Monday, November 30, 2015

At The Hillbilly Mansion, We Play More Jenga Before 6:00 A.M. Than Most People Play All Day

Behold, in all its glory, the wastebasket under the kitchen counter where Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s dishwasher would go IF she had a dishwasher. Uh huh.

The house was prepared for a dishwasher when Farmer H built it. The plumbing is in place. Yet 17 years after move-in, the Mansion is still without a dishwasher. Except through the courtesy of Mrs. HM’s two hands, that is. I suppose Farmer H does not see the need for such a contraption, since he never lacks for surfaces upon which to feed from, or utensils to grasp with his meat hooks to shovel tasty tidbits into his pie hole.

The trash is not Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s responsibility. Not in the basket, not on the floor, not in T-Hoe. Because, you see, if it WAS her duty, you would NOT see such a Mount Trashyfest gracing the Mansion kitchen, perhaps tempting mountain climbers to scale its lofty heights. Woe would be those who nearly perished crossing the Discarded Sock Face, or, who, but for a well-placed crampon, would have slid off the Strawberry Water Plastic Field. Not such a great view for those who reached the summit. However…if they desired a Nature Valley granola bar, they could have tossed their wrappers down into the paper plate crevasses of Mount Trashyfest.

No, trash is not Mrs. HM’s responsibility. It was first the duty of the #1 son. When he absconded for college, trash was passed down to The Pony. He usually remembers to take it to the end of the driveway by Thursday morning at 7:00. But sometimes he must be reminded to take it out. It’s not deliberate denial as with #1.

On Thursday, Farmer H took it upon himself to take the dumpster to the end of the driveway. I have no idea why it had to be done at 9:00 a.m. Trash pickup was going to be a day late because of the holiday. As you may remember, Thursday was Thanksgiving. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was makin’ trash all day, in preparations for the 5:00 o'clock feast. So helpful was Farmer H with this unexpected task that he bought himself TWO more trips up to the end of the driveway to add two more trash bags to the dumpster. Silly Farmer.

At least he rode up there three times in his Gator. It's not like he was getting any exercise.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Bad, The Good, The Promising, And The Ugly

Never enough time to shop for the Thanksgiving meal, prepare it, pack up leftovers, wash dishes, use leftovers, wash containers, cook a new meal from the leftovers...


Let's not even talk about my five-day weekend. Jury duty was canceled for Monday. CANCELED! Which I found out Wednesday afternoon at the stroke of 4:00. Necessitating a call to my secretary so she could call my sub so she can enjoy her five-day weekend! Oh, and let's not dwell on the fact that it took me 30 minutes to figure out how to text a colleague who had agreed to trade parking lot duties with me for Monday.

In other news, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has dipped her great toe into the stream of holiday shopping this evening. More to do, even from a list, but time is sorely lacking. She might be able to scam a few bargains tomorrow on cyber Monday, but not as many as if she had been OFF FOR JURY DUTY and not chosen. A fifty minute planning period is not a lot of time for strolling the virtual aisles to choose just the right gift for each person.

One good blip on Mrs. HM's radar was the statement from the #1 son's college. It is supposed to come on the 25th of each month, but showed up yesterday in her inbox. Seems that the Hillbilly family owes a grand total of -$5,342.67 for Spring 2016! Uh huh. #1 is doing an internship or some such -ship where he works and gets credit for the semester. So we are wondering if his scholarship money will apply to the following semester, or will be issued in check form as previous overages. Such a problem to have.

The Pony is applying for a scholarship that needs lots of documentation and a letter from his counselor. In true Pony fashion (of the past year), the deadline is Friday. He has his parts done, but must rush the counselor's office first thing tomorrow. AND he needs copies of any time he has had newspaper articles written about him. The problem there is that it's limited to 10 pages. But they can be front and back! AND the whole packet needs to be dropped off at a local establishment for the scholarship sponsor. Which is a kind of bar setting. Hope Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and The Pony don't make the front page in this endeavor!

Farmer H volunteered to make the assault on The Devil's Playground this morning. Remembering how much extra work his help usually costs her, Mrs. HM politely declined the offer. He DID rinse out the bowl from the 7-layer salad without permission and without warning. A fact discovered by Mrs. HM when she returned from dealing with the Devil and discovered her sink was clogged with particles of lettuce and green onion. AND Farmer H determined over the course of the afternoon that his creekside cabin has a leak in the roof, as does one of his shanties, the Fishing Lair. He assumes it is just a leak through a nail hole on the roof of each structure. But you know what happens when we assume. I don't know how to lock up my retirement nest egg rocks so Farmer H doesn't sell them out from under me to make repairs.

Even Steven gets me comin' and goin', folks.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

How Farmer H Goes About Impressing An Impressionable Guest

Thanksgiving dinner was to be an event during which the Hillbilly family put their best foot forward.

It was the first such holiday meal hostessed by Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. The #1 son was bringing along a friend from college. We picked up some clutter. Farmer H vacuumed and mopped and dusted. Probably in that order, unfortunately. Because every time I opened the microwave door (with TWO round drawer-pull handles!) I was rewarded with a bevy of dust bunnies raining from above. I figure Farmer H used that telescoping-handle round brushy duster, no Lemon Pledge, and swiped at the decorative rail along the top of cabinets. Thank the Gummi Mary, I did enough opening and closing to harvest all those bunnies so that none hopped into the food I had set out buffet style on top of the stove.

#1 said he would rather we used real dishes and glasses rather than Styrofoam trays and red Solo cups. I even bought napkins. Paper, sure. But we don't exactly have the linen kind with fancy carved holders. And still better than a select-a-size paper towel.

You might see where this is heading already...

It's not like we don our gay apparel and dine all formal-like. No suits and ties. No dresses. The Pony was in shorts and Adidas slides. But they were zip-fly, plaid shorts, with a navy blue collared polo shirt. It's not like he was in mesh athletic shorts and a t-shirt with the sleeves cut out. Farmer H, however, had been better-dressed for the opening night of the annual holiday basketball tournament than what he wore to the dinner table.

I looked up to see Farmer H uncapping those four two-liter soda bottles, and noticed his attire. "Um. What's that on your t-shirt?"

"I don't know. Water, maybe. From carrying the sodas."

"You drove them from your BARn refrigerator in the Gator. I don't know where water would have come from."

"I don't know then."

"You look like a bum who just rolled out of the gutter." Let the record show that Farmer H had on jeans and a cream-colored t-shirt with some kind of logo in red on the left side of his chest. I think the shirt was actually supposed to be cream-colored. I hope so. And there were splotches that looked wet from the chest area to his belly.


As we sat down to eat, I saw with horror that Friend was using a select-a-size paper towel to wipe his mouth.

"Um. I thought The Pony gave everybody a napkin when he set the table." I turned to my right to glare at The Pony."

"I DID!"

"Oh, I gave him that. I didn't know if you wanted us to use these." #1 pointed to the triangle-folded napkin under his knife and spoon. Stop it. We're not exactly the Vanderbilts.

"That's okay. I have a whole package. Right there on the stool under the cuckoo clock."

Somehow, between talking of Friend's family and how the only embarrassing thing they could say about him was that he rolls his napkin (and perhaps select-a-size paper towel) up in a ball...and truly embarrassing tales of #1's childhood turned to strip clubs. Okay. So perhaps I was the one who brought it up. All I remember is that we were talking about embarrassing things involving faculty and pupils.

"Remember that strip club out here on the highway? You won't, #1, because you weren't born yet. But your dad went there one time with a guy from our apartment complex. And some teachers went there, and were trying to go unnoticed, when a pupil who was a senior came strutting out to do her pole dance! They got out of there as quick as they could. They figured they wouldn't say anything about her, and she wouldn't say anything about them. It was not a classy place."

"It was a hole in the wall! Not like the Playboy Club. They had one of them at South County. Did you know that, #1?"

"No. How would I know that?"

"I knew that. When I was a kid and we went to the mall, we drove past it."

"Yeah. There's a Toys'R'Us there now." Farmer H is a keeper of history.

"Huh. It's gone downhill, then."


