Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Batten Down The Hatches

Storms are rolling in as I type (it's currently 5:05 p.m.), so I don't have time to be long-winded tonight. I am sitting in Farmer H's La-Z-Boy while I warm his supper in the oven, looking out the front window at dark skies and lightning. A situation to which I was ignorant of only one short hour ago.

I was frittering away my retirement time in my dark basement lair, getting ready to go upstairs for my walk, when Farmer H called to warm me of a tornado watch, and severe thunderstorms headed right at me.

"So I guess my walk is out of the question tonight?"

"Well...unless you can walk pretty fast if a tornado comes at you."

"Do you think I should go up and get my purse?" Let the record show that I was mostly concerned about my GAMBLING purse, chock full of expendable cash for our upcoming Oklahoma casino trip with my sister the ex-mayor's wife and the ex-mayor himself.

"It probably wouldn't hurt."

I normally take the purses, my prescription medicine, and when I was working, my teacher bag, down to the basement for safekeeping during tornado watches and warnings. Of course, I, myself, was safely ensconced in the basement when Farmer H called, but went traipsing upstairs to look outside. Huh. Not even all that overcast. The wind was nonexistent, unlike the swirling gales this morning when I was in town. I could probably squeeze in that walk...

So...I went outside, greeted my whimpering fleabags, and hit the gravel. Juno accompanied me partway. She usually sits in the front yard watching. I think she was trying to tell me to abandon this folly and get inside. So she could go back to her house. Copper came over to romp. Jack trotted beside me for a while before playing. I finished all six laps, even though at the end, a cool breeze sprung up. The air was thick with humidity. I went inside to cut up some of Saturday's Casey's pizza for the dogs' snack. None for Copper.

Juno didn't dawdle after eating. A quick nudge at my leg for a pat, then she took off toward the goat pen. That's unusual. Maybe she was headed for the stacked hay bales in the ramshackle shed beside where Farmer H parks his Gator. Even Billy the Goat and Barry the mini pony were in their wooden shed. The turkey, though, was right in front of me by the porch. He's normally up in the trees by now. Maybe those animals know something!

Anyhoo...I'm off of here for a while. Gotta take my valuables downstairs. Something tells me I might have company down there tonight...

Monday, February 27, 2017

Farmer H Is Now Available For Hire, For All Your Landscaping Needs

With Farmer H working only three days a week, and lately going in on Monday and Friday mornings as well, with plans to take more time off in the future...it's no wonder that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can't keep track of the days. That's the one thing I miss about work. The routine. Looking forward to Friday. Now I look forward to Tuesday. Or half of Monday.

I pretty much try to keep to myself. Let Farmer H roam around the grounds, building and hoarding and tearing up the driveway and not fixing the front door knob. I did the Devil's Playground shopping on Friday, and had just finished putting stuff away when he arrived home after a half-day. You can't imagine how happy I was to hear that he was going to the auction that evening.

Saturday was kind of yucky, with clouds and sprinkles. Farmer H stayed inside the Mansion for a good portion of the day, alternating between NASCAR and ROOTS on the TV. He picked up Casey's pizza for supper, and I snagged a couple pieces and practically ran down the basement stairs to avoid him. It was worth the wear and tear on my knees. Once I go subterranean, I rarely come back up until the wee hours, when Farmer H is already snoozing. It makes me no nevermind what he's up to while I'm below. Sometimes, if he decides to go somewhere, he'll holler down to me. A lot of times, he goes over to the BARn without informing me. And sometimes, he tosses supper scraps out on the porch for the dogs, or sticks his head out and hollers at them to be quiet. The slamming door doesn't make me go looking for him.

Sunday, as I returned home with my 44 oz Diet Coke, something caught my eye as I turned in the driveway. Something was different. Up by the carport. What in tarnation WAS that?

Sweet Gummi Mary! WHATEVER it was, it was ugly. U-G-L-Y, it didn't have no alibi. UGLY! It looked like a wheelbarrow that was turned over to keep the rain out of it (or to protect the fresh dirt from our old dog Grizzly's grave so the other mutts didn't dig him up back then), with an old soggy cardboard box on top.

Once I parked T-Hoe in the garage and walked around, I saw what it was.

Yeah. Its looks didn't improve up close. Now it looked like a crappy clamshell with a dead lobster on top. As you might imagine, I inquired of Farmer H as to WHY this thing was in our yard, and when it got put there.

"It's a decorative rock! With a piece of driftwood on it. I put it there last night."

Uh huh. You can see that he had no qualms about driving some large vehicle (probably one of his tractors) on the not-driveway.

I don't really want that thing in front of the ugly fence for all to see. Look away. It's hideous!

I might need to start keeping closer tabs on Farmer H.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I'm Starting To Think He Plans His Day Around My Activities

Farmer H has been so busy with organizing his (ahem) collections, and Goodwill/flea market/auction/antique store shopping, that he's only half-heartedly trying to kill me. Uh huh. He's slacked off on his spouse-i-cide attempts lately. Until today.

I asked him, around 4:15, if it was raining. Normally, Farmer H wouldn't be inside the Mansion at that time. But today, after a fruitful junk-shopping trip (the spoils of which will be revealed elsewhere), he came in to watch a NASCAR race, but got enthralled in the 40th anniversary broadcast of ROOTS. Anyhoo...he ate lunch and La-Z-Boyed most of the afternoon. He had the living room shades open, though. And when I asked about the weather, I heard him stump across the floor and open the front door to take a peek outside. Unless that was an elaborate ruse, and he didn't look out.

"No. It's clear."

"Okay. I'm coming up to walk in a few minutes."

Farmer H left to feed his animals. When I got outside, on the back porch, I heard rain. There's no mistaking the ping of raindrops on a metal roof. It wasn't raining hard. But it WAS raining. I went back in to change my sweatshirt for my quilted flannel CPO jacket. I knew I'd want to wear that sweatshirt downstairs later, and I wouldn't want it wet. The jacket I could take off and hang on the stair rail post to dry. Same with my sock cap. It wouldn't hurt being wet.

For an instant, while stretching at the steps by the garage, without benefit of my loyal fleabag audience, who had forsaken me for Farmer H (!)...I contemplated not walking. But I skipped yesterday due to the freezing wind, and didn't want to take a second day off. I thought about walking around the porch, which is all under roof. Gone are the days when that was my walk of choice. Farmer H has so many objects half-clogging the porch that I fear toppling off the edge on the two sides of the house without a rail. Besides, the cats get in the way, and if the dogs returned, they would be major moving obstacles.

I started across the Farmer-H-made brick sidewalk to get to the driveway. It was slippery as snot! Slippery as a granite floor after a snail convention! Slippery as an interstate highway after the jackknifing of a semi hauling eggs. That's okay, though. I wasn't having my 22-minute walk on the sidewalk. I took care not to crack my skull on those bricks on my way to gravel.

The walk wasn't bad. The wind was minimal compared to yesterday. I could hardly feel the rain, except a little on my face. The jacket and sock cap were a good barrier.

On my fifth of six trips up the driveway, I heard a door slam. A car start. Sweet Gummi Mary! I can't even have alone-time at the end of the driveway! Here came Farmer H in the Trailblazer. I stepped off the left side of the driveway to wait in the grass. Remembering a couple weeks ago, when Farmer H arrived home while I was walking, and I stepped off to walk in the grass. And got stuck almost up to my ankles in a mole tunnel. So I stood.

"I'm going to town to put gas in my car."

"You couldn't wait until I was done walking? You HAD to go this very instant?"

"I don't know why you're always complaining at me."

"You could have waited five minutes. Or driven off to the side."

"YOU stepped off first!"

"Because I didn't want you to run over me!"

"HM. I wasn't going to run over you."

"I don't know that! You HAD to go up the driveway RIGHT NOW while I'm walking in it."

"Oh, you're full of bull! Yes, I COULD have gone off the side. But you were already off."

Uh huh. That's what he SAYS. But he could have driven straight up through the yard and not been on the driveway at all. He drives through the yard all the livelong day. Except when I'm in the driveway.

Oh, yeah. And he said it wasn't raining when he looked out.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Yep. I Did It. I ASSUMED!

My favorite gambling aunt and I usually have food left on the platter after we partake of the all-you-can-eat menu at the FelineFish Skillet. We discovered a couple of summers ago that if you don't ask for more, the staff lets you take home what's left.

The standard policy, as we knew it before (usually being there for dinner instead of lunch, and with more people that just the two of us) was that no doggie bags or foam containers were allowed. What was left on the table was disposed of. Or, as Farmer H believed, served to subsequent diners. I can see the reason for such a policy, from the owner's standpoint. It's all you can eat. Not all you can take home. What's to prevent people from eating their fill, yet telling the waitress they need more of everything. VOILA! A platter of fried foods to take home for a later feast.

Auntie never eats leftovers. She barely turns on her oven twice a year. So she always encouraged me to take the leftovers to Farmer H. Anticipating (I stop short of ASSUMING) this behavior on Thursday, I made appropriate plans. The last couple of times, the slaw juice and baked bean juice mixed a little, and dampened the fried goods on the bottom of the foam container. This time, I cleaned the empty Christmas gift bag and the butter flavor powder from my movie purse. I put in two round plastic containers with lids. That way, I could safely transport the slaw and baked beans without seepage.

