Friday, November 16, 2018

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, Heal Thyself

A part of my recent sickness involves a stuffy and sometimes painful ear when I swallow. It's like something needs to give. Poking my little finger in there, and trying to suction out whatever was stuffing up my ear canal, did nothing to alleviate the problem.

Nor did poking around inside there with the end of a cap from a red ink pen that sits on my dark basement lair desk. You know. Those plastic caps that cover the ball-point end. That stick-like part of it that clips onto your pocket. It didn't even feel particularly satisfying like when you sometimes get an ear-canal itch. No. I might even have made the stuffy-pain issue a tiny bit worse. Plus, it sounded like I was scraping the burnt off a piece of toast.

I probably shouldn't play a doctor or nurse-practitioner over the innernets. But then again, my treatment plan for the Posterior Tibial Tendonitis that I had in my left ankle has been a remarkable success! I can walk normally, without pain. Every now and then, like every night, mainly, I get a sharp shooting pain right there when I'm minding my own business, cooling my heels in my OPC (Old People Chair). It also hurts at night, if I get up without stretching it before standing on it. But I'd say that I've made a remarkable recovery.

I'm pretty sure I'll get over this cold, and the ear stuffy-pain, too. Just don't butter any toast around me for a while.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Drug-Seeking With Mrs. HM

I almost said that to my doctor nurse practitioner on Monday, you know. While waiting in the exam room for him to enter, I knew he would say, "What brings you here today?" So I figured I could say, "Oh, I'm just a drug-seeker." Because, you know, I was only there for a routine 6-month visit, to get refills on my prescriptions for another 6 months.

I decided against it, though. You never know how a medical professional might take that. They might think it was a cry for help, or that I really was a drug-seeker. I'm sure he's heard it before. It's probably like how an airline pilot stewardess might not react favorably to somebody jumping up and yelling, "HI, JACK!"

Anyhoo...I called in my prescription refills this morning around 10:00. Sometimes they'll have them ready by the time I go to town. I get notified by text. But the automated man on the refill line kept repeating that my prescriptions had expired, and it would take an extra day to contact the doctor. Well. It does not. But you can't program an automated line to recognize that the medical office has sent refills over the innernets, I guess. That could be subject to drug-seeking hackers. In the old days, with a paper scrip, I'd drop it off and they'd put that refill notice in my file until mine ran out, then they'd check, and didn't have to contact the office.

Anyhoo...I figured the meds wouldn't be ready today. They're for my missing thyroid and my blood pressure. Nothing to sneeze at, but I always have a few pills left when I start the refill process. Unlike Farmer H, who goes the very day he runs out, or sometimes even a day after, saying, "One day isn't gonna hurt me." With 4-8 inches of snow in the Wednesday evening forecast, I didn't even think I'd be able to pick up those meds until Friday or Saturday. No big deal. I had enough to get me through.

Well. I'd come home from town, and had just consumed a big cup of vegetable beef soup (the canned version), several ounces of Diet Coke, and a bubba cup of ice water, when my phone buzzed to tell me that my prescriptions were ready. Okay. I could run back to town to pick them up. Before the snowstorm. I ascended from my lair, put my town clothes back on, took a potty break for all those fluids, and checked the cabinet for cough drops.

Farmer H had told me, upon my return (the first time Wednesday) from town, that I should have gotten myself some Mucinex, for my cough. I don't really like Mucinex, so I asked him if we still had cough drops. He said we did. THAT'S WHY I CHECKED BEFORE LEAVING HOME! Of course I found two bags of "throat soothers" that look like cough drops, but don't affect the cough, which I had bought for Genius quite some time ago. Oh, and there was a bag of cough drops, cherry flavor, that actually suppress a cough. Uh huh. There was a BAG of cough drops. No cough drops. Just the BAG. Empty.

Anyhoo...while picking up my prescriptions, I also got two bags of actual cough drops. A sugar-free version, dark purple in color, in case Farmer H needs them. And a bag of Honey Lemon, which I prefer. I think I'm set for a blizzard. We'll see what develops.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

You Know Mrs. HM Is Sick When She Doesn't Drive To Town For Her 44 Oz Diet Coke And Scratchers

Yeah. I'm sick. With a stuffy head that makes me (even more) unstable, and watering eyes that wanted no part of driving through the bright sun reflecting off what was left of the snowy landscape... I told Farmer H that I had no intention of getting in T-Hoe. Not even for my magical elixir and lottery.

Do you know what he said?

"Do you want me to go get you a soda?"

YES!!! That was quite a change from a day or two ago, when I was complaining whining just telling him about how bad I felt, and he said, "HM. You just have a cold."

So, while I was frying hamburger to throw in spaghetti sauce with some mushrooms, and boiling rigatoni, and heating some garlic bread in the oven, all for HIS lunch...Farmer H drove off to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke. AND some scratchers, which I gave him the money for, a winner to cash in, and some losers to show what the tickets looked like that I wanted. PLUS a list of those very tickets. You can't hit Farmer H over the head hard enough with instructions.

He was back before his lunch was done. I spent 40 minutes on it. Plus another 20 cleaning up.

Oh, the scratchers he got for me? Every one a loser.

But I knew that before I even scratched them. I don't know what I was thinking, letting Farmer H touch my tickets. He's like a medicine that they prescribe for alcoholics to keep them from drinking. Only he comes without a prescription, and works for gamblers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Elderly Gentleman

When I left the third-floor lab on Monday, after my blood-drawing, I walked out to the elevator area. An older gentleman was standing there, waiting. I saw that he had already pushed the button.

"Going down. Good!"

He smiled, and it was such a ray of sunshine on that dreary day that I was taken aback. The vibe I got from this guy was SO POSITIVE! I hardly know how to explain it. He seemed to emit good cheer. The elevator arrived, and he stepped back and motioned me ahead. Such a nice guy!

I pressed the bar for MAIN LOBBY, and asked if that where he was going, and he said yes. I said, "That's good. My ride is waiting down there for me." Though it was actually only Farmer H himself, waiting to walk me to my ride.

We chatted a bit on the way down, Elderly Gentleman and I. It's a slow elevator. I mentioned that it looked like they'd re-done it since I was there last, six months ago. And he said, "Oh, you must be healthy, if you haven't been here in six months." I replied that SO FAR, it's been going pretty good.

I don't think I've ever encountered a person who exuded such positive energy, without trying, and so calm and soft-spoken. I guess if you can get evil vibes from folks, you can also get good vibes.

I wasn't worthy of his company.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Let's Hope These Are Not Mrs. HM's Last Words

As I type in my dark basement lair, it is Sunday evening, right before feeding time for Farmer H. The weather forecast shows SNOW for Monday. An 82% chance for 1-3 inches, starting around 3:00 p.m. We are under a Winter Weather Advisory, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Monday.

Why am I bothering to tell you about the Hillmomba weather? Because it means I WILL BE RIDING WITH FARMER H tomorrow morning, to my regularly scheduled doctor nurse practitioner appointment! So if you never see anything to read again here, THAT'S WHY!

I instructed Farmer H to put fresh cedar chips in the dog houses for the cold snap which appears to be the new normal. Good thing he did. It was his THIRD warning to do so. I also told him to check Juno's ear, because something smelled not-so-good when she greeted me on the side porch. Farmer H reported that Juno's ear is not smelly, but that she has a big deer leg inside her house. So there's that.

He also said that Juno spends her days in her Farmer-H-built insulated house with the shingled roof, which is right outside the kitchen door. And her nights in a store-bought house on the end of the porch, the side by the goat and mini-pony pen, with Jack. They sleep in separate houses, both alike, with the doors facing each other.

Farmer H didn't exactly volunteer to sweave me over to bill-paying town for my appointment. I mentioned the weather, and asked if he wanted to sweave me. So he agreed. There's also a chance for freezing rain. I don't like to mess with that, but I AM perfectly capable of driving T-Hoe in such a mess. I managed to transport both boys and myself to Newmentia, Lower Basementia, and Elementia all those years without incident. Even though one time it took us TWO HOURS to make the 30-minute drive home, when we were dismissed early. Huh. Not early enough!

If I was still working, this forecast would have me whipped into a frenzy! I'd understand that the snow wasn't supposed to arrive until the time school let out. But there's always hoping the TV weathermen are wrong in the GOOD kind of way. Besides, the school wouldn't want a repeat of that time when they were stuck with students late into the evening, and had to feed them, and even assigned the athletic director to drive some home in his JEEP, with parent permission, of course, because they couldn't make it to school.

The boys and I barely dodged that bullet, because the counselor of Newmentia, who was acting in place of the principal, told me to get on out of there. The hill between Newmentia and the main road was ice-covered. THREE cars had slid off the embankment. Let me tell you, I put T-Hoe in 4 Wheel LOW, and inched my way down. The main office had decreed that none of our buses would traverse that hill until further notice. That was the problem. Middle School kids from Lower Basementia couldn't get up it, to pick up the Newmentia students to complete the routes. Elementia students could get to Newmentia to pick up their older bus riders, but couldn't go down it to complete their routes. That's how Newmentia ended up with High School students and Elementary students, to hold them for safekeeping until their parents could come get them, or the roads were passable.

Yeah. I wouldn't be surprised if some schools cancel classes around here, just from the forecast. But even if they don't, such a forecast always puts me in a good mood. Even though I will be riding with Farmer H.

