Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ding Dong, The Farmer's Home

Ding dong, the Farmer's Home!
Which farmer?
Farmer H!
Ding dong, my Farmer H is home!

"Wake up, you sleepyhead! Rub your eyes! Get out of bed!"
He'll say to me, because we're wed.
I'll go where'er the Farmer goes. I know!
I know I know I know!

Ding dong, not merry, no!
Sing it high, sing it low.
So you know:
Farmer H is home!

As queen of the Mansion City, in the county of Hillmomba Land
I welcome you most regally
And verify it legally
That Farmer H is
undeniably and

While somewhat grim, not out on a limb, having interrogated him...
He's not only merely retired, he's really most sincerely retired.
This is a day of renewed dependence for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.
Let the deer and the antelope show him how to roam
Farmer H is forever at home.

Yes. That day has come. Farmer H is officially retired. Let there be no question, and let the record show, that in his first hours of freedom, Farmer H jumped on his tractor and went to blade the road.

Let's hope this sets a precedent for the second day of the rest of his retired life, and that he gets out of the Mansion and grabs all the gusto he can.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Dog And Farmer Show

Oh, my sides! That jokester Farmer H has flipped my gigglebox. Seems like only yesterday I shared how Farmer H plotted an elaborate phone call (for him) to pretend that he'd hit a big jackpot on a lottery ticket. Now, he's bringing Jack into his act.

Let the record show that Farmer H's latest joke does not seem to be intentional. Yet it elicited a smirk from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom just the same.

Monday evening, after I had come back into the Mansion after snacking the dogs, Farmer H said asked about the commotion on the porch.

"What was all that about?"

"I don't know. They had just finished eating. Jack was still licking his plate. And Copper took off around the side of the house, barking. Juno ran down the porch to that end, and was barking, too. Then Jack had to get in on it. I have no idea what it was. I didn't see anything. It all started when a white truck went up the road. They all stood up, watching it, on alert. Then took off toward the side of the house. Nothing to do with that truck."

"Huh. Do you know what I caught JACK doing today?"

"No. I'm not sure I want to hear. He wasn't eating a chicken, was he? Don't we only have one left?"

"Yeah. Just that one rooster. I oughta skin him and we'll eat him. But he's fine. Jack wasn't after him."

"I haven't smelled a dead possum. I know he chases that one cat that growls at him."

"No. I caught Jack IN THE GOAT'S WATER BUCKET!!!"

"That's all? He's been in there lots of times. You know he likes water. You didn't fill up his little swimming tub ALL SUMMER. Remember how he'd lay down in it? He loved his little tub."

"Well, he doesn't need to be in the goat's bucket!"

"Good luck with that. He WAS wet when I came home with my soda today."

See? What's the point of that story? It's a known fact that Jack gets in the goat bucket. The record shows it! So I don't know what was with Farmer H's fake shock that he caught Jack in the goat's water bucket. It's not like he caught Jack gnawing his way through the goat's innards. There's plenty of water left in the bucket. It's at least 10 gallons.

Save me the faux outrage at Jack's water-body proclivities. The real outrage should be Jack's. That he has been deprived of his personal swimming pool all summer.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Jokester Joketh

Farmer H is not known for being a comedian. Maybe an unintentional clown. The butt of other's jokes. But he does not make a habit of inciting mirth for those around him. Which in two days will be ONLY ME. I don't think I will find him particularly funny. We have precious little to talk about now, while he still has a job to complain about.

On Monday, as Farmer H was taking his poop break, and taking up space on the short couch, I told him about my latest lottery heartbreak. Yes, I KNOW that I had a big win just days ago. But, like a fisherman, it's the one that gets away that I dwell on.

"You remember that guy I was telling you about? The one with the YouTube channel, who won the $10 million on the lottery ticket he bought up by where you work? Well, last night, he said he had a big winner to show us. Not his own ticket, but one of a "friend" who didn't want to be on his YouTube. It was a $5 ticket that I buy all the time. The newest one until tomorrow's come out. A High Roller. Anyway, he showed the ticket, and it was a $20,000 winner! Why can't MY ticket win $20,000? I buy enough of them!"

