Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Who Do (Who Do) Who Do You Think You're Foolin'?

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom calls shenanigans on the dead mouse smelling post office. AGAIN!

I made a rare mid-week sortie to The Devil's Playground this morning to seek beard-whitener for Farmer H. Funny how I could not find any beard-whitener, but saw a shelf full of beard-darkener. It's not that Farmer H is trying to look like Kenny Rogers. C'mon. Even Kenny Rogers doesn't look like Kenny Rogers! No, Farmer H wants his beard that is kind of striped with gray and white to be ALL WHITE. He's playing Santa on Saturday for a local preschool crowd, and wants to go natural instead of wearing his strap-on beard. Well, as natural as he can be with using beard-whitener.

The hair color aisle didn't have anything like that, and the shaving aisle didn't have anything like that. So I asked a Devil's Handmaiden who was unloading a cart right in the middle of the main aisle. They are wont to do that, you know. Block as much of the road through not-heaven as they can. She was quite polite, and said she did not think they carried such a product. Her only solution was to use bleach. Nope. Don't think so. I think it might turn Farmer H's beard yellow. Or make his chin bald. The Handmaiden suggested a party supply store, because they have spray-in hair color. I passed that info on to Farmer H, and headed to the Christmas section to see if they might have some. They did not.

Don't shop at The Devil's Playground on a Wednesday, people, because they have ZERO bags of broccoli/cauliflower/carrots on the shelf. So as the weather gets cold this week, you cannot enjoy a Mansion delicacy of Broccocaulipeppot. In case you have a hankerin' for some, the recipe is in here. I, myself, will be having none, due to the lack of broccoli/cauliflower/carrots. Yes. I have since added baby carrots to my recipe. But I haven't changed the name. Would you change your turducken if you stuffed a pigeon in there? I think not.

Getting back to the dead mouse smelling post office...after leaving The Devil's Playground, I stopped at the gas station chicken store for my 44 oz Diet Coke. Before I clambered out of T-Hoe, I checked my phone, and saw a new email:

Hi Mrs. Hillbilly Mom,
Sorry we missed you. We tried, but we weren't able to deliver your package today.
You can reschedule the delivery by visiting USPS Redelivery or you can pick up your package from the post office listed on the notice of attempted delivery.
Imagine that! Here it was, 9:56 a.m., and the mailman had already tried to fit that Metal Architect Swing Arm Lamp into EmBee!

Except he hadn't. I don't like the people at the dead mouse smelling post office misleading Amazon. When I got home, at 11:30, nobody had mail in their box. And the keys were all still stuck in the four-compartment package delivery box. Hick picked up the mail around 5:30 when he got home, and I had an orange card to pick up a package.

THEY KNEW THAT ALL ALONG! That this package is too big. How hard is it to have a standard message reading: "Package too big for delivery. Pick up at local post office." This makes town-dwelling people think that if they had ONLY SAT AT HOME, they could have gotten their package at 9:56 a.m.

Rodent-stinkers! I don't love them, love them, love them, love them. Don't wanna get down on my knees and hug them. I want to hit them with the rock of ages...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Battle Escalates To The Point Of Weaponry

Yesterday Mrs. HM armed herself for her driveway walk. Don't get all up in arms! (See what I did there?) It's not like I strapped on a pair of six-shooters like Yosemite Sam. I decided that I was taking the BB gun out with me. You know. Because Copper had been such a pest the day before, coming up behind me, BARKING at me in my own driveway.

I put the BB gun (already cocked) on top of the trash dumpster and started my walk, with bouncing Puppy Jack and frisky Sweet, Sweet Juno running alongside the driveway. I had gotten halfway to the end when Copper appeared. I swear, he's like that cat on the internet that is closer every time you look. I was startled that I had not seen him come around the end of his fence. I guess he came under, out of the brush.

"I'm not EVEN doing this today," I said to myself, my best listener. I turned and started back down the driveway to get my "persuader" the BB gun off the dumpster. I figured I could buy myself 20 minutes of walking time if I could run off Copper now. Copper unhinged his massive jaws to BARK at me for the second day in a row. In my own driveway.

I heard a car coming up the gravel road. I didn't turn around to look, because that makes me tip over on the gravel with my sore knees and unsure footing, and because who really cares who goes by on a dead-end road? Except for that time it was all black SUVs and a backhoe on a trailer, going to exhume that headless body from the septic tank. But I digress.

I had almost reached the dumpster when I saw in my peripheral vision that the car was actually my neighbor-man in his work truck, coming down his own driveway, barely visible through the brush and treeline between our properties. AHA! When he passed, he HAD to have seen his dog on my driveway, BARKING at me! I also saw that Copper was now down by the carport, closer. And still barking. I picked up the BB gun, which of course rattled as the BBs succumbed to gravity's pull.

Copper froze. Like in a cartoon. A look on his mug like "OH CRAP!" He turned to trot under the fence along his turkey-chasing path as I pulled the trigger. I didn't hit Copper (not for lack of trying), but instead pinged a tree trunk. Right as Neighbor Man got out of his truck. I know he heard it.

Anyhoo...Copper did not come back that evening. I heard his pitiful baying as I finished my walk. He must have been re-introduced to his chain.

Don't you worry about Copper. He was back this afternoon. Not barking. Good thing, because I had left my arsenal inside.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Maybe His Mudder Was A Mudder

Lest you think that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom lives on a well-manicured lot on a concrete-paved cul de sac, and is stretching the truth about her hillbilliness...

I believe that photo was taken on the parking lot of The Devil's Playground on Saturday. The blacktop Devil's Playground parking lot. I don't even remember a day that it rained recently. I guess I've become immune to the muck and mire that I travel through daily.

Look at it! That mud spray is like paint flung during that Indian Holi festival of colors where they hit each other with powder and generally make a big ol' rainbow mess. I saw it on The Amazing Race one year. That mud spray is like what might hit you while riding in a sulky behind a pacer at the back of the pack in a harness race. Like a motocross-goggled rider whose dirt bike is finishing out of the money. Like the earth sneezed without covering its mouth.

This is the wild, wild Hillmomba, baby! Not civilization. Good thing my window was up.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mrs. HM's Current Nemesis

The creature who gives me (and my Sweet, Sweet Juno) fits creeps ever closer. He used to run when I got near the end of the driveway. Or run when I opened the front door. Now he has grown bold. Just this afternoon, he came up behind me while I was walking IN MY OWN DRIVEWAY, mind you...and BARKED. When I said, "NO!" and "GIT!" he did not seem to grasp the urgency of my command. He stood and stared. Even when I said, "BAD DOG!" he stood his ground.

That's what I'm talkin' about! Is this a breed? Is he a mix? He looks pretty strong to me. I am positive he could outrun me. And pretty sure his teeth are sharper than my tongue. Copper (for lack of an introduction, I call him by his color) comes and goes at will. He answers to no man. Or woman. And only this morning, I saw him in the front yard,


Let the record show that Jack looked quite embarrassed. He is used to being the humper. He tucked his tail under and slunk away as he could, ending up at the hose holder, kind of cowering under it where Copper couldn't get to him. I call shenanigans! That ruthless brute should not be coming into my yard and humping Puppy Jack!

It's times like this that I wish Farmer H had gotten me a male german shepherd pup instead of (or along WITH, now that I've grown to love him) my half-heeler half dachshund. They are protective of property, I read. The females are protective of the family and kids. I want a guard dog, I guess.

Probably a sign saying "NO HUMPERS ALLOWED" would not be effective, you think?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Path To Neighbors Is Paved By Giant Paw Pads

We have seen a resurgence in neighbor-dog invasions! Not the Evil Poodle and Killer Rot. They have stayed across the road, sitting at the end of their driveway, barking at me. No, I'm talking about the sleek copper-furred muscular dog of the side neighbor. They are letting him run loose again, and every five minutes he's dashing across the front lawn of the Mansion, headed for the chicken area. Even the #1 son took up a weapon and tried to BB him on Thanksgiving day.

I don't mind Copper too much, because he's more of a nuisance than a cold-blooded, territorial, future instrument of my demise. He HAS chased Farmer H's prized (in his mind) turkey up into a tree, with Farmer H right there in the yard. And even though chickens have been disappearing at an alarming rate, we've only found one body at the edge of Copper's yard. Jack romps and plays with him. My Sweet, Sweet Juno is nervous. She does not like him in our yard, but is too ladylike to put a fear into him. She whimpers and sits nearby while Jack wrestles Copper like he plays with Juno. When I step out on the porch to yell at him to "GIT!" both Jack and Juno chase after Copper, barking, like it was their idea to run him off. Then he comes back five minutes later.

