Thursday, April 30, 2020

One Of These Days, He's Gonna Get Slapped

Farmer H has been wheeling and dealing like there's no tomorrow. I'm surprised there's not a tracker on him to administer a shock when he leaves the Mansion grounds. Of course he's selling his firearms, some of them to law enforcement officers from other counties! He's got a buyer interested in both 4-wheelers. He was planning to sell the Scout, which is like a poor man's Gator, a red, stripped down version. But I said The Pony might want to drive it down to the creek, or around the roads when he's home, and can't stand being around us anymore!

Anyhoo...Farmer H has been waiting for the local license office to open up again, because he needed to pay the tax and license fees for that new used trailer he got a couple weeks ago. Wednesday morning, he sent me a picture.

"Line at license office 20 minutes before opening."

That would have been a normal line, for the end of the month, if they were just spaced the regular way. Farmer H said that TWO girls were working inside, instead of the usual three.

"One of them all she did was stand at the door, and when someone left, she opened it for the next person to come in! She was way closer to them than she needed to be."

"That's stupid! The one desk is right there across from the door! She could have worked like normal, and if somebody came in before they were allowed, all she had to do was say, ''Uh uh. I'm sorry, but you'll have to wait until somebody comes out.' All they needed was a sign on the outside of the door saying PLEASE DON'T COME IN UNTIL SOMEONE COMES OUT."

"Yeah, but I'm sure she was just going by what they told her to do. They probably have some special rules they have to go by, like making someone guard the door."

"I'm shocked they haven't painted distance lines on their sidewalk!"

"Yeah. It's a trip. Me and another guy was talking about it."

Farmer H might want to be more careful about taking pictures of people. I think there's a lot of people simmering with frustration these days. Especially at the license office at the end of the month!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

You Can Call Me Judy

I've been withholding information. Seeing as how I've run out of things to babble about, I'm going to expose it right now. Make a reveal. Don't worry, it has nothing to do with my ample rumpus. It's tantamount to tattling. But I won't let that stop me. Mrs. HM can be an unofficial Judy Hensler. I don't think any of you are going to pick up the Stay-At-Home-Down hotline.

Last week, as I was writing out my AT&T check in T-Hoe down at Mailbox Row, a silver sedan came down the blacktop hill. I could tell that it was going to turn in to our gravel road. But then it hesitated, and parked just past the lock box at the end of Mailbox Row. IN THE ROAD! There's no shoulder there. No parking. Bold as you please, that guy parked his silver sedan just before getting on our low water bridge, and got out with his child. A curly-headed lad of about 10 years.

I kept my eye on them. They didn't seem menacing, but as you may have caught a hint over these many years, Mrs. HM does not like trespassers. Which they weren't. Yet. Since they were on the public county road and bridge. Walking from side to side. Peering into the creek. Minding their business. Not leaving any trash or profferring food to any pets.

I finished writing out my check, sealed up the envelope, stamped it, and picked up my new used iPhone 8 to see what text Farmer H had sent me. So confusing. That dang phone won't get reception anywhere, but down by the creek, in the black hole of phone reception, it always gives me an incoming text from Farmer H or The Pony.

As long as I had the phone in my hand, I decided to take a picture of the silver sedan. Just for blog purposes. Although not sure that my stupid phone would keep it so I could share it with you. I didn't suspect foul play from this pair. It looked (I assumed) like I was still near-sightedly checking my texts. But I guess Silver Sedaner was worried that I was documenting his presence.*

As I started up T-Hoe, and pulled the front tires onto the road, Silver Sedaner started toward me. Motioned for me to put down the window. I stopped, and did so.


Obviously, in a low-budget horror movie with a thin plot and unattractive actors, I would be the first killed!

Silver Sedaner walked over, and asked,

"Is this a public road?"

"No. There's a sign RIGHT THERE that says NO TRESPASSING."

"Oh. Okay. Then we won't go on it."

"We have a lot of trouble with trespassers. They throw out trash. We've had an old refrigerator and a traveling meth lab. Somebody threw out a big aquarium. And I sat at the mailboxes and watched a guy dump a truckload of tree limbs right across the end of the road here!"

"Oh. I can understand why you wouldn't want people out here."

"Wait a minute," said Curly Top, who had also walked over. "You mean there are AQUARIUMS in the creek?"

"No. Just broken glass from broken aquariums BESIDE the creek."

"Oh. Gotcha." He went back to look at the water."

"Do you know if there are any other creeks along this road?"

"No. Not on this road. I mean, creeks are free to everybody. It's just finding a place to park that's not private property..."

"Yeah. I understand, hearing the problems you've had. It's just that with the lockdown, we don't have anything to do, so we're just out looking around."

Yeah. And he was pretty close to violating my six-foot bubble, too.

"Well, like I said, creeks are for everybody. Nobody really owns them. Just the property next to them."

Not that I was trying to be a smarta$$, you know. But if ONE person thinks it's okay to park there, and tells a friend, and HE tells a friend...well, before you know it, we'll have even more trash-dumpers and dog-stealers out here.

Really. I bore him no ill will. He seemed like a nice-enough guy, out with his kid. 

I don't recall any recent ordinances suggesting we drive around and park on other people's property just because we're bored...

*Maybe it's a good thing I DID, because now that I have the picture blown up, I think he might have had an accomplice in the car!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

I Might As Well Stay At Home, Down

Well, this is depressing! I might as well sit at home, feeling down, a face like cartoon dog Droopy. Getting out twice a week has not been very rewarding. The opposite, almost.

Monday I picked up a few items in Save A Lot, and headed for the bank to deposit a refund check from our car insurance. Last time I was at the bank, it took me 15 minutes of waiting, behind only one car, to do my business. On this day, two drive-thru lanes were open, with FIVE CARS EACH waiting for a turn.

Sweet Gummi Mary, no thank you Larry!

No way was I going to sit in that line and wait! I'd already bought my groceries (against my better judgment), and did not have an hour to wait in line to make a deposit. I think that insurance check will keep until my next outing on Thursday.

Here's the kicker. On my way back home, ANOTHER crazy gal tried to ram into the side of T-Hoe! I swear, just like I'm a weirdo magnet, T-Hoe is a crazy-driver sucker.

I was over by the glass factory, in front of the old mineral museum that is now a cheap funeral home. The car in front of me was waiting to make a left turn. So I stopped, as the law and common sense dictate. To my right was the road coming out of the glass factory complex. It has a stop sign. People were waiting to pull out.

The car in front of me made its left turn. I started forward again, as the law and common sense dictate. WHOA, NELLY! And by that, I'm assuming that crazy gal driver's name was Nelly. She tried to drive INTO THE PASSENGER SIDE OF T-HOE!

Don't think Mrs. HM was at fault! She was just resuming her journey after stopping behind the left-turner! That's the main road. No stop sign, no stoplight. NELLY acted like T-Hoe was invisible! I swerved over the center line to avoid the collision. Which was neither the law, nor common sense. Thank the Gummi Mary, the two oncoming cars also swerved, onto the narrow shoulder, to allow me room. I laid on the horn (that's what it's for, a WARNING), and NELLY jammed on her brakes. Might have missed me by a foot or two.

Thing is, not only was NELLY pulling out into the side of T-Hoe, she would have hit the traffic from the other lane if T-Hoe vanished in a POOF of Even Steven's magic rescue.

Sheesh! I might as well sit at home and twiddle my thumbs. It's safer. Also, the irony is not lost on me that I was going to deposit a car insurance refund (due to people driving less and having fewer accidents), and I was ALMOST IN AN ACCIDENT!

Monday, April 27, 2020

A Community Of Judy Henslers

Hillmomba is full of narcs! With nothing better to do, Stay-At-Home-Downed citizens are turning in their fellow captives. It all came out in the local online newspaper this evening.

On Sunday, the health department posted that they had been informed of a large gathering which was a violation of the state-at-home order!


Furthermore, it was rumored that the event was at a local drag-racing strip in the area of Farmer H's Storage Unit Store. Supposedly, they had advertised last week that they would be open on Sunday for "test and tune," spreading cars out over the parking lot in accord with social distancing.

