Friday, September 21, 2018

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Big Mother

Farmer H sometimes thinks he's pulling a fast one on Mrs. HM. You'd think he would realize by now that I always catch him in his attempted deception. Here's an example that goes back many years.

Farmer H used to bowl in a league every Thursday night. He did this for years, while the boys were growing up, and sometimes took one or the other along with him with the promise of bowling alley food. They didn't go very often, though. So Farmer H was pretty secure that his secrets were safe. Every week, the bowlers wagered money on scores. Every now and then, Farmer H would reveal that he'd won the pot. Never very much, maybe around $20.

What he neglected to mention was that at the end of bowling season, the winning team split a bigger pot. Around $100 apiece. And he especially neglected to mention that his team won the league!

It's not like I would have asked for a cut of the money. That belonged to Farmer H, even though I set out $20 a week for his fees and supper (extra if one of the boys went along). I had no claim to his winnings, but it would have been nice if he didn't try to keep it secret.

It wasn't much of a secret, though, because one of my colleagues was in the same bowling league. He knew that Farmer H's team won, and asked me on Monday how much Farmer H was enjoying his winnings. When I revealed that I didn't even know about it, we agreed that I would sit on that knowledge for a while, and then spring it on Farmer H at a most advantageous moment for myself. The plan worked great, and for 3-4 years, Farmer H would periodically say, "I still can't figure out how you knew about my bowling league prize."

Heh, heh. Even though we played trivia matches with my colleague, and he and Farmer H sometimes discussed the bowling league, neither of us let it slip. FINALLY, out of the blue one day, Farmer H shouted, "NOW I know how you found out about the bowling money! COLLEAGUE!"

I bring this up now, because Tuesday evening, Farmer H went to meet COLLEAGUE (who retired a few years before I did) to pick up something for a class reunion. I was pecking away in my dark basement lair on New Delly, when an email from OnStar popped up about A-Cad's monthly diagnostics report. It does this for T-Hoe, too. I don't know if the date is linked to the billing period, but the report only comes up when you drive the car. Like, we'll get in A-Cad early in the morning to start a trip to Oklahoma, and the report comes to my email before we even get to town. I never get the diagnostics report when the car is sitting in the garage. The report shows tire pressures and oil life and mileage and any problems that need attention.

Well! I guess Farmer H thought he was getting away with driving A-Cad, unbeknownst to me. He knows that once I'm in from town, I rarely go back outside now. It's too hot to walk, and my Posterior Tibial Tendinitis is slowly resolving itself. So I guess he figured he'd drive the ritzy car, and probably put gas in it, saving himself his own weekly cash allowance that is meant for his Trailblazer gas and expenses. A-Cad's gas, though, always goes on the debit card, which takes days to show up in checking. Plus, we were planning a casino excursion for Wednesday, and Farmer H could pretend that he took A-Cad to town for gas to have it ready.

I sent Farmer H a text: "Why are you driving the Acadia?"

I didn't get a response. I wonder how long it will take him to figure out how I knew... I'm always watching him, you know. Even if the eyes aren't my own.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Nightmare Continues!

Just when I thought I was moving on from the horror of an overturned mail truck a mile from the main post office, on the day after I mailed my DISH bill...I read about a NEW shocking discovery.

On Wednesday, Farmer H and I were headed home from a spontaneous trip to the casino when it happened. Thank the Gummi Mary we didn't drive past the accident scene! It was a little farther south of us.

We got home around 4:00 p.m., and at 4:30 when I fired up New Delly down in my dark basement lair, to read the day's news, I was greeted with a story that was posted at 4:00.

ORIGINAL STORY: First responders are responding [not one for synonyms, this writer] to a vehicle accident on [the main north/south interstate] near [Sis's Town/Bank Town]. The crash, involving a MAIL TRUCK running off [main north/south interstate] south of Fairgrounds Drive, slowed traffic on the northbound highway.

UPDATE: No one was injured in the accident involving the mail truck. First responders are still waiting on a tow truck.

There was even a picture of one of those white mail jeeps laying on its side down an embankment. Let the record show that no strewn-about mail was visible in the photo.

Still...I'm pretty sure I'll need to get online and pay my DISH bill by credit card this month.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

This Does Not Bode Well For The Delivery Of My DISH Bill

Sunday, I made a trip over to the main post office to mail my DISH bill. The payment has a habit of taking 10 days to show up on my account, so I have to mail it the day after I receive it. They really go to exaggerated lengths to perusade people to switch over to paperless billing!

Anyhoo...I know the mail doesn't go out on Sundays, but I didn't want to rush around Monday to get it there by 11:30. I'm a late sleeper, you know. I knew if it was in the post office Sunday, it would be sure to go out Monday.

Well! Imagine my chagrin when I was perusing the online local paper Monday night, and saw an article about an officer being seriously injured while directing traffic. First of all, nobody directs traffic around here. Not even when the stoplights are on the fritz. So I had to read it to see what happened.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Coppy Copperson [not his real name] said a mail truck had lost part of its load at the intersection of Denial Drive and Agonize Avenue. [Not real thoroughfares.] The officer was going to direct traffic around the debris in the roadway while workers were trying to get it loaded back up.

You know what the means, right? MY DISH BILL MIGHT HAVE BEEN LAYING IN THE ROAD AT 5:00 a.m. MONDAY!

Anyhoo...the officer got hit by a car. He has two broken vertebrae, and a lot of pain, but will recover without paralysis. Not that I don't care about this officer. He's a human being, doing a thankless job, with a lot of convalescing to do. I wish him well. In fact, I'd like to THANK HIM for doing this thankless job, protecting what might have been my DISH BILL from being run over, even if it meant that he, himself, was run over.

Oh, well. Nothing I can do about any of it. No use crying over spilled mail, you know.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Pony, Baker, Helper, NOT

The Pony is not renowned for his culinary skills. In fact, his selfless habit of helping people might just surpass his talent as a cook. So imagine my surprise when he sent me a text on Monday, revealing that he and his bestie had made cookies on Sunday.

