Friday, July 31, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Has A New Seat

No, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has not found a Buns of Steel workout DVD and downsized her derriere. Nor has she had a butt transplant like Cat in the CatDog cartoon. She has not even rushed down to the open seats behind the plate at a Cardinals game. Uh uh. But she has a new seat.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's new seat was courtesy of her sweet baboo, her Hillbilly husband, her Farmer H. You see, only two days ago Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was beset with a wet stomach. Being Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, she thought perhaps her abdomen had been splashed in a rousing round of dishwashing. Not so. Water was leaking out the front of the sink. Between the sink and the countertop. That's not supposed to happen.

The water returned, even though it had been wiped thoroughly by Mrs. HM with a Bounty Select-A-Size paper towel. It was coming from inside the sink! A true kitchen horror movie! Mrs. HM called Farmer H to report the danger. Then left the Mansion. Not for that. She already had plans elsewhere.

When she returned, HM had a new seat. She doesn't know what it looks like, but she knows it isn't wet. Apparently, it's a part inside the sink faucet stick-shift-looking doodad that turns on the water. All HM knows it that she can shift from cold to hot much more smoothly, but the cold is still where the hot should be, and the hot is still where the cold should be. Small complaint. Only been dealing with it for 20 years. Surely it could not have been fixed by Farmer H the plumber in that short amount of time.

Yeah. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a new seat. And, unlike her old one, it's dry.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Somebodies' Mommas Didn't Raise 'Em Right

There are none so low as he who stoops to grave robbing.

Yes. That's a quotable quote from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. She has stopped short of merchandising T-shirts with these words of wisdom.

We're not talking about Muff Potter, Injun Joe, Doc Robinson and the headboard from Hoss Williams's grave. Nope. We're talking about ne'er-do-wells out to make a buck from melting down metal flower holders that screw into the headstones of somebody's dear, departed loved ones.

Last week, I stopped by the cemetery for some alone time at Mom and Dad's grave. I noticed that the flowers were gone. A guy was mowing in another of the gardens, and this one had just-trimmed grass. So I thought maybe they had taken out the flowers for mowing. I did not see any other metal vases standing. Not a big deal. This place has all flat stones, no raised ones. It would stand to reason that they remove the upright vases for close cutting.

Yesterday, I stopped by again. No metal vase on Mom and Dad's headstone. The little white weeping angel, the one with its head on its forearms, the one that always makes me cry...was still there, but tipped over, with its head resting on the stone. The grass was not freshly cut. Way down in the new section, a guy was riding a mower.

I drove out of that area, onto the county road, and started off to the lawyer's office for house-sale preliminary document-signing. Then I turned back in, at the lower entrance by the mausoleum. What if the vase had been put back at the wrong grave? Dad has been there for 20 years. We've never had the vase go missing before. Every time I go by, it's there, screwed in, with whatever flowers we had put there for the season. Something was amiss.

Of course there was nobody home at the mausoleum. Well. Nobody that would talk to me. Even though The Pony declared that he heard voices when we held Mom's service there, I, myself, did not. The sign on the front door said the office hours were 8:00 to 4:00. It was now 9:45. I walked right in. It's a peaceful place, carpeted, chairs set up for services. The office is in the back. It had a sign on the door that said "Come on in." I tried. It was locked. I knocked. Gave a rap rap rapping on the office door. Nobody. Is it bad to say I saw no signs of life in that mausoleum?

I left. At the lawyer's office, I asked Sis if she had taken the vase. To shine it up, perhaps, or switch out the flowers. No. She had not. And she informed me that people steal those all the time. That a woman at her church, whose husband's grave is three plots down from Mom and Dad's, said his vase had disappeared THREE times. And each time, the cemetery owners replaced it. "You have to go to the office," Sis said. "And report it, and tell them you want it replaced."

"What if they say it's not their problem?"

"Tell them that it is! That you know somebody who has had it happen several times, and they have replaced it for them. Don't get too specific. Don't give her name, or say where the plot is."

"Okay. But I was already there, and nobody was home in the mausoleum."

I went to the grave again. No metal vase. In fact, there were no metal vases in the row of graves along the road. The others had theirs. I'm sure there would not be a mowing of only one row of graves. I drove down to the mausoleum. Went back in. The minute I stepped through the front glass doors, a lady came out of the office door. It's not like she was psychic. I'm sure they have security cameras all over that place. Just not over the row of graves by Mom and Dad's plot.

"May I help you?"

"Yes. I noticed that the metal vase is missing from my parents' grave. I was here a week ago, and it was gone, but I thought that was because of mowing. Now I see that it's still not there."

"Oh. That's too bad. Did you look down in by the headstone? Sometimes the groundskeepers lay them down while mowing."

"No. I saw the little white angel. But no vase or flowers. I can go back up and look."

"Oh, no! My groundskeepers can do that! Let me get the names, and which garden. We will check on that, and see that it is replaced."

"Thank you."

Here's the thing. Like Sis said, "If you ran a junkyard, wouldn't YOU be suspicious if somebody pulled in with 30 grave vases? I don't know why they keep paying money for them like they're scrap." Our local paper had an article about it a while back. Some guy was caught selling those vases to scrap dealers. I guess a reputable business around here turned him in.

Indeed. I have a good idea where those vases are being cashed out. Even the 14-year-old kids at Newmentia know what kind of place this is. "I went with my grandpa to help him tow an old truck and sell it for scrap. The dude says, 'Do you have the title?' Grandpa said no. So the dude says, 'Okay. I'll make sure and crush it today.' Then he gave grandpa the money." The #1 son says that everybody knows that place is just a front for selling drugs. Remind me to ask how he knew this.

I suppose the police are getting information out of there. So it must benefit them more to keep their sources than to shut the place down.

Still. It's pretty low to steal vases off graves. I don't care how poor you are.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Misspent Summer

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is an eternal optimist.

Last night, she made big plans for today. No appointments, no house-clearing-out, no bill-paying, no trip to town for soda or lottery. Just a relaxing day around the house, making a quick lunch for The Pony, the rest of the time spent reading or writing. A staycation for her mind.

Even Steven had other plans.

When I got up at 7:30, I saw an email from our lawyer had come in at 5:20 a.m. Don't you worry about the Hillbilly family. Our lawyer keeps donut-maker hours. It was about the paperwork for straightening out those phantom 3 acres on the deed to my mom's house. Even Steven likes nothing better than a game of giveth and taketh.

The first email was actually at 5:17. "Need Dad's full name." The second at 5:20. "Found in file. Drop by and sign." I'm quite thrilled that he was brief. His time is my money, you know.

So...I sent a text to my sister the ex-mayor's wife so she could sign. I figured this couldn't take long. I would leave home by 9:00, and be back by 10:00. Still with the whole day ahead of me.

At the lawyer's office, the receptionist behind the smoked-glass window that is opened when you ring a doorbell told me that she did not have the paperwork. She went to check while a hardened criminal and his gun moll eyed the back of my head or my ample buttocks as I waited. Oh. Lawyer had left the paperwork for her to get ready, but had not told her we were coming by today. They could have it in an hour.

As I told them I'd be back, and that I would notify my sister, in walked Sis. Alone.

"They're not ready yet. I was just going out to get my phone to text you. Where's Babe?" That's her granddaughter, 18 months old, who she's keeping this week.

"I left her in the car."

"NOOOO! It's 100 degrees already."

"Ha ha ha. Really. I left her in the car. I'm only going to be here a minute." She smirked while I elbowed past her out the door. "Of course, the ex-mayor is in the car with her, and it's running. He had to work all night, so he's off now."

Oh. I forgot to mention the part where on the way to the lawyer's office, I stopped by the cemetery, and saw that the metal flower-holder thingy is missing from Mom and Dad's grave. No time for that story today. Let it suffice to say that to kill an hour, Sis and her crew went to The Devil's Playground, and I went back to the cemetery.

Because my cemetery business did not take an hour, I went to bill-paying town to pay the house bill two days early. Then I went to put The Pony's college money in his account. By that time, an hour and 15 minutes had passed. I went back to the lawyer's office.

"Oh. There's only one of you?"

"Yes. I thought we were just signing papers."

"Don't worry. The papers are done. But Lawyer wanted to meet with you both."

"That's news to me! It wasn't in the email at 5:20 this morning. And nobody mentioned that an hour and 15 minutes ago."

"He's just really bad at communicating with us. He's REALLY in trouble now!"

"Let me go out to the car and get my phone. Sis lives just up the road. I'll see if she's back home now."

She was. She arrived in five minutes, and we went in to talk to Lawyer. He wanted to make sure which of the deeds was the land that needed to be officially linked with the house and other acreage. Then we signed the papers. He left to get us a each a copy. Sis is usually a talker, like Mom. She had already complimented Lawyer on the re-design of his office. Not that we're regulars or anything.

"Sis! He charges by the minute!"


"I can't YELL it! He charges by the minute. Even if you're chatting."

"I know!"