Of course the busybodies were all up in arms, because this would attract people FROM OTHER JURISDICTIONS! The county health center contacted the make-it-happeners, notifying them that this was a violation of the more-than-10-persons provision of the state stay-at-home order that ends May 3.

Here's the deal. This drag strip is OUTSIDE! It was over 70 degrees, and sunny. They would be IN CARS. Even if people got out to watch, I don't see any harm if they don't congregate in groups more than 10, and keep 6 feet away from each other. Did I mention that this is OUTSIDE? In the fresh air and sunshine?

Sure, some of the participants might go in a convenience store for beverages. Or drive through a fast-food restaurant. Or buy groceries. I don't think it's the end of the world. It's not like they're stuffing themselves in a phone booth, swallowing goldfish.

I think some people expect everyone to stay at home forever.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Looks Like Mrs. HM Is Set In Her Public Enemy Ways

I am the most shady honest person I know! True, I don't know a lot of people. People piss me off. I tend to shun them. According to Farmer H, "You ALWAYS seem to have trouble with stuff, HM. The littlest things." To which I replied,


I think he was probably being sarcastic with me. He is so NOT-nuanced in his statements that I took him on face value, as if he was agreeing that life wants me to make a lake-full of lemonade.

Saturday night, for instance, I wasted THREE HOURS trying to do the simplest of internet chores. The first was to check my DISH account, to make sure they had credited my last payment by mail that was still in transit when I paid online. They HAD, but it took me over 45 minutes to log in. I still can't tell you how I succeeded.

Seriously. I went to the login page, and put in my info. After several responses of SOMETHING WENT WRONG, TRY AGAIN LATER, I clicked that I forgot my password. I didn't forget it, but this is how I got logged in last time. Back then, I followed the reset link in my email, entered the same password, and it worked. Not this time.

I also said I forgot my username. I didn't. But I opened the email that told me the exact username I'd been using, and followed the link, and tried again. Several times. No luck. I closed out and restarted New Delly. Nope. I checked, which said DISH was working for everyone else. I gave up for several hours. Went back to try again. On about the seventh try that time, it WORKED! Even though I had done nothing differently!

Well, fresh from that success of finding out that I was current on my DISH bill... I caved to Farmer H's command that I try to file for social security. I don't think I can get it. I only have 36 quarters of non-teacher work, not the required 40. Farmer H says I can get a portion of his, but I think my teacher retirement is too high for that. Anyhoo... he's been hounding me since February, so I gave it a try.

SWEET GUMMI MARY! How I wished I had not pushed my luck after the DISH success!

I looked at the conditions to file. I met them. I even printed out a list of info I would need. I had all that at my elbow. Once I entered the portal, I put in my name, SS number, address, phone. Then I clicked the NEXT button to open an account to file.

A page of ridiculous questions came up! I was not warned about this! I did not have such information! For example, it said that I may or may not have filed for a student loan in 2013, and which company was the underwriter of the student loan. I had five choices, the last being NONE OF THE ABOVE. Of course I picked that. I never filed for a student loan! We didn't need a student loan. That was the year Genius went off to college. He had a scholarship, and we had a college fund for him. Yet that question did not give me the option of saying I DIDN'T FILE FOR A STUDENT LOAN. One of the choices, the only one I recognized, was GMAC. That's a car dealer loan! Which we didn't file during that year, either!

SHEESH. Long story put to rest... the next screen LOCKED ME OUT! Or, as the gov website politely put it, "We have suspended electronic access to your personal information." It SAYS they will let me back in after 24 hours.

I am really an honest person who has always paid my bills and lived within the rules of society. WHY can't I do a simple task or two without being treated like a criminal by the innernets???

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Universe Took A Break From Conspiring Against Me

Mark your calendar! Not for the day you might be released from Stay-At-Home-Down, but for RIGHT NOW, when I tell you this bit of news.

Remember how I had a little lottery faux pas on Monday, when I mis-read my winning scratcher numbers? I felt like I had to set the record straight about that. I put it out there in The Universe that I was at least happy to have THOUGHT there was a big winner at my fingertips.

Well, surprise, surprise! On my next trip to town, Thursday, I bought that same ticket, but somewhere else.

Uh huh. That's a $100 winner. Not quite as good as the five hundred I had mistakenly thought I won. But still GREAT! I got it out of Country Mart's left-side machine. I hadn't even planned on getting tickets there, but unforeseen events drove me to it.

I'm not complaining! About THIS, anyway...

Friday, April 24, 2020

You'd Think I'd Be Happy Just To Be OUT

Well, you'd think wrong! At first I WAS happy to be out. Then I put T-Hoe in line at the bank. There are only three drive-thru lanes. The right lane had the red CLOSED light on. The middle lane had the green OPEN light on. The left lane didn't seem to have either.

One car was ahead of me. In park, turned off. That's okay. I do that myself. I got in line behind it. A red car came up behind me to also wait. Well! I suppose the tellers were inside watching their soap operas, waiting for a commercial before serving customers. There was no activity in the car ahead of me. She wasn't filling out anything, or sending anything through the tube, or talking to the speaker. Just waiting.

I responded to a text from The Pony. Yes, I DO know that Dairy Queen now has biscuits with their chicken tender meal. I fiddled with the radio. Checked T-Hoe's clock eleventy-billion times. After 10 minutes, I heard the vacuum tube, and the canister came out. The lady took her stuff and left. MY TURN!

All I needed was a withdrawal. I sent in the slip. I don't know why it takes five minutes to count out a few bills. It's not like they had to warm up the printing press.

Fifteen minutes at the bank drive-thru, with only one person ahead of me.

Good thing I didn't take my four Series EE savings bonds to redeem... I might still be sitting there.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Why Did The Turkey Cross The Road?

To give Mrs. HM something to write about during Stay-At-Home-Down.

So much excitement on my twice-weekly trips to town! Last week, I had just turned onto our blacktop county road on my way home, when a deer bounded across the road. I put on T-Hoe's brakes. My dad and Farmer H have always warned me that when you see one deer, there's probably another one nearby. It has played out that way all these years. More than one grazing in a field, more than one bounding across the road.

Sure enough, here came another deer. Ran across the road after the first. They were headed down to the river. I don't know a lot about deer, but these two were darker than I'm used to seeing. Farmer H will say something about a spring deer or a fall deer. I guess when they were born, and the color they are now. I don't know, he might just be making that up. Anyhoo, these deer were gray, with their little white flippy tails. At least half-grown. Not the orangish color I'm used to seeing, like on a fawn with white spots.

On I went. About a mile later, a turkey ran across the road. This one from the left side, going right, into a large field that's the front yard of a house. Another one, too. They were hens, not too big. It's always exciting to see wildlife from the driver's seat of T-Hoe.

I picked up the mail, and started up our gravel road. Not far past the bus-waiting shack, I saw ANOTHER deer! Coming from the creek on my right, crossing the gravel into the woods. I stopped and waited. Nope. No other deer. I peered into the woods to see if it was standing. Sometimes they do that. Nope. Not this one.


What WAS that? It was the regular deer color. Orangish. Not gray...


I looked closer, and there was my little spotted Jack coming out of the weeds, towards T-Hoe, panting and smiling. I don't think they'd been running deer. I think they'd followed SilverRedO down to the mailboxes when Farmer H left. I had passed him in town.

I put the window down and yelled at Jack to get home. Like that little guy listens to me. Of course they followed T-Hoe, because they know I give out TREATS when I come home. And I've been coming home only two days a week now!

My little Jack was running 25 mph on his short legs! In fact, when I had to go slower up Farmer H and Buddy's Badly Blacktopped Hill, both dogs shot ahead of me. Copper Jack was running ahead of little Jack, but you could tell he was holding back. It was more than a lope, but he wasn't exerting himself at all. His back must be feeling good lately.

Little Jack was having none of that! He'd run up to Copper Jack and nip at him, until Copper Jack let him go ahead. They veered off into the field on the right, to run across our adjacent 10 acres until they got to the BARn field, and then the Mansion yard.

