Friday, April 28, 2017

The Short-Temper Cook Is Not Long On Patience

Farmer H has been stepping out on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Grazing in greener pastures. Developing a risk-taking palate. Feasting on foods that are not served in the Mansion. Until now.

Note To Self: do not ever again ask Farmer H what he wants for supper the next day. Especially after you have been to two different Devil's Playgrounds in three days, and think the food purchases for the week are complete. And after he dances around the subject and remains uncommitted after you give him three choices.

"Well...I have a really good shrimp taco at a place up by work."

AHA! That would explain the odors that linger in the bathroom.

"What do you mean, shrimp taco? I can't make a shrimp taco! I offered you a chicken taco. I have everything we need for them."

"It's not that hard. Just shrimp. On a taco."

"You mean fried shrimp? Or boiled shrimp? How is it cooked."

"It's browned in a pan. Not breaded."

"I never heard of shrimp cooked like that. Or in a taco!"

"Like that shrimp you gave me the other day."

"The frozen kind. That all you have to do is thaw it out with cold water? I guess you'll want the feet cut off."

"Yes. I can't eat the feet. It won't be THAT hard. You just pinch off the feet."

"Do you know how many times I would have to do that? It's way easier to cut them off than pinch them off."

"Okay. Do it however you want."

SIGH. "So what else do you have on these shrimp tacos?"

"Refried beans--"

"With SHRIMP?"

"Yesss. And rice and onions and tomatoes and lettuce--"

"What kind of rice? Like Spanish rice?"

"I guess so."

"What about the onions? Diced onions like I make for our tacos?"

"No. It's more like a shrimp fajita. About a half inch long [let the record show that Farmer H held up his thumb and forefinger about three inches apart] and as thick as a pencil."

"Wait! You don't even like peppers! Fajitas have peppers! I have a frozen bag of fajita vegetables in the freezer."

"I pick out the peppers. I only want onions."

"So...I'll have to go to the store for shrimp, because you ate the last of it two days ago. I have refried beans. I have Spanish rice mix. I have onions. I have lettuce. I'll need tomatoes. What kind of tomatoes do you mean? Like salsa?"

"No. Tomatoes. Like stewed tomatoes. From a can."

"Those are all watery and limp. I can't believe you have those on a taco. Do you mean like diced tomatoes? Like I put in chili?"

"Yeah. That's fine."

So...I went to the store and got the other stuff and tried to brown the shrimp but they didn't. I sweated the onions and they looked pretty good. I picked up something called Mexican Rice instead of Spanish Rice. It was in a packet. Easy enough to make. Of course I had to warm the refried beans in the microwave. Another bowl dirtied. I had to strain the diced tomatoes. Strainer to wash.

Plus, Farmer H picked it up AND CARRIED IT ACROSS TO THE CUTTING BLOCK, leaving a trail of juicy drippings in three double spots. THEN acted all hissy/pissy when I told him he dripped, and to clean it up, and to USE THE SOAPY WATER I already had in the sink to wash up the dishes I used preparing this feast for the last 30 minutes.

Farmer H prepared two large tortillas with layers of this mixture. Then he took them on two plates to his La-Z-Boy while I cleaned up the cookware. He announced that it was almost like the ones he has at that place up by work, but that THEY use the BIG shrimp.

"Okay. I guess I should have gotten the big shrimp and cut off the feet."

"No. This is fine. It means I get more of it."

Let the record show that Farmer H said his shrimp tacos (which looked like big fat burritos to me) were delicious.

That means he will want them again.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Over The Creek And Through The 'Hood

Sweet Gummi Mary! It's getting so I can hardly make my daily trip to town these days without encountering gridlock on the back roads of Hillmomba!

Today I was tooling along the gravel road beside the creek, getting ready to stop at EmBee before going to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke. The mail has been getting here earlier these days. I don't know if we have a new mailwoman or not, since she/he is getting to be like Santa, sneaking in there when I'm not around to watch. I used to get behind that mail lady all the time on my way home, and have to wait until she mis-delivered our mail.

I had the windows up. There were a few sprinkles falling, but the temperature was in the upper 60s already at the early hour of 11:30 a.m. Even with the windows up, I smelled it. The not-unpleasant essence of crushed cedar needles. Well, I thought, maybe somebody had cut down a tree at that house up the hill where Juno had gotten lost for a whole day, and I was just smelling the fresh crushed needles of the limbs that had crunched upon hitting the ground.

The smell was even stronger as I climbed out of T-Hoe and strode across the blacktop to disgorge the clothing catalog and Acadia bill and junk insurance brochure from EmBee's gullet. Again, I chalked it up to the wet ground and tree-trimming scenario.

As I crested the hill on the county road, I saw TO MY HORROR what was causing the smell. The Rockers are back! They were working in the area right where Juno had been lost. Bulldozing every tree down, clearing an opening to begin their rock harvest. They had a pickup truck and trailer (the ones that had parked themselves on our BARn land a while back) parked at the top of that hill, and going down the other side, two orange traffic cones in the roadway.

Let the record show that this is a STEEP hill. It's like the top of a rollercoaster, right before you plummet down the other side. They had their cones in the middle of the driving lane, so people coming up that side of the hill wouldn't ram into the back of the parked trailer. Nope. They were making it very safe to keep people from ramming into the back of their parked trailer. Yet forcing those people into the oncoming traffic lane to crest that hill! Allowing them the chance of a head-on collision rather than plowing into a parked trailer.

I made a mental note to come back the alternate route, past the auto body shop, from the other side of EmBee. I went on my merry way, thankfully not having hit anyone head-on as I went over that hill. On I went, across the low water bridge that floods so often, up the other side, and saw a semi truck coming down the middle of the road at me. Yet not.

A gray semi truck was creeping along, then stopped. And began to back up. Let the record show that there is NOWHERE to turn that thing around on that road. He would have been better off to keep going and loop up past the Rockers and the auto body shop and eventually come back out on the lettered county highway. But he was BACKING! The road was straight at that point, and he had a car behind him, which had to back up. And another car coming at him from the next hill crest. I couldn't see down in the dips, but I know I wanted no part of waiting to see how the guy got himself out of this predicament. There was no way I could continue and pass by him in my lane. So I turned around at the rental house that just got a new metal roof, and went back the way from whence I had come, up that blind hill in the WRONG LANE past the Rockers. Thankfully not hitting anyone head-on again.

On and on, past the auto body shop, to the T intersection to take me out to the lettered county highway. And there was a blue pickup truck sitting in the middle of the road at the T intersection. He had no stop sign that way. Just a guy sitting in a truck, with it running.

I confess that I only made a rolling stop at my stop sign, before making my right turn. Who knows what shenanigans a pickup man could be up to in a remote area like that.

Let the record show that I remembered to come back home that way, and the pickup man was gone. And that my 44 oz Diet Coke tasted even sweeter than usual today.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Objectionable Digit

JUNK MAIL KILLS!

Okay. Maybe that's a bit of hyperbole from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. But junk mail maims drives one to drink causes hair loss makes an appendage fall off annoys her a little bit.

I have been getting two magazines I never ordered. I'm sure the kind folks at Publishers Clearing House sent them along complimentarily so I might fall for their sweepstakes scam. Or else one of my EthnicElderlyDating paramours is trying to tempt me into his internet arms by mail-showering me with gifts.

These free magazines are a pain. I don't want to wrestle them out of EmBee's curvy embrace. They are quite substantial. Hefty, even. And glossy. And one contains those perfume card inserts. Let the record show that Mrs. HM is the last person on Earth who would need such magazines. One is "W" whatever that stands for. The other is some kind of fashionista garbage. Not the least bit interesting to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom in her red Crocs, black crew socks, navy blue sweatpants, purple-and-white pin-striped big shirt, and generic royal-blue-and-white trucker cap, headed out to the driveway for her walk.

So...in my infinite wisdom, I decided that enough was too much! I'd set the record straight with these magazine companies once and for all. Tell them I never ordered their product, and to get me off the mailing list. Stop wasting trees and gas and petroleum products to make the clear plastic wrapper that seals the magazine.

I tried to rip open that clear plastic wrapper to get out the oversize postcard thingy inside with my address and code numbers. Oh, I ripped open that plastic just fine. But in trying to grasp the oversize postcard thingy with my address on it, I suffered a PAPER CUT!

Sure. It doesn't look like much. It's just a superficial wound. Not a complete amputation. But my finger was none too happy with the situation. After bleeding just enough to not need a sterile adhesive strip, but too much to go on about my business, leaving smears of my life fluid across kitchen and office items...my finger made it clear that there were activities to which it objected:

Washing dishes.
Slicing jumbo hot dogs for Jack and Juno's evening snack.
Clicking a Logitech mouse.
Typing on a keyboard.
Picking a nostril no of course Mrs. HM does not do that
Twisting the plastic lid off a plastic bottle of Diet Coke.
Opening the door of the basement mini fridge.
Writing with PaperMate Profile Elite.
Pushing the HEAT and MASSAGE buttons on the remote of the OPC (Old People Chair)
Peeling open the foil of a Dove dark chocolate morsel.
Pulling open the sealed top of an individual bag of Crunch Cheetos.
Prying the plastic lid off a quart (former hot & sour soup) container of potato salad

Yeah. You wouldn't think such a tiny wound would limit so many activities.