So he came back, and we asked if we would be responsible for 40 years of back taxes on that parcel, and he said the county could only go back 5 years. It was their fault they nobody caught this mistake until now. Also, that the title company said there was no sign of a lien against the property. So we would probably be okay.

Then we got up to leave, and Sis started asking about his daughter, who joined his practice, and whether she knew what she was doing, and Lawyer said he has to help her, because law school really does not prepare you for the actual job, and Sis said, "Just like teaching." It was all I could do to keep from grabbing her in a headlock and dragging her out the door. Where is one of those vaudeville shepherd's crooks where you need it?

Next, I had to call The Pony and explain that I was just now starting home, way after 10:00, and see if he wanted me to bring him lunch, since I was not in much mood to make him something.

By the time I got home and sat down to my own lunch, it was 1:00.

Every day this summer has been like that.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Booty Ain't Picky

The temperature in the garage was 109 when The Pony and I climbed into T-Hoe for a drive to my mom's house. It was a mere 95 when we pulled into her driveway to meet my sister the ex-mayor's wife. Sis and I both left our windows down. Sweet Gummi Mary! The heat index was 110.

From 4:00 to 6:30, we cleaned out the hall closet, a curio cabinet, and sorted through stuff sitting behind the furniture and along the wall. Not a lot there. Mom was no hoarder. But Farmer H kept buying her glass cake plates with lids, even after she told him she had enough. More than enough. So some things would not fit into her china cabinet, and had to sit behind a wing chair or a ceramic cherub holding a bird bath on his head. Hey! My grandma took up ceramics late in life. She loved giving gifts.

As we loaded up our respective SUVs to leave, I heard Sis jawing with The Pony. "How were we supposed to know? It was bright and sunny when we got here! Now I'm going to be in trouble!"

Seems an unforecast rain shower had passed over. T-Hoe's seats were wet, too. We both have leather. Mine are black, and I think hers are gray. Lucky we had approximately 57 ShamWOWs laying on T-Hoe's back passenger seat from the last time we cleaned out a room. I locked the front door of the house and met them in the driveway.

"Here, Mom. Your seat got wet, too."

I took the proffered ShamWOW and rubbed T-Hoe the right way. I wiped down the door panel where the window switches and door locks and mirror control had accrued droplets. Then I handed the ShamWOW back to The Pony, who wiped off the shotgun seat. Not that he was riding there. He was sitting behind me again. We backed out of the driveway.

"Make sure you spread that out to dry. My butt is still wet. Did you give Sis a ShamWOW to wipe down her seats?"

"Uh huh. That was the one you were using. She gave it back after she dried her seats."

"You mean we have some of Sis's butt on our butts?"

"No. Just you. My seat was dry."

"Great. Part of Sis's butt is on my butt!"

"Technically, you also have some of the ex-mayor's butt on your butt. He drives that car, too, you know."

"ACK! It's getting worse by the minute!"

"The booty ain't picky."

Yeah. Those are The Pony's words of wisdom for today.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Balm Doesn't Work On A Jagged Staple Laceration

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has an issue. Mark the calendar. OH WAIT! You can't do that, because that calendar is full of previous issues. Get another calendar. Mark it.

Last night, we were out until the crack of dusk, loading up stuff from my mom's basement. My sister the ex-mayor's wife decreed that the afternoon/evening hours were best for her and the ex-mayor. I was of no mind to whip up a delicious repast of vittles heated in the oven and warmed in the microwave, so after The Pony and I left with our load in T-Hoe, I had him send a text to Farmer H to stop by and pick up Chinese food at Bejing House of Hillmomba.

Don't get me wrong. The food there is really good, as long as you don't get anything breaded, like General Tso, or Hunan Chicken. That's a big mistake, because you can't find the chicken. I have tricked them by ordering Hunan Pork. It's real meat! Maybe even pork! Sure, they're skimpy with the filling in the Crab Rangoon, but the flavor is good. My issue is not with the taste. It's the packaging.

You see, Bejing House of Hillmomba used to put their dinners in flat white plastic rectangular containers, with a clear plastic lid. BONUS! Hillbilly Tupperware! Then they switched to foil rectangular containers with a cardboard lid. And for the last several years, they have been sending our food home in rectangular flip-top Styrofoam containers. Not that such a practice is uncommon. It's the way they secure the carry-outs.


That's right! They staple the front corners of the containers! It's not enough that the flat tongue thingy fits into the slot thingy. Nope. They staple that sucker, with a common teacher-tool stapler. Do you know how hard it is to remove a staple from Styrofoam? You might think you can simply pull up on the lid, and the staple will slip through the weak Styrofoam. Uh huh. That used to work. Until last night.

I think Bejing House of Hillmomba got a new stapler. Those things would not budge. Not even when I ran the edge of a serving spoon between the top and bottom edge. That ALWAYS worked before. But no. The Styrofoam finally gave up my meal by breaking in jagged tears along the THREE staples that held it shut.

What happens, I ask you, if a child, perhaps, or a fellow in the throes of a feeding frenzy rip open their Chinese dinner and those staples pop out all willy-nilly and imbed themselves in the fried rice? Huh? Then what?

Somebody's gonna call Jackie Chiles.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

It's All Over But The Heavy Sighin'

Yesterday, I got my letter from school with the opening day schedule for our inservice festivities.

Only one more breakfast where my section of the room goes last, and has a spread of loose grapes and tired scrambled eggs left to choose from.

Only one more time to sit through a three-hour meeting before we get down to the business of receiving our handbooks so we can flip to the duty schedules.

Only one more viewing of the sexual predator videos which are exactly the same from year to year.

Only one more time to bemoan the fact that we must sit and listen rather than use the time wisely to prepare for the first day.

Only one more open house!

Only one more viewing of the new year's class rosters.

Only one more time to slap those emergency evacuation posters on the wall and hope they stick longer than a week at a time.

Only one more time to hook up my technology control center and whip into into working order by trial and error. Mostly error.

Only one more time to head off to the first day of school with my grown-up little Pony.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Audacity Of The Farmer H

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is quite confused by this creature that roams Hillmomba. The creature called Farmer H. How it has survived for over five decades is a mystery to her. She would think such a creature might have perished without constant assistance from people so kind as herself. The Farmer H can scarcely remember to breathe in/breathe out. In fact, it buries its head under a quilt each night, and if not for the contraption called a BREATHER, it would, in fact, perish from lack of oxygen.

Imagine Mrs. HM's astonishment this noon when she discovered that the Farmer H has but a rudimentary understanding of the English language. She had just returned from The Devil's Playground and had barely stowed away her provisions. The Pony knew he would soon be conscripted into serving the Farmer H's construction commands, as soon as he was finished lovingly assisting Mrs. HM with her shopping duties. So Mrs. HM sent a text to the Farmer H (working at the BARn) in an effort to find out whether The Pony should report immediately for duty, or wait until after the Farmer H's feeding time. The text went exactly like this:

"Did you have lunch? Just asking. Nothing here but bologna or hot dog."

See what she did there? Mrs. HM sent a text that only required a YES or NO answer. So that The Pony could trot out to help, or go downstairs for gaming until his presence was requested. Sometimes, while in town, Mrs. HM will text and ask if the Farmer H desires any foodstuffs to be picked up for his midday meal. But this was not the case. She let it know right off that nothing had been broughten. But the Farmer H answered that text in a striking exhibition of self-centeredness:

"I would eat a couple dogs."

See there? Quite presumptuous of the Farmer H to assume that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is on call to cater to its every peckish desire. Does a creature of its years not understand how to provide for itself? Can it not toss a couple of dogs into the microwave with two handles, set the timer for 30 seconds, and pull two buns out of a bag? Nowhere did Mrs. HM offer to make the Farmer H's lunch. That would have been something like, "Did you eat yet? I can make you a bologna sandwich or a hot dog." But she did not. She assumed (and look what happened) that the Farmer H was capable of keeping itself alive in her absence.

The Farmer H may have eaten for a day. But it will not eat for a lifetime. Unless that lifetime is not much more than a day.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Some Folks Deserve A Sound Thrashing

Yesterday I stopped by a different Save A Lot that the one I regularly frequent, in order to pick up milk and bananas. It was on the way home from my mom's house, where we'd been working at clearing out some stuff. As I pulled into the parking space, Farmer H called me.

I left T-Hoe running so The Pony (seated in the front due to piles of stuff in the back) and I wouldn't overheat. While I was talking to Farmer H, T-Hoe started to sway. It was like we were in that movie 2012, and a fissure had opened up right under us, so severely did we shake.

"WHAT was THAT?"

"Mmm...oooeeeooo." Which I think means "I don't know" in Pony.

The swaying diminished. I turned to look out The Pony's side of T-Hoe, and saw a lady (let the record show that I use the term loosely) getting into her big white sedan, which was parked adjacent to us.


I put the windows down on the passenger side. I can do that, you know. I have supreme power over T-Hoe.


Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was not playin'. She WANTED that witch to hear her statement. The witch folded her long legs and accordioned into her driver's seat. She must have already loaded her broom into the back seat.