"Well, it has!"

"I remember going there with my buddy. You had to have a key, and he had one."

#1 looked at me, eyebrow raised. I nodded. Now we were going to hear about Farmer H's Playboy Club experience. No stopping that train once it's left the station.

"Yeah, we went in and sat down at a table. I was really impressed. It was nice. And I noticed they had laid out candy for us. I was thinking, 'This is classy.' I picked up that piece of candy and peeled off the wrapper and took a bite. That's when I realized that it was butter. But I had to act like I knew what I was doing, so I ate the whole thing."

I'm pretty sure Friend will remember this Thanksgiving dinner for a long time.

Friday, November 27, 2015

This Is Why We Do Not Buy Soda In Two-Liter Bottles

Oh, dear.

Just as all the dishes were being set out for buffet-style Thanksgiving feasting, I announced that the feeders could get their beverages. The Mansion is not a full-service restaurant, you know. I will commend the four dudes for not stampeding like they were running with the bulls in Pamplona. No elbows were thrown, in spite of the dangerously high level of testosterone filling the kitchen.

A raggedy line was formed in front of Frig II, to fill up with ice. I had assigned that duty to The Pony, but the #1 son and his college friend must have felt sorry for him, or else did not want his hands on their glasses. So the three guys were icing up, and I was setting out the last-minute deviled eggs and veggie/dip tray and seven-layer salad when I heard it.



That was not a rhetorical question. Farmer H was standing across the kitchen counter from me, opening the two-liter bottles of soda. ALL FOUR OF THEM!

The #1 son caught my eye and rolled his. The Pony snorted. Friend looked uncomfortable.

"I'm opening the soda, HM. So we can pour it."

"Do you really think you need to open all four bottles? Maybe we're not going to drink every kind." Sweet Gummi Mary! You'd think we were ten-year-olds at CiCi's Pizza making suicides.

"There's nothing wrong with opening them."

"They'll go flat."

"They won't go flat. There. I'll drink the Diet Mountain Dew. I like Diet Mountain Dew."

"I know. You drink it all the time. So why did you open the Diet A&W Root Beer?"

"I didn't. I stopped."

"Yeah, Mom. He stopped." I really didn't need #1 taking sides. Unless he was on MY side.

"Then why is it all foamy on top?"

"Let me check the lid. Yep. He opened it all right."

"That doesn't matter, HM. I'll drink it. And it doesn't have to be cold." The look on the other four of us did not seem to matter.

"Uh huh. Just so you know, I caught him keeping a bottle of real Coke, which he's not supposed to have, sitting on the floor under the window. It had been there since Christmas at Grandma's house. And it was about 1/3 full."

"I can't believe he said he wants the Sprite left over to mix with his bourbon. That's just wrong."

"He doesn't have bourbon! He has that Jack Daniels that I bought him in the gift box with the honeybee flask."

"At our college house, we bought 10-year-old bourbon that came with glasses."

"Says the expert who drinks his margaritas out of a tumbler."

"Anyway, you don't mix whiskey with Sprite."

"Especially when you're not even supposed to have the Sprite!"

Yeah. Farmer H was taking liberties with the two-liters. At least no alcohol made an appearance.

That I know of.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Needs A Hidden Camera

Sweet Gummi Mary! If Mrs. Hillbilly Mom didn’t know better, she would swear that the ghost of Cus has returned to haunt her classroom! Except for the fact that Cus is very much alive, and working at Basementia. No moonlighting for Cus.

Between the time Mrs. HM left her room at 3:30 on Friday, and returned at 7:30 a.m. on Monday…a 32 oz. foam cup of once-carbonated cola-looking beverage from McDonald’s found its way into her wastebasket, along with a used paper plate, and a strip of blue cellophane packaging.

Here’s the thing. Mrs. HM did not put that trash there. All the other trash of the day, such as used Puffs With Lotion and discarded graded papers that Mrs. HM’s students are not wont to hang on their very own Frig IIs, was gone. So obviously, the trash had been dumped at the end of the day Friday.

In addition, the back row of desks was off by half a tile. That’s right. Moved too far back by half a tile. They are always aligned on the tile seams, you know. If the last class of the day is remiss in doing so, The Pony straightens them. Very strange. All aligned, but on the wrong crack.

What could possibly explain such phenomena? Obviously, somebody with a master key was inside the perimeter. Doubtful that it was a custodian’s child. A custodian would not leave trash after dumping. They are resentful if they clean a room at the end of sixth period, and then seventh period students dare to throw anything away. And what about the desks? It was obviously an insider. One, perhaps, with a group of students, one of whom clamored that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom would freak out if the desks were not aligned properly.

All that comes to mind is the cheeryellers. They decorated the building before Monday morning. Perhaps Mrs. HM’s room was used as a staging area. It IS closest to the gym and cafeteria.

Still. Nobody is putting anything over on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Arm Is Kind Of Sore From Grabbing That Climbing-In Handle By T-Hoe's Shotgun Seat

We had to stop by The Devil’s Playground on Tuesday afternoon for some last-minute feast preparation items. Let the record show that The Pony has been volunteering to drive lately. Must have something to do with wanting to escape my clutches and attend college. Even though he was set to take the wheel last Friday, and changed his mind as we walked out of the school building to T-Hoe. As we exited the Playground, The Pony again volunteered.

“Okay. Do you want me to get you off the lot? They’re kind of busy today.”

“Yeah. It’s hard for me to back out.”

“Me too, with that backup beeper broken for a year and a half now.”

So…I wove through the wayward walkers, jammed on the brakes for the pull-out people, and swung T-Hoe into the old Sonic driveway to switch over. The Pony did not want to adjust the seat. I have it all the way back. Farmer H pulls it forward until his belly butts up against the wheel. We have the controls set for each of us.

“Go ahead, Pony. You can move the seat closer. It will go right back when I push my button.”

“No. I’ll hunch forward anyway. It’s fine. Now let me see where everything is. Blinker. Mirrors. Okay. I’m ready.”

Let the record show that T-Hoe is a large SUV. Bigger than The Pony’s little Ford Ranger. Bigger than the Chevy Blazer that Farmer H took over from my mom. So The Pony was really out of his comfort zone with all those horses under the hood. He has driven me twice before. Maybe once.

Upon making a left from the Sonic lot onto the outer road, The Pony gassed T-Hoe aggressively. Even though he does not like to drive fast.

“Watch it there.”

“Yeah. I’m just getting used to this car.”

“The speed limit is 30 along here. Um. Twenty is fine.”

“Uh huh. And after the bridge here, it’s 45. Okay. That guy is on his own side.”

We tooled along at 30 mph. Slower up the hills.

“Okay. Watch your speed here. We’re starting downhill. PUT YOUR FOOT ON THE BRAKE! This curve will eat you up.”

“It’s on the brake. I’ve got it.”

We made it to the new section of road behind the high school where The Pony would attend if I didn’t bring him to Newmentia with me.

“The speed limit here it 30.”

“I know.”

“You don’t have to go 20. It’s straight. A smooth road.”

“Yes. But there’s a tailgater behind me, and I’m teaching him a lesson.”

“Do as I say, not as I do. I at least go the speed limit when I teach people a lesson.”


“Here’s the roundabout. Do you know what to watch for?”

“Uh huh.”

“I guess that guy went on around?”

“No. He’s still behind us.”

“Wishing he was never born, I imagine.”

We made it past the prison. Across the bridge over the big river.

Hey! They patched that deep hole today. Great timing. You didn’t have to swerve or knock a tire off the rim. Good. You have your signal on. Slow down a little! Now, make your turn. WHOA! Hit the brake!”

“I was just turning like you said.”

“You know you can use your brake during a turn…”

“Oh. Good to know.”

“Seriously. You didn’t know that?”

“I did not. Is that why you keep grabbing the OH-BEEP handle?”

“Heh, heh. Well…kind of. It just takes practice. You’ll get the hang of it.”

Maybe his dad needs to spend more time with this driving practice.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Do You Hear The Rumble Of The Handbasket Delivery Truck?

