Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Doo Doo Doo Doo...Or Just A Bunch Of Doo-Doo?

Yesterday I came out of Save-A-Lot, pleased to see that the same car was parked beside T-Hoe as when I went in. That meant I would have no trouble getting that WIDE door open all the way, for ease of climbing into the driver's seat. I reached for the door, and was SHOCKED!


Yes. OPEN! Not wide open. Just not shut. Not even latched. A finger inserted into the crack of the door pulled it open, easy.

How was this even possible? Am I going senile? I remembered sliding down out of T-Hoe. Same as always. I kind of slide past the running board, because bending my knee stepping down hurts. I don't want to get all the mud from the running board on the back of my pants legs. So I kind of slide, stretching my feet out, so as to avoid the running board. I'm just tall enough that this works. I only drop a couple inches as I fall off the seat. Then I reach back to push off and right myself, so I'm not leaning back against it.

I KNOW I had stood there a minute, as usual, putting my phone in my pocket. Then I stepped away from the door, gave it a push to slam shut, and clicked the clicker on my keyring as I walked away, to lock the doors. NOW, the door was open. With my purse inside. I never take it in the store, but I DO put it down out of sight, in the back seat floor area, at Save A Lot.

I climbed in and looked for my purse. There it was! Everything still there. Just as I'd left it. What the Not-Heaven? Was I losing my mind? Probably! Because a SANE WOMAN would have been leery of entering that car! Might have thought someone was laying in wait for her. Would have opened all the doors and inspected the interior before getting in, to strap herself down and start moving. I didn't even think of that!

On to the Gas Station Chicken Store for my 44 oz Diet Coke. I got out, still leery about leaving the door open at Save A Lot. That just isn't me. I always follow my routine. I pushed the door to close it, consciously logging that act into my brain, and took a step away.

WAIT A MINUTE! That had not been the normal sound of T-Hoe's door slamming. I turned to look back, and THE DOOR WAS NOT CLOSED! AHA! It WASN'T my mental faculties in question, but T-Hoe's hardware. I opened the door and looked to see if anything was amiss, but it all looked fine. I pushed that door closed, and it worked. No clicking. No clunking.

Of course, when I got home, hoping the door would not close, so I could leave it and tell Farmer worked perfectly in the garage.

I'm guessing that it's something with the main closey-hinges that needed lubrication last month, or something about the latch itself that falls and blocks the closure. I need to tell Farmer H so he'll get right on that. In about 3 months.

In the meantime, I have a new routine when I get out of T-Hoe.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Don't Go Shopping Before Lunch

Today, I have a cautionary tale for you, people. A cautionary tale. Don't go in Save A Lot on an empty stomach. Even if you only plan to buy some canned mushrooms to add to Farmer H's meals, and twist pretzels and cashews for Chex Mix. Don't do it. Just don't. You will be unable to make wise choices.

At the checkout, I had to wait in line behind a slow lady and a cart-full man. Another dude came up behind me. The checker called for backup, and of course the LAST person in line, that dude behind me, got served first. I switched lines, though. Heh, heh. Because that tactic has served me so well in the past. NOT.

I got waited on before the cart-full guy, who is probably at this moment typing on his blog how that WEIRDO LADY behind him got served before him. Whatever. Let him be petty like that. Anyhoo...I switched lines, but not before I responded to the last-minute snacks on that end cap screaming my name.

"MRS. HILLBILLY MOM! Hey, there! It's US! Right here! The chips. Yeah. Quit looking at those soft-batch chocolate chip cookies! Sure, you used to buy them for The Pony. But he's not here now, is he? So forget that. Look at US! We're salty. We're crunchy. We go great with a 44 oz Diet Coke! C'mon. You've been good. Treat yourself. To US! Uh huh. US! Right here! The Honey BBQ Twisty Fritos! You know you want to! C'mon! Here we are! Within arm's reach!"

I swear. Those Honey BBQ Fritos have a voice as annoying as the Tide Pen.

Yeah. I picked up a bag of those Fritos. How bad could it be? I know even those little bags have two servings. That's not so bad. I carried them downstairs with my lunch of a Chicken Caesar wrap. The Devil was all out of pinwheels yesterday.

I looked at the back of the back to check the serving information.


According to the label, that bag contained 4.5 servings! Seriously! Would you share that little bag of Fritos with 3.5 people? No siree, Bob! They'd accuse you of being chintzy. Of not giving them enough. Even though you gave them their serving of 23 pieces.

No way was I going to eat that whole little bag of Fritos! I opened it up and counted them out, into four sections, and sealed them up in Ziploc bags. Forget that .5 serving! At least I turned 1 into 4. So I would only be 1/4 of a glutton. Technically.

Don't worry about Mrs. HM destroying the environment. I'd already used those Ziploc bags once, to carry down my daily servings of BBQ chips that go with my pinwheels. I save them a few at at time. They're not really dirty. Just some BBQ flavoring powder in them. I normally use them to put gas station chicken bones in, until I take them up later in the night, and feed the non-splintery ones to the dogs the next day. Then I throw them away, of course. But those bags do double-duty, at least.

I haven't tried the Honey BBQ Fritos yet. I was mad at being tricked into bringing a possible dietary downfall into my Mansion. Maybe tomorrow. Depends on what I'm having for lunch.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Has Been Taxed To The Limit

Woe is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. She spent 2.5 hours working on her taxes last night. Oh, it's not as bad as those days when you had to pick up your forms at the post office. Or write and request them by mail, if the Feds or the state didn't send you the forms you had used last year. No, this modern age of the innernets makes it all so much easier. Or DOES it?

