Sunday, September 30, 2012

Intruding On The Porkfest

This morning, Farmer H crept out of bed, showered, and tip-toed from the bedroom, quietly closing the door behind him. I should have known that he was not doing it to be sweet to me. To let me sleep in. To allow the workhorse of the family a few extra minutes of unbridled snoozing. I heard him feed the dogs on the back porch. It was almost as if he hand-placed each crunchy nugget of Ol' Roy in the three metal pans. "One for for for you, " until each fleabag had his allotment. I did not hear him come back in.

Usually, Farmer H tromps in and out of the laundry room, which abuts the headboard wall of our bedroom, and flings the dry dogfood into the dishes like a world-champion jai alai player. Then he microwaves a sausage/egg/cheese biscuit, grabs a banana, and exits the Mansion through the kitchen door, which has its own distinctive slam.

I did not hear anything for so long that I thought he must have gone on to his goats and chickens from the dogfood area. It was like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for Farmer H to tromp. I could not go back to sleep. The mystery consumed me.

I caught Farmer H in the kitchen, makin' bacon.

No! Not like THAT! He was frying bacon in my Christmas-new nonstick red-bottomed skillet. A half-pound of bacon, to be exact. He looked startled when I came in. Like when Jerry pretended to smother George with a pillow when he went to the hospital for a presumed heart attack, and Elaine walked in, and Jerry said, "Elaine. What are YOU doing here?"

It's not like bacon isn't allowed in the Mansion. I normally use it when cooking green beans. We're not big breakfast people, except on Christmas morning. I don't know why Farmer H was being so secretive. Unless he wanted a half-pound of bacon all to himself. I saw that he had set out a double-yolk egg and a banty egg. Let the record show that at no time did Farmer H offer me any of his cooking. Or his warming up of food on the stove, as he would call it if I was the person engaging in such behavior.

I turned on my bare heel and proceeded to the shower. Farmer H was gone when I came out. The #1 son was scurrying about, gathering items he needed for a hike after church. He paraded through the living room several times, munching bacon.

"Don't worry. I didn't want any of that for my breakfast."

"Oh. Did you? Because if you did, you should have told me before I just ate the last piece."

"Never mind. I don't think it was intended for me, anyway."


He's a scintillating conversationalist in the morning, that one. Now I need to procure more bacon. At least it wasn't like the time Farmer H captured two pot-bellied pigs while I was in town, with the plan to butcher one and fatten the other for future consumption.

Men and their bacon. Go together like horse and carriage.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tire 46, Looks 35

Farmer H took T-Hoe to get an oil change this morning. That little dashboard reminder that he had 27% oil life remaining was making me concerned for his health. Can't have my T-Hoe croaking on the way to work. He was in need of a transfusion, by cracky!

Along with his body fluid rejuvenation, T-Hoe received the once-over from the automobile podiatrist. As you may recall, Farmer H allegedly took T-Hoe to The Devil's Playground of Misfit Tires over a month ago. He reported that he paid five dollars for a new valve stem. Yet he never asked for reimbursement. And when informed that the tire was still losing air like a disgruntled freshman sighing in disgust, Farmer H argued that he had that problem fixed, to the tune of eight dollars. And still did not request reimbursement. So I deduced that the whole scenario was a Farmer's fairy tale.

Farmer H left the Mansion at 7:00 this morning. I suspect he was feeding at the tavern breakfast buffet trough, since I know of no oil-and-tire shops open that early. His other mission was to obtain a haircut. He called at 9:30 to report that the oil and tire issues were solved, and that he was headed to the barber. Heh, heh. I crack myself up. Headed to the barber. Snort.

He returned to the Mansion at 11:30. Believe you me, Farmer H does not have two hours worth of hair. Anyhoo...I wasted no time in reuniting with my precious T-Hoe for a trip to obtain a 44 oz. Diet Coke. You know. Because Farmer H would never think to call and ask if he could pick one up for me.

As I backed out of the garage, it felt like T-Hoe put a foot wrong. Or like I ran over an errant cat. Subsequent inspection revealed no dents in the garage door frame, nor any furry feline pancakes. I consulted my dashboard informant. The bad-tire-gone-good was bloated with 46 pounds of air pressure. The recommended inflation is 35. A quick call to Farmer H, on his way to the bowling alley with The Pony, resulted in a call-screening shut-out. The Pony, my living, breathing informant, answered his own phone. He interrogated Farmer H. Should I let some air out? Negative. Go ahead and drive it to town. Farmer H would take care of it when he got home.

Which is how we got into this mess to begin with.

When you drive one car exclusively for four years, you know when something is off. T-Hoe listed like a drunken sailor trying to stagger across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on November 7, 1940. I was sweaving worse than Farmer H on his most atrocious sweaving day. I felt like a toddler wearing one of his mother's high heels. Add to that the fear of imminent explosion. The driver of a nitroglycerin truck in the movie Wages of Fear could not have been more wary than I.

Note To Self: If you want something done right...don't ask Farmer H.

Friday, September 28, 2012

An Insider Tip For The Teachers Among Us

I fear that there is a conspiracy afoot at the hands of The People Who Make Dry Erase Marker Whiteboard Cleaner.

The People Who Make Dry Erase Marker Whiteboard Cleaner are taking us for a ride. Driving us down a narrow bumpy winding road, no more than a pig trail, really, at slapdash speed, errant sapling limbs whacking the elbows we have poked out open windows in an effort to appear nonchalant. Like we don't really know what TPWMDEMWC are doing to us. Which rhymes with mewing.

TPWMDEMWC are selling a product that does not clean the whiteboard. A product that does not even leave the whiteboard in a neutral state. A product that makes the whiteboard dirtier! There! I said it! We all know it's a racket. But each time we purchase their product, we hold out a little glimmer of hope. A wishful think that this time will be different. That the spray inside that plastic bottle will leave the whiteboard as slick and smooth and shiny as the day it was hung. And we are sorely disappointed.

Don't fear, my fellow whiteboardians! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has the solution. Stop throwing your good money down the rathole owned and operated as a not-very-amusing park by TPWMDEMWC. We're not gonna take it anymore. Not even those of you who are fortunate enough to waste your school district's money instead of your own. Allow me to quote a menacing dark avian with a penchant for rapping on chamber doors: NEVERMORE!

Use window cleaner. 

