Monday, December 31, 2018

A New Shaming Bracelet, Now With More Shaming

Genius was in town yesterday, the only time he could fit us in for Christmas. It's rough being a working man, not a college student or a teacher with a month or two weeks off for the holidays. I suppose he knows how Farmer H used to feel when we were all partying it up without him.

Remember back on May 24 when my Shaming Bracelet (Garmin Fit-Bit-Thingy) blew a gasket? When one of the two prongs broke off the fastener?

Yeah. I'd had it almost six months. Heh, heh! It probably had a six-month warranty! Not that I'm shaming Garmin. I was rough on that Shaming Bracelet. But I wore it faithfully, even with one prong. Well. Now Genius has bestowed a NEW Shaming Bracelet upon me!

Ain't he purty? He has a color option, and I chose green. It's my favorite. That screen shows my mileage for the day as 0.58. But not really. I had 0.71 on my old Shaming Bracelet before Genius disabled it. So technically, I should have credit for 1.29 miles at this point. My daily goal, though, is, I think, 1.5 miles.

Thing is, when Genius put in my goal on this new one, he set it as 7500 steps!!! Maybe that's his own. But mine should have been around 4000. So now, I'm getting EXTRA SHAMING! I have no hope of meeting my goal.

I sent Genius a text bemoaning my extra shaming, and he said not to worry too much about it, because when I'm only achieving 20% of my goal, the Shaming Bracelet will adjust itself to lower expectations. Still. I won't get credit for my casino walking when we take The Pony partway back to college.

That's a shame.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Apparently, We Are Not The Only Ones Who Miss The Pony

As mentioned yesterday, we are splitting up the 9-hour drive to get The Pony back to college by staying overnight halfway. Yes, I am helicoptering. Or, as The Pony puts it, Mother-Henning. Still, he fell asleep and totaled his car on the drive home that first year for Thanksgiving. So anything I can do to make his journey safer, I will!

Conveniently, the halfway point is a hotbed of casino action! And with casinos come comps, like free rooms! Having just been there for CasinoPalooza 3, Farmer H and I are anticipating renewed offers of such freebies, once our player's card records are updated for future mailings. We have been getting offers of free rooms for one of these casinos all year. In fact, Sis and the Ex-Mayor each had one, which they were using before the end of the year. With our trip coming in January, I've been looking for our latest comp offers in the mail.

Friday, I was happy to see one peeking out the gaping mouth of EmBee. I carried it back to T-Hoe, and was shocked to see that it was addressed not to me, not to Farmer H, but to THE PONY. In fact, it started out with, "Pony, we've missed you!" And inside, he had TWO offers for a free room! Let the record show that The Pony doesn't use his player's card, and only goes to that casino once a year, at CasinoPalooza time. Once I returned home, I told him.

"Hey! Pony! The casino HAS MISSED YOU! We were just there less than two weeks ago, and they are already MISSING YOU!"

"To be fair, that was probably printed and ready to mail before we were even there this time."

"Maybe. But the fact is, you have a free room! So if Dad and I don't get an offer, at least we can stay for free in YOUR ROOM!"


Thing is, I'm pretty sure Farmer H and I will also have that same free room offer, even if we don't get our mailers in time. I'll just call to reserve The Pony's room, and ask about ours, with our player's card numbers. Funny thing, how The Pony is 20 years old, and according to Genius, you have to be 21 to rent a hotel room, or a rental car, because during his time as head of the Solar Car team, Genius was the only one who was old enough to do those two things! Maybe it's different in Oklahoma, where the gambling age is 18 for slots, and 16 for bingo!

All I know for sure is that the casino has been missing The Pony!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Even Steven Sticks It To Mrs. HM Yet Again

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom plans, Even Steven laughs.

I should realize by now that nothing every falls into place as planned. The Pony has been home a good long time this year for the holidays, but he's chomping at the bit to return to his college apartment. He's not sugar-coating the reason why: he wants to get back and download the computer games he bought at up-to-80% discount with his Christmas money.

That's what a college kid should be able to do, right? Enjoy himself between semesters, before the daily grind starts again. The Mansion internet allotment cannot take such a hit for his gaming purposes. He even tried to use McDonald's wifi, but it was too slow. There's also the admission that one of his friends will be returning early as well.

The Pony had wished to be back by Thursday. We tried to dissuade him, to leave on Friday or Saturday, and make a mini CasinoPalooza with my sister the ex-mayor's wife. He agreed, but Sis was not available on those dates. So... we agreed to drive back on Wednesday, spend the night halfway, and The Pony could set out on his own Thursday morning, and get back to his apartment by noon.

Sounds so simple, right? But no. I needed to order some checks, because my supply is running out. I knew I didn't want them arriving while we're gone, even though they come in unmarked packaging. I specifically checked the boxes that led me to believe that the checks would arrive the following Monday. Well after we returned from our trip to see The Pony halfway back to college.

Oh, Even Steven! You're a sly one! Last night, I got a notification that my check order had shipped. Huh. That was pretty sudden, since they won't be arriving for another 10 days. Oh, wait! NOW they are supposed to get here on... you guessed it, the very day we are leaving to take The Pony halfway back to college and spend the night! How is that even possible?

So... I went into the shipping info, to try and set a new delivery date and time (at an ADDITIONAL FEE, mind you, to get it here LATER)... and there's no record that I have a package. How is THAT even possible, when they just notified me that my package had shipped, and I followed the link to track my package???

Why do I have a feeling this won't end well?

Friday, December 28, 2018

Sometimes, A Breakfast Buffet Is The Wise Choice

On the last day of CasinoPalooza 3, a Monday morning, the Hillbilly family plus Friend convened at the hotel restaurant for the breakfast buffet. It's pretty reasonable for an all-you-can-eat buffet in a casino, at about $10. Little did we know that Farmer H was going to turn traitor and ORDER OFF THE MENU!

We knew The Pony might pull such a stunt for the second day in a row. He liked the chocolate chip pancakes, and got a stack of 3 the first morning, then ordered 2 this time, seeing as how they were HUGE. Farmer H, though decided on the Senior Breakfast. We've had it before, when we didn't want to consume mass quantities of breakfast food, saving room for a nice dinner.

Farmer H wanted 2 eggs over easy, which you could get cooked to order at the buffet, and a sausage patty (also available at the buffet), and a piece of white bread toast. He also ordered hot tea, and an orange juice. So he didn't really save any money with his $4.99 Senior Breakfast (not that money was an issue, we were on a GAMBLING trip, for cryin' out loud!), since the tea was $2.25, and the orange juice $2.95. I guess that was just Farmer H's way of making what he thought was a wise choice (not that I've ever known him to do such a thing) and not get bogged down with too much food so early in the day. turned out to be not-so-wise.

Genius, Friend, and I had the breakfast buffet. Here's my plate:

Yes, I could have limited myself to only one hash brown, and only one sausage link, and left off the muffin-top cookie. But it was CasinoPalooza 3, by cracky! Mrs. HM has to kick up her heels some time. could have been much worse. You don't know how much I envied Genius and Friend for their biscuits and gravy. It's Not-Heaven not to have the metabolism of a 24-year-old!

I show you my plate, not to laud myself on restraining my piggish tendencies (somewhat), but to point out that the breakfast buffet was actually the wisest choice that day!

Genius, Friend and I were completely finished, and Farmer H and The Pony did not have their food yet. In fact, the waitress came back and asked The Pony again how many pancakes he wanted! They hadn't even started cooking!

That waitress. We didn't have straws for our water and The Pony's Sprite until we asked when she checked on the pancake order. She also didn't bring Friend the requested hot sauce in a timely manner. Thank the Gummi Mary, a bottle was just sitting on an unused table, free for the taking. Genius said the coffee tasted burnt.

The waitress apologized for each infraction. "Bear with me! It's the first time they gave me a table. It's only my fourth day!"

After she was out of earshot, I added, "And it might be your last..."

Anyhoo...we waited for Farmer H and The Pony to finally get their food, and eat it. I'm pretty sure Farmer H gave her a decent tip on the credit card. It helps to be an attractive young lass when waiting on a table full of men plus Mrs. HM.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Get Your Handbaskets Loaded

On the day after Christmas, I stopped by Country Mart for a few items. SWEET GUMMI MARY! I suggest you get your handbaskets loaded, and I mean with supplies from somewhere other than Country Mart!

I don't always trust Country Mart. I've bought bad cheese there before. Not necessarily BAD cheese, but cheese with an expired date. It was for my grandma's Christmas basket many years ago. Thank the Gummi Mary, I caught it before gift-giving time, and took it back. I'm pretty sure the gal at the service desk called someone from the deli department up front to put it back on the shelf. I've also found expired mayonnaise there, and just shoved it farther back on the shelf and got a good one. I don't think these things happen entirely by accident at Country Mart. of the items I was shopping for on December 26th was lettuce. Preferable romaine, but I'd take iceberg if necessary. Just something to make myself a side salad at supper. Well! I left that store without any lettuce.

Perhaps you heard about the romaine recall again. While we were in Norman, Oklahoma visiting The Pony for Thanksgiving, it happened. One moment the waitress took our order for Caesar salads, and the next moment she was back at the table, apologizing for no Caesars, due to a romaine recall. Since then, I'm pretty sure the recall was lifted. Because The Pony, Farmer H, and Friend all had Caesar salads at that steakhouse over CasinoPalooza 3 on December 15th. AND, I've bought bagged romaine at The Devil's Playground since then.

That's what I was looking for in Country Mart. However...there was nary a bagged lettuce to be found. Unless you count the shredded lettuce, like for tacos. It looked mushy in the bag, so I definitely didn't want that, even though at times I like my salad made with shredded lettuce. There were bags of spinach leaves and baby spinach leaves, but I'm not real fond of them, even though I had them in my salad on CasinoPalooza 3. It's just too much like eating LEAVES!

