Thursday, November 30, 2017

And Now, The Rest (Or At Least More) Of The Story

When we last convened, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was hearing things behind her back. Not like malicious workplace rumors about herself. She's RETIRED, by cracky! No, she was hearing slight rustling noises in her (lighted) dark basement lair. The source was not discovered before she went to bed.

Huh. The next day, when I descended to my lair at 2:38 p.m., I was shocked to see my office in disarray. Okay. Not exactly shocked, because the usual state of my office IS disarray. But now, the disarray was in disarray. One spot in particular. The pull-out shelf of my old gray metal office desk. I don't use that desk. Not in the Mansion, where Farmer H built me one in the corner as I requested, out of smooth butcher-block-look countertop.

This gray desk came from Farmer H's old workplace. They were throwing it out! I clamored for it, and it served me well in my $17,000 house. Once we moved here, and Farmer H finished the basement (finished as in framed out the rooms and put up walls and painted them, not finished as in poured the concrete in a hole in the ground), Farmer H and his buddy, Buddy, nearly gave themselves hernias moving that gray desk in. The Pony, once he was of an age to use a computer-type learning toy, claimed it as his own. Now it is mainly piled with remnants of The Pony's gaming DVDs.

Anyhoo...I have an old radio/CD player that I use to listen to basketball games when Newmentia boys and girls play in a tournament. It rests on that gray metal desk shelf, and I unplug my printer and hook it up. Beside it is a stack of things that I haven't gotten around to throwing away, or that I might possibly need one day. Until the hoarder TV show invades my space and tells me I don't. Here's the shelf and radio.

As you can see, I haven't gotten around to tossing those Valentines that my menfolk gave me. Oh, don't think there's still candy in there! I just haven't thrown them away yet. That might be a good five-second project tonight, putting them in the tall kitchen trash bag that holds my empty Diet Coke bottles.

Anyhoo...those Valentines were not askew when I went to bed. Only when I returned the next afternoon. AND the base they had been sitting on, a green plastic tub that my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel had sent us Christmas cookies and candy in one year, was gone! Let the record show that the green tub had long ago been emptied and washed, and was acting as a repository for some items I had carried from upstairs down to my office. A couple of errant check stubs, and envelopes that might have been important at the time, and once here, a printout or two of the boys college schedules, topped off with a manila envelope holding receipts for possible tax purposes.

That green tub was not so much gone as tumbled ass-over-teakettle to the floor.

Seriously! What caused that? I know it wasn't a cricket! A cricket is no ant, capable of moving a rubbertree plant. And the noises I heard did not make me think a rhino was roving around behind me.

Let the record show that as I gasped and walked over to look at that debacle...a cricket strode purposefully across the floor and under my corner desk that holds New Delly.

I know that's not possible. Right...?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

On The Cusp

As I sit here thinking of how to approach my latest daily is 12:12 a.m. On the cusp of the morrow. That gray area between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. It's not yet the witching hour, but something is afoot in my dark basement lair. The Truth in Blogging Law requires me to inform you that I have my office light on. Just because.

Something is behind me. I have no idea what it is, but it makes a slight rustling sound. It's highly possible that there is a silent cricket creeping about. I hate crickets. I've seen one the last two days, but it evades me. I have no qualms about crushing its exoskeleton. None whatsoever. If only I have the opportunity. Yes, it COULD be a cricket, tiptoeing with its six hairy legs through the quagmire of cardboard boxes and errant Devil's Playground bags that were used to cart home the tools of my once-career.

Or it could be the big black tall kitchen trash bag that I've got laying on a box beside my new rolly chair. I put empty Diet Coke bottles in there every night. I don't have a wastebasket to give it shape. So it could be slowly settling as gravity beckons.

It could even be a ceiling tile ready to collapse. Every now and then, we have a leak from the pipes in the big triangle tub above in the master bathroom. It's not the drip of water. I've heard that before. And I'm pretty sure you can't hear mold growing.

The only time I've heard something similar was when we had a millipede stomping its thousand feet across the floor through a Devil's Playground bag landscape. I had The Pony, then, to call for help. The Pony laying on his basement couch, playing games on his laptop, keeping me company separately. Now I'm alone. Farmer H would not come down from his slumber to investigate, even if I told him I thought there was an escaped convict hiding in the boxes piled in my office. "He'll find a way out," I'm sure Farmer H would tell me, all muffledy from behind the mask of his breather, "And if he doesn't, we have an umbrella policy in case he sues us."

Seriously. I don't know what this is. Every time I stop typing and turn around, it stops. Almost as if it is a thinking being...

I think now might be a good time to wrap things up and go sit in my OPC (Old People Chair).

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

No Place For Everything, And Nothing In Its Place

You know how, when company is coming, and you have frittered away your time building a storage container garage, or reading conspiracy sites on the innernets? Okay. Pretend you know how that goes. Like when Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was in college, not yet a Mrs., not yet a mom, but still a Hillbilly. She and her two roommates threw a party every Saturday night. Just a small get-together. Maybe 20-30 friends dropping by for pretzel sticks (the cheapest and least eaten of any snack foods), bringing their own booze, eager to let down their hair and enjoy an evening of gossip and laughs before heading out to more expensive drinking establishments. With designated drivers, of course!

Back then, Future Mrs. HM and her co-dwellers rushed around madly, pouring a single bag of pretzels in a bowl to set in the living room, and stashing dirty dishes in the (nonworking) dishwasher and (working) oven. Being college students on a budget, shopping at the FM Store (kind of a cross between a Goodwill and a military surplus store) and day-old bread store and the insurance salvage store where Future Mrs. HM actually got a job years later while living on the cheap to attend graduate school...these three did not have a lot of possessions to clutter up their living space.

Not so Farmer H and the current Mrs. HM. Just as too many cooks spoil the broth, too many nooks lead to sloth. We needed to de-clutter the living areas for Thanksgiving dinner. Not so much to impress Genius and his Friend, but so we had room to eat on the table, and put dishes on the counter and cutting block. One of the casualties was a box of Slim Jims that usually reside on the counter, near the kitchen door. The little 4-inch kind. Oh, they could have stayed. But I didn't really want Friend to think that I was serving Slim Jims as a side dish.

Last night, Farmer H asked me where his sugar-free candy went. This was a few minutes after he finished a slice of cheesecake. Not that he wanted it now, mind you. He was just asking.

"Oh, that's in the bedroom, on the brown desk. In that box I put the kitchen counter stuff in. Your wire egg basket full of odds and ends and insurance cards you should put in the cars is in there, too. And the box of Slim Jims."

Let the record show that I warn Farmer H that when he sneaks sweets, he should really have some protein to balance his blood sugar surge. So...not that he would be so foolish as to buy them for himself, of course...if he ever thinks somebody might shove a Casey's donut down his throat when he drives to town, he needs to have something with protein or at least fat to slow down that spike in blood sugar. Thus the Slim Jim box by the door. Kind of like a college health center setting out a dish of free condoms. Not that the students would use them, of course. But so they could have some just in case somebody shoved a--never mind that line of thought.

This morning I was heading to town, and looking for a Slim Jim. I don't buy or eat Casey's donuts, you know. They're not a wise choice. I'd rather save my vice fix for cheesecake. But I DO eat one of those mini Slim Jims when I take my two pills mid-morning. Would you believe I could not find that box of Slim Jims? I searched the bedroom box, and a box in the laundry room (it's just off the kitchen) and the cabinets and mini pantry and under the sink and under the counter where a dishwasher was originally going to be installed, where the wastebasket now lives, and where I put my purse if I'm not taking it with me to the casino.


I gave up and decided to take those two meds when I got home. On the way down the gravel road, I spied Farmer H on his Gator, heading toward the Mansion. I pulled into the field and asked if he moved the Slim Jims. I could imagine him taking them over to the BARn, for him and HOS to nosh on during a break building the storage container garage.

"No. I didn't take no Slim Jims."

"I can't find them! I've looked everywhere! Three times!"

"Well, I'm looking for my hammer. I just had it. I hooked it over a rafter while I got a different hammer, and now I can't find it. I heard it fall, but when I looked, it wasn't there."

"One of those dogs got it. Probably Jack. He's always chewing on a water bottle you let get away, or a soda bottle, or that foil pan you let them lick the turkey juice out of. It was in the front yard. I'm sure you'll find your hammer."

"I threw that foil pan away this morning. It was a heavy hammer! Weighs at least a pound. With a rubber handle."

"Jack is strong. And Juno has something right now."

"She's got a deer bone she's been gnawing on. A leg bone."

"Or a HAMMER!"

"Nah. It's not my hammer."

"Go get Genius's old metal detector. You'll find it."

"It shouldn't be hard to find on the concrete floor. And the ground's all gravel over there, or packed mud. I looked under my tractor in case it bounced, but it's not there."

"I guess we're going crazy. How hard could those two things be to find?"

On the way to town, I was going over and over my actions as I hurried to get the kitchen ready for the Thanksgiving meal. Mentally inspecting each place I knew I moved things. Then, in between stashing places, like I was mentally walking across the kitchen, a vision popped into my head of the Slim Jim box sitting in the pantry, on top of a bag of chips on the floor. Huh. Funny how your subconscious works. When I got home, I went straight to the pantry (okay, very first I went straight to the bathroom) and yanked open the door, sure I was going to find Slim Jim sitting there on the floor, on top of a bag of chips, looking up mocking me. Nope.


