Monday, May 10, 2021

My Special Day Was Not All That Special

Not even a $3 change purse and two boxes of Sno-Caps! I DID get something...

Farmer H DID offer to take me out to eat on Mother's Day. I'm pretty sure that's because HE wanted to go out to eat. I did not. Why go out on the most crowded restaurant day of the year? I would gladly have welcomed some carry-in delicacies. But nobody was offering that! Must be too much trouble to drive to pick up food for the woman who stands in the kitchen and makes THEIR food and washes their dishes.

Anyhoo... I ended up getting Hardee's chicken tenders for myself on my trip to town. Oh, and of course Farmer H asked me to pick him up a Bacon and Swiss Burger, and onion rings, and a Diet Coke with no ice. You should have seen the stack of onion rings he got with his small combo! The Pony swiped two of them in the kitchen, and still they were falling out of the box. So different from my sad stub fries.

Don't you worry about The Pony. He drove himself to Steak N Shake. I guess he was sitting there with a bunch of mothers of cheap children. Then he went to the Devil's Playground for a couple job-related items like a two-piece rainsuit, and a good thermos jug.

While The Pony was gone to lunch, and Farmer H was sitting in his recliner (rain-out at the Storage Unit Store), I got a phone call from Genius. Genius was not having a good day. 

"I am locked out of my bank account! My online bank that I've used for eight years was bought out by another bank. During the migration of accounts, MINE, and those of 100,000 other customers, were locked without access. They were supposed to have a special number to call, with a team to assist us, on Sunday. Today. But when I get through, and state my business, the minute I mention my old bank's name, the line disconnects. The ONE TIME I got through to a live person, he pretended he couldn't hear me, and HUNG UP! I need to have my account unlocked within 7 days, when the IRS tries to take out my income taxes that I owe! We have three accounts. I have one, Friend has one, and we have a joint one that we use to pay the bills. Friend can get into both accounts, but I am locked out of both!"

"Well. I guess you'd better be nice to Friend. Maybe you can get an advance. Or a little allowance. You could send me your winning scratchers that you've saved up, but the mail would take too long to get them here. OH, and I wouldn't be able to send you a check to deposit in your account, since you're LOCKED OUT!"

Anyhoo... we chatted about 30 minutes, all the while I was losing valuable time on Candy Crush Saga boosters that were only good for one hour. I had played about 5 minutes on them before Genius called. He usually doesn't talk long. We had caught up with each other's lives, so I said, 
"Do you want to talk to Dad before you hang up? He always like to know what's going on."

"Sure. I guess I could."

So Farmer H walked to the kitchen table to get the new phone out of my hand. I vaguely heard him chatting as I continued my game. I had 25 minutes left before my hard-won boosters were used up. I was jolted out of my Candy Crush-ing trance by Farmer H, walking back to the kitchen.

"I think I might have blocked Genius's number on our phone."


"I was ready to hang up, and the screen said END CALL AND BLOCK, and I pushed the button."

"Which button?"

"The middle round one. And it said CALL BLOCKED."

"NOOO! You push the red button to hang up. RED! Red means STOP! It ends the call!"

"Huh. I don't know how to fix it."

Farmer H shoved the phone under my nose.

"I don't know how to fix it! It's a new phone!"

He kept pushing the phone at me. So I took it. Glanced at the screen that didn't look right and had weird stuff on the menu. I got it back to the regular screen of TIME and MISSED CALLS, and set it on the table. Farmer H came back, dragging the instructions that were on a MUU-MUU-fabric-sized paper, much like that of The Pony's antibiotic insert. He sat down across the table from me, and started reading from it. Farmer H is not a good out-loud reader...

"I don't know why you're doing that. Here's the phone."

"So you can look at it while I read."

"Um. I am playing a timed game right now."

Farmer H jumped up having a hissy-fit.

"You always get like this! I am trying to fix the phone, and all you can think about is that stupid game."

"First of all, I am not the one who messed up the phone. I am not in charge of the phone. You blocked Genius, so you can unblock Genius. I don't think it has to be done THIS VERY INSTANT. My game has about 15 minutes left. It IS something I want to do right now. I was doing it before you messed up the phone. I'm pretty sure the phone can wait until The Pony gets back. He'll know how to fix it."

Indeed. The Pony had Genius unblocked within 60 seconds of picking up the phone.

