Saturday, September 30, 2017

Karma, Or Perhaps Just Coincidence

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been in a scratching slump. The lottery has not been showering her with riches as usual. Switching denominations, switching tickets, reducing outlay, increasing outlay...nothing has proved a solution. These slumps happen. You can ride it out, or you can take a break. Right now, Mrs. HM is riding. Just like a winning streak doesn't last forever, neither does a slump. The odds will always even out.

I keep notes of winner and loser numbers, and a record of where I buy them. That way I don't go back and try for a good win after I've already gotten most likely the best ticket from that roll, barring a giant jackpot, which is random and can't be odd-ified like knowing there are 20 tickets in a roll, and 7 winners, one of them being a $100.

So put-upon by The Universe was I feeling that I checked my winner/loser notes yesterday, back to September 9. Would you believe that I had EXACTLY the right number of winners vs losers according to the odds for that ticket? So I figured today would be a clean slate. The odds are 1 in 2.82. So that's the chance I had of winning on any given ticket. That's always the odds, but streaks are funny things. As of yesterday, my wins had been evened out by my slump.

Today I stopped by Country Mart to buy tickets from their two vending machines. I put my money in the machine on the left, got two tickets ( my favorite Golden Ticket, and a lesser denomination), and saw that there was $1 left. That's impossible! I put in an even amount. Exact money for my two tickets. I'm no novice. I know what they cost. I can tell my bills apart. Somebody had left $1 in that machine!

You know the devil and the angel that movie people have sitting on their shoulders, giving them conflicting advice? I didn't have that. Not because I'm a bastion of honesty. Because I don't play the $1 tickets. That dollar meant nothing to me. The machines don't give change. In fact, the workers have taped a red sign above the bill slot on the machine on the right side. MACHINE DOESN'T GIVE CHANGE. You have to know what you want, what money you're putting in, and be prepared to pick a second choice if a ticket runs out.

I could have pushed a button and gotten myself a free $1 ticket, but I didn't. I couldn't cash it out and give it to the service desk. They'd looked at me like I had two heads that time I found a $1 ticket laying in the trough, and turned it in to them. So I just went about my business. I stepped over to the right machine, and bought my two tickets.

A lady came up behind me, then went over to the left machine. I figure she saw the extra $1. Maybe it was hers to start with. She didn't ask me if I'd left some money in it, though she most likely saw me at that machine first. OR she might have left the dollar in there as well.

Let the record show that when I got home and scratched my tickets, a ticket from the left machine won $50. And a ticket from the right machine won $100.

 The slump is over, baby! At least for today.

Looks like I won't be buying out of the right side machine for a while, since there are 18 more tickets that are NOT a $100 winner! (From 000 to 019 is how they're numbered, and my winner was 001)

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Shocking Discovery

Thursday morning, I was getting ready to leave for the bank, to get Farmer H's handyman check from Bev cashed. Standing by the sink, stuffing the check in my purse next to my scratcher winners (few and low-yielding lately), something over by the windows caught my eye.

When we hosted RetirementPartyPalooza, I cleared some items off the counter to make room for the spread of vittles. I had a small Amazon box of odds and ends. In my haste to get things ready, I just set the box on the kitchen chair by the windows. It also holds two Devil's Playground deli containers of Chex Mix for my favorite gambling aunt next time I see her, the Coke bottle with my name on it that Farmer H has stuffed with his cookie wrapper, a miscellaneous charging cord, and Mr. Shocky.

My eye had been attracted to a red flashing light. The light on Mr. Shocky. Let the record show that Mr. Shocky has not been used for about 6 months. He has rested comfortably on the kitchen counter under my trucker cap that I wear for walking when the sun is bright, or rain is falling. Mr. Shocky was turned off after his last use. Nobody had been using Mr. Shocky. I even asked Farmer H this morning, and he said he didn't even know where Mr. Shocky was.

Let the record show that Mr. Shocky was not turned on when I put him in that box way back during RetirementPartyPalooza. In fact, in trying to turn him off Thursday morning, I realized that I am no longer familiar with his inner workings. Besides, I come upstairs in the wee hours of the morning every night, run water from the sink into my bubba cup, and have not noticed a red flashing light from the box on the chair.

Somehow, Mr. Shocky turned himself on Wednesday night. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the walking sounds in the kitchen that I heard from the basement.

Maybe Farmer H is sleepwalking and training Jack. Yeah. That's easier to believe than another scenario.

I took several pictures trying to capture the flashing red light. Thought I had it, but it didn't show up. It's that little line above the +2 button. Also, the screen was showing a '2' even though it looks blank in the picture. I guess my phone's flash overpowered it.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mrs. HM Needs A Poo-ologist, STAT!

Please do not read this if you are of delicate constitution. It deals with the subject of excrement. You have fair warning. At least the Blogosphere isn't smell-o-vision. Actually, there was no smell at all. So that might be something to help with the identification process.


I saw it this morning as I left the Mansion. I was feeding Juno and Jack a going-away bite of cat kibble, and noticed these two poo logs laying under the high chair that Farmer H picked up somewhere and no doubt plans to build a shed for.

We have a cat, Dusty, a mostly-gray, short-haired, calico who lays under that shelf and growls all the livelong day whenever Jack gets near. Granted, he loves to chase and bark at her, but since she never gets out when he's around, he doesn't get that chance often. I think Dusty is taunting him so he gets in trouble if he perks up his ears and runs over to the shelf to bark.

Anyhoo...Dusty has been a denizen of this under-shelf lair for many years. She has never left her poo on the porch. Especially right in front of her Jack-taunting area. Besides, cat poo smells. This didn't. Jack's poo is bigger than that. So it appears that a mystery critter was prowling the porch last night. Which could explain the frenzied barking we sometimes hear from Juno in the wee morning hours. I've caught a possum on the back porch by the laundry room, eating the dry dog food. Farmer H has caught a raccoon on the porch. The cat kibble is up on the high shelf, which would be where the upper left hand corner of the picture extends.

Need a closer look? That's a rhetorical question! You're not getting out of it by answering, "No!"

The culprit didn't crap a brick. That's some kind of Farmer H gadget that has fallen there beside the poo. Might have come from the upper shelf. Might have dropped off of something when Farmer H posed his Goodwill swag for a picture on that high chair. I'm pretty sure there wasn't an actual baby who crawled up there overnight and had a leaky Huggie.

Closer inspection makes the poo look almost stick-like. But it's poo. Not dead twigs.

A couple years ago, we were having trouble with a mysterious pee-er poo-er in the garage. The poo looked like this. About a month or two ago, I also saw some at the end of the driveway. Could it be the return of the Mystery Poo-er? A neighbor told Farmer H he saw a coyote on his land. And a fox.

Any ideas? C'mon! Who wants to take a stab at fingering the Mystery Poo-er?

The only thing I'm sure of's not from a lady jogger...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

If Credit Cards Were Horses, The Pony Would Never Ride

Too bad those Certs mints weren't THREE mints in one! Or I could have added to yesterday's complaint tally. Except the complaint didn't come up until today.

I have been trying to get The Pony a credit card, because he will be going on a trip to California with a college organization next month. I don't think he will NEED a credit card, because he has his debit card, and the plane and lodging are covered by the university. But it never hurts to have a backup.

For the past year, The Pony has been getting credit card offers in the mail. I throw them away, because I figured he didn't need a credit card. Until now. So I took one of them, recommended by Genius, whose friends have this card, and used the code and put in all the information, following every instruction on the website.


Can you believe it? No Hillbilly has ever been rejected for credit! That's preposterous! So I tried another company, online, and the same thing happened again! I got right on the phone and texted Genius. He was flabbergasted, considering some of the people he knows who have this card. Then I told him how I filled it out.

"There's your problem! NOBODY is going to issue a credit card to somebody with no income!"

"Well, he doesn't have income. Unless you consider his allowance."

"You have to consider his allowance as income!"

"And it said that if somebody else pays your rent, you should list it as ZERO. So I did!"