Yesterday I started to town by opening the garage door with the doorbell button on the inner wall. I walked around the front end of T-Hoe to open the driver door.


Uh huh. Copper was standing at the edge of the concrete carport behind the garage. Barking at ME! That should not happen. A neighbor dog should not act like my domain is his property to protect. I hollered at him, of course.

Because, you know, dogs understand English.

You know who really understands English? Your neighbor next door. Standing in her yard opening the door of one of her four cars (they're a lot like us, Farmer H went to school with the mister), just about 50 yards from your garage-yelling.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is probably in the neighbor's doghouse right about now. I know that Jack goes into their yard. Missus Neighbor has asked Farmer H if that little spotted dog is ours. I saw him in there myself, in the brushy part (on their side of the fence) that divides us, chasing out a rabbit. And Jack is a barker as well. Still, these neighbors don't have domestic fowl or livestock. I know Jack isn't over there every five minutes, because I see him in my own front yard.

There's a path worn from our driveway, under the barbed wire fence, into the brushy neighbor yard, going toward their porch. I'm pretty sure Jack didn't wear down that brush. I know he's low to the ground and all. But he only weighs 12 pounds. Juno doesn't go over there. She sits at the fence and watches. Copper, on the other hand, is a big fella, probably 70-80 pounds.

I think he's made his own personal freeway to get up speed for chasing the turkey.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ain't No Helper Like A Farmer H Helper Cause A Farmer H Helper Makes His Own Rules

Farmer H decided to help me with the Thanksgiving chores yesterday. He cleaned The Pony's room during the two or three days prior. Then he DID wipe the kitchen counters as asked, while I took a shower before the #1 son and guest arrived. I had also asked for him to sweep the kitchen floor, rife with his boot droppings (though none big enough to look like a chocolate shortbread cookie this time). He did not sweep. Not until I was rolling the green bean bundles in bacon, and asked again. He did a haphazard job of it. But still, I didn't have to do it.

Once our dining companions arrived, Farmer H left me to finish cooking, while he held court in the living room. Even though both #1 and Guest came to the kitchen to see if they could help. I gave them a couple of prep duties, and then #1 made the gravy.

After dining, I wanted to get the leftovers put away. No food poisoning on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's watch! No siree, Bob! I wanted to spend time with #1, who was leaving within the hour, but returning that night. Farmer H, however, decided it was time to do the dishes. I had told him five or six times that I did not mind doing the dishes myself. I am used to that chore, and it was okay with me, once I had time to visit, and after #1 left. But no. Farmer H needed to do those dishes RIGHT THEN. So I left him at the sink, and went to talk in the living room. AFTER I had cleared out the food and stowed it in FRIG II.

When I went to the kitchen after the guests left, I saw that Farmer H had only washed what HE wanted to wash. All the glasses were still left. And the tray that had held the veggies and dip. And assorted utensils. Also, he had stacked the silverware in the drainer in a way that made draining difficult. Spoons were spooning spoons!!! Serving spoons nestled together, and eating spoons nestled together! Which meant that they would never dry, and that I had to do it by hand. Same way with the plates leaning on each other, and the bowls packed tight. I dried them. And in doing so, found out that


So I set them aside. To do over. When I felt like it. This morning.

What are ya gonna do? You have a passive-aggressive do-gooder who doesn't do good enough. I swear he only volunteers, then does it badly, so I don't want him to try again.

Even though I knew that the first time around.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Can't Complain

This has been one of my most thankful Thanksgivings ever. I have both my boys home, safe and sound, and Farmer H, cantankerous as he is, still enjoys good health, and is on the cusp of retirement. You know what THAT means! More together time for the two of us! Still. I am very thankful.

The #1 son allowed me to tell two tales from his childhood, at the feasting table, in earshot of his friend. I won't count the one about losing him as an infant, because that was precipitated by Farmer H speaking of losing him as a toddler.

Farmer H had taken #1 camping in the fifth-wheel camper that my mom and dad gave us. Don't you worry about my sister the ex-mayor's wife. She received CASH MONEY to keep things even steven, even though the amount was about twice what fifth-wheel campers such as that one were going for at the time. Some people are more even than others, I suppose. Anyhoo...Farmer H took that camper to a nearby state park. I chose not to go, because it was during the heat of late summer, and I the baby Pony to contend with. I did, however, drive up with lunch for them and sit in a lawn chair and sweat. Farmer H had awoken that morning to NO #1 SON. He searched that camper high and low, with no success. Just as the panic was starting to intensify, the calling-911-panic, he crawled across the bed and looked again down beside the wall. Under a stuffed dinosaur (which I think was a talking Barney), he found #1 asleep in that crevice.

That reminded me of Baby #1 Son, a young infant (as opposed to a long-in-the-tooth infant) who slept in the marital bed because my $17,000 house in town was on the drafty side. He had a beautiful red metal crib and Crayola curtains and wall-hangings, but I was reluctant to leave him in his bedroom in the house proper. We had added a master bedroom on the other side of the kitchen, and as you might imagine, I did not want to be too far away from my newborn. He was born in December, you know, which is a cold time of year. Even in our room, I did not want to leave him in that bassinet thingy next to the bed. We tucked him in between us, he was there for feedings, and all was right with the world.

Until the morning we woke up and couldn't find him. Yeah. Talk about panic. I knew he didn't walk away. I made Farmer H get up and I searched all under where he'd been. I stripped the covers off the bed. I looked under the bed. That baby was gone! Gone, baby, gone! We looked at each other across the bed, then resumed our search with renewed frenzy. It was Farmer H who found him. Wedged between the top end of the mattress and the wall. Lying on part of the headboard frame that was out of sight behind the mattress. Farmer H fished him out, and we rejoiced. Baby #1 just looked at us quizzically. He's always been a deep thinker, that one.

The two stories I told at the Thanksgiving table today involved pumpkin pie, and a dangerous liaison at the DMV. I'm pretty sure I've told both those stories on my blogs before. But if it piques your interest, let me know and I'll repeat one or both. It's not like I have a lot of fresh material lately. The story I was NOT allowed to tell was about picking #1 up from daycare, and his newfound adult skill that was inappropriate for a four-year-old. Sorry. Can't spill the beans on that one. Even though I might have at some point over the past 11 years that I've been blogging.

Yes, I am very thankful to have my boys home again. Even for a day. Even though The Pony, Farmer H, and I went to town in T-Hoe, with Farmer H driving, and The Pony played an old trick on me.

There I was, riding along like a good wife, swaying to Farmer H's sweaving, only commenting once on those thumping noises when we got T-Hoe's tires off the side of the road on the wake-up strips...when I felt something on my shoulder.

"For old times," said The Pony. As he put his damp-socked, shoeless sole on my shoulder, so I could feel the moist heat of his foot (my most-abhorred body part) on my deltoids.

Yeah. Seems like old times. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is very, very thankful today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Finally, He's Full Of It

Yesterday I had several things to do in order to free up Wednesday for some pre-cooking for Thursday. I offered to bring Farmer H some lunch when I came back from town, but he declined.

"That's all right. I can have a baloney sandwich."

"Do you want me to open it for you? That's why you didn't have it last night, isn't it? Too much work to open it and put it away?"

"No. I can do it."

"I will. Then I'll know it's done right."

"No. You don't have to. I will."

I was on my fifth load of laundry, trying to get away to run to town and pick up four cans of Blue Lake Cut Green Beans from Save A Lot, because that's the main thing I went in there for yesterday, and emerged with three jars of salsa, three tubs of sour cream, a bag of white onions, and three bags of Garlic Parmesan Pita Chips...when the phone rang.

I was walking by the phone, headed in the other direction, with a quilt draped over my shoulder and under my feet. Farmer H was in The Pony's bedroom, cleaning it up for his arrival tomorrow. It's a nice gesture. But Farmer H acted like he was shoveling out a hoarder house and only had ten minutes until the city boarded it up. He was just as close to the phone as I was, but I could see the caller, and he could not.

"It's your doctor's office."

"Well, answer it!"

"YOU answer it!"

That phone was on its third ring. The machine picks up at four. I lunged for it, stumbling on the quilt my grandma made for my wedding, none too happy to be Farmer H's secretary.


"Is Farmer H there?"

"Yes. Just a minute."

It did not help matters that Farmer H was standing right there, making a hateful face at me with his chin stuck out like the alien in Alien.

"Well, give it TO ME!"

You'd think Farmer H could have held it in, what with his doctor's office listening and all. I held it out for him, with a frown like Joan Crawford might have given a child who dared to use a wire hanger. Farmer H grabbed for it, and in his haste and animosity, grappled it out of my hand while hitting two beeping buttons.

