Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Jerk Store Called...They Broke Your Mold, Then Locked Up The Shards And Threw Away The Key

Today we sail past the finish line, arms above our heads, in celebration of completing Jerkapalooza, with Part 5 of the series whose mitigating factors began and concluded on Friday, when Mrs. Hillbilly Mom encountered a seemingly unrelated quintuplet of unpleasants, banded together unwittingly in an effort to get her goat.

I was at my next-to-last stop, the final one being the gas station chicken store for my 44 oz Diet Coke. But first I had to run in the Casey's two stores over, to get my Golden Ticket scratcher. I can't buy them just anywhere, all willy-nilly. I have a plan, based on the number on the roll of tickets. I keep a record of where I get them, and the numbers of the winners and losers, and can pretty much predict about how many tickets each place sells during a specific time period. No use buying a ticket from a roll where you've already gotten a big winner. Since I have a plan, I always have my money counted out. I know which tickets I'm going after, and how much it will cost. That's how I stay on my budget, balancing wins and losses.

I stepped up to the right-hand register and handed the clerk a $40 winner to cash in. I asked for a Golden Ticket ($30) and a $1000 Frenzy ($10). The girl tore off my tickets and scanned them. Then she pushed them across the counter to me, opened up her register, and handed me a ten-dollar bill. I was perplexed. I had bought $40 worth of tickets, using a $40 winner, and now I had a ten-dollar bill back with my tickets.

"Uh. This can't be right." I looked down at my tickets, and saw that instead of the $30 Golden Ticket, that little gal had given me a $20 ticket called the $4 Million Spectacular. It's not spectacular for me. I don't win on it. I rarely buy one. I certainly didn't want THIS one. It was not in my plan. "Oh, you've given me the $4 Million Spectacular. I asked for a Golden Ticket. I knew I shouldn't be getting any change back." I pushed the ticket and the ten back across to her. She looked at me like I had two heads. And she wanted to chop both of them off.

I've had this little gal before, and while she's not exactly rude, she seems put out when I cash in a winner. Or even when I take in cash to buy one. It's not rocket science. She's not infirm. All she has to do is take two steps, pull on a ticket from the case that sits right up on the counter, and tear it off. She doesn't even have to bend over to get one near the floor, like that poor old lady clerk at the Waterside Mart.

It's not my fault that this is part of her job duties, or that she wasn't paying attention to what she was doing. I asked for a specific ticket, I paid, and I wanted what I asked for. Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not mumble. With 28 years of teaching under her ever-tightening belt, she has learned to enunciate clearly, at a decibel level calibrated to be heard, yet not assault the eardrum.

The more...ahem...mature clerks there are all quite pleasant and accommodating. I think perhaps this little gal just has a case of The Millennials, her being about the same generation as the #1 Son. They're so put-upon, you know. What she needs to do is start herself a blog to complain about things that do not suit her.

Let the record show that my ticket was exchanged, and that the one I wanted and eventually received was a $30 winner.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Jerk Store Called...They Mistakenly Liquidated Their Inventory Of Smirking Snobs

Picking up speed, coasting down the back side of Jerkapalooza with Part 4 of her five-part series, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom wheels her cart/walker down the main aisle of The Devil's Playground, careful to keep right, as with accepted traffic flow on the highways and byways and discount store aisles of the United States of America.

After darting out from under the Wheels of Death launched at me by the no-longer-chatting Old Goat, I slowed my cart-walker down in preparation for a right turn into the condiments aisle to pick up a plastic jar of Kraft Real Mayo mayonnaise. I could not turn in, though, because somebody was coming out. At her own pace. On her own terms.

I stopped my cart/walker, expecting Lady Cartsworth to come on out. But no. She had a little Cartsworthlet orbiting her like a satellite. This boy was probably around 4 years old. Old enough to know better. But did Lady Cartsworth insist that he stay near, perhaps grasping her shorts-tails? No. She let him roam, as free as a buffalo at home on the range. The Cartsworthlet cavorted like a hybrid deer/antelope, this way and that way, and this way and that way, like an oft-seen laddie, taking up first the aisle opening on the left side of his mother's cart, and then the aisle opening on the right side of his mother's cart. Let the record show that plenty of discouraging words flitted through my mind. But I held them in.

I politely waited for Lady Cartsworth to corral her boy young 'un and finally exit the aisle and allow room for me to enter. And do you know what she did?


That's right. Not even the common courtesy to say, "Excuse me," or "He's wound up today," or just a simple "Sorry." There I was, waiting, waiting...and she SMIRKED at me. Like she was the one in the right, and I was the one in the wrong! Like she OWNED that aisle, and how dare I expect her child to cease his shenanigans so that I might complete my shopping before nightfall. SMIRKED at me! Like, "Sucks to be you."

I daresay Lady Cartsworth could have taken a lesson from the harried mom down at the other main aisle past the Kraft Real Mayo. SHE was standing (in the middle of the main aisle, of course) surrounded by her five children of assorted ages, giving them a lecture on how to behave in the store!

I'm pretty sure she has never been a best-seller at The Jerk Store.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Jerk Store Called...They've Got A Case Of Self-Importance On Backorder

Cresting the hump of Jerkapalooza in Part 3 of the five-part series, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is pushing her shopping cart/walker combo down the main meat aisle of The Devil's Playground as if she has a right to be there.

You know the main meat aisle. Along the wall are wrapped trays of assorted meats, arranged by beef, pork, chicken, and processed delicacies like bacon and sausage and lunch meat. In the middle of that large aisle are the open freezers, which seem quite wasteful, soaking up that ambient heat all willy-nilly all the live-long day.

It was by one of these open freezers that I paused. Looking inside for deals, perhaps, in honor of the Memorial Day holiday. What better way to honor dead heroes than with cheap meats, anyway? I did not see the pre-pattied hamburgers I was seeking, only a bin full of pork steak family packs. We've had them before, and they are as tasty as those I usually buy at Save A Lot. But we were only planning for bratwursts and hamburgers this time, since my sister the ex-mayor's wife had invited us to her barbecue on Monday.

As I started to wheel my cart/walker across the aisle from that bin, over to the crossways aisles for mayonnaise (KRAFT! Not Miracle Whip!), I was stopped by a couple of old geezers (because the young geezers were all in daycare, presumably). These two old goats had been chatting ever since I entered the main meat aisle. Each had his cart. It's like they were lined up to play follow-the-leader (sucks to be an OLD geezer, because I imagine they could play the real thing if they were at daycare with the young geezers). The goat in the lead was turned around, talking over the cart of the goat being led. You know how old geezers are. They gossip just like old crones.

Since they were making those "See you around" kind of noises, I waited for a moment, thinking the lead old goat was ready to move on. And I didn't want to dart out in front of him like some scofflaw in a little sports car darting in front of T-Hoe. I waited. And waited. Since Old Goat 1 didn't seem to be moving anytime soon, despite his too-long goodbye...I wheeled my cart across the front of that freezer bin to enter the main traffic aisle and proceed to my crossways aisle for the mayo.


Old Goat 1 peeled out of there like a funny car on the drag strip when the ready-set-go lights ticked down. I'm surprised he didn't leave cart tire tread on the tiles. The very second I started out, he whipped around and gunned for me. Had I not been so light on my feet now since making my wise choices for the past year, I daresay he would have t-boned my cart/walker and sent me rumpus-over-teakettle into the cake decorating counter! The scenario couldn't have been better executed if it was orchestrated by a second-unit director of a major motion picture. I felt the air from Old Goat 1's exhaust lift the tail of my too-large big shirt ever-so-slightly.

Somebody really needs to keep better tabs on these old retired guys. You can bet I'll never let Farmer H go hang out at The Devil's Playground when he's fully retired.

Hahahahahahaha! Had you going there for a minute, didn't I?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Jerk Store Called...They're Awaiting A Shipment Of Replacement Eyeballs

As we progress to Part 2 of Jerkapalooza, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has made her way into The Devil's Playground to pick up some supplies for potato-salad-making so that she does not turn up at her sister the ex-mayor's wife's Memorial Day barbecue empty-handed.

The produce section is right up front in my regular Devil's Playground. I had already grabbed a 5-pound bag of Idaho potatoes. I don't keep them on hand, because we don't eat many potatoes now that The Pony is gone away to college. He liked them baked, with lots of butter and salt. We use them occasionally in the Broccocaulipeppot, but that's mainly a cool-weather dish. If I have a bag of potatoes sitting in the pantry, I pretty much ignore them until I trip over them, or they start to stink, or they sprout so that their tentacles grasp at my ankles when I step in to grab some salsa.

I had put my potato bag in the cart, and was rounding the end of the aisle to look for tomatoes. I don't put them in potato salad, of course, but Farmer H was grilling for us on Sunday, so I wanted some nice big tomatoes to slice for the hamburgers. As I started down the aisle, I noticed, on the end cap of the aisle to the left, a display of cherries. Cherries on the stem, in a plastic bag with handles and a plastic sliding closer thingy.

Farmer H likes cherries. They're better for him than Casey's donuts. I also like cherries. I saw that the price was three dollars and something a pound. Of course the bags didn't say how much was in them, but I figured it was at least a couple of pounds. They weren't going to be cheap. So I looked for a bag where there were no smashed cherries. Just looked. I didn't paw through them like 5:00 a.m. customers at a table of children's clothes at a Friday morning garage sale. I saw an acceptable bag of cherries, and put them in the child seat of my cart. Then I continued down to the middle of the aisle to look at tomatoes.

