Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Just When He Was Almost Off The Hook

Oh, dear! I was going to let Farmer H off the hook today (temporarily, of course) and skewer Copper the neighbor dog instead. But no. Farmer H had to go and call me. Call me with his tighty-whities all in a wad over information he got from his old employer.

Sweet Gummi Mary! He's got to let that crap go!

Here's the deal. Farmer H got a text from Dude X. I'll use that instead of his name. Farmer H was all in a tizzy, talking about how Dude was forwarding me an email he got at work, addressed to Farmer H's name, from a major bank (with which we have our ONE credit card), talking about a payment to a man we never heard of. Not a company. A man. First and last name. And an amount of over $3000.

First of all, that sounded mighty suspicious to me. Because we have not sent a payment to anyone in that amount. In fact, our credit card bill this month was under ten dollars. So I told Farmer H it was probably just 5PAM, and nothing to worry about. Yet he went on, still in his tizzy, those tighty-whities creeping up behind, that I needed to check that email, and check our account.

Of course I didn't get the forwarded email. Farmer H was getting angrier by the minute that I wasn't all in a tizzy myself. First of all, because I said I didn't even know who he was talking about. I don't remember Dude X's name. He's the guy who replaced Farmer H. But I don't recall hearing his name more than once or twice. So once I figured out who he was, I said I'd look at the email. IF I ever got it. I had to switch my accounts, since I was trying to put out a timely blog post on my other blog.

Farmer H said he'd call Dude back and have him resend, since I asked if I was supposed to sit here in my dark basement lair looking at the screen waiting for the email to come in. In the meantime, I found the forwarded email in my 5PAM folder, with the message that it had been sent there because it contained content that's typically used in 5PAM messages. DUH!

Soo...looking at it, I saw that it was FROM this financial institution with the email of [firstname@ashoecompanyusa.com]. Now why would some guy from a shoe company be sending email from a financial institution? Don't they have dedicated email for that kind of business? You know. To look professional and all.

Of course there was a link that said View your detailed information here. No. I don't think so. I'm not clicking on a link within a questionable email from a shoe company guy representing a financial institution. I DID, however, hover over it and check the web address. Funny how my detailed information could be found at a cake company in the UK! Funnier how nothing I could click on in that email could lead me to the financial institution's website!

Nope. Not even stressing. And especially not clicking!

Hey! How did Farmer H's replacement open up an email addressed to Farmer H, anyway? I thought there were passwords for that kind of thing! And that once you left the company, they disabled your email, so you couldn't do sketchy things like you still work for them. I know mine was disabled toot-sweet! Or maybe I'm a shadier character than Farmer H...

Anyhoo...I am now going to take this printout up to Farmer H, who has arrived back at the Mansion (YIPPEE! Pardon me while I step away from New Delly to perform a few cartwheels!) after his daily trip to Lowe's, and is likely in need of some help unwadding his tighty-whities.

Neighbor dog Copper Jack doesn't know how lucky he is to have Farmer H.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Mrs. HM Lets The Cat Out Of The Bag Prematurely

You'll never guess who I ran into at The Devil's Playground today!

Are you done guessing? If not, I can wait a few more minutes...Jeopardy music is playing...get to guessin' while the guessin's good! Okay...doot, de-doot-doot, doot...doot...doot. End of Jeopardy music. Here comes the answer...

It was my sister the ex-mayor's wife's husband's brother-in-law! Uh huh. The dude married to the ex-mayor's sister. I've known him for a while, through educational circles. See him here and there, now and then. He caught me hangin' out by the banana bin. We chit-chatted for a few minutes. Then the subject of Farmer H's retirement came up.

GUILTY! I admit it! I confess! Shame on me! Lock me up and throw away the key! Off with my head! I revealed top secret information that Farmer H specifically forbade me to release at this juncture.

He'll have to get over it.

I let it slip that Farmer H has rented his own storage shed at the flea market, and opened for business on Saturday.

Let the record show that there is really no reason for Farmer H to be secretive about this. The only person he didn't want to know yet was Sis. Fat chance of that. I can't put the genie back in the bottle. If BroLaw knows, Sis is gonna get wind of it.

Farmer H's reasoning is that he's selling stuff from Mom's house, and dividing the money between me and Sis, and he's not paying out until the end of the month. Since he just started October 28, he's waiting until the end of November to distribute the first allotment of the proceeds. It's all above-board. He's keeping a separate ledger for our stuff. But (probably rightly so) he thinks Sis will be asking about it every week.

So...having already sunk that ship with my loose lips, when I got a text from Sis 30 minutes later, as if she's some kind of freaky psychic...I called her. I spilled my guts, plus fat and bone and muscle and sinew and a good bit of connective tissue. Told her the whole deal. I heard a little change in her voice, right before the brief silence, when I mentioned being paid at the end of each month.

Sis said that the ex-mayor will be glad to help Farmer H.

Pretty sure there's going to be Not-Heaven to pay over this one. From both sides.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Evidence Speaks For Itself

Yes, this evidence not only speaks for itself, it practically screams to be heard. It's not bashful. This evidence has great self-confidence. It can command an audience. Especially an audience of one. One Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, in the venue of her own Mansion kitchen. This evidence could practically write its own book, "How to Alienate Kin and Influence No One."

Allow me to introduce you to The Evidence. Good thing I did not turn on the microphone built into my Nexus 7, or you would be getting an earful from The Evidence. I have a feeling The Evidence would sound like that annoying stain in the Tide Pen commercial.

The Evidence was just released from seclusion Saturday morning. Pure as the driven snow. And by Saturday evening, The Evidence had been sullied. Marked. Disfigured. Only one selectly sized sheet had been ripped from The Evidence, and that by myself upon removing my hands from a sink full of dishwater, just prior to transporting The Evidence from the bottom of the package stored in Genius's bedroom to the kitchen cutting block.

The prime suspect, one Farmer H, of Outer Hillmomba, claimed ignorance.

"I didn't leave that mark! I haven't even touched it. I never used a paper towel. I haven't even been anywhere I could get dirty today!"

Said the man who spent five hours at a flea market, three hours stacking firewood and cleaning off metal hot dog roasting sticks and carrying hay bales and hooking up a trailer to his tractor and lighting a fire. Then 2.5 hours roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, driving a 45-minute hayride, taking leftover supplies to the Mansion kitchen and placing them (with no witnesses) on the very cutting block where The Evidence was located.

Yes. I'm pretty sure The Evidence speaks for itself.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

You Can Still Sucker A Sucker

Not only is there one of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom born every minute, but now she's TWINS. Twins born on different days, but that has been known to happen.

Remember those Gourmet Lollipops that snookered me into buying them? The ones in the bag with a little window, that I assumed contained 7 different flavors! Sweet Gummi Mary! I am such an eternal optimist a dadburned idiot!

A couple days ago, I saw those Gourmet Lollipops again. Okay. It's not like I just happened across them. I intentionally turned down that aisle, and even waited for an old lady to select her Halloween candy and get out of the way of my latest addiction.

I KNEW I could get a better package of Gourmet Lollipops than my initial purchase. That must have been a fluke, all of those Watermelon suckers in one bag. I inspected each one carefully this time. I think I went three bags deep, peering into the little window, shaking them around, making note of which package had the most of my favorites.

I FOUND ONE! A package of Gourmet Lollipops with just what I wanted. Almost. Take a gander at THIS:

Right up front, TWO of the Cotton Candy flavor! Sticking my eye to the window, I saw another! Of course I had to have that package!

Well. When I opened it up...

The contents were not as I had assumed! I still had two Watermelon. And two Wild Cherry. Two of the precious Cotton Candy. But that one swirly Cotton Candy impersonator was a MYSTERY pop! I figured it might be Cotton Candy anyway. Just labeled as a MYSTERY to make it seem like a mystery. Oh, no. It was not cotton candy.

Here's the thing. I'm not good as solving taste mysteries. Remember those PEEPS mystery flavor boxes? I was never was quite sure what kind I ate. They were good. But I couldn't figure them out. I think there should be a note inside, so people can't cheat until they buy them, but then will know what they have eaten.

This MYSTERY lollipop tasted like the candy canes I used to get the boys to hang on the tree. The multicolored striped ones. I think they were labeled as Fruit Punch. Not sure. But that MYSTERY lollipop tasted like a candy cane. And not the peppermint variety.

I was sorely disappointed in getting only two Cotton Candy and no Bubble Gum flavor. If you're a betting person, you probably shouldn't bet on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom throwing in the towel and refusing to buy these Gourmet Lollipops ever again...

Friday, October 27, 2017

One More Thread Weaves Itself Into Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Rich Tapestry Of Life

Today on the way to the main post office, I encountered a dead animal on the road. It was an old dead, not a new dead. In fact, that animal was so flat that I couldn't even tell what species might claim it. This was on a main street in town. It wasn't a very big carcass, so I figured it might have once been a squirrel. I could see a fluffy white, kind of like the lighter color found on the belly of a squirrel. There was a car in the other lane, so I couldn't swerve over to avoid crunching (okay, it was beyond crunching, it was so flat) the remains, and I couldn't get over on the shoulder because it's a residential area, and cars were parked along there.

I didn't have too much regret. You can't kill an animal any deader. It had obviously been there a little while. As I proceeded to the post office, however, I began to feel a bit of regret. The aroma of SKUNK filled T-Hoe's cabin. I guess his tires picked up the scent as they smooshed the carcass. I breathed a sigh of relief when we passed a yard full of smoke from burning leaves, and that aroma replaced the skunkiness.

My breath of relief was short-lived. When I climbed out of T-Hoe in the post office parking garage area, the skunk smell returned. Of course I looked all around, wrinkling up my nose, for the benefit of other post office patrons. No way was I going to make a comment and reveal that it was MY car emitting that smell.

