Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Even Steven Owes Jack

The weather here in Hillmomba took a turn for the colder, and Newmentia teachers had a FIVE-DAY WEEKEND! There was really no reason for them to be out Friday. I think it was mostly the light precipitation falling at 5:00 a.m., and an uncertain forecast. But Monday and Tuesday, the roads were very slippery. They were fine today, though, so I was unMansionbound.

I thawed out some ham and beans for our supper Monday and Tuesday. I must say, it was better the second time around. Maybe because I added the big ham bone that I'd also frozen with the leftover beans. Mmm...with Jiffy Corn Muffins, too!

Anyhoo...I had that ham bone waiting to give to the dogs. Or, as it turned out, the DOG. My Sweet, Sweet Juno. I didn't want to give it to them when the weather was really cold, because it would just freeze, and they'd have a ham bonesicle. Today was around 28 degrees when I got back from town. Bright and sunny. I took the trash dumpster to the end of the driveway, and the dogs romped along barking like old times. Even though this was around 1:30, and not a regular evening walk.

When I went back inside, I told Farmer H, who'd said he would wait to carry in groceries if I'd be there within 30 minutes, to toss that bone and some other leftovers to the dogs. Of course he said he would, and then gave me dead silence when asked to repeat the instructions. I know he was just playing The Incompetent Game. Even though he SAID he didn't hear me. Uh huh. He heard the first part just fine, and acknowledged that he would give out the treats.

Anyhoo...I put on my red Crocs and went back outside. Juno was in her house right by the back door. I meant to give her the big part of the ham bone, and Jack the clump of gristle and shredded meat attached to it, but the latter lump stuck to the bone that Juno had already grabbed hold of, so I let her take it into her house.

Jack was nowhere to be seen. He had run off with Copper Jack at the end of the driveway, and I'd heard him whimper as I came back. Juno didn't run to his aid, though, so I figured she understood his language better than I did, and that Copper Jack was not chewing him to bits. With no Jack in sight, I didn't want to stand in the cold holding a plate of leftovers, and I didn't want to take them back inside. Juno had enough to keep her busy for hours.

I walked around to the front porch, and tossed the food onto the area in front of the door. There were three rolls, a corn muffin, some tortilla strips that I'd trimmed off my homemade pinwheels, some gristly ham chunks, and some cheese and chicken that had been trimmed off the pinwheels also. I went back in, but remembered something in T-Hoe that hadn't been carried inside, and went to get it.

Here came Jack, loping up the brick sidewalk by the garage, all happy to see me. I took him around front to show him the treats he was missing. The first thing he took was the corn muffin. Even over the ham/chicken/cheese scraps. That little guy LOVES his corn muffins. He took the whole thing in his mouth and hopped down the steps (in the way only a long little half dachshund/half heeler can do) to the front yard.

As I got to the bottom of the steps by the garage to go get my envelopes left in T-Hoe, I looked left to see Copper Jack running across the front yard, back toward his own house, WITH THE CORN MUFFIN IN HIS MOUTH!

That is SO not fair! At least my little Jack got all the other stuff, I guess. Next time I make corn muffins, he's getting two, and I'm going to sit down and supervise him until they are eaten.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, DDS, Hangs Out Her Shingle

When we last convened, I was bemoaning a tongue too big for my mouth. A tongue damaged on a sharp edge of a broken molar. A tongue that silently screamed in pain every time I swallowed.

Well. After a whole day of suffering, not even all that sad that I didn't have my 44 oz Diet Coke, because drinking through a straw was even more painful that sipping from a cup or bottle...I healed myself! Uh huh. After realizing that my nightly aspirin did little for the pain, and an acetaminophen did absolutely nothing for it, and worrying that it may take DAYS to build up a tongue callous, and most certainly not wanting to make a dentist appointment... I took matters into my own hands. The left one, specifically. On the same side as that back molar.

I reached in and felt that sliver of sharp tooth. It has been there all along, ever since I dislodged a temporary crown with a lime Starburst, but I think the big burger at the casino rearranged that enamel particle, so that the sharp edge was more exposed. I could wiggle that shard just a tiny bit. Which gave me hope!

I had some Chex Mix on hand, sitting in a festive snowman-patterned red plastic tub. So I took a small handful. Fingerful, really. A couple of Chex, an almond, and about a third of a pretzel. I actually chewed on the bad tooth side! I normally don't chew over there very often. But I did. It didn't even hurt as much as I imagined. So I thought maybe a part of the almond jammed down on that point of enamel, protecting my tongue. I had a couple more bites. Then I re-examined.

The shard was looser! I wiggled and waggled it. Back and forth. Had another bite of Chex. Repeat. After much stronger efforts at wiggling and waggling, the broken piece of tooth came loose! I'd show it, but I don't think you'd want to see that, and I laid it on a paper plate, and I've already thrown it away. It was really quite smaller than I expected. About the diameter and length of a mechanical pencil lead that breaks off when you're writing all tensed-up.

I am available for private consultations for a reasonable fee. No insurance accepted. Cash or barter only.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Like A Zombiefied St. Bernard

If you are seeking entertainment at the Mansion tonight, folks...abandon hope, all ye who enter here. I got nothin'. Oh, I have somethin'! But it's not worth typing it all out tonight.

We had a glaze of ice and a little snow last night. I would have gone to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke as usual, since nobody bothered to tell me until I was DRESSED AND ON THE WAY OUT THE DOOR that the roads were a little slick. So slick, in fact, that Farmer H, who was unsuspiciously absent until noon:twenty, asked to use T-Hoe for a trip to get de-ionized water for his breather. Uh huh. The very same man who wanted to GET RID of T-Hoe, to save on insurance bills. Wanted to DRIVE my precious T-Hoe on slippery slopes. Not his own Trailblazer, whose 4WD does not work. Nor his Ford F250 Long Bed Club Cab, which has 4WD itself.

So I went without my magical elixir, which is better than risking life and limb, and made do with bottled Diet Coke. Ounces indeterminate right now. Which is possible what has put me in this funk. Or not.

It might have something to do with my tongue, which is too big for my mouth, and hurts severely when I swallow, due to slicing itself on a broken back tooth that has been broken for a while now, and does not hurt in and of itself, but makes life difficult for my tongue, especially when chowing down on a big burger yesterday at the casino.

