Friday, July 31, 2020

In The EmBee Sits A Box-er

He is just a poor man
And his story's often told
He would squander my inheritance
On a boulevard full of themed sheds, and his donut treats
All shots and tests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest 

Lie la lie, lie la la la lie lie
Lie la lie, lie la la la la lie la la lie...

On Wednesday, we had only one piece of mail in EmBee. It was a white box. Larger than the box a set of new checks used to come in. Smaller than a Puffs With Lotion box. It was addressed to Farmer H. I know how Farmer H loves a surprise gift. Or anything FREE. I was also sure that this was not a gift.

The Box bore the name of Farmer H's supplemental health insurance provider. And another company they've partnered with. I'd gotten an email saying that it would arrive soon. And that it contained a preventative health screening kit.

I don't know about you, but I'm leery of tests that come in the mail wanting your blood. Especially one that includes "Global Turnkey Solutions" as part of the return address. I smell a fresh conspiracy in the making.

Farmer H did not yet know about this screening kit. I figured I'd cross that bridge when I came to it. I arrived at the edge Wednesday evening. Of course Farmer H was excited about unboxing his FREE gift from his insurance company. After all, the last time he got something was about a month ago, and it was two lime-green face masks.

Farmer H uses Humana for his insurance supplement. The label said this was their preventative health screening kit, partnered with Everlywell, to help him monitor his health. The Box contained a self-test that he could do at home, by sticking his finger and dabbing his blood on a card, and send back. In his case, it was an A1C test. He routinely gets that test at his doctor's nurse-practitioner's office.

I was happy (as happy as Mrs. HM gets) when I heard Farmer H exclaim, "Why would I want to send them my information?" He closed up The Box and set it on the floor. I was giddy with joy.

I didn't want him to fall victim to another Humana-partnered mix-up, and become one of a pool of 600,000 people erroneously notified that he tested positive for the VIRUS!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Because They're Selfless Like That

Hillmomba is a sleepy little burg. Like Mayberry. Out of the limelight. Not a lot happens here. Over the past month, riots have broken out in towns south. One of Farmer H's Storage Unit Store customers got arrested for throwing a bottle. The police booked him, and strongly suggested that he not return to the town square, and offered to escort him home, for his own safety. I think he was angered about abuse of a flag, triggered because he'd lost a son in the military. Which still does not justify throwing a bottle at the town square.

Anyhoo... that area is over 30 miles away. Farmer H saw the happenings on Facebook. We don't know why that town was chosen for shenanigans, but we do know that participants were bused in for the conflict. On more than one night.

The next event was over in Bill-Paying Town, 20 miles away. No incidents. Peaceful demonstration.

Another one was a block away, from the $5000 house, where HOS (Farmer H's Oldest Son) lives now. He walked uptown. Said there was some shouting back and forth. Not many people. No violence.

The clerk at the Gas Station Chicken Store has been looking for a personal defense implement. She drives from farther up north, about 30 miles, which I will call Elevated Ledge. She said she was worried, because Hillmomba sits right on the highway, and was likely a target for future demonstrations. She visited the Storage Unit Store, but found nothing small enough for her liking.

Last week, the event was at the post office across from the School-Turn Casey's. Farmer H was driving by, and saw them. A lot of young girls, he said, waving signs, running their mouths, trying to provoke. Nothing really happened. Nobody took the bait.

Well. Hillmomba was awakened from its slumber. Tuesday morning, Farmer H informed me that a protest was scheduled uptown.

"It's supposed to be uptown this afternoon."

"I'm glad you told me. I was going to write out the bills and mail them, but I don't want to run into that mess. Besides, what if they shoot off fireworks into the snout of the mailbox? [The Dead Mouse Smelling Post Office is across from a little park. Uptown.] I'll wait another day. I don't want my bills incinerated."

Because, you know, Farmer H didn't say there was going to be a peaceful outpouring of support uptown. He said a protest. There are protests, and there are riots. You never know which one you're going to get. Even sleepy Hillmomba has hot-heads.

Anyhoo... I got to town about 1:15 and didn't go uptown. I went to the Gas Station Chicken Store and Country Mart. Farmer H was in town to get gas for the lawnmower. He ordered Casey's pizza to pick up at 5:00, with his Rewards offer that would run out on Wednesday.

Next thing I know, it's around 5:00 and the house phone is ringing, and it's Farmer H.

"Them protesters are here at the corner of Casey's."

"Oh, no! Is the pizza okay?"

Heh, heh. I may or may not have actually said that.

"Are you in the middle of them?"

"Nah. Looks like they're just getting started. Looks like a bunch of kids. Maybe 8 of them."

By the time Farmer H got home, I had found a picture of the protest on a local Facebook page. They were standing in front of CeilingReds, with the parking lot of the Gas Station Chicken Store over their shoulder! Oh, no! The clerk at the GSCS is afraid of protests! As I said, she'd been worrying about it for weeks.

"You know, we're right on the highway. I don't want no trouble. I'm afraid of what might happen. But I WILL protect myself if they surround my truck."

Just her luck, she'd been put on the 1:00 to CLOSE shift on Tuesday! So here she was, with all those protesters (all 8, of the kids) out front, for her to fret over until closing.

Anyhoo... there was nobody opposing the protesters at that time. So they were just standing on the side of the road with their signs on posterboard from Walmart. Farmer H said he saw city police and state highway patrol cars. Probably more cops than kids. He knew one of the cops, who told him, "This is their one chance. We'll protect both sides in case of trouble, but any further gatherings, they're on their own."

I don't imagine there was any trouble. All I saw later were a few people sitting on their vehicles across the road, at the liquor store. One man walked over to talk. An officer came up and persuaded him to go back to the liquor store.

A local restaurant even had a sign out front, offering protesters a free sandwich. A free KNUCKLE sandwich.

Methinks they doth protest too near. Hopefully they're done, since this event fizzled out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Gaslighting The Check-Writer

I think my credit card company is gaslighting me. There's no reason for that, other than to drag me kicking and screaming and karate-chopping and hairpulling and donkey-punching into the modern age. This bad news is for them:


Oh, they're itchin' to get their tentacles into my bank account. I'm sure of it! Always trying to get me to convert to paperless statements. Pay by phone or online. Nope. Accounts get hacked every day. You don't need any of my extra information stored in your tempting database. I think they're mad because we pay the balance in full every month. No profit off of our interest. No annual fee like they used to try and charge us.

Anyhoo... here's what they're doing now.

The part of the statement that gets returned with the check has the amount of the bill, and the amount of the minimum payment, in a gray box in the upper right corner. THOSE NUMBERS WERE BLURRY! No, it was not my eyes. That's what they'd like me to THINK! That my eyes are going bad, and I'd better get some other payment method set up while I can still see well enough to do so!

It's not like the bill got wet. That sometimes happens, and the envelope and contents get all puckery. This was just blurry printing. Like they'd used a DOT MATRIX printer for that part! The address was still sharp. As well as the instructions. All other writing on the statement, in assorted sizes, was sharp and clear.

I guess I showed THEM! I waited a whole day after I received the statement to write out their check. Heh, heh! One less day of profit they can make off the interest they'll draw from my money deposited in their account before the due date.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

When Camouflage Goes Wrong

When I was a kid, we had a black miniature poodle named Buster. He was smart, in a doggy kind of way. Buster knew a lot of tricks. He knew his toys, and family people, by name. When it was bedtime, he resisted being sent to his sleeping place, the basement, by playing dead. That makes him as smart as a toddler, right? Because the Ex-Mayor my sister's husband says their daughter used to do that.

