Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Begins A New Career As A Waiter

This waiting business if for the birds!

All day I've been available. Normally, I wouldn't care if I missed the UPS truck. They leave the package anyway. No, you're not going to trick me into telling where! Normally, it's not a problem. After all, this time last year, and every other year, I would have been at work. But this package is special. It needs a signature.

Shh...don't tell anyone, but this package contains tickets to a Sooner football game. Not that we're big fans. It's just that on September 10, The Pony must walk out on the field in Norman, Oklahoma, with the other 277 National Merit Scholars to be recognized for his accomplishment. And to promote the U of O as a fine place for such Scholars to further their education. Yes, this appearance is mandatory. A requirement of the generous scholarship. They will all wear a specific free T-shirt they were handed at the recognition dinner on the Friday before classes started.

Farmer H wanted to go, and he's taking HOS with him. The #1 son considered it, but he has a tour scheduled with a big solar car donor that weekend. I do not enjoy crowds, so I am not making the trip. It is quite an involved process, these visits to see The Pony. A whole day going, a whole day coming back. At least two nights in a hotel. Gas. Food. For this excursion, I got Farmer H and HOS each a Sooners shirt, and a cap. They arrived in 3 days, shipped by UPS and their partner the USPS. Showed up with a key in EmBee for the lockbox at the end of mailbox row.

These tickets need a signature. Thing is, there were no tickets available on the website used by the university. Sold out. Apparently, many people are Sooners fans! Who knew? So I had to go to a division of Ticketmaster that deals with people reselling their tickets. I could have chosen the option of printing my own tickets, or picking them up at will-call. No thank you. What if the printer doesn't work? Then how do I prove it? How do I know if the barcode is legit? And I don't know about Farmer H, but I would not feel comfortable planning the whole trip, then arriving to find there was no record of the tickets at will-call. No siree, Bob! I'm the kind of person who wants the hard-copy actual tickets in my hand. And that option means that a person has to sign for the tickets upon delivery.

You know, right, that if UPS says the tickets have gone out for delivery at 8:24 a.m., and will arrive by the end of the day...that if you run to town around 10:00 for a 44 oz Diet Coke, that's when they'll arrive. But if you don't, and sit watching out the living room window for the truck, they won't arrive until 6:59 p.m.

It is now 3:00.

No sign of the tickets. My Shiba is about to lose her charge. No big deal, I'll just plug her in again. It's not like I'm chillin' in my dark basement lair with a 44 oz Diet Coke at my right elbow. Can't hear the doorbell very well down there. AND by the time I make it up 13 steps, the delivery dude will be gone with my tickets.

Monday, I called the ticket service. The email they originally sent said that the tickets would ship on August 26. I paid for them on August 23. Allegedly, I would get an email when they shipped. By Monday, August 29, I was getting antsy. No email. No sign of shipping. I called customer service. Waited 13 minutes (I think I'm seeing some bad juju here) on hold, then explained my predicament. "Is there anything else I need to do? The email said to set my shipping preferences, but that's a pay service, and I don't plan to do that." No, I was assured, nothing else needed to be done by me. They were just waiting for the shipping label to be printed. Then my order would show up on tracking later in the day. I made this call at 2:30 in the afternoon. By 3:45 I had the updated shipping email. I wonder what might have happened if I had not called...

Tomorrow, I plan an exciting day of watching a pot while waiting for it to boil. Perhaps painting a wall to watch it dry. Or maybe I can find a golf match on TV.

This waiting business is for the birds.


Heh, heh! Nothing like disparaging the delivery system to bring about service! It's 3:15, and my package has arrived!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Journey To Buy A 44 oz Diet Coke Begins With A Single Step

Or so you'd think, huh? That all Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has to do is start her feet moving, grab her purse and keys, and walk out to the garage to fire up T-Hoe for a trip to town for her daily magical elixir. But you'd think wrong.

First, Mrs. HM must take her meds. Check her internet. Give a dog her two dogs, Puppy Jack and Sweet, Sweet Juno a bone from last night's pork steaks. Notice something in the yard that might be a chicken carcass, so wend her way down Farmer H's porch steps and into his rock garden filled with lava rocks and over the up-ended bricks that demarcate the infertile garden from the yard and over the two broken halves of the flea market bird bath, and out to the barren dirt spot to find one of Jack's old toys, the canvas duck that squeaks, covered with mud.

From there, she sees Jack's neglected plastic cat-litter-box pool, and dumps it and turns on the spigot for rinsing and refilling, only to be splattered with the gunk rinsing from the miniature rectangular blue pool, so much that her pajama bottoms and her CROCS are soaked!

Squishing back to the house, she laments how loose those Crocs are without socks and filled with water. Puts them on the back porch for drying, and starts a load of laundry for her jammies. That means she needs to gather some towels and other clothes to toss in. Then take a shower before going to get that 44 oz Diet Coke.

Oh, but first she needs to know how much the #1 son charged to her credit card (with permission) for a textbook ($79 and change, which was cheaper than his college bookstore) so she could take that money out of his college fund along with the money to cover the eCheck she sent his bursar for some fees last week. He was in class, but texted back the amount after shaming Mrs. HM for the interruption.

Off to town, finally, for the money transfer from credit union to bank. With a persistent message popping up on her new used Nexus 5X about upgrading to 7.0 Nougat. Yes, without much change, but maybe better battery life, advised #1. So I hit the update button, thinking it would just take a few minutes there in town with many bars (not THAT kind of bars). But then it said a restart would be needed afterward. And kept going and going and going. Making me regret that split-second decision.

Back to the gas station chicken store for my 44 oz Diet Coke, but since my phone wasn't done, I detoured to buy some lottery tickets at the Country Mart. Still not done. So back I went to the other town to have a delicious frozen custard. It's been almost a year. I've resisted. The plan was to enjoy one with The Pony on his farewell tour, but we never got around to it. Instead of ordering my favorite medium concrete with chocolate custard and caramel and chocolate chips, I wise-choiced a chocolate toddler cone. Can you believe that frozen custard was nearly flavorless? I swear, it was worse than Dairy Queen not-even-ice-cream. Though I DID slurp up every drop and crumb. Sadly disappointing.

Over to the gas station chicken store again, where I noticed that my phone had STILL not completed its mission. However, I always get maximum bars on that parking lot. I went in to get my 44, and waited five minutes when I came out, and it was done. Then I had to download that info. Then install it. So much trouble to go to for a 44 oz Diet Coke.

Tomorrow I can't have one, because I have to wait on a UPS delivery (Sooner football tickets) to give a signature. The world is SO unfair!

Retired people problems.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mrs. Hillbily Mom Is A Ninja

I have been feeling especially murderous today. Perhaps as murderous as I felt yesterday. AND my murder skills have been honed to a razor's edge.

No, silly. I'm not talking about walking around the porch of the Mansion, spraying wasps until they contort and die. That would mean WALKING. Nope. Wasps got off easy this year with Mrs. HM's killing spree. Like I always say, "Why go out seeking murder victims when the victims will come to you?"

I blame Farmer H for my two days of crime. Farmer H, who won't crap or get off the pot. Okay. That's kind of a lie. That analogy won't work. Farmer H does plenty of crapping. As evidenced by the evidence he leaves ON the pot. What I mean is, he can't make a decision. Not on the simplest thing. Well...unless it's spending money without telling me. $1000 here on shoe inserts from The Good Feet Store. $1700 there on a new riding lawnmower. $10,000 at the MO Conservation Dept's auction for a second tractor. That major stuff is easy for him. It's the day-to-day that trips him up.

Farmer H eats a banana every morning. Until he doesn't. He likes them kind of green and tart and firm. Like he likes his women. Problem is, they don't stay that way. Does Farmer H draw a line in the sand, and say, "I've had it with these bananas. They're too ripe for my tastes. I'm going to throw them out and tell Mrs. HM to get me some more. The store won't sell them to me. I'll have to wait until she goes." No. He does not. He lets those bananas sit there on the kitchen counter.

Do you know what happens to bananas on the kitchen counter? They start to get little brown spots. AND FRUIT FLIES! Technically, they are called Drosophila melanogaster. I studied them in college, you know. For genetics. We were very careful not to let them loose. We couldn't kill them, but we could freeze them. Dump them out of the test tube and look at their eyes and wings under a microscope. Then put them hastily back into the tube and freezer when they started to stir.

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ain't puttin' no fruit flies in a freezer.

It's bad enough when I see one flitting around the kitchen. But when they find me in my dark basement lair, one of us isn't getting out alive. Yesterday, it was almost ME! I can't stand these things! There I am, minding my own business, not typing up my blogs in a timely manner, and one of them dive-bombs my face. Uh huh. The days of lazily bobbing in front of New Delly's monitor, tempting me to take a swat, are long gone. These boogers are aggressive. They look like they've been taking steroids and lifting weights. I stopped just short of punching myself in the face to smash one. Good thing I had glasses on that I wanted to protect!

But...I noticed two of those behemoths circling counterclockwise. From in front of my face, over the computer tower, across the back of the monitor, and back towards me. SMACK!! Got 'em both! I'm a ninja, I tell you! Truth be told, they were probably trying to mate, and I squashed them in the throes of coitus. Too bad, so sad. What a way to go!

Of course there was that messiness of wiping off my palms and washing my hands. But they were still just as dead. I turned the light on and waited. Got another one on top of my Triscuits box. One on the monitor. One on the white rim of a red solo cup. And today, when one landed on my nose, I slapped myself! It felt so satisfying!

I bought new bananas today, and wrapped up the four left over in a plastic bag from The Devil's Playground. Tonight I sliced up two in a bowl with strawberries for Farmer H. Tomorrow he gets the other two.

We'll see if I'm provoked again tomorrow...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Albert, Nikola, Leonardo, And Isaac All Agree: Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Wise

My favorite gambling aunt has invited me to lunch mid-week. You'd think she could have invited me to the casino instead, wouldn't you! I'm sure she'd take me gambling if I asked her, any other day of the week.

Auntie is meeting with a couple of other retired Newmentia mentors. I know them, having worked in Lower Basementia with one, and paying the other, from Elementia, to take my ticket-selling game duties over the many years I was employed. Which I am not, currently. Nyah, nyah! I am seriously considering strapping on the ol' feedbag with Auntie. It's at the FelineFish Skillet!

