Monday, October 31, 2011

The Latest Bragging Rights

The #1 son informed me this afternoon that he won the VFW Voice of America Audio Essay Contest for Newmentia. While I would like to think that his excitement was the result of reaping a reward for a job well done...I'm more inclined to suspect that the prize money of $100 had more to do with his elation.

KUDOS, #1, on your succinct, heartfelt speech on "Is There Pride in Serving in Our Military?"

That boy can turn a phrase, and project it with conviction. He has placed in this contest the past two years, but this is his first win.

In the equal time department, The Pony received straight 'A's on his report cart. Not 'A-'s, mind you. Straight 'A's. Unfortunately, the Absentminded Professor forgot his gym clothes this morning. Adolescence is a harsh, brain-addling taskmistress some days.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Pony's Logic

I might have mentioned a time or two that The Pony has his own manner of doing things. Or called him an odd duck. Same difference.

Today I laid out his clothes for our trip to The Devil's Playground. I know he's getting a bit old for me to lay out his clothes. But you haven't seen the garb he adorns himself with if he is the one to choose. When time is of the essence, I play the Mr. French to his Uncle Bill. Every weekend, I lay out his camouflage shorts. He used to wear them to school, but he has other shorts that fit better. I think they look too tight. Every weekend, I ask, "Are those shorts getting too tight?" And The Pony assures me that they are not.

We went down the steps to the garage, taunting the puppy with a pat and a tousle. The Pony looked like he could hardly bend his legs. "Are those shorts too tight?"


"Why didn't you say so? I ask you every week."

"I already had them on, and I didn't want to change."

When we were halfway through The Devil, I noticed that The Pony had worn his white Adidas slides with the navy blue stripes. The perfect complement to camouflage shorts and an olive green shirt. "Don't make me tell you again. Don't wear those shoes anymore. It's going to be November in two days." I meant for him not to wear them to town. I don't mind for things at home like feeding the puppy or gathering eggs.

At home, The Pony helped me carry in groceries and put them away. I told him to put on another pair of shorts so he could breathe. Then he set about his chore of gathering boxes for burning. That's how we do it here in Hillmomba. No need to clog up the landfill. Mother Nature cleanses herself. The Earth has not been asphyxiated due to lightning burning millions of acres of timber over the history of the world. Normally, he puts smaller boxes into larger boxes. But there's been a shortage of big boxes, so Farmer H tells him to put the boxes in a big black trash bag. Of course Farmer H burns it bag and all, whereas I want to do my part for the environment and bring that bag back to use for trash. Tomato, tomahto, what you gonna do?

I saw the big dogs way out by the road, jumping and biting and generally acting the canine fool. I sent The Pony to see what was up. I thought they might have stolen the puppy's new rubber chicken squeaky toy, or were perhaps in the process of killing a baby mole. The Pony set out to investigate.

With the bag stuffed full of boxes on his back.

I know ponies might be beasts of burden. But not my Pony. He's generally pretty flimsy. A normal child would have set the bag of boxes down on the porch before galloping off an eighth of a mile to check on dog shenanigans. Not The Pony. I also noted that he had ditched the slides and was now sporting shoes AND socks. Poor Pony. He would hobble through life unshod if it were socially acceptable. He came trotting back, black bag jouncing on his spine. "They were just playing. Not killing anything. I'm taking these boxes over to the barn now."

The Pony saw nothing odd about carrying that bag of boxes like Santa at a pickpocket convention. I suppose he thought I or the puppy might come out on the porch and take the fruits of his labor.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Heinous Act Of Questionable Authenticity

I am feuding with a fall fly. How he gained egress to the Mansion is merely a theory, but I'm betting on The Pony's habit of leaving the kitchen door open when he sets out a plate of food for the puppy. When I chastise him, he comes inside and watches through the slots in the mini-blind built into the door window.

A fall fly is a lumbering, slow-witted pest that evades reasonable attempts to end his life. He does this with luck, not smarts. He waits until I nod off in the recliner to crawl upon my face. When I startle awake, he begins a lazy reconnaissance mission of ever-smaller concentric circles. Then he lands on an arm, or a stack of magazines that lean precariously toward the lamp with a loose bulb. He drifts heavily away when I reach for the murder weapon. And it's there, by cracky! A blue plastic flyswatter with a white wire handle rests upon the lamp table. At the ready.

Tonight, Mr. Fly has invaded my dark basement lair. It's my own fault, really. I turned on the light. Mr. Fly saw that as an invitation. He has swooped my head, landed numerous times on the monitor of New Delly, and danced like double-left-footed team mascot away from the danger that is a rolled-up Woman Within catalog.

Do I go to Mr. Fly's place of business and recreation, and interfere with his livelihood? Do I? Have you seen me gliding in and prancing about a steaming cow patty? I think not.

Okay. The charade is over. The Truth in Blogging Law requires me to inform you that Mr. Fly met his demise shortly after I typed the non-immortal words: "I am feuding with a fall fly. How he gained egress..." at the beginning of this post. But I couldn't stop then. I had the whole concept thought up in my head. To not write it would be a waste of a good five minutes.

Here's how it went down. I was merrily typing away when Mr. Fly appeared on the New Delly landing strip again. I grabbed my Woman Within. He sailed away. Mr. Fly returned to sit upon my keyboard. Ha! I'm not that dumb, to whack my own keyboard. He crawled around. And set out down the wire that leads to the tower.


I scooped up the remains in a Puffs with Aloe. A clean one, even. I squeezed it to make sure Mr. Fly had expired. Then I deposited him in a wastebasket lined with a Devil's bag. So simple.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Connie Appleseed

School was out today, because of parent conferences earlier in the week. I started the day with a visit to a convenient care clinic to rid myself of a cold/sinus sickness that has plagued me for almost two weeks. From there, The Pony and I visited the pharmacy, the bank, the savings & loan, Captain D's, the pharmacy again, the gas station chicken place for a soda at half the price of Sonic, the Save A Lot, and back home. Tired yet?

