Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Take It Off. Take It AAALLL Off.

The Pony spent an hour this afternoon stripping.

Perhaps that's not exactly the career I had in mind for my precious baby. But his father will be thrilled. Ecstatic. In fact, Farmer H is the one who suggested such a pastime last night, for today's itinerary.

"Pony. Did you get those boards done for your Sword Shack today?"

"Uh huh."

"I'm going to need more tomorrow. At least 15 so I can build up the sides. There's a heavier hammer if you need it. In the BARn."

"The hammer's fine. Sometimes, the nails are bent, and I can't get them out."

"That's okay. You can use the Sawzall to cut through the nails."

"No. The hammer is fine."

"Okay. So tomorrow, you'll be stripping."


Yeah. Farmer H is building a Sword Shack for The Pony to keep his collectibles in. He has a bunch of skids he brought home from work that they take apart for lumber. The Pony's job is to knock the boards loose and remove the nails. Farmer H calls this stripping.

As with all of his projects, I try to stay away from Farmer H structures under construction. My eyes glaze over when he tells me about them. Even though the Sword Shack will be in sight of the Mansion, right next to the Little Barbershop of Horrors, I try not to look. It's his project. I'm not all that interested.

There had better not be a pole in the middle of that Sword Shack.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Something Must Have Gone Awry In The Space-Time Continuum


How has this happened? Where did almost half of my vacation go already? NO! It's too soon! How can I enjoy my remaining time with this hanging over my head?

I know better than to look at the calendar. But the #1 son needed money in his account for his house rent for July. I had to look up the date to put on the check. It is #1's fault that I know how short my time is now!

The Pony tried to encourage me. "But it will be your last year."

"Yes. My last back-to-school breakfast. My last OPEN HOUSE!"

"Uh huh. And your last conferences. That should be worth it. Even though nobody ever shows up."

"Oh, they always show up for the first one in the fall."

"That's because you have freshmen. The parents don't know yet to not care about their kids."

"Yeah. Every time something goes wrong, I can think, 'Well, I'll never be teaching on September 29th again.' That should get me through."

So many days ahead. So little time.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I Don't Know How He Functions In This World

Farmer H has done it again.

My sister the ex-mayor's wife and I have been cleaning out closets in Mom's house. The only thing left in my old bedroom closet, besides craft stuff that Farmer H is going to take to the auction and split the proceeds, were old suits that belonged to my dad. These were not the leisure suits from the hall closet that my nephew wanted to wear to his fishing tournament. These were actual suits. Which could still be worn, they being of the classic suit style.

These suits would not fit The Pony, as he is of a smaller frame, my father having stood six foot two. He had short legs, though, and a long torso. The jackets would come to The Pony's knees, which is not any current sartorial trend of which I am aware. Genius is kind of built that way, but he has his own fashion flair, and would not be interested, having bought himself a fancy suit last year for interviews. We had five bags of clothes to donate on Thursday, so I left these suits hanging in the closet, and told Sis I would get them another day, while she is away on vacation.

I told Farmer H that maybe one of his older two boys could fit in the suits. One is more muscular, and the other is taller. He went by today with his oldest boy, who took three of the suits and will see if the pants can be let down, as Farmer H told it.

"He took three of them suits. They're nice, and he doesn't have a suit. The jackets fit, but he'll need to get the pants let down. Did you know you had one of your dresses in there? And a robe?"

"You were only supposed to take the suits! There was a yellow bridesmaid's dress in a plastic cover, and a white graduation kind of robe that was Mom's from one of her lady society things. Can you not tell the difference in a man's suit, and a long yellow bridesmaid's dress and a long white graduation robe?"

"Well, I didn't think they were suits. I picked them all up. I dropped off the rest of the suits for donation, but those other two are out in the car. I'll take them back."

"Donation? They're not open on Sunday!"

"I left them under their awning. They weren't open the last time I took stuff, either."

Which makes me wonder what Farmer H does with his time, and why he can't tell the difference in a man's suit and a woman's bridesmaid's dress.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

OH! Hillmomba!

You never know what you're going to come across on the way to town. Such a surprise that you can't have your son snap a good picture out his window on the way, but you can get an okay couple of snaps on the way home. Like that tree way down in the middle of this photo. You know. The horizontal one. Here's a closeup.

OH! HILLMOMBA! Where the wind scours the rolling terrain
And the fallen tree, that I do see
When I drive to town after a rain
Oh, Hillmomba every night my Farmer H and I
Avoid each other, but watch the weather
Makin' lazy circles in the sky

You're blowin' away, our Hillmomba!
Our Hillmomba, MO

Yep. You never know what you're going to see on the way to town after a gusty night. We were under no watches or warnings. In fact, our neighbors to the north were only under a severe thunderstorm watch. But we heard the commotion.

I thought The Pony had gotten up out of bed around 10:30. I called to him, but Farmer H answered. "No. It's me."

"What are you doing going out on the porch?"

"I was checking on the weather. Well. I got up to go to the bathroom, but I heard the wind, so I went to look. The clouds are swirling. The furniture is blowing. I guess it will be all right. I'm going back to bed."

Let the record show that the furniture at the Mansion is not some lightweight plastic crap. It's metal. Old-style metal yard chairs that belonged to my grandma, and more modern mesh metal chairs the Farmer H brought home. So heavy that I do not deign to carry them from one place on the porch to another. So heavy that when I push them to and fro for better distribution of grocery bags on the porch to await The Pony's liftage, the dogs and cats scurry in fear at the rasping of metal on wood.

Looks like the hilltop Mansion dodged one Thursday night.

Friday, June 26, 2015

No Way To Run A Business

When I hold the ribbon-cutting for my proposed handbasket factory, I am going to be chomping at the bit to get down to the brass tacks of wooden handbaskets. I will be the best businesswoman who ever businessed. I am NOT going to schedule an upgrade of my computer system on the last Friday of June, when quarterly reports are due to be mailed imminently. No sirreee, Bob! That would be spiting my face by cutting off my nose.

Even Steven sure has a warped sense of humor. Today was Farmer H's payday by direct deposit. It's not like the Mansion is running in the red until that cash is electronically ready. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has stockpiled all of her summer checks to ride out the drought until her contract makes it rain again in September. But since it's bill-paying Friday, Mrs. HM called that bank account automated number to find out the amount of Farmer H's check to balance the checkbook before the outgoing money was recorded.

Funny how Farmer H had made FOUR purchases on the debit card last weekend and had not notified the Mansion accountess. At least he didn't charge a tractor. So...Mrs. HM straightened out that mess, and set off to deposit some college savings for The Pony, and drop off a quadruple payment on the Mansion. Sounds simple, eh?

As I entered the office to pay for future knowledge, a man walked out with a computer tower under his arm. Maybe it was more of a box than a tower. The man looked all proper and British, without the bowler hat, kind of like a dapper Dick Van Dyke. There was no van awaiting him. No panel truck. Not even a handcart which is called a dolly around these parts. Off he went, up to the crosswalk (told you he was proper) and across the street. Even Steven should make a note-to-self: "Hit Mrs. Hillbilly Mom over the head with foreshadowing in the future."

I skipped into the vestibule and pulled open the door to gain access to one of the two teller windows encased with bullet-proof glass. You'd think our credit union was located in Bankrobberville. We could even have our own song. "Dodging bullets again in Bankrobberville. Looking for my lost pi-int of blood. Some people say there's a pistol to blame. But I know it's my own bulletproofglassless window's fault."

Three workers were standing behind one window, so I went there. A high-level muckety-muck, a mid-manager, and a kid who graduated with Genius. They were all discombobulated in their own way. The HLMM was on the phone, telling somebody the computer system was being switched out, so she couldn't look up the balance. Then she grabbed a tall stack of printouts that I swear looked like they were on that dot-matrix tractor paper and thumbed through and gave some info. The MM traipsed over to the other window, so I followed like a kitten trying to touch noses with itself along a series of wall mirrors. Nope. MM reversed like a duck in a state fair midway shooting gallery as soon as I got to the other window. The KWGWG sat there looking uncomfortable, waiting for a sign from his uppers.