By the time I got home, the odor had pretty much evaporated. Or so I surmise. I'm sure I'll find out tomorrow when I open the garage door.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

In Rode My Farmer In Second-Hand Overalls On A Green Gator

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has never had a knight in shining armor ride in on a white horse to save her. That may be a good thing, since she hasn't needed saving in such a drastic manner. However...

Wednesday evening was trash dumpster day. I pulled that green, unwieldy behemoth up the long driveway to park it beside the address sign. Of course the dogs got all excited and yipped and yapped themselves off to Copper Jack's field to chase rabbits. Juno sat at the end of the fence row, by the road, waiting for them to flush one out. She's an energy-conserving hunter.

As I parked the dumpster, I heard the across-the-road neighbor yelling at her dog. Not maliciously, of course. She's a dog person. Just the way you scold one to shut up, like you mean business. I knew instinctively that she was yelling at her crazy rottweiler mix. We do not like that bob-tailed chicken-killer. But she mainly stays on their property. I think she is kept inside or penned most of the time, having killed other chickens besides ours.

Of course this would have to be the evening that Jack and Copper Jack and Juno decided to act all big and bad. It wasn't their fault, but it was. My dogs are not angels. But mainly, they mind their manners. Even though Jack runs under the neighbor's fence on occasion, and barks at their horses, he generally comes back 8/10 times when I call him.

On this night, I heard Jack and Copper Jack over on Tommy's land, yapping after a rabbit. Juno took off to assist. Within a couple of minutes, their barks changed. Dog people know what I'm talking about. From prey-baying to a menacing tone. All at once, out of the underbrush came a melee of teeth and tails and multicolored fur. The crazy rottweiler was going after Sweet, Sweet Juno! Juno turned tail and ran across the gravel road to our field where I was in the driveway. THEN she heard Jack and Copper Jack telling that crazy rottweiler what for, and turned and ran back into the fight!

I think the crazy rottweiler might have had a moment of clarity, because she turned and darted under her own horse fence. Jack and Copper Jack and Juno pursued her. That's not right. They should respect people boundaries, but in the heat of the battle, they did not. No amount of harsh commands from me could get them to return. I felt bad that my dogs were in the crazy rottweiler's yard. But she started it!

I went back down the driveway and partway across the brick sidewalk to holler at Farmer H over by the goat pen.

"Can you start the Gator and go get those dogs? They won't come back! I can't walk during this mess, and I don't want them over there causing trouble."

"Yeah. I can do that."

Farmer H started up the Gator and drove through the front yard. By now, Juno and Jack had come over, thinking I was done and going to give them a snack. Fat chance! Juno trotted up to me and I took a swat at her with my windy-day hair-holding hat. "Go on! You're in trouble!"

Farmer H hollered for Jack and Juno, and they ran to chase him as he went around the front sinkhole and into the BARn field and down to the creekside cabin. The dogs love to go down there. Copper Jack had disappeared from view, but I could still hear him in the horse field, behind the cedars. Then I heard the crazy rottweiler's human daddy hollering, "GIT! GO ON! GET OUT OF HERE!" I don't blame him. Thank the Gummi Mary my dogs weren't over there. Even though I'm sure the Horse-Fielders heard me yelling for them a few minutes earlier.

Yes, Farmer H saved the day. On my last lap down the driveway, I saw Jack dart through the woods and into the yard. He went on to meet me by the ugly paint-needing picket fence. Copper Jack came running from the horse field. And my Sweet, Sweet Juno trotted to the carport, looking guilty. She has a conscience, that dog.

Jack...not so much.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Will The Plans Of Farmer H Go Awry?

Farmer H is planning a weenie roast and hayride on Saturday evening. The temperature is supposed to be 35 degrees at 7:00 p.m.

It's all kind of my fault, really. Not the weather! Sweet Gummi Mary! I'm not some secret operative with the government, fiddling about with HAARP and creating weather patterns to destroy the midwest. No siree, Bob! I'm talking about the weenie roast and hayride. At the end of RetirementPartyPalooza '17, The Veteran (Farmer H's second son) said, "We should all get together like this more often." I congenially said, "Fall is almost here. We could have a hayride." That was meant to be a rhetorical hayride. We haven't had one in years.

I don't have any objections to a hayride. Genius can't make it, because he is the photographer for his university, and must work at a football game. The Pony definitely won't drive 9 hours each way for a hayride. HOS and The Veteran's families can make it. Farmer H already spiffed up his tractor with working lights. He unloaded his trailer, because his wagon is in rickety shape. He already had bales of hay for Barry the mini pony and Billy the goat. Guess they might be going on a diet if we have a harsh winter.

Farmer H says the weenie roast and hayride are still on. Even though we know the forecast.

"Maybe you should move it to another weekend. It's going to be SO cold!"

"We'll have a fire. You don't know what the weather will be on other weekends."

"We DO know what the weather is going to be THIS weekend! And there won't be a fire during the hayride."

Farmer H is still set on having it. Even though The Veteran's wife told him today, "Looks like it's going to be really cold for the hayride."

Farmer H can continue to be Pollyanna. But I, for one, am not going to buy the giant weenies and chips and soda until Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Spine, And Other Bones

Once upon a time, when Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was newly married, or at least during the first five years, before Baby Genius made his appearance...she grabbed a quick nutritious lunch of canned chicken. Yes, it may not be appealing, but it was cheaper than getting fast food, and more nutritious.

Farmer H worked in the city then, and was not needing a prepared lunch. I was either off for the summer from a teaching job, or working down the street at the unemployment office. I could dash home for lunch, and not have to take one and risk it disappearing in the break room refrigerator. Not because it would have been so delicious and irresistible to a brown bag thief, but because the interior of that fridge was like a dense forest from which food sometimes did not return.

Anyhoo...I remember sitting in the living room of my $17,000 house in town, kicked back with a fork, eating my white chunk chicken right out of the can, with a piece of bread on the side. Oh, the HORROR when I bit down on something hard. You don't expect that, you know, from canned white chunk chicken. I could have been a BEAK! But it wasn't. It was a bone.

This bone was not small. It was not a flat flexible rib bone. Nor was it the needle-pointy, stabby bone off the leg. It was cylindrical, too small to be splintery, but strong enough to have done some damage, had I bit down on the ends while chewing. I spit it out and poked through the remaining chicken. You don't think I was going to waste that protein, do you? I found one more small bone. I laid both of them aside on a paper plate, went back to work after lunch, and started a letter to Sweet Sue when I got home. Yes. Mrs. HM grew a spine and stood up for herself!

It was not a letter of outrage. It was a letter of concern. About how I was fine, but I could have skewered the roof of my mouth and pierced my tongue if I bit down wrong. Not that there's a right way to bite a bone hidden in Sweet Sue canned white chunk chicken. I was merely pointing out that there might be a problem with their quality control if a bone stowed away in a can of chicken. I did not want anyone else to get hurt. I made no threat of a lawsuit, nor did I demand reparations.

A few days later, my bones were brittle. Dry. I tucked them into a snack-size baggie, slid it into the envelope with my letter, and the label, for evidence, and sent it off to Sweet Sue.

Several weeks later, I got a letter of apology. I don't remember if it was signed by Sweet Sue herself. Perhaps she was off bonnet-shopping with Little Debbie. Maybe a minion forged her signature. But it was signed, not stamped. And enclosed was a stack of coupons for Sweet Sue products. You can bet I used them! Times were tough! I had a $17,000 house to pay for!

I bear Sweet Sue no ill will. She responded promptly and politely and kind-of-monetarily. I don't have Sweet Sue in my Mansion now. I have Swanson.

No bones about it.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Apparently, There's One Of Mrs. HM Born Every Day

Yes, you HAVE arrived at the complaint department. Today we discuss baiting and switching as practiced by the makers of Gourmet Lollipops.

Okay, first of all, I can't get too carried away. I might not even climb up on my soapbox, but just stand tall and bear myself regally for effect. It's not like these Gourmet Lollipops are made of ground truffles and gold leaf and caviar and spun sugar. They are found on the shelf of The Devil's Playground. And I think The Devil is in on the shenanigans practiced by the Original Gourmet Food Co.

Yes. I know the package is open. I opened it myself. Even Mrs. Hillbilly Mom wouldn't buy an open package of Gourmet Lollipops. Notice the label. I assumed I was getting 7 Gourmet Lollipops. You know what happens when we assume.

I even looked at the back, to make sure of what I was getting.

Uh huh. Six flavors there. So I assumed I was getting one of each, plus an extra. YES! I do know what happens when we assume. The Original Gourmet Food Co. turns out to be asses! THAT'S what happens!

Here are my suckers on display.

You might notice that some of them certainly appear similar! That's because I have THREE watermelon flavor suckers! I don't quite know when watermelon became gourmet. But I despise watermelon! Unless it's the real fruit from the vine. I hate watermelon FLAVOR. So now 3/7 of my Gourmet Lollipops are watermelon! One is wild cherry. One is MYSTERY, but it looks kind of watermelony to me. And the other two are cotton candy. That's the flavor I really wanted! Give me three of them, plus a mystery one! I also wanted the bubble gum flavor, but I have slim hope that the mystery is such.

Yes, I know that one of the cotton candy Gourmet Lollipops looks kind of like a shrunken head. I bought them a couple weeks ago, and they've been sitting on my newest rolly chair in my dark basement lair, and last night I couldn't stop hearing them calling to me. "EAT ME! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Over here! On the rolly chair in this Devil's Playground bag. EAT ME!" So I did.

You can see in that picture on the bag, there is a little window for sussing out what kind of Gourmet Lollipops you might be getting. Guess who's going to shake that bag around seven ways to Sunday next time before buying Gourmet Lollipops? That's right! Mrs. HM.

