Saturday, August 31, 2019

Which Came First, The Chicken Or The Leg?

Farmer H, himself without a funny bone, told me a joke that his buddy played on one of The Devil's Handmaidens. Farmer H seemed to think it was funny. So maybe he's been taking some black-market synthetic funny-bone supplements, perhaps bought cheap at the auction. Here's the tale, as related by Farmer H, in the voice of his buddy.

"I was having a barbecue, so I went to The Devil's Playground for some meat. I got a big package of chicken legs, and took them up front. As the girl was starting to ring them up, I said, 'Just a minute. Are these FRONT legs, or BACK legs?' 

That girl said, 'I don't know. I can go ask the manager for you, if you'd like.'

I said, 'Yes. Please do.'

She was gone for a little while. When she came back, she said, 'THAT'S NOT FUNNY!'

I said, 'I thought it was, and so did this guy here in line behind me.'"

Farmer H said, "You never know if that's a true story or not. But I wouldn't be surprised. These young kids today don't know nothin'!"

"Yeah. Like the kid who had to write up a ticket for the 18 inches of chain you wanted to buy, and asked you to buy either one foot, or two feet, because he didn't know how to figure that."

I really need to get Farmer H back on track building my proposed handbasket factory. By the time it ever gets finished, people won't even know what a handbasket is anymore.

Friday, August 30, 2019

GrandPaddy Wrong, Negs

Farmer H left the TV on one of his channels after lunch. During a commercial break from Gunsmoke, my attention was grabbed by a device for old people.

First of all, let the record show that I used to make fun of those kinds of commercials when the boys were school age, and I was all with-it and happenin'.  Like the one for the Jitterbug phone, which I thought looked like a toilet, and had big numbers, and was a not-smart phone that only made and received calls.

I also secretly shared in Genius's dismay that my own mother still had her original cell phone, a Nokia that wasn't even a flip phone. Just a BRICK, as Genius called it. Well. Little did I anticipate feeling her emotions when smart phones became all the rage. So hard to call and answer while driving. How I longed for my flip phone with the buttons I could feel, not needing to take my eyes off the road or pull over to use it.

Anyhoo, there I was, kicked back in the La-Z-Boy, watching a commercial for the GrandPad! Which is apparently a tablet thingy, but I just see it as a big screen to make calls on, because I don't know a tablet from a notebook from a hole in the ground.

Anyhoo, apparently old people represented by actors in a commercial go gaga for the GrandPad. Here's a link to a video of the commercial. Apparently, it comes from Consumer Cellular, and costs $40 a month. Comes already set up, and all you have to do is turn it on. No unknown callers can access it, only your family members. There's no wifi or network, so no chance of hacking. Yet you can video chat with family, and they can send you pictures. Isn't that just peachy?

Here's the thing:

I DON'T THINK I COULD WORK ONE!

I'm too much of a technidiot to operate a device designed specifically with ME in mind! How can those actory people in the commercial, who look way older than I consider myself, be more tech savvy than me?

I'm not buyin' it. Not literally, not figuratively.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Impatiens Ain't Just A Flower In Hillmomba

Lately, you might have detected a hint, a smidgen, a skosh of impatience in Mrs. HM's typing voice, regarding the behavior of Farmer H. If so, you are quite skilled to pick up such a nuance!

Let the record show that Farmer H is NOT the King of the World. Please, I implore each and every one of you, READ THE RECORD TO FARMER H!

I am pretty sure the world would keep spinning if Farmer H refrained from passing judgment on one or two events per day. Like Wednesday, when I returned from the weekly shopping at The Devil's Playground.

Farmer H was there, by cracky! There to help me carry in groceries! I'd said I would be home around 12:30, and I pulled into the garage at the digital click of 12:32. I actually followed Farmer H down the driveway, he on his Gator, the dogs forsaking him to run beside T-Hoe, like dolphins escorting a ship into port.

Farmer H went directly to T-Hoe's rear. I opened the hatch for His Royal Highness's carrying pleasure. He took some bags and carried them to the kitchen. This is where we differ in our technique. I carry bags to the porch, and when they're all out, I go up the porch steps, and start carrying the bags inside. Farmer H makes multiple trips up and down the steps, taking his bags on their full journey before getting more.

I can't see all that wasted wear and tear on knee joints. So I started carrying items from T-Hoe's rear to the side porch, for Farmer H to take into the kitchen. I was actually doing him a favor! Bringing the work halfway to him.

Of course the wind blew the garage people-door shut midway of one of my trips. So with arms laden and hands full, I leaned over, put my head against the safety-glass panes, gripped the doorknob with the plastic bags looped in the webbing of my hand, turned the knob, and used my foot to push open the door, which took a strong leg against that wind.

Farmer H had appeared on the side porch, and decreed, "You don't need to kick the door open!"

Au contraire. I DID! I did need to use my foot. No kicking, per se, because a kick would have given me a broken toe, like kicking a bowling ball. I used the ball of my foot to push that door wide, so I had time to get through before it slammed on me with the headwind. Yet somehow this was affecting the King of the World while he stood there watching me struggle through that door, while helping him...

Of course I let it go. The decree, not the door. I finished fighting that door to bring four six-packs of 20 oz bottled soda to the porch. And a bag of 7 one-liter bottles of flavored water, and a bag of canned goods. Still doing Farmer H that favor. I returned to close up the garage, and fetch my 44 oz Diet Coke and my purse and water cup. Crossing the kitchen threshold, I left the door open as I reached for a treat for the dogs.

That's our routine. They know if the door is open, even a crack, that they're getting their treat. If I close it, that means Old Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's cupboard is bare, and they get none. Jack often stands with his front feet on the threshold, his nose crossing the plane that demarcates OUTSIDE and KITCHEN.

"Jack! Get out of the house!" Decreed the self-appointed King of the World. Farmer H's head would explode if he knew this is standard operating TREAT PROCEDURE.

"You're not King of the World, you know. Your opinion of every incident under the sun is not absolutely necessary."

Of course that led to sputtering and the throwing up of hands. I was only trying to relieve him of some self-appointed, unnecessary duties.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Men Ask The Darnedest Questions

For a few weeks, I've been meaning to put a bag of trash in the dumpster. It's on the passenger-side floor of T-Hoe, full of junk mail. Not full, of course, because that would split open the extra-strength black trash bag. It's full enough, to be heavy and awkward. I finally decided to deal with junk mail this way, and end the step of carrying it in the house, putting it in the trash, then carrying it back out.

Farmer H swove me to the casino on Tuesday. As we came back up the driveway on our return, he said, "I'll take the trash up tonight." It goes out on Wednesdays. They'd been coming around 1:00, but last week it was 10:00. So we're not letting them get away without our trash! Anyhoo... I said,

"Oh. When I get out, I'll put this mail in, and get that trash bag out of T-Hoe. The junk mail I've been telling you needs to go in the dumpster."

I had been planning to do it myself. But I'd also told Farmer H. You know, just in case he might be fiddling around over the past three weeks, trying to fix my passenger side mirror. He wasn't.

Farmer H lets me out before he pulls into the garage. There's stuff along the wall where I open up my door. (I'm sure this comes as a complete shock.) I was leaning in T-Hoe's passenger door with the day's mail, adding it to the trash bag, as Farmer H finished parking A-Cad, and opened up his door.

"Or... you could do it for me. It's kind of heavy."

"Okay. Where is it?"

ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?

There I was, standing with my arm elbow-deep in that trash bag, putting in the day's junk mail, and Farmer H had to ask me where it was? So I said,

"ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?"

"No. Where is it."

"DUH! It's in the back, heh, heh! Where do you THINK it is? I'm standing right here, putting stuff in it, like I said!"

Farmer H carried the trash bag to the dumpster for me. I'm surprised he found his way there.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

You Can Lead A Dog To A Bone, But You Can't Make Him Chomp

It's been over a week since Farmer H used his new toy power washer to clean the boards of the back porch. Still none of that stain applied. The stain he had to buy right then, and took out a new Lowe's credit card for both purchases. Which, according to the fine print, has an interest rate of 26.9 percent! Even Steven, Gummi Mary, and Not-Heaven help us if our exemplary mail delivery does not get the bill to us in a timely manner!

You know who's really suffering from that power-washed porch? My dogs! Sweet, Sweet Juno seems resigned to the loss of her house (even thought it's been moved a mere 6 feet away). Poor Jack learned his first lesson yesterday.

Yes, like an adolescent boy on his very first date, my Jack was in a turmoil over the mixed signals he was receiving.

Jack followed me to the kitchen door for a returned-home treat. He eschewed running to the BARn behind Farmer H on the Gator, and let Juno and Copper Jack proceed without him. Jack was either very loyal to me, or just hungry.

Anyhoo... he waited politely at the door while I readied his treat. I dipped the top half of a Hawaiian Roll Onion Bun in some leftover bacon grease. Then I grabbed a pork steak bone. Jack seemed confused when I didn't hand him the treats right outside the door, on the WASHED PORCH BOARDS. I called to him, and we went around the corner, in front of Juno's house's new location.

