Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Mrs. HM Has A Crumby Hubby

I should have known that Farmer H wasn't done annoying me. He so glibly explained away his pee some random water on the toilet seat. Then acted like I was making things up. Believe you me, Mrs. HM has a vivid imagination, and can most certainly make up better stuff than pee on a toilet seat. Even in a state of unconsciousness. Like the dream I had Friday night about villains chasing me around a casino.

Allow me to tell you some details, because now that a couple days have passed, I'm noticing some parts that might have been prophetic! In this dream, I wandered around a casino, looking for four friends, to give them money. I had a stack of five twenties in my left pants pocket, and a stack of five twenties in my right pants pocket. So, $200 I was trying to give my friends.

In this dream, two bad guys ran in with guns. I think they were dressed in black, like ninjas. Lucky that Dream HM knew the mob bosses who ran the casino! They yelled at me and my friends to "Head down to the tunnel!" I guess that was as secret hiding place. As my friends and the mob bosses scurried, somebody flung a bucket of coins in the air, which distracted the other patrons into crawling around grabbing them, and blocked the path of those ninja villains.

Heh, heh! I woke up due to Farmer H's morning dressing routine, and never knew what happened. I felt cheated. We shall revisit this dream, perhaps tomorrow...

Anyhoo... that revelation just hit me, but what I started out to do right now was show you some evidence a picture:

It's not a banana peel stuffed in the cushions, but it's garbage left by Farmer H at his La-Z-Boy. I discovered it Sunday morning, and at first thought it was crushed-up crackers. We have crackers, but Farmer H doesn't eat them. Not even in chili. And they're older than the last time we had chili, so I might need to use them as dog treats. Anyhoo... my second guess was those little hard breadsticks that come in plastic with a little pool of cheese for dipping. I know I've seen some of them that Farmer H bought at the auction right after Christmas.

Oh, I didn't do a taste test! That would be crazy! I just left those crumbs there. I'm not a MAID, by cracky! I went on about my business, and when I came upstairs to make Farmer H his supper that evening, the crumbs had mysteriously disappeared. I'm hoping he threw them away, rather than eating them.

Farmer H even had the good sense to ADMIT HIS WRONGDOING this time! He said it was popcorn. We have some little individual bags of different flavors that I bought to include in The Pony's package from Easter.

"I guess it was on the footrest, and fell down there when I closed up the chair."

I didn't even bother to ask how you get popcorn on the footrest while you're leaned back in a La-Z-Boy eating popcorn.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Now He's A Literary Critic

Farmer H's book arrived on Friday. I must say that I was surprised. That could be because when I ordered it off Lulu, I received a message that it would be here on Wednesday, through FedEx. Yet when I tried to use the tracking two days later, I first got a message that the package was not trackable, and then a message that the package would arrive on Monday, by mail.

Well. It got here. In a padded envelope, rolled up by the mailman, and shoved to the back of EmBee's throat. I left the book, still in the envelope, on the kitchen counter for Farmer H to open. I know he wouldn't have minded if I took it out, but that's about 30% of the fun of getting a new book: OPENING THE PACKAGE!

I knew from the description that this book was paperback, and 138 pages. That was no shock. What WAS a shock was when Farmer H hollered down the steps to me, at 11:08 p.m. on Friday night,

"I finished my book!"

SWEET GUMMI MARY! Farmer H is not a reader. In fact, he'd even left for the auction at 6:00 that evening, and returned around 8:30. So he'd read that book in 2.5 hours! Maybe it was large print. Maybe there were photos. Maybe the spacing was generous.

Anyhoo... Farmer H had finished the book he'd been excited about.

"That was good. I'm not so sure he told the whole truth, though. I think he might've left some stuff out."

Farmer H. The literary critic.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Plop, Plop, Pizz, Pizz, Oh, What A Big Lie That Is!

I am losing patience with Farmer H. No! Really! I know that is hard to fathom, what with the glowing reviews he gets here on an almost daily basis. But he's gone too far this time. I think Judge Judy needs to give him a speech about her leg, and the current state of precipitation.

For 30 years, I have chided Farmer H for his careless bathroom habits. No, he's not a seat leaver-upper. That only happened ONCE, and I discovered it in the middle of the night, in the months before Baby Genius was born. It's one of the few lessons Farmer H learned.

There has been an ongoing battle about is aim. Sweet Gummi Mary! As careless as he is, putting the seat up would not help. It would only mean that I risked my head popping off from the pressure of bending over to constantly wipe up the floor. As it is now, I risk my head popping off from elevated blood pressure due to yelling at Farmer H. At least twice a week, I have to say,

"Why is my butt wet after sitting on the toilet?"

Farmer H is always clueless. He gives that little chuckle, as if I'm SIMPLE, like that character Pangle in Cold Mountain. Then he says,

"I don't know. Because I didn't pee on it."

 "I don't pee out of the back of my right thigh. So I don't know how that seat got wet."

"I don't either. I wiped it off."

"Why would you wipe it off if you didn't pee on it? I saw the square of toilet paper you didn't bother to flush. I guess that was your wiper. You missed some."

"Ha ha. HM, I wiped it off! There was nothing on the seat."

"My butt/thigh says there was. Why can't you just admit it? And stop doing it!"

"I wiped it because I knew you'd say I peed on it. So just in case, I wiped off the seat."

"Yet it was still wet."

"Maybe some water splashed up there."


"When I peed. Maybe water splashed up out of the toilet onto the seat."

What in the NOT-HEAVEN? Is Farmer H peeing out of a fire hose? That's the stupidest thing I ever heard. Short of putting in a surveillance camera, I don't know how to confront him with proof of his guilt.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Cheeky Status Of Genius

As a follow-up to the tale of Genius's lottery ticket misfortune a couple days ago, I can now reveal how he's coping. He contacted me Friday morning, concerning another, more joyous matter, and I was able to determine his Post Loser Stress Syndrome status.

Genius is coping.

He is not, however, one to blindly turn the other cheek. I gingerly delved into the incident, and heard the edge in Genius's voice.

"I guess you're over the lottery ticket incident..."

"Actually, I'm not! I'm still mad! But what am I gonna do? I can't demand the money."

"Heh, heh. I bet you're not gonna let Friend scratch one of your two tickets I'm getting ready to mail with your letter this week."

"NO! In fact, I still had my letter last week after we scratched the Easter tickets. They came on the same day. I opened the letter, and snatched up my two tickets. 'YOU HAVE LOST YOUR TICKET PRIVILEGES!' He just laughed."

"So you're both going to the wedding? You're not THAT mad..."

"No. Everything's okay for the wedding trip. I've got a half day of work, and then we're leaving. The rehearsal and dinner is tonight. I'll be there late. The good thing is, it's at a winery, with a hotel."

That's a VERY good thing. I'm pretty sure Genius will be mellow after a few glasses of wine.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Farmer H Has Money Problems

Every week, I dole out Farmer H's cash allowance. We started this method many years ago. I don't like the idea of Farmer H carrying around the checkbook. I'm the one who writes out the bills. Early on, I gave him a couple checks to have on hand, but I never knew when he might use them. The check numbers got out of order, and the checks he carried in his tri-fold got all misshapen so that I didn't want to used them if he traded them for a more current check number. Plus, Farmer H forgot to tell me the amount and vendor where he spent the check, so I'd have to wait for the statement to reconcile my ledger.

We are not credit card people. We have one. I don't even carry mine with me on a daily basis. We use the debit card for things like groceries and pet food and prescriptions and Lowe's items. Farmer H remembers to give me his receipts about 80 percent of the time. But for our weekly expenditures, we each have (an equal) cash allowance to use as we see fit, including gas for our vehicles.

I go to the bank every Friday, and withdraw the weekly cash. I put Farmer H's money in a secret hiding place in the Mansion kitchen. Don't be breaking in to look for it! Farmer H knows where to find his money. He leaves it there until Monday morning, when he replenishes his tri-fold.

This week, I saw on Wednesday that Farmer H's money was still in the secret hiding place. That was unusual. I planned to mention it when he came home, but he beat me to it by phone around noon.

"I got to town this morning, and I didn't have no money! I stopped by Casey's for a breakfast sandwich and a soda. It was $5.06. I was lucky I had a five in my billfold. And change in my pocket. I forgot to pick up my money this week!"

"Yeah. I saw it here. Do you want me to lay it out for you?"

"Put it where I keep my Storage Unit Store money. Then I'll remember it."

"Good thing you had that five."

"Well... I had a hundred on me, but I didn't want to break it."

Farmer H people problems.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Mrs. HM Plans, Genius's Friend Laughs

Every holiday, I send my boys a package full of treats. When Genius was in college, Farmer H delivered his stuff in person. It was only a 2-hour drive. The Pony is 9 hours away, so his goes in a flat-rate box, by mail. Now that Genius lives in Kansas City, his also is sent by mail.

