Thursday, June 30, 2016

Farmer H Is But A Serf In Another Man's Castle

Farmer H called me Wednesday, LIVID! He doesn't know what that word means, but he was.

"I got to the doctor today and they told me they canceled my appointment! They said, 'It was for 11:15, and you weren't here, so we canceled it.' That's BULLSH!T. I got there at 11:30, and they said they canceled my appointment!"

"Well, your appointment WAS for 11:15. They left a message."

"I KNOW it was for 11:15. But I always have to wait at least a half hour in the waiting room. I told them! 'I never get in at my appointment time! I don't see why I should get here on time just to sit and wait!' They said I could have an appointment in AUGUST. Or tomorrow. I told them, 'NO. I can't come tomorrow!' I'm going to tell my own doctor. I don't know why I have to go there anyway. He just checks my A1C. My own doctor does that anyway. Does bloodwork. I don't know why I have to go to this guy."

"The boys' doctor used to do that. Cancel an appointment if you weren't there at the appointment time. AND they charged for it! Didn't give the appointment, but charged. We were never late. And it's a pain waiting for an appointment with two kids in a room full of sick people. I didn't like their attitudes, either. But the #1 son really liked that guy, because they talked about computers. He's the one who didn't follow up on The Pony's pneumonia, and ended up sending him to a heart specialist. Doctors can get away with a lot."

Uh huh. Almost as much as TV meteorologists.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

This Is Why We Can't Have Nacho Things

Sometimes Mrs. Hillbilly Mom outsmarts herself.

Saturday, I was planning to stop by Save A Lot after picking up T-Hoe from the shop, for some shredded lettuce and other makin's for my delicious Super Nachos. Since we'd been out of town state for four days, there were a couple of things I needed. But I was SO HOT from T-Hoe's faulty air conditioner that I could not bear it.

Sunday, I decided to grab a few Nacho-makin's at The Devil's Playground when The Pony and I did the shopping. I won't get my salsa there, but I can get the rest of the stuff. Besides, I had a stockpile of salsa. I picked up the shredded lettuce. Some queso sauce. Frozen Tyson pulled chicken breast. Already had chips. Already had sliced black olives. As I was walking down the onion/tomato aisle for some grape tomatoes for salads, I glanced at the onions. I normally don't get my onions from The Devil. In the past, they have left a bad taste in my mouth. Same with the potatoes. I end up throwing them away. More money down another rathole.

But there they were. White onions. The exact same kind I get at Save A Lot. Same blue net bag. About five onions per bag. It would be silly to make a trip to Save A Lot just for onions. And I really wanted more onions. I backed up (without beeping) to grab a bag of onions.

Once we got home and put everything away, I set to making my Super Nachos for lunch. I sliced open that net bag, and picked an onion. Huh. I tried another one.

THIS is why I don't buy my onions at The Devil's Playground:

His onions, just like The Devil himself, are rotten to the core.

Two out of five onions. ROTTEN! So far. I have only cut into three of them. Looks like I'll be making a trip to Save A Lot sooner than I planned.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Universe Is Filled With Apologists Who Delight In Shining Mrs. Hillbilly Mom On, And Giving Her The Runaround

So...we put T-Hoe in the auto hospital while we were cavorting and farting through Oklahoma for four days. The plan was to get the hail damage (suffered on the way home from a special award assembly at a Newmentia school board meeting back in May) fixed with the insurance money. However, the local dealer's service department wanted more money than what was allowed by the adjuster, so Farmer H said he would take it elsewhere.

T-Hoe was also due to get his tire pressure sensors replaced, and his backup beeper beeping again. Maybe a couple of other things, but I can't remember. The amount quoted by the service department was over $500. Farmer H agreed, and told them to fix T-Hoe. We picked him up Saturday morning, and even though the air conditioner barely worked, I was satisfied with his rejuvenation.

I'd been having issues with the air conditioner off and on. Meaning that sometimes it was off. And sometimes it was on. You never knew when it would start pumping out regular air during a cooling session. I figured it was cycling and trying to stay at the temperature I had set, first getting too cold, then adjusting. But Saturday was REALLY hot. And so was I, trying to drive T-Hoe home. I made a trip out by the bank, leaving him running while I was in line. I even tried putting the windows down to let a gush of heat out, after T-Hoe had been sitting on the blacktop lot for four days. Then I tried the RECIRCULATE button. Still no good. I was dripping sweat when I got back to the Mansion.

I told Farmer H, and he picked up a can of Freon, found his gauges, and charged up my trusty T-Hoe on Sunday. Said the air was running at 48 degrees, maybe, and at 42 after the charge. I don't know. I don't listen to him much. But I do know that when I set T-Hoe on 68 degrees, he blew cool air after that. Mission accomplished. Even though Farmer H at first had said maybe they turned off the air while working on him, or that they set him on a higher temperature. PUH LEASE! As if I'm not smart enough to check those things before driving around for an hour dripping sweat, looking like a heat exhaustion victim.

I was also pleased when I got T-Hoe home on Saturday, when I put him in reverse inside the garage, and heard my backup beeper again! Also on Sunday, when The Pony and I backed out, over by the drop-off on the carport, and he beeped a different tune. But not so much when I got back from the gas station chicken store Monday, because putting T-Hoe in reverse in the garage did not give me a beep.

This morning as I left the garage for the dead-mouse-smelling post office to buy stamps, I did NOT hear a beep. Nary a one. AND the dash told me SERVICE PARK ASSIST.

Well! You can imagine how I immediately set to texting Farmer H, and told him that T-Hoe's beeper was dead, and that we needed to dig our money out of that rathole at the local dealer where we had so trustingly poured it.

Farmer H responded, "Ok they didn't find anything just cleaned connection and said it was working now,"

Are you freakin' kidding me? We paid for them to clean the connections so it would work for two-and-a-half days before going back to being broken like it has been for two years? I reminded Farmer H that the beeper worked great until I took it to his recommended quack service department next to Save A Lot for that noise in the rear end, which they took apart, and also found nothing there, but did work on the front end to fix the noise. AND how I had seen on the innernets that sometimes a 2008 Tahoe has trouble with the beeper if you mess with something when taking apart the rear end.

Something's gotta give. If an authorized dealer's service department can't find out what's wrong with your car's beeper, then WHO CAN? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, apparently, with only the use of a New Delly and the innernets.

According to Farmer H, the service department didn't take apart T-Hoe's rear end because once they cleaned the sensors, they worked.

Why do I feel like my own personal live-in mechanic is giving me the runaround? And what was all that money for?

I'd better not find one insert from The Good Feet Store stuffed in Farmer H's shoes!

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Gall Of The Fartin' King

Let the record show that you have not lived until you've traveled to Oklahoma, 10 hours going and 10 hours coming, trapped in a 2016 GMC Acadia (crimson red, with dark cashmere leather seats), with Farmer H and The Pony. Only slightly more unpleasant would be traveling from Illinois to California with Clark Griswold, taking the tribe cross-country in the Family Truckster (for a few miles with deceased Aunt Edna strapped to the roof) to visit Wally World.

The methane expelled by my two travel companions would no doubt have powered the family A-Cad for at least a quarter of the trip, had we only possessed the technology to convert from our gasoline engine. They did not even make a pretense of blaming each other. "Nope! That was mine!" Almost as if an award (possibly a LEG LAMP) would be bestowed upon the biggest stinker at the end of the trip.

On the way back, barely three hours into the drive, we stopped for sustenance for both ourselves and A-Cad, at a truckstop McDonalds. Two double cheeseburger meals were split among the three of us, choosing to consume our meal on the road rather than eat up precious time sitting in the "restaurant." I find it hard to type that word in regards to McDonalds.

Looking back, I saw that The Pony had put his fries between his legs. ON MY DARK CASHMERE LEATHER SEAT! No siree, Bob! That was not happening on MY watch!

