Sunday, March 31, 2019

That's Doorway Robbery!

It just doesn't pay to be nice these days.

I stopped by Country Mart on Saturday to pick up some tortillas, corn chips, and bread. Somebody had left a cart in front of T-Hoe, on the sidewalk. Since I knew I'd need a cart anyway, I spun it around to push inside. Even though a windy mist was blowing around, and the cart handle was wet and chilly at 45 degrees. I'm a do-gooder like that.

The wind was whipping my lovely lady-mullet into a matted mom-mop, but I halted just before the door. A lady was walking in from the across the parking-lot thoroughfare. I figured I'd let her go on through the automatic doors first. She was striding purposefully, no doubt wanting to get out of the windy mist, and I'd have to maneuver my cart into a right-angle turn, and bump it over the carpet runners of the entryway. It would be faster for her to go in first.

And just then, that lady reached for my cart! I thought she was going to wrench it out of my cold moist hands, her pulling on the front end of it, and me at the push-bar.

"Are you done with this?"

"No. I'm bringing it in!"


Off she went, inside, to wrangle her own cart free from a stack of four. Man! Some days, it just doesn't pay to be nice. I didn't even bother to mention that I was trying to be nice, and let her in the door first. She just wanted my cart.

While I'm complaining about my niceness not working out for me, let me also complain about Country Mart's merchandise practices. I was planning to pick up some cheese sticks for snacks. They're good for Farmer H, not sugary. He has some pepper jack flavor, but I was looking at cheddar. Some brands and flavors were on sale.

I considered one pack for $3.99 (yes, Country Mart IS high on their prices, but convenienter than The Devil's Playground). That kind was a mozzarella/colby swirl, I think. Very similar to the kind we'd just run out of. Then I saw cheddar for $4.23. Not on sale, but not that much more. I had it in my hand, ready to put it in my (MY) cart, when I saw the expiration date: March 15, 2019.


No way am I paying full price on March 30 for cheddar sticks that expired on March 15!

I might even reconsider bringing their carts in from now on.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Even Steven Is Such A Prankster

One of these days, I'm going to get even with Even Steven. I don't know when, and I don't know how, but I am going to find a way!

Here's the deal. Remember how we had CasinoPalooza 4 last week? I wrote about it elsewhere, and shared a pic of one of my bonuses that almost got me locked up in casino jail for daring to take a picture of my own slot win! Here. I'm going to put that pic here as well. Just because it was such an ordeal getting it.

What I didn't actually reveal was that I also hit another bonus less than an hour later, and took a picture of THAT one, too!

Here's the deal. I could have cashed that money out and stuffed it in my gambling purse and come out ahead. COULD have. But what's the fun in that? I had a casino bankroll, and I was there to play. We only have a CasinoPalooza a couple times a year. So while I DID cash it out, I used it to play on the next day, as we went through seven casinos again, and kept the portion of my casino bankroll that I had budgeted for days 2 and 3 intact. Never gave it a second thought. Until yesterday.

I got a bill in the mail for $312 for insurance on a camper that's not technically ours. And also the bill for the electricity for the $5000 house that Farmer H is rebuilding, which was pretty much a bargain at $13 and change. But THEN, just after finishing his supper of ham and broccoli/cauliflower with cheese, Farmer H announced that he'd paid $240 for two loads of gravel for our roads, and would need to be reimbursed.


Do you see the irony here? My slot bonuses added up to around $585 after accounting for the two twenties I'd put in to win them. And these three expenses I discovered on Friday added up to $565. So, had I known what was coming, I could have stashed that win away to cover these unexpected expenses. I wouldn't have WANTED to, of course, since that's MY money, and not household money. But I WOULD have done it, just because I don't like the unexpected.

Of course, Farmer H would not have done so, had it been HIS bonus wins. He even wants to be reimbursed for his Storage Unit money that he spent on the gravel.

Farmer H is not selfless like Mrs. HM.

It's not a big deal, because I keep a cushion of cash in the household checking account, just for unexpected stuff like this. I wrote out the checks yesterday, and mailed them today. It's just the idea that if I'd known this was coming, I would have budgeted my windfall for it. Darn that Even Steven and his wonky timing!

Friday, March 29, 2019

My Only Solace Is The Absence Of Gravy

Farmer H decided to make his own supper on Thursday night. We were going to have ham and broccoli/cauliflower with cheese sauce. Farmer H said to put that off another night, that he'd make himself ham and eggs. He knows I can't fry eggs to his satisfaction. Don't think he was doing me a favor.

Well. He most certainly did me no favors. At least when he sneak-eats eggs, (something he did on a more regular basis before the neighbor dogs killed all our chickens, when we had a dozen fresh eggs every day), he washes the plate and the pan and the spatula and even puts them away. For secrecy. Since I KNEW he was having eggs, and even had to buy some at the store, Farmer H saw no reason to wash up.

"I can't believe you left that skillet for me to wash!"

"Well, when I wash it, you complain that I only wash my skillet, and not the other dishes sitting there. So I didn't want you to complain, so I didn't wash it."

"SERIOUSLY? That's your reasoning? That's not how it works. Now I'm complaining because YOU DIDN'T EVEN WASH YOUR OWN SKILLET!"

I can't believe Farmer H thinks he can get away with his shenanigans! The only bright side to this blatant test of Mrs. HM's sunny demeanor is that the Mansion had no gravy available for Farmer H to pour all over his fried eggs!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

CasinoPaloozing Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Sweet Gummi Mary! CasinoPalooza 4 almost put Mrs. Hillbilly Mom on the disabled list!

It all started on Monday evening. We checked in and left our stuff in the hotel, then hit the road in A-Cad to visit six more casinos. While driving from one to another (they're only 5-10 minutes apart), I opened up the glove compartment and offered Sis and Ex-Mayor some lotion. My hands always suffer on CasinoPaloozas. I think it's from the constant handwashing. I'm not nearly as big a germaphobe about casinos as I was about my classroom. That place was a petrie dish swarming with cultures. In a casino, though, I drink the free soda (Diet Pepsi, unfortunately), which means a trip to the bathroom before leaving each one, which means handwashing. My hands get really dry by the second day, so I try to moisturize every time we get in the car.

They turned down my lotion most times. That's okay! More for me! They're just the complimentary tubes that we get at the hotels for free. I also offered them a some Salt and Pepper Peanuts. Wish I'd taken a picture. It was just a bag of regular peanuts, with salt and pepper. See? It's not rocket science. I didn't have to read the ingredients. Sis and Ex-Mayor both had some peanuts, and Farmer H, too. Then I offered them a piece of cinnamon candy. I had a bag of them left from two Oklahoma trips ago. That darn cinnamon candy burned my tongue! I've had to be very cautious with it. Which means not eating six pieces while riding in the car.

Ex-Mayor had a piece. "Ooh! This is hot!"

"Don't I know it! I can't eat it. My tongue will peel off."

Sis was digging in her purse. She was right behind me, so I didn't see her, but I know the sound of purse-digging. "Here. I have some that I buy for Ex-Mayor. It's not brand-name, like your Brach's. In fact, its name is just Cinnamon Discs. I think they're pretty mild."

I tried one, and it was still kind of spicy. Set my tongue to tingling. Of course our next stop was High Winds Casino, where they have FREE hot chocolate on their self-service beverage bar. I got a cup of it, and even though I waited and waited for it to cool, and blew on it, and took tiny sips to judge the temperature... I still burned my tongue. In fact, my tongue stayed burned through the next evening's TWO cups of hot chocolate, and the following morning's breakfast of spicy sausage patties, and pretty much for a whole darn week after we got home!

Monday night, I had the misfortune of stubbing my toe on the wooden frame around the hotel bed. I don't know why they do that! People walk up to the bed, and expect there to be space under it for their toes. It's not like I'm planning on sleeping on top of a wooden platform. But apparently, I am. I heard Farmer H stub his own stubby toes through the night, but I prefer not to think about his FEET.

The Downstream Casino hotel is nice, with a beautifully tiled walk-in shower. Always clean. Not to mention FREE with our comps. But the beds are not comfortable. I think it's because first of all, that wooden frame is hard on the toes. And the bed is TOO HIGH. I doubt my favorite gambling aunt could even get up in there without a step-stool. The pillows are SO uncomfortable. They are like air. you lay your head on them, and they deflate. Like cotton candy is inside. Even using three pillows, I could not make my neck comfortable. AND the sheets cling to me. Every time I turn over, I get wrapped up like a burrito. It doesn't help that there is such static electricity that any movement during the night sets off blue sparks! It's kind of intriguing the first fifty times you see it. After that, not so much.

On Monday, while driving around in A-Cad, I'd heard Sis sniffle a couple times. I figured there was something in the air. I had a box of Puffs Plus Lotion in the back, and a little wastebasket. So I didn't think much of it. Until Tuesday, when I heard Sis sniffle a LOT. And sneeze several times. And blow her nose on the Puffs.

"Are you sick?"

"I don't think so. I don't feel bad. It's just mainly annoying. I don't think I have a fever. On Friday, when we babysat Babe, she was really sick. Hot with a fever. I held her on my lap. I was hoping I didn't get it..."