Of course, The Pony never just shares things like that with me. He at first informed me of his first test in one of his classes. THEN he happened to mention the rest.

"Also, me and Bestie tried to make cookies from scratch yesterday. It ended...poorly."

"That's sad."

"We either missed the timer, screwed up the order/ratios, or she had the wrong time in her head."

"Didn't you look up a recipe?" I did NOT mention my dismay that TWO CHEMISTRY MAJORS could mess up the order and ratios of ingredients...

"She had one, but didn't have it written down right or something."


"That's tragic. Worse than Genius's Nutella cookies. What were they SUPPOSED to be?"

"They were meant to be tiny cookies, but she broke the pusher and we tried to make them big. She added too much salt to the batter, too. She called them s-p-r-i-t-z cookies, like tiny cookies in shapes that get passed around at parties, apparently. I was also confused."

"Passing those around would be the end of the party!"

Let the record show that Bestie is from Texas, and might have learned of these cookies from an old family recipe, or from her sorority house-mother. As far as I can tell, the only s-p-r-i-t-z-ing that would be going on would be from the fire extinguisher onto these cookies!

You know how kids reach developmental milestones at different times. Here was The Pony, making his first batch of cookies during his junior year of college. While Genius made HIS first batch of cookies during his junior year of high school.


Let the record show that Genius did not eat HIS cookies, either. He conjured up a recipe that included Nutella. Not a hit. And Genius really likes Nutella. He's a regular gourmet cook compared to The Pony, though.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ain't No Way To Hide Your Lyin' Plate

Last week I made a pot of chili. There's always plenty, and we can eat it for four nights. It's something Farmer H can get for himself when he comes in from playing around on his tractor all day, or heat up before leaving for the auction.

Imagine my surprise when I ascended from my dark basement lair, and saw Farmer H sitting in the La-Z-Boy with an empty paper plate.

"Oh, you didn't have the chili?"

"I had chili."

"On a PLATE?"

"Yeah."

"Huh. That's weird."

I continued to the kitchen, and noticed that Farmer H had used the chili I had put in a small container. It originally held Hot & Sour Soup from the Chinese restaurant. A small order. This container was about the size of a tub of sour cream, or French Onion Dip, and it had only been about 3/4 full. I was actually concerned that Farmer H was too lazy to open one of the larger containers. Just settling for less, not having quite a full bowl. Then again...he didn't put his chili in a bowl.

"Is that all you ate? From the small container?"

"Yes."

"That's not very much."

"That's all I wanted."

"Huh. It was only about half a bowl. You must have had lunch out."

"Not really. I only had a hamburger from Hardees. And fries. And a soda."

"I can't believe you ate chili on a plate!"

"Well. With a hot dog."

"OH! So you had a chili dog. With a bun and cheese. And I bet you didn't just have ONE."

"I had two."

As I was getting my own chili out of one of the large containers, I noticed that the already-opened pack of hot dogs was gone.

"Hey! I thought there were four hot dogs in that pack."

"I only ate two."

"Just yesterday, there were four. Because I looked at it while I was making my shopping list. Where'd the other two go?"

"Oh. I ate them last night."

"When you got home after 10:00 from the auction?"

"We didn't eat there."

Seriously. I don't care what Farmer H eats, as long as it's not my ice cream cups. I just don't know why he can never tell the truth. He KNOWS I'm going to figure out his story. Sometimes, even though I don't really care about what he's done, I keep asking questions, to let him weave his wicked web of lies into a tight noose. Once you tell a lie, you know, you have to keep telling them, until finally you're caught.

Hasn't Farmer H ever watched Leave It to Beaver?"

If this blog was an Eagles song, my refrain would be:

I don't know whyyyy you must tempt fate
There ain't no way to hide your lyin' plate

Seriously. Who eats chili off a plate?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

I Would Imagine That They Rue The Day Every Night

As you may recall, I began revealing my poop test woes yesterday.

Friday afternoon, I called my ex health insurance company. Oh, yeah. Maybe I didn't mention that the school switched plans on July 1. But don't you worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. She was fully covered by this company in May, the date of the poop test claim. Good thing I always hang onto the old insurance ID cards for six months or so...

The InsRep tried to make me jump through all the hoops that PoopCoRep prepared me for.

"How can I help you?"

"My poop test claim was denied."

"How do you know that?"

"Because I got a bill for $649 from the Poop Company, showing DENIED by the insurance portion. And also a statement of benefits from insurance showing a payment of ZERO for the claim, which seems to me to be a denial."

"Well, this provider was OUT OF NETWORK, so we applied the charges to your deductible."

"This is the ONLY provider in the world who does this test. So there can't be an IN NETWORK provider."

"Yes, there is no IN NETWORK provider that does this test. The $203.55 applied to your deductible is the allowed amount."

"Allowed by who?"

"By us. The insurance."

"I don't know how you got that amount from $649. There is NO CONTRACT between you and the provider, according to the Poop Company."

"Well, that's because they're OUT OF NETWORK."

"But there is no company IN NETWORK that does this test."

"That is correct."

"So there's no way I could have had this test with an IN NETWORK provider."

"That's right."

"But according to the Affordable Care Act, I have the right to choose whether I want THIS test, or a colonoscopy that might include general anesthesia. Which I didn't want."

"Yes, you have that right. But it is OUT OF NETWORK."

"Yet there was no provider IN NETWORK that could give me this test."

"Correct."

"So if there's no IN NETWORK provider, how can there be an OUT OF NETWORK provider? You can't deny me the only company that can give me this test. According to the Affordable Care Act."

