Friday, March 16, 2018

Farmer H Is The New Morris

Remember Morris the Cat? The orange tabby in those cat food commercials? The cat who spoke in that nasal, put-upon tone? The FINICKY cat, Morris? Farmer H is just like him. Okay...he's not as entertaining as a talking cat, and not something you'd want to cuddle up with on your lap...but Farmer H is FINICKY.

The other night I offered him three different meals, and even though he deigned to choose one, he acted like none of the choices was quite up to his standards. And this is the guy who eats six-week-old bologna and expired slaw. And dog bread. If he was holding out for Broccocaulipeppot for a side dish, he should have asked.

Anyhoo...because it's so hard to read Farmer H's mind, and prepare something that he sees fit to eat, I have been trying selections from The Devil's Playground deli. They have some new pre-prepared items. I served Farmer H some Chicken Marsala a couple weeks ago, and he said it was good. He also had a salad on the side, and said that the Chicken Marsala itself was enough. I asked if I should get it again, and he said yes.

The next time I served Chicken Marsala, I mentioned that I don't really like it all that much. It's seasoned chicken breast over long flat noodles, with some mushroom sauce. The flavor is fine, but I'm not much of a noodle-lover. Anything that's awkward to eat is not something I relish. The boys rarely got spaghetti growing up, because I don't like noodles. If they asked, I'd make it, and then I'd eat something else. The Pony had the idea to make it with elbow macaroni, so that's how we had our spaghetti. Easier to eat.

Anyhoo...the second time I served Chicken Marsala, I mentioned that the noodles seemed dried out, and that it was hard to eat them, because they were in a clump, and seemed about a foot long, wanting to fall off my fork, or slap against my chin. I wondered aloud if maybe I should put a little butter on them prior to putting that pre-made dish in the oven for warming. Farmer H said, "You could put some mushrooms over the top."

Farmer H loves mushrooms. So I used a small can that I keep on hand in the pantry, just because Farmer H loves mushrooms. We add them to our pizza, and into spaghetti sauce (which I now make with the real spaghetti noodles, for Farmer H [sorry, boys], because he's so FINICKY, and that's one meal I know he will eat. For two or three nights.

Anyhoo...this most recent Chicken Marsala night, I asked Farmer H if he wanted the mushrooms on it again. He said he did, but acted kind of weird, even for him. Like I was forcing him to eat the Chicken Marsala, and he didn't want it. Even though he had agreed to it the day before.

"I thought you liked it..."

"I do like it."

"Well, you act like there's something wrong with it. Like you don't want it. Do you want me to sprinkle some mozzarella cheese across the top?"

"Yeah. That might help it."

SWEET GUMMI MARY! Now Farmer H was judging the pre-prepared Chicken Marsala, that he'd said he liked. It's not like I'm going to let him have hot dogs every night. I was actually doing him a favor, warming this pre-prepared Chicken Marsala in the oven, since I don't really like it, and making myself something different anyway.

It gets tiresome, making one meal for Farmer H, and then a different meal for myself. When I ask what he wants to eat, he says, "I don't know. What do you have?" And then he never seems to like the choices, even though they were bought after interrogating him before the weekly shopping trip.

Last night, I made Farmer H the poor man's chicken and dumplings that he likes. Made with tortillas and canned chicken. I called him to the kitchen when it was done, so he could dip his own bowl. You know Farmer H. He doesn't like "juice" in his food. He's the guy who piles his vegetable beef soup up past the sides of the bowl. The vegetable beef soup which Genius says isn't really soup, as much as a bowl of assorted vegetables.

I had put away the leftovers, and was washing the pan, when I called to the living room, "You probably have a spoon in there, don't you?"

"I have a fork."

Silly me. I thought that Farmer H might bring his fork to the sink for me to wash. I guess he figured that since he'd eschewed the real bowl in favor of a two Styrofoam bowls stacked together, his dishwashing assistance should be unnecessary. So I dried the Dawn suds off my hands, and went to the living room to get Farmer H's fork and bowls.

"HOW did you end up with all this liquid in your bowl?"

"I don't know. I don't like liquid."

"I KNOW. That's why I told you to use the slotted spoon."

"I used the dipper."

"Don't you know enough to tilt it to the side, against the pan, and let the liquid drain out?"

"I thought I did."

Much like anything else, Farmer H's efforts to feed himself appear to be a bit lackadaisical.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Slawmaster

Time to get back on track and start singing the praises of dishing out more insults about Farmer H!

Have I mentioned how hard it is to feed him? I'm pretty sure I have. That man will never make a decision. But I DID get him pinned down to one of three choices I gave him several nights ago. Farmer H decided on shrimp, curly fries, and slaw.

Let the record show that it's not like a healthy meal. No siree, Bob! Not for Farmer H. The original plan was for a big salad, with cubes of chicken breast, but he didn't seem too keen on that, once time to make it rolled around, and I said I was going to prepare it. Farmer H preferred frozen breaded shrimp, frozen fries like the curly seasoned fries they have at Hardees, and slaw.

The night before, I'd had slaw with my meal of fried chicken, but Farmer H had wanted chili dogs. So...after scooping out my slaw, with just a tiny bit remaining, and seeing that the date expired that very night, I decided that it was done.

I didn't throw away the plastic container, because they are very lightweight, with a good lid, and are great for shipping Chex Mix to The Pony in a care package. It's our Hillbilly Tupperware. I didn't want to walk around the counter and scrape out the remaining slaw off the back porch like I usually do. It was dark already. Farmer H was at the auction. I decided to put it back in FRIG II, on top of the new container of slaw that I'd bought that day, and dump it the next day. So it wasn't sitting on the counter getting smelly at room temperature. it was, near time for Farmer H to leave for his auction. I had his shrimp and curly fries done on time. I called him to the kitchen to fill his plate. I thought I'd set out everything he'd need. I knew he'd go back to the La-Z-Boy with his plate. I'd set out the cocktail sauce for the shrimp, and the ketchup bottle for the fries, and a plate, and a roll, and butter. I guess I forgot the slaw.

Next thing you know, I'm sitting on the short couch, making conversation with Farmer H for a few minutes as he ate. The clock was ticking. He finished and set his plate aside. I knew he was getting ready to leave. I went into the kitchen to prepare my own food, the leftover chicken. And slaw. I opened up FRIG II and saw that the slaw was unopened.


"Oh. I guess I forgot to set out the slaw."

"That's okay. I got some."

"Wait. Where did you get your slaw? It's not open."

"There was an open one in there."

"NO! That was expired! You weren't supposed to use that! I was saving it for the container. I didn't scrape it out yet. I put it in there so it didn't get hot. You should have reminded me about setting out your slaw."

"It tasted okay."

"Well, it tasted okay to me last night, too. On the night before it expired."

Sweet Gummi Mary! You'd think that man could read an expiration date every now and then! Especially when the open item is sitting on top of a brand new identical unopened item.

Farmer H is like a one-man locust cloud. At least where expired foods are concerned.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Name Is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, And I'm A PEEPaholic

Only a few more weeks of PEEP season! They may still be around the day after Easter, but then it will be a long dry spell until...oh...maybe the 4th of July. I think I saw some Independence Day PEEPs last year. Or online. They really don't come out again in full numbers in The Devil's Playground until Halloween. PEEPs have a website somewhere, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

Here are my latest acquisitions.

I'm only showing you one box, because...well...the other one is GONE! Gone, baby, gone! Yes. I have a problem. I have a PEEP tooth. I can't help myself. These are not even the most photogenic of PEEPs. They have a wave of sugary goodness cascading down their belly. And that one has...I don't know...perhaps...a sugary tumor on its neck! It will still be just as delicious, though.

Nom-nom! I LOVE PEEPs!

The dogs and the new cat kibble that Farmer H bought yesterday? Not such a match.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, Agape Avenger

I was almost a superhero today. Almost. Had every intention of being one, despite my creaky knees and advanced age and generally apathetic attitude.

I was leaving Save A Lot. I had only stopped for a few items. Some onions, but they were out of the white onions, so I didn't get any. A pizza to bake at home, but all they had were pepperoni, so I didn't get one. Some curly fries, because Farmer H really likes them, and plain potato chips with ridges, for the same reason. I also threw in two boxes of PEEPS, the pink bunny kind, because that's what was available. And a pack of paper plates, because we're running out.

So...I didn't have many items, so I didn't need a box like I usually put my purchases in at Save A Lot. I had three bags slung over my arm, and pushed the cart back to the rack, so nobody would have to bring it back in from the parking lot. Because I'm selfless like that.

The carts are parked at the entrance, near the produce section. A man with a cart was having a short maybe-argument with an older-teen/early-twenties boy/man. I couldn't tell if it was a real argument, or just loud manspeak. So I minded my own business. But while I was doing just that, the boy/man announced,

"OKAY! So I'll meet you in the car!"

He started out the door. Nothing to see here, right? Even though I was looking, because I was turning around, having parked my cart, and was headed out the door my own self.

The boy/man was clutching a four-pack of paper towels under his arm!

Whoa! Wait a gosh-darn minute! He was heading for the door! With PAPER TOWELS under his arm! I thought surely he was going to go past me, up the unopen checkout the wrong way, and get in line to pay. But he didn't! That boy/man was hoofin' it toward the doors! I'm pretty sure my mouth was hanging open as I stared.

Um! Hey! Uh! Shouldn't somebody be watching this guy? And stop him? Before he shoplifted a four-pack of paper towels, and whatever else he had in his other hand? But nobody was running after him! They weren't even looking! Should I do something? Maybe holler, "HEY! Did you forget something?" Or, "STOP!" Or run over to get a checker's attention? Or try to get in front of him and prevent him from leaving?

