Friday, August 31, 2018

From The TECHNOLOGY CAN'T BE TRUSTED Files Of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

We're just a hop, skip, and a jump away from a future of machines ruling us all! Technology is poised to take over Hillmomba! As evidence, I provide the following vignette.

Farmer H stopped by Casey's to put gas in A-Cad before we picked up my favorite gambling aunt for our trip to the casino on Wednesday. No, we all lost. There. Got that out of the way. Anyhoo...Farmer H paid at the pump, but went in to get himself a bottle of water and two scratchers. No, he lost. Anyhoo...I was sitting in the shotgun seat, minding my own business, visions of jackpots dancing in my head.

I wanted to check the time, and see if perhaps Auntie was running behind. That happens sometimes. So I looked down at my phone, which I had laid in a slot on A-Cad's console. It was sideways, and I knew I'd have to pick it up, but I was shocked to see the Google colorful spinny pinwheel thingies rotating on the black screen. I picked it up, wondering why my phone had done a reboot. Even if it updates apps (which I don't want it to do automatically, but it has been for many months now), it doesn't restart. If I manually choose to update the Android thingy, I have to select RESTART manually as well. So this made no sense.

By the time I had that phone in my hand, it had already restarted itself. I swiped the screen up to first of all check the time, and see if there was an incoming text from Auntie. Huh. That was very odd.


However, we had left home at noon, to meet Auntie at 12:30, and I had assumed the time was now around 12:20. SWEET GUMMI MARY! The date on my phone, just under the 6:01, read


What in the Not-Heaven??? Was I in some kind of paranormal Philadelphia Experiment? Perhaps the Hillmomba Experiment? Was I time-traveling? I quickly turned my phone off and dropped it back into the slot of the console. That fixes most gadgets, right? You turn them off, and then back on. It works for my DISH receiver when it goes all wonky, even though sometimes I need to completely unplug it rather than just use the power button. And Genius himself has told me to do that with the router (whatever it is) when I suddenly have no internet and can't figure out why.

Farmer H returned. I suppose I had never been quite so glad to see him being his regular self.

"My phone went crazy! It turned itself off and on, and then the time was 6:01, and the date was Wednesday, December 31st!"


I guess it's a credit to Farmer H that he only grunted, and did not twirl his crazy finger near his temple.

"I'm hoping it will be okay when I turn it back on, but if not, I figure my phone has died. It also said NO SERVICE at the top, and I ALWAYS have service here. I even send myself pictures because I have such a good signal. I'll try it when we get over to Country Mart to pick up Auntie. Wait! The very best service I get is at The Gas Station Chicken Store! I'm turning it back on now."

So as we made our left turn at the light in front of the GSCS, I turned my phone back on, and EVERYTHING WAS PERFECTLY NORMAL.

Technology. It's in cahoots with The Universe, conspiring against me.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Feet Stink

There. I said it. My feet stink. Not stink, as in, they don't do the job I expect of them. Stink, as in they smell really bad! Now that I think of it, they also are not doing the job I expect of them. But it's not really their fault.

You may recall that I always have some sort of major malady befall me when I least expect it. And since we returned from The Pony visit, my left ankle has been giving me fits. It seems to be a continuing problem from last December, when we went to Genius's graduation, and I traipsed all over blacktop campus to take pictures with him, in shoes that were not designed for traipsing.


I have posterior tibial tendinitis! No, I didn't go to the doctor nurse practitioner. Are you crazy? I found out on the innernets! I have every symptom! Pain. Swelling. Lack of stability. Trouble lifting my heel. And I fit most the checklist items for people who commonly develop it. I'm old, female, overweight, have high blood pressure, and wore shoes without arch support.

Anyhoo...since the prognosis is not very promising, I've been trying to follow some of the self-treatment tactics. I don't have a walking boot like a doctor nurse practitioner might prescribe, but I AM being careful not to walk around barefoot. Do you know how hard that is for me? The only time I ever wear shoes is when I go to town. But now, I'm trying to always wear shoes, unless sleeping.

Therein lies the problem.

The pair of shoes that makes my foot feel best is probably about 10 years old. I daresay it might predate my ratty old baby blue sweatshirt. This pair of shoes used to be my walking shoes. They are wide and stable, and I've replaced the insoles a couple of times due to wear. They have very little okay NO cushioning left. BUT there seems to be really good arch support for my left foot. I kind of clomp around in it like it's a Frankenstein boot. A normal stride is not possible as yet. But I'm virtually pain-free as long as I clomp around in that shoe.

I confess to keeping that left shoe on, but taking off the right shoe. Because it's really not that comfortable on my good foot, since while I was favoring the left foot, my right knee got out of whack. So I sometimes wear a different shoe on the right foot. Around the Mansion, of course. Not out in public. Yet.'s the deal. Those shoes are very old, and they STINK! I swear I can smell my feet when I'm just sitting around. It's not pleasant, but it is virtually pain free. Seems like my innernets told me that a walking boot is usually recommended for 3 weeks. So I figure I'm going to have stinky feet for a while longer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Lightning Strikes Thrice

As you're reading this, I'm at our new favorite casino with Farmer H and my favorite gambling aunt! Auntie hasn't been to the casino since the last time she drove the two of us there, and she's never been to our new favorite. So we're going to have an afternoon on the town, and eat the buffet at 4:00 (because that's what old people do).

Don't you worry about Mrs. HM and Farmer H going broke! Farmer H had a stellar weekend at his Storage Unit Store, and Mrs. HM did pretty well for herself on scratchers last week. Pretty well, as in getting THREE winners of $100 in two days! For the Pics Or It Didn't Happen Crowd:

I got this $10 ticket on Thursday, August 23, at The Gas Station Chicken Store. The Man Owner himself sold it to me. I usually buy the $5 tickets, but I'd had two days worth of winners on $5 from the GSCS, so I went with this older $10. I'm glad I did! That third number wasn't a number at all, but a money symbol that means $100.

Friday, I got a couple of $5 tickets from Waterside Mart, when I stopped to buy Genius's two tickets to put in his letter. And when I went by the GSCS for my 44 oz Diet Coke, and to cash in my $100 winner, I decided to try the other (newest) $10 ticket they have there.

When I got home and started scratching, I found THIS:

I matched every number on that $5 ticket from Waterside Mart, totaling $100. Poor Genius. He doesn't know how close he came to winning it. I kept this one for myself, because it was # 026, and I had another ticket that was also # 026. So I kept the pair (the other one winning $20).

Of course I was simply THRILLED, because I'd won $100 on two consecutive days. Imagine my glee when I scratched my $10 ticket from the GSCS, and found:

Yes, that's another money symbol for a $100 winner! It was sold to me by the Asian Guy Clerk at the GSCS. I think Farmer H was happy for me, but sometimes he's a Bitter Betty because he seems to lose every time he buys a ticket.

When I cashed in my tickets Saturday at the GSCS, I told the Man Owner of my good fortune two days in a row from his store. They always like to hear that. Anyhoo...when I walked in for my magical elixir on Sunday, Man Owner said, "Hello, lady! I was going to ask you if I could borrow a hundred dollars!"

To which I replied, "Can't win a hundred dollars EVERY day! Just two days in a row!"

Let the record show that I am not sharing this with you to gloat. I'm letting your inner gambler live vicariously through my wins! I do it for THE PEOPLE!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Tale Of Two Vittles, Part 2: The Pie

Everybody knows that Mrs. HM is not a gourmet 5-star Michelin chef. However, she can open a can, and snip the top off a bag of frozen food with the best of them.

Last week, I had a hankerin' for Chicken Pot Pie. Oh, I've never made it. Don't even order it in a restaurant like Cracker Barrel on the rare once-every-ten-years that Farmer H takes me there (usually with a gift card). It's not even like we had a cold snap. But for some reason, I was fixated on Chicken Pot Pie.