All right! My problem was solved! When Farmer H called me to say he was heading to town to get stuff ready in his storage container store, I asked if he found his hammer.

"Yeah. It was at the other end of the garage. I hung it on a different board than I thought."

We might need to start making detailed notes, or taking pictures, or leaving a trail of twine or bread crumbs. But most certainly not a trail of Casey's donuts.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lookin' Forward To A Little Afternoon Irony

Suppose...hypothetically...that there was this couple named Sal and Nick. And that with them both being retired, with nothing to do all day, and one going to bed with the chickens and arising at the crack of dawn...and the other keeping night watchman hours...their non-schedules did not intersect much. And that on an indeterminate day of the week, one or the other or both of them had an appetite for a little afternoon delight.

With no kids running around, and living way out in the middle of nowhere, Sal and Nick had the afternoon to themselves, no interruptions.

Until Nick's phone rang.

"Shouldn't you answer that?" asked Sal. "It might be important."

"No. It's not important," assured Nick.

"What if it's about one of our children?" worried Sal.

"If it's about one of them, they'll call the house phone," insisted Nick, pointedly refusing to check his phone.

Suppose...hypothetically...that a while later Nick DID check his phone.

"Huh. It was a message from some old lady asking if we have light-blocking blinds. Heh, heh! Isn't THAT ironic?"

Well. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can't answer that question for you. She has no grasp of irony. But did she ever tell you that Farmer H has a phone number just one digit off from Lowe's?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

My Helpful Helpmate Wields A Double-Edged Sword

Yesterday was busy with last-minute preparations for our Thanksgiving dinner, held on Saturday this year for the convenience of Genius. Most of the food was put together during my 7-hour prep session on Friday, so it only needed cooking or plating. The turkey breast went into the oven at 8:30. I was shooting for a sit-down time of 1:00. Farmer H had transported dishes over to The Original Frig in his BARn as I finished them and called him. Not enough room in FRIG II on Friday, what with that turkey breast chillin' on the bottom shelf awaiting baking on Saturday.

Farmer H volunteered to help me on Saturday morning. Just what every woman needs, right? A man in her kitchen while she's whipping up a holiday dinner. Let the record show that Farmer H had been working on his freight container garage with HOS on Friday. They were putting on something to do with the roof. Farmer H had offered to pay HOS for his labor, at $10 per hour, and they worked 8 hours. I had mentioned on one of the food transport trips that I was working pretty hard, too, but no one was paying ME for my efforts. That food doesn't cook itself, you know. Nor eat itself either, a feat accomplished in 15 minutes by Farmer H and Genius. Anyhoo...I must have shamed Farmer H into offering his assistance on Saturday.

I'm not complaining about having help. I am grateful for any efforts to lessen my workload. But as we all know, approach a household task differently than we do.

First I set Farmer H to work cleaning the boys' bathroom. He's pretty good at that. Mission accomplished. Next was dusting the living room, mainly the end tables, and the piano, where my collection of ponies reside. Somewhere, Farmer H found a shop towel and grabbed the Pledge from the laundry room. I heard keys tinkling and pounding. I figured the piano bench would be suitable for Genius's Friend's butt, and not leave a telltale dust ring on his pants. Genius can pick out a tune, but Friend is an accomplished player, and sometimes passes the waiting time by tickling the ivories.

Up to my elbows in the 7-layer salad, I noticed that Farmer H was suspiciously quiet. I walked around the cutting block to peep into the living room area, and saw Farmer H laying on his side by the banisters that protect us from toppling into the basement where the stairs go down. He was dusting each of those detailed banisters (20-30 of them in all) separately. I thanked him for his efforts, but suggested that the end tables might be a more realistic target for his Pledged shop towel, since I didn't figure that Genius or Friend would be doing a white glove test on the banisters.

I delegated Farmer H the task of sweeping the kitchen floor next. I was sitting at the table peeling and dicing eggs for the salad, so I figured that he could do that with minimal interruption of my duties. He gave the room a once-over with the broom, then asked if he could go play outside do something else for a while if I was done with him. I told him that I planned to get in the shower around 11:30, and that he could use that time to do a spot mop of a couple of areas of the kitchen floor, most notably the recessed toe-kick area under the edge of the lower cabinets. And also the area under the cutting block. He agreed.

Well. I had noticed a scrap of envelope paper on the floor, about the size of a dime, as I headed off to the shower. I figured Farmer H would refine his sweeping technique, and catch that when he finished up the kitchen floor. You know what happened, right?

While working on the salad and turkey, I had been wearing my Crocs around the kitchen. Not my old red almost-flattened-on-the-heel Crocs, but my navy blue less-broken-in Crocs. When I returned after my shower, I was barefoot.


The floor was gritty, and crumby kinds of things stuck to my soles. They were as unhappy as the back of a princess who slept on a pea all night. It looked like Farmer H had just swished the broom along under the edge of the cabinets and cutting block, stirring up a Tasmanian Devil dust tornado, and then called it quits. Any previous (dubious) sweeping efforts negated by this last-ditch effort. When interrogated asked about the new grit, Farmer H replied, "I swept the floor, HM." That little envelope paper scrap was still there, too.

The kitchen would probably have been better off without Farmer H's sweeping. Thank the Gummi Mary, neither Genius nor Friend walked around the kitchen barefoot.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Dropsy Returns!

Oh, dear. Of all the times to succumb to The Dropsy, it has to be Thanksgiving food preparation week. Yesterday, I had a relapse, I suppose you might call it. And it carried into TODAY, the day we celebrated Thanksgiving with Genius.

Last night, everything I touched went wrong. Including the touch of the arm of my rolly chair that supports me as I sit in front of New Delly in my dark basement lair. I might have mentioned that my rolly chair is on its last wheels. It is missing the left armrest plastic cover thingy, and has a flat section of connecting metal where that curved plastic armrest used to be. Connecting two rectangular tubey pieces of metal that make up the chair arm. I sat down, and The Dropsy made my thumb wedge itself in one of those rectangular tubey pieces. Once I extracted Thumbkin from the metal (much more unforgiving than Little Jack Horner's Christmas pie), I saw the extent of the injury.

Okay. It's just a tiny flesh wound. Not in need of a tourniquet. Not even in need of a BandAid. But it's in an awkward place. On a digit that's opposable, and required for many tasks. Like pulling up one's pants after a visit to the NASCAR bathroom. Or washing five or six sinks full of dishes during the preparation of Thanksgiving foods.

But that's not all! The Dropsy really took a toll on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom over the past 24 hours! I had washed my favorite old blue sweatshirt, the one I wear daily over my short-sleeve shirts to ward off the chill of the dark basement lair. Washed it to its faded baby-blueness, pulled it over my head, proceeded to sit down at New Delly and mangle my thumb, and add some Great Value Cherry Limeade powder to my 44 oz Diet Coke. The very first ice cube I added sent a splashing spray of pink spots onto the front of my favorite old blue sweatshirt. Fresh out of the dryer! A detailed count revealed 15 separate spots! Back to the old washing machine for that baby!

The worst part of this relapse of The Dropsy occurred only an hour ago. I was standing in the kitchen, wiping off the bottom of a pie pan, when the knife laying in it slipped over the edge. It's the kind of knife The Pony wished he had to cut his Oreo cake. A plain knife with a plain silver handle. Handle-heavy. I've dropped knives before with no negative results. They clatter to the floor, I let an expletive escape, bend over to pick it up, and that's that.


Yes. The pointy end embedded itself in the linoleum of the Mansion kitchen floor, at a bit of an angle, perhaps 80 degrees. There it stood, a knife that could have just as easily have pierced my mesh New Balance and lodged in the fleshy part of my great toe, stopped by the bone.

I hope I am healed of The Dropsy overnight. Or I might need to add steel-toed boots to my Santa List.

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Milestone Comes Around Again

Yes, a milestone. Not to be confused with a millstone, around my neck. Surely Mrs. Hillbilly Mom would never refer to her Sweet Baboo as such an implement! Today marks the 28th wedding anniversary of Farmer H and Mrs. HM. It falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, just as it did on our wedding weekend.

Ahh...I remember it well. I was teaching at Steelville middle school, and with the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, what better time could anyone choose to get married? My principal at the time declared that he and the faculty were going to show up to shivaree us. This was before the Information Superhighway was completed, and I had to look that up in a dictionary. Sweet Gummi Mary! I half believed he was serious!

Anyhoo...since Farmer H knew I would be busy on Friday this year, preparing our Thanksgiving feast with Genius for Saturday...he sent me a text yesterday, asking if I wanted to go to the casino later. NOT-HEAVEN YES! That man knows the way to my heart.

There's my anniversary dinner. A burger, medium, with only pickles and onions, and a side of fries. Oh, don't think I'm mocking Farmer H this time, like my long-ago Mother's Day gift of a $3.00 change purse and two boxes of Sno-Caps. Uh uh! I LOVE this meal. Besides, it takes up a lot less gambling time than a 2-for-1 buffet offer that Farmer H possessed. Farmer H had the Italian Sausage this time, without peppers. He was not a fan, and will return to the burger on our next visit. Guess the name of the restaurant being Burger Brothers and not Sausage Brothers didn't give Farmer H a clue.

