Saturday, September 23, 2017

Say Hello To My Little Stalker

You never know what the day is going to bring to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Sometimes it's a 50-cent used coffee cup from Goodwill, gift of Farmer H. Sometimes it's a road penis, spray-painted down by the mailboxes. Sometimes it's a shiny penny, winking up from the blacktop parking lot of the gas station chicken store.

Friday, I had another first. It was at the Casey's across from my mom's old bank, the one where I get gas. The Casey's, that is. I don't get gas from the bank. They couldn't even give my mom the correct amount of money back when she deposited her check. If those people were in charge of gas, that bank would have blown sky-high ages ago.

I had stopped to get two scratch-off tickets to tuck into Genius's weekly letter. As I came back out and walked to the side of the building where I had parked, I got that weird feeling like something was amiss. Like I was about to step on something, or lose my balance. I glanced down, just a few steps from T-Hoe's door, and saw that I was not alone on the sidewalk.


Well! That was quite a start, right there alongside the propane tanks. Thank the Gummi Mary those bank people aren't in charge of them! I think I might have jumped a couple of feet in the air. A superhuman feat possible only when humans are under duress and get a shot of adrenaline to spur their muscles into fight or flight. That little mousy is lucky that Mrs. HM is not a fightin' woman! I'm sure I shied away like a high-strung thoroughbred from a rattling copperhead. That's just not normal, people, to look down and see a little mouse right beside your foot, NOT SCARED!

It gave me the heebie-jeebies! I kind of did a dog-shiver and stood behind T-Hoe's open door for a minute. Watching. Making sure that thing didn't come after me!

Let the record show that when I was in high school, I had a friend who told us that she woke up in the night to a mouse running up her pajama leg! YIKES! I'd been to her house, and in her room. It's not like she was squatting in an abandoned tenement. It looked like a normal house. And to think that a mouse had been lurking there, just waiting for the right moment to make a move...well...that's the stuff of nightmares. She never was too clear on how she got rid of that mouse, either. I sure didn't want one running up my pants leg there beside the business route, across from the incompetent bank. That might have been a case of people seeing the moon during the day.

I took a picture. Then another, zoomed in. Then I crept toward that little mousy. Yes, Mrs. HM's bravery is astounding. I do it for YOU, people! I do it for YOU! I zoomed in some more. Mousy didn't move a muscle. Oh, he was breathing all right. In fact, he was kind of panting. I could see his sides heaving. It was already 88 degrees at 10 a.m.

Maybe Mousy was sick? Maybe he'd been partaking of food provided to him to make sure he partook no longer of food. I don't know the exterminator schedule for the Casey's chain. They make pizza in that store. Maybe Mousy got ahold of a bad pepperoni. Maybe he had mouse rabies! I didn't want to get too close. What if he jumped at my face like that alien in the movie Alien?

He was a cute little rodent.


I don't know all the branches on the rodent family tree. Surely he wasn't just a scared, escaped gerbil. It was a bit unnerving to see that little critter show no fear.

After my photo opportunity, I got the Not-Heaven out of there!

Friday, September 22, 2017

He Ain't All That And A Card Of Chips

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's chip card saga continues. On Thursday, I wheeled my cart around Country Mart, heady with excitement, knowing that I could now use my new debit chip card that had finally arrived. I was an old hand now, having successfully used it in The Devil's Playground, and even interrogated Farmer H on the process at Country Mart.

I loaded my cart with the necessities. Diet Coke in 20-oz bottles (at a semi-sale price of three 6-packs for $10.00), a bag of yellow onions (because they only had two sad white onions, my desired item), bandaids (store brand because it was on sale, $1.59 cheaper than the brand name), sugar free candy for Farmer H (because he likes to pretend to comply with his health needs at home, except with his ice cream), ice cream cups for Farmer H (the tile floor is fixed, by cracky, so I didn't get stuck like a mouse on a sticky trap), and Banquet TV Dinners, BBQ Rib version (because Farmer H came home from the auction last weekend, and smelled one that I had microwaved, and raved to me that whatever I had cooked for my supper smelled delicious...which probably says more than I want to reveal about my cooking skills).

The checkout people were standing around jawing, not even behind their registers. I went to the first counter, where the old lady who's 81 (but looks 65) usually works. She wasn't there that day, and I got a younger one who looked older. I didn't have a full cart. Just those few things. Checky had some trouble scanning my onion bag.

