Saturday, May 31, 2014

While HIllbilly Mom's Away, Farmer H Has His Way

Farmer H has been up to his old tricks again. Not only did he break the passenger mirror off my T-Hoe while I was in the hospital, but he tried to poison himself, and turn our boudoir into a circus tent.

The first shenanigan, he was afraid to tell me. I suppose he had thoughts that I might kick off, and he would never have to confess. It's bad enough that this is not the first mirror he's broken off a car of mine by backing out of the garage. He waited until I was ready to be discharged, then confessed, because he knew I would see it when I climbed into my chariot for the ride home. Never mind that T-Hoe has the fancy mirrors that fold in and out at the push of a button. Farmer H could not be bothered to push. "I was worried about you. I wasn't thinking." Uh huh. The first time, on my old Suburban, he did not have this excuse. And he still destroyed that mirror. He says he's going to heal T-Hoe himself.

"I ordered the part. The mirror itself did just what it was supposed to do. It bent backwards. But that darn glass shattered! Now I need one little piece, or I'll have to get the whole thing from the dealer, and that will cost two or three hundred dollars." Indeed.

When I got home and opened Frig, I saw a package of bologna in a zip-lock bag. "Oh, did you go buy yourself some bologna so you could eat?"

"No. It was in there."

"I haven't bought bologna for at least six months."

"Well, the date was good."

"Are you sure the YEAR was good?"

"I think so. It didn't make me sick."

Such are the feeding habits of Farmer H.

That night, when I went to lay my head on my own stack of three pillows, I discovered that Farmer H had changed the sheets. Gone were the sticky flannel velcro sweat-inducing demons. In their place were cool new cotton sheets. Crisp sheets. Very crisp. So crisp that they could not have been washed. Ever. It was like covering myself with a plastic tarp. Crinkle, crinkle. Stiff. And they still came up over my head by three feet. Farmer H admitted the next morning that yes, he had changed the sheets. Took them right out of the package and put them on the bed.

The flannel sheets are still crumpled on the bottom of the clothes hamper awaiting my wash. Farmer H's domestic sense of duty only goes so far.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Blind Leading The Blind Right Over The Edge Of The Abyss

So...yesterday Mom came out to sit with me and take me to the store. Unbeknownst to Mom, I had a previous agreement with my sister the ex-mayor's wife to provide deviled eggs and potato salad for a BBQ at her house Saturday night in honor of Mom moving from septuagenaianship to octogenarianship. This was before my unfortunate hospitalization, but since I need to get back in the swing of things, I am trying to keep my end of the bargain. At least I didn't have to work all week and walk at graduation tonight and THEN make my side dishes.

I told Mom I was going to boil up a bunch of eggs and use them for egg salad, tuna salad, in salads, devil a few, etc. I was the regular Bubba Gump of eggs. I think she fell for it. Anyway, I put a big pan of water and 16 eggs on the big front burner to boil. I told Mom, "I'm kind of tired, but I figured you could check on the eggs in a minute and see if they've started to boil. I usually let them go for 10 minutes once they start boiling."

Mom said she would be happy to check on the eggs. She went to the kitchen about five minutes after I put them on. "I think they're boiling. There are little bubbles coming to the top."

"Are they LITTLE bubbles? Because I want to make sure they're really boiling."

"I'll check back in a few minutes."

"Sometimes it takes them a while. Give them five more." We were watching Little House on the Prairie. Half Pint was mean to her dog Jack, then he died. Mom was almost in tears. I had to remind her to check on the eggs.

"Oh, they're just starting to boil. I can tell. They're steaming. And those bubbles are bigger."

"Are you sure? Is it a rolling boil? Because I don't want to ruin 16 eggs if I take them off too soon. Mayb you can stick your hand in there and see how hot the water is. Is that too much to ask?"

"Do you want me to? Because I will."