"If she doesn't want to do something, she does the Dead Dog Flop. She flings herself down on the floor, and all bones leave her body. She goes limp, so you can hardly pick her up."

One thing Buster wasn't very smart about was hiding. If he was in trouble, he'd stick his head under the couch. It wasn't high enough for him to crawl under. Only his head would fit under the ruffle. Yet he thought he was hidden, because he couldn't see US.

Here's another critter that thought it was hidden.

Even when you think you're swimming alone in Poolio... you might have a companion! The Pony discovered this uninvited guest a couple weeks ago, in the ladder grip. Don't go thinking we have giant frogs in Hillmomba! Farmer H says this little niche is about the size of a quarter. So it's an extreme closeup.

He actually looks more toady than froggy. While we don't have GIANT frogs around the Mansion, we have many. They're always getting caught in Poolio before the official opening. Under the cover, in the filter, aimlessly swimming. I do like to hear them peeping when spring rolls around.

I haven't seen one this color. Perhaps he's a tree-dweller. How could he get into that hidey-hole? I'm pretty sure he didn't hop. Maybe he has those suction-cup toes.

The fake fish pond has frogs. They sound like bullfrogs. I only see one occasionally. I know there's more than one, because right now the fake fish pond is full of tadpoles. A fact I discovered when taking Farmer H a hot dog for lunch, while he was spraying weeds.

"Is it raining?"

"No. Just cloudy."

"Why are there only raindrops hitting the fish pond?"

"There's no raindrops."

"Oh! Wait! Something is in there. It's TADPOLES! Coming to the surface. I just saw one. They're all over. I guess they come up to eat a gnat as it lands on the surface."

One good thing about a frog infestation. They don't carry the cat kibble up into the air cleaner under SilverRedO's hood. Make that two good things. We don't have a mosquito problem.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Every Mansion Has A Pooper And This Mansion Has Two (PART 2)

There has been a spate of porch-poopings at the Mansion! No, I don't blame Farmer H. These are solid poops, nothing smear-worthy.

I first noticed a few weeks ago, when THAT DOG was romping around every time I tried to get from kitchen door to garage. It was in the area of Gassy G Lite. I figured maybe THAT DOG had pooped, not being familiar with the big outdoor toilet used by Juno and Jack. It's the grove of trees out behind Shackytown Boulevard, where the sinkholes lie.

Last week, there was another collection of poops, on the back porch, in the area overlooking the fake fish pond. Huh. Farmer H, of course, blamed my little Jack. I don't know why my small dog is Farmer H's colossal scapegoat. I pointed out how long Jack has been with us (four years), without pooping on the porch. A half-heeler doesn't change his spots.

A couple days ago, the poop field was on the other side of the steps leading from the porch to garage. Same size. Same scattered pattern. I'd started thinking that perhaps a critter was getting up on the porch at night. The dogs go crazy sometimes. Maybe a raccoon. Or a possum. Or...


The last time I had that theory was when something was pooping in the garage. And we remember how THAT turned out. Don't we? The wildlife camera set up by Farmer H and The Pony, which revealed the culprit to be... OUR BLACK TUXEDO CAT, STOCKINGS!

He's the only living cat left around here. He's looking pretty rough. I have a feeling that some of the noise I hear at night is the Grim Reaper, tap-tap-tapping at Death's door, asking for authorization to have a consultation with Stockings.

Yesterday, the poops were on the landscaped lava rocks beside the garage door.

It's pretty hard to point out the error of his ways to a CAT. Stockings is (and HAS, from the looks of the poops), a big butthole. He has always been quite aloof, shunning our kind words and touch. I don't imagine any type of training is likely at this stage of his life. A dissuasion, maybe.

I'm open to ideas...

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Every Mansion Has A Pooper And This Mansion Has Two (PART 1)

Sweet Gummi Mary! My cup runneth over, and not with anything pleasant.

You might recall the slight problem we have with Farmer H leaving his mark on the master bathroom toilet. Well. We're still having that problem. He refuses to take responsibility.

When illuminated on the recurrence of the issue a few days ago, he snorted. SNORTED! As if to belittle ME for mentioning it! Like it was a total figment of my imagination. Like I was trying to frame him while on the stand in a court of common law!

"Dad. I've seen it too!" Thank the Gummi Mary, The Pony is observant while waiting for the reservoir to fill for his nightly soak in the big triangle tub.

That shut up the poopetrator momentarily, but only because he was outnumbered.

It happened again yesterday. When once again I brought the issue to light, as Farmer H was walking across the living room after his dip in Poolio... he was less than receptive.

"Oh, lordy! Here we go again."

"It's on the back of the seat. If you can't see it, get my magnifying glass. But don't touch it to the poop!"

"I think you're seeing things."

On he went. Leaving the door to the bedroom AND bathroom open, of course, for changing out of his SpongeBob boxers that he wears for swimming lying on the air mattress, floating in circles.

"Huh. You mean this little SPECK?"

Um. Yes. A little speck of poop is still POOP!!!

"YES! How would YOU like to sit in a 'little speck' of MY POOP? Not very much, I'm thinking."

Funny how everything is MY fault around here! Except the second pooper. Coming tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The UNIVERSE Jams A Stick In Mrs. HM's Spokes

Sweet Gummi Mary! What else can possibly go wrong? Lightning strike, disabled phone, needless BEEPing alarm, chicken strips the size of nuggets, The Pony's FOOT holding my TV remote, The Pony's shed hair being stroked by him like a guinea pig, a buttered coffee table, Farmer H willing to trade me for a (3rd!) tractor...

Here's what else can go wrong:


My pride wenteth before this fall. Just the night before, I had a lengthy discussion with Farmer H concerning their merchandise. It was lengthy for ME. But apparently not for Farmer H. Very funny, Even Steven.

Farmer H took his "girlfriend" to the doctor in the city on Thursday. He scoffs when I call her his "girlfriend." Even though he texts her a lot, and drives her to some kind of treatment every week. And even said she cried one time because she was afraid I would be mad at him for spending so much time with her. Oh, Honey! If you only knew...

Anyhoo... out of the blue, right after supper, Farmer H said,

"Where do you get my popcorn?"

"The Corn-On-the-Cob popcorn?"


"Country Mart, why? Did you eat all of it? There were four bags on the table. I'm going shopping tomorrow."

"I had part of a bag in the truck. My friend asked me about it."

"Oh, I see! Your girlfriend wants to know. You're asking for your girlfriend. Now you want me to buy HER some popcorn!"

"No. No. There was some left in the bag, and she tried some."

"So she feels so comfortable in your truck that she thinks she can just pick up random food and eat it?"

"She just tried it. She said it was good, and asked where I got it."

"I'm not buying popcorn for your girlfriend! It's in Country Mart. On the side by the pharmacy. In the middle aisle that goes across. Halfway between the pharmacy and the milk cooler. You go past the deli, turn left, and you'll come to the aisle."

Anyhoo... I went into Country Mart on Friday, past the deli, turned left, and saw everything was different!!! Instead of pool toys and paper plates, there was a whole aisle of cookies! And candy on the other side! A lady was putting stuff on the former $1 chip shelves. I asked her where I could find the $1 chips now.