Here's the thing. Mrs. HM has been cutting back. Making wiser choices. She's wise-choiced her way into dropping poundage over 5 tens-digits. Over 6. Over 7. Sure, there are still plenty of tens-digits waiting to be dropped. But Mrs. HM is quite proud of her accomplishment. And a lunch at an all-you-can-eat catfish house is not conducive to further falling poundage.

Auntie had talked about going to the FelineFish Skillert a couple weeks ago. You know, she said, it's really more economical to get the all-you-can-eat option. Because they bring you that platter, and let you box up what's left to take home. IF you don't have seconds on the original platter, of course. That's all well and good if there are only two of us. Or two of us and The Pony, like that one time when I had a meal for Farmer H left to cart home. But if there are four adults, most likely that platter of all-you-can-eat fare will be emptied. Or seconds asked for. So it is really NOT more economical, plus the temptation to overdo would be right in front of Mrs. HM.

I've already checked out the menu online. IF I go, I'm having the lunch plate of one meat and one side. Chicken and slaw. Sure, the wiser choice would be something grilled. But then what's the point of eating at the FelineFish Skillet? No use tempting fate by tempting Mrs. Hillbilly Mom with a bottomless plate of fried catfish, fried chicken, fried shrimp, potato wedges, hush puppies...and the million other sides that they try to avoid bringing you, even though it IS advertised as all-you-can-eat.

Mrs. HM did not get to be valedictorian by making unwise choices. No siree, Bob!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Farmer H Makes A Poor Pony

Here's what happens when you're the recently-retired Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, spending your day with the not-yet-retired but not-working-today Farmer H.

Let the record show that Farmer H has to work most Saturdays. But not today! I asked him to set the alarm for 7:00 a.m., because I'm not gadget-friendly, and I had to put together a couple of contest submissions and get them to the dead-mouse-smelling post office by the deadline, TODAY, during its ever-changing hours this morning. The alarm went off, and Farmer H announced, "It's 6:30."

"I didn't want to get up at 6:30. That's too early. In fact, I want to sleep until 7:30, because I was up until 3:15 putting everything together. All I have to do is seal it up and take a shower and take my medicine."

Farmer H got up when I did, and said he was going out with the tractor to move some gravel along the sides of the road.

"Will you be in my way when I try to go to town?"

"No! Well. You can go around me. On the gravel that's there now. And you might bring back something for lunch while you're in town."

"Okay. If you're not going to the auction or anywhere tonight, I'm going to make some vegetables and pork steaks, Shake 'N' Bake." Because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, Gourmet Chef, is IN THE MANSION!

Imagine my surprise when I left for town at 10:00, and saw no signs of Farmer H. But there was a vehicle parked by the BARn door. Backed down in there. Secretive like. I couldn't see it very well, because I was driving, and the land where the BARn is dips down away from the road. Of course I called him.

"Where are you?"

"Where am I?"

"Yeah. I don't see you on the road. And whose truck is by the BARn?"

"I'm smoothing out rock on the road to the cabin. Truck? Mine."

"No. Yours is there too."

"Oh. HOS's father in law was going to cut up that dead tree on the other property. For firewood."

"Then why's he backed down against the BARn door, all secretive?"

"Oh! That's my Trailblazer."

"Why is it there? All secretive. Not over under the carport."

"Um...because I brought home a paint sprayer from work. I'm going to use it to spray sealer on the BARn roof where it was leaking."

"What do you want for lunch? Burger, chicken, pizza, sandwich...?"

"A bacon burger would be good. From Dairy Queen."

"Okay. But I'm going in Save A Lot for the bananas you didn't tell me you needed when I asked before going to The Devil's Playground yesterday. And to get some lottery tickets. Then gas. And my soda." Farmer H did not seem to care that I had many errands that had to be done at separate establishments. I went on to town, and called him when I returned a little before noon. "Your sandwich is coming down the driveway."

"All right. I'll be up in a while. I'm mowing around the cabin." Let the record show that I have never known grass to grow around the cabin, because it's down in the woods, and grass doesn't grow in the woods. But I knew for sure that Farmer H was not going to be there to carry in the bananas and onions and potatoes I bought at Save A Lot. Or his own burger that I got at DQ. Or my purse or 44 oz Diet Coke. Farmer H is not a very good Pony.

That stuff didn't carry itself in, either. My old-lady arms are covered in bruises from draping shopping bags over them and crushing the tender skin of my blood-thinned flesh. I hadn't been home ten minutes, barely enough time to put stuff away and start my own lunch of taquitos to cooking, when Farmer H came to get his burger. Making a comment that HOS was over at the BARn, and they were getting started on the roof. Making me feel bad that I had brought nothing for HOS. Though, to be fair, my psychic powers did not tip me off that he was going to be there when I returned. Farmer H told me not to worry about HOS. That he had offered him half the burger, but HOS declined, and ate two pieces of cheese from the original Frig over in the BARn.

I threw a pack of baby carrots in the roaster pan identical to the one on the porch that holds cat kibble. Peeled and sectioned five onions. Cut up some potatoes, leaving on the peel (The Pony really DOES make less work for me when he's gone). Then I sprinkled some powdered Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix on those veggies. That stuff is amazing. It's the AVON Skin-So-Soft of the food world! After that, I laid half a package of bacon strips across it, put on the lid, and stuffed it in the oven at 300 for a couple of hours. No vegetables are going to come out underdone on MY watch!

More old-lady-self-arm abuse occurred as I put two bubba cups of ice in a plastic bag with my 44 oz Diet Coke between them, draped it over my arm, and picked up my plate of taquitos to carry down to my dark basement lair. Where the phone rang at 2:38 with a notice from Farmer H's workplace's security company notifying him that a burglar alarm at the main building went off at 2:33, and the police were responding. I had to call Farmer H on the house phone, which, in a travesty of justice, is long distance for us to call our own cell phones. My cell phone was upstairs, and without The Pony to fetch it or his dad, I am resigned to spending a dollar every time I have to call Farmer H.

The house phone rang again at 3:38. With a message from security that a burglar alarm had gone off at the main building at 3:33. And the police were responding. Another robber, another dollar. I called Farmer H. He sputtered that THERE WERE PEOPLE WORKING A SHIFT AT THE PLANT, and he didn't know HOW they could be setting off the alarm and not turning it off. So he had to drive 40 minutes to work, fiddle with that alarm, and 40 minutes back. He got home at 7:17. To the vegetables that were sitting on the back burner in their roasting pan, and a pork steak that was still in the glass 9 x 12 that I couldn't wash until he did something with that meat.

I think Farmer H is ready to retire. I think I might almost be ready for him to.

Friday, August 26, 2016

There's A Special Place In The Devil's Playground...For Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's schedule is all wonky, what with her Devil's Playground shopping accomplice all the way across the state of Oklahoma. So today I did the weekly grocery shopping. Alone. Without even Farmer H (a poor substitute for the grocery-carrying and putter-awayer Pony) to assist upon my return to the Mansion.

First cat out of the bag, I could see we were going to have issues. And by we, I mean ME, Even Steven, and the Universe. I don't know what I've done to merit such evening. At first I was like, "Yeah! Right on! Sweeeeeet! This rawwwwks!" I do have a touch of the 70s and 80s trying to bubble to the surface, you know. Because there was a parking space near where I wanted! Third from the end, down by the pharmacy side of the store.

Normally, I would have sent The Pony down there on foot, and would have parked at the grocery end where I would do my cart-pushing like an old woman at the casino with a 4-wheeled walker, and come out that same door again. But today, I was on my own to pick up an 8-pack of Irish Spring Moisture Blast (we're not THAT dirty, just like to stock up), and Sensodyne ProNamel Gentle Whitening (doesn't excel in the whitening department, but allows one to drink mass quantities of Diet Coke and ice water without wincing).

Let the record show that Even Steven has a warped sense of humor. The open parking space was no bargain. I had to stick out like a sore thumb, due to the idiot in the space across from me. I even took a picture, because I could, and because I'm like that. But I did NOT show the license plate number of the idiot. Now that I'm retired, I am a kinder, gentler Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

What's up with THAT? Don't say the car in the space across from them was parked way back when that silver car pulled in. That's a poor excuse. Your parking area is defined by LINES, people. Not by the room left on the other side of them by idiots. Unless you're Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, of course. I HAD to park way back, lest T-Hoe kiss the bumper of that idiot's car. No way was I leaving a perfectly good half-a-parking-space open while I drove around trying to find one as close. It's Friday, you know. That last one of the month. People get their checks then! Not me, of course. Mine comes on the last business day, directly into my account. But a lot of folks get checks on the last Friday, as evidenced by the crowd inside.

Of course when I came out, that silver car was gone. But the idiot who took its place was also way across the line. Just not quite that far.

I really must light a fire under Farmer H to get my proposed handbasket factory up and operating.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Scammers Are In Cahoots!

You know what you spend most of your time doing when you are recently retired? Besides noodling around on the innernets, I mean. And driving to town risking life and limb on narrow roads frequented by semi truck flatbed trailers loaded with giant rocks so you can pick up a 44 oz Diet Coke and email yourself pictures from your camera because SPRINT is a piece of work, and only gets 4G (or ANY G) in town.

You spend most of your retirement time answering the phone. From your loving husband who can apparently see through the land lines and calls the moment you plop down in his La-Z-Boy with a bowl of oatmeal, after just washing a sink of dishes and boiling a dozen eggs, necessitating you to jump up and run to the phone too late before the answering machine picks up. Or picking up calls on both land line and cell phone from numbers with wonky area codes. At least you do if you have a son who is 18-going-on-13, recently dropped off in the wilds of Oklahoma to fend for himself. Just in case, you know, it might be some kind of emergency.

Funny how those calls are not all that important. Because Farmer H simply wants to know how you're doing. I can only imagine him contemplating whether to tell me to "Go towards the light," or "Get up out of my La-Z-Boy and build some trusses for a roof to join my freight containers, Woman!"

