Friday, June 30, 2017

Who Ya Gonna Call? EAR Busters!

I'm pretty sure I am single-handedly perpetuating  telephone scam opportunists. Not purposely, of course. I don't answer just so I can have fun and SCREAM into the phone, "THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY COMPUTER!" when those heavily-accented folks call to warn me about a problem with my Windows Computer.

No, I answer because I don't know the number, and I have two sons a couple hundred miles away at college. Just in case. I wouldn't want to be call-screening if there was an emergency.

Tuesday, somebody called to offer me a payment plan for my student loans. Well, I'll be ding-dang-donged! Ain't they just the nicest folks! Wanting to help me lower my debt, and they don't even know me. Out of the goodness of their hearts, I assume. It takes a village and several foreign countries to help Mrs. Hillbilly Mom pay her bills, I guess.

That selfless angel scratchy recording of an accented voice was so nice such a waste of my time that I didn't have the heart see the point of mentioning that I have never had any student loans. So I hung up halfway (or less) through the spiel.

Wednesday, an actual person called to offer the #1 Son help on paying down HIS student loans.


I know. It's counter-productive, really. Since now they know it's a working phone number. But I HAD to answer. And it felt pretty good to give them that little bit of information.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Man-Lining At The Devil's Playground

Today we take a break from product reviews, and review the people buying the product.

Monday, I went to The Devil's Playground over in Bill-Paying Town. I didn't have a cart full of items. Just specific things I went after. I don't browse there, because I don't know where things are. They have an odd way of grouping things. Not that I'm and expert, of course, but let's just say that bottled water should not have any reason for being found on four different aisles.

Anyhoo...I pushed my cart/walker up front, and was pleased to see that the first line only had ONE cart in it! The regular first line. Not the self-check. There's no line at all there, because people don't want to do all the work themselves when there are checkers paid to stand there and watch them. That's pretty backwards if you ask me. YOU'RE the one getting the money. So YOU should be doing the work. I'm funny like that. Funny peculiar. Not funny ha-ha. It's no laughing matter to do the work for free while somebody else gets paid for it.

So...I wheeled my cart/walker into that first line, quite pleased with myself, being so close to the exit door, and only having one customer to wait on. Two, actually, but they were an elderly couple. None of this foolish separate orders business, where they slap that divider between their stuff, and then force me to endure two transactions. They WERE elderly, though, which means they like to chat. And they move kind of slow. So I took out my phone to send myself some pictures, because I had a good signal in there, and my phone has been working right lately.

No sooner had I opened up a picture and typed in Hillbilly Mom as the destination than I felt someone encroaching upon my space. I don't go for that. Go find a culture that doesn't mind you breathing down their neck. Actually, he couldn't quite reach my neck. He was a bent old man. Bent on saying, "Looks like there's no getting out."

What in the Not-Heaven is THAT supposed to mean? It's not like we were having an adventure, trying to escape from the Poseidon. I had no intention of swimming through a flooded passage so HE could get to the surface. If Mrs. HM goes down, we ALL go down.

I ignored him and kept looking at my phone. Not my job to entertain bored old geezers in The Devil's line. I thought maybe he was hinting that I should let him go ahead of me. I had a cart about 1/3 full, and he had ONE ITEM. Too bad, so sad. He was nowhere around when I got in line. You can't just walk up at your leisure and expect somebody to let you cut. It would be different if we were headed there at the same time. Besides, he had ONE ITEM. He could have easily utilized the self-check, and been out of there pretty quick. If only there had been getting out. Which he said there wasn't.

"Hey! It's been a long time!"

Sweet Gummi Mary! Old Geezer had to chat up the Elderlies in front of me, distracting them from their business of heaving a 108-pack of bottled water onto the conveyor, using all four of their withered arms. AND they had to talk to Old Geezer! They even walked back, leaving the checker idle, waiting for their payment. Which of course they were going to write a check for, even though they hadn't taken it out of Mrs. Elderlies' purse yet.

I learned more about stiff knees and gardening than I will ever want to know. And about assorted surgeries endured by Old Geezer, and his recoveries. While this joyous reunion was going on, I fished out that rubber divider and put my stuff on the conveyor. Old Geezer was all the way up in front of me now, glad-handing with the Elderlies. Somebody else, with a cart, got in line behind me.

The Elderlies wrapped up the reunion tour, produced the checkbook, and FOUND A WAY OUT! Old Geezer came to get back in line, but a cart was there now, at my rumpus. So he stood beside me. I moved up and pointed to two four-packs of strawberry water hung over the side of my cart. "I've got them turned so you can scan them." No need to pick them up when you don't need to.

While I was lifting bags into my cart/walker as the checker filled them, Old Geezer was HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH MY CHECKER! That's not right. I certainly don't enjoy making small talk with my checker, but I'll be darned if I'm going to let her pay attention to somebody else! They went on and on, about gardens, and family. She was young enough to be his granddaughter, and it didn't seem like she even knew him. While chatting away, she grabbed his one item, a six-pack of bottled cranberry juice, to run over the scanner.

"THAT'S NOT MINE!" No way was I paying for Old Geezer's home kidney-infection treatment.


Pretty bold of Old Geezer to carry on like that, when HE was the one who HAD MOVED THE DIVIDER BEHIND HIS JUICE. I guess he was acting like he was with me, so the folks behind him would not object to him cutting back in line ahead of them.

In all that commotion, the checker forgot to scan my two four-packs of water. I told her, though. No good comes of giving Even Steven a reason to even you.

The weirdos have really honed in on my magnet. They can now find me three towns over.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I Came Undone Faster Than A Flimsy Cellophane Wrapper

Just when I thought PEEPS would be my undoing, and refused to pass down that aisle in the store for a couple of months, to avoid temptation...a new delicacy sabotaged my wise choices.

Oh, don't think I dodged that PEEPS bullet without a nick. A couple weeks back, I found those two stashed packs in a Devil's Playground bag under the desk in my bedroom. Remember? I didn't. Until they practically screamed EAT ME from their safe hidey-hole as I walked by to open the shade on the french doors to the porch. Yes. I ate a box of year-and-two-months-old PEEPS. They were not nearly as delicious as I anticipated.

I put that little indiscretion behind me. Thinking, perhaps, that I should throw away the last pack, but clinging to it as a test of my willpower. Will those PEEPS make it ANOTHER year? We'll see. Right now I don't have a PEEPS tooth. willpower was sabotaged when I least expected it, pushing my cart-walker up the main aisle of The Devil's Playground, headed to the front, shopping done, on a mission to check out. It's so unfair of those floor managers to pile impulse purchase items on pallets in the center of the aisle. Why can't we just wheel our cart-walkers along these high-traffic areas without dodging other cart-walkerers, and piles of tempting taste treats?

Here is my downfall.

Oh, what's that? The pack is EMPTY, you say? Yes. Yes it is. I had an unfortunate lapse in willpower. Not all at once! Sweet Gummi Mary! I was not consumed with such a feeding frenzy that I tore through that package in one sitting! I ate them one at a time. One a day. Okay. Sometimes two a day. But spread out, at lunch time and as an evening snack. I don't even LIKE those filled Twizzlers! We tried them way back when they first came out, The Pony and I. Not fans. I can't remember the flavor back then. Probably the red flavor, whatever that is. It tastes like nothing in nature, so I'm not sure. I think of it as the Twizzler fruit.

Anyhoo...can you see what I scarfed up gorged on stuffed myself to the gills with enjoyed in moderation here? KEY LIME PIE Twizzlers! Oh, they are delectable! If you can control yourself, which I DID, aside from buying them and eating them in the first place. They are only 70 calories apiece. They can be budgeted into an eating regimen. Not into a sensible eating regimen. But if you're willing to forego nutrients, you can work them in if you eschew vitamins and minerals and food groups for flavor.

Oh, what's that? Why didn't I use that easy open feature to gain access to my verboten snack? Because they're KEY LIME PIE Twizzlers, people! I ripped into that package with haste. Didn't even THINK of turning it over to look for some kind of bogus easy-open directions. Of course, my Twizzlers were then exposed to the elements due to the rip all the way down the package. But I rolled them up and stuck a baggie over the end. They stayed remarkably fresh.

Of course, they didn't have all that many days to age.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I'm Not Exactly Turning Pinwheels With Excitement

This is not really a product review blog. You may THINK so over the next few days. But it's not. No siree, Bob! It's more of a complainer-about-products blog. Or a ravenous-consumer-of-products blog.

Today, we take a look at my new favorite lunch.

"What's that?" you say? "Oh. So Mrs. Hillbilly Mom likes to eat strips of tortilla with large stickers and a plastic box?" Not exactly. But you would think so, huh? The Devil's Playground has recently revamped their packaging. Now, instead of getting six pinwheels in a package, you only get four. I don't pay enough attention to the price to tell you if they're cheaper now.

Anyhoo...these new packages are smaller. The pinwheels are crammed inside. The good thing about the new packaging is that the plastic has grooves and knobs molded into it. So they stack. Or one might ASSUME that they stack.