REEEE! Danger, danger! Sis had been riding behind me, breathing her air in my direction for two days! Of course you know what happened. On the (silent) trip home on Wednesday, I had to cough and clear my throat every couple of minutes. I didn't feel bad. But I HAD felt a little out-of-breath walking into the rest stop. And that morning, I'd felt kind of odd during my last-minute bonus. The more I thought about it, the more I was pretty sure that I was coming down with something.

Thursday morning, I sent Sis a text: "I'm sick as a dog! I figure I'll get over it about three days after you do."

"Oh, no! Ex-Mayor is not sick, and I'm with him all the time. Is it nose and cough? I haven't had a fever if you are blaming it on me. Now I feel bad, but didn't think I was contagious and I have not felt bad."

"It started in my lungs yesterday, wheezy and clearing my throat. Bad cough. I don't know why you feel bad, just because I breathed your air. It's not like either of us could stop breathing."

Anyhoo... Farmer H got me some Chinese Hot & Sour Soup on Thursday night, and I felt a little better. Then on Sunday night, it moved into my head! Stuffy. Hot and cold. Headache. No smell, no taste. Eyes watery and sensitive to light. Terrible, until Wednesday, when I seemed to be cured, except for an occasion leftover cough.

Poor Sis, though, got her cough on Tuesday, and felt really bad. She might need a trip to the doctor. She should have been over it before me.

CasinoPaloozing, like a scary roller coaster, needs a health warning.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

She Was NO Sweet Gummi Mary

From time to time, I use one of my favorite exclamations: SWEET GUMMI MARY! That refers to the time one of my students saw an image of the Virgin Mary in a plate of melted gummi bears. Another version of this phrase came to mind when Farmer H and I were having our (mostly free) breakfast buffet on the second morning of CasinoPalooza 4.

We had stayed at a casino hotel separate from the ex-mayor and my sister his wife, because Farmer H didn't have a free night at the other one. So it was just the two of us at breakfast. The two of us, and about 30 other people. One little gal was taking money at the register as people left, and in between leavings, was showing new people to their tables. While most opted for the breakfast buffet, some preferred to order off the menu.

One other gal was waiting tables. Taking drink orders and/or food orders, bringing the tabs, clearing plates. Just one gal. As you can imagine, she was pretty busy.Since Farmer H and I had the buffet, we weren't too concerned with service. We sat at a table that could accommodate four, so we had plenty of room for our plates, even already-eaten ones that Farmer H set aside.

A single man came in, and was put at a table for two near us, up against a brick pillar. I might have complained, had I been him, but I might not. He didn't have a very good view, but he also didn't have people eyeballing him and wondering why he was there alone. He ordered off the menu, choosing the chicken-fried steak. Yes, people apparently eat that for breakfast in Oklahoma. It was on another breakfast buffet at another casino.

I'm not really a people-watcher. My mom was, but I tend to mind my own business. I do confess to noticing that when this guy's chicken-fried steak finally arrived, he asked for jelly. JELLY! That was curious. We had a whole jelly caddy on our table, with four columns, filled with jellies: strawberry jam, grape jelly, orange marmalade, and blackberry jelly. I know, because I'd been admiring the compact utilitiness of this holder. The Waiting Gal reached over to another table, and handed Mr. Chicken-Fried Steak his own jelly caddy. He selected one (no, I don't know which, what do you think I am, NOSY?) and slathered some on his chicken-fried steak. Which is, you know, covered with white gravy. I guess this is no worse than Farmer H burying his fried eggs in white gravy, but it seemed odd to me.

Farmer H and I were almost done eating by this time. I'd say we'd been there about 30 minutes. The elderly couple (heh, heh, probably younger than US) who entered right ahead of us had just finished. They also had the buffet. But the table behind Farmer H, a woman and perhaps her adult daughter, still had no food in front of them. They'd been there when we sat down. I wondered what in the world they ordered.

Not that it was my business, of course. But they were in my line of sight every time I looked up at Farmer H, and the older of the two seemed a little agitated. In fact, when Waiting Gal brought the bill to the elderly couple beside us, Agitated hollered, "Ma'am? We have been here a long time, and nobody is waiting on us." Not in a rude way. But in a way that demanded attention. Here's where it all went very wrong.

Waiting Gal hollered back, her hands full of used plates from the elderly couple's table, "I'm very busy right now, and don't have any help. I will get there as soon as I can." It didn't tip the scales in her favor that she had a little bit of attitude in her voice. Believe you me, after 28 years of teaching, I know you have to keep that attitude in check and out of your voice!

Well. The minute Waiting Gal was headed to the back room with those dirty plates, Agitated and Jr got in an animated discussion. No doubt about how they had been wronged. They caught another employee walking through. She must have been in charge, as she was wearing a badge, and not doing any discernible work. Agitated bent her ear for a minute. I saw a bunch of nods in agreement, and an apparent apology. Then Mgmt went to the back room.

Agitated and Jr ranted to each other a bit more. All the while, Agitated was sipping from her drink. So apparently, they HAD been waited on at one time, or they wouldn't have any drinks. Jr had water or a clear soda, and Agitated had tomato juice. Except I think it must have been very special tomato juice, because it wasn't in a little 6-ounce juice glass, but in a tall glass like a soda might come in, with ice and a straw. So I'm pretty sure it was a Bloody Mary. Which could explain the impatience of Agitated, especially if she was wanting another.

As I pondered that scenario, Agitated and Jr got up and left! I didn't see any money on the table, but it looked like they both left their voucher for free food. Which might have been $5 or $10 or more. And they didn't have any food that I could see. Thing is, you have to sign those vouchers at the register. Maybe they already signed them.

As Farmer H and I left AFTER PAYING with our vouchers, we walked past Agitated at the entrance. Speaking to another, apparently higher, management figure. Who was nodding in agreement, and taking a paper (official complaint?) from Agitated. I don't foresee any good coming of this for Agitated. It might be different if she'd slipped on a fallen biscuit or something. But she seemed to already be getting comps from the casino. I don't know how much more they could give her.

I'm going to remember her as Sour Bloody Mary.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Sweet, Sweet Juno Is In The Dog House

Alas, my precious doggie has done me wrong! On Monday afternoon, Juno bit the hand that feeds her. TWICE!

My Sweet, Sweet Juno does not have a malicious bone in her body. Well. As far as I'M concerned. She would never nip at me, for any reason. She has plenty of malicious bones to pick with Copper Jack the neighbor dog, and with our own (formerly known as Puppy) Jack. But me, I'm in the clear. Smooth sailing awaits me on the Juno seas.

However... Juno likes her treats. On Monday, the dogs were enjoying some delicious 22 Grain Bread, chicken bones (the keel and back and inedible wing flap), and some year-old slices of pepperoni suitable for pizza, still in the unopened pack. Which I opened for the dogs, to sort out portions to toss to them.

Their first course was bread, lest even the softest of chicken bones irritate their digestive tract. The bones were the second course. That's when Juno got herself in trouble. TWICE.

I stand in the kitchen door with the house treats. Jack is at my feet, wiggling with anticipation. I make sure his portions are in a form that his tiny mouth can get around. Like, I crumble his bread so he doesn't have to gnaw on the slice, but can eat chunks of it. Juno gets the whole slice, which she grabs and turns tail to dash into her house. Copper Jack gets the lesser treats flung to him over the top of Juno's dog house.

Juno is greedy. She begrudges every morsel that does not come her way. She spends the entire treat session growling low in her throat. Just in case Copper Jack should run over, I guess. He never has. He defers to Juno. Juno will even step her front legs into the kitchen while I'm getting a treat off the counter. She won't come in any other time, but she loves her treats. Jack waits at the threshold. He knows I'll bring his treats to him.

The nip happened with the chicken bone. It wasn't very big. I keep my fingers well back at the end. My intention was to hand it to Juno. In a perfect world, she would have taken her end gingerly in her mouth, and turned like a lady to enter her boudoir for a nosh. But that's not my Juno. She JUMPED at my hand, and could have taken my pinky finger clean off! No blood was drawn, but the pinch hurt. Only Even Steven kept my pinky finger intact, as a reward for initially rescuing my Sweet, Sweet Juno from her starving life as a pup dumped along my mom's rural road.

I'll be darned if Juno didn't do the exact same thing with her second bone! Enough is enough!


She knew she done wrong! She tucked her tail and ducked her head as she scurried into her house. Didn't come back out, either! Not even when I was dishing the pepperonis to Jack and Copper Jack. I could see that Juno wanted some. She poked her nose out. But I put the kibosh on her exit.

"No pepperoni for YOU!"

Jack and Copper Jack were a bit taken aback, but it did not seem to hamper their enjoyment of their pepperoni. A momentary cringe from each, until I told them they were good dogs, but JUNO was BAD!

It's my own fault that I've let Juno get away with grabbing treats. I should have asserted myself many treats ago. I don't know where this lunging/jumping came from. I've never been the kind to make my dogs stand up and beg for a treat. I generally hand it to them, or drop it under their nose.

Juno and I are going to have a training session the next time Jack and Copper Jack are away. Then I'm sure we'll have to do it all over again when they're here. Juno will have to sit down, and wait for her treat to be laid in front of her. Or else no treat!