The call to my cell phone was a breather. I didn't actually hear anyone breathe. But it sounded like an open connection. Within 60 seconds, the land line rang. Having already gone crawling back to my estranged BFF Google once today, I sought advice on this second number, and discovered that it's the Windows Computer People! Eager to help me with my computer security problems, as they have selflessly helped tens of other people this week with theirs!

These scammers must be working together. If you answer one bogus call on your cell phone, the next one calls your land line. You know, to verify that it's a working number so they can sell it to other scammers. I wouldn't be surprised if they're not watching me through my computer screen. Wait. The one for New Delly doesn't have a camera. But I need to tape over that one on my Shiba laptop upstairs. Which might wreak havoc with the Skype session The Pony is planning when he's not too busy eating Papa John's pizza and stalking coeds from Chemistry class.

It's a wonder I can get anything done all day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One For All And All For Naught

Today Mrs. Hillbilly Mom outsmarted herself.

I know that's hard to believe. Because Mrs. HM IS so very smart. A former valedictorian, in fact. Have you heard?

So...we had a major downpour this morning. Internet was down. Even the TV went off. It lasted about an hour, or 90 minutes. I figured surely those ROCKERS would give it up. They can't even turn their giant flatbed trailer around in there on a good day with firm soil.

I headed to town at 10:00. I could see that our main gravel road was kind of chewed up in front of the Mansion and BARn field. So I supposed that big truck had gone past at least once to turn around up at the other end. The field where the rocks were being loaded was bereft of people, but full of ruts about 18 inches deep. Their Bobcat as parked there. And a white pickup truck. As I passed by the neighbors' barn, which is almost in the gravel road, I gave a long look at the opposite hill where I would be going. You can see it through the trees if the foliage is not too thick. Nothing.

Down the hill and around the bend I went. On to Save A Lot and to get my 44 oz Diet Coke. Today without the company of a former student. I had been gone about an hour. EmBee only gave me a sale pamphlet from The Lighter Side. I stuffed it in my purse for later disposal, and crested the first hill, keeping an eye on the barn hill for a giant flatbed semi.


The white cab of that semi truck was visible through the trees. Right at the top of the neighbors' barn hill. Such a predicament. I could drive on up, since it looked like the semi was stationary. But where would I put T-Hoe's tires to get around it? There's a deep ditch on the side of the road. Decisions, decisions. I couldn't do it. Have I mentioned that I am sick of these ROCKERS? I kept going. Up the long hill that goes past our separate 10 acres that we bought for the boys. Out the back entrance to the compound. A distance of two miles on gravel.

I figured that the semi would notice I wasn't coming up the hill, and would come down. Go about its business. Then it would be out of my way when I came back. But which way would it go? Would it follow me up the straighter section of gravel? No problem. Or would it go out by EmBee, and take the blacktop road with only two curves? The road I would be coming back on.

Mrs. HM remained ever vigilant. Watching the blacktop for signs of muddy tread. Ready on those two curves to get over. Quick. But the signs did not materialize. Nor did the creekside gravel road by EmBee look any worse for wear than when I had come in 15 minutes earlier. I crested that hill before the neighbors' barn hill. And there was the white semi! Still in the same place. I'll be ding dang donged! All that for nothing. How was I going to get around that truck? I put T-Hoe in 4WD. Just in case I got off in the muddy deep ditch.

Wait a minute! What's this? A white pickup truck came from the other way. I looked to see if it was our next-door neighbor in his city public works truck, but it was instead an old man with white hair. And he stopped! Almost beside me. Yet he didn't roll down his window. Only took out a cell phone. So I proceeded. Ever vigilant.

My detour had gained me nothing but wasted time.

When I got to the top of the neighbors' barn hill, that semi was not sitting there! It must have backed up. Maybe Whitey called and told the driver to get out of the way. Because it was parked on the wrong side of the road, with 9 of its 18 wheels on the land of the rock-giver, and 9 of its 18 wheels in the middle of the gravel road. Where a center line would be painted if you could paint a gravel road. I got over in the squishy grass by the neighbors' horse fence, and eased around.

As I passed, I saw the path that semi (fully loaded with giant rocks, all strapped down) had taken to park like that. It had driven along the load of 2-inch-plus gravel, scooped generously into our ditch to combat erosion down the hill, that Farmer H had paid his buddy, Buddy, to haul for him last night. And now it was packed into the mud by that rock-loaded semi.

I suppose Farmer H outsmarted himself, too. Paying for, and spending two hours scooping and smoothing gravel, to make an unintended parking spot for the ROCKERS.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Luck Be A Lady Tomorrow

Oh, dear. Did you ever have one of those days where it seems like everybody's gettin' on your case, from your teacher all the way down to your best girlfriend? Well, I'm having one today. No, I won't be meeting the boys on Floor #2 for a little smokin' in the boys' room. But I DO know that today was not meant for buying scratch-off tickets. The odds were stacked against Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

It all started with my trip to town. I was planning to mail one of my two phone bills, pick up some stamps, take out our weekly cash allowance, get a Personal Pan pizza for lunch, grab my 44 oz Diet Coke, and relax in my dark basement lair.

First cat out of the bag, before I even went half a mile, I encountered one of the semi trucks that are hauling rocks again off the land beside ours. Sweet Gummi Mary! What are the odds? There are 1440 minutes in a day, and I chose that precise one to start to town. Here's the hill, though I took this picture coming back up on the return trip. And a view of the earth-gouging operation. Let the record show that the edges of this road drop off about 2-3 feet there on the left side, where I was going down, due to erosion. Mother Nature is a harsh taskmistress.

The ROCKERS are not helping matters, having flattened out the drainage ditches in two placed to get their trucks in and out. Oh, and they can't turn around there, so there's been a parade of them past the Mansion all day, wearing and tearing the rest of our gravel road that they shouldn't even be on.

You'd think this would have been omen enough for HM to let go of her dream of buying lottery tickets today. But no. She was ever-hopeful that this was just an anomaly in her peaceful retirement day out. It wasn't.

Here are other signs that just about hit me over the head with bad vibes.

At EmBee, I peered inside to see what bills the dead-mouse-smelling post office had sent my way. NONE! You'd think that was good news, but seeing as how they'd sent me NOTHING, it was not. Every other mailbox on that row had mail in it. I know, because I peeped. Ain't no law against lookin'.

At the next low-water bridge, a guy was parked partly in the road, digging dirt with a shovel to toss into the back of his little pickup.

I made it to the post office mailbox and took the lake road to the bank. No stamps, because this was during the hours they've chosen this week to be closed for lunch. A silly twit in front of me waiting to pull out at the stop sign by the Casey's where I get gas was absorbed in her phone. Maybe she was GOing for Pokemon. She edged forward as if to pull out, then slammed on her brakes and sat there phone-gazing, even though no traffic was coming. I nearly rear-ended her, and the truck behind me came within a gnat's whisker of kissing T-Hoe's bumper.

Driving to the bank, I called in my Personal Pan. Because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is allowed to use her cell phone while driving. Nobody else. Just her. Because she can still keep her car on the road, and not impede traffic. Of course there was a new girl taking the order, so she had to tell her trainer everything I said, then I had to hear her trainer tell her what to say, then she had to say it to me. It took as long to give the order as it took them to make my pizza.

On to the bank. I had just put my card into the drive-up ATM when a red van (much like our $1000 Caravan) pulled up thisclose to me. Normally, people follow proper ATM-waiting etiquette and sit back a car length. Not his guy. He was close enough to count my bills as they squeezed out of the slot.

I took the alley to the church parking lot next door to the bank, but I didn't get on it, because not only do they have NO TRESPASSING signs, but also a surveillance camera. I pulled onto the abandoned former used car lot, where we once bought a used pontoon boat, right next to it. I do it all the time. Nobody bothers me. There is grass growing up through the cracks in the blacktop, for cryin' out loud! And the car repair shop across the side road from it sometimes parks cars on there. Like today. There were two cars parked over on the edge of the lot. I'll be ding dang donged if a dude didn't walk over, staring at me all the while, and get into one of those cars, and drive in front of me, still staring. That's really not polite. Him momma didn't teach him right.

Back to Pizza Hut to pick up my lunch. I met a large panel truck in the middle of the narrow bridge that is on the schedule for replacement over by the radio station that's haunted. And a roadwalker wearing headphones. But the pizza itself was ready and smelled delicious.

Just a hop skip and jump to the Mansion was left. I couldn't get my 44 oz Diet Coke at the gas station chicken store because their Diet Coke has been out of commission. So I went to the other not-so-convenient store that used to be Voice of the Village. Wouldn't you know it? A guy was putting more 44 oz cups in the holder, standing in the way, and that guy was none other than a former student from Newmentia! I had seen him working there one day when the line was way backed up, so I just left. But now I was on a mission for a 44 oz Diet Coke, which I went four days without during the Oklahoma trip.

"Oh. Didn't you retire?"

"Yes I did. And aren't we both glad we're not someplace else right now?"

" school?"

"That's right!"

I took my soda to the counter and paid, and almost didn't get my change, which came down a little slide into a dry metal pool, fooling me with my hand held out to get it from the cashier. Since when do these modern-day cash registers do that anymore?

Yes, I did not even look at that giant display of scratch-off tickets leaning up against the counter. You don't have to slap Mrs. HM with a black cat as a ladder is falling on her head, in order to suggest that this is not her lucky day.

Monday, August 22, 2016

You Never Count Your Money While You're Sittin' At The Table, There'll Be Time Enough For Countin' When You're Sitting On The Pot

Today I went to the casino with my favorite gambling aunt. Let the record show that this excursion was not a financial success.

We were planning to leave from the Save A Lot parking lot at 9:00. I got out of the shower at 8:00 to find that Auntie had sent me a text that she was running late, and it would be around 9:15. No big deal. I had thought I'd leave the Mansion at 8:25. It's ten minutes to town. Then I would have time to go another ten to the dead-mouse-smelling post office and back, and still be waiting on the lot for Auntie. No use wastin' a single minute of gambling time! But because I knew she'd be late, I spent some time with Jack and Juno.

As T-Hoe and I were tooling past the prison, my phone rang. Auntie said she was there waiting for me! I explained that I was almost to town, but was going by the post office to mail letters for the #1 son and my new college boy, The Pony. Auntie didn't mind. She had her Kindle. Of course I got behind a motorcycle that had to go BELOW THE SPEED LIMIT! Sweet Gummi Mary! If you can't ride the speed limit, get a tricycle and stay on the sidewalk.