I set down the bun for Jack. Again, he looked at me questioningly. Wagging his tail in a congenial manner. I figured he smelled the bone, and was holding out to have it first. So I handed it to him. Jack took it gingerly in his tiny jaws. He's not a snapper. A nipper when excited, yes, but not a snapper at food like Juno. As soon as I released the bone, Jack turned and TOOK IT TO THE WASHED PORCH!

"NO! Jack. No."

He looked over his shoulder at me, confused, then laid down the bone. Well, crap! Another stain from the BBQ sauce. I picked up the bone and tossed it over onto the unclean porch boards. It landed up against the house wall, a couple feet past the grease bun.

"There, Jack. There's your bone. Go get it."

Jack looked up with sad eyes. He wouldn't go. I scooted the bone out with my toe.

"C'mon! Let's get your bone."

Jack cowered to the porch like I was going to beat him. I NEVER BEAT HIM! I guess it's just a submissive posture to make me feel like I'm the boss.

"Here, Jack. HERE."

I picked up the bone. Jack wouldn't take it from my hand. I walked it to the side porch where he eats his cat kibble. Jack took the bone, and hopped down the steps.

"Good dog, Jack! That's my boy!"

Jack walked halfway to the carport, turned towards the porch, and ate his bone with his front feet in the lava rocks that Farmer H has used for landscaping around the porch.

I'm sure Jack will rue the day he stayed on the porch with me rather than following Farmer H on the Gator, with Juno and Copper Jack, over to the BARn to get the tractor.

Monday, August 26, 2019

He's A Flim-Flammer, He's On Camera, He's A Daylight Scammer. Allegedly.

Last Thursday, Mrs. HM narrowly missed being ripped off! Scammed! Stolen from!

As you know, I've been procuring my daily 44 oz Diet Coke from Orb K, due to the off taste of my magical elixir at The Gas Station Chicken Store. More on that another day...

Anyhoo, I've also been cashing in my scratcher winners at Orb K. I don't usually do that. On the day in question, I stepped up to the counter with my 94-cent Polar Pop Diet Coke, and two winning scratchers to cash in. My clerk was a skinny dude I've seen there before. He's never overly-cheerful, or even cheerful at all. Just does the transaction without speaking. I'm pretty sure he's stoned most of the time.

Stoney was being his regular self. I don't mind. I'm not there for small talk or a new friend. I do, however, draw the line at being scammed. I'm pretty sure he tried to rip me off. Not as sure as I am that Farmer H is trying to kill me. But fairly sure.

Here's what I handed Stoney. Not the exact tickets. These are losers. But they are the exact lottery games that I handed him. A purple 50X, and a green Money Mania Multiplier. Each of my winning tickets of these kinds was a $15 winner. So it was $15 on purple, and $15 on green. For total of $30.


You'll notice that there is no mistaking the fact that there are TWO tickets. Different sizes, different colors. I handed them to Stoney, saying, "I'd like to cash these in, and buy more tickets." Yes. I was spending it all back. I turned my head left to look at the board displaying the scratcher games. I wanted two of the $10 tickets, and two of the $5 tickets. Decisions, decisions!

Meanwhile, I sensed in my peripheral vision Stoney scanning my winners. I turned back to the counter to request my new purchases as he was setting the tickets over on the counter behind the register. Usually, they lay them right in front of me while printing out the winner receipt that they need for the register.

"That's $15," said Stoney.

"You mean $30 total, right? Because they won $15 each. I gave you two tickets."

Stony almost got an expression on his face. He had a delayed reaction. "Oh. Yeah. I dropped one."

INDEED! He had let one of the tickets fall to the floor as he was making his move to set the other one behind the register. He bent over and picked it up. Then moved back to the scanner. Whether he actually scanned it then, or went through the motion to look like he was scanning it, I don't know. Then he just looked at me.

"So it's $30, right?"

A little nod.

I gave him the numbers of tickets I wanted, and he rang them up, along with my Polar Pop Diet Coke, and charged me 94 cents. The register automatically sent my 6 cents change down the little metal slide into the little metal dish.

Seriously. I'm pretty sure Stoney thought I didn't know what I won. Like I was one of those feeble people who hand over a draw ticket, and say, "Did this win anything?" Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is no spring chicken, and she was not hatched yesterday. I spent an entire career making sure I was not outsmarted. To think he could pull this scam on me was ludicrous.

They're on camera 24/7, you know. And there was a sign on the door saying they were having open interviews for cashiers that very day. I don't know if Stoney was an experienced criminal, running his scam... or too high to know what he was doing. Either way, he should not have been behind the register.

I haven't seen him there since, but I know to keep my eye on this one.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Short Temper Cook Bakes Again

Remember that baked tomato egg thingy that Farmer H saw on his friend's Facebook? The one he made sure to tell me about and show me a picture of, saying he thought it would be good? I made it for him Thursday.

It took 2.5 hours.

I'm sure other people might be able to do it in a bit less time. But I'm not going to fry bacon. I hate to fry bacon. I bake my bacon. I can't just bake plain bacon, so I drape it over potatoes/carrots/onions, to give them flavor. Then we have vegetables too, and not just bacon. Of course Farmer H said that he likes HIS bacon crispy. Too bad, so sad.

My point is, if I'm putting bacon (cut up, mind you) in the bottom of his tomato cups, it's not going to stay crispy anyway. It's going to be covered by an egg and cheese. So I put my foot down, by cracky, and told him that I was NOT frying the bacon.

Anyhoo... I thought I had all the supplies, but I only had two onions. That is not enough for my liking. So I couldn't bake the bacon until after I'd been to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke onions. Of course it took a little prep time to peel and cut the onions and potatoes. I seasoned the baby carrots and put them in to bake while I got the onions ready. Added them to bake while I got the potatoes ready. Then draped the bacon on top and put the roaster pan back in the oven for another 30 minutes. That whole bacon baking prep took 90 minutes, if you don't count the time I took to go buy the onions.

Frying the bacon would have been quicker, and I wouldn't have needed the onions. But I hate to fry bacon. And then I wouldn't have had delicious vegetables.

I had a later than usual lunch around 3:00. But at 5:30, I was right back upstairs to make Farmer H's tomato egg. I'll tell you how, just in case you have half a day to squander sometime. It's not that hard. It's just time-consuming. Unless maybe you fry your bacon.

Here's what I kind of did, but you can google your own "baked tomato egg"
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and using a melon baller, scoop out the inside of the tomatoes. Save the scooped out tomatoes for a different use.
  4. Place the tomato cups, cut side down, on a paper towel lined plate; let stand 10 minutes.
  5. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, in previously prepared muffin tin.
  6. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil inside each tomato.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, and a pinch of dried oregano inside each tomato.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and crack an egg inside each tomato cup.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes, or until eggs are set. Bake 5 minutes longer if you do not like a soft/runny egg yolk.
  11. Add shredded cheese over each egg; bake for an additional 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  12. Remove from oven and let stand 2 minutes.
  13. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Yeah. I didn't follow all those exact steps. I put my tomatoes (I made him two) in those foil muffin cups. They stretched them way wide, but didn't stick to the pan. I actually used a foil mini loaf pan to set them down in. Only a little cheese spilled over onto the pan.

They took longer to cook that this. You can tell, though, by just looking at them to see if the egg has turned white, and if the yolk is solid. Farmer H says he only likes runny yolks when he has toast to sop it up. As you might imagine, I was NOT going to the trouble to make him toast. He told me that after the fact, and I was NOT driving to town for sliced bread!

Anyhoo... while the oven was preheating and I was gouging out tomato guts with a spoon, I put four slices of bacon into the oven on a pizza pan covered with foil. It crisped up nicely, to become soggy on the bottom of the tomato! I put a cut-up slice in each tomato, and Farmer H still had two crisp slices of bacon to eat on the side.

They looked very filling. Farmer H said they were good. I didn't think of getting a picture until he was almost done! But I made him push his plate away, and got a pic to prove the baked tomato eggs happened.

 A view from above. You can't tell much. The melted cheese is about it.

Again, the melted cheese hides the egg. But it's in there! I swear. I have one tomato left. And some bacon. So it won't be hard to make this again tonight for Farmer H. I'll be having tuna salad.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Juno Experiment

Juno has been loathe to enter her dog house since Farmer H moved it six feet across the porch to power-wash the deck. Since blog buddy River commented that perhaps Juno could be lured into her former abode with a snack, I decided to try an experiment.

When Juno greeted me at the side porch as I returned from town Friday, I knew she'd be expecting a treat. She knows that word for sure. All I have to do is say, "Do you want a treat from the house?" and she jumps and yips like a pup, smiling with her almost-human eyes and her fangs as well.


We'll forgive her unkempt appearance. She loves to run through the burrs and brush, and it's her molting time of year.

Anyhoo... I had some stale hamburger buns that I'd dipped into the juices at the bottom of a roasting pan where I'd cooked potatoes/carrots/onions and BACON! Also some chicken wing bones. I tossed a bun into Juno's dog house.

Juno looked at me like, "You trippin'?" Or maybe it was more like, "What in the Not-Heaven, Gal!" She couldn't believe I'd dared to throw good food into that shunned house. She nervously stuck her head in, ready to bolt at the slightest hint of danger.

Then Juno CLIMBED INSIDE!