Here's where I sensed the coming Apopadopalyspe (trademark Farmer H). The store had a sign printed in large font, like maybe by an old person who doesn't know much about technology, that said due to the romaine recall, prices of lettuce had skyrocketed, so please bear with country mart, during the inconvenience, since they had done everything they could to obtain shipments of lettuce and keep prices down.

Huh. That said, the only lettuce in the produce department was heads of iceberg, with a DATE OF DECEMBER 21 on the plastic wrap! Yes, it looked kind of brown and wilty. NO WAY was I going to buy lettuce dated DECEMBER 21 on DECMBER 26! No siree, Bob! That's highway robbery.

Oh, and their corn on the cob was all dark and shrinky! Like it was actually feed corn for livestock, rather than people-corn! I didn't even check the date on that.

There oughta be a law! I'm shocked that the county health department hasn't been in there posting notices and releasing information to the local paper.

I guess they're tied up warning Santas that they'd been holding babies with whooping cough.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Like A Burr Under His Saddle

The Pony, when in his home paddock of the Mansion, is about as energetic as The Old Gray Mare. And we all know SHE ain't what she used to be. I try not to be a nag. I figure The Pony will get around to something when he's good and ready. He's just come off of finals week, you know. And had to get up at 5:00 a couple mornings, to study and walk to campus ahead of his apartment shuttle. Then he was whisked right into CasinoPalooza 3, unable to loll about the bed into the wee hours of the afternoon. So I figure he deserves some down time.

Let the record show that The Pony packed dirty clothes. He's been wearing what might be considered "laundry day" clothes. Not exactly up to my standards for being seen in public, but he has no problems with it. I guess he was down to some of his last clean gladrags on Friday. In fact, I sort of liked his shirt, a lime-green t-shirt, kind of pastel, with the name of a college organization on it.

Poor Pony. He's always had a hole in his chin. I warmed up his leftover rigatoni for lunch. Next thing I knew, The Pony was asking me how much laundry detergent I use. It wasn't a survey, of course. Nor research for a between-semester thesis. The Pony uses Tide Pods (he assured me that he didn't try eating them) for his laundry at college. Here, I use regular powdered Tide.

The sudden laundry fire under The Pony's haunches was lit by an errant rigatoni. He dropped one on his pastel lime-green college organization t-shirt. Right on the middle of the belly. Quite obvious. Can you believe he turned down my offer to open up a mini bottle of Diet Coke to start dissolving the stain? He DID! It's not like someone was going to see it. I swear it works. I couldn't just pull up a straw partially full of my magical elixir, because I'd already put my cherry limeade flavoring in it.

I explained how much Tide to use, and how to wet the stain with cold water, and rub a little paste of Tide into it and let sit for five minutes before washing. It works as good as SHOUT, just like Diet Coke works as good as a Tide Pen. I cautioned The Pony not to put that shirt in the dryer before I'd taken a look at it. Don't want to expose it to heat and set the stain!

Let the record show that The Pony dutifully brought the washed shirt down to my dark basement lair, where under the light is showed no remains of the stain.

If you want to spur The Pony into laundry action...just feed him some rigatoni.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Feast Of Even Steven

Our Christmas dinner this year is going to be grilled by Farmer H on Gassy G. It was his idea. Of course, he's just grilling pork steaks for us, and a sirloin for The Pony. I'll be handling the roasted carrots/potatoes/onions under bacon, the stuffing (yeah, we're not stuffing anything, it's just Stove Top, requested by The Pony), the Sister Schubert's rolls (technically, corporate Sister Schubert is handling that), and the Oreo cake.

Yes, it's a limited menu. All that we need. All that we want. The more festive Christmas dinner will be on December 30th, when Genius can join us. I was going to make Farmer H his sugar-free chocolate pudding with sugar-free Cool Whip, but he has a pie. A blackberry cobbler, specifically, made by a lady who appreciated Santa's visit with her grandchildren. No need to make Farmer H the sugar-free dessert when he alone will be consuming an entire blackberry cobbler teeming with sugar.

I stopped by my sister the ex-mayor's wife's house on Christmas Eve afternoon, to take the prizes for the evening of games she had planned. The ex-mayor was taking a ham out of the oven. It smelled spectacular! They offered me some, but I declined. I also turned down a peanut butter cookie topped with a Hershey's kiss, that fell on the floor. Not that I'm above floor cookies, mind you, but to eat one would not have been a wise choice. I was saving up for the evening meal.

As I left, Ex-Mayor gave me a baggie filled with the ham ends.
"Here. Your dogs will like this."

I had a couple stops left to make. Each time, upon returning to T-Hoe, the smell of the ham ends tempted me to make a bad choice. Who would know, really, if I ate the ham ends, rather than giving them to the dogs? The dogs would never know what they missed. Even if they smelled it on my breath, I don't think they would be tattling.

Did I eat the ham ends? Of course not! There would be Even Steven to pay! Juno and Jack enjoyed them tremendously. Not Copper Jack. He got none. He got an old hush puppy from Captain D's left from Tuesday. He turned up his nose at it!

Beggars can't be choosers, you know. But they can at least appreciate what they get. I truly appreciated Sis offering me that floor cookie, and Ex-Mayor giving me the ham ends (for the dogs!), and Farmer H volunteering to grill Christmas dinner (part of it).

Monday, December 24, 2018

Farmer H Can Never Be Safe Enough

When I walked into the garage on Thursday, after treating my Sweet, Sweet Juno and (formerly known as Puppy) Jack with a handful of cat kibble, I was greeted with this sight:

Looks like Farmer H bought himself a safe. Of course, he made no mention of such a purchase. I suppose he expected me to assume that this safe sprang full-blown from the hood of A-Cad. Or maybe not, since Farmer H has not even rudimentary knowledge of Greek mythology.

I DID overhear Farmer H asking The Pony to look for a key for a safe, online.

"I'm looking for the key. I have the combination, but you need to turn the key to let it work. I just need the key. I have all the original owner stuff."

"But Dad, you're not the original owner."

"They don't know that."

"They don't know you have the stuff, either. How do they know that, just by asking online for a key? Don't robbers try to get a key to a safe to rob it that way?"

"Yeah. But they don't have the numbers and the owner's manual book."

"Maybe they steal that, too! Why did you buy a safe without a key?"

"It only cost me $5. Besides, I have everything for THAT safe! I'm talking about the one I have over in the BARn."

"WHY did we need this $5 safe?"

"To put money in!"

"We already have TWO safes in the basement to put money in!"

"There you go again!"

"Seriously. You have at least 6 that I know of. Two in the basement. One in the BARn. Now one in garage. I know you have a gun safe at your Storage Unit Store. And I'm pretty sure there's a gun safe in the workshop."

Farmer H's answer was to put on his coat and leave. Sure, it was time for his weekly shot at the doctor's office. Still. I'm pretty sure he did not have a response.


Oh, what a wicked web he wove!!!

Saturday afternoon, I was checking my credit card balance on the 800 number. Huh. There was a mysterious charge for $292 and change. From a lumber/hardware store. I know Farmer H went to buy a new doorknob on Tuesday. In fact, he bought two. But he gave me the receipt for them.

That should have been my clue! I'm slipping, people! My membership card for Mystery, Inc. might be revoked!

So...I asked Farmer H, when I had him as a captive audience in A-Cad on the way to The Veteran's house for Christmas festivities, if he charged something for almost $300.

"Yes. A safe."

"Wait a minute! You bought a new safe? Without asking me??? I already told you last week that we do NOT need another safe. I was dead set against it! And now you bought one? For $292? You said you paid $5 for it!"

"That's the one in the BARn. That needs a key."

"You lied! You said you paid $5 for the safe in the garage!"

"Well...I call the BARn a garage sometimes. And I call the garage a barn."

"YOU DO NOT! You deliberately lied about that safe! Did you think I would never find out?"

"Well, you've been mad at me for two days. So I was just waiting until you weren't mad any more to tell you."

"That's bull! You thought I wouldn't find out! This is like when you disappeared one afternoon and bought a $1700 lawnmower without telling me. I didn't know until I saw you drive by and I wondered when the lawnmower changed color."

"You never forget anything! I did buy the lawnmower without telling you. Yes."

"I NEVER spend $1700 or $300 without asking you if we should buy something, or without telling you about it! We don't need 6 safes!"

"Actually, we have 8 safes. I have 3 in the BARn."

If Farmer H is planning to wait on telling me something until I'm not mad any more...he's going to need to wait a very long time.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Generation Rap

Perhaps you think Mrs. HM is sometimes too harsh on Millennials, pointing out their peccadilloes such as self-centeredness, inability to squeeze out a single drop of the milk of human kindness, and heavy reliance on electronic assistance in telling time, making change, or interacting with people.

Perhaps the following vignettes from Sunday's travels will help you understand my maligning.

I headed to town Sunday for some last-minute gifts. Not really gifts, because I thought my Christmas shopping was all done. These were prizes for the games to be played at the annual Christmas Eve dinner at the home of my sister the ex-mayor's wife. She called me Saturday afternoon to discuss this matter. I am not one to refuse, or to rain on Sis's Christmas Eve parade. She goes to a lot of time and trouble and expense to make assorted buffet foods and desserts. It's the least I can do to provide prizes for her games.

Needing twelve small prizes (about $1 each), and two large ones (around the $10 level), I planned on  hitting several area Dollar Stores, the Dollar Tree, and the Big Lots out by my bank. It was in the newest Dollar Store, over by the Chinese Buffet that got shut down because the owner was importing illegal non-citizens, that I was the beneficiary of a selfless act by a woman of my generation.

Okay. I thought of her as a nice old lady, but she was in reality probably my age, or a couple years younger. Her good deed could not have come at a better time. It was after 1:00, and I was feeling kind of weak, having not eaten anything yet, and having roamed around the store for about 15 minutes without a cart. You know how Mrs. HM needs her cart/walker to lean on if standing will be involved.