"Pony! At least put something down to catch the salt and greasy crumbs that fall out of the fry box! Here. Pony. Um...put this napkin between you legs. Heh, heh. I never thought I'd be saying THAT to you."

The Pony complied, with a snort. He strapped on the ol' feedbag and was finished with his meal before Farmer H and I had even cracked open a cheeseburger each. Of course, I had to wait until Farmer H was fed, him trying to argue with the Garmin over the route, and drive with one eye, and feed himself with one hand. At least I propped up his fries with a napkin already underneath, and unwrapped his cheeseburger so that half was still encased in the paper. No ketchup drips on MY dark cashmere interior!

I was in between picking up Farmer H's fry box and preparing his burger when I glanced back at The Pony. He had a guilty look on his face, and he was peering between his legs.

"What! Did you spill fries on my leather seat?"


"Why are you looking down? Are ya poopin'?"

Farmer H must insert himself into any interaction he overhears. To show his superiority. His control of the situation. To make sure everyone knows he's the king of the castle. The arbiter of the Acadia. Even if it means taking his eye off the road, to turn and give Mrs. Hillbilly Mom the stinkeye.

"You are SO rude and crude!"

Said the Fart King.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

As I Lay Frying

In case you haven't heard, the Hillbilly family just returned from four days in Oklahoma. It wasn't as hot as Missi-freakin-ssippi in July that year we took the #1 son to basketball camp. But it was close.

We were supposed to pick up The Pony at his dorm at 3:00. We even read the website again, and sent him a text to make sure that it was 3:00. Not 3:30. You don't want your kid standing around in 99-degree heat for a half hour while you play longer at the Indian casino. Yes, The Pony verified, it was 3:00.

We left that casino with plenty of time, in case we ran into traffic. It was only a 15-minute drive. And we made sure to leave at 2:00. We had planned to eat at the food court, but Farmer H was antsy to be at the campus and find a place to park. Which could be difficult with 400 future students being released from that freshman orientation camp.

We had driven 10 minutes, and were already back in Norman proper when we got the text from The Pony. "Bumped back to 3:15 or so now. Then I'll need to repack." Okay. So now Farmer H and I had over an hour to kill in 99-degree heat. So he decided that we should go ahead and have lunch. We didn't want anything major. So Farmer H decided on Sonic. Perhaps you've heard of Sonic. Where you sit in your car to eat. In 99-degree heat. At least my burger was delicious, even if they did seem to have infused my Diet Cherry Coke with VANILLA! I hate vanilla. So I ate the cherry, and only drank half of it. Pity, really. It's been a long time since I had a Sonic Diet Cherry Coke. At least it was only a medium that was ruined. Not a 44 oz.

On to the campus. Just so happened that a car was backing out of a PRIME parking spot. It was only 4 spaces down from the fire plug where we dropped off The Pony. I sent him a text with the location to find us. "Not out of closing yet." This was at 3:20.

We sat. And we sat. In the hot car. Mercifully, the day was overcast. Yet I lay frying. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's mother's side of the family could never take the heat. My mom was a redhead, you know. Fair and freckled of skin. The heat gave her a flushed face. Me too. And my sister the ex-mayor's wife. Once my face gets hot, it stays lit up like a Christmas tree. I told Farmer H, "I might as well be a drinker, because my face makes me look like one."

At 3:24, another communication from The Pony. "Ceremony just ending. Ten, fifteen minutes maybe?" I sent one back. "We won't leave." Which may have been a mistake.

At 3:33, "Packing."

We watched other parents wander around, standing under a tree, waiting to nab their kids and take them to where the car was parked. A female campus policeman came by, with her tablet out, eyeing our license plate. She told a woman that she was okay for now, until pickup. Farmer H asked if we needed to move. "No. I saw the out of state plates. I figured you were a visitor. Usually if we don't get a name when we run the plates, we know it's a visitor, and we don't ticket them."

At 3:50, The Pony returned. So now it had been almost 2 hours since Mrs. Hillbilly Mom last went to the bathroom at the casino, in preparation for her 10-hour drive home.

Let the record show that soda-drinking Farmer H stopped at a convenience store for the bathroom, and to buy more soda for the start of the trip. Mrs. HM's face remained lit up like a lush for the entire ride home.

Thank the Gummi Mary, at least A-Cad has a great air-conditioning system.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Farmer H Wants The $50 Pot

Farmer H is an odd fellow. There we were, sitting in the car, waiting for The Pony to be dismissed from his freshman orientation camp, when Farmer H declared, "That pot is fifty dollars! If I was home, I'd call that lady and tell her I'd be right over."

Let the record show that Farmer H sometimes leaves out the finer details. So I had to ask what he was looking at, and why he needed the $50 pot. Turns out he was looking up some buy/sell/trade Facebook local thingy on his phone. He saw a cast iron pot that he would have LOVED to possess for the low, low price of $10.

"You bet I'd pay ten dollars for a fifty-dollar Griswald pot! Huh. So would Steve. He just sent her a message: 'I'll be right over to get it.'"

"Griswold? Like the Chevy Chase family in Vacation?"

"Yeah. Griswald. A Griswald cast iron pot. They're worth a lot. You don't hardly see them."

When The Pony got into the car, and we went up the road a ways, I told him, "Your father wants the fifty-dollar pot."

Let the record show that The Pony barely raised his eyebrow. I guess he knows us only too well.

This reminds me of the time my mom was embarrassed that she was asked for ID at the Devil's Playground pharmacy when she went to pick up my niece's allergy medicine. "They looked at me like they thought I was going to make The Meth."

Hillbilly people problems.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Is It Too Much To Ask?

We have been staying at a Holiday Inn Express. From my last experience with that chain, I expected more.

This one is only a year old. It's in tip-top shape. The service, however, is not. Yes, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a tough customer. But I don't think I am asking for too much. I just want the basics one would assume one was ENTITLED TO when paying a premium price for a suite at a Holiday Inn Express. Yes, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has issues. Here are a few things that irked her during the stay.

No bedding and no pillow for the pull-out couch The Pony was destined to sleep on the first night. Farmer H said he would pick them up at the front desk when we returned from supper. I told him No Siree, Bob! The guest does not traipse through the lobby carrying his own forgotten-by-the-housekeeper bedding.

Barely enough toilet paper to spare a square. Both rolls on the bathroom holders were almost spent when we checked in. I know it is not cost effective to put a brand-new roll of TP in every bathroom every day. But we had hardly any. And we reserved this room for three nights! The girl at the front desk gave Farmer H the side-eye when he asked for bedding for the pull-out couch (we DID book for three people) and toilet paper on our way out for supper.

Still no pillow. Even though we returned to find bedding for the couch, there was no pillow. So Farmer H donated one of his. The other HI Express suite we stayed at had the bedding in the closet, pillow included.

Only two shampoos in the bathroom. The standard is a little bottle of shampoo, a little bottle of conditioner, and a little bottle of lotion. So...Mrs. HM had hair with the texture of straw all day on Wednesday, with added straw texture provided by the wind sweeping down the plain.

Stingy with the plastic cups. Believe me, I don't want glass glasses! Remember when you used to get them at hotels? Then 60 Minutes ran that segment on how housekeeping uses other people's dirty butt-towels to wipe them clean and put a little cardboard bonnet on them like they're fresh. Anyhoo...we had a total of six plastic cups when we checked in Tuesday evening, to last 3 people Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday. No more plastic cups have been left, even though we keep using them.

Substandard Breakfast Buffet. A free breakfast should at least be an edible breakfast. The Pony was disappointed due to the pancake machine proclaiming it was overheated. So he had no pancakes. He also had no biscuit, because Farmer H took the last one, and no more were brought out, even though there was another 90 minutes left of the free breakfast. Of course we did not sit there the entire 90 minutes, but you would think 30 minutes would be enough time to fetch some biscuits. Same with the cinnamon rolls, which The Pony also wanted, but they were old, and the ones that were sitting there saying they were ready were not put in the serving section. Poor Pony had to eat EGGS! Which, I don't know how they managed, were cold in some bites and lukewarm in others.

