Monday, January 15, 2018

Like A Zombiefied St. Bernard

If you are seeking entertainment at the Mansion tonight, folks...abandon hope, all ye who enter here. I got nothin'. Oh, I have somethin'! But it's not worth typing it all out tonight.

We had a glaze of ice and a little snow last night. I would have gone to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke as usual, since nobody bothered to tell me until I was DRESSED AND ON THE WAY OUT THE DOOR that the roads were a little slick. So slick, in fact, that Farmer H, who was unsuspiciously absent until noon:twenty, asked to use T-Hoe for a trip to get de-ionized water for his breather. Uh huh. The very same man who wanted to GET RID of T-Hoe, to save on insurance bills. Wanted to DRIVE my precious T-Hoe on slippery slopes. Not his own Trailblazer, whose 4WD does not work. Nor his Ford F250 Long Bed Club Cab, which has 4WD itself.

So I went without my magical elixir, which is better than risking life and limb, and made do with bottled Diet Coke. Ounces indeterminate right now. Which is possible what has put me in this funk. Or not.

It might have something to do with my tongue, which is too big for my mouth, and hurts severely when I swallow, due to slicing itself on a broken back tooth that has been broken for a while now, and does not hurt in and of itself, but makes life difficult for my tongue, especially when chowing down on a big burger yesterday at the casino.

So that's it for now. I'll be groggily drooling over at my not-so-secret blog, attempting to put out some content. And for blog buddy Sioux: Newmentia had a snow day in place of regularly scheduled MLK Day, which was being used to make up LAST WEEK's snow day. And they're out again tomorrow.

Not that I care...

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hillmomba, One Big Public Dump

Do you think that slogan would be good for tourism?

HILLMOMBA, ONE BIG PUBLIC DUMP

That's what people use it for, you know. That's why most of our unwanted visitors stop here. Still no news on that furniture in a white truck. Haven't seen it along the gravel road. But yesterday, we got a Christmas tree!


 I know. It's kind of early for a Christmas tree. There are still 352 days until Christmas!

Oh, wait a minute. Maybe this was a USED Christmas tree. I get it now. Nobody was delivering a present to the residents of Hillmomba! They were using us as a GARBAGE DUMP! Getting rid of their old Christmas tree! As if most communities don't have a designated time and place to do that. Or, if you live in the woods anyway, you might...oh...I don't know...PUT THAT TRASH IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD!


It's not like they dumped it in the creek, to create habitat for fish. That's what the town does, you know. They collect the trees, and put them in the lake. One year it was frozen over, and they laid on top of the ice for several weeks. But these folks just jettisoned their Ol' Tannenbaum along the side of our gravel road. On land that is marked with purple paint, AND a No Trespassing sign, which both signify...wait a minute...it's coming to me...NO TRESPASSING!

"Oh, Mrs. HM," you might say. "It's JUST a tree. In the woods. What's so bad about that?"

Well. If you owned a unicorn farm, and people dumped a dead unicorn in your pasture, would you feel the same way?

What, exactly, is WRONG with people today?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Who Do You Have To Pay Off Around Here To Stop A Payment

Perhaps you are aware that technology is not Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's friend. In fact, they are barely on nodding terms if they pass in a brightly-lit hallway that is hardly wide enough to accommodate the both of them.

I am the type of old fogy who prefers getting paper statements in the mail, rather than looking up my information online. Likewise, I am not a fan of automatic payments withdrawn from my accounts. I mail my payments as checks, by cracky! And I write in CURSIVE on them, even though that is a skill no longer taught in the public schools, and the Millennials getting my checks probably think it's some kind of code, and have notified Homeland Security. Oh, who am I kidding? As IF there's actually a PERSON processing those checks. I think it's been proven that you can sign them "Mickey Mouse" and they'll still go through.

Anyhoo...I won't do those automatic payments. I'll pay an extra processing fee to pay my Sirius XM Satellite bill for a whole year, rather than have an automatic payment come out of my account once per month. I don't mind paying for stamps. I write my checks and mail them the day after I get them. Not gonna be my problem if the post office people are sitting on their hineys and there's a delay. Of course, there have been those times when I never got a bill, so didn't think to pay it. But overall, my system works.