She immediately laid down, her tail barely inside. Like the house was going to start swirling up in a tornado with that hateful Almira Gulch trying to get her. I heard Juno EATING the grease bun. This was quite unusual, as she normally grabs her treat, goes to the back of the house, and turns around so she can look out while eating.

Juno finished the bun and turned around, poking her head all the way out the door, like she was leaving. I thrust a chicken wing bone at her snout. She took it. Backed up. Ate it. Then hopped out of the house. I handed her another chicken wing bone. Juno walked across the porch and ate it by the wall. So much for becoming acclimated to her "new" house six feet away from where it had been her "old" house. She had gone in for a treat, but didn't seem to be any more accepting of the house in the new location.

I think it was a valid experiment. No other dogs were present to make her run in to protect her treat. I could hear my Jack baying down in the woods. He missed his treat.

The other dogs stay away from Juno's house, too. As they always have. I imagine at one time they might have stuck a head in, only to find Juno inside, snarling at them. She's big and bad from inside her house.

Heh, heh! Farmer H said that when he went to move it for power-washing the porch, he had a surprise.

"Did you throw out her bones and antlers?"

"No. I shook out the cedar shavings, but I left her stuff in there. She always finds them and brings them back anyway. But when I picked up the front of the house to move it, JUNO WAS INSIDE! She came running out!"

"Yeah. She's in there all the time. She's hard to see in the dark. She lays in the back."

I'm pretty sure she'll return to her house like normal when Farmer H moves it back. Don't you worry about Sweet, Sweet Juno. There are two store-bought houses down on the end of the porch that faces the BARn. Juno sleeps in one of them a couple nights a week.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Farmer H Is Now A Wildlife Photographer

I have no idea why Farmer H sends me some of the pictures that show up in my email. I heard an incoming message today, and glanced at my phone. It was an email from Farmer H that said: Squirrel.

Huh. What in the world could that mean? He was off on a Goodwill tour. Had he found a cookie jar? He collects them. Like you didn't know that. It would be more of a shock to list something he DIDN'T collect. So I was in no hurry to see what that email was about. I can't get a picture to load in the house. It takes 15 minutes if it loads at all. And my phone gets really hot. So I generally wait until I'm on New Delly to open up such an email. Or in town, on the lot of The Gas Station Chicken Store, which has the best Sprint reception.

I forgot all about it until just now, which is 1:35 a.m. on Friday morning. (thus the AM, duh)


That's it. Just a common rodent, perched on our back porch rail. I don't know what's remarkable about it. He's a chubby fellow. Bold. They eat dry dog food out of the pans on the back porch. Where he's sitting is outside the kitchen windows. Farmer H took the photo standing outside the laundry room door. He goes out to feed the dogs every morning.

If Alfred Hitchcock had done a movie here at the Mansion, it would not have been The Birds. It would have been The Squirrels.

I have no idea what that one is holding. It's not dry dog food. I suppose it could be a strip of tortilla that the dogs left behind. Heh, heh! As if THAT would happen. Three dogs, no food left behind.

I'm kind of disappointed that he wasn't a cookie jar.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Chompin' For A Whompin'

My Sweet, Sweet Juno is cruisin' for a bruisin'. Achin' for a breakin'. Wishin' for a squishin'. Yearnin' for a durnin'. She just doesn't realize it.

There I was, trying to do her a favor, giving her, and her alone, a TREAT (she knows that word) when I got home from town. Jack and Copper Jack were romping around the back yard, at the treeline, either licking up some of the three dozen eggs Farmer H tossed off the porch on Tuesday, or sniffing the trail of one of the 5,000 squirrels which use our porch as a jungle gym while stealing dog food and cat kibble.

"Okay, Juno. We'll get you a treat in the house. Let me take my soda in. I have a bone for you! A pork steak bone! It might even have a little meat left on it. Okay, here it is. Come on. You can't have it here. Nope. Daddy just washed the porch. Can't get grease on his boards. Uh uh. I know! Yes, you're excited. See it? Come on over here, by your house."

I know that Juno heard, "Blah blah blah blah blah TREAT blah blah blah blah."

She followed me over to the front of her dog house, which is placed where Gassy G used to sit, on the side porch against the rail. Just then Jack came bounding up the steps, all intent on getting himself a treat, too. Sorry. We only had one bone, and that had been promised to Juno.

I handed Juno the bone. Normally, she would dash into her dog house, to eat in private. But she doesn't like her dog house, now that it has been moved six feet away from its usual location. It's like a totally different house. One that she was not in the market for.

Juno took her bone, turned on her two heels, and trotted over to the back porch rail, where she LAID IT DOWN on the freshly washed boards.

"No! No, no, no! No, Juno!"

She set it down, backed off, and looked guilty. As she should! I had clearly explained to her that there would be no BBQ pork steak bones on the freshly-washed porch. I picked up the bone, which left a small greasy mark, and a trail of barbecue-y saliva.

Dang it! I took the pork steak bone back into the kitchen.

"Well, looks like nobody is having a pork steak bone tonight. You can't follow the rules."

I felt guilty then. Besides, I didn't really want that bone laying around for another day. I took it to the front door, along with a pack of stale 10-inch flour tortillas. I opened the door and called, "Hey, dogs!" Copper Jack was on the brick sidewalk, but he was not a bone-worthy candidate. Juno ran around the corner of the porch, and I gave it to her. She took it down the steps, and stood in the lava rock of Farmer H's landscaping, between a big flat rock shaped like the United States, and a yucca plant.

I called for Jack, but he never appeared. Maybe he was chewing on the wood to get the grease out of it. Copper Jack perked up his ears, so I tossed him a tortilla. Of course it sailed over Farmer H's ratty-looking, paint-needing picket fence. Copper Jack was unsure. To get to it, he'd have to come down the sidewalk, and go past Juno. I do not recommend that. She is not fond of Copper Jack, especially when she has a TREAT. I tossed him a replacement tortilla, and he ate it on the bottom step of the porch.

Farmer H does not know about Juno's bone faux pas. I figure she's safe for a while. I doubt he tries to stain the porch within the next week. There's going to be rain on Thursday, selling at his Storage Unit Store on Friday/Saturday/Sunday, and an early afternoon auction on Monday.

In fact, I'd be surprised if the porch gets stained before it needs another washing.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Is It Ethical To Start A ComePayMoi To Buy Your Husband A Funny Bone?

Farmer H was born without a funny bone. Pretty sure I've mentioned that before. He never quite gets the joke, unless it's about body excretions or private parts, mainly with cartoons. He's even been known to criticize my TV comedy shows, calling them NOT FUNNY, and ENTERTAINMENT FOR MORONS. He's not one to parse words, Farmer H.

What Farmer H lacks in the skeletal department, he makes up for in the empty head department. It's not so much empty, as full of hot air. Emphasis on the HOT. Farmer H is a hot-head!

Tuesday, I was on the way to The Devil's Playground when he came into the Mansion. He'd asked me the night before to make a new dish that he'd seen on the Facebook of This Guy's Wife, the one we bought the $5000 house from.

"It looks really good. It's tomatoes stuffed with bacon and egg and cheese."

"Well. I'm going to the store tomorrow. I'll just need to add to my list. Tomatoes. Bacon. Eggs. I already have cheese."

My sarcasm goes unnoticed by Farmer H. Right over his hot head. I'd looked up a couple of recipes the night before. Good thing. Because just as I was going out the door, Farmer H decided to show me on his phone. It took him 10 minutes to find it. He read it to me, to prove he hadn't made it up.

"This is a delicious breakfast dish. We've been having it for dinner, though, because preparation is so time-consuming--"

"Uh huh. That's what I thought! Oh, well. YOU'RE not gonna be the one consuming your time."

Off I went. Backing (slowly due to my passenger mirror not folding in) out of the garage in T-Hoe, I noticed that SilverRedO's bumper had a dent. Huh. Was that always there? I tried to call Farmer H. No answer. I decided it could wait, since I was busy driving and then shopping for 30 minutes. When I came out of The Devil's Playground, I had a text from Farmer H.

"Call or text me when you get home I'm in my chair"

I tried to call then, to let him know my ETA. He has been working on Copper Jack's new trailer's wiring. No answer. Huh. It was less than 5 minutes since he'd sent that text. I tried again as I was driving home. No answer. When I stopped at Orb K for my 44 oz Polar Pop Diet Coke, I sent him a text.

"I've called twice since that text, but you didn't answer. Don't have time now."

I called again just before I got to Mailbox Row. No answer. When I got to the end of the driveway, opening the garage door, I honked. Still no Farmer H. I was about to get worried that he'd had heat stroke or something. The temp was 98 degrees. I carried my magical elixir and purse into the Mansion. As I walked through the kitchen door, I yelled,

"HEY! Are you alive? I called three times, and sent a text, and you never answered me!"

Farmer H jumped up, sputtering, and started for the kitchen. "Oh. Are you home?"

"You need to start answering me! The only reason we've paid for you to have a phone for the last 20 years is so you CAN ANSWER TO ME!"

Well! Farmer H came unglued, and started being all outrageous and self-righteous, mouthing me for being all hateful to him, when HE's the one who left me hangin'. And the one who wouldn't let me finish my sentence before name-calling me and swearing at me. AS IF the part about only paying for his phone was so he could answer to me was not meant as a joke.