As I was leaving the drive-thru lane after making the Mansion payment, the teller pointed to a wicker basket on her glassed-in counter. "Apple?" I did not hear her at first, and said something clever like WHAT? Then she asked again, "Would you like an apple?" No. I consulted The Pony. Nor did he.

As we pulled away from the window, I caught The Pony's eye in the mirror. "Do I look like the kind of person who would like an apple?"

"No. Not really."

"I didn't think so. Anyway, it's not like it's going to keep the doctor away, heh heh."

"Well. You should have come here first."

That Pony. He's a quick one. But what's with tellers offering apples at the drive-thru? Did my flawless beauty set her off? Am I Mrs. Hillbilly Snow Mom White? Was she trying to poison me so she could be the fairest one of Hillmomba?

Maybe it had something to do with Halloween. Maybe she saw The Pony in the back seat. But she didn't ask if my little Pony wanted an apple. She asked ME.

At least she didn't offer me a dog biscuit.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Arachnicide: Life On The Hall

I confess. I committed arachnicide on Tuesday.

I couldn't help it, really. With a scant three minutes left of my plan period, I encountered a spider skittering across the floor by my cabinets. I was on my way to run a last-minute copy. No time to grab a piece of paper and scoop up Spidey and slide him out the window. I don't think I would have tried that with this one, anyway. He was as big as an Eisenhower dollar. Not a Susan B. Anthony dollar. Bigger.

See what I mean? Spidey was all hairy and black. He looked like a hopper. I tried to put the kibosh on his shenanigans with my shoe. That little booger was durable. It took me a good four stomps to get him. It didn't help matters that he made a beeline for my cabinet. If there's one thing I don't want in my cabinet, it's a hairy black hopping spider the size of an Eisenhower dollar. No thank you.

I had to root Spidey out from the cabinet base with the toe of my shoe. That kind of made a crunching sound, and caused Spidey to curl up like a stainless steel colander. I was not inclined to hike across the room for a tissue, and then make the return trip to the wastebasket. So I did what any teacher at the end of her plan period, with parent conferences bringing traffic to her room later in the day would do, and kicked Spidey three short feet out into the hall. But that left Spidey right in front of the door to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's classroom. So he got the boot for three more feet. Which somehow caused one of his legs to fall off. Not so durable in death, now, are you, Mr. Spidey?

I knew he would get swept up before conferences. We're very careful about things like that. So far, there are no witnesses. My doorway is in a camera dead zone.

Good to know.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How In Tarnation...

You're not gonna believe this. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it myself.


I know. How did he DO that? Pilly is a regular David Copperfield! Except that instead of making the Statue of Liberty disappear, Pilly made himself disappear. And reappear!

This afternoon, The Pony and I left school at 3:45. No need to hang around late today, with five hours of parent conferences slated for Thursday. I can catch up on my work between parents. We hopped into T-Hoe lickety-split, because rain was pelting down hard enough to leave an embarrassing puddle of mud on the parking lot pavement, just under the end of T-Hoe's running board.

I put my school keys in the glasses-holder slot. I put my school bag on the passenger seat. The Pony set my purse from the back floor to the passenger seat. I put the keys in the ignition, reached down for my seatbelt buckle, and saw Pilly laying smack dab in the middle of the top tissue resting in front of the cup holders. The top tissue on the stack of about five tissues that I carefully searched on Monday. And again on Monday afternoon. And a third time on Tuesday morning after I got to school.

I mean SEARCHED. I took that whole stack, laid them on the console, and while holding each one separately over the open slot of the console, hung them vertically by my thumb and forefinger, and shook them one by one! ON THREE SEPARATE DAYS!

How can a pill reappear like that? Something is spooky in T-Hoe.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where's Encyclopedia Brown When You Need Him?

Kids amaze me.

I covered the front window in my classroom with black paper yesterday morning. That's because I'm treating my freshmen to a 2011 Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Classroom Premiere of Dante's Peak. They just finished a chapter on volcanoes, so we are not stressing during this parent conference week, but instead are wallowing in the fruits of our labors and applying our new-found knowledge to real-life incidents. Or at least fictional real-life incidents.

The Truth in Blogging Law requires that I clarify: I, myself, did not cover the window. It was the work of two students. I think one was pulling my leg. Figuratively, of course. We can't have students pulling teacher's legs willy-nilly here in the land of Missouri public school education. Remember, we're the teachers not trustworthy enough to text kids for educational purposes? Anyhoo...dude kept applying the masking tape to the black paper and black window frame in a wasteful manner. Instead of longways, Dude applied the tape across. So the border, instead of being streamlined stripes, turned out to look like a bunch of stitches. I said their window treatment made it look like Frankenstein's Window. The window-treaters proclaimed that theirs would set a new trend. Yeah. Right.

The next class was fine. Because they never notice anything. It is quite probable that I could walk in from the hall with my hair on fire, and someone would ask, "What time to we get out of here?"

The class after that must understand that short of giving everybody polarized sunglasses, a blacked-out window is the next best way to combat scattered light that makes your projector image wash out. I fielded nary a question.

Oh, but the one after that was all abuzz. "What happened to your window?" At least seven different students asked me that. They were just begging for a Mrs. Hillbilly Mom lecture.

"I don't know what all the fuss is about. You act as if my window has totally disintegrated/fallen out/been stolen/been broken out with marbles fired from a tiny slingshot crossbow. AND THEN covered with black paper. Because black paper will stand in for tempered glass just fine. I'm a regular pioneer, making windows out of greased paper. Not really. I'm being facetious. I'm not old enough to remember paper windows. Let's move on to our movie now."