My boys do the online banking stuff. Not me. No siree, Bob! I don't want my payments being paid without me having a hand in it. I have argued with Genius over this numerous times. He calls me a conspiracy theorist, but it's not like that's an untruth. My reasoning, though, is that it's too hard to stop those payments when you need to.

Anyhoo...here's the latest. Back when Farmer H and I were just starting out, we opened a joint bank account, and one of the perks was $1000 of free Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance. Who's not gonna jump at THAT? Since we had a house payment, and future little Hillbillies in our long-range plans, we also took out a little more of that insurance for Farmer H. He was driving to the city every day, working on machines, in a not-so-great neighborhood, and we wanted to feel secure in case he was incapacitated for a while.

The cost was reasonable. It was less than $100 a year. The only way to get it was to pay quarterly, $24.75 every three months. Since it was a product offered by our bank, it came right out of our checking account. Not a big deal.

Now that we're both retired, one kid educated and working, the other on a scholarship with two years of college left, house paid off, no credit card debt, only A-Cad needing a regular payment...Farmer H and I decided that we don't really need that insurance any more. Well. The underwriter or whatever you call it has changed several times. There was a class action suit, for which we received a small payment. And I had no contact information to stop this automatic payment.

I figured the bank could stop it. Right? You tell the bank to TAKE OUT automatic payments. So surely you can tell the bank to STOP automatic payments. Apparently, the bank operates like that rent-a-car company who TOOK a reservation for Jerry and Elaine, but didn't HOLD a reservation for Jerry and Elaine.

On November 21, I called the bank and explained my plight. I fully identified myself, gave the exact amount of the quarterly payments, said who it went to, gave the dates the payments came out, and asked for them to stop. The girl had me on hold for a while. She said she couldn't find the contact information. Well. Welcome to MY world, girlie! She told me that maybe I should tell the underwriter that I didn't want the product any more. Huh! That's what I called HER for! She said she had it stopped, though. That there was a number in their records. She kept trying to give it to me, but since she said she was stopping the payments, I didn't see any reason to call.

Of course, stopping that automatic $24.75 payment cost me a $35 fee from the bank! I made sure to ask if that was a one-time fee, or if they were going to bill me $35 every quarter. She assured me that it was only once. Since I was stopping the payments, it would be like a stop payment on a check. I didn't agree with that, but whatcha gonna do?

Thursday, I was checking my bank transactions on the automated phone line. Might as well USE that technology if they have it! I can punch numbers into a phone. Because I still have a land line, and I can hold it out and see the numbers. Anyhoo...I had a pending charge of $24.75. NOOOO! That's not supposed to happen!

I called the bank. Of course this girl didn't know what I was talking about, and said I'd have to take care of that myself, because it was between me and the underwriter. So I asked why I was told that my payments would stop, and CHARGED $35 ON NOVEMBER 21, 2017. At first she said she didn't see any record of that. But when I kept harping that it WAS taken out of my account, and it seemed like I was charged a stop payment fee for a payment that wasn't stopped, on that specific date, she suddenly found it.

WHAT A RACKET!

Anyhoo...she SAID they're going to refund my $35, but that I'd have to call the underwriter myself. Because apparently the underwriter has control of my checking account, since I can't stop the payment from coming out! That doesn't sound right, now does it? AND she said the other gal had put in AD&D instead of ADD to stop that payment. Which is weird, because everything list that insurance as AD&D, and NOT the ADD she's trying to say it should be. What a bunch of hooey!

SOOO...I called that number, and while reluctant to give my personal info over the phone (because I couldn't find a nine-digit account number from...oh...I don't know...29 YEARS AGO)...I did give the address and name. Of course I went through it all, only to be told that I could not stop the payments and drop the insurance, only FARMER H could do it. And he was out on the tractor somewhere.