Yes, Farmer H is definitely in need of a funny bone. I don't know how much one would cost, like if I could just get the funny bone, and cut Farmer H open and put it in myself. I don't think our insurance would cover it. Maybe I could get him a cadaver funny bone. Or a pig's funny bone. I bet Genius could even make him one on his 3D printer!

Is it ethical to start a ComePayMoi to buy your husband a funny bone?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

We Need To Talk About The Poop Trucks

In recent posts, you might have noticed a mention of the poop trucks. If you didn't, then you are a wily skimmer who manages to glean my message without slogging through the entirety of the filler.

Hillmomba is no stranger to the poop truck. It's been around for several years now, off and on. I was happily unaware of its contents in the early years. It was just a tank truck that took up more than its share of room on the unlined blacktop county road. As with anything I don't understand, I asked the overly-knowledgeable Farmer H.

"I keep meeting this tank truck on the road. It about runs me off! It's the size of a dump truck, maybe. But with a tank that holds liquid. What would that be doing out here on our roads?"

"Oh, that's the poop truck."

"The POOP TRUCK? Like, for sucking out septic tanks? Somebody must have a real problem to have it out here all the time."

"Well, it sucks poop. But this one is hauling it from the prison. It goes up to the guy's house that we bought that rental duplex from. They dump it on his fields."

"Why would they do THAT?"

"They pay him to dump there."

"That doesn't seem right! There has to be some kind of regulation about dumping poop!"

"I'm sure there is, but he's been doing it for a while. He wouldn't be doing it if there wasn't money in it for him."

"How do you know it's from the prison?"

"I see it coming out of there, and coming here. I don't know why they don't hook up to the city sewer system. I guess this is cheaper."

Anyhoo... the poop truck hadn't been running for a while, until about a month ago. Now it's not just that tank truck, but a semi with a green cab, as long as a regular semi out on the highway, but with a long tank instead of a flat bed or trailer. These roads are barely wide enough for two passenger vehicles. I can't believe the low water bridge is made to handle a fully loaded poop semi.

After having to back into a driveway (of the poop truck acceptor's property) and go back the way I'd come... I've vowed to take the alternate route to town. I've still been trying to figure out the poop truck schedule, though. Maybe I could get up earlier, or leave later than my usual routine. Farmer H says no.

"They run all the time! Constant. That big one is coming from the next county up, towards the city. They dump one load and go right back for another. They're coming from the treatment plant. There's actually TWO of those long trucks!"

"I didn't know THAT, but I DID get behind the tank poop truck on Friday, about 1:45, on my way home. It was coming from the highway intersection, passed me, passed your Storage Unit Store, and blew right on past the prison. So I guess it got that load of poop from somewhere else. I knew it was poop, because there were some streaks of it running down the back. I went on past when it turned on our road, and took the alternate route. I didn't want to get stuck behind a poop truck if it ran into someone."

Saturday morning, I had to go to the main post office again, to mail my DISH bill, which had conveniently been in EmBee on Friday, when I had to rush by without stopping, due to the neighbor getting a new mobile home that had the road blocked for a half hour.

I thought of calling Farmer H up at his Storage Unit Store, to ask if those poop trucks ran on Saturdays. I figured he might have customers, so I took the alternate route, just to be sure. Well. As I drove past our county road where I would have come out, the green-cab semi poop truck was signaling to turn IN. So they DO run on Saturdays.

Farmer H verified this information when I told him about it later that evening.

"Yeah. I was behind it when I came home from my Unit. It was in that guy's other field, right on the road. Where they used to have cows. It had the sprayer truck with it."

"SPRAYER truck?"

"Yeah. What do you think they do with the poop, HM? They spray it over the field. I bet they won't be back for a while. I think they've probably filled up all the fields. They hook up the hose to the sprayer truck, and it drives along spraying the poop out."

"Huh. I guess the ultraviolet light will kill bacteria. But that doesn't seem sanitary. I guess it's like using manure for fertilizer. But imagine what happens when it rains! There's no containment system in that cow field, for sure! Does he have one in the regular fields? I'm really glad we live up over the hill from him. And the underground water for the well would be flowing from us to him! I bet people floating the river don't know what might be washing off into it!"

"If you care so much, put something on Facebook about it. 'I don't know why I'm seeing all these poop trucks on our road.'"

"I'm not ON Facebook. But you are. Tell your buddies. They're on it all the time. They travel that road same as us."

"Or call Channel 2 news and have them investigate."

"Nah. I'm not gonna be a poop truck whistleblower."

I've seen Silkwood! Poop isn't radioactive, but I don't think it should be disposed of like that. It's not gonna be my story to tell.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Fishing For Compliments Is Not A Good Look

What is it with these guys? They do the least littlest minuscule thing, and then DEMAND PRAISE! Like a potty-training toddler needing reinforcement for sinking a Cheerio in the toilet. A skill which, I notice, does not seem to carry over into adulthood.

I will not be held hostage for a compliment! No siree, Bob! I'm surprised they're not asking for an engraved trophy, a key to the kingdom, and a cover story in The Who's Who of Hillmomba Retirees.

Remember how Farmer H just had to have a power washer, wood stain, a gas grill, and a load of rock? All in one day? He got them on Thursday. On Friday, I returned home to see the dogs pacing nervously on the front porch. Juno's dog house was on the side porch, in the area formerly occupied by Gassy G, who was given to one of Farmer H's storage unit buddies.


The power washer is a pretty little contraption, but it's parked where Juno's dog house belongs. I don't think it would be very comfortable for her to sleep in. She will not go in her dog house in its current location. Not even when I gave her a pork steak bone around the other dogs. She normally dashes in there to dine in peace.

When I got out of T-Hoe in the garage, I could hear the motor that was making the dogs trot gingerly to meet me. As I carried my 44 oz Polar Pop Diet Coke up the steps, Farmer H turned off his power washer, and said,

"Aren't you going to say anything? Tell me how good it looks?"

Um. No. The thought never entered my mind. First of all, it was so loud that nothing I said would have been heard. Secondly, it's wooden boards I've walked on for 21 years. They've kind of lost their noticeability. Thirdly, Farmer H was playing with a toy he bought himself, which I don't think is such an amazing feat.

Did I fish for a compliment after birthing each of Farmer H's bowling-ball-headed boys without an epidural? An accomplishment which I consider somewhat more noteworthy? No. I did not.

Sweet Gummi Mary! If a pressure washer could be used on them, a toilet would be spotless after each man use.

As for the other purchases, as of Sunday night, the wood stain remains in the cans, the gravel is piled in front of the BARn. And we ate hot dogs and pork steaks off Gassy RE, the replacement grill.

In case you're in an admiring and complimenting mood, here's a pic of the back porch from Sunday morning.

Here's another view, that I prefer, with my Sweet, Sweet (molting, matted) Juno, and the always snack-ready Jack.

Oh, yeah. Way down in the corner, you can see Jack's humping buddy, Stockings the cat. I'm sure all three of them are reveling in the new-washed-ness of these porch boards.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Oh, The INhumanity!

Mrs. HM can't take much more. You've read her recent chronicles of the lack of Diet Coke at The Gas Station Chicken Store, and once it was blessedly restored, the absence of 44 oz cups. The most recent magical elixir debacle involves no shortage. That's the cruelest squirt of all.

Thursday, I popped in for a 44 oz Diet Coke, secure in the knowledge that all systems had been go... for at least a week. I had faith that all was right once again, just like in the olden days, when there was nary a problem procuring my precious.

I pulled a foam 44 oz cup, and started my fill. It always begins with a few pieces of ice. No cubes here, they are crushed. I don't want much ice, because I add it at home to prevent meltage and subsequent weakening on the way home. After the tinkle of crushed ice on foam, I pushed my cup against the Diet Coke lever on the soda fountain.

Hullo! What's this then?

The Diet Coke came out all foamy. That's unusual. I filled my cup, and took a taste, as I always do, to bring down the volume and prevent sloshing out the X where the straw goes, on our gravel road, especially the Farmer H and Buddy badly-blacktopped hill.

Huh. That didn't taste like my usual Gas Station Chicken Store Diet Coke. It had a sweet tang. It left an aftertaste that made me thirsty. If I didn't know any better, I'd have sworn that was REAL Coke. I took my cup up front. There was a line ahead of me and then behind me. So I didn't say anything. Just took my not-so-magical elixir home. Where every sip screamed that something was wrong with my 44 oz Diet Coke. By supper time, I was done. No more for me. I bet there were 20 oz left.

Friday, I skipped The Gas Station Chicken Store. I didn't want to take a chance on a tainted Diet Coke. I got a Polar Pop at Orb K. It was nice and crisp, no aftertaste, just like a Diet Coke should be.

Saturday, I figured I'd give The Gas Station Chicken Store another chance. Surely somebody had brought it to their attention. Or maybe the mix had been off, and now it was back to normal. Again, I filled my 44 oz foam cup. Again, I took a sip. YUCK! It was still that off-tasting swill. Yet I had already pulled a cup and filled it. The lone clerk was busy. I could have poured it out and left. But that would be stealing. So I went up front, waited, and paid.

I told the clerk, "The Diet Coke tastes like REAL Coke! It's been like that since Thursday. It's not the usual taste. Something is off."