Monday, there were signs of impending handbasket delivery all over Newmentia.

It was the annual before-tournament pep rally day. So we had an assembly to fire up the team and the fans.

Normally, we faculty stand along the rail at the end of the sunken gym, where we can look down upon the bleachers full of would-be ne’er-do-wells. Close enough to the action to enjoy the festivities, and also close enough to nip trouble in the bud. Sometimes, the stinkeye is enough. Other times it takes a finger-snapping with a pointing. Occasionally a name called out to get attention. And once in a blue moon, it takes a point, a thumb-jab, and removal of a pupil from the general population. The kids know this. They keep an eye on our section, and mind their Ps and Qs.

But this day, as I walked through the cafeteria doors to the gym, I saw that our spots were taken. TAKEN! Like a poorly-saved seat at the Paradise Twin Theater for a showing of Prognosis Negative.

I had a good mind to give up and go next door to see Rochelle, Rochelle: A Young Girl’s Strange, Erotic Journey From Milan to Minsk. But I couldn’t, still being employed at Newmentia. So I shuffled on down. Down past the three custodial staff lining prime rail real estate. Past other members of support staff. Past the plethora of recent grads returned to grace us with their presence on this near-holiday. Past the underclassmen gathered around them. All the way to the glass backboard.

Yeah. That’s how far I was displaced. Other faculty went the other route. A couple sat in the midst of the pupil body, which means at least they are behaving nearby. But visibility in low. Others leaned against the cafeteria wall, unable to see the bleacher kids, and most of the goings-on down on the gym floor. Some stood at the rail behind the bleachers, where they could see, but could not catch student attention without charging in like a bouncer at a biker bar.

So far down the rail was I that the coaches had to elbow me out of the way to grab the ropes to pull the piƱatas of the other teams’ mascots out from under the wiffle ball bats of the participating players.

We had a real live Hungry Hippo competition, with four faculty being chosen to lay belly-down on scooters and capture balloons under inverted laundry baskets while pupils pushed them and retrieved them with a rope tied to the scooter. I told Arch Nemesis that she was the best Hippo. Jewels had an issue with her cardigan, the wheels of her scooter running over it and burning several holes. Brainiac was slow for a thin Hippo, and the Street Lawyer cheated so much that his efforts didn’t count.

The Pony got in a tug-of-war over a t-shirt shot into the crown with a giant two-cheerleader rubber band. Thank the Gummi Mary, he did not suffer the fate of Ned Flanders’ wife. He actually let the girl have it, then she tried to give it back to him when she saw that it was an XL. The Pony is not an XL either, so they tossed it to a buddy down the row.

A top-row pupil took the paper holder off her rolled-up crowd-shot t-shirt, and threw it several rows down, where it bounced off a tough guy’s head. I think she was actually aiming at her brother sitting next to tough guy. TG jumped up and turned around. Had I been closer, I could have squashed that beef, but rail-clinging in Outer Mongolia, I thought, “Meh.” There were enough hillbillies there to stop a tough guy from thumping a rude gal.

And, as if that displacement of the guardians of the gymnasium wasn’t enough of a sign…today I walked to the teacher lunch table and saw a sub sitting right next to my chair. Actually, she was kind of IN my chair, although I can sit at the one next to it, depending on how the chairs are skewed on any given day. Not only was she taking up that chair, but she had her bags spread next to it. Uh huh. BagS. You’d have thought she was newly homeless, what with all the stuff she had piled around her.

Jewels came out to join the Think Tank, and had to sit WAY BACK from the table. Thank the Gummi Mary she did not have stinky fish for lunch, because she was between me and Sub, and four feet back from the table.

Yes. I regret that the truckload of handbaskets is rumbling down the highway, and my proposed handbasket factory was beat out on the bid. Perhaps this load is just priming the pump. A call to action which will garner future business for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sometimes, I Wonder If The Pony Has A Little Bit Of My Mom In Him

Bittersweet times here at The Mansion. It was the day before Thanksgiving last year that my mom had a seizure, which led to a cascade of other symptoms, which resulted in her demise two-and-a-half months later. We're thinking of you, Mom. Like that time you served me four-year-old ranch dressing at the Thanksgiving Dinner table!

It's no secret that Mom was thought to buy her bargains at Ye Olde Expired Foods Shoppe. Now The Pony seems to have picked up some of her traits. Not that he shops for food. It's kind of hard to do that when you don't have a driver's license. But he DOES have a way of picking up the dented can, the torn label, the crushed box. Not that he saves any money.

Saturday night, I decided to allow myself a little treat. We have, inside Frig II's freezer, a bag of individual ice cream cups. Farmer H asked for them. Yes, he has the diabeetus. But he has lost weight since the summer, and his A1C or whateveryacallit has been pleasing his doctor. So as long as it's a small portion, and eaten with a protein, he thinks he can have sugar every now and then. I disagree, but short of taking his keys, I can't prevent him from sneaking worse treats like a waffle cone or a half-dozen Casey's donuts if the mood strikes him. So I picked up these birthday-cake flavored ice cream cups at The Devil's Playground. We had some way back when it was actually ice cream season, but eventually they ran out.

So I asked The Pony on Saturday night to fetch me an ice cream cup and a Little Debbie Cosmic Brownie. What good is ice cream without cake, right? And The Pony dutifully fetched them for me, even bringing a spoon. Unfortunately, he dropped the brownie right as he was handing it over. But that's all right! They come individually wrapped, you know.

So I went to open my brownie, and the end was open already. "Pony?" Is this one you were going to eat one morning, and changed your mind?"

"No. It's a new one."

"Okay. Maybe it popped open when it hit the floor." I took a bite. "Um. No. It tastes funny. And it's kind of hard. But sometimes Little Debbies are. Here. Try it."

"That doesn't taste right."

"I know. It's like cardboard and old people." Not that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom eats cardboard. OR old people.

"I can get you another one."

"Where did you get THIS one?"

" was from that open box that's been there awhile. Here. Have one of these!" He reached under his end of the coffee table and produced a brand new box of Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies. "They were left over from our potluck we had in class Friday. Here. I'll open them. We didn't even need this box."

I picked up my ice cream cup. I like to let it get a little melty. But this one had not. I breathed my hot breath across it. Still. It did not melt like a normal ice cream cup. "Pony. Where did you get this ice cream cup?"

"In the freezer."

"I know that. But was it in the bag? The one I just bought a couple weeks ago?"

"No. It was sitting by itself."

"That one was OLD! Months old! That's when we ran out. And it was at least two months before I got any more. There is only a thin piece of cardboard protecting the ice cream from freezer burn. This one is all crystallized!"

"Oh. I'll go get you another one."

"No. I already have this one. Never mind."

I guess the good thing about The Pony's selections is that I don't really crave ice cream and a brownie any more.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cleanliness Is Next To #&%-holiness

Alas. The Pony and I have spent the day at the mercy of der Farmer. Not that there was any mercy involved.

Der Farmer has taken off the entire week. He does this every year, I think to make my life miserable on my long weekend. The cold snap has driven der Farmer indoors like a tender field mouse. Only not as cute. He set to turning the Mansion upside down for no good reason. It's not like he cleaned up his collection of hats that occupy one-fourth of the bedroom. No.

Last night he painted a spot on the bathroom wall. This morning he set to cleaning the jets in the big triangle tub in the master bathroom. That task involved several 55-gallon barrels of vinegar. I did not see the barrels, but the liquid in the bottom of the tub was four inches deep, and had a strong vinegar odor. For some reason, there was a plastic box of baby wipes floating in that lagoon. Didn't ask. Didn't want to know.

Then der Farmer asked me to buy him a mop. Never mind that the last time I looked, we HAD a mop. Of course that was quite some time ago...So I asked what kind of mop, seeing as how I had two stops to make, to procure provisions for the Thanksgiving feast, and was trying to imagine how that mop was going to fit into my full basket. Der Farmer declared that HE was going to town later, and would get his own mop, since he is the only one who ever does anything around here. Really. He said that. I could have slapped some sense into him with my dishpan hands, but I held back. He can knock himself out tomorrow mopping, while I toil away at work, and take The Pony to his appointment after school, and drag in around 7:00 p.m.