Made it back safe and sound! No precip yet, at 11:18 on 11/12. Guess I cried sweaver wolf too soon! Found out I'm still on Newmentia's automated call list. They're dismissing at 12:30. I'm pretty excited. Even though it doesn't affect me.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Hillmomba, Where Molehills Are Touted As Mountains

Just like our winter moved directly into summer, with barely a springlike couple of days...our summer has now turned to winter! We enjoyed maybe a week of 40-degree nights, and 65-degree days. On Friday night, Jack Frost paid a visit.

Okay. So it wasn't Jack Frost. It was his more cantankerous buddy, Old Man Winter. I saw it when I went to bed around 3:00 a.m. The front yard was covered with a dusting of snow. By the time I got around to leaving the Mansion Saturday morning, it had melted.

There were some remnants on the leaf pile behind the garage when I got back home. It actually looks more like sleet than snow. This is the ledge the dogs jump off of when chasing squirrels into the back yard. Still has green grass. The sun doesn't really reach this little section behind the garage until evening. Temps hovered at 35 and under during my noontime town trip.

More flurries on the patch of moss that Copper Jack loves to lay on in the heat. He's a big would-be sweaty dog, if dogs were able to sweat. I don't know about that dark area that looks like poop, though I can assure you that it is NOT poop. I stood right by it while getting groceries out of T-Hoe's back side. Maybe it's where the dead leaves blew away? Where the moss didn't grow on the mud, due to being covered up out of the light? I'm thinking it's just a bunch of accumulated dirt and decaying leaves that got wet in the rain a couple days ago, and didn't dry out, then the leaves blew off.

Anyhoo...I was kind of excited to see a little snow so early in the year. Usually, we don't see anything but occasional flurries until after the Christmas holidays. Believe me, I'd know. Teachers LIVE for snow days! The slightest suggestion sends us to our weather sources, diligently hanging onto every word of hope that those liars the TV meteorologists toss out like so much cheap candy at a high school homecoming parade.

Yes, I was excited, until I clicked on blog buddy Kathy's pictures. Let the record show that she IS located a little farther north, in the middle of the state, while Hillmomba is on the eastern border. We get her weather leftovers! Still, she's not THAT much farther north. It's not like she's at the North Pole.

Yeah. I'm kind of embarrassed, now, about proclaiming our first snow.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

A Relapse, Perhaps?

When I ascended the 13 steps from my lair on Friday evening, to prepare Farmer H his requested meal of fish and fries, I heard him breathing. I suppose that's a good thing. To hear him breathing assured me that he was alive. But normally, you shouldn't hear someone breathing from across a room, and halfway below it. Then I heard him wheezy-cough.

"Ooh! Have you had a relapse?"

"I don't know. Maybe. I forgot to take my medicine at 10:00 this morning. So I'll take it here in a minute when I eat."

"Well, you can't take it at bedtime. It won't be far enough apart."

"I know. I won't."

"You can still use VICKS. That should help."

"Yeah. I will."

Let the record show that Farmer H sounded great the last time I overheard him breathing, around 5:00 a.m. He was up and showered and to his Storage Unit Store by 8:30. Let the record further show that the temperature was 35 degrees. Farmer H reported, during my wakeup call at 9:15, that he was sitting in his TrailBlazer (with a new rear left tail light).

"Is that good for you? Sitting like that? You can't do it all day."

"No. I get out and walk around. Go talk to the owner. Use the port-a-potty. I sold a $3 backpack to my buddy!"

"Hm. That's good. I guess."

"Yeah. I have a lady who wants to buy those dog crates. I put it on Buy/Sell/Trade. She said she's sending her husband to pick them up. I told her I'd be here until noon."

"Well. You probably shouldn't. It's COLD!"

"I know. That's why I'm in my car."

Okay. Farmer H is not taking good care of himself, by forgetting his medicine and sitting in a car at 35 degrees. When I went by at 10:30, the TrailBlazer was not at the Storage Unit Store. Farmer H had mentioned going to the pharmacy for his prescriptions, so I didn't think much of it. Then he sent a text that the dog crate man showed up, and he was leaving to go on a Goodwill tour.

As far as Farmer H is concerned, today was a grand success. "I usually don't sell much on Fridays, anyway. I made $43 today! Three on the backpack, and $20 each for the dog crates."

Let the record show that he got the two giant wire dog crate/kennels from back creek neighbor Bev for nothing. She's always giving him stuff. I saw them in the back of Farmer H's truck, and they took up the whole bed of that pickup. He had another lady offer him $25 apiece, but he had already sold them to the first one to come get them.

I hope he makes a full recovery in the next couple days. I have a sore right ear, and a tickle down inside my right lung. Coincidentally, the side that is exposed to Farmer H and his breather while sleeping. Farmer H might have to take care of me.

Huh. I could swear I just heard laughing.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Feelin' Groove-y

Farmer H, although still professing to feel poorly from his sickness (mentioned yesterday), seems to have made a remarkable recovery. He went to bed around 11:00 Wednesday night, after the auction, and slept until 9:00 Thursday morning. I could tell that his breathing was easier, and that his cough was looser. Also, his voice didn't sound like he was talking with his head in a bucket. All after only two doses each of the over-the-counter Anefrin and Mucinex recommended by his pharmacist.

Farmer H went to his Storage Unit Store to move things around. Then came back home for stuff to take up there. However, he had a sudden change of plans. When I told him I was headed to The Devil's Playground, just as soon as I could get ready...he asked, "Did I have anything free this week from the casino?"

Uh huh. The old play-sick-and-switch strategy! He had declared Wednesday night that he had no plans for Thursday, other than his Storage Unit Store reorganization. "I'm not going anywhere. I don't feel like my Goodwill shopping."

Riiiggghhhht. The minute I said I was getting in the shower, then to town, Farmer H decided that he felt well enough to drive to the city to the casino. What a miraculous recovery! If only I had known about this plan, more than five minutes before its execution, I might have wanted to ride along! Funny how things worked out.

Oh, well. I might as well build up that casino bankroll for an Oklahoma trip when we meet The Pony in two weeks. Farmer H sent a text when he left the casino. "I spent $100.00. Cashed out $98.26. Lost $1.74, and got a $15 gift card for The Devil's Playground."

Just my luck, I get left behind on the day the casino is paying not stealing as much as usual!

In other news, I think I might be coming down with a debilitating skull-eroding illness! I have a GROOVE in my head! Yeah. You read that right. It's a freakin' GROOVE! Starts about my hairline, in the area above the middle of my right eyebrown. I swear, it's about 2 inches long, and as thick as a wooden pencil. Not very deep, though. Maybe a couple of millimeters.


I didn't notice it until about a month ago. Or six weeks. One night, sitting in my OPC (Old People Chair), I ran my hand along my scalp, and felt it! Surely it hasn't been there all my life. I would have noticed it. There's no pain, or any indication that something is amiss. I made Farmer H feel it, and he agreed that I have a hole GROOVE in my head.

I'm not EVEN going to Google it! If you do, and find out that something is eating my brain from the inside, and moving on to my skull, and will erupt through my scalp...don't tell me!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Sleepless In Hillmomba

Farmer H has a cold. I pity the fool who has to take care of him. Wait! That would be me.

I think he picked up a virus at the casino last Thursday. Payback in advance for his little hissy-fit on the way home, after I asked him what he meant about "Pam called Santa." Farmer H thinks he might have caught it from his buddy's wife at the auction on Friday night. To which I wanted to ask, "Just how close ARE you to your buddy's wife?" She's 80, you know.

Anyhoo...I remember that on Friday night, Genius called, and I heard Farmer H telling him, "I think I'm coming down with something." So that was BEFORE the auction. And the right timing to have been infected at the casino. You never know what's on those slot machines from other people's fingers. Nor do I like to think about the ballpoint pens being reused at the voting precinct, or the stylus thingy that we had to use to sign in.

Anyhoo...Farmer H is on his death-La-Z-Boy. Tuesday night, he even sat in it from 10:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., after going to bed at 8:00, then re-arising. He does sound pretty bad, with his chest congestion. The cough isn't too bad to my ears, but Farmer H said he got out of breath walking from the BARn to the house. That's why we have a Gator! But he'd had me drop him off over at his truck, which lives by the Freight Container Garage, and the Gator was parked under the carport by the house.

Anyhoo...I told Farmer H on Saturday that he should go by the pharmacy, just down the hill from his Storage Unit Store, and ask about some over-the-counter cold remedies, since he was coming down with something. "It's going to be Sunday, with no doctors or pharmacies open. So you might want to plan ahead." Of course he did not.

Anyhoo...after being Sleepless in Hillmomba most of Tuesday night (he needs at least 10 hours a night or he's like those Snickers-needing people in the commercials), Farmer H went to his pharmacy on Wednesday morning. Where he got some Anefrin to spray up his nose, and some Mucinex to squeeze fluid out of his lungs.

"It was YOUR pharmacy, right? So they know your medicines? And nothing should interact with them?"

"She DID say Anefrin might make my blood pressure go up. But it shouldn't be too bad, since it's controlled by my medicine. And not to take the Anefrin for more than 5 days."

"Okay...I guess that won't kill you."

"I talked to the actual pharmacist. Not just some worker."