"I was gone one day, and they switched things up on me!"

"Oh, that's okay. I'm just learning to use my new chip card."

Checky looked at me and said nothing other than, "Is that a debit?" Even though the choice was right ahead of me on the card scanner, for me to select.

Checky called over the 20-something dude, Checkster, who had not-helped me when their scratcher machine took my money and wouldn't spit out a ticket.

"I don't see it here. They're different."

"Right there. At the top."

Again, I mentioned that I was just learning to use my chip card.

"Oh, we don't use the chip," said Checkster.

Well. Alrighty then. I swiped my new chip card just like my old debit card that I would have kept another year and used with wild abandon, had it not been scheduled for deactivation by those darn bank card people when they sent me the unwanted chip card. I pushed the buttons like usual, and got $25 cash back. That's their limit. Fine with me. I don't use the grocery store as a bank like my favorite gambling aunt uses The Devil's Playground.

Checky was befuddled. "It keeps saying that the customer changed the amount." Which, I think, is pretty standard operating procedure when you ask for cash back.

Checkster pointed to the top screen on his third try to find it. "There. Don't forget to give her that cash back."

SWEET GUMMI MARY! I shudder to think how long that transaction might have taken if I'd actually tried the chip, and Checky had to help me.

Anyhoo...I got home, and told Farmer H, "Country Mart says they don't use the chip."

"Well, I used it there just yesterday!"

Sure he did. Probably to pay for his deli carb-loading breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Maybe their new system just went into effect. Or maybe Farmer H is insinuating that I lied to him about the chip reader.

He acts like a real Richard sometimes.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

What, The Flock?

It is common knowledge that Farmer H likes to hang out at the barber shop for three or four hours, even though he barely has three or four hairs left on his head. And that he goes on his Goodwill tours several times a week. And that he spends more time at the flea markets than fleas themselves. It was at one of these places that he ran into an old friend.

Let the record show that Farmer H considers a friend to be anyone he's met at some point in his life, or anyone related to anyone he's met. So pardon me if the details of this story are a bit undetailed.

Last week, I mentioned the sheep up on the corner of the blacktop county road. I've written about them before, mainly the dog that dutifully monitors them 24/7. I told Farmer H that I noticed that guy had some sheep again.

"Sometimes I think he might have them in a back pasture, because I still see the dog. Or I think maybe he sends them off to be sheared. I always thought he just bought a bunch, though, and then sold them when the price was high enough, and bought more when the price was low. Sometimes they have their regular wool, and sometimes they're obviously shorn."

"You know, I thought the same thing. But I ran into my buddy at the [can't remember/didn't listen] the other day. He's a son-in-law to the guy that owns that property. And HE told me that those sheep don't get sheared. That they're a special kind of sheep with short hair. And the guy sells them to Muslims for meat. They don't care about the wool. These are special sheep for eating, with short hair."

Hmm...okay. I guess that's possible. I haven't bothered to look them up. I drive past there twice a day. Since I am used to seeing sheep with wool there, and then sheep without wool, and then with wool again...I think somebody may be pulling Farmer H's leg.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Between The Devil And The Long-Lost Chip

As you may recall, I finally received my new debit card with chip technology 30 days after being told to look for it in two weeks. The card I never requested, that was not due to expire for another year. I was quite concerned that my old regular debit card would quit working, as the original email told me. Of course, the bank representatives told me that my card was delivered on Thursday, and I didn't actually get it until the following Monday...so I don't know why I was worried about info given to me by the bank.

Anyhoo...on Tuesday morning, I called the automated number to activate my new chip card. I even asked Farmer H how a chip card works. So you KNOW I was desperate. He vaguely told me to stick in in the machine, rather than swipe it. Of course I headed into The Devil's Playground all confident with that detailed knowledge.

At the checkout, I told my Devil's Handmaiden, "I have a new chip card. I've never used it, and I'm not sure what I'm doing."

I grabbed my card by the end. Like Farmer H had told me. With the shiny chip at the opposite end from my thumb. The Devil's Handmaiden saw it. "Yes. Now just stick that end in, and it will make a noise."

I tried. I really did. But all at once, that whole card-reader black box thingy perched by the register FELL OFF! Not all the way off. A cable was holding it. But it dangled. I grabbed it right up, having tried to catch it initially. I saw that it was supposed to hook onto two screws, but that the one on the left was gone. So I had to hook the right side back, and kind of balance it.