JUNK MAIL KILLS the insouciance with which one sails through many everyday functions.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Some Things Are Surer Than Others

You all know that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is pretty lucky in the games of chance. Only yesterday, she had another scratch-off winner that was worth texting to her sister the ex-mayor's wife.


Being in the winning frame of mind, imagine Mrs. HM's thrill this morning to see that overnight, The Publisher's Clearing House people had been burning up the innernets with emails proclaiming her to have a chance at a winning entry. Oh, yes, my friends. Mrs. HM reads closely. And that's just in the subject line. She did NOT click to open these emails. No siree, Bob! She may not ever enter The Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes, but she knows they do not send out emails like that. Especially six of them within 24 hours. Within 12 hours, specifically.

And most likely, The Publishers Clearing House would not call Mrs. Hillbilly Mom "Gloria."

3:45 p.m. Final Alert for Gloria! Selections Expiring  
8:19 a.m. Gloria, don’t say you weren’t notified 
4:43 a.m. Gloria, It’s Confirmed
4:25 a.m. Hillbilly, Only 1 Requirement Left
4:17 a.m. Gloria, the Prize Patrol could greet YOU at 18773 Nathans Pl  
4:10 a.m. Gloria you’re strongly advised to open this 

I'll thank them to stop strongly advising me to open their emails. Sweet Gummi Mary! They're as persistent as those folks trying to hook up with me from the Ethnic Old People Dating service, EthnicElderlyDatingdotcom. Which I had completely forgotten about, until I looked in my 5PAM folder to see if there was any more of the PCH strong advice.

Yeah. Not only am I going to win a huge amount of money from the Prize Patrol...I'm going to win in the game of love, too!

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Tale Of Two Button-Pushers

The gas station chicken store is turning out to be a hotbed of social commentary. Only yesterday, I decried the lack of manners in today's youth, and today you are getting an eyeful of another self-absorbed late-20-something.

I was already in the gas station chicken store on Sunday, filling my 44 oz cup at the Diet Coke dispenser. Their magical elixir has been especially delicious of late. I had planned to get one at Orb K for half the price, but I just don't know how to quit the Diet Coke at the gas station chicken store.

So there I was, taking a sip and topping off, securing my plastic lid, wondering if the guy waiting at the chicken counter was going to get his order and beat me to the register. I don't like to waste any time getting home with my beverage to start a long afternoon of sipping. The chicken guy didn't beat me, but a new customer did.

Jumpy came in and looked around like he wasn't quite sure what he was doing. Obviously not a regular. I could see out the front window that he had parked near T-Hoe, and had a dog in the back of his crew cab sticking its head out the window. Jumpy started to pay, then said, "Wait a minute!" He walked across the counter area and grabbed two more short bottles of energy supplement from a display right in front of the chicken warming case. Three! Four! Then he went back to the register and stood over on the side regulars don't stand at, right by the door, by the lottery ticket scanner and PowerBall ticket dispenser. He paid with plastic.

The clerk was the short old lady. Not to be confused with the tall old lady who has been there longer, and is 10 times as cranky. This old lady just takes everything in stride, but suffers no fools. She got a bag for Jumpy's energy supplements, and thanked him.

"Wait. Can't I get cash back?"

"You could have. If you'd told me before I punched it in. I can't go back once the transaction is done."

"Huh. I didn't know you were punching the wrong buttons." Jumpy tried to stare her down.

Clerky was having none of it. It didn't faze her. How dare he imply that SHE had done something amiss as she rang up his purchase, the purchase he made difficult by stopping in the middle and adding to. She held his gaze until Jumpy looked away. She took his yakkin' and kept on rackin' up the sales. She turned to me. Not takin' his bait. Like a wily old smallmouth bass, she avoided being fished in. Clerky gave the stinkeye to the plastic gallon jug of tea sitting on the counter. Not mine. The chicken guy's.

"I have the soda. And I'd like a Millionaire Riches ticket."

"Is that all?"

"Yes."

I gave Clerky correct change. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a button-pusher. No siree, Bob! The gas station chicken store clerks are my bread and butter. And chicken and magical elixir and tickets too, by cracky! No way am I going to irritate them!

Jumpy must have noticed the sign that said "Cash back in amount of purchase only, not over $50." So he added on the extra energy supplements in order to get more cash. I guess that little plan backfired.

Being denied his rightful scene-making verbal assault on Clerky, he shook his head and made his exit. I wonder where else he had to go, and how much he had to buy, to get cash on a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What's Wrong With This Part-of-a-Generation?

What's wrong with young people today?

By young people, I mean people younger than me, which is a considerable slice of the population pie. A slice ample enough to please Farmer H as pies go. As much as I malign Farmer H, even HE does not have the wrongness about him that the young people of today seem to have.

To make it a manageable number, let's pin the pool of young people to those between the late teens and late 20s. They do not act in a manner expected by Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Consider, if you will, her predicament Saturday at the portal of the gas station chicken store.

The door is clear, you see. I mean...you can see THROUGH it. You can see if somebody else is coming or going.

There I was, with one hand full of soda, and the other gripping my keys. I started out, but saw a dude approaching from the other side. I know that door opens out toward the parking lot. I was prepared to push the bar on it with my forearm and step out, then hold it open for Dude to step inside.

BUT NO!

Dude saw me. I know he did! Do you think Dude pulled that door handle and held it open for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to step out and clear his way inside?

NO HE DID NOT!

Dude pulled the door open and barged right in. Necessitating that I take two steps back to make way for him. Because as a 20-year-old male, his business was much more important than an old lady with one hand full of 44 oz of Diet Coke, half a step away from proceeding out the door.

Seriously, Dude?

If I had been on the outside, not only would I have backed up to let someone out, I would have grasped that door handle and held it open. No matter if it was a child, teen, woman, or crotchety old man. It's only right. I'm on the outside. It's not my place to force my way past a person already standing there ready to leave. Not to make them scramble out of my way, lest I shoulder them off balance in my haste.

Sweet Gummi Mary! Even The Pony, who cares not one whit for helping other people, would have held that door open for a person coming out. And even for a person beside or behind him heading in. So what if he didn't help that lady up off the floor of The Devil's Playground deli that time she slipped. THIS he would have done. Without anybody watching, without my prompting. I've observed him do it before.

Of course the #1 Son would have held the door open for somebody. He's a people person. He always remembers names, and calls people by them to reaffirm his people-personness. Like when he was in the ER for the second time in two days with that killer headache that turned out to be a virus masquerading as bacterial meningitis. When the male nurse came in to take his vitals and ask if there was anything he could do to make him more comfortable, #1 roused himself from his fog of pain and said, "Thank you, James. Not right now. The doctor is taking me for some tests in a few minutes." While I was sitting across the cubicle thinking, "Who is JAMES?" There's a bit of the politician in #1, I fear.

Anyhoo...we have trouble right here in Hillmomba City, folks. And it's the young people who are so self-absorbed that they don't have a drop of the milk of human kindness coursing through their veins.

I simply MUST get to work on my proposed handbasket factory.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Not ME, By Cracky!

A few days ago I noticed an anomaly on the parking lot of Orb K.


Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had nothing to do with this destruction. NOTHING!

The Truth in Blogging Law requires her to inform you, however, that once upon a time, when T-Hoe was just raw ore in a quarry, Mrs. HM backed a GMC Yukon into such a light pole at the Office Max over in Bill-Paying Town.

The boys were younger then, but not so young as when the #1 son professed his life mission to be a job as a clerk at Office Max. And not so far back as when he asked Santa to bring him a FAX machine for Christmas.

Anyhoo...I was over at Office Max getting some school supplies for myself, I imagine, when they used to send out a notice that teachers could purchase everything they could fit in a store-provided paper sack for $50. Or something like that. Various electronic items excluded, of course. So I left the boys with Farmer H (WHAT was I thinking?) I'm sure I dropped them off with my mom instead.

When I came out, I walked around and opened the hatch and put my big paper bag full of treasures inside. I knew that pole was there. It wasn't directly behind me. I had pulled through to the next row so I could drive forward to get out. EXCEPT some scofflaw was pulled up in front of the door, waiting. I had to back up a little to get the right angle to drive forward out of the lot. I looked in the mirror. I turned my head and looked. This was not some fancy souped-up top-of-the-line SUV with a backup beeper. I could see the pole. I was nowhere hear hitting the pole, when

THUNK!

My bumper hit that concrete pole-holder. Seriously. Those things should be outlawed. You can't see that low in a large SUV. I thought I had plenty of room left. I was only going about a turtle's speed. No damage to the pole or the concrete. A little dent in the bumper. The Pony still finds that episode hilarious. He only wishes he had been with me. Not that he would have helped me avoid the collision. Like that time at the bank I asked him if anything was behind me, and he said NO, and then I backed into the guy with the meth beard and the pit bull, because The Pony later said, "Oh. You wanted me to TURN AROUND and look?"

So...today I had a chance to snap a picture of that Orb K mishap, and sent it to The Pony.With the message

"I didn't do it!"

"Wind or human-controlled combustion fueled machine, do you think?"
(We had really strong winds yesterday here)

"I imagine it was a truck. There was a big tire rut the first time I saw it."