I threw her the stinkeye and held my gaze. She had the audacity to look right through T-Hoe's open windows. It's a good thing she couldn't see all the way into my soul. I stared her down until she broke. Or until she started backing up out of her parking space.

One of these days, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's mouth is going to write one too many checks for her butt to cash.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

It's A Good Thing Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Not An Indian Deity

Tuesday evening, my sister the ex-mayor's wife, the ex-mayor, Farmer H, and I met in Mom's basement. No, that's not a cool new restaurant. Not a bargain store. Not an initiation venue for a secret society. I'm talking about the actual basement in my mother's house.

The goal of this meeting was to divvy up the contents so we can proceed to closing on the sale next week. When all was done partially-completed after a three-hour session, about a fourth of the stuff had been moved from the shelves along the wall and placed in three disorganized piles on the floor. There was a Mrs. Hillbilly Mom stack presided over by Farmer H, a Sis stack presided over by the ex-mayor, and a stack for future dispensation at the auction, with Sis getting her half of the 80% left after the auctioneer takes his cut and Farmer H does all the work.

We won't go into the mind-numbing details, like when Sis snatched up an old peanut jar containing five marbles and shouted, "I will take the marbles!" No. Today's tale is not actually about the basement debacle, but rather about the ride home.

By the time we finally left, in four separate vehicles, the time was 8:20 p.m. Dusk was falling fast. The sun goes down quickly in the hills of Hillmomba. I steered T-Hoe along the back roads, past the cemetery where Mom now resides, past the hole-in-the-wall steak restaurant painted green, almost to the used car lot, but not quite to the new section of back road that runs behind the school where I should be sending The Pony if he didn't go with me to Newmentia. And there they were. PEOPLE WALKING IN THE ROAD!

It was so gloomy I barely saw them. I swerved across the center line and back, just enough to miss them. They were walking right at me. You'd think they had the common sense to get off the pavement. It didn't help matters that my right hand was full of a Burger King Double-Stacker, and that my left clutched a napkin and T-Hoe's steering wheel. Just as I darted back into my lane, at the crest of a small hill, a black Jeep with no lights on came barreling toward us. Tragedy was avoided because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a defensive driver. I knew that was a blind hill, and cut as close to those walkers as possible without hitting them. But I was NOT going to get completely into the oncoming lane when I couldn't see what might be oncoming.


The Pony was riding up front, sloppily ingesting a Whopper. "Are you sure that's ALL you would do if you had a third hand?"

"Well. If I had a FOURTH hand, I might have showed my displeasure in another way."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Winks

There I was this morning, trying to catch those last few winks after Farmer H departed for work, when out on the porch there arose such a ruckus I sprang out of bed to see what had assailed us.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

My sweet, sweet Juno had been going all primate-crap with her fierce high-pitched bark. Right outside the french doors that lead from my side of the bed out onto the porch. Not that I'm French, or need you to pardon mine, or anything. From the panic in her woof, I thought surely a marauder such as a wolverine or honey badger (DON'T CARE!) had crept up on her while she was enjoying her breakfast in the form of a full flat round metal pan that echoes each nugget of dry dogfood dispensed by Farmer H each morning. Or even worse, maybe it was that killer poodle from across the road!

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The only other creature on the back porch with Juno was poor dimwitted Ann, the black german shepherd/lab mix. She was on her own side of the big metal garbage can full of the bag of dry dog food from which Farmer H dispenses their meal each morning. That can acts as a divider. Even so, Juno growls throughout her feeding time like Ann is going to barrel through that can and snatch her breakfast.

Most of the time, these two mutts have an uneasy truce. They run alongside Farmer H in the Gator as he patrols the grounds. They wrestle on the front porch with snapping jaws grabbing hopefully not-snapping legs. But they will not share a house in the winter, and Juno does not want Ann getting a pat, even with a free non-dominant hand while she herself is being stroked as the official object of affection.

Juno's spoiled brattiness insecurities no doubt stem from her early days, when she was abandoned prior to the age of proper weaning, and left to fend for herself on the front porch of my mom's house. Where she was ignored and avoided, her tiny ribs sticking to each other, as Mom let her go hungry, and entered and exited from the side door, thinking Juno would move on to another house if she received no food or kindness.

Even after the #1 son scammed me into bringing sweet, sweet Juno home to raise as our own, she had issues with the big dogs. We had our first dog then, too. Old Grizzly, the half lab/half beagle. He and Ann would creep up to watch and sniff while my sweet, sweet Juno, a mere slip of a pup, licked her half can of Puppy Chicken off a paper plate. She knew she was the center of attention, too. She growled like a guard dog while choking down that meal.

I do not plan to tell Farmer H how this brouhaha interrupted my beauty sleep. He's proud enough of flinging those dry dogfood pellets out of a plastic pitcher into the flat metal pan like so many golf balls flung out of a jai alai cesta at a metal storage shed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tooting The Horn Of Plenty

My favorite gambling aunt went to lunch with us yesterday. Not that I have a plethora of gambling aunts. She's the only one. But my favorite of the aunts. Lunch was her idea. We haven't been gambling in a while. She offered to take me any time, but since the last time I rode with her we ended up on the wrong side of the road at a light facing oncoming traffic...I'm not sure if I want to ride on the wild side.

We went to a local catfish house. Mmm...catfish. And chicken. And shrimp. And slaw, cucumber salad, baked beans, fries, mashed potatoes, and hush puppies. Did I mention it was all-you-can-eat? I was shocked, SHOCKED at the amount of food they brought out for the three of us.

Let the record show that The Pony, Farmer H, and I went there for supper last week. We also had all-you-can-eat. The amount of food delivered to our table was about HALF of what that waitress brought us today. And my aunt is about half the size of Farmer H. I was kind of pissed about it, actually. Why in the world would she bring out so much? And at lunch time, too. Not dinner. The hush puppies and fries had their own basket. The shrimp had its own basket. The only thing on that overloaded platter was chicken and catfish.

So...after we ate our fill, and talked another hour, my favorite gambling aunt asked if I wanted any of that cucumber salad, because she wanted to take it home. Let the record further show that I had not partaken of the cucumber salad at all, because it gives me heartburn. To which MFGA said, "Oh, then you can eat it twice."

I was of the assumption that one cannot get a doggie box at an all-you-can-eat establishment. "I don't think they'll let us take that home. Because then people would come in and eat all they can, then ask for more, then ask to take it home."

"Well, what are they going to do with it? It's already on the table."

"I know. They can't serve it again. Farmer H usually breaks it in half, or puts it on his plate and mixes it up. Just to make sure. He used to poke his thumb in every roll. Not that we ever had any left once we had the boys. They LOVE rolls."

"I'm going to ask. They shouldn't waste this food."

So the waitress came back, and MFGA said, "Can I take my tea with me? And can I have a box for that cucumber salad?"

"Yes. Would you like a box for anything else? I'll bring out a couple." She returned with a small box for the salad, a medium box, and a large box. We thanked her. I said I didn't know we could take anything home. "Oh, if you didn't ask for refills, you can take whatever is on the table." So actually, she had done us a big favor in overloading that platter and those baskets. For that price, she should have!

MFGA only wanted cucumber salad. I scraped up the baked beans and mashed potatoes for Farmer H. And the hush puppies and fries and shrimp and chicken and fish for the rest of us to share. Farmer H couldn't believe we brought home so much food.

I guess the trick is to go at lunch, not supper when they are crowded and only bringing out a little at a time to make you beg for more.

Or maybe we were getting stuff left on the table Sunday evening.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Poor Woman's SOS

Saturday nights, Farmer H goes to the auction. He used to eat a hot dog or a sausage there, until the health department shut down the owner's wife's snack bar. Not that there were any reported deaths from food poisoning traced to her. Or even serious illnesses. The clientele think a disgruntled bidder blew the whistle. Anyhoo...there are no hot entrees now. So Farmer H grabs something at home before he heads off to bid on, perhaps buy, some Auction Meat or other treats that he imagines would please Mrs. HM. That means Mrs. HM does not have to prepare a meal. Only throw together a form of sustenance for The Pony and herself.

This week I made pasta for The Pony. Sure, it was out of a box. And it was called Pasta Roni. But earlier in the week, I made him some out of a bag, Lipton, perhaps, and it was Alfredo. To prevent waste, and whipping up TWO meals, I partook of the pasta that The Pony didn't want. To mine, I added some tuna. From a can. It's not like I sailed the seas of Hillmomba to net a live fish and then scaled and fileted it.

It was quite tasty, actually. A throwback to when Little Future Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was a kid sitting at the family dinner table eating tuna and noodles. That's what my mom called it. "What's for supper, Mom?" "Tuna and noodles." Only she actually cooked some kind of flat noodle, perhaps egg noodles, and made a white sauce, and put the tuna in and let it all marinate in the pan. In fact, she might also have put this in a casserole dish, layered some cheese on top, and baked it in the oven. But I distinctly remember its name was Tuna and Noodles.

