Thursday, August 17, 2017

Some Days I'm The Weirdo-Moth Drawn To Another's Magnet-Flame

Today as I came out of the gas station chicken store, virtually skipping with glee, carrying my 44 oz Diet Coke and two scratch-off tickets, my reverie was interrupted by a BARK!

My left eye's peripheral vision picked up a little doggie hanging out the window of a pickup truck parked one space over. It was not a yappy bark. Not malicious. Not continuous. Just a BARK BARK that said he meant business, that I would notice him, and he was waiting. After I opened my door and set down my magical elixir, I turned to look. I was going to say, "Hi, doggie." Because I'm the friendly sort, you know, if people and animals mind their manners.

Well! A lady was sitting in the passenger seat of the truck, with Doggie on her lap. I was startled, because I had not sensed a human in the cab. I guess maybe her floral sleeveless housedress had helped camouflage her. She looked like Fred Ziffel's wife, only younger.

And hanging out the window was JACK'S FACE! Okay, not the brown-and-white Australian Cattle Dog markings of my precious Jack. But other than that, it was his face! The same expression, the same shape, the same tiny mouth and bright eyes.
 

"What kind of dog is that?"

"He's ah weeener dawwg."

This little dog had a black head, white body, and spots on his underbelly that I assumed also covered the rest of him.

"I've never seen one like that! I have a half-weiner, half heeler. He has spots."

"This one's pure. He's what they call a piebald."

"Well, he's cute."

Fred came out and got in the driver's seat, so I didn't continue the discussion. But that little dog was pretty as a...as a...speckled pup!

Yeah. Today, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was the weirdo asking too many questions. Some days you're the weirdo, some days you're the magnet.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It Kind Of Makes Me Long For The Things That Go BUMP In The Night

You may recall that the Mansion has experienced some unexplained thumping lately. And that I heard Farmer H clear his throat in the basement workshop down under the master bedroom where I was fully awake...over 20 minutes after Farmer H had left the Mansion to take neighbor Tommy to town last Friday.

On Saturday, I was awakened by someone saying my name. Just my first name. In a normal tone, normal volume. I was laying on my left side, as I like to sleep, facing the wall that hosts the fake fireplace with that battery-operated candle on the mantel that was mysteriously glowing one early morning as I went to bed.

"Hillbilly."

That was all. Just my first name. Normal tone, normal volume. I couldn't discern if it was a man or woman saying my name. It was not a voice I recognized. Nothing frantic like a warning, or spooky to scare me, or loud to wake me. Just a voice, over my right shoulder, as if standing at the other side of the bed, saying my name. Once. I can't really describe it. The tone was pretty nondescript. Human. From the height of where someone's head would be if they were standing. Not laying in the bed, not sitting down, not in the bathroom or living room.

Some really weird things happen around here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Debater, Dog Shaver, Not A Credit Card Activator

Sunday, Farmer H trimmed most of the dusty matted tufts off my Sweet, Sweet Juno's back, and a large wad of green-burred fur off her chest.


His dogside manner probably precludes him from a career as a dog groomer, but his work is technically proficient. He also excels at debating. If winning is not a requisite outcome.

Also that evening, as I prepared his requested spaghetti supper, I told him that his new debit card needed to be activated. His expires at the end of the month, and we got a new one in the mail.

"I have my hands in the dishwater while I'm waiting on your food to cook. Do you want to call in this card and activate it before we forget?"

[Yes. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom washes dishes BEFORE supper, and then rinses the supper dishes and washes them the next day. Let ye who have dishwasher appliances not judge.]

"Oh. You want ME to do it?"

"Well, it can't be that hard. Just call in from our home phone, and push a couple of numbers."

"Nah. I'm going to the pharmacy tomorrow. I'll just use it there."

"But it won't be activated."

"I'll activate it there."

"Did you even read the instructions? I saw that the paper was unfolded, so I know you looked at it. Besides, you even asked me about it."

"Yeah. It says you can call it in or use it to activate it."

"You can do it online, call it in, or use it AT THE BANK FACILITY ATM."

"I'm pretty sure that I can activate it when I use it."

"Um...NO. That's why they call it ACTIVATING the card. Not just getting a new card and using it."

"As long as I use my PIN number, that activates it."

"Here. I'll do it when I go downstairs!"

"Whatever."

I'm pretty sure I'm the one who got outsmarted there.

So...I activated Farmer H's new debit card, and stuck the card back on the paper, and wrote beside it (no paper plate notes for Mrs. HM!):

"Your card is activated. HERE is your PIN."

Yes. I know that you should never write down a PIN. But I also know Farmer H. Even though he uses his debit card all the time, the fact that he had a NEW one would throw him off. I'd mentioned an OLD PIN when asking him about activating it. I have his written down in a safe place, just in case. Yet Farmer H agreed that evening that the OLD PIN is what it would be under. Nope. The automated bank nearly cut me off. So I grabbed my trusty note, and used the actual PIN that Farmer H uses now.

You know what happened, right? Farmer H got home from the pharmacy, and said his card didn't work.

"I thought you said you activated it."

"I left you a NOTE that I activated it."

"Yeah, you know what I mean. But the PIN didn't work."