"Over where the cases of water used to be."

The OPPOSITE CORNER of the store! I ended up there, and saw that they were out of the Corn-On-the-Cob popcorn.

When I got home, I explained it to Farmer H.

"So it's not where I said it was. Now it's over in the corner, on the front wall, where the water used to be. So if you told your girlfriend exactly where to find it, she won't."

"Oh. I didn't listen to that. I just told her you get it at Country Mart."

Not any more, I don't!

Friday, July 24, 2020

You Don't Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry. Or MAIM!

Remember how lightning struck somewhere around the Mansion last Thursday, and knocked out our phone line, resulting in a mind-numbing BEEPing for 4.5 days? Well, the repairman came on Tuesday.

Here’s the thing! The AT&T Guy said that lightning blew a hole in the phone line. Not right away, of course. I was on repairman watch with The Pony, while Farmer H was gallivanting about the county with his gallbladder. Ain't that always how it goes? The ONE day in 20 years that we schedule an AT&T repairman, Farmer H goes off to the doctor! More on that another time.

Anyhoo... The Pony and I distracted the dogs on the front porch pew, to allow the AT&T Guy to crawl under the side porch and investigate the box where the outside telephone line connects to the inside telephone line. I was simultaneously patting Juno and Jack, kind of like the tummy-rubbing/head-patting routine, and The Pony was in the yard trying to befriend Copper Jack. Who of course walked up to let The Pony stroke his noggin.

Anyhoo... it was then that we heard an alarm. A siren. An alarm/siren. Not quite a fire engine, not quite a police car. Just an alarm/siren. The Pony raised his eyebrows and flared his nostrils. "That can't be good!" The alarm/siren had come from some gewgaw the AT&T Guy was using for testing.

The AT&T Guy walked back around front. "I'll be back," he said. Without the drama of Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator. He started across the yard for his truck.

"Oh. We've had an alarm beeping since last Thursday. If that's any clue to what's wrong."

The AT&T Guy looked at me like he was a cardiologist, and I'd just asked him to clip my toenails. Like I was bat-crap crazy. "I don't know what that would be."

WELL! Of course he didn't. Do you know WHY?

The AT&T Guy was way out on the blacktop county road looking for the source of the problem when Farmer H came home with his gallbladder. Two hours later it was fixed. The phone, not the gallbladder. Yet the BEEPing continued! Farmer H and The Pony investigated further, once the phones were fixed and the AT&T Guy left. As I got out of the shower, I heard the BEEPing stop!

Seems that it was not the phone line at all, but a SURGE PROTECTOR high on the wall of the workshop, in the corner above the water heater!

There's a photo of it on our well-buttered coffee table.

This is the view you'd have if you were The Pony, sitting down eating your supper.

Please excuse the view of Farmer H's footwear lined up along the fake fireplace, and the ceramic pets and toy fire engine he got at assorted auctions.

This surge protector had no reset button, so Farmer H just took it off the wall.



Of course I lodged a complaint about this with management!
To which Farmer H replied, “Oh, well.”

Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Pony Doesn't Even Know My Face

Wednesday was shopping day at the Mansion. The Pony has been volunteering to brave the wilds of The Devil's Playground for me. Who am I to look a volunteer Pony in the mouth? Especially now that masks have been mandated by The Devil. Don't get me started!

Anyhoo... I made a list. Made sure The Pony understood the nuances of brands and sizes and counts. I even brought out a box of L'Oreal hair color for my lovely lady-mullet. I still have one, but will be using it soon, and like to keep one on hand. Just in case, you know, there's something like a pandemic that requires us not to leave our homes. I KNOW! Such an imagination I have...

Anyhoo... I stood behind the short couch, showing The Pony the box, right before we left.

"See? This one. The medium brown. I know I used to get dark brown, but that's too severe now. I might even go a lighter shade soon. So see this one? The lady's face?"

"Mother. I can read 'medium brown.' I'm not an idiot."

"Just showing you, because that's how you used to get it. I'd send you to that aisle, and you'd be back before I thought you'd left. You honed in on the face. Even told me yourself that's how you found it. So I'm showing you."

"Mom. That was before I could read! So of course that's how I found it."

"Okay. Just trying to help."

"It's L'Oreal, right?"


Off we went. I dropped off The Pony at the one entrance that's open now, to wend his way through the cattle chute to the door. Don't get me started! Then I drove to the School-Turn Casey's for scratchers. ALL LOSERS! Then back to sit 25 minutes at 86 degrees (95 heat index) to await The Pony's return. He's a good helper, that Pony.

Once home, my little beast of burden carried everything inside the Mansion, and put most of it away. Except for his 3 bottles of wine. And my hair color.

"Oh, Mom. Here's the one I got. That's it, right?"


"That's not her! You got a different lady! I don't use that kind."

"It says right here: MEDIUM BROWN!"

"I've tried that kind before, and I don't like it. But I guess I'll use it. I'll use it first. Then if it messes up my hair, I'll still have the REAL one left to try and correct it."

That Pony. He's been gone so long, he doesn't even remember my face.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Acetaminophen Begin Again

Not saying The Pony gives me headaches... but he was at his antics again at supper Tuesday night. We had liver, with some fava beans, with a nice Chianti. NO WE DIDN'T! My mind wandered there for a minute. We had some meat loaf, with potato cakes, and a not-too-nice Coke that The Pony had shoved in the bin of FRIG II's ice maker five minutes before eating. He has a time management problem. Among others...

Anyhoo... as I've mentioned before, The Pony eats at the living room coffee table, sitting on the floor, leaning back against the long couch. He's never off his feed, The Pony. He added three Hawaiian Rolls to his plate, and carried in his special REAL butter. A whole stick. Which he laid on the coffee table. Don't get me wrong. The coffee table is not new. It's nothing special. Not like a Farbman dresser! But still. I don't like the idea of a stick of (real) butter sitting on it, separated by only a thin layer of waxy paper.

The Pony was perfectly oblivious to my stinkeye. It must have taken three minutes for the laser beam to penetrate his consciousness. Or perhaps it was guilt that jolted him out of his feeding frenzy. He had just made a loud CLUNK with his butter knife as it slammed through the butter stick.


"Would you like me to get you a HATCHET to continue your hacking???"

"No. I didn't hurt the table."

"You could at least put that on a paper plate."


At that moment, The Pony smugly scooped up his inch-thick, freshly carved pat of butter on the side of the butter knife. In transferring it across the 12-inch span of table to his roll, he DROPPED IT on the smooth surface of the coffee table. He gave me the side-eye. I could see the gears of his brain working for an excuse. His wit is not honed as sharp as mine, after years in the trenches with recalcitrant adolescents.

"Huh. Too bad you're not eating on your laptop place mat tonight."

Thank you. I'll be here all week. Every week. For the rest of my natural life. And supernatural, too, if I can pull that one off.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Not Ready To Play Hairball

With The Pony having taken up residency at The Mansion, there has been another issue with the infrastructure. I learned of it Monday morning, when he pranced around the kitchen, extra-talkative, rather than remaining in his cell, spying through the crack of the door at my back.

"Did you want something? What's going on? This is not the way we usually start the day."

"No. Uh. Are you staying home today, because of the roadwork? Or going to town?"

"I'll probably go to town, to see IF they're doing roadwork again. Why? Did you want something on my way back?"

