Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Make Your Own Samdamwich Eating Plan

There is something inherently wrong in a world where grown men drape themselves across sofas and demand their wimmenfolk make them up some sammiches. Hillmomba is such a world.

Forget all the diet drugs and exercise programs and eating plans. I can easily prescribe a weight loss program for men. I shall call it The Make Your Own Samdamwich Eating Plan. Because the men would simply waste away. An intervention would have to be called after the first couple of months.

You'd think it was rocket science. Brain surgery, even. The act of removing two slices of bread from a wrapper. Laying them on a paper plate out of the Fine China wooden paper plate holder on the counter. Opening Frig to remove a pack of Land O Frost smoked ham, a pack of sliced Pepper Jack cheese, an opened bag of shredded lettuce, and a squeeze bottle of spicy mustard. Such a complicated series of events. You know, what with remembering to breathe in, breathe out at the same time. Or maybe it's their big ol' bear paws that can't manipulate the handle of Frig's door, or the zip lock on the meat and cheese, the pop top on the mustard.

On second thought, I misspoke concerning the rocket science and brain surgery. Of course men are able to perform those intricate tasks. And without even reading a manual or asking directions.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Another Scorching Scorcher

Here I sit, cool as a cucumber in my re-electrified Mansion. Yesterday was a challenge when the power went out at 12:10. I sat around soaking up what was left of the cool until about 2:30. Then The Pony and I went off to town on a couple of errands. One of which was to pick up an early supper. Because there's nothing to do without electricity except eat.

Part of the excursion involved picking up pictures for the #1 son at The Devil's Playground. He was busy, of course, using up the remaining power on his laptop. I could not face a walk through that steaming not-heaven hole to the back of the store to the counter where the pictures could be obtained. So I sent my minion, The Pony, much to his chagrin. He is not a people person. But with proper instructions, which he repeats to himself under his breath, he can manage.

The joke was on me, because once I dropped The Pony off out front, I had to wait in the parking lot. Yes, it was only for five minutes. But the temperature was 112 degrees. I think it was due to the heat flowing from INSIDE The Devil's Playground out onto the parking lot. In any case, once we got rolling again, the temp dropped to a mere 109.

I don't want your pity. Farmer H does. He is at the Cardinals game tonight, running concessions as part of Newmentia's fundraiser for Project Graduation. I imagine it is much hotter at the stadium than it is at The Mansion this evening. I told him to drink plenty of water, and put ice on the back of his neck. At least other school personnel are there to accompany him to the ER if he succumbs to heat stroke.

I'm about ready to pack up and move to Death Valley, where it's cooler.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fat American White People Problems

That dang #1 son persuaded me to pick up lunch for him when I went to town for my soda. Actually, I had to go mail some bills. Silly! Who would drive to town just for a soda?

#1 asked for a Thickburger of some sort from Hardee's. I only know it by its number. Kind of like #1. Since I was already there, I also ordered a Big Shef for myself. Retro, you know. Because Hardee's used to be Burger Chef. The very first fast-food joint we got in our town when I was a kid. I saw my stuff on the order-taking screen. But the price seemed cheap. I was hoping that little half-wit did not mess up the order. #1 would be cantankerous, especially after spending 8 days last week without fast food.

I waited 10 minutes, sweltering, in line. You don't think I run T-Hoe in line, do you? He's a guzzler. So I was relieved to finally reach the window. The bag seemed small. I looked inside. And my Big Shef was missing. At least I had the receipt. I had not paid for it. So I drove off. Without lunch. The prospect of hand-delivering food to #1, then slaving over a hot kitchen counter to make my own lunch was not appealing.

See what happened here? That careless teen fast-food worker at Hardee's forced me to have some gas station chicken! Which was not as good as some I've had in the past. That little pullet that gave her life for my chicken breast really needed a boob job. But at least I didn't have to cook for myself for lunch, and I got a 44 oz. Diet Coke in the same stop.

The #1 son made short work of his Thickburger. In his room. Because he couldn't tear himself away from his electronic gewgaws long enough to sit down in the kitchen. But he DID bring in his trash, and the rest of his soda from his combo. He's been off soda for a while, but every now and then succumbs to the call of a value meal. He said I could have what was left. Oh, yeah! A Diet Coke is a terrible thing to waste. So I flipped over the straw and sucked down a few power swallows. I turned my back momentarily to wipe the counter after getting my gas station chicken plated, and when I turned back to the cutting block, there was #1. WITH HIS LIPS ON THE FLIPPED-OVER STRAW, DRINKING MORE OF HIS FORMER DIET COKE!

The issue is not that I begrudge him a few more milliliters of his soda. It's that I had already flipped that straw over to avoid his germs, and now he was drinking out of the straw again, and, well...there was not another side to flip to! It wasn't quite as bad as Lucy van Pelt exclaiming at the Charlie Brown Christmas program rehearsal that her lips had been touched by dog lips. But it was close.

"I can't believe you're drinking out of that straw! I already flipped it and drank out of it!"

"Oh, well."

"You don't get it. I'm pretty sure you are the reason for the bubonic plague."

"Yeah, that's me. Typhoid #1."

I'm pretty sure none of this would matter if we lived in Laos, like I saw on a Travel Channel show this morning, The Road Less Traveled. Because there, women lived on one side of the village, and men on the other, and 15-year-old boys built themselves love shacks where they invited girls to spend the night, and chickens and ducks and dogs and pigs and water buffalo and cows roamed the village while waiting to be taken closer to civilization and sold. And I'm pretty sure not for pets. But the most shocking thing for the host, Tony Wheeler, was that the animals were running around all together! Which is what we call, in Hillmomba, a farm.

I have a feeling that nobody there would care very much about sharing a straw in a Diet Coke.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

McCoys, We've Got A Problem

I'm not one for startin' feuds. Okay. We all know that I am. But those are personal feuds at work with folks who touch my stuff or even TAKE it and pretend it's their own swag. Normally, I leave the neighbors alone. I'M not the one who has been shot at twice in one week. However...a new feud is brewin' on the horizon.

This morning I woke to the sound of chicken panic and scuffling claws on the back porch. Not uncommon. The dogs have their food pans on the opposite wall of my bedroom. If they don't finish their meal, the chickens peck at the dry dog food. Sometimes, the dogs catch them in the act. And don't see eye-to-eye with the snacking chickens. I drifted off to sleep again. Summer vacation is THE BOMB!

The Pony woke me shortly after 7:00. "Get up. Grandma is going to be here." He's spending the night. So he wanted to get everything packed and ready so he could run out the door the minute he saw her in the driveway. She agreed to pick him up because it gave her somewhere to drive her truck, and keep its battery charged. Just on more service The Pony offers. I stayed in bed a few more minutes. I could hear that the Great Canine-Fowl Disagreement of '12 had moved to the front yard. Squawking and barking instead of the usual crowing competition of the six roosters.

When I opened the living room shades, I saw our three mutts sitting under my lilac bush, watching the neighbors' dog chase our entire chicken flock! It was a monumental task, but this dog is young and spry and strong. She darted willy-nilly, feathers flying, as smaller fowl factions broke away from the main group. Of course I yanked open the front door and screamed, "GET OUT OF HERE, DOG! GO HOME! GET OUT! LEAVE THOSE CHICKENS ALONE!"

Because a simple, "BAD DOG! GET!" would not have been as satisfying.