Yes. The blue stuff. Generic, even. Window cleaner will do you right. I used to swear by Save A Lot baby wipes. But window cleaner is even better. I learned that when I finally erased my whiteboard last week and left it bare overnight. My custodian, Cus, whipped that whiteboard into shiny shipshape. When I inquired as to the method of those mad cleaning skillz, Cus revealed the secret that has eluded us for so long. Window cleaner. And being a giving sort, Cus hooked me up with my very own spray bottle full, and a giant roll of white paper towels.

I am now the Queen of Cleanness, as well as the Queen of Meanness. And still the Emperor of Hillmomba.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Case Of Mistaken Identification

We had a discussion at the teacher lunch table today, about a kid who is (allegedly) absent a lot from one class. I don't have that kid this year. I have his brother. And they look just alike. I relayed this information to Arch Nemesis. She was in the midst of declaring that even though she sees this kid in the hall throughout the day, he is absent by the time her class period rolls around.

My fellow faculty agreed. Those boys look alike. Almost identical, except for the two-year age difference. The light bulb went on over Archie's head. Not an actual light bulb. That would take a written work order, an online work order, and approximately 90 days. Archie suddenly got it. That the kid she had been seeing in the hall was the brother, not the actual kid.

At that moment, he walked by. I pointed him out, in his red shirt and close-cropped hair. "See? There he goes now. I have him in my class every morning. That must be who you're seeing in the hall."

Archie gasped. Had I been seated next to her, she would have grabbed my arm for emphasis. As it was, I think the gal between us got the arm-squeezing. "That is incredible! They look exactly alike!"

Yeah. That's what we'd been trying to tell her. After lunch, I stood in the doorway of my classroom. Students strolled past on their way to other classes. There went Brother. I snickered to myself. Wait a minute! Brother was wearing a BLUE shirt! A few minutes later, Kid walked down the hall on his way to Archie's class. Still in the red shirt we'd spied him in at lunch. Sweet Gummi Mary! I had to remedy my false identification faux pas.

I saw Archie come out of the teacher workroom. "Hey! C'mere! That really WAS Kid in the lunch room! I just saw Brother go by wearing a BLUE shirt! They look so much alike that I thought Kid was his own brother!"

Archie got a giggle fit. She chuckled her way down the hall, no doubt to laugh in Kid's face when she signed his absentee slip. I'm glad I had the chance to tip her off.

So she didn't tell Kid that she knew he was really Brother, and trying to trick her.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Opportunist

Tonight is Survivor night. So I have to get my chores done early in order to blog and then watch my show. Last night, for example, I threw in a load of laundry, washed a sinkful of dishes, then whipped up a meal so that I would be freer with my time tonight.

I saved some chili for Farmer H to have chili dogs tonight. He professes that he LOVES chili dogs. Even hot dogs. And all that time I thought he was just lazy because that's all he ate when I was away or unable to warm something for him in the oven or microwave.

Tonight I fed the boys popcorn shrimp and baked potatoes. Don't be askin' about the green leafy vegetables. That ain't happenin' with The Pony, and the #1 son was served up broccoli, lettuce, and mini carrots with the turkey sub in today's school lunch. It's feast or famine in that cafeteria. Farmer H came in as I was scrubbing the potatoes. Let the record show that he was asked about his dinner selection this morning, and heartily agreed to the chili dogs. I told Farmer H that I was getting ready to put his hot dogs in the oven with the shrimp. Hot dogs cooked that way come out like they've been roasted over a fire. I also told him that I would put the chili in a pan on the back burner.

Farmer H declared that he was going out in the rain with his goats and chickens, then to the BARn, and that he would get his own chili dogs later. I asked if he was sure. The oven was already on. No trouble, really. But he declined the offer to warm his food. He planned to microwave the hot dogs and the chili later in the evening.

I served the boys, then set a tray holding mini-tacos in the oven for myself. You can't beat a good mini-taco with Save A Lot mild salsa on the side. They were supposed to cook (I mean WARM) for six to seven minutes. I finally took time to change into my fetching gray-and-purple ripped sweatpants and non-matching blue-and-white pin-striped oxford shirt with black socks and red Crocs. When I came out of the bathroom, there was Farmer H, standing at the #1 son's bedroom door. You didn't think #1 would still be eating after six minutes, did you?

"So you don't want your taquitos, or whatever they are?"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"In the oven. Those taquitos."

"I had shrimp."

"Oh. So they're not yours?"


I strolled up unnoticed. "What are you doing?"

"What! You scared me!"

"You're not eating my mini-tacos."

"I didn't touch your mini-tacos."

"Then how do you know that's what I'm having?"

"I looked in the oven."

"Why? You said you were going to the BARn, and that you would make your own supper later. I guess it's way easier to take whatever you find in the oven."

"I ain't takin' nothin'!"

"You sure were trying to work a deal for my mini-tacos. It's not like they are abandoned property, free for the taking. I was gone five minutes to change clothes, and you're already after my food."

"Forget it! Don't make me anything!"

Um. Did I offer to make him anything? I think not. That ship had already sailed, and he was leaning over the rail to wave and shout, "Bon voyage!"

The current status finds the mini-tacos comfortably digesting in my belly, and Farmer H gone back to town. I'm sure he is buying himself fast food, in an effort to foment dissension.  Won't work. I am sated and validated.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Annual Meeting Of The Misunderstood Word Society

Here's a little true story I heard at school today.

Several teenage boy siblings were sitting around at home. One had an app for his phone that gave him random facts. "Hey! Did you know that more people are killed by donkeys annually than by airplanes?"

The youngest sib frowned. "Ooohhh! That would be bad!"

The mom overheard. "Annually means yearly. YEARLY!"

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's A People-Drive-Cars World Out There

The weekend has not been kind to the furry woodland creatures of Hillmomba. Nor to their scaly cousins.

Friday evening, The Pony and I saw a huge snake coiled on our blacktop road, just past our turnoff from the county road. You know. Where the stop sign is always shot full of holes, but is now missing. He looked like a black snake, but he was coiled flat, not like a cobra ready to strike. Like a pink cotton-candy-flavored all-day sucker on a big wooden stick that your daddy might buy you at a carnival. I swerved to avoid him, keeping one eye out for oncoming traffic. By Saturday morning, Snakey's carcass lay mangled on the other side of the road. Fie on the murderers! Karma will bite them in their butts one of these days. With venom!

Saturday afternoon brought the discovery of a deceased raccoon. My, he was a big 'un! Huge! Paul Bunyan could have made a cap from him. That Davy Crockett fellow would have been no match for Paul. Davy could have curled up in that cap like a field mouse in a teacup.