So that's it for now. I'll be groggily drooling over at my not-so-secret blog, attempting to put out some content. And for blog buddy Sioux: Newmentia had a snow day in place of regularly scheduled MLK Day, which was being used to make up LAST WEEK's snow day. And they're out again tomorrow.

Not that I care...

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hillmomba, One Big Public Dump

Do you think that slogan would be good for tourism?


That's what people use it for, you know. That's why most of our unwanted visitors stop here. Still no news on that furniture in a white truck. Haven't seen it along the gravel road. But yesterday, we got a Christmas tree!

 I know. It's kind of early for a Christmas tree. There are still 352 days until Christmas!

Oh, wait a minute. Maybe this was a USED Christmas tree. I get it now. Nobody was delivering a present to the residents of Hillmomba! They were using us as a GARBAGE DUMP! Getting rid of their old Christmas tree! As if most communities don't have a designated time and place to do that. Or, if you live in the woods anyway, you might...oh...I don't know...PUT THAT TRASH IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD!

It's not like they dumped it in the creek, to create habitat for fish. That's what the town does, you know. They collect the trees, and put them in the lake. One year it was frozen over, and they laid on top of the ice for several weeks. But these folks just jettisoned their Ol' Tannenbaum along the side of our gravel road. On land that is marked with purple paint, AND a No Trespassing sign, which both signify...wait a's coming to me...NO TRESPASSING!

"Oh, Mrs. HM," you might say. "It's JUST a tree. In the woods. What's so bad about that?"

Well. If you owned a unicorn farm, and people dumped a dead unicorn in your pasture, would you feel the same way?

What, exactly, is WRONG with people today?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Who Do You Have To Pay Off Around Here To Stop A Payment

Perhaps you are aware that technology is not Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's friend. In fact, they are barely on nodding terms if they pass in a brightly-lit hallway that is hardly wide enough to accommodate the both of them.

I am the type of old fogy who prefers getting paper statements in the mail, rather than looking up my information online. Likewise, I am not a fan of automatic payments withdrawn from my accounts. I mail my payments as checks, by cracky! And I write in CURSIVE on them, even though that is a skill no longer taught in the public schools, and the Millennials getting my checks probably think it's some kind of code, and have notified Homeland Security. Oh, who am I kidding? As IF there's actually a PERSON processing those checks. I think it's been proven that you can sign them "Mickey Mouse" and they'll still go through.

Anyhoo...I won't do those automatic payments. I'll pay an extra processing fee to pay my Sirius XM Satellite bill for a whole year, rather than have an automatic payment come out of my account once per month. I don't mind paying for stamps. I write my checks and mail them the day after I get them. Not gonna be my problem if the post office people are sitting on their hineys and there's a delay. Of course, there have been those times when I never got a bill, so didn't think to pay it. But overall, my system works.

My boys do the online banking stuff. Not me. No siree, Bob! I don't want my payments being paid without me having a hand in it. I have argued with Genius over this numerous times. He calls me a conspiracy theorist, but it's not like that's an untruth. My reasoning, though, is that it's too hard to stop those payments when you need to.'s the latest. Back when Farmer H and I were just starting out, we opened a joint bank account, and one of the perks was $1000 of free Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance. Who's not gonna jump at THAT? Since we had a house payment, and future little Hillbillies in our long-range plans, we also took out a little more of that insurance for Farmer H. He was driving to the city every day, working on machines, in a not-so-great neighborhood, and we wanted to feel secure in case he was incapacitated for a while.

The cost was reasonable. It was less than $100 a year. The only way to get it was to pay quarterly, $24.75 every three months. Since it was a product offered by our bank, it came right out of our checking account. Not a big deal.

Now that we're both retired, one kid educated and working, the other on a scholarship with two years of college left, house paid off, no credit card debt, only A-Cad needing a regular payment...Farmer H and I decided that we don't really need that insurance any more. Well. The underwriter or whatever you call it has changed several times. There was a class action suit, for which we received a small payment. And I had no contact information to stop this automatic payment.

I figured the bank could stop it. Right? You tell the bank to TAKE OUT automatic payments. So surely you can tell the bank to STOP automatic payments. Apparently, the bank operates like that rent-a-car company who TOOK a reservation for Jerry and Elaine, but didn't HOLD a reservation for Jerry and Elaine.

On November 21, I called the bank and explained my plight. I fully identified myself, gave the exact amount of the quarterly payments, said who it went to, gave the dates the payments came out, and asked for them to stop. The girl had me on hold for a while. She said she couldn't find the contact information. Well. Welcome to MY world, girlie! She told me that maybe I should tell the underwriter that I didn't want the product any more. Huh! That's what I called HER for! She said she had it stopped, though. That there was a number in their records. She kept trying to give it to me, but since she said she was stopping the payments, I didn't see any reason to call.

Of course, stopping that automatic $24.75 payment cost me a $35 fee from the bank! I made sure to ask if that was a one-time fee, or if they were going to bill me $35 every quarter. She assured me that it was only once. Since I was stopping the payments, it would be like a stop payment on a check. I didn't agree with that, but whatcha gonna do?

Thursday, I was checking my bank transactions on the automated phone line. Might as well USE that technology if they have it! I can punch numbers into a phone. Because I still have a land line, and I can hold it out and see the numbers. Anyhoo...I had a pending charge of $24.75. NOOOO! That's not supposed to happen!

I called the bank. Of course this girl didn't know what I was talking about, and said I'd have to take care of that myself, because it was between me and the underwriter. So I asked why I was told that my payments would stop, and CHARGED $35 ON NOVEMBER 21, 2017. At first she said she didn't see any record of that. But when I kept harping that it WAS taken out of my account, and it seemed like I was charged a stop payment fee for a payment that wasn't stopped, on that specific date, she suddenly found it.


Anyhoo...she SAID they're going to refund my $35, but that I'd have to call the underwriter myself. Because apparently the underwriter has control of my checking account, since I can't stop the payment from coming out! That doesn't sound right, now does it? AND she said the other gal had put in AD&D instead of ADD to stop that payment. Which is weird, because everything list that insurance as AD&D, and NOT the ADD she's trying to say it should be. What a bunch of hooey!