It took me a few minutes. I didn't want organic tomatoes. To me, that just means they're fertilized with poop, and somebody sits guard for $50 an hour and flicks away the bugs and birds and tomato hornworms with a silk scarf, rather than those tomatoes having chemical fertilizer and pesticide powder. I usually like the tomatoes that are still on the stem. But I didn't see any of those. I DID see some that were two-in-a-pack. Round and plump. Just the shape and size for hamburger garnishing. So I picked up two or three packs to look at them closer. They were in long cardboard boxes, like the bottom half of a Velveeta cheese container. Not all see-through like the cherry bags. Then I selected one. I put it in the child seat of my cart with the other unsmashables like the cherries. Then I went back up the aisle the way I had come, to head over to the shredded lettuce area.

I had just exited the aisle proper when I heard something. A cross between a THUMP and a PLOP. It was slightly behind me, on my right side. I turned to see what it was, and saw that a bag of cherries had tumbled off the top shelf of the end cap, and that cherries had spilled out of the top and scattered across the floor. Huh.

If it had been a single item, I would have picked it up and placed it back where it belonged. Because I'm a helper like that. But this was a two-or-more-pound bag of loose cherries. Sweet Gummi Mary! I could have a stroke, bending my head over upside-down for so long to pick them up. Besides, they just randomly fell. I had been looking at the tomatoes for at least three or four minutes. And the bag of cherries I had taken before then was sitting on top. I didn't even dig for them. It was just a weird coincident that they fell from where they did, when they did.

I started on toward the shredded lettuce, and that feeling you get when somebody is watching you made me turn my head to the left, over toward the bread wall. There was a Devil's handmaiden pushing a tall three-shelf metal cart, putting items on display.


She glared at me like she was trying to set me on fire. Like I had grabbed that bag of cherries and spiked them to the tile like a football player celebrating a touchdown. That is so unfair! I was nowhere near those cherries! Okay. I was actually right beside those cherries. About four feet away. But they fell due to gravity. I did not touch them or bump the display. And now that I've been making wise choices for the past year, and dropped 111 pounds, I don't think my steps vibrated the foundation like some kind of Jurassic Park dinosaur, either.

I was startled to see The Devil's Handmaiden firing those combustion waves at me from her eyeballs. I didn't even say anything. Didn't acknowledge. I went right on about my business, because I KNEW I had nothing to do with those fallen cherries, and it wasn't MY job to pick them up, it was hers. In fact, I saw that the shredded lettuce was too limp and too close to the date for me, and I went on around to the frozen food aisle to get Farmer H's multigrain blueberry waffles.

When I crossed the waffles off my list, I saw that I had forgotten to get Farmer H's Sweet Hawaiian Rolls. Which were over on a shelf by the bread wall. I went back, directly across the path of the Handmaiden, and luckily did not combust.

She's probably still looking in my direction.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Jerk Store Called...They're Running Out Of Passive-Aggressive Beyotches

Tap, tap, this thing on?

Will the lady who walked up to the counter after Mrs. Hillbilly Mom at Casey's on Friday please get over herself?

There. Now that announcement is out of the way. I can get on with this little tale, even if I can't include EVERY jerk I encountered on Friday. You see what lies ahead, don't you? It's JERKAPALOOZA! A five-part series!

Friday I headed to the bank to deposit a reimbursement check from Farmer H's workplace, for some materials he had bought at Lowe's. Since the bank is near a Casey's General Store where I buy scratch-off tickets if I'm in the neighborhood...I stopped to buy a scratcher. Just one. A single ticket. Not so much BUY it, as trade in a winner for it. I like to vary my source.

Three tweenage boys were at the counter when I entered. Two were buying a single piece of gum each, and the other was just there to use the restroom, which is not really for the public. The clerk let him go, though. I'm pretty sure those dudes were truant from the last day of school, but it wasn't really my business, not being a teacher nor patron of their district.

As I stood behind the gummy boys, looking at the scratch-off case, already knowing the ticket I was getting, a bleachy-haired stocky woman strode up holding a cup of coffee. Let the record show that I was there a good two or three whole minutes before she came to the counter. There is a register to the left of the scratcher case, and one to the right. The left register was not being manned, and the boys were interacting with the clerk at the one on the right. I was simply waiting for them to move out of the way to wait for their pooping friend. Because what tweenage boy is going to ask to pee in a Casey's bathroom when he has the equipment and a tree to do his business elsewhere?

Bleachy-Haired Stocky Woman stood a bit to my left. Waiting her turn, I so naively imagined. Yet when the boys stepped toward the door, Bleachy-Haired Stocky Woman lunged forward. Like she was cutting line in front of me. Like my activity that day was to stand and admire the scratcher case. Since I'm RETIRED with nothing else to do, of course. Her action startled me.

"Oh. Go ahead." Because she WAS, you know, going ahead of me, taking a step. I KNEW I was there first, and it was my turn, but nothing people do in a convenience store really surprises me anymore.

And then that Bleachy-Haired Stocky Woman stopped, gave a little motion with her coffee cup, and snottily said, "You go ahead. It's perfectly fine." Like she was doing me a FAVOR!

I really wanted to stand there and insist that she cut in front of me. Just because we both knew I was there first, and maybe she'd feel a bit of guilt the rest of the day. Nah! That wasn't going to happen. I just wanted to out-passive-aggressive her. But I didn't. I get enough of that practice at home with Farmer H. So I went ahead and traded in my ticket. Which, I might add, was a loser. Thanks, Bleachy-Haired Stocky Woman, for that karma.

I was there first, you know.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Scoffing At The Law Since The First Caveman Wrote It On The Wall

They're everywhere, you know. The scofflaws. The people who don't seem to give an eff about rules. People who think the world is there to accommodate them.

I came out of the doctor's nurse practitioner's office Wednesday to see THIS:

That is NOT a parking space, people! NOT! Which is noted by the yellow stripes in that area between the real parking spaces. Which do not have yellow stripes, but no stripes at all, save for the dividing lines between the other real parking spaces.

I normally don't show a picture with random people's license plates in plain view. But if somebody goes to all the trouble to decode this one, it makes me no nevermind. You scoff at the law, you may get the crazies.

Let the record show that this is a row of handicapped spaces. There are probably 8-10 along that row, and facing them, another 8-11, since it curves, and there is a bit more room. I know it's a hospital, people. And there is a high likelihood of people needing the handicapped spaces. That's why there are between 16 and 21 of them right there, and ANOTHER 10 at least on the road leading in, up against the sidewalk.

Yes, that looks like it might be a handicap placard hanging from the mirror. you see handicap plates? Let me answer for you, because I walked right by it to get to T-Hoe: NO. The plates are not handicap plates. Now one would think that somebody who regularly needs handicap parking would get handicap plates for their vehicle. My favorite gambling aunt has them. That's how I make sure it's her little white car parked up front when I meet her for lunch.

But I HAVE heard people say that they use a relative's handicap placard when they go someplace, so they can park in the handicap area. In fact, Auntie has offered me HER handicap placard when we go somewhere. But even though she is with me, and even though I use the handicap stall because my knees don't like to bend and I need the handrail...I will NOT park in a handicap space. Because I'm not handicapped enough that I can't walk a few extra steps. If I can get around a casino, I can walk from the last row of the parking lot. At least at this place. So I refuse Auntie's offer, and drop her off at the door, and then park in a regular space.

You know, even IF every single handicap space was taken when that scofflaw parked, they could surely have ridden the free trolley from a space farther away. Or, if they have mobility issues and can't climb on, I'm sure they could have parked up by the front door and told the information desk that there were no spaces, and they needed to park there briefly.

Seriously. You can't just decide to park where you want because the space you want isn't available. What's next, somebody driving inside the automatic double doors because all the striped non-spaces are full?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Ding Dang Dong!" Went Mrs. Hillbilly Mom About The Trolley

Finding a parking spot at the hospital/clinic is more difficult, now that the other local hospital closed. The one Farmer H used to frequent. Not that I can specifically pin its closing on any one thing having to do with Farmer H. You'd think he could have single-handedly kept it open, what with his doctor ordering every medical test known to man for him over the years. That doctor retired, though, and Farmer H's new nurse practitioner is not as diagnostic-test-happy as the old doctor was.

Anyhoo...I arrived for my own nurse practitioner visit in plenty of time to find parking and get inside 15 minutes before my appointment. This hospital has an old man who drives a little trolley around picking up parkers and dropping them off at the door. Or vice-versa. Meaning he picks them up at the door and drops them off where they parked. Not that the parkers pick HIM up and drive him.

It used to be a trolley. When the boys were little, we'd ride it. Because that's easier than carrying one not-walking-yet boy in your arms, and dragging a toddler by the wrist, meanwhile juggling a purse and diaper bag. That trolley was open-air. We always took the flat seat across the back. It had a little platform for your feet, and a mini wall so nothing (like a kid) rolled off the end.

Now that trolley is more of a little mini bus. I don't take it. It's easier for me to walk on level ground than to climb a step to get on and off to ride. My mom never took the trolley, either. Because she was independent like that. And when I took her to the doctor a time or two, I let her off at the door.

That trolley driver is a volunteer. For a while, they didn't have money to pay him, I guess. That's what he told Mom the time she asked where he'd been, taking up his valuable time without making him feel needed by riding his trolley. Though that kind of blurs the meaning of  "volunteer" if you ask me. I suppose maybe they didn't have funding for his trolley gas and upkeep, or maybe insurance. Anyhoo...since the hospitals consolidated, the parking lot is always pretty full, and the trolley is running again.

I found a spot on the fourth row, near the middle, and pulled in before somebody older with more insurance could beat me out of it. I'm never ready to jump out of T-Hoe and run inside. I have to gather my insurance cards and ID and phone. Put valuables out of sight. This time, I took my movie purse (not because I wanted to sneak in a baggie containing half a box of Sno*Caps and some butter salt) with just the essentials inside. Not all of the other stuff that weights down my regular purse that is pretty much unnecessary that I don't want to take the time to sort through. I only have all day, every day, to do that, you know.