Finally he took my check and wrote out a receipt. WROTE OUT BY HAND. Not even a dot-matrixed tractor-paper printout in yellow like usual. Showing no balance. And the HLMM said, "Here, KWGWG. Let me get you some paperclips to hold your transactions together." Seriously. This was at NOON! Not like they hadn't had since 8:00 to come up with a system. That sock buried in the back yard is looking more viable every day as a savings option.

When we got to the next town to pay on the Mansion, nobody was manning the drive-thru. It was like "The Langoliers." The lights were on. But nobody was around. Thank the Gummi Mary nobody was slumped into a bowl of soup after succumbing to Captain Trips. Finally the regular drive-thru lady appeared. She's the one who looks like my high school shorthand teacher. At least I got a regular printed yellow receipt from her.

We won't dwell on the wad of paper money I got back in change for my strawberry slush at Sonic.

When Mrs. Hillbilly Mom takes over the world, customers at her handbasket factory will find it always stocked with employees. Emplyees who give back itemized printed receipts and/or paper money. Paper money all facing the same direction, without crumples or tears.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

This Little Piggy Went To Mansion

Farmer H never ceases to infuriate amaze me. Last evening, he drove the riding mower (on a trailer, of course) to town to mow the yard at my mom's house. He'd been gone three hours when I noticed he wasn't back yet.

"Pony? How long does it take Dad to mow Grandma's yard?"

"I don't know. An hour? Maybe two."

"He's been gone a long time. I guess he's okay."


"Maybe I should call and check on him."


"I will. Next commercial."

No need to spoil the double feature of Big Brother and The Briefcase that we had recorded to view without commercials. So the next time we came to commercials, I let them play, and called Farmer H.

"Where are you?"

"Over at the BARn putting diesel in my new tractor."

"You were gone long time. Hey. You bought that tractor thinking it took regular gas, didn't you?"


"Yes. You always complain how diesel used to be the cheapest, but now it costs more. I can't imagine you'd buy a diesel tractor knowingly. Your old one wasn't diesel, was it."

"I knew. And the old one ran on regular gas."

So he proclaimed. After a while he came in the house to report that he'd talked to the neighbors at Mom's house about our selling price. Doesn't matter right now, because my cousin has first option. So when The Pony snorted, I told Farmer H that we were in the middle of our shows. Off he went back upstairs. Later, when I went to bed, I checked my phone and saw that he had sent me THIS right before coming back over to the Mansion.

WTF? What is it? To me, upstairs at the kitchen counter plugging in my cell phone, looking at that on my email without benefit of the worst glasses I ever bought...it appeared to be a pig with a tumor on its back. How dare Farmer H buy a pig without consulting me!

We are not having pigs. My grandpa had pigs, and they STINK. Not a single pig will be kept on the Mansion grounds. Especially one with a tumor on its back! I couldn't wait until morning to let Farmer H have it. Not the pig. A piece of my mind! There I was, worried whether he was all right, and he was out buying a pig!

Well. I forgot this morning, what with Farmer H leaving at 6:00 a.m., and me just getting up at that time, barely instructing him on how to breathe in/breathe out all day, and check with my cousin about whether our price is acceptable (they work together). So later this morning, while cleaning out my old bedroom, not to my sister the ex-mayor's wife satisfaction, I might add...I sent Farmer H a text asking WHAT that picture was.

"Oh, that's Goatrude. A chicken flew up and perched on her back, and seemed perfectly content."

He dodged the pig bullet this time. So I am saving my chastisement. I know I'll need it one of these days.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

You! I Learned It From You!

The Pony doesn't ask for much. He's usually goes along with whatever torture I devise to fill his day. So much that it's hard to figure out what to feed him. I asked what he wanted for supper tonight, and he said, "Anything," because he's an agreeable sort, if less-than-honest to spare my feelings.

"Come on. You know you won't eat ANYTHING! You only eat about four foods. What's the worst thing I make that you never want to eat?"

"Um...chili. Not that yours isn't good! You probably make really good chili. I just don't like chili, so I won't try it."

"Do you know what grandma made that I never wanted to eat, but I like it now? Vegetable soup. Do you know what it reminded me of?"


"NO! Vomit! It didn't remind me of vomit."

"Dog vomit?"

"NO! What kind of person says that? It reminded me of a big pot of garbage. I don't think it helped matters that she used to collect actual garbage in a big cup on the kitchen counter, and then go out and dump it every evening over by the creek. Did you ever notice her to do that? Or had she stopped?"

"Yeah. She did it."

Oh, well. We can't all toss it off the back porch as we go along.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Creepy Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

The Pony was horrified by this crafty little woman that we found while cleaning stuff out of my old bedroom at Mom's house.

I don't see what there is to get all creeped out about. He says it looks like a head sprouting a bunch of tentacles. I think it looks like an egg on top of lots of spaghetti. I guess this could illustrate the true meaning of the expression spaghetti arms.

Let the record show that this was NOT a belonging of Little Future Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. No. My mom took over my old bedroom for her craft stuff. She liked to cross stitch and make crocheted buttony ends for kitchen towels. I don't know what she was planning with all the wicker baskets piled on my bed, but she could have supplied every kid with one at the White House Easter Egg Roll.

No, that dolly was not at all creepy for me. But THIS was!

Yeah. Imagine that you're asleep in the basement recliner, and THIS comes down the stairs and startles you awake. Auction mask purchased by Farmer H plus impish nature of The Pony nearly equals cardiac arrest in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. It's been years now, but I experience a sharp intake of breath when I see this picture, like a lady with a face like a frying pan and big wall of hair sneaking a peek at a breathtaking infant.

Sweet dreams!

Monday, June 22, 2015

T-Hoe Failed Me Now

It was inevitable. My loyal T-Hoe is on his last legs. In fact, one of those legs needs replacing.

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when the Hillbilly family was all ready to trade in T-Hoe for a few years newer model, with less miles? Had spent a week researching the ins and outs of this transaction? Had, in fact, stayed up late the night before to make sure on some comparisons, with a backup plan ready?

Farmer H threw one of his hissy fits 30 minutes before departure time for this deal. So...Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is still driving T-Hoe. Still informing Farmer H that he is now down to 4% OIL LIFE! That's not good. Get the crash cart! Notify the life support team!

Farmer H came home form work this morning, as we are dealing with a minor crisis. Possibly major. It is not up for discussion. So we took T-Hoe on our journey. Once home again, Farmer H took T-Hoe for new oil. Then he called and said our appraisal is finally ready for my mom's house. So he wanted me to notify my sister the ex-mayor's wife to cut him a check from Mom's account to pay for the appraisal, which was no problem at all, since we've been waiting on it, but it meant that Farmer H would be driving T-Hoe over the same terrain we covered this morning. AND...when he got home, he informed me that T-Hoe's belt is showing. Uh huh. T-Hoe's left front tire belt. Not even the tire that had the giant bolt in it.

Of course, since Farmer H and the #1 son were instrumental in picking T-Hoe out of the herd way back in 2008, we have those fancy tires that are not a standard size stocked by The Devil's Playground Garage. Farmer H put in an order for two tires, because, you know, T-Hoe tires are like Lay's Potato Chips...nobody can eat just one. Not that we'll be eating T-Hoe's tires. But we can't have just one. I'm sure that's what that Lay's slogan-writer meant to say. "Nobody can have just one."

Now I will be driving around on a tire with a bald spot tomorrow morning to meet Sis and go through some more stuff at the house.