"Oh, I need to check on that." Said the lone clerk, as a line formed behind me.

I didn't know when he'd get the time to check. But I DID know that I was not going to drink that tainted Diet Coke! I didn't care that I'd paid $1.69 for it. They fooled me twice. Shame on me, but I WAS NOT going to drink my mistake. I headed for Orb K and a Polar Pop. I had not intended to stop there. I made sure they were not out of Diet Coke.

When I returned with my 44 oz Polar Pop of Diet Cokiness, I put it in T-Hoe's cup holder, and took out the GSCS soda. I poured it under T-Hoe so as not to force people to step in it, then I threw away the cup in their trash can. That discarded soda foamed like a vinegar/baking soda volcano! Diet Coke doesn't do that. It only foams a little, when being put in the cup.

Let the record show that I had considered bringing the tainted DC home, to have Farmer H taste it. You know, like people who keep milk in their FRIG II shove it to others after it goes bad, saying, "I think this is expired. TASTE IT!" I didn't want to juggle two 44 oz cups of beverage, though. Besides, if it turned out to actually be REAL Coke, it would not be good for The Diabeetus from which Farmer H suffers.

Of course I told Farmer H about it when I got home. He turned all Sherlock Holmesy, and said, "The simple way to figure that out is to pour out a little bit and see if it's sticky. Well. I'm not going to buy another one to do that experiment. I can't go in the GSCS and put my fingers under the spigot and wait for them to dry and see if they're sticky.

I'll take my winning scratcher (another $40 winner for the second day in a row, bought at Orb K thanks to the DC fiasco) in there, and if the Man Owner is working, I'll tell him of my DC woes. Otherwise, I'm going to ride it out at Orb K with Polar Pops until Thursday, when I assume a new canister of Diet Coke will be hooked up.

Of course, it might take longer, without me buying a vat of it every day...

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Trapped Like A Rat In The Starting Blocks, Ready To Sprint To The NOT-Dead-Mouse-Smelling Post Office

I knew it would happen. I had a premonition. I'm such a psychic. I even told Farmer H on Tuesday, when he informed of Friday's scheduled events.

"I'm not selling on Friday. I'll go up there to tell them guys I ain't comin', so they don't look for me, but I'll be right back home. [Copper Jack's Human Daddy] is getting a new trailer. They're going to deliver it Friday morning, and I'm going to help him with his gravel he's getting then, too."

"Great. Friday morning. I'm sure it will be blocking the road at the exact time I need to go to town and mail the boys' letters. I always leave here at 10:30. I know I'll run into them."

Friday morning, Farmer H gave me my wake-up call at 9:00. He came back in at 10:00, to say he was headed over to Copper Jack's yard to wait on the trailer.

"It's at the prison right now. Buddy was going to pick up another load of gravel, and saw it there ten minutes ago."

"Okay. I'm getting in the shower, then heading to town. Will you text me when it's here? So I know I can get out on our road?"

"Yeah. It should be here by then."

Let the record show that the distance from the prison to the Mansion is approximately 4 miles. Takes about 6 minutes to drive, unless you have to turn around and take an alternate route because of poop trucks. Granted, a truck pulling a mobile home might take longer. But it looked like my time window for escape might open up.

I was out of the shower at 10:20, and saw that Farmer H had sent me a text two minutes earlier. "They're at the bottom of the [Farmer H and Buddy bad-blacktopped] hill."

Okay. Shouldn't be long now. I put on my socks. Got a deposit ready for The Pony's bank account. Sat down in the La-Z-Boy, and watched out the front window. For a long time. I was pretty sure I'd miss the mail pick-up time of 11:30. Oh, well. It's not like that would make much difference for The Pony's letter, which was likely to take nine days, IF it arrived at all. Genius, though, gets on the phone if his letter doesn't show up on Monday. I'm pretty sure it's a scratcher thing, not a letter thing.

At 10:50, I saw the truck and trailer go by. Then a couple of support trucks. The trailer had some tree limbs clinging to its front corner. Not a good sign. Farmer H called, and I said I was on my way out the door.

Of course it took a few extra seconds to back T-Hoe out of the garage, what with his passenger mirror unfolded-in. I couldn't stop to pick up the mail from EmBee, because I was running so late. Besides, I had to take the alternate route from there, to avoid the poop trucks, which was a couple extra minutes.

When I pulled into the main post office parking area over in Sis-Town, the time was 11:20. Of course all parking spaces were full, except for the very last one. I felt like it took me ten minutes to walk inside, slow going for my joints, this being a non-ibuprofen day. When I got back to T-Hoe, it was 11:25. So I think I made it. Unless some over-efficient postal worker picked up that outgoing mail a few minutes early.

Little did I know, that would be the easiest part of my outing...

Friday, August 16, 2019

Why's The Not-Trim Man Busy Dancin' While The Not-Thin Gal Pays The Band

Sweet Gummi Mary! I don't even know where to start. But one thing's for sure... I don't have to figure out where to end, because there IS NO END! No end to the financial shenanigans of Farmer H.

I don't begrudge Farmer H his toys. Like two tractors and two garages and a BARn and (I lost count of how many) themed sheds. After all, he used to work for a living, too. What I DO begrudge is buying without discussing. He's gotten better at that.

Only yesterday, Farmer H sent me a picture of a new gas grill. It was $209 at Lowe's. We've been needing to replace Gassy G, so I was on board with that. Plus, he sat on the short couch and discussed it with me when he got home. I think it was just a lead-in to his intended purchase of a power-washer and sealant. For the porch and Poolio deck. Which will be an additional expenditure of around $300. I'm used to that.

Every month, Farmer H seems to accrue about $500 of unplanned expenses. Whether it's car repairs (rarely T-Hoe's) or tires or lumber or a trip... you never know. Of course I complained about doing this wash-and-seal NOW, this very month, when he's let it go for years. It's like he has financial bi-polarism! All or nothing. Well. Rarely nothing.

Farmer H did himself no favors a few hours later, when he said he was going to help our neighbor (Copper Jack's human daddy) spread two loads of gravel. "Oh, and Buddy is bringing me a load, too." Mrs. HM wasn't born yesterday. She knows that a load of gravel is at least $150.

"Gravel? What do we need gravel for?"

"The yard, HM. To landscape around the pool. I've been meaning to do it, and I never have."

Let the record show that I still have full control of my teacher stink-eye. And I'm not afraid to use it.

"Well. I guess I can pay for the gravel out of MY money..."

"Yes. I guess you can. Since apparently you've already ordered it, and I never heard a word about it."

"Oh, come on. I always tell you about stuff before I buy it."

"You mean like that $1,700 riding lawnmower that you just appeared on two days after you left here in a huff?"

"Well, there is THAT. I tell my buddies all the time that you won't let me forget it."

"I SHOULDN'T let you forget it! That was $1,700 that you spent, with consulting me. You already had a riding mower, too! You only did it because you were mad, and thought you'd show me!"

"No. No. I figured Genius was going to need a mower, and I'd give him my old one. So we really did need a new mower. You don't have to look at me like that."

"I'm not paying for any gravel."

"Oh, and the grill and sealant? I got a Lowe's credit card so I could save 5%."

"So now you have a Lowe's CREDIT CARD? That's the last thing you need! You spend enough there, and now you'll have a credit card so you can spend like it's not real money! Good thing you told me, because I'd have thrown the bill away, knowing that we don't have anything coming from Lowe's except junk mail."

"But I can save 5% on every purchase!"

"There better not be any purchase unless we talk about it. Can you cancel the credit card?"

"Well, she said I COULD, after it gets here in 8-10 days."

I'll give him a couple months before I take the kitchen shears to that card. We'll see how responsible Farmer H can be. It's not like he's putting us in the poorhouse. I just feel like we should consider what we really NEED, and what he really WANTS. So we can plan ahead for which months we're going to pay for which projects.

Here's the song that the title refers to: Lord Have Mercy On the Workin' Man by Travis Tritt

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Even Steven Balances Mrs. HM's Instincts

Sometimes, you gotta stick to the plan. Other times, it behooves you to stray.

I'd planned on taking the alternate route to town for a few days, to avoid those big trucks. I had every intention of doing so. I'd also planned to dump some trash from T-Hoe at the end of the driveway as I headed to town Wednesday. It was trash day.

I've been keeping a large black trash bag on the floor of T-Hoe's passenger side. When I get those junk mail catalogs out of EmBee, I don't bother carrying them into the Mansion any more. I just put them in that trash bag. It's nowhere near full, only about 1/4, but those magazines, as The Pony calls them, are heavy. I don't want them to rip out the side of the bag. I also don't want THAT trash bag in the bottom of the dumpster. It would be awkward, if the trash men lift the bags out by hand like the last trash service. If they hook up the truck to the dumpster, not so much. But I figured I'd wait until a trash day, and set that bag on the top. I'm helpful like that.

Anyhoo... I got to the end of the driveway, and decided I didn't really want to walk around and across five feet of grass to the dumpster. What if I picked up some buggy freeloaders in the mesh of my shoes, and they feasted on my feet while I was making my stops in town? I actually parked T-Hoe there for a minute, wavering, and decided the world wouldn't end if I waited another week. Maybe I'd put that bag in on a Tuesday night, before Farmer H pulled the dumpster up the driveway with the Gator.

