Friday, May 31, 2019

He Finally Got His (8th) Piece Of The Pi-i-i-e

We have pizza at least once a week here at the Mansion. Usually it's from the deli at The Devil's Playground, where Farmer H likes the thin crust three-meat version. Sometimes we have the Save A Lot supreme. I don't really like the crust, but they are generous with the thick pepperoni, which I take off my half and put on Farmer H's half, helping myself to his red, green, and yellow peppers. Yes. You read that right. My half, and his half. We are big pizza eaters.

The Save A Lot version is what we had Wednesday night. It's really gigantic. Normally, we each have a fourth, and save it for the next night. Farmer H was feeling a bit peckish, though, having only eaten a snack instead of lunch while working on the $5000 house. When I took out that mammoth pizza and set it on the cutting block to cool, I asked how many pieces he wanted it cut into.

This pizza has thicker crust, and I can't get it crispy, even on my holey pizza pan. So it flops when you pick it up. Farmer H said he wanted his half cut into 8 pieces. Which made them maybe two inches wide at the crust edge. I hate cutting pizza. The pan is curved, and I can't get the crust to come apart unless I rock the knife blade and go over it several times. Even when I DON'T leave the cardboard on the bottom when I cook it. I've tried my regular curved giant butcher knife, and my ceramic knife that's really sharp. It still takes multiple tries.

Of course I'm not one to bottle up my feelings when it comes to letting Farmer H know how much I resent doing things he could do for himself. I was rassen-frassen about how tired I was of cutting pizza over the last 30 years. He had wandered into the kitchen, as he is wont to do, right before I'm ready to call for him. So he's underfoot, gabbing at me, while I'm trying to do something.

"Since you're hovering and salivating like a dog [Pavlov would be lost on Farmer H], here! The knife. Do it yourself."

I had cut the pizza in half already, down the middle demarcation of pepperoni or peppers. I'd also cut Farmer H's side in half again, and divided one part of that into four pieces. My hand was tired of sawing at it. I held the knife out, and Farmer H took it.


I turned away to dump out my bubba cup and await fresh ice from FRIG II when Farmer H was out of the way. Oh. He WAS out of the way, heading into the living room with his pizza. My half still sat on the cutting block. Uncut.

"Oh. Well. I guess you didn't bother to cut up my pizza for me."

"Huh. To tell you the truth, I didn't even think about it."

EXACTLY. That's my point.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Crisis Has Been Mediated

Good ol' Even Steven! I won't go so far as Jerry Seinfeld tossing a $20 bill out the window because he knew he'd find one to replace it... but I'm generally confident that Even Steven will balance my life eventually.

A couple days ago, I revealed the very real crisis of NO DIET COKE at The Gas Station Chicken Store. The Man Owner said they wouldn't have it until Wednesday. Well, you know Mrs. HM, the eternal optimist! With a sunny outlook, rarely complaining, sipping from her half-full yellow bubba cup of ice water as she sails through life, never having met a crisis she didn't like. Okay. At least the last part is true. Crises give me something to complain about.

Anyhoo, on Tuesday, as I picked up a winning scratcher ($15) to cash in at The Gas Station Chicken Store before clambering out of T-Hoe, I stopped to add a dollar to my pocket, and count out 69 cents from my change cup on the console. Just in case. I'd hate to find my magical elixir available again, and not have money to pay.

There was a line (!) waiting to pay, so I went on around the back of the aisle to come up at the end of it, planning to bypass the soda fountain and not look foolish for pulling a cup before noticing the "OUT" sign taped to the Diet Coke spigot. Of course I turned my head to look at it on my way by.


I felt a bit light-headed. But I knew just what would cure that: A 44 OZ DIET COKE! Good thing I had my money with me! I poured my magical elixir into the foam cup. Just a tad too much. Don't want it sloshing in the cup while T-Hoe bounces up that hill Farmer H blacktopped. Poorly. So I took a sip. Sweet Gummi Mary! I didn't remember the Diet Coke from The Gas Station Chicken Store being SO delicious!

When it was my turn, the Man Owner was at the left (the secondary) register, waiting on a guy paying for gas. I stepped over to the main register, to a clerk I'd never seen before. She must work the shift that ends at noon. Probably gets there about the time I'm going to bed. Man Owner saw me. He said,

"That soda is on the house. You don't have to pay today."

"Oh, you don't have to do that! I even brought in my correct change, just in case!"

"No, I want you to have it, for all the trouble. Because somebody doesn't know how to put in an order right!" He motioned to my cup, and told the unknown clerk, "Don't charge her for the soda today."

Unknown Clerk looked confused, but she took the price of my beverage off the register. I made a little small talk with Man Owner, and practically skipped with delight as I made my exit, clutching three scratchers and a FREE 44 oz Diet Coke.

Oh, yeah. I had a winner. It was $15. Thanks, Even Steven.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Burlap Sack Solution

Schooooool's OUT. For. The summer!

No, I'm not celebrating. This is my third year of retirement, you know. The days of popping Alice Cooper into a jambox after the final bell at the end of the year are done. Heh, heh. That's how long I've been teaching! The methods of music broadcast have changed considerably.

Here I am, bringing the summer cessation of book-learnin' to you like a public service announcement, when in all actuality, you've probably discerned this for yourself. Especially if you've been grocery shopping.

Let the record show that every woman in the store is wrangling at least three kids!

Mrs. HM is not a child-hater. She simply finds other people's children to be an irritant that she'd rather avoid. Like cigarette smoke in a casino. The old adage that children should be seen and not heard is something that Mrs. HM might cross-stitch, frame, and hang on the end of her shopping cart, if she was only more adept at crafts. In fact, she would add a caret to insert the word NOT in front of SEEN.

These moppets don't need to be orbiting the cart, whining and fussing, stopping to stare with wide creepy eyes at other shoppers. Mrs. HM, perhaps... Who would never recommend leaving them locked up in a hot car. No siree, Bob! Mrs. HM has a solution.


You know, the rough, brown, loosely-woven kind that were used for the corn my grandpa bought for his hogs. Drape it over the moppets, and they're out of sight. If they keep one hand on the cart, they won't get lost. No sights to distract them and temp them away. They can breathe. But like a bird with the cover on its cage, they might be silent!

I guess those burlap sacks are still around. It's been many years since I went to the feed store with Grandma and Grandpa. My mom was going to college for her teaching degree that summer. Grandma worked nights as a nurse's aide at Number 4 (that's what everybody called it), the state mental hospital. Grandpa was a lead miner on the day shift. We'd pick him up in the truck at 3:30 at St. Joe (the lead mine) and head to the feed store.

Back then, my sister the little future ex-mayor's wife was afraid to walk across the porch boards of the feed store. Grandpa had to carry her, all red-faced and flushed from the heat, her flaming orange hair curling from the humidity. She thought she would slip through the cracks. Let the record show that she was wider than a half-inch! I think she might have been having flashbacks to falling under the bleachers at the stock car races!

I'm sure Sis and I were never annoying to other people. Well. ME, anyway. That said...
I would not have minded wearing a burlap sack over my head.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Mrs. HM Is In Crisis Mode

There has been a catastrophe in Hillmomba. It pretty much only affects Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to a great degree. Other Hillmombans go about their business as if nothing is amiss. Let the record show that something is indeed amiss, at the highest magnitude of amissness!


If I was a dainty lady of the Victorian era, I would have taken to my fainting couch for four days. However, I am not dainty, not much of a lady, and my Victorianness is a somewhat-kept secret.

Yes, I traipsed into The Gas Station Chicken Store on Saturday, giddy with the though of my magical elixir, only to see a white scrap of paper taped to the Diet Coke spigot, hand-lettered with "OUT." Can you believe that? On a THREE-DAY weekend?

The smiley clerk told me it would be back on Tuesday, but the Man Owner stepped out of the chicken room (no chicken on the weekends now!) and said it would be Wednesday before I could enjoy my precious beverage again. I guess their delivery will be a day late, due to the holiday.

Monday, I popped in to cash some scratchers. Man Owner said, "Don't you wish somebody was smart enough to order the Diet Coke?"

Yes. Yes, I do. It's his job, you know. And it's not the first time this has happened. The world conspires against me.

I've been buying my 44 oz Diet Cokes at Orb K. They're almost as good. Cheaper, too. Only 94 cents instead of $1.69. But like the replacement Becky on Roseanne, it's not as good as the one I've enjoyed for years.

Monday, May 27, 2019

It's The End Of The Line As We Know It

I don't even know where to start any more! People these days can't grasp the rudimentary concept of A LINE that forms to wait a turn.

I stepped through the doors of Casey's (NOT the one that ripped me off for five dollars!) on Sunday, shortly before noon. There were only a few cars in the parking lot. Nobody was at the counter. The clerk greeted me, and I handed her my winning scratcher to cash in. As she was tearing off the new tickets I'd requested, a kid (probably in the 18-22 range) came in and stood behind me. That's how it should be.

The Kid seemed a little impatient, but maybe that's just how he's wired. He kind of jiggled around, flapping the money in his hand. Which is surprising, really, because a lot of that age people only use plastic. Anyhoo... I had no issue with The Kid, other than he seemed to not like waiting for me to complete my transaction, even though I'd been in the store before he entered. He didn't say anything. Just a vibe.