Life should be easier than this.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Commentary From Mrs. Hilbilly Momadomma

You know how sometimes, you have that rogue tastebud that decides to become all angry and militant and rise up above the surface of your tongue, throbbing and wreaking havoc on the tasteful neutrality of your mouth? I hate it when that happens.

Thank the Gummi Mary, I do not have a throbby tastebud.

You know how sometimes, like when you eat popcorn at the theater, and by theater, I mean the local AMC four-plex, not the facility you enter after buying scalped Pagliacci tickets from a Humpty-Dumpty with a melon head in an ill-fitting tux...you have the husk of a kernel stuck way back down in your throat, on the back of your tongue, where it curves down like a waterfall of papillaed muscle toward your esophagus?

I have not been to the theater, or eaten popcorn.

But I DID have a feeling in the back of my tongue-throat like that. A phantom husk, as it were. Right where you think you can reach your finger down in there, perhaps gag a few times, and scrape out the offending intruder with a fingernail. It started Friday night. I thought I just had a piece of tortilla chip stuck there, and it would wash on down after several sips of water. It did not. It was still there Saturday morning.

I was on the way to town when I noticed that grainy irritation again. On the way down the gravel road in T-Hoe, to be precise. I thought of sticking my finger down there to solve the problem, but I had just dipped some food for the cats out of the small lidded wastebasket in the garage with an old nonstick saucepan. Our cats eat a lot. Not just the fat one. So I didn't want my catfood hands to dig into the mucous membrane of my tongue-back. I leaned over towards the rearview mirror, and stuck my tongue way out. Not Gene Simmons' distance, but pretty far. Just for something to do. It's not like I had a pair of hot dog tongs or giant tweezers to wrench out the foreign object.


Yeah. They were rear tastebuds, I assume. And they were not painful. But they were all stand-uppy and red, like a few Stonehenge specimens, only not made of stone, and redder. So it felt like I had something stuck there, but what was stuck were my own irritated tastebuds.

They have calmed down somewhat today. But I just wanted to let you know, because, in the same vein as all that glitters is not gold...all that irritates your tongue-throat is not a wayward popcorn kernel husk.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

What Price, Progress?

Stop me if you've heard this one: The Devil's Handmaiden who checked me out at The Devil's Playground this morning was the worst cashier ever!

Okay. You're not really going to stop me. You might WANT to stop me, but I cannot be stopped! Just like I could not be stopped from switching out of a line that had two customers in it, because the last one had a cart piled over the top with merchandise. I was so clever, I was. I got into the next line, that also had two customers in it, the first one already having bags in her cart, forking over cash to complete the transaction, and the next one with a smattering of merchandise already on the conveyor. Little did I know that this specific Devil's Handmaiden had a previous life as a steel ball in a pinball machine.

Steely B treated that cash like she had just won it on Let's Make A Deal. Fanned through it. Took a couple of steps toward the customer's husband, who was standing behind the bag carousel. Bounced back to the register. Fanned the money again. Put it away. Made change.

Steely B started the conveyor for the next order. She turned this way and that, like a target in Nintendo NES Duck Hunt. Chatted up the customer like it was a family reunion. The person who had pulled in behind me on that other lane was done and headed for the parking lot. Finally, it was my turn.

I left Farmer H's gift for Father's Day in the cart. It was ungainly, a stainless steel grilling set, that being my equivalent of a $3.00 pink change purse and box of Sno-Caps for a Mother's Day gift. Farmer H is not getting one over on me. Steely B ignored it. She rang up about five items. Then she walked away. WALKED AWAY! She went over to the service desk to chat. Brought a friend back with her. Rang up a few more items.

"Oh, did you get this one yet?" I gestured to the grilling set in my cart.

"No. I don't believe I did."

Steely B came around the bag carousel to scan it. You know. The bar code RIGHT THERE IN THE UPPER LEFT CORNER. She grabbed the box and wrestled it around. Even though I said, "It's right there in the upper left corner." She obviously had a plan. Finally she found it and went back to her post.

"That's a good Father's Day gift. Stainless steel. Where did you get this?"

"On the center aisle display, over by the hardware. The display of Father's Day cards."

"Oh. And only $20. That's a good deal."

WHAT? That's a little more than a pink change purse and a box of Sno-Caps.

Then Steely B started talking to her new companion. "Did you just get here?"

"Uh huh."

"Just coming on?"

"Uh huh."

"You don't look thrilled."

"I'm not."

"Me either."

"Why...are you going somewhere?"

"I'm going to lunch."


"It's my lunch time."


Finally. My torture was complete. I had been in line 18 minutes. The temperature was approaching that of the 7th circle of The Devil's Playground.

Oh, those poor folks behind me! Four carts backed up. And they had to wait for Steely B to switch out her drawer.

Those homesteaders had it so easy. Plow. Plant. Harvest. Cook.

Friday, June 19, 2015

My Caretaker Needs To Do More Caring And Less Taking

Farmer H shot up the driveway this morning like a cat with its tail on fire. Contrary to popular opinion, he was headed TOWARD the Mansion, not away.

He took a day off to go to the doctor for a regular 8:30 appointment. The rains had been sluicing down since 2:00 a.m., so when he'd been gone for two hours, I sent him a text to ask about the roads. That's when he came barreling up the driveway like teacher on lisinopril headed for the faculty women's restroom at the end of first hour.

"The roads are fine. Oh, the one down here at the bottom of the hill, by the neighbor's barn, will eat you up if it rains any more. But I got through it just now. Our gravel road beside the creek is all right. The creek is a couple of inches from being out of its banks again. But that road don't worry me. It's flat. And the water don't get more'n a couple inches deep on it."

Oh, dear. He truly does want to kill me and make it look like an accident. That gravel road under a couple of inches of water cannot be seen. That's because the couple of inches of water are swirling mud and rock and tree bark and trees. Besides, the pipe under the road was only half under the road yesterday. That's how much gravel had washed out. So for all I know, I could be tooling along that submerged road in T-Hoe, car-singing to my heart's delight, something like "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," or "Fat Bottomed Girls," and then BOOM I'm down in a hole with water rising up around me, and not able to finish my song.

Let the record show that as soon as I went down to my dark basement lair to get him a copy of two maps that I printed to tell him where to go (!) today and tomorrow to pick up The Pony...he made a beeline for Frig II and was sitting on the short couch chowing down on the leftover pizza I was saving for my lunch.

"Huh. I hope you're enjoying my lunch."

"I ain't eatin' your lunch!"

"I left it from last night so I could have it today."

"I ain't eat no more than my half."

"Last night your half had only one piece left."

"And I only have two here on this plate."


"Well, how many pieces of pizza do you want, anyway?"

"Oh, I don't know. I was thinking maybe the remainder of my half."

"You have it. There's still two pieces in there. These here are little pieces. They're both big."

Yeah. Tomorrow he'll be trying to sell me swampland, and the London Bridge to span it.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

There Now Is Joy In BoysStateVille, The Pony Has Lucked Out

Even Steven has smiled upon The Pony.

As you recall, The Pony is currently cooling his hooves at Missouri Boys State this week. He is in the journalism school of instruction, and has been publishing articles in their newspaper. On Wednesday, he had a front-page article. Above the fold!

The whole MBS experience wraps up Saturday before noon. The Pony will be picked up by Farmer H. Another candidate from Newmentia rode there with them. Because he would be riding back with them as well, The Pony wouldn't be able to drop in to visit with HIS PEOPLE at the Missouri Scholars Academy alumni day. It doesn't start until 2:00, and there's an activity at 7:00. You know how much The Pony loves to be around HIS PEOPLE.

Yesterday evening, The Pony sent a text to Farmer H saying that the other candidate had left MBS early. That's kind of frowned upon, I think. Was The Pony informing Farmer H so he would know not to look for the other candidate? No. Was he sad that the other candidate, actually a friend of his, had gone home early? No. The Pony was asking Farmer H if they could stay overnight so he could attend the alumni day!

