Saturday, April 30, 2016

Prom Drama

The Pony is off to prom this evening. He has just begun the dressing routine.

When we went to pick up his tux on Thursday, there was another kid already behind closed doors trying his on. It made me think of last year, then that befuddled fellow walked out in his black tux with his yellow vest on OVER the suit jacket. This unseen tuxer's mom was taking up two stools at the catalog counter. She was nodding off. Is the whole world on Ambien these days?

Anyhoo...The Pony got done and came prancing out. His jacket was too tight! I KNEW that trainee gal who measured him was not doing it properly. It's not like The Pony has grown a beer gut over the past three weeks. Anyhoo...rather than raise a stink and have to deal with picking up YET ANOTHER jacket on Friday, I just told him to leave it unbuttoned. It looks fine like that.

THEN Unseen Tuxer came out of his closet. Hm. He looked spiffy enough. Like he might be attending afternoon tea with Muffy and Buffy and the ladies over to play bridge. He had a light gray jacket and black pants. More suitable for a casual upper-crust soiree than a formal prom, methought. But hey! Who is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to judge, with her worn red Crocs who only this morning farted in unison when she slipped them on without socks to open a box of L'Oreal to infuse her tired tresses with life.

Unseen Tuxer's mother roused herself from stupor and objected. "What are you wearing? WHY does he have black pants? He ordered the gray tux. Not different colored jacket and slacks!"

"They were out of that size in gray pants. So they substituted the black ones."

"Why weren't we told?"

"We didn't know that when he rented the tux. They ran out when it was time to fill the order."

"Still. Nobody called US to ask if we wanted black pants with the gray jacket! We should have been given the option to switch to another tux!"

Unseen Tuxer moved to show them, in the catalog, what he'd ordered. In the process rooting around behind Mrs. HM, who was, after all, already seated on a stool, having no other option, what with Unseen Tuxer's Mother taking up the other two. You would think the least that Original Trainee and Unseen Tuxer could do was to say, "Excuse me," and pull the catalog from behind Mrs. HM's back to paw through further down the counter. But no. I was summarily ejected from my seat by fear of an impending paper cut to the jugular.

While those three bandied words, The Pony and I put his tux back on the hangers with the help of the seasoned veteran fitter, and got out while the gettin' was good. Though I DID have to send him back in from T-Hoe to ask when it was due back. Monday by 6:00.

I hope Unseen Tuxer's Mother got some satisfaction. When you pay that much to rent a tux, you expect to get a tux. Not a jacket and slacks.

The Pony may have to leave his jacket open, but at least his pants match. Funny how the pants fit perfectly, yet the jacket is too tight in the belly. I wonder how many other young gents will be parading around prom in ill-fitting finery. The whole school uses this place. And other schools, too. They even said what a madhouse it was on Wednesday (The Pony's scheduled pickup day) when everybody came in at once.

Thank the Gummi Mary that The Pony had scholar bowl that night. And that his beer belly still fits in his pants.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Gift That Refuses To Quit Giving

Sweet Gummi Mary! The influx continues! Sixteen days and counting DOWN, and guess who gets another new student. That’s right. Mrs. Hillbilly Freakin’ Mom! Bet you didn’t know she had a middle name, huh?

Continuing with the theme of Stick it to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom While She’s Gone, I give you more evidence that the universe conspires against Mrs. HM. I rushed in this morning to gather things for the state testing that my course was taking part in 1st hour. Scratch paper. Pencils. Assignments for my other classes, who were being relegated to the library. I printed a roster for the librarian at 7:55. Then headed off to the computer lab for testing.

When I returned at the beginning of 2nd hour to take over my own class, I discovered a new pupil. In fact, Mrs. Not-A-Cook had taken him into my room and placed him in a seat. So much for Mrs. HM’s seating chart. So…between 7:55 and 9:05 my roster changed. What’s up with that?

Let the record show that this is the fourth new pupil Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been gifted with in four weeks. The universe shouldn’t have. Really. Mrs. HM is not worthy of such gifts.

At this rate, she stands to get three more new pupils before retirement.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

When Educators Talk Shop, People Shouldn't Listen

You know there are certain professions that are high stress, right? And the members of such professions are sometimes misunderstood and misrepresented when they are overheard talking shop. It's not that they are poking fun at their situation. It's that they need a way to blow off steam. Firefighters make firefighter jokes, policemen make policemen jokes, doctors make doctor jokes, and lawyers...well...lawyers are simply b*stards. point is that nobody understands an educator like another educator.

At The Pony's luncheon for his special award this past weekend, parents and awardees and administrators were assigned places around the table. Uh huh. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom got the worst space, with her back to the dais, at at table shoved closer to the next table than necessary, so that the back of her chair was repeatedly rammed by the woman behind her, and the servers declared the area no-man's-land.

Of course Mrs. HM was all set to sit in another seat. But there was the business of those pesky place cards. And the other scholar with both parents and her administrator were already bearing down on our table. See,here's how those geniuses had it set up. The two scholars sat next to each other. The two administrators sat next to each other. And the mom sat opposite the mom, with the dad sitting opposite the dad. This was done, I'm sure, so the scholars could converse, and the administrators.

Well, converse our administrators did! Don't repeat this. I'm probably the only one who finds it funny.

The other scholar's administrator was a woman. She shared some of the requirements of her school. Graduation garb and ceremony. As did The Pony's administrator. Then the other scholar's administrator related the worst thing that's ever happened to her.

"At one graduation, a boy fell off the top bleacher. He was seriously hurt. We were very careful not to move his neck and spine. I called for an ambulance right away. I could tell how bad it was. But for some reason, there was a shortage of ambulances. They said, 'Try to make him comfortable. It's going to be a while.' Can you believe that? I knew we couldn't wait. We got him immobilized as best we could, and I ended up driving him to the ER. Thank goodness he came out of it okay."

"Huh. At one of OUR graduations, a graduate's grandma died of a heart attack in the audience during the recessional."

The other scholar's administrator looked at him. "You win."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Ugly American Is Abroad Without A Net

Woe is Farmer H.

He's in France, you know. Perhaps reason enough to be woeful. Or not. Depending on whether or not one is a Frankenphile Francophile.

The specific reason Farmer H is woeful is because his phone will not work. At all. So much for translating the language with that phone app. And only Monday, I discovered from blog buddy Joe H that waiting to see who comes out of the restroom is not a reliable way to figure out the words and symbols denoting the facilities meant for one's proper gender.

Farmer H thinks the #1 son did something to his phone to make it not work, since he turned off Facebook so as not to eat up whatever it eats up with updating. Especially in a foreign land. #1 says nothing he did would make Farmer H's phone not work. He thinks it has something to do with what Farmer H did to his own phone while being walked through instructions from the Sprint people.

If I was a betting woman, WHICH I AM, I would place all of my money on #1's theory.

Anyhoo...I only know all of this because I am now the go-between. Farmer H called me Monday after school, which p.m. in France time. How did he call with no phone? He used his work partner's phone. Not a work partner from Farmer H's U.S. factory. Oh, no. He used the phone of Heinz, the German from Switzerland. I'm sure Felipe, the Colombian with the wife related to Castro (according to Farmer H, even though he can't explain why he thinks it's common for a Colombian to be related to a Cuban), would have done the same. Or Ben, the Chinese man Farmer H brought home from work to ride our 4-wheeler and shoot a pistol while wearing dress slacks and a white shirt. I have to text #1 to get answers to Farmer H's inquiries. Then email the responses to Farmer H, (three times, because he uses two work emails, and one personal email, and I don't know which one he will check) for when he eventually has access to the internet. According to Farmer H, "Me and Heinz are still trying to figure that out."

I'm not even that sure of where Farmer H IS, actually. He told me about a hundred times, "Row-eena." Then left me a note that said, "Roena, France." But it seems to be spelled Roanne. IF Farmer H knows what he's talking about. Because I tried to look up do hotels in Roena, France, have English TV? By request of Farmer H. You can imagine how well THAT search turned out. I kind of think he makes Clark W. Griswold look like a seasoned world traveler.

I hope Farmer H doesn't end up in a Turkish prison.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Beware Of A Farmer Bearing Gifts

Farmer H is off in France, taking apart 100,000 connections with hopes of hooking them all back up right when the machine arrives at his plant.  I’m not sure if he was exaggerating or not. He has to hire local folk to help with this dismantling project. Of course he speaks not an iota of French. He is planning to use a translator app on his phone. He’s a bit worried that he won’t know which restroom to use, but said he plans to watch and see what comes out the door. Let’s hope the French police haven’t gotten word of his predilection for sitting in his car at the public park, eating lunch and taking a nap. I’m sure the siesta countries would have been more understanding. Maybe he should have bought a machine from one of those locales.