That dog looked at me, all smooth-muscled, short-black-furred, white-faced-and-underbellied, red-collared, and smirking...then trotted off across the road, past the blanketed horses, and home. Good thing. Because I re-entered the Mansion to search for a gun. Funny how I couldn't find one, what with Farmer H's well-stocked arsenal. I don't know where he keeps them. Don't wanna know. The only ones in plain sight are the three "bad guns" in the wooden gun case under the basement stairs. They're "bad" because they're cheap. Nothing to write home about. The decoys that Farmer H wants thieves to steal instead of searching out his metal gun cabinet and industrial safe with all the good stuff.

I had no intention of getting a real gun. It's not like I was after that crazy man who threatened to shoot Farmer H. No, I was looking for my childhood BB gun. The one that one of the four boys broke somewhere along my life, that Farmer H has put away for safekeeping until he gets it repaired. Yeah. Maybe that's why we don't have horses. He would always be closing the barn door after they left.

My mom interrupted my weapon search by driving her truck down the driveway to the menacing barks and spirited charge of our own fleabags. If only they had applied such ardor to the canine intruder, I would not need firearm protection.

After The Pony left, the #1 son rose and shone, informing me that the pellet pistol was in the living room closet, not the front door closet. I am not very practiced with it. Last I heard, Farmer H was shooting #1 with it, asking how much it hurt. I am going to have that implement of distraction ready Wednesday morning.

I don't want to kill that dog. Only hurt it enough to make it think twice about chasing our chickens. Farmer H suggested birdshot. I think pellets or BBs are good enough. Just to sting, not break the skin. You may think that's cruel, but I'm sure the chickens think it's cruel when dog teeth sink into their backs. That's nature for you. Two motivators. Hunger and pain. I doubt that McCoy Hound is hungry, because many a morning she beats the chickens to their Ol' Roy snack on the back porch. I don't begrudge her that trespass. I'm sure our own dogs eat other dogs' food on their morning rounds. And if they are observed chasing other people's fowl, lock and load. Hillmomba justice.

This is the first time I've caught the McCoy Hound chasing our chickens. I aim to make it the last.

More on the Hillbillies and McCoys Feud as it develops.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Every Mare's Crazy 'Bout A Sharp Dressed Horse

There is an ongoing situation in Hillmomba that has plagued me for the past month. A mystery. A horse of another color.

Shortly after school let out for the summer, I sat alone in my Mansion, both boys off at summer school, and observed an eerie sight out my front window. The movement caught my eye first. It was something across the road in my neighbor's field. Something ghostly. Ethereal. It flowed. Not knowing that area as a hotbed of the supernatural, I sat up. I put on my glasses. And saw this:

At the time, he was walking back and forth by the fence. He's placid here. Feeding from his giant round hay bale that looks like a supersized Frosted Mini Wheat after an overnight bout of snow flurries. But there's no snow now. It was 99 freakin' degrees yesterday. And temperatures this month have hovered in the upper eighties and low nineties. So why is Seabiscuit wearing a sheet? What's the dealio? His equine buddy is also gussied up, all turned out, rockin' the blanket look. I don't see it in the photo, but they've been wearing masks, too. Like, full-face masks. A closed-in halter or sorts.

Yeah. They're not thoroughbreds just off the track. Not keeping warm in the paddock lest they catch a chill. It's summertime in mid-Missouri! Are they trying to make weight for a wrestling match? No silver rubber suits in their sizes? Trimming down for some upcoming nuptials not their own? Costumed as jousting contestants in the Middle Ages? WHO puts their horses in blankets and leaves them like that for thirty days?

The only solution that comes to mind is that their suits are intended to aid them in repelling insects. Horseflies, maybe, so they don't have to stand head-to-tail and swat each other in the face all day. Or perhaps their fabric armor keeps mosquitoes off of their warm, blood-filled bodies and protects them from a horrible equine blood-borne disease.

I don't get it? Any clues?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's Hot Enough For Me. Really.

We seem to be in the midst of the dog days of June. With the temperature forecast to hit 99 degrees today, I could not bear to make my weekly provision-gathering expedition to The Devil's Playground. I suspect it is hotter than a sauna in H-E-doublehockeysticks in there.

The Pony and Farmer H have sought respite in the belly of Poolio. The dogs are holed up in dusty depressions under the vehicles, panting like a woman who has just finished a marathon and is now in the throes of childbirth. I have gone underground, to the cool confines of my basement lair. The chickens seem not to feel the heat. They are scratching and pecking in the woods, and did not hesitate one iota to run out into the bright sun for a treat of stale bread around noon. The goats seem to thrive in these conditions. They have plenty of shade, even though they've eaten the limbs and leaves off all the trees to a height they could reach from their hind legs. They enjoyed a snack of Granny Smith apples. Of course, they enjoy just about anything they can chew, be it thorny rosebushes or car seat upholstery.

Farmer H may be delirious from the heat. He volunteered to BBQ our supper. Nothing a man likes better on a 99-degree day than to sit beside a metal grill full of glowing charcoal.

I have been waiting since mid-February for this heat wave to break.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Sandman Works In Mysterious Ways

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is saving the world one dream at a time.

Last night, Morpheus bade me to save Lindsay Lohan. It was a dream job I couldn't refuse. Thank the Gummi Mary, Mrs. HM is Dr. Drew, Dr. Phil, and Dr. Bob Hartley all rolled into one. Which is handy for explaining her rotund appearance.

As luck would have it, I found my patient climbing into a hyperbaric sleep chamber on the parking lot of the old 7-Eleven. Just as that lid was closing, like a tanning bed, or an Alien movie cryopod, a handsome young dude appeared and palmed something off into LiLo's palm. I caught them in the act. Mrs. HM ain't no slouch in the celebrity-saving department. I commanded Handsome Dude to hit the road, and scolded LiLo. "Don't you know that people DIE from that?" She appeared to have regained her acting skills, because she nodded ashamedly, and clamped the lid of her chamber shut.

I flew off in the direction of my bank to do more important things in the dream world. When I returned three hours later, LiLo was just emerging from her pod like a butterfly from her chrysalis. She was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We ran around town for a whole day, BFFs, and then my dream job was over. "See?" I told her. "You've gone twenty-four hours without drugs, and you're fine. I know you can make it." LiLo, of course, agreed. Because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is just that good.

To complete my mission, I took LiLo home. Not with me! Are you kidding? Even in a dream, I'm not that stupid! I took her to the Playboy Mansion. That's where she was living. Of course I had to go in and wake Hef, to let him know she was safely home. He was in his pajamas. Seriously. And in bed, even. Alone. He was quite glad that I had returned LiLo. He thanked me, and sent her off to her room.

I told The Pony about this bit of insanity. And I ended it with, "She'd better not turn up on the news dead today!"

Maybe tonight, I can save Amber Portwood, the Teen Mom who chose five years in the big house rather than another stint in rehab.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, The Great Improvisor

Farmer H has gone to pick up the #1 son from Missouri Boys State. Actually, he will pick up #1 tomorrow, after a group assembly of sorts. But he's gone tonight, because it's a long drive to be getting there by 8:00 a.m.

The Pony and I are holding down the Mansion. Without the King of the Mansion to cook for, I promised The Pony Pizza Hut. He enjoys the $10 Dinner Box. Not so much the pizza as the breadsticks and cinnasticks. We agreed to wait past lunch time, after dispatching Farmer H around 2:00, and get our pizza for lupper. That's the meal between lunch and supper.

Pity the poor Pony. We got home, and he started distributing the foodstuffs while I was adding ice to my 44 oz. Diet Coke. I looked at his plate. "Oh. They're putting garlic butter in there now, too?" Because normally, the dinner box comes with marinara sauce for the breadsticks, and icing for the cinnasticks.

"No. Why would they do that? It's the icing."