"NO! You have to put the rent. And then count that amount plus the allowance as his income."

"I don't know how to do this stuff! I have ONE credit card. We've had it for years. We pay it off every month. I'm on The Pony's bank account. Not the credit union he uses for his debit. Just his reserve account. The student account. Like you used to have before you took my name off of it! I'm going out there to the bank tomorrow, to see if I can get him a credit card through them."

"NOOOO! Once you go in there, they'll know what you're up to. There's no way they'll issue a credit card in HIS name to YOU. Even if you're on the account. What you need to do is get online and pretend to be him, and apply that way."

"Because I'm 0 for 2 doing it that way in the last 12 hours."

"Seriously. DON'T go in there. Call, maybe. You can ask. But it needs to look like he's doing it himself online."

"I guess if I HAD to, I could have him log on and talk him through it over the phone."

"YOU can do it. Just put in the right information. Otherwise he's never going to be able to get credit. My Friend got one from them, and he'd never had credit, and they gave him one with a $500 limit."

"And now he's got a job making more money than I did when I retired. Good for him. I hope they can raise his limit."

Here's the thing. The first week of move-in at the colleges, a kid can walk up to any table and apply for a credit card, and get a free gift, and probably get that credit card, too. And the companies send offer after offer to their home address...then when I try to get one for The Pony, using the specific code they reserved for him, so that his name popped up on the form...they REJECT the applicant!

I'm sure it was nothing I did wrong, despite what Genius the Master of the Financial World tells me...

Sooo...I'm going to try again. But too many tries, I hear, alerts the credit companies. I hope I don't get The Pony locked up for fraud!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Two, Two, Two Complaints In One

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has never been called a breath mint, but today she tears a page out of the advertising plan of Certs, and gives you two complaints combined in one post.

Of course the first complaint concerns the USPS, namely the dead mouse smelling post office branch, which played fast and loose with my debit chip card. I'd love to know where that card was, between Thursday when the bank records show it was delivered to my address, and the following Tuesday when I actually got it. If only it had a little mini camera that could record through the envelope. Perhaps showing the sour face of my mail lady as she sorted mail, then tossed it over her shoulder to be trod upon by other sour-faced mail ladies and gentlemen as they picked and chose which items they wanted to deliver that day. Because let me tell you, some days we get a box full, and some days we get nothing at all.

Saturday, I got home with my mail, and stopped briefly in the driveway, in the bright sunlight, to look through it before parking T-Hoe in the dark, radioless metal-roofed garage. There was a bill or statement about eye care for one of my neighbors, whose box is right next to EmBee. So...I drove all the way back down to Mailbox Row, eating my own dust, to put it in his box. Next time, next SEVERAL times, I will check it before I drive home.

While I was there, I casually thumbed through the mail of my neighbors on each side of EmBee. It's not against the law, is it, if you don't get caught? I didn't TAKE their mail. I was actually GIVING one their mail. I don't care what they get. Just so long as MY mail isn't in THEIR box. Oh, and my horsey neighbor with the crazy rottweiler also gets casino mailers!

If you read my not-so-secret blog, you know that since I jotted notes for this post, Farmer H got a special letter from his former workplace, notified by an orange postcard, which he had to sign for...and the POST OFFICE LOST IT! He went back to get it today, with the second notification, and got a different, less attitudinal postmistress, who told him, "Of course we couldn't find it yesterday! This card says to pick it up TODAY!" She was hearing none of Farmer H's facts that this was the SECOND notice. Anyhoo...he got his letter that cost $7 for the old employer to send.

Now this brings me to my second complaint, which is not directly about the post office, but about health insurance's views on prescription medicine. Let the record show that some people simply CANNOT get their medicine through the mail! Seriously. Lay off all the mailed thingies telling them to order by mail! That's a racket!

Have you ever known a business in the business of making money that cares about the little people? NO! They are in business to make money! NOT to save YOU money! How many people order their three month prescriptions, just to save 1/6 of their prescription costs, only to find that they don't need all that medicine? What if the doctor changes their drugs? What if they develop an allergy? What if they die? Nobody's giving a refund on what was already spent on that medicine! You're stuck with it, by cracky! And if the drug-taker dies, it gets flushed down the toilet. That's money swirling away! What if their medicine is lost in the mail? They still have to buy more. You put money out, and the drug companies rake money in, and I imagine the health insurance companies get a kickback.

No, a post office box in town is not the solution to my mail delivery or prescription ordering problem. The same workers who sort the mail and deliver it here are going to sort the mail and put it in a box there. When I lived in town, in my $17,000 house, I had a post office box for about 6 months. It was right down the street, next door to where I worked.

I was always getting somebody else's mail in my box! Mostly for a radio station that had been operating for as long as I could remember. Didn't the postal workers know their box by now? Especially since their mail was addressed to it, too? I even got CHECKS for that radio station in my box. Of course I didn't open them. Some advertiser would have been mighty disappointed to be paying ME to promote their wares by word of mouth.

Did people used to be this incompetent in their work habits? Imagine if the Pony Express riders took a wrong turn. That's a lot of wasted pony.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Handy Man Can, The Handy Man Can. Can't He?

Like a cobbler's kids go barefoot, and the preacher's children are on an express elevator to Not-Heaven, I fear the Manison is going to burst into flame one of these nights from an electrical fire. Not to go all Aunt Josephine, and fret about a series of unfortunate events...but I think a man who made a career as a manager of facility maintenance would notice an anomaly in the wiring of his own abode.

Sure, I'm not paying him twice my once-upon-a-time salary to notice such things. But he can't be so oblivious to malfunctioning appliances. Isn't his back-creek neighbor, Bev, paying him to install new ceiling fans for her? It would only stand to reason that a man would notice a problem with his OWN ceiling fan.

Two evenings ago, I was looking for something in the master bedroom. Normally, I have no need for a light in there, since the sun shines in brightly at 9:00 a.m., through the louvers on the built-in mini-blinds of the french doors that overlook Poolio. And when I go to bed at 3:00 a.m., I don't turn on the light out of fear of courtesy for not waking Farmer H. But while he was gone to a volleyball game, and I was readying dog snacks, I thought of something I needed from there.

I flipped on the light switch by the door. It operates the ceiling lights which are part of the ceiling fan over the bed. Farmer H has souped it up with LED light bulbs brighter than the surface of the sun. I know that, because he often turns them on it the morning as he is getting himself ready for not-work. Since the heat wave this summer, he has left the fan on as well. Soon I will make him climb up on the bed and pull the chain to dis-enable those blades for the winter.

I'm not sure what has gone horribly wrong in the walls, but when I flipped on that light switch, everything worked as normal. For about 2.5 seconds. Then the lights went out, and the fan blades that were beginning to whir coasted to a stop. I pushed up that light switch again, kind of jiggled it, which worked the last time I had a flickering problem months ago. I haven't used the light since then, so it's probably been an ongoing problem getting worse.

This morning, I mentioned it to Farmer H, and he said, "Oh, I just need a new switch. I might even have one over in the BARn." Huh. So confident is he that the problem is in the switch. Not the walls. Not the fan-powering doodad in the ceiling. Not the fan itself.

We'll see what happens IF I DON'T BURN TO A CRISP. Tonight Farmer H made a trip to Lowe's, and said he was buying a new switch.

Let the record show that our front door knob is still not fixed from the problem it developed in January or February. Farmer H offered to take the doorknob off Sunday to take a look at it, but I remembered the last time he did that with the kitchen door. And found that it couldn't be fixed. Nor put back on like it was. And drove at that very moment down to Lowe's, a distance of 20 miles, with the door pushed-to with no latch, a red shop towel stuffed in the hole that should have held a doorknob, and snow swirling around the porch, the beginnings of 4 inches.

I'm really kind of glad I didn't marry a cobbler or a preacher.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wrong Way Harridan

Now that Hillmomba is teeming with Baby Boomers, the streets aren't safe. Nor the parking lot of The Devil's Playground. Not all Baby Boomers are created equal. There's Mrs. Hillbilly Mom...and a bunch of really, really OLD Baby Boomers. Who have nothing better to do that drive around all day.

