Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nobody Knows The Kerfuffle I've Seen, Nobody Knows My Horror!

Yeah. I've been on a sort of theme lately. But each new incident rears its ugly head with such heart-stopping fervor that I cannot let it go. Like today, for instance, just before roll call was taken at the Semi-Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank.

We were having leftover catered BBQ from the academic banquet last night. A call came out over the intercom a few minutes before first lunch, alerting the faculty that it would be available. Unlike the leftover Subway party sandwich yesterday, left over from ACT testing, which was announced halfway though first lunch, leaving us approximately 10 minutes to get up off our duffs, digest the food we had already begun consuming for lunch, hoof it over to the teacher workroom, elbow our cronies out of the way, slice through that behemoth, and wolf it down before the bell. Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom did not partake of any piece of the Subway.

So today we rushed to the teacher workroom as soon as the lunch bell rang at 10:53. Being the closest classroom to that paradise, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom arrived first. Or so she thought. But there were already two others strapping on the feedbag. Not that it mattered, because there was more than enough food to fill the feedbags of an Avatar-style Hometree full of Cheshire Cats.

I walked in and set down my bottle of water on the small table near the restrooms where sometimes copies are stacked, but where mostly people dump their keys and coats and junk while dashing in to use the facilities. The only thing on this fake-wood shiny brown tabletop today was cups. Two stacks of Styrofoam, maybe 20 ounces, as high as an elephant's eye. They did not take up much room. They were on the door end of the table, and my water bottle was past them, on the Kyocera end.

Others were filling their plates, so I milled around waiting my turn. Just as I had my hand between two buns, my own, in fact, a top and a bottom, to separate it for pulled pork, Jewel stormed in and demanded the spotlight like Auntie Mame.

"Why did I just do this? Whose water bottle do I have? I wasn't thinking, and picked it up like it was mine!" She was holding it not by the middle, the stomach area of a water bottle, but by the head, the business end, the part that goes in the drinker's mouth."

Of course it was mine.


"Well, I just grabbed it without thinking. Here. You can have it back."

Of course I had to walk over and get it, giving up my place in the food line.

"I can't believe you picked it up like that."

"Oh, c'mon Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! It was an accident." My cousin Tomato Squirter is not good at playing along, unless SHE is the one being affronted by Jewel's actions.

"I know it was an accident. But don't you watch Seinfeld?"

The chuckles of several plate-fillers led me to believe they did.

"How do I know what she's going to do next? She might go in my room on accident, and rub my keyboard all over her heinie!"

And with that mental image, we traipsed out to the lunch table to begin our discourse on the preponderance of lawsuits in these modern times.

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom did not choose the topic.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My Compliments From The Staff

Yesterday between classes I noticed a gathering of custodial staff near my classroom door. One shift was coming on, one shift was going off, and one was apparently visiting from another building.

The one scheduled to clean my room that day turned to me and said, “I was telling them, I bet your house is spotless.”

“No. It’s actually the opposite. I have a lot of clutter. I’m not a hoarder or anything! But it’s not spotless.”

“Oh, but your room is always the cleanest. We hardly have to do anything.”

“Well, I have my kids straighten up a little at the end of the day. And I try to keep them busy. But they DO have their moments. Some days there’s a scattering of broken pencil pieces from a battle. And some days there’s mud from the tech school kids’ boots.”

“Your room is so easy. Yours and Mrs. Not-A-Cook. But she only has a few kids all day long.”

“Well, I have 100 every day, but mostly we keep things under control.”

“I can tell you whose is the worst!” Before I could stop her, she blurted it out. “Mr. DairyBar. He has all those boys!”

I did not mention that I had most of the same boys. Not that it matters. Even OldCus used to tell me that my room was the best. In fact, OldCus furthermore said that you can tell what a teacher is like by the way they keep their room.

Maybe that was just OldCus’s way of telling me that it looked like I never do anything in my classes.

Let the record show that last Cus never had anything good to say about my apparently immaculate room. Last Cus would have found an albino's eyelash on the white speckled industrial tile, and roped it off with crime scene tape, and then brought in the giant buffer to polish out the flaw after bleaching the area checking my microwave for cross-contamination.

Yeah. All that theme-playing from The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly in the foreshadowing of an ultimate showdown was not just your imagination. However, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has now been validated.

