Friday, September 21, 2018

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Big Mother

Farmer H sometimes thinks he's pulling a fast one on Mrs. HM. You'd think he would realize by now that I always catch him in his attempted deception. Here's an example that goes back many years.

Farmer H used to bowl in a league every Thursday night. He did this for years, while the boys were growing up, and sometimes took one or the other along with him with the promise of bowling alley food. They didn't go very often, though. So Farmer H was pretty secure that his secrets were safe. Every week, the bowlers wagered money on scores. Every now and then, Farmer H would reveal that he'd won the pot. Never very much, maybe around $20.

What he neglected to mention was that at the end of bowling season, the winning team split a bigger pot. Around $100 apiece. And he especially neglected to mention that his team won the league!

It's not like I would have asked for a cut of the money. That belonged to Farmer H, even though I set out $20 a week for his fees and supper (extra if one of the boys went along). I had no claim to his winnings, but it would have been nice if he didn't try to keep it secret.

It wasn't much of a secret, though, because one of my colleagues was in the same bowling league. He knew that Farmer H's team won, and asked me on Monday how much Farmer H was enjoying his winnings. When I revealed that I didn't even know about it, we agreed that I would sit on that knowledge for a while, and then spring it on Farmer H at a most advantageous moment for myself. The plan worked great, and for 3-4 years, Farmer H would periodically say, "I still can't figure out how you knew about my bowling league prize."

Heh, heh. Even though we played trivia matches with my colleague, and he and Farmer H sometimes discussed the bowling league, neither of us let it slip. FINALLY, out of the blue one day, Farmer H shouted, "NOW I know how you found out about the bowling money! COLLEAGUE!"

I bring this up now, because Tuesday evening, Farmer H went to meet COLLEAGUE (who retired a few years before I did) to pick up something for a class reunion. I was pecking away in my dark basement lair on New Delly, when an email from OnStar popped up about A-Cad's monthly diagnostics report. It does this for T-Hoe, too. I don't know if the date is linked to the billing period, but the report only comes up when you drive the car. Like, we'll get in A-Cad early in the morning to start a trip to Oklahoma, and the report comes to my email before we even get to town. I never get the diagnostics report when the car is sitting in the garage. The report shows tire pressures and oil life and mileage and any problems that need attention.

Well! I guess Farmer H thought he was getting away with driving A-Cad, unbeknownst to me. He knows that once I'm in from town, I rarely go back outside now. It's too hot to walk, and my Posterior Tibial Tendinitis is slowly resolving itself. So I guess he figured he'd drive the ritzy car, and probably put gas in it, saving himself his own weekly cash allowance that is meant for his Trailblazer gas and expenses. A-Cad's gas, though, always goes on the debit card, which takes days to show up in checking. Plus, we were planning a casino excursion for Wednesday, and Farmer H could pretend that he took A-Cad to town for gas to have it ready.

I sent Farmer H a text: "Why are you driving the Acadia?"

I didn't get a response. I wonder how long it will take him to figure out how I knew... I'm always watching him, you know. Even if the eyes aren't my own.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Nightmare Continues!

Just when I thought I was moving on from the horror of an overturned mail truck a mile from the main post office, on the day after I mailed my DISH bill...I read about a NEW shocking discovery.

On Wednesday, Farmer H and I were headed home from a spontaneous trip to the casino when it happened. Thank the Gummi Mary we didn't drive past the accident scene! It was a little farther south of us.

We got home around 4:00 p.m., and at 4:30 when I fired up New Delly down in my dark basement lair, to read the day's news, I was greeted with a story that was posted at 4:00.

ORIGINAL STORY: First responders are responding [not one for synonyms, this writer] to a vehicle accident on [the main north/south interstate] near [Sis's Town/Bank Town]. The crash, involving a MAIL TRUCK running off [main north/south interstate] south of Fairgrounds Drive, slowed traffic on the northbound highway.

UPDATE: No one was injured in the accident involving the mail truck. First responders are still waiting on a tow truck.

There was even a picture of one of those white mail jeeps laying on its side down an embankment. Let the record show that no strewn-about mail was visible in the photo.

Still...I'm pretty sure I'll need to get online and pay my DISH bill by credit card this month.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

This Does Not Bode Well For The Delivery Of My DISH Bill

Sunday, I made a trip over to the main post office to mail my DISH bill. The payment has a habit of taking 10 days to show up on my account, so I have to mail it the day after I receive it. They really go to exaggerated lengths to perusade people to switch over to paperless billing!

Anyhoo...I know the mail doesn't go out on Sundays, but I didn't want to rush around Monday to get it there by 11:30. I'm a late sleeper, you know. I knew if it was in the post office Sunday, it would be sure to go out Monday.

Well! Imagine my chagrin when I was perusing the online local paper Monday night, and saw an article about an officer being seriously injured while directing traffic. First of all, nobody directs traffic around here. Not even when the stoplights are on the fritz. So I had to read it to see what happened.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Coppy Copperson [not his real name] said a mail truck had lost part of its load at the intersection of Denial Drive and Agonize Avenue. [Not real thoroughfares.] The officer was going to direct traffic around the debris in the roadway while workers were trying to get it loaded back up.