As the clerk was scanning my new tickets, a young couple walked up beside me, at my left shoulder. As I turned to glance their way, wondering, What in the NOT-HEAVEN are you doing, I noticed a slice of pizza in a bag, and a bag of beef jerkey, laying on the counter. I guess they had started to pay, then left to gather other items for purchase. Too bad, so sad! You cannot save your place in line with a slice of pizza and a bag of beef jerky!

I turned right, to exit with my tickets, and the clerk asked The Kid if she could help him. Heh, heh! No staking a claim at the Casey's counter! Form a line!

Maybe they need a bright yellow sign on the front of the counter, for people to look at while they wait, explaining the concept of a line.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

He Could Be Sniffing Sweaty Men's Armpits

Farmer H has many hidden talents that he neglects to reveal.

I'm sure you recall his love of hot dogs. That's not a talent. But hot dogs need buns. I guess you could say that Farmer H is a bun man. I had no idea! I found out completely by accident.

Farmer H keeps planning to grill hot dogs on Gassy G, but then changes the day. It's due to weather, or working late on the $5000 house, or mowing the yard before it rains the next day to shoot those blades up higher than pre-mow. As you might imagine, Mrs. HM's buns are taking the hit.

Our package of hot dogs lasts longer than the buns, as long as Farmer H isn't snacking on them. I used to buy the most delicious buns at The Devil's Playground. My sister the ex-mayor's wife tipped me off when I ran into her one day on the bread aisle.

"See these? With blue on the label? I always get them. Feel. Yeah! They're SO FRESH!"

For a couple years now, I've been buying those buns. A few weeks ago, I noticed that they didn't feel as soft. I probably felt every pack of those buns. Which is a lot, considering there were three shelves of them. Their dates were good, but they felt stale. I bought a pack anyway, because those are my go-to buns. When we ate them, they were firm, and the light brown part on top crumbled. The taste was not great, if you consider that there really is a different taste to different brands of plain white processed hot dog buns. I think The Devil has been monkeying around with his baker.

Lucky for me, I had a bag of Country Mart's generic buns in the cabinet. They were still a couple days from the expiration date. So we ate them once Farmer H finally grilled those hot dogs. Juno, Jack, and Copper Jack got The Devil's Buns. "Here ya go, fleabags! Sorry they're like Styrofoam!"

I'd bought more hot dogs, a giant pack of 20, and have been feeding them to Farmer H now and then on auction nights. He backed out of grilling last week, due to a little tornado warning. So I roasted the hot dogs on a pizza pan in the oven. I told him,

"I bought more of those Devil's buns, and they feel really stale. It's still three days until they expire. I also have some of the Country Mart buns. They're way softer, but the date passed two days ago. They look okay to me."

Farmer H loaded up his hot dogs with slaw and a side of Maple Bacon Beans. I was writing out some bills while sitting on the short couch, just an end table away from him in the La-Z-Boy.

"How were those buns? Okay? So I know if to use them."

"Yeah. They're fine. I knew they would be. I didn't smell any mold."

"WHAT? What are you talking about? Smell the mold?"

"Yeah. I can smell the mold. That's how I tell if bread is moldy."

Farmer H is full of bull! I can't even count the number of times he's started eating something, then started sputtering that the bread was moldy. Usually his own fault, for being too lazy to open the cabinet for proper bread, but instead raiding the package on the counter, which is DOG BREAD!

If only I'd known how valuable his schnozz was! I could have set him up as a perfume tester, or better yet, a quality control expert for men's deodorant!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Well, That Makes All The Difference

Friday morning, I rushed to the main post office to mail the boys' weekly letters. On the way, I decided I needed some stamps. I have half a book of flag stamps, but I generally get something more colorful to put on the boys' letters. You know, because that's what twenty-something dudes dwell on when they get a letter from their mom, not the enclosed money or lottery tickets.

Yes, I guess those stamps are more for me than they are for the boys. I enjoy picking out which ones to put on. Let's see, they've had snowmen and songbirds and Hot Wheels Cars and childhood pets and classic trucks and funeral-looking flower bunches. Anything with several varieties.

There was only one man at the counter, and he'd been shuffled down to fill out paperwork. I stepped up and asked the mail lady for a book of stamps. She said, "That'll be eleven dollars." I handed her three fives (from the change I got back from my winning scratcher the day before), and she shoved the stamps across the counter before making change.

I took the four ones she handed me back (counting them to be sure!), and picked up the stamps. Oh. Not really what I had in mind.

"Do you have anything besides flowers?"

"I have flags."

"No, I still have some flags. Okay. Thanks."

As I started towards the door, the mail lady said, "Technically... they're CACTUS!"

I looked over my shoulder at her. "Oh. Well. THAT makes all the difference!"

The second mail lady, behind the NEXT WINDOW sign, snorted.
I'm killin' 'em at the post office.

Still look like flowers to me! I'm pretty sure the boys aren't going to glance at it and think: CACTUS!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Mrs. HM Crosses That "BRIDE" When She Comes To It

Wednesday, on my way out the door to do the weekly shopping, I got a text from Farmer H.

"The bridge is closed HM you can't get over it they're working on it"

Problem is, there are three bridges I encounter on my way to town, two of which I cross.

"On the lettered county highway? I guess I'll take the other blacktop road to a different-lettered highway?"

I can find my way around the major roads, only from being on them with Farmer H. I cannot (s)weave in and out through farmland like he does, or I would be hopelessly lost. Of course I heard nothing back from him. I wasn't going to wait all day. I didn't want to call him, because he and HOS (Farmer H's Oldest Son) were taking the blue tractor to town on a trailer. As you might imagine, Farmer H's sweaving is still a habit, even when pulling a trailer loaded with a tractor. No way did I want to have him answer his phone, and drive one-handed!!!

I stopped to pick up the mail at the end of our gravel road. I then had to make a decision. How does Farmer H's mind work? If he had been referring to the low water bridge on the blacktop county road, I could still get to town with a short detour of about 2 extra miles. If he meant the long high bridge that spans Big River (that's the actual name of the river) on the county lettered highway, my detour would take me 8-10 miles out of my way.

Well, whichever bridge Farmer H meant, I still had to turn left at the mailboxes, rather than right. Off I went, still contemplating whether I should take the long detour and be sure, or the shorter one. IF it was the long high bridge, they'd surely be redirecting traffic back onto our blacktop county road, and I'd only have to loop back around and then take the long detour. BUT if the bridge Farmer H meant was the low water bridge on the blacktop county road, I'd be home free with the short detour. I was willing to take that risk, with a chance of only going 2 miles extra, rather than 10.

Heh, heh! When I came to a stop sign putting me on the road that would branch off, giving me access to either the long or the short detour, I saw a BRIGHT ORANGE SIGN, pointed back the way I had just come, saying ROAD CLOSED.

YES! I had successfully read Farmer H's mind! He had indeed been talking about the low water bridge, and I could now safely take my short detour and get to town the mostly normal way.

You can bet that I sent Farmer H another text.

"Thanks for not answering. Good thing I know how your weird mind works, and took [alternate county blacktop] to [lettered highway]."

"The bride on [blacktop county] and I didn't hear you"

SHEESH! All he had to do originally was say: low water bridge out. I would have known EXACTLY which route to take, no questions asked (and unanswered). I didn't even taunt him about calling a bridge a bride. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have gotten the joke.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Unwanted Gift That Still Gives

Last Thursday, I had one of those days. Nothing went right. I was pretty glad when Friday rolled around. Tuesday, I was plunged back into the maelstrom of Even Steven's evil glee.

Last Thursday started off with a regular 6-month doctor's appointment, a checkup, to get refills on my prescriptions that had run out. The doctor (nurse practitioner) sends them in through thin air now, using computer juju, rather than by phone. I got a text from my pharmacy that 2 out of 3 prescriptions were ready, while still in town. I figured I'd wait until Friday to pick them up, so I wouldn't risk making an extra trip. Surely they'd all be ready on Friday.

They were. I picked up my prescriptions without incident. I even had a worker who knew how to use my DEBIT card! Easy peasy. Tuesday morning, I took the last pill of my thyroid meds, and got out the new bottle to set on the shelf. I also looked at the other two bottles when I opened the stapled paper sack, because of course the one I wanted was on the bottom. Something caught my eye on the label.


What in the Not-Heaven? I can't use mail order for my prescriptions, due to the state of our mail service and location of EmBee. So I get a 30-day supply every month. Six refills total, then a doctor's appointment to check my bloodwork, and six more refills. It's been that way for years. I looked at the other bottles, and they were normal. I'd just picked them up, and both prescriptions showed 5 REFILLS remaining.

Of course I called the pharmacy. They were very polite, and looked it up with the prescription number.

"Yes. I see it here. That one only has 1 REFILL left. Is it time to visit your doctor?"

"No. I was just there on Thursday. That's when he sent in these refills. The others are right."

"Yes, I can see that."

"Why doesn't this one have all the refills?"