It wasn't me, it was Cus.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Who Knows What Evil Lurks In The Heart Of The Papernator? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Knows.

The universe conspires!

Today I had an extra bit of time while my students were elsewhere standardized-testing. One of them came to me abruptly when I expected them all to be locked away without a key. She asked if she needed to bring her book to class. Well, no. Because I thought everyone was testing. Which she was, but thought she was almost done, and that three of my pupils would be showing up shortly. On this advice, I did not go make two sets of copies like I had planned. I even put my shoes back on, preparing for their imminent arrival. Which did not materialize.

I had a short bit of time left, so I looked up and down the hall. No pupils. I went and put my copies on the Good Kyocera, and the Naughty Kyocera. That one is like the opposite of Sour Patch Kids. First he's sweet, then he's sour. I've had a good run of luck with him, as long as I don't try to staple. So in went the originals on each machine. Both set to run a quantity of 80, two-sided.

With that brief moment to myself before once again being trapped until final bell, I stepped into the faculty women's restroom. As I was rising from the throne, I heard silence. Yeah. The churning of my double Kyocera harvest stopped. Just stopped. Silence. I quickly washed my hands and exited the throne-room into the workroom.

"Why do I hear that my copies have stopped?" I inquired to a figure hunched over Good Kyocera. I asked this because with a limited time window, I did not need anything going kaput on those Kyoceras. And also because there is a certain faction known for storming into the workroom and stopping print jobs all willy-nilly.

"It's only out of paper. It needs paper." So sayeth a member of our crew who knows all about Kyoceras, as she hovered over Drawer 3, dropped a swatch of paper in, and kicked it shut. Almost in a surly manner, methinks. WTF? I have no issue with the Papernator. Have always been on good terms.

"Oh. I was only in the bathroom. I could have put it in when I came out."

Then I saw that Naughty Kyocera had a paper jam. Fine time to be sour. I started CPR. One paper. Two paper. Three paper...

"There. It's going now." Said Papernator. And made a quick exit right in the middle of my expository soliloquy on how I have trouble finding all the papers that are allegedly jammed.

Sweet Gummi Mary! You'd think I had stepped out of the loo and exclaimed, "Fee fi fofenater, I demand the head of the Papernator...on a platter!" No. I was not impolite. Only inquiring as to how both machines had stopped while I was indisposed. I could not have been away from them for more than two minutes. Believe me, I have to be quick with only four minutes between classes for bodily functions, with an angry mob numbering the the 3s and 4s waiting their turn. And it's not like I printed from my room a stapley 12-pager, and did not deign to check on my print job for 50 minutes.

No sooner had the Papernator's heels hit the hallway than Good Kyocera choked. PAPERJAM! I was still dealing with Naughty Kyocera. I found one more wayward paper, and slammed about six paper doors. It looked like it was cleared, so I canceled the print job. Fool me once, shame on you, Naught Kyocera. Fool me twice, and I might be owing Newmentia for a new Kyocera after teaching you a lesson.

I moved on to Good Kyocera. I performed all the rituals foretold by the troubleshooter. Still not clear. I pulled open the paper drawer that Papernator had loaded for me. Hmpf. Ain't that a fine how-do-you-do? There was about a ream and a half of paper with the leading edge of the entire stack curved like upside-down sleigh runners on the Grinch's sled. Even Mrs. Hillbilly Mom knows that you can't load paper that way.

The Papernator knew.

Alas, I rue the day that we can no longer take a whiz without our print jobs being sabotaged.

Thank the Gummi Mary, according to my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel, I break the 200 barrier tomorrow in my final countdown.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Getta Loada

You know, how on Monday mornings, you just don't really want to deal with extraneous details? How you want to get to work, settle into your routine, forge into the week with a purpose, like you planned on Friday, which now seems so long ago? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is like that, too.

Didn't happen.

As I entered the building, I saw The Pony flash past me on the way to his locker. That's not unusual. I give him the keys, and he trots on ahead, bearing the burden of my school bag. He sets it down, leaves the keys on my desk, and heads off to grab what he needs for his first couple of classes. But this morning, he gave me a sidelong glance. Not really a smirk on his face, but a different look. Like he had a secret. Like he had a secret he did not want to reveal to me. I soon saw why.

As I opened the door, I was met by this:

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's classroom is not a library. Nor is it a doctor's waiting room, a duty-free shop at the airport, a bookseller's trade show, or an educational supplies kiosk at the mall.