On I went, down the gravel road, about 1/8 of a mile, to the poorly-blacktopped hill courtesy of Farmer H and Buddy. I was actively hoping I didn't meet a vehicle on that curvy hill. You can see through the trees, across the little creek, to the opposite hill. I looked, and saw nothing headed my way. I was on the sharpest part of the curve when I saw THE TRASH TRUCK coming at me. I got T-Hoe over into the tree limbs as far as I could, and the truck was able to get past me.

If I'd only taken time to put that trash bag in the dumpster, I would have seen the trash truck coming up the gravel road before I pulled out of the driveway. So much for hindsight.

On the way to town, out of the blue, I decided to get my scratchers at Country Mart instead of Casey's. Not the original plan. The closer I got, the more I changed my mind about which tickets to get. I kept urging myself to stick to the plan, but myself wouldn't listen.

As I returned home, I did NOT take the alternate route as I had planned. I figured I was so late (it was after 2:00 already) that surely those big poop trucks (yes, that's what they are, we won't discuss it today) would have already made their run.

Of course you know what happened. At least I was on a straight stretch, and not a blind hill, so I saw the semi with the green cab coming at me. I got over as close to the edge of the road as possible, and stopped to let him go by. That was actually the widest part, the best place to meet him if I had to. So it worked out. But still, I'll know to stick to the plan next time, and take the alternate route.

The good thing, though, about varying my original plans, is that my Country Mart scratcher was a $50 winner! No picture, because I only do that with a hundred or higher. But you can bet I'm happy with it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Something Winded This Way Comes

No, this isn't about out-of-shape Mrs. Hillbilly Mom trying to walk up the basement stairs.

Monday night/Tuesday morning, I left the sheet-struggle of the marital bed to make a visit to the master bathroom. I don't turn on the lights. The glow of dawn had not yet arrived. Squinting at the wall clock revealed a time of around 5:50 a.m. The clock itself was more like 5:58, but it runs fast.

I was a bit puzzled, because my bedside clock radio had reset itself to a different time. It's never accurate, but for a month now, I have been getting up at 2:30 by that clock radio time, which is actually 9:30 a.m. So I've become accustomed to telling time by that clock radio. Yet here it was, supposedly 5:50 a.m., and my clock radio said it was 1:00!

While on the throne, I heard a rumble of thunder. No rain. No wind. Just a little thunder. Totally weather-related, of course! So I thought that maybe the power had been off. I went to the kitchen to see if the microwave clock needed re-setting. That's a sure sign our power has been off. But it did not. The microwave clock said 5:55, as did my cell phone on the kitchen counter. Huh.

I went back to bed. I still had about 3.5 hours to sleep! Farmer H was up and gone before I arose. I vaguely recall him jouncing me while putting on his clothes bedside. I went about my morning routine. Called in my prescriptions. Wrote out a check for the phone bill.

I'd told Farmer H the day before that I would be taking the alternate route to town for a few days. The reason being that a semi truck had come at me on the straightaway to the low water bridge. I'd backed up into a driveway with T-Hoe's back tires, to let that semi come on up the road. It had gotten over as far as it could, and was stopped, waiting for me to pass. There wasn't enough room. I didn't want to drop two tires off the edge of the blacktop, because then we'd both be stuck there, blocking the road, until somebody could get there to tow me out.

Well! That semi driver turned on his flashing lights. Motioned me to come on. Then put on his turn signal. I guess he was going up that wide drive I was in. The owner has sewage dumped in one of his fields. I don't even want to go into that right now. Anyway, in my opinion, there was plenty of room in that driveway for this truck to make its turn. Then again, I drive T-Hoe, not a semi. In disgust, I backed all the way in, and turned to go the way I had come, back past Mailbox Row, across our own low water bridge, and towards town on the alternate route by the auto body shop.

When I came home, I again took the alternate. Good thing. Farmer H said later that he'd passed the regular sewage tanker truck, and the semi, on his way home about 30 minutes after me. Thankfully on a wider section of the blacktop road. Also, as I came up our own gravel road, I saw the ROCKERS down in the neighbor's field, a flatbed of (possibly someone's retirement nest egg) rocks already loaded, that had been mined out before and left at the treeline.

Anyhoo... Tuesday morning, I stopped for the mail, then turned left instead of right, to take the alternate route to town. I got about 1/4 mile. Then saw a flatbed semi ahead of me, blocking the blacktop road. Coming from the other direction, also stopped in the road, was another semi, with several vehicles behind it.

It wasn't their fault! In between them were two white county road trucks, with the man-lifts. They were working to clear a tree as thick as Farmer H from the road. I guess a storm had passed through! I'd seen some little limbs down in our front field, and on Farmer H and Buddy's Poorly Blacktopped Hill. I assumed that the ROCKERS had knocked down that one, with their big truck.

Once in town, I saw people buying bags of ice in Save A Lot. They lived a bit farther out, and said they'd been without power since early in the morning. They'd been told it might be restored by 2:00 p.m. I saw numerous police cars, some with sirens. More county road trucks headed out the opposite direction of town.

I am VERY HAPPY to have dodged the electricity-snapping bullet!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Let It Never Be Said That Farmer H Doesn't Have A Pot To Whiz In

Farmer H refuses to be unmasked. You saw what he left hanging on the support post of the carport. Now I hope to unpot him. Look what he has left affixed to the garage wall, even after being told in no uncertain terms to GET RID OF THEM!

Can you see them there? I can. All the way from the end of the driveway. Any passersby can see Farmer H's hoard showing.

As we get closer, they are more obvious.

White pots, against the weathered cedar siding. There's my buddy Jack, looking somewhat misshapen out of focus, peering over the side for scattering squirrels. Every time I start up the driveway, I guess those squirrels think I'm going to chase them off the cat kibble.


I find these white pots particularly hideous. I don't care how old they are, they don't belong on display on the side of my garage! I don't mind the old saw, but the pots have got to go.

"You need to get your chamber pots off the garage! Everybody who drives by can see them. They're hideous."

"They're not chamber pots, HM. They're dishpans."

"That bottom one looks like a loaf pan. They don't belong there. Move them  to one of your sheds."

"I'll think about it."

You know what that means. It's been three days, and still they hang. I don't mind the cast iron. Even though it gets all rusty, it looks like a decoration.


See how these skillets almost look like they belong? I guess Farmer H is ready for me to do some manual labor. He's got that saw on the wall, and the hoe, and this shovel.


One set of anything is never enough for Farmer H. I particularly like this little baby skillet on the bottom, though I think the spacing is off.


Farmer H does not live by skillets alone. He also has cast iron cornbread molds. They are acceptable. The white pots are not. They need to have their own special themed shed.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Sometimes Unpleasant Small-Worldness Of Hillmomba

Not so sure I should tell this tale, but ya twisted my arm, so here goes.

I mentioned several days ago how The Gas Station Chicken Store had been without my magical elixir for a whole week. And how soon after, they were out of my preferred 44 oz cups. When such a calamity has occurred before, it could always be traced to the accidental misfeasance of the Man Owner. We even tease him about it, and most times he broaches the subject first, with an apology.

On Thursday, as I was leaving the store with my 44 oz Diet Coke, Man Owner, also on his way out, held the door for me.

"Do you have a minute?"

"Sure. I have nowhere to go, and nothing to do. This is the high point of my day."

Man Owner walked me to the end of the gas pump row, where we stood in the shade, me resting my magical elixir on one of those concrete posts about waist high that prevent idiots from driving into the gas pumps.

"I just wanted to tell you about why you didn't have your soda--"

"Oh! I know it's not your fault this time! Your wife told me what happened. About the cups, and the company going out of business. You're off the hook!"

"Well, it's not that. It's about when we ran out of Diet Coke. We didn't get our order on Tuesday. I had put in my order as usual, the week before, but didn't hear back for confirmation. I tried and tried to call our salesman, but it kept going to voice mail. So I left him a message that I just wanted the same order I always get. When I hadn't heard anything by Thursday, I called the company. All these years, we've never had a problem with him. The only problems were when I forgot to do something! That guy is very dependable. So I said, 'I'm not complaining, but for some reason we didn't get our order this week, and I haven't heard back from our salesman.'"

The guy at the company said, 'Oh. You didn't hear? He was killed in a car wreck over the weekend.' I felt SO BAD! I had no idea! My wife got on the internet, trying to find out what happened. She thought she found the article, but then she said, 'No, this can't be it. It's the same name, and the right date, but the headline says SCHOOL SHOOTER KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENT. That's not him!' 

Well, she got to searching some more, and found out that it WAS him! We knew him as Drew Grant, but he had changed his name. When he was 11 years old, him and another boy--"

"I know about that! My principal used to bring it up all the time, when we did our safety drills. In Arkansas, right?"

"Yes! They pulled the fire alarm, and picked off people as they came out the door. I read about his deposition. The cop asked him if he shot the teacher, and he said, 'I don't remember.' He asked him if he shot the girl next to the teacher, and he said, 'I don't remember.' The cop asked what kind of gun his friend had and he said [I forgot what kind]. Then he asked Drew what kind of gun he used, and he said, 'A [some kind of carbine].' And the cop said, 'We have ways to tell which gun fires which bullets, and the teacher and the little girl were killed by bullets from your gun.' And Drew said, 'I guess I shot them, then.' It was terrible.