I told Farmer H to bring back a souvenir for The Pony. You know. Maybe some francs. Some kind of trinket, hopefully not a miniature Eiffel Tower or a shirt that says, “My Dad Went To France, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt.” The Pony overheard me soliciting French swag for him in the car.

“That’s a good idea. I wouldn’t mind a French maid.”

Nor would I. But for different reasons, I think.

Monday, April 25, 2016

You May THINK You Know...But You Have NO Idea!

I present, for your viewing pleasure, the following snapshot from our recent excursion to procure a special award for The Pony.

Yes. I heard you gasp in horror. That is a photo of our Holiday Inn Express bathroom counter. Oh, don't worry. They didn't leave a previous tenant's false teeth in our room. That's Farmer H's partial plate, surrounding The Pony's senior ring.

Uh huh. The Pony has a senior ring. I'm sure that's the part that shocked you.

Now cover up the toothy part, and imagine that ring not in the center of the picture. Go ahead. Yes, use your HANDS to touch the screen and cover those false teeth. See how that ring virtually disappears? The Pony had left it there while taking his shower, and did not pick it up when he left the bathroom. Good Samaritan Farmer H marked the spot with the very teeth out of his mouth. That's a loving father for you! That ring could easily have been left behind, all camouflaged on the counter.

Here's a little bigger view.

I hope none of you feel about teeth the way I feel about feet.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

So Much For That Sliver Of Hope

So...yesterday, I thought The Pony was growing savvy to the ways of women. Learning how you don't go out of your way to poke a snake with a stick. To let sleeping dogs lie. But after hearing the tale of his outing yesterday with his Old Friend, a college girl...I am inclined to believe that he's the same old Pony.

"So did you have a good time?"


"Did you have ice cream?"

"We were going to, but it was too crowded, so we decided not to."

"Did you have snacks at the movie?"


"What? I thought you were going to be the big spender, and buy her ticket and snacks."

"We got there late. It started at 4:00, and we got there at ten after. The previews had already started. But they still let us in. It was on the very last preview, then the move started right up."

"Okay...but you didn't think to go get snacks?"

"No. The movie had started. She didn't want to miss any of it."

" know that you can leave the movie and walk to get concessions for her, right?"


Uh huh. Same old Pony. I need to write him a primer for life in the real world.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Pony Is A Platonic Two-Timer

Hot off the press! The Pony is a platonic two-timer!

Yes, I know it's hard to believe. Our little Pony, the fellow who cares not one whit for helping people or what they think of him, is stepping out on his nonparamour!

Here's how it went down. As you may recall, The Pony snagged himself a last-minute prom date. It's not a love connection. Not necessarily even a friend. Just a fellow competitor on his smartypants team, junior division. The Pony tried to become more acquainted. Tried to arrange a meet-up for an evening of bowling. A movie. Was readily available for text conversations. But once the prom arrangements were made, it seemed as if The Pony was equina non grata. One- or two-word responses to his queries. And when trying to ask, in passing, in the hallway, about color preferences for tux and corsage, was bluntly told, "Don't EVEN!" Let the record show that The Pony may or may not have rolled his eyelids inside out during the exchange. But still. He's not an ogre. He doesn't stink. He's valedictorian, gosh darn it, and people are neutral to him. So in his loving mother's opinion, he did not deserve such treatment.

So...I advised that it was his business, but that if I was getting that level of communication, I would simply write it off, go to prom, and say goodbye. Chapter closed. The Pony, though, drifts through life in a fog, caring little about a lot of things. Including people.

Last weekend, The Pony was tied up competing in the district championships. He tried mightily to work in an after-tournament movie excursion with a friend home from college. Since he was not done winning the tournament and MVP until after 8:00, those frantically-texted plans made during half-times fell though. The Pony was off his feed for a couple days over that one.

Today, we traveled to Columbia for The Pony's special award tomorrow. This just happens to be the college town of that old friend. For two hours, ever since we left the #1 son after a lunch visit, The Pony was burning up the cellular phone lines with Old Friend.

"Oh, Dad. Old Friend says we can meet up while I'm in town."

"Okay. I don't mind if you want to ask her to supper with us."

"Hey. We have a pool where we're staying. Too bad you didn't bring your swim trunks. You could have asked her to come over to the pool."

"But I DID. Dad made me get them at the last minute. They're on the hanger handle of my suit."

"There you go!"

A few more frantic minutes of tap tap tapping.

"Swimming is out. She doesn't have a swimsuit."

"Oh, well. You tried."

"She says there's a movie theater two blocks away. And an art show. And she wants to get ice cream. I have money. I can pay."

"Okay. We'll drop you off after we check in. Then you let us know if she's coming to supper with us."

So...we got to the hotel. Farmer H went to check in. The Pony got a text from his prom date.

"Mom. I think she just got up. It's 2:30. But she says 'Good Morning.' I sent her one at 7:00 that said the same thing."

"Huh. Did you tell her that you're going out to a movie and an art show and supper with Old Friend?"

"Don't forget the ice cream!"

"Well...did you?"

"No. And I'm not going to."

The Pony is not one for burning bridges. Even Tacoma Narrows kinds of bridges.

Friday, April 22, 2016

I Think That I Shall Never See A Boy As Sensitive As The Pony

The Pony’s prom date has voiced several times her fear that her dress will not fit into The Pony’s Ford Ranger cab. As you may recall, The Pony teasingly told me that he might just say to her, loudly, in front of others, “I moved my seat back as far as it would go. I guess you’ll fit.” That’s after I told him to be sensitive to her feelings about the size of her hoop skirt.

You might also recall that The Pony’s air conditioner was broken. Farmer H worked on it Monday evening. He injected some neon green stuff into it, perhaps whatever passes for Freon these days. He told The Pony to run his air conditioner on the way home from school Tuesday, and that the leak would be findable due to the bright fluid. The Pony ran it, the air cooled, and he saw no evidence of a leak.

“That’s good. I guess you won’t have to bring deodorant for her now.”

“That is so wrong! How can you say that?”

“I’m not saying she stinks. Just that she might have been sweaty if you didn’t have air, and if the weather is hot on prom night. YOU’RE the one who was going to tell her you guessed she’d fit in your truck.”

“Still. That’s wrong. Don’t ever say that again.”

“Fine. I guess if her dress won’t fit up front, you could take her in grandma’s Trailblazer. Wait! Dad is taking that to the airport now. Maybe you could tell her she can ride in the back of your truck.”

“Yes, mother. I will say, ‘There’s plenty of room in my bed for you.’”

I think he set me up for that one.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Apparently, You CAN Outsmart An Outsmarter!

The Pony takes a piece of Tyson Parmesan Herb Encrusted Chicken in his lunch every day. Well, not EVERY day, but three days a week, Monday through Wednesday, and then takes leftover pizza for two days. That's his routine. He's a creature of habit.

I cook his chicken on Sunday, put it in a baggie with two packets of ketchup, and store them in Frig II until I take them out each morning to put in his lunch bag with a mini bag of Cheetos, a paper plate, a paper towel, and a metal container of ice water.

We are almost out of ketchup packets.

Normally, I hoard the ketchup packets from Captain D's. The Pony likes to get that treat on Mondays when he has an appointment in bill-paying town. But he has not had his appointment for six weeks now. And stores of packet-ketchup are running low. We can't get it at McDonald's, because they charge extra! Can you believe that? Charging for ketchup to put in your lunch? We don't go to many other places where one would ask for ketchup. So...we made a special trip to Captain D's on Monday.

"Pony. You're going to see what I go through here. Every time they get a new person and you think, 'Good! They got rid of another idiot who can't get the order right!' you find out that they merely replaced that idiot with another idiot. Now stop farting while I order. They can hear that over the speaker."

"Hmm...that one sounded normal enough." By that, he meant the order-taker. Not his fart. Some conversations just don't translate well in print.

"We'll see when we get to the window."

Of course we waited 10 minutes, with only one car ahead of us. Then it was our turn to pull up.

"Watch out. They usually forget the root beer, and I have to remind them before I drive off. LOOK! Shh...there's the root beer already waiting inside the window!"

"Great! I told you."