You know what happens when we ASSUME.

The geniuses who work for The Devil slap their stickers on these containers all willy-nilly. This one is actually pretty good because you can read what you're getting, and the date, without flipping it on end. Here's the catch. They cover up the little grooves and knobs. So the containers don't stack.

Here's the bottom:

There's the groove. But it won't stack on top of one with a sticker over its knob. At least you can see what you're getting if you flip it over. A MESS! That's what you're getting. But I understand that the ranch leaks out. No big deal. At least they seem to be actually putting bacon in them now.

Perhaps they need smaller labels to go with the smaller packages. So you can see the product, and so they will stack.

Let the record show that the The Devil is usually out of the Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels at both of his Playgrounds that I frequently frequent. The Turkey Pinwheel is a reasonable substitute. It doesn't have any sauce. I think it's supposed to have mayonnaise, but I never find any. Just something moist that kind of sticks the pinwheel layers together.

Yes, I know I could make them myself. That smacks of effort, you know.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Solves The Clues: The Case Of Surburban Noise Pollution

Today I stopped by Orb K, because THE GAS STATION CHICKEN STORE IS OUT OF DIET COKE!!! Yes! Sound the alarms! Get some assistance on the way forthwith!

I actually knew of the dry spell at the gas station chicken store. Yesterday, as I was filling my trough vat 55-gallon drum 44 oz cup at their soda fountain, some serious noises emanated from behind the machine. I knew it wasn't Oz the Great and Terrible. But I thought, you know, maybe their wastewater lines were clogged by roots or something. The street out front is always springing leaks. The infrastructure of Hillmomba is crumbling. Or maybe a prisoner had escaped from the Diagnostic Center maximum security prison two miles up the road, and was stuck in a pipe.

The clerk ran over, yelling, "Diet Mountain Dew? Diet Mountain Dew?" I forgive her for automatically assuming I needed DIET soda. Sweet Gummi Mary, that li'l gal sees me buy a soda EVERY DAY, and it is most certainly not the color of dehydrated green pee. Anyhoo, I told her no, it was Diet Coke. "You better taste it! We're running out!" It tasted fine. But I confirmed my previous insider knowledge that they would not have it up and running until TUESDAY. When their Coke supplier (heh, heh) comes with their inventory.

Anyhoo...I pulled into my regular spot by the yellow cross-striped walkway next to the HANDICAP parking spot at Orb K today. Which was occupied by an old-style Suburban. The kind that's shaped like a truck, only with four doors, and an enclosed back. Kind of a cross between a van and a truck. A boxy vannish kind of  vehicle. This one was black along the bottom, then a wide section of blue-gray, then a thin red stripe border, then more black on top. It was rusted out on the lower panels. The back had two upright doors. Not a hatch like T-Hoe or the more modern versions. And on each window of the two back doors was painted A WHITE SKULL. WITH HORNS.

Anyhoo...I saw that the driver's door was standing open, and a man, who might have looked not out-of-place seated upon a Harley, was standing there. The music was blaring SO LOUD that I could hardly think. But I DID think. I thought, "Well. That would certainly be objectionable, if I didn't like the song." Which was Can't You See by The Marshall Tucker Band.

I was a bit taken aback that this old-style Suburban was parked in the LONE handicap spot of Orb K. Differently-abled people don't often drive such a vehicle. Not that I've seen, anyway. At least not in any of the 20-odd handicap spaces over on the parking lot of Country Mart. This Harley dude didn't look like he had any mobility problems. And when I returned, his woman had climbed up into the passenger seat.

Man. That music was BLASTING. But it made me want to go home and listen to The Marshall Tucker Band. That's when it hit me. Became crystal clear. Mystery solved.

That handicap-parked dude must have been hard-of-hearing.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

There's A New Cup In Town

There's talk on the blog, it sounds so familiar
Great expectations, everybody's watching you
People who read, they all seem to know you
Even your blog buddies treat you like you're something new
Silver Buffalo, the new cup in town
Mrs. HM may love you, so don't let her down

Guess what I just carried in from T-Hoe's rear yesterday! That cup I bought at The Devil's Playground a while back, because blog buddy Sioux recommended something like it. There it was, that Silver Buffalo, right at my right hand at the checkout lane.

He's quite breathtaking, don't you think? I got the very best one. He's not silver at all, but GOLD. Shiny. That picture in the shade of the back porch doesn't do him justice. He's not even unwrapped yet. But look! It says he will keep things COLD for 18 HOURS!

We'll see.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

This Is A Test. This Is Only A Test.

I've got something for you, people! From yesterday's quest for a 44 oz Diet Coke.

See them there? Look closely, to the left of that pole. You can't see them very well because they're camouflaged by nature.


Uh huh. There I was in T-Hoe, tooling down the gravel road, one bend away from EmBee on the county blacktop road...and these two little cuties paraded across the gravel behind their mom or older sister. That doe wasn't very big. She was smart, though, and blended right into the foliage. These young 'uns lagged behind. Stood right in the middle of the road, looking at me.

Of course I stopped. Deer usually don't wait around for you to take their picture. But the longer they lingered, the more I toyed with the idea of trying to shoot them. I picked up my cell phone and cursed my bug-spotted windshield. At least this first picture shows both of them.

One of the fawns wised up and went into the woods, but the other one stood there facing me. Flicking its ears forward. Took a step towards the woods. Flicked its cottony white tail up and down. I let T-Hoe creep closer and took a couple more pictures. I couldn't see the fawn at all in my phone. Just took a chance I might catch something that I could see on a big monitor.

There! If you lean in and squint, or if you have a phone that lets you zoom in on that picture, you can see a baby deer butt going into the woods. Too bad the cottony white tail was in the downflap.

Yes, I know that city people don't appreciate the deer. That they're like urban rats who eat away at yard stuff. But out here, if we're not licking our lips and thinking how delicious they are as jerky or slow-cooked in a crock pot with BBQ sauce...we're admiring their grace and beauty.

Hope you passed this eye test.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mrs. HM Shows Nosy Nancy What's What

Today I headed to the bank to convert some large bills into reasonable bills. Funny thing about those casino cash-out machines...they give you the largest bills that fit the amount of your ticket. Except that one at the back that I've only used once, which gave me four $5s instead of one $20. bills were larger than that, and I need a manageable denomination for my play money, because convenience stores don't really cotton to the big bills. Only the gas station chicken store and Waterside Mart don't look askance if you try to fork one over. The others aren't reticent about dishing one out, though, when a big winner is cashed in.

In addition, I needed to break a big bill to give Farmer H. He's got four tickets to the Cardinals game this weekend, and he's taking HOS and his wife and son. Don't go thinking that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom got the short end of the stick on this one. Mrs. HM has been going to Cardinals games since she was L'il Future Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, and her knees have no desire to carry her to such a game these days. Anyhoo...Farmer H is going to have some spending money (courtesy of Mrs. HM's high-rollin' ways) to buy refreshments for the HOS family, and he said he'd prefer five smaller bills rather than one large one. Heh, heh. I suppose I could have given him five dollars...but he probably would have noticed what I did there.

All the way to the bank, I was working on a dialogue in my head. It actually started last night. The last time I went to the bank with a sizeable amount of cash, it was either money from the boys' college accounts to deposit into the bank from the credit union, or the Christmas money I squirrel away all year and then deposit to pay the credit card bill in January. Anyhoo...the teller had voiced her curiosity right across the counter.

"Did you sell a car or something?"

That is nobody's business, I think. Last time I checked, bank patrons don't consult hourly-wage tellers concerning the use of their money. Besides, this was money GOING IN to the bank. Not even money coming out. So I don't see any reason for a teller to know my business. The last time such an inquisition occurred, I answered. It's not like it was a secret. I just thought it was untoward for the teller to ask. If that stupid bank would not put a 10-day hold on cashier's checks, I wouldn't HAVE TO deposit the college money in cash so I can make an e-payment for tuition for #1's non-scholarship remainder.

Anyhoo...I was all worked up, and ready to give any teller who asked about my money a GREAT BIG CHUNK of my mind! Uh huh. I wasn't going to be rude or anything. In fact, I was going to say,

"I'm not trying to be rude or anything. But that's really none of your business. I'm sure you're just trying to be friendly and make conversation. But people don't like being interrogated about their money. So next time, you might want to think twice before you ask somebody, who might think you're being awfully nosy."

Uh huh. Not quite Julia Sugarbaker worthy, but a little speech, nonetheless. I was fired up. Primed and pumped. Loaded for bear.

I walked into the bank lobby with my stack of large bills folded up in my pocket. Carrying my checkbook in case they wanted proof that I have an account there. Can't blame them for that. No need to work for free with money that has nothing to do with their facility. And they don't all know me, because I usually use the ATM or the drive-thru.

Only one customer was ahead of me, and the next teller was available. She motioned me over to her counter gap and asked how she could help me.