So there I was, arriving right on schedule, with plans to get my pupil usernames and passwords cut out in ticket form to hand them at the stroke of start-school-thirty so we could complete the practice version of our upcoming state test online. Do you know how hard it is to book computer lab space this time of year? And instead, my path was blocked. It may look like there was room to squeeze through, but that's an illusion. Even passage for the narrow girth of The Pony was impeded.

"Well, ain't that a fine how-do-you-do?" said Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Never. As she had some more colorful words with which to paint this portrait.

The Pony, ever loyal, returned. "Do you need me to get this out of your way? Take it back to the teacher workroom?"

"Yes. Please!"

You know, I don't mind people assuming they can trespass on my turf just because they have a master key, as long as none of my stuff is moved or destroyed, and NOTHING EXTRA IS LEFT FOR ME TO DEAL WITH!

Nineteen days. Plus one year. This too, shall pass.

Did you see what's perched in the middle of that rack, about two-thirds of the way down?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Upcoming Hillmomba Events

Oh, how time is flying! Time is a regular Charles Lindbergh/Amelia Earhart around Newmentia these days. Four weeks to go.

Monday brings a practice test, Tuesday the ACT for all juniors, Wednesday the academic banquet, Thursday and Friday some cramming for next week's EOC, and Monday a last-minute wrap-up to elicit the best performance from each little testee! Heh, heh. You know what I said.

I think we are better off dwelling on the big picture, and willing to forgo the minutia that is hard to remember, of which there may only be a single question. I'm not out to get 100% from my clientele. It would be nice, and a pleasant surprise, but we are realists. We strive for the next-to-top category, and keeping everyone out of the basement. It will be a challenging feat this year, though we DID achieve it last year. Same class, different students. Apples and oranges. Let's hope it's a Mackinaw peach performance.

But that's just two of my four classes. The rest will be back to business as usual, and may get to make paper bridges or drive Hot Wheels cars down a ramp. We'll see how the weather goes, and what stage the moon is in. No need for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to bring undue stress on herself during the short haul to testing.

It it retirement yet?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Under The Living Room, Under The Weather

Greetings, loyal readers. Reports of my disappearance have been greatly exaggerated. I fully intended to put forth a witty tale on Friday. But after staying for duty, and fighting a headache all afternoon, and using my strength reserves to post on my not-quite-so-secret blog, I suddenly realized that it was Amazing Race night! The Pony and I watch it faithfully.

Still, I fully intended to put out a post. My head was not responding to aspirin, acetaminophen, caffeine, or my heated neck-vibrating collar. The Pony had come down with a cold between 11:50 when I last saw him, and 3:10 when we reunited. I was a bit concerned for him, as Farmer H has been battling that bug for two weeks now, and finally went to the doctor and was diagnosed with bronchitis. I decided that I could leave my dark basement lair for the recliner to watch our show, then come back and finish. When I awoke from an unplanned slumber at 1:00 a.m., still with my headache, I threw in the towel.

So now there's nothing new to tell. The headache is gone, but the nausea it brought is still clinging. Surely I did not eat some expired leftovers! The Pony awoke with a raspy voice but less unproductive coughing. He reported yellow-green snot. I got up at 7:30 and took my regular medicine and tried to catch a chair nap. I managed 30 minutes during The Pioneer Woman, until I was awakened by Farmer H calling to tell me that he had harvested the old fence work had given him, and was starting home. Then I caught another 30 minutes until I was again awakened by the bank being a pest with a courtesy call.

Some bill-paying ensued. About all I accomplished was making biscuits for The Pony, and then whipping up some lupper for us all at 4:00. The Pony had honey chicken and pineapple tidbits, Farmer H had BBQ chicken chunks and mozzarella sticks left over from the Super Bowl and the remaining pineapple, and I had some super nachos. Perhaps not the best choice for my delicate stomach, as I could not finish them, nor my celery sticks with Hidden Valley Ranch dip on the side.

Tomorrow's trek to The Devil's Playground seems almost insurmountable.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Five Hours On The Road And I'm Gonna Make It Home Tonight

The universe conspires against me.

Today I had a doctor appointment. So I drove The Pony to Newmentia and came back home. Then I drove to the doctor's office and came back home. Then I drove back to Newmentia to pick up The Pony after school.