Anyhoo...I hobbled to the register, feeling a bit lightheaded and unstable. I had a yellow Dollar Store basket on my arm, containing a jar of dry-roasted nuts, a box of three individual bags of Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookies, and a plastic battery operated thingy that sends colored lights around the room like a table-anchored disco ball. Yeah. Sorry you're not going to be at Sis's house on Christmas Eve, in the running for one of those prizes.

Anyhoo...there were five people in line, and that nice old lady with a cart full of household items was ahead of me down the narrow front aisle. She parked her cart in line, and I waited off to the side, because I couldn't go around the last display and line up proper, due to a woman with a cart and a toddler picking up things the toddler had knocked off.

"Honey, you can go ahead of me. You have so few things."

"Oh, you don't have to. THANK YOU! That is so nice of you!"

"I have this whole cart. Merry Christmas to you and your family."

"And to you, too!"

I got in line. I'd have chatted, but like I said, I was feeling kind of shaky and lightheaded, like that time I was pregnant with Little Future Genius, and returned to work after a 3-hour blood glucose test, barely able to think about how I was going to pump gas into not-T-Hoe, and found out later my glucose at the time I left the lab was in the 40s!

Anyhoo...that nice old lady didn't have to let me go ahead of her. She didn't know I was nearing a coma. She gave up her place in line to allow me to move ahead. That's what our generation does.

From there, I cracked open a Slim Jim in T-Hoe (chewing gingerly, of course) and drove across town to Big Lots. For good measure, I popped the cinnamon candy I found in my jacket pocket into my mouth, and felt better. But I took a cart this time. Just in case.

Of course both registers had shoppers lined up three deep. I moved to the last one, with only a man and woman (together) ahead of me. Wouldn't you know it? That guy wanted to update his Big Lots card. Oh, but the email and address were now different! So after asking him if each one was current, the checker said, "Well, your NAME is still such-and-such, isn't it?" He agreed that it was, but Checker said it would be easier just to void that old card, and issue a new one. Of course he had to sign in or do something about a password to get his $5 off that he was due. After trying for several minutes, he replied that his phone didn't have internet.

Meanwhile, a new checker had come to the third register, but didn't turn on her in-business light. She was doing something on the monitor when a dude barged over and asked her to check the price on some kind of duck toy in a box. As she was doing that, two early-20s gals, who'd been in line behind me, rushed over to that register, shoving their stuff on the counter to be rung up.

Huh. New Checker performed their transaction! And all of us in both lines ahead of them, still waiting like societal norms decree! Obviously, the time of these Twenty-Somethings was more valuable than the time of us oldsters, at least in their own Twenty-Something minds. Even though we actually have less time left!

At least New Checker motioned to me after they were gone. "I can help you over here, Honey."

Yes. She was a seasoned veteran.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Butt Feet

CasinoPalooza 3 was all fun and games until Mrs. HM nearly lost her cookies.

The trip was off to a great start the first night, with my casino bankroll up a grand total of $5.47 after playing all day and part of the night at six different casinos. The second day was just about the opposite, only I lost more than $5.47! I headed back to the room after midnight, Farmer H and The Pony already pooped out, and Genius and Friend nowhere to be seen, probably having called it quits before me.

I waved my room card in front of that sensor thingy and entered to the sounds of slumber.


What in the NOT-HEAVEN was that odor? I fought down my rising gorge, breathing through my mouth, even though I knew that with every breath, I was sucking molecules of that malodorous funk into my lungs. It was worse, even, than the stench the valet parker left in Jerry's car, causing Elaine to wash her hair in tomato juice, and Jerry to toss his keys to a bum, who opened the car door, and refused that gift car! A dead skunk marinating in the July sun in Missi-freakin'-sippi for two days, then ensconced in the butt-end of a gelatinous hippopotamus carcass for two more days, would have smelled sweeter!

I could only surmise that it was sweaty-butt stench. Like when Farmer H works all day mowing the yard in summer heat and humidity, rivulets of man-sweat trickling in the ravine of his not-so-ample buttocks, and then tosses his used tighty-whities into his clothes hamper with the ventilating holes in the side. Whew! It was all I could do to stop gagging. I daresay I might have actually gotten a whiff of the scent from under the door while unlocking, and thought is was something in the hallway.

The next morning, I told Farmer H that his butt-sweat had marked its territory. Of course, neither he nor The Pony could smell it. I was certain that everybody we passed on the way to breakfast, and in the elevator prior to checking out, could smell us.

Once home, I threw all of my trip clothes into the washer. Farmer H and The Pony didn't unpack yet, but set about relaxing after the long drive, The Pony heading to the basement TV, and Farmer H going out to check on Barry the mini-pony and Billy the goat. When he came back in the Mansion, Farmer H exhaled sharply.

"WHEW! You were right about that smell! This whole house stinks like a dirty butt!"

Of course he didn't rush to the shower, having had one that morning before leaving the casino. But he did go on the prowl, seeking the source of the odor. Farmer H is braver than Mrs. HM. I was sorting out my ID and trip money from my gambling purse into my regular purse when Farmer H sidled up to me in the kitchen, and whispered conspiratorily...

"Do you think it's THE PONY?"

"I don't know. Maybe. You were both in the room, sleeping. But I rode all the way home with The Pony, and I didn't smell anything."

Farmer H went sniffing again. "Pony! Where did you put your shoes?"

"In my room."

Farmer H headed that direction. *COUGH*COUGH*HACK* "That's IT! The Pony's SHOES! Smell them!"


"PONY! Did you wear socks?"

" I did. But not yesterday."

"WASH YOUR FEET! These shoes are terrible! Don't wear them again!"

"I can get you a new pair of shoes tomorrow. You said you needed some."

"Yeah, but those are still wearable."

"NO THEY'RE NOT!" Farmer H was dangling them by the heel part. "I think you can wash them."

"I'm not touching them. Put them in the washer, and I'll turn it on. PONY! Tomorrow, you're going to wear one of your old pairs of shoes that you left here. We are going to get shoes. I'm not waiting to see if those can be saved."

So...we got The Pony some new shoes. He sniffed the others after soaking and washing and being left on the heater vents (!) to dry, and declared them 'OK.' I think not.

"They just smell like normal shoes now."

"No. Throw them away. I can still smell it."

In fact, I think I can STILL smell it, five days later.

Friday, December 21, 2018

A Vist With My Best Old Ex-Teaching Buddy Mabel

Wednesday, Farmer H and I loaded up A-Cad to drive a half hour to meet for lunch with my best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel and her husband. The Truth in Blogging Law requires me to inform you that Farmer H actually loaded A-Cad. With Chex Mix and Mabel's birthday + Christmas gifts, and a multitude of fancy auction frames and a heavy mirror.

For lunch, Farmer H and Mabel and Mabel's Hub all ordered from the breakfast menu. Mabel had a biscuit and gravy with a cheese omelet with extra cheese. Mabel's Hub had eggs over easy and pancakes, and Farmer H also had eggs over easy, with gravy. Well. I can't imagine why anyone would want to order breakfast at 11:00 a.m.! I had my usual meal from this restaurant: Chicken Quesadilla.

It was, as usual, DELICIOUS! I meant to get a picture when the plate arrived, but in my feeding frenzy, I barely caught myself in time to get a picture before it was all devoured. Mmm...just the right amount of crispness to the tortilla, chunks of chicken, cheese, red/green peppers, and onions. My only complaint (and you KNEW there'd be a complaint) was that I felt shorted on the salsa. It's like how Farmer H would have filled a paper cup of ketchup for me. I could eat all that salsa on one section of that quesadilla! Still, I rationed it, and came out even at the end, although I had some sour cream left.

After breakfast-lunch, we convened down the road a piece at Mabel's marvelous house, to catch up on recent happenings and relive old times. Farmer H had a captive audience in Mabel's Hub. They hit it off swimmingly when they first met several years ago, and there's never a lull in their conversation.

Farmer H sold Mabel most of his frames, threw in a couple of other gewgaws, and left her with more bargain treasures to decorate her marvelous house. Did I mention that Mabel's house is marvelous?

Mabel sampled the Chex Mix, just to be sure it was acceptable, you know, so she could turn it away if it wasn't up to standards. Heh, heh! Like THAT would ever happen!

 I scored some delectable homemade chocolate-covered cherries that I must ration to the tune of 1 per day. They are very sweet, and not a wise choice. But I plan to have one with supper every night.

A good (and delicious) time was had by all, and we plan to do it again in February.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Later Is Greater

Yesterday I mentioned how The Pony requested Captain D's for lunch Tuesday, when we were out shoe-shopping. We went inside to order, since I can never hear them right through the drive-thru speaker at that location. We placed our order, said it was TO GO, and The Pony went to the soda fountain to fill his cup with root beer. I didn't get sodas for myself or Farmer H, because we could have soda at home. Mine by way of The Gas Station Chicken Store.

Anyhoo...our order was #134. There were two groups ahead of us, and two who came in behind. Apparently, 3:00 is a prime time for fish over in Bill-Paying Town. The Pony sat down on the padded waiting bench opposite the order counter, and I told him I would be right back after taking advantage of Captain D's restroom. The Pony was still waiting when I returned, so I sat down next to him.

A worker came to the counter and announced, "Number One Thirty-Five?"

I must admit, I was almost hoisting myself to my feet by the time she got out the last number.

"Oops! Almost fooled me," I told The Pony. "I should have known that ours would be in bags instead of on a tray."

"Well, TECHNICALLY, we should have had ours before One Thirty-Five," said The Pony. "Since we ordered before them."

It was just the two of us making conversation. I guess the counter worker heard us. When she announced One Thirty-Four, she asked, "Is there anything else I can get you?"

"Yes. Some tartar sauce, and a lot of butter." The Pony LOVES him some butter on his breadsticks.