SOOO...I called that number, and while reluctant to give my personal info over the phone (because I couldn't find a nine-digit account number from...oh...I don't know...29 YEARS AGO)...I did give the address and name. Of course I went through it all, only to be told that I could not stop the payments and drop the insurance, only FARMER H could do it. And he was out on the tractor somewhere.

Once Farmer H came in for lunch, I made him sit down, and shut up, and not do anything until I handed him the phone to say STOP THE INSURANCE. But of course he got chatty, and was agreeing to things I couldn't hear, and we ended up keeping the $1000 of FREE coverage. As if anybody's gonna remember that if something happens to him.

SWEET GUMMI MARY! I just wanted it to be over with! Sever all ties! Now, even though it's not (supposedly) going to cost us anything, we're still on their accounts as having the insurance. Oh, and they couldn't stop the pending $24.75 for this quarter. They can't stop it until April. I have a feeling I'll have to go through all of this AGAIN at that time. And I haven't checked to see if the $35 has been refunded by my bank, either.

Can't we go back to the days when Farmer H could drive a basket of eggs and a couple of chickens, and maybe some cedar posts, to their headquarters, and pay by bartering?

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Cheese Wallows Alone

Let the record show that our basement runs the entire length of the Mansion. My office is at the front right side, with the NASCAR bathroom next to it, and Farmer H's workshop on the back half of the basement. The left end is open, with a TV area up front, and the pool table behind it.

Preparing for the Christmas holiday, I cleaned up the basement. At least the common areas, since we put up our tree, and unwrap gifts in the TV area. My OPC (Old People Chair is there, too). I didn't bother with my office or the workshop. But the rest of the basement was dusted and swept. I had a small wastebasket outside the NASCAR bathroom, under a desk that holds assorted junk like some of the boys' old computer games in cubbies on the built-in cubicles up top. There's a blue bean bag chair under the desk, on a rectangular carpet remnant, where The Pony liked to sit and play Nintendo, which is hooked up to a little TV on the wall across from that desk.

My cleanup went smoothly. Farmer H even helped by dusting part of the room, and The Pony, who arrived a week early, dusted all the way down the wooden steps for me. So basically all I had to do was sweep the basement, and clean the NASCAR bathroom.

Today, as I was carrying my lunch to the mini fridge under the basement stairs, I had a mishap. I kind of eat my lunch in stages. What's the rush? I have the rest of my life to finish lunch! I'm on the Forever Vacation. I first fill my bubba cup of ice with bathroom water. Then I get a bottle of Diet Coke ready to add to my 44 oz cup as I sip some room into it. I scratch my lottery tickets. I check out my blog comments, and start with the day's stories. Then I'm ready for lunch.

So...when I first descend to my dark basement lair, I start up my New Delly, and go put my lunch in the mini fridge. That means pinwheels in the fridge, and an individual plastic cup of Birthday Cake ice cream goes in the mini freezer for dessert.

Today I also had 3 slices of Oberle cheese as a side dish. Oberle cheese is tasty. Garlic flavored soft cheese, in a tube shape. It fits great on a Ritz cracker when you slice it.

I set my 3 slices of Oberle cheese on top of my ice cream container, on top of my pinwheels container, to carry to the mini fridge.

Of course I have to hold that in my left hand, and my bubba cup in my right hand, because I make a stop to fill that cup with water at the NASCAR bathroom. I was just preparing to set down the pinwheel/ice cream/cheese tower on the game-holding desk when calamity befell me.


Uh huh. The exact spot on the floor where I'd swept the entirety of the basement's floor dust, to scoop it up with a dustpan.

Do you know how much dust and hair one slice of Oberle cheese can pick up, even though, to the naked eye, there was no dust and hair on the floor? You might be amazed.

Being a soft cheese, though, Oberle lends itself quite well to having a layer scraped off to reveal pristine cheese goodness underneath.

Make that about 2.5 slices of Oberle I had as a side dish with my lunch today.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Dollar Jeans

You may have heard that the Hillbilly family is having a problem with POOP in the Mansion garage. We won't get into that now, but a blogworthy incident has occurred.

Yesterday I entered the garage for my daily drive to town. Of course I smelled poop. I backed T-Hoe out onto the concrete, and went back in to shovel some sh!t. Farmer H keeps a curved blue plastic snow shovel out there for scooping the poop. He usually does it, when I'm gone with T-Hoe. But he's been derelict in his duties for several days, and I've done it myself.

It's easy enough to scoop the poop when temperatures are sub-freezing. Those turds are like petrified logs, and don't smell. They scoop right up, or roll along the garage floor ahead of the snow shovel. Once out the big door, they go over the side of the concrete, down a three-foot drop onto grass, to turn into fertilizer for next year's yard.

This time, temps were in the 50s. That poop stunk. And it didn't want to scoop or roll. Some of it smashed along the shovel edge, and crumbled, and was a pain to get out of the garage. Some of those crumbs must have landed on the mossy patch just outside the big garage doors. Unbeknownst to me.

On my way to town, I noticed the odor of poop inside T-Hoe's cabin. Cruising along at 55 mph, I put down the passenger window up front, and both rear windows, and turned up the fan on the heater. It worked! Until I rolled up the windows.

PEEEE YOOOO! What a stench! I was almost gagging from the smell.

That's not happenin'! Not on my sweet ride! T-Hoe is not going to stink like poop! I tried to brainstorm how to remedy the problem. I could take out the floor mat, in case I'd stepped in some poop. Use a wire brush to get rid of the muddy powder when it dried. Shampoo that mat with dish liquid or laundry detergent. I could get one of those mirror-hanging tree deodorizers at the car wash. I could leave a box of baking soda in T-Hoe to soak up the odor. Or put in a Bounce fabric softener.

At each stop, I ground my shoe soles on the pavement. Walked through any puddles I could find. Dried my shoes thoroughly on the entry mats at each establishment I entered. I bought two gallons of bleach for $1.15 apiece. Not the good stuff that was $2.66 on sale. I called Farmer H on the way home, to tell him of my plight. And to declare that this HAD to stop, and that I was not risking my A-Cad, parked most of the time inside that garage, but on the side away from the Mad Pooper's chosen dumping ground.