Of course the answer was yes. The closed door has turned into an open window. The sun even shines on a Pony's unruly forelock some days.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Be Careful What You Let Him Wish For

I should have known better, really. With his history of picking an entire arm roast out of the pot of vegetable beef soup to build a towering bowl for himself, and last week's curious incident of the missing bacon in the green beans. But no. I went and did it tonight at supper.

"Just pick out what you want."

You see, it was just me and Farmer H. The Pony is away at Boys State. I whipped up a skillet of beef and broccoli for us. And by whipped up, I mean I cut open a bag of frozen beef and broccoli that I bought at Save A Lot, and heated it for 8-10 minutes on medium high. Then I stirred in a bag of frozen Chinese stir-fry vegetables as an afterthought.

"I know you don't like peppers. This has snow peas, water chestnuts, yellow squash, red peppers, yellow peppers, broccoli, and carrots."

So Farmer H took his medicine and came to the stove. I did not watch while he picked his portion. I went back for mine, and saw that I had some rice. A piece of beef. Several snow pea segments. A couple of carrot slivers. A handful of yellow squash. And a stalk of broccoli. Which is not to say Farmer H did not leave me enough. There was plenty of rice. And red peppers. But nary a water chestnut.

I think I will offer to bring his plate to the La-Z-Boy while he watches car auctions on TV. I'd be doing him a favor, really. And the nutritional value of our meals would be more equitable.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is All Wet

My internet has been my intermittentnet today. I think I'll coin that term and beat it like a dead horse. WAIT! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not beat dead horses. It's just an expression. Like intermittentnet. Which I am going to use like Gretchen Wieners trying to make FETCH happen!

Yes, the rains have come. And gone. And come again. It looks like a pattern all week. The creeks have risen.

WHOOPSIE! THAT was eerie! I just heard The Pony say, "Coming." Like he does when I call to him from my dark basement lair to get up off his cheap couch and fetch something or answer a question about irony. But The Pony is not here! So I called out, "Did you say something to me?" For Farmer H, you know, in case he was throwing his voice like a prankster, which he is not. No answer. Last I heard of Farmer H, he was on his way out through the basement workshop to let five inches of water out of Poolio. Huh. That certainly was strange. The TV isn't even on, since I am lairing and not reclining at the moment. Weird. Let the record show that happened at 8:13 p.m.

Anyhoo...our creek had been out of its banks and up in our gravel road this morning, but was back down by 11:00 so I could drive on it. The road, silly, not the creek. Even Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can't drive on water. I knew enough to take the long way to town and avoid other road flooding a HIGH-water bridge. At least the mailman knew enough to come in the back way.

So, I went to town to mail a letter to The Pony, and continued on to the bank for our weekly cash allowance in case the water is up tomorrow. I stopped by Save A Lot, but not the regular one where I prefer to shop. I went to the one where my mom said they GYPPED her on her slaw. It's on my way, and saved me ten minutes. I got a great parking place, right on the end of the front row, except when I came out I was no longer the end, because one of those scofflaw people had parked next to me and made their own very special parking space for their very special snowflake self.

Putting the purchases in T-Hoe was a challenge, because that parking lot was filled with water. On the way in, I could go across that non-parking space, which was higher ground, and hold up my pantslegs. But coming out with the cart, I was wading like those Ocean Spray cranberry guys. NOT THE STUPID ONE!

When Farmer H got home this evening, he said, "That was kind of scary, coming over the little bridge. Water was WAY over it!" Let the record show that this is a six-foot-wide concrete dip crossing a little tiny fork of the main creek. It dips deep, and he should have known better than to cross it. "The one by our neighbor's barn was over, too!" Which is never over, except when the water first comes up, and it goes down within an hour or two, usually. Still, Farmer H should have known better.

He needs to take better care of himself. I have precious few people to write about lately!

Monday, June 15, 2015

It Takes A Village To Pack A Pony

The Pony was as antsy as a bird-brained ferret on energy drinks when he left Saturday morning for Boys State.

"Do you have your shampoo and deodorant and soap and toothpaste and toothbrush and shaver?"

"My soap is the same as my shampoo."

"Do you have your comb?"

"No. I was going to get that. Who took my folio?"

"Nobody took your folio."

"Dad moved it. It was right there on top of the suitcase with my papers to turn in."

"You put those in your packsack. And the folio, too."

"No. I left the folio."


"Huh. Who put that there?"

"Do you have a binder? The instructions suggested a binder."

"No. I have the folio with the legal pad. But I have plenty of binders. So I'll get one, because they'll probably have hole-punched handouts."

"Did you pick up the money I laid out for you?"

"No. I thought Dad was going to get it."

"What about an old pair of glasses?"

"I won't need them."

"You have to play a sport every night. If your glasses get smashed, you won't be able to see for the rest of the week."

"They used to be on that table, but YOU made me clean it off."

"Well, then if they're not back on the table, they are on the dresser in your room. You never put anything away. You just pile it. Go look."

"I found an old pair of glasses, but they have tape holding on the ear piece."

"It's holding, isn't it? Better than being blind. Pack them."

"We're leaving now."

"WAIT! You're supposed to read this booklet you said you would look at on the drive there."

"I know. It's in my packsack."

"Funny how I see its red, white, and blue cover laying here on the couch beside where your packsack was."

"Oh. I thought I packed it. Okay. We're leaving."

"Have a good time."

I don't know what's wrong with the little fellow. He's usually much more together than that.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

That Canary Doth Singeth Too Much, Methinks

I knew the respite would not last! Farmer H is back to his annoying form. Returned to his true colors last night, when he returned from taking The Pony to Missouri Boys State.

I had cooked up some green beans and bacon and potatoes. What else was I supposed to do with that case of canned green beans that my sister the ex-mayor's wife gave me when we cleaned out Mom's house? That's a lot of green beans. Even if you like green beans. I threw two cans in a pot with half a pound of bacon and five potatoes and one Vidalia onion. Mmm...we actually like green beans. I slow cooked them for a couple of hours, until the green beans got all juice and mushy. That's how Mom did it, and that's how we like them. Not right out of the can with their shape still intact. I must admit that I had the wrong potatoes, but I needed to use up those bakers while The Pony is away, so I don't accidentally start brewing my own vodka. In retrospect, I would put the potatoes in later, because they got really soft and crumbly, even though they thickened the green beans. Then I thought the green beans looked too mushy, so I put in another can for a contrasting texture, and cooked them a while before putting the whole batch in containers in Frig II.

Let the record show that I had cut up the bacon in two-inch segments and browned it with the onions before adding the green beans and potatoes. I filled two quart sweet-and-sour soup takeout containers with the final product, and another container half that size.

Farmer H came home and ate half of the half-sized container. That's not a lot of green beans. For lunch today, I had the other half of that container. I know this will be hard for you to fathom, but in my green beans I could not find a single piece of bacon! I know, right? What a coincidence that when I filled that container, no bacon found its way in there. Or that if it did, Farmer H just happened to get every scrap of bacon in his portion. Truth is stranger than fiction, I guess.

"Hey, did you know that I did not find a single piece of bacon in my green beans this afternoon?"

"Nooo. Huh."

"I think that's kind of funny. Did you have some in your green beans last night?"

"HM! I had THREE spoonfuls of green beans! That's all. I don't know what you're saying."

"I'm not saying anything. I just asked."

"Okay! I dug through them until I got every piece of bacon out! That's what you're saying, isn't it? That I took all the bacon?"

"That's not what I said at all. I guess you did, if that's the conclusion you jump to when I ask a simple question."

Seriously. I was not born yesterday. That's the man who dishes up a towering bowl of soup with no juice, including a whole arm roast.