Imagine my shock when, near the end of our lunch, Auntie told the waitress, right after saying she was full, "We could use a few more pieces of fish." Let the record show that I am on the previous record as describing that Thursday's fish as something like the fried tail of a perch you might catch while fishing with a worm off the dock of your Grandpa's pond in the hog lot. I ate two pieces of the fish, and did not desire more. But it's Auntie's favorite part of the selection. So I guess I should have left it all to her, and concentrated on the chicken.

Anyhoo...as the waitress left to bring us more fish, Auntie said, "You can take what's left home for Farmer H."

"I'm not sure they'll let us take it, since we asked for more. They usually don't let you take anything if you get refills on your platter."

"Oh, come on! It was just the two of us! For all-you-can-eat! This will go to waste!"

"Yeah. But I think that's their policy."

"They'll let us take it."


After about 10 minutes of our waitress running around the "dinning" room, and no more fish...a dude waiter came out with a platter holding about 7 pieces of fish. He started to put it on our table.

"Oh, we don't need THAT much! Just a couple of pieces!"

Waiter Dude slid 3 pieces off the side of the platter, onto our platter that still held a considerable portion of potato wedges (Auntie won't eat them once they get cold) and fried shrimp (neither of us are a big fan) and hush puppies (I had too much chicken to concentrate on to waste my calories on hush puppies). Huh. This fresh fish was twice or triple the length of the original pieces we'd had. AND it was plump. Not like fried perch tail skin at all! Auntie ate two pieces, and encouraged me to take one. Nope. I'd calculated my portions. I resisted the temptation.

"I'm sure they'll give us a box."

"I don't know. I'll take it to Farmer H if they do. I told him I'd try to bring him some leftovers. But I don't think they'll let us do it."

I did NOT tell Auntie that I already had two round plastic containers in my movie purse, ready to stow away the slaw and baked beans. But I was thinking, even if we were told that we couldn't have a box, that I could put the stuff in there. Right at that moment, Auntie said,

"There's a camera watching you."


"Up there. In the corner. You're on camera."


"Now why would they do that? What do they think they're going to see? People eating?"

"Um. Probably they see people trying to take out leftovers! My mom would have! She would have this stuff wrapped in a napkin and in her purse by now. She used to do it at the old wings place. Order a sandwich, then put some of the meat on the rolls that came with the meal, then wrap her sandwich in a napkin and take it home. And fries."

"That's crazy that they have a camera in here."

So...I gave up on the idea of using my broughten-in containers. I didn't want to be seen on camera, and have to deal with a big scene in front of that full dining room. That kind of thing could go on my permanent record, you know!

Our original waitress came back to see how we wanted the bill. Auntie told her, "Separate." AND she said, "We'll take a box for the rest of this."

The waitress waited a beat. The look on her face said that she KNEW we had gotten more fish, even though she wasn't the one to bring it. But then she said, "Okay. I'll be right back."

I took that opportunity to go to the bathroom. Where I almost burned my hands off with the 500-degree water. I might have gotten my meal free if I came out with charred stubs. But even though I have a high pain tolerance, I had to yank them back. When I returned to the table, the waitress was taking money. She walked off.

"Oh, did you pay? I'll pay you back. How much was my part?"

Auntie pointed to the little black folder on top of a foam box. "There's your bill. She says she can take it at the table." Indeed. That waitress practically ran up and asked if I was ready to pay. Then she brought my change. Which I took, because Auntie and I had already put out $3 each for a tip. Even before we got our boxes.

AND this time, we had a square box, and two small round containers with lids. So I didn't have to flaunt my thievery on camera, and I could take Farmer H unsoggy fried goods.

Let the record show that his take included about 15 shrimp, 20 potato wedges, four hush puppies, one piece of catfish, one strip of chicken, a bowl of slaw, a bowl of baked beans, and no applesauce. We only had three containers, you know. AND, I was putting the fried goods into the big one when the waitress brought my change back, and she said, "Um. The OTHER side is deeper." Darn those foam containers! Some of them seem like the top is the bottom, due to how the slots fit together to close them.

Good thing I didn't whip out my own plastic containers. It WAS a bit presumptuous assumptuous of me. After Auntie asking for more, like Oliver Twist begging gruel, it was not a sure thing that we were getting to take our leftovers home.

I'm pretty sure that waitress saw my packing technique on the surveillance camera.

Friday, February 24, 2017

You Know What Happens When You Surmise...People Think You Sure Are A Miser

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a way of embarrassing herself at every turn. Not something so obvious that it can be seen from space, but something nuanced that makes people shoot her the side-eye.

Yesterday, I met my favorite Gambling Aunt for lunch at the FelineFish Skillet. We love to go there for the buffet, and I hadn't seen Auntie since early December. As we walked in, there was a sign at the front desk telling us to seat ourselves at a table in the right dining room.

"Huh. That's different. I wonder which one is the RIGHT dining room. Haha!"

"I'm wondering more about what a right DINNING room is! Because that's how they spelled it! Didn't you notice?"

We wandered in and saw that the right dining room was nearly full. It's just a big ol' rectangle. Only two tables were open. One all the way across the room by the windows, and one in the corner to our right. We took the corner table. Which came with somebody's mostly-eaten bacon pork rind chips in a white cardboard fry container. We sat down and waited.

After about five minutes, two other old ladies showed up. They stood at the entry of the right din(n)ing room, like they were surveying their kingdom. A waitress walked up to them and pointed out the only empty table in the room. Makes you wonder if they just couldn't read, or were confused by the RIGHT DINNING room, or don't follow directions, or thought they were special.

We waited 15 minutes before that waitress came to take our order. Seriously. It's an all-you-can-eat catfish house. How can they not know what people want? How can they not have the food ready? Anyhoo...she took our drink order of unsweetened tea and (gag) Diet Pepsi. Then disappeared another 15 minutes. In the meantime, we watched those two special ladies chowing down on their platters of fried goodness.

When we finally got our food, the waitress set a bowl of applesauce on the table as one of our sides.

"We didn't order that."

She started to take it back, but Auntie told her she might as well leave it. I wonder if the special ladies were missing their applesauce, heh, heh!

The food was okay. I prefer the chicken strips, which used to be full plump moist breasts. Hope that doesn't get me any pervert traffic! They have a really good sweet and sour sauce to dip that chicken in. Neither of us ate the shrimp. Except Auntie tried two pieces, and pronounced it all breading. It looks like what I buy frozen for The Pony, except that mine has actual shrimp inside. Auntie likes the fish best. But this fish was like eating the deep-fried tail of a perch that you caught off the dock at Grandpa's pond. Tough and thin and chewy. But with enough tartar sauce, it was passable.

Here's where I put one foot in my mouth, and almost another. Usually, Auntie and I take turns buying lunch. Wherever we are, it's just luck of the draw. We don't try to balance out the next trip to the penny. The last time we had lunch, I know that Auntie paid. That's because the time right before THAT, we were at the casino, and I paid. So when the waitress asked how we were doing, and walked away, I anticipated the bill coming, and said, "Is it my turn to pay?"

Auntie said, "Oh, no!"

And I said, "Well, you're not paying for mine! I'll give you the money."


Apparently, Auntie had no intention of paying for mine! Oopsie! So I just said I thought it was my turn, since she paid last time, and Auntie said no. So I deduced we were going dutch. At least it was just Auntie, and not somebody whose opinion of me I really care about!

TOMORROW: The myth of all-you-can-eat and my near faux pas concerning proper dining behavior.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How Much Fat Could A Dentist Suck If A Dentist Could Suck Fat?

I don't know about you, but Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was NOT too happy to get an email proclaiming:


There are several assumptions at play here. First of all, that Mrs. HM has FAT! Sure, it's true. But that's pretty presumptuous of the dentist who once saw the #1 son ONE TIME for a consultation. And what's a dentist doing removing FAT, anyway? Technically, he's an orthodontist. Which still does not qualify him to remove my alleged FAT. In my opinion, anyway.

What's he gonna do? Lop off my FAT? Like three blind mice's tails, with a carving knife? Is he going to inject me with numbing stuff first? Where's he taking this fat from, anyway? I could be temporarily disabled while that shot wears off.

Or maybe he's gonna put me through an old-style washing machine wringer. Or twist me, until my FAT is squeezed out though my pores. Like pasta through this Dolly Mini P3 machine at :45 seconds.

Also, he's assuming that I have a lunch hour. Sweet Gummi Mary! I'm retired, man! I have a lunch THREE-HOURS! No need to hurry like I'm at a Semi Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank, with only 22 minutes to make myself FATter. I can take my leisurely time, savoring that gas station chicken at will.

What's he gonna do with this FAT, anyway? Is he going to give it to me to take home, perhaps in a little cardboard Chinese carryout container with a metal handle? You know. So nothing nefarious occurs with any DNA I might leave behind. AND it probably saves him hazardous waste disposal fees.

But what if he KEEPS my FAT? And uses it to plump up the lips of some not-FAT-enough person, who gets an email saying:


Or he might even put my FAT in somebody else's butt! Somebody who is butt-challenged. Unable to keep up her pants. Unable to sit without her bones grinding into the chair. Somebody who routinely slips right into the toilet because she has no butt. Somebody who cried because she had no butt, but then she saw Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's FATty buttocks at the dentist's office on her lunch hour.

