Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hillmomba: The New Sauna

The heat in Hillmomba is oppressive. When I change my new baby, aka D'Hummi the dehumidifier, I can feel how truly hot it is. Because unless I have to make a trip to The Devil's Playground, I generally stay inside the Mansion. In my cool basement lair.

D'Hummi has been crying for two changes per day. That is around noon and midnight. Sometimes, I anticipate D'Hummi's needs before he even knows he's too wet. I push his button, and he has to cry to nobody about my abuse. And he has to hold his water while I have his bucket.

I carry D'Hummi's fluids through Farmer H's basement workshop to the back door. It opens onto a small concrete area with the Free Hairwad Hot Tub on the left, and a trail of flat river rock stepping stones, set in some black gravel, that lead to the wooden stairs to Poolio. Sometimes I step across those stones, and sometimes I dump D'Hummi's effluence onto the black gravel. During the noontime changings, I've noticed a strange phenomenon.

When I pour the water squeezed from the basement atmosphere onto a flat rock, it steams. Like a sauna. It evaporates faster than a chicken can run over and peck it. I appear to be the source of dangerous levels of humidity for an entire tri-county area.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hillmomba's Army

You've gotta hand it to these chickens. They are our first line of defense. And cheaper than Frontline.

We have had no tick incidents this year. So far. Knock on scrap wood that Farmer H brings home from work for building outhouses and miniMansions and workshops and tool sheds.

As I type this, from Shiba, my upstairs laptop, instead of New Delly, my basement desktop, the chickens are swarming the front yard and the porch. It's kind of creepy. Even though I've never watched The Birds in its entirety. They seem restless. Angsty. Like they're waiting for something.

Maybe they are anticipating the arrival of Farmer H. They will be anticipating a while longer. The Farmer has gone to Kansas City for a professional soccer game. Not that he's a soccer aficionado. He was offered two free tickets through work. The only hitch was...he had to drive to Kansas City. But his benefactor is putting him up in a hotel overnight, and the tickets come with a club thingy for free food and drink. So he's just out the gas money. He has taken his co-pilot, the #1 son. The Pony and I are holding down the Mansion. The Pony is tending the flock and the herd.

For the record, chickens really like two-day-old instant mashed potatoes, fried rice that sat out all night, and the dry, tasteless edges of Pop Tarts. This army is marching on a stomach full of unwanted carbs.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Floor Chicken For China

We asked Farmer H to bring home Chinese food tonight. I was in my basement office when he arrived with the goods. Normally, the boys wait for me to put theirs on plates and dish up their sweet & sour sauce.

I went upstairs and found the #1 son already plating his food.

"I am so proud of my little boy! He can get his own food now."
"Looks like I won't be needing that wife so soon after all. I can order take-out from my dorm room."
"Uh huh. The dorm room without a stove for you to not cook the eggs you don't have."
"Actually, there IS a kitchen on each hall for every four suites."
"Is there a fire extinguisher?"
"Ha ha."
"Hey, what was that?"
"Chicken. I've got it. Mmm."
"Now you're eating floor chicken."
"Five second rule."
"PONY! Come eat!"
"Don't let him change the channel. I've been watching the evening news every night before The Simpsons comes on. Did you know there are children starving in China?"
"Yes. I think I've heard about that."
"Well, I had no idea what was going on in the world."
"That's because you've got your nose in a computer all day."
"You're giving him all of that?"
"I'm sure you'll take back what he doesn't eat."
"No. Dad will walk through here and ask if he's done, and he'll take it."
"We don't want food left on the plate. Children are starving in China, you know."
"I'll be happy to mail them what I don't eat."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cracking Eggs With A Future Engineer

Let's roll out some copy. The fancy gewgaws can wait.

This morning, the #1 son demanded that I make him breakfast at 10:15. I tried to stall. If I could stretch it out, it would be lunch time. And anyway, a 16-year-old should be perfectly capably of making his own breakfast. Right?

He wanted eggs. Scrambled. Three of them. I explained that I was busy watching The View. Not because I like it, but because I like to hate it. And next on my agenda was a shower. #1 decided that he could not wait. He was famished from laying in bed all morning. So he set out to make his own breakfast.


This is the boy who burned his arm taking potato skins out of the oven. The one who put his teeth through his lip while performing gymnastic maneuvers between the cutting block and the counter. I did not feel comfortable soaking in the shower while my kitchen might be going up in flames. So I continued watching The View while #1 busied himself with gathering the fixin's for his breakfast.

"How much oil do I use?"
"Enough to just cover the bottom of the pan. You don't need a cup of oil like your dad uses."
"Do I use our eggs or the store-bought eggs?"
"What do mean?"
"I mean, isn't Dad saving some of these to sell? There are some cartons on the bottom shelf, and another one on the second shelf."
"I haven't bought eggs since the last holiday when I made deviled eggs. You'd better check the date on the carton."
"I just used them last time I made myself scrambled eggs."
"Oh. So you DO know how to cook them."
"Well, it's easier if I can get you to do it. Hey! This carton says January!"
"Throw them out."
"But I just ate some and I was fine."
"How long ago?"
"About a month."
"Do you really want to eat them now?"
"I guess not."
"Are you beating them in a red Solo cup?"
"Yeah. Why?"
"It sounds like your fork is coming out the side of the cup. Be careful. You'll crack it."
"Meh, meh, meh. It was a lot easier without you telling me what to do."
"Are you heating the oil?"
"Yes. I hate this. It's so hard to crack these eggs."
"I don't know why. They're easier than the store-bought eggs."

I couldn't take it any longer. Elisabeth was going to have to take on the four harpies without any assistance today. Something didn't seem right. I went into the kitchen and found the boy stirring the eggs like they were nitroglycerin.

"Here. That's not how you whip the eggs. The goal is to get air into them. So they turn out fluffy."
"Oh. That would explain why my last eggs were not very fluffy."
"That, or the fact that you used 6-month-old eggs. Now. They're ready to pour in. Where's your turner?"
"I might need to get that out now. Hey! What did you do with that fork?"
"I put it in the sink to soak."
"I was going to eat with that."
"With raw egg on it? I don't think so."
"I was going to wipe it off."
"Not good enough. Here. I wiped it off. With soap and water."
"This is impossible."
"You might want to divide that up into sections instead of trying to turn the whole pan full."
"I might."
"Look out! Now it's running down the side of the pan."
"Meh, meh, meh."
"Hey! That piece went down under the burner. You could start a fire! I'm so glad I came in here."
"You might as well do it for me."
"I don't think so. And if you had so much trouble cracking those eggs, what was that sound I heard? When I thought you were stirring too hard."
"Oh, that was when I was trying to crack open the eggs."
"How hard can that be? You just tap them on the edge of the counter."
"What? I was trying to crack them on the rim of the cup."
"On a Solo cup? No wonder you had trouble."
"That's how Dad does it."
"That explains it. I don't know how you're going to survive in college."
"Yeah. I won't know how to cook eggs on the stove I won't have in my dorm."
"You won't live in the dorm forever."
"True. But they require everybody to live in the dorm for the first two years."
"Uh huh. Because they know you're all so stupid."
"Ha ha."
"You need to get that egg out from under the burner."
"The coil pulls out. Wait until it's cool."
"I really need to get married soon so I don't have to learn this stuff."

Seriously. Cracking eggs on the side of a Solo cup?


I am just getting things spruced up around my new home. Please bear with me for the next couple of days.

If you want to set a spell at the old Mansion, you can find it here: