Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Pony Is A Silver-Tongued Devil

The Pony is going to prom again this year. Same dance, different date.

Tuesday, we went to rent a tux. Of course he got the trainee who had only taken two tux orders in her fledgling career. Thank the Gummi Mary, one of the owners of the establishment told her she wanted to watch her take The Pony’s measurements. First of all, when she needed to measure his waist at the belly-button area, she had the tape measure way up at the bottom of his ribs. As the owner said, “I don’t think his belly button is that high. Have him point it out to you.” Then, on the same measurement, the owner had to tell her as she read off the number, “Your hand is inside the tape. We don’t need anybody’s pants falling down because you measured the waist too large.” We’ll see how this turns out.

The Pony’s date happens to be in one of my classes. She was talking about prom before class. I said that The Pony had reserved his tux. And that he hoped the vest color matched her dress, because the girl taking the order took a look at the picture on his phone, and said, “Is your maximum brightness on?” I also informed her that The Pony’s truck has no heat or air conditioning, so we should hope for temperate weather on prom night. Date said, “I have a hoop skirt. I hope I fit in the truck.” I shared this information with The Pony on the way home.

“I’m sure your seat moves back. If it works!”

“It works.”

“So you might tell her that it will move back. But not in front of people! And not so it makes her feel awkward.”

“Heh. Heh. I can say, ‘I moved the seat back as far as it would go. Hopefully, you’ll fit.’”

“Stop! You’re cracking me up. You wouldn’t really do that, would you?”

“Meh. Probably not.”

That little girl doesn’t know what she’s in for.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mate And Switch

Yesterday, Farmer H sent me a text in the middle of the day.

“I found a switch.”

Sweet Gummi Mary! What was THAT supposed to mean? A switch? Like for administering a whoopin’? Like when your stepdaddy says , “Boy, go out back and bring me a switch.” Like in that move The Quiet Man, when John Wayne is dragging Maureen O’Hara across the Irish countryside by the her flaming red hair, and a woman from the town holds out a tree branch, and says, “Here’s a stick, to beat the lovely lady.” Or maybe Farmer H found a switch to turn on his common sense. Or one that makes a light bulb appear over his head when he gets an idea. Seriously. A switch? So all I could do was send back a response.



Okay. I DID ask. But this was not helping.

"For what?”

“His cruise control they didn’t have the ac switch today will check again another day.switch looks good and for 5 bucks I will try it about 10 minutes to install”

So…I gathered that Farmer H was looking for parts to fix The Pony’s truck, since he was sure he had found the parts on The Devil’s online version, and he and The Pony went to the Playground on Monday night, and no part was to be had. Prompting Farmer H to say, “Huh. I guess I didn’t look it up right.”

Speaking of…he sent me info for the part he needs to fix the hot tub. Info consisting of the word pump and a couple of stock numbers. “You can get it on Amazon,” said Farmer H. “My buddy at work got one there.”

Do you know how many pumps for hot tubs come up when you type in Farmer H’s numbers on Amazon? 3,367. Yeah. Kind of hard to figure out which one goes with your 1970s model free hot tub that Farmer H brought home from the estate of his boss’s deceased father. So that was not found. Prompting Farmer H to say, “Oh. I guess I will go to the pool place and ask about it.”

Yeah. Somebody around here needs a switch all right…

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

This Pot Regrets Implying That The Kettle Is Black

You knew it would happen, didn't you? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's comeuppance. Even Steven adding a tally mark. Karma dangling by sharp teeth from Mrs. HM's ample buttocks.

You may recall that I pretty much declared The Pony to be a careless gambler. One who doesn't have the sense to go over a scratch-off ticket with a fine-toothed comb. In fact, I even wondered in font whether The Pony actually shares my DNA. All because he mistook a $50 winner for a $10 winner. Thank the Gummi Mary, there are safeguards in place for that. A bar code on the bottom of each ticket that, when scanned by the gas station chicken store clerk, reveals the amount of the win. As long as you can trust your gas station chicken store clerk, you're going to get what's coming to you when you cash in that ticket.

Sunday night, I decided to enter a few of my losers in the website. You tally up points toward prizes, you know. And the Golden Ticket game has a monthly second-chance drawing to win $500, and three second-chance grand prizes. I missed the first drawing for that, so I punched in my losing scratcher validation numbers. The first seven tickets went in just fine. It's kind of a tedious process, but with some Pure Prairie League playing, and no school on Monday, I took the time.

