Friday, January 31, 2020

I Don't Mean To Brag, But I Have Discovered The Perfect Cure...

Excuse me. Just a minute. I'm busy shining my fingernails on my lapel, getting ready to take a bow when I'm awarded a patent, and most likely a trophy, national recognition, and a high-dollar contract. I have discovered the perfect cure for c o n s t i p a t i o n !

Just ask Farmer H. He doesn't know I'm the one who perfected this remedy. It requires no pills, no powdery mix, nothing shoved up the nether region. In fact, the sufferer need do nothing at all, except what comes naturally.

Farmer H had been complaining that he was trying to poop. Surely it could not have gone on for more than 24 hours, from the looks of my toilet seat. Anyhoo...he bemoaned the fact that he sat down to try, and was unsuccessful.

Well. Flash to the next day. 1:30, to be exact. When I was readying for my shower, I cleaned the toilet in the master bathroom. It's not going to clean itself, you know. By the time I returned home from town at 3:00, it was obvious that Farmer H's problem was cured! Nothing on the seat this time. He left his tracks in the bowl.

Just like LAST WEEK, within hours of me cleaning the toilet. Only last week, his evidence was left high and dry above the water line. How did he DO that???

I wonder if my skill is transferable. Probably so. I could market the solution on a tiny slip of paper inside a bottle that looks like over-the-counter medicine. It would be marketed for MEN ONLY. The instructions would recommend that the wife or significant other should clean the toilet. Relief should come to the afflicted man within two hours.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Chicken Smotherer

I dashed into Country Mart on Wednesday, for bananas, bread, and Diet Coke. Of course I figured that as long as I was whipping out the debit card for this meager grocery haul, I might as well tack on some fried chicken from the deli. I could get it at the Gas Station Chicken Store, but that would interfere with my cash transaction of correct change, and it's more difficult to carry out in the cardboard box, what with my 44 oz Diet Coke.

Anyhoo, I wheeled my cart to the deli counter, and waited for service. The tray of fried chicken was overflowing! It must have been right out of the fryer. I guess I'd missed the lunch rush, since I arrived just before 2:00.

"I'd like an 8-piece chicken, and a half pound of livers."

"Oh. Here's the chicken."

Counter Man reached over to the side, to the display where I used to grab my chicken without asking. It's a heated shelf where chicken was already assembled in 8-piece black plastic trays with clear, vented tops, price stickers attached. Like they do at The Devil's Playground deli. Several months ago, however, I stopped finding chicken there. I had to ask for it. The trays were no more. Country Mart bags their chicken now.

"I didn't see that. It's been a long time since chicken has been ready there."

"Yeah, I always try to bag up at least one, when I bring out the chicken. It's the same as in the case. But I put it in a bag, to be ready. Here. Just grab it and put it in your cart."

That's the catch. The fried chicken was already in a bag! You know what happens to fried chicken in a plastic bag, right? It gets sweaty. No matter how many tiny air holes are in the bag. Hot chicken in a plastic bag steams, and the condensation drips from the top of the bag back onto the chicken, and then you have soggy fried chicken.

My chicken couldn't breathe! Counter Guy had suffocated my chicken!

I was so taken aback that I took it! Counter Guy set about tonging my livers. Again into a plastic bag. That's how they sell it now. I'm used to that. But as soon as I get it out of the store, I pull open the ziplock top, to let my chicken or livers or tenders breathe.

Yes. I know I should have insisted that he make me a fresh 8-piece chicken. But he'd already asked another man, over at the meat counter, if he minded if I was served first. So I didn't want to prolong that guy's wait, because he'd actually been there first.

When I told Farmer H at home, he said,

"I'd have told him I wanted the fresh chicken, or not any chicken at all."

Well. Men are like that. Probably everyone else in the world is like that. Except me.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

NoTown Records

I didn't go to town on Monday! I don't know how long I'd gone without missing, but I'm pretty sure I broke my own record. The reason for my non-journey was twofold.

The Gas Station Chicken Store was out of Diet Coke on Sunday!

I know! Are you okay? Do I need to get the smelling salts? I also felt the room spinning when I saw that scrap of notebook paper taped to the spigot, proclaiming "OUT." I knew there would be no more until the supplier came. Usually on Tuesday. Methinks me knows too much about the operation of the GSCS. The Nice Guy Clerk actually looked it up in the delivery notebook. I was right.

Anyhoo...that day, I tried Diet Pepsi. NOOOO! Ptooey! Not good! Worse, even, than the PineSol tasting Diet Coke from Dairy Queen. No way was I paying for that again!

The other reason was the electric company. Roundaboutly. They are having a big limb cleanup, to prevent future outages. They've contracted a tree service to do the deed. They've been getting closer and closer, and were up in our gravel roads. So I had no wish to try squeezing T-Hoe past their behemoths.

I managed to survive on bottled Diet Coke and memories. I only had the tiny bottles. Did I tell that story? Can't remember. homemade elixir was tastier than the Diet Pepsi debacle. But I had to do without my scratchers, and relive past wins.

Farmer H was gone all day. He had a medical appointment in the afternoon, and went from there to his Monday auction. I asked him for one thing. ONE THING.

To bring the mail when he came home.

Well. That was apparently enough overload to cause a short circuit, because there was no mail to be found when I came upstairs at 3:30 a.m. When I next talked to Farmer H, he said HE FORGOT.

Seriously. He had ONE job to do. I'm glad that ONE job wasn't keeping my electrical cord for life support plugged into the wall.

I hate to leave my mail unattended for 24 hours, down on that lonely stretch of county road a mile from the Mansion. There were two tax documents in there! And a bill! Plus casino offers, and five junk mail catalogs.

Good thing no thieves were in a mail-stealing mood on Monday night.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Mrs. HM Tears A Page From Farmer H's Soup Book

It's no secret that Farmer H likes his vegetable beef soup piled high over the edges of the bowl. In fact, he doesn't need a bowl at all for his soup, since he doesn't like the juicy part. Which is what I actually think soup IS, but we're using Farmer H's logic.


Not the bathroom habits, thank the Gummi Mary. And I don't have a PopArm. But I DID find myself using a fork to dip out a certain delicacy the other day, leaving the juice behind.

This is SO. VERY. WRONG. Slaw is not a soup! Yet when I opened up my favorite side dish, I was stunned to find my cabbage and carrots swimming in liquid! Mrs. HM has been betrayed by The Devil! That's where I get the best slaw. Except maybe for Captain D's, and it's too far away, and just a little foam individual cup. Even The Devil's Playground was out of the big containers of slaw. Good thing, I guess. I'd have been paying for LIQUID instead of slaw. I don't mind a little juice in the bottom, but the container shouldn't be half-full.

I know this slaw is pre-packaged and shipped to The Devil's Playground. Otherwise, I'd be pointing the finger (the BAD finger, as Genius and The Pony used to call it) at the deli staff. I was there last Thursday, after an ice storm, right before a snow storm, and only about four registers were open. The checkers were badmouthing the deli, which was closed, because ALL THE MEN had called out.

I'm pretty sure it was a man behind my soupy slaw, too.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Day Three In The Continuing Saga Of The Dog De-Honkerer

Sunday morning, with Farmer H away at his Storage Unit Store, I had the house to myself. I can turn the TV volume down then. And undistractedly peruse the innernets on HIPPIE.

I was kicked back in the La-Z-Boy, watching an old episode of Hoarders with a guy who had 150 acres full of old cars and trucks and buses. I would have turned the channel, except I heard him say that he had invented the electrical system of the Space Shuttle Challenger inside that old bus over there. Whether this was true or not, I never found out, even though I watched that whole dang episode!

Anyhoo...I was distracted by a noise on the porch at the end of the house by the BARn. It sounded like furniture moving, sliding along the wood. Huh. That was curious. About five bouts of the sound. And THEN I realized that it was Marley, coughing less like a goose, and more like sliding furniture. So an improvement, I'd say.

As I left for town, I noticed that the two leftover squares of grease bread in the bowl for Marley were gone from the kitchen counter. So I assumed Farmer H had given them to Marley with honey. He's not one to randomly give out treats to the dogs.

When I got home from town, Marley ran into the garage. Waited at my door until I got out of T-Hoe. I was wary of another fight to the almost-death, so I didn't close the garage door behind T-Hoe. Then I saw Jack on the porch. I got out, and Marley stood to greet me, not jumping up with his muddy hairy-again paws. He trotted to the people-door, and I let him out. Jack was on the side porch with Juno, so Marley thought better of it. Waited on the door jamb.

I went through, closing the garage door, and shooing Marley with my leg away from the people-door so I could close it without trapping him inside. Jack darted to the top of the steps, growling a warning. I praised Jack for being such a good dog (to not kill Marley), and Marley sidled away past Copper Jack on the brick sidewalk.