That canary doth singeth too much, methinks.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Every Thorn Has Its Rose

This day in Hillmomba...

I guess you know you're a Hillbilly when a rooster struts across the front porch of your Mansion and stops right under the living room picture window, and crows. Repeatedly.

The cats have massacred some type of bird on the side porch. All that's left is the butt, tail feathers still intact, and a few scattered other-feathers. Then they have the gall to drape themselves across the metal chair Farmer H perches on for grilling and the garden shelf on the garage wall, all insouciant and boneless, following me with their eyes. I'm surprised they haven't dispatched the fat bullfrog in the fake fish pond. I heard it the other morning, croaking like a boss. Haven't seen it yet, though.

The neighbor's couch has disappeared. Maybe someone came and took it, thinking it a fresh discard, and not six weeks old. I hope it was the people who have been squatting down by the creek, near EmBee. They park on our gravel road, and I do not notice them contributing money for a dump-truck load of gravel. Then they sit in the creek. Yes, a creek is free. But the parking is not. I suppose I could sit down there with a canvas apron with pockets filled with change, and charge them by the hour. Hey! Don't like it? Park on the county road that my taxes pay for! Pardon me for taking exception to their freeloading. Their car has Illinois plates. And they left a pile of waxed-cardboard drink cups yesterday. On our gravel road. That we pay for. Unless they have traveled down the Mississippi and branched off through different tributaries until they arrived in our creek...I see them as a drain on our resources. I didn't even recognize their brand of drink cups! They can't be buying local!

Here's a pleasant surprise. Yes, you're still at the Hillbilly Mansion. But pardon me momentarily while I share a bit of good news. Today I went to the dead-mouse-smelling post office to mail a letter and small package to The Pony at Boys State. There was no line (!) AND the whole building smelled like cinnamon! Somebody's got a Glade Plug-In!

That concludes this Hillmomba update. Farmer H was gone all day, and has not done anything complaint-worthy.


Friday, June 12, 2015

The Carpetdraggers Leave Town. And Their Carpets.

Yesterday my sister the ex-mayor's wife and I, with the help of The Pony, cleaned out some stuff from Mom's house. And by cleaned out, I mean they bagged old food from Mom's stash that she purchased from Ye Olde Expired Food Shoppe, put it in giant black trash bags, and left it in the middle of the kitchen floor for Farmer H to pick up this morning with his truck and take to the landfill. I worked in the bedroom upstairs, sorting through clothing. You'll see why I make that distinction later.

Off went Farmer H and the bleary-eyed Pony at 7:15 this morning. I really wanted to keep The Pony to help with my shopping, as was the original plan, since he'll be gone on Sunday. But I knew those bags were heavy and many, and relinquished my frisky assistant.

After a solo shopping trip, and five hours later, I learned that Farmer H had a bone to pick. "Those bags had leaked all over the kitchen floor! And since you guys took all the paper towels and napkins, there was nothing to wipe it up with!"

"Hey! I didn't leave anything on the floor. That stuff was in bags. I don't know how it could leak. Besides, that wasn't my job. I put out the clothes on the bed!"

"Well, she must have put that frozen food in the bags, so of course it all melted all over the floor."

"I don't know how it got out of its wrappers and the trash bags."

"It was a mess. I took the rugs your mom had there by the front door and in the entryway, and I laid them on the kitchen floor to soak up the mess."

"Where are they now?"

"I told you! On the kitchen floor!"


"Soaking up the mess."

"Didn't you take the bags to the landfill?"

"Yes. But there was a puddle."

"Why didn't you just wipe it up and bring the rugs for me to wash?"

"Because I wanted to soak up the mess."

"Because you didn't think of it!"

"I'll go out there and wash them in her washer."

"I could have done it right here. I'm doing laundry now! When are you going to have time? You take The Pony to Boys State tomorrow. Sunday you have to drive a lawnmower to the #1 son's roommates. Then Monday you have work, and the appraiser is coming that evening. The house will stink from those wet rugs, because The Pony says you turned the air conditioning off."

"I'll get to it."

Yeah. Guess who went back to town, a round trip of over an hour, and brought those rugs home and washed them this afternoon? Uh huh. NOT Farmer H.

I am shocked that The Pony was party to such a lapse in judgment.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

NOW He Tells Me!

Um...remember how sometimes the Mansion seems to have other inhabitants? The kind you can't see? The Pony casually mentioned an incident of which I was unaware. Casually mentioned, when I was asking him why he was up last night at 12:30 a.m.

The Pony is generally a sound sleeper. Always has been. I could lay him down in his crib or bed, and he would be asleep within minutes. Unlike the #1 son, who slept about five hours, intermittently, on a good night. Yep. The Pony is a snoozer. Even his daycare lady bragged on him. The minute he laid down on his little cot and pulled the blanket up, he was out for two hours. So when I heard him walking above my head last night at 12:30, I thought maybe he had been sick. I thought of it while we were out at my mom's house with my sister the ex-mayor's wife, cleaning out some belongings.

"Why did you get up last night?"

"I didn't get up."

"At 12:30. I heard you walking. You went in the bathroom. Then the water ran for a long time. I thought you flushed the toilet."

"No. I wasn't up. In fact, I had a text, and I didn't even answer it. I was tired."

"Then what was that water running for? It doesn't turn itself on."

"Well, maybe it was like that time you heard me or #1 get up and try to flush the toilet, and then when you came to check, we were both sound asleep."

"That was very odd."

"You know why those kind of things happen at your house, don't you?' It's all those animals you kill and bury." Sis thinks she knows everything.

"Nellie says hello." Snort.

"That was funny, but it was CREEPY! You have a dark side."

"Aunt Sis is laughing."

"Which is not meant to encourage you."

"Oh, Aunt Sis. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Mom and Dad's bathroom around 9:00, running water in the big tub for a bath, and my soap jumped in the tub by itself. It's a bottle of soap with a pump top. It sits on the side of the tub, up against the wall, not even near the edge. And all at once, it just JUMPED IN THE TUB BY ITSELF! I was walking over to the sink, and I was looking that direction, and I SAW it! That is impossible! It has never done that before. It just shot off the side and into the tub."

"You never told me that."

"You never asked." That's my Pony.

My bathroom is at the other end of the house from where I usually hear and see things. Though in the last year or so, when I come up for bed around 2:00 a.m., I sometimes feel like something has just run to hide when I step into the bedroom and enter the bathroom. I tell myself it's just those tiles creaking from my steps across the living room. Every now and then, when I'm in bed, I hear creaking again in there. Or a sound like a toothbrush falling. Never anything strong like those disco parties that sometimes go on for an hour or so in #1's room above my head.

We'll see what develops when The Pony is gone to Boys State next week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

This Is Why We Can't Make Logical, Well-Thought-Out Decisions

Perhaps you remember that the Hillbilly family has been discussing a new car for nigh on a year now.

T-Hoe is aging, growing decrepit, feeling his years. I am concerned that soon he will no longer be able to carry me. He is blind in his back-up eye bat-ping warning, he no longer can tell how much air is in each tire, he constantly cries silent warnings about needing service. He runs a permanent fever in his posterior controls. And he limps and stumbles in turns and in slowing himself.

Of course Farmer H bought a new used tractor on Saturday. Not so much bought it as put it on the credit card at an extra fee of 2.5 percent. That's because he said it would take more than that to go back a second day and pick it up with a check or cash. And I was not about to give Farmer H a wad of cash to take to an auction. No sirree, Bob! His logic is not logical. I seriously believe he can drive a truck pulling a trailer 84 miles and back for cheaper than $250, but he says not. He must be putting rocket fuel in that vehicle.