What's this? The eighth ticket gave me a message. Entry not recognized. Please check the numbers and try again. So I did. All my numbers checked out. This happened to me a couple years ago, and I discovered that the ticket was not a loser. So I went back over my loser. Dang. Those Golden Tickets have 10 numbers at the top, which you try to match with 60 numbers at the bottom. On and on I went. Nope. No matches. Then I got to the very last of the top 10 numbers. And in the middle of the lower 60, I HAD A MATCH! I scratched off the prize, and saw that I'd won $50.

Pony. My cast-iron soul apologizes.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hopefully, The Headlines Will Not Report An Epidemic Of Hoof-And-Mouth Disease In Hillmomba

So...we had the big Easter feast at the Mansion yesterday. The #1 son graced us with his presence for two hours. Just slightly longer than the time it took him to drive here. And then again to drive back. Still, it was good to see him. Even though the preparations took roughly as much time as was needed to plan the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. Of course he took back leftovers, though he eschewed the ham. "I'm really not a fan of ham." Huh. I don't know what he thought I was serving when he hit the road.

#1 might be running a sidewalk cafe out of his rental house. Except that he has no sidewalk. Perhaps it's a Cul-de-sac Cafe. He got a coffee maker for Christmas, you know. And he took back enough food to feed a frat house. As long as they don't expect ham. Deviled eggs, hash brown casserole, potato salad, roasted potatoes/carrots/onions (you might have heard about us from our neighbors the Buttertons--the Hillbilly family is sometimes called the Potatotons), green bean bundles, 7-layer salad, a bottle of Kraft Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing, Sister Schubert's rolls, and an unopened package of sharp cheddar cheese slices that expire on April 6th. Hey! How long do you think that cheese is going to last in a house occupied by four college dudes?

Can you believe that boy turned down chocolate pie, and a package of Brookies (a brownie/cookie combination that The Pony picked up at The Devil's Playground), and a box of no-refrigeration-necessary bacon that only needed to be microwaved for crisping? Let the record show that he DID eat a cup of pudding that wouldn't fit in the pie, and said he was not a fan of Brookies (go commiserate with ham, Brookies!), and explained that his house had just bought a package of bacon yesterday, and it cost NINE DOLLARS!

While awaiting the arrival of #1, I ordered The Pony around like an indentured servant during his last week of indenture. He was on call, relegated to the living room couch between jobs, rather than whiling away the morning on his cheap couch in the basement, playing his new video game. The Pony was agreeable, if inefficient. At one point, I started cleaning off the kitchen counter myself, since it was taking him so long to set the table.

"What is THIS? It wasn't here a minute ago."

"Just when I start one thing, you tell me to do something else. That is...your coaster from beside the recliner in the living room."

Let the record show that it is not just Mrs. HM's coaster, but a communal coaster, in the form of a plastic lid from a quart hot&sour soup container.

"Well, I guess I'll just put it in my dishwater here. Where I was washing up the latest bunch of dishes, before I had to clean off the counter, which wasn't being done."

"I was setting the table like you said! You interrupted me when I was clipping my toenails like you told me to do last night."

"What does that have to do with the coaster being in here?"

"That's what I was catching my toenails with. I always do."


"WAIT! Were there toenails on that when I put it in the dishwater? Because I'm going to have to start all over with fresh water--"

"No, mother dearest. I dumped the toenails in the wastebasket when I came in, and then started setting the table. So I didn't have a chance to take it back yet."

"Oh. So you only put the EMPTY coaster from the toenails right here by where we're setting the food out for serving. And you're touching every plate, bowl, glass, knife, and fork (The Pony declared we wouldn't need spoons [tell that to pudding-eater #1] so he didn't put any on the table) without having washed your hands?"

"Wash my hands? For what?"

Uh huh. Makes you sorry you missed our feast, doesn't it?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

SOMETHING Appears To Be Authentic

It's no secret that unexplained incidents happen frequently at the Mansion. Aside from the nightly footsteps that nobody admits to up above my head after Farmer H and The Pony go to bed...not much has gone on lately.

Friday evening, as I was sitting the NASCAR bathroom on the other side of the inner wall of my dark basement lair...I noticed that something was out of place. It was a Certificate of Authenticity for some 12-car collection, propped behind a yellow #4 Kodak racecar, and a car still in its box. They were on a little shelf above the sink.

There is no wind in the basement, unless The Pony is fanning that door maniacally as he enters and leaves. And a draft from a door won't move a metal car in a box. I don't recall any earthquake tremors. That's the first thing I thought of. The New Madrid Fault has been behaving itself. So I asked The Pony, in case he had not.

"Have you been slamming the bathroom door?"


"The door down here on the bathroom. Have you been slamming it so there's a wind?"

"Noooo...why would I do that?"

"I don't know. But I noticed that certificate is falling over, and there's a car out of place on that little shelf."

