Saturday, October 31, 2015

More A Trick Than A Treat

Nary a trick-or-treater here in the dark woods of Hillmomba. Nothing spooky. Nothing eerie. So I'll tell you a story about a former coaching co-worker and his shenanigans with his athletes at his annual Halloween party. No. Not like that.

We'll just call him Coach. Times were simpler then. Coaches could interact with their players, and nobody would look askance. Coach held his party in his home, with his wife and twin daughters on the premises. He set up some elaborate scenarios to gross out the girls of his basketball team. Having spent a year being his assistant, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was privy (heh, heh, I said PRIVY!) to his trade secrets.

Coach swore the upperclassmen to secrecy. The joke was on the rookies, who blindly followed their leaders. Literally. Coach blindfolded the rookies, and the upperclassmen led them by the hand to various parts of the house. Perhaps to feel the eyeballs of the newly dead (peeled grapes in a bowl). Or find a key at the bottom of a can of worms (spaghetti noodles). But the most outrageous stunt was saved for the end. Each new member of the team had to kneel and "kiss the ring of King Tut."

Coach used his college ring. He put it on his finger like a normal ring-wearer. The upperclassman would tow the rookie into the room and instruct her to kneel. Coach stated, in a pompous manner, "You may now kiss the ring of King Tut." Coach put his hand on an ottoman, and the upperclassman guided the rookie's head over his hand so she could lean and kiss the ring. Then they left, and another pair entered. After all had kissed the ring, Coach announced that they would walk into the living room single file and receive their initiation award. It was a certificate that they had survived Coach's Halloween party.

As the unblindfolded girls filed into the living room, they were greeted by the sight of Coach, sitting in a chair, with his bare foot propped on the ottoman, and his college ring on his second toe, the little piggy that stayed home.

Yeah. It was awesome. Especially if you like to hear adolescent girls retch and squeal.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Consuelo Would Never Let Marcus Welby Treat Mrs. Hillbilly Mom This Way

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is careening down the road less traveled, quickly approaching the precipice overlooking the abyss of medical patient difficultness. She is thisclose to drawing eyebrows on her face with a Sharpie, to make sure all around her know she is angry.

After being left cooling her heels in the waiting room for over an hour this morning at her regular 6-month doctor's appointment, then insulted at the scale, nearly having an arm amputated by the blood pressure cuff because the nurse was distractedly talking about herself, stood up by the doctor for 15 minutes after he had already entered the exam room and made a quick exit to discuss billing procedures...Mrs. HM was mad as Not-Heaven, and not going to take it anymore. She decided to speak her mind.

Of course you know that didn't go well.

Here's the thing. Doc handed me the lab results and made his exit right after saying, "Your sugar's a little high." Well. On the lab results, it showed a fasting blood sugar of 105. I was under the impression that it was supposed to be between 80 and 100. That's what was on the lab sheet for normal values. Farmer H told me after his appointment that his doctor wants it between 90 and 120. Maybe that's just for him, because he's diabetic. Even though Farmer H swears that it's what his doctor wants in general, for anybody.

Anyhoo...105 does not seem all that high. Especially after reading last week that my thyroid med, levothyroxine, raises blood sugar! I spent my idle time stewing over this bit of info. Seems that it can raise the blood sugar level 10-15 points. Or milligrams per deciliter, or whatever they measure it in.

So...when Doc came back, I asked about it. Told him jokingly I knew it was true, because I read it on the internet. Even though it's in the side effects sheet they enclose with that medication. Doc pooh-poohed that information I handed him on a silver platter. He launched into a lecture on how the pancreas works secreting insulin, as if Mrs. HM, the biology teacher, had never heard of that.

That's the thing. Doc is a really good doctor when you're actually sick. But on regular checkups, he's kind of dismissive. You'd think he could operate better than an hour behind schedule, what with brushing off his patients' inquiries like that. Also, if I remember correctly, at my last appointment in April, that fasting blood sugar level was 110, and Doc commented, "That's barely out of range." So now that it was lower, he had to harp. What's up with that?

Anyhoo...Mrs. HM was so mad that she went right to Sonic after her appointment. It was, after all, 12:05 when she left the office. Past Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's regular school lunch time of 10:53. Her pancreas was getting angry, what with holding it its insulin for an extra hour and eight minutes. Yes, Mrs. HM went right to Sonic, ordered the hamburger combo with tater tots and a cherry Diet Coke, and drove on about her errands, popping a tater tot and sucking ketchup from a foil packet.