My head danced with not-sugar-plums, imagining what goes into a Chicken Pot Pie. I've eaten the individual frozen pies back in my single days. I know that I wanted a nice crust, and the insides had to include diced carrots, potatoes, and peas. Along with some gloopy kind of filling so it wasn't dry. Oh, yeah...and chicken! I formulated what I thought would be a good recipe:

canned white meat chicken
frozen peas/carrots
frozen diced hash brown potatoes
cream of chicken soup
ground black pepper
diced onion
chopped garlic
sour cream (thanks to the innernets, when I looked up recipes)

Yes, I'd hit all the major ingredients listed in quick Chicken Pot Pie recipes, and along with their not-mentioned garlic and onion and black pepper. I must say, the sour cream was a good addition to my gloopy part.

Of course Mrs. HM was not going to make her own crust. So a storebought one from the cooler section worked out just fine.

Mmm...I wish you had Taste-a-Blogsion! It was DELICIOUS! Farmer H was coming back to the kitchen for more before I even had mine in the bowl.

Let the record show that I made a big pie. It's bottomless. I used a 9 x 13 glass pan, coated with butter. Mixed all those ingredients together in a bowl, giving it a good stir. Then poured the filling into the glass pan, and topped with my storebought crust (it took two of the 9-inch crusts, but they came two-in-a-pack anyway). I poked a few holes in the crust, but not quite big enough, because in the last two minutes, my filling was bubbling up at the edges of the crust. I got it out of the oven before any leaked, though! I baked it at 425 (as the pie crust said) for 30-40 minutes. I started checking it at 30 minutes, and took it out at about 35, due to the bubbling, and crust looking ready.

Yes, I mangled mine taking it from pan to bowl. But did I mention that it was DELICIOUS?

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Tale Of Two Vittles, Part 1: The Pinwheel

Everybody knows that Mrs. HM is crazy about Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels. She makes a trip to The Devil's Playground twice a week to get them. They have been her standard lunch for at least a year now. Woe is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom when The Devil is fresh out of her pinwheels!

I was quite lucky a couple days ago, scoring FOUR of those delicious delicacies. Sure, they expire within two days, usually, but I'm not averse at eating past-date pinwheels. If the lettuce is too limp, I just peel that part off. As you can see, I'm not all that picky about my pinwheels. It's better than making them myself, which requires effort, too-thick tortillas, and wafered ham instead of bacon (which is just too much trouble).

There is one infraction where I must draw the line, though. I expect to have CHICKEN in my Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels!

Yeah! I'm not all that picky! I'd even eat the limp lettuce on this one. And forgive the lack of bacon. But WHERE'S THE CHICKEN? That little sliver is hardly enough to keep a mouse alive!

I unroll my pinwheels to place the good parts on the end of the tortilla strip with enough left to wrap around, then tear off the excess tortilla. Sometimes I eat it afterwards with some crunchy BBQ potato chips, and sometimes I give the extra to the dogs. Thus I can see the shenanigans going on inside my Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels.

The Truth in Blogging Law requires me to inform you that the other three pinwheels in this pack had the right amount of all ingredients. But imagine how much money The Devil will save if 25% of his pinwheels have no bacon and only a sliver of chicken!

I'm mad as Not-Heaven, but I'll probably still keep on taking it. Not worth a trip back to The Devil's Playground to complain to a 20-year-old deli worker. Not worth making my own pinwheels every day for a year.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

At Least He's Not A One-Eyed Jack

Friday, on the way to the garage, I saw my (formerly Puppy) Jack rushing towards me across the porch. He was only using three legs! In fact, he held his right front leg out to the side. It looked like it was dislocated.

You can't keep a good dog down. Jack immediately jumped up and put his healthy left leg on my thigh, dancing around on his two good back legs. When I gently shooed him down, he was careful not to put his right front leg on the porch. He hopped around, hoping for a handful of cat kibble. While eating it, he cautiously rested his right front paw on the porch boards, putting no weight on it.

I sent a text to Farmer H immediately that something was wrong with Jack's leg. He said he'd look at it when he got home from his Storage Unit Store in a couple hours. Jack wasn't whimpering, but I know it had to bother him to be semi-immobile. Jack is ALL DOG, into everything, rushing here and there, yipping and yapping. But not now.

I tried to reason with myself that he'd be fine. After all, hadn't I been startled to see a young Juno walking about on her front wrists, with her paws flopping? And she was fine in two days. I guess she just had a sprain. Mentally, I was preparing myself for a trip to the vet with Jack. I'm pretty sure his lady is open on Saturday mornings. Even if Farmer did not agree, I was taking my Jack to the doctor if he wasn't better in a day.

When I came home from my errands, I met Farmer H on his tractor down by the creek. I saw Copper Jack poke his head out of the woods and trot towards us. He stopped midway, looking over his shoulder. I'm sure he was waiting for Jack, who did not appear. I drove to the Mansion, and Copper Jack took off running that direction, through the foliage instead of on the Farmer-H-maintained gravel road. He was there when I came out of the garage, but there was no sign of my Jack, or Juno. Farmer H said later that both Jacks and Juno had been following him, our little Jack keeping up just find, running on three legs, occasionally putting down the fourth.

Saturday morning, when I left for town, there was Jack, romping up the porch steps to await his cat kibble. He looked just fine. In fact, when I came home, he and his partner in name and crime met me behind the garage as I was getting the groceries out.

Looks like our little fella is going to be okay. Farmer H said that when he returned from the auction Friday night, both Jacks jumped off the concrete carport to chase the scattering squirrels. "That's when I knew he was fine. If he can jump off that three-foot drop into the back yard."

"Well, that might be how he hurt it to begin with. Or else Copper Jack got too rough when they were wrestling. They bite each others legs and roll around."

Jack is a sturdy little guy. He's built to last.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Neck Bone's Connected To The Shoulder Bone

Looks like Mrs. HM has suffered another old-folks injury in while reclining in her husband's La-Z-Boy. I felt it happen instantaneously when I shifted slightly, wallowing in my slothfulness. Now I have a sharp shooting pain at the inner edge of my right shoulder blade when I tilt my head down.

Do you know how many daily activities require tilting your head down? ALMOST ALL OF THEM! Including, but not limited to:

Getting up out of a La-Z-Boy.

Looking down at a laptop.

Looking down at a keyboard in front of a New Delly in a dark basement lair.

Eating a big salad.

Addressing an envelope for a weekly letter to a son.

Scratching a lottery ticket.

Reaching for the controller of an OPC (Old People Chair).

Since that trip to visit The Pony, barely a day has gone by without some type of debilitating pain. I'm starting to think I might be suffering from SelfPityalgia.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Not His Job

Farmer H is in the midst of planning a reunion. Not all by himself. Himself and four or five ladies who were in his graduating class. In fact, they might BE the entire graduating class. Farmer H went to Newmentia back in the days when it was Oldmentia. It was much smaller then.

Anyhoo...they've had two meetings, have sent out information to alumni, and are looking for a photographer to take a few pictures. That's where Farmer H got the bright idea to ask Genius. Let the record show that photography is a skill which Genius has perfected, and does as a hobby. In his student years, he worked for the college as 2nd Official Photographer, and picked up some spare change doing wedding and graduation photos. Now Genius has a full time job.

Farmer H has been contacting Genius by text, asking him to come down and photograph the reunion, which falls on a Saturday. Genius is in Kansas City, and Hillmomba is on the opposite side of the state. It would entail a 4-5 hour drive for Genius. Oh, yeah. Farmer H expects him to do it for free. Let the record show that Genius does not need the money. He's raking in big bucks in his career.