"Now what is it you get?"

"Ketchup and butter and a knife."

"Oh, yeah. They were only giving you two butters for four breadsticks. We don't need tartar sauce, because I didn't get anything for me or Dad."

"Don't forget, we need ketchup for my lunch."

Let the record show that one time, they gave us 17 ketchups and no butter, plus some cocktail sauce instead of tartar.

"Did you have the two piece fish and fries with breadsticks?"

"Yes." Money changed hands.

"Here's your root beer. Do you need any sauces?"

"Yes. Four butters, a knife, and a lot of ketchup." She closed the window. "There. That should do it. Make sure you look in the bag before I pull out, to make sure they put in the knife and your butters."

We got the bag of food. The Pony said we had everything. I pulled out of the lot.

"Um. Mom? They gave us CONTAINERS of ketchup!"

Those things are NOT going in a lunch bag!

HM-the-Outsmarter HATES IT when she gets outsmarted!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Latest Fresh Not-Heaven

You know how, when you're running behind, everything that is routine suddenly becomes as difficult as herding cats and two-year-olds through a combination catnip field/candy store? That's what happened to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom earlier this week.

Was it not bad enough, Universe, that Mrs. HM was gifted with three new pupils in 10 days? Apparently, Universe, it was not. There she was, trying to put in transfer grades, record book numbers, update seating charts and the substitute folder, and get her lunch heated so as not to arrive late at the Semi Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank and lose her seat. No good ever comes of some interloper picking Mrs. HM's seat!

The tone for tardy to lunch sounded before I even slipped my breast into the microwave. That's my new go-to lunch. Baked chicken breast on a Devil's Playground bakery roll. I grabbed a paper plate out of the bottom file cabinet drawer where we used to house The Pony's after school snacks, except he doesn't have snacks now, because he's so busy doing after school things. I took the breast off the roll, and laid it and the top and bottom bun on the paper plate to ride the microwave carousel. Let the record show that my microwave is circa 2001.

After heating for about 15 seconds, I take out the roll halves, lay them on top of the microwave, squirt some spicy brown mustard on the bottom, then cover it with the top for equal distribution. The breast continues go-rounding on the carousel. Well. On this day, I had just squirted the mustard and was reaching for the top of the roll when my hand got all spazzy and KNOCKED MY TOP OFF the microwave! It disappeared down behind the table, out of sight.

That's not a good thing. We don't have CUS to kick around anymore. If we did, I would not have worried, because I would have been confident that a heart/lung transplant on an immunocompromised patient could have taken place right there on the pristine antiseptic floor behind my microwave table with zero risk of complications from infectious agents. But we don't have CUS to kick around anymore.

I felt the hunger pangs scrabbling frantically in the pit of my stomach, grasping at the rugae, trying not to drop into the maelstrom of nutrient-deficient saliva-and-acid slurry churning at the exit door of the pyloric sphincter, so as not to be exiled to the duodenum. Hunger pangs do not want to see their bun go over the edge of Microwave Falls.

I could not even see back there! I leaned way over the humming microwave, most likely radiating my innards more than is advised by 9 out of 10 doctors surveyed. THERE IT WAS! The top of my roll! The lid to my sandwich!

Bad News: I dropped my bun.

Good News: it landed on a power cord.

Bad News: there were two spiders under the power cord.

Good News: one of them was dead.

Bad News: the other was alive, and headed for my bun.

Good News: I beat the spider.

Yes. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom picked up her top roll, dusted it off, and slapped it on the bottom roll for mustard, then pushed her breast in the middle.

You don't want to see Mrs. Hillbilly Mom hangry.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Farmer H, Thy Name Is Sloth. And Mud.

You're not gonna believe the shenanigans Farmer H has been up to of late. Okay. You're TOTALLY gonna believe it. But I must vent.

Sunday evening, I made deep dish Chef Boyardee pizza for supper. I don't partake of it myself, but my guys like it. The Pony prefers just the powdery parmesan and sauce on his bready crust. Farmer H prefers some sort of meat. Hamburger goes best with Chef Boyardee. So I had to first fry the hamburger while the dough was rising for the thick crust. Because I was not about to fry only enough hamburger for a third of a Chef Boyardee pizza (The Pony enjoys leftovers, Farmer H does not), I put the whole pack in the skillet and made taco meat for Monday night.

Then I had to cut up some strawberries and bananas for dessert, and make myself some chicken wings and BBQ slaw, and wash all the dishes. It took over an hour. More like 90 minutes. So I call The Pony to get his food while I'm washing the pizza mixing bowl. Then I call Farmer H to tell him he can come get his portion. I had that pizza all cut up and ready to dish out.

Farmer H came to the kitchen and made a beeline for my tray with a fancy paper plate on it. He grabbed the plate awaiting my chicken wings, which were still in the oven.

"No. That's MY plate. It's on my tray. If you had kept picking it up, you would see that it's sitting on a used paper plate from lunch. So you'd be getting a paper plate with queso sauce and salsa on the bottom."

"You called me in!"

"Yeah. To get your pizza. Not to grab a plate off my tray. The plates are RIGHT THERE on the counter."

"Fine! Never mind! Forget it! I'll come back when you're done. Forget it. Don't make me nothin'!"

"Why? Because I don't want you taking a plate off my tray? You always do this! I spend hours making food for you, then you have a hissy fit and take off. Thanks. Walk away from the food I took all that time to make."

Farmer H took a plate from the stack like he's done every other time we used the good paper plates. He managed to mangle one piece of pizza from the 9 x 13 glass baking dish, and took off out the door. Leaving me with a sink full of cooling dishwater, waiting on that glass pan to wash. I had already put away The Pony's leftover pieces. So I dug out Farmer H's, put them on ANOTHER fancy paper plate, and washed that pan.

That man is ridiculous. He doesn't know how good he's got it.

Juno would really appreciate those two pieces of pizza...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wild Thingdom

I had just put on my left turn signal to enter the school parking lot Wednesday morning when a critter ran across the road in front of me. A critter I had not seen before. Bigger than a fox. Smaller than a normal dog. It was gray, kind of two-toned, and doggish looking.

The critter looked at me as he trotted across. Then sat down with his feathered tail on the gravel walking path put in by the school board for pupils a few years back after a kid not smart enough to step off the roadway got clocked by the side mirror of an SUV. Don't go hatin' on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom for being blunt. I had the kid in my class. Not a baby young 'un who didn't know better. We're a HIGH SCHOOL, by cracky. Teenagers should know that they cannot win a game of chicken with a car. Especially on the car's own turf, with oncoming traffic and the newly risen sun as competition. He only got a bruised shoulder, and spun a tale that he was walking on the dirt path where that coyote sat his butt, and the driver VEERED AT HIM ON PURPOSE, went through a ditch and across 20 feet of ground, and HIT HIM ON PURPOSE. Yeah. No charges were filed. I didn't even have to testify that I had passed him further down the hill, before he even got to the crest, walking on the edge when there was room beside the road.

Anyhoo...where were we? Oh...then it dawned on me. That critter was a coyote!

The Pony and I were so shocked that we did not even try to get a picture. I forgot about my encounter as the day progressed. Mrs. HM is too busy with test reviews to talk of local fauna during the workday.

As we left school on Friday, I observed some younger kids hanging around the end of Newmentia's front drive. They were no doubt from next door at the new Basementia building. New Basementia does not dismiss their kids to walk onto our parking lot and wait for a ride. I'm sure some parents instruct their progeny to do just that, because the pick-up line is much shorter on our campus. But it's against the rules. I already told Mr. Prin about it earlier this year, and he said he was going to check into it. But now here two kids were again. The boy I'd seen before, and a girl.

"They're not supposed to wait there, Pony. I'm going to have to tell on them again. Mr. Prin probably doesn't know. Wait. Watch them as I pull out. Maybe they are just on their way to the walking trail."

"Nope. He's sitting down on the edge of our sidewalk around the building."

"They're not supposed to leave New Basementia and walk across here anyway. The buses go there. WAIT A MINUTE! What if they were going to walk to town on the path, and that coyote attacked them? That boy looks pretty tender. Like Augustus Gloop. I wonder if I should have told somebody about the coyote. You know. Just in case it might attack a kid. Not that they do. But if it had rabies, it might act crazy. Great. Now I'm worried I should have told."

"I told. I told Ms. Poor. She said she's never seen one over here before."

