Monday, September 30, 2019

Farmer H's Greed Will Be The End Of Him

You all know that Farmer H has a booming business at his Storage Unit Store. He buys stuff at auctions, and resells them at his SUS. He started with "merchandise" from those original 18 storage units that he bought. Seeing as how people like to see a variety of goods when they return each week, he combined his auction outings with his business.

Farmer H isn't greedy in the classical sense. He doesn't jack up the prices as high as he thinks the market will bear. He's actually happy to make just a little, on a lot of different items. He'll sell for a dollar over cost on the smaller items, and for as little as a $10 profit on things that might have cost him into the hundreds.

A couple weeks ago, he saw somewhere that The Devil's Playground was selling pocketknives for a dollar apiece. I don't know the brand, but they were regularly more expensive. The line was being discontinued. Farmer H knew he could sell them for $10 apiece, but he said he'd take $5. He wanted to get as many as possible, because pocketknives are a good seller for him. Men always want another, and grandpas buy them for their grandkids.

Farmer H drove all around our area, trying to procure those dollar pocketknives. He had limited success in a 30-mile radius. Sometimes he had to ask, and a worker would find them stashed under the desk by another employee. Which is against The Devil's policy. So Farmer H got himself a few pocketknives.

Anyhoo, in the midst of this buying frenzy, Farmer H was due to leave on his trip out west to visit his brother. He cancelled a doctor's appointment to get an early start on a Friday morning. He was meeting one of his storage unit buddies, who said he'd like a little vacation, around 7:15 a.m. Farmer H had plans to spend the night in The Pony's college town, and have supper with him. He was due to arrive around 4:00.

Funny how The Pony sent me a text that day, at 4:30, saying that his dad was going to be late.

"Dad took a wrong turn. He's running about two hours late."

Well. So much for a relaxing supper and some quality time at the casino. He did arrive eventually, a steak meal was enjoyed, and gambling ensued. Just two hours later than planned.

You know why Farmer H was late, don't you? He stopped at a Devil's Playground on the way, took a wrong turn coming out of the lot, had driven a half hour through unfamiliar territory when he discovered it. And was misdirected by his Garmin.

"I told my buddy, 'Look at that fence there. That's new since the last time I was out here. In fact, there's a lot of stuff they've done since then!' I kept thinking how everything was different. Then I figured out we weren't on the right highway! I punched it in the Garmin to go back, and it kept running me all over the place. It was trying to take me back to the turnpike, which we never take. I finally put in Muskogee, and it got me back to where we'd messed up."

Uh huh. You know why he stopped, right? Pocketknives. Which were sold out.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

It's The Opposite Of Hearing Voices, I Guess

It's happening again!

Technically, it didn't stop happening. The day that I typed up my post about the wifi spying on me about cigarette smoke at the casino... I got an evening call from Farmer H. By that time, I was sitting in front of New Delly in my basement lair.

Let the record show that Farmer H called on the landline. I picked up the phone and answered. Farmer H talked about what he did that day. One outing was to a Devil's Playground, to buy a pair of nail clippers because apparently Farmer H grows talons over the span of a week away from home.

Let the record further show that Farmer H's voice was coming from his cell phone, courtesy of SPRINT, in Nevada, through the invisible airwaves, and into the handset of my landline, courtesy of AT&T.

Let the ever-expanding record illustrate that I get my gossip news from the U.K. DAILY MAIL. It usually causes New Delly to lock up after a while, due to all the ads running in the background. Still, I must keep informed.

As I was scrolling down the page looking for juicy stories after my Farmer H conversation, I encountered an ad:

"Top U.S. surgeons invent a pain free nail clipper specifically designed to aid seniors."

It was accompanied by a giant picture of a nail clipper.

So now, the spying must be INSIDE MY LEFT EAR, because I didn't type anything about a nail clipper. I didn't speak the words nail clipper. New Delly most certainly could not have heard Farmer H's voice inside my landline receiver earpiece.

Before you do the crazy temple swirly finger, ask yourself: "How was this possible?"

Uh huh. Thought so.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

I Had No Intention Of Rioting

Thursday was quite a laugh-fest for Even Steven. I'd been to the bank, credit union, post office, filled T-Hoe up with gas. All I wanted was my 44 oz Diet Coke, and to cash in some scratchers. Of course the parking lot of The Gas Station Chicken Store was awkwardly full. Trucks hitched to trailers, parked over by the moat. Most of the row of parking spaces full beside the building. Full across from the gas pumps, facing the stoplight.

Sweet Gummi Mary! I didn't have time for this! I just wanted to get home and have lunch. I bypassed TGSCS to go to Hardee's for some chicken tenders. When I came back, the lot was still full. I even drove through, to check the parking spaces by the air hose, but those two were also full. I left out the back road, deciding to give up on that, and do my magical elixir and scratcher business at Orb K.

Well. The difference was like night and day. Nary a car parked along the front sidewalk of Orb K. I got my favorite parking space next to the handicap walkway so I wouldn't have to step up on the sidewalk, but could use the slanted ramp segment.

Huh. There was an employee spraying that sidewalk with water from a firehose! Okay. It reminded me of a firehose. It was thicker than a garden hose. And pink. As I was gathering my knees under me after sliding out of T-Hoe, Ms. Hoser went to the spigot and turned it up. She walked back towards the door, flinging her hose. It dawned on me that she was actually trying to get it out of my way. Which wasn't really possible.

I was extra careful in stepping over that hose. I guess Ms. Hoser felt sorry for me, because she stopped spraying, went to the door, and held it open for me! Of course I thanked her. Obviously, she was not one of those self-centered Millennials who would have sprayed me off their sidewalk and held the door shut against me.

Once inside, I headed for the soda fountain, only to find it BLOCKED OFF WITH SHEETS OF PLASTIC FOR A REMODEL!

Sweet Gummi Mary! That's the third convenience store I frequent that is undergoing renovations! Now I'd have to go all the way back to The Gas Station Chicken Store for my magical elixir. Okay, so It's only about a half mile. But it's hard to make a left turn out of Orb K.

I actually DID feel like rioting when I realized that. Good thing Ms. Hoser had her firehose.

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Eye In The WiFi

Sweet Gummi Mary! Surveillance has gotten out of hand. I refuse to have an Alexa in the Mansion. It's bad enough that my phone listens to me 24/7/365. And now, I've been betrayed by my HIPPIE! That's my HP laptop.

Thursday morning (I use that term loosely), I was answering comments on my not-so-secret blog. In reference to last week's tale of my casino trip, a reader said that she could almost hear the bells and whistles when I won. I replied, "Good thing you can't smell the cigarettes around me!" Because, you know, casinos are full of smokers, usually one on my left, and one on my right.

I typed that comment in my blog at 10:51 a.m. It was actually a couple minutes earlier, but our power went off, killing the DISH satellite for my TV, and apparently the other DISH satellite for my internet connection. Then power came back on, and the DISHes reset themselves.

Well! At 11:17 a.m., I heard my phone bleep with an email. It was from my health insurance provider. 5 Tips to Help Manage Cravings. Quit for Life can help you quit tobacco.

Are you freakin' kidding me? I have never been a smoker! EVER! Hick has never been a smoker. Nobody in our Mansion or on our health insurance policy has ever been a smoker! WHY am I getting this email from my health insurance provider? You can't tell me that they sent it out en masse to millions of people at that same moment.

That's way too much of a coincidence, to get such a "helpful" email, unsolicited, unneeded, 30 minutes after typing and posting a related comment.

I'm pretty sure there are worse ne'er-do-wells to spy on than me.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Very Nerve Of Copper Jack

After my efforts being thwarted at every turn on Monday, my magical elixir seemed extra-delicious when I took a trial sip before putting the lid on it. I headed back to the Mansion, to carry in my groceries. That's the rough part, with Farmer H being gone. I left some in T-Hoe's rear for another time. Like the Tide and Charmin and Puffs and soda. I had all my groceries piled on the metal chair on the side porch. I was extra careful, carrying my bag with deli fried chicken last, and putting other bags on top of it. All I had to do was snatch my purse and elixir from T-Hoe, and walk up the steps and unlock the kitchen door.