"You might have cut them off." I said sweetly.

Farmer H did his next-day appointment confirmation and hung up. Then followed me into the kitchen and mouthed at me as I left for Save A Lot. And a 44 oz Diet Coke as well.

As I went down the driveway, I recalled that I had forgotten to open the bologna and pat the juices dry and seal it in the square plastic container with the blue lid. Too bad, so sad.

When I got home, the bologna had been opened. And it was put away properly. Which signaled to me that Farmer H was full of baloney.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

We Might Need To Go Back To The High Chair, With Cheerios Scattered On The Tray

Farmer H continues to have trouble feeding himself. I don't think it's his motor skill that's lacking. More like his will skill. He'd rather take the easy way out.

Last night, he went to a local basketball tournament to watch the Newmentia boys win. I asked if he wanted me to fix him something before he left.

"No. I'll get something at the game. I'm leaving at 5:30 so I can watch the one before Newmentia."

"Okay. There's some of that chicken left that you wanted, from the Devil's Playground." That's because even when he eats something somewhere else, Farmer H wants to nosh when he gets back home. Which, in this case, was after 10:00 p.m. He came down to my well-lighted basement lair.

"I'm home. I'm gonna have a baloney sandwich."

"Okay. Don't just stick the bologna back in there after you cut open the package. The juice leaks out. I always put it in that square container with the blue lid. After I dab the juice off with a paper towel. And there's pepper jack or cheddar slices in the door. They're not open yet."

Off Farmer H went to seek his snack.

The next morning, I saw that the package of bologna was unopened. And the sticks of Oberle sausage and Oberle cheese were suspiciously shorter, with their Glad Wrap fluttering loosely.

"Did you eat more Oberle?"

"Yeah. Last night."

"I thought you were having a bologna sandwich."

"I changed my mind after hearing your instructions. I didn't want to do it wrong."

"You mean you didn't want to do it at all. Too much work for you, when you can simply gnaw off the ends of Oberle cheese and sausage."


That's not the end of the bologna saga...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Still Here, Not Forgetten

I have a busy few days ahead of me, so I make no promises on the quality of the Mansion tales. There will, however, be quantity. I still plan to post every day.

My Sweet, Sweet Juno has been overshadowed by Puppy Jack since his arrival the first week of May. So I have a sweet, sweet picture of my Sweet, Sweet Juno. It was taken in June 2014.

That's my good girl. She would never run under the neighbor's electric fence and bark at their horses. She would never climb up on the trunk of Farmer H's 1980 Oldsmobile Toronado and take a crap on his trunk. She would never unroll a garden hose over by the well. She would never eat the cedar shake shingles off The Pony's Sword Shack. She would never chase Farmer H's turkey until she scared the feathers off him.

It's circumstantial evidence, my dear Mom! Really! I just came over to investigate, and that's when you came home. You can put that phone away now. Really. No need to ever speak of this again.

We think my Sweet, Sweet Juno is half lab and half border collie. We rescued her from my mom, who was slowly starving her to death after somebody dumped her out at Mom's house. Even though the #1 son was instrumental in our strong-armed adoption, Sweet, Sweet Juno has always been MY dog. She loves me. What's not to love?

Back in July 2014, I had a little bit of outpatient surgery. Look who was right there to greet me as soon as I arrived home.

Pretty sure the look of compassion in Sweet, Sweet Juno's eye is more than I glimpsed in that of Farmer H.

You're my special gal, Juno. We only took Jack so you would have a companion. Really.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Apparently, Farmer H Is Much More Advanced Than We Give Him Credit For

With the Thanksgiving feast hurtling toward the Mansion this week, Farmer H and I have been trying to clean out the freezer and FRIG II to make room for the fixin's and the eventual leftovers. By cleaning out, I mean that Farmer H has been eating what I pull out of the freezer. We have items in there from when THE PONY was still stabled here!

Yesterday, Farmer H was puttering around over in Shackytown when I went to town to mail a letter for the #1 son at the main post office. He was planning to finish off some pizza left from TUESDAY for his lunch. He said he didn't care what I made for supper (the key here, I'm sure, being what I made) so I told him he could have some gas station chicken left from WEDNESDAY, or mini corn dogs left from when I bought them for The Pony, which would have been pre week of August 15th. Farmer H said that mini corn dogs would be good. Let the record show that I also offered him steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots with a sauce made of melted Velveeta. He declined. "Them corn dogs is enough."

He was still over in town spending money needlessly on Shackytown accoutrements when I prepared his supper. Hm. There were 16 mini corn dogs in the pack. A serving is 4. Farmer H is a grown man. So I made him 8 mini corn dogs, leaving enough for another meal. Cleaning out does not mean that you have to be wasteful. Besides, Farmer H usually makes himself a night-time snack during TV watching.

It being Saturday, we planned to watch the Oklahoma Sooners whoop the West Virginia Mountaineers that night, with a 30-minute DVR delay to zap commercials. And whoop they did, to the tune of 56-28, in a blizzard the first quarter. Anyhoo...when Farmer H came down to the basement to lay on The Pony's cheap couch and watch the big screen, he was empty-handed.

"What? No snack?"

"No. I'm good."

"But you always bring a snack for the game!"

Let the record show that Farmer H always brings a LOUD snack, something that his crunching jaws seem to amplify, and set my teeth on edge, so much that it is all I can do to hold my tongue. In addition, he brings something sweet, though usually a sugar-free sweet, like special cookies, which he will proceed to drop one or two of, and then be unable to find on the braided rug that belonged to my grandma, and is aptly nicknamed The Toenail Rug, and then discover the missing treat, and eat it anyway, toenailness aside.

"I can wait to turn it on if you want to go get something. Or there are chips on the table that The Pony never had time to eat. Unopened. I think they're Lays Biscuit and Gravy."

"No. I'm full. I had some Oberle."

SCREEEEECH that phonograph record, you folks as old as Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!
SCREEEEECH those brakes, you motorheads!

"What do you mean, you 'had some Oberle?' I cooked your mini corn dogs and left them on the stove."

"Oh. I ate them. Then I had some Oberle and cheese with crackers."

" had TWO meals for one? The Oberle was going to be your lunch tomorrow."

"There's still enough left for lunch. I just wanted some Oberle."

"I offered to make you vegetables and cheese!"

"I know. I didn't want it."

Well. You know what was running through my mind, don't you? Since I had not sliced up any Oberle sausage or Oberle cheese.

Did Farmer H actually slice his own second entree...or did he gnaw that sausage and cheese off the ends of their respective sticks?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

We May Lose And We May Win, But I Will Still Go Back There Again

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was feelin' her oats yesterday when she stopped by the gas station chicken store for her magical elixir. The Little Guy clerk asked if she wanted anything from the kitchen, as he caught her glance toward the chicken case.

"Nope. I still have some left from Wednesday, when I got a BARGAIN with thighs in place of the legs! They were running low on legs."

The new chicken fryer nodded his head to verify. Little Guy said, "I LOVE the legs! In fact, yesterday I bought all the legs!" The new chicken fryer again nodded in verification. "And you know what? I want all of your legs again today!" The new chicken fryer was none too happy about that, but what can he do? He's new. And it's his job to fry chicken.

Anyhoo...we had a bit more small talk about the merits of the mini tacos, which I've never tried. All this conversation going on while the store was not busy, and Little Guy was scanning my small winners that I'd brought to cash in for more tickets.

I looked into the scratch-off case. "I'll take one of those green ones there, and the Christmas one, and a casino." Little Guy tore them off and laid them on the counter. I was feeling full of myself, having won, just the major amounts, tickets of $100, $40, $200, and $50 this week. Overall, I win back about 40 % of my money. In the short term, sometimes I come out ahead, like this week. I pointed to the $5 casino scratch-off ticket in the case.

"On Sunday, Owner Man sold me a $100 winner on that one." Little Guy looked into the case.

"On Tuesday, I sold a $10,000 winner on that one."

"WHAT? How could you? I ALWAYS buy that casino ticket! NOOOOO!"

"Yeah. In fact, the lady didn't even want it. I was out of the one she wanted, and she said, 'Which one should I take?' And I told her THAT ONE."

"That is SO unfair! I always buy here! I always buy that one! I can't believe it!"

Let the record show that if I'd known that before choosing my tickets, I would have picked different ones. Also let the record show that of the three tickets I bought from Little Guy, ALL WERE LOSERS!