I asked Genius if he wanted such a care package for the Easter holiday. I always include enough for Genius's Friend, too. They share an apartment, with Genius commuting to his job every day, and Friend working from home, being sent about the country and western hemisphere several times a month by his employer. They don't really need me sending them treats, since each draws a salary higher than my own when I retired after 28 years! Still, it's a tradition for me to send Genius treats.

Anyhoo... Genius said they didn't really need any treats for Easter, as they'd barely finished the Valentines goodies. However, they wouldn't mind some scratcher tickets. Since I always include some in the package, I was getting off easy with just an envelope of lottery tickets to mail. Friend is like an extra son to Farmer H and me, so of course I include some for him. I do not, however, send him regular tickets every week when I send two in Genius's letter. I think Genius lets him scratch one anyway, though the assignation of any winnings is at Genius's whim.

Because some of the ticket assortment was bigger than a regular envelope, I got a manila envelope for the Genius and Friend tickets. I put the smaller ones in a regular business size envelope, with GENIUS on one, and FRIEND on the other, and tucked the two larger tickets into the flap, without sealing up the business envelopes. Then I shoved them, side by side, down into the manila envelope. At the post office, I told the gal I'd rather my envelope didn't get bent. She said in that case, it would have to be mailed as a package, so I said NO, and paid a dollar-something regular postage to send it. 

The Pony got his regular box, with enclosed scratchers, faster than any package I've ever sent him. I was happy to get a text from The Pony on Monday evening, declaring that he had won $85 on his scratchers! I'm pretty sure he was happier than I. The problem with The Pony's winnings is that he'll have to wait until we make a visit, and I buy those winners from him, or until I deposit money in one of his accounts. He has not specified his preference for payment yet. It's kind of hard to redeem Missouri lottery tickets when you're living smack-dab in the middle of Oklahoma.

Later Monday night, I got a text from Friend. A picture!

That's just the WIN ALL part that I cropped out. He actually sent me the whole ticket.

It was a $10 ticket, and he won $100. Of course I was excited. Giving someone else a winning ticket is almost as good as having a winning ticket for myself! Thus commenced an interesting three-way text exchange.

"Wow! That's a good "winnell," as Farmer H calls it!"

FRIEND: "If only a few of those $5s were a little higher."

"I know. They shouldn't have less than the value of the ticket, I think. But MoLottery didn't consult me!"

FRIEND: "Hahaha. I ended up with $190 overall."

"Great! The Pony had $85, including one $50 winner."

FRIEND: "Awesome! Genius is not so lucky with his haul."

"I notice that he is not revealing his winnings. I'm sure he's stewing, because I obviously picked the best tickets to give you and The Pony."

GENIUS: "MEANWHILE I just won $45."

"That's $45 more than you had before your envelope arrived! I can't use my x-ray vision to pick out equal winners. If I could, I'd keep them for myself. That $45 can buy you a couple drinks to drown your losing sorrows."

GENIUS: "This can pay for our trip to our friends' wedding this weekend."

[Let the record show that Genius and Friend have a whole community of their-college-graduate friends living in Kansas City, and that this wedding is, I assume, in St. Louis or College Town. There was another wedding a few months ago. Genius was supposed to be a best man in one of them.]

"Well, among the three of you, you've won all the money back that was spent on tickets! Can't beat that with a stick! Sorry yours didn't win as much."

GENIUS: "Well, Friend picked the stacks we each got!"

"What??? I tried to separate them by date and purchase point, so everyone would have a fair shot at a fortune. I got them over three days, and laid them out so nobody had all the same day or same kind or same place. That'll learn ya, to let him sort them!"

GENIUS: "No, they were still in separate envelopes, but he picked which one we each got."

"All my fair play planning for naught! I DID have your names on the envelopes, you know. Except for the big tickets that didn't fit. I tried to tuck them in the flap of the named envelopes. Because I'm OCD like that."

GENIUS: "'I DIDN'T SEE THAT!' Friend says, while laughing."

"You're not going to make him spend it all on the wedding trip, are you? I'll be darned if I would even share my own winnings with your dad!"

GENIUS: "He was scratching the ones with MY name!"

"Ohhh... I guess I shouldn't be laughing. You DID buy him drinks and give him $20 when you won your $400 jackpot on CasinoPalooza. Maybe he'll share some of your rightful winnings back with you. Or not."

Heh, heh! I don't know how they resolved it. I think possession is 10/10 of the lottery law! I didn't want to text Genius the next day, in case there were any hard feelings, which would start it up again. I'm pretty sure they came to an agreement. We didn't get a call to bail Genius out of jail or anything. I'm sure he would have been just fine about the envelopes being wrongly assigned, if Genius had won all that money on an envelope designated for Friend! It's not like you can look at a ticket and tell it's a winner.

I have a feeling Genius will keep closer tabs on future tickets. Friend might not be scratching any of those weekly tickets for a while.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

You Know It's Springtime In Hillmomba When Mrs. HM Gets A Butt-Chewin'

Spring has sprung in Hillmomba. A little bird didn't tell me. My ample buttocks told me.

My butt doesn't so much have a language of its own. It communicates non-verbally, in the form of itching. Localized itching, not a wide-spread rash such as poison ivy. I don't get poison ivy. Had it once as a kid, on one forearm, and never again. Not that I'm complaining. I gladly let my sister the future ex-mayor's wife, and my mom, monopolize the pretty pink calamine lotion.

There are four distinct bites voicing their discomfort from my butt. One is in the upper butt-back border, above and to my left of the crack. Another is on the crease of the butt-thigh border, right side. The other two are technically in thigh territory, about three inches below the butt proper, on the right side.

I blame Farmer H.

Wouldn't you? Where am I going to pick up insecticritters that bite my flesh in that area? I figure Farmer H, after mowing the fields most of Sunday, sat down in his La-Z-Boy before and after cooking our Easter feast on Gassy G. So any chiggers he picked up while stirring the grasses had a chance to disembark into the comfy cushions of the La-Z-Boy. Where I sit each morning in my thin-fabric pajama pants.

Of course I relayed this scenario to Farmer H, and he DENIED having anything to do with my itching. Can you believe that? I'm sure you can.

"I don't know why you always want to blame me!"

"Where else am I going to get bitten by something like that? I never walk in the grass. Always on the sidewalk or concrete or gravel, for maybe five minutes a day, when I go to town. You mowed Sunday, and I started itching Monday."

"You could have got it from the dogs."

"Yes. In which case I'd expect to have itchy bumps on my scalp, or neck, or chest, or arms. Parts that come in contact with the dogs as I pet them or hug them on the side porch."

"See there? Even you admit it."

"No. I do not. I guess you think I pet the dogs by rubbing my butt on them!"

Farmer H had no response to that bit of logic. So I'm declaring myself the winner of this blame game.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Not Much Gets Past Mrs. HM

Like a seasoned scout, I can glean clues from my environment. I don't need to look for bent-over blades of grass, or broken twigs to see where the trail is leading me. All I need to do is be observant, kicked-back in the La-Z-Boy late morning, HIPPIE on my lap. I can see who is coming and going on the gravel road. The weather. My dogs on the front porch.

The dogs are a good barometer of activity around the Mansion. Juno lays under the living room window. I can see her head and ears. Which direction she's looking. If her ears lift up. Jack wanders around, up and down the porch steps. Sometimes annoying his hump-buddy cat.

Around 11:15 on Monday, I saw Copper Jack come running across the front yard, from up near the gravel road. This was unusual. Sometimes he's on our porch, too, walking around with shoulders hunched, ready for Juno to start barking. Sometimes he's in the front yard, joined by my little Jack, for play purposes, or napping. Sometimes he comes straight across the yard, from under the fence that divides our property from his rightful homestead.

I don't know where Copper Jack had been, but it was clear that he was headed for our BARn area, in a rush. Juno had not been under the window. Jack was nowhere to be seen. I knew that this meant somebody was in our BARn field. Since I didn't hear our dogs barking their fool heads off, and Copper Jack himself was silent, I figured it was probably Farmer H himself.

I went to the door and looked out. Uh huh. I only waited about 10 seconds before I saw SilverRedO driving across the BARn field. Coming from the Freight Container Garage. SilverRedO turned up the field, like heading for the road. Farmer H disregards the driveway from over there. He goes directly across the ditch between field and gravel road, without a pretense of driving around to hit the driveway.

A few more minutes of watching, and I saw the trailer appear, with HOS (Farmer H's Oldest Son) sitting on the metal rail at the front, as Farmer H backed SilverRedO down toward the BARn. Huh. They had been working since 8:00 over at the $5000 house. Now they had obviously come to get something. It's about a 20-minute drive, one way.