"Uh, no. It says right there: Garlic Butter."

"But it's the same container as the icing."

"Look. Feel it. It's hot, and you can see the butter sloshing around. That ain't icing!"


But because I'm the bestest Hillbilly Mom ever, I yanked open Frig and started rummaging through the door shelves. Aha! A container of Pillsbury Classic Vanilla, leftovers from the famous Easter Oreo Cake. The Pony was over the moon with excitement. A plethora of icing.

"Want me to put some of this in a little plastic cup for you?"

"No. That's all right. Just give me a spoon."

The Pony. Always willing to make lemonade out of life's lemons. Or icing out of Pizza Hut's garlic butter.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Call The Waaaambulance!

Only Mrs. Hillbilly Mom could injure herself at the movies. I'm not talking about an errant step and a broken hip in the lobby. A chipped tooth on a popcorn kernel. A tongue sliced open on a sliver of ice in the keg of AMC soda (with refill!) that I took out a car title loan to afford. Not a paper cut from opening The Pony's Cookie Dough Bites. Not a wrenched ankle from a foot stuck to a sticky floor. Not bruised hip-fat from squeezing into a seat not made for Rubenesque women. Not even a broken eardrum from a toddler's screams. None of those commonplace, everyday injuries for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

I seem to have strained the musculature of my upper back.

You know the place where my angel wings would attach, if, perchance, I was issued a pair of angel wings, which we all know just ain't gonna happen? That's where I have a pain. It starts within an hour of crawling out of bed each morning. It grows more severe throughout the day. Upon plopping down in my basement recliner for TV watching, it abates an itty bitty bit. The pain is so intense that I pop ibuprofen like Skittles. Okay. Not like Skittles. I take one ibuprofen per day. And it is not chewy and fruity like a Skittle, which is really just a tiny bit of Starburst enrobed in a crunchy candy shell.

The initial injury occurred a week or so ago when The Pony and I went to see Prometheus. That darn movie was over two hours long. I was not comfortable in my theater seat. First of all, it seemed like I was sitting on the floor. Like when you're used to driving a large SUV like T-Hoe, and then somebody lets you tool around in his Corvette. And the back of the chair was not calibrated to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom comfort. It was ergonomically incorrect. I prefer to sit upright when I'm sitting. Unless I'm reclining, of course, which is different form sitting. Just ask any furniture salesman working for commission. So my torso leaned back, but my neck jutted forward to see the movie instead of the ceiling.

I tried to make myself more comfortable. Not by slipping into a negligee or anything like that. And not by leaning forward over the row of seats in front of me, which I do on occasion. But people were sitting in that row, and I didn't want to appear all stalkery. Besides, the seat was so low that I would have needed to cross my ankles and sit Native-American style. Which would have been quite uncomfortable, what with my two knee surgeries and me being not even 1/32 Cherokee. I put my hands behind my head for a while, fingers interlaced, like a young man contemplating draping his arm around a new girlfriend on their first date. But that provided little in the way of pain relief.

Yesterday's trip to see Madagascar 3 did not really have any effect on my ailment. The seats in that theater were fine. I feel neither an improvement in, nor a worsening of, my symptoms. My injury maintains its status quo.

It's really painful to get old.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

People Of AMC

No photos. Sorry. It's kind of hard to take them inconspicuously in a darkened movie theater.

The Pony and I went to see Madagascar 3 this morning. Cheap seats, people! Four bucks a head. Of course, he would rather have seen the 3D version, but it was only showing at 5:15 and 10:30. And we are not evening movie people. Can't say as I was sorry to miss out on the nine dollar tickets, either. We had waited too long for this one, and Thursday is the last day. So no weekend 3D for us.

I must say, the ticket-taking and concession staff were in excellent form. Polite and helpful. Conscientious. Even the post-picture refills were ample. Sinks drained, toilets flushed, soap dispensed, paper towels shot out when hands were waved, and TP was present. No ceiling fan chain infringed upon the screen. The temperature was Goldilock-approvable, the floor was clean, the seats unbroken, the movie started on time, can't choose your audience.

This was ten o'clock in the morning. I would estimate twenty people in our theater. Which was about eighteen more than I expected. Everything was fine. Except for one lone patron. The dreaded SCREAMER.

I know that children will be children. And it was a kids' movie. But really. Parents need to realize that their little angels may not always be on the same page as an adult. There were ten well-behaved youngsters who delighted in viewing this movie. But that one bad apple did her best to ruin it for the bunch. I'm not talking about a toddler who might talk out loud, or squeal with delight or fright at certain parts. This was a SCREAMER. She was probably a new two-year-old. Small enough to sit on a lap. Big enough not to want to. So unless Mama let her run up and down the main aisle, she screamed. I wanted to stand up and shout, "Take her out already!" I'm sure the other viewers would have given me a standing ovation. But I'm not the type to make waves. I'm the type to get revenge on my blog.

Towards the end of the movie, Mama grabbed up that screamer and I thought we were in the clear. But no. She sat down against the back wall, right in front of the doors. A distance of, perhaps, ten feet from our seats. And SCREAMER still screamed. So I don't know how this was considered effective. Finally, Mama drug SCREAMER out those double doors. And stood there. Right outside the double doors. Um. Where the screams were still loud and clear. Like she was pinching that poor child. Which I would have liked to do. Though I'm not a child abuser. But the kid was already screaming. So what difference would it have made. Except to make me feel better. In a momentary lapse of screaming, Mama carried her little darling back in. And they stayed until the credits. Still screaming.

You know, don't you, that children this age take a daily nap? They are up with the chickens, and running on fumes by ten o'clock. My boys used to take a morning AND afternoon nap. I planned my errands around naps. Farmer H and I went two solid years without seeing a movie. And when we took the #1 son to his first, it was early evening. I remember it like it was yesterday.

We lived two blocks from a movie theater. Hillmomba blocks. It's not like we could just push him up there in a stroller. We're talking a crossing of a major thoroughfare (by Hillmomba standards), and nowhere to park the stroller inside the theater. So we drove our Ford Aerostar with the child seat. The movie was MouseHunt. It was really entertaining. Nathan Lane, outsmarted by a mouse. Of course, I don't know how it ended. Because with about fifteen minutes left, #1 became fractious. So we warned him that we'd have to leave if he couldn't stop whining. Then we left. Simple as one, two, three.

I've also left a cart full of groceries in the middle of The Devil's Playground. He pays people to put stuff back on the shelf. I'll be darned if one of my kids is gonna get the better of me in a power struggle in public. Not gonna happen. And they learned, my wayward young 'uns. That Hillbilly Mom means business. And if you don't straighten up, you're gonna find your butt strapped into a carseat, on the way back home, no new toys, no new snacks, no colorful people of The Devil's Playground to look at while HM does her shopping.

Snap out of it, people! Adults are the ones in charge.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'll Make You Some Sandwiches

Yeah, I watched Bad Santa the other night. That sandwiches line always cracks me up. The whole movie cracks me up. It is SO VERY WRONG. And so very funny. But not for everybody. Like people without a sense of humor, or moral people, or anybody under the age of 21.

What a coincidence that I had planned on making big sandwiches for supper tonight. It's been so hot. No need to heat up the kitchen by cooking. But I forgot what a production a simple sandwich can be.

The Pony required his whole-wheat roll cut completely in half and toasted in the oven. Then the ham needed to be warmed on the toasted bread. Then sliced tomato and diced onion added. With a dill pickle on the side.

