Tuesday, October 26, 2021

If Only Grocery Stores Would Sell Food To Men

Farmer H always knows the game plan for his suppers. Usually for the next three days. I bring it up in conversation. Ask if he has any auctions. Estimate about what time he'll be home. Then I know what to cook, and when to start it. I'd been telling him he'd have spaghetti on Sunday. But then I changed it to Monday, because The Pony had some fish and macaroni & cheese left over from a Country Mart Deli dinner. So Farmer H got that on Sunday, and The Pony made himself hamburgers with what I didn't have planned to go in the spaghetti or the taco sauce that I would be having, since I don't like spaghetti.

Anyhoo... Farmer H had been told for several days that he'd be having spaghetti. Yet when I came upstairs at 6:15 on Monday evening, to prepare that spaghetti, on my way to the box of 24 boxes of spaghetti noodles that Farmer H brought home from the auction long ago and didn't give away as he'd promised... Farmer H said:

"Don't you have some of those other noodles? The bendy kind?"

"You mean elbow macaroni noodles?"

"Yeah. That's it. Those."

"Um. I'm pretty sure we're out. The Pony had some, but he makes them often, with just butter and garlic. I'm pretty sure they're gone. I WAS JUST AT THE STORE again this afternoon! And I went on Saturday! WHY didn't you say you wanted macaroni then? I thought you LIKED spaghetti."

"I do. I just wanted the other kind."

"Well. I'll look in the pantry and see what I might have. Huh. There are four kinds. Ziti, shells, rotini, and wheat rotini. The rotini expired in 2016, and the wheat rotini in 2017. So they're out... The ziti is 2020, and the shells are 2019."

"Those last two are probably okay."

"Yeah. I don't really think they go bad. I just poured them out on a plate. They look normal. No bugs or anything. There's not enough of one kind, so I'll mix them. I'll just have to start the ziti first, because they cook three minutes longer."

The Pony was a bit surprised to walk in after work and see me draining ziti and shells instead of spaghetti. But not at all surprised to hear the expiration dates. Not that it mattered to him. He ate a giant plate of them. 

I must say, they turned out well. A few were left over after serving Farmer H and The Pony mass quantities, and putting two (mushroom and non-mushroom sauce) in large Chinese soup containers for leftovers. I dumped the extras in the can of Chef Boyardee sauce that I'd added to the other sauce, and swirled them around in the dregs. 

I kind of like spaghetti when it's not spaghetti...

I'm pretty sure that when I buy some elbow macaroni, Farmer H will want spaghetti noodles.

Monday, October 25, 2021

The Pony Is On The Case

During his Sunday deliveries of Amazon packages, The Pony made a discovery. There was a FedEx package in a mailbox. He was shocked! FedEx is not allowed to deliver packages to USPS mailboxes.

"I took a picture of it, Mom. See? It's sitting on top of the regular mail. That means it was put there after the mail got delivered. It's not one of our packages. The only other thing I could think of is that a well-meaning neighbor got this package delivered by mistake, and just stuck it in the mailbox of the real owner. But they're not supposed to do that, either. If something like that is in the box, we might think it's meant to be sent back. We're supposed to pick up letters and stuff in the box. Outgoing mail.

I called my supervisor, and sent her the picture. She said, 'Um. NO! That's illegal! Bring it in!' So I took it back to the office, and she put a note on it about how I found it and was told to bring it in. Just in case another manager is there when they have to deal with it. The postal inspectors will try to figure out what's going on."

As you might suspect, there's a bit of competition between the USPS and FedEx. SOME packages are sent FedEx, and then delivered by the USPS. In which case they would have the proper label on them. A FedEx delivery person can't just stuff a package in a mailbox to get rid of it.

The Pony is a stickler for rules. Always has been.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

My Head Too Big To Rock The Togs

Spring has sprung, summer has simmered, and fall has felled the temperatures in Hillmomba! Friday night, the temps were in the 40s! Saturday brought pouring rain. Just thinking about the poor street-walking Pony sent a chill through my bones.

My basement lair has been getting colder! Now that I don't have my underdesk heater, I freeze. Despite wearing a fleece jacket with toasty pockets. It's hard to type with my hands in my pockets! Or even to scroll the mouse, and click to play Candy Crush. 
 