I'll be ding dang donged if that trolley driver didn't pull up behind me and sit there. I saw him out of the corner of my eye, and I waved him on. But still he sat. Lurking. Like a vulture waiting for my final exhale. Sweet Gummi Mary! I was NOT going to rush and get out and tell him. Nor was I going to ride his trolley. It probably took me five minutes to get my stuff in order. And thankfully, at 4:59 of it, he trolleyed off down the aisle.

Sometimes, that guy targets you like a heat-seeking missile, and follows you on foot, to pull up and ask if you want a ride. Even though you may be striding purposefully toward the main entrance, not standing and waving a scarf and hollering, "Yoo hoo, Mr. Trolley Man! Can you pick me up?"

Thankfully, this day, he did not. I chalk that up to my resolve to put my head down, refuse to look in his direction, and cut through the parked cars. There's more than one way to shun a trolley. Okay, actually, there's not. This is pretty much it. But it worked for me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Situation That Might Shock You

After my 90-second consultation with the doctor nurse-practitioner at Monday's appointment, I went to The Devil's Playground in Bill Paying Town. Just when I thought I had figured out the location of my usual products in their wonky aisles (bottled water is found on THREE separate aisles) they switched things up.

You can't hide food from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom forever, though. It might have taken me a bit longer, but I found everything I needed except a pepperoni calzone from the deli. I guess they don't carry them at this particular Playground. So I had to stop by the regular Playground to get one for Farmer H's lunch. I was checking out there in Bill Paying Town, I saw that a maintenance man was working on the front door. The door that lets people out. This Playground has a little lobby between an outer sliding door and an inner sliding door. In the lobby are a change-counting machine, and a mechanical quarter horse which probably costs 50 cents these days, and a Red Box movie vending machine, and some things I don't remember, because I don't go there a lot, and I don't have kids with me that call my attention to such things.

Anyhoo...I knew it was a maintenance man, and not just some random weirdo who brought in his own ladder, because he was wearing gray Dickies work pants and work shirt. He was running a drill, and had something going on with either a mechanism that moved the doors, or a light-up exit sign. I don't know. I'm not good with details. If you're going to commit a crime, you might as well do it with me as the only witness, because you've got a pretty good chance of lying your way out of a conviction if I'm called to take the stand.

So...I noticed, as the young man who was very efficient was ringing up my purchases... that all the customers had to walk under this hanging wire to get out the door. The door was staying open, and not sliding closed, but right in the middle of the space to walk out of was a hanging wire, and that man on a ladder. Oh, if OSHA could have seen that set-up, heads would have rolled. But safely. Not under the feet of any customers.

I pushed my cart carefully, so I could get out the space of about a cart-width (good thing I've been making wise choices for the past year) and not touch that hanging wire. Who knows if it was live? One would hope NOT. But I didn't want to go all tweezers-against-the-side-of-the-compartment-in-a-game-of OPERATION!

I made it. But if I hadn't...Farmer H might have gotten some good shack-building money out of the settlement.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

People Who Drive Carpet One Vans Shouldn't Ride Bumpers

Yesterday's little doctor nurse practitioner excursion was fraught with no-nos! And NOT from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

I was puttering along at 50 mph in a 45 mph zone on the outer road, when SUDDENLY out of nowhere (actually out of a business access road past the fairgrounds) came a white van. Not a white raper van, distinguished by The Pony for me on several occasions. But a white panel van from a business. I could not read the business name in T-Hoe's rearview mirror.

Anyhoo...this van virtually attached itself to T-Hoe's bumper for a couple of miles. Even when I turned to go into Bill-Paying Town proper, past the steakhouse to the light. As if it was carrying a fresh organ from a dead person, ready for transplant. I knew that there was no organ in that van, though. Unless, perhaps, you consider the driver to be acting like a certain organ. I knew that, because when I pulled up at the red light with my right blinker on to head over to the hospital complex...that white van whooshed past me on the left, to sit in the left turn lane.

That was when I saw that it was a van with a full side emblazoned with the Carpet One logo. Heh, heh. Might as well tattoo the 1-800-COMPLAIN-ABOUT-MY-DRIVING number in reverse on that driver's forehead, for folks to see in their rearview mirror while he's tailgating.

Who knew there was such a thing as a carpet emergency? The owners of that business might like to know how their driver is doing. Do you think?

I'm not the one to call and complain. I'm not a confrontational person, you know. But one of these days, that organ behind the wheel is gonna get what's coming to him.

Tomorrow, I might tell you about the doorman at The Devil's Playground. Or the stalker on the hospital parking lot. Or maybe not. We'll see what develops.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The More Things Change, The Less They Stay The Same

During my retirement year, I have discovered that going to the doctor is not nearly as much fun as it used to be when I was working, and took a whole day off for my appointment.

Today I had a regular check-up at 9:45. I had some errands to run first, so I left a little early. Even after stopping for scratchers (another $100 winner today, thanks for asking) and mailing the latest repair bill for our air conditioner (the second one this month) and putting a mysterious $400 check in the bank for the #1 son...I still got to the doctor's nurse-practitioner's office before the 15 minutes they told me to arrive early.

I also had both my insurance cards and my ID ready, as told. But nobody asked to see them. ANYBODY could have walked in off the street, impersonating me, and taken my appointment! Anyhoo...I sat down with a table between me and the only other person in the waiting area, a young gal in brand-new green scrubs. Apparently, she was starting work there today, but nobody knew what to do with her. They finally called her back, and a couple minutes later, they called ME back. Thank the Gummi Mary, that new girl was not the one who called me.

The nurse took vitals and confirmed my prescriptions, then the practitioner came in to spend all of 90 minutes with me. It's not like he was crowded, you know. He listened to my heart (proof that I DO have one) and looked in my ears, and nodded when I told him my knees were really causing me trouble. Grinned, actually. "Oh, so they're real stiff?" Yeah. And I can hardly walk or get up and down from a chair. But do you know his solution for that? "Well...I guess we could do an X-ray."

SWEET GUMMI MARY! Even I know that an X-ray won't show soft tissue injury. So I politely declined that offer.

And we were through! Can you believe it? The nurse gave me a lab order, and I went down up and spent about 3 minutes at the lab, since nobody was waiting. Things sure have changed since my old Army doctor left that clinic to work at the veterans' clinic a couple streets over.

The blood draw itself was not painful. Just that kind of dull pressure like when I think they've got that needle pushing against the bottom of the vein. Anyhoo...I have barely a pinpoint where my life fluid was allowed to flow out, and no bruising at all.

Do you think maybe that phlebotomist went a little overboard, strapping that gauze square on tight?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Puppy Jack Is A Little Stinker!

On second thought...I must declare that Puppy Jack is a HUGE stinker!

I went out for my evening walk, and he pranced up the steps to the side porch, and under my Sweet, Sweet Juno's belly, and gleefully jumped up to put both his front paws on my shoulders.

"Aww...Jacky Boy, we're going for our walk, just settle--WHEW! YOU STINK! GET AWAY!"

That was nasty! Even when Jack trotted down the steps and began play-growling at my stalker, Copper, I couldn't escape the stench.

"Juno! Is that YOU? Do you stink, too?" I cautiously leaned over to take a whiff of her broad head. Nope. Not my dainty girl! She didn't stink at all. I figured Jack must have rolled on some carcass that Juno did not have access to, or did not find particularly appealing.

Come to think of it, Jack had declined his cat kibble this afternoon when I returned from town. He was slow in climbing the steps, and was not his prancing self. More subdued. And when I left his treat on the porch boards and went to get the grocery bags...I found the kibble untouched when I returned. Perhaps Jack was off his feed because he had been feasting on a carcass as well. That dog LOVES to eat! He even eats baby carrots from the roast when I put them on his evening snack plate. Juno turns up her snooty nose at them.

Every time I went up the driveway and came down the driveway, I smelled that foul odor. "Yuck. It must be on my shirt! I'm changing when I go in. That's nasty."

Once back in the Mansion, I told Farmer H that there must be something dead around the carport area. "It stinks really bad out there. And Jack has been in it. You can even see a swath of it on his fur, kind of muddy looking, on his right-side back area. And he's a LONG dog, so it's a long swath."

"The carport? Oh, yeah. There's a...I saw it while I was mowing yesterday...along the driveway...there's a dead mole."

You'd think he might have done something with it. I remember the days when Farmer H would have tossed a carcass over the fence into Copper's field, without a second thought. Or chucked it down the sinkhole, to contaminate our well. He did it with a dead possum, anyway.

At the very least, you'd think he might have mentioned it to me before Jack doused me with his new perfume.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Happy Accident Of Liquid Proportions

Hey! I've got a new product coming down the pike! Or, if you're like my millennial college boys, you might say coming down the PIPE! Which would be appropriate this time.

My new product, suitable for marketing on the counter of my proposed handbasket FLAVORED WATER!

Oh, I know it's already been done. But I'm pretty sure it's made by adding something to regular water. MY flavored water has no additives. It picks up its flavor NATURALLY. In FRIG II.

Yes, my discovery of this new product came quite by accident. It was the day after I returned home from Casinopalooza 2. That evening, in fact. I filled my yellow bubba cup with its second ration of ice cubes that day. Later in the night, as I sipped from the water I had added in the NASCAR bathroom right next to my dark basement lair...I detected a taste. As you know, water should not have a "taste" at all. But now it did.