Juno and Jack were prancing around. I'd given them a little cat kibble before putting any groceries on the chair. Copper Jack hung back by the front of the carport, on the brick sidewalk. My dogs never bother my stuff. Copper Jack gradually creeps closer, up the steps, and peers around the corner of the house, over Juno's dog house, waiting for me to toss treats once I've moved everything inside. The dogs know I always carry in the groceries before treats.

I set down my purse and elixir after the unlocking, and started for my grocery bags.


Well! That is simply not acceptable. I yelled at him.

"Get out of here! GIT! Get away from that chicken!"

I'm sure he understood, don't you think? He tucked his tail and scurried back down the steps, towards the brick sidewalk. My little Jack, spurred on by my vitriol, took after Copper Jack like a Tasmanian Devil! He growled and barked and jumped at Copper Jack's snout, biting with his tiny mouth. Copper Jack took his chastisement well. He rarely fights back with my little Jack. They're buddies. But not when Mrs. HM is displeased with him!

I called Jack back to me, and praised him. Because, you know, I appreciate a dog who will defend me, even if he's 8 inches tall, with a tiny mouth.

No damage was done to the chicken or Copper Jack. I got the groceries in, and picked up some old biscuits for a treat. Copper Jack had wandered back to his treat-waiting position. He and Jack got biscuits, and Juno got an added pork steak bone handed directly to her mouth, inside her house. There was only one, and I figured she should be rewarded for staying out of the drama. What the other two didn't know didn't hurt them.

I guess I'd grown complacent, not having problems with Copper Jack before. I'm always wary when he's around, but I'd have carried that bag in with my purse if I had an inkling of his imminent uncharacteristic shenanigans.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

They'll Drive You To Drink

Even Steven left me hangin' on Monday. At least I have the EVENING of Steven to look forward too, I suppose. My Devil's Playground shopping trip was fraught with obstacles. I hoped that my luck would turn once I left. And by "turn," I mean I hoped I could go about my business unobstructed.

I'd gotten a late start, due to waiting until the bank tellers' lunchtime was over. That put me leaving The Devil's Playground around 2:45. Not a good time to be frequenting The Gas Station Chicken Store for my 44 oz Diet Coke, because that's around the time the local high school lets out, just down the road.

I waited in T-Hoe for a few minutes, hoping for the crowd to thin out. Once inside, I waited behind a dad with two young boys about 5-6 at the soda fountain. They were quite well-behaved, each carrying two bottles of fruity drink. The dad was getting two 44 oz somethings. I don't know if they were all two-fisted drinkers, or if there was a lady in waiting in the car.

As I stood there, with the dad putting on his lids and straws, another man came in with two girls, maybe 8th or 9th grade age. I'll be darned if they didn't dart in as soon as the dad left! The man with them, I think the father of one girl, said, "Wait now. She was first."

What a sad state of society when young 'uns don't know how to wait their turn! At least that father was trying. Though he DID ask for a pint of whiskey. I guess kids these days are so wrapped up in themselves that they forget the world does not revolve around them. They definitely need a refresher course in The World Revolves Around Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Day Filled With Mock-Blockers

Sweet Gummi Mary! Nothing is ever simple for Mrs. HM. I only wanted to dash into The Devil's Playground for the weekly groceries. It's not rocket science. Does not require detailed planning akin to storming the beaches at Normandy. All I had to do was park. Walk in. Throw items in cart. Pay. Walk out. How many things could go wrong?

I was off to a good start, nabbing a parking spot beside a cart return. On the way in, I spied an abandoned cart, thinking to push it in, because sometimes the ones inside are stuck to other carts by the child seatbelt. Hmpf! The cart I grabbed had a box in the seat. I picked it up to put in one of those finicky or old-people carts, that are smaller, with two tiers. That box had something HEAVY in it! It looked like maybe an oil filter or some under-the-hood necessity. And had wires attached! So probably not an oil filter.

Inside, a lady was browsing where I wanted to shop for prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella sticks. So I headed for the limes, where a mom and two school-age boys were loitering. The look on my ex-teacher face must have scared the older boy, because he got out of my way quick.

I headed for the individual packs of six mini-donuts (the best kind, the crumbly-coated ones), but an employee was fiddling around at that shelf.

Leaving there, I went down the aisle for dill pickles and mayonnaise. A big metal stocking cart was in front of the pickles, so I moved it. A big man with another big metal stocking cart was in front of the mayo. I didn't think it wise to move him! I rounded the corner to try the donuts again, but now TWO workers were "working" there, having a chat.

Off to the cracker aisle for Roasted Garlic Triscuits, but I couldn't get there for two women with their carts parked in the middle of the main aisle. So I took a detour to the Puffs, Charmin, and Tide. A man had his cart parked in front of the Puffs while looking at paper plates. So I moved on to the Tide, which I got without an issue. But then had to play a game of FROGGER to get back across the end aisle for my Charmin. Nabbed the Puffs on the way back to groceries, though.

The aisle for Farmer H's flavored water was blocked by the cart of a companion talking to a beeper-cart lady. I could have gotten by her beeper-cart, but he had to take up space there for no reason. I went down the next aisle (wine and lime-squeezer thingies!) and came back up to the water, making sure not to look happy in case he glanced at me. Because I'm passive-aggressive like that.

Of course the Diet Coke was blocked by a big metal stocking cart. I moved it. I don't know why The Devil's minions abandon their carts like that. The Diet Mountain Dew had a man in front of it, who seemed to just be resting, before moving on.

Heading back up front, I was again impeded by a main aisle blockage, this one being an old lady standing with her cart. Like she'd been left to wait for someone. School must not have been in session, because shoppers were towing a couple kids apiece along that aisle behind their carts.

I darted across to go up the down aisle, and managed to get my mayo and crumbly mini donuts on the way back up front.

Putting bags in my cart, I noticed that the lady ahead of me had left some material and a yellow tape measure on the cart carousel. I gave it to the checker to hold in case she came back.

On the way out the main doors, I saw a dude headed across the people-walk. He was adjusting his junk inside his gym shorts. I KNEW he was going to come right at me, in the OUT doors. He did. I'm psychic like that. A dude who will adjust his junk in public doesn't much care what people think of him for going IN the OUT door. I'll be darned if an old lady didn't follow him in! She wasn't touching anything private, though.

So much for dashing in for groceries. So many people dared to MOCK MY EFFORTS! The trend continued. More on that tomorrow, maybe...

Monday, September 23, 2019

Yet Another Malady For The Malingerer

You know how, when you eat too much taffy in one day, your teeth feel loose the next day? That happens to other people, right? Like when I was a kid, and we went to Silver Dollar City, and got some taffy at the candy store, and my sister the little future ex-mayor's wife and I ate it in the back seat of our Olds 98, during the 5-hour ride home.

I have not been eating taffy. I have not eaten anything different from my usual foods. Yet on Saturday, I woke up with my teeth feeling all loose. And sort of painful. Mainly the top teeth. Front and back, on both sides. Not the molars next to my wisdom-teeth holes. But the others. It was weird. Felt just like I'd been chomping on too much taffy. Or maybe eating a whole convenience-store size bag of Corn Nuts. That happened in college. Though to be fair, I barely have a recollection of it.

The only difference in my routine was Friday's trip to two casinos with Sis and the Ex-Mayor. The second one was really smoky. I could smell the smoke in my hair the next morning when I stepped in the shower. I must have grown used to it throughout the afternoon. My head got all stuffy. And headachy. Which made the back of my neck all tense and painful.

Sunday morning, I was still stuffy, with Loose Teeth Syndrome. They didn't actually wiggle. Just felt loose if I tried to bite down. I used my head vibrator on my forehead, and felt that pain move to my right ear! Apparently, the forehead bone's connected to the right hammer/anvil/stirrup combo! I also sneezed six times, and blew a lot of clear snot out of my nose.

I'm hoping to start convalescing by Monday. I can't spend all day in the shower with my face in hot running water.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Possible Overkill

I stopped at the deli counter of Country Mart for a BBQ pork steak. I think the worker was a new girl. First of all, she didn't know the CODE NUMBER for a pork steak! Not even after carrying it in the foam container to the list of prices and codes taped on the back of the soda fountain.

DeliLaLa, as I shall call her, turned to holler toward the empty bakery counter. "Can you help me? I don't know how much to charge for just a pork steak."

