Tuesday, September 1, 2015

We Might As Well Call It A Museum, Actually, And Charge Admission To Get In

On the agenda for the Semi-Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank today was the subject of trophy cases. Not so much trophy cases, as what trophies should be encased in them.

One Think Tanker revealed that a patron had donated a large...um...mascot to Newmentia. Let the record show that the mascot shall not be revealed, but we can imagine it to be a pink pig. Yeah. That's the ticket. The mascot of Newmentia High is the pugnacious Pink Pig! Don't mess with the hog or you get the tusks!

Anyhoo...this patron donated a heavy ceramic Pink Pig, with the comment, "Y'all can put this on the bottom shelf of your trophy case." To which the Think Tanker in charge of filling the trophy case replied, "If we do that, there won't be any room for trophies that we've won through hard work." Dagnabbed if you do, dagnabbed if you don't, I guess. You can please part of the Pink Pigs all of the time, and all of the Pink Pigs part of the time, but you can't please all of the Pink Pigs all of the time.

Think Tanker 2 wondered why we have a suit worn by local singing legend Herlin' Fusky in its own case in our cafeteria. Her husband had asked that question just last week. "Did he go to school here?" asked Think Tanker 3, meaning ol' Herlin', not Think Tanker 2's husband.

"NO!" the rest of us chorused. "He went to a school way out west that we absorbed, and he went to another school that's a rival. But he never went here. He did, however, bequeath his memorabilia to us."

Think Tanker One related a tale of visiting a museum devoted to all things country music, and seeing a picture of ol' Herlin' on the wall, and stating, "Huh. We have that suit in our high school cafeteria. To which one of the curators practically called him a liar, until Think Tanker One took out his phone and proved it. At which point the curator fellow nearly had a conniption, saying, "But we could display all that stuff here!" And Think Tanker One told him, "You could, but you can't. Because WE have it in our high school cafeteria."

Think Tanker 4 chuckled and added, "Now I know what to say in my graduate classes on the first night, when we all have to tell something unique about ourselves. I can say that I have Herlin' Fusky stuff at my school."

"NO!" Shouted Think Tanker HM. "You say, 'I eat lunch with Herlin' Fusky's suit every day.' That'll get 'em. You better take a picture right now."

Let the record show that the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank is not above dropping names to impress their newfound friends and enemies.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Is That A Man In Your Ceiling, Or Are You Just Glad To See Us?

Thank the Gummi Mary nobody asked that question today. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom did not try to elicit such a query. As with most things that occur in her classroom, it just happened. IT. Not the IT Elaine was lamenting when she went on a date with somebody Jerry recommended, and gave him a recap later which included the phrase, “He took it out.” Not-heaven NO! The IT in this equation was a bright orange 10-foot ladder with the legs of a 5-foot man protruding from the ceiling tile space.

IT all started with a drip. A drop. Three, to be exact.

“Mrs. Hillbilly Mom? Um. Something just hit my arm. Something wet. It did that a minute ago. Three times it hit me. And there’s a drop on the floor.”

“Do you think it is something dripping from the ceiling?”

“Yes. If you look, there is something in the corner of that light above me.”

“Let me call the office.”


“To let them know something is dripping from the light fixture. They will send Mr. Principle or Curly down here.”

“Really? Are you just saying that? Why would Mr. Principal come look at it?”

“To see if it’s bad enough to call Curly over here.”


Of course Curly was called, because even though there were just a few drops falling on a pupil’s arm…liquid in a light is nothing to sneeze at. Curly first stepped up on a student chair to lift the ceiling tile. He peered around. Left for a ladder. Climbed to the top and looked some more. Took that ladder and came back with Big Orange. Disappeared up inside the ceiling except for his legs. That’s when the bell rang.

Of course Curly had asked me, upon his first peep from the pupil chair, “When is your plan time?”

“Oh, it’s during the lunches. From 10:53 until 12:14. A long time.”

