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.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sweets For The Sweet

Oh, did I mention that February is birthday month for Mrs. HM and The Pony? It IS! In fact, though I'm not giving out dates, mine has already passed, and The Pony's is coming up.

No $3 change purse and two boxes of Sno-Caps for Mrs. HM this year! Farmer H went all out, and sprung for a six-pack of cupcakes. Let the record show that I have been sharing, and allocated HALF of them to Farmer H. Who's not supposed to have sugar, you know, but sneaks it anyway.

That's my last one. I had it with lunch today. Farmer H still had one in FRIG II, but I can't guarantee its whereabouts at this moment. Let the record show that the buttercream icing was real, and it was spectacularly delicious. Just in case my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel wondered. She's quite the aficionado of butter cream.

Farmer H also got me two bags of candy. Sweets for the sweet, I assume!

You may think this looks like the best candy ever invented. Chocolate. Strawberry. Cheesecake. Truffles. may be wrong. It is not all that good. Maybe it's just my palate. But these individually wrapped morsels reminded me of those creme drops that my mom used to like. YUCK! Too sweet! Like a paste of sweetened sugar. Ptooey!

Oh, I didn't act that way with my Godivas. I tried one, and figured maybe I wasn't eating it right. So on the next one, I bit off the top part with the strawberry stuff, and it tasted faintly like strawberry. The bottom part...not so much like cheesecake. More like a creme drop. I really had to investigate further. I have two bags of them, you know. Yet the third one wasn't any better. I gave Godiva one last try, but my palate still wasn't havin' it.

Tonight, I gave the rest of the bag to Farmer H. Who seemed thrilled, even though I'd given him a selection of sugar-free candies for Valentine's Day. He seemed intrigued with my Godivas. Probably planning to sneak one from the moment he bought them for me at Walgreens. Farmer H said they are delicious.

Of course. What with his sugar deprivation. I might as well just have injected him with glucose. He has strict instructions not to overdo it. And to only eat one with a meal that has protein. Which is more sensible than the way he sneaks to Casey's and eats donuts.

Don't you worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom going without sugar. Farmer H got me a giant heart filled with chocolates for Valentine's Day. A giant heart for the giant-hearted, I suppose...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sometimes, My Sweet, Sweet Juno Is Not A Very Savory Character

On the way to town today, I stopped at the side porch to greet my loving fleabags. My Sweet, Sweet Juno is always the first to arrive, but then again, her house is two feet from the kitchen door, and she sees me early. Today she was laying in the sun on the back porch deck, and hopped up right away to follow me to the steps.

My Sweet, Sweet Juno. She smelled sweet, actually, from laying in the sun, her fur all shiny and silky, as if we still had living chickens whose eggs she might be accused of eating. I guess it's kind of a cedar aroma, from her house, but my old cat Snuggles used to smell like that, too.

Speaking of cats...perched upon the shelf near the roaster pan of cat kibble was the Mad Pooper! The black-and-white tuxedo cat, Stockings, who has been banished from the garage. Stockings slunk away down the shelf and plopped to the porch, hiding between whatever junk Farmer H has sitting there now. I think it's Gassy-G the grill, and that big wooden cat house, and a propane tank for the grill. I'm not sure if Stockings was hiding from me, or from Jack, who came bounding up the steps. Jack LOVES Stockings. He tries to get to know Stockings better. In the Biblical way.

I kept a close eye on Stockings, because I didn't want him to skitter into the garage when I opened the door. I meant to get some more cat kibble from just inside, to replenish that in the roaster pan, and dollop out a treat for Juno and Jack. I poured some out in Juno's regular spot, nearest the shelf/pan/garage. Then just a little less for Jack (he's a littler dog), over by the steps. As I turned around, I saw Copper Jack had crept up to the sidewalk, so I gave him even less, because he's not even our dog.

While putting the kibble-dipping pan back in the garage, on top of the generator on wheels (flat tires) that we have in case the power goes out, I turned to look through the glass half of the people door and saw


No sound. Just that posture saying she meant business. Jack tucked his tail down between his rumps, ducked his head, and backed away. No. That's not happening on MY watch!


Normally, Juno would have been so embarrassed and heartbroken that she'd have slunk away to her house. NOT THIS TIME!

Sweet Gummi Mary! Juno kept eating Jack's treat. I went out the door and said it again. STILL Juno chomped. I put my hand under her chin to lift her head and look her in the eye, and SHE POWERED HER HEAD DOWN TO EAT MORE!

