Saturday, December 31, 2016

Notes From There, While Here

Greetings from Oklahoma.

I'd tell you about our trip, but it hasn't happened yet, because I'm getting this ready the night before, since I have to get up at 5:00 a.m. to drive partway with The Pony. We are staying overnight, perhaps gambling a bit, but not on New Year's Eve! What do you think, I'm crazy?

The #1 son came home Friday afternoon to hitch a ride to the airport at 4:00 a.m. with Farmer H, who then joined us along the route.

Such a busy time of year. #1 caught me in the act of putting away an entire batch of Chex Mix when he got home. "Who's THIS for?" Funny he should ask, since I made it just for the Hillbilly family's own personal consumption. He has not showed an interest in it at all, other than acting like I twisted his arm to get him to take back a small tub of it for his housemates after Thanksgiving.

"It's for us. You can have some if you want. But you never do."

"Well! I would like some of it when I get back from California! To take back to my house." (He's kind of like my Sweet, Sweet Juno. He doesn't really want something unless he thinks everybody else is getting it and he's not.)

"There's plenty. If it stays here, your dad will just pick out the parts he likes and leave the rest."

"Yeah. I want some."

"I'll save it. You can also have the rest of that vegetable beef soup I put in the freezer."

Let the record show that #1 and a roommate did eat the other half of that soup, with a little hot sauce and sour cream added, and proclaimed it delicious. Better than having it with some fava beans and a nice chianti, I suppose.

Anyhoo...we were all scrambling Friday to get packed and have our chores done (oh, who am I kidding, I'm the only one with chores around here, and they mostly go undone) before hitting the sack early for our pre-dawn departure. Farmer H and #1 had to take his car a couple of miles down the road to leave it with a body man to fix the damaged fenders from his encounter with that semi on I-44. It's one of our Christmas presents to him. Even though we've planned to do it all along, but he couldn't spare the car. A cash thing, not on the insurance.

Oh, and he thought he was extra lucky and extra-gifted, because just Friday night he discovered an extra $430 in his checking account. AHEM. That was his tuition money for Spring semester. I had withdrawn it from his credit union account to cover the eCheck I used to pay the university. But I mistakenly sent in the deposit slip from HIS account instead of mine. He actually took the news pretty well.

Wouldn't you, if you were getting a trip to California and two new fenders on your car?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Old Like Me

There's not much to say tonight. Nothing much is going on here at the Mansion, and I'd rather be playing my new computer game that The Pony got me for Christmas. Oh, not that it's a NEW game. It's new to me. Yet so old that it comes on a CD-ROM.

Hang on a minute. This obsession all started a couple weeks ago, when I got mad at my hometown Hillmomba Journal for always locking up and cheating me on the crossword puzzle and the jigsaw puzzle, and washed my hands of it, and went to USA Today. I always played their crossword, but I tried a new game. EGGZ Classic. I'm pretty sure it's for the elderly. I even told The Pony, "Even though I know you'll say it's just one step above PONG, I like it! My best score is 57,000-something!" [Let the record show that my CURRENT best score is 78,450. I wrote it down!]

The Pony pooh-poohed my new love. He cocked one eyebrow, like he and I both have the ability to do, and said, "Are you SURE it's a step ABOVE PONG?" Then he proceeded to show me how it's done, and only scored 36,000-something. Anyhoo...he saw my new obsession, and picked out this new game for me at The Devil's Playground for my Christmas gift.

It's called "Treasures of Lost Worlds," and it's one of those games where various colored objects fall and you have to match up sets of three to get rid of them. The one I'm playing right now is called Around the World in 80 Days. I am currently entering India. I had a mishap last night, on Day 17 in France, because I didn't have a clue what I was doing.

"Pony! I was up until 3:30 this morning playing that darn game. And THEN I didn't know what to do, and lost my last life, and lost EVERYTHING I EARNED IN FRANCE! It took me back to Day 9. The day I ENTERED France!"

"You must not have read the tips."

"You told me NOT TO READ THE TEXT! When you first put me on it! You stood right there at my shoulder and told me, 'Nah. You don't need to read that. Just hit PLAY.'"

"Well, I thought you'd read SOME of it! Like the clues! I meant you didn't have to read the dialogue and the story. But sometimes it gives you a hint what you'll need."

"Thanks for telling me that NOW! I've been trying to get back there to show you. But I'm only on Day 14 so far."

"Here. I'll get you back to Day 17."

So he did, and discovered I was really on Day 18 when I died, and that there WERE NO INSTRUCTIONS for how to play that level. We got through it, though. And like I said, I'm just now entering India, and I need to get back there.

It's not like I'll have unlimited time to play for the rest of my life, you know.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Give Him An Inch, He Takes The Fifth

On Monday, the #1 Son drove me to the casino. We had been planning this outing for the week between Christmas and New Years, because he is flying out New Year's Eve morning for a west coast trip with some college housemates. Farmer H declined the offer, preferring instead to do some wiring work on the trailer HOS (His Oldest Son) put on our upper land. No skin off Mrs. HM's nose! More money for the rest of us. So it was me, #1, and another of his college house buddies who is not going on that upcoming trip.

We had a wonderful (and partially profitable) time, and left around 3:00. On the way home, #1 stopped to put gas in A-Cad (he refuses to drive T-Hoe) on my dime. He proposed a slight detour before returning to the Mansion, in order to run in The Devil's Playground for some alcohol. Let the record show that he IS 22 years old, still on his college liver, and though a teetotaler, Mrs. HM is no Carrie Nation. I agreed, so long as he also picked up some paper towels and an 8-pack of squatty plastic bottles of Diet Coke.

As #1 and Friend got out of the car, I said that I would let him put his alcohol on my debit card. Just to be nice, you know. Since he was saving me a trip to the back wall of the Playground after herding me all over the casino without benefit of a front-door drop-off.

"Oh, then I'll get top-shelf whiskey!"

"No. You'll get mid-shelf. Preferably well-drink quality, but I'll spring for mid-shelf."

"So...$15 or so?"

"That's fine."

Once inside, he called me. "How about $35 Johnny Walker Black Label?"

"How about it? What are you getting, a GALLON?"

"No. It's a regular size bottle. But it's supposed to be really smooth. I would never spend that much of my own money on whiskey. But I'd like to try it."

"You're not going to try it on MY money, either!"

"How about if I split the difference with you?"

"I don't know what you mean about that. Wouldn't I be spending 3/4 of it? No."

"Okay. I'll pay $15 and you can pay $20."

"NO...I'LL pay $15 and YOU can pay $20!"

"Oh, all right." a few moments I saw #1 walking out with a bottle of liquor in a bag, and Friend carrying a giant 6-pack of Bounty Select-A-Size on his shoulder, along with the squatty Diet Coke 8-pack by its plastic handle. Let the record show that I had asked for a single roll, or a double pack of paper towels, but the boys wanted me to get a bargain, because that's how they shop at their college house. I think I even heard mention of a 15-pound bag of shredded cheddar. Thank the Gummi Mary I did not ask them to pick up some cheese!

The sight of them carrying that stuff, only the liquor in a bag, and the thought of them at the checkout using my debit card, made me comment:

"I'll bet people in your line thought to themselves, 'There go two young boys with a drinking problem who really care about their weight...and are really, really sloppy.'"

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ain't Nobody's Business But The Mom

Yesterday the credit card bill came. You know Mrs. Hillbilly Mom...when she gets a bill, she pays it forthwith. So I told Farmer H yesterday that I would need the Christmas money from the safe. We have two safes, you know. One that Farmer H got at his old plant, and one that my dad had that we took from my mom's house last year. Big heavy things, that take more that one man to move them from truck to basement. I don't know which one Farmer H keeps the valuables in, and I don't know the combination to either. I suppose I should remedy that in the near future.

Of course Farmer H did not get out the lock-bag for me. I had to text him this morning that I was getting ready to go to the bank, and I still needed that money. Of course he didn't answer me for an hour, so I called him, and he answered, all out of breath. He said he was cutting wood, just what every 62-year-old man should be doing in cold weather, and seemed put-out that I dared call him away from that task. It's not like he wasn't told before that I wanted that money. AND he had been down to the basement three times last night.

Anyhoo...every week throughout the year, I set aside money for Christmas. We've had a Christmas club account in the past, two of them some years, and it gets to be a pain taking money by to deposit in it. So I just keep it for my own self, in envelopes marked CHRISTMAS, with a tally by the week, and put them in a lock-bag for safekeeping in the safe. Duh. Never mind that Farmer H has the combinations to the safe, and knows where I keep the key to the lock-bag. It serves its purpose of deterring him from borrowing money from that fund all willy-nilly.

I counted out the money and made up the deposit slip and headed to the bank. I was NOT going to shoot this fortune through the drive-thru tube. I would have been hard-pressed to cram it into the canister. My deposit was in twenties and hundreds. I had it grouped in specific amounts, in several envelopes. I asked the teller if she wanted it all, or in organized piles like I had it sorted. She said to put it all together, since she'd have to count it. Well. I KNEW THAT! I didn't know if they had a machine they set the bills in, or if they did it by hand. she was counting it, thumbing through the stacks at a rapid-fire pace, she said, "Did you just sell a car?"

I was a bit taken aback. Since WHEN is it the business of the minimum wage bank teller HOW you acquired your fortune? This was totally unexpected, though I had prepared a retort in the event that I was told that my deposit would not be available for 10 business days. You never know with these people. Sometimes I think cash itself isn't good enough for this bank.

Anyhoo...I was so surprised that I answered her. "No. I put money away every week for Christmas, and now I'm going to pay the credit card bill."

I don't think she believed me.