Could they not calculate:

And then formulate:

Today's youth need cheats for surviving in the real world.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Magic Pill Mystery Tour

The magic pill mystery tour is waiting to take you away.

Every weekday morning, The Pony and I hit the ground running. We are a well-oiled machine. Our morning chores are choreographed so they do not overlap. We manage to get lunches packed and tucked away in backpacks and school bags, dump the dehumidifier (you remember D'Hummy, right?), feed the puppy, pack my bifocals, tuck a Pepcid in my pocket, comb hair, brush teeth, fill a water cup with ice, unhook the charged phones, wake the #1 son, turn off TV and lights, lock the door, pet the puppy, dump a tiny pile of dry cat food on the porch to distract the puppy from following us, and load up T-Hoe for the trip to school.

The Pony holds his door open so I have light to set out my medicine. I take in on the way to school, because it is shaves five minutes off our preparations. Until this morning. As I was transferring it from a folded Puffs with Aloe to the center console tray, a pill got loose. I don't know where it went. I searched high and low. With this being duty day, I let the trail grow cold as I ran back into the Mansion for a replacement pill.

That was one magic pill. You'd think gravity, that harsh taskmistress, would have pulled Pilly down to the soft blanket of tissues that rest directly in front of the cup holders. I use them to shade the lid of my Sonic Diet Coke with Lime to delay meltage. I picked them up and checked them one by one. No Pilly. I checked the cup holders. I checked the floor. I checked the narrow ravines between the console and the seats. No Pilly.

Pilly defied the laws of Newton. Unless he is still in motion at this minute, with no outside force having acted upon him. But I seriously doubt that. I know Pilly. Pilly is no neutrino. Pilly is not that pretty and he's not that special. I would wager a weeks wages that Pilly did not travel faster than the speed of light. And wager the next week's wages that Pilly did not strike me in the ribs, then hit me on the right wrist, make a turn in midair (mind you), and land on my left thigh like Keith Hernandez' spit from the grassy knoll at Shea Stadium landed on Newman. He says.

Yep. Pilly's got the magic in him. Wherever he is.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Purveyor Of Devilish Wares

My faithful companion, The Pony, assisted me this morning in my assault on The Devil's Playground. He's not so much my sherpa as he is my trusty scout. Like Deets in Lonesome Dove. I send him ahead to look for items, to save me a few steps. Sometimes he is instructed to retrieve them for me.

The Pony is generally good at bringing back what he's sent after. He's no Lassie, despite the length of his knee hair, but he gets the job done more often than not. With one minor issue.

A purveyor of more dented, squashed, leaky, misshapen, opened, bruised, or expired products you'll never find than Pony. He's like a damaged-merchandise magnet. He doesn't mean to grab the worst wares off the shelf. But he does.

Today he was sent to procure a bottle of Axe Shock Body Wash for the #1 son's shower needs. The Pony has performed this duty before. He knows the location, the shape, the color, and the title of this product. Off he went. He found me perusing the Pepcid Complete aisle, which has been bereft of Pepcid Complete for nigh on a year now. He handed over his find. I absentmindedly held out my hand and put it in the cart. It felt a bit sticky, but I let it go.

Upon unpacking The Devil's bags back at the Mansion, I noticed a strong perfumy odor from the bag containing six cans of Ol' Roy puppy chicken. Further investigation revealed a blue bottle of Axe Shock Body Wash with a rivulet of congealed body wash snaking down the back side of the bottle like the ick-worthy treasure trail of David Spade as Joe Dirt, when he tried to seduce Jaime Pressly as Jill (you're my sister!) at the carnival.

It's a sad, shocking day when you have to axe a sticky stain off the side of The Devil's body wash before it can be used to wash a body.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

But Does It Make Me A Hoarder?

I have 94 sick days. What in the world am I doing with 94 sick days? Once I reach 100, I am technically giving them away if I don't use them. Because upon retirement or leaving the district, a teacher can only be reimbursed for 100 sick days. That's a whole semester, people. A quarter is only 45 days.

Of course, I hope never to be sick enough to need all those days. I think I've been hoarding them because my first year, when I only got 8 sick days, I had to use almost all of them when I had my gallbladder yanked out, and The Pony was a baby with an ongoing ear infection, and #1 came down with the chicken pox the last month of the school year.

The reimbursement rate is about 1/4 of what it costs to pay a sub for the day. What's up with that? I think my talents are at least on par with a person who has 60 credit hours and pops in to babysit students for 7 hours a day. Maybe I should call in sick, and avail myself to sub in another district. Then I could earn what my sick days are worth.

Of course, that little plan would cause a kerfuffle unless I got a really kick-butt doctor's note explaining that due to some obscure form of mental illness, I needed a release from my regular duties intermittently, with an opportunity to build my self-confidence by applying my skills in another venue.

I'm sure it could be done. But I'm not a trendsetter.

Next year, or maybe even later this year, I see no reason to drag myself to work when I'm not feeling up to par. No need to add a fourth notch to my red pen for going an entire school year without missing a day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Swit Gin Yuss

I have become addicted to a show on the Food Network. It is called Sweet Genius. But the way the host pronounces it makes me refer to it as Swit Gin Yuss. That host is a most compelling character. He does not bite into an onion like it's an apple, as the host used to do on Iron Chef. He doesn't have a catchy name for his set like Kitchen Stadium. He's just very weird.