"Well, if somebody gets eaten, I'm going to act like I didn't know. 'Oh? Really? Who did we lose? That's too bad. Who would have thought a coyote would be hanging around that path?' Yeah. That's what I'll do. Those kids weren't supposed to be there anyway. I'm not taking the fall! Don't rat me out!"

That's my story. And I'm stickin' to it.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a short-timer, you know.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I Loved Them, I Love Them Not

It's prom season, you know. The Pony's tux has been ordered. The gal's dress has been bought. On Friday, we stopped by the florist on the way home to see about a corsage.

Let the record show that this particular flower shop used to belong to my cousin, mother of our dear Think Tanker Tomato Squirter. Of course the establishment had a name that had nothing to do with our family. It was left over from the previous owners. Because locally, it had name recognition.

Let the record further show that my cousin, as a floral proprietor, was a class act. One of Farmer H's relatives had beat feet on a bill, and when Farmer H got word, he sent me there to pay it. My cousin would not take it from me. "It's not you bill." I insisted. "You have to make a living. We'll make it right." So she agreed to only take her cost, and not the customer markup.

Yes, when you walked into that shop when my cousin owned it, you walked into a tidy little building with crafty flowery planty displays that made me feel like a sweaty farmhand just off the tractor from plowing the south forty. You stepped up to the counter, handed over your debit or credit card, and knew your transaction was complete.

Times have changed.

We went there last year for The Pony's date's corsage. It turned out well. That's the only reason we went back. The place makes me uncomfortable. And not in a sweaty farmhand kind of way. In fact, when I entered Friday, I felt like Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Picking her way over cowpies on the north forty.

Okay. There was no cow crap inside the building. But on the front porch, almost blocking the entrance (the door, which was propped open) were three lawn chairs and a pile of cigarette butts. Inside, I saw a cooler with several arrangements. A shelf with four fake arrangements all the same. A sleep 'n' play with a redheaded baby lolling about. An old woman on the phone in front of a computer screen. An old man who asked us what we wanted, then said, "She'll help you after she gets off the phone," pointing to the computer woman before going out on the porch. And another old woman came out of the back room and said, "What are you looking for?"

Seriously. I wanted to turn and run. But that's where The Pony wanted to get the corsage. Because last year's turned out so well.

Hagatha acted like she was doing US a favor. She seemed put out by the whole "you order and I'll make the product and then you'll pay me" concept. She sighed heavily. Numerous times. The Pony said he wanted a corsage. He showed her the gal's dress on his cell phone.

"Most people bring in the dress."

That's news to me. Do girls go buy their own corsages these days? Surely the boys don't get the dress from the girl and bring it in. Funny how last year, The Pony also had a picture of the dress, which was vintage, a colorful print on a black background, and the lady helping us then matched the coral tone perfectly.

This year's dress is blue. Hagatha grabbed a clear plastic tub out from under the counter and plopped it on top. She peeled off the lid. There were no blue ribbon spools in that tub. She sighed like taking her last breath, and drug out another tub. They were not large. About the size of a keyboard, only thicker. This one had two spools of blue ribbon. But they had too much green in them if you ask me. Which Hagatha did not. But I told her anyway.

"I see some ribbon in there that looks like it matches better." I pointed past the wide-eyed baby into the back room where they took us last year, to show us spools of ribbon off that very shelf, before matching last year's coral print dress perfectly.

"That's not corsage ribbon!"

Huh. Hagatha gave The Pony his choice of the two bluish ribbons she had. Then she asked him which prom. He told her, "Newmentia's prom."

Hagatha turned to computer woman, who had just hung up the phone. "Do you think we'll have time?" And back to The Pony. "When do you need it?"

"By the 30th."

She grunted. "Do you want white flowers? Roses or carnations?" I guess the WHITE part was rhetorical. Because I thought The Pony wanted blue flowers to match the dress, with a sprinkling of white, and maybe some purple, which is our school color. The Pony chose carnations. I'm really hoping they put some color into it. Not simply pure white carnations.

Then I saw the stretchy bands on the counter. Like the one The Pony had the corsage made on last year, which is a keepsake for after. "Don't you want one of those kind, Pony?"

"Yeah. Like before."

"Those are extra!" I guess Hagatha thought we were paupers. Or that she didn't want to expend any more effort. She steered The Pony towards two clear bands. A bit more dainty than I can imagine his date wearing. She added up the total. Sold The Pony a boutonniere as an afterthought.

I paid with cash. I learned my lesson last year when I tried to use the debit card, and they were so befuddled. Hagatha added it up on an adding machine. I'm just grateful she didn't use an abacus. It does not give a receipt. She shoved our change and that receipt at us. "Whoever picks it up needs to bring that receipt." Old woman said over her shoulder, "You should have marked it paid." Huh. You can bet I'm hanging onto that receipt.

I dug my heels in to resist the bum's rush. "When can he pick it up?"

"On the 30th! By 11:30 a.m."

We wove our way out and off the wooden porch, past the old man and the butts. I was redistributing my money in my purse before leaving. Hagatha and the old woman piled out the door and plopped on the lawn chairs. They left the redheaded baby inside.

As we drove off, it dawned on me that they had probably thought The Pony was there to buy a corsage for Newmentia's special prom, which was being held the next day.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Universe Works Overtime

Sweet Gummi Mary! The universe worked overtime on Friday, conspiring against Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Friday was already a washout. Mrs. HM was scheduled to pair with Arch Nemesis, and whip the upperclassmen into shape for a state-wide standardized test coming up next week. To free up the needed faculty, Mrs. HM's morning classes were sent to share a substitute in another teacher's room. Not too big a deal, just a matter of getting the plans and assignment down to that room.

Mrs. HM is not complaining for an instant about working with Arch Nemesis for that intensive training. Arch has done it for years as a part of another program, and could do it in her sleep standing on her head with one eye closed and her hands tied behind her back. All Mrs. HM had to do was sit at her own desk, click on the advance arrow for Arch's PowerPoint presentation, and interact with students she has had in previous years.

No, the hardship comes from not having time to grade a previous class's papers while a current class is working on their assignment. From also losing her plan time. Losing more grading time. Being moved from her regular lunch shift at 10:53 a.m. to one at 11:54. Except with the drawing of lots to see which of four groups went first in line for Domino's pizza, her lunch time was cut down to 12 minutes by the time pupils left the room. In those 12 minutes, Mrs. HM had to use the facilities. Microwave her chicken sandwich, eat it, change shoes, and WOOOOOO! That's the sound of the tone sending pupils from lunch back to class!

So...Mrs. HM was scheduled to have her regular class full of pupils who had just been in the intensive training program...except they got called back to the cafeteria to fill out pre-paperwork for next week's test. Oh, don't think Mrs. HM had 50 minutes to herself to make up for her lack of plan time. Nope. She also had an older pupil, and a younger pupil in that class, through a quirk of scheduling at their previous alma maters. AND, are you ready for this?


Are you freaking kidding me, Universe? It's the end of the school year. Only four Fridays left. Who moves to a different school this late in the year? With testing in full swing, and Mrs. HM on the fast track to retirement?

Oh, but that's not the half of it! The pupil herself is not a big deal. She has attended Newmentia off and on for years. She's a known quantity. Able to achieve high-level grades. Quiet and polite to Mrs. HM, if not necessarily so with others of her station. It was not even that big a deal to search the cabinet for a textbook to assign her, a textbook that we probably won't get back into, what with the remainder of the testing, and other current event science topics to take us to the end of the year. The problem, though, is that


That's what kids used to call it around here when somebody stares at you. It has fallen out of favor recently, but I'm sure my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel remembers pupils admonishing each other, "Stop GOONING at me!"

So there Mrs. HM was, with a stack of papers she had sent one of her other two pupils to fetch from the sub, in exchange for permission to plug in her phone in a room with a charger specific to her electronics. Papers to grade, participation points for the week to total and record, all under the intense gaze of The Gooner.

Could she turn and talk informally with the other two class membersand enjoy the down time? Nope. She sat, her back to them, facing Mrs. HM, a mere 10 feet away (oh, how I regret that seating chart decision!), watching her every move. Forcing Mrs. HM to expend extra energy pretending she wasn't being scrutinized. It's surprising that a bindi wasn't burned into Mrs. HM's forehead from the intense stare.

The sun was shining on some other b*tch's a$$ Friday. Not Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Jewels Is A Gal’s Best Fiend

Cue the maniacal laughter. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s fellow Think Tanker, Jewels, has fallen into favor with Mrs. HM of late. Tuesday, four hours after the Semi Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank had adjourned, Jewels proved herself to be just as diabolical as Mrs. HM herself.