"I don't know. That's just how the doctor sent them in."

"Do I need to call their office?"

"No. When you use up the refill, and it's time for the next one, and it shows no refills, we'll call over there and get it."

Well. I don't know about you, but that seems like it might cause a delay and a snafu and the doctor (nurse practitioner) might try to demand that I come back for another appointment, four months early! I planned to call the office while I was in town, but I forgot to look up the number, and didn't want to use my land line later, since it's long distance. I figured I would call the next day. But I was in luck, because the doctor's office called ME that very afternoon.

"Is this Mrs. Hillbilly Mom? This is Dr. Nurse's office. Your lab results are normal, no problems."

"Okay. Thank you. I have a question about my prescriptions. I normally get six months of 30-day refills, and one of them only has 1 REFILL."

"Huh. That's strange. Let me check. Yes, I see that. I don't know why. Dr. Nurse usually does 90-day refills, twice."

"I have to have 30 days. Can this be corrected?"

"Oh, when you run out of refills, just call our office."

"The pharmacy says they can do that for me when I run out."

"Yes, that works, too."

"Okay. Thank you."

Sweet Gummi Mary! It's always something. I expect it will take three days minimum to get this straightened out. Guess I'll make sure to allow extra time when I need that refill...

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Day 4 Of The Creepfest

Nothing like an extra creep thrown into the mix, stretching this current series unexpectedly to FOUR.

Tuesday morning, I was snoozing away, recovering from Monday morning's rude awakening by Farmer H after a scant 4.5 hour night. I actually woke up at 9:00, but figured I'd treat myself to another hour of slumber. I heard the dogs carrying on, and what sounded like a motor. Meh. Not my problem. Nobody I was expecting, no packages being delivered, Farmer H off to physical therapy with This Guy (back surgery) who sold us the $5000 house. I sighed and nodded off.

I woke up again at 9:45, and got up to start my day. At 10:15, kicked back in the La-Z-Boy, still with bed-head and my jammies, I noticed movement over the top of HIPPIE's monitor. Sweet Gummi Mary! It was a silver pickup truck with a camper! I don't know anyone who drives that vehicle. Crap! The shades were open, and I had the light on because the day was gloomy with soon-to-arrive rain. I knew he had seen the light, and possibly ME, depending on his eyesight acuity.

I put on my heather green baseball style jacket that was hanging on the stair banister. You know. To go with my blue pajama pants with a sun/moon pattern, and the yellow stripes of my button-down short-sleeve cotton shirt. Yep. Clomp, clomp, clomp. Up the porch steps, followed by Jack. Juno and Copper Jack were still protecting me from the driveway.

Of course I opened the door. I'm not the brightest 20-watt bulb in Farmer H's workshop. It was some weird guy with a beard, asking if Farmer H was home. Of course I told him no. DUH! My brilliance was diminishing by the second.

Weirdo launched into a long sad tale about buying several dump truck loads of gravel, 3/4 inch. The truck driver dumped them in the wrong place. That being THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Weirdo couldn't even drive his truck up to his house. He said Farmer H had done some work for him before, moving gravel, and he was hoping that Farmer H could do it again.

Again, I emphasized that I was completely home alone, what with Farmer H gone over to Bill-Paying Town with This Guy, and not expected back at any certain time. But I said that I could call him, and have him give Weirdo a call back. "Who should I say stopped by?"

Can you believe it? Weirdo would not give me his name! Sweet Gummi Mary! It's as if he was afraid I might do something to him, I guess, and he was being safer rather than sorry or dead! So then I said, "Does he have your number?" Weirdo didn't know, but said, "I guess I can give it to you."

So then I said I'd have to get something to write with, and turned my back on Weirdo, leaving the door open! It's a wonder I didn't disappear from foul play, my body leaving no forwarding address!

Anyhoo... I wrote down the guy's number, and he left, kind of put-out that he wasn't getting tractor service right that moment. Farmer H didn't remember Weirdo's name, but said he had moved gravel for him before. It's the people whose kids HOS (Farmer H's Oldest Son) built that Bus-Waiting Shack for down by the mailboxes. When Farmer H came home around 2:00, he took his tractor up there for 3.5 hours.

"That was a lot more gravel than I expected! The guy couldn't even get to his house. I couldn't hardly get the tractor where I needed it, until I moved a bunch out of the way. The guy and his son stood around watching for a while, then got in the car and left. You'd think he might have at least offered to pay me something, but he didn't. I did my good deed for the day, anyway."

Actually, Farmer H did TWO good deeds, by taking This Guy to his therapy, and then the gravel. Probably over four hours of good deed.

I would have been upset about the gravel thing, but then Farmer H said they have an older son who works at the prison, and WALKS HOME if they can't pick him up. That's FOUR MILES! I've seen him on the county road in his uniform, but didn't know who it was. If somebody wants to work that bad, I don't mind Farmer H donating $5 of diesel gas, and 2.5 hours of his time to help!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Late Morning Creeps On Miniscule Arthropod Feet

My torment continues. Saturday morning, I scurried around to get out of the Mansion by 10:00, to get to the store before the day wasted away. Let the record show that I normally don't arise until 9:30, then putter around, head for town between noon and 1:00, and start down to my lair near the 2 o'clock hour. But Saturday, I had some things to carry down before my arms were laden with lunch and a 44 oz Diet Coke and two bubba cups full of ice. I figured I could bring up my bag of trash on the way back.

Imagine my shock and consternation, as I side-stepped down those last five stairs, clinging to the items with one hand, and the basement ceiling for support with the other,
to see


Sweet Gummi Mary! The hair on the back of my neck rose like the helium balloon of a toddler at the zoo within 30 seconds of purchase.

I knew the millipede was there, and I knew I had to pick it up, and I had to watch it for those last five stairs, lest it get away and surprise me again another day. Or night. I made those noises again. Not quite words. Worried noises combining fear and disgust. I set down my Puffs Plus Lotion box, and the roll of Charmin Extra Strong, and hurried to my OPC (Old People Chair) to snatch a Puffs out of the already-open box on the TV tray that acts as a table. Thank the Gummi Mary, there were still two tissues left in the box.

I gritted my teeth and pounced on that millipede, holding it in the tissue at arm's length as I old-lady-ran to the NASCAR bathroom to flush it.

When I had stepped off the bottom stair, I swear that millipede looked over its shoulder at me. We both had the same unspoken question in our mind: "What are YOU doing here?" Just like Jerry asked Elaine in the hospital as he pretended to smother George with a pillow after his fake heart attack.

The millipede was heading from the area of Farmer H's workshop toward the area of my lair. Farmer H had been in there on Friday with the air conditioner repair guy. They must have let that millipede get in through the big metal basement door. There are old leaves that blow up against the door and back outside wall of the basement. That's where millipedes like to live, right? In old leaves. Not in a basement. No. Surely not.

Now I don't know if I should pop down to the basement at irregular times, to catch a millipede in the act... or only go down on my usual schedule.

Even though I was pretty sure a millipede is an arthropod, I googled that question. As an ex science teacher, I don't want to provide false information, and I especially don't want to violate the Truth in Blogging Law!

PLEASE don't google "Is a millipede an arthropod?" The picture that pops up almost made me scream.

Monday, May 20, 2019

More Creeping: Turtleless Daylight Edition

Of course the very day after Friday night's creeping, there was more. It wasn't a turtle. In fact, there were three creepers, two of whom I'll mention now.

When I got home from town Saturday, that turtle was gone. I know Jack didn't eat it or carry it off, because his tiny mouth can't even open enough to fit in a corn muffin. I figured it either worked its way under the porch lattice, or turned around and got back to the yard.

I had two boxes of Save-A-Lot groceries to carry to the porch. While I was fetching the second one from T-Hoe's rear in the garage, all three dogs went nuts. Juno and Jack rushed down off the porch. I could hear them and Copper Jack baying at the end of the driveway. When I came out of the garage with my second box, I saw this:

Actually, that picture wasn't taken until I'd made three trips, carrying in my purse and magical elixir, then each of the food boxes. The dogs had gradually retreated. I called them over for a treat, but that truck still sat there. It really had no reason to be stopped on the gravel road right in front of the Mansion. I've seen it out here before, but I don't know who drives it. There was a passenger and a driver. I didn't care one bit that they saw me point my phone at them.

After giving the dogs their treat, I LOCKED THE KITCHEN DOOR!

The only explanation I can think of is that maybe the driver was talking to someone on a 4-wheeler. I didn't SEE a 4-wheeler. Or hear one. But I'd been in the garage when the truck stopped. Besides, now that I look at the picture, there's something on the other side of the truck. I had originally thought it was the legs of the driver who had gotten out.

So... I put the groceries away and changed clothes. While I was making lunch, I heard the dogs going crazy again. But in a different area. This was about 20 minutes after the truck incident. I went to the front door and looked out. All three dogs were standing over by the chicken pen, at the beginning of ShackyTown Boulevard. They faced the BARn field, and were barking their fool heads off. I didn't see anything over there. I made sure to lock the front door.