This morning the high bridge over the big river held the remains of what appeared to be a fox. He was pretty flat and torn up. But he definitely was no possum or armadillo. Or snake or raccoon. Or rabbit or squirrel.

Thank the Gummi Mary we still have species that don't play chicken with automobiles. Just this afternoon, we saw a dark. sparrow-looking bird, only bigger, with a white patch on its back. Like a tramp stamp. The size of a silver dollar. And the bird sitting next to Trampy on the fence wire took off and flashed us the YELLOW undersides of its wings. The rest of it was kind of a dark gray, only lighter than Trampy. I'm not a birder, so I don't know what they were. Not our everyday crows and pigeons and killdeer and red-winged blackbirds and hawks and hummingbirds, that's for sure.

The squirrels are still squirrelly enough to dodge tires.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hillbilly Mom's 17-Ingredient Chili

The sudden plunge in overnight temperatures this weekend had me yearnin' for some chili. So I fetched my main cauldron out of the bottom cabinet and commenced to brewin'.

My chili recipe is a left-brained cook's nightmare. There is no neat list of precise ingredients. Forget those little ramekins lined up on the counter, eagerly waiting to divulge their exact measures. Like a snowflake, each pot of Hillbilly Mom's chili is unique. Or very unique, as those annoying people who don't have a grasp on word meanings might say.

I start with a packet of chili seasoning. What do you think this is, a gourmet kitchen? Very little is done from scratch here. You remember my cooking style, right? Warming things in the oven or heating them in the microwave? Yeah.

I pour in a can of tomato sauce, and a can of diced tomatoes. Except for today, because in spite of enough canned goods in my pantry hoard to survive the apocalypse until roaches and rats unfurl a white flag, I had neither. So I used a small jar of pizza sauce.

Next come the beans. Two cans of chili beans. Plus one can of dark kidney beans and one can of light. Except that the light chili beans were in a dented can at the Devil's checkout, so I pawned them off on the checker and refused to add a new ingredient, botulism, to my chili. A can of Save A Lot baked beans is required. And a can of black-eyed peas.

Now we commence with the sauces. A dash of Worcestershire. A shake of steak sauce. A dollop of hickory barbecue sauce. A glug of Heinz 57. Several shakes of Franks Original Hot Wing sauce. A squirt of ketchup.

Minced garlic adds a nice tang. Maybe a spoonful. Some fresh-ground black pepper. Until my thumb gets tired of holding down the grinding button.

Four packets of Splenda to take away the twang.

A couple of pounds of browned and drained ground beef.

A whole onion, diced and sweated until clear.

Mmm...supper, tomorrow's supper, topping for chili dogs, and a quart for Grandma.

That's Hillbilly Mom's 17-Ingredient Chili. This time.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

An Untimely Eviction

You know how it is at teacher inservice days. How you stake out a table by marking your territory with water bottles, keys, cell phones, bags of cough drops or hard candy, paper, pens, or a four-inch-long colorful flip-flop Christmas tree ornament that you just bought from the mother of a Boy Scout. How some unassuming fellow faculty member sits down, not recognizing what belongs to whom, and then gets up to make a graceful exit when the owners appear, to find where her usual crew is sitting.

You must also know how it rattles your cage to be asked to move right before the presentation starts. After all the other good tables are taken. Asked to move to the center of the room. To a long table that will require you to turn your neck at a ninety-degree angle for six hours. That will make it harder to communicate with your cronies than the round table you had arrived twenty minutes early to claim for your clique.

It's almost as bad as getting to the movies a half-hour before showtime, and the usher asking you after the opening title sequence to slide over to the wall so some latecomers can have seats together on the end of your chosen row.

It does not matter that your 'new' table is only 18 feet from your chosen table. You know that, because if you laid three coaches head to foot, that's the distance they would cover. The point is that you got there early to get a table, and now you are being ripped from your comfort zone. That being told, "What does it matter, it's a simple request, so just do it," is not a way to promote good will. That even though a tablemate roams the perimeter and gathers 12 (TWELVE) Dixie Cups of pastel after-dinner mints to bring to your new location, sugar is a poor substitute for security.

Even Steven owes me one.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Jagged. And Wet.

Heh, heh. I am getting even as we speak. Okay, not so much speak, as I write and you read. But still. I'm exacting revenge. Right now.

This morning I went to put on my shoes to head to school for a teacher inservice day. And I noticed that my great toe nail on my left foot was a bit long in the tooth. So I took the extra time to go back into the bathroom and prune it. Normally, I do that after a shower, when the nails are pliable. Flexible. Tender. But this morning they were hardening like arteries in a sumo wrestler.

I had really let this one nail grow out of control. Like a junior on prom night. It was not so much a toenail as a talon. That Napoleon Dynamite line could have been about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's toenail. On her left great toe. That's the scientific name for it, you know. Not big toe. Great toe. Yes, Napoleon could have told that chicken farmer, "Your Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has large talons." Because once he'd seen that left one, he could only assume that the right one was the same.

So there I was, with my foot hiked up on the edge of the big forest-green triangle bathtub, prying away at that large talon like a blacksmith trimming the hoof of a foundered pony. And it happened. A sharp, jagged, portion of the talon shot off like a Saturn V rocket. Into the tub.

Well. Of course there was no time for me to climb in and retrieve that bit of future flotsam. Farmer H will have to discover it during his next bath. I'm a shower person all the way. Makes me no nevermind if Farmer H finds my talon shard when it bites him in the butt.

Let's just consider it retaliation for his chicken-feather sink-clogging, breather-germ-spraying, arm-uprooting pillow-pile, no-slow-leak-tire-changing ways.

I shall not be scorned.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

You're The Reaon We Can't Have Nice Pies

What is with these people who don't sort out their money before stuffing it in a billfold (get it, it's called a billFOLD) or purse or pocket? Don't they know that the biggest denomination should go in the back, then the others in order, with the crispest bills in back and the limpest in front, before folding once, in half? How can people not know that? Sweet Gummi Mary!

In no way, shape, or form is it proper to leave your bills all dog-eared and asymmetric! No no no no no! That will make the king take extra time in the counting house, counting out his money! Which means the queen will have too much time to eat bread and honey. So much, in fact, that she might not fit out the parlor door. And that poor maid will be left hanging clothes for so long in the garden that the blackbirds can snip off not only her nose, but both ears, her bottom lip, and one eye. Which has a tendency to make a maid a bit surly.