"Yeah. That's how it goes."

"And just last month, some lady up there won $1 million on a Golden Ticket. I can't believe all the good winners showing up in the same area."

"It does seem kind of unusual. Well...I'm going outside. I'm not doing much. I don't want to get dirty before I go to the dentist."

Now where were we? Oh, yeah. Farmer H, going to the dentist. It's up by where he works, in the next county north of Hillmomba. Of course he couldn't pass up a chance to shop at other flea markets in Dentist Town. He called me as he started home. I assumed he was going to tell me about some treasure that he'd bought himself.

"I was up here in Jefferson County, and I thought, 'What the hell.' I bought myself one of those High Roller lottery tickets. I saw it in the case, and I remembered you said 'High Roller.' You wanna know how much I won?"

"Probably some ridiculous amount."

"I didn't win NOTHIN'! I never do. I thought I might have a chance up here, with all those winners. But I didn't win nothin'! Just like always. I can't win on those things."

"Yeah. You never could."

Gotta admit, I had a good chuckle at Farmer H's trick. He reeled me right in. I don't know why I would have even considered that he had a chance at winning something.

Still...I guess there's always hope. He DID make a joke.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Oops! Did I Forget Something?

Oh. Hello there. I suppose you might be looking for today's boring story. Which should have been earlier forthcoming. However...

This morning Farmer H returned to the Mansion as I was going through my morning routine, and plopped down on the short couch as if he had absolutely nothing to do, whilst I was trying to peruse my blog collection on Shiba. So I forgot to open up the online Mansion to leave a few cryptic notes on what I might right about this eve.

Then I went to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke, and to mail the insurance payment for the #1 Son's 2006 Mercury Mariner, and pick up a couple of NEW scratch-off tickets. Except only one place had those new $5 tickets, and it wasn't the gas station chicken store, thought the Man Owner DID tell me, "Oh, new tickets came out today," (AS IF...he thinks I'm some kind of amateur who didn't leave her New Delly running last night until after midnight, to look up the looks of the MO Money Monday new tickets being released today), "but we don't have ours because the truck hasn't been here yet." Huh. Why not just show pictures of a buffet to a starving woman, why don't you?

When I got home, Jack was all wet, Juno was tangly, and Copper was creeping ever-closer to get a taste of cat kibble. Farmer H was in the house, having come over to take a poop (his words) and grab some lunch before heading to his dentist appointment. I offered him one of my Chicken Bacon Ranch pinwheels (they expire tomorrow) or some bologna that he'd requested last week. Can you believe Farmer H said, "I don't think I want to eat garlic bologna when I'm going to the dentist." Such a suave rake he is now, concerned with his image according to a dental hygienist.

Once Farmer H elbowed his way into the kitchen while I was gathering my pinwheel, because his hot dogs had to be made RIGHT THEN, I managed to escape to my dark basement lair. The Big Brother house had a big blowup again, so I had to read updates. And I gladly gave away my World Famous Chex Mix recipe in lieu of a real post on my less-secret blog.

Before I knew it, Farmer H was back, stomping around over my head, and ready for his supper, which was the last of three nights of Terrible Tater with his Friday retirement dinner pulled pork. THEN I had to have my walk, and snack the dogs, and make my own supper. By now it was 8:30, and shortly after 9:00, the #1 Son called. And then there was that Big Brother brouhaha to catch up on again.

So you see, you're actually lucky that I'm putting out anything at all at the stroke of 11:58 p.m. 11:59 p.m.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

His Timing Is Uncanny

Only three days of freedom left for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Farmer H will be ALL HERS, 24/7/365, by the end of the week. By THURSDAY, actually.

Farmer H's knack for bad timing is paralleled only by my knack for good timing. This morning he was up and out of the Mansion before I was out of bed. That's a good thing. Can't fault him for that. That's not the bad timing to which I refer. Nor the good.