Yeah. I guess that's good enough.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Devil Is Rushing The Season

Imagine my surprise on Tuesday, when I turned onto the approach road to The Devil's Playground, and saw THIS up against the front wall:

Sweet Gummi Mary! The temperature was 62 degrees, with 49 shopping days still left before Christmas! The aisle that held Halloween candy less than a week ago was FILLED WITH CHRISTMAS CANDY!

Anybody remember the good old days, when Christmas decorations didn't come out until after Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

We Grow Complacent With Dependency On Technology

Farmer H would have no idea what that title was about. The truth is, that title is about HIM!

I was sitting at the end of the gravel road around noon on Monday, getting ready to clamber out of T-Hoe to get the mail, when I saw Farmer H's TrailBlazer coming down the hill. He stopped to chat. Not so much chat, as confess.

"I had a wreck."

"What? Are you okay?"

"Yeah. I backed into a truck at the repair shop. See? The tail light is busted. Mick the Mechanic has ordered a bulb for me. I left my insurance card with him. He's going to tell the guy who owns the truck. I'm not even claiming ours on insurance. We have a $500 deductible, anyway."

Here's the thing. There was no reason for Farmer H to even be at the repair shop. We've had work done on our vehicles there, and Farmer H likes to shoot the bull with the proprietor. I guess that's what he was doing there. Imagine being the owner of that truck, who took it to get worked on, and then finds out that it's now been in a wreck!

Farmer H can't see out of his left eye. He's had plenty of time to get used to this fact, and adjust. Let the record show, he could only see out of one eye when he took his driver's test at 16, since that injury happened at 14. He has no restrictions on his driver's license. But he DOES like that back-up camera in A-Cad. I can't use it, myself. Doesn't seem right. I have to turn and watch, but I DO like the beeper when something is behind me. A beeper which has not worked in T-Hoe for several years.

Anyhoo...the TrailBlazer is a 2002. Very old in vehicle years. It doesn't have the bells and whistles. I suppose Farmer H has grown lax in backing, now that he's spoiled with A-Cad. I've also noticed his reliance on the back-up camera when we took The Pony's Rogue to get new tires put on a couple months ago.

I'm glad that nobody was hurt. And that I wasn't there to face the wrath of the truck owner. I imagine Farmer H will get the bulb for the TrailBlazer, and replace it himself, along with the red plastic light cover that was shattered.

He's handy like that.

Monday, November 5, 2018

I Suppose Somebody Else Needed Them More

Sometimes it's hard to determine which side of Even Steven's graces you're currently on. Are you getting back the good karma you've put out, or are you on the downswing, having your fortunes Even-Stevened out, to put you back on even keel? It goes without saying that Mrs. HM does not deserve the downside of the Evening! Right? She's not an evil person. Doesn't even speak her mind (in person) when she's been wronged.

Anyhoo...I usually find several pennies through the week, which I consider to be Pennies From Heaven. Letting me know that I'm on the right track, being thought of, and just generally that I'm an okay person. What goes around comes around, you know. But with my lottery wins, I notice hot streaks, where I win more than the odds would predict, and then frigid streaks, where everything I touch loses like it purchased by Farmer H's big ol' bear paws.

I did not find a single penny this week.

Huh. Have I been a bad gal? No. I don't think so. Although I did NOT stop to visit my mom at the cemetery this week. That's because on my usual visiting day of Friday, the workers had a tractor out, digging a grave. I don't know about you, but when that happens, I go by the motto: If the groundskeepers are excavatin', don't go a-converatin'. It would be impolite, it think. Like going into that area during a funeral.

Anyhoo...on Sunday, my trip to town lasted about 45 minutes. As I left, I had a text from Farmer H telling me his whereabouts for the next four hours (auction, of course). I sent out a text to The Pony, since he had not responded the night before. This one just asked if he was okay. Which he was, one minute later, when he replied that he was on a date. Whoopsie! Excuse me! Must have been a lunch date, but I didn't pry.

Anyhoo...I went in The Gas Station Chicken Store to cash in a $50 winner. Then to Country Mart to pick up a couple tickets. I did not find a penny in either extablishment. So this week was starting off barren in the Future Pennyillionaire department as well.

While driving home, I was thinking about The Pony when I turned onto our gravel road, since that's where I'd received the text from him. I was hoping he had a good time (NOT LIKE THAT!). Coming up our driveway, I was thinking about my mom and her slaw, and clicking through the radio stations for a good song before I put T-Hoe in the garage where the music dies.

THAT SONG WAS ON THE RADIO! The one that reminds me of Mom. "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye." By Patty Loveless.

Heh, heh. I guess Mom has no bones to pick with my behavior last week. Nor Even Steven. I won $65 on the tickets I bought.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

This Is Why We Can't Receive Nice Things

Wouldn't you know it? The very same day that I read about the latest mail truck wreck in Hillmomba, I got home to find somebody else's mail in EmBee's gullet!

It was only a political advertisement postcard. We get so many each day, from both parties, and a buttload from individual candidates, that one more doesn't really matter to our wastebasket. However...some lady didn't get her mail!

Sorry, Some Lady, that I threw it right in the trash, and didn't try to find you. Yes, I am aware that I am violating a federal law by destroying someone else's mail. But by the time I took it back to the dead mouse smelling post office on Saturday, and they sent it over to the main post office on Monday for re-delivery, this would arrive after election time. Even barring a MAIL TRUCK ACCIDENT! Besides, I'm pretty sure you know who you want to vote for by now.

Here's the thing. This address is not even remotely close to being OUR address. Of the street numbers, only one of the four was the same as one of ours. We don't live on a highway. The town is not even the same! This lady lives way over in Bill-Paying Town, at least 20 miles from us. So we are NOT the CURRENT RESIDENT of that address.

Do you think Some Lady got Farmer H's mailer of casino comps for November, from our newest favorite casino? The one that gives coupons for actual MONEY instead of free play? We usually get $20 for each week. I got my comps. Farmer H did not.

They're probably in somebody's wastebasket.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Hillmomba Triangle

I might have mentioned once or twice that we've had a spate of mail truck accidents in Hillmomba. They were in mid-September, and I worried about my DISH bill making it to DISH people on time. They never send it out in a timely manner, you know, nor credit it right away. I guess those DISH people are too busy listening to the cat and his fiddle, and contemplating chucking the whole work-for-a-lving thing, and making plans to run away with the spoon. It doesn't help that we have the Hillmomba Triangle, more dangerous to mail trucks than its North Atlantic cousin is to ships and planes.

Anyhoo...I know my DISH payment arrived with a day to spare in October. My other bills don't give me such a short window of time between arrival of the statement, and due date of the payment. So I sometimes will drop them off at the drive-thru mailbox on the street across from the dead mouse smelling post office.

Of course The Universe and Even Steven are having a real chucklefest right now. Me...not so much. I opened up the online Daily Hillmomban newspaper Friday morning, and was shocked to see a headline:

One Injured After Mail Truck Overturns on Old Hillmomba Road

A U.S. Postal Service employee was injured in a rollover crash at 9:30 a.m. Thursday on Old Hillmomba Road.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol report, Mail Lady X, 39, of Bill-Paying Town, was driving a 1994 Grumman LLV mail truck westbound on Old Hillmomba Road just east of Private Industrial Road when the vehicle ran off the left side of the roadway. The vehicle struck a tree and a fence and then overturned.

She was wearing her seat belt and was transported to Hillmomba Health Center North with minor injuries.

It's good to hear that the Mail Lady had only minor injuries. Not so good to hear that THIS HAPPENED BETWEEN THE MAIN POST OFFICE AND THE DEAD MOUSE SMELLING POST OFFICE.

So much for my credit card bill that I mailed at the DMSPS drive-thru mailbox on Wednesday afternoon. Since I drive by this wreck area at least 3 times a week, I know from the pictures and description that this Mail Lady was heading TOWARD the DMSPS, on the way to pick up the mail there, after dropping off mail from the main post office.

I'm thinking my credit card bill should be safe. If, perhaps, a day later than I anticipated. There's still a good window of time for that one to arrive at its destination.

Friday, November 2, 2018

It Was, After All, My Old Personal Motto

Perhaps you've noticed a thread running through this blog. An underlying theme that reveals the true nature of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. She lives her life in a state of perpetual pissed-offed-ness.

I can't help it. I was born that way. Spending 28 years holding my tongue in the teaching profession did nothing to improve my temperament. It's not that I mean anything by it. Not even that I'm truly incensed. But when stuff bothers, me, I have to let it out, and this is the place. I don't throw things, or go on screaming tirades, or plot tit-for-tat revenge on my detractors. I rarely even speak my mind in a modulated voice. I hold it in, until I can let it out here.


That used to be my personal motto, you know. They just do. I'm not a people person. I'll be polite, and expect to get politeness in return. But if I don't...


Thursday, for instance, when I accompanied Farmer H to our old favorite casino on his weekly Goodwill tour.

It seem like every time I go into the women's restroom (where else would I go) of the attendants follows me. Not so much follows me, like into a stall, or with evil intent to rob or assault. But one always appears. Sweet Gummi Mary! You'd think I'd been caught squatting in the vestibule and smearing waste products all over the walls and ceiling. I assure you that I have NOT. Been caught. Nor done the act. On the contrary! I even wipe down the counter if I've spattered water on it while reaching for a paper towel after washing my hands.

Anyhoo...Thursday, I came out of the stall, with two minutes left until time to meet up with Farmer H near the entrance. I went to the sink area to wash my hands. There are 8 sinks, people. Four on each side. A big wide area between them. I went to the right side. Sink #2 of the 4. In the mirror, I saw an attendant rush in, and go to the other bank of sinks.