The host of Swit Gin Yuss has some freaky accent. I don't remember his name. But he looks like an alien experiment went wrong while crossing James Carville and Mr. Clean. He gives the four competitors an item to work with, plus a theme. Then when they are almost ready to plate their dessert, he sends out (on a conveyor belt) a totally unrelated mystery ingredient that must be incorporated. It's not a show for cooks with high blood pressure.

Some ingredients have included black garlic, wasabi, tater tots, duck fat, fusilli pasta, boiled eggs, dark stout beer, sour lemon candies, jawbreakers, dried seaweed, and for inspiration: a cat, jellyfish, a conch shell, a carousel, diamond, darkness, peacock feathers, a pearl in an oyster.

It's bizarre. But the best part, besides watching Mr. James Clean Carville spit out unpleasant bits into a napkin, is the moment he cuts a competitor with the words: You, (insert name), are no Swit Gin Yuss.

Yeah. It's like Chopped, for you Food Network foodies, but with the $10,000 decision resting totally in the mouth of one creepy-looking dude.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Pressure

Here I sit
All broken-hearted
Set to write
But I feel thwarted.

Well. What did you THINK I was going to write?

They can't all be pearls, you know. Some are just grains of sand. If my blog was a calendar of John Denver days, this post would be stone. Not diamond.

I've had a sinusy kind of headache for three days. The pain in my head makes my neck hurt. The hurt in my neck makes my shoulders tense. The tenseness in my shoulders makes my back stiff.

I make it through the day by biting a figurative stick until lunch time. Even figurative bullets are not allowed on school property. Then I take an ibuprofen, which kicks in about an hour later. That lasts until after supper, when my forehead and undereye area start throbbing again. Which kind of puts the kibosh on ribbons of witty life-lessons flowing from my fingertips.

At least I'm not the old lady who swallowed a fly. I don't need any wiggling and jiggling and tickling inside me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Rheumatism Acts Up

This weather makes my knees hurt. I feel like a sweet potato with toothpick legs.

Yesterday, as we left the building, I told The Pony to slow down. After all, I held the keys to T-Hoe. No need for him to dart out in the rain and wait for me to hobble closer.

"Hold up. I have no knee cartilage. I feel my bones grinding together as I walk. I swear, every time I take a step, it's like walking on two mortars. Or two pestles. I can never keep them straight."

"It's pestles."

I don't know where The Pony comes up with his bits of illuminating trivia. But he's rarely wrong. I suppose that's a good thing. I would look pretty silly walking on two mortars.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Like Norm, Everybody Knows His Name

On Monday, we gathered around the teacher lunch table for our glorious 23-minute respite from jumping through hoops in the rat race that is our vocation. In our insular community, an tiny atoll of sanity in the midst of the freshman lunch sea, we baited each other as we fished for news of goings-on in other locales.

Mr. G sported a Red Ribbon Week bracelet.

"How did you get THAT a week early?" Said as if a man of his subject area would actually seek out such a bracelet to flaunt to the rest of us.

"It's Red Ribbon Week at Basementia. We all got 'em."

"Oh. What was the theme today for dress-up?"

"Hat day."

"Oh, no. The Pony missed Hat Day! He will be upset. Last year, he wore his metal Roman helmet with the swinging ear flaps. I don't know how his neck supported it all day. What's tomorrow?"

Mr. G put down his hamburger. He looked at me with a glint in his eye. "Nerd day." He started to chuckle.

"Well. The Pony was ready for THAT today!"

The Pony's reputation precedes him.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Worst Idea Ever

Okay. Make that The Second Worst Idea Ever. Because I'm pretty sure the Worst Idea Ever was that time I decided to flick a bumblebee out of the pocket of my shirt while driving a Chevy Chevette on a winding road at 55 mph.

This current, non-ambulance-necessitating Worst Idea Ever involved my evening meal last night. I did not care to partake of tacos so late in the day, because we elderly have a little issue with acid indigestion, and Pepcid Complete has disappeared from the shelves of The Devil's Playground and everyplace else, including the innernets. So I baked up a polish sausage. Not the good kind, like a kielbasa or a bratwurst. Just a regular thin hot-dog size. I like it baked, because then it's kind of like when it has been on the grill, because you can get a black, charred crust on the outside.

We had some leftover hamburger buns in the cabinet, so I decided, "Why waste a fresh hot dog bun when I can use a stale hamburger bun a day before the chickens get them, since it's terrible to toss away money these days in this economy, when any money I save can be applied to a Sonic Route 44 Diet Coke with Lime?"

I took out a bun. I sliced my charred sausage down the middle lengthwise to flatten it out. Duh! How did you think I was going to keep it from rolling off the bun? Because it was too long for the hamburger bun, I also sliced it in half, and stacked the two-by-two flattened sausage pieces on the bun. I added mustard to each side of the bun. And tossed in a bit of chopped onion from the taco fixin' bowl, and a couple of half-slices that were left over. Because onion indigestion is not as severe as taco sauce indigestion.

Second. Worst. Idea. Ever.

When I bit into it, the sausage rafts slid apart. The bun disintegrated like that hard styrofoam block in the bottom of a wire-stemmed fake flower arrangement. Mustard shot out from all directions. I swear I even got it between my toes. Onion bits fell out.

I felt like David Hasselhoff trying to eat a cheeseburger.

Maybe this was the Third Worst Idea Ever.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Pony Has Left The Paddock

My poor little Pony. Adolescence is hitting him hard. He has become the most forgetful boy on the face of the earth. More forgetful, even, than his father. I will send him out of the room on a specific mission, and he returns five minutes later to ask what it was I had sent him for. IF he returns at all. The Pony denies these lapses in consciousness. He says I didn't specify. Or that I never told him. Or that he didn't hear me. Or that he was not paying attention because he was reading/playing a game/watching TV.