A dude came out of the closed-door, windowless kitchen area. He said, "961." Then walked over to the list, and pointed it out to her. "Entree: meat loaf, roast beef, pork steak. Right there."

She thanked him, and turned to walk toward the bakery counter!!! WAIT! She was holding my BBQ pork steak! Where was she taking it?

The dude came over to the deli counter, and asked if I needed anything else. I told him no, just the pork steak, and I knew the number myself, since I'd thought it was the price the first time! He went back to the hermetically sealed kitchen, and as he passed by DeliLaLa, I saw what she was doing with my pork steak!

DeliLaLa had wrapped the whole container in several layers of plastic wrap! What in the NOT HEAVEN? Did she think it was going to escape? That I was going to take it out and eat it, and not pay? It's not like I had sides inside. No corn juice to slosh out, no gravy. They've never wrapped it before, as evidenced by my original tale.

DeliLaLa is obviously an enemy of the environment!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A Case Of Questionable Advice From The Ex-Mayor

As I type, in my dark basement lair, I am feeling queasy. I don't feel queasy very often. I tend to shun people, and wash my hands as soon as I get home from my daily 44 oz Diet Coke and scratchers run. With Farmer H not here at the moment to blame for my queasiness, I must find another culprit.

Today I rode to two casinos with my sister the ex-mayor's wife and the ex-mayor. Sis generously allowed me to ride shotgun, so as to better maneuver my knees in and out of her Expedition. We had a grand old time, though not quite profitable, except for Sis.

On the drive home, Sis had a phone call from her kindergarten granddaughter. We were almost to our exit, with the Ex-Mayor talking about their previous engagement plans for dinner.

"Do you have something for tonight? Do you want to go to dinner?"

"Well, let me ask your advice. I have a deli meal from The Devil's Playground. It's chicken enchiladas. When I bought it on Tuesday, it was on sale. The USE BY date was the next day. The 17th. Today is the 20th. Do you think it would still be okay to eat?"

"Oh, I'm sure it's still good!"

It tasted fine going down. I hope I don't find out how it tastes coming up.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Sins Of The Farmer

Let's keep this tale manageable, and only discuss ONE sin of Farmer H.

Granted, many transgressions could be grouped under this general category. Farmer H is a distractor. He shows up at just the wrong time. Without even trying, he discombobulates those who are trying to complete useful tasks. Like a COOLER in an old-school casino, his presence casts a pall over proceedings.

Wednesday morning, I was putting the finishing touches on three pans of Chex Mix, before popping them into the oven. I had the dry ingredients layered, and had turned from dusting the pans with a generous scattering of garlic powder. The Pony loves his garlic powder, and this batch was headed for him. I heard the dogs prancing and yipping on the porch, and then Farmer H's key in the lock.

Farmer H tromped through the kitchen to set something down in the living room, then came back and pulled out his kitchen chair.

"Uh. Can you wait until I'm done and get this in the oven? Then I'll have two hours to talk."

"No. I was heading out to put more stain on the porch anyway."

And with that, he pushed in his chair, and made his escape. I breathed sigh of relief. Little did I know that the damage had already been done.

I shook on the garlic salt, and drizzled the raw Chex Mix with vegetable oil. Then I slid them into the oven, and sat down with HIPPIE to await the every-15-minutes stirrings.

When I pulled the Chex Mix out of the oven and set the first pan on the cutting block to be stirred, I was struck by the appearance of the top layer of Rice Chex. They were brown. Toasty. That does not normally happen. I started to stir, and was struck by the smell.

"Huh. This Chex Mix smells like CARDBOARD! Oh, no! I don't want a bad batch! I know that I used that half-bag of leftover pretzels, but the expiration date was still good. That shouldn't make it smell off. Something's different from every other time I've made it. WAIT A MINUTE! THE WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE! I forgot to sprinkle on the Worcestershire! Darn that Farmer H!"

I got out the Worcestershire and pulled out the other two pans, and gave them all a good shower of this delectable sauce. USUALLY, when I pull the pans out for the first stirring, my eyes water from the Worcestershire vapors!

This did the trick. My Chex Mix turned out great. Even my sister the ex-mayor's wife vouched for it, when I took her a container so she could act as a guinea pig as a thank you for the adventure she'd invited me on for the next day.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Severe Boxing Is In Order

Farmer H has less common sense in his whole body than I have in my little finger! I don't know how that guy has survived this long, without succumbing to his own stupidity. He's planning a trip, so I bought him some snacks, and some for The Pony as well, since he will be making a stop there on his journey. All I did was ask him to grab two boxes, so I could put the snacks directly from the shopping bags into the boxes.

Farmer H was willing, but his common sense was weak. I know what kind of box a normal person would grab to fill with snacks. Snacks that are going to travel cross country in the back of an Acadia, some being consumed along the way. Uh huh. A normal person would grab a box with four or possible three-and-a-portion sides. Open top. Set the snacks down inside. VOILA! Snacks are contained. Snacks can be accessed easily if desired. Boxes fit snugly against each other, leaving room for luggage.

We have such boxes over around the kitchen table where we never eat. I bring home the Save A Lot groceries in them, then toss them across the counter for Farmer H to deal with. Sometimes he needs boxes to carry his auction stuff up to his Storage Unit Store. Sometimes he burns them. Did Farmer H grab two of those boxes to fill with the trip snacks? You already know the answer, don't you?

THESE are the boxes he grabbed! Amazon boxes, with flaps that don't fold all the way down inside. The boxes I keep for sending treats to The Pony or Genius. Boxes that will tape up nicely. They are not good for traveling snacks, which you don't want to be hermetically sealed. Those flaps are a nightmare if you're trying to arrange these boxes in the back of an Acadia, alongside luggage, which will be moved in and out. The snacks for The Pony included containers of Chex Mix. They would be sticking up over the sides of these boxes, the flaps of which could not be folded over if you wanted to.

Farmer H disagreed about my box rejection. But he went back to the other side of the table, and grabbed the kind I wanted. As a regular trip-eater of snacks, you'd think Farmer H would have more knowledge of how snacks travel.

Disclaimer: Please disregard the bags, which contained ingredients for the Chex Mix. Like pretzels and cashews and Bugles. That big bag on the floor also has individual bags of Sun Chips, Sour Cream and Onion flavor, which Farmer H bought at the auction, and are quite tasty. Though not at the same level as my Chex Mix.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

It's So Easy, Squeezing Green

Look what I bought myself!

It's a squeezer for the tiny limes for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. I found it in the alcohol aisles at The Devil's Playground. You might ask, "Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, you naughty teetotaler, what were you doing on the alcohol aisles?" I was on the water aisle, getting flavored waters for Farmer H, and my route was blocked by another poor sap who shops with The Devil. So I turned the corner and went up the next aisle, where these beautiful gadgets were hanging.

There were two choices, yellow or green. Well! Green is my favorite color. Besides, I'm squeezing LIMES, not lemons! So of course green was a must.

I gotta admit, when I took this picture, I'd already used my squeezer. It's METAL, even though it looks like plastic. The cut half-limes fit just right. Squeezing was easy. Easier than cutting my limes into quarters, and squeezing them over a pasta strainer propped on my 44 oz foam cup, using my arthritic old-lady hands.

I'm not sure I got as much juice out, though. When done, my half-limes looked like an umbrella that had been blown inside-out. But there was a little rim around the edge that I'm not sure got squeezed sufficiently. Still, it was quicker and less tedious.

Who knew so much joy could be found on the alcohol aisles of The Devil's Playground?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

He's The Gladys Kravitz Of Fast Food

Oh. My. GARSH. Or Sweet Gummi Mary! Farmer H is up to his old shenanigans.

Yesterday, he was painting stain on the front porch with his tiny brush. The temp was already 93 degrees. Too bad he closed up Poolio for the season on Labor Day. He did take his shirt off, but he wasn't down to his tighty-whities.

I was leaving for town, and to be nice, I asked if he wanted anything. Of course in his passive-aggressive approach to life, he said,

"No. Not really. I can't think of anything I need."

"Okay. Because it's 12:30. I didn't know if you were going to town for lunch. Or warming that pulled pork that I made you a sandwich with yesterday."

"I'm not hungry now."

"Okay. You know you're supposed to eat on a regular schedule. You should probably come in pretty soon and make some lunch."