The soap dispenser was not dispensing at my sink. I tried numerous times. Occasionally, I don't move my hands in the manner to which those sensors are accustomed, and it takes several tries. But this one was obviously out of soap. So I moved over to Sink #3.

That's when the Attendant rushed over to my bank of sinks. She flung open the cabinet door between sinks 2 and 3. Then she darted behind me, and flung open the cabinet between sinks 3 and 4. Seriously? She had to make this move right that instant, when I was the only one in there, and using those sinks?

This left me trapped between two open cabinet doors, about hip-high. Okay. I wasn't trapped, trapped. Not penned in. Not restricted from leaving. But who wants to dry their hands with an Attendant breathing down their thighs? I turned and went to the other bank of sinks, where I fished out some paper towels from the countertop dispenser, and then took a tissue (NOT Puffs With Lotion) from the wall-mounted dispenser, and blew my nose.

Let the record show that once I left the first sink bank, the Attendant rushed over to the big trash bin in the corner, by the entrance. I can't say door, because there isn't one. Just a large opening, across from the opening to the men's restroom, with a drinking fountain along the wall connecting the openings. Meanwhile, the Attendant had left behind, sitting out on the floor, all the full wastebaskets that she'd moved out from under the chrome-lined holes in the counter for dropping your paper towels and tissues in. I have no idea what she was fiddling with.

If I'd been a vengeful person, I might have dropped my tissue and paper towel into one of those openings, to fall into the open cabinet bereft of wastebasket to catch it. But I am not. I balanced my used paper products on top of one of the full wastebaskets.

And rushed out to meet Farmer H, afraid to look over my shoulder to see if I was being followed.

It's not that the Attendant did anything wrong. I would think that perhaps one might dump the wastebaskets from the side of the room where nobody is using the sinks, and then get the wastebaskets from the other side of the room when the only person using them has finished a hand-washing routine which generally takes one minute or less.

People piss me off.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Playing Poke 'Er. Not Nearly As Much Fun As Playing Poker.

Last Thursday, we went to our new favorite casino with my sister the ex-mayor's wife, and of course the ex-mayor. They're a package deal. One won't go anywhere without the other. Perhaps they're afraid they might wake up in a roadside motel bathtub full of ice with a kidney missing.

Anyhoo...they finished the day as winners, thanks to Sis hitting a jackpot. Farmer H lost a couple of twenties, and I lost $5 over half of what I took to gamble away. wasn't a terrible day for me or Farmer H. My money depleted more rapidly than usual, and I was not willing to dip into the portion I'd planned for later. I kind of know how much I want to spend per hour, and stick to it.

With an hour still left before the dinner buffet opened, I headed for the poker machines. I haven't played them in a long time. It takes longer to lose my money on them, because I only bet the minimum, which is 25 cents per spin. Let the record show that I put my last (time period) twenty in that machine, and with Sis looking over my shoulder waiting for me to walk to the buffet...I cashed out $19.75. I could have left at $22 when Sis found me, but I told her, "Just let me play it down to $20. That's what I started with. However...I was talking to her, and accidentally hit the DEAL button. Still. I had played for an hour and only lost 25 cents. That's pretty good for Mrs. HM.

Which brings us to Wednesday's game of Poke 'Er, concerning Juno's big fat ear. When I was throwing out onion skins after dicing onions for a pot of soup, I saw that my Sweet, Sweet Juno's right ear had filled with fluid again. She was romping around on the porch, not convalescing like an invalid. She'd start to shake her head, then stop. At least she didn't list to the side when she walked. The ear had a healthy pink tint on the underside, but was definitely swollen near its limit again.

I sent Farmer H a text as soon as I got home from town. I knew he was back home from his earlier gallivanting, because the TrailBlazer was parked at the BARn, which had the big door open.

"Juno's ear needs draining!"

"Can you hold her"

"Yeah, I'll go put on my dirty clothes."

"Ok I'll be over in a minute"

I changed out of town clothes, into clothes that wouldn't matter if they were squirted with dog blood, or covered with burs, or picked up the smell of wet dog. And old shoes, too.

Farmer H brought the second needle he'd bought, rather than the one he'd rinsed out the day before. We lured the patient to the front porch with half a slice of Nutty Oat bread soaked in hamburger grease from the soup preparations. Jack did his best to disrupt the operation, but a scrap of the bread, and Farmer H's "encouragement" drove him away.

Juno was quite suspicious, even though Farmer H had hidden the syringe on the front porch pew. She followed me there, sniffed the grease bread again, really wanted it, but turned to slink away. As if we wouldn't notice her leaving against medical advice!

I put the bread on my knee, which lured her back. I leaned over as if to hug her, and got a firm grip around her belly, kind of lifting her front legs off the porch boards. Well. Miss Juno no longer wanted the grease bread, and became fidgety. A bit of sweet-talking made her eat the treat, as Farmer H stepped into place with his giant syringe.

Poor Juno whimpered as Farmer H stabbed her. Nothing came into the syringe, so he stabbed her again. Another whimper. Of course I was whispering sweet nothings into Juno's good ear, explaining that we were actually HELPING HER FEEL BETTER. Not sure if she bought it, or if she just heard "Wah wah wah" like a Charlie Brown lesson.

The second time was the charm, and the syringe filled halfway with watery dog blood. The ear collapsed considerable. Farmer H said to let her go, that a lot had come out, and with two holes in the skin, some more would drain slowly. I'm not sure if the needle hurt the most, or if Farmer H's grip on the swollen ear caused the whimpering.

Anyhoo...once we were done, Juno slunk around the porch to her house, leaving a small puddle of watery ear-blood at my feet. Which Jack investigate, and gave a lick or two. For her trouble, I went back through the house, and grabbed another half-slice of grease bread. This I tossed into Juno's house, where I couldn't see her in the dark (rainy day here in Hillmomba), but heard her feathery tail thumping.

"Here, Juno. You were a very brave girl!"

I'm saving some grease bread for bait on Friday. As Hick says, Juno will soon grow suspicious of grease bread. Maybe he should have HOS come back to assist the next operation.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

It's A Sad Day When I Have To Tell Farmer H To Keep His Hands Off The Sausage

Sunday evening, Farmer H grilled some pork steaks and bratwursts. The pork steaks came in a package of three, and the bratwursts were a six-pack.

Let the record show that these were not commercially-processed sausages, such as the Johnsonville brand. We've had them, but prefer the ones I get at Save A Lot. They are made in Save A Lot's meat department, and are a little longer, and less uniformly-shaped than the standard commercial bratwurst. We've tried different flavors, decreed a moratorium on the jalapeno version, and decided we like the plain bratwursts. While I'd never want to see the sausages being made, I do love the pop of the natural casing when biting into one that Farmer H has cooked on Gassy G.

As usual, Farmer H carried the meat into the Mansion on a foil-covered pizza pan. It's a shock that he doesn't lose his sausage by letting it roll away from him. We also had a lettuce salad with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and shredded cheddar, along with some baked beans that proclaimed themselves to be the steakhouse version. I was not a fan of the beans. Farmer H was not a fan of the slaw, and did not partake.

Anyhoo...I told Farmer H to get his plate, and then set my food aside while I put the next two days' leftovers in FRIG II, and washed up the dishes. We both ate part of a pork steak, and a sausage, leaving four sausages, and one and two-halves pork steaks, for future meals.

Farmer H had plans to attend an auction on Monday evening, requiring him to leave home at 4:30. He said he'd get his own meal warmed up, to eat before he left, and that he didn't need a salad that night.

Imagine my surprise, when I opened up the meat container later to warm my own supper, and found all the pork steak pieces remaining, and only two sausages (when I was expecting to see three). Seems that Farmer H had warmed up two sausages with the beans for his supper. I assume because it was the EASIEST thing to do. Or maybe relating to the fact that those were really good sausages!

Therein lies the problem. Unchecked, Farmer H would think nothing of eating two of the remaining sausages for his lunch the next day, and the whole pork steak for his supper. THAT'S NOT FAIR! We were each due three sausages and 1.5 pork steaks. Spread out over three days. I woudn't mind at all eating my half a pork steak, and Farmer H's remaining half from the first night. He could have that whole one all to himself on the third night. IT'S THE SAUSAGE, PEOPLE! I demand my fair share of the sausage!

I think maybe I need to find a hobby, now that Farmer H is fully retired...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tending Juno

My Sweet, Sweet Juno has an ailment that I mentioned a couple days ago. I discovered her swollen ear on Saturday, after a 1-hour trip to town. Farmer H and I were waiting for Monday, when the vets are open, to get her checked out. On Sunday, when I was looking up their phone numbers, I saw that treating a dog's ear hematoma costs an average of $500, and it's not guaranteed to keep the swelling from recurring. Heh, heh. ReCURring!

Anyhoo...The Veteran had been out helping Farmer H put some tin on his Freight Container Garage, and suggested draining it himself. I also saw the procedure mentioned on the innernets, so that's the course we took.

Farmer H picked up a big plastic syringe at the feed store on Monday morning. I'd been planning to assist Surgeon H, but he called HOS (His Oldest Son) before I got home, who arrived right after I parked T-Hoe in the garage.