Farmer H has a lot of nerve, yelling at me for HIS MISTAKE on Mother's Day, and then pretending he's a real Prince Charming by giving me some Dove Dark Chocolate squares, and a card that looks like a table centerpiece. Oh, and hitting the jackpot on a pile of FRESH-GREASE ONION RINGS!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

He's A Yokel, A Provoker, He's A Liquor Store Smoker

You would think I'd ceased being surprised any more. Surprised at the things I see in the convenience stores I frequently frequent. After all, I believe I showed you the plumber's crack guy putting air in his tires while airing out his (plumber's) crack for all to see. Meaning me and The Pony.

Still, I like to kid myself into thinking Hillmomba is a normal place.

Thursday, I stopped by the Liquor Store on my way to mail Genius's weekly letter. I needed scratchers to tuck inside at the last minute. Of course I chose the busiest rush hour time at the Liquor Store. Which seems to be at 12:30 on a Thursday afternoon. 

There are often 7 or 8 cars parked on the lot, not counting those in the drive-thru line. Yet when I go inside, the place looks deserted! I can't figure out where those people go. Maybe two or three are employee vehicles. Maybe a man and a woman in the bathrooms. But where are the others? Is there a secret card game in the back? A room for smoking the wacky tobacky that accoutrements are sold for? Hidden slot machines in a mini casino? I can't figure it out. 

However... on this day, all the car drivers were in plain sight, right there in a line in the close quarters of the Liquor Store. I was fifth in line. Some guy was having problems with his card while trying to pay. The next lady only had a 44 oz soda. What a freak! The third guy was holding a case of beer, patiently. But it's the fourth guy that gave me pause.

He had entered just ahead of me. Not trying to beat me like a smart-aleck Pony-person. He just walked faster. Came up behind me as I hobbled up the blacktop ramp to the door. I didn't pay him much mind. Twenty-something, scraggly hair not long nor short. Just shy of the shoulders. Thin, nondescript brown, parted on the side. Faded jeans. A faded brown t-shirt. He went to the end of the line proper, standing down the middle aisle. I stood to the side, by the outer aisle, so as not to crowd in.

THAT'S when I noticed. Cigarette smoke was choking me. Drifting over the shelves to invade my lungs. Huh. I guess that guy had been smoking as he walked in. People leave their butts on the parking lot all the time. Just flick them away with thumb and middle finger as they enter. I'm sure you've caught a glimpse in my penny photos. 

WAIT A MINUTE! Smokey came up out of the aisle, and stepped over by the door to FLICK HIS ASH IN THE METAL CANISTER ASH TRAY!


I'm pretty sure there's a law against that. Of course I didn't say anything. I'm not the smoke police. But I was kind of incensed! Hot under the collar. Smoldering with resentment. I do not hang out in liquor stores to catch lung cancer!

Anyhoo... I'm not sure what Smokey bought. It seems like they had a bag ready for him at the counter. He said he'd be back tomorrow to pay for the rest. Did he put something on lay-a-way? Was this a clandestine drug deal in plain sight? I don't know. The bag was a dark color. Not sure what they use for bags in that place. I've never bought anything that required one.

When Farmer H came home, I told him about Smokey. 

"That's against the law! You can't smoke in a public place!"

"Actually, it's not. Not in Hillmomba. The owner can decide if they want to allow smoking."

Surely he was talking out his rumpus! Making up stuff again. GASLIGHTING, if you will...

I looked it up. FARMER H WAS RIGHT!

Here's the link to Missouri Health and Human Services rules. And this pasted section:
The law stipulates the following are not considered a “public place”:  
- Private residences  
- Tobacco stores where greater than 50% of sales is related to tobacco products 
- Performers on stage if smoking is part of the production 
- Limousines for hire and taxicabs, where driver and all passengers agree to allow smoking 
- Any enclosed indoor arena, stadium or other facility seating more than 15,000 persons and which may be used for sporting events  
- An entire room or hall used for private social functions, provided that seating arrangements are under control of the function’s sponsor and not the proprietor

WELL! The Liquor Store is actually named Cheap Smokes Beer Liquor and Loans. So I guess that's their main business. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, even INSIDE the store!

I hate it when Farmer H is right. He's not even a smoker! I guess he has such a vast array of friends in different social strata that he's heard about it from the business owners.