Today, we were starting to run low on our only full roll of toilet paper. I told Farmer H he needed to ask for more. He did not want to do so, but when he was down at the pool, he found four rolls stacked in the bathroom and brought one back! Also, after the room was cleaned today, we had our lotion and conditioner and more shampoo.

Not sure we'll stay here again.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Universe Conspires For Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Own Good

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and Farmer H dodged a bullet this morning. Okay. Technically, we dodged a flaming semi truck.

The plan was to head to a casino a few miles south of Norman. We went there yesterday for a couple hours, and after a not-quite-satisfying free breakfast at Holiday Inn Express, we hit the road. The road, however, was not particularly open to being hit. Just before our turn-off to get on I-35, I saw two helicopters hovering over the highway.

"Look. Two helicopters. I hope there wasn't an accident. Maybe they're delivering heavy equipment to that road construction crew. But they act like they're news copters."

"We'll find out." Farmer H turned A-Cad onto the approach to I-35 South. Huh. Nothing much was moving. It was slow yesterday due to the construction. But at 10:15 this morning, nothing was moving.

Let the record show that Mrs. HM prefers to get an early start on her gambling. But Farmer H is not as addicted as she. He even set his alarm LATER this morning. For 7:30 a.m. Then I had to wait an hour after taking my thyroid meds before we could go to breakfast. Farmer H lingered over his biscuit and gravy, sausage links, scrambled eggs, and orange juice. He even went back to the free buffet for breakfast dessert, which was a big cinnamon roll, even though he's not supposed to have sweets. It was after 9:30 when we left for the casino.

We never arrived. Once we saw that line waiting to clover-leaf their way onto I-35 South, I said, "Forget it!" and Farmer H took the other lane to get off on a side street and go back into Norman. After a detour to the Museum of Natural History, we tried again. Along with attempting an alternate route, which did not exist unless we went 30 miles out of our way.

Once we ate lunch and went back to the hotel, I hooked up my free high-speed internet and saw that there had been a wreck on a bridge involving a semi truck. Then it burst into flames. The highway was closed at 9:20 this morning. Nobody suffered serious injury, but the highway department had to clear the truck, and then hazmat crews had to finish the cleanup. The traffic report said the cleanup was expected to stretch into the evening rush hour.

Sometimes, the universe thwarts Mrs. HM for a reason.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Scenes From The Undercarriage Of A Marriage

The Hillbilly Family Trip is fortified with bones of contention.

Upon arrival at the hotel, Farmer H pulled up to the front of the building, under the archway, and stopped. I waited for him to get out of A-Cad. Imagine my surprise when he said HE was waiting for ME to get out.

"What do you mean, ME get out?"

"I'm letting you out at the door."

"I am not the one checking in. You always do that."

"I'm GOING to do that. You can get out and wait for us, and we'll bring in the stuff."

"You NEVER do that. You always park, go in, get the room number, and come back out. Sometimes we drive around to park closer to where our room is, and go in a closer door. You NEVER haul everything to the desk and ask for the room."

"HM. I ALWAYS take the stuff in. Why come back to the car?"

"Well, I'm not going in to stand by myself. I've ridden for 10 hours, and I'm in no mood to hang around. I want to go straight to the room when you get it."

"All right. Have it your way." Farmer H gave his condescending laugh. He drove down to the next-to-last parking spot. Then we got out, and he and The Pony grabbed our luggage from A-Cad's rear.

"You're taking it in NOW?"

"Yes, HM. That's how we always do."

I'd had enough of Farmer H's shenanigans. YOU try being trapped in a car with him for 10 hours, sweaving across America's Heartland. On the walk to the front door, under the archway, I had ample time to tell The Pony:

"Oh, he ALWAYS does it this way, huh? Not when I'M with him. Last time I went with you guys was to get your very special award (absolutely NOT a leg lamp) in April. As I recall, he parked the car across from the front door. Went in. You and I sat in the car, and you took that picture of a goose you saw walking behind the Burger King. THEN your dad came out, told us our room, drove around to the end of the building, parked, and we went in the end door, pulling our suitcases."

Can you believe The Pony didn't want to hear it? I swear. That boy doesn't like to hear the truth, either.

Today, Farmer H and I came back from dropping The Pony off at his camp, enjoying a casino excursion, and having lunch at a BBQ joint. The temperature was 100 degrees, according to A-Cad. My face was flushed, with near heat-stroke blood vessels trying to release their thermal energy to the surroundings, which were hotter than they. Heat does not flow that way.

I thought, perhaps, that Farmer H would drive under the arch, let me disembark, and go park the car. But no. We're talking about Farmer H. He went right back down to the next to last slot in the lot. I was texting my sister the ex-mayor's wife about my winnings.

"Just a minute. Let me finish this."

"Okay. I'll put in my directions to the Natural History Museum."

Farmer H likes to see sights more than Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. He was planning to go there tomorrow. He fiddled with his Garmin, and I finished up my text, then told Farmer H that I was ready to go in.

"You can turn off the car. I'm ready."

"Oh. Do you want me to walk you up?'

Are you freaking kidding me? Farmer H had not even planned to go inside! He decided he was going to some Goodwill stores. So not only did he not let me out in front of the door...he drove me down to the next to last parking space to let me get out and walk in, while he backed up the car and drove BACK past the archway at the front door, on his way to Goodwill shopping.



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Don't Call The DPS On Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

It was unavoidable, really. I tried. I took Puppy Jack to get his next shot. I got him the stuff that prevents kennel cough. But the stickler was the rabies shot. Puppy Jack was one week too young. So no go on the boarding while we are away.


No need to report Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to the Division of Puppy Services.

Technically, he has his buddy Juno. They are fast friends and playmates now. Until it comes to feeding. Juno stays away from Jack's plate of soft canned food. But he will not stay away from her pan of dry food. SO...Farmer H had to find a wire crate (no problem in his collection of odds and ends) to put Juno's big metal pan on, with a little wire rim around the top (actually the bottom of the upside down wire crate) so that Puppy Jack can't paw at the edge of Juno's pan and pull it over.

Technically, Farmer H's oldest son, HOS, is stopping by every evening after he gets off work so he can feed the menagerie and Jack and Juno. He sent Farmer H a video this evening of Jack jumping up on his leg, and Juno smiling in the background, and then Jack jumping at Juno's muzzle. And that's BEFORE the feeding. So Jack is okay, and energetic, and surviving just fine without Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

I was worried this morning when we left at 6:50 a.m. I stopped to lean over the side porch and pet Jack and let him snuggle up under my hair and bite my earlobe. And he whimpered! I think he knew something was up. He never whimpers. I really hated to drive off and leave him. But he's getting bigger (well, for a dog his size, of course) every day. And maybe even getting some porch smarts.

Oh, he still poops on the porch. But Saturday morning, I heard Juno giving her warning bark. The angry bark. She dashed over towards Shackytown, where she stood glaring towards the BARn field, her hackles raised, growling low in her throat. Jack was standing on the top step. He looked like he was debating on whether to run after her. I got up to see what might be getting Juno's attention. When I opened the front door, Jack was gone!

I looked all around. No Jack in sight. Nowhere near Juno. Not in the yard on the way to her. Not behind the lilac bush. Gone. Then I hear a woof! Woof! Woof! A little puppy woof, trying to sound all big and bad. It was coming from the area of the garage. I guess Jack ran down the steps and under the lattice that enclosed the bottom of the front porch, and worked his way around to come out under the steps by the garage. I turned and saw him trotting around the corner on Farmer H's re-laid brick sidewalk. Stopping every few feet to woof!

I think our little boy will be just fine.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Four Tires Forward And Four Tires Back

Oh, dear. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom should go back to driving a horse and buggy! But with her luck, Farmer H would forget to feed the horse, and let termites eat the buggy.