Lucky for me I have T-Hoe, a sturdy chariot to protect my brittle bones in most crashes. The only issue lately with T-Hoe (okay, forget lately, it's been going on about 4 years now) is that his backup beeper doesn't work. I've always been the nervous sort about backing up a large SUV. All the way back, through the days of our Suburban and Yukons. When I'd drop my kids off at Elementia, I wouldn't pull up to the door and park. I'd just let them out in the drop-off lane. "Here. Hop out. I'm not going to back up and take the chance of running over a short little kid I can't see."

Friday, I waited and waited to back out of my parking spot at The Devil's Playground. I was beside the cart corral, so I had to be extra vigilant about people walking behind me once I thought the coast was clear. Then a dude in jeans came walking down the aisle, headed for the store. A car backed out on the other side of my aisle. Another dude in athletic shorts came walking down. Finally I made it out. I could see a car coming down that same aisle behind me. I was planning to make a left turn, then go up the next aisle to get to a main road. None of that poking along in front of the store, with three stop signs and randomly-spaced people wandering willy-nilly.

I got to the end of the aisle, right in front of the store, and stopped, my left turn signal on. Athletic Shorts Dude had crossed over, and was coming down on my right. The car behind me had caught up, and was waiting for me to turn. I was waiting on a white small SUV that was on the main road in front of the store, coming from my right. Once it was past, I could make my left turn and head out.


That small white SUV turned into my aisle! There was not really room for it, because I was directly in the middle. That's because that aisle is one-way. The way I was going. The parking spots were all angled down. On both sides. Nobody going UP the DOWN aisle would be able to park, unless maybe they were driving a tiny circus car, with 33 passengers clowning around in the back seat, who could get out and pick up the tiny car, turn it around to the right angle, then jump back inside while it parked.

At the first instant I realized the small white SUV was turning INTO my aisle, I felt a pang of guilt, because I was taking up the middle. That immediately turned to indignation when I remembered that the small white SUV was going the WRONG WAY.

I even said that to her, through my rolled-up window. Shouted, maybe.


That old lady driving might have been deaf. She had a german shepherd standing between the seats, his front feet on her right leg. I really hope he wasn't a SEEING EYE dog!

Seriously. I think even Athletic Shorts Dude heard me yelling at her. But she kept going. Squeezed that small white SUV up the aisle the wrong way. Her mirror was dangerously close to T-Hoe's mirror. She wasn't stopping.

I switched my blinker to RIGHT. So I could get out of there before she sideswiped me. I didn't see Athletic Shorts Dude in my blind spot until I was halfway out onto the main road in front of the store. I didn't run over his toes or anything. It was his job to look out for ME! After all, he was young and spry, as evidenced by his athletic shorts. I had to look out for the people exiting The Devil's Playground, not caring one whit that I'd already come to a stop at the stop sign, and was moving forward because the coast was clear at that moment.

These people don't understand that the pilot of a large SUV is not constantly watching THEM! They need to look out for themselves. While I'm looking at one in the back, another darts out in front. And vice versa. Sweet Gummi Mary! They might as well lay down under T-Hoe's chassis for a nap, as much as I can see them when they get around on the sides and back of me.

Nobody was crushed, nobody was scraped, nobody was nudged. It was a miracle.

I wonder if that harridan wondered why she had such a hard time parking? And if her dog told her that even a blind person could see that the cars were angled all wrong to be driving that direction.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Say Hello To My Little Stalker

You never know what the day is going to bring to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Sometimes it's a 50-cent used coffee cup from Goodwill, gift of Farmer H. Sometimes it's a road penis, spray-painted down by the mailboxes. Sometimes it's a shiny penny, winking up from the blacktop parking lot of the gas station chicken store.

Friday, I had another first. It was at the Casey's across from my mom's old bank, the one where I get gas. The Casey's, that is. I don't get gas from the bank. They couldn't even give my mom the correct amount of money back when she deposited her check. If those people were in charge of gas, that bank would have blown sky-high ages ago.

I had stopped to get two scratch-off tickets to tuck into Genius's weekly letter. As I came back out and walked to the side of the building where I had parked, I got that weird feeling like something was amiss. Like I was about to step on something, or lose my balance. I glanced down, just a few steps from T-Hoe's door, and saw that I was not alone on the sidewalk.

Well! That was quite a start, right there alongside the propane tanks. Thank the Gummi Mary those bank people aren't in charge of them! I think I might have jumped a couple of feet in the air. A superhuman feat possible only when humans are under duress and get a shot of adrenaline to spur their muscles into fight or flight. That little mousy is lucky that Mrs. HM is not a fightin' woman! I'm sure I shied away like a high-strung thoroughbred from a rattling copperhead. That's just not normal, people, to look down and see a little mouse right beside your foot, NOT SCARED!

It gave me the heebie-jeebies! I kind of did a dog-shiver and stood behind T-Hoe's open door for a minute. Watching. Making sure that thing didn't come after me!

Let the record show that when I was in high school, I had a friend who told us that she woke up in the night to a mouse running up her pajama leg! YIKES! I'd been to her house, and in her room. It's not like she was squatting in an abandoned tenement. It looked like a normal house. And to think that a mouse had been lurking there, just waiting for the right moment to make a move...well...that's the stuff of nightmares. She never was too clear on how she got rid of that mouse, either. I sure didn't want one running up my pants leg there beside the business route, across from the incompetent bank. That might have been a case of people seeing the moon during the day.

I took a picture. Then another, zoomed in. Then I crept toward that little mousy. Yes, Mrs. HM's bravery is astounding. I do it for YOU, people! I do it for YOU! I zoomed in some more. Mousy didn't move a muscle. Oh, he was breathing all right. In fact, he was kind of panting. I could see his sides heaving. It was already 88 degrees at 10 a.m.

Maybe Mousy was sick? Maybe he'd been partaking of food provided to him to make sure he partook no longer of food. I don't know the exterminator schedule for the Casey's chain. They make pizza in that store. Maybe Mousy got ahold of a bad pepperoni. Maybe he had mouse rabies! I didn't want to get too close. What if he jumped at my face like that alien in the movie Alien?

He was a cute little rodent.

I don't know all the branches on the rodent family tree. Surely he wasn't just a scared, escaped gerbil. It was a bit unnerving to see that little critter show no fear.

After my photo opportunity, I got the Not-Heaven out of there!

Friday, September 22, 2017

He Ain't All That And A Card Of Chips

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's chip card saga continues. On Thursday, I wheeled my cart around Country Mart, heady with excitement, knowing that I could now use my new debit chip card that had finally arrived. I was an old hand now, having successfully used it in The Devil's Playground, and even interrogated Farmer H on the process at Country Mart.

I loaded my cart with the necessities. Diet Coke in 20-oz bottles (at a semi-sale price of three 6-packs for $10.00), a bag of yellow onions (because they only had two sad white onions, my desired item), bandaids (store brand because it was on sale, $1.59 cheaper than the brand name), sugar free candy for Farmer H (because he likes to pretend to comply with his health needs at home, except with his ice cream), ice cream cups for Farmer H (the tile floor is fixed, by cracky, so I didn't get stuck like a mouse on a sticky trap), and Banquet TV Dinners, BBQ Rib version (because Farmer H came home from the auction last weekend, and smelled one that I had microwaved, and raved to me that whatever I had cooked for my supper smelled delicious...which probably says more than I want to reveal about my cooking skills).

The checkout people were standing around jawing, not even behind their registers. I went to the first counter, where the old lady who's 81 (but looks 65) usually works. She wasn't there that day, and I got a younger one who looked older. I didn't have a full cart. Just those few things. Checky had some trouble scanning my onion bag.

"I was gone one day, and they switched things up on me!"

"Oh, that's okay. I'm just learning to use my new chip card."