Once Farmer H came in for lunch, I made him sit down, and shut up, and not do anything until I handed him the phone to say STOP THE INSURANCE. But of course he got chatty, and was agreeing to things I couldn't hear, and we ended up keeping the $1000 of FREE coverage. As if anybody's gonna remember that if something happens to him.

SWEET GUMMI MARY! I just wanted it to be over with! Sever all ties! Now, even though it's not (supposedly) going to cost us anything, we're still on their accounts as having the insurance. Oh, and they couldn't stop the pending $24.75 for this quarter. They can't stop it until April. I have a feeling I'll have to go through all of this AGAIN at that time. And I haven't checked to see if the $35 has been refunded by my bank, either.

Can't we go back to the days when Farmer H could drive a basket of eggs and a couple of chickens, and maybe some cedar posts, to their headquarters, and pay by bartering?

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Cheese Wallows Alone

Let the record show that our basement runs the entire length of the Mansion. My office is at the front right side, with the NASCAR bathroom next to it, and Farmer H's workshop on the back half of the basement. The left end is open, with a TV area up front, and the pool table behind it.

Preparing for the Christmas holiday, I cleaned up the basement. At least the common areas, since we put up our tree, and unwrap gifts in the TV area. My OPC (Old People Chair is there, too). I didn't bother with my office or the workshop. But the rest of the basement was dusted and swept. I had a small wastebasket outside the NASCAR bathroom, under a desk that holds assorted junk like some of the boys' old computer games in cubbies on the built-in cubicles up top. There's a blue bean bag chair under the desk, on a rectangular carpet remnant, where The Pony liked to sit and play Nintendo, which is hooked up to a little TV on the wall across from that desk.

My cleanup went smoothly. Farmer H even helped by dusting part of the room, and The Pony, who arrived a week early, dusted all the way down the wooden steps for me. So basically all I had to do was sweep the basement, and clean the NASCAR bathroom.

Today, as I was carrying my lunch to the mini fridge under the basement stairs, I had a mishap. I kind of eat my lunch in stages. What's the rush? I have the rest of my life to finish lunch! I'm on the Forever Vacation. I first fill my bubba cup of ice with bathroom water. Then I get a bottle of Diet Coke ready to add to my 44 oz cup as I sip some room into it. I scratch my lottery tickets. I check out my blog comments, and start with the day's stories. Then I'm ready for lunch.

So...when I first descend to my dark basement lair, I start up my New Delly, and go put my lunch in the mini fridge. That means pinwheels in the fridge, and an individual plastic cup of Birthday Cake ice cream goes in the mini freezer for dessert.

Today I also had 3 slices of Oberle cheese as a side dish. Oberle cheese is tasty. Garlic flavored soft cheese, in a tube shape. It fits great on a Ritz cracker when you slice it.


I set my 3 slices of Oberle cheese on top of my ice cream container, on top of my pinwheels container, to carry to the mini fridge.


Of course I have to hold that in my left hand, and my bubba cup in my right hand, because I make a stop to fill that cup with water at the NASCAR bathroom. I was just preparing to set down the pinwheel/ice cream/cheese tower on the game-holding desk when calamity befell me.

MY OBERLE CHEESE PLOPPED ON THE FLOOR!

Uh huh. The exact spot on the floor where I'd swept the entirety of the basement's floor dust, to scoop it up with a dustpan.

Do you know how much dust and hair one slice of Oberle cheese can pick up, even though, to the naked eye, there was no dust and hair on the floor? You might be amazed.

Being a soft cheese, though, Oberle lends itself quite well to having a layer scraped off to reveal pristine cheese goodness underneath.

Make that about 2.5 slices of Oberle I had as a side dish with my lunch today.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Dollar Jeans

You may have heard that the Hillbilly family is having a problem with POOP in the Mansion garage. We won't get into that now, but a blogworthy incident has occurred.

Yesterday I entered the garage for my daily drive to town. Of course I smelled poop. I backed T-Hoe out onto the concrete, and went back in to shovel some sh!t. Farmer H keeps a curved blue plastic snow shovel out there for scooping the poop. He usually does it, when I'm gone with T-Hoe. But he's been derelict in his duties for several days, and I've done it myself.