I was standing at the cutting block, putting the first stir on a batch of Chex Mix, having yet to slide it into the oven, merely distributing the Worcestershire sauce and oil and garlic powder and garlic salt...when Farmer H strode through the kitchen door.

" smells good in here!"

"I haven't even put it in the oven yet! It's still got two hours to go."

"Yeah, but it DOES smell good. Do you want this?" Farmer H held up a small paper sack from Hardee's. "It's a sausage biscuit."


"Okay. I'll have it for my lunch later."

I pulled open the oven door, and bent to slide in the first pan of Chex Mix, the roaster pan, on the top rack. At that very moment, Farmer H yanked open the door of FRIG II, slamming it into my ample rumpus. Yeah. It's going to be a long rest of my life. What are the odds that he would show up at that very moment, with a spare sausage biscuit (that we all know was never intended for me) and stash it in FRIG II?

Probably about the same odds of me taking some casino money and winning scratchers, and buying four Golden Tickets today, and having three winners:

That's ONE.

That's TWO.

That's THREE!

Yes. That's THREE $100 WINNERS in one day! Out of four tickets. I more than doubled my money.

I guess as far as timing goes, Farmer H and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom are like Jack Spratt and his wife. We complement each other.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

No, That's NOT A Big Bear Paw

It's been quite a while since I shared one of my debilitating injuries with you! So you're in for a treat today. Not quite as good a treat as cake and ice cream, or the pulled pork leftovers Farmer H brought home yesterday, or even as good as the dry cat kibble that the dogs get when I return from town. But still, a TREAT! It's not every day you get to read about what a klutz Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is when left to her own devices.

This time, my device was an ink pen. Yep. Not even one of those deadly quill pens, made from a hollow turkey feather. Or its second cousin, the ink pen with a metal nib. Nope. We're talkin' about a common ballpoint. Not even one in a fancy wooden case, as may be given to a teaching wife at Christmas time, with the suggestion, "You can take it to school, and set it on your desk." Yeah, right! If I want it STOLEN withing the first three class periods.

No, none of those implements of writing. We're talkin' about a blue-ink brown-colored ballpoint pen, stolen unthinkingly picked up from the cup on the counter outside the glass window of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's credit union.

I carry that pen in the side pocket of my 20 30-year-old purse, to pop in my shirt pocket during sorties to The Devil's Playground. To cross off items from my list, making sure to purchase them all, so that when I get home, Farmer H can tell me something that he really wanted. That wasn't on my list.

Anyhoo...on Wednesday, I was out and about, buying assorted last-minute items that may have been foodstuffs, drinkstuffs, or scratcherstuffs. The days all run together for me now. Anyhoo...I was sitting in T-Hoe's driver's seat, and reached over to my purse on the shotgun seat to to pull something out of that side pocket. It may have been a shopping list, or a list of previous ticket winners, both of which are on index cards stuffed in the side of my purse. Or it could have been a dollar bill for my 44 oz Diet Coke. In any case, the pen wasn't wedged upright as I normally keep it. That pen flipped out. Having lightning-quick reflexes (I'm a ninja!), I juggled that pen before it could fall down in the cracks of the seats, or tumble into the second row. As I closed my hand around it, the top end of the pen, which was on the bottom at the time, jammed into T-Hoe's console, and the bottom end of the pen, which was on the top at the time, jammed into the fleshy part of the heel of my hand.

It hurt like a sonofagun! Reminded me of the time I was in junior high, rounding a corner, my books tucked into my elbow, pencil grasped in my hand, and a young hooligan rounded that same corner from the other direction, hitting my books and forearm, jamming that recently-sharpened pencil into my belly. A niftier puncture could not have been made by a healthcare professional giving me the first of a series of rabies shots. I may still carry the gray mark of the graphite to this day. hand had that indentation that looked like blood might start spurting. But it didn't. I think the force of the impact made the blood vessels seal themselves off. There WAS a blue dot there, though. I meant to get a picture for you that night, but you might have cried shenanigans and accused me of merely drawing on my own hand with a blue ink pen. So I took the picture a day later.