"No, Mom. I just bandaged your wrist. I don't have enough first aid supplies if you dip your hand in boiling water and strip of the flesh. I'll just come look for myself."

"No. Don't get up. You rest. I'll feel close to the water."

"I can't believe it's taking this long. I put the burner between Medium High and High. I don't like it TOO high, because the eggs crack. Wait. I guess I turned on the right burner..."

"OH! You didn't! You turned on the back burner. I'll turn on the front one. Do you want me to turn the back one off?"

"Yes, Mom. I can't believe you told me those eggs were boiling. They weren't even ON. It's been 25 minutes since I turned on the wrong burner. Good to know they were steaming and boiling with no heat to the pan."

"Oh, don't get me tickled! It's a good thing you said to check the burner."

"Yeah. I think I'll check on this pan myself."

Sweet Gummi Mary! I don't know which of us is further out of touch with reality...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Lost Ladies

We are the blind leading the blind, and we are bruised and bloody.

My mom has been coming to sit with me during my convalescence. She arrives around 9:30, and leaves at 2:00 to pick up The Pony from school. We can get into a lot of trouble in that time. Today Mom drove me to Save A Lot for my first outing in which I actually exited the car. I took a cart to use for my walker, and she took a cart as a spare, in case I tired and needed to leave. In that scenario, she would give me her empty cart and help me out, then return to pay for my items.

I endured the shopping trip, but felt a bit light-headed a couple of times. Times when Mom was nowhere in sight, having abandoned me to go look for mayonnaise. I calmed myself and leaned on my cart/walker until she reappeared. We loaded three boxes of groceries into the  back of Mom's Blazer. She did the majority of the heavy lifting when we got home. Unfortunately, Mom knocked her wrist on the doorjamb somehow, and started spraying blood. She's on blood thinners, though a different brand from mine. I fetched her a bandaid and some triple antibiotic ointment and patched her up. She swore she didn't need it, but I swore I didn't want my couch all bloody.

In her over-helpiness, Mom tried to grab a red solo cup on the kitchen counter that she had shoved with the food box. Of course in her grabbing, she knocked it all the way off, onto the kitchen floor. "You're killing me, Mom," I told her after bandaging, while reaching down to pick up that cup. "Now I am squishing my egg  while I bend over." My "egg" is a lump on my stomach the size of an egg, inside a giant purple bruise where my third injection of blood thinner went on Saturday. I think that nurse punctured my liver. The lump is a bit smaller today, like a banty egg. I'll ask the doctor about it tomorrow.

I might need to ask Farmer H to nail some crosses and strands of garlic over the doors and windows.

I'll get to the blind part tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

He's Gonna Need Jackie Chiles To Represent Him

Farmer H has been pitching in to take up the slack during my convalescence. He has grilled our supper every night. He calls from work to see how I'm doing. He came downstairs to get me last night after a brief sortie to my dark basement lair. And later, I discovered he had washed the supper dishes. He's a prince among farmers.

That does not mean that Farmer H has not been up to his old shenanigans.

Last Thursday, Farmer H and The Pony were working on getting Poolio in shape for the summer season. They had already taken off his cover, skimmed him numerous times, cleaned out his filter, and started a well-water transfusion. Farmer H came down the basement steps to go out and check on Poolio, through his workshop to the back door. When he came back inside and started up the stairs, I noticed something amiss. It was NOT the simple fact that Farmer H was wearing only his tighty-whities and shoes.

"Hey! What's that on your feet?"

"My shoes."

"I don't think those are your shoes."

"Yes they are. They're my Crocs."

"I don't think so."

"They're my Crocs."

"No. They're not. Why do you have to do this? Your Crocs are camouflage, and you wear the strap behind your heel. Those Crocs are blue. With no strap. You took my Crocs by the bookcase, didn't you? You are wearing my Crocs! Put them back."