I needed to know what they had come for. Not because I'm nosy and controlling like that, but so I would know how much to worry. Farmer H has talked about taking his tractor to town. I don't like this idea, because it's dangerous as all get-out. He has to drive a couple miles on a 55 mph county highway, and also through town. He needs a follow-vehicle for safety, and HOS is technically not supposed to be driving right now. Though Farmer H says he could drive the tractor, because no license is needed. Which I think is poppycock, because what's next, a 3-year-old driving a tractor?

Farmer H has also mentioned taking his tractor to town on the trailer. There's nowhere to park it on the street in front of the $5000 house, and the driveway is only big enough for one car. The streets are narrow over there.

Anyhoo... Farmer H had also mentioned taking some roofing metal to town, to put a roof on the concrete shed at the $5000 house. That would require the trailer. The wind was gusting about 30 mph. Not great weather to be hauling sheets of roofing metal. Or handing it up and screwing it down on the roof of a shed.

I sent Farmer H a text: "What are you loading?"

He sent back: "The metal."

Okay. Mission accomplished. My worry level for the day was only about a 6/10, rather than a 9/10. That's assuming that HOS rode inside SilverRedO, and not sitting on top of the metal.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Don't Just Mark The Calendar

What's going on? Here in Hillmomba, there has been a contradiction-level event! It's as if the earth has stopped spinning on its axis. I don't even know if the sun is still rising in the east. Okay. That might be because I don't get up until 10:00 a.m. But something odd is happening.

I'm kind of worried about Farmer H. He has limited his illicit Casey's donuts to ONE a day! He's lost 9 pounds. He put away a couple of grocery items a few weeks ago. And it's been well over a year since I've found a banana peel stuffed down in his La-Z-Boy, or clipped toenails in my Frosted Berry candle on the mantel.

Maybe it's another one of his maniacal plans to (I'm pretty sure) try to kill me. Every now and then, such a series of illogical events occurs that can only point my finger in that direction. In addition, sometimes I'm too slow to catch on, and my blog buddy Sioux has to suggest that Farmer H is gaslighting me.

Yes, something is off. I wonder if Farmer H might have fallen on his head while renovating his $5000 house. Lingering effects of a concussion might explain his recent behavior. Or perhaps I should check him for a fever. I don't mean to alarm anyone, but don't just mark the calendar, carve a notch in Stonehenge!


Sorry! I should have made sure you were sitting down. Do you need some smelling salts? A cool compress for that knot forming on your noggin? A snort of Papa's Recipe, made by the Waltons' good friends the Baldwin Sisters?

NOW do you understand my concern? Books and Farmer H go together like Mrs. HM and feet. Farmer H has never exhibited an interest in books. He has moved boxes of them for me, and kindly arranged them on shelves "in a way that looks pretty."

I won't say that Farmer H detests books on the level I detest feet, but he shows no love for them. Not even the books I've bought him as gifts. A book on Route 66. A book on the Alaska railways. A book on classic cars. All subjects near and dear to Farmer H's heart. Yet he nods and smiles when unwrapping them, then lets them lay on the pool table until next Christmas. Let the record show that we don't play pool as much as we used to.

I still have tremors in my hands, from last night when Farmer H sent me a text, from his La-Z-Boy down to my dark basement lair, requesting a specific title. I swear, I thought there was something supernatural going on!

"This guy I know has an auto biography about his life ,the title is It's Been a not-heaven of a ride can you get it from your book place I would read it"

[I swear, that's exactly as he typed it, with the exception of me leaving out the guy's name, and switching a certain locale to "not-heaven."]

"My book place? You mean Amazon?"

"Ya Amazon thank you"

"Not there. It's on Lulu. Picture of him on a horse?"


"They have to print it when you order."

"Ok just would like to read it since I new him"

The last time I know that Farmer H read a book (okay, the ONLY time I know that Farmer H read a book) was last summer, when he went to see Atz Kilcher, and a book came with the ticket to the event. It kept him occupied for several months.

Who am I to deny Farmer H the pleasure of reading a book? It shipped last night at 8:16.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Oh, What A Tangled Chain We Saw, When First We Plan For A Big Hee-Haw

Let the record show that Farmer H and I were married at the end of October. Oh, not THIS PAST October! We haven't been living in sin for nigh on 30 years! No siree, Bob! I'm just using the reference to set the stage for the following story. We were married at the end of October, and Farmer H had his first Christmas with my family that year.

Let the record further show that we were simple people. Farmer H moved from a one-bedroom rented apartment into my $17,000 house, which he'd been doing a lot of work on for me. For free. Seeing as how it was going to be his house, too. Also let that fat record reveal that my parents were thrifty people, yet went all-out at Christmas. Farmer H had heard all about it, even though he had not yet attended such festivities.

We were just getting on our feet, paying off some of his previous-marriage debt, him fulfilling his child support responsibilities as well. In addition, we had jointly purchased the 10 acres the Mansion now sits upon, before even inking our signatures to the marriage license. We weren't rich, but we weren't poor. We were living within our means.

My mom asked me to find out what Farmer H would like for Christmas. She didn't give any price limit, but I knew about how much she spent on everybody. Farmer H was not used to big Christmases. I didn't mention an amount to him, but asked what he'd like for a gift.

"I can't think of anything I really need. They don't have to get me nothin'. But a chainsaw would be nice. To work on the land, and start a barn."

I relayed the info to Mom and Dad, and they were glad to know something they could get Farmer H. My dad asked if a refurbished chainsaw would be good enough, because sometimes, it's better to have a higher-end used model than a brand-new cheap model. I was sure that would be fine with Farmer H. Even then, he was all about getting the most for a buck.

Dad thought it would be funny to leave that chainsaw in the basement while we unwrapped the gifts. So that Farmer H would be surprised, in case he started to think he was automatically getting it. Of course Mom and I thought this would be amusing. Poor Farmer H had no idea what he was getting himself into when he married Mrs. HM.

Christmas morning dawned, and we opened our gifts at home, then headed to Mom and Dad's house for dinner and presents there. Sis and the Ex-Mayor and their little boy Neph were there. Young HOS and young future-Veteran had this Christmas with their mom's family, and would be joining us the next weekend for their gifts.

All the gifts were handed out from under the tree. A frenzy of unwrapping commenced. Farmer H had a couple of new sweatshirts, and a nice western shirt, and a knife. You could see him looking around at the gifts. He helped clean up the torn paper, and stack everybody's gifts in front of them, to clear up the clutter. Then he sat back down. I almost felt sorry for him.

"Did everybody have a nice Christmas?" asked my mom.

Of course we all assured her that we did. Even Farmer H. I really did feel sorry for him. He's not a good actor or liar.

"Oh, wait. I think we forgot one gift. It's down in the basement. Farmer H? Would you mind going down to get it?" my dad asked.

"Sure. I'll go get it. Is it where I'll see it?"

"Yeah. It's at the bottom of the steps."

I'm pretty sure Farmer H thought it was another gift for Neph, and that Dad had asked him to get it because he was sitting closer to the basement door than Ex-Mayor.

Farmer H opened the basement door, and there at the bottom of the four concrete steps sat his "new" chainsaw, with just a bow on top.

I think it was one of his best Christmases.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Oops! I Cut It Again

You know what's worse than getting a little cut on your fingertip? Getting a little cut on your fingertip that you don't know about until AFTER you wash your post-Devil's Playground hand with Germ-X.

There's my fingertips, all squooshed up against the nubby center of T-Hoe's steering wheel. If you've been reading my not-so-secret blog, you know that T-Hoe's door handle broke. Then broke completely OFF!

I was injured during the interim, fiddling with the metal latch inside the door frame. I didn't feel pain at the time. It must have been the rush of adrenaline!

Anyhoo... I came out of The Devil's Playground and removed the black knit glove I had stuffed into the clicky-loop metal thingy on the body of T-Hoe. That's what kept the door from unopenably locking on me while I was shopping. Once inside T-Hoe, I did what I always do as soon as I have left The Devil's Playground: washed my hands with the mini bottle of Germ-X that I keep in my purse.


That's when I saw the cut. Still fresh. Still oozing. Smarting from the alcohol component of the Germ-X. You will be pleased to learn that I was able to survive the drive home, even making a few more stops along the way.

Let the record show that my dirty, dirty index finger was in that condition AFTER the Germ-X. Which is not to say that Germ-X is not a good product, only that T-Hoe's grime must have been grease-based.

Once I got home and gave the dogs a snack and carried in my groceries, I washed my hands at the sink with foamy soap given to me at Christmas by my sister the ex-mayor's wife. I did not feel any pain from the cut, and was able to remove the greasy residue, with scrubbing.

Alas! I had forgotten all about my cut until I quartered a lime for my 44 oz Diet Coke, and squeezed the first section into my foam cup. Since it was already burning fiercely, I figured I might as well finish squeezing the other three quarters. It couldn't hurt any MORE.