That purchase may come sooner than you think. I plan to set aside those three watermelon lollipops, and possibly the MYSTERY, and send them to The Pony in his next care package. That way I can get a new bag after eating only two more, the cotton candy, of course, and the wild cherry.

What I should have noticed, clearly on the back label...the words over the flavors:

I'm just kind of upset that the Original Gourmet Food Co. made me feel like a sucker.
Heh, heh! Get it?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Farmer H: Pain In The A$$

Farmer H had a doctor nurse practitioner appointment last week. I think it was his regular 6 month check-up. While he was there, he asked if it was time for a colonoscopy. I'm not sure what all one of Farmer H's regular appointments entail (heh, heh, get it, enTAIL) but his NP said that he's not due for a colonoscopy yet, since he had one several years ago. She DID, however, inform Farmer H that he has a hemorrhoid. That there's nothing that needs to be done to it, because it will resolve itself.

Of course Farmer H has been gimping around like he's on Death's door. More like he's curled up on Death's front porch, in a fetal position, drooling on the doormat. I hope Death has recently had a bunch of stockyard workers come a-knockin', and that they were all rockin' their work boots.

I really wish I had told Farmer H, "You ain't the first man ever to have a hemorrhoid." Just as payback, you know, for that time I was 8 month pregnant with The Pony, and was put on bed rest for 10 days, and Farmer H told me that the doctor didn't mean I couldn't still stand up and make supper and wash the dishes. "You ain't the first women ever to have a baby, you know."

Anyhoo...all the way back from the casino today, a ride which took 50% longer than necessary due to a Goodwill stop...I was a captive audience for Farmer H's details about his hemorrhoid.

"She said she didn't need to do nothin' about it. But it's not any better."

"You can get medicine for that, you know. Like those little wipes in a round container. I think they have witch hazel in them. It kind of shrinks them and takes the pain away." [Not that I'm an expert, you see, and go around flaunting my knowledge...but I think I used them when I was pregnant and possibly on bed rest and still cooking and washing dishes.]

"I guess The Devil's Playground would have them."

"Yeah. Or your pharmacy. I can't believe you didn't ask when you were getting your prescriptions."

"I was gonna ask her, but I didn't. Maybe I can get some Preparation H. I thought it would just bust and go back to normal. But it feels like there's a marble in there. And it busted yesterday.

"I know. You told me last night."

"I thought I was all done with it. I guess I can ask the pharmacist."

"Or you can just let it go, and discuss it over the table at Thanksgiving Dinner."

"You don't have to be a smartass about it."

"Oh, but I DO!"

"I was gonna have you look at it."

"Not happenin'! That and feet. Nope. Go back to the doctor--I mean NURSE PRACTITIONER and ask her if it's still okay. I'm not looking. What could I do about it, anyway?"

"Well...just see how it looks."

Again. I'm not an authority. And I'm NOT looking!

Brain Bleach.
My newest product for sale on the counter at my proposed handbasket factory.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Venters Gonna Vent

Good thing I didn't shut down the Mansion like I planned a few months ago. It's kind of time-consuming to write two blog posts a day. But hey! What have I got but time? Besides, whereas it used to be an outlet for work-related tomfoolery, now it's becoming a Farmer-H-bashing venue!

Here's the latest thorn he's jabbed in my side: Farmer H likes Chex Mix.

Oh, you might think that is no big whoop. Small potatoes. Nothing to write home about. Well, let me tell you, it's plenty to write a blog about!

When I make Chex Mix, I put it in those plastic tubs that I get at The Devil's Playground at Christmas time. This last batch included some for The Pony's care package, and we had five tubs left. I told Farmer H right away that I was sure he would eat three of them, and that I'd only get two. In all actuality, I'm pretty sure he will eat four of them, and I'll get one. But I wasn't going to put THAT assumption out there for him to chew on.

Farmer H puts his tub of Chex Mix on the end table beside his La-Z-Boy. In the evenings, he has a Diet Mountain Dew or a Strawberry Water as he watches TV, and he helps himself to some Chex Mix. This is what gets to me.

Farmer H eats Chex Mix like he eats movie popcorn. He scoops a handful, then crushes it to his mouth and chomps on it while grinding it between his lips with his palm. I am horrified when he does that in the movie theater. It's kind of noisy. I don't hear the Chex Mix from my dark basement lair, but I see the result the next day. There are crumbs of Chex on the La-Z-Boy and carpet. And the remote for the TV is so greasy that I can hardly hold onto it.

I guess Farmer H thinks Chex Mix grows on trees. He's not the one who takes a half hour to put it all together, then two hours taking it out of the oven every 15 minutes to stir it. And I've never caught him washing the pans or the empty tubs.

There. I feel better now.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Pony Is A Lucky Dog

With Halloween on the horizon, I figured it was time to send The Pony another care package. He's in San Francisco right now, at an engineering conference, due to return on Monday. I guess he'll remember to check his mail next week. Sometimes I have to remind him. Sweet Gummi Mary, you'd think my weekly letters would mean more to him!

He's getting assorted Halloween candy, some microwave Movie Theater Butter popcorn, Famous Amos cookies, some gummi bears, and a couple of Pop Tarts. Also three containers of Chex Mix. You can see one of them peeping through between the Soft Batch cookies. He used to get them at Save A Lot when I made him go in with me, rather than sitting in the back passenger seat of T-Hoe.

I figure this whole stash will last him about a week! Maybe two. He DID say he shared the last box with his neighbor in the apartment across the hall, and that she likes the same parts of the Chex Mix as he does. That means they had a bunch of Cheerios left in the bottom.

The card reminded me of Jack, so I had to get it. Inside, it says "Happy Halloween. This is the corniest card I could find."

No, Genius is not getting a Halloween care package. It's hard to mail beer.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Perhaps you've heard of the recently-coined term "manspreading." I'm pretty sure it refers to the habit men have of taking up as much room as possible on public transportation, or in waiting areas, where they sit with their legs sprawled open, leaving less space for anyone who may wish to sit in a seat next to them. Of course, they could just be advertising the goods. Who really knows? Not this old woman, that's for sure.

Anyhoo...Farmer H has his own version of manspreading. He takes up as much room in FRIG II as possible. Mostly, he takes up room that I have just cleared for a specific purpose. If I make a space on the top shelf to put my Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels when I get home from The Devil's Playground...I am sure to find it full of Diet Mountain Dew or Strawberry Water. Sometimes both.

A couple days ago, I ran out of olives. I buy them in a big jar, because I have them on the side when I eat my Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels for lunch every day. Normally, I put a new jar in FRIG II when I run out of the old jar. So the olives are nice and cold the next day at lunch time. However...I meant to restock, but I forgot. That left a nice open space, the size of an olive jar, on the left-hand side of the third shelf.

Huh! When I looked for my olives the next day, there was a small yellow plastic MARGARINE TUB in its place! I don't know the exact brand name. It was from Save A Lot, so Coburn Farms would have been part of the name. Usually, they have something clever, like It's Almost Butter. But that wasn't this one.

Anyhoo...the last I remembered using margarine or butter was before Farmer H's RetirementPartyPalooza. And we used a big tub of Country Crock Shedd's Spread, the tan rectangular container. So I was a bit startled by this yellow margarine tub. I moved it up on the second shelf, on top of the bologna Farmer H asked for but doesn't eat. When he came in for supper, I asked why he'd taken up the space I left for my olives.

"I had to have somewhere to put the butter! I had enough trouble finding it!"

"Where was it?"

"Way in the back!"

"Is it expired? I don't even remember seeing that."

"I don't know. I needed it for my toast. That I had with the chili."

Well. Way in the back, he said. Then obviously there was the same room to return it to when he was done with it. We don't just go dropping stuff in the first open space we see, all willy-nilly, like a free-for-all.
Let the record show that the Country Crock Shedd's Spread was sitting in its tan rectangular tub, on the right-hand side of the third shelf, where it's always been. About 12 inches away from where Farmer H plopped the yellow tub.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mrs. HM's Unfond Heart Needs An Absence

Farmer H is going to have breakfast with Genius in College Town on Thursday morning. Never mind that Genius has classes from 11:00 to 3:00, and must squeeze in the measurements for, and ordering of, his graduation cap and gown between the time they start at 10:00, and still get to his first class. Farmer H hopes to arrive by 8:30, pick up Genius at his apartment, and go eat.

"I can always go with him while he orders his cap and gown. So I can spend more time with him."

"I'm pretty sure you don't want to do that."

"Why? I ain't afraid of no college kids."

"Well, it will probably be a pretty busy place, and the people running it might not want you in the way."

"I don't care what they want. If I want to see my boy, I'll see my boy."

Such is the fully-retired life of Farmer H. He seems to turn up at the most inopportune times. Like this morning, in the Mansion kitchen.

I had just made a big roaster pan of potatoes and carrots and onions, sprinkled with Hidden Valley Ranch Dip powder, and draped with bacon, for our suppers the next several days. Had just slid it into the oven, washed up the dishes that appeared last night after I did the supper dishes, and plopped down in the La-Z-Boy with Shiba to check in on the innernets before my shower and town trip.

Well! Here came Farmer H across the front yard on his Gator. I heard him enter the kitchen. Heard the door of FRIG II open and close. The microwave door with two drawer handles acting as openers also opened and closed. I heard a scraping noise. Then Farmer H clomped over to the long couch carrying a plate of steaming chili dogs.