At the kitchen door, I managed to give the three main mutts a treat of chicken breast bones and grease bread and stale saltines. Marley was conspicuously absent. But the point IS: at no time during this homecoming did Marley honk! Like maybe the cough is gradually going away.

I need to remind Farmer H to dole out some more honey on the grease bread that I saved.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

One Creature, Late And Small

Farmer H was given orders to dose Marley with honey three times a day for his goose-honking cough. It's not rocket science. Farmer H didn't have to pass the petCAT, or whatever the prospective veterinarian version of an MCAT would be. All he had to do was get some honey down Marley's throat. Marley is the kind of annoying little critter who will dash up and swallow something he ASSUMES is food, rather than waiting to make sure.

When interrogated grilled quizzed consulted on Marley's dosage Friday evening...Farmer H revealed the following.

"Before I went to town, I took some honey out there. Marley didn't want it."

"Didn't want it? He eats ANYTHING!"

"I tried to give it to him in a bowl, but he turned his head. So I tried to make him lick it off my finger, and he wouldn't. I stuck my finger in his mouth and kind of wiped it off. So I guess he got some."

"When did you give him more?"

"That was it."

"Well...he's supposed to have it three times a day. So now he's behind on the dosing schedule. I don't know if ONCE is going to make him feel better. But I'd sure never stick MY finger in his teeth! I don't trust ANY of our dogs to eat out of my hand. They're snappy! So afraid someone else is going to get it first. I hope you washed your hand!"

"I did."

"I bet if you put it on a tiny square of bread, Marley will eat it. For the bread!"

Well. Farmer H tried that on Saturday morning.

"I took it out there, but Marley didn't seem like he wanted the bread. I dumped it on the porch. I guess he ate it."

"Huh. More like one of the other dogs found it and ate it."

I discovered mid-morning that Farmer H had taken out a WHOLE SLICE of bread. Seriously. I didn't think my instructions were that complicated. So I called him at his Storage Unit Store.

"I know! I'm making chili before I go to town. I'll have some grease bread after frying the hamburger. I KNOW Marley will eat the grease bread!"

Good thing I was right there when Farmer H came home. I had half a hot dog bun soaked with hamburger grease. I cut it in four pieces. Told Farmer H to get the Honey Bear, because I heard Marley honking by the kitchen door when he came in.

"You can probably call Marley into the laundry room, and give it to him there. He'll run right into the house. Then Juno won't get upset."

"I ain't callin' him into the house. Here. Give me a bowl."

So, with one square of greasy hot dog bun in a bowl, with about half a tablespoon of honey on top, Farmer H opened the kitchen door. Marley was right there, ready to dart in. Farmer H stuck the bowl in Marley's face, and he hoovered that bread like a competitive eater swallowing an oyster. Before Juno even knew what happened.

There is more grease bread waiting by the back door. Whether Dr. Farmer H can dose Marley as instructed remains to be seen.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

I Play One On The Innernets

Since I diagnose my own quasi-illnesses on the innernets, I figured I might as well give Marley a virtual checkup. I have come to the conclusion that Marley has kennel cough. The main clue being the sound he makes, which matches up info on a search for "why does my dog sound like a goose?" Okay. I didn't type that. I just did "dog cough" and saw that as an option.

Apparently, it can be caused by a bacteria, and is highly contagious. Or also by cold weather, or doggie asthma, or I don't remember others. Since Marley has been penned up, and not around other dogs until AFTER the cough, I figure he didn't catch it from another dog. However, it WAS a cold night before the day Farmer H reported Marley's cough. So I'm thinking that's it.

Despite sounding like he's knock-knock-knockin' on death's door, it seems that according to the innernets, Marley will likely make a full recovery in three weeks or less. Without treatment. That vets are usually not inclined to prescribe stuff for it. Heh, heh. I bet the innernets didn't do a vet survey! They have to make their money somehow!

Anyhoo...I was correct that you shouldn't give expired human cough medicine to dogs! I must be a genius, ya think? While some sites recommended garlic and lemon juice, others declared that garlic is toxic to dogs, and that vitamin C is also not good for them. The one thing that seemed agreeable was HONEY.

Not a lot of honey, but 1/2 to 1 full tablespoon, 3 to 4 times a day, for a 30-50 pound dog. I'd say Marley is about 10-15 pounds. So doesn't need much. Not that it would hurt him, probably. Farmer H said he'd give Marley some honey. I said "NOT ON MY SPOONS!"

Anyhoo...I don't know if Farmer H did the dosing or not, but last I heard of Marley's cough, around 5:00 a.m., it was not as forceful. Maybe he's gradually getting over it. Maybe the 100% humidity from all the mist and snow and fog acted as a natural humidifier. Maybe he was not as barky since he spent the night on the end of the porch in a spare dog house.

I think Marley is probably going to be okay. I'm not as worried now. I need to check with Farmer H about the honey. We have TWO honey bears, each half full, from just not using honey, and from Genius buying one as an additive for Farmer H's homemade beer.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Perhaps A Telling Picture

As you recall, I'm sure, T-Hoe has a tire problem. It's been brought to the attention of the self-proclaimed management. On Tuesday, I had a warning that tire pressure was low. So I took T-Hoe by the Sis-Town Casey's when I was over there at the bank to get coins for my daily 44 oz Diet Coke addiction. I shot ten pounds of pressure into that low tire.

Wednesday, Farmer H and I went to the city, so I didn't drive T-Hoe. Thursday, I hopped in, headed to cash my big scratcher winnings, mail the boys' letters, and get gas before more snow moved in on Friday. The warning light was on again. T-Hoe's left rear tire had lost 10 pounds of air in two days! I guess I didn't park with the leaky section down against the garage floor!

Anyhoo...I did my Devil's Playground shopping. When I came out of the store at 3:00, big flakes of wet snow were falling. The temperature was 35. I wasn't worried. I only had one stop to make, for my magical elixir. I figured I'd be home before the weather worsened.

Then I remembered that I still had to put air in T-Hoe's tire. I could steal a little FREE AIR from the Gas Station Chicken Store. The Sis-Town Casey's air hose had been occupied when I stopped for gas, pre-snow.

Let the record show that large flakes of wet snow are just like raindrops. Only prettier. But just as wet. I was soaked by the time I stole my FREE AIR. It didn't help that I had stopped with the valve stem all the way on the bottom of the tire. Like, exactly the 6:00 position. I climbed back in and pulled forward, to put it at the top. No need to stand on my head and pump in air that is being mashed out as soon as it enters.

Here's my view out the window as I'm leaving the FREE AIR theft scene.

You have to look closely to see the streaks of heavy snowflakes zipping by, against the background of the garbage dumpster behind the Gas Station Chicken Store.

That's kind of my opinion of Farmer H right now.

Let the record show that it was 32 degrees here, and 31 when I got home ten minutes later, with the road covered by snow.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Major Breakthrough In Human-Canine Relations

Wednesday, Farmer H and I left for the city around 8:30. We were gone most of the day in A-Cad, to cash in my major lottery winner, and stop by the casino for lunch (heh, heh), and some Goodwills. It was nearly 4:00 when we got home. The dogs dashed across the yard, all excited to see us. They never know if we're coming back when we leave together, in the morning, in A-Cad. Too many Oklahoma trips have made them concerned.

Marley was running loose, because Farmer H let him out Tuesday morning, and couldn't find him at put-up time. Not a big deal, because the pen with his house and food was open, so he could return.

I'm wary now when Marley and Jack have access to each other. Just last week, there was another fight, when Buddy (of Badly Blacktopped Hill fame) stopped by, and cursed Marley when getting out of his truck. Well. You might as well wave a red flag at a bull. Jack does not suffer such nonsense, and that was his cue to attack. Farmer H sweet-talked Jack off the ledge, and Marley scurried to his house. Farmer H said to try this strategy for future kerfuffles. takes me a while to get out of A-Cad and limber up from the ride. Marley was all over my already-exit-ed leg. Jack and Juno and Copper Jack were milling around after having chased a squirrel into the woods. Of course Farmer H had to bellow,


"You just told me not to say anything bad to Marley! To praise Jack. And now YOU are going to get Marley killed!"

Farmer H shut up. Marley went under A-Cad. Jack trotted over spoiling for a fight, all muscle-y and stiff-legged, with his tail curved up over his back.

"Aww. There's my little Jack. What a good boy. Good dog, Jack. You're my buddy, aren't you. Come on. Let me pet you."