Our celebration was real, and it was spectacular. I came away an overall $5 winner, and Farmer H lost $40 of HIS OWN MONEY!

Here's to 28 more years for the union of me and Farmer H. I complain about him a lot, but he's the guy for me.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Even Steven Has Been (Or Will Be) Working Overtime

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Last year at this time, The Pony totaled his Nissan Rogue on the drive home from OU for the holiday. NOTHING can replace my little Pony! His miraculous escape of injury (or worse) tops the list of my thankfulness.

Genius is graduating from college this year, and has a job with Garmin starting January 8th, earning more than my salary upon retirement, after 28 years of teaching. Farmer H is still kickin' (and me screaming), and our life is good. We don't want for anything, and we're still ambulatory and have most of our wits about us. We are able to help others as the whim strikes us, and don't take anything for granted.

Since The Pony elected not to drive home 9 hours for Thanksgiving dinner to eat rolls and butter and Oreo cake, Farmer H and I drove out to spend this past weekend with him. Luck was with us, and not just in keeping Farmer H's sweaving under control and all four of A-Cad's wheels on the road.

Our first stop was at a Casey's in Steelville, for our regular bathroom break. Farmer H doesn't like to use a business's facilities without making a purchase. We were not ready for gas yet, and he asked if I was buying something. I said I would cash in a $15 scratcher winner for three more tickets. One of them was a $25 winner. I took that as a good omen for our trip.

On I-35 headed towards our exit to the hotel, we saw an old Chevy truck like my dad used to drive. I've been looking for one for years to show Farmer H, since I didn't know that year or model. Coincidentally, that day happened to be my dad's birthday, November 17.

We arrived in Norman and checked into our Holiday Inn Express and Suites. We were able to nab a ground floor room, only one room away from the exit/entrance door. This was great for my bum knee, because walking like a pirate with a peg leg does not lend itself to lengthy strolls. In addition, Farmer H was able to park in the space right in front of that door in all of our comings and goings.

After carrying our things in, we went straight to The Pony's apartment, where I was treated to a magnificent sunset.

I can't get enough of that painted sky!

We took The Pony out for a Chinese buffet supper, and when we returned to his apartment, I found a 2015 penny AND a 2017 penny on the floor of his apartment.

Riverwind Casino was our destination on Saturday. The Pony made a $227 profit. I was able to cash out a pretty good ticket. Sorry my phone camera went crazy. I don't have time today to flip that picture.

Even though our lunch with The Pony at Cheddar's was lacking in baked potatoes, Farmer H and I had a good (and profitable) lunch on the way home Sunday, when we stopped near Joplin at Downstream Casino. Another good cash-out for me. Don't go thinking that's all profit! It takes money to make money. But my gambling bankroll was increased considerably on this trip.

Monday morning I left for town, and found out that we were the proud recipients of an overnight gift. A tire. I snagged a picture of it on the way home.

While out and about, I found a nickel at the Casey's across town. I won $85 on scratchers when I cashed in my $25 winner.

Tuesday, I found a penny (1984). Farmer H found 3 ladybugs on his lumber for the storage container garage. We got a check in the mail for that Christopher Reeve disability insurance that apparently was kind of scamming us, a class action settlement, in the amount of $380.37.

And yesterday, I found this in the road! Okay. There's no picture. I had it sitting on the cutting block, but Farmer H took it outside to let it rest for eternity on a garage shelf. I don't have time to take the picture, but it was a giant bolt and nut looking thingy. Farmer H said it was some kind of bushing or something for plumbing pipes. Whatever. Sometimes you feel like a nut...sometimes you find one in the road.

It's going to be quite a crash when Even Steven's evening comes around!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

If It Weren't For Bad Luck, I'd Have Some Fresher Breath

The Truth in Blogging Law decrees that I can't use "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all," for my title. Because I'm actually a pretty (pretty, as in fairly, not as in beautiful) lucky person. But every now and then, something doesn't go my way. Sometimes I come down with a malady called The Dropsy. Oh, not the illness from the 18th century. My own case of The Dropsy. Where I drop almost anything I touch.

Tuesday evening, I was getting ready to head upstairs and find some supper. Farmer H was supposed to attend a basketball tournament, so he said he'd warm his own supper ('bout to get him trained, maybe) of bacon, and carrots cooked in its juices. He changed his mind about the tournament, but I was still off the hook for his supper.

I was planning on some leftover gas station chicken, which I'd had the previous night, when Farmer H had said he was going to eat a hot dog at the game. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box to see that the chicken gal had given me a chicken with only one leg! Farmer H fessed up later, though, that he'd eaten a leg before he left for his game. was going on 8:00 Tuesday night, by the time I went upstairs. I have been off my driveway walk due to the knee pain, and I was in no hurry to go up the 13 steps to the kitchen. Until I started to get hungry. I knew it would take a little while to warm my chicken in the oven. Even though Farmer H was up there watching TV, I was pretty sure he wasn't going to make my supper. He doesn't do it by my specifications, anyway. You can't just microwave leftover gas station chicken, because then the skin isn't crisp. I decided to have a Life Saver Wint-O-Green Mint to tide me over during food prep. I have a big bag of them on the counter of my dark basement lair.

I was standing beside the counter, after peeling off the individual cellophane wrap, having just popped that mint into my gaping maw, when it happened. Perhaps I should learn not to let my maw gape. I went to close my lips, keeping that mint on the front part of my tongue that senses sweet.


That mint rolled out of my mouth, bounced a couple times on the tile, and rolled about five feet, all the way to the back wall under my desk!

Yeah! It was just wet enough to pick up any dust and grime that five feet of floor had to offer.

Oh! The mintmanity!

Lucky for me, I had a bag of approximately 86 more mints.

Yeah. I'm really pretty lucky.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

More Of A Caterwauler Than A Cater Waiter

Pardon me for sounding a bit put-out over something that's nothing. I'm sure my put-uponness stems from riding in the car with Farmer H for 18 hours over the weekend. It was in the car that this scenario presented itself.

We (and by we I mean Farmer H) were driving along I-44, somewhere between Fort Leonard Wood and Rolla, on the way back from our weekend in Oklahoma with The Pony. Farmer H's phone rang, and he took it out of his belt holster and answered. I would have preferred that he did not, what with sweaving along in the fast lane, beside semi trucks on that section of two-lane interstate with concrete dividers and no shoulder.

This is what I heard him say...

"No. We don't really have any plans. Genius is coming on Saturday. As far as I know, we're not doing anything on Thursday."


I couldn't hold it in. I could imagine Farmer H making plans or clearing the way for company on Thursday, when I had to start my pre-preparations for cooking the big Thanksgiving feast on Saturday. I've got 36 eggs to boil, and potatoes to boil, and a pie to make, and a house to clean. More food to get ready on Friday, and four dishes that have to be done on Saturday.

Farmer H got all hissy-fitty with me, glaring (which meant he took his only eye off the road to make his displeasure known). He turned his attention back to (not the road, surely you didn't assume the road) his phone conversation, and said...

"She means she's getting food ready for Saturday when Genius comes. I'll talk to her and see what we're doing."

Then he got off the phone and berated me for not keeping quiet.

"I was trying to make it look like we're not doing anything for Thanksgiving! You can never keep your mouth shut! You always have to blurt out!"

"What's the big deal! We AREN'T doing anything Thursday, but I am. I'm getting Saturday's stuff ready."

"That was REDACTED asking if we were doing anything, and did we want to get together on Thanksgiving."

"Well, no. We never do. We used to go to my mom's every year, and for the past two years I've cooked for US. You and me and Genius and The Pony. So I don't know what the big deal is."

"Well, you had to blurt out that you were cooking!"

"So? Lots of people cook on Thanksgiving."

"But I was trying to act like we're not doing anything, and then you had to blurt out that you were cooking!"

"For Saturday. For us and Genius."

"But REDACTED was asking if we wanted to get together. You should have just let me say we didn't have anything planned."

"What's wrong with just saying that we're having dinner on Saturday with Genius? How about THAT? Because I guarantee you that REDACTED wasn't inviting US to Thanksgiving dinner! That would have been, 'Are you doing anything? Would you like to come eat with us?' NO! REDACTED was fishing for an invitation to bring 8 people to have Thanksgiving dinner with US! We've never done that. If I'd planned on that, REDACTED would have been invited by now. I don't know why you said you'd check with me. Unless you're making ME the bad guy now. Because I'm not extending an invitation, like, 'Oh, come and eat with us. I'm making it anyway.' No. That's a lot of work. We've already been roped into having your RetirementPaloozaParty here, and a hayride/weenie roast. I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner for anyone but us."

Is that so wrong? Can you see how I feel? I guess men don't understand, because all they have to do is sit down and eat for 15 minutes, then get up and watch football or roam around outside on Gators and 4-wheelers. All that shopping and preparation and cooking and cleanup are MY duties. I'm not adding congenial-hostessing to the list. It's not like extending an invitation for a spinster aunt to bring a bowl of roasted parsnips and join us.

I would not dream of planning a celebration or get-together, and then having it take place at someone else's house. Am I overreacting? Was this just an innocent request to get together? Wouldn't REDACTED have suggested a restaurant, or an event, or extended an invitation to the REDACTED family home?