Well! I'd had enough of that sass! I scooped up the remaining little pile of kibble, and moved it over to Juno's eating area, and called Jack. Uh huh. I stood watch while he finished.

I don't know what's gotten into my Sweet, Sweet Juno. She normally minds me, and is heartbroken to hear a harsh reprimand. It's not like she's starving. She's getting cantankerous in her later years, I guess. But she really, really needs to stop being...

...such a bitch.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Week Late And A Light Bulb Short

Last week, I told Farmer H that I was in the dark. Literally. That the bulb had burned out in the lamb beside my OPC (Old People Chair) in the main basement area near my dark basement lair. It's a regular lamp, on Farmer H's old end table. The kind of table that has the long table part, and then a little tier where you can set a lamp. The lamp itself is pretty old. I got it after struggling a year or two with Farmer H's pliers solution to the broken switch on my other lamp.

Anyhoo...I told Farmer H that I needed a bulb put in my lamp. It's not that I can't perform such a task myself. I could do it in a jiffy...if I only knew where to look for the bulbs. Farmer H has a stash. I think it's probably right beside where he keeps the fiber-enforced shipping tape. I don't have the right chromosome to be privy to this information. The boys knew. "PONY! Go get your mom a bulb!" Apparently, it's like Bulb Mart. A shelf with all manner of bulbs, from the long fluorescent replacements for the ceiling lights in my office, to a tiny colored bulb for the string of Christmas lights that stay up on the porch eaves all year long. I just don't know where Bulb Mart has a storefront.

Anyhoo...I got home from The Devil's Playground today, after buying my very own bulb, in a two-pack, unsure of whether it's the right kind, these newfangled light bulbs kicking my butt in the LED and wattage knowledge departments. This lamp used to have a 3-way bulb. I think It went from 40//60/75, but I could be wrong. The only bulb I could find that looked like it might work came in a 2-pack, and was a 60 watt bulb that says it's multipurpose. It's freaky-looking. Clear. See-through. Not milky white. And it doesn't have one of those filament thingies that would burn in half, and then you could hear that the bulb was bad by shaking it. This one (two) had four copper-looking prongs sticking up.

I wish I'd taken it out of the package, but I just plopped it down on the seat of my OPC (Old People Chair) and took a picture of the box. I seriously doubt that I will be able to tell that it saves me $12.88 per year. And it won't, really, because it cost me $4.78 for the pack. The illustration on which is misleading, because the bulbs LOOK like they're the old opaque kind, but inside the box, they are crystal clear. I was about to tell you, I got home and went downstairs with that bulb(s), and when I flipped on the light, saw that Farmer H had been working his magic. He had replaced the CEILING BULB that had been burnt out for a couple of months now. I was so used to it that I hadn't even added it to my lamp complaint. It's by the big-screen TV, and I turn those overhead lights off anyway when I watch, so I didn't care too much about having a working bulb in that area.

When confronted with changing the WRONG light bulb, Farmer H declared that he KNEW I was talking about the lamp, but that he just didn't have a bulb for it. Huh. Like he's banned from The Devil's Playground, and every hardware and home supply store within a 60-mile radius. Because he's had A WEEK, people! And I know he has been inside at least one of those stores during that time. So he has neglected to take my verbal work order seriously. It's not like he doesn't have time to get a light bulb and put it in. He's freakin' RETIRED, by cracky!

Oh, yeah...and he ate a slice of 6-week-old bologna for lunch last week. I'd told him repeatedly not to eat the open bologna in the plastic container, that I was going to give it to the dogs. To use the brand new package when he was making a sandwich. He's pretty lazy, I guess. Or hears me like I'm Charlie Brown's teacher. It's not my fault he's always home, and has the dogs laying around the outside of the Freight Container Garage so I can't give them snacks on the Mansion porch.


I tried the new bulb, and it works just fine. Here's the old one that fizzled out. It had been flickering for a few nights. Then I'd turned it on and gone back to my lair for about an hour, and when I came back, it had died. Like people and pets, maybe, who don't want to go while you're around, and wait until you step out of the room.

I'm pretty sure Farmer H had told me THIS one would last 10 years, too. In reality, its lifespan was considerably shorter.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Good One

On Friday, I practically skipped into the Gas Station Chicken Store to cash in a $40 scratcher winner. Practically skipped, because waltzing is not my strong point, and practically, because I prefer to plod slow and steady these days, like an old plow horse. Even though I was in quite good spirits, having free money to cash in, and a 44 oz Diet Coke imminently in my future.