I swear, the Dawn dish soap Hawaiian Pineapple suds were not yet evaporated from around the sink drain! I had not even hit the POWER button on Shiba! It was 10:59 a.m.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not one to throw stones at early eaters. She, herself, spent over 10 years feasting at the crack of 10:53 a.m. with members of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank. However, now that her circadian clock has reset, she doesn't lunch until 1:00 or 2:00. Which is neither here nor there, but she most certainly does not want dirty dishes like a quart Chinese soup container coated with chili lining the counter so soon after she has cleaned up the previous dirty dishes lining the counter.

Let's hope that Genius enjoys the one-on-one time with Farmer H. And that Mrs. HM gets out of one dishwashing session while Farmer H is away.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Still Smells As Sweet

I've been experiencing a little slump lately on the scratch-off tickets. Yesterday, though, I had two really nice winners. So nice, in fact, that I told Farmer H that I wasn't going to cash them in just yet. I usually cash them out and put that money in my gambling stake in my casino purse.

"I don't think I'll cash these tickets just yet. I always do that, and then I think, 'I want to buy some tickets. I'll just take this out, and then I can put it back when I win.' Except I haven't been winning like usual! I did that last week, a little at a time, and I spent that one big ticket I had! Since we're going to the casino on Sunday, I want to have this money to take. So I think I'll just put these two tickets in my gambling purse, and cash them out on Saturday."

"Yeah. That's a good idea. Or you'll go through it before Sunday."

"I know! After winning with these two today...what are the odds I'm going to get good winners like that tomorrow?"

"Slim to none."


So...last night, I put my two winners in my gambling purse when I came upstairs. However...today when I left for town, I figured I'd take them along and cash them. NOT to buy tickets with. But because I was headed over to the main post office, and going right by one of the two stores (Waterside Mart) that will cash the big tickets.

I had a plan in my head, to save this money for Sunday, but have it all ready in paper money, and not worry about cashing it in later. I also had a plan to get the two tickets I send Genius every week, and a couple for myself. The small tickets. Five dollar tickets, not the big Golden Ticket that wins me the high dollars.

When I was cashing the other big winner at the gas station chicken store, the Lady Owner was standing there with the Man Owner while he rang up my soda and got my two tickets out of the case. She made some small talk about the new Christmas tickets that just came out yesterday. I got the $5 one, and commented that it was hard to scratch. She asked me about the Sugar Cookies ticket. It's a $2 ticket, and it smells like Sugar Cookies! (In the past, Missouri has had bacon tickets, and chocolate tickets, and peppermint tickets!) Anyhoo...I told her I'd never tried the Sugar Cookies ticket. And she reached into the counter and GAVE ME ONE FOR FREE!!!

Ain't it SWEET? And it smells delicious!

Of course, when I got home, I scratched my tickets. They were losers. Except for THIS FREE SUGAR COOKIES TICKET! It won two dollars. Tomorrow, I'm taking it back and getting one to send Genius along with his other two, which are already in his envelope with his $6 Chinese food money.

Let the record show that I cashed in my big winners, and I stashed the money in my gambling purse. It is tucked away, safe and sound, the full amount, awaiting Sunday's casino excursion. Where I'm sure it will be lost way quicker than frittering away all week on scratchers.

Monday, October 16, 2017

How Does He THINK The Magic Happens?

Thank the Gummi Mary I have Farmer H here to take care of me 24/7/365, now that he's fully retired. I don't know how I've managed to survive on my own all these many months that I've been rattling around the Mansion, unsupervised.

Yesterday, I made a pot of chili. I think everybody had that idea, what with the recent cool snap due to last for three days. At least everybody who was shopping at Save A Lot after church. You'd think that I, as a non-churchgoer with absolutely nothing on my weekly schedule, could choose a better time to pick up groceries. But I always seem to be there at that time.

A young couple (obviously Millennials) crowded me right out of the chili bean section, discussing what kind of beans they wanted in their chili. Once they moved on, I slunk back to that area, only to be personal-space-violated by a dad (Gen X, I'm thinking) with a young daughter and younger son. He must have been hosting a party, or making enough to last the rest of the month. That guy loaded his cart with chili makings. I think he had 8 cans of chili beans!

Anyhoo...I made the chili, and it was one of those magical times that it was perfect the first time. Only one taste was needed after I added dashes of Worcestershire, steak sauce, Heinz 57, hickory barbecue sauce, ketchup, minced garlic, ground black pepper, Frank's RedHot Wings Sauce to my tomato sauce, chili powder packet, hamburger, onions, chili beans, Cowboy Billy's Baked Beans (a Save A Lot brand), great northern beans, and blackeyed peas. YUM! Only one taste was needed, but I had to sample it about 20 more times. It was PERFECT!

Since it was only 2:00, I put the pot of chili in FRIG II until supper. Farmer H declared that he would warm it up when he was ready, since he was fiddling around with one or another of his projects. When I came in from walking, he had microwaved his chili and made himself some toast. Yes. Toast. Wonder Bread sandwich slices in the toaster, which he used while it was sitting UNDER the cabinets. A faux pas which could have burned the Mansion down, in my Aunt Josephine from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events mind.

Anyhoo...I told Farmer H that I was in the middle of my internetting, and would be back up to warm my chili later. And I was. As I went through the living room, where he was watching one of his Alaska homesteading shows...I asked about the chili. He said it was great. I said I was going to warm mine in a pan. I like it hot, and it seems to me like a pan does the job more thoroughly than a microwave.

As I used the dipper to move chili from the big pot to a saucepan, I noticed that the dipper was clean. And there was no evidence of the big slotted spoon that Farmer H usually uses to keep from getting JUICE in his chili bowl. Yes. Farmer H prefers his chili without juice. Just like his vegetable beef soup. All I saw on the counter was a bowl and a spoon. A regular spoon.

"How did you get your chili out of the pan?"

"With a spoon."

"Just a regular spoon? The slotted one was in the clean sink. And the dipper was in the drawer."

"Just a regular spoon. It was fine."

Can you imagine how long that must have taken, dipping chili out of a pot and into a bowl with a regular eating spoon? At least we know that he got all meat and beans, and none of that pesky juice!

Anyhoo...I turned on the burner and ran a sink of hot water to wash Farmer H's bowl and my pan when it was ready. And to fill my cup that I eat my chili out of with hot water, so it could sit and get warm, and not cool off my chili when I ladled it in. With a dipper, by cracky!

"Do you have the burner on? I smell something. Something hot. Did you turn the burner on?"

"Yes. That's how you warm chili in a pan. On the burner. I told you I was doing that."

"Oh. I thought something was burning. I didn't want it to be a fire."

Well. Who knows WHAT might have happened to me, warming my chili in a pan on the burner, if Farmer H was...oh...I don't know...OUTSIDE...or maybe even GONE TO GOODWILL!

Good thing he was here to alert me that I had the burner on while I was warming my chili.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Is ANYTHING Real Any More?

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a well-known skeptic. Maybe not so well-known...but definitely a skeptic. She's a show me kind of gal from the Show-Me State. In fact, Mrs. HM herself used to doubt the existence of paranormal manifestations claimed by ghost hunters or just plain crazy people, as Mrs. HM thought of them in the privacy of her own skull. Until she saw a headless man in her very own basement, and an unexplained entity in a high school gym where she worked.

It's also no secret that Mrs. HM is a fan of reality TV. On occasion, she has watched the show Hoarders. It's not a favorite. Not a must-see kind of show for her. But this morning, it was on as she was getting ready to leave for town, and simultaneously checking her checking balance and recent transactions on the automated phone line.

WAIT A MINUTE! Somewhere along the lines of cleaning out a house for an old lady who had a $10,000 investment in Christmas ornaments ruined by mouse pee, and an infestation of an estimated 1000 mice living inside her refrigerator...workers were carrying jugs of urine out of the house and standing them in rows on the lawn.


Seriously. It's not that I can't believe an old lady would pee in a gallon water jug because her plumbing no longer works. It's just that the show said there were 100 gallons of urine removed from the bathroom. It was in clear plastic jugs, like water jugs, kind of rectangular in shape, with a flat plastic strap for carrying. I don't doubt that a mentally ill old lady might forget to throw out her urine. Or that she might put it in those water jugs for lack of a better system. But here's the thing: EVERY JUG OF URINE WAS THE EXACT SAME SHADE OF YELLOW!

At first, I admit that I just thought, "Sweet Gummi Mary, old lady! Hydrate yourself! That's kind of a dark color, and you surely need more fluids." Then, as more and more jugs came out to be stacked beside the first 8 or 10...I noticed that they were all EXACTLY THE SAME SHADE OF YELLOW! No way! I call shenanigans! That pee had to have been harvested over at least 100 days. No way was she taking in the same amount of fluids and putting out the same amount of urine. Those yellows should have varied!

Here's my theory. I saw one of the "volunteer" or paid clean-up crew carry out two jugs, set them down, and go over and vomit between two parked cars. I'm guessing that there must be some kind of rule about your Average Joe carrying body fluids around in a gallon jug. Or that the workers decided they had to draw the line on toting pee. I think the show must have filled those gallon jugs with something else (with or without the knowledge of the workers), to simulate pee, in order to film the helpers carrying them out.

Maybe things like this are what prompt Farmer H to call me a conspiracy theorist.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Even Santa Has His Limits

Farmer H has always been good with kids. His own kids may beg to differ, but even though he is sometimes a strict disciplinarian, Farmer H has a way with youth.

Every year he plays Santa for a local pre-school group at a local high school. He also used to take a day off work and do it for the boys' daycare facility. Farmer H spends his own money (okay, some of our household money, earmarked for such purchases) on little gifts that he stashes in his Santa bag. He has the full suit, and a fake beard, and some Santa-looking glasses that he perches on his nose. It's an event he looks forward to.