In more positive news... Copper Jack came running across our yard when I drove T-Hoe down the driveway. Like nothing was wrong with him. He even jumped over the edge of the concrete carport to chase a squirrel. AND he came around the garage again, and waited for a treat. Didn't even look like the same dog from a couple days ago, when he could hardly walk, seeming as if he didn't want to touch his front OR back feet to the ground.

Monday, March 25, 2019

He Has Never Been Mellow

Why was Farmer H in an anti-HM mood when we started home from CasinoPalooza 4 last Wednesday? Because he didn't get his way. Because we were 7 minutes behind his rigid schedule. Seriously! Does it matter if we're 7 minutes later getting home on a 5.5 hour drive? I don't think so.

Here's the deal. He's the one who set the alarm to wake up. I always take the first shower, so he had an extra half hour to sleep in. I was on schedule, ready to leave the room for breakfast. That went fine, even though another customer was disgruntled. Farmer H had said that after breakfast, we would spend 30 minutes in the casino, then start home.

Farmer H had a coupon comp from that casino, for $10 free play upon checkout. That's nothing to sneeze at! It's $10, by cracky! He used it last time we stayed there. So I'd asked him, "Are we going up to the room to get the suitcases and check out, and then go back in and play?" That was the original plan. But once we left the restaurant, he said we'd play first, then check out. "Oh. So you'll just go through the casino and play your $10 before we start out?"

"I might. Or you can, while I get the car."

Okay. That was kind of an odd way to do it, but no big deal to me. We went our separate ways in the casino at 9:45, agreeing to meet by the hotel entrance at 10:15.

I kept a close watch on my Shaming Bracelet, which also shows me the time. I was playing one machine during that time, about halfway across the casino. If I leaned just right, and nobody was in the way, I could even see part of the hotel entrance area. That darn machine was eating my money. I just had a few dollars left in it as time ran down. I was not going to cash out that small amount, and I was not going to put in any more money. I was just playing that out. I figured the time would come out just about right.

Of course I hit a bonus at 10:14. A bonus that gave me 15 free spins. Okay. As soon as that bonus was over, I was cashing out. I was NOT leaving without playing the bonus. I immediately pulled out my phone and sent Farmer H a text: IN A BONUS.

We do that all the time. We agree to meet, and if somebody is in a bonus, they send a text. I'd say that at least 50 percent of the time, one of our party does not show up at the designated time because they're in a bonus. Including Farmer H.

For some reason, I felt all antsy during my bonus. A bonus is the fun part of the game! You win extra money! Sometimes big money. It should be a joyful experience. But for some reason, I was not enjoying this one. In fact, I almost felt panicky! What's up with that? I was not in any danger. Not exerting myself. Just sitting in front of a slot, watching the video reels turn, waiting to cash out my ticket when the bonus play was over. Whew! Finally! I think I won $120 on that bonus. I printed out my ticket, and went straight to the money machine on the way to the hotel entrance.

Huh. There was Farmer H. Pacing. Not happy.

"Sorry! I was in a bonus. I sent you a text."

"No you didn't."

"Yes. I did." I pulled out my phone. "Seven minutes ago. I just cashed out." I showed Farmer H my phone. He didn't want to look. He pulled out his own phone.

"I didn't get a text."

"How was I supposed to know that? I sent it--" Just then Farmer H's phone beeped with my text. "It's not like I could get up and leave in the middle of a bonus. I sent you a text! Not my fault it was late getting to your phone."

Farmer H turned and stomped off to the elevator. Once upstairs, he grabbed his suitcase and started for the door.

"Oh. Here's your postcard to get your $10 free play. You'll need it when you check out."

"I don't want that!" Farmer H took the coupon and wadded it up.

"Don't throw it away in here. It has your name and address on it."

Farmer H threw it on the bed. I picked it up and shoved it in my purse for later disposal. Sweet Gummi Mary! What a grand tantrum! To not even want his $10 free play because he was mad at me for being 7 minutes late, even though I'd tried to notify him in the usual way. He took off down the hall. I almost had to take the next elevator! I'm surprised he didn't start driving away before I got to A-Cad. He didn't speak a word for 4.5 hours.

In fact, Farmer H was so mad that he didn't even fiddle with the radio in A-Cad. So it stayed on the station I'd put it on when we were driving around with my sister the ex-mayor's wife, and her husband the ex-mayor. It was SiriusXM 32, "The Bridge." A station that calls itself Mellow Classic Rock. Quite the improvement from his usual station, 59, "Willie's Roadhouse."

I guess sometimes it DOES pay to be an evil sorceress who controls the airwaves.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Perhaps It Was Only Someone Feeling A Bit Indisposed

Yes, we stopped at Casey's on the way home from CasinoPalooza 4. We probably could have made it back to the Mansion without adding gas to A-Cad's tank. But we always stop, unless Farmer H is mad and punishing me. He was mad, but not punishing. So I guess he was just a lukewarm (not hot) head that day, still clinging to the handle (rather than flying off it), fit to be gently restrained (not tied), ready to nibble on my head (rather than bite it off), getting his knickers in a slight fold (rather than a twist), ready to give me a flap of his scalp (rather than a piece of his mind), about to go off the shallow (rather than deep) end.

While Farmer H was at the gas pumps, I went on inside. The restrooms are along a hall in the back of the store. They're single-seaters. No line of stalls. An individual restroom with sink and toilet for the women, and another individual restroom for the men. When I reached for the lever door-handle, it didn't move. "Oh. Someone's in there," I said to myself. What did you think I'd do, bang on the door and curse? I didn't have to go THAT bad. It was afternoon already. Long after taking my morning blood pressure meds. It's not like I'm an infant, or need Depends.

I stood patiently. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Farmer H came in and walked past me. Came back out of the men's room and walked past me again, looking for a snack that wasn't a candy bar, and a Diet Mountain Dew. When he headed to the counter, so did I. The reason for his madness annoyedness hinged on waiting earlier that morning. I figured it was just easier to forego my bathroom visit and get back in A-Cad.

Even after taking pictures of parking lot ducks, I left without ever seeing anyone come out of the women's bathroom. I have no idea what was going on in there. My writer's mind whispers that perhaps it was a heroin overdose in progress, or the final throes of childbirth.

But probably just an employee texting on her break.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

You'll Never Believe What I Found At Casey's

Wednesday was spent traveling home from CasinoPalooza 4. Of course we stopped at the Steelville Casey's for gas, and our final bathroom break before reaching the Mansion. As I was buying some scratchers (won $15), I noticed something out the front window.

It was moving. What in the not-heaven WAS that???

If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck... it's a DUCK, by cracky!

You know what's better than seeing a duck on the Casey's parking lot in Steelville, Missouri?

Seeing TWO ducks!

What's NOT so great is zooming in on the picture, looking at the area about midway between the two ducks, and seeing a COIN that I could have picked up! I'm pretty sure it's a quarter. Maybe a nickel. Dang it! I was distracted by the ducks!

Friday, March 22, 2019

If Our Heels Were Any Cooler, They Would Have Been Frostbitten

Back when the Farmer H/Hillbilly Mom partnership was in the offing, we bought the land that the Mansion sits upon. Since we had not technically tied the knot, the original 10 acres is titled in both our names. Not a big deal. Getting the loan to buy that 10 acres was apparently a big deal. Or so we thought.

I'd made an appointment with my bank to come in and finalize the details on the loan to buy the land. This is not the bank I use now. Let that be a bit of foreshadowing...

Farmer H was working in the city, and I was teaching at a school district near the bank. Newmentia, the first time I worked there. So the very earliest I could make it to the bank was 3:30. As I remember it, Farmer H's shift ended at his city job at 3:30, an hour drive away, so our appointment was at 4:30. Banks close at 5:00 around here. Usually their lobby closes earlier. We weren't worried, because we had an appointment scheduled with a loan officer.

Farmer H met me in the parking lot behind the bank, and we walked to the rear entrance. We expected the doors to be locked, because of the business hours. We knocked on the glass doors, to be let in for our appointment with the loan officer, just as she had instructed..

Well! We could clearly see inside. The young women who were employed to service customers were sitting on top of desks, chatting and cutting up. In fact, a couple of them pointed at us and laughed! What in the Not-Heaven? That's no way for bank employees to treat a customer! A customer who's had an account there for two years, with an appointment after lobby hours. The drive-thru was open until 5:00, but you can't exactly sign loan papers at the drive-thru!

We knocked several times, with no one coming to the door to inquire about our purpose. Finally, we saw the loan officer come out of her office, speak to the cutter-uppers, and stride to the glass doors, where she unlocked them, and apologized for our wait. "I told those girls I was expecting someone! I'm so sorry for your wait."

Not a big deal, perhaps a miscommunication. We went into the office and read over the paperwork, and handed over our driver's licenses as official picture ID, so the loan officer could run a credit check. We were not at all worried. I'd been building credit for six years on my own, with a car loan, rent, utilities, a credit card, and a $17,000 house loan on records, showing that I paid on time. Farmer H had a blip on his credit, from when his ex-wife had been taking the money he gave her to pay bills, and spending it, while stuffing the bills under the mattress. A tactic Farmer H only discovered when her older son, about 10 at the time, led him to the bed to show him.