I mentioned to Farmer H that I need a nice warm sock cap. Not the one with the ball on top, the striped, sparkly one the boys gave me a few Christmases ago. It works, and had those nice ear flaps, but the big ball on top strains my neck to keep it balanced, and I have to tie the chin straps behind my head. Oh, how I rue the day that I went out on the back porch and had The Pony cut off the length (more than I wanted!) of my lovely lady-mullet. It at least kept the back of my neck warm.

Anyhoo... I used to have a medium brown sock cap, so comfy, that I wore in the days I walked a couple miles in the driveway or around the porch. I don't know where it is. Probably got wind of the atrocity suffered by my baby blue sweatshirt at the hands and privates of Farmer H, and went into deep hiding.

I mentioned my sock cap to Farmer H, who said, "I HAVE sock caps!"

Of course he does. Though he mainly sells hardware items at his Storage Unit Store, he sometimes has some togs. Perhaps gloves. A jacket or two. And sock caps. Bright orange sock caps for hunters! I think he bought some at an auction, even before he had the Storage Unit Store. Because I remember him making the boys wear them if they went outside during hunting season. He may have purchased more since then.

Anyhoo... Saturday, Farmer H said, "I put your sock cap on the table. You won't like it. It's orange."

"I don't care! I'll be wearing it in my office. Who's going to see it? I don't care what color!"
 
I took it down with me. Set it on my non-working printer, for when I got REALLY cold. Which took about two hours. I put on my new orange sock cap. Huh. 
 
I THINK THEY MUST BE CHILD SIZE!
 
It is not comfortable. Feels like my head is being squeezed. It keeps working its way up. Like it might shoot off the top of my head, similar to when Howie Mandel was just a stand-up comic, and would put the surgical glove down over his head and nose, and blow it up like a balloon, and then it would shoot off his noggin.
 
 
It's better than nothing. It might keep my core temperature half a degree warmer. But it's not holding in enough heat to keep blood flowing to my hands and feet. My body thinks I'm going hypothermic, and is rerouting blood to my vital organs!
 
Too bad Country Mart doesn't sell fluffy sock caps. I don't want to traipse around the Devil's Playground. Maybe I can try Tractor Supply, which is quite near Farmer H's Storage Unit Store.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Deconstruction And Reconstruction Of Mrs. HM's Taco Salad

Last Saturday, I treated myself to another Hardee's Taco Salad. Yes. I know. When will I ever learn? No time soon, I fear. When I got my Taco Salad home and opened it up, I was not pleased. I'm sure that comes as a big surprise to you. NOT.

 
You gotta hand it to those Taco Salad makers. Just when you think they've run out of ways to mess up your Taco Salad... you discover that they have not. I'm sure that waxed paper was quite flavorful with its coating of sour cream, but I did not give it a taste test. I took my taco salad out of the box, took it off the waxed paper, and noticed a LOT of lettuce again. The limp lettuce. It almost looked like parsley this time, only bigger.

Again, like unraveling a sweater, by pulling out a strand of lettuce, it led to more lettuce, which led to MORE lettuce... until I had removed all the limp lettuce from my Taco Salad:

 
That's way too much limp lettuce in my Taco Salad! So... I chopped up some romaine lettuce, using the crispy parts, and rebuilt my Taco Salad. Adding more shredded cheddar, and a plentiful amount of sour cream. It was delicious!

 
I would make my own taco salads at home, if only I could find those delicious crispy shells! But wait! I DID make taco salads for myself and Farmer H a few days later. Just to see how they'd turn out.

Farmer H wanted a Frito Taco Salad. Kind of like the Sonic Frito Chili Pie. Only with taco meat and salsa instead of chili.

 
I started with my Chinese Tupperware. Put down a layer of story-brand Fritos. Then the hamburger cooked with taco seasoning. Then diced onion. Then shredded cheddar. Then chopped romaine. Then salsa. That's the order he asked for his ingredient layers. Farmer H loved it. The second night, he asked for a little more salsa.

 
I went for a regular taco salad. With no crunch, I put a flour tortilla on the bottom of the plate. Put on a layer of refried beans. Then the hamburger with taco seasoning. I sprinkled in some Franks Original Red Hot Sauce. Then diced onions. Chopped romaine. Shredded cheddar. Salsa. Sour cream. IT WAS DELICIOUS! 
 
I had some triangle-shaped tortilla chips on the side, for crunch. It's not quite the same taste, without the shell, and with regular hamburger instead of that fine-grained meat product used by Hardee's, but it is certainly less infuriating to sit down with it on my plate.