"I'd like to change these hundreds into twenties. A lot of twenties."

"Oh. About how many?"

"Well, there are [REDACTED] hundreds there."

"Oh. That IS a lot of twenties."

Well. You know. They're a BANK, for cryin' out loud! If anybody is going to have a lot of twenties laying around, it's a bank. Or a casino.

Teller fished around in a drawer and took out some bundles of twenties and tore the paper wrapper off them, and started counting them out. I did not want to bother her. No need for distraction. But the silence was uncomfortable. It's like when a teacher asks a question, and none of the kids wants to answer, but if that teacher keeps her mouth shut, one of those kids is going to crack, and volunteer some kind of answer, and that will get the ball rolling for a discussion.

Teller had the bills counted out, and stashed the rest back in the drawer. She set the stack of hundreds aside so she had room to count back my twenties.


"Oh, yes. People don't want to take big bills anymore."

Yep. I showed that teller! NOBODY gets into Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's business, by cracky!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Another Good Deed Goes Punished

I really should start a site for disgruntled shoppers. Those who get about as much respect as Rodney Dangerfield. Lately, I feel like I have a sign on my back, and front, and tattooed on my forehead, that says, "PATSY." And I don't mean that in the manner of being labeled with a given name, like a pair of underwear headed to summer camp.

Last week, I stopped by Country Mart. I actually went down the aisles this time, not just to the lottery ticket dispensing machines up front by the door. I didn't take a cart. All I needed was a card. A Father's Day card for Farmer H. Country Mart has decent cards at decent prices. Unlike their cheese and mayonnaise, which are often past date, and overpriced.

I selected my card and went up front to check out. I'm usually there mid- to late-morning, and notice two checkers on duty. Not counting the lady at the service counter, whom I have only dealt with once in all these years, the occasion being to return expired cheese that I had bought for my grandma's Christmas basket.

Anyhoo...on this card-buying day, only one checkout was open. The one with the lady Farmer H has chatted up, who, according to him, is 81 years old. She doesn't look a day over 70, but some of us just have good genes, I guess. Her leathery tanned skin and bleached blond hair don't hurt. She has a really gruff voice, like she started smoking in the crib, and never laid down her butt.

Anyhoo...Smokey was ringing up a pair of adult ladies who might have been mother/daughter. In line behind them was an old man with a few items in his cart, among them a small watermelon. I stepped in line behind him, but that put my rumpus out in the main aisle that crosses the front of the store. An old gal pushing a cart came along, so I stepped back to give her passage. Old Gal wheeled her cart past me, made a U-turn, and


Huh. That was just blatant line-cutting! What was I to do, shove her cart aside and get back in line? I was taken aback. That's what I get for stepping back to allow her cart to pass, I guess. Seriously. She had at least 15 items in her cart, and all I had was ONE SINGLE GREETING CARD in my hand! It's not like I was being kind and letting somebody with fewer items go ahead of me. My generosity was forced upon me!

I stood there silently stewing, and what to my dagger-shooting eyes should appear but another full-cart woman down the aisle, drawing near. And there I was again, fully in the middle of the aisle time, since the sideways cart of Old Gal was taking up the room where I previously stood, third in line. Of course I backed up into the condiment/cracker/cookie aisle to let Full Cart Woman pass by. She proceeded past me, made a U-turn, and


I swear those two entitled old ladies were in cahoots! They must have attended a seminar at The Learning Annex about how to cut in line ahead of patsies at the grocery store.

What was I going to do, confront FCW? After I'd let Old Gal butt in front already? What did they think I was standing there for? It's not like I'm carved out of wood wearing a headdress and standing in front of a cigar store. I wasn't handing out food samples. I obviously had an item in my hand for which I wished to pay.


Now two more carts were coming up the aisle. I did not budge. Even though I'm retired, I don't have all day to stand at the end of an endless line, by cracky! THEN a young worker opened up another register several lanes to my left. "I'm open now."

It was like the starter's pistol went off at the 100 Meter Dash final at the 1968 Olympics! Old Gal and FCW wheeled their carts around and took off. I jumped across the main aisle to cozy up to Melon Man's bubble of space. The newcomers, wheels still rolling, had an advantage over Old Gal and FCW, and beat them to the new checkout.

It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that those four customers were all checked out and had exited the store before I even laid my card on the conveyor. Those two women, you see, had some major malfunction. Smokey took out a two-inch three-ring binder full of barcodes and such. The women fiddled with cards or papers or coupons in their purses. And then they were done.

You probably won't be surprised to hear that Smokey told Melon Man that he had to put his melon on the counter, that she couldn't do anything with it in the cart. So he hefted it out, and handed it over, where Smokey rolled it across the barcode scanner. Not that it had a sticker on it, mind you. Then she gave it back to him.

You probably won't be surprised to hear that after his transaction was complete, except for the paying...Melon Man fished around in his back pocket, took out a checkbook, thumbed around in it, meticulously tore loose a check, handed it to Smokey, and said, "Fill that out and I'll sign it." Not that Country Mart has one of those things where you insert the check and it gets printed, like The Devil's Playground. Nope. Smokey had to fill that check out by hand. But Melon Man signed it!

Melon Man was in a chatty mood after he got his receipt. He still stood there. Turned to me and said,

"Got me a burger over at Dairy Queen."

"Oh! The A1 Bacon Cheeseburger? I keep seeing those commercials. One of these days I'm going to try one."

"Well, it was good. But it was only THIS big." He held out his hands, making a circle that would have enclosed a tennis ball. "But I had fries and a soda and a ice cream, too."

Yeah. It takes longer to buy a card when you're retired.

I was hoping things would run more smoothly for me. After all, on the way into the store, I'd bent over and picked up a big screw from the handicap spot (one of about 20) right in front of the door. I'm pretty sure it fell there the day before, when a man was screwing on new letters above the door, making me pretty certain that one of them, or the worker himself, would come crashing down on me as I entered to buy my scratch-off tickets out of the machine. Kind of an embarrassing way to meet your demise.

Even Steven must have been asleep at the switch. You'd think saving a differently-abled person from getting a flat tire would at least merit an uneventful Father's Day card purchase.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Farmer H Takes A Dump...ster

As you may recall, the Hillbilly family pays a pretty penny for a big green trash dumpster that is emptied once a week. Unless there is ice on our gravel road. Or snow. Or a 25% chance of rain. It's a major-name trash service, but the service part is questionable.

Anyhoo...a couple months ago we had a problem with the lid. The middle of the handle was cracked, making it almost impossible to get a grip and haul that two-wheeled dumpster down the long, long driveway. Farmer H has connections, and called his work rep at the trash service, thinking we might get special treatment, meaning a timely replacement of our dumpster. We've had it since The Pony was born. Except for when we parked our dumpster at the end of the driveway one Wednesday evening, and pulled another one back up the next afternoon. Don't know why they switched it out randomly, but it was the same style, just a slightly different color, with a different serial number.

Anyhoo...the dumpster sits barely under the edge of the carport. I'd take a picture, but my android phone has a beef with Gmail's outbox, and I can't just post pictures all willy-nilly anymore. The dumpster has to leave room for Farmer H to back his Olds Toronado out from the carport once every blue moon when he takes a notion to drive it. Which he did last weekend. And for me to walk past it every single evening, twice, unless I've been to the casino.

I am the one who takes the trash up and brings it back, now that the #1 son had the gall to go off to college, and his replacement, The Pony, left the state to avoid this chore. I have a spot where I park that dumpster. A spot midway between that darned ugly paint-needing decrepit picket fence Farmer H put up, and the side of the Toronado. There's room to back it out without hitting the side mirror on it, and room for me to squeeze by between the dumpster and the fence.

Sunday evening, I didn't walk, because I figured my casino workout would substitute. On Monday, I noticed that the dumpster was all cattywompus. I couldn't squeeze by without sidling like a wishful, yet deluded, circus fat lady through Fat Man's Squeeze at Rock City, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. As I investigated further, making mental notes for The Inquisition of Farmer H...I saw that the front of the dumpster was cracked! Caved-in! Broken and flappy!

I asked Farmer H if he ran over the dumpster. He denied it. Funny how I didn't notice that the dumpster was cracked when I had pulled it back down the driveway on Thursday evening. Farmer H further added, "I don't know what them trash men did. They must have hooked it up to dump it, and dropped it."

Let the record show that back when I used to get up before 7:00 a.m., I saw the trash men many a time, and they do not hook up our dumpster to anything. They reach inside and pick up the bags and toss them into the back of their garbage truck. That's why I was mortified when Farmer H tossed a meat tray inside without benefit of a trash bag. I knew one of those trash men would have to touch it, if the smell when he opened the lid didn't make him keel over.

I'm pretty sure there's more to this story. One thing I know for sure. Farmer H is full of garbage.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mrs. HM Knows A Bargain When Somebody Tells Her She Got One

Yesterday I bought some mushrooms at The Devil's Playground over in Bill-Paying Town. They looked FANTASTIC. Just a little pint cardboard container of sliced mushrooms. My intention was to put them on a Devil's deli pizza. You know what happened, right? I forgot the pizza.