Checky looked at me and said nothing other than, "Is that a debit?" Even though the choice was right ahead of me on the card scanner, for me to select.

Checky called over the 20-something dude, Checkster, who had not-helped me when their scratcher machine took my money and wouldn't spit out a ticket.

"I don't see it here. They're different."

"Right there. At the top."

Again, I mentioned that I was just learning to use my chip card.

"Oh, we don't use the chip," said Checkster.

Well. Alrighty then. I swiped my new chip card just like my old debit card that I would have kept another year and used with wild abandon, had it not been scheduled for deactivation by those darn bank card people when they sent me the unwanted chip card. I pushed the buttons like usual, and got $25 cash back. That's their limit. Fine with me. I don't use the grocery store as a bank like my favorite gambling aunt uses The Devil's Playground.

Checky was befuddled. "It keeps saying that the customer changed the amount." Which, I think, is pretty standard operating procedure when you ask for cash back.

Checkster pointed to the top screen on his third try to find it. "There. Don't forget to give her that cash back."

SWEET GUMMI MARY! I shudder to think how long that transaction might have taken if I'd actually tried the chip, and Checky had to help me.

Anyhoo...I got home, and told Farmer H, "Country Mart says they don't use the chip."

"Well, I used it there just yesterday!"

Sure he did. Probably to pay for his deli carb-loading breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Maybe their new system just went into effect. Or maybe Farmer H is insinuating that I lied to him about the chip reader.

He acts like a real Richard sometimes.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

What, The Flock?

It is common knowledge that Farmer H likes to hang out at the barber shop for three or four hours, even though he barely has three or four hairs left on his head. And that he goes on his Goodwill tours several times a week. And that he spends more time at the flea markets than fleas themselves. It was at one of these places that he ran into an old friend.

Let the record show that Farmer H considers a friend to be anyone he's met at some point in his life, or anyone related to anyone he's met. So pardon me if the details of this story are a bit undetailed.

Last week, I mentioned the sheep up on the corner of the blacktop county road. I've written about them before, mainly the dog that dutifully monitors them 24/7. I told Farmer H that I noticed that guy had some sheep again.

"Sometimes I think he might have them in a back pasture, because I still see the dog. Or I think maybe he sends them off to be sheared. I always thought he just bought a bunch, though, and then sold them when the price was high enough, and bought more when the price was low. Sometimes they have their regular wool, and sometimes they're obviously shorn."

"You know, I thought the same thing. But I ran into my buddy at the [can't remember/didn't listen] the other day. He's a son-in-law to the guy that owns that property. And HE told me that those sheep don't get sheared. That they're a special kind of sheep with short hair. And the guy sells them to Muslims for meat. They don't care about the wool. These are special sheep for eating, with short hair."

Hmm...okay. I guess that's possible. I haven't bothered to look them up. I drive past there twice a day. Since I am used to seeing sheep with wool there, and then sheep without wool, and then with wool again...I think somebody may be pulling Farmer H's leg.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Between The Devil And The Long-Lost Chip

As you may recall, I finally received my new debit card with chip technology 30 days after being told to look for it in two weeks. The card I never requested, that was not due to expire for another year. I was quite concerned that my old regular debit card would quit working, as the original email told me. Of course, the bank representatives told me that my card was delivered on Thursday, and I didn't actually get it until the following I don't know why I was worried about info given to me by the bank.

Anyhoo...on Tuesday morning, I called the automated number to activate my new chip card. I even asked Farmer H how a chip card works. So you KNOW I was desperate. He vaguely told me to stick in in the machine, rather than swipe it. Of course I headed into The Devil's Playground all confident with that detailed knowledge.

At the checkout, I told my Devil's Handmaiden, "I have a new chip card. I've never used it, and I'm not sure what I'm doing."

I grabbed my card by the end. Like Farmer H had told me. With the shiny chip at the opposite end from my thumb. The Devil's Handmaiden saw it. "Yes. Now just stick that end in, and it will make a noise."

I tried. I really did. But all at once, that whole card-reader black box thingy perched by the register FELL OFF! Not all the way off. A cable was holding it. But it dangled. I grabbed it right up, having tried to catch it initially. I saw that it was supposed to hook onto two screws, but that the one on the left was gone. So I had to hook the right side back, and kind of balance it.

"Oops! I've broken your card scanner! I see the problem. You have a screw loose! 
Heh, heh."

My DH came around the counter to show me. Oh, she was so helpful! "Just stick it in right there."

I tried, but my card kept bouncing off.

"Um. There's a slot for it."

"Oh, I see it now. I should have brought my glasses." I slid my card in. And out.

"You took it out too soon. It didn't make that noise." My DH went back around the counter to reset her register. Another Handmaiden from the next aisle over came to watch, while my DH came back to my side. "Slide it in again."

I did. "It's not doing anything."

"Let go of it!"

"I did. But nothing happened."

The other Handmaiden looked at the register. "It's okay. Just do it again."

I pushed my card in. Let go. It gave a message to remove the card. Then asked if I wanted cash back, and showed the place to put in my PIN.

"You've got it!" said my proud DH.

"I never asked for this card anyway. Why does everything have to be so hard?"

"It's really more secure," said the other Handmaiden. "I think of the chip like it has no memory. When you swipe the magnetic strip, the machine has to remember your information. With the chip, once you pull the card out, your information is gone. It reads it while the card is in, then the card is out, and it doesn't hold the information. The next time you use it, it recognizes your chip. That's how I remember it, anyway."

I really think the other Handmaiden should be working for the chip people. Her talents are being wasted by The Devil.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Look Away, Look Away, Look Away...It's That Bad

Don't go looking at this picture if you are the type to get queasy over carnage and carcasses. Don't do it. Don't look. I'm trying to fill up the top of the page so that the picture is not an unwelcome affront to your senses. The thumbnail that pops up? I can't be responsible for that. I don't have a fake picture to put on first. Maybe I can find something. Maybe not. You have been warned about the picture.

Even's just a picture. Imagine Mrs. Hillbilly Mom yesterday afternoon, heading out to the front porch to send a picture of her missing debit card from her phone to her email. A picture to share with her loyal blog buddies. A picture that can't be sent from inside the Mansion due to a poor phone connection. Oh, I'd like to blame that metal roof that Farmer H had installed. But sadly, we've had this reception problem even with shingles.

There I was, my bifocals perched upon my nose, both hands busy sending that photo to myself. I don't walk well in bifocals, and I don't send emails by phone well without them. I know where I am in my own Mansion. I don't have to look at the floor. There's no surprise steps or cracks or rug wrinkles to trip me up. I know where the door jamb is. Know enough to step up and over, not shuffle my feet, which, thankfully, were still in my going-to-town shoes, and not clad only in socks before donning my red Crocs for the trip to my dark basement lair.

Yes, I was walking along, eyes and hands on phone. I opened up the front door and stepped out onto the porch. Hit SEND. Stood at the top of the steps, waiting for my picture to appear in my IN box. Tra la la. Takes about 1-2 minutes, best case scenario. I was glad the dogs were with Farmer H over at the BARn. I don't like it when they assume it's time for the evening snack at 2:20 in the afternoon, just because I'm on the front porch. That's why I stand by the steps, and don't go plop my plump rumpus on the pew where snacking occurs.

Okay! Got my picture. I turned to go back inside, my bifocals now shoved up on top of my head, and saw THIS!


I know that picture is taken from INSIDE the house. Here's the deal. I saw that carcass laying there, and my stomach lurched, and I thought, "Sweet Gummi Mary! What if I'd been in my sock feet, the socks with the holes in the sole (!), and stepped out the door onto that bloody mess?"

I darted back inside and slammed the door. Well. As much as you can slam it by turning the doorknob so it will latch. Because Farmer H has still not fixed that doorknob after many months of suggestion. Whew! That was a close one! I think I was leaning my back against the door, breathing deeply, when I thought,

"That's a blog post!"

Yes. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom never lets any hideous, heinous display of dismemberment go to waste.