I guess I showed him!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Phantom Of The Semi-Weekly Meeting Of The Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank

We have a mystery, my friends. A mystery that has stumped the brainiacs of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank.

It all started when I sat down at the teacher lunch table. I hope that is not particularly telling. Tomato-Squirter, on my left, turned up her snoot and started sniffing.

"I smell something. And it's not good."

I held my just-microwaved pizza toward her. The cheese slice from Pizza Hut, not the sausage slice from Casey's. "Is it this? Is it my pizza?"

"No. It's not that. At first I thought it was The Woodsman's chicken sandwich. But that's not it."

"Is it my salad?" Biz fancies herself an exotic eater.

"No. That's not it."

"Maybe it's your broccoli. I can smell that."

"No. My broccoli has nacho cheese on it. I don't know why. But even that's not it."

The man in charge and I looked at each other. "I don't smell anything." Said in unison. Neither did The Woodsman smell anything."

"You guys of course don't smell it. Girls smell better than guys." A round of smirks. "No. Really. It's a proven fact. There's research."

"I guess we're like dogs. We have extra smell sensors. We read about how dogs smell in class."

"I'm not sure I like being compared to a dog. But we do smell better."

Still. Nobody could figure it out. Until I re-entered my classroom after some kids from the Misbehavior Table next to us at lunch had exited.

I can't wait to tell the other Think-Tankers that I solved the mystery of the phantom smell!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Are There No Public Toilets In The Afterlife?

This morning I finished making the lunches, took my medicine, and headed for the shower. Wait. What was that? A noise. From the end of the Mansion by The Pony's bedroom. It sounded like water running. It WAS! I stepped out of the kitchen, past the ice-making grunts of Frig II, and heard it more clearly.

The water was running in the boys' bathroom, as if the toilet tank was filling.

I supposed The Pony had gotten up to use the bathroom while I was making lunches. Even though he never gets up that early. I went on to the shower at the other end of the Mansion. When I came out for my morning chair nap, I woke Farmer H.

"Did you get up to go to the bathroom while I was making lunches?"


"You didn't go in the boys' bathroom?"

"No. I don't think so. Why would I go in there?"

"Sometimes you do. If I'm in ours. Or if I'm about to get ready."

"No. I didn't get up. Why?"

"I heard the water running in their toilet. I guess it was The Pony."

I went to the La-Z-Boy. Farmer H got in the shower. As I was trying to nod off, I heard the water running again. In the toilet tank. I turned my head. The door was wide open at the dark end of the house. Nobody was in there. Ten minutes later, it happened again. Farmer H came out of our bedroom to leave for work.

"You might want to check that toilet. I think there's something wrong with it."

"Huh." Farmer H went in there. "I don't hear anything." He jiggled the handle. Then he got his whole-grain waffle out of the freezer and put it in the toaster. I heard him go out the laundry room door to feed the dogs. The minute he went out, that toilet started running again. As soon as I hear him come in, I hollered.

"It's doing it again! The toilet is running!"

"Huh. I guess it is. I hear it now." Farmer H suddenly seemed more enthusiastic about seeking a solution to the problem. He went in and turned on the light, removed the lid to the tank. I heard him rattle the change in his pocket and take out his multi-tool knife thingy. I heard some knifey sounds on metal. Then he came back out. "I don't know what it is, but I adjusted the float. I'll check it again tonight. It won't hurt anything."

Indeed. He didn't believe me until he heard it with his own faulty ears. Like I would be lying about something like that.

I don't know what's going on around this place.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

There Are None So Out Of Touch As He Who Doesn't Drive Much

Sweet Gummi Mary!

Yesterday morning, I casually mentioned, over my shoulder to The Pony, riding in the back seat of T-Hoe on the way to school, that rain was expected for today. And that I would need my windshield wiped down before leaving the next morning. He's done it before, with a shop towel and Windex. With questionable results. But still. It gets that film off the inside of the glass so the glare isn't as bad. I told him to try a dry paper towel this time.

This morning, on the way out the door, I reminded him. "Get two paper towels (gotta be specific with The Pony) to wipe my window. Stand on the running board. You only have to do my side."