Please don't betray my confidence and use this photo to steal my fingerprint...

Friday, April 19, 2019

Get A Grip

We had rain and thunder Wednesday night. I don't know about the wind. I do know that a new tree was toppled overnight. And that it had nothing to do with the wind.

Farmer H got a picture of it for me, as we were on our way to town in SilverRedO. This is on our gravel road, almost to Mailbox Row. Just behind the little bus-waiting shed that HOS (Farmer H's Oldest Son) built for a family of kids.

You can see the reason for the topple. That dead old tree just couldn't maintain a grip in the thin muddy soil. There's its root bundle, just over SilverRedO's side mirror.

That's really a big tree. It spans the creek.

Can't you imagine Johnny Castle teaching Baby Houseman how to dirty-dance on top of that trunk?

This might be a problem next time the creek rises higher than this. The tree will slam into the side of our low-water bridge, and probably break and get wedged underneath, trapping debris and causing the water to flow out on our gravel road. Then when it recedes, the county highway department will eventually come cut it out.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thank The Gummi Mary, Genius And Farmer H Are Looking Out For Old Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

Last Thursday night at 1:45 a.m., I was kicked back in my OPC (Old People Chair), watching DVRs of The Office. Not a care in the world, chillin' with my OPC heater, enjoying a 10-year-old sitcom episode. Does life get any better than that?


The lights and TV went off! I could faintly hear the whoosh of wind or rain outside. I vaguely remembered rain in the overnight forecast. I don't watch the news or weather any more, seeing as how it can't give me a day off work. I hadn't noticed any thunder.

As quickly as it went off, it came back on. I didn't even have time to wonder what would happen to me in my OPC. It runs on electricity, though. The first time we had a power outage while I was in my OPC, I folded it down as soon as the power flickered back on. Good thing, because back then, after several stops and starts, the power stayed off for a few hours.

Genius and Farmer H put their heads together, and hooked me up with a backup power source. I swear, it looks like a power cord for a laptop, only bigger, with a rectangular thingy that seems to hold power for a little while.

When I went upstairs to bed, I reset the microwave clock. Farmer H had no idea that a storm went through and knocked out the power for less than one minute.

Until he drove to his Storage Unit Store on Friday morning, and saw a big tree down, across the road from the parking lot.

When I went to town, taking a detour because the creek had risen so much that I knew it would be over the bridge on my regular route... I also saw random trees down. Assorted sizes, here and there. Not a whole grove of trees. Just singles. The ones I noticed were healthy trees, not dead or hollow or really old like this one. They were splintered, too. Like they had been twisted. A couple of trees just had one limb twisted off.

Had I known that we were having rotational winds, I probably would have been more concerned when the power went off.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

We Meet Again

Monday, I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up the 25 pills that they had shorted me on Saturday. Well. Had shorted me with an explanation, and a slip to show the shorting, with how many were coming to me, and the day they'd be ready.

I don't like these situations. Like I told Farmer H,

"I hope they know what's going on and don't try to charge me again. Do you think I should take this note? Surely they have to keep detailed records of dispensing (or not) drugs."

"Well, I'd take it. Just in case. You never know." Said the man whose pharmacy ALWAYS forgets to put one of his prescriptions in the bag, necessitating a trip back to town.

I showed up at my pharmacy around 1:15. After the lunch rush, after all their employees should have been back from lunch. A time when I expected somebody in charge to be there, not just some know-nothing lackeys holding down the fort. Imagine my despair when I walked in and saw DOOFUS behind the counter! The gal who refuses to run my debit card, saying the register can't do that.

She knew that I knew it was her. We were mentally circling each other like two seasoned sumos beginning a championship match.

"How can I help you?"

"I'm here to pick up the rest of my prescription that I didn't get on Saturday."

I handed DOOFUS the note. She typed up my info on the computer screen and frowned. Looked at the paper. Looked at the computer. Said,

"Just a minute. I'll be right back."

DOOFUS went behind the tall counter. I could hear her murmuring to a pharmacist or pill-counter about my note. No words were discernible, but in my mind, she sounded like she was calling the validity of my note into question. Even though it was on store stationery. I'd assume this is not the first time they've ever given out a note like that. And we know that DOOFUS has worked at this pharmacy for at least three months, since TWICE she's denied me the use of my debit card, and was here again now.

I heard the pharmacist or pill-counter murmur that of course I had come back for the rest of my refill. Not in so many words, but in such a tone.

DOOFUS came back to the counter. To me, her attitude seemed grudging.

"It's going to take a minute. They're working on it now."

I wandered around looking at their Easter egg contest for kids (Find a brown egg, and get a chocolate egg). I saw lots of colorful plastic eggs, but no brown one. Not that I was looking, of course. I'm not a kid. I refused to sit down and wait, and I refused to leave the immediate area of the counter. Just because. I heard pills rattling, and then DOOFUS came back out and called my name.

"Mrs. Thevictorian? It's ready now."

I went to the counter, almost daring her to charge me for the rest of my prescription that had already been paid in full. DOOFUS typed up stuff on the computer screen. Then told me to sign for the medicine. Sadly, she did not try to charge me.

Sadly. Because I was just itching to inform her that her register CAN TAKE A DEBIT CARD NOW, since I did it on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

There Was Really No Need To Hurry

Saturday morning, I had a coughing fit around 7:00. I wandered into the kitchen, just to be vertical for a few minutes, planning on going back to bed. I'd only been sleeping for three hours. This cough has kept me up even later than my usual 3:00 a.m. bedtime.

While in the kitchen, where I keep my everyday prescription meds, I decided to call in my refills. I had several left past the refill date. I'm not like Farmer H, who calls them in the day before he runs out. Sometimes the day after he has run out. Actually, he doesn't call his in at all, but drives the empty bottles there and drops them off and comes back for the refills.

Anyhoo... it's an automated number, so I punched in my refills, and the option to pick them up at the store. I always do that. No deliveries for me. The recording said they would be ready after 10:30. Which usually means AT 10:30, or before, from my many years of business with my pharmacy.

It was 10:00 when I re-crawled out of bed, not really refreshed by my intermittent six hours of slumber. I would have slept even later, but it's easier to cough sitting up than laying down. I puttered around with HIPPIE. Put away some laundry. Coughed. Got a text from my pharmacy at 11:09 that my three refills were ready. Okay. Good to know. I figured I could pick them up when I went to town. I watched some TV. Decided to take a shower. OH CRAP! It was SATURDAY! The pharmacy closed at 2:00. Or was it 1:00?

Well. It didn't really matter if I picked up the prescriptions that day, or waited until Monday. I had enough. But I was going to town anyway. I'd be there by 2:00. Maybe even 1:00. I might as well get it over with. I'd have to hustle, though, to get there by 1:00. If the pharmacy was closed, no big deal. But I might have something else I wanted to do on Monday...

I hurried around. Got showered and dressed. Gave Juno a quick pat and a few nuggets of cat kibble. Scurried to EmBee on my way out, finding only a single one-page glossy advertisement for the used car business that had sent out those troublesome fake keys last time. I put T-Hoe's pedal to the metal, and zoomed off to town.

It was 12:52 when I parked in front of my pharmacy. The sign on the door said it was open from 9:30 to 1:00 on Saturdays. The clerk behind the counter greeted me and rushed to help. She took my info, and went straight to the hanging alphabetized bags of orders waiting to be picked up in the drive-thru bay. Brought mine back, set it down, said the price, and TOOK MY DEBIT CARD! Yeah! I KNEW that was possible, even though the doofus who waited on me the previous two months said it couldn't take a debit card.

After entering my pin, and signing for the meds, I took back my debit card from the clerk. She pushed the stapled-shut paper bag across the counter, and said,

"Oh. We were short on one of your medicines. We owe you 25 pills. You can pick them up on Monday."


WHY did they send that text saying:
"3 of 3 Rx's ready for Hillbilly Mom at 11:08 AM. Thank you!"

Clearly, only 2 of 3 Rx's were ready! If I'd known that, I definitely would have waited until Monday to pick them up.

The tale of Monday's pick-up tomorrow.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Somebody Got Extra Mashed At The Annual Dinner

Farmer H and I might make it a habit to attend the annual membership dinner of our credit union. The main lure is the 1% increase in interest we can get on a certificate of deposit. Then there's the free stuff (got two umbrellas and two pens), and the prize drawings. And let's not forget the food!

The dinner was catered, and served buffet style. Sis had told us to get there early for a good table. Meaning a table where you could be on the outside edge, and not ram your chair into the person at the table behind you. They crammed a lot of tables into that event center. Over 90 members were in attendance. Basically, we had a choice of left side or right side. We took the left. And the table at the very front, by the food, or at the very back, by the sound system. We took the back. As Sis said, "When you sit up front, the people in line for the food are always banging into your back."