Drew's name back then was Andrew Golden. He served his time in juvenile detention, and when he was 18, he was released, and the records sealed. He changed his name. Somebody asked him, 'I know that you got Drew from Andrew, but how did you get Grant from Golden?' And Drew said, 'That was my grandma's name.'

Anyway, after the wreck, the cops were looking for ID, and one found Drew's, and said, 'Wait a minute. This doesn't match up. This can't be this guy.' But another cop on the scene said, 'Yeah, that's him. I know this guy, he changed his name.' 

He was only 33. So polite and pleasant. We'd dealt with him for years. All this time, I'd been doing business with a killer!"

"Well, at least he turned his life around. Having worked with kids that age, I've gotta say, some of them have no idea how life really works. They'll push it to the limit, not thinking there'll ever be consequences for what they do."

"I had no idea. I never would have known, except for the accident."

Let the record show that I don't want any comments on other such events, or what should be done, or anything of a political nature. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom tries to remain apolitical on her blog(s). I only use the name because that's a fact, and that's how it was told by Man Owner. I'm not trying to be sensational. I share this because it's such a weird connection.

And it exonerates the much-maligned Man Owner in MissingDietCokeGate.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Probably An Attempt To Scare Me To Death

You know how your eye is drawn to something new? You don't consciously scan your everyday surroundings for changes. But your subconscious will alert you to an inconsistency. Like what demanded my attention as soon as I backed T-Hoe out of the garage on Thursday.


I'm not talking about the open space where the camper trailer is missing. I KNEW that was going bye-bye, up to the Storage Units. Still no offers. No, I'm talking about this non-talking head nailed to a post.

Farmer H had been rooting around in his Freight Container Garage for new items to take to his Storage Unit Store for the weekend. I guess he didn't think anybody would want to buy this mask. Or else he wanted to keep it for his own evil purposes. I'm pretty sure he's trying to kill me.

TRY AGAIN!

I don't find this mask frightening. Not compared to some others he's brought home. Including one The Pony swears turned itself over when left on the kitchen table overnight. Let's see if I have a pic of that one...


Yes, there it is, from several years back, before Genius went off to college. The Pony is modeling it, perhaps at my request. My biggest fright came when Genius wore it halfway down the basement steps, and hollered to wake me from a slumber in my basement recliner. For all I know, Farmer H sent him on that mission.

Anyhoo... I sent The Pony a picture of the new mask on the carport pole.

"What you're missing here at home."

"Make sure he knows he's still not allowed to put them in my Sword Shack!"

"I'll tell him, but I think the others are still in there."

"The ones in there are creepy, but acceptable."

"In your opinion."

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Third Time's NOT a Charm, Nor Charming, Nor Even Borderline Acceptable

The saga will not end! Farmer H cannot let it go! Oh, how I rue the day I found an odd piece of metal in the road down by the mailboxes!

For the THIRD time, Farmer H is telling me what I found, even though it's NOT TRUE, and I've PROVED that it's not true! Time ONE. And Time TWO.

Saturday evening, Farmer H started jawing about another gun that he bought. Of course I don't know what kind it was, even though he told me, as if I was remotely interested, and as if I know anything about guns.

"I seen that somebody must have busted the barrel. One side of it has a notch out of it. It may have been cracked, and they tried to fix it. I need to look closer. But I know how I can fix it. Lead is really soft, and easy to melt. I could take that tire weight you found--"

"WAIT A MINUTE! First of all, I found it, and it's mine, to do with what I want. Who says I want to give it to you to melt it down? And anyway, it's NOT LEAD! I've told you that twice!"

"Yes it is. Lead. That's what they make those tire weights out of."

"You told me it wasn't a car weight, because 1/2 OZ would be too heavy! But now you say they make them out of lead, which is HEAVY!"

"They've always made them out of lead."

"Nooo... it's iron. Remember? It has FE on it. Which is the symbol for iron. And when I LOOKED THEM UP, the description for online buyers clearly said they were IRON, treated with something."

"Oh. Well. FE. Yeah. It could be iron. I haven't used the stick-on kind. So it might be iron."

I'm pretty sure Farmer H planted that little piece of metal down there for me to find it. So he could use it to drive me crazy. He might even have taken a piece of lead and embossed it with FE to make me think it was iron.

I'll probably lay awake at night, wondering when Farmer H is going to deny my valid information again. My brain will be all muddled from lack of sleep. My appearance will grow unkempt. I will sit on the short couch, rocking back and forth, stroking my tiny piece of metal which is supposed to be 1/2 OZ of iron. I'll lose interest in my little Jack and Sweet, Sweet Juno. I'll forego the daily 44 oz Diet Coke trip in favor of polishing my precious tire weight. I'll forget to eat, and waste away...

I'm pretty sure Farmer H is trying to kill me.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Just When You Think It's Safe To Go Back In The Gas Station Chicken Store

You may recall that I only recently recovered from the trauma of NO DIET COKE at The Gas Station Chicken Store from July 18 to July 25. Sweet Gummi Mary! The outage lasted almost as long as the beef between DISH and the local CBS affiliate. Except that one's still not over, much to my Big-Brother-loving chagrin.

Anyhoo... I'd once again fallen into my routine, skipping gaily into TGSCS between noon and 1:00, to fill a 44 oz foam cup with my magical elixir. No more roughing it at Orb K with a Polar Pop, in their too-slim cups that tip over easily. I was on top of the world, had it by the tail, it was my oyster.

REEEEE!

That's the sound of a needle scratching across a phonograph record, in case some young whippersnapper is reading this instead of taking a selfie making ducklips. Mrs. HM's gay skipping screeched to a halt on the back aisle of TGSCS, beside the rack of flaming hot chips. What kind of trick was this? The Diet Coke spigot was perfectly normal. No sign made from a snippet of notebook paper proclaiming OUT. So there was magical elixir inside the soda fountain. But the hole for the 44 oz foam cups was EMPTY! And a snippet of notebook paper taped underneath said

OUT OF 44 OZ CUPS. MORE TOMORROW.

I felt faint. This couldn't be happening! I was there. I was ready for my 44 oz Diet Coke. I looked in the cardboard box at the end of the soda fountain counter. Many a time, I've foraged in there for a 44 oz cup when the display was out. But NO! The cardboard box was bereft of 44 oz cups! Not even the misshapen barrel kind to be had!

With my vision growing wavy like a bad sitcom flashback transition, I made a snap decision. I clutched my $5 scratcher winner in my left hand, and my two quarters, one nickel, four pennies, and one dime stacked in my right hand, and turned on my heel and left TGSCS. Not gaily skipping.

Of course I went over to Orb K, which is on my route home, just through the stoplight, under the overpass, and through the other stoplight. At least I'd only have to wait one day to resume magical elixiring.

Tuesday, I rounded the flaming hot chip display at TGSCS, and saw THE SAME THING! It was like Groundhog Day! The movie, not my best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel's favorite holiday. Only this time, I had a $15 scratcher winner in my left hand. The line wasn't long, so I decided to stay and cash in my tickets. (Didn't win anything on the new ones.)

The Woman Owner was working the second register, and waited on me. She said that she was SO SORRY, but the cups were due in that very day, and were late, because they'd seen the truck driving back and forth in front of the store WITHOUT STOPPING! I told her if I'd known that, I'd have been out there flagging them in.

Wednesday, THE CUPS WERE BACK! The Woman Owner was working alone. As I set my 44 oz Diet Coke down on the counter, I said, "Finally, I've got my soda again!" In a happy way. Not shaming her. Not at all.

Woman Owner said the whole problem was due to a new supplier. The old company had abruptly gone out of business, firing all their employees without notice on the previous Wednesday, and not telling their retailers. So I couldn't even blame the Man Owner for this outage.

He would have given me my soda for free, though...

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Woolly Pully

Even though I made the most scathingly brilliant discovery yesterday, about the little metal weight I found down by the mailboxes... Farmer H refused to believe me! He continued trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Even though I had concrete proof, and he just had his flapping jaws and big ol' empty head.

This guy!

"Oh, I figured out what my piece of metal is that I found yesterday. It's a weight used for balancing tires."

"No."

"YES! It sticks on the wheel, and must have fallen off when the car bumped from the gravel road onto the blacktop."

"Nah. That ain't it. It's too heavy."

"I SAW IT ON THE INTERNET! Pictures of the weights! They come with adhesive backing, which is what I scrubbed off at the sink! And it IS iron, not lead. So that's the FE."

"Well. Maybe. They could use 'em on aluminum wheels now. So that's how it got in the road."

Uh huh. Told you so, told you so, told you told you told you so! I refrained from doing the Grace Adler dance off Will&Grace. But only because I was afraid I might injure myself.

Seriously. I told Farmer H what it was, where I got the info, how there are pictures of them for sale online... And STILL he persists.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

I Stumped Ol' Stumpy!

Mrs. HM is a freakin' genius! Or at least a semi-proficient researcher.

Tuesday, I was walking back to T-Hoe with the lone piece of mail in my hand, when I saw something in the middle of the road. Pretty much the exact middle, where the stripes would be painted if our county blacktop road had a center line. I bent over to pick it up.