At first it was very off-putting. Like, dang, I guess the ice cubes in FRIG II got freezer burn while I was in Oklahoma for three days gambling. But then, the flavor started to make itself known. It finished with a flourish. That flavor was BLUEBERRY! Which didn't seem so bad, sipping blueberry water, rather than freezer-burn water. It was almost pleasant. Or at least on the verge of bearable.

I remembered that I had bought Farmer H the blueberry Lenders Bagels this time, rather than the plain ones. He puts strawberry cream cheese on them anyway. It's not like I'm saving him carbs or sugars. Like a man with diabetes who regularly eats Casey's donuts and Snickers bars would care about such a thing, anyway. When I opened up FRIG II, I had noticed the aroma of blueberries. So I suppose that the essence of those blueberries wafted over into the freezer and the ice maker.

Oh, I COULD get a box of baking soda and put in FRIG II to absorb that berry, berry noticeable smell. I have one on the kitchen counter, in fact. But I don't think that will be necessary. I might accidentally create ANOTHER new product if I don't.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Farmer H Would Be Convicted By A Jury Of His Pee-ers

The horror.

As if Farmer H ear-waxing T-Hoe's steering wheel, and licking his supper fingers after tossing a dead mouse off the porch were not enough...

On the last morning of Casinopalooza 2, my sister the ex-mayor's wife had already departed a day earlier, and the Hillbilly family was on their own. We had a quick breakfast at the coffee shop. The Pony had donut holes and a chocolate-iced cake donut, the #1 Son had a fritter, and I had the bagel bomb. It was delicious. A closed-in bagel filled with cream cheese with bacon and green pepper and other stuff. Or so the guy said. I imagine it was just the cream cheese flavored spread, because I didn't see any big hunks of the advertised fillings inside. But it was tasty. About the size of a baseball. Of course Farmer H had a fritter. AND a bagel bomb.

We went back up to the room to use our own bathroom before checking out. Farmer H went in. Then #1. Then I took my turn. Not The Pony. He's like a reverse camel. He could walk across the rain forest, hydrating himself hourly, absorbing humidity through his skin, soaking in water through the soles of his feet while wading in creeks...and never need to pee for the entire journey.

Anyhoo...I went in for my last pit stop before we hit the road. And sat in pee. Sweet Gummi Mary! It's not like I'm raising toddlers again.

"One of you two needs to learn how to use a toilet. I just sat in your pee."

"It wasn't me," declared Farmer H.

"Well, I only went in there to use the sink to fix my hair. I didn't even use the toilet," professed #1.

I turned my attention back to Farmer H. I said nothing, but my look said, "Aha!"

"Huh. It wasn't me. I wiped the seat," explained Farmer H with too many details that would get him convicted by a jury of toilet-seat-pee-ers.

"I don't know with WHAT. Or WHERE. Because my whole right thigh is even now wet with your pee."

"Ew! You don't have to tell us that!" #1 has a bit of a weak constitution.

"Imagine how I feel! I should have got in the shower to wash it off! That would have made you all complain about the wait."

"Whatever you say." Farmer H thinks that's getting the best of the argument.

"No. It's not what I say. It's what YOU DO! I already wiped it off the floor! Last night, too."

"Stop making such a big deal." Said the man who had undoubtedly left a trail of urine from eastern Missouri to Northeastern Oklahoma.

Let the record show that it IS a big deal! To the one who cleans it up. And sits in it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

It's In The Blood

Perhaps there is a genetic link to luckiness.

My grandma couldn't lose at bingo. She was always winning one trinket or another. The Pony can't lose (much) at those grabber games. He sat down at his first slot machine of Casinopalooza 2, right next to me, in a game I was planning to play next. In fact, he was right between me and the ex-mayor my sister's husband, on a row of three machines. I was having no luck, Ex-Mayor was having tepid luck, and The Pony could not have completed more than three spins when he said, "HEY!" His machine hit a red screen (that's a random bonus for the VGT slots in Oklahoma at the Indian casinos) and racked up almost $400.

Sis and Ex-Mayor left for Casionopalooza 2 on Saturday, while we had to wait until Sunday for the #1 son to complete his job photographing graduation at his college. Sis kept me updated along the way. They stopped at the Casey's where Farmer H and I always stop for gas and the bathrooms. Mainly, the bathrooms. Sis and Ex-Mayor did not stop there on their trips, until the original Casinopalooza when we were traveling together.

Yes, not even an hour into their trip, Sis sent me this photo:

"Steelville Casey's. $100 winner."

"WHAT! That's where I buy MY tickets!"

"You snooze, you lose!"

Let the record show that I do not buy that ticket on a regular basis. The odds of winning are only 1 in 10, compared to 1 in 2.83 for my usual Golden Ticket. BUT...if you're the ONE, you're gonna love this ticket. I've only bought about 7 of them, randomly, in my life. One of them won $100. But not in the last several months. And I wouldn't have bought that one anyway when we stopped at Casey's.

According to Sis, Ex-Mayor scratched the ticket and said, "Well, THAT was a waste of ten dollars." And tossed it aside to throw away. Sis grabbed it.

"He always scratches the whole line, but I do it number by number."

"Me, too!"

"So I got to looking at it again, and I said, 'Ex-Mayor, this ticket is a fifty-dollar winner!' And I kept checking, and got to the last number, and it matched for ANOTHER fifty dollars. So I told him, 'You almost threw away a ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR WINNER!' I had to send you a picture, since you are always sending me YOUR winners."

I told her that was a good omen, hitting a hundred on those odds. When Farmer H and I stopped on our way to Casinopalooza 2 on Sunday, I bought my usual Golden Ticket. Actually, I traded in a $40 winning Golden Ticket. So I paid nothing. I also got a ten-dollar ticket, which was a loser. But my Golden Ticket was not:

Sure, it was only a $50 winner. But still. I sent Sis the picture.

On the way back home, I cashed it in for another couple of tickets, but they were both losers. Don't you worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, though! Because the day after we got back...I bought this one:

I don't know if you could call Sis "pleasantly surprised" when she got this picture. But she WAS surprised!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

No Pas At ALL, I Tell You!

You know how only yesterday, I was telling you that if it weren't for faux pas, I'd have no pas at all? I've got another example.

The night before we left for Casinopalooza 2, I was frantically texting four parties.

My sister the ex-mayor's wife had recently arrived at our destination a day early. Sis was sending me a picture of the free room and telling me where they were headed, and asking about the game she and Farmer H had been playing when he was mistaken for her husband.

The Pony was missing in non-action, needing last-minute directions to meet up with us the next day.

The #1 son hadn't been heard from in a week, and needed confirmation of the time we were picking him up as we passed through College Town.

Farmer H had forsaken me for Goodwill, without revealing the location of the suitcases, and was not answering the question Sis had about the penny slot they had been playing.

I had sent out various texts while on the front porch, snacking the dogs. They feasted on leftover spaghetti, and leftover taco meat. Since nobody was responding, I headed back inside to get my own supper ready. I carried it downstairs. I was just getting ready to pour some 20 oz bottled Diet Coke into my 44 oz cup to refresh it when my phones went crazy!

The land line rang with The Pony's return call at the same time my cell phone started buzzing with a text from Sis. The Pony said he had fallen asleep in the lounge on his hall (he lives dangerously, that boy) and just now woke up to return my call. He was firing up his laptop to take a street view look of where we're meeting him. I needed to twist that cap off my 20 oz bottle. So I told him I was laying the phone down for a minute.

I twisted off my bottle cap, and glanced to see Sis's latest update. She was trying to earn enough play to get a free puppy. Not a live puppy. A stuffed puppy like the stuffed monkeys we got last time at that casino, with a scratcher for free play. While I had two hands, I shot off a text to Farmer H: "Don't know where you're hiding the suitcases!" He's a grouch when he gets up on trip day and thinks I'm not ready a half hour before departure time.

Anyhoo...I got back on the phone with The Pony, and we had a nice chat, and he figured out his route, and how long it would take, and what time I should call to make sure he was up. It's been a while since I talked to him, so we caught up on old times. It's not like we were going to see each other the next day, of course!

"Whoops! There goes my phone again! I swear, the minute I sit down with my supper, you all start responding to me! I don't know if that's Aunt Sis or Dad or your brother. Oh, well. They can wait."

Once we were wrapping up the call, I checked my phone. "Whoopsie! That was your Aunt Sis. 18 minutes ago! I need to see what she wants. I'll see you tomorrow. I'll call. Love you!" We signed off and I picked up my cell phone.

"Was that meant for me???"

That's when I realized my latest faux pas. I had sent Sis a text saying, "Don't know where you're hiding the suitcases!"

"Heh, heh. No. As much as I'd like something else to blame on you!"

"I was just afraid you might get mad at him because he never answered you."

Well. Of course I would have!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

If It Weren't For Faux Pas, I'd Have No Pas At All

Okay. Here's a little embarrassing tale that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is going to tell on herself. It happened last week. The day before her FIRST $100 scratch-off winner of the week.

I had been in a little winning slump. Meaning there was little winning, and much losing. Every day, I just KNEW the odds had to be in my favor, what with them being so out of my favor for over a week. Every day, I KNEW things would turn around. You know me. The eternal optimist!

On this day, I was scratching a $20 ticket. I usually don't play them, because I rarely win. But since my standard choices were doing me wrong, I decided to switch it up. I was scratching along, hope ebbing, when I got to the middle of the ticket. WHOA! I matched that number! I had a winner! I always wait until I've scratched off every number before I look at what I've won. If I was a dog, I'd have no trouble holding a cracker on my nose until my master best friend said I could flip it into the air and eat it.