I made it back to the parking lot, climbed into Auntie's little AWD Lincoln something-or-other, and saw that it was only 9:01. We were on time anyway! Her driving was akin to riding with a blindfolded drunken Farmer H. Not that I've ever been such a passenger. Anyhoo...we mainly kept it in two lanes, and followed big trucks closer than Farmer H commanded The Pony. But we arrived alive, in only 53 minutes!

I'm sure the parking valets had a snicker watching us climb our tired old bones out of the Lincoln. We were probably looking like underwater mimes trying to get out of an imaginary box. AND, if you can believe it, while we were disembarking, Auntie said to me, "HM, I really like to go places with you, because you take so long to get moving." Which I think is not really a compliment.

I got even with her as we went through the big revolving door. I turned my head and asked, "Are you going in this section with me? Or getting in your own?" She didn't answer, so I stepped right in. There's this little thing called momentum, you know. It takes a bit of effort to get that revolving door started, but then it practically spins itself. As I got going, I heard a yelp from Auntie. "HM! I'm in here with you!" Not my problem. She did not notify me. Not my problem if she dashed in like a double-dutch jump-roper. Thank the Gummi Mary, though, that she didn't fall and break a hip. I was NOT driving back on the highway.

We threw away our money until 11:45, when me met at Burger Brothers for lunch. Nom nom! I had a burger. What did you THINK I would have there, anyway? But Auntie had headed out on the highway today, and was looking for adventure. She said she wanted a hot dog. They had a sausage on the menu. So she took it. The girl with an accent asked if Auntie wanted peppers and onions on it, and she said yes. We split an order of fries. I paid with my $10 restaurant comp coupon. That didn't pay all, but most of it. C'mon! We're in a casino in the midwest. It's not like they have cheap food so we'll spend more gambling. We are not high rollers.

First we had a problem of drinks. Not the alcoholic kind. Beverages to go with our meal. You can buy one at Burger Brothers. But why would you? Just walk back onto the gambling floor and get a free one! I had suggested that we get them before we met for lunch. But Auntie said, "I don't want to leave my cup unattended. Anybody can put anything in there." Like she was some 20-something hottie at a bar about to get roofied! Still, we went to get the drinks, and put them on a table after much disagreeing.

"Not there!"

"Why not?"

"We can't see them when we order!"

"They're right over the half-wall! There is NO ONE else in here right now."

"Let's put them on this table."

"Okay...but that's right where people walk by..."

"That's right. Let's go over here away from it."

"That's right under the TV. I don't want people watching me when a commercial comes on."

"All right. One more over."

I set down my cup and turned to go through the line. Auntie followed shortly. Heh, heh. That's funny. Because Auntie is about 4' 10". We made the order and came back to sit down with a light-up buzzer remote thingy like they give you for outpatient surgery. That's when I saw that Auntie had kindly covered the top of my no-lid drink in a Styrofoam cup with two napkins that she had picked up off the counter of free drinks out in the casino proper. Sweet Gummi Mary! Auntie was right about people messing with our drinks. Because SHE was the one messing with them. I picked up my soggy napkins and wadded them into a ball. I don't even want to know who else's hands touched those disintegrating paper napkins that were wicking up my Diet Coke.

When the buzzer went off, I went to get the tray. SWEET GUMMI MARY! So many things this day lend themselves to exclamation! Auntie's sausage was HUGE! It would put the late great John Holmes to shame. CAUTION! If you don't know him, don't you DARE Google him! You do NOT want to see any pictures. It's disturbing enough that kids at Newmentia the first time I taught there nicknamed a little kid in 7th grade Big John Holmes. Kind of like calling a fat guy Slim.

Auntie had other troubles with her sausage besides its enormity. "What are these things?"

"Peppers. It's an Italian sausage. They asked you if you wanted onions and peppers, and you said yes."

"Well, I don't like peppers. They'll give me heartburn. Do you want them?"

"No. They'll give me heartburn."

About that time a couple of old ladies sat down at the table next to us. One was explaining to another the special features on her walker, which spurred the other one to admit she was thinking of giving up her cane for a walker. Then they had a bit of an argument about soda. And how they should have brought one in. But the cane lady said she preferred water anyway, leaving the walker lady to fend for herself. And of course you can't carry a soda while you're leaning on a walker.

Auntie looked at me. "This place is full of old people today. And now that you're retired, YOU'RE ONE OF US! Of course, I'm not old..."

"Remember when we rode the gambling bus, and I was the youngest one on there?"

"Yes. That was the funniest thing!"

We ate our lunch and wasted valuable money-losing time. Auntie is a talker. But she DID drive, so I didn't want to scurry off, even though she said I could. After a couple more hours of throwing away cash, we headed home before rush hour hit. The drive flew by, because, in case I haven't mentioned it, Auntie is quite a talker.

We can't wait to go again.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Absence Makes The Pup Grow Wetter

The return trip from ensconcing The Pony in his dorm at OU was surprisingly uneventful. With nobody to chastise for NOT riding his bumper or exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph, Farmer H tooled along at a mere 1 mile over the limit! I swear, it was like riding with a little old lady from Pasadena. IF that little old lady lifted her rumpus to fart every 15 minutes, and tilted her head back to swill bottled mini Diet Cokes while passing a convoy of 20 military flat-bed semis.

I must say that I called Farmer H out on swerving onto the bumpity-bumpity grooves on the left shoulder of the passing lane. They are put there, you know, to alert drivers that they're running off the road. I asked if, perhaps, it would be too much trouble to keep us in one or the other of the two lanes, between the lines.

"I AM between the lines!"

"That bumpity sound begs to differ. You ran off."

"Oh, Val! That's just the shoulder!"

"Exactly! You're not really supposed to drive on it. The next step is the guard rail."

Can you believe Farmer H thinks the shoulder is to be used for travel? Yeah. I knew you could believe it.

We left Norman at 7:05 a.m. and rolled up the driveway of the Mansion at 7:05 p.m. In case you can't do rudimentary clock math, that's a 12-hour drive. Uh huh. We came back the same way we went. With a stop to take the #1 son to lunch. Among other things. That's a story for another day. Maybe here. Maybe elsewhere.

I just knew my doggies would be on the porch, sensing that I was nearly home. Probably got ready for us when we hit the Hillmomba city limits. But as we turned past the big green dumpster (sniff, sniff) last put there by The Pony on Tuesday evening, I saw nary a fleabag near the Mansion! Farmer H stopped on the concrete to let me out before pulling into the garage. It's too small, you know. Or has too much junk lining the sides. Because the passenger door of the Acadia won't open once it's parked.

And here came Puppy Jack! Running, running, his short little legs propelling his long little body, from over by the goat pen, his short little ears tucked back alongside his head. He undulated up the front steps, and sat looking at me from the porch. My, how he's grown! I think HOS fed him a little too much while we were away.

Anyhoo, once I stepped out and hollered, "JACKIE BOY!" he ran down the other set of steps and out to stand up pawing at my leg. It was all I could do not to pick him up, but he had obviously just come from swimming. Probably in the goat's tub, considering the direction from whence he came. Then Juno appeared, having been guarding the inside of her house, in a funk because her people had abandoned her.

Juno was quite happy to see me. Both dogs pranced back to the side porch for hugs, jockeying for position. Juno's near-human amber eyes bespoke great relief upon our reunion. She pressed her head and chest against me, her muzzle over my shoulder as I stood down on the sidewalk, like she didn't want to let me go. Darn those legs and paws not adapted to hugging!

I gave both dogs a handful of cat kibble, and then my guilt made me go into the garage and dip a nonstick saucepan of it from the mini plastic trash can that holds it. I poured out a generous dollop to Jack, and more for Juno. She's bigger, you know. And looked thinner. I think maybe she had not been getting her egg quota while we were away.

This morning, I went out to sit on the front porch pew and play with those doggies while Farmer H gathered his tools for weedeating. Juno was there right away, pressing her whole body against my knees, filling my old holey sweatpants legs with burs. I gave her my full attention, she being my loyal buddy who loves me like no other. Then I called for Jack. Three times. I heard the Gator start up over by the BARn, and here he came, racing along in front. Then at the side. Then behind. Jack is not very fast.

Once he saw me on the porch, hesitating like he couldn't believe his eyes, he ran up the steps and stood on his short hind legs against my knee. He does that when he wants to be picked up. But once again, he was all wet! In fact, he got my pants soaking wet. Along with the burs.

"Your dog's been swimming again. In the FISH POND when I was around back."

Well. No way was I picking him up after that. If he'd been in his clean-water cat-litter-box swimming pool, maybe. But not from the green-water fish pond. Fish poop in there, you know!

Jack is overdue for a picking-up. I'll catch him dry one of these mornings.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Trippin' With Farmer H

Our trip to transport The Pony to Oklahoma was fraught with drama. Drama aka Farmer H.

The original plan was for us to follow The Pony in his loaded Rogue. We thought that he would need help carrying his whole life up to his 12th floor dorm room. THEN OU sent him an email about move-in schedules. Students get a 1-hour window to pull up outside the dorm, drop off ALL THEIR STUFF to staff, then park and ride a shuttle back so they can unpack. Seems pretty streamlined. The #1 son never had that option at his college. Anyhoo...we had already planned to accompany The Pony to make sure he made it, and say a proper goodbye.

The Pony asked me to ride along with him part of the way. Who am I to turn that offer down in favor of riding with Farmer H? We'll have way too much more than enough plenty of time to talk after The Pony is gone.

The drama started Wednesday at 5:15 a.m. I had instructed Farmer H to wake me at 5:00. I knew just what I needed to do in order to be ready to depart the Mansion at 7:00. A time chosen by Farmer H. That loss of 15 minutes made it harder, but I knew I could still get everything together. I was completing the final tasks, having already packed my last-minute items. Some perishable food needed tossing to the dogs and chickens, and dishes containing them had to be washed. Farmer H stalked through the kitchen and said, "You should have had that ready before this morning."