I heard a lot of keyboard clicking and sighing during our conversation. And several interjections of "Oh, come on!" Though I think they were directed at InsRep's computer system, and not at me. He had been polite, in an obstinate kind of way. He was shining me on, blowing me off, poo-pooing my poop test problems. As if trying to shut down my own talking points, while roundaboutly repeating his own. Like he was trying to get rid of me, per policy, by explaining in several different ways, the concept of, 'That's just the way it is.'

I, too, was polite. But I used my stern teacher's voice. You know, the one that says I mean business, I'm not backing down, and I think you're full of...um...poop. I was like a snapping turtle that wouldn't let go, with no thunder on the horizon.

Oh, he was good. I'm pretty sure he caught on that I was voicing the PoopCo talking points from their website. It was an epic battle, worthy of a cheering and jeering crowd in The Colosseum. Perhaps InsRep has a quota to meet each day. He finally heaved one last sigh, and said,

"I will have this claim re-processed at the IN NETWORK level. You will get a written determination within 30 days."

You bet you will. Or deal with a supervisor when I call back. I have your name.

Bob.

Seriously. The worst that can happen is that the insurance company still pays nothing, and I file an appeal off the template on PoopCo's website. Which may or may not help. In which case I would end up paying that $649 anyway. Although PoopCoRep says they work out payment plans, and/or reduce the amount for individuals. It's not like this will break my budget, and make me sell the Mansion and live in a wanker truck down by the creek.

It's the principle of the matter.

I'm pretty sure that the insurance company is none too fond of bandying words with teachers on all their claims for school district clients.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

I Can't Guarantee That It Don't Stink, But Apparently It's Made Of Gold

Nothing gets Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's blood boiling like a good throwdown with her insurance company.

Let the record show that I got a denial on my POOP TEST! Which carries a bill of $649. Who knew my poop was so valuable? Maybe I should have insured the return package.

My own representative, who handles insurance disputes for all school employee clients, had made two attempts at remedying the problem, and advised me to file a written appeal. I guess that has to be done by the actual claimant. Also, if it was a lose-lose situation, I'm sure she would have told me I was stuck paying the full amount. My original plan was that if she couldn't fix it, I'd call the Poop Company, and see if I could negotiate a smaller amount if I paid it right then. That can happen, you know.

Anyhoo...the bill from the Poop Company had a phone number, and a paragraph that they encourage anybody who has to pay any amount out of pocket to contact their customer service department for advice on filing an appeal with the health insurance. So I did! I also checked out their website beforehand.

I'd told Farmer H about reading that paragraph about appeal advice on the Poop Company's website. Farmer H knows his way around the inside of company policy. "Obviously, they know they have a problem. So be sure you call them and see what they advise. They wouldn't just put that out there randomly."

So I did. Their number works 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Now THAT is customer service! Anyhoo...the PoopCoRep was very polite and helpful, advising me on what tactics the insurance rep would try, and how to refute them. He was forearming me by forewarning me. He also assured me not to worry about that $649, because the payment date would be suspended during the appeal. And that I might be able to get the claim re-filed, and not even need an appeal. But if I DID, he directed me to the FORM ON THEIR WEBSITE that is a template for appeals, which would generate an automatic appeal letter to my insurance! Man, was Farmer H ever right! This must be a wide-ranging problem between the Poop Company and the insurance providers.

PoopCoRep really had me loaded for bear! I thanked him for his help, and read back my plan according to his advice. Then he said, "They probably won't be answering the phone this late." Oh, I knew that. I only called him at 9:40 p.m. because I'm so nocturnal. I wanted to ruminate on my plan overnight, review it while driving around on my errands, and call the insurance the following afternoon.

SWEET GUMMI MARY!

It went just as PoopCoRep anticipated! It wasn't his first poop rodeo, by any means.

The other half of the story continues tomorrow...

Friday, September 14, 2018

Somewhere In His Dotage Or Adulthood

Are you a Sound of Music fan? I used to watch it every year. In college, one of my hallmates would get in the elevator (we lived on the 8th floor) and push every button going down. As the elevator doors opened into descending lobbies full of layabouts lounging on couches, she would sing the So Long, Farewell song.  I must say, it was one of the best of her repertoire, with Fill Me, Up Buttercup a distant second.

Anyhoo...getting back to the Sound of Music score...there's that one, Something Good, with the lyrics, "Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good."

After yesterday's tale of The Pony finding a mis-delivered letter stuck in his door frame, I was reminded of other times when his mis-delivered letter never arrived. It was during his first year at OU, when he lived in the dorm. Once he got the letter from his counterpart in a corresponding tower. Same floor and room number, just the other tower. He got some of that kid's mail, too, and they exchanged them.

However, one of The Pony's letters was never found. You KNOW another kid got it, and kept it. Heh, heh. "What IS this crap? Some lunatic writing to her kid-- HEY, TWENTY DOLLARS!"

I'm pretty sure whichever kid got that one opened it and spent the $20 I had tucked inside. Probably hoping for more of The Pony's mis-delivered mail in the future. Which is a case of somewhere in his youth or studenthood, he definitely did something bad.

You know how some people regret their actions, and 50 years later send $11.67 to some guy whose wallet they picked up off a park bench? I don't think this dude will bother.

Wouldn't it be cool, though, when I'm long gone, and The Pony is old and gray, if he saw something on social media (or a thought just piped into his brain with future technology) from that dude?

"A long time ago, I got a letter not addressed to me. I opened it, and found a kid's letter from his mom, and TWENTY DOLLARS! I spent the twenty dollars on weed, and since I'd already opened the envelope (oh, yeah, and spent the twenty dollars on weed) I couldn't give that kid the letter. But I'm sorry. And it wasn't very good weed."

Yeah. That's probably never going to happen. I don't think anyone from Millennial on down has a conscience any more.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Pony's Express

A couple days ago, I sent The Pony a text reminding him to pay his credit card. Those apron strings reach pretty far. He's kind of absent-minded, and the purpose of this credit card is to build credit so when he graduates, he'll have a credit record when he strikes out on his own in the real world.