Of course Curly came right back, and fiddled about for 2nd and 3rd hour. I barely saw him until the end of my plan time. The last 10 minutes.

“I’m going to have to call somebody.”

“So…when might that be?”

“I hope to get it done today.”

“Oh. If it was going to take until next week, I’d want that ladder out of here. It blocks one whole side of the room. How will kids get to their seats? Walk under it?”

“You want me to take my ladder?”

“Well, if you don’t mind. Because it blocks the aisle. And the file cabinet. And the cabinet with paper and glue and markers and scissors and rulers.”

“Okay. I’ll take it out of here. You never know what kids are going to get into. I was one myself. They might be climbing on it if you’re out of the room for five minutes.”

Yep. You never know what kids are going to get into. So tell me, WHY IS THE DOOR TO THE CUSTODIAN CLOSET PROPPED OPEN ALL THE LIVE-LONG DAY? The door that blocks people walking down the hall, causes collisions between the two bathrooms, and invites pupils to wander inside the closet and drink the cleaning fluids?

Yeah. My room will be as safe as I can make it. Even if it’s inconvenient for Curly.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

To The Gifter Go The Spoiled Giftee's Trash

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom sometimes picks up trinkets and gewgaws and taste treats for her sweet baboo. She's a giver, you know. She's a giver, she's a gifter, she's an ex-mayor's wife's sister. She buys her presents on the run.

In my many travels, I frequent a certain gas station chicken store. I never buy gas there. That might be too convenient. I mainly buy 44 oz Diet Coke, scratch-off lottery tickets, occasional fried chicken, and a corn dog once a blue moon when they have one in the chicken case. The Pony is partial to corn dogs. Farmer H is partial to collectibles.

While standing in line waiting to pay for my vices last weekend, I spied a curious addition to the liquor shelf that faces the chicken counter. In a box was a bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey, and beside it, in the same box, a promotion of sorts, was a metal flask with Jack Daniel's and a bee engraved in the stainless steel. I guess bees like their product to be marketed with a flask.

Let the record show that Farmer H loves him some alcohol memorabilia. I mentioned this set to him on Friday night, and he said that would be something nice to have. So I picked one up on Saturday. Oh, he will eventually get around to drinking that Jack, but it may take him past Christmas. It's like buying cereal for the toy, and Cracker Jack for the prize. Back when they were both a regular plaything that kids coveted, and not a crappy paper pseudo-toy.

The clerk stashed that present in a paper sack. Hillbilly wrappin' paper! I told The Pony to put it in the living room where Farmer H would find it, so he could add it to his collection. That was last Saturday. Eight days ago. The paper sack is still laying on the short couch.

I asked The Pony if he took the box out of the sack. He said he did. Because otherwise, his dad would not have found it. True. But he left the paper sack on the short couch. Where Farmer H has sat at least three times in my presence, picking up that empty paper sack and laying it on top of the pillows, then putting it back on the cushions when he got up.

Because, you see, that must be Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's paper sack. No male in this Mansion is ever going to throw it away. I'm toying with the idea of leaving it until the #1 son makes a visit home. So he can pick it up, ask what it's for, and put it back down.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a passive-aggressive streak in her half a mile wide.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I'm Sure The Alternative Would Be Against The Law

What some of you may not realize is that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has only 164 short work days left until her retirement. OR DOES SHE?

Today I removed from EmBee's lock-jawed mouth a postcard. Not a postcard of greeting from, perhaps, my FBF Mabel. No sirree, Bob! It was a postcard from the county circuit clerk. We are not FBFs. We are not even BFFs. We would not know each other if one of us bit the other on the butt. Either end, the giving or the receiving, of which would be equally unpleasant. Nope. It was not a friendly greeting. It was a command.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is to report for duty September 8th, 9th, and 10th!

Let the record show that Mrs. HM's duty is not to act as a judge, nor an executioner. Yep. They wasted no time in glomming onto fair and impartial Mrs. Hillbilly Mom for their pool of jurors. The ink is barely dry on the questionnaire she returned.

