Wednesday, October 31, 2018

It's A Sad Day When I Have To Tell Farmer H To Keep His Hands Off The Sausage

Sunday evening, Farmer H grilled some pork steaks and bratwursts. The pork steaks came in a package of three, and the bratwursts were a six-pack.

Let the record show that these were not commercially-processed sausages, such as the Johnsonville brand. We've had them, but prefer the ones I get at Save A Lot. They are made in Save A Lot's meat department, and are a little longer, and less uniformly-shaped than the standard commercial bratwurst. We've tried different flavors, decreed a moratorium on the jalapeno version, and decided we like the plain bratwursts. While I'd never want to see the sausages being made, I do love the pop of the natural casing when biting into one that Farmer H has cooked on Gassy G.

As usual, Farmer H carried the meat into the Mansion on a foil-covered pizza pan. It's a shock that he doesn't lose his sausage by letting it roll away from him. We also had a lettuce salad with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and shredded cheddar, along with some baked beans that proclaimed themselves to be the steakhouse version. I was not a fan of the beans. Farmer H was not a fan of the slaw, and did not partake.

Anyhoo...I told Farmer H to get his plate, and then set my food aside while I put the next two days' leftovers in FRIG II, and washed up the dishes. We both ate part of a pork steak, and a sausage, leaving four sausages, and one and two-halves pork steaks, for future meals.

Farmer H had plans to attend an auction on Monday evening, requiring him to leave home at 4:30. He said he'd get his own meal warmed up, to eat before he left, and that he didn't need a salad that night.

Imagine my surprise, when I opened up the meat container later to warm my own supper, and found all the pork steak pieces remaining, and only two sausages (when I was expecting to see three). Seems that Farmer H had warmed up two sausages with the beans for his supper. I assume because it was the EASIEST thing to do. Or maybe relating to the fact that those were really good sausages!

Therein lies the problem. Unchecked, Farmer H would think nothing of eating two of the remaining sausages for his lunch the next day, and the whole pork steak for his supper. THAT'S NOT FAIR! We were each due three sausages and 1.5 pork steaks. Spread out over three days. I woudn't mind at all eating my half a pork steak, and Farmer H's remaining half from the first night. He could have that whole one all to himself on the third night. IT'S THE SAUSAGE, PEOPLE! I demand my fair share of the sausage!

I think maybe I need to find a hobby, now that Farmer H is fully retired...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tending Juno

My Sweet, Sweet Juno has an ailment that I mentioned a couple days ago. I discovered her swollen ear on Saturday, after a 1-hour trip to town. Farmer H and I were waiting for Monday, when the vets are open, to get her checked out. On Sunday, when I was looking up their phone numbers, I saw that treating a dog's ear hematoma costs an average of $500, and it's not guaranteed to keep the swelling from recurring. Heh, heh. ReCURring!

Anyhoo...The Veteran had been out helping Farmer H put some tin on his Freight Container Garage, and suggested draining it himself. I also saw the procedure mentioned on the innernets, so that's the course we took.

Farmer H picked up a big plastic syringe at the feed store on Monday morning. I'd been planning to assist Surgeon H, but he called HOS (His Oldest Son) before I got home, who arrived right after I parked T-Hoe in the garage.

That darn Farmer H didn't wait, even though I told him I was getting some treats of bite-sized meat and cheese to lure Juno to her draining. I came out on the front porch of the Mansion, and Juno ran over to greet me.

"She's done," said Farmer H, standing in the front yard, squirting liquid out of the syringe.

"She don't want nothin' to do with ME ever again," said HOS the holder.

Indeed, Juno's ear was back to normal size, though still hanging down a bit. And she still favored that side of her head, but to be fair, she'd just had a needle jammed in it twice. The best part was that even though a bit skittish and slinking, Juno appeared to feel better. The glow in her amber eyes was back. She sat down at my feet for petting, and I gave her the treats.

As Farmer H said, "You can give her the treats now. She was really good."

However...Farmer H went inside to get some Q-tips (we don't have any cotton balls) to see if Juno's inner ear needed cleaning. I warned him severely (more than once) that he could NOT poke those Q-tips into any space he could not see with his own two eyes. That he could only swab at any detritus he found inside.

Well. Juno was having none of that! She tried to squirm away from me, seeing as how I had already used up the treats. I had a good hold on her, me sitting on the front porch pew, and Farmer H standing down on the ground. THEN he had the bright idea to grab Juno's front leg and pull her towards the edge, and she got spooked and panicky. However, overall-wearing HOS stepped up, and sweet-talked her, and held her in his arms like a black sheep.

Farmer H flipped Juno's ear flap back, and we could all see that it looked perfectly normal, though a little bit swollen. It was pink and healthy, no gunk, didn't smell. The most Farmer H swiped off of it was about half a Q-tip of light dust. "That's really clean for a dog's ear!" he said. We agreed.

Of course Juno sat down again for petting. Not seeming to hold her manhandling against them at all. She didn't try to run away. She DID shake her head a couple times, and dig at the ear with her hind foot. I'm sure Farmer H must have tickled something inside with that Q-tip. We are considering getting her some ear mite medicine, just in case.

When Farmer H started up the Gator, Juno ran to follow. She DID go slower than usual, taking her time on the steps, and still holding her head tilted. Plus, she took a break from running for a minute, when she saw that he was stopping at the BARn. I'm sure she won't get over this immediately. The stuff I read said it might take four months, and the ear would need multiple drainings.

I'm just relieve that Juno feels better. You can tell by her demeanor, even though she's not back to full speed.

Farmer H rinsed out the syringe with water, squirting it through the needle. So he's ready for the next time. He said the first try didn't yield him anything, but on the second one, the fluid immediately started filling up the syringe, with the ear going back flat. The fluid had a little blood, but mostly clear stuff, not cloudy.

Juno is probably onto his tricks now, though. We'll have to get creative.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Fall Has Fallen

Hillmomba didn't get much of an autumn this year. We waited and waited for the trees to turn, and now it looks like they've mostly skipped that stage, and gone straight to shedding their brown leaves. Sunday had that tint in the air that practically screamed FALL!

I was enjoying the view of the creek as I turned onto our gravel road. I hadn't planned on taking a picture, until I saw a reason to do so.

You may not notice, due to my poor picture-taking procedure. I think I zoomed in too close to T-Hoe's tinted windshield. point is the TRASH left by ne'er-do-wells! Beer cans scattered between the tree trunks, and a 44 oz foam cup in the shadow of the tree. I'm pretty sure that nobody sat there drinking all those beers, piling cans in the exact same area. They would have tossed them willy-nilly. It seems to me that somebody pulled over there and dumped them out of their car, or more likely, truck. To avoid being caught by police or parents or spouse.

It makes me think of that commercial from my childhood, the Indian crying the single tear.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

I'm A Little Worried About My Sweet, Sweet Juno

You remember Juno, right? Our half-lab, half border collie mutt we rescued as a tiny pup, after she was dumped out at my mom's rural home, nearly starving to death.

That's her baby picture, the day we brought her home. I think she was about to lose consciousness! So sad. We soon fattened her up.

Put her on a weight-training program!

Here she is, lifting her barbell. Which enabled her to grow into the glossy specimen below.

That's Juno in the foreground, with our black german shepherd Ann, who disappeared the day after we had a crew here putting a metal roof on the garage. Not that I'm pointing fingers... As you can see, Ann has an egg in her mouth. I took that picture for evidence, since Farmer H blamed Juno (of the silky coat) for eating eggs as fast as his hens laid them. Sweet, Sweet Juno is now 7 years old. She's a little stiff in her back right leg, after too many jumps off the porch, I think. But she runs along with Farmer H and the Gator, even though (formerly known as Puppy) Jack and Copper Jack exclude her from their frolics. They're a younger generation, both in their 2s, the age Juno is in the picture above. If Copper Jack stays at his legal home next door, our Jack will frolic with Juno. His favorite tactic is to jump on her and torment her until she gets up to chase him, then he bites her tail and she has to drag him while trying to run away. She's been a healthy dog, our Juno.

When I left for town on Saturday, Juno was the only fleabag to greet me. I petted her as normal, and gave her some cat kibble. When I returned, all three dogs took off across the front yard/field as I piloted T-Hoe down the driveway. They jumped off the back of the concrete carport to chase squirrels, as usual. Jack circled back, under the porch, and Copper Jack and Juno came around the end of the carport. That's when I noticed something was amiss.

Normally, Juno gets to the porch first, to wait first in line as I leave the garage through the people door. She demands her petting, and the first dole of cat kibble. She'll wait there on the side porch until I deign to leave the garage. Jack runs into the garage, sometimes stopping the closing of the garage door while playing around under it, and waits for me to open the people door to let him out. Copper Jack stands at a respectful distance, looking at me with mistrust while I unload groceries, then goes around to wait on the brick sidewalk for his cat kibble.