"Did you get your medicine?"

"Yeah. She just ran it like a credit card."

"What PIN did you use?"

"I used [OLD PIN]."

"No, I WROTE THE PIN ON THE NOTE THAT SAID I ACTIVATED IT! RIGHT ON THE PAPER THE CARD WAS STUCK ON."

"Oh. I guess I didn't read it."

"What PIN do you always use?"

"[CURRENT PIN]."

"There you go. It will work. That's how I activated it."

I really could outsmart Farmer H if I wanted to.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Man Who Could Not Take A Hint

It's no secret that Farmer H is not very adept at pickin' up what I'm layin' down.

Last night, as I came upstairs to make him the spaghetti he requested for his supper, I noticed that the light through the windows that border the front door was gloomy. Normally at this time, a ray shoots through and blinds me as I climb the steps. Like a ray through the top of that Indiana Jones staff.

"Oh, is it raining? I didn't see it in the forecast."

"--"

"Is it raining? Looks cloudy."

"Huh? What?"

"For the third time, is it raining?"

"I don't know. I think maybe I dozed off for a minute."

"Why is it freezing up here?"

"I turned on the ceiling fan."

"Yeah. And I see that you have the thermostat down to 73 already. TEN hours early!"

"I was hot."

"Oh, I can see how you would be...sitting there in the recliner doing absolutely nothing. While I'm in the kitchen toiling over a hot stove frying hamburger and boiling noodles."

"Yeah, yeah. I never do nothing."

"I'm glad you see that now."

I went on to the kitchen to get the Master of the Mansion's dinner going. Three cans of mushrooms, people! That's what he likes in his sauce. I'm going to start buying the bigger cans.

"Huh. Look at that wastebasket!"

Let the record show that I had pulled the tall kitchen wastebasket out from under the opening in the counter that was left for a dishwasher. The bag had been full when I got up. Was still full when I left for town. Full when I got back. And now I saw that, where I had pulled the drawstring ties tighter, to keep Jenga-ed stuff from falling off the top of the heap, that Farmer H had added two Diet Mountain Dew bottles, and a plastic individual container from ice cream. Not only had he NOT gotten the visual hint to take out the dadgum trash...he had ADDED TO IT!

Well. Two can play that game. And Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can play it like a pro. I added the plastic container from my lunch pinwheels, and the three mushroom cans, and the spaghetti sauce can, and the squeeze bottle of minced garlic that I used up. I had to tighten the drawstrings a little more. I had that black Hefty bag poofed up over the top of the wastebasket like a pan full of Jiffy Pop ready to take off the burner.

While I was making his supper, Farmer H got up to look out the front door. "It's not raining."

"So...whoever takes out the trash won't get wet."

Can you believe that Farmer H walked right back to the La-Z-Boy and reclined?
I'm sure you can.

"It'll be done in about four minutes. Do you want to add your own sauce? Since you always say you don't want so much sauce. After you're finished eating."

"No. You do it okay."

"All you have to do is dip it from the pan onto the bowl."

"I don't like as much sauce as you think I like."

"Then come make your own!"

Sweet Gummi Mary! It's not like I expected him to find the pans, and fry the hamburger, and soak up the grease with bread for the dogs, and find the can opener to release the mushrooms and sauce, and open up the spaghetti box, and stand over the watched pot until it boiled, and add the noodles. I even had them drained and in a bowl. All he had to do was add sauce to his liking.

Don't even get me started on Farmer H's new debit card that arrived in the mail.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Mid-Morning Hillbilly Family Vignette

My Sweet, Sweet Juno has not been a happy camper lately. She isolates herself in her dog house on the back porch by the kitchen door. I know it's not so she can catch me on my way out, to scam some extra cat kibble as I'm leaving, and not just when I get home. No dog should spend her days laying in a house. Even if it's a really nice house, insulated, with a shingle roof, that sits up against the house, three feet from the kitchen door so she can smell the tantalizing aroma of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's cooking.

Juno doesn't like Copper, the neighbor dog, so she avoids him. Unless Farmer H fires up the Gator, and then she joins in barking and acting the fool, and runs along with Copper and Jack like satellites orbiting Farmer H. Jack and Copper are always up to something, and not always in the yard. But I guess Juno thinks they are.

When it's time for the evening snack, even if I chose to walk late in the day, Juno must be summoned from her sturdy shingled lair. She runs to it as soon as I start up the steps after walking. Some nights, it's not enough to call, "Juno...come get your snack." Nope. Just like Jack magically appears when I open the door with a paper plate in hand, Juno must be scolded to come get her rations. They are dependable as clockwork.

Jack prances along underfoot, sniffing, arrives at the designated spot in front of the porch pew, and dances on his hind legs. I usually have a mini-snack for Copper, which I lay on the pew until the dogs who actually LIVE HERE are given their snack. Jack knows not to go for it. He waits for me to set down his plate in front of him. All the while, I've been scolding Juno. "Juno! Come get your snack! Juno! Come on! Copper's gonna get yours. Juno! Snack time! JUNO! GET OUT HERE!" Then I hear her galumphing around the porch. She runs to Jack's plate as he eats. He knows better than to grown at Ol' Grumpy, but he stands his ground, eats faster, and gives her the eye. As I set down Juno's plate, she sticks her nose in it, almost upsetting her place serving.