Jack put his feet up on my leg. After a couple pats, I pushed him away and got out. Jack put his feet in A-Cad, sniffing around. I patted Juno, who had crowded in for the grand reunion. It was then that I noticed


What in the Not-Heaven? This dog has snubbed me for TWO YEARS, even though I feed him snacks on a daily basis. And now, in all this commotion, here he was, offering me an olive branch?

I turned the back of my hand to him. Didn't extend my arm. Copper Jack touched his rubbery black nose to my crepey (called CREEPY by The Pony) skin. I took this as an invitation, and stroked his broad head, then patted his shoulder. I might just have a new buddy.

Yes, it was a major breakthrough in human-canine relations. As for canine-canine relations...not so much.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Protecting Hillmomba, One Creature At A Time

It's a tireless, thankless job, but somebody has to do it. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom goes out of her way to protect all living things (and some inanimate objects) from Farmer H. It's kind of like a first-time babysitter supervising a toddler. You know something is going to happen, you just don't know what. So you're ever-vigilant, on the edge of your La-Z-Boy, ready to jump in.

Tuesday noon-time, Farmer H entered the Mansion. He was wearing his Carhartt coat against the 25-degree temperature, both hands in his pockets.

"I let Marley out this morning. He has a cough. Sounds like he has the croup! So I thought I'd give him some cough medicine."

Out of his right pocket came Farmer H's hand, clutching a box of children's cough medicine, Devil's Playground brand, grape-flavored, like we used to give The Pony when he was sick.

"I found this expired bottle over in my storage unit stuff. I came to get a spoon."


"You can't give HUMAN cough medicine to a dog! Marley is a little dog! You don't know how much to give him. It's expired! It's for HUMANS! You're not giving that to him. Marley might need to go to the vet. I'm sure he's never had any shots."

"Okay. I won't give him the cough medicine. I just thought it might help him. We'll see if he's better in a couple of days."

Seriously. Farmer H used to do errands for an old man who lived up the street from my $17,000 house. He said that guy took his DOG'S medicine, to help the pain in his legs.

I'm pretty sure species shouldn't intermedicate...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Surely She Wasn't Apologizing On MY Behalf

Mrs. HM has a bee in her bonnet! It's not a fired-up late-July bee, all agitated and aggressive. Only a first cold-snap bee, buzzing lazily, not happy, just a little ticked off.

Monday, I went to the local Hillmomba Casey's, to cash in scratchers. It was 2:00, 23 degrees, overcast, and not a busy time at Casey's. Two cars were at the eight gas pumps. A Frito-Lay panel truck was parked off to the side. And NO cars were in front of the store when I got there. One pulled up as I walked inside.

One clerk was working. A lady was scanning her card. Another lady waited behind her, and then me. A guy came in the door after me, but I didn't notice where he went. The Card Lady paid and left. Next Lady only had two items. Paid cash, left. I handed my two tickets to the clerk, who scanned them, and asked if I wanted more. Yes. I said the three numbers of the tickets I wanted. She tore them off, and rang them up. Handed me the tickets and my $5 change. Easy peasy, right?

"I'm sorry for your wait," the clerk said to the guy behind me as I left the counter.

Hold on there, Sister! Surely you were not implying that I held up the line! I am a CUSTOMER, by cracky! Probably spending more than that guy behind me. Who had the good manners to tell her "Oh, that's all right." Why in the Not-Heaven would the clerk apologize for his wait? He wasn't even behind me when I stepped up to the counter for my transaction.

I know the clerk was trying to give good customer service. She was very polite to me. No heavy sighs like I get at Orb K. My bonnet-bee is more concerned with the perception that I was the reason for the guy's wait. It's not like he was a vendor, from the Frito truck, and had to stand off to the side while I did my business. I see them at the Gas Station Chicken Store, and let them go ahead of me. This was a regular customer. Same as me.

WE ALL WAIT! It's called taking turns. That's what happens in a line! How else are customers supposed to keep that store in business? How are they supposed to pay for their merchandise? It's not like I bought a pack of gum, and had to try three different credit/debit cards to complete my purchase.

Anyhoo...maybe my bonnet-bee is not really all that agitated about the WAIT comment. Maybe it's more about the couple minutes I was sitting in T-Hoe, sending a text to The Pony, and seeing the cranky clerk arrive for her shift.

I breathed a sigh of relief that I'd avoided this Denizen of Convenience. She always has an expression like she smells something bad. Anyhoo...she climbed out of her sedan, and started up the sidewalk. Right in front of T-Hoe,


I'm pretty sure the Denizen of Convenience picked up my rightful penny.

Monday, January 20, 2020

One Good Deed Punishes Another

Mrs. HM is not a world-class do-gooder. Sure, she is benevolent enough. Nothing flashy. It's not like she uses a tractor to shove fallen trees off driveways, or blacktops an entire hill without though of compensation. Her good deeds are on a smaller scale. Like giving a dollar to a 10:00 a.m. alcoholic begging at the counter of the Gas Station Chicken Store.

Sunday, I entered Country Mart without a thought of doing a good deed. Some might even question whether the deed itself was indeed classified as good. plan was to pick up a few bananas, Farmer H's special individual ice cream cups of vanilla streaked with chocolate and strawberry, some frozen chicken breasts, and an 8-piece deli fried chicken. Don't think I'm shunning this delicacy at the GSCS. They don't have chicken on the weekends any more. I pushed my cart up front, I saw two checkers open. The Cheery Old Lady, and the Gravel-Voiced Old Lady. Both are polite and efficient. The Cheery Old Lady was handing a receipt to a man and woman. A lady in front of me pushed her cart to that register. She only had two items. I was torn between the checkouts.

Nobody was at the Gravel-Voiced Old Lady checkout. BUT, a teenage girl stood at the end, by the bags, talking to her, with her phone in front of her face. I presumed she might be a young relative, and there was a family issue. Gravel-Voiced Old Lady caught my eye. It was a neutral look, neither summoning me hither, nor rejecting me. I steered to the Cheery Old Lady's line instead. Because she wasn't all THAT busy. It would only take a minute.

The lady ahead of me paid for her two items. I had mine already on the conveyor. That's when I noticed that a younger gal I had assumed was with Two-Item Lady was actually bagging. Oh, well. I guess maybe the Phone Gal might have been a bagger, too. No matter. A man had gone to Gravel-Voiced Old Lady's register now.

When I glanced up at Cheery Old Lady as she told me my total, I felt REALLY BAD! Not only was she hacking up half a lung, from a cold, the flu, pneumonia, emphysema, or consumption...but she also HAD HER RIGHT ARM IN A SLING!

Sweet Gummi Mary! In trying to do an un-asked-for favor for Gravel-Voiced Old Lady, I had increased the workload of Cheery Old Lady.

My heart was in the right place. My groceries weren't.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

When Even Steven Makes One Package Uncloseable, He Makes Another One Unopenable

Nobody knows the trouble I've seen, though most of you know my sorrow...because I'm whining about it every doggone day!

Saturday, I had a late supper. Farmer H went to the auction from an errand (heh, heh, I first typed ERROR) he neglected to tell me about. So I was on my own feeding timetable. My plan was a ham sandwich, a side salad, and some potato chips. Mmm...a 5-star Michelin chef in the making!

Anyhoo...I had a bag of shredded cheddar cheese that I opened, to sprinkle on my salad. You know how they have that little notch in the side, where it says TEAR HERE. They never tear. So I had to get out my kitchen shears and cut across. Still wouldn't come apart there. So twice, I cut a little deeper down, always careful not to interfere with the groovy parts that re-seal the bag. I got it open, sprinkled my cheese, then slid my fingers along the grooves to seal the bag.

It would not take hold. No matter which side I started on. No matter how accurately I peered down inside, and lined up the groove and the long bumpy thing. It's always the same brand, the Great Value from the Devil's Playground. I had to fold over the top a couple times, and use a chip clip to hold it shut.

After slicing my tomatoes, I reached for the salad dressing. It was a new bottle, bought this week at Save A Lot. Lite Ranch. It's my favorite dressing. I peeled the paper label off the lid. The top is one that flips open, with a little hole, to squeeze out the salad dressing. First, though, you have to unscrew the whole top on a new bottle, to pry off that cardboard seal on the top of the bottle.

I could not get that plastic top to screw off. I know that it's lefty loosey, righty tighty. I was turning it the right way. I did it the normal grip, with my thumb pointed down. And the opposite, using the heel of my hand to grip, thumb pointed up. I also did this with a rubber gripper thingy, both ways. I tried my gadget with the assorted hole sizes, to use leverage to open that lid. NOTHING.