And why couldn't Farmer H simply have said, "We're having our Thanksgiving with Genius on Saturday. HM is getting stuff ready on Thursday and Friday." Then it's on REDACTED to counter with another plan, or not.

What say you?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Interfamilial Incident Narrowly Avoided

On the way to Norman, Oklahoma, to visit The Pony, Farmer H was having a heyday with me as a captive audience. He was regaling me with tales of his junking business, like how much he spent, and how much he sold stuff for. All the while, I was being whipped side-to-side by his sweaving, my neck mimicking the motion of a snake charmer's cobra, unable to nod off for a restful nap thanks to Farmer H's droning because of the roar of the bumpity-bump lines when he crossed the center or onto the shoulder.

"And I got a bunch of stuff for my Santa kids. I have some little cars, and some balls, and some other stuff at the auction. This age, it doesn't matter so much if it's for boys or girls, because they like everything."

Let the record show that Farmer H has played Santa for a local Parents As Teachers group for many years. He doesn't HAVE to provide toys, but he does. One year he took The Pony with him to hand him stuff out of his sack. I know The Pony dressed in a red sweatshirt and wore a Santa hat, but he drew the line at elf shoes.

"Oh. When are you doing that this year?"

"On the 16th."


"Yeah. The 16th. I have her text about it. I can look it up."

"Genius graduates on the 16th. We will be in College Town. I already got the room for the 15th, so we'll be down there all morning and afternoon on the 16th."

"Huh. I better call her!"

No answer. The lady was probably screening her calls. When we stopped at a stoplight in the next town, Farmer H sent a text. Another 60 miles down the road, he got a response. We were at a rest area at the time, though I don't think texting while driving could make Farmer H's sweaving any worse.

"Yeah. She says we can do it the 9th. It's a little early, but the kids won't mind. As long as it's on a Saturday close to Christmas."

This afternoon, I checked my phone after putting away groceries and retiring to my dark basement lair. There was a 20-minute-old text from my sister the ex-mayor's wife.

"Whenever you have time, will you check with Farmer H to see what day breakfast with Santa is? Our PAT lady told me it was on the 16th. Just got a text from her reminding me it is on the 9th????????" (Sis babysits her granddaughter, Babe, during the week)

"They had to change it. Genius graduates on the 16th. I told Farmer H on the way to Oklahoma and he called her and they changed it. Good thing, or a lot of kids would have been stood up by SANTA!"

Let the record show that in place of SANTA I used a Santa emoji.
Because I'm cool like that.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Their Punchline Was Right On The Mark

Even Steven and The Universe are jokesters extraordinaire. Those two wacky BFFs can't seem to rein in their madcap ways when it comes to Mrs. HM's life.

As you recall, Farmer H has started a storage shed store (StShSt). He's always running around, acquiring new old merchandise, or hauling his accumulated treasures to town. His primary vehicle is my mom's 2002 Trailblazer. It made a good work car for him, beating it up and down the highway from early 2015 until his recent retirement. Last Friday, I got a text from Farmer H at 2:50 p.m.

"Had to get two tire's for the car cord exposed a little over 200.00 on credit card"

Farmer H later revealed that he had been working in his StShSt, sorting and arranging stuff, with his Trailblazer parked out front. Not many other flea marketers were marketing that day, because of deer season kicking off the next morning, and few customers showing up.

"I had the wheels cut from when I backed in, and as I came out, I saw that the rubber was all worn off, down to the cords. I had to get some tires on there quick. And I had just come from Bill-Paying Town (14 miles) up the highway at 65 miles an hour! I'm lucky I didn't have a blowout. I don't know how long I've been driving on them like that."

Well. When you need tires, you need tires. It always comes up when you're least expecting it.

As you recall, Farmer H took me to the casino last Sunday. For once, I was on the winning end, and not Farmer H. You know how much profit I cashed out?


Funny how that's just a little over $200.00.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I'm Pretty Sure That Dude Scammed Me For No Benefit Of His Own

When Farmer H and I go to the casino, we always eat at Burger Brothers. I find their fare particularly delicious, even though their delivery methods are questionable. Their restaurant has a section with tables, and an order counter, right in the casino itself. It also has a more restauranty section with an entrance on the main walkway out front, which has its own ordering system.

Anyhoo...Burger Brothers used to give you a little disk when you ordered. Like a hand-held Roomba, about the size of a dessert plate. When your order was ready, that disk would buzz, and lights would flash. It was really convenient to take out into the slot area and play for the 15 or 20 minutes you were waiting. I don't know about YOU, but Mrs. Hillbilly Mom goes to the casino to GAMBLE, not to sit at a table waiting for food.

Okay. I only used the disk like that one time, when I was there by myself, having been dropped off by Farmer H and others on the way to a Cardinals game. Usually, I have a companion, like Farmer H or my favorite gambling aunt, and we chat about our big wins, heh, heh, while waiting for the food. Now, however, Burger Brothers no longer have those vibrating disks. For a while, they were calling names. Hollering out your first name when your food was ready. Now they've taken to giving you a verbal number. That's what they holler out. So you pretty much have to sit at the tables, and hope to hear your number. Hick gives up, and walks to stand like a creeper and watch the counter until he sees what looks like our order.

As you might have deduced by now, Mrs. HM hates change. Her favorite gambling aunt even went so far as to accuse her of having OCD. She's allowed. She's family.

Not only was the announcement of the order changed, but Burger Brothers also came up with a new sauce that they slather on the burgers if you don't tell them NO SAUCE. It's terrible. So you have to ask FOR things like pickles and onions, but ask NOT TO HAVE the sauce. That's not really a big deal, except that all of the order-takers are foreign. Okay. Maybe they are citizens. But their English is definitely not their first language. There's one little guy who's always polite, but it takes him a while to put in your order. He's making sure he gets it right, though. Farmer H thinks he is Bosnian. Not that it's here nor there.

That little guy almost always waits on us. Yet the order seems to be a few dollars or cents different each time. Once I thought he was giving us the senior discount. Another time I thought he was just being nice, waiving the less-than-dollar amount we went over my $20 food coupon. I also thought maybe he was confused.

Because there's been ANOTHER change in the Burger Brothers ordering system. Before, I would hand over my food coupon, and sign the receipt, and pay whatever difference. But lately, the little guy has been asking for my player's card. No big deal. I unhook it from its lanyard. I'm pretty sure the little guy checks the coupon online now. They've been pushing for people to stop the mailings, and present their player's card for their rewards.

The last time we were there, the man ordering ahead of us told the little guy to use his MyCash. It's money you earn while playing, and you can use it at restaurants, shops, for slots, or for cash. If you take it as cash, you only get half the amount. I think it's equal for restaurants and slots, and doubled for shops. Don't remember. Anyhoo...I normally use mine for slot play. For example, last time I had $14 and change, and I just loaded it on the last slot I was playing. I normally accrue around $10 each visit.

So this man ahead of us said to use his MyCash, and he signed for it, and that was that. Because the little guy had been asking for my player's card and scanning it, I did not get out my coupon. It shows the dates on them, but says to present your player's card to use your coupon. We ordered, the little guy asked me something, and I handed him my card. That's what I though he was asking for. He reached out his hand. And I thought he was asking me if it was my card, rather than Farmer H's card.

Anyhoo...he announced the total as $11 and change. HUH? I said it was usually just a couple of dollars. Same order. But he shook his head and asked for the $11 and change. Farmer H took it out of his pocket and paid. We were bumfuzzled by the new total. And Farmer H wanted to be reimbursed by me!

We played some more after eating, and didn't think about it again until last Sunday when we went back. I was going to use the MyCash, and checked the balance, expecting to see a little over $10. NO! There was only $3 and change.

THAT LITTLE GUY HAD USED MY MyCash BALANCE TO PAY FOR OUR FOOD, not the food coupon! Dang it! I can't gamble with a food coupon!

I guess it was just a failure to communicate. We had a different guy from a different country last Sunday, and he took the coupon, and put the rest on MyCash. I guess now I'll have to start using it up before lunch, because I'm pretty sure that snafu is going to happen again. It might even be the policy that the employees are being given.

Don't give me MyCash and then take it for food!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mrs. HM Takes The Cake

Right now I'm in Norman. Oh, the miracles of scheduling on the innernets! We have brought Thanksgiving to The Pony. He's a simple beast. Not much of a turkey eater, must be coaxed towards ham, mainly survives on Sister Schubert's rolls, butter, and Oreo Cake.

I must admit that this was not my best result. Nor was the photo my phone gave me. It looks like we live in a medieval dungeon. I gave that cake my best effort, though. After having a headache on Monday and Wednesday, waking Tuesday night in my OPC (Old People Chair) to find something had gone horribly wrong with my GOOD knee! The left one. It is very painful in the front, just under the kneecap, in that squishy part towards the inside. I figure that in reclining, and rotating my left leg while crossing my right ankle over the left one...I dislodged some loose cartilage or previous scar tissue. That's the one that's been operated on twice. This must have relodged itself in the wrong place.

I spent Wednesday walking like a pirate with a peg leg! And Thursday, too. Farmer H had to do my trash dumpster duties, and I'm pretty sure he drove the Gator and pulled it along.