Oh...never mind.

As he turned to go out the automatic door, I saw that Boy/Man had a yellow bag looped over his other arm. A bag from the Dollar Store next door. He'd obviously bought that stuff in there, and stepped inside Save A Lot with his purchases. I've done the same thing before, rather than take the Dollar Store purchases back to T-Hoe when it was raining. I guess Boy/Man just wanted to let the older guy know where he'd be waiting.

Sometimes, I'm glad my reaction time is slow, or I'd have a Not-Heaven of a predicament to get myself out of.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Let The Invalid Heal Himself

Farmer H is sickly again. I really think it would be healthier for him to skip his weekly shot. This is becoming a habit. He goes to the doctor's office every Friday afternoon, and comes down with a sickness on Sunday night or Monday morning. If he was still working, I'd declare that he was faking it. But now it interferes with his own personal junking time.

I was heading to town around noon, so I set out a saucepan, a mug, a large spoon, and a can of chunky chicken noodle soup. I even put on my glasses to make sure the expiration date was September 8 of 2018. Not 2016.

Farmer H had agreed to have the chicken soup for his lunch. He probably thought I'd be making it for him, though. occurred to me halfway to town that I'd forgotten to lay out a can opener. I guess Farmer H managed all right. I made sure that the soup I bought while in town has a flip top.

When I got home, the soup was gone. The pan had been rinsed clean. The mug had been rinsed clean.

I'm pretty sure my sink drain is going to be clogged with tiny pieces of noodle, carrot, and celery.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Farmer H Is Pictured In The Dictionary, Next To The Definition Of CAN'Tankerous

Farmer H has asked me to look up some prices for the mountain of Tupperware he found in one of his 18 storage units.

You know how it goes. Rather than giving that Farmer a fish, I preferred to teach him HOW to fish. Less work for me, you know. Besides, he has looked at the Tupperware himself, and knows what pieces he's trying to price. I only have one photo of a few Tupperwares, and his verbal description. Don't get me started on that one. It's like the blind men describing an elephant.

I offered to hook up a mouse for my laptop Shiba, so Farmer H could peruse the innernets at will. He has complained before that he can't use a laptop. One issue being the keypad. Well! You'd think I had suggested that he join a prison work crew breaking up boulders with a ball peen hammer 24/7/365/eternity.

"NO! I can't use a laptop!"

"But I'll hook up a mouse. It will work just like a desktop."

"I've tried! I can't SEE anything on it!"

"What do you mean?"

"Every time you want me to look at something, I can't see it. I can't go anywhere on it! I've tried!"

Now THAT'S a laugh. Why would I want Farmer H to look at anything on my laptop? I only get something ready for him when he insists. It's more work for me. So I'm doing him a favor, and then he tells me after all these times that he couldn't see it anyway? Couldn't switch to the next already-loaded screen, even though I'd showed him how when I sat him down?

So now, according to Farmer H, hands thrown in the air all dramatic-like, I'm harassing him because I was going to turn on the laptop, bring up three websites, and hand him a mouse so he could look at Tupperware. What every loving wife would do for her husband, right?

But Farmer H has a hissy-fit like I'm torturing him.

"I CAN'T DO THAT! I can't sit with it on my lap!"

"I'll put it on the coffee table. You can sit on the couch, and roll the mouse on the coffee table."

"I CAN'T DO THAT! I can't see anything on that screen!"

"It's the same size as a regular monitor, give or take a couple diagonal inches!" Sweet Gummi Mary! It's not like I'm asking him to view Tupperware prices on some kind of funky Google watchband contraption.

"Or you can sit on the end of the coffee table, and look at Shiba like I do, on the TV stand tray in front of window."

"I CAN'T DO THAT! I can't see it."

Maybe Farmer H doesn't know that you can tilt the laptop screen slightly. I'm not picking up what he's laying down. It's like Shiba is his kryptonite. Yet he thinks I can look up all his Tupperware for him, from his description, and let him know the price so he can set his accordingly.

This is why Farmer H is NOT getting a PayPal seller account. Or an eBay store. This Storage Unit Store is going to be NONE OF MY BUSINESS.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

And You Kids Stay Off My Lawn, Too!

The generation gap is REAL, people! I've noticed folks (like my age folks, the Boomers) across the Blogosphere, grousing about how these Millennials who wait on them don't know how to interact with people. Instead of a simple, "You're welcome," when they are thanked (and heaven forbid you expect one of THEM to ever thank anyone), they say,
"No problem."

OF COURSE IT'S NOT A PROBLEM! It's your freakin' JOB! That you're being paid to do in a timely and courteous manner. So why would it be a problem? It's not like we dragged you off your deathbed and asked you to rebuild the pyramids. Which, I might add, would likely not be standing if they'd been originally built by Millennials. We're only asking you to take our order. To hand back change. Easy peasy.

I can deal with that, though. With the, "No problem." I've grown accustomed to it. What I have NOT grown accustomed to is the greeting I get when I walk into a convenience store.

Silly old me. Silly OLD me! I guess I expect to be greeted with, "May I help you?" Or, perhaps, "What can I do for you?" But instead, I keep getting the standard greeting of...


Seriously? I'm not your bro. I'm not here for a casual conversation. We are different generations. You need to learn mighty quick that if you're going to ask an old person, "What's up?" you're going to get a lengthy discourse on the state of their current health.

Seriously. That takes me out of the moment every time. I walk in, glance at the scratcher display, have the numbers I'd like to buy in mind...and then all at once, I'm considering enlightening this young dude on how my knees are feeling today.

I think maybe there needs to be a translator on site. Just in case.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Trying Not To Have A THREEpeat Of Non-Performance

Perhaps you assume that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom finally has this bill-paying thing all figured out. C'mon! You KNOW what happens when we assume.

Three days ago, I got a bill for SiriusXM radio. We have it in T-Hoe, and also in A-Cad. In addition, we gave it to The Pony last year as a Christmas gift. Not that he spends a lot of time driving...but when he does, it's handy to have SiriusXM when you're in the middle of Oklahoma, and driving through assorted middles of nowhere wherever you go. Can't be fiddling with the radio, trying to find a station. This billing statement stated that the bill was for the 2016 Acadia.

Two days ago, I mailed back the payment stub and check. Those SiriusXM people are crafty. They're always trying to get you to set up your account for automatic payment, so they can remove money from your bank at will. Not for me. No siree, Bob! They should thank their lucky stars, actually, because they KNOW that the account is paid for AN ENTIRE YEAR, with no chance of Mrs. HM to not get a bill and not pay it. This arrangement actually saved us a couple bucks, too, when royalty charges went up, and we were locked in at the same price until renewal time.

One day ago (that's yesterday for those of you who use a more sensible form of speech), I got another bill for SiriusXM radio. For TWICE the amount! I didn't get all discombobulated. I knew that my check was in the mail! I knew that I didn't owe again for the 2016 Acadia.

Here's the problem. This newest statement only specified the 2013 Rogue. That's The Pony's car. It would make sense. His paid subscription started when the trial ran out. About this time last year. So there's no dispute that we owe for the 2013 Rogue. MY question was the other car on that bill. WAS it the 2016 Acadia, as I suspected? Or did they have it on a separate bill, and this was the 2008 Tahoe? I was pretty sure T-Hoe's SiriusXM gets renewed in late summer or fall. But...I could be confusing that with his On-Star.

So...I called the SiriusXM people. Or their automated phone. Which has a recording ask you a question, but only gives you limited choices to answer. After three tries, I made it understand that I wanted to talk to a PERSON. Her name was Angel, and she had a thick accent of undetermined origin, but she was very polite, and with a little lag time while my mind translated her words, I was able to explain my situation. She looked up the account, verified my information, and said that indeed, this second charge was for A-Cad. That T-Hoe was good until September.

Angel said that I would not receive another bill once my first check had cleared, and that all I needed to do was send in that payment stub with the payment for the 2013 Rogue only, plus a $2 paper statement fee. Easy peasy for this old geezer.

We'll see if I get any extra bills in the coming weeks. It's either feast or famine around here where bills are concerned!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I Am Ashamed Of Myself. Really.

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom makes no secret of her fondness for playing the lottery. Scratcher tickets, specifically. It is a rare day goes by without Mrs. HM buying a ticket. At the end of the week, she buys two tickets specifically for Genius.

Even though Genius still lives in Missouri, and could buy his own tickets, what with the exorbitant salary he is raking in right out of college...I continue to send him two tickets per week. Just because I can. Let the record also show that I have cut off his $6 per week for Chinese food, which I continued in honor of my mom, who always sent him that, but passed away the second semester of Genius's sophomore year. I figure he can afford his own Chinese food now, and I doubt that he can find it for $6 in Kansas City.

Some weeks, I'm in a rush, and stop to get Genius's tickets on the way to the main post office to mail his letter. Other times, I'm prepared. I buy his tickets along with mine, all in one batch, and set aside two random ones for him once I get home. That's what I did today. Tucked them in the envelope already addressed to him, just like the money I send The Pony instead, him living nowhere near the Missouri border, with no wherewithal to cash in a winner if he got one.

Well. I had a particularly sad scratching session today. All the more disappointing, since yesterday I doubled my money! I was not content to have only ONE winning ticket, in the amount of $10. I kept thinking about Genius's tickets, laying within arm's reach, inside that envelope. He'd never know. I could get him two more tickets on the way to the post office. Surely, by the law of averages, there should be two more winners from the batch I'd bought today.

Usually, I can resist that thought. "No. I bought those for Genuis. They're meant for him. Hands off. You can get yourself more tomorrow." And that works.