"Well. If you're going to town. If you want to. I'd probably eat something from there. It don't matter."

"I'm only going for my soda. There's Dairy Queen or Hardee's."

"Well. I'd eat one of them burgers you got me the other day."

"Okay. The 1/3 pound cheeseburger combo. Do you want it upsized to medium or large?"

"No. The regular one is fine."

It took me an hour, after mailing my DISH bill that I found in the mail, and stopping for scratchers (not a single winner), and driving through Hardee's. When I got home, I passed Farmer H making a mini dust tornado on the gravel road with the lawnmower spitting out grass and hot air, as he mowed along the front edge of 10 acres we have adjacent to the BARn field. He made a motion that he would turn around and come home. Or else he was making the crazy-temple-finger motion by his own head.

Farmer H carried in the food and his drink, while I grabbed the mail, my purse, my 44 oz Diet Coke, and my mini purple bubba cup of water. I also stopped to pet the dogs. When I stepped inside the kitchen door, there was Farmer H,


"What are you doing?"

"Oh. Is this mine? It says BURGER on it. No. It's chicken. Huh. Did you get me a burger?"

"Yes. In that box that your burger always comes in. You've been getting them for a year now, with your coupons that you didn't even give me. You don't have to paw through my chicken."

What in the NOT HEAVEN? Does this really look like a burger box?

Okay. Maybe it's shaped like a burger box. But the tab is clearly poked in where it says CHICKEN TENDERS! But no, he had to pop it open, and then not put the tabs back in the notches to close it after snooping.

His cheeseburger was in THIS box, which clearly has the tab poked over 1/3 lb CHEESEBURGER! So people don't have to rip open every box in their order, and lean over it, breathing across the food, to figure it out.

Seeing as how the items are printed on the boxes, I don't know how Farmer H could get his 1/3 pound cheeseburger in a black box all the time, and then set a black box aside to open a YELLOW box that had chicken written on it.

Farmer H is just too nosy for his own good.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Farmer H Tromps A Tightrope

As I have previously revealed, and any hidden entities in the Mansion have heard for themselves...Farmer H is not light on his feet. He stumps around like his feet have been detached from his ankles. I don't think he realizes the way he plods from place to place. Maybe it's from too many years in steel-toed boots, on concrete.

Farmer H's figurative footfalls are a thing of beauty. He manages to waltz in and out of trouble waiting to happen, without a trip or a toe-stub. I am shocked to hear some of the situations he's walked into.

This tale comes from last month. It started out astoundingly close to another tale he'd told me the week before.

“I’m having lunch at Burger King." [He was really at Hardee’s. He gets them confused.] "After that, I’m going over to Lowe’s to get a board for a shelf in my Storage Unit Store. I heard on the radio there’s a guy with a gun over in Bill-Paying Town—“

“Let me guess! You’re going to find the guy with the gun!”


Later that evening, he told me all about it.

“The guy’s house was up a street behind the old Medical Arts building. I went up on the porch, and I heard, ‘Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.’ I seen there was a camera there. I knocked on the door. It wasn’t closed all the way. Just pulled to. I thought I heard ‘Come in,’ but I wasn’t sure. So I knocked again. I didn’t want to go barging into someone’s house. Especially with a camera on me.

Nothing happened, so I knocked again. Finally an old man, older than me, opened up the door. He wasn’t getting around very well. He had a cane and a bad foot. He hobbled back over to a chair and sat down. I just stood inside the door. He had a big rack of guns there, and another rack of guns beside his chair, and a pistol on the table beside his chair.”

“Well, he WAS an old man, with a bad foot and a cane, and you could have been anyone, there to kill him and take his guns!”

“He had plenty of guns, but he only said on the radio that he was selling two. I only wanted one of them. He was asking $165 for one, and $125 for the other. I said I’d take the $165. He said, ‘How about $240, and you can have them both?’ So I said I’d do that.”

“He probably needed the money. And to get rid of some guns.”

“He tried to sell me some AK-47s, but I told him I already had two, and didn’t want to be messing with those these days!”

Let the record show that Farmer H sold those two Old-Man guns the very weekend after he bought them, for a total of $250. So he made $10 on that questionable transaction.

He could have made that much selling two fishing poles. Without any drama.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Hillmomban Horror: The Buttering

I am such a butterfingered ninnymuggins!

Not butterfingered, like Edward Scissorhands was scissor-handed. How delicious THAT would be, if I had Butterfinger candy bars on my hands. Like, 10 of them! I could be called HM Butterfingers. I confess, I might eventually (in an hour or two) have a couple of stumpy digits, mere nubs.

All day Saturday, I was wreaking havoc like a bull in a china shop. Like Godzilla tromping through Tokyo.

I dropped two ice cubes while trying to fill my purple mini bubba cup for town.

I dropped the soap in the shower.

I got my foot down the wrong leg of my striped sweatpants.

I knocked plastic containers out of the cabinet as I put away a big cup Farmer H had used.

I knocked the cutting board askew while rolling my mini limes on it, almost toppling my magical elixir, which was inches away, lid off, after adding cherry limeade.

I carefully placed the lid on my 44 oz foam cup after adding the lime juice, and instantly bumped it, sloshing bright red cherry limeade all over the underside of the lid. Which makes it stick when I try to remove that lid to add ice later in the day and night.

I reached for the wrong end of my Pioneer Woman ceramic knife to slice my mini limes, and felt the blade slice through a couple epidermal layers. NO blood, though! Thanks, Even Steven.

I reached for my scratchers, which I'd carried down to the lair on my lunch tray, and tipped over a ramekin of salsa.

I sliced a pickle for my tuna salad supper, and of course some of the dicings fell off my Pioneer Woman knife onto the kitchen floor.

I picked up a mini sleeve of Ritz Crackers to open, back in my lair with supper, and dropped it on the edge of my desk. It didn't fall to the floor. I pinned it there with a wrist. They crumble, you know.

My fumble-fingered, dropsyness-filled day was like a horror story: The Buttering.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Here I Drone Again On My Phone

Sweet Gummi Mary! It's time for another rant about institutions who have done me wrong. And how Farmer H was equally right!

Farmer H goes to the doctor every week for a shot. It gets billed ($30) to the insurance, which pays a pittance, and then $22.60 shows up on the statement for him to pay. We get the statement at the end of each month, and I write a check and mail it the next day.

Yesterday, while Farmer H was having lunch before his shot appointment, I got the bill. It showed an amount 30 DAYS PAST DUE! Well. That doesn't fly with Mrs. HM. I pay that statement every month. I dug out the last itemized statement, and saw the charge in question had been marked with an asterisk, for PENDING INSURANCE. That happens pretty regularly. Then the next month, the statement shows the remaining $22.60 due as part of the new items.

It has never termed such an amount PAST DUE.

Seriously? I have nothing to do with the insurance. Why is it MY fault that the service was on July 26, sent to the insurance for processing, with the statement mailed July 31? I'm not the one making it look PAST DUE. I pay as soon as I get the monthly statement. I can't pay more than the total due at that time.

Anyhoo... it's not like they billed it twice, or overcharged. I just object to the 30 DAYS PAST DUE terminology. Couldn't that affect a person's credit? How unfair is THAT?

I'll get over it, but of course it put a bee in my bonnet when Farmer H wasn't here to hear me buzzing about it. So I sent him a text, with a picture of the recent statement showing the 30 DAYS PAST DUE, and the previous statement showing the original charge. I thought he might ask about it while he was in the office.

I didn't hear anything back from him until he came home around 6:00. Farmer H declared that nothing on the statement showed PAST DUE.

"You're crazy! It's right there on the bottom line! $22.60, 30 DAYS PAST DUE!"

"No. You're crazy. There is nothing in any of the boxes showing past due."

"I swear! How can you miss that? Are you looking across the bottom line? On the top picture?"


"I can't believe you! I guess I'll have to show you myself. It's as plain as the nose on your face!"

"It's NOT there. As plain as the nose on YOUR face!"

"We'll see, won't we? When you get home."

"Yes. We WILL!"

Farmer H came stumping down to my dark basement lair, holding out his phone, zoomed in, to show me nothing in the past due boxes.

"You're on the wrong picture. I said the TOP picture. Look. Here it is on my phone, where I sent it to you. Top picture. Zoom in. THERE! $22.60, 30 DAYS PAST DUE! I TOLD you!"