Farmer H was waiting for me when I arrived home. Like a trauma team waiting on the helipad for a 'copter. He opened up the garage door, but I didn't pull inside. Farmer H came out and got the bleach from T-Hoe's rear. He started pouring before I even walked through carrying the floor mat to lay out for safe keeping above dog height. I had to watch out for him as I passed through the garage. He had a push broom, making a tide of bleach roll across the smooth concrete floor towards the door. I told him I was leaving T-Hoe outside until my driveway walk, so as not to disrupt his scouring procedure.

When I came upstairs later to get supper ready, Farmer H was more talkative than usual.

"You know when you gave me that bleach?"

"Yeah. Did you get some on you?" Because it's happened to me before, while pouring it in the sink to clean the drain. I ruined a shirt. And now I don't work with bleach unless I'm wearing old clothes.

"Uh huh."

"Very bad?"

"Well, not bad. But you can see the spots."

"Were they your good jeans?"

"I got them for a dollar at Goodwill."

"Oh. Well. Maybe someone will die soon, and you can find another pair." Always the Pollyanna, seeing the bright side, the pot of gold at the end of the bleach-accident rainbow, our Mrs. HM.

"Eh. They'll just go from my good jeans to my wear-around-here-to-work-in jeans."

Maybe Farmer H learned a lesson. I doubt it. But one can always hope. T-Hoe didn't stink like poop today. Though he DID smell faintly like bleach.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Unfortunate Straw-Drinking Faux Pas of '17

Back before the new year started, before Christmas, even, when CasinoPalooza 3 was just a blip on the horizon...Mrs. HM suffered an accident of enormous magnitude.

Okay. Suffered may be a bit of a stretch. If I had gone to the emergency room for treatment, and a skeptical, cold-hearted nurse had asked me, on scale of 1-10 what my pain level was...I would have had to answer 0.5. Because you don't wanna skew the felt-pain scale, lest you regenerate your gallbladder and get a stone stuck in a duct, and need morphine to keep you from pulling your own teeth as a distraction. But accident was nothing to sneeze at.

I had carried my yellow bubba cup into the NASCAR bathroom one evening for some water. Yes, Mrs. HM drinks bathroom water. It's easier on the knees than ascending 13 wooden steps for kitchen water. Anyhoo...I had run out of water, and Diet Coke is not a thirst-quencher. It's a treat. A pick-me-up. The greatest beverage ever invented! But I wanted a drink of water.

The NASCAR bathroom sink has a bit of a calcium build-up on the spigot. Rather than clear cold well-water pouring out in a steady stream, you get clear cold well-water spraying out as if a toddler had put his finger over the end of a garden hose. Like a fancy rain shower. The bathroom counter is lower than a kitchen counter. I have to lean over and kind of balance myself at an awkward angle to tilt my bubba cup so that the spray doesn't erode my ice while filling the cup. Sometimes I rest an elbow on the edge of the sink to steady myself, and take tension off my back. This time, I did not. I just leaned over that sink. If I had a dowager's hump, my body might have been the perfect shape for this task.

When I was done filling the bubba cup with water, I turned off the cold-water handle with my left hand, and reached across the sink to pick up Bubba's lid. I plopped Bubba's butt end on the edge of the round sink rim, and pushed until his lid snapped on. Still off-kilter a bit, my vertebrae starting to screech in protest, I simultaneously leaned my head down, and raised Bubba up, to wrap my lips around the red straw jutting out of his blowhole. I miscalculated just a skosh.


I imagine that my teeth looked like when a territorial german shepherd hears the mailman's step on the porch. I daresay my lip was dislocated up to near lower eyelid level. That smarted. Elicited tears. I dabbed at the bottom right side of my upper lip, and the back of my hand came away bloody!

Sweet Gummi Mary! Who knew that drinking water is so dangerous?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

It's Never Too Cold To Lose Some Cold Hard Cash

On Friday, Farmer H took me to our local casino. You know, because we didn't lose ENOUGH money at CasinoPalooza 3.

He'd first offered to take me on Wednesday. I think that's because of the cold snap, and he really couldn't do anything outside or in his new Playhouse. That's what I've been calling his Freight Container Garage lately. He installed a wood stove, but with temps in the teens, it's still pretty hard to get anything done in that huge building, unless he's huddled up around the wood stove.

I was so sick that I turned down that trip, but said we could go Friday if I felt better. Better might not have been the right word for it. But on Friday, I at least felt different. I could drag myself around, even though I still had a cough and chills. The sore throat had ebbed a little bit. AND I still had a sense of smell and taste, so I knew I'd get a burger out of the trip, anyway.

It was so cold that Farmer H let the valet park the car, rather than us walking in from the south parking lot, past the parking garage, past the valet lots, past the hotel check-in counter, past the shops and event center. Instead, like when my favorite gambling aunt drives, we got out right at the front door. Good thing. Farmer H didn't want to wear a heavy coat all day, and I was a wheezer.

I had gotten a promotional card saying that I had free play if I scanned my player's card at a kiosk. My usual free play for this month, on Fridays, is $20. The promotion said I would get anywhere from $25 to $5000 worth of free play. Of course you KNOW it will be $25. But that was still more than my regular play. I figured it would be like the other promotions I get. They are not to be combined with another offer. So instead of $20, I'd get the $25 in free play.

Of course that's what I was given when I scanned my card. $25. What made me mad was that I couldn't access it at the slots. I did recall that it said "usable in free play at most slots." Huh. The regular free play works with all of them. So I figured I was getting cheated out of $5. Because once I punched in my PIN and used my Friday free play of $20 that was showing, I wouldn't be able to use the $25 from scanning my player's card. By the fourth slot I tried it on, I gave up and used that $20. You don't want to FORGET to use your free play, by cracky! It's only good on THAT DAY.

Neither Farmer H nor I was having much luck. The place was full of OLD PEOPLE! We could have been at a geriatric home! Seriously. It was crowded, and they were all OLD PEOPLE! I couldn't get on any of my favorite games, so I made do with others that had done me wrong in the past (and still did me wrong) and a couple I'd never played. I won a little bit, but not as much as I'd spent.

We met for lunch at 2:30. Farmer H and I both ordered our burger medium. He usually gets medium well, and I usually get medium. This time, his came out medium well, and mine came out EXTRA RARE. I don't know how they do that lately. The burgers used to be cooked just right. Goldilocks herself would have been satisfied. I still ate mine. At least it had flavor. It's not like they made it well done. Besides, I was happy that I was sick, but could still TASTE my burger.