Today, it didn't.

I took Genius's two tickets out of that envelope, and scratched them. The first one won $5. I KNEW there was a winner waiting! The second ticket appeared to be a loser, until I scratched its back. They don't all have playable backs. But this one did, and won $10.

That made me feel bad! Not only had I taken $15 of winnings from Genius, but I'd taken away the joy of winning, and thinking for a few nanoseconds that he might have a big jackpot. I confessed what I'd done to Farmer H over supper. He said, "You're not going to tell him, are you?" And I said that I WAS, and that I was also sending him the $15 with that revelation, AND two tickets to scratch.

I asked Farmer H if he had change for a twenty. He said all he had was a ten and a five. A likely story! I traded him a twenty for them, though. dishonesty has cost me five dollars of tip money to Farmer H for providing the smaller bills for Genius, plus ten more dollars to buy two more tickets, so I can send them as usual. Don't tell me not to send the tickets (which may be losers...or WILL they). And don't tell me to withhold Genius's rightful winnings.

I'm in the hole $15 for my lack of willpower. That'll learn me!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A Repeat Performance Of Non-Performance

Well, well, we are, a week into a new month, and guess who didn't pay last month's electric bill? That's right.


I told you before...if I don't receive a bill, I don't pay that bill. How could I? I'd be paying something that didn't exist. On my radar, anyway.

This morning I was kicked back in the La-Z-Boy, writing down the money Farmer H frivolously spent on an MRI yesterday for his Poparm. You know. The arm where he tore his biceps muscle while wiping his butt. Anyhoo...I was scoping out the month's finances to see how I might budget, and I didn't see a record of paying last month's electric bill. BILLS, actually. We get two. But in the same envelope. One for the Mansion, and one for the BARn. So there I was, jotting down the phone bills and the DISH bill and the only payment we have, which is for A-Cad...and I didn't see the electric bills.

I went to the kitchen, to the bill-and-letter holder on the counter, and dug out the old electric bill. Sure enough, it was for January. I called the number on the statement, and punched through about 15 menus to get my balance and due date. WHEW! Due on March 12. I still had time. Oh, that automated line offered to let me pay the bill over the phone...FOR THE BARn. That wouldn't do me any good. I needed to pay both. So I kept punching numbers until I got a person.

Amy was polite, and spoke without an accent, but seemed to be hardened from her line of work. She got all my vitals, and then said that they're not set up to take payments over the phone. That it's done through Western Union, and would cost me two dollars and change. Which makes me no nevermind, but I'd just been offered that option before talking to her, but only for ONE of our two accounts. So Amy said that our Mansion account was linked to a different phone number. Huh. I don't know how that came about. She didn't tell me the number. Anyhoo...she got both accounts linked, and said that I should be able to deal with both of them now on the automated line. Or that I could pay online for free.

That's all well and good, but I'm not in the habit of setting up online accounts, because I don't want the money coming out of my checking each month without me having a hand in it. But I DID go down to my dark basement lair and set up an account, and user name, and password, and then play around trying to link the other account. Which I did. After 60 minutes of my valuable time that I was not on my way to town for a 44 oz Diet Coke.

Here's the thing. Amy told me that the bill was mailed on February 19th. I assured her I was not accusing her company of not SENDING a bill. Only saying that I didn't RECEIVE that bill(s), which had happened before, and that I was sure the problem was on my end.

You know what happened the week of February 19th, right? Oklahoma Casino MiniPalooza. When HOS (H's Oldest Son) was taking care of our animals on February 21, 22, 23...and picking up our mail! I'm not accusing HOS of being careless or vindictive. Although in the past, he's forgotten to pick up the mail the whole time. And this time, Farmer H had told him to put it on the seat of his Trailblazer, but it wasn't there when we got back, and HOS said he had it in his truck. Which was a company truck that he had use of for his job. And when Farmer H brought me that mail, I said, "This is ALL we got in three days?" No. I'm not accusing. We are known to have terrible mail delivery. I'm just looking at ways this lack of a bill(s) might have happened.

Anyhoo...both are paid now. On time. I'm not going to be disconnected. This month, anyway. Let the record show that Amy said the next bill is going out on March 20. You can bet I'm going to be watching for it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Just Say Yes

Yesterday I was in line at The Devil's Playground with just a handful of items, behind a woman with considerably more. I was perusing the impulse-buy section for Gourmet Lollipops (they had none) and Chapstick 100% Natural Lip Butter (didn't have the Pink Grapefruit flavor I wanted). I settled for a mini bottle of Germ-X with aloe. Farmer H says he has a bunch of clip-on mini bottles of hand sanitizer, as if for a backpack, in his storage unit stuff. But he hasn't given me any yet. So I was willing to fork over $1.53 to stay hygienic after my Devil's Playground adventures.


Well! THAT startled me back to the present. It sounded like there might be a rumble. I saw The Devil's Long-in-the-Tooth Handmaiden shoving a yellow family size bag of Lay's Potato Chips into a plastic Devil's sack on the carousel. Already in it was an identical yellow bag of Lay's. In case you've been shacking up under a rock for a couple thousand years with a Geico caveman...chips are fragile! I would not have wanted my chips Handmaiden-handled like that, either.

The Devil's Long-in-the-Tooth Handmaiden (TDLITTH) acted like she didn't know what she was doing wrong. She looked up at Customer. And kept doing it!

"NO! Don't shove that bag in! It breaks the chips! I'm sorry. But I hate broken chips. So just stop. Here! Give them to me." Customer reached over and took the bag off the carousel, and gently shook it a bit, then removed the pushed-upon bag. "See? You've put a box in the bottom. THAT'S why the bag won't go in." She set it aside by itself.

"Oh." TDLITTH acted like she never knew that. Despite the fact that I've seen her in The Playground for a while now.

That transaction wrapped up, the total being in the $200s, part being paid with cash, and part with a debit card. Customer offered a half-hearted apology for speaking harshly, but I think there was no need. You don't want to eat powdered Lay's until the next monthly shopping trip.

My items were already on the conveyor, and had been advanced to the ringing-up area. I put the Germ-X on last, since I picked it up last. I also had some PEEPS and some Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels, No Sugar Added Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for Farmer H, plus a boxed mini No Sugar Added Apple Pie, a 5-pound bag of boneless skinless chicken breasts, and a bag of dinner rolls.

Let the record show that I'd put the cold stuff up front. Then the cookies and PEEPS and pie, then the rolls. It made sense to me. Bagging cold with cold, square containers with each other, and the rolls last. With the Germ-X in its little bottle.

TDLITTH asked if I found everything I needed. WHEN am I ever going to learn to just say YES? I had to mention how I can never find the six-pack of boxed raisins. Of course, TDLITTH didn't tell me where to find them. She asked if I had The Devil's app. NO. I do not. I'm not particularly interested.

Thus began a promo for The Devil's app. Did I have a smart phone? Did I know how to download an app? I could use it to scan items that I didn't know the prices of. How about THIS, how about The Devil marks his gosh-darn merchandise like he's supposed to? Huh? How about THAT? Oh, and if I made sure to download the right store, I could type in the item, and the app would tell which aisle to find it. Huh. First the automated checkout, now the app...why was TDLITTH telling me stuff that was about to eliminate her job? Oh! I see. They were having a contest to promote the app.

Yeah. My eyes were glazed over. I couldn't even busy myself with putting the bags in my cart/walker, because TDLITTH was a BACKWARDS CHECKER! She turned that carousel AWAY from me, not toward me. So my full bags were out of reach until they made a full circuit.

All at once, TDLITTH announced my total. Not in the $200s, thankfully. Less than a fourth of that. As I turned to jam my debit card at the chip reader (I'd forgotten to wear in my glasses on top of my head), I noticed that TDLITTH had put my Germ-X on top of the carousel. They do that sometimes, you know. Set an item on top, so it won't go in a bag with food. ASSUMING that you won't want it in there. JUDGING your purchases, even though you may want to take that Germ-X home and drizzle it over those rolls and snarf it down like there's no tomorrow.

So there I was, blindly trying to use the chip reader, all of which seem to be missing at least one screw, and flop when you touch them, so you have to bend down and find the card slot, while elbowing the creeper behind you away so you can stand directly in front of it. I was on my third try when TDLITTH said, petulantly, "Oh. I was going to show you that app."

Well. Nothing would do but for me to stand up and take a step toward her so she could wave HER OWN PERSONAL PHONE across my Germ-X, and show me the price (which I already knew), rather than type in SNACK RAISINS and find me the aisle, as long as she was being totally time-sucking and overly-familiar.

The chip reader kept beeping for me to punch in information, so I turned back to it and squinted and declared that I didn't want cash back, and the total was fine, and typed in my PIN while holding up that broken-down contraption with the other hand. I then turned to see that my cart STILL had no bags in it, and waited for my receipt, and asked if I had everything. Because I had NOTHING!

TDLITTH picked up my three bags and walked them around to the cart. Just making her own life harder all the live-long day, but who am I to decree which direction The Devil's Handmaidens should spin their carousels?

Once I was settled in T-Hoe, writing the amount in my checkbook register and washing my hands with my almost-empty dawned on me that as I had loaded the bags into T-Hoe's rear, I did not notice my new Germ-X. Gosh darn it! I wanted my tiny Germ-X! It was probably still on top of the bag carousel, riding round and round with wild abandon.

Crap crappity crap! I could go back inside and make a scene and get my $1.53 (plus tax) Germ-X. IF TDLITTH was still there. IF she had seen my Germ-X and set it aside. Otherwise, it would be a wasted trip, and I'd look petty, asking for Germ-X that I had paid for but not gotten. No. I was not taking the time and knee-mileage to go back. Screw it. She got me.