What most people call it, I suppose, is SOS. Not a call for emergency help. Poop on a Roof. The stuff army guys ate, only with chipped beef in place of the tuna. Of course my mom did not have the vocabulary of GIs. Are you kidding? We were not even allowed to say fart in the house. Or anywhere within Mom's hearing. If she got a whiff of passed gas, she would turn up her nose, crank down her eyebrows, and ask, "Does somebody need to go to the bathroom?" Not-Heaven NO! Nobody needed to go to the bathroom. They were feeling much better after letting out that enormous FART.

Anyhoo...Saturday night I made Poor Woman's SOS. Not that Mrs. HM is poor, mind you. But she is too lazy to whip up her own white sauce and make actual noodles and dirty up a glass dish for baking. I gave The Pony his noodles out of the pan, and stirred in some Solid White Albacore in Water.

Let me assure you that it still tasted like SOS.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

This, Perhaps, Is Why The Pony Doesn't Help People

Remember how The Pony doesn't really care about helping people? As evidenced by his answers on the ACT interest inventory? And that time an old lady fell in the deli section of The Devil's Playground, and I urged him to go see if he could help her up, and he said, "Do I have to?" Maybe there's a science behind his antipathy.

Friday I asked him to get the lid off a jar of my Save A Lot Senora Verde Mild Salsa. That lid was clinging to the jar tighter than the hand of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to the Hillbilly family purse strings. The Pony picked it up. Squeezed. Grunted. Declared that it was on really tight.

"I'm going to get a pot holder."

"Okay. But you might do better with a gripper."

"Pot holder, gripper. That's what I meant." He grabbed the squarish woven rubber tan pot-holder-looking gripper out of the sharp knife drawer. He squeezed. He grunted. He declared that it was on really, really tight.

"Do you want me to run it under hot water?"

"Yes, please."

Never mind that my mom used to whack the bejeebers out of tight lids with the handle end of a butter knife. I turned on the kitchen faucet. The Pony knew this would take a while. He had already vacated the kitchen to sit in the living room and text his current paramour. After the normal five minutes it takes for the water to grow hot, I held that lid under the stream until the water cascading down the edge of the jar burned my tender hands.

"Pony! It's ready."

The Pony gripped with the gripper. He squeezed. He grunted. I did not hear the satisfying squoosh when the seal broke and the lid twisted. But I heard The Pony.

"Oh. I'll get a paper towel."

Salsa was splattered on the countertop, down all sides of the jar, and on both surfaces plus rim of the metal lid.

"Um. Didn't you hold it still on the countertop while you turned?"

"YES! I don't know how it did that."

"I should have just done it myself. It would have taken half the time and made half OR LESS mess."

"Now you know why I don't like to help people. It ends like this. They actually don't WANT me to help them."

I think he's got a point.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I Ain't Teasin', 'Tis The Season

It's Christmas in July!

That's right! Christmas! The giving and receiving of gifts part, not the religious origin of the holiday part.

Okay. So the receiving is just for Farmer H and The Pony, and the giving is by the #1 son, and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is paying for it all. But's Christmas! Christmas in July!

The #1 son only has two more weeks left of his paid internship with Garmin. When it ends, his 45% discount on Garmin merchandise also ends. He has been after Farmer H and The Pony for weeks now to pick out something they want. They both declare they need a GPS, but they both are reluctant to type into a computer.

So...this morning, just as I was writing a letter to #1 to put in the mail by 11:15 and thus send him his weekly dose of Mom-love, Chinese money, and hope in the form or scratch-off tickets...he sent me a text about Garmin swag. I told him to pick something out for them and get it. He first made sure I would tuck a check into that letter for his trouble. Then he put a rush on the process and within 10 minutes had picked out their devices and sent me the total.

When I asked The Pony, upon #1's instructions, what kind of Garmin he wanted, he said, "Just a GPS. A basic one." And Farmer H doesn't even know he's getting one yet. That's kind of like the response I get at real Christmas, when I ask what they want.

The Garmins are being shipped to the Mansion in the name of #1. I do NOT plan to wrap these gifts for my directionally-challenged menfolk.

But other than that, it's just like Christmas! Christmas in July!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Like Sand Through The Hourglass, So Is Each Day Of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Life

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom doesn't ask for much during her summer vacation. A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down her pants. WAIT! That's not what Mrs. HM asks for! That was Chuckles the Clown. All Mrs. HM asks for is some down time to regroup. To relax. To not constantly be serving somebody else's needs. She would like an uneventful day or two each week to use for creative purposes. To recharge her writing batteries.

As you might surmise, that rarely happens.

Yesterday, I thought I might have such a day. I really did. Even though Farmer H woke me at 6:00 as usual to make sure I would not be able to get any rest since he had to work. I was done with chores and about to start releasing those creative juices around 10:00 a.m. And the phone rang. It was my favorite gambling aunt. Since she retired from Newmentia, we have been out of touch. Since Mom died, I don't drive by her house as often. Besides, she had back surgery a few months ago, and is still recuperating. I could not turn down her phone call. After all, I am out of the gossip loop. Also, her son is buying Mom's house. So I took the call. She's a talker.

I hung up at 11:45.

Then there was lunch to make for The Pony. And something for me. A few hours to myself, then time to make supper. A bit of a respite to eat. Then it was time to watch the live Big Brother eviction with The Pony.

This morning, I figured I would get some extra rest, then an early start on my literary pursuits. Perhaps you have heard that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a night owl. She went to bed at 3:00 a.m., certain she could catch up on those elusive ZZZZZs because Farmer H had a later leave time this morning due to a meeting off the work site. But no. Even though he didn't leave home until 7:30, he made sure to wake her at 6:45 to lecture her to be more cheerful. Which is kind of like poking a snake with a stick and telling it to quit striking.

I sent a text to the #1 son because I needed a replica of his initials for renter's insurance form purposes. While waiting for him to respond so I could drop that form at the office, I started getting texts from the ex-mayor concerning Sis's new phone, which would neither text me nor receive my messages last night. That carried on for a couple of hours while they were at the ATT store. Then I had to rope The Pony into coming upstairs to respond to them, because it was time for my shower.

I left home at 11:30, because I could wait no longer. I needed to pick up some boxes at Save A Lot, and mail a bill, deliver the insurance form, pick up some lottery for #1's letter of hope, and treat myself to a 44 oz Diet Coke. I had to pull off the road 3 times to text #1 about the lack of his initials, then read his response, then do a little creative copying.

The gas station chicken store was out of corn dogs, having just sold the last one to the person in front of me. So when I got home, I would have to warm up some lunch for The Pony. The minute I got inside and stepped across the threshold to the bathroom, the phone rang. It was Farmer H, reporting that he was leaving his meeting, and would be home in an hour-and-a-half. I still had to make my own lunch, which I sat down with at my computer at 2:00. Farmer H rolled in at 3:00. It will be time to start supper at 4:30.

I may need to take a part-time job so I will have time to write after I retire.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Time Marches To The Beat Of Not-Mrs.-Hillbilly-Mom's Drum

Three weeks. THREE WEEKS! That's all I have left until school starts again. Even though this has quite possibly been the very worst summer of my entire life...I am reluctant to let it go. Back to the rat race, racing the other rats to the end of the week, for a short precious weekend that does not contain enough time for chores AND relaxation.

My retirement is 10 months away. Out there on the horizon. Have you ever tried to reach the horizon? The closer you get, the farther away it recedes. But if you get there, you just might fall over the edge! When I reach retirement, Farmer H might put me over the edge!

I want the school year over, yet I want it to last. The Pony will graduate. My baby! Off to college. I don't know if there are enough hours in the night for me to lay awake and worry about TWO boys out on their own.

Three weeks. Three short weeks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

B*tch Needs A-Slappin'!

Ahh...after our peaceful religious interlude yesterday, it's time for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to show her true colors again.

The Pony and I went by the bank yesterday to cash Farmer H's lawnmowing check and pick up some weekly allowance money. After incurring no untoward incident in the drive-thru lane, I looped T-Hoe through the alley and back onto the parking lot to the cash machine set in the wall of the bank. Once my business was done, I again headed out the alley.

There's a stop sign on that alley. No cross street. Just a stop sign beside the end of a church. And a big sign ordering people to KEEP OFF CHURCH PARKING LOT. I don't begrudge them their territorialness. After all, they are the ones paying for the resurfacing and sealing. They have a right to a parking lot that looks like it was only used in a month of Sundays. That their steeple was struck by lighting a couple of years ago, causing blazes in their worship place, plays no small part in my decision to give that lot a wide berth. Besides, they have a camera mounted on the corner of the building.

I generally sit at that stop sign a few minutes to put my cash in order, and return my debit card to its slot in my checkbook. I caution The Pony to watch behind me, in case another vehicle comes up behind me while I'm stopped at the stop sign. Today, it did. A white truck, which had been waiting at the ATM. That thing stuck to me like a forgotten cherry Saf-T-Pop in a napping toddler's hair. Even when I pulled out on the road, it tried to climb into T-Hoe's hatch. Followed me all the way to the turn-in at the new frozen custard shop.

One scoop and one toddler cone later, shed of the tailgater, The Pony and I took the lake road to Save A Lot. I didn't really need groceries so much as I needed boxes for cleaning out Mom's house. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a white truck looming in the rearview mirror!