I reminded Farmer H that Genius HAS a career. That he's looking down the barrel of 40 or more years of employment, with a few weeks of vacation per year. I imagine his weekends are sacred. Reserved for decompressing, and doing things HE wants to do. So I think this is an unreasonable request, once Genius seemed reluctant to attend. "What's in it for HIM?"

Farmer H thinks Genius owes this to him. "I'm his Dad! I'd be there in an instant if he needed something from me!" True. Farmer H helped Genius move several times, and even hauled his stuff from college to Kansas City. Still. That's what you do for your kids. It doesn't necessarily work the other way, until the kids are middle-aged, and we are decrepit. THAT'S when we get paid back.

Now Farmer H, having not heard back from Genius, is thinking of asking another relative. "She takes good pictures."

"Well, I hope you plan to pay her something. You can't expect people to give up their Saturday and attend your reunion for nothing. You paid her to take graduation pictures of Genius."

"I paid her for TRANSPORTATION to go to Genius's college graduation."

"Still. I'd be embarrassed to ask, and then not pay her anything."

"I'll have to think about it."

Sometimes Farmer H is generous, and sometimes he's a curmudgeonly miser. He's kind of like those Sour Patch Kids in the commercial.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Overstaying And Oversharing

I had lunch with my favorite gambling aunt Wednesday. I haven't talked to her in forever. But when we DO talk, it takes forever.

I was saved on the original phone call, because I was in line at the bank. Actually, I was waiting for my receipt to come back in the canister at the drive-thru when her call came in. Not that such a position saved me. It was the fact that SHE was in line at her own bank, and her turn came up. So we hastily agreed on the time and place for lunch. Our usual meeting place, Pizza Hut.

Let the record show that we don't have the lunch buffet. No siree, Bob! We show restraint. A personal pan for each of us, hers with a single trip to the salad bar, mine with a takeout personal pan for Farmer H's supper.

I would feel sorry for the waitress, but we leave a good tip. After taking up a table for 2 hours. Hey! It's not like Pizza Hut is crowded on a Wednesday at 11:30.

After catching up on all the latest gossip, Auntie started talking about how naive she was during her early years of teaching.

"I was on playground duty, and these two kids ran up and said, 'You need to do something about Cindy and Robbie! They're FRENCHING!' I patted their heads and sent them off, saying, 'Okay, I'll watch them.' But they wouldn't leave! They said to each other, 'I don't think she knows what we mean.' I told them, 'No, not really. WHAT is it that they're doing?' And they said, 'Putting their tongue in each other's mouth!' So I said, 'YOU TELL THEM TO COME OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!'"

"Yeah. We had a Behavior Disorder teacher who couldn't keep up with the kids. She had 11 of them, and they were always writing stuff about her on the board when they walked behind her desk. Then she'd get all mad, and demand to know, 'WHO keeps writing the EFF WORD on my board?' One day, the two liveliest ones were goofing around when they came in the room. Seventh graders, picking and poking at each other, not fighting, but the kind of stuff that can lead to a fight. So she told them, 'I wish you two would stop FINGERING EACH OTHER and settle down.!' Oh, they stopped, all right. They were laughing so hard they couldn't do anything else. It took one of the other teachers to explain it to her at lunch in the teacher workroom."

Ah...good times, reminiscing with my favorite gambling aunt.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Farmer H, Travel Photographer

I am shocked that Farmer H has not been contacted by National Geographic. Or a plethora of travel magazines in need of glossy photos of sundry items of interest along the trail. Because he never fails to keep me updated on his findings.

Wouldja lookit that? A limb fell off a tree in the rain overnight! Not quite impeding traffic. It's down the hill, just before you come to the Worst Little Blacktop in Hillmomba that Farmer H and Buddy installed over the gravel potholes without a roller.

And on the way back, Farmer H captured some wildlife:

Not with a net or in a trap. He captured them with his cell phone. Didn't even have to build an observation box covered with limbs (although he had one available, just down the road a few yards, from that storm), and sit in it for days. All he had to do was drive by and turn his head.

Those are piles of rocks in behind the two deer. It's the field where our down-the-hill neighbor sold their rocks a couple years ago. Silly neighbors! Don't they know that could have been their retirement nest egg? At least they still have a few bundled up in reserve. Like kind of an old-age eggbeater, if not a full nest egg.

Yes, I think Farmer H needs to start applying for photography jobs. To occupy his time between the auctions and the Storage Unit Store.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Universe Mocks The Pony

Today was the first day of classes for The Pony's fall semester. He rides the shuttle that services outlying housing. It's free, drops off closer than commuter parking, and runs every half hour. This shuttle is actually a full size bus. Like a Greyhound, or city bus, only a bit trimmer.

As we were driving across Norman, on the way to pick him up last visit, I saw a little shuttle bus like my favorite gambling aunt and I used to ride to the casino. We only stopped because both casinos discontinued their shuttle. I guess old people who don't drive don't spend enough money gambling. Anyhoo...I pointed it out to Farmer H.

"I wonder if that's The Pony's shuttle."

"I don't know. You can ask when we get him."

Once The Pony was in A-Cad, we passed a bigger bus that had Apartment Loop across the front windshield.

"There's my shuttle," said The Pony.

"Oh. I saw one earlier. I thought the short bus..."

The Pony was not amused. And I hadn't meant for it to come out that way. was the first day, and The Pony has a class at 8:30 a.m. on M/W/F. He said he's been going to bed earlier, and practicing getting up earlier for a week. Last night, he sent me a text.

"If you're up, text me around 7:00 to make sure I'm awake. I've been getting up, but it can't hurt to make sure I'm out of bed for the first day of 8:30 classes. Any time early on will be fine. I just want to catch the 7:30 bus, since the 8:00 one might get me there a bit late."

Of course I don't even go to bed until 3:30 or 4:00. "I might do it around 6:00 or 6:30. I'm usually up for the bathroom then. TMI, I know! I'll tell Dad."

I was up at 6:19, and sent The Pony a text. He was awake, getting ready to shower. "Do you want me to send another one at 7:00, in case you fall back asleep?"

"Couldn't hurt."

So I laid back down, but struggled to stay awake. Farmer H said he hadn't set an alarm. But he'd get up, and remind The Pony. He showered and fed the dogs and I heard him leave. But I still stayed awake, to make sure, and sent The Pony a text at 7:00, and at 7:05 he said he was getting ready to leave.

You know how it is when you can't get back to sleep. I was tossing and turning, but relieved that The Pony was on his way to class. Then I got another text at 7:23.

"Well, my 8:30 class apparently doesn't start till Friday. The course page only went live either late Sunday night, or after midnight Monday. There's no class today OR Wednesday."

"Oh, dang. I guess you're not the only one who got tricked. Are you already on your way?" (His next class was at 12:30.)

"No, my friend told me when I asked which bus she was taking (the 7:30, 8:00, or Lloyd Noble). They didn't send out an email, so she probably checked on the announcements before getting ready."

It's a pity The Pony didn't do the same.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Mrs. HM's Mouth Needs To Be Restrained

Let's hope you don't hear about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom in the paper a viral video. She's having trouble holding her tongue while she's driving home.

Remember how our low-water bridge had three signs installed a while back? Signs that declare NO PARKING? Only one of them is left. It's amazing how many people around these parts can't read. And those who CAN don't have any common sense!

On the way home a few weeks ago, I came down the blacktop road, vision obscured by bushy tree limbs, and found a car parked IN THE ROAD. Uh huh. Since they're not supposed to park in the dirt due to the signs, some idiot figured the road itself was a parking spot.

Let the record show that I had room to get by, but any car coming from the other direction would have to veer into my lane. And we can't see each other, due to the summer foliage. So I couldn't get a picture of the actual car parked there, for safety reasons.

To make matters worse, the idiot driver was STANDING ON THE BRIDGE, fishing. Yes, there's room for a car to get by if a person is standing there on the unrailed bridge. There is not, however, room for TWO cars to pass, as might happen unintentionally, due to the aforementioned summer foliage. So I'd either have to hit a car, or a person.