"No. I was just thinking... I can go ahead and take my shower now if it's going to be a while. Or I can wait, so you'll have hot water."

"Go ahead. Just not a long one. I won't get in for at least an hour."

I had barely settled on the hard, hard coffee table in front of HIPPIE when The Pony returned to the living room.

"I thought you were getting in the shower."

"Well. I'm going to wait until after yours. I put some Drano in mine."

"Draino? Where did you get that?"

"Beside the toilet. I guess Dad had it there."

"Well, if I'm in our bathroom when he comes in from the pool, he takes a shower in there. How much did you put in?"

"About a fifth of the jug. Like it says. I can't get the plug thing out, to see if I can get what's in there. Probably some hair."

"You should tell Dad about it. He's got a thing to stick down in there and dig stuff out."

Let the record show that The Pony has barely had a haircut since he left for college FOUR YEARS AGO! Just a couple of trims. His Fabio hair is longer than my lovely lady-mullet! But wavy instead of stick-straight.

Farmer H came in from mowing the yard in the rain, to shower us with his wisdom. I mentioned the drain issue, and he jumped right up. Once a Manager of Facility Maintenance, always a Manager of Facility Maintenance! The Pony trailed after him, giving advice on what he'd done, and the inability to get the pop-up drain plug out.

I heard Farmer H ask for a PLUNGER! The Pony also seemed a bit perplexed.

"A PLUNGER? Like, for the toilet?"

"A plunger works for any kind of drain. Not just a toilet."

I heard the plunging commence. Water running.

"Use cold water, Dad. Mom has to take her shower."

That's my little long-maned Pony! He trotted into the living room. I turned sideways a bit, so as not to be rude and talk with my back to him. What I caught in my peripheral vision was the stuff of nightmares!


"EEEEEEE! Get that way from me! PLEASE! NOW! I'm going to be sick! My mouth is getting all watery!"


"YES! Get away!"

The Pony stroked it as if it WERE a guinea pig!

"It's just the hair from my brush. About two weeks worth. I should clean it out every week. Wavy hair really sheds a lot."

"Wait. That's out of your BRUSH?"

"Uh huh."

"Still. I don't want to see it. But I thought you were playing with wet hair out of the drain!"

"No. Just regular hair."

Yes. The Pony has a special brush. Not sure what species it was designed for.

Monday, July 20, 2020

When Lightning Gives You BEEPing, Make BEEPing Aids

Sweet Gummi Mary! After 48 hours, this infernal, unending BEEPing is about to disable my brain. I can hear it in every room but the kitchen. As you may well know, I have no desire to confine myself to the kitchen.

To make matters worse (in my almost disabled brain), Farmer H says he doesn't know what is making that sound. That it's not an alarm. It's not a circuit board (which The Pony suggested). He has no idea what is BEEPing! He thought it should have stopped when he disconnected the outside phone line.

Whatever it is, I wish I had invented it! Imagine the fortune I could make, selling whatever is powering that BEEP, as a perpetual battery. It never expires! Of course I'd have to jack up the price, since I would have no repeat business, what with my product lasting forever.

It could have legs, though. If I also marketed it as a crazy-driver. A torture device to use on your worst enemy, to BEEP them away. People have multiple enemies! There's my repeat business! I could even use the exact same device, with different packaging. So the people wanting a never-dead battery (although an annoying never-dead battery) would not think they could buy the cheaper crazy-driver.

Oh! Another idea! I could sell a separate product, a sound-muffler, to the rich people who buy my perpetual battery.

Don't steal my inventions!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Lightning 2: The BEEPening


I heard it on the toilet in the master bathroom. Thought it was probably an electronic gewgaw going bad. It sounded like the BEEPing was on the front porch. Kind of like an electronic heartbeat. Or a heart monitor. We have no hearts on the front porch. And scarcely one on the toilet, what with the cold, cold condition of the one in my chest cavity. So I had to think of another answer.

Perhaps it was something in my lair, which is directly under the master bathroom. And contains electronic gewgaws. I knew it couldn't be New Delly, since I'd unplugged his main power cord the night before. He lately has a penchant for restarting himself between 1-2 minutes after being shut down. I don't put up with that inexplicable juju.

Or maybe it was something in Farmer H's basement workshop. That's one thin particle-board wall away from my office. It contains the water heater, and the box for the DISH that brings in New Delly's internet signal. Also a color printer, and the blower for the heat pump. I sent The Pony to investigate.

"Oh, good. I'm glad YOU hear it, too."

He returned, proclaiming the BEEPing to be something in my office, over on his old metal office desk the size (and color) of a battleship. OR something to do with the water heater or filter, on the other side of the wall.

When I descended to my lair, I turned my head like a robin listening for a worm. First in the lair, then the workshop. The BEEPing was louder in the workshop. I figured it was a job for Farmer H.

Farmer H, and his apprentice, The Pony, commenced a myriad of troubleshooting. Which included running all faucets, flushing all toilets, checking all breakers, crawling under the BARN-side porch, listening at all telephone receivers, and calling the house phone.


The lightning strike tripped the breaker for the well pump. Farmer H reset it. It also tripped the breaker for my undercabinet outlets in the kitchen. Which I discovered the next morning, when my phone didn't charge. The Pony reset it for me. So much for Farmer H thoroughly checking the breaker box. Good news is: the water heater and its filter are fine.

Bad news is: we have an issue with a telephone wire outside the Mansion. That alarm is on the gadget for the phone wire where it comes into the Mansion. AT&T will have to make a service call and service the outside line. IF they determine that the problem is INSIDE the Mansion, it will cost $99.

Farmer H is confident that this is not the case, since when he disconnected the house line, and called the house phone with his cell, he got a busy signal. If the outside line was intact, it would have made the ringing sound, like no one was picking up. ALSO, there is no dial tone inside the house. Only static on the house receivers when you lift them to make a call. Same as when our outside phone wire was severed by HOS (Hick's Oldest Son) when doing some odd job for Farmer H a few years ago.

Anyhoo... I am still being tortured by the BEEPening. It cannot be silenced, until the wire is fixed, and the alarm reset. An online work order purports that our service will be restored by Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. I'm pretty sure my current headache will last until then.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Good Thing I Wasn't Standing Next To The Pony

Friday's weather included a triangle with a big ! in it. I thought there might be thunderstorms, so I clicked on it. And only found a heat warning, plus a 60 percent chance of rain by evening.

Heh, heh! Those weathermen who want to be called meteorologists sure have a good thing going. They can PREDICT the weather. They just can't tell us what weather we're actually going to get. I found that most troublesome when I was WORKING, and counting on a snow day that never materialized after I stayed up celebrating half the night

Anyhoo... it was hot as blazes (90 in the garage) when I left for town. Once I got there, it was even hotter (101 in line at Dairy Queen). A DAY HOT ENOUGH TO MAKE THE DEVIL SIGH. That's a line I like to steal from the song Watermelon Crawl, by Tracy Byrd.

Dark clouds had been moving in during my outing. They were right over me as I left Dairy Queen with a 2-piece chicken and pretzel sticks. By the time I hit the city limits just past Farmer H's Storage Unit Store, T-Hoe's mirror-thermometer said it was 81 degrees! The temp had dropped 20 degrees in five minutes! That's never a good thing.