The dogs were all frisky and overjoyed when I came back the first time at 8:00. They pranced to get petted, and whipped their tails ecstatically, whimpering with excitement. I told them no treats. It was too early. The next time I came home, around 12:45, Juno did not bother to leave her house, and Ann strolled over for a pat with hopeful raised eyebrows. Too early for treats. When I got back with The Pony at 5:00, Juno sighed and ambled over. Guess what? TREATS! Ann came snorfling over for her share.

You know how you leave home with plenty of time to get where you're going, because you know the universe conspires against you? There's a reason for that. BECAUSE THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES AGAINST YOU!

On the way to the doctor, I got to the end of our gravel road, pulled out on the county road where EmBee resides, and started up the big hill. Oh, dear. Near the top, a truck came into view. A panel truck or delivery kind of boxy vehicle, with its flashers on. It was sitting right in the middle of the road. Not exactly. A bit more on my side. Ain't THAT a fine how-do-you-do? How was I supposed to get to my doctor's appointment?

I stopped. A man walked around from the back of the truck. He had on a bright green vest, like a worker man. He walked back behind the truck. Then he stepped out and looked at me again. And waved me around. ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! ON A BLIND HILL!

Let the record show that this man was by no means at the crest of that hill, where he could see down the other side. He kind of turned that way, and cocked his head like a robin listening for a worm. He motioned again for me to come around his truck. No thank you!

My mother might have raised a slaw-eating tabloid-reader, but she did not raise a foolish fate-tempter!

I backed T-Hoe down that hill, about an eighth of a mile, until I could turn around on the gravel road and head out in a different direction, like when the low-water bridge is flooded. Which brings us to our next tale of the low-water bridge blockade.

I left to get The Pony with time budgeted to arrive about five minutes after the bell. The buses would be gone, and the kids, and I wouldn't be held up by buses on their routes yet. I had seen that the panel truck was gone when I came back from the doctor. Apparently it was part of some crazy county blacktop detail, and had made such big patches that I believe a new resurfacing would have been more economical. Anyhoo...I knew I could go that way to get to Newmentia.

As I approached the low-water bridge, driving along the narrow blacktop where fences on both sides had washed away from our last big rain, I saw a red truck in front of me stop on the low-water bridge. Two men got out, and left their doors wide open, and walked over to the side of the bridge and stood there. Looking. Leaving me parked in the middle of the road, unable to get past their wingspread truck. Eventually they both got back in and took off at the breakneck pace of 25 miles per hour.

I was a bit late to pick up my little Pony. He was sitting in my room in the dark with his head in his hands. I think he was contemplating poetry for his paramour. I gathered up my educational accouterments from their various hiding places, caught up on grades, and we were out of there by 4:30.

I can't take another day off. It's too much work.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Extra Unpleasant Things Come To Those Who Wait

The longer you stay, the longer you'll HAVE to stay. You'd think I learned that lesson long ago. Yet I still pooh-pooh at those teachings.

I meant to get out of Newmentia early today. Not early, like before the final bell. But early, like before 3:30. Or maybe even by 3:15!

Alas, the best-laid plans of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and The Pony are often laughed at by Farmer H and my sister the ex-mayor's wife and Mrs. Not-A-Cook and Arch Nemesis.

I am having a substitute tomorrow for a doctor appointment, and all I needed to do was stow away the items on my desk. The plans were written, and the answer keys copied, lest the sub get a hankerin' to grade papers like our best old ex-sub Walt. The assignments were laid by the pencil sharpener with care, in ecstasy now that Mrs. HM won't be there. I put out four crappy writing implements, and stashed mine in a bottom drawer. I directed The Pony to stack my vital top-secret papers in plain sight on the broken-down bookcase. I had already written the assignments on the whiteboard.

Then all not-heaven broke loose! Farmer H started texting me about his lawn-mowing plans. My sister the ex-mayor's wife started texting me about her new clown nose (more on this somewhere or another in a few days). Mrs. Not-A-Cook stopped me to give me a heads-up on a mutual student, and Arch Nemesis reared her hollow head to ask for an answer key that she asked me to make up several years ago. A leopard cannot change its spots.

I finally managed to escape at 4:00.

I should know to run out of there at the stroke of 3:10.

Extra unpleasant things come to those who wait.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ya Know What Bugs Me?