This time, Juno was out back, behind the garage, with Copper Jack and little Jack. She sidled over to me, and put her head near my knee. Of course I reached down to pet her. She had been walking slowly, kind of listing to one side. I saw that her right ear was kind of folded down. Flipped back, maybe, like when dogs romp around, and it gets turned kind of inside-out. I reached down to flip her ear over, and saw that it was swollen as thick as a hamburger! I barely touched it then, and Juno whimpered. I left her alone, and she started around the garage. She doesn't like to walk through.

Coming out the people door, I could see Juno at the bottom of the steps. It was like she wasn't sure she could walk up them. She did. Slowly. Like her balance was off. I petted her some more, keeping my hand away from her ear, mainly comforting her and letting her know that I could tell something was wrong. Yeah. I'm sure she understood every word of it, and I did not sound at all like Charlie Brown's teacher.

I sent Farmer H a text as he was closing up his Storage Unit Store. He said he'd take a look at her. Juno had other ideas, and wouldn't let Farmer H near. So later we bribed her out of her dog house with a piece of cheese wrapped in meat (expired). Her ear was still swollen. She kept shaking her head. Farmer H and I discussed taking her to the vet on Monday if she's not better. Farmer H thinks maybe she has ear mites like this cat.

Dusty had them several years ago. The vet gave us medicine, with instructions to dose all of our fleabags, since they transmit ear mites to each other. We did. It seems odd to me that such a malady could strike Juno now, in the space of one hour, while I was in town.

I was worried that she might have smacked the side of her head on something, crushing part of her ear. She's always whacking her head on the stair rail, spinning quickly to cut off Jack from my reaching hand. She also turns quickly elsewhere, hitting her head on a car bumper or the Gator. She's a bit skittish, and used to tear around the yard at a high rate of speed, ripping up grass with her toenails in cut-back turns.

I also worried that Jack might have bitten her ear to hang on in a game of chase. Or that Copper Jack went after her for snarling at him. He grows bolder as she grows older and less tolerant. Farmer H first thought maybe a snake bit her. We'll see how it goes. Juno DID go over to the BARn with Farmer H and his buddy, Buddy. So she's able to move around, if perhaps not so comfortably.

Like Farmer H said, it will be a two-person adventure to get Juno to the vet. We don't have a pet carrier her size since she's fully grown. Farmer H used to take the bigger dogs in his truck, riding on the passenger side floorboard, tied with a leash to the door handle. I don't think that's a good idea with skittish Juno. You don't want her to end up on his feet while he's driving!

We'll see how things go.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Fifth Son

Thursday morning, I was just getting out of bed when the phone rang. No, it wasn't some telemarketer or electioneer calling too early. The time was after 10:00, and the caller was our neighbor Tommy. The 58-year-old guy whose mom died, who we gave a car, and helped find work.

Tommy didn't leave a message, so I figured he was calling Farmer H's cell phone. Farmer H finally got him in that habit, after weeks of me relaying the call, and Farmer H calling Tommy back on his landline. Tommy doesn't have a cell phone.

Anyhoo...about 10 minutes later, I saw Farmer H driving the TrailBlazer up our gravel road to Tommy's house, which is across the road and one house to the right. A couple minutes later, the Trailblazer went back down the gravel road, I assumed to turn in to the BARn field, from whence it had come. But no. BACK toward Tommy's house went the TrailBlazer about five minutes later.

Farmer H later explained that Tommy's car battery was dead. Farmer H went to jump it, but had the wrong jumper cables, so came back for a different set. He said Tommy was worried that if he shut off the car, it would be dead again. He asked if Farmer H could come back if needed. Farmer H said that no, he was not going to be on call for Tommy, but that if he was around, he WOULD come back.

"I told him just to leave it running. He can do that for about an hour. It won't hurt anything."

"He might not be able to afford the gas."

"He says he's still working full time, but that one week he only got 36 hours, not 40. I told him to go to The Devil's Playground for a battery, but he went to the guy in town. I told him it's cheaper at The Devil's Playground, and Tommy said, 'But the guy in town will hold my check until the end of the week when I get paid.' So I guess that's a good enough reason."

Farmer H also added: "I swear. Sometimes I think Tommy is my fifth son!"

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Left Behind Olympics

It's not like I've been in training for this event my whole life. No siree, Bob! I'm a natural. No scheduled workouts. I compete when the challenge arises, and expect to win. Turns out my greatest competition is my sister the ex-mayor's wife.

Sis had a birthday this week. She sent me a text asking if Farmer H and I wanted to join her (and the ex-mayor, of course) on a jaunt to our new favorite casino. You already know the answer. We agreed to drive A-Cad (Sis tossed some gas money our way), and pick them up at their house at 11:00. The invitation was extended two days before casino day.

As with all our casino trips, I searched online, and through the mail offers for Farmer H and myself, to ensure proper usage of our FREE offers. Sadly, a FREE MONEY offer of $25 during this week fell by the wayside, because it was excluded for the single day that we would be gambling. That's okay, though. Farmer H and I each had another offer of $20 in FREE MONEY for this specific day. Almost as good. I tore off the coupons and put them in my gambling purse.

We had plenty of time. Farmer H got up first, and headed to Lowe's for some lumber for a project that I shudder to think about, and refuse to ask. I took my time, took my medicine, took my driver's license out of my regular purse to put in my pocket, and took my shower. Farmer H got back home by 10:00, and we were ready to leave at 10:30. We had gone approximately 3/10 of a mile, having passed only one house on the way to the county road, when I told Farmer H


Not that I was planning to drive, of course. But it's needed for identification purposes at the casino. To get your free money. And to get a big payout if you hit a jackpot. I had just put a Puffs With Lotion in my shirt pocket, and noticed that my license wasn't in there. I quickly searched my gambling purse. Not in the phone pocket, not in the player's card pocket, not in my money pouch, not in the pouch holding Chapstick (mint/tea flavor), lotion, a comb, and over-the-counter painkillers.

Farmer H put A-Cad in reverse, and backed up to and into our neighbors' driveway to turn around. Once back at the Mansion, I searched my last known whereabouts. My license was not on the kitchen counter where I'd laid it beside glasses case. Not on the back of the couch where I'd laid it while fetching my gambling purse from the living room end table. Huh. I went to the bathroom closet, to my around-the-house shirt I'd been wearing before my shower. AHA! There it was, in the pocket.

I thought of texting Sis to warn her of our delay, but we were still pretty much on schedule. Because I'd remembered my forgetfulness early-on. In fact, we pulled into Sis's driveway at 11:02. No apologies needed, in my opinion. So I didn't offer one.

Sis and the Ex-Mayor got in A-Cad's back seats. I gifted Sis with some Chex Mix left over from the batch I made Sunday for The Pony's Halloween care package. I did apologize for my Hillbilly Tupperware, since it was in two containers that once held deli chicken and deli ham. They are sturdy and lightweight, good for shipping. Farmer H apologized for my wrapping, which consisted of a plastic bag from The Devil's Playground, not even tied in a knot at the top.

We were cutting up and carrying on about a picture the Ex-Mayor had put of himself on Facebook. And making fun of Farmer H, who was wearing a bright red long-sleeved t-shirt (pointed out by Sis, who was memorizing our clothing for quicker reuniting for the buffet at 4:00), as well as an orange cap, and a glowing yellow lanyard around his neck holding his player's card.


Said Sis, with a gasp.


Sputtered the Ex-Mayor.

"Well, I'm sure you can get another one at the player's club desk. They always issue a new one. Farmer H has gotten one at almost every casino."

"Yeah. I guess that will be okay."

"We're not that far yet. I can drive you back home to get it."

So we turned around again, and drove about 1.5 miles back to Sis's house, before starting on our 90-mile trip.

I'm conceding the Gold Medal in the Left Behind Olympics to Sis. Because the whole trip was HER idea, and she picked which casino, so she should have known full well that her player's card was definitely an item to take. I'd set my license out, but only misplaced it. Sis had seemingly blocked out the concept of taking a player's card to the casino of her choice, on the day she selected to go, for a gambling trip for her birthday.

I'm claiming the Silver, though.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Garbage Truck And A Highway Department Truck Pull Onto A Blacktop Road

How's that for a joke-starter? Not quite as catchy as a blonde and a brunette walking into a bar (actually it was just the blonde, because the brunette ducked).

Ba dum tss!

Thanks! I'll be here all week. Honestly, I'll be here way longer than a week. Can't say the same for my audience.

My daily travels led me to such a promising joke set-up. I crested a hill on the county road on my way to town, and saw one of those side-mounted lawnmower thingies on a county road department truck, chewing up tree limbs that were encroaching on the pavement's air space. It was coming towards me, so I slowed way down. Stopped, actually, watching my rearview mirror nervously, lest a speeder come over the hill behind me.