When I got to the counter with my magical elixir, I was the only customer. The Lady Owner was working, and I handed her my ticket. She stepped over to the machine that scans them.

"This might take a few minutes. We've been having trouble with it." She punched some stuff in. "Honey, come over and jiggle the wires for me." Her husband, the Man Owner, was stocking shelves. He came forward and jiggled the wires on the back of the screen, but nothing changed.

"That's okay. I'm not in any hurry. I'll go ahead and pick out my next tickets."

She had everything ready, but the ticket still hadn't scanned so she could get a receipt out of a connected thingy to staple to it. The state is very unforgiving about lottery fraud. Another customer had come in, and was standing at the side counter with a checkbook register open. I don't know if he was writing a check, or just writing down his amount for his gas.

"It's still trying to load." She looked at the new guy. "This will take a few minutes, sir. I'm waiting on it to scan this ticket, and then I'll be with you. We have a satellite up on the roof, and if there's a cloud in just the wrong position, it messes with our internet reception."

"On the roof of this building? I saw some guys up there working when I came in."

"RIGHT NOW? Up on THIS roof?" The Owner Lady seemed a bit frantic.

"Nah! I was just messin' with ya." That customer is lucky that Lady Owner was just relieved, and not mad.

"Heh, heh! Good one." I never saw that one coming. That guy would make a good poker player. He had me fished in, believing his words and facial expression.

"I'm sorry this is taking so long. It's been down for about the last 30 minutes."

"Oh! I didn't know it had been down that long. I don't have to wait. I have cash. I can just pay now, and bring that ticket back tomorrow. As long as it doesn't show up as already being paid then."

"No. It won't. See? The screen is still trying to load. I'd have to scan it again when it comes up."

I took her word for it, and paid cash. Of course when I went back Saturday, she wasn't working. Good news $40 winner scanned just like normal. No problems whatsoever.

A happy ending after all.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

She Made An A$$ Out Of Her And Me!

Yesterday I stopped by Country Mart to pick up a few things. Just the essentials: bananas, Bugles, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, and individual cups of strawberry/chocolate swirl ice cream. Nothing much. I don't do my regular shopping there. It's just a quick place to pick up some items that Save A Lot doesn't have, without driving all the way to The Devil's Playground.

Country Mart is THE ONLY PLACE that Bugles are on the shelf! Farmer H's favorite ice cream is also unique to this store. Well, not his favorite, but what he likes of the only kind that I will allow him to have in the individual containers. And I found Country Mart's store brand rice and corn cereal for half the price of the brand name Chex. Save A Lot doesn't have it any more. The bananas weren't as green as I might have liked, but I also found a Turkey Club Salad in their vegetable case. And picked up a Valentine card for my Sweet Baboo. So I was pretty pleased as I strolled up to the checkout.

Now's the part where the phonograph needle screeches. Where you hear the sound of tires squealing as brakes are jammed on. Where vindictive Stripe of Gremlins fame spits a wad of phlegm on sweet little Gizmo, tooting his Christmas trumpet, candy cane clinched in hand.

The checker (only one open) was turned toward the front of the store, talking to the employees at the service desk. She heard my Bugles bag crinkling, and started ringing up my order. She even bagged the items logically. Even though her attention was still on her service desk cohorts.

I pulled out my debit card to pay. Country Mart doesn't have a chip reader, so I have to slide the card. Not that I care. I don't really like the chip readers anyway. As I flipped my card to get the magnetic strip aligned right for sliding, I saw, out of the corner of my left eye, the checker turning and punching something into the register. You know how things out of the ordinary get your attention, even though you don't consciously think about them. Like when a new sign has gone up along the road. You just notice it.

I was wondering how she could do that so fast. Usually, the checkers stand around twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the customers to complete their transaction by punching buttons on the keypad of the card scanner thingy.

I slid my debit card, and the little screen thingy said, "Thank You!" Wait...just then, the checker shoved a receipt onto the little ledge holding the card scanner contraption.

"I just need your signature."

"Uh. I don't know why. I never have to sign. I'm using a debit card. But the screen didn't let me pick it this time. I didn't get my choices."

Let the record show that upon sliding my card, I always get several screens. Choose from Debit or Credit or EBT / Enter PIN / Choose from Checking or Savings / Verify Amount / Do You Want Cash Back? / Is This Correct? / Press Enter.

"Oh. Well...I know that screen shows YOU some choices. But our register doesn't. It was a VISA, wasn't it?"