For two days I have been driving blind.

Okay. Not like Helen Keller on the freeway. I don't drive on the freeway, silly! No, I have been driving blind, like when I turn to look out the side window and there's a smashed bug right in the middle where my eyes want to look through.

It's not so much a smashed bug as a smear with a wing clinging. I suppose it flew into me as I was turning. Or maybe it was sitting there when I put my window down at a drive-thru visit. In any case, there are bits of buggy goo in the way of my peepers.

Today I needed to stop for gas on the way home. So on the way to school, I told The Pony, "Remind me to get that scrubber thing at Casey's when we stop for gas, and I'll get that bug off the window." He agreed. To remind me, of course. C'mon. You didn't think he was going to volunteer to get out and scrub my window, did you? That would come very close to helping people. And we know The Pony doesn't really care about that.

Just before we left Newmentia, a downpour ensued. I stalled a little bit before going out, frittering away time running copies for practice on the upcoming EOC test, and putting in tomorrow's assignment, and writing out two weeks of lesson plans, making plans and answer keys for my sub on Thursday, and figuring out which on the five lists of students testing and field-tripping would be missing from my classes the rest of the week. When we got outside in the residual sprinkle, and I climbed into T-Hoe, I said, "I can't believe we had that downpour, and STILL the bug didn't wash off my window."

So I get to Casey's, and have to go around the pumps to the other side, because there is only ONE car there at the four pumps, but it's a ridiculously tiny sprig of a car, the finger monkey (Google it!) of the automobile world, and it's taking up the whole middle between two pumps for some egotistical reason of the driver. Who then has the gall to drive off as soon as I round the pumps with T-Hoe's steering belts screaming like that girl on the Ohio Players' "Love Rollercoaster."

When I got situated, I told The Pony, "Great. Now that scrubber is on the other side, and I'll have to go around."

To which he replied, "I was GOING to remind you, but you couldn't wait." Yeah. He's a regular Mother Teresa lately.

I shoved the nozzle into T-Hoe so he could guzzle some $2.18 per gallon black gold. Then I went around a big metal pole to get the scrubber. Okay. That would be like exercise. I contorted myself so I could reach it with my face pressed up against the pole, grabbing it blindly. Like Helen Keller getting a scrubber for the window on her car that she didn't drive on the freeway.

I used the edge to scrub at my dead bug. Which wouldn't come off! I tried again. I used my finger. Nothing. I opened the door and lightly rubbed at it with the rubber scrubber. VOILA! No more bug guts! How that monster killed itself on the INSIDE of my window is beyoooooond me.

As if that wasn't embarrassment enough, The Pony snorting in derision behind the tinted glass before I made him go in and pay, a total stranger from the area of the air hose approached me. "Ma'am? Are you through with this scrubber?"

"Yes. I'm done. You can use it."

WHEN have you ever been at a gas pump and somebody wanted to use the scrubber in your hand? NEVER, I assume.

Just another day in the top-rated sitcom that is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's life.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way From The Lunch Table

Forgive me, blog buddies. I have been remiss in relaying the issues resolved for the good of mankind at the Semi-Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank.

Oh, we've still been having our meetings. Just last week, over a questionable repast of haystacks, or open-faced tacos with a side of Doritos in a snack bag, it was determined that my cousin Tomato Squirter has not changed her stripes. Just when I had stopped experiencing anxiety every time she sat down on my left...a new incident reminded me to remain ever-vigilant.

Yes, it's been a couple of years now since TS chomped down on a cherry tomato, and squirted seeds all over my left arm and shoulder, including the sleeve and pocket of my shirt. I was slowly returning to normal, the incidents of post traumatic stress growing fewer, and farther between. Until last week on haystack day.

There I was, chowing down on a ham sandwich, as happy as Gizmo in Gremlins tooting his little Christmas horn...when TS had to be big bad Stripe, and hock a loogie on my face. Okay. She didn't exactly spit on me. What she did was rip open her tube of sour cream and spray it all over my arm. Oh, she grabbed her paper towel and wiped me down like a sweaty racehorse. But still. I prefer not to go through the afternoon smelling like spoiled milk, and I also prefer (unlike some folks around here) not to use the faculty restroom sink as my shower.