I used TurboTax. It walks me through, step by step, and I can file my taxes easy peasy. This year, I even splurged on the Premier level, because I thought I would be doing Genius's taxes again, and he has stocks, and Premier would be more helpful with that. Alas, Genius has cut the cord, flown the coop, left the fold, and wanted to do his own taxes. I recommended TurboTax to him, and he downloaded it from Amazon, and started it within minutes.

I'm an old-fashioned kind of gal, and prefer mine on CD. The Devil's Playground has apparently sold its soul to H&R Block, and there was nary a CD of TurboTax to be found there this year. Believe me. I searched two Playgrounds. I wonder if H and R know they've made a deal with The Devil.

Anyhoo...I ordered mine from Amazon, had it in two days, and let it lay around until last night. I started working on it around 11:00, and was done with the Income and Deductions sections shortly after 1:00 a.m. I figured I should call it a day. Or night. Or actually DAY. So I closed out of TurboTax to shut down New Delly. Of course I was prompted with whether I wanted to save. I always save the final draft of my return. But since this one was partial, I didn't see any need to clog up my computer and confuse myself further.

You know what happened, right?

TurboTax did not save my info. There was no way to get it back. I tried. Tried their website for solutions. Tried my RECENT PLACES on New Delly. Nope. All I could get was the 2016 return. I had to start again, completely from scratch.

It only took an hour and 15 minutes to re-enter all that information. Because I had the documents at hand, and I HAD JUST FREAKIN' DONE IT!

I'm pretty sure that somehow, this is all Farmer H's fault.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mrs. HM Has An Earssue

For the past three days, I've had a pain in my ear/throat. It's a combination malady. Not just ear, not just throat. Every time I swallow, there's a pain that can't be localized to one or the other. It's pretty bad. Like somebody jabbing an ice pick in there every time I swallow.

You might not think about how many times a day you swallow. Until you have an ice pick poking you every single time. I guess I must make about a POOLIO full of saliva each day. It's agony to swallow, but impossible not to.

According to Dr. Innernets, I could have anything from a virus to thyroid cancer. I'm kind of leaning towards the virus. Which should be gone in 7-10 days, unless complications develop, and a bacterial infection settles in, which would mean I probably need an antibiotic to shake it.

Farmer H has been fighting another cold, which he came down with last Sunday. My symptoms started Thursday morning. I told Farmer H it looks like he infected me again, by spraying his infectious virus out his breather at night, where it settled into my ear as I laid on my side and slept unawares. Farmer H is a good scapegoat. Great, actually. There's pretty much nothing I can't blame on him.

However...what I'm NOT telling Farmer H is that on Wednesday, during my shower, I got my ears full of water. Of course it was due to Farmer H fiddling with the shower head, changing the angle of the stream, so that when I turned, rinsing my hair, the water went into my ears.

Anyhoo...I was conscious of my ears feeling watery that day, as I was out and about. And later, in my dark basement lair, the itching was distracting. So I took the cap off a ballpoint pen, and stuck it into my ear canal, and dug around a little bit, scratching. It felt good at the time.

According to Dr. Innernets, disturbing the interior of the ear canal can upset the normal status of the ear environment, and result in an infection.

As far as we're concerned, Farmer H is the culprit of my affliction. His contagious breather breath gave it to me. He's fully responsible for my ear issues. Which I'm calling EARSSUES.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Betrayer Is Betrayed

You know that old saying, "No delicious chicken for the fickle?" Okay, so maybe it's "No rest for the weary." Or as my second-best ol' ex-teaching buddy Karen used to say, "No rest for the wicked." She also favored "I can read you like the back of my hand," and "I know you like a book." But mangled sayings are not the topic today.

It's no secret that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom LOVES gas station chicken. Which she always gets at The Gas Station Chicken Store. Except last Friday. You see, Mrs. HM always pays cash at The Gas Station Chicken Store. But with Farmer H's need for a gambling bankroll each Saturday in March, in order to get free American Tourister luggage at the casino, Mrs. HM was running short on the weekly cash allowance Friday. The rest of it was earmarked for Farmer H to lose.

I could have gotten cash back at The Devil's Playground to use for chicken or casino. But that's not a habit that I want to get into. I did, however, reason that I could just get a container of The Devil's Chicken while I was doing the shopping, thus making the cash dilemma moot. It's not like I was saving any money. It was just a matter of the distribution of the cash itself. The grocery order was going on the debit card, and the cash could still be allotted to Farmer H.

We've had The Devil's chicken before. It's a different recipe, and more breading than The Gas Station Chicken Store uses. Not quite as good, in my opinion. But Farmer H likes it. And it would be something quick for him to grab before going to the auction Friday night. Except, once I got that chicken home, Farmer H wanted me to make him fish on Hawaiian Rolls with curly fries. No big deal. Only more work for me, but that's not really his concern.

I didn't mind all that much, because I could always have The Devil's chicken the next day. And the next. I like chicken. I made Farmer H's fish and fries, and after he left for the auction, I put my chicken in the oven to warm up.


Seriously! Who would have thought that? It's never hot. I mean SPICY hot! Like it had been soaked in a vat of Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce before deep-frying. And after. The chicken coating didn't look any different. But that thigh almost burned my mouth! Good thing I had many ounces of Diet Coke left to put out the fire.

That's not right, people! I bought an 8-piece container of The Devil's fried chicken as usual. Nowhere did it say that it would be FLAMING HOT. I guess they sell both versions, and somebody put in a mixture. The breast was not hot. Nor the thigh I had the next day.

I guess I should have stuck with the gas station chicken. Never trust The Devil.

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.