"By the sink? I haven't told you this...but I was sitting on the toilet one day, and a car AND that certificate fell off the shelf! And I didn't do ANYTHING! I was just sitting there, and it happened all at once!"

"That certificate of authenticity? It fell all the way down?"

"Uh huh. And that car it was behind. That yellow one."

"Huh. I was sitting there, and saw that the certificate is leaning on the yellow car. The #4 Kodak. But the car next to it in the box is sticking out over the edge of the shelf."

"I don't know WHAT'S going on. But it wasn't ME!"

Yeah. I don't think it was.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Importance Of Being Sternest

Sweet Gummi Mary! The apple has rolled so far from the tree that it bounced off a bluff, dropped into the Mississippi, bobbed out into the Gulf of Mexico, hung a left just past Florida, and washed up on a beach along the coast of Europe, in England, right between Germany and France on that newly-discovered (to Mrs. HM) island of England.

I am so shocked that I'm tempted to order a maternity test. Surely The Pony was switched at the hospital! I have no other explanation for the shocking turn of events that befell Mrs. Hillbilly Mom today at the gas station chicken store.

The Pony has had a lottery ticket laying on the kitchen counter for a couple of months. Yeah. Mrs. HM's housekeeping leaves a little to be desired. It's not like she's a hoarder. This was not a mummified cat found under a pile of pizza boxes. To be fair, it's on the kitchen counter that sticks out like a peninsula, from the side of the sink, dividing the kitchen from the dining nook. Not the kitchen counter by the stove, where Mrs. HM does her food preparations.

So...amongst the pack of napkins left there from Christmas dinner, and Mrs. HM's school bag that rests there every night, and a couple of Entertainment Weeklys, and a lottery ticket awaiting mailing to the #1 son with his $6 for Chinese food, and a pair of winter gloves, and Mrs. HM's purse...was this winning lottery ticket. It was a $10 ticket. The Pony had traded in some of his Christmas winners, and got this one that won $10. Every now and then, I'd ask him if he wanted me to cash it in. "Nah. That's okay." So now that he has turned 18, he could do it himself. He's bought one or two, just to say he did.

Today I asked if he wanted me to cash it in while I was in town for a 44 oz Diet Coke. "Sure. Why not?" That's a standard answer for him. I was not planning on getting any tickets today. I cashed in my $300 winner yesterday, bought a few, and pocketed the rest, to play with another day. Which was not today. Nor did I take my stack of small winners for trade-in. I was only going to get a soda, and two $5 tickets for The Pony when I cashed in his winner.

As I was filling my 44 oz cup with my magical elixir, I noticed that The Pony had not scratched off the bar code area. That's a no-no! The clerks HATE that! It means they have to grab the plastic spoon taped to the ink pen they loan out, and scrape that ticket until the bar code is revealed. So...I took one of my handful of coins to be used for exact change on my soda payment, and scratched for The Pony. There. Easy peasy. I approached the counter.

It was the cranky old clerk who's nice to me. The one who gets all rattled, and says every step of the transaction. "Is that soda separate?"


"A dollar sixty-nine."

I handed over my correct change. She rang it up, and turned to scan the winner. She punched it in the register, took the receipt, stapled it to the ticket as per procedure in the gas station chicken store, laid it by the register, and said, "That's fifty."

"WHAT? Can I look at that? I thought it was a ten-dollar winner!"

There is was. Plain as the nose on Danny Kaye's and Jimmy Durante's faces. FIFTY DOLLARS. The very first number on the ticket was a winner, with a dollar bill symbol that meant DOUBLE, and a $20 amount under it. AND there was a $10 winning number on down the ticket. Huh. The Pony was certainly not observant.

"I'll take a Twenty-five Hundred For Life, and a Cash Vault. And the forty dollars left in cash. That's my son's ticket! I can't believe he didn't know how much it won."

The clerk completed the transaction, and I stuffed the cash in my shirt pocket. Do you think it crossed Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's mind to buy tickets with that forty dollars? You know her pretty well. Of course it did. I might as well have been Larry "Pinto" Kroger in Animal House, with a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other shoulder, giving me conflicting advice.

Maybe that was one of my tickets that I didn't want to take one day, so I laid it on the counter by my purse. The Pony thinks it was a ten-dollar winner. I'll give him his two tickets. He won't know any different. And it might have actually been MY ticket anyway. I seem to recall cashing one in for him already...I can stop at the Orb K and get some tickets for myself.

Wait. I ALWAYS reveal the bar code on my winners. ALWAYS. So if that was MY ticket, it would have been scratched off. That's the first thing I do when I see it's a winner. Scratch the bar code. Even before I see how much I've won. That couldn't have been my ticket.