I went back to scratch off the prize. I always start at the right-hand edge of the prize. To see the zeros. Small zeros mean a small prize, BIG ZEROS mean a big prize. That's because they don't put the .00 cents on the 100s and and higher. So...I got to scratching, and saw two big fat zeros. YIPPEE! A big winner. It was about time! I kept going, right to left, thinking I had a $100 winner, and I uncovered a 2. I had a $200 winner! That was TWICE as sweet!

Of course I was all excited. And quite proud of myself. Even though it's a crapshoot. No skill involved. I picked up my phone and posed my winner for a nice blog-worthy picture. I couldn't wait to send it to my sister the ex-mayor's wife, because she had texted me the day before that she was worried I was depressed, and not excited about our Casinopalooza 2, because I had not even sent her a picture of my weekly $100 winner. This would be great! I could tell her I was getting two weeks in one this time.

I set my phone aside, intending to email the picture to myself when I went upstairs for my walk. It would never work in my dark basement lair. Just make my phone get all hot and sap the battery.

I was nearly chortling with glee as I set my $200 winner over to my left, where I put all my winners, to admire throughout the evening, then take them upstairs to trade in for other tickets the next day. Or cash the bigger ones out to keep for casino purposes.

Yes, mid-chortle, something made me pick up that ticket again. Something was off. I couldn't quite put my finger on it...I looked again. To double-check. Maybe I missed another winning number! Maybe that was the reason for my unease.


That $200 prize I had uncovered? Was for the number ABOVE the number I had matched! I picked up my prized quarter and scratched off under the winning number. Huh. Little zeros. I had actually won $20. Not $200.

I'm pretty sure my face was crimson. I know better than that! I'm a Master Scratcher, by cracky! No way was I going to cash in that $20 winner with that $200 scratched off above it! I took my trusty quarter and scraped off ALL the prizes. I hate it when people do that.

Then I deleted the evidence.

I really wish I had kept that picture now. It may have only been worth 20 in dollar amounts. But it was worth 1000 words.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Puppy Jack Might Have A Little Emily Litella In His Pedigree

You know I love Puppy Jack. Even though he's technically not a puppy anymore, he still has that innocence about him. And he only recently quit squatting to pee. Our little boy is growing up!

Last week I came home from on of my almost daily Devil's Playground runs, and Jack greeted me on the side porch. Sweet, Sweet Juno did not deign to come out of her house for our lovefest. Poor dear. She was probably exhausted from barking outside our bedroom door all night.

Anyhoo...Jack came to greet me. We had a mini lovefest, because Jack is a hyper kind of guy. He jumps up to put his feet on my shoulders, then I lean over and hug him while he roots his nose inside my shirt, between my boobage. I guess that's because his dachshund half is a burrower, and his heeler half is a rogue. Anyhoo...I gave him a handful of cat kibble, and went to carry in the rest of the bags.

When I came back to set the down, Jack walked over to GassyG and hiked up his leg and took a pee! With me standing right there watching him! I would have caught him in action except my phone was still in T-Hoe. You can see the puddle under GassyG. And from the looks of it, Copper has been using the grilling facilities as well. Jack is a little dog. He doesn't pee that high. But I saw him leave that puddle!

"Is that frowned upon? Because if I'd know that was frowned upon...well..."

"YES, Jack! That IS frowned upon. No peeing or pooping on the porch!"

"Please accept my apologies, Madam. I assure you, that will not happen again when you are watching me."

"I hope you mean that, Jack."

"Pardon me, please. There is a delectable hint of cat kibble in these weathered porch boards."

"Okay. We won't tell Dad about it, Jack. But you better not do that again!"

I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation. Perhaps Jack heard us referring to GassyG, and thought we said GRassyG, and everybody knows grass is for it was probably an honest mistake.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

If The Other Register Had Been Open, She Might Have Gotten A 7-10 Split

Please excuse me. I know it's only been one day since my last rant. But this has got to be said: Watch where you're goin', why dontcha!

People are just so wrapped up in themselves these days that they think the world and everybody in it is there to adjust to THEM! And I'm NOT talking about my own self! That's different. We KNOW the Universe should placate Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, or there'll be Not-Heaven to pay!

There I was minding my own business in Orb K, waiting patiently to feed my addiction satisfy my gambling habit dance with Lady Luck throw away free money cash in some winning scratchers and trade them for more. I was in no hurry, you see, being a retired lady with no particular place to go, except riding along in my old T-Hoe.

Orb K is looking pretty shabby lately. They've put a white wire rack in front of the counter, kind of dividing the two registers. It makes picking out lottery tickets from the right-side register quite difficult. You can't see through that wire rack because it is piled haphazardly with "bargains" that look like something my sister the ex-mayor's wife and I found in the back of the top cabinets when cleaning out Mom's effects from her house. Odds and ends. Maybe plastic gadgets, maybe 10-year-old boxes of baking soda, maybe a stray tube of salve for burns.

Perhaps that junky rack is used to funnel people to one register. I don't know its purpose, but it makes things awkward. Whereas Orb K used to be roomy and welcoming, now it seems mazelike and low-rent. The tall round turning rack of earbuds in front of the windows, to the left of the left-side register, funnel customers even more tightly past the ice cream chest to the counter.

Anyhoo...this woman was buying something small, perhaps lottery tickets. Something that didn't seem awkward in her hands, not very noticeable, yet not those tiny bottles of alcohol in the clear case behind (now) the wire rack of unwantedables. She turned to leave, and almost knocked me over like a bowling pin.

Let the record show that I was NOT standing close to her. I'm not like those old men in the dead mouse smelling post office who get right up against you in line. That gal had a good three steps before she got to me. But she whirled around and took off like a star wide receiver on the losing team with two minutes left in the Super Bowl.

I even put my arms across my chest to soften the blow. That gal barely pulled up in time. "OH!" she said. And looked at me like I was supposed to MOVE!!!

No way, no how! All she had to do was take a step to her right, and walk down the path we'd left her along the ice cream chest. There were four other customers behind me. She nearly toppled us like a row of dominoes! I couldn't move up to take my turn, because Gal kept standing there.

"Oh. Excuse me." I said. Though not at all smart-alecky. Just because I didn't know what else to say. I was merely standing there. Minding my own business. Waiting my turn. Allowing her plenty of room, so I didn't appear to be snooping at her PIN transaction, or rushing to get waited on. She finally stepped aside and went out. Seeing as how I AM A RETIRED TEACHER...the eyes in the back of my head saw four other heads turn to watch her go.

I suppose you could blame cell phone addiction these days. People never pay attention to where they're going. Just ask any mall fountain.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

These People Are DRIVING Me Crazy!

It's been a while, I know, since Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has launched into a rant. At least a week, perhaps. But I can't hold it in any longer. These people are DRIVING me crazy!

You know those people. The ones who insist on driving 15 miles UNDER the speed limit! What's up with that? It's not like they're on the interstate, going 60 mph when 75 is allowed. NOOOO! I'm talking about those folks who piddle along at 30 in a 45.


I know that some people don't feel comfortable driving on the highway. I'm one of them myself. But I strive to stay within reasonable shouting distance of the posted speed limit. Sure, it's pretty hard over by the lake, near that nursing home that Farmer H told me I should put myself in. The limit there is 20 mph. I can go 30 no problem, and if I concentrate and tap the brakes, I can keep T-Hoe at 25. But 20 is kind of hard.

But these PEOPLE, people? Why do they need to go 30 in a 45 mph zone? Are they simply inattentive? Do they think they're still on the new section of road behind the high school in Hillmomba's district? Did they not see the sign where it changed to 45 mph?

Maybe they're driving like Fred Flintstone, powered by the courtesy of their two feet! But I don't notice a lot of cars made of rough-hewn timbers with stone-roller wheels in my travels.

Surely they can't be doing it just to piss me off! I don't even tailgate! I keep back a reasonable distance, because obviously, anybody going 15 miles under the speed limit has some kind of issue. If it's not because they're stoned out of their mind, or so drunk that inebriation straightens out their normal sweaving, then it might be because their brakes don't work all that well. Or...they have rage issues, and are trying to draw me into a confrontation. Or maybe it's a passel of teenagers who play that game where they slow way down, and tempt you to pass, and then GAS IT when you get up beside them.

Nah. I don't tailgate.

But other people DO!!! And guess what? They drive me crazy!

When I am going (hypothetically, of course) five miles OVER the speed limit, there's really no need to tailgate me. I'm saving you, you see. Saving you from a moving violation. Perhaps with a large fine. Perhaps the loss of your license, if you do this all the time. Which I'm pretty sure people like that DO. So back off, Jack! Or you'll suffer the consequences!

I will ease back on the throttle and drive THE EXACT POSTED SPEED LIMIT! How do ya like THEM apples? Huh?

You know what needs to be done to drivers who tailgate Mrs. HM? They need a good knuckle-rapping. To make their fingers as beaten and bloody as the photos of Mrs. HM's fingers, posted right here on this very blog!

That is all.

Friday, May 12, 2017

I'm Glad Lightning Has Never Struck Me Once

Yesterday, you may recall, I cautioned you to heed your hunches.

Today I followed through on my original hunch. You know. The one that I should buy my scratch-off tickets from the Country Mart machines. But they were OUT, by cracky! OUT of my main tickets! BOTH machines, yesterday.

So this morning I went back to finish my unfinished business. The machine on the left was STILL out of my ticket. But the one on the right had been filled. I bought my ticket as planned. Took it home for scratching. And got THIS:

That's right! ANOTHER $100 winner. Second day in a row for my hundo.

Oh, I don't mind winning a hundred dollars two days in a row. But the cherry on top is that it gives me two days of blog posts while I'm trying to blog ahead for my absence during Casinopalooza 2.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

It's A Crapshoot, Really

Heed your hunches, people. Listen to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. And your hunches!