"I'm going to throw in two desserts for your wait. I'm sorry it took so long," said the counter girl.

"Oh, you don't have to do that."

"I'm going to, for your wait. What would you like?"

"Um. A chocolate cake. And a cheesecake."

I know The Pony likes their chocolate cake. And Farmer H loves cheesecake. The other choice was a mini pecan pie, which he also likes. But I figured he'd go for the cheesecake if he was there.

On the way home, I told The Pony, "We'll let Dad think I got him the cheesecake for his birthday. He doesn't have to know that it was free!"

We DID let Farmer H think that for a few minutes. And then confessed to our free desserts.

"Yeah. I got them for you and The Pony. Not for myself."

"You probably could have gotten three, if you'd reminded her that you bought three meals, and someone would go without. She just saw the two of you there, so offered two."

I think he's got a point. I guess my mind is foggy from lack of calories in making those wise choices.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mrs. HM Got Boned At The Sausagefest

The Pony is home! We have him for a couple weeks, anyway. We got home from CasinoPalooza 3 on Monday afternoon, and by Tuesday morning, I was taking him shopping. Oh, there's more to the story, which may be told here or there. But today, Mrs. HM is the star of the blog. As it should be!

By the time The Pony got up and ready, it was 11:30. I was in the middle of balancing my checkbook by automated phone. So we didn't leave the Mansion until after noon. The Pony had planned on a trip to The Devil's Playground for a birthday card for Farmer H, a gift, and some body wash and shampoo, which he forgot to pack. Sure, he could have gone alone. But I wanted to get his shoes before Christmas, and the schools let out for the break, and I was also going to The Devil's Playground. So we agreed that he'd ride along with me, like old times, and we'd go our separate ways with The Devil, so he wouldn't see what I was buying. I gave him the keys to go back out and wait in T-Hoe.

Of course I ran into my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel just inside the doors. So I was delayed a bit before I started shopping, even though we were going to meet for lunch the very next day (today!). By the time I got back out to T-Hoe, it was after 1:30, and we still had to drive 30 minutes over to Bill-Paying town to the shoe store. It's not like I had anything else to do, but I'd eaten nothing, and The Pony was subsisting on two Casey's donuts that Farmer H brought him, even though they were not the kind favored by The Pony.

After picking out two pairs of shoes, and two pairs of socks, it was after 3:00.

"Do you want to pick up some lunch? I don't really want to take time to sit down and eat, but I can get you something to eat while I drive."

You don't have to hit me over the head with a shovel. I can read the writing on the wall. The Pony had been telling me about an app in Norman, where you can get a Whopper for 1 cent, if the Burger King is within a mile of McDonald's, and you order through the app. And saying that he thought the McDonald's and Burger King in Bill-Paying Town AND Hillmomba were both within a mile of each other. So I figured maybe he wanted Burger King.

"Hm. How about Captain D's? I don't think we have one in Norman."

"Okay. Dad and I haven't been since the last time you were home. Last Christmas. Call him and see if he wants something. That can be his birthday dinner. Instead of me making rigatoni. It's going to be almost supper time when we get back."

"Dad says he wants a 3-piece fish, with slaw and fries."

"Okay. Let's go in to get it, because I can never hear on their drive-thru speaker, and I want to see the menu."

Let the record show that I selected the baked lemon pepper whitefish, with slaw and steamed broccoli. The Pony also had a 3-piece fish, with fries and extra hush puppies. AND an order of breadsticks. The Pony loves him some breadsticks!

We got everything situated in T-Hoe, so The Pony could chow down while I drove home. Or actually to The Gas Station Chicken Store for my magical elixir.

"Ooh! That smells SO GOOD! I'm getting a little lightheaded. I know I usually eat lunch late, but 2:30 late. Not 3:30 late. I'm going to have a Slim Jim to tide me over."

I carry three of them in T-Hoe, you know. For survival purposes. So I ripped one open, the short version, shorter than an ink pen, and took a bite.

"What in the NOT-HEAVEN? I think I just broke a tooth!" I dug the piece out of my mouth. "Nope. Not a tooth. Doesn't feel like any parts missing. Besides, my teeth are NOT that color!"

I assure you. My teeth are NOT that color. Can't emphasize that enough.

Pretty sure that's not an arrowhead for the world's smallest arrow. It must be some kind of beef bone particle from making the Slim Jim. No harm, no foul. I felt it with my tongue before I bit down solidly.

Of course I told The Pony, "Hey! That's a blog post! I'm saving it!" And of course, milliseconds after I said that, I dropped it! Down to the floor of T-Hoe. I found it, though! I wasn't getting boned again, cheated out of a blog post! No siree, Bob!

I think I will chew my Slim Jim more gingerly now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Why Am I Picturing The Wasp Nest Scene In The Shining?

I caught Farmer H over at back-creek neighbor Bev's house last Tuesday, mid-morning. Specifically, I called to see where he was, and he said he'd gone to talk to Bev, because she had something to give him. Uh huh. That's what they all say, isn't it?

Anyhoo...Farmer H was walking back to his Trailblazer when he answered. I could hear him huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf. Then the chime and radio as he started the Trailblazer. But THEN he exclaimed, "Ooh! Look at THAT!" As if I could.

"There's a HUGE hornet's nest! I've gotta get that!"

"Uh. Are you crazy?"

"No. It's fine in the winter. They're not in it. They all die. I heard that somewhere."

"Then why haven't they gone extinct, if they all die off every winter?"

"Well. I don't know. But that's what I heard."

"Haven't you ever seen THE SHINING? When Jack gives his son a giant wasp nest? And they just happen to put a glass bowl over it, and the next morning in the kid's bedroom, that bowl is SWARMING with wasps!"

"This is a hornet's nest, HM. Not a wasp nest."

"Hornets are wasps, too!"

"Well, I'll bring the tractor over, and have HOS do it! Lift him up in the bucket, to get the nest for me. I gotta go! I need to walk back in and tell Bev that I'm taking her hornet's nest."

This might get interesting. I was thinking of yellow-jackets, which swarm Farmer H every summer when he mows over their nest in the BARn field. They live in the ground, though, and not a nest as big as a basketball, hanging in a tree. I looked up hornets in Missouri. Yes, they're aggressive. But I DID see something about the workers dying off after their job is done, and only the queen and a few drones surviving the winter by living in tree bark or people's homes (!). So maybe Farmer H is right this time.

Shh...he can never know I said that.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Farmer H's FRIGside Manner Leaves A Little To Be Desired

Calling Dr. Bombay! Emergency, come right away

If only I was Samantha Stephens, and could summon Dr. Bombay to fix my problems! Even a Dr. Bombay fix might be better than a Farmer H fix. Especially since Farmer H's retirement.

The ailing patient is FRIG II. He has a malfunction of his ice dispenser. He won't cube. Only crush. We've had FRIG II forever. Well. Almost forever. At least we've had him since The Original Frig. I know his peccadilloes. Sometimes, a blob of cubes get hung up over the dispensing hole, and FRIG II chews them up and spits them into my bubba cup as crushed ice.

I don't want that! Crushed ice melts too fast! I can't be traipsing up and down 13 steps all willy-nilly, to get fresh ice. the past, both boys and I knew that all FRIG II needed was a thump. An upward thump, once opening his freezer door, on the bottom of his icehole. That popped the cube cluster loose, and let cubes in, and sometimes broke the cubes apart.

This time, all the icehole thumping in the world would not cure FRIG II of his crushing illness. I called Farmer H to the kitchen.

"I can't get any ice cubes. It crushes them every time, and won't stop."

"Did you put it on crush?"

"No...I think I know how an ice maker works. I've done this for years!"

Farmer H started back to the living room!

"Is that all you're going to do?"

"HM, I don't know what's wrong with it."

"So I'm supposed to live with only crushed ice for the rest of my life? I don't think so! You have to take it out! Come back here! Look. This spiral thingy turns when you push the lever, and moves the ice cubes forward so they fall out the hole. I chopped some frozen slabs out from under it. It's not that. The spiral thingy is turning just fine, moving ice forward. 

I pulled all the cubes out of this round wheel thingy. That's where it grinds, on that blade, when a cluster of them get stuck. So the clog should be out now. There's NOTHING in that round wheel thingy. But when the spiral moves the cubes into it, they get crushed. For no reason. It usually grinds up a cluster, then spits the cubes out again. THREE times I cleaned that round wheel thingy out, but it STILL is crushing the cubes."

"Huh." Farmer H opened the door. "That's the thing back there that turns it."

"Yeah...but it doesn't know when to grind. It just turns the spiral."

Farmer H closed the freezer door, and started pushing on the CUBE and CRUSH buttons. Which aren't really buttons, but squares kind of drawn in plastic, which you push on, and depress some button behind the plastic. They've never lit up. Since I hadn't messed with it, I knew it was still on CUBE, like it has been forever. Somehow, with the door open, Farmer H got those two non-buttons to light up when pushed.

"There. NOW it's on cube." He closed the door, and went back to the living room. I tried for some ice. GRIND GRIND GRIND.

"Come back! Something in there is making it crush! Even though it's on CUBE."

"It's on the wrong setting."

"You said it was on the RIGHT setting!"

Farmer H messed with it again. We heard a POP from the back of FRIG II's throat.

"There! That reset it to CUBE. See that little square in the back? On the other side from the thing that turns the spiral? That's got something to do with it."

"Then test it."

"I don't know what you want me to do, HM."

"Get a bowl and put it under the hole and push the lever! If it gives cubes, put them back in the ice bin. I've wasted two cups of ice already, trying to make it CUBE not CRUSH. How can you not know how to fix this?"

"Well, HM, you need a schematic to know how it works."

"I know more than YOU, and nobody flew ME around the world buying and servicing million-dollar machines!"


"So I guess you'd just leave it like that? Forever? I'm not living out the rest of my life like that, with nothing working right."