I kept driving, right past the turn-off to the Orb K. The Pony was shocked to hear that he'd won $50 on that ticket. I told him my dilemma.

"You could have used it for tickets. I don't care."

"No. It was yours. But how a son of mine cannot figure out how much he won on a lottery ticket is beyooooond me!"

The Pony put away his winnings. Then he sat down to scratch his two tickets. "Huh. Loser. Another loser."

To which I responded, "ARE YOU SURE?"

I might need to dig them out of the trash to check them. And schedule that maternity test.

Friday, March 25, 2016

It's Not Like I Can Arrange A Playdate

The Pony and I stopped at Terrible Cuts for haircuts on the way home yesterday. In fact, yesterday's post was going to be titled: Haircut, Hair Cut. But I saved this part for today.

Thank the Gummi Mary, I got my favorite Terrible Cutter. I think her name is Doris. She looks like the world's first (self-proclaimed) supermodel, Janice Dickinson. Well. Not like a model, exactly. But kind of rough, with the same features, and kind of the same attitude. But here's the thing. I like her. I really like her. In spite of her blunt comments.

Yes, my Supercutter has no filter. Like when she puts that strip of cotton stuff around my neck before nearly asphyxiating me with the drape thingy, and says, "Wow! You sure have a lot of moles!" Seriously. It's not like they're the size of that lip growth on Maisy's teacher in Uncle Buck. The one John Candy tossed a quarter to as he left her office, telling her to take it downtown and hire a rat to gnaw that thing off her face.

Or like yesterday, when SuperC started combing through my hair, and said, "I look at my color at home, where it's dark, and think I'm fine. But when I go out, I see how bad I need to touch it up." Um. Yeah. I get it. My roots are showing. No need to announce it to the 15 people waiting and watching, listening in on our intimate conversation.

Still, I kind of like that ol' gal. We are kindred spirits. We don't suffer fools. Gladly or ungladly. SuperC got to talking about her heating bill. How she had turned off her heat, and even though it was getting down near freezing last night, she wasn't going to turn it on. She was just going to wrap up. Because heating bills are out of control, you know, and there's a charge on there that everybody gets, and they won't tell you exactly what it is. So one day the girls in the salon called, and they were told it's for people who can't afford their heating bills. "They USED to ask if you wanted to donate a dollar for that! But not anymore. They just TAKE IT! And it's a lot more than a dollar. And the PHONE BILL!"

"I know! I still have a land line--"

"OH! The 9-1-1 charges!"

"I don't even mind that. Because it's local, and there's got to be some way to pay for the 9-1-1 system. But those "taxes" from AT&T are eating me up! If you look at them, they're really about money for free phones for people--"

"I KNOW! If you want a phone, get out and work for it! Or go without a phone!"

"Yeah. I don't know why everybody with a land line has to pay about $30 a month for these freeloaders. They can afford everything else--"

"They're getting their heat paid for!"

"Yeah! Only about half of my phone bill is for my own services. The rest of it's those taxes."

Uh huh. We are not people people, SuperC and I. And sometimes, I feel bad for her. Talking about how food is so expensive now. And even though she loves grapes, those bags in The Devil's Playgound are just too much for one person. So she breaks some of them off, and puts them in another bag, so she can buy less. She was afraid to get caught, but then a Devil's Handmaiden told her they really don't care if you do that.

Yeah, I feel bad for SuperC. I'm worry that she goes home alone and sits in the cold, eating a meager amount of grapes, looking at Facebook. She told me that. She never comments on stuff. She just reads other people's. And she likes some of their videos. "They're so CUTE!"

Too bad it's hard to make new friends when you get old. Friends who might think you have ulterior motives. Friends from a different socioeconomic background.

Sometimes, I wish I could just ask SuperC to join me in a warm restaurant for a grape or two. My treat.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Some Days Are Diamond, Some Days Are Hair

Lest you think Mrs. Hillbilly Mom lives a charmed life, filling empty vessels, in the form of cherubs, from her fountain of knowledge...

Sweet Gummi Mary! What fresh not-heaven is THIS?

I'm pretty sure a cat did not sneak in under the door and hack up a hairball. Yet that's what it is! A ball of hair. A BALL OF HAIR! In Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's domain!

Granted, we did not put our noses to the grindstone today, on this last day before our four-day weekend that we call Spring Break. No bookwork. Just an educational video concerning amusement parks and how their rides still must function under the laws of Newton and other long-dead discoverers of forces and their interactions.