I just don't know. I think I might need to move that contact into my 5PAM folder now...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Biting The Hand That Feeds Them

We have a pest problem here at the Mansion. And I'm NOT talking about Farmer H!

Every evening, as I sit on the front porch pew acting as a mediator during Jack and Juno's nightly snack meeting...mosquitoes flit around my head. I know the winter (and I use that term loosely) has been unseasonable warm. But you'd think those darn mosquitoes might have died during that one week of icy, school-missin' weather.

I told Farmer H, a few nights ago as he sat in the metal chair that gets blown off the end of the porch during tornado season, "Something needs to be done about these mosquitoes! They're all over the place!" Meaning they were stealthily flitting around my head.

"I know. Look at the size of THAT one!" Farmer H did not seem to sense the urgency of my statement. Or appear at all inclined to doing anything about the mosquitoes. The one he was impressed with was on his arm at the time.

"I guess they're in that log down there." It's an old log, dead for quite some time, which has been there for years. But there's a little moss on it. I figure those mosquitoes must be living in the cracks. It's moist.

"I doubt it. The sewer trap is right under where you're sitting." Let the record show that the front porch pew is against the outer wall of the master bathroom. And the porch is composed of wooden boards, with crack room in between them. And that the porch sits about two-and-a-half feet off the ground, with lattice board covering the front edge to the ground. AND that if there's one thing Farmer H knows, it's sewer traps and how they work.

Still, he showed no inclination to do anything about those woman-eating pests. I have SIX bites! All inflicted within the past two days.

No. That's not me auditioning to be a model for one of those remote-control holders, or glasses holders. And it's not really as dark as the far, unexplored corridors of the Mammoth Cave system on my front porch. It's my bad hand-me-down phone camera again.

Look. I have a bite on my wrist. I think it's ready to grow its own body. That red shiny part of my hand is not a bite. It's just residue from when I was breaking up the dog snack of gas station chicken breast and wing bones. The index finger has a bite on the first joint crack. It is painful when I try to bend that finger. The ring finger has TWO bites, at the first joint crack, very itchy, which has swollen the fingertip portion due to my scratching. The other is at the second finger joint. And the pinky finger has a bite on the side of the finger at the first joint. My right wrist has a matching bite like the left one. It was first.

Here's my theory. I am busy chatting with Farmer H, or supervising the dogs so they don't steal each other's plate, and I don't notice when I'm being bitten. I sit with my left hand on the pew, fingers curved under the seat. I guess that's when they got me.

Something really needs to be done about the pest situation. You decide which one I'm referring to.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The WAI-AI-TING Is The Enragingest Part

Please excuse Mrs. Hillbilly Mom from blog-posting tonight. She is having a Not-Heaven of a time getting her IRS tax transcript, which the #1 Son needs by March 1st. It's not like he will qualify for any grants, or needs any loans. His FAFSA is done. But he's been "selected" for account verification. He only has one semester left, and only a few hours of required courses. But we don't want any problems in the financial aid office to interfere with his current scholarships.

I am so tired of jumping through IRS hoops that I might as well drape myself over a bare tree branch and call myself a Dali clock. This is exhausting work. Even though most of my time has been spent WAITING.

The stupid account thingy I set up in order to view and download that IRS transcript online does not want to recognize ANY of our phone numbers. Except for #1. He got his own tax transcript in about 2 minutes. Mine has to mail me a code, since they can't text it, because they won't recognize any of the cell phones. You know how our mail goes. 5-10 calendar days, they said. Just for a CODE number! Of course we never got it, after requesting it on Feb. 3rd.

Tonight I tried to get through by phone. Nope. Automated. After three tries, I THINK it's mailing me a copy of that tax transcript. Allow 5-10 calendar days! I say I THINK, because it took three tries, and two of them said they could not process it.

Oh, and don't get me started on the MAIL! The day after Valentine's Day, we got nothing. I mean NOBODY out here got anything. I know that, because, yes, I broke federal law and looked inside all the mailboxes on Mailbox Row. Nada.

AND...with the President's Day holiday, of course the mail wasn't delivered Monday. BUT...I had mail in my box this morning, BEFORE the mail was delivered today! Sure, it was just a magazine I never ordered. But it had my name and address on it. And was the only thing in any of the mailboxes. So I figure somebody else got it, and put it in the right box when they came looking for fresh mail.

I figure that secret code that I'm missing was also delivered to the wrong person, and they opened it, seeing that is was something from the IRS, like maybe a check, as if I'm that stupid and that efficient that poor that I already have my taxes filed and a refund on the way. Then, seeing as how it was nothing but a stupid six-digit code for something they didn't have the rest of the info for...they panicked and threw it away instead of putting it in my mailbox.

So now I don't know if to wait on that mailed IRS transcript, or try to have the code mailed again to access it online, or if I can do both without canceling the other, and Farmer H wants me to call the IRS tomorrow, as if I can find a number to a real live person, who will only tell me that HE has to call, because his name is first on the return.

I'm pretty much mad at the world right now. A new puppy would have gone a long way towards soothing my frayed nerves.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Both Sighed Now

Soft and silky spotted fur
Now and then wrapped ‘round a bur
Covering a precious cur
I yearn for pups like that

But now my hope is sadly gone
The pup that spotted fur is on
Won’t be romping on my lawn
Or chasing my three cats

I’m wishing I had not known now
About sweet Pepper, yet somehow
I’m glad she found a home, y’all
Even though we didn’t get the call.

Farmer H tried. He really tried to get me that little dog Pepper. The one who looks just like Jack, same mix. As of last night, the lady who put Pepper on Facebook to give away (!) said she was deciding who would get her.

Well. This morning all the way through noon, and shortly thereafter...I felt like I should throw some snacks in my briefcase and head off to the office to work on the Penske file. You know. Like George Costanza did, even though he didn't know if he really had a job or not. 

Farmer H said that the Pepper lady had put on Facebook: "Thanks to everyone who showed an interest in Pepper. Pepper will be ready for PPU this afternoon." And that was IT! So we had a debate over what PPU could mean. Farmer H thought it might be for "Possible Pick Up." I thought it might be the initials of the person who had been selected to adopt Pepper. But really...who would put all three initials on there for something like that?

"I gave her my phone number. I sent a message that my wife really wants Pepper."

"Yeah. I'm pretty sure we didn't get her. I'd hate to think that we're supposed to pick her up, though, and don't know about it."

"Here. Just in case. I'll send her another one. 'I still don't know if I get Pepper. If I'm the one, let me know the time and place to meet you, and I'll be there.' I can't do much else besides that."

"Yeah. That just seems really strange, the way she put that PPU on there for everybody to see, without us knowing what it means."

"She has my phone number. If she calls, I'll go meet her. I have some fence ready to put up for a little pen at night."

"Probably somebody got Pepper to keep inside. That's good for Pepper. It's what she's used to. I just really wanted her."

"I know. It is what it is. There'll be other dogs."

Don't I know it! Every week, I check the Pound Pups section of the paper. This week, there were 9 cats and 3 pit bull mixes. Sorry. I'm not adopting one of those.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

You Don't Know What You Want Till It's Gone

Farmer H sure knows how to tug at my heartstrings. I'm not so sure tug is the correct term. I'm pretty sure he's trying to rip my heart right out of my chest.

This morning it was his duty to wake me in time to get ready for a movie date. The awakening was accomplished by sitting in the living room in his La-Z-Boy and yelling, "It's time to get up!" Which is not so very horrible. It's what he said next.

"I've got something to show you."

That is NEVER something you want to hear from Farmer H. Especially in the morning, when you're laying in bed, still a little groggy.

"I bet you do. That doesn't mean I want to see it."

"Just a minute. I have to find it."

"That doesn't sound good."

"No. It was right here. Now it's gone. Give me a minute."

"I'm going to get in the shower. I don't have time for this."

When I got out of the shower, Farmer H was still sitting in his La-Z-Boy. He was holding his hand over his head. Out over the back of the chair.

"Here. I've got it now."

I picked up one of my four current pairs of glasses, in varying prescriptions, two of which reside on the table next to the La-Z-Boy. I squinted at Farmer H's hand, which held his phone. The screen went black.

"You'll have to show me more than that."

"Oh. Here."

It was a picture of Puppy Jack. In a kitchen, standing over a bowl of dry dog food, bits of kibble scattered on the tile. WAIT A MINUTE! That wasn't Puppy Jack!

"A lady put it on Facebook this morning. 'Free to good home. Pepper. A weenie heeler mix. She's five months old. Okay with kids, but nips their fingers.' I thought you'd like to see her. She looks just like Jack."


Thing is, you never know WHY Farmer H is showing me something like this.

"Well...I don't know. Do we need another dog? We've always had three. It wouldn't be that much different than having two."

"Yeah. It wouldn't be any different at all."

"Should we call about her?"

"She's NOT coming in the house!"

"I know that. The weather's warm. She'd have to learn that she lives here. Do you have somewhere to put her up for a week or so?"

"I could put her in the chicken pen."

"She'd dig her way under the fence."

"Yeah. Jack already has a hole where he goes under, to get in the goat pen. I'd have to fill that in."