"Yes. My debit card. I never use it for a credit card. WHO charges GROCERIES? I don't want that waiting on my credit card until the end of the month."

"Oh. Well. I don't know if they charge you any different for using it as a credit card."

Fat lot of good that does ME, lady! I suggest you learn how your devices work, and stop ASSUMING that everyone who whips out a VISA is using a credit card! Seriously? What if somebody has to pay interest on their groceries? Or what if somebody has a cab waiting outside, and needed to get cash back to pay for their ride? AND whatever happened to offering to void that transaction and start over? Oh, wait! I guess that would be good customer service. Maybe YOUR BUDDIES OVER AT THE SERVICE DESK could explain it to you!

Sweet Gummi Mary! I was as annoyed as all get-out by that gal!

When I complained to told Farmer H later, he assured me that it works just like the debit card. No extra fees or other bill. I know that such a process is used over in Bill-Paying Town by Office Max. But they have always explained it, each time I bought anything there, before completing the transaction. "I'll have to put this through as a credit card, but it's going to work just like a debit. All that's different is that we need a signature." So I'm used to it there. Because they explain things. BEFORE going through with the transaction, and allowing for any questions. I don't know that about Country Mart, but apparently Farmer H does, probably from hanging out in their deli eating biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

Still. I think that checker's actions were a bit hasty and uncalled for.

Friday, February 9, 2018

What If I Said NO?

When we last convened, Mrs. HM had been called to the front door of the Mansion by the seldom-heard doorbell.

Let the record show that it was 10:30 a.m., that I had only been up for an hour, I was still in blue pajama bottoms sporting golden stars and moons, paired with a white and purple pinstriped short-sleeve button-up shirt, no shoes or socks, with a semi-bad case of bedhead.

Of course I went right to the door and flung it open. In retrospect, this was not a smart move in this isolated area, for a woman of questionable years, not fleet of foot, untrained in the martial arts or weaponry, with her stout husband at locations unknown. While you may think Mrs. HM is a suspicious sort, she has more than once been deemed too trusting.

A young man of early 20s stood on the front porch. A tall stringbean of a young man, in a brown uniform, clutching an electronic gewgaw which he thrust in my direction.

"Uh...I was here yesterday...and I left a box. I need a signature. I was just unloading it, looking around for dogs, and I left it. But I should have gotten a signature. It's really important...if you could do that for me. Uh...and I have to scan the box..."

Well. There I was, sans foundation garments, vulnerable to robbery and mayhem, with a box weighing 50 pounds under my kitchen table, that this kid needed to scan.

"That was a box of wine."

"Oh. I knew it was wine."

"It was supposed to go to Kansas City."

Not that such a fact mattered to Young Brown, because he was only delivering it to the address on the box, not his problem, his being the fact that he'd dumped that box without a signature, maybe because he was afraid of dogs in the dark, maybe because he was running late on his route, and wanted to get home.

"So...can you sign for me? It will save my skin!"

"Sure, I'll sign. On your gadget there?"

"Well...I have to scan the box."

No way was I traipsing him through my living room and kitchen. The less he saw of my Mansion, the better.

"You'll need to come around to the kitchen door. Just go that way, halfway around. You'll see it."

I'm pretty sure he was worried about dogs, but they were over at the Freight Container Garage with Farmer H, I learned later. I'm thinking Young Brown's heart probably skipped a beat when he saw Juno's giant dog house right by the kitchen door. Anyhoo...I let him in to scan the box. Which I left under the kitchen table. No way was I going to drag out a 50-pound box because HE had made a mistake. Though I DID offer him the option of dragging it out himself. But he just leaned over and stuck his scanner in there. Twice.

Good thing I altered that picture in Paint, and didn't actually blot out the bar codes with a marker!

Young Brown then handed me his electronical signing thingy.

"Do you have a pen?"

"Uh. No. I left my stylus out in the truck. Here. Just use your fingernail."

As you might imagine, Mrs. HM's fingernail signature, while not wearing her glasses, was not something that Young Brown could decipher.

"Can you spell your first name for me? And the last?"

Yeah. I saved Young Brown's skin. Or at least his job, maybe. He's been out here before. He's the one who left Genius's gift wallet made of Bison leather, monogrammed, with RFID blocker, from Sharper Image, propped against the front door, last Christmas, when Jack ate 1/3 of it before I got home.

You'd think this kid would have learned something by now, especially since we filed a complaint and tried to get our money back from UPS for their slipshod delivery methods. To no avail, of course. Surely they at least made a mention to him about the incident.