Since when does Mrs. Hillbilly Mom care what a minimum wage bank teller thinks of her? Since she probably has a secret form to fill out to report me for money-laundering!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Feeding The Clueless

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom thinks she deserves some bonus points in Karma's ledger. After all, she has devoted the holiday season to feeding the clueless. Much time and effort went into her preparations, for a meal which was consumed in 20 minutes. That includes the time Mrs. HM dawdled over her plate, whilst The Pony and the #1 Son's guest sat behind their finished dessert plates. Farmer H and #1 simply sat, stuffed to the gills after seconds.

About 90 minutes before the grand feast, I set Farmer H to slicing the ham and turkey, since they were done early to make oven room for green bean bacon bundles and hash brown casserole and Sister Schubert's rolls. I figured we could warm enough for the meal right before we were ready to eat, and for this reason instructed Farmer H to put some slices of each into a foil cake pan, and the rest into the usual flat stackable not-Tupperware container we use for storing meat in FRIG II after we barbecue. The cake pans were square, a blue color, and flimsy, because who wants a heavy cake? There were two in the package, so I removed the see-through plastic lids and gave Farmer H the double cake pans for sturdiness.

Imagine my surprise when I tried to pick that pan of meat up to cover with foil, and one side tried to cascade like a slinky over the stairs. Further investigation revealed the second foil cake pan sitting on the counter.

"Who took these meat pans apart? I almost dropped the meat!"

"I know, Mom. DAD did it! The same thing happened to me when he told me to carry it to the cutting block."

An hour before the spread was laid out, I called The Pony into the kitchen to set the table. I handed him items five by five. Surely you don't expect The Pony to know what a place setting consists of! He's only a National Merit Scholar, for cryin' out loud. Just so you grasp the full necessity of my helicopter hovering, I present the following:

"Okay, Pony. All we have left are the glasses."

"Better hand them to me one at a time. Remember that year I broke one?"

"Yes. I remember."

"There. Do you want me to put ice in them now so they're ready?"

"Uh. No. The ice will melt by the time we eat."

"Oh, yeah..."

The #1 Son helped out by filling the vegetable/olive/pickle tray. It was then that we discovered we were out of paper towels.

"Where's the paper towel holder?"

"I set it in the laundry room to get it out of the way. It's empty. I used the last one this morning after I made coffee with my new press."

"Bring it back and get another roll out of the pantry."

"There's not any. I looked."

"I ALWAYS have spare paper towels." I looked. There was a better chance of finding a roll in Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard than in the Mansion pantry. "Huh. I guess Dad didn't tell me we were out when he put that roll ON TOP OF THE PAPER TOWEL HOLDER. It's a good thing The Pony talked me into using the Thanksgiving napkins instead of throwing them away and using paper towels."

"I need something to wipe off the olives."

"Here. I'll get you a Puffs."

"NO! They have lotion on them!"

"I don't think it's going to come off on the olives."

"We are NOT using Puffs With Lotion to wipe off the food!"

These clueless eaters. Collectively, they have no idea how close they came to eating floor meat and lotion olives, while pouring their soda into glasses of water.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Jack LOVES The Scent Of Horse In The Afternoon

Puppy Jack looks forward to my afternoon walks. He always runs to greet me at the side porch, looking from hand to hand to see if I have his shock collar. He knows that means "walkies." Never mind that Jack runs free, and can go to the end of the driveway and back any time he wants, and that I don't put a leash on him. He likes the companionship, I guess. Likes the walk to be official, which means Mr. Shocky is around his neck. He even stands with his paws on my shoulders until he hears it click.

Since the first week of using Mr. Shocky, Jack has been more controllable. I could only tell twice that Jack was bitten by the electricity. Otherwise, he seems to think that the BEEP of the collar that I gave as a warning to obey, or get to the upcoming shock, means that he should come running to me. And he does.

Wednesday afternoon, I had my hands full. I was carrying a full trash bag and three cardboard soda cases. I realized after I got down the steps that I had left Jack's shock collar laying on the kitchen counter. I saw no reason to climb the steps to get it.

"Sorry, Jack. No collar. We'll be fine without it today."

Jack looked disappointed, but when he saw that I was still headed under the carport towards the driveway, he perked up. So did my Sweet, Sweet Juno. Especially when I tilted over the dumpster and she heard its wheels bumping on the gravel. She barked with joy and jostled her shoulder against Jack, both of them accompanying me up the driveway.

Juno lays down in the yard and waits until my last lap. Jack runs hither and yon, always investigating. On this afternoon, the first trip up the driveway, he saw the small horse of the neighbor. They have three, a white, a bay, and one that's not a pony, but looks like a small, perfectly-proportioned bay horse. These horses are chill. They usually lower their head and give Jack the eye. They are not excitable. On this afternoon, the small bay turned to go back down the field toward their house. It was in the midst of some cedar trees. I know Jack saw the movement. I figure that's what set him off.


That's how Jack leaps when he's chasing something. Otherwise he stretches out and runs low to the ground. But when there's prey involved, he's a hopper.


When Jack is wearing Mr. Shocky, he stops. He turns to look at me. Then he runs to me. This time, Jack kept going. No second look. No FIRST look. No remorse. He knew full well that Mr. Shocky was not around his neck.

I'm beginning to think Jack is smarter than I give him credit for.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

And A Little Dog Shall Eat Them

The Pony's Rogue was covered with frozen mist after its trip from Oklahoma last Saturday. Layers and layers of frozen mist. Here's a chunk that fell off the mirror.

It was pretty substantial. I wouldn't want that thing landing on my toe. Even IN a protective red Croc. I took this picture when I went out for my walk. On the trip back down the driveway, Puppy Jack took an interest in this over-sized ice cube. He was nibbling on the edge, making crunching noised. Of course by the time my phone snapped the picture, he was over at the front of the car, nibbling on other tasty fragments.

He has a short attention span, our Puppy Jack. And a ravenous appetite. Always looking for clearer ice pastures.

You can see that Jack is wearing his shock collar. More on THAT another day.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Does Santa Wear A Hardhat?

I don't know if OSHA regulates workers at the North Pole. Seems like there ought to be some type of governing board to make sure that workshop is Elf accessible. And to keep Santa from suffering a brain injury at the Hillbilly Mansion.

Back when we got our new metal roof, courtesy of Mother Nature's hailstorm and American Family's refund of part of our 25 years of premiums...I told Farmer H to make sure he got those ice-stoppers. Not that I'm a regular mechanical engineer, and know all about the roof load and the angle and the coefficient of friction. I just happen to drive by a metal-roofed state prison at least twice a day, and delight in seeing large slabs of roof ice smash to the ground when I'm lucky. It's like watching icebergs calve!

That explosion of frozen precipitation is fun to watch, but that doesn't mean I want brain damage from my own roof if I happen to be strolling along minding my own business and a plank of roof ice slaloms onto my noggin. I tried to warn Farmer H about the perils. But he wasn't having it.

"Oh, HM. Our roof is not that steep. It will melt and drip off. You'll never be walking on the front sidewalk anyway. And you won't be behind the house. But if it makes you feel any better, I'll have them do it on the garage and the carport when they put that section on."

This is the front yard, directly in front of the porch pew where I sit and watch the chickens peck at tasty old cereal and bread (before they were eaten by assorted neighbor dogs--the chickens, not the cereal and bread) and the dogs frolic.

This is the front sidewalk, as the sun sets, those shards probably having decreased in size from melting during the day. Santa may be safe up on the roof, but I doubt the FedEx people are going to leave a package up there.

I don't know why Farmer H can't think like a teacher, always seeing possible lawsuits accidents, and try to avoid them.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Good Thing He's Not A Horse. A Picture Is The Only Thing I Want To Shoot.

We are lucky that The Pony hasn't pulled up lame. Last Saturday, when we braved Mother Nature's freezing mist to drive to Oklahoma and meet him partway from OU, he took a bit of a spill. We had made it all the way home, and The Pony was trotting into the Mansion when it happened. He slipped on the four steps from the brick sidewalk up to the porch.

Being The Pony, he was not concerned for himself. He came back out to help carry things into the house, and cautioned me. "Be careful, Mom. The steps are slick. They don't look like it, but there's a film of ice on them. I just fell." That was it. Only trying to save his elderly mother a broken hip.

The next morning, Farmer H took off for town and did NOTHING about the steps. He could have at least run the edge of a shovel across them, and scraped off that film. But I was forewarned. I set my purse down on the wrought-iron chair that I use to put grocery bags so the dogs don't romp on them while I bring more from T-Hoe's rear. No use climbing steps more than once, say my cantankerous knees. Then I bring everything in from the porch to the kitchen.

Anyhoo...I set down my purse and grabbed the (flat board that acts as my) handrail with both hands. I inched sideways down the steps. Traction was maintained. I pussyfooted across the three squares of concrete sidewalk, stopping to pet the dogs and give them each a small portion of cat kibble. Then I opened up the garage door


The film of ice and snow on the steps and sidewalk had embedded itself in the grooves of my shoe soles. The smooth, finished concrete of the garage floor acted like a skating rink for my flat-soled ice-bottomed shoes.

I immediately called Farmer H to ask him to do something about those steps. When I got home, he had sprinkled salt pellets. Let the record show that when the temperature is in the teens, ice pellets don't really work.

We still have tiny ice pellets laying on the steps and sidewalk. They're not very good at traction. I may be the only person to fall and break a hip on the TREATMENT for the ice.

The poor Pony really fell, though. Even though he's healing, he still bears the mark.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Holiday Delicacy Ain't Safe In A Mansion Full Of Farmer H

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has made four batches of her world famous Chex Mix over the past two weeks. This last time, on Sunday, we had enough left for three small tubs of our own. Let the record further show that on the second batch, there was enough for a tub to give Farmer H's boss, and one for him to keep for himself ("I don't never get none of it!") and half a tub for Mrs. HM.