Perhaps you've heard that Mrs. HM likes to play the lottery. Not the numbers. She's never had any luck with those draw tickets. Nope. Scratch-off is where it's at for her.

Last week, I did not get my customary $100 winner. Not sure what threw off my timing. I know a streak can't last forever. But my routine had been working. Sure, there were weeks where I didn't get my $100 winning ticket. And on those weeks, I had a $200 winner and a $500 winner. I'm not complaining. There was even that week that I had THREE $100 winners on three consecutive days. But I forget about them, you know, when the slump comes around. night, I look at my little record of where I bought my tickets last, and the number on the ticket, and how much it won or didn't. And from that list, I formulate the next day's lottery purchase. Don't you worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Even though she didn't hit a big winner last week, she still has a stockpile of her winnings with which to play. Surely you haven't forgotten her $1000 Frenzy on March 31st! I backed T-Hoe out of the garage this morning, and the metal-roof was off his radio, allowing my music to'll never guess what song was on Prime Country.

"I Feel Lucky" by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Well. As if THAT didn't perk up my spirits! It's all about the signs, people. So off I went with my plan in mind. Wouldn't you know it. My plan was to get tickets at Country Mart's machines. But they were OUT, by cracky! Out of the main ticket I went to get. BOTH machines were out of it! So I only got one other ticket I'd planned on, a ten-dollar Frenzy. Because that machine doesn't give change, and it was out of the five-dollar tickets I also had planned on, I also got a ten-dollar 50X ticket. It won $20, and the Frenzy won $10. So I was ahead by ten dollars on that transaction. I didn't know until later, though, because I always scratch my tickets at home.

Now the dilemma. The rest of my plan included a trip over to the Casey's where I get gas for T-Hoe. He doesn't need gas right now, but I had some tickets to cash in from yesterday. I never cash them in at Country Mart. I was going to cash them in and get the same tickets back. A Golden Ticket, and a 500 Madness that costs five dollars. I was running a little later than I planned, and figured I could just cash them in at the gas station chicken store when I got my 44 oz Diet Coke, and get the tickets I missed by the machine being out.

NO NO NO, my mind told me. THAT'S not the plan! You planned to go to Casey's and cash in those two tickets and get the same two back. Even trade. It's the PLAN! And besides, you heard that "I Feel Lucky" song when you left home. With the PLAN.

Off I went to Casey's. I traded in my two tickets. The Golden Ticket I got back was a winner.

That's right. It's my $100 winner for this week.

Listen to your hunches, people. Even when your hunches tell you to stick to the PLAN instead of a new hunch.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mansion Clocks Can't Take A Lickin'

The battery quit in the basement clock the other day. I wondered why every time I looked up, it was 1:40 a.m. Because I kept watching TV, you know, my DVRs of Dawson's Creek. I watch at least two per night, because I record them during the day. And I was at least an episode-and-a-half in, without time seeming to pass.

Then I realized that the clock had stopped. It was almost 4:00 a.m., by cracky! I might as well not even go to bed! But I did. And for two or three days, I kept forgetting to take a battery down there for the clock. Once I remembered, I had a bit of a problem getting the old battery out. It was just a AA battery. But it was a tight fit. I finally hooked a fingernail on the end, and pulled it loose.

That battery was kind of slimy. It's not like when the batteries corrode and get all that crusty whitey-greenish crystal stuff on them. This battery looked perfectly normal. But it was slick. Not like snot, but like egg whites. A thin slime. I wiped my hands on a hand towel that is on the #1 Son's old desk for no reason, I suppose other than a slimy clock battery emergency.

Then I tried to put in a new battery. It fit in, but the clock didn't work. It has a second hand that didn't move. So I took THAT battery out, and tried a new one from the pack. The boys had a habit of putting used batteries in with the new ones. I don't know why. I guess they figured there was still life in them, once removed from a gadget they didn't want anymore. second new battery wouldn't fit into the battery case right. It looked right, but wouldn't slide in completely. With that clock sitting on #1's old desk, I thumped the battery with my hand. To pop it in, you know. It took several tries. Then I turned it around to see if the second hand was running.

Um. No.

All three hands were in the 6:30 position! And if I turned the clock, all three hands responded to gravity, and pointed straight down. I guess I had knocked the hands off their slots in the little peg that holds the hands. No big deal. We've had that clock since we got married. It was Farmer H's clock. Looks like a school clock to me. Nothing fancy. Though when the scenario was revealed to him, it seemed to have sentimental value. Oh, well. So did my kitchen table and chairs that he gave to a guy at his factory that he barely knew.

I have a clock in my office kind of like it. Its battery has been dead for several months. I replaced that two nights ago, and it was NOT slimy.

However...I set the clock one hour behind. So after a couple days of that, I finally fixed it. I bought a new clock at The Devil's Playground for the main basement area. Then I noticed it didn't have a second hand. Oh, well. I can always swap out the clock from my dark basement lair.

Whenever I get around to it.
Time doesn't really have a lot of meaning to me now that I'M RETIRED.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

That's Why The Lady Is A Thief

My evening walks have grown later and later. The sun is bright and hot at 4:15, the time I used to tear myself away from my dark basement lair to exit the Mansion and hit the driveway. For the last two nights, I went out around 7:30. This makes my schedule (heh, heh, my daily RETIREMENT schedule) all cattywompus.

If I walk at 7:30, that means Farmer H gets his supper around 7:00. He's okay with that. And I have time to clean up the dishes before walking. Last week, he was okay with eating at 8:00. His own fault, because he took off on the Gator and came back leading HOS and HOS's wife and son on our 4-wheeler like he was the grand marshal of a parade. That meant that I had to sit on the front porch pew and be sociable for a while, before going in to make supper.

All of this cattywompusness puts my own supper around 8:00. That makes my blogging run later. Surely you don't think I would get things ready BEFORE walking, do you? I barely get home from town by 2:00. And then there are all those conspiracy sites to read, and slot machine videos to watch, and...well...let's just say it's a terrific problem to have!

Anyhoo...last night, I was sitting on the porch pew separating the two furry snackers, when I noticed the giant mosquitoes buzzing around me. They've always found me to be especially appealing. But last night, I must have been super-desirable. They were also flitting around Juno's feet. I think I read that to discourage mosquitoes, you should wear white. Sucks to be Juno! I was wearing my black sweatpants, and black socks. Plus my hair is pretty close to black (shout-out to L'Oreal). Plus my breath must have been a real mosquito-magnet. Not because it stunk, silly. Because mosquitoes are drawn to the carbon dioxide, and I had plenty of it after walking.

I wanted to go right back inside the Mansion. Nobody wants itchy bites on their appendages during Casinopalooza 2. But I couldn't leave until the dogs were done with their evening snack. Jack and Juno are not good dining companions. I set Jack's plate to the left of my feet, and Juno's plate to the right. Juno always finishes first, and stands with her front feet between mine for petting. Actually, she starts like that, then sits down with her anus on my foot. Shoes or no.

The dogs were enjoying a delicious repast of grease bread, courtesy of Farmer H's spaghetti hamburger, and some expired Save A Lot tortilla chips. Juno is not a big fan of the tortilla chips. She eats them last, and sometimes leave a few on her plate for Jack to scavenge after she walks back to her house.

I patted Juno for a minute, and then told her, "I have to get back in the house. These mosquitoes are going to eat my alive!" She gave me a look that I'm pretty sure said, "Please don't go, I love you SO MUCH!" But still. I was not in the mood to be a meal.

I leaned over and said, "Jack, buddy, you're taking too long. Here. I'm gonna dump yours on the porch to finish up." Jack didn't object. I tilted his plate to slide five or six tortilla chips onto the boards.


"JUNO! NO! You know better than that! That's JACK'S food! Now you stop it."

I'm pretty sure Juno heard that as, "JUNO! Wah wah wah...wah...wah wah."

She looked at me like, "What you gonna do about it?" Not even the sad, sad face of shame.

Thing is...Juno doesn't even LIKE tortilla chips.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Mrs. HM And The Beautiful, Delightful, Stunning, Magnificent Penny

Monday I headed to Newmentia to fork over be robbed of hand delivery the fortune that is the Hillbilly family's healthcare insurance premiums for the next 12 months. Not that I'm disparaging Newmentia. It's the darn insurance crooks.

Anyhoo...I could have sent those insurance checks through the mail every month. But you know how the mail runs in Hillmomba. Or I could have driven to Newmentia every month to turn in my payment in person. But that's a bit of a chore. Not necessarily the drive, but the small talk both sides feel needs to be partaken of during such a task.

So...I fill out 12 checks and hand them over and let Father Time march on. If something goes awry, I can always pick up the phone and ask that my check be kept out of the extortion loop until I make a correction. Better to have them there, ready to go, able to stop the process if necessary...than have to remember to hoof it over there through the courtesy of T-Hoe's horsepowered rubber feet every month, rain or shine, to make the payment.

Let the record show that this insurance premium sum is a pretty penny. Not just pretty. Beautiful. Delightful. Stunning. Magnificent. It's the penny that could have launched a thousand ships. One might even describe this penny as breathtaking.

Let the record further show that the Hillbilly family has very few payments, other than utilities and A-Cad. And even when the young Hillbillys were starting out, their monthly house payment was 1/6 the amount of this monthly insurance premium.

That ain't right, people. That ain't right.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Goes Out On A Limb

I'm going out on a limb here. A sturdy limb, not too far off the ground, with a nice ramp built around the tree to get me up there, and a handrail once I step out on the limb itself, with a cushioned bench there, neither too high nor too low, for me to rest upon prior to and after this announcement:


The Pony would delight in such a discovery. He STILL recalls fondly that time he found a block of sharp cheddar looking back at him. "It had EYES, Mother Dear! Don't you remember that cheese with the mold that looked like eyes?"