Juno came out to bark at them, and a good time was had by all, munching on cat kibble.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Lucky Winner Has Lost It

I have lost the will to give. To provide you a blog post every day. It's gone. Dissipated like a hummingbird fart. I sit here in my dark basement lair, in a daze, running my fingers through the bangs of my lovely lady-mullet, now as long as a wild Chincoteague pony's forelock. Sometimes I doze off, my chin falling to my chest, and have a five-minute nap before I tip forward and get unbalanced on my rolly chair.

The less I do, the less I WANT to do. There's no reason to get up at a certain time. No reason to take a shower at a certain time. No reason to hoist myself out of the La-Z-Boy to begin my day. No reason to even put on my lair clothes instead of my pajamas, except to be civilized.

I've been in such a slump that I misread a scratcher winner! That just does not happen. Mrs. HM is a lottery ticket veteran. A seasoned scratcher of the scratchers.

It was on a $10 ticket. I had uncovered the numbers up top, and then methodically scratched row by row, to see if I had a match. Whoopie! At the end of the first row, I matched number 35. Whew! That was a relief. I knew I had a winner. I finished scratching. Then as is my habit, went up to the winner to reveal the prize.

This was a multiplier ticket. I started with the amount, expecting to find $10, the minimum win. HEY! It was $25! WooHoo! Great! I moved on to reveal the multiplier, expecting to see a 1X. That's about all I ever get for a multiplier. SWEET GUMMI MARY! The multiplier was 20X! I was so discombobulated that I grabbed my bright green dollar calculator that I'd used for figuring taxes. WOW! This was a $500 winner! I took a picture. I was almost shaking.

I was already making plans in my head. How I'd have to go at the right time to the Gas Station Chicken Store to redeem it. Nobody else will go that high. Even at the GSCS, one of the owners has to be there for anything over $200. They can legally only go up to $600. Then you have to go to a state lottery office. Which are all closed to the public right now. You have to MAIL in your ticket! I read that a guy in Washington, Missouri, had just won $7 MILLION on a $30 ticket. Can you imagine mailing that in? Not me. I'd put it in the safe until I could go in person.

Anyhoo...I was daydreaming about my fantastic luck as I used my MoLottery app to scan my tickets. HOLD ON! Why was my $500 winner telling me it was only a $10 win? Was the app malfunctioning? Can't trust my new used iPhone 8. It goes all wonky several times a day.

I looked over my ticket. At my matched number 35.

Gosh dang it! I didn't match number 35. I matched number 32, right beside it. I had uncovered the wrong prize! The correct matching prize was $10. With a multiplier of 1X.


It was a bit of excitement, anyway.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Shadier And Shadier

Country Mart is the new Devil's Playground. They shall bear the brunt of my ire these days, as I shun The Devil for a smaller venue. Yesterday's tale of empty bandages was from last week's shopping trip. Monday, I was there again.

Sweet Gummi Mary! I don't know when their truck day is, but I'm growing suspicious of Country Mart's business model. I'm starting to think that they are delaying their order, in an effort to sell off more of their expired goods. Although now that I think of it, there WAS a story in the local paper that the chain has been bought out...

Anyhoo... I was only there for Farmer H's special individual ice cream cups, and hopefully some hot deli food for lunch and supper. But NO! I think Old Mrs. Hubbard has been hired to run the deli! I might have mentioned that the selection now is pitiful. Most times, I've only seen chicken tenders, fried chicken, fried fish, and wedge fries.

This time, there were no chicken tenders!!! In their metal bin were some chunky looking fried things. I asked the dude who came to the counter what they were.

"Chicken gizzards."

"Oh! No. Not for me. And THAT doesn't even look good today!" I said, pointing at the five pieces of burned fried chicken. "I think I'll pass."

Dang it! My grocery day, and I couldn't get what I wanted. It's not like I run in there every day now. At least there were two packs of Farmer H's ice cream cups. I took one. Hoping they'll have some next week. I had also thought about getting some soda, but there were NO DIET COKES on the shelf, and NO DIET MTN DEW! Only one 6-pack of regular MTN DEW.

Over at Save A Lot, the truck had just come in. The workers were stocking almost every shelf. No sign of any shortages, though I didn't look for the canned mushrooms this time.

I wish I had the energy to eat chicken gizzards. I'm no spring chicken any more. It's not worth it to chew on that deep-fried meat-flavored gum for five minutes each bite. Too bad they didn't have livers!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Crimes Against Hillmombanity

Country Mart has done it again! Tried to, anyway. Tried to rip off Mrs. HM on the health and beauty aisle. Come on now! That's not nice, asking how a beauty product could possibly de-beautify Mrs. HM from the haggard looker she is now! No, it was the health product that could have raised Mrs. HM's blood pressure to the BOILING level.

You may recall that I have a leg wound. Almost gone now. Doesn't need any treatment other than a bandage at night when I lay on that side. I could probably get away with no bandage, and risk a tiny bit of seeped plasma to crust on my pajama leg. I prefer not to do that. During the day, the shrunken spot is dry and painless. Still visible as a dime-sized spot of healing skin. But at night, I suppose it gets squeezed against the bed from my other leg lying on top of it.

Anyhoo...I needed more of the 3 x 4 bandages to have on hand. No need for the expensive ones that hold longer than a snapping turtle's bite. Just a basic covering larger than a bandaid. Though one of those could work now, if I wanted to risk ripping off the new skin formed from the healing of the larger perimeter of the blister.

I reached up to the top shelf of Counrty Mart's first aid supplies, and grabbed the first box. Last time I got them, there was only one box left. Looks like the supply truck came in, and nobody's been hoarding them during the VIRUS panic. Must have been six boxes of bandages there.

Wait a minute! I didn't hear the 10 bandages shuffling around. I shook the box. Huh. That's odd. I opened the top. NOTHING! The box was EMPTY! Good thing I am a suspicious thorough shopper! I set it back, beside the row of Best Choice Sheer Pads, and took the next box. It rattled. I looked inside. All 10 bandages were there, so I put it in my cart. No, I did not look for someone to tell about their empty bandage box. The pharmacy window is closed now, only allowing drive-thru pharmacying. I doubt the deli lady would have shown interest. I left the empty box beside the row, not in front.

I suppose somebody really needed 10 bandages, and couldn't pay the $2.33 for them. Yes, that IS cheap, compared to the Johnson and Johnson brand, which I think was over $6 at Country Mart.

Maybe the Best Choice brand might want to think about putting those clear adhesive circles on the flip-top, to prevent acts like this. At least it would take thieves longer to steal them. Although nobody came rushing over to frisk me when I stood there opening up two boxes.

I don't really enjoy shopping at Country Mart. They're kind of shady. But it beats traveling farther to the Devil's Playground, rubbing elbows with more people, and hiking 10 times as far through the store.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

All The Responsibility, With None Of The Joy

When I saw the heating-and-cooling van come up the driveway, I hung up on absent Farmer H. I hobbled to the door, expecting a dude to be climbing the porch steps. Nope. I stepped out. The van was behind the carport, driver's door opening. My Sweet, Sweet Juno stood in the driveway watching, wagging her feathery tail. She wasn't even barking! I guess she saves her energy and vocal cords for those 2:00 a.m. gallops around the porch, baying like the British are coming.

The passenger door opened, and a guy stepped out, saying, "I'll go knock on the door." Huh. I was RIGHT THERE! In front of the door. I must be so slim that he didn't see me in profile. Probably bad eyesight. It's not like I have to run around in the shower to get wet.

As Dude 1 came up the brick sidewalk, I said, "There might be two more dogs show up. One isn't ours. They'll bark, but they haven't bitten anyone. The unit is around back, on the ground level. I can let you come through the house, out through the basement." That's what the other guys did. Came traipsing through the house, out the basement door, then back in sometimes to look at the main part in the basement, and upstairs to fiddle with the thermostat.

Dude 1 looked down at his workboots. It had been raining off and on. "No, that's fine. We'll walk around." He went back to the van to get some tools.