So...I had these beautiful mushrooms, so firm and white and fresh (as fresh as fungi can be). I didn't want them to go to waste. That's what happens after a couple days in FRIG II. Those mushrooms get all slimy and dark, and nobody wants a slimy dark fungus going over their lips and past their gums. No matter how you cook them.

I had some romaine lettuce, so I thought of making a salad. However, when we're going to have salad, we like a BIG SALAD. I had no eggs to boil and put in the salad. I figured I could add some frozen diced roasted chicken. And shredded sharp cheddar. Or shredded mozzarella. Or shredded parmesan. Or all three! Plus some sunflower seeds, and diced Craisins. Diced onions. That would be pretty tasty. But Farmer H is not really a salad fan unless he has some slab of meat on the side.

Since I was heading to town anyway for my 44 oz Diet Coke, I decided to run in Save A Lot and pick up one of their pizzas. They look just like the deli pizza from The Devil's Playground. They are wrapped, enclosed in a box that you can see through, and located in the cooler back by the hams and hot dogs. Not frozen. I saw pepperoni, and supreme. Of course I picked up a supreme, because I move the red and green peppers all onto one side, and the pepperoni all onto the other side. The sausage stays where  it is. Then I add a diced onion, and those beautiful sliced mushrooms.

So...I took my cart up front, it containing two jars of salsa, a bunch of 6 bananas, a bag of white onions, and a supreme pizza. The lady rang it up, and it was $9 and change.

"How are you? Did you find everything okay?"

"Great! Yes, I came in for just a couple of things, and that's all I got. For once."

"You got a really good deal on that pizza."

"Oh, I did? That's great. You can't beat that!"

I don't really pay a lot of attention to the prices. Not because I'm rollin' in dough, but because, you know, it's SAVE A LOT. And prices there are generally cheaper than at The Devil's Playground, or Country Mart. So I'm not comparison shopping. I throw it in my cart, take it up front, and pay.

"I need to take care of that. Methuselah's Granddaughter! Bring me up one each of these pizzas."

Methuselah's Granddaughter is the small older lady with coal black hair who looks like she spent the majority of her life sitting in a shed where hams are smoked...smoking.

"Why? Is there something wrong with them?"

"No. They are ringing up for $1.99! We need to fix them in the system."

"That's what they're supposed to be. Jimmy said."

"Nuh uh! No way! Why would they be that cheap?"

"Jimmy said he's tired of them sitting back there and then throwing them away. People aren't buying them. He said he'd rather they sell than get thrown out. They get too close to the expiration. Check the date."

"I DID! It's the 29th! That's 9 days out!"

"Well, all I know is that Jimmy said they're supposed to be that price."

All this while I was punching in my debit card info. I didn't want to think there was something wrong with my pizza. But $1.99 is pretty cheap. Even for Save A Lot. As I moved my cart over to the bagging counter, the checker said, "You enjoy your pizza!"

"Oh, I WILL! I've been thinking about going back there to buy them all!"

Not really. I don't have the freezer space. But it WAS a good deal. I put my salsas and bananas and onions in two bags, and carried my pizza ($1.99!) out on the palm of my hand. The checker was headed for the manager's office.

I told Farmer H about our bargain as he was hovering in the kitchen watching me put the finishing touches on it.

"That's a good deal! $1.99 for a pizza!"

"Uh huh. I bet if I drove back over there, they would NOT have been $1.99 any more. Or they would have been GONE. Because a pizza really should be more than $1.99. I'm hoping they didn't pull a fast one and switch out the orange date sticker. It SAID 6/29. But maybe they changed it from 6/19."

"Oh, well. That was only...yesterday. It's fine if they did. It was $1.99."

Yep. The Hillbilly family is no stranger to expired foods. We don't go digging through dumpsters to forage our meals. But let's not forget, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom DID grow up in the house of her mother, who seemed to patronize Ye Olde Expired Food Shoppe.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Don't Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor...Dollars Yearning To Be Spent

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is declaring war on you folks who can't take care of your money!

I do NOT want to be the customer after you in the gas station chicken store, getting your tired old dollars in my change. Dollars should not be damp to the touch. I don't know if you've spilled your 44 oz Diet Coke on them at the register, or just removed them from your shoe, sock, bra, or thong. NO! Just no.

Also, I do not want my change all creased at various cattywompus angles. A dollar bill should be carried in the pocket, folded in half. And not the long way, either! Not like you're going to tuck it in some stripper's g-string if you can lure her off the pole. Folded in half. Kept unwrinkled. That's how it should be.

It is SO difficult for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to handle her change if the cashier lays one of those crinkly dollar bills that have been wadded up all willy-nilly across her palm. And then dumps on the coins. Very hard to handle that avalanche-wanna-being pile of change while trying to stuff it in her pants pocket, her other hand busy with a 44 oz Diet Coke, scratch-off tickets, and a white paper sack containing a small mashed potatoes and gravy for Farmer H.

Besides, it is SO hard to force that crumpledbillskin into a slot machine accepter. Not that dollars are Mrs. HM's denomination of choice, mind you.

FOLD YOUR MONEY, people! Fold it right, or don't fold it at all!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Farmer H Was Born Too Late For The Count

Farmer H was born too late for Sesame Street. He could really have benefited from sessions with The Count.

Tuesday before last, I was minding my own business, puttering around the kitchen, having just arisen at the crack of 9:00, when I heard a text come in on my phone. It was a message from Farmer H. Seems he had this cockamamie idea to retire completely.

Farmer H said we would talk about it when he got home. You bet we would! I can't presume to tell Farmer H when to retire. That is a personal decision. We'll get by, no matter when he chooses to pull the plug. We'll get by, because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a cool head and a disciplined approach to a budget. Whereas Farmer H is as flighty as a flibbertigibbet. He was all set to go tell his superiors that he was giving notice. That come the end of August, his company would be completely Farmer-H-less. Not able to use Farmer H as 3/5 of a mechanical savant any more. Okay. Not in those words, exactly. Because Farmer H doesn't know a savant from a croissant, and would be sorely disappointed if he bit into one.

That evening, I told Farmer H that I understood his position, and that he should retire whenever he sees fit. But to please give it two weeks. Think it over. Put a plan in place for our finances. Have an idea of what he will do with his days when he they are stretched out endlessly ahead of him. Make sure this is what he wants. Realize that while he will have more time for starting projects here at the Mansion, he will have less money available for completing projects here at the Mansion.

Farmer H agreed to think it over for two weeks.

This past Wednesday, Farmer H informed me that he had told his boss and office manager that he is retiring completely at the end of August.

Let the record show that Farmer H's original plan was to work until December. That I have a sneaking suspicion that Farmer H is having trouble being an Indian, not a chief. He's never been one to respond well to taking directions. I know this has been hard for him. I can imagine what it would be like if I returned to Newmentia as a substitute teacher. You have the responsibility, but not the respect. It's hard to relinquish one's status.

"I told [REDACTED] today that I was done at the end of August."

"Wait a minute. You said you'd wait two weeks to think about it, and make sure. Remember how you had me dropping my insurance down to the worst plan, because you said we'd use yours until December. Good thing I didn't do what you told me."

"I DID wait two weeks, HM."


"HM! I gave it two weeks."

"No. I have the text where you brought it up."

"HM! I only work three days a week. I gave it two weeks."

"How many days a week you work has nothing to do with it. You only brought this up last week."

"Yeah. Last week. That was one week, and now it's been two."

"No. It's barely been a week."

"You don't know what you're talking about."

"Here. Look at the text. TUESDAY. June 6th."

"Yeah...and today is...what?"

"The 14th. Today is the 14th. It's only been ONE WEEK."

"Sure. If you're going to count something silly like calendar days for the week! I thought about it last week, and I told them today it's for sure. That's two weeks."

Looks like I'll be having a full-time companion, come the end of August.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Tis The Doghouse Days Of Almost-Summer

When we last convened, Farmer H was relegated to the doghouse. The stinky smelly doghouse of Sweet, Sweet Juno, with something dead inside, which Farmer H said he was not investigating, because it would stop stinking in a few days.

So...yesterday I went to The Devil's Playground to do the shopping. It's like I go every day now. And I have figured out why. Last night, Farmer H returned from the auction around 8:15. He usually stays later, but he said he didn't see anything he wanted at the auction.

"I coulda got you a big roll of paper towels. Like that one the #1 son and his college buddy got you that time."

"I don't need THAT many!"

"They're all gone, now."

"What? They're all gone? Uh uh."

"Yeah. There's none of that pack left in his room."

"How's that? You brought the last roll out! And you didn't tell me it was the last one. I JUST WENT TO THE STORE TODAY! I could have gotten more! Now I'll have to go back tomorrow! There are only a couple left on the roll."