After I played cart-chicken with aggressive shoppers in both Save A Lot and The Devil's Playground, and stood in line for entirely too long in both stores, and picked up some chicken wings for der Farmer's lunch, he had the nerve to declare that he would really like a 7-layer salad to accompany the Thanksgiving feast. Leaving me three layers short, having only the mayo/sour cream, the bacon, the cheddar, and the eggs for boiling. Now I find it necessary to round up some frozen peas, green onions, and romaine before Thursday.

Der Farmer bossed at The Pony for a while. Then moved a pile of clothing (clean!) off our mini deep freeze in the laundry room. The one I said we didn't need, but that he wanted. Which was used so seldom that clothing took to lolling about, with those boys never putting away their laundry that I wash and dry and fold. So there was a pile left behind by the #1 son when he went off to college. Sure, that was two years ago. But who's counting? The Pony said he could probably wear some clothes from that pile if I wanted him to. Not his own, of course, but those of his brother. See, I used to take that outgrown stuff to my mom's house, and she would have her neighbor come over and look through it for her grandson, and then donate it to a local ministerial alliance. I don't have that option now, and last year we were kind of tied up with Mom's health issues the day before Thanksgiving.

Anyhoo, der Farmer moved a stack of clothes to the washer top. He took out some fundraisers pizzas that had been in the little freezer for a while. I went to put in some hash brown potatoes and some sugar free Cool Whip, and when I raised the lid, it caught on some wallpaper trim that had been originally installed by der Farmer when he built the Mansion.

"The lid of the freezer rips the wallpaper."

"No it doesn't."

"Yes. It does. I just lifted the lid, and it caught on the border, and tore it. Or it was already torn. Because it stuck out and caught the lid."

"The lid does not catch the wallpaper."

"Yes it does. I just lifted it. And it caught."

"The freezer is not up against the wall."

"But the lid catches the border when you open it."

"No it doesn't. How many times do I have to tell you that?"

"How many times do I have to tell you that it does?"

"The lid does not catch the wallpaper, HM."

"Go in there and open it. You'll see."

"It does now. Because of them clothes."

"What's that got to do with it? The lid catches the wallpaper. Not the clothes."

"The clothes laying there are what did it."

"They were just LAYING there. They didn't rip the wallpaper."

"It was the clothes piled there."

"Maybe you ripped it when you LIFTED the clothes to move them! But the clothes didn't tear the wallpaper. The lid of the freezer hits it every time you open it."

"I don't know why you're so hard-headed! You can't tell you anything. The clothes messed up the wallpaper! Not the lid of the freezer!" Off he stalked to sulk.

Sometimes, I wish der Farmer would just go back to screwing a bright red milk crate to the front wall of the house for packages.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

As If We Have Not Already Established The Fact

Sitting in my dark basement lair this evening, I heard The Pony trot into the NASCAR bathroom on the other side of my office wall. He emerged several moments later. He usually goes upstairs to his own bathroom. Not that anybody wouldn't be honored to sit and gaze at the 200-or-so NASCAR Hot Wheels that Farmer H has hung on pegs on the wall, and the hand-painted vanity top with NAScars speeding around a track, while his feet rest on the black-and-white checkered flag of tile.

"Are you sick?"

"What do you mean?"



"Well, it's going around at school. I heard the kids talking about it."

"I did not need to know that."

"It's why they were missing two or three days of school at a time."

"The bowel movements of others in my class are not my concern."

There he goes again. Not caring about people.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sometimes HM Doesn't Quite Pick Up What The Pony's Layin' Down

On the way home Thursday, we saw a tree that was canted at a 45-degree angle over a driveway in town.

“Look at that! I wonder if the wind did that Tuesday night, or if it’s been that way all along and we never noticed. Who would park their car in that garage? The tree could fall on it at any minute.”

“The people who live there. Maybe their car roof is dented and scratched. Like a soiled dove.”


“You know what that is, right? A soiled dove? It’s another name for a prostitute.”

“Okay. I wasn’t sure what you were going for.”

I suppose the Pony was just trying to show me how worldly he is. I keep telling him he needs to come out of his shell. To find a companion to walk the hallowed halls of Newmentia with. That I saw one of his buddies lately talking to a little gal while I was on duty.

“That’s his girlfriend.”

“Oh. I didn’t know he had a girlfriend.”

“He does now.”

So, this pair was at my end of the hall for the last couple of days. Human interaction is a curious thing.

“Hey. Your buddy must be the worst boyfriend ever. He walks beside her like she’s a store clerk. He treats her like she’s a business associate. No hand-holding. No lovey-dovey. Once I thought he was going to grab her hand. Or maybe take her books. But no. She seems to be confused.”

“Like a business associate? Money changes hands, and both benefit.”

“Wait a minute! Are you calling her a soiled dove?”

“No, Mother. That’s not what I meant. But when you think about it, the same rule applies.”

He's got a point.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

They Call The Wind A Riot

The Pony has a couple of classes in a room I call the ATV room. I know that he’s not riding 4-wheelers around, kicking up mud. That’s just what comes to mind when I think of that place.

The ATV room is not supervised. The kids taking college courses on computer work in there. Some of them are not as responsible as one might think a senior taking a college class might be. This is the room where, The Pony let it slip after a bout of interrogation from me, THE DUST BUNNY INCIDENT occurred. That the reason he had a giant dust bunny in his hair was because he had been sitting under a table so the other pupils would leave him alone.

Earlier this week, several students were hanging out in the ATV room. Allegedly doing their coursework. The Pony felt it necessary to tell the following tale of inappropriate tails.

"I was working on my stuff, but Big Wind and Tooter were just goofing around. Big Wind ripped a really potent fart. We started laughing. Then Tooter farted, too. That room stunk. Big Wind got up and went next door to get Girly. She’s usually in there with us, but she goes in Mrs. Lung’s classroom to get away. Big Wind brought her in, just to make her smell the farts. After two steps inside the door, she yelled that it stunk. She got away. She fanned Mrs. Lung's door to blow it back into the ATV room. But right then, Mrs. Beige came in!

“Sweet Alabama Beige?”

“Uh huh. Mrs. Beige walked in from HER room. From the door on the other side. We didn’t know she was coming! She sat down right next to Tooter. My buddy Curly and I were laughing. We were trying to be quiet, but we were shaking. I don’t know what Mrs. Beige thought.”

“No! That’s terrible. Sweet Alabama Beige is very sensitive! She probably thought you were all laughing at HER! And I bet you won’t go tell her what was really going on, will you?”


“I’m going to explain.” So I did. And Sweet Alabama Beige seemed relieved.

“Yes, I went in there. And all those boys were laughing. You know how kids are. I had no idea what was going on.”

“Well, if you’re like me, you make it a habit to never breathe through your nose at school.”

“That’s right.”

“So at least you were spared THAT indignity.”

Kids. Sweet Alabama Beige and I can’t live WITH them. Yet we can’t EAT without them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

There She Was Just A-Hobblin’ Down The Hall, Singing Doo Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Gotta Pee…

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom still don’t get no respect. Not even after all these years. Why, only yesterday, she was almost diagnosed with a case of uromysitisis poisoning. And she does NOT have a pass for public urination!

There she was, hobbling down the hall at a slow clip, her other two speeds being slower and slowest, when from down past the Newmentia office she saw Pinky. Pinky is a member in good standing of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank. She is not, however, known for her tact. In fact, the very name Pinky came from the time she paraded through the Thanksgiving potluck (much like a spokesmodel at a boxing match notifying the fans of the round, only more clothed) holding a pink posterboard sign proclaiming that HER lunch shift at the time also needed to eat. Like we were HOGS AT THE TROUGH! The very nerve of her! Maligning the feeding habits of my cronies! She didn’t seem to be complaining when we were given the 10:53 a.m. mealtime. But when it comes to potlucks, everybody envies us.