I had almost resigned myself to letting that dressing wait until Farmer H was home, and using the Ken's Steakhouse Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing left over from Genius's Christmas salad. But I really wanted my Lite Ranch. I laid the bottle on its side on the kitchen counter, and


Not the actual Pioneer Woman, Ree whatshername. That would be frowned upon, I think, and not very effective. No, I used the butt-end of my large Pioneer Woman ceramic knife. One whack was all it took! I was shocked to pick up that bottle, and turn the lid like it had been open for weeks.

When Even Steven makes one package uncloseable, he makes another one unopenable. Until I outsmart him!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Dog Beans

Farmer H and I finished off the pot of beans on Thursday night. Not finished it, like eating every last bean, and licking the pan. I mean finished it, like eating all we wanted, after having them for three nights, and setting aside the remainder for the dogs.

We were quite economical with our pot of beans. All that was left was a foam bowl (like the size of a soup bowl, not a tiny little snack bowl). I let it sit on the counter overnight, so it wouldn't be cold when I fed it to the dogs. Not that they have a preference, of course. A treat is a treat.

You'd think those fleabags would love such a treat! No onions or peppers on it. Just beans and ham, with peanut butter from that unfortunate legume faux pas discussed elsewhere. I know dogs like peanut butter! I've seen lots of videos of people giving their dogs peanut butter...

Anyhoo...when I came back from town, those dogs were all excited and frisky. Part of it was the weather, I think, with freezing rain on the way (allegedly). They bounded around, yipping and wagging. I stepped into the kitchen, and was momentarily discombobulated at deciding what method I could use to distribute the beans to the dogs.

I knew they would not gather 'round a single bowl and take turns lapping out their treat. Nor did I want three foam bowls on the porch. Besides, I think it would be difficult for a dog to hold a foam bowl steady for licking purposes, even my little Jack, who uses his paws almost as well as a raccoon. I didn't want to pour the beans on the bare porch. They would leave a stain if Farmer H's hand-brushed waterproofing was wearing off. Then I had the most scathingly brilliant idea...

I took three slices of stale Nutty Oat bread out of the bag that has been their daily treat. On each slice, I slapped a dollop of beans. They're thick beans. Not runny. Almost as thick as a tower of Farmer H's serving of vegetable beef soup.

While I was doing this, Jack stood with his toenails on the threshold. I leave the door open when a treat is coming, so they know to wait, and not disperse in favor of silly activities like squirrel-chasing. Juno retreats to her house, but it was taking so long that she shouldered Jack out of the way. Juno won't enter the kitchen, but Jack will. Except when Farmer H is inside, which he was. Copper Jack waited behind Juno's house, like a proper gentleman.

Jack got the first slice of bean bread. It takes him longer to eat, with his tiny mouth, and I don't want the others rushing up to take what's left after they are finished. Juno got the second slice, which was actually a sandwich, since I had four slices of bread. Juno is the queen bee, and gets extra. Copper Jack stood his ground, neither lunging nor retreating, as I set down his portion.

When I turned, I saw that Jack had dragged his slice five or six feet across the porch, to the side of Juno's house, leaving a trail of beans. That silly dog wanted the BREAD more than the beans and ham.

Maybe that's telling me something about my beans...

Friday, January 17, 2020

And Then I'm Buggin'

As I type this, it's Wednesday, I'm not having a good day. It's a pretty bad day, actually. Still, the worst day of retirement is beating out the best day of teaching, as far as days go. It's not like I HAVE to do anything, other than breathe in/breathe out.

Farmer H warmed up his own supper of beans and cornbread. I doubt he sliced any onion or pepper, because that would be too much work. But he can do without if he's that lazy. I was not notified of an auction trip until the last minute. He's grateful enough that there was a pan of beans and ham to dip from for his supper.

Anyhoo...I went to bed with, and woke up with, a sinus congestion that is making the right side of my face hurt. Yeah, I know, my face is KILLIN' YOU! Good one. My sister the little future ex-mayor's wife used to say things like that to me all the time.

As you know, I've complained about this sinus thing before. It just has to run its course. If I push my nose sideways, or use my vibrator (THE ONE FOR MY HEAD, SHAPED LIKE A BUG, DON'T BE PERVY!), my face feels better for about 10 minutes. I've been blowing bloody snot out one nostril. When I open my mouth wide, my ear cracks. When I turn my head, I hear crackly crunchy noises at the base of my skull. So far, I've taken an aspirin and an acetaminophen. With limited success. (Add to that another aspirin, and an ibuprofen.)

Anyhoo...that's not the only issue of my bad day. At least I got my 44 oz Diet Coke without incident, though the drive was uncomfortable without my vibrator to relieve pressure. I had to go the long way, too, because the tree-trimmers are still working on the county road. Which I found out the day before, coming up behind them, because Farmer H had not bothered to text me this time. soon as I got up and saw a gift that Farmer H left behind on the toilet seat, I was pretty sure the day would not begin well, nor end well. I set about washing a pile of dishes from making beans the day before. I don't seriously know how beans can use up almost every utensil in the silverware drawer, but I had quite a selection to clean.

I put my short Pioneer Woman ceramic knife down into the front edge of the sink. I do that so I don't cut myself reaching blindly through the suds. I wash my Pioneer Women first. Anyhoo...I was about to submerge it when I reached for other silverware with my right hand, and CUT MY FINGER on the blade as my hands met. I didn't think it was bad. I felt the slice, but a quick look didn't show blood or a cut.

Until I looked again.

It's just the TINIEST cut, at the bottom right of my index finger nail. But it's found a way to ooze all around the nail! Of course I couldn't NOT wash dishes. So I plunged it into the suds (YOUCH!) and commenced a-washin'. I'm sure my life fluid was diluted enough in that sink full of water to not sicken anyone (Farmer H) who might eat off those dishes and utensils in the future.

Yes, to Even-Steven yesterday's windshield-diamond day, I had to suffer this buggy-stone day. Life is a balance.

Let the record show that by my fourth painkiller, my symptoms abated, and I was able to sleep. The next day was about half as painful. So I'm on the mend. Oh, and another Stevening was in order. Which is told at my less-secret blog today (Friday).

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Windshield Kind Of Day

Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug (BUT HOPEFULLY NOT A LADYBUG!). Tuesday, I was definitely a windshield.

I had stopped at the mailbox, and was getting settled in T-Hoe to start to town for my magical elixir. "Mary Jane's Last Dance" came on the radio. I'm a Tom Petty fan, so I looked in the side of my purse for a notecard to write this down. I make a playlist on Spotify of the good songs I hear during my 44 oz Diet Coke mission, and listen to them as I scratch my scratchers later. I didn't have a spare notecard in the side of my purse.

No problem. I looked down inside my purse. Every now and then I stuff something in there that I plan to deal with later. Perhaps a notecard that I've used (kind of like a robber, but not) to shove in the window at the credit union, with the amount of money on it that I'm withdrawing from The Pony's account to pay college bills for housing, or his monthly allowance.

Well, well, well! I did find such a notecard, but even better, I found a money envelope. The kind the bank gives you when you make a withdrawal. I re-use them to save money in one of our safes, for Christmas or insurance or more college money or taxes. You'd be surprised how much it adds up when you put away a little each week. I'm much more likely to keep up with this habit than drive to a financial institution and put it in an account. It's not like you can make much interest these days, anyway.

This money envelope was one that I'd taken OUT of the safe, to use for buying prizes for the games at the Christmas Eve party at the house of my sister the ex-mayor's wife.

Thank you, INDEED! Inside what I thought was an empty envelope were TWO $100 bills! They'd been there since December 22! I didn't have an immediate need for them, but they will be recycled back into the savings envelopes in the safe. It's always uplifting to find $200 you didn't know you had!

The day kept getting better, because when I scratched my scratchers later, to a playlist of

Mary Jane's Last Dance...Tom Petty
Wake Me Up...Avicii
Shine...Dolly Parton
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)...The Proclaimers
Tiny Dancer...Elton John
Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)...Don McLean

...I had a $10 winner and a $25 winner!

Like John Denver sang, "Some Days Are Diamonds, Some Days Are Stone." This was definitely a Diamond day.

Of course, Even Steven has me on a short leash. The buggy stone day was just around the corner.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

You Gotta Watch 'Em

The good thing about Hillmomba is that I can pop into Save A Lot or Country Mart for a few items, without driving the extra five miles to the Devil's Playground, and traipse across a half-acre to find something, then stand in line 15 minutes to pay.

The bad thing about Save A Lot is that they don't have a lot of brand-name items that I might want. Or the version I desire. Like sweet banana pepper rings. Country Mart has them, so that's where I went. The bad thing about Country Mart is that you really gotta watch 'em.

Country Mart is where I've encountered the most expired foods on the shelf. And noticed that despite their proclaimed "sales," the price on the receipt doesn't always show the discount.