I had gone to the teacher workroom to run off some ACT practice tests. That mandatory state-wide test date is fast approaching. As I bellied up to Kyocera, I saw an unwelcome screen. ADD PAPER IN DRAWER 4. Ain’t that a fine how-do-ye-do? Shoveling paper into Kyocera’s gaping maw is not the issue. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not too decrepit to pitch in and perform a little physical labor every now and then. But you can bet your bottom dollar that such labor had better benefit Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! She’s a short-timer, you know.

Here’s the deal. A stack of multipage copied stapled papers sat on the table that the teacher mailbox cubby sits upon. Obviously somebody had taken them off the Kyocera. Obviously it was not the person they belonged to. A different set of copied stapled papers languished in the output tray. So Mrs. HM got to thinking…Am I filling this copier so a job already running can continue? Thus hogging the copier, delaying my own job, as well as eating up the paper I am feeding Kyocera right now?

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a copy room attendant. She is not a copy clerk. You want copies, you go stand and supervise your own technology, by cracky! Don’t be sending them through the invisible magic signal to that copier, while you sit in your room and gossip eating bonbons! You go there! You stand tapping your toe, breathing your hot breath on Kyocera’s slit glass, and watch! You feed the insatiable beast! You reach your arm up to the elbow in its gullet to cure its digestion problems. Don’t be sending jobs in here all orphany, to fend for themselves.

Mrs. Not-A-Cook came waltzing in the door. Perhaps not so much exhibiting dance moves as rushing to the potty. I knew she didn’t send copies from her room. And I knew better than to ask for her help. If it’s possible to be more in the dark than a chemosynthetic sea-vent tubeworm where technology is concerned, Mrs. Not-A-Cook takes the cake-walk prize. But I did consult her. I said, “Am I filling this copier so a job already running can continue?” 

 Mrs. Not-A-Cook gave up her next-in-line potty spot to walk toward me. “I hope not. I hate it when people do that.” I showed her what I had taken off Kyocera’s copy ledge. “That was on there at lunch! Pinky came in, saw them, and said she’d just run them on the Lesser Kyocera. So she did.”

Well, well, well. Looks like I was in the clear. I put my two reams (yeah, no need to go overboard) of paper into Kyocera’s nether regions and closed her up. What do you know! Kyocera started humming with a job already in progress, and began spitting out those same stapled papers. I knew better than to ask Mrs. Not-A-Cook. But at that moment, Jewels stormed in. Not that she was mad. She just walks with a definite purpose.

“Do you know how to stop this? I just put paper in it, and I need to run my copies, and now it has resumed a job that ran out of paper because somebody printed it from their room. Or left it here to fend for itself.”

“Hmm…let’s see…” Jewels started tapping buttons on the control panel. “Here it is! The only job running. It’s Pinky’s. Do you want me to CANCEL it?”

“I just want it stopped. No need to completely cancel it. I’m sure she can figure out how to make it go again if she comes in and wants them.”

“Okay then. There! It’s paused. “

“Thanks!” I put my originals in the feeder and commenced to copyin’.

Yep. Jewels is a gal’s best fiend. Even if I DID keep her from canceling the whole job

Thursday, April 14, 2016

It Appears That Some Members Of The Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank Don't Have Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Best Interests In Mind

Talk at the Semi Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank turned to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's maturity this week. That might be because The Woodsman declared that directions given by one of our Tankers might not be accurate in modern times, the college campus in questions having been modernized since the direction-giver attended.

To his credit, The Woodsman started out by saying, "It's probably changed since we went there."

To which The Specialist replied, "Oh, you mean a couple years ago when YOU graduated?"

And Mrs. Hillbilly Mom couldn't resist beating them to the punch line, "I'm not sure Missouri was even a STATE back when I went to college."

Then the bull-excrement hit the blower. The original direction-giver turned to Mrs. HM, seated at his right shoulder, and asked, "Now how old are you?" Apparently, this inquisitor has never watched A League of Their Own. A lady reveals nothing.

"That is NOT for public discussion!"

"Oh, come on. I know you're close to me."

"That's right. I AM close to you." He could take that any way he wanted.

He looked to a fellow alumni from Mrs. HM's valedictorian years. "Did you graduate together?"


"Was she behind you?"


"Was she ahead of you?"


"Look. I have one ally here, who is NOT going to reveal my secret! So you might as well give it up."

Oh, how the poop hit the ventilation system! Pinky jumped right in.

"You know, one of the students was just commenting on that. 'Mrs. Pinky, I know that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can't be a day over 45! How can she RETIRE?' And I said to him, 'Ham, if you think about it, if Mrs. Hillbilly Mom graduated from college at 22, and went right to work in teaching, then she had to be AT LEAST 52 YEARS OLD!' And he could hardly believe it."

Um. Thanks so much, Pinky, for using the 30 YEAR assumption to jack up my age. Could you not have said that if I took 25-and-out, I had to be at least 47 years old? Could you not?

I swear! I wish I had remembered to tell her how earlier this year, The Pony's classmates thought I was 40!

I'm pretty sure the Inquisitor left the lunchroom, went straight to his office, and looked up my birthdate in the official school files.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Three Tacos Short Of A Dinner

A working woman does not want to work all day and then come home and work some more. Not THIS working woman, anyway. Even if her whole day of work consisted of sitting around a junior college field house watching pupils present their science projects. ESPECIALLY if her whole day consisted of sitting around a junior college field house watching pupils present their science projects.

I knew that neither Farmer H nor The Pony was capable of getting a meal on the table. I would be lucky if they were still breathing when I got home, what with nobody to tell them when to inhale and when to exhale. Dang it! I left the college at 3:50, and then headed to Newmentia to make sure my pupils had a ride home, and then graded the papers assigned by my substitute, and then headed for the Mansion.

As you might recall from yesterday, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had sore back. I called The Pony and told him I was going to pick up some chicken tacos at Hardee's. He said he would take some chicken tenders. He couldn't find Farmer H, so I told him I was getting beef tacos for him in case he asked.

Well, you know the universe conspires against Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Nobody was in line. Few cars were in the parking lot. I was cautiously optimistic for a quick fast-food pickup and a 32 oz Diet Coke (too late in the evening for the full 44), and then home to hit the blogs and watch the DVRed Amazing Race with The Pony.

I ordered without incident. There was one car ahead of me at the pickup window, and it pulled out as soon as I rounded the building. I paid. It was the gal who gave me the wrong sauce for The Pony's chicken a couple weeks ago. She gave me BBQ sauce when I had asked at the speaker for Honey Mustard. I wouldn't have known, except when she handed me the bag, I said,

"And the Honey Mustard sauce is in here?" She looked at me blankly.


Yeah my ample butt! I looked in the bag before I drove off.

"This is BBQ sauce. I wanted Honey Mustard." She just looked at me some more. "If I give you back the BBQ sauce, can I have Honey Mustard?"


Sweet Gummi Mary! Like I was running a scam to get TWO kinds of sauce!

Anyhoo...Friday evening, I paid for three chicken tacos, three beef tacos, and a five-piece chicken tenders with Honey Mustard sauce. Not the combo.

"We're working on your tacos. Can you pull up?"

I figured I would have to pull up. Usually it's because of the chicken tenders. So I pulled up and waited. She brought out the bag. A brown paper bag, about the size that might hold a burger and fries. I asked if the sauce was inside. She said yes. And walked off. I investigated further. While I had been sitting there, two cars had come and gone to the window. Nobody was behind me now.

Normally, Hardee's puts the chicken tenders in a Styrofoam box. And the tacos, too. Not in paper. Just laying on each other in a Styrofoam container, like week-old puppies laying on each other in a blanket-lined box. But now I only had a paper sack. I looked in. I saw three tiny tacos wrapped in paper. Not even the width of the sack. Oh, well. I guessed they just looked bigger in a Styrofoam container. There was a cardboard box of chicken tenders. A Honey Mustard sauce. Two packets of taco sauce. And that's all.

Now wait just a minute! My receipt clearly showed that I had paid for three chicken tacos and three beef tacos. Not simply three tacos. I looked in my mirror to see if they were coming out with the rest of my order. Nope. There is no customer door on that side. Just the tiny door that employees come out from their drive-thru window. I drove around to the other side. Parked. Took my bag and receipt and my tweaked back into the vestibule. Where I was met by that gal coming out the inner door.