You don't know how hard it was for me to keep from yelling, "Don't park in the road, idiot!" as I drove by.

I've got to prevent my mouth from writing checks my creaky knees can't cash.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

You'd Think He Would Have Learned By Now

Farmer H is not helping his case.

I've been having a terrible time getting around since our Pony visit. Being confined to the car for 9 hours going out, and 13 hours coming back, was no picnic. Nor the fluid restriction that it required for Mrs. HM's continence. Let's remember that she is used to having a 44 oz Diet Coke every day, with a side bottle of Diet Coke, plus a bubba cup of ice water, refilled 3 times. Oh, and unlimited access to the Mansion's bathrooms. joints have been creaking, especially my left ankle, on the inside edge, under that bone. If you are a student of biology, you might recognize it as the medial malleolus. I've had problems with it since Genius's graduation last December. On our picture-taking tour, we hiked over blacktopped hill and dale. More walking than I was used to in my driveway, on a hard surface, without my regular walking shoes. I didn't want to complain, or hold back, so I soldiered on. What's a little discomfort when your firstborn is matriculating?

Ever since, the inner ankle has been a little uncomfortable. But since this trip, the pain is almost unbearable. I figure I aggravated it, with all the casino walking, and then held it an immobilized prisoner in the car, only to stump around on it thanklessly at every rest stop.

Saturday evening, as I was sitting down while waiting on Farmer H's supper to need turning in the oven, I said, "I guess I'm just going to start fasting for a few days. Maybe that will lessen the load on this ankle. It's probably just arthritis acting up."

Well. You'd think I might have gotten some commiseration from Farmer H. Some tut-tutting and poor-dearing, and perhaps an offer to make his own supper (not mine, of course, since I would save him the trouble by fasting) for a few days. But no.

"Yeah, maybe you should. You used to do your walking, but now you've stopped--"

"Says the man whose doctor--I mean nurse practitioner--tells him every three months that he needs to be walking."

"Well, I go to my storage locker and over to the BARn. You don't."

"No, I don't. It hurts my ankle. And knees. Way more than it used to. So I'm going to cut back for a while, and see if that helps them feel better, in which case I can walk again. I can barely get the dumpster up there an back, it hurts so much."

"Yeah. I don't eat nearly as much as you do."

"WHAT? You ate TWICE what I did at the casino buffet on Wednesday!"

"Well, I let myself do that at a buffet. But I don't every day. I don't eat nearly as much as you think I do."

"I make your food. YOU'RE the one who goes to get donuts, and eats a metal baseball cap of ice cream at the buffet. Admit it, you would have eaten BOTH of those Milky Ways that fell out of the machine at the rest stop, if I hadn't harped at you not to! AND you've eaten a whole bear-shaped plastic jar of animal cookies in a week. You're not supposed to have sugar!"

"You bought those cookies TWO weeks ago! And I'm not supposed to eat most of the stuff I eat. The buns on the hot dogs, potatoes, these fries you just made me..."

"You ASKED me for those fries! Every time I offer you a big salad, you want something else!"

"Well, there's things in a big salad I shouldn't have, either."

"Huh. I don't know what that would be. Lettuce, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, chicken, dressing. Didn't know those weren't allowed."

SERIOUSLY? Farmer H is going to blame ME for what I'm preparing him, when HE feeds the sugar monkey on his back in supposed secret?

I don't think so.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Mrs. HM's Little Helper

You know how sometimes, you get an eerie feeling, like the world is out of whack? A kind of discombobulation, when things are not as they should be. When your world view is set on its ear. That happened to Mrs. HM during her visit with The Pony last week.

It's a well-known fact that The Pony does not care about helping people. Documented on his FAFSA application during the college-applying phase of his senior year. The Pony answered honestly, not even trying to make himself look good. For example: "Would you like to help someone who's been in a tornado?" No. The Pony explained that surely there were people better-suited to helping cut up and move downed trees than he. And when we were in The Devil's Playground after Genius, my true people-helper, had absconded for college...The Pony flat our refused my suggestion to go help up an elderly woman who had fallen.

Anyhoo...there we were, The Pony and I, at Riverwind Casino, cashing out our winning tickets. There's an option on those machines at Riverwind. In lieu of taking your change, a box pops up that asks if you would like to DONATE your change to CHARITY. Since I use my change every day for 44 oz Diet Cokes, I always click that I DON'T want to donate. That I want my coins.

WELL! The Pony gave me the stinkeye. " REALLY? I can't believe you!" Seems The Pony, upon cashing out, always donates his change. He'd mentioned it last time we were there, but I hadn't seen him in the actual people-helping act. So I'd casually mentioned it to Farmer H, who almost went apoplectic. "Tell him not to do that! Why is he giving away his change?"

I can see Farmer H's point. A specific charity is not listed. For all we know, the charity is the casino itself. I'm pretty sure that since reportage of the win/loss percentage there is not regulated, the designation of what constitutes a charity might not be regulated, either. Or maybe it's just a generational thing with Farmer H and me, not wanting to give away our hard-won coins.

Anyhoo...I cashed out a couple tickets, taking my 37 cents, and 53 cents. Then it was The Pony's turn. He had 97 cents on his ticket. He must have heard my intake of breath. "Okaayyy! I won't donate. Here. You can have the change."

Perhaps I'm a bad influence. I deterred The Pony from helping people, in favor of helping ME.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Mrs. HM Bites The Hand That Feeds Her Cookies And Chocolate

Let the record show that Farmer H and I spent three days last week in Oklahoma, visiting The Pony. Our lodging was free, courtesy of Riverwind Casino Hotel sending Mrs. HM two free nights (good for the first two weeks of the month, with another two available for the last two weeks) as compensation for her gambling habit time and money spent gaming in their establishment on previous trips.

Another perk of that casino hotel was that they had two jars of FREE COOKIES on the check-in counter. Guests (and their guests, one would assume) could stop by and enjoy a cookie or two whenever they pleased. I only had one, a sugar cookie, as did Farmer H. They were the good ones, too. Not dry, packaged, storebought cookies, but the big soft kind, like served at Subway. We would have made bigger pigs of ourselves, but we had a busy agenda.

When I checked out that last morning, the desk clerk presented me with TWO big chocolate bars advertising the casino's name. Big as fundraiser candy bars! Nom-nom!

Let the record further show that Mrs. HM spent a lot of time in that casino. Her bankroll didn't even take a hit, shedding only $20 total, over two sessions per day, for two days. That's what they want in exchange for free lodging, you know. Your butt on a seat in the casino, the more hours the better. Sure, they HOPE you lose. And know you will, eventually. But the first step is getting you in the doors. I most certainly fulfilled my part of the bargain.

Imagine my surprise on Thursday, when I reached into EmBee's gullet and withdrew a postcard comp from that casino. Are you ready for this?

THEY OFFERED ME $10 if I redeemed it in the next 10 days!

Yeah. Like that's going to happen. I'll drive 9 hours out there, on $100 worth of gas, stay two nights gambling, another $100 to drive home...and take advantage of that offer.


Sure, they didn't have to offer me anything. It just seems like kind of an insult. All I need is the two free nights offer every month, in case we go visit The Pony. By comparison, our new favorite casino currently offers me $25 PER WEEK (plus $20 per week for Farmer H) in their August mailer, plus a $15 internet offer that can be combined with it. And we only go there once a month, for a couple hours.

I don't want to sound ungrateful. Really. But I don't even think people who live within a couple of miles would drive over to that Riverwind Casino for a free one-time $10.

Oh, dear! This is quite embarrassing. I was just upstairs, showing Farmer H my new $10 offer, and I noticed that it WASN'T EVEN FROM THAT CASINO HOTEL IN NORMAN!