When Farmer H came home, I showed him the truck picture. He says it's a guy who lives up by HOS (Farmer H's Oldest Son) on our other property. I told him he might want to check on his BARn treasures, because the dogs had noticed something over there.

"Oh. That was just HOS and his father-in-law. They came out to get some axles that I sold him for $250. I bought those axles a few years ago from Buddy's son, and Father-In-Law had been interested in them. He just now decided he needed them. HOS called, and I told him yeah, to come on out."

It might be nice if Farmer H could let me know these things in advance.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Things That Creep In The Night And Daylight

My little Jack spent most of Friday night barking his fool head off. He has a shrill bark, like a little yippy dog might have. Farmer H was home from the auction, kicked back in his La-Z-Boy. I couldn't believe he wasn't investigating. After all, he'd just told me before he left, "People are crazy these days. You need to keep this door locked while you're downstairs. I have a key. Even during the day, keep it locked." When he went out, he made a point of saying, "I'm leaving now. And locking the door!"

I admit that during the day, especially when Farmer H is around, I leave the kitchen door unlocked. I know I shouldn't. So with Jack raising a ruckus, I was shocked that Farmer H didn't at least open the door to take a look. Anybody could be over in the BARn field, carting off his valuables, without us knowing it. I sent him a text.

"Jack's going crazy! I hope no one is stealing."

"Ya I'll look it's a full moon probably nothing" [Farmer H's actual typing]

I heard the La-Z-Boy crank shut, and Farmer H stumping across the living room on his footless ankles. Heard the front door open. Heard Jack's barking more clearly. Then the return to the La-Z-Boy, and another text.

"He's barking at the whiperwills and frogs" [More actual Farmer H text]

"Or something you can't see..."

Saturday morning, I think I solved the mystery. I went out to the garage, and saw

Maybe you call it a box turtle. It's probably actually a terrapin. I just call it a turtle.

The dogs heard me, and came running from the front porch. They were so excited to see ME that they didn't seem to notice the turtle. Maybe he doesn't have much smell. Maybe the wind was blowing the other way. Juno was probably planning her next SNEEZE on my face. Finally, Jack turned his attention to the turtle.

As you can see, Jack is on alert. He didn't bark, though. Maybe because after 12 hours of it, he noticed that it wasn't working. Or maybe because he gets in trouble on the side porch for barking at the cat who hides under the wooden bench.

Anyhoo... Jack was a good boy, and the turtle was gone when I came home from town.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Good News, Bad News: Phlebotomist Edition

Thursday, I had a doctor's appointment with the nurse practitioner, a routine 6-month visit to renew my prescriptions. There's always a fasting blood test. This guy does it the day of the appointment, afterwards. I really preferred my old doctor, a real physician, a former Army doctor, who left his practice there to move a few blocks over to work with veterans. He scheduled labs for the week before the appointment, so he had the results during the appointment. For being a former Army doctor, he wasn't much for following hospital policy without question. I really miss him.

Anyhoo... my new guy (of the last 4 years or so) basically has his nurse take my vitals and record my medications. He comes in to talk about 5 minutes, look in my ears, listen to my lungs, and say he'll see me in 6 months. He's personable enough, but I'd really prefer having those lab results to discuss, like my old doc did during the appointment. This way I rarely even hear about the results, because I can't seem to get into the online circus to check for myself.

Anyhoo... I went upstairs for my blood draw. There was only one person ahead of me, since the other two people waiting were having different tests. The worst part of going to the doctor is riding in the elevator after people who get off hacking up a lung.

Anyhoo... the good news about my blood draw was that the phlebotomist gave me a stretchy wrap in my favorite color:

There I am, showing it off in the third floor restroom! She could have used more gauze, I think. It was a single tiny square. She acted like she bought it out of her own pocket.

The bad news about my blood draw was that when the phlebotomist said, "You're going to feel a little stick..." she wasn't a-woofin'! I definitely felt a little stick. Sometimes, the phlebotomist is so good that I don't feel it at all. Not this one. I guess they're on a rotating schedule. Maybe so the same one isn't always on call to creep around in the middle of the night sucking people's blood after surgery or a heart attack.

Normally, getting my blood drawn doesn't bother me. I used to even watch every detail, from the needle going in, to the tube filling up, to the needle coming out. That was until I had a really bad stick. I don't know if the gal was just learning or not. It's not like I flinched. I've always had easy-to-see veins that stick out, even before tying that stretchy rubber band thingy around my bicep. So good were my veins that many a phlebotomist has complimented me on them! Yeah. You bet I'm proud.

Anyhoo... this one time, the phlebotomist must have done something wrong. It wasn't evident to me as I was watching, but I sure felt it! Not sure if she went all the way through the vein and then pulled the needle back in, or what. Maybe someone with nurse's training could tell me (Kampground Kathy?). Maybe she just didn't put enough pressure on the hole after taking out the needle. I don't think that's all, though, because if hurt like son-of-a-gun before she even took out the needle.

Anyhoo... way back then, I immediately got a big knot on my arm over the vein. I felt SICK to my stomach from the pain. Faint. Lucky for me, my mom had come with me that day. We often did that. Made a little outing of a sick day. I didn't take them often, even working all day while fasting for that blood test, then going after school. But if I'd missed a day already that year, I'd take off for an appointment. Especially when I had accumulated 100 sick days, and had to use my 10 for the year or lose them.

Anyhoo... that knot stayed there for a few days, turning purple. When it healed, I could no longer see my really good vein. Dang it! That meant that in the future, those phlebotomists were going to use my right arm, instead of the left.

Here's the thing. I think that on Thursday, that phlebotomist jabbed me off center.

Like I said, it didn't hurt a LOT, but it hurt, when normally it doesn't. And my vein isn't as sticky-outy as it was. I don't know if you can tell from this angle, once I got home and slipped into my lair wear. It didn't leave a bruise or anything.

I hope I don't get that same phlebotomist in six months.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Audacity Of The Audacitor Knows No Bounds

Farmer H is selling a camper. Planning to, anyway. He's getting it all cleaned up. He apparently wants it clean enough to eat off the floor. Or at least off the stove. It's his project, let's not forget. HE is the one who had the idea to buy a $5000 house, and fix it up, and give his oldest son HOS the first chance to own it. Either by coughing up the purchase price plus renovation costs, or by trading us the camper.

The camper looks good enough to me. From what I've seen in pictures. I haven't gone in there with a white glove, swiping surfaces. Farmer H is devoting way more elbow grease to this camper than he ever has to our own house(s). In fact, it might just be his elbow grease that mars the stovetop that he is so desperate to clean.

I was driving past the $5000 house on Wednesday (it's on my short cut, now that the main street has been under construction for 6 months of a year-long project) when Farmer H called me.

"If you go in The Devil's Playground, get me some oven cleaner. I've tried several different cleaners on this stove top, and they didn't work. I'm thinking oven cleaner might. I can clean the oven with it, too."

"I'm not going to The Devil's Playground today. I'm going on Thursday or Friday. I'll look then. What are you doing now?"

"I'm on my way to the camper dealer to get a couple of little parts that I need."

REEEEE! Screech me to a halt! If Farmer H was out in town, why did I have to be the one to buy his oven cleaner?

"Why can't you get your own oven cleaner?"

"I guess I can. I can go to the Dollar Store. But I was just there this morning to buy paper towels."

"I'm sure they'll sell to you again."

"Yeah. Probably."

I was kind of fired up about Farmer H wanting to use ME to run his errands, while he does fun things like clean a camper run around and use coupons to eat lunch at Burger King, and sit around Mick the Mechanic's shop, and hang out at the Storage Unit office.

On Thursday, the Audacitor struck again.

"I'm going to need my money back that I've been spending on the $5000 house."

"Well, you'll get it when the camper sells. I'm pretty sure we agreed on that."

"I can't go forever with no money."

"You have money. Just stop spending it on guns to sell at your Storage Unit Store. You have a lot of money tied up in guns that you're only going to make $20 or $30 profit on. I don't think it's worth it."

"Twenty dollars is twenty dollars. That's profit!"

"But all your money is in them. We already gave you part of your money back that you spent on the house. It was in March. Before we went to visit The Pony."

"I know. I've got it written down."

"How much do you think we owe you now?"

"About $1600."

"Where do you think I'm going to get THAT?"

"Why don't you use your lottery money? That you won. Then you'll get it back when the camper sells."

"WHAT? You want me to use MY lottery money to pay you back your Storage Unit Store money that you spent on the house?"


"Why in the Not-Heaven would I do THAT? That's LUCKY money! This is your project! It was your idea. You came up with it on the way back from The Pony visit. While we were driving. YOU had the idea, and YOU said you'd spend your money on it until we got it back."

"I don't see why it has to be MY money!"

"Because it's YOUR project, YOUR idea, and YOU said that's how we'd finance the repairs!"

"Well, I don't see how that's fair."

There's a lot Farmer H doesn't understand about FAIR.
It's kind of like my relationship with IRONY.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

I Was Almost Ready To Take My Hair And Go Home

Terrible Cuts is skating on thin ice! Mrs. HM might have to take her lovely lady-mullet elsewhere, if their deceptive tactics do not cease!