"She'd probably stay. With the other dogs. And getting fed here. Juno will hate her! For a while. Then maybe they'll be buddies, like Juno and Ann were."


"Do we want to get her? While we don't have any chickens left for her to kill? She'd have to have her operation! Is five months old enough?"

"I don't know. It would be close. We don't want any pups!"

"Yeah. We need a pet carrier that she'll fit in. Since you can't find the big one."

"She'd fit in that other one right now. She probably won't get any bigger than Jack."

"Yeah. They may not let us have her, if they know she'll be outside. I wonder what's wrong with her? Why they don't want her?"

"I don't know."

We went to the movie. Didn't speak of that little dog again. Until we were coming down the driveway, opening up the garage door.

"What do you think about that dog?"

"I don't care. Here. I'll send that lady a message."

This was around 1:30. We didn't hear anything until 7:00. The lady is trying to decide who to give that little dog to. I have a feeling we won't get her. But if that's because she's going to somebody who'll keep her in the house, then good for Pepper.

My heart feels like it's a size too small right now.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Still Wondering

On Thursday, the evening after Farmer H's near-miss with the Garlic Bread Toaster-Warming Plan...he again astounded me by remaining alive after making a less-than-wise choice.

Let the record show that I give Puppy Jack and Sweet, Sweet Juno a snack on the front porch every evening after my walk. They get assorted leftovers and expired food from the pantry or FRIG II. On that very day, I had set out a loaf of sliced french bread from The Devil's Playground bakery section. It had been in FRIG II for two weeks, and I'd just bought a loaf to replace it, so I needed the room. The dogs enjoyed their bread snack, along with a few of the softer bones from some Devil's deli chicken. There was still half a loaf left for the next day's snack.

Farmer H was left to his own devices for scrounging his supper Thursday night. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom doesn't cook warm in the oven or heat in the microwave on shopping day. Besides, Farmer H enjoys Devil's fried chicken and slaw, though not as much as he likes hot dogs.

On Friday, Farmer H had plans to go to the auction. I offered to warm him some frozen Buffalo Chicken nuggets that he'd had for the Super Bowl. They're quick. He had about 45 minutes to spare before leaving. He said that yes, that would be good. He liked the Buffalo chicken chunks.

"You can have some slaw with them. Or a salad. And there's a bag of rolls I just bought yesterday. They're in the refrigerator."

"I can have some bread."

"Oh, you mean the garlic bread? Yeah, I can warm that up for you."

"No. That other bread."

"Oh. The french bread. Yeah, I got another loaf of that, too. You'll have to put a twisty on it when you open it. There's one of those tape thingies holding it closed. They always tear the bag when you take it off. I'll lay out a twisty."

"I'll just have the slices, like I had last night."

"What do you mean?"

"On the counter."

"THAT WAS FOR THE DOGS! And I just threw it away THIS MORNING because there was mold growing on the top! I wouldn't even give it to the dogs tonight!"

[Let the record show that the mold looked like a map of the Americas. (Ever since that England is an island debacle, Mrs. HM loves to show off her mad geography skillz whenever she gets a chance.) Let the record further show that Farmer H has a thing about moldy bread, and turns green at the mere thought of touching a bag with moldy bread inside.]

"Well...there wasn't any mold on it last night..." I imagine Farmer H's innards were writhing, despite his rationalization.

One of these days, Farmer H is going to remember that anything set down on the counter in that area is meant to be fed to the chickens, dogs, goat, or mini pony. Until then, he might as well expect to contract food poisoning.

Considering all the trouble Indiana Jones had getting that poison antidote before he entered the Temple of Doom...perhaps Farmer H needs to wear a vial of poison antidote around his neck.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Sometimes, You Gotta Wonder How He's Survived This Long

Farmer H asked for spaghetti last week, and spaghetti I made him, by cracky! When The Pony was here, and the #1 Son eons ago, I also made them garlic cheese bread.

There used to be a Pizza Inn near my $17,000 house in town. It's Puppy Jack's veterinarian's office now. But it used to serve good pizza. Every other Friday, when Farmer H picked up his boys, HOS and The Veteran, we took those youngsters to feast at Pizza Inn. We got pizza and garlic cheese bread. YUM! I figured out how to make it by the time #1 and The Pony were born and old enough to enjoy it.

Since it was just Farmer H and me last week, I didn't plan to go all out, spreading butter and sprinkling shredded mozzarella out of a bag and shaking some garlic salt on top. That's more work that I was prepared to put out for Farmer H. When I bought the hamburger for the sauce at Save A Lot, I grabbed a foil loaf of frozen garlic bread. Normally, when I buy that stuff, it's the sliced Texas Toast kind of garlic bread. Save A Lot was out! So...I got the kind that's like a loaf of french bread sliced down the middle. That meant that I had to hack it into chunks. Frozen.

I hacked 2/4 off the bottom crust. That was more work than if I'd taken the sliced french bread I had in FRIG II and spread it with butter and sprinkled on shredded mozzarella out of a bag and shook some garlic salt on top. Anyhoo...Farmer H had spaghetti and garlic bread for his supper.

I made enough spaghetti for three servings. Farmer H asked for it, so obviously he WANTED it, so I figured he could want it for two more nights. Wednesday night, Farmer H was going to feed the animals and putter around in the BARn. He said he'd warm up his spaghetti when he was ready. But...knowing Farmer H like I do...I offered to lay it all out for him.

"Do you want me to put the spaghetti in a pan on the stove, until you're ready to warm it?" I knew at least it would be in the pan I wanted it in if I did it for him.

"Yeah. If you want to." I HATE it when he says that. Of course, given a choice, I don't WANT to! He could just say, "Yes, please." Not act like I take great joy from it and he's doing ME a favor.

"Okay. How much do you want. The rest of the container?"

"No. Just half of it's good."

"Do you want garlic bread?"

"No. You don't have to make that."

"I mean...the kind you had the other night. The frozen kind. I can put in on a foil pan, ready for you to put in the oven."

"Nah. I'll just toast it."


"I'll warm it in the toaster."

"Uh...you're not going to fit those chunks in the toaster."

"Oh. I thought it was slices."

"You'd actually put Texas Toast coated with butter in the toaster? Where would the butter go?"

"I'd just lay it across the top if it wouldn't fit."

"I'm putting it on a foil pan. I'll write your directions on a paper plate."

"Okay. If you want to."

How in Not-Heaven has that man survived this long? Maybe I should have let him use the toaster, and told him to clean out the melted butter with a fork...while the toaster was ON.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Even Steven Dishes It Out, Then Allows Mrs. HM To Take It

Dang! Even Steven had his way with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom this morning!

On the way up the driveway, I noticed that we'd had a visitor sometime in the night or early morning. I managed to get a picture of the evidence on the way home.

How do ya like THEM horse apples? Not much, if you're Mrs. HM. Because they are right where she places her dainty feet when she takes her driveway walk every afternoon. AND the dumpster needs to be brought back down to the garage today, so it will have to be rickshawed on the other side, which has a little depression down the middle.

The neighbors who possess the Killer Poodle and Crazy Rott have three horses, in a field just across the gravel road from the Mansion driveway. They can't projectile-poop that far, but they sometimes get out. This could be the explanation for the dogs going crazy last night. Or not.

Meanwhile, in town, The Devil's Playground was out of big sandwiches. It's been at least six months since I bought one. But last night, Farmer H said he wouldn't mind to have one, to use for some lunches on his four-day weekend. So...the only time I promise him something, The Devil is fresh out.

I was standing at the end of the tortilla table up by the bakery section, and a fellow old lady shopper pulled her cart right up in front of me so I couldn't get away without backing up and taking a detour around an abandoned cart on the other side of the display. Let the record show that she was NOT looking at the tortillas. And that when she stationed herself there, she met my eye, like a hoodlum in a souped-up jalopy revving his engine beside a muscle car at a stoplight.

The stockers were out in full force, their wheeled carts blocking three different aisles. I swear, no matter what day I choose to go shopping, they're re-stocking. Then there was the old man with his cart parked in the middle of the waffle aisle. So I had to squeeze by, compressing my quilted flannel CPO jacket that I had draped over the side of my cart, just so it didn't flap him in the butt as I walked by. And the lady on the bread aisle who parked her cart on one side, then stood on the other, effectively cutting off cart-walker traffic flow until she was good and ready to  rejoin her buggy. I had planned to pick up some hot dogs for Farmer H to throw on Gassy G this weekend, but a lady with a baby in her basket, and a screaming boy toddler with his wrist in her death-grip, were working out their behavioral issues in front of that section. A little old lady buying sugar parked her cart to block the Splenda display. And a re-stocker clanging wine bottles as he removed them from the shelf nearly deafened me as I was picking up two four-packs of strawberry water for Farmer H in the beverage section.

At the checkout, my Devil's Handmaiden was oblivious to my need for a divider on the conveyor. So I had to let a reasonable gap develop before taking the imminent purchases out of my cart. THEN the lady behind me was a close-shopper, and blatantly ogled my PIN when I used my debit cart, after I practically needed to elbow her out of the way to get to the scanner.