It was dark on the porch. The Pony went ahead of me to turn on the garage light so I could see to get down the steps. I stopped to pet my sweet, sweet Juno. She's especially loving in the mornings, even though she knows no cat kibble will be forthcoming until the evening. I turned to step into the garage, and saw The Pony.


"NO! Why would I need the OUTSIDE wiped? The rain will clean that off. I meant the INSIDE glass. Where the film gives me a foggy glare."

"Well. You didn't SAY so. I just thought you wanted your windshield cleaned. And THAT'S your windshield."

Some days. I just don't know. How is he going to survive when he is pried from the nest?

Monday, October 26, 2015

If It's Not One Thing, It's A Hundred And Forty-Eight Others

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is concerned that employees of the world might soon be performing their duties like TV meteorologists. You remember meteorologists, don’t you? The folks on TV who cry doom about approaching mega snowstorms, or freezing rain that will bring down power lines. So dire is the immediate future that teachers not only count on a day off, they fear they will miss a month of school and have to make it up during summer vacation. The citizens of Hillmomba flock to The Devil’s Playground and buy the shelves bare. Especially the shelves of bread and milk.

And then nothing happens. Yet when the meteorologists say the forecast is clear, abandon hope all ye teachers who watch weather here, you’ll never get a day off this winter, so get those lesson plans updated…the storm of the century hits, and 21 school days are lost.

Uh huh. We’re talking about shoddy workmanship in the workplace.

Last month, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom never received her credit card bill. She had to call and request a duplicate statement. Then she had to call and pay by phone using her debit card. THIS month, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom got her SPRINT bill, wrote out a check, enclosed it in the provided envelope, and mailed it two weeks before the due date. Uh huh. Mailed it on Monday, October 12.

Yesterday, Mrs. HM took time to balance her checkbook, as she does every Sunday.For the past year, Mrs. HM's automated bank phone has been a bit unpunctual. Whereas it used to update daily, it now seems as if the records are only updated on Fridays.

All transactions for last week, and the week before, had cleared. Except the SPRINT check. Mrs. HM checked her SPRINT bill. Due by October 25th. That very day! So she called the SPRINT automated line, just in case they had received the check, but the bank hadn't recorded its clearance. Nope. So Mrs. HM paid with her debit card by automated phone. TWO WEEKS! Surely the Pony Express could do better than that! Her own Pony, without a driver's license, could have gotten it there in two weeks.

"But Mrs. HM," you say. "Why not switch to paperless billing?"

"DO YOU WORK FOR SPRINT?" screams Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Because that's what their automated phone line kept asking her. She had to refuse TWICE! And here's a perfect example of why she refused.

The bank's automated line said we had a debit charge of $74.42. Nobody admitted to it. Not Farmer H. Not the #1 son. And especially not The Pony. Farmer H allowed that he made a purchase of $72.94 near that date. Even brought out the receipt. From Lowe's. The automation only said the charge came from a home supply store. That narrows it down to about ten stores that are frequented by Farmer H.

That meant Mrs. HM had to talk to a person. After waiting on hold with extra-loud classical music for six minutes. The person confirmed the amount of $74.42. From Lowe's. Nothing for $72.94, nothing else from Lowe's in the time frame of Farmer H's receipt. Huh. We all could have sworn that Farmer H fudged those numbers. But no. There was the receipt in my hand, showing a charge of $72.94, of which the bank had no record.

Somehow, the Hillbilly bank account was ripped off for $1.48.

Farmer H brainstormed. Lightning flashed. Thunder roared. And then he came up with an explanation. "That was them batteries I ordered online, to be delivered to the store. I do a lot of business online for work. Sometimes, a company will charge 2% if you use a card instead of a purchase order. That would be $1.46." Farmer H is a wizard at doing math in his head.

Let the record show that nowhere on the receipt did that 2% show up. Or the $1.46. It's close enough to $1.48 to let it go.

Now I'm off to check PayPal to see why they sent me an email thanking me for my charitable donation.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

What The Devil Is Going On Here?

A couple weeks ago, The Pony was reading The Exorcist. He found it on my bookshelf that came from my mom's house, my childhood bedroom. Not that I only read paperbacks with a timely movie tie-in, mind you.