I really can't blame Juno. She WAS starved almost to death when we got her. I know she'd been at my mom's house for three days, and was only given some bread and milk on the third day. When we'd feed Baby Juno her canned puppy food, our other dogs at the time, Grizzly and Poor Dumb Ann, would crowd around her, making her snarl the whole time she was chewing. It was the funniest thing ever. But probably not to Juno.

Anyhoo...this time of year, Juno always looks quite unkempt. Since yesterday, she's had a bundle of green burrs entwined in her black flowing locks on the front of her neck. It's a big wad. No way can they be picked out. She also has several tufts along her spine that stick up, and are a lighter color from her taking a dust bath and soaking up dry dirt like a sponge in those matted wads.

I walked this morning instead of evening, and gave the dogs a mini-snack of dry ramen noodles. Farmer H drove over on the Gator, and I told him about Juno's burrs.

"Do you think you could get something and cut them off? It's a mess."

"Yeah. I'm going in the house. I'll get something."

That was a good sign. Because you never know when Farmer H might just whip out his pocket knife and start sawing at Juno's neck. He went inside, and I petted Juno to thwart her escape.

"You could have got my kitchen scissors. I can wash them."

"No, I got my hair-cutting scissors!"

"Well, I hope you wash THEM after using them on Juno! This is going to be an ordeal."

In fact, when Juno saw Farmer H come out the front door, she struggled to escape. She loves Farmer H (not as much as she loves ME, of course) and grovels at his feet when he comes out to sit a spell and talk. She's one of those dogs who keep nosing your hand if you quit petting. But now she wanted to make a run for it. I grabbed her by her neck nape with my left hand, and by some shoulder skin with my right, while putting my head close to her and sweet-talking. Jack just looked up at us like, "What in the Not-Heaven is going on now?"

You'd think Farmer H was performing a tracheotomy without anesthesia, so much squirming did Juno do! While whimpering. When in reality, it was just a quick snip, and a toss of that hair over the edge of the porch. Surely you didn't think Farmer H would take it in the house and throw it away! We live in the country! The outdoors is one big wastebasket! I also pointed out the lumps of dusty fur along Juno's spine, making her look like a prehistoric hairy dinosaur. Farmer H snipped them quickly. Tossed them for future bird's nest material, and backed off. Juno took off for her house like a high school freshman for the cafeteria at the lunch bell.

I hope all my teacher buddies are off to a good school year! Monday would be my district-wide inservice breakfast. IF I wasn't retired!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Toe's Got The Fever, I've Got The Cure

I think I've found the cure to my toe woes!

You know, the Great Toe Reddening of '17 that I spoke of on Wednesday, when I asked for an internet diagnosis. I didn't get a diagnosis, but I think I've solved the problem! By using the internet! Are you ready for this?

All I had to do was blog about it!

Uh huh. For two days now, my toe has been on the mend. It's no longer bright red, like a sunburn. Instead of looking like it's wearing a red sweater, or a crimson hoodie, it has changed into a pinky/purple/beige pullover. I don't know how to describe the exact shade. It's not red. It's not pink. It's not purple. It's not beige. Not as orangy as the "flesh" crayon from my Crayola childhood. My great toe kind of started to fade yesterday. To a sort of day-after-sunburn, less flaming red. You can still see the line of demarcation where the discoloration begins. Or ends.

No change in feeling. Still doesn't hurt, not swollen, has full sensation. The only untoward characteristic is the texture. It's kind of like an old carrot, unpeeled. Or maybe an elephant's skin, though I've never caressed an elephant.

Do you know what Farmer H had to say about it today? When I proudly stuck my foot in the air (not high, and I was holding onto the couch arm) to show him my improvement?

"I guess it looks okay."

That's kind of the opposite of Wednesday and Tuesday! When he said, "It doesn't look that bad." Yeah. Now that my great toe is looking so much better...Farmer H has an edge in his voice like there might be something wrong with me! I'd call Farmer H an odd duck, but I don't want to offend a loyal reader!

From now on, when something is wrong with me, I'm going to write a blog post about it! It's non-toxic, and pretty cheap. I assume my toe would think that's a GREAT idea.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Oh, Deer!

Okay, here's some more creepiness, right on the heels of Wednesday's tale of unidentified thumping objects at midnight.

We got a call from our neighbor Tommy on Thursday morning. I say we, but I was the one who got the call at 6:50 a.m. (I'd barely gone to bed!) because Farmer H was already at work. Tommy left a message. You didn't think I was springing out of bed to answer the phone at such an hour, did you? That's practically the middle of the night for me! I'd only been asleep a few hours.

Anyhoo...Tommy asked for a ride to town that day, or the next, to go to his bank, and grocery shopping. Farmer H has told Tommy that he doesn't mind taking him to town, to save him $30 cab fare every week. But that he will do it at his convenience. This has stopped Tommy from expecting to go RIGHT THEN when he calls. It still hasn't stopped him from calling too early in the morning.

Farmer H works on Thursdays, so obviously couldn't do it that day. I am not going to take on the responsibility, not because Tommy refers to me on the phone as "the little woman," but because I don't feel like it's proper. But I DO drive two miles over and two miles back to pick up his mail from his mailbox and take it to his driveway if he asks.