"Oh, we forgot your tacos. I looked out to see if you were still there, but you were gone." Let the record show that she did not have them with her. You would think that when she saw me come in, and left the safety of the behind-counter area to greet me, she would have brought those forgotten tacos. But no. I had to walk to the counter and wait for her to locate them.

"Yes. I seem to be missing three tacos."

A dude worker came up to the register near where I was standing. He had heard the whole exchange. He knew what was going on.

"How's it going?"

"Not the best. I'm missing tacos." Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was having none of his smarminess.

Sweet Gummi Mary! These are the youth who are eventually going to be operating nuclear power facilities!

Well. Probably not these exact individuals.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Will Waive Filing For Workers' Compensation

On Saturday, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom could barely hobble around. While her knees felt surprisingly spry, she was down in her back. That's what my mom used to say. Down in the back.

I noticed while sitting on the bleachers at the local junior college for seven hours, waiting for the science fair to end, that my back was sore. Stiffening, maybe, in the arctic cold which I suppose kept the heating bill reasonable for that field house. You'd think that the body heat of 300 participants, along with that of the plump parents and sponsors, would have raised the temperature a few degrees. Maybe it did. I shudder (like I did all day with cold) to think of the temperature without the body heat factor. Even my ample layer of adipose tissue did nothing to insulate my mostly-without-a-thyroid body. In fact, as I commented to my old Basementia Buddy, "The lady behind me is jabbing her knee into my ribs. I'd tell her to knock it off, but I appreciate the warmth."

I figured I had just tweaked my piriformis muscle. I didn't know the name of it at the time. I only knew that two days later, when I was trying to find out what the not-heaven was wrong with me, going by where my pain was located and how I could pinpoint the area with a pointy finger. And I found this wonderful website that can show you your body parts, and click on the Actions in blue, and MAKE THEM MOVE! Sorry. You can take Mrs. Hillbilly Mom out of science teaching, but you can't take the science teaching out of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!

Friday night, I noticed that my sore back was getting sorer. It hurt to lay down in bed. It hurt to get up from bed. Perhaps I'd strained something when I carried a couple of non-folding metal chairs out by the rail as Basementia Buddy suggested to get us away from the mob waiting in the bleachers for the awards ceremony. Surely it would loosen up once I got moving the next morning.

It did not. That pain was so painful that I was crying. Boo-hooing. Lightheaded. Near to vomiting when I moved the wrong way. Standing was torture. Sitting was nearly torture. Walking was hobbling. But I had to go to town to the bank, because Farmer H left two checks in my purse. Reimbursement checks from work for something he had never told me he bought. Probably on the credit card.

I did not want to take medicine so close to my regular prescriptions. I popped an acetaminophen, regular strength, and woke up The Pony (don't go feeling sorry for that little beast, it was already 10:30) and told him he had to ride to town with me, just in case I became disabled. I asked him to put my socks on for me so I didn't have to bend over. Just one step above clipping my toenails and pulling my oxygen tank through the casino. He offered to drive, but I told him I could not stand tensing up with fear. Not that he's a bad driver, of course. But he was just along in case I became unable to drive. I put the seat heater on maximum, and off we went.

The seat heater helped make the pain less painful. Didn't cure it. But took away the nausea. We made it to the bank. To Pizza Hut to pick up a Personal Pan for The Pony, a condition of his company. At Save A Lot, The Pony offered to go in and get my stuff, but I was not up to fretting over him buying the wrong items. I found out toot-sweet, as my best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel says, how much that seat heater was helping. I was nearly yelping with pain when I came back to T-Hoe.

Of course I got the seat heater going again, and felt up to walking a few feet into the exit door of Country Mart to get some lottery tickets out of their machine. Again, The Pony offered, but I did not want to explain the tickets I was after. On to the gas station chicken store for my 44 oz Diet Coke!

I DID allow The Pony to go in and get it for me. "Just a tiny bit of ice. And get me a Black Pearl and a five dollar Frenzy ticket. Country Mart was out."

The Pony took his ID just in case. But was not carded by the clerk. "Which one was it? The old stern one? The light-brown-haired kind of masculine one?"

"I don't know who usually works there. But that doesn't sound like her. She's the one who has something on her arms."

"Something on her arms? Like...tattoos? What do you mean, something on her arms?"

"You know. Sores. Like eczema or something."

Huh. That's a new one on my. They HAVE been advertising for help. Anyhoo...back home we went. I made super nachos for my lunch. The pain returned. The Pony laid out some Thera-Gesic for me to rub on my back. I rifled through the cabinet and found an old prescription that had been my mom's from the dentist. At least two years old. But who was I to worry about expired painkiller? I took one and rappelled down the basement stairs holding onto the spindles in the banister thingy that blocks off the floor hole to the basement. After two hours, that pill worked and made my back merely sore. At 6:00, I took my regular aspirin and an hour later an ibuprofen.

This morning I woke up fit as a fiddle. A fiddle that might have been dropped in the road and run over by a 20-mule Borax team. But much better.

Oh, and that five-dollar Frenzy ticket that The Pony bought me won $100.

The sun even shines on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's back some days.

Monday, April 11, 2016

It Takes More Than A Backwoods Bludgeoning To Shock Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

Shh...keep this on the hush-hush. It's not for the faint of heart. But it's how things work out here in Hillmomba. The circle of life. And death.

Sitting around watching judges traipse up and down rows of tables laden with science projects is not quite as thrilling as watching paint dry. You've seen it once, you can tick that off your bucket list. Aside from sitting behind the folded-up bleachers waiting for the sponsor meeting (which is where you acquire your free t-shirt), eating lunch sitting on bleachers among high-energy teens and tweens, and chronicling the height of the current Reverse JENGA Unofficial Wastebasket Competition entries...there isn't much to keep one from falling comatose. So when my old Basementia buddy received a call from her husband, interest was piqued.

Let the record show that earlier in the day, we had talked about my proposed new puppy, a blue heeler/dachshund mix (that Farmer H agreed to take without consulting me). And about my old disappeared dog, poor dumb Ann, and of course my sweet, sweet Juno. Basementia Buddy revealed that somebody had dumped a dog at her house. An Australian shepherd. So she knew how high-energy a border collie (half Juno), a blue heeler (proposed puppy), or the Australian shepherd could be.

"Maybe your new puppy won't get the dachshund stubbornness. But the heeler in it will wear you out wanting to go for a ride all the time! Whenever we start up an engine, on any vehicle, that dumped dog runs and jumps in! The truck, the car, a 4-wheeler. She's always ready to go."

"My sweet, sweet Juno does that with the Gator! The minute Farmer H turns the ignition, she starts yelping and prancing and dashes out to meet him. He's usually moving by the time she gets off the porch, and she runs ahead of him, looking back to make sure he's following. The Pony says she'll jump in and sit there if she gets a chance."

"See? They love to ride!"

"Maybe that Australian shepherd was a working dog. And she's ready to go clock in. Waiting to be driven to a field of animals she can shepherd."

"Oh. I didn't think of that."

So...BB got the phone call from her husband. "He says Dumped Dog caught a possum and had it out by the garage. Mortally wounded. Then he said, 'So I finished it off for her with a baseball bat. I know how she loves to drag them around for a day or two.'"

Lest you recoil in horror, consider this. Have you ever seen a possum in person? They are evil animals. They hiss. They are ugly as homemade sin. They come up on your porch and eat dry dogfood or cat kibble. They get in the garage through a pet door and pee and poop. Not a guest you would invite back. Which is not saying they don't deserve the same right to live as any other creature, but they are not exactly simpatico with humans. They are not cute little cartoon mommas carrying their babies on their back. But they DO carry diseases.

While it's not a pleasant image, I suppose putting a possum out of its (and your) misery with a baseball bat is better than letting it crawl around with a dog biting it.

BB's revelation did not shock me in the least. Let's not forget I live with Farmer H.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Annual Reverse JENGA Unofficial Wastebasket Competition

Friday was the annual Greater Hillmomba Science Fair at the local junior college. But scientific investigations were not the only competition.

Participants are released for lunch at 11:30. That means all the teachers sitting back behind the folded-up bleachers for the sponsors' meeting are experiencing hunger pangs due to near-starvation, what with their regular lunch times being disrupted. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom herself routinely dines at 10:53 a.m. Monday through Friday. And a teacher from another district revealed that she eats lunch at 10:30 a.m. That's barbaric!