Farmer H also attends his grandkids' (from pre-school age to high school senior) sporting events and school programs. He visits them regularly, and entertains them every now and then with Barry the mini pony, Billy the goat, and Poolio the...um...pool. That's not to say that he's a push-over. If he picks you up and says you'll get to do the fun things after helping him...you'd better come prepared to help him! No playing with your phone or video games, no heavy sighing or whining. If he says to pick up sticks (his favorite chore to dish out to young 'uns), you'd better pick up sticks without giving him any lip. Or you won't get your fun activity, you will instead be taken back home with a lecture about how it hurts him more than it hurts you.

That said...about a month ago, when we had Farmer H's RetirementPartyPalooza, some damage occurred to one of Farmer H's prize driftwood lawn decorations.

As you can see, this is no small lawn decoration. Okay. It's not much of a lawn decoration at all in my eyes, but Farmer H likes such things, and spares no effort in harvesting them from around Hillmomba. This one looks more like a whole tree root system, and I imagine it came from down at the low water bridge, transported most likely by one of Farmer H's tractors. He hasn't fully landscaped this side of the Mansion, because it's where the chickens used to hang out and take cover under the porch when it rained. Otherwise, there'd be some pricey lava rock there instead of the dry pebbly dirt.

Farmer H knows The Perpetrator. In fact, The Perpetrator was here only the day before, supposedly helping, but more mischief-seeking instead, according to Farmer H. In fact, The Perpetrator had jumped up onto several tree limbs around the BARn and Shackytown area, swinging on them until they broke off. The Perpetrator was given a safety lecture about getting the wrong limb one of these days, and being conked on the head and knocked unconscious. By the limb. Not by Farmer H. There are tree limbs enough to spare in Hillmomba. His precious driftwood, though, not so much.

"I seen it coming. They was all out at the side of the house, goofing around, and The Perpetrator got to showing off, and jumped up on my stump and JUMPED UP AND DOWN! I knew it was going to break, but I didn't say nothin', because everybody was there. The Perpetrator knows better. We already had a talking-to about not jumping on tree limbs. After it happened, The Perpetrator looked around, kind of sly. The Perpetrator knew it was wrong."

I don't know if Farmer H has since addressed this behavior with The Perpetrator, whose age has not yet reached double digits.

I have a feeling Santa keeps a mental list, and doesn't need to check it twice.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Crap Sandwich Served Up On A Flimsy Paper Plate

Friday the 13th has not been kind to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!

I left for town to mail the boys' weekly letters at the main post office. I got there in plenty of time. During my travels, I heard NO good songs on the radio. The parking lots of Waterside Mart and Casey's were full to the brim, so I had to park all cattywompus down by the drive-thru exit at Waterside Mart, and at the edge of the grass under the sign where the Casey's workers park. I found no pennies, despite stopping at five different establishments. AND I won ZERO dollars on my scratch-off tickets!

In contrast, Farmer H found TWO pennies today! Uh huh. A 2015 and a 1984. He found one of them at the CASEY'S where I usually stop when I go to the bank. I didn't go out to that one today. But it seems there was a penny waiting for me, and FARMER H snagged it! The other penny, he found inside a car dealer's building.

"I went in to talk to somebody, and there it was, right on the floor by his desk. I leaned over and picked it up! He didn't say nothin'."

Of course not. Because pennies are not special to other people like they are to Mrs. HM. I can't call that one my rightful penny, though, because I don't hang out at car lots. I DID tell Farmer H to go to that one, though! He's looking for a cheap car for our neighbor Timmy. I guess between that, and the good deed Farmer H did yesterday by driving a strange woman 12 miles to the substance abuse treatment center, he was due for some Even Stevening.

I felt like that episode of Seinfeld, "The Opposite," where Elaine finds herself turning into George.

Maybe Farmer H should have bought my lottery tickets for me.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

There Are Limits To Mrs. HM's Magnanimosity

Lest you think Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a ray of sunshine beaming over a unicorn ranch where fluffy kittens frolic through fields of cotton candy...I have my moments.

I don't go out of my way to be mean to people. Sure, I use situations to teach them lessons. But there's no malice aforethought.

Today, for instance, a car was waiting to get out of a gas station parking lot on my right, and onto the road. I was stopped at a light, fourth car back. I could have conceivably held my position when the light turned, and let that car out and into my line of traffic. It would have been simple. Just give the magnanimous wave. A nod. Be a good samaritan. Notice that warm feeling of helping others emanating from behind my liver.


Behind me were five cars waiting. Waiting for that light to turn, same as I. Was it worth their ire to let ONE car out? To possibly miss the light myself, and at the very best scenario for me, get through the light while those behind me did not?

I had to think this one out. Make one driver happy, make five drivers mad. OR...make one driver think I was a rumpus-hole, make five drivers pump their fist in the air and yell, "Right on!"

The needs of the few DO NOT outweigh the needs of the many.

Same as in a classroom. As much as you want to have patience with the troubled youth demanding your attention with attention-seeking behaviors...the rest of the class deserves to be educated. The squeaky wheel must take a back seat sometimes, so the average kids can learn.

I did not let that car out. I went through the light. I saw in my mirror that NONE of the other five cars behind me let that car out, either. A semi truck behind them did, or was quite possibly just slow moving forward while going through the gears.

Let the record show that there is an alley on the other side of that gas station parking lot that takes you around the block, to come out on the same road, a bit farther back from the stoplight. That's what I'd have done. But I don't go to that gas station.

It's too hard to get out.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Once A Teacher...Always A Teacher

I had to teach someone a lesson today. A DRIVING lesson! More specifically, he was treated to Speed Limit Guided Practice.

There I was, waiting for a turn at the roundabout. It's not a very high traffic area, this roundabout. The high school is down one road, and the hospital nobody goes to is on another, and the bowling alley on a third, and the highway entrance/exit roads on the fourth. Normally, I might have to brake and wait for a truck coming off the highway. Or maybe a random car going partway around from the school road to the hospital road that continues to town, going right beside the gas station chicken store.

Today, that roundabout looked like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris! So many cars and trucks, coming from all roads! I was stopped, waiting for a lull so I could go from the hospital road to the school road, in order to head from Hillmomba to the next town and the main post office. I got my chance as a semi truck came around, and took the hospital road. With his trailer blocking other traffic from entering the roundabout from the bowling alley road, I scooted T-Hoe partway around and coasted down the school road.

Let the record show that the speed limit on that road is 30 mph. Gravity was pulling T-Hoe along at 35 mph. I can usually coast at that speed almost the entire length of that school road section, until the uphill part right before the stop sign at the outer road that runs past the cemetery and the hole-in-the-wall steak restaurant. Usually, I do. Since I'm not going 10 mph over the speed limit, you know. Only five.

All at once, a maroon minivan appeared in T-Hoe's rearview mirror. Very close. I daresay that object was even closer than it appeared. I doubt you could have fit a frog hair between its front bumper and T-Hoe's rear one. Well. This would not do. I did not feel safe at that speed with a tailgater encroaching on T-Hoe's personal bubble automobile space. There was nothing to do but slow down to the actual speed limit! That's 30 mph. Not a smidgen over. If Tailgater didn't like following me at 35 mph, let's see how he liked following me at 30 mph!

Not so much, I think. He backed off a car length. Which was as good as a victory for me. To celebrate, I continued at the exact 45 mph speed limit on the out road.

I think Tailgater was still going 30 mph. I could hardly see him in the mirror any more. But it looked like he had a car on his bumper.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Oh, The Places I Went!

Today was a jam-packed errand day, due to my unfortunate illness yesterday. I had business to do at Save A Lot, Country Mart, the dead mouse smelling post office, The Devil's Playground, the bank (drive-thru AND lobby counter), The Devil's Playground South, Casey's, and the gas station chicken store.

Of course there were incidents and accidents along the way. I'll only tell you about my most favorite one today. I had brains in my head, and feet in my shoes, and I steered myself in the direction of booze!

Now don't go thinking Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is off the wagon. I wasn't intentionally steering myself in the direction of booze. The booze was just there, where I was steering myself. Steering my Devil's Playground cart/walker, actually. They have moved all the merchandise to different aisles. I am always forgetting now where to find my standard staples. Today I was looking for nuts. Nuts to go in Chex Mix, and nuts to go in a different treat that may or may not be mentioned here or there.

The nuts used to be on the candy aisle. I could have easily grabbed them when I got some treats to send The Pony in a care package this month. But no. The Devil has moved  his nuts. I was headed down the chip aisle, oblivious to the pretzel twists that were also on my list, having forgotten that I forgot them in Save A Lot, my usual pretzel store. There they were! The Devil's nuts! They're on a main aisle now. One that runs straight back from the door at the front of the Playground, toward the Employee's Only door at the back.

There I was, trying to grab the appropriate Devil's nuts, when a woman wheeled her cart around the center display in that main aisle. I don't know why The Devil has to clog up the main thoroughfares of his Playground, but he does. I was over as far as I could get to the right. I was practically touching The Devil's nuts. I waited for her to get by so I could move forward and away from the shelves so I could get a good look at the low nuts, the ones almost on the ground.

I think perhaps I, or that woman, and quite possible I AND that woman, let out a sigh of exasperation, and possibly a semi eye-roll at the other. There was barely enough room for two cart/walkers to pass. Thank the Gummi Mary it wasn't a beeper cart playing chicken with me! Anyhoo...I stayed put, against The Devil's nuts, and That Woman wheeled her cart/walker past me.


That Woman had a flat box that might have held shelves or a bookcase or a little table. You know, the put-together furniture that comes in a flat, rectangular box. She had put it crossways in her cart, not on the bottom shelf. It was hanging out a bit over the right-hand side of her cart. And it HIT A 30-PACK OF BUSCH BEER! The giant cube in bright orange cardboard! For the Halloween holiday, I imagine.

