said, 'I'm sorry, but this gentleman was here first.' She remembered me from the parking lot. The other guy backed off, then. He sure thought he was gonna get in ahead of me. You could tell what he was thinking when he got out of his car."

So...the Not-So-Convenient Care workers were looking out for Farmer H. Making sure he was treated fairly. With proper respect. To see that hat he got his turn. So he didn't have to wait needlessly.

I'm thinking the ladies from the bank might have called ahead to warm them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Some Days, I Understand How Puppy Jack Feels When He Is Shunted Aside By Juno

It's getting so that every time I leave the Mansion, I have a weirdo encounter! Either a little man goes around me to the counter to butt in on my lottery ticket action like there's no line, or a different little man in a different convenience store stands in front of the only door, scratching to beat the band like there's no tomorrow to his heart's content.

Today, the ladies demanded equal time.

I dashed in the convenience store that should have been built before Newmentia let school out during the May of my retirement. It's a bright, clean place with wide aisles and that new-construction smell that is just now fading. My purpose was to cash in a winner and get more tickets.

Last week, a bleachy-haired, 70s-style bouffant lady who reminded me of my high school guidance counselor, Shirley, had almost done me wrong at that very store. The cheerful clerk was setting out my tickets and looking at that win receipt when not-Shirley walked up with a cup of coffee and put it on the counter and pushed her money across. I will cut her some slack, because she DID have the courtesy to say, "Oh, did I butt in?" Still, the clerk rang up her coffee before finishing with my transaction. Apparently, my teacher aura has faded, and I command little respect in the public sector. Now that I think about it, nobody has asked me the price of items, or where something is located in a store lately, either!

Anyhoo...today I waited to make a left turn onto that parking lot. A police car went by, and then this white SUV. I pulled in at the end of the building, and the SUV went to the front. As I walked in, the driver, who could have been not-Shirley (2), got out and came right up behind me. I don't like that. I like a gap. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom enjoys a bubble of personal space. Anyhoo...I gave the door an extra push to allow her to follow on my heels without it slamming her face. That's how Mrs. HM rolls.

I cashed in my winner, and this different clerk was laying out my tickets, preparing to scan them, when not-Shirley 2 came right up to my shoulder and said, "Oh, do you have any luck?" I don't know about you, but when I'm getting my gambling fix for the day, I don't particularly care to wax philosophical on the method of my madness. But Mrs. HM is a polite sort, and explained that she does okay.

"What's the most that you've won?"

Whoa, not-Shirley (2)! Do you ask childless couples about fertility treatments? Hirsute construction workers if they shave their back? Ambulance drivers if the have a body in their rig? Sometimes we need a filter. But...Mrs. HM is a polite sort, so I answered her, and THEN she wanted to know which tickets won the best. SWEET GUMMI MARY! I felt like asking her if she was on The Meth.

Anyhoo...not-Shirley (2) didn't even take the cake today in the weirdo cakewalk. Nope. That prize went to the weirdo in line behind me at The Devil's Playground. And by "behind" I mean all up in my bubble, virtually in my left pants pocket. Let's just say it nearly took an NFL offensive lineman to finally move her so I could get back to the card-slider.

I had put a 12-pack of Diet Coke in my cart, with an 8-pack of bottled Diet Coke (12 oz size) laying on top. Both bar codes were on top, ready for the scan gun. I didn't see a need to lift them onto the conveyor. I always do this with awkward or heavy items, and push the cart around the bag carousel so the Devil's Handmaiden doesn't have to come far out of her lair. So she can just poke out a little bit, like a moray eel from its crevice.

Well. There was no going back to a normal position in front of the card-slider. AND there was no going back to my superficial repartee with the Handmaiden. Verbose'n'Close had horned in when Handmaiden told me how she, too, missed her college sons carrying in her bags for her. Out of the blue, Verbose'n'Close hijacked the conversation.

"Oh! How many kids do you have?"

"Two boys in college. And I just got re-married, and I have four step-kids. So six. I have six kids..."

"Yeah, I have two myself. Sometimes it seems like more--"

So much for hearing more about how Handmaiden had asked her boys to hook up her VCR before they left after Thanksgiving, and one of them gave her a look and said, "Are you sure you don't want us to hook up the Victrola as well?"

Weirdos. Always horning in on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's only time of the day to interact with an adult. Or any human. Weirdos not included.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Shocking Of Puppy Jack

As you may know, having had it pounded into your eyeballs for weeks on end, Puppy Jack is a wanderer. More accurately, he's an SD. A poop-stirrer. A canine ne'er-do-well just looking for a place to never do well. He has not had his very special operation yet because...well...what doggie mama wants that for her four-legged furry baby? I have been dragging my feet. Jack, himself, has not. Those big feet go skipping across the Mansion's front field like Jack's a bunny hopping for joy.

The problem is when Jack leaves the Mansion grounds for those of either neighbor. I have been trying to train him with a shock collar. For small dogs, 8-20 pounds, and college boys, 140-160 pounds.

Here's the thing: I'm not so sure Jack even feels the shock!