That darn Farmer H didn't wait, even though I told him I was getting some treats of bite-sized meat and cheese to lure Juno to her draining. I came out on the front porch of the Mansion, and Juno ran over to greet me.

"She's done," said Farmer H, standing in the front yard, squirting liquid out of the syringe.

"She don't want nothin' to do with ME ever again," said HOS the holder.

Indeed, Juno's ear was back to normal size, though still hanging down a bit. And she still favored that side of her head, but to be fair, she'd just had a needle jammed in it twice. The best part was that even though a bit skittish and slinking, Juno appeared to feel better. The glow in her amber eyes was back. She sat down at my feet for petting, and I gave her the treats.

As Farmer H said, "You can give her the treats now. She was really good."

However...Farmer H went inside to get some Q-tips (we don't have any cotton balls) to see if Juno's inner ear needed cleaning. I warned him severely (more than once) that he could NOT poke those Q-tips into any space he could not see with his own two eyes. That he could only swab at any detritus he found inside.

Well. Juno was having none of that! She tried to squirm away from me, seeing as how I had already used up the treats. I had a good hold on her, me sitting on the front porch pew, and Farmer H standing down on the ground. THEN he had the bright idea to grab Juno's front leg and pull her towards the edge, and she got spooked and panicky. However, overall-wearing HOS stepped up, and sweet-talked her, and held her in his arms like a black sheep.

Farmer H flipped Juno's ear flap back, and we could all see that it looked perfectly normal, though a little bit swollen. It was pink and healthy, no gunk, didn't smell. The most Farmer H swiped off of it was about half a Q-tip of light dust. "That's really clean for a dog's ear!" he said. We agreed.

Of course Juno sat down again for petting. Not seeming to hold her manhandling against them at all. She didn't try to run away. She DID shake her head a couple times, and dig at the ear with her hind foot. I'm sure Farmer H must have tickled something inside with that Q-tip. We are considering getting her some ear mite medicine, just in case.

When Farmer H started up the Gator, Juno ran to follow. She DID go slower than usual, taking her time on the steps, and still holding her head tilted. Plus, she took a break from running for a minute, when she saw that he was stopping at the BARn. I'm sure she won't get over this immediately. The stuff I read said it might take four months, and the ear would need multiple drainings.

I'm just relieve that Juno feels better. You can tell by her demeanor, even though she's not back to full speed.

Farmer H rinsed out the syringe with water, squirting it through the needle. So he's ready for the next time. He said the first try didn't yield him anything, but on the second one, the fluid immediately started filling up the syringe, with the ear going back flat. The fluid had a little blood, but mostly clear stuff, not cloudy.

Juno is probably onto his tricks now, though. We'll have to get creative.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Fall Has Fallen

Hillmomba didn't get much of an autumn this year. We waited and waited for the trees to turn, and now it looks like they've mostly skipped that stage, and gone straight to shedding their brown leaves. Sunday had that tint in the air that practically screamed FALL!

I was enjoying the view of the creek as I turned onto our gravel road. I hadn't planned on taking a picture, until I saw a reason to do so.

You may not notice, due to my poor picture-taking procedure. I think I zoomed in too close to T-Hoe's tinted windshield. point is the TRASH left by ne'er-do-wells! Beer cans scattered between the tree trunks, and a 44 oz foam cup in the shadow of the tree. I'm pretty sure that nobody sat there drinking all those beers, piling cans in the exact same area. They would have tossed them willy-nilly. It seems to me that somebody pulled over there and dumped them out of their car, or more likely, truck. To avoid being caught by police or parents or spouse.

It makes me think of that commercial from my childhood, the Indian crying the single tear.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

I'm A Little Worried About My Sweet, Sweet Juno

You remember Juno, right? Our half-lab, half border collie mutt we rescued as a tiny pup, after she was dumped out at my mom's rural home, nearly starving to death.

That's her baby picture, the day we brought her home. I think she was about to lose consciousness! So sad. We soon fattened her up.

Put her on a weight-training program!

Here she is, lifting her barbell. Which enabled her to grow into the glossy specimen below.

That's Juno in the foreground, with our black german shepherd Ann, who disappeared the day after we had a crew here putting a metal roof on the garage. Not that I'm pointing fingers... As you can see, Ann has an egg in her mouth. I took that picture for evidence, since Farmer H blamed Juno (of the silky coat) for eating eggs as fast as his hens laid them. Sweet, Sweet Juno is now 7 years old. She's a little stiff in her back right leg, after too many jumps off the porch, I think. But she runs along with Farmer H and the Gator, even though (formerly known as Puppy) Jack and Copper Jack exclude her from their frolics. They're a younger generation, both in their 2s, the age Juno is in the picture above. If Copper Jack stays at his legal home next door, our Jack will frolic with Juno. His favorite tactic is to jump on her and torment her until she gets up to chase him, then he bites her tail and she has to drag him while trying to run away. She's been a healthy dog, our Juno.

When I left for town on Saturday, Juno was the only fleabag to greet me. I petted her as normal, and gave her some cat kibble. When I returned, all three dogs took off across the front yard/field as I piloted T-Hoe down the driveway. They jumped off the back of the concrete carport to chase squirrels, as usual. Jack circled back, under the porch, and Copper Jack and Juno came around the end of the carport. That's when I noticed something was amiss.

Normally, Juno gets to the porch first, to wait first in line as I leave the garage through the people door. She demands her petting, and the first dole of cat kibble. She'll wait there on the side porch until I deign to leave the garage. Jack runs into the garage, sometimes stopping the closing of the garage door while playing around under it, and waits for me to open the people door to let him out. Copper Jack stands at a respectful distance, looking at me with mistrust while I unload groceries, then goes around to wait on the brick sidewalk for his cat kibble.

This time, Juno was out back, behind the garage, with Copper Jack and little Jack. She sidled over to me, and put her head near my knee. Of course I reached down to pet her. She had been walking slowly, kind of listing to one side. I saw that her right ear was kind of folded down. Flipped back, maybe, like when dogs romp around, and it gets turned kind of inside-out. I reached down to flip her ear over, and saw that it was swollen as thick as a hamburger! I barely touched it then, and Juno whimpered. I left her alone, and she started around the garage. She doesn't like to walk through.

Coming out the people door, I could see Juno at the bottom of the steps. It was like she wasn't sure she could walk up them. She did. Slowly. Like her balance was off. I petted her some more, keeping my hand away from her ear, mainly comforting her and letting her know that I could tell something was wrong. Yeah. I'm sure she understood every word of it, and I did not sound at all like Charlie Brown's teacher.

I sent Farmer H a text as he was closing up his Storage Unit Store. He said he'd take a look at her. Juno had other ideas, and wouldn't let Farmer H near. So later we bribed her out of her dog house with a piece of cheese wrapped in meat (expired). Her ear was still swollen. She kept shaking her head. Farmer H and I discussed taking her to the vet on Monday if she's not better. Farmer H thinks maybe she has ear mites like this cat.

Dusty had them several years ago. The vet gave us medicine, with instructions to dose all of our fleabags, since they transmit ear mites to each other. We did. It seems odd to me that such a malady could strike Juno now, in the space of one hour, while I was in town.

I was worried that she might have smacked the side of her head on something, crushing part of her ear. She's always whacking her head on the stair rail, spinning quickly to cut off Jack from my reaching hand. She also turns quickly elsewhere, hitting her head on a car bumper or the Gator. She's a bit skittish, and used to tear around the yard at a high rate of speed, ripping up grass with her toenails in cut-back turns.

I also worried that Jack might have bitten her ear to hang on in a game of chase. Or that Copper Jack went after her for snarling at him. He grows bolder as she grows older and less tolerant. Farmer H first thought maybe a snake bit her. We'll see how it goes. Juno DID go over to the BARn with Farmer H and his buddy, Buddy. So she's able to move around, if perhaps not so comfortably.

Like Farmer H said, it will be a two-person adventure to get Juno to the vet. We don't have a pet carrier her size since she's fully grown. Farmer H used to take the bigger dogs in his truck, riding on the passenger side floorboard, tied with a leash to the door handle. I don't think that's a good idea with skittish Juno. You don't want her to end up on his feet while he's driving!

We'll see how things go.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Fifth Son

Thursday morning, I was just getting out of bed when the phone rang. No, it wasn't some telemarketer or electioneer calling too early. The time was after 10:00, and the caller was our neighbor Tommy. The 58-year-old guy whose mom died, who we gave a car, and helped find work.

Tommy didn't leave a message, so I figured he was calling Farmer H's cell phone. Farmer H finally got him in that habit, after weeks of me relaying the call, and Farmer H calling Tommy back on his landline. Tommy doesn't have a cell phone.

Anyhoo...about 10 minutes later, I saw Farmer H driving the TrailBlazer up our gravel road to Tommy's house, which is across the road and one house to the right. A couple minutes later, the Trailblazer went back down the gravel road, I assumed to turn in to the BARn field, from whence it had come. But no. BACK toward Tommy's house went the TrailBlazer about five minutes later.

Farmer H later explained that Tommy's car battery was dead. Farmer H went to jump it, but had the wrong jumper cables, so came back for a different set. He said Tommy was worried that if he shut off the car, it would be dead again. He asked if Farmer H could come back if needed. Farmer H said that no, he was not going to be on call for Tommy, but that if he was around, he WOULD come back.

"I told him just to leave it running. He can do that for about an hour. It won't hurt anything."