Yes, I'm already on the mend. And if you plan to read my lifeline...I may not want to hear the conclusion.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Mansion Is No Bed And Breakfast, Nor A Bank And Supper

For those of you keeping count, X-ing off your calendar, adding pins to your voodoo doll...Farmer H has only 3 work days left! There will be more of a story concerning his final days in the future, here or there. Today we are only concerned with PORK!

Farmer H had his retirement dinner this afternoon. Okay, technically it was at 11:00 a.m. We strap on the old feedbag early in Hillmomba. Anyhoo...he brought home some of the spoils. Perhaps it's best not to use that term when discussing pork.

Farmer H said that for supper tomorrow night, he'd like a big baked potato, stuffed with the pulled pork, and BBQ sauce, shredded cheddar, sour cream, and bacon. Of course, we have all the makin's except for the potato. Which is kind of the star of the show, or co-star if you give the pulled pork equal billing, name to the left, but below the potato's upper-right position.

I only have some kind of waxy firm potato in the Mansion. Perhaps a Yukon Gold. One that doesn't get flaky or mushy when roasted with carrots and onions. You don't want a waxy firm potato as a baked platform for your pulled pork. That means I'll be going to the store again tomorrow, for about the 7th time this week. Oh, and I also need to get to the bank before it closes at noon, even though I was just there today, because (how dare he!) Farmer H brought home two extra checks.

Can you believe that Farmer H wants a portion of his own paycheck to spend on HIS TREASURES? A whole 14 hours worth of wages, for times he went in on his days "off" to help out.

Now that Farmer H is almost a full-time denizen of the Mansion, I think I'll take him on an introductory tour of the grocery store and the bank.

It's time he started pulling his own weight.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

We Give A Hoot, Mr. O'P

Yesterday afternoon, from my dark basement lair, I heard a ruckus out front. Juno was barking her fool head off. Then I heard her up on the porch, at various locations from kitchen to master bedroom. She really doesn't like Copper the neighbor dog, and is all big and bad and mouthy when he's walking around the yard, and she's up on the porch. So I figured it was just him, but the slight edge of hysteria in her bark made me suspicious.

I opened the front door and caught Juno in the act of baying, down at the end of the front porch, towards the goat-and-mini-pony pen. She stopped briefly to look at me guiltily, then turned and went back around, the long way, to her house. At that moment, I got a glimpse of Copper walking around the rose bush from the side yard. Uh huh. Darn that Sweet, Sweet Juno! False alarm. AND THEN something else caught my eye.

Right in front of the rose bush. In case you can't discern what it is...allow me the pleasure.

That's a possum, by cracky! And he ain't playin'! Maybe one of these days, the O'Possum family will get the memo that coming up on the porch to eat dry dog food at night is frowned upon by our resident fleabags.

Looks like Jack and his possum posse have been up to it again. This one was not as fresh as it might look. Since the dogs were so kind as to leave it right in front of where I sit on the porch pew every evening to administer their snack...I caught a whiff of it. Flies were using him for a landing strip. At least Jack hadn't partaken of him, to spoil his evening snack this time.

I sent Farmer H a text. "Your dogs are killers! It should be moved, as I got a whiff as I was investigating Juno's barking."

"Oh, I can get my tractor with the bucket, and move it when I get home."

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not see the necessity of a tractor, with the scoop loader thingy, for moving a simple deceased possum. It's not Paul Bunyan's possum, you know. I'd think a simple snow shovel and a 5-gallon bucket would suffice. But this is Farmer H country, where we have a special gadget for every task. I wouldn't be surprised if he told me he had a possum scoop attachment.

Anyhoo...after my walk, in time for the dogs' snack, I saw that the possum was gone. Since Farmer H has been known to chuck a dead possum down the main sinkhole, and threaten to throw one over a barbed-wire fence into Copper's Human Dad's field...I asked him what he did with it. He said he threw it on the other property (OURS) over by the barn.