The Busch was felled by That woman! It tumbled off the top of the display, and landed on a corner, and split partway open, cans of Busch rolling, cans of Busch spurting beer like mini fountains! It was a glorious sight to see!

"I'm getting out of here," I told That Woman. Essentially declaring that it was not MY fault. Which it wasn't. She stayed at the scene of the accident. Lucky for the other shoppers, the carnage was lodged between the big pallet displays in the middle of that main aisle. There was still room on each side to continue cart/walker pushing. If that dang woman had been keeping to the right like normal, on the divided highway of the main aisle, she wouldn't even have been on my side, and the disaster would have been avoided.

Anyhoo...a stockboy came by. That's the beauty of smashing a 30-pack of Busch right in front of the Employee's Only door. "Oh. I think you're the one who helped me last time I made a mess!" said That Woman as the stockboy called for backup on his radio. Seeing as how she was taking responsibility, I turned my cart around to head back past her, on the way up front to the checkout.

"She was trying not to hit me. So she wasn't being reckless."

"It was just this box sticking out of my cart. I forgot about it."

Stockboy didn't seem impressed. I left them there with several spraying fountains of Busch at their feet. I sent a text to Farmer H telling him of the carnage. He was quite concerned about my safety.

"Get any on you?"

No. I did not. Which made it the perfect bloggable accident.

Monday, October 9, 2017

How Many Sick Days Does A Retiree Get?

I've been a little under the weather today. No. That's not right. I've been sick as a dog! Like when poor Puppy Jack was shaking and vomiting foam and wouldn't come out from under the first building on Shackytown Boulevard, that time we think he ate a bad frog.

I didn't eat a bad frog. I might have gotten a bad burger at the casino, though it was delicious at the time. Or a bad pizza from Pizza Hut's $7.99 special. Whatever it was nearly put me out of commission. It DID prevent me from driving to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke and lottery tickets. So you KNOW I ain't a-woofin'! I was really sick.

Last night I kind of had an inkling of what was to come. My head got all stuffed up and I couldn't breathe out my nose very well and my eyes burned. I thought it was just the after-effects of all that cigarette and cigar smoke in the casino. I'm very careful to wash my hands and not touch my face while I'm there. I'm not picking up swine flu or chicken flu or HN51 or whatever variety of flu is going around. No siree, Bob!

I fell asleep in my OPC (Old People Chair) and woke up at 2:00 a.m. with a headache over my eyes. My neck kind of hurt, too, so I figured I slept on it wrong. This morning I still had the headache, only worse. I used some nasal spray, and blew a lot of clear snot out of my nose. A hot shower made my head almost tolerable for about an hour, but it did nothing for my nausea. I NEVER have nausea. But today, I did.

That's the main reason I didn't get my 44 oz Diet Coke. Nausea. I forced myself to eat a little pack of peanut butter crackers. That didn't make it better or worse. I kept my medicine down. That was the main concern. Around 2:00, I settled in front of my New Delly with a regular lunch of my Chicken Bacon Ranch pinwheels. Wouldn't you know it? I'd finally found ACTUAL Chicken Bacon Ranch pinwheels, only two days past their expiration date, and I couldn't truly enjoy them!

I had a 20 oz bottle of Diet Coke (the hard stuff) and an acetaminophen. Within an hour, I felt slightly better. No walk tonight for me. The dogs may miss their snack. Farmer H is having leftover Pizza Hut for his supper. We'll see if he catches anything...

This being sick is not much fun. It doesn't seem like an actual cold. Maybe a 24-hour thing. I hope I'm on the road to recovery. I might have to break out another 20 oz Diet Coke and pour it over ice from FRIG II and add my Great Value Sugar Free Cherry Limeade powder. Just so I don't go through withdrawal or anything.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Only Driven Once, By A Little Old Lady From Hillmomba

I fear that I am a bit remiss in keeping you informed of news from The Devil's Playground. Now that I'm retired, it seems that I'm in there two or three times a week. No wonder my mom never had time to do anything. At least I'm not beloved by all who ever encountered me, and I don't have the gift of gab (in person) like Mom.

The latest news is actually a couple weeks old. And it's not from within the confines of the Playground proper, nor even on the wrong-way harridan parking aisles out front. Oh, it STARTED on the parking lot all right.

There I was, stopped lawfully at a stop sign at the people-crossing area by the grocery-end doors. While I waited on slow-walkers, a car pulled out from the aisle and headed across the main Devil's Playground thoroughfare ahead of me. It, too, dutifully stopped at the next crosswalk stop sign.

This car was a white KIA Soul. The license plate read EDNA-1. Like Edna had a fleet! Edna drove on past the McDonald's entrance, to the stoplight across from the Burger King. She got in the left turn lane like T-Hoe, to head toward Hillmomba. As we puttered lawfully along, I noticed that T-Hoe's speedometer barely reached 20 mph. The speed limit in that area is 30. NOBODY drives even 30 there. At least 35, but mostly 40, is the unofficial rate of speed there in front of the closed-down, for-sale Sonic, and the day-old bread store that is now a pawn shop.

As we crossed that bridge when we came to it, the one over the river where my former colleague, Mrs. Not-A-Cook's, son was shown on the St. Louis evening news for skipping school and taking a canoe and needing rescue during flooding...Edna kicked that KIA into high gear and hit 30 mph. In a 45 mph zone.

T-Hoe chased the Soul at low speed, past the cemetery (HI MOM), past the car dealer where Genius traded his Ford Ranger for a Mercury Mariner, onto the newest section of road behind Hillmomba High School. Here, Edna put her pedal to the metal, and soared to speeds of 38 mph in a 30 mph zone. Despite Genius's former Robot Team adviser telling the kids that the police have the attitude, "Nine, you're fine. Ten, you're mine!" when they clock cars over the speed limit...on this section they do not. They are lurking often, in their black-and-whites, behind the brush, on little concrete side slabs to nowhere. Edna needed to slow her speedy rumpus down!

And just as I feared, but was lawfully prepared for in T-Hoe...here came a black-and-white around the roundabout! Good thing Edna had braked for the extended turn. Then she went back to her under-the-limit speeds the rest of the way to town, past the hospital, past the fire station, past the (other) cemetery, past the can-opener factory, past the used car lot with the pink elephant wearing sunglasses and the giant rooster mounted on the roof of a Cadillac, past the gas station chicken store, and out of my life.

Sweet Gummi Mary! What possessed Edna to drive like that? Was she unfamiliar with the road? Was it a case of not knowing it like the back of her hand? Because it seemed to me that Edna knew the road like the sole of a stranger's foot.

Was Edna blinged-out too heavy, taking a fashion cue from those commercials for KIAs before the movie at the local four-plex? Did she have too many fat hamster buddies cruising with her?

Let the record show that I did not want Edna driving faster than made her comfortable. But I had five cars lined up behind me. Since T-Hoe has a wider profile than a KIA, those other drivers no doubt thought I was the one slowing them down, unable to see around me (let's make that see around T-Hoe!) to assess what the hold-up was.

I'll never know now. I guess Edna might still be driving. She was probably getting pretty good gas mileage.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Surprise Attack

Whew! I risked life and limb today to get some cash from the ATM.

The weather is a cypher lately. The temperature was 84 degrees by 11:30 a.m., and the winds were whipping at too-goshdarn-many miles per hour. It's the kind of day that would blow the hair right off of your head. As I facetiously told my new superintendent one morning, only to become mortified when my freshman class informed me that "He wears a piece, you know."

Farmer H is taking me to the casino on Sunday, so I can use my $35 of free play, and my $20 food coupon. Of course he needs money for playing (or scamming to spend later on Goodwill treasures). I used to give him some of my own casino bankroll, but that proved to be money that did not reap a profit on my investment. So now I give him cash out of the common fund.

As I pulled up to the ATM, T-Hoe was pelted with pine cones! It was like I was in a snowball fight with Will Ferrell in ELF. Sprigs of pine stuck under T-Hoe's windshield wipers, but by the time I was situated along the back alley where I make my exit, in order to take picture...they were gone. Gone with the wind.

I got a picture of the culprit and the pine cones, though! Notice that there are none in the drive-up area right beside the ATM. That's because they bounced off of T-Hoe and landed back there! These were not just your every-day, run-of-the-mill pine cones that drop from the tree. They were missiles!

I haven't checked T-Hoe's flanks for indentations. I'm pretty sure my insurance doesn't cover pine cone damage. They're probably still bitter over last year's hail damage claims from all of our autos and the house and garage roofs.

Never a dull moment in Hillmomba.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Jack, A Dog Under Construction

Our little Jack has been getting into mischief lately. Thank the Gummi Mary he has been able to fortify himself with energy from Farmer H's bacon sandwich, served up to him all proper on a paper plate on the Gator seat.

Farmer H has a big project going right now: his freight container garage. The concrete for piers to set the two containers on was poured a couple weeks ago, and a crane came and positioned the freight containers on them. Thursday, the concrete workers came back to pour the floor. Farmer H spent the morning and a bit of afternoon babysitting that floor, lest Jack and Juno and Copper Jack decide to leave their paw prints for eternity.

Farmer H is all about old-school handyman techniques. When he used to change the oil in the vehicles himself, he thought nothing of pouring the old oil out on the ground. He burns the rubber and plastic coating off wire in order to sell it to the junk man. He's been known to dispose of the old kitchen cabinets from my $17,000 house in town in our sinkhole at the front of the Mansion property. He's also tossed a dead possum down that sinkhole. He pretty much looks at it like it's nature's wastebasket.