Well. We found out that didn't really matter. We were very lucky to be the first set of tables chosen to go forward to the buffet-style catered food. When we returned to our table with our plate, we saw that a line wound all the way up the side of the room, and across the back of our seats. Still, as Sis pointed out, "Pretty soon, the line will be past us, but it will still be going across the front at the buffet."

I didn't avoid getting jabbed in the back anyway. While I was in line down the center of the room, the guy behind me jabbed me with his baby's feet. A baby's feet can be more jabby than you might expect. I didn't say anything, because it was a baby. But you'd think people would be more careful with how they move about a crowded area with their baby out front of them like a cow-catcher on a train.

The food was actually quite tasty. We had roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, chicken fettuccine alfredo, mostaccioli, rolls, salad, apple or peach pie, chocolate or vanilla cake. The only item I did not care for (but ate it anyway) was the chicken fettuccine alfredo. It was bland, without any discernible taste, and the chicken in it looked like the little tiny cubes you get in chicken noodle soup. Oh, and the noodles were a spiral kind, not a flat noodle.

I was the last from our table to arrive at the buffet. Sis was first, then Farmer H, then the Ex-Mayor. He kindly motioned me ahead, though. I guess so I could be next to Farmer H. Maybe he thought I might have to fill his plate or something. Anyhoo... we had just started down the table when there was a catastrophe.

I noticed a choice of two kinds of plates. The Chinet kind of sturdy paper plate with a coating to prevent seepage. And a foam plate with three sections, like one for the main course, and two for sides. Well. Nobody was tricking ME into getting a foam plate! I know that there's more room on a regular plate, because you don't have those divider ridges in the way. So I took the sturdy paper plate. So did Farmer H. We know how to get our money's worth at a free dinner.

Sis, however, has separation issues. She does not like her food touching. She took a foam plate. I wouldn't have noticed, except she was just on the other side of Farmer H, getting her mashed potatoes while he was still at the roast beef trough.


Sis's plate collapsed! She only had roast beef on it at that point. She was holding her foam plate under the two side-dish sections, using an ice cream scoop with that thumb thingy to dig out a serving of mashed potatoes. The roast beef on the main course section of her foam plate slopped over into the trough of mashed potatoes! I swear, you can't take Sis anywhere!

"Oh, no! What am I going to do? I have to get this roast beef and gravy out of the mashed potatoes!"

So... our side of the line stalled, while Sis scooped and dipped three lumps of mashed potatoes onto her plate. Now holding it across her forearm so all sections were supported.

When we got back to the table, Sis said, "I really like mashed potatoes, but I didn't want so many of them! I just had to clean my roast beef out of the pan."

She ate about 1.5 scoops of the mashed potatoes, and left the rest on her plate.

It wouldn't have bothered me at all to come upon a trough of mashed potatoes that had some roast beef and gravy laying on top. But then again, I don't have separation issues.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Master Sweaver Moonlights As An Unconscionable Objector

Farmer H's talents are many. Some are buried deep, and have yet to be mined. His driving skill and defiant attitude are not two of them.

We attended a dinner Saturday night at our credit union. It's a once-a-year meeting thing for all members, with free food, and the opportunity for a 1% increase in the interest rate of a certificate of deposit. This was our first time attending, but my sister the ex-mayor's wife and her husband go every year. They tipped us off to the interest rate thingy. Apparently, I don't read fine print on the newsletter.

Anyhoo... we got there early to get a good table. There was plenty of parking on the street. It's angle parking. Farmer H snagged a slot in front of our credit union, less than half a block from the event venue. It's on Main Street. There's a sidewalk in front of the businesses, and a perpendicular peninsula jutting out from the sidewalk, where a crosswalk starts. So technically, the parking spaces were in the area under a giant L that has toppled forward, with that peninsula of concrete being the short leg of the L.

Next to that peninsula was a handicapped parking slot. It has the wheelchair painted on the pavement. No mistaking a handicapped slot. To its right is a an area about 3/4 the size of a parking slot, painted with blue diagonal stripes, with a smooth ramp rather than a curb to get onto the sidewalk. We were in the regular parking slot on the other side of this striped walkway.

You might recall that Farmer H is not the most precise driver or parker. In fact, he always ends up with my wheels parked on the white line of the parking slot. CasinoPalooza was a nightmare for me, trying to get A-Cad's door open all the way to get in.  If the car next to you is parked correctly, you're still not getting that door open if A-Cad is on the line. Farmer H would have to back up, clear of the other car, and wait for me to open the door to get in. I wasn't having that on Main Street.

"You're on the line. Someone will park next to us, and I won't be able to get the door open. You can't back up for me to get in, because you'll be out in traffic."

"I'm not on the line."

"I can see it right here. Cheat over into the blue zone. It's no big deal. That's just a walkway. Then I'll have plenty of room to get this door open."

"I'm not parking there! That's the handicap spot."

"It is NOT! The handicap spot is the one next to the concrete. This is just a walkway, with the ramp."

"No. It's part of the handicap spot! It's for people with a lift on the side of a van. I'm not parking there and blocking someone in a wheelchair from getting out!"

"You won't be blocking them! Look how wide that walkway is. They'll still have plenty of room if you just go about a foot into it."

"No. I won't do it."

Farmer H DID back up and straighten A-Cad. Even moved over a little. But the driver's side wheels were still within the white lines of our own parking space.

"I hope nobody parks too close to us. I won't be able to get in."

"You'll get in. But I'm not blocking that wheelchair spot."

"You know, I've NEVER seen a van park and let somebody out on a wheelchair lift. EVER. Not in my whole life. And I'm pretty old."

"They do it all the time! I saw on on Facebook just today!"

"Seriously? What's that got to do with this specific parking space? That wheelchair person is gonna be out of luck. Because all the stores are closed now, and this hall with the dinner has no ramps. Look at it! Both sets of those steps. They're pretty steep, too. It's going to take me a while to get up them. No way is anybody in a wheelchair getting in there."

Farmer H had no answer for that. Only that I was hard-headed. Which wasn't really an answer pertaining to my question.

Of course you know what happened. When we came out two hours later, in the rain, a car had parked too close to A-Cad. Had its own driver's side tires on its own white parking slot lines. I could get A-Cad's door open one notch.  I could fit in between, but not get my knee bent at a sharp enough angle to get in the car. I need that door all the way open.

"Well. I can't get in. I guess I can walk up to the credit union drive-thru, and you can pull in there to get me."

"No. I'm backing up."

"You can't. There's traffic."

"I'm pulling over at an angle, in this walkway."

Seems to me that such a problem could have been remedied by doing that in the first place, like I had commanded suggested.

Oh, and funny thing. There was a four-door pickup truck parked in that handicap spot.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Not Even This Can Sweep Mrs. HM Off Her Street

You know how when you're in a hurry, everything goes wrong?

Fridays are the only day I have any sort of time schedule. I have to get the boys' letters to the main post office over in Sis-Town by 11:30. That ensures The Pony of getting his letter in Oklahoma by the end of the week. Yeah. It DOES take an extraordinarily long time. Genius, on the other hand, will have his in Kansas City by Monday. Since he gets two scratchers every week, I don't want to disappoint him by being a day late.

I usually leave home around 10:20, and I'm at the post office shortly after 11:00. Yesterday, The Universe conspired against me.

I was up by 9:00. Plenty of time for medicine, HIPPIE computing, and shower. I already had my shopping list for The Devil's Playground. The boys' letters in their addressed envelopes, stamped. But I did have to fill out a deposit slip for the MoLottery checks from my big scratcher winner. And a deposit slip in The Pony's account, to put back the amount he'd used to pay his credit card (gotta build some credit before graduation).

Here's where things started to go south. I'd forgotten to make a copy of the MoLottery checks. I didn't have to, but I like to keep a record, for tax purposes. So that meant going down to my lair to the copier. While I was there, I noticed that my bag of trash was full, so I might as well take it upstairs. Farmer H leaves the trash dumpster at the end of the driveway, so I had to put the bag in T-Hoe, drive it up there, get out and put it in as I left.

I needed a ten to put in The Pony's deposit, so I went to the bedroom dresser to make change out of Farmer H's Storage Unit Store money. Except he'd taken it with him, hoping the weather would be good enough to sell. It wasn't. So I needed to stop at Orb K to break the twenty and get a ten.

There's road construction on the main route to the post office. It's been going on since last fall. Due to conclude this fall. Hopefully. So I've been taking an alternate route to avoid the stoppages and detours. This alternate route takes me by our new $5000 house, which is only three houses down from my old $17,000 house I bought before Farmer H and I were married.

Time was ticking. It was already 11:15 when I turned onto that street. Oh, no. There was a white truck in the middle of the road. It looked like an electric company truck, with a lift. That road is really narrow. I got around the truck. Went past the $5000 house. Started up the hill. Past my old $17,000 house.