Sure, one little gal asked if she could braid another little gal's hair as long as they still paid attention. Mrs. HM was feeling generous. Sure. How long could it take? Turns out about 10 minutes. And they were not anywhere the area where this biohazard was discovered six hours later1

What in tarnation was going on here? Did Mrs. HM miss a knock-down drag-out altercation? Don't think so. There was no commotion. Everything was peaceful.

Surely today's pupils know enough about etiquette that they would never clean out a hairbrush and drop the no-longer-residing residue on the floor! Yet today's mystery remains unsolved.

Here's a little-known fact that Mrs. HM tries to keep under her hat. Well. HAT is perhaps a poor choice of words, because the very thought of that makes. Mrs. HM's mouth water like a burst of uncontrolled vomit is at this very moment eschewing the ticket booth and jumping the turnstile to hitch a ride on the Indisposed Express.

The fact is that one year, a girl shared a very personal secret with Mrs. HM. She even pulled her secret out of her purse and let it bask in the fluorescent glow of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's classroom ceiling lights.


Uh huh. Not only did she save it, each day, from her hairbrush...but she put it together with previous days' hirsute harvests, and had quite a specimen going on. She could have advertised it alongside the world's largest ball of twine on a highway billboard along Route 66. Mrs. HM tried to graciously compliment her on such a keepsake, but inside, her gastric juices were percolating up the old esophagus.

Today's discovery still remains a mystery. Mrs. HM stopped short of having The Pony scoop it up and toss it (along with his cookies) in the trash. There is only so much a mother can feel right about forcing her son to do for her. That lonely tumblin' hairball remained right there on the industrial tile.

Somewhere, somebody is crying, "Oh, the HAIRMANITY!"

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is The Reason Kids These Days Are Dehydrated

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not one of those touchy-feely teachers. (A poor choice of words, perhaps, in today’s climate.) You don’t come hang out in her room before school, after school, or during the day if you can scam your way out of your scheduled class. Nope. Tough love here, my friends. Which is not to say that Mrs. HM doesn’t care about her pupils. She does what she can to make their passage into adulthood easier. But she’s not their buddy. Not gonna happen.

So this morning, a young lassie came to Mrs. HM’s door at 7:45. That is Mrs. HM’s time. Time to get her materials ready for the day, time to catch up on extras like special assignments for those not to be in the classroom for instruction for a few days, time to plan for future activities. She does not arrive at 7:30, before the mandated time of 7:55 in order to hang out with pupils.

Lass was polite. “May I put this in your fridge?” She held a bottle of some light-brown concoction. Perhaps chocolate milk, perhaps coffee-based. The beverage itself does not matter. What matters is the request. Of course permission was denied. Just because a teacher has a mini-fridge (not school-provided, of course, as if that was even assumed), does not mean it is open for pupil usage.

“No, sorry.”

“You mean I can’t put it in there?”

“No. I’d have a hundred kids a day asking to use it if they found out I let you put stuff in there. No. Sorry.”

“But I love you!”

“Sorry. You’ll have to find somebody who loves you back. With a mini fridge.”

“Okay then.”

You see, this is not a frat house. Not a crash pad. Not a sidewalk bistro. No need to use my mini fridge to cool a beverage that I will not let you drink in class, that you must remove from the mini fridge as you leave class, thus informing your class and perhaps the one after it that Mrs. HM has let you use the mini fridge.

Sorry. Not on my watch.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This Is Why Husbands Are Fed To The Wood Chipper

I know it will come as a shock to you, but Farmer H has gone and done something that makes my blood boil. You’d think I could heat the Mansion with one of those in-floor tubey forced-blood systems, what with all the boiling my blood does around here.

Apparently, Farmer H thinks Hillmomba is a community property state. As in, what’s his is his, what’s ours is his, and what’s mine is his. Farmer H knows no boundaries. The Mansion is his castle, and everything in the Mansion is part of his riches. Nobody else can lay claim to any property in the Mansion.

Here’s the thing. I don’t profess to be June Cleaver. I don’t wear pearls around the house while I’m vacuuming and dusting. Sweet Gummi Mary! I don’t even profess to be a vacuumer or duster! I sure don’t set my alarm to get up even earlier than my usual 4:50 a.m. in order to cook a hearty breakfast and set the table with Grandma’s china. Nope. We are on our own for breakfast. It’s always been that way, ever since the boys could fend for themselves. Farmer H knows the routine.

So…when I get up first while he snoozes, I make the lunches for The Pony and me. Which means I grab a paper plate out of the wooden holder on the cabinet beside the stove, the one my mom gave me that says “Everyday China” on the front. I use that plate to cut open a roll before slapping a precooked boneless skinless chicken breast on there for my lunch. I put the sandwich in a baggie and leave the plate so when I come back an hour later to cook my mini sausage biscuits, I won’t waste another plate.