Anyhoo...I hope I'm ambulatory enough to make it up to The Pony's 3rd floor apartment. Farmer H has assured me that they are the "low" 7-inch steps. That seems pretty high to me. We'll see. As long as there's a good handrail, I think I'll make it. Though the quest to scale Everest might be easier for the young and fit than this attempt for me.

Anyhoo...I'm not a master baker (heh, heh, says my 13-year-old self). That cake is from a box mix, and the icing (we don't call it frosting in Hillmomba) is from a tub, and the Oreos are...well...Oreos! I couldn't find a cake carrier after hiking across The Devil's Playground, so I spent 88 cents for a pizza pan, and covered it with foil for The Pony's convenience of cleanup. It will be protected on the journey by the top of my own cake carrier, which will be making the trip home with us.

I'm sure The Pony will be pleased, no matter what his cake is resting on. I'm also pretty sure this is one of the foods he wanted most, but didn't ask for so he could spare me the work.

He's a good egg, The Pony.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mrs. HM Sure Gets Herself In Some Predicaments

You never know which flavor Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is going to be noshing on from her daily box of chocolates. Which thread will weave itself into her rich tapestry of life. It's a crapshoot, really.

This morning I had a six-month routine appointment with my doctor nurse practitioner. I was told to arrive 15 minutes early. Which put me there at 8:00 for my 8:15 appointment. Let the record show that Mrs. HM barely knows this hour exists any more. But that she arrived at the stroke of 7:59, to see one woman already in the waiting chairs, and a man standing at the check-in window.

Being the respectful sort, I moved near the window, but did not creep up into personal space. Other people's medical business is no business of mine. However...I couldn't help overhearing this one, because he was quite loud and at times used profane language, haranguing the receptionist about a doctor, and demanding to speak to administration as soon as they were available. I don't know if the offices are equipped with a panic button, but if they are, that receptionist hit it.

She was trying her best not to engage. Nodding and agreeing and saying she understood his concerns, and that as soon as they could get someone there to talk to him, they would. Then she asked if he could step back so she could wait on me. He did, but he was antsy. I was kind of on alert, having my back to him, because I'd heard him say he had mental issues, and that the doctor was no good, and should be fired, and didn't care about helping anybody. Not my doctor, of course. He's just a nurse practitioner.

Pretty soon, the suits arrived. Two women in business suits. I can understand how a woman can calm a man down better. He doesn't have to compete, and be all aggressive to prove himself. He gets an ear lent, and at least a modicum of sympathy, not a challenge to make sure his facts are in order.

Patient rattled on while I was waiting. Even though the two Suit Ladies took him off to the side at a separate bank of chairs, I could still hear him. I totally understand why they wouldn't want to speak to him in the privacy of an office. Safety first.

Anyhoo...this guy went on and on about how he was in pain, and nothing could stop it, and he'd tried psychotherapy, which did nothing for him because the doctor is no good, and that the liar doctor had told him he could get Patient help free of charge, but didn't. And that he can't afford his pain medicine, and they won't give him any unless he pays. That he can't work, and has been in pain in his spine for 10 years ever since getting hurt playing high school football. That he's gone up to Washington University Hospital for tests, but then found out they wouldn't treat him because he doesn't have insurance. And that he can't hardly walk up the 4% grade of the parking lot hill here to get in the elevator, and he can't sleep because he's in so much pain, and he doesn't want to hurt himself, but he can't live in pain like this.


I don't have the answer. Was he drug-seeking? Having spent 10 years in this kind of pain and not found some other solution? Or was he having a problem with the mental illness side? Crying for help while feeling trapped in his situation? Let the record show that he WAS physically crying a bit while he waited for the suits to come talk to him.

Patient was still there talking when I left after my appointment. I heard a Suit Lady tell him that they'd go down to the financial office and put him on a payment plan. He'd already told them he spent his last $20 which was actually his dad's $20 for his truck so that he could get his medicine.

This is a tough one. I'm leaning towards drug seeker. But then, I have a cold, cold heart.

I'm glad nothing went down while I was up there for my appointment.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I'll Find A Way To Break Farmer H Of This Habit

With Farmer H now fully retired, my household duties have increased. Two CANNOT live as lazily as one.

Since he's home more, Farmer H makes more trips in and out of the house, tracking mud in his clodhopper work boots. You don't think he takes his shoes off or wipes his feet every time he rushes in to poop (we won't even talk about the condition of the toilet seat) or have lunch or grab a set of keys to one of his thousand vehicles, do you? That's a rhetorical question.

I have told Farmer H that he's on his own for lunch. He never eats at the same time twice. Some days he comes in around 10:15 for lunch, others it's 2:30. I am NOT on call for his meal preparation. He gets supper, whether he deserves it or not, and he's left to his own devices for breakfast and lunch.

It's like pulling teeth to find out what Farmer H wants to eat. Yet if I make something that I have handy, or something that I like, it sometimes gets a lukewarm reception. I know it can't be my cooking skills!

Even though I'm pretty sure The Devil would do business with Farmer H, I ask him what foods he wants on hand for his lunches and breakfasts. Breakfast is the easy part, because he likes the frozen breakfast croissants. Not exactly healthy, but healthier than Casey's donuts. For lunches, Farmer H said he'd make sandwiches, and listed off items he'd like. Bologna, pepper jack cheese, Wonder Bread, potted meat, pickle slices, spicy mustard, hot dogs, buns, Ruffles potato chips. Enough to keep him going. Simple enough to make.

Here's the deal. Farmer H eats his suppers for lunch! Then he expects me to come up with something else for supper! I cry shenanigans! I'm not some homesteady wife like Sarah Plain and Tall. I am allowed to live my life doing other things besides serving him! It's easiest for me to prepare the evening meal mid-morning, while I'm waiting for my thyroid med to kick in, and before I go to town. Otherwise, after my errands, I only have an hour or so to do what I want to do, then I have to go prepare supper, and that messes up the time of my walk.

I figured Farmer H could feed himself breakfast and lunch. He's outside working on his projects until dark. I do my walk at dusk. Then I warm up the supper.

But NO! Like the soup I made last week. I'd let it cool, and had just put the whole pot in FRIG II before I left for town. When I returned, Farmer H was roaming around, and told me he had eaten soup FOR LUNCH!

"It was just right. Still warm. I didn't even have to put it in the microwave."

Never mind that we were having soup for supper, with Oberle cheese and garlic toast. Oh, he still had that for supper. And said it was good. But then the next night, he kind of acted all nose-turned-uppy at the announcement that we were having soup for supper. Seriously. I don't make a pot of soup for just one meal. It's not my fault he'd already made two meals out of it.

I should have told him we were having potted meat sandwiches for supper.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom The Only One Who Requires Three Vibrators To Make Her Comfortable?

My headache has finally ebbed. It lasted right at 24 hours again. Funny how that malady punches a time clock. I'm really starting to think it's the smoke from the casino. Even though I sometimes get a headache after being outside walking, or in and out of the car shopping for several hours, those never last very long, and acetaminophen will sometimes alleviate them.

So...I mentioned yesterday that the only way I've found to get relief from those headaches is a session (or two or three or ten) with my vibrator. I usually call it my head vibrator. I used to have one that was shaped like a little dog, white with a black spot on his back. No, I didn't call him Spot. Just My Dog Vibrator. That was a good thing, especially when out in public with my kids. No big deal if they said something about it. Even though some kinky people might have looked askance at me, throwing that word DOG in there kind of made it more acceptable.

Unfortunately, My Dog Vibrator wore out. And by wore out, I mean that it was dropped and broken. So I needed a new Dog Vibrator. I looked all over the internet. And by all over the internet, I mean I did a search on Amazon. There was nothing on there like My Dog Vibrator. You have to be careful doing a search for vibrators on Amazon, you know.

I'm pretty sure that back when I got it, that thing also came in different animals. Maybe a bug. I don't remember. They were marketed for kids with sensory issues. They were cute, and that hum and vibration soothed the kids somehow. Anyhoo...I finally found what I was looking for a year or so later. That was a LONG year without My Dog Vibrator.

The new ones I found at The Devil's Playground. It was around Christmas, I think. At least Christmas shopping season. Which was probably the day after Halloween. I first saw them, and though of getting one for my mom, because she got really bad sinus headaches that sometimes lasted three days, and made her teeth hurt, too. Then I decided this might be the time to give up on my quest for My Dog Vibrator, and try one of these. I think they were less than $5.

That new vibrator worked great! I went back for more, but they were out! Only one was in the box, and it didn't work. Maybe just a battery issue, but you can never be sure. Thank the Gummi Mary, I was able to find more after Christmas. Now I have THREE!

That's my stable of vibrators right there. They're all thoroughbreds, not a nag in the bunch! It's handy to have an extra in case one has to be put down. But mainly, I have three because I keep them in different rooms.

The purple one on the left resides in my dark basement lair. The pink one is on the TV tray that I use as a table next to my OPC (Old People Chair). And the blue one on the right sits on the table beside Farmer H's La-Z-Boy. The silver button on the front is the POWER that makes them vibrate. The ridges on the back are just for looks, I guess, or maybe a grip. They have a plastic flap door on their butt area that is where two AAA batteries belong.