Last night, as I was working my fingers to the bone wrapping gifts on the living room coffee table, Farmer H reared himself out of his La-Z-Boy and announced that he was going to have some Chex Mix.

"Make sure you get it out of your tub! You are not to touch the three from the latest batch until yours is gone. You're not going to pick through it!"

"But mine don't have no good stuff left in it!"

"EXACTLY! That's because you pick stuff out. Nobody wants your picked-over Cheerios and peanuts! You need to eat it as it is, and not pick out the best stuff first."

I really need to inspect that Chex Mix. I wouldn't be surprised if Farmer H poured a little good stuff on top of his remainders, and switched out the tubs. He's devious like that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

An Hour Later, You WON'T Want More

I have Farmer H figured out. I know he tends to tell me the "truth" as HE knows it. Like on our recent trip part-way to Oklahoma to meet The Pony. We passed an old building in our first half hour, along the highway near Newmentia.

"There's where ParkingSpaceStealer's parents were murdered."

"WHAT? I never heard about that!"

"Yep. They found them face down on the floor, shot in the back of the head, execution style. Never found out who did it. Or why. They ran a bar. Drugs was never a big deal back then. So that probably wasn't it."

Monday I mentioned that story to my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel.

"WHAT? Her dad is still alive! And her mom died the year before ParkingSpaceStealer retired."

"I can't wait to present this evidence to Farmer H, and see what excuse he comes up with."

You can never be too sure if what Farmer H is feeding you is actually edible...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Furnace Is FIXED, Man!

The Mansion is once again flowing with the milk of human kindness. Oh, wait! I can't catch my breath! Heh, heh! Any folks who know Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and Farmer H know that's a Pollyanna-ish assumption an unfortunate slip of the tongue a bold-faced lie. What I MEANT to say was that the Manion is once again flowing with heat.

The heating and cooling man got here yesterday around 4:30. Let the record show that Farmer H didn't call them until after 8:00 a.m. The company said they would call Farmer H when a repairman was on his way south. That's because Mrs. HM had two-week-old lunch plans with her best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel, along with The Pony, and just-in-for-the-day #1 Son. So nobody would be home to let the repairman into the ice cold Mansion. Farmer H, though, could make it home in 20 minutes (he said, even though it takes him 40).

Seems that the problem was in the thermostat. Let the record show that this thermostat was replaced in 2012. We'd been having trouble with the air conditioner running all the time, not kicking on and off. So Farmer H made me stay home for a repairman. He found nothing wrong. Or maybe something with the capacitor. I can't find it now, though I'm sure I complained blogged about it back then. And only two weeks later, the whole durn thing quit cooling, so I had to wait for the repairman again. And this one charged me for two pounds of Freon and said we had a slow leak. AND replaced the thermostat for free, saying that MIGHT have something to do with it. He took the old one with him, and by the time Farmer H got home, I had figured out that this new thermostat was the cinnamon babka of thermostats. It did NOT change automatically to heat or cool as the need arose, but had to be pushed with a thumb from one setting to another! That's barbaric.

Anyhoo...this latest repairman to work on our furnace put on a new thermostat, and IT DIDN'T WORK, either. He mumbled about these things always happening at the end of the day. He made about 20 trips up and down the 13 basement steps. I could have charged him a personal trainer fee. Farmer H was there watching him, so he didn't try any shenanigans. He finally put a third thermostat on, and said we were getting a good deal, because it was better than the one we had. AHEM. I pointed out that the one we had was WORSE than the one we had before, when another of his repairmen switched it out. THEN he said, "I don't mean any offense, but this is what we call an Old People's Thermostat. It has big numbers. It's easy to use."

Well, whoop-ti-freakin'-doo! I know I'm old. I need my electronics simple. You're not insulting me any, bub. But don't act like you're doing US a favor, when YOUR guy put that low-rent 'stat on our wall and took the old one, which had not even been proven to be not working!

I'm still waiting to find out if this new thermostat automatically switches between heat and AC. Farmer H says #1 can program it when he's home for Christmas. "He loves that kind of stuff." AHEM. That's the kind of stuff Farmer H makes twice a master teacher's salary to do at work. Anyhoo...the repairman asked how many settings we wanted it programmed for, and Farmer H said, "Just two. Daytime and night time."

Last night, I was freezing my fingers off in the basement. I feared the furnace was broken again. I heard Farmer H stomping around upstairs on his footless ankles. This morning he told me that the heat was programmed to go down to 60 degrees at night.

I may be old, but I'm pretty sure that repairman set it that low on purpose.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Chillin'

Whew! Last night was the coldest night of the year. This almost-winter season, anyway. And you know what the coldest night of the year signals, right?


Throws in the towel, packs up its personal effects in an old shoebox, and leaves Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and family without a liveable ambient temperature. Okay. We can survive over the short term. It's not like we're above the arctic circle, scooping out a snow cave.

Last night as I went to bed at 3:30 a.m., I glanced at the thermostat. I've been freezing for three days. Farmer H, the diplomat, says it's because I've lost a fat layer. He's a silver-tongued devil, that Farmer H. I'd hate to say he's right. It probably has something to do with my lack of a thyroid, my sensitivity to cold and heat. When I walk by and look at the thermostat, it's always on 70. That's for heat. We keep it on 74 for summer. I know my feeling of freezing is just me. Temps in the Mansion are constant.

Last night at 3:30 a.m., the thermostat said 67. Yet it was still set to hold on 70.

I wouldn't put it past Farmer H to fiddle with the furnace. He has done it before. Switched it over to Emergency Heat, saying he was giving it a rest. Funny how he never does anything to give ME a rest. Anyhoo...that never works out, because the furnace is not as warm on Emergency Heat. Go figure.

Farmer H had been up, stomping around on his footless ankles, from bed to bathroom. I made him take his head out from under the quilt and talk to me through his breather. He swore he didn't do anything to the furnace.

This morning before he left for work, he woke me. He said he put it on Emergency Heat this morning, and it didn't run. So he would call somebody to come look at it. When he put it back on regular heat, the temp was 66. He said to turn on the electric fireplace.

We have always had furnace trouble. The bad news is that Farmer H has connections with heating and cooling people through work, and got us a deal on BOTH furnaces we've had. He's gotten floor models for cheap. The good news is that Farmer H has connections with heating and cooling people through work, and whenever the furnace or air conditioner conks out, we can get a repair person here the same day.

I'm sitting around looking like Lou Diamond Phillips in an 80s movie, wearing a quilted-lining plaid flannel shirt (over my pajamas), top two buttons done, and a sock cap pulled snug down over my ears.

It's a sad day when my cold, cold heart is the warmest thing in the house.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Farmer H, A Man Of Contradictions

Farmer H needs to stop riding the fence. Or else I need to get him a comfortable saddle for Christmas.

Yesterday we went to the edge of Oklahoma to meet The Pony and bring him back home for semester break. The plan was to meet at a Casey's, where we would fuel up the cars and ourselves. No time for an hour-long Steak n Shake feast this day. The weather was threatening, and we had the whole day to spend on the road.

With temperatures dropping steadily, and a fine mist freezing after we passed Springfield, we made contact with The Pony after he arrived. Farmer H, who had been recalculating more than the gal encased inside the Garmin that the #1 Son got us a discount on when he worked there, saw the error in his over-optimism, and commanded The Pony to drive another 15 miles and meet closer to our whereabouts.

You know what that meant. NO CASEY'S PIZZA SLICE for Mrs. HM's lunch. I had eaten a 4-pack of peanut butter crackers, two of which I shared with Farmer H, and a 4-pack of cheese crackers, all from the snack bag I packed for the trip. Meanwhile, Farmer H had treated himself to a breakfast of two Casey's donuts, a second breakfast of two McDonald's sausage cheese McMuffins, and the two of my peanut butter crackers.

"This will change the plans. I guess I'm not getting a piece of pizza to eat on the way back."

"No. This will save us 30 minutes. I'm good. I'm really not hungry."

"I guess not, after all that you ate." And I proceeded to remind him of his  consumption.

"You had half a sausage McMuffin. So I only had one and a half."

"I had one bite out of each. But call it half if you must."

The trip was fraught with worry. Mostly on my end. Farmer H denied that the mist was freezing on the mirrors until I pointed to mine, and he knew he couldn't fool me any more.

"Well, it's not freezing on the roads."

"You don't know that. It could be clear black ice."

Farmer H conceded by setting the cruise control on the actual speed limit. That must be why we were running 20 minutes behind in meeting The Pony.

On the way back, we passed a sign about a 6-8 minute traffic delay near #1's college town. A closer sign said the delay was now 14-16 minutes. The temperature was down to 23 degrees. I was riding in The Pony's Rogue by now, and on the phone with Farmer H in the Acadia.

"I think we should stop somewhere and stay until tomorrow. This is going to be a repeat of last night's weather. I don't want to go off the road, or sit in traffic for four hours."

"We'll be fine, HM. We're almost to the turn-off. And then it's only two hours."

"On two-lane blacktop! Those roads will be worse!"

"No. The highway depart will keep them clear. It's a major thoroughfare."

"So is I-44, with a lot of traffic, and look how that's working out now!"

Farmer H said that he could take us on a short cut through college town, on a road by an antique shop he frequents when he's in the area. He had a fit commanding The Pony by way of my phone to CLOSE THE GAP so that we wouldn't miss him if he turned off. Because, you see, we could hardly see out the window, because Farmer H frowned upon stopping to clear the ice off the wipers.

So we went past two exits of the college town, with #1 sending us an unsolicited text to be careful, that the ice had started there an hour before. Of course when I called Farmer H to ask for an ice-clearing stop, I was denied. "HM. We're just going where that highway truck is up there. That's our exit. It's only a mile."