When I looked back out the windshield, I saw our new garbage truck about to pull out of a driveway, right in front of that side-mower truck. Well. That would certainly be unfortunate. Even though I knew our trash had been picked up for the day. You don't want your white garbage truck with the red-white-blue flag painted on the side to have its front end chewed up by a side-mower. Then again, you don't want your county tax dollars wasted on repairing a side-mower rammed by a garbage truck.

It was a dilemma kind of like the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial. "You got chocolate in my peanut butter!" "No. You got peanut butter on my chocolate!"

The side-mower truck saw the garbage truck, and backed up to let it out of the driveway. While I contemplated what that driver might have said if there was an accident.

"Mow 'er? Not-Heaven, NO! I don't even KNOW 'er!"

Or what if the garbage truck had pulled out and run into the spinning blades of the side-mower?

"Bump 'er? Not-Heaven, NO! I came here to DUMP 'er!"

Yeah. Maybe I need a little more practice writing my punchlines. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Gaslight Zone

Even though Farmer H has been behaving himself in the STOP BOTHERING MRS. HM department...I still cringe when I hear him storm into the Mansion. It's not like he's a charging bull in my delicate china shop, or even disgruntled at all. That's just the kind of entrance he makes. I guess it's akin to manspreading on the subway. A guy enters a room with an agenda, that being to make sure everybody notices that a guy has entered the room. Manstriding, if you will.

Yes, I first hear the slam of the kitchen door, followed by thumping across the linoleum, the metal BOING of the heating/cooling ductwork where a springy floorboard compresses it on the way from kitchen to living room, then clomping like a workboot-shod horse has entered the bathroom to take a pee or a shower. That's how I know that Farmer H is home, and my peace has a (now) 25 % chance of being disturbed. Like I said, I've laid the groundwork to eventually eliminate this behavior. Baby steps.

Yeah. I have actually made an impression on Farmer H. Not only shed some light, but fully-illuminated him on my desire to be left alone during lunch and lottery time. Which is generally between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00. It's been working pretty good. Unless Farmer H has some spectacular auction finds, or garnered a tremendous profit at his Storage Unit Store, or came across some tasty gossip tidbits within our enclave.

Still. Every time I hear those telltale signs of a Farmer H invasion, I'm on edge until I hear his La-Z-Boy crank back. Like Friday afternoon.

Farmer H generally keeps the same routine on Fridays. He heads to his Storage Unit Store by 8:00, sells until 1:00, goes to lunch around 1:30, then heads to his doctor for a shot at 2:00, and from there to an unspecified location (formerly the parts store which is now out of business) to shoot the bull with some cronies, returning home between 4:00 and 5:00. This past Friday, we'd planned on having pizza for supper, which he was going to pick up.

Friday dawned all chilly and cloudy. When I passed by the Storage Unit Store shortly after noon, there were no cars in the parking lot. I couldn't see down inside the fence, because the road crests a hill, and attention must be paid to possibly-oncoming traffic. So I couldn't tell if Farmer H still had his stuff setting out, or if his car was parked down inside. I did see many other vendors set up, so I thought that Farmer H might still be making money. Those sellers like selling to and buying from each other. I didn't give it another thought, other than to wonder if Farmer H took his jacket for the cold.

Once home, I went about my own routine, which involves gathering the components of my lunch, filling bubba cups with ice, and my 44 oz Diet Coke with sugar free cherry limeade powder. Once I carry them down to my dark basement lair, I fire up New Delly. Put a baggie of knee ice on my right leg. Check on my blogs and emails. Load up the day's music I want to listen to while scratch-offing. Then I can get to the prime part of my day.

It was sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 when I heard Farmer H manstriding about the upstairs. "Well, crap! I've got two tickets left, and now he's here to ruin it. I just bet he comes downstairs to bother me. Crap. I'll just wait on this last ticket. I HATE IT when he does this!" I paused my music, and perused the local newspaper website. It was like waiting for the other shoe to drop, except that I could clearly hear that Farmer H was shod with both shoes, from his footsteps above.

So I waited. I heard the bathroom clomping, but no toilet flush. Maybe Farmer H had some prescriptions he was putting away in his own personal drugstore. Sheesh! Maybe his cronies had other plans, because this was barely enough time to go from the doctor's office to the Mansion. Crap! I hate it when Farmer H changes his routine.

The La-Z-Boy crank never came. I might have heard the front door open, but it didn't slam. Farmer H often goes out it, on his way to the Gator and the BARn. But he generally slams. After a few moments of peace and quiet, I put my music back on and turned to my remaining scratchers. Which were not winners, but I can't really blame that on Farmer H.

At 3:46, I got a text from Farmer H.

"I'll get pizza on way home"

"Okay. I thought I heard you upstairs."


"Seriously? About an hour ago? Clomping in the bathroom?"

"No haven't been home since I left this morning"

"I hope nobody broke in. I know I heard it. I was on my next to last ticket, and thought Oh, crap, he's gonna come down to chat."


Something wacky is going on around here. I'm pretty sure that blog buddy Sioux would remind me that Farmer H is gaslighting me. I hope that's all it is. I shudder at the idea Farmer H has developed a way to telepathically annoy me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Coincidences Keep A-Comin'

A few days ago, I mentioned how I got an email from a specific casino right after looking at a postcard from that very casino, offering me free money on Saturdays. I figured it was a pretty strange coincidence, because neither Farmer H nor I had said aloud the name of this casino for weeks. Just funny timing, reading that card, and getting the email within two minutes.

Pure coincidence. OR WAS IT???

Monday, I was kicked back in the La-Z-Boy, watching Dog the Bounty Hunter from 2005, looking through the mail before lunch. I hate getting caught up in those shows. I have to watch until the end to see what happens, then get away quick, before the next one starts.

I'd put the mail into four stacks. Bills (landline and Farmer H's doctor's office). Trash (mail order catalogs and election propaganda). Christmas (mail order catalogs with an item that looks promising). And Free Money. Only this time, it was not casino free money, but a rebate check from Lowe's on something Farmer H bought, either paint or sealant, for his Freight Container Garage.

It was only $10, but that's $10 I'm getting MY hooks into if I see in the checkbook that Farmer H bought something from Lowe's last month! I'll not have him squandering household money on that folly. Not since we footed the bill for the freight containers, trusses, metal roofing, and the car lift thingy that he can't even get to because of his hoard. The beautification of the functional structure is on him. He can use his Storage Unit Fortune for that.

Anyhoo...I'd picked up the mail as I returned from mailing The Pony and Genius their Halloween packages. I know it's early, but The Pony's might take 10 days like a regular letter! And I didn't want to make a separate trip for Genius.

The credits for Dog the Bounty Hunter started to roll. It couldn't hurt just to see their next bail-jumper. I was thinking about how maybe I should send The Pony a text to say his package was at the mercy of the postal service. Heh, heh! So he'd be on the lookout for a notice to pick it up. It was a couple minutes after 2:00, and I couldn't remember his exact Monday schedule. I decided to wait, since he might be in class. Just then, my phone chimed.

I knew it couldn't be The Pony, because it didn't have the vibration of a text. Just an email. I picked up the phone, and saw that it was an email from the University of Oklahoma. Which is, of course, The Pony's college. The message?

"All New: 31% OFF the treats that make Halloween special!"

It was an offer for sending a holiday care package, which I used when The Pony lived in the dorms, but don't go through that service now, because the packages can't be delivered to The Pony's apartment.

Yeah. Another coincidence. Not gmail reading my mind...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Trying To Pass The Cash

By now, you've probably heard the news that Mrs. HM did not win the MegaMillions jackpot on Friday night. Well...perhaps not heard such specific news, but deduced it from the fact that there was no winner. Darn that single ticket that I bought!

I don't normally play MegaMillions anyway. The odds are so astronomical. But I can't see letting an opportunity pass me by for a mere $2 chance every now and then, when the jackpot is ridiculously high. It hasn't been won since back in July, from what I read. I'd say I buy less than 10 MegaMillions or PowerBall tickets per year. Not a good investment, in my opinion, when scratchers pay me back at least part of my wager. Sometimes more.

Don't you go worrying your pretty little heads about Mrs. HM, though. She's doing okay. Because last week, she bought this:

It's the new $5 Christmas ticket from Missouri Lottery. The game is based on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie. I got the camper symbol, which means I won ALL 15 PRIZES. Yeah. Pretty exciting. It adds up to $100.

This came within five days of my Multiplier win of $100, where I got the 20X symbol with $5. I bought it at Orb K on October 12th, and this one at Country Mart's left machine on October 17th.

I hope my boys have good luck on the tickets I'm sending them with their Halloween goodies. Unlike a card game called Pass the Trash, I'm going to think of this venture as Pass the Cash.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Even MORE Millennial Maligning

Of course one trip to The Devil's Playground results in more than one occasion to malign Millennials. So I had to split my maligning into two tales.