I don't know why that should matter to him, what I was doing, as long as I was ready to depart at 7:00, right? Maybe I wanted to relax in a bubble bath until 6:59. As long as I was ready to leave at his appointed time, he should not have a say in what I spent my preparation efforts on. Let the record show that we departed the Mansion driveway at 6:55 a.m.

Then we promptly drove to town and spent 15 minutes buying GAS. And of course browsing the Casey's convenience store for donuts and soda. REALLY, Farmer H?

"You could have had this done already. You've only known for a month that we would be leaving this morning to drive to Oklahoma."

"It's YOUR Acadia! YOU should have had it full of gas!"

"No. I drive the Tahoe every day. YOU have been driving the Acadia when you go running around. YOU are the one who only puts in $10 of gas at a time. You have been off ALL WEEK! I think you might have had time Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday to fill up the Acadia."

There's no reasoning with that man. So anyhoo...we waited on traffic to pull out of the Casey's lot. And all at once, Farmer H switched his blinker and went the other way! Instead of the route he always takes, the route The Pony had planned on. And don't forget that The Pony was supposed to be in the lead, but Farmer H took off first out of the parking lot. Since the plan was to travel together, The Pony followed Farmer H to the highway, and on to the road that leads past Newmentia. The straighter route, not the one that follows a twisted pig's trail that Farmer H usually takes. We end up in the same town, but Farmer H thinks his way is faster. It's not.

Not only did Farmer H not let The Pony take the lead, he sped off like a criminal evading law enforcement. Speaking of law enforcement...The Pony was loathe to drive as fast as Farmer H. "Mom. He's going WAY over the speed limit!" As I could see, courtesy of The Pony's Garmin. We were AT the speed limit, and losing sight of Farmer H on that curvy blacktop road. We knew where we were going. But there was that whole traveling together plan in our heads. Farmer H had the nerve to call me and tell The Pony to catch up.

We were going 63 in a 55 when a Missouri State Highway Patrol car passed us going the other way. Too curvy and no turnaround venue, so The Pony didn't get pulled over. But he dropped back down to only 4 miles over the limit. Farmer H was livid when we stopped for me to switch my passenger status.

"I had to slow down to 45 for him to catch up!"

"Of course you did. He was barely going over the speed limit. You shouldn't have driven like a maniac. No way could he catch you with you going 70."

Farmer H just shook his head in his condescending way. He noticed that The Pony's right front tire was low, and commanded him to go to a gas station and put in some air. Huh. You'd think a loving father might have checked out his son's vehicle before sending him off to Oklahoma in it for six months. Since I was now trapped in the Acadia with Farmer H until the next rest stop, I kept my mouth shut. Life is hard enough without being a captive audience for Farmer H's reasoning. He let The Pony take the lead getting onto I-44 at St. James. Then promptly blew past him as we went through Rolla.

Once I got back in with The Pony, he informed me, "As I pulled onto the ramp for the rest stop, Dad flung gravel up on my windshield, he was going so fast." You're preachin' to the highly pissed-off choir, sonny." And the choir's attitude did not improve as the trip progressed. Once we left our hour-long lunch in Joplin, Farmer H, took the turnpike. Every other trip, he avoided the turnpike. Because, he said, "People drive too fast on that turnpike!"

The speed limit on the turnpike was 75 mph. The Pony set his cruise control, and the Garmin showed a steady speed of 74 mph.

"You know your dad is going to complain, right, because you're not even going the speed limit?"

"I don't care. I'm not setting the cruise again."

He had a point. There were a lot of semi trucks on the turnpike. In fact, The Pony said, "We've got us a convoy." Not so much US as the six trucks that kept passing us and us re-passing them. When I get in a pod of traffic like that (well, when I used to, in the days before I preferred to eschew highway driving) I backed off my speed a bit and let that traffic get ahead. No need to look at a the back-end of a semi when you're going 74 mph.

Then my phone rang. It was Farmer H, of course. Madder 'n a wet hen. "Tell The Pony to CLOSE THE GAP! Cars are going to get in between us."

"He's close enough to you! It's one car length for every 10 mph of speed, you know."

"Not on the turnpike! Cars are going to get in between, and I'll lose him."

"Then quit speeding and running off from him!"

Can you believe Farmer H hung up on me? What he forgets is (the same thing he reminds me of when I ask him to stop sweaving or slow down) that he has been driving for 44 years. And The Pony has been actually driving for 4 months. Not only did he hang up, but Farmer H TOOK OFF! Weaving in and out of those semis. We couldn't have caught him if The Pony had upped his speed to 85. Because you can't catch someone going 85 unless you go EVEN FASTER!

Miracle of miracles, we arrived at our destination at 5:30 p.m. Even after a stint in the Oklahoma City to Norman rush hour. That trip took 10.5 hours. I don't know WHY Farmer H didn't let us go the way we came back last time, through Arkansas, and straight across Oklahoma on a divided highway.

His reason? "No. It took us 10 and a half hours last time."

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Eyes Of Oklahoma Are Upon You

Look what we pulled up next to during our jaunt around Norman, OK on Thursday morning:

It's the Google Street View car! Good thing we weren't right beside it. I don't need to be preserved in perpetuity in front of a business that I might not patronize. Farmer H is the one who thought it might get us on camera. But I'm pretty sure that camera is way high for a reason.

This is not as dramatic as driving up beside the Google Street View camera strapped to the back of a camel. But it's pretty darn exciting for the Hillbilly family. We don't get out much. Besides, nobody's ever driving around Hillmomba taking pictures.

Unless you count that odd red-headed woman in the gas station chicken store a couple summers ago!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

We May Lose And We May Win, But We Will Never Be Here Again

What does a loving family do with their last son when they only have precious hours left before he walks into his college dorm and out of their lives forever?


Don't act surprised! It's the Hillbilly family, after all. We got up and ate the free breakfast at our Holiday Inn Express. No Ambiened middle-aged lady in a slip and no undies this time. The eggs were still cold. I took my own packet of instant oatmeal (Great Value brand) because the Quaker brand offered on the breakfast bar was too bland last time. AND The Pony pointed out a shaker of cinnamon. So at least that part was good. The Pony reported that the gravy was too strong. ? Not sure what he meant by that, but he only ate one half of his biscuit and gravy.

THEN the waft of perfume overdose hit us. I swear I almost choked on the miasma. Farmer H tried to act like it was nothing. He does that, you know. I used to call him Mr. Opposite. Now I have a more descriptive name for him. Anyway...he said, "It's probably just that old lady." AS IF! Like once you reach a certain age, you are allowed to smell however you want, and inflict your odor on the entire populace. Good thing we were almost finished.

We headed to The Pony's credit union. When he came down for enrollment with Farmer H, they opened an account. Of course they both promptly forgot their usernames. AND passwords. Let the record show that I was not happy to hear that it took them an hour to set up the account initially. Since I had to go in and get added to that account so I can deposit money for him. Let the record further show that it took 48 minutes to add me to that account, and update their passwords. Somebody needs to streamline their account process!

By now it was 10:00, and The Pony had a move-in appointment of 1:00-2:00. We didn't want to hang around the hotel. So we went to a grocery store to buy The Pony some nail clippers and a tire gauge. Classy parting gifts, don't you think? Perhaps we should have presented him with those items at graduation. Still with time to kill, we headed to the casino. It's only 15 minutes away.

We only got to spend 45 minutes there. I gave The Pony and Farmer H each $60. Which they both managed to lose in that short time. I, on the other hand, left with a deficit of a mere $15. Probably because my slotting was slowed by texts from the #1 son. He informed me that he won $5 on one of his scratch off tickets I sent him, and asked if we arrived safely, and if The Pony had moved in yet. He was incensed to hear that The Pony was gambling! Never mind that I had taken #1 gambling on the Christmas vacation when he turned 21. Last year.

Farmer H and The Pony braved the move-in crowds, and he left The Pony at the dorm. The plan had been for The Pony to drive Farmer H back so he could keep his car, but he had to run off to a social event (I know, that's SHOCKING), so we'll get his car back to him on Friday.

Farmer H and I went to eat at Golden Corral, which was much better than the exorbitantly priced, drunken loudfest of the steak house we went to in June. THEN we had another excursion to the casino, where Farmer H endowed with a new gambling stake reported that he broke even, but was forced to admit, upon further interrogation, that he had NOT made up this morning's money, so was still $60 in the hole. AND THEN he declared that it was OUR money. Au contraire, Mon Farmer! It is MY money from cashed-in scratch off winners. The money which I use for further gaming, and chose so generously to share with him and The Pony. It's not like I said, "Oh, we'll go to the casino. I'll get some money out of the cash machine." Nope. Farmer H needs to be more beholden to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

I DID let #1 know that he's the winner in the midst of a family of losers, with his +5 dollars on the day being the high-water mark to which we all aspire.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Livin' The Dream, Wantin' To Scream

As one of our final acts on The Pony Farewell Tour, my little Pony and I stopped by the new convenience store, Waterway Market.

Waterway Market has been under construction since way back. I think ground was broken before Christmas. Every morning on the way to Newmentia, The Pony and I observed progress. Maybe not The Pony. He usually had his head buried in his laptop. But I did. "Look, Pony. They're going to have that open before school's out! We'll stop by here and get a Diet Coke on the way home! Or maybe a slushie. I'm pretty sure they'll have slushies. Their other store does."

And then time grew short. The trench was dug. The gas tanks installed. But then everything stalled. We could barely see any headway each day. "They really need to hurry it up, Pony. We might only get our Diet Coke on the last week of school!"

Alas. Just like the Smax frozen custard shop, that non-union labor could not meet my deadline. That Smax frozen custard shop was supposed to be there for me and my mom to hang out all that summer. Every day (on a little different route) that Smax frozen custard shop taunted me. A paint job here, with big ol' cow spots. And a shiny roof there. Then windows. A counter installed inside. Too late for my mom. But I kept her aware of its progress. Right up to the end.

Slowly, The Pony and I learned to let go. We had no business at Newmentia any more. No reason to drive by the Waterway Market. It was on the way to Mom's house. Which we had no reason to go to, having sold it to my cousin. The only reason to drive that direction was to visit my sister the ex-mayor's wife. Which doesn't happen much. But on the way to the credit union last Thursday, I took a detour and saw that Waterway Market appeared to be open for business. Just in time for the back-to-school crowd. Which does not include me or The Pony.