I know that The Pony's body is betraying him, concentrating all resources into preparing him for the world of adulthood. Changing him from a pony to a horse. I know. That's not how it works. But I was reminded of the time the #1 son sarcastically informed me, upon passing by the neighbor's pony in a field, "According to YOU, that pony has been a pony for the last seven years." Indeed. And so it had. #1 learned a lesson that day about the nomenclature of our equine friends.

My heart went out to my Pony today. I sent him across the vast expanse of The Devil's Playground alone, to seek ink for an HP Deskjet 940C. I showed him the little laminated card. Explained that he needed a number 15 replacement cartridge. Black ink. No color, no frills for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's work. The Pony confirmed that he could remember "15", that he did not need the card, and that he would take a look at the computer games before rejoining me. He does this most weeks. We meet up on the paper towel aisle, or the soda endcap. I told him I was going to get the puppy food, and then proceed along the back of the store. Just like every week. Off he went.

It took a while to find the Ol' Roy Hearty Loaf of puppy chicken cans. Ol' Roy had been shoved to the back of the top shelf. I moved two aisles over to pick out a chew toy. I played chicken with a woman on the Drano aisle, allowing her to force me onto the streaky footing next to the 3D yellow triangle of spillage. I stopped twice to cross off items on my list. I looked over my shoulder for The Pony.

No Pony.

He never takes that long. I began to wonder if he was having trouble finding the ink cartridge. I considered backtracking. Then thought better of it. Just when my apron strings were stretched to the limit, my pocket started ringing. It was The Pony.

"Um. Hello? Mom?" (like somebody else would answer)

"Yeah? What do you need?"

"Did you forget me?"

"Noooo...where are you?" (I could picture him standing out front, near tears. Because just last week I almost left him at Academic Team. But that's another story)

"Uh. I'm here at the books. Waiting for you. Where are you?"

"Oh. I'm between the soda and the chips."

"Oh! You said you'd wait for me in the books."

"No. I said I was going along the back of the store."

"Okay! I'll be right there!"

Poor Pony! It doesn't help that he carries a book or Kindle through the store, reading as he walks. Maybe I should ban that constructive activity from now on. It does interfere with him grabbing a case of soda and flipping it over in the cart so the bar code is on top.

I bet he's really glad I talked him into taking his phone with him today.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cannibalism Rears Its Ugly Head Again

An embarrassing cannibalism faux pas was narrowly averted this evening on the front lawn of the Mansion.

The Pony and I stepped out onto the front porch to feed the new puppy some Hearty Loaf. That's gooshy canned "puppy chicken", according to Ol' Roy brand. The Devil's brand. I normally would not feed such poison to my puppy, but she was off her feed after being spoiled with diced ham from The Pony's grandma. Half a can is enough at one feeding for this little imp.

Unfortunately, the big dogs feel that they, too, deserve a portion of puppy chicken. A portion the size of all of it. So we have to remain vigilant so the pup can eat. As a distraction, I took out some chicken bones from lunch. Not the splintery, dog-choking chicken bones that people used to toss their dogs willy-nilly back in the day. These were bones from two chicken breasts. Soft bones. Rubbery, even.

Tank the lazy beagle was slow on the uptake. While he was snoozin' on his fat feet, a hen darted in and snatched Tank's breastbone forthwith. I shouted. The Pony gasped. "Get it! Get it back! Go get that bone from the chicken!" The Pony galloped into action. He chased that hen three times around the front yard before she dropped the cartilaginous remains of a distant cousin. He was not the only one in pursuit. All the other hens, and two of the roosters, joined him in the quest. That poor hen must have felt like the kid who unwraps a piece of gum on the playground.

Thank the Gummi Mary, order was restored, and no cannibalism took place on our watch.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Desperately Seeking Views On...

Some days, I bemoan progress. Well, that's most days. But some days, I moan louder than others.

Can you even fathom how annoying it is to work in a hall of cameras? In a hall of mirrors, I would have to look at myself. But I'd get over the nausea pretty quickly. In a hall of cameras, other people have to look at me. I hear what you're shouting at your monitor: "Here, now, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Whatever made you think its all about YOU? Those cameras are there for safety. For surveillance. To make sure nobody carts off a truckload of that delicious cafeteria food, so delicious that you and your colleagues would sooner ingest five-week-old generic tortilla chips than pay for a tray lunch. Stop being such a self-centered dingleberry. Just because cameras are aimed at your every move does not mean that an actual person is watching you every minute of every day."

And to that, I say, "Mind your own beeswax, people, and let me rant about the current bee in my bonnet."

From the moment I pull T-Hoe onto the Newmentia parking lot, I am fettered. Not footloose. Not fancy free. Fettered. Constrained. I have to watch my Ps and Qs. Which stands for Pints and Quarts, for those of you who like to get your learn on while reading a blog post. Not that I partake of said Ps and Qs. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a teetotaller. Because alcohol (and firearms) (and tobacco) are prohibited on school property. And the cameras would totally catch such substance faux pas in a hot hillbilly minute.

My issue is of a more delicate nature. A peccadillo of sartorial proportions.

There is nowhere to pick the underwear out of your butt crack without being observed.

"But Mrs. Hillbilly Mom," you say. "Cameras are not permitted in the classroom. Surely, upon arrival, you could pick your linen behind closed door." Au contraire. I have road-facing windows. The buses drop off outside those windows. Visitors and parents park out front. No thank you. I do not wish to be the lead story on the evening news.

Nor do I wish to run to the faculty women's restroom every time I need to wrestle my undergarments back from my cheeky buttocks.

Commando is not an option.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Off The Pony

The Frigidaire tried to kill The Pony a few days ago. Oh, she's a subtle one. Humming along like we're all best buds. Shooting out ice cubes to tickle our fancy. A sly assassin is she. Her still waters run deep.