They're really handy when you have a cold, too, and your head is all stuffed up. It relieves the pressure over your eyes or along the sides of your nose. When we go on a long trip, such as to Oklahoma to visit The Pony, I always make sure I take one along in the car. There's nothing more miserable than a throbbing headache when you're visiting your little Pony you only see a couple times a year now.

While still in high school, The Pony, with his dry sense of humor, never passed up an opportunity ask me about my vibrator. Usually in the presence of colleagues. "Mother, I bet you can't wait to get home to your vibrator." Or, "Don't you wish you'd brought your vibrator to use on your plan time?"

I really miss The Pony. Sometimes as much as I'd miss my vibrator if I didn't have it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Was There Something In The Air That Night?

Whew! I have a headache that's been kicking my butt all day.

I figured it would arrive last night, after Farmer H and I spent a couple hours at the casino. The smoke was thicker than Heinz Ketchup in there! The last two times we've been to the casino, I came down with a headache that evening, which lasted about 24 hours. It has to be the smoke. Unless Burger Brothers is putting MSG in their burgers.

I'm sure that headache couldn't be from riding in the car with Farmer H for an hour each way. Though now that I think about it, I DO get a headache when we drive to Oklahoma to visit The Pony. Maybe it's the dry air lately, with this cold snap, and the electric furnace running more, drying out the Mansion. Maybe the feds have been flying over the Mansion, filling the atmosphere with contrails designed to make Mrs. HM's sinuses ache. I'll have to ask Farmer H to ask his new best friend Bev for her opinion.

He was over there today, working on her electromagnet machines that ward off evil spirits. Farmer H said she even offered to send me a stick with contrail information on it, but he refused! First of all, I had to ask what kind of stick. Was it engraved? Notches recording days of spray? What in the Not-Heaven was this "stick?" When Farmer H roundaboutly revealed it as a flash drive, I said NO THANK YOU! As you may recall, my internet went down the very next morning after Bev's husband invited himself in to use my internet to download something to his laptop.

So hard is this headache kicking my butt that it might be drafted by the NFL. Maybe it's an altruistic sort, and could spent its time helping alcoholics and drug addicts relieve themselves of their respective habits.

I feel like I might need protective gear to deal with this headache. It hurts so much that the back of my neck is on fire, right down to the area between my shoulders. Those muscles feel like a loaded slingshot, stretched back as far as it will go. I hope they don't snap. My flying head could severely injure someone.

Right now, after today's blood pressure pill, an acetaminophen, about 36 oz of Diet Coke, lunch, and several Life Saver Wint-O-Green mints...the headache has dialed back a notch. Now it's more like a toddler kicking the back of my airplane seat.

After supper, I might retire (RETIRE!) to my OPC (Old People Chair) with my vibrator. I'm not talkin' about my OPC's built-in vibrator, by cracky!

I'm talking about that hand-held plastic vibrator that I use on my sinuses.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I Wonder If This Kind Of Thing Happened When Cowboys Tied Their Nags To A Hitching Post

The Universe is messing with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom again! She is not feeling the love to which she is entitled. It's as if her entitledness went on the fritz. Pennies are not winking up at her from the pavement several times a week. Every scratcher is not a winner. Not only do people not hold the door open for her, but they close it right in her face and hold it shut! Convenience store clerks give her the wrong lottery tickets. The Devil's Playground is out of tasty Chicken Bacon Ranch pinwheels. And you can bet her very special parking spaces are taken. TAKEN! Like theater seats at the Paradise Twin.

I don't have a special parking space at Save A Lot. There's a whole row, and aside from the three handicap spaces, I am comfortable parking anywhere. IN THAT ROW. Sometimes, the row is full, what with a laundry and Subway on one side of Save A Lot, and a Dollar Store on the other. Sometimes, I have to drive around to the other side of that row. There are usually not many people parked on that side.

Today I stopped by Save A Lot to get The Pony what he requested for Thanksgiving. He's not coming home, but Farmer H and I are going to visit him next weekend. Imagine the feast if The Pony had been in charge of the first Thanksgiving. He asked for "...lots of chocolate, Chex Mix if any is available, real butter, and Sister Schubert's rolls." You can bet that Chex Mix will be available for my little Pony. I still have lots of chocolate left from his Halloween care package. So all I needed was butter and rolls.We really like the real butter from Save A Lot. The Pony is getting a box of 4 sticks of butter. Sister Schubert, though, resides in the freezer case at Country Mart. So I had two stops to make.

The front row of Save A Lot parking was full, except for one space down by the Dollar Store that I judged to be too tight for me to comfortably open T-Hoe's door all the way. As I've mentioned, it only has two notches: all the way, and too narrow for me to get my knees in comfortably. No big deal. I went to the other side of the row. There was a large selection of spaces there. I chose one that was in between the two Save A Lot doors. Figuring people parking after me would want to park by one door end or the other. I cheated T-Hoe over a little bit, leaving extra room on my side to get that door open. Just in case someone parked beside me. I didn't feel guilty, because that space I was crowding had a big concrete base of a light pole in it, and people rarely park in that one.

You know what happened, right? When I came out with my real butter and a pint of slaw (!), I saw that a white truck had parked beside T-Hoe. On the driver's side. Over the line. So close, in fact, that I could not even get the door open to the too narrow for me to get my knees in comfortably notch. In fact, I couldn't even get my ARM inside enough to lay my phone on the console. As you might imagine, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was not a happy camper. But camp out was what she had to do! To await the arrival of that driver (I use the term very loosely) and the exit of the truck.

Notice that there is no reason to pick that particular spot. There is no other car nearby. The dude pulled all the way through, and the stores are actually behind him.

This backward angle is actually what put me in a pickle. Notice that White Truck Dude can swing his door open and get out. But that when I open T-Hoe's door, it hits the mirror. I did not really make physical contact, but I wish I'd beat the Not-Heaven out of that guy's mirror. I could only get the door open a few inches.

Sooo...I had to walk around and sit in the passenger seat until White Truck Dude came out. An interlude of about 10 minutes. Oh, yeah! I took a picture of him, too! That's as assertive as I got. You know I was muttering unkind things about him under my breath, though.

I normally don't post pictures of strangers on the innernets. But this guy really irked me. Even if I was a bony old gray-haired dude, I would not have been able to squeeze through the crack that T-Hoe's driver's door could open. So don't point the finger at Mrs. HM for being a portly thick creaky knee-joint-challenged matron.

Once White Truck Dude slithered behind the wheel and drove off, I hopped out of the passenger seat and hobbled around to get in. I headed for Country Mart for The Pony's requested rolls. Farmer H scoffed at my folly, saying we could just go to a Devil's Playground in Norman and buy them there. However...he has obviously not been in charge of preparing Thanksgiving dinner before. Because Sister Schubert's Rolls are an endangered species on the weekend before Thanksgiving. One year, we had to do without, and partake of Sister Schubert's square yeast rolls, which were not the same as the little rolls crammed in a silver pie pan.

Anyhoo...I drove over to Country Mart, taking my life in my hands, because a crazier group of drivers I'd never seen outside of a high school incentive day at a bumper car park. My special parking place at Country Mart was taken, but I didn't mind, because I had the next best thing only four spaces over.

Uh huh! I parked way down at the end of the building! NOBODY was going to pull up and pin me out at this store. I was in the last parking spot. Nobody could park beside me.

Or could they?

Take a look at THIS:

Not the white car. It's parked just fine. In fact, it's two spaces down from my rightful parking spot, which was empty by the time I got out to walk in. No, I'm not talking about that white car. Look behind it. That reddish SUV. You may think it's driving along the main road in front of the store, on the wrong side. But NO! It's PARKED! Parked BESIDE a parking space.

SWEET GUMMI MARY! You can see that there is no shortage of spaces. No need to park NOT IN one! There were even six or seven of the handicap spaces open.

WHAT, exactly, is wrong with people these days? The Universe and Even Steven and their sidekick, Karma, better be working on something fabulous to make up for this...

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Maybe He Was Freelancing

Nothing irks me more than having my hands in the dishwater, and having to go answer the house phone. Okay. There are many things that irk me more. I'm highly irkable. Let's just say my irk level starts at high, and only increases from there.

Anyhoo...there I was this morning, suds on my fingers, being my own dishwasher, when the house phone rang. It has caller ID. I was half expecting it to say, "Call from Farmer H." But it didn't. It announced, "Call from...wireless caller."

You know me. I figure it's probably a scammer, but I can't take that chance. Something might have happened to one of my college boys, and they had to borrow a phone to call me to solve their problem from several hundred miles away.

I rushed to the living room, wiping my sudsiness on my jammie pants.




"I am calling from the main office about your Windows computer--"


Can you believe that guy with a foreign accent hung up on me?

I guess call centers have gone wireless now, or else this little guy was freelancing, thus his initial heads-up that he was actually calling from THE MAIN OFFICE.

I wish I'd screamed into the phone again, like that time I embarrassed The Pony.

My skills grow rusty without my couch audience to impress.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Don't Call Me Surly

A couple days ago I stopped by Orb K for some scratcher tickets. I asked for four different tickets, by number, as shown in their ticket case. The clerk repeated the numbers as she was getting out the tickets, and I said, "That's right." She scanned each one, shoved the tickets across the counter, and took my money. I thanked her, and turned to walk out.