On the way out the EXIT door, a scofflaw had the nerve to try and ENTER! There was a time when Mrs. Hillbilly Mom would have tried to maneuver her fully-loaded cart out of the way to make room. Today was not that time. I kept going straight out the middle of those double doors, so Scofflaw had to stop in her tracks. Karma, Scofflaw. Use the right friggin' door.

I spent the ensuing soda/lottery interlude danging ol' Even Steven. But once I settled down to sip my 44 oz Diet Coke and scratch my lottery tickets, I changed my tune. Because sweet ol' Even Steven gave me $65 in winnings today.

Life is a balancing act.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mrs. HM's Heart, And T-Hoe, Were In The Right Place

Last week, I stopped by Orb K for my 44 oz Diet Coke. It's a nice little change from the daily grind of drinking only gas station chicken store 44 oz Diet Coke. Besides, it's about half the price, stays cold longer, and is almost as good.

I parked in my customary parking space, by the little sloped section of sidewalk edge. I can clamber out of T-Hoe, let the synovial fluid redistribute itself, and hobble (trying to walk without a limp from the right knee that doesn't straighten all the way) on into the store without having to step up on the sidewalk. Let the record show that this is NOT a handicap parking spot. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom would NEVER park in such a spot, even though her own mother occasionally encouraged her to ask their mutual doctor for a handicap permit. Nope. Not gonna happen. The day I do that is the day I get one of those stand-up old people chairs. Oh, wait...

Anyhoo...I may use the handicap stall in restrooms if nobody less-abled than me is waiting for it, but I would NEVER park in a handicap spot. The Orb K has only one handicap spot. Unlike the Country Mart, which has at least 10. Orb K's handicap spot is across a little yellow-striped walkway painted (and almost faded-away now) by the sloped section of sidewalk edge where I park. I NEVER park in the handicap parking spot. Even though the blue handicap paint is faded as well. Lots of other people park there, probably unaware. But not me.

So...last week, after purchasing my 44 oz Diet Coke and a few lottery tickets, I came out the front door to see a sedan parked in the real handicap spot. A lady was getting out of the driver's seat. She was a-movin' kind of slow. Like Uncle Joe at the Junction. Petticoat Junction. In a rocking chair on the porch of the Shady Rest Hotel.

I carefully shuffled down that sloped section of sidewalk edge and unlocked T-Hoe. That lady was still getting out of her car. I wondered if she needed help. I climbed up on T-Hoe's running board and dragged my legs inside. As I wrote the location of purchase on the back of my lottery tickets (I like to keep track of where the winners come from), I snuck another glance at that lady. She was barely standing now. Swaying.

I kind of wanted to ask if she needed help. Maybe she had multiple sclerosis. Was recovering from a hip replacement. Or had bad knees. I could offer to get her soda for her. Or buy her lottery tickets. I'm kind of a professional at those two things. But maybe she was traveling down the highway, and only stopped to use the restroom. THAT would be embarrassing. So I put T-Hoe in reverse, and left.

As I drove past that lady, she was rounding the trunk of her car to get to the sloped section of sidewalk edge, rather than going from her driver's door directly ahead into the store door. She had two of those metal canes with four feet each. She was VERY unsteady.

I felt bad for parking in my space. It would have been a more direct route for that lady. To get out of her car, and walk straight up that sloped section of sidewalk and down to the store door. Technically, though, she WAS parked in the handicap spot.

At least I had been limping when I came out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

So Close, But Yet So Slick

I am still reaping the benefits of my birthday window.

On Sunday evening, after we returned from the casino, Farmer H made his own supper! I told him I had no plans for cooking. So that might have influenced his decision. I DID, however, offer to bring him a Hardee's Chicken Bowl from town when I went to get my 44 oz Diet Coke. He declined.

Around 6:00, comfortably caffeinated, and ensconced in my dark basement lair, my nostrils detected a not-altogether-unpleasant aroma of frying nitrites. Farmer H had mentioned frying himself some bologna and eggs. Let the record show that they were store-bought eggs, due to our lack of layers, due to the invasion of the chicken-killers, the neighbors' fleabags.

I was shocked that the newly-revived smoke detector did not scream in alarm. I was even more shocked, at 3:00 a.m. when I went upstairs for bed, to find the kitchen cleaned up! Since Farmer H had informed me that he would be cooking, I figured he would see no reason to disguise his behavior by washing the pan and plate that he used.

Not only had he scrubbed my non-stick skillet, the metal (!) spatula, and his plate and fork...but he had washed about four spoons, a knife, and two plastic containers (one an opaque quart tub from carryout hot & sour chicken, the other a white flat rectangle that once held Chinese hot braised chicken). I made a mental note to tell Farmer H that I appreciated his homemaking skills.

That evening, as I was preparing supper, I decided to put those clean dishes away while my spaghetti noodles boiled.

The white flat rectangle nearly squirted out of my hands! It had a greasy film all over it. As did the opaque quart tub. So I ran a sink of dishwater to re-wash them.

I guess Farmer H gets an 'A' for effort.

Though I am holding off on the thank-you, lest his behavior prove to be an evil plot to guarantee that I never ask him to wash dishes during his retirement.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Maybe Now Farmer H Can Understand That Goats Are A Pain In The A55

Let the record show that our days of having 11 goats are gone. They were fun while they lasted, I guess. It all started with a lone goat that Farmer H brought home from the auction. That's back when the auction could still sell live animals, and his lady Chinese buddy bought ducks for consumption. Then somebody dropped a dime on them, and no more animals, due to it being unregulated, and somebody could have been mistreating the animals, and then I guess the next step would be Sarah McLachlan showing up to sing about them. Nobody wanted that.

I will admit that there's not much cuter than a baby goat, just born, the size of a rabbit, carried into the Mansion in the crook of Farmer H's elbow. Gotta be quick, though, because when it starts bleating, the momma might just ram through the front door. And those triplet babies were the cutest thing ever.

Still, Farmer H traded off some of the goats, two of them for the mini pony, sold some more, and kept only the first one and old Longhorn and Nellie, the special favorite.

Let's just say that MOST of them died a peaceful natural death, from old age.

Farmer H brought home a new goat when we got Puppy Jack. It came with a leash, and had been walked around as a pet. Farmer H did that a couple of times, but Billy (original, eh?) lives in the goat pen now with Barry the mini pony.

When Farmer H is gone on his spy missions, I feed the animals. That goat grew up quite a bit between my feeding sessions. The last time I went over to feed, because Farmer H would be getting home from work after dark, Billy stood up and put his hooves on the top of the fence. He's pretty friendly. He's a white goat, but not long-haired like the one in the picture, our old Nellie, who kept getting her head stuck in the fence. (I put her picture here for blog buddy Sioux, a serious fan of goats and their mesmerizing rectangular pupils.)

Anyhoo...I reached over to pet Billy, as I've done in the past, and he tried to BITE me! Huh. I guess somebody is growing up and feeling his sweet feed. It happened again when I was digging fallen leaves out of their water tub with a stick. No need to go inside the pen when I can reach through from the chicken pen side. Billy came over to see what I was doing, and I reached my fingers through to pet him, and he tried to BITE me! Again! He looks so innocent and soft...

Today on the front porch pew after half a day of unscheduled work, and coming home early, and sitting on the Gator behind the garage to watch me walk my last driveway lap (I KNOW!)...Farmer H told me a story about what happened to him yesterday.

"I was in the goat pen, stacking wood. I'd trimmed up a bunch of them limbs that fell, and I was making a stack. Billy came over and reared up on his hind legs. He does that to play. HOS hunches his shoulders at him, and they play-fight. Billy butts at him like he does when Jack plays with him. But I don't do that with him. I told him to go on, and he walked off. I bent down to pick up some more wood, and next thing I know, Billy's buttin' me from behind. He stuck a horn up my butt!"

Okay. That's funny as Not-Heaven! I laughed out loud. I still chuckle when I think about it. Serves Farmer H right for keeping these animals and not letting them have companions to work out their animalness with.

"Don't laugh! It HURT! I turned around, and he stood up on his hind legs again, and I grabbed a stick and whacked him on the side of the head! He left me alone then."

I guess it's not polite to laugh at something like that. But it reminds me of the little banty rooster who HATED Farmer H, and took a flying leap at him every night he went to feed the chickens. A flying leap, leading with his gnarly rooster feet and spurs, aimed right at Farmer H's bulbous soft belly. Until the day Farmer H swung a blue plastic snow shovel at him, and almost hit a home run.

The more Farmer H is around the Mansion...the more stories like this I hope to hear.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

All Right, Farmer H, I'm Ready For My Change Up

Let the record show that Farmer H has been working three days a week. The middle days. Which leaves him a grouping of FOUR DAYS together, a perpetual four-day weekend, to deal with issues around the Mansion that are the duty of the husband.

It's not like I'm asking him to scrub our clothes on a washboard down at his creekside cabin. Nor even wipe his own butt, apparently, from the looks of the toilet seat at 3:00 a.m. Thank the Gummi Mary I turn on the light. In fact, I even pick up the mud from his clodhoppers that he sprinkles so liberally through the kitchen and living room. No. I just want my cars to run, and my Mansion to be safe. Like...if his wiring from 19 years ago causes flames to lick up the walls...I want to be notified.