Every morning, I fill The Pony's metal water bottle with ice and a smattering of H2O. Because the top of the water bottle is too small to adequately catch half-moon ice chunks, I first harvest the cubes in a red Solo cup. From there, I hand-scoop them into the pursed mouth of the blue or red aluminum water bottle. It takes slightly less than two cups.

On the last handful of pearly crescents, I spied something whiter than the ice. I peered into the opening like Anton van Leeuwenhoek into an ocular eyepiece. He's considered the father of microscopy, you know.

I could not quite make out the offending foreign object. I shook the metal bottle. That got my hand a whole lotta cold, and the object a dive to the Davy Jones' Locker of brought-from-home beverage containers. So I poured it out into a large hot & sour soup takeout container. Aha! There it was, about the size of two dimes: a white plastic piece of Frig's cube-freezing mechanism. I made a new batch of water for The Pony.

Frig and I are at sixes and sevens. I am not inclined to perform another lifesaving coldecystectomy on Frig any time in the near future.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Curmudgeon Scoffs At America's Pastime

I tried to watch baseball on TV tonight. I tried.

Why is it so much like watching paint dry? Ho hum. Let's watch the pitcher try to scuff up the ball without being accused of scuffing up the ball. Look the runner back. Fidget with your cap. Pick your butt. Shake off the catcher's signal. Step off the rubber. Oh. How about a conference on the mound with the catcher? Better yet. Bring in the 102-year-old pitching coach for a tete-a-tete. Now we're cookin'. Serve up that intentional walk.

I wanted to pull my lovely lady-mullet out strand by strand. I couldn't. Couldn't watch the snail's pace spectacle for more than ten minutes. This is the playoffs. Isn't that alone supposed to generate some excitement? America's pastime needs a squirrel scampering across home plate EVERY game.

And what's with the uniforms? Back when I was but a wee tot, when my dad regularly took us to see Bob Gibson pitch in Busch Stadium, you could tell the players from old men in pajamas. Not so today. Since when did a baseball uniform turn into a garb akin to pajama jeans? Baggy, floppy, legs pulled down over the heels like ersatz bell-bottoms. If you want to play in street clothes, then play in street clothes. At least the opposing pitcher had the good sense to wear the high socks and short pants. Like a baseball player. Ah...Chipper Jones of the Braves, in his heyday, a sartorial salute to the high socks. That's what baseball needs. That, and some Red Bull.

It's almost as torturous to watch as golf.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Old West Apples

We had an altercation at school this morning. Or, as the kids say, "Did you see the fight?" No. Because it was not in my room, where I was busily preparing for the day. From their description, it sounded more like a bully beatdown, because one party did not fight back, but endured until the bell. And by "bell" I mean the appearance of a duty teacher to break it up. A few students had stepped in, but were unsuccessful in their efforts. Of course opinions were divided, depending on whether your demeanor leans toward bully or bullyee. I had to stop some from justifying the beatdown. Just because you think somebody it running their mouth about somebody else does not give you a reason to wail on that somebody.

"This is not the Old West, where you take matters into your own hands. This is modern society. We are an institution of learning, where rules are in place for the good of all people. Cheap entertainment is not a reason to stand by and do nothing. Get a teacher, or attempt to break it up. Before somebody gets hurt."

The noble breaker-uppers basked in the momentary glory of validation. And, most likely, returned to being persecuted snitches once they left my classroom.

All it takes is a handful of bad apples, people. A handful. And I'm not going to let them spoil my bunch.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Good Thing He's A Pony, Not A Cat

Perhaps I've mentioned my thirteen-year-old son, The Pony. I think his name has come up once or twice. I may or may not have voiced a concern over the hairy kneecaps of The Pony. Of which he is very proud. But that's an ancillary topic today.

Every afternoon, we let our new puppy out of her pen. She was dumped at my mom's house, who refused to feed her for two days, then we took her in. She's a tiny imp, just now gaining energy enough to frolic, and we keep her in a rabbit hutch overnight and while we're gone, because she's smaller than a rabbit, and hawks cast their shadows over her when she's out. Which really makes the chickens squawk.

The Pony sat down on an old cooler, and I stood beside the porch. We roughhoused with Juno until her pointy teeth became too punctury, then calmed her down for petting. The Pony's knees and shins were at my eye level. "Did she bite your leg? Is that blood?"

"Where? Oh, that? That's ketchup."

"It looks like ketchup. Did you get some on you while eating your Sonic tater tots on the way home?"

"No. I didn't have ketchup with them. That's left there from lunch."

"You went through half the day, and two hours of Academic Team practice, with ketchup on your leg? And you didn't know it?"


"I'll hand you some Germ-X out of my purse."

"That's OK. I'll get it." He let a dribble of spit fall on his shin. He began rubbing it over the ketchup, like a Mom kind of spitbath, without the Mom spit. The hair swirled like that of a dog getting a suds bath. A lather appeared. The hair was thicker than Juno's.

"Heh, heh. I didn't know it would make suds!"

The Pony. He never ceases to amaze me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Generous Offer Of My Talents

The #1 son put in a snack order for last week's assault on The Devil's Playground: Nutella and pretzels.

Seems he enjoyed such a repast in his 1st hour class. Far be it from me to tell another teacher how to run a class. But that would not happen in mine. Food is for the cafeteria, and learning is for the classroom, and never the twain shall meet. So sayeth Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Besides, every student gets free breakfast now. Did they not stock up during breakfast time? Seriously? You already need a snack 1st hour? But that's not the point of this post.