Then again...he DID say I would save his skin by signing. Maybe he's on double-secret probation.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Whine Box

Last night, Farmer H came to the Mansion a bit later than usual. I was warming up the pot of vegetable beef soup that I'd made mid-morning, and he had asked if supper would be around 7:00. Who am I to disagree? I didn't get lunch until almost 3:30, so the plan was soup and garlic toast at 7:00.

Around 6:00, I heard the dogs barking like crazy. They do that when Farmer H drives his Gator, and they run along with it. So I figured that Farmer H was coming in. He usually shows up between 5:30 and 6:30. Since we had that supper agreement, I made no move to go upstairs earlier. He would have to abide by my schedule.

Imagine my surprise when I climbed the stairs at 6:40, and all the lights were still off, and the TV gone to the blue screen. I was almost sure I'd heard Farmer H walking around. But he was nowhere to be seen. I put the pot of soup on the stove, and some foil on a pan for warming the bread. While I was putting away some clean dishes from the drainer side of the sink, Farmer H came in the kitchen door.

"What in the world did you BUY?"

Ain't THAT a fine greeting for your loving wife who is preparing your supper that she'd made earlier in the day? Farmer H had a giant box in his arms. As you may recall, he injured his arm a few days ago. Which may be part of the reason he was whining about how heavy the box was.

"Clear me a space! Hurry up! Clear me a space on the table!"

Let the record show that I had been filling two boxes with Valentine treats for Genius and The Pony. Including Gracula, a garlic crusher for Genius's new kitchen. The boxes were folded into box shape, since I'd picked them up flat at the dead mouse smelling post office. But they weren't taped yet, because Farmer H hides the good shipping tape (with ropey fibers in it) like it's made of gold. So to pick up those two boxes would mean that all the stuff fell through the bottom. I was merely seeing how to fit the stuff inside, while waiting on tape to form the boxes. I shoved them all to the back of the table, making the room Farmer H whined for.

"I didn't buy ANYTHING! Just Gracula and that ice cube tray that makes big blocks, for whiskey glasses. And the set of long spoons, for stirring tall drinks. I showed you that last night. It's already here. I haven't ordered anything else."

"Well, I came over here and found this box sitting in the gravel under the carport. Where I park the Gator now. Where the Toronado used to be."

"Are you sure it's addressed to US? I didn't order anything."

"I didn't look yet. It's dark outside. Huh. It says it's for Genius."

"Huh. He didn't say he was having anything shipped here. He usually tells me to be looking for it."

"I bet that weighs 50 pounds!"

"Where's it from? Look at the label."

"It's WINE! From a wine company."

"Oh, Genius was talking about that at Christmas. About joining some service that sends you wine. It's cheaper than buying a bottle at a time. He even ordered it online while he was standing here in the kitchen. Remember? He said he hoped it didn't get to his new apartment before we got back from CasinoPalooza 3."

"Yeah. I do remember him talking about it."

"I'm guessing this is a separate order. I should probably text him to let him know it's here. He has an app that notifies him when a package is delivered. He might be looking for it."

Indeed. Genius said that the box was supposed to be shipped to Kansas City. But that since Friend, his roommate, was coming to the general Hillmomba area to visit his parents in a couple of weeks, that he could swing by and pick it up. So Farmer H shoved the box under the kitchen table. For a couple of weeks, anyway.

This morning, I strong-armed that tape out of Farmer H, and had The Pony's box of Valentine treats already sealed, working on filling Genius's box, when I heard chimes. Huh. Did Farmer H get a new clock at the auction? Or out of his 18 storage units? Because I don't remember having a clock that chimes like that. Especially at 10:30 a.m. I started to the living room, to look on the mantel at his other old clock, and saw movement through the glass side panels of the front door. Somebody was on the porch! It must have been our doorbell. Which hasn't worked for quite some time.

The rest of the story tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Logic Of Farmer H

"Oh, I was gonna tell out my storage units? I found two of your plates."

"My plates?" Let the record show that I am not missing any plates, and I do not collect any plates.

"Yeah. Your plates. A red and blue."

"Red and blue...oh, you mean like in my hutch? The red glass set from my grandma?"

"Noooo...your plates. The red and blue."

"I don't have any red and blue plates! Except those old ones that Grandma gave me."

"Not those! Those are red!"

"I know. But I don't know what else you could have found that would be considered my plates. That's the only red OR blue that I have. And I don't have ANY blue."

"You can't tell you nothin'!"

"I'm trying to figure it out."

"Your PLATES! The red and blue! That you eat off of!"