Tuesday, I needed those sweet banana pepper rings to go with a pot of beans I'd just made. They were right down an aisle close to the door and the registers. I grabbed them without incident. On the shelf across from them were some sugar-free candies. I picked up three varieties for Farmer H. One of them was a little bag of coconut candies, chocolate covered. They come in a variety pack from The Devil's Playground. Country Mart only has the individual bags. This was one I hadn't seen before.

I was second in line at the register. The lady ahead of me was complaining that she did not get the sale price on something. The Gruff Voice Old Checker apologized, and gave her a refund. She said she'd be sure to let the people in charge of that know.

Gruff Voice Old Checker rang up my peppers, and two of the candy bags. She couldn't get the coconut variety to scan. I told her it didn't matter.

"You can set those aside. I don't have to have them. I was getting them for my husband as a surprise. No big deal."

Gruff Voice Old Checker said she'd get it. She punched in the code numbers on the bag. Twice. Still nothing.

"Really, it's okay. Just set them aside. I'll do without."

No way did I want to stand there waiting for a price check. Gruff Voice Old Checker finally set them down, saying she'd have the people who were in charge of that check into it.

I'm not blaming Gruff Voice Old Checker. It's not her fault. I don't know who's in charge, but it didn't help matters that two gals and a guy were jacking around at the end of that aisle, knocking canned goods off the display they were setting up on the back aisle, having a good ol' time.

Pretty sure whoever was in charge of these errors is quite a bit younger than Gruff Voice Old Checker. Yet she was two-for-two in having to deal with their lackadaisicality.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


Same Mansion, Different Calamity.

I don't know why everything is so hard for me! Even Farmer H tells me that: "HM. I don't know why everything's so hard for you." I'm sure he's being supportive and empathetic, right? Not at all sarcastic.

With the Christmas season comes a treat from my best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel. She makes chocolate-covered cherries that are FABULOUS! Way better than the boxed version of cherry cordials. I know I've shown you the pictures before. I eat two of them every night for dessert. I don't mind if other people share them. Genius wasn't home long enough to put a dent in them this year. They are so plentiful that I can't really tell if Farmer H is also partaking. I put them in FRIG II, so they're nice and cold. Makes the chocolate crack when you bite into it. Mmm.

Anyhoo, the other night I carried my supper tray down to my lair. I thought I'd eliminate a step, and fetch my half-bottle of Diet Coke from the mini fridge under the stairs, on my way to the lair. I was holding the supper tray (ham and roasted veggies and 7 Layer Salad), and also my yellow bubba cup full of ice. When I bent over to get my half-bottle of Diet Coke,


Sweet Gummi Mary! It's a BASEMENT floor! Concrete covered with press-down tile. Not exactly mopped every week. I was sure my cherry had been broken (heh, heh, good thing a certain 13-year-old self doesn't read this).

To make matters worse, as I closed the mini-fridge door so I could set down my tray and rescue the cherry, IT GOT CAUGHT IN THE DOOR! What in the Not-Heaven does Even Steven have against me right now?

I picked up the cherry, and was shocked to see that it was not even cracked! Nor was it coated with dust bunnies! I wiped it off with half a Puffs With Lotion in my office, and set it on top of my purple bubba cup full of ice water to chill.

The only damage appeared to be a broken stem. My best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel really knows how to make a cherry!

And I really know how to get an artsy-fartsy photo down the inside of my straw!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Fast And FUR-ious

The waters have finally receded from the main low water bridge on the county road. I can take my regular route to town again. We had a bit of loggage wash up at our own low water bridge. Thank the Gummi Mary, it hasn't flooded since they replaced it about 10 years ago.

When I got to the little bitty bridge where the neighbor tried to play vehicular chicken with me, I saw a guy on a tractor shoving wet muddy woodsy stuff off the side. It was FARMER H! I didn't recognize him from the back, with a maroon hoodie covering his head. I'm not enough of a gearhead to recognize the year and model of tractors. There's more than one blue one out here.

Anyhoo...Farmer H didn't know it was me, either. He motioned behind his back for me to pass by, while the tractor was mostly off the road. I waited. My Sweet, Sweet Juno came running up to greet me. She stood gazing lovingly at me through the open window. She's not a jumper. Stayed on all four feet. Smiling. Then came Copper Jack, down Former Homestead of HOS Hill. He gave me a cursory glance. We're not besties, even though I give him as many treats as Jack and Juno.

Farmer H eventually turned around, and pulled the tractor over beside T-Hoe for a short chat. Then I went on home, while he headed down to the mailbox area, to deal with some logs along the side of the gravel road.

My Sweet, Sweet Juno ran ahead of me! She forsook Farmer H in favor of ME. Then I saw Copper Jack join her. THEY are not besties, either. And here came little Jack, from another direction. I guess they'd had enough of exploring the wet woods in 30 degree temps.

Once I scaled the badly blacktopped hill, I let T-Hoe fly! At 20 mph! Here's the thing: those dogs stayed right with me! In fact, they were so close behind T-Hoe that I couldn't see them in the mirrors. Yet when I'd slow a bit to sweave around a pothole, they'd pass me up alongside.


Even little Jack, with his short, short dachshund-half legs! That half-mile stretch didn't faze them. As I was pulling into the garage, Jack and Copper Jack were tearing after a squirrel in the woods behind the Mansion.

Of course I gave them each a healthy scoop of cat kibble, and a slice of five-day-old Nutty Oat Bread. They ate it like it was good.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Nabes Are Like A Box Of Chocolates

Our neighbors are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

Friday, I was almost home. Making the last turn on the gravel road, heading up past the barn where Marley bit the neighbor who Farmer H was returning a tractor part to. WHOA, NELLY! I had to slam on T-Hoe's brakes, and back up. Coming at me was a dark red truck, showing no signs of having brakes. I'm sure he had them. He just didn't want to USE them.

So...I backed up about 20 feet, off that little bitty low-water bridge, back onto the main gravel road that takes you to Mailbox Row. Red Truck came barreling out over that little bridge, as if he was gaining speed! I'd made room for him to get past me on the road, but he veered left, and went up Former Homestead of HOS Hill.

Well. That was certainly rude. I need to ask Farmer H who drives that truck, so I can know who I'm annoyed with.

Saturday, I was just past that area on the way to town. At the top of the hill that thwarts non-T-Hoes in snow and ice. A smaller black SUV was starting down that hill. It stopped. I was way over on my side, so I knew there was room. I saw the window going down. So I stopped, and put my own window down.

"The water is WAY over the bridge! Nobody's getting across it for a while."

"Okay. Thanks. I'll go out the other way."

I already knew this, because Farmer H had sent me a text a couple hours before. But I DID appreciate her helpfulness. I have no idea who it was, but I've seen that car out here going past the Mansion. She was an older lady (heh, heh, probably younger than me) with short black hair, looking pretty rough.

You never know which neighbor you're gonna get.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Curmudgeonly HM Throws Off Her Shawl, Chucks Her Cane Across The Lair, And Shakes Her Fist At Progress

Rain has dared to sluice down over the Mansion off and on for the past two days. OFF when I'm upstairs washing dishes or haranguing Farmer H, ON when I've just plopped my ample rumpus in front of New Delly with lunch or supper, for some quality time with my innernets.

Of course I have a backup plan for such emergencies. My lair, and shelves in Outer Basementwood, are rife with DVDs. AND, my dear sweet Genius (not to be confused with that celebrity chef guy who looks like an alien feline, Ron Ben-Israel, and his now-canceled show that he pronounced as "Swit Jinyus"), gave me a wonderful Christmas gift. It was a DVD collection of all seasons of Shameless, except the current and last Season 10. I've been hooked on this show for...well...10 years!

I'm sure that ordering this gift for me felt very wrong for Genius. Like he had taken a job mounting wheels on Conestoga Wagons, rather than programming a driverless car. But he knows I love Shameless, and he knows I watch my programs old-style. Either when they're on, later on DVR, or on DVD. I don't have a service where I can stream them for binge-watching. My internet speed will not support that anyway.

So...when New Delly's screen locked up with the spinning circle thingy, I figured, "Now would be a good time to go get my Shameless out of the DVD player, and watch an episode with supper." Because, you see, I have no desire to balance my supper on my just-as-ample gut, while reclined in my OPC (Old People Chair) in the other room. I'm accustomed to having meals at my left elbow, beside New Delly's keyboard, while I sit upright in my broken-armed rolly chair.

Imagine my chagrin when I made the effort to bring Shameless to my lair, and discovered that it didn't work! Only took me about 30 seconds to deduce the problem:

New Delly is not colorblind. New Delly is a disc-ist! Refuses to play Blu-ray! Of course Genius thought he was getting me the very best DVDs for my collection. How quickly he forgot that we made this mistake once before, choosing a movie we all liked, but which I was unable to watch the extras on New Delly as desired.