I use their check-in app when I'm ready to get my hair cut. Usually, I do it in the driveway, while sitting in T-Hoe, as I'm leaving the Mansion. It takes me 20 minutes to get to Terrible Cuts from home.

Yesterday, I couldn't decide if I really wanted to get a haircut. I had to drive over to Newmentia for insurance purposes, and fill up T-Hoe with gas, and stop by the bank to deposit a check. Of course there was another stop for scratchers. But I knew I didn't want to do it on Thursday, because of a doctor's appointment, and the weekly Devil's Playground adventure.

So... when I came out of Casey's, I picked up my phone to check on the check-in app. If the wait wasn't too long, I might as well get it over with. Huh. The wait time was 0 MINUTES! And I was just down the street. Within 1.5 miles! Yes! I pushed the bar to check in, set my phone down, and took off.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into Terrible Cuts, and saw SIX PEOPLE! They took up the whole row of chairs under the front window. Lucky for me, there was a short row of three chairs under the side window. So at least I could sit down. I glanced at the computer screen on the check-in/check-out counter. My name was last on the list of three people who had done the remote check-in.


I thought the wait time was zero just a couple minutes ago when I checked in. Yet when I tried the check-in app on my phone, it showed a wait time of 22 MINUTES! That's just scandalous! How in the NOT-HEAVEN had that happened? It didn't help that the time was 12:14. Only two Terrible Cutters cutting, due to lunch.

Oh, well. It's not like I had anywhere to be. The only stop left was for my 44 oz Diet Coke. Farmer H was hanging around home, cleaning up the camper he's trying to sell. In fact, that's another story, perhaps tomorrow.

As I waited, I deduced how this time warp could have occurred. It looked like all the other people were there together. Two ladies and four men. Or boys. They seemed to be from a group home or school for the developmentally disabled. One lady sat with the waiters, and the other accompanied one of the getting-cutters to the chair. I guess they had checked in everybody at once, and had done so at the same time I was looking at my phone and checking in.

As they were paying, one of the ladies mentioned that the guys had their graduation coming up, and now they would look good. I gotta say, they certainly did look sharp, with their short-on-the-sides and a-little-left-on-top kind of haircut, like military, or maybe from my dad's era.

Those two Terrible Cutters did a fantastic job cutting those guys' hair. Mine didn't turn out half bad, either.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

No Wonder My Bank Treats Me Like A Thief!

Remember how a bank teller practically accused me of trying to deposit a counterfeit check, because she called the wrong number on the front of it for verification? The one for the bank (in the city) the check was written on, instead of my local credit union, which had just issued the check ten minutes previous? And how they always put a 10-day hold on checks I deposit, even if they're CASHIER'S CHECKS, from our local saving & loan branch?

Maybe they have a sixth sense about me, and know they can't be too careful!

Tuesday I went into Casey's, to buy two scratchers for Genius's weekly letter, and two for myself. I buy the $5 tickets, so that's $20. I didn't have a winner to cash in this time. I had a twenty folded in half, tucked into the pocket on the front of my shirt.

I had my favorite clerk, the friendly one. It's rare in that store. While she was getting my tickets out of the case, I stood with the twenty in my hand. I turned it around, so I wouldn't be upside down when I handed it to her. I smoothed out the crease. I'm particular about my money that way. I joked with her that I needed a winner to cash in! She asked if I had gas, or needed anything else. Then laughed, and said, "Of course you don't!" She knows what I come in there for.

The clerk scanned my tickets, stacked them neatly together, and handed them to me.

"That'll be twenty dollars."

"Here you go!"

I was turning for the door when the clerk said, "Um. This is a one."

SWEET GUMMI MARY! How embarrassing is THAT?

"Oh! I'm sorry. Almost got away with it, heh, heh! You're too smart for me. Here! That one is for my soda later!"

I shouldn't have joked about it like that. She might treat me like a bank teller next time.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Truck Wipes

I never know what I'm going to find on the kitchen counter when I go upstairs to bed. Farmer H has a habit of withholding certain items, I suppose to delay interrogation and reprimand. I guess he figures he'll be asleep when chastisement is on my mind, and out of the house before I wake to pursue the issue.

A couple weeks ago, Farmer H went to a birthday party for one of The Veteran's elementary-school age daughters. He was planning to give her $20. Because that's what young kids like to get, you know. A limp dirty piece of paper money. It's the easiest thing Farmer H can shop for. He only told me he was going the evening before. Of course I was invited, but I'm not a social person. Besides, I was JUST THERE at Christmas!

Anyhoo... being Farmer H, he totally forgot about giving that little gal money. He mentioned it that night. Called The Veteran, and said he'd come by and take her out to The Devil's Playground to pick out her own gift. Which is better than handing her a twenty.

Saturday, Farmer H's business at his Storage Unit Store was thwarted by rain. So that afternoon, he went to take the birthday girl to pick out her present. Her sister is within a year of the same age, so Farmer H took both little girls to visit The Devil. When he went to bed Saturday night, he left the receipt, and a paper plate note on the kitchen counter for me to find.

WAIT A MINUTE! It just NOW dawned on me that if he'd given her the twenty, it would have come out of HIS money, but by using the debit card, it came out of OUR money! What a sneaky snake. I don't begrudge that little lass a gift, and in fact would reimbursed Farmer H, had he mentioned it. It's just the idea that Farmer H thinks he's putting one over on me by doing it this way! Can't let him get the upper hand!

I was a bit surprised to look at the receipt, for writing down in the checkbook ledger, and seeing a total of $51.64. "What in the NOT-HEAVEN did he buy?" I wondered. Out loud. Perhaps with some adjectives not listed. I looked first at the paper plate note for clarification. Farmer H's penmanship is perhaps two levels above that of other-blog buddy Joe H's wife's grocery list writing. Farmer H would never meet a brutal, watery end by being awarded the Penmanship Medal ahead of Rhoda Penmark.

Oh. That explained it. He'd gotten wipes, and a small gift for the sister as well. Okay. WAIT A MINUTE! From the looks of the receipt, those wipes cost almost $9 apiece!

Why in the world would Farmer H need wipes for his truck? Is he too good to drive a dusty vehicle? I don't use wipes on T-Hoe. Oh. Maybe Farmer H meant those alcohol wipes. Like for cleaning his skin before sticking his finger to test his blood. WAIT A MINUTE! He's been using that thing in his arm, that he can scan. No more blood-sticking. Huh. Maybe he wanted to clean his hands before lunch. The $5000 house where he works every day doesn't have the water hooked up yet.

Of course I called to ask about the receipt.

"HM. I spent $25 on her gift, and $4 on a toy for her sister, and I bought two windshield wipers for my truck. WIPERS. Not wipes.

Never mind...

Monday, May 13, 2019

Can A Dog Be De-Nosed?

Some cats are de-clawed. Some dogs are de-barked. What I want to know is... can you safely remove a dog's nose? Probably not. I think it's kind of vital to their existence. How else would they sniff other dogs' butts?

My Sweet, Sweet Juno has continuous issues with her nose. Namely, the time she SHOVED IT IN MY MOUTH WHILE I WAS TALKING TO HER! I wrote about it on my newer blog. I could have severed her proboscis right then! Or The Pony might have sliced it off with a garage-door guillotine!

This time, though, my thoughts of cutting out Juno's snout were not for her future safety, but for mine. Perhaps not so much for my safety, as for my comfort.

Sunday, I returned from a quick trip to town without my 44 oz Diet Coke. I was saving it for later, after an excursion with Farmer H. So all I had to carry inside were my purse and water cup. I tucked them on my right arm, so my left was free for dog-petting and cat-kibble-dispensing. There I was, one-handed, trying to pet jealous Juno, and happy Jack, while she jostled him, trying to shoulder him out of my reach. I have reflexes like a ninja, though. Just ask my former students from Newmentia. I was able to give Jack his rightful petting.

In fact, I was leaning over to look him in the face when Juno jammed her rubbery wet nose against my left cheek, and


Sweet Gummi Mary! That was quite an explosion, extra-pressurized by both nostrils being flush against my cheek. Such a spray finally escaped that it dripped down off my jawline. Juno seemed to think this was completely acceptable.

I hurriedly doled out the kibble, and scurried into the house. I DID take time to toss each dog a slice of bread. Then I rushed around to the sink, and washed my face with cold well water and Blue Coconut Snowball hand soap from Bath and Body Works.

My mutts need Miss Manners.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

I Am SO Not Worthy

My little dog Jack runs to greet me when I return from town. He comes in the garage, and waits for me to speak to him before letting him out the people door. If I get groceries out of T-Hoe's rear, Jack runs around there, all smiley and wiggly, waiting for a pat. I've even almost taught him not to jump up. Like today, all rainy, with his paws picking up road dust from the garage floor. All I had to do was hold my hand up, like whoa, and sternly and calmly tell him "NO. Jack, NO." He sat down and waited for his pat.

I just typed that last sentence as "He sad down..." Subconscious foreshadowing.

Once bags were carried in, I found a little treat for my fleabags. They all three had a slice of 21 Grains and Seeds Bread, and some old stale Beer Cheese Potato Chips. They weren't very good, even when fresh. They were just like kettle-fried chips. No special flavor.