"These aren't your Crocs." Farmer H continued stumping up the steps. I wish I had signaled The Pony to run and grab his ankle, and hold him in place while I went around him and pointed out the empty spot where my navy blue Crocs belonged. Alas, I was breathless and could not exercise my authority.

I don't know how he thinks he can get away with these things. Farmer H would make a terrible criminal.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mother And Dog Reunion

When we last convened, I was in the hospital, cooling my heels with multiple blood clots in my breathing apparatus. I am out now. Not exactly kicking up my cooled heels, but plodding along adequately.

It may come as a shock to you that my sweet, sweet Juno missed me. Or, as Farmer H reported, "I told your juno you were sick she looked at me like I was nutes." Yes. That's an exact quote, straight from his text.

I replied, "You don't speak her language. Of LOVE."

Farmer H said, "Ya cat food. I will give her a hand full."

So...after three days away from my sweet, sweet Juno, I returned home to a happy pup. She greeted me on the side porch, as is our custom. I was weak. But I stopped to pet her. She gazed into my eyes with her own humanlike amber orbs. I swear she was grinning. Farmer H stood behind me on the sidewalk by the garage. A bit of an interloper. A chaperone of sorts. A fifth wheel.

"I'm kind of tired. I need to go in. Can you give Juno a little cat food?"

"Yeah. Here you go, dog." Farmer H grabbed a fistful of cat kibble and dropped it on the porch in front of him.

"There, Juno. Daddy got your snack." She walked over and took a bite. THEN CAME BACK TO ME AND LAID HER HEAD ON MY SHOULDER. If you don't grasp the gravity of this situation, let me remind you that Juno LOVES cat kibble. And when she came back to lay her head on my shoulder, THERE WAS STILL A PILE OF CAT KIBBLE ON THE PORCH!

My sweet, sweet Juno loves me more than cat kibble. I'm not worthy.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hillbilly Mom is Missing

The Pony here. Mother dearest is in the hospital at the moment, and will catch up with all o' yall when she gets it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em In The Front Bedroom, After They've Rented A Basement

Here’s our latest update on the #1 son. He has a rented a room in the city. It’s a basement bedroom with a private bathroom. His landlords are a young couple in their mid-20s. They have a 4-month old baby. They swear the baby is a very good baby. #1 verifies this has been true so far. He moved in Sunday.

His basement abode includes a common area with a big-screen TV, a laundry room, and a bar with a mini fridge. His landlords say they do not use the basement unless they are entertaining, in which case they will be at the bar. With the baby, they may not be there much this summer.

#1 has kitchen privileges, with use of appliances and utensils, as long as he washes up after himself. He shops at the Schnucks that is across the street. His workplace is nine miles from his residence. According to Farmer H, he’s in the vicinity of St. Charles and the casinos. #1 says he has all the hot water he wants for his morning shower, because the couple is up and out before he gets ready for his job that starts at 9:00. I asked if the baby is gone, too, and he said, “No. The baby stays home. An old man watches her. I think he’s a relative.”

There is one other intern at #1’s place of employment. They went to Taco Bell for lunch the first day, but #1 was planning to shop for groceries to take his lunch. He will be paid once a month. The first time will be the middle of next month.

He seems to be in good spirits, and excited about his new job. He will be taking a leave to work at Missouri Boys State, since he is on staff there in the IT department. In addition, he may take a leave to attend the Solar Car competition in Texas for his college. He has worked nonstop on that solar car since last fall. These leaves were a condition of employment, which is a main reason he selected this job over another one.

One of #1’s college buddies lives fairly close, and has a pool. He does not plan to come home often this summer, what with his extra responsibilities and little free time. 

We are proud that he is earning his keep. He is glad to be out from under our thumbs.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Weasel In The Henhouse

Oh, we didn’t actually have a weasel in the henhouse. I have not seen a weasel around these here parts. We’ve had a snake in the henhouse. And a beagle. But mostly it’s just a few of the tamer chickens who like to be pampered with a roof over their head, rather than roosting in the trees. 