"It's not on MY phone! Look."

"You're on the wrong picture! Back out. I sent you the statement. Then a note, saying 'I am sending last month's below.' Look at the TOP picture!"

"I only have one picture."

"No you don't! My phone shows that I sent you two! See?"

"I see that on your phone, yes. But look at mine. I only have one picture. The line above it says 'I am sending last month's below.'"

"Oh. Well. I don't know how you can only receive one picture, when my phone clearly shows that I sent two."

SWEET GUMMI MARY! We were BOTH right! I hate it when that happens! Because it means that Farmer H is right.

Friday, September 13, 2019

People Are Stinkin' Crazy In Hillmomba

I honked at a car yesterday. Don't go thinking it was a case of road rage. Mrs. HM is perfectly capable of throwing a raging fit of road rage. But this was not it. This was purely a warning honk. No fist-shaking or cursing within the confines of T-Hoe's hermetically sealed cabin.

It was on the curve by the prison. I was headed towards town, making the prison on my right, putting me on the inside of the curve. This curve seems not to be banked correctly, or was perhaps measured as an imperfect parabola. I've driven this curve for 22 years, in both directions, and I am wary each time I approach it. It can be taken at the legal speed limit of 55 mph, even in a vehicle with a high center of gravity, such as T-Hoe. I say it CAN be driven at that speed. Not that it SHOULD.

In fact, when The Pony was learning to drive, in his little Nissan Rogue, which is low to the ground, and small compared to T-Hoe, I warned him. "Slow down here and pay attention. This curve will eat you up. There's a reason those tree trunks are scarred up. People run off the road here all the time."

My mom would slow down to 35 mph on that curve, in her TrailBlazer. I didn't begrudge her this rate, even though I was generally antsy riding with her on the straighter parts, her 45 mph seeming too slow.

So the facts have been established. This curve is nothing to trifle with. All week, there's been a dead skunk near the center line. Not on it. But not in the middle of the out-of-town-heading lane. It's the outer edge of the curve, where people run off the road and would land in a small pond if not for the scarred trees.

I am very aware of my road companions in this area. I know what's behind me, how close, and what's coming at me. On my way home all week, I slowed down at the skunk. With nothing coming, I'd make sure to straddle it with T-Hoe's tires. If traffic was coming at me, I'd slow more, and move over towards the side line to avoid the carcass. Nobody wants (even dead) skunk juice squirted on the underside of their vehicle.

Anyhoo... there I was on Thursday, heading to town, in the non-skunk lane. A maroon sedan was coming in the other direction. He moved over to straddle the skunk. Way over. Into-my-lane over. I was sure he'd correct himself as he got closer to me. But he did not! As far as I could tell, he was fixated on that skunk, and was continuing to encroach more and more onto my blacktop territory.

So I honked.

The maroon car at least stopped coming into my lane. Held steady, though still forcing me to the very edge of my side. I felt bad about the honk. Our neighbor Tommy has a car like that. Well. The car we bought and gave to him. He's a pretty fast driver, and this one wasn't going all that fast. I kept worrying that it was Tommy. We pass every day around that time, but usually on our gravel road as he comes home for lunch.

When I got into town, another maroon sedan was pulling out of the Orb K parking lot. I tried to convince myself that it was Tommy. I felt a little better about that honk.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Just In The Pick Of Lime

I couldn't do it any more. Couldn't add that reconstituted lime juice in the squeezy bottle to my precious daily 44 oz Diet Coke. That stuff left such a bad taste in my mouth that I shunned any other alternative besides a NATURAL LIME, covered with peel. I bought more limes.

Well. In the week that I laid off the limes, it looks like The Devil was busy wheeling and dealing with his citrus providers. There were plenty of bags of limes back in the bin at The Devil's Playground. They were, however, like a miniature version of their predecessors.

I took that picture to show the scale, but it actually makes the limes look gigantic! They are the size of a rubber golf ball for miniature golf. Even Farmer H commented on their size, and he doesn't use the limes.

They are the thin-skinned variety. They have a really good taste, but they're very hard. It takes a lot of rolling to soften them up to release their meager juice. They're all pretty dark green. So maybe the last batch, so similar, yet bigger and lighter colored and juicier, were more ripe.

I'm pretty satisfied with their actual magical elixir performance. I refuse to increase my addiction to 3 limes rather than 2.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

You're A Mean One, Mr. DISH

Whew! Call me a master show-woman! I just dodged a bullet and sent it right back to the shooter. Who shall not remain nameless, but be outed as DISH network.

A month or two ago, Farmer H called DISH to repair our receiver, which would deny us channels that we paid handsomely for, on time, for many years. Farmer H actually hung up on DISH. On two separate occasions, I think. Then he bit the bullet I just dodged, and scheduled a house call/home visit/whatever they term it.

Problem was, such a visit would cost a $100 fee. Farmer H said, "NO WAY, JOSE! Forget it then, and I'll drop your like a hot potato, and get a new satellite service!" Not in those exact words. And not meaning to follow through forthwith, because he did not have MY permission!

Anyhoo... the rep said she could sign Farmer H up for the protection plan, and the visit would be free. Farmer H said he didn't want a protection plan, but the rep insisted that it was a free trial, so Farmer H agreed. No charges showed up on the next bill, so we forgot all about it.

On Monday, Sept 9, I noticed an email from DISH.

Hi Farmer H & Hillbilly Mom

We hope you're enjoying the last month of your DISH Protect offer.

Starting on Tuesday, Sept 10, DISH Protect Silver (reg $11.99) will be billed to your account at the regular price.

Heads Up: Your DISH Protect Offer is Ending on Tuesday, Sept 10, 2019.

Manage My Programming (button)

To customize your programming, including removal of your premium channels, call BLAH BLAH BLAH or visit BLAH BLAH

Update My Programming (button)

If you wish to keep this programming, no further action is required.

Pretty confusing. When I checked my email at 10:00 p.m., I had two hours to delete that protection offer. I felt like MacGyver diffusing a bomb!

It took 10 minutes to get into the website. I could not find the protection plan listed on our itemized charges. So how could I get rid of it?

Aha! Way down the sidebar was a choice of PROTECTION OFFER. Going in it popped up that it was a trial, good until 9-29-19. I don't think so. Because they were going to bill me starting 9-10-19, which was now 90 minutes away!

I had to figure out how to get out of that. Some button, perhaps? What did it say? Remove, maybe? I can't remember what I clicked on, but the next screen SAID my request was completed. We'll see.

I need to be protected from the protection offer!!!

In the meantime, here's a little stolen song about what I think of DISH sending me that email the day before I had to take action or be charged $11.99 per month for eternity or until I figured out how not to.


You're a mean one, Mr. DISH
The elders you would spam
You're as cuddly as a stick-man
You're transparent as a dam
You're an unblocked number with a credit card scam

You're a monster, Mr. DISH
Your methods I revile
You try to bait and switch us
A grievance I should file
I wouldn't trust you for a thirty-nine-and-a-half blink while

You're a vile one, Mr. DISH
Like my bank stealing my loot
You have  the statuesque craptasticness
Of T. Jefferson on a boot 
Given the choice between the two of you, I'd take T. Jefferson on a boot

You're a foul one, Mr. DISH
You're an icky-yicky punk
Your heart is full of cheap doodads
Like my husband's auction junk
The three words that describe your communication style are: clink, clank, clunk

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Mrs. HM Is Inconvenienced By The LOL Sprawl

If it's not one thing, it's a crowder!

Let the record show that when I park T-Hoe, I select a space that allows me to open up my driver's door all the way. T-Hoe has big doors. They open halfway, or all the way. My knees will bend 45 degrees at best. It is difficult to get my feet in the door if it's not completely open.

Sometimes this means that I park next to the cart return at The Devil's Playground, even though closer spaces are available. I can't take a chance on getting crowded by another car that parks beside me. At Country Mart, I park in the last space on the left, way at the end of the building, because nobody can park on that side of me. On CasinoPaloozas, Farmer H often has to back A-Cad out of the space so I can open the passenger door all the way to get back in. I'm always prepared to preserve maximum door-openage when I park.