I went back in the Mansion, expecting to wait while they fiddled around. Then I heard COPPER JACK! Sweet Gummi Mary, that's not good! I went back to the front porch. Copper Jack was in the front yard, hackles up (more noticeable now that he was a beige canvas collar), woofing like a Broadway star trying to reach the cheap seats.

Dude 2 trailed across the yard toward the BARn end of the Mansion. He kept one eye on Copper Jack. "So that's the neighbor dog?" asked Dude 1.

"Yes. He barks at ME like that, when I come down my own driveway!"

Dude 2 looked like I would look, if I accidentally drove to California and steered T-Hoe up the on-ramp of the 405. "So it's okay to chuck rocks at that one?"

"Well, yeah. If he comes after you. I don't expect he will."

Some people just don't like dogs. Some people fear dogs. And some people may be previous dog-bite victims. It makes me no nevermind if Copper Jack gets pelted with rocks for bad behavior. That'll learn 'im to have some manners. We'll be just as liable for damages if he bites someone on our property, no matter whether he belongs to us or not. Good thing we have that umbrella policy!

Still, I didn't want Copper Jack distracting the H/C men. It's not like I could call him over. That dog does not like me! ME! The supplier of his daily treats! Copper Jack took off at a trot, following the H/C guys once they rounded the corner of the Mansion, barking his fool head off.


Copper Jack stopped and looked at me like I had lost my mind. Unfortunately, my own little Jack had come up on the porch, never once barking, and was standing with his front paws on my thigh, being petted like a GOOD DOG. The yelling at Copper Jack made him cringe and tuck his ropey tail between his muscled hindquarters.

"No...not YOU, Jack. You're a good boy! It's okay."

BAR-AR-AR! BAR-AR-AR! Copper Jack took that as permission to re-enter beast mode.

THEN my Sweet, Sweet Juno came to the door, hacking and wretching like Marley with the whooping cough! So I had to pat her on the side, and sooth her, and watch a little foamy spit drip to the porch boards. I suppose that earlier, when I gave her some grease bread, she ate a piece of the cedar shavings from her doghouse floor along with it.

Did I mention that I resent Farmer H for scheduling this appointment, and not being there?

The H/C men turned out to find NO leaking Freon. They said they'd contact Farmer H, and got in their van and left! Didn't even ask for payment!

I sat on the front porch pew as they were leaving, petting Juno and Jack, while Copper Jack backed off and watched them suspiciously, with a less menacing bark, as if to say, "See? I warned you, didn't I? Go on. Run away like a couple of scaredy-cats. And don't come back!"

Juno got a plain slice of Nutty Oat bread to help wash down the possible cedar chip.

Farmer H came home and opened up the part of the HVAC that's in the basement. He said he washed the coil and rinsed off the mesh filter. The heat has been running normally, kicking off and on. Farmer H says we probably won't get a bill for the house call.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Poor Pitiful Put-Upon Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

Of course that gadabout Farmer H roams freely through Hillmomba, even during Stay-At-Home-Down, leaving Mrs. HM holding the bag while holding down the fort. That's not breaking news. I'm not worried about you shattering a jaw from disbelief.

Two days ago, Farmer H declared that the Mansion heat pump was struggling. We were in heat mode at the time, though we've had the air conditioning on a couple nights when daytime temps got into the 80s. I agreed that the cycle seemed to go on forever. Not much kicking off. We've had constant issues with leaky Freon. Every couple of years, Farmer H calls a repairman, who only finds low Freon, adds more, and charges us several hundred dollars for Freon and a house call. It's not as if we're going to load our unit into T-Hoe and rush to an Urgent HVAC Care. know the drill. The usual heating and cooling company that Farmer H uses is locked down. No employees working. Lucky for us, Farmer H has other contacts who work for other companies who are a bit more lax in their perception of essential businesses. He called one, who got him a slot within two days.

That's the problem. They were due to arrive Friday. Farmer H's busiest day is Friday! He tries to secretly sell (by appointment only) items at his Storage Unit Store. He gets a shot (now on the parking lot) from his nurse practitioner. He shoots the bull at an auto parts store with his cronies. And THIS Friday, he was taking his friend to her chemotherapy appointment, then picking her up again 3.5 hours later.

So...he told the H/C people that he needed a visit between 8:00-10:00, or 12:00-2:00. Of course he didn't hear anything the night before, or Friday morning. After several texts, Farmer H was told that they'd be here at 2:30. He had to leave at 1:30 to pick up his chemo friend over in Bill-Paying Town. He said he should be home by 2:30.

Well. What was I supposed to do? I can't hear them from my dark basement lair, because the doorbell doesn't work when we need it. Even if I heard them pounding on the front door, by the time I got my knees in gear and hobbled up the 13 rail-less steps, they'd be gone! So I sent Farmer H a text at 2:00, the time he was supposed to pick up his friend after chemo, to say that I'd sit upstairs until 2:30, in case the H/C men came early.

At 2:30, Farmer H called me.

"She hasn't come out yet. If they get there, it's okay to let them in. They're good guys. They won't rob you."

Of course at that very moment, their van came up the driveway...

More tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Feast Or Famine, Nurture Or Murder

Remember when you were a kid, reading Highlights magazine, the page with the cartoon of Goofus and Gallant? Not really a ha-ha cartoon. More of a cartoon of good manners propaganda. Goofus would snatch something out of a person's hands, and run off. Gallant would say, "May I have that, please?" You get the drift.

Anyhoo...I encountered real life examples while out and about, violating Stay-At-Home-Down on Thursday while banking and post-officing. Techically, while convenience-storing. Because what good is rule-breaking if you only do it for necessary errands?

Anyhoo...I was in the Sis-Town Casey's to pre-pay for T-Hoe's weekly gas. He skipped a week, you know, due to inactivity. I paid $1.39 a gallon for the cheap stuff. Can't see paying $2.09 for the super premium. Sorry, T-Hoe!

Anyhoo...while paying, I had waited on the orange circle to allow the proper social distance for the guy ahead of me at the counter. When he left, I moved up for my turn. Imagine my surprise, when turning to leave, to find a teenage gal THISCLOSE to my left shoulder!

Sweet Gummi Mary! Not only was she not allowing me six feet, she was practically in my shirt pocket! I'm no more of a germaphobe now than I was during my teaching career. But this was going too far! I mean coming too close! This gal made Elaine's close-talker boyfriend (played by Judge Reinhold) seem like he was shouting from the other end of a football field.

She did nothing to endear herself to me by being part of a five-person pack of humans shopping at a convenience store, either! She was GOOFUS GAL!

In contrast, I entered the School-Turn Casey's to buy scratchers, and saw the line winding all the way back to the soda fountain. They have a problem since their remodel. There is absolutely no waiting area for a checkout line. As Farmer H would say, "Probably some stupid engineer designed it."

Anyhoo...two cashiers were working. Each had a customer. A woman and a guy were waiting, in a single line. In fact, when a cashier was available, the guy stayed rooted to his spot. He was allowing a 12-foot social distance. Another kind of annoyance, but I guess he thought he was being polite, or else he was deathly afraid of possible death. I suppose he was GALLANT GUY.

I would have settled for a Goldilocks in line ahead or behind me.
She would have been JUST RIGHT.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

I Doubt The Slim Pickin's Will Make Me Slimmer

Such a hardship has befallen us. Or perhaps the hardship has only befallen Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. For some time now, the Gas Station Chicken Store has been without chicken! That was due to problems with the help not showing up to do the help they were being paid to do. Namely, to fry chicken and other gas station delicacies like Tater Babies and Corn Dogs and Burritos.

I took my fried chicken needs to Country Mart's deli. In doing so, I became a big fan (and I mean BIG fan) of their BBQ pork steaks, and chicken livers, and chicken tenders. Farmer H used to go there to eat a sit-down breakfast of biscuits and gravy. He liked to get a dinner for lunch, or have me pick one up when I was shopping there. A meat and two sides. He was partial to green beans and mashed potatoes. Or macaroni and cheese if they were out.