Still, we were not worried about getting the loan for our land. Imagine our surprise when we waited, and waited, and waited for the credit report to come back. It was in the days of fax machines. The loan officer had told the cutter-uppers that she was expecting a fax, and to let her know when it arrived. We ran out of small talk, and sat cooling our heels in the loan officer's office, waiting for that credit report. Five o'clock came and went, without our credit report. The cutter-uppers had all gone home at 5:00.

At 5:10, the loan officer said she couldn't imagine why that credit report was taking so long. She went out to look for it, and found it on the fax machine. It had been sent at 4:45. I suppose the cutter-uppers were too busy being paid to cut up and gossip for the last 30-90 minutes of their day. Otherwise, one of them would have notified the loan officer when that fax came in. I'm pretty sure my readers are old enough to remember that annoying sound of a fax machine. It's not like the cutter-uppers wouldn't have heard it.

The next week, I closed my account at the bank, and opened a new checking/savings elsewhere. The loan stayed with the First Bank of Cutter-Uppers. It's not like I had to deal with them. I mailed in my payment every month.

I'm sure the First Bank of Cutter-Uppers rued the day they pointed and laughed at Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Neither A Squatter Nor A Snotter Be

CasinoPalooza 4 has been in the planning stages for a month. Farmer H and I have been waiting for a time that my sister the ex-mayor's wife and the ex-mayor can get away from their childcare duties. They take care of Babe, their granddaughter, while her mom and dad are at work. Since Niecy is a teacher, the perfect opportunity was spring break.

Oh, the PLANNING! We don't just hop in a car and pull up at a casino and go in. No siree, Bob! We have to have an itinerary. I gathered my data, working on it for three nights. Okay. It was only 30 minutes per night. But still, I did my homework. Last Thursday, I called Sis to see if she was available to review the plan. You know, because I didn't want to arrive to find Sis gone and the cleaning lady inside.

When I put on T-Hoe's blinker to turn into Sis's driveway, I saw the Ex-Mayor in my rearview mirror. How much of a coincidence was THAT? Here I was, in dirty, dirty T-Hoe (caked with a winter's worth of road salt and dried mud), pulling into his pristine blacktop driveway. He popped open the garage door for me. Not to park in! Sweet Gummi Mary! No way would he let my jalopy inside his garage! It was simply so I had access to the kitchen door, their regular portal of entry. He already had both cars parked inside the garage, so I wasn't blocking him from his truck's spot at the top of the driveway.

"Hi! I'm here in my car that embarrasses you, to park in your driveway, in clear view of the neighbors, and establish residence and live in it as a squatter!"

The Ex-Mayor smiled and nodded, and motioned me inside. I'm pretty sure he didn't have his hearing aids turned up. He hollered for Sis, and we sat at the kitchen counter peninsula to hammer out the details of our mission.

I didn't hang a large map on the wall, and whack it with a riding crop for emphasis. But I was pretty close. I had a three-page chart of the 7 casinos we planned to visit, with offers for each, written on a timeline. Ex-Mayor handed me a copy of HIS research, which was a typed list of each casino's offers, and the times they were valid. Let the record show that we spent TWO HOURS on our plans! Okay, a little bit of time was gossip, and a little bit was reminiscing about previous CasinoPaloozas.

The Ex-Mayor offered me some tea, which I declined, not being a tea-drinker, and with 44 oz of Diet Coke in my future. That's when the visit spiraled out of control.

I'd made sure to take in my glasses, and copies of my timeline for each of us, along with two offers from a casino that I picked up from the mail on my way to town. What I'd forgotten was a Puffs Plus Lotion in my pocket. It was a warm day, and I'd left my jacket at home. So I didn't have a handy Puffs. Of course that day of springlike weather had triggered my sinuses to drip. I felt one coming on. Not a gush, just a drop. Strangely, those drops always end up at the TOP of my right nostril. If not dealt with, the drop won't merely flow onto my upper lip area. It will DRIP. Possibly onto a three-page casino itinerary laying on the counter.

"Oh, no! I forgot a Puffs! Do you have a tissue? My nose is going to drip."

"Well. I DO. But they're in the bathroom, and Ex-Mayor just went in there."

"That's okay. I can use my shirt sleeve. It's just a drip."

"Don't do that! I can give you a paper towel."

"Just a half. That's all I need."

"We are NOT like Mom! We don't use Select-A-Size. I don't like them."

"I don't need a WHOLE paper towel! Just a fourth of one will be fine."

"Here. I'm not tearing it."

So I dabbed at my nostril-top with a quarter of a full-size paper towel. I laid it on the counter on top of the other three fourths that I'd torn. The Ex-Mayor returned, and we resumed our planning. Should we make one big loop like usual, or drive to-and-fro to different casinos, depending on their offers? They're not more than a few miles apart. Farmer H doesn't mind backtracking. Then there was the question of whether to ride in one car to the casinos, or separately, yet together. Matters were further complicated by us staying at the same hotel the first night, but Farmer H and I moving to another one the second night, due to our FREE ROOM offers.

Oopsie! In reaching for a casino comps brochure, my dangling short sleeve knocked my paper towels off the counter. The Ex-Mayor was sitting on the stool next to me, and bent down, like a proper gentleman, to pick them up.

"Uh... I dabbed at my runny nose with one of them... but it's not very wet. Just kind of like touching a dog's nose."

Poor Ex-Mayor. He really does not like things to be unclean. I think I saw him recoil when I mentioned the drip. But he continued picking up my paper towel fourths, and put them back on the counter. I'm guessing that he didn't touch that one snot spot, or he might have squealed like Farmer H touching a hairless baby mouse in the pocket of his coveralls.

I left shortly after. Because I was ready. Not because I was thrown out on my ear.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Mrs. HM, In The Middle Of It Again

Sometimes, I manage to be in the right place at the right time. Like when buying a winning scratcher ticket. Other times, I seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like Saturday, shortly after noon.

I'd stopped by The Gas Station Chicken Store for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. I was about an hour behind my previously planned schedule, due to an unfruitful trip to the closed bank. I thought my favorite parking space was available, but as I watched, a maroon sedan pulled from the gas pumps. I assumed he was leaving the lot, and I held T-Hoe ready to pull into my rightful parking space. But no. That guy sat there crossways in his maroon sedan, idling, blocking THREE WHOLE PARKING SPACES! So I went over to park by the moat that separates the lot from Farmer H's pharmacy.

When I went inside, people were milling about all willy-nilly. Like they didn't understand line-waiting protocol in The Gas Station Chicken Store. I had to maneuver my way down the far left aisle to take the long way around the back to get to the soda fountain. Once I was magically elixired, I got in line. I knew several people had been ahead of me. At this time, there was one lady at the register paying for gas and cigarettes, and another lady off to the side. I patiently waited my turn, standing in front of the shelf full of whiskey topped by two round spinny racks of sunglasses. Sometimes I while away my wait by checking out how many brands of whiskey, or thinking about which sunglasses I would pick if I needed sunglasses.

The clerk was finally getting caught up. She's the next-to-newest one, the older blond lady, personable enough, but we don't really have a connection. Another regular cashier was working the chicken counter. She's been there off and on for years. I think of her as Happy, because she is generally happy, even when acting cantankerous with some of the regulars. She was in the back room, probably frying chicken, when she called out to Blondie.

"Did that lady buy anything? That tall lady with dark hair? She was standing by that rack, and when she left, she was fiddling with her purse. She had a big purse."

Blondie was flustered after having a rush of customers. Didn't remember. She asked her current customer if she noticed the lady buying anything.

"No. She didn't. She was in here with another lady, and they left."

Happy had it covered. "That's okay. I got her license plate number."

Sweet Gummi Mary! There I was, standing right by the sunglasses rack, looking at them, with my dark hair and tall stature. Good thing I wasn't carrying a purse!

That's why Happy has worked there for so many years. She has the same attitude as the Woman Owner. If anything is missing, the perpetrator won't get away with it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I Like My Bank. Really.

Oh, dear! Mrs. HM has had another banking incident that she considers blogworthy!

Farmer H has been expecting a check from the department of revenue. It's a partial refund on the sales tax we paid on SilverRedO, because we sold the Ford F250 4WD Extended Cab Long Bed, and the TrailBlazer, within a specified time of our SilverRedO purchase. So we got a percentage of our sales tax back.

I've been watching for this check for two weeks. It arrived Saturday. Here's the thing. We had been planning CasinoPalooza4 with my sister the ex-mayor's wife (and the ex-mayor) ever since we returned from visiting The Pony. So at least I knew nobody was going to get this check out of EmBee's mouth while we were gone.

However... I wanted to get that check deposited forthwith. Even though Farmer H is in no hurry about these kind of things. I see no reason to have a check sitting around in a safe in his basement workshop, when the money could be (cooling its heels for 10 days) in our bank account. You don't want to forget about a check from a government entity. There's usually a VOID date on it. Sometimes after 60 days.

So there I sat in T-Hoe, on the gravel road across from EmBee, with that check. It was Saturday, you know. The banks would be closed on Sunday. We were heading out for CasinoPalooza4 on Monday morning. Our bank is not on the way.