So keep it up, money messers. Before long we'll all be coming down with food poisoning from eating blackbird pie made by surly, one-eyed, earless, gaping-mouthed, noseless maids.

Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Shirt Pocket Apothecary

I am a firm believer in the shirt pocket apothecary.

Just this morning, my own personal drug store was called into action. The Pony had a severe headache. One worthy of regurgitation. He ate some applesauce. He took an acetaminophen. Thirty minutes later, poor Pony was still hurtin' for certain. We were on the way to school by then. So I reached into my shirt pocket stash and pulled out an ibuprofen. The Pony ate a Hawaiian Roll in tiny sections, and choked down the pill. By the time we got to school, his pain was beginning to recede enough for him to enter the building. Thank the Gummi Mary! Because Grandma was on a trip to Ste. Genevieve with Sis, Farmer H was at work, Genius had robot practice after school, and Mrs. HM herself was, ahem, working! There was nowhere else for The Pony to go. Had I not needed to prepare two classes for tests tomorrow, I could have taken a sick day to sit with him.

I always carry some medication in my pocket, just in case. An ibuprofen because that's all that works for my aches and pains, and the headaches of the #1 son. Acetaminophen, because that's what I give The Pony. An aspirin, because those people on TV say to have one handy in case you're about to croak from a heart attack in the grocery store, and a Pepcid for after lunch.

Lucky for #1 that I had tossed in an extra ibuprofen this morning. Because he darkened my classroom door just before sixth hour, seeking relief for his headache. Sure, I could send him to the office for a FREE ibuprofen. But that's not how I roll. I'm surprised they can keep any in stock, what with it being FREE and all. We all know how fast FREE bottles of water disappear on days the town pump is awaiting repair. However, I like being the one to dish out drugs to my own children.

It's not like I can keep a bottle of each kind of pain reliever in my room. Heavens to Betsy! This is a school we're talkin' about! You can't leave stuff like that laying around behind closed doors in a locked classroom where students have no business. NO! Just no!

I don't like to carry my purse into the building. I have personal items in there, you know. Along with my financial information, and credit cards, and checks, behooves one to be overly cautious with one's belongings in an institutional setting.

So you see, the shirt pocket apothecary is actually a scathingly brilliant idea. Now if I could only find a shirt pocket big enough for one of those defibrillator thingies...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Mind Is The Fourth To Go

I think I'm losing my faculties.

Last night, Farmer H had to go back to work after a school fundraiser. That left the animals unfed. The Pony scattered some chicken feed when he gathered eggs, and watered the goats as usual. But Farmer H had neglected to inform The Pony that he would not be home before dark. He called and told me to ask The Pony to put some food in the goat trough.

Night came and went. I thought about the goats around 3:00 a.m. Did I tell The Pony to feed them? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I could not recall. So when I woke Farmer H, I told him he should probably drive over by the goat pen on the way to work, and dump in some food.

On the way home after school, as we came up the driveway, I told The Pony, "You know, the goats almost starved to death last night because of me."

The Pony was indignant. "How could they starve to death when I went over and gave them some scoops of food?"

Well. I guess that mystery is solved. Scooby and the gang can turn the Mystery Machine right around and have a snack. I was sure I forgot to tell The Pony. He disagrees.

I would say that the mind is the first to go. But I think the mind takes a back seat to glossy black hair, knee joint cartilage, and firm womanly curves.

Monday, September 17, 2012

One Man's Roadkill Is Another Man's Evening Meal

Too bad Farmer H and the #1 son had a previous engagement tonight. I coulda cooked up a rip-snorting pot o' vittles for our supper. It would have been wasted on just me and The Pony. This is one time that opportunity knocked and was left standing on the porch while I peered at him through the peephole, pretending I wasn't home, trying to control my breathing so he couldn't hear.

Nature's rich bounty beckoned to me all the way to school this morning. Not two miles from the Mansion was a squashed possum. No need to tenderize that varmint. His meat was already falling off his bones. While I bemoaned the loss of such a prime ingredient for the stewpot, a turtle snuck up on me. Not so much snuck up, as laid on the road in his cracked armor daring me to pop a tire by driving over his shattered shell. I envisioned a tasty batch of turtle brittle. But alas, no time to stop. Freshmen wait for no woman. Hi ho, hi hent, it's off to school I went. Halfway there, the third course made its appearance. An armadillo, complete with shell. You don't see those things every day. He was kind of ensconced in his own boilin' bag. I could imagine burying him in the coals of my fire pit out back by the cement pond, and roasting him in his own juices. No need to even waste foil wrapping him. Too bad, so sad. I had to pass him by. Time constraints, you know.

With a little ingenuity, I'm sure The Pony could have rigged up a slingshot of sorts with his car charger and some half-full water bottles. He could have bagged me some four and twenty blackbirds from those pecking at my main ingredients. Then we might have had a pie.

Those critters really need to attend a road-crossing seminar presented by a chicken.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Cross Section Of The Hive

Dagnabbit! Another weekend has come and gone. How does the weekend fly by at ten times the speed of weekdays? I call shenanigans! There's a conspiracy afoot.

Poor Farmer H had to work Saturday. And he will next Saturday, too. Sure, it was only a half day. Seven to eleven-thirty. But still...the Farmer doesn't have summers off like the boys and me. He gets four weeks of vacation scattered throughout the year, to take a day here and there, or lump it together a week at a time.

Of course, my weekends are filled with work. Just not paid work. The Pony and I have started doing the Devil's shopping on Friday evenings, on the way home from school. I'm exhausted. But it saves me half a weekend day of getting up and getting there and putting stuff away.

The #1 son acts like all the world's a weekend. He comes and goes weeknights like he doesn't have to get up and apply his nose to the grindstone in his senior year honors classes. On the actual weekend, he might dismantle electronic gadgets for parts, play the piano for fun, fiddle with a photography project, spend the night at a friend's house, visit his grandma to utilize her high-speed internet for various downloads, and run the sound for the church service. As weather permits, he mows lawns or cuts firewood.

The Pony goes with the flow. He's pulled in many directions over the course of a weekend. He is my right-hand horse. My go-to guy. Shopping, gathering laundry, bagging up the cardboard for burning, holding the dustpan, tending the goats, fetching the special projects concocted by Farmer H. He bowls in a Saturday morning league, as does #1. His free time is spent lounging on the basement couch, reading, writing, and primarily gaming on his laptop. Don't you worry about The Pony and his heavy workload. He is compensated with fast food and books and sleepovers at his grandma's house.