We had a bit of a back-and-forth as he looked it up online. Seems he hadn't used the card between summer and fall semesters,  because his friends were gone, and he didn't drive much. The latest charge was going on next month's bill. So everything was good.

THEN he said, "Oh, by the way..."

That's how I find out most things from him, you know. He never contacts me right off, unless maybe he's just killed a bird on the highway.

"Oh, by the way...your latest letter came in. The mail person messed up; either they stuck it in my doorframe, or they put it in someone else's box and then that person stuck it in, since it was just jammed in the doorframe when I got back from class."

Which was after 6:00 p.m that night.

"I'm pretty sure the person who got it by mistake did that, having no key to your mailbox. Good thing they were honest and didn't swipe your $20! OR read your letter!" [Let the record show that sometimes there are personal things in the letter, and sometimes just boring stuff that I've included on my blogs, about what goes on here, like a creepy truck watching kids frolic in the creek.]

"Yeah. That's what I assumed. Also, you just about made me choke when I read it. Please, please never use the phrase Wanking Episode again."

Huh. Perhaps that other person might not have been so critical or my writing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Discombobulation Of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

I swear, ever since I retired, a brain cell has been abandoning this sinking ship every day. Some days, it seems to take along its entire family, the cleaning lady, the gardener, the pool boy, the mailman, the pizza delivery dude, and even the incompetent UPS driver.

So extreme is this mass exodus that on Monday, Mrs. HM did not even remember she was retired!!!

Okay, to be fair, I was slightly discombobulated because I'd tried to do a mobile deposit for The Pony in the parking lot of Save A Lot, and got a message that my photos of the check were unreadable. So I had that on my mind, planning to try again over at Country Mart's parking lot, along with trying to recall the three items I came in for, since making a list for only three items was a waste.

I rounded the banana table in the produce section, and was thinking about which aisle those little mini breadstick/cheese individual snacks were on, when I was accosted by a WOMAN!

"Hey, are you still teaching?"

"Uh huh," I lied. Absentmindedly. Seriously, who plans on being interrogated as to your work status when all you want to do is send your college son a check through thin air, and buy yourself some salty snacks, a box of crackers, and some mini ice creams?

I turned to look at my inquisitor, and I'll be ding dang donged if I could remember who she was. A former student, I suppose, now working for Homeland Security and stalking me to determine my work status.

"OH! I mean...uh...no. I'm retired. I wasn't thinking."

"Well, that's good, because it's not even 3:00 yet, so you should be in school!"

SEE? I TOLD YOU SHE WAS ON A MISSION TO CATCH ME IN SOMETHING!

 "I retired two years ago. When The Pony graduated."

"Oh. How does he like college?"

"He likes it pretty good, I think. He's out at the University of Oklahoma."

"Are you enjoying your retirement?"

AGAIN WITH THE INTERROGATION!

"Yeah. I really liked it the first year. Then my husband retired. But I'm enjoying it pretty much."

With that, I wheeled my cart/walker down the dairy aisle, and grabbed some shredded cheddar. Not on my not-list, but the pack of it at the Mansion doesn't close at the top, the zip lock being faulty on my low-quality Save A Lot cheese.

As I came back up to the front aisle, having harvested my box of saltines and mini breadsticks, it hit me.

I DIDN'T BRING IN MY DEBIT CARD. Also, I had not put scratcher money in my pocket before leaving home. So I was in the store, food in my cart, and soon to be in line with no method of payment. WHILE AN UNDERCOVER OPERATIVE WAS STALKING ME!

And there she was! Coming at me again down the front aisle.

"Great! I left my debit card in the car, and I have to go back out!"

"Oh, I hate it when that happens!"

"Yeah. Me too."

Only it hadn't happened to me in over a year, and that time it was in the Devil's Playground, where I bemoaned the loss of The Pony's swift legs to trot back out and fetch it for me. At least it isn't far from parking lot to door in Save A Lot. I parked my cart over by the salsa on the chip aisle, and went out for my card. I could sense SNOOPER in line, watching me through the front windows, probably making note of my license plate number.

I really wish I could remember her. She looked so familiar. But I DID have over 2800 students during my career. So there's that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Jack And Juno Did Not Get The Memo

As I returned from town today (Monday), I saw Farmer H tooling towards me on the Gator. I was making the right turn into our driveway, and he was coming from the direction of Buddy's house. Jack and Juno cut into our front yard/field, trailed by Copper Jack. They know that no matter how much fun it is to run along behind Farmer H's Gator...the odds of them getting a treat from him are slim none to none. Their intuition was right, you know, because I had a plate of grease bread waiting for them on the kitchen counter. (Stale bread laid in the skillet of frying hamburger to soak up excess grease so it doesn't pop.)

Silly me. I'd made a big pot of chili, since we'd had cooler weather with all our weekend rain. There for a while, the Dog Days of Summer had really been wearing on me. Temps in the low 90s, with high humidity, made my scalp sweat like Farmer H eating a combo platter of hot wings and Hunan chicken.

Even inside, conditions have not been pleasant. The Devil's Playground was so hot the other day that perspiration shooting from my pores could have misted the vegetables on the produce aisle. Whatcha gonna do, though...it IS The Devil's Playground.

Anyhoo...it looks like the Dog Days of Summer have officially been over for a few weeks, according to my estranged BFF Google. Apparently, Jack and Juno didn't get the memo. They were panting like crazy. I don't think I've seen them this hot in quite a while. Temps were around 75, but the humidity was oppressive. And those fleabags were wearing fur coats!

Jack followed T-Hoe into the garage. He does that sometimes, and trots under A-Cad, and around the old cat house (a pink foam-board structure passed down from my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel when her cat died of old age), sniffing for Dusty, our cat who hates him. She stays outside, though, crouched under the shelves on the side porch, and Jack never finds her in the garage. Which doesn't keep him from hoping.