"Oops! I've broken your card scanner! I see the problem. You have a screw loose! 
Heh, heh."

My DH came around the counter to show me. Oh, she was so helpful! "Just stick it in right there."

I tried, but my card kept bouncing off.

"Um. There's a slot for it."

"Oh, I see it now. I should have brought my glasses." I slid my card in. And out.

"You took it out too soon. It didn't make that noise." My DH went back around the counter to reset her register. Another Handmaiden from the next aisle over came to watch, while my DH came back to my side. "Slide it in again."

I did. "It's not doing anything."

"Let go of it!"

"I did. But nothing happened."

The other Handmaiden looked at the register. "It's okay. Just do it again."

I pushed my card in. Let go. It gave a message to remove the card. Then asked if I wanted cash back, and showed the place to put in my PIN.

"You've got it!" said my proud DH.

"I never asked for this card anyway. Why does everything have to be so hard?"

"It's really more secure," said the other Handmaiden. "I think of the chip like it has no memory. When you swipe the magnetic strip, the machine has to remember your information. With the chip, once you pull the card out, your information is gone. It reads it while the card is in, then the card is out, and it doesn't hold the information. The next time you use it, it recognizes your chip. That's how I remember it, anyway."

I really think the other Handmaiden should be working for the chip people. Her talents are being wasted by The Devil.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Look Away, Look Away, Look Away...It's That Bad

Don't go looking at this picture if you are the type to get queasy over carnage and carcasses. Don't do it. Don't look. I'm trying to fill up the top of the page so that the picture is not an unwelcome affront to your senses. The thumbnail that pops up? I can't be responsible for that. I don't have a fake picture to put on first. Maybe I can find something. Maybe not. You have been warned about the picture.

Even so...it's just a picture. Imagine Mrs. Hillbilly Mom yesterday afternoon, heading out to the front porch to send a picture of her missing debit card from her phone to her email. A picture to share with her loyal blog buddies. A picture that can't be sent from inside the Mansion due to a poor phone connection. Oh, I'd like to blame that metal roof that Farmer H had installed. But sadly, we've had this reception problem even with shingles.

There I was, my bifocals perched upon my nose, both hands busy sending that photo to myself. I don't walk well in bifocals, and I don't send emails by phone well without them. I know where I am in my own Mansion. I don't have to look at the floor. There's no surprise steps or cracks or rug wrinkles to trip me up. I know where the door jamb is. Know enough to step up and over, not shuffle my feet, which, thankfully, were still in my going-to-town shoes, and not clad only in socks before donning my red Crocs for the trip to my dark basement lair.

Yes, I was walking along, eyes and hands on phone. I opened up the front door and stepped out onto the porch. Hit SEND. Stood at the top of the steps, waiting for my picture to appear in my IN box. Tra la la. Takes about 1-2 minutes, best case scenario. I was glad the dogs were with Farmer H over at the BARn. I don't like it when they assume it's time for the evening snack at 2:20 in the afternoon, just because I'm on the front porch. That's why I stand by the steps, and don't go plop my plump rumpus on the pew where snacking occurs.

Okay! Got my picture. I turned to go back inside, my bifocals now shoved up on top of my head, and saw THIS!


SWEET GUMMI MARY!!!

I know that picture is taken from INSIDE the house. Here's the deal. I saw that carcass laying there, and my stomach lurched, and I thought, "Sweet Gummi Mary! What if I'd been in my sock feet, the socks with the holes in the sole (!), and stepped out the door onto that bloody mess?"

I darted back inside and slammed the door. Well. As much as you can slam it by turning the doorknob so it will latch. Because Farmer H has still not fixed that doorknob after many months of suggestion. Whew! That was a close one! I think I was leaning my back against the door, breathing deeply, when I thought,

"That's a blog post!"

Yes. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom never lets any hideous, heinous display of dismemberment go to waste.

Looks like the dogs caught a chipmunk and relieved him of his skin. I first thought it was a squirrel, but upon closer inspection of the pelt from the porch side of the body, I saw the thin white stripe down the side. Uh huh. Chipmunk. Or, as some Hillmomba natives call it, a ground squirrel.