In the meantime, and in this case, it’s really the MEAN time, Farmer H goes through the kitchen on his way out the door, and microwaves his sausage egg croissant, and perhaps pops a whole grain blueberry waffle in the toaster.

For the past two mornings, Farmer H has TAKEN MY PAPER PLATE!

I know! The HORROR! I have to reach 12 inches past where my plate should have been, and take another one out of the holder! Can you believe it? Why can’t Farmer H reach those 12 inches, and get his OWN paper plate? Like he has done every morning for years? I know why! Because on the weekend, I heard Farmer H wrestling with the paper plates. To separate one from the other. Of course The Pony picked up a pack that seems to be glued together. I think it’s a conspiracy by the Devil to make people buy more plates from his Playground, what with using two at a time because they stick together.

Farmer H doesn’t know how good he has it. Because when I restocked the holder with paper plates on Sunday, (you didn’t think HE was going to do it, did you?) I separated those plates before putting them in. Apparently, Farmer H has it pretty good. Because he can just grab a plate all willy-nilly off the counter, knowing that it was left by someone else for their own purposes.

THIS is why husbands are fed to the wood chipper! Well. That, and leaving poop on the back of the toilet seat.

Monday, March 21, 2016

There Is No Joy In FAFSAville, Mighty HM Has Struck Out

I've had it with trying to do the right thing!

How hard does it have to be to log in to FAFSA and update the tax return information? That's not a rhetorical question. HOW HARD DOES IT HAVE TO BE?

I put in all the required information. The FAFSA itself was filed back before the March 1 deadline that The Pony needed. Maybe even before February 1. Now I can log in, but I can't get any further! What good is that? Again, not rhetorical. What good is it to be logged in, but unable to proceed into the document?

Why is it that every time, I'm told that my username is not correct. Then when I hit the FORGOT button, it takes me to a screen saying I AM logged in! With the correct user name AND password. Yet I can't get past the SAVE KEY. That's totally stupid! I wrote it down when we set up the parent account.

You know what? I don't really care if I update it or not. Don't care. Over an hour spent on that farce. It's not like my kids will qualify for any aid. Just a government tracker that won't let me submit my finances for tracking.

So there. Guess I showed them, didn't I?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

It Was A Cold Day In March Before The Pony Drove Himself To School

So...remember a week ago, when I shared the news that The Pony had asked for, and been assigned, a parking space on the Newmentia parking lot?



He had a blood drive to work at Wednesday until 6:00. Then he had to help load up the Scarlet Plus-Signs' vampire equipment. Then, he sent me a text. Because he's a good Pony like that. "Stopping by The Devil's Playground to pick up a snack for the Sleep-In tomorrow." That's right! He drove himself to The Devil's Playground, and then back to the Mansion when it was full dark.

The Pony got up Thursday morning and forewent his a.m. computer gaming. He had to load a box of Nerf weapons in his truck. That's what goes on at the senior locked-in sleepover at Newmentia. Don't get me started on that one. You'd think, with the hysterical climate regarding school violence, the last thing one would schedule would be a night where pupils are locked in and chasing each other with weaponry. But no. That's exactly what the senior Smartypants Club members are treated to.

As he balanced a large box (courtesy of Farmer H's employer, which uses them to ship saw blades) full of Nerfs, including a six-shot revolver, a couple of sniper rifles, and a submachine gun that he likened to an assault rifle...The Pony bemoaned the fact that his truck had no heat.

"Maybe I just don't know how to turn it on. Because yesterday, when I got to school, it was still blowing out cold air. Can I take these gloves? I know they're yours, but they have that soft lining inside."

"You can take my gloves. We need to tell Dad about your truck. I'll tell him this morning. It's been sitting there for almost two years. He drives it himself. You'd think he could have gotten it fixed by now. I told him you were driving it this week."

When I got to work, I sent Farmer H a text: "The Pony says he has no heat in his truck. It was 32 this morning."

Farmer H at 7:27 a.m.: "Ok"

Farmer H at 10:33 a.m.: "The Pony does have heat it is just in the control switch how it turns on its another thing that has to be fixed wit the AC"

I had to stay for conferences until 6:00 that night. The Pony was in and out, (even though Newmentia let out at 12:45), because he was working on a project for some inventors' club with Arch Nemesis and the other four pupils she handpicked. At one point he said he was going out to bring in his box of Nerfs. "I brought enough so kids who don't have one can borrow."

"You should take someone with you to get the door. It sticks. You don't know, because you never come in that way. Even buzzing you in won't help. It's about how you turn the handle."

On his next visit, to take some leftover pizza we had brought from home, I asked if he had any trouble getting his weapons in the door.