The Pony declined to enter a project this year. Making it the first time since the #1 son was in 6th grade that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has not had one of her personal young 'uns joining her for the competition. Another first. Last year was the first time her mom was not available for bringing lunch to Mrs. HM and her spawn. This year, Mrs. HM brought a ham sandwich, rather than join her fellow Newmentia mentors in sending one to procure carryout.

Some fair participants board their bus and head for a nearby fast food establishment. Others have their sponsor call for pizza delivery. A few have parents bring in sustenance. This alleviates the problem in years past of a line from the in-gym food service dining area halfway around the facility. Still, all that eatin' results in a mountain of trash.

Being the sort to care about their environment, these sciency pupils do not leave their wrappers and bottles and cardboard packaging strewn willy-nilly about the bleachers. They take it to the nearest trash receptacle. Which is never quite big enough.

Here is the winner of the 2016 Reverse JENGA Unofficial Wastebasket Competition.

Looks like last year's championship effort beat it by a plastic soda bottle lid. But last year's used the rail. So we'll call it a dead heat.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is tempted to go check out next year's fair, just to see the wastebasket winner.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Going Out A Winner

Friday was the end of an era. The last time Mrs. Hillbilly Mom will ever take a gang of rag-tag sciency inquisitors to the Greater Hillmomba Science Fair at the local junior college.

Numbers were down this year. Whereas a group of 13-14 presenters with 8-9 projects usually join Mrs. HM, the district music competition on the same date severely limited her prospects. So only 4 participants made the trip, with two of them being from under the wing of Arch Nemesis. Not exactly from under the wing. As Arch stated her own self: "All I did was sign the entry form. Neither asked me for input." Which, perhaps, speaks volumes as to the guidance the students received in their formative years, below the Arch Nemesis level, from the two Basementia instructors and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Out of the 4 projects judged on Friday, one earned honorable mention, and three won their categories. That's a pretty good percentage, but nothing unusual for Newmentia's track record. The Basementia had 11 entries, and brought home an honorable mention, a 3rd Place, and a 1st Place. Excellent, considering that some of their categories had 46 entries, and that the Basementia/Newmentia contingent is from one of the smallest school districts competing.

Lest you think this is some rinky-dink affair...feast your eyes on the magnitude of this competition.

Well done, pupils. Well done.

Friday, April 8, 2016

If You Build It, She Will Go

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom spent Friday at the local junior college, with her pupil competitors in the science fair. Every year, like clockwork, she shows up at this event. Every year, like clockwork, she wonders how such a public institution can avoid complying with the ADA.

For such a large facility, you would think there would be more restrooms. And at least one restroom that can accommodate the differently abled. But no. Three stalls here. Three stalls there. Tiny, tiny stalls. So tiny that today, a colleague even commented to Mrs. HM, "I could hardly pull my pants up and buckle my belt. Those stalls are SMALL! You can barely get the door open to get out. I don't know why they have to open IN."

"Don't I know it! And the toilets are so LOW! They're hard to plop down on, and hard to get up from. With my knees, it takes me forever." Let the record show that Mrs. HM has been troubled since around Christmas time by swelling, grinding, painful knees. Not sure what's going on there. But sometimes, she can hardly walk when she gets out of bed. Same when standing up from sitting a while. She has to let the joint fluid redisperse or something. To loosen up for walking.

Well. Good news of sorts. ONE of the two women's restrooms has been updated. And by updated, I mean it still has two tiny stalls, but now has one larger stall for the differently abled. With a door that also opens in, but with room for a wheelchair or walker. And with a gripping bar on the wall. Let the record show that Mrs. HM had no qualms about using this stall. It's not like the supple youth competing in the science fair were going to need it.

The restroom updates include self-flushing toilets. Not that these are newfangled and scary to Mrs. HM, who experienced such modern technology way back when she did her student teaching, at the rich high school in her college town.

So...I was hoisting myself up from doing my business, waiting for that toilet to self-flush, when the most disturbing grinding noise sounded throughout the stall. "Great! What have I done to my knee now? That CAN'T be good for it!" It almost made my stomach churn, I tell you.

And then I was fully standing, not moving my knee, and realized that the grinding was still coming from the new toilet just before the self-flush.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not the only one who needs to work out some kinks.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

You Dirty Slit!

Imagine the surprise this week when running copies, as a new message popped up, heretofore unseen by Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s eyes. “Clean slit glass.” WTF? Who knew Kyocera even HAD a slit? Not Mrs. HM, that’s for sure!

So…it seems that Kyocera has a dirty slit. Which is, perhaps, better than BEING a dirty slit. So unnerved by this message was Mrs. HM that she canceled her print job! Canceled it, so that screen would go away! Then started the remaining copies over. So as not to be reminded of Kyocera’s dirty slit. And more importantly, so that nobody walking in to demand the copier would know that Mrs. HM had no qualms about being serviced by Kyocera’s dirty slit. As long as it was kept hush-hush, you know.

Later, in the privacy of her classroom, Mrs. HM consulted her sometimes BFF Google to see how to help Kyocera come clean. There was a video, but it wasn’t specific to Kyocera. And you don’t go slit-cleaning all willy-nilly, not if you’re Mrs. HM, using techniques tried on other copiers’ slits.

The link for Kyocera was one diagram with a few instructions. Kyocera’s slit looked surprisingly large. Like the entire glass top upon which papers are laid. Even though the instructions said to wipe Kyocera’s slit on the left with a dry cloth. Huh. Deceptively simple.

It was just under the instructions that said to wipe Kyocera’s back side with a soft cloth dampened with alcohol.

Who writes this stuff?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Looks Like Mrs. HM Needs To Start Looking For A New Venue To Practice Her Stand-Up Routine

There's never a dull moment at the Semi Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank. At least not while Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is still kickin'. And Jewels is still talkin'.

"I know. It's really so country over here." Said Jewels. Herself a graduate of the public academy one school to the north, in the district where Mrs. Hillbilly Mom resides. "I remember one of the first times I came over to get stuff ready on the weekend. My boyfriend was with me. We were unloading my car over at the old building, and we heard a noise. Up on the hill. He said, 'What is THAT? A kid?' And I had to tell him no--"

"It was the donkey! You know. The one that belongs to--"

"Yeah! And I told him what it was. And I thought, 'What have I gotten myself into? I'm surrounded by a bunch of donkeys!'"

Of course Mrs. Hillbilly Mom could not resist. "Oh, you mean like every day? HERE?"


Thank you. I'll be here all week, except for Friday, when I'm gone to the scientific competition at the local junior college.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Valedictorian. Educator. D. D. S.

Thank the Gummi Mary, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is available to tell The Pony and Farmer H to breathe in, breathe out. They cannot make a decision. Even if it is whether to inhale to continue living, or do nothing and face not living. So mentally taxing, those decisions. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom makes more decisions before 5:00 a.m. than Farmer H and The Pony many in a year. A decade.

Graduation pictures were this morning. Not the official ones. They’re done. Today was the cap and gown photo. So The Pony gave me the form yesterday. I asked him several times which pose he wanted, just the mortar-board head shot, or the waist shot showing him clutching that diploma, and which background, and which extras.

“Graduation pictures? I don’t even want them, really.”

“Is everyone else getting them taken?”

“I think so.”

“Then you are, too. What kind of shirt do you have to wear? Collared, with a tie?”

“I don’t know. I was not told anything about this.”

“What is everyone else wearing?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, you’re going to wear a shirt and tie.”

“Why? I’ll just wear one of my regular shirts.”

“Look at the picture packet! It shows how they will look, and the guy in it has on a shirt and tie. It will show at the neck of your graduation gown.”

“My other shirts have a collar.”

“A floppy knit collar. None of which are white. How is that going to look with a purple robe?”

“I don’t know. I really don’t care. I don’t want the pictures anyway.”

The pictures are not for you!”

“Okay. If you want some. I’ll wear a shirt but not a tie.”

“Why don’t you just wear the robe by itself, then? Nothing under it. I’m done. I don’t care if you have pictures taken or not. I’m tired of doing everything.”

“Dad might want pictures. I’ll wear a clip-on. But not a real tie!”

“Pick out a packet.”

“Let Dad.”

You can imagine how that went.

“I don’t care. It don’t matter to me.”

“He doesn’t care to have it taken! You don’t care which one! I’ll get my phone and take a picture right now, and that’s it! Fine! We’ll get this.”