This morning Farmer H commandeered The Pony to be his getaway driver after dropping T-Hoe off at the local car dealer's service department. Farmer H had a list of what Mrs. HM wants fixed. He received a call mid-afternoon about the costs, and agreed to the previous agreement of fixin's. EXCEPT he said we're not spending a couple of thousand dollars on the suspension. Which is fine with Mrs. HM, because that was NOT on her list anyway, only on the computer-chip T-Hoe list of stuff that flashes a warning light that it needs repairs. Unlike Farmer H's theory that, "If it's broke, don't fix it," Mrs. HM believes that items which lessen her car-driving comfort and security are the items that need to be fixed. She has not noticed a problem with the suspension, so carry on, my wayward T-Hoe, or we'll be fleeced when you are done!

Yes, I think after going 2 years without my automatic tire pressure sensors, and my backup beeper, and now without opening up the back's time to get them fixed. I want my bells and whistles back. It's not like I'm driving a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer. Or a Flintstone log, through the courtesy of my two feet.

But here's what's stuck in my craw today. My email popped up the monthly OnStar diagnostic report on my new Acadia. All systems were go except the tire pressure. Uh huh. That's what happens when the tire pressure sensors actually work. OnStar (and of course the goverment, which uses it to track my every move!) sensed that my sensors read the tire pressures as 31, 30, 31, 31 psi. That's clockwise, from the driver's tire, because I can't draw that cute little diagram showing the car and my wheels.

So...I have The Pony holler up to Farmer H that before we leave on our trip tomorrow, he needs to inflate those tires to 35 psi. It's not like that's a hardship for Farmer H. He doesn't have to take A-Cad to town. He doesn't have to use a foot pump or a bicycle pump or put his lips to the valves and blow in his considerable hot air. He has a compressor over at the BARn. In fact, he has a tank of air in the garage. Mere feet away from A-Cad. But do you know what he did, that mechanically-inclined spouse of mine?

He said, by way of hollering down the steps to The Pony, who relayed it to me, "They'll inflate when we drive tomorrow."

PUH LEASE! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not an ex-physics-teacher of 28 years for nothing. She is well aware of molecular motion and the effect of temperature as related to friction of tires on the road. However...the ambient temperature in the garage in the afternoon is 87 degrees. It's not like the temps are hovering around zero, making those tire sensors read all wonky.

I guess next time Farmer H is hungry, I should just tell him not to worry, because his stomach will start digesting itself.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Maybe I'll Do It The Next TWO Times!

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not take kindly to being blamed for circumstances beyond her control.  Even if the blaming comes in the form of a stern look from a grocery store employee.

It's not like I was shoplifting or anything. I didn't even go into the store proper. I parked T-Hoe in the second space in a row by the exit door of Country Mart, careful not to ram his front bumper into the two abandoned carts between him and the car across from him. Then I went inside to throw my money away in the scratch-off ticket dispensing machine.

When I came back out, I climbed into T-Hoe to arrange my tickets by size order. I started him up, to cool off his insides. A worker came huffing across the lot. He grabbed those two carts and glared at me.

Next time I run in there to buy some of their expired food, I think I will leave my cart in front of T-Hoe. I've already taken the blame.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

T-Hoe Is Having Issues With His Rear

You know it's been over two years since I told Farmer H that T-Hoe was having issues, right? It may even be THREE years by now. I know I told him at the end of one June that the tire pressure sensors were not working. And the backup beeper. And a couple of other things that pop up on the dash, flashing warnings, every single time I start him up. It's like my disco days again, what with all the flashing lights. Yes. I gave Farmer H plenty of time to take my precious T-Hoe to a dealer near his work, to have his ailments remedied, while I was off for several summers.

In true Farmer H fashion, he did not heed my orders. He let it ride, and let ME ride, along with The Pony, in a possibly dangerous vehicle. Dangerous for any people or cars passing behind me, because there's quite a blind spot when backing a LSUV without a beeper. Don't even mention the word CAMERA, because, well, T-Hoe is growing a bit long in the tooth, and backup cameras were not offered way back in his day, circa 2008, when we acquired him at the double-teamed urging of Farmer H and the #1 son, who wanted all his bells and whistles, even though I insisted we could get something cheaper with fewer options.

So T-Hoe and I have been limping along, because I like him. I really like him. My new Acadia sits in the garage (in Farmer H's spot, heh, heh) for safekeeping. We will be taking A-Cad on our mini-vacation, though. Which does not help T-Hoe regain his youthful vigor. He will hit 100,000 soon. He's just an eyelash short. But he's still active, you know. And with a couple of minor surgeries, he should enjoy a long and useful life.

Today I ran by Save A Lot to get some bananas for Farmer H. He returned from England/France/Germany last night and needs his potassium. I also picked up some onions and corn on the cob and shredded lettuce and salsa and hot dog buns and frozen chicken, and some M&M Brownies for The Pony. I decided I didn't want to push that cart all the way to the cart corral, or back inside the store. So I picked up my bag with bananas and onions, and my box with the rest, and started walking across the road to T-Hoe. I clicked my clicker to unlock and open his back hatch. I heard it ding-ding and saw it open.


Well. That's a fine how-do-you-do from my loyal friend. I tried again. Were the people parked too close to me on the right side messing with me with their own clicker for a 2008 Tahoe? No. It turns out T-Hoe did the exact same thing again. And again when I tried at home in the garage. And again and again and again and again and a couple more, when The Pony came out and climbed over the seat and stuck his head up by the hydraulic thingies to see if he could tell what was wrong.

Farmer H says that while we go on the mini vacation, we will leave T-Hoe with the local car dealer. I told him HE will be taking him in to explain the problems, because that service department will cheat a woman. They even changed the wrong tire on my mom's Trailblazer several years ago, and then charged her for the other one when she took it back! And no, it was not a case of them being TOLD the wrong tire to change, like happened with T-Hoe at Farmer H's favorite auto shop.

Come to think of it...maybe I'd better go along with him.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Gas Station Chicken Store Needs To Look Into Delivery

As a corollary to yesterday's topic...

I had not even gone a half mile this morning before I saw that it was going to be deja vu all over again. I was headed for the bank, then (the real reason for a trip to town, of course) the gas station chicken store to pick up my 44 oz Diet Coke.

I gave Jack and Juno three kibbles and a handful of cat kibble, respectively. That way I made sure Puppy Jack, who has delusions of being a house dog with his Dachshund half, and is hardwired to being underfoot with his Heeler half, did not follow me into the garage and perhaps get under the tires of T-Hoe as I backed out. Up the driveway and down the gravel road I went.

In front of the barn neighbors' house, they who lost their beautiful Husky twice within a week, I encountered another vehicle surging up the blind curvy hill. It was a white truck pulling a pontoon boat. That's right! A PONTOON BOAT! They're pretty wide, you know. Not just a little fishing boat with an outboard motor. How he made the turns with it I'll never know. Nor will I know where he thought he was going with it.

This is Friday. The weekend. Why would he be taking his pontoon up in here in our compound, into the forest? There is NO body of water here where he could launch that pontoon boat. At least he had the good manners to nod at me as I drove T-Hoe's right front tire up on an 18-inch boulder at the road edge, and into Nabe's yard to let him pass.

The next guy was not so polite. I made it almost two miles farther, on the blacktop county road. I always stay on my side, you know. Unless I can see up ahead that nobody is coming, and then I cut to the inside of the curves. Because I can. But this last curve before I hit the lettered highway is not one of them. Cars run off there all the time due to speeding. It's quite sharp. And blind. So I am always extra careful to slow down and stay on my side. You never know when you're going to meet one of those septic-tank-sucker trucks. They yield to no driver.

And wouldn't you know it? Even though Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was on her own side of the road, the red pickup that came around pulling a camper trailer was NOT. He ran me off the road with two wheels. T-Hoe's right wheels. Thank the Gummi Mary, there is no deep ditch there. Just a sloping drop-off into some people's yard, then a forest. Adding insult to injury, I was so busy keeping T-Hoe from turning over, I could not even HONK at him to show my displeasure.