I make sure I turn on the collar part, with the two shocking prongs. I have adjusted it to fit tight against Jack's neck. He comes to me willingly, every afternoon, when I go out for my driveway walk. Runs right up to me, all happy and hyper, to stand on the side porch while I'm down on the sidewalk, and put his front paws on my shoulders and try to lick my teeth. I snap on his collar, and we're ready for walkies.

My Sweet, Sweet Juno has been problematic. Some days, she hogs the side porch like a 7-foot center guarding the paint, not letting Jack get close enough to me for collaring, even though he dashes in and spins around and does his best to reach me. On those days, Juno gets chastised, and retreats to her house to sulk. She comes out by the time we reach the driveway, though, to feint and growl and bite at Jack. AND HIS SHOCK COLLAR. I swear Juno turns it off.

Even I, not an engineer, know that putting a push button to control the on/off function of a shock collar on the outside edge of the collar is a bit questionable. Juno and Jack bite and wrestle, and she must push that button numerous times during my 20-minute walk. It needs to be recessed. Like, so you could poke the end of your pinky finger down in there and activate it. Or go by a sliding switch that a bumping/biting dog can't move.

Many a day, I've put the collar on Jack and tested it to see the green light. But when I take it off after we're done, it shows the red light. I know the shocker works. I tried it in the house the other day, with only one finger on one prong, and that sucker STILL bit me! I guess it arced. I've had to jack it up (heh, heh, see what I did there, JACK it up, for Puppy Jack) from the 4 setting that the #1 son recommended, to the next level, on 2. Which is really like putting it on 10.

Only twice have I seen a reaction from Jack that makes me think he felt it. I start by saying, "Jack, NO!" when he starts to go off course. Sometimes he stops, and I praise him. When he doesn't, I push the green button that makes a buzzing sound. I don't think this collar has a vibration setting, but it has that sound. Even Juno hears it, and sometimes whimpers and starts after Jack, like when she tries to get between him and his humping cat. To keep him out of trouble.

If Jack still keeps going after the buzzer, I say, "Jack, NO!" again, and I hold down the shocker. The two times I noticed, Jack kind of jumped sideways and looked at me. Like he did in mid-air that day I shot him (not proud, people, not proud) with the BB gun. One of those days he came running back to me, like he wanted to tell me something odd had happened to him, and he wanted comforting. I felt like a real heel, but learning to control yourself is never a picnic.

That other day I thought Jack noticed the shock, he stopped to give me that look, then kept on running toward the horses. Who were tempting him to bark by moving slowly with their giant hooves and chewing on hay from a round bale right there in their own field.

There has been some progress, though. Most of the time now, Jack comes back to me when I push the buzzer. Sometimes even when I say, "Jack, NO!" It's like he thinks the buzzer is a signal for him to come running and jump against my legs while I am walking.

We need to work on that...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I Took The Good, I Took The Bad, I Took Them Both And Then I Had...Almost Even Steven

That's the facts of life, I guess. We may lose, and we may win, but we will never be here again. My day was pretty balanced overall. It didn't start off all that well.

I overslept and rolled out of bed at 10:00. Farmer H was at Not-So-Urgent Care. That's a story for another day, maybe even another place. Let the record show that he was home within three hours, waiting to receive guests from his workplace in order to give them a Shackytown tour. I washed up some dishes and wrote out a check for just over five dollars to pay taxes on land that Farmer H the land baron bought on the courthouse steps many years ago. There's another story we may or may not get to one of these days.

Because the dead mouse smelling post office has let me down too many times lately, I drove that tax payment to the main branch, where I just mailed all the other tax bills yesterday. I thought of stopping by The Devil's Playground to pick up bananas for Farmer H (he eats one a day) and maybe some deli chicken (Farmer H will be gone to his company Christmas dinner tonight). I vetoed that idea, because I like gas station chicken better. I got the bananas at Save A Lot.

Somebody was in my rightful parking lot at the gas station chicken store, so I parked around by the air hose. SUE ME, anybody needing air! It was pouring rain, and I didn't feel like parking way over to the side by the canal that runs between the GSCS and Farmer H's pharmacy. Once I climbed out of T-Hoe, I knew something was amiss. I did not detect the aroma of delicious fried fowl! My worst fears were confirmed when I entered the door.

THE CHICKEN WARMER WAS EMPTY!

Yes, it was bereft of my tasty planned lupper (too late for lunch, too early for supper). The stainless steel tubs gleamed with broken promises. I ran my 44 oz Diet Coke and bellied up to the pay counter. With no chicken available, I put my funds into two scratch-off tickets. Which were losers, I might add. I had already been to Orb K to cash in some winners and trade them for more tickets. I should have let well enough alone.

Out of 12 tickets, I had ONE winner. ONE! By the odds, I should have had at least three winners, maybe four. The only good news is that my ONE ticket was a $50 winner. So cash-wise, I was ahead. If you consider the value of the winners cashed in, I was only out $10. I will financially survive to play again.

The biggest loser was my appetite, which had to settle for a Hardee's chicken bowl. Which today was only half full, so less so that the tiny dollop of sour cream did not even brush the clear plastic lid as it usually does.