That might explain why I heard an owl hooting over there.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mrs. HM Is A Holey Roller

Here's another product review from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Don't get your hopes up. It's not like that moment of weakness (okay, week of weakness) when I was touting the tastiness of those Twizzlers filled with Key Lime Pie flavor goop. This is more like that time I complained informed you of the rottenness of three white onions in a bag of four, purchased that very day from The Devil's Playground.

Today we talk about yesterday's experience with a pretzel hamburger roll from Country Mart. Yeah, I don't think you need to worry unless you're shopping at the Hillmomba Country Mart. I shy away from buying fresh foodstuffs there, because on more than one occasion I've discovered that their fresh foodstuffs were expired when I took them out of the bag to put away. a moment of weakness earlier in the week, I bought a bag of four pretzel hamburger rolls while I was picking up bananas for Farmer H on Sunday. The bakery section is adjacent to the produce, and they reeled me in. I would never eat a hamburger on a pretzel roll. Let's establish that fact right up front. I wanted the pretzel hamburger roll simply as a roll. The date on the bag was 08-28. That's way next week, you know. Even so, I put them in FRIG II as soon as I got home.

Last night, I took a roll to my dark basement lair. I've been leaving the light on for a while now, you know. It was not the first of the two remaining rolls that I took out of the bag, because that one had a little spot of mold on it! On 08-22, when it was supposed to be good until 08-28. But I was willing to let that slide. I had already enjoyed two rolls from the bag this week, and there was still another. I could probably have pinched off that tiny spot, and eaten it anyway, but I set it aside for the dogs, and grabbed the lone roll from the bag.

Anyhoo...I was happily wasting away time not-blogging, noshing on my pretzel roll with a side of baked chicken. Then all at once, I wasn't! I took a bite all right. But it was not satisfying. That's because I was eating AIR!

Believe you me, that's an exquisitely flattering photo of my pretzel hamburger roll. I posed it on a paper towel beside my purple bubba cup, trying to show the extent of the lack of roll...but I don't think infinity photographs well. That hole engulfs the entire interior of the roll!

Oh, well. Sometimes you make wise choices, and sometimes you have wise choices thrust upon you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

It's Not Me, It's Them

All during her leisure time, which is almost 24/7 now that she's retired...Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is persona incommunicado. Not by her choice, though she is a semi-recluse. Nobody has anything to say to her when she's available. Unless you count those telephone scammers. Otherwise, she sits in front of her New Delly, frittering away time that could be used productively.

You know what happens when she ventures out, right? The minute she hits the road, her phone blows up with folks who simply can't get along without her. Namely Farmer H, the #1 Son, and The Pony. #1 is off the hook this time. Since his declaration yesterday that he had traveled from College Town into the eclipse totality zone, and was contentedly day-drinking at a Mexican restaurant, and getting his science on, and assuredly NOT driving.

First cat out of the bag today, I got a text. I was on the blacktop county road, and not able to respond, until I pulled over at the turn-off to the field where the working dog protects the sheep. It was a picture. Of what, I'm not quite sure. I didn't put on my bifocals, since I don't drive with them. But I sent a quick text back to Farmer H to ask what it was.

TEETH. He said.

I found that out when I was stopped at the stop sign before pulling out onto the lettered county highway. Teeth. Hm. Stupid me. I'd assumed that if Farmer H sent me a picture while he was working, it must have something to do with his work. But at first glance, this photo looked like dog teeth. That'll teach me to assume.

Anyhoo...I found out later that it was a picture of two of HOS's (Farmer H's Oldest Son) teeth. On a square of gauze. He had them pulled today. And he's very happy about it, because they were hurting him so much last week that he went to the ER and got antibiotics.