At The Gas Station Chicken Store on Monday, the closest space to the building was available. I often park there. I can cheat over to the right, getting my tires about two inches away from concrete bumper thingy that they have placed sideways, like a parking line. That gives me extra room to open my door. Wide open, it just reaches the parking line on the left.

I went inside, confident that I'd be able to get back into T-Hoe when I returned. You already know what happened, right?

As I walked back to T-Hoe, I could see that a car had parked on the other side. In that annoying way, where they don't pull all the way forward in the space. But nothing else looked amiss. Going behind T-Hoe, a 44 oz Diet Coke and two scratchers clutched in my hand, I was greeted by a Little Old Lady coming toward me.

"Hello, there."


Little did I know that the Little Old Lady had committed a crime against my good nature.

Technically, she was within the lines. Barely.

Had she only pulled forward all the way, there wouldn't have been a problem. I was scooted over plenty far. You can see all the space I left, just in case. I could get T-Hoe's door open MOST of the way. Not completely. That LOL's mirror was blocking T-Hoe's door. As I leaned over to put my magical elixir in the cupholder, and my phone and scratchers on the console, I saw the LOL entering the store.

Heh, heh. It would be quite a while before she got back to her car. She might possibly have been walking slower than ME. I opened T-Hoe's door as far as it would go. Which meant that it rested upon the mirror of the LOL's car. I didn't hurt it. Didn't slam it or anything. Just eased it up against.

Good thing she didn't have an alarm.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Unmitigated Gall Of The Murder-Attempter

You might recall that one day last week, I spent an unpleasant interlude bent over the marital bed, using tweezers to remove tiny ticks from the region normally covered by Farmer H's tighty-whities. Yes. You're quite welcome for me putting that imagine into your brain again.

At least it's only your brain that hurts. My back has not been the same since that surgical-precision plucking session. As my mom might have termed it, "I'm down in my back." The spasm comes and goes. Not a big deal. Not enough to incapacitate me so that I cannot procure my daily 44 oz Diet Coke. Still, the aggravation is something that I avoid, until I think my back has had time to recuperate.

As you know, avoiding any kind of aggravation is quite difficult at the Mansion. I think it might have been a couple days after I was drenched by the power-washer that I again ventured out on the porch to talk to Farmer H. It was the day that Jack swam in the fake fish pond and shook his algae-water onto Farmer H's bare legs, perhaps.

Anyhoo... Farmer H was standing in the rocks by the fake fish pond, with his little brush barely wider than an artist might use, painting stain on the side-porch slats that he'd power-washed the day he almost killed me by accidentally power-washing ME as I put his glasses on top of Gassy G-Lite.

"I forgot something to set my stain on!" said Farmer H, holding a can as big as a party-size container of mixed nuts in his left palm, as he stained with his right. "Bring me that chair."

"What chair?"

"That gray one."

"The METAL chair?"


"That is SO HEAVY!"

"No it's not."

"For you, maybe."

"It's not heavy."

"I move it back into place all the time to set my groceries on it! After you've messed with it to plop your butt in while barbecuing, or sitting on the porch doing nothing. It's heavy enough to slide across the wood. Even heavier to lift. It's METAL!"

"It's not THAT heavy."

Well. There's no changing the King of the World's mind once he makes a decree. I didn't dare suggest that I hand him one of the upholstered wooden chairs that have been sitting six feet away, side by side, for at least three years, accruing a patina of cat hair. Only the metal chair would do. I picked it up.


I had to lift that metal chair high enough to hand it over a portion of Gassy G-Lite, then over the porch rail, then lower it down far enough so Farmer H could reach up and grab it while standing on the rocks around the fake fish pond. I felt a twinge in my back as I was dangling the chair into space.

You realize that I might have herniated a disc. At the very least, strained a muscle. Which could lead to me being bedridden for 20 years like Charlie Bucket's Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine, and Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina. Being bedridden, I could develop a bedsore. Which could get infected. Possibly with an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Which COULD KILL ME!

Yeah. He's got a million ways to kill, that Farmer H.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Attempts Keep A-Comin'

Oh my gosh! I've left you out of the loop! It's been two posts since I last complained about Farmer H trying to kill me. That doesn't mean he isn't trying. Only that I've skirted the topic.

In keeping with Farmer H's penchant for dictating my work (for him) ethic... he tossed an extra job into the mix during the same 24-hour period of the list of 16 prescriptions to the insurance rep, and the Trunk or Treat sign for his Storage Unit Store cronies.

This time, Farmer H was trying to kill me (I'm pretty sure) with electricity. Actually, the cessation of electricity. He declared that we needed the electrical hookup doodads removed from our upper 10 acres, which we'd been renting free to HOS (Farmer H's Oldest Son). I don't know if Farmer H is worried about a squatter moving in and connecting, or what. That service is not now and never was in our name, so it's not like we'd be paying anything if that happened. I'm sure HOS didn't leave it on. A dude Hick knows who works for Ameren UE came and disconnected it when HOS moved to town.

In fact, Farmer H had asked his electrical buddy to come do this removal. The electrical buddy said he'd need to have an order from the company to do so. Farmer H called the electric company, and they listened to his whole story, and then said, "We can only do that with a request in writing." Farmer H was a bit shocked (heh, heh, get it, he was SHOCKED by the electric company), but immediately said, "Oh. I can do that." With a look at ME.

The form was sent by email, but I could not get it to fill out to send it back by reply. So I had to download it and print it. The bottom line needed a signature. So I had it all ready for Farmer H's John Hancock. That's ALL he had to do. Sign it. I'd been up late, trying to get that form in the proper form. Using Farmer H phrases like "disconnect power from meter mast." Of course he was in bed at the time it was done.

As with other important notices that I must communicate to Farmer H between the hours he goes to sleep and leaves the Mansion... I made a paper plate note to leave on the bathroom counter by his glasses and morning medicines. Since I needed to be up early (earlier) the next morning, I put that reminder at the top of the plate:


Farmer H does this every Friday anyway, gives me a wake up call. It's not like this was a hardship for him. He sets his phone alarm as a reminder, and calls. Under that notice, I drew a dividing line, and wrote:


I positioned the folded form, showing the signature line, on the bottom of the plate. Both messages were clearly visible.

Imagine my surprise when I awoke at 9:38. Sweet Gummi Mary! I had to get hoppin'! There was medicine to take, dishes to wash, the boys' letters to be stamped and enclosures added, and my shower to be had. Of course while I was washing the dishes, I started getting texts from The Pony. He inherited his father's ability to see through the phone and choose the very worst time to communicate.

So busy was I that Farmer H did not even receive a scathing sarcastic THANK YOU FOR THAT WAKE UP CALL.

I rushed around like a madwoman. Left home at 10:50 rather than 10:30. Forgot my regular post-office-morning route, and got caught up in the construction project over by School-Turn Casey's. I'm pretty sure my blood pressure was not yet regulated by the late-taken medicine, and that my eyes were bugging out like one of those Panic Pete stress dolls.

Lucky for Farmer H, I survived my stressful morning, and he was not charged with attempted murder for causing me to stroke out. His excuse?

"You didn't tell me to wake you up!"

"It was on the paper plate!"

"I didn't see that."

I dug the plate out of the trash and showed him.

"Oh. I didn't say that it wasn't there. Just that I didn't see it. I saw the form and signed it. I didn't read the rest of the plate."

Trying to kill me. I'm pretty sure...

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Biggest Scam Since Bottled Water

Way back in the pre-Genius days, around 1993, I was driving an hour each way to work in the city. I had my favorite car of all time, a cherry-red 1990 Toyota Corolla. As needed, I filled it up with gas at the 7-Eleven out by the park. Sometimes I'd buy a bottle of water to take in my lunch. Same lunch every day. Cheddar cheese on a plain bagel with yellow mustard, and pretzel sticks in a baggie.

One day the clerk, a middle-aged woman, laughed as she rang up my purchase. "I never thought I'd see the day when people paid for WATER!"

How times have changed. The 7-Eleven went out of business. Bottled water is big business.

Let the record show that for months now, I've been adding lime juice to my 44 oz Diet Coke. It all started when Farmer H wanted to make that drink he had at a steakhouse on a visit with The Pony. It was a Montana Mule, and one of the ingredients not whiskey or ginger beer was lime juice. I bought limes, and some were left over. I found the addition to my magical elixir to be delicious, so I started buying limes every week.