Once back at the Mansion, unpacking...I found the Germ-X in the bag with the rolls. Good thing I didn't go back.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Kid I'd Like To Smack

Don't get me wrong! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not believe in the abuse of children. They shouldn't be beaten. But every now and then, one of them might need an attention-getter. Just a signal to cease and desist the tomfoolery. When mere words don't do the job.

I dashed in Save A Lot for some Caesar Dressing yesterday. While I was there, I also picked up some broccoli, and a couple of frozen McRib-looking sandwiches that Farmer H has taken a liking to. Just a few items. I wasn't in the store long. But long enough to have my nerves shredded with a cheesegrater. Okay. It wasn't an actual cheesegrater. Not one of those silver rectangular-cylindrical contraptions with holes and slots of varying size, with a handle on top, that leaves your cheese in a nice pile in the middle. Not one of those flat graters that always slip halfway through your grating session, and send the paper plate of grated cheddar spraying across the counter.

No, I might better describe my sudden-onset affliction as having my sense of hearing assaulted by the incessant jabbering of a young girl. My patience tried. Tried, and convicted, and sentenced to ten minutes of incarceration in a discount grocery store with a hardened abysmal chatterbox.

Shortly after I entered the store, a woman came in towing four kids. She was probably late 30s or early 40s. With three girls around 7-8 years old, and boy a couple years younger. I don't know if they were cousins or friends, but I heard one refer to the woman as Grandma, and I think another called her Mom. Anyhoo...they managed to be right behind me, no matter which aisle I chose, until the end, when they ended up checking out ahead of me. One checker.

I got in line anyway. The Kid I'd Like To Smack (TKILTS) was behind the cart, playing around with stuff shelved around the checkout for impulse buys. She wasn't out of control. Just annoying. Picking stuff up, looking, putting it back. Commenting on it to her friend/relative. And when a box of PEEPS (the chick kind, not my favorite, they were out of the bunnies, I checked) was put onto the conveyor, she squealed, "OH! PEEPS! I LOOOOVE THEM! I'M GONNA EAT ME SOME PEEPS!"

Okay. So she has a zest for life, that TKILTS. The grandma/mom was very good with those kids. She didn't let them run wild. She didn't raise her voice with them. She calmly corrected them. But TKILTS was too exuberant for me. I didn't want to hurt her. Not even her feelings. I just wanted to smack her. And say, "Straighten the not-heaven up! You're annoying people!"

Is that so wrong? I'm pretty sure I'd be arrested for such an act. I would never actually do it. But that doesn't stop me from WANTING to do it. Times are different these days.

I remember when I was in college, student teaching at a local high school, giving an archery lesson to a co-ed class of freshmen. My supervising teacher from the college was there that day. A tall, no-nonsense woman who had previously coached the field hockey team. As we walked out of the gym to get to the archery field, one young man was cutting up. Nothing big. Just seeing how far he could push it. Dr. Doll-Hair (that's what we called her behind her tall back, because of her bowl-cut hair that did not move, ever) walked up beside him. She put her hand on his shoulder as they strode along. She leaned down a bit, sideways, to comment softly in his ear.

Next thing you know, I heard that freshman boy exclaim shrilly, with the voice of an adolescent which has not fully deepened to adult timbre, "OW! YOU'RE HURTING ME!"

And do you know what my supervising teacher, Dr. Doll-Hair said?

"I know."

Cool as a cucumber, never loosening her claw-like grip on his shoulder, showing him that she meant business. That kid was a model student for the rest of the six weeks that I was student teaching.

Some kids are more high-maintenance than others. Don't I know THAT, after raising Genius.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Disappearance Of Slim Jim Has Been Solved!

A couple days ago, I mentioned how I'd lost Slim Jim. How he seemingly disappeared into thin air. Well. Slim Jim once was lost, but now he's found. I was blind, but then I saw.

Farmer H and I went to the casino yesterday after he closed his Storage Unit Store. Since he didn't want to drive all the way back to the Mansion, and pick me up, and take A-Cad as usual...I drove to town to save a couple steps, in my everyday auto, T-Hoe.

Farmer H was having trouble getting rid of people! It was a nice day, and the first weekend of the month, and the buyers were out. One lady ducked under the metal door of Farmer H's storage unit as he was in the act of closing it! He made a quick sale of a lamp that she just HAD to have, and then came outside the gate to meet me in the parking lot. We left his truck there, to pick up later. All the people who rent storage units there have a code for a keypad to open the gate whenever they want inside.

I had moved from the driver's seat to the passenger seat while waiting. Such a bright sunny day, temps in the low fifties. I think I waited about 20 minutes for him, past our agreed departure time of 11:00 a.m. Farmer H could have easily sold more, but he said he wanted to straighten up some things, and bring different merchandise. So he'd do that Sunday morning, before the crowd arrived. Although he DID say that people loved digging through the boxes of unorganized stuff he had sitting there. Of course they did! They probably thought they were exploring undiscovered territory! That they might find a treasure like a big diamond ring in there!

Anyhoo...Farmer H swove us to the casino, a tale for another place and time. We left there at 3:30. As I was grabbing the handle to pull myself up on T-Hoe's running board to get into the seat, something caught my eye.

It was down beside the console, next to the metal frame that the passenger seat slides on. I always have that seat pushed all the way back. I'm sure I saw that white piece while searching for Slim Jim. I must have mistaken it for the paper end of a straw wrapper. Surely you don't think I'd make the effort to pick up trash like that while searching for Slim Jim! that I was standing in a sunny casino parking lot, and not in an ill-lit garage, something about that straw wrapper scrap looked different. I leaned over. Poked around. Or tried to. It was really just the visible part that I could feel. But it wasn't soft like paper. It was plastic-y. I rooted and poked some more. Tried to grab it. No luck. Poked a couple more times. Felt all around. Crawled halfway across the seat...and in the better light, I saw the brown end of Slim Jim!

Slim Jim was wedged down into a kind of metal slot or trough, a groove in that hardware that's bolted to the frame, and in turn bolts down the seat. I seriously could not feel Slim Jim's body in that groove. It took a lot of wiggling of that wrapper between my fingernails to get Slim Jim out. Several times, I thought he might slip farther under the seat, to the possible point of no return.

I rescued him, though! You might think that shameless (and questionably unhygienic) Mrs. HM devoured him on the spot. Sweet Gummi Mary! That did NOT happen. I was still full from a delicious burger at the casino. I put Slim Jim in the console tray with two uneaten, fully-wrapped Slim Jims (for emergency purposes) that I always have on hand.

Today, when I returned home from my daily 44 oz Diet Coke run, I planned to divide Slim Jim between my Sweet, Sweet Juno, and (formerly known as Puppy) Jack. I ripped the wrapper, and bit Slim Jim in half. Jack immediately ran under the lattice that encloses the under-porch area. Juno was snuffling at me from the side porch. I had a bit of a beef with her, since before I left, I'd given both dogs some Hawaiian Rolls, and she'd run out of her house and taken one of Jack's while he was chewing.

I called and called to Jack. He was trapped under there, the only way out to come out the opening by the fake fish pond, and run all the way around the garage and come in under the carport where Farmer H parks the Trailblazer and Gator, and I park the trash dumpster. I held off giving Juno her portion, because I knew she'd steal Jack's if hers was already devoured. In fact, the minute I saw Jack running toward me, I gave Juno a tiny bit of cat kibble, and while she was distracted, slipped Jack BOTH halves of Slim Jim.

A fitting burial, I say.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Don't Crook A Gift Card When In Doubt

Farmer H has been sorting through the belongings he bought in those 18 unpaid-for storage units. You never know what you might find in there. Some things you can't see when you first glance in the door. He even had a desk that he was going to throw away, because it was missing a drawer, and then two days later found the drawer in a box. Lucky for him he'd saved the desk, and now has it ready to sell.

A couple days ago, he was talking to his buddy who buys storage units (a couple at a time, not 18 all at once). This is the buddy Farmer H hurt his butt for, by stumbling while carrying the other end of a table after the auction. Anyhoo, the buddy cautioned Farmer H not to throw away any gift cards he finds, because they usually still have money on them. Who saves a used-up gift card, right?

Well. Of course Farmer H found some gift cards. He asked me if I'd look them up for him. Not having a job any more really has limited Farmer H on his internet surfing. I said I would. But when he handed me the cards, I cautioned him not to be too optimistic about finding a fortune on them.

"Those cards look kind of dated. Not like the ones they sell now. They're probably pretty old."

"Yeah, but they never expire! There's no date on them."

I tried the Target card first. I looked up the website listed on the back, and punched in the long number and the other number. It didn't outright call it a PIN, but that's what it was. Of course the website kept giving me the message that those were not valid numbers. And I could see that they were. That I was entering the exact numbers listed on the back of the card. I tried several times, with the same result. I read every bit of information on the back of that Target gift card, and I came across the date of 2004.

I'm pretty sure those cards don't remain valid indefinitely. Think of the money that would be tied up in them. Money that the retail stores would rather have for themselves, than set aside for people who may decide to use their gift card in 15 or 20 years. If at all.

The other card didn't even have a website on it. So I called the 800 number listed on the back. It gave me an automated menu, and I followed along and punched in the numbers, which I'd found by scratching off (I'm really good at that task!) a silver strip on the back. The automated voice told me that my card was inactive, and that I should bring in my receipt and the card to check on the balance.