So there she was, hoofing it up the hall as Mrs. HM was hoofing it down. When Mrs. HM reached the short space between the pupil girls’ restroom and the door to the teacher workroom, Pinky darted in front of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom like a Black Friday linejumper when the doors open.

A pupil called out something to Pinky, and she proclaimed over her shoulder, “I’m trying to beat Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.” With that, she scooted in right under Mrs. HM’s nose to plop her butt on the throne rightfully reserved for Mrs. HM’s amply derriere!

Now Mrs. HM doesn’t fancy herself a holder of real estate in the faculty women’s restroom. Nor feel entitled to a scheduled time to use that facility. But when she is clearly on her way there, and within three steps, it seems a bit rude to run inside and take care of one’s business while Mrs. HM is left cooling her waterlogged heels during the four-minute passing period. Of course Pinky was not out in time. The bell rang before she emerged. Sweet Gummi Mary! Those of us at that end of the hall who use this dump station regularly have been known to get FOUR people in and out before the tardy bell.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom calls shenanigans! The people down at the other end have a bathroom they use. No need to clog up ours. To usurp Mrs. HM’s throne.

I’ve a good mind to call Pinky out on that potluck stunt. Especially since all she brought was a bag of frozen corn, which she tossed in the freezer and never even served.


Alternate Title: “Pinky And The Drain”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Don’t Rain On Mrs. HM’s Charade


No. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was not whacked in the knee with a Gillooly club. But she has been put out of commission just the same. From the Blog Olympics. Okay. She's nowhere near a world champion. But still, she is being prevented from entertaining the masses with her razor-sharp wit and cynical eye.

Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day. When the temperature is below freezing. And preferably, come overnight, Sunday through Thursday, in the form of snow.

I should have known that DISH satellite internet was not the way to go. But that #1 son is a swift talker. I bet he could have sold me a vacuum cleaner that I'd never use. Or pajama jeans. Which I would, only not admit. Or even one of those foot scraper bunion shaver thingies, if he put my head in a vise and made me look at that miracle it performed on his crusty feet.

At least DISH treats me right with the bill. Ever since that internet installer swiched me to paperless billing without my permission, necessitating a couple of phone calls and payment by phone. Unlike SPRINT, who ramped up my charges and insinuated that I used more than my allotted share of the innernets. And most recently, did not process my check for three weeks, but mysteriously DID process it five days after I paid by phone with my debit card! But SPRINT can stand aside. I have no business with it today.

Today I am wondering how we could send men to the moon (and BACK) numerous times in the hippie days, when a Dollar Store calculator of today would have filled a football field back then...but in these modern times, DISH can't come up with a way for their satellite signal to pierce low-hanging clouds and precipitation. What's up with that?

Oh, how I envy you smug folks snug in your homes, your internet flowing smoothly through wires, or through nothing at all on your smarty-pants phones!

Monday, November 16, 2015

M'Lady And Me, Out On The Town

Friday, I was off to the hospital radiology department for a routine exam. You know the one. Where you can't wear deodorant until after it's over. So I packed up my Lady Speedstick, or as I like to think of her, "M'Lady Speedstick," in the bottom of my purse, and off we went.

First stop was dropping The Pony off at school, because, you might have heard, he does not yet have his driver's license. I sat in my room using up Newmentia's internet until my sub arrived. No time to go back home, and too early to head for my appointment.

At the hospital, I found that parts of the waiting room have been gutted, parts have temporary partitions, and the waiting area for radiology has been moved to the hall. I signed in and was escorted back to the special waiting room for my test. M'Lady was snoozin' in the bottom of my purse, I think. I grew drowsy myself, having that waiting room all to my lonesome, operating on 2.5 hours of sleep because Farmer H had insomnia and chose 2:00 a.m to discuss recent statewide events.

I must have gotten there at just the right time, because a woman made her exit from the changing room, and I was invited in. A gravelly-voiced technician asked if I had put on deodorant that morning. No ma'am. I was tempted to pull M'Lady Speedstick from the bottom of my purse for proof. But I figured that might slow down the process. I disrobed, robed, paraded myself to the squisher, got squished, and paraded myself back to the robing room. I put M'Lady to good use, and we took off for Terrible Cuts. I did the online check-in, even though it showed the wait was 0 minutes.

Well. I got there and parked horribly without The Pony to guide me. Once inside, I saw that there were four workers and no customers. Which was perhaps an omen. The Talky Gal I don't really like was hovering over a li'l gal at the register, showing her what to do. "Welcome to Terrible Cuts. We'll be with you in a moment." Like Not-Heaven they would!

I stood, thinking that no sooner would I sit than they would call me up. Nope. I stood some more. A new gal came up behind them. On and on Talky Gal droned. I guess they should really plan a week for orientation. New Gal said, "Do you want to come on back?" Yes I did. I thought she was only going to seat me until someone else came to give my terrible cut. It's hard to tell the floorsweepers from the cutters there. But no. SHE was my cutter.

New Gal looked really efficient. She didn't yank. She didn't talk an ear off. She looked like she was getting the length that I requested. Then she asked if she should blow it dry. Yes. For the whole $13 that I was paying, yes. And it looked fine.

When I got home, I saw that New Girl had apparently trimmed the sections that were just right, and left the ones that scraggled. So my new haircut did not make my hair more ruly as a haircut should, but accentuated the unruly parts. AND when I picked up The Pony, and drove him home (with him sitting right behind me the whole way, you know) and stopped for gas and got out and stood right beside his window at the pump...The Pony never even knew I got a haircut until I told him.

All I could do was commiserate with M'Lady Speedstick as I carried her to the master bathroom and shut her away in the cabinet.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Simple Lapse In Judgment Could Start An Epidemic

You'd think Mrs. Hillbilly Mom would know better, what with her vast career in the teaching profession. Perhaps she's addled lately, what with her impending retirement beckoning like a beacon on the horizon.

Yes, you'd think she'd know better than to let a pupil out of the room. No good comes of that. She's broken them in well over the first three-eighths of the school year. Not in the door, ready to begin when the bell rings? TARDY! If you ask to leave for the restroom once class has started, you may go. For the price of a tardy. And the added inconvenience of leaving your cell phone on the table at the back of the room.

So Mrs. Hillbilly Mom should have known to say NO when a studious lass asked to get her English homework after she turned in her test. Such cross-disciplinary activities are allowed, as long as Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's work is done, and the materials have been brought along. But no. This English lassie said she thought her test would take longer. Sweet Gummi Mary! It was 50 questions! What was she, an Evelyn Woods aficionado? Anyhoo, against her better judgment, Mrs. HM let lassie go.

Within three minutes, a laddie asked to fetch his government homework. It was important! He had just enough time to finish it, and not have to take it home!  Again, against her better judgment, weak-willed, wishy-washy Mrs. Hillbilly Mom let him go. It must have been the fact that she was in the middle of trying to get those tests graded, because she would be absent the next day for a doctor's appointment. Just say YES and get rid of the interruption.

You know what happened next, right?

Another lassie asked to return a book to the library. It MIGHT have been overdue! Nope. Negatory. Ixnay on the ibrarylay. "Sorry. I already let two people go. I shouldn't have. Now, if I let you go, ten more people are going to ask. So I'm sorry. But I can't let you leave."

That's the problem. It's a sickness. An epidemic. The first pupil to leave the room is like Patient Zero with Captain Trips. Anybody who encounters Patient Zero is infected. They MUST get up and go somewhere. Out of the room. "But you let HIM go!" Yeah. I like him better. Or I like him worse. Or I was preoccupied with something when I said yes. Or I didn't hear what the little low-talker asked. It's a miracle, really, that I'm not sitting here wearing a puffy shirt.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is putting her foot down. Nobody leaves without a tardy. A tardy that will be on the record until they reset after the end of the quarter. After three, you get an in-school vacation from the classroom.

Feelin' lucky?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kind Of A Big Deal

The Pony is a small-town celebrity. News of his recent academic accolades was splashed on the front page of the local paper Friday. He didn't make the three revolving pictures, but he was one of the four top stories in the online edition. That means people clicked on his story, then saw his picture. Scholars enjoy the fame of athletes in Backroads.