It's easy enough to scoop the poop when temperatures are sub-freezing. Those turds are like petrified logs, and don't smell. They scoop right up, or roll along the garage floor ahead of the snow shovel. Once out the big door, they go over the side of the concrete, down a three-foot drop onto grass, to turn into fertilizer for next year's yard.

This time, temps were in the 50s. That poop stunk. And it didn't want to scoop or roll. Some of it smashed along the shovel edge, and crumbled, and was a pain to get out of the garage. Some of those crumbs must have landed on the mossy patch just outside the big garage doors. Unbeknownst to me.

On my way to town, I noticed the odor of poop inside T-Hoe's cabin. Cruising along at 55 mph, I put down the passenger window up front, and both rear windows, and turned up the fan on the heater. It worked! Until I rolled up the windows.

PEEEE YOOOO! What a stench! I was almost gagging from the smell.

That's not happenin'! Not on my sweet ride! T-Hoe is not going to stink like poop! I tried to brainstorm how to remedy the problem. I could take out the floor mat, in case I'd stepped in some poop. Use a wire brush to get rid of the muddy powder when it dried. Shampoo that mat with dish liquid or laundry detergent. I could get one of those mirror-hanging tree deodorizers at the car wash. I could leave a box of baking soda in T-Hoe to soak up the odor. Or put in a Bounce fabric softener.

At each stop, I ground my shoe soles on the pavement. Walked through any puddles I could find. Dried my shoes thoroughly on the entry mats at each establishment I entered. I bought two gallons of bleach for $1.15 apiece. Not the good stuff that was $2.66 on sale. I called Farmer H on the way home, to tell him of my plight. And to declare that this HAD to stop, and that I was not risking my A-Cad, parked most of the time inside that garage, but on the side away from the Mad Pooper's chosen dumping ground.

Farmer H was waiting for me when I arrived home. Like a trauma team waiting on the helipad for a 'copter. He opened up the garage door, but I didn't pull inside. Farmer H came out and got the bleach from T-Hoe's rear. He started pouring before I even walked through carrying the floor mat to lay out for safe keeping above dog height. I had to watch out for him as I passed through the garage. He had a push broom, making a tide of bleach roll across the smooth concrete floor towards the door. I told him I was leaving T-Hoe outside until my driveway walk, so as not to disrupt his scouring procedure.

When I came upstairs later to get supper ready, Farmer H was more talkative than usual.

"You know when you gave me that bleach?"

"Yeah. Did you get some on you?" Because it's happened to me before, while pouring it in the sink to clean the drain. I ruined a shirt. And now I don't work with bleach unless I'm wearing old clothes.

"Uh huh."

"Very bad?"

"Well, not bad. But you can see the spots."

"Were they your good jeans?"

"I got them for a dollar at Goodwill."

"Oh. Well. Maybe someone will die soon, and you can find another pair." Always the Pollyanna, seeing the bright side, the pot of gold at the end of the bleach-accident rainbow, our Mrs. HM.

"Eh. They'll just go from my good jeans to my wear-around-here-to-work-in jeans."

Maybe Farmer H learned a lesson. I doubt it. But one can always hope. T-Hoe didn't stink like poop today. Though he DID smell faintly like bleach.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Unfortunate Straw-Drinking Faux Pas of '17

Back before the new year started, before Christmas, even, when CasinoPalooza 3 was just a blip on the horizon...Mrs. HM suffered an accident of enormous magnitude.

Okay. Suffered may be a bit of a stretch. If I had gone to the emergency room for treatment, and a skeptical, cold-hearted nurse had asked me, on scale of 1-10 what my pain level was...I would have had to answer 0.5. Because you don't wanna skew the felt-pain scale, lest you regenerate your gallbladder and get a stone stuck in a duct, and need morphine to keep you from pulling your own teeth as a distraction. But still...my accident was nothing to sneeze at.