Farmer H wanted his whole-wheat roll split, not halved. No toasting. His ingredients included ham, turkey, pepper jack cheese, tomato, sliced onion, sliced pickle, and shredded lettuce. But the bread, meat, and cheese needed to be warmed in the microwave. Then the other ingredients added, topped with spicy mustard.

I had planned on tuna salad. But when it was finally time to make my own sandwich, I settled on dumping some tuna out of the can onto my split whole-wheat roll. Then I added mayo, sliced pickle, diced onion, sliced tomato, and shredded lettuce. The whole thing would have held together much better if the tuna salad had been completed. Note to self.

So, that's how I came to spend forty-five minutes making sandwiches tonight. Thank the Gummi Mary, the #1 son is still away at Boys State. That might have been the sandwich that broke this old camel's back.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Veal Prince Orloff Squeezes Out A Single Tear Of Solidarity

I fear that the fleeting specialness that was bestowed upon Farmer H for Father's Day has gone to his head.

He came into the Mansion kitchen this evening as I was putting the finishing touches on our supper. Chopping onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes for the salad. I had just taken a pan of popcorn shrimp out of the oven not thirty seconds before his invasion. He stomped straight to the stove, and snatched a shrimp. Not a regular popcorn shrimp. The biggest one on the pan. A behemoth of a popcorn shrimp. About six regular popcorn shrimp fused together. Before I knew it, Farmer H had popped that whale of a popcorn shrimp into his mouth.

Now, I don't begrudge the king of the castle a purloined popcorn shrimp. Far be it from me to ration the rations of a wage-earning member of the household. chief overseer of sustenance, I make an effort to deplete our larder in an orderly manner. With the #1 son gone to Boys State all week, I have scaled back the banquet. I consulted The Pony on how hungry he was, and what sides were in order, and planned accordingly. I normally cook the entire package of popcorn shrimp, on two pans, side by side. But this evening, I scaled back to one pan. I crammed those popcorn shrimp onto that pan tighter than Southwest Airline passengers flying coach. The popcorn shrimp leviathan poached by Farmer H left one-eighth of the pan bare.

Where to begin on the wrongness of his actions? Surely Farmer H must have been practicing fire-eating all these evening in the BARn. For that flaming popcorn shrimp was fresh out of a 425-degree oven. His hands were unwashed. The service of supper was imminent. Less than five minutes away. He upset the delicate balance of main course and salad.

It was as if Lou Grant was once again plundering Veal Prince Orloff. Thank the Gummi Mary, Farmer H did not take half. But neither did he replace the ill-gained spoils on the serving tray. I have more gumption than Mary Richards, but not as much as Sue Ann Nivens. I huffed at Farmer H. He took offense. Threw up his hands. But he left without further molesting the main dish. I believe his last words were, "Then give me less."

Far be it from me to disobey the command of Farmer H.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

HM Is Nothing If Not A Master Of The Last Word

Today may be Father's Day for all normal people in Hillmomba. But as you might have gathered by now, the Hillbilly family is not quite normal. We held our Father's Day celebration on Friday. That's because the #1 son and Farmer H were off early Saturday on the way to Missouri Boys State, in Warrensburg. A considerable drive from these parts.

Farmer H raked in some swag. Three cards. A sugar-free Whitman's Sampler from The Pony. (Sweets for the sweet, some might have termed it. Some who don't know Farmer H very well). A leather-bound, metal-cornered book on survivals skills with large, glossy color pictures and diagrams. And a new cell phone, already updated with his personal contacts and apps. Today, he's also getting a lemon-pepper chicken dinner, and an individual-sized sugar-free vanilla layer cake. Which leads us into the real meat and potatoes of this post...

Round 2 With Methuselah's Great Great Grandma, 
aka The Devil's Judgmental Handmaiden

You might recall Round 1, in which Mrs. Hillbilly Mom tangled with MGGG over the price of cake slices purchased for her mother's birthday. And it wasn't Mrs. HM complaining about the prices. Au contraire. She was perfectly willing and able to pay for such high-dollar treats for her mother. No, it was MGGG who witched and moaned over the price. As if she, herself, were treating Mrs. HM's septuagenarian maternal unit to the delectable sweets. Out of her own shallow, devil-lined pocket.

Today, MGGG started in again over the tiny round layer cake purchased with love for Farmer H, father of the two lights of Mrs. HM's life. MGGG growled, "I can't believe someone would pay that price for a little cake." With the someone, namely Mrs. HM, standing right there in front of her, debit card at the ready.

To add salt to the sugary wound, MGGG furthermore professed that the infernal noise of the game room was about to drive her over the deep end. And the customer behind me nodded and proselytized in agreement, horning in on the precious interaction between the current customer, ME, and MGGG. Let the record further show that the only person in the game room was The Pony, driving on the Fast and Furious Drift arcade game for which I give him two dollars every week as a token of gratitude for his help in negotiating the murky, steaming, underworld that is The Devil's Playground.

"That's my son on that game. I take full responsibility for the noise. It's his reward for helping me do the shopping every week."

MGGG and Horner tut-tutted and tried to backtrack. "The one that really drives me crazy is that little riding toy. It plays a Disney song over and over and over until I want to scream," shared MGGG, my new BFF. Horner allowed how that would have to be the worst.

"Maybe next week, I'll tell my son to ride on that one."

Thank you. I'll be there every week.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mommy Can You See Me?

Farmer H is trying to keep me in the dark.

It is an ongoing problem. One I learned of soon after our blessed union. Farmer H, you see, is not a reader. He's a not a joker, a smoker, or a midnight toker, either. Which is immaterial, really, because those activities do not require an optimum number of foot-candles for success.

With Farmer H, the lighting issue is all or nothing. It's either 40-watt bulbs, or 200-watt indoor floods directly overhead. So I can work in perpetual dusk, or on the surface of the sun. My mom gave me a floor lamp with an adjustable neck to put behind my basement recliner for reading. But my current issue is with the overhead kitchen light. Not that I'm going to read there. Farmer H is not a kitchen cook, either.

My ceiling light is over the cutting block. It's my main kitchen light. One I might use when reading labels, dosing out medication to under-the-weather children, assembling my world-famous Chex Mix, sorting potatoes, putting away groceries, or applying triple-antibiotic ointment and band-aids to The Pony's shredded knees. The under-counter fluorescents, and the over-sink floods, are not conducively located for such tasks. So I would truly appreciate enough light to do my kitchen business without resorting to guesswork.

Apparently, that is too much to ask. Well, not really too much to ask. Too much to expect to be remedied in a timely manner. There are three sockets in that light. One bulb is burning. And I assume it's only 40 watts. Because that is Farmer H's bulb of choice. This afternoon, I told The Pony to turn on the light so we could see how his knees were doing. He flipped the switch. My back was turned to that light. I could not tell when it was turned on.

That is not acceptable. Even by Mansion standards.

Friday, June 15, 2012

T-Hoe Blows

T-Hoe blows.

He doesn't suck. He doesn't bite the big one. He doesn't stink. He blows.

T-Hoe's rear passenger tire has been steadily losing air for about two months. Farmer H has been informed. He has promised to drive the short distance from garage to BARn and give that tire a refill. But he does so when he is darn good and ready. The #1 son topped off the tire one time. But mainly, the task falls to The Pony and I when we are in town.

T-Hoe is losing air at the rate of six pounds every two weeks. Oh, I could shorten that to three pounds a week, Or just under a pound every two days. Or a little less than half a pound of pressure per day. But the two week pattern is what matters.

I have a flat tire symbol on the dashboard of T-Hoe. When any tire is three pounds or more off from the next nearest tire's inflation level, that orange light pops up. So to get rid of it, The Pony and I stop at a convenience store on the way to summer school and inflate the tire a bit. Because it's convenient.