Good thing FRIG II was working upon the test-cubing. Though still making an ominous grinding noise, which Farmer H said was trying to switch over to the crush setting. I'll deal with the noise, as long as I get my cubes.

Seriously! I was not impressed by the insouciant FRIGside manner of Farmer H. He did that for a living, you know. Was flown worldwide, to work on million-dollar machines. And now a little Frigidaire ice maker stumps him? I don't believe that for a minute!

I guess I need to remind Farmer H that he can't retire from taking care of the Mansion.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

There Are None So Blind As Mrs. HM Without Her Glasses

Every morning, I kick back in the La-Z-Boy with HIPPY, checking the local online newspaper and my blogs. Farmer H is already out an about. Sometimes he tells me his plans the night before, sometimes not. I figure he's either puttering around in the BARn or his Freight Container Garage with his precious junk, or at his Storage Unit Store, rearranging and perhaps caressing his precious junk, or out at Goodwills, looking to buy more precious junk.

Because the Mansion is fairly isolated, it's quiet around here, unless the dogs get rambunctious, or a vehicle drives by. Last week, late-morning, I kept hearing a motor running. I glanced out the front window, and didn't see anything. It sounded like something big. Maybe a dump truck like Buddy drives, or a tractor. I waited, and saw a red tractor with a twisty thingy on the back, driving past the Mansion, with a gray car like the Trailblazer following. I figured someone was moving their tractor. When people take them out on the paved roads, they often have a follow car with flashing lights.

I went back to perusing the innernets. But I kept hearing a motor running. Maybe it was UPS with a package. I glanced back again, and saw the Trailblazer coming up the driveway. The dogs started barking. They get all excited when Farmer H comes home, because he frequently hops in the Gator and drives over to the BARn. Those dogs LIVE for running alongside the Gator, barking.

I thought Farmer H might come in and update me on his plans. I waited, in limbo, not able to innernet,yet too lazy to get up and look over to the carport. All at once, over the top of HIPPY's monitor, I saw the Trailblazer speeding down the driveway, back towards the gravel road. Huh. I guess maybe Farmer H had forgotten something, and came home to get it.

WAIT A MINUTE! That wasn't the Trailblazer. It was similar, but the back windows were different. Who was that? Why had they been down my driveway? And I was STILL hearing a motor. That was it! I launched myself out of the La-Z-Boy, and threw open the front door. The Trailblazer was parked under the carport. The Gator was missing. But I immediately saw the source of the motor.

Oh. It was just Farmer H, on his tractor. Wait. NO! This was a RED tractor. Farmer H only has blue and green tractors. But this red tractor was slowly driving across the front yard, from the carport area towards Shackytown, tearing up the rain-soaked sod of the front yard. But Farmer H was driving it. Wait. NO! Was that Farmer H? Jacket, beard, sock cap...all like Farmer H. His general shape.

I swear I thought it was Farmer H, wearing a sock cap. He usually wears a cap with a bill, but in cold weather, he'll wear a sock cap. Driving across the front yard, pretty as you please, on a red tractor with a post hole digger on the back.

As I was looking at possibly Farmer H, with the facial expression that says, "WHAT?" the Tractor Man said, "I'm bringing back the post hole digger." I gave him the "okay" sign, and closed the door. Kind of embarrassed that I didn't know my own husband.

Later, I told Farmer H, and he said it was the adult son of the man (who once threatened to shoot Farmer H, and had to pay $6000 to a lawyer to keep him out of jail) who lives next to HOS.

I am really going to have to start wearing my glasses. Not just for reading any more.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Passing The (600) Buck(s)

Farmer H goes to the doctor for a shot every week. He takes the medicine, they just poke him with it. On our last insurance(s), this didn't cost us anything. Since Farmer H retired and dropped his plan, it costs $6. No big deal. Sometimes there's a snafu with the billing, and Farmer H's doctor office sends us a bill for several at a time. Again, no big deal. Farmer H usually pays them the next time he's in the office.

Last Friday, Farmer H was at the doctor when I opened the mail. We had a letter from his old insurance, stating they wouldn't pay, because charges were submitted after the plan had ended. Huh. That's unusual. Why are charges being submitted to a plan we haven't had for over a year? I looked closer at the itemized charges, and they were for Farmer H's routine blood test that he has every six months. The charges totaled just over $600. The insurance letter of course said that we were responsible for the charges.

I sent Farmer H a text, hoping to catch him before he left the office, so he could ask if they had submitted the blood test to the wrong insurance. They told him that was odd. Like they didn't believe what he was telling them. He showed them my text. His nurse practitioner called the lab, and verified that charges were submitted to our current insurance. Farmer H said he'd bring in the letter on Monday, so they could see for themselves.

On Monday, the receptionist took a copy of the letter, and said she'd see what was going on, and tell him on Friday. She also commented that the lab had sent HER bill to the wrong insurance, too. Farmer H added that he wasn't going to pay those charges, and the receptionist assured him that they would get it worked out.

Here's the thing. There's either a colossal breach of confidentiality here, or the lab is submitting to the wrong insurance and not admitting to it. The old insurance has no business knowing what medical procedures Farmer H has now. Their rights to that ended when their coverage ended.

Something is fishy here.

Friday, December 14, 2018

No Good Santa Goes Unexposed

You may recall that Farmer H plays Santa every year for a local school program for kids 4 and under. He buys little gifts suitable for such ages, and hands them out of his big bag.

Yesterday, Farmer H was doing his own laundry (you may recall that his refusal to admit wrongdoing and stop tossing soiled duds on the bedroom floor all willy-nilly led to this lifetime chore) when he received a text. It was from the coordinator of the school program.

"Huh. She says that a lady just contacted her to say her 6-month-old baby has Whooping Cough. And she thought that Santa should be informed that he was exposed."

Well. Ain't THAT a fine how-do-you-do? Because nincompoops refuse to vaccinate their children, now immunocompromised Farmer H, with his diabetes and pernicious anemia, may be coming down with Whooping Cough. That's called pertussis these days. Vaccinations are recommended at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months. My kids had it. How come this lady can't get her own kid vaccinated???

Funny thing about Whooping Cough. Symptoms typically show up 7-10 days after exposure. Farmer H was notified on the 6th day. He's not showing any signs yet. And we leave for CasinoPalooza 3 on the 9th day. He has a regular weekly appointment with his nurse practitioner on the 7th day. We'll see if she recommends a course of erythromycin or azithromycin for prophylactic purposes.

But what about MEEEEEE?

Apparently, you can infect people before you know you have it, and two weeks after the cough starts. It's highly contagious, and people who spend and hour in a room with an infected person, or get within 3 feet of them...are prime candidates to catch it.

Sweet Gummi Mary! I just GOT OVER a terrible cough like that. I was gasping for air like I had Whooping Cough. That would make me the luckiest woman in the world if I did. Because now I at least have short-term immunity!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Farmer H Has Trouble With His Package

Among Farmer H's many secrets is his online junk business. He's talked about ME operating such a business for him. As you might imagine, I was a less than willing participant. What, exactly, is there in it for me? NOTHING. The 10% he proffered like a carrot on a stick for this old mule was not incentive enough. I'm not checking every day to see his bids and sales and who and where and how much. No siree, Bob!

This only came to light because Farmer H said he needed packing material. "When you get some of that bubble wrap stuff, save it for me. I need to ship a light."

"A LIGHT? Where are you shipping a light?"

"To a customer."

"I thought they had to come to you and buy it. We talked about that. If you're selling online, you need to start keeping records for tax time."

"I'm just doing this one. YOU won't sell it for me. So my buddy has an account, and I use his PayPal. That's how I get my money. Actually, HE gets my money. And gives it to me."

"That seems like he's doing an awful big favor for you unless he's getting a cut."

"I only do it every now and then. On stuff that will sell better there."

"What's so special about this light?"

"It's a pipe light. A light made out of pipes. Anyway, save me that padding stuff."

"We used to have a whole roll of bubble wrap, under the coffee table. Genius got it for something. Camera stuff he was selling."

"You had all that paper the other day, that long brown paper--"

"Which you just burned yesterday. But I'll keep stuff for you."

In fact, that very afternoon, I had more packages. I saved some large air bag thingies in green plastic, and some more of that brown butcher paper. I left it on the kitchen table for Farmer H, and I noticed the next day that it was gone. So I figured Farmer H had stuffed it in his package.

"Them people at the post office are just crazy!"

"Well, of course I agree. But what specifically did they do to you and your package?"

"I took it in there, all taped up and labeled, and the guy at the counter says, 'We can't ship that!' So I said, 'Why not? It's all ready to go.' And he said, 'We can't mail that, it's leaking! There's a spot on the side. It'll get kicked out.' So I told him, 'Buddy, it's an old box. Something in there leaked before, but I guarantee you this package isn't leaking, because there's just a light in there. Nothing to leak.'

"He said, 'Well, it won't go.' Then he asked the other lady, I guess a supervisor. She looked at it, and said, 'We could PROBABLY send it, but we shouldn't.' So I went to the UPS store, and they said, 'SURE! It's just a dirty box. We'll ship it.'"

Heh, heh. If you're a ne'er-do-well, up to no good, with a package to ship...use UPS!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Mysterious Case Of The Loss Of The Internet In Late Evening

Tuesday night, I was hap hap happily tap tap tapping away on New Delly when I heard Farmer H stumping around above me. He'd been to an auction. Right then, my phone buzzed with a text.

"I'm home now."

"I know. I heard you stumping."

I further heard him La-Z-Boy. That's when he cranks it back, making a specific noise. A cranking. Closing it up is more like a slam. I sent him another text.

"Trash goes out tomorrow." Farmer H has been pulling it to then end of the driveway with his Gator.

"Okay. I'll do it now."