OH NO! You've got to be kidding me, Universe!

It may be a neighborhood of $5000 and $17,000 houses, but let the record show that the street is CLEAN, by cracky!

Thank the Gummi Mary, that street sweeper made a left turn at the next stop sign. From there, it was only a block to the main post office. I pulled into the parking lot at 11:20.

Whew! That was a close one.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Is Life Giving Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Lemons?

Okay, we know that can't be true. Life doesn't GIVE you anything. You have to buy it or earn it. In this case, I seem to have bought life's lemons.

Remember when I mentioned that I've been adding limes to my 44 oz Diet Coke every evening? I still do that. In fact, I've been buying limes every week. There seems to be no consistency with the limes at The Devil's Playground. They're in the same bin at the produce section. In the same kind of bag. With the same kind of label. But sometimes my limes have a thick skin, and sometimes they have a thin skin. I get more juice out of the thin-skinned limes.

Don't think I'm confusing regular limes with Key limes. I don't want those tiny things, full of seeds. I see them in an adjacent bin. I get the regular sized limes, without seeds. Sometimes, I'll have both thick-skinned nubbly limes, and the thin-skinned smooth limes in one bag. Over the last two purchases, I've discovered something else.

I suspect that some of my limes are lemons!

I'm pretty sure all those are limes. EXCEPT that big fat one with thick skin. I think that's a lemon, by cracky!

When I got to the end of the previous bag, and used a yellow lime like that, it didn't taste right. Didn't taste limey at all! Tasted like I'd added LEMON to my 44 oz Diet Coke. I don't know what shenanigans The Devil has up his sleeve, but I want to get what I pay for.

Don't give me lemons when I don't want to make lemonade.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Warts And All

Farmer H likes to send me pictures from the auction. Treasures that he buys, and can't wait until he gets home to show me. As you might imagine, I'm okay with waiting. In fact, I'm okay with not even knowing what he bought. The money comes out of his weekly cash allowance, or out of his Storage Unit Store bankroll. It's not a concern of mine what he does or doesn't buy.

After a year of operating his Storage Unit Store, Farmer H has developed regulars. He caters to them by looking for stuff they want at the auctions he attends 3-4 times per week. For example, one lady collects elephants. So Farmer H is always on the lookout for elephants. Any style, any size, any medium. He knows she'll buy it. The only thing with elephants is the trunk. "The trunk has to be pointed UP. Nobody will buy it with the trunk down. That's bad luck."

Monday night, Farmer H sent me this picture:

"Frog I bought. $7.00."

That is the most hideous thing I have ever seen. Except maybe for some of those wooden masks that Farmer H has bought at the auction. I figured maybe he has a regular who collects frogs.

When I went to the garage Tuesday, on the way to get my magical elixir, I saw that hideous frog crouched on the side porch. Juno gave it a wide berth, even though that's the area where I feed her a cat kibble treat. It's even uglier in person. AND I noticed that part of it was BROKEN!

"Why did you spend $7.00 on a broken frog?"

"I didn't know it was broken. I thought it was part of the base, like a rock that he was sitting on. So did the lady behind me who was bidding on it. Won't matter anyway. I'm putting it down in the rocks beside the fake fish pond."


If we were only beside the road, we'd be a roadside attraction by now.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Devil's Playground And The Devil, Jr.

Monday, I had lunch with my favorite gambling aunt. We always go to the same place, halfway between our homes, to feast on Personal Pan Pizza. You know what chain has those. I'll call it Pizza Shack, even though that's not quite its name. I don't want all those ads popping up in my sidebars. Funny how yesterday morning, I responded on my laptop Hippie to a comment, with a reference to a baby stroller, and merely hours later, I was inundated with baby stroller ads while reading gossip sites on my desktop New Delly.

Anyhoo... Auntie always has the lunch combo that is a Personal Pan and a trip to the salad bar. I usually just have the Personal Pan, but after several times seeing her deal come out cheaper than my pizza alone, I decided to join her with a salad. Not that I'm trying to be healthy by adding a few leaves of lettuce and lots of eggs and cheese and Ranch Dressing!

The waitress asked what we wanted to drink. Auntie always gets unsweetened tea. Not because she's trying to be particularly healthy and avoid sugar for her diabetes. Because she's also been known to order a dozen chocolate chip cookies for dessert. To go. Auntie just likes tea. And apparently chocolate chip cookies.

You all know my drink of choice! Because I was picking up a 44 oz Diet Coke on the way home, I told the waitress I wanted water to drink.

"But it comes with a soda."

"So make my soda a water."

"I can't do that. I'll have to charge you extra for water."

THE NOT-HEAVEN, YOU SAY! Sweet Gummi Mary! In what universe is it plausible to jack up the price by replacing soda with water? It's not like they give you a gallon jug full of pristine glacier melt-ice! You get a plastic glass full of ice, just like with a soda, only the liquid inside the plastic glass is water from the tap instead of soda that they buy and run through their soda fountain with carbonation.

"Well. I don't really want soda. But I guess I'll take a Diet Coke."

"Is Diet Pepsi okay?"

Not only did I not want soda, I particularly didn't want Diet Pepsi! I only wanted water. I've been sick, you know. I need to stay hydrated to try and cough up that phlegm. I don't need extra caffeine on top of the 44 ounces of Diet Coke I will be having later in the day. But I'll be ding-dang-donged if I'll PAY EXTRA FOR WATER!

"Sure. Yeah. Diet Pepsi."

I can't fault the waitress. She was only following policy, and was quite polite, and served us with just the right amount of attentiveness for refills* and removing plates. She gave Auntie a take-out cup full of unsweetened tea when we left. I'm pretty sure that set them back more than the price of running water into a plastic glass. Anyhoo... we both left her a $3 tip on our bill of $7.49. We stayed a good long time, but it's not like we were taking up a table that was needed by a line of waiting customers. It was pretty unoccupied for the lunch buffet.

Still, because of their water policy, I'm going to have to call Pizza Shack by another name. I now consider them to be The Devil, Jr. Because some people there want ice water, but can only get it if they pay EXTRA.

This name is fitting, I think, because The Devil, Jr., is across the parking lot from The Devil's Playground. Which Auntie had a story about. Seems she went there on Saturday night (Auntie definitely needs to revitalize her social life).

"I couldn't believe it! Saturday night, and they only had ONE CASHIER open! They were telling everyone to use the self-checkout. The lines were ridiculous!"

Well. The time they tell ME to use the self-checkout, I'll be leaving my cart right where it stands and walking out. The Devil's delicious slaw be darned! I will take my business elsewhere.

This customer is really getting tired of never being right anymore.

Let the record show that I had NO refills on my Diet Pepsi. But Auntie had three on her unsweetened tea, and also a take-out cup to go. PLUS she asked for a cup of ice, because her first glass of tea melted it all. The waitress said they had just made it, and cheerfully brought Auntie a cup full of ice.

Silly me! I just now had a scathingly brilliant idea! Next time, I'll order tea. Then ask for a cup of ice. Which will melt, and give me water!

I'm so bright, they call my son Genius!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

I Was Flummoxed!

Sunday around noon, I went in The Gas Station Chicken Store for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. While holding my cup under the spigot of the soda fountain, I saw an elderly lady (probably younger than me) step up to the chicken counter. Problem was, I had not smelled that delicious chicken when I walked in. Usually, you can detect that aroma from the parking lot.

Man Owner was working the register. He does that sometimes through the week, but usually, neither he nor Woman Owner is in the store on Sundays.

"I'm sorry, Ma'am. The kitchen is closed. PERMANENTLY. We had some trouble with the workers, and had to fire them, and we need the others to work out here."


You can't have a Gas Station Chicken Store without CHICKEN! That's crazy! That lady turned to look at me as I was looking at the chicken counter, seeing the empty silver bins behind the glass of the warmer.

"NO! I LOVE the chicken!"

"Me too." She turned to Man Owner. "Maybe you'll find a way to work it out."

Thing is, they always have a HIRING CASHIERS sign on the door. I know good help is hard to find. I frequent a lot of convenience stores! I definitely wouldn't say they have good help. I imagine the firing was for not showing up for work. It's been happening for a while now. I'll go in on a Sunday, and the kitchen will be closed. It's inconvenient if I'm wanting chicken that day, but also beneficial on Mondays and sometimes Tuesday, because the price of an 8-piece box drops from the regular $7.99 to $6.99. And once even to $5.99! Gotta move that inventory some way!

Anyhoo... on Monday, I was surprised to see chicken in the warmer! At a price of $6.99. The only workers were Man Owner, Woman Owner, and a regular chicken-fryer/cashier. It will be interesting to see whose heads rolled, as I observe who's working the rest of the week.

I knew Woman Owner would not let her chicken inventory rot, just to spite the fired workers. Whether she orders more chicken for future weeks remains to be seen.