“I want the one showing the diploma in his hand.”

“Then why didn’t you say so? FINE! Make a decision for once!”

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom hopes she was a dentist in her past life. At least she would have been PAID for pulling teeth.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Pen Is Dribbling Out Its Life Force (and don't let Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery choose this category in Jeopardy)

The most terrible fate befell Mrs. Hillbilly Mom on Friday!

There she was, correcting papers, when her red Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine Stick Pen ran out of red ink. RAN OUT! There was not a drop showing in that little window! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had graded her pen to death! Farewell, old friend. You served me well.

I go through about one of those red Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine Stick Pens every year-and-a-half. Thing is, you can't buy just the red one. No sirree, Bob! The Pilot Pen corporation holds us hostage. Only teachers need that red Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine Stick Pen. The Pilot Pen corporation makes us buy a whole 4-pack or 5-pack to get that red one. Seriously. Who needs a green and a blue Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine Stick Pen? Okay. I admit that I like the green one, and use it when I write by hand. And for taking notes at faculty meetings. Green is my favorite color, you know. But right now, I have a spare blue and black one at home, and a spare blue and black one in my pencil tray in the top desk drawer at school, and a blue and black and green one in the bottom right school desk drawer, still in the pack from which I removed the red one. Sure, you can find a 2-pack of red Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine Stick Pens. FOR $77 ON THE INTERNET! No thank you.

But that's not the worst part. The calamity was further exacerbated when Mrs. Hillbilly Mom said to herself, "Huh. It's time for a new red Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine Stick Pen," and reached for her red gel pen (which also came in a 4-pack of red, green, blue, and purple). Yep. That's right. after making the first number of the grade, that red gel pen quit writin' too!

No amount of scribbling or shaking those writing implements within an inch of their now nonexistent lives made them write. So Mrs. HM picked her green Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine Stick Pen out of the drawer, and resumed grading.

Few things are as discombobulating to a teacher near the end of her career as change! I didn't WANT to grade my papers in green! It looked wrong. Threw off my senses. I vowed to use that green pen for the next six weeks and three days. No use buying four Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine Stick Pens and four something-or-other gel pens to get red ones for the next six weeks and three days.

Sweet Gummi Mary! What are the odds of both of those pens running out a the same time? On the same paper?

During our foray to The Devil's Playground yesterday, I put Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Extra Fine Stick Pens on The Pony's list. And also some kind of red gel pen.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom shall finish out her career like a professional, by cracky!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

There's Anarchy In Hillmomba!

Saturday I drove to town for the necessities. Bananas, shredded lettuce, milk, salsa, 44 oz Diet Coke, and lottery tickets. The parking lot at Save A Lot was crowded. Lucky for me, I found a space two down from the handicapped spots. Save A Lot has three of them. I never see any riding-cart people in the store. But the handicapped spaces usually have one with a car in it. Today all three were full, but I did not notice whether they had the proper plates or placards. It wasn't Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's day to patrol.

The inside of the store was not crowded. Two checkers open. I only waited a few seconds behind one customer. I boxed my stuff quickly, in a box I took out of the freezer that had contained only one loaf of garlic bread. You can't go wrong picking up a box in the aisles on Saturday. There are never any up front.

I picked up the box and carried it, rather than pushing the cart out, because I was not very near the door or the cart corral. I did not have The Pony with me to prance that cart over to where it belonged. As I went out the door, I saw a black truck parked in front of Save A Lot. Not in a space. In the road by the front window. Facing the wrong way. Parked! And to my right, in front of the laundromat, a white compact car. Parked! In the road, not the spaces. Facing the right way. And behind it, in front of Subway, a gray van. Parked! In the road, not the spaces. WHAT THE EFF?

An old lady who had been shopping in front of me came across toward the store, having unloaded her cart into the trunk of her sedan, which was parked beside T-Hoe. She smiled and raised her eyebrows.

"I guess we can park wherever we want now!" I said.

She nodded. "Looks like it."

Let the record show that there were spaces available on the row in front of T-Hoe. And the one behind it, along the road to the Super 8. I guess people are so very special that they cannot be bothered to park in designated spaces anymore.

I guess some people are more special than others.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Who Murdered The Mouse? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, In Her Dark Basement Lair, With A Bevy Of Tiny Dust Bunnies.

Look away! It's hideous!

No, it's not a photo of Cosmo Kramer with a face like a catcher's mitt after smoking non-stop in his apartment with his smoker's club. Perhaps sitting on his levels, or his Merv Griffin Show set, next to his hot tub, waiting for the Japanese tourists sleeping in the drawers of his Farbman dresser to wake up, so he can feed them a meal he is planning to prepare in his shower.

Nope. This is something entirely different. Don't look unless you have a strong stomach. This sight could raise the gorge of the dead. I won't show it until the very end. But if your computer likes to pop up pictures at the top of the post, you may have already seen it.

"Oh, look. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is showing us the coat of a rare appaloosa pony. Or the fur of a dalmation she had made into a cape. Or some abstract art that Farmer H brought home from the auction to set next to Thomas Jefferson Sitting On a Boot Taking a Crap."

No. No. And no. That, my friends, is the detritus that collected in the cracks of my optical mouse. EEEWWW! I agree. I couldn't get that little booger apart, so I had to take a toothpick and scrape it. The removal of gunk from around the scrolly wheel was exceptionally taxing.

Looks like dust bunnies don't spring full-grown from underneath the head of the bed. They have humble beginnings in mouse cracks. You'd think Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was molting. Shedding her skin cells like an overgrown snake. Living in an unchinked shed in 1930s Oklahoma. Computing from under a saltine-snacking toddler's high chair.

When Mrs. HM worked in Lower Basementia, she would routinely take apart her work mouse and clean it. In fact, all the faculty did, and in the computer labs, too. And once, some ne'er-do-wells got caught with mouse balls in their pants. Let the record show they were NOT just happy to see the principal. But this newfangled mouse has no way to open it. Short of prying pieces off and looking for screws.

I think it's time for a new mouse.

Friday, April 1, 2016

It's Not Like I Was Expecting A Gold Watch

My best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel is always right. Well…except for that time she told me that in case I needed any of her supplies, like rulers and scissors and giant glue sticks, they would be right there in the metal cabinets stored in my classroom…LOCKED UP! Okay. Technically, she was right about that, too. But I still haven’t gotten over it.

Yesterday, we had a meeting of the Poop Camp committee. That’s really not its name. It’s supposed to be the Boot Camp committee, for a program we’re using to expose the junior class to helpful techniques in taking the ACT. But The Pony insists I called it Poop Camp. Same difference.

So…the meeting was after school. I was well aware of it. We got an email. I even asked at lunch if I was supposed to bring anything. No. We were getting into the scheduling process. As soon as the final bell rang, I grabbed a folder with some blank paper, and a printout of the PowerPoint we’re using for the science part, courtesy of Arch Nemesis, who couldn’t make the meeting. I stopped by the faculty women’s restroom. Saw Italian Chandelier rummaging through the mailboxes, said I was making a pit stop before the meeting, and proceeded to the throne. It was quick. I was off to the library sooner than I am to the regular faculty meetings. When I’m usually the first to arrive.

Well. The whole committee was already present. Sitting at one table. The man in charge and Tomato Squirter on one side, Sweet Alabama Beige and Ms Cardiac on the other side, Ms Poor on one end, and Italian Chandelier on the other end. They barely acknowledged my entrance.

“Oh. Since there’s no place for me, I guess I don’t have to be here!”

Nobody said BOO. Nobody shifted over. Nobody said, “Here, you can fit in by me.” Nope. They looked at me like I had two heads. I went to the next table. Where I sat alone. Virtually ignored until they needed to know my schedule to see whose room we should use. At my own table. Like Rhoda’s date at Mary’s Veal Prince Orloff dinner. Like Jerry and Elaine just before the unfortunate “pony” remark.

Perhaps Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is too thin-skinned. But this hurt her feelings. Does she not save seats for Sweet Alabama Beige and Ms Cardiac at other meetings? Does she not pat the table end and say, “Come on over here with us” when people come late to the faculty meeting? Yes. She does. Even though she doesn’t really want people to cram in and sit with her. She DOES. So they don’t feel excluded. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been at Newmentia for 18 years. And has never felt included.

Mabel was right. Nobody will ever say, “Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was always here. She left with 96 sick days. She was a credit to her profession.” Nope.

They’ll say, “Who was Mrs. Hillbilly Mom?”