"My kitchen plates? They're white."

"You know what I mean. Those plates are red and blue."

"They are most certainly WHITE plates. They have a red line and blue line and yellow line swirl around the edge..."

"FINALLY! You don't understand nothin'!"

"Uh...did you ever consider that you can't EXPLAIN nothin'?"

"You're so hard-headed. You can only think of things one way!"

Seriously. Would YOU have gotten that whole plate thing?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Farmer H, Married Hick Male

You're not going to believe this. Oh, wait. Yes you are. It's about Farmer H. How he always has to make everything about HIM. Only worse. More dramatic. I'm surprised he didn't give birth to twins, just to show me up, when I had infant Genius.

When feeling puny, Farmer H doesn't just have a virus. He has epiglotittis, with his throat closing up to suffocate him. He doesn't just have an ear infection, he has a brain tumor that makes the slightest whimper from a teething baby shoot through his head with pain sharp enough to kill him. He doesn't have a big red toe, but a big toe that needs surgery to implant two wire rods. Okay. That last one was true, and it was because he dropped a 5th-wheel trailer hitch on it, and that happened before my big red toe. But still, you understand what I'm getting at. Farmer H imitates my illnesses, and his are always worse. According to him.

I swear, Farmer H is like that gal in Single White Female. He's always copying me. On the very next day after I hurt my back, Farmer H hurt his shoulder! The right shoulder, in the deltoid area. The outer upper arm, that hurts when you lift your arm up to shoulder height. Like maybe if you're doing the Chicken Dance. He hurt it lifting a big TV in one of his abandoned storage units.

Still, Farmer H selflessly drove me to the casino on Monday, the day he injured himself. And selflessly lost the money I gave him. Then the pain set in more severely on the way home. I guess he exacerbated his injury with overuse during slot play. It must have hurt him so much that he couldn't turn on the windshield wipers.

You know how a fine mist settles on your windshield, and the wipers have to be on intermittent or they scrape, or the mist builds up and you can't see? Well, it was already dark, in the tail-end of rush hour traffic out of STL, and I dared ask Farmer H to turn on the wipers. You can imagine how that went over, right? Farmer H said, condescendingly, with a bit of a smirk in his voice, that I couldn't see out of the windshield because I'm blind. That was right after I'd put my glasses away in my purse. Uh huh. When the man with only one eye told me I was blind, because I didn't have my glasses on. As if that would affect the misty rain and road goop being thrown up by tires.

Yeah, I'm blind without my glasses, said the one-eyed man who wouldn't turn on the wipers, who finally DID, and then said the wipers need to be replaced, because it was hard to see out the windshield.'d have thought Farmer H was going to expire right there in the La-Z-Boy, where he plopped as soon as we got home, moaning like his arm was clinging by a thread of sinew. I found him some BenGay, since my special friend Thera-Gesic was down in my dark basement lair. After it had a chance to heat up, I asked him if it was still good, or if I needed to pick up more at The Devil's Playground, because I couldn't remember the last time I'd bought or used BenGay. I'm pretty sure that was before I RETIRED.

Farmer H said that it was fine, but it wasn't heating much until he plugged in his heating pad that he used on his injured butt that time, and put it over his shoulder. The heating pad, not the butt, but I WOULD like to see him try that trick! I checked the BenGay tube for an expiration date, but couldn't read it. You know, because I'm blind without my glasses. I handed it to Farmer H to read, but he said it didn't have an expiration date! Uh huh. So said the condescending man who said that I was blind! After more ridicule encouragement from me, Farmer H DID see the expiration date crimped into the end of the tube, and it was 2010!

Yeah. Only 8 years past its prime. So I said I'd put it on the list for The Devil's Playground. Once downstairs, I checked out my Thera-Gesic, and funny thing expired in SEPTEMBER 2010! I guess I must have bought both tubes at the same time for the same injury. My neck, I'm thinking.

Anyhoo...I must be turning into my mother, who once served me four-year-old Ranch Dressing for Thanksgiving dinner, saying that it was runny because I didn't shake the bottle enough. She also tried to treat a tick-removal wound with one of her Bactine balls, which were cotton balls she'd soaked in Bactine and sealed in a container to use on her classroom 4th-graders if they skinned a knee. Let the record show, my mom had retired the year Genius was born. So those Bactine balls were older than the Ranch Dressing and my own muscle-soothing ointments.

I don't quite know what to say.