Let the record show that Farmer H NEVER brings out a new roll of paper towels. Even when it's just a double pack, with one in the pantry a few steps from the cutting block where the roll we use sits. In fact, he goes out of his way to leave that bare cardboard tube on the holder, with a few shreds of paper left clinging. But for some reason, he brought out the last two of the paper towel rolls left from the stash of about 12 that the boys had bought when I sent them into The Devil's Playground with my debit card.

I wonder if Farmer H wants me to pick up a roll of paper towels for Juno's his doghouse?

Friday, June 16, 2017

To The Doghouse, You Cur!

Farmer H is in trouble again! No, you needn't feign surprise. We all knew it was coming. Just a matter of time.

Last night, Farmer H had his special shrimp tacos for supper. They are not hard to prepare, just time-consuming. And I DO make him put the tacos together for himself. I browned his shrimp in a pan. Made the Spanish rice from a pouch. Warmed up the refried beans. Sweated a diced onion, along with some canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes. Set out his tortillas. Lined up the guacamole, the sour cream, and the salsa, each with their own spoon laying beside them. Put shredded lettuce and shredded cheddar in a bowl.

Farmer H came to the kitchen and assembled two tacos. I was getting ready to walk, so Farmer H actually put away the cold items, leaving only the warm leftovers for me to package up when I came back in the house.

This afternoon, I was in the final step of making myself a chicken bowl. I'd already put in the rice, refried beans, roasted chicken breast, diced onions, and diced tomatoes. So all I needed was some sour cream to top it off. I opened up the tub, and saw GREEN!

You know what that means, right? The sour cream was contaminated with guacamole! Mrs. HM does not do guacamole. In fact, the first time she bought it was for these shrimp tacos. Yet there it was. GREEN in the sour cream. The new tub that had only been opened last night.

Of course, upon interrogation, Farmer H declared that he HAD used a separate spoon for the guacamole, the sour cream, and the salsa. Uh huh. Likely story.

I guess there are some really strange happenings here at the Mansion. Including this incident of guacamole un-lidding itself in FRIG II (in the dark, of course, while the door was closed) and taking the lid off the sour cream, and injecting a little bit of itself inside.

Yeah. That's more likely than Farmer H using the same spoon in both containers, right?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Something Eerie This Way Talks

Not sure if this event is something to blog worry about or not...

Last evening, I finished my driveway walk about 8:45. I always take three slow laps around the carport to ease my leg muscles down from that supersonic speed I reached during the walk. These final three loops are on the concrete slab behind the garage. We have always called it the carport, even though now Farmer H has built an attached roof area onto the side of the garage, where he parks the TrailBlazer and his Olds Toronado, which we also call the carport.

The dogs know that when I stay on the concrete carport, I'm done. They get all frisky again, anticipating their evening snack. The last couple of nights, though, Jack goes off with Copper to chase rabbits, and Juno comes to see me off, then goes back to her house. I guess they don't like the walk being so late these days. But they sure don't mind the snack. They come running once I get it from the kitchen and go out on the front porch to bellow for them. Actually, Jack is usually back, having some kind of built-in freaky food radar.

I always check the time on my phone before I start the walk, then lay it on the dumpster, unless it's trash day, in which case I lay it on the trunk of the Toronado, hoping that Jack doesn't hop up there and take a poop (as if) like Farmer H accused him a while back. When I'm done, I pick up my phone, carry it around one lap, then check the time again on the second lap around the concrete carport. It always takes me between 21 and 22 minutes to complete six lengths of the driveway. But I still check. Just in case maybe I forgot one. Then I push the side button on my phone that turns off the screen, and put that phone in my shirt pocket. I walk the third loop on the concrete, and start back to the porch.

Last evening, no dogs in sight, I walked down the ugly paint-needing would-be-white dilapidated picket fence to get to the brick sidewalk. When I walked earlier during the cooler months, I just cut under the roofed carport. But now Farmer H is home at this time, and I don't want to squeeze between the cars. I walk on that brick sidewalk, across the front of the carport where the cars are parked, to the side porch steps to stretch.

Last evening, as I rounded the corner of the carport right by the post, a voice said, "I'm sorry. If you said something, I didn't hear you."

W. T. F. ! ! !

I looked down, and my phone was lit up in my pocket. Don't go thinking my left boob grew fingers and poked an app! That was freaky! It really startled me.

When I got inside, after snacking the dogs, I told Farmer H about that phone voice.

"Oh. Mine did that last night. Right there in front of the carport, on the sidewalk."

Not sure what's going on there. I'm pretty sure it's just a coincidental phone malfunction on two different phones at two different times IN THE EXACT SAME PLACE!

I don't really think this incident is other-wordly like some of the things that happen around the Mansion. However...the Toronado belonged to Farmer H's boss's dead dad, and the TrailBlazer belonged to my dear departed mom, and that end of the house is the outside wall of the bedrooms of the #1 Son and The Pony, and the bathroom between them. Where I hear footsteps up above me while I sit in my OPC (Old People Chair).

Doo doo doo doo. Doo doo doo doo..

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Has A Hard Time Letting Go

See this?

Know what that is?

Or maybe you need a better contrast than on my kitchen counter that looks like it exists underground with no light, where the Hillbilly family is evolving into a species with no eyeballs. Try this one:

Okay. So I'm still in a subterranean lair that never sees the light of day. That's a phone issue. Sweet Gummi Mary, my toilet-dipped phone could probably do better with an indoor photo. Doesn't matter at the moment anyway, because my gmail app on my hand-me- down phone from the #1 Son is not sending pictures to myself. So I can't get any new ones, as they are QUEUED for days at a time.

Anyhoo...did you figure out that was a nail clipper?

Not just ANY nail clipper. That happens to be a special one. No, not because it's broken. Because it belonged to The Pony. much as any toiletry item could belong to the haphazardly-groomed Pony. It's the pair of clippers he kept in T-Hoe, on the console, for randomly clipping his TOENAILS in the car.

Yeah. I hate feet.

Apparently, this set of clippers got stuck on a lottery ticket I grabbed up off the console to cash in the other day. Unbeknownst to me. When I came out of the gas station chicken store, 44 oz Diet Coke and new scratchers gripped in my left hand, and opened T-Hoe's driver's door with my right hand that held the clicker...these three pieces fell out. Seems like they had been closed in the door when I slammed it. I swear. No way could I ever have gotten that timing down intentionally.

I know that I might as well throw those clipper pieces away. But it looks like maybe they could be put back together. If Steve Austin could be rebuilt, why not The Pony's toenail clippers? I guaran-dang-tee you that Farmer H could do it for less than six million dollars, man!

Anyhoo...the pieces are laying on the kitchen counter. Just like any implements that have regularly been in contact with feet SHOULD be. I haven't remembered yet to ask Farmer H if he can fix it.

I'm pretty sure Farmer H is going to tell me I have issues...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

If It Wasn't A Snake, I Should Have Bit It

Many nights (and by nights, I mean 3:00 A.M.s) I crawl into bed to find Farmer H's arm snaking under my pillow stack. He's not going to get away with that unnoticed. Even though I use three pillows, I'm like a princess feeling a pea.

Uh huh. Even though I'm pretty much a REAL PRINCESS, Farmer H's arm is certainly no pea. He's got arms like Popeye. It's mainly his left arm that's so offensive. It rustles under my bottom pillow, fingers making a skritchy noise against the sheet and pillowcase. It slithers and worms its way to and fro. My pillow undulates like I'm in the middle of an 8.4 mattressquake.

Then everything is still. Or so I think. Just when I figure all the aftershocks are done, my head bobs like a red-and-white fishing float on the surface of a perch pond.

Sometimes, I wait until just after a particularly annoying bout of side whip-lash, and reach my right hand back over my shoulder and GRAB Farmer H's arm in a death grip. Like pinning a snake to the ground with a forked stick. This wakes him up like an impaired Ambien user (or so I've read about Tiger Woods), and Farmer H sputters and asks what I'm doing. That's when I say


And he moves his arm and turns over. The next day, if I revisit the issue in an attempt to stymie such proclivities in the future, Farmer H says I'm crazy. And making it up.

Yeah. We'll see how that theory holds water when he wakes up with one arm.

Monday, June 12, 2017

I Know This Time Rolls Around Every Year

Phew! We're in for a heat wave. Looks like it continues 10 days out. IF you can believe those TV meteorologists. Which I never could, back when I was WORKING, and hoping for a snow day. I swear, if they saw a fleck of dandruff float off an anchorman's head, they called for 6 to 12 inches of snow. Causing The Devil's Playground to become depleted of bread and milk.

Today was powerful hot. Farmer H gave me a surprise trip to the casino. Not to be nice or anything. Not that kind of surprise. Just because I asked about when we might go, and he denied it would be today, and then changed his mind. Anyhoo...I didn't even walk tonight. It was HOT HOT HOT. When we came up the driveway at 6:30, it was 88 degrees. That's COOL, people, compared to town, where it was 93.