Eh. Go in thinking you're a big winner and having a good week...come out feeling like a loser. Lady Luck is fickle. But at least she lets me keep my shirt.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Mrs. HM Really Expects More For Her 48 Cents

Perhaps you recall how Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been having some concerns about the dead mouse smelling post office. Since her boys have not been getting their motherly letters (and small cash treat) as punctually as they once did, Mrs. HM decided to take the mail into her own hands, and deliver it by T-Hoe to the main branch of the post office, a few miles and few minutes past the deceased rodent stinking facility.

The Facts on Past Letter Delivery from Stinky-Mouse:
#1 Son - received his letter on Wednesdays, sometimes Tuesday
The Pony - received his letter on Thursdays

Current Letter Delivery Timespan from Stinky-Mouse
#1 Son - receives his letter on Thursday or Friday
The Pony - receives his letter (if at all) on WEDNESDAY OF THE FOLLOWING WEEK!'s been taking four business days lately (how appropriate is THAT--lately) for #1 to get his letter in mid-Missouri, and EIGHT business days for The Pony to get his letter in mid-Oklahoma.

I am no mailman, but I think it is preposterous that The Pony has such a time lapse between my mailing and his reception. EIGHT business days. That's ELEVEN regular days. That's barbaric!

Last week, I took the letters to the main branch post office and took them inside and pretended I didn't have two books of overcharged snow songbird stamps out in my purse, and paid the counter clerk, a woman on crutches with bruises and BandAids on her fingers, for postage to mail my boys' letters. She took out a book of stamps that had NOT been offered to me (couldn't tell what they were, but not birds or cancer) and peeled off two and slapped them on the envelopes, which she tossed over her shoulder into a bin.

Most Recent Letter Delivery from Main Branch
#1 Son - received his letter on MONDAY, one business day later.
The Pony - received his letter on WEDNESDAY, three business day later.

Indeed, there's something rotten in the dead mouse smelling post office.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Wonder Thighs...OR...The Thighs Have It

You won't believe my stroke of good luck yesterday! Uh huh! It has to do with the gas station chicken store. Yes, I bought a lottery ticket there. But it didn't win. That's not my stroke of good luck.

At first I thought I was going to have bad luck, because I bypassed that place on the way to mail two bills (yes, I DO pay them, when I GET them) at the dead mouse smelling post office, when there was only one car in the parking lot...and when I came back to do my business, there were six or seven trucks.

The work crews had stopped to pick up lunch, of course. So they were lined up four deep at the chicken-ordering counter. I went on to the soda fountain. My magical elixir has been especially delicious of late from their tap. The guys in white painters jeans ahead of me picked up their chicken dinners and their four-pieces and fried pies, and got in line to pay.

The Man Owner was working the register, and the Wife Owner was slinging chicken. I think she was training a new fryer. The old fryer kept making an appearance, but she had just dropped a batch and was back to the kitchen forthwith. The Wife Owner took my order, wrote it on the ticket, and told the new boy that she needed an eight-piece. That's their special.

"Two breasts, two thighs, two legs, two wings."

She opened the box and slid it along the counter, while he reached into the glass-fronted case with tongs to snag pieces from the stainless steel tubs. Which were nearly depleted. It was, after all, 11:00. You gotta get there pretty early in the morning to get the first batch of lunch chicken.

"We only have two legs left!"

They looked at each other.

"Well, we have enough for this box. And she's going to have that next batch ready."

That's when it hit me. Did I dare, I wondered, make a suggestion to the Wife Owner? She runs a tight ship. Everyone is always walking on eggshells when she's present, which has been a lot, lately. Still. I didn't work for her. I was a paying customer, doggone it! Who single-handedly keeps their business afloat with my daily 44 oz Diet Coke, and lottery and chicken purchases.

"Um...if you're short on legs, I could take thighs instead..."

"Oh! Really? You don't mind?"

"No. I like the thighs better. My husband likes the legs, but he'll never know I gave them up."

"I think the thighs are the best part, myself! Okay. Put those two legs back in case somebody wants them, and give her two more thighs. I hope I can fit them in this box!"

Yep. Mrs. HM got herself an eight-piece box with two breasts, four thighs, and two wings. Let the record show that one of those thighs was of enormous proportions, like they used to have all the time. It was as big as a breast, by cracky!

I usually have two pieces for lunch, two for lunch the next day, and give the legs and wings to Farmer H for a meal. Not this time. That's three lunches! With SLAW on the side! Farmer H is still welcome to the wings. And if he doesn't want them, I'm sure my Sweet, Sweet Juno will enjoy the drumette and radius/ulna parts, and Jack the flappy wing flat tips.

Never be afraid to suggest thigh replacements at your gas station chicken store!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ain't HIS Job, Man!

Here's a prime example of Farmer-H-ery.

Last evening, I was at the kitchen counter doing something suppery. Farmer H strode through the front door, and the phone started ringing. The phone sits atop the curio cabinet that holds the red depression dish set and another set of china that my grandma gave me. Farmer H was at that moment walking by it on his way to the kitchen.

"Who's that calling?"

"I don't know."

Farmer H could have reached out his arm and answered the phone. He could have turned his head and looked at the phone. He could have simply listened to the speaker saying CALL FROM...Or he could have stood and listened to the message being left.

But he didn't. Farmer H continued into the kitchen, yapping, so that I could not even hear who the call was from. I wiped my hands and went around the corner to check the message, which I also could have heard if Farmer H had stopped droning loudly about something at work.

It was a call from his doctor's office, with the results of his lab tests. Since he wasn't here, he was advised to call the office the next day and ask for them. Which he did today, but that gal was busy, and was supposed to call him back at work, but never did.

So much tomfoolery that could have been avoided, if Farmer H would have assumed some responsibility concerning the telephone in his own home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sometimes All It Takes Is A Little Coincidence To Make You Think You're On The Right Track

Yesterday was The Devil's Playground day, to do the weekly shopping. I was feeling kind of overwhelmed. I planned to get part of the ingredients for our Thanksgiving spread. That's a tedious task without the help of my ex-beast-of-burden, The Pony. Last year was my first Thanksgiving preparation. We spent my whole life going first to my grandma's, and then in later years to my mom's house.

I was a cotton-headed ninnymuggins, as Will Farrell says in ELF, woolgathering instead of minding my business, as I drove past that green hole-in-the-wall bar/restaurant on the way to my daunting task. So absentminded was I, thinking of the boys coming home, and looking in my mirror for the cop that had followed me through two roundabouts and past the high school that is not Newmentia, that I missed the turn to the cemetery. I always stop on shopping day to talk to Mom. She's so conveniently located.

I sensed my break in routine at the last moment, and quickly signaled and turned in at the lower road. I clicked my SiriusXM over to channel 58 Prime Country. It's country hits from the 80s and 90s. I always do that. When Mom rode with The Pony and me to pay the bills on the last Friday of the month, that's the station she liked. Sang along. Tapped her hands on her thighs (near that hole in the knee of her jeans, heh, heh).

Well. The song playing was Patty Loveless with "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye?"

So fitting for the moment.

Monday, November 14, 2016

YIKES! Mrs. HM Narrowly Avoids A Fryin'!

You know how sometimes, you can't see the forest for the trees, or the nose on your face even though it is plain to everybody else? Today, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was upset because she could not drive through the forest and over her nose. UNTIL she saw the trees and her face.

I was on the way to the bank to get our weekly cash allowance out of the ATM. I was almost there. Beside the church whose steeple was struck by lighting and caught on fire. Already had my right turn signal on. I saw some burly dudes in glowing green shirts, and white trucks. They were there last week, working on some project, but not in the way. I thought nothing of it until I was right up to the turn into the bank parking lot.

A white work truck was parked ACROSS the entrance!

Ain't THAT a fine how-do-you-do? I let out that UH! sigh that happens when I am not getting what my Royal Entitledness desires, and switched off my blinker, going past and turning into the exit road. An oncoming car was in the center turn lane, wanting to go in the entrance, too. I looped up past the drive-thru lanes and into the alley, then down to the back of the bank parking lot for the ATM. I was looking out front, incensed that the white work truck might have moved to let that other car in. That's when I saw it.

That's an electric wire, I think. Pretty sure electricity, and not phone. Farmer H would know, but he hasn't seen the picture and he's working late. I stopped before my view was obscured by the building. Those worker guys standing by their truck had their heads only about a foot below that wire. I suppose that truck was their way of keeping people like me in tall T-Hoes from driving into it.

Not sure what caused this. They had orange markings sprayed on the grass in the right-of-way, and were going to dig it up, I guess. You'd think if they were just replacing the pole, they'd choose another method and another time. And if the problem with the wire, they'd have a man-lift, not pull the pole down. As far as I know, we're not going underground with the utilities here in Hillmomba.