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Wages Of Sin Are Death, The Love Of Money Is The Root Of All Evil, And The Sidewalk Beautification Project Is An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a Bible-quoter. She knows the more mainstream references, and uses them at her whim. Like for today's title, just to illustrate the seriousness of the latest tomfoolery by city leaders in town near Hillmomba.

I was on my way home from gassing up T-Hoe, and mailing Genius's weekly letter. Driving through the area just past the School-Turn Casey's. The town got a federal grant a while back, and spent an entire year with detours on the main street, putting in fancy sidewalks and wrought-iron light poles. Like putting lipstick on a pig. The houses along the street are still pigs. To me, the fanciness of the wrought-iron light poles only accentuates the pigs. But the WORST part is the sidewalk.

I don't begrudge pedestrians a safe place to walk. I DO begrudge those wrought-iron light poles having their own fat peninsulas that stick out into the street. Not into the driving lane, but up to the edge. There might be space in between the peninsulas for two cars to park, maybe three. But an LLV driven by a mailman cannot just park and drive along the shoulder area to to stop and deliver packages, like they could in the glorious days pre-peninsula. Days when, if you heard a siren, there was room enough to pull over and let the emergency vehicle pass. Not so these days!

Of course I heard a siren, and saw a city police car coming up behind T-Hoe. I was nearing a peninsula. I could not get over, because a resident was parked in part of the open space. I got as close to the parked car as possible, with T-Hoe's front tires almost against the peninsula. The oncoming traffic also scrambled to find a way to clear the road. We were able to clear just enough space for the police car to get down the middle.

As traffic moved on, the car ahead of me was lagging. Only going 20 mph in a 30 mph zone. I wanted to round the curve, to see which direction that police car went. If it went up the lake road to Hillmomba, I would change my route. No need getting held up while an accident was cleared. But the police car was gone by the time I got around the curve. I decided not to risk it. I'd go on the the traffic lights by the Devil's Playground, and up the road that passes in front of the cemetery, and behind the high school.

WAIT A MINUTE!

On my right was an accident! No police car in sight! A white sedan had driven off the right side of the road, and was sitting nose-down in a ditch. The trunk of the car was almost pointed to the heavens. The undercarriage was stuck on a pipe that ran under a driveway to a financial advisor business. One car was pulled over there, with a man standing as if to help. His car was not damaged.

This made me wonder... was that police car on the way to this accident, and overshot his mark? Or did that police car CAUSE this accident? With the driver trying to get over and out of the way, and not judging that culvert pipe in her haste?

The beautification peninsulas had stopped at the curve, so they were not to blame. BUT THEY COULD HAVE CAUSED AN ACCIDENT! Like somebody hitting a wrought-iron light pole while in a hurry to make room for an emergency vehicle.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Business Part Could Have Been Done In 5 Minutes

Farmer H and I had our yearly appointment with our financial advisor on Wednesday. Kind of. Our ACTUAL financial advisor retired. So now our meeting is with his daughter, who took over his business. She's a smart cookie. I trust her with our electronic money. I saw on the big TV screen where she projected our accounts, that she had budgeted 45 minutes for our meeting. YAY! Her dad used to give us an hour. Another plus, FARMER H DOES NOT HAVE AS MUCH TO DISCUSS WITH HER!

Don't get me wrong. She has a pink gun, but they've talked about it before. She also shared some things about constructing her new house (I guess Daddy's business is profitable!), and some trim work she had designed for the office. For example, the wall where the big screen TV was mounted had a wooden thingy that hides the wires from the computer and TV. It looks like a line with up and down pointy parts. She says it the stock market logo. I can't do it justice in my description. She told the woodworker what she wanted, and it took him a couple months to get the right design.

Also, she said she'd been looking at houses online, for ideas she might want to include in her own house. She came across a story about new homeowners who were re-doing their closet, and found a DOOR in the floor, under the carpet. They got it open, and it had STAIRS to a room under the house, with 2-foot thick concrete walls, and a dehumidifier, and its own air and water supply. 

"Oh, a PANIC ROOM!"

Farmer H didn't know what I was talking about. Financial Daughter also looks a bit confused.

"You know. Like the movie. For a while it was a thing. People putting in hidden PANIC ROOMS in case their house was invaded. So they could be safe."