I decided that I got enough exercise walking around the casino. I didn't even get dropped off at the door. All the way in from the parking lot, which took us past the parking garage, through the hotel check-in lobby, down the hall, past the shops and restaurants and main entrance. So far at the other end of the building  were we that we could actually SEE the cloud of smoke hanging in the air at the entrance to the casino by the time we got halfway to it. We probably could have seen it from when we went inside through the revolving door, if our eyesight was better.

Once inside, I had to go try out the high limit room, which is near the extreme other end of the casino. I picked up $25 right quick, and skittered out of there. Then we had to go all the way back to the entrance to eat lunch. Then I realized I had lost my player's card, and went all the way back to near the high limit room. Then back up front to play. Then back to the back looking for Farmer H. Then back up front to the bathrooms. Then back to look for him some more. Then we left to walk all the way back to the car.

I think it pretty much equaled my six driveway laps, even though it wasn't all without stopping. Tomorrow I'm going to The Devil's Playground, so I can get in some walking there. I mean, I'm going there to do the shopping. Not simply going there to walk.

I'd really hate to change up my nocturnal life just to get up and walk when temps are in the upper 70s.

What I REALLY don't want to happen is for our power to go off, or the air conditioner to conk out! I can't take the heat, and I'm not even in the kitchen.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Poor Excuse For A Daily Blog

Tonight Farmer H had Poor Man's Chicken and Dumplings for supper. Not because we're poor. Because he asked for them. Perhaps a better name would be Poor Cook's Chicken and Dumplings. You can make it in 10 minutes. It takes five minutes to open the cans, and five minutes (no more, no less!) to boil the tortilla dumplings.

I think I've related this gourmet recipe before. It's six cans, people! Six cans! Or maybe three, if you don't want leftovers. Two cans cream of chicken soup, two cans chicken broth, two cans chicken, and six or eight flour tortillas, cut into dumpling size. Yeah. I'm sure I told you about this before, because I warned you not to use the whole-grain tortillas, because they will disintegrate! And you'll be left with Poor Sucks-To-Be-You Chicken Gruel. Anyhoo...consider this to be a summer rerun. Because I got nothin' else.

The dogs will enjoy the Poor Cook's Chicken and Dumplings, because they will be having Spoiled Dogs Cream of Chicken Dipped Stale Italian Bread. Hey! It will have a hint of chicken in it! They may not like the ground black pepper much. They should be glad they're getting a whiff of meat, rather than their usual old tortillas and stale chips and a mini Slim Jim. They get regular dog food in the morning, of course. This is just their evening snack. I think Jack was ready for it two hours early, because when I went outside to talk to Farmer H in Poolio, Jack ran around to the back porch and began licking the bottom of his empty food pan.

Poor Jack's Copper-Raided Food Pan.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Not Necessarily The Beauty Variety

Last night, I got 9 hours of sleep! That is uncommon. My body might be rejecting me, from the shock.

Most nights (actually early mornings) I get between five and six hours of sleep. But last night, I went to my OPC (Old People Chair) around 9:30. That's because I was bored with my New Delly. I have to ration my internet usage, you know, to get through the month. So I couldn't go hog wild on YouTube slot machine videos. Or on my conspiracy sites.

I am past the days of pooh-poohing my OPC! It sure is comfortable. I only had the heater on last night. Not the vibrator massager. It makes me turn up the TV louder, and since the speakers are in the back of the TV for some reason known only to the millennial engineers who designed it, I don't like to turn up the volume, because that's annoying to people watching upstairs TV, even though that people is only Farmer H.

One minute I was switching between Flea Market Flip and My Lottery Dream Home, and the next minute I was waking up at 2:20 a.m. at a cut to commercial so folks could discuss which half-million dollar house they wanted. Wow. I was almost refreshed. My knees didn't hurt too much, because I took the night off from walking because Farmer H needed an earlier supper so he could get to the auction.

I went to bed, but had a bit of trouble falling asleep, because my mind fixated on next week's book blurb that is marinating in my mind. Of course I've forgotten all the brilliant ideas I had. I should have gotten up to jot them down. Oh, well.

Anyhoo...between the chair snooze and the bed sleep, I racked up some rack time!

I think my knees might be sending me a thank-you card.

Friday, June 9, 2017

He Cleans Up Well

"What IS it?" you ask. All two of you, and sometimes three, like that "Y" vowel thing. "Is it a GAMBLING BLOG, or a DOG BLOG? Pick a theme and stick with it!"

Sorry. Can't do that. I'm as flighty as a flibbertigibbet. I'll choose my topic at the last minute, from the last thought in my head when the New Post page loads.

See this sweet little face...

Looks can be deceiving.

Last night, I went out to walk around 8:15. The sun had just set, and the temperature was down to around 74, with a slight breeze. It was the perfect atmosphere for hiking to the end of the driveway to pull the big green dumpster back down to the carport. On the way back, I could gaze at the moon rising behind the house. Well. I COULD. But I didn't, because I have to spend every second watching the uneven gravel under my feet, lest I trip and break a hip or brittle bone. At least I won't bleed to death, now that I'm off that demon Xarelto.

Juno came out of her house all excited. She LOVES dumpster day(s). Whether I'm pulling it up to the road, or returning it to the house, she romps along and barks like a fool. I guess to her, clunking those dumpster wheels along the gravel is my version of Farmer H's Gator. She goes nuts the minute he starts it up.

Jack and Copper the neighbor dog did their usual wrestling. Jack knows his place. He understands that he's a tiny thing, and most often when Copper turns on him, he crouches in the grass and ducks his head, like he doesn't want to be noticed. Copper tromps all over him, playfully snapping and growling until Jack has had enough. Which is signaled by a yelp, and then a ferocious growl by Jack (he ain't playin'!) and a bit of tooth-gnashing while Copper skitters away.

Jack tries to stay between me and Copper, but Copper taunts him by making mad dashes at my legs. He keeps going, with Jack in pursuit, but when near me, Jack stands up on his hind legs and dances along for a minute, on the chance that I'll pat his head or snout. If I'm at a smooth stretch of driveway, I will.

Last night it was nearly dark when I finished my six laps. I was stretching at the side porch steps when Jack ran up wagging his tail. I had seen the whole walk time that Jack was dirty. He just is. He was kind of wet when I started. A darker color in some spots. I figured he'd been swimming. It was really hot before the sun went down. As I was stretching, I reached over to pat Jack. Figuring he was probably drying out. But he was wet.

"Huh. I guess maybe the dew is starting to settle. The grass must have been wet. Or that's Copper's saliva all over Jack's back."

I leaned over for a little hug before heading in to get the snacks for Jack and Juno. PHEW! Jack stunk really, REALLY bad! As I sat on the front porch pew watching him eat, it dawned on me that he must have been rolling in something dead. Something dead and jelly-like. That the stiff and sticky fur was due to some kind of dried blood or juices of decay. It was as if Jack had crawled inside a carcass and soaked up the seeping fluids like a sponge. Yes. I mentioned before how Jack's fur is like a sponge.

When I went back in the Mansion, I told Farmer H, "Jack has been rolling on something dead. He STINKS!"

"Yeah, I know. He went for a swim up at HOS's creek, but then he must of got in something. Because he was filthy, and he stunk."

Today, Jack looked reasonable clean. I didn't put my nose on him and take a whiff, but I did not notice a foul odor emanating from him like dust clouds from PigPen. I guess he went for another swim.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

I Hope She's Not Calling BET'S OFF On Me!

When I get a $100 winner on a scratch-off ticket (which I did again on Sunday and again on Monday!) I send a picture of it to my sister the ex-mayor's wife. You know. So she can join in my revelry. Or maybe because I imagine the ex-mayor saying, "HOW can your sister win all the time?"

Sis used to congratulate me. Then she would say how lucky I am. Then she would say something seems fishy. Then she would say that the convenience stores were going to ban me because I must be cheating. Then she didn't respond at all a couple of times. Because, I guess, after the 20th picture of a $100 or more winner, the bloom is off the rose.

On Tuesday, Sis said, "This is crazy! I thought you bought them once a week, not once a day!"

What she's not considering is that I could buy one every day, for a month, and then every day, for another month, and still have money left in my winnings stockpile, EVEN if I did not win a single cent on those daily tickets. Which is not likely. I usually win at least 40 percent of my investment back on the days I don't hit a big winner.

Anyhoo...people have different styles of gambling. Just like in the casino. Sis and Farmer H and the #1 Son always play the penny machines. I, myself, don't see the point. They might spend $1.20 a spin, whereas I am more likely to play a dollar machine and spend a dollar a spin. Sure, they may play all day on their machines for a weekend. I put more money though mine, but I usually come away with a couple hundred more that I started with, and they are happy if they can only lose half their money.

Same with lottery tickets. Some people will buy a string of tickets in a row. Not me. I'm not going to pay for sure losers. I'll take my chances on random losers. Buy single tickets at different places, or single tickets of different kinds.

Anyhoo...when Sis sent me that text about my ticket-buying habit, I sent her one back:

"Sorry they don't make penny scratchers for you and Farmer H!"