I try to tell him that whatever goes down that sinkhole goes into the groundwater. That's what made the sinkhole in the first place. We have several on the property, some filled in with eroded soil, and a couple, like the big one, that you can hear a distant splash if you drop a rock down in it. After all these years of living out here (19 so far!), with Genius and The Pony growing from toddlers to curious boys to tweens to young adults...Farmer H has decided that the sinkhole is now a safety issue, and it's his mission to fill it in. He hauls trimmed tree limbs and dirt and all manner of stuff over to it and dumps it in.

Let the record show that it's a fairly large depression. Not a big gaping hole. The hole part is just a couple of feet across. The depression part is a little bigger than our garage. Farmer H has been letting the concrete truck dump its leftover gunk into the sinkhole. Mainly the depression part. Which brings us to Jack's latest adventure. Farmer H told me about it yesterday evening.

"The concrete guy was dumping what little bit of concrete was left. Jack ran out in it. That dog is stupid! It was halfway up his legs. He just kept walking through it. His p*cker was draggin' in it! Good thing he came out before it hardened." (Pretty sure he was talking about the CONCRETE!)

"Is he okay? Did the concrete come off?"

"Yeah, he ran around in the grass, and most of it fell off. He's fine now. You can't even tell."

I guess it's a good thing Farmer H spent his time babysitting the concrete floor until the finishers got it smoothed out and polished.

I have a feeling Jack might be re-introduced to Mr. Shocky, now that Farmer H is here all the time to supervise him.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

PLEASE Allow Me To Share With You

I feel like I really must share with you what it's like to be with Farmer H 24/7/365/eternity.

"There, there now, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom," you might say if you were right here beside me, patting me on the forearm, speaking in hushed tones like you do in times of adversity. "You don't have to tell us all the details. Really. No, REALLY! I mean it! Shut your trap already! We don't want to hear about it! It's the stuff nightmares are made of!" At this point, you might be gripping my forearm with your talon-like fingers, imploring for all that is not NOT-HEAVENLY for me to stop, just short of putting a fork in me to make me realize that I'm done.

Heh, heh. You can't stop Mrs. Hillbilly Mom so easily. Especially through the innernets.

This one is fairly minor as my Farmer H experiences go. Just a drop in the bucket, not the full contents of the water tank (that the --Jo Bradleys swim in) for the Cannonball at The Shady Rest Hotel.

Today, Farmer H asked me to pick up some lunch for him!


Cue that stabby musical score.

Let the record show that I make a trip to town every day. I don't mind to bring something back to my Sweet Baboo. I usually tell him when I'm leaving, and ask if he wants anything. Even when he is nowhere around, and could be at that very moment in flagrante delicto with some brazen hussy across the state. Since he has retired, I figure that Farmer H knows I make a trip to town every day, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. I don't always ask, because the response has, for the most part, been, "Nothing I can think of." Because Farmer H himself often takes himself out to breakfast at the Country Mart deli, and makes numerous trips to town himself. We are only 5 miles and 10 minutes out of civilization.

Today, Farmer H sent me a text at 11:33 a.m.

"On your way home would you bring me a #4 lunch meal from Burger King they are under 500"

That was a bit unusual. Farmer H normally doesn't expect me to go out of my way for his lunch. He had been in the house earlier, and knew I was running behind. As much as a retiree with absolutely nothing to do CAN run behind. I'd already told him twice that I had nothing else to do today. Just go to town for my soda and lottery. Burger King is one town over. An extra four miles or so. Nothing impossible. Just out of my way. I texted him back.

"OK. I will go over to Burger King. Not in the shower yet. Hope you don't starve."

Knowing Farmer H like I do, I figured he meant that the meal was under $5. Not under $500, which would not impress me. Because Farmer H is known for eating a meal at the fast food establishments around his workplace all these past 23 years, some of them using a different number configuration for different meals than the fast food establishments in Hillmomba...I called him on the way to town around 12:15.

"So you asked for a #4? A lunch special? What is in that? Just in case the numbers are different."

"It's a chicken sandwich and a double cheeseburger. With fries."

"It's a meal. So you get a soda? I guess you want Diet Coke?"


I got some tickets (HOS has a birthday coming up on Saturday, so they weren't all for me today) and then headed over to Burger King before getting my magical elixir. No need for my 44 oz Diet Coke to get hot and unfizzy. Farmer H's meal could cool off instead. After all, he was getting it delivered to him, and at no cost to his weekly allowance.

At the Burger King drive-thru, I ordered the #4 lunch special with a Diet Coke. The girl said okay, like that was really a thing. But I didn't see it on the menu, and my total was $8.17.

"Is that the lunch special? Because my husband told me it's under five dollars."

"We don't have anything under five dollars for the lunch special."

"What exactly is in that #4? He said it was a chicken sandwich and a double cheeseburger."

"The #4 is a Whopper."

"No. That won't do. I guess he was confused. Can I get a meal with a chicken sandwich and a cheeseburger?"

"You can get the two-sandwich special. You can get a chicken sandwich and a cheeseburger for that, but it's six dollars."

"OK. I'll do that. It's not the price that's a thing. I just want to get the right food he asked for."

You may know by now that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom hates to stand out. She would be BAAing along with all the other sheep, happy not to make waves, perhaps thinking to herself, "I'm NOT giving up MY wool!" but otherwise going along with the herd for shearing. If she was a lemming, she would most likely go right over the edge of the cliff with the rest of them, then whirl around on the way down and scrabble at the crumbling limestone rocks with her disturbingly human-hand-like lemming feet.

I bought the chicken sandwich and cheeseburger for over six dollars (cheese on the chicken sandwich) and took it home to Farmer H. Of course I let him know that Burger King had never heard of such a lunch special, and that I'd made a fool of myself to a twenty-something fast food worker while trying to get him what he'd asked for.

"What do you mean they don't have it? I get it all the time."


"No. In HILLMOMBA. They have FIVE of those specials. All for four dollars."

"There is no Burger King in Hillmomba. I had to drive all the way to Next Town."

"Oh. I thought it was a Burger King. What is that one there?"

"You must mean HARDEE'S. That would have been so much easier. It's right there. And cheaper."

"Well. I'm sorry. I was confused."

"You don't have a soda now. It didn't come with one. I doubt it even has fries."

"That's okay. I have soda in the BARn. I can do without fries."

Attention to detail was never one of Farmer H's strong points. You'd think he could at least learn, over a 23-year span, the name of the burger restaurant in the town we live on the outskirts of.

Welcome to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's new reality.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Left Hand Takes A Day Off, Leaving The Right Hands Flapping In Confusion

It's not like I'm a stranger. I have been a regular monthly visitor (sometimes multiple visits per month) to our local credit union. We started our accounts there when it was actually a telephone employees' credit union, way back when my dad worked for the phone company. It's not like I'm some fly-by-night upstart trying to launder money.

It's that time of year to roll over The Pony's certificate of deposit. I move money into his readily accessible account, for rent-paying, what little fees aren't covered by his scholarship, and his monthly allowance. Last year, the employees at the CU said the way to do that was cash out the CD and issue a new one in the new amount. Fine by me. I'm not a banker. We couldn't find the original CD, but they said that was fine, so I went in and signed a copy and they issued a new one and gave it to me. Not a big deal. I had asked about it while in the office, called a day ahead, and walked in to find it ready and waiting.

I did the same thing this year. Asked about taking money out. The girl at the window looked stricken. She went to ask the head lady at a desk in the back. I could see the whole interaction, and hear it, too. Let the record show that Head Lady is not a charmer. The old head lady retired this year. She was a sweetie. This current HL was not a favorite of my mom's. In fact, Mom resigned her unpaid position on the board of the CU because she didn't want to be around this current HL. I never knew what her beef was, but it becomes more apparent every time I go in.

The Window Gal and Head Lady were bantering about the date on the CD. It was October 1st. Let the record show that October 1st was a Sunday. The CU doesn't do business on Sundays. Last year I called one day too early to switch out the CD. I was told that you don't have to do it ON the day, but you have a 10-day grace period. See there? NOW I was standing in the office asking about it on Tuesday the 2nd, when the first date I could have done anything about that CD was Sunday the 1st.

Anyhoo...they agreed that I had time. Window Gal wrote the dates on a printout for me to take home. I discussed the matter with Farmer H, we looked at a projected Pony budget, and decided upon the amount to transfer. Let the record show that Genius was always consulted on his budget, and gave accurate projections, but that The Pony is not good with a budget, either spending double or not spending at all over certain periods. So it's best to keep his finances under tight rein, and steer him where he needs to go, because he won't see it for himself, jumping from cotton-candy cloud to marshmallow hill, his vision fogged by unicorn farts.

I called the office on Tuesday the 3rd, and got School Pal, a former classmate of Genius, who has worked there for a couple years, has graduated with a four-year degree, and is rumored to be on course for the head lady position at the CU. School Pal knew exactly what I was talking about. He said to give him a bit to get it ready, and I told him I'd drop by before noon the next day. Which was TODAY, Wednesday the 4th.

When I got there, nobody was manning the two glass-covered windows in the battlements of their fortress. I stepped up to one, and the Head Lady herself came to help me. I could hear School Pal on the phone at a desk in the back. HL gave me the third degree about what I was seeking, even though I initiated the conversation with a pleasant greeting, my name, and that I was there to sign papers for transferring money from The Pony's CD to his regular account, leaving XX amount in a CD.

"I called yesterday. I spoke with School Pal. He said it would be ready before noon."

Head Lady spoke over her shoulder with School Pal. He said the papers were waiting up front. That Window Gal had done it yesterday, and told him where the papers were.

Nobody could find the papers. Even a reserve window gal came up to look. I saw them thumb through three different piles.

"Window Gal is off today," said Head Lady. "I'm not sure where she left them."