As I rounded the back of T-Hoe, grocery bags in hand, I saw Jack stretched out on the concrete floor between the cars. He NEVER doesn't that! He was panting so hard that a pool of saliva had formed in front of his chest, and his tongue was flapped out the side of his lower jaw. I'm guessing that the cool floor felt as good to his short-haired belly as the lid of the toilet seat feels on my bare back when I lean back in the midst of changing into my dark basement lair-wear.

I'm shocked that Jack didn't run around for a dip in the fake fish pond, but I guess he was worried about missing a treat.

Monday, September 10, 2018

What A Difference A Few Minutes Makes

Well, it looks like Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a day late and not even a dollar short. Not even a DAY late! More like a matter of minutes.

Uh huh. Always the bridesmaid. The runner-up. The write-in candidate. The afterthought.

Sunday morning, I left home around 12:15 (that qualifies as MORNING at the Mansion) for my trip to town to procure a 44 oz Diet Coke and lottery. I had my mind made up. The Gas Station Chicken store had put new tickets in the case on Saturday. Not NEW tickets, but DIFFERENT tickets than they'd had over the past two weeks. I knew which ticket I wanted. One of the $10 tickets with George Washington or Ben Franklin on the front. I have trouble telling them apart. It's probably Ben, because his likeness is on the currency of higher denomination than George, who is only on the dollar.

Anyhoo...the Gas Station Chicken Store had replaced that ticket when newer ones came out, but on Saturday, I noticed it was back. So that was my plan. I had $20 of winners to cash in. I figured I'd got to Casey's first, for two $5 tickets. In case they didn't have what I wanted, I could always take the cash back and use it also at the GSCS. Surely you didn't think I would save that money...

So...I went up the connecting alley-like road, across the parking lot of Farmer H's pharmacy, to get to Casey's. They had what I wanted, so I got two tickets and drove back over to the GSCS. When I cashed in my other winner there, and asked for the $10 Ben Franklin ticket, the Man Owner who waited on me hesitated.

"The guy who was here just before you had a $200 winner on his ticket..."

"OH! Never mind, then! I'll take the one next to it." Which turned out to be a loser, but lottery is a gamble, you know.

Thing is...I knew I wanted that ticket. I usually leave home between 11:30 and noon on Sundays, but the GSCS is kind of crowded with people buying CHICKEN after church. So I waited a little longer this time, and then went to Casey's first.

Looks like I shouldn't have altered my routine! There was a $200 winner waiting for me, and I let it slip right out of that glass case and into someone else's hands!

Oh, well. He was meant to get it. My luck is on the fritz.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

So Shockingly Similar

Let the record show that Mrs. HM apologizes profusely for keeping you in the dark for over three months. I know how you all must yearn for further photos of my nicked fingers and bruised extremities and routine medical near-maimings!

Way back in May, I had a routine 6-month doctor's nurse practitioner's appointment, which involves a blood test. I was running low on blog material that week, and as I neared the garage, I stopped T-Hoe to record my evidence. Pics or it didn't happen was ringing in my head, in Genius's mocking tone. Nothing interesting occurred at my appointment this time, so I kind of forgot about the photos. But I remembered them last night! When I had no topic to discuss.

The blood draw went smoothly. Barely even a little prick (heh, heh, I typed little prick), hardly noticeable.


Before I unwrapped that non-gaping wound to photograph it, I first took a picture of the wrapping itself.


Checking that snapshot on my phone, I decided that it included too much blurry foliage out T-Hoe's window. So I took another.


That one seemed okay, glancing at it on the small screen of my hand-me-down Genius phone. My main point was to document that flapping wrapping, just in case my arm had a big bruise. It hadn't been hurting, but you never know. If there was a chance of something gripe-able for a blog post, you can bet I was going to have photos!

So...those photos languished in my Pictures file for three months. Upon discovering them last night, I was SHOCKED to see that

THE TEXTURE OF MY ARM SKIN LOOKED ALMOST EXACTLY LIKE THE TEXTURE OF THE STRETCHY WRAP OF MY BANDAGE!

I think, perhaps, I need to apply lotion daily.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

I Swear I Have An Alibi

Let the record show that once Mrs. Hillbilly Mom returned from town and was dive-bombed by a bat-impersonating butterfly in her own garage...she retreated to the Mansion, and did not come out until the next day.

I'm sure the dogs will corroborate my whereabouts, and not even need any cat-kibble bribes. I had nothing to do with the body found just inside the garage door the next morning. Nothing, I tell you!


Seriously! It's like the body was left there for me to discover it! The corpse even has his legs sticking up in the air. If I was nonsqueamish enough to look for his eyes, I imagine they might have Xs over them like a cartoon decedent.

He was right in front of T-Hoe! I couldn't miss him. I don't see any damage to the body. I don't think that's the murder weapon laying beside him. It looks like a stem from a wild onion. I have no idea how THAT got in the garage, either.

I really hope my L'Oreal Medium Brown didn't contain toxins that got on his feet. Butterflies taste with their feet, you know. But nowhere on the L'Oreal box have I ever seen that it's poisonous for butterflies. I guess this guy will think twice before dive-bombing an elderly gal's lovely lady-mullet next time. Oh, wait. He won't. Because there won't BE a next time. He's deader'n a doornail!

I prefer to think that it was just his time to go. After all, I saw one earlier in the week at Country Mart, out front by the soda machine. In fact, a lady who just got out of a car was picking him up off the sidewalk, setting him out of the way beside the soda machine. Although this very morning, I saw a ripped-off wing on the carpet between the double exit doors.

Yeah. That's it. Their life span has ended. I am not culpable. Still...it's kind of odd that this butterfly was right in front of T-Hoe for me to find him.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Cover Your Head If It's Still Attached

After receiving my comeuppance by way of millipede and spider, you'd think Mrs. HM would be safe to roam about her property for a while, before the next lesson in Where the Wild Things Like to Scare You. But no, a truce was not yet in her cards.