That's what a smoke alarm is for. Perhaps you've heard that batteries in smoke alarms should be replaced twice a year. Apparently, Farmer H was out of the loop. I don't see him switching out the Evereadies or the Duracells at Daylight Savings Time and its end. Around here, we wait until the smoke detectors tell us they're ready for changing.

Perhaps you've heard a smoke alarm ready to be changed. They're quite vocal. Insistent and persistent. That's a hard one to miss. CHIRP...CHIRP...CHIRP. It's like Chinese water torture for the ears.

The kitchen smoke alarm declared that it needed changing on Tuesday at 8:40 a.m. I'm sure of that time, because I heard it from my bed. Which, let the record show, is NOT in the kitchen. In fact, that smoke alarm woke me better than an alarm clock. I could not go back to sleep. Had to get up BEFORE 9:00!!! Oh, the snoozemanity!

I know Farmer H heard the cry of the smoke alarm that evening. After all, he had to stand right under it to dish up his Poor Woman's Chicken and Dumplings that I had made for him on Sunday. I think. All the days run together for me now. And even if he'd been concentrating on piling up a towering bowl of chicken and dumplings, I'm sure Farmer H would have heard the CHIRPING while sitting in his La-Z-Boy watching some auto auction or junk-finding show. I was certain he would change the batteries.

At 3:00 a.m. when I went to bed, Smokey the Detector was still chirping. I could hear him from the bedroom. I'm pretty sure that even with his head under the quilt, inhaling the gushing air of his breather, Farmer H could hear him, too. I thought maybe he was just tired. Having worked one whole day this week. And that he'd switch out those batteries before he left for work the next morning. While he was rested and fresh, you know.

I guess Farmer H wasn't all that rested. Or fresh. Smokey the Detector kept on CHIRPIN'. He might have made a good tattoo back in the 70s. As a buddy to the Keep on Truckin' guy.

Wednesday, I blatantly mentioned that the smoke alarm seemed to need new batteries.

"Uh huh. I know."

"We have some, don't we?"

"Yeah. You have a whole drawer of them."

Well then. He would do it that night. Before bed.

But he didn't. Nor Thursday morning before work. Or after. Smokey the Detector didn't get a changin' until FRIDAY NIGHT. I saw the battery package in the wastebasket when I came up at 3:00 a.m. and found my birthday card on the counter. Did I mention that it played Celebration when I opened it?

That was kind of ironic, was it not?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

What Do You Get The Gal Who Has Everything?

Tomorrow my Sweet Baboo is taking me to the casino. I guess it's easier than buying me an actual birthday gift. Let the record show that my birthday is not tomorrow, but that's the best day for him to take me. And that the trip will cost HIM nothing.

Still, he's taking me. Never mind that the forecast calls for rain, which would prevent him from tooling around on the Gator and building more sheds. I asked if he was going to rush me out of there like usual, and he said that we have to leave by 2:00 or 2:30.

If I sleep in, in the manner to which I am accustomed, I will get precious little time to lose my money. So I asked when he wanted to leave, and told him what time to wake me, and he said, "Or...we could just leave the alarm set at the normal time of 5:30." Yeah. Okay. I'm pretty sure he's just trying to make me get up earlier. But I'm game for gaming. So 5:30 it is. That's still better than 4:50, when I used to get up for WORK!

Looks like it's turning out to be a good birthday. My best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel gave me lunch, a special collector pony to display with my others on top of the piano, and a Dolly Parton t-shirt. HOS gave me a card and some scratch-off tickets, and I won $15. The #1 Son sent me a card, addressed to "Mom," then our address. Cute. Maybe that's why he kept asking if I got it yet. He SAID it was because he had to tape it shut, but maybe he was rethinking his cutesiness. Farmer H gave me a card that plays "Celebration!" I'm all about the disco, you know. It sounded really cool at 3:00 a.m when I found it on the kitchen counter. The Pony says his card is on the way, but he only got it in the mail on Thursday, and you know how the mail goes around Hillmomba.

But the very best birthday gift of all...is that Farmer H is WORKING FIVE DAYS next week! Sure, he'll have to take those days off to even up his hours at a later date. But he says he's planning a solo trip to Oklahoma to visit flea markets along the route.

I'm pretty excited.

Friday, February 10, 2017

This Will Come As A Complete And Total Shock...To An Alien Who Just Landed

Not complaining or anything like that, you know. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is simply stating the facts. To keep all three of you apprised of Farmer H's 40% retired activities. Since he partially retired to working only 3 days a week after December...making 40% less money...having 40% more free time...he has done the following.

Took his Ford F250 4WD Long Bed Club Cab to the shop for some repairs.

Took his 2002 Chevy Trailblazer to the shop for repairs.

Took my T-Hoe to the shop for repairs.

Took his Ford F250 4WD Long Bed Club Cab back to the shop for more repairs.

Took his 1980 Olds Toronado to the shop for repairs.

Let the record show that Farmer H has made a career of working on machines, and even gets sent to other countries to deal with them. And let the record further show that Farmer H graduated from a technical school with training in automotive repairs.

Just the facts. I know there are no more words left concerning Farmer H's shenanigans. Just sayin'.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Farmer H Drops The Ball

Have I mentioned the neighbor dog Copper lately?

Copper's human daddy stopped to talk to Farmer H the other evening, over in the BARn field. He asked if Copper was bothering our chickens. Since we only have three left, and we STILL have three left, Farmer H said he didn't think Copper was eating the chickens. We only suspect him of one fowl snack, after finding the body over by his fence.

Then Farmer H confessed that he ran over Copper with the Gator. Just a little bit. And Copper's Daddy said, "If he gets in the way, run over him." See? That's what I like about a dog-nuisance neighbor. He KNOWS that if his dog is a nuisance, he deserves to get what's coming to him. I love my Puppy Jack, but I know if somebody takes a potshot at him, it's his own fault for chasing horses or taking the rocks out of their fish pond.

Anyhoo...Farmer H forgot to ask what Copper's real name is! Because, you know, he might listen better and GIT better if I could call him by name. He's been coming back over, now that the Rockers are gone. I had forgotten how annoying he can be. Today I left the back of T-Hoe open while I unlocked the Mansion door and carried in some groceries. When I came out, Copper was standing on the concrete behind the garage door, looking in like he was Farmer H spying on me after a trip to town. I made sure to close up T-Hoe's hatch as I carried the rest of the stuff to the side porch. When I stepped back in the garage to close the big door, it made a weird clicking sound, and the lights started flashing! That darn Copper was standing half in the garage, and the sensor kept the door from closing on him. Of all the times for something to work right around this place!

Today, Copper started barking at me again while I was walking at the end of the driveway. Right at that moment, Copper's human daddy came along in his city truck. Heh, heh. I guess he saw the evidence.

But...Farmer H did find out that Copper came from the pound. Since his human daddy works for the city, he got a "choice" of which pet to bring home. He said there were 5 pups, and the guys told him Copper was part shepherd. He turned and looked at Copper while talking to Farmer H. "I don't see NO shepherd in that dog!" So it looks like Copper cheated death when his human daddy brought him home.

I don't know. Maybe Copper COULD have a little shepherd in him. By the way his muzzle looks sometimes. But I don't know what gives him that wasp waist. He's longer and leaner than this angle shows. A bit lighter in color. And the flopped over little ears? Maybe a bit of yellow lab? Maybe some exotic killer?

All I know is that Copper creeps closer every day, giving my Sweet, Sweet Juno the whines, and Jack a big ol' galoot of a playmate. As long as Copper shuts up his barking and realizes that I am top dog, he can come play any time, just as long as he bristles at the crazy dog across the road again, standing with Jack and Juno to repel her.

But I draw the line at an evening snack.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Objects In Photo Are Deader Than They Appear

Yesterday was 73 degrees for my evening driveway walk. I had to go bare-armed in my short-sleeve shirt. I wore my sock cap because it's so attractive since Farmer H doesn't want anyone to see me in it because my Sweet, Sweet Juno gets excited and starts barking when she sees me wearing it so I could to keep the high winds from using my hair to flagellate my face. I have a cap, but the wind catches the bill and blows it off my head.

This afternoon, the temperature was 32. Same wind. I shudder to think what the wind chill was, but my face was numb when I was finished with five driveways. I had contemplated skipping a day, or trying out the treadmill in Farmer H's workshop. Then I remembered that the trash dumpster had to go up before 6:00 a.m. tomorrow. So I figured I might as well finish off the four trips, since I had to do one anyway.

I'd been to town for lunch with my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel. We met at Hardee's and I had a chicken bowl. COMBO! It was actually a wise choice, because my first inclination was to feast at a Chinese buffet. I put the brakes on that road to not-heaven last night. AND I've never had the combo, which was an added side of chips and salsa. Which I brought home to be part of supper. Anyhoo...thanks, Mabel, for lunch and my birthday gifts! You're the wind beneath my sock cap! And I mean that in a good way.

As we parted ways, Mabel making the left turn to go out the county lettered highway past my turnoff, and me going straight across the intersection to the gas station chicken store for my 44 oz Diet Coke...snowflakes started to swirl! Well. THREE snowflakes flitted past. And then sleet rained down upon T-Hoe and my head. I was worried about Mabel, who had a considerable drive. She's not fond of adverse conditions. She always caught a ride to work on the school bus when inclement weather was forecast. But don't you worry about my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel. She arrived alive. I didn't tell her this...because I'm not a particularly spiritual person...but I said a little prayer for her safe arrival as I was on the way home. Didn't cost nothin'.