In fact, when he ran into Casey's to pay for the gas I treated T-Hoe to on Friday afternoon, the clerk congratulated him. "Way to go man! I read that, and told everybody, 'Hey! That kid comes in my store all the time!'" Not that The Pony is a stunning creature to rival the self-assessed beauty of Ashton Kutcher's character in Cheaper By the Dozen. Nor is he misshapen and rememberable, like The Elephant Man. He's actually kind of nondescript. But he DID twice take back money that the (other) clerks had handed back by mistake. So now he's famous in that store for being honest AND smart.

The guy who runs the school sent me an email congratulating The Pony. He said that The Pony's news, posted on our school Facebook, had garnered over 6100 hits, the most ever since the page was started.

I daresay that if The Pony was to get his driver's license next week, the license office gal would make sure she took a good photo. People congratulate me all the time now. I don't know why, it's not like I got the score. They add things like, "He can write his own ticket now." "He can go to college anywhere he wants." "Colleges will be fighting over him." "He won't ever have to pay for college now."

Au contraire. That's where reality sets in. Nobody's breaking down the door offering The Pony a full ride. It's not like when he DOES choose a college, and sign a letter of intent, the paper will show up to photograph him at the table with a pen, his parents and teachers standing behind him.

Nope. That's reality. To the Backroads citizens, The Pony is worthy of a free education for being one of the less than 1/10 of one percent of students who achieve a perfect score on that test. Like an accomplished athlete. But not to the colleges.

He is going to an informational dinner Tuesday night, in the city, to talk to a representative of the University of Oklahoma. They actively recruit National Merit Scholars, and have a package worth $124,000 to offer them. That does not include room and board.

The Pony could probably get a full ride at a smaller university. One not known for the strength of its engineering program.

He remains undecided. Yet still tickled pink over his score, as he awaits the results of his SAT.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Also In The Running In The Pony's Career Sweepstakes...

You'd think The Pony spends every moment of his school day absorbing knowledge like a thirsty Bounty Paper Towel. He's kind of a quicker picker-upper, as evidenced by his recent crowning achievement of that perfect score on his national college admissions test. You'd think that. But you'd only be half right.

Apparently, The Pony is indiscriminate in WHAT knowledge he picks up. This afternoon, we didn't leave school until shortly after 5:00. I was absent today, (only 96 sick days left), and had to catch up on today's scores, what with Monday being progress report time. I drove through Burger King on the way home to pick up some food. Nobody, particularly Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, wants to cook on a Friday night after getting home two hours late.

As we rounded the curved concrete island between the order thingy and the pickup window, The Pony said, "Oh. Mom. My teacher and her husband had this fish, and it died. It was either constipated, or it had a tumor."

"Oh. And they know that because they saw a dark blog of poop or tumor through its translucent fish skin? What kind of fish did they have?"

"I don't know. But you know how a fish's body is supposed to end like THIS?" He put his index finger and thumb together in a streamlined point. Of course he had to hold it up beside my head, what with him riding in the back seat.


"Well, THEIR fish's body ended like THIS." He put his index finger and thumb in a circle. Like the "OK" sign.

I suppose that might pay off, should The Pony decide to become a veterinarian, or an ichthyologist. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Think Tank Seems To Think The Worst

On Monday, discussion at the Semi Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank was stimulated by a young lass who stopped by to report that while she, herself, had not bagged a deer yet, an acquaintance of hers had.

That led me to ask if anybody had seen the picture in The Missouri Conservationist of the buck brought down by a hunter with his atlatl. That's a primitive weapon that uses a flinging thing to throw a long spear.

That led The Woodsman to tell of how he knew guys who got a deer by throwing a spear at it. "They just stood in the tree stand and threw it."

"You mean they could throw that hard to kill a deer?"

"Actually, I think they just stood in the tree stand and stabbed it as it went under. It was a really long spear."

"We found a leg on our sidewalk this morning." I felt like EF Hutton. They all stopped and looked at me. The Think Tank. Not the pupils. Not-heaven, no! They can't be distracted from their cell phones. But everyone at my table leaned in, mouths hanging open.

"You mean a DEER leg...right?"

"Yes! A deer leg. Of course."

"Okay. Because in your neck of the woods, you never know."

Sweet Gummi Mary! A headless body gets found in a septic tank less than a mile from your Mansion, and people never want to let you live that down!

Here's the evidence:

Let the record show that our dogs salvaged it. The Hillbilly family are not shooters nor stabbers of deer. But our fleabags DO enjoy the spoils.

Note to self: Do not let sweet, sweet Juno lick you this week. And especially do not accidentally chew on her nose.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sometimes, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Wishes The Pony Was Just A Little Hoarse

The Pony is a droll fellow. A couple of his teachers have commented how much they enjoy his dry sense of humor. It’s been three years since I had him in class, so I’m not sure what he comes up with. I certainly hope it’s not the stuff I hear at home!

Every week when we brave the vast expanses and general tomfoolery of The Devil’s Playground, The Pony and I reward ourselves with a treat. A treat that The Pony packs down the steps to our dark basement lair. We enjoy our respective treats while watching our TV shows. Sometimes, The Pony goes all out and grabs a 5-lb bag of Gummi Bears. Lately, it has been Pringles Multigrain Sour Cream and Onion. I chose mixed nuts. Not fancy. Just the Great Value brand. More than 50% peanuts.

This is Wednesday. For the past three nights, after The Pony has gone upstairs to shower and RETIRE for the evening, I have reached to my recliner-side table for my tasty treat. Only to find myself more disappointed than Old Mother Hubbard’s dog. Last night, I asked The Pony where he put my Great Value mixed nuts with more than 50% peanuts.

“That’s a good question,” he said.

When I went to plug in my phone on the kitchen counter last night before bed, I saw a Devil’s bag on the table, with the unmistakable shape of a can inside the plastic bag. A can of Great Value mixed nuts with more than 50% peanuts.

On our way out this morning, I caught The Pony with one hand on the doorknob. I tapped my hand on the plastic lid of that can, still inside the plastic bag.

“Hey, Pony! Do you know what this this means?”

He turned, loaded down with his laptop backpack, his lunch, and my red-and-black free Office Max teacher’s bag.

“Sometimes late at night you get a craving to hold the nuts?”

I hope this is not how The Pony has been entertaining his teachers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sometimes, You Recoil At The Very Thought

I was quite proud of The Pony today for his academic accomplishments. He's one-of-a-kind, my little Pony. I was so proud, in fact, that on the way home, I couldn't help but re-emphasize my proudness.

As you may recall, The Pony rides behind me in the second seat of T-Hoe. So to re-emphasize my proudness, I had to reach back. Sometimes, I pat him on his woolly leg. This time, I could see, out of the corner of my eye, his blue athletic (Sweet Gummi Mary, WHY does The Pony wear ATHLETIC shoes?) shoe on the side of the shotgun seat. I reached my right arm back and put it on that shoe. Squeezed it.

"I'm so proud of you, Pony!"

"I know you are. Um. Have you forgotten that you hate feet?"

"NO! Ack!" I removed my hand. "But I was so proud, I forgot for a minute what I was doing. I mean, I knew I was putting my hand on your shoe. But I forgot that inside that shoe is your FOOT! Ack! I hate feet!"

We all lose our head sometimes.

Monday, November 9, 2015

As A Child, He Probably Said, "Bah! Humbunny!"

So, only yesterday, Farmer H was all up in arms about three eggs falling on him when he pulled down some hay from the other side of the fence he built inside the mini pony's shed.

"One of 'em bounced off my stomach and broke! Them darn chickens won't none of 'em lay in the chicken house! I find ONE egg in there! It's like an Easter egg hunt around here to find the eggs!

"That's what happens when you let them run loose. They don't know they're supposed to go in the house. The only one we have left who remembers when you kept them in the pen, and they roosted in the house every night, is Survivor (our orange-and-black rooster). Actually, it might be Survivor's Son. They look so much alike, and I've only seen one of them lately."

"They just lay wherever they feel like it!"