I didn't mean he HAD to do it right then. The new trash service doesn't get to the Mansion until around 11:00. So Farmer H, the early riser, had plenty of time. I guess he was afraid he'd forget. Or maybe he likes driving the Gator in the dark. Anyhoo...I heard him come back in the house and crank back in the La-Z-Boy again.

I'd been typing up a stockpile of blogs to post during CasinoPalooza 3. Blogger was playing up, giving me that little pink bar at the top, saying something went wrong trying to save or publish. It does that sometimes. I ignore it, and it goes away. Or I click on that DISMISS button. But this time, it KEPT giving me the pink bar.

Lucky for me, I'd just finished one. Or so I thought. To be sure, I copied and pasted it into a Word file. Then I closed out Blogger, and did a restart. New Delly said he was installing my updates. Huh. I didn't order any updates. They're supposed to happen at 2:00 a.m., and it was right at 11:00 p.m. I could see this was going nowhere. I checked the System Restore thingy, and saw that the last updates had been on December 9. This was the 11th. So that couldn't be the culprit. I did not do a System Restore.

What I did was get up and leave New Delly, retiring to my OPC (Old People Chair). Tuesday is a good TV night for me, and I had several hours of shows to catch up on. I did leave New Delly on, just so I could come back and check to see if I still had the yellow triangle of noncommunication. I did. At 11:40, and again at 12:05.

I'd pretty much resigned myself to unplugging the router thingy and the modem thingy, like Genius has talked me through from Kansas City. I figured I'd do it in the morning. Then I figured I didn't want to be traipsing downstairs in the morning, preferring to limit my step-descending and ascending as much as possible. So I figured I'd try that when I was done watching Below Deck.

I went to my dark lair sometime around 12:30 or 12:40, just to check, on the off chance New Delly had mysteriously healed himself.


I have no idea what caused my internet outage, but I'm glad for New Delly's regenerative powers! Of course I suspect Farmer H had something to do with my lack of connectivity. The timing was suspect. Right after he came in from towing the trash. I can't prove anything. Or even imagine a scenario where walking on the porch would stop my internet. But I HAD hollered up to ask him if he still had TV (he did) and if the weather was doing something that would interfere with my internet (it wasn't).

I'm still holding Farmer H responsible. He is guilty in the court of Mrs. HM's opinion.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Farmer H, The Force-Feeder

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not like to go places. Unless it's a casino, forget it. She's a homebody. Part of the problem in being a homebody is that you don't get out much. Which means you don't exercise much. With my knees rebelling against my driveway walks, I've been making wiser choices in the culinary department.

I suppose Farmer H equated our visit to the funeral home to pay our respects to XMM (Ex-Mayor's Mom) with a night on the town. We were there about two hours, the last one of which Farmer H was asking if I was ready to leave, and where I wanted to go eat. I didn't really want to go anywhere to eat. Especially on a Saturday night, which is prime out-eating time.

Farmer H loves his tummy. He treats it like a favored child. Nothing is too good for his gut. He had been pushing a new Chinese Buffet all afternoon. I countered with a carry out from our local Hillmomba Chinese restaurant, where I could have a small order of Hot & Sour Soup, with perhaps some crab rangoons. I know they're not wise choices, but together with the soup, it's a much wiser choice than a Chinese Buffet over in Bill-Paying Town.

Farmer H countered my counter with Colton's Steak House. I could have found something reasonable there, but not ON A SATURDAY NIGHT! They're always packed. Farmer H turned to talk to my cousin, the brother of my former florist Cuz.

"She don't wanna go anywhere! Not even out to eat tonight. I want to try that new Chinese Buffet. I went there a couple weeks ago with The Veteran, and we liked it fine."

Huh. So if he's already been there, he's not TRYING it. He just wants to go. Farmer H and his tummy never met a buffet they didn't like. Cuz2 was not helping, by suggesting every restaurant within a 50-mile radius. You would think he never ate a home-cooked meal in his life.

When we left, Hick started on the Chinese Buffet in the car.

"I don't want a buffet. I've been trying to make wiser choices. I've lost 31 pounds since we visited The Pony two times ago. September, I think. I've worked really hard. I don't want a buffet!"

"You can just fill one plate. Just put on what you think is good for you."

"No, I can't! Not at a buffet. I'll be darned if I'll pay $15 to eat one plate, and watch you fill three!"

"We'll see if it's busy."

Of course it wasn't busy! So Farmer H pulled in, and we had the Chinese Buffet. I was not that impressed. It's nothing I would put on my list to visit again. Farmer H, you know, just likes a buffet. Even HE said, "I don't think they're as friendly here as regular waitresses." Which I noticed, as our gal made no attempt at conversation, yanked a used plate off the table, offered no refills, and wiped nearby tables angrily.

By the time we left, I had kind of taken on her attitude. Why had Farmer H forced me to eat here? I mean, seriously! He practically tied me up like a calf-roper's dogie, tossed me in the back of T-Hoe, took me there against my will, shoveled food into my mouth while pinching my nostrils closed, and then massaged my throat to make me swallow!

The food wasn't even that good! It's hard to have bad Chinese food. But everything there was rolled in flour or coated with tempura batter. They didn't even have Rat-On-a-Stick, which is what Arch Nemesis, my sciency coworker, used to call the pork or chicken or whatever it was on a stick. Though I'm pretty sure it wasn't rat. At least it's lean protein, without much sauce. The Black Pepper Chicken had too much flour. The honey chicken and General Tso's was mostly batter. There was no Cashew Chicken, but in it's bin was Peanut Butter Chicken. It was tasty, but, well, the peanut butter sauce, you know, that coated the top. Oh, and in the Peanut Butter Chicken place was CRAB LEGS. And not good-looking ones, either. Not that I've ever eaten a crab leg. But these were fried. And small. Maybe they were actually frog legs!

Still, I had two plates! I DID pass up the little squares of double-layer chocolate cake, and yellow cake with strawberry icing, and the big round cookies that I think must have been almond flavor, and instead had some orange and red Jello for my dessert. I only took one bite of a little triangular bread thing that looked like a yeast roll. Okay. TWO bites. It took that long to determine that it was mostly flavorless. I took some broccoli salad with raisins and a sprinkle of cheese and a light mayonnaise base. Not that good. Left half of it on my plate. I had Farmer H bring me a little cup of frozen strawberry ice cream, but it was so tasteless that I gave him the last half of it.

I really wish I hadn't eaten that buffet! That I'd sat in the car and waited for Farmer H, like I'd threatened. Now it's back to having a can of sardines in mustard sauce for lunch, and a salad with some frozen chicken for supper.

Sunday afternoon, I told Farmer H, "Darn you! Now my pants don't fit! I've gained a pound overnight! You and that stupid buffet! I TOLD you I didn't want a buffet!"

"HM. You didn't gain a pound off that one meal. You'll poop it out. Your pants can't be tighter in one day. You're fine."

I guess I'll be making extra, extra wise choices for a few days. While Farmer H enjoys his three bags of sugar-free candy and bag of BBQ Pork Rinds that he bought himself at The Devil's Playground.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Little Shoppe Of Flowers

My cousin used to own a florist shop. We've always used that one for our floral needs. The name had nothing to do with my cousin. She kept the name when she bought the business. A couple years few years ago, she sold the business to retire, and the new owner kept the name as well.

I don't know if we still go there because of our former familial loyalty, because of the name recognition, or because it's the closest florist. Anyhoo...that's where I went on Saturday, seeking an arrangement for XMM's (ex-mayor's mother's) funeral.

Let the record show that I searched online Friday night, looking at various funereal foliage. I hadn't discussed it with Farmer H, but I was pretty sure he'd prefer a plant, rather than flowers. Flowers look nice, but they're decaying within a couple of days. I had my eye on a Peace Lily. I know that the ex-mayor appreciates plants. He ran a florist business himself, right out of school. I toyed with the idea of ordering it online, and being done with it. But something held me back. I decided to get up early, and go in person to my cousin's old flower shop. Which we will, for blog purposes, call The Little Shoppe of Flowers.

The last time we used The Little Shoppe of Flowers was for The Pony's proms, junior and senior year. We were not disappointed, getting two lovely wrist corsages, and accompanying boutonnieres. Somewhere in between boutonnieres, we also got a funeral arrangement for one or more relatives I don't recall. We had an unfortunate rash of expirations in the aunts and uncles over a six-month period.

Anyhoo...I remembered that The Little Shoppe of Flowers had seemed a bit disorganized the first visit after Cuz closed up shop. I figured it was just the new owner getting used to running a business. For example, they didn't quite know how to take a debit card. Or print out a receipt from their computer. So I paid cash, and took a handwritten receipt. No big deal. I always carry cash.

The next occasion for patronage, the husband of the new owner was sitting in the office area, dandling a grandbaby on his knee. Okay. Some people need their relatives for child care. I understand. The fact that he knew not even the basics of how to help me was a bit disconcerting, but he did holler for the owner to come out of the back room, where she was busy arranging. Again, there was the awkwardness of paying, but again, I had cash ready.

The third time, it was like a family reunion on the porch. Which, mind you, is not very large at all. So I had to weave though assorted folk in deck chairs, hoping I didn't get my ample rumpus too close to anyone's nose as I passed by. Not that my ample rumpus isn't fresh, mind you. Only that nobody really wants to see an ample rumpus close-up when they're having a hoedown on their business's front porch.

Silly me. I just assumed that the new owner would eventually get her act together, and run that place like a professional. You know what happens when we assume. It was like some old granny-lady rolled out of bed that morning, and said, "Hey, Grampy! Let's sell us some flowers!"

In my Peace Lily quest, I found the old man still sitting in the office area, chatting with the grandbaby, who is now an older toddler, and was playing with an electronic thingy smaller than a notebook, but bigger than a PCP/GameBoy gadget. Maybe it was one of those oversize phones. Anyhoo...I was hoping that she'd be able to do their transactions and computer work for them!