Looks like the dogs caught a chipmunk and relieved him of his skin. I first thought it was a squirrel, but upon closer inspection of the pelt from the porch side of the body, I saw the thin white stripe down the side. Uh huh. Chipmunk. Or, as some Hillmomba natives call it, a ground squirrel.

There is no love lost between me and chipmunks. I had an unfortunate attempted-rescue faux pas with one many years ago, right out in the front yard. So pardon me if I don't weep for this victim.

Do you think my fleabags were bringing ME a snack?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Thank The Gummi Mary, This Has Saved Me A Hand-Washing

Perhaps I've mentioned that I've been looking for my new debit card since August 19. Perhaps not.

I got an email back then, saying to be on the lookout for my new card within the next two weeks. That I should activate it as soon as I received it, because my old card would stop working.

Let the record show that I never asked for a new debit card. My old one still had a year until the expiration date. I'd had no (KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK on wood) reason to suspect fraud. I was happily debiting daily, no problems. This email came out of the blue, announcing my new card, which would be chip-enabled, and thus much safer in preventing fraudulent activity.

I was worried when I didn't receive my new card within two weeks. The mail is not all that secure out here in Hillmomba. I called the bank and was told that due to the holiday weekend of Labor Day, to give my card another week. Then call back if I didn't get it.

I called back. I was told that my post office had received my card, and that I should have it by Wednesday, September 13, at the latest. Of course I did not have it by that date. I waited. And waited. Looking every day. I always pick up the mail within an hour or so of delivery, because that's my going-to-town schedule for my 44 oz Diet Coke.

Last night around 11:30, I called again. Explained to the THIRD representative that it was now September 17, and my debit card had not been delivered like the notice of August 19 advised me. I was put on hold for 20 minutes. The rep was very polite. She said she ran my scenario by three different departments. They said my card was delivered on THURSDAY, September 14. NO. No, it wasn't. I checked.

The choices I was presented involved getting a new debit card mailed out, to either my current address or my bank branch. It would have a new number, of course. Because if I got a new card sent with the old number, and activated it, the one unaccounted for would work, too. Without even a PIN punched in, because, you know, IT'S A CHIP CARD, which doesn't need a PIN.


Seriously. With a regular debit card, it wouldn't matter, because it's useless without the PIN.

I wash my hands of these people! I said I would give it one more week, think it over, then call back for a new issue. Oh, and the rep reminded me that my old one would stop working within 30 days.


"The notice was on August 19, and it is now September 17! Doesn't that mean that my current card will stop working in two days?"

"No. The new card wasn't mailed until September 5, so you have 30 days from then."

When I picked up my prescriptions today, the little gal said my debit card wasn't going through. I said I might have to go out to the car to get a check, because of the problems I was having in receiving my new, unrequested chip card. She said her husband got a notice about 6 weeks ago, and he had not yet received HIS card, either! She re-ran my debit, and it worked. But I told her that her husband better look out. It might be 30 days since his was mailed. She said, "Eh. It's my husband. That's his problem. I'll deal with it when he calls me and says he doesn't have any money."

This is hogwash. Pure shenanigans. I'm double-washing my hands of these people. Scrubbing them like an OCD clean freak! The skin may just peel away from my hands, as hard as I'm washing them of these bank people!

Or not. Because today, on my way home...TODAY, September 18...

I received my new debit card that I never asked for.

Something fishy is going on with either the Hillmomba dead-mouse-smelling post office, or the bank chip card department.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Never Though You'd Hear Mrs. HM Complain About THEM, Did You?

I've got a bee in my bonnet! A bee put there by one of my favorite entities, the Missouri Lottery commission.

Only yesterday, I clicked on their website, to the news releases, and saw THIS:

A recent scam is prompting the Missouri Lottery to issue a warning for everyone to be weary of situations that seem too good to be true. The scheme involved a scammer posing as a lottery official and calling an individual claiming they had won a large Mega Millions prize. In order to claim the prize, the victim was instructed to open a bank account and deposit funds over an extended period of time to cover taxes and fees.


I'm not the grammar police, but I'd like to think I'm entitled to make a citizen's correction when I see violations in the usage of proper English. Really, Missouri Lottery? You want to warn everyone to be WEARY? I, for one, am TIRED of people misusing this word! You don't even have to look it up in a dictionary any more! You can type that word into your phone and get an immediate definition.

The word you are looking for is WARY!

WARY, WARY, WARY, by cracky!

Don't fall victim to the improper word usage of the Missouri Lottery.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Secret Keeper

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is really good at keeping secrets! Never a slip of the lip for her. It's in the vault. Tick a lock! Wild horses couldn't drag it out of her. None of this, "I'm not supposed to tell anybody, but..." stuff for Mrs. HM. No siree, Bob!

When Genius called me two weeks ago and asked if he could host (with his two brothers) a surprise retirement party for Farmer H...of course I said yes. What kind of a heel would I be to deny my Sweet Baboo one last hurrah? That would be like not going to his retirement party at work! Oh, wait...

Anyhoo...the timing wasn't right, what with the Labor Day weekend coming on the heels of Farmer H's last day of work. So we pushed it ahead two weeks. Genius and The Veteran planned to do the grilling. I promised potato salad and baked beans, plus furnishing the meat and buns and ears of corn. Genius declared that he was bringing "a bunch of assorted cans of light beer left over from the Boys' State float trip." And a desert that he was making. The Veteran was bringing "a bottle of good whiskey" and was put on soda duty by Genius, unbeknownst to me, and I made the faux pas of telling HOS he could bring the soda. Which meant one of them had to be switched to chip duty, with Genius saying he would take care of it. But for all I know, we'll have no chips but lots of soda to not-wash them down with.

It's not a lot of work for me. Just the shopping and carrying in meat. It takes a lot of meat to plan to feed 16 people, mostly of the male persuasion. The potato salad is a breeze compared to deviled eggs. I bowed out of egg duty this time. I just wasn't feelin' it.

The hardest part was the secret. Not keeping it. Preventing Farmer H from finding it out. Normally, I don't keep enough meat to feed 16 people in the bottom of FRIG II. So I had to do my shopping surreptitiously. Okay. That was easy. Because Farmer H never helps me with the shopping. And generally, he only shows up to "help" me carry in groceries the second I have it all inside. But no! This time, I came home from the store Friday with 25 pounds of assorted meats (they are carnivores, I tell you, CARNIVORES) in T-Hoe's rear...and Farmer H was standing at the kitchen counter!

Let the record show that it's a good thing Mrs. HM has a blood-pressure-pill-treated bladder. Because I had NOTHING in my hands but my purse and 44 oz Diet Coke, as I was on my way to the bathroom before unloading all that meat. To make matters worse, the kitchen door was locked, as I had left it, so I had no clue Farmer H was inside. I could easily have been schlepping sausages and hot dogs and hamburgers and pork steaks to FRIG II, and flaunted them right under his nose as I entered!

"Oh. I thought I heard you talking."

"Yeah. I was telling the dogs I'll be right back. For their treat."

"I just came in to grab a quick lunch," said Farmer H, slapping four Vienna Sausages on a slice of bread and covering it with another. "I can help you carry stuff."

"No. That's okay. I've got it. You don't need to. You just get in my way."

Which is something I've told him before, though I usually jump at the chance to have him carry things once in a blue moon. This time, though, I had four packs of hot dog buns and two packs of hamburger buns and 12 ears of corn and a giant pack of napkins and a set of plastic silverware and a chocolate chip cookie cake in various states of exposure under my purple winter coat in T-Hoe's back hatch.

Farmer H finished his sandwich and went back outside. I hauled all the meat in, shoved as much as I could to the back of FRIG II's bottom shelf, left some inside the Walmart and Save A Lot bags, and hoped he didn't notice that I'd bought enough meat to feed 16 people.

The whole ruse revolved around Farmer H believing that I wanted him to grill for us around 2:00, so he could have the morning free to run around, and still be done eating in time to leave for the auction at 6:00, and so we'd have BBQ left over to eat throughout the week.