"And yet you blame my sweet, sweet Juno for eating your eggs. She doesn't know any better. Those dogs walk around and find an egg, and think, 'Oh, I found an egg. Nom nom!' They are only eating food they find in the yard."

"Yeah. I know. They eat all my eggs!"

"Not all of them. You DID find those 30-something eggs under the porch that one day."

I don't know where they're laying!

"That is not the dogs' fault. But I must say, Juno has been looking especially silky for the past few weeks." 

"YEAH! From MY eggs! They don't need my eggs. They eat enough table scraps to keep them fat." 

"Well, that cheap dogfood you give them is probably crippling them. I think that's what killed Tank the beagle."

"Oh! Their food is still out in the car."

"See? You're not even feeding them. They need the eggs. And I think you ran over my sweet, sweet Juno. She's been limping." 

"I saw that. She's a hypochondriac."

"Well, you DID run over Grizzly. You admitted that yourself."

"I didn't hurt him. He rolled twice and bounced right back up."

"And where is HE now?"

"HM. He was 13 years old!"

"Well, I doubt that being run over by your Gator added any years to his life."

"There's no talking to you!"

"I wish." 

I suppose that when I retire (IN ONLY 7 MONTHS, have you heard?), Farmer H will assign me the job of following his chickens around all day and picking up his eggs.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Elaborate

Farmer H is full of...of...tales. Yeah. That's the ticket. Farmer H is full of tales.

"I went over to feed the horse--"

"You mean the mini pony?"

"Yeah. I went over to feed the horse, and I was getting the hay down--"

"You carried it on top of your Gator?"

"No, HM. I have hay where he cain't get to it."

"Oh. Not in the pen."

"Yes, it's in his pen! But I keep it stacked where he cain't--"

"What's it stacked on?"

"It ain't stacked on nothin'. I keep it so--"

"It's on the ground? In his pen? So he can just walk up and eat it when he wants? He'll founder!"

"No. It's on the other side of the fence, where--"

"So it's NOT in his pen! It's on the other side of the fence."

"It's in his pen, HM. I put it in the shed I built for the goats...and him, so he--"

"He can't even get in his shed? Because you have the hay in there?"

"He can get in the shed. I put the hay behind the fence so--"

"WAIT! You put the hay behind the fence, but the hay is in the pen, inside his shed...YOU BUILT A FENCE INSIDE HIS SHED?"

"YES! There's a fence to keep him from getting to the hay. Inside his shed."

"Well, why didn't you SAY so?"

"Anyway, what I started out to tell you was that when I cut off a section of hay for him, and pulled it down, THREE EGGS FELL ON ME!"

I don't know about you, but cub reporter Mrs. Hillbilly Mom sees the FENCE INSIDE A SHED as being more of a story than three eggs falling off some hay.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Let's Hope Word Of This Doesn't Get Out

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has some classes that work faster than others. There are four sections of the subject. Pupils are not exactly grouped randomly, but rather tracked by their math classes. This is good in some ways, and not so good in others. Topics can be covered in more depth with certain groups, and adjusted for others. Still, the behavior factor means that sometimes, the lesson is over with 5-7 minutes to spare in the more cooperative classes.

Rather than drill the Quickies with enrichment activities, which they see as punishment, extra work for being so efficient, Mrs. HM has been showing them snippets of a movie. It's not the greatest movie, but it grabs the interest of these freshman classes. It involves a bunch of kids going to camp at the space center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Each period that time allows a showing, Mrs. HM has to quiz her pupils on how far they got the last time. It just so happened that on Friday, a class was ready to resume at the part where the future wife of John Travolta is putting makeup on the future mom of Marty McFly, sitting on bunk beds in the dormitory of the camp. The Quickies are quick to pick up on things.

"Okay...anybody remember where you were?" asked Mrs. Hillbilly Mom as she cued up the DVD.

"Yeah. We were at the bedroom scene."

Never a dull moment in Mrs. HM's work day.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is A Big Ol' Fraud

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is going out with a blaze of glory!

She was the subject of an impromptu discussion at the convening of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank. The Woodsman mentioned something about those pesky S L O requirements concerning the U O I, and the man in charge announced, "If you'd like to see a good one, look at Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's. It's EXEMPLARY. In fact, I saved it in a file marked "EXEMPLARY." I think I'm going to print it out to use as an example."

OH, YEAH! Said in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's head, with the inflection of The Kool-Aid Man.

Uh huh. Mrs. HM has never been used as a good example. Even though she IS a good example. An EXEMPLARY example, to be exact. And has been, all these 28 years. It's just that she went unrecognized. And now credit is being given where credit is long overdue. be humble about it, I told The Woodsman, "Well, I have SO many years of experience." You know. I didn't want to brag, being such a Master Teacher and all.

Then, as irony would have it, a rain cloud shouldering its way in on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's moment in the sun...I turned to the man in charge, and commented how I was not impressed by those new standards that I received in an email this morning. The ones that still have to be approved by the state of Missouri. Told him how I read through all three sciences, middle school and high school levels, comparing them with what we teach now. This new IN thing in Missouri education. The final version that is being sent for a vote of approval.

"I'm really not that impressed with the Sidewalks."

If only Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was more limber, she would have crawled right under that lunch table in embarrassment. Because the man in charge gave her a quizzical look, and said,

"Oh. You mean the Crosswalks."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cus, In The Faculty Women’s Restroom, With A Cell Phone

No. We’re not playing a game of Clue. There’s been no murder. We’re talking about the latest fright in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s life.

Perhaps you remember the Autumn (and Winter and Spring) of Cus. Here. Let me play a bit of the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for you. There. Now is it coming back to you? Those battles waged between Cus and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, over putting the caps on her personal writing implements, and using the bleach rag inside Mrs. HM’s mini fridge, and adjusting 25 chairs by six inches once a week to make Mrs. HM’s duty day even busier?

Although Cus won many battles, due mainly to the fact that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was not present to protest…Mrs. HM won the war. In a manner of speaking. Because Cus up and went to work at Basementia, leaving Newmentia blissfully un-Cus-ed for the last two years.

Today we had an assembly. The first of the year. A grand occasion, one which begged the attendance of the entire population of Basementia. Of course it ended ten minutes before we had planned, because it started ten minutes before we had planned. Which left us with a sliver of 6th hour to teach something to the students. Seven minutes is not quite enough time for even a pro like Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to engender knowledge through skulls stirred into a tizzy by some powerful weightlifter motivational speakers. But Mrs. HM was game to try. Or at least to keep order until time for the bell.

However…we were all caught off guard. One minute, the head weightlifter was speaking, and the next, it was Mr. Principal. Usually, he adds a few comments after an assembly. Ties in local connections with the subject. But not today! The first words out of his mouth were, “You can go on back to sixth hour.”

WHAT? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had not even sneaked the restroom break she had built into this assembly schedule! So off she hobbled, like a glue-factory-rejected nag, in an attempt to beat the thoroughbreds who stable on her hall to the faculty women’s restroom. She had to get there first! Second wouldn’t do, because her class that just launched itself out of the bleachers like Usain Bolt out of the starting blocks at the Olympics, are not…how you say…ones to be left unattended.

I cut diagonally across the cafeteria, weaving through seven-chaired round tables (yes, Mabel, there have been cutbacks) and six-chaired hexagonal tables and eight-chaired rectangular tables. Ah! First one into the teacher workroom! Wait. What’s that? Somebody talking? Faint. They might be around the corner, by the refrigerator! I had to be first in the faculty women’s restroom. I tried the door handle. Pushed gently down on the lever. That’s because if you try to barge right in, you will likely smack your face on the heavy wooden door, what with it always being occupied and locked. So I gently pushed down. I hate it when people (you know who you are…Arch Nemesis…Mrs. Not-A-Cook!) rattle that door lever while I’m smugly ensconced on the throne.

Yes, I gently pushed down on that door handle, and the door opened. Almost. It went halfway, then caught up. Not like on the stubby doorstop inside, to prop it open when mopping between classes, thus disabling our drop station during the crucial four minutes. This was something else holding it up.