I had carried my yellow bubba cup into the NASCAR bathroom one evening for some water. Yes, Mrs. HM drinks bathroom water. It's easier on the knees than ascending 13 wooden steps for kitchen water. Anyhoo...I had run out of water, and Diet Coke is not a thirst-quencher. It's a treat. A pick-me-up. The greatest beverage ever invented! But I wanted a drink of water.

The NASCAR bathroom sink has a bit of a calcium build-up on the spigot. Rather than clear cold well-water pouring out in a steady stream, you get clear cold well-water spraying out as if a toddler had put his finger over the end of a garden hose. Like a fancy rain shower. The bathroom counter is lower than a kitchen counter. I have to lean over and kind of balance myself at an awkward angle to tilt my bubba cup so that the spray doesn't erode my ice while filling the cup. Sometimes I rest an elbow on the edge of the sink to steady myself, and take tension off my back. This time, I did not. I just leaned over that sink. If I had a dowager's hump, my body might have been the perfect shape for this task.

When I was done filling the bubba cup with water, I turned off the cold-water handle with my left hand, and reached across the sink to pick up Bubba's lid. I plopped Bubba's butt end on the edge of the round sink rim, and pushed until his lid snapped on. Still off-kilter a bit, my vertebrae starting to screech in protest, I simultaneously leaned my head down, and raised Bubba up, to wrap my lips around the red straw jutting out of his blowhole. I miscalculated just a skosh.

I RAMMED THE HOLLOW END OF THAT RED STRAW INTO THE BOTTOM RIGHT SIDE OF MY UPPER LIP!

I imagine that my teeth looked like when a territorial german shepherd hears the mailman's step on the porch. I daresay my lip was dislocated up to near lower eyelid level. That smarted. Elicited tears. I dabbed at the bottom right side of my upper lip, and the back of my hand came away bloody!

Sweet Gummi Mary! Who knew that drinking water is so dangerous?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

It's Never Too Cold To Lose Some Cold Hard Cash

On Friday, Farmer H took me to our local casino. You know, because we didn't lose ENOUGH money at CasinoPalooza 3.

He'd first offered to take me on Wednesday. I think that's because of the cold snap, and he really couldn't do anything outside or in his new Playhouse. That's what I've been calling his Freight Container Garage lately. He installed a wood stove, but with temps in the teens, it's still pretty hard to get anything done in that huge building, unless he's huddled up around the wood stove.

I was so sick that I turned down that trip, but said we could go Friday if I felt better. Better might not have been the right word for it. But on Friday, I at least felt different. I could drag myself around, even though I still had a cough and chills. The sore throat had ebbed a little bit. AND I still had a sense of smell and taste, so I knew I'd get a burger out of the trip, anyway.

It was so cold that Farmer H let the valet park the car, rather than us walking in from the south parking lot, past the parking garage, past the valet lots, past the hotel check-in counter, past the shops and event center. Instead, like when my favorite gambling aunt drives, we got out right at the front door. Good thing. Farmer H didn't want to wear a heavy coat all day, and I was a wheezer.

I had gotten a promotional card saying that I had free play if I scanned my player's card at a kiosk. My usual free play for this month, on Fridays, is $20. The promotion said I would get anywhere from $25 to $5000 worth of free play. Of course you KNOW it will be $25. But that was still more than my regular play. I figured it would be like the other promotions I get. They are not to be combined with another offer. So instead of $20, I'd get the $25 in free play.

Of course that's what I was given when I scanned my card. $25. What made me mad was that I couldn't access it at the slots. I did recall that it said "usable in free play at most slots." Huh. The regular free play works with all of them. So I figured I was getting cheated out of $5. Because once I punched in my PIN and used my Friday free play of $20 that was showing, I wouldn't be able to use the $25 from scanning my player's card. By the fourth slot I tried it on, I gave up and used that $20. You don't want to FORGET to use your free play, by cracky! It's only good on THAT DAY.