On the way out, the rain was falling harder. I know that's not possible, considering acceleration of a falling body due to, technically, the rain was falling faster. No. Wait. It wasn't any faster. Let's just say the rain was thicker. Oh, crap! The density of raindrops per square inch had increased, by cracky! It's really hard to take the science teacher out of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

I held my red umbrella with one hand, and pushed my cart/walker with the other. It wasn't too difficult, since I didn't have a full load of groceries, with six-packs of soda draped all around the sides. I only had a couple big bags of Halloween candy assortments, and some beef jerky, which is not heavy at all.

As I mentioned yesterday, T-Hoe was WAY up the parking aisle. I headed straight up that aisle, knowing that I'd have to cross over to the right-hand side when I got close to T-Hoe. I saw my opportunity about 2/3 of the way there. A car on the left side of the parking aisle was backing up, and a red SUV had stopped to let it out, wanting that space. Behind it was a white car. Also, a black pickup truck pulled in above T-Hoe. Not directly next to T-Hoe. I wasn't worried about getting my door open, because I always park next to the cart return corral, making sure I've left myself enough room. The black pickup parked on the other side of the cart return corral.

With that red SUV stopped, I took the opportunity to cross to T-Hoe's side of the aisle. The backing-out car had passed me, and the red SUV was pulling into the space, with the white car behind it still held up. The perfect opportunity for slow old HM to cross.

As I was stowing my candy in T-Hoe's rear, three people clambered out of that black pickup truck. I didn't really look, but my peripheral vision identified them as a couple of blond early-20s gals, and an older female. I was not concerned with them, but in closing my red umbrella while standing under T-Hoe's hatch, and putting stuff in the back. That's when I overheard the new Millennials complaining.

"What a jerk! He waited for HER! Doesn't he care that people are getting wet out here?"

Seems that those gals had wanted to cross the parking aisle to walk down the other side, but the white car went on driving down, making them wait about 2.5 seconds until it had passed.


Which was not the case. It had waited for the red SUV in front of it to park. I guess Black-Truck Millennials had not been paying attention. Seriously! How ENTITLED can people feel? I don't really think there's a limit, where Millennials are concerned.

It wasn't MY fault, nor that of White-Car Driver, that the Black-Truck Millennials had not thought to bring an umbrella on a rainy day. Nor did I (or White-Car Driver) force them to park way up the aisle. SHEESH! I'm surprised they didn't expect White-Car Driver to give them a ride to the door. Or The Devil's Henchmen to come pick them up on a beeper cart.

You know The Devil's Handmaidens were unavailable, what with their personal lives to discuss.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

More Millennial Maligning

This is becoming an epidemic! Not the maligning of Millennials. The actions of Millennials! I swear, before you know it, they're going to take over the niche of kids walking across our lawns! Faster than you can shake a fist at!

I dashed in The Devil's Playground on Friday, just to pick up some treats for my own special Millennials, to send them each a Halloween package. The Pony needs it more than Genius. In fact, I asked Genius if he wanted one, and he said he did, but smaller than last year's, because he is watching his sugar intake. The Pony says his Bestie snorted at that, and labeled Genius a HIPSTER.

Anyhoo...I thought I was dashing in to buy candy, and also beef jerky (for Genius). Let the record show that there was no dashing involved. I carried my umbrella because of rain, and parking way up in the last 1/4 of the parking lot. The Devil is busy on Fridays. Once inside, after bucking Hillmomba social mores and going in through the actual ENTER door...I shook my umbrella on the narrow strip of carpet, folded it, and put it inside a cart. Which I then pushed from the entry area into the actual store.

Anyone who's a regular customer of The Devil's Playground knows that the store part is separated from the cart-housing entry area by one of those stand-up thingies to beep if you try to shoplift unscanned merchandise. That stand-up beeper is in the middle of the passage, with a bench against each wall for old men waiting on their wives. So there are two pathways, a little more than the width of two carts, for people to get in and out.

I made it through that part. But just on the other side, in the store proper, was a circle of five "Associates." That's the official job title of The Devil's Handmaidens and Henchmen. They were just chatting up a storm, but not directly impeding my dash. They had some empty tall cargo carts parked near them. The kind like big shelves on wheels, that they use for putting merchandise on the regular shelves. As I started to wheel my cart/walker past those cargo carts, in the aisle between them and the seasonal items along the left entry wall, I had to stop dead in my tracks.


Yep. Coming right toward me, like a runaway stagecoach team, were two female Millennials, perhaps early twenties in age. Could one of them drop back, to pass by me single-file? NOT-HEAVEN NO! Because they were entitled, you see. Entitled to walk side-by-side, sporting their ASSOCIATE vests and nametags, to join the other five in their circle, my dash be darned! I had to come to a full stop with my cart, until they broke apart to pass by me. No way was I going to BACK UP and let them through.

I'm pretty sure the purpose of having a store is to let customers inside to possibly buy things. Not storm at them like you're NOT-HEAVEN-BOUND on winning a game of pedestrian chicken.

Because I'm an entitled Baby Boomer, and avoid confrontation...I muttered under my breath as they passed. "Don't let ME get in your way. I'm only here to spend money." It's not like they heard me. They were too busy tossing their hair and talking about their personal lives.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Just A Coincidence, RIGHT?

I drove Farmer H home from an appointment at the eye doctor on Thursday. He had some little bumps cut off his eyelid. He said he was fine, but we didn't know that in advance, so I went along as the return chauffeur.

Wednesday night, as I was hollering upstairs to tell Farmer H what time to wake me up, he mentioned that he might go on a Goodwill tour, and stop by the casino. That's all he said. Not the name of it. I was well aware that it's our old favorite, since that's where he goes Goodwilling. I wasn't sure his eye would be up to it, but he said he'd wait and see how he felt.

On the way home, Farmer H said his eye only hurt a little. There was some minor swelling, but it didn't affect his vision.

"So...are you going up there?"

"Yeah. I think so. I'm fine."

When I parked T-Hoe in the garage, Farmer H went in to get his coupon for a free $15 gift card for The Devil's Playground. That's what our old favorite is giving out as this month's comp, every Thursday. I gathered up the two pieces of mail that Farmer H had gotten out of EmBee, and stuffed them in my purse. I met him coming down the porch steps as I went up.

Once inside, I looked at the mail. OH! My DISH bill. Finally. It's due on the 25th, you know. Kind of hard to get it in when it arrives after mail pickup on the 18th. I figured I'll give it a try, and if it doesn't show paid online by the night of the 25th, I'll pay it online, and let the check turn into next month's credit when it finally gets processed.

The only other piece of mail was a postcard from our NEW favorite casino, for ME, for a free $15 cash on Saturdays. I set it down on the cutting block, and went to check the phone for messages. I swear, not two minutes had elapsed when I heard my cell phone ding. Huh. An email coming in. I went to the kitchen to check, and you're not going to believe this, but it was from


How does that happen? Quite the coincidence, don't you think? Because I had just been THINKING about that casino. But I hadn't mentioned THE NAME of the casino. Not even the WORD "casino." Not since the night before. I was conscious of that in T-Hoe when I asked Farmer H if he was "going up there." Heh, heh. I though how so like my mom and dad that was. They never called a beer a beer when the shared one about once a year during a Cardinals baseball game on TV. "Do you want to split a cold one?" They knew what they were talking about. Like Farmer H knew that I meant the casino.

But not the one that sent me the card. Or the email.

Seriously. It's getting downright creepy. We KNOW that after talking about a topic, that kind of ad will pop up on Farmer H's phone the next time he looks at it. Or on my New Delly. But THIS time, it was just from a thought.

Farmer H says it is pure coincidence. I say it is downright creepy. If that happens again, I'm chalking it up as a conspiracy.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

How Farmer H Makes Life 10 Times Harder, Even For Himself

This is the story of a loser.

Farmer H is not well-schooled in the ways of scratchers. He buys a ticket several times a week. So far, he's been able to scratch them and understand if he's a winner or a loser. That's a major accomplishment from the man who uncovered a WIN ALL symbol on a ticket I bought him last year for Christmas, and said, in monotone, "I got a winnell."

Yes, if it's a matter of scratching off five numbers, and then uncovering other numbers to see if they match, Farmer H does okay. Anything else is a crapshoot.

Tuesday evening, I sat down on the short couch, and saw that Farmer H had scratched a ticket.

"Oh, did you win anything?"

"I don't know. I got a lot of words."

"You bought a CROSSWORD ticket???"

"Yeah. I think that's what it is. They were out of the one that I wanted in the machine, so I took it."

"I don't play those any more. They take so long."


"You have to have a certain number of words to win anything. I think it's three."

"Well. I got a lot. But I don't know how to tell if I won."

"Let me see."

It took me a minute. I've played crossword tickets. You scratch off one letter at a time, in the big bank of letters, then go to the puzzles and rub off each of the letters you have. They change from the blue overlay to the white underneath. That's how you can tell how many words you have in the crossword. There will be all white letters making the word, with no blue left in-between, over letters you didn't have.