But Farmer H is off to his dinner, and I have a few hours of peace without his hacking. Then again, he says he's coming back home tomorrow morning after giving work orders, to spend the day in the Mansion, because he'll be sick. He plans to go back to bed and sleep all day.

Almost Even Steven. B-B-B Baby, I'll take what I can get!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Bit Of Social Commentary From Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

The elderly need to crap or get off the crapper!

There. I said it. Does that make me an a$$hole? I'm pretty sure it does. But you know how we gambling addicts are full of rage. Don't you? Apparently a commenter on my other blog presumes to know that. Though I think it's more a case of Which Came First, the Gambler or the Rage? Anyhoo...his exact quote was: "You inveterate gamblers seem to have short tempers." That kind of pissed me off. In fact, that used to be my motto here at the Manion. "People Piss Me Off!" Perhaps you weren't reading way back then. I don't think this guy was, either. How dare he say that gamblers have short tempers!

I guess I do.

There I was, standing in line at the counter of the gas station chicken store, talking to my favorite clerk, as the customer he had just finished with toddled toward the door. He was only two steps away. It's a small store. There was a lady behind me buying chicken, so I was not holding up the line as I chatted while paying for my 44 oz Diet Coke and two scratch-off tickets.

As the chicken gal moved over to pay, I said goodbye and started out the door. Or so I thought. However...that old geezer was standing right in front of it! He was kind of short and thin, wearing a tweed-looking coat and a newsboy cap. He was kind of like Andy Capp personified.

I stood behind him, thinking he was about ready to walk out the door. It's a single glass door. No room to go around. The counter abuts the wall on the left, and the restrooms are within arm's reach on the right. Andy stood there, SCRATCHING! He had a $5 ticket, the game of which escapes me. But by having a $5 ticket, which I could tell by the size of that piece of shiny cardboard he was holding in his hands, he had, at minimum, five numbers to scratch off, and then 15 other numbers to try and match them. Which he was doing while blocking the door.

I did not try to get around him, or clear my throat, or say "Excuse me," or shove him forward and tromp right over the top of him. Nope. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom respects her elders. I could wait until he was ready to move. Kind of like waiting behind the wheel of T-Hoe for Farmer H's turkey to wander across the driveway.

I bear Andy Capp no ill will. But he really needs to learn to crap or get off the crapper! Other people need to use the crapper, too!

I'm pretty sure that makes me an a$$hole.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Grows Weary Of Being The One Born Every Minute

By this time, you probably have figured out that the Hillbilly family is no stranger to pizza. It's one of our main food groups. With The Pony gone, we don't partake of it nearly as much. But we still enjoy a saucy, savory pie. A couple weeks ago, Farmer H wanted Pizza Hut.

"I like the breadsticks too, you know. I didn't eat them, because they were always for The Pony. But I like them too."

So Mrs. HM set about researching Pizza Hut specials. We're not made of money, you know. Those 44 oz Diet Cokes and lottery tickets don't pay for themselves. When The Pony was here, he always liked getting the Triple Treat box. It comes with two single topping medium pizzas and an order of breadsticks and a big chocolate chip cookie. The Pony of course claimed the cookie and breadsticks for himself, and only ate a slice of pizza (with the topping picked off) if I insisted. We have no need for that cookie now. And Mrs. HM, she of the wise choices lately, has no need for a medium pizza to call her own.

I also investigated the recent special (you have to be careful, because our local Hut picks and chooses which TV-advertised specials they will honor) of any medium or large pizza for $10.00. I figured with an order of breadsticks, this would be our cheapest route. And why get a medium when you could get a large for the exact same price?

However...wise-choosing Mrs. HM most certainly does not need to be sharing a large Meat Lovers with Farmer H. While it sounds like a good decision in theory, it is not the wisest choice for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Mrs. HM loves pizza, and can't be trusted with it. Like that slutty cheerleader in 3rd period can't be trusted as a biology lab partner for your boyfriend! So...I ordered the large Meat Lovers for Farmer H, along with an order of breadsticks, plus a Personal Pan Supreme, no pepperoni, for myself.

Yes. I know that I paid $6.00 for an individual pizza, when I could have had a large one for $10.00. Money isn't everything. It's PIZZA, by cracky! WHO STOPS AT TWO PIECES? Am I right? It was the wisest choice FOR ME. I know when to stop with a Personal Pan. I know how many calories are in it. I figured I could allow myself one breadstick as well. Farmer H made sure I knew that he likes the marinara sauce. So I ordered an extra.

You know what happened, right? I picked up the pizza on the way home from my doctor FNP appointment. Once back at the Mansion, opening it up, ready to tear into the Personal Pan and breadstick...I discovered that we had ONE SAUCE. Uh huh. I paid for two. It was on the receipt. This is about the third time they've done that to me. No, I'm not stupid. I don't have The Pony riding in the back seat of T-Hoe to open it up and look for the sauce before we pull away from the window. It's too awkward for me to do it with the steering wheel in the way.

My Personal Pan was delicious, even without a breadstick. And Farmer H ate off that large pizza for three days.

Next time, I'm telling them at the window to open up that box and show my extra sauce. Three times bitten, never again shy. I'm pretty sure that's a common saying.