By the time you read this, I'll know if he fell for it. HOS told me on Thursday that The Veteran almost let the cat out of the bag, and Farmer H was getting all questiony.

I think he might have gotten a little more suspiciousy when he came home from Friday night's auction and saw that I had boiled 5 pounds of potatoes.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Other Brothers Darryl

We have an identity crisis simmering here in Hillmomba! An identity crisis not seen since George Foreman named his sons, or Larry introduced his brothers to everyone at the Stratford Inn on Newhart.

In a chance encounter with HOS down at the low water bridge by the mailboxes today, I sleuthed some new information. You know how the neighbor dog, Copper, hangs out at the Mansion? And we have never learned his real name? You'd think we might have heard it once or twice over the past year, what with living right next door to his owner, and owners having a habit of calling their pets...especially when their pets are never at home, but are hanging out at the neighbors. But we haven't. No clue, so he's Copper to me, for his bright pennyish color.

HOS was waiting to pick up his son off the school bus a couple days ago. People park down by the mailboxes, because the bus doesn't drive up in this private enclave. Our neighbor was waiting as well, for her grandchildren, who live with her. HOS got to talking, and mentioned her dog running with Jack and Juno, and following Farmer H on the Gator, and sometimes showing up at HOS's house with them. He asked the dog's name, and you're not going to believe this, but Copper's real name is...


I was flabbergasted to discover this new fact. At no time has Copper ever responded to the name "Jack." Doesn't turn his head when I call Jack a good boy. Doesn't look ashamed when I chastise Jack for retaliating against the cat that growls at him. Doesn't come running to me when I call Jack for his evening snack. In fact, he does not respond to "Copper," either. Nor "Doggie." Nor "Buddy." It's as if he's the dog with no name.

So now we have the neighbor's dog virtually living here, and he has the same name as our own dog. I'll bet the neighbors wondered where I get off calling their dog every night, and yelling at him on occasion.

But that's not the end of the identity crisis. The guy who lives next door to HOS? The one who threatened to shoot Farmer H one time, and then threatened to shoot the county deputy who responded to that report, and earned himself a hefty lawyer fee to stay out of trouble? HIS name is also Jack.

Seems like you can't toss a landscaping lava rock in Hillmomba without hitting a Jack.

Alternate Title: He Romps Through Hillmomba With The Dog With No Name

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Another Poor Report Card For Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not wait in line well with others.

There. It's out. As if you hadn't already surmised such a characteristic. I just can't help myself. Somewhere along the line, I latched onto that concept that life is fair. And so are convenience store lines.

I've hesitated to tell this tale. Don't want to seem petty. But I am. MRS. HM IS PETTY! Not to be misread as pretty. Petty.

There I was, standing in line at the gas station chicken store. My daily hangout. Waiting right there in the aisle between the chicken-ordering counter and the giant bottles of whiskey. Nobody was behind me. In front of me was a woman in cowboy boots and boot cut jeans, waiting to purchase a case of Busch. The boot lady. Not me. She was second in line, behind a short lady jawing about scratchers.

At the chicken counter was a boyfriend with a whiny boy. You can tell a boyfriend from a dad. A dad won't put up with crap from a kid. A boyfriend will. This kid was being catered to. His mom was off searching for just the right bottle of soda for him ("Baby, what do you want?"), and he was asking the chicken-packer if the long john in the case had vanilla stuff inside. It did. Much to his dismay. So Boyfriend asked if he wanted something else. Chicken nuggets, perhaps? No. He wanted a pizza pocket. Which had to be cooked.

The store started to fill up. It's a small store to begin with. Only three aisles. The proper line is the one I was in, of course. You know that if you're a regular. Or even a local. The crowd filling up the store was neither. Not trying to be politically incorrect, but they were not from here.

A man was the first to enter. He got in the chicken-ordering line behind Whiner and Boyfriend, who got their chicken, and moved to the back of the store, by the coolers, to wait for the pizza pocket, I guess. A couple of other people were getting in line behind me, after filling their own various-oz soda cups at the fountain. Then people began pouring in.

I noticed a tall thin lady by the door, at the side of the counter that is not really a line. She didn't know that. She wasn't from here. "Oh, is there a line?"

Cowboy Boots said, "There's no one behind ME!"

As you might imagine, that did not sit well with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. "I'M behind you!" Where did Cowboy Boots get off? Did she think she was being magnanimous, giving cuts behind her in line? I didn't say any more, because it WAS possible that the tall thin lady came in while I was running my 44 oz Diet Coke. My view was blocked by that tall counter of whiskey. So it's highly possible that Tall Thin Lady was actually inside before I got in line.

The Scratcher Buyer paid and left, and Cowboy Boots picked up her Busch and put it on the counter. Tall Thin Lady looked at me, and I nodded. "Go ahead." Not at all smart-alecky, but normally, because really, she might have actually been ahead of me. It's not like I was in a rush to get back to Farmer H. Fair is fair.

An older woman came in with a middle-aged woman, and stepped right up to the counter. I guess she could feel the waves of OH NO YOU DIDN'T coming off the rest of us. Even Tall Thin Lady, waiting next in line, said, "You need to go get in line."

Old Woman said, "What? This is busy. You mean there's a LINE?"

Yeah, lady. That's kind of how it works in the civilized world. She let out a huff, then came directly behind ME, where the chicken man had gotten in line with his fowl right before the soda people had put their lids on.

Old Woman looked at Chicken Man, and said, "Oh, are you with the group? We can just get in with the group. Come on. We'll get in with the group."

Chicken Man didn't say anything one way or the other. Old Woman and her middle-aged pal stepped in front of him, cutting in front of everyone else lined up around the back of the store. Nobody said anything.

Is it wrong of me to be put-out by this behavior?

They were friendly enough, looking up under my arm at the scratcher case. I moved my magical elixir to the other side (without spilling it!) so they could see. I even told them the tickets I'd won on lately. They knew a thing or two about scratchers. But it still sticks in my craw that they cut line. Even thought it wasn't ahead of ME. And nobody stopped them. Is this the beginning of the end? The downfall of society? People cut line, and nobody dares to call them out? Are we becoming a nation of bender-over-backwardses? Or fraidy-cats?

I probably shouldn't even mention it. I don't know what "group" they were. When I left, I saw a short white bus full of wide windows parked at the side of the building in the handicap space. I don't know where they were from, or where they were going. Could have been a church, or a tour group, or a family reunion, or prison visitors, or a casino bus. In fact, it DID look like that short bus Auntie and I used to ride to Harrah's on Wednesdays. But Harrah's is long gone from this area.

Even if they were fellow gamblers...fair is fair. The polite thing to do is get in line behind the people who were there before you. NOT find a person from your group, and step ahead.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Exercising With The Snackmaster

Last evening, I ascended from my dark basement lair for my walk, and saw out the front door that IT WAS POURING RAIN. Well. That just won't do. I have budgeted time for my nightly walk, and it must be done before darkness falls, which means that I must start no later than 7:00 p.m. on a cloudy day.

I walked through the kitchen and laid out snacks for the dogs. They had a meatless plate this time, with some Chex Mix leavin's that Farmer H could not stomach, and some old Loaded Baked Potato Chips that were stale, and a couple of slices of Italian bread that was still edible, but I had some fresher. C'mon. They're not getting meat every night. They're begging dogs. They can't be choosers. They'd eat the decaying anus of a three-days-dead possum. My grandma's dog ate cooked cabbage. They have yet to turn up their sensitive canine noses at anything I've put on their plate.

With the rain pouring, I figured I'd walk around the porch. It's not the same. My strides are shorter due to the corners. But I still have a covered walkway all around to make laps, except for the portion I used to watch the total eclipse, which is a deck area not under roof. I put on my blue-and-white trucker cap to keep the rain off my face, and went out the kitchen door.

The rain had slowed to a sprinkle. That made me more comfortable, because the porch boards can be slick with standing water, and Farmer H was gone to a volleyball game for one of HOS's daughters. The minute I stepped outside, I heard Juno thumping her tail in her house. She pranced out, all excited, and headed for the steps.