I can't guarantee it was the same white truck. But it had the same behavior. I turned left onto the street, then left onto the lot. That white truck gassed it an sped down the parking aisle in the wrong direction. I slowed to let a gentleman cross from Subway to his car. Then I drove four more spaces and turned T-Hoe's wheel to the right, to pull into a vacant parking space. There were a lot of open spaces. Okay. Three of them on my side were handicapped spaces. But mine was right next to one. Prime parking by the door.

But WAIT! That white truck zoomed in across from my spot, and PULLED THROUGH! I had already started my pull-in. I had to back up. The idiot inside made a little face. Like, "Sorry." But not really. I drove around that aisle and came up the other side, and pulled in next to where that B*TCH had pulled through. She hopped out of her truck and darted inside. Like I wouldn't see her.

Alas. Though I am older, with more insurance, I resisted the urge to go all Towanda on her vehicle.

Inside, she crossed my path at the frozen pizza cooler. I again resisted the urge to go all Towanda on her body with my cart. She pretended not to notice me.

B*TCH needs a-slappin'.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Pony Is A Stickler For Detail

This morning I met my sister the ex-mayor's wife to sort through some more stuff in Mom's house. The Pony went along to provide beast of burden services. We had planned to spend two hours, because the temperatures were approaching 97, with the heat index over 100. It took the air conditioner a while to bring down the ambient temperature.

As with every single time I think we are going to whiz through three or four tasks, we don't even get done with one. After almost four hours, we had only sorted out pictures on the walls, the mantle decorations, and assorted papers from a couple of stacks. Always, we are mired down by the sheer attention to detail Sis gives every single coin, every single appliance instruction manual from 1982, every single Bible from a stack of nearly 15. Let the record show that Mom was not a holy roller. She went to church most Sundays. Gave a donation. And that was that. But somehow, she had acquired a plethora of Bibles.

Sis pulled them out one by one. "Oh, we gave them each a Bible when they were baptized. Here they are." She read the inscriptions. "Here are two big Bibles." I recognized one with a white cover. "Look. Which one do you want of these? Here's a Masonic Bible."

"Okay. I'll take that one. I'll give it to #1 to keep with his other Masonic stuff from Dad."

Sis went back to Bible-dumping. "I'll take this one. And this one. Do you want one of these? It's easier to understand this version." Obviously, Sis was not even trying to hide her belief that I was an imbecile.

"Okay. I'll take that one with the black cover." That certainly narrowed it down.

"Look! Here's a whole stack of little New Testaments! Do you want one?"

"I'll take a green one."

"Grandma tried to give me one of those one time, I think." The Pony was relaxing on the couch until we needed heavy lifting.

Sis grabbed another stack of books. One was a cardboard collection of paperbacks. Like The Pony has of the Little House on the Prairie books. She picked it up by the spine, and all of the individual books slid to the floor.

"JESUS CHRIST!" Not Sis. The Pony.

"PONY! We don't say that! What's wrong with you?"

"But Mom! Look!"

Sis held up the books and fanned them out so I could see the covers. On the top of each one was 'JESUS CHRIST,' then a picture, then a subtitle.

The Pony calls it as he sees it.

Monday, July 13, 2015

We Must All Take A Stand, And Refuse To Sit Still For This!

What is wrong with people these days? Can they not understand the meaning of a saved seat? SAVED! Like Elaine shouting at fellow moviegoers at a 10:30 showing of "Checkmate." If something is left in place, that means the people will be right back. That space is saved. Not up for grabs. The belongings are not ripe for the taking. They are saving the space for the person who got there first. Is that so difficult to understand?

I know I have taken on this issue of seat-usurpers before, in the context of faculty meetings and senior class scholarship presentations. But folks are still getting under my skin with their thieving ways.

At the writers' conference Saturday, The Pony and I hurried over to our next venue to pick our seats. (Heh, heh. I said PICK our seats!) I chose the end of a table in the back row. The Pony would sit beside me. When I took the elevator down to the restroom, I left him to watch my stuff. It was clear that somebody was sitting there. I left my padfolio, my glasses, and a cup of water on the table, and my carry bag in the chair. Nobody moved it. My seat was still fine after my bathroom visit. Heh, heh. But of course, I left my guard Pony.

Later, after lunch, I headed to that same room to hear my blog buddy, Donna, give a presentation. I got the same seat. People trickled in. The room was about 1/3 full when a guy came and put his folder on the table next to me, and his backpack in the seat. The tables held four people. On the other side of his stuff were two women. Guy turned and went out of the room. I could only surmise that he was taking the elevator to the restroom. More people joined us. In fact, that room only had a few seats left, up toward the front. It was not a big room. Kind of like a classroom. There were 8 or 10 tables.

Well. Donna had just started when a lady came in and started fiddling with that chair next to me. She looked at me and the other two women, and said, "Is somebody sitting here." I spoke up for my guard-pony-less Guy. "A man left his stuff there. I think he's coming back."

That wench pulled back the chair, picked up Guy's backpack, took his folder, and put them on the floor against the back wall. Then she sat down there. What nerve! It was not my battle to fight, but I felt bad for Guy.

A couple of minutes later, Guy came in, ready to sit down. But there was Wench in his seat. I hope he didn't think I gave it away. Or that I knew her. Wench said, "Oh, do you want me to get up?" Not, "Here. I'm sorry. Let me give you your seat back."

Guy took the high road. "I'll just find another seat." So he picked up his stuff, and wiggled his way in to a seat against the wall two tables ahead.

That's not right! Wench should have wiggled HER way into an open seat. Not Guy. He picked his seat (heh, heh) in the back so he wouldn't disrupt anything when he returned after doing his business. Wench knew she was late the minute she came in.

I'll bet she goes to movies after all the previews, and asks the usher to move people over so she can sit on the aisle.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Outsmarts The Overactive Bladder Crowd

I simply must tell you my most scathingly brilliant idea! It's safe now. No need to withhold it from the general public.

Yesterday, The Pony and I attended the All Write Now conference in Lower Hillmomba. Farmer H drove us, and dropped us off at the door. We chose to use the ground level entrance. Not that some entrances are floating, and can only be accessed by hang glider. No. We (make that I) wanted in on the lowest level. I had researched that building on the college campus where my sister the ex-mayor's wife matriculated. There were no steps at that door, and the bathrooms were a quick left once inside, just across from the elevator.

Yes. Elevator. I can read a building schematic. The conference, you see, was on the 4th floor. Entrances were on the 1st and 3rd floors. I saw no need to hike up a set of steps out front (with no handrail, I might add, which makes me wonder how the ADA lets them remain open), and then launch an expedition to the elevator's location from that side of the building. This was a writing contest, not a triathlon.

So...Farmer H dropped us off. We went inside, immediately saw the elevator, and knew where we were headed. use of the facilities. It was a 2-hour drive! We hopped in the elevator just ahead of a young man with a backpack who asked if we were going to the conference. I pushed 3rd floor. Because, you see, we were told by last-minute email not to arrived before 8:00, and that people would be at both entrances to tell us what to do.

The Pony harrumpfed. "The conference is on the FOURTH floor!"

"That's right. I though we were supposed to go where the greeters are. But we'll go straight up."

Let the record show that there were zero greeters on the 1st floor. Just a sign with an arrow that said All Write Now. It directed us to the area with the elevator, the restrooms, and a drink machine. So...we went straight to the 4th floor, where we easily found the registration table. And saw, down through the big open stairwell, with two flights of 20 steps, a sign at the bottom with All Write Now and an arrow pointing up.

But that's not my most scathingly brilliant move, dodging those Mt. Everest equivalent stairs!

As you know, writing conferences attract more women than men. Restrooms facilities do not expand depending on the number who need to use them. As with our women's faculty restroom at Newmentia, facilities are in high demand during time between instruction. I did not plan to spend my time in line when I could be getting a good seat at my next session.

As luck would have it, The Pony and I had chosen the same first session. And the same luck made this venue right next to the elevator. I put my stuff down on the table and told Pony, "I'm going to take the elevator down to the 1st floor and use that bathroom. I know there won't be a crowd. Watch my stuff." He nodded. He can hold it like a camel. I'm not sure he went all day. But he was pickin' up what I was layin' down in this madcap plan to outwit the other wee-ers.

Indeed. There was not a soul in the 1st floor women's restroom. It was like I had a George Costanza private bathroom.

I'm a genius like that.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Pony To The Rescue, Even Though Helping People Was Involved

Do you know the Pony lad, the Pony lad, the pony lad?
Do you know the Pony lad, who doesn't drive a car?

Or a truck. The Pony, my youngest son, who at 17 still does not have his driver's license, though he has renewed him permit twice.

If you know the Pony lad, perhaps you could inform Farmer H of his driving status.

Thursday, after Farmer H and The Pony returned from engineering camp, Farmer H set out on his new used tractor to move some gravel down by the mailboxes. Our recent heavy rains keep swirling the gravel off the road, nigh on exposing a large metal pipe that runs under it for drainage. Gravel is expensive. Better to dig it out of the ditch and put it back than take up a collection from all the residents for truckloads of gravel.