We're like a hive of bees. Not that we're busy. Or hard workers. We all have our roles in keeping the Mansion running.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Turn, Turn, Turn

We have a four-day week coming up. The students, that is. We teachers will be resting on our ample rumps Friday, soaking up Common Core Standards like so many badly-coiffed, frumpily-dressed Bounty paper towels soaking up water from the counter of Rosie's Diner. I think it's going to be a long day. If only Rhoda Morgenstern's mom was the official presenter, she could hawk all the paper towels her little heart desired. If she was still alive, of course. I'm not summoning her from the great beyond to liven up our teacher in-service day. That would just be wrong. Kind of like trying to contact JFK with an Ouija Board at an eighth-grade slumber party.

The school year is flying by. We're already at progress report time, halfway through 1st quarter. Next Saturday is the Autumn Equinox. I feel sorry for people who live where there are no differences between seasons. I need to lay in a supply of chili and soup fixins. You know. So I can make Farmer H his tower of vegetable beef soup.

This is my favorite time of year. The slant of the sunlight. The smell of crispy leaves crushed under car tires and feet. Poor Pony. He saw a large cardboard box full of gourds at The Devil's Playground. They were knotty and gnarly and warty, orange, yellow, green, striped, mottled. "That's a funny pumpkin," he said. I had to explain that they were gourds. Not pumpkins. Apparently, gourds are not well-represented in the video game world.

Can Dave Murray's long-range winter forecast be far-off? Heh, heh. I meant far off as in time. But we all know that Dave is usually FAR OFF in terms of predicted precipitation. I don't see how he can face the camera every day. And he's quite generous in grading himself once the season has passed. You folks without access to St. Louis FOX 2 News don't know what you're missing. But you're actually not missing much.

Time to start perusing the channels for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Three Out Of Four Ain't Bad

I let my classes do partner work today on a long and winding study guide. That's the good news. The bad news was that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom selected the partners by drawing randomly from a set of index cards with their names.

This was their first time for such collaborative learning in my classroom. As always, I cautioned them about their responses to the partner reveal.

"We will not show emotion upon hearing the name of our partner. You are unlikely to get the partner of your dreams. In fact, some of you may get the partner of your nightmares. But remember that you will only be working with them for about 30 minutes. Surely you can manage to work with a classmate for that amount of time without issue. If not, then we will not be doing any more partner work. So let's get this straight. No shouts of joy, no groans of despair. We are civilized human beings. We will not be unkind to our classmates. Is that understood?"

Three of the four classes did very well. There were several matches made in not-heaven. Like the girl paired with the boy she tried to show how to whistle through her fists yesterday, causing me to chastise HIM because I heard the whistle and saw his hands. Even though he could not make the whistle. Funny how quickly he forgave her.

The class of offenders was the class with the most exemplary behavior each day. As some people call them, the smart kids. Though I prefer to think of them as the kids who care about earning good grades. Because they all put forth effort, there was really no bad partner to be had. When names were pulled, some high-fived. Some fist-pumped. Some groaned because that's the person they sit by every day anyway. I told them they were not doing well in the non-showing of emotion department. They apologized.

"You people will not be winning any Academy Awards for your subtle acting techniques. You also will not be winning at poker, because you cannot conceal your emotions."

I don't think they cared. This is the kind of group who would form an MIT card-counting team to beat the casinos at blackjack. Not to get rich. To prove that they could.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Teachery Kind Of Joke

Okay, I simply have to share this little biology worksheet faux pas with you.

My students were supposed to list three abiotic factors in the environment. For you not-very-sciency folks, abiotic means nonliving. As opposed to biotic factors, which are alive. The textbook gave several abiotic factors, such as sunlight, water, wind, soil, temperature.

A student listed three abiotic factors as: sunlight, water, wine.

That cracked me up. Technically correct. But not quite right.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ouchy Ouch Ouch

There's something in the air.

Well, it WAS in the air. Now it has traveled up my nose and imbedded itself in my sinus cavities. They are cavities no more. They are clogged like last week's kitchen sink drain. My head has been throbbing above the eye sockets since last night. My best friends acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin have let me down.

It does not behoove you to annoy Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Like that loud-shouter on my right at the teacher lunch table. And the son who slammed the front door when he arrived home from roboting. And the three dogs who yip and yap from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

I feel like I have an ice cream headache. But without the delicious mint chip or french silk treat. Something's gotta give. Because this head pain gives me a pain between my shoulder blades.

And makes me a pain in everyone else's nether regions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Life Of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Exhausting

I know why I am so tired. I am the keeper of every item in the universe. Or at least in the Hillbilly Mansion.

The #1 son just popped into my office to ask if we have a digital thermometer. Of course I grew fearful for his well-being. "Do you have a fever?"

"No. I want to know if our hot water is below 108 degrees."

"I don't think you can use a thermometer for that. They are made for PEOPLE. So I don't think they go much above 106 degrees. You'll blow it out."

"But I only want to go to 108."

"It doesn't work that way. If the water is hotter, the thermometer won't stop at 108. It will break."

"Just tell me if we have one."

"Why don't you ask your dad what he set the hot water for. I'm sure there's a setting. He'll know how hot it gets."

"That defeats my purpose. I need to find out how hot the water is, so I know if I can develop my own film. If it gets hotter than 108, I'll turn on more cold until it's lower."

"But the thermometer can't handle 108."

"Just tell me where it is."

"Like I know! It's on the TV table, or it's in the right or left bathroom drawer."

 What about the one I used in my science fair project on freezing soda? (Four years ago)

"I don't know. What about it?"

"That one would work. It was for cooking. Where is it?"

"I guess it's with all that stuff from that science fair project."

SIGH. "Why are you like this?"

"I am tired of being the keeper of everything. You guys would just lay around burning up with fever, never even looking for a thermometer because that's too much work. To find it where it belongs, and put it back where it belongs. I am NOT the keeper of everything in the world!"

I'm not!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Top Secret Mission

I love my mother. Really. I do. She is so thoughtful. Always helping me with my children. Bolstering my spirits. Believing in me. Laughing at my jokes. Giving me little gifts like individual packs of peanuts. And apples.

Every morning at 6:00, I call Mom to chat for a few minutes. If I don't call by 6:05, she calls me. We usually discuss our plans for the day, or the latest happenings on Big Brother, or what the boys have been up to lately. This morning, Mom asked me to deliver some of her not-world-famous Chex Mix to a fellow teacher who attends Mom's church. Her plan was to meet me on the school parking lot and transfer the goods. Oh, and she had a couple of apples she wanted to give me.