She sent back a HA HA.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

WHO WHO WHO...Is A Night Owl?

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is about to declare herself nocturnal.

The sun has not been setting to my satisfaction. My evening walk is delayed later and later each night. For a couple more weeks, anyway. Lately, I have not started my driveway walk until after 8:10 p.m. By the time I come back in, snack the dogs, and fix my supper, it is after 9:00. Then I start on my "refreshed" 44 oz Diet Coke. Since it weakens throughout the afternoon as the ice melts, I shock it with a little bottle of Diet Coke and some more Great Value Cherry Limeade. I'd worry about the caffeine keeping me up, but...well...I stay up anyway.

Most nights I go to bed around 3:00 a.m., then get up at 9:00, run my errands, fritter away some computer time, fix supper for Farmer H, clean the kitchen, whip up two blog posts while I wait for the sun to edge toward the horizon, then head out for my walk. It works for me. I imagine my lifestyle will skew with the sunlight as the year slides towards Christmas time, in order to get my walk in during daylight hours.

Retirement really agrees with me. Farmer H, not so much.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Equal Time For The Non-Equal

How do you solve a problem like their Copper?

The neighbors' dog, Copper, continues to frequent the Mansion. And by frequent, I mean live here. He thinks he belongs to our pack. He's always around, on the porch, in the yard, following the Gator, wrestling with Jack, and being the bane of Juno's existence.

I tried to let him sniff the back of my hand the other day, as he crept closer and closer on the brick sidewalk while I was putting groceries from T-Hoe onto the side porch. Copper looked at me with distrust, and backed away. Seriously? It's been MONTHS since I hollered at him. He's quit barking at me when I walk in my own driveway. I don't even yell at him when he's on the porch because it's raining, and in my way as I walk around the porch for 21 minutes. I just keep walking, and he gets the hint, and runs down the steps, then right back up after I pass. He has not figured out that he can lay on the side porch, out of the rain and out of my way, and not move about 30 times down off the porch.

When I start my driveway walk, Copper creeps up behind me, almost close enough to touch the back of my leg with his nose. When I turn to look back at him he skitters away. But he will play-fight with Jack in a game of "I'm Closer To Her Than You Are." Farmer H says that he tried to pet Copper, but Copper won't let him get close enough.

A couple nights ago, Jack was taking a long time to eat his evening snack. I took a piece of a torn-up tortilla off his plate, and tossed it to Copper in the front yard. He ate it like it was a delicacy, and came to stand right in front of the porch. He looked up with a quizzical expression on his face. Like, "What was THAT all about? And is there going to be more?" No. No more. Because I don't want Copper to think he lives here.

Sunday night, I was sitting on the front porch pew, snacking the dogs, and Copper was over by Shackytown, watching Farmer H. Juno was all persnickety that evening, and left a couple of slices of Italian bread, torn in half, on her paper plate. She only ate the good stuff, that being some General Tso's chicken that Farmer H didn't eat from The Devil's Playground deli, and scraps of tortilla from my Chicken Bacon Ranch wrap that I had trimmed off.

I figured that Jack didn't need extra bread. He thinks he's a big dog, but he's physically not. I figured I'd toss a piece of that bread to Copper. But his attention was on his other master, Farmer H. When Farmer H got into his Olds Toronado and drove across the yard to park it under the carport, Copper barked and got out of the way of the bumper, and followed. Slowly. He turned to look right at me, and I tossed a piece of the bread. Of course he didn't see it, and went over to find Farmer H.

Eagle-eye Juno was sitting by the front door. She saw that piece of bread sail into the yard, and was off that porch with a quickness! Straight to the bread she loped, and ate it in one bite.

Because nothing tastes better than an unwanted scrap of dry bread that you keep the neighbor dog from eating.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Equal Time For Juno's Equal

Jack is one of those dogs whose flesh ticks find especially delicious. They nibble their way in, and sip his blood until he's virtually a husk of his former self. Farmer H went to PetCo to get Frontline flea and tick medicine for both dogs. Sorry, Copper! You're on your own!

Of course, Jack does not weigh 20 to 50 pounds like robust Juno. He needed the 5-20 pound dose. Farmer H thought he was buying the chewable stuff for Jack, and the drops between the shoulders for Juno. He even asked the clerk. She assured him he was getting what he asked for. Chewable flea and tick medicine for Jack. Liquid flea and tick medicine for Juno.

When Farmer H got home, he put Juno's medicine on her. She didn't object. He went to get the box for Jack, and upon actually reading the directions, found out that it was only for FLEAS! No ticks. Yet Jack had been so infested with ticks that Farmer H and HOS picked about 40 of them off him the day before. Farmer H said the inside of poor Jack's ears were almost black with ticks. Now he was Yosemite Sam mad that he had paid almost $50 for medicine that did nothing about the ticks.

Farmer H got on the phone to PetCo. Complained that he was sold a product that was NOT what he was promised. They said bring it back for a refund. Thank the Gummi Mary, he had not opened the package. Of course, PetCo is in Bill-Paying Town, a good 20 miles from Hillmomba. So Farmer H made another trip down there, and talked to a manager, who said the young clerks don't really know the products they're selling. Of course Farmer H's debit card wouldn't work in the effort to credit the refund and buy the right product. So he had to put it on the credit card. He SAYS she only charged him the difference. Not the full amount. We'll see when the charges come in. I'll be manning the automated number.

Anyhoo...Farmer H put the Frontline on Jack. Yet later in the evening, sitting on the front porch after Jack's snack, I saw a tick on his ear. Farmer H was again not happy. "C'mere, Jack!" He grabbed Jack by the ear and started trying to get the tick off. Jack was having none of that!

Jack laid down on his back and did the DEAD DOG. That's what the ex-mayor my sister's husband calls it. In fact, he used to use that term in reference to his kids when they were younger. You know, when they collapse and become dead weight, as if they have no bones in their body.

I patted Jack in commiseration. Jack was still not having it. He squirmed and twisted his head. Farmer H looked ready to put a foot on Jack's neck.

"Maybe it would be easier if you held him..."

Heh, heh! That would be akin to establishing a grip on a greased pig. Jack does NOT like being held. He will twist his long body until he springs free. He's like a roiling rope of muscle. A thick rope, like one that might hold a battleship against a pier.

Farmer H finally pulled that tick loose, and Jack sat up and looked at him adoringly, wagging his tail.

You can't keep a good dog down, baby. You can't keep a good dog down.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Juno Is A Dirty Girl

You'd never know it from her name, but my Sweet, Sweet Juno is a dirty girl!

Oh, she LOOKS clean enough, with her shiny, silky black fur, perhaps or perhaps not glossy from clandestinely eating the freshly-laid eggs of free-range chickens. But underneath is a dirty, dirty girl.

For several days, there has been a sort-of off smell slightly unpleasant fragrance unknown foul odor almost unbearable stench wafting from Juno's doghouse on the back porch by the kitchen door. Flies swarm willy-nilly out of her home when we walk by, holding our breath.

One would think that Farmer H might take it upon himself to investigate, and clean out the offending offal. But no. Farmer H's solution is to bypass the kitchen door and go around the windowed alcove of the kitchen, to enter through the laundry room door. And say, "I think Juno has something dead in her house." He's a regular Sherlock Holmes rolled up in a Matlock, stuffed inside a Columbo.

Juno still lays in her house during the day. Sleeps in it at night. She must regard that scent as sweet, sweet perfume. It doesn't help matters that Farmer H applied her Frontline flea and tick liquid between her shoulder blades a two days ago. Although that might make her smell better. I don't know, because I don't breathe around her, and I don't want to touch her.

Poor, poor Juno! She's still just as loving as ever. After her evening snack on the front porch, she comes to stand between my feet. She actually sits down between my feet, if by between, we understand that her anus is on my right instep. I usually pet her, but for two nights I have only sweet-talked her. She looks sad. Like, "Pet me, pet me, Sweet Gummi Mary, why won't you PET ME?"

Last night, after finally finishing her cold leftover Maple Bacon Beans (not her favorite snack), Juno looked up at me and rested her chin on my belly. Her chin with the mini goatee of whiskers coated with Maple Bacon Bean juice. That would never happen with Jack. He licks every molecule of food off himself and the paper plate and the porch boards and, given the opportunity, probably off Juno's chin whiskers as well.

I'm pretty sure the dead thing in Juno's house is part of what I saw laying under the front porch pew a few days ago. Some kind of rodent. A rabbit, maybe, or a squirrel. The skull part had long curved teeth. And the liver was bigger than that of a mouse.

I told Farmer H this morning that Juno's house still stunk.

"Yeah. That'll stop in a couple of days."

I plan to withhold my love.
You can use your imagination as to whether it's from Juno or Farmer H.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

They're BAAAAACK To Feeling My Magnetic Pull know how some people say that teachers' kids are the worst-behaved, and preachers' kids are Not-Heaven-raisers? And how some doctors advise you to lose weight and stop smoking, even as they are dusting cigarette ash off their ample stomachs? (Play along here! Imagine the days before smoking was banned from public places!)