Anyhoo, Mrs. HM has no plans to drive this pretty blue tractor as her main vehicle. But with such a chunk of money forked over, she thinks a brand new car is not in her cards. We've been without a vehicle payment for three or four years now. No need to add another ball to the chain. So...last night I brought up the concept of buying a car a few years newer, with a few less miles, but with all of its components in working order. I even found one at a lot where we've done many previous deals, a replica of T-Hoe, two years newer, in a different color, but with 30,000 less miles. The thinking being that after a year or two, to trade up again.

You know what that meant. By 11:00 this morning, Farmer H had texted me about a car he found near work, four years newer than T-Hoe, with 45,000 fewer miles. Also a replica of T-Hoe, even the same color (what's the fun in that, people won't even know I got a "new" car) but without the sun roof (I hate a sun roof) and without heated rear seats (more reason for The Pony to ride up front like a normal person). I don't mind to check out this vehicle, but Farmer H had already made an appointment to drop by after work and talk to the salesmanlady (who just happens to bowl in the same league as him, who had given him a card for $100 finders fee if he referred a buyer her way). Like Tina Turner, Farmer H can never do anything nice and easy.

Last time Farmer H stopped to "look" at a car, he ended up driving it home and keeping it for a weekend. I made him give it back.

I'm really not ready to trade cars this week.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Odd, The Things That Catch Your Eye

No, this is not a story about my crusty eye. Though I must say, I taunted The Pony again last night while watching TV, when a gnat buzzed my face and almost got down inside my glasses. "Whew! That was close. I almost had a gnat in my eye. I guess he likes to feast on crust." Let the record show that The Pony groaned rather than snorted.

My crusty eye is neither here nor there. Well. It's on my face, right where it belongs, but it's not what I started out to write about today. Rather, it's something I noticed when I would normally be on autopilot while taking T-Hoe for a spin.

The Show-Me State pulls out all the stops when it comes to stopping the heart of a convicted killer. We don't wanna look bad on TV, I guess. Seems like we euthanize about one prisoner per month. That was the rate last year. I don't even notice it on the news any more. It may not BE ON the news any more. But I'm not here to discuss the merits or the drawbacks of the stop-life punishment. I'm here to discuss groundskeeping. If only it was bookkeeping, the word with three double-letters in a row! But alas. This is not one for the books.

When a big event is scheduled for 12:01 a.m. at the Eastward Show-Me Detecting Hub...certain procedures make themselves evident to those who may drive by four times a day on the way to pick up their little equine at Newmentia.

Giant sawhorses are set up to keep the press corralled. Of course it's on the end where the view of the facility over the shoulder of the reporter is the most flattering. Then there are those flat bands of nylon that make a path for people to follow, like waiting lines at theme parks or casinos.

Extra law enforcement vehicles are on patrol. Some of them block each entrance and exit, where the personnel sit in their cars, always in pairs, watching for anybody trying to gain entrance. This most likely happens for a 24-hour period, though I have not tried to gather evidence to support my theory.

What I DO notice is the change in groundskeeping procedures. Normally, the residents of the facility do the mowing. They are fairly young, fit, pick-of-the-litter behaviorwise, I would surmise. They wear the standard uniform of gray pants, white t-shirts. They ride those mowers that have a zero turn radius. The ones that you steer with two metal bars, not a steering wheel. And they ride in formation, five or six at a time, while a guard sits nearby on a Gator-style vehicle with a long gun.

Today, the mowing was done by old fat men dressed in blue cotton shirts and overalls.

I'm not sure if this was for appearances, or for security. I'll probably have a chance to observe the procedures again next month.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Charge Of The Not-Heaven Hound

Yes, you're in the right place for updates on the aggressive giant poodle that lives across the gravel road from the Mansion. You'll always get your Not-Heaven Hound news here first. Exclusively, too.

Since we last convened our round-table discussion of how do you solve a problem like that poodle, a couple of new developments have...erm...developed. I have a feeling that if I was painting the floor of my dark basement lair, I would be in a corner right now.

Last weekend, Farmer H's oldest boy was out here to help him with some building project, or more likely just to shoot the bull over at the BARn, and brought his little boy along. He's five. OB dropped off Young 'Un at the BARn field so he could run down to see his grampy while OB  pulled his truck across the ditch slowly, or perhaps went on to the Mansion driveway and circled back in front of the main sinkhole to drive through the field. I don't know, because I was gone to town. When Young 'Un got out of the truck, Poodle charged across the gravel road, right at Young 'Un.

Here's where the story grows unclear, because Farmer H is not known for spinning reputable yarns, and he glossed over this detail. Whether OB jumped out of the truck and snatched up Young 'Un, or if Young 'Un made it to the safety of the BARn, or if OB flung a projectile...not clear, due to the storyteller. All I know is that the paintball gun is still out of commission, due to a lack of a CO2 cartridge. So that dissuader was not implemented in the saving of Young 'Un.

What I DO know is that on Thursday afternoon, when I stopped at the end of the driveway for The Pony to hitch himself to the trash dumpster in order to return it to its proper location near the garage...Poodle came charging across the gravel road, up part of our driveway, snarling and jumping forward stiff-legged. I don't know about you, but I regard this as a sign of aggression from a canine. Thank the Gummi Mary, Poodle did not seem to have a thirst for equine flesh, because it ignored The Pony trotting down the driveway pulling his refuse rickshaw, and concentrated on T-Hoe's door that separated us. Poodle only followed about a third of the driveway length. But it's a long driveway.

Of course I complained to Farmer H about that dog again. That's when he told his tale of Young 'Un's experience. "If I can catch Neighbor without his wife, I'm going to let him know that something has got to be done about that dog, or somebody's going to kill it. I don't want to upset his wife. She just lost her dad, you know, during that last snow."

"I know they don't TRAIN that dog to come up here. We even hear her trying to call it back in the mornings, but it's still over here, tormenting our animals. Wednesday around 10:00, it came running up the yard and chased Ann and Juno up on the porch again. Juno goes halfway out and tries do defend, but then she turns and runs for safety. Then both of our fleabags sit on the porch barking their fool heads off while Poodle stands in the yard barking her fool head off, and our chickens huddle on that telephone pole at the edge of the driveway, behind the yucca plants, shaking. They don't know where to go."

"I found another dead chicken, too. But I don't want to accuse that dog, because it COULD have been a weasel..."

"Even though she's calling that dog back, it doesn't listen. It will still bite just as deep whether she's calling it or not. I know she hears me holler at it. Sometimes it will back off when I do that."

Yesterday, Farmer H had his chance to get Neighbor alone.

"I saw Neighbor out in the yard while I was mowing this afternoon. I told him, 'I don't want to be a bad neighbor, but something has got to be done about that dog of yours. The black one without a tail is not the problem. It comes over here with the poodle, but it's not aggressive. That poodle is going to hurt someone. It came after my five-year-old grandson last weekend, right here in our field. If my son had had a gun on him, he would have shot it. And you would, too, if it came after your grandson.' Neighbor agreed. He said, 'I know it's a problem. The minute I let it out to go to the bathroom in the morning, it runs straight for your house, and it won't come back. The wife has sent her invisible fence out to get fixed. I'm hoping that's going to work.' I told him how it chases your car, and you can't see it, and slow down to not run over it, and then it gets more aggressive. He said he knows it chases cars, he's seen it. He knows something might happen to it if it keeps doing its thing."

It takes Hillmomba to control a hound.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Like A Fledgling Needs A Little Push To Leave The Nest, So, Too, Does The Pony Need Encouragement To Leave The Paddock

The all-seeing Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been having trouble seeing. Not all the time, and not just due to the worst pair of glasses she has ever paid money for and gone back 11 times to have corrected. No, this is an intermittent problem, most often occurring in the morning hours after she wakes. And sometimes in the evening when she still has 10 hours of prime awake time before bed.

The other day, on the way to Newmentia, I even broached the subject with The Pony. I knew he was listening, because I had picked him up a Hardee's sausage biscuit to eat on the way. He can't text or type when he's eating a sausage biscuit. Too much grease on his fingers.