Some days, I think that 44 oz Diet Coke is going to be the death of me.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Heated Response Is Optional

What is wrong with people these days?

Whoa...hold on...simmer down now! That was a rhetorical question. And too broad. What I meant to say was, "Why can't people drive like normal people driving these days?" You still don't have to answer. No need to duck your head and refuse to make eye contact. Let me answer for you.

I don't have a freakin' clue!

You know how you are in a hurry sometimes? Like you just allowed the exact amount of time you need to get somewhere five minutes early? And then you get behind these not-heavenish drivers? I have had more than my share of those moments this week.

First of all, there was the trip to the vet with Puppy Jack on Tuesday morning. His appointment was at 10:00. We left home with time to spare. I was planning to drive through McDonald's so The late-sleeping Pony could have something to eat. But when we hit the county lettered highway, we were forced to bring up the tail-end of a slow land-boat to China Orient Anti-Express.

Seriously. People drive upwards of 80 mph on that lettered highway. The speed limit is 55. But they're all in a hurry. I used to worry about my mom coming to visit, because she drove 45 along that section from town to our turn-off. People would ride her bumper like they were Bud and Sissy, and she was the mechanical bull at Gilley's.

On this day, we drove 32 mph. What is freakin' wrong with people that they can't even drive the speed of a latter-stage septuagenarian? Oh. You don't have to answer. I suspect that those turtle-folks are texting. That's because they sweave worse than Farmer H with an ear infection and loss of equilibrium. You have to be ever-vigilant, lest you meet one coming AT you, over the center line.

After we passed the prison, that Galapagos-blooded driver kept on a-goin', perhaps to the gas station chicken store for a 44 oz Diet Coke to give him energy to drive faster. And we turned to take the roundabout and the road behind Hillmomba's high school. The one where I refused to send my own kids. Wouldn't you know it? As soon as we rounded the last of the two 'bouts, we were smack-dab behind a truck driver in training! I know that, because the back of the truck was painted with letters proclaiming "Local Junior College Truck Driver Training School."

I'm all for truck drivers in training being safe. But is it too much to ask that they drive at least the legal posted speed limit of 30 mph on a level, straight, two-lane concrete road with ample shoulders? I think not. The Pony even asked, "Do you think that truck is loaded? Or they're just pretending they have a load?" Absolutely no reason to chug along at 25 mph. Suck it up, Buttercup! This is your future career. T-Hoe won't even idle that slow.

And TODAY, on the way home with my 44 oz Diet Coke, I came up on a trash truck on our blacktop county road. He had flashing lights across the back, and a dumpster-loader on the front. I'll be ding dang donged if he didn't stop in the road, lower his loader, get OUT of the truck, walk up the driveway of the customer, and wheel their dumpster down to the road to put it on the lift! WTF?

At least I could see to get around. But Mr. Customer Service had not even tried to get over to the right-hand edge of the road. There were 3-5 feet left to the edge of the right-hand pavement. I had to squeeze T-Hoe along with two tires balancing on the left edge like a Wallenda's feet on a wire stretched between two skyscrapers, all the while making sure not to hit T-Hoe's mirror on the trash truck mirror.

What is wrong with people these day?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Wipes The Sweat From Her Brow

Whew! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has too many irons in the fire!

Yes. It IS hot. Not at all a day or week to be poking your irons in the fire. I would imagine the waiters in Not-Heaven are working overtime today not-serving all the ice water their clientele clamors for. Probably wearing blisters on their feet, either from traipsing around in not-Crocs, or walking on the bare coals. Guess they should have thought of that before they booked themselves a one-way, non-refundable ticket to Not-Heaven, huh?

I certain hope we don't lose power. That would be a catastrophe. Just wanted to use that word, because I'm wondering how The Pony might pronounce it. He of "Puh MEL uh" fame, thanks to mail from our local Director of Revenue, Pamela, down at the county courthouse. We DID lose power last week, 15 minutes after I abandoned The Pony on my trip to the casino with my favorite gambling aunt. Too bad, so sad! He sent me a text, but I did not show much sympathy, seeing as how I was sitting under a nice cool air-conditioning vent at a light-flashing, sound-emitting slot machine. I certainly hope Even Steven is not looking over my shoulder. I would not like a day without power.

My irons in the fire MUST have power. Mrs. HM needs her New Delly and her innernets to forge a plan for an upcoming opportunity at a writers' conference.

Bet you didn't even know Mrs. Hillbilly Mom could write, huh?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

And It Got Even Fresher, That Day Of Not-Heaven

After our series of universe-conspired events yesterday, The Pony and I decided that we would have take-out for supper. No way was Mrs. Hillbilly Mom exerting herself over a hot stove after traipsing from one end of The Devil's playground to the other, twice, in the heat and humidity.

The Pony had to go to town later that evening anyway, and said that when he started back, he'd call me so I could phone in an order to Pizza Hut. They have a convenient drive-thru window, you know. Please. Don't even suggest that The Pony could both phone in an order, AND pick it up!

I used to do this on Wednesday evenings, when The Pony had scholar bowl practice, and we planned our evening around watching Survivor. Pizza Hut is a little pricey. So I always ask about the specials. You have to ask, because forget those national commercials and the corporate website. Even if you set it to your local Pizza Hut, that doesn't mean they will honor those deals! That's just to bait you so they can switch their prices or conditions. Like charging $12 for the $10 Dinner Box. Or only allowing three toppings when the commercials say any toppings, including specialty pizzas.

So...we usually get the Personal Pan Pizza. I know how many calories are in that. And The Pony gets one with an order of breadsticks. Forget about Farmer H. We usually leave him out. Unless I get a thin crust pizza. He likes that. But he wasn't here, due to his escapades in Europe right now. This time, The Pony wanted more than a Personal Pan. He wanted a medium cheese. Then he could have some for lunch the next day.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not eat medium cheese. She has been cutting back, you know, and stays at a certain caloric intake per day. So I looked at all the specials, to see what might work out for the least money. I remembered that the last time I called, over a month ago, the girl taking the order switched me to the current special of two mediums (with falsely-advertised ANY TOPPINGS) for $6.99 each. She even let me have a Supreme (without pepperoni) for two dollars more. Fair enough. This time, the guy would not hear of it.

"Okay. But I can still get more than one topping as long as I pay for the extra toppings, right?"

"No. That negates the whole deal. And the Supreme pizza will cost $13.99."

The Not-Heaven, you say! That's why we don't get anything except the specials, or a Personal Pan. So I went back and forth with him, and found out that just a medium hand-tossed cheese pizza would cost $11.00. I don't think so. Not for this old gal. So I caved in and ordered the special, for which they only allow ONE topping per pizza. I got a hand-tossed cheese for The Pony, and a thin-crust sausage for me. I should have told them to put sausage on one, and green peppers on the other one, and then switch it to put the peppers on with the sausage! Farmer H gets away with that at Subway. Has them put the cheese (which I don't want) from my sandwich on his instead.

Anyhoo...I sent The Pony a text with the time it would be ready, and the cost, and sat back to await a dinner that I did not have to make. I had looked up nutrition information, and knew how much I could allot myself for the evening meal.

The Pony arrived, and began paper-plating his food. Life is so simple when Farmer H is away.

I opened the box to get my thin and crispy sausage slices.


Which meant I could have less. And that I had to let it soak out the flavoring on paper towels. I wished I had opted for the Personal Pan, and forked out the extortion money for The Pony's pizza.

Some days, the universe gets you comin' and goin'.

Monday, June 13, 2016

What Fresh Not-Heaven Is THIS?

Let the record show that The Pony is 0 for 2 on his decision-making this week. And it's only Monday.