"He might not be able to afford the gas."

"He says he's still working full time, but that one week he only got 36 hours, not 40. I told him to go to The Devil's Playground for a battery, but he went to the guy in town. I told him it's cheaper at The Devil's Playground, and Tommy said, 'But the guy in town will hold my check until the end of the week when I get paid.' So I guess that's a good enough reason."

Farmer H also added: "I swear. Sometimes I think Tommy is my fifth son!"

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Left Behind Olympics

It's not like I've been in training for this event my whole life. No siree, Bob! I'm a natural. No scheduled workouts. I compete when the challenge arises, and expect to win. Turns out my greatest competition is my sister the ex-mayor's wife.

Sis had a birthday this week. She sent me a text asking if Farmer H and I wanted to join her (and the ex-mayor, of course) on a jaunt to our new favorite casino. You already know the answer. We agreed to drive A-Cad (Sis tossed some gas money our way), and pick them up at their house at 11:00. The invitation was extended two days before casino day.

As with all our casino trips, I searched online, and through the mail offers for Farmer H and myself, to ensure proper usage of our FREE offers. Sadly, a FREE MONEY offer of $25 during this week fell by the wayside, because it was excluded for the single day that we would be gambling. That's okay, though. Farmer H and I each had another offer of $20 in FREE MONEY for this specific day. Almost as good. I tore off the coupons and put them in my gambling purse.

We had plenty of time. Farmer H got up first, and headed to Lowe's for some lumber for a project that I shudder to think about, and refuse to ask. I took my time, took my medicine, took my driver's license out of my regular purse to put in my pocket, and took my shower. Farmer H got back home by 10:00, and we were ready to leave at 10:30. We had gone approximately 3/10 of a mile, having passed only one house on the way to the county road, when I told Farmer H


Not that I was planning to drive, of course. But it's needed for identification purposes at the casino. To get your free money. And to get a big payout if you hit a jackpot. I had just put a Puffs With Lotion in my shirt pocket, and noticed that my license wasn't in there. I quickly searched my gambling purse. Not in the phone pocket, not in the player's card pocket, not in my money pouch, not in the pouch holding Chapstick (mint/tea flavor), lotion, a comb, and over-the-counter painkillers.

Farmer H put A-Cad in reverse, and backed up to and into our neighbors' driveway to turn around. Once back at the Mansion, I searched my last known whereabouts. My license was not on the kitchen counter where I'd laid it beside glasses case. Not on the back of the couch where I'd laid it while fetching my gambling purse from the living room end table. Huh. I went to the bathroom closet, to my around-the-house shirt I'd been wearing before my shower. AHA! There it was, in the pocket.

I thought of texting Sis to warn her of our delay, but we were still pretty much on schedule. Because I'd remembered my forgetfulness early-on. In fact, we pulled into Sis's driveway at 11:02. No apologies needed, in my opinion. So I didn't offer one.

Sis and the Ex-Mayor got in A-Cad's back seats. I gifted Sis with some Chex Mix left over from the batch I made Sunday for The Pony's Halloween care package. I did apologize for my Hillbilly Tupperware, since it was in two containers that once held deli chicken and deli ham. They are sturdy and lightweight, good for shipping. Farmer H apologized for my wrapping, which consisted of a plastic bag from The Devil's Playground, not even tied in a knot at the top.

We were cutting up and carrying on about a picture the Ex-Mayor had put of himself on Facebook. And making fun of Farmer H, who was wearing a bright red long-sleeved t-shirt (pointed out by Sis, who was memorizing our clothing for quicker reuniting for the buffet at 4:00), as well as an orange cap, and a glowing yellow lanyard around his neck holding his player's card.


Said Sis, with a gasp.


Sputtered the Ex-Mayor.

"Well, I'm sure you can get another one at the player's club desk. They always issue a new one. Farmer H has gotten one at almost every casino."

"Yeah. I guess that will be okay."

"We're not that far yet. I can drive you back home to get it."

So we turned around again, and drove about 1.5 miles back to Sis's house, before starting on our 90-mile trip.

I'm conceding the Gold Medal in the Left Behind Olympics to Sis. Because the whole trip was HER idea, and she picked which casino, so she should have known full well that her player's card was definitely an item to take. I'd set my license out, but only misplaced it. Sis had seemingly blocked out the concept of taking a player's card to the casino of her choice, on the day she selected to go, for a gambling trip for her birthday.

I'm claiming the Silver, though.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Garbage Truck And A Highway Department Truck Pull Onto A Blacktop Road

How's that for a joke-starter? Not quite as catchy as a blonde and a brunette walking into a bar (actually it was just the blonde, because the brunette ducked).

Ba dum tss!

Thanks! I'll be here all week. Honestly, I'll be here way longer than a week. Can't say the same for my audience.

My daily travels led me to such a promising joke set-up. I crested a hill on the county road on my way to town, and saw one of those side-mounted lawnmower thingies on a county road department truck, chewing up tree limbs that were encroaching on the pavement's air space. It was coming towards me, so I slowed way down. Stopped, actually, watching my rearview mirror nervously, lest a speeder come over the hill behind me.

When I looked back out the windshield, I saw our new garbage truck about to pull out of a driveway, right in front of that side-mower truck. Well. That would certainly be unfortunate. Even though I knew our trash had been picked up for the day. You don't want your white garbage truck with the red-white-blue flag painted on the side to have its front end chewed up by a side-mower. Then again, you don't want your county tax dollars wasted on repairing a side-mower rammed by a garbage truck.

It was a dilemma kind of like the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial. "You got chocolate in my peanut butter!" "No. You got peanut butter on my chocolate!"

The side-mower truck saw the garbage truck, and backed up to let it out of the driveway. While I contemplated what that driver might have said if there was an accident.

"Mow 'er? Not-Heaven, NO! I don't even KNOW 'er!"

Or what if the garbage truck had pulled out and run into the spinning blades of the side-mower?

"Bump 'er? Not-Heaven, NO! I came here to DUMP 'er!"

Yeah. Maybe I need a little more practice writing my punchlines. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Gaslight Zone

Even though Farmer H has been behaving himself in the STOP BOTHERING MRS. HM department...I still cringe when I hear him storm into the Mansion. It's not like he's a charging bull in my delicate china shop, or even disgruntled at all. That's just the kind of entrance he makes. I guess it's akin to manspreading on the subway. A guy enters a room with an agenda, that being to make sure everybody notices that a guy has entered the room. Manstriding, if you will.

Yes, I first hear the slam of the kitchen door, followed by thumping across the linoleum, the metal BOING of the heating/cooling ductwork where a springy floorboard compresses it on the way from kitchen to living room, then clomping like a workboot-shod horse has entered the bathroom to take a pee or a shower. That's how I know that Farmer H is home, and my peace has a (now) 25 % chance of being disturbed. Like I said, I've laid the groundwork to eventually eliminate this behavior. Baby steps.

Yeah. I have actually made an impression on Farmer H. Not only shed some light, but fully-illuminated him on my desire to be left alone during lunch and lottery time. Which is generally between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00. It's been working pretty good. Unless Farmer H has some spectacular auction finds, or garnered a tremendous profit at his Storage Unit Store, or came across some tasty gossip tidbits within our enclave.

Still. Every time I hear those telltale signs of a Farmer H invasion, I'm on edge until I hear his La-Z-Boy crank back. Like Friday afternoon.

Farmer H generally keeps the same routine on Fridays. He heads to his Storage Unit Store by 8:00, sells until 1:00, goes to lunch around 1:30, then heads to his doctor for a shot at 2:00, and from there to an unspecified location (formerly the parts store which is now out of business) to shoot the bull with some cronies, returning home between 4:00 and 5:00. This past Friday, we'd planned on having pizza for supper, which he was going to pick up.

Friday dawned all chilly and cloudy. When I passed by the Storage Unit Store shortly after noon, there were no cars in the parking lot. I couldn't see down inside the fence, because the road crests a hill, and attention must be paid to possibly-oncoming traffic. So I couldn't tell if Farmer H still had his stuff setting out, or if his car was parked down inside. I did see many other vendors set up, so I thought that Farmer H might still be making money. Those sellers like selling to and buying from each other. I didn't give it another thought, other than to wonder if Farmer H took his jacket for the cold.

Once home, I went about my own routine, which involves gathering the components of my lunch, filling bubba cups with ice, and my 44 oz Diet Coke with sugar free cherry limeade powder. Once I carry them down to my dark basement lair, I fire up New Delly. Put a baggie of knee ice on my right leg. Check on my blogs and emails. Load up the day's music I want to listen to while scratch-offing. Then I can get to the prime part of my day.

It was sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 when I heard Farmer H manstriding about the upstairs. "Well, crap! I've got two tickets left, and now he's here to ruin it. I just bet he comes downstairs to bother me. Crap. I'll just wait on this last ticket. I HATE IT when he does this!" I paused my music, and perused the local newspaper website. It was like waiting for the other shoe to drop, except that I could clearly hear that Farmer H was shod with both shoes, from his footsteps above.

So I waited. I heard the bathroom clomping, but no toilet flush. Maybe Farmer H had some prescriptions he was putting away in his own personal drugstore. Sheesh! Maybe his cronies had other plans, because this was barely enough time to go from the doctor's office to the Mansion. Crap! I hate it when Farmer H changes his routine.