Heh, heh! I googled it to get the exact name of the store, and WAY WAY down the page of Google Reveiws, I found this gem:

"Needs A lot Of Help...Seems Like A Store Front For Something illegal.."
Mrs. HM is not the only person in Hillmomba who can pick up vibes from a place.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Super-Spreader Is The New Boogeyman

The point of my not-trying hospital/clinic staff tale yesterday was this: If THE VIRUS is so rampant and contagious around here right now, strict protocols would still be followed. Followed to the point of firing staff who don't comply. 
The screeners would have been wearing gloves and protective eyeware. And shooting everyone with the temperature gun, and whisking any fevers up to isolation on the 4th floor. They would be tagging people with specific destinations, and checking as they got off the elevator on each floor.
The desk gal at my office would NOT have had me sign the electronic thingy with the attached pen. Or would have jumped up immediately to swab it with alcohol wipes as soon as I finished.
My doctor NURSE PRACTITIONER wouldn't have dared examined me without washing his hands. I could have recorded him with my phone! He would still be wearing the N95 mask with the snorkel hole that he had on last May, for which he said all staff had been fitted, and were required to wear. Rather than the common blue paper mask.
The lab receptionist would not have tempted death with her mask under her chin. SICK PEOPLE go to the lab for tests.
Workers would not be bringing in two giant black garbage bags of black balloons for a birthday party. They would have to let those balloons sit for a few days to de-covid.

The media would have you believe that super-spreaders are the source of all the world's current problems. The all-powerful super-spreaders! 

Imagine the poor innocent double-vaccinated citizen, high horse parked in the barn, minding their own business in their hermetically-sealed home. Locked in a safe room, fully masked and goggled and shielded, inside a deep-sea-diver's suit, relaxing inside an iron lung. Then a super-spreader squeals by in a muscle car, breathing freely, windows down, radio blaring (perhaps a Steve Miller Band tune), and exhales.

WELP! There you go! That dang super-spreader just killed Innocent Citizen's grandma!

Any person without a mask, and without a vaccine card taped to their forehead, is the new scapegoat. Obviously a super-spreader. Doesn't matter if they're not sick. No symptoms, negative test, walking alone outdoors, 100 yards away from people. THAT'S the culprit! If you step out on your porch without a mask, their filthy breath is so powerful that it will swoop in and infect you. Unless you've just briefly pulled your mask down to take a puff on your cigarette, or swig a sip of designer coffee, or bite off a piece of avocado toast.
Nobody ever catches THE VIRUS from another masked person, or from a double-vaccinated person, or through the drive-thru restaurant window, by a momentary lapse in hand-face hygiene of their own doing. It's always the super-spreader. Super-spreaders must get around in more crowds than Waldo!
Sorry. I don't buy it. Actually, I'm not even sorry...

Friday, May 7, 2021

They're Not Even TRYING Any More

Farmer H dropped me off at the hospital door for my regular 6-month doctor (NURSE PRACTITIONER) appointment on Thursday morning. The clinic is upstairs. Only four floors. We're not in the CITY, you know. This might be the tallest building in the county.

Anyhoo... I strapped on my St. Louis Blues mask, and entered the lobby. I was greeted by a man in slacks and a long-sleeved (rolled up) shirt. No tie. I think maybe he had an ID badge. His cohort was a lady sitting on a rolly chair, wearing scrubs. She had ID on a lanyard. Shirtsleeves asked me matter-of-factly if I'd had a cough, fever, diarrhea, etc. in the past two weeks. Nope.

Here's the thing. For a minute, I thought I might get past him to the elevators (TWO). He wasn't at all aggressive in his duties. Not even armed with a temperature gun. 

"Why are you here?"

"I have an appointment upstairs."

Shirtsleeves slapped a sticker on my shirt sleeve. Didn't fill it out or anything. I took a picture at home when I realized it was still stuck there.

What good is THAT? I could have stolen a sheet of them. I could use it another day, to wander willy-nilly all over the hospital! Maybe they have different colors for different days. But there is not an infinity of colors. They're gonna repeat sometime. At least they USED TO write the date on the sticker. And the doctor (NURSE PRACTITIONER).

There were two people waiting for the elevator, but it lifted off before I waddled over there. The sign said no more than 2-3 people per elevator. I got in with one lady. She was at the controls, and I stood in the opposite corner.