Anyhoo...we went back to play for another hour, and the first machine I sat down at popped up a message that I had $25 BONUS PLAY! Huh. I don't understand that, but I took it! That meant I had a total of $45 free play that day! Lost it all, though. But that's what you'd expect, right. It's a casino, not a money-handing-out-o.

Right before time to leave, I saw a Wonder 4 Tower game open. There are only 3 of them, all together. The middle one was open! I scurried through the opening in the table games, and was all set to shove my card in that open Wonder 4 Tower. Only a couple steps to go! And the lady at the left-hand machine got up, and draped her coat over the chair of the open machine! If I hadn't been sick, I would have beat her to it! I was slowed by lack of lung power!

Anyhoo...that lady pulled her player's card out of the left machine, so I had a glimmer of hope. Then she cashed out her ticket. Then she grabbed her alcoholic drink in its glass glass. Then her box of Marlboro Gold hard-pack cigarettes. That should have been foreshadowing for me, I guess.

I sat down at her vacated machine, and Smoky started playing on the middle one. I hit four bonuses before I'd even run my twenty down to eighteen dollars! Not big bonuses. But bonuses that pay a little are better than no bonuses at all. They're the fun part of the game. I figured Smoky was getting mad that she left the machine. I didn't hear HER getting bonuses.

Here's the thing: Smoky SMOKED! The whole time I sat there. I bet she went through 15 cigarettes in 15 minutes! The smoke was wafting directly across my face. You could SEE it. Like in a cartoon. I'm sure it was due to the ventilation system blowing smoke back INTO the casino, rather than letting it seep out into the restaurant and shop area. When Smoky stubbed out that first one, I was so relieved! Until she flicked her lighter on the second one. I don't know why she didn't just light it from the dying ash of the previous one. Maybe that's low class. I don't know. I'm not a smoker. On purpose.

Anyhoo...a friend of Smoky showed up, surprising her. I guess he used to work with her, or gamble with her. They seemed pretty familiar. I think they were high rollers. He said he had a free buffet there every day of the week, but he didn't really like their food. But then again, what was he going to do on the way home from work, pass by there and pick up a pizza? So he came in almost every evening. Smoky asked him to watch her machine while she went to the bathroom. It had hit a bonus that was playing out.

I breathed a sigh of relief as she stubbed out THAT cigarette. Figured I could get some oxygen while she was gone. I'll be ding dang donged if her friend didn't take a cig from her pack, and light up as well! She returned, and he left, and the player at the right-side machine asked Smoky about her winnings.

"I'm sorry. I don't mean to be nosy. But I thought I heard you tell your friend that you just won big."

Smoky said that she'd just won $3200. On the machine that I was currently playing.

I call shenanigans! AND bullcrap! If you win $1200 or more on one game, you have to call an attendant. It's called a HAND PAY. They take all of your information for taxes, then count out your bills by hand. You can't just take them on a cash-out ticket. I had just walked up when Smoky switched machines, and there was no hand pay going on. You would think that if she'd gotten a hand pay earlier, she would not have still been playing that machine. You win, you move on.

Something was fishy there. But at least, after turning around to scan the exit for Farmer H, and then playing again, I hit a good bonus and cashed out ninety-something dollars. Still not enough to make up for what I played that day. But at least more money to add to what I'd won back to take home.

My scratchers need to start coming through for me again, so I can build up my bankroll.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Chicken Little Liar

You may have noticed, here and there, that I've been a little bit critical of Farmer H lately. Well. Moreso than usual. Maybe that criticism is unfounded. Maybe he's just not capable of understanding. Maybe he simply can't function at the level I expect from him.

 Poor Farmer H. He doesn't know his chicken parts!

On Saturday, I got an 8-piece box from the gas station chicken store. They were having a sale, you see! An 8-piece box for only $8.00! Normally, it is $8.99. Not such a big discount, but when you're sittin' on the chicken fence, that right there will push you off and into action. Here's the catch, though. Along with their computer-printed sign on the door proclaiming this sale, it said: "We pick the pieces."

Huh. That was almost enough to make me wary. But we haven't had their chicken in a long time, and I was sick and didn't want to cook, but there was nothing wrong with my sense of smell, so I got us some chicken. And a small mashed potatoes and gravy for Farmer H. Because I'm thoughtful like that.

When I got home, Farmer H even came out to help me carry in the shopping. I took the chicken in myself. I explained about the pieces sign.

"I haven't looked in it. For all I know, we could have eight wings! I hope not. But it's a possibility. That would suck. I don't know how they can say that. The girl who got mine knows I'm in there all the time. Maybe she gave me good ones."

I peeked into the box before I took my 3:30 lunch down to my lair. It had two breasts on the bottom, and two thighs on top of them, and a leg on the front side of the box and another one at the back, and two wings jammed down at the end. It was a regular 8-piece box of chicken. And it looked delicious. Better than previous times, when it looked like they were frying up Cornish hens.

I put the chicken in FRIG II. Farmer H was going to the auction, and I hadn't even had lunch yet, so that was going to be our supper. He'd warm it when he got ready, and I could get mine later. Much later, since I wasn't having lunch until 3:30. I heard Farmer H come home from the auction sometime between 9:00 and 10:30. Time means nothing to me any more, now that I'm RETIRED.

Farmer H came stumped downstairs to tell me about his bargain of $75 for 10 jugs of laundry detergent and toilet bowl cleaner and something edible, I forget, maybe hot sauce. He had watched a lady who regularly buys that kind of stuff bid up to $70 and quit. Then Farmer H got it for $75. He plans to sell it at his Storage Container Store, or maybe at another auction.

Anyhoo...I asked about his chicken. You know. Just to assess what I was having, and what would be left for the next day, for lunch or supper for one or both of us.

"I had two legs and a little part. know...a ...wing."

When I went up, to get my supper around 10:00, I saw that both wings were still there. The two legs and a thigh were gone. The bigger of the two thighs. Like I said, these were good pieces not like the miniature ones I've shown pictures of a while back.

"Oh. You ate a thigh. Not a wing. I figured you had more than that." Not that I care. Farmer H can eat whatever he wants, but don't tell me some fiction when I'm trying to figure out what I'll have, and what's left for tomorrow.