With my head bobbly from the spiderweb assault before I hit The Devil's Playground, I returned to the Mansion intent on carrying in my groceries, and relaxing critter-free over some Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels.

First, upon parking T-Hoe in the garage, I had to fulfill my cat kibble duty. The dogs had not been around for the horror of the spiderweb near-decapitation my departure, but they'd come dashing across the yard from the BARn field as I came down the driveway. I could see Juno on the porch waiting for me. So I got out and went immediately to the people-door of the garage to greet her.

WHOOPSIE!

Something dark dived at my head and then up into the rafters of the garage! Sweet Gummi Mary! I was sure it was that bat that used to hang there in the louvered vent. The Pony liked pointing it out to me every day, lest I forget. Surely that bat had gone to the big cave in the sky by now! It's been two years since The Pony lived at home.

I opened the people-door so I had an escape, and looked up into the rafters to see the attacker.


No, it was not the Igloo cooler on Farmer H's shelving. Nor the box that is most likely filled with oily rags waiting to spontaneously combust. It's up there on the white wires, where the trusses are held together with one of those metal gusset plates.


This is not a good picture, but short of finding a ladder and coaxing my knees to climb it, that's as zoomed-in as I could get for a photo. Unfortunately, this critter got all bashful and folded up. It's not a bat at all.

It's a BUTTERFLY!

A beautiful black and blue butterfly. As big as a bat. You can't tell from the picture, but it was at least 5 inches across, all spread out. If you scroll down to see the picture at this link, that's what it looked like. A picture also popped up when I googled limenitis arthemis butterfly.

I didn't do a lot of research on it, because I don't want to know if it's just a moth state of some creepy grub worm.

I don't recommend any of you chasing a bat-butterfly up into the rafters of our garage. You'll pierce your non-decapitated noggin on those nails sticking through the roof!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Apparently, Arthropods And Arachnids Have A Firm Grasp Of Irony

Sweet Gummi Mary! One of these days, I'm going to understand the meaning of irony. Until then, even lowly invertebrates are tossing their resumes into the tutoring ring for consideration.

Seems like only yesterday (because it WAS) that I had a run-in with a millipede one thin wall away from my dark basement lair. I was a bit put-out with that critter for being inside my home, where I don't expect wildlife to roam.

Well...today, I went outside and started down the steps from the porch to the garage sidewalk...and ran into a spiderweb. By spiderweb, I mean a single strand. Not a nice, fanned-out web that glints with beauty in the morning sun, coated by droplets of dew.

No, the morning sun and dew were long-gone, it being noon-thirty by the time I got going. This must have been an anchor strand from which Spidey was going to fan out his magnificent trap. Being an anchor, that filament was as tough as braided steel. I swear, my forehead hit it first, and my noggin was rocked back on my shoulders as much from the force as from the shock. I was nearly decapitated!

Just like a certain Mansion-dwelling millipede...

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Stealthy Predator

I'm used to hearing odd sounds in my dark basement lair. Usually, though, I don't hear them within the lair itself.

Monday night around 8:00, sitting at my desk, I thought I heard a piece of paper flutter. That's not implausible. I have a lot of papers in my office. Stacked none too neatly in some spots. I glanced peripherally, to my left, to see if anything slid off. There was no sign of papers amiss.

A few minutes later, I heard it again. That put my unexplained-phenomena senses on alert. Still, short of a sheaf sailing across the lair and paper-cutting my jugular, I felt pretty safe there in my rolly chair in front of New Delly. I forgot all about it, played some Wordox on my Hoyle Puzzle and Board Games CD. A lot of Wordox. I so enjoy whooping the butts of those mouthy computer cartoon people!

Around 11:30, I went out into the main basement area to watch TV in my OPC (Old People Chair). A couple hours later, nature called my bladder collect, with an urgent message. I took care of business, with the door of the NASCAR bathroom open.

I never used to do that. Even when alone in the house, I'd close the door. But now, with Farmer H asleep since 8:00, and The Pony 490 miles away at college, and Genius living in Kansas City with intentions probably to return only for Christmases...I leave the door open.

Business finished, I started back to the OPC, and saw my nightmare, right outside the bathroom door. Trundling along the base of the wall that has my dark lair on the other side.

A MILLIPEDE!!!

I hate millipedes. I also hate feet, you know, and a millipede has A LOT of not-even-real feet, at the end of those hairy-looking legs that flow along like fringe. They are creepycreepycreepy. I despise them. Even more than crickets.

YEEEEEEEK!!!

Nobody was there to rescue me. Farmer H was upstairs, visions of auction-hoard dancing in his head. I was on my own. I hurried back for a generous wad of toilet paper (Charmin Strong) and inched over to wrangle that beast from the side. I snapped him up and rushed to the toilet and flung him in, then hit the flusher.

I think his head must have popped off! Even though I was watching to make sure his body went down (or UP, it's a basement toilet, after all), I couldn't see that critter, because he was wrapped in the toilet paper. I'd felt something crunch when I grabbed him. Okay, when I squeezed the toilet paper when I grabbed him, to make sure he didn't flip out onto my feet. Yes, he was mummied-up in the toilet paper, but a little black ball kind of thing NOT POOP swirled round and round. I'm pretty sure I decapitated him.

I hope he doesn't have family out to avenge his death.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

That Old Deer Smell

Our newest automobile, A-Cad, the GMC Acadia, kept his new car smell for about two years. I blame it recently fading out to the continued driving of Farmer H.

A different smell accosted me on the way to town Monday in T-Hoe. An old deer smell. Due to a deer carcass (in a ditch) that is not being eaten fast enough by the turkey buzzards. I first noticed that deer a few days ago. I suppose it was fresh then, since there was no odor.