It's from Downstream Casino near Joplin, where we stopped to play, and I had the char-bun chicken sandwich! Not an insult at all from THEM, because they gave me $40 per week in THEIR August mailer, and an extra $10 per week in a postcard, and two free hotel nights, any day, every week in July and August. So this is ON TOP of all that, and nothing to sneeze at, since anyone going there for the big bucks would simply have an extra $10 if they go within the next 10 days.

Um...never mind.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dear HHHy

I swear, Farmer H is a regular Dear Abby. As if riding with him isn't bad enough in times of fair weather and both hands on the wheel...I was a captive passenger yesterday in the rain, at 70 mph while Farmer H took a phone call. Two. Three, in fact.

Let the record show that Farmer H had a bright idea to visit our new favorite casino. Because, you know, we've only been home five days after visiting three casinos in three days. Still, I had all my money intact, and who am I to deny Farmer H a pleasure trip?

The first call was our back-creek neighbor Bev, who is concerned about the Crazy Stick-Road Man trying to steal her land by running his sewage onto it. I don't know about you, but if I was trying to steal somebody's land, I'd want it to be pristine. As untouched as pure Rocky Mountain spring water. Anyhoo...Farmer H answered his phone, and was on it for about 20 miles, trying to explain the facts of septic tanks. That Crazy Stick-Road Man is many things, but a dude who secretly installs an underground pipe to squirt his poopage onto her acreage is not one of them.

"He may not even know. I looked at it when you called me over there. There's no pipe. His drain field is leaking. I told you, call the DNR and let them check it out. I know they'll just send him a letter. But that's all they CAN do. They can't make him respond. Then it will have to go to court. No. There's no reason for you to buy a septic tank truck and suck it up and spray it back on his land. That won't work anyway. How are you going to suck it up? It just seeps onto the ground. I can't really help you any more than what I've told you..."

While I'm sad for Bev's paranoia seeping sewage issues, I don't think it's necessary for my life to be endangered while Farmer H sweaves one-handed in the fast lane alongside tanker trucks and car-hauling trucks loaded with next year's models.

The second call was Buddy, who gave Farmer H two chairs (that he had to drive home in the Gator after fetching them from outside Buddy's house) for helping Buddy in town at his rental house, moving in a washing machine. I couldn't deduce the question here. Maybe just whether Farmer H was the one who took the chairs that Buddy left sitting out. HEY BUDDY! I have two chairs on the side porch that you're welcome to come take!

By the third call, we were actually nearing the Mansion, on our gravel road. Good thing people can't see through the phone. "I'm not even home yet. [technically true] No. I don't. I don't have it. Uh uh. I can't." This one was sketchy, what with a relative asking Farmer H if he had anywhere near three or four hundred dollars to cash a check from a junkyard.

Seriously? According to Farmer H, every junkyard he has ever dealt with (you can imagine there are quite a lot), he's been paid in cash. He was also suspicious of claim that the local grocery store wouldn't cash it. "They cash checks all the time. From everywhere. Payroll checks. I can't imagine they wouldn't cash one from a junkyard." AND, the request had been to 'cash my friend's check,' which is probably the reason the store wouldn't do it.

"I'm not a bank! I'm not cashing a check! Then it becomes a THIRD PARTY check! NOBODY can get their money back for one of them if it's bad. YOU can't sue, because your name's not on the check. So you're stuck with a no-good piece of paper, after you've given them the money."

Yeah. Farmer H is full of advice. Sometimes, advice people don't want to hear.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Juno Needs To Buy A Safe For Her Valuables Before Her Roommate Moves In

Remember how Mrs. HM enjoys a sweet treat every night after supper? Dessert, if you will. Whether it's a Gourmet Lollipop, a Tootsie Pop, an individual cup of birthday cake ice cream, or the even better individual cup of Edy's Grand Ice Cream.

You may also recall that Farmer H does veteran character actor Wilford Brimley say it...THE DIABETUS. He is not supposed to have such sweet treats. But he does. If I don't buy them for him, he drives to Casey's for a couple/three donuts. On our trips to Oklahoma, he forages for candy bars at the rest stop vending machines. When I go to The Devil's Playground, I always bring him back a treat: the sugar free variety. Candies. And cookies. But sugar free.

Let the record show that Save A Lot has been out of my favorite ice creams. The only Edy's they've had are the VANILLA kind. I don't like vanilla. So I've gone without for two weeks. But Saturday, they had a few Drumstick and Caramel Swirl containers. Yippee! Drumstick is my favorite flavor! There were only four, and I had to rearrange some boxes to get to them in the back of the freezer case. I also took four of the Caramel Swirl. My second favorite. Because you never know when a new shipment will come in.

Once home, I put the Drumstick ice cream cups on the bottom shelf of FRIG II's freezer door. And the Caramel Swirl on the shelf above them. I contemplated starting out that night's sweet treat with a Drumstick. It's been at least six weeks since I found that flavor. But no. I decided to save them until last, and take a Caramel Swirl. "But HM, what if Farmer H takes one? Wouldn't you rather he got the Caramel Swirl and not your favorite Drumstick?" Well, yes! But Farmer H had already declared that he wasn't going to eat any, that decision being made upon his last A1C report from his doctor nurse practitioner.

I'd been buying him two of those Edy's per week, at his request, after he'd asked for, and been granted permission, to try one of mine. The Cookie Dough flavor. They're twice as big as his regular ice cream cups of vanilla with chocolate/strawberry swirl. Not good for him, either, but the lesser of ice cream evils. "Don't get me no more of them ice creams. I'll just eat my old kind." Straight from the Farmer's mouth.

By now, you've guessed what happened, right? I came upstairs for bed Sunday night, and saw the carcass of one of my Drumstick ice creams in the trash. I asked Farmer H on Monday night, as I was getting his supper ready, if there was something he wanted to confess.

"No. I don't think so. Nothing that I know of."

"Something missing? Something of mine?"


"Something in the kitchen?"

"Oh. I ate one of them ice creams."

"You didn't even ASK! At least you used to ASK!"

"I don't think I have to ask to eat anything in this house."

"You're just like Genius, eating The Pony's brownies and leaving the empty box! You say you don't want anything from the store, and then when someone else gets something, you eat it!"

"It was just an ice cream."

"Yeah. My FAVORITE kind! That I haven't been able to find for six weeks. AND you said not to get any for you! I always put yours up on the top shelf, with your other ice cream."

"HM. It's ice cream. Quit making a big deal."

"I'm making a big deal because you didn't ask. I would have told you to eat the Caramel Swirl. You just assume everything in the house belongs to you! You sit in there like a king on your throne, taking what you please, never giving anything back. AND you won't even admit that you shouldn't have done it!"

"I don't know why you have to go on and on. It's not a big deal."

"It IS a big deal! After 29 years of this stuff! You know, I don't have a $17,000 garage stuffed with junk. All I wanted was a $1.00 ice cream for my own."

Really. Is that so wrong?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

No Chip On Mrs. HM's Shoulder

I always have lunch in my dark basement lair, seated in front of New Delly. My lunch is usually Chicken Bacon Ranch pinwheels from The Devil's Playground, with a side of BBQ potato chips. Oh, and a 44 oz Diet Coke to wash it down.

Seeing as how no one is there to see me eat, my manners may not be up to Emily Post standards. Don't judge.

You know how locomotives have a cow-catcher? Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a chip-catcher. Courtesy of her ample boobage. And now for the question.

Is it sadder that I look down and find an errant chip lying on my chest? Or that I look down and find an errant chip lying on my chest, and say, "YES! A chip!"

Monday, August 13, 2018

Fat Chance, Farmer H

Ho! Ho! Ho! Pardon me for being so jolly. I'm tickled by the machinations of Even Steven.