From his La-Z-Boy, Farmer H insisted that he'd eaten two legs and a wing. I know he likes the legs. I don't. He always eats the legs, and sometimes a breast or a thigh with them. Legs are not very filling, even with mashed potatoes.

I took the remaining thigh, and a wing, to the La-Z-Boy to show him. Because he was still playing that story of eating a wing. Not accusing him of eating pieces I wanted. Not calling him a liar. Just letting him know that I KNEW that he didn't really think he ate a wing instead of a thigh.

"This is a wing. This is a thigh. They look pretty different to me. Don't you know the difference?"


"Well, you didn't, apparently. THIS is a thigh. THIS is a wing."

"I had that one on the right. That's what I had."

"Uh huh. The thigh. It's not a LITTLE piece. It's bigger than the leg. And surely you knew since you already ate it, that it had different bones that what a wing would have. And you didn't have to unfold it. And it had more meat. And it was dark meat, not half dark on one bone, and half white on the other bone. You are old enough to know the difference between chicken parts!"

"Whatever! There you go!"

"I only asked what you had, and you're the one who hesitated and made up that story. I don't know what the big deal is. Just tell me you had two legs and a thigh. Then I know what's left."

I swear! ALWAYS with the untruths! You don't dare call them lies, because they came out of Farmer H's mouth, and to him, saying it MAKES IT SO.

He's so very imaginative that he could write fiction. He had no reason to fabricate a story of eating a wing, like I wasn't going to notice when I looked at the chicken. Or maybe he thought I didn't look already, and he could pretend that they gave us THREE wings, and ONE thigh. Though I don't know how that would benefit him in any way. It's not like he's pretending he's on a diet or anything. Along with that chicken he ate TWO jumbo cinnamon rolls, which he also stated. Truthfully.

I can never really believe anything Farmer H tells me.

Sunday, January 7, 2018


Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a gal of hidden talents. She has a penchant for getting to the bottom of things. Perhaps that's due to her career as a public school teacher. Perhaps that's due to her marriage to Farmer H.

Anyhoo...Mrs. HM is hanging out her Private Investigator shingle. Hoping nobody steals it.

On the way home from town yesterday, I turned T-Hoe onto my gravel road and saw a white truck up ahead. That's not unusual. Several people out here have a white truck, HOS (Farmer H's Oldest Son) being one of them. I'm not well-versed in truck models, but this one didn't look like the one I see parked in our BARn field when HOS is there helping Farmer H.

Normally, I wouldn't freak out about such a sighting. It's probably someone who lives out here. What caught my eye was an object in the back of that white truck. I don't know what it was. It looked kind of awkwardly loaded. Not all wrapped in an old bedspread, or tied down with come-a-longs like a valued piece of furniture might be, if somebody was moving it to their house.

AND this white truck was driving really slow. I know that some people have a nice car, and don't want to kick up dust from the gravel road. This was not a nice car. The area where I came upon the white truck was where we found a broken aquarium that had been trashed there a few months back. It's near the shallow waterfall of the now-frozen creek, where there's a little gap in the trees. Ne'er-do-wells have always used that area for dumping.

Had I come upon a would-be dumper?

Well! If I HAD, that varmint wasn't going to get away scott free! No siree, Bob! I could gather evidence, and turn it over to my enforcer, Farmer H. So I took out my phone, and tried to get a picture of that truck. Unfortunately, that road is bumpy, and my picture-taking leaves a little to be desired, even when I'm NOT piloting a 2008 Tahoe.

He must have seen me waving the phone around, because he sped up a little bit. Didn't stop and drop his truck bed load. He turned left on the first branch he came to off that gravel road. It's a dead end up there. So either he lives on that branch, or he thought he was escaping my investigation.

Farmer H says there's a new guy out here who just bought a house. But you can't reach it from that road the truck turned on. He doesn't know what the guy drives.

You can bet I'm going to leave this case open.

Saturday, January 6, 2018


Perhaps by now you are familiar with my routine. I spend the late afternoon/evening hours in my dark basement lair, which I now leave lighted, though two of the four overhead lights are currently out. I peruse the innernets, check up on my blogs, inform myself of the newest conspiracy theories, eat my lunch at my New Delly, and usually supper, since Farmer H is always popping out to an auction and grabs his as the time suits him.

I sip on my 44 oz Diet Coke throughout the afternoon and night. I add Cherry Limeade sugar-free powder mix to it, and extra ice, and freshen it with a bottle of Diet Coke (the hard stuff) as it weakens. I keep a baggie of frozen ice cubes in the basement mini fridge to apply to my knees. It has been melted and refrozen many times, and still hasn't sprung a leak in its double baggie.

Sometimes I know it's time to put away the knee ice when I feel it slipping down in the fold I've made by flipping my striped sweatpants leg into a long cuff. Sometimes I know because my knee starts hurting from the cold. Other times it comes at a logical cut-off point when I get up to go to the NASCAR bathroom next door to my office.

Sometimes, I just KNOW that my knee ice has sprung a leak. I can feel the trickle of melted water (which I guess is actually melted ice, having turned into water) down my shin. Imagine my surprise when I reach down, and find my soft cotton sweats dry as a bone that's been laying around Sweet, Sweet Juno's house for a year or two. I guess I feel the phantom trickles.

Today, I was typing away at my not-so-secret blog, about CasinoPalooza 3. I felt that feeling on my leg, but since I wasn't wearing my knee ice, having laid off from driveway-walking in this frigid cold snap, and not feeling as much pain in that joint. I thought something along the lines of, "Aha! You can't fool ME! I know I'm not wearing my knee ice. It can't be melting." I went on typing, my phantom drip out of my mind.

An hour or so later, I felt that drip again, so I reached down, and



It was a CRICKET!!!

Yes! A live cricket! Having apparently been sitting on my shin for about an hour or so! Just sitting there! A CRICKET! On my LEG! With its little cricket hands and feet (SIX OF THEM, I know my insect morphology!) grasping the stubs of my leg hairs that might not be so very stubby, here in the deep dark days of winter!


Have I mentioned that I hate crickets? Almost as much as I hate feet! And now I had cricket feet on my bare skin! For about an hour or so!