About three steps from the counter, I noticed that I did NOT have four different tickets. I had two of one kind, and was missing one that I'd asked for. I went back and said

"Excuse me. You've given me two of the Big Money, and I'm missing a Money Multiplier that I asked for."

No big deal, right? I had specifically requested certain tickets, and all she had to do was tear off those tickets and give them to me. It's not rocket science. I've worked as a cashier at a convenience store. I know that things get hectic. Sometimes it's repetitive. It's easy to make a mistake getting out a numbered ticket. If I'd made such an error, I would have said to the customer, "Oh, I'm sorry. Let me have that extra one, and I'll trade you the one you asked for." Problem solved. Apology given.

That's not what happened here. It was the clerk with one front tooth. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But she also doesn't wear the uniform shirt, just a crew-neck t-shirt with a saying on the front. And she's kind of surly. It's a wonder she's kept her job, but for all I know, she's the manager or owner.

I had taken the second Big Money ticket, #37 from the roll, and pushed it across the counter, the #36 and the two other kinds of tickets laying in front of me. Surly reached over and grabbed all the tickets and shuffled through them. "Which numbers did you have?" she demanded. Okay. I can understand that she wanted to make sure I kept the first Big Money ticket. Just in case I was some weirdo who didn't get the number on the roll that I wanted, and tried to trick her into taking it back. She picked up the #37 and looked around. Then she got out the ticket I'd asked for in the beginning, the Money Multiplier. She started to SCAN IT to charge me for it!

The other clerk came over and said, "You don't need to do that. You're just trading her. Give her that one, and put the other ticket back in the case." Sure. No need to charge me, because I had already paid for four tickets, and I was going to be leaving with four tickets. At no time had Surly attempted to refund me anything for the wrong ticket that I had given back. I can still understand how she might have been confused. But it's not like she's a new employee. I've seen her working there for a while now.

Here's the deal. Surly acted all put-out with ME! I'm not the one who made the mistake. She'd even asked me for the numbers of the tickets I wanted before tearing them off. She had double-checked, and still gave me the wrong one. Thanks to the other clerk assisting, the issue was resolved. I did NOT appreciate Surly's attitude. A simple "Sorry," or even a neutral tone while she asked for assistance, would have been okay. I didn't need the sighing and the disgust she conveyed with every move.

I might have considered it fate, and walked out with the wrong ticket without causing a stir. But I wanted the tickets I'd asked for. I don't think I was out of line for asking to get what I paid for.

Let the record show that the ticket Surly had forgotten at first won me $5. It's the only winner I had out of those four. Of course, that extra ticket might have been a big winner...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Big Little Guy Is Somewhat Frustrating

 Hey! Have you heard? Farmer H is completely retired now, and he's home A LOT!

Taking care of my aged toddler, the not-so-wee Farmer H, is sometimes frustrating. There's a reason why old people don't have babies. Your patience is all used up.

Talking to Farmer H is like explaining things to a toddler. They kind of hear WAH WAH WAH like Charlie Brown listening to his teacher. Or hear a bunch of lakelrkj lksodi ljlkjl; aerddaa THEN ONE WORD THEY RECOGNIZE sadkjhoj wererou slkj wererl, like a dog tilting its head at you then becoming excited when he hears TREAT or RIDE.

Sometimes it's like trying to explain English idioms to an immigrant who doesn't have time to go to ESL classes due to working three jobs to survive.

Tuesday evening, for instance, I was making some garlic toast to go with a pot of vegetable beef soup. Pretty simple, that garlic toast. I just buy it at Save A Lot in the freezer section, and pop it into the oven for five or six minutes. Turning once. Oh, I can make a mean garlic cheese bread, but it doesn't go with the soup as well as the frozen stuff.

Anyhoo...I leave the bread in the oven an extra minute or two. I like the edges to get crusty. The Pony did not, he liked the whole slice soft, so when he was here, I had to eat it his way, or put mine back in for extra time. News flash: The Pony doesn't live here any more. When I called Farmer H to the kitchen to dish up his towering bowl of vegetable beef soup, I told him

"You're getting it with crust, because that's how I like it."

"You want me to cut off the crusts?"

" you not want your crust?"

"I want it, but I thought you said you wanted it."

"No. I like it that way. The Pony didn't. I didn't warm it that long for him."

 "So I can eat my crust?"

"Yes, you can eat your crust."

"Are you having some?"

"Um. Yes. There are three pieces. You said you wanted two. So I'm having one."

"Oh. Okay. Because I noticed there was three."

Then Farmer H moved to the plate where I'd sliced 12 pieces of Oberle cheese to go along with the soup. You might not have heard of Oberle cheese, it being a local product around Hillmomba. It's a long tube-shaped piece of garlic cheese. When you slice it, you have pieces about the size of a 50-cent coin, a quarter-to-half-inch thick. Farmer H had said he wanted "three or four" pieces of cheese."

"So...I'll just take this...wait. Did you want some cheese?"

"Surely you weren't going to pick up that whole plate and take it! That's half the roll! Twelve pieces of cheese!"

"No, no. What did I say I was having? I'll just take four."

"Good. Because I'm having some, and I already set out a container for the rest."

Really. You'd think Farmer H was practicing to go on the competitive eating circuit. I couldn't even look when he piled up his towering bowl of soup.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lay It, Don't Spray It

Most of you know that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom enjoys a good Diet Coke every now and then. In fact, she enjoys a 44 oz Diet Coke fountain soda every day, along with a 20 oz bottle* of the hard stuff. At night, I pour the bottled Diet Coke into the remains of the day's 44 oz fountain Diet Coke, to make it extra DietCokeier.

Monday night, around 11:30, I left my dark basement lair and entered the dark basement. I have two lamps over by my OPC (Old People Chair). I walked over to the other side of the stairs, where the lamp light barely reaches, and wrestled two 20 oz bottles of Diet Coke from that plastic six-pack thingy, to put in the basement mini fridge. I try to keep three cold ones in there, lest I forget to replace them as I used them. Usually, a good twist or two in opposite directions from each other will free the bottles from the holder.

I was having a little trouble, that new six-pack I'd bought only that day at The Devil's Playground seeming exceedingly tight. I had the pack laid on its end, on Genius's old desk, twisting the top two bottles. Then I heard a weird noise.

I'm kind of jumpy in the basement late at night in the semi-darkness. I tried to tell myself that it was just the rustling of the plastic Devil's Playground bags kind of strewn around the desk. I'm a slob. And a chicken. What if it was a critter walking around under the plastic bags? Maybe a millipede! I hate those things, and we've found three of them in the basement over the years. Or what about a mouse? We've had two of those. They're not as scary. Surely it wasn't a snake!

I stopped what I was doing to listen. To see if the noise continued. Maybe I was just hitting those bags with the edge of the bottles. Nope. The noise kept on. Kind of a hiss. Then I felt it! Wetness! On my left hand! What in the Not-Heaven? What was--


One of the 20 oz bottles had sprung a leak! I thought the lid was not on right. That it was coming loose, and the shaking of the bottle as I twisted had made it foam. I wrenched that left bottle free, and rushed to the NASCAR bathroom. Of course my elbow would not flip the light switch on. A NASCAR basement in the interior of a dark basement lair with no windows is black as night at 11:30 p.m.

I finally dropped the bottle in the sink, and got the light on by using my forearm. Sweet Gummi Mary! The lid on that bottle was fine. But there was a pinhole near the top that was spraying my precious magical elixir. I tried to recreate the sight for you.

Of course, this was the next morning, on a dreary day, on the back porch instead of the NASCAR bathroom, using water instead of Diet Coke. The slightest pressure sent the water squirting out that pinhole. And this was sink water from our well, not even carbonated!

I'd cleaned up the Diet Cokey mess the night before, and the only thing slightly damaged was two sheets of Genius's special resume paper. I don't think he's going to be needing it, since he has signed a contract and starts a real job on January 8. The worst damage was to my tender psyche, seeing my precious magical elixir swirling down the drain.

I cry shenanigans! I think somebody must have sabotaged my soda! I've never had a bottle develop a pinhole like that.

The Universe sure is a practical jokester.

*Looks like you only get 16.9 ounces in a 20 oz bottle these days!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mrs. HM Is NOT Broke As A Joke

Yesterday I had a bit of good luck. I earned back money that keeps getting away from me at the casino! Of course, it took a scratcher to get it back.

That's a $5 ticket. I won every prize. You have to match both symbols in a row, or get a special symbol in the first one. Like the candy cane. It tells you at the bottom of the ticket. Anyhoo...that $5 ticket won me $100. I had some other winners, too, but none that dramatic. I stashed that cash today for my next casino trip. Money doesn't grow on trees, you know!

While I was in the gas station chicken store cashing this one in, a man came in to pay for gas. The Lady Owner was ringing up his purchase, and said, "Oh, you're a long way from home."

"Yes. We've been on the road for six hours now. We're headed to Little Rock for a funeral."

The Lady Owner offered her condolences, and the customer asked if there was a good restaurant around here. She referred him to the buffet over by Save A Lot, and gave him directions.

As I drove home, while passing in front of that restaurant, the song "Little Rock," by Collin Raye, came on my radio. I haven't heard that song in years.