Anyhoo...Farmer H made arrangements to take Tommy to town this morning at 9:00. Last night, I told Farmer H to make sure I was up by 9:00, so I could get to the post office and mail the boys' weekly letters before the mail went out. He agreed.

This morning, Farmer H got up at 8:00. I heard him. I figured he'd tell me when he was leaving, so I went back to sleep. I woke up later and looked at the clock radio on my nightstand. It said 4:28. That doesn't mean anything. Every time the power goes off, it shows a different time. I figured that Farmer H was probably out puttering around until time to leave, and would either call me or come in to wake me. But now I was woke.

I rolled over on my back for a minute to unstiffen my knee joints before getting up. I heard Farmer H's cough. You know how people have their own distinctive cough. Not a hacking fit, not a throat-clear, but kind of in-between. A cough that clears the throat. Kind of a harumpf. It sounded like Farmer H was below me, in the basement workshop. I thought he might be getting something out of, or putting something into, one of the safes. Or maybe he'd been out the basement door and was coming back in. But I also thought he might have been down there snooping in my office, and then went into the workshop. I made a mental note to interrogate him as to his whereabouts when he came up to wake me.

I got up and walked past the door to the living room. Huh. The lights to the basement weren't on. Maybe Farmer H had been out on the back porch, or down on Poolio's deck. I looked at the living room clock. It was 9:20. Huh. Maybe Farmer H had changed the time of Tommy's shopping trip.

I went on about my business, taking meds, checking my internet, putting stamps on my letters. I got a text from Farmer H about deer in the neighbors field when he drove by with Tommy.


"Deer in [REDACTED]'s field they were right up by their house when I came down the road"

"Remember when I asked you to make sure I was up by 9:00?"

"I came and said leaving at 10 till 9 and you said ok so I figured you were awake"

"I didn't hear any of that. Woke up at 9:20. Heard you clear your throat in the basement or on the porch. I'd already been awake five minutes when I heard that."

"I'm sorry you answered me so I thought you were awake. I was gone by 9 not me clearing my throat"

Yeah. There's somethin' strange in Hillmombahood."

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Don't Be A-Readin' If You're Sittin' There Eatin'

The horror continues!

Oh, not the noises at night. Those stopped. And not the presence of Farmer H. I've pretty much adapted to having that evil entity around. No, the horror of which I type involves FEET! I abhor feet. Even my own. The only feet worth a darn are sweet baby feet. They're the best part of the baby. But we're not talking about sweet baby feet today. We're talking about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom feet. Or FOOT, to be exact.

Okay, the Truth in Blogging Law says that I must reveal that we aren't really taking about Mrs. HM's foot, but rather about her great toe. Oh, I'm not putting on airs about my toe. That's technically what it's called. The great toe. The big one. The little piggy that went to market. It's in Gray's Anatomy. Not the TV show. The medical reference book. I'm pretty sure blog buddy Sioux's son can vouch for it.

I've been having a problem with my right great toe. Oh, it doesn't hurt. It's not swollen. It didn't snap off. It's just RED. Pardon me for not showing you a picture, but a lady has to draw the line somewhere. As much as I would like a diagnosis from armchair or standing-desk internet readers, I am not about to put up a picture of my toe. Even though it's a great toe.

My right great toe looks like it's wearing a little red toe sweater. The toe is RED! Have I mentioned that? Only the great toe. Not the stay-at-home little piggy next to it. And the hem of the red sweater only goes to the base of the toe. Not onto the foot. It stops right where toe turns into foot. It's the weirdest thing! That toe is red, but the nail bed is the regular color. Like a face peeping out of a red hoodie.

Do I have a terminal disease? Is my toe going to fall off? Will it turn black? Will it swell up like those big plastic thumbs in the Dynamite Shack game that my sister the little future ex-mayor's wife and I used to play in childhood?


Diagnose away, internet doctors!

It all started several weeks ago. Or maybe a month. I was doing my daily driveway walk, and then had a trip to the casino two weeks in a row, and I must have irritated my great toe. The inner edge of the nail pulled away a bit, and it was sore. I put triple antibiotic ointment on it every morning and every evening. I covered it with a band-aid so the skin edge wouldn't pull away farther. It was painful for a couple of days. Then not.

Next thing I knew, the skin in that area was red. Then the red started to spread. Down to the bottom of the nail. A little past. Down some more. That sure didn't seem right! The toe didn't hurt any more. It wasn't swollen. But the red continued to spread. I figured that maybe the triple antibiotic ointment had upset the natural flora and fauna of my feet. Foot. Toe. So I wondered if maybe I was getting some kind of fungal infection. Since the antibiotic ointment didn't seem to help, it must not have been bacteria.

I sprayed some dry powdery athlete's foot stuff on it once a day. Put a band-aid on it for walking, so as not to pull the edge of the nail away. This did nothing. Except cover the redness with white powder, so it didn't look red. Except when I got out of the shower each morning, and saw that I had Rudolph's nose glowing on the side of my foot.