It's a team effort. I drive T-Hoe up to the building. The Pony jumps out and runs around to tell me if the stem is at least halfway up. No need bending myself over into a nosebleed. Then I park. I get out and grab the hose. The Pony pushes the button that starts the air flow, then goes to the driver's seat. He starts T-Hoe, and tells me when the dash gauge reads "33 lbs." I think the tires are supposed to be at 30 lbs. That's what the others are, anyway, give or take a pound. So this buys us two weeks of non-worry. T-Hoe slowly blows out 3 pounds of tire air the first week. Then another 3 pounds the second week. Then the flat tire symbol pops up to remind us to go through the whole rigamarole again.

You'd think the men at home with the air compressor and the tire gauge stick thingamabobbers would deal with this task, wouldn't you?

Or not. Knowing my menfolk as you do.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Resuming Normal Activities

The #1 son is recovering from having six teeth ripped out of their sockets. I know this, because his appetite has returned. He is off broth and pudding. Tuesday night, he ate some popcorn shrimp and a baked potato. Wednesday morning, his grandma picked up a sausage biscuit and a hash brown for him. And for lunch, he had Vienna sausages. But that's not how I know he's recovering.

Wednesday at 1:00, I caught him wielding a large Symphony candy bar at the top of the stairs.

I was in the basement avoiding him when a stab of conscience made me wonder whether he had take his penicillin dose after lunch. So I called up to him. And there he was, leaning over the rail, waving the Symphony.

"I'm eating this."

"No, it's your brother's."

"But it's been here since Sunday night! He's not going to eat it."

"It's his. You said you didn't want any when I was making the list. But I know you. So I told The Pony to grab one for you, too. Or you would eat his."

"He brought two of them to my room when you were putting away groceries. I told him I didn't want two. So he put it out here. He meant to give me both of them."

"No. He would have put it in the pantry. It's with his stack of books."

"He's not eating it."

"Where's yours?"

"I ate it."

"You don't need his, too."

"Yes I do."

"What's that in your other hand?"

"An apple pie."

"You just finished lunch, and you're eating an apple pie, and you're arguing about eating a giant Symphony that belongs to your brother?"


"I can't believe you!"

"Let's see the nutritional hundred eighty calories per serving."

"That's probably per square."

"No. It's THREE squares. And there are five servings per bar."

"That's nine hundred calories!"

"So? It's not like I'm eating the whole thing."

"Yes you are."

"Are you going to write about this?"

"What do YOU think?"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You Can Lead A Pony To Water...

I let The Pony stay home from school today.

First of all, let's get one thing straight. I am NOT one of those parents who let her children stay home at the drop of a hat. Snow in the forecast? My kids are goin'. If they get stranded in a blizzard, it's the school's responsibility to provide for them until they can make it home. No water? My kids are goin'. They don't go to the bathroom at school anyway, if they can help it. They're like reverse camels, never needing to get rid of water. And they don't drink at the water fountain because the water tastes bad. So one will go without and the other will have a bottle of water in his lunch as usual. Half day? My kids are goin'. It's a HALF DAY, for cryin' out loud! Enjoy it. Last day of school? My kids are goin'. What's so hard about sitting in a classroom watching movies, then going to an awards assembly? It's not like you're being force-fed calculus. You say it's your birthday? My kids are goin'. Why should they be rewarded for being born? I did all the work. I should get the day off on their birthdays, not them.

But seriously. This is summer school PE. The Pony could miss two days and still get his credit. He's been there all day, every day. This will be his first absence. It's not like there's an attendance award for summer school. And it will not be part of his permanent record. Slate starts clean in August. There is a reason The Pony asked to stay home today. His class was going to the public swimming pool.

As you might recall, The Pony has suppurating sores from his treadmill crash on Monday. He gimped around all day yesterday, holding his shorts-leg like a southern lady about to curtsey. He didn't want it rubbing on the band-aids. They were loose when he returned home. He was also worried about what lay beneath. He said he pushed on one band-aid to make sure it still had antibiotic ointment on the cushiony part, and yellow stuff squeezed out through the little holes! Let the record show that the antibiotic ointment is clear. The first thing he did upon arriving home was take off the band-aids and ask for a clean-out and fresh ointment, with new band-aids to follow after a shower at bedtime.

The Pony says it would be very unsanitary for him to plunge that pus-filled knee into a public pool. So as a favor to the entire municipality, he is going to forgo the swim trip and concentrate on healing. I genuinely think The Pony wants to keep his knee out of the pool. He is taking showers here at home instead of a relaxing bath in the big triangle tub. He has stayed out of Poolio after school. Was he a late bloomer in the puberty department, I might think he didn't want to take off his shirt in front of classmates. But that has not been the case with regular PE. He dressed out every day. He has sprouted a mustache, and his armpits and legs are hirsute. He is neither chubby nor scrawny, short nor tall. Goldilocks herself might describe him as just right. So I don't see the embarrassment angle as coming into play.

Of course, it could be that new computer game that comes out today online. He has asked to go to his grandma's house for the day. His grandma's house that has high-speed internet.

I'm okay with that. He's got a long four years ahead of him.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Would Drape Him In Bubble Wrap If It Was Socially Acceptable

Please pity the poor Pony, who is currently convalescing from yet another summer school PE mishap.

The first one was during his second week, when he put a foot wrong during a softball game. He was running after the ball, and fell on some gravel. For some reason, the game was being held on the parking lot of Elementia, a short hike through the woods from Newmentia, where summer school convenes. Gummi Mary only knows why the main baseball field over there was not the site. Perhaps another event was being readied on that field, so the freshmen PE kids had to make do with a parking lot.

The first injury was a bloody scrape just below the kneecap. Nobody bothered to tend to The Pony's compromised flesh. He, himself, did not even go wash it off in the bathroom because, well, he was on a parking lot at Elementia, not at his own facility, and besides, there are no paper towels in the student bathrooms, only wall blowers. So he would have had to hoist his knee into the sink under the faucet, then rub it with liquid soap out of the dispenser, then leave a watery trail back to the gym, unless he could balance on one leg and blow-dry his knee. When he got home, I scrubbed it with several paper towels and soap, getting a load of dark dirt out of the wound. For five days, twice a day, we cleaned it of yellowy effluence and applied fresh triple-antibiotic ointment and band-aids. He recovered. It was, after all, just a skinned knee. Not like the two broken elbows he incurred over the past several years from falls in the hallway.

Yesterday, The Pony had a treadmill accident. Don't bother to look for him on MTV's Ridiculousness. Nobody was filming. According the The Pony's mouth, the kids had to stay inside because of the rain. He and his tight crew of two boy friends and one girl friend were in the weight room. Another school coach, not his teacher, was in there supervising them. The Pony was just getting ready to dismount the treadmill. He had already put it on "slow down" or whatever the setting dealybobber was. If you could see me, you would understand why I know so little about treadmills. The coach said something to him. The Pony was distracted from his dismount mission. And he fell. On the moving treadmill. I asked if he shot off the back of it like those poor saps on Ridiculousness. The Pony said, "No. If I did that, I would have slammed into the wall. I was ready to step off the side when it slowed down, so I fell off to the side."

Nobody laughed. Nobody asked if he was okay. Nobody oohed or ahhed at his flesh wounds. Nobody offered to get him a band-aid. He might as well have been The Invisible Pony. It was two hours until time to leave. The Pony took a bathroom break and tried to wash it with water. He did not trust the soap. He avoided the blower, because, "That would have really hurt." When his grandma picked him up to bring him home, she gave The Pony a paper towel from the snacks she had brought to tide him over for the thirty minute drive. She said he was worried that his knee was already infected. She said he told her, "There's yellow stuff coming out. You don't know WHAT was on that treadmill that is now under my skin."