I popped a meat loaf into the oven, because what tastes better to a Pony just back from engineering camp all week than a meat loaf? He also had corn on the cob and biscuits. So while they were cooking, I planned to sit down in the living room and hear about his week at camp. His phone rang.

"Dad needs me to drive the truck down to the mailboxes. He's got his tractor stuck in a ditch."

"Have you ever driven his truck before?"

"No. It can't be that much different than my truck."

Let the record show that it can. The Pony has a little Ford Ranger club cab. Hick has a 4WD Ford F250 Club Cab Long Bed.

Uh huh. He called The Pony to drive his 4WD Ford F250 Club Cab Long Bed down the partially-washed-out gravel road to help him. You know, the boy who doesn't have his driver's license yet. Let the record show that it was 5:10, get-off-work time that in-town folks come rushing home up that narrow gravel road.

I don't know how Farmer H thought The Pony could help. He can't really drive that truck well enough to pull a tractor out of a ditch. He can't drive a tractor being pulled out of a ditch. The Pony is not the #1 son, who started driving a go-cart at age 4, and a stick-shift Toyota at age 10.

No sooner had The Pony left (much to my consternation) than his phone, which he left charging, started to ring. Farmer H had freed himself. Still, The Pony was careening down that washed-out road on a possible date with disaster. The Pony arrived all safe and sound, which I found out when I called Farmer H and was told that he was currently turning that big old truck around for The Pony to drive it back home.

If you can't turn a truck around, I don't think you can use it to pull a tractor out of a ditch. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a question about that on the driver's permit test.

Friday, July 10, 2015

T'Was The Night The Pony Returned From Boys State

Forgive me, readers. It has been 29 days since my last obsession.

You remember how strange forces seem to be at work in the confines of the Mansion? Another episode aired itself, and I've been keeping it from you.

T'was the night The Pony returned from Boys State
Nothing stirred in the Mansion, the hour was late
Mrs. HM reclined in her blue chair downstairs
All done with her blog in her dark basement lair

Farmer H and and The Pony were snug in their beds
Separate visions a-dance in their respective heads
While watching her shows that get a bad rap
HM nodded off for a recliner nap
When up in the living room rose such a clatter
She sat up, unreclined, to suss what was the matter
She heard it quite clearly, no mistaking that sound
Of several hard objects tumbling down to the ground

Eyeglasses on CDs, cascading in a row
Falling flat plastic, onto hard tile below
But we had no CD cases stacked up above
And no tile, merely carpet, as soft as a glove

HM gave a shiver, "Oh, not again! Ick!"
She was growing quite tired of this lame spirit's schtick
"I'll check when I go up, I'm sure I will see
That The Pony stacked junk on the table, sloppily."

She went up the steps, and the sight that she saw
Made it clear that her logic had one great big flaw
For no things had cascaded. Not one thing did fall
A wee-hour mystery. One more for y'all.

Yep. Another unexplained phenomenon. Clear as a bell, the sound of eyeglasses stacked on CD cases tumbling over the edge of the end table right at the top of the stair banister. Plain as day, in the middle of the night. Two-thirty a.m., to be exact.

This is the same area where I used to hear piles of magazines falling. One morning before school, I heard three separate stacks fall. Never did find anything out of place. The only time we found evidence was when we heard another mystery noise, and the #1 son found a game in his room that had shot off the top shelf of his closet onto the carpeted floor.

Do dee do dee do dee do dee...that's Twilight Zone music for ya!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Highway Runs Through It

Whee, doggies! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is on a rant today. And it doesn't even include Farmer H!

Okay. The Truth in Blogging Law says that I must inform you that technically, it DOES include Farmer H. But in a good way. Mark your calendar.

Farmer H took off work (you know how much he hates to do that) today to run around town and then go pick up The Pony from engineering camp. He took it upon himself to go talk to the loan officer head of the financial institution where Buyer is getting his loan for Mom's house. We did business with this guy way back when we built The Mansion, and Farmer H thinks they are buddies, and has no qualms about waltzing in off the street (well, waltzing by Farmer H is a bit of a stretch) and asking to speak with him on the spur of the moment.

That Head is crafty smart, and knows his company's bread and butter come from loans and savings, so he generally will speak with Farmer H, though once he was seen leaving the building right after Farmer H was told that he wouldn't be back for a couple of hours. The clay feet of Farmer H's idol did not tread upon his heart in the least. Farmer H just figured he was on his way to lunch (it was 2:00) and he could catch him another time. No big whoop. Farmer H is SO unlike Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

So today he tells Farmer H that at closing, we will need various documents, starting with a survey, because according to the courthouse this morning, the Missouri Department of Transportation never had a survey recorded when they took a portion of Mom's land for a highway that runs behind her house. You would think those powers that be would be more conscientious with Eminent Domain. The survey is just a blip on the radar, because it's in our agreement that Buyer will pay for the survey.

Anyhoo...we also need a death certificate (got it), proof that the funeral and burial were paid for (Farmer H picked it up today), proof that she doesn't owe any bills (Sis has canceled checks for all bills since Mom's passing), and proof that Mom was not receiving any aid from a government entity. HOW DO YOU PROVE YOU WERE NOT RECEIVING SOMETHING?

Farmer H cooled his waltzing heels for 20 minutes at the social security office while a security guard like Barney Fife kept an eye on him after asking if he was carrying any guns or knives, then was told that they can't give him anything like that, because it would be STATE aid, like through the division of family services. So Farmer H went there, and further chilled his waltzing heels while they ignored him for 20 minutes. After much bantering back and forth, the lady punched in Mom's name and estimated birthday, and said, "Well, we don't have any record of her!" DUH. Farmer H said, "You won't. Because she never drew any benefits." So that lady wrote out a letter, and then also gave a phone number in case that's not good enough.

I guess we'll eventually get the house sold. The loan is progressing nicely. We'll see what

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Farmer H's Reasoning Defies Logic

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's schedule has been a little off this summer, what with The Pony's comings and goings for summer school A+ tutoring/Boys State/Engineering Camp, Farmer H taking off one or two days per week just because he can fritter that 4-week vacation piecemeal, cleaning out Mom's house, and now getting it sold.

Yesterday, I commenced washing the sheets from our boudoir, but got sidetracked as I often do. Did you know that Farmer H has also frittered away the top layer of my grandma's quilt? The quilt she made for my wedding bed? It's only on his side, at the top where one might clutch the edge up under your chin if a wolf walked in and started talking to you as you slumbered. Anyhoo...I wasn't even to the quilt yet. I had tossed in the sheets, mattress cover, and pillowcases. I ran them through twice, because really, it should have been two separate loads, so I didn't save myself any time.

In the midst of this washing spree, I took off to town to get a couple of new pillows, and a blanket. It's July, you know. I don't think a quilt is called for, even one that now has air holes in it. When I got back, I dried that superload for two cycles, then wrestled with that mutant mattress cover for thirty minutes to fit it upon the bed. One would think that they are not shaped like a square, but like a rectangle. One would be wrong.

What I didn't notice was that the pillowcases and my pillow cover had dropped out on the floor of the laundry room at the time of the first drying (who looks down at the floor in the laundry room, anyway), and had been wrapped inside the mattress cover on the second round. So...I tossed them in with the quilt, which would require its own two-cycle drying session.

I kind of lost interest in that chore, and migrated to my dark basement lair for some relaxation time. After supper, I told Farmer H, "Oh, I bought a new blanket since you've destroyed the quilt. And the pillowcases are in the dryer finishing their cycle." Let the record show that I was standing on my side of the bed removing a pillow in its plastic cover, where Farmer H had tossed it for me to sleep on and smothercate myself, after claiming the pillow he wanted. I also pointed out the blanket, over on the dresser.

"That's a hot blanket."

"Sorry. I didn't know you wanted a cold blanket."

"I mean, the quilt I don't think of as a warm blanket."

"THAT'S why I was so cold all winter, and all you would say is, 'I'll warm you up.'"

"Well, I would!"

"That's why I wanted to put my comforter on the bed, but you said the quilt was warm enough."

"Anyway...that's a hot blanket."

"You don't know that! It was $8.88 at The Devil's Playground! It's thin."

"No. It's one of those soft blankets."


Let the record further show that I was still standing on my side of the bed, way over on the outside wall, by the french doors, where I had my three pillows leaning against my nightstand. Farmer H was on his side, by the door, the light switch, and the clock radio on his own nightstand.

"When those pillowcases are dry, don't worry about mine. Only my pillow cover and main pillowcase are in there. I will put them on. I'm taking my pillow out to the living room. I'll put them on when I come up for bed."

You see, I don't want Farmer H mucking around with my pillows and pillowcases. I already had the other two ready, and left them in the order I stack them. Farmer H has a habit of rooting them around, and in trying to 'help me' gets them all out of whack. Not something I need right now with this crick in my neck. Farmer H agreed not to mess with my pillow and cases. Of course you know what happened.