I couldn't smash that cricket! It would leave cricket guts on my bare skin, and in my sweatpants leg! I felt it start scrambling when I touched it. So I shook my pants leg, and looked down in horror to see that cricket fall out! It was a big husky specimen. I couldn't stomp it. My shoes were off. Red run-down Crocs abandoned further under my desk. Besides, blog buddy River says crickets in the house are good luck!

In spite of losing my shirt and half my wardrobe at CasinoPalooza 3, and being sick these last six days, I really consider myself pretty lucky. So I let that cricket be.

It was horrifying.

Friday, January 5, 2018

This Isn't Supposed To Happen!

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is sick. Sick, SICK, SICK!

That shouldn't happen, right? I am not trapped in a classroom with 100 students per day any more. Not required to stand sentinel at the doorway as they pass by, hacking and snorting and spewing all manner of viruses at my exposed mucous membranes and the gases about to enter my respiratory tract. NO! I am a stay-in-lair retiree who only makes one trip to town every day for the purchase of a 44 oz Diet Coke. And maybe a few scratch-off tickets.

This is not my first rodeo. I've been around the block. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I am an ex-science-teacher, by cracky! With BIOLOGY knowledge. I know that you don't succumb to a sickness by going out in the winter with wet hair, or catching a chill. You get a sickness by allowing the virus or bacteria that causes that sickness to gain access to your innards.

I do NOT touch my eyes, nose, mouth, ears, or face while I'm out and about. No siree, Bob! An itch will have to wait for the scratch after a Germ-X wash. Door handles and cart handles and slot machine handles and all manner of knobs and levers and keypads and vending machine buttons are rife with the sicknesses of other people. You might as well run your tongue over them as touch your face after handling them. Although the saliva and your digestive juices would probably start disarming those viruses and bacteria right away.

So...I don't know how I became ill.

It started on Monday morning. I woke up with a sore throat. Not the normal sore throat, up in the back of the roof of your mouth. You can gargle warm salt water and make that kind feel better for a while. Mine was in the lower neck-throat area. Like down on the vocal cords. The left one, more specifically. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday... It won't quit! During the day, it sometimes becomes bearable. Then overnight, it goes back to feeling like I'm swallowing crushed glass.

I've been drinking a lot (WATER and DIET COKE, of course) to thin the mucus and make coughing it up a little easier. The dizziness is better. It's not really in my nose, just a few drips. Clear. I have Halls Mentho-Lyptus Honey Lemon, and The Devil's brand Equate Menthol Cherry cough drops. I can't talk much (Farmer H is rejoicing, I'm sure, when he's not saying, "WHAT?"), and when I do, I speak in a register lower than Farmer H himself.

Poor Farmer H. Heh, heh. You know I don't really feel a lot of sympathy for him, don't you? He has driven to town for three days in a row, trying to get a haircut, only to see a sign taped on the door of his barbershop, saying that the barber is out sick. "He must have what you do! He's NEVER been off this long."

I'm sure it's just a virus. Nothing I can do for it. Except whine, of course. Hoarsely. On Monday, I was dizzy when I woke up. I figure something got into my throat and made a run for my ears and down my neck. I can only imagine this virus got in because I dared to breathe. That's right. Mrs. HM is a breather. A MOUTH BREATHER!

Probably, in my travels, I was not quick enough to stop breathing when a ne'er-do-well coughed without blocking their spray of pathogens with a hand or elbow. Or I stopped breathing right then, but could not escape the full cloud of pathogens before I had to inhale again. Because your sickness will start in the area you first make contact with the pathogens. If I was a nose-breather, I'd have started with a standard runny nose, which would then progress down my throat and into my lungs. Or if I touched my eyeball with a pathogen-coated finger, I'd have had the watery eyes, then runny nose, then cough, etc.

I'm thinking I caught this sickness after we left the casino on Friday at 11:30. Otherwise, it's a pretty long incubation period. Maybe I got it at The Devil's Playground on Saturday. Or Save A Lot on Sunday. Various and assorted coughers were abundant in both places.

Right now I'm pretty pitiful. So pitiful that I turned down a trip to the local casino on Wednesday! Farmer H says he's taking me Friday. So I guess I'll feel good enough to go. Alls I know is...I'm typing this up on Thursday evening, hoping to make a miraculous recovery in the next 12 hours.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Ze FRAMES, Blog Buddies! Ze FRAMES!

Forget that Mary Richards stuff! That is SO yesterday. Or 1970s. We're moving on to Fantasy Island tonight.

I'm a little too tall to be Tattoo, and I'm not nearly tanned enough to be Ricardo Montalban. That man had skin like fine Corinthian leather. No, I'll just be my everywoman self, and report the facts. I'm already living my fantasy of being RETIRED.

Farmer H got some more snazzy gold picture frames for my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel. So it's HER fantasy today, not mine. Farmer H also found Mabel another mirror! Isn't it cute? These are small frames. The whole five pieces here were only $20 total. AND he got another one, 6" x 7".

I think he said the small frames are plastic, and the mirror frame is wood, because it's pretty heavy. Don't remember what he said about Blue Boy, whose price was $5.00. Typical Farmer H, to frame (see what I did there?) the picture with a lot of empty space, and the subject tiny, in the center.

I don't know what that reedy-looking basket thingy is in the first photo. To the right. Probably not for Mabel. It must be one of Farmer H's fantasies. Could be a fishing creel, maybe, for his Fishing Lair shack. Or a snowshoe for BigFoot, to display with his other oddities in The Pony's Sword Shack. It seems to have become a catchall for things he's not sure what to do with. Maybe it's a picnic basket, because we only have three or four already. And let the record show that we have never taken one on a picnic.

At least while he's Goodwilling, Farmer H is not partaking of his own fantasy, which is building new structures that clamor for funding, and clutter up the landscape.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Who Can Turn The World On With A Smile?

Heh, heh! It sure ain't Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!

And now Mrs. HM morphs into Mary Richards.

Can you see me living in an apartment in an old house in Minneapolis, with a sunken living room, perhaps hosting dinner parties where I serve Veal Prince Orloff as prepared by Sue Ann Nivens? With a wacky upstairs neighbor, Sioux, with her visiting New York mother, Fishducky? And a landlady, River? Okay. Maybe not. I figure Sioux would be as funny as Rhoda, and Fishducky would be as funny as Ida Morgenstern, but that River would be a nicer version of Phyllis Lindstrom. And not as much of a busybody.