No, I’m talking about a figurative weasel. One who creeps in where not wanted. Where he has no business being. Not necessarily with evil intent. But with the purpose of disruption. Chaos. Anarchy. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh. But I do not allow extra students in my classroom. Nobody can come visit with my scheduled charges, ask them a question from the hall, pop in between classes to converse. No. That’s my rule. Everybody knows. The current students and the past students. It isn’t done.

Yesterday, I was finishing up some makeup work at my desk when the bell rang for class change. Just a few more keystrokes to record scores was all I needed. But I was swarmed by the needy class. The ones who need attention all the time. Just friendly banter. Asking what we were doing, though the assignment was plainly written on the white board as it has been every single day this year. So I was a bit late to walk around the classroom to my post in the hall. Between having my head in the computer, and being surrounded by a wall of well-wishers, I was blocked from a view of my kingdom. 

“Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Make it leave! Make it leave!” This came from a gal who has a penchant for being a bit histrionic at times. And she was pointing in the direction of a kid she banters with all the time. I assumed she was joking, trying to get rid of him. You know what happens when we assume.

“Sure. Who do you want gone?” I elbowed my way through my throng of admirers and rounded the corner by the pencil sharpener, headed for the door. 

“The intruder! He snuck in!” I looked in the direction she pointed. Sure enough. An intruder. A last-year’s student, now in the upper atmosphere of 10th grade, had snuck in and sat at the desk of a kid who was on the absentee list all day. 

“Out. You know the rules. No visitors.”

“Okaayyy.” He mosied toward the door, then rounded the other corner toward the back of the room. 

“Nope. Out. I already told you once.” He came out the door. “And don’t come back!”

“Or what? I’ll get the firing squad?” 

“I don’t think I can go that far. And I don’t think you can even joke about that these days.”

“All right.” 

Sweet Gummi Mary! I must remain ever vigilant. At least I had a figurative watchdog to sound the alarm about the weasel in the henhouse.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reports Of My Illness Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. And Not By Me.

It's refreshing how one's work family can be so solicitous of one's health after one has been absent for a day. Even though one had informed them of the upcoming absence with the explanation of personal business that needed tending.

Today before I could even get out a sentence, a concerned young lass inquired, "Can you even talk?"

Um. Yes. I can talk. If I have a chance to spit out words before being asked if I can talk. Perhaps the recent atmospheric conditions cause me to engage in excessive throat-clearage. I can. And do. Still talk.

Four hours later, another one turned her head around like an owl, fixed her gaze on me, and asked, "Did you just sneeze?"

Um. No. I just cleared my throat. "When the air conditioner kicks on, it kicks up something in the air, and I have to clear my throat." I really don't know why she asked. Nobody ever says, "God bless you," to ME. Oh, they will say it to any other student in the room, the weed-whacker outside the window, the Pepsi delivery man wheeling in crates of diet soda, and quite probably various and sundry intruders, should any come our way. But not to me.

After school, a colleague knocked on the faculty women's restroom door. I don't know why she can't just yank the handle angrily like everyone else. When I came out, she said, "Sorry. I haven't felt well all day." Good thing I beat her in there.

"I haven't, either. My back has been messed up. I can't get a good deep breath."

"Oh, you sound all clogged."

Remind me never to ask her for a diagnosis.

Monday, May 19, 2014

By Now, The Tail Of That Bird Has Been Yanked, And The Closing Time Whistle Has Sounded

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work he goes...Put on your Ward Cleaver suit, pack up a tin lunch pail, get ready to punch the time clock.

The #1 son started his summer job today. He's working at an engineering firm in the city, and has rented a room from the son of the fitness coordinator of a college who was consulted by a woman working in the administrative offices who is the cousin of one of our Newmentia faculty. Follow that rabbit trail, if you dare.