You know what the means, right? MY DISH BILL MIGHT HAVE BEEN LAYING IN THE ROAD AT 5:00 a.m. MONDAY!

Anyhoo...the officer got hit by a car. He has two broken vertebrae, and a lot of pain, but will recover without paralysis. Not that I don't care about this officer. He's a human being, doing a thankless job, with a lot of convalescing to do. I wish him well. In fact, I'd like to THANK HIM for doing this thankless job, protecting what might have been my DISH BILL from being run over, even if it meant that he, himself, was run over.

Oh, well. Nothing I can do about any of it. No use crying over spilled mail, you know.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Pony, Baker, Helper, NOT

The Pony is not renowned for his culinary skills. In fact, his selfless habit of helping people might just surpass his talent as a cook. So imagine my surprise when he sent me a text on Monday, revealing that he and his bestie had made cookies on Sunday.

Of course, The Pony never just shares things like that with me. He at first informed me of his first test in one of his classes. THEN he happened to mention the rest.

"Also, me and Bestie tried to make cookies from scratch yesterday. It ended...poorly."

"That's sad."

"We either missed the timer, screwed up the order/ratios, or she had the wrong time in her head."

"Didn't you look up a recipe?" I did NOT mention my dismay that TWO CHEMISTRY MAJORS could mess up the order and ratios of ingredients...

"She had one, but didn't have it written down right or something."

"That's tragic. Worse than Genius's Nutella cookies. What were they SUPPOSED to be?"

"They were meant to be tiny cookies, but she broke the pusher and we tried to make them big. She added too much salt to the batter, too. She called them s-p-r-i-t-z cookies, like tiny cookies in shapes that get passed around at parties, apparently. I was also confused."

"Passing those around would be the end of the party!"

Let the record show that Bestie is from Texas, and might have learned of these cookies from an old family recipe, or from her sorority house-mother. As far as I can tell, the only s-p-r-i-t-z-ing that would be going on would be from the fire extinguisher onto these cookies!

You know how kids reach developmental milestones at different times. Here was The Pony, making his first batch of cookies during his junior year of college. While Genius made HIS first batch of cookies during his junior year of high school.

Let the record show that Genius did not eat HIS cookies, either. He conjured up a recipe that included Nutella. Not a hit. And Genius really likes Nutella. He's a regular gourmet cook compared to The Pony, though.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ain't No Way To Hide Your Lyin' Plate

Last week I made a pot of chili. There's always plenty, and we can eat it for four nights. It's something Farmer H can get for himself when he comes in from playing around on his tractor all day, or heat up before leaving for the auction.

Imagine my surprise when I ascended from my dark basement lair, and saw Farmer H sitting in the La-Z-Boy with an empty paper plate.

"Oh, you didn't have the chili?"

"I had chili."

"On a PLATE?"


"Huh. That's weird."

I continued to the kitchen, and noticed that Farmer H had used the chili I had put in a small container. It originally held Hot & Sour Soup from the Chinese restaurant. A small order. This container was about the size of a tub of sour cream, or French Onion Dip, and it had only been about 3/4 full. I was actually concerned that Farmer H was too lazy to open one of the larger containers. Just settling for less, not having quite a full bowl. Then again...he didn't put his chili in a bowl.

"Is that all you ate? From the small container?"


"That's not very much."

"That's all I wanted."

"Huh. It was only about half a bowl. You must have had lunch out."

"Not really. I only had a hamburger from Hardees. And fries. And a soda."

"I can't believe you ate chili on a plate!"

"Well. With a hot dog."

"OH! So you had a chili dog. With a bun and cheese. And I bet you didn't just have ONE."

"I had two."

As I was getting my own chili out of one of the large containers, I noticed that the already-opened pack of hot dogs was gone.

"Hey! I thought there were four hot dogs in that pack."

"I only ate two."

"Just yesterday, there were four. Because I looked at it while I was making my shopping list. Where'd the other two go?"

"Oh. I ate them last night."

"When you got home after 10:00 from the auction?"

"We didn't eat there."

Seriously. I don't care what Farmer H eats, as long as it's not my ice cream cups. I just don't know why he can never tell the truth. He KNOWS I'm going to figure out his story. Sometimes, even though I don't really care about what he's done, I keep asking questions, to let him weave his wicked web of lies into a tight noose. Once you tell a lie, you know, you have to keep telling them, until finally you're caught.

Hasn't Farmer H ever watched Leave It to Beaver?"

If this blog was an Eagles song, my refrain would be:

I don't know whyyyy you must tempt fate
There ain't no way to hide your lyin' plate

Seriously. Who eats chili off a plate?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

I Would Imagine That They Rue The Day Every Night

As you may recall, I began revealing my poop test woes yesterday.

Friday afternoon, I called my ex health insurance company. Oh, yeah. Maybe I didn't mention that the school switched plans on July 1. But don't you worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. She was fully covered by this company in May, the date of the poop test claim. Good thing I always hang onto the old insurance ID cards for six months or so...

The InsRep tried to make me jump through all the hoops that PoopCoRep prepared me for.