Anyhoo...on my limited shopping excursions these days, I plan to make dinner a meal from Country Mart's Deli. Farmer H had requested a BBQ pork steak. Imagine my shock when I bellied up to the deli (a proper belly-up, staying behind the purple tape line) and saw only THREE ITEMS in the deli case! That's right. THREE! With about 14 sections covered with their handled metal lids.

In fact, the deli guy came over and said, "Are you disappointed to see there's not more?"

I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and assumed he was not passing judgment on my ample rumpus. Only indirectly apologizing for the limited selection. After all, it was 12:52 p.m. Prime lunch-serving time.

"Yes. My husband asked for a pork steak."

"Well, this is all we're allowed to cook. We have to make sure we get rid of what we make."

I helped them out. I took six chicken tenders, and an 8-piece chicken. Farmer H will have to deal with it. Then tenders are my lunches, though. He'd better keep his mitt-burning* mitts off of them.

*If you've read today's not-so-secret blog, you'll get that reference.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Farmer H Is Off His Feed

I think Stay-At-Home-Down is getting to Farmer H. His appetite has taken an odd turn. Farmer H refused TWO suppers involving HOT DOGS over the past two days! As you know, hot dogs are the main staple of Farmer H's basic food group: MEAT.

Oh, don't think Farmer H is obeying local and state recommendations for self-isolation. He still goes to Casey's every morning for "a" donut, as he admits. He goes to his Storage Unit Store almost every day, to take merchandise, he says. He meets people to do private sales. He eats fast-food drive-thru lunch. He DOES come home a few hours each day, to work in the BARn. So the biggest effect of Stay-At-Home-Down for Farmer H is the limited fare which I offer him for suppers.

We are making use of FRIG II's freezer contents. We've had tacos, baked chicken breasts, roasted vegetables, chicken tacos, TV dinners, chicken-and-dumplings, chicken/noodle/peas/mushrooms, and even Hardee's chicken tenders. Once a Casey's pizza. So you'd think, with the plethora of chicken Farmer H has been eating, he would welcome the offer of chili dogs, or hot dogs in baked beans, an old favorite. But no.

Last night, he chose frozen barbecued chicken chunks (cleverly called boneless wings by the marketers) and a salad.

Maybe he's rationing his hot dogs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Mrs. HM Takes A Page From The Pony's Playbook

This is a case of life imitating artful dodginess. Perhaps you recall how The Pony has a penchant for not really caring about helping others. It's not that he's selfish and entitled. More like he just doesn't THINK of it. And when steered pointedly towards it, he digs in his hooves with mild defiance.

Perhaps it's in The Pony's DNA.

Monday, I left the Mansion for the first time in four days, to mail the Sprint bill. Of course I am not one to let a perfectly good trip to town go to waste. I pulled onto the parking lot of the Gas Station Chicken Store, T-Hoe nearly steering himself. I parked by the moat that separates the GSCS from Farmer H's pharmacy, CeilingReds.

There were a couple cars parked by the sign that used to advertise chicken. A couple more at the gas pumps. And as I was walking in, a car parked by the FREE AIR hose.

Once inside, I proceeded all by my lonesome to the soda fountain for my magical elixir. By the time I got to the cashier, another lady was standing over by the restrooms. The homemade sign on the main door has proclaimed RESTROOMS OUT OF ORDER ever since the Stay-At-Home-Down started. I think they still work. This is just a way to close them to customers so the TOILET PAPER doesn't get stolen. People are ANIMALS, I tell you!

I waited back a respectful 6-foot distance while the cashier tried to help that lady.

"Oh, I'm not here to buy anything. I have a tire that's almost flat. I was hoping somebody might be in here that could help me. I had a tire explode on me one time when I was putting air in, and I'm afraid."

I felt for her. I really did. I know what it's like to have a leaky tire that needs attention. But here's the thing. I did not want to be all up in that lady's 6 feet, walking out with her and standing over a tire. Besides, if she had a tire explode before, how could I be sure that she was not some crazed dry-rot-tire driver, who didn't take care of her vehicle. Maybe she hadn't been out for months. I was not feeling volunteery. Even though my ample rumpus was itching to expose itself to passersby.

"If you give me minute, I can come out and look at if for you," said the cashier. She's a good egg.

"Oh, I don't want you to have to do that. I thought maybe Man Owner would be here."

"He was. I'm not sure what time they left today. But I'll come out. Let me finish up."

Cashier set about ringing up my 44 oz Diet Coke and scratchers (didn't win a thing!). Then the gas of the little lady who walked in wearing a mask with a screaming mouth on it. I took my long-awaited treasures out to T-Hoe, feeling like a heel.

Still. Even Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can't save everybody. I'm sure a man came in sooner or later, to pay for gas, and helped Old Miz Dry Rot.

Monday, April 13, 2020

The Time Has Come

The time has come, Ms HM said, 
To speak of many things
Of Farmer H fails
And missing stair rails
And the bloody carnage they bring

Ever since building the Mansion, Farmer H has been saying he's going to put in a stair rail. The stairs are open-sided. There's a big rectangle out of the living room floor, a wall on one side, balusters on the other two, where one descends to the basement. It's not like a dank dungeon used for hiding intractable children or captured enemies. It's a finished room, with a TV and pool table.

With the sides being open, Farmer H will have to attach a stair rail to some kind of added sturdy support. He's a wizard at that stuff, so it's not the inability to install a rail that's stopping him. I first asked for it shortly after moving in. Genius was 3 years old. The basement didn't have the tile floor down yet, or the half-paneling/half whiteboard wall. But by the time The Pony was toddling, it did. I was worried about The Pony falling down the steps.

In the early years, only Genius went down unaccompanied. I walked The Pony down when he was small. The years passed, as they are wont to do, when you're working from 4:50 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., getting meals, monitoring homework. Before I knew it, the boys were that golden age, where they still listen to you, and aren't embarrassed to be seen with you in public, yet they're capable of taking care of themselves without constant supervision.

One Friday evening, Genius was spending the night with a friend. The Pony had asked for corn dogs for supper. That boy purely loved himself some corn dogs! He was about 8 or 9. He headed down to the basement with his supper on a paper plate, a Sprite in his hand. I think The Pony and I were were planning to watch a movie after Farmer H and I finished eating.

All at once we heard a scream, and THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP. I've never seen Farmer H move so fast in my life. He elbowed me out of the way, and dashed down those stairs like a nimble Nureyev. Looking over the balusters, I saw a sight that made my heart jump into my throat.

The Pony lay on the bottom two wooden steps, a splatter of red spreading out around his head.


Farmer H was already at the bottom, lifting The Pony's arms, putting his hands under The Pony's back, asking if he was okay. The Pony moaned a bit. At least he was moving, and conscious!

"My corn dogs!" he whimpered.

"Forget about them! We'll get you some more." said Farmer H. "Are you okay? Where do you hurt?" He was feeling the back of The Pony's head.

"Just my back. Sorry I got ketchup on the steps."

WHEW! I laughed till I cried. In fact, I think I was already crying. So maybe I cried till I laughed. One of our most terrifying accidents. Though it doesn't hold a candle to The Pony's car crash on the way home for Thanksgiving, his freshman year at OU.

We still need a stair rail.

Farmer H says he worries about coming back to the Mansion, and finding me at the bottom of the steps. Yet he still has not installed a rail. Which kind of fits in with my theory that he is trying to kill me...

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Farmer H Plays GOTCHA On A Technicality

You may recall that Mrs. HM has been convalescing from a hole in her leg. It's pretty much healed now. Just a tiny spot left that will ooze into a bandage if squished overnight against a towel with which she protects her bedding. During this healing period, Mrs. HM has been very careful descending to her dark basement lair. Careful to hold onto, as long as possible, the balusters that prevent one from tumbling over the edge of the living room into the basement, since Farmer H has still not installed the handrail he has been planning down those 13 steps since building the house 22 years ago.

Anyhoo...not wanting to overburden herself, nor make extra trips up and down such stairs, Mrs. HM has pointedly announced over the past 10 days since Stay-At-Home-Down was instituted:

"Next time you go downstairs, could you take this Diet Coke?"