So on Tuesday, the last day The Pony would decisively call Hillmomba home, we left lunch with my favorite gambling aunt and headed back into town to Waterway Market. The Pony insisted. And he was driving. "C'mon. Let's go! It's been a dream of yours for a long time. And we're going to check it out." Sometimes he's a little nag, that Pony.

With high hopes for slushies, off we went. I was in the mood for something possibly sugar-free. The 7-Eleven formerly in that location had them. Always changing flavors. The Pony thought he might get one in Coke flavor. He parked his Rogue and in we went. We walked up and down the wide aisles, soaking in the ambience. The Pony spied it first: a BEER CAVE in the back corner. Hope that wasn't prophetic. But on up the back aisle was the slushie machine.

I'll be ding-dang-donged if that four-hole machine only had ONE flavor actually functioning and ready for cupping. The cherry and the Mountain Dew said NOT READY. And the other forgotten flavor was turning around inside that tube looking like dry cotton candy lumps. So...we turned our attention to the smoothie station. A worker walked by and pointed out the Banana and the Strawberry as the best sellers. I took the bait. When I used to work for the unemployment office on South Broadway, we had a 7-Eleven half a block up. On the way to the parking lot and home each Friday, my co-worker carpool driver and I stopped in for a Banana Slurpee. They were delectable.

Not so the Banana smoothie at Waterway Market. One sip and I knew it was going in the trash when I stopped by the gas station chicken store for a 32 oz Diet Coke (cutting back for the Oklahoma trip). It smacked of vanilla. Not banana. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom hates vanilla like Lou Grant hates spunk. The Pony, to his credit, tried to stick up for Waterway Market. "Banana is one of the hardest flavors to capture synthetically." Said my little Chemical Engineer. Still, he was smart enough not to purchase a slushie or smoothie of any kind. Though he DID pick up a purple crack pipe (one of those long metal straws) for me off the counter.

Sorry, Waterway Market. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom and The Pony give you two thumbs and two hoofs down.

I was so enthralled with my Banana smoothie at the counter that I did not notice if they had scratch-off tickets!

This establishment may require a second visit.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I Think The New Phone Was His Lifeline

Today we had lunch with my favorite gambling aunt. She wanted to say goodbye to The Pony as he headed out of our lives forever off to college. She chose a new old restaurant on the highway. It used to be one thing, now it's another. Not a smorgasbord, but a grill.

The Pony had a mushroom swiss burger, with fries on the side. Auntie had a quarter-pound cheeseburger with homemade chips on the side. I had a grilled chicken salad with raspberry vinaigrette. Oh, and Auntie ordered an appetizer plate of onion rings, because she said they're the best thing they serve. I will admit that those onion rings looked delicious, but I had nary a one. The Pony partook, using both ketchup some type of mustard sauce that came with the platter.

You'd think a salad wouldn't take long to make. But you'd be wrong. We met at 11:00 a.m., because we Hillmombans like to strap the ol' feedbag on early. Only four or five cars were in the parking lot, two of them being police. The onion rings came out about 10 minutes after we ordered. But the other food took another 20. Not that we were counting. We are known for lingering. Or perhaps loitering.

Here came the food! A big plate half covered with homemade chips! And a mushroom swiss burger! Which was wrong. Because The Pony ordered that burger, but with fries. And here was a platter for Auntie, with her cheeseburger and fries, no chips. Well. I though the waitress was going to have to call MENSA. She acted like she had no idea how to remedy the situation.

"Why don't you just set them down on the table, and they can each pick up their burger and put it on the plate where it belongs?"

Heh, heh. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a regular King Solomon sometimes. I suppose that waitress was going to take the plates back to the kitchen, and have the food cooked over. Which I might understand if they had gone to separate tables, people not in the same party. All I could think was, "How long will THIS take if she goes back to the kitchen?"

Because, you see. Mrs. HM did not even have her salad yet. I know, right? You'd think the salad would be the easiest to make. The first to the table. But no. I waited another five minutes for my salad. But what a salad it was! I wish I had taken a picture, but I was so busy digging into that platter of greenery that it never occurred to me. It looked like somebody went out back and dug up part of the yard. I have no idea what I was eating, but it was great. The grilled chicken bites were fantastic. And the raspberry vinaigrette was on the side, so I just picked up those greens and dipped them. Uh huh. With my hands. But the chicken I stabbed with my fork. Mrs. HM is NOT a barbarian!

Of course the other members of my dining party were done before me. Both claiming that their meat was dry, and the bread crumbly. Made me no nevermind! My salad was delicious. I left the purply kind of stuff, but ate all the greenery and diced tomatoes and sliced cucumbers. Nom Nom!

We lingered a little longer. The waitress came by numerous times to see if we needed refills. Nope. And they didn't need our table, either. Even the lunch crowd had plenty of seating to choose from. Let the record show that we did not leave until 1:00.

For a going-away lunch in his honor, The Pony sure didn't talk much.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Beginning Of An Era

Sometimes, you don't know what you've got till it's gone. Ain't talkin' about a parking lot.

This morning I rolled out of bed around 6:30, thinking how I should be leaving in about 10 minutes for my first day back at work after summer vacation. BUT NOT! Because I'm retired, by cracky! So I just went to the bathroom and crawled back in bed, snuggled up under my grandma's hand-made quilt, listened to the driving rain, and smiled smugly to myself.

I woke up again around 8:30, and imagined Sweet Alabama Beige and Ms Cardiac sitting at a table that no one had saved for them, waiting to get in line for their free back-to-school breakfast. I hope they didn't sit in the THIS ROW GOES LAST THIS YEAR section. Because that would mean they feasted on a few tired grapes that fell off the stem, and some crusts of the ghosts of cinnamon rolls, and maybe some gravy they could scrape off the bottom of that foil tub, and some watery scrambled EggBeater fragments, and perhaps the rind of a honeydew. Good eatin'! And good sleepin' for ME, so I took another 8 or 10 winks of snooze time.

Yes, even as I drove myself to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke to mail the weekly letter (with $6 for Chinese food, and two $5 tickets of HOPE) to the #1 son, my mind was wrapping itself around my FOREVER VACATION status. I probably would have been delayed this morning anyway. The creeks were WAY up.

Yes. That creek is so far up that it has taken over the road. Probably about 15 feet above the bridge where T-Hoe's tires were wont to tread. But don't worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! I didn't have to go that way! Farmer H was kind enough to drive down there and take a picture for me. He's off, you know! To wait for Wednesday to accompany The Pony to college move-in day.

Nope. I did not have to cross that bridge. Never even came to it. But the tiny little concrete low water bridge down the hill from the Mansion about a quarter mile had been out of its banks and bent down the foliage all around it and along the other gravel road that takes me to EmBee. It comes up fast, but also recedes fairly quickly. So while all was fine at 10:20 a.m., I doubt that it was passable at 6:40.

I was feeling a little left out when the cheerful clerk who sold my soda said, "Only 174 more days until school's out!" Because I'm no longer part of the team. The team which once again earned a mention as one of Newsweek's Top 500 bastions of public education. Perhaps it's ironic that I just mangled both of those words (public and education) in typing. Yes, I missed being a part of the behind-the-scenes crew that preps the youth of today to be the leaders of tomorrow.


Yeah, right. Like I miss working!

Perhaps my sentiments are best conveyed by my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel's text this morning:

School's out FOREVER!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Tyrant Shakes His Iron Fist

Farmer H has taken a week off from work. He does that at the drop of a hat, you know. But he IS planning to retire in December, so maybe he just wants to use up his vacation days early.

Of course, since we will be leaving in a few days to follow The Pony to Oklahoma and get him moved into the dorm...Farmer H chose this morning to drive to visit the #1 son in College Town. Uh huh. An 8-hour drive on the horizon, so Farmer H chooses to drive two hours there and two hours back today. For no reason.

Sure, he SAID it was to drop off an electrical contraption that #1 had asked us to bring on our way through. But he also took #1 out to lunch, TO THE PLACE I HAD TOLD #1 WE'D GO WHEN WE STOP BY THERE ON SATURDAY! That is just rude. Poaching #1's company and culinary destination. Raining on my parade. Making my upcoming visit an afterthought. Making ME the lesser (cinnamon) babka.

But here's where The Tyrant overstepped his bounds. He called me out for doing laundry! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I had just told The Pony to try on his new school clothes, because we were going to take the tags off and wash them and get them all ready to pack. Because The Tyrant had also arisen this morning, SUNDAY, and asked, "Is he packed?" Seriously. We are leaving Wednesday. What's the deal?

Anyhoo...after hearing me say I was washing up The Pony's clothes, The Tyrant made a pointed jab. "Well, I hope you'll be done by the time I get back, because I NEED TO DO LAUNDRY!"

Let the record show that Farmer H made this decision long ago. Right after we got married. That rather than put his dirty clothes in the hamper, he would leave them on the bedroom floor, and pick them up and wash them himself. Heh, heh. Not a long, thought-out decision. But one made in a fit of pique on the spur of the moment, because the woman who was about to wash, dry, fold, and put away his clothing for the rest of his life dared to ask him to put those clothes in the hamper after wearing.

The Pony filled me in later about the current laundry. "Yeah, Mom. He was going to wash clothes yesterday, but you had that load in there. And he got mad."

"Let me get this straight. I have done ONE load of laundry in seven days. ONE. And it was yesterday. So that's the time your dad picked to do HIS laundry, that he only does about once a month?"

"Uh huh. He was mad because they were in the washer."

"They only had to be moved to the dryer, and he could have used it."

"He didn't."

The Tyrant only wants what I have, or wants to do what I want to do, WHEN I am doing it. Or before. Like the lunch with #1 today.

Retirement is going to be a rocky road.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Something Is Rotten Out-Of-Date In Frig's Dark

Frig II has been harboring a secret.

He's a crafty one, Frig II. Every time I fling open his door, that light is on. But I'm sure it's not when the door is closed. Contents sitting on their respective shelves, conniving. Conspiring against Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. There oughta be a law!