The day got darker as I headed for the Mansion. Dusklike as I pulled into the garage. When I opened the back hatch for The Pony to get the groceries, I heard raindrops plinking down on the concrete of the carport. JUST IN TIME!

It was raining harder as I patted the dogs and headed up the porch steps. The wind picked up, blowing the rain sideways, sending little clumps of leaves off the trees. Juno had run to her house. She doesn't like storms. Jack seemed nervous, but not enough to miss a treat of grease bread. He hides out in hay bales over by the goat pen, but now he was trapped on the porch. I assume he went to lie in his hole under the Gator under the carport, or went to one of the dog houses on the end other end of the porch.

I was standing at the cutting block, sorting groceries to put away, talking to The Pony, who was scratching a crossword lottery ticket... when IT happened.


I felt a jolt as the front yard lit up with white light. The Pony swore that he saw a RED flash in the back yard through the kitchen window. My arm-hair waved like sea anemone tentacles, from their perch atop my goosebumps! I was SHAKEN! The adrenaline was pumping! I've never been so close to being struck by lightning. The flash and the CRACK were instantaneous. I fully expected to see a tree split in half in the back yard. "The Natural" himself could make a baseball bat from it! But The Pony ran out to look, and saw nothing amiss.

Not sure I would have taken that chance if I was him. Not-Heaven, no! I wouldn't even want to be standing next to him. I'm not walking beside him as he enters our voting church, either... if he's still here at election time.

Friday, July 17, 2020

You Can't Keep A Good Mom Down

I thought it was forever
I thought it would last
Gotta try to make it
A page of my past...

Enough is enough, I won't take anymore
I'm pickin' my jaw up off the floor

'Cause you can't keep a good mom down...

Hope you know your country music! I'm sure that state-named band won't mind me borrowing their lyrics with a couple of slight changes.


Yes, it's our good friend the WIN ALL symbol! Or as Farmer H calls it, "The winnell."

Of course it was the bare minimum I could win on this ticket with a WIN ALL. But I'm not complainin'! That's a $100 winner! Good way to break my losing streak, which started the day after my big slot jackpot, and lasted three weeks! Just a couple of low-dollar wins here and there. Nowhere near my money back, or my usual win percentage. There's no hidin' from Even Steven!

Funny how my big winner was ticket number 015, which I bought on the 15th. It's not like I can see the ticket number before I buy it.

For the country-music challenged, here's a link to the song:

Thursday, July 16, 2020

My Sous Chef Might As Well Have Been Soused

Wednesday evening, I made Farmer H's dream meal. Don't expect anything fancy. Don't lament your lack of an invitation. He wanted something with hamburger, in brown gravy with mushrooms. For sides, he chose macaroni and cheese. And instant mashed potatoes. It's not like I had to attend cooking classes to whip it up. I can read a package, I can open a can.

Anyhoo... I had patted out the hamburgers, and was reading the macaroni/cheese box, when The Pony roused himself from the long couch and his computer, to come check out the kitchen. It's like opening a can of cat food within hearing of a cat.

"Do you want salt and pepper on your hamburger?"

"Both. Here. I'll fill the salt grinder, and put batteries in the pepper grinder like I meant to the other day."

Of course he needed batteries from the drawer in front of where I was standing. And paper plates (to make a funnel to channel the salt) from the holder on the counter where I was standing. Of course once re-batteried, the pepper grinder didn't work. So he had to put the old ones back in, which were on their last gasp of power. And fetch his own salt grinder, since he'd already thrown away the batteries for the salt, which he had decided to replace on principle.

"Can you hand me the pans? And the colander? And put away the milk. And stir the noodles while I get the potatoes ready?"


"Where are you going?"

"To get the colander."

"Um. It's not under the sink. It was in the stack of pans where you just got these two."

"Oh, yeah. I knew I saw it somewhere."

The noodles started to foam up. The Pony blew across the top of the pan. That dissipates the foam, in case you've never tried it. But I'm sure you have.

"I don't remember the noodles doing this when I make macaroni and cheese. But I don't use this box mix. I do the microwave individual ones."

"Oh. Turn down the burner to Medium High."

Next thing I knew, the water had stopped boiling at all.

"Did you put that on Medium High? That usually works. A slower boil. Maybe it's that burner. Put it on the mark halfway between, to heat it up again."

When I looked, the water still was not boiling.

"What did you put that on?"

"The mark halfway between."

"No way." I moved to look at it. "PONY! You turned it DOWN even more! Put it on the mark halfway between, like I said!"

"I DID!"

"You put it on the mark halfway between Medium High and MEDIUM!"

"Because you said!"

"No. It wasn't boiling. Why would you turn it DOWN even lower? I meant UP, halfway between Medium High and HIGH!"

We won't go into The Pony's assorted other excuses to show that obviously this was MY fault... It wasn't even as if he'd imbibed half a bottle of his CHOCOLATE wine, like he did with supper the night before. I really DO appreciate his help. Even if it slows me down.

At least he was able to get his own pickle out of the jar, to put on the plate beside his hamburger.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Misappropriation Of Two Door-Pounders

Monday morning, the green-shirted door-pounders returned to the Mansion.

It was shortly after 9:00 a.m., and I was UP and sitting at HIPPIE at the front window. The Pony was leaning over the back of the long couch (with me hoping he couldn't read my open comments about him). Farmer H had just returned from town, having gassed-up A-Cad for a day trip, and was sitting in the new La-Z-Boy replacement.

"Oh, Mom. There are two men walking across the yard, and petting Jack."

"Those are the tree men."

Farmer H jumped up and ran for the door. He greeted them, and walked across the yard to Shackytown Boulevard. He was gone a good long time. As long as I was in the shower, after finishing up my computing.

"Why were you with those Tree Men so long?"

"I just walked them over. They said they'd talked to my wife before."

"I TOLD you that. Way back when they were here the first time. I said they could drive down to trim the trees, but they didn't because the ground was wet."

"Yeah. They wanted to make sure."

"What were you doing, SUPERVISING them?"


"I know! You were showing them your themed sheds!"

"I did show them my sheds."

"They are getting paid by the hour by our electric company, to trim trees away from the electric lines. Not look at your hoarded stuff!"

"They liked it."

"I'd like it too, if it was prolonging me from actual work."

"Then they wanted to make sure which trees they could trim. Because people tell them, then get mad after they're trimmed. I told them to cut down the whole trees."

"So you had them doing free work for you?"

"Well. I guess you could say that. I've been meaning to cut down some of them trees by the goat pen."

"I guess it's easier for them to cut down a whole tree at the bottom that get up in a lift and trim limbs. Did they also put the trees they cut in their woodchipper?" [WOODCHIPPER!]

"Uh huh. And I think I might have sold the red Scout to the young guy." [The Scout is a cheaper version of a Gator.]

"Did you tell him it doesn't run?"

"Yeah. I said it hasn't been started in a long time, and that it needs a battery. And probably a new carburetor. He said he'd give me $700 for it." 

That Farmer H... He's a regular Tom Sawyer. I wish he'd tricked them into painting his ugly picket fence out by the carport.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A Blog Post About Blog Posts

I'm sure this won't reap the success of a coffee table book about coffee tables, but today's post is about today's post.