The La-Z-Boy crank never came. I might have heard the front door open, but it didn't slam. Farmer H often goes out it, on his way to the Gator and the BARn. But he generally slams. After a few moments of peace and quiet, I put my music back on and turned to my remaining scratchers. Which were not winners, but I can't really blame that on Farmer H.

At 3:46, I got a text from Farmer H.

"I'll get pizza on way home"

"Okay. I thought I heard you upstairs."


"Seriously? About an hour ago? Clomping in the bathroom?"

"No haven't been home since I left this morning"

"I hope nobody broke in. I know I heard it. I was on my next to last ticket, and thought Oh, crap, he's gonna come down to chat."


Something wacky is going on around here. I'm pretty sure that blog buddy Sioux would remind me that Farmer H is gaslighting me. I hope that's all it is. I shudder at the idea Farmer H has developed a way to telepathically annoy me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Coincidences Keep A-Comin'

A few days ago, I mentioned how I got an email from a specific casino right after looking at a postcard from that very casino, offering me free money on Saturdays. I figured it was a pretty strange coincidence, because neither Farmer H nor I had said aloud the name of this casino for weeks. Just funny timing, reading that card, and getting the email within two minutes.

Pure coincidence. OR WAS IT???

Monday, I was kicked back in the La-Z-Boy, watching Dog the Bounty Hunter from 2005, looking through the mail before lunch. I hate getting caught up in those shows. I have to watch until the end to see what happens, then get away quick, before the next one starts.

I'd put the mail into four stacks. Bills (landline and Farmer H's doctor's office). Trash (mail order catalogs and election propaganda). Christmas (mail order catalogs with an item that looks promising). And Free Money. Only this time, it was not casino free money, but a rebate check from Lowe's on something Farmer H bought, either paint or sealant, for his Freight Container Garage.

It was only $10, but that's $10 I'm getting MY hooks into if I see in the checkbook that Farmer H bought something from Lowe's last month! I'll not have him squandering household money on that folly. Not since we footed the bill for the freight containers, trusses, metal roofing, and the car lift thingy that he can't even get to because of his hoard. The beautification of the functional structure is on him. He can use his Storage Unit Fortune for that.

Anyhoo...I'd picked up the mail as I returned from mailing The Pony and Genius their Halloween packages. I know it's early, but The Pony's might take 10 days like a regular letter! And I didn't want to make a separate trip for Genius.

The credits for Dog the Bounty Hunter started to roll. It couldn't hurt just to see their next bail-jumper. I was thinking about how maybe I should send The Pony a text to say his package was at the mercy of the postal service. Heh, heh! So he'd be on the lookout for a notice to pick it up. It was a couple minutes after 2:00, and I couldn't remember his exact Monday schedule. I decided to wait, since he might be in class. Just then, my phone chimed.

I knew it couldn't be The Pony, because it didn't have the vibration of a text. Just an email. I picked up the phone, and saw that it was an email from the University of Oklahoma. Which is, of course, The Pony's college. The message?

"All New: 31% OFF the treats that make Halloween special!"

It was an offer for sending a holiday care package, which I used when The Pony lived in the dorms, but don't go through that service now, because the packages can't be delivered to The Pony's apartment.

Yeah. Another coincidence. Not gmail reading my mind...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Trying To Pass The Cash

By now, you've probably heard the news that Mrs. HM did not win the MegaMillions jackpot on Friday night. Well...perhaps not heard such specific news, but deduced it from the fact that there was no winner. Darn that single ticket that I bought!

I don't normally play MegaMillions anyway. The odds are so astronomical. But I can't see letting an opportunity pass me by for a mere $2 chance every now and then, when the jackpot is ridiculously high. It hasn't been won since back in July, from what I read. I'd say I buy less than 10 MegaMillions or PowerBall tickets per year. Not a good investment, in my opinion, when scratchers pay me back at least part of my wager. Sometimes more.

Don't you go worrying your pretty little heads about Mrs. HM, though. She's doing okay. Because last week, she bought this:

It's the new $5 Christmas ticket from Missouri Lottery. The game is based on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie. I got the camper symbol, which means I won ALL 15 PRIZES. Yeah. Pretty exciting. It adds up to $100.

This came within five days of my Multiplier win of $100, where I got the 20X symbol with $5. I bought it at Orb K on October 12th, and this one at Country Mart's left machine on October 17th.

I hope my boys have good luck on the tickets I'm sending them with their Halloween goodies. Unlike a card game called Pass the Trash, I'm going to think of this venture as Pass the Cash.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Even MORE Millennial Maligning

Of course one trip to The Devil's Playground results in more than one occasion to malign Millennials. So I had to split my maligning into two tales.

On the way out, the rain was falling harder. I know that's not possible, considering acceleration of a falling body due to, technically, the rain was falling faster. No. Wait. It wasn't any faster. Let's just say the rain was thicker. Oh, crap! The density of raindrops per square inch had increased, by cracky! It's really hard to take the science teacher out of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

I held my red umbrella with one hand, and pushed my cart/walker with the other. It wasn't too difficult, since I didn't have a full load of groceries, with six-packs of soda draped all around the sides. I only had a couple big bags of Halloween candy assortments, and some beef jerky, which is not heavy at all.

As I mentioned yesterday, T-Hoe was WAY up the parking aisle. I headed straight up that aisle, knowing that I'd have to cross over to the right-hand side when I got close to T-Hoe. I saw my opportunity about 2/3 of the way there. A car on the left side of the parking aisle was backing up, and a red SUV had stopped to let it out, wanting that space. Behind it was a white car. Also, a black pickup truck pulled in above T-Hoe. Not directly next to T-Hoe. I wasn't worried about getting my door open, because I always park next to the cart return corral, making sure I've left myself enough room. The black pickup parked on the other side of the cart return corral.

With that red SUV stopped, I took the opportunity to cross to T-Hoe's side of the aisle. The backing-out car had passed me, and the red SUV was pulling into the space, with the white car behind it still held up. The perfect opportunity for slow old HM to cross.

As I was stowing my candy in T-Hoe's rear, three people clambered out of that black pickup truck. I didn't really look, but my peripheral vision identified them as a couple of blond early-20s gals, and an older female. I was not concerned with them, but in closing my red umbrella while standing under T-Hoe's hatch, and putting stuff in the back. That's when I overheard the new Millennials complaining.

"What a jerk! He waited for HER! Doesn't he care that people are getting wet out here?"

Seems that those gals had wanted to cross the parking aisle to walk down the other side, but the white car went on driving down, making them wait about 2.5 seconds until it had passed.


Which was not the case. It had waited for the red SUV in front of it to park. I guess Black-Truck Millennials had not been paying attention. Seriously! How ENTITLED can people feel? I don't really think there's a limit, where Millennials are concerned.

It wasn't MY fault, nor that of White-Car Driver, that the Black-Truck Millennials had not thought to bring an umbrella on a rainy day. Nor did I (or White-Car Driver) force them to park way up the aisle. SHEESH! I'm surprised they didn't expect White-Car Driver to give them a ride to the door. Or The Devil's Henchmen to come pick them up on a beeper cart.

You know The Devil's Handmaidens were unavailable, what with their personal lives to discuss.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

More Millennial Maligning

This is becoming an epidemic! Not the maligning of Millennials. The actions of Millennials! I swear, before you know it, they're going to take over the niche of kids walking across our lawns! Faster than you can shake a fist at!

I dashed in The Devil's Playground on Friday, just to pick up some treats for my own special Millennials, to send them each a Halloween package. The Pony needs it more than Genius. In fact, I asked Genius if he wanted one, and he said he did, but smaller than last year's, because he is watching his sugar intake. The Pony says his Bestie snorted at that, and labeled Genius a HIPSTER.

Anyhoo...I thought I was dashing in to buy candy, and also beef jerky (for Genius). Let the record show that there was no dashing involved. I carried my umbrella because of rain, and parking way up in the last 1/4 of the parking lot. The Devil is busy on Fridays. Once inside, after bucking Hillmomba social mores and going in through the actual ENTER door...I shook my umbrella on the narrow strip of carpet, folded it, and put it inside a cart. Which I then pushed from the entry area into the actual store.

Anyone who's a regular customer of The Devil's Playground knows that the store part is separated from the cart-housing entry area by one of those stand-up thingies to beep if you try to shoplift unscanned merchandise. That stand-up beeper is in the middle of the passage, with a bench against each wall for old men waiting on their wives. So there are two pathways, a little more than the width of two carts, for people to get in and out.

I made it through that part. But just on the other side, in the store proper, was a circle of five "Associates." That's the official job title of The Devil's Handmaidens and Henchmen. They were just chatting up a storm, but not directly impeding my dash. They had some empty tall cargo carts parked near them. The kind like big shelves on wheels, that they use for putting merchandise on the regular shelves. As I started to wheel my cart/walker past those cargo carts, in the aisle between them and the seasonal items along the left entry wall, I had to stop dead in my tracks.


Yep. Coming right toward me, like a runaway stagecoach team, were two female Millennials, perhaps early twenties in age. Could one of them drop back, to pass by me single-file? NOT-HEAVEN NO! Because they were entitled, you see. Entitled to walk side-by-side, sporting their ASSOCIATE vests and nametags, to join the other five in their circle, my dash be darned! I had to come to a full stop with my cart, until they broke apart to pass by me. No way was I going to BACK UP and let them through.