We are not a Nutella family. As far as I know, this was #1's first exposure to that hazelnutty putty. He ran around the Mansion. "Here! Try it! It's fantastic. C'mon. Just a bite." He even dipped the pretzel in the jar of Nutella before profferring it to the intended consumer of his force-feeding. I stopped short of reprimanding him for dipping right into the jar. He was so excited by his culinary discovery.

Yesterday, I dipped some Nutella into a bowl with pretzels. Yes. It's delicious. But the consistency of Nutella is quite interesting. Like, when you get it on your finger, it's almost impossible to lick off. It gets ingrained. Likewise with the sides of the bowl. So I've come up with a new advertising slogan.

"Nutella: Works Like Glue, Looks Like Poo."

I do not anticipate any financial gain for my efforts.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Peggy Can't Fool Me

The phone rang Friday night at 6:20. It was my insurance prescription drug coverer, wanting to chat with me about ways to save me money. Yeah. That'll be the day. Those prescription drug coverage companies are all about saving the customer money. Uh huh. Like how they won't cover one prescription that can not be a generic, because I had a reaction to the generic, and they expect me to pay the full price of $57. Funny how my secondary insurance prescription drug coverer, through Farmer H's work, accepts that drug, leaving me a cost of $17.

To add insult to my perceived injury, IPDC (that's Insurance Prescription Drug Coverer, because it has become a bit tedious to type), did not even have the courtesy to provide me with a real live person to slam the phone down on. They sent me an automated call. And it requested that I give THEM a call Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. That is SO not going to happen.

What person in their right mind would take time out of a busy work day to voluntarily chat with an IPDC about their agenda? Not this ol' Hillbilly. I would no doubt get a chubby, hirsute man with a heavy accent, who goes by the name of "Peggy." I do not want to bandy words over generics and ordering a three-month supply. Because people who live a mile up a gravel road with a mailbox down on the county road do not want to tempt fate and meth-heads by having three months worth of drugs sitting in a row of handy drive-up drug dispensers. Besides, that three-month prescription costs the same as two-and-a-half months, and you're not really saving if the doctor decides to switch meds, or the shipment is late and you have to buy a month's worth on your own.

Pigs will be flying over the cold, frozen wasteland of Heck on the day an IPDC provides you with a plan to save YOU money.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I've never seen the movie Arachnophobia. I've never been afraid of spiders. But some things are just plain wrong.

On the way down the porch steps this morning, I grabbed the wooden hand rail that Farmer H installed for me last winter. Because those wooden four steps down to the garage, just under the breezeway, are ice magnets. In grasping that untreated two-by-four, I felt something soft and suede-like. Which I most certainly was not expecting on a slab of wood hastily-screwed onto a support board by Farmer H. I yanked my hand back. I leaned over and peered on the other side of the poor man's banister. Nothing. I thought no more of it.

At school, I was late getting out into the hallway after 2nd hour. Which doesn't really matter, because it's my new plan time. But I usually step out, just to see what's shakin', what's the student behavior barometer for the day. A gaggle of girls and boys blew past me. Not an actual run, because they know I'm the annoying Stop-Running Crier. But they scurried.

Since I have a knack for sniffing out trouble before it appears, I turned in the direction opposite the scurriers. A boy was busy stomping at something under the lockers. He finished. He left. I went to investigate. Here came Mrs. NotACook out of her classroom with two tiny Dixie Cups, the size one might use to serve a crazy pill to Angelina Jolie as Lisa in Girl, Interrupted. Right before she grabbed a pen and threatened to jam it into her aorta, pointing to her neck, only to be informed by one Whoopi Goldberg, "Your aorta is in your chest," leading to the response, "Good to know."

Mrs. NotACook scooped that something up into a Dixie Cup, and showed it to me. It was a hairy wad of spider, which must have been quite large while alive and running for its life in the hall. But now, it was slightly smaller than a golf ball, and still. Mrs. NotACook gave it to Mr. Principal, just like a cat will reward its owner with a dead mouse or bird. I'm going to be really mad if I go in Monday and find her with a new bell around her neck.

Once home, I started up those porch steps. Something caught my eye. I leaned over. It was a balled-up furry spider, about quarter size. It was in a different position than where I grabbed the rail this morning. But it was not moving.

You know how people supposedly ingest X number of spider legs each year, and don't even know it? I think it's better that way. The not knowing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Driving Miss Crazy

The #1 son is trying to drive me crazy. Er. Crazier.

He has a teacher this year who is known for instructing students to call her by her first name. That's between her and her students. But it's something that would make me uncomfortable. I don't want students calling me by my first name. And it's not even an embarrassing or wacky name, like Hortense, or Ima, or Marvelanne. I just want to keep a line there in the sand. For propriety's sake. To show that I'm the boss, not an equal. But that's just me.

#1 knows that this issue irks me. IRKS. That's one of The Pony's vocabulary words this week. He pointed that out to me this morning, during our bonding time watching 17 Kids and Counting while we breakfasted and got ready to face the day. I know. The Duggars are a few kids shy of a show. That's what happens when TLC reruns their fare twice a morning. The next two baby girls will rear their heads by next month.

But getting back to #1 and his priming of the deep-end pump to launch me off the handle...This morning he came up the hall on his way to 1st hour. He usually ignores me, strutting by with his nose in the air, avoiding eye contact like a wizened UPS worker placating a mad dog. But today, he sauntered over to my side and said, "I let Buddi read my speech entry. And she liked it."

Of course I asked why he had not asked ME to read it. I'm his mom, you know. Please drop him an anonymous line and point that out, would you? And I certainly have been known to read a few lines now and then. But apparently, I was not good enough to supply an opinion on his speech.

Later in the day, #1 again dropped in. To inform me that he could have attended the away game he was planning to see, before I forbade him to ride with his beginning-driver friend over hill and dale on twisty two-lane blacktop in the dead of night for fifty miles one way, because Buddi had offered to let him ride with her.