I came up for bed around 3:00. I would have been there an hour sooner, but I fell asleep in the recliner. I walked through the dark living room and grabbed my pillow. I thought perhaps Farmer H might have put my pillow cover and pillowcase on the back of the couch by it. But no. So I went into the laundry room to get them out of the dryer. But the dryer was barer than Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard. What in the world?

I went to the bedroom and flung on the light. Let Farmer H deal with his consequences. I was hoping for him to startle awake and squint and squirm like a baby mole dug up in the front yard by the Hillbilly hounds. But no. He snoozed on. Under my grandma's quilt, which he had reclaimed from the dryer, to shred into confetti. And there was my pillowcase and pillow cover laying on top of the two ready pillows leaning against my nightstand. Because, you know, when a woman takes her pillow out to the living room and tells you not to touch it because she will dress it herself, the logical thing to do is put her pillowcase and pillow cover IN THE DARK as far away from her pillow as you can.

There will be no warming-up for a while.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Crick Ain't Just A Stream In Hillmomba

Reminiscing can be a pain in the neck.

So can typing on a DELL jkeyboard. See what I mean? I have never liked this keyboard. The one I really liked went away. I can't remember if it went kaput, or if the #1 son commandeered it for one of his projects like tha ttime (more evidence) he set up two monitors and eight speakers and had his desk at the bottom of the basement stairs looking like the control center of the International Space Station. Anyhoo...he was all helpful and such, and said, "Here. Just use the one that came with your computer." Easy for him to say.

I have never grown used to this dang thing. That's why we left it in the box for so long. It has a mumber pad and a bunch of arrow keys and /insert/home/pagy up/delete/end/page down/ where the regular letter keys could be swpard out to make themselves more comfortable. As you can see, my log posts would get done s lot faster if I didn't have to go back and coarrect every line. I am really a pretty good typer on a keyboard that cooperates.

But this is not abou my keyboard. the one that refused to capitalize when I hit the shift key, but makes me go back and hold it down for an uncombortable amoutn of time until it takes. are the notes made my Mrs. hillbilly Mom for a couple of posts she was anticipating:

Woollly bear caterpillars
Reminiscing can be hazardous to your heal a bapoin in the neck
Hil; poeply

You might recal that I have already covered the Woolly Bears. And that bottom one says "Help People" if you can't tell. The middle one is what we're here to deal with today. I'll start correcting my error forthwith. That middle line says, "Reminiscing can be hazardous to your health, a pain in the neck." 

yeah. Oops! It got me again. I have a pain in my neck, because last night, I spent two hours reading through some old copies of my high school newspaper that we found cleaning out my closet at Mom's house. The pages are yellowed and fragile. I was kicked back in my basement recliner, wearing bifocals, also trying to watch Big Brother After Dark on that crappy POP channel that has six minutes of commercials for every four minutes of show. I normally record it and start watching after the first hour, fast-forwarding the commercials. So there I was, tilting my head just right to read through my bifocals, then trying to tilt down to see the TV through the distance part of my glasses.

Along with the crick in my left neck/shoulder/back, I've been having a tingle like a funny-bone twang in my right shoulder/side/arm.

I don't need the high school newspapers to tell me that I'm old.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Will Never Be On The Evening News At This Rate

Today on the way back from town, I saw two woolly bear caterpillars. You know the woolly bears. The black-and-rust bristly woolly worms that can allegedly predict the winter harshness. Uh huh. Since my guys here at the Mansion refuse to get me persimmons every fall, and the weather forecasters are paid the same whether they are correct or not (they might as well be called WHETHER forecasters), I rely on the woolly bears for my snow day hopes and dreams.

Last year, I saw many, many woolly bears crossing the road in July and August. They were solid black. And we had 21 SNOW DAYS!

Today, the first woolly bear was black. The second one was about half black, on the ends, with his middle half being rust-colored. Okay. I was really concentrating on seeing that second one because he was on blacktop, whereas the first one was on that new section of concrete road behind the high school where I should send The Pony because we live in their district. So there I was, squinting past T-Hoe's black hood, watching that woolly bear creep across the blacktop...and...well...I over him.

Perhaps I only ran over half of him. Because in my rearview mirror, I could see him squirming, but he wasn't really making any progress. I figured one of those birds flying around would make quick work of him. That's the breaks, you know, when you're a woolly bear caterpillar, and you have that big band of rust around your waist, and don't blend in with the blacktop.

Of course scientific rumor has it that the woolly bears come in all variations of black-and-rustedness, depending on their age. Poppycock! I saw a plethora of solid black ones, and we had 21 SNOW DAYS. That's good enough for me. No need to repeat that experiment!

I would prefer to use the knife/fork/spoon persimmon predictor as well. But even though I ask Farmer H and The Pony to get me persimmons, which they tauntingly talk about every fall, "Oh, the persimmon trees are FULL of persimmons!" they never seem to bring me even ONE persimmon to slice open.

"They're still green. I think you need to wait until they ripen."

"Oh. Okay. I'll bring you one."

"I forgot."

"Persimmon? They all fell off the trees now."

"I can't. The goat and pony ate them all. The only ones left are way up high. I can't reach/shake them down."

Yeah. It's hard out here for a whether forecaster.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

All Over But The Lie-In

The Pony has made his bed, and tonight he must lie in it.

He's checked into his dorm room at engineering camp. Tonight they will enjoy a sumptuous repast in the cafeteria, and have their first group meeting. The Pony must choose three branches of engineering to investigate. By day, the campers will learn about what the career entails, and then tour various facilities to see real-life applications of their proposed future vocations. By evening, they will compete against other teams in a challenge to build some kind of engineery contraption. Last year, it was a car that launched a plane. Or maybe a flying car. I'm not so engineery myself.

I asked The Pony if he wanted to pack some snacks. I think his MBS experience was weighing on his mind. He picked up a can of Pringles, a bag of Buncha Crunch, and a skid of Gummi Bears. Okay. It wasn't a skid. It was a 50-pound sack. Okay. It wasn't 50 pounds. The Pony said it was 5 pounds. Which is more than enough Gummi Bears for 5 days. He said he would be sharing, but after seeing him dip his hand in there, others may not want to partake. Of course, these will be HIS PEOPLE, so they might not care. I certainly hope drinks are readily available, and that The Pony will not have to resort to sneaking more than his share of grape drink from the pitcher at the table.

The #1 son also attended this camp. He was beside himself when the counselors traipsed the campers across the park to feed them, and they encountered LARPers! "Mom!" he said. "As if it wasn't bad enough that we were being led around like little kids, we had to go by the LARPers. This is truly a place for nerds."

I mentioned that possibility to The Pony. "I WISH! It would be great to see some LARPers!"

Just goes to show you. While nerdiness may be inherited...there are apparently different degrees at which the gene is expressed.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Maybe It's Less Traceable Than Arsenic

Farmer H grilled steaks this evening. He grilled a steak for himself. And one for The Pony. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had a hot dog. She bought only two steaks, you see, because her faith in Farmer H has been shaken.

Farmer H has always been a fantastic griller. Of course, having only my own father to compare him to, he has an advantage. My dad was known for incinerating all cuts of meat. I didn't know any different. Until I met Farmer H. We had a BBQ at Mom and Dad's house one summer.

"I can't believe what your dad did to those hamburgers! I asked him, 'Aren't they getting a little done?' And he said, 'Oh, I have to make them like that. That's the way the girls like them.'"

"WHAT? I though all BBQ hamburgers were like that. Dry. Tasteless. Hard to swallow. I always added a lot of extra sauce to mine."

"He thought that's how you and your mom liked them."

"Her, maybe. But Sis and I didn't know any different."

So...Farmer H always made juicy hamburgers, tender steaks pink in the middle, pork steaks moist with just the right char on the fat along the edges. So great I even complimented him. Until lately. The past year or so. Let the record show that Farmer H decrees who gets what cuts of meat.

"This hamburger is kind of medium. You'd like it. That little one there is for The Pony. He doesn't like much meat. That pork steak has a lot of fat and no bone. I know you like them that way. Here are the black hot dogs. You'll want them."

Of course I had no issue with this procedure. It worked out fine. Until lately. I would say that the last four steaks Farmer H has fed me were virtually inedible. Oh, I could chew on them like gum, and perhaps gain some protein. But they were tough. Gristly. Meanwhile, The Pony and Farmer H raved about how great their steaks were. Not lying, either. No spit-out parts left on their plates. Mine went straight to the dogs. They never complain about ABC meat.

No matter what steaks I bought, mine always seemed to be the bad meat. Two ribeyes and a T-bone. Never specifying who got what. And Farmer H plied his magic, and I got the one full of connective tissue. So I gave up. The Pony leaves tomorrow for a week-long engineering camp. I wanted to give him the proper send-off with one of his favorite meals. Steak. Corn on the cob. Homemade garlic bread. (He decided no baked potato this time, because he wanted to fill up on bread).