The reminder message had told me to arrive at 7:50. The glass windows were shaded. So I stood leaning over the rail, looking down into the lobby. That place was  dead. Two workers came in carrying two large black trash bags overstuffed with black balloons. It was some doctor's 60th birthday, according to my eavesdropping skills.

Finally my office opened their window. I checked in without a copay. They said they'd bill it. Not touching MY filthy lucre, eh? I was the only patient there. Usually, they schedule three per time slot. I was put in a holding room to away the NP. A nurse took my BP. 126 over 78. Which is good for me. She had just caught me BREATHING, too! With my mask pulled down when she entered. I confessed, and she said, "Oh, that's no big deal."

The NP came in, and started punching in my refills on his laptop that swings out on a metal arm. He didn't even WASH HIS HANDS! He ALWAYS washes his hands. But not this day. That's okay. He barely touched me. Just a stethoscope on the chest and stomach. Didn't look in my eyes or ears or nose or throat. Nobody took my temp, either! Just a pulse-ox on my finger, that was 99 (oxygen) and 60 (pulse). I even told the NP as he was dismissing me,

"It will take me longer to get up off this chair than the exam took!"

Maybe he felt guilty. He offered his hand to help me stand. As I waited for my knees to unstiffen, he said, 

"Bless your heart."

WAIT A MINUTE! I'm pretty sure that's an insult in the south! I'm hoping he was just making conversation...

The gal at the desk asked if I wanted to schedule my next appointment. Um. NO! It's in 6 MONTHS, for cryin' out loud!

"No. Who knows what I'll be doing then. I'll call."

I headed up to the lab, to give two vials of blood. I was the only patient. I caught the window gal with her mask on her chin. She pulled it up toot sweet! I had barely settled my ample rumpus on the cushy bench when I got called in for bloodletting. On the way out, I passed one guy headed to the lab.

I guess Thursday mornings are slow at the hospital.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Fried Fries, Fried Brain

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has earned herself a new name. The Discombobulator. Kind of like The Terminator. Only not as final.
Tuesday, I stopped by the Gas Station Chicken Store to cash in some scratchers. I didn't get my 44 oz Diet Coke!!! That was intentional. I was headed to Hardee's, remember, to feast on old grease. It might have been just as well. The Woman Owner was behind the counter. I pointed out that I was not getting my magical elixir, and she nodded toward the soda fountain. 
"Man Owner is looking for some soda."
I guess he was putting in new syrup in the giant plastic bag that hooks up with a hose underneath the fountain. I glanced, but didn't notice if he was working on my Diet Coke.
I had a $50 winner to cash in. I bought $16 worth of new scratchers. While at the counter, a man came in to wait impatiently at my side, not behind me where the line belongs. And a woman came in to ask about the red ticket free gas weekly giveaway, although the number was clearly posted on the front wall, where it has been for many years.
"Okay. That's two $3 tickets, and two $5 tickets. I owe you back $34. It seems so odd without your handful of change for your soda. Today, I'm giving YOU change!"
With that, she reached out by the open slot in the bottom of the plexiglass barrier, and dropped COINS into my hand. I was a bit surprised. I hadn't been paying attention, because I'd actually asked for THREE of the $3 tickets, but she forgot the Bingo. I wasn't going to make her get one and ring it up again, because people were waiting. But I was calculating my change. 
Whereas I'd been expecting to pay $19, and get back a twenty, a ten, and a one... I now was facing a twenty, a ten, and FOUR ones. Yet she gave me NO BILLS! Just coins!
"Um. I should get back more than that..."
"What? Uh... OH NO! What's wrong with me? Let's see... OH! I gave you 34 CENTS, and I owe you 34 DOLLARS! Here, give me back the coins."
I don't know why I make her so nervous. I'm a calm person. Really. Not in any hurry. I chat if she starts talking to me. This time, she's been telling me that she hadn't had caffeine in 25 years, because her doctor forbade it. We didn't get around to the reason, because the other customers came in.
Why are mistakes always like this? Giving me back LESS. She COULD have erred in my favor, you know, and mistakenly given me $3400! Of course I would have informed her of the error...
Anyhoo... fresh on the heels of yesterday's greasy stubby fries debacle, thanks to HARDEE'S...I now present a proper box of fries from Burger King:
I didn't even pose them. That's how they fell out of the box when I took them out of the bag. They were real, and they were spectacular. I put the picture here so I can scroll down to yesterday's post and compare them to the travesty that was HARDEE'S fries.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