CUS! Standing in the women’s faculty restroom, behind the inward-opening door, not pooping or peeing, not washing hands or primping, not looking for a bat in the belfry, not checking for a visible thong line. Standing behind the door! Kind of like hiding, to talk on the phone.

And can you believe that Cus looked at me like I was the one in the wrong? Like I had barged in and interrupted! Like I was psychic. Like I could see through heavy wooden doors. Sweet Gummi Mary! Lock the freakin’ door if you want privacy! A faculty women's restroom is not a phone booth.

“Oh. I have to go to the bathroom. He just let all the kids out of the assembly, and they’re on their way.”

Well. Cus looked as panicked as Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

It’s safe to say that Cus was supposed to be out back with the bus to take Basementia students back to Basementia in time for final dismissal. Cus took off out of that faculty women's restroom like a freshman out of Mrs. HM's room when the lunch bell rings.

Ah. Mission accomplished.

First one in the FWR, with the ousting of Cus a feather in my cap.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Achin’, Not Perturbed

The name is Mom. Hillbilly Mom. And in case you haven’t noticed, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom don’t get no respect.

She has devoted her life (okay, a portion of her born days, since she DOES have a lot of rings if you cut her open, [WARNING: Do Not Cut Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Open!] so let’s say she has devoted 28 of her years on this planet) to teaching. And 20 of those years have been in service to Newmentia. So one might assume that with such a dependable track record, Mrs. HM might have some perks accrued, other than the 97 sick days she currently has stockpiled, which will garner her $20 per day upon retirement. Which is at the end of May, in case you haven’t heard.

You know what happens when we assume.

It’s not like Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is expecting a gold watch, or a trip to Tahiti. No. She expects that after sitting at the same seat at the same table in the same library for each monthly faculty meeting, (which would tally up to around 200, minus the Dec-May meetings which haven’t happened yet, and minus the one where Jewels usurped Mrs. HM’s throne, leaving us with 193 times Mrs. HM’s seat has been occupied by her…um…well…seat) that her seat might remain open until she finishes her parking lot duty and can join that meeting in progress.

It all started with an item on the agenda at the Semi Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank. “Faculty meeting after school. It will be short. Maybe five minutes.”

“Oh. You know I have duty on Mondays. So I’ll be a little late.”

“You’ll probably miss it.” The Man in Charge seemed certain.

“WHAT? I might miss something important!”

“Look at her. Almost retired, but she doesn’t want to miss a single meeting.” Lady Specialty knows the date!

“I’ll be out of the loop!”

“We’ll take notes for you.”

So…on Monday afternoon, I came in from my duty, to the meeting which I had been told would only last five minutes, and that I would probably miss it…to find that the meeting had not started at all. AND ARCH NEMESIS WAS SITTING IN MY SEAT!

Boy howdy! Ain’t THAT a fine how-do-you-do!

“We know how much you didn’t want to miss this meeting. So we cared enough to wait until you got here to start.” Lady Specialty, still messin’ with me.

“Obviously you didn’t care enough to SAVE MY SEAT! The seat I have sat in every single meeting except one.”

Arch looked surprise. I don’t know why. Because she NEVER sits at my table. She has her own group. I would never sit at their table. That’s just how things are. Arch made a big production of getting up and moving to her table. All she had to do was pull a rolly chair over.

But the big question is why nobody was looking out for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! There were Mabel’s Replacement’s keys marking the spot right next to my place, saved for Sweet Alabama Beige, who had duty out front. But no saving for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! What’s up with that? Does she not arrive 30 minutes early for the back-to-school faculty breakfast, to save seats for Sweet Alabama Beige and Mabel’s Replacement? It’s not like MR is a newbie. She has been here for years, in another capacity before she became Mabel’s Replacement. And I always save a seat for her. But no Hillbilly Mom love was flowin’ on Monday afternoon.

“Oh. Now I feel bad. I thought everyone would know that was your seat.”

“But you saved one for Sweet Alabama Beige!”

“Yeah. I was afraid somebody would take her seat. I am so sorry. And every year, I come to the cafeteria late, and look for you to motion me over to the table where you’ve saved us seats for breakfast. I’m going to feel really bad in August…but you won’t be there to save me a seat!”

“No. You’ll have to get there 30 minutes early yourself, I guess.”

“Well. I’m sorry. I just wasn’t thinking.”

Yeah. Nobody thinks about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s feelings. I’m not even mad. I’m just sad. Always the giver, never the receiver.

Please play a selection on the world’s smallest violin for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Oops! He Did It Again. He Messed With HM.

Farmer H was at it again Monday night. Slowing driving Mrs. Hillbilly Mom crazy with his uncalled-for antics. Of which he pleads ignorance. Which IS a good defense for him. But like Dean Wormer told Bluto in Animal House: "Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life." Not that Farmer H was drunk.

I knew The Pony and I would be home late. The Pony has a standing appointment on Monday evenings. So on Sunday, I cooked up some chicken breasts in my oven (now with TWO working elements) so I could make some into chicken salad for my lunches, and Farmer H could have one for supper on Monday, and The Pony could have one for supper on Tuesday, another late evening for us. The Pony is not always fond of what I make for Farmer H and I to feast on. But I know he likes chicken.

I left the chicken salad breasts bereft of seasoning. And I sprinkled some lemon pepper on the other two. A little bit for Farmer H, who had the biggest breast (heh, heh), and a lot for The Pony, who had a smaller one. The Pony is all about salt, but Farmer H shuns it like a hypertensive maniac. Farmer H also had some beanie weenies that I made him on Saturday for lunch. And you KNOW how Farmer H loves him some hot dogs and beans. I put his piece of chicken in a small rectangular container, and set the round container of his beanie weenies on top of it. In a separate place in Frig II, I put The Pony's piece of chicken, in a smaller rectangular container, with nothing near it. He was going to have some pasta on the side, to be cooked Tuesday night.

Imagine my surprise Tuesday morning to see that The Pony's chicken was GONE! Gone, baby, gone! And there was Farmer H's piece of chicken, all man-sized and lightly-seasoned, sitting in its container under the untouched beanie weenies right on Frig II's top shelf, in the front.

I swear. How can that man be such a fumbler?

Next time, I guess I'll tie it around his neck so he is sure to get the meal prepared especially for him.

Monday, November 2, 2015

That's Hallway Robbery!

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is mad as not-heaven, and she’s not going to take it anymore! She is going on strike! Yes. On strike! Not like one of those teachers’ strikes where the only people who don’t ever benefit are the kids. No. Mrs. HM is not a collective bargainer. She can continue to do her job, all the while making the entity she strikes against suffer in its pocketbook.

Yes. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is on strike against EXPO Dry Erase Markers and Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball pens! They are against the little people. The teachers who depend upon them to get through the day.

This is not going to be one of those weird strikes, like in an ‘80s Afterschool Special where the mom goes out and lives in a treehouse and her household falls apart because her underappreciative husband and kids can't function without her telling them to breathe in/breathe out. No. This is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom taking a stand. Refusing to buy another EXPO Dry Erase Marker of Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball pen.

Here are the two latest deceased nags in Mrs. HM's stable of writing implements.

Yes. They expired Friday afternoon. Mrs. HM couldn't bear to part with them under such sudden circumstances. So she kept them, in their regular habitats, until this morning. The shock having worn off over the weekend, Mrs. HM realized that her right-hand men would be of no use to her now. So she gave them a burial in the circular file.

Here's the deal. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not expect her writing implements to last forever. These two old soldiers served her well. No, it's not that these two died before their time. It's the problem of their replacements.


That's a fine how-do-you-do for a teacher. Making her buy FOUR EXPO Dry Erase Markers to get a blue one, and FOUR Pilot Precise V5s to get a red one. That's HALLWAY ROBBERY! Heh, heh, see what I did there?

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom refuses to spend her hard-earned money on superfluous writing implements. Why, she already has three extra green, black, and red EXPO Dry Erase Markers, and two extra green, black, and blue Pilot V5s waiting on deck until it's their turn at bat.

That's right. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is on strike! She will not buy another four-pack of EXPOs or Pilots. After those two packs she bought yesterday.