As I said, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had a hot dog. Which was done to perfection, if you can overlook the bucket of BBQ sauce coating it. I prefer my hot dogs with a black crust, not BBQ sauce. The Pony likes his hot dogs grilled with no visible char, and no sauce. I hope my dad didn't tell Farmer H that was how I like my hot dogs.

I may need to make a chart to hang over Farmer H's grill, showing how we each prefer our meatstuffs.

Friday, July 3, 2015

It Was All Just An Exercise To Sneak In Some French

Oh, dear. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom may have committed a life-scarring faux pas this morning when having a hasty conversation with the #1 son.

I was rushing to town to give a tour of Mom's house, and I heard my phone make that little noise that means it wants attention, so I cautiously took a look, but rather than open an email proclaiming it contained pictures of The Pony from MBS, I instead took it upon myself to call the sender, #1. We had a conversation that covered college tuition, his scholarships, his new rental house, his food budget, furniture, MY PRINTER that he got me such a deal on, but now wants to take with him, and how I miss him being here, not the sandwich-making service he expects, but his humor.

"I know. I AM the only one that gets your warped sense of humor."

"That's right. Your dad has no sense of humor, and sometimes The Pony is just warped."


"Still, he has his moments when he's kind of funny. Like that time he said, 'You need to get on your phone and send Dad a text: Nellie says hello.'"

"I don't get it."

"You know, that time he found Nellie's charred skull on the front porch when we got home."


"You know. After your dad put her out of her misery, but it took two shots, and then two more shots, and several hours, and then your oldest brother came out and helped him cremate her."

"Nellie's DEAD?"

"Oops. I thought you knew. Um. She was sick, and down behind the house, and couldn't get up to eat, and Dad just wanted to make it quick for her. And then he didn't tell The Pony, and the next morning I saw Ann with something in her mouth in the front yard, and told The Pony to go see if she had killed a chicken, and The Pony came back and said he didn't know what it was, but it looked like a hunk of meat, but it wasn't a chicken. Then sometime during the day Dad sent him a text and told him that Nellie died. And when we got home, he ran around to the front porch because he thought we got a package, but it was Nellie's charred skull. So he wanted me to tell Dad, 'Nellie says hello.' Which is kind of morbid and wrong, but it made me chuckle."

"I can't believe you guys."

"Sorry. I thought I told you. But don't worry. Your cat Genius really did die in his sleep, and Dad buried him in the yard next to Grizzly."

"I hope."

Oh, well. That boy doesn't come home enough. He's out of the loop. I really thought he knew. If he read my blogs like a devoted son, he would have known.

C'est la vie. C'est la mort.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

He Could Have Built A Whole New House Easier Than This

Nothing is ever simple where my sister the ex-mayor's wife is concerned.

We are in the throes of house-selling. Yes, we've been removing personal items from Mom's house a couple of days per week. No rush, you know, because I'm off for the summer, and she's off permanently what with retiring before me, the true older sister, which is her excuse for why everyone in the community thinks' SHE'S the older one.

The plan is to sell the house without using a realtor to suck up our inheritance. We have a buyer within the family who has been pre-approved for the moolah. Unfortunately, we did not have a price to quote him. The appraiser Farmer H hired took his own sweet time, promised a date the report would be available, then traveled to a not-so-close town without signing it. Which put us off a weekend. Then Sis did not confirm my offer to have Farmer H quote the price to the relative, with whom he works. That kerfuffle, and the fact that Sis went a day without responding to my follow-up text, put us another two days behind. By the time Buyer was informed of the price, it was Friday afternoon. That meant he had to wait until Monday to see about his loan. It was just a formality, really, because we are not haggling over the price. Blood is thicker than money.

Things went swimmingly for him, except for the fact that his loan entity needs a signed document quoting the selling price, any stipulations, and the date we want to close. They even said it could be handwritten. Just so they know the price he is quoting is the actual price we agreed to. Doesn't even need to be notarized. He just needs a paper with both signatures to carry in to their office, and they can start the loan process.

Sis left on vacation this weekend. I've been trying to reach her since Monday afternoon. Yes, I know she's on vacation. But she said all along that it would be great if we could sell to Buyer and be done with it. So...I told her I would need to get her signature, somehow, on a document. And she informed me that she was on vacation, and without a printer, but she would be glad to try and get me that signature.

Farmer H was all selfless and crap, taking his precious work time on the job and typing up a document that he believed showed all pertinent information. Of course it took me 30 minutes to re-do that document. One would suppose that it should AT THE VERY LEAST have the correct address of the property. I'll give Farmer H credit. He had two of the four numbers correct.

So...I tried to find out how Sis could get this document. The Pony Express could have delivered it more speedily than our actual process. I printed the document and had The Pony take a picture, which I saved in Windows Photo Gallery. I sent it as an attachment in an email. I told Sis that Walmart can print pictures from a phone. That she should get it printed, sign it, take a picture, and send it back to me in an email or text. Then I could print it and sign it.

OR she could just sign and date a piece of paper, take a picture, and send that to me. Because, you know, I could forge copy that onto the document and give it to Buyer. I guess Sis doesn't trust me. She said she spent two hours in The Devil's Playground, and had to buy an 8x10 of the document, sign it with a Magic Marker, and wanted to know how to send it to me.

Last night, I got a text from Sis asking if I got the picture. Nope. Only the text. Because apparently Sis has chosen the only place on Earth with no phone signal for her vacation. A text will go, but lots of data, no. As of this morning at...well...NOON...I still had not heard back from Sis, nor did I have a picture of the document.

THEN IT CAME THROUGH! It was a slideshow kind of text. I had The Pony save it in my photos, then email it to myself. Glory, glory, hallelujah! I had that document ready to print! But guess what? My ink cartridge was low. I've been shaking it for a couple of weeks now. So there was a big white line down the middle of our document. I traipsed down to my lair to shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake that cartridge. To no avail. Thank the Gummi Mary I've had a spare sitting there in the box waiting until absolutely necessary. So we opened it up, took out the clear tape thingy, removed the old cartridge from the laser printer, checked the code numbers to make sure we had the proper cartridge, and inserted it. With difficulty. It didn't want to snap into place. Finally, it did.

THE PRINTER JAMMED! It jammed each of the ten times we removed the jam and reinserted the cartridge and tried to print. I can't thank the #1 son enough for saving me $50 by ordering a generic laser cartridge. Uh huh. The numbers matched. It should have worked. But no. A tiny little hole was about a centimeter off, and the flap thing over the bar thingy had raised markings instead of recessed. Plus, a tiny portion of plastic broke off the edge, at a place where nothing is really happening.

In the midst of this hectic print job, Farmer H called to chat, because he was on his way to lunch. BEGONE, FARMER H! My secretary The Pony got rid of the caller by telling him I was in the middle of something. The we got back to re-inserting the OLD cartridge after a solid round of shaking. But still, the white line.

I HAVE ANOTHER PRINTER! Remember, the one that #1 got me from college that was being discarded, the color laser, for such a bargain? It's in the workshop, so I had forgotten about it. Yes. It worked. We got the copy. I signed it. I delivered it to Buyer around 1:45 this afternoon. He was reading it in the front yard of his mom's house in the drizzle. I wanted to scream, "BE CAREFUL, THE RAIN MIGHT RUIN IT!"

Let the record show that Buyer has taken this whole week as vacation from work so he can get this done. Now it is Thursday, and Friday is a holiday for many people and businesses. If something is wrong with that document, Buyer will be back at work before we can ever get another signed form for him.

Death makes life really hard sometimes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Suspects SOMEBODY Of Stabbing A Voodoo Doll In Her Likeness

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a giant woman. She's more than five-and-a-half feet tall, but less than six. So chopping things on her kitchen counter should not cramp her style. It's not like she's a contender for a Guinness Book record. Surely the standard-height countertop would not tax the sacroiliac of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. But it does.

There I was, chopping mushrooms, slicing a tomato, readying a baked potato for The Pony...when my back was slammed with a spasm that made me unsteady. I tried to lean back to escape the clenching clutches of this spasm. Tried walking around all bent over backwards, as The Pony might do if he wanted to help people, which we know he doesn't. That tactic was not very effective, because it's pretty darn hard to chop mushrooms and slice tomatoes and butter a potato while bent over backwards.

My mom always said I came from a long line of bad backs on her side of the family. I would think a description of a crooked line of bad backs, perhaps, would be more useful, since I associate long with a straight line stretched out, not a curving clenched spasm. Anyhoo, apparently her brother in Alaska had a tough time with his back, and others before him.

It hurts along the place where one's butt crack begins, if one was uncouth enough to discuss one's butt crack on a super secret blog. The muscles there (yes, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has muscles in her butt) lock up tightly, like when you get one of those foot cramps that bows your foot down like the letter C. Or one in your calf area that points your foot like a ballerina. I'm not one for getting Charlie Horses, so I can't similize that one.

Sometimes if I sit down and lean the right way, the spasm eases, and I feel normal again. As normal as Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ever is. This getting old is for the birds. For red-rubbery-necked turkey vultures.

I sure hope my back is not spasmy once I retire! Which is less than 365 days away, you know!