So we passed that exit ramp and ran right up on the one-lane accident scene. That highway truck Farmer H saw was the sign merging traffic into the right lane. As we crept along, people passing us so they could come to an abrupt stop and then squeeze over into our lane ahead of us...Farmer H turned on A-Cad's hazard flashers. By now it was deep dusk. The Pony was not pleased with that decision.

"Why did Dad have to turn on those flashers? They hurt my eyes. I've never had a seizure before, but I feel like I could now."

When asked later, Farmer H said he did it for a warning. Even though we were the car right behind him.

"Did you see how slick that outer road was?"

"You mean the one where people took that last exit to avoid the wreck?"

"Yes. It was solid ice. They were spinning their tires trying to go up that hill."

Huh. I guess he meant like the roads were that we got on 15 minutes and one mile later. A hazard that needed flashing lights as a warning, but safe enough to drive on for 62 miles.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hello, Hillmomba Trailer Movers, I Can't Thank You For Your Time

Finally my Friday morning of time-frittering was coming to an end. Because morning was ending, that is! I had so many things to do to get ready to head to Oklahoma Saturday to meet The Pony partway. I left home at 9:00, hoping to be home by 11:30. And here it was, already 12:20 as I left the gas station chicken store.

Things were looking up, though. I might make it by 12:30. And now I had a tasty 44 oz Diet Coke. I always take a sip so there's not so much in it to squeeze through that plastic X on the lid as I hit the bumpy gravel road. I don't get a straw there. Straws are awkward to carry. And they let liquid seep out of the seal-broken plastic X on the lid. I have straws at home. Besides, a driver can't sip a 44 oz beverage in the car. One hand can't pry that giant cup out of T-Hoe's holder. If it was hard plastic, maybe. But not a foam cup. It will crack.

Yes, things were looking up. All my errands were done. I had ideas for four blog posts to write, getting two of them ready to post automatically on Saturday so I didn't have to rush after driving riding across the state (twice) and part of another one. I had my Hardee's Chicken Bowl riding shotgun. The registration papers for The Pony's new used car. Stocking stuffers and two sock caps in a bag behind my seat.

I had SiriusXM on Prime Country, listening to a Tanya Tucker interview about Christmas. Yes, I was in a soothed mood, everything going my way, just an hour behind what I'd planned. I crested the hill that leads down to EmBee, and


No, there wasn't a man on a ladder blocking the entrance to my Hillmomba compound.


Great. I knew whose it was, too. Farmer H and I are letting HOS (his oldest son) put a trailer on our other ten acres. Up on the hill. Not beside the Mansion. The land we bought for the boys. It has a well and electric. All he needs is a septic tank. Farmer H said he will buy the electrical service entrance and do the wiring for them for their Christmas present. Which HOS said would be great. He has a good job now, and is trying to get ahead. It won't hurt us a bit to let him and his wife and son live there and save rent money.

Farmer H had told me the trailer was being delivered today. I did NOT expect to get trapped behind it. Had I known then what I knew later, I would have gone on up the blacktop county road and come in the other way, down past that acreage, and slipped onto the Mansion road before they knew I outsmarted them. As it was, I was trapped.

Once I could get off the blacktop onto the gravel, I pulled over behind a white truck. A guy got out and walked back. He was not with the other 4 white trucks. He's a resident of the compound. He said it took them a half hour to get turned onto the gravel. They almost took out a tree. They had to get out some kind of skids or ramps to straighten that behemoth. AND they told him they were going up the hill and down the road in front of the Mansion!

"No they're not! I know where they're going! It's to my other land! That road goes straight!"

"That's not what THEY think!"

"No way are they putting that trailer beside my house!"

We chatted a bit about the new neighbor of this trailer, the one who had threatened to shoot Farmer H and a county deputy. AND the crazy guy across the road from him. Uh huh. You're kind of on crazy overload when you're crazier than a guy threatening to shoot people. White Truck also complained about the people parking along the creek. HERE, HERE! He said he stops and asks them if they live there, and then points to the NO TRESPASSING signs in front of their vehicles. Right on!

The trailer train had gone out of sight, so White Truck got back in and went up the road. I followed. It didn't take us long to catch up. He jumped out again and ran up to one of their support OVERSIZE LOAD white trucks. He gestured and mouthed. Then he turned back to me.

"I straightened 'em out. They had no idea they were going that way. I can't believe they want to go over that little dip. I think the trailer will get hung up there. They should have come in from the other side."

"Farmer H said they came out and looked all around and decided this was the way to go. Maybe the actual guy who came out here isn't with them. Or maybe it's someone ELSE getting a trailer!"


"Yeah. That would be my stepson. It's his alright."

After another 10 minutes, and another car coming up behind me, White Truck was able to squeeze through at his turnoff. I called Farmer H to see if we could still get around that way. It used to be a big loop. He said no, because the Nudists or the Italians got into it with another landowner and blocked the access to the road. Not that we're prejudiced or anything against Nudists or Italians. It's just that we don't all remember each others names.

This car behind me was the lady from the 4-wheeler that one day in shorts and boots, who was having trouble with her mail delivery. Now she had been Christmas shopping, and needed to get home to feed her animals, unload and hide the Christmas presents. eat lunch, and get back to school to pick up her kids. We sat there 30 minutes while those cluckfusters surveyed their options. Bootsy said she ought to just go sit in her car and eat her lunch. I could have, too, if I'd had a straw for my poor elixir which was losing its magic, carbonation disseminating by the minute.

Even when that trailer inched forward, we had the 4 support vehicles still blocking our turn off. They could have closed the gap! But no. They were like a Devil's Handmaiden refusing to move the conveyor forward. A big open space between their trucks and the back of that trailer. Finally, Bootsy, a forward type, went up and asked them if they could pull up JUST TEN FEET so we could get through. By now, there was a FedEx truck waiting behind US.

The cluckfusters complied, and we went dashing through the dust. I got home at 1:30. In the time I was away from home today, I could have driven to the point we're meeting The Pony! I wrote this Friday, but you'll read it Saturday. Maybe.


I didn't think to take a picture before. This is right before I made my left turn. They are closing up that gap to give us access to our road. You can't see the magnitude of the doublewide, which is balanced across that concreted low-water dip.

I was never so relieved to get home. People who take blood pressure medicine do not take kindly to being kept waiting when they've been holding it until they get home to their own bathroom.

Friday, December 16, 2016

44 Oz Diet Coke People Problems

Two days ago, I had the most delicious 44 oz Diet Coke EVER from Orb K. It was JUST RIGHT. Really crisp. Really cold. The perfect mix of that syrup and carbonation. I had too much running around to do yesterday, which took me in a different direction. I was in too much of a hurry to get my Devil's Playground bounty home and inside the Mansion to backtrack for a delectable elixir. Don't you worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom going Diet Cokeless, though. I got it somewhere else.

For two days I have been thinking about that 44 oz Diet Coke. I had to go to the DMV today, and the main post office hub, and the bank, and a couple stores for Christmas items. AND I wanted to pick up a Hardee's Chicken Bowl for my lunch. But I knew I would be in Orb K's vicinity. I kept telling myself...

"Only two more stops, and I'll have my 44 oz Diet Coke. It's going to be SO good! I hope they didn't run out of syrup! Or carbonation! Oh, what if it's changed? Surely it hasn't. It's only been a day in between. It's not the weekend. OKAY! Last stop. My beverage awaits!"

I grabbed a scratch-off winner to cash in for more tickets, and my dollar to pay for my 44 oz Diet Coke. My knees were stiff from riding around in T-Hoe, so it took me a minute to get to the door. A man held it open for me. Some people (non-weirdos) are so polite!

I started straight to the back wall for my mega-drink.


There was a man on a ladder right in front of the double soda fountain! A ladder leaning against the soda fountain wall, in fact. Holding a big sign with one-and-a-half hands, the half of which was gripping a drill. The sign was a big banner of blue and white, with a cup filled with sparkling soda, and the words: POLAR POP.

I was calculating in my head as I walked. Like when there's an oncoming car, and you instantly ascertain where you're going to pass it on that narrow bridge. Uh huh. I could get to the cup right there. And the Diet Coke spigot wasn't even under the ladder. But he had screws and tools laying on the counter in front of it. That wouldn't be in my way. I could set it on the very end to push my lid on...

"Ma'am. You can't get soda today."

The NOT-HEAVEN you say! I was perfectly capable! Who was this little clerk to be tellin' me THAT? He wasn't even on a ladder!

Heh, heh! Do you see THE IRONY? Hanging a big sign advertising POLAR POP, which was making NO SODA AVAILABLE!!! Sweet Gummi Mary! You don't have to hit me over the head with that one!

Dang. All those stops, looking forward to this moment, and my magical elixir was denied! I had no choice, really. I still cashed in my ticket (and only had a $5 winner!), then drove back under the overpass to the gas station chicken store. Their Diet Coke today was the best there ever was.

Too bad it fell into misfortune on the way home...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Mom Doth Anthropomorphize Too Much

Oh, here's a nice cute story about Puppy Jack. But be forewarned, my friends, that storm clouds are gathering! Have gathered, in fact, and dumped a deluge on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's head. That storm report may appear here, or on my not-so-super-secret blog. Stay tuned.

Yesterday, after about 32 oz of Diet Coke, and Tuesday's gas station chicken breast and thigh...I went out to take the trash dumpster to the end of the driveway. The dogs knew it was time for walkies. They get quite excited at the prospect, and even more excited about biting and growling at each other while jostling for position nearest me. Oh, and they know that when I'm done, they'll have their evening snack. Last night's snack menu happened to be the remains of the Thanksgiving ham, and the wings of Tuesday's gas station chicken.

Puppy Jack is always so happy to see me! He runs to greet me on the side porch, and puts his paws on my shoulders so I can click Mr. Shocky around his neck. Which perhaps speaks volumes to the effectiveness of Mr. Shocky. Anyhoo...Jack has been better-behaved since Mr. Shocky's inception. The minute I say, "Jack, NO!" and click that beeper, he comes running back to me. MOST of the time. Yesterday he was very good.