Let the record show that there are two six-packs of 20 oz bottles on the kitchen table, for making daily Stay-At-Home-Down 40 oz Diet Cokes. The backup bottles that had been in the basement and in the mini fridge were used first, so the transport of this new supply was becoming crucial to Mrs. HM's survival.

Saturday afternoon, Farmer H returned from puttering around his Storage Unit Store. Nobody else was there. It was not important for Farmer H to be out of the house. But he was. Made a gun deal and earned a $75 profit. Not worth the risk, I say. Even though tattlers may call the official reporting entity, the county health center, no storm troopers are going to rush to punish Farmer H.

Anyhoo...I had not yet showered. What's the point? I was watching She's All That when Farmer H plopped down on the long couch, suspiciously close to the leftover Easter candy.

"I'm going over to the BARn to piddle around."

"I'm going to have a shower, then take some lunch downstairs. I guess I'll have sardines."

"I had a burger in town."

"I guess I'll have hot soda that will melt my ice too fast. Since nobody has carried down the Diet Coke I've been asking about all week."

"AHA! Have you been downstairs?"

"No. Not today. I haven't even had a shower yet. Did you take it down this morning before you left?"

"Yes. So you have cold soda."

"Did you put it in the mini fridge?"


"Then how will it be cold? The time I needed it for that to happen was last night. Before I came up. I always put two in the mini fridge. So it's cold for the next day."

"It's down there!"

"Not in time! I don't know why you can't understand that. Doing it at the last minute doesn't help me for today."

Darn that Farmer H. I appreciate him carrying my soda downstairs. But he has been down there several times since I started asking. For the same reason he went down this morning: to get money out of the safe to buy a gun to resell within 15 minutes. So he didn't make a special trip down there just for ME.

Besides, there was his GOTCHA attitude about having carried my Diet Coke at the last minute, without telling me.

He redeemed himself, though. As I got up to go shower, he went down to put away his gun-running money. Upon return, he said

"There. I put two in the refrigerator. You'll have cold soda."

AHA! It takes more than 30 minutes to get cold...

Saturday, April 11, 2020

A Grocery Cart Is Not Human

Sweet Gummi Mary! Two days out of the house this week, and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is already Public Enemying herself! Good thing she's on Stay-At-Home-Down again now.

I didn't leave home with a plan to scoff at laws. Nope. I was wide-eyed and trembling with anticipation of a trip to civilization. I had to pick up prescriptions (drive-thru). Get a box to mail my BPhF Nexy (Best Phone Forever Nexus 7)'s corpse to Genius. No problem. Believe you me, nobody hangs around in the lobby of the Dead Mouse Smelling Post Office. I darted in Save A Lot for romaine lettuce, bananas, sardines, shredded cheddar, and butter. THEN I headed to Country Mart. That's where the Public-Enemying occurred.

Since my last visit, Country Mart has acquired green tape lines at 6-foot intervals at the checkouts. So if people are loitering in the checkout vicinity, they are most likely in a line. Not much room. The lines have to bend sideways into the main front across-the-store aisle.

Coming back from the far-end freezer case with Farmer H's special individual ice cream cups, ready to check out, I saw that the first checkout, the express, had a young dude working there. He had put up the CHECKOUT CLOSED sign. But an old man with a loaf of bread was waiting anyway.

I moved on to the only other open checkout. I could see a couple leaving. And a lady having her groceries scanned. Also, there was an abandoned cart in the main front across-the-store aisle. Huh. It was just a CART, with some food in it. Nobody around. The green tape lines run the other way. The cart wasn't pointed down the checkout lane. Then again, it was in a place where it could have been waiting for that lady to move up.

Mrs. HM was having none of it! Too bad, so sad! An abandoned cart is ABANDONED! A cart can't wait in line! I went on past it. Not at all remorseful when I caught a movement in my peripheral vision. An old lady halfway down the cookie/cracker aisle without a cart.

I don't even care if I jumped line on her! Carts can't hold a place in line! You need a human for that. Right? Right?

Friday, April 10, 2020

Like Waving A Red Flag At A Bull

On the way home from our phone-buying mission Wednesday, I was behind the wheel of T-Hoe. Once we were off the highway, doing town errands, I'd had enough of hoisting myself in and out the passenger side. After all, the muscles on the OTHER side of my body are well-developed from my former daily travels.

Coming out of town with my 44 oz Diet Coke, we got trapped behind a small gray pickup truck. It was stuffed with at least two adults, and three kids in the club cab jump seat area. That guy only drove 20 mph down our blacktop county road.

"Look at this guy! I swear he's looking for someplace to dump that trash bag he has in the back. Why else would he be going so slow? Most people drive at least 45 along here. I bet he pulls into our gravel road! Just watch."

It's not like Farmer H had anything else to do but watch. Sure enough, as we came down the hill to Mailbox Row, that gray truck turned onto our gravel road. To make matters worse, there was already a car parked right under the NO TRESPASSING sign, with a man and woman, and their bulldog on a leash.

"I KNEW IT! Look at this! I bet they know each other. They're gonna have a big ol' party here on our creek! The creek is free to anyone, but they don't have the right to park on our road! Right under the sign, too! They're not six feet apart, either!"

They were FLAUNTING themselves! Kicked back in canvas camp chairs with drink holders, having a gay old time SELF-NOT-QUARANTINING! I'll be ding dang donged if I spend a whole week (by that I mean 5 days) at home without a 44 oz Diet Coke and scratchers, while these scofflaws party their rumpuses off down by MY CREEK!

"Get out your phone! Take a picture of them! Maybe they'll get paranoid and leave. Wait! Put your window down, and say 'Oh, where do you live? I haven't met everyone on our road yet.'"

"No. I'm not doing that, HM. They're just having their lunch."

"Call our Dog-Grooming Neighbor. I bet SHE will come down here and document their presence!"

Farmer H did not. As we went by, I slowed T-Hoe to a crawl. Gave them the stinkeye. And do you know what that camp-chair guy had the nerve to do?


Sweet Gummi Mary! Of all the insolent actions he could conceive, this one set me off. It's not like they were DOING anything. Though I suspect they were going to leave their fast-food trash littering the creekside. The pickup people might have felt guilty. I watched in my mirror, and that little truck started backing up.

I have a bad case of STAY-HOME RAGE.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Less Heeding, More Good-Deeding

I confess that Farmer H and I left home Wednesday, in a covert violation of Stay-At-Home-Down. It WAS a necessity, though. To replace my cell phone. That story is told elsewhere. We won't deal with the non-heeding. We're here for the good-deeding.

After the phone excursion, Farmer H drove through the bank. I had volunteered T-Hoe for the transportation. If I drove, the trip would be like a Gilligan's Island three-hour tour. A three hour tour. Anyhoo...I figured while I was out, I could get the weekly cash. I had the withdrawal slip already filled out.

Other folks must have also been making a cell-phone and weekly-cash run! The bank was busy. Two of the three drive-thru lanes were open. The first had two cars. The second had three cars.

"Don't get in that short one! I can't tell that the green light is on. They might have people gone to lunch, and won't serve that line after those two cars. Just get in this one with three cars. I can see the green arrow there."

"It's on, HM. The light just isn't very bright." Said the self-considered very-bright man with one eye.

"Well. I guess I don't care. But watch out for that woman at the cash machine!"

"I'm not going to run over her."

"You ran over that old lady when you worked for the city!"

"She got in my way. I held her hand until the ambulance got there!"


"Look. She's having all kinds of trouble with that cash machine. It keep spitting something back at her, and she keeps putting it in."

Just then, the lady turned and walked away from the cash machine in the wall of the bank, and toward her car, which was RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! We had been waiting behind a car with nobody in it! At least the line hadn't moved.

"Watch out. I bet she wants to back up, and go out that empty line."

Farmer H backed off about a T-Hoe length. The lady in her white SUV backed up. And went THE OTHER way. To the line with only two cars in it, where one had just pulled forward. So instead of us getting in that line, she got there first.

"Oh, well. She WAS in front of us to begin with. Even though she abandoned her car to hold her place in line."