There is no love lost between me and chipmunks. I had an unfortunate attempted-rescue faux pas with one many years ago, right out in the front yard. So pardon me if I don't weep for this victim.

Do you think my fleabags were bringing ME a snack?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Thank The Gummi Mary, This Has Saved Me A Hand-Washing

Perhaps I've mentioned that I've been looking for my new debit card since August 19. Perhaps not.

I got an email back then, saying to be on the lookout for my new card within the next two weeks. That I should activate it as soon as I received it, because my old card would stop working.

Let the record show that I never asked for a new debit card. My old one still had a year until the expiration date. I'd had no (KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK on wood) reason to suspect fraud. I was happily debiting daily, no problems. This email came out of the blue, announcing my new card, which would be chip-enabled, and thus much safer in preventing fraudulent activity.

I was worried when I didn't receive my new card within two weeks. The mail is not all that secure out here in Hillmomba. I called the bank and was told that due to the holiday weekend of Labor Day, to give my card another week. Then call back if I didn't get it.

I called back. I was told that my post office had received my card, and that I should have it by Wednesday, September 13, at the latest. Of course I did not have it by that date. I waited. And waited. Looking every day. I always pick up the mail within an hour or so of delivery, because that's my going-to-town schedule for my 44 oz Diet Coke.

Last night around 11:30, I called again. Explained to the THIRD representative that it was now September 17, and my debit card had not been delivered like the notice of August 19 advised me. I was put on hold for 20 minutes. The rep was very polite. She said she ran my scenario by three different departments. They said my card was delivered on THURSDAY, September 14. NO. No, it wasn't. I checked.

The choices I was presented involved getting a new debit card mailed out, to either my current address or my bank branch. It would have a new number, of course. Because if I got a new card sent with the old number, and activated it, the one unaccounted for would work, too. Without even a PIN punched in, because, you know, IT'S A CHIP CARD, which doesn't need a PIN.

HOW IN THE NOT-HEAVEN IS A CHIP CARD MORE SECURE?

Seriously. With a regular debit card, it wouldn't matter, because it's useless without the PIN.

I wash my hands of these people! I said I would give it one more week, think it over, then call back for a new issue. Oh, and the rep reminded me that my old one would stop working within 30 days.

REEEEEEE!

"The notice was on August 19, and it is now September 17! Doesn't that mean that my current card will stop working in two days?"

"No. The new card wasn't mailed until September 5, so you have 30 days from then."

When I picked up my prescriptions today, the little gal said my debit card wasn't going through. I said I might have to go out to the car to get a check, because of the problems I was having in receiving my new, unrequested chip card. She said her husband got a notice about 6 weeks ago, and he had not yet received HIS card, either! She re-ran my debit, and it worked. But I told her that her husband better look out. It might be 30 days since his was mailed. She said, "Eh. It's my husband. That's his problem. I'll deal with it when he calls me and says he doesn't have any money."

This is hogwash. Pure shenanigans. I'm double-washing my hands of these people. Scrubbing them like an OCD clean freak! The skin may just peel away from my hands, as hard as I'm washing them of these bank people!

Or not. Because today, on my way home...TODAY, September 18...


I received my new debit card that I never asked for.

Something fishy is going on with either the Hillmomba dead-mouse-smelling post office, or the bank chip card department.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Never Though You'd Hear Mrs. HM Complain About THEM, Did You?

I've got a bee in my bonnet! A bee put there by one of my favorite entities, the Missouri Lottery commission.

Only yesterday, I clicked on their website, to the news releases, and saw THIS:

A recent scam is prompting the Missouri Lottery to issue a warning for everyone to be weary of situations that seem too good to be true. The scheme involved a scammer posing as a lottery official and calling an individual claiming they had won a large Mega Millions prize. In order to claim the prize, the victim was instructed to open a bank account and deposit funds over an extended period of time to cover taxes and fees.

SWEET GUMMI MARY!

I'm not the grammar police, but I'd like to think I'm entitled to make a citizen's correction when I see violations in the usage of proper English. Really, Missouri Lottery? You want to warn everyone to be WEARY? I, for one, am TIRED of people misusing this word! You don't even have to look it up in a dictionary any more! You can type that word into your phone and get an immediate definition.

The word you are looking for is WARY!

WARY, WARY, WARY, by cracky!

Don't fall victim to the improper word usage of the Missouri Lottery.