Wait a minute! Could I make it to the bank on time? My Shaming Bracelet said it was 11:30. The bank is open until noon on Saturday. It would be close, but worth a try. I hastily filled out a deposit slip, and forg  signed Farmer H's name on the back, and then mine own. I was already strapped in, with T-Hoe idling. I took off for the bank.

Well. Upon glancing down at my Shaming Bracelet, I saw that it read 11:42. That was impossible! Wait! I must have misread it the first time, as 11:30 instead of 11:40. Still. I'd give it a try.

Of course a car pulled out in front of me on the blacktop county road. Saw me, but pulled out anyway. Drove 25 mph. Sweet Gummi Mary! The actual speed limit along there is 35, even though everyone generally drives 50. I puttered along. When that car came to the county lettered highway, it took off at about 65 mph! Good deal. I did, too. It was pulling away from me. Not that I was trying to catch it, only trying to make good time on the way to the bank.

That car turned on the same road I was going to take, that runs past the bowling alley, through two roundabouts, and behind the local high school. Of course a car pulled out in front of that car, and despite the speed limit of 40, went only 30. They both took the roundabout to the highway, though. Which I should have, but I don't drive on the highway anymore. It makes me nervous.

I was lucky that a car coming in from the roundabout drove 40 mph in a 30 mph zone behind the high school. So I did, too. Yet when we got to the older part of the road, that goes by the cemetery, where the speed limit is 45... this car went 35. What in the Not-Heaven? When we entered the city limits and 30 mph limit, it dropped to 25. Lucky for me, that car turned to go to The Devil's Playground.

I caught the light, just barely, and by that I mean that I kind of went through a red. But that was okay, because people do that to me all the time, and the truck ahead of me was going extra-slow while making a left turn on the yellow.

Whew! I was pretty much home free now. Sure, there were three cars ahead of me at the stop sign by Farmer H's old neighborhood bar, when normally there's no traffic there. After that I had smooth sailing, until I got over in front of the drug-dealing metal recycler that's now closed, and the church food store. Did you know that people who shop at the church food store don't use a turn signal on their cars newer than T-Hoe?

At the stoplight by Jack's vet, I hit a red light, with three cars in front of me. Couldn't make it through that one. I got to my bank, and drove around to the drive-thru. My Shaming Bracelet said 12:00. On the dot. The red light was on all three drive-thru bays. I pulled through, and up the alley, and looped back around into the parking lot. A man was just coming out the front door of the lobby. I threw T-Hoe into PARK, and hurried towards that just-closing door with my check and deposit slip.

It was locked.

Dang it! My Shaming Bracelet still showed 12:00. Their hours on the lobby door said 9:00 to 12:00. IT WAS 12:00!

I just can't catch a break at that bank.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Bizarro World Of Banking

Remember a couple weeks ago when my bank thought I was a criminal trying to deposit a fake check? I think I told that tale on my not-so-secret blog.

I see how it goes now! I'm not allowed to deposit money INTO my account, and use it right away. Oh, no. That will be a wait of 10 DAYS, before my funds are available to me. Even with a check that came from my credit union down the street, and the required driver's license to prove that I am, indeed, the owner of my account, so I will be allowed the privilege of putting money INTO it, for the bank to sit on for 10 DAYS.

However, if I walk in off the street, with a counter withdrawal slip already filled out and signed, the tellers can't get to that cash drawer fast enough! I'm surprised nobody turned an ankle, or tore an Achilles, or pulled a hamstring. I'm shocked they didn't shoot my bills at me like lettuce out of a salad shooter, or swirl them in a tornado like a money-grab booth. Not one question was asked, other than, "How would you like it."

Well. Let's see. I'd like it after you ask me for two forms of ID, and maybe my mother's maiden name. So not just any common streetwalking gal can waltz in there and help herself to money from my account.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Be Careful What You Wish For: The Puppy's Paw

I've been worried about (Formerly Known as Puppy) Jack. Also about Copper Jack, but since he's the neighbor's dog, not as much. Even though Copper Jack might be temporarily incapacitated with a hurt leg.

Our Jack is just missing. Not face-on-a-milk-carton missing, but gone during the times of day I usually see him. He never comes running to greet me when I leave for town, and has only shown up a couple times in the last two weeks when I return from town. Farmer H says he's always here in the evening, but I don't hear him yapping constantly through the night like I used to.

Now that Farmer H has given away Barry the mini-pony, and Billy the goat, perhaps Jack thinks his days are numbered. Maybe he's traipsing around the countryside with a red bandana of stolen Juno bones tied up at the end of a hobo stick. Maybe he's been freeloading over at Copper Jack's house, what with him laid up due to injury. Maybe he has a girldogfriend down by the creek behind us. Sometimes he runs up to the Mansion from that direction. Like Thursday.

First I saw Copper Jack hobble under the barbed-wire fence from his home. He went to the edge of the concrete carport and looked into the woods. Normally, he'd bound over the side and charge after squirrels. Maybe that's what injured him. Anyhoo... I was glad to see Copper Jack, because it meant that my own Jack might be near. And here he came, up out of the woods!

Jack runs into the garage behind T-Hoe. It started in the days when the cats were squatting in there, clawing their way up into the rafters and treating it like their cathouse. Jack was always hoping to catch one, but he never did. Not even the fat one that he humps all the time. Anyhoo... Jack ran around to the back of T-Hoe while I was getting groceries out.

"Hey, Jackie Boy! Where've you been? I'm so glad to see my long little doggie!"

We were having a regular lovefest, unable to wait until I let him out of the garage and onto the side porch. I leaned over and patted him, forcefully, because he's a wiggly man-dog who plays rough. He might in fact be the cause of Copper Jack's current different-abled-ness.

Jack's more the size of his dachshund half than his heeler half. I bend way over to pet him, because otherwise, he jumps up and gets in the way of walking, his head coming not even to my hip at his tallest. So there I was, all bent over, petting and roughing up Jack's double coat, when he jumped up in my face.

Unlike that time I actually bit down on Juno's cold wet rubbery black nose, I avoided Jack's snout in my mouth, and turned a cheek to his kissing attempts. I knew it was too late to avoid Jack's groping paws.

As I type this on Friday night, I hear Jack yapping over by ShackyTown. I don't even mind.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Sweet, Sweet Vindication

Mrs. HM was about to get fightin' mad at the mailbox Thursday afternoon. She reached into EmBee's gullet and pulled out an envelope from her trash-collection service. You may recall that last week, she received a bill for service that has already been paid for! And got a gal on the phone who didn't even look up her account, but said everything was fine on their end.

This envelope looked suspiciously like a billing statement. My trash-collection service is not in the habit of sending me entertaining, gossipy letters. I couldn't wait to get back to T-Hoe and put on my glasses and rip it open. I sensed that there might be some more rippin' going on, which had nothing to do with a paper envelope.

Looks like I got my blood boiling for nothing. Looks like that trash-collection service followed through after having an issue with their new billing software, and saved themselves from Jack('s Human Mom) the Ripper!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Shiver Me Timbers, Mrs. HM Turned Into A Limey

Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom will not be coming down with a case of scurvy any time soon. She has a new addition to her daily 44 oz Diet Coke, and that is...

Okay, not just the juice. The whole thing. Sometimes two!

Back when Farmer H was wanting to make himself a Montana Mule adult beverage, after having one at the steakhouse during our visit with The Pony on BirthdayPalooza... I used the leftover half of his lime for my evening sipping of the remaining 22 oz of Diet Coke. It was delicious.

Then I started using a whole lime just for myself! Farmer H didn't mind. He's not the one who does the lime shopping around here. In fact, he hasn't made another Montana Mule, and has no need for limes. I, however, am on my third bag!

Just between you and me... I've been putting TWO WHOLE LIMES in the evening half of my 44 oz Diet Coke! I cut them in fourths, squeeze them, then drop the wedge in my cup. I also add a little bottle of Diet Coke to my cup in the evening, to strengthen the watered-down fountain soda. First I add one lime. Then after drinking down more room in the cup, I'll add the other one, followed by the last half of the mini bottled Diet Coke.

Doesn't that look refreshing? Pardon the pulp. Pulp happens. I swear that I won't graduate to three limes per night. That would be crazy!

Don't judge. I could have worse vices.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mrs. HM Has Been Known To Take Her Drug Business Elsewhere

If you look in the Hillbilly Dictionary for put-out, you will find Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's face there, wearing the expression from Wednesday as she left her pharmacy.

I don't ask for much. No special treatment. No over-the-top service. Mainly, I just want competence. Is that too much to ask? I think not.

Perhaps you remember last month, when I went to the pharmacy to pick up my regular prescriptions, and had a kerfuffle with the new clerk about using my debit card. It's not rocket science. You scan a card as credit or debit. TWO choices. I wouldn't think it's so hard to learn the second one.

My pharmacy is small, though a national chain. There's rarely a waiting line. Two or three pharmacists work behind the tall shelves, while one roving employee handles the drive-thru and the customer counter. Which has one register, a keypad for entering PINs, and an electronic signy-thing for a signature from the person who purchases the drugs.

In this store, you can't slide your card or use the chip. You have to hand it to the clerk, who does something with it on the side of the register, then hands it back, and tells you to sign the signy-thing. They also tell you to enter your PIN first, IF they have heeded your assertion that your card is a debit.

You know what happened on Wednesday, right?