When I get to the end of the driveway to turn around, I stop to lean over and pet Jack if he's with me. He waits expectantly in my way if I forget our GOOD BOY time. Yesterday I leaned over to pat his back, while he stood with his front legs against my thighs. Oh, sweet puppy, how I appreciate your unconditional love!

Jack was a bit baffled by my gloves. The temperature was 25, and the weather site said it felt like 20. I had on three layers, a sock cap, and gloves that I originally bought for the #1 Son, but he liked the second pair better. Jack always runs to me for confirmation of his goodboyness after I caution him  or use the beeper. He prances around on his hind legs to touch my fingers with his rubbery dog nose. There is nothing cuter than a long little doggie hopping around on his hind legs (blog buddy Kathy, you know what I'm talkin' about!). With the gloves on, Jack was missing his nose-to-flesh contact. So I thought nothing was amiss with his extra attention to my face.

I have to be careful with Jack, because he likes to lick my teeth with his extra-long tongue. But last evening, he was a good boy. As I was bent over at the end of the driveway, marveling at Jack's devotion, him stretching his neck up and snuffling at my hit me.


So much for his loving devotion...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Little Tale Of Good Cop(per)/Bad Cop(per)

Perhaps you remember our side-neighbor dog, Copper.

He has been roaming again. And by roaming, I mean living in our freakin' doggone (I WISH) yard. I see him run across toward the chicken house a lot. Not to worry, there's only a couple of chickens left. We'll restock in the spring, and Farmer H might sit on the front porch enjoying his retirement in his tighty whities in the rocking chair whittlin' with the paintball gun across his knees to dissuade Copper from snacking on our new fowl.

At night, our dogs go crazy barking at Copper. I can tell he's their concern, because they're on the garage end of the house, where Copper enters their territory. By day, Puppy Jack (aka Benedict Barkold) traitorously frolics in the front yard with Copper. BUT when I go out to walk, and make my turn to start back toward the Mansion, and see Copper advancing from the barbed wire fence (not good for keeping dogs in) to the carport, Jack takes off like a guard dog, chasing Copper away to save me. He might have a future in acting, that Puppy Jack.

Today, while I was in the shower, I heard a big commotion on the front porch. Thumping. Like somebody walking across the boards. The dogs were baying loudly. I thought maybe a UPS driver had carried a package up to the door. I didn't hear the doorbell, or the customary two knocks that they give before rushing back to their Big Brown. When I got out, I looked on the porch, but nothing was there. I suppose Copper had come up and made himself at (our) home.

Here's the kicker. Tuesday morning, I looked out the front window because I heard the dogs again with their intruder bark. And I heard a dog barking back. More than one. Not my dogs' voices. There was Puppy Jack, all fierce with his legs braced, in the middle of the yard, looking across at the horse-field neighbors' land. THERE WAS COPPER, also in our front yard, just a bit ahead of Puppy Jack, ALSO BARKING at the horse-field neighbors' land. And just across the gravel road, looking ready to charge, was


That's right. That bob-tailed black-and-tan maniac was mounting an assault on my fleabags, but was stopped by Copper!

My Sweet, Sweet Juno was nowhere to be seen. She does not like conflict, but comes out most of the time in support of Puppy Jack, whether it's for an intruder, or to stop a cat from scratching the living daylights out of him when its tired of being humped, or when I speak sternly to him in a BAD DOG manner for running after the horses. But there, facing the opposition with Jack, was Copper!

Copper had his hackles up. He was a sight to behold, all muscly and aggressive, charging short distances and snarling like he meant business. Jack did the same, from about twenty feet behind him. Ol' Crazy Bobtail finally shut up and went back down her own driveway.

That's some good karma for Copper. If he's going to be a watchdog for my property, I can put up with a few chicken snacks, and a little Jack-humping.

Let the record show that when Copper barked at me IN MY OWN DRIVEWAY a couple of times, he did not use that tone with me! But I still won't let my guard down with him. He is, after all, an animal, and unpredictable.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

And Now, The Weekly Status Of Check-Out Lanes At The Devil's Playground

I don't expect people to use those self-checkout lanes at The Devil's Playground. After all, you're giving THEM your money, so why should you have to do the work, too? Why should somebody get paid (though not well, from what I hear) to stand by and watch you ring up your own purchases? That's what they're there for! To make sure you pay for what you're taking out of the store. So they might as well be hands-on in this pursuit of your hard-lounged-around-doing-nothing-for cash.

It was Monday morning around 10:30. Not a peak shopping time. There were about four or five normal Devil's Handmaiden registers open. I went to the first one on the food end, and it was Lane #4. There was an old lady (who looked like she used the same L'Oreal shade as I do) getting out her checkbook. Yeah. I don't know why they wait until everything is back in their cart, either.

Aged Agnes flipped open her checkbook and started writing. Even though the machine will do all that for you these days. Since there was only one other lady (with a full cart) between me and her, I decided to stick it out. I'd already read the headlines on the tabloids. Checked my phone for the time or even some junk email to pass the minutes. Aged Agnes handed over her check, and then thumbed through her check register to record her transaction. Then she took the receipt and looked at it, and put it in her purse.


Nope. Sayonara! I moved on down to Lane #5. It was that slow Handmaiden I've had before, and two full carts were ahead of me. So I went on to Lane #6. Aha! Only one lady. Not too much. About a half a cart full. She already had most of it on the conveyor.


"I have two separate orders."

SWEET GUMMI MARY! Who do you have to run over with your flat-tired cart to get proper service around that place? Sure, I've had two separate orders to pay for before. One with cash, and one with my debit card. But that's different! It's FINE when I need to do it. I don't know who these other people think they are! But they are surely not me!

Anyhoo...the Handmaiden made quick work of those two separate orders, and mine went fast enough. Even though she had a peculiar peccadillo about double-bagging everything.

Monday, December 12, 2016

I'm Pretty Sure There's Something Ironic Here

Today, as I headed to The Devil's Playground for the weekly shopping, a truck zoomed out in front of me. Oh, don't worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! She has lightning-quick reflexes behind the wheel. It's only when she's on foot that she has the moves of a narcoleptic Galapagos Tortoise.

It was a small white pickup truck with a company's logo on the side in black. And on the rear bumper, it had one of those "How's My Driving?" stickers with an 800 number. I'm not identifying the company. Not because I want to protect them! Because I couldn't read it. Not because I didn't have my glasses. I drive without them all the time. The reason I can't give you the company name is that


That's right! Even if I wanted to take down that number and call to report on the driver's driving, I couldn't read the number because that white truck was weaving and swerving and speeding like Farmer H himself was behind the wheel!

My best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel will know where I'm talking about. I had just come from the Casey's where I get my gas, across from the bank that once shorted my mom $10, hung a right, and passed the florist shop that my cousin used to own, and then got in the left turn lane just past the frozen custard place. It was after my left turn, as I was driving down beside that auto parts store on the left, toward that apartment complex, that the white truck sped along the parking lot parallel to me for the length of it, then darted across the oncoming lane and right in front of me (!) without even looking. Then it jammed on its brakes to seem like it was stopping at the stop sign, but was really only slowing down enough to make a right turn and head towards The Devil's Playground's back entrance.

I might have been able to close the gap, because T-Hoe has a powerful V8 (not the juice drink), but there was traffic coming from the left at the stop sign, from that one-way end of the street. Not that it mattered to the white pickup truck that zoomed out in front of it. I don't know where that scofflaw was going, but last I saw, he was past the Pizza Hut stop sign and looping around toward McDonald's.

Maybe he had a hankerin' for a McRib. They're limited time only, you know.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I Wouldn't Actually Term It "Galore"

The two current residents of the Mansion never met a pizza they didn't like. That includes Imo's Pizza. Perhaps you've heard of it. The Square Beyond Compare. Maybe it's a regional thing. It's very thin, with a special cheese made just for their restaurant chain. You either like it, or you don't. Mrs. Not-A-Cook who taught down the hall from me for many years called it, "Velveeta on a cracker." What did she know, anyway. She certainly wasn't a cook.

Anyhoo...that's not the pizza I'm talking about here. We are dissecting Casey's Pizza today. I know blog buddy Kathy has eaten a Casey's pizza or two. Not all at once, of course. It's good pizza from a convenience store. The crust is doughy and they pile on the cheese. Every month, they have a special. This month it happens to be a specialty pizza. The price is still not all that bargainy. But for what you get, I don't begrudge them their fee.

Farmer H luuurrrrves himself some Meat Galore pizza from Casey's. The other day when I asked if I could pick him up something while I was in town, and mentioned a Personal Pan from Pizza Hut, he declined. But his eyes lit up and he said, "Maybe on the weekend we can have Casey's. We haven't had that in a while." Let the record show that he was just coming off his sickness, stuffing himself with antibiotics and steroids, and was probably regaining his appetite. The one he didn't have until he ate two days worth of leftovers brought back from lunch with my favorite gambling aunt.

So...last evening he went to town to "look at your Christmas present" (am I wrong to be apprehensive about that?) and picked up the pizza on his way home. He always goes in the store to order it, then waits. Can't call it in. I don't know why that is. Probably like my dad, who couldn't order at a drive-thru speaker, but instead had my mom lean across the seat and do it for him. Men.

The problem with Mrs. HM and a Meat Galore is that Mrs. HM does not like pepperoni. So Farmer H has to order half of it without pepperoni. Sometimes he tells them to put all the pepperoni on one side. He had a gal in Casey's that will do that for him. Probably the one who was going to get him the job at the unmarked storefront pharmacy as a delivery driver. Anyhoo...she wasn't working. So Farmer H told another girl that he needed half of that Meat Galore without pepperoni on it.