Remember how Mary had that big 'M' hanging on the wall? I thought that was SO COOL. That's how we described something we liked, back in the '70s. SO COOL.

Okay, maybe I'm never going to be Mary Richards. But at least Farmer H bought me something that could hang in her apartment! It came from Goodwill, of course. A BIG CITY Goodwill? I'll have to ask. Farmer H went on a far-reaching tour yesterday. It cost A DOLLAR. It feels like stitched leather, and I think Mary's 'M' was metal. No, it's not just a random letter that Farmer H got me, thinking I could change my name to fit it. It actually IS my initial.Shh...don't tell. It's super-secret, you know.

Farmer H got me a present, and didn't even know I would think it is SO COOL.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hat's Off To The Shaming Bracelet

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom raked it in this Christmas! Her menfolk were on their game, by cracky!

The Pony gave me mittens and a hat for driveway walking. They even match! It's been a bit too cold, even for ME, so I have not yet given them a try, with daytime temps in the teens, and nighttime below zero.

Genius gave me a fancy Garmin gewgaw. He's all about electronics, that guy. And with his Garmin career set to kick off on January 8th, he's wasting no time in putting more profit in their coffers.

Actually, he might have still had a discount from working there this past summer. Anyhoo...he got me the Garmin version of a Fitbit. This is a good gift, because I will use it for my driveway walks. I'll use it all day, of course, but with an eye on how far and how long I walk on my planned driveway excursions, and to see how healthy a casino trip really is for me!

Here's the problem, though. Christmas Day, Genius strapped me up with the Garmin, and then left. He showed me how it works, of course. Easy for him to comprehend. But for me, it was somewhat like reading an operating manual for flying a 747 to my old dog Grizzly, expecting him to grasp it right away. And he's been dead for a couple years now. Later Christmas evening, my Garmin started beeping and red-lining! I had no idea what was going on. So I sent Genius a text.

"I don't know what that red arrow thing means! Am I near death?"

"That's just saying it wants you to move! You can ignore it. It's just a way to make sure you're active and moving around during the day."

Heh, heh. If there was ever a day I was active and moving around, it was CHRISTMAS DAY! But unfortunately, by the time Genius strapped on my SHAMING BRACELET (as I've come to call it) that afternoon, after Christmas dinner, then later dish-washing, I was ready to rest come evening.

Let the record further show that on Day 2 of CasinoPalooza 3, I hit THREE MILES on the Shaming Bracelet, and satisfied that technological taskmaster at last!

I'm pretty sure this red arrow thing is going to show up every day, though...

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Scapegoat Of Farmer H's Discontent

We returned from CasinoPalooza 3 on Friday evening. Farmer H left for the auction shortly after unpacking, and I retired (heh, heh, that's for blog buddy Sioux, that RETIRED reference) to my dark basement lair. Farmer H was not gone as long as usual, what with only 12 people showing up for the auction. He said he got some bargains, though.

Anyhoo...I didn't know any of that yet. All I knew was that it was sometime between 9:00 and 10:00 when I heard Farmer H stumping around upstairs in the master bathroom. Nothing scary there. But THEN I heard him stumping down the basement steps. THAT is frightening. You never want your dark basement lair invaded by Farmer H. He has a penchant for standing in the doorway to chat, then turning as if he's leaving, and emitting more gas than a wrecked tanker truck.

"The TV won't work. I tried to change the channel, and it won't do anything."

"Did you take it off the satellite?"

"No. I didn't do nothin'. Just tried to change the channel."

"I'll be up in a minute."

So I hiked up those 13 steps to see if I could help Farmer H fix the TV/DISH/remote. A request from him that is kind of like me asking Farmer H to edit my writing.

"What did you touch?"


"Who was the last person to use the remote, then?"

"I don't know. The PONY? Before we left Wednesday morning for the casino."

"Did we leave it on? The TV? Or did Genius and Friend turn it on before they left later?"

"I don't know if they turned it on."

"So when you came in from the auction, you turned it on, and..."

"It WAS on. I tried to turn channels, and it won't move."

"Sometimes the other one does that. You have to punch in the channel number, not try change it from the guide when you first turn it on."

"You try it."

"Okay. It won't do anything. What was the last thing you touched?"

"Nothing! I just picked it up to change the channel."

"It's on CBS. We don't watch that. I wonder if Genius had it on, then they did something weird to turn it off...So, you came in and turned it on..."

"NO! YOU turned it on! When we got back. Before I went to the auction."

"I did?"

"Yeah. It was on when I got home from the auction."

"I'm pretty sure you turned it on while I was unpacking."

"No, YOU did."

"Maybe. But you were watching it."

"No I wasn't!"

"You were sitting right there while I unpacked! Talking to me!"

"I wasn't watching TV."

"Well, I can't imagine you sitting there with the TV off, and if I really turned it on, you were watching it, and everything was fine, because I can't imagine you not putting it on your channels."

"I wasn't watching it! Stop trying to blame me!"

"I'm not. I sitting here with this remote, trying to figure out what you might have touched before it quit working."

"I didn't touch the remote!"

"Don't yell at me!"


"I am NOT blaming you. I'm trying to find out what to do to fix the remote. Now I remember! You were watching football! You told me something about the game as I was walking around unpacking. That's why it's on CBS. For football."

"I was watching football and switching to MASH."

"So you hit the button that switches to the last station..."

"I DIDN'T DO IT! Stop questioning me, trying to blame ME!"

"Stop yelling. I'm only trying to find out the last buttons pushed. How else am I going to fix it?"


"I didn't say that. I am trying to help you. I walked my sore knees all the way upstairs to help YOU, and now you're yelling at me."




"Okay. If you don't want me to help..."

"I can't take it anymore!"

"Just stop. Look at yourself."


So I did. Not a word. Farmer H continued to yell that he was sick of me and and how I wouldn't shut up. But I wasn't talking at all. I raised my hands in question as to the "wouldn't shut up" part.


"It won't even turn off now."

Farmer H went to hold in the button on the DISH receiver until it went off. I turned it back on with the remote. The screen showed that it was loading the program guide, which might take 10 minutes. Then it worked.

UMMM...he's welcome. Though I didn't say so, and went downstairs to the peace of my dark basement lair.

And thus ended The Great Remote Control Controversy of 2017.