That's where I usually stretch first. Jack gets all hyper and dives at me from the side porch. If I step back, he will crash to the sidewalk, off balance. Copper waits on the brick sidewalk for Jack to come down, then bites his head. Jack responds by sinking his canine teeth into the soft skin of Copper's jowls, and Copper drags him to the driveway, Juno loping after them, barking her fool head off.

The dogs were quite perplexed when I kept walking past the steps, starting my first lap around the porch. Juno caught up and got in front of me and looked into my eyes. Jack scampered around the corner to head for the pew area where snacks are served. Copper stood sideways in the area I needed to walk, then leapt off the porch onto the brick sidewalk at the last minute.

Let the record show that all these dogs had to do was lounge on the side porch until I was done walking. Then snacks would be served as usual. They should know this routine. However...Jack thinks he has to trot around the porch with me every lap. Juno gets in front of me like maybe she might persuade me to stop this nonsense and feed her. Copper comes back up on the porch as soon as I pass, to lose another game of chicken each time I come around, and jump off the porch again.

Two laps of this, and I'd had enough. I decided to take my chances in the driveway. The rain was barely a sprinkle now. Of course, with the whole driveway to choose from, plus about 4 acres of yard...Juno sat herself right in the rut where I walk.

Not having a full-body trucker cap to keep her hair dry, Juno was soggy by the end of my walk, and smelled like a wet dog. As did Jack. Copper looked as sleek as ever. I'm sure he was wet as well, but he can pull off the wet look better than my two fleabags.

I'm pretty sure I got more of a workout than on a normal dry driveway day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Unsolved Case Of The Disappearing Road Stick

On the way to town a few days ago, I was startled to see a road stick. Not the kind that Crazy Stick Dude throws out in the middle of the upper gravel road by our other property. Those are dead limbs, and he piles them along the driving lane on his side of the road. No, that's not what we're talking about today. Crazy Stick Dude has been lawfully warned, and has been controlling his stick-i-ness lately.

This was a metal pole. Like the fence poles they use in Kansas, where there are no trees. Not a green metal pole like most of them I've seen. This one was gray. Metal-colored! And it was a cylindrical shape. Like a pipe. Not flat like a fence pole. On the top was a boxy little protuberance. The whole rig was stabilized with two cables, both with orange warning tape flapping from them. That's what caught my attention.

Huh. Maybe that's a surveyor's thingy, for the road approach to the low-water bridge. The road IS too narrow right there on the hill. Or maybe it's to see about when the bridge floods. Maybe it's from the county highway department. Maybe we'll be getting a new bridge!

On I went to town. I wished I'd had time to take a picture, but that pole was right at the top of the hill, and startled me. I considered getting one on the way back, but it's not a good place to stop in the road, with the dips that block the view from behind T-Hoe. I didn't want to get rear-ended taking a picture of a mysterious pole. Besides, it was right in front of a house. Across from their mailboxes. I didn't want to look suspicious, like I was casing their house for a future burglary attempt.

Wait a minute! Across from the mailboxes? Maybe that homeowner put up his own camera. Like a game camera. For surveillance, because there's a lot of mailbox bashing out here. Down the road and around the curve, I'd noticed a couple of brand-new mailboxes. That happens when one has to be replaced. Folks out here don't go around upgrading their mailboxes all willy-nilly. They don't upgrade at all. Just slap up another cheapie when the old one is destroyed. The mail keeps coming and coming, you know. Gotta have somewhere to receive it.

When I next saw Farmer H, which was of course almost instantly, him being fully retired now, and having a sixth sense about where I'll be at any given moment so he can appear as if by magic...I asked if he'd been to town yet. He's not always forthcoming about his secret early-morning donut runs. He said he hadn't seen the pole, but would look for it next time. I asked him to get a picture. Not that I wanted him to get rear-ended, but a hospital stay, no matter how brief, would put the kibosh on our recent togetherness.

Farmer H had a different theory. "Oh, that's Good Ol' Boy's house. His son lives there now, I think. Good Ol' Boy has had mail stolen before. I bet it happened again, and he's trying to catch them."

Well, Farmer H had a point. It was the first of the month recently. When checks arrive. My chip debit card still hasn't shown up. So maybe somebody's been stealing mail again.

"I can't believe he's got it that close to the road. The only way it could be closer was if it was IN the road, like Crazy Stick Dude's method."

Huh. I guess somebody objected and he had to take it down. Or somebody crashed into it. Or maybe the mail thieves stole it. Because when Farmer H went to town later that day, the mysterious road stick was gone.

I know I saw it. I'm sure.

Monday, September 11, 2017

If It Weren't For BAD Memory, He'd Have No Memory At All

Farmer H is sometimes forgetful. And I'm not EVEN referring to the things I command him to do, yet he doesn't. That's just selective hearing.

No, I'm not EVEN talking about when he declares he didn't buy NOTHIN' with the debit card on a certain date. Absolutely not. He's certain. I'd better call the bank and see if it's debit card fraud, because if I didn't buy something, then somebody is ripping us off. Because he knows he didn't do it. Until I ask about a list of items that he's been known to buy, and find DID buy a tube for the tractor tire that cost about that much exactly.

What we're talking about here today is when Farmer H loses a beloved possession. Okay. Maybe beloved is a bit dramatic. But he has gewgaws that he likes, and when he can't find one, he's can't let it go.

"Didn't you buy me an LED lantern from school? Runs on batteries?"

"I'm pretty sure. I got one for my mom, too. There won't be any more! Now that I'm not at school for the Books Are Fun displays. They used to have some good discounts. That's why I got you that lantern. I thought you'd like it. I don't know what we did with Mom's. Sis might have it. I think I let her take it, since they go camping."

"Well...I thought I had mine down in my cabin. But I looked yesterday, and it's not there. I looked in the BARn, and I can't find it."

"I don't think it's up here. I haven't seen it in the basement."

"I'd really like to find it. I liked that little lantern." The next day, Farmer H suddenly remembered. "Oh! I took it over to Buddy's rental house when I was helping him wire it for that deaf lady. Now he's evicting her. Well. He's not. But HUD is. He said NO PETS, and the neighbor told him she has a cat that she lets out a couple times a day. He went over there and found a cat box in the house. So she's gotta move. Anyway, I had it down in the basement while I was working on the electric panel. It's sitting right in the middle of the basement, last I remember. I need to call Buddy and see if he can get it back."

So...several days went by. Yesterday, Farmer H said, "Buddy went over to the house and looked all around, in every room, but he couldn't find my lantern. We don't know if that lady took it, or what."

Flash forward to this evening, when I came in from walking and snacking the dogs, and sat down on the short couch to converse with Farmer H.

"Oh, you know my lantern I've been looking for? I found it!"

"Where was it?"

"Out in The Pony's Knife Shack. I forgot I had it in there."

"Did you tell Buddy you found it."

"Nope. And I may not."

Yeah. That sounds like Farmer H's style.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pretty Sure I'm Getting The Runaround

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is no fan of technology. Oh, sure...she couldn't survive without air conditioning, and riding a donkey to town every day for a 44 oz Diet Coke would become tiresome after a year or two. But bartering would be so much simpler than relying on these newfangled debit cards with chips.

Yeah. And by chips, I don't mean a tasty, salty snack morsel that can be used to scoop salsa or French onion dip. It's some kind of dark magic that involves computery thingies that you can't see. I don't even know why I need one, unless the government is having trouble tracking me with only my cell phone and OnStar technology.

Here's the problem. On August 19, I got an email from my bank saying that I was getting a new debit card with chip technology. To look for it within the next two weeks. Farmer H got a new card, with no email announcement at all. His card was due to expire at the end of August. But mine is good for another year. So...I went back to that email, to see if maybe it was talking about Farmer H's card, which we got, and I activated for him. Nope. The email was about my card, which has a different number, even though it's the same account.