What is going on here? There was a little clear blister on the outer side of the great toe for a day or two. Didn't hurt. Didn't leak. Dried up. Gone. The skin on the great toe is now looking dry. Like a snake before it sheds its skin. I have been taking off my Croc and sock, and letting the big red toe bask in the warmth of the space heater under my desk in my dark basement lair. Again, it doesn't hurt. But it is shockingly red.

Farmer H took a gander at it, per my request, and said, "Maybe you need to go get that looked at." Yet the next day, when I showed it off again to him, he said, "It doesn't look that bad."

It doesn't feel that bad, either. Just worries me because of how it looks. Red. Not swollen. Not hot. Not painful. Not oozy. Just red, top to bottom, one toe only.

What have I got, internet docs?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

There's Somethin' Strange, In Hillmombahood!

Monday night, as I was heating but not vibrating in my OPC (Old People Chair) in front of the big-screen TV in the basement...I heard noises up above. They were concentrated in the bedroom of the #1 Son. Who, as you know, is currently living in Overland Park, Kansas, working for Garmin.

I hear noises in there all the time. None lately, though. It's been a couple months, I think. I also hear noises from the dogs on the porch. And walking, in The Pony's room. This was none of them. Not walking. Not the mattress crunch of something/somebody turning over in #1's bed, not the disco dancing thumps, not the stumping of Farmer H from bedroom to kitchen, not a dog leaning against the cedar shingles and scratching an ear. If it was a dog, it would have had to be a vindictive dog, jaws clamped on a possum's ratty tail, slinging it against the side of the house. A big, fat possum.

No, this was a big thump. Several at a time. Not like something dropped, like I sometimes hear directly overhead in the boys' bathroom. This was kind of like a stomp. In clusters. No pattern.

I usually just roll with it. Oh. Noises again. When The Pony was here, laying on the couch with his laptop, watching Big Brother or Cutthroat Kitchen with me, we'd cut eyes at each other. "Did you hear that?" And the other would raise one eyebrow, "Yeeessss. We're not going to talk about it."

This time, I was a bit apprehensive. The noises started at exactly midnight. Midnight by the clock on the wall. It might in all actuality have been 11:58 in real life, but I go by the clock on the wall. I first tried to reason it away. Those stupid dogs! Always roughhousing on the porch! Copper needs to go home at night! Then I heard the dogs barking way off by the BARn. They weren't even on the porch.

At 12:10, I nearly leapt out of my OPC (Old People Chair). Footsteps! Coming across the living room! Coming down to get me!!! Oh. Wait. Just Farmer H, going to the kitchen for a drink. I don't know why he does that. I've called him out for it before. He has a glass on the master bathroom sink. Sink water is perfectly drinkable. I think he's just snooping on me. To see if I'm watching TV, or still in my dark basement lair on New Delly. Yeah. That's it. Only Farmer H.

I jiggled my feet back and forth on the recliner footrest. So he'd see that I was awake. Not snoozing. See that, and quit his snooping, and go back to bed before I decided to object to his prowling. Waited for him to leave the kitchen. Waited. For him to leave the kitchen...

He never left the kitchen. Huh. I must have missed him. I must have been all preoccupied with what I was going to say to him. How he scared me. How I'm an adult, and can stay up as long as I want. How I don't snoop to see what time HE goes to bed. Yeah. I just missed him.

The thumping continued intermittently. Huh. I'm sure Farmer H didn't go into #1's bedroom. The noises started before he went to the kitchen. Maybe he did. Maybe he heard something and went in there. Huh. No footsteps from that bedroom back to the master. The thumping went on for about an hour, off and on.

Tuesday evening, as Farmer H was feasting upon the taco salad without lettuce that I made for him, I told him that he nearly scared me to death when he went to get a drink.

"I didn't go get a drink."

"Yes you did! I heard you! At 12:10."

"Uh uh. I didn't go get a drink. I got up to go to the bathroom. But that was at 12:30. I went right there and right back to bed."

"Well...I DIDN'T hear you go back out of the kitchen after getting your drink..."

"I never went in the kitchen."

Something is afoot in the Mansion. Something with very big feet.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Even Steven, That Rogue!

On the heels of the feel-good story about today's youth yesterday, namely that young man who took my cart back at Save A Lot...we have today's example.

Gas station chicken store. 12:15 p.m. I walked in to get my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. As I entered, a young blond boy was prancing at the counter. He galloped into my path, screeched to a halt, and continued screeching nonsense at he watched me pass down the candy aisle to go around the end and get to the soda fountain. Because Screechy had the path blocked.

I gave Screechy the Teacher Stink-Eye. Believe you me, people, I perfected that look my very first year of my 28-year career. Screechy looked at me for a split second, his blue six-year-old eyes wide, then commenced the galloping and nonsense screeching again. I couldn't quite figure out who he belonged to. There was a fake-blond tall woman at the soda fountain, who vacated the area as I rounded the end by the beer cooler. And a dark-haired woman paying for burritos at the counter. And a fit-fat bald man standing in line, and a dark-haired man also at the counter.