"What in the world have you done? You scratched off the whole thing!!! How am I supposed to know which letters you had? I'd have to look at each one, and compare it to the puzzle, and find some way to mark it, to differentiate from the other white letters. You're not supposed to uncover the whole thing!"

"Well. Do that, then."

"I'm not taking a half hour to find out you're a loser. I'll scan the bar code on my phone app. Here. Scratch off the bar code. You have the coin."

"It's on the back."

"No. If the bar code was on the back, the seller could scan all the tickets, and say, 'Oh, this one's a winner. I'll buy it.' No. The bar code has to be scratched to see if it's a winner. The other code is to ring up the price. The bar code is on the front. You'll have to scratch and find it. Usually, the bar code is at the bottom. But on some, it's along the side."

"This one don't have no bar code."

"I'm sure it does. HERE! Let me have the ticket. And the quarter. I'll find it."

Which I did, above the letters. A scan on my phone app revealed that this was NOT a winner. So much easier than trying to decipher the mess that Farmer H had made of the ticket.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Devil Tries To Kill Mrs. HM With Kindness

A few weeks ago, I tried to buy some index cards at The Devil's Playground. You know, note cards. The 3 x 5 size, with lines on one side, and blank on the other. They are the most generic type of index card you can buy. Standard. Nothing fancy. I use them for grocery lists, jotting down the day's songs I like on T-Hoe's radio, and making notes about blog ideas. I used to have about six packs of them, but you'd be amazed at how quickly they get used up on a daily basis.

Well. I went to the office supply section (be still my heart!) to pick up a couple packs of lined index cards. You wouldn't think I'd even have to qualify that with the "lined" modifier. They're standard in the office supply industry, one would think. But no. I found the shelf barer than Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard! Oh, there were index cards on the shelf. It wasn't barren of ALL index cards. Just barren of the standard issue index card.

I saw index cards with grids like graph paper. I saw totally blank index cards. I saw index cards with lines, but bright pink or green or orange. I saw index cards that alternated stripes of white and blue for each line. I saw index cards bound together at the top with a spiral. I saw 8 x 5 lined index cards. I saw 4 x 6 lined index cards. It was a virtual Bubba Gump's of index cards. But no 3 x 5 lined index cards.

At the checkout, The Devil's Handmaiden always makes small talk by asking if you found everything. Of course I had to reveal that I had not. I should have just kept my mouth shut. It's not like there's a Truth In Shopping Law. But NO. Silly Mrs. HM had to say that she had not found any 3 x 5 lined index cards.

The Devil's Handmaiden phoned the department, who declared that they DID stock them. She then called over a rover. Somebody to go back and get me some. As if I must be incompetent in shopping. You can imagine the joy this brought to the people behind me in line.

"I'll just take these blank ones off your total."

So the pack of unlined 3 x 5 index cards was removed. She set them aside. I waited. Because she wasn't going to give me a total until the rover brought back the ones I wanted. The people behind me in line could barely contain themselves.

"She's on the way up with some. It will just be a minute."

"That's okay. I don't mind. I'll look the next time I'm here. I don't want to hold up the line."

"No problem. She's bringing them up."

"Oh. I guess I must be blind. I'd hate to leave, with her going to all the trouble to bring them."

We twiddled our thumbs. The people behind me probably using it as an exercise to strengthen their thumbs to throttle me. The phone rang.

"We don't have them."

"Okay. Put back on the plain ones you took off."

The rover returned. "She's bringing some up."

"If you want, we can take off these plain ones again." Said the overly helpful Handmaiden.

"No. The plain ones are fine."

"She's probably bringing the colored ones."

"Yeah. I looked through everything back there. I'm not waiting. Sorry to make her bring them."

So...The Devil's Handmaiden rang up my order. And let me pay.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Once Bitten, Twice Tried

Another mystery ailment for Mrs. HM! Two nights ago, I was shutting down New Delly and gathering up my stuff to move from my dark basement lair to my OPC (Old People Chair). It was early for me, before midnight. As I moved my yellow bubba cup of ice water over to the left side of my desk (it's two countertops mounted along the walls, and I sit in the V area at New Delly, having space on either side for my shenanigans)... I felt an itch on my left wrist.

The itch was maddening, really. I moved the band of my Garmin fitbitlike thingy, to see what was biting me. NOTHING! No critter was in sight. Nothing on my flesh, nothing flying away. I had not felt a moment when mandible or pincers broke flesh. You know, like with a mosquito, you notice the instant it happens, and swat at them. Somehow, this one crept up on me.

See it there? Just a tiny little bump. Barely even red the second day. Though it got plenty red that first night, because I couldn't stop scratching, and that histamine response spread a splotch over my entire wrist.

You might also notice that this critter did not bite all willy-nilly. He bit right over my vein! Uh huh! Some kind of vampirish critter, going for all the gusto, lining up for maximum bloodletting. I don't think he got through the skin, though. There's no little scab or pinpoint to show that blood actually leaked out. But then again, you don't see that with a mosquito, either, and in those creepy closeup videos of them, they are definitely sucking up blood through their straw-like proboscises.

It wasn't easy to get the picture one-handed. Took two tries. I was in no mood to take a picture of it right after it happened. I was too busy scratching.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Not A Stellar Effort From The Chefs At Hardees

"Be careful what you wish for, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom." Muttered Even Steven, suppressing an evil cackle, but still wringing his hands and smirking like the SLU Billiken.

Seems like only a couple days ago, I was bemoaning the fact that I can no longer order a Terrible Tater at one of my old favorite restaurants, it having gone out of business, leaving me to bake my own giant potato and add sour cream and barbecued pulled pork. Now Hardee's has betrayed me with a Chicken Bowl.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned a Hardee's Chicken Bowl before. For a while, it was my favorite take-out lunch. That's before I got hooked on the Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels from The Devil's Playground. A Hardee's Chicken Bowl has a layer of Spanish rice, a layer of refried beans, a sprinkling of shredded cheddar, some chunks of white-meat chicken, a glop of picante sauce, and a dab of sour cream. It's DELICIOUS! I've made my own at home, but it's not the same. Close. But different.

Anyhoo...on Sunday, I made the evening meal around noon, because I didn't want to do it later. Baby carrots, onions, potatoes, a little sprinkling of Hidden Valley Ranch powder, strips of bacon laid on top...mmm! Farmer H likes it, and we can eat it over the course of three days. I also had a package of Smoked Sausage that I baked, for a meat alternative. You know how Farmer H likes his meat (!).

By the time I got away for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke run, it was nearing 2:00. I was out of Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels, and didn't want to take 20 minutes to make my own when I returned. I was all kitchened out, after peeling and chopping potatoes and onions for the roaster pan. So I had the bright idea of reuniting with my old pal, the Hardee's Chicken Bowl. It's probably been at least 6 months since I've partaken of this delicacy.

Well. I was sorely disappointed with their efforts. First of all, my Chicken Bowl did not fill the bowl. It barely rose over the half-way mark. The picante was pretty much just a couple drops to add color and say they included it. Only three lonely cubes of chicken sat on top. And the bit of sour cream was off to the side.

I can understand if a Chicken Bowl is not beautiful. Not suited for a TV commercial, or to grace the glossy coupon inserts. I cannot understand how a Chicken Bowl can be so dry. It's like they sprinkled it with one of those packets of desiccant that comes in a box with new shoes. It was like eating a sponge found in an abandoned storage unit. The more I chewed, the more moisture was sucked from my mucous membranes.

It was all I could do to swallow every bite.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Oops, I Win It Again

Can't keep a good gal down. I have had a lucrative week playing scratchers, not needing to delve once into my weekly allowance money that I use for scratching. I had consecutive days of $50, $50, $25, $45, nothing, $20, and $150. Of course, some of that was re-invested into the next day's tickets. But I've built my casino bankroll back up to where I like to keep it.

Here's my latest windfall, from Friday, the $150 day.

It was the first ticket I scratched that day. So the rest was gravy. $50 worth of gravy. I was ecstatic to find the 20X symbol under the multiplier. Usually, I get the 1X on these tickets. I first noticed the 2, and was crowing to win $10. But it was $100, by cracky!

I showed it to Farmer H, and told him I felt bad for Genius, because I'd bought this in a group of four tickets, on the way to the post office, and put two in an envelope with Genius's letter.

"Genuis is really my biggest good luck charm. Every time I buy our tickets together, and pick out two to send him, MINE end up winning something good."

"Sorry for GENIUS? What about ME?" Said Farmer H. Not at all self-centered.

Well, the difference is, I don't buy tickets for Farmer H. So his bad luck is all his own doing, and none of mine. I like to win, but I'd really like Genius to win, too. Even though he's pretty rich, what with his fancy job making a higher salary upon putting his signature to contract than I earned in my final year of teaching.

Farmer H was also bemoaning the cold (45 degrees) rainy weather on Friday.