This afternoon, Farmer H called The Pony to come help him with the outbuildings. You never know what he needs, but The Pony knows to jump when Farmer H commands. Off he went. I was way behind on my household duties, having returned from The Devil's Playground after 1:00, and prepping vegetables for a chuck roast. I sat down to take a break at 2:55, and saw on my program guide that the movie The Exorcist was coming on at 3:00. I sent a text to The Pony. I figured he was out in the yard by the shantytown, holding a ladder, or feeding roofing material to Farmer H. He did not reply. So I called.

"Did you get my text?"


"Do you want to run in and record it?" We can only program the DVR from the basement TV.

"No. I can't. We're up on mine and #1's property. Supposed to be getting some tin. But a man came by, and Dad is talking to him. So I can't. I didn't know he was going to TALK to someone."

"I'll go down and do it. I'll have to make two trips down there anyway, carrying my soda, and my lunch if I ever get it made."

"That's okay. I don't need it. Don't worry about it. Don't."

Well. I went down to record that movie for him anyway. When are you ever gonna get the chance to watch The Exorcist again? Not that it matters to me. I've never watched it, and have no plans to.

I looked for the remote. It wasn't on the coffee table where The Pony piles his stuff. Oh. On the arm of the couch. Where he lays his head while his muscles are busy atrophying during laptop gaming. I picked it up to record the movie. Wait a minute! Something felt funny. I turned the remote over. The battery cover was gone. Huh. And I thought The Pony was just being nice about not wanting me to go down and record the movie. He obviously had a secret.

When he returned around 3:30, I told The Pony that I was recording The Exorcist.


"So you wanted it?"

"Sure. Why not."

"You want to watch it?"


"Hey. Where is the missing part of the remote. The door. For the batteries." Silence.

"Oh. It's there."



"WHERE downstairs? Why are you stalling? Why are you being so shady?"

"Why are YOU being like THIS? It's there."

"No. I looked."

"It's right by the remote. On the couch."

"No. It was not on the arm of the couch with the remote. Did you do something weird with it?"

"No-ooo. Why would you ask that?"

"Because I'm not getting an answer. It seems like you're evading the question."

"I told you. It's on the couch."


"Somewhere. I'll go get it." Thump thump thump (seven more) thump thump thump. "See? It was right here on the cushion."

"Why did you take it off? Do we need batteries?"

"No. Sometimes I just take it off and roll the batteries together while I'm watching. THERE! I snapped it back on."

"You can't just buy one of those, you know. We tried. You have to order it from DISH. We had one that the battery door broke on. And we had to tape them in. What do you know about THAT?"

"Wasn't me. I was too little then."

Something about this story doesn't add up. I hope he wasn't practicing some power ritual!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Invasion Of The Pillow Scratcher

Farmer H is getting on my last nerve. It's in the neck area, on the left side.

Last night, as I was trying to accrue some quality shut-eye, what with the need to arise at 5:00 to get ready to take The Pony to his ACT test, I noticed an object under my pillow. No, it was not a pea. I can see how you might think that, what with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom all dainty and princesslike, the tiniest foreign object detected by the blue-blooded, porcelain-skinned shell that encloses her blithe spirit. No, this was not a pea. It was the ham-hock-like arm of Farmer H!

I swear, that man is like a Hindu deity with 18 arms. Or like the Inspector Gadget that McDonalds handed out disembodied limbs with in their Happy Meals. Extra arms that could snap on as needed. Maybe Farmer H ate way too many Happy Meals during ARM week. Or bought a box of them at the auction.

Okay. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little. Maybe Farmer H is merely like an octopus. Or a squid. Sweet Gummi Mary! He HAS been known to squirt out a bit of unpleasantness when startled. Or when not startled. Or when sound asleep.

WHY must he put that gargantuan arm under my pillow? MY pillow? It would be bad enough just to lay my head on that Giant Sequoia petrified log and contort my cervical vertebrae past the point of no return. But Farmer H adds a special touch all his own. Don't nobody go stealin' Farmer H's move! Even though he is not up to snuff on all his Seinfeld lore, he might try to sue you for using his move.


Yeah. From underneath. It makes a disturbing noise. Farmer H has always had this little peccadillo. Even sitting in his La-Z-Boy, chatting about new tractors, or additional outbuildings, or fantastic auction finds...Farmer H snakes his arm under the side table and scratches the bottom of tabletop. What is up with that? I have almost broken him of the habit in his waking hours. With my special brand of psychological hypnosis: "STOP SCRATCHING THAT TABLE WHILE YOU TALK TO ME!"