You know, sometimes kids can't help it. That's what the teacher in me tried to tell my curmudgeonly self. Although my initial thought was: "How much sugar did you GIVE that boy?" Perhaps Screechy was late for his ADHD meds. Or perhaps he was on the special spectrum, and didn't really know what he was doing in my world, knowing that his antics were perfectly acceptable in his. Sometimes, it's not their fault. So I tried not to let the Teacher Stink-Eye loose again until I could process more information.

I was last in the line of all people in the store at that time. No big deal. No particular place to go, no particular time to be there. I held my 44 oz Diet Coke in one hand, my $50 scratch-off winner in the other. The dark-haired lady pain the Man Owner, who was working the counter. Then the dark-haired man paid for a bottle of flavored water.

"My son has found something that he likes. So we get it." That's when I noticed that as the four of them were conversing, they were doing so in another language. And their English had a heavy accent. I don't know my accents unless they're domestic. I don't know much about foreign languages. I was going to assume a German accent, perhaps. Or French. I know they're not similar. But the first I heard of it, Screechy was speaking. It was very fast, and I thought the might have a made-up language.

Anyhoo...maybe that behavior is acceptable in their native country. No adult made a move to correct the youngster. In fact, they seemed to dote on him.

I, myself, did not.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Curmudgeon Is Taught A Lesson By A Child

As you know, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a fan of other people's kids. You know the ones. Those kids in a store who find it necessary to stare at Mrs. HM like she is some kind of circus freak. It's not like I have big flappy shoes and an orange afro and drive a tiny car with 101 of my bulbous-nosed friends riding shotgun. Give it a rest, kids. I have spent a 28-year career being polite out of necessity, and I don't have anybody to answer to now.

So...Sunday I was at the front counter of Save A Lot, putting my groceries in bags. No need for a box, which I usually prefer, because I only had a couple of items. Just two tubs of sour cream, two jars of salsa, and a bag of shredded lettuce. I was taking my purchases from the cart and placing them in two separate bags. The sour cream and lettuce in a bag to go in my soft-sided Cardinals cooler in the rear of T-Hoe, and the salsa in a bag by itself.

A little dark-haired boy, maybe six years old, walked up and stood on the other side of my cart. I assume it was his mom at the next bagging station. I was silently fuming. I'd seen them as I was wheeling around the store. The kid wasn't loud or anything. Not grabby. But now he was standing there, staring at me. Sweet Gummi Mary, lady! Teach that boy some manners! It's not polite to stare!

I did not follow the advice of blog buddy Linda, and get down on his level, and look him right in the eye. It's not like he was doing anything wrong. Just standing. Watching.

As I looped the two bags over my forearm, and readied T-Hoe's clicker in my hand, the little boy spoke.

"I can take your cart and put it up."

Well. Ain't THAT a kick in the head? He was just being polite to an old lady.

"Okay. Thank you. Thank you very much."

I wanted to tell him he was a good boy, but that would have sounded like maybe he was an animal, or a pet in training. So I stopped myself. I glanced at his mom as I walked by. She wasn't looking at me. But I could see a little smile around the corners of her mouth. I'm pretty sure she was proud of him.

I'm pretty sure she should have been.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jack Is Well-Rounded

Last night I went out on the front porch to give Jack and Juno their evening snack. They had some soft chicken bones (from the breast and attached rib meat pieces), stale Hawaiian bread, and expired tortilla chips, along with portions of tortilla that I had trimmed off my chicken wrap. Even Copper got a couple of slices of bread.

Jack was slow eating his portion. He's usually slower than Juno, due to his tiny mouth, but this time he was exceptionally slow. That's when I noticed that he was round as a butterball. The plate of food I gave him was not enough to bloat his belly like that. Jack's a gamer, though. He stayed until he ate every crumb, licked his paper plate, and even licked Juno's long-abandoned plate.


Here's a two-month-old photo where he's fairly svelte.

When I went back inside, I asked Farmer H, "Do you think Jack's been into something? It looks like he already stuffed himself on a full meal. Usually at this time of day, he's looking thin." Let the record show that Farmer H feeds them their dry dogfood at 6:00 a.m. Sometimes they eat it. Sometimes they nibble throughout the day. Sometimes it's still in the pan the next morning.

"Huh. They killed a possum. When we went over to work on the storage containers, it wasn't there. But when we came back over, it was laying out in the gravel. I guess they had it under one of the sheds."

"Just today? They killed it while you were out there?"

"Oh, it wasn't killed today! It stunk. We didn't see what it was until later."

"Hm. I guess maybe Jack ate a whole possum, then."

You never know. He's full of life, our Jacky Boy. And possibly full of death, too! For the two previous nights, the dogs had been going crazy barking in the area of Shackytown and the chicken pen. Jack is the only one who can fit under the shacks. So I suppose he's the killer, unless it was a team effort, and he drug the spoils under there to spoil.

There are probably some bones left for the others. Jack has trouble cracking them with his tiny jaws.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Mrs. HM Comes Up On Something Going Down

Something was going down in Hillmomba today. I came up on it as I left Save A Lot, headed for the gas station chicken store. It really isn't a bad neighborhood. I swear!

I noticed that across from Hardee's and the Dairy Queen, there was a city police car sitting cattywompus at the bottom of the big concrete ramp that leads up to a used car dealer. He was parked crossways, facing towards the highway, yet he still had a good view of the stoplights.