After my walk, I didn't really have a decent snack for my fleabags, so all they got was some expired Nutty Oat bread, and some Save A Lot tortilla chips with a Use By date of Sept 19. You know what? They still ate it.

It was on my way back inside, with frozen face and fingers (though I had worn gloves while walking, I do not wear them during evening snack time, because as I sit between the dogs as a barrier for snack-poaching, I sometimes text). Like this evening, when Farmer H sent me a picture that it was snowing at his workplace. Of course, that was no snow like I had ever seen. It's clearly sleet.

That wasn't even in the forecast, as far as I saw online. I don't bother to watch the news meteorologists any more. Since I'll be staying home the next day, no matter what the weather.

When the dogs were done snacking, and making fake menacing overtures towards Copper, who was standing on the brick sidewalk watching, I stood up from the front porch pew to head back into the Mansion. And there it was, beside the front door. My fine how-do-you-do.

Objects in photo are deader than they appear. Even though that mouse looks like it's overacting, it's not alive. Nor is the dog, being something that Farmer H picked up at an auction. Jack used to bark at it during his puppyhood.

I'm betting Jack is the one who put the mouse there. The three cats don't do anything but, respectively, growl at Jack (Dusty the calico female), eat double his weight/get humped by Jack (Stockings the tuxedo male), and play hard-to-get then claw at Jack when he attempts to hump (Simba the tan striped). Juno might be a killer, but she's not one to fetch or carry.

I let that doornail-dead mouse lie. Farmer H should have seen it when he went out to feed his animals. He might have flung it by the tail out into the front yard. But if it's like his mud clods, Mousy will be laying there tomorrow, undisturbed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Farmer H Outsmarts Himself In An Argument With Dumb HM

For many years, we've been on a cash budget. Cash makes you realize that you're spending. We rely on one credit card for airline tickets and hotels and online purchases, and try to limit use of the debit card to weekly groceries and gas on special trips, like to Oklahoma, or the casino. Sweet Gummi Mary! I'd be in a world of hurt if I gave Farmer H free rein with the debit card!

Farmer H's allowance is $140 a week. That's fairly generous. He uses that to buy his gas, and his lunch every day at work, and assorted donuts and 1-liter diet sodas that he sneaks at Casey's, and Goodwill treasures, and small odds and ends at Lowe's for his shacks. If he scams some of that money and stashes it for junk-buying, fine with me. That's what he gets, and he has to make do.

Sunday Farmer H had two roofers come out to fix a small leak in the metal roof. I was under the impression that it was the roofers who actually installed the roof, who have already made one trip back to fix a leak on the back porch part of the roof. After they'd finished repairs and gone, Farmer H informed me that it cost $150.

"Wait. I thought they were fixing it because they forgot to do something. Like on the porch roof."

"HM. They're not going to come back and fix it for free forever. Anyway, that wasn't even the guys who installed it."

"You called someone ELSE?"

"No. I called the roofers who put the roof on. But nobody ever called me back. So I got these other guys that HOS knows. They're roofers."

"How did you pay for that?"

"With MY money!"

"You didn't tell me we'd be paying. So I guess you think I owe you $150."

"You DO!"

"Do you have a receipt?"

"No. Guys like that don't give receipts. They're friends of HOS."

"I don't have that kind of money laying around the house." (heh, heh, what Farmer H doesn't know won't hurt me)

"I figured you'll get it tomorrow when you go to the bank."

"Well, you're taking my Tahoe. So I probably won't go all the way to the bank in the Acadia, because it's awkward to reach the ATM."

"I have to get gas. I haven't gotten it yet."

"I guess you'll find a way."

So...later on Monday afternoon, Farmer H said he'd spent $25 on gas.

"Okay. So when I go to the bank, I'll get you $150 for the roof, and then I'll give you $115 for your weekly money."

"No. I get $140 a week."

"I know that. But you already got your gas with $25. So that leaves $115, and then on Friday, I'll give you $140 for NEXT WEEK's money, and we'll be back on schedule."

"NO, HM! You don't understand. I get $140."

"I'm GIVING YOU the $150 for the roofing money. Then $115 for your weekly money you said you hadn't spent yet, but you won't need $25 of it because you just got gas. Then on Friday, you'll get your regular $140."

"HM! I don't know how you can't understand this! I need $150 that I paid the roofers! Tomorrow. And that will be my money that you would have given me this week."

Oh, dear. What Farmer H is missing here is that I actually WAS confused, and I was going to give him an EXTRA $115. But because he was so belligerent, telling me I was confused (which I was), now he's just getting back the $150 that he gave the roofers. He's actually missing out on a week's allowance unless he comes to his senses and demands the regular allowance on Friday.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Visiting Hours End At 6:00 p.m.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was without her best buddy, T-Hoe, today. She had to make do with A-Cad, because T-Hoe is being kept overnight for observation.

I think he will recover. He's getting his oil changed as an afterthought, but will need a new tire (which means TWO new tires, good thing Farmer H didn't take him to The Good Feet Store) because one has a slipped belt. Also, he needs an autoride suspension sensor (Farmer H could just be making up that part) transplant, but we think he'll remain on the donor list forever, since Farmer H had his shocks replaced before, but not the sensor part. Poor T-Hoe. Either his brake pads (I really need to stop tuning out Farmer H like he's Charlie Brown's teacher), or, I fear, his rotors, are 3/4 gone! So he'll need a rotorectomy and implants. Then there's the backup beeper sensor cleaning. It DID work for one day when we had him serviced at the dealer last year.

You know Farmer H is off an extra two days a week now, right? So he can take T-Hoe for repairs any time. But he chose TODAY, which is when I had planned to go to the credit union and the bank with The Pony's tuition money withdrawal and deposit so I could write an eCheck. Then Farmer H said T-Hoe may be able to come home this evening, but he was just shining Mrs. HM on, because T-Hoe won't be released until TOMORROW evening. So I will be off to town in A-Cad.

I don't dislike A-Cad. I just prefer T-Hoe. I don't know how to change all the gizmos and gewgaws in A-Cad. At least I have my radio stations programmed. The mirrors seem to show me the side of the car, no matter how I adjust them. The shifter is in the middle, not on the column, so I'm always reaching into thin air to park. AND the wizards who designed those cup holders with the three inflaty-bumps inside the hole are nuts. It's hard enough to make a foam cup squish the three inflaty-bumps flat, and harder still to pull that foam cup out of the holder. I shudder to think what would happen if I actually wanted to pick up my cup and drink from it while driving.

Yeah. I'm missin' my road buddy tonight. And I'll really miss him tomorrow, when I have to contort my arm up over the window sill and down to the money slot at the bank's ATM to get replacement cash for Farmer H. That's a story for another day.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

I Used To Have A Tide Pen, But I Think It Gave Two Weeks Notice

Murphy's Law is the rule of the day at the Mansion.

Oh, who are we kidding? It's the rule 24/7, at least for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's life. No matter how she tries do stay on top of things, unMurphied, she still gets Murphed when she least expects it.

Let the record show that I have a favorite sweatshirt. It's kind of my ONLY sweatshirt, actually. It's baby blue, a crewneck, about four sizes too large now, nice and warm, starting to wear out at the cuffs. There's a little hole in the left cuff (hardly noticeable!) that makes a loop in which my thumb, or a kitchen drawer knob, often gets trapped. But I'm used to that. I can adapt.

Most days, I put on my sweatshirt over my regular shirt when I descend to my dark basement lair. Even with my underdesk heater, I feel the chill. It's probably 69 degrees down there, with the rest of the house being 70. Once my sweatshirt is on, it stays on for the day. I have to keep shoving the sleeves up as I'm cooking supper and washing dishes, but I'm in a comfortable bubble of warm air.

My sweatshirt is a bit faded. There's one little stain on it (I think that's pretty good, since I've worn it winter-daily for several years now. The spot is pretty recent, I'd say within the past six months. I tried pre-treating it with a paste of Tide, but unlike other similar efforts, that spot didn't come all the way out. I think it might have been some salsa from a Super Nachos lunch. Still, you can hardly see it, just a slightly darker spot on the upper left chest. If I wore a corsage, it would be hidden.

Since I never wear my sweatshirt out amongst the populace of Hillmomba, that stain doesn't really bother me. But the other day, I noticed my sleeves were getting saggier and saggier, and the cuffs perhaps a bit dingy, so I threw my beloved sweatshirt into the washer overnight with a load of towels. The next afternoon, I took it out when I was ready to go downstairs. So soft. So comfortable. So toasty warm.

I went out to walk, leaving my sweatshirt on, because the temps have been in the low-30s here in the evening. I wore a jacket over it, but I enjoyed the extra layer of insulation. I got Farmer H's supper ready, and took a snack downstairs for myself for later. On the snack menu that night was an individual pack of Cheez Its Cheddar Jack crackers, and a plastic container of Frank's RedHot Original Hot Sauce to dip them in. It's quite tasty if you like hot and spicy, and can handle the high sodium.