According to Farmer H, you can pick up a roadkill deer to harvest the meat. Knowing Farmer H sometimes stretches the truth, I checked on it online. Looks like you can, as long as you get a form from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

I suppose whoever hit this deer got the Not-Heaven out of there, leaving their deer behind. I would never even consider harvesting a deer that I didn't see killed right then. I'm pretty sure you have to get the innards out within a reasonable amount of time (especially in the 90 degree heat we've been having) before it taints the meat.

Not that I blame the driver. Deer are always leaping about along this road, more willy-nilly than eleven lords a-leaping around Christmas time. People can get killed by a deer smashing through the windshield, depending on the speed of the car, and the size/location of the deer. I'm pretty sure that driver would have known the deer was done-for, though. Because it barely made it off the blacktop. They were probably shaken up, and just wanted to leave the area. That's no crime.

Anyhoo...now that deer's bloated carcass has to decompose. It's not like we have a department that scrapes up roadkill. On the highway, maybe, to prevent accidents. But not on all the rural roads. Nature must take its course, and those nutrients return to the soil, and fuel smaller wildlife.

While this happens, I have to decide how to deal with the pungent gases of decay as I drive by. Even though T-Hoe's air conditioner is set on recirculate, it still pulls in some air from outside. Otherwise, I'd die from lack of oxygen, from re-breathing my own exhalations for an extended time. My plan was to shut off the air entirely along that stretch of road. Because I didn't want the tainted air to recirculate once it got sucked in.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom plans, T-Hoe laughs. There seems to be an electrical short in T-Hoe's dashboard systems. Sometimes, the radio does not come on when I start him up. Then it starts playing on its own about 5 minutes into the drive. Lately, the recirculate button, which used to turn off every time the ignition was turned off, stays on all the time. But doesn't always recirculate unless you punch it off and on several times.

Well. Nearing the late deer on Monday afternoon, I pushed in the AUTO button to turn off the air conditioner completely. That should have meant that I'd need to push the air conditioner button itself to start it up again. But no. That darn button wouldn't go off.

I might have been able to jack up the temperature control buttons (one for the driver, one for the passenger side) from 68 degrees to 90, to assure that the system shut down. But I didn't think I had time to do that, what with paying attention to driving along the curvy blacktop road.

So I just drove on by, breathing through my mouth, knowing full well what I was inhaling, even though I didn't smell it. Once I got past, to the top of the hill, I cracked the driver's window and the diagonal back passenger window, to pull fresh air through. Then I closed the windows, and let that fresher air recirculate again.

Hillbilly Mom problems.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Aloha, Eh?

Since blog buddy River asked about Hawaiian Rolls, here's the scoop. They're a brand of sweet dinner rolls that the Hillbilly family enjoys.


In fact, we enjoy them so much that this week, I bought TWO kinds. It also comes in a sliced bread version, and a round loaf of bread that sits in a metal pie pan kind of tray inside its wrapping bag. Of course we've tried them both, but you can't have every variety sitting in your cabinet at once. The round loaf would be good for hollowing out for dip, I imagine, but we just ate it like regular bread, slicing off pieces as we wanted.


Farmer H likes the mini sub rolls. He uses them to make sandwiches with deli meat and cheese. Or for a hot dog split in the middle and fried in a non-stick skillet until both sides get a little bit charred. Then he adds yellow mustard and sliced onion. The mini sub rolls are twice as long as a regular roll. So if you're out of mini sub rolls, you can tear off two consecutive regular rolls, slice them in half through their middle, and have a substitute mini sub roll.


I prefer the regular rolls. They're just the right size to accompany a salad instead of using crackers. Something about their sweet flavor perfectly complements ranch or bleu cheese dressing and the fragments of sunflower seeds and shredded cheddar that may be on the fork as well. These rolls are moist and sweet, and would probably have been loved by Heidi's grandmother!

There's also a version that is called Savory Butter, I think. Not sure of the name, but The Pony, a true Butterton, preferred them. As I remember, they look the same, with the same texture, but are not quite as sweet. They also come in a wheat variety, I think. We had them once, but in comparing the labels, the wheat version actually had more sugars and carbs than the regular. I was actually trying to help Farmer H with his low-carb diet, but since he shows no qualms about sneaking Casey's donuts every day, I realized that was an exercise in futility.

We LOVE our Hawaiian Rolls here in Hillmomba.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Accurate Down To The Nano-H

When it comes to timing, Farmer H is a virtual United States Naval Observatory Master Clock. He is very precise in his movements and communications. All without conscious effort on his part.

A few days ago, I tried to call Farmer H to ask if my dogs were okay. They were conspicuously absent from the porch area when I left for town, and also when I came home. Those mutts love their cat kibble. It's not like them to miss a treat. Besides, Copper Jack was there. And he's not even our dog. With Farmer H's penchant for locking my Sweet, Sweet Juno in the BARn, and (formerly Puppy) Jack in the garage...I felt it necessary to jog his memory as to their whereabouts.

Of course my call was not answered. However...

As I was gingerly one-shoed jolting my sore ankle down the 13 stairs to my dark basement lair, holding onto the stair rails as far as I could, a tray of lunch pinwheels in my free hand, a double Devil's Playground bag filled with two bubba cups full of ice bookending a full 44 oz Diet Coke draped along the forearm...my cell phone started ringing in my shirt pocket.

Well. That is just the most inopportune time ever to call Mrs. HM. No way could I let go of the rail, nor set down my cargo, just to answer a call I was sure was from Farmer H. I know his talent for calling at the worst time ever.

Before I was even to the 13th step, the house phone started ringing. I had to put on my other shoe and shuffle off to the lair and lay my burden down in order to answer before it went to the answering machine. Of course it was Farmer H, returning my call. He'd been on the tractor, unable to hear the phone, but somehow able to know that I called and call me back the instant I picked up my lunch tray. And the disloyal flea-bags had been with him all day.

Saturday, as I was leaving Orb K, I observed Farmer H walking across the parking lot in front of T-Hoe, having just put Orb K gas in his Trailblazer. I've told him not to buy gas there, due to his auction buddy getting water in his tank (and Orb K not following through on their promise to pay for the repairs of his vehicle and teens of others). Yet there he was, crossing from the pumps into the store.