I'm pretty sure Farmer H doesn't have the receipt for that card. I'm pretty sure it's older than 2004. Or maybe the non-paying renter of that storage unit was a gift card thief, and never paid for either one!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Slim Jim Is Missing!

He's GONE! Gone, baby, gone! I have no idea what happened to Slim Jim.

Let the record show that a search was mounted forthwith, the moment he was discovered missing. How could Slim Jim possibly disappear into thin air? Or even thick, humid air? HOW? He was just there a minute ago! I looked away, and he was gone.

I knew right where I'd left him. I backtracked. Searched all over T-Hoe. Searched the garage. Searched the sidewalk and porch. Then I returned to the Mansion and searched the kitchen. Just in case Slim Jim had hitchhiked a ride inside. I searched the floor. The counter. My purse. The grocery bags. Slim Jim was not to be found.

How is that even possible?

Every day, right before I start up T-Hoe to leave town after getting my 44 oz Diet Coke, I take my two pills with a swig of water (surely you don't think I'd start imbibing my magical elixir before I get home) and rip open a Slim Jim.

That's a regular fork for comparison. Not my special short fork that some little gal asked for specifically, being too good for the plasticware that everybody else was using at a special surprise party BBQ last fall, and threw into the trash can!

They're small, these Slim Jims. Not like the ones we'd buy at the penny candy store during childhood, with our allowance of 50 cents every two weeks. No siree, Bob! Now THOSE were some robust, hearty Slim Jims. I remember it like it was yesterday. The first bite, the SNAP of the casing, the grease shooting into my mouth. can't beat a good Slim Jim. This new mini version is okay. It serves the purpose of getting some protein to go along with that medicine. Along with a hefty dose of fat and cholesterol and food additives, I'm sure.

Anyhoo...none of that brings Slim Jim back. I still have no idea what happened to him. I'd taken my meds, started up T-Hoe, and pulled out of the Gas Station Chicken Store parking lot. I made a right at the light, and went through the next two green. I was getting ready to reach down to take a bite of Slim Jim as I crested the hill heading out of town. I checked the mirror, and saw a truck bearing down on me.

I don't fiddle around eating Slim Jim if traffic is a bigger priority. I figured I'd wait until I turned off, or that truck did. He was getting pretty close, and I wanted both hands on the wheel. I couldn't be lollygagging or sweaving with another vehicle behind me. I'm the courteous sort, and don't want to impede the flow of traffic. Or give any redneck in a truck a reason to have road rage.

As Even Steven would have it, that truck made the same turn I did, onto our county road. In fact, it followed me all the way to the mailboxes, and went on around me as I signaled to pull over by EmBee.

Of course, after getting the mail, I forgot about Slim Jim. Didn't remember him until I was inside, getting ready to add some Great Value Sugar Free Cherry Limeade powder to my 44 oz Diet Coke. Since I'd already ripped open his plastic sleeve, I figured I needed to get Slim Jim out of T-Hoe. Okay. I wanted to devour him. There was a box of his brethren on the kitchen counter, but I thought it would be a shame to waste the open one.

I kid you not. I searched ALL OVER T-Hoe. Starting with the bed of Puffs With Lotion that lay on the lower section of the console. That's where I put Slim Jim. Not there. I thought he might have slid off, what with the turning of sharp curves. But no. He wasn't under either of the front seats. I reached my arm all the way down in there, between the console and the seat, and under the seats. Nothing.

I guess Slim Jim won't stink up T-Hoe. I think he's pretty well preserved within a centimeter of his life. AND...a couple years ago, The Pony and I found a petrified McDonald's cheeseburger under one of the back seats. It didn't stink, and it wasn't moldy. So maybe one of these days, we'll find Slim Jim.

Don't turn me in if you see him on a milk carton.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Technology Thwarts Mrs. HM Once Again

Yesterday morning, I was having a text conversation with Farmer H about why his Trailblazer was parked all willy-nilly cattywompus over by the chicken pen. Seems he'd tried to drive though the muddy front yard at an inopportune time.

Anyhoo...he asked about our phone bill, and if the discount from Genius's work had ever been applied.

"Did that Sprint credit ever show up?"

"Yes, I told you when the bill came. That it was 15 percent off the base charge, not the whole bill. Miser!"

"You didn't tell me that!"

"Yes I did. You were in the recliner, and I was on the couch. I said it didn't quite pay Genius's part, but close enough."

"Hmmm, I don't remember that."


Okay. So late last night, I checked to see if Farmer H had sent me any messages, and discovered that the line about the phone bill was not there. I'd mistakenly sent it to GENIUS!

"As you might have deduced yesterday...I thought I was texting Dad. He was texting me at the same time yours came in. My apologies for the tone. Indeed, I had NOT told you about the discount. Which I think is around $23.00 or a little less."

Within seconds, I had a return text.

"So am I expected to start contributing to my cell phone bill?"

"No. That discount you got us covers most of it."

"Great, that can go to my car insurance bill that's now $800 for six months!"

"Welcome to OUR life since you turned 16. And be glad you're over 21 now. That made it cheaper."

"It was only $550 before I left your group policy!"

"It used to be as astronomical as The Pony's."

"Well, it certainly isn't cheap anymore."

"At least you are earning more than I ever did per year!"

Yeah. I think Genius will be okay. He won $20 on a scratcher I sent him, too.

I really need to pay more attention to those texts. One of these days, my faux pas is going to bite me in the butt.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Under The Weather And Over The Towel

Farmer H was feeling a early last week. You know. When he thought he'd picked up food poisoning from eating bad cheese that he put on his hot dog. Or that I'd brought home and sickened him with from my travels to various convenience stores.

Because of his indisposedness, Farmer H could hardly leave the Mansion two or three times a day to head to town. He was always running back in, straight to the bathroom. He had a doctor's appointment the day before we left on Oklahoma Casino Minipalooza. When he returned, he seemed almost chipper. The doctor told him he had a virus, and to take some Pepto Bismol. I suppose he was just relieved that he wasn't wasting away from that debilitating convenience store death sentence that I, Convenience Store Mary, was spreading throughout Hillmomba. the days between coming down with his indisposedness, and taking the Pepto Bismol, Farmer H attempted to assuage any damage to furniture placing a barrier between himself and said furniture. Did he use something that readily lent itself to being soaked juice? I might as well make that a rhetorical question, because I certainly know the answer, and I'm pretty sure you do, too.



Forget the lint in this picture. It's the only photo I had of my NEWEST TOWEL, since I'm not some weirdo who goes around taking pictures of her towels. Well. More than once. I can't even give Farmer H a little bit of credit for using the dark blue one, because I'm pretty sure I gave the teal one to Genius, because he said he liked it. After all, I DID buy two new towels because Genius and The Pony and Genius's Friend were going to stay here on Christmas Eve. Guess who had to use an old towel? Yep. The Pony. Who probably didn't even notice that he drew the short straw in the towel selection sweepstakes.

Anyhoo...I got up one morning to see Farmer H arise from the La-Z-Boy, taking his tighty-whitey-clad butt off MY NEWEST TOWEL.

Let the record show that a catastrophe was avoided, as Farmer H was able to contain himself long enough to make it to the bathroom. However...a couple days later, I saw my NEWEST TOWEL folded on top of the dryer.

And I didn't see any lint on Farmer H's clothes.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

All The Maligning...And Then He Does THIS

After dragging Farmer H through the mud lately, he goes and does something nice for me.

That was a Precious Moment. The figurine. Not the actual instant that Farmer H presented the gift to me. I think Precious Moments are like a poor man's Hummel. I'm not a big fan of either, but who's going to refuse a gift that Farmer H found in his storage unit haul? It cost him $1100, you know. Speaking of which, he paid all that money back last week, and has now been pulling in profits for his own pocket.

Anyhoo...I know that Farmer H just found this little figurine today, while cleaning out his storage unit swag. And that he figures only 1/12 of the population might need this February angel with a tiny, painted-on, amethyst necklace. So he thought he could curry favor with ME by gifting me with it, instead of hoping to make a couple of dollars selling it.

Let the record show that his tactics WORKED!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Another Beginning Of Another End

Yesterday, I headed down to my dark basement lair after a trying trip to The Devil's Playground. I arranged my three beverage cups and lunch just so, pushed the power button on my New Delly, and turned on my underdesk electric heater to take the chill off the lair while I was filling my yellow bubba cup with water from the NASCAR bathroom. I run that heater all the time. The warmth makes my knees feel better.

I had only made it a few steps. Was leaning over the sink, when I heard a THUMP THUMP noise. I figured that maybe Farmer H was working on something. I went over to the basement mini fridge for a bottle of Diet Coke to add to my 44 oz as it weakened. I still heard the THUMP THUMP. The noise grew louder as I returned to my lair.

It was my underdesk heater!

There was also a burny kind of smell. Like when you turn on your furnace for the first time each winter. Only this was NOT the first time I'd turned on my underdesk heater. I used it every day. I quickly turned off the power. Turned it back on.

The THUMP THUMP started again!

I adjusted the heat. The speed of the blower from low to high. Nothing stopped that THUMP THUMP. Until...I moved the heater out from under the desk a little bit. Carefully fiddled with both knobs again. And got it running smoothly.

I don't know what went wrong, but my underdesk heater is working like normal today. Please excuse the dust and stuff all over him. He lives under my desk. I barely dust things out in the open. This heater has been in use under my desk for at least 15 years. Never had a problem.

Let the record show that I NEVER, EVER leave it running if I'm not in my office. The only exception being for a trip to the bathroom or the mini fridge. I turn it off if I go upstairs, or if I go to watch TV in my OPC (Old People Chair). I've heard of the horrors of space heaters. They're nothing to be trifled with.