Of course Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had nothing to worry about. She wasn't ridin' dirty! (I learned that on LIVE PD, my newest reality show addiction!) I hope that term doesn't mean anything improper. As used on LIVE PD, it just means you're driving around with illegal substances in your vehicle.

Anyhoo...I had on my seatbelt. I have current license plates. My driver's license is not suspended. I have insurance, and proof of it in the vehicle. So I had no worries. Nope. Even if stopped, I wouldn't run. Nobody was sending the dog after ME, by cracky! Though I DO like to watch its gnashing teeth sink into the criminal element on TV. Yep. Nothing for Mrs. HM to be concerned about. But I admit to cutting my eyes toward that cop car as I signaled and pulled up to stop at the yellow arrow and wait for my left turn.

What's this? ANOTHER cop car. Parked across the entrance to the gas station chicken store! The Not-Heaven, you say! Something was definitely goin' down in Hillmomba! It's like they were looking for someone. Watching for a specific car to come through.

Lucky for me, the gas station chicken store has a wide entrance onto the lot. I went behind the cop car, and parked over by the moat that separates the lot from Farmer H's pharmacy, CeilingReds. I went in for my soda. The gruff old lady clerk didn't know what was going down. But as I was paying, I heard a WHOOP and saw that cop car leave the lot. By the time I came out the door, it was headed back in my direction, coming up the road between Hardees and the Dairy Queen.

I got in my car, and emailed myself some pictures. The gas station chicken store has the best reception ever for my Sprint phone. Full bars! After stowing away my phone, I looked up to see that there were TWO cop cars over on the CeilingReds parking lot. So curious.

I even signaled pulling out of the lot onto the road. I don't really think think you have to. But on LIVE PD a month or two ago, the cops stopped a dude for not signaling out of a motel parking lot, and he had methamphetamines and a hidden gun! So I was taking no chances. Even though I didn't have methamphetamines and a hidden gun.

I waited lawfully for traffic to stop before making a right-on-red. That's perfectly legal in Hillmomba. I went through the next two lights green. As I was headed up the hill by Orb K, going out of town, I saw, way back, in my rearview mirror, that the two cop cars were now out in the middle of the road in front of Ceilingreds, blue lights strobing.

Something was definitely goin' down in Hillmomba today. I just wasn't picking up on what it was.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Waiting For The Other Shack To Drop

Life is a perpetual waiting game for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

With Farmer H gone to Oklahoma, the days FLEW BY! And now, he's due back. Did you get that? The full gravity of this situation? He's DUE BACK! He left Norman, Oklahoma at 6:00 a.m. To get back sooner, you see. When I'm traveling with him, we don't leave before the crack of 7:30, to enjoy the free breakfast. But Farmer H left sooner, to get back to me sooner!

Okay. You know it just kind of ruins the day thinking about it. I went to town to transfer some money from the boys' college accounts. I paid The Pony's housing. Deposited their money for next month's expenses in their bank accounts. Got gas for T-Hoe. Went to The Devil's Playground, on Friday, at the first of the month, on TAX FREE weekend for school supplies! Picked up my 44 oz Diet Coke.

Since I got home at 1:40 p.m., and Farmer H said he was due to arrive at 3:31 according to his Garmin...I figured there was no use getting comfortable with lunch and my magical elixir until after his arrival. So I put together a batch of Chex Mix just for us. It's delicious, you know, but I'm usually so busy giving it away that we don't get to partake. There were two small containers left after shipping off a substantial supply to The Pony for his apartment-warming. Not that he scheduled a celebration, of course. Farmer H took one container with him for snacking in his motel room. Of course he told me the first night that he ate most of it on the trip down there. You know what my reply to that was?

"You didn't get grease on A-Cad's steering wheel, did you ?"

Anyhoo...I've been having a tiny portion each day with lunch. You know how tiny a portion it is? I put it in one of those tiny pie pans from one of Farmer H's tiny sugar-free pies. Those pans are way flatter than I would like. But it's just enough to be a wise choice, and not go overboard.

The Mansion smells like Christmas! That's how I associate the aroma of my world famous Chex Mix. It has to be stirred every 15 minutes, you know. For two hours. It took me 20 minutes to put it all together. At 2:00, I slid it into the oven. Now I am internetting on Shiba, in the La-Z-Boy, instead of on New Delly, in my dark basement lair. I'm kind of discombobulated. I don't favor a laptop. But it's better than not internetting, and better than climbing 13 stairs every 15 minutes to stir the Chex Mix.

I have the front blinds open, the better to see my master Farmer H as he comes flying up the driveway in A-Cad. Because absence makes the heart grow fonder he really has to pee after 9 hours on the road. Normally, I make sure they're closed in the afternoon, so the sun doesn't heat up the Mansion.

The deadline has come and gone. No Farmer H! I guess maybe he made a couple of stops. Or got behind a cattle trailer. Because I KNOW he didn't slow down to the speed limit. Not with me here, a captive of Chex Mix, waiting.

OH! There he comes now! At 3:38. One more stirring, and our Chex Mix will be done. Just enough time to hear about Farmer H's trip, then get my lupper and go to my dark basement lair while he rests up to go to the auction, and then eats his supper.