That was what Mom said. "Oh, my friend went to Eckert's, and brought me some apples. I'd like to bring you two of them if that's okay." Well. Who turns down two perfectly good apples picked by an old lady at Eckert's? Not this gal. So I told Mom she could bring me the apples.

The Pony and I pulled onto the blacktop parking lot and backed into our isolated space two from the end. Mom was already waiting. She hustled over with the Chex Mix in a paper sack. That stuff is like crack for teachers. It wouldn't do for somebody to find out that one guy was getting some, and nobody else was being Chexed. The plan was for The Pony to drop it off to that teacher on his way to 1st hour. Oh, and Mom was carrying the apples. SIX APPLES. Sealed in a large ZipLoc bag.

Oh, the dilemma. I could not leave them in T-Hoe through the day. The sun beating in on the black leather seats was sure to turn that vehicle into an apple tomb. They would be heads for dolls by the time I came out, thanks to the ol' greenhouse effect. I have not forgotten the succulent garden tomatoes that Mom sent home after church with the #1 son, who left them sealed hermetically in their ZipLoc shroud inside his little red truck all afternoon at 107 degrees. I'm going to make a little recipe card to set on the counter of my proposed handbasket factory. A recipe explaining How to Parboil Tomatoes in a Ford Ranger.

So...I took the see-through bag of six apples and headed into the building. I felt like a decoy to take the heat off The Pony and his secret stash of Chex Mix.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Public Service Announcement From The Emperor Of Hillmomba

Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on?

Could somebody please give me a hand? Not as in applause. That comes later. Mixed with catcalls and boos, and hopefully no tar or feathers. My own petard is not sturdy enough to bear my ever-increasing weight, so I hope no hoisting will be attempted, either. Where was I...oh, needing a hand in climbing down from my high horse onto a soapbox. Thank you so much, gentleman in camouflage with a big dip of smokeless tobacco in your lip. This kind of pertains to you.

With deer season right around the corner, I feel it necessary make my annual address to the nation of Hillmomba. As every year, the subject of my manifesto is: Hunters are People, Too. I know that I am entering dangerous territory. I might as well bring up religion, politics, or spanking one's children at the teacher lunch table. Okay. Awkward. That's kind of like shooting an elephant in my pajamas. But I think we all understand that the spanking would be in the home, and the discussion would be at the teacher lunch table. And we're not talking about shooting elephants, but about shooting deer.

Citizens of Hillmomba, I do not begrudge any individual his right to believe as he chooses. It takes all kinds to move this nation forward. Variety is the spice of life. If you like to put out a corn plot and feed cute little fawns, may Sweet Gummi Mary be with you. Stand aside. I've got no interest in you today. My goal is to educate, not castigate.

Hillmomban PETAns, those of you who foam at the mouth any time you perceive the treatment of animals to veer from the path you have designated...I am talking to you. You may continue your crusade. Take in as many animals as you like, as long as they are treated humanely. Campaign to stop cruelty in animal research. In the food industry. In product testing. But please refrain from belittling the hunters of Hillmomba. They are the linchpin of the last bastion of political incorrectness, and they shoulder a double whammy. Redneck hillbillies and fat people are all you have left to publicly ridicule and discriminate against. But I'll let that topic slide for another day.

Hillmomban PETAns, you may espouse your opinions until the cows come home. Shout them from the rooftops. Dance naked waving signs with catchy slogans under the light of the full moon. But please refrain from lumping all hunters into one category and calling them obscene names. It is not becoming.

Hunting is a sport. Joe Hunter is not pulling the wings off of flies. He is not shooting fish in a barrel, mowing down bison with a Sharps Rifle from the window of a moving train, or making a fortune selling barrels of salted Passenger Pigeons to the citizens of New York. He is not harming the earth with his carbon footprint to fly to Africa and shoot wildlife photos, or hunt big game for a head on his wall. Joe Hunter is harvesting meat for his family while protecting deer herds from overpopulation.

I ask you, Hillmomban PETAns, have you ever heard of the deer problem in St. Louis County? In Creve Coeur, or Town and Country? Check it out. Google is your friend. That's what happens when man moves in and eliminates the natural predators of deer. Deer do not practice birth control. We cannot sit on our hands and wait for them to die of old age while more are being born every minute. Every habitat has a carrying capacity. Even in the country. Too many deer mean not enough food. Why, Hillmomban PETAns, do you wish for deer to die a slow, lingering death from starvation? You should be thanking Joe Hunter for his humane solution to an ongoing problem.

Joe Hunter does not command you to join the hunt, Hillmomban PETAns. He realizes that his sport is not for everybody. In turn, you should not disparage Joe Hunter for engaging in his favorite pastime. Let's remember that we are Hillmombans first, and PETAns and hunters second. Civility should be maintained for the sake of our nation.

Thank you. That now concludes the yearly address on hunters' rights.

Watch for my next appearance here at the town square, during which I will expound on another annual topic: The Flap Over Flu Shots.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It Somewhat Smacks Of Charity

What a beautiful day in Hillmomba! Temperatures in the very low seventies. A glint of autumn in the slanted sunlight. The smell of freshly cut grass mingled with hickory smoke. But you know what the most sought-after activity was for the native Hillmombans?


It's true! I dropped off The Pony for his bowling league, and proceeded to town for some gas. While I was there, I figured I would put some air in my slow-leak tire. It was down six pounds. Imagine my surprise when I saw, while gassing up T-Hoe, a LINE for the free air that flows like milk and honey from the brown box on the front wall of Casey's. A cool dude with no shirt, saggy jeans, and boxer briefs sucked from the teat of the convenience-store air hose. I thought I might have a chance to drive over when he pulled out. But NO! A red car came in beside him to wait. And that guy hosed it up as well. While I was in line waiting for a young couple in front of me to come back from the soda machine and pay the $29 and change for their two individual slices apiece of pizza, and energy drinks in small bottles, and Red Bulls, and who knows what else, I spied out the front window a truck that had backed in beside the magical air dispenser.


That's a new one on me. I know that Farmer H has an air compressor at the BARn. And that the #1 son says we have a tank that we fill with air from the compressor to put air in my T-HOE tires (except in times when they lose four pounds of air a week and really need it routinely). But I never in my wildest dreams or nightmares thought I would see a guy in overalls at Casey's filling a tank with air from the red car-hose.