Today I brought leftover Chinese food in my lunch. A little white rice, a little fried rice, a little sweet & sour sauce, a little chicken, a little pork, and three crab rangoons. It was all mixed together in an opaque plastic container that once held a small order of hot & sour soup. Except for the rangoons, which were on the side. Mmm...tasty Chinese food that was only three days old, while TS sat down to her school lunch (after running around to the aid of her fundraiser club people in crisis) of crispito, corn, and fruit. It's a wonder I wasn't sprayed with condiments again.

The bell rang far too soon. I still had a layer of rice and pork in the bottom of my container. I slapped the lid on to take it back to my room. Tomato Squirter stood up. "Huh. There was rice on my chair. When was the last time we had rice?"

"I don't know. Do you think it could be from my CHINESE FOOD I brought for lunch?"

"Oh. Well, I'm wearing black pants. You won't be able to see it anyway."

I declare. I think TS was insinuating that I had put rice on her seat deliberately! When in fact, I don't even remember losing a single morsel to my left. She's got some nerve, that Tomato Squirter.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A PROMinant Day In The Life Of The Pony

Alas, The Pony's team lost his smartypants district championship by TWO QUESTIONS. That's right. A narrow margin. According to Farmer H, The Pony was taking it hard, but his paramour asked him what he was sad about, because he did so well throughout the tournament. I believe that took the sting out of his wound.

Farmer H rushed The Pony and Datey over to prom, which was held in bill-paying town, about 20 minutes as Farmer H drives, from Newmentia. Mr. Principal drove the other prom-going smartypants, as he had promised them if they would all show up for the tournament. I'm sure they were the best-dressed team there.

Farmer H dropped the kids off, then pulled over on a side street and called me. Because, of course, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is the center of the universe. He gave the whole tale of the day's activities.

Datey lives an hour away. Farmer H and The Pony left the Mansion at 11:00 to pick her up, with the corsage safely ensconced beside a plastic quart hot-and-sour soup container full of ice cubes in a baby-blue soft-sided zippered silvery-lined cooler that Farmer H got free from one of his contractors. The Pony, unbeknownst to Farmer H until a lull in the smartypants tournament, was frantically texting a teammate about how nervous he was, and how he didn't know what to do. Indeed. Farmer H reported that when they arrived at the house that Garmin led them to, The Pony just sat there.

"You have to get out and get her, bud."

"Oh. Okay." Then The Pony stood in the driveway.

"Go knock on the door!"

The Pony came back and stuck his head in the car window. "What if this isn't the right house?"

"It's the address you gave me. Go knock. And if they talk to you, look them in the eye and answer them. None of this head-nodding that you like to do."

After the mom and sisters came out and took pictures of the handsome couple (the dad was working on a car in the back), it was off to Newmentia for the 1:30 team meeting. The corsage was safely stashed in my classroom mini fridge. Farmer H and Datey went to watch the competition. Numerous faculty told The Pony (and other decked-out teammates, I would imagine) how fine they looked.

The rooms thermostats must have been jacked down to the lowest allowable temperature, because Farmer H said that Datey was shivering. He had to tell The Pony to give her his jacket. At the next match, in a different room, Farmer H saw that The Pony was once again wearing his tux jacket. "Hey, bud. She's cold. You've got long sleeves and a vest, and she just has that dress. Giver her your jacket."

"But I LIKE wearing my jacket!"

"Give it to her!"

You can dress up The Pony, but you cannot make him care about people. Datey got along swimmingly with all the other smartypantses on the team. They treated her like one of their own. Mr. Principal gathered all the prom-goers for pictures. As they were getting ready to head over to the prom, he told Farmer H, "Those kids are going to be jealous of The Pony. She's a pretty little girl." I suppose nobody thought The Pony could snare a date, much less one who was not Quasimodoesque.

Poor prom-goers! They got to prom around 8:15. It was scheduled to end at 10:00, but after the king and queen coronation at 9:30, everybody left. Farmer H, who had been walking through the bill-paying town's Devil's Playground, was summoned back to pick them up. He drove them to Steak-n-Shake for a frozen treat, and let them go in alone. And promptly called me again, and chatted for 30 minutes. Because, if you remember, the world revolves around Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

"You gave him money, didn't you? He didn't have money."

"Yes. I gave him $20. I hope he brings me the change. I could imagine him just handing over the money and walking away."

"He knows he's supposed to pay for hers, too, doesn't he? Because I can imagine him just buying his own, and expecting her to get hers."