We usually do the weekly shopping on Sunday. Now that I'm retired, and we don't have anything pressing to do on the weekdays, we sometimes alter our schedule. A couple weeks ago, we went on Friday. With Farmer H gone overseas again, The Pony talked me out of our Sunday routine.

"We could just go Monday, you know."

"Yeah. I guess we could. I have to put that insurance check in the bank for T-Hoe's hail damage. And your dad forgot to pick up a prescription and wants me to do that for him. I'll need to mail the letter to #1 to make sure he gets his Chinese money ($6.00 that pays for a heaping plate of sweet & sour chicken with rice at Lucky House) and hope (scratch-off tickets) this week."

So we puttered around Sunday, doing nothing much except enjoy our time not being ordered around by Farmer H. And this morning, we left the Mansion at 9:10 a.m. to run our errands. The last stop, except for my 44 oz Diet Coke, was The Devil's Playground.

Sweet Gummi Mary! There were construction crews grinding up The Devil's asphalt from his Playground, with big road-chewing machines, which spit the morsels of blacktop into the back of a dump truck. As you might imagine, parking was limited. AND the food end was blocked off. BLOCKED OFF! No matter where I parked, I had to go into the pharmacy end and then across the store to the food end, and then back to the pharmacy door to leave! So much for my usual game plan of sending The Pony down to the pharmacy end (not that we're druggies, you know, but to pick up toothpaste and antiperspirant and soap (the Hillbilly Family ain't stinkers--despite what you may read about their close relatives Thevictorians elsewhere).

Of course the temperature was already up to 89, making The Devil's Playground just an added circle of Not-Heaven today, with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom traipsing twice her usual distance to and from T-Hoe, and also within the Playground itself. The Pony apologized as soon as he saw the parking situation. "I'm so sorry I didn't want to do this Sunday."

"Yeah. I doubt they were working on it Sunday."

"We can go home. I'll come back later. I'll do it by myself. You can give me a list."

"No. I don't think so. Let's just get it over with now. We can't come tomorrow. We'll have Jack with us for his shot."

Seriously. The Pony refuses to push a cart through The Devil's Playground. How could he possibly do the shopping by himself? How many trips could he make to the register, then out to his car to stow away the purchases? That was out of the question. So in we went. The experience was as you might expect. Some days The Universe conspires against Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. And some days it works a 12-hour shift and then moonlights for another 8 at its second job, just to make sure she knows who's boss.

Let the record show that by the time we finally started out the exit doors, Mrs. HM did NOT alter her course for the old man who huffed at her because he had no room to come IN those EXIT doors.

He should be glad my cart was not equipped with a horn. Just ask the guy in the red pickup who cut into my left turn lane at the light by McDonald's as we were leaving The Devil's Playground, and slammed on his brakes to sit and look at the green light.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

To Paraphrase The Old Chinese Grandfather In Gremlins: "With Puppy Comes Much Responsibility."

Did you ever want to turn back time? I don't mean in a Cher, 1989, inappropriately-dressed, phallic-symbol-loaded, putting-Madonna-and-her-sex-book-to-shame, entertaining-the-7th-Fleet-video kind of way. I mean, did you ever do something, and then wish you could go back and not do it? You know there's a reason I'm asking, right?

Farmer H is off to France again. During his absence, the feeding of the critters falls on The Pony's withers. He assumed the yoke of responsibility like a good beast of burden last evening, and fed and watered and even brought the trash dumpster back down from the end of the driveway, where it had been cooling its wheels since trash pickup on Thursday morning at 6:45 a.m. And then he made an announcement.

"I think we can leave Jack out tonight."

Let the record show that we have been leaving Puppy Jack out all day, and putting him back in his hutch to sleep. The temperature was supposed to remain in the 80s last night. Jack knows how to get down the porch steps for peeing and pooping (not that he sees the need to do it every single time), and he does not fall off the edge much unless distracted by toy play.

"Are you sure? He might be scared. He won't feel secure. You need to put some cedar shavings in one of those big doghouses at the end of the porch, and show him. So he knows he can sleep in there."

"I always find him between the wall of my bedroom, and Juno's house. He likes that little space. He can sleep there. Or sometimes he sleeps by the fake dog on the front porch."

"What if he follows Juno during the night, and can't find his way back?"

"He will. He goes with her over to the BARn. He stays right with her."

"Well...I would hate for something to get him. But if a possum or dog comes up on the porch, we'll hear the commotion."

"Uh huh. He'll be fine."

The Pony and I watched a movie. Revenge of the Nerds. You know. Getting The Pony ready for college life. Then The Pony went to have a bath in the big tub, since Farmer H wasn't here to rush him so he could go to bed undisturbed at the stroke of 9:00. I stayed up watching TV, fiddling about with a project on my computer, dozing in the downstairs recliner. I did not hear any kerfuffles on the porch. I did not hear romping or bone-thumping or yelping. I went to bed around 2:00 a.m.

This morning at 7:00 I got up and responded to Farmer H's overseas texts. Even when he's not here, he makes sure I get up before I am ready. I put in some laundry and sat down to read for a while. At 9:30, I hollered to The Pony to get up.

"It's getting late. Jack needs to be fed. And Juno. I haven't heard Jack all night. I hope he's okay."

"Getting up. Jack is fine." The Pony plugged in his phone to charge, and declared that he had heard Jack all through the night. "I heard something tapping against my bedroom wall. It must have been Jack wagging his tail, unless it rained, and there was a bad leak there."

"You never put any cedar shavings in that house last night, did you?"

"No. But it's fine."

He went out to feed Jack. He soon came back inside and set the paper plate of canned puppy food on the back of the couch.

"Huh. I don't see Jack. Juno is on the front porch, but I don't see him. I'll go look in the end doghouses."

I saw him head that way. Then he came from the other direction, having made a lap around the porch, and down by the carport and garage. I saw him go down the steps. Look under the front porch. And head over toward Jack's hutch and the BARn. That was not a good omen. I started to whimper, I think. I've grown attached to that little dog. Now he was gone. GONE! What if something happened overnight? What if The Pony found his little body. NO! This couldn't be happening. What could I tell Farmer H? Who chose that moment to text me. I told him Jack was missing. No response. It takes a while for text to fly through the air to England, I suppose, where Farmer H had a layover of 12 hours waiting for his ride. Probably because England IS AN ISLAND, you know.

I walked around. Went to the bathroom. Put on my red Crocs in order to do something, like go look for Puppy Jack. And then I saw the most beautiful sight!


He ran a few feet, jumping like a rabbit, then stopped to turn and make sure The Pony was following. I hurried out to the porch for an impromptu lovefest. Wiggly Puppy Jack stood on his short hind legs, stretching out his long body to be picked up. Of course I had to scoop him up in my arms and sit down on the front porch pew to snuggle him like a baby. A furry, nipping baby who insisted on sticking his tongue in my mouth.

"I found him somewhere in the goat pen. I went in to look for him, and then he was at my feet. I was getting worried."

"Yeah. Me too."

I think The Pony was doubly worried, since he made the original decision. He is not used to making decisions. Like I told him on the way to school that last week before graduation, "Life will never be any easier for you than it is right now."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

I See Absolutely No Reason To Tempt Fate Before I Have Even Received My First Retirement Check

A Hillbilly Mom ain't safe on a road full of squatters.

Yesterday, on my way back from picking up my magical elixir at the gas station chicken store, I planned to stop and get the mail. I do it all the time if The Pony isn't with me. I put on T-Hoe's signal, pull over to the edge of the road by Mailbox Row, and get out to reach my arm elbow-deep inside EmBee. I had just put on my signal when I saw it.


"Well," you might wonder, "what was so scary and dramatic to elicit all capitals about a small pickup truck parked on your gravel road?"


It was a really big boxer dog! He stood there, looking over the side, with nary a leash or tie-down upon his muscular body. Two dudes were standing beside the truck, talking, paying no attention to that canine behemoth. I don't care how sweet boxer dog owners declare their boxer dogs are.