NO! Double NO!

I just can't get used to these hippy-dippy lackadaisical laid-back blissed-out colleagues who won't realize that we are in different camps. Students. Teachers. Sworn enemies. Never the twain shall meet.

In my opinion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Work Day Is A Lot Of Work

We let the students out early today so we could be trained at a teacher inservice meeting. I was fortunate, in that I did not have to learn anything. Yet. That fell to the English and Math faculty this time. They had a guest speaker from the state, explaining Common Core Standards, soon to take the place of our previously touted GLEs (Grade Level Expectations) and CLEs (Course Level Expectations). Because, you know, it is imperative that students learn these very important concepts and that is what we should strive for so they will have a good showing on a 35-question multiple choice test. Yes. This knowledge is vital. Until it's not. And then we switch horses midstream and chase a different rainbow.

I spent my afternoon learning how to update my teacher web page. Which is already current. So I added a new article to it. Which was not so easy, because the cronies on either side of me were cuttin' up and hee-hawing and adding a personal photo that the computer nanny declared as pr0n, which set them off again.

The good news is, we got to leave ten minutes early. We made good use of this time by standing outside the room where the English and Math mavens were being hand-fed knowledge. It was a bittersweet taunting, because they would not even look at us. It might have been because they were busy gnawing the epithelial cells right off their own cheeks in an effort to avoid Rip-Van-Winkling while under state supervision.

I can't believe I was actually looking forward to this inservice.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday, Tuesday

The best thing about today is that it's not yesterday.

Among my trials and tribulations Monday were the following:

-had to make The Pony's lunch because he forgot

-ran late because The Pony's lid was stuck on his Axe antiperspirant

-had parking lot duty before school

-couldn't get into my Gaggle account

-three people I contacted couldn't get me into Gaggle

-had to try 20 YouTube videos before I found one that wasn't blocked so I could show my kids the Seabreacher that we read about

-forgot to bring paper plates, had to eat lunch off a paper towel

-had parking lot duty after school

-had a meeting after parking lot duty

-had to cook supper when I got home at 5:30

-had to wash dishes before I could cook supper

-had to add more potatoes to supper at the request of #1

-had to cook a separate supper for The Pony

-my knee ice sprung a leak, due to the way that #1 had put it in the mini-freezer

-had to meet a deadline, spent five hours on computer

-got four and a half hours of sleep

I'm hoping to hear the strains of the world's smallest violin.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is A Poster Gal

I assume everybody has heard of drunk dialing. I'm going out on a limb, there. Wouldn't want to make an ass of u and me, as my old Geometry teacher used to tell us, except on the day he was absent, and we told his student teacher that she should ask him what a d*ldo was.

But enough about my glory days. I'm here to give you a new phone faux pas. Sorry, dudes. It's just for the ladies. And it just happened to me this afternoon. Thank the Gummi Mary, I caught it before it actually dialed.

I had put my phone in my pants pocket while I walked out to T-Hoe after school. As I got ready to climb in, I tossed my school keys into the cup holder, took some cash out of my pocket to put back in my purse, and transferred my phone from my pants pocket to my shirt pocket. As I was buckling up and adjusting the air conditioning, I noticed a glow from my pocket.

I had become the new poster gal for boob dialing.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Something Is Rotten In The Devil's Playground

The Devil is up to his old tricks again.

The Pony and I made our weekly trip to The Devil's Playground. Of course he was out of products we've become accustomed to buying each week. No large styrofoam bowls. No small Great Value ones, either. Only brand name. No jeans in the size of the #1 son. It's not like he's some freak of nature, hard to fit. 34 33. Simple as that. Don't be thinkin' The Devil didn't have odd sizes. We were in the Wrangler stacks. Normally, #1 wouldn't be caught dead in Wranglers. He's no cowboy. He's an Old Navy kind of dude. But for cutting wood, his new side business, he needs sturdy work jeans. I might have to hoof it on down to The Family Center, or Tractor Supply, and look for some Carhartts.

But that's not why we're here today, my friends, to discuss the #1 son's sartorial preferences. We're here to rant about The Devil. He had instructed his minions to rearrange all the products. Same shelves. Different order. Wonder Whole Grain Bread was waaaaaay down the aisle. And Pringles Whole Grain Sour Cream and Onion were off, according to The Pony. He takes them in his lunch every day.

But the dirtiest trick The Devil had up his sleeve today was the sale of rotten produce. I bought a five-pound bag of Idaho potatoes. Name brand. IDAHO Potatoes. U.S. grade No. 1 fresh Idaho potatoes. I peeled 11 of them to put in my supper of smoked sausage, potatoes, and cabbage. I cut them into chunks. Funny how 4 of the 11 had black spots through and through. Unusable. Only 4 remained in the bag. I'm saving them for baking later in the week. I am not optimistic that all 4 will be edible. I can imagine taking 4 potatoes back for a refund, and being asked, "What did you do with the rest of the five-pound bag?" Hey, Devil! Idaho called. It wants its potatoes back.

I hate The Devil with a passion. With the heat of 10,000 tubes of Icy Hot applied to a sensitive area. And wrapped with an Ace bandage.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Nest Is Empty

Farmer H and the boys went on a private tour of a lead mine today. An operating lead mine. The public tours, given once a year, were to start at 10:00. But Farmer H has connections. And an 8:00 a.m. tour time.

Afterward, The Pony was dropped off at Grandma's, the #1 son went to his bowling league and from there to a friend's house, and Farmer H came home to bond with his goats and work on his shed project. He has since left for the auction, and will pick up The Pony after that. Nobody knows what hour #1 will roll in.

It is unsettling, having all this time to myself.