Some mornings, I have instant oatmeal for breakfast. A packet of Great Value Brown Sugar Cinnamon. Quick and simple. Only needs up to a half cup of boiling water. Other days, I have a boiled egg. That's not so hard, if you consider the initial effort spread out over the many days you can use those eggs. Sure, there's the boiling. But I do a dozen at a time. Then cool them in a pot of cold water, and put them back in their carton. VOILA! Easy boiled eggs ready for breakfast or salads.

Several days ago, I knocked my boiled egg on a paper plate on the counter to shatter its shell. I rolled it around a couple times to loosen that egg-skin just under the shattered shell. Then I started peeling.


My thumb went way down inside that egg! Yuck! I figured it must have been cracked, and water got inside. Sometimes that happens. There's a little pocket of water, and then your misshapen egg peels as normal. But this was MUSH! Mushy egg. Like pudding! I leaned over to sniff that egg. BIG MISTAKE! It was plumb rotten! Icky-poo! So I tossed it off the back porch, washed my hands, and started over with another egg. Everything turned out fine.

So yesterday, I went through my egg-cracking routine. And another egg was mushy! Smelly! Rotten! And when the one after that seemed too pliable upon cracking, I tossed the rest of that boiled carton.

What's the deal? We used to boil three dozen eggs for Easter. Color them. Hide them so they sat out overnight. Refrigerate them upon finding. And they would last for MONTHS in the original Frig! Don't be tellin' me that the vinegar in the dye preserved them. I put vinegar in my boiling-egg water to make them peel easier.

Never have I seen eggs go rotten so fast. And after being boiled, too! They were not old eggs. Not our own eggs. They were eggs in their original carton from Save A Lot, with the best-by date still on the end, still good. I've never had a problem with Save A Lot's eggs, as long as I make sure there are no cracked ones before I buy them.

Something tells me that somewhere, between the chicken's butt and Save A Lot's cooler, those eggs did a little sunbathing on their trucker's pallet. Which ruined them for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's palate.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Son Is A Son Till He Takes Him A Wife, But The Pony's Matrimony Is Headed For Strife

After a full day of picking up college accoutrements, The Pony and I lunched at Captain D's (his choice) and stopped by EmBee for the mail as we neared home.

"What'd we get?"

"A postcard from OU about the welcoming activities for incoming freshmen, something for #1 about air miles, and your Entertainment Weekly magazine. Huh. I thought that said something else."

By this time I had turned T-Hoe onto the gravel road down by the creek. Thankfully bereft of yesterday's car parked between the NO TRESPASSING signs, and the man and woman in swimwear sitting on a flat rock in the middle of the creek, drinking canned beers from spongy coolie cups.

I glanced at the magazine cover, and saw, across the bottom, in stand-out letters:

J.K. Rowlings Fantastic Beasts.

No comment from The Pony on what he THOUGHT it said...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Peace Of Pony Things

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been slightly freaking out just a smidgen over the past week or so, what with The Pony's departure for college imminent.  I dreamed that I lost him in The Devil's Playground the other night. Not the regular Devil's Playground, but in a dream one located on the plaza, where Farmer H says he's getting that drug-delivery job from a pharmacy in an unmarked storefront.

That place where I dream-lost The Pony used to be a supermarket. One where they soaked old smelly chickens in buckets of bleach, then repackaged them with a new date. So said my claimants at the local unemployment office, anyway. And in my dream world, it was not very good to Ponies, either.

I dream-left The Pony in a large game room at the left of the dream-Devil's-Playground entrance. After him not-dream-texting me back, I tried to call him, then went back to the dream game room. A kid there told me that The Pony said he wasn't feeling well, but didn't know where he dream-went. I searched the store three times, went into a service hall that kept getting smaller and smaller, and was made of molded plastic like those shower inserts, except for a section of shiplap low to the floor where I could see through to a storage area. Still, no Pony. Then I went out front to see if he was dream-sitting in T-Hoe, but he wasn't, and wasn't out front by the coin-operated rocky-horse, either. Back inside, I was frantically trying to dream-call him again, when I turned around and saw him standing under a set of school gym bleachers, his elbow propped insouciantly on the underside of a bleacher, wearing his moisture-wicking highlighter-colored shirt with gray shorts, smirking at me! I was so happy to dream-see him that I didn't even mind the smirk. Oh, and he was taller than normal, too.

Maybe I should take a page from The Pony's playbook, though he's not at all athletic, and I daresay does not even know what a playbook is, and relax and commune with nature. Like he did in Poolio today. With a new friend:

Not sure what's going on here. But some folks think dragonflies are symbolic.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Your Hand Is Writin' Checks That Nobody In Line Wants You To Cash

What is with people?

I am willing to hear your answer. That is not a rhetorical question.

Why do people write checks at the counter in a CONVENIENCE STORE? Thus inconveniencing all those in line, who dropped by because AHEM it's CONVENIENT. At least it is if you're not there writing a check.

Seriously. They know when they come in that they're going to use a check. So why do they wait until they get to the counter to drag that checkbook out of the purse and go to town. They could have the whole thing ready except the amount. THEY KNOW THEY'RE USING A CHECK, by cracky! It's not like they came in to pay for gas, and then the chicken smelled so good that they have to exceed their fuel budget for a couple of breasts. In a grocery store, they have to push the cart around, and maybe poorly control a couple of brats kids. So I could see why they keep that check safe inside a purse. Maybe they might even have to take those young 'uns out without buying their groceries, just to teach them a lesson. But at a convenience store, they're just dashing in to pay for gas or grab a case of beer. Don't prolong our agony!

We had FIVE people backed up today. At least I was next in line, with my 44 oz Diet Coke rapidly losing carbonation. But those high-tower workers must have had little enough left of their lunch hour, the way they tore out of there and blew past me at the underpass, heading toward the northbound entrance ramp, even running a solid yellow arrow to cut in front of oncoming traffic.

There oughta be a law. Or a line for correct change only.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Living In Hillmomba Is NOT As Easy As Pie

You can get there from here, but it's not all that easy. Wherever we're going lately, there is road construction to deal with. Many routes, many projects.

Yesterday, down by the low water bridge, we encountered those flimsy yellow diamond MEN WORKING signs. It was the county road department, with dump trucks and a backhoe, digging at the silt accumulated beside the bridge. The silt where people park so they can stand on the middle if the bridge and fish. On the way home, because I forgot about this work detail, we had to wait farther down, at the entrance to the Best compound (home of speeding drivers) to be waved through by a man brandishing his trucker cap.

This morning I knew better. I had to meet up with my sister the ex-mayor's wife at 9:30. So I took an alternate route. I hoped she wasn't running late. I got up EARLY for her, you know. There was no text on my cell phone. But the land line was out of order! I know that, because I tried to use it to call the bank automated line to balance my checkbook. That phone was deader than a doornail. Not even a dial tone. And in the window, it said, "Check phone line."

Ain't that a fine how-do-you-do. "Check phone line." As if. The last time this happened, our phone came back after a couple of days. I know that we have a handset gone bad downstairs, because we are unable to find a battery for it. But it has not affected the other three. Still, I made sure to go to each one and jostle them on their charging stands. Same message. "Check phone line."

Then, on the way to town by alternate route, I wondered, "Did that county road crew dig up a phone line? Is that affecting our service?" Because, you see, although the main lines are up on the DUH telephone poles, the lines from the poles to homes are sometimes buried. Like ours. It comes in off the pole over in the BARn field, runs under the dirt down to the BARn area, then across (in a shallow grave) to the house. I know that, because one year Farmer H gave his then-unemployed Number One Son some busywork to earn money, and he cut through it with a weed witch. I was hoping that Puppy Jack had not gotten too gnawy over a dug-up wire.

When I got back from town, the phone said, "Line in use." I suppose that was an improvement. I picked it up. Still no dial tone. And then, after taking my attention off it for a couple of hours, I glanced at the one on the desk in my dark basement lair, and it said, "Charging." With a sweet hum when I turned it on.

So...our phone is fully functioning again. Pity that little intermission could not have happened last week, when those political candidates had me on speed dial.

I guess that's how the cookie crumbles out here in the land of Not-Easy as Pie.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Let The Record Show That I Did Not Give The Frank Costanza Lecture On Cup Size

The Pony will be leaving NEXT WEEK for college. So I have limited time to fill up his brain with nightmares.

Today he hopped out of T-Hoe to pick up the mail. A chore I will be doing myself FOREVER after 8 more days. kdjjt jkga  jg Sorry about that. Something got in my eye. The Pony always reads the mail to me. The outside, anyway. He's a bit challenged when it comes to opening an envelope, preferring the peel back the sealed edge technique, which results in many, many tiny scraps of paper.

"Something from the OU Board of Regents. Something from Capitol One for #1. Something for Dad from P & O something, and a catalog for you. Oh. They're having a BOGO blowout on bras."

"Huh. That's good. I need a couple. The favorite I wear around the house is wearing out--"

"NO! I don't want to HEAR this!"

"Oh, come on. YOU brought it up! My favorite is wearing out. The elastic gets all crumbly after awhile, and shifts around in the sides and back until it forms blobs. So if you hug me, don't worry that I have a tumor or anything. It's just the elastic congealed in the back of my bra..."

I hope his roommate isn't too frightened when The Pony wakes up screaming.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Dime Kneels All Loons

It started last week.

I have been finding dimes around the Mansion. No idea why this has started. Or if it will continue. Let the record show that I have not found a dime that I remember in the house since the several months right after my dad passed away the year The Pony was born. We found dimes all over the house then. So that's 18 years of finding no memorable dimes. Until last week. When I found four.

The first one was in the laundry. I didn't KNOW it was the first one. I probably would have forgotten about it if I hadn't found three more during the week. There I was, taking a load of clothes out of the washer and chucking them across the laundry room into the dryer when a dime clinked onto the gray ceramic tile floor. Making me, you know, do unexpected, unwanted exercise by kneeling down to pick it up. I figured that The Pony must have left a single dime in the pocket of his shorts that I took out of the washer, and it shook itself loose. I put it on the edge of the dryer until I finished loading, then took it to the kitchen and put it in the plastic Halloween cup under another plastic cup that sits on the back of the counter beside the stove.