This new wound was pretty gory. He had several quarter to fifty-cent piece sized abrasions from the kneecap down to the head of his tibia. Or whatever that lump is one inch below his knee, (which is not the same as that lump three feet above his @ss, according to Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own). It took one large band-aid and three regular ones to achieve optimum coverage so the seepage was contained. He also had a Nike swoosh-shaped scrape about four inches long by his elbow, and a smattering of treadmill burns on his wrist and pinky finger. I assured him that it was too early to observe infection, and that the yellow fluid (which he reported as clear) had been his plasma oozing out.

I released him to his class this morning covered in band-aids and dabbed with triple-antibiotic ointment. He has four days left of summer PE. And one of those days is bowling.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh No You Didunt

Surely nobody asked about my movie-viewing experience Sunday at an AMC theater. Did they? Wait. There in the back. Lady with the bathroom-sink haircut. You must be a teacher, honey. Yeah? And YOU asked about my AMC experience? Bless your pea-pickin' heart. Now, just between you and me...

I wanted to see the first show of the day. It's cheaper, you know. Not as cheap as our old theaters that were privately owned, and then became Kerasotes theaters. Because we could see a movie there for $4 per ticket. And on some nights, for $2. Excuse me while I wipe away these tears. Two theaters out of business. And this four-plex gobbled up by AMC. The first show of the day can be seen for $6 per ticket. That's a steal! However, The Pony had his heart set on seeing the 3D version.

He's been jabbering about it since he saw the previews. He drug out my boxed set of the Alien Quadrilogy and watched Alien, Aliens, and Alien 3. The Pony is all about science fiction. He even entered a story in a kids' writing contest. Science fiction, of course. So I could hardly tell him that we were seeing the cheap regular version.

Tickets set me back $18. For two people. You city folk might think you have it worse. But down here in Hillmomba, that's a fortune. The ticket-seller waxed longwindedly on his ticket-selling experience. How the first day he was being trained (because, like coal mining or flying jets or diffusing bombs, ticket-selling has strict guidelines that must be followed), he had to insist on ID for a girl wanting to see The Hangover.

I take partial blame. He asked if The Pony was over twelve, and I declared that he was fourteen, wishing I had let him pass for twelve for a cheaper rate. TickSell said he told that gal no ID, no ticket. And she insisted and insisted and he had to get his manager, and finally, the gal went out to her car and brought in her ID, and she was nineteen. Then he wouldn't sell her boyfriend a ticket because of no ID, and wouldn't let her buy one for him because she wasn't twenty-one. And the gal actually called the police to come verify by running Boyfriend's SS# through their system that he was eighteen. So they got their tickets and lived happily ever after because they got to watch The Hangover. Makes me feel safe if I ever need to call 911, because the cops are just a theater away from rescuing me.

The Pony and I proceeded to our theater to grab the best seats. The ones in the back with only four in the row. But the earlier movie was still playing. Even though it should have ended twenty-five minutes earlier. So we stood around in the lobby reading posters. I asked The Pony if he was sure we were seeing the 3D movie, because we didn't have glasses. So we asked TickSell, and he said, "Oops! I forgot to give you the glasses." Then we went back out to sit in T-Hoe for a while. When we saw people coming out, we rushed in to stake out our seats. Just in the nick of time, too, because a family of four followed us, looked our way, and decided to take a big row on the other side, just one row ahead of us.

I offered to go get the popcorn and soda while The Pony held the seats. "Saved, saved, they're SAVED!" as Elaine Benes might say. While waiting for popcorn, I saw a worker come out of the storeroom carrying two giant rolls of paper towels and about eight rolls of toilet paper. He dropped them. Then scooped them up and went in the room behind the concessions. Remember that for later. Since I have the whatever card, I got a $4.75 discount on our large combo. We always take a refill to my mom on the way out. She loves getting something for nothing. Even though it cost me $15.50. The Pony was in an agreeable mood over the 3D issue, and settled for a box of Whoppers smuggled in by my movie purse. So that saved me over three dollars on candy.

While in line, a dude came out of the theater area and accosted TickSell. "Is Prometheus in 3D? Because there's a kid in there that says it is." TickSell said, "Oops! I forgot to give you the glasses." He was having a regular Groundhog Day, it seems.

The movie viewing went fairly smoothly. There was a shadow on the top of the screen the whole time. It looked like a microphone shadow. I was going crazy trying to figure it out. Maybe it was some crazy conspiracy. Like AMC was using a hidden camera to catch clandestine snackers. Finally, The Pony solved the mystery. "Uh, Mom? It's that little pull chain on the fan right in front of the projection window." And so it was. You'd think they could remove something like that. It's not like somebody comes in and turns on the ceiling fan with that six-inch chain twenty feet off the ground.

There were only a handful of viewers in our theater. Three of us were sneezing and throat-clearing, no doubt due to mold in the ventilation system. An usher showed up one time in two hours to see if any anarchy had broken out. It had not.

As we left, I waited while The Pony visited the little pony's room. I saw a kid get a refill, and the SnackFiller put the large cup of watery soda backwash under the spigot and topped it off. So when The Pony came out, I told him I was going to the little Hillbilly Mom's room, and taking my soda cup. I poured my remains in the sink. Which was clogged. What are the odds it was the only one of the three? I used the facility while holding that cup in my teeth. No toilet paper. Good thing Mrs. HM's movie purse is always prepared with tissues for moldy ventilation systems. I held that soda cup under my arm as I washed my hands. The paper towel dispenser did not work. No matter how much I waved my hands, said, "Abra cadabra," and contorted my arms like I was landing a jet on an aircraft carrier.

I stepped back to the counter for the refills. Had to wait. SnackFiller was kind to the family ahead of me. He must have taken offense that I foiled his refilling plan, because he was almost surly to me. Even though I had the lid off, and plainly stated that I wanted a Diet Coke and popcorn refill, please. Ha, ha. The paying customers ahead of me had gotten the two-hours old popcorn for their small fortune. But my refill was brand hot fresh spankin' new right out of the popper. Funny how SnackFiller was falling all over himself to be polite to the dude behind me getting refills.

I still don't know what happened to all that toilet paper and paper towel bounty that got dropped in the lobby. Because it sure did not make its way into the little Hillbilly Mom's room. This theater is falling down around my ears every time we go there. Even though prices have gone way up and service has gone way down from when Kerasotes ran it.

At least my mom enjoyed her free snacks. I had called her on the way to see if she could meet us at the park when we left. And to see if she wanted a soda so late in the afternoon. "Oh, I drink right up until bedtime," she assured me. And though she had not asked for the popcorn, she said she started eating it on her way home.

I suppose $33.50 plus gas, and 3.5 hours out of my life, are not too much to spend on making my mother happy.

Before you go thinking we were mean not to invite her...Mom does not like science fiction. She likes the romantic comedies. Or the animated kids' movies. And she will never consume a snack in the theater. But she will haul it home and rave about how good it was later.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prometheus, Schmometheus

The Pony and I went to see Prometheus today. I know. It's rated R. But he IS 14 now. And it's not like it's a pr0n movie or anything. A few bad words. Some violence. Okay. A LOT of violence. At least it's not like when my sister the mayor's wife took the #1 son to his first R movie. Which was a little picture show called THE HANGOVER. Yeah. I haven't quite forgiven her yet.