"Truck, then. It just seems strange for there to be a double bend. One in the metal, one in the concrete."

"If that was the wind, I'm glad I was in my dark basement lair!"

I know the wind comes rushing down the plain in Oklahoma. I didn't know it rushes so hard that it blows over light poles in concrete holders.


Friday, April 21, 2017

When It Raits, It Pours

WARNNING: Today's post is not edited for typographical errors! Read at your own rish! The keyboard on Shiba in the front living room window is not the same as the keyboard on New Delly down in the dark basement lair.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is salty today, my friends. And not in a cute way, like that sweet Morton Salt girl.

The air conditioner decided ot slack off last night. Of coure, Farmer H, who only works Tuesday-ThursdaY NOW, could not be home today, Friday, to deal with the repairmant. Let the record show that we just had work done on this unit December 19. It seems like somehting always goes wrong with the Farmer H-seledcted heatinga nd cooling system every season. You'd think a man with his connections and work experienct could come up with better equipment.

Amnyhooo...Mrs. HM has been left home holding the bag. Mes. H>M. Who rises aounrfd 9:30 every morning. Farmer H had a sissy fit last night on the front porch, hollering when asked a simple question: "Do I need to hang around all day, or can I go get my soda?" See, at tht eime, Farmer H was texting his conenction with the heating and cooling company. Last time, they called to say they were sending a workman from Farmer H's work town. So I knew how to plan my time. Not now. Little Mr. HIssy sotomped off when I told him I was not about to sit ther on the front porch pew and get yelled at for nothing.

This mornign I found a paper plate note that "Later this morning I'm calling the air guys." Huh. I found it at 7:30 a.m.l, whern I got up early for making sure I oculd get the boys letters to town to mail them before 11:00. After three and a half hours of sleep.

Anyhoo...the company called at 10:50 and said they's send someone. He found a burned out fan motor and asked if Farmer H would want to replace it himself. HAHAHAHAHA! He said it with his hand on the doorknob that still hasnte been fixed. So I told him to replace it, and he didn't have one on the truck, so he went back to town for one. And now I'm killing even more of my percious time that is all I have now that i'm RETIRED! Oh, nand he left the system running, and I don't know whow good that is for it without a burned out morote. AND he KNOWS ME because he lives next door to some former students! Have I mentioned that I do not enjoy being a small town celebrity?

Anyhoo...the temperature outside NOW is 47 degrees. I found that out at the un-Not-Heavenly hour of 8:30 when I was getting a 44 oz Diet coke. I kind of had an inkling before seeing T-Hoe's digital mirror reading, bacause Farmer H opened up the windows last night. And left them open whe n he left for work at 6:00 a.m. Did you know that if the air condition doesn't work on our H/C unit, neither does the heat? And now my temperatur INSIDE the Mansion is 67 degrees.

Mrs. Hillbillyh Mom is FREEZIKNG!

But look at the bright side. You've just gottne to read some of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's writing like The Pony and the #1 Son get every week. Because I don't bother to correct my typoing for them, either. Even though it's done on New Delly, and I don't have the Shiba excuse.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Two Degrees Of Desperation

Let the record show that at this moment, the Mansion air conditioner is not running. There will be more on that situation another time at another place. All you need to know is...

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is SWELTERING!

Yeah. I just had my driveway walk. I'd been expecting rain all day, but it was not forthcoming. I guess the TV meteorologists got tired of hyping up teachers' hopes for snow days, and now sensationalize a slight chance of sprinkles so that Mrs. HM can rearrange her daily walk.

Anyhoo...we keep the thermostat set on 73 lately. This morning when I got up, it was 72 in the house. Oh, what a chill! Lucky for me I had a hot shower. I went to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke, and when I walked by that thermostat a couple of times before going down to my dark basement lair, it showed that the ambient inside temperature was 73.

I was headed up the steps to get ready for walking when Farmer H arrived home. He was late today because he'd been to the GRAND OPENING of the new Goodwill Store over in Bill-Paying Town. Actually, it's the same store, just across town at a new location. Farmer H plopped down in the La-Z-Boy. Usually, he goes right outside to feed his animals. But since I was inside, I guess, he decided to linger. I went to the kitchen to get my poor dogs a bone partially microwave a freezer-burned pork steak for Jack and Juno's evening snack. When I walked back to the living room to put on my walking shoes, I noticed that the thermostat proclaimed my immediate atmosphere to be 74 degrees.

"Why is it 74 degrees in here? It's set to hold on 73."

"I don't know. I guess it just hasn't cooled off yet from when it kicked on."

I went on about my walk. Cut up the dogs' food. Gave Juno the half with the bone, because she has a bigger mouth. Farmer H was nowhere to be seen. I hollered to him, but there was no answer. I figured he was outside feeding. I took the plates out to the porch and sat down on the pew to keep the peace. Here came Farmer H out the door (with the doorknob that still doesn't work).

"The air conditioner is broke. It's not running. It's burning up."

"It seemed to be fine all day, until now. I didn't touch it. It seemed like always until I came up and it was 74."

There's more to that exchange, too, which may or may not be shared. The point is...

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is SWELTERING!

Yeah. It's 75 degrees inside the Mansion. I'm sure some of you cold-blooded people may have yours set even higher. But around here, 73 is comfortable, and 74 is barely tolerable. 75 is SWELTERING.

Never mind that I sit at my desk in my dark basement lair, running my electric heater. Now that I know there is no air conditioning, I am sure it is at least ten degrees hotter down here! Even though I am underground. In a concrete basement with no windows.

Funny how just KNOWING that the air conditioner is broken means that

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is SWELTERING!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Her Efforts Did Not Bear Fruit

Tuesday I headed over to Bill-Paying Town and snagged some Sister Schubert's rolls that I've been seeking for two weeks. Nary a one in sight for our Easter feast, but on Tuesday, I found TWO metal pans of them in the freezer case at the alternate Devil's Playground. I only bought one. Didn't want to be greedy, you know.

On the way home, I decided to treat myself to a Sonic Route 44 Cherry Diet Coke. It used to be my beverage of choice, you know, when there was a fully-operating Sonic on the way home from Newmentia. Some of my best Diet Cokes have come from Sonic over the years. There's one closer than Bill-Paying Town, but it doesn't have a drive-thru. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is all about the drive-thru. It's faster, you know, than sitting in a parking space waiting. I'm sure the policy is to move the drive-thru traffic first. Because those customers might just get fed up and drive off.

Also, I was just getting a soda. No need to pull in and wait for a waitress and then fork over a tip. Seriously. Do you know the price of a Sonic Route 44 Cherry Diet Coke these days? Let me answer for you: $2.59. That's highway robbery! I could get THREE 44 oz Diet Cokes at Orb K for that! No wonder I don't make Sonic my daily destination for procurement of my magical elixir. Even at the old Sonic on the way home to the Mansion, we hit the drive-thru at Happy Hour time. Half price! Which is about the same as regular price at a regular convenience store.

Anyhoo...I fixed SONIC, by cracky! I ordered my Route 44 Cherry Diet Coke with NO ICE! Uh huh. I know the best part of a Sonic soda is the ice. But not if you're going to sip it for 10 hours. You want to add your ice later. A little at a time.

Here's the deal. Sonic was backed up. It WAS around lunch time. So not a big deal to me. Even though I thought Sonic took its name because the service was supposed to be super-fast. Sweet Gummi Mary! Their waitresses don't even wear roller skates any more. They are not so much FAST as they are SLOW. But I like their food when I get it, which hasn't been for over a year, I think, the last being a breakfast burrito after I gave a blood sample at the doctor's office lab.

I didn't mind to wait until the line moved me to the pickup window. There were three cars ahead of me. I had a $20 bill to pay. I didn't even hear the price, because the girl cut off the speaker before she said how much. I knew it would be $2 and some change. But I NEEDED change. For a $20. So imagine my not-happiness when a woman came out the little side door with my soda. And another girl came out carrying an order for the truck behind me.

Here's the thing. I didn't ask them to do that. I was trapped in line anyway. I wasn't going anywhere, because I was pinned in. The woman gave me my soda and told me the amount. I handed her the $20. "Sorry. That's all I've got." She had on a black short apron and a metal change tubey thing. She counted out my bills, and chinged out my change. And stood there a minute. I assumed she was fishing for a tip. It could have been completely innocent customer service. But I assumed she was waiting for a tip.

"Did I give you your straw?"

"Yes. Thank you."

She fiddled a minute with her apron. Looked at the truck behind me. Then said, "You have a nice day."

"You too."

I was in the DRIVE-THRU, by cracky! I'm sorry. I was not giving a tip. I had just paid $2.59 for a SODA!

Later, I wished I'd had some Fruit Stripe Gum. So I could have given her a stick. Like Macaulay Culkin as Kevin gave Rob Schneider as the bellhop in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Well...HOW MUCH?

How much grief could a Copper grieve if a Copper could grieve grief?

Perhaps you remember our neighbor's dog, Copper. That's not his real name, and it has nothing to do with protecting the innocent. We don't know Copper's name, because we never hear his people calling him. Or even yelling at him. He's like a latchkey dog, on his own all the time. He thinks he lives here. He's always coming over. Watching. And most recently...

SPRAWLING ON THE PORCH!