Huh. It was heavy! What in the Not-Heaven? Was it a magnet? Stuff was stuck on the back of it. Maybe it was part of the latch on EmBee. It's been broken for a while. But it's a round magnet, and a rectangular piece of metal to stick to. That piece of metal, last I saw, was in the butt-end of EmBee.

I picked up that intriguing piece of roadsam, to bring back to the Mansion and ask Farmer H. After soaking in water and Dawn dish detergent for a few hours, I scrubbed it as clean as I could. I took it to Farmer H.

"Look what I found in the road down by the mailboxes. Is it part of our magnet?"

"No. That's no magnet."

"It's really heavy. Do you think it's lead?"

"Yeah. That's lead."

"I got it as clean as I could. Is there anything else you can think of that will clean it up? Make it shiny? Does vinegar interact with lead?"

"I don't think it would hurt it, but it might turn it black."

"Yeah. It's clean enough. I'm not really going to do anything with it. It says 1/2 OZ FE. I think it's heavier than a half-ounce. Maybe it means it's one 2-ounce piece. And FE means iron. Do you think it's iron?"

"It's lead. It feels like 1/2 ounce to me."

"I wonder what it's for? A little scale, maybe? Do you think a drug dealer was using it to measure out his dealings?"

"It's possible. Like a little postage scale, maybe. They use those."

"Huh. Well. I'm taking it downstairs to my office."

Here's the object, all prettied up and posed on top of a Pepcid lid:

The back has no writing. It was kind of gunky with black stuff and road dust, so I had to scrub it with my fingernail, even after soaking. There's no writing on the back. It's 1 inch long, and 1/2 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick. The base is a little wider than the top, though you can't tell it by this picture.


There it is, on end. I did a little research on the innernets. Looks like Farmer H doesn't know what he's talking about. He can go around, stumping on his footless ankles (from the sound of him walking above my head while I'm in my dark basement lair), all puffed-up in the knowledge that his knowledge is the most knowledgeable knowledge ever acknowledged... but I know he's WRONG! On this one, anyway.

My little metal lozenge is neither lead nor part of a scale.

It's a wheel weight used to balance tires. It's iron. Some of them have a little flap that gets hooked on a tire rim, and others come with adhesive backs. I guess this had the adhesive, and fell off a tire. That would be the gummy part I scrubbed off.

You'd think Farmer H, the gearhead, would know about a weight used for balancing tires!

Now I wonder what else he's told me over the years that isn't accurate.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Back On The Complain Train

I'm sure you're shocked that Mrs. HM has something to complain about. It's SO not like her to voice displeasure. But the fact remains that The Universe conspires against her, and her little Pony, too.

Look what I got in the mail Monday:


Uh huh. It's a letter that I write lovingly every week rush to come up with around midnight on Thursdays to mail on Fridays, to The Pony at his college apartment. He lives in university housing. It's not like he rents a tool shed out back of junkyard. He's lived in the same place for three years now. I've been sending him mail to the same address. Written the same way on the envelope. Sure, it takes 8 days to get there, when Genius's letters only take 4 to Kansas City, and that includes a weekend. But it generally gets there.

You might notice on the redacted envelope that my writing is not a chicken-scratch. It's perfectly legible. Spaced accordingly. Nothing ambiguous about my penmanship. Yet my little Pony's letter has been returned to me as UNDELIVERABLE!

Not only returned as UNDELIVERABLE, but returned 38 DAYS after it was originally mailed!

That is unacceptable! I sent The Pony a picture, with the caption:

"What is WRONG with your mail people out there?"

"That would explain the gap in the numbering." The Pony is a factual kind of fellow, and notices the mailing date of his letters. Mainly because sometimes he goes weeks without getting one, and then three appear in his mailbox.

"I will open it, and enclose it with the one I send this Friday. I'm going by the dead mouse smelling post office to ask what's wrong with the address."

"Has Dad's come in yet?" [The check from The Pony's professor for that lab work Farmer H did on July 15. Not sure when The Pony mailed it, but the check was dated July 17.] "I guess that's what I get for using the drop slot and an actual stamp rather than paying straight at the post office counter."

Indeed.

I bellied up the the counter at the dead mouse smelling post office around noon-thirty. Nobody was there. It was so quiet you could hear a mouse die. The little bell on the counter had the sign saying to ring for service. I hate to do that. I don't like to impose on somebody busy not-doing their work. But I didn't want to hang around with my resentment festering until I grew a long white beard, or a line formed behind me.

I gave the bell one tap.

A couple minutes later, a kid came out of the back room. He looked about The Pony's age of 21, with a short beard instead of The Pony's flowing locks.

"What can I help you with?"

"I have a complaint, and a question. Neither of which involve this specific office. I got this letter returned today, and I don't know why it took 38 days to get back to me."

Baby-Faced Beardy took a look. He peeled off one of the yellow stickers that were on top of each other. I first thought he was trying to see the edge of my writing, to see if the address was good. But no, he was looking at the underlying yellow sticker.

"Huh. This was July 26."

"That's still A MONTH after it was mailed. Before they even said it couldn't be delivered."

"Yeah. I don't know why that part took so long. But they've (here he gave a chuckle) put this sticker on saying it was undeliverable, without giving a reason WHY it was undeliverable. So it went back there, and they just said it was undeliverable again, and put the RETURN TO SENDER on it. They shouldn't have done that. There should be a reason why it couldn't be delivered."

By this time, he had peeled both the yellow stickers off the envelope, and was kind of tapping the envelope on the counter.

"What do you want us to do for you?"

He said that in a polite way, really trying to help, not in a smart-a$$ way, mocking me. Like maybe did I want him to send it again. Perhaps giving me free postage for my trouble, though he did not suggest it himself.

"Oh, I'll just open it up and mail it again this week. Is there something I should do about the address? Why is it coming back? I've used that address for three years."

"Have you gotten them back before?"

"Once or twice. It always seems like it's in the summer. Like maybe they get new student workers or something at the college. But I don't know how the post office works. If students are allowed to handle or deliver the campus mail."

"Does he still live there in the summer?"

"Yes. Nothing changes."

"Well, it could be their sorter. If it happens again, take it to the main post office over in Sis-Town."

"That's what I did before. They got on their computer and looked up the address, and said that's how it should be written. But I thought I'd ask here this time, in case anything had changed."

"They didn't say why it was undeliverable, so I don't know. Sorry that I can't be of more help."

"That's okay. Just thought I'd check."

See there? A young person who knows how to unruffle an old lady's feathers by being polite, and revealing a bit about the sticker mistake made by his far-away cohorts.

Customer service isn't really that hard.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Revealing My New Trick

You're never too old to learn! I think I've developed a new way to control Farmer H.

Let the record show that Farmer H enjoys watching old TV shows. He seems to have moved on from MASH for a while. His current favorite seems to be The Andy Griffith Show. He can tell me the plot of every episode, when I sit down on the short couch and make the mistake and asking what's going to happen. He knows as much about Andy Griffith as I know about Seinfeld. Anyhoo... it is obvious that Farmer H is not averse to the black & white format.

When I sit in the La-Z-Boy every morning, waiting for my medicine to digest, perusing the innernets on HIPPIE, I have the TV on. Not many good shows at that time. It used to be Beverly Hills 90210, but they moved it to 1:00. So I mainly have one ear on Charmed. But sometimes, I'll see what's on TCM. Some of those old black & white movies are pretty good, though I don't like many of them pre-1941.

Sunday, there was a Shirley Temple marathon, I guess. I caught the end of The Hagen Girl. Then saw the beginning of Almost a Bride. Resting after my trip to town, I got caught up in Kathleen. I still haven't seen the end. Don't tell me! I set it to record when I went downstairs for lunch.

Anyhoo... here's where I'm pretty sure I'm a genius. Once I'm ready to go downstairs, I put the TV on a channel I think will appeal to Farmer H. I even search ahead, to see what movies are coming up. He's a sucker for Bad Moms. And he also likes Road House. The trick is... if Farmer H comes in the house and sees something on TV he likes, he'll sit down and watch. Oh, he THINKS he'll only be there a few minutes. But he usually watches until the end.

Sunday, for instance. I heard him come home from his Storage Unit Store sometime between 3:30 and 4:00. I heard the La-Z-Boy. When I went upstairs to make supper, Farmer H was still watching TCM.

"Who's that? Shirley Temple?"

"Nah. That ain't her."

"I'm pretty sure it is. I was watching her earlier today. I know that's Cary Grant. Give me the remote. Uh huh! It IS Shirley Temple! See?" [The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer]

"Oh, well. It didn't look like her. I got to watching John Wayne earlier."

"John Wayne? I thought it was Shirley Temple day."

"It was the one where he's at a fort."

"Well. That could be most of them. I bet Shirley Temple was in it, though." [Fort Apache]

Not that it matters. Just pointing out to Farmer H his illogical reasoning. But the point I'm here to make is that I can kind of control Farmer H's movements by putting the TV on something that will lure him in! Then he doesn't come down to my lair and bother me, or ask me to go do something for him! I'm free as a bird until time to get his supper ready!

Of course, he's probably just being quiet, not even watching, while he plans the next scenario where he tries to kill me.