Neither Farmer H nor I was having much luck. The place was full of OLD PEOPLE! We could have been at a geriatric home! Seriously. It was crowded, and they were all OLD PEOPLE! I couldn't get on any of my favorite games, so I made do with others that had done me wrong in the past (and still did me wrong) and a couple I'd never played. I won a little bit, but not as much as I'd spent.

We met for lunch at 2:30. Farmer H and I both ordered our burger medium. He usually gets medium well, and I usually get medium. This time, his came out medium well, and mine came out EXTRA RARE. I don't know how they do that lately. The burgers used to be cooked just right. Goldilocks herself would have been satisfied. I still ate mine. At least it had flavor. It's not like they made it well done. Besides, I was happy that I was sick, but could still TASTE my burger.

Anyhoo...we went back to play for another hour, and the first machine I sat down at popped up a message that I had $25 BONUS PLAY! Huh. I don't understand that, but I took it! That meant I had a total of $45 free play that day! Lost it all, though. But that's what you'd expect, right. It's a casino, not a money-handing-out-o.

Right before time to leave, I saw a Wonder 4 Tower game open. There are only 3 of them, all together. The middle one was open! I scurried through the opening in the table games, and was all set to shove my card in that open Wonder 4 Tower. Only a couple steps to go! And the lady at the left-hand machine got up, and draped her coat over the chair of the open machine! If I hadn't been sick, I would have beat her to it! I was slowed by lack of lung power!

Anyhoo...that lady pulled her player's card out of the left machine, so I had a glimmer of hope. Then she cashed out her ticket. Then she grabbed her alcoholic drink in its glass glass. Then her box of Marlboro Gold hard-pack cigarettes. That should have been foreshadowing for me, I guess.

I sat down at her vacated machine, and Smoky started playing on the middle one. I hit four bonuses before I'd even run my twenty down to eighteen dollars! Not big bonuses. But bonuses that pay a little are better than no bonuses at all. They're the fun part of the game. I figured Smoky was getting mad that she left the machine. I didn't hear HER getting bonuses.

Here's the thing: Smoky SMOKED! The whole time I sat there. I bet she went through 15 cigarettes in 15 minutes! The smoke was wafting directly across my face. You could SEE it. Like in a cartoon. I'm sure it was due to the ventilation system blowing smoke back INTO the casino, rather than letting it seep out into the restaurant and shop area. When Smoky stubbed out that first one, I was so relieved! Until she flicked her lighter on the second one. I don't know why she didn't just light it from the dying ash of the previous one. Maybe that's low class. I don't know. I'm not a smoker. On purpose.

Anyhoo...a friend of Smoky showed up, surprising her. I guess he used to work with her, or gamble with her. They seemed pretty familiar. I think they were high rollers. He said he had a free buffet there every day of the week, but he didn't really like their food. But then again, what was he going to do on the way home from work, pass by there and pick up a pizza? So he came in almost every evening. Smoky asked him to watch her machine while she went to the bathroom. It had hit a bonus that was playing out.

I breathed a sigh of relief as she stubbed out THAT cigarette. Figured I could get some oxygen while she was gone. I'll be ding dang donged if her friend didn't take a cig from her pack, and light up as well! She returned, and he left, and the player at the right-side machine asked Smoky about her winnings.

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to be nosy. But I thought I heard you tell your friend that you just won big."

Smoky said that she'd just won $3200. On the machine that I was currently playing.

I call shenanigans! AND bullcrap! If you win $1200 or more on one game, you have to call an attendant. It's called a HAND PAY. They take all of your information for taxes, then count out your bills by hand. You can't just take them on a cash-out ticket. I had just walked up when Smoky switched machines, and there was no hand pay going on. You would think that if she'd gotten a hand pay earlier, she would not have still been playing that machine. You win, you move on.

Something was fishy there. But at least, after turning around to scan the exit for Farmer H, and then playing again, I hit a good bonus and cashed out ninety-something dollars. Still not enough to make up for what I played that day. But at least more money to add to what I'd won back to take home.

My scratchers need to start coming through for me again, so I can build up my bankroll.