That's right. Copper has taken over. I wouldn't be surprised if one day Juno comes out of her house for a treat of cat kibble, and when she goes back to bed, finds someone's taken her place. Huh. Paul Simon thought HE had problems with Cecilia up in his bedroom, but that can't hold a candle to the trouble Juno is going to have with Copper.

On Monday, I had a little issue with my 44 oz Diet Coke. That's a story for another place and time, but as a means of dealing with this little issue, I found it necessary to walk around the porch so I could get cell phone reception. Notice that I didn't say BETTER cell phone reception. That would imply that I had SOME cell phone reception to start with. Which I did not. Instead of telling me that my photo was in queue, my phone said in so many words: No service. Stored for later.

Wellllll...Phony Phone Phone Phone! You're gonna have to get up WAY earlier than 1:30 in the afternoon to fool Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! I just went around to the front porch to stand by the steps where I KNOW I have reception. So there!

On the way, though, I encountered Copper. Copper was flopped on the corner, where the side porch abuts the front porch. A corner where I had to turn left at 90 degrees. At first Copper just looked up at me like, "Bitch? Really?" Then he stood up and turned his head sideways like, "You're really going through with this?" Took a couple steps across the front porch. Looked back at me like, "REALLY?" Then Copper tucked his tail down between his back legs, though not curving it up under his belly like when I yell at him. He gallumped down the porch steps and went to stand near the lilac bush. Where he turned to keep an eye on me.


I stood at the top of the porch steps, holding my phone out over the drop-off (for even BETTER reception, you know) and waited a reasonable couple of minutes before I opened my GMail to see if the picture had sent to myself. I think Copper thought I was recording his trespassing behavior. He did NOT look happy. The NERVE of me to expect him to move out of his napping place on my own porch so I, the owner and occupant of the Mansion, could walk there.

Copper seems depressed. I halfway expect him to show up one day in a black collar with black toenail polish.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Amazing Momskin

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is no psychic. She may have an uncanny ability to pick up alternate forms of energy (we're not talkin' solar power or nuclear reactions here), to read people by their subconscious tics, or simply a knack for putting two and two together.

Bear with me. We are about to partake in an exercise of non-psychic proportions. Momnac the Magnificent is holding the sealed envelope to her forehead, and says..."FEET!" We'll get to the question sealed inside that envelope later.

Today I had the good fortune of buying a winning lottery ticket. Sure, that's old hat for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. The story will be on my not-so-secret blog tomorrow (Tuesday). Let it suffice that my sister the ex-mayor's wife, one of the first people I delight in informing of a lottery win, after of course congratulating me in her effervescent manner, asked about my last will and testament.

Okay. Maybe that's a little unfair to Sis. She had first said that I would be loaded (not in the DRINKING way) for our upcoming Casinopalooza 2. And I told her that's the plan, but first I have a lawyer bill to pay off, seeing as how Farmer H and I stopped by to finalize our will last Monday, and we got the bill today. Guess our lawyer is taking no chance on us kicking before he gets his cut! Anyhoo...Sis said that she and the ex-mayor needed to do the same thing, and how much did it cost, if I didn't mind her asking. I didn't mind. She's family. But y'all are not. So I'm not putting the price here. Except to say that it was slightly more than a pair of inserts from The Good Feet Store.

Funny that reference should come to mind as I was in the planning stages with today's tale. Because during lunch with my favorite gambling aunt today, SHE talked about shoe inserts, and how she had some made, and I said, "I hope it wasn't at The Good Feet Store!" and she said, "It WAS! And I took them back, and we got into it!"

Anyhoo...Sis also told me I should start a psychic service concerning winning lottery tickets. But you know that real psychics are rare, and folks who use your own clues to predict things in your life are much more common. So here's the question sealed inside Momnac the Magnificent's envelope:

"What is someone in your readership having trouble with/thinking about/smelling/propping up/fetishizing/walking on...accomplishing/attempting/performing/gaining notoriety from...planning/having thrown for them/being celebrated with...today or in the future or in the past?"

Yes. And that answer, remember, before we unsealed the question, was FEET. Or maybe FEAT. Or even FETE. Work with me, people!

I think I've pretty much got it covered. I can hang out my shingle. The Amazing Momskin. Now open for business.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Three Fingers Were Pointing Right Back At Him

Last Monday, Farmer H commanded me to be ready so I could travel the byways of Hillmomba with him on one of his four non-working days, and take care of family business.

We went to the main hub post office to mail The Pony's Easter Box. From there to our lawyer's office (yes, it IS disturbing to think that we have a need for a family lawyer) to sign and notarize our last wills and testaments. Let the record show that Farmer H parked on the opposite side of the street from the lawyer's office, and proceeded to jaywalk himself across. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, however, took her law-abiding knees the six steps to the crosswalk. I'm pretty sure Farmer H is trying to kill me. He KNOWS I can't walk fast and beat cars that have no obligation (save common human decency) to stop.

After that, we proceeded to the bank, to cash in a whole passel o' U.S. Savings Bonds that my mom left to me. We have been planning to do this off and on, keeping them in the safe until the mood struck us, and when our income was lowered after we both retired. Ahem. I said we BOTH retired. Farmer H convoluted that plan, but decreed that now was the time, by cracky! The time to cash in those bonds. It really makes me no nevermind. I just hate going through the whole rigamarole to get it done. According to the bank, it's not as easy as Farmer H assumed. We are working on the process now, entering serial numbers and calculating maturity. It took me 3 hours last night to do 60 of them. I'm not even halfway done. There's something to be said for stashing your riches in an old sock (perhaps putting that sock inside a mason jar) and burying it in the back yard.

Anyhoo...from the bank we went to have lunch. And then we headed home by way of the newest Waterside Mart so I could get a 44 oz Diet Coke. Theirs rank about 3rd in the competition for my palate, but are still good, and we were not headed into town proper for the gas station chicken store. I asked Farmer H if he wanted a soda. My treat. Because Waterside Mart has a giant jar of cherry flavoring that you can add to your magical elixir. Of course, Farmer H wants cherry in his Diet Mountain Dew...but there's no accounting for his tastes.

We both got a 44 oz beverage, and Farmer H added his cherry. I drove home (blissfully saved from his sweaving) and Farmer H sipped. Once there, he headed off to work in his shacks and the BARn, and I went to my dark basement lair.

Wednesday evening, I was sitting on the front porch pew after snacking the dogs when Farmer H came home. We chatted for a little while, then he headed over to feed his animals. Jack took off after him, always ready to help with any job that might arise, like chasing the guineas away from their feed, or barking at the turkey, or chewing on the Gator tires, or getting under Farmer H's feet.

I didn't have my glasses on, but it looked to me like Farmer H was EXERCISING! He kept bending over to touch his toes. Then he'd walk some more. Then bend over. THEN I saw that Farmer H had something white in his hands. And he yelled at Jack, "You're into EVERYTHING, stupid!" Jack wagged his tail agreeably.

I hollered to ask Farmer H what he had found. "It looks like part of a soda cup. That your dog tore up!"

"I don't know where he would have gotten a cup."

"It's from WATERSIDE MART." Said Farmer H accusatorily.

"I never bring my cups outside. Unless they're in the closed-up trash bag that I put straight in the dumpster with the lid."

Farmer H's body language professed that he did not believe me. Of course it had to be MY cup that Jack had shredded.

"Wait a minute! YOU had your soda from Waterside Mart two days ago! And you took it over that direction."

"No. It's not mine. Mine is still in the BARn." Professed Farmer H. Not having gone to the BARn yet at all.

"Then where else would he have gotten that cup? Nobody out here is going to drive over to Waterside Mart. Jack's never brought one of those cups home before, like if somebody left one out."

"I don't know. But it's not mine."

C'mon. You KNOW that was Farmer H's cup, right?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

No Place Cards Necessary

Easter was feasted here at the Mansion on Friday evening, due to neither of our boy young 'uns showing up for the holiday, and the #1 Son's request for leftovers.

Let the record show that Farmer H makes a big deal about special occasions such as this. "I'd rather just go out to eat than listen to you complain about making something."

Well. Seems to me that the person who spends upwards of 10 hours preparing the feast has earned a right to complain out loud to empty air in the kitchen while preparing. I don't see how it hurts Farmer H to sit in his La-Z-Boy watching NASCAR to hear epithets from Mrs. HM with her head in the oven or her arm plunged deep into FRIG II. Everything's not all about HIM, you know, even though he wishes it was, and tries to make it so.

Anyhoo...upon hearing that we were going to visit #1 and take him out to eat and deliver his leftovers on Saturday...Mrs. HM realized that she was in charge of preparing that Easter feast early, since it's hard to deliver leftovers the day before the feast. I figured Farmer H and I would have our Easter dinner on Friday. He doesn't work Fridays any more, you know. So I simply ASSUMED we would eat around 12:00 or 1:00. Like we usually do on a holiday feast.

Oh, no. That wasn't in Farmer H's plans. HE wanted to eat in the evening. You realize, right, the monkey-wrench storm this causes Mrs. HM? It interferes with the procurement and consumption of her magical elixir! Nobody wants to have their 44 oz Diet Coke sitting undrunk for hours while she is working up a sweat in the kitchen. A 44 oz Diet Coke is for relaxing. For slow sipping. Not to rehydrate during a home-catering job.