Still, it's the thought that counts. I will definitely watch my Shamelesses on the big screen from my OPC (Old People Chair). I just won't do it during meal times.

Don't you worry about stone-age Mrs. HM. She ate her supper by the light of a Seinfeld DVD. The Bubble Boy episode.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Now I Layer Ye Down To Keep

My satellite internet has been thwarted by heavy rains tonight. More in the forecast. So I'll try to squeeze out some (low)quality posts as weather permits. Just sayin'...if I'm missing one at the regular time, it's most likely due to internet issues, and not to Farmer H finally succeeding in (allegedly) trying to kill me.

Here's a picture of my ill-fated 7 Layer Salad:

It tastes almost like normal. Which is pretty good, if I do say so myself. The lid to this bowl is the kind that presses down below the rim for a good seal. So I didn't put it on yet. I will as the layers settle.

My layering faux pas put the order (from the bottom) as:

Romaine lettuce
Green onions
Diced boiled eggs
Shredded cheddar (with a sprinkling of sugar)

From the bottom up, the layers SHOULD go:

Romaine lettuce
Green onions
Diced boiled eggs
Mayo (with two tablespoons of sugar sprinkled on top)
Shredded cheddar

As for the state of FRIG II...there's some 2% milk that we don't drink. I got it for making corn muffins later. There's Farmer H's Diet Mountain Dew. Also, a 2-liter bottle of Ginger Ale, which we never drink, which has been there since...oh...I don't know...maybe...LAST OCTOBER! Farmer H bought it to make a Montana Mule, a drink he had when we took The Pony and his Bestie out for a steak dinner. It actually calls for Ginger Beer, which I bought for him. There are two bottles of it left in the small pantry.

I'm not throwing this Ginger Ale out! I'm waiting to shame Farmer H into getting rid of his own foods he quits eating and neglects to throw out. I had moderate success with a piece of deep dish Chef Boyardee pizza that he left in there for three days. Baby steps.

I think that might be a jar of sliced pickles, which are still within the date. And then the eggs I used in the 7 Layer Salad, and a carton with 3 remaining eggs from our Christmas dinner. I need to use them, or put them in the small carton. Also, the remainder of a big bag of shredded cheddar that I used in the Christmas hash brown casserole. The cheese in the 7 Layer Salad was shredded (by ME, who else) from a big block. It's much tastier than the bag stuff, but you can't tell when it's cooked in a casserole.

Anyhoo...I'd say the mis-layered salad is just OKAY. But I guarantee you we will eat the whole bowl over the next several days.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

If You Make A Man A Salad

We had a ham left over from Christmas. Not a big expensive ham, just a fully baked, sliced ham that I thought we'd need with the boys here. Well. The Pony declared that he really doesn't like ham, due to the texture. And Genius and Friend only ate the Christmas dinner, and possibly one meal of leftovers. Farmer H and I finished off the ham that I'd baked then. But we still had this other small ham, which EXPIRES on January 17.

I said I'd make some roasted potatoes/carrots/onions, and we'd open the remaining ham. I put a third of it in foil in the freezer, to add to beans next week. I also told Farmer H that I could make a 7 Layer Salad. We both like it, and I had half a block of cheddar left over from the Christmas salad. The bacon would be used on top of the roasted vegetables for flavor. I already had romaine lettuce, and eggs, and mayo. So all I really needed to pick up were green onions and peas.

No good deed goes unpunished, you know.

As soon as I got up, I boiled the eggs. Even after sitting in cold water for an hour, they were the devil to peel! I usually let them sit in FRIG II overnight. They came out all pockmarked because that little skin wouldn't loosen from the egg white. Still, nobody cares when eggs are diced in a 7 Layer Salad.

I forgot to lay out the peas overnight, so I poured them onto a paper-towel-lined paper plate to hasten their thawing. After three hours, there were still ice crystals stuck to some of the peas. I rubbed them with a paper towel, and ended up picking about 50 ice crystals off the peas. If left on, they melt to water at the bottom of the salad.

The romaine chopped without a hitch. As did the green onions. Farmer H arrived during that stage, and threw a complete monkey wrench into my routine. As I always tell him, something goes wrong whenever he's around. He's an Olympic-level distractor.

I'd just finished peeling all the eggs, and chopping all but one. I called Farmer H. I know I heard the dogs barking at his Gator. I figured he was nearby, and could come in and have the roasted vegetables that I'd just taken out of the oven, and a boiled egg, for his lunch. No answer. Straight to voice mail. So I chopped the last egg, and put them in FRIG II until their layer came up. I tossed the eggshells off the back porch, to the disappointment of Jack, who was hoping for a treat. Within a minute of re-entering the kitchen, Farmer H showed up. Claiming that he'd heard me on the porch, and I should have called to him if I wanted to give him an egg!

Anyhoo...Farmer H decided to make a bologna sandwich to go with his vegetables. He pinned me to the cabinet with FRIG II's door while getting it out as I was trying to get the salad bowl. Then he tried laying down the vegetable spoon on the counter while I was putting romaine in the bowl. Horrified at this greasy faux pas, I sharply told him to PUT IT ON THE PAPER PLATE I had laid out for just such items, already containing the fork I'd used to stab the carrots to test done-ness.

Then as I was pouring the de-iced peas onto the layer of green onions, Farmer H asked if I could get out of the way so he could get a fork. Or if he could have the one on the paper plate. YES! TAKE IT! I had three layers in. Four to go. I spread the mayo on top of the peas, once Farmer H was out from underfoot.


The diced egg layer belonged on top of the green onion layer! Crap! I dumped the diced eggs on top of the mayo. Then the shredded cheddar on top of the eggs.


Well! I was beside myself. All that work, and now the layers were out of order, and an ingredient had been left out. Four hours down the drain!

Farmer H, from the La-Z-Boy, denied that he was the fault. I'm pretty sure that without distraction, I could have made my 7 Layer Salad that I've made for years. After four hours of hard labor, I think I should be allowed to point a blamey finger!

Anyhoo...I shook that sugar on top of the shredded cheddar, then added the chopped bacon. Farmer H says it all gets mixed up in the bowl when you dip out a serving, anyway. And mixed up when you take a bite. Still. After FOUR HOURS of work, I had higher expectations.

Let the record show that it is now 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, and I have not tried the food yet. I didn't get lunch until 4:00. So my verdict is still out.

Farmer H, though, says of the 7 Layer Salad: "I ate it!" Such a ringing endorsement...

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Sop On, Sop Off...The Sopper!

You may recall that busy beaver Farmer H actually fixed the reluctantly-flushing toilet last week. It was difficult for me to remain conscious after this earth-shattering occurrance, but I managed. Once I regained my equilibrium a few hours later, I noticed that Farmer H's bath towel was missing from the shower door. My own towel hangs on the towel rack on the wall. Green for me (my favorite color, and it matches the forest green of the master bathroom tile). A shade of maroon for him. I don't know why. The Devil's Playground must have had a deal on that color many years ago. I surveyed my kingdom from my throne, I also noticed a maroon towel carelessly flopped over the edge of the big triangle tub, just past my lair-wear dark blue sweatpants with the gray and white stripes. Huh. WHY would Farmer H's towel be over there? We use our towels for a couple days, then I wash them and hang clean ones. Same colors. I was so giddy with delight after flushing, actually FLUSHING the toilet that I forgot about that maroon towel.

Until it appeared in the laundry room, draped over a lattice-patterned tall plastic basket that we use as a hamper. Well now! This would not do! Since the boys left home, I don't dump clothes from this container into the wash. It's almost always empty. It only held a few items now, that had come from my suitcase after our one-night casino stay when returning The Pony halfway to college. Not a full load. Besides, I normally gather our towels from the bathroom and wash them with my clothes. Farmer H, you know, does his own laundry, in his longstanding punishment to himself for being hard-headed about leaving his dirty clothes on the floor.

It dawned on me that Farmer H had USED HIS TOWEL FOR TOILET PURPOSES! To sop up water that was likely dripping during his removal of the old flush unit.

Sweet Gummi Mary! I was NOT going to wash a TOILET TOWEL with my clothes! Besides, the day I noticed that toilet towel in the laundry room was the day after Farmer H had washed his jeans. I call shenanigans! Surely he could have washed his own toilet towel! Of course I broached this subject with Farmer H.

"Oh, I guess I'm supposed to wash your TOILET TOWEL!"

"It's a towel, HM. My bath towel."

"You're not USING it as a bath towel! You've moved it around, trying to make ME wash it."

"It's just water."

"It's TOILET water!"

"Only from the tank. I did it when I was replacing the flush unit."