Before we left on our Pony-visiting trip last week, I'd written up a series of blog posts to automatically publish while I was livin' the high life in Norman, Oklahoma. One of them was yesterday's tale of greedy Farmer H, and his luckless lottery life.

When we stopped for gas on our trip, numerous times, you know, because it's a 9 hour drive...I figured I might as well pick up some scratchers. When else would I have a chance at distant tickets? Of course, it only worked on the Missouri stops. Oklahoma has scratchers, but their payoff isn't as good. I think I only bought a couple, the very first time we went out there with The Pony, to his summer orientation camp.

Anyhoo...I had some of my own winners to cash in. But on the first stop, not one of our usual Casey's, I didn't take them in (nor any cash) as we went inside to use the facilities. Farmer H said he'd spot me. He bought himself one ticket, and two for me, with the promise I'd pay him back farther down the road. All three turned out to be losers, but that's why they call it gambling, not winning. Of course Farmer H was not surprised. He rarely wins. I knew that a bigger sample should even out the odds. They're 1 in 4 for the tickets we play.

At the next stop, the Steelville Casey's, just for the bathroom this time, since A-Cad's gas was holding up...I cashed in one of my previous winning tickets, and got four more. Two of them, I owed to Farmer H as repayment. Once in the car, I fanned them out.

"You can pick whichever two you want. I don't care."

Of course he picked the two I like to play. But that was fine. I'd scratch the tickets I don't really like, and don't normally get. That store only had four kinds of the $5 scratchers, so I'd gotten one of each. As Farmer H drove, I scratched his tickets. Loser. Loser.

"Well, that figures. I don't never win."

Then I scratched my two tickets. Winner. $5. And the last one was THIS:

If you look closely, you'll see that I didn't match any numbers, but I got a FAT WALLET! That meant I won all 15 prizes!

Poor Farmer H. Winning was within his grasp. I'd held out those four tickets, giving him first choice. He had a 1-in-4 chance of picking that $100 winner. But he didn't.

Like he says, he never wins. I think we know why.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Why He Doesn't Win, The Greedy B*st*rd

Farmer H won $15 on a $5 scratcher the other day. He should have been content that he actually had a winner.

"I wish I could win something good."

I was thinking that by something good, he meant $1000, like me. But no.

"About $8000 would be good."

"There's the thing. You would spend it on your own junk, and I would put it toward the household. Like health insurance, or The Pony's college housing."

"No you wouldn't."

"Yes. I would. What am I going to do, sit on $8000 and use it for casinos? I don't think so. I used my first $1000 ticket to buy Genius a laptop. And other big wins to give the boys and YOU gambling money for the casinos when we took our first Christmas trip to Oklahoma for CasinoPalooza. But you would keep all that money for your own selfish self."

Seriously. That is why Farmer H can't win on the scratchers. Life is a balance. Give and take. He's just a taker.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Mrs. HM Is John Travolta

Did you ever see Urban Cowboy? When John Travolta as Bud gets all hung up in a safety rope on the side of an oil silo thingamabob, and breaks his arm? His mom comes over to the trailer Bud shares with Debra Winger as Sissy, to make him something to eat, because Sissy isn't home, being out secretly practicing to ride the mechanical bull at Gilley's.

Anyhoo...when Sissy finally gets home, Bud acts all Pity Party Guest Of Honor, and whines to Sissy that she's not doing her wifely duties (okay, he knows THAT part is good), and his mom had to clean the house, and when she went to make cornbread (because cornbread tastes real good when you're hurt) she couldn't even find a box of instant!

I didn't break my arm on an oil silo thingamabob, but I DID get hurt on our trip to Oklahoma. It just so happened that I hurt my own arm. In a casino. In the bathroom.

Maybe I zoomed in a little too close. That's the top of my left forearm, about two inches from the elbow. Because I also zoomed in a little too close to the door in the women's restroom, hitting my tender fleshy forearm on the latch that sticks out. The injury is just a few minutes old here, when we sat down at the little cafe in Downstream Casino to have lunch. Not much discoloration, but a solid knot under the skin.

On the walk from the restrooms at the front of the casino, to the cafe in the back, I showed Farmer H my arm, and told him what happened. Expecting sympathy. Sympathy feels real good when you're hurt. Of course I expected my Sweet Baboo to say how sorry he was, and ask if I was okay, and was there anything he could do.

I'm sure you'll be shocked [SHOCKED] to find out that's not how it went down.

"I cain't believe you done that!"

Uh huh. That's all I got. Even after he felt the knot. Not so much sympathy, as ridicule.

Juno is going to be unhappy with me. When Farmer H hogs her house and snores while she's trying to sleep.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Dog House

Farmer H is treading on dangerous ground. He's used to having his feet held to the fire, sitting on the hot seat. But Monday he almost went too far.

It started out as one of those favors he does for me. Just trying to help. I dashed into the Mansion after returning from my replacement-SHIBA shopping trip, having taken my blood pressure meds while out and about. Farmer H strolled out the door and said, "What do you got?"

"Just my purse, and a laptop and bag of accessories in the back."

Time was short that day, preparing for our trip to visit The Pony, departure scheduled for 6:00 a.m. Tuesday. I still had to bake his Oreo Cake and pack. I'd planned on baking before I went to town, but didn't want Office Max to sell out of my intended bargain, what with the back-to-school crown having their first-of-the-month money to spend. But I'd gotten the Oreos chopped, and had everything set out on the counter for mixing, with the cutting block cleared for filling the pans with batter.

When I came out of the bathroom, I saw that Farmer H had plopped my NEW LAPTOP, in its box, right on the cleared cutting block.

"I can't believe you did that! Any place I clear off, you have to fill it!"

"Well, I don't know where else you expected me to put your new laptop."

"Oh, I don't know...maybe on top of my OLD laptop? Or the coffee table right beside it? Or one of the couches?"

Sweet Gummi Mary! WHO puts a new laptop in the kitchen???

I also bemoaned the fact that the stupid mailman woman must have misread my HOLD MAIL form that I turned in last Thursday, for mail to stop from Aug 7-9. 8:30 p.m., Farmer H deigned to inform me that he'd picked up the mail at 3:30. I was washing up last minute dishes then, after icing the cake and getting my supper. I found the mail and opened it, to see TWO notices, one to me and one to Farmer H, that the bank where we have the loan on A-Cad said they had been notified that our insurance was cancelled.


More of Farmer H's doings. Remember, how he had saved us $2000 over a year's time, by putting ALL of our vehicles on the same policy? So the premiums for all of them fall on the same date and bill. Which required re-configuring the policies, first cancelling the old ones and then issuing the new one. We got all new insurance cards to keep in the vehicles, with the new policy number. Apparently, that bank pays attention to notices that a policy is cancelled, but not notices that a new policy is in effect the same day.

Since we found this out at 8:30 p.m., Farmer H was going to have to find a place to stop with cell phone service on the way to Oklahoma. Which is not as easy as you might think across backwoods Missouri. He'd have to call the insurance lady and have her provide the proof to the bank. Farmer H had the bright idea to just send her an email right then, but of course an insurance card lists the agent's phone number and address, but not the email.

Oh, yeah. And another thing. When I went to ice the cake, my cake-icing knife was missing. I found it on the counter by the sink, Farmer H having used it to butter a roll. All the knives available, and he chose that one. It's just a butter knife, but not part of my set of 8 that are heavy on the handle end. This was one of my mom's that we ended up with (sorry, Mom, if you spent years griping that someone lost one of your butter knives), and I like the balance of it for icing cakes.

Farmer H might want to watch the auctions for one of those little hand-held personal fans. Because I'm not done roasting him here. Not by a long shot.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

This Is Why You Can't Trust A Plastic Bag From The Devil's Playground

Well...and THIS.

That's a previous bagging faux pas from one of The Devil's Handmaidens. A more recent one was not even her fault.