Last night, my internet conked out. It was 11:45 p.m. I tried everything in my bag of restorative tricks. I did the troubleshooting on New Delly. It pointed me to the router. I unplugged and replugged. No success. I did a restart of New Delly. Nope. I unplugged the router again, and proceeded to Farmer H's basement workshop to the location of the DISH thingy that brings in our internet from its special satellite. Unplugged that. Replugged and retraced my steps to the router. That usually works. Not this time. I gave up around 12:30.

I normally write my blog posts around 12:30 or 1:00 a.m. Couldn't do it. I could have typed them up in Word on New Delly. Then copied and pasted this morning. But that leaves wonky spacing that needs correcting through the Tx thingy on Blogger. Also, the Word file would have been on New Delly. I'm in no mood to creak my knees down to my dark basement lair in the morning, in case my internet was back. I spend morning computer time on HIPPIE, my laptop, at the living room window.

Thank the Gummi Mary, the internet was back this morning. And by MORNING, I mean 11:00 a.m. I set about typing up my blog posts around 11:30, after washing dishes. I was hoping to get them done by 1:00, the usual time I set my posts to come out. Well, guess who emerged from his cell for the first time in about 4 weeks...


Oh, how I've wished to converse with him in the mornings. But he remains sealed in his cell, eschewing motherly love (and possible advice). Yet this morning, he was eager to discuss our escapade of yesterday. I chatted a bit, as my HIPPIE's screen went dark. Then explained my predicament to him. At which point The Pony began a discourse on how I could have typed up my posts in Blogger's COMPOSE mode. No. Not if I don't have internet to access it. Or in Word. No. It would be downstairs on New Delly's Word, not upstairs on HIPPIE's Word. The Pony was not pickin' up what I was layin' down. He left me in a fit of disgruntledness. BOTH of us.

I went back to typing, after having to log in again. What in the absolute NOT-HEAVEN! Here came Farmer H, blathering about going to town to get himself some lunch. On and on about his lawnmower, and his weed-sprayer. He's NEVER in the Mansion at this time of day. And me with two blog posts to compose.

It's now 12:41. I got the post done already for my not-so-secret blog, and set it for the regular posting time. This one is going out after proofreading.

It's hard out here for a MIMP (Mom In-the-midst-of Making Posts).

Monday, July 13, 2020

Surely It Is Not I, The Thorn

I'm a little worried about Farmer H. Sunday evening, he was extra-grouchy when I came up from my lair to start supper. A supper which I thought he was bringing home, due to our conversation the previous evening, when he took 15 minutes to once again try to log in again to his Casey's Rewards account, and declare that he had a deal on two single-topping pizzas.

Yet Sunday evening, Farmer H denied any knowledge of such a plan. Saying so makes it so, with Farmer H. No way could he deny getting logged in again to his Casey's Rewards account. I even tried it twice for him.

Anyhoo... Farmer H glossed over that attempt to jog his memory, and redirected by saying he hasn't felt well all day, because he's had a pain in his side for three days. Yet when interrogated questioned, he said that it hurt when he was at the doctor Friday for his shot, but he didn't bring it up.

The Pony suggested that maybe it had something to do with the beers Farmer H drank while floating in the pool for over an hour.

"In the sun?"

"No. The beers were in the shade. But they WERE cheap beers."

"He drank the beers he MADE? With Genius's gift kit?"

"No. The ones he has in the fridge."

"What? That is Michelob! NOT a cheap beer! Cheap beer is THE BEAST. Which is what we used to drink right after we got married."

"Okay. So I guess maybe it's not the beer."

We did a virtual exam, with Farmer H in the La-Z-Boy replacement, and The Pony on the floor by the long couch, and me standing behind it. The pain was not low enough to be in the appendix area. It was not a sharp, straight-through pain like a gallbladder ailment.

Farmer H's pain is on his side-abdomen. On the right. So it's not his stomach. Maybe his liver. He says it hurts when he lays down in bed. And when he was laying in the chair. It didn't hurt when he sat on the couch and ate supper on the coffee table. He said he skipped lunch. But even though he felt bad, he still demanded held me to the original plan (before his Casey's offer) that I make a Devil's Playground Deli pizza.

You'd think someone sick enough to miss lunch would prefer something lighter than a meat-lover's pizza for supper.

Anyhoo... at 11:00, I heard him cough, in the La-Z-Boy replacement. The Pony declared that it was NOT DAD in the chair, because the lights were off. So I muted the TV and hollered up, so Farmer H could admit that he WAS in the chair, trying to sleep, and he was okay.

When The Pony started upstairs around 12:30, I said,

"Will you check on your dad? And make sure he's breathing? Hey! You don't have to roll your eyes like that!"

"It's not that I mind checking to see if he's breathing. It's that you act like such a request is perfectly normal."

Anyhoo... Farmer H was not in the chair then (darn that replacement chair, not having any identifying creaks and squeaks), but in bed. Which is no use checking on him there, because a light would wake him.

As I type this, I've heard Farmer H get out of bed and flush the toilet. So he's still kickin' for now. But I AM kind of worried about him. The Pony and I think maybe it's skeletomuscular, since he was running wire to put in security cameras at his Storage Unit Store on Thursday and Friday. It's an activity that would use muscles he doesn't regularly use. Farmer H says that's not the cause.

I'm pretty sure he won't let the pain in his side interfere with his gun-buying trip on Monday. But maybe he'll go to the doctor on Tuesday.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Pony Blazes A Trail That I Would Have Left Overgrown

Leave it to The Pony to push the envelope. To go boldly where no Hillbilly has gone before. The child who would only eat four food groups (hot dogs, butter, bread, and Happy Meals) has gone out on the libation limb and tried something new.


I know! Who would have thunk it? He chose it for himself when I let him out at The Devil's Playground with a list and my debit card. I DID give him permission to get wine. I did not specify any restrictions. It's not like I drink it. Though The Pony DID bring a glass down to my lair, and offer me a taste. By offer, I mean he shoved it under my nose, said "Mmm!" and put it to my lips.

Let the record show that I first said, "UGH!" Then took a sniff. Then a taste. Then said, "It reminds me of something. I think it's YOO HOO (a chocolate flavored soda), with an alcohol aftertaste."

To be fair, it was better than any other wine he has made me taste, and better than the assorted unnamed wines in tiny pill-dispensing cups that we voted on at my sister the ex-mayor's wife's Christmas party game.

But the BEST thing I can say about the chocolate wine is:


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Uninvited Guests Are Forbidden At The Mansion!

Friday mornings are a lazy time here at the Mansion. Oh, who are we kidding... EVERY day is a lazy day here at the Mansion. But on Fridays, Farmer H goes off to his Storage Unit Store early. Then he takes his friend to her cancer treatments. Then he has lunch and goes Goodwilling until time to pick up his friend. Then he goes to shoot the bull with his buddy This Guy, who sold us the $5000 house. Then he gets his shot. So he doesn't get home until around 4:30-5:00.

I sleep in.

I was happily snoozing away, probably sawing logs like a lumberjack, when something startled me awake. Copper Jack was barking his fool head off.


What in the Not-Heaven? Where was that coming from? Too forceful for the squirrel circus around the metal self-feeder for the dogs on the back porch--


Hey! That was KNOCKING on the front door! Sweet Gummi Mary, who could be knocking at my front door at the NOT-HEAVENLY hour of 9:20 in the morning???


Aw, Not-Heaven, NO! I was not about to drag myself to the front door in my pajamas, with bed-head, to see what some random pounder wanted, trespassing up in this private-homeowners' enclave!