I opened the box when he got it home, and I couldn't see pepperoni anywhere. That's not a good thing. It only means that it was buried, somewhere there on the pizza, like those red pennant flags that kids used to have to find buried in sloppy muck (as opposed to neat muck) during the final competition on Double Dare.

Casey's builds their pizza with crust, sauce, flat meats, cheese, then sprinkle meats. In places, I could see the curved edges of Canadian bacon. But not pepperoni.

"How am I supposed to know which half has no pepperoni?"

"I don't know! The other gal puts it on top for me. So we can see it. This one didn't, I guess."

"Well, when I look at it, I can definitely tell one half is different from the other. LOOK! That half is twice as tall. And this one looks like just crust, sauce, and a little sprinkle of cheese, with some sausage clumps."

"Yeah. That must be YOUR half."

"I'm sure it is. It's basically just crust and sauce, really. So I'm sure that part is MINE."

Let the record show that because my half of the Casey's Meat Galore was so bereft of topping, I took THREE pieces instead of the two I had planned. And I probably still am malnourished from that serving. At least I didn't take six pieces. Which I could easily have eaten. But chose wisely not to.

Also let the record show that I DID find a piece of pepperoni hiding out on my portion. I knew when I bit into it. I put it on the plate. It was about the size of a toenail clipping. Not as big as the one we found in my grandma's braided rug that she gave us. And by WE I mean ME, with my bare foot, being gouged when sliding my foot on it as I sat down on the couch.

I assume Farmer H feasted on a thick strata of pepperoni and Canadian bacon and many meats, under a thick blanket of cheese. I hope he enjoyed it.

But not so much that he also took my other three pieces of skinny pizza.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Okay, So He Might Have Fudged A Little

One week left of the college semester, and both The Pony and the #1 Son have been hitting the books and regurgitating their learnin' into bluebooks. All work and no play, however, makes them dull boy young 'uns.

I'm not exactly sure what the #1 Son is up to, besides narrowly avoiding being burned to a crisp on Thursday. I had just left a luncheon date with my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel when my phone buzzed. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not look at her phone while maintaining the legal speed limit on two-lane hilly curvy blacktop. Some 18 minutes later, I learned that the building designated for #1's major course of study was billowing black smoke, with news crews and emergency responders on site. He had simply sent me a text to acknowledge that he was uncharred.

That's a good thing. Was I one to pay attention to breaking news throughout the day, and had I not been previously occupied with devouring a delicious chicken quesadilla...I would have been frantic, knowing that's the part of campus where #1 should be located. Thank the Gummi Mary his final was held on the other side of campus.

The Pony has been burning the midnight oil. And the 2:00 a.m. oil. I know that, because he sends me texts. Not about studying. Those I get between 8:00 and 10:00, if I try to ask him something. No, the later ones concern his Netflix viewing habits, most often The Food Network shows like Cutthroat Kitchen. He must be in a lull between finals, since he had one this week that he thinks he did well on, and next week being officially designated as finals week.

Last night, The Pony went Christmas shopping at Target, and played board games on the National Merit hall. This afternoon, he sent me a text that he was bound for gaming again tonight, but was at the moment making fudge with one of his friend girls. Let the record show that his recipe is one given to him by blog buddy Sioux. I sent him back to his lofty 12th floor rat's nest with (his requested) ingredients and a suitable bowl after Thanksgiving.

I'm pretty sure they were fudging it up in the friend girl's dorm room, because The Pony is a slob, and his roommate prefers that nobody enter their room. Ever. Even when The Pony is the only one there, having no simple drive home to spend the weekend. The Pony said he would be taking PART of the fudge to share at Game Night.

I'm pretty sure he had plans for strapping on the feed bag with the rest of it.

Friday, December 9, 2016

You'd Think Mrs. HM Was Punching A Time Clock, Rather Than Running On Retired People Time

You know how when you're in a hurry, the world stops revolving, spinning slowly down to die? Oh, wait! That's a Bread song. Anyhoo...when you're in a hurry, everyone else seems to be in slow motion.

On Wednesday, when I was meeting my favorite gambling aunt for lunch, I left home early enough to stop by the dead mouse smelling post office to pick up a package. We were supposed to meet at noon. It takes me about 40 minutes to get there. I meant to leave home at 10:45, to allow a plenty big cushion, in case I ran into traffic. NOT LITERALLY, of course! However, it was right at 11:00 when I left pulled out of the driveway.

I had barely passed EmBee when I came to my senses. The dead mouse smelling post office is closed from 11:00 to noon or noon-thirty for lunch! So much for that idea. I'd have to stop on the way home. Instead, I decided to drop by The Devil's Playground for a couple of things. It would be the third time I'd had dealings with The Devil this week. One of these days I'm going to get it together.

Anyhoo...I figured that would be cutting it close. But I only had a couple of things to grab. I snagged a great parking space right next to the handicapped. I figured I could be in and out in 10 minutes. Do you hear the universe laughing until it pukes? First of all, I couldn't get in the entrance door because one of the workers was futzing around just inside with a cart. So I had to go in the exit door. The Pony and Bel Kaufman would have been tearing their hair out if they knew.

It took me four tries to find an acceptable cart. One was jammed and wouldn't separate from a pile of peers. One had a broken blue flap thing, so my stuff would fall out of the child seat section. One had a retread-looking tire that was peeling apart.

Once I had my wheels, I took off at a good clip. Almost. I had to wait on an old man twice as slow as me. He was being a walk-blocker. It wasn't all his fault. He couldn't get through the exit beepers because three not-slim women were congregating on one side talking. I tried to avoid the hogjam by going on the other side, but a worker was talking to another worker who was talking to a worker handing out balloons to little kids. I really needed the OU Sooners' offensive line to clear me a path. They, however, were probably lolling around waiting for other people to take their finals for them. So I had to sweave like Farmer H to make my way into the Playground proper.

Well. Once there, I grabbed my green onions and hearts of romaine. Then I figured I might as well pick up some more plastic containers, since I try to ration my buying of them because they take up all the room in the cart. AND the day before, I had scored some BIG boxes of Chex for only $3.00. However, that display was at the back of the store. I thought I could swing it. I was feeling especially spry. I loaded up my cart with nine mid-size containers (three 3-packs), and fourteen big containers (seven 2-packs). I give a lot of Chex mix gifts.

I raced to the Chex display like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. But without the turkeys and diapers. On the way back to the front, I figured I might as well pick up some more nuts. And the Bugles were on that same aisle. But a lady stopped me and said, "Where did you get your big cereal?"

"At the back! By the milk. Special display. Three dollars."

"THREE DOLLARS? That's how much THIS costs!" She waved a box of Corn Chex that wasn't much bigger than the individual 8-pack breakfast packages. At least people are thinking I'm SOMEBODY again, asking me stuff like I'm a store employee!

 I got to the front, where I discovered that the first open register was way up at #4. There was a lady with kids trying to pay, and one with a laden cart behind her. I moved to 5, where there was only one lady, already piling it on the conveyor. There I was, with my 23 containers and six Chex and two cashews and two mixed nut jugs and onions and lettuce. Not much, really. But a guy and lady pulled in behind me, and he said, "Oh, crap!" Like I was stocking a preschool larder for a month. And using a voucher.

The lady ahead of me had her stuff out, and was moving forward. I looked around for the rubber divider. They hide them for some reason. The Devil's Handmaidens don't want them to leave their side. You'd think those things are defense weapons. Anyhoo, this particular Handmaiden sniffed with derision, and shoved that order-stopper back along the metal track at me. I really did not care for her attitude. But I put it behind the last thing from the previous order, which was a long tube of hamburger.

I put my like items on together. I crammed them in. But the Handmaiden was slow moving that conveyor. In fact, there was a gap of about three feet between the register and the last item of the other lady. STILL the Handmaiden would not move it forward so I could fit my Chex boxes on there. She told the lady, "That will be..."

"Wait. That's not all. You don't have my hamburger."

Heh, heh! That's what Handmaiden gets for messing with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! She got all flustered. "Oh. I didn't know that was yours. I forgot it." THEN she had to add it on. THEN the lady's chip card wouldn't work. She tried it three times, with the Handmaiden finally taking it and doing it from her side. That was right after she announced, "That will be SEVENTEEN EIGHTY FIVE."

The lady said, "Say what?"

Heh, heh. The Handmaiden had just rung up the hamburger by itself. It was a real exercise in fustercluckery. All because the Handmaiden had that attitude about me looking like I was in a hurry (ain't gonna lie!) and wanting that rubber divider.

They finally got it straightened out. But I did not make my 10-minute shopping trip. It took 20 minutes. I pulled onto the restaurant parking lot with my rattling door and taped-up window right at noon.

And proceeded to wait unto noon-ten for Auntie, who said she'd slept in.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Two Women's Lunch Is Another Man's Supper

Wednesday I met my favorite gambling aunt for lunch at the FelineFish Skillet. We had the all-you-can-eat. It's only $3 more than a dinner, you know. So it's really more economical, because if you don't ask for more, THEY LET YOU TAKE WHAT'S LEFT ON THE PLATTER!

We got all three meats. Auntie especially wanted the catfish, and I especially wanted the chicken. We took a little shrimp, just because. It's all you can eat, you know. Even though only Auntie tried a shrimp. One. For sides, we got SLAW, baked beans, wedge fries, hush puppies, steamed vegetables, pickles/onions, and mashed potatoes.

The good news is, Auntie doesn't eat leftovers! She said I could take all the leavin's. It's on principle that she gets the all-you-can-eat. She wants more than two sides. Oh, don't you worry about Auntie going hungry by not taking some leftovers. She had a giant piece of pecan pie, and took what she had left of that. I guess pie is not a leftover.