"I was the only one in the whole flea market who opened my Storage Unit Store. I had two customers, though! And made $54."

"Well, if people drive all the way to the flea market, I guess they might as well come in and see what the only proprietor has for sale."

"I only had two customers. One is my guy who asks me to get stuff for him. And the other was the mom of Genius's bowling team friend. Her husband, actually, coming to get some buttons I'd saved for her."

"Well, you still made money for your trouble."

Saturday turned out to be cold and cloudy as well, but without the rain. Farmer H made sure to tell me that he'd done okay.

"I'd say I took in $150."

Of course he would. Funny how that's the same amount I won on Friday...

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Mrs. HM's Not-Very-Terrible Tater

Farmer H wanted chicken and dumplings for supper Wednesday night. Oh, not the real thing! What do you think I am, some kind of backwoods Michelin chef? No siree, Bob! I take every shortcut possible. I am like the Rosie Ruiz of cooks.

So I made Farmer H my poor-man's chicken and dumplings. Not poor, as in monetarily challenged. Poor, as in pitiful, a sad sack whose wife won't make him real chicken and dumplings. This kind might be called 6-can chicken and dumplings. Two cans of chicken broth, two cans of cream of chicken soup, and two cans of white-meat chicken. Plus a pack of flour tortillas, cut into squares, added after the 4 liquid cans are boiling, then stirred for 5 minutes. Chicken is added after. Oh, and I always put in a lot of ground black pepper, and some minced garlic while boiling.

Anyhoo...this isn't about Farmer H! It's about ME! I'm not a big fan of poor man's chicken and dumplings. I ate it Wednesday night, because it was hot and ready. But I did not want it again on Thursday, even though Farmer H was looking forward to his leftovers. I decided to have a Terrible Tater. That's a large baked potato, covered with butter, sour cream, and barbecued pulled pork. I didn't name it. That was from a restaurant that has since gone out of business. Go figure! Who WOULDN'T be clamoring for a menu item called The Terrible Tater?

I had a bag of giant baking potatoes, but I didn't want to go whole hog on this tater. Wise choices, you know. So I chose the smallest of the giant potatoes, which was about 1.5 times the size of a normal potato. I left off the butter, because who needs that many different flavors? I put on a thin layer of sour cream, then my BBQ pulled pork, which came out of a tub that I bought at Save A Lot in the refrigerated section.

Yeah. My Terrible Tater wasn't real big. And was topped with just sour cream and BBQ pulled pork. So you might say it was just a Naughty Tater. Not terrible.

Friday, October 12, 2018

When The Rat's Away, The HouseMouse Doesn't Get To Play

Farmer H drove himself to our old favorite casino today. Funny how he didn't ask if I wanted to go! He knows, though, that I'm compiling my casino bankroll again, for a CasinoPalooza over the holidays, and don't want to fritter it away right now. Besides, he was going on a Goodwill tour as well. I don't enjoy that. He went last Thursday, too.

Farmer H also had a $15 free gift card (each Thursday in October, for The Devil's Playground) to pick up as a comp at the casino, as did I. But you have to show ID to get it, so he couldn't take mine along with him. It's not worth it to me to spend my hard-won money gambling just to walk in and pick up a $15 gift card. And you KNOW that Mrs. HM can't walk through a casino without playing! It's worth it to Farmer H, because he doesn't gamble as much. He's on his own dime now anyway, so I don't care.

Here's a weird thing Farmer H told me earlier this week. He said one of his buddies from the Storage Unit Store won $500 playing slots one day, and $1000 the next. RIGHT HERE IN HILLMOMBA! That can't be right. We're not on the river. How can we have slot machines? I thought casinos in Missouri were relegated to riverboat gambling. The days are done when you had to actually cruise before betting. And the casinos are on floating platforms that qualify as being on the river, even though they look like regular buildings.

Farmer H said the guy was playing at a gas station/convenience store up the road from The Gas Station Chicken Store. I call poppycock! No way! I'm pretty sure gambling in Missouri is regulated. It's not like Oklahoma, where the Indian Nation has the monopoly on gambling, and you can find slots in gas stations.

I don't shop at that convenience store. I went in several years ago, when the Diet Coke fountains were broken simultaneously at the GSCS and Orb K, and I didn't like their set-up or the attitude of their workers. I don't plan to go back, even though I see on the MoLottery website every now and then that they've had a big winner on their scratchers. No way I'm going to stand around a convenience store playing slots. Which I doubt are there. Farmer H must be confused.

Farmer H has standing instructions to go in that convenience store and scope the place out, to see if that guy knows what he's talking about. He has not gone yet.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ripped Froim A Page In The Stalker Handbook

I might have off-handedly mentioned in passing once in a blue moon that Farmer H is always turning up wherever I am. Whether it's in the kitchen to crowd into my space while I'm warming unhealthy food for his supper, or sitting at the table to lecture me while I'm washing dishes that couldn't be paper plates or plastic forks from the unhealthy supper, or sitting on the long couch while I'm trying to do my morning innernetting on HIPPIE...he always appears.

For a short time now, I seem to have dissuaded Farmer H from sidling into my dark basement lair while I'm having lunch. Or maybe it's just a happy accident, because I don't have lunch now until 2:30 or 3:00. guard has been down, as I've grown complacent with the kitchen/dishwashing/innernetting interruptions.

Wednesday, I walked out of The Gas Station Chicken Store, happily clutching my 44 oz Diet Coke in my left hand, along with some scratchers I'd traded a $20 winner for. Yes, I was virtually skipping with joy, having procured my two major addictions, with Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels (finally in stock at Walmart) in a cooler in T-Hoe's rear, awaiting my lunchtime appetite. All was right with my world. All was ROCKIN' in my world!

A car was parked right next to T-Hoe! Backed in! The driver only a couple feet away from the door I would be unlocking and entering, while preoccupied with a 44 oz Diet Coke and some scratchers.


Uh huh. I knew the gray car was similar to his TrailBlazer, but a glare on the windshield kept me from seeing who was inside, until I was nearly to T-Hoe. Now Farmer H was following me to town, and waiting outside my daily haunts. Okay. Truthfully, he had been to the city already that morning, if I was to believe his text. And now he had turned up out of the blue, all up in my business.

Seriously. I think this might be in the Unofficial Stalker Handbook. How to discover your victim's routine, and plant yourself nearby to catch her outside of her vehicle, and away from people who might intervene.

At least it was during daylight hours, and not under cloak of darkness.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Farmer H, P.I.

Farmer H has a buddy who drives a truck for the electric company. So I wasn't surprised when I tried to leave the driveway on Tuesday, and found it blocked by an electric company truck. Farmer H was sitting on his $1700 lawnmower beside it, talking. He tried to wave me through the yard in T-Hoe, but I was having none of that. He wasn't getting rid of ME that easily, so he could gossip without being rushed.

I parked T-Hoe halfway down the driveway, waiting. It's not like I'm on a schedule. Besides, I wanted to talk to Farmer H. The electric company truck left, and Farmer H pulled up beside T-Hoe.

"You didn't have to stop talking. I'm not in a hurry."

"My buddy said he had to get going, anyway. Somebody else got their electric turned off! He didn't say who. I asked if it was the people up on the hill, and he said no, he didn't have to go up the hill today. So now I'm wondering who it was."

"And he can't tell, because that violates confidentiality."

"Maybe. He didn't offer. But if I said, "Was it Tommy?" he might have told me. Because I'd be the one who guessed. I really am afraid it's Tommy."

"I hope not. You'd think Tommy would be sure to spend whatever money he has on food, and then on electricity. And let anything else slide. Like insurance."

"I don't know. He's done okay so far, and he still goes to work. I can't imagine who else it would be."

Several hours later, I got a text from Farmer H, P.I.

"We do have power don't we. I think I know who got shut off."

"Yes we have power."

"PartyMom just messaged me asking if we had power."

"Crap. While I'm still feeling bad about her daughter's phone being taken away. Maybe they should use the phone money on the electric bill."

"Just saw my buddy going back up the road towards their house."

"Maybe he got the wrong one. Or THEY didn't get THEIR electric bill. For 6 months."

"Probably paid on the phone."

"Or not."

"Ya. Who knows."

"Or maybe their credit card expired and they forgot to put in the new one. It could happen."

See? That totally COULD happen. Because when our new credit card came, I remembered to update my Amazon account, but totally forgot about PayPal for a week or so. Good thing I didn't try to use it. That's what's wrong with all this technology. You can think your payment is being taken out as usual, but if you don't update, it won't be.

You'd think they'd get a notice, though. It's none of Farmer H's business whose power was turned off. We'd just worry if it was Tommy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Is It About To Freeze Over, Or Is The Requested Ice Water Melting?

Monday, I rushed over to The Devil's Playground because I was out of Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels. Actually, The Devil was out on my previous trip, and I'd just run out of two Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels.