It's not like we were in a hurry, but Farmer H was running out all my gas!

"I always turn the car off when I'm waiting in line. We've already been here 10 minutes. Those other cars are turned off."

"HM. It's 89 degrees! Too hot to turn off the car!"

Our line moved up. Putting us even with the White-SUV Abandoner. Then our line moved up AGAIN! It was our turn! We left her in the dust. Or rather the pine needles on the blacktop parking lot.

"Heh, heh! We're going to get done before SHE does!" Said Farmer H, bending T-Hoe's driver's-side mirror back a couple inches by ramming it against the tube housing of the vacuum sucker.

White-SUV Abandoner got her turn. It was neck and neck for a minute. We could hear her explaining that she'd tried to make a deposit, but the ATM was having none of it. As luck (hers) would have it, she got her receipt back and was ready to go while we were waiting on our cash to come out. White-SUV Abandoner put down her passenger window.

"I just wanted to thank you for letting me go ahead of you. That was nice."

"You're welcome. It ain't no big deal." Said Farmer H, giving her the courtesy wave that is fast disappearing from around these parts.

Poor Farmer H. He didn't even get a winning scratcher when I cashed in some winners at our next stop. I bought two consecutive tickets, which I NEVER do. But he also wanted the new one that came out on Monday. Said he didn't mind consecutive tickets. I held them up for him to pick. #40 or #41. He chose #41. Good! 40 is one of my lucky lottery numbers.

Farmer H won nothing. Mine won $5. That'll learn him to do good deeds!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

No Good Heed Goes Unpunished

Mrs. HM tries to live her life as if everything is on the record. Her permanent record. With the current county and statewide Stay-At-Home-Down, she has been compliant. Heeding the government orders. Overly compliant. Only leaving the Mansion ONCE in the past week, to drive a mile down the gravel road to Mailbox Row.

You'd think that Even Steven would reward her efforts. Perhaps have a favorite movie pop up on the DISH channels. Have Farmer H bring her a surprise 44 oz Diet Coke when he's out helping OTHER PEOPLE. But no. No such reward has appeared.

In fact, Mrs. HM's life has gone to Not-Heaven in a proposed handbasket!

Not only has my penny-searching, scratcher-purchasing, and magical-elixir-swilling been curtailed, but MY CELL PHONE DIED!

I can't text The Pony about IRONY, nor receive updates on his isolation in Norman, Oklahoma. Now I don't even have a way to take pictures of my Sweet, Sweet Juno and (formerly known as Puppy) Jack, with an occasional view of that ungrateful Copper Jack.

My tax returns were done and filed in two days time. That should account for Even Steven brownie points. But no.

Surely something good will come my way soon...

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The UN-Bandage Pessimist

Sweet Gummi Mary! There's no pleasin' that man! I left the bandage off my egg-sized two-week-old blister on Monday. Just patted it dry after a shower, put a smidgen of triple antibiotic ointment on the dime-sized raw spot, and let it breathe. My pants were off it most of the day, the leg of my striped sweatpants pulled up.

I could show you pictures, but you don't wanna see THAT. Oh, wait! I CAN'T show you pictures, because they're on my phone that died. More on that over at my other blog.

Anyhoo... when I ascended from my dark basement lair, leaving the comfort of my underdesk heater to make supper, I stopped by the La-Z-Boy to flaunt my returning-to-health leg.

"See? Doesn't it look better?"



"Huh. I don't know if I'd say it looks better. It doesn't look any worse."

"Oh, come ON! That raw spot is almost completely healed over. The whole thing was raw when you were putting on my bandage, and telling me to leave it off!"

"Well. Maybe it's a little better than it was..."

I swear! It's almost as if Farmer H WANTS my leg to rot off!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Let's DISH On The Post Office

From time to time, I have bad-mouthed disparaged the local dead-mouse-smelling post office. I see no reason to issue a retraction. You might recall that I've mentioned a problem with my DISH bill getting to me and back to DISH on time.

Supposedly, the DISH bill comes out on the 10th of the month. DISH sends me an email that my bill is ready. Good for my bill. It can wait until I'M good and ready to mail it. Yes. MAIL it. I'm not paying online unless absolutely necessary. By the time my bill arrives in EmBee, it is usually around the 15th-19th of the month. It is due on the 25th.

I give that bill a quick turnaround. Pop it in the mail the same day it arrives. Which means it will go out the next day, since my mail is delivered after the pick-up date at the local post offices. February, I got the bill on Tuesday, February 19th. I filled out the check, and drove to town. I figured it MIGHT have time to get there. Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday, and Monday was the 25th. Of course it wasn't there by the 25th, so I paid a one-time payment online.

For March, I was sure I'd have that credit in there, once my check had arrived. Yet DISH didn't show my credit. I was all ready to call and give them a piece of my mind on March 24. Then I called the bank's automated line, and discovered that indeed, the check had never cleared. So I paid my March bill online, since the March check was not there yet, either. checking since, the March payment DID arrived, so I'm a payment ahead in credit. Still no sign of the February payment. Until...

THAT explains it! For some reason, my DISH bill was returned to sender! That's ME! The SENDER! I had proper postage. The address showed through the opening, along with their barcode. I have no idea why the yellow sticker says my bill had an address NOT KNOWN. And where was it for all that time? It was sent back March 29. I got it April 1. I guess I'm the April fool, thinking all this time my check was being processed. Those blackouts are theirs. The purple-out is mine, courtesy of PAINT.

Seriously. That's DISH'S return envelope, with the address on their pay stub showing through the window. If you zoom in, you can see a barcode.

I'm pretty sure this is the fault of the post office. The dead-mouse-smelling post office, specifically, since I took a chance and mailed it there. Even went inside the dead-mouse-smelling lobby, and put it in the flip-door thingy, looking to make sure it went down in their bin.

Something's rotten in the post office of Hillmomba.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Bandage Pessimist

Let the record show that I am still trying to will my leg blister to heal. It's egg-sized, you know. I thought progress was being made the first week. The fluid was out. The skin was on. I had Farmer H put a 3 x 4 bandaid (slathered with triple antibiotic ointment) on it every day after my shower. By evening, it would seep some yellowish clear fluid out the bandaid. That's after Farmer H BLEW on the pin that he was using to let out fluid.

Then part of the skin came off with the bandaid one day. I continued my same treatment. A couple days later, more skin came off in the shower, as I gently soaped it with my bare hand. Around this time, Farmer H declared that he had other things to do, and I should just leave it open, to get air, and start healing with a scab.

Well. Like an idiot, I followed Dr. H's treatment plan. I still put on the triple antibiotic ointment. But I could feel my pants leg on it as I went about my town errands. I slept on it that night without covering, although I put a towel down on top of the sheet. Again, the next day, Farmer H was gone. The wound looked redder to me. Had more yellow junk. I washed it. Applied ointment. Slept on it.

The next morning, I LAID DOWN THE LAW! Farmer H was going to make sure he was there to apply my bandage! His prescription was not working. I think it was causing me a relapse. Of course while putting on the bandage, Farmer H had to open his germy mouth to say,

"This looks worse. You need to see a doctor."

From the man whose own doctor wouldn't even let patients in the office, and gave butt-shots on the parking lot! MY doctor nurse practitioner has office space in the upstairs clinic over the main hospital. I knew I wasn't getting past THEIR barricades. So I was resigned to riding it out.

Lots of oozing emanated from beneath my bandage. A slow ooze that I could dab at, sweatpants leg pulled up in front of New Delly. A towel under it on the recline part of my OPC (Old People Chair). After a couple days of my tender treatment again, I noticed less redness. Less oozing. The raw spot oh-so-slowly shrinking inward.

Here's the thing:


When putting on the provided bandage, and prompted with: "Don't you think it looks better?" All he says is:

"Looks the same to me." Or "It's hard to tell." Or "I still think you need to give it some air."

Since Farmer H was gone to the city three days, taking his friend for chemo and procedures, I was on my own. The edges of my leg-hole have healed inward enough that I felt confident in fitting the bandage over the raw spot without sticking the edges to it. I've done that for four days now. No help needed from Typhoid H.