I recommend Prometheus if you liked the Alien quadrilogy. Because I definitely see this as a prequel. But I won't go giving away any details. I'm no spoiler. You'll have to look elsewhere for this party's pooper. But please note that this movie is over two hours long. It didn't seem like it, though.

Oh, and we saw it in 3D. But that was not impressive. Save your money and go to the first show of the day at the cheap price. At least if you are only able to attend AMC Theaters. Like us.

Don't get me started on AMC today. Seriously.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

And Yet, My Generation Survived

To fortify the #1 son during his toothless convalescence, I brought home some mini ice cream cups. The kind that are half vanilla and half chocolate. He used to like them. Now, not so much. He has turned them down every time I offered to bring him one. And you know what that means. More for me!

No use letting perfectly good ice cream go to waste. That's what I always say. It's not like ice cream grows on trees, you know. And did you know that the chocolate half melts faster than the vanilla half? Maybe that's why they gave us those little cardboard cups of vanilla in the elementary school cafeteria. Remember those? With the wooden tongue-depressor spoon? Nowadays, there'd be too many lawsuits claiming splinters in the tongues of the cherubs who chowed down with the flat spoons. These days they get ice cream bars on sticks. Or giant multi-colored popsicle-like treats that the high school boys won't eat without breaking them off the stick. Same reason they won't eat bananas either, choosing apples or oranges instead. At least that's what I observe during freshman lunch.

And these days, schools don't let elementary students leave the campus to go to a little shack next door to buy greasy hamburgers wrapped in wax paper, and six-ounce glass bottles of Coke to drink through a paper straw, and a Charms cherry or grape lollipops that may or may not have a free sucker paper ribbon inside the wrapper. No. They have to stay in the cafeteria and eat pink slime burgers and drink chocolate- or strawberry-flavored two-percent milk. With a Little Debbie Fudge Round for dessert.

The price of progress. I'm surprised the teachers don't have to chew the food and spit it into the students mouths as they clamor for more.

Friday, June 8, 2012

He Doesn't Know How Lucky He Is

The #1 son is on the mend after having six teeth pried from his gums yesterday. Two molars just in front of the wisdom teeth on top were growing toward the back of his throat. They didn't touch the bottom teeth during chewing. The oral surgeon said they would cause nothing but painful problems later on, gouging the gums and not doing an honest day's work of grinding food. The x-rays were kind of freaky.

#1 has been alternating prescribed painkillers and giant horse pills of prescription ibuprofen. Except for a bout of pain last evening when the six-hour ibuprofen wore off, the ice was not numbing enough, and before the four-hour Lorcet kicked in, he's been managing the aftermath fairly well.

A diet of pudding, mashed potatoes and gravy, chocolate shake, chicken broth, applesauce, and donuts has enabled him to maintain his strength. Hopefully, we can start reducing the medication tomorrow. He's looking forward to real food. Tonight he went to his grandma's house, where he hoped to consume some pizza.

The swelling is not bad at all. Probably due to the faithful application of ice and ice water yesterday. No ice is allowed now, because the blood flow has to heal the tissue. Speaking of blood...#1 drooled a gallon of it yesterday. Okay, maybe a gallon is a bit of an exaggeration. But he got a drop of blood on his own shoulder when he nodded off for a recliner nap. And his pillow looks like a small mammal was slaughtered on it. Don't worry. It's not his regular pillow. It's an L-shaped pillow that Farmer H got at an auction about a year ago. He said it was for me. But I was having none of that auction pillow. It brought back memories of the time Farmer H almost bought a box of auction meat. You remember, the time I asked what kind of meat, and Farmer H replied, "I don't know. It just said MEAT on the side of the box."

I suppose #1 is lucky that his dad did not find him a tooth-puller at the auction, wearing a bloody apron advertising: Teeth Pulled, Any Kind.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Really? REALLY?

Here's a hypothetical situation for your learned evaluation.

Suppose you were a certifiably smart person, gifted, in fact, who had just come out from under the surgical knife. And as your companion, minding the store of your well-being, you had an adult entrusted with hundreds of thousands of dollars of electrical machinery as a profession.

Now suppose you were instructed by your knife-wielder to apply ice to two parts of the surgical area simultaneously, at a rate of 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off. And that a concerned care-giver made you four mini ice packs, with the explanation that you could put two on for 15 minutes, then put them in the freezer, and for the next 15-minute application, get the two fresh ice packs. And so on. The companion could do the legwork.

Do you not suppose that, between the gifted individual and the high-dollar employee, you could follow such directions?

Or would the concerned care-giver return ninety minutes later to find two bags of water in the freezer, and two mini ice packs laying on the end table? With the explanation that the first two melted after using them for ninety minutes, so the second two had to be put into service.

And furthermore, if the companion sits by you and watches TV for ninety minutes, is he really taking care of you as promised? Especially when the concerned caregiver returns and must fetch water and clear a milkshake cup and dish up mashed potatoes and gravy from a take-out container?

Any thoughts? Hypothetically?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Picture Of Attitude

Here's our newest goat baby, born on Memorial Day. She has no name yet. That's what happens when you're not the first or second or tenth born. She is showing signs of middle child syndrome. We might as well call her Jan Brady. Next thing you know, she'll be saying, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia," and inventing an imaginary boyfriend named George Glass, and wearing a black wig to a slumber party, and sending herself an engraved locket.

Let's hope there's no Cousin Oliver in our future. And that Sam-the-Butcher doesn't drop in.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The De-Toothing Of Big Mouth

Has anybody been practicing the world's smallest violin? Or at least the silent piano? Because the #1 son will need some cheering up on Thursday. He's having his wisdom teeth cut out at 9:30 a.m.

He's got a small oral cavity for a person with such a big mouth. He's known for six months that this was going to happen, but wanted to put it off until school was out. Wednesday, he completes his A+ hours for summer school.

The doctor's secretary says that all he needs to do is abstain from food and drink for six hours, and show up at the stroke of 9:30. That the entire process will take about 30 minutes. He can have anesthesia or not. He can even decide when he walks in, as long as he hasn't eaten or drunk in six hours. Of course I said he'd be knocked out. I know him.

After watching the Duggar girls have their teeth removed on TV, I definitely believed this secretary when she said that ALL patients have swelling. But she also said that many folks leave the office and go out for breakfast. That some don't even have pain. Again, I know my boy.

When I had my wisdom teeth out, I was 24. That's why I'm so smart now, heh heh. I soaked all the knowledge out of them first. My dentist would only take out two at a time. Right side. Then left side a few weeks later. I don't remember any pain. What I DO remember is that I saw spots. Spots on my arms. Spots on my legs. Spots on my palms. Spots inside my mouth. A 30-mile trip to the ER later, I was the proud owner of an ampicillin allergy. So we'll need to watch out for the antibiotics, even though The Pony is allergic and #1 has shown no signs to date.

Farmer H is off that day and the next. He said he would take #1 for his de-toothing. When he learned of this news, #1 sighed. I think he might have even whined, "Noooooo..." So I will be going along. His appointment is in Festus. It's the least I can do.

My heart goes out to my big little fella. Even though I am deathly afraid of dentists, I would take his place if I could. It will hurt me more than it will him.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Diametrically Suited For Each Other

The world really needs to reach a consensus. Do birds of a feather flock together? Or do opposites attract?

In the the crucible that is the Mansion, I would have to put all of my eggs in the opposite attraction basket. Farmer H and I inhabit separate camps on the outskirts of many issues.


Farmer H likes to watch shows about how men murder their wives.
Me, not so much.

Farmer H likes his soup hearty enough to eat with a fork, without that confounded juice.
I like my soup to be in liquid form.