"I'm not washing that toilet towel with my clothes. Or MY bath towels!"

"[Chuckle, Chuckle] You get the craziest ideas."

"YOU just washed your jeans! I notice you didn't include the toilet towel in THAT load."

"[Chuckle, Chuckle] You drive me crazy."

"YOU are the one pawning off a toilet towel on ME! I'll get to it when I get to it."

You can bet it's going right back into Farmer H's towel rotation.
Maroon for him. Green for me.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Ain't No Way To Guide Your Prying Eyes

After my clicker-beating Saturday, I vowed that I was going to ask Farmer H to fix T-Hoe's clicker EVERY DAY, at least once, until he made it work.

You may or may not recall that I have asked Farmer H to fix this problem before. It's been going on for years, though not this constantly. I distinctly remember a time when Genius was home, so it could have been anywhere from 1-6 years ago, depending on whether it was before he left for college, or on a visit home from his job in Kansas City. that time, Farmer H and Genius pawed over T-Hoe's clicker with less acumen than a chimpanzee harvesting termites with a stick. After 15 minutes, they gave up! Saying, "Nope, it can't be opened. It's fine. If it stops working completely, it's time to get a new clicker."

Anyhoo...Sunday afternoon when I got home from town, Farmer H was busy selling hay while the sun shone, to the husband of the doggy-grooming neighbor who shaved Marley for free. When he came back to the Mansion, I said

"My clicker STILL didn't work today. When I was in town, I had to hammer it pretty hard against the side of T-Hoe."

"HM! You just told me a couple days ago!"

"Yesterday. I told you YESTERDAY! But five years ago, when you and Genius looked at it, you said it couldn't be opened."

"Well, I haven't had time to look at it yet."

"It's in the side of my purse. You aren't doing anything right now, are you?"

Farmer H took his keys out of his pocket. SilverRedO had the same style of clicker.

"That's not the same! It's for SilverRedO."

"It's the same year."

"SilverRedO is a 2008? I don't think so!"

"Well, no. A 2011. But they're the same. Huh. I don't see where to open it."

"EXACTLY! That's the story you and Genius were sticking to."

"There has to be a way."

Farmer H took out his pocket knife, and poked a blade point at the side of SilverRedO's clicker. Nothing.

"It says there's a battery in it."

He said, looking at the thing with his naked eagle eye that can see everything but his own poop on the back of the toilet. Farmer H took out his phone. Fiddled around. I heard a woman talking, as if from an instructional video. He slid down the screen. More talk. "...see the notch. Insert a screwdriver, and twist. You may want to use a small screwdriver to pop the battery loose." He got up from the La-Z-Boy.

"Don't you mess up my clicker! I don't want it broken, or have to transfer my keys."

"I'll get the spare. It still works."

"That battery is also 11 years old. You might need one for it, too! And use a screwdriver! Not a knife blade! You'll strip off the edge of the plastic and it won't fit back together."

Farmer H returned with T-Hoe's spare clicker, and his multi-tool that was given to him by some guy in 1998. Sorry. I tuned out that story as I watched him pull out the flathead screwdriver part. He stuck it in the supposed notch area, twisted, and VOILA! The clicker opened.

"Okay. It's a CR2032."

"Write it down!"

"I'll take a picture of it. Now, if I can only remember to get one tomorrow..."

Let the record show that Farmer H DID get a battery, and fixed T-Hoe's clicker at approximately 3:22 on Monday afternoon.

"I walked right past the batteries when I went into the pharmacy. Good thing, or I wouldn't have remembered to get one."

Monday, January 6, 2020

You Know Those People Who Think Their Poop Don't Stink?

It's sad that I've become so desensitized to sitting in Farmer H's dried poop. Yep. I'm going there. Not even gonna sugar-coat it! I'm not making a silk purse out this sow's ear. Not putting lipstick on the pig, either. It is what it is.

So defeated I've become, from trying to shame that animal Farmer H into cleaning up his barnyard, that I almost accept the fact that I'll probably be sitting on Farmer H's dried poop until either he stops pooping, or I stop sitting. Oh, I still inform him of his transgression. But the outrage has subsided. The hope for change, too. 

Saturday afternoon, I pointed out that I had poop-sat several times before noticing that fact. Sweet Gummi Mary! I'd been sitting in it, if not through the night, then at least twice since Farmer H had showered and gone to his Storage Unit Store. That's when it became noticeable to me, in the light of day, and under the vent fan/light over the toilet/shower side of the bathroom, as I was turning on my shower water.

To be fair, it wasn't chunks or anything. More of a dried smear. Maybe a butt print. Perhaps as if he'd taken a swipe at wiping it off. But it was noticeable. I wasn't even mad. Just slightly annoyed.

Of course Farmer H declared haughtily that he had NOT pooped on the back of the toilet. He even went to check. Although I think he just had to pee, mainly. When he came out of the bathroom after an inspection that was really a pee run, he said,

"I don't see no poop on the back of the toilet!"

Maybe I was hysterical, but that set me off into a fit of laughter that made it hard to catch my breath.

"HOW can you read a penny's date, even a DIME, without glasses? When I can't focus on it with my bifocals and a magnifying glass? So how in the NOT-HEAVEN can you miss your own poop on the back of a toilet seat? You're like those people who say their poop doesn't stink! Only YOURS is INVISIBLE! You think your poop doesn't SHOW!"

"I think you're seeing things, HM."

"I wish I was! I don't particularly enjoy sitting in your dried poop! Maybe you need to put [heh, heh, I typed that first as POOT] in a spotlight over the toilet. Like those recessed flood lights that you have over the La-Z-Boy and TV. So that mess will catch your attention, and you can clean up your own poop!"

"[Chuckle, Chuckle] HM. You come up with the most crazy things to complain about."

"Oh, WAIT! Let me get this right. I'M the crazy one, because I don't want to sit in someone else's poop? Seriously? THAT makes me unreasonable?"

I'd take a picture to show him, but I'm afraid I'd drop my five-year-old Genius-cast-off phone into the toilet. Which already happened once, with my previous Genius-cast-off phone falling out of my pocket.

Sheesh! You get your flusher fixed, but then you sit in dried poop. Even Steven better have a special treat lined up for me...

Let the record show that Farmer H went back to the bathroom, and cleaned off the dried poop that only I could see.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

I Cried Because T-Hoe's Clicker Battery Is Dying, And Then I Met A Man...

If it's not one thing, it's twenty more that Farmer H has been advised of, and is pointedly ignoring. I've needed a new battery in T-Hoe's door lock clicker for at least five years. Genius and Farmer H made a big show of trying to open the clicker, and said they couldn't. I'm pretty sure that's a bunch of malarkey. There must be a little flat watch-battery powering the clicker. Considering that T-Hoe joined our family in 2008, it's no wonder that the clicker battery is dying.

Without a way to open it up (I know it comes as a shock to you that Mrs. HM is not very mechanical), I've made do any way I can. Mainly by slamming the clicker against T-Hoe's side (the plastic door trim) when I get out and it won't lock. That shakes things up. Then it will click. Sure, I have to do it again when I come out and want to unlock it. I hope I don't make the local news for T-Hoe abuse.

Anyhoo...on Saturday, I got to the Gas Station Chicken Store, and had to hammer that clicker several times to make it work. I'm sure the cars stopped at the light enjoyed the show. I'm probably on several social media sites right now, beating the bejeebers out of that little clicker.

Anyhoo...I went inside, steeling my reserve to demand that Farmer H pry open my clicker and get me a new battery. I didn't want to just switch with the spare clicker, since it's also 11 years old now. Besides, I'd have to get my keys all in order again.

As I was running my magical elixir at the soda fountain, it dawned on me that something was amiss. The Nice Guy Clerk was standing on the customer side of the counter! And the Indeterminate Age Girl/Woman Clerk was behind it.

"Yeah. I have someone on the way. It's not a big deal. More of a panic kind of thing than actual stress. I left my lights on during my shift. And now the battery is dead. They'll be here soon, to give me a jump."

I felt really bad for him. He's a nice guy, you know. And here I was, grousing about a mere clicker. I told him so as I paid.

"You have it a lot worse than me. It's just my clicker battery that's dead." [For the life of me, I don't know how I thought THIS would cheer him up!] "You'll get your car going, though. You never know. This delay might have kept you from getting in an accident. There's probably a reason that it happened."

"Oh. I never thought of it like that. You could be right. I was really worried this week, because I thought my clutch was going out. It kept sticking to the floor. My dad looked at it, and you know what the problem was? The clutch was getting stuck on the floor mat!"

"Well, there you go! You were lucky with that one!"