The pounding stopped. I was wide awake. I crept to the living room. Couldn't see anyone through the slim windows beside the front door. I peeped through the mini-blinds of the big window by HIPPIE.


One was stocky, like The Veteran, and walked like him, too. The other was nondescript. They continued to the BARn field. Copper Jack followed, at a respectable distance, still barking menacingly. They made a right turn to walk up through the field toward the gravel road. The Veteran never would have done that. He would have parked at the BARn, or driven over to the front yard or driveway.

The only visitors I could think of would be the tree-trimmers who showed up a few months ago, wanting to trim trees for the electric company, but the ground was too muddy.

On the way home from town, beside the Creach (Creek Beach), I passed a Townsend Tree Service truck, pulling a woodchipper, coming out of our compound, .

Mystery solved. I am SO glad I didn't get up to open the door for that.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Witness For The Persecution

Aha! Farmer H has been caught in the act. The trap may not have sprung shut, but it's slowly choking the life out of him. He shall rue the day that he tries to pull the wool over Mrs. HM's hazel eyes!

When we piled into A-Cad for the casino trip on Wednesday, I interrogated him on the position of the passenger seat. MY seat!

"Why is my seat leaning so far back? I never ride with it like that. I feel like I'm on a rocket, launching into space."

"That seat hasn't been moved since you were in it last week, HM, when we went to the casino."

"That was TWO weeks ago!"

"Nobody has been in here. I don't drive this car."

"You drove it to the auction last night! OnStar told me!"

"Well, sometimes I drive it."

"Yeah. I guess you had one of your girlfriends in here. Or your cancer friend."

"No. I drive my truck for that."

"Well, this seat has been moved. Anybody can see that! It's leaning farther back than YOURS!"

Farmer H continued to float down that river in Egypt. On the way home, he started talking about taking a trip.

"I need to go somewhere. A little vacation. I'd like to go to Kentucky or wherever that Noah's Ark is. But I don't want to go by myself. You won't go with me. Or maybe I'll just go down to Springfield, to visit my buddy, and go to Bass Pro Shop. Or down to Oklahoma, and spend a day going through those junk stores we seen along the road..."

We stopped for the mail. It contained some offers from Downstream Casino, where we have our CasinoPaloozas.

"Oh, look. Casino offers. Let's see. You have $5 a week free play. No free rooms. No rooms on the weekends, but you can get a $59 room during the week."

"Huh. No free rooms at all? That would have been good for me to stay there."

"I have free rooms during the week! But they're $49 on weekends. And $7 a week free play!" Said The Pony.

"Well, I'm a high-roller. I have free rooms all weekdays AND weekends! Plus I have $40 a week free play! Hey! We can all go and use my free rooms! The Pony and I can stay and gamble, and you can go do your thing."

"NO. I don't want to do that!"

"Oh, I get it. It's fine to have free rooms and stay there if you're by yourself. But not with US. I guess you're planning a getaway with one of your girlfriends."

"No. No. That's 70 miles from Springfield! I don't want to stay there, and drive an hour to go do my stuff."

"Dad. You literally just said how great it would be if you had a free room there. And then said you didn't want to stay there if WE were with you!"

Uh huh. I rest my case.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Self-Serve Drinks Are Back!

Wednesday, we made a trip to the casino. Nobody was a real winner, though I came out on the plus side, leaving with more than I took in. I may tell the tale elsewhere. The thing I am announcing here today is that


We didn't even know. Of all people, FARMER H is the one who made the discovery! We'd already had lunch, courtesy of my player's points. We each had a combo, so as to get the drink. Gambling is pretty thirsty work! There are no refills in the little grill where Farmer H and The Pony had burgers, and I had the chicken club sandwich. But the cups are tall, and I always have some soda (Diet PEPSI) left to carry around with me.

Imagine my surprise when Farmer H showed up at my left elbow, through the clear flap of plastic protecting passersby from my cooties, holding a little foam cup.

"The sodas are back."

Farmer H said he saw people walking around with little cups, and went to investigate.

I had seen the sign that hangs over the self-serve drink area. But I figured it had been there all along, and I hadn't noticed when such drinks were forbidden. Well! They're baa aaack! I don't see why not! Everybody gets a clean cup off the upside-down stack in the holder. Nobody refills those little cups. Nobody would touch a spout with their hand. Just shove the fresh cup against the lever, and the soda pours in. Perfectly safe.

Those clear plastic dividers, however, are NOT!

I swear, the dang weirdos hone in on me like a carbon-dioxide-seeking mosquito at dusk! The first one was a gal who sat down on my right, and lit up a cigarette. You might think that clear plastic divider would protect me from the stream of her second-hand smoke. And it would have! IF she held her cigarette like a civilized person, and not some ill-mannered freak!


Who does that? Ill-mannered freaks, that's who!

Weirdo Numero Dos actually sat down at that same slot. On my right. And seemed to be minding her manners, immediately getting a bonus on the game I had been playing for an hour, unsuccessfully, on the slot right next to her. I didn't begrudge her the win... okay, YES I DID, I was a begrudgin' curmudgeon! But what really made me give her the stink- side-eye was her penchant for


Sweet Gummi Mary! I bet Weirdo Numero Dos kicked me diez times! She didn't even have the courtesy to say she was sorry for chipping away at my lateral malleolus! Not even after I gathered the gumption to look down and sigh heavily enough to sway that clear plastic divider every time she did it.

Those clear plastic dividers need to be full-length!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Not Exactly WHO, But WHAT?

Farmer H sent me a picture Tuesday morning. He does that often. I think he's just trying to figure out what time I get up, by checking his phone to see when his message has been read!

Anyhoo, here it is:

You'll notice that Farmer H used his standard method of photography... centering the subject in a wide display of unneeded scenery. The picture of The Pony on his first tour of OU comes to mind.

Anyhoo, the current picture came with a message:

"Saw this I'll setting in the field this morning I watched him about 5 minutes"

I'm guessing that Farmer H was using the voice feature on his phone to put in the message. And that the picture was of an OWL. I wasn't sure at first. It looked like a cat to me. With white legs. I tried to crop and zoom in a bit.

Which still gives it a cat-like feeling. Or maybe an alien, when I zoom in closer ant it pixelates.

You never know what kind of wildlife might be hiding in Hillmomba.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Creach Is The New Grand Central Station

After a brief lull, the Creach, our creek beach, is once again as busy as a Richard Scarry picture book! I almost need a push-button WALK/DON'T WALK signal to get across the road to fetch the mail from EmBee.

Monday afternoon, I might possibly have interrupted a tryst!

When I rounded the last curve, I saw a blue SUV kind of in the gravel road. It was beside the Bus-Waiting Shack. In the little gravel alcove where one of our local residents had her Creach towel spread out one day... was parked THE MAIL JEEP!

Let the record show that the USPS does NOT deliver up our gravel road. That vehicle had no business there during working hours. I might have mentioned that once before, I caught that mail jeep parked on the gated road across the low water bridge, again next to another car.

Why am I all at once humming "Afternoon Delight?"

I don't know what was going on, but there had been another car just ahead of me that turned onto the county blacktop road and headed towards town. When I parked T-Hoe to harvest the pile of mail I could see through EmBee's wide-open door (sloppy, sloppy, Mistress Mailman!), the blue SUV started its engine. I nonchalantly did not look! No good can come of interrupting the possible illicit tryst of a federal employee! One who might have an arsenal acquired from Farmer H's Storage Unit Store!