When I didn't get my new chip card by last Saturday, which was September 2, I called my bank. Three times. Because the first time the recording said the wait was 7 minutes. And I said right out loud, "Bull crap if I'm waiting on hold for 7 minutes to talk about the debit card I didn't ask for!" I decided to call late at night, because I'm up, you see, and other people aren't. SWEET GUMMI MARY! It looks like they ARE! Other people ARE up late at night. Because the wait to speak to a bank representative at 12:50 a.m. was 10 minutes! Well! You know what I had to say to THAT! "Bull crap if I'm waiting on hold for 10 minutes to talk about the debit card I didn't ask for!"

Sunday morning around 9:30, I tried again. Not because I'm a glutton for punishment, but because two weeks had passed, I didn't have the debit card I didn't ask for, and the email said to activate it as soon as possible, because my old debit card would stop working!

I had mentioned this dilemma to my favorite gambling aunt over a Personal Pan Pizza when I first got my email, and she said, "Be careful. I was out trying to pay for my lunch, and my debit card was declined! I had to use a credit card!"(Auntie is not known to carry cash.) "I was mad! I called my bank when I got home, and they said, 'Oh, didn't you get your new card?' I told them I did, but I didn't know I had to activate it right then! They should put something on the envelope that says there's a time limit. I just threw it in my bank stuff."

Anyhoo...there I was, last Sunday morning, September 3, calling the bank. The wait was 8 minutes! You can bet I stayed on the line. My representative said she'd look up my card. It had been mailed. She said that due to the Labor Day holiday, I should give it until Friday, September 8. And if I didn't get it then, to call back, and they could issue another card.

You know what happened, right? Friday rolled around. No card. I even waited until Saturday's mail. No card. I called the bank. I was very lucky that the wait was again only 8 minutes. A new representative said she'd look up my card. The post office had received it. She said I should get my card by Wednesday (September 13) at the latest. And if I didn't, to call back, and they would issue another card.

Both representatives said that my current debit card would not stop working until I activate the new one with chip technology. The second rep kept referring to my "requested card." I was adamant that I NEVER requested that card. "Oh. Well. Sometimes we send them out when they're about to expire. Or if they don't have chip technology."

Yeah. This is a racket. A tracking racket! Funny how a minimum wage telephone representative can see that the post office has received my card. Because they can track it, by cracky, with that chip!

I'm starting to think that maybe there really is no new card, and that the government is now keeping track of my whereabouts by my telephone line.

That doesn't make me sound crazy at all...does it?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

High (butt)Holy Days

I don't know what was going on today in Hillmomba, but some people were just downright rumpus-holes.

While waiting in line at Orb K to cash in a scratch-off winner, the girl behind me crept so close that if I had turned suddenly, I daresay her chin would have severed my jugular vein. She was probably early 20s. A young Millennial. I guess they don't understand the concept of personal space, having been raised where everybody gets a trophy, everybody gets an award at the end of the school year, and the class has 10 valedictorians.

I'm no spring chicken. I'm a young Baby Boomer. I value my space. My space is hard-earned. I carved out that space for myself, and by cracky, I'm not willing to give it away just because somebody else thinks they should get a portion of it.

I was trying to lean back and see the display of lottery tickets on a board on the floor leaned up against the counter. Let the record show that I was merely trying to lean back. Not take a step. Not try a trust fall. Just a crane of my neck to get a better view. I swear Young Mil was breathing in my ear. I could have posed as a cartoon model for a two-headed monster for a MAD magazine cover. If she'd been any closer, we might have been mistaken for conjoined twins.

So close was Young Mil that I actually said, "Excuse me," as I limbo-swayed to get a look at those tickets. I rarely say excuse me. I usually make do with a huff and the stinkeye. That's my time-trusted repertoire. It's been working for me until today. Never underestimate the entitledness of the young Millennials.

From there, I proceeded to Country Mart, where I (and the truck in front of me) had trouble turning in from the side road by the Dairy Queen and Hardee's, due to a rumpus-hole who had to make a WIDE right turn onto our street. And by WIDE, I mean from our lane.

As I was shopping, I was rushed a couple of times by a dude pushing a wide, metal-wheeled supply cart. Like he thought maybe I wanted to play chicken, him having a wood-and-metal cart, and me having flesh-and-bone shins. What a rumpus-hole! As I was leaving, he followed me out the door and onto the sidewalk and across the parking lot, to where he was parked a space away from me. Okay. That's on ME, because his truck was already there when I parked. But I wanted to say, "Don't follow me so close with your squeaky wheel, and why don't you give it some grease!"

I put my groceries (broccoli, chicken, hoisen sauce, Bugles) in the back of T-Hoe, and wrote the store initials on the back of my lottery ticket. And another rumpus-hole pulled in right beside me! Between me and the squeaky cart dude's grocery truck. Seriously. He had a choice of approximately 90 other parking spaces (74 if you don't count the handicap spaces), only six of which were taken, and none in the area where we were parked. I'm pretty sure he was a young Millennial.

As I was pulling into the Casey's parking lot, a woman in a red Caravan came in the upper entrance and decided to drive on through, out the lower entrance. Where I was coming in! I guess she expected me to ram the car at the gas pumps out of the way to let her pass. I'm pretty sure she huffed and gave me the stinkeye, and I most certainly did not hear, "Excuse me."

Then, on my way out of town to rush home to my newly-retired Farmer H...a maroon pickup truck appeared in T-Hoe's mirror. I have no idea where it would have come from, since a check of the mirror a nanosecond earlier had shown that T-Hoe's rear was clear of any other traffic. It was a dually truck, wide mirrors. I despise a tailgater. I was driving the speed limit. It's not like I was my mom, going 15 miles under. I drive that road every single day. At speed limit.

I signaled my turn well ahead of time, while I was on the bridge just before my road. I slowed to turn as normal. I'm not sloshing my 44 oz Diet Coke for no good reason. Can you believe that Truckster ROARED his engine as I got off the road?

He may or may not have seen a little birdie flying inside T-Hoe's driver's compartment. That's Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's farewell to rumpus-holes.

Friday, September 8, 2017

I'm Gonna Have To Teach Him The Ropes Of Being Retired

Living with Farmer H is an adventure. Sometimes it requires a pith helmet and hip boots. Sometimes is requires a suspension of belief. The belief that Farmer H possesses common sense.

Last night, as I was thinking about typing up the boys' weekly letter, I heard Farmer H's phone ringing. It’s right over my head, you know, plugged in on the bathroom counter, in the master bathroom one floor above my dark basement lair.

So I heard it ring, and the La-Z-Boy clank shut, and Farmer H’s footless ankles clomping to the bathroom. But I never heard him answer. The ringing stopped. Footless clomping back to La-Z-Boy, which cranked back.


Sweet Gummi Mary! Why he didn’t just answer, or take the phone out to the table beside the La-Z-Boy after the second time, I don’t know. Being highly suspicious after a request involving my chicken and dumplings (which may appear elsewhere, in good time), I went to the bottom of the steps and hollered, “What’s going on with the phone?”

“I don’t know! It’s some 660 number that I don’t know. I answered it once, and a guy said, ‘I’m going to rent a U-Haul trailer.’ I just hung up on him.”

“Well, it’s probably a scammer. They try to see if the number is active. You mean it was a real guy? Not a recording?”

“He had an Indian accent.”

“Scammer. You can block that number, you know. And report it as spam. Even if it’s someone thinking you rent U-Haul trailers, like some people think you’re Lowe’s…you can block them so they can’t call back.”

 Seriously. Even I know how to do this!

“Yeah. My phone can probably do that.”

Just then it rang again, at 9:12 p.m., and Farmer H stumped off to get the phone out of the bathroom. Scammers aren’t supposed to call after 9:00, you know! And at the rate this one was calling, we'd get about 239 more before I was done resting my weary head.

I'm assuming Farmer H got that number blocked, because the ringing stopped.

Sometimes, when people call thinking he's Lowe's...Farmer H gives them hardware-y information, just to mess with them.