Sadly, she was not asked. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Old Man called New Owner out of the back room. "What can I help you with?"

"I'm looking for a plant, for a funeral. To be delivered this afternoon."

"Honey, I'm all out of plants until after the weekend. All I have left are poinsettias." She motioned to a red and a white, sitting on the floor.

"Oh. Well. I don't really want flowers, because they just don't last. Um..."

Seriously, I considered walking out of there, to seek my Peace Lily elsewhere. But I had things to do. And I was already there. And I'd not had any complaints with them before. And they DID have a 5-star rating on the innernets.

"Will that be okay? Do people send poinsettias to funerals?"

"Oh, yes!"

"Okay. I'll take the white one."

I gave her the information, and confirmed that it would be delivered by 4:30. I was a bit concerned when I had to spell Farmer H's name for her three times. And when she wrote down The Pony's name, which is very common, almost as common as Tom, Dick, or Harry, and misspelled it by leaving out a letter. It would have been like writing Pny instead of Pony. Then she had trouble typing up the information on her computer. She handed me the receipt, and I turned to go, as she was picking the poinsettia up off the floor. Which I guess is better than slapping a SOLD sticker on it.

"Do you want me to take the joy out of it?"

"Excuse me?"

"The joy. Do you want it left in, or out?" She was motioning to a plastic stick with the word JOY at the top, jammed down into the poinsettia. The red one has something else, like REJOICE.

"Oh. Yes. Please."

"Sure. Some people like to leave it in."

The poinsettia of mourning was delivered on time. Sis complimented me on it. I told her I wasn't sure if it was appropriate, and she said, "Sure it is. Some of the arrangements have poinsettia flowers in them. And look over there by the wall."

There were two little potted pine trees, one with a string of plastic lights. They looked just fine. I suppose that after Peace Lilies and poinsettias come pine trees...

Sunday, December 9, 2018

But Seriously, Folks

I'm not trying for the easy laugh today. No off-color double entendres from my 13-year-old self. No ridiculing Farmer H for his proven premeditated peccadilloes. Today we mourn the loss of the mother of the ex-mayor.

It's hard to let them go, yet selfish to wish them to stay. The XMM was a gracious lady, full of tales of yore that involved my own kin, and with a kickin' sense of humor. I only saw her a couple times a year, at birthdays or summer cookouts, and always at Christmas. She was one of OUR table, you know. The table in the dining room. Not the riff-raff in the kitchen, all Millennialish, wine-drinking, phone-texting and such. Civilized!

Anyhoo...the XMM had been in good health until a year or two ago. Last Christmas was not her best. A couple of injuries set her back, requiring hospitalization and rehabs. I'm not here to give away her medical information. Just to say that it's hard to let go, when a loved one is not getting better, and is sometimes confused and frightened. We selfishly wish for them to stick around, more for our own benefit, perhaps, than theirs. It's just hard.

When this posts, Farmer H and I will be at the XMM's funeral, most probably a packed house, celebrating her 97 years of life, and letting her move on to whatever awaits us all, when our time here is done.

I'm pretty sure we'd all be happy to have 97 years. I know she made the most of hers.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

It's An Even Steveny World. Mrs. HM Just Lives In It.

Hey, have I ever mentioned that I used to be a science teacher? Any science teacher knows about entropy. I'm not talking about the mathematical formula, but the basic concept that systems tend toward disorder. Like Life After People, that show Farmer H used to watch on the History Channel, about how once man is gone, structures decay and collapse, and plants go wild and cover the ruins. Or, in a more short-term example...once a teacher steps out of the classroom, students tend to not remain silently seated in orderly rows, but grow increasingly less orderly until all Not-Heaven breaks loose!

Well, forget all that! Who needs a bunch of stuffy science teachers telling them how the world works, anyway? Mrs. HM is here today to promote her own Theory of Even Stevenness. Which says the positives and the negatives tend to balance each other out and achieve a neutral status.

HEY! It could happen! It happens to Mrs. HM all the time.

Friday, for instance.

There I was at The Devil's Playground, having only stopped in to pick up a Christmas gift for Genius's roommate Friend. I'd seen it a couple days before, and didn't get it. You know how that goes. You regret it later. So I went back, for an R2D2 Christmas ornament. As luck would have it, I found the very one I was seeking, and MORE! A different kind of collectible Star Wars ornament. So I gathered some more, and got in line.

Let the record show that I was also getting a haircut for a funeral (not my own), and had done the mobile check-in app with Terrible Cuts before entering The Devil's Playground. My wait time was 23 minutes, and Terrible Cuts is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from The Devil. When I put my cart third in line, I had three minutes left.

Of course all the lines were backed up. I was in the shortest one. The people hassling the Devil's Handmaiden over a non-working card had the whole conveyor full. I guess they were paying for separate orders. The older lady in front of me had a cart piled full of what looked like her entire Christmas gift haul. She turned around as a higher-up Handmaiden walked by, tsk-tsking at the backed up lines.

"Oh! You are going ahead of me! That's all you have?"

"You don't have to do that. I'm okay."

"You come right up here! You don't have hardly anything, and I have this whole cart!"

"Well...thank you SO MUCH! That's so nice of you!"

We switched places. A 20-something gal with unnaturally red hair came up to Kindly Lady. Apparently they were together. Red said, "Oh, look! Somebody ELSE must love Star Wars, too!"

"Yes! It's the perfect gift. Just what I was looking for!"

My faith in humanity was almost restored enough that for those few minutes, people DIDN'T piss me off! So nice of Kindly Lady to put me ahead of herself. I had a good chance of making my haircut check-in on time.

Okay. So that didn't happen. Even though the app showed that I had ZERO wait when I got back to T-Hoe, and drove the half mile to Terrible Cuts...three other customers were already being terribly cut, and I had to wait. No big deal. I sent a picture of my Star Wars loot to Genius, who agreed that it was the perfect gift.

I got my lovely lady-mullet trimmed, not so terribly, by one of the cutters I like. I was actually cheerful, in the Christmas spirit, temps in the 30s, country Christmas songs on T-Hoe's radio, when I left. I went down the outer road behind Terrible Cuts, and sat by the O'Reilly Automotive shop, waiting to make my right turn and head over to the lake road for a stop by the dead mouse smelling post office to pick up a package.


What in the Not-Heaven? Some impatient rumpus-orifice had his big white pickup truck on T-Hoe's bumper, honking to beat the band. AS IF the oncoming traffic was under my control. Sweet Gummi Mary! You can't just pull out in front of moving traffic, even if you drive a sturdy T-Hoe. That traffic was spaced out just enough that once a car went by, the next one was too close for me to get out.

Maybe White Trucker didn't notice the guy in black leather on a motorcycle. It was an overcast day, so maybe he just didn't see. No way was I pulling out in front of a motorcycle! That's how my uncle got killed. A truck pulled out in front of him, and he slid under the back of it, trying to stop.

That whole honky thing kind of took a way my Christmas spirit.

Even Steven gives, and Even Steven rips it away. HM's Theory of Even Stevenness.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Tale Of Two Transactions

"I wish you could be just a little more disinterested and annoyed when you take my money during your shift at the convenience store." Said NO ONE EVER!

Sweet Gummi Mary! People these days take no pride in their job. No longer is a job worth doing worth doing right. That must have fallen by the wayside back when cursive writing was discontinued.

Thursday morning, I popped into Orb K for scratchers to put in Genius's birthday card. No other customers were in the store. Only two other cars were on the lot. A couple of vehicles were pumping gas. It was nothing compared to the whirlwind of activity on a weekend afternoon.

All I wanted were scratchers. I had correct change. I looked at the ticket board close enough to read the numbers of those I wanted. Then I stepped over to the counter. The clerk was facing away from me, fiddling with cigarettes, perhaps. Maybe alcohol. I don't remember what's on that back wall, since I'm neither a smoker nor a drinker.

I know she knew I was there! The door chimes when it opens. I'm never in a hurry. Not even on this day when I needed to get to the post office before 11:30. I'd allowed time. I don't mind to wait if someone is busy helping other customers, or carrying crates of new merchandise to mark. It kind of irks me to be ignored, though. Still, I'm a civil gal. I didn't clear my throat fakely, or tap my toes, or holler, "Hey, Toots! Hows about some service?" Nope. I waited.

Clerk turned around and looked at me like I'd interrupted her saving the world from alien invaders. Like I was something she stepped in. Like I was ten toenails in a candle on the mantel.

That's just wrong. The customer is always right.

In contrast, I was fifth in line at my bank later in the morning. One girl was working the counter, and another was working the drive-thru. The gal at a desk didn't count, because she does other things like open new accounts, and she already had a customer with her.

I waited in the vestibule. It's a really small bank. Maybe three steps from inner door to counter. So people hang back, so as not to be considered snoopy. The folks ahead of me had simple transactions. In barely five minutes, it was my turn. The drive-thru girl came over to the counter.  

"I'm sorry. I'm afraid this is going to take up your time. I have six savings bonds to cash in. They're already filled out, though. And I have my ID, and the death certificate."

"Oh, that's fine. Let me have your documents, and I'll get right on it. Do you just want to cash them out, or deposit them?"

"They usually say I don't have a choice. I have to deposit them."

"Okay. Do you have your account number?"

By the time I slid my checkbook across the counter, Little Teller had a deposit slip ready to fill out. She took my bonds over to the drive-thru area, where her drawer was. A man in a pickup truck had sent his banking through the tube. She took it out, and said, "We're working on it. I'll be with you in a moment." Pleasant as you please.

I wouldn't have minded if she did his transaction ahead of me. He WAS a drive-thru customer, and she was just helping out at the counter. However, she finished up my bonds, which require special access to a MEDALLION, as you might recall from a while back on my other blog, and info entered into a federal treasury website. Little Teller got my stuff done, brought me the printouts and receipt, and pleasantly asked if she could help me with something else. Nope! She was so efficient. I thanked her, and moved aside for the next customer behind me.