It looks huge there, from the perspective, but it's only a 3-pack of Puffs With Lotion tissues. Which are not at all heavy, each box smaller (and lighter) than a six-pack of Diet Coke. So you can imagine my concerns of yesterday, with all those heavy cans and jars put in together in one (double) bag.

I think the best use of those plastic bags might be to lay across T-Hoe's bumper during the rainy season.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What Are These Handmaidens Doing During Training?

I just can't figure it out. Surely The Devil trains his handmaidens before turning them loose on the registers. How can SO MANY of them be clueless when it comes to bagging the groceries?

Those are the heaviest items I had, ALL IN ONE BAG! I guess she put the Pepcid in there by mistake, because it's not heavy. But everything else went in together. At least she double-bagged it, but I wasn't trusting my RAGU Alfredo Sauce to the whims of The Devil's plastic. I carried this one bag by itself, supporting the bottom. If The Devil's Handmaiden had separated my heavy items and included them in other bags, I could have draped them on my arms.

What are they doing during training??? Thinking they already know it all?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Village Of The Blamed

Here in Hillmomba, taking responsibility for one's own actions is virtually unheard of. So is that unwritten rule of writing, about using prepositions to end sentences with. Or maybe it's written down.

Anyhoo...Farmer H went to the doctor last week for his regular checkup. Whoopsie! Did I say DOCTOR? We all know that was a nurse practitioner. She was not pleased with his A1C. I don't  think it was very high, but then, I don't deal in A1Cs. Back when I was gestating Genius and The Pony, blood sugar was measured in those other units, where normal was between 80-100. I think Farmer H said she wants it at 6.5, and his was 7.2, which doesn't seem all that much to me. But I'm not a doctor. Or nurse practitioner.

Farmer H says the NP wants him to exercise more. She tells him that every single visit. He gets around, and is active, not sitting in front of a computer all day like me...but his activity is sporadic, going here and there, to and fro, without sustained cardio. Farmer H also said he's supposed to drink more water.

"I tell you that all the time!"

"HM, I DRINK water!"

"With a meal. Or when you sit down at night. You need it through the day, especially when it's so hot, and you're on the tractor or mower for five hours!"

"I can't just drive the tractor over here and park it to run in and have a drink!"

"I don't know why not. You even keep a case of water over in the BARn. In Original FRIG. I might have an old purse laying around, that you could drape around your neck and carry water in!"

"Well, I have a wife, who could drive and find me with a cooler of water, and snacks."

"THAT ain't happenin'! I'm not your freakin' servant!"

"I knew that's what you'd say."

Seriously? What will I be expected to do next, pull his lips apart, pour the water in, tilt his head back, and pinch his nose until he swallows? All while hanging onto the back of the tractor seat, that wished-for cooler on my shoulder? And we don't even want to THINK about what my duties might be when that water needs to come out of him!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Whatcha Gonna Do

I had a most difficult time getting my magical elixir on Saturday. The Gas Station Chicken Store seems to be sending me a message. A message best decoded as DON'T SHOP HERE!

I had a $5 winner to trade for another scratcher. I parked off by the moat separating the GSCS's lot from Farmer H's pharmacy. I nearly skipped toward the door (only my creaky knees, and the GSCS's humped-up gas tank manhole covers preventing such), dreams of that 44 oz Diet Coke dancing in my noggin.

An unsteady dude with a crutch entered before me. I noticed a long line snaking back down the soda fountain aisle from the register. I figured I could get my sweet, sweet nectar and perhaps the line would be moving.

Alas, a weekend dad with a toddler girl blocked the back aisle, the little lass switching out each spouted drink bottle for another in indecision. Crutch Dude knew them, so Weekend Dad chatted, in no hurry to let Crutch Dude into that cooler, thus clearing my path to the soda fountain.

Meanwhile, I could hear the next-in-line woman berating her own preschool daughter for not staying in line, her own self hands-full with a giant box of chicken and a fountain drink.

No. Just no. I can wait in a line of 10 adults and not get antsy, as long as they are minding their manners and own business, no weirdos in the vicinity. It's not like I have a pressing engagement. But I do object to small children running amok, and find it hard to smile and pretend they are precious. So I turned on my heel and headed for Orb K. Where things got even dicier.

First of all, my favorite parking spot was occupied. The truck door was open, but I didn't see anybody getting in. I bypassed the very first spot, because it's hard to back out of with a curbed sidewalk impeding a cut of the tires to angle out, and gas pumps directly behind.

"Oh," I thought. "I'll just go around to the very end. The walk will be good, and I sometimes find pennies along there."

Huh. As I got past the end of the building, I saw two police cars parked askance on that side of Orb K, and sitting at a canted angle on the sidewalk at my intended parking space was a dude in yellow shorts and handcuffs! So much for that idea. So I circled around the line of gas pumps, and went back to the first spot.

I had to wait at the fountain to get my Polar Pop 44 oz Diet Coke, because a dude in a bright green worker vest was pouring FOUR Polar Pops. Then another lady was waiting behind him, singing to some obscure song blaring from their sound system.

At least I found FIVE pennies near the counter! I paused back in T-Hoe to send those pics to myself. The guy who'd been in line behind me came out and got in his white work pickup that was parked past an empty space to my right. He must have been sending himself pictures, too, though it wasn't of pennies, because I got them all!

I started to back out, but a white SUV pulled its bumper past the pumps, and was making it a tight squeeze going back. I was game, though. Until I saw a semi truck trailer coming at me, the driver threading it across the drive-thru exit so the rear doors were over that sidewalk. Huh. I cut my wheels the other way. I'd just loop back down around the pumps again. Maybe I could see that perp!

Whoopsie! Construction Pickup Guy  chose that moment to back out, casting no caution to the wind, having not taken his eyes off his phone to scope out the coast being clear/not clear. His door was within three feet of T-Hoe's bumper when he looked up. He gave me the sorry wave, and pulled back into his spot, so I didn't even have a twinge of parking lot rage. Inattention happens.

Almost to the back of the gas pump row, I met an ambulance coming at me from the crime scene. The lights weren't on, so I don't know if the perp was inside, or had just been checked out. A police car was following it. As Farmer H said later, "If they tased him, they had to have him checked out at the scene."

Never a dull moment in Hillmomba. For me, anyway. Only for those of you who have to read about it.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

A Fresh Coat

I put a new coat of color on my lovely lady mullet Saturday morning. It's no secret that Mrs. HM is no stranger to L'Oreal. In fact, she's been a regular customer since she turned mid-thirties, even though she could have started earlier. It's a genetic thing, I prefer to believe. We don't lose our hair, but we do go gray early.

Here's the thing about teaching. The students are SO helpful! "Hey! You have a gray hair! You should pull that out. No if she pulls it out, she'll get ten more! I think she already pulled one out! Yep! You're going gray! Hey, look! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has gray hair!" Yeah. So helpful. Just ask the teachers who are balding...

Anyhoo...I put a fresh coat of Medium Brown on my tresses. I really need a haircut before we go see The Pony this week. Because right now, I kind of look like David Cassidy in his Partridge Family years. Not as lean, and I don't have the puka shell necklace. But the hairstyle is kind of the same.

Farmer H says I might as well let it go all the way gray. I'm not ready for that yet. I'm no Emmylou Harris. What does HE know, anyway, about hair?

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Another Timeless Standard, Fallen By The Wayside

Remember cursive writing? And smallpox vaccinations? I'm sure you all do. But they are foreign concepts to those beneath our advanced age. Here's another concept they just can't grasp: WAITING IN LINE!