I worked up quite a sweat preparing the pre-meal preps. It didn't help that the kitchen was 75 degrees. Ever since we got that new thermostat, I can't make it work. At least I know how to change it from heat to air conditioning. But when I set it on HOLD at 74, it goes back to where it wants in a couple of hours. Like an airport rent-a-car agency, it seems to have certain issues. Like it can TAKE a HOLD, but it can't KEEP a HOLD. For some reason, the crazy technician who installed it put it on a program to run at 78 degrees! What in the Not-Heaven? It may be that hot where HE'S going to end up, but I don't want to live the rest of my days in a sweltering Mansion. It's almost unbearable at night. You'd think a man such as Farmer H, entrusted with millions of dollars of company machinery, and sent overseas to take care of such equipment, could figure out a simple thermostat. But NO. He says he doesn't understand it, and won't read the book. It even has a button that says MENU. I guess he thinks that is for ordering food. Like he orders me around the kitchen.

Sometimes, Farmer H reminds me of a big ol' dumb dog who comes running at feeding time. Except he's not that lovable. He'd been out running around all the livelong day. Yet the MOMENT I went to put the ham(s) in the oven, and sat down with 14 eggs to peel...there he was. He was like the Sidler, appearing out of nowhere! I need to get him some TicTacs to carry in his pocket. I'm pretty sure his faulty Spidey sense told him it was time to put the filling in the deviled eggs, and he showed up for a sample. He was even there too early to toss the shells off the back porch, because the shells were still on the eggs.

Anyhoo...Farmer H made a big production of how he'd just go back outside, since he always seems to bother me when I'm trying to cook. Uh huh. This time, he came in to toss two receipts (Lowe's and The Devil's Playground) on the kitchen counter where I was preparing. Because, you know, he can't write them in the checkbook himself. When he asked if there was anything he could do, I DID mention he could clean his junk off the table. He just looked at it, then left.

There's my mistake, you see. I had some silly notion that since I was taking hours and hours to plan and shop and prepare the feast, we would be eating it as we usually eat our feasts. I even asked Farmer H this morning, before I went to town for my ill-fated 44 oz Diet Coke, if he wanted me to pick up a 2-Liter bottle of some soda. That's what we usually do. Use the pretty dishes and the glass glasses and pour soda over ice. But Farmer H said, "No. If I want soda in a glass, I can pour it out of my can."

Imagine my surprise when, upon putting the rolls in the oven and notifying Farmer H at 4:55 that the feast was imminent, thinking he would come over and clear off the table...he showed up to stand behind me at the stove.

"We still need to clear off the table. And I'll get out the dishes."

"Oh. You want to eat at the table? I can eat at the table with you."

"Uh. You didn't plan to eat at the table? You're going to eat in your chair?"

"I thought I would. But I can eat at the table."

"No. That's fine. I'll take mine downstairs. But I already brought up my soda to add more Diet Coke to. So I'll have to carry it back down."

"I'll carry your soda down."

"Well, I'm getting this food out now. And then I'll have to put away the leftovers, or else come back up and do it after I eat. So it's going to be a minute before my soda is ready to go down. But you can go ahead and eat."

"Okay."

And with that, Farmer H grabbed a paper plate and started filling it. Ham and deviled eggs and potatoes/carrots/onions and 7-Layer Salad in its own bowl and rolls and butter and green bean bundles. While I put leftovers for #1 in small containers, and leftovers for us in bigger ones, and in the meantime set food aside on my own plate. While I was still stashing the stuff, Farmer H appeared again behind me, ready to take my soda downstairs.

"Okay...I was going to take a cup of ice, too. And a bowl of ice to pour right into my soda. And that little bottle of Diet Coke that I brought up to add to my cup..."

"All right. I'll take it."

"Well, I don't have the ice in the cup yet. Or the bowl..."

I gave up and took out my 44 oz cup and filled my yellow bubba cup with ice and handed them, with the little bottle of Diet Coke, to Farmer H to get rid of him. I'd put the bowl of ice on my tray when I had the leftovers under control, and take it down myself.

Let the record show that when I went to get some potatoes/carrots/onions from the pan I had warmed them in, a full 1/4 of the large roaster pan I cooked Thursday night...I could only find two halves of a potato (the little Yukon Golds) and a scrap.

Somehow, that was not how I pictured my Easter feast panning out.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Time-Altering Proposition

Whew! I am exhausted! The sweat has stopped dripping down my scalp and between my upper nether regions, and has now dried to a salty film on my face, and soaked into my foundation garment.

I've been cooking Easter dinner.

Yes, right now it's 11:20 on Thursday night, and I have finally reached a stopping point. No, I'm not such a bad cook that I need to start my Easter dinner four days ahead. We are having our Easter dinner on Friday. That's today! We're probably chowing down as you read this.

Even odder than Easter dinner on Friday is the fact that I am going to all this trouble when the only people at our holiday table will be Farmer H, and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom herself. The #1 Son has to be at his computer screen to do some business with Missouri Boys State on Sunday evening. He works there every summer, and sometimes gives presentations and works at fundraisers throughout the year. He's a giving-back-er. Since it would not be feasible for him to cut short his trip home for Easter dinner, we are meeting him on Saturday to take him out for a meal. Oh, and he made sure that I knew he was perfectly willing to help dispose of some Easter leftovers. Which he named in detail. How could I deny my boy his favorites?

The Pony is not making the trip home because OU already had their spring break (during which he did not come home, either, but we pressed on from Casinopalooza for a visit). If he drove home Saturday, it would take 9 hours. Then after eating dinner on Sunday, he would have to drive 9 hours back. He's not even getting leftovers. However...I mailed him an Easter basket. Make that an Easter box.

My back is in a spasm right now from sitting at my grandma's old kitchen table. I really miss my own kitchen table, which was cheaper, yet more solid, having four legs and not a pedestal, and better for pounding those boiled eggs to get them ready for peeling before deviling...but Farmer H decreed that we were putting Grandma's table in the kitchen, and moved mine to the BARn. Or gave it to some random dude at work. You never know.

Anyhoo...tonight I made Farmer H's chocolate (sugar free) pudding pie. And got the green bean bundles (wrapped in bacon, topped with brown sugar and butter) ready to put in the oven for 45 minutes tomorrow. I shredded romaine, diced green onions, thawed some peas, shredded sharp cheddar, diced bacon that I'd baked on top of yukon gold potatoes and baby carrots and onions with Hidden Valley Ranch powder sprinkled over, and put together my 7-Layer Salad.

Everything is pretty much under control, save for the baking of the ham(s) and green bean bundles and frozen rolls, and the deviling of the eggs.

In fact, by the time you read this, it'll be all over but the eatin'!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Like Jack Rolls In Dirt, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Rolling In...NOT Dirt

I know you're running out of polite comments when I talk about my scratchers. I don't set out in the mid-to-late morning to nab a winning lottery ticket to gloat about. Okay...well...I DO hope to win...but like a Best Actor candidate just happy to be nominated, I'm perfectly content with breaking even and getting my money back to invest again. The fun is in the playing! Okay...well...it IS a lot more fun to win $100 than the price of the ticket.


Here's Wednesday's win, on a $20 ticket. My Golden Tickets have stop paying! Can you believe that? It's not that I'm greedy or anything, but you'd think they could keep churning out those $100 winners for me!

I usually don't play the $20 tickets, because I have better luck on EVERYTHING else except the $1 and $2 denominations. But Tuesday, I won $50 on a $10 ticket, and decided to try a $20. I took that winner back to Orb K where I bought it. I don't always trade back in at the same place. But I had a particular ticket in mind, and that's where I imagined buying it.

This one is called 100 Times Lucky. It was released in time for St. Patrick's Day, and has a leprechaun on it. I've tried it a couple times, no luck. It's a giant oversize ticket, made to fold in half. I don't like those kind. They always have that style at Christmas, and I give it a try, then abandon it. Too awkward. But Tuesday night, contemplating my winnings, that's the ticket I was thinking of.

Wednesday I headed off to The Devil's Playground to get food for Easter dinner. I normally go straight to The Devil's door, with a brief stop to visit Mom at the cemetery. Since the workers are out there WORKING all the time now (the NERVE of them!), I figured I'd wait until the weekend for my visit. I also decided to get my ticket on the WAY to town instead of on the way back, when my knees are grumbly from The Devil's tour.

So...into Orb K I went, my $50 winner clutched in my gnarled arthritic hand. I bellied up to the counter and forked it over. WHAT'S THIS? I looked at the ticket display and didn't see my 100 TIMES LUCKY! It's hard to miss. Bright yellow, with green shamrocks. But it wasn't there! What a fine kettle of fish was stuck in THIS sticky wicket!

"That's fifty dollars."

"Do you...have...that big ticket? The 100 Times Lucky?"

"Uh huh."

"Okay. I want one of those, please. And a Frenzy." (The Frenzy is the $10 I won my $1000 on March 31.) "The rest in change."

Whew! Dodged THAT bullet! No way was I going to pick a different ticket. Even though a certain other $20 ticket seemed to glow at me. This was my mission today. The 100 Times Lucky.

Let the record show that my Frenzy ticket was also a winner. For $20.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!