Of course I got that same clerk. And of course I told her my card was a debit. AND you can bet your bottom dollar that she scanned it AS A CREDIT CARD! I know that, because she did not ask me to enter my PIN. As you may recall, I went round and round with her over this oversight when I was there the last time. When I left without even the satisfaction of her admitting that she forgot to scan my card as a debit.

I didn't waste my breath this time. You know how certain people get that attitude? The attitude that THEY know that YOU know that they messed up last time. And that they're still not going to admit it, and THEY're going to show YOU who's the boss.

It's not a big deal. Students used to try it all the time, and you can bet that Mrs. HM didn't give one inch. No siree, Bob! But stood her ground and calmly carried on until the student understood that they had messed up before, there were no hard feelings, but Mrs. HM wasn't born yesterday, wasn't falling for lame excuses, and expected that student to straighten up and fly right.

Well. This clerk is not my student. I'm done with all that. I don't have rules to enforce daily with 100 just like her. It's not worth a lecture on a young whippersnapper with I'malwaysrightitis. But you can bet that if I get a regular clerk next time, I'm going to ask them why this gal won't use the debit.

Seriously. If their register didn't accept debit cards (as she tried to tell me last time), then WHY do they still have the debit PIN machine tethered to it????

Yeah. I thought so.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

That's A Croc!

Farmer H is always having stuff given to him. Not because people feel sorry for poor pitiful Farmer H. Nope. Because it's faster and cheaper than driving to town to the landfill or the church store. Farmer H takes all donations. He treats it like a job. Of course he comes up with some great stuff. Things he can use for fixing up his $5000 house. But every now and then, he gets rid of something.

I know! Do you need smelling salts? Hope you didn't slam your head on the floor, or dislocate a joint on the way down.

Last week, our back-creek neighbor Bev gave Farmer H some stuff she didn't need. He had gone over there to fix something. Not an official job that she'd pay him for. Just something neighborly, a gadget that didn't work. Perhaps one of her far-fetched protection machines to keep the bad energy away. Anyhoo... Back-Creek Neighbor Bev rarely lets Farmer H get away without some token of her appreciation. This time, it was mostly clothing and kitchen items.

When Farmer H mentioned it, that he was taking some stuff to the church store (and no doubt using the trip to also SHOP at the church store), I told him to get a picture of the stuff, and count it.

"We can use that for tax purposes next year, if we itemize. Charitable donations!"

Here are the not-very-good pictures. From the BARn. I was hardly able to distinguish what was there. Oh, and Farmer H said he didn't take a picture of EVERYTHING. But he kind of sent me a list. Now all I have to do is put that in with this year's tax documents, so I'll see them next year, and remember.

That's some Tupperware, by cracky! But what I'm most interested in is the picture that follows.

Those are CROCS! Not just your everyday Crocs, but WINTER CROCS! Fur-lined! I'm sure somebody who shops at the church store will be ecstatic. They look brand new. Not that Farmer H told me about them before they were gone. I don't even know the size.

A Croc is a terrible thing to waste! I'm sure they will go to a good home. Rather cheaply.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Don't Let The Gate Hit Your Rumpus On The Way Out

I was shocked, SHOCKED to hear that Farmer H gave away Barry the mini-pony, and Billy the goat! Especially since he didn't mention it until after it happened. He really needs to stop making decisions without my input!

Farmer H was lolling around in the La-Z-Boy while waiting for chicken to bake in the oven. I had sat down on the short couch to communicate with him. AS IF that would put me in the loop of his shenanigans.

"Juno was missing when I got home from town. Have you seen her? Jack has been missing the last couple days, too. He was here today, but Copper Jack just laid at the fence line. I think maybe he's hurt."

"Copper Jack's mom said she saw him and our Jack down by the bridge yesterday. I don't know what they've been up to. They're here when I get home. But you're right, Copper Jack has a hurt front leg. He was limping on it over at the BARn a while ago. I had a guy here who followed me from the auction out on the highway. We were loading the goat and pony."

"WHAT? What do you mean, 'loading the goat and pony'?"

"I gave them to him. I met him at the auction, and he was talking about working with the circus. He travels around. He's from here. He has camels, and does pony rides. I told him I had a little pony that I'd give him if he wanted to come pick him up. I said I had a goat, too, and I'd throw it in. He said he'd take the goat."

"Wait a minute. You GAVE AWAY your animals? Something doesn't sound right."

"This guy said he was on his way to an animal auction tomorrow. He said goats are selling for about $25, and the pony might go for $20. He wondered if the pony could give rides to little kids."

"Good luck with that! He still has...all his parts! He's hard-headed and rambunctious!"

"This guy said he'll get him fixed. That it costs $150 for a vet to come do it!"

"Well, they charge $100 if you take a dog or cat there for a shot! So I think that's cheap enough."

"I said that pony was broke to lead, because The Pony used to walk him around on a halter."

"I really can't believe you'd GIVE them away, when you could make money on them. What did you REALLY do with them? I'd better not find a skull in the front yard tomorrow, with the dogs chewing on it!"

"No! The guy and his boy came out here. He looked about 10. The goat came up, and the guy dropped a rope over his head, and we took him into the little pen where I had the chicken house. But we chased that pony all around!"

"I told you, he's hard-headed!"

"Finally, the pony ran into the little pen with the goat, and that guy's kid grabbed him around the neck and bulldogged him to the ground. Then we got a rope on him. Them dogs was no help! Copper Jack kept nipping at them when we took them to the trailer."

"I thought you just bought feed for them yesterday!"

"I did. Six dollars worth."

Something is fishy here. I wish I'd known about this plan. I don't have a particularly strong affection for the goat and pony. I'm happy that they'll be somewhere with more animals around, and more human interaction. Farmer H said he was just tired of taking care of them.

That does not bode well for my old age...

Monday, March 11, 2019

Sometimes, The Natural Is More Scary Than The Supernatural

Good thing you can't see me as I type this. My hair is standing on end like a troll doll/Marge Simpson hybrid. I just had quite a fright. No, it wasn't any supernatural activity that is so common in my dark basement lair. This one was entirely natural.

I had just sat down in front of New Delly. Was logging on, my lunch tray at my left elbow, my 44 oz Diet Coke at my right. A movement caught my eye.


Not a little spider. It was bigger than a 50-cent piece. All grayish brown and furry-looking. YIKES! I know I jumped back in my rolly chair. Took a deep breath. Probably screamed, "OH CRAP!" I don't recall exactly, with all that adrenaline coursing through my veins. I knew I was on my own. Farmer H was gone to buy screws for his $5000 house, leaving me... well... screwed! I had to take care of this beast on my own.

The worst thing would be for it to get away! Then I'd know it was lurking around the lair. What if I nodded off in front of New Delly, and woke to it crawling in my mouth??? It was in an awkward spot, there behind the monitor, beside a little wooden rectangular crate that holds music CDs. I didn't have a clear shot to whack it. On top of that little speaker (3 inches wide, 6 inches tall, 1/2 inch thick), I couldn't get a good squish. I looked around for a weapon. My extendable metal backscratcher wouldn't do. Nor my red plastic ruler from the 1980s. I couldn't pound it with my bubba cup full of ice. Dang it! I'd have to kill it with my not-bare hands!

I took a half of a Bounty Select-A-Size Paper Towel that I keep in my lair. Stood up slowly. Didn't want that thing skittering away. I remember all too well the night one rappelled down from the ceiling, dropped at the last second, and released millions of baby spiders all over my desk. I'm sure this was one of the descendants I didn't annihilate at that time. I reached over New Delly's monitor, and POUNCED on that gargantuan spider with half a Select-A-Size backed by my thumb and two fingers.


He didn't die right away. In fact, when I pulled back the paper towel to see if I'd connected, he fell to the desk, writhing. I only had some goo and two legs on my paper towel. So I squished down again, and picked him up to rush to the toilet next door in the NASCAR bathroom. Too bad I couldn't flush that thick paper towel. But using a Puffs With Lotion would not have been a good idea for my murder weapon. It would put my flesh too close to spider juices. I shook the carcass loose, and flushed. Twice. Don't want him dragging himself up to take revenge on my unsuspecting ample rumpus!

Whew! I can't take that kind of excitement. I need to recover. I might add an extra lime to my 44 oz Diet Coke with supper.

Sunday, March 10, 2019


You know how sometimes, a significant other will make a sweet gesture to his mate? Do something extra-considerate, unexpected, just for the sake of doing something nice? Farmer H has never heard of that!

Fasten your seatbelt and strap on your protective helmet (as opposed to your fashionable helmet). We're about to take a ride in the WayBack Machine. Don't want to give you whiplash while switching gears.

Once upon a time, I lived in Cuba, Missouri, and played cards every Friday night with my best old ex-teaching buddies #2 and #3, Karen and Jim. There may or may not have been intoxicating beverages involved. We played poker for pretzel sticks. And were more competitive than you might imagine for such a poker pot.

Anyhoo... every Friday, my second-best old teaching buddy Karen would whoop me and Jim (but mostly me) at poker. She was a fantastic bluffer. Every time she raked in my pretzel sticks, she would sing-song, "When will she EVER learn?" while cackling madly.

That's how I felt when Farmer H inquired on Thursday night, as I stood up from the short couch, "Do you want this?"