Yes. I remember it well. But cheese isn't cheese until mold makes it cheese, in my opinion. I bought two bags of onions (only 4 per bag) at Save A Lot, since the onions I buy at The Devil's Playground are already rotten the first time I cut into them. Obviously, the onion in the picture did NOT come from The Devil's Playground.

I keep my onions in the bottom bin of FRIG II. I know. You're not supposed to keep onions in a FRIG, I think. Because I'm pretty sure they should stay nice and dry. But my onions do better in FRIG II. So I put a big aluminum pan in the bottom, like you might used to serve up a vat of potato salad or baked beans to a Solar Car Team. When my little Pony was here, as my grocery-shopping helper, I cut open the bag and he stowed away the onions. Now I have so much else (though less than when The Pony was strapping on the feedbag here at the Mansion) to put away on my own that I simply put the net bag of onions in the bin. We use a lot of onions.

Every now and then, the pile of onion skins in that bin becomes excessive, so I just pull out the pan and throw them off the back porch. Sorry, Poolio! Today's batch was picked up by an eddy of wind, and floated all the way over there, where they swirled for a bit before settling onto Poolio's surface. He's just had his top removed, too! But these skins were small enough to be picked up by the filter.

I had a whole bag of onions in the bin already, and a few loose singles. I saw that one in the bag was rottening, so I took out that whole bag and tossed its contents off the back porch deck. The Devil isn't going to outsmart me again, when I have everything else ready, and go to dice my onion, and then have to discard it and get another. And discard that one and get another. And discard THAT one with an itsy bitsy bit of complaining, and get another.

When I picked up that bag to throw away, I found THIS lengthy fellow on the bottom. Not rotten, though. I went out to show Farmer H, who has been working on a Poolio project that will be revealed ELSEWHERE! Put down your pitchforks and flaming torches, people, and stop being so mobby. You know you read ELSEWHERE. You'll see it.

Farmer H said of the giant sprout, "Huh. If you plant it, it'll grow." Because, you know, a career biology teacher wouldn't know such a fact. Notice that Farmer H didn't say, "If I plant it, it'll grow." No siree, Bob! AS IF Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has time to till a garden and sit watch 24/7/120 to keep deer and rabbits from dining there. And let's face it...planting a single onion is a we say...Farmer H-ish.

So I took a picture of it, and flung it off the back porch deck into the woods like a grenade. I meant to, anyway. But it got caught up in a tree between the deck and the woods, and kind of pinballed from limb to limb to the ground.

That's why I'm picking that tree to use for my limb out-going.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Goose Waxes Hypothetical Concerning Revenge On The Gander

I might have found a way to get even with Farmer H for habits such as coating my T-Hoe's steering wheel with ear wax, and pawing the remote with unwashed, dead-mouse-flinging fingers.

The last time I bought paper plates (the standard china of the Mansion), I had the misfortune of getting a pack in which the plates were not properly separated. These are the heavy-duty regular paper plates. White, with a scalloped edge, and a kind of coating so that grease doesn't seep through. I've had a pack like this before, except I bought that one at The Devil's Playground. For the most part, Save A Lot plates have always been of the same quality, yet separated so you only need one hand to grab one from the wooden holder on the kitchen counter.

This newest pack of paper plates requires TWO hands. And could actually benefit from a screwdriver and a crowbar. You get one plate, then the next two are hermetically sealed to each other. Then another single. Then a double. All through the pack.

Of course Farmer H skips over the two, and goes to the next single. That's dirty pool, people! Dirtier than Poolio after his cover is removed in May, after a whole winter of decomposing leaves on his bottom.

I could just remove all the single paper plates, and let Farmer H pry his own dinnerware apart. But I fear that he might simply eat off a double. Sending my hard-once-earned retirement money swirling down the drain. I am giving it a trial run. I took several of the loose paper plates and put them at the back of the stack. For ME to use, you know. And I'll keep an eye on the others, and the trash, to see if Farmer H is using doubles. It won't be hard. It's not like I'll have to dig in the wastebasket. They'll be piled on top in that JENGA mode for me to grab and look at.

But here's another idea. Every day, I save my lunch plate, and any plate I may have used to warm something (in the microwave with two drawer handles replacing the broken handle), and use them to serve the dogs their evening snack. Jack always licks his plate clean. And Juno's, too, once she wolfs down her food. So there are two gently-used paper plates that I might be able to recycle TWICE! I could put those plates in the holder for Farmer H to grab!

Surely nothing could go wrong with this plan, right? A dog's mouth is cleaner than a human's. Even with all that butt-licking they do! It's not like I'M going to lick those plates clean. They can't be any less sanitary that eating with unwashed fingers that have touched the inside of one's ear canal (almost to the brain), and a dead mouse from the front porch.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a very good friend to the Environment.

Not so good a friend to Farmer H.

Let the record show that I doubt I'll follow through with this plan.

Friday, May 5, 2017

And I Thought It Was All Those Years Of Teaching That Had Built Up My Immunity!

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not sick very often. Oh, sure...she complains about each little finger scratch as if she's on her last legs. But she really doesn't succumb to much of the crud that gets passed around from sneezers in line behind her at the gas station chicken store, or waits patiently on the handle of a Devil's Playground cart/walker to hitch a ride on her hands and into her mucous membranes.

I always figured I'd been exposed to one of every kind of virus and bacteria, what with sitting in a teeming petri dish that is a public school classroom from October through March. Yes, that's where I assumed my latent immunity sprung from. Until last night.

The wind was whipping and rain was falling sideways as I completed my evening walk under the canopy of the Mansion roof. At 45 degrees, it was a bit chilly for Farmer H to come join me in his tighty-whities and camouflage Crocs. I finished walking and snacked the dogs. I did not linger. They were both wet, and wanting to press up against my dry sweatpants. I got up off the porch pew to return to the warmth of the Mansion, and saw a dead mouse laying in front of the rocking chair.

I didn't notice it during the 40 or more laps around the porch, because I was intent on staying ON the porch. Not toppling into the rose bush or onto the brick sidewalk or lava rocks out front. Only two sides of that porch have rails, you know. And with Jack nipping at my heels like Jack Frost at my nose, it takes concentration. Let the record show that earlier in the week, he completed EVERY lap with me!

Once inside, I informed the Dead Mouse Disposer of his mission. "The dogs have a dead mouse on the front porch."

"What? I just threw that thing into the woods! It's a little mole. They had it over by the goat pen."

"Well, they ARE always digging up the yard. I guess they just want to show you that they're really doing you a favor."

Farmer H didn't seem like he appreciated that favor. He grunted in disgust and stomped out onto the porch and GRABBED THAT DEAD MOUSE WITH HIS BARE HAND and flung it out into the yard.

"There. Now it's gone."

"So, it was a mole, not a mouse?"

"No. It was a mouse. I guess they got one of each."

Farmer H settled back into his La-Z-Boy to watch reruns of M*A*S*H while I fixed his supper. I put it in the oven and went back to the living room. Just in time to see him switching channels. Holding the remote. With the hand he'd just used to pick up a dead mouse.

"EWW! You didn't even wash your hands! And you're touching the remote! After the dead mouse!"

"I only used two fingers to pick up that dead mouse. It's fine."

"The same two fingers you're using to touch the channels on the remote!"

"HM. It's fine."

That's easy for HIM to say. He already touched a dead mouse. AND a dead mole. With the intention to do so.

Remember, people. When you touch the're touching whatever everybody else who touches the remote has touched!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Aqueously Asphyxiated Rodent Is Cluck-Blocked!

This morning I headed to town to pick up a printout of The Pony's insurance card. Of course he has the original cards with him in Oklahoma, and now his car license needs renewing.

We had major rain again last night, so I knew I would be taking the alternate route. I showered and gathered my personal property tax receipt. Stopped down by the mailbox to make sure I had everything listed on the DMV renewal card, since I usually end up making more than one trip to that office to complete my business.

T-Hoe had no trouble crossing the creek. I knew which roads to avoid, and arrived at my first destination, the insurance office, at 10:45. The rain had slacked off. Mere sprinkles dotted the windshield.Two cars had just left the parking lot, and I was the only person at the counter. The young man who is the son of a former high school classmate set to printing my insurance card. I heard the door open behind me.

"Everybody looks like a drowned rat today!"

WTF? This new lady entering the office had only three people that she could have been addressing. The two workers, sitting at their desks behind the counter, and me, standing with my back to her. Let the record show that when I left my dry Mansion, I walked along the covered porch, down the covered steps, into the dry garage, climbed into T-Hoe, and drove 20 minutes to that insurance office. I walked six steps from T-Hoe's door to the office door, in a sprinkle so light that windshield wipers were not even needed, except while driving along at 30 mph, in the lowest intermittent setting.

WHO looked like a drowned rat?

I don't think that lady was referring to the blond worker with her hair in a fluffy '80s style. Nor the young man worker, with his trimmed hair barely long enough to run a comb through. That only left ME! Me...with my back to her, and my hair not even wet that I could tell.

As if THAT didn't set my teeth on edge for the rest of my errands...I made it through the bank drive-thru to deposit the expense check from Farmer H's trip to Sweden. For once I caught him leaving it in my purse, and made him sign the back. But then I made the mistake of writing FOR DEPOSIT on the back, lest it blow out of T-Hoe and some local Hillmomban bum pick it up and squander it on demon rum. So the $210 that Farmer H declared was HIS for gas and vehicle expenses (even though he uses the debit card for our account to pay them) was apparently not allowed to be given back by the teller. So...she had to send out a counter withdrawal form for me to fill out to get that $210 back.