"Smart Gal #3 said she'd go help me. Actually, SHE carried the box for me."

"Pony! You can't let girls carry your stuff for you!"

"Well, we went to the truck, and the passenger door wouldn't open. So I got in and opened it from inside, and Smart Gal #3 grabbed the box for me, and started carrying it. So I got the door for her to come in."

Farmer H at 5:23 p.m.: "If u look for me I went rural king to get a light for the tractor"

HM at 5:25 p.m.: "Ok. Pony says his passenger door wouldn't open from the outside."

Farmer H at 5:25 p.m.: "OK I will start looking at the broken things since he is driving"

HM at 5:28 p.m.: "Yeah. You've only had 2 1/2 years."

So anyhoo...The Pony stayed all night shooting up the school, then worked on the invention until noon the next day (which was a DAY OFF from school!) and THEN drove himself to bill-paying town to have lunch at Steak 'n' Shake with his fellow inventors!

Thank the Gummi Mary it was sunny and around 50 degrees.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Mad As Not-Heaven, And She’s Only Gonna Take It A Little Bit Longer

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom needs to have a permanent blood pressure cuff (that’s a sphygmomanometer for all you medical transcriptionists) stitched to her upper arm. Or else she needs one of those tall metal whistles that factories use to signal the end of the shift implanted on her skull, so she can release steam every now and then. Okay. Every day.

Thursday afternoon, Newmentia released the pupils early for parent conferences. Visitors are few and far between at the secondary level. So Mrs. HM decided to make hay while the sun shone. Actually, that’s a lot of backbreaking sweaty work. So no, technically, she didn’t make hay. But she gathered up her two units that she plans to feed the pupils next week, and tromped off to the teacher workroom to make copies.

Mrs. HM had a plan. She would run her two-sided copies on the lesser Kyocera, and her multi-paged, staple-needing copies on the greater Kyocera. Nobody was around. A tumbleweed could have rolled across the workroom landscape. If Mrs. HM had fallen victim to an industrial accident, nobody would have been there to save her before she succumbed to blood loss. It might as well have been space, with such a lack of somebodies to hear her scream.

She got a rhythm going. Put on a set of papers for Lesser Kyocera. He’s lesser, because he jams up staple jobs. We treat him like he’s simple. Then a set for Greater Kyocera. Back and forth, like a well-oiled machine, Mrs. HM darted, gathering her sets of papers in order, stacking them on the table by the faculty women’s restroom. In fact, the process was running so smoothly that she was on her last two sets of 70 double-sided when it happened.

Pinky strode in with a sheaf of papers in her hand, and gave Mrs. HM the look. “Oh. Are you using both copiers?”

“Yes. But I’m done as soon as each one shoots out my stack of 70. Nobody was around, so I used both of them.” Let the record show that we had from 12:45 until 6:00 to get those copies done while waiting for parents to show up.

“That’s okay. I’m not in a hurry.”

Within a millisecond, Jewels dashed in, past Mrs. HM standing at LK, and began rifling through the papers coming out of GK.

“Go ahead and rifle through all my papers. That’s the last set.” Which was not so much an invitation, as a way of shaming Jewels for her nosiness. Shame which went right over the head of Jewels, because she dug up a set of copies and waved them.

“These are done.”

“They’re not my last set. Somewhere, I have 70 copies waiting to get out.”

“Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is using both copiers, I think.” Said Pinky. For no particular reason other than to shame Mrs. HM, most likely.

“There was nobody here! So I used both copiers. Geez. You guys are like vultures standing around waiting to pounce.”

“I’m in no hurry.” Said Pinky. Standing impatiently.

“I just printed some things from my room. That’s what’s coming out now.” Let the record show that the thickness of that stack was roughly comparable to the thickness of the unabridged hardback edition of The Stand.

“Oh. I thought I was done. Now I'm just waiting for mine to come out of the machine.”

Here’s the thing. What did they expect me to do, take twice as long by only using one copier? Call every room to see if somebody was going to need one? I was running my copies, standing right there tending the machines. Unlike Jewels, who sent a considerable print job from her room even though when you do that, your screen tells you if the copier is idle, or is running a job. And who’s supposed to unjam that print job if it gums up the Kyocera’s works? Or fill its gullet with paper if it digests the 6 reams which Ms. Ventricle put in it that morning?

So Mrs. Hillbilly Mom let herself act just as entitled as the copy-jumpers. She spoke up this time. Long gone are the days when Mrs. HM would apologize and gather up her stuff and sit patiently for her copy job that was interrupted and delayed by 10 minutes. No. She defended herself, and even let her nose get out of joint. She let her B-flag fly.