Funny how The Universe plays these little jokes.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Maybe It's Just The Perception

Sunday, Farmer H and I made a jaunt to the casino after he closed up his storage shed store. It's become one of our regular outings. I used to marvel at one of the retired office gals at Basementia. Seems like she and her husband were always going to the casino. Huh. There's not much else to do around these parts. And with those offers, it's like you're losing money if you DON'T go! Okay. I have been losing money when I DO go. But that's beside the point. It's money that's already earmarked to lose.

Anyhoo...I was sitting at one of the two slot machines that actually let me enjoy a profit, and a lady sat down right next to me. That's no big deal. There were only four machines on that row, and three of us playing them. She didn't crowd me. At first, I thought she was going to be one of those annoying people-persons. You know. The kind who small-talk your ear off. She slid onto the stool and said, "Gosh, it sure is cold here." Yes. The casino must be trying to preserve us old corpses so we don't stink. I have taken to taking a jacket with me, but then it stinks like smoke, and I don't wash my jackets weekly. Sunday was quite warm, 75 degrees, and I didn't even wear a long-sleeved shirt. So I agreed that yes, it certainly was cold in there.

That lady settled down and started playing. She ceased the small talk, and was one of the more pleasant close-players that I have encountered. She didn't pound on the machine, or stroke it suggestively, or yell, "OH, COME ON!" every time she spun. I was hitting some bonuses, and she didn't comment on them, or crane her neck over to see. She minded her own beeswax.

After about 10 minutes, that lady looked at me, and the gal on her left, and asked, "Will it bother either of you if I smoke?"

Hm. Yes. Very much so. But because she was so polite, and I was in a casino, I told her, "No. It's okay." Which was a little white lie, but after all, we were in a casino! It's not like I was laying in intensive care under an oxygen tent, nor tasting exotic dishes on a once in a lifetime vacation. She had asked politely, was minding her Ps and Qs, and who was I to deny her this vice pleasure?

You know, that smoke wasn't all that bad. She even had her ashtray between her machine and mine, but that smoke didn't seem to waft my way. It's not like she was exhaling fine perfume, but it was bearable.

Just before we left, however, I moved across the casino to a machine I'd been waiting to get on since we arrived. Finally! A vacant seat. This was a giant slot, on a circle of six machines. I pulled out the stool and put my feet on the slanted rubber mat part that vibrates when you get a bonus. It's the game that yells "BUFFALOOOOO!" when you get some good-paying buffalo symbols. right foot stubbed something on that mat, and I looked down to see two full ashtrays that I'd just kicked over! WHO DOES THAT? It's not like I go through the casino with my eyes glued to the floor, looking for ashtrays (or even pennies). It might not have even been the smoker(s) who put them there. Sometimes I sit down at a machine, and there's a nasty ashtray sitting on it. I put it down between the machines, on that shelf they sit on. Or move it to another machine if it's one of the big ones and I'm afraid somebody will nab it if I step away. A short time later, one of the workers came by, wearing rubber gloves, carrying a bucket, and picked up those two ashtrays from under my feet. Sorry, but she's paid to do that.

While I was waiting for the late Farmer H, he having texted me that he'd just hit 15 free games (yes, he came out a winner again, that dirty dog), I sat down to play $10 of my cashed out tickets by the ticket-cashing machine. An old lady with a leathery face and sour expression sat down a couple machines away, smoking like a chimney, hacking and coughing, her acrid smoke drifting across my nostrils. I swear, it was like a cartoon of Pepe Le Pew's scent. You could actually SEE those tendrils of smoke snaking their way my way. They also snaked right into my lungs and burned like the dickens.

Farmer H, upon being informed of the different smoker scenarios, said that he thinks it's just the brand of cigarettes. I'm not so sure.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Farmer H's Pecadillo Puts Him In A Bit Of A Pickle

I hate to do this to you, fresh on the heels of Farmer H's butt yesterday. I'll try not to be too graphic. You know how good I am sugar-coating the sordid details.

Farmer H has a George-Costanza-like problem. Not a problem, per se, but a need to know the best toilet facilities anywhere in Hillmomba. Now that he is spending most of the day gathering new old merchandise for his storage shed store, or transporting merchandise that he already has, or selling merchandise when customers arrive...he has a need to use the facilities without driving five miles home and back.

The flea market storage shed place has restrooms down at the far end of the lot. When he's there, Farmer H can get somebody else to watch his shed, and use that one. Sometimes he's carousing around town at the Casey's, prior to locking his keys in his truck, or picking up strange women and dropping them off 12 miles down the road at the treatment center.

Here's the thing. Farmer H says he doesn't like to use the Casey's bathroom unless he buys something. Seriously. Like they care. I doubt the clerks watch him and badmouth him when he leaves if he doesn't make a purchase. Maybe this is just Farmer H's way of justifying all those donuts he eats that are not recommended for his diabetes.

I, myself, prefer the facilities at Hardee's if I must stop before I get home. I can usually hold it for five miles, though. Hardee's has their restroom down a little hall to the right side as you enter the door. You don't even have to get close to the counter or dining area. Nobody sees you, really, unless there's somebody paid to be a Nosy Nancy and chart where customers (or not) go when they enter. Besides, I used to get a chicken bowl at the drive-thru every day, until I discovered the deliciousness of The Devil's Playground deli pinwheels. I feel like I have many days credit built up from NOT using the restroom when I was a paying customer.

I'm still not sure if Farmer H is being truthful. It took him a long time to answer when he told me about a car being almost stolen at Casey's on Thursday morning, and I asked what he was doing in Casey's. After a couple of false starts, he said he was buying a soda. I pointed out that he has plenty of soda here in FRIG II, Diet Mountain Dew in the 20 oz bottles he prefers (no fountain soda for Farmer H), that he could take along to his storage shed store to sip throughout the morning.

I pointedly asked if he was buying donuts, but he denied it. Then told me that he likes to buy something if he goes in to use their restroom. I asked about the one on the storage shed lot, and he said he had to use THAT one, too, a short time later. He thinks he might have gotten food poisoning from eating a hamburger that one of the ladies with a booth was selling. I pointed out that food poison does not work instantly like that. It was more likely the Casey's donuts that he'd bought that morning.

For a minute there, I thought I had outsmarted him. Nope. He said maybe it was his supper from the night before, which was a ham sandwich. I'm more inclined to say that it was the sugar-free candy I buy him, which he eats more of than he should. It can have that result, I hear. Specifically from my sister the ex-mayor's wife, who said somebody gave it out to the kindergarteners one year in treat bags.

Not sure where I was going with this. But I'm pretty sure I'm done.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

I'm Not Saying He's Turning Into One, But Evidence Is Not On His Side

Could Farmer H be slowing getting in touch with his feminine side?

You know me for being indelicate unladylike of me...but... well...remember that time Farmer H had a hemorrhoid? He still has it. In fact, just like his doctor nurse practitioner told him, it resolved itself on its own. Kind of. I don't think it's actually resolved yet. Anyhoo...after a week or so of hearing him moan and groan and limp and sit gingerly upon his rumpus, you recall, Farmer H summoned me to the shower one evening to "take a look at it." Which I declined.

Have you ever seen the movie Carrie? From the Stephen King book? The original Carrie, with Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie? Do you remember how it starts? With that locker room scene, all foggy and these-days-inappropriate, with Carrie herself in the shower, discovering her menses? I swear, that is what this reminded me of! Farmer H thought he was bleeding to death! From a hemorrhoid!

Sweet Gummi Mary! This is why men don't have babies. They truly are the weaker sex. They can't handle a little blood loss. Farmer H put a towel on the cushion of his La-Z-Boy. He strapped up with stick-on feminine hygiene products that he rummaged around under the bathroom sink for. Not that I need them anymore, of course. Good thing for him I was prepared for those little surprises that sometimes happen, or he'd have been plugging up with something more invasive.

Anyhoo...Farmer H continued to complain that he was bleeding to death. He didn't go anywhere without his "diaper" as he called it, and he spread a towel down on the mattress at bedtime. I reminded him that he takes a daily aspirin, and that makes the blood clot slower. Also, every time he said he was going in the bathroom to "try to poop," I had to remind him that he should probably drink more fluids and eat more fiber, because sitting there on the toilet trying to make the magic happen was not helping his hemorrhoid heal.

I think maybe things in the rumpus department are on the mend, because I don't hear daily anymore about how Farmer H is bleeding to death. He doesn't curtail his activities, and the towel has been washed and folded and he doesn't haul it around like Linus's blanket. He spends all day getting stuff set out in his storage container store. So I don't think I'll need to order a tombstone any time soon.

Farmer H mentioned that he needs something to keep his money in at the flea market. He has to get small bills for change, and he doesn't need his wallet to explode like George Costanza's when he put that tear-off strip for free guitar lessons in there. I looked for a money bag at The Devil's Playground the last two trips. Apparently, The Devil doesn't want us to accumulate money. There was nary a one in either of the two stores.

Wednesday, I found Farmer H the next best thing to a money bag. It's a makeup bag! I resisted the urge to get the pink-and-silver glitzy one. I brought him basic black. You can still tell that it's a makeup bag, not a money bag. But it'll get the job done.

I don't know if I should tell Farmer H about the pink-and-silver bag. He might've preferred it.