Anyhoo... I gave Jack his slice of bread first, then put Juno's inside her house for her snout to grab it, then tossed one over her dog house for Copper Jack. By that time, my little Jack was dancing around, not eating his bread, hoping for something better. I dumped out some chips for him, which he sniffed, and left alone. Jack watched closely as I put a handful of chips inside Juno's house. Then followed me as I went behind it to pour some out for Copper Jack.

Well! My little Jack turned into a gnashing whirlwind of viciousness, jumping at Copper Jack's snout like they do in play. But this wasn't play. Copper Jack turned his head and walked away, stiff-legged, but didn't engage. I yelled at my ill-mannered beast.


Jack came to his senses. He slunk back to me, belly on the porch boards, and put his head on my foot.

"There. That's a good boy. Come on. You have some. Leave him alone." Which I know sounded to him like "WAH WAH WAH," Charlie Brown teacher talk. I ruffled his double-coated back fur, and patted his head.

I went back to the kitchen door. Jack crawled along after me. "It's okay. Come on. I'm not mad. Here. Have your treat."

By this time, Juno had come out of her house, looking for more. She skittered around, hearing Copper Jack crunching, but not seeing him. I poured out the rest of the chips for Juno. Jack still wasn't eating his treat. I patted him and sweet-talked him, but he was still belly-to-the-ground. Sheesh! What a sensitive little fellow!

"You'd better eat your treat, Jack, or Juno's going to get it!"

Jack turned his back on me, tail tucked tightly between his legs, head down, and walked around the kitchen alcove toward the water bowl and food pans.

I feel SO BAD for hurting his feelings! Juno gets over stuff like that much faster. All it takes is a hug, and she's back to normal. I expect Jack to be more aggressive, because he's a dude. Unoperated upon. He defers to Juno, since she was top dog when he arrived. He's buddies with Copper Jack. I was surprised by his outburst, and I won't have it! Thus the yelling. Which was such a minor thing! Fifteen seconds, tops.

I hope Jack has forgiven me by tomorrow!

There's my sunny-natured little guy, in happier times.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

There Is Nothing Farmer H Won't Sell

Farmer H is currently selling more than he's buying. That's a good thing. He has even cut down his auction-going to two nights a week again! He just doesn't have time, what with working on the $5000 house.

His current mission is to sell a 32-foot RV. A travel trailer. A camper. I have no doubts that he can do it. He's already talked to two people that were interested, and he only took possession of it on Monday. One's truck wouldn't pull it. Another had just that very day bought an RV, and wished he'd had time to look at the one Farmer H is offering.

Farmer H is in the process of troubleshooting all the systems. It's in the front yard of the Mansion. He hopes to pull it to his Storage Unit Store by next weekend. That's where he sold his Ford F250 and the TrailBlazer. People who have (PAID FOR) storage units there can hawk their larger wares on the front gravel parking lot. There's already one camper there, but it's bigger than 32 feet. The full story will be on my other blog in the future, but here's a little preview.

Anyhoo... the point I set out to make was that whenever Farmer H sells something big, he puts me to task looking up prices and printing him sales materials. Sometimes that's hard. Like when Farmer H has been telling me all week that this RV is a 2013 model, but it's not. So I had to go look it up some more.

Farmer H wants to put up a picture of it at his Storage Unit Store this weekend. That's tomorrow. TODAY, as you're reading this. Problem is, the color printer in the workshop wasn't working last time I tried it. Genius didn't know how to fix it from Kansas City. He wasn't even sure what was wrong. I know nothing about that printer, which Genius himself got for a bargain price from some office at his college.

Anyhoo... I told Farmer H that a black and white photo would not be very enticing, but I'd print one if I had to. Which would of course use up too much of my laser printer ink! So, I downloaded the pictures Farmer H sent me, which are better than this one I took from the driveway, and gave the color workshop printer a whirl. When I went in to see if anything printed, IT DID!

I'm guessing the problem with the color printer had been the bad whatever box thingy under my desk, before Farmer H replaced it back when I had to use that long blue wire for my internet connection. I guess that solved the problem, and the workshop printer can now communicate with New Delly again.

Farmer H will be pleased that I also dug through some old teaching stuff, and found THREE clear sleeves to hold his two photos and the price listing.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Working even when she's retired.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Hillbilly Mom Said There'd Be Days Like This

Last Friday wasn't all that great, what with the bank tellers standing at the drive-thru lanes, trying to trick people into signing up for online banking, with bribes of bottled water and muffins. You'd think they would understand that they themselves were being tricked into making their jobs obsolete! Anyhoo... I was thwarted at every turn last Friday. That bank visit took 25 minutes, thanks to their internet system being down. I guess too many people were signing up for online banking!

I had to go back through town, because Farmer H wanted me to do something related to the $5000 house. I don't rightly recall it now, only that I'd planned on taking a different route after the bank, and had to backtrack.

Here was my reward:

A freakin' TRAIN that stopped traffic! Sweet Gummi Mary! I bet I haven't seen a train on that section of tracks for twenty years!

Even Steven wasn't finished with me yet, either. When I stopped by the Casey's over by school-turn-off, I decided to make use of their facilities. I probably could have made it home, but that long wait at the bank helped my decision.

The bathrooms at this Casey's, and the other one near the train crossing, are always clean. Both those Casey's used to be Waterside Marts, so maybe some of the staff still have pride in their job. Anyhoo... after doing my business, I reached for the toilet paper.


There was toilet paper on the roll. A couple inches thick. But there was no end! How is that possible? It didn't feel like a new roll. It was in one of those black plastic holders, where you can't see the actual roll. I had to contort my arm to reach up in there. I spun that roll sever ways to Sunday, and still couldn't find an end. There was nobody in the other stall, so I couldn't ask if they could spare a square. THEN I remembered that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is always prepared. She never leaves home or T-Hoe without a Puffs Plus Lotion in her pants pocket! Problem solved!

Thank the Gummi Mary I hadn't been feeling... um... indisposed.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

I Ain't A-Woofin', It's Got No Bite

Diet Coke in 20 oz bottles, as of late, seems to have lost its umph. I checked the date on the side of the bottle the first time it happened. Okay. It had been expired for two weeks. Not a big deal. My fault. Just a couple of bottles, though I could have sworn I didn't buy them all that long ago. It's not like they were left from Christmas, like the Sprites in the mini fridge under the basement stairs.

It tasted like I was drinking out of an open can of Caffeine Free Diet Coke left sitting around my Mom's house with a torn-off piece of Bounty Select-A-Size paper towel stuffed in the opening. Not that I ever tasted such a thing, of course. Anyhoo... the next time I opened a bottle, from the six-pack I had just bought at The Devil's Playground two days prior, I checked the date. Oh, good. It was still six weeks away. Wait a minute! That Diet Coke also had no bite!

After the initial whoosh upon breaking the seal of the plastic cap, there is no sound of carbonation upon re-opening. Let the record show that Mrs. HM tightens that cap after each swig or pour. Tightens it like preventing the release of a deadly nerve gas depends upon the seal. Yet re-opening yields not even the slightest hiss, one that would embarrass a premature pit viper with asthma.

I don't know what's going on here. I checked the date when I picked up the last six-pack, before putting it in my cart/walker, and it was good. At least a month in the future. Some of the six-packs on the shelf, though, were sweating. You know, condensation, inside the bottle at the top. What's with THAT? I don't think that should happen. Has The Devil been storing his Diet Cokes outside in the sun? Or in another similarly fiery location? I expect a BITE from my bottled Diet Coke. Same as I expect the fountain version to be smooth. They serve different purposes.

Same as with everything else these days, I guess. Nobody cares about quality. Must be the fault of the young whippersnappers manning the bottling line, paying too much attention to their phones.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Just When You Think They're Trained

Farmer H is in hot water again. Not boiling hot. Just starting to simmer.

Perhaps you remember that many, many, MANY years ago, in the first year or two of their blessed union, Farmer H and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom had a disagreement. It concerned the soiled clothing of Farmer H. At the time, he was still an hourly worker at his old factory in the city, not a member of the management team at the new factory he and a few colleagues built halfway between the city and Hillmomba.

Farmer H's work clothing consisted of jeans and t-shirts. Cheap jeans, and pocket Ts that he bought white, and died brown, so as not to show the grime. His job has always been in the maintenance department, involving anything from carrying office furniture to and from storage, to rewiring the plant for machines involved in the production of saw blades. He has never been a suit and tie kind of guy.

For the first blissful months of marriage, Farmer H and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom worked like a well-oiled machine. Both arose at 5:00 a.m., to hit the road in different directions for a commute to their very different jobs. Farmer H spent his non-working hours fixing up the $17,000 house, and Mrs. HM spent her non-working hours working (grading papers and planning lessons at home), and completing the household chores.

Yes, that well-oiled machine was chugging right along, until the Saturday morning that Mrs. HM objected to the monkey wrench that Farmer H tossed into the cogs.