School Pal again assured her that the business end of it was done. I offered to come back tomorrow, or Friday, but Head Lady told School Pal to write a note on the back of the CD (which they found in a file after he told her the number of the certificate) of the amounts of the transaction I requested, and have me sign it. If there was any paperwork due me, they would mail it.

Why do I not feel confident that this business has been taken care of properly?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Deerbaker

As you may have surmised by now, Farmer H has friends in low places. And high places. And surprising places. But one thing not surprising is his friendship with Buddy, an old high school pal. In fact, it was Buddy who lured us out here to build our palatial Mansion on these very grounds. This area used to be part of a huge farm, and already had a couple of gravel roads running through it. The owner split it up into 10-acre sections.

When one became available, Farmer H suggested we buy it as a future home site. We had not even tied the knot yet, but plans were in the works. I was living in my $17,000 house in town, and Farmer H still had his one-bedroom apartment in the complex where I'd had my townhouse. We purchased it together, and the tax bill still comes in our separate names. Eight years later, Farmer H started building our dream home.

Anyhoo...that's not really here nor there. Just a peek into the Buddy/Farmer H dynamic. Only about five families lived out here then, and people used their land for hunting. Farmer H went on many a deer hunt with Buddy, but despite building the very best deer stand of all (they still call him MacGyver, and accuse him of putting a couch, refrigerator, and TV in his tree stand), never shot a deer himself. He was all about helping the others butcher theirs, though. After all, he worked in a plant that manufactured butcher products! In fact, he got them a professional grade meat grinder at a discounted rate. Four or five guys chipped in, and still hold part ownership, but Buddy has custody of the meat grinder.

A few months ago, I opened up my mini deep-freeze in the laundry room, and found no room to stash my frozen food. There were five parcels of butcher-paper-wrapped meat taking up my space. I had to rummage in FRIG II's freezer side to salvage my purchases. You can bet that Farmer H got an earful for not warning me about this new addition to our larder before I went to the store.

"HM. It's just some deer meat that Buddy gave me. Tenderloin!"

In case you don't know much about meat (like me), the tenderloin is the prime cut. At least on deer. Farmer H says it's the part they make filet mignon with from beef. I'll take his word for it. He's a big fan of filet mignon.

Saturday, I cooked Farmer H's tenderloin. He at first said he was going to grill it. I didn't quite cotton to that idea, thinking it would get overdone and dry. Deer aren't very fat! I wasn't planning to eat any of it myself, but I couldn't see ruining such a prime cut. I have no aversion to deer meat. I made some delicious BBQ with it a long time ago in the crock-pot. I guess you'd call it Pulled Deer. Suitable for eating on little rolls. Anyhoo...I told Farmer H that I could bake his tenderloin, and said I'd look on the internet for a temperature and how long.

I told Farmer H that I found a recipe that called for wrapping the tenderloin in bacon. Of course that set his saliva flowing. I just wrapped it and tucked the bacon in underneath. I couldn't see poking toothpicks in to hold the bacon strips, because I though that would let the juices out. Here's the tenderloin after thawing, but before bacon-wrapping:

No, I didn't remove the touch silvery connective tissue. Again, I didn't want to do any cutting or puncturing to let the juices escape during cooking. I figured Farmer H could trim it out while eating, or chew on it like deer-flavored gum. I wrapped the bacon around, put it in my black-and-white speckled metal roasting pan with the lid on, and baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes. The recipe kept saying 40-45 minutes, but people who tried it commented that theirs was overdone.

Farmer H wanted mushrooms and onions and brown gravy to go along with it. So I browned some onions, then some mushrooms, in a little bit of the bacon grease I poured out when checking on the tenderloin. I cheated on the brown gravy by using a packet from The Devil's Playground. Of course I forgot to take a picture when it was done, but I got one the next day of the cold leftovers.

Yes. It pretty much looks like a ball of bacon. I assure you, the bacon is cooked completely, though it's not crispy. Farmer H declared the meal to be delicious, and has now eaten it for three nights. There's just a little section of deer left, and he said he's done with it now, so the dogs can have it for their evening snack. Farmer H wants the bacon, though.

Oh, and HOS just killed a deer up on our other land Saturday morning. He was bow-hunting. Farmer H called Buddy at 8:00 a.m. to ask for the meat grinder. Don't know if HOS will be sharing or not. Farmer H still has plenty in the mini freezer.

Monday, October 2, 2017

I Hope You Brought Some Cheese, Because All I Have Is Whine

This whole RETIREMENT thing is wearing me out! I never have time for anything! Run here and run there. Take care of this and that. Remember to feed Farmer H. Come up with ideas for two blog posts each day. Than actually write them. Take a walk. Snack the dogs. Clean up the kitchen.

And I STILL don't keep my house spotless. Spotted, is more like it.

Here it is, going on 9:00 p.m., and I haven't written either blog! Oh, I have plenty of ideas. But not the time. I didn't get back from some financial errands until after 1:00. I was still having lunch at 3:00. Now I have my supper sandwich sitting in the mini fridge, waiting for me to finish up my bloggin'.

Yes, feel free to play me a serenade on the world's tiniest violin! I think blog buddy Sioux even gives lessons on it, in all of her spare time.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful, what with having all day every day to do as I please, nothing to tie me to a schedule. But sometimes, a schedule is a good thing. I was much more efficient when I was working, and ferrying Genius and The Pony around to their activities. Of course, I only slept about 4 hours a night. And I was kind of cranky, earning Genius's nickname of The Short-Temper Cook. Still, I felt more creative then.

Now you're stuck with this pity party. Sorry. Your invitations must have been lost in the mail. You know how that dead-mouse-smelling post office operates. Oh, and there are no refreshments. And we'll just sit outside so you don't see the house. But you DO get to listen to me whine.

Move over! That end of the front porch pew is mine!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Losers Gonna Lose

Friday Farmer H and I took some savings bonds on a little ride. Of course we had to bring them back home to deal with their redemption for our own selves, but we knew that was the procedure when we set out. Our adventure is detailed on my not-so-secret blog. The point here is that we were trapped together in T-Hoe for 3.5 hours. More details of THAT experience might be revealed at a later date, once I recover from the togetherness.

Anyhoo...I asked that we take T-Hoe because I didn't want to grind my knees getting in and out of A-Cad. As long as I had Farmer H behind the wheel, I asked if he would take T-Hoe through the car wash. I used to do it myself every couple of months, but that last time I drove in there, I freaked out. Don't know what was going on, but it was a flat-out panic attack. I had The Pony to sooth me (from his regular seat behind me, of course), but I did not feel like venturing back into the car wash. Especially alone. And now The Pony has had the nerve to go off to college on an almost-full ride and leave me behind in my dark basement lair, with a dirty, dirty car in the garage. If you doubt that, just ask my sister the ex-mayor's wife's husband, the ex-mayor. T-Hoe is filthy. Most of the time. The exception being if I'm out and about in a downpour. Let's face it. T-Hoe drapes himself in dust.

Farmer H veered right as we almost passed the Save A Lot complex, and took T-Hoe for a washin' first cat out of the bag. I didn't care WHEN he got washed. I just assumed it would be on our way home. Of course Farmer H put out his hand when he pulled up to the money-taking slot.


"Do you have a five?"

"No. I don't have a five. I only have twenties. And a couple of ones, for my sodas."

"Huh. I think I might have a five."

Farmer H dug into his pocket and wallet and put money in the machine. I thought he had trouble with the five being spit back out, because he grunted a couple of times, and reached out the window again. The guy on duty came out and sprayed T-Hoe with a pre-wash, and then we pulled in. It was no big deal. I didn't feel the least bit nervous. Not even when Farmer H turned on the windshield wipers to get the bugs off, he said. I'm pretty sure that's not recommended. Anyhoo...I don't know what my fuss was about. I guess my brain realizes I'm not in danger of imminent death when I sit in a car wash, as long as Farmer H is in the driver's seat.

"I'll pay you back your five later, when I get change."



"Seven. I got the automatic dry, too."

"Uh. We're going to be driving down the highway. Which I think will dry it. I'm only giving you a five."

Farmer H had no response to that. He just might be learning to pick his battles. However, when the green light came on, he was, as always, in a hurry to get going. So he barely waited long enough for those giant blowers to dry T-Hoe. They were still going as we left. I'm pretty sure he only got about 45 cents worth of his automatic dry.

After a morning fraught with...um...togetherness, my sentence day with Farmer H was done.

Our last planned stop was the gas station chicken store. Hopefully for my 44 oz Diet Coke, but their fountain has been out of my magical elixir. I got us some chicken for supper, and a couple of scratchers for myself. When I came out, the observant Farmer H said, "Did you forget your soda?" AS IF!!!

"No. They're still out. We have to stop by Orb K."

It's on our way out of town. No big deal. They have the second-best Diet Coke in town. As Farmer H parked T-Hoe, I said, "Oh, I can give you your five now, or I can just buy you a five-dollar ticket when I go in."

Let the record show that Farmer H NEVER wins, but a couple weeks ago, he stopped to get the newest five-dollar ticket. One that I had recommended, and shown him what it looked like with one of my winners. He had bought one for himself, won, bought another, won double, bought two more...then lost. I never buy one from the same roll after a winner, but it worked for him. A couple times.

Anyhoo...Farmer H said he wanted a ticket. I asked if he wanted that one he won on, or the newest ticket that came out Monday. He said the newest one. So I got it for him.

It was a loser.

You know that I buy tickets for Genius regularly, and he's had a couple of good winners. And that I buy tickets for HOS on occasion, after he's helped us, and twice he's had a $100 winner. I guess the luck doesn't work when Mrs. HM's ticket-buying magic is specifically requested.

I felt kind of bad for Farmer H. I even gave him his two dollars of car wash drying money.