Little Teller went back to the drive-thru, and apologized to Pickup Man for his wait.

"Oh. That's okay. I thought you forgot about me."

"No, I was assisting another customer at the counter, and it took a little longer than expected. I am sorry for your wait."

"No problem! Thanks a lot!"

Little Teller had Pickup Man eating out of her hand. And he could barely even see her through the tinted glass. It was all in her voice and her attitude.

Now THAT is customer service!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

My Deer Lady

I might have had a relapse from my apparently chronic case of Old Rage last week. A relapse that allowed good nature to override the Old Rage.

I was driving home from the Gas Station Chicken Store with my precious 44 oz Diet Coke, approaching the clustercluck intersection between Orb K on the right, and the Save-A-Lot/Subway/Dollar Store mini-mall on the left. No lights. Just a left turn lane for those Save-A-Lot bound. It's really hard to get out of Orb K and that mini-mall. I always plan my own errands to allow a right turn out of each lot, to lessen the confusion of that clucking intersection.

There I was, rolling along at the legal speed limit of 30 mph, when a car started to creep out from Orb K's lot. Sometimes they do this. Get their bumper right up to the roadway, ready to peel out of there when the coast is clear. I took my right foot off T-Hoe's gas pedal, and held it poised over the brake pedal. Just in case.

Sweet Gummi Mary! The mid-size silver sedan nosed out into my lane, and stopped! The old lady behind the wheel was looking right at me. Frozen. Like a deer in the headlights. Her mouth an "O" of surprise. She reminded me of Vicki Lawrence as "Mama" on Mama's Family. And that face in The Scream.

I wasn't even mad! I slowed down and checked my mirror for left-turners, and inched T-Hoe around the front end of that silver sedan by using the left-turn lane. Nothing was stuck in my craw. Not a drop of rain hit my Taking Home the Magical Elixir Parade. My granny panties clung to my ample rumpus smoothly, unwadded. I didn't even mutter profanities. I know how hard it is to get out of there, especially if you're indecisive.

Yeah. I had a momentary relapse from my Old Rage.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Barreling Down The Interstate With Farmer H

Don't worry! This isn't a horror story. Mrs. HM is safe and sound. In fact, the tale comes from our Thanksgiving trip to visit The Pony in Oklahoma. So I've had time to decompress (heh, heh, at first I started typing decompose) from my sweaving adventures with Farmer H. It was actually one of his least scary trips. Not that such a claim is saying much...

Anyhoo...when Mrs. HM goes on a road trip, you can bet there will be many pit stops. Every couple of hours, I have to get out. Not from the stress of riding with Farmer H, but because my blood pressure medicine commands me to find a bathroom. Also, my knees kind of expect a leg-stretching, so as not to fuse in the sitting position permanently.

We have our standard stops. The Casey's in Steelville, Missouri, about 90 minutes from home if we have already fueled up before departure. Then a bonus stop 18 miles later, at the McDonald's in St. James, for a Sausage Egg McMuffin for breakfast. Even though Farmer H sometimes has a pre-breakfast of Casey's donuts.

We used to stop at an interstate Rest Area just south of Genius's college town. But it's been closed for a few years. Not exactly closed closed. You can still drive off the exit and park to rest. But the restrooms are gone! Does that make sense? They tore down the buildings, left the roads, and put up some Port-A-Potties for truckers.

That's okay, I can hold it until the official Rest Area, which is about 20 miles before we get to Springfield. It's nice, with toilets and a Visitor's Center (not that we need it, of course, since we're NATIVE MISSOURIANS), and food and drink machines.

I didn't get a picture of the whole building, because who takes pictures of Rest Areas along the interstate? I took these because of their display.

It was to promote safe driving over the holidays, I suppose. Or scare the bejeebers out of people so they wouldn't sweave. They put these up every year. I didn't capture the full scenario, but they have an almost-demolished automobile with a sign explaining that the passengers were wearing seat belts, and lived. Then facing it, they have a barely dented automobile, with a sign explaining the passengers were NOT wearing seat belts, and didn't survive the accident. I always wear a seat belt! They're preachin' to the choir!

Anyhoo...I took the pictures for this guy. I thought it was a creative use of Missouri Department of Transportation (MODoT) equipment. Plus, I liked that really tall stop sign in the back.

We have three other pit stops before we reach The Pony. Another Rest Area that we seldom use, about 90 minutes from here, on the other side of Joplin. I think it's actually run by the state of Oklahoma. And then our Casey's in Adair, Oklahoma, where we eat a pizza slice lunch special. Then the McDonald's in Okema, less than an hour from Norman. Those places can't compare to this Barrel Man. He's my #1 attraction.

But the pizza slice is a pretty close second.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Old Rage

You'd think Mrs. HM would be her rainbows-and-unicorns sunny self, now two-and-a-half years into her retirement. But a funny thing happened on the way to living the permanent vacation.


Yeah. I'm SO impatient with stuff that really should be inconsequential. I'm not even talking about Farmer H's antics. Well. Much.

It's the simplest things. Like when I go to sit down in my rolly chair in front of New Delly in my dark basement lair. I grab the armrests (at least the good one on the right side, and the bare metal bar on the left) and pull it forward slightly as I sit down. Because it's on wheels, you know! You can't just plop down all willy-nilly, and expect a rolly chair to wait for you.

I go ballistic when I pull my rolly chair toward me, and the WHEELS BUMP MY HEELS! What's up with that? Who manufactures a chair where the wheels stick out farther than the seat? That's just an accident waiting to happen! If I didn't have a firm grip on the armrest-and-a-half, that rolly chair would bounce off my heels and skitter backwards, causing me to plop down on my ample rumpus, possibly to never arise again. I doubt I'd break a hip, what with my natural padding. But getting up would be a chore on knees like mine. And I've almost broken Farmer H from popping in on me through the day.

Sure, it could be worse. There could be worse things sticking out from under my rolly chair than wheels. The hands of an intruder grabbing my ankles, maybe. So I need to chill on this little annoyance.

Another incident that sticks in my craw is the flow of water from the sink in the NASCAR bathroom. I fill my bubba cup up with water there every day. I'm always careful to not splash around, because our countertop was handpainted by my cousin's wife, back when we first built the house. I don't know how good the finish is that was applied by Farmer H. I don't want to ruin this one-of-a-kind race car mural that was airbrushed circa 1997.

As careful as I am, WATER SPRAYS OUT OF THE SINK SIDEWAYS! I have to get an awkward grip on my cup (do you know how heavy a bubba cup filled with ice and water can get?) with one hand, and try to shield the 360-degree spray with the remaining hand. This process usually involves some colorful language. I know the round thingy at the end of the faucet needs to be soaked in vinegar to dissolve the lime deposits preventing a steady stream. But I can't get it loose, because of the lime deposits. Farmer H has been informed several times.

Sure, it could be worse. Instead of the sink faucet spraying water all around, it could be the toilet spraying water all around. I should consider the source of my spray, and be grateful.

The latest evoker of my ire was discovered Saturday morning at the La-Z-Boy. CHEX MIX CRUMBS WERE PILED IN A HILL ON THE CARPET! Let the record show that Mrs. HM does not eat Chex Mix in the La-Z-Boy. But I bet you know who does!

It's like Farmer H has a hollow leg, and keeps eating and eating that Chex Mix in the evening, stuffing it against his pie-hole like he eats popcorn, crumbling it against his mouth as a wide handful tries to fit between his lips. Like he has a hollow leg that fills up, just until it reaches a knothole in a wooden pegleg, and the crumbs spill out.

Sure, it could be worse. I could have found an old banana peel in the cushions of the La-Z-Boy. I should count to ten, and be happy that it wasn't toenails in the candle this time.

Putting it in perspective like that has helped me calm down to a low simmer.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Man Who Sprung The Moon

If anybody could do it, Farmer H could do it. Could take a beautiful full moon, and warp it, squash it, collapse it, make it look all sprung and broken like the insides of an old couch.

Let the record show that we were visiting The Pony in Norman, Oklahoma, nearing the full moon on Thanksgiving, November 22nd. When we walked out to head to Golden Corral for our second buffet of the day, on Wednesday, November 21st, it looked as if the moon was already full.

The Pony cautioned me about taking the photo. "Mom. Celestial objects never turn out well on a phone camera. They're not designed for that." Or maybe he was talking in code, trying to save me from the sweaving of Farmer H, who likes to drive off as soon as he's ready, nevermind allowing time for a passenger to get both feet in, close the door, and buckle up. No, there aren't two moons. That one on the right is a parking lot light.

When we were about two hours from the Mansion on Thursday, sadly without my little Pony, I tried again. The moon was just SO SPECTACULAR!

In fact, I didn't know the moon had risen. I asked Farmer H, "What town is THAT? Over that hill. I don't remember there being something big there, but I saw the lights glowing through the trees." Ha! The joke was on me, because the road veered, and I saw the moon pop up on the other side of the highway. Darn those cars for daring to drive down I-44 at dusk with their headlights on!

I was really trying to get a good view, through A-Cad's windshield, with Farmer H sweaving and hitting every bump in the road without even seeming to make much effort.

This would probably have been the pick of the litter, with darkness almost fully fallen, and the pattern of the guardrail supports, and the sign showing our location. But no. Farmer H had to sweave severely left, right at the instant I snapped the photo. HOW does anybody even squish the moon like that? And to refute Farmer H's claims that he doesn't drive off the road, I invite you to inspect the photo, which pretty much reveals that A-Cad's right-side tires are riding the white line.

One last try, as we left the interstate for our 79 miles of blacktop state highways and lettered byways to reach the Mansion.

Yes, the fog was coming. I didn't think to warn it to watch its little cat feet, lest Farmer H sweave all over them. If anyone could do it...Farmer H could do it.