Cutting limes to put in a daily 44 oz Diet Coke grows tedious. I have to roll them to loosen the juices. Then cut them into fourths. Squeeze over a strainer. Scrape the pulp out of the strainer so it doesn't clog the sink drain. Rinse the strainer. Dispose of the lime skins. Wash my hands.

Last week, I saw the plastic bottles of lime juice next to the limes at The Devil's Playground. I figured that would be SO MUCH easier! Just pop the top, and squeeze in my lime juice. No fuss, no muss. I bought three of the plastic bottles instead of a bag of 10 limes.

I didn't pay much attention to the instructions. Only the part about poking a tiny hole in the top once you pop the lid open. It makes no nevermind to me that one squeeze is the juice of half a medium lime. I usually put two small limes worth of juice into my 44 oz Diet Coke. And who's to say how much is in a squeeze. I thought just looking at how much was going in would allow me to include the regular amount. It probably did. However...

This stuff is terrible!

Even though the bottle says the lime juice is from concentrate, I find it hard to believe that this juice was ever inside a living lime. No matter how much I squeeze in, I don't get the lime flavor. All I get is an acidic burning in my stomach by the end of the evening. I'd be hard-pressed to identify lime as a flavor if given a blind taste test. It's like adding acid-water to my beverage.

It's so terrible that I'm thinking of telling Farmer H, "You can have this lime juice if you want it."

I might not notice the issue if I was mixing it in a Montana Mule.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Just In The Tick Of Whine

Sweet Gummi Mary! You'll never believe what happened to me Thursday morning!

Okay. You'll probably believe it. Might have already guessed it. And you also likely realize that by morning, I mean noon-fifteen.

I was preparing to get in the shower. I'd already turned on the water to warm up. I reached down to scratch my knee-back, where I'd removed a tick last week. It's still a little itchy. On the way to my knee-back, my hand brushed across a back portion of thigh, and I felt something.

Huh. Was this a scab? It felt raised. A bit rougher than surrounding skin. Not really itchy. I pulled the skin around and contorted my neck to get a look. Huh. That was awfully dark brown to be a scab. I tried to wiggle it. Nope. Didn't wiggle. Surely that wasn't a tick...

Whatever it was, I was NOT going to leave it there, all somewhat ticklike, attached to my flesh! I couldn't get a good grip with my fingernails. I ended up scraping it until it came off. All in one piece. Dark brown. About three times the size of any tick I saw last week. Which made it slightly larger than a pin-head.

Dang it! I didn't have my glasses. I could not tell, no matter how much I squinted at that spot, now resting on a single square of toilet paper, if it had legs. I'm pretty sure it was a tick. I don't have random dark brown scabby spots that come off. There had been a tick six inches away from that spot last week. So I'm calling it a tick.

I flushed that possible parasite, and felt my leg. Still didn't itch, but the rough spot was gone. My hand came away coated with blood! In fact, a look in that vicinity showed a river of blood coursing down the knee-back, approaching the calf. I dabbed at it with toilet paper, which came away soaked with blood.

If only I'd had a ziplock bag handy, I could have filled it and slapped a label on there (I'm A+) and shipped it off to the Red Cross!

What in the NOT-HEAVEN! You'd think I was on that demon Xarelto again, unable to clot! I stepped into the shower, and when the water hit that spot, even more blood cascaded down my leg, and swirled into the drain. I had nothing handy in the shower to use as a tourniquet. I was hoping I didn't exsanguinate until I was at least respectably dressed in my town clothes.

When I was done showering, I stepped out and applied a 3-square swatch of toilet paper to the area. Huh. The faintest of red dots appeared. Looks like clotting had occurred. This fits in with my tick hypothesis, as they have an anticoagulant in their saliva.

Looks like I will live to be bitten another day...

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Farmer H, In The Living Room, With A Grindstone

Farmer H has attempted yet ANOTHER method of doing away with me! Can losing your nose to the friction of a grindstone be fatal?

Tuesday, we checked into getting Farmer H off my health insurance and onto medicare. His critical birthday is a few months off, and now is the time to set up the process. I have an insurance rep that can assist. Don't get me started on THAT interaction!

Anyhoo... to make an informed choice of a supplement, we need to submit Farmer H's regular meds, and doctors, for a comparison of insurance benefits from different providers.

Let the record show that Farmer H takes a PLETHORA of prescriptions. I asked if he could get a printout from his pharmacy, to be accurate. SWEET GUMMI MARY! He came home with four pages! The listing is totally random. Some of the most recent refill dates, and some back into 2018. No rhyme nor reason.

Of course it's my job to sort this out. That's not the issue. I sure wouldn't want to take a chance on HIM doing it! The issue is with Farmer H's attitude! I know, right? I'm sure you're picking your jaw up off the floor. NOT.

"I don't see what the big deal is. Just send her a copy of that list. Scan it and attach it."

"Do you know how long it takes me to scan something? And what if she can't open attachments? I'm going to go through those four pages, marking out the duplicates that are outdated, and type up a coherent list. I might attach it. Or type it into the email itself."

"I don't know why you'd go to all that trouble. I can send her a picture right now. Get me the list, and I'll take a picture, and email it!"

This is why Farmer H is not the one in charge of this process.

Oh, but BEFORE I even brought up how it was going to take me a while to get that list ready, Farmer H had plopped himself down on the long couch, and said,

"Can you do something for me?"

"What NOW? What else do you want me to do for you?"

"It's not a big deal. It's easy. I need a sign. 30 of them. Saying 'Trunk of Treat at the Backroads Flea Market." With the date and time. Oh, and a picture."

"Is black and white okay? I don't know if the color printer is working. I have to walk into the workshop to check on it every time I try to print to it."

"Yeah. In color. I'll even take it to town to make the copies. So you don't have to."

"That's a good thing, because I don't think we have that much colored ink."

Here's the thing. Farmer H thinks I'm his personal secretary. If these tasks are so easy, then he should do them himself. If not, then he should shut up about the way I plan to do them.

Here's the MAJOR thing. It's not like Farmer H does anything for ME! I still have a leaky tire on T-Hoe. My side mirror still doesn't work. The garage door opener still needs a battery. And FRIG II's ice-maker is still on the fritz.

This goose is going on strike if that gander doesn't start making an effort.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Burning Flame Of Suspicion Will Not Be Doused

I'm pretty sure Farmer H is still trying to kill me. Sure, a few days might pass with no overt evidence. But then he just can't help himself. He's a terrible would-be criminal.

Tuesday, I went out on the back porch to find Farmer H standing in the fake fish pond. Not IN it, exactly, but on the stones surrounding it. He had the hose of his new power-washer threaded through the slats of the back porch rail, and was spraying the slats on the section that runs at the back of the side porch, behind Gassy G-Lite. Don't worry about Juno's dog house! It's been moved back to its original location by the kitchen door.

Farmer H finally de-powered his hose, and turned to talk to me. When our conversation was done, he said,

"Before you go back in, take my glasses. Put them over there on the grill by my hat."

Gassy G-Lite had been moved out of the way, over by the two chairs the cats sleep on, next to the shelves that are someday going to be put in Farmer H's side of the walk-in closet. I took Farmer H's glasses and placed them next to his hat. As I was doing that, Farmer H started power-washing again! I was being engulfed in spray, as if I was at the bow of the Maid of the Mist, cruising towards Niagara Falls.

"HEY! You're getting me wet!"

"Oh. I AM?"

He was not trying to be funny. My shirt was wet, and also my sweatpants legs from the knees down. I guess the flat part of the rail, that you can lean on, kept my waist area from being sprayed. Here's the thing. Once inside the air conditioning of my dark basement lair,


I swear, I never thought Farmer H was so imaginative. He's got more ways to allegedly attempt murder than a Tom and Jerry cartoon!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Still Hazy After All These Years

"When will she EEVVVV-er learn?"

That's a little made-up song my second-best old ex-teaching buddy Karen used to sing about me during our Friday-night faculty poker games. Okay. So there wasn't much competition. Usually just three of us, sometimes a fourth. I was generally the loser. Not devious enough to bluff like my buddies Karen and Jim. Sometimes I could outsmart our fourth, Jerri, but she was, after all, an elementary art teacher.