Monday, February 5, 2018

My New Best Friend

You may think I'm a hypochondriac, but Mrs. HM actually has a high pain tolerance. She birthed two babies without drug intervention (but only because she got to the hospital too late, both times). The nurse who admitted her during her gallbladder attack that ended in five days in the hospital, and surgery, told her that most people with her symptoms would not be walking in on their own, but writhing in pain on a gurney. So don't ASSume that Mrs. HM is like Farmer H, and crying wolf at every scratch and twinge. Even though she blogs about them.

Yesterday I hurt my back. By bending over in the kitchen, to put triple antibiotic ointment on my hook-pierced toe. Which has quit hurting, by the way, and seems almost healed. aging back has now become my aching back. I'm pretty sure I just strained a muscle. There was no sound, save the creaking of my right knee. But that's a regular occurrence when I bend over like that.

The pain is halfway between my spine and hip. Not quite in the back. Not quite in the butt. It hurts when I lean forward, lean backward, or lean to the right. It hurts to sit still, hurts to inhale, hurts to climb the stairs, hurts to sit down on the toilet, hurts to stand up from the toilet, hurts to turn over in bed, hurts to lie in bed, hurts to inhale, and hurts to hiccup.

It even hurt while I was gimping around looking for this:

One thing's for sure, though. It doesn't hurt too much to go to the casino, which Farmer H offered in a surprise text at 9:00 this morning. Probably just checking to see if I was up, so it might have backfired on him and spoiled his junking plans for this afternoon. Which is an added bonus.

It's Not-Heaven to get old. But it's better than the alternative.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Mansionhenge, Home Of The Hillmomba Guidestones

I'm pretty sure you've heard of Stonehenge, and anybody with a skosh of conspiracy theory inquisitiveness has probably also heard of the Georgia Guidestones. But you probably don't know about Mansionhenge, Home of the Hillmomba Guidestones.

See it there? In the front yard/field of the Mansion? It sprung up overnight. What's that? You don't see anything? You may have to zoom in. See? Three orbs. Take a gander at this far-off closeup of one:

The Hillmomba Guidestones didn't so much spring up overnight, as late midmorning on Tuesday. When Mrs. Hillbilly Mom flung them there from the front porch. She didn't have time to engrave any special commandments on them. Time was of the essence.

Oh, Mansionhenge, Home of the Hillmomba Guidestones, IS ancient. And just slightly mysterious. It's made of three oranges. ANCIENT oranges! Left from Christmas! You know how oranges are. They don't ever rot. Don't decay. Last forever. Shrink and petrify. UNLESS they're left in a Christmas stocking on accident, where they will turn white and gooshy and possibly sprout mold with three days of Christmas past.

Thing is...there were FOUR oranges in the Christmas stockings. One each in the stockings of The Pony, Genius, Genius's Friend, and Farmer H. Santa doesn't fill a stocking for Mrs. HM, you know. Not even with coal. Which might lead her to change her evil ways. Or not.

Anyhoo...THREE oranges appeared on the kitchen counter the day after Christmas. The fourth one has never been found. None of the guys profess a fondness for oranges. It's a tradition. It's always been a race to see who can get rid of theirs first. "Oh. An orange. I don't like oranges. Do you want mine? Well. What am I supposed to DO with it? Here. You take it. I guess I'll just set it here for now."

The dogs are not even curious. I can throw potatoes off the back porch, and they will appear in the front yard within hours. Eggs? Those dogs carry them around like a new toy, before, like a new toy, destroying them and eating part of it. The dogs haven't touched the oranges.

I'm pretty sure those oranges will be there for many years to come. Unless Farmer H runs over them with the riding lawnmower. And uses them as an excuse to buy a new one. There are still several months until mowing season, though.

NOW OPEN! Mansionhenge, Home of the Hillmomba Guidestones.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

This Candy Was Dandy

Hey, remember my trials and tribulations with my several-favorites-ago new snack, the Gourmet Lollipop? Even Steven has taken on my case.

Wednesday, I was in The Devil's Playground, and remembered that I was looking for some Gourmet Lollipops. The regular Devil's Playground nearest the Mansion has been out. Out of the bags, and not re-stocking the wooden holders at the checkouts. So while I was at The Devil's Playground over in Bill-Paying Town, I checked the shelf, and there were five or six bags. Of course I picked them up to peer through the little window hole on the front. On the fourth bag, I noticed TWO of the Bubble Gum flavor, and one of the Cotton Candy. I figured 3 out of 7 isn't bad odds. At least I'd be getting three that I liked, with the possibility of others I couldn't see, for slightly over the price I'd pay for three single suckers at the checkout.