Monday, April 8, 2019

It Is Against My Nature To Reveal This

After maligning Farmer H for daring to not be in the red Silverado I cursed for driving past our road when he clearly saw me at the mailboxes, and knew I had groceries to carry in... I proceeded to unload the car as far as my strength held out.

Let's not forget that I'm suffering from a probably deadly virus that Farmer H spread to me. I was wheezy and coughy and cranky and fevery, and left some non-immediate items in T-Hoe's rear. Such as two six-packs of Diet Mountain Dew, a six-pack of Diet Coke, an eight-pack of mini Diet Cokes, six bottles of strawberry-banana flavored water, a jar of Peter Pan Honey Roast, a nine-pack of Charmin, a double pack of Bounty Select-a-Size, a three-pack of Puffs Plus Lotion, a pack of large foam bowls, and a pack of small foam bowls.

You may wonder what I could possibly have carried in myself, but I assure you, there were 10 or 12 bags of cold items and bread products and produce and treats for Farmer H. Besides, when Farmer H found out I was doing the shopping earlier, he had said to leave the heavy stuff in the car, and he'd get it later.

Imagine my surprise when I came upstairs to make supper, still wheezy and coughy and cranky and fevery, and saw that Farmer H had not only carried in the remainder of my haul, but had put several items away. Like the bowls. He NEVER does that! Sure, my Peter Pan was missing. And there was a leaning tower of paper products on the stool under his cuckoo clock. But I was impressed. Putting things away is not one of Farmer H's strong points.

"OH! That's nice. You put some things away. But I guess you forgot where the toilet paper goes."

"No. I just didn't get to it yet."

Farmer H got out of the La-Z-Boy and took the nine rolls of Charmin to the hall closet.

"Have you seen my peanut butter?"

"No. Maybe I left a bag."

"It was in with some of the strawberry-banana water."

"Oh. That's over on my chair by the door."

Farmer H went to find the Peter Pan, then back to the La-Z-Boy.

Kudos to Farmer H for the partial putting-away. This tower is still there. The Tide is from a few shopping trips ago. Farmer H carried them in, but not the five more steps it would have taken to set them on the high shelf in the laundry room that adjoins the kitchen. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

I can't put them away myself. I've been sick, you know. Weak. Wheezy and coughy and cranky and fevery. I'm lucky I didn't keel over while pushing my cart/walker around The Devil's Playground.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

How Dare He!

Have I mentioned how much I hate going to The Devil's Playground every week? I think I might have let my true feelings slip out once or twice. At least now that I'm retired, I can go any day, any time. That usually turns out to be on a Friday morning, when I'm over in Sis Town mailing the boys' weekly letters. It's better than a Saturday, or a Friday after school hours. I have a list, and sometimes spend more time in line than in pushing my cart/walker around to gather supplies.

The worst part about my weekly shopping trip is Farmer H's retirement. He's never around now, what with working on his $5000 house. The Pony has been away at college for three years, and is no longer my dependable grocery carrier-inner. So... I have to haul bags and boxes and bottles from T-Hoe's rear to the porch. Pile them up in many trips. Then go up the steps and unlock the door, and pick them up again to carry them in the house. Then put them away.

Farmer H had a doctor's appointment on Friday morning, then worked a while at the $5000 house, then drove over to Bill-Paying Town for some boards, and to visit This Guy and This Guy's Wife, original owners of the $5000 house, in their rehab facility after both had surgery. I knew he wouldn't be around. I was prepared to carry everything in again, then have some lunch, then come upstairs again to make supper for Farmer H before he left for the auction.

Imagine my glee when I was pulling the mail out of EmBee, and SilverRedO came down the hill and turned in to the gravel road! A car was pulling out at the time, so I understood why Farmer H didn't stop and say something to me. I climbed back in T-Hoe and started up the gravel road. I could still see SilverRedO way up ahead on the straight stretches.

Imagine my shock when I saw SilverRedO drive right past our turn and up the hill toward HOS's house! How dare he! He KNEW I was doing the shopping. Clearly he had seen me getting the mail. Now he was going to let me carry all that stuff in by myself! I don't think so!!!

As soon as I got to our driveway, I sent Farmer H a text.

"Did you just go up HOS's hill?"

"No. I've been down visiting This Guy and This Guy's Wife in the nursing home."

"A red Silverado passed me while I was getting the mail, and then went up HOS's hill. I was REALLY MAD at you for not coming to help me unload the groceries! Never mind..."

I'm sure he's done something else I could be really mad about, once I find out what it is.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

They Are Not Good At Sitting For Portraits

Every now and then, I want to get a quick picture of Jack and Juno. QUICK picture. That's the only kind that I can get. Most often, it's only luck that gets me a usable picture. Most often, I get something like this:

Or this:

Jack and Juno are so full of love at our reunion after my town trip hyped up at the thought of getting some cat kibble that they can't be still. I can have the most amazing picture on my phone screen, yet when the picture actually snaps, they have skittered out of position.

At least Copper Jack the neighbor dog has the manners to pose:

Actually, he's moving kind of slow since his mystery injury a few weeks back. At least he's moving. He followed me around to the back of the garage twice while I was carrying in groceries. I think the smell of that fried chicken from The Devil's Playground deli might have had something to do with it. He's not a fan of me.

What I was actually trying to get a picture of is my buddy Jack. He looked like he'd been wallowing in a mud puddle. Of course, he always did like to swim. But our last warm day was Wednesday, temps in the 70s. This day it was 50s, and also the day before, with rain. Jack wasn't dirty then.

There's my little buddy in the garage, waiting for me to let him out to the side porch area. He usually runs over and jumps up on me, but I saw his dirtiness before I even pulled T-Hoe into the garage. As Jack romped towards me, I said, "Jaaaack..." and he knew right away to back off. Actually, I think he just felt like not jumping on me, because he's not one to mind the commands of a mere human.

I think Jack revels in his dirtiness. He'll probably get clean on Saturday afternoon, a warm day forecast, by swimming in the creek.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Some Surly, Some Sunny

Oh, dear. Mrs. HM finds it necessary once again to call out her subpar treatment at the hands of a convenience store clerk!

There's an employee that I prefer not to have wait on me at the Casey's near The Gas Station Chicken Store. She always greets me with her mouth, but scorches me with her eyes. I don't think I'm the only one who gets ocularly incinerated. I guess this gal just doesn't appreciate having a job.

Let the record show that I'm never in a hurry. I'm polite. I generally trade even on my scratcher winners, or have correct change if I purchase more. I say please. I say thank you. I don't sigh or tap my foot. I don't knock on the counter for service. I go in there once or twice a week.

On Thursday, there were no other customers in the vicinity of the counter. I stepped up to the first register. That makes sense, right? You come in the door, and go to the first register, since nobody is there. It wouldn't make good sense to walk over to the second one. Besides, there were THREE employees behind that counter, one behind the register, one behind the lottery tickets, and one in between them.

Thus began a Public Employee Standoff! Oh, I don't consider the Casey's clerks to be public employees. But I used to work for the state unemployment office, and I am well-versed in Public Employee Standoff procedures. Not that I ever did it myself, of course. I was happy to have my job. A Public Employee Standoff is when one worker waits until another worker works before working. Like, they each (or three or four) withhold service, waiting for someone else to assist a customer first.

I perused the scratcher case for my selections. Again, I was in no hurry. I took a picture of a penny on the floor, and snatched it up. I was ready to do business, but nobody wanted my business. It was becoming awkward. A dude came up behind me. I looked at all three clerks. Reached out my scratcher winner. Not to a specific person. Just across the counter, in a neutral zone. The clerk I prefer not to have made a couple fakes like she was going to take my winner. Then not. Then maybe. Finally, she took it.

Then the clerk who had been waiting behind the scratcher case went to the second register, and said she could help whoever was next. Dude didn't go over there. So she called out again. Then specifically asked him if he was ready to check out. Which he was. But we KNOW when we're not wanted, heh, heh!

After my unwanted clerk rang up my winner and the tickets I was purchasing, and said it would be five dollars, she didn't respond when I thanked her. She turned to the middle clerk, who was by then standing with a drawer, and said snottily, "And five dollars."

Sweet Gummi Mary! All they had to do was say that they were changing shifts, or switching out drawers. I could have easily waited, with my nose still in joint. Just as long as I knew what was going on. How dare I show up at 1:06 (the time stamp on my penny picture) and expect them to wait on me? I don't think that five dollars threw off their count. It was only five dollars. Even.

It was a different story over at Orb K. Two clerks working. One customer at the counter of the far register. I hung back a minute by the scratcher case. The clerk said she could help me. Cheerfully. I stepped up and told her my tickets. Then I switched one of them. She hadn't torn them off yet. But that confused her. I apologized. She said it was no problem, she wanted to get them right.

"Sorry! I need to wait in a line while I decide which ones I want!"