I'm pretty sure the purpose of having a store is to let customers inside to possibly buy things. Not storm at them like you're NOT-HEAVEN-BOUND on winning a game of pedestrian chicken.

Because I'm an entitled Baby Boomer, and avoid confrontation...I muttered under my breath as they passed. "Don't let ME get in your way. I'm only here to spend money." It's not like they heard me. They were too busy tossing their hair and talking about their personal lives.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Just A Coincidence, RIGHT?

I drove Farmer H home from an appointment at the eye doctor on Thursday. He had some little bumps cut off his eyelid. He said he was fine, but we didn't know that in advance, so I went along as the return chauffeur.

Wednesday night, as I was hollering upstairs to tell Farmer H what time to wake me up, he mentioned that he might go on a Goodwill tour, and stop by the casino. That's all he said. Not the name of it. I was well aware that it's our old favorite, since that's where he goes Goodwilling. I wasn't sure his eye would be up to it, but he said he'd wait and see how he felt.

On the way home, Farmer H said his eye only hurt a little. There was some minor swelling, but it didn't affect his vision.

"So...are you going up there?"

"Yeah. I think so. I'm fine."

When I parked T-Hoe in the garage, Farmer H went in to get his coupon for a free $15 gift card for The Devil's Playground. That's what our old favorite is giving out as this month's comp, every Thursday. I gathered up the two pieces of mail that Farmer H had gotten out of EmBee, and stuffed them in my purse. I met him coming down the porch steps as I went up.

Once inside, I looked at the mail. OH! My DISH bill. Finally. It's due on the 25th, you know. Kind of hard to get it in when it arrives after mail pickup on the 18th. I figured I'll give it a try, and if it doesn't show paid online by the night of the 25th, I'll pay it online, and let the check turn into next month's credit when it finally gets processed.

The only other piece of mail was a postcard from our NEW favorite casino, for ME, for a free $15 cash on Saturdays. I set it down on the cutting block, and went to check the phone for messages. I swear, not two minutes had elapsed when I heard my cell phone ding. Huh. An email coming in. I went to the kitchen to check, and you're not going to believe this, but it was from


How does that happen? Quite the coincidence, don't you think? Because I had just been THINKING about that casino. But I hadn't mentioned THE NAME of the casino. Not even the WORD "casino." Not since the night before. I was conscious of that in T-Hoe when I asked Farmer H if he was "going up there." Heh, heh. I though how so like my mom and dad that was. They never called a beer a beer when the shared one about once a year during a Cardinals baseball game on TV. "Do you want to split a cold one?" They knew what they were talking about. Like Farmer H knew that I meant the casino.

But not the one that sent me the card. Or the email.

Seriously. It's getting downright creepy. We KNOW that after talking about a topic, that kind of ad will pop up on Farmer H's phone the next time he looks at it. Or on my New Delly. But THIS time, it was just from a thought.

Farmer H says it is pure coincidence. I say it is downright creepy. If that happens again, I'm chalking it up as a conspiracy.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

How Farmer H Makes Life 10 Times Harder, Even For Himself

This is the story of a loser.

Farmer H is not well-schooled in the ways of scratchers. He buys a ticket several times a week. So far, he's been able to scratch them and understand if he's a winner or a loser. That's a major accomplishment from the man who uncovered a WIN ALL symbol on a ticket I bought him last year for Christmas, and said, in monotone, "I got a winnell."

Yes, if it's a matter of scratching off five numbers, and then uncovering other numbers to see if they match, Farmer H does okay. Anything else is a crapshoot.

Tuesday evening, I sat down on the short couch, and saw that Farmer H had scratched a ticket.

"Oh, did you win anything?"

"I don't know. I got a lot of words."

"You bought a CROSSWORD ticket???"

"Yeah. I think that's what it is. They were out of the one that I wanted in the machine, so I took it."

"I don't play those any more. They take so long."


"You have to have a certain number of words to win anything. I think it's three."

"Well. I got a lot. But I don't know how to tell if I won."

"Let me see."

It took me a minute. I've played crossword tickets. You scratch off one letter at a time, in the big bank of letters, then go to the puzzles and rub off each of the letters you have. They change from the blue overlay to the white underneath. That's how you can tell how many words you have in the crossword. There will be all white letters making the word, with no blue left in-between, over letters you didn't have.

"What in the world have you done? You scratched off the whole thing!!! How am I supposed to know which letters you had? I'd have to look at each one, and compare it to the puzzle, and find some way to mark it, to differentiate from the other white letters. You're not supposed to uncover the whole thing!"

"Well. Do that, then."

"I'm not taking a half hour to find out you're a loser. I'll scan the bar code on my phone app. Here. Scratch off the bar code. You have the coin."

"It's on the back."

"No. If the bar code was on the back, the seller could scan all the tickets, and say, 'Oh, this one's a winner. I'll buy it.' No. The bar code has to be scratched to see if it's a winner. The other code is to ring up the price. The bar code is on the front. You'll have to scratch and find it. Usually, the bar code is at the bottom. But on some, it's along the side."

"This one don't have no bar code."

"I'm sure it does. HERE! Let me have the ticket. And the quarter. I'll find it."

Which I did, above the letters. A scan on my phone app revealed that this was NOT a winner. So much easier than trying to decipher the mess that Farmer H had made of the ticket.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Devil Tries To Kill Mrs. HM With Kindness

A few weeks ago, I tried to buy some index cards at The Devil's Playground. You know, note cards. The 3 x 5 size, with lines on one side, and blank on the other. They are the most generic type of index card you can buy. Standard. Nothing fancy. I use them for grocery lists, jotting down the day's songs I like on T-Hoe's radio, and making notes about blog ideas. I used to have about six packs of them, but you'd be amazed at how quickly they get used up on a daily basis.

Well. I went to the office supply section (be still my heart!) to pick up a couple packs of lined index cards. You wouldn't think I'd even have to qualify that with the "lined" modifier. They're standard in the office supply industry, one would think. But no. I found the shelf barer than Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard! Oh, there were index cards on the shelf. It wasn't barren of ALL index cards. Just barren of the standard issue index card.

I saw index cards with grids like graph paper. I saw totally blank index cards. I saw index cards with lines, but bright pink or green or orange. I saw index cards that alternated stripes of white and blue for each line. I saw index cards bound together at the top with a spiral. I saw 8 x 5 lined index cards. I saw 4 x 6 lined index cards. It was a virtual Bubba Gump's of index cards. But no 3 x 5 lined index cards.

At the checkout, The Devil's Handmaiden always makes small talk by asking if you found everything. Of course I had to reveal that I had not. I should have just kept my mouth shut. It's not like there's a Truth In Shopping Law. But NO. Silly Mrs. HM had to say that she had not found any 3 x 5 lined index cards.

The Devil's Handmaiden phoned the department, who declared that they DID stock them. She then called over a rover. Somebody to go back and get me some. As if I must be incompetent in shopping. You can imagine the joy this brought to the people behind me in line.

"I'll just take these blank ones off your total."

So the pack of unlined 3 x 5 index cards was removed. She set them aside. I waited. Because she wasn't going to give me a total until the rover brought back the ones I wanted. The people behind me in line could barely contain themselves.

"She's on the way up with some. It will just be a minute."

"That's okay. I don't mind. I'll look the next time I'm here. I don't want to hold up the line."

"No problem. She's bringing them up."

"Oh. I guess I must be blind. I'd hate to leave, with her going to all the trouble to bring them."

We twiddled our thumbs. The people behind me probably using it as an exercise to strengthen their thumbs to throttle me. The phone rang.

"We don't have them."

"Okay. Put back on the plain ones you took off."

The rover returned. "She's bringing some up."

"If you want, we can take off these plain ones again." Said the overly helpful Handmaiden.

"No. The plain ones are fine."

"She's probably bringing the colored ones."

"Yeah. I looked through everything back there. I'm not waiting. Sorry to make her bring them."

So...The Devil's Handmaiden rang up my order. And let me pay.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Once Bitten, Twice Tried

Another mystery ailment for Mrs. HM! Two nights ago, I was shutting down New Delly and gathering up my stuff to move from my dark basement lair to my OPC (Old People Chair). It was early for me, before midnight. As I moved my yellow bubba cup of ice water over to the left side of my desk (it's two countertops mounted along the walls, and I sit in the V area at New Delly, having space on either side for my shenanigans)... I felt an itch on my left wrist.

The itch was maddening, really. I moved the band of my Garmin fitbitlike thingy, to see what was biting me. NOTHING! No critter was in sight. Nothing on my flesh, nothing flying away. I had not felt a moment when mandible or pincers broke flesh. You know, like with a mosquito, you notice the instant it happens, and swat at them. Somehow, this one crept up on me.

See it there? Just a tiny little bump. Barely even red the second day. Though it got plenty red that first night, because I couldn't stop scratching, and that histamine response spread a splotch over my entire wrist.

You might also notice that this critter did not bite all willy-nilly. He bit right over my vein! Uh huh! Some kind of vampirish critter, going for all the gusto, lining up for maximum bloodletting. I don't think he got through the skin, though. There's no little scab or pinpoint to show that blood actually leaked out. But then again, you don't see that with a mosquito, either, and in those creepy closeup videos of them, they are definitely sucking up blood through their straw-like proboscises.

It wasn't easy to get the picture one-handed. Took two tries. I was in no mood to take a picture of it right after it happened. I was too busy scratching.