"I HOPE he knows that! I had to tell him to walk around and open her door."

"Does he have his phone? You need to send him a text to tell him that when you get to her house, he should walk her to the door. He might just sit in the car and wait for her to get out."

"I'll send him a text."

"Maybe tell him he can ask for a hug."


"Have they been getting along?"

"Yes. He's been talking to her. He's told her about three times that she looks pretty."

"Did she say anything back?"

"I think the first time she said 'Thank you.' They've been talking about school."

"I hope she's having a good time."

"I think she is."

When they got to Datey's house, The Pony got out and walked her to the door. Just as they stepped up on the porch, the lights blared on. According to Farmer H, The Pony gave her a hug.

This morning, The Pony was grousing a bit about feeling guilty for the tournament loss. I told him to get over it. So many kids would LOVE to have had his performance. He's not a one-man team. Besides, that shouldn't take away from his prom experience.

"Oh, believe me, it didn't. Prom was great."

"Did you dance."

"Yeesss...but by the time we got there, they didn't play any more slow dances."

"Oh, you poor thing! But you danced? Did you hold her hand?"

"I danced, but I didn't hold her hand."

"What did you have at Steak-n-Shake?"

"Um. A SHAKE! Chocolate chip cookie dough. We both ordered exactly the same thing!"

We packed up the tux for return between 1:00 and 3:00, lest they charge $50 for being late. As we were driving home, The Pony in the seat behind me, I told him what Mr. Principal had said about Datey. He ducked his head.

"Yeah. Dad told me."

"Did she smell good?"

The Pony met my eye in the rearview mirror, a big smile like the Cheshire Cat lighting up his face. "You're not supposed to ask me things like that!"

He is SO smitten.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

It's Prom Night. Do You Know Where Your Pony Is?

I know where MY little Pony is. Right now he's playing for 1st Place in the district smartypants tournament. I'm sure he's having a blast, surrounded by his people. So far, his team is 4-0 today, and The Pony himself won a 1st place individual medal. They've been playing since 2:00, obviously not receiving a bye in the luck of the modified round-robin drawing amongst the seven teams. They had a dinner break at 5:00 for pizza. Farmer H is there reporting live.

Farmer H is also wearing his chauffeur hat tonight. Okay, he's not wearing an actual hat, because that might make The Pony uncomfortable. Farmer H drove him up to his date's house at noon to pick her up for prom. Uh huh. That's a condition of being The Pony's woman: you have to sit through a smartypants district tournament, and miss about an hour of prom in order to attend. Still, you get a prom ticket and corsage out of it. And ten hours with a dashing young stud Pony.

I gave Farmer H the keys to my classroom so they could use it as a sitting parlour if they grew wearing of the competition. And I have that mini fridge to store the corsage. I think both Farmer H and Paramour have been watching, though. Farmer H said she was cold, and he had to tell The Pony to offer her his tuxedo jacket.

No matter how the competition ends, The Pony will be prancing on air. He still  has prom to attend, you know.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Straight From The Horse’s Mouth

Yesterday I had to meet my sister the ex-mayor’s wife at the credit union to deal with the dispensation of Mom’s account. One of the ladies who works there was really good friends with Mom. We sorted out the various finances. Friendly was quite efficient, all business, not emotional until the end.

That’s when she said, “I thought the world of your mother. I just wanted you to know that, without making anybody cry.” Of course we all teared up then. Friendly was frantic. “Oh…here. Here’s a copy of those CD rates you wanted. Do you need a pen? Here. Have this one.”

I was jamming one into the side of my purse. “Oh, that’s okay. Sis handed me a pen out of your pen holder. I have one already.” It just looked a little blurry at that moment.

“Take this one, too. We have all colors! Look. Yellow, orange, purple, green…and I have a PINK one! Here! Take mine.”

“No. That’s okay. Really. Sis gave me this maroon one. I guess she thinks that’s the one for me.” Let the record show that Sis had, indeed, picked that drab maroon pen out of the whole container of bright neon pens. Sis cannot change her spots.

Then Friendly let us in on the mystery that had been swirling around the ceiling since we had sat down at her desk.

“My horse bit me.”

Um. Her horse. Bit her. In the face. Her face was all bruised. I thought, at first, that she had been to the dentist Mom used to go to, the one who left her bruised for weeks. But Friendly had both jaws purple, and one really black eye, and one kind-of black eye.