Farmer H prefers to use all parts of the roadway for driving.
I am content to stay in my own lane.

Farmer H thinks goats should have freedom to roam and feed upon what they find.
I think goats should keep their lips off my roses and lilac bush.

Farmer H likes supper on the table at a different time each night, depending on what personal recreational activities he has lined up for the evening.
I prefer supper at the same time each night, doled out for consumption at the cutting block, couch, computer desk, or recliner.

Farmer H believes that stores will not sell him basic grocery items, so he leaves all the shopping to me.
I believe that a man should be able to read a list of five items and pick them up while he's in town.

Farmer H views a small, soft, round, leathery egg from the chicken coop as a chicken egg that has not hardened yet, even after several hours inside the air-conditioned Mansion.
I see such an egg as the fruit of a reptile, and believe its place is as far as I can throw it off the back deck.

Farmer H thinks that children are his personal servants, waiting like tennis-match ball-boys to dart here and there in an instant to accomplish his immediate errands.
I think that children are MY personal servants, waiting like tennis-match ball-boys to dart here and there in an instant to accomplish MY immediate errands.

Farmer H believes that I am the person who thinks food needs to be refrigerated or it spoils.
I think there are many people throughout recorded history who abide by my viewpoint.

Farmer H thinks sleeping should be done with a quilt over one's head.
I think that could lead to suffocation.

Farmer H believes that dirty clothes should rest comfortably on the floor until somebody needs to do the laundry.
I believe that dirty clothes are much more comfortable in a hamper in the laundry room.

Farmer H thinks one pair of shoes is all that anybody needs.
I think that feet deserve a varied wardrobe, depending on the season and their activities.

Farmer H is ready to call it a night at 9:00 p.m.
I think that at 9:00 p.m., the night is but a pup, and sleep can be put off until 2:00 a.m.

Farmer H thinks that his comings and goings throughout Hillmomba, and his hosting of various visitors at the BARn, are none of my business, but that I must check in with him if I go from room to room.
I think Farmer H needs a reality check.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stop Lying To This Sleeping Dog

I was awakened at 6:00 a.m. by a heavy blow to my outer right thigh. A blow so powerful, in fact, that it could have shattered my femur, even through the padding of adipose tissue that I carry around just to cushion random sleeptime violence. I have no idea what Farmer H was plotting. Crippling me would only make his own life more difficult. So I presume it was some type of reflex action, or an involuntary muscle faux pas like that of George Costanza when he couldn't control his jabbing elbow.

When confronted with my inadvertent pummeling, Farmer H denied responsibility. He's like that, you know. How simple it would have been for him to say, "I'm sorry. I didn't know I did that." But that's not how The Farmer rolls. He's like a politician. Everything is a competition, a race. With only one winner.

Never mind that by tomorrow, I will have the bruise as evidence. Farmer H is the type to ask, "What makes you think I did it? Anybody could have broken in and fractured your femur while you slept. Did you SEE me do it? I didn't think so. It wasn't me. Good luck figuring out who lamed you." He would sooner set up a surveillance camera with night vision to record my sleep for a whole year, and then point out that for 364 nights he did NOT whack my leg, so that means that it was obviously not him on that 365th night that just did not happen to be captured on video.

And furthermore, Farmer H is the type of guy who must always have something bigger and badder happen to HIM. "Why, I remember that time I woke up with a hole blasted clean through my own femur. You could have driven an entire regiment though that hole in my leg. As a matter of fact, the doctor had to use nitroglycerin, TNT, and a boxcar of grenades to blast that hole closed. I'm lucky I don't walk with a limp, all that I've been through. You don't have a mark on you. I doubt you even got bumped by a glowing Lunesta moth."

Yeah. He's like that Kristen Wiig character on SNL.

Meanwhile, not only will I be dodging breather vapor all the livelong night, but sweating under a thick suit of bubble wrap as well. This sleeping business wears me out.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Perks Of Small-Town Celebritydom

Sometimes, being recognized is not all it's cracked up to be. Not my cup of tea. Not my bag. I'm just not that into it. But then an incident occurs that restores my faith in people from my past who might stalk me.

This afternoon, I popped into a newly-remodeled convenience store. The third or fourth incarnation in this location. I've discovered that they have 44 oz. Diet Coke for the same price as the gas station chicken store. And their location and parking lot navigation is more convenient. Go figure!

This was my fifth visit. I strode confidently to the soda bar, grabbed a cup, added a miniscule amount of ice, and commenced to fillin'. I lidded my elixir, snared a straw, and headed up front. Here's where it gets hairy. This place is much more roomy than the gas station chicken store. There are two cash registers, but one is blocked from view by the other one. So I'm not sure whether only one clerk is working, or two. I normally go to the first register if I see someone behind it.

Today, a clerk was removing cans of beer from the plastic rings. I suppose they sell single cans. Not that I would know. Because he looked busy, I stepped to the next register. Another clerk was perched on a stool by the window, eating something. I suppose I interrupted his in-sight lunch break. But he jumped up cheerfully to wait on me. At the same time, the beer-popper said, "She gets the refill price." My cashier rang up my sodie at eighty cents. That's a bargain, by cracky! The regular price is $1.39.

As I left, I caught a good glimpse of the beer-popper. He was a student at Newmentia nigh on four years ago. A good kid. Now a good young adult. I never had him in class, but I had his three brothers. Like a lame lion letting me live for taking a thorn from his paw, he gave me a fifty-nine cent discount on my beverage.

This teacher gig totally rocks!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Not Altogether Unexpected

It is with a heavy heart that I report the death of the old goat.

It's not like I was attached to the critter. But The Pony takes it hard when any of our furred or feathered friends bite the dust. So I am sad for The Pony most of all. His dad called from the pen to break the news to him. The #1 son, on the other hand, hollered down to me several hours later, "Hey! I hear that Longhorn died!"

Longhorn was on his last legs when we got him two years ago. Literally. There was something wrong with his back legs. He was all wobbly. But not bad enough to strap his hindquarters on a cart. He was part of a package deal that Farmer H made at the auction. Even back then, he was old. I did not expect him to live long. My lilacs and rose bushes must have some medicinal properties. Because Longhorn was the first one to go after them when let out of the pen.

I was leery of Longhorn from the beginning. He was a nondescript dun color, with LONG HORNS. Get it? You can't think we're clever at naming these critters. I worried about The Pony going into the pen to feed and water the goats, or look for the babies. One of those horns could have easily pierced The Pony's frail chest. Because an animal will always be an animal, no matter how tame you think they are. But Longhorn never went rogue. He was a gentleman until the end.

When the mommas had their babies, Longhorn acted like a nanny. Get it? Nanny? Goat? That's a little farm humor for you. But seriously. That old wether was quite a nurturer. Better, in fact, than a couple of the new mommas, who walked off from their babies for food, and kind of forgot where they were. But old Longhorn stood over them and stomped his feet at Tank the beagle sniffing around.

Farmer H has been kind of sad. He's the one who discovered Longhorn Thursday evening. I'm glad it wasn't The Pony. He's tender-hearted. Farmer H said today that maybe he did something that led to Longhorn's demise. Like letting us feed him bread once a week. I don't think so. Surely he would not have lasted two years if that was the case.

A buddy of Farmer H brought his dozer down and helped ensconce Longhorn in his final resting place. I'm not sure where it is, nor is The Pony. When I find it, we might lay a rose on there for Longhorn. And a lilac branch. They will be eaten soon enough by the rest of his ilk.

The circle of life continues. Our newest baby goat was born on Monday. We're Even Steven in the goat department.