I packed up two rectangular foam containers with 2 pieces of catfish, about a dozen shrimp, 1 chicken strip (for ME to have tomorrow), a pile of wedge fries (because they were cold when we got them), mashed potatoes, three hush puppies, and two tubs of tartar sauce. I had three round foam containers that I filled with slaw, baked beans, and the pickles/onions. They have some crunchy bacon-striped pork rinds that they put out when you are waiting, and I put them in a plastic sack. Auntie wanted me to take the tubs of butter as well, but I didn't want to be a hog.

The plan was for Farmer H to have the spoils for supper, and again the next day. Farmer H is no stranger to the leftover. It makes him no nevermind who has been munching on his food before he inherits it. C'mon. What's a few cooties from people related by marriage? It's not like the food in some countries (I'm lookin' at YOU, India), where people eat food from a market, where it has been sitting all day in the hot sun being massaged by fly feet.

Let the record show that we didn't eat off any of it. THIS TIME. We just picked it up off the platter, and gave him the sides that were left in the bowls that we had dipped out of and put on our plates to eat. Though in the past, we have taken him pasta right off a plate that was eaten from. Not a strange plate, of course, from another table. It was a known mouth with known saliva.

Anyhoo, I could have eaten more, but I have been making wise choices, you know. My feast was by no means all I could eat. I had three chicken strips and one piece of fish, two fries, a dab of slaw, and two pickle spears. I could have done way more damage to that spread. In fact, I only had the third chicken strip because Auntie was having that giant wedge of pecan pie. And believe me, it almost killed me to leave that one chicken strip, with the tasty special sauce sitting there in its squirt bottle at my right hand. But I resisted the urge.

I saved the biggest and plumpest chicken strip. I knew it would be quite satisfying for a simple supper after I met my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel for lunch the next day.

Farmer H was an hour late coming home from work. He bothered to call me at the time he usually gets home. After I had frittered away an hour waiting on him, ready to warm his leftovers in the oven to make them crisp. Once he told me he hadn't left yet, he was on his own. But I DID tell him the oven temp and time to warm them, and put some non-stick foil on a pizza pan for his warming needs. The two rectangular foam containers and the three round ones were stacked atop one another in a plastic bag on the top shelf of FRIG II.

I heard Farmer H stumping around above me when he got home. He didn't have any questions. So I figured he made his supper without incident. About an hour later, I went to the bottom of the steps and hollered up to him.

"Was your supper okay?"

"Yeah. It was good!"

"Is there some left for tomorrow? Or do I need to plan something else?"

You know. For appearances. To seem like I care about his well-being. I was sure there had been two meals there. You know where this is headed, don't you?

"I ate it all."

"Oh. Uh. ALL of it?"

"All but half of that chicken strip. And Juno ate that."

"What? I brought that for ME? You never eat the chicken!"

"I did tonight. Half of it."

"And Juno."

"Yeah. She really liked it."

That'll teach ME to save the largest, plumpest chicken strip! I daresay it would have been mighty tasty with the special sauce. If I'd known its soon-to-be fate, I would have saved the smallest, thinnest chicken strip.

Note made to self.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Farmer H Does NOT Understand How Puppy Jack Feels When He Is Shunted Aside By Juno

Farmer H apparently commands more respect than lowly totem-pole-bottom Mrs. HM. He is the filet mignon while she is the chopped liver. He is Dom Perignon while she is Pink Champale. He is a Lamborghini while she is a Ford Fiesta. People pay attention to Farmer H. People pay homage to Rodney Dangerfield where Mrs. HM is concerned. She don't get no respect.

Sunday morning, congested hacker Farmer H was at death's door, pounding on it like a landlord five days after rent was due. Or so HE thought. Off he went to Not-So-Convenient Care. They've moved, you know. From next to the Chinese restaurant next to Mrs. HM's pharmacy, which is in the mini mall behind Dairy the building across the back street, where The Pony and the #1 son used to have a their doctor's office. He called a couple hours later to say he was at a pharmacy 20 miles away, over in bill-paying town. Sunday sickies can't be choosers. They are medicine beggars.

Let the record show that Mrs. HM was not at all sure that Not-So-Convenient Care would be open. After all, during a regular weekday, they were only open about 40% of the time their hours on the door proclaimed. That's good odds on scratch-off winnings, but not so great for vital medical care.

"Their sign on the door said they opened at 9:00. I was sitting there waiting for about 15 minutes. A couple of other people were there, too. Then three women pulled up and started to open the building, but nobody had a key. So they had to call somebody to bring them one. FINALLY they let us in. This guy pulled up and jumped out of his car and hurried past me to the counter. One of them ladies said, 'I'm sorry, but this gentleman was here first.' She remembered me from the parking lot. The other guy backed off, then. He sure thought he was gonna get in ahead of me. You could tell what he was thinking when he got out of his car."

So...the Not-So-Convenient Care workers were looking out for Farmer H. Making sure he was treated fairly. With proper respect. To see that hat he got his turn. So he didn't have to wait needlessly.

I'm thinking the ladies from the bank might have called ahead to warm them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Some Days, I Understand How Puppy Jack Feels When He Is Shunted Aside By Juno

It's getting so that every time I leave the Mansion, I have a weirdo encounter! Either a little man goes around me to the counter to butt in on my lottery ticket action like there's no line, or a different little man in a different convenience store stands in front of the only door, scratching to beat the band like there's no tomorrow to his heart's content.

Today, the ladies demanded equal time.

I dashed in the convenience store that should have been built before Newmentia let school out during the May of my retirement. It's a bright, clean place with wide aisles and that new-construction smell that is just now fading. My purpose was to cash in a winner and get more tickets.

Last week, a bleachy-haired, 70s-style bouffant lady who reminded me of my high school guidance counselor, Shirley, had almost done me wrong at that very store. The cheerful clerk was setting out my tickets and looking at that win receipt when not-Shirley walked up with a cup of coffee and put it on the counter and pushed her money across. I will cut her some slack, because she DID have the courtesy to say, "Oh, did I butt in?" Still, the clerk rang up her coffee before finishing with my transaction. Apparently, my teacher aura has faded, and I command little respect in the public sector. Now that I think about it, nobody has asked me the price of items, or where something is located in a store lately, either! I waited to make a left turn onto that parking lot. A police car went by, and then this white SUV. I pulled in at the end of the building, and the SUV went to the front. As I walked in, the driver, who could have been not-Shirley (2), got out and came right up behind me. I don't like that. I like a gap. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom enjoys a bubble of personal space. Anyhoo...I gave the door an extra push to allow her to follow on my heels without it slamming her face. That's how Mrs. HM rolls.

I cashed in my winner, and this different clerk was laying out my tickets, preparing to scan them, when not-Shirley 2 came right up to my shoulder and said, "Oh, do you have any luck?" I don't know about you, but when I'm getting my gambling fix for the day, I don't particularly care to wax philosophical on the method of my madness. But Mrs. HM is a polite sort, and explained that she does okay.

"What's the most that you've won?"

Whoa, not-Shirley (2)! Do you ask childless couples about fertility treatments? Hirsute construction workers if they shave their back? Ambulance drivers if the have a body in their rig? Sometimes we need a filter. But...Mrs. HM is a polite sort, so I answered her, and THEN she wanted to know which tickets won the best. SWEET GUMMI MARY! I felt like asking her if she was on The Meth.

Anyhoo...not-Shirley (2) didn't even take the cake today in the weirdo cakewalk. Nope. That prize went to the weirdo in line behind me at The Devil's Playground. And by "behind" I mean all up in my bubble, virtually in my left pants pocket. Let's just say it nearly took an NFL offensive lineman to finally move her so I could get back to the card-slider.

I had put a 12-pack of Diet Coke in my cart, with an 8-pack of bottled Diet Coke (12 oz size) laying on top. Both bar codes were on top, ready for the scan gun. I didn't see a need to lift them onto the conveyor. I always do this with awkward or heavy items, and push the cart around the bag carousel so the Devil's Handmaiden doesn't have to come far out of her lair. So she can just poke out a little bit, like a moray eel from its crevice.

Well. There was no going back to a normal position in front of the card-slider. AND there was no going back to my superficial repartee with the Handmaiden. Verbose'n'Close had horned in when Handmaiden told me how she, too, missed her college sons carrying in her bags for her. Out of the blue, Verbose'n'Close hijacked the conversation.

"Oh! How many kids do you have?"

"Two boys in college. And I just got re-married, and I have four step-kids. So six. I have six kids..."

"Yeah, I have two myself. Sometimes it seems like more--"

So much for hearing more about how Handmaiden had asked her boys to hook up her VCR before they left after Thanksgiving, and one of them gave her a look and said, "Are you sure you don't want us to hook up the Victrola as well?"

Weirdos. Always horning in on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's only time of the day to interact with an adult. Or any human. Weirdos not included.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Shocking Of Puppy Jack

As you may know, having had it pounded into your eyeballs for weeks on end, Puppy Jack is a wanderer. More accurately, he's an SD. A poop-stirrer. A canine ne'er-do-well just looking for a place to never do well. He has not had his very special operation yet because...well...what doggie mama wants that for her four-legged furry baby? I have been dragging my feet. Jack, himself, has not. Those big feet go skipping across the Mansion's front field like Jack's a bunny hopping for joy.

The problem is when Jack leaves the Mansion grounds for those of either neighbor. I have been trying to train him with a shock collar. For small dogs, 8-20 pounds, and college boys, 140-160 pounds.

Here's the thing: I'm not so sure Jack even feels the shock!

I make sure I turn on the collar part, with the two shocking prongs. I have adjusted it to fit tight against Jack's neck. He comes to me willingly, every afternoon, when I go out for my driveway walk. Runs right up to me, all happy and hyper, to stand on the side porch while I'm down on the sidewalk, and put his front paws on my shoulders and try to lick my teeth. I snap on his collar, and we're ready for walkies.