A few miles farther down the road, I got a text from The Pony. I found that out when I glanced down at the phone while on the divided road that runs by the bowling alley. When I got to a stoplight in town, I read that he had bought some more textbooks. So I just thumbed a call to him, so as not to be a distracted driver.

We chatted until I got to the Casey's where I only buy lottery tickets, out by my bank. The two clerks were sitting out front (one of them had even brought a folding chair), having a smoke, talking to a lady smoking in a white car parked in front of the door. Since they were probably in no hurry to help me, I pulled in at my favorite spot over at the side, and continued with The Pony. Then he said he really needed to finish his shower, and go to campus, where he was meeting a friend to borrow a flash drive, having lost his when he laid it on a chair.

The rest of my errands were uneventful, and I made it back home by 1:00, to sit in front of New Delly with no human contact.

Such is the life of a retired Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sometimes, The Pettiness Astounds Me

Today at 11:30, with the total solar eclipse scheduled to begin any minute, Farmer H decided to take a drive to town. To see if there were a lot of people watching the total solar eclipse. He seemed bumfuzzled when I told him to take his eclipse glasses with him.

"I'm not going to be looking at the sun. I'm going to be looking at the people."

Such is the logic of Farmer H. I told him that he needed to be home by 1:00, because totality would be around 1:12, and only last for two minutes or so. Farmer H didn't even leave until nigh on 11:45. It is a 10-15 minute drive to town, and a 10-15 minute drive back, and one would imagine that looking at the disappearing sun in stages before the total eclipse might be part of the whole eclipse-viewing experience.

"Since you're going to town anyway, could you bring me back a soda?"

"Yeah. I can do that. Where do you want it from?"

"The gas station chicken store. But if they're out, from Orb K. And if they're out, then forget it, because I planned to make my own today anyway. If they're too busy, don't worry about it. Do I need to give you money?"

"Naw. I can buy you a soda."

I picked my jaw up off the floor, and pushed my luck.

"Can you get me two scratch-off tickets? Five-dollar ones? I'll give you the money. I'll even get you the losers so you can see which two I want."

"You know I'm no good at buying lottery tickets."

"I know. But it's only $10 of my money wasted. So you're saying you won't get them?"

"I'll get you a soda."

There you have it. Farmer H, going to town anyway, and standing right there at the counter, with a 44 oz Diet Coke sitting on the glass, could not be bothered to take 15 seconds and point at two tickets and buy them with the money I would provide.. Sweet Gummi Mary! It's not like I asked him to do anything out-of-the-way, or cash in a winner!

THEN he came home with my soda, and one for himself. All smug and crap.

"I got us TWO sodas for $2.50!"

Yes. I know they have a special that is buy one and get one for 75 cents. But I don't utilize that special, because really, WHO needs 88 oz of Diet Coke? My 44 and the 32 I add throughout the evening is plenty for a normal person. Sheesh!

THEN Farmer H said he was going to have a bacon sandwich for lunch. Let the record show that yesterday, I made carrots/potatoes/onions with Hidden Valley Ranch powder, and bacon draped over the top. I cooked TWO POUNDS of bacon. One pound was thick-sliced, the other regular. Farmer H ate some bacon and vegetables for lunch around 3:00, and then had a bacon sandwich for supper. And now, he wanted to have more bacon for lunch.

"Was that all the bacon?"

"Um...I made the thick-sliced for you, and the other I was going to use to make my own chicken/bacon/ranch pinwheels this week, plus have some for supper like I did last night."

"Oh. Because I only had five pieces, and there are just three left."

"Okay. So what are you going to have for supper? I had planned on you having bacon with the vegetables. But since you'll have eaten a pound of bacon in less than 24 hours, I guess I can come up with something else. Or you might as well eat my bacon. I can make you chicken chunks to go with your vegetables tonight."

With that, Farmer H stalked outside to MOW THE YARD while the eclipse was in progress. Eating NO lunch at all. I guess he showed ME! You'd think someone with diabetes might take better care of his blood sugar levels. But then again, he probably picked up some donuts while he was in town. Since they were out yesterday.