Then's free. People are gonna soak up whatever resources they can if they don't have to pay.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Foul Is Foul

Perhaps I've mentioned that The Pony prefers to ride in the T-Hoe seat behind me. None of that front-seat business for him. At first, I thought he was simply avoiding conflict with the #1 son over who got to ride beside me. Silly me. I'm not THAT much in demand as a traveling companion. Even when #1 was stuck with me as his hauler, he jammed in his earphones and pretended that he couldn't hear me. Until The Pony and I grew complacent, and let slip a few disparaging remarks concerning the #1 who can't be mocked.

These days, it's mostly just The Pony and me tooling down the back roads. And he still insists on riding behind me. I suppose it's to discourage conversation. I'm sure it's not a subtle comment on my driving style.

This afternoon we were almost home. The Pony had just picked up the mail. I heard a guttural utter, then a loud, long SNIFF. Because The Pony is not a cocaine addict, nor an eight-year-old in the throes of a head cold, I knew something was up.

"Did you just expel some gas?"


"Then what's that sniffing all about? It sounds like you farted, and you're trying to get a whiff. Or suck it all in through your nostrils before I notice."

"Nooooo...I'm trying to get in a good breath before I start to smell it. Ooh! Too late!"

"I'm not even breathing through my nose. I'm letting it out." I rolled down my window, and the opposite window in the back seat. Trying to create a cross flow to blow the smell out.

"Hey! It's gone. You can roll up the windows now."

"I don't think so. You might be trying to trick me. Just because it's gone back there doesn't mean that it hasn't climbed into the front seat with me. It's probably riding shotgun right now. Waiting to switch the radio station when I'm preoccupied with keeping this thing wheel-side down. Hey! It's HOT out there. I'm taking my chances." I rolled up the windows to enjoy my 68-degree air conditioning.

But I still didn't breathe through my nose.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Strange Case Of TMI and TLI

You think you know your offspring...

For the first time since he started driving to school, the #1 son popped into my room after the final bell. He needed to kill some time until the baseball game, where he was supposed to take pictures for the yearbook. Within five minutes, the game was cancelled due to a big ol' lightning and wind storm on the radar.

I asked #1 if he would stop by the Dollar Store and pick up some Drano for me on his way home. He takes a faster route. I had another stop to make, and I wanted us both home before that storm made its way to the Mansion. You'd think a kid could pick up some Drano. Or simply say, "I don't feel like running your errands." But no. My kid had a detailed reason to decline.

"I can't buy Drano! I'm not 18 yet."

"Funny how they never card me when I buy Drano."

"They won't sell it to me. You can make meth out of Drano."

Now I've heard it all. I know they watch the watchamacallit in cold and sinus pills. That The Devil moved them behind the pharmacy counter and narcs out anybody who tries to buy too much. But Drano is a new one. The last time I checked, it was still on the shelf by the toilet cleaner. But the bigger question here is how does #1 know the ingredient list for the meth recipe? My only consolation is that a kid who tries to sleep twenty hours a day is not using meth. And has precious little time to run a business. Oh, and he's always begging for money. So he's not yet using his powers for evil.

The Pony also surprised me this afternoon. We hustled out to T-Hoe when the first fat raindrops started to fall. I asked The Pony to show me where there's a penny ensconced in the blacktop of the parking lot. He told me about it two days ago, but in all these years of parking in the same spot, I've never seen it.

"Here it is, Mom."

"I never would have seen that. It might be a dime."

"No. It's a penny. I saw the Temple of Lincoln."

Sweet Gummi Mary! What are they teaching my boys in history class? The Temple of Lincoln, indeed! The Pony can spout out all means of statistics on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Greek and Roman history and mythology, Egyptian pharaohs, and Mayan civilization...but he thinks we built a temple for Lincoln?

The village really needs to put forth a more concerted effort in the raising of my children.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Round And Round She Goes

I have an issue.

I know you are shaking your head, looking sideways at each other, muttering, "How uncharacteristic of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to have an issue. It must be the blue moon last month that set her off."

Let me assure you that I did not go looking for an issue. No more than I would go looking for a Harvestman in my basement NASCAR toilet. Issues find me. There I'll be, minding my own old-lady bidness, when here comes an issue careening out of nowhere, bearing down on me with the speed of a hungry lioness on the savanna, just itching to sink its glistening pointy issue teeth into my rumpus. It's a wonder I have enough buttocks left to sit on.

Today the issue found me at the roundabout. Yes. The wizards of the Hillmomban Highway Department decided that in place of the old stoplight that guaranteed Mrs. Hillbilly Mom safe crossing from her road over the interstate, Hillmomba needed a pretzelly, acreage-gobbling exchange to confuse all non-native Hillmombans and torment the regular folks. Access ramps and exit ramps over a half mile long, weaving amongst each other like the strands of a poorly-woven wicker basket, or tufts of hair in a Whoville coiffure. And there are TWO! Two roundabouts which I must navigate daily. FOUR total! I might as well move to Europe.

The thing about a roundabout is that once you're in, you're in. You can drive round and round and never leave. It's a roundabout, see? You can go around as many times as you'd like. It's the Hotel California of roadway interchanges.

The second thing about a roundabout is that in place of jamming on your brakes to come to a halt at an intersection, you have a chance to never stop at all. I know, right? It's like a lottery for your brakes. Just pay attention to the yield signs. Oh, yes. You must yield to any vehicles already coming around the roundabout. They may keep going in front of you, or they may veer off before they get to you. You never know. Because signals are not used in roundabouts. That's what makes them so advanced, I suppose. So progressive.

This afternoon, some dude in a blue uniform shirt thought he could barrel off the exit ramp at 75 mph and not yield. Or stop. I kept going, of course. Because I was in the roundabout. I had the right-of-way. He had a yield sign, after all. Those are legal and binding, aren't they? That dude jammed on his brakes and slid to a stop. His red face complemented his blue uniform shirt. It was either law enforcement or corrections officer.

Those guys really need an outlet for their anger.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Perilous Potion

Over the long weekend, I treated myself to three 44 oz. Diet Cokes. Not all at one time, of course. One each day. I jumped right back into the routine. It's like riding a bicycle. You never forget how to enjoy a 44ozDC.

Along with the consumption of this delectable elixir come certain side effects. Alertness. Euphoria. Bladderbloating. Lucky for me, the NASCAR bathroom is right next to my office. A hop and a skip, really. But Monday there was a jump.