I turned around. Halfway expecting him to have some little gift for me, or perhaps a tasty treat, obtained from a random auction. But no. I was TRICKED! Because all Farmer H held in his outstretched PopArm was


"Do I WANT that? Why in the world would I WANT that? What are you talking about?"

"Do you want it? I'm giving it to you."

"NO, I don't WANT it! Are you crazy? If you want me to haul it to the kitchen so you can lay in your La-Z-Boy, just say so. Don't ask me if I WANT it! I can't believe you!"

"Well. Are you going to take it?"

"GIVE IT TO ME! You could at least say, 'Will you take this to the kitchen for me?' Don't ask if I WANT it! That's just stupid! I am SO done with you!"

Seriously. If he wants me to be his servant, he can either pay me, or ask for a favor like a normal person.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Don't Tread Near Me

I devoted a day to The Pony and a day to Genius. So you know what that means.

Two days. Neither tale particularly sympathy-worthy. Unless it's sympathy for Mrs. HM. Who was minding her own business Monday afternoon, happily pecking away at New Delly's keyboard in her dark basement lair.


Here came Farmer H, down the steps and into my lair. He stood at the end of the counter, putting a crick in my neck, jawing about his $5000 house. Pacing around. Shuffling his feet.

About an hour after I got rid of him, I left my office to make his supper. You'll never guess what I saw. Or maybe you will.

Farmer H had made his mark. While milling around in my lair, he had knocked frozen mud and slushy snow from the tread of his new $6.00 work boots. You can bet I mentioned it to him. You know. Because I was SURE he would rush downstairs to clean it up.

Can you believe he didn't???

I took a picture the next day. I'm going to clean it up with damp paper towels. Not sure how soon. It's not spring yet! Rain coming in on Saturday. I don't see any reason to be hasty.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Because Hillmombans Are Neighborly Like That

I was on the way to town Thursday when Farmer H sent me a text. He has a magical way of doing that. Contacting me when I'm in the worst possible situation to deal with him. Texting when I'm driving, and can't put on my glasses to read my phone. Calling when I'm halfway down the 13 steps to my dark basement lair, and don't have a landing or a hand free to answer.

I'd already passed a couple of places suitable for pulling over to glasses-up and check the phone. A cursory glance was all I managed, squinting, to determine Farmer H's identity. Just before the county blacktop road stops at the lettered blacktop highway, there's a short straight stretch where vehicles sometimes sit. Usually a highway truck, the driver having a lunch break. Or somebody possibly broken down. Hopefully not a trash-dumper. And most-wishedly not a satan-worshipper from back in the early days, when the original bridge still spanned the river, and cat ears and questionable parts were sometimes strewn about.

Since this area was my last stopping place for a while, I pulled over. Left T-Hoe in gear, put on my glasses, and was just sliding my phone on when a white car turned in. It pulled up beside me, facing the other way. A woman was driving. I put my window down. Because we're trusting like that.

"Are you okay?"

"Yes. My husband just sent me a text. You know how that goes!"


"Thanks for stopping to check on me, though."

It was actually our next-door neighbor, who we don't really see much, next-door being across a barbed wire fence and a field. Once she put the window down, I recognized her. She's Copper Jack's human mommy.

Good neighbors are hard to find, unless they lived there when you moved in.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Can NOBODY Do A Job Right These Days?

Sweet Gummi Mary! You'd think Mrs. HM lives in an alternate universe where a job worth doing is not really worth doing. How many different service entities can make my life miserable? That's a rhetorical question. No need for you to count it up. Let's see... I've already had issues with the billing procedures of Farmer H's nurse practitioner, my nurse practitioner, my previous health insurance provider, my previous trash service, DISH, the post office, FedEx, Sprint, my bank not wanting to give me access to my own money... I'm going to run out of hands to count them on!

Wednesday, I stopped at Mailbox Row to clean out EmBee before heading to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke. I had a receipt from Newmentia for my health insurance premium. A thank-you letter/receipt from a charity I donate to every year. And something from our new trash service. Huh. That looked suspiciously like a bill.

It WAS a bill!!! That's just not possible. As you may recall, when I switched trash services, I found out that I had the option to pay for 12 months, and get 13 months of service. You can bet I hopped on that bargain like Farmer H on a Casey's donut! No way has it been 13 months already. I paid for a year's worth of trash pick-up on October 3rd. Unfortunately, I've switched out my checkbook register since I paid the trash bill. It was in with my tax stuff on the desk in my dark basement lair.

Of course I was stewing in my own juices during the whole trip to town and back. A trip that is usually pleasant, with the re-emergence of the sun, and temps just over the freezing mark. I KNEW that I shouldn't be getting a bill. Now I would have to convince the trash company of that. And in what is surely irony, I had passed the trash truck on my way to EmBee, it headed toward the Mansion.

Once back home, I fixed my lunch and headed to the lair. Before anything else, I found my check number and date, and the amount I'd paid for 12 months (plus one FREE). I can't call places like that on my cell, from the lair. We don't have good service inside the Mansion. The trash company is over in Bill-Paying Town, which is long distance on my AT&T landline service. But whatcha gonna do? I didn't want to hike back up those 13 steps and stand on the porch. I called.

Of course I got an automated message about pushing 3 for billing questions. Let it ring 12 times, then got an option to leave a message. I did. With all the pertinent facts, and the invoice number of the bill. This was at 2:00. At 3:07, I had received no response. So I called back. Got a person immediately.

Funny how she didn't ask for my name or address or account or invoice. I explained that I'd received a bill for March-May, but I'd paid for a year back in October. She assured me that everything was okay on their end. That they had just switched to their new billing software, and the letters went out without showing a credit at the bottom for the months I'd paid for. She knew all this without any data to look up my account.

Okay. Sure. If she said so. I guess I don't owe anything. I wonder how long before I get a past-due notice...

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

No Sympathy For The Genius

It's not that I don't have empathy and sympathy for Genius. He just doesn't need it. He's not standing in a 0-degree wind chill, waiting for a morning bus to take him to campus like The Pony. He's driving his new Honda CRV to work, making it on his own in Kansas City, better than Mary Richards in Minneapolis. In fact, Genius is doing better than okay. He's doing bonus.

I shared on my not-as-secret blog about Genius being featured recently on his college website's banner. He's a success story they like to promote. As Genius's good fortune would have it, someone else saw that banner. A headhunter. Not one from an indigenous tribe who might want Genius's head for shrinkage. No. A person looking for job talent to fill a spot for an employer.

Problem is, Genius already has an employer. One with which he's quite satisfied, having earned promotions earlier than anticipated, making a competitive salary, with incentives that even impressed Farmer H.

Genius was flattered, I'm sure, to have someone contact him to try and lure him away to a new company. I won't mention its name, but this company manufactures airplanes, and contracts with the government. The new position would have put Genius back on this side of the state, about an hour away from Hillmomba, rather than 4.5 hours.

Of course Genius followed through with an interview. Weighed all his options. And declined a pay raise to stay with his current employer. He's loyal, our Genius. And knows what's best for himself.

Genius needs no sympathy. This was a pretty good problem to have, as problems go.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Sympathy For The Pony

I felt kind of bad Monday morning, when I rolled out of bed at 10:00 a.m. Not physically bad. Sad. Empathetic. When I saw a text from The Pony.

Let the record show that I was in no hurry to get up. With temps in the teens (not inside the Mansion, thank the Gummi Mary!), I figured I could take my time before heading to town. Maybe a warm-up would occur before I was ready to leave. Sadly, it did not. But The Pony had it worse.

"Of course, with this weather, it's the day both buses are almost ten minutes late. Aaaand the one I got on broke down two minutes later so they had to shuffle us around to another bus."

Shamefully, an hour later, I replied.

"Hope you dressed warm!"

"Attempted. Still cold."

Aww... too bad I can't jump in my helicopter and fly down there to take him to class. I'm pretty sure they'd let me land on the roof, right?

Monday, March 4, 2019

I Knew They Couldn't Be Trusted

Well! Here I am on Sunday evening, typing up a tale of betrayal! Those TV meteorologists are not to be trusted! I learned that way back when the weather was my bread-and-butter. When a snow day would re-charge my work batteries, allow me to take a brief breather from the rat race. Good thing I'm not teaching now! I would be LIVID, and right this minute organizing a mob of fellow disgruntled educators to descend upon the TV studio with pitchforks and flaming torches.

Remember those six inches of snow that were rolling in Saturday night/Sunday morning? They rolled about as well as a square bowling ball! I looked out at 3:00 a.m., when I went to bed, hoping to see a winter wonderland. Nope. Nothing. At 5:30 I looked out again. Nope. Nothing. At 7:30, Farmer H looked out, and said, "Yeah, the snow is really coming down."

Imagine my surprise SHOCK when I peeked out at 10:00, and saw about 1/2 inch of powder on the porch rail! Nothing coming out of the sky. You might remember that I braved life and limb on Friday, laying in a 9-pack of Charmin Ultra Strong Toilet Paper. I also made sure to have Diet Coke reserves on hand, because surely those six inches of snow would keep me from driving T-Hoe to The Gas Station Chicken Store for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. I bought the big bottles! To pour in my cup! Put two of those 20-oz bottles in the basement mini fridge, all ready for today's beverage.