The unconscious hours are a bit problematic. Sometimes I jam my own arm up under there and stab his meaty forearm with my fingernails. Sometimes I reach back and pound him on the bicep with my fist, which is not always effective because I cannot contort myself to punch full force. Sometimes I jab him in the belly and say, "Back off! Get your arm out from under my pillow!" Yes. All loving tactics sure to make Farmer H want to remove his flesh-and-bone gun from against my three-tier-pillowed head. Not.

Sometimes, I want to twist a kink in his breather hose. Kind of like cutting off the oxygen to a deep-sea diver. Other times, I want to hack off that arm with a Case Collector Knife.

With my luck, Farmer H would grow another one like a starfish. And that arm would grow a whole new Farmer H! The horror of that scenario is almost too much to contemplate.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Ya Gotta Sit By The Ones What Brung Ya

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom went to have some blood taken today. Which is not saying she went to give some blood. At least she is back in a regular blood-drawing lab within the hospital/clinic building, and not in a fly-by-night storefront set-up that is open odd hours and located across from Arby's. Getting rid of Banishment Well-Being Concern insurance is one of the best things Newmentia ever did.

I actually had an appointment for the blood-letting, and arrived 10 minutes early. Only two ladies were there in the waiting chairs, and from what I gathered, one of them was just a companion. I signed in, foisted my paperwork (defaced by my draftsman-like block letters declaring that since the order was printed in April, my insurance had changed in July, and was now invalid in October), and sat down to wait for a window call-back to provide info.

The waiting hall on the third floor had four groupings of chairs. Six along the wall as you round the corner, an end table, five more chairs, an alcove with three along the short wall, and about eight under the windows that face down the hallway. The ladies were in the five-chair row, so I took the chair across the end table from them. I put my purse in the chair to my left, leaving four more vacant in that section. It's not like we were crowded.

Woe was me. In came a loud family. The dude was old and tall and lanky. Perhaps suffering from a debilitating disease, perhaps just a classic ectomorph. He had long hippy hair and scruffy jeans, and smelled of stale smoke. He signed up at the window as the woman, perhaps his daughter, tried to corral that boy and girl of elementary school age. Woman sat down in the chair on the other side of my purse, and directed the young 'uns to park themselves in the two chairs past her, leaving the one on the end vacant.

I picked up my purse to look for my phone and check the time. They never have a clock in the lab waiting room, you know. Smoky finished signing in and came to sit down.


Seriously. Was that necessary? Right on top of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom? She overflows her armrest a bit, you know. Anyone with common sense would have taken the empty chair by their family's children. But not Smoky. Maybe he was a chubby chaser. What I know for sure wis that he was a tobacco-product catcher. The waves of old nicotine and second-hand smoke almost knocked me out. My lungs were packing their steamer trunks, ready to catch a slow boat to China, or join the Merchant Marine. What a fine kettle of fish (which would have smelled better than Smoky) this was. Did I remain seated and pretend nothing was amiss? Or get up and go past the waiting ladies to fresher air?

Thank the Gummi Mary, the receptionist called me to the window for my new insurance card! I wrested myself out of that torture contraption awkwardly, because, you see, I had to hold my purse as I grabbed the armrests like parallel bars and hoisted myself up. After forking over the laminated info for perusal, I weighed my options. SCREW THAT! No way was I going back to sit next to Smoky. I went to the very end of the ladies' row, and took that chair. Placing my purse again on my left, vowing NOT to move it unless asked. People are at the lab because they are sick, you know! Except for me, and one of the ladies, who said she was giving blood to test her liver's reaction to her medicines.

I'll be ding-dang-donged! In came a man and woman. They waited at the window as the liver lady was called in. Then they sat IN HER CHAIR and the one by the end table. What is with people? They were right on top of the companion! And here came another man and woman. They looked at my purse, but since it was in the only empty chair in that group, I made no move to move it. I didn't think that gal was going to sit on her man's lap. They went to the alcove. And in came ANOTHER man and woman. It was like Noah's Ark day, two by two. They sat under the windows.