The second dime appeared a day or two later, on the kitchen floor, over at the end of the counter. Smack dab in the walkway that one must navigate to go through the kitchen, past the rounded end of the counter, and hang a left to go out the kitchen door onto the back porch. I didn't know it was the second dime. I grumbled about Farmer H giving me unwanted exercise by dropping change from his pocket, and picked it up and put it ON the counter, over beside the cup-under-a-cup.

The third dime was on the basement floor, Wednesday, on the pebble-patterned press-down tile between the bottom step and a chair full of videos and my take-to-science-fair bag and my stretched-out blue sweatshirt. This dime got my attention, because it appeared out of the blue, after The Pony had gone to bed, after I had walked through that area to spend some late-night/early-morning time at New Delly in my dark basement lair. When I came out and went back to the TV area, that dime was there winking at me. I was a bit taken aback. I did not touch it. I let it sit until the next day, and asked The Pony if he had dropped it, or noticed it as he went by. He had not. Later that day, I picked it up and put it on the kitchen counter over by the box of Puffs With Lotion.

As I was making some pasta for The Pony's lunch on Saturday, he asked why I had two dimes sitting on the kitchen counter. "Oh, I just wanted to hang onto them in case I keep finding more. That's three, you know, this week."

The Pony fingered the one next to the cup-under-a-cup. "Is this the one from downstairs?"

"No. That one's over by the Puffs box."

"What does it mean, finding dimes?"

"I don't know. I looked it up on the internet after I found that basement one."

"Is it bad?"

"No. There are different theories."

"Like your conspiracies?"

"Uh huh. I can't believe your brother won't even talk to me about my conspiracies! He walks off or hangs up! You'd think he'd keep an open mind. Hey. Would you go put that load of towels and pajamas and pillowcases in the dryer for me?"


"Your noodles are almost done."

"Okay." The Pony turned on the dryer. He shut the lid on the washer. "Um...Mom?" He walked back into the kitchen. "Look what I found in the washer..."

Dime number four made its grand entrance.

"Okaaayyyy. Put it over there by the one next to that cup."

At this rate, I'll be $8.00 richer by the end of the year.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A New Side Business To Occupy Farmer H's Retirement Years

Most days, the universe conspires against Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. But occasionally, she gets by with a little  help from her blog buddies. Sioux was kind enough to offer up her husband as a business partner for Farmer H! She's so selfless, our Sioux. Retiring, then still working at a regular job molding the future citizens (okay, the mind is the first to go, that came out furnture citizenks) of our nation.

I foresee Farmer H and Sioux's Mister parlaying their dish-dirtying acumen into a business that should be named: N. CAHOOTS. "Two Old Coots to Jog Your Memory (As Long as No Jogging is Involved)." We may have to work on that moniker. It could mean trouble for a business card. Small print is not the friend of the clientele they are courting.

Yes, Two Old Coots could provide a sentimental bridge to yesteryear for old biddies whose children have flown the coop, or widderwomen who miss their own old coots. Leaving dirty dishes throughout the house, perhaps in plain sight, perhaps not. Throwing soiled clothing on the floor. Leaving the toilet seat up. Tracking mud through the house. Eating treats meant for someone else. Turning the TV up really loud. Holding out various items they are tired of, just because they can't find a wastebasket and don't want to hold it themselves. Piling trash like a Jenga champion above the rim of the wastebasket.

I can't even begin to list the services Two Old Coots could offer.

We'll start booking them soon. Just dial NCAHOOT (rhymes with nincompoop). Reserve your Two Old Coots early, before the rush, as college season kicks into gear.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Helpful, Helpful Helpmate

Farmer H thinks he's doing me a favor.

He SAYS he's doing me a favor. Whether the favor is really his intention, or whether his actions are evil payback, are up for debate.

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not have a dishwasher. Not even some Flintstonesque critter that licks the dishes clean. Nope. All she has are her own two hands and a sink. With running water, even though the lever is backwards with the hot and cold.

Farmer H wants a pat on the back or a cookie or blog recognition, I suppose, for making my life easier. He CLAIMS. "Alls I was doing was helping you out by rinsing my bowl." Uh huh. That's his story and he's stickin' to it. Just like the clinging foodstuffs on the sides of his dishes.

No matter what piece of the place setting Farmer H helps me with, no matter what the food it held, that eat-off-of item always has remnants clinging. Sometimes, it's a plastic sectioned plate that held Hunan Chicken and fried rice. Always a few particles of rice left, and some vegetable stringy things. But no celery, because Farmer H tells them to leave that out of his order. And always the congealed grease or oil. Although it's wet grease or oil. Because Farmer H won't wait the five minutes it takes for the water to heat up, but rinses his dishes with cold water. Incompletely.

Helping me.

This was the bowl (one that used to belong to my mom, not my regular plates) I filled with leftover Maple Bacon Beans last night for Farmer H. And heated in the microwave. Left over from the solar car cookout. They were delicious, I must say. Farmer H must think so too, because he's leaving some behind for later, it looks like. At least he didn't stack another rinsed bowl inside it, thus making me scrub both the inside AND the outside.

Sometimes, I wish Farmer H would not help me. It would make my life a little easier.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Really Really Bad Terrible Kind Of Day

Yesterday, the universe worked overtime to conspire against Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

The day started with a beep. At 6:30 a.m. An hour which Mrs. HM has no desire to be aware of, now that she's retired. That beep was caused by some electronic gadget that objects to its power source being squelched. So let's get this right. I had to wake up to discover that the power was out, which meant that there was nothing interesting to do, so I might as well go back to sleep.

At 8:30 I got up and was pleased to see that the power was back on. I went to the kitchen and reset the microwave clock, and within 15 seconds, the power had gone off again. Not my fault! Just a coincidence. The power came back on pretty quick that time.

I sat down with Shiba, my laptop, in the La-Z-Boy, and was texted by my sister the ex-mayor's wife. She asked if the #1 son's solar car team was okay, because she saw that it was still at the starting point, while the other cars were well on their way up the western border of Missouri, and ready to cross over into Kansas. Well. I can't get that tracking program on Shiba, so I headed down to New Delly to look for myself. And there it was, a green dot representing his team, sitting on a road near Springfield.

Of course I was beside myself with worry, what with Farmer H having also texted me to see how the race was going. I didn't want to bother #1. He's in a race, you know. But he has 23 other team members and support staff with him. So I sent a text asking if his solar car was okay. He must have had someone else driving that lead car for him, because he responded right away. Their car's transponder had quit working. They were actually running in 4th place. Whoopie!

Then I went to transfer laundry from the washer to the dryer, and of course random single socks fell short of the dryer, forcing me to bend over in a manner somewhat like exercise to pick them up. I blame Farmer H, who never should have put in that plastic laundry sink that he found at work, and I told him I didn't want. Put it right there between the washer and dryer, when he built the house, even though I told him I would never use a laundry sink! Most people have their washer and dryer side-by-side, you know. Or stacked on top of one another. Not separated so you have to fling wet clothing across the room.

I headed off to town, and of course Farmer H and Sis started texting me in reply to the solar car update, just as I hit the narrowest section of county road, down by the low water bridge, with a van coming at me so that I had to get tire-scrapingly close to that 12-inch blacktop drop-off edge. Of course I did not check my phone while driving. It doesn't take more than one public service announcement about the dead and maimed to make Mrs. HM eschew texting and driving.

Since I hadn't been to Save A Lot for two days, I stopped by for some salsa and green onions. Oh, and a pack of peanut butter/cheese crackers. And two bags of Peppered Bacon potato chips, which I've never seen before. Of course the only line open had some crazy college-age-looking guy in it with a full cart. I would have pegged him for an extreme couponer, but Save A Lot doesn't take them. Still, he had that cart piled full, and told the girl checker, "Do you want me just to hold them up and tell you how many?" And she agreed! Even though I saw stuff under those piled boxes that he wasn't showing her.

An old dude who might have been homeless came up behind me in line. I didn't engage. My weirdo magnet has been pretty powerful lately. I couldn't see what he had, but it mustn't have been much, because he didn't even have a cart. Then the old Methuselah's granddaughter with the coal-black hair opened up her register and said she could help someone, and wouldn't you know it, the homeless dude went to it first. Maybe it's just me, but I certainly felt entitled to that register, because I was next in line. And besides, what else does a homeless dude have to do all day, anyway? I had to get home to not-watch the solar car race on my computer! So I moved over to that register and paid cash, and got back $1.67 in change. Two pennies short of a 44 oz Diet Coke at the gas station chicken store.

My soda purchase was okay. I couldn't get excited about it, because the Diet Coke has not been up to snuff lately. I keep hoping someone smart will change the CO-2 canister so it's tasty again. However, when I got home and tried it, my Diet Coke tasted like Pepsi. Ptooey! Still, the good news is that I had 44 ounces of it. So there's that.

When I stopped to rip the mail from EmBee's innards, there was a red dually truck parked on our gravel road by the creek. What fresh not-heaven...? I jumped back in T-Hoe with a couple of sale ads, and drove by that truck. It held a lady with short hair who seemed engrossed in her phone, which is a big freakin' joke because there's no service down there in the dip. So she was just playing phone possum to make me not notice her. But I did, in her truck that had no bed on it, but two pieces of what looked like silver tin corrugated barn roofing bent to make ersatz fenders over those double tires. Who knows what she was up to. I had other fish to fry.

Okay, that was a lie, I did not fry fish for my lunch. I went to make my Super Nachos for lunch, and as I sprinkled the fajita chicken pieces I had painstakingly chopped over it, a piece bounced off the quesoed lettuce and fell to the floor. I measure out my calories, you know. And that represented AT LEAST 3 wasted! As I bent (again with the unplanned exercise!) to pick it up out from under the cabinets...I grabbed a piece of dried petrified mummified former fajita chicken. YUCK! Somebody really needs to sweep that kitchen floor more often!

Good news was that the solar car team had their electronic gewgaw updated, and I got to watch the end of the race at 6:00. But then I bit into a bite of leftover bratwurst and chomped on a bone/toenail/hoof UCO (unidentified chewing object).

So it was not really a red-letter day. Unless I think of myself as Hester Prynne. And then I guess it kind of was.