Seriously, people! Farmer H asked me to buy bologna and hot dogs for his lunches on the weekends, and he also had leftover Chinese chicken with rice and little baby corns and water chestnuts that I made for supper the other night. But no. He HAS to eat all the bacon as soon as he sees that it's cooked. Eat it until it's gone, so that I have to scramble for another supper menu.

And to think, Farmer H used to make fun of our neighbor, Copper's Human Dad, because he would sit at home, wasting away, complaining that his wife, who worked at The Devil's Playground, wasn't there to make him lunch. "You'd think the guy could open a can of soup for himself! That's just ridiculous, sitting around hungry, waiting for Copper's Human Mom to make him some lunch." Yeah. How the worm has turned.

I guess I'm lucky that Farmer H  deigned to bring me a 44 oz Diet Coke. And that he paid for it. He probably figures that his was $1.69, and mine was the 75 cents. Yet he couldn't even pick up two scratchers for me. The pettiness astounds me.

And I'm not talking about myself.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is SOOOO Stupid

I've been walking every day for quite a while now. At least six months, maybe more. Lately, my knees have been hurting, and sometimes an ankle. Or two. Over the last few days, I've noticed at night, when I settle back in my OPC (Old People Chair) that I have a swollen ankle. Last night, it was the right ankle. All puffy on the inner side. A couple days ago, it was the left ankle, which had been hurting as I walked one morning.

I'm not really worried about this new development. The ankles don't hurt all that bad. I DO spend time sitting in front of New Delly in my dark basement lair, and I've been taking off my socks and Crocs, what with my red great toe that is now almost normal color. It wouldn't surprise me that the swelling in my grindy knees settles in my ankles, and I notice it, now that my socks aren't holding everything in and covering up the swelling so that I don't notice it. No big deal. In the mornings before walking, the ankles are fine.'s been steamy hot again, even in the mornings. I try to get my walk done by 9:00 a.m. Today when I came in, I stood in the kitchen cooling off before my shower (don't want a George Costanza incident, where the shower doesn't take) by putting together some carrots/onions/potatoes for roasting, for several suppers this week. Then I showered and went to town.

When I came back, I put away the cooked veggies and washed the dishes. Then gathered my lunch and drinks to head downstairs. Of course I changed from town clothes to my regular Mansion clothes. I'm not one to wear a duster like my mom, which most people might call a housecoat or housedress. I just put on my dark blue sweatpants with the white stripe down the leg, and my big purple-and-white pin-striped shirt with buttons down the front, and my black Doc Ortho socks, and red Crocs. Don't be hatin' on my fashion!

As I stepped into my Crocs, I noticed that my left Croc fit more snugly than usual. Usual being loose, so loose that I have to be careful not to throw a shoe as I go down the 13 steps to the basement. I always hear my mom's advice as I start down those stairs. In my head, people! Not her literal voice! I remember her advice, which she always gave, at least a couple of times a week. "Honey, you be careful going down those stairs when you're home by yourself." I was thinking that as I went down, holding onto the stair pole thingies until I got too far down, noticing that my left shoe was in no danger of coming loose today.

"Huh. I guess that after my walk, and all that standing in the kitchen, the swelling in my knee is sinking into my ankle. My ankle doesn't hurt. And that knee doesn't hurt much, either. But I'm sure that's all it is."

You don't want tight Crocs, people! Even when you wear socks with them (sorry, don't be hatin', is alls I gotta say).

I got down the 13 steps, and into my office, and got ready to take off my Crocs under the desk and let my tootsies breathe. I looked down, and saw that the hem of my sweatpants was tucked up inside my left Croc. I pulled it loose, and that Croc as as roomy as normal.

I'm so stupid.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Like Farmer, Like Phone

Farmer H has selective hearing. I think he has somehow programmed his phone to have selective text-receiving. Not that he's a wizard with electronic gewgaws. Most likely by accident.