It happened Friday in my very own Gas Station Chicken Store. No matter what time I plan to leave home on Fridays to mail my boys' letters before the 11:30 deadline...I end up at The Gas Station Chicken Store, two minutes on either side of noon. I don't know how that happens. I can be rushed, afraid I'm not going to leave home by 10:30, or leisurely dallying with my Shiba, thinking I have plenty of cushion time. No matter how many other stops I make (credit union, bank, Original River Mart, gas for T-Hoe), no matter how long I wait in traffic, I STILL arrive at The Gas Station Chicken Store two minutes either side of noon.

Today a squad of cars pulled onto the lot as I was getting out of T-Hoe. You'd have thought they were undercover cops responding to a silent alarm, so fast did they arrive, and so fast did the occupants scurry inside.

As I approached the door, a woman came from the other direction, and opened it ahead of me. She DID give it the wide swing to accommodate my entrance. After me came two of her passengers. I veered right, to head past the register and chicken-ordering station, directly toward the soda fountain. They went down the middle aisle. I had no idea if they were going to browse at the soda/beer coolers along the back wall, blocking my path. Thus my alternate direction.

Several people were in line to pay. And the Lady Owner was leaning against the chicken counter, talking. She saw all the customers, and said, "Oh! I'd better get out of the way!" I stood across from the soda fountain, allowing her to pass, intending to step up after she cleared out of the way.

I'll be ding dang donged if those other three gals didn't come up from the back aisle, and STEP IN FRONT OF ME TO POUR THEIR SODAS!

Seriously. Not just one. All three! They could clearly see that I was waiting politely for access to the soda fountain.


I assume they were from the factory a few buildings up the outer road. It lets off for lunch at noon. After those three usurpers had their own magical elixirs, they moved along to the chicken counter. As I turned with my own 44 oz Diet Coke, to head towards the pay counter, another gal came down the aisle and stood with the 3 Amigos. I'm pretty sure she worked with them. Because she just butted in to order chicken, having no care in the world if that's what I was waiting for.

Good thing I wasn't. I might just have spoken up for my already-in-line rights!

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Most Effective Military Weapon

It hit me today. The most effective military weapon. No, I wasn't bombed or shot or skewered with a laser. The REALIZATION of the most effective military weapon hit me.

The Uniform.

Yeah. Who woulda thunk it? But I saw first-hand evidence.

I'd gone to the bank, switching around funds for parts of The Pony's fall semester charges. He's got housing and meals to pay for, even though his tuition will be covered by his scholarship. Across from the bank is a cemetery. It's one of the oldest cemeteries in Hillmomba, I think. Not as old as the vampire graveyard, but still old. It's surrounded by a rock wall about waist high, with pillars by the two entrances.

A white car was parked on the entrance road, facing out. Two young soldiers stood in front of the car. I don't know which branch of service, because I don't know my uniforms. They had navy blue pants with a red stripe, tan short-sleeve shirts, and shiny white caps with black bills. Perhaps they had jackets to don for official appearances, but had taken them off for the heat. I'm guessing they were waiting for a funeral procession of a veteran, or that one had just concluded.

Anyhoo...two local young men were talking to the soldiers. I assume they were local, because they were in the usual jeans and plain t-shirts worn around here, and were carrying a paper sack of Hardee's food, and a soda cup. Obviously walking back home from buying lunch at the nearby Hardee's.

I assume that these young men stopped to chat with the soldiers. Those uniforms made them look like a million bucks. THAT'S when it hit me. You don't need fancy TV commercials or a recruiter if your regular soldiers can attract interest with their uniforms. Especially in economically disadvantaged regions such as Backroads. The military is a way out. A way to gain status and respect. A career to earn a decent living and support a family.

When actual recruiters came to Newmentia, the kids would flock to them during the lunch period. The only worry those kids had was whether they could pass the physical.

Yes. The most effective military weapon is the dress uniform. It makes kids yearn to be one of the few. The proud. Or any other branch.Without soldiers, no other weapons can be effective.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Say It Isn't So, My Sweet, Sweet Juno

I fear that my Sweet, Sweet Juno is inheriting Farmer H's hoarding tendencies! You know the concept that people start to look like their pets? Well, my pet is starting to act like her person's spouse! No joke. Juno's house is full of crap. Or as she might say, if she could talk...collectibles!

There are assorted dried-out bones that I know she's not noshing on as a snack. She's just keeping them so the other dogs can't have them. There's an antler in there, too. And some sticks.

Wednesday afternoon, I took a partial carton of eggs out on the back porch, to toss into the woods. They were 10 days past the date, and I didn't want to take a chance baking The Pony's requested Oreo Cake with them. Can't be taking food poisoning in his hand-delivered care package. Juno came out of her house to see what I was offering.

"No, Juno. I don't have anything good. Just eggs. You used to like our fresh eggs, right out of the chicken, though. Here. I can give you ONE!"

Thing is, I've given all the dogs an egg before, out in the front yard, and their initial excitement turned to judgmental stares. Like, Why are you give us THESE THINGS? And then they walked off, leaving the eggs in the grass. I've even broken eggs over their dry dog food, in their usual pans, and they walked off, leaving the treat uneaten. But Juno looked so hopeful, I gave her a single egg. It helped that Jack and Copper Jack were not around. I figured if they wanted eggs, they could walk to the edge of the yard by Poolio, and forage for them in the woods.

Juno took that egg in her mouth. Did she crunch it and let it dribble on the porch boards, and lick it up? No, she did not. She took that egg into her house. I swear I heard it crunch.

"Oh, Juno! You're making a mess in your house!"

I came out later to get something from T-Hoe, and saw that egg laying on the floor of Juno's house. Juno was in the back, her front legs stretched out by the egg.

"Aha! That's going to stink! Since you're not eating it, I'm taking it back."

I reached in and picked up the egg. Which was completely intact. Juno came out, tail wagging, like she thought I was playing a game.

"Darn it, Juno! You can't have this egg in your house." Again. She looked so hopeful. " can have it back. But take it somewhere else!" Thus commenced an awkward dance of Juno trying to slink back into her abode, and me trying to block her way.

Juno is pretty smart. Maybe even valedictorian smart. She headed around the corner where the kitchen alcove bumps out. Towards the food pans and water bowl.

"That's it, Juno. Take it to your pan. Eat it there. No, Jack! It's not for you. I don't have anything. Nope."

Copper Jack was also lurking over behind Juno's house, with the hope I might be tossing out leftovers as I often do. None on the menu this time. I went back in and closed the kitchen door. As I rounded the counter, I saw Juno through the windows, walking back to her house with that egg in her mouth.

You can't reason with a hoarder.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Another Not-Glowing Product Review

Mrs. HM here again, with another critique of processed food sold at The Devil's Playground. After making food for Farmer H, food that I don't necessarily like or care to ingest, I want something quick for myself. This caught my eye last week.

They make it look really good on the package. Let the record show that it does NOT come in a clear bowl, but in a black soft-plastic bowl, with clear wrap on the top. Nor do the components pile over the top like that, but come about 3/4 up to the top of the bowl. And I didn't see any piece of chicken that big, but there was ample chicken included.

This meal was actually quite tasty. And filling. Of course, as with any prepared foods, it was high in sodium. But it DID have a lot of protein. Now that I've seen what's in it, I can make my own if I want, end even re-use that plastic bowl.

The other flavor did not fare as well on my persnickety palate.

The first thing I thought, upon taking it out of the box, was, "WHERE'S THE BEEF?" Seriously. There were only a few scraps of beef in there, smaller than a dime. And not as much broccoli as pictured, but enough slivers of carrots. The main thing I disliked in this bowl was the QUINOA. Let's just say I'm not a fan. It was red quinoa, which reminded me of chiggers. I don't like the texture, when those little dots pop. AND they get stuck in my teeth. Uh uh. Not a good meal for me. I won't buy this version again. It was mainly mushy, and kind of flavorless.

You're welcome. Now you can avoid the tasteless one, and I might have given you an idea of something to create for yourself.