I estimate that I was on my third trip across the black-and-white-checkered tiles that so emulate a finish flag. I had just arisen from the throne, my current business done, when I saw my predicament. As I reached for the lever to flush away a portion of my 44ozDC, there was movement just under the rim.


My heart fluttered in my throat. Three times, I had plopped my nether regions down on that seat! Three times, but for the grace of Sweet Gummi Mary, Even Steven, and Accumulated Karma, I was seconds and centimeters away from that creepy crawly critter climbing onto my exposed flesh. Please shudder with me at the thought.

It could have been worse, I suppose. Just ask Beulah Balbricker from Porky's II: The Next Day. That poor sweet gym teacher had to contend with a SNAKE in the toilet, put there by Tommy Turner. They had kind of a history, Beulah and Tommy, ever since she grabbed his...but I digress.

The daddy long-legs appearance was my own fault. I had seen him lurking behind the door a few days ago. He wasn't bothering me. Not like some wayward field mouse or slithery centipede making rustling noises in my office. So I let him be. We observed a somewhat shaky truce. He stayed behind the door, and I pretended he was not there. He broke his part of the bargain.

Oh, how he had lured me into a false sense of security. How could a creature called a Harvestman be bad? He doesn't even have venom like his spidery kin. A Harvestman. A hard-working sort, toiling in the fields, wiping the sweat from his brow and red neck with a dripping dark-blue bandana, salt of the earth, just trying to get by, not meaning harm to anyone.

Of course, I doubt you would want a harmless Harvestman peering at you from inside your toilet, either. Especially after you had just exposed your tender parts to him three times. Mr. Harvestman must have sensed my embarrassment. He ducked back inside the indoor outhouse. I forced my shaky legs to carry me back to my keyboard.

The thing with a 44ozDC is that it's a gift that keeps on giving. All to soon, I was rushing back to the varmint hole. I saw Mr. Harvestman take a quick peek. I grabbed two squares of toilet paper and knocked him into the bowl proper. And drowned him with a deluge. One quick flush, and the nightmare was over.

I imagine Mr. Harvestman is doing the backstroke in the septic tank right about now.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Killer Chickens Of Hillmomba

I sat down at the big living room window this morning. The one that looks out on the front yard of the Mansion. There's no window seat or furniture arrangement highlighting our eye on the world. It's not like this is the Palace of Versailles. It's the Hillbilly Mansion, for cryin' out loud. Which means that I plopped my ample posterior down on the end of a coffee table with part of the surface peeled away from a sticky-mouse-pad faux pas by the #1 son. Not that this is the preferred seat. It happens to abut my laptop, Sheba, perched upon a wooden TV tray, the better to soak up satellite rays for my Sprint connect card internet dealybobber.

As I logged on to begin my day at 7:30 a.m., I noticed a commotion along the treeline. The treeline previously hidden by the fifth-wheel camper that sat in the front yard for twelve years before we gave it away. Let it not be said that the Hillbilly family is not charitable. These are not the actual woods woods. They're in the back of the Mansion. This is a stand of trees that surround the three sinkholes that run from the Mansion to the road an eighth of a mile away. Perhaps we should have had a geological survey assessment before having Farmer H's friend the sometimes felon frame up the Mansion and get it under roof in two days. Nah. That's what folks with common sense would do.

The commotion was caused by a black half-grown chicken. One of the new batch of sixteen, not the newest batch of five, which were happily cheep cheep cheeping with their momma in the goat pen. This dark adolescent fowl was running from a mob. Not an angry mob with pitchforks and torches, but an excited mob, with robbery in mind.

That black chicken scurried along the trees with a mouse in her beak. She veered into the open, ran toward the house, turned to my left at the rusty upturned antique metal washtub, darted past the lilac bush, crossed the brief expanse of grass next to the upended-brick-enclosed bed of lava rock, and disappeared under the rose bush. The mob followed. They soon vanished as well, so I'm thinking the skilled hunter hauled her deceased prey past the downspout and around the corner, where she shimmied through an opening in the lattice to an underporch lair.

Who knew that chickens killed mice? Not me! There was nary a cat or dog to be seen. The white fur of the mouse belly at first made me think this killer was carrying a piece of trash. A torn paper plate, perhaps. But when she came closer, I saw the dangling feet and tail. The head was not evident. It had either been pecked off, or was hanging under the beak behind the body.

I told Farmer H that he needs to keep a chicken or two in the garage. They'll show those lazy cats what mice are for.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's A Cultural Thing

They've gone and done it again.

These rowdy Hillmombans take things too far. Shooting at stop signs is prohibited in our rural nation, but apprehension and prosecution of the marksmen is a Sisyphean task. We law-abiding citizens barely blink an eye anymore at the ventilated traffic signs. Likewise, it is not uncommon for such markers to list drunkenly to one side. That's what happened to our new stop sign that replaced the shot-up stop sign.

Yesterday, Stoppy was leaning even further. Like he had a case of the spins, or needed to regurgitate the last evening's liquid courage without soiling his shiny unileg. Imagine our surprise this morning, upon heading to town for The Pony's overnight sojourn with his grandma, when we observed the absence of Stoppy.

He was gone. Gone with the Rowdies. Headed for parts unknown. But most definitely for parts. Only Hillmomban Rowdies would think to steal stop signs for scrap metal. I hope they have the foresight to melt Stoppy down to his molten beginnings, then allow him to re-congeal before trying to garner cash for his carcass.

Then again...I am sure the Rowdies have contacts who will purchase Stoppy in all his red shining glory.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Plague Of Stingers And Strikers

You might recall that I had an unwelcome visitor in my classroom last week. A possum-playing scorpion who took my breath away when he had the nerve to start walking and flaunting his stinger when I attempted to scoop up his old dead self on a scrap of paper. Never trust a dead scorpion.

Friday, Arch Nemesis had her own close encounter. With a six-inch serpent. I don't think he was playing possum, though. Archie called for reinforcements to evict her intruder. I only learned about it at the lunch table. Didn't even know it was her until I asked. Because, you see, when you overhear a discussion of a snake in the building, it behooves you to ascertain the proximity of said snake to your own classroom. Which in this case was across the hall and two doors down. Too close for comfort.

The snake charmer declared that while he didn't know exactly what kind of snake he charmed, he was almost positive that it wasn't poisonous. That even though it had markings like a copperhead, it was most likely not one, but rather a harmless garden variety small snake. Oh, and he didn't notice if it had a triangular head or not.

Call me crazy, but I would prefer that my snake charmer deal more in absolutes.