Yesterday, I saw some tall plastic Coke bottle banks. Everybody knows (and if they don't, it's because he hasn't met them yet) that Farmer H collects Coke stuff, and has a whole area of his BARn devoted to it. When I saw an endcap display at The Devil's Playground, I took a picture to send to Farmer H. Sorry to the guy I got in the background. I was consciously trying to wait until he moved, but I didn't have my glasses, and thought he'd walked far enough away. He's dressed quite formally to be in The Devil's Playground, don't you think?

"Do you have the tall Coke bank in red?"

I sent Farmer H a text, because I couldn't remember if his bank was red, or that clear green tinted one. He has a bank sitting in the bedroom at the end of the dresser, right by the entrance to the master bathroom. I walk past it MANY times a day and night, but I don't pay attention to it. I know it's about 1/3 full of pennies. But not the color.

I waited all of 30 seconds for a reply, and then worked my way back towards the checkout, stopping to pick up some Equate brand Pepcid, mint flavor. I got in line and waited. And waited. Still no reply. So I figured I'd reached the point of no return to that Coke bottle bank display. If Farmer H responded, I'd tell him that he could pick one up for himself the next day. Didn't look like they'd sell out by then.

Anyhoo...Farmer H called on the way home from work. It wasn't a scheduled work day for him, but he'd made two trips up there to get some junk that he wanted, one item being a camper shell off my dad's old pickup truck that Farmer H had sold to work many years ago, and now they were giving him for free, to save trash fees.

"Did you see the text I sent you?"


"Just before noon."

"I don't have a text from you."

"Look again. Go into the part that's only from me."

"No. I don't have one."

"Turn your phone off. And then back on. Like you did when you couldn't get texts from HOS."

A few minutes later, Farmer H sent me a text. "I got it now."

"Do you have one like that?"

"You know, I couldn't tell you the color."

Yeah. He's a selective text-receiver. And we're both a couple of unobservant doofuses. Turns out the Coke bottle bank he has IS red. Who knew?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Every Pill Has Its Popper

Every night I take one regular aspirin after supper, and one ibuprofen. The aspirin is because I begged my way off that demon Xarelto after my near-death due to multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms. I didn't think I was near death at the time, but a three-day hospital stay convinced me.

The ibuprofen is for my knees. They seem to feel better if I take one a day, in the evening. My doctor nurse practitioner says I should skip one every three days, and take acetaminophen in its place, to give my kidneys a rest. Seems ibuprofen is metabolized by the kidneys, and acetaminophen by the liver.

Every afternoon when I sit down at my New Delly in my dark basement lair, I lay out those two pills. That's so I don't forget. I see them every time I reach for a sip of my magical elixir. One aspirin. One ibuprofen.

On Sunday evening, I had a roast beef sandwich on Italian bread for my supper. I was internetting and blogging and catching up on Big Brother gossip discussion boards. Around 8:00, I noticed my aspirin still sitting there. So I took it. I usually take the ibuprofen around 10:00 or 11:00.

When I started looking for it at 10:00, there was no ibuprofen! I looked all around the yellow bubba cup of ice, my foam 44 oz cup of Diet Coke, my purple bubba cup of ice water. No little brown pill. I widened the search area to the Panasonic house phone on its charger, the woofer of my speaker set, the plastic container that holds the packets of Great Value Sugar Free Cherry Limeade. Nope. No ibuprofen anywhere!

Did I take it unconsciously, while I was fooling around on New Delly? Pop it in my mouth mindlessly, from habit? Let the record show that I was extremely achy on Monday morning. Almost as if I didn't take my ibuprofen! Or maybe it was just the weather. Or psychosomatic. A placebo in reverse. I hurt, so I assumed I took no medicine.

I never did solve the mystery. Just took the acetaminophen Monday night. It doesn't do much for me. But I keep hoping for at least a real placebo effect.

Tonight, I'm off the ibuprofen again. On purpose. No sense looking for it.

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...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.


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!"


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]."


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

"What PIN do you always use?"


"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.


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.


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."


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.