Is this a sign of the Apopadopalyspe?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I'm A Giver, I'll Deliver, Just Don't Make Me Bitter...Learn To Listen Or I'm Done

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in my LIGHTED basement lair one evening, minding my own business, pecking away at New Delly's keyboard like a dad-blasted guinea (one of two in Farmer H's menagerie) in a frenzy to eat the feed before the chickens...when the phone rang. We still have a landline, you know. This is Hillmomba, by cracky! We're lucky we don't have that crank phone on top of an electric pole like Oliver Wendell Douglas and his wife Lisa, so that we have to slide open the closet door that will fall to the floor, and step outside and climb every time it rings.

I have a Panasonic (circa the #1 son's middle school years) on my desk. It is part of a set of four, three of which still work. Its screen showed that the call was from the University of Oklahoma. I figured it was probably a nuisance call, but you can't be too sure. Which of YOU would let it ring, and listen to the message, if YOU had a son like The Pony attending the University of Oklahoma?

Of course I answered, and a little gal said she was calling on behalf of the University of Oklahoma to ensure that they could continue special programs that benefit my student.

"First of all, I would like to update your contact information. We don't have an email address for you on file."

"That's funny. I get emails from OU all the time. I just got one yesterday."

"Oh. Uh. Can you give that to me?"

"No. I would rather you contact me by mail."

"Well, we're having a pledge drive tonight--"

"Send me something in the mail, and I'll look at it."

"Has your student mentioned the student union? The Union Board offers many activities--"

"Yes. My son has enjoyed some of the Union Board activities."

"Oh, great! Can I put you down for a donation? Most people are giving $500."

"No. Not tonight. Send it to me in the mail."

"Mail. Sure. Okay. You know, OU offers tutoring sessions free of charge--"

"My son is a National Merit Scholar. He HAS mentioned the tutoring program, but I don't think he has used it."

"Oh, National Merit. You must be so proud! I know that's a big deal here--"

"Yes. We are proud that he was recruited by OU. He loves it there."

"So can I put you down for a $350 donation?"

"No. Not tonight. Send me something in the mail."

"What is your student studying?"

"Chemical engineering."

"Oh, we have a great engineering department! Does a $100 donation sound like something I could put you down for?"

"No. Not tonight. Send me something in the mail."

"Have you heard about our College Abroad program? You student--"

"Yes. My son is considering that program next summer."

"Great! How about I put you down for a $50 donation?"

"No. Not tonight. Send me something in the mail. I'll look at it then. Goodbye."

You see, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not begrudge a college using, perhaps, volunteers from sororities or fraternities, or students who need to complete public service for some infraction, as solicitors of donations. She doesn't even mind them reading from a script. And she is not against donating, because it would not break her Diet Coke/Scratch-Off Ticket Bank to kick a little cash their way, although she is more likely to do so after graduation. However...

Please teach these young whippersnappers to actually LISTEN to the response, and vary from the script as need be. Otherwise, they run the risk of alienating the deep pockets of future benefactors.

I feel like OU is grooming the next generation of car salesmen.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Mrs.Hillbilly Mom Greeting Card Co

I went to the main post office this morning in an attempt to get The Pony's mail delivered to Oklahoma in a time span shorter than 8 business days. You'd think the Pony Express could do better than the dead mouse smelling post office lately. We'll see if this helps. Since the main post office is the hub for the dead mouse smelling post office, the trip might have been futile.

Or not. Because at least I saw a sight that gave me a glimmer of an idea.

The picture did not turn out very well, because I was standing in a deep shade that could have sucked the light away from a black hole in a universe-all tug-o-war. There was this thin little tree growing up from a big shrubby bush:

I tried to get in closer. Deeper into the oppressive shade. But it didn't help my hand-me-down phone camera very much.

In fact, it didn't help at all. But that little tree made me think. If I'd only had a good picture, I could imagine a greeting card. Several greeting cards. Uplifting messages. Like these:

You don't have to fit in.

You are one of a kind.

Dare to stand out in a crowd.

March to your own drummer.

Reach for the stars.

Rise above.

Do your own thing.

Dare to be different.

One day you'll find your niche.

Family is not always genetic. Surround yourself with YOUR family.

Yeah. They leave a little to be desired. But so does the picture.

What caption would YOU put with this little tree?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Basement...

Tonight I was sitting here in front of New Delly, in my LIGHTED basement lair, when I heard a noise. I don't like hearing noises when I'm down here alone. And this one was insistent. Not simply that soda-opening CLICK like The Pony and I heard all the time, he saying it sounded like it was in my office, me (from the office) saying it sounded like it was out in the basement where he was. No, this noise was hard to ignore.

At first I thought that Farmer H had come down the steps and was collecting the empty soda cans that The Pony had bagged up before he moved off to college. Yeah. We're not in any hurry to clean up our hoard. That had to be it. The noise was like cans being moved and crushed. Kind of a clicking and popping sound. I was sure it was Farmer H.

"What are you doing?"

No answer.

"Are you down here?"

No answer.

"Hey! Are you down here?"

No answer.

"What's going on?"

No answer.

I got up from my rolly chair. I was kind of scared. SOMETHING was out there. In the basement. Over by the steps. I know that's where a Devil's Playground bag of Coke cans sits on the floor beside the blue chair nobody sits in. I know that, because the other night, around 3:00 a.m., I accidentally kicked it when going to turn off the light on a stand that my mom gave us.

"Heeyyyeeeyyy? What's going on? Is something out here?"

Whatever it was didn't have the common decency to stop! It kept rustling. I was imagining a rat or a possum had somehow gotten in, and was going to town on those Coke cans. I stepped into the doorway of my office, which doesn't have a door, because I never wanted one until now this very moment. I can't run very fast. And that rustler was right by my way out.


I didn't sound very confident. Not at all big and bad. Not like I could kick the butt of a rodent. But the rustling stopped!

"Huh?" Farmer H called from upstairs.

"Are you doing something?"

"No. I'm not doing anything."

"You're not making a noise with something?"

"Oh. I'm just opening this shock collar I got for Jack."

Occams Razor. Most times, hoofbeats are just a horse. Not a zebra. And most times, a can-rustling rodent is just Farmer H opening the plastic encasing a shock collar.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Whoa, NeighLay! A Hillbilly Mom Ain't Safe In An Acre Full Of Critters!

Every afternoon, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom takes a walk. Which is different from the hike that Farmer H sometimes suggests she take. If suggests means yells at the top of his lungs, and hike means a trip to the netherworld without veering left nor right.

A couple of days ago, her faithful companion, Puppy Jack, darted across the gravel road again and barked at the neighbors' horses. They gave him their bemused expression, and went back to mouthing the remains of a round bale of hay. Jack did not heed my calls to return to our yard. UNTIL...two of the neighbor dogs ran up their driveway. Then he scampered back.

I will admit that I was afraid. One of the dogs was the big black-with-tan bobtail that got Juno down in our yard and bit her. The other was a loose-skinned boxer. They (thank the Gummi Mary!) stood at the end of their driveway and barked. I think more at me than at Jack. I barely glanced as they ran up, because I wanted to see WHICH dog would be the instrument of my death, and I didn't want to meet their gaze and challenge them. I went back down to the garage, and put Puppy Jack away. My Sweet, Sweet Juno made herself scarce. I continued my walk until I made my three laps. You can't let the terror-dogs win.

Yesterday Jack behaved himself and stayed in our yard when I scolded him. Oh, don't think he didn't PLAN on going over to bark at the three horses. He started his rabbit-leaping, but I hollered, "JACK! NO!" He's usually good the day after he's been put in the garage and missed our walkies.

Today, Jack ran ahead of me, putting his head down in the hole he's dug out by the end of the driveway. THEN he perked up and started across. "JACK! NO!" He DID stop. But started barking his fool head off. Then I saw it. A horse was loose! It was outside the fence, standing in the neighbors' driveway. I turned around immediately and called for Jack. He came running, so proud to be a good dog that he jumped up against me, and pranced along on his hind feet.

As soon as I got to the garage, I lured Jack in with some cat kibble. No way was I going to have Jack chasing a LOOSE HORSE! You never know. It could get hurt. It could hurt me. It could get hit by a car. It could hurt the car. I continued my walk. On the next-to-last lap (I did 4 today), that horse made the whuh whuh whuh whuh sound, and galloped down its own driveway. Then the terror-dogs started going crazy. I couldn't see them, but I could hear them. AND the neighbor lady came home a half hour early, and stopped her car halfway down her driveway. I guess she doesn't have a horse-catcher mounted on her bumper.