I KNOW it's better! It gives me the pain twinge much less if I bump it. Sometimes I even forget that I have a bandage on there. The ooze only comes out at the end of the night, with my leg in a certain position, on my OPC chair towel, a spot smaller than a dime. The redness does not extend out from the edge of the bandaid. When I blot it after removing the bandage, just a nickel-sized spot shows fluid. Mostly clear.

In a couple days, I'm going to leave the bandage off. Since I'm not going anywhere, and I can keep my pants off of the wound. Then at night, I'll put a bandage on for sleeping only, until the skin is healed over. Not sure if I'm going to let Farmer H have a look.

I think Farmer H is either reluctant to admit that MY way of treatment is better than his, OR... Farmer H is trying to kill me.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Nightmare At 12.5 Inches

Mrs. HM had a waking nightmare this week. Don't read this at night!

It was actually the early morning hours when fear handed Mrs. HM her butt. I don't mean to reveal too much about the Hillbilly marital bed, but here are some facts. Farmer H wears a C-PAP mask every night. He sleeps on the left side of the bed, the bathroom side. His position varies from lying on his back, to either side. Mrs. HM shies away from the C-PAP spray every night. She sleeps on the right side of the bed, the back-porch French door side.

My favorite sleeping position is on my left side. I can drape my lovely lady-mullet over my ear and face, to keep Farmer H's breather droplets out of my ear. After a couple hours of sleep, I get up for the bathroom. When I return, I sleep on my back for the next couple of hours. This exposes my face to Farmer H's breather droplets!

To prevent feeling the whoosh of breather air (and DROPLETS) on my face, I use a towel. A small soft kitchen towel, folded in half, and half again. I can prop it on my pillow, laying it alongside my face. That blocks the draft (and DROPLETS).

As I came back to bed from the bathroom, the twilight of dawn seeping through the French doors, I could not find my face towel. I squinted.


I found my face towel. It was DRAPED OVER THE TOP OF FARMER H's C-PAP MASK!

Whoa! I feel faint, just typing those words. My very special face towel, which I had just washed the day before, was now CONTAMINATED, getting contaminateder by the second, in direct contact with Farmer H's face mask, as he lay on his left side, face inches from my pillow! I snatched it away. Shook it out beside the bed. Asked Farmer H,


"Nothing. You put it on me."

"I did NOT! That's the last thing I would ever do! I use it to PROTECT myself from your germs! Why would I put my face towel right in the middle of all your germs?"

"I don't know. I didn't put it there. You did."

"NO, I DIDN'T! It must have fallen off the pillow as I got up. And you just LEFT it there? Who does that? Your breather is to give you extra air, yet you will lay there with a towel over your snout, blocking air!"

"I didn't touch your face towel, HM. You put it on me, and I knew if I touched it to get it off, you would have a fit."

"How would I know you moved it! You could have put it back on my pillow! It just fell off."

"I just left it where you put it, HM."

Sweet Gummi Mary! I might have to start keeping a hammer under the bed...

Friday, April 3, 2020

Mrs. HM Finds A Good Egg In Country Mart

Oh, my gosh! Country Mart was abuzz with people Wednesday afternoon. Between people getting their first-of-the-month money, and the county's impending stay-at-home order going into effect in the early morning hours of Friday, people were stocking up. The parking lot was almost 1/4 full! I did my stocking up on Tuesday (said the independently wealthy Mrs. HM, smugly), and was only in Country Mart for some deli chicken.

As long as I was there, though, I went two aisles over for some Pennysticks Butter Braided Pretzels, BBQ Pork Rinds, generic 3 x 4 bandaids, and triple antibiotic ointment. Imagine my surprise when I came back to the checkout, and saw three lines open, with five customers each. Let the record show that they were not maintaining a 6-foot distance from each other. I got in the first line, cooling my heels with my elbows on my cart-walker, rocking gently in front of the onion bin, prepared for a wait.

"Hon? Do you have anything that needs to be weighed?" The deli worker who had just bagged my chicken called to me. "Because I can ring you up over here."

"Oh, THANK YOU! You didn't have to do that."

"We just don't have anything to do over here. I'm glad to help. It gives me something to do."

"Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it."

I was out of there in a jiffy. That deli worker is a good egg.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

He Had One Job To Do

As we returned from town Tuesday, with Farmer H riding shotgun, I pulled up to Mailbox Row for him to get out for the mail. Imagine my surprise, as I sat in T-Hoe, still in the road, blinker on, when Farmer H started perusing the junk mail he had pulled out of EmBee! Looking through the monthly ads with fast-food coupons. Finally he got back in. As we started up the gravel road, I broached the subject.

"WHY were you looking through the junk mail while I was parked in the road?"

"LOOK! It's like a check for $10,000! It looks real. An old person could believe that it's real! But it's something about insurance."

"Sounds like you almost fell for it."


Farmer H pulled out the other mail.

"Neighbor Dog-Clipper, Neighbor Dog-Clipper, Neighbor Dogclipper's Husband..."

"Well, crap! All that time you stood there, and you didn't notice you had the wrong mail?"


"I'm turning around as soon as I get to the side road! You're going to put that in her mailbox, and look in hers for OUR mail, and also in the box on the other side of us for OUR mail!"

Farmer H did, but we had no mail in those two boxes. We kept the fast-food coupons.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Danged If I Do, Danged If I Don't


Tuesday, Farmer H and I made a joint trip to the Devil's Playground. I was actually fool enough to suggest it! I had a hand in my own non-demise! I even decreed that I would be driving. No sweaving this time, with me as a captive passenger!

For the most part, Farmer H was a complacent companion. He started out giving T-Hoe's speedometer the side-eye. Not because there was anything wrong with my driving, of course. I'm pretty sure he was trying to find fault. It's not like I go off the pavement, or hit the wake-up bumps. He's always claiming that he's followed me, and that I drive too fast on the county road. Au contraire. I informed him, lest he strain his good eye, that "I'm going 45 miles an hour." He claims that I drive 55 on this road. Nope.

On the way home, on the sharp curve by the prison, I SPIED A ROADWALKER! Not an escaped prisoner or anything. He was coming from out our way, toward the prison. But he was WALKING ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. On the pavement! There is no shoulder. No sidewalk. To add insult to my driving, and his possible injury, a car was coming from the opposite direction. I could not cross the center line to give the walker room to live!

I squeezed the brakes to slow down, so as not to strike this RoadWalker. Farmer H threw himself forward and slammed back. I'd almost give him an Oscar for his acting. Almost. He actually threw himself backwards while I was still braking. It doesn't work that way. That fling shouldn't have come until I stopped braking. I'm a former physics teacher, you know.

Anyhoo...the oncoming car passed, and I was able to swing T-Hoe over the center line to give the RoadWalker his very precious entitled space to continue to live.

"What? Did you want me to hit him? Don't be so dramatic."

I sensed a smirk in my peripheral vision. On we went, down the blacktop lettered highway, and made our turn onto the blacktop county road that would eventually take us to Mailbox Row. Here came a car from the other direction. There's not even a center line on this road. I made sure to get over so the car and T-Hoe both had room to pass.

Farmer H threw himself sideways like one of those air-pumped, Gumby-looking things that sway to and fro advertising used car lots.


"You almost hit that mailbox!"

"You're full of it. I'd have to run off the road to hit that mailbox. Did I run off the road? NO. I was nowhere near that mailbox. This road is barely wide enough for two cars, after all the times they re-blacktop, and squeeze in from the edge, making it narrower and narrower."

"I drive this road every day, HM."

"Me too. Have I EVER run off the road? NO. But somebody in here has..."

So let's recap. Farmer H didn't think I should have braked and gone around the RoadWalker. But he apparently thought I should brake, then swerve over the middle because of a mailbox not even in the road, but beside the pavement.

Farmer H can really be a horse's butt sometimes. All the time. I'm so used to it, his little act didn't even bother me. I was more bothered by the bad luck he brought me on my scratchers. And by his behavior at the mailboxes....

More on that tomorrow.