Yes, I felt bad for him. I'd have given him a ride if he needed one. Or a jump, but I don't know how, and don't carry jumper cables. At least he was inside where it was warm, and had someone on the way.

I cried because T-Hoe's clicker battery is dying, and then I met a man whose car battery was dead.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Farmer H Stinks Up The Joint

Don't get your noses out of joint! This is not a toilet tale. Well. In a way, it is. But not in a Farmer H leaving-an-unwanted-deposit kind of way.

When I got home from town on Thursday, my toilet was fixed! I know that, because Farmer H did not come out to help me carry in groceries. Nor did he answer my phone call. Or reply to my text. As I came in the kitchen door, laden with bags, still having to return to the side porch for his three six-packs of Diet Mountain Dew...Farmer H appeared. As if by magic!

"Oh. I didn't know you were here."

"I called and sent a text."

"Well. I was in the bathroom, putting on the flush unit. What can I get?"

"Nothing NOW! I've already done it! Convenient for YOU!"

"I told you, HM. I was fixing the toilet. You wanted me to do that, right?"

With that, Farmer H sat down at the kitchen table, and watched me put away the groceries. I had just taken the bananas and tomatoes out of a bag when I got a whiff of something horrendous.

"YUCK! What in the NOT-HEAVEN is THAT?"

"I don't know! It stinks! As soon as the heat kicked on, I smelled it."

"It smells like rotten potatoes, maybe. Here. These were in the pantry. Go throw them off the porch. It might be a rotten one."

"I threw them off, but nothing was rotten. They were just ready for planting. Sprouted." Said Faremr H, who has never planted potato cuttings in his life.

"Maybe it's something in FRIG II. It stinks like old broccoli. But I don't have any broccoli. It's not my lettuce. I just ate some yesterday. It's fine. Here. Throw out these onions. I don't smell them, but they're old."

"It's not the onions."

"I don't know what else it could be..." I stepped to the corner cabinet, to put away the bread and buns. "WHEW! It's over here! In fact, it smells like it's coming out of this vent! You'd better check it. Take it apart. Maybe something fell in it and started to rot."

"No. There's nothing down in there. But it stinks. It's coming from the vent. Maybe I should check downstairs, to see if anything leaked while I was fixing the toilet."

He did. And it didn't.

"I'll run some water down the drains. Maybe another one has a dry trap. Maybe I got stuff stirred up when I fixed the toilet. I flushed it 15 times."

After running water in assorted drains, the smell dissipated. Or else we got used to it. I didn't smell it when I came upstairs later. Or the next morning.

I don't think this is a very effective way for Farmer H to try to kill me...

Friday, January 3, 2020

The Most Powerful Words In The Hillmomban Language

Sweet Gummi Mary! If only I'd realized this before! I discovered a way to jolt Farmer H into action!

I might have mentioned that there is a problem with the toilet in the master bathroom. That problem being that it does not like to flush in a normal manner. Lately, it has been taking 3 flushes just to get PEE to swirl down the drain! That is not what I expect from a toilet. Of course I accuse Farmer H of making a more substantial deposit. But even when I'm home alone, such a performance occurs at random intervals.

While The Pony was home, he occasionally used our bathroom to take a soak in the big triangle tub. I know he used the toilet. Because when he heard me complain again to Farmer H about the flushage, he dared to take Farmer H's side!

"It works, Mom. You just have to hold the handle all the way down when you flush."

That's EXACTLY what Farmer H tells me every time! I swear they are in cahoots. I have held that handle down until my finger contracted arthritis! It STILL only works after 3 tries.

Wednesday night, I was livid. LIVID, I tell you! As a lady of advancing years, who sips on 44+ oz of Diet Coke throughout the afternoon and evening, I find it necessary to arise throughout the night and use the facilities. I DO NOT expect to have to turn on the light, and flush 3 TIMES to get rid of PEE. To make matters worse (if you can imagine that's possible), when I got up after Farmer H had left the Mansion, I discovered that it took 7 FLUSHES to finish my business.

Seriously! That is not acceptable! Think of the waste of water! Sure, it comes from our well, and seeps back into the aquifer from the septic tank for nature's recycling. But it shouldn't happen. Not in a civilized world. Oh, I'll take 7 flushes over traipsing through the great outdoors to an outhouse. But not happily.

So disgusted was I with this charade that I sent Farmer H a text:

"I guess I'm going to have to call a plumber for this toilet."

OMG! OM-FREAKING-G! I had a response before a single minute had passed!

"I'll look at the toilet and get a new flush unit."

It was as if my words had lit a fire under Farmer H's ample rumpus! Like I'd applied electrodes to his nether regions. Like I'd impaled his side with a thorn.

Oh, how I wish I'd known the power of those typed words three months ago.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Mrs. HM Is Probably The Sole Customer Responsible For Keeping This Clueless Proprietor In Business

Sweet Gummi Mary! I know I've carried on about the careless workmanship of the minimum wage employees who build my Taco Salad at Hardee's. Yet still, I continue to buy them. It's an addiction, I tell you! But even Mrs. HM has drawn the line at paying for substandard salads. With The Pony home for a couple weeks, I switched to Hardee's Chicken Tenders.

Well. I'm not sure if I shared with you the story and pictures when Farmer H and I had Hardee's Chicken Tenders last month, of the foam container melted by hot chicken! WHO puts chicken right out of the fryer into a FOAM CONTAINER? The minimum wage employees who can't box up a Taco Salad without flipping it upside down between kitchen and drive-thru window, I suppose.

Subsequent Chicken Tenders were at least placed on a bed of waxed paper. I suppose that's the standard that they strive for. But still, closing the lid on a foam container makes the chicken all soggy by the time you get it home. Especially when they put that foam container in a plastic bag! I was onto their tricks, and the last two or three times I picked up chicken, I opened up the foam container, to let my chicken breathe on the way home.

With The Pony tired of chicken, and packing to go back to college, I decided to get myself an order of Hardee's Chicken Tenders in town on Sunday. Don't worry about The Pony. I made him some fish before I left the Mansion. Farmer H was at his Storage Unit Store, so on his own for lunch. This time, I asked for a smaller order of chicken. Here's what I got:

Yes. That's the paper bag I ripped open on my kitchen counter. To get the chicken out. Of course, I had assumed (that's such a dangerous act) that my chicken tenders would actually be INSIDE of the box that smaller orders are placed in. Yet there some were, OUTSIDE the box! The box which had been jammed down inside a too-small paper bag. So tight that the only way to remove it was to tear open the bag.

I'm hoping that in shoving the chicken box into the too-small paper bag, the box popped open, and some tenders fell out. I don't like to think that a minimum wage employee dropped some of my tenders into the bag, then put some in the box.

That would just be shoddy service.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

It's A Good Thing This Tree Is No Longer Producing Apples!

Mrs. HM's patience is wearing thin! Her gossamer last nerve will not support another single Farmer H shenanigan. Not even the contemplation of a shenanigan.

I am tired, tired, tired of doing other people's dirty work. Lazy work. Any work at all that could be done by their own selves. I am NOT A MAID! It's bad enough to be treasured so little that your birthday gift is a $3 change purse and two boxes of Sno-Caps. But worse to be regarded as a mere housekeeper.

Farmer H got a very special knife for Christmas/birthday. It could be either. The point being that it wasn't a pink change purse or Sno-Caps. It was a knife that cost nearly three figures. Without the decimal. It was a pre-ordered collector thingy. He was looking forward to it. We were hoping that when it was delivered, it would not be laid on the porch for Jack to chew up like a gift wallet made of Bison leather, monogrammed, with RFID blocker, from Sharper Image.     

Anyhoo, Farmer H discovered his package (heh, heh) on top of the dumpster on December 23. He brought it inside, thinking it was a gift, until I said it was addressed to HIM. Then he realized it was his precious collector knife. I left him alone with it in the kitchen, since I had more pressing matters to attend, rather than admire a pocket knife.

Sunday, December 29, I had reason to be disenchanted with Farmer H. The sight of this

caught my eye and stuck in my gullet. It's the box that held Farmer H's very special pocket knife. The EMPTY shipping box, not the collector tin that was inside. For the knife that Farmer H has been carrying in his pocket, showing everybody he meets, for the past week.

Of course he didn't like it when I hollered from the kitchen, "Are you done with this BOX?" It kind of put the kibosh on him railing at me for always being on him for something, this time the question of whether he knew where the TOWELS in this Mansion belong. Since he left a stack of five of them ON TOP OF THE DRYER, on top of items which he says impede his access to the controls. I had washed and dried these towels, used by The Pony, Genius, and Friend. Farmer H had decided to do his laundry before his usual Sunday evening time slot, and removed the towels from the dryer.

Let the record show that the box was gone when I returned from town.
The towels were not.