Thank the Gummi Mary, I was called in next. Some of those folks were hacking up sputum.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom may or may not be a germaphobe. But she is certainly a person pissed off by people.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Small Town Devil's Playground Blues

The Devil's Playground has brought back the self-checkout. They have it configured like a big corral, with a bottleneck to enter and to leave. And there seem to be two of The Devil's Handmaidens and Handmasters assigned to monitor it. The last two visits, I have only seen ONE person using the self checkout.

The #1 son used to make me use it, way back when they were set up like the 30-items-or-less short lanes. He loved that stuff. He would scan it all, and tell me if something went wrong, and go looking for someone to help. Because something always went wrong.

Now that the 30-items-or-less lanes are gone, more people are using the regular registers. And the regular checkers are slower. I did not see a familiar face there. Well, I did. But in a different way.

I waited in line 10 minutes without moving. There was one customer being rung up, one customer with stuff already piled on the conveyor, and me. After those 10 minutes, I huffed my way next door. A customer was at the register, one had her stuff already on the conveyor, and then me. Couldn't be any worse than the line I left. Especially when I saw that Devil's Handmaiden waiting for a supervisor.

My new Devil's Handmaiden was no spring chicken. She looked familiar, but not from The Devil's Playground. She was very slow. I wondered if maybe I'd had her before and vowed never again. Too late. The line moved. Devil's Handmaiden chatted amiably with the customer. Took her time bagging. Was cordial. Inquisitive. I know they're supposed to ask about things they scan. "Oh, is this good? I've never tried that. Did you find everything all right?" You know. To engage the customer. I don't mine remaining unengaged.

Then it was my turn. It had taken so long that The Pony was done spending his two dollars in the game room. He came back to help me put bags in the cart.

"Oh. Is this your youngest?"

"Um. Yes."

Then I knew! The checker was the mom and mom-in-law of our three school secretaries! She used to hang around all the time, volunteering. I guess that didn't pay too well. So we had a good chat while she carefully bagged my stuff. I don't think the customer behind me cared much for our reunion. But I had put in my 20 minutes in line, and it was MY turn now.

Small town Devil's Playground blues. I left in a better mood than I'd started. Wheeling out my cart-walker while answering The Pony's question of, "Who WAS that woman."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Absence Makes The Little Farts Grow Fonder

Kids these days. They don’t know what they want. When they’re in the classroom, they want to be shed of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Wash their hands of her, hit the road, Jack, and never look back no more. Yet when they’re OUT of the classroom, they can’t wait to chat up Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Reunite. Chew the fat.

Monday, for example, when Mrs. HM was using the last four minutes of her plan time to make a pit stop to stave off the urge during the long afternoon. Plus duty. So on this quest to procure relief, who should Mrs. Hillbilly Mom encounter walking out of the little gentleman’s room but Bub. From the class she had the very next hour. Four minutes away.

“Hey, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!”

“Hey, Bub.”

“I was absent Friday. Do you want to take this now?” He proffered his admit slip like a carrot on a stick.

Let the record show that Mrs. HM continued walking, at a steady pace, towards the teacher workroom, where her final destination, the faculty women’s restroom, is located.

“No. When class starts, bring it to my desk.”

“You don’t want to just take it now?”

“No. It’s not class time now.”

“Did I miss anything Friday?”

“No. Only a video about the inside of a cell and all its parts and how they work together.”

“Was there any work?”


“Do we need our book today?”

“Of course.”

“What are we doing?”

“You’ll find out in class. I really don’t want to chat right now. It’s not class time.”

I swear, I thought Bub was going to follow me into the FWR and stand, sharing his gift of gab, while I did my business.

Yes, the pupils flock to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, like moths to a very large flame, when they have unstructured time. Like before school. I have told several of them, in no uncertain terms, that my room is off limits before first bell. That they belong in the cafeteria until then. Yet every time I step out to make a visit to the teacher workroom shortly before the official day starts, there they are. Sometimes at lockers. Sometimes standing against the wall to my room. And on Mondays, when I have THE DUTY, I come back to find their books already on their desks.

“I’m going to have to start locking my room, I guess, when I’m outside on duty.”

“Why? Oh. Because we put our books in here? We just wanted to be ready.”

Indeed. Yet the minute the bell rings, it’s the opposite.

“Can I go to Mrs./Mr. Anybody Else’s room this hour?”

“How long is this going to take?”

“Can’t we just put our head down and sleep?”

Youth. Wasted on the young.