No sirree, Bob! I know I cannot outrun a really big boxer dog. That boxer dog cannot read a no-trespassing sign, and even if he could, he would have no fear of prosecution at a later date. A really big boxer dog has really sharper teeth than Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

I went on home. If I had a tail, it would have been tucked between my legs. That really big boxer dog followed me with his eyes. I was careful not to lock my gaze into his.

A Hillbilly Mom ain't safe on a road full of squatters.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Look What I Found On The Front Porch Of The Mansion!

Uh huh! It's a PUPPY NEST!

I opened the door this morning to go have some playtime with Puppy Jack, and caught him in the act of playing without me! Can you believe it! I thought we had a standing playdate for morning and evening. Looks like Jack couldn't wait.

He created his own little space beside the fake dog, with his boneless furry squeaky skunk, his new striped monkey, and of course the freshest corncob from the front yard. Missing are his long purple squeaky dog, his boneless furry squirrel, his knotted rope, and his rawhide chew bone. That's because sweet, sweet Juno took them. More on her another day. Jack's striped monkey is looking a little worse for wear. It's his newest toy, but it gets a lot you say...lovin'! And I mean this in the literal sense of the world. Biblically speaking, Jack KNOWS that monkey. A lot. Every day.

Let the record show that The Pony had just fed him his breakfast, which amounts to about a fourth of a can of moist puppy food. And that last evening, Farmer H had put down Juno's food pan without telling us. Which meant that Jack was free to roam the porch and feed from that dry dogfood buffet to his heart's content. Which The Pony didn't know at the time he set out his supper of about a fourth of a can of moist puppy food. That Jack is a HOUND with a capital H. And every other letter as well. He inhales that food like a junkie with cocaine the night before an intervention!

Jack is looking a little thick in that picture. But take my word for it, he'll burn off those calories with more monkey-lovin'. And he DOES fit in that little space beside the dog. He's just out of his nest because The Pony took this picture for me after our playtime. As you can see, Jack didn't want anybody else sniffing around his nest, or making time with his monkey.

Puppy Jack is growing, but he's not really as big as that fake dog yet! In his case, the camera adds at least one pound.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Nonverbal Communication In The Mansion

Today I went to the casino with my favorite gambling aunt, and got back right at the time Farmer H arrived home. Okay. I made it into the house. I was talking to The Pony while standing at the kitchen counter putting my 44 oz Diet Coke into its double cup.

Farmer H strode in the kitchen door, after first wiggling his key in the lock, like he hadn't parked right beside The Pony's new used car, obviously showing that someone was home. He proceeded into the Mansion living room, and SAT DOWN IN THE LA-Z-BOY! Can you believe it? That's right where Mrs. HM was headed! Isn't that what everybody wants after a hard day at the casino? A nice relaxing lean-back in the La-Z-Boy?

Let the record show that Farmer H NEVER goes straight to the La-Z-Boy! He always walks in the kitchen door, says something cheerful or snarly, and then, without breaking stride, goes right out the front door to his animals. Rain or shine! Summer or winter! Happy or mad! Supper ready or supper only a thought! That's his routine.

I can only imagine that he did this on purpose! Because I said that I just got home. Seriously. I think I deserved 10 minutes in the La-Z-Boy before whipping up supper. I WILL say that Farmer H is getting better at taking a hint.

Like when I sighed heavily, stood behind the short couch taking off my shoes, and said, "Well, I WAS going to sit down and put my feet up for a few minutes before supper...but it looks like I'll have to go lay down on the bed."

I'm surprised the clock and pictures did not fly off the walls, what with the gale-force of our double-sighs.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Calling A Pony A Pony

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom would not have hesitated to tell The Emperor he had no clothes.

"Don't you think this suit is bitchin', Mrs. Hillbilly Mom?"

"Suit? You mean your BIRTHDAY SUIT? You are stark naked, Emperor! It is NOT becoming! Cover your winky and quit parading down the street, you pervy exhibitionist!"

Uh huh. Mrs. HM does not suffer fools or pervy exhibitionists gladly. And she is not remiss in calling out The Pony for his absentminded professorisms.

Just yesterday, I was trying to wash some dishes while warming up some meat loaf and baking a potato for The Pony. Have you heard there is no dishwasher in the Mansion kitchen? I swear, we might as well live in Bedrock for all the modern conveniences we have. Or Hooterville. Though I AM glad I don't have to take a bath in the water tower used by the Cannonball. I had the hot water, finally, after 5 minutes waiting for it to warm up.

"Pony. Reach up there and give me a squirt so I can get some suds."

Of course I was referring to him opening the cabinet over the microwave and taking down one of the two giant containers of dish soap that he'd grabbed off the shelf for me at The Devil's Playground. I thought we would never get rid of that blue stuff. In fact, I had to pour some into an almost-empty bottle of orange-scented Dawn to avoid wasting it. Now it's kind of brown-blue, but it's almost gone!

The Pony, always eager to help, said, "Here." I turned to look over my shoulder and take the bottle, only to see The Pony's outstretched arm holding


"WHAT are you doing? I am going to have a lot of trouble getting suds from that!"

"This isn't what you wanted? This is where you pointed!"

"No. That was sitting on the stove. That's what I use for the water to make my oatmeal every morning. I don't use it to wash dishes with."

"Well...what do you want, then?"

"Think. What would I use to make suds to wash dishes?"

"I don't know!"

"PONY! Open that cabinet over the microwave!"

" mean THIS? Which one do you want? The blue? Or the lemon?"

"The blue. It's ALMOST gone! At least it wasn't as bad as the Cherry Blossom."

"Okay. Here."

"Open the top. Squeeze it. That's enough! Now put it back. How could you possibly think I would wash dishes using a saucepan to clean them?"

"I don't know. You never say what you mean!"

"How are you going to live on your own?"

"Well...I won't have to wash dishes for at least a couple more years. I'll eat with my meal ticket."

Sweet Gummi Mary! I hope he can figure out what a meal ticket is.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Choices, Choices, Everywhere...And Not A Decision To Make

The Hillbilly family will be going on a mini vacation in a bit. And we are not sure what to do with Puppy Jack.

Farmer H's oldest son, HOS, will be coming to the Mansion after work each day to feed the mini pony, goat, chickens, and cats and dog(s). We have used this arrangement before. But not with Puppy Jack. Do we leave him out, to play on the porch and romp in the yard, possibly follow Juno on her neighborhood rounds, perhaps being attacked by a big dog, or losing his way home? Do we put him up in his hutch, with only an hour or so to run around while HOS is here feeding the critters?

My favorite gambling aunt says she boards her animals at a local pet facility. They advertise that they take boarders, and also offer pet daycare, and have groomers for all those fancy-dog needs. Auntie says she has dropped in there to see what's going on. That they take the dogs out and play with them. That her pets love it so much she wonders it they really want to come home when she returns from a cruise.

I checked the website and found out that it will cost $24 a night to board a dog. That's if you want him to have a window. Or $20 a night without a window. Seriously. Jack can't even see out a window. AND The Pony and I drove by there today and saw that there's not much to see out a window anyway. That place has more than one building! They have a fenced yard or two with little tunnels and doggie jungle gyms and stuff for the fleabags to play on. You can take your own food to leave for your pet, and their own toys, and bedding if you want. OR the facility will provide them with a cot and a blanket and three choices of pet food.

However...dogs must be up-to-date on their shots. That's the problem. Jack has had ONE shot, and is getting his second one on Tuesday. He can only get one every three weeks until he's had them all. So...I wonder if that place will take him? Surely he's not the first puppy that needed to be boarded. All I can do is ask for a letter from the vet on Tuesday, showing that he's had all that he can have so far.

Another option is that Auntie offered to keep him for four days. I told her he's not housebroken. She DOES have a fenced back yard, but she said, "He can come and go as he pleases through the pet doors. I've cleaned up so much poop in my house, it's not a problem." I am not worried for Jack. I am worried for Auntie. She's no spring chicken. She has had two hip replacement surgeries. I do not want Jack to get under her feet and trip her.