Funny how Farmer H designed his own similar room, the similarities ending with thick concrete walls, a concrete ceiling, and a steel door. No ventilation or water. He sees his as more of a walk-in safe.

Anyhoo... Financial Daughter said that people online were going crazy about this hidden room, saying stuff like "creepy," and "serial killer," and why didn't the previous owner disclose the hidden room when selling the house. She figured since the seller had built himself a new house in the same town, he wouldn't reveal it, because he probably also put one in his new house, and why advertise that fact.

Anyhoo... we got to discussing how nobody can do a job right any more, except her wooden wire-hider builder guy. When I mentioned the making-change problem, she blew my mind.

"You know how Country Mart got bought out by the new store? Have you looked at the new registers they have now? When they punch in the amount you give them, THE SCREEN SHOWS PICTURES OF QUARTERS, NICKELS, DIMES, AND PENNIES, and HOW MANY OF EACH TO GIVE BACK!"

"No way! That's crazy! But they also have signs on the door that they wish you would pay with plastic, due to the COIN SHORTAGE!"

"Yeah. That's bull, too."

Every day I learn something. Some days, the information is more useful than others.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

People Doing Their Jobs Only As Well As They Were Trained

I believe some people who give me questionable service are actually trying to do their best, but are hindered by a lack of training. These are usually the young whippersnappers with a shortage of real-world experience. Like the window guy at Hardee's last week.

My bill for a taco salad [YES! I'm glad you asked! There WILL be a report on the quality of my most recent taco salad, coming up soon!] was $8.12. I didn't have small bills. I DID have 12 pennies that were not up to the standards of the Woman Owner of the Gas Station Chicken Store. I gave Window Guy a twenty, and 12 pennies for my $8.12 bill.

He looked at me like I had two heads. Even though I said, "I have the 12 cents, and here's a twenty."

I don't know if he didn't punch it into the register right, or what was going on. He stood there with the cash drawer open for a couple of minutes. Looking. I swear, I heard him digging in the change tray. Then he turned and said, "Here's your twelve dollars change. Even." Which was correct. But he didn't sound convinced. 
 
I really wish these cashiers would get training on counting back change. The Woman Owner of the Gas Station Chicken Store absolutely trains her people that way. Then again, she can't keep a cashier! I guess they think she's too demanding. But at least they would know how to count back change if the power went off, or the register broke. Which has happened more times than you would imagine at the assorted convenience stores I frequent.

The other lackadaisically-trained cashier last week was a young lass at the School-Turn Casey's. I have all the patience in the world with these newbies. I don't mind at all waiting for them to figure it out. She had to ask the other cashier how to scan a scratcher winner. And how to use that receipt to subtract from the price of my purchase. However...

I asked for one Cash4Life draw ticket with EZ Match, for The Pony. She punched it in, then held it out to me after it printed.

"Is this what it looks like?"

"No, you don't have the EZ Match. That's just a Cash4Life draw ticket. It's $2. When you get the EZ Match, it gives you five extra numbers to win instantly. It costs $3."

I can print these tickets myself from the machine at Country Mart. I imagine Young Lass's ticket terminal would work the same way. It gives buttons on the screen for which game, and then other buttons for EZ Match, or perhaps Power Play if it's a PowerBall ticket. Not rocket science, but if you're nervous and new and trying to hurry, it might be hard to concentrate. So I was calm in explaining it to her. She turned back to do it over, and got the ticket right. But here's the thing:

Young Lass had that first $2 Cash4Life ticket in her hand. She STARTED TO WAD IT UP!

SWEET GUMMI MARY! You can't do that with lottery tickets! The lottery is regulated within an inch of its life! So many safeguards against fraud. You can't just throw away a ticket that you misprinted, and then not have the money in your cash drawer! That is tantamount to STEALING! It took all my self-control not to yell, "STOP WADDING UP THAT TICKET!"

While she was preoccupied with printing the right ticket, Young Lass relaxed her hand. She laid the crumpled ticket on the edge of her lottery terminal. I really hope she asked her co-worker what to do with it! Most of them will just let it sit there until somebody asks for such a ticket, and then sell that one to them. I don't think they're supposed to buy it themself. I think there's a rule about buying lottery tickets from the place you work.

Anyhoo... a bit more thorough training would have made these two workers more self-assured. Maybe the Woman Owner of the Gas Station Chicken Store could hold seminars for prospective cashiers! Which nobody seems to be able to hire enough of these days.