On the very last cracker, I dripped Frank's on my sweatshirt. The sweatshirt I'd taken out of the dryer only hours before. It's not like I planned to wear this sweatshirt to an awards dinner or had been invited for tea with the Queen the next day. But nobody wants to walk sit around in a sweatshirt with a fresh food stain on it, so fresh you can tell the food. I went next door to the NASCAR bathroom and treated the stain with water and soap until I went upstairs for the night. I know that Frank's is a tough one to remove. It even stains the plastic containers.

I treated that spot, about the size of a dime, in the area my hand would cover if I wore my sweatshirt to say the Pledge of Allegiance. The stain did not come all the way out, after two back-to-back washings, so I tossed it in the dryer, knowing full well that heat sets the stain. That means I was without my sweatshirt for my afternoon dark basement lair session. But when I went back up for walking and supper preparation, I removed it from the dryer to wear back down.

As soon as I sat down at my desk, I took some ice I'd carried down in a red Solo cup, pried the plastic lid off my 44 oz Diet Coke that I'd added, as always, a bit of Great Value Sugar Free Cherry Limeade powder to, and prepared to cool down my drink for the evening hours of sipping.

First ice cube...PLOP!

The spray of agitated, Cherry Limeaded, Diet Coke spewed forth and left SEVEN pink spots on my clean sweatshirt.

I'm wearing it now. It can wait a few days for laundering.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Now Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is A Pusher

You'll never believe what Farmer H has accused me of now!

Last night when I went to bed, I was dismayed to see that Farmer H had all the covers on his side of the bed again. It was like that time he returned from one of his overseas spy missions. I mentioned it on my not-so-secret blog:

I walked from the master bathroom toward the end of the bed, to go around to my side away from the door. In the dim light, I saw the wedding quilt my grandma made for us draped from the Hick burrito all the way to the carpet. Draped like a fine Paso Fino mane. Magnificent in it's drapage. Which meant that my side of the bed, in all its short-sheeted glory, was also as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's quilt cupboard. Let the record show that when you lie on your side, the cover should come down over your body, not end along an imaginary line from shoulder to hip to ankle. Forget about my heart growing cold while Hick was away. My body grows cold now that he's back.

I climbed into bed last night, resigned to shiver. This morning, I stayed abed for a while, having commandeered almost my fair share of quilt and blanket when Farmer H's body left some slack while he showered and snuck out of the Mansion to go to town for breakfast. I was so snug, I didn't want to get up. I heard him return. I made no bones about jumping up and pretending I had not slept in.

"I'm just laying here being warm. Except for my left foot. It's still cold, with that draft coming in, because you had all the covers. They were draped all the way to the floor."

"I did NOT have all the covers, HM."

"Saying so doesn't make it so. You can see right there if you look!"

"All I had was enough to cover myself. You had just as much as me. Unless maybe you're talking about the feet. I can't help it that you shove them over. Every night I straighten them so it's even. Then you do something when you come to bed."

"Huh. I have to turn the covers back to get into bed! And you're saying that I'M the one who makes them drape over your side to the floor? How can I even DO that? I'm not a wizard! You're saying I PUSH a quilt and blanket from my side to yours, so then they drape to the floor."

"HM. Don't be silly."

ME silly? How does his mind even work? I stayed in bed a while longer. When I got up, I saw that while Farmer H had been standing bedside talking to me, he had lifted that part of the quilt up and folded it back over the mattress, so it just looked messed up, rather than hanging to touch the floor.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Doggone Farmer H

Puppy Jack is an adolescent now, and he's showing it through his behavior and attitude. Yesterday, he durn near nipped off my nose while reaching his head under the stair rail while I was stretching on the porch steps. He was trying to snap at Sweet, Sweet Juno's ear, and she twisted her head behind mine as I bent over. I scolded Jack, but he didn't seem to care.

Jack thinks every time I have a phone in my hand, it's to take a picture of him. Even at night, when I walk out on the porch to make a previously-taken picture send from my phone to my email. He sits down to pose. If I WANT to take a picture of him, he's all hyped up like a ferret on crack, and can't stay in frame.

Farmer H is not helping. A few years back, he lost my Sweet, Sweet Juno. She had followed him when he took the Gator to load some sand from the second low water bridge where the creek floods all the time. Almost back to our EmBee turnoff, a dog ran out from a house, and scared her into the woods. Farmer H didn't tell me until almost sunset, after Juno had been missing since mid-morning. He and the boys searched all day, and lucky for Farmer H, he went back to that house as a last resort, and the #1 Son heard something in the woods, and walked over and started calling for Juno, and she crept out to him.

This morning, Jack tried to follow Farmer H to town. IN THE CAR. No. Jack wasn't driving the car, but Farmer H was, instead of his Gator. Jack ran all the way down to the blacktop county road where EmBee resides in her mailbox condo. As Farmer H drove the Trailblazer up the hill, Jack started running after him.

"I watched in my mirror until I got to that house by where Juno got lost. Finally he turned and went back. I was afraid he was going to follow me all the way to town. I guess he's used to me going up to HOS's trailer, on the other gravel road. Now he follows me in the car, too."

I am apprehensive. Jack is also a car-chaser. I've only caught him at it twice, here on the gravel road in front of the Mansion. No good end will come to him down on the county road. Besides, somebody might take him! He's just ugly enough to be cute, you know.

We are considering an intensive shock collar reprogramming session.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Farewell, Old Friend

"The time has come," the Momster said, "to speak of many things.
Of pounds and pounds and more said pounds, and changes such loss brings.
And why I needed new sweatpants to cover my hamstrings."

"What's going on?" Sweet Juno thought, "for you to stand so still?
Here on the porch, and right beside, the two black Weber grills?
And why am I trapped next to you, and held against my will?"

"What the eff--you stupid dog! Go! Get away from here!
It's hard enough to take this pic, without you up my rear.
Now run along, go find our Jack! Play with your spotted peer."

"Sweet Gummi Mary! I declare! You gave me such a start!
To feel that movement underfoot--be still my beating heart!
To let me stand upon your tail! I thought you were more smart!"

"I've got to mark the moment now, when I retire my clothes.
Wise choices for a solid year! And finally it shows.
I've built myself a new physique...like sheds with stuff from Lowe's."

There you have it. A goodbye to my loyal old sweatpants. Hole and all. As much as I still try to wear them, they fall right off. Suspenders on sweatpants are not a good look. Oh, the many nights we spent together in my dark basement lair! I shall miss my longtime companion.

My sweet, sweet Juno will miss those hairs from her feathery tail. How she got her tail under my foot I'll never know. Unless she was crowding in, trying to prevent Jack from getting closer to me, and I tromped on her tail as I stepped back. The sun was so bright I couldn't even see the picture I was getting on my phone screen.

We won't talk about what Jack was doing during this time. That's a story for another day, and maybe another place.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

3 Days, 2 Nights

Don't call shenanigans! I'm postponing today's original post idea until tomorrow. I have a headache/jaw ache that is kicking my butt. It's been an ongoing problem since Monday. I have diagnosed myself with a sinus issue. For those of you who torture yourself by asking an old person, "How are you?" I provide the following details.

The pain is really in my upper left jaw, along and above the teeth. At first I thought I might need to see the dentist. I do have a broken tooth in that area. BUT it's not a localized pain like a toothache. Heat and cold don't bother it. The dentist could squirt that air torture device on it, and it wouldn't faze me. So I got to looking on the innernets, and saw that a sinus ailment can make your teeth hurt. That swollen sinuses can actually displace the teeth, so your bite is off!


I had a little headache on Monday, as I'd had on Sunday, that didn't seem to go away. And when I closed my mouth (heh, heh, it DOES happen) it felt like my teeth were too long! So I wondered if a part of one was cracking. About to break off. I couldn't chew on that side because that REALLY hurt. As did simply closing my mouth so the teeth were in contact, uppers against lowers.

Depending on which way I laid in bed, the pain was worse, or better. It was a constant pain, not throbbing until last night, when I could only sleep from 5:00 a.m. until 9:30. When I bend over to stick my head in the dryer (not a cry for help, but to get my clothes I haven't folded and put away), the pain intensifies until I stand up. My ears are stuffy, and pop when I blow my nose. Which has been running almost constantly on the right side, but not the left. I don't smell very good (heh, heh), not even noticing the aroma of onion on my fingertips, or the fragrance of shampoo in the shower. I can't seem to blow the congestion out of my nose. What runs out is clear.

A few weeks ago, Farmer H had some illness that sent him to Not Very Convenient Care. He was up and down at night. Crying that the pain in his teeth was driving him mad. He'd get up in the middle of the night and get in the shower for the steam. Let the record show that he also had a terrible cold, and yellow snot, but that he had his sickness for a couple weeks. He got a Z-pack and something else, and was better in about three days.

I might have a milder version of Farmer H's ailment. Last week I had a sore throat for one night. The next night with constant phlegm draining down my throat. A few days with chills and hot flashes. Then the sore teeth. And a sore neck in the back. The only relief I get is from a little vibrator (hush up!) with four little round foot thingies, which I hold on my forehead and nose and ear and jaw. That takes the pain away while it's on there. But it does return.

I'm pretty sure it's sinus related. I'm giving it until Friday before I seek treatment. Or maybe Monday.