She’s mad as not-heaven, and she’s not going to take it very much longer.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hopefully, He Won’t Have An Idiot Named Ted Working For Him

Oh, dear. I envision The Pony as a latter-day Lou Grant. We all know he doesn’t really care about people. And I’m pretty sure he hates spunk. I was holding out hope that he MIGHT be able to escape this destiny, because The Pony has not yet taken to drinking desk whiskey while on the job. But Tuesday night, I spied an action on his part that might just have sealed his fate.

Newmentia had parent conferences, and I had to stay until 7:00. As a special treat, rather than have the faculty order out as usual, we were treated to Pasta House. I did not have a chance during the day to ask if I could pay for The Pony to feed at our trough. He was invited to join us last year for free, but I don’t mind paying for a pasta buffet for the young ‘un. A person not in charge said she thought it was fine. In fact, she made a plate for the very young children of Italian Chandelier, who was in a meeting. Another teacher-kid came to feed. I had told The Pony that he should wait until the faculty had a chance to go through the line.

I was at the tail end, only ahead of the two tech guys, who suddenly remembered they had forgotten to do something, and rushed off. The Pony came in at that moment, and followed me down the line in the teacher workroom.

I was mesmerized watching Ms Poor fill a Styrofoam plate with salad. A heaping plate. I did not begrudge her the feast, but was only enthralled with the mechanics of her gravity-defying construction. On I went, past the rolls after putting one on my plate to hand off to The Pony later (because Mrs. HM has been cutting back, and pasta was carb enough) to the almost-empty chicken fettuccini foil pan. I glanced over my shoulder, and saw with horror what The Pony was up to.

Actually, I was alerted to turn around by Pinky, who had sidled in unannounced, and said, “Good gosh, Pony! Do you like rolls?” And there he was, grabbing a handful of fake-butter packets, his plate brimming with 6 rolls. SIX ROLLS! Plus I had one on my plate that I was secretly giving him!

I couldn’t tell him to put some back. Like when Mary Richards told Lou Grant clandestinely in the kitchen: “Mr. Grant! There are six servings of Veal Prince Orloff. You took HALF!” And Lou Grant made a big show of going back to the table, picking up the serving utensils, and putting two slices of Veal Prince Orloff back on the platter. “What do you know? I’m not as hungry as I thought I was.”

I couldn’t tell The Pony to put some back. There was Pinky as a witness. Nobody wants rolls that a student had on his plate. So I said, “You are a guest here! There is no need to be a hog. Other people want to eat, too.” Which is what Pinky told us, in not so verbal words, on the hot-pink poster board she made one year and flaunted at the holiday potluck down in the home ec room. Seriously. Don’t get me started. You go to the store and buy a poster board and take the time to write on it and leave your class to come to first lunch shift and walk around flashing that sign that pretty much called us hogs? “Remember. Other lunch shifts need to eat, too.” I don’t remember ever running out of anything. Nor did we run out of rolls from Pasta House Tuesday night. Indeed, there was still a foil tub half full.

It’s just the idea that The Pony was caught by Pinky with a plethora of breadstuffs on his plate. I’m sure that information made the rounds. Of course she wasn’t there when the little kids were getting their plates filled, and the other faculty offspring made hers. I hope she doesn’t complain and try to get me fired.

Oh, wait! I’ve already resigned!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

And Whether Pigs Have Wings

“The time has come,” Hillmomba said,
“To get right to the point.
Of goings, comings, hangers-on
And noses out of joint.
Who belongs and who does not
And who’s all hoity-toit.”

Hillbilly Mom protested much
“My body’s not yet dead.
But over it, you all insist
Replacements now must tread.
Right past my room, in front of me
The applicants are led!”

"Why does it take a dozen folks
To interview just one?
Italian Chandelier and my
Arch Nemesis…you done?
Let the coaches have their shot
This party’s just begun."

"Who takes my place I do not care
One whit for that, you see
Pretending that I am not there’s
The part that gets to me.
You can tell me to my face
'We’ll interview at 3:00.'"

"Parading by, eyes straight ahead
Is not the way to go.
I do not bite, I still work here
Why marginalize me so?
Would the Earth stop spinning, eh?
If I waved “Hello?”

"Since when do equals interview
Their future equal peers?
And candidates for admin jobs
Get to query pre-careers?
So many cooks to spoil this broth
As my retirement nears!"

"Whatever happened to the days
One interviewed with two?
The Principal and Super, sure
But not a motley crew.
Just people who are going to be
Superior to you."

"Pardon me," I clear my throat,
"Sorry ‘bout that phlegm.
But seriously, I must ask
And not upon a whim,
How many people does it take
To choose a new HM?"