"I think I have a slight case of pinkeye. When I get up in the morning, I can't see unless I rub my eyelid, or roll my eye around. It's like there's a film or something in front of my pupil. I think your dad has given it to me, with that breather blowing his germs over onto my side of the bed and that eye's side of my head while I sleep. It doesn't hurt, but I have to keep blinking it, and it itches, and it has some crusty gunk on the eyelashes at the outside corner of my eye."

"You realize I'm eating back here, right?"

"Yes. But you'll soon stop. One way or the other."

Yeah. One more incentive for The Pony to get his driver's license and transport himself to his summer tutoring assignment.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pastry Chef With Three Days Experience Seeking Employment

Yesterday was Petting Zoo Day for The Pony. Which is not to say he was curried, petted, be-ribboned, or be-bowed. He was along for the ride, not to be ridden. I asked him about his duties with the kindergarteners he was accompanying.

"So, did any of the kids get bitten by the animals? I've heard that there are signs on the pens that say "Animals WILL Bite." In fact, Tomato Squirter, from The Semi-Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank, was the one who told me. That's because she's such an animal lover, and she has a season pass for her family, and every time she goes there, she sticks her hand in the pen to pet the animals, and they bite her. Or maybe they have special animals for the little kids. I'm pretty sure they couldn't offer school field trips if a kid was always getting his hand chomped off by a critter. What did you do there? Did you pet the animals?"

"I had to watch and make sure the kids didn't do anything they weren't supposed to to the goats, and that the goats didn't do anything they weren't supposed to to the kids. One kid pointed at a cow's udder, and asked what that was. I said, 'I don't get paid enough to answer that.' It wasn't a black-and-white milk cow. It was one of those that the females have horns, too."

"So after you left there, you went to the park? What did you do there, play with the kids?"

"At the park, I walked around with Mrs. Blank, and kept the kids from running off."

"How did you do that?"

"I hollered their name and said, "GET BACK HERE!"

"You might not be missed after your last day."

"Why? That's how Mrs. Blank did it."

"What did you have for lunch, since I didn't pack you one?"

"I ate the Cheetos and Famous Amos that I took just in case."

"Did they offer you the school lunch?"

"Yes. It was some kind of COLD ham sandwich! Yuck!"

"It may come as a shock to you, but that's how many people eat their ham sandwiches."

"Not me. Besides, we had lunch around 10:30, so I had just eaten that sausage biscuit you bought me on the way, and I wasn't very hungry. So I had the Cheetos and the two bags of Famous Amos and the Little Debbie brownie that I put in my backpack."

So you see, The Pony didn't starve, even though his pastry kitchen was not in operation.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Maybe He'll Get Dual Credit If He Enrolls In Culinary School

"Hey, Pony! What's for summer school?"

"Muffins, and pancakes, and yesterday's special, CUPCAKES!"

Looks like those tight school lunch mandates fly out the window when the regular school year is over! Yesterday The Pony had a hoof in the baking of a batch of cupcakes. But, much like Tina Turner on her prancing show-pony legs...The Pony never, ever, does anything nice and easy.

"What kind of cupcakes did you have?"


"I hope you didn't have to burn your finger getting them out of the oven."

"No! I know where to get an oven mitt."

"In that cooking room?"

"No. You have to go by the kitchen and ask the cooks for one."

"Did you use those muffin cups, the paper kind?"

"Yeah. We made 21 cupcakes. We started out to make 15, because we had 13 kids in our room that day. But then it rained, and we couldn't go out for recess, so we had to make them for another class, too. Mrs. Blank and I didn't get one because there weren't enough. But we got to eat the frosting! Vanilla AND chocolate! We already had our 15 cups filled with batter, then we had to go back and steal some out of those 15 to make as many more as we could. We dipped with the wooden spoon that we used to stir the batter. Actually, we made our batter first, then we put in the eggs. That's because we forgot the eggs. But then some girl ran to get them."

"From the kitchen? You let a little kindergarten girl run to the kitchen?"

"NO! We don't let kids run in the hall! A grown up girl. A lady. She was driving over to the superintendent's office for something, so she picked up the eggs."

"The superintendent has EGGS?"

"NO! She got the eggs on the way BACK!"

"Why didn't you just get them from the kitchen?"

"The kitchen doesn't have EGGS! Why would they have eggs?"

"I don't know, now that you mention it."

So...The Pony completed the trifecta of sugary breakfast foods for kindergarteners. He only has two days left of indentured servitude. Not sure what he'll be doing. Today he went to the petting zoo. Story tomorrow.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

He's A Quipper, Works With Nippers, He's A Pancake Flipper...

Perhaps you know the Muffin Boy. The Muffin Boy. THE MUFFIN BOY! You know, The Pony, who has been working with kindergarteners to earn tutoring hours for the Missouri A+ program.

Last you heard, The Pony had burned his finger taking a muffin pan out of the over without a mitt. Let's hope he doesn't get sent up a certain creek without a paddle. A finger injury resulting from that effort I would not volunteer to kiss and make better!

Yesterday, The Pony's task was to make pancakes.

"All I had to do was cook them on a griddle. It was in the classroom. An electric griddle."

"Did you toss them in the air to turn them over? Or just tip them. You DID turn them over, right?"

"I had a spatula. I scooted it under them and flipped them. Almost all of them came out okay, except a few I made too big."

"Did you make Mickey Mouse pancakes?"


"Do you know how to do that?"


"How, then?"

"Ergh! You just pour out your batter, and shape it like you want."

"You pour one big circle, and two little ones for the ears."

"OR...you could do it that way."

"See? You DIDN'T know how to make Mickey Mouse pancakes."

"I made 32 pancakes all together. Two for each kid, and two for me, and two for Mrs. Blank."

"Did you have to cut them up for the kids?"

"No. Mrs. Blank just told them to pick them up with their hands, and tear them into pieces."

"BEFORE the syrup, I hope."

"Uh, yeah! Because we do not want stickiness! We do NOT want sticky hands! Kids have sticky hands anyway. I don't know how. But they just naturally have sticky hands."

"Here's something to remember for college. I used to have a box of Bisquick sitting around, because you can make biscuits OR pancakes with it. The recipe is right on the box. But here's how I liked to make it, like for supper, not a breakfast. I would take a can of fruit salad, the kind in heavy syrup, and use that for the liquid in my Bisquick pancakes. I'd pour in some fruit, too, and make one big pancake, the size to cover a non-stick skillet. It was great. Chunky with pieces of fruit...and I'd pour some of that leftover juice from the can onto my pancake instead of syrup."

"Mmm...that sounds good."

"Yes. And cheap."

"I guess you were like #1, being a vegetarian."

"Not quite. I didn't have bacon."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Farmer H Needs An Adverb Lesson: LOVINGLY, Not GRUDGINGLY.

As you may recall, I have been getting up at 4:50 a.m. as usual, to pack The Pony's lunch and ferry him off to Newmentia for his tutoring duties. Problem is, my body thinks it's on summer vacation. It prefers to stay up until 2:00, with an interlude of napping from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Then it refuses to go back to sleep. What are ya gonna do? I can't kick my own body to the curb. We don't have a curb. Just a snarling overgrown poodle.

This morning, I had just settled down for a short summer's chair nap when I heard, "MOM! THERE'S A GIANT SPIDER DOWN HERE!"

"Well, I'm not coming down. You'll have to step on it."

"I already DID! Now it's laying here on the rug!" Let the record show that The Pony was talking about the huge braided oval rug that we got from the estate auction of my maternal grandma's house. The huge braided oval rug in which I once found a giant toenail that nearly severed a tendon in the bottom of my foot while pregnant with the #1 son, leading to its official Hillbilly family name of The Toenail Rug. Let the record also show that The Pony trots down to the basement each morning in his sleep shorts and an old science fair t-shirt, his tender hooves unencumbered by shoes.