On my last trip up the driveway, I saw Neighbor Lady (let's call her NeighLay) walking through the horse pasture, inspecting the fence. I didn't want her to think I had let it out! I HAD been walking back down my own driveway when she got home.

"I see you had a horse loose. I just saw it about 15 minutes ago when I came up to get the dumpster."

"Yes. She's a tricky one."

"I put my little dog away in the garage. I know he comes over and barks at them, and I didn't want it to get hurt."

"I'm not worried about my horses. They don't spook easy. I'm more worried about your dog."

"We're getting a shock collar. He has Little Dog Syndrome. He's always after something."

Juno had come up through our yard while I was walking, and crept closer and closer to the road, head down, hackles raised. That is very unlike my Sweet, Sweet Juno, who is a timid sort unless she sees something from afar. Then she'll bark, and sometimes run up to it. But has a force-field kind of distance where she stops.

And then, as if in a horror movie, four dogs filtered out of the cedar trees in the neighbor field, and came to the edge of the road, silent, looking at me. I swear. It was like the canine version of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. There was the black-with-tan bobtail, the loose-skinned boxer, a little buff-colored fluffy thing wearing a baby-blue sweatshirt, and a funny-looking cur with a face like a boxer, but mottled with white, and not as big. I could hear the killer poodle barking down by the house.

NeighLay spoke sharply to the black-with-tan bobtail. "You go lay down!" And it did. I told her that was the only one that scared me, because it had gotten Juno down twice in our own yard, biting her, until Farmer H intervened. "She's a rescue dog. They couldn't place her. She's afraid of people. When people went to pet her, she turned to look at the wall. If she's bothering your dogs, you let me know."

Huh. I can tell you ONE thing. THIS people is afraid of HER. But I didn't say that.

"What kind is it?"

"Mixed, but we know she's got some Rott in her."

"That's the one I see over here most often. But not since last Saturday. I never see your poodle anymore."

"We have a pen for him in the back yard. But this one goes crazy in a pen. She's not right."

WOOHOO! You ain't a-woofin', lady!

"Now this one right here, you should NEVER see." NeighLay pointed to the fluffy thing in the sweatshirt. "She isn't supposed to be out."

"I know my little dog comes over and barks at the horses. But we ARE trying to stop him."

"That little...HOUND?"

"Yeah. He's half heeler and half dachshund, and all stubborn. I shot him with my old BB gun because he was chasing a chicken. We used to have 30, but now we're down to 6. Something keeps killing them, but we don't find the bodies." Let the record show that I know for a fact her poodle and bobtail killed several of them, and took the bodies home. We even found one at the end of their driveway where they put their dumpster. But I didn't mention it, and neither did she. "A guy at work told Farmer H yesterday that it might be a fox. They kill and take the chicken with them."

"Well, you can't have anything like that if you live in the country." (I suppose chickens are for city people?) "We used to have ducks, and something killed them all. Ate the heads off, and left the bodies." (Okay. That's really creepy.) "You know, a paintball gun might be the thing to shoot a dog with. It doesn't hurt the dog, and the owner sees the paint and knows their dog has been somewhere he shouldn't."

"Yeah. That's what Farmer H talks about, but he doesn't have a CO2 cartridge for the paintball gun."

I don't know if NeighLay ever found her horse hole, but I went walking back to the Mansion, and called Juno along with me. She's a good dog.

I guess I'll know that Jack has been a bad boy if he comes home sporting purple paint spots. That's the color WE use, anyway.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Think These Bank Tellers Have A Future At The Dead Mouse Smelling Post Office

Monday I made a trip to the bank to deposit money in the #1 son's account. He's planning a trip to the west coast over the Christmas break, and asked if this could be his Christmas gift. I guess he has all the expensive lenses he needs now for his camera. Anyhoo...he had the go-ahead to reserve his tickets while they are cheap, to be reimbursed by the Bank of Mom and Dad.

I turned into the bank parking lot and drove around back to the drive-thru lanes. There are four. The one by the building is only for traffic leaving the ATM in the wall of the bank. The second one is for commercial business. The third one is the one I prefer, because I can make a right turn as I exit, into an alley, to come out at a street where I can see both ways to make a left. The fourth drive-thru lane is the farthest right, and requires a sharp turn and some backing up to hit the alley.

But on Monday, the third drive-thru lane was roped off! Not so much ROPED off as blocked by an 18-inch wide strand of what appeared to be industrial-strength maroon crepe paper. (That's CREEP paper, as pronounced by The Pony. Last year.) It was tied to a roof support pole on each side. I knew better than to drive through it like the captain of a high school football team bursting through the spirit paper at homecoming.

I did my deposit business in the fourth drive-thru lane, and finessed T-Hoe into the alley, and looped back through the parking lot of the church next door (notable for its steeple being struck by lightning a couple years ago, causing a fire, and if I ever go back from the future, I'll be sure to tell Doc Brown about it) to use the ATM to take out our weekly cash allowance. There was a truck ahead of me, so I waited a car-length back, as is the polite custom, for it to finish. Only took a minute. I pulled up, perhaps the most perfect distance away from the wall ever, and put in my debit card.


Sweet Gummi Mary! Now I would have to come back. Quite a drive from the Mansion, since we picked this bank when we lived in my $17,000 house in town, and kept it, because it has only been bought out by a bigger bank twice in 26 years. If only I'd known, I could have taken out my money while at the drive-thru. OR...I could go inside to do my business. I always hate that. I'd rather not know all the problems the other customers are having while I stand politely by the door, a line backing up behind me. It's not a very big bank.

I looped around again through the alley and church lot, and parked in one of the eight spaces out front. I took in a check to show my account number. I had my debit card in my pocket. I figured I could use a counter withdrawal slip, since I only had deposit slips with me. There must have been 10 employees inside. One was working the drive-thru lanes. One was working a teller window. And the rest were not doing anything worth paying them for, that I could tell.

There was one man ahead of me. He was speaking in a kind of heated manner, so I didn't feel the least bit guilty about overhearing him.

"Yeah! Since THURSDAY NIGHT! I tried to tell her about it, but she didn't want to hear it. She said that was impossible. I don't care what she said, it happened to me! By the time I got her to understand that, she said I would have to come in here and deal with it. I'm not blaming anybody. Accidents can happen. But ones are NOT supposed to come out of the ATM! I should have had two more twenties. NOT ONES! The machine isn't even loaded with them! I understand. Somebody who filled the ATM wasn't thinking when they counted out the money, and put a couple ones in there instead of twenties. I understand it's just a mistake. I tried to tell the lady that. You could have gotten them in a bundle that came in from another bank, or a business. Then I said, "I want my two twenties, and I want $36 for my trouble. And she said, 'What do you mean by that?' And I said, 'What do you charge me if I'm overdrawn?' And she said, '$36.' And I said, 'Uh huh. And that's what I'm charging YOU for messing up.' She really got a kick out of that. But she didn't give me $36."

They gave the guy his money and he left. One of the tellers kept telling me, "Sorry for your wait. We'll be with you in just a minute." But she didn't make a move to open a window. Another not-worker talked to the thirty-six-dollar-guy-teller, then that teller called me over. I told her that I had planned to use the ATM, but that it wasn't working, and I needed to withdraw XXX dollars.

"Here's a check with my account number on it. I can fill out a counter deposit slip."

"Oh, I can do that. Let's see the check. Do you have a driver's license? I'll need to see ID."

"I didn't bring it in. I can go out and get it."

"Please. Because I don't think I've ever helped you before."

"No. Because I usually use the ATM, which isn't working, or the drive-thru, where I already went once. To the one that's open."

I don't fault her for asking for ID. Even though they never ask me for it at the drive-thru. If I was going to rip off a bank by using stolen checks or debit cards, I certain wouldn't go inside. Would YOU? Didn't think so.

I came back with my glorious driver's license photo, and Teller counted out my money. LOUDLY. Another guy had come in, and they opened up a teller window for him (while my gal slapped a CLOSED sign up on the counter), and I could feel him looking at me while my Teller counted out, "Twenty/forty/sixty/eighty/ONE, twenty/forty/sixty/eighty/TWO..." It's like she was the announcer at Madison Square Garden.

And THEN do you know what she said, as I left with a final parting shot of, "Will your ATM be fixed soon? I only use it once a week, but is it going to take a while to fix?"

"Oh. It's just out of money. I'm going to fill it now."

SWEET GUMMI MARY! That was the teller who must have put ONES into the ATM instead of TWENTIES!

Isn't pretty much the only thing bank tellers DO is COUNT MONEY all day long? My old college roommate Bean worked in a bank for a couple of years after she graduated, and said that was the worst thing about it: all you did was count money all day long.