My Sweet, Sweet Juno has been problematic. Some days, she hogs the side porch like a 7-foot center guarding the paint, not letting Jack get close enough to me for collaring, even though he dashes in and spins around and does his best to reach me. On those days, Juno gets chastised, and retreats to her house to sulk. She comes out by the time we reach the driveway, though, to feint and growl and bite at Jack. AND HIS SHOCK COLLAR. I swear Juno turns it off.

Even I, not an engineer, know that putting a push button to control the on/off function of a shock collar on the outside edge of the collar is a bit questionable. Juno and Jack bite and wrestle, and she must push that button numerous times during my 20-minute walk. It needs to be recessed. Like, so you could poke the end of your pinky finger down in there and activate it. Or go by a sliding switch that a bumping/biting dog can't move.

Many a day, I've put the collar on Jack and tested it to see the green light. But when I take it off after we're done, it shows the red light. I know the shocker works. I tried it in the house the other day, with only one finger on one prong, and that sucker STILL bit me! I guess it arced. I've had to jack it up (heh, heh, see what I did there, JACK it up, for Puppy Jack) from the 4 setting that the #1 son recommended, to the next level, on 2. Which is really like putting it on 10.

Only twice have I seen a reaction from Jack that makes me think he felt it. I start by saying, "Jack, NO!" when he starts to go off course. Sometimes he stops, and I praise him. When he doesn't, I push the green button that makes a buzzing sound. I don't think this collar has a vibration setting, but it has that sound. Even Juno hears it, and sometimes whimpers and starts after Jack, like when she tries to get between him and his humping cat. To keep him out of trouble.

If Jack still keeps going after the buzzer, I say, "Jack, NO!" again, and I hold down the shocker. The two times I noticed, Jack kind of jumped sideways and looked at me. Like he did in mid-air that day I shot him (not proud, people, not proud) with the BB gun. One of those days he came running back to me, like he wanted to tell me something odd had happened to him, and he wanted comforting. I felt like a real heel, but learning to control yourself is never a picnic.

That other day I thought Jack noticed the shock, he stopped to give me that look, then kept on running toward the horses. Who were tempting him to bark by moving slowly with their giant hooves and chewing on hay from a round bale right there in their own field.

There has been some progress, though. Most of the time now, Jack comes back to me when I push the buzzer. Sometimes even when I say, "Jack, NO!" It's like he thinks the buzzer is a signal for him to come running and jump against my legs while I am walking.

We need to work on that...

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I Took The Good, I Took The Bad, I Took Them Both And Then I Had...Almost Even Steven

That's the facts of life, I guess. We may lose, and we may win, but we will never be here again. My day was pretty balanced overall. It didn't start off all that well.

I overslept and rolled out of bed at 10:00. Farmer H was at Not-So-Urgent Care. That's a story for another day, maybe even another place. Let the record show that he was home within three hours, waiting to receive guests from his workplace in order to give them a Shackytown tour. I washed up some dishes and wrote out a check for just over five dollars to pay taxes on land that Farmer H the land baron bought on the courthouse steps many years ago. There's another story we may or may not get to one of these days.

Because the dead mouse smelling post office has let me down too many times lately, I drove that tax payment to the main branch, where I just mailed all the other tax bills yesterday. I thought of stopping by The Devil's Playground to pick up bananas for Farmer H (he eats one a day) and maybe some deli chicken (Farmer H will be gone to his company Christmas dinner tonight). I vetoed that idea, because I like gas station chicken better. I got the bananas at Save A Lot.

Somebody was in my rightful parking lot at the gas station chicken store, so I parked around by the air hose. SUE ME, anybody needing air! It was pouring rain, and I didn't feel like parking way over to the side by the canal that runs between the GSCS and Farmer H's pharmacy. Once I climbed out of T-Hoe, I knew something was amiss. I did not detect the aroma of delicious fried fowl! My worst fears were confirmed when I entered the door.


Yes, it was bereft of my tasty planned lupper (too late for lunch, too early for supper). The stainless steel tubs gleamed with broken promises. I ran my 44 oz Diet Coke and bellied up to the pay counter. With no chicken available, I put my funds into two scratch-off tickets. Which were losers, I might add. I had already been to Orb K to cash in some winners and trade them for more tickets. I should have let well enough alone.

Out of 12 tickets, I had ONE winner. ONE! By the odds, I should have had at least three winners, maybe four. The only good news is that my ONE ticket was a $50 winner. So cash-wise, I was ahead. If you consider the value of the winners cashed in, I was only out $10. I will financially survive to play again.

The biggest loser was my appetite, which had to settle for a Hardee's chicken bowl. Which today was only half full, so less so that the tiny dollop of sour cream did not even brush the clear plastic lid as it usually does.

But Farmer H is off to his dinner, and I have a few hours of peace without his hacking. Then again, he says he's coming back home tomorrow morning after giving work orders, to spend the day in the Mansion, because he'll be sick. He plans to go back to bed and sleep all day.

Almost Even Steven. B-B-B Baby, I'll take what I can get!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Bit Of Social Commentary From Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

The elderly need to crap or get off the crapper!

There. I said it. Does that make me an a$$hole? I'm pretty sure it does. But you know how we gambling addicts are full of rage. Don't you? Apparently a commenter on my other blog presumes to know that. Though I think it's more a case of Which Came First, the Gambler or the Rage? Anyhoo...his exact quote was: "You inveterate gamblers seem to have short tempers." That kind of pissed me off. In fact, that used to be my motto here at the Manion. "People Piss Me Off!" Perhaps you weren't reading way back then. I don't think this guy was, either. How dare he say that gamblers have short tempers!

I guess I do.

There I was, standing in line at the counter of the gas station chicken store, talking to my favorite clerk, as the customer he had just finished with toddled toward the door. He was only two steps away. It's a small store. There was a lady behind me buying chicken, so I was not holding up the line as I chatted while paying for my 44 oz Diet Coke and two scratch-off tickets.

As the chicken gal moved over to pay, I said goodbye and started out the door. Or so I thought. However...that old geezer was standing right in front of it! He was kind of short and thin, wearing a tweed-looking coat and a newsboy cap. He was kind of like Andy Capp personified.

I stood behind him, thinking he was about ready to walk out the door. It's a single glass door. No room to go around. The counter abuts the wall on the left, and the restrooms are within arm's reach on the right. Andy stood there, SCRATCHING! He had a $5 ticket, the game of which escapes me. But by having a $5 ticket, which I could tell by the size of that piece of shiny cardboard he was holding in his hands, he had, at minimum, five numbers to scratch off, and then 15 other numbers to try and match them. Which he was doing while blocking the door.

I did not try to get around him, or clear my throat, or say "Excuse me," or shove him forward and tromp right over the top of him. Nope. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom respects her elders. I could wait until he was ready to move. Kind of like waiting behind the wheel of T-Hoe for Farmer H's turkey to wander across the driveway.

I bear Andy Capp no ill will. But he really needs to learn to crap or get off the crapper! Other people need to use the crapper, too!

I'm pretty sure that makes me an a$$hole.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Grows Weary Of Being The One Born Every Minute

By this time, you probably have figured out that the Hillbilly family is no stranger to pizza. It's one of our main food groups. With The Pony gone, we don't partake of it nearly as much. But we still enjoy a saucy, savory pie. A couple weeks ago, Farmer H wanted Pizza Hut.

"I like the breadsticks too, you know. I didn't eat them, because they were always for The Pony. But I like them too."

So Mrs. HM set about researching Pizza Hut specials. We're not made of money, you know. Those 44 oz Diet Cokes and lottery tickets don't pay for themselves. When The Pony was here, he always liked getting the Triple Treat box. It comes with two single topping medium pizzas and an order of breadsticks and a big chocolate chip cookie. The Pony of course claimed the cookie and breadsticks for himself, and only ate a slice of pizza (with the topping picked off) if I insisted. We have no need for that cookie now. And Mrs. HM, she of the wise choices lately, has no need for a medium pizza to call her own.

I also investigated the recent special (you have to be careful, because our local Hut picks and chooses which TV-advertised specials they will honor) of any medium or large pizza for $10.00. I figured with an order of breadsticks, this would be our cheapest route. And why get a medium when you could get a large for the exact same price?

However...wise-choosing Mrs. HM most certainly does not need to be sharing a large Meat Lovers with Farmer H. While it sounds like a good decision in theory, it is not the wisest choice for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Mrs. HM loves pizza, and can't be trusted with it. Like that slutty cheerleader in 3rd period can't be trusted as a biology lab partner for your boyfriend! So...I ordered the large Meat Lovers for Farmer H, along with an order of breadsticks, plus a Personal Pan Supreme, no pepperoni, for myself.

Yes. I know that I paid $6.00 for an individual pizza, when I could have had a large one for $10.00. Money isn't everything. It's PIZZA, by cracky! WHO STOPS AT TWO PIECES? Am I right? It was the wisest choice FOR ME. I know when to stop with a Personal Pan. I know how many calories are in it. I figured I could allow myself one breadstick as well. Farmer H made sure I knew that he likes the marinara sauce. So I ordered an extra.

You know what happened, right? I picked up the pizza on the way home from my doctor FNP appointment. Once back at the Mansion, opening it up, ready to tear into the Personal Pan and breadstick...I discovered that we had ONE SAUCE. Uh huh. I paid for two. It was on the receipt. This is about the third time they've done that to me. No, I'm not stupid. I don't have The Pony riding in the back seat of T-Hoe to open it up and look for the sauce before we pull away from the window. It's too awkward for me to do it with the steering wheel in the way.

My Personal Pan was delicious, even without a breadstick. And Farmer H ate off that large pizza for three days.

Next time, I'm telling them at the window to open up that box and show my extra sauce. Three times bitten, never again shy. I'm pretty sure that's a common saying.