Just my luck, I rounded the corner into the deli area, and there was a woman with a full cart, and a teenage girl. I really think she should have been in school! Because then she wouldn't have been able to pick up the last container of Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels, and wheedle her mother's permission to put it in the cart. Leaving only about a dozen Italian Style Pinwheels. Which nobody likes. Nobody. That's why they are always left on the shelf.

I swear, if I was in charge of The Devil's deli, I would stock three times as many Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels, the same Turkey and Cheese as they stock now, and do away with the Italian Style. But that's just me. I don't presume to be The Devil.

Good thing, too! Because when I had pulled up outside, it looked like The Devil had his hands full today.

Is it ironic, perhaps, that I call this place The Devil's Playground, and the service man there helping to resolve the situation is driving a truck with LORD on the side? Heh, heh. That amused me.

I think the source of the flooding was on the wall there, behind those carts. It looked like some kind of spigot. Maybe for washing carts, or for the fire department to hook up to in case of a conflagration.

Not my problem, since I'm not The Devil.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Sometimes, I Wish They Were REAL Crocs

The other night, I was standing in the kitchen making supper for Farmer H, who was kicked back in the La-Z-Boy, watching reruns of MASH. All at once, Farmer H cranked the La-Z-Boy forward and exclaimed,

"I forgot my lottery ticket!"

He buys one every now and then, and sticks it up on the visor of his TrailBlazer. Then when I sit down to discuss my day's winnings (hopefully!) with him, he remembers. This time, I had no winners, and hadn't even mentioned the subject. But Farmer H suddenly remembered his ticket, and had to go outside RIGHT THEN to get it. He was like a cat who can be lazily twitching his tail, chilling on the carpet, and suddenly realizes HE NEEDS TO BE IN ANOTHER ROOM INSTANTANEOUSLY, and tears out of there like a car rounding a corner on two wheels.

Farmer H was delayed momentarily, though. He was just entering the kitchen when he hesitated.

"Huh. I need some shoes."

He went back to the living room, to his collection of three pairs sitting by the fake electric fireplace, just in front of the La-Z-Boy. I don't know what he'd been thinking when he came to the kitchen barefoot, on his way out the door to his Trailblazer parked in gravel. OH YES I DO!

It was not lost on me that Farmer H was right beside the living room bookcase, against the wall where the kitchen starts, when he had that revelation about needing shoes. That's where I park my Crocs. Except I was wearing them on my feet at that moment. Not my old red Crocs, all worn down and misshapen, that I wear all the time around the house. No. My newest Crocs. Which makes them about 6 years old, I think, since I got my mom a pair at the same time, and she's been gone three years now. These Crocs are dark blue. Not even broken in yet!

That's right! Farmer H was planning to wear my newest Crocs out to his car. Which he apparently does all the time, since without even thinking, he bypassed his own shoes, and went straight to the location of mine. Dang it! I don't want Farmer H's stubby bare feet, with the (formerly broken) big toe that doesn't bend, inside my newest Crocs! Call me selfish, but I think some things are personal, my shoes being one.

Uh huh. You know how I hate feet. And here was privileged Farmer H, with $1000 inserts from The Good Feet Store, still wanting to horn in on my $9.99 Crocs that I got off Amazon. When he came back in the Mansion, I let him have it. And I don't mean my newest pair of Crocs!

"You've been wearing my Crocs, haven't you? I KNEW IT! I don't want your feet in there! Your bare feet, all moist and diseasey! Keep your feet out of my shoes!"

Seriously. He has HIS OWN pair of Crocs, which I bought for him, all camouflage and manly, but he's too lazy to walk 10 steps around the short couch to get to them when he goes through the house. Not to mention, they're RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM when he's sitting in the La-Z-Boy.

Here's a picture from the La-Z-Boy. My newest blue Crocs, awaiting my feet when I stand up, and Farmer H's camouflage Crocs. Plus a pair of his shoes that I think he stole out of The Pony's room.

I really wish he had bigger feet, which would keep him out of my Crocs for sure. And while I'm wishing, I wish that they were REAL Crocs, that could bite him if he sticks his Farmer-H-y feet inside my newest Crocs.

Not to sever his feet, of course. He already sounds like he's walking on ankle-stumps from down in my lair. No, just to bite into his flesh. Maybe make him need a tetanus booster. Or give him a little infection requiring antibiotics and a short period of staying off his feet.

I'm pretty sure he wore them again two nights ago. I gave him the option to confess.

"I'm giving you ONE CHANCE to be honest with me. Have you been wearing my Crocs again?"


"Because they were messed up. The strap was down."

"Oh. I ran into them the other night. Maybe that did it."

I'm pretty sure he was lying. If they were REAL Crocs, I would see the telltale tooth marks.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

These Buggers Are Getting Out Of Hand

I've had enough! People should not be accosted by buggers when trying to enter a business establishment!

I hesitate to call them "beggars," because they obviously are affiliated with a legitimate charity. They wear bright orange vests trimmed with yellow, and have a kind-of label hanging around their neck. It's not that I'm against their cause, which seems to be developmentally-delayed adults. I'm just not in a habit of tossing pocket change into receptacles in front of grocery stores and gas stations. I choose my charities, and donate on a bit of a larger scale, by personal check. So it's not guilt that makes me look unfavorably upon the buggers.

Friday, these people were bugging in front of 4 separate businesses that I entered. I call them "buggers," because they bug me. Even if I WAS a coin-tossing donator, how is the bugger in front of Waterside Mart supposed to know that I contributed money to the bugger in front of Orb K? Uh huh. They DON'T know that. I suppose I could have just said, "I gave at Orb K." But I didn't, because that would be a lie. When directly asked if I would like to donate, I just say, "Not today." Which is most certainly true.

I've got no problem with buggers setting up a table, or even standing off to the side. Perhaps with a sign in larger letters describing their charity. Then a person can walk over and donate at their leisure, without feeling pressured to give. Seeing them standing a couple inches from the entry make me not want to enter that establishment.

It bugs me.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

You Can't Take The Teacher Out Of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

Darn it! Now I'm in office supply mode! You know how some women get baby fever after holding a newborn? Not happenin' here! But mention office supplies, and that gets my heart thumping. Sweet, sweet office supplies! I love them! And blog buddy River mentioned them in her comment Thursday. That's what started me down this path. I'd resisted the urge when writing about Genius's clandestine hoarding tendencies. But reading about assorted supplies triggered me!

You can take Mrs. Hillbilly Mom out of teaching...but you can't take the teacher out of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! How may other people do you know who take a picture of their Swingline stapler...and KEEP IT! This was taken back in February of 2016. The year I retired! I loved that stapler. It was the best stapler ever! It's here somewhere, in my boxed-up supplies. I really need to dig him out.

You might also notice the 4 writing implements on the desk. Of course I needed 4 to get through the day. The red Pilot Rollerball Fine Point for grading papers (you can see it's almost empty). The red pen (not my favorite brand, but you work with what you've got) for writing test scores and absences in the gradebook, because the Pilot seeps through the page. The black pen for writing on official hall passes and other documents, and taking notes on stuff. And the mechanical pencil for writing daily scores in the gradebook. I LOVE the feel of a mechanical pencil's lead against paper!

I never loaned out my mechanical pencils. It was precious hard to find the style I like. This is close. I'm not a big fan of those cushion thingies on the end, but the lead itself, and the eraser, were good.

I also happen to have another picture I took of some new office supplies! This one was taken in March of 2017. About a year after retirement. I'm thinking that I needed a mechanical pencil and a cheap calculator for fiddling with taxes, since they are due by April 15th.

Of course Mrs. HM can't buy JUST ONE mechanical pencil. Or cheap calculator. Nope. I couldn't resist that pack of mechanical pencils. When am I going to need 50 pencils? Not even when I was teaching would I need that many pencils! That's two per year for 25 years!!! I have had mechanical pencils that lasted two years or more! At work!

Anyhoo...even though I had my fantastic Swingline stapler, and a couple lesser staplers around the Mansion...I really wanted this cute little PaperPro stapler. It was in my former school colors, too! And those little boxes...well...I don't know what I'll use them for. But they're sitting right here on my desk by New Delly.

My name is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, and I'm an officesupplyholic.

Friday, October 5, 2018

That Darn Jack!

You know I love my little mutt, (formerly known as Puppy) Jack. He's so energetic and happy that he lifts my spirits every time I see him. He's a furry tube of fun, my little half-dachshund half-heeler.

Yesterday, Jack went a little too far. He loves to put his front feet up on my shoulders, while I'm standing on the sidewalk by the side porch, on the way to the garage. I think he remembers his puppy days, when I'd pick him up and he'd climb on my shoulder like a red-spotted white fur stole, and burrow his head up under my lovely lady-mullet.

Well. We'd had heavy rains overnight. As I came around the porch corner, I saw Jack and Juno and Copper Jack frolicking in the front yard. They all stopped, looked at me, and took off at a run. Jack is the quickest. He rushed up on the side porch, hopeful for a petting before jealous Juno could shoulder him away from me.