"Heh, heh! I usually HAVE a line! So that would make you happy."

"There are no lines anywhere today!  I guess it's the rain. Nobody's out."

"We haven't been busy, either. Here you go, sweetie. Good luck."


See how easy that was? A sunny attitude, on a dreary day.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Gimpy Jack

Mrs. HM is not the only one who's not feeling up to par. Oh, sure. There's Farmer H. As if he counts! No, I'm talking about our little Jack.

When I left for town on Wednesday, all was normal around the Mansion. Jack has been staying home lately, most likely due to the recuperation of Copper Jack, the neighbor dog. Copper Jack is getting around much better. He might have something wrong with his back, but he can trot along now, and does himself no favors in jumping off the back of the carport to chase critters.

Speaking of critters, as I pulled out of the driveway, I saw a gigantic rabbit take off from the neighbor's trash dumpster. I guess it was just sitting in the shade of that trash can, taking a breather, because there was no trash around it, and rabbits don't normally go through the trash anyway. That rabbit was as big as my Jack! HUGE! It took off down the neighbor's driveway. Probably had no idea it was going from the frying pan into the fire. That's the Crazy Rottweiler's territory!

Anyhoo... Jack and Juno greeted me on the side porch. And by greeted me, I mean they jostled each other for position for petting, and to get the first handful of cat kibble. When I came home after my errands, all three dogs were laying on the carport. I opened the garage door to park T-Hoe. When I got out, Jack was inside the garage with me. He does that a lot. I leaned over to pet him, and saw that he was not standing on his right front leg!

Jack held that leg up, not even resting the paw on the concrete. He hopped on three legs up the porch steps, and stood on three legs waiting for petting and more cat kibble. He let me touch the leg and paw, but grudgingly. He continued on three legs to the kitchen door for further treats.

I sent Farmer H a text so he could take a look at that leg when he came home. You never know, there might be a thorn in Jack's paw. We have a thorn tree over in the BARn field. Juno has picked one up before.

"Jack hurt his front right leg. He was fine when I left for town, but not stepping on it when I got home."

"He was doing that one day last week."

"So I guess he's acting?"

Seriously. I don't know what Farmer H was getting at. He called me for something else, and I brought it up. Farmer H said that Jack did it before, and by the end of the day was running on that leg like normal. So maybe he hurt it jumping off the porch or carport while I was gone.

I'll check on Jack tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Farmer H's Misery Loves Company

Well. It is clearly obvious now that I should have invested in those doctory face mask thingies. And maybe some Michael J gloves, too. For both hands.

Perhaps you remember how CasinoPalooza 4 was hazardous to my health. I really thought I was over it! After nine days of sickness, from chest up to sinuses, I felt pretty perky on Friday. The only remains of the virus were a phlegmy occasional cough, and some hoarseness. To the extent that when my favorite gambling aunt called me on Saturday, she asked, "Are you sick?" Also, my car-singing voice was not up to par. About the only thing that sounded right was "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." Bret Michaels and I nailed that sad, sad song part.

Farmer H tried to get into sick bay on Thursday. "I'm sick! You gave it to me! I feel terrible."

"Seriously? This is the 8th day of my virus! I'm OVER it! I don't know how you think you got it from me, EIGHT DAYS LATER! I am not contagious. You have something else!"

"Huh. I don't think so."

Farmer H has been fairly pitiful. Then again, he treats a hangnail like a limb amputation. He IS very congested. So much that I refused to go near him, and turned my head away when he stalked me as usual.

"Get back over there. I'm not breathing your diseased air!"

"Listen to you! YOU gave it to ME!"

"I don't think so. If I did, at least I won't catch it right back. I'll be immune for a couple weeks."

You know what happened, right? On Monday morning, I was felled by Farmer H's bug. It's terrible! And so unfair! I just got over a sickness! Now I've got another nine days of sub-par health. Farmer H called me Monday morning.

"You up yet?"

"No. I wasn't. I feel like crap. But I'm up now, so your little plan worked."

"That's why I sent you a text. To see if you were up. So I didn't call and wake you."

"That's why I didn't answer the text. I wasn't up. But I'm up NOW! What time is it?"


"WHAT? Why didn't you call me earlier!"

Yeah. This sickness is making me lag. At least Farmer H now has to take the blame, and relinquish his claim that I'm the one who made HIM sick!

I'm pretty sure I'm a victim of Breather Syndrome. I have totally avoided Farmer H, except for the three hours that our sleeping schedule has overlapped. That's the only method of transmission I can think of. I wash my hands after touching the remote and FRIG II's handle, turning off the water with the back of my wrist on the lever handle.

As I type this, it's time to go up and make supper for Farmer H. I'm sure he is eagerly awaiting my sunshiny self.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

He's A Sly One, Farmer H

As if I don't have enough trouble keeping up with Farmer H's antics, I discovered another of his secret shenanigans last week.

I was in the kitchen, whipping up some kind of slop supper for Farmer H, while he was relaxing in his La-Z-Boy. All at once, he declared, "I have some scratch-off tickets in the truck!" Every now and then he buys one, rarely two at once. So he was sure he'd have a winner. Not to let the cat out of the bag too soon... but he did NOT.

Out of the eyes in the back of my head, I sensed Farmer H stopping at the entrance to the kitchen. Then he disappeared momentarily. Then I heard him go out the front door. And return. He sat down to scratch his tickets. That's when the reality of what he'd been up to actually sunk in.

"You were about to wear my CROCS, weren't you!"


"Yes you were! You were looking for them there by the bookcase, and I have them on my feet! You were going to wear my CROCS outside to your truck!"


"Yes you were! Just admit it!"

"Well. I was going to. But they wasn't there."

"How often do you do that? Am I going to have to hide them? Wear your own Crocs! That's why I got them for you!"

"I don't know where mine are."

"Last time I saw them, they were with those other two pair of your shoes in front of the fireplace."

"They're not there now."

"Where could they possibly be? Either right there by the fireplace, or out on the porch."

"You know, they might be on top of Juno's doghouse."


"I wore them outside the other day, and I got mud on them."

I was headed to look out the kitchen door at Juno's roof, when I saw Farmer H's Crocs under an extra chair by the front door. By his hoodie hoard.

"I KNEW you'd been wearing my CROCS! They've been feeling looser and looser from your fat feet."

"I wear them sometimes..."

"Cut it out! You have your own! By the kitchen door. You're welcome!"

See, these aren't my old red worn-down CROCS. These are my newer CROCS. I only wear them in the mornings, or when working in the kitchen. Not down to my lair all day.

I don't even want to ask Farmer H what shoes he wore out to SilverRedO when he couldn't find my CROCS. Pretty sure it was probably a pair of mine from behind the couch. When he starts wearing my clothes, we're going to have problems.

Oh, wait! I seem to recall a time when I sent The Pony upstairs for my Favorite Old Baby Blue Sweatshirt, and he was traumatized by seeing Farmer H walking across the room holding it over his private area, after coming in from Poolio.

I really have nothing to call my own.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Nothing Good Happens In The Mansion After 11:15

I was pecking away at New Delly's keyboard Saturday night when the phone rang. NOT GOOD! The time was 11:16 p.m. Nobody calls that late unless something is wrong. Or some doofus at the alarm company hasn't realized that Farmer H retired two years ago, and isn't going to drive to Work Town and chase a bird out of the plant. We got one of those calls last month, which I refused to answer.

Oh, no! The name on the caller ID was Genius! NO! I grabbed the phone after the first ring, since Farmer H was already in bed, suffering from a cold he mysteriously picked up somewhere. A myriad of scenarios spun in my head, all in the two seconds it took for me to reach the receiver. NO! It could be a car wreck. A fall (it WAS a Saturday night, and Genius has been known to go out on the town). A fight. A fire. A stroke, like an acquaintance's 30-year-old son, who told Siri "Call Dad" as he was losing consciousness. ANYTHING could be wrong.

I grabbed the phone, breathless from just sitting there flashing those possibilities through my mind.

"Hello? Hello? Hello? HELLO? Hello-oooo?"

Nothing. I could hear something going on. Like muted voices in the background. Huh. No music. Maybe a restaurant? Or bar with no sound system? NO! What if Genius was laying on the floor, and nobody had noticed his collapse?

I hung up the house phone. Picked up my cell phone and sent a text.

"Hello? Did your butt just call me? Am I part of a party game plot?"

Genius received a card game at Christmas that involves texting and calling people. Maybe that's all it was. Maybe he was having a game night, and I was part of an answer. Nothing to worry about, right? RIGHT?

At 11:25, my phone buzzed with a text.

"Apparently my butt did just call you."

"Okay. Just wanted to make sure nothing was wrong."

"Nope. Apologies."

Well. That was certainly a relief. Not that Farmer H was worried. He didn't even know the phone rang.