Tomorrow I'm sure he'll be back to working on his latest project, which is not truly a shack, but a garage made by putting two freight containers on a foundation, joining them, and adding trusses for a roof. Not that we need another outbuilding, of course.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hillmomba Is Not A Dog Toilet

What, exactly, is wrong with people?

I know I've asked that before. And I'm pretty sure blog buddy Kathy wonders, on a daily basis. Seems like people these days just go and do as they darn well please! That they're so special, the world shall bend rules for them!

Today I was sitting in T-Hoe at the gas station chicken store. I'd just come out with my 44 oz Diet Coke, and was strapping on the seatbelt, looking across the ditch-moat at Farmer H's pharmacy, CeilingReds. A truck pulling a camper drove onto the lot. It had been at the gas station chicken store, but didn't stop. Just drove through the corner lot and down the back street and over to CeilingReds.

The truck pulled along the parking-space-stoppers, lengthwise. Took up at least 10 spaces, counting the truck and camper. AND another truck followed them, pulling a homemade trailer carrying a 4-wheeler, and parked in front of CeilingReds, taking up another five or six spaces. People! Ceilingreds is a small pharmacy in Hillmomba. It only has about 25 parking spaces, max! These folks had just taken up 60 percent of CeilingReds' parking!

I do not think The Parkers were there to fill a prescription. They all clambered out of the pickup. A man, woman, two teenage girls. Each girl had a dog on a leash. They proceeded to walk those dogs along the shrubs in the gravel landscaping strip that divides Ceilingreds' lot from the street, where a line of cars always sits waiting on the stoplight. I guess The Parkers consider CeilingReds to be a dog toilet.

I know I've complained before about people letting their dogs poop out in front of the Dairy Queen, located cattycorner to the gas station chicken store.

HILLMOMBA IS NOT A DOG TOILET!

There's a state park less than 10 miles north, and another one less than 10 miles south. What, exactly, is wrong with people?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

It Wasn't Even Partly Cloudy

Yesterday I came out of the garage with my purse on my arm, my 44 oz Diet Coke in hand. I'd already exited the garage once, to pet the dogs on the side porch, and give them their treat of cat kibble. I went back for my magical elixir, as I always do, with it in my right hand as I crossed the portal. I pushed the door closed behind me, with my left hand. As I always do.

CLANK!

I nearly jumped out of my saggy, age-spotted, bone-dry, old-lady skin. What in the Not-Heaven? My attention had been on the dogs. They were frolicking this time, rather than my Sweet, Sweet Juno creeping in trying to steal the last of Jack's cat kibble. They were over by the steps. Nowhere near the CLANK. I whirled around, expecting that perhaps part of the roof had fallen off.


It was a spade.

I have no idea where that spade came from! I've never seen it before. I pretty much have a mental catalog of the junky items perched around the side porch. NO IDEA. It was not on the shelf next to the roaster pan of cat kibble. I had just treated the dogs from it. I've never seen it laying on that cooler below.

It was as if spades were raining from the sky!

What kind of plague hath Farmer H wrought?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Absence Makes The Bed Grow Safer

Farmer H has gone to Oklahoma to help The Pony move from his 9th floor dorm room to a 3rd floor apartment. I am no help with physical labor, so I stayed home. I sorely regret not being able to see my precious Pony. But not even the thought of tricking Farmer H into taking me to a casino on the way there or back could tempt me. Anyway, my favorite gambling aunt has recovered from her surgery, and she is taking me to one tomorrow.

Last night, Farmer H must have been rarin' to go on this trip. You don't think he has secretly been looking forward to being away from me, do you? I'm sure he hasn't. He's virtually attached to me. Like a barnacle. To the HMS HM. If I was British. Which I'm not.

Anyhoo...Farmer H flopped around like a perch in the dust on the edge of the pond in my grandpa's hog lot. His contortions defied physics. It's like he flipped over without using his arms or legs. Like an omelet in a non-stick pan. Of course, his arms and legs obeyed the laws of physics. No scofflaws were Farmer H's appendages. He must have whacked me five or six times. If I was still on that demon bloodthinner, I'd probably look like a pinto pony or a Holstein cow. Except with purple spots.

At 5:50 a.m., Farmer H woke me by flinging a large Ziploc bag of prescription medicines onto the mattress as he packed his suitcase. Which, of course, must be done at 5:50 a.m. In the bedroom. On the bed. Even though all that was left to pack was his breather and his medicine.

"Didn't you shake the bed enough last night? Must you wake me NOW? I just went to sleep."

"I'm only packing, HM."

"And you punched me all night!"

"I did not!" 

"At least three times. You hit me." Even though it was more that three times. I wasn't trying to sound sensational.

"I did NOT hit you!"

"How do you even know? You were asleep. You won't be here when the bruises show up so I can prove it."

"That's just stupid. I didn't hit you."

"You whacked me all night long."

"I might have bumped you when I turned over. That's not hitting you."

"I didn't say you did it on purpose. But you still hit me."

"Whatever."

Yeah. How come that never works for me? How come when Farmer H accuses me of something, I can't get away with simply saying, "I did not."

I'd better not be all stove-up when it comes time to walk around the casino tomorrow.