Still, that was nothing compared to being compared to a DROWNED RAT when I wasn't even wet. Or disheveled.

I walked into the DMV just as a guy was leaving, and was served immediately! I didn't even sit down. The gal called to ask why she needed the personal property tax receipt if my car wasn't on it (since we didn't own it at the first of 2016). But then it was smooth sailing, and I had the tags and was out of there in less than 5 minutes.

THEN I was almost done. Just a short (so I thought) stop at the gas station chicken store to get my 44 oz Diet Coke, some actual gas station chicken (and a small mashed potatoes and gravy for Farmer H), and cash in a winning scratcher for one that turned out to be non-winning.

But here's the thing. I was standing at the chicken counter waiting to order, behind a Round Little Gal. She was jawing with the Chicken Server. Finally, she stepped back. She wasn't even ordering! Just WAITING for her chicken strips to be fried. They take 20 minutes.

I had my chance to order, and was waiting for the Chicken Server to bring out the mashed potatoes and hand me my ticket. The Lady Owner came up and rummaged through my chicken bag. To see if she could help, she said when the Chicken Server came back. And then she asked if she could help someone else. And this kind-of-a-bum (not that there's anything wrong with that) stepped forward and shouldered me out of the way as the Chicken Server was trying to hand my bag to me, and reached his long arm across my face and said, "Give me some fries, and three of them cheese things, and two thighs."

He didn't have to point, you know. They are aware of what they sell, and what chicken thighs look like. He was kind of a close-weirdo, invading my space. But I bore him no ill will. I reached under his arm for my ticket and chicken bag, and stepped back to the soda fountain to draw my magical elixir. Then I got in line. Since I had come in, several more customers appeared. There was a chicken customer with a whole box of fowl, having issues with her credit card. She had been there trying to pay when I came in.

Behind her was a dude I was behind just a couple days ago, again buying a six-pack of Bud Ice. But who am I to judge. Maybe he always has a liquid lunch. Then there was that Round Little Gal. I figured she was ready to pay. She WAS in the pay line. I stood there at least five minutes until the credit card issue was resolved. I think that customer had wanted to add something, or take something off. It was not a malfunction.

But here's the thing. Close-Weirdo got his food and ticket, and stepped into line AHEAD of Round Little Gal. And ME. And THEN Round Little Gal decided to move over and stand in front of the chicken case. AFTER she had CLUCK-BLOCKED me from paying for my chicken and soda!

If I didn't know better, my conspiracy-driven mind would say that Round Little Gal was in cahoots with Close-Weirdo.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

These Are The Times That Try Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Soul

Oh, wait!

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has no soul! At least according to her oldest son, and to her husband Farmer H.

We had a heartfelt lukewarm stilted self-serving discussion this evening on the front porch of the Mansion, I on my pew, Farmer H in the woven metal porch chair.

Let the record show that the wind was a-blowin', and rain was a-fallin', and that limpy Puppy Jack, soaked to his spongy skin and favoring his left rear leg, was all underfoot after his snack of half a slice of Easter ham, two mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto cheese sticks, half a whole-wheat roll, and a handful of expired Save A Lot tortilla chips, was underfoot. Sweet, sweet Juno was disgraced, having nabbed a chip off Jack's plate while he was still eating, received a stern talking-to, and settled herself down the porch a ways.

Oh, and Farmer H, who'd been roaming the kitchen in his tighty-whities, had slipped on a pair of gray shorts, a gray hooded sweatshirt (still wet from feeding the animals), and ensconced his bare man-hooves in his camouflage Crocs (with the strap behind his heel).

The topic of discussion was once again his impending retirement.

"I don't know. I may as well work up to the end of the year. Or at least the end of November. They owe me days off from my Sweden trip, and those weeks where I worked five days."


"Well, you think we're going to be paupers. We have money."

"That's not the issue. You need to make a decision and stick with it. And when you're off, you're going to spend all the money on your projects."

"I'd rather spend it while I'm here to spend it. If there's any left when we die, then the boys can have it. I don't see any reason to save it for them. They'll both have good jobs. Their college is paid for. They'll get the house and the property."

"I'm not worried about saving it for the boys! What if you spend it all, then you die, and I'm left without any money to live on?"

"Huh. Well, what if YOU die? And I'm left without money?"

"Then you get what you deserve! You've spent it all, so you can just go build yourself a shed to live in, and pee in the woods."

"You're not going to run out of money."

"If I have to pay a nursing home, I will!"

"Well, if you have to pay a nursing home, it'll go quick. But then the state will have to pay to take care of you. That's why when we made our will a couple weeks ago, we put the house in a trust. So a nursing home can't take it."

"Whatever. I don't think you should go wild and spend it down to nothing on the chance that you're going to die and leave something behind."

"I worked hard for my money. And I'm going to enjoy it."

I'm pretty sure my mom and dad worked hard for their money, too. And I'm really glad they didn't enjoy it. I don't much think they'd want Farmer H to enjoy it, either.

The #1 Son better reconsider that "soul" thing if he has any inheritance left when Farmer H and I are pushing up daisies.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Every Meal Is Not A Banquet, Every Post Is Not A Masterpiece

Does time ever get away from you? Like when you sit down to write something, and you get all involved, and the next thing you know, an hour has gone by with nobody letting you know?

Yeah. That just happened. It's not like I was writing anything good. No War and Peace. Or perhaps you know that classic by its original title: War, What is it Good For?. Heh, heh.

No, I had just settled Farmer H with his supper of beer-battered fish and big bowl of steamed broccoli/cauliflower/carrots with cheese sauce, and slapped my own supper on a tray and headed to my dark basement lair as the sounds of feeding emanated from the La-Z-Boy.

I had an idea that I wanted to put in blog form, and started typing. The more it evolved, the more I became conscious of my food sitting idle at my left elbow. Oh, don't think Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was feasting on anything tasty or anything healthy. She had a delicious BBQ Chicken Wrap for lunch, and only needed something not very filling for supper.

Okay. The main part of my supper that I became conscious of was my little plastic party cup of birthday cake flavored ice cream. Uh huh. Only 110 calories, people! Let the record show that you should probably plan to eat it before 45 minutes elapse after taking it out of the freezer. That would have been pretty good, I think. Because after an hour goes by, your ice cream party cup has the consistency of that foamy stuff that forms on top of the water when you boil pork steaks before barbecuing them in the oven. But it's much more tasty! I actually LIKE my ice cream partially melted. But not completely melted. What's that? Yes. Of course I ate it!

So now I have my actual entree sitting here at my crusty elbow. I'd show you a picture, but nobody wants to see that. Besides, I'd have to go upstairs and stand on the porch, holding my phone out over the steps, to send the picture to my email so I can save it on my computer and put it on my blog. Which would kind of delay my delicious (now-stale) roll and can of Armour Potted Meat (still sealed, like the day it came off the conveyor belt) even longer.

Nom-nom. I can hardly contain myself.

Okay. I can.

And the thing is...I decided to use that post I was writing on my OTHER blog sometime. Sorry.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Farmer H Is So Mercurial That I'd Like To Send Him Into The First Orbit Around The Sun

Alas, I fear that Farmer H is having a post-mid-life crisis. And this, in turn, puts my idyllic retirement in crisis!

Let the record show that Farmer H was originally going to retire last December. We planned on it. I took the school health insurance upon my own retirement with that in mind. Because once I let it go, we could not get back on it. So I went and jumped through all the necessary hoops, and set up the proper funds, only to find that Farmer H decided he DID NOT WANT TO RETIRE YET! So he stayed on working, and we paid for insurance that we didn't really need as long as we were on HIS.

That's the crucial point, you see. My insurance runs from July 1 to the next July 1. And Farmer H's plan is set up for Jan 1 to Jan 1.

Now wrap your head around this. I just attended a retiree (ahh...doesn't that sound relaxing) meeting for insurance users at Newmentia last month. It's gone up several hundred dollars per month for our family plan. But what can you do? You have to have health insurance, and it has nothing to do with government regulations. Farmer H saw the handout I brought home, and declared that I should switch to a lesser plan. Because, he said, we actually HAVE insurance through his job, at minimal cost for the family. And because we don't need double insurance, I should switch mine to one with a higher deductible. One where you kind of pay as you go, from a special account. No thank you!

Our insurance rep at the meeting told us that SHE has that plan, since it's the best choice her company gives them. She is perpetually jealous of ours, though she doesn't say it in as many words. In presenting our options, she pointed out certain things that must be done on that plan, or you're SOL. Consider, if you will, the fact that it's not just Farmer H and I on this plan. We have one boy halfway across the state, ready to graduate in December, who will be on that plan at least 6 months, and another son in Oklahoma who will be on that plan for three more years, who may or may not have trouble finding his butt with both hands.

Can you imagine what a nightmare it would be, trying to coordinate the medical arrangements for the Hillbilly family, in all three geographical locations? Oh, no problem at all for Farmer H, because MRS. HILLBILLY MOM is the one these duties would fall upon. Nope. Not changing the plan. We already stepped it down one level from what I had when I was actively working.

NOW...flash forward to today. With a blustery wind, a little bit of rain, and Farmer H spending a portion of his last day off this week in his La-Z-Boy. Giving me a glimpse into the upcoming winter months, when he will be inside the Mansion with me 4 days out of 7 each week!

And do you know what he had the nerve to say this evening, after I'd prepared him his special SHRIMP TACOS again?

"I think I'm just going to work until the end of August, and call it quits. I'm not even going to apply for social security next year. I'll just use my 401K money, so I won't really have an income."


This month, I have to take some checks over to the Newmentia main office, to cover my monthly insurance premium for the next 12 months.

You can bet I'm not switching to a lesser plan.