I am going to mention this malfunction to Farmer H soon. But every time I think of it, I'm planning to spend some quality time alone in front of New Delly. So I don't want Farmer H down here poking around. I'm pretty sure it's something with the fan, because that's when the noise started up. Or was it the thermostat? Well. Short of this problem happening again, I'm not going to be very good at helping Farmer H diagnose the problem. I THINK it was the knob on the right that caused the noise. But maybe not...

One thing is for sure. RIVAL the Underdesk Heater is not going to be left running unattended. Even for a trip to the NASCAR bathroom.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Beginning Of The End

I'm getting closer. Closer to saying goodbye to my favorite old baby blue sweatshirt. I know that I said I was getting rid of it a couple months ago. That Farmer H had taken it and put it in a bag with HIS OLD SOCKS! But he took pity on me when I was sick, and needed the comfort of my soft old baby blue sweatshirt, and fished it out of that foot-horror grave. Since then, I have been reluctant to relinquish it.

It's obvious that my old friend and I must part. He's holding me back. Literally. So many times now, his left sleeve gets caught. Caught on the drawer pull, caught on by thumb, caught on my pinky finger, caught on the end of the TV remote, caught on the sink faucet, caught on the liquid soap spout.


Sliced the bejeebers out of my favorite old baby blue sweatshirt's left cuff. No. There's not enough shape or material left to make a fashionable (1981) sweatband from that excised cuff.

It could possibly make a gently-used headband for someone with a giant Charlie Brown head.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

And Enough Material For That Series To Be Renewed

Fresh on the heels of yesterday's tale of Farmer H's foibles...another food faux pas came to light this evening shortly after sunset. I really hate to go back-to-back with complaints about Farmer H.


Like I'd ever regret THAT! No, I have no qualms about sharing the latest outrageous pronouncement of Farmer H concerning the foodstuffs found in FRIG II.

I had just served Farmer H his supper. That means I had prepared it, and he went to the kitchen and put it on a plate and carried it to his La-Z-Boy. I knew he was going to do that. I'm not complaining about that part. It's the routine now. I made his asked-for hot dogs rolled in biscuits. I went to sit on the short couch, to have dinner conversation with him.

As Farmer H's dinner was consumed, and conversation waned, I said that I was going to make my own dinner, which would be ham on the biscuits that weren't used for hot dog rolling.

"Oh. That's what I'll make myself for supper tomorrow when I'm ready. You won't have to. I'll use that ham steak you have in there, and some eggs."

"I don't have a ham steak."

"Yeah. In the refrigerator. In that black wrapper."

"That's not a ham steak. It's sliced ham."

"Okay. It looks like a thick piece of ham. I'll have that."

"No. It's just slices, in a pack. From WAY BACK, when you were making yourself a ham sandwich for lunch every day. Probably before Christmas."

"No. It's a thick piece of ham. I'll have that."

"You can't eat that! It's too old! I was just looking at it this morning. It's on the shelf by the cheese. I know what you're talking about. I'm giving it to the dogs, but I didn't want to lay it out on the counter. Don't eat it! I can buy you a ham steak when I go to the store."

"Well, that one's in there. It'll be fine."

"I'm done! There's no talking to you."

I went to the kitchen and poked my arm into the depths of FRIG II, and pulled out that package of 4 ham slices with an expiration date of JAN 23, 2018. I took it into the living room and waved it under Farmer H's nose.

"HERE! I was trying to tell you! Why can't you ever listen to me? Go ahead and eat it. I'm putting it back in."

"No. I don't think I should eat that."


But he would have.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pretty Sure I Have Enough Material For A Series

I realize Farmer H has been sick lately. And he might be feeling a bit out of sorts. So I'm cutting him a break on his buttholey behavior this week.


Excuse me. My ribs are hurting, and my liver-spotted, paper-thin old lady skin has picked up assorted crumbs of Chex, crispy Gas Station Chicken batter, and mud from the floor as I rolled around belly-laughing. Whew! Let me peel this used Bounce dryer sheet off my back. There.

You know that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not one to hold back her feelings where Farmer H is concerned. No siree, Bob! Mrs. HM is not one to let resentment smolder like sneaky coals waiting to re-ignite a house fire after the firemen have departed. Not one to bury her resentment like a bandit concealing his ill-gotten fortune for later retrieval by his cronies. Not one to hide her resentment like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. Mrs. HM lets her resentment flag fly!

That's right. I'm kind of like Dr. Pimple Popper, except I don't have my own TV show. But if I did, I'd call it Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, Resentment Releaser. Because I prod and squeeze and let my resentment burst into the light of day with sometimes explosive results.

Farmer H is getting on my last nerve.

Let's start with his sickness. I know I mentioned it here or there, but facts are, Farmer H got sick on Saturday afternoon with vomiting and diarrhea. He had been touching buttons in the casino on Thursday afternoon, and made a visit to his doctor's office for a shot on Friday afternoon. I suggested that he'd picked up a virus at one of those places. The timing was right, and I know Farmer H doesn't wash his hands regularly. Yet Farmer H insisted that he'd gotten food poisoning from BAD CHEESE that was in FRIG II. Shredded cheddar, with an expiration date in April, that I had been eating for several days with no digestive problems.

NOW, Farmer H dares to accuse ME of making him sick. "You go out to all kinds of convenience stores! How do I know YOU didn't bring something home and breathe it on me while I sleep? And all this (Farmer H mocked me clearing my throat, in a much-exaggerated manner). How many times have YOU made me sick?"

Um. None that I recall. I sleep on my left side, back to Farmer H, my breath going AWAY from him. And it probably wouldn't work its way down under the quilt over his head, or inside the breather mask over his gaping maw and snout, either. Besides...I'm not even sick.

Farmer H never takes responsibility for ANYTHING! Not even making himself sick with questionable hygiene practices. Sweet Gummi Mary! You'd think I tracked down a vial of prime diarrhea/nausea virus, and injected it into Farmer H's veins while he slept.

Also, I went to wash a load of laundry, and upon checking the dryer lint trap, which I do each time, I found a sheet of fluff that was thicker than a comforter! I peeled it loose, and took it to show Farmer H, laying on the lint trap screen. The fluff. Not Farmer H. He was sitting on the long couch with his boots full of mud propped on the coffee table.

"You do know how these things work, right?"

"Yes. I know how they work."

"I guess you just don't bother to empty it, then. Look at all that!"

"I empty it every time."

See? He thinks that by SAYING something is so...that MAKES it so.

THEN he had to bring up the cheese. Different cheese than the shredded cheddar that allegedly poisoned HIM, but not me.

"Just the other day, I would have thought the pepper jack was good if I hadn't looked at it! I got it out for my sandwich, and there was MOLD!"

Said accusingly. AS IF I should do a daily inventory of FRIG II. Take out the pepper jack that only Farmer H eats, and look it over with a magnifying glass to see if mold is starting to grow. As if you can tell, anyway, with all the peppers in that cheese. Besides, cheese is MADE by growing mold, right? And how about the EATER of the cheese be the one to determine its suitability for eating? Huh? How about THAT? Because that's kind of what adults do, right? Look at their food as they are preparing it. To see if it's okay.

Cheese doesn't come with an alarm to alert you the second it goes bad, so you can throw it out. Seriously. He acted like I bought some moldy cheese in a back alley, and prepared a sandwich for him on purpose, and then he happened to check it, and discovered that it was moldy! How in the world is it MY fault that cheese only he eats will grow mold if he leaves it there long enough without telling me it's time for new cheese?

That now concludes this episode of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, Resentment Releaser. Tune in next week, or be on the lookout for a breaking news bulletin.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Judge Hillbilly Mom Gives The Jury And The Executioner The Day Off

Last Thursday, as Farmer H and I were heading toward the Missouri Lottery office in the city to cash in my big scratcher winner, we stopped to cash in some smaller ones for casino money. I most always cash in my tickets at the Gas Station Chicken Store. Farmer H most always gets gas at the Casey's two doors down. He said he wasn't making two stops, so he pulled up to the pumps at the Gas Station Chicken Store while I went in. He was coming in after pumping, to pay. He always uses the debit card, and they don't have the old-fashioned pumps set up for that. I always pay cash, and I don't buy my gas at the Gas Station Chicken Store, so I don't know how their card thingy works.

When Farmer H came out, he stuck a bunch of red tickets in my face.

"I don't know what you think you're doing, but I'm NOT your personal servant! You can lay those down like a normal person! Just like a typical man. You have something in your hand you don't want, and you automatically hold it out to a woman! My dad did the same thing to my mom. It's like you guys don't have a pocket, or can't find a wastebasket, or can't have enough patience to figure out what you've got, and where it goes. Seriously. Are we in a hurry? Why can't you just lay them down in the console, and decide what you want to do with them later?"

Yeah. Sometimes I feel like Julia Sugarbaker. I can't stop the self-righteous speeches. I'm tired of candy wrappers and used gum and odd receipts being shoved at me. What am I, the world's pocketbook? A universal wastebasket?

Farmer H acted all put-out with me, but he laid the tickets in the console.

"They gave me these tickets. I don't know what I'm supposed to do with them. You go in there every day. So I'm giving them to you."

"They give out those tickets with a gas purchase. They have a cardboard box with a slot in it. You tear off one set of tickets, and put them in the box. They have a drawing. Every Monday, they draw a ticket. They post the number on the wall by the door. If your ticket matches that number, you win $30 of free gas."

"Well. You go every day. You can check it. And if you're going to start buying gas here when that other Casey's closes, you can get the tickets, and enter the drawing."