This might be a bit of a sticky wicket. Newmentia, as well as Basementia and Elementia, frown upon one who is not at work the day after a holiday. What with Labor Day being September 7th, and Mrs. HM asking off for the three days following...the Semi-Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank may be fraught with accusations in her absence.

Oh, well. Enviers gonna envy.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cleanliness Is, Apparently, Not Even In The Same Neighborhood As Educatedness

Hey! Did you know teachers are filthy? Okay. Maybe I don't really want an answer. Especially after our Elementia sisters put out their annual begging list for tissues and wipes and Germ-X by the freight-container-full.

Yesterday, I was sitting there in the corner, manning my control center while my pupils intermittently approached to clarify on their worksheet that included Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's original artwork WHICH was the moon in their eclipse diagrams, and WHICH was the sun. Yeah. I find it hard to believe I'm that bad at representing two such divergent celestial bodies.

So there I am, explaining the difference in an umbra and a penumbra, and promoting the fact that you can start at ANY moon phase and list them in proper order, when in walks an office assistant of the pupil kind. Actually, she knocked first, having grasped the idiosyncrasies of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom in the two years we were partners in learning. Knocked, and waited to be motioned inside.

Gift-Bearer walked purposefully around the back aisle of my classroom, and approached the front of my desk. "Um. Somebody stopped by the office, and wanted every teacher to have one of these." She handed me a gold coin. "It's a token for the car wash. For free. It's automatic!" And with that, she was gone.

I felt like Louis Gossett Jr. as Sergeant Emil Foley when Ensign Della Serra and Ensign SEE-GAR handed him a silver dollar after they became officers and gentlemen (and a gentlewoman). Except my coin was gold. And not legal tender. And I am a teacher, not a Marine Gunnery Sergeant. And by no means am I a gentleman or a gentlewoman. But otherwise...just like that.

My token is still laying at school in the depths of my control center, between the new telephone that I don't know how to use comfortably, and that new goose-neck overhead-camera thingy that was installed last week.

It's the thought that counts. Even if it means somebody thought I was dirty.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

One Wheel Forward And Four Wheels Back

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is slipping. Backsliding. Perhaps more like rolling.

In my dark basement lair, I have a rolly chair. Actually, I have two. My old one, and the new one I got for Christmas. In addition, I have the one with one arm that the #1 son bought for $10 at Goodwill. And in the garage right now, I have the one from my mom's house. So I have four rolly chairs to choose from. Doesn't matter.

On the press-down tile of my dark basement lair lies a clear plastic mat, suitable for rolly-chairing on carpet. It is at least 16 years old. And yellow. No, it's not supposed to be yellow. It's not yellow completely, just in the area in front of the electric heater I keep under the desk.

Every time I sit down in my rolly chair, it rolls backwards. No matter which way I drag it to change the direction of the five wheels. In addition, the seat is slanted. I know there's a way to adjust it. I've done it before. By accident. Only the #1 son knows how to fix my chair. I know that, because every time he's home and happens to sit in it, it's different. I know how to raise and lower it. But not how to get it off that slant that makes me go down a slide every time I'm seated in it.

So here's the deal. I am constantly sliding out of that chair. I go to hoist myself back into it, and I roll backwards. In fact, I roll backwards pretty much on a whim. When I merely think about rolling backwards. And when I don't.

When I sit down in that rolly chair and pull up to the desk, I almost slide out. It's like I hit a speed bump. And then I find myself creeping away from the desk as I type. The Pony broke the news to me a couple of weeks ago.

"You know, right, that your mat is warped? It has ridges. Your wheels get on them, and that's why your roll backwards."

That Pony. He's a real Encyclopedia Brown.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Applies Herself

Now that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been introduced to, shaken hands with, and developed a working relationship with irony...she finds it everywhere.

The fragrance of the air freshener in the faculty women's restroom at Newmentia is:
"Crisp Waters."