Apparently Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's luck is transferable. HOS (Farmer H's Oldest Son) won $102 on the tickets I gave him for taking care of Farmer H's mama hen while he was in Sweden.


HOS won $2 on that little $2 Jumbo Bucks, and if you squint at the middle of his 50X The Cash, you can see that  he hit a 5X symbol over a $20 prize.

It behooves one to stay on the good side of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hillmomba Help Center 04/11/17

"Hillmomba Help Center. What is the nature of your emergency?"

"The Gas Station Chicken Store is out of chicken!!!"

"And this is an emergency because...?"

"I can't breathe! There's not enough chicken!"

"Calm down, ma'am. Let's talk this through. You say there IS chicken, but not enough?"

"Yes! There is a little pile of wings, and two breasts, and two thighs. THAT'S NOT ENOUGH!"

"Ma'am? I don't think you'll starve to death. There IS chicken available."

"But I wanted an 8-piece box! I was counting on it! For my lunch, and Farmer H's supper, and my lunch tomorrow, too! I had to go by the credit union, and the bank, getting my boys their monthly expense money, and by the time I got here, it was already 1:50, and now there's NOT ENOUGH CHICKEN!"

"Take a breath. Now. Is there a worker you can talk to?"

"There's that little Asian guy at the register. He's always nice to me. He tells me what numbers the scratch-off tickets are on if I ask him. But he's busy. He's got about five customers in line. I'm over at the chicken counter, and there's NOBODY HERE!"

"Hang on, ma'am. I'm sure the clerk told somebody."

"There's a buzzer under the counter. Like a panic button. They use that. But I don't think he did it. He's really busy."

"I'm sure somebody will help you as soon as they get time. Take deep breaths, ma'am."

"Whew! Okay. Here he comes. He's checking on it for me. Oh. It will be 10 minutes until the next batch of chicken is ready. Here. I'm going to talk to him..."

"No. I don't like wings. I won't substitute wings. Can you give me those four pieces, then? But if the price separately comes up to more than the cost of an 8-piece box, can you give it to me for the 8-piece price? Because I'm only getting four pieces, you know. Which would be part of that box anyway, except I'm missing the other four pieces."

"I can't do that. I'll get in trouble. Let's see..."(turns around to read menu on the wall)..."I can give you a 4-piece dinner. I'll put those pieces in. Because there are no legs. And since you wanted the 8-piece anyway, and we don't have it, I can give you those four pieces in the dinner. Plus you get two sides. And a roll! And it's a dollar cheaper than the 8-piece box."

"Okay. I'll do that. Thank you."

"Hello? Hello? Help Center? Yes. I think I'm going to be okay. I've got enough chicken for my lunch, and for my husband's supper. Plus he gets TWO SIDES and a ROLL! For a dollar cheaper! So it's all right now. Thank you."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

These Weirdos Are Making Me Crazy

That title is supposed to be read like Kramer's pretzel/thirsty line in his Woody Allen movie...in all the ways Jerry and Elaine and George suggested.

Saturday I was at Orb K filling a 44 oz cup with Diet Coke. Mrs. HM does not live by gas station chicken store alone, you know. She branches out. Has a Polar Pop every now and then. It's still Diet Coke. Still 44 ounces. But it's really, really cold when it comes out of the machine.

So there I was, topping off my cup. Sometimes I get a little too much. An accident. Uh huh. So I have to take a sip before I can fit the lid on there without it squeezing through the X on top. I don't put in a straw until I get back to the Mansion.

After that little sip, I put on the lid. I saw that somebody had left a straw paper on the counter in front of the fountain. So I threw that away. And somebody else had left a splat of cola on that counter. So I grabbed the towel they leave there on the edge, and wiped that up. Then, good deeds done, I turned to go pay for my magical elixir...and almost rammed right into an old weirdo!

Let the record show that this was Farmer Weirdo. No relation to Farmer H. That I KNOW OF. He was wearing overalls, was about as muscular as Fred Ziffel, and had on a bright yellow shirt under his overalls. Why he was playing the "I'm your shadow, you can't get rid of me, nyah, nyah, nyah" game that siblings torture each other with, I'll never know.

Who does that? Who stands so close behind you that you can't see them, not even out of your peripheral vision when you turn right to get a lid for your 44 oz Diet Coke Polar Pop, or left to pick up someone else's trash and wipe the counter? WHO DOES THAT? It's almost like he was dodging back and forth to stay unseen during my good deediness.

Ol' Fred did the same dang thing at the register. Like he was some kind of close-waiter.

These WEIRDOS are MAKING me CRAZY!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mrs. HM Can't Help Herself

No, this is not the story of how I need my boys to pull my oxygen tank through the casino, and clip my toenails. I can help myself well enough to take care of the activities of daily living. What I CAN'T help myself do is stop winning on scratch-off tickets.

On Saturday, it happened again.

I guess you could say it's a matter of SSDT. No. That's not a misspelling of the SSDD the characters in Stephen King's IT used to say all the time. In my case, the SSDT stands for Same Stuff, Different Ticket. Yes. I had another $100 winner. This was on a $10 ticket.

Do you think I picked up my phone to send a picture of it to my sister the ex-mayor's wife? I did NOT! Instead, I sent a picture to the #1 Son, and to The Pony. So they can rest assured that I am not squandering their future inheritance (hopefully WAY in the future), but instead I'm keeping myself in play money. Which is not to say I'm turning an overall profit. Wouldn't THAT be nice! No, I'm getting enough wins to continue playing comfortably. Can't possibly win big if you don't play, you know!

Anyhoo...Saturday evening I was sitting on the front porch pew snacking the dogs, and I sent Sis a text congratulating the ex-mayor on his recent election victory in a different office. Sis returned the ex-mayor's thanks, and furthermore professed that if I wanted to send him a winning lottery ticket, she was sure he would accept it.

SHE BROUGHT IT UP!

Of course I had to fire off that picture to her. But with my cell phone reception, it was more like trying to light a smoldering pile of wet leaves using a shoestring and a drinking straw to spin a popsicle stick on sodden cardboard, and send that picture piecemeal by smoke signal.

Anyhoo...you can imagine Sis's great joy to see that my winning streak continues. I think her exact words were: "The ex-mayor says this winning all the time is beginning to be a little fishy."

Apparently, Sis shares the news of my good fortune with her daughter, Niecey. I'm sure she would never make up a name for me and poke fun at me on a supersecret blog.

Sunday afternoon, I got a call on my cell phone.

"Aunt Hillbilly Mom?"

"Yes."

"It's Niecy."

"So my screen tells me."

"Mom has been telling me about how you win on these lottery tickets. So I decided that once a week, I'm going to buy one. Like the one you won a thousand dollars on. I got one last week, and didn't win anything. Today, I got another one, and I scratched it off, and 10 numbers matched the winning numbers! I uncovered the amounts, and they were all five dollars. I won $50 on my $10 ticket!"

I was thrilled for Niecey. She went on that she had gone back inside to cash it in, and had put away $40, and bought one more ticket. Which didn't win. She was asking me if I would have done that. Hmm...probably not. Though when I used to win $1000 when the boys were younger, and I let them scratch, all three of those wins were next to a ticket with a minimum win. I don't buy back-to-back tickets now, so I don't know if they are still like that. I see plenty of people scratch them at the counter, and get another one right then. So they must have had some success like that.

Anyhoo...it looks like our luck has been passed to the next generation.
Sis must be a carrier.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Mailwoman Doesn't Know She Escaped A Rumble

Last week, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was ready to rumble! Ready to draw a line in the sand on the blacktop where the road peen took several months to fade away in the gravel where the road to her Mansion meets the county road down by EmBee's mailbox condo. The purpose of that line being a confrontation with the mail lady.

I suppose it's still a mail lady. The last two times I've come up behind the SUV with the US MAIL magnet on the back, there has been a woman driving it. I don't know if we've had anything missing in a while, because...well...if it's not there, you don't miss it. As far as I know, all of my bills have been paid. But I never received my ID number (that I had to wait 10-15 calendar days for) to get access to my tax return transcript online. Right now, it's been about 52 days. I'm pretty sure I'm never going to see that ID number. In fact, I ordered the tax transcript itself by mail, and it arrived in 14 days.

Anyhoo...things were going okay except for the tax thingy. But then, during the week that Farmer H was in Sweden, of course, EmBee sustained a debilitating injury. The big cylindrical magnet that held her trap shut was dislodged. Severed, actually. I knew that, because EmBee's door was all stove in, and the magnet was laying inside under the mail. Not shoved all the way to the back like it was an accident, mind you, and got shoved there. But laying under the mail. As if it had been put there to make a statement. "Oh, yeah. Here's your big magnet. I don't appreciate trying to stuff mail around it every day." That's what I imagine the statement to be.

With Farmer H in Sweden, chances of EmBee's latching system being repaired were about as good as the chances of a piece of gas station chicken staying out of Mrs. HM's gullet. I left the magnet inside, but shoved to the back, so it would be there when Farmer H returned. Actually, that first day, I stuck it back up by the latch where it belonged. So I was kind of on the roof of EmBee's mouth. But the next day it was under the mail again, so I jammed it way back for safekeeping. SAFEkeeping.

I told Farmer H on our way home from the lottery cashing office and casino on Monday. He said he'd get it fixed, but since he returned back to work on Tuesday, I figured it might take until the next weekend.