I set the bag aside when I got home, and then opened it up Friday night, when I was headed to my OPC (Old People Chair) to watch my DVR of LIVE PD. That's my routine. LIVE PD is on Friday and Saturday nights, and I enjoy a Gourmet Lollipop while watching. The show is 3 hours long (but only about two if you don't watch it live, and zap through the commercials). A Gourmet Lollipop might last almost an hour, depending on how vigorous you are in trying to devour it.

Anyhoo...I cut the top off the bag of Gourmet Lollipops, and peered inside, eager to see what else was in there, not visible through the window. SWEET GUMMI MARY! That looked like a lot of lollipops! In fact, my new bag contained 9 Gourmet Lollipops! The bag clearly says 7 on the front label.

Maybe I should compare the weight of all those bags next time! To see if I can pull off this feat again. I dumped out the lollipops, and this is what I have.

My favorites are well-represented. I have 3 Bubble Gum, 3 Cotton Candy, 1 Wild Cherry, 1 Mystery, and 1 dreaded Watermelon. I'm not complaining! I'm not even going to write a letter to the Original Gourmet Food Co. to ask why the bag says 7 suckers, but shows 10 in the picture.

Excuse me. I have plans with a Bubble Gum lollipop. It's time to go start watching my recording of LIVE PD.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Let's Put The Nail In The Coffin, Shall We?

I'm hoping to wrap up the saga of my big toe wound today. Wrap it up like my toe has been wrapped up for the last two nights. Put an end to it. Not put a literal nail into anything. That makes me think of the hook that pierced my toe-skin!

Last night, around 11:00, I left my rolly chair to visit the NASCAR bathroom. Again, pardon the indelicacy of my reference, but while sitting on the toilet, it occurred to me that my hook-toe was not hurting! It was as if I'd forgotten that it was injured altogether! I had walked normally, not favoring the foot, and hadn't noticed any pain to put my thoughts on my injury.

Of course, with the hook-toe on my radar, it hurt when I walked back to my office. Not as much as before. When I took off the bandaid this morning, it had a pinpoint spot as if some blood had leaked out. It felt good, though. Barely like I had impaled my great toe with a mysterious tiny hook, and had needed to twist and wiggle it for removal.

At this writing, I'm thinking that I'm on the mend, and that Farmer H's nursing services won't be required. I'm also thinking that the piece of metal might have come from the unwrapping of the Christmas presents on the toenail rug (don't get me started) large oval braided rug that I inherited from my grandma. We unwrap there every year, and The Pony sits on the floor tearing open his gifts. That tiny hook might have been a loop of metal that sometimes is used to hold items on a cardboard backing, or to anchor clear plastic over items twist-tied to cardboard. I could have picked it up with my sock while walking to my OPC (Old People Chair) from the basement mini fridge, and then driven the end into my toe while walking across the tile to go elsewhere in the basement.

Mystery solved. Injury healing. Farmer H thankfully not involved.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

When You Think The Job Is Done, But It Isn't

Oh, so many scenarios I could write about with that title! But today, we're sticking to yesterday's topic of something I found sticking out of my big toe.

After twisting and yanking that little metal hook thingy out of the skin, I went about my business, favoring that foot, keeping the toe off the ground. My white crew sock was still on, so the wound was somewhat protected. Besides, the diameter of that little metal hook thingy was about that of a strand of hair. Horse hair, maybe. A really thick strand, like from the tail.

When I went to bed, I slathered triple antibiotic ointment on the bottom of my big toe, and put a bandaid over that, with another bandaid going around the top of the toe, to hold the other one on. When I got up this morning, my toe still hurt.

Huh. I guess that's normal. It had a little metal hook thingy jabbed inside, and maybe it's just going to be sore while it heals. Yeah. I'm sure that's all it it.

When I got ready for my shower, I took off the bandaids and felt along the bottom of my toe. There was something sticking out!

Great! I guess there's another piece of that little metal hook thingy still in there!

I pulled on it. Took two tries. And it came out. Except that it was a piece of skin. Like maybe I'd ripped the edge off a dried-out blister.

Oh. Well. Maybe the skin was damaged from that little metal hook thingy that was in my foot when I took it out. So it left a little wound. That's healing. Yeah. I'm sure that's it.

We'll see. I put more triple antibiotic ointment on it, with two more bandaids. If it's not better tomorrow, I'll have Farmer H look at it with a magnifying glass and tweezers.

Sorry no pictures! You know how I feel about feet! Even my own.