Our young adult has already emailed me about needing more info to fill out his W-4 form. Don't we all? I'm hoping he is doing well on the work itself. It's the little extraneous things that trip him up. Uh huh. He's an absentminded professor.

He was at the Mansion from Friday night until Sunday morning. In that time, he managed to lose his hoodie (twice) and forget to put on antiperspirant. He remembered not to be stinky as he drove up the driveway on his way to a renaissance fair in the city. I saw his little red Ranger stop in the driveway and back up to the Mansion. Assured to be nonfragrant, he was off again to meet up with a friend whose idea it was to attend this fair. "I'm really not all that interested to spend $18 on admission. I get enough of these kind of people and their LARPing while I'm at college."

Still, the #1 son is a good friend. He called me when they arrived. "Hey. We're here in the parking lot, and we're afraid to go in. The first three people we saw are men in capes. We might be the only ones not in costume." In the background, I could hear the friend saying, "This is the best day of my life!" Apparently, the people at HIS college don't go around like this all the time. When they saw a guy in a regular red T-shirt, they figured it was safe to go in. According to #1, there was plenty of ale, but no tankards (thus disappointing him) and no mead. I advised them to share a giant turkey leg, while The Pony swore there would be mutton. #1 reported, upon return, that he only consumed a funnel cake (who knew they were so popular during that period of history?) and that he had seen many a turkey leg, but no mutton. He also called me during the event. "Hey, in four minutes there's going to be jousting!" The Pony was a bit perturbed that I did not tell him to take a video. But as The Pony has a surplus of karma, #1 did indeed take a video, and even showed it to him later that night.

The hoodie was left in theater 2 of a four-plex after a 10:45 p.m. showing of Neighbors. The #1 son was seeing it for the second time, since the ex-girlfriend of a college friend did not want to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Like I said, the #1 son is a good friend. I was afraid a worker might have scammed that Portal hoodie for himself. I described it to the teenage ticket-taker at 10:00 the next morning. He spoke into his headset and described it to the just-past-teenage manager, who came carrying it out of a closed room. I went back to T-Hoe shaking that thing over my head like a WWF championship wrestling belt for the benefit of my mom and The Pony, who were on a quest to make sure The Pony is properly shod for his upcoming 3-week adventure at Missouri Scholars Academy.

We told #1 twice that his precious hoodie was in T-Hoe. Yet after he had packed up and headed off into the world to start his working life, we found Hoodie still laying across the passenger seat of T-Hoe as we left to attend The Pony's last band concert.

It's hard out there for a genius. But he has THIS to look forward to every day.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

When Bad Manners And Band Go Hand In Hand

We attended The Pony's last band concert this afternoon. It was the end of an era.

The anticipation was greater than waiting for Heinz Ketchup to drip out of the spout. First went the sixth grade band, then Basementia, then The Pony's Newmentia concert band. And afterward, the Newmentia Jazz Band. We got there at 2:00, and left shortly after 4:30. That's a lot of band.

Of course, there were some speeches in between performances. Thank the Gummi Mary the director forgot the awards certificates in the band room, and merely read the names of the winners, and had them stand for recognition. Otherwise, it could have been an all-day affair.

The bands sounded excellent, as always. The audience was the usual crowd. There are always those who try to ruin it for the rest of us. Like the ones who carry in chairs from the cafeteria to sit in behind the bleachers, on the mezzanine. Okay. The Hillbilly family are those people. None of that being crammed in and walking down shaky metal pull-out bleachers for us. But WE take our chairs back after the performance. In fact, today we brought in three chairs, and took back six. Because we're givers like that.

What makes people think they can carry out a purple plastic chair, sit in it for two and a half hours, then push it three feet back against a wall and walk off? HELLO! Pushing a chair from the rail to the wall does not mean you put it up. Yet an entire row of about 35 folks did that. That is abominable.

How are we supposed to teach the kids how to put back what they take if their parents act like this?

Excuse me. Could somebody come over here and carry my soapbox back to my room for me?