"I'm tired of picking up your dirty clothes! Look at this pile! I can hardly walk across the bedroom. If you expect me to do your laundry, you need to put it in the bathroom hamper. There's no reason to have work clothes and dirty underwear scattered across the carpet! I don't see your arm in a cast. You can put your clothes in the hamper, same as I do. I'm not your servant."

As you might imagine, knowing what you know about Farmer H... he objected.

"Fine! I'll do my own laundry!"

Farmer H continued to pile his dirty clothes on the bedroom carpet all week, and scraped them up and took them to the basement to wash them on Sundays. Oh, well. His choice. Less laundry for Mrs. HM.

Since he never apologized, or started putting his dirty laundry in the communal hamper, his life of laundering continued. I did the household laundry and the boys' laundry and my own, while Farmer H washed his own clothing. Which had turned into not as much, because with his new job five years into the marriage, he had a uniform service through work.

Of course I still had a bone to pick with Farmer H over his laundering. Albeit 20 years later.

"When you take your clothes out of the dryer, you need to clean the lint trap. That's only common courtesy. I always clean it, but you leave so much in there that I could make a blanket out of the lint. The dryer will be more efficient if you clean it out."

So, Farmer H started complying with my command. I always check, though, just in case of a relapse. Which happened last weekend. I probably would have let him get away with it, but he annoyed me. He did laundry on a Saturday night after the auction, and then AGAIN on Sunday night! I know that, because I had to rush and take my dry clothing out of the dryer before I was ready to deal with it. Farmer H tosses it haphazardly into the clothes basket, and I often lose a sock.

"I can't believe you're doing laundry again! I heard it from downstairs."

"Yeah. So?"

"Now I've had to rush up here to get my clothes out before you mess them up. I thought you were done on Saturday."

"No. I had to wash my jeans and shirts. And now my underwear."

"Well, you didn't clean out the lint trap, so I had to! And because of that, I'm NOT cleaning it out now when I take my clothes out. You can do that. And do it AFTER you take your clothes out, too!"

"Okay! I don't know why you're so cranky. You're always cranky with me."

Yeah. I am. For absolutely no reason at all...

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Mrs. HM Wasn't Ready To Roll Over And Play Dead

A human vulture was waiting to swoop in on me Monday at The Devil's Playground. I'd found a parking space two rows off the food-end entrance, about six spaces up. Next to a cart return. It's not all that good a parking space, but it was the best one I could find. I was loading my purchases into T-Hoe's rear when a white car with a handicap license plate started up that aisle. It paused. As if parked.

Let the record show that I was NOT in a handicap parking space. Not even near one, the closest being across the aisle behind me, three spaces down. I did not see anyone in the cars parked there. It became obvious that this human vulture was waiting to scavenge MY parking space. It doesn't matter to me what happens to my parking space when I leave. But I wasn't ready to leave!

I was still taking bags out of the cart, by cracky! Then I had to put the cart in the rack. And I always climb into T-Hoe, wash my hands with GermX, put away my debit card in the checkbook, and write down the amount of my purchase, balancing my ledger. That's my routine.

In previous situations such as this, I have carried out my routine. But this car had already been blocking the aisle for going on 5 minutes! I knew it was going to live rent-free (possibly with paid utilities) in my head, while I was completing my routine. That's never a good thing. It takes only a minor break in routine to discombobulate Mrs. HM. I'd forget where I put my debit card, or make a subtraction error, or transpose numbers from the receipt. So I gave in. I guess I WAS ready to roll over and play dead.

I started up T-Hoe and backed out, my dirty germy Devil hands touching the steering wheel and shifter. Some idiot woman appeared out of nowhere while I was backing. T-Hoe's backup sensor hasn't worked for years. So I'm extra careful about watching for pedestrians. I can only guess that she strode into striking distance as I swiveled my head to check the other side of the aisle, for pedestrians on their way toward the store.

This is why so many idiots are falling out of buildings and off cliffs while taking selfies! They are just pure idiots! You'd think that if you were walking towards a moving 2000 lb vehicle, you'd stop and wait until it got where it was going. But no. These idiots think they have the right-of-way in the driving aisle. It's not like there's a crosswalk or sidewalk. They're as bad as road-walkers! If I was artistic, and a bit more motivated, I would draw a cartoon of such an idiot, under the back tires of T-Hoe, texting that they'd been run over and couldn't get up. Idiot!

Anyhoo... I drove to the upper end of the parking aisle, and pulled into another parking spot, turned off T-Hoe, and did my handwashing and card-stowing and ledger-balancing.

The nerve of some people!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Thank The Gummi Mary, It Wasn't Wall-To-Wall Carpeting

A couple days ago, I mentioned finding a millipede marching across my braided rug, nearly camouflaged by the pattern. I included a photo of that rug, and let slip its true name: The Toenail Rug. I've found the original blog post that revealed the story of The Toenail Rug [along with an even more disturbing (if that's possible) home furnishing]. I'll put a link at the end, but I'm putting The Toenail Rug saga below.

When I bought my $17,000 house in town, it needed a little work. You'd expect that, right, from a $17,000 house? One repair was a new sub-floor. That's the industrial strength plywood that goes down on the floor joists, before you cover it with carpet or wood or tile. In this case, we were planning on carpet. We'd also bumped out the corner of the living room to make a nook for a computer, and were waiting on that to be finished before having the carpet installed. Unfortunately, our carpenter ran his mouth at a bar, and was locked up a few weeks in the county jail. He did great wood work, but his interpersonal skills were not on par with his craftsmanship.

Here we were, with autumn inching into winter, living on a subfloor that had drafty cracks. Luckily, my grandma offered us her braided rug. She was getting a new one. The old braided rug had been in front of Grandma's fireplace ever since I could remember. We didn't care that it had some burned, melted spots from embers jumping out of the fireplace when the screen was open for jabbing at the logs. That's why Grandma had a braided rug. It laid on top of her carpet.

Anyhoo... Farmer H and I were glad to get the braided rug, and Grandma was glad to get rid of it. It covered our entire living room, and stopped the drafts. One night I sat down on the couch, and my socked foot snagged on something sharp on the braided rug. We are not barefoot hillbillies, but I don't wear shoes inside the house. Whatever it was, this thing jabbed all the way through my sock. I asked Farmer H to look and see if maybe a staple or a paper clip was caught in the braided rug.

Farmer H crawled around dutifully at my feet. "Here it is!" He grabbed it and stood up, holding it in the air. Brandishing it like a nerd winning a Technical Lighting award clutching his Oscar. It was a TOENAIL! A big, ragged, man's toenail. My 5'2", humpbacked, little old Grandma could never have cultivated a toenail of such proportions! My uncle from Alaska had been staying with her during the Christmas tree season. They owned a tree farm. It had to be HIS toenail! EEWWW! That toenail made me gag.

When it was time for the carpet installation, Farmer H hung The Toenail Rug over the clothesline in the back yard, and beat it within an inch of its life. He rolled it up and stashed it somewhere for safekeeping. He said it was worth too much to throw away. Scavenger! I know we didn't put it in the basement of the $17,000 house, because it needed a sump pump, and sometimes still took on water during a heavy rain. I hate to think how much that Toenail Rug would have weighed when wet!

Once we built our now-house, and Farmer H finished the basement, The Toenail Rug had a new home. The boys could sit on it to play video games and watch TV.

Here it is yesterday. Don't shame me because my Christmas tree is still up! I have trouble letting go.

There's the electric fireplace, and The Pony's cheap gaming couch, with a couple of fleece throws that I've won by outplaying others at my sister the ex-mayor's wife's Christmas Eve parties.

Here's the Toenail Rug's original tale, back from March 17, 2006, and its horrifying companion piece. Though you've just read about it here, so no need to go there and be subjected to my 13 year old writing style. Meaning it was that long ago, less polished, not that it reads like a 13-year-old wrote it. That might be giving it too much credit!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Not A Spontaneous Kind Of Gal

Let the record show that Mrs. HM is not a spontaneous kind of gal. She's not one for dropping everything to take off at the spur-of-the-moment. No impromptu shindigs for her. You'd think Farmer H would know that by now.

Saturday morning, I saw a text from Farmer H. "Call me when you get up."

Most likely, he just wanted to know what time I got up. He's the sleep police. I'm pretty sure I have about a 150-year sentence awaiting me if convicted. Anyhoo... I called.

"Do you want to go to the casino?"


"Oh. Okay then. It's just that I'm tired of working on the $5000 house, and it's been raining, so I'm not going to sell anything at the Storage Unit Store. I just figured we could go to the casino."

"I wish you'd mentioned it last night. I could have thought about it. But now, it will be late when we get down there. I've thought it over, trying to make myself want to go. But I don't. The only fun part would be playing the machines. But my head is clogged up, and the smoke would bother me. I don't like any of their restaurants, now that the buffet is permanently closed. It's 90 minutes down there, and 90 minutes back. Besides, I've been saving my money for the trip to see The Pony this month. I don't want to lose it and have to save it back."

"Well, don't take so much, and you can't lose it."

"We hardly ever come back with more than we took. ANY amount I lose is less money to take to Oklahoma. I'd rather have it there, and have some to give to The Pony. So, no. I don't want to go."