"I can't help that. I'm not coming down. I'm tired. My legs will hurt too early from the stairs. Get a tissue and pick it up and flush it."

"It's too BIG!"

"HOW big? As big as a tennis ball?"

"If you count the legs! What if it runs off?"

"Then you need to smash it and make sure. You don't want it alive and running around, do you, when you don't have any idea where it is, but you know it's there somewhere in the room?"

"I don't have anything to smash it with. There aren't any shoes down here."

"You can come up and find one, or use something else."


"What was THAT?"

"Oh. You heard that?"

"Yes! What was it?"

"I threw the box my laptop came in on it. There are still some parts in there I don't use."

"Great. #1 always wants to save the boxes. Now it will be a mess."

"Not really. Somebody can wipe the spider guts off of it and it's still good."

"Get that cleaned up."

"In a bit."

I leaned back for about four winks of much-needed shut-eye. Farmer H emerged from the bedroom, the opposite of rarin' to go to the job that allows us to live this luxury life of heirloom toenail rugs and indoor wildlife.

"Your son stepped on a huge spider, and is afraid to pick it up." No response, except maybe a disgruntled grunt. "Aren't you going to do anything?" His footless ankles stumped their way toward the stairs. "Wait! Aren't you going to holler and ask him? He might have picked it up by now." On stumped the stumps. "What are you, stupid? You may not even have to go down there!" Stump. Step. Stump. Step. Stump. Step. Let the record show that 13 steps were stumped down to the basement level.

"Where is it?"

"Right there, under the laptop box."

"I don't see any spider."

"THERE! On the edge!"

"Hmpf." Step. Stump. Times 13. "See. I ain't stupid."

Sweet Gummi Mary! What, exactly, does Farmer H think his job is around here? I'm pretty sure "killing and disposing of bugs" is not even in fine print.

Poor Pony. "It was a wolf spider. It blended in perfect camouflage with the rug. I stepped in front of your chair, and hit it with my pinky toe on my left foot. I thought, 'That's not right. There's something there.' Then I saw it! The legs were kind of crinkled up. I knew it wasn't all the way dead. The only thing heavy enough to kill it was my laptop box. Even Dad had trouble seeing it on the rug."

Don't think this means The Pony will be shod in the basement now. He will just be jumpy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

You Can Lead A Pony To The Oven, And You Can Burn Him To A Crisp

Oh, dear. I fear The Pony is being overtaxed by his supervising teacher in his tutoring capacity!

On the first day of summer school, you know, The Pony was sent out at the 11th hour to retrieve a lost jacket. AND HE FOUND IT! Not on the playground where it was left, but on the first grade hall, where it had been deposited.

So...yesterday, a jacket again came up missing. The Pony was dispatched at the 11:59th hour. Unfortunately, he could not pull this jacket rabbit out of his hat.

Today, The Pony had to make muffins!

Okay. So The Pony didn't so much MAKE the muffins as bake the muffins.

"I can't believe she had you make muffins! Did you tell her you're not allowed to do that at home?"

"No. Actually, the kindergarteners MADE the muffins. We used packets of muffin mix, and two whole school milk cartons. They mixed it up, and I went to bake them. I burned my hand."

"WHAT? Did you tell her? Is it bad?"

"No. It's not third degree. Third degree is when it's scarred--"

"Third degree is when it's CHARRED! Black!"

"No. Scarred. It's not. But I think I'm going to have a blister there tomorrow. There's a bubble on the end of my finger. The muffins were kind of dark, but the kids and Mrs. Blank all said they were good. I didn't eat one."

"How did you burn your finger?"

"Well, when I went up there, the oven was off. So I turned it on to preheat like the package said. I was supposed to cook them for 14-17 minutes. But Mrs. Blank said one of those two ovens doesn't work right, and it takes twice as long. So I waited until the preheat light came on, and put them in--"

"WAIT! You don't put them in until the preheat light goes OFF!"

"No. It was OFF when I went in there."

"Somebody else was preheating the oven?"

"Nooo...Nobody was there. The oven was cold. I turned it on to preheat, and when the light came on, I put in the muffins."

"But the preheat light goes OFF when it's hot enough to cook!"

"I don't know why you keep saying that. This oven is different. The light comes ON when it's ready. So I put the muffins in there. I waited 17 minutes. I took them out. They weren't done. So I put them back. They cooked for a half hour or maybe 35 minutes. Then they were a little dark."

"So how did you burn your hand?"

"There were no oven mitts anywhere in that room. So I had to pull them out with my hands. But I used a towel, only the heat went right through it and still burned my hand."

"Did the towel happen to be wet?"

"Yes! How did you know that?"

"Because heat goes really fast through a wet towel. Why was it wet. Did you wet it?"

"I had to."

"Why? So it wouldn't burst into flames?"

"No. When I took the muffins out the first time, they weren't done. And the batter splashed on the pan. So I had to wipe it off with a towel. So then I had to wash the towel in the sink because I messed it up. I used the towel to carry the pan of muffins back to class, but even after letting it cool, it still burned my hand through the towel by the time I got it there."

"Aww...you poor thing."

Seriously. Don't you feel bad for The Pony? He valiantly tried to perform a life skill for which he was not prepared, and he injured himself in the process, my noble little steed. He walked all the way from those kindergarten rooms in Newmentia to the old rock building that used to be the middle school, and down into the basement, on the far end, where I once shared a classroom, to get to those ovens. And the reverse on the return trip. While carrying a hot muffin pan.

I'm really kind of proud of him. The school is still standing.

Monday, June 1, 2015

SSDD. It's Not Always What You Assume.

Like actor Strother Martin as Colonel Stonehill in True Grit was happily ignorant of Lawyer J. Noble Daggett until Mattie Ross persisted in drawing his name like a gun...I was happily ignorant of the expression SSDD until my misspent middle-age led me there. Yep. Never heard of it. Had no idea what it meant until I read Stephen King's Dreamcatcher. For those of you who may be just as ignorant, it stands for...um...how shall we sanitize this...how about: Carbon-Copy Crap, Different Day.

Yes, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has led a sheltered life. She doesn't know if Stephen King invented this acronym, or merely made it a fixture in today's slang dictionary. That's neither here nor there, Mr. King. As Rooster Cogburn told those Parmalee brothers when advising them to stand aside before he shot Lucky Ned Pepper, "I've got no interest in you today."

For Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's purposes, SSDD has another meaning:
Second Son, Different Day.

You may recall from yesterday that the #1 son grew indignant when I asked him if he knew who country singer Clay Walker was. And did not have the courtesy to be embarrassed that he did NOT know who Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler was. I chalked that up to being a #1 son ego kind of thing.

This morning, driving The Pony to Elementia to earn his tutoring hours, I mentioned that I needed to send in our registration for a summer writing conference. "I have to mark what kind of sandwich you want for lunch. And what soda. I think they only have Pepsi products."

"Sierra Mist. You know what I like. And roast beef for the sandwich."

"Okay. I don't remember what's on the list. If they don't have Sierra Mist, I guess I can pick root beer. And if they don't have root beer, I'll make it Mr. Pibb." The Pony was silent. "You know what Mr. Pibb is, don't you?"

"I'm not stupid! Of course I know what Mr. Pibb is!"

"It's like Dr. Pepper."


Uh huh. Second son, different day. I was starting to feel like Frank Costanza explaining the ins and outs of cup size to George, the prospective bra salesman. (Yeah, I just couldn't let it go. Had to get my Seinfeld reference in there). My boys declare they already know what I try to explain to them, even though I am met with silence when I first bring it up.

They are not picking up what I am laying down. Or they've already picked it up before I lay it down. I wonder if they know about the bra sizes...