"How can I help you?"

"My poop test claim was denied."

"How do you know that?"

"Because I got a bill for $649 from the Poop Company, showing DENIED by the insurance portion. And also a statement of benefits from insurance showing a payment of ZERO for the claim, which seems to me to be a denial."

"Well, this provider was OUT OF NETWORK, so we applied the charges to your deductible."

"This is the ONLY provider in the world who does this test. So there can't be an IN NETWORK provider."

"Yes, there is no IN NETWORK provider that does this test. The $203.55 applied to your deductible is the allowed amount."

"Allowed by who?"

"By us. The insurance."

"I don't know how you got that amount from $649. There is NO CONTRACT between you and the provider, according to the Poop Company."

"Well, that's because they're OUT OF NETWORK."

"But there is no company IN NETWORK that does this test."

"That is correct."

"So there's no way I could have had this test with an IN NETWORK provider."

"That's right."

"But according to the Affordable Care Act, I have the right to choose whether I want THIS test, or a colonoscopy that might include general anesthesia. Which I didn't want."

"Yes, you have that right. But it is OUT OF NETWORK."

"Yet there was no provider IN NETWORK that could give me this test."


"So if there's no IN NETWORK provider, how can there be an OUT OF NETWORK provider? You can't deny me the only company that can give me this test. According to the Affordable Care Act."

I heard a lot of keyboard clicking and sighing during our conversation. And several interjections of "Oh, come on!" Though I think they were directed at InsRep's computer system, and not at me. He had been polite, in an obstinate kind of way. He was shining me on, blowing me off, poo-pooing my poop test problems. As if trying to shut down my own talking points, while roundaboutly repeating his own. Like he was trying to get rid of me, per policy, by explaining in several different ways, the concept of, 'That's just the way it is.'

I, too, was polite. But I used my stern teacher's voice. You know, the one that says I mean business, I'm not backing down, and I think you're full I was like a snapping turtle that wouldn't let go, with no thunder on the horizon.

Oh, he was good. I'm pretty sure he caught on that I was voicing the PoopCo talking points from their website. It was an epic battle, worthy of a cheering and jeering crowd in The Colosseum. Perhaps InsRep has a quota to meet each day. He finally heaved one last sigh, and said,

"I will have this claim re-processed at the IN NETWORK level. You will get a written determination within 30 days."

You bet you will. Or deal with a supervisor when I call back. I have your name.


Seriously. The worst that can happen is that the insurance company still pays nothing, and I file an appeal off the template on PoopCo's website. Which may or may not help. In which case I would end up paying that $649 anyway. Although PoopCoRep says they work out payment plans, and/or reduce the amount for individuals. It's not like this will break my budget, and make me sell the Mansion and live in a wanker truck down by the creek.

It's the principle of the matter.

I'm pretty sure that the insurance company is none too fond of bandying words with teachers on all their claims for school district clients.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

I Can't Guarantee That It Don't Stink, But Apparently It's Made Of Gold

Nothing gets Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's blood boiling like a good throwdown with her insurance company.

Let the record show that I got a denial on my POOP TEST! Which carries a bill of $649. Who knew my poop was so valuable? Maybe I should have insured the return package.

My own representative, who handles insurance disputes for all school employee clients, had made two attempts at remedying the problem, and advised me to file a written appeal. I guess that has to be done by the actual claimant. Also, if it was a lose-lose situation, I'm sure she would have told me I was stuck paying the full amount. My original plan was that if she couldn't fix it, I'd call the Poop Company, and see if I could negotiate a smaller amount if I paid it right then. That can happen, you know.

Anyhoo...the bill from the Poop Company had a phone number, and a paragraph that they encourage anybody who has to pay any amount out of pocket to contact their customer service department for advice on filing an appeal with the health insurance. So I did! I also checked out their website beforehand.

I'd told Farmer H about reading that paragraph about appeal advice on the Poop Company's website. Farmer H knows his way around the inside of company policy. "Obviously, they know they have a problem. So be sure you call them and see what they advise. They wouldn't just put that out there randomly."

So I did. Their number works 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Now THAT is customer service! Anyhoo...the PoopCoRep was very polite and helpful, advising me on what tactics the insurance rep would try, and how to refute them. He was forearming me by forewarning me. He also assured me not to worry about that $649, because the payment date would be suspended during the appeal. And that I might be able to get the claim re-filed, and not even need an appeal. But if I DID, he directed me to the FORM ON THEIR WEBSITE that is a template for appeals, which would generate an automatic appeal letter to my insurance! Man, was Farmer H ever right! This must be a wide-ranging problem between the Poop Company and the insurance providers.

PoopCoRep really had me loaded for bear! I thanked him for his help, and read back my plan according to his advice. Then he said, "They probably won't be answering the phone this late." Oh, I knew that. I only called him at 9:40 p.m. because I'm so nocturnal. I wanted to ruminate on my plan overnight, review it while driving around on my errands, and call the insurance the following afternoon.


It went just as PoopCoRep anticipated! It wasn't his first poop rodeo, by any means.

The other half of the story continues tomorrow...