When I was almost to the mailboxes, I called Farmer H. To tell him there was a dead deer in the ditch near there. You can never be too careful when you live in a deer crossing area. Farmer H said he'd look out, and that he was on his way. Which meant he couldn't be more than 5 minutes behind me, as it's a 10-minute trip to town, and I wasn't quite home.

I took my time tooling up the gravel road. Finished listening to a song once I parked in the garage. Got out to give the dogs their cat kibble. Petted them. I was sure Farmer H should be there any instant to help me carry in three bags of groceries from Save A Lot. But of course he was not.

Farmer H showed up when I was taking items out of the first bag, stashing them in FRIG II's freezer. Because he has impeccable timing like that. Always appearing RIGHT AFTER the work has been done.

You could set your watch by him.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Devil's Manservant

Just when you thought you were safe from another rant about The Devil's Handmaidens...

Town was crazy yesterday. CRAZY!. I should know better than to get out on the Friday before a holiday, especially when that Friday is also the last day of the month! People are taking the day off from work! Planning for their Labor Day Monday! Flush with cash from their benefits checks arriving ON FRIDAY, since the 1st falls on a weekend.

Yeah. Traffic was crazy. The post office was crazy. The credit union was crazy. The bank was perhaps craziest. And The Devil's Playground had to bring in extra crazy.

That poor counter dude at the post office was getting reamed by some guy whose package from Amazon had been sent back several times. Counter Dude tried to explain that it couldn't be sent to a non-existent address, but the complainer kept complaining that he'd already called about this, and did what he was told, and now he had to go BACK HOME and do it all again. Sounded like he wanted his shipping money back, and that the problem was with the address he was trying receive his package. As much as I felt sorry for Counter Dude, I'm pretty sure the fault was with the post office, and what they told him his address was.

The credit union had a new guy working. So of course he doesn't recognize me on sight, and know that I'm legit, taking cash out of The Pony's college account (my name is on it also). That's not my issue with him. My issue with him is that when he bothered to ask what bills I wanted it in, and I told him, he came back to count out a pile of 50s. Which was neither of the two denominations I'd requested. I took them anyway, since people were waiting, and put them in the bank.

See, I had planned on putting some in the bank to cover the cost of the e-checks I did for The Pony's interim housing costs from summer to fall, while keeping part of it as our weekly cash, replacing the check I'd written him for his own monthly allowance. Rather than deposit the whole thing, and then withdraw cash from the ATM. Which is what I ended up doing. Because nobody likes 50-dollar bills.

SWEET GUMMI MARY! The Devil's Playground was extra Not-Heavenish on Friday! The parking lot was almost full. I could barely navigate the aisles with my cart/walker, due to so many EMPLOYEES SHOPPING! Uh huh. That new Drive Up Service is a pain for regular shoppers. Employees designated to compile those orders have big metal carts, with multiple plastic bins on them, which they park in the aisles while gathering groceries. This is surely the beginning of the apopadopalyspe, as Farmer H calls it. People can't even shop for their own groceries!

Anyhoo...now that we're caught up...let me tell you about my freshest Not-Heaven of the day, THE DEVIL'S MANSERVANT!

I suppose The Devil had to call in reinforcements for all the holiday business, because a brand new guy was opening Register 1. I know he was brand new, because Register 1 is surely Not-Heaven within Not-Heaven. It has to serve the most customers, because they come to it first, and get in line. I saw The Devil's Manservant fiddling, but his light was off, so I thought he might be closing. NO! He turned it on, and came around to say he could help me. You can bet I hustled my cart/walker over there forthwith from Register 2.

I didn't have all that much, really, but the self-checkers (the opposite of the Drive Up Shoppers) were lined up six deep. Not that I would have deigned to scan my own merchandise, mind you. Here's the order. Let the record show that The Devil was out of Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels, the main reason I stopped there. I had four bananas, three cans of white meat chicken, a bag of frozen peas, a carton of chicken broth, a jar of Alfredo sauce, two packs of Hawaiian Rolls (regular, and sandwich length), and a small container of slaw.

The Devil's Manservant clunked my items into the bags, and spun the bag carousel clockwise! That meant I couldn't reach my bags. Had he spun it counterclockwise, I could have lifted them out as he spun it to fill the next bag.

THEN he told me my total, and went around and put my bags in the cart. You might think that's a nice thing for him to do, but I'm never sure I get all my bags like that. AND the chip reader thingy froze on DON'T REMOVE CARD. I couldn't get the screen to put in my PIN. I told him there was something wrong, and he said, "I have to hit a button." Well then. I suggest you spin your carousel the normal way, and stay at the register so you can do just that!!!

THE REAL ISSUE was the way he bagged. The two packs of Hawaiian rolls together in a bag, but turned different ways to make the bag not very pickupable. The bananas on top of the peas on top of the slaw. I prefer bananas alone, so the corners of packages don't bruise them. AND he put the three cans of chicken in with the Alfredo sauce and chicken broth. In fact, he ripped the first bag, so wrapped it around the chicken broth before sticking it in with the other stuff.

Seriously. These young guys need to understand their customers' capabilities. Old ladies don't want every heavy item in the same bag. And for cryin' out loud, SWEET GUMMI MARY, those heavy bags need to be at least DOUBLE BAGGED!

As Farmer H pointed out the other day (and he's not even a regular denizen of The Devil's Playground), "I'd hate to think about the items those shopper workers would choose for my list!" Seriously. It would be like when I took The Pony shopping with me, and everything he brought back had a rip, a crushed corner, a dent, or a torn label.

I suppose the silver lining of this dark shopping cloud is knowing that even if The Pony doesn't land a chemical engineer job right off...his talents can be used to earn minimum wage as a Devil's Shopper.