I don't for one minute think that was an accident!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Case Of Right-Staken Identity

Yesterday I only had a few items to grab in The Devil's Playground. A few, meaning half a cart rather than a whole cart full. I had my list, starting from the deli. I used to start at the back with The Pony, but times and my shopping habits have changed, since I can't send him ranging far and wide to fetch things. Now I have to make a big loop.

I was halfway done when a lady passed me by the open freezer containing the corn dogs (which I don't buy anymore, lacking The Pony to feed them to), and said, "Are you Hillbilly Mom?" I admitted to it right away. She didn't look familiar to me. But at least she had the name right, unlike that woman who insisted that my name was Jane, and told the Devil's Handmaiden that I was lying to her, pretending I wasn't.

But...people have called me Hillbilly Mom before, too, and then come to find out they say, "Yeah. How long have you been back from Alaska?" Um. Where I HAVE been, FORTY YEARS AGO! But try to convince somebody that when you are the name they are calling, and you've been where they inquired about. They don't want to hear that you're not THAT Hillbilly Mom. So I waited. To see who this lady really thought I was.

"I used to babysit you!"

"Oh, no! You look younger than I do!"

"When you lived on [REDACTED] Street! Your mom and dad would go out and leave you with me. Not all the time! Just every now and then."

"Oh. I'm sorry. I don't remember. I know they used to talk about living on [REDACTED] Street. My earliest memory is from my grandma and grandpa's house down by the river, next to their gas station. I was only about 2, and I fell on a cactus, and they had to pull out all the needles."

"Ooh. That's too bad! I knew your other grandma and grandpa. And all your uncles! They were crazy! They used to come over when we were kids, and we'd go down and play in the basement. The youngest one (Auntie Gambler's husband) used to jump out and scare me. He thought that was the funniest thing. And this one time, he hid in a big box. I knew he was in there. So I took a broom and started beating that box until he came out. They were really a lot of fun, that family."

We talked a bit more. She telling stories that I will relay to my favorite gambling aunt at our next lunch date, me nodding. Then I went on with my shopping. I was completing my loop, coming back up to the front, when I'll be ding dang donged if I didn't run into her again at the end of the soup aisle. Of course we had to talk some more. She said she forgot to tell me her name, and that she'd been at Mom's funeral, but she didn't come up to me because she didn't want to bother me, and she figured I would be overwhelmed with other stuff. Rightly so.

I hope Auntie Gambler remembers who she was.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bless Her Little Scratch-Off-Slingin' Heart

Today's errands included a trip to the bank, which was filled with clucker-fustery, the weekly Devil's Playground mission, and one stop for water and one stop for a 44 oz Diet Coke.

The bank story must wait for another day, as will The Devil. Perhaps they can become a two-fer. Today, we are complaining about the milk of human kindness. And by we, I mean me, myself, I, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, and her close personal friend, Val T.

I had every intention of making a cup of ice water before leaving The Mansion bright and early at 9:00 a.m. (because my body still thinks it's 10:00), because dealing with The Devil gives Mrs. HM a powerful thirst. Makes her want ice water, in fact. But I forgot.

I headed first to the dead-mouse-smelling post office, to mail the weekly letters for the #1 son and The Pony. I was dismayed to hear those two envelopes clank onto the bottom of the drive-thru mailbox. It was only 9:15, by cracky, and the mail goes out at 11:00, and that box should have been stuffed with weekend mail. So I think they're up to no good again at that stinky rodent facility.

This morning I varied my route, and went to the bank first. I knew I would have cotton mouth by the time I was halfway through The Devil's Playground. So on the way there from the bank, I stopped by a Casey's to get a bottle of water. Okay. The main reason for the stop was some scratch-off tickets. I figured I could pick up a bottle of water there, too. Besides, I was running low on change. I figured I could break a twenty, and have some ones and coinage for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke exact change.

The Casey's clerk was very nice. She's the one who tipped me off to a cheaper, paper funnel when I bought a quart of oil there during T-Hoe's unfortunate near-incapacitation. The total ended in "...and five cents." Perfect! A whole passel o' change for my coin cup! Couldn't be better! Clerky handed back my ones, and said sweetly, "I took care of the cents for you, sweetie."

DANG! She kept my magnificent would-be haul of 95 cents, to give me a dollar instead. I couldn't complain to her. She was so nice. So I went without the change.

Even Steven observes all, though. And when I was in The Devil's Playground, with my nose pressed against the hot deli case, persuaded me to forego the chicken wings in favor of an 8-piece packaged fried chicken deal.

I'd like to know where The Devil gets his chickens. When I got home, I found that my 8 pieces were 3 legs, 1 thigh, and 4 breasts.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Goldilocks, I'll Call You When They're Hiring

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has found a new fast-food treat. It's the Hardees/Red Burrito Grilled Chicken Bowl.

I had one of these last weekend make that the one before, because he was gone to Sweden this past weekend), when Farmer H wanted me to bring him a taco salad. Of course I wanted a taco salad, but after an argument with myself in T-Hoe on the way there, I twisted my arm behind my back and agreed to make a wiser choice. So Grilled Chicken Bowl it was. And for only 430 calories! You can't beat that with a stick! Or with the tasty shell of a taco salad.

The chicken bowl comes in a plastic bowl (thus the name), and is more substantial than you might think. Starting from the bottom, it contains a layer of Spanish rice, a layer of refried beans, some chunks of grilled chicken, a sprinkling of shredded cheddar, a smattering of salsa, and a dollop of sour cream. Nom-nom!

I admit that I have sampled it three times now. The original taste, then after a long day at the casino with my favorite gambling aunt, and today, which was not planned, but will be discussed elsewhere. After three samples, it is evident that Hardees/Red Burrito needs to hire Goldilocks for quality control purposes.

The first chicken bowl had a lot of rice. In fact, it was mostly rice, but there was enough of the other stuff to make Mrs. HM say, "What do you expect for a fast food chicken bowl? It's pretty good for 430 calories."

The second chicken bowl had very little rice, and more refried beans, lending itself to a Mrs. HM thought-bubble of, "Hmm...this is actually better than the first one. I like refried beans."

The third chicken bowl had LOTS of chicken, and very little refried beans, which made Mrs. HM giddy with such a discovery under the steamy lid. "Wow! That's a lot of chicken. The better for my protein needs."

In all instances, when I got my bowl home, I added some salsa on the side. Very few calories in salsa, but if you're watching your sodium, I can't recommend it, or the grilled chicken bowl itself. Though I'm sure you could make a lower-sodium version at home for your own self.

In fact, I have washed the bowls (there's a lot of my mom in me) to assure portion control, and plan to make my own during the week. With added diced onions!

Still, Hardees/Red Burrito needs to look into their chicken bowl assembly process. I figure Goldilocks would be the best trainer (you can't expect her to work for minimum wage) to make sure they get it JUST RIGHT.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I Am Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Hematoma

Remember Reader's Digest, and the features about Joe's assorted organs? I don't think his hematoma ever had a chance to speak. Or type.

This is why people on aspirin therapy shouldn't whack their hand on the raised countertop section next to the low countertop section where their New Delly sits in their dark basement lair. Sweet Gummi Mary! The light was even on, so I don't have that as an excuse. I was getting up from my rolly chair, and whacked the back of my hand on the corner of the countertop.

Let's just say that it's pretty apparent that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not in danger of a blood clot in the near future.

Oh, I'm sure there's a little bit of clotting to stem the flow of my life force out that damaged vein. But nothing like the unstoppable deluge that might have occurred, had I still been on the demon Xarelto. It kind of hurts, and will have a colorful bruise in a couple of days that will make the Devil's Handmaidens and The Devil's Playground look at me askance. But I'm not going to bleed to death from it.

Let the record show that it took four tries to get this picture, what with Jack popping his head into frame and then disappearing, leaving only his but like a Cheshire cat leaves its smile by the time the photo was snapped. Not to mention jumping up to jostle my hand.

I think I'll live, in spite of the waxy appearance of my digits, like I'm already on display at Madame Tussaud's. I blame the lotion I put on this afternoon.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Knick-Knack Paddywhack, Give A Pup A Pill...The Valedictorian Is A Genius Still

I'm pretty sure you never would have imagined this in a million years...but Mrs. Hillbilly Mom considers herself to be a bit of a genius. I know! Who would have thought that about a woman so modest and humble as Mrs. HM?