Sigh. I guess that's where I'll be buying my gas now. Even though they are right off the highway, and their price is higher.

Friday, I went back to the Gas Station Chicken Store for my 44 oz Diet Coke. Nobody else was in there, except the Chicken Lady, and the Man Owner. I put the lid on my magical elixir, and took it to the counter, where I set it by the glass lottery case. I pulled those red tickets out of my pocket.

"Where's the box I put these in? My husband got gas here yesterday, and he wants to enter." They move that box around, depending on what special they have on the endcap.

"Oh, it's right over there. On the top shelf." Man Owner motioned to the box, about three steps away from the counter.

I turned and put the tickets in, talking over my shoulder to Man Owner. When I turned back, a lady had come in from buying gas, and was standing right by my 44 oz Diet Coke, and MAN OWNER WAS RINGING UP HER PURCHASE!

Ain't THAT a fine how-do-you-do! He had been waiting on ME! All I did was turn and put the tickets in the box. He sees me there every day. When I bring my soda to the counter, I'm ready to pick out scratchers and pay. Now THIS lady had taken my turn. I stepped to her left. Behind my soda. Trying to remain gruntled.

That invader-lady took her change. She turned to me. "Do you use these red tickets?"

"I do NOW! Thank you." I tore the tickets and put half in the box.

That gal was pretty nice for a line-cutter.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mrs. HM Is Really Not Like That

I really don't know how I get myself into these situations.

Last weekend, I went to Country Mart solely for the purpose of picking up some scratch-off tickets from their vending machines. That's nothing unusual. I might do it once or twice a week. I have my favorite parking spots. Favorites, because they're away from other cars that might get too close, and make my re-entry into T-Hoe difficult.

On this day, my space at the very left end of the store was taken. So was the space at the end nearer the front, where the sidewalk juts out and makes a new end space for the row. As I drove down the next-to-last aisle, planning to park on the end of a regular row in the lot, by the lamp post, a car cut across and pulled into that one.

I swung T-Hoe across some empty spaces, faced him out so I wouldn't have to back up when I left, and parked in the near-middle of an empty row perpendicular to the store. There were four empty spaces to my left. I was pretty sure people would fill up the three closest to the store first. Not that Country Mart is ever that busy. I looked down to gather up my phone, and put my purse out of sight.

I'll be ding-dang-donged! Here came an electric-blue club cab pickup truck, eschewing the other three parking spots and the whole rest of the lot, and parked RIGHT NEXT TO ME!

Uh uh. I wasn't having it. All that room, and it had to get right up against T-Hoe! I started T-Hoe up again, pulled out forward, made a big loop to my right, and parked in the very last row, over by some weedy field at the edge of the parking lot. In the space on the end, looking out toward the entire parking lot.

As I slid out and prepared to close T-Hoe's door, I saw a man walking in from the blue pickup area.

Oh, dear! He was a minority! What if he thought my relocation of T-Hoe was racially motivated? Sweet Gummi Mary! How dare I! Now I had to act all nonchalant. Like that wasn't the reason I had moved.

Because it WASN'T!

I hadn't even looked inside that truck! I'd just left in disgust, because it parked too close with all that other room available. Now I looked, though, as I was walking in. Glanced. Didn't stare. I couldn't tell if there was a man or woman in the passenger seat. The cab was in shadow. I could see movement, but not who it was. I'm thinking a man, due to the size, and blockiness of the shoulders.

Great. Would he tell his buddy what I looked like? Like a dang racist?

Sigh. It's always something.

I got my scratchers from the machine and came out. I didn't see that guy inside. He'd gone in the food end door. As I was writing the code on the back of my tickets, so I'd remember where I'd bought them, I saw that blue truck guy come out.


WHAT? He wasn't even the guy who had parked that blue truck by me!

I breathed a sigh of relief. I took my meds that I save until I start driving home towards my very own private bathroom. And saw the true driver of the blue pickup truck come out and get in. She was about 5-foot 3-inches tall. A 20-something gal with long dark hair parted in the middle. Wearing jeans and a gray zip-front hoodie.

Huh. I guess I wasn't such a racist after all.

That dang electric blue club cab pickup truck followed me out of the parking lot. Through four stoplights. Then it made a left into Save A Lot. I'm really glad I didn't have any business at Save A Lot.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

I Think I Saw This In An Aliens Movie Once

T-Hoe is getting old, my friends. I won't say he's on his last legs, but just like me, every day something else seems to give out. Or deteriorate.

For the past couple of months, I've been having trouble closing T-Hoe's driver's door. I'll slide out, carefully avoiding the mud-caked running boards that Farmer H never got mudflaps to prevent (like he promised me back in 2008), and walk towards the store or house, slamming that door shut behind me. But I don't. I don't hear the CHUNK sound of T-Hoe's door closing. That's because when I turn around, I see that door hanging open.

I've known there was something amiss. That door makes a great CLUNKing sound once I climb in and pull it shut. Like it catches on something, and I have to give an extra yank as it's halfway closed. And I have to use a tremendous amount of force to slam it shut when I get out. I've brought up this subject with Farmer H several times since Christmas.

"Okay. I'll put some grease on it."

Yet nothing happened, so I brought it up again last week.

"Okay. You might have a hinge going bad. I'll take a look at it."

Yet nothing happened, so I brought it up again.

"Okay. I'll put some lubricant on it. I think I have a tube of graphite I can spray in there."

Let the record show that graphite is a mineral that is used for pencil leads. It's the element carbon, with its molecules arranged so that they slide past each other. So when you push your pencil, you're leaving molecules of it behind on the paper. Graphite is also sold in tubes. I used to have a little one to squirt in keyholes that didn't work smoothly, like on my old Chevy Chevette. Squirt is not quite the right verb. It's more like you PUFF the graphite from the tube into the lock. It's kind of powdery. I am no stranger to graphite.

So imagine my surprise when I climbed into T-Hoe a couple days later, noticing that his door opened smoothly, and saw THIS:

Not a pretty sight. Frightening, even, if you look closer.

It reminds me of those areas where the Alien stored her victims, wrapped up in webby stuff, while keeping them alive, down under the working area of the base in Aliens. Or maybe that nesty kind of stuff where a spider stores its eggs. Or what Puppy Jack was vomiting when we think he ate a bad frog.

All I can say is that T-Hoe's door works a lot better. I nearly knocked the car over a whole space the first time I got out and slammed it shut.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Classic Case Of Manspreading

Okay, the Truth in Blogging Law requires me to inform you that most people would not consider this a CLASSIC CASE of manspreading. They reserve that designation for the way a man sits with his legs splayed out, taking up as much room as possible.


Farmer H torments me with his own version of manspreading. INSIDE FRIG II.

I was headed to The Devils' Playground the other day, and I'd cleaned off the top shelf so there would be room for my purchases. I didn't completely clean off that shelf. It's not like I checked all the expiration dates and took out the glass shelf and washed it with hot water, detergent, and vinegar. Nope. I wasn't that ambitious. I know the stuff on the top shelf is pretty current.

When I got home, and, I might add, carried in ALL the bags by myself, and also two six-packs of soda, one eight-pack of soda, a four-pack of water, and a nine-pack of toilet paper...I opened up FRIG II to put away two big Chicken Caesar Salads, and a new deli item that advertised itself as ravioli ready to warm up in the oven, and the only three Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels that I'd stretched for at the very back of the display, up against the wall...I saw Farmer H's MANSPREADING on the top shelf formerly perceived as clean.

There were two bottles of Strawberry Flavored Water, and two bottles of Diet Mountain Dew strewn across the top shelf in the empty space I'd cleared. Not sitting two-by-two, side-by-side. Nope. They were staggered and random. A water here. A water diagonal to it. A Mtn Dew to the side. And a Mtn Dew in the front. Those four bottled beverages were taking up 2/3 of the top shelf!

I moved them logically together, and recovered about 5/6 of the space for my salads and ravioli and pinwheels. I even had room to stack an eight-piece box of Gas Station Chicken Store chicken on top of the salads.

Yes. I made those beverage bottles into an unbound, space-economical, four-pack, taking up only 1/6 of the top shelf.

It wasn't that hard.

Farmer H doesn't understand how he put his beverages into FRIG II the wrong way.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Devil Is A Walk Blocker

I'm pretty sure I mentioned, here or there, that Genius gave me a Shaming Bracelet for Christmas. Okay, so in reality, it's one of those fitness bracelets like a FitBit, only this version is made by Garmin, where Genius works now.

I put it on every morning (when I remember, though sometimes I'm a couple hours late) and wear it until bedtime. I think my goal is 1.7 miles, because I got a different chirp from The Shamer on Thursday, rather than the tsk-tsk shaming beeps I usually get. We'd been to the lottery office in the city, and stopped by the casino on the way back (one had nothing to do with the other, I swear) so I got in more walking than usual.

Anyhoo...I asked Genius, though I've never received a response, how The Shamer knows when I'm walking, when I'm just shaking my arm (not that I'd ever try to outsmart The Shamer), or when I'm pushing a cart through The Devil's Playground with my hand resting on the handle. Because even though I'm walking, maybe The Shamer thinks I riding.

Just in case, I've taken to pushing the cart with my right hand, and letting my left arm bearing The Shamer swing as usual with my stride. No way is Mrs. HM going to walk and not get credit for it!

Today I encountered a problem. The only cart I could get loose was not going along willingly. It was as if one wheel was flat. Or locked. Even though I looked down at it, and it appeared to be moving in tandem with the other three.