While The Farmer's Away, Mrs. HM Won't Pay

With Farmer H gone on his mini-vacation for three days, I've been kicking up my heels and enjoying my time that is actually MY time. No one to cater to. No deadlines for fixing supper. In fact, I've been having my supper lupper carried-in, and then I can remain in my lair without hiking up those 13 rail-less steps to throw something in a pan to sizzle for Farmer H's supper. You know something else?


I see no reason to use my weekly allowance to buy my own fast food during these three days. After all, Farmer H is dining high on the hog, probably taking The Pony out for STEAK every night. That's their usual restaurant choice. With Farmer H soaking up the house budget money on the credit card, with a two-night hotel stay, sight-seeing visits, gas, and meals... I figure I might as well take my own (much-less) share. 

Monday, I went by Burger King, and picked up a Whopper meal and a mini chocolate shake. They were delicious. Tuesday was rainy, and I decided to stay in Hillmomba proper, and try the same kind of meal at Hardee's. I am now filled with old grease and regrets.

Look at my fries. It's like they were scooped out the bottom of the bin. The leftovers from the lunch rush. The BIGGEST one is right there in front. Kind of hard to grasp those stubs to dip them in ketchup. What good are fries if not dipped in ketchup? The entire container of fries was filled with STUBS! And they tasted like old grease. In fact, I didn't finish them. I only ate about 1/3 of the container. That might seem like a lot to you, but Mrs. HM is not known for her dainty eating habits, nor not finishing what's on her plate! Those are now DOG FRIES!

I had high hopes for my burger. It was a Frisco Angus Burger. Angus beef patty with bacon, tomato, mayo, and swiss cheese on sourdough toast. I really wanted to like it. 
But it also had that old grease taste.

Of course I'm going to tattle to Farmer H, and show him this picture. One of his buddies owns the Hillmomba Hardee's. Maybe he doesn't know what his staff is up to. Or maybe they're going by his policies! Just a heads-up for his business. I won't be going back for quite a while. 

Oh, I also had a strawberry shake from Hardee's. It was not thick and delicious like my Burger King mini chocolate shake. It was liquidy. In the past, I've found Hardee's shakes to be tasty and thick.

I hope they weren't using old grease in the shakes...

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Rumors Of Their Closing Are Greatly Exaggerated

The Gas Station Chicken Store has taken the signs off their door. The signs advertising that they are accepting applications, and that their new hours are 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

I KNOW! I almost have to set an alarm to get there before closing time! Those hours just started this weekend. The workers on Saturday and Sunday? Man Owner and Woman Owner. They have a new gal who works 2:00 p.m. to close on the weekdays now. My regular hours of patronage.

Anyhoo... Sunday, Woman Owner was sitting on a stool with her head in her hand as I drained the soda fountain of my magical elixir.

"I had to rush to make sure I got here before closing time!" [It was 2:40 p.m.]

"Well, we thank you!"

"I need to get up earlier and get moving. Maybe this will help."

"I am so tired of telling people we're NOT closing! They keep saying, 'I hear you're closing.' No. We can't keep any help. Do you know where those rumors are coming from? The package store up town."

"Maybe they WISH you were closing!"

"Two of our old employees work there. They're the ones saying we're closing. I bet you remember Cheerio. She worked here for years! I know you know her. She worked in the kitchen, and out front."

"OH! Yeah. The real outgoing one, always cheery. She was here off and on. Sometimes years in between."

"Uh huh. But we had to let her go. And you surely know Fussin'. He was good, but he got in a fight with his dad out on the parking lot, and was so upset that he just walked out. Just LEFT! Walked off with nobody here."

"Yeah. Can't have that."

"So as soon as we can hire people who will show up for work, we'll go back to our regular hours. They don't need to be spreading that we're closing."

Monday, I noticed a new sign posted on the clear plastic protector divider at the register.

I'm glad I don't go to THAT liquor store for my scratchers! Those ex-employees were nice enough. I don't know if they're disgruntled, bored, or just misunderstanding the sign people have told them about on the door.

Woman Owner ain't havin' it!