Yes, I'd fall for the same tricks every time. Even though alcohol was involved, and Karen and Jim most likely had tells that seasoned gamblers could see from space. I, myself, could not.

If Karen could see me now, I'm pretty sure she'd be singing that little song.

When WILL I ever learn? I know that Hardee's is going to mess up my Beef Taco Salad. I know it! Sure as Jack will jump up on me with muddy feet, and Farmer H will lose on scratchers. Yet I STILL have hopes of getting a delicious Beef Taco Salad.

You know dang well that taco salad is not tall enough to have touched the top lid of the box. HOW did my sour cream get up there? And even more mysterious, how did salsa and cheese get on the side of that lid flap? It didn't spill over, or there'd be a glop of it on the side of the shell.

Let the record show that when I pulled up to the Hardee's drive-thru speaker, there were no cars in front of me. It was Labor Day. Not a big day for picking up taco salads from Hardee's, I would imagine. I was treating myself to lunch, after a morning of making potato salad.

I ordered and pulled around. Paid. Got change. The dude said, "We'll have it right out." And within 30 seconds, there it was! That's incredible! It's like they were a seasoned NASCAR pit crew, changing my tires. I guess they might have started making it when they heard me through the speaker. Looks to me like several workers stood across the room and flung their respective ingredients at the box! There's even a pile of cheese in the corner.

As for the sour cream, perhaps the makers drew straws, and the winner got to toss the whole box to the drive-thru window guy. Maybe he was holding the bag open, and they played bag-ket box. Heh, heh! Get it? Like basketball, only a bag instead of a basket, and a box instead of a ball! I crack myself up sometimes.

Anyhoo... my Hardee's Beef Taco Salad wasn't really much of a treat, except for the fact that I didn't have to prepare lunch, but only take it out of the bag and box. As you gaze longingly at it, don't hurt your eyes. Don't hurt them looking for the BEEF! Remember Clara Peller, the tiny old lady on those Wendy's commercials, saying "Where's the beef?" I think it's probably somewhere in the vicinity of my own taco salad beef.

I'd like to say that I've learned my lesson. But like with my poker-playing Friday nights, I get so wrapped up with the anticipation (of a tasty taco salad, rather than of winning a hand of poker, and thus the pile of pretzel sticks which was our currency) that my mind grows hazy, and I forget the previous poor outcomes.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Technology Thumbs Its Nose Once Again

I'm used to whacking my garage door opener on T-Hoe's dashboard, and turning it seven ways from Sunday before it will open the garage door. I know that when I look at the tire pressure readings, the front tires are actually the back tires, and vice versa. I know that only the back section of T-Hoe's seat-heater will warm. And that only my left side mirror will fold in and out at the touch of a button, while the right side stays fixed, and only hums.

I've become accustomed to the Mansion smelling like the subterranean level of an outhouse after Farmer H does his business, due to the ceiling light/fan not working. I reach into the belly of the FRIG II freezer beast for 13 fistfuls of ice twice a day, because the dispenser thingy only crushes.

I know not to expect my bank's ATM to dispense the correct amount of requested money (don't get me started!). That Country Mart's card-reader malfunctions indiscriminately for all customers. And that my pharmacy apparently can only run transactions as credit, not debit.

What I did NOT expect was for Save A Lot to reject my debit card! Seriously! I go there at least once a week. No problems. Chip read.

Sunday, I popped in to get barbecue supplies. Hamburger, bratwursts, sour cream, French Onion dip, potatoes, onions, pickles, mustard, BBQ sauce, beans, paper plates, salsa, buns. Yes. More than I usually buy there. In fact, the total came to $44 and change. Not a big deal.

I pushed my debit card into the chip reader, and the gadget said my card couldn't be read. I figured maybe I'd slid it in at an angle, rather than straight. I tried again. A delayed message of the same thing. It's like the cashier was off. Like maybe she wasn't hitting whatever she had to do for me to put in my card. I don't know how those things work. I must have tried five times. In fact, I was ready to have her shove my cart aside, while I went out to T-Hoe for the checkbook or cash.

The cashier, a young gal, spun that gadget around. Held out her hand for my card. Tried this and that. Looked like she was doing exactly what I had done. After three tries, she got it to work.

What in the NOT-HEAVEN?

I don't know if the readers were overwhelmed on a holiday weekend, or what. I guess I'll have to go in there with backup cash next time.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Tick Talk, Tick Talk

Dang that Farmer H! Still trying to kill me. I'm pretty sure. Different plot, different day.

Midweek, I had a terrible itch on the back of my right knee. In the bendy part. Try as I might, I couldn't see anything that would be making me so itchy. The skin looked normal, but I was hiking up my sweatpants to scratch several times during the day. It was during one of these blissful scratching sessions that I thought I felt something. Maybe a little skin tag. I looked. Nothing. I was absentmindedly flicking that skin tag back and forth. I decided to rip it off. It would only bleed for a few minutes. I'd jam a Puffs Plus Lotion in my knee bend, and that would staunch my aspirin-aided flow.

Imagine my shock when I finally grasped that skin tag and yanked it loose, dropped it on my used lunch paper plate, and saw LEGS! Yes. Instead of being an almost colorless little polyp of skin, it was a brown tick! Very small. Less that the size of a pinhead. I had to use my magnifying glass to see the legs.

I didn't think much more about it. It was removed. I'd just have to deal with the itching for a few days. It had pretty much slipped my mind by the time I was laid back in my OPC (Old People Chair) watching TV later that night. Dang it! My left hip was itching. On the side. Like up against the side of the OPC arm. Right over my hip socket. You don't think...

Yep. It was another tick! I snapped it loose and flushed it. The next day, I was telling Farmer H about my horrifying experience.

"Two of them! I guess that when I went to sit on the front porch with Jack and Juno, while you were putting stain on the back porch boards, they rubbed some ticks on me. They crowd around. Jack stands on his hind legs between my feet, trying to lick my face. I think he remembers the good times, when he was a tiny little hot-dog pup, and I'd sit on the pew, and he'd crawl up around the back of my neck, under my hair. Juno just leans against me. So I bet ticks crawled onto my sweatpants."

"Yeah. Probably."

The next night, again in my OPC, I kept contorting to scratch under my left shoulder blade. The wooden backscratcher I keep on the lamp table wasn't doing the job right. Oh, NOT-HEAVEN, NO! Was that a flappy part to my itchy place? How was I supposed to reach up there? I couldn't turn my arm right to get my finger and thumb into a pinchy angle to pull on that flap. Crap! I just scratched at it with my fingernail until it came loose. ANOTHER TICK!

A couple hours later, I noticed that I was scratching my belly. Under the belly-button, to the left. Surely not! Hold on! Better take a look! NOOOOO! I could even see this one! I pinched him off forthwith. Lots of flushing going on!

The next evening, Farmer H said, "I think I might have you look me for ticks. I pulled off FIVE OF THEM in the shower!"

"Aha! It's YOU! I didn't get ticks from Jack and Juno on the porch! YOU brought them into the house! I bet the La-Z-Boy is crawling with them! I sit there for an hour in the mornings, with my laptop. I'm sure they were just waiting to get on me!"

"Maybe. I guess I got them when I took Marley out of the pen a couple evenings ago."

"Yeah. They were probably all over your pants legs, and you brought them inside."

"Come look. I think I have more, but I can't see them."


Farmer H disrobed. Okay. All he had to do was take off his tighty-whities. And in the area that had been covered by them, I removed 3 TICKS! With tweezers, using a magnifying glass! Plus another 3 from an inner thigh area. And 2 from his underbelly. Dang it! It's not a fair fight if you can't even see them. It's not like I want to pull a giant dog tick off my flesh. But at least being able to see your parasite gives you a chance to annihilate it.

Sweet Gummi Mary! Later that night, down in my OPC, I continued scratching the inner edge of my left calf muscle flab. I looked and looked. Saw NOTHING! Felt a little scab. Scratched it off, and saw that it was a tiny tick under my fingernail! THEN the bra band area under my right armpit was driving me crazy. Again, nothing in sight. Skin tag? Pinch! ANOTHER tick!

So that's SIX ticks picked. Off my own flesh. I'm sure this is Farmer H's evil plot to kill me with Lyme Disease. He's probably had a secret vaccination as part of his spy travels...