This is what I found on Thursday.


There was the magnet, perched on top of EmBee's head like a tiny hat on Damon Wayans as his Men on Film character on In Living Color! Like the jaunty top hat on the Singing Dancing Frog! Right there in the open, for any ne'er-do-well driving by to snatch and abscond with! I haven't been this mad since the time the mailman delivered a package from Amazon (containing two tubes of acne gel) and left it on top of the mailbox condo (HE SAID) and it was gone two hours later when I stopped by on my way home from school to get the mail.

I was incensed! What gave that mailwoman the right to tamper with the (broken) parts of our mailbox? She needed in the very least a stern talking-to. Since Mrs. HM is one to avoid confrontation, the line in the gravel was only an imagined scenario. But you can bet I tattled to Farmer H about it.

"And I found that magnet ON TOP OF THE MAILBOX! I don't know why that mailwoman thinks she can do whatever she wants with it. It's going to disappear, and then the door won't stay shut, and the mailbox will fill up with water then it rains."  I figured in the very least, Farmer H might just complain to the dead mouse smelling post office about it on one of his two extra days off now.

"Oh. I think I put the magnet up there, to remind myself to fix it."

Nevermind.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

I Wonder If He Would Answer To O-Cel-O

Even though his giver-awayers profess that Puppy Jack is the offspring of a red heeler father and a dachshund mother...I think he may have a different component in his genetic makeup.

I think Jack is part sponge.

Yesterday, after my sixth lap of the driveway, while Jack and Juno were waiting for me to walk three times around the carport to slow down (we don't have those stretchy cables like they use to catch jets on the aircraft carriers, nor the parachutes used on funny cars at the drag strip), Jack jumped over the side and ran to the fake fish pond to take a dip.

Let the record show that I heard Jack shaking off the water. He came back to the porch and shook again, spraying the boards. He left footprints on the sidewalk. He rubbed himself against the side of the Mansion, then rolled on the porch. Twice. Then shook again, nearly slapping himself silly with his tiny fold-over ears.


Here's a picture of wet Jack and dry Juno from a week ago, when he'd been creek swimming and puddle splashing.

I met the dogs around front with their snack...part of the tortilla from my Chicken Caesar Wrap at lunch, and a pack of that bacon that needs no refrigeration, with an expiration date of June 19, 2016. Let the record further show that the unrefrigeratable bacon had been in FRIG II. It still looked fine. But I'm not Farmer H, and to further protect him from himself, I figured it was about time to get rid of it.

Jack ate his snack, standing in the evening sun on the front porch. He had quit leaving wet footprints. He smelled like a fish pond, as Farmer H pointed out when he joined me. That must have offended Jack, because he ran off the porch and across the yard to the Greater Shackytown Area, where he sniffed around the chicken-feeding area for squirrel scent, then stuck his head under the Little Barbershop of Horrors where he'd holed up when we were afraid he was dying. He came back to the porch and sniffed at the tan-striped cat without making a humping attempt. Then he stood on his hind legs between my feet, his front paws on my thigh, for petting.

It was a short petting session, because Jack is a dirty smelly boy. I didn't want to smell like fish pond. But as Jack was standing upright, water began to pour from his belly fur! What in the Not-Heaven? It's like the water had a way to leak out of his undercoat when the fur was allowing a channel pointed down toward the ground. It actually made a puddle. No, Jack was NOT peeing.

When Jack got down, he walked over by Farmer H's feet and sat down to lick at his sides and belly. It sounded like he was getting a drink from a bowl of water!

I wanted to pick him up and twist him like a washcloth to see if I could squeeze more water out of him!

No wonder Jack is always so hot and wants to swim, with that permanent undercoat insulating him!



Friday, April 7, 2017

You Can Take The Teacher Out Of The Writing But You Can't Take The Writing Out Of The Teacher

Now that I am (ahem) RETIRED...I probably don't need this superfluous blog any more. No tales to tell out of school, because I'm not IN school to gather incidents and accidents, hints and allegations. Even though I'm soft in the middle, the rest of my life isn't hard. You probably don't find this stuff amusing any more. (And the SONG, Blog Buddy Sioux?)

I don't think I'll be able to win $1000 every week and stretch my scratch-off exploits over seven days worth of stories. But since I DID win $1000 LAST week...here's one for you.

Monday Farmer H drove me to the city to the lottery office. It was sort of like a fortress, located in an industrial park kind of area. I don't know what I expected. Maybe a field full of unicorns out front. Fluffy kittens frolicking on the sidewalk. A sunken waiting area with green shag carpet and those hanging egg-shaped basket chairs. A drinking fountain dispensing milk and honey. But no.

There was a rib-high counter with glass or plastic to the ceiling that I assume was bulletproof, with two small arch-shaped openings for sliding through winning tickets/driver's licenses, and receiving checks. Four chairs for the waitees, two on one side of the giant scratch-off ticket dispensing machine, and two on the other. An L-shaped counter for filling out forms while standing. And electronic picture-playing screens showing winners holding up their BIG winning tickets. Farmer H was mesmerized by them like a cat watching a laser pointer. Except he exhibited more self-control.

Only two cars were in the parking lot when we arrived, but then a truck pulled up a couple spaces over. We beat that guy inside. I was greeted through the flattened mouse-hole arch in the bulletproof divider. Asked my business. Asked for my driver's license. Given a form to fill out front and back.

The other guy stepped up to the counter while I was filling out my info down at the L-shaped shelf. He had won $2000! Show-off! A young lady walked in and pushed her ticket through. Got the paperwork and was done before me. A bit older woman did the same. They must be very lucky and win a lot, or very gifted in the fill-out skills.

When I went back to turn in my form, the young guy who had waited on me was getting the check ready for one of the speedy gals. So I pushed my form to the lady working at the other window. Both employees were quite friendly and explained the tax withholding and the form W-2G that I must hold onto until next tax season, because the state of Missouri will NOT be mailing me one. When the lady called me back to pick up my check, she held up my form and said

"Did YOU write this?"

"Yes. I just now filled it out..."

I thought there might be some confusion. Some technical problem with getting my money. When Farmer H and I walked in, the dude had asked if the ticket belonged to both of us. Well! I straitened him out forthwith! It was MINE. All mine!

"Because this writing is incredible! It's like typing! So neat."

"Well...I'm a retired teacher."

Yep. You can't take the writing out of the teacher.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Can You Tell Me How To Get...

Last week, on the very day that Farmer H left on a jet plane to foist himself upon the unknowing Swedish public...Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had an unsettling encounter. Which party was the most unsettled is up for debate.

Farmer H left around 10:00 a.m. to head for the airport. I left shortly after him, to make my daily 44 oz Diet Coke run. I reveled in my Farmer-H-less freedom, seven days stretched out ahead like a lifetime of relaxation, without the master of the house/keeper of the inn to answer to. Around 4:30, I went upstairs to enjoy my evening driveway walk, then give the dogs a snack on the front porch, then feed and water the animals.

It was one of those too-hot too-soon days. Mid-seventies. I walked in my standard walking uniform. That being sweatpants (the new ones without the hole in the hip), a yellow-and-white pin-striped big (now really big) shirt with my cell phone stuffed in the front pocket, and my blue-and-white cap to hold my lovely lady mullet out of my face when the wind tried to flagellate my cheeks with it. The dogs (and Copper) romped in the front field as I made my six trips up the driveway.

On the third one, having had a chance to break a sweat, flush my face, and make my right nostril drip from the top of its opening...I heard a car. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not like to hear a car when she's walking. She is a woman, by cracky, out for her exercise. Not some docile cow grazing in a field, unaware of people gazing at her. Sometimes, I even turn around halfway up the driveway, and then double back once the car has passed. I'm not a waver to possible neighbors unless I'm behind the wheel of T-Hoe. Walking time is my time. I don't want to be noticed.

I kept my head down, which I do anyway, because the sun comes almost straight into my eyes at that low angle of the evening. I glimpsed a smallish white sedan coming up the road in front of the BARn field. I was almost to the end of the driveway, where I turn around. They'd already seen me. I kept going.

That car did not!

It rolled across the intersection of the Mansion driveway and the gravel road. Past our metal pole with our address hanging from a chain.

AND STOPPED!

NO! NO! NO! This wasn't supposed to happen! Here I was, an old (sweaty) lady with bad knees, out for her evening hobble, and now this car of strangers was stopping.

AND BACKING UP!

There were three guys in the car. One, in a cap not dissimilar to mine, put his head out the window, leaning over his elbow.

"Can you tell us how to get to #### [REDACTED]?"

"Go back the way you came. At the bottom of the hill, turn left. That road is [REDACTED]."

Then that car started backing up. I turned and headed down my own driveway, towards the Mansion, hoping they weren't following me. You never know what goes on out here. I felt perfectly safe until that time the FBI found the headless body in the septic tank about a half-mile up that gravel road, on past the Mansion.

I don't know how those three guys in the white car turned around. I don't THINK they backed all the way down the gravel road. Maybe they pulled into the horsey crazy-poodle neighbor's driveway. All I know is that my peace was disturbed by this unusual incident. I kept thinking about Michael Myers, escaped from the mental hospital prison in the original Halloween, driving that station wagon he stole from the guy he killed, backing up to unnerve Jamie Lee Curtis's smart-ass friend who hollered, "Hey, jerk! Speed kills!"