Huh. Farmer H drove to town to put some unsold auction stuff back in his Storage Unit Store. He sent me a text: "The roads are perfectly clear."

Well! I'd been sitting around, waiting for those flakes as big as Farmer H's thumb, as he'd described them at 7:30, to start up again. Nope. Farmer H had checked his phone weather. "Twenty percent chance of more snow at noon, ten percent chance at 1:00, then none." What was I waiting for, then? I hopped in the shower, and prepared myself for a trip to town and a 44 oz Diet Coke. Even our gravel road was bereft of snow.

Good thing I'm not a working woman any more. There won't be a shortage of pitchforks and flaming torches. But I might get a retirement-related injury from shaking my fist at those TV meteorologists.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mrs. HM, The Convenient Traveling Educator

I do my best to enlighten society. Mostly the local Hillmomban society of convenience store clerks. Wouldn't that be a good name for their organization, if they banded together to demand higher pay and more humane working conditions?

Once an educator, always an educator! That's selfless Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Sometimes, not by choice.

I had a winning scratcher so old that it was bereft of barcode. There's a line of 12 numbers across the bottom, and a 3-digit code hidden somewhere on the face of the ticket, that need to be manually entered on the MoLottery terminal. It can also be done on a phone or computer, but that will only tell the ticket-holder what they won. The terminal is used for paying winners.

Anyhoo... the little gal in the Hillmomba Casey's didn't know what to make of that ticket. I'm sure she's been working there a while. These old tickets are sold just a couple blocks down the street, at Country Mart. I'm sure other winners take them to Casey's for redemption. You don't have to take them back to the place of purchase. Li'l Gal said, "I don't even know what to do with this!"

I leaned over the counter, and pointed out the numbers I had already uncovered. "You have to manually enter these numbers, and then this code up here."

Li'l Gal turned to the Other Clerk, bemoaning her ignorance. Other Clerk pretty much said she was on her own. Not in so many words. The words being, "Oh, you've never done one of those? I can help whoever is next!"

Funny how Other Clerk couldn't find a pack of Camel Silver cigarettes, and Li'l Gal kindly stopped what she was doing with my ticket (which was absolutely nothing) to turn and show Other Clerk the Camel Silvers. Then she started poking that lottery terminal in a frenzy. After a couple of false starts, and a couple of apologies for taking so long, she got the job done.

"That's okay. I don't like typing them in at home, either. Now you know how to do it!"

Li'l Gal was quite pleasant. I don't mind waiting if they're learning a new skill. Even though a man at the next register asked for THE EXACT TWO TICKETS that I was waiting to buy. I bought them anyway. One of mine won $5. I hope he didn't get a $100,000 winner right ahead of me!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Mrs. HM Survives The Quadfecta!

I know better than to shop at The Devil's Playground on a Friday. I do. But sometimes, you need things on a Friday, because you forgot them on a Tuesday.

Of course I know not to shop on the first weekend of the month. It's when people get their benefit checks. Not so much checks anymore, virtual money, deposited in their account, or loaded on their card. The stores are always packed on the first weekend. But sometimes, you need things on the first weekend that you forgot earlier in the week.

Nobody wants to shop on a day the schools are out for inclement weather. Well. Nobody but teachers, and women who want to find a way to pass the time with their houseful of kids. I generally avoid shopping on inclement weather school days. But sometimes, you need things when kids are out of school, because you forgot them on Tuesday, when kids were in school.

Sweet Gummi Mary! I know not to shop on the day before six inches of snow is rolling in! That's when people rush to the store for milk and bread! Gotta have that milk and bread! I smugly bought my milk and bread on Tuesday. But sometimes, you need things on the day before six inches of snow rolls in, because you forgot them on Tuesday. And besides, you can't control the weather.

Yeah. I ended up at The Devil's Playground on Friday. Because I forgot toilet paper on Tuesday. We probably had enough to get by. But you don't want to take that chance.

The Devil's Parking Lot was almost full!!! I had to park way over past the garden center. On a row where half the spaces close to the store were roped off with concrete blocks and yellow not-police tape, for an eventual display of gardening supplies and paving stones. It's not so much that I mind the walk. I had a cart/walker, you know. Because I parked next to a cart return. I was pretty sure that if I didn't take in a cart, I might not get one.

Traffic was terrible. It crept at a snail's pace along the drive in front of the store. It doesn't help that they put up new STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS signs. Twice as many now. You like them when you're a pedestrian, but when you're a driver, it sucks.

The human traffic inside The Devil's Playground was like a double rush hour. Four or five carts on every aisle. People trying to maneuver. I don't mind people picking up a product to read the directions or ingredients. But there should be a special place in The Devil's Playground to punish those who park their cart in front of the dishwashing liquid and proceed to LOOK AT THEIR PHONE and tell their wife about somebody's text!

Once I got to the very back of The Playground, where rolls and rolls of multipacks of assorted brands of toilet paper reside... I couldn't pull out from my aisle into that one. Too many people. I couldn't see  around the corner. A lady was standing right in front of the Charmin Ultra Strong 9-Pack that I wanted. But that's okay, she was trying to reach a different brand way in the back of the giant shelves.

Good thing she was leaning into that space. An old man on a beeper cart plowed right into her shopping cart! Slammed it alongside! Moved it a couple feet! And KEPT ON GOING! It was a hit-and-run accident that didn't look like an accident. That Old Dude was going WAY too fast for the conditions. A possible daughter or caretaker followed behind, apologizing, trying to keep up. The paper-picker who barely avoided having some limbs sheared off replied, "He's a man on a mission!" I don't know how she could be so polite.

I finally got my Charmin, and since I was already at the back of the store, I proceeded to pick up some extra strawberry water for Farmer H. As I came back out that aisle, the front of my cart was almost clipped by Old Dude! He seemed highly pissed-off at something. He slammed that beeper cart into reverse, unmindful of the three carted shoppers diving out of his way. Old Dude rammed his beeper cart, backwards, into a molded plastic bumper thingy on the corner of the egg aisle, and headed back along Toilet Paper Row, leaving a lot of people staring after him, open-mouthed.

I felt safer on the roads adjacent to The Devil's Parking Lot, even though traffic was at a standstill, cars unable to get through the lights.

It doesn't help that it's tax refund time, either.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Farmer H, My Arch Nemesis

As if you didn't already know that! Farmer H sometimes acts like he's my arch nemesis! I take that back. He's not acting. No Oscar for Farmer H! Unless it's of the Grouch variety, and he buys it for himself at an auction.

Before we left for BirthdayPalooza, Farmer H was out and about, picking up his medicine, and probably buying clandestine Casey's donuts. I was also out and about. At my own pharmacy, which is a couple blocks from Farmer H's. I don't see eye-to-eye with them. Even when I am tasked with picking up Farmer H's medications, they somehow manage to leave one out of the bag, and a return trip is needed.

Anyhoo... I wasn't at my pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. I was looking for arch supports. The kind you put inside your shoes. DUH! As if anyone would put an arch support OUTSIDE her shoe. I say her, because it probably could happen with a him. Ever since I hurt my ankle and developed what I think is Posterior Tibial Tendinitis, it helps to have an arch support in that shoe. I wanted some for other shoes, for all the casino-walking we'd be doing on BirthdayPalooza.

My pharmacy is smaller than CeilingRed's, where drug-seeking Farmer H goes. As Even Steven must have decreed, my pharmacy had all manner of foot aids, except arch supports. Oh, well. I was hoping to save myself a trip to The Devil's Playground. Even coming up empty-footed on arch supports from my pharmacy, I was in no mood to go all the way to Next Town. Not today, Devil!

On the way home, it hit me. I should have checked in CeilingRed's! I called Farmer H, but he'd already been there. He said he'd go back, though. I described exactly what I needed. In detail. Do you think Farmer H was listening? I'm pretty sure he had a look on his face like our old dog Grizzly, if I'd read him the instruction manual for flying a 747. Just to be sure, I said,

"When you think you've found them, email me a picture. To make sure it's the right thing. It takes too long to load a picture when you text."

Note that I SPECIFICALLY said to email me the picture. With the reason why.

About 15 minutes later, Farmer H called me. "I'm in the store. They don't have none. I sent you a picture. All they have are ball supports. For the ball of your foot."

"Okay. I have to hang up to find the picture. I'll call you back."

Well. There was NO picture. No pic. So it didn't happen, I guess!

"I don't have a picture. I can't believe they have ball supports and not arch supports."

"Well, they do. I SENT the picture."

After a bit of prodding and virtual torture with virtual spikes shoved under his virtual fingernails... Farmer H admitted that he had TEXTED me the picture. So all the time I'd wasted on looking for an email was never being restored to the end of my life.

"Is this it?"

"No. That's for the ball of the foot. Where your toes meet the foot. NOT the arch. Show me the whole aisle. I bet they have them."

"No. But that gives me hope. When we come back to town tonight for the funeral home, I'm going in there to look."

Sadly, CeilingRed's did NOT have any arch supports! But I found them in Norman, Oklahoma, when we took The Pony to the local Devil's Playground.

I got two packs. Of course, my foot hurt while walking through the store looking for them...