By now, I was already in the deli section. Being the eternal optimist, I'd figured that maybe there was just a smidgen of something caught under that one wheel. It happens all the time, right? You're rolling along and then CLUNK! You come to a sudden stop, and have to pull the cart back, and see what foreign object has put an end to rolling. I even picked up the handle and let the wheels slam down, thinking I would jar that one loose. Didn't work. But I'm pretty sure the associates monitoring the security cameras enjoyed it.

Pushing that cart was like pushing a blocking sled made for professional football players. Not college. Pro. Michael Oher, inspiration for The Blind Side movie, could not have pushed that cart with one hand, while swinging his Garmin FitBit arm. Sandy Bullock would have encouraged him, though.

On the way out, I decided that I'd carry my three bags to T-Hoe. I was parked almost at the end of the lot. I was actually closer to the Pizza Hut than to The Devil's Playground. That's what happens when you go at church let-out time on a Sunday. As I struggled with my blocking sled cart, the greeter turned to me with a big smile.

"How's everything going today?"

I gave him a big smile right back. He looks like William Lee Golden, that one of the Oak Ridge Boys with the beard. He's always cheery.

"Not as fast as I'd like. This cart seems like one wheel won't roll! I've been fighting it the whole time."

"Well, next time, feel free to take it right back and get a different one!" So logical, that Oak Ridge Boy man.

"I know! I thought about it, but I was already over in the deli, and I didn't want to drag it back."

"You know, all of these carts have something wrong with them! I've told the higher ups all they need to do is have someone with a wrench loosen that nut a little bit." He pointed to the wheel, and indeed, there was a nut exposed on each wheel that could have been adjusted in less than a minute. "But they didn't want to hear about it."

"Yeah. Save A Lot has a bunch of bad new carts, too. I guess we'll get used to them."

I'm pretty sure that Oak Ridge Boy man would have loosened up those bolts as he greeted people. They could have gotten two men's worth of work out of him. But that's not how The Devil operates.

I'm still waiting to hear how my Shaming Bracelet operates.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Hillmomba: Prime Destination Of Other Counties' Ne'er-Do-Wells

Thursday morning, I noticed a headline on the front virtual page of the Local Hillmomban. "City Employee Spots Theft, Calls Police." Of course. That's the right thing to do. Snitch.

A water department employee saw two men and a woman acting suspiciously. I'm guessing they were not future Oscar material, because this worker didn't buy their act. They were going door-to-door, and circling houses. He called the police, and gave a description of their car, a red Dodge Intrepid.

One of the Bad Boys, Bad Boys pair took a package off a porch and put it in the back of the car. The city worker followed them down the Lake Road. Police caught up to them and turned on lights and sirens. They'd radioed ahead to the next police department, who had set up at the bridge at the city limits, by the quarry.

The Intrepid slowed down to let the Bad Girl out at THE GUN CLUB! She took off through a field, and a policeman tackled her and she complained of medical issues and was taken to the hospital, but then released to the police. The Bad Boys, Bad Boys blew past the police set up at the bridge, and after a short chase ended up at The Devil's Playground. One was taken into custody on the parking lot, and the other ran inside the store.

A cop pursued on foot, but there just happened to be an off-duty reserve officer shopping inside The Devil's Playground, and he "snatched the guy and put him on the ground." So I imagine he slammed that Bad Boy, Bad Boy face first to the polished granite that has replaced industrial tile.

Anyhoo...they were all from the next county north of Hillmomba. One guy was 41, one 39, and the woman was 45. She had warrants. They were all booked, and went to jail. Charges include traffic charges, fleeing, resisting arrest, and stealing.

I'm pretty sure they wouldn't circle the Mansion more than once. If Copper Jack was here.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Crime Spree In Hillmomba, News At 11:00

Of course we're talking about news at 11:00 A.M.! In print, on the innernets.

First we'll start with the news that's not fit to print, even on the innernets, but was seen first-hand by Mrs. Hillbilly Mom on Wednesday, from the parking lot of the Gas Station Chicken Store.

I had just climbed back into T-Hoe, my 44 oz Diet Coke safely ensconced in the cup-holder, and was stowing away my scratchers in the side of my purse. REE REE REE! WHOOP-WHOOP! That's not Mrs. HM's early-onset Tourette's Syndrome, but rather the urgent alert of police sirens.

I figured I'd stay put and see what developed. At that point, I hadn't seen any vehicle to match the siren, and there's a fire station less than a mile up the road. No need to put T-Hoe in harm's way. Then I saw a mid-size black-with-blue-trim police cruiser cut through the CeilingRed's parking lot across the moat. And at virtually the same moment, a black SUV belonging to a county sheriff zooming down the main street in front of Casey's, whooping to make cars stay out of his way as he roared down the center turn lane and through the light.

You never know what's up or what's going down in Hillmomba. I craned my neck to look over my shoulder and see what direction they were headed. Out towards the Mansion, where Farmer H was spreading gravel with his tractor down by the mailboxes? Or south towards Bill-Paying Town? Or north towards the city? From what I could tell, both those cars slowed a bit, rather than accelerated. So that left out the south route, since they would have sped up and hit the entrance ramp, rather than wait at the light.

I backed out and did a T-turn in reverse. Started towards the road. Didn't see anything coming from the fire house, and nobody crossing through the light. I had my windows cracked so I could hear sirens and get over immediately if necessary. Out onto the road, then right lane, to make a right on red and head out of town.

It was then that I noticed where the police cars went. THERE. Right in front of me. At the very next light, before going under the overpass. In fact, about 9 assorted law enforcement vehicles had converged there. The lights were still operating. I had one civilian car in front of me, stopped at the red.

On my left was a semi truck, waiting to cross under, and stay in the left lane to make a left and head up the northbound ramp at the next light. He wasn't going anywhere, though, because directly in his path, in the middle of that intersection, was a 4-door white pickup truck with the driver's side crunched in, and a chunk of plastic bumper the size of a bread loaf (the extra-long sandwich loaf) laying on the pavement.

I don't know what happened, but I'd guess that the white pickup wanted to change lanes last-minute, and darted in front of the semi. Which didn't show any signs of damage. One of the 9 cops got out to direct the snarled traffic.

Not very exciting. I guess that's why the news wasn't fit to print. Even on the innernets. But the other story was.

We'll get to it tomorrow...

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Unfortunate Salarva Faux Pas

Did you ever have one of those days when everything is kind of off? That you drop anything you try to pick up, and that it lands in the most inopportune position?

Yeah. Yesterday I kind of had one of those days. FRIG II's freezer is kickin' my butt. EVERY time I get ice, a cube gets loose. No matter how close or far I hold my cup, a cube escapes. Sometimes it even goes IN the cup, and bounces back out. ALWAYS. And yesterday, every time it happened, a piece managed to break off, and even though I picked up the main crescent-shaped cube to toss in the sink...the fragment camouflaged itself on the linoleum, so that I stepped on it with my sock foot. Which hurt. And made the fragment freeze to the sock so I had to pry it off, or walk around saying, "OWWWW!" until it melted and left a wet spot on the bottom of my sock. Believe me. I had plenty of opportunities to try both solutions.

It reminded me of another such day last week.

I'd escaped the shenanigans of FRIG II's freezer with only a single ice cube to find and pick up. Once I got to my dark basement lair (most recently with illumination due to upstairs mystery thumping), I leaned over to turn on my underdesk heater. Something dropped onto my rectangular metal lunch tray.

I carry that tray down to the lair every day. It holds a paper plate with my lunch pinwheels. Also an individual bag of chips, usually Barbecue or Sour Cream and Cheddar. And a ramekin of green olives. I really like them with my pinwheels.

What in the world could that be, dropping onto my rectangular metal lunch tray? A spider? It's happened before down in the lair. One just rappelled down from the ceiling like a paratrooper from a helicopter. Of course, that one broke its web and exploded into a million baby spiders on my woofer speaker box. Let's not think about that now, though! Maybe it was just one of those little flying bugs that sometimes appear out of nowhere. Tiny. Gray. Kind of spotted like a ladybug, but as small as the head of a pin.

Nope. Whatever dropped onto my rectangular metal lunch tray was not moving. OH NO! It was SALARVA! From my own mouth! How does that even happen? I had inadvertently drooled onto my rectangular metal lunch tray! Oh, I know it's called saliva. But way back, when I was still teaching the at-risk kids over in an upstairs classroom (that used to be my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel's storeroom) at Lower of the kids called saliva by the name salarva. So it was a thing with me and the boys. Salarva.

But that's not the worst part. Not only was I drooling without knowing it. Even worse was yet to come. I was laying out my evening meds. An aspirin. An ibuprofen. An acetaminophen. I always take the aspirin, and depending on the day, one of the other two. I was replacing the acetaminophen that I'd used up the day before. I always lay them over by the phone on my desk, so I know if I've taken them or forgotten.

The aspirin comes out of its own bottle. The other two come out of a big Pepcid bottle, though it's actually The Devil's Playground brand of Equate. I keep a stash of them down in my lair, and I don't need a whole slew of bottles taking up my counter space. I shook out the pills, a small round brown ibuprofen, a long white acetaminophen, a fat round pink Equate antacid...I had difficulty sorting the different sizes and shapes through the mouth of the bottle. I grabbed a long white acetaminophen and pulled it from the lip of the bottle, laying it on my rectangular metal tray.

You know where it landed, right?

On the drop of salarva, which I knew would start digesting it immediately. That's what salarva does. It has an enzyme, by cracky. I grabbed that acetaminophen and wiped it on my old raggedy baby blue sweatshirt. Not that the cost of one destroyed acetaminophen would hurt my bankbook. Nor the wiped salarva hurt my old raggedy baby blue sweatshirt.

It's just the principle.