This puppy business is harder than putting a child in daycare!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summering At The Mansion

Puppy Jack has been enjoying the taste of freedom of late. He stays out all day, and gets put back in his pen at night for safekeeping against the coyotes. We're not sure he knows enough to stay on the porch overnight.

He took another tumble off the front porch yesterday evening. We were waiting for the insurance adjuster to show up to look at T-Hoe's hail damage, and Jack was prancing around looking at the new toy The Pony was taunting him with. He got his back feet off the edge, and tumbled down about 30 inches to the ground. He seemed okay.

Farmer H took off for the creek on his Gator. Of course Juno ran barking ahead of him. She LOVES it when Farmer H rides the Gator. Jack followed them, but he's a little slower. He ran behind. It's a long way for those short little legs. He waded in the creek up to his belly following Juno across, but couldn't get up the bank on the other side. I saw them come back, and little Jack looked pooped, his tongue lolling out, trailing about 40 feet behind the Gator.

Life is slow here in Hillmomba. Summer at the Mansion. Nothing on the horizon for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, but college camp and college shopping and college packing and COLLEGE for The Pony.

Life may not be quite so slow in the near future.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Reveal Of Farmer H's (Current) Folly

Sooo...that picture yesterday? THIS picture:

That is Farmer H's new garage. The garage he has been planning for 3 or 4 years. He has the freight containers in place. Supposedly he got a not-heaven of a deal on them. Had them delivered and unloaded. Then he was waiting for money for trusses to put a roof over them. In the meantime, he filled them with junk. SHOCKER! The latest additions are things from my mom's house that he SAID he was going to sell at the auction, and never did.

That trench is facing the gravel road that takes us out of our compound. To the right. That's where the road is. The doors of those freight containers, which open like french doors, but are simply metal doors with a sliding rod that holds them shut...are at the left end of the freight containers in this picture. The plan is to join those two containers together under a roof, put doors in the side, and use the middle area (closed in, of course, once under roof) as a workshop. It never ends.

Farmer H drove his 1980 Olds Toronado in there and parked it, before he had the carport added when the roof of the Mansion was replaced. But he had to take his precious collectible out, because it was growing mold on the dome light. I don't know WHAT is percolating inside it now, since it is still not seeing the light of day, being draped under a cover, parked under the carport roof.

The problem right now is that moat out front. Farmer H dug a trench to set giant concrete cubes as a foundations before leveling out the whole kit 'n' caboodle for a garage. He needs 12 giant concrete squares, to the tune of $73 apiece. He still has money left (HE!) from the sale of rocks off the boys' property. In spite of squandering $1700 (undiscussed) on a brand new Cub Cadet lawnmower. So the only problem, really, is the weather. Never mind that he started all this excavating last fall. I guess he thought he would magically have a dry spell through the winter so the truck could haul in his 12 giant concrete cubes. Every week, he laments the forecast.

I've a good mind to run to The Good Feet store and spend a couple-ten hundreds of dollars on shoe inserts. Undiscussed.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

What In Tarnation?

Discuss amongst yourselves... to yourself about it, my one and only reader!

More on this tomorrow.

Friday, June 3, 2016

It Must Be Some Kind Of Hillbilly Signal

They taunt us. The ne'er-do-wells who frequent our private road down by the low water bridge. The area where EmBee resides with her mail-condominium cronies.

Look what The Pony and I saw Thursday when we returned from my new-used-car ride:

Yes, sitting on a rock, right there for law-abiding passers-by to see, was a pair of shoes. No car. No person. Shoes. Was it a trap? Did they want us to say, "LOOK! FREE SHOES!" and then cruelly yank them away from us with unseen fishing line when we got out of T-Hoe to claim our keepers that we found? Was somebody depressed, and left their shoes as a cry for help as they strode barefoot onto the flat rocks in the two inches of water flowing placidly down the creek? Was someone hiding behind that rock, ready to slit our tender, shoe-stealing throats?

Those shoes were still there this afternoon when I stopped for the mail. I took a picture to document the occasion. Just in case, you know, I disappeared while walking back past those shoes to reach my forearm into EmBee's gullet and pull forth her hidden entrails. And then I took another picture, because I noticed what I perceive as, perhaps, irony.

Those shoes were perched on a rock right under our first NO TRESPASSING SIGN. Did one of our residents put them there? As a signal, perhaps, that if you trespass on our road, you might just disappear?

I don't have the answers. All I know is that those city people flinging sneakers over power lines ain't got nothin' on the residents of Hillmomba!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Maiden Voyage Of TPC The Rogue

This morning (meaning 11:00 a.m.--you don't think we get up early when we don't have to, do you) The Pony took me for a ride in his new used car. Yes, it was Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's maiden voyage in The Pony's Car, The Rogue. The dealer had left him a message that they found the 2nd key to his Nissan Rogue. So off we went to pick it up.

Let the record show that The Pony is a much better driver than the last time I dared set butt into my T-Hoe with him behind the wheel. He was safe, he was law-abiding, and he was in control. My only issue was with his stops. If you see Mrs. Hillbilly Mom about town with a cervical collar around her neck, she is NOT trying to defraud an insurance company. The Pony could just as well order a magnetic sign to slap on the side of his Rogue: Freelance Chiropractor. Uh huh. The neck bone's connected to another neck bone...until it isn't!

Thank the Gummi Mary that The Pony did NOT inherit Farmer H's gene for sweaving!

Typing of Farmer H...he called while we were out. I reported that I like the Rogue, the Rogue is roomy, the Rogue has a lot of get-up-and-go, and--

Can you believe he said he had to go? That he was on his lunch break? I guess he was in a hurry to get to the park and be questioned by the police for sleeping in his car.

I am resisting the temptation to name The Pony's new used car R-Gue. That would be much more fitting if it belonged to the #1 son.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is SO Old...

Remember when the world ran on cash?

Yeah. Maybe I'm just so old that seems normal to me. Paying for purchases with paper money and coins. I'm not sure it can still be done today. Except in the gas station chicken store. And even they have a lot of credit card transactions.

Today I was in Save A Lot. They used to only take cash. Uh huh. It's true. Or perhaps a check. So I always made sure to have enough with me, and to stick to my list. Not as easy as it may sound when you are carting two young 'uns with you through the store. Young 'uns who LOVE sugary cereal, and haven't learned about brand names yet. in Save A Lot, the lady in front of me was having trouble. And I don't just mean with her whiny brat of a daughter who screamed throughout the store because she wanted to push her baby brother around in the cart BY HERSELF. I purposefully took a detour when I came up behind them at the register. I figured I could use something else. Or score a box that was almost empty from the freezer case. Boxes are hard to come by on some days. Especially on weekends, or the end and beginning of the month, due to so many movers.

When I came back with my box borrowed from a single bag of frozen fish fillets, another register was open. And BOTH customers were having trouble. I'm not sure what kind of card the Whiny Girl Mom was trying to use. But the older lady at the middle register was trying to use a social security card. Although not her own.

I only got dragged into the discussion because the black-haired checker as old as Methuselah's great grandpappy told me she would take me on register three, and then asked if I knew anything about bank cards. Because those folks were having trouble. I said all I knew was that they charged a fee if you didn't use the ATM at your bank. That's because they suggested to the customers that they could hold their items while they went to get cash. The convenience store across the road has an ATM. And the bank past the stoplight. But they didn't want the extra charges. Especially that older lady, who said she was buying stuff for an elderly lady, and didn't want her to have to spend extra.

I said, "Well, we'll see if MY debit card works. I have cash with me, just in case." And mine DID work. But Coal Hair said they had been having trouble all day. I thought it might be due to the 1st of the month. Until she yelled

"Hers works! It's one of the OLD cards. Without a chip."

Uh huh. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is SO old that even Methuselah's forebears dare to call her bank card old.