I was on my way to town, in a solid-color pastel purple shirt. I stepped back from the edge, saying, "Jack! NO!" But it was too late. His muddy paws were already in motion as he reared up on his hind legs, looking for a shoulder-snuggle. I didn't want him to topple three feet down onto the concrete. So I didn't jump all the way back. I leaned back and swiveled at the waist.

Jack's paws caught my right shoulder (instead of the usual left) and boob area. Mostly the boob area. I had a black muddy swipe right over the boob area. That's not an attractive look. It was already after 1:00, and I didn't want to go back in and change. The muddy mark was maybe a an inch long, and as thick as a big fat pencil lead, like used by kindergarteners.

I gave the dogs their anticipated cat kibble, and left for town. I figured that if anybody asked, they wouldn't believe that my half-dachshund half-heeler had really jumped up on me and left a muddy paw swipe on my boob area.

Seriously. They don't hang low enough for that.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I'm Sure It Will Be Found Next To A Stash Of Scissors And Rulers

Like ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle, scissors and rulers disappear in the Mansion. In fact, I can't think of a single ruler's location, other than my special 20-something-year-old MSTA ruler that I got for free, probably my first year of teaching. The only scissors I can find are in the kitchen silverware drawer.

Before you think that maybe Mrs. HM has simply misplaced a couple of office supplies over the course of her lifetime, let the record show that the Mansion was home to Genius and The Pony. Public school students who were bought school supplies each August. Those supplies always included a ruler and a pair of scissors. That's two boys. 12 grades of school. Which means 24 rulers and 24 scissors have simply disappeared into thin Mansion air. I always accused Genius of hiding them in a hollow under the floorboards. He loves office supplies as much as I do. In fact, his original dream career was "working at Office Max."

Anyhoo...this is the first week of October. The Pony's college money is split between a regular account, from which I draw out money each month for his expenses, and use to pay his rent and what fees his scholarship doesn't cover...and a CD. That CD comes due every year at this time, and I put a new supply of accessible funds into his regular account, and leave the rest to start a new CD. They give me a certificate for that, you know. It IS called a Certificate of Deposit.

Farmer H is in charge of the family jewels (heh, heh) and important paperwork. Not TAX important. I mean UPON DEATH important. Official papers that need to be stored in (one of) the safes.

Let the record show that for the past three years, I have not been able to take that certificate into the office to cash out that CD! Lucky for me (and The Pony, of course) that the credit union keeps a copy, and pulls it out for me to sign, and business goes on as usual. The point is...


Oh, he found the original CDs for the boys, from way back in 2009. But that's not what I needed. Those are no good now. Genius is educated, his money used. And The Pony's decreases each year. Right now, the new certificate that I got on Tuesday is laying on the kitchen counter. I pointed it out to Farmer H.

"Here's the certificate for The Pony's new CD. You need to put it up. Where you can find it next October! I'm tired of going in there asking for their copy."

"I know. I'll put it somewhere safe."

Uh huh.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

All Signs Point To Mischief

You know how your eye is drawn to something different? You have no conscious thought of a change, but your brain elbows you in the ribs, and says, "Looky there!" That's what happened when I returned home from a 45-minute trip to town on Sunday for my 44 oz Diet Coke.

As I drove along our property on the gravel road, I noticed that Farmer H's campaign signs were missing. Oh, don't worry. The world is safe. Farmer H himself is not running for office. But he'd allowed two candidates for local races to place their signs out front. It's not like we get a lot of traffic by here. But I guess you never know when somebody taking a headless body up past the Mansion to dump in the septic tank of a vacant house might see them. Or the procession of law enforcement and coroner vehicles that follow...

Anyhoo...I just KNEW those signs had been there when I left. I was certain. Pretty sure. Thought they were. Because I'd looked down into the BARn field, to see if perhaps Farmer H had returned early from the Storage Unit Store, and might be puttering around over there. I'd left about 12:30, and it was now nearing 1:00. If business isn't booming, he leaves at noon. Surely, if those signs had been gone, I would have noticed as I passed by the first time. And I didn't.

Once I parked T-Hoe in the garage, I called Farmer H.

"Did you take down your signs? Your campaign signs? They're laying in the yard."

"No. Why would I do that?"

"I don't know. At first, I thought they were gone. Like maybe the candidates came and took them back. But then I saw them laying flat in the grass."

"No. I didn't touch them. They were there when I came to my store at 8:00."

"I'm pretty sure they were there when I left for town, too. Now they're down."

"Huh. I'll look when I get back."

I asked for pictures before he set them back up. Farmer H said he was going to put something on Facebook about it, on the page that our enclave uses to communicate things like power outages and strange vehicles and INSULTS ABOUT FARMER H's ROADWORK!

I don't know why somebody would take down the signs. I don't even know what political party these candidates represent. Farmer H and I don't have a political affiliation. We vote for the candidate. One of these is a distant relative of Farmer H, running for county clerk. The other is a judge up for re-election, a guy whose brother was in my high school class, and who Farmer H went to fireman training with.

[Maybe Juno was on the case! Looks like she was sniffing something when Farmer H took the photo after he got home. If only she could talk!]

A few minutes later, Farmer H said he put the info on Facebook, and that he let people know he was not happy!

"Oh, great. Now you're going to start a war. It might have been your buddy, Buddy, playing a prank on you. Or maybe it was somebody mad about your bumpy roads!"

"Hah. They would have done it before now."

"Maybe it was kids."

"I think kids would have kicked them down, and they'd be bent."

"I think adults would have taken them! Not just laid them down."

About a half hour late, Farmer H said our neighbor next door put out some info. She'd seen kids walking down the road about an hour previous.

"See? I think it was kids."

"She didn't put out publicly who it looked like, but she told me. And I know that lady was having a birthday party for her teenage daughter today."

AHA! I'm pretty sure we have solved the mystery. Better yet, that lady is also on the Facebook page. So she knows darn good and well if those kids went for a walk. Not that she'll own up to anything. But it's enough that she knows kids were sighted in the area.

I would hope they at least get a good talking-to! A prank's a prank, but you don't go messing with stuff in the country. No siree, Bob! Farmer H is not a person concerned with revenge. But others might be.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mrs. HM Gets Spooked

October is barely upon us, and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is already jumpy. It's not the paranormal that scares her these days. It's the real-life ghouls who set her nerves on edge.

I cruised down Mailbox Hill Monday afternoon, and came upon a White RaperVan at the entrance to our gravel road.

The Pony is the one to thank for that term. He's always referred to white vans that way. I think it was an inside joke amongst his classmates. At first I didn't get my hackles up. Our down-the-hill neighbor drives a white van for his job, which is servicing heating and cooling units for a restaurant chain, if Farmer H is to be believed.

I parked T-Hoe on the edge of the blacktop county road, and walked over to EmBee for our mail. During that task, I started thinking. Why would our neighbor be parked down at the end of the gravel road? He doesn't have kids to pick up when the school bus arrives. And that would be 2-3 hours later in the afternoon. This is not on his work route. He'd just go on up the road and home. It didn't look like the person in the White RavperVan was him. This driver had a thinner (and younger-looking arm). That's all I could see. One arm.

This time, I took a picture. For later reference. Or perhaps evidence! In front of that White RaperVan is a little red car. It might look a bit like Neighbor Tommy's car, but this is a smaller model. It is parked there every day. A fifteen-year-old kid drives it down there to wait for the bus, and drives it back home after school. I turned in and drove past the White RaperVan, it looked like a guy behind the driver's seat, with a phone to his ear. That's funny. Peculiar, not ha-ha. I have no bars down here. I can barely get radio reception. So it seems odd that a person would choose this place to talk on a cell phone.

I went up the road, in the manner of a person who actually lives out here. You know. Not speeding, but not creeping along like a sightseer.


Uh huh. After sitting there for who knows how long, that driver had a sudden need to drive along behind me. At a pretty good clip, too. He was gaining on me. Not that I was trying to outrun him. There's a just-right speed on this gravel, where you don't slide around, and don't hit the potholes too hard. I was at that speed. White RaperVan was exceeding it.

Heh, heh! I hope that dude was hungry, because I fed him enough dust to make a competitive eater throw in the towel. Yes, a huge cloud of dust rose up, making a wall that my rearview vision could not penetrate! I no longer saw White RaperVan. I guess he backed off.

When I turned up the hill to pass by my heating/cooling neighbor's homestead, that White RaperVan kept going on up the other hill, past HOS's house, on the road that comes out on another blacktop county road after two miles.

Here's the creepy part. When I loaded these pictures, and zoomed in to see if there might be a business logo on the side of the White RaperVan...I noticed something odd about the back bumper.

It looks like a cascade of blood might have seeped out!

Probably just my overactive Halloween imagination kicking in.