Well...this promoter of hunch-heeding did not heed her hunches today!!!

And now it has come back to bite me in my ample buttocks. I had NO one-hundred-dollar winning scratch-off ticket today! In fact, I only had a single winner, for $5. Oh, well. Easy come, easy go! But I should have heeded my hunches. Trouble is...I'm never sure if Even Steven is evening out my recent winnings, or setting me up for the next Evening which will give me MORE winnings. It's like that blasted chicken and the egg! I don't know which comes first.

Anyhoo...I spoke one day too soon about not having anything to write about because the weirdos were shunning my magnet. They were out in force today, flocking, flocking, on my tail, in my face, relentless in their torment. Okay. Maybe it wasn't all directed personally at ME. But I took it that way. Because in MY world, EVERYTHING is all about ME! I know. You have trouble believing that, I'm sure.

Sweet Gummi Mary! The parking lot of Orb K was full, so I couldn't cash in one of yesterday's scratcher winners like I had planned, so I headed across the road to Save A Lot, but traffic at that junction was so snarled that I gave up and made a right turn and then doubled back. Of course Save A Lot's parking lot was also pretty full. I got a good space, but I figured that it was a little tight, so I backed out and then saw there was no better space. On the other side of the row were two empty spaces together, but one was marred by a car parked over the line. I took the full space, figuring that nobody could squeeze into that partial space.

You know what happens when Mrs. Hillbilly Mom figures, right? Even Steven laughs. Then throws her a whammy. When I came out of Save A Lot, after having to wait for five minutes because all four of the bagging racks were occupied, two by the same person, who had her mom bagging groceries at one while she ignored her little boy crawling across the counter with a sippy cup, putting his feet all over the bagging rack I could have taken bags from...I found what a belly laugh Even Steven was having at my expense.

A dark SUV, newer than T-Hoe, was parked up against the driver's side. That's right. I have a habit of folding in the mirrors when I park. And if I hadn't, that DSUV might have broken it off, it was so close. No way could I walk in between, much less open the door and get in. I was about to commence a Yosemite Sam fit, but then I saw that INSIDE that DSUV sat a man in the passenger seat, with a little girl standing around in the back seat. So I stowed away my groceries (including those little ice cream cups with the wooden spoons, on this 88-degree day), and climbed into T-Hoe's passenger seat to wait them out. Clearly, that passenger guy could not open up his door to get out and walk around and back up to give me access.

FINALLY, a lady came out with a single bag of groceries, and I was pretty stoked that after only 10 minutes of waiting, I could actually get in my car and drive away. I got out and stood by T-Hoe's passenger door with anticipation. But that darn driver must have been texting or just jacking around, because it took her another five minutes to actually back out. Then I had got behind her, stopped in the middle of the parking lot aisle, not going anywhere. Two other cars went around her, but the passage was tight, and I did not. I sat there to shame her if she looked in her rearview mirror. I swear she had her DSUV turned off. Three or four minutes later, she decided to drive again.

From there I went to Country Mart for some hoisin sauce and bananas. The sidewalk back to T-Hoe was blocked by one of those carts with a red toddler car built onto the front. So I had to walk through the parked cars to get to T-Hoe's back end. Something broken was right beside him, which I made sure to avoid while backing out. Don't want Farmer H having the wrong flat fixed again.

The gas station chicken clerk was all flustered, and asked me to wait, apologetically, until she got some paperwork taken care of. I didn't mind. She's always nice, and I told her it was CRAZY out there today, and she said, "TELL me about it!"

"Oh, well. It IS the first weekend of the month."

"Yeah. The crazies are out. That's what my dad always used to say. 'The crazies come out at the first of the month.'"

"Well, here it is, first of the month, and I'M OUT!"

A guy had wandered in and was standing by the counter. He said he was waiting on chicken, so the clerk hit the secret buzzer to alert the fryer. The guy said something about getting chicken and a tweaker.

"You know, people used to come in here and ask me if we had tweakers. And I'd say, 'No, ma'am. We don't sell drugged-up people here!' Then I realized they were talking about that ENERGY DRINK. Haha!"

So...I made it out of the gas station chicken store with my 44 oz Diet Coke, some losing scratchers, and, thankfully, no tweaker of any kind. But at least I had some blogging material to take with me.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Feed A Cold, Starve A Fever, Heed A Hunch

Alas, there have not been enough weirdos attracted to my magnet of late. I have run out of things to complain about. Lucky for all one of you readers, I still have my lottery addiction, though! No intervention for me! I couldn't take the cut in income.

Of course I have another $100 winner to share with you. I can't help myself. And it's never just a simple matter of driving to town, seeing a convenience store, and thinking, "Huh. I might as well stop in there and get a ticket." Oh, no. My scratch-off purchases are planned. I have a blueprint. It takes shape while I'm walking in the driveway in the evening. Or, if more pressing concerns occupy my mind, when I'm relaxing around midnight in my OPC (Old People Chair).

I consider the day's winnings, and what I can afford to play, and where my latest winners and losers have come from, and the likelihood of where in each store's current book of tickets a winner might be lurking. Let the record show that this lottery-playing hobby is a science, by cracky! And that I don't set out to win a giant jackpot, but to break even, so I can play again, and have another chance at a bigger prize.

This morning, I set out to get my tickets at Waterside Mart and the Casey's General Store where I get T-Hoe's gas. It's their turn in the rotation, and I was going right past them to mail the boys' weekly letters. I was planning to top off T-Hoe's half-full gas tank, and buy a Golden Ticket and one of the new $5 tickets. I was about to signal and enter the center turn lane to pull in for my gas...I saw the huge gasoline tanker truck waiting to pull out. Uh uh! No way! I was not getting gas NOW! That's a no-no. The gas in the tanks gets all stirred up. Particles float around, and you pump them into your T-Hoe's gas tank, and then before you know it, he's sputtering like a 5-pack-a-day smoker trying to scale Mt. Everest. It happened before, and my vehicle (pre-T-Hoe) was sidelined with a clogged fuel filter. So I avoid tank delivery days. Normally, Casey's gets theirs on Tuesdays, when their merchandise supply truck comes. But I guess that in preparing for the holiday weekend, the schedule was off for gasoline.

Anyhoo...I whizzed right on past Casey's, and got my planned ticket at Waterside Mart, and continued to the main post office branch for letter-mailing. I toyed with the idea of going across town to my other dependable Casey's, but that thought did not give me a hopeful feeling. It was like when you're looking for something, and people helping you say, "Nope. You're cold. Colder!" It wasn't happening.

So...I thought maybe I could just get my second ticket at the gas station chicken store when I stopped for my 44 oz Diet Coke. That didn't seem logical to me, either. I had just won $40 there yesterday, and was cashing in their ticket. I knew their roll would be advanced far enough for another win to be feasible. They sell a lot of tickets. But I just wasn't feeling it.

As I went back past the gas Casey's, I saw that my very special parking place over by the dumpster was open. That must be a sign, I figured. Just like the gas truck made me not stop there 20 minutes previous, now I was feeling like I should stop and not get gas, but get my ticket. That was the plan. So I stopped and got a Golden Ticket. This one:

I'm pretty glad I did. And the one from Waterside Mart won $30, so I got my money back on it.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Some Days You're On A Roll, Some Days You're High-Rollin', And Some Days, You're BOTH

Last week was the best week ever in the history of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's lottery ticket hobby.

I decided to go high-rollin' with some of my winnings brought back from Casinopalooza 2. I cashed in a $20 winning scratcher, and put with it $100 of cold hard (actually limp paper) casino cash. I used that to buy three $30 Golden Tickets, and three assorted $10 tickets. I got three winners.

Sorry those aren't the best pictures. The close-ups of the winning parts were on the pictures I sent to my sister the ex-mayor's wife, and they're still on my phone, and not accessible unless I traipse upstairs and out onto the porch and wait five minutes (if I'm lucky) for each one to be sent to my email. And that's not happening!

Anyhoo...that first one was a 10X $10 for a $100 winner. The second was a 2X $50 for another $100 winner. And the third one was a WIN ALL symbol, adding up to a $200 winner.

Oh, but that's not all! I don't have a picture, because the #1 Son said. "That's a lot of effort," when I asked him to email me a picture...but HE won $100 on a $5 ticket I mailed to him on Friday. Seriously. You'd think HE had to traipse up 13 steps and sit on the porch and wait, when actually all HE had to do was point his phone at his ticket, push a button, click on email, type couple letters of the address, and hit SEND. Sweet Gummi Mary! Kids these days could do that in their sleep. In a COMA, even! So you are deprived of his winner's picture.

So...over a 3-day span, I acquired a total of $500 in winners. I don't remember exactly what I spent to purchase them, because I was mostly cashing in previous winners until I took the hundred from my casino bankroll.

In any case, I'm still winning. Shh...Even Steven doesn't need to hear that.