Still, I couldn't help lamenting that they did not ask me how to get to Carnegie Hall.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Whose Bright Idea Was THIS?

Farmer H is oft-maligned here at the Hillbilly Mansion. It's not that I have a vendetta against him. It's just that his actions so perfectly lend themselves to malignment.

Take his purchase at Goodwill on Monday. Oh, there's more to the story of THAT trip. But not today. Farmer H found some LIGHTS at Goodwill. LED lights, he says, that will burn a long time, that he won't have to change in awkward areas of the Mansion when he's old(er) and infirm(er). In this bargain, he got lights for our master bathroom. In fact, he went BACK to Goodwill Tuesday after work, to get MORE of these lights. He put in a few Monday evening. And Tuesday evening, he finished replacing them ALL.


The SUN itself would need to wear sunglasses while getting ready in our master bathroom. To protect itself from the light of 10,000 suns emanating from over the sink. Sweet Gummi Mary! I can only imagine what damage will be done to my eyes every morning, behind their protective eyelids, as I slumber under the high-beam of those LED lights reflected off the decorative mirror shelf on the bedroom wall, and directly into the windows to my soul. It won't be LASIK surgery. It will be LASER surgery. I'll probably close my eyes but there will be holes burned through the eyelids so that you can always see the irises.

Woe is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. What hath Goodwill wrought?
_________________________________________________________________________

Let the record show that Farmer H's decorating choices should not come as a surprise.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sometimes, It's A Matter Of...Like Hillbilly Mom, Like #1 Son

Yes, I got all specific in the title. Had I merely put "Like Mother, Like Son," you might have assumed I was going to talk about something such as the relative indifference The Pony and I both have towards people. As in not really caring if we help them or not. Nothing personal towards those people. We just can't assume responsibility for the safety, security, or happiness of anyone other than ourselves. I don't know if that's an Aquarius thing or not. But Farmer H and the #1 Son (Sagittarians) are both people persons. Outgoing. Remembering their names. Making them feel as if they matter. Meh. Good for Farmer H and #1.

However...#1 is MY son, too! I did his taxes and Turboed them into the innernets Sunday night. I made copies for #1. I put together the affidavit and documents he needs to send in every year due to his identity being stolen his first year of college. Can you believe it? Somebody filed a 1040 using #1's info! And he hadn't even had a job at that time.

Anyhoo...I had the fraud documents ready to go, in their own envelope, already addressed and stamped. All #1 had to do was sign and date the bottom of the first page, lick the flap, and put it in the mail. I think an almost-graduated computer engineer can do that without a major mishap. I stuffed that in a bigger envelope with 21 pages (believe me, I don't think it was worth it, either, to claim the loss of $0.04 in dividends, but a 1099-DIV is nothing to sneeze at) of completed IRS forms, so he would have a copy of his tax return.

Monday morning, I sent #1 a text:

"I am mailing you a big envelope with a copy of your tax return, and a smaller envelope that you have to sign the first page and mail to the IRS fraud division. You are getting back [REDACTED] for a federal refund, and [REDACTED] from Missouri."

"OKAY!"

"Make sure you put the date as April 2 when you sign."

"I thought the tax deadline was like, the 15th."

Oh, my dear son #1! How familiar he is with my penchant for putting things off! Of course, it doesn't help when he calls the night before the FAFSA is due, to make sure I get right on it lest his scholarship monies might be delayed. This year I didn't really have that excuse, what with FAFSA accepting info from the 2015 tax return, and allowing updates as early as September. I still did it the week before #1's college deadline of February 1st.

A couple minutes after his 15th text, #1 sent another:

"Oh nevermind, I get it now."

"Yeah. It is. But I e-filed your taxes on April 2. So it wouldn't hurt to use that same date."

I didn't have the heart to tell him that THIS YEAR, the tax deadline is April 18th!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Farmer H Is Not Like A Bus...There Won't Be Another One Of Him Come Along In 20 Minutes

Well, leave it to Farmer H to make it look like I misspoke! We drove to the city today to cash in my big winner at the lottery office. Let the record show that it was not a selfless move on Farmer H's part.

I got up at the crack of 8:45 when the phone rang. We won't go into what that call was today. Let it suffice to say that the call was not for me, nor Farmer H. And that he was out of the Mansion, roaming the grounds, or in town eating a major breakfast at the grocery store deli. He returned as I was taking my morning thyroid pill, putting together a package of tax forms to mail to the #1 Son.

"If you want to...we can take your ticket today."

"Well, that would have been nice to know last night. I'm getting these forms ready to send #1, and I have to get them to the post office. He has to sign one and send it in. I've got the whole thing addressed and stamped for him."

"I just thought you wanted to go today."

"Well, I did. But when you said we were going Friday, I didn't take my ibuprofen last night, because I'm supposed to skip it every third day, and now if we go, and you take me by the casino on the way home like we planned, my knees will hurt a lot. AND it's already 9:00, and I thought we were going to leave at 8:30 on the day we go, to have more time, and I still have to take a shower and get this to the post office."

"Well...as long as you're home by noon, we should be good."

"Yeah. Okay. I'll just have less casino time, and sore knees. If you'd told me last night, I could have taken the ibuprofen, and gotten up earlier. It's because there's rain today, right, and Friday is supposed to be clear?"

"Yeah."

Too bad Farmer H can't look ahead 10 days in the forecast like a teacher normal person would do.

Let the record show that we left home at 11:10, got my check for the ticket, went to the casino for a burger and gambling, and just got home at 6:30. It's probably a good thing I didn't stay longer.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Has Trouble Bringing Home The Bacon

It's SO hard to make money these days...

My big scratch-off winner is resting comfortably atop the Puffs With Lotion box on my kitchen counter. Farmer H suggested that we put it in (one of) the (two) safe(s) in his workshop, on the other side of the wall in my dark basement lair. However...I reminded him that I do not have the combination to either of the safes.

In the past, the three times I've won $1000 before, going back many years, I've mailed the ticket to MoLottery headquarters, and received my check by mail. Well. With all the problems we've had with the mail over the past couple of years, I do not feel at all comfortable doing that. There's a lottery office in St. Louis. However...I don't like highway driving. It's not like I can't do it. I used to work up there, you know. But I might just be driving along and all of a sudden have an inkling that I was in danger of imminent death. So you really don't want me in the lane next to you now.

Can you believe that Farmer H, fresh back from Sweden, has no plans to take me to the lottery office tomorrow? What's up with THAT? I'm sure that if he was scheduled to work Mondays, like before he was 40% retired, he would JUMP at the chance to miss a day and drive me. Not so these days. I guess he feels the need to sit on his Gator and watch the grass (that he cut today) grow.

Farmer H DID say he would take me on Friday. His next day off. According to my estranged BFF Google, it takes 64 minutes from Hillmomba to the MoLottery office. I'm planning to strong-arm a casino visit out of Farmer H that same day. I'm sure he needs a really good burger for lunch. You know. After living on Swedish fish and Swedish meatballs for the past week.

I don't think anybody offered to make him Sloppy Olofs.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

It's All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses A Beak

A couple weeks ago, I had to get rid of some bad eggs. I can't verify that they were actually rotten, but they were a couple months past the USE date, and we've had some go rotten rather quickly since the holidays. I set out the carton with about 6 eggs remaining, and told Farmer H, "Those eggs can be thrown off the porch."

If The Pony was here, he would have been all over the egg-throwing task. He likes to hit trees from the back porch deck, and watch the eggs run down. Farmer H is a horse of a different color.

"Just put them on the dogs' food. That's what I do."

"First of all, I told you because I expect YOU to take care of it. Not me. They're sitting right there by your bananas. You come in and out that door all the time. Just pick them up, step back out, and toss them."

"I'll put it on the dogs' food in the morning when I feed them."

"The dogs can run out in the back yard and lick them up if you throw them, too."

"I'll put it on their food."

Sometimes, Farmer H just wants to feel like he's in control, I guess. This was a loseable battle, so I didn't insist.

While Farmer H has been gone to Sweden for work, I have been feeding the animals. It starts in the morning with Jack and Juno's pan of dogfood on the back porch by the laundry room door. They each have a pan, and there's a third one from when we had Grizzly, Poor Dumb Ann, and Juno. The pans have to be separated, because Juno will growl and Jack won't eat. So his pan is waaaay down the porch, past the french doors to our bedroom.

Here is what I found on Sunday morning when I went out to feed them. I moved it up on the porch rail, and left it there.


Looks like Jack prefers his eggs separate from his dogfood. His pan was pretty much untouched. Since I have moved it, the cemented kibble has been reduced almost by half, by the assorted feathered friends who feast here, and leave their white-and-black calling cards on the rail. I hope nobody lost a beak. I think trying to eat this cemented conglomerate would involve force akin to crashing into a sliding glass door.

I tried to dump out that pan the first day. Banged it on the porch rail. That stuff wasn't comin' out! I got the spare pan and moved it down to Jack's area. When he heard the food spill in, that rat-tat-tat on metal, he came running. And started devouring his kibble with gusto.

 Now I know why people say that their car's paint job was ruined by kids who threw eggs at Halloween.