“I don’t want people to think I’ve been in a fight. I don’t know what got into that horse. He’s a stallion, but he’s 34 years old. You’d think he would be mellow by now. I was feeding him scraps, and he swung his head around and bit me.”

“Did you see it coming?” asked Sis. “Did you know what was going on?”

“Well, after I came to on the ground I did. Thank goodness my husband was home. He came out looking for me and found me. I had a big knot on my head, but it has gone down, and all that blood from the swelling has settled down in these bruises.”

I felt bad for her. She’s always quite presentable. She’s mainly behind the scenes at work, with less senior workers taking over the duties at the window and drive-thru. There was an awkward silence as we were gathering our belongings and paperwork.

“So…” I said. “Whatever happened to walking into a door?”

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Necessity Is The Hillbilly Mom Of Invention

Without any prompting, Farmer H brought up the topic of the Devil Dog this weekend.

"That thing came charging at me while I was on the mower. I'll not have a dog run up on my property like it's going to attack me. I'm going to tell Neighbor next time I see him that if that dog comes charging at me again, I'm going to shoot it."

"Well...I don't think I'd do that. You can't just tell a guy you're going to shoot his dog.You'll get locked up."

"Yeah. Maybe I won't say it. But I won't have it coming at me like that."

"Maybe get the paintball gun loaded. That should sting. And it'll leave a mark, and he'll know what's going on."

Uh huh. So Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was the pacifist, discouraging Farmer H from blasting that Devil Dog to not-heaven.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Today The Pony and I came home around 5:00. We made it down the gravel road past the Devil Dog's driveway. I pulled T-Hoe into our driveway, and stopped to let The Pony out to grab the big green trash dumpster. As he took off down the 1/8th mile driveway pulling that dumpster like a rickshaw, I put T-Hoe back into DRIVE to follow.


It was barking its fool head off and running alongside T-Hoe down our very own driveway! What if it took a chunk out of The Pony, two days before prom? Juno jumped off the front porch and ran out to save us, barking with menace. Ann followed slowly behind. I put my window down and yelled, "GET OUT OF HERE!" Because, you know, dogs understand English.

I've had enough. That Devil Dog grows bolder by the day. My water bottle wasn't loaded. I need a can of something that shoots 20 feet, like wasp killer, but isn't toxic to dogs. Something that is, perhaps, stinky and burny, but not deadly.

Now I'm off to invent just such an item to sell on the counter of my proposed handbasket factory.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Maybe This Close Call Will Make Mrs. HM Think Twice About Her Contrariness

Phew! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had a bit of a fright this morning at 5:15 a.m. She was the only one up at the time. She takes the first shower every morning. And that’s where it happened. In the master bathroom of the Mansion.

You know how, in that movie Silkwood, when Cher brings home that beautician from Thayer’s Funeral Home, Diana Scarwid, and, Diana says she always knows when somebody worked for Kerr-McGee, the plant that Meryl Streep is trying to get investigated for lax radiation safety procedures? Because, as she says, “They always look like they died BEFORE they died.” Well…that was almost Mrs. HM this morning.

No, I didn’t almost die. And I was not frightened by anything dead. But I almost took a shower BEFORE I took a shower!

I slid open the shower door and reached in to turn the giant crystal (okay, it’s clear plastic, but it LOOKS like crystal) knob to start the water. And all at once, a shower of cold water droplets rained down upon my noggin, wetting my lovely bed-headed lady mullet with a spray that cascaded from above, where there was no shower head.

If you’re not a science teacher, you may never have heard of the angle of incidence equaling the angle of reflection. It’s true. It works for light waves bouncing off of mirrors, and for Putt Putt Golf balls bouncing off that parabolic curve on the last hole so you can win a free game. And apparently, it works for well water sprayed out of a shower head bouncing off the top of a Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner.

Yeah. I had no idea what was going on. It was like I was trapped in a hole in some freakish woman-killer’s basement, and he had told me to rub the lotion on my skin, but I was feeling contrary, like, “No freakish woman-killer is going to tell ME what to do!” and I had not done so. Which meant that I got the hose again.

Maybe Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a fan of too many old movies. It was just a little cold water splashing out of the shower over the top of the sliding door. Only this, and nothing more.