Because I'm kind of a genius, I knew there had to be a way to make Puppy Jack take his medicine that does not involve Puppy Jack eating everything I stuff it in, but still spitting out the pill. I've tried every food imaginable, soft and runny, meaty and firm (hope that doesn't get me any pr0n hits on my little anonymous blog), odorous and bland. EVERYTHING! much of everything I could, considering that this is only the fifth set of pills that Jack has ever taken. I think one is for heartworms, and one is for fleas and ticks. Don't hold me to that. I just take the boxes out of a shoebox with Jack's medical info and receipts from the vet. I write on the front what dates he gets his meds.

Yesterday, I decided to put Jack's pill inside an old hot dog. Sorry, Farmer H. Out of sight, out of mind, out of hot dogs! Jack is a small dog with a tiny mouth (though an extraordinarily long--and fast--tongue). I cut the ends off a hot dog, hollowed them out, trimmed a little cap of inner meat (I use that term loosely) to plug up the end when the pill was in. I cut the pill in half, and put a half in each hot dog end. See? It's so complicated that I have to tell you specifically.

Here's what it looks like:

Yum yum! Gotta give your doggy some! But make sure it goes to the right doggy! Therein lies Mrs. HM's genius. We usually have a problem with my Sweet, Sweet Juno stealing things given to Jacky. Toys, food, lava rocks he resorts to playing with because all of his toys are in her house...Sweet, Sweet Juno feels entitled to even Puppy Jack's pills. It was not such a problem when The Pony was here to dispense or hold back. But with only me, it's a problem.

Yesterday, I thought I could sneak out the kitchen door while Juno and Jack were waiting for me by the front door for their evening snack. Jack is nimble, Jack is quick, Jack can hear the back door click. He's always the first around there to greet me, his sturdy diggin' toenails clicking on the wooden porch deck.

I almost made it. Really. I snuck out, two hot dog ends stuffed with half-pills in my hand. I went down the steps while Jack jumped up and put his paws on my chest from the side porch. I started to give him a hot dog end, and HERE CAME JUNO! Jack's ears perked up, and he gobbled that hot dog end like there was no tomorrow! Like he knew Farmer H was coming back, and there would be no more hot dogs. I quickly slipped him the second one, and he ate that in one gulp. Therein lies the secret!


Yep! Jack was so dead set on not letting Juno get his medical treat that he didn't even fool around with biting into it and discarding the pill.

I did the same thing tonight, but Juno was more aggressive, so I had to toss her a chicken breast bone left over from lunch. That distraction worked. Jack gobbled two hot dog ends with their enclosed pill pieces while Juno was chewing.

I'm a genius. And my pup is medicated.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

It Was A Cop, My Fright, In A Black-And-White, Slowin' Down To Take A Look At Me

I went to town today at 11:00, and was home by noon. Since I fed the animals at 9:00 a.m. yesterday because I knew I'd be home late after my trip you-know-where with my favorite gambling aunt...I went straight over there to feed them when I got back. No need to make their rumbly tummies wait until evening.

While I was entering Farmer H's Shackytown, I heard a car up on the gravel road. I was in a white shirt, barely behind the tree line, and peered through the trunks to see a black-and-white police car (mostly black, with white writing on the side that said POLICE) on the way out of Hillmomba. It slowed way down when it got in front of our property. Then I figured the cop must have seen me walking, and was wondering what I was doing. Even though last time I checked, it's not against the law to feed your livestock at noon.

The police car actually stopped a minute, then went on. I was puzzled, because we are five miles outside the city limits. Police don't come out here. If you've got trouble, you have to call the county, and they'll send a deputy. Depending on the crime, you might also get some highway patrol officers. We haven't called the law since that time the first guy said he was going to shoot Farmer H, and it was a county deputy who showed up for his statement, and subsequently arrested that shooter-threatener when he told the deputy he would shoot HIM too! The point is that the law does not patrol our private landowners association property.

Then I wondered if somebody had stuff stolen. Still, the POLICE wouldn't be the ones to investigate. We have a guy who lives out here who works for another township's police department. But I don't think he drives his official car home. I was running all that through my mind as I fed the goat and mini pony, then forgot about it until I got to my dark basement lair and fired up New Delly.

There on the local online newspaper was a banner at the top, about a body found in an SUV following an arrest after a highway pursuit. The driver was arrested around 11:30, but a passenger had fled on foot. So I suppose that cop had been up in here looking for a fugitive, Hillmomba being less than 10 miles from the area of the crash, probably less as the crow flies or the perp walks.

Perhaps Mrs. Hillbilly Mom should move to a safer locale, like the edge of an active volcano.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Scenes From The Cash Struggle In Hillmomba

The #1 son sent me a text last night. I'm sure my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel will appreciate this exchange, since she enjoyed endured the #1 experience for four years.

"How open would you be to me flying to San Francisco and Portland over winter break?"

I resisted the urge to tell him that boy, would his arms be tired.

"I'll have to talk to Dad, mainly due to who's paying, and his upcoming 40% retirement, and the recent demise of your laptop. I suppose it could be your Christmas present."

"I'd be leaving right after the holidays, with a housemate and some other friends, who are going out there for a week. They've got super cheap flights, and are mostly staying with family and friends, so cheaper yet."

"What would you be doing? Besides being hipsters, of course."

"Most of them are seeing family, I think. I would probably hit up some friends from Solar Car out there."

"Would you rent a car, or how would you get around?"

"We're Millennials. We'd Uber, and take the train from SF to Portland."

"Don't some Uber drivers kill people? Or is that just a conspiracy theory?"

"Conspiracy theory. Have Ubered many a time."

"Yikes! The mom is the last to know! Is this going to be some LSD quest? Or MOLLY?"

"Psshhh, if I were gonna do molly it would've been at the dance festival we last went to! Molly is a dance drug, dontcha know. And of course I've Ubered! What did you expect me to do, drive drunk in KC?"

"It worked for my generation! And I don't mean MOLLY! Which I did NOT know was a dance drug, because I haven't danced since disco."

"Drunk driving? Such a bad influence!"

"I didn't say I was proud. I couldn't have been going more than 20 mph."

"My buddy says 'oh sh!t' lol"

"Because I did it, or because a narcoleptic turtle could have passed me?"

"Yes? I guess? lol"

"You'd better get to watching some Shameless on those DVDs I gave you last Christmas. Your buddy likes that show, and you're only on season two."

"I have been watching it! We'll probably watch one when we get home from the bar tonight."


"No! I'm not you! We arranged a DD!"

"We'd never heard of such a thing back in my day! Until those busybody mothers went all against us!"

"You're really building your reputation tonight, aren't you? You're lucky I have no moral ground to stand on, what with the drink in front of me."

"My rep is stellar, and you know it! Though I DID shoot Jack with the BB gun to discourage him from chasing a chicken. It's like the wild west around here. Give me a shot of whiskey and the reins to the stagecoach and a Winchester...and I'll clean this place up!"

"Okay, Donald."

"That was not very nice."

"Who is Pa voting for?"

"I don't know. Hopefully, not Ross Perot again."

"Ugh. The dive bars in this town are terrible. Why couldn't you send me to a school in a real town?"

"Because I wanted to FEED your brain, not destroy it."

Can you believe that was the end of our discourse?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Mouses To The Left Of Me, Mouses To The Right...Here I Am Stuck In The Middle With Jack

Looks like the Hillbilly Mansion is fast becoming the blog and homestead where wild animals go to die.

This evening, I stepped out on the porch to give Jack and Juno their evening snack, and saw special treats they had left for ME. Probably not Juno. Jack. Certainly not the cats. This group is too lazy to even get up and walk away when Jack humps them. Except for the one that hates him, and is worn down from growling 23 hours a day, and running for her life every time he is within sight. She would never have had time to kill two mice and deliver them to my door.

I tried to ignore the limp carcasses while snacking commenced. Then I went in to turn on the porch light, as the sun had already set. When I opened up the door and tried to get the first picture, Jack horned in. So I had to act like I was looking out in the yard so he would go to the steps and look that way. Then I took the picture:

Sorry that it turned out like one of Farmer H's photos, with a tiny subject in the center, and a lot of filler all around. That's as close as the zoom got me, and every time I leaned over to get closer, Jack ran and stuck his nose on the phone.

Here's Jack, eagerly awaiting a picture. Of himself, I'm pretty sure. You can just see the dead mouse behind his butt:

On the other side, the mouse was closer. I got this picture when Jack was distractedly humping his favorite feline with benefits:

When Jack heard the camera "snick" of a taken picture, he got off the cat to come stand expectantly at my feet. But the cat's eyes say it all:

"The horror."

It's times like this I wish Farmer H was home. He'd pick up those dead mice by the tail, and fling them into the yard. I'm afraid to touch them. The Black Plague may run up my arm. I might try sweeping them off tomorrow.

I'm pretty sure Jack will bring them right back.