"All right then. I might go Goodwilling."

"Uh huh. And you'll go all the way to the city, and go to THAT casino! Not that I care."

"I might. We can go up there."

"No. I don't want to spend any money. I'm SAVING money. I'll go buy my scratchers, and see if I can get more to save. I KNOW how much I'm losing on scratchers, and the trip is only 10 minutes."

So, Mrs. HM turned down a trip to a casino on Saturday. It didn't hurt a bit.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Don't Unbuckle That Roller Coaster Seatbelt Just Yet

The Roller Coaster of Even Steven is still chugging up that incline, then dropping so fast that my stomach flutters. You may recall only yesterday (unless you're like Farmer H of late), that I listed my ups and downs of the week. Wednesday was, indeed, uneventful. That didn't last more than one day in a row!

I found another unwelcome visitor in the basement. This time, it was creeping towards my OPC (Old People Chair), where I had been slumbering unintentionally a mere five minutes previous.

Let the record show that I leave my dark basement lair anywhere between 10:30 and midnight, and move to my OPC to watch TV. I usually have at least one break, to visit the NASCAR bathroom, before I ascend the stairs for bedtime. A couple times a week, I fall asleep in my OPC. This time, it was getting pretty late (or early) when I woke up. It was 3:15 a.m. No big deal. I don't have to rise earlier than 9:00, and I don't work in a nuclear power plant where alertness is a requirement.

I powered my OPC to its normal chairlike configuration, and padded across the floor in my stocking feet, leaving my old sturdy New Balance beside the OPC. That's my habit. Once in the OPC, I don't put my shoes on again until time to go upstairs. So my bathroom visits, and any extra trips to my lair, are done with just a thin layer of fabric from my black Doc Ortho socks between me and the floor.

I returned to the TV area and unplugged my Christmas tree. Yes, you read that right. It's still up, and I get many hours of enjoyment from the soft glow. I strode across the giant braided rug that belonged to my grandma (Mom's mom) to step into my shoes, ready to proceed to turn on the overhead lights, at the switch way over by Farmer H's workshop door. It's my routine.

Wait a minute. You know how something gets your attention, but it doesn't sink in for a few seconds? I had a weird feeling as I stepped into my shoes. Something didn't look right over by the Christmas tree. I turned back. Squinted in the light of the two lamps. Yes. Something off. Something about the rug pattern.


This one was moving! Marching across that rug in the direction of the end table that acts as a coffee table in front of The Pony's gaming couch. NO NO NO! I had to stop it! What if I'd been sleeping in the OPC, and didn't know it was there! Would it have crawled up and onto me??? At best, this millipede would be on the loose. At least I saw it. Now I had to stop it. Crap.

I got a Puffs Plus Lotion from the box on the TV tray that acts as a table beside my OPC. It was the closet thing I could get. I folded it over a couple times, gritted my teeth, held my breath, and pinched that millipede between my thumb and index finger. NO NO NO! I could feel it squirm. Like it was still marching while I held it, though I don't think I'd be able to feel those legs moving. YUCK! I scurried to the NASCAR bathroom and dropped the whole kit n kaboodle into the toilet. A Puffs can flush!

Now I have TWO millipedes somewhere in my plumbing! This one was about half the size of the other. Thinner, anyway.

It's a wonder I saw it at all. Look at this rug. There's no millipede in the photo (THAT I KNOW OF), because I took the picture the next day, fully lit. Just to show the pattern.

That millipede was in the dark section. I'm lucky it was moving, or I might not have noticed it. Oopsie! Looks like a Cocoa Puff missed my improvised trash bag hanging off my TV tray. And I seem to have dropped an index card. I bet that's where the millipede was going. Do you think? To the Cocoa Puff, silly! I doubt he was headed to the index card to make a shopping list. You can bet that I picked that up forthwith.

And now, for the scaling the heights with The Roller Coaster of Even Steven...

I had a $40 and a $30 scratcher winners. Not sure I'm ready to plummet down again.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Roller Coaster Of Even Steven

WHOA! I feel woozy! Even Steven has given me a wild ride over the last five days. I don't even like roller coasters. I would never ride one in real life. But in this case, my life IS the roller coaster! I swear, I've been humming that Morgan Wallen / Florida Georgia Line song all day: Up Down.

Farmer H read a book!

I sat in his pee on the toilet seat. Discovered his popcorn crumbs by the La-Z-Boy.

I won $200 on a scratch-off ticket.

I had to deal with a millipede blocking the entrance to my dark basement lair.

I won $100 on a scratch-off ticket.

Wednesday, so far, has been uneventful. Maybe the ride is over.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Nightmare At Negative 7.5 Feet: The Yuckening

Remember Charlie Brown at Halloween, trick-or-treating with the gang? They'd be all happy, looking through their bags at the treats. Then Charlie Brown would say, "I got a rock." Or that part in Gremlins, when Gizmo is happily tooting his horn on Christmas morning? Then Stripe hits him with a stream of spit. I felt like that on Monday evening.

I had provided Farmer H's meal. Devoted time to talk to him while he ate. Sent him off to an auction. Then the rest of the evening was mine! I warmed up some chicken. Prepared a tray of my supper, and two limes to put in the remaining 22 oz of my Diet Coke. I reached the bottom of the basement stairs, anticipating my supper and uninterrupted computing. I was practically skipping with glee as I crossed in front of Genius's old desk, on the way to my dark basement lair.


What WAS that? Something on the floor, about three feet from my office. Something dark. In the Gaming Triangle. That's the area I walk through, bordered on the right by a small TV with a Nintendo hooked up. The left side is a desk against the wall outside the NASCAR bathroom, where The Pony liked to sit underneath with a remote and play games. Straight ahead is the wall (and door) of my office.

That wasn't there when I went upstairs to make supper an hour ago! What WAS that? I crept closer, tray of chicken in my right hand, yellow bubba cup full of ice in my left.


That was NOT a number 6! Not even a number 9! IT WAS A MILLIPEDE!

I hate millipedes. I really, REALLY hate them! Now I was all alone, with one blocking the entrance to my lair! Darn that Farmer H! He usually doesn't go to Monday auctions. How dare this millipede make its grand entrance after Farmer H had made his exit! I call shenanigans!

You know how it is, when you realize that the only one who can save you is yourself. I skooched as far against that desk as possible, and made it around the millipede. I put down my tray and bubba, and grabbed a paper towel off my desk. I could have used a Puffs Plus Lotion, but I did not want to take a chance of feeling the outline of that critter through the tissue-thin tissue. My fear of going back out there to grab the millipede was only slightly less than my fear that when I returned, it would be GONE! Like Michael Myers in the original Halloween.

It makes me retch to re-live the memory! The millipede was still there. I snatched it up inside the folded (for extra thickness, it was only a Select-A-Size) paper towel. I might have been keening nonsense syllables as I did so. Thank the Gummi Mary, the NASCAR bathroom toilet was only about six feet away. I rushed in and dropped that unwelcome visitor into the bowl with a PLOP! Of course I had to keep the paper towel out of the toilet.

My relief was sadly tempered with the fear that when I sit down on the toilet, that millipede might be lurking below.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Was This A Sign Of The TIMES And The CHANGIN'?

Yesterday, I referred to a dream I had Friday night. Here are the two paragraphs about that dream, so you don't have to look back:

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.

Saturday, I stopped by Orb K for some scratchers. Those of you who read my not-so-super-secret blog know that I am always on the lookout for coins, namely pennies, and keep a running total of what I find. I do a blog post every Saturday about my week's find. I only found a single penny that week, but while I was waiting for my scratchers, I saw a dime under the energy-supplement rack.

My fingers were itching to take out my phone and snap a picture of that dime! The sad thing is, I knew I couldn't get it. My fingers weren't long enough to reach down through that black metal rack. The dime was way back, almost against the wall. No way could my fingers touch it if bent over and stuck my hand under the front of the rack. That dime was not coming out unless I laid down on the tile and stuck my whole arm all the way back.

Yeah. That wasn't happening. Dang it! That's why the shelves need to be not-see-through! I really wanted that dime, but there was no use taking a picture if it wasn't coming home with me. Who takes a picture of a dime on a convenience store floor? That's just crazy!

It was kind of funny that my Friday night dream had a portion about coins on the ground, and people crawling around to get them.

On Sunday, I broke my scratcher habit of buying $5 tickets, and bought a $10. It came to me all at once, while I was standing at the sink brushing my teeth before I got in the shower. The boys won on the $10 tickets I sent them for Easter. So maybe I should try it. I didn't want to buy the same kind they won on. So I mentally picked what ticket I was going to buy, and the place. I'd been drawn to Country Mart's right-side machine for a few days. However... there had been people in front of it when I went in, so I'd been going to the left-side machine. I did okay at it, but I was still feeling like I should go to the right-side machine.

That's where I got this $200 winner! Such a coincidence, after that dream of running around a casino with $200 in my pockets.

Yes, I know I'm applying those dream details after the fact. Hindsight. Still... it was kind of prophetic. Thank the Gummi Mary, there were no actual ninja assassins chasing me!