While my back was to them, the blue SUV drove up the gravel road, and the mail jeep made a T-turn and was leaving our gravel road as I walked back across to T-Hoe. It headed over the bridge, continuing its route.

I guess I know why our mail has been arriving later and later. There must be other Creach areas between here and town...

Monday, July 6, 2020

More Verbal Sparring With The Pony

Same Stuff, Different Day.

Sunday morning (and by that I mean 1:05 p.m.) I stood at the piano bench in the hall outside The Pony's room, putting on my socks in preparation for my trip to town. I called through the closed door to see if he wanted me to bring him something for lunch.

His reply was a bit terse. "I don't want to ask you to bring me anything. But if you insist, I would eat some pretzels from Dairy Queen."

"I don't know why you have to take that tone with me! Why you have to be so disgusted and depressed."


"Oh. Okay. Because I can see through the wall and know that."

SWEET GUMMI MARY! You try to be nice to someone, and that's the thanks you get!

Later that evening, I was slicing onion, tomato, and pickle for Farmer H to dress up his chicken sandwich supper. The Pony stood at the cutting block, putting a mixture of mayo and ketchup on his bun.

"That's a lot of mayo! But isn't it about to expire anyway?"

"Oh! It already expired!"


"July 4th."

"Stop! Don't throw that away! It's good through the end of the month. Today's only the 5th!"

"It's not as much when I spread it out on the bun."

"I don't care how much you eat. I'm just thinking about it dripping as you lift it to your mouth. Over my CARPET!"


As Farmer H and The Pony were strapping on the old feedbag, I sat on the short couch to converse. The Pony was at his regular dinner seat, on the floor, with his legs under the coffee table, leaning back against the long couch. He lifted his half-eaten sandwich to his mouth, and I saw two drops drip down between his body and the coffee table.

"Uh huh!"


"I saw that!"

"Huh! And how many food stains do you have on YOUR shirt?"

"It's a shirt. Not a carpet!"

The Pony reached down and swiped the mayo/ketchup off his leg. Twice. And licked his finger. Happy coincidence for him, another psychic premonition for me.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

My Feet Are Revolting

Every step you take and every move you make
Every bone you break, every stride you take, I'll be hurting you
Every single day and every cry of "Hey!"
Every blame you lay, every night m'kay, I'll be hurting you
Oh can't you see, you've done wrong to me
How my poor toe aches with every step you take
Every move you make, and every "Yow!" you fake
Every pile you rake, every thirst you slake, I'll be hurting you

After all the complaining and maligning I've done of FEET... now my feet have rebeled! Revolted! Do you hear that?


Old blind wobbly people who get up at night to pee very two hours should really turn on a light. Or find some exercises to improve spatial awareness. Or train their nightly-soaking son to push the bathroom door all the way against the wall.

I hit my left pinky-toe with the bathroom door! Hit it hard enough to bend it backwards! The little piggy who goes WEE WEE WEE all the way home. Not the door itself.

The Pony doesn't need a lot of room to exit the master bathroom after his jet-abuse of the big triangle tub. The door is sometimes partly closed. Farmer H does not close the door when he goes to the bathroom. I DO! So when I walked into that bathroom when I came upstairs, it darker than the inside of an ink vat at midnight... I grabbed the edge of the door to close it. It was closer to my foot than I imagined, and I pried that pinky-toe away from the side of my foot with the edge of the door.

That was last week. I'm pretty sure I broke that pinky-toe. Assuming it has enough bone inside to break, of course. My pinky-toe is really just a little stub of a thing. I sometimes think it's just a flap of skin tacked onto the end of my foot. It's squishy and plump. Has a toenail. But bending all the way back like that makes me think it doesn't contain a bone.

Of course I knew it was hurt right away. Knew it before I could feel it. That's because the nerves from your feet to your brain have quite a long pathway to transmit that electrical impulse of pain. It's like seeing the lightning before you hear the thunder. You know it's coming. But sometimes you're not prepared for the magnitude.

The next day, my pinky-toe was PURPLE!

It's not like I could do anything for it. There's not quite enough toe to tape it to the next one. When I walk on that foot, the PURPLEY-TOE kind of rolls sideways and under the next toe. My foot swelled up. Putting that PURPLEY-TOE in a shoe was not pleasant. Not even in a CROC!

It's slowly getting better. Still painful. Not as purple. It doesn't hurt enough to keep me from a casino trip mid-week...

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Sizzle Like Bologna On A Griddle, Or Get Lost In A Corn Maze

Friday I had two bills to mail. All of our vehicle insurance for the next six months, and the yearly renewal of our AAA membership. They're not due for at least two weeks, but I always write out my payments as soon as I get them. You just can't depend on the mail around here.

Anyhoo... with no pressing deadline, I figured I could just mail them at the Dead-Mouse-Smelling Post Office. The drive-thru mailbox has its own little road by a tiny park with a fountain. But I got to thinking. It's the 4th of July weekend. What if some kid decided to toss a firecracker in the snout of that mailbox? Then my bills would be burnt! So just in case, I decided to carry my bills inside and use the flip-door thingy in the wall of the inner post office.

Then there was the dilemma on where to park. There are 3-4 spots along the sidewalk in front. I usually park there. I can hold onto the back of T-Hoe to step up and down on the curb. There's a handrail on the six steps. BUT that handrail is painted black! Whose bright idea was this? Do you know how HOT a black metal handrail gets in the summer sun? SHEESH! It's like my hand is a slice of bologna on a hot griddle!

So I parked in the side parking lot, where there's a gradual ramp. It's a longer walk. But no steps. Just a maze that keeps me mentally sharp, avoiding Old Timer's Disease, as the kids call it these days. Here's the ramp route:

Here's a bit of trivia for you! That red car out front? It belongs to the Man Owner of the Gas Station Chicken Store! Small world, huh? I saw him coming out as I was wending through the wrought-iron maze. He called out to me, and I said,

"I'll be down to your place in a minute!"

I was actually aiming my phone camera to get a picture of the steps. I waited until he was out of frame, in case he wanted to remain anonymous.

Sorry for the tilt. The Dead-Mouse-Smelling Post Office was not going down like the Titanic. I just didn't commit to a vertical photo or a horizontal. Anyhoo... that metal rail is flat, and really soaks up the sun's energy. Not at this time though, because the sun went behind the clouds.

Anyhoo... my bills went through the flip-door thingy in the wall inside. I even pulled it out again, to make sure they slid down. They did. One less thing to worry about.

Friday, July 3, 2020

I Haven't Revealed This Faux Pas To The Pony Yet

Let if never be said that Mrs. HM can't find a variety of methods to embarrass herself!

Thursday, I stopped while doing my errands over in Sis-Town. I get T-Hoe's gas at the Casey's there. You have to pay inside now, before pumping. Unless you want to use a credit card. Farmer H says the debit card won't work at the pump. People online complaining about Casey's say that their debit card DOES work at the pump, but it puts a $100 hold on their bank account for several days. I don't know who's telling the biggest fib, or if Farmer H and these highway-robbed folks are both right. All I know is that I pay with cash, inside.

I always ask for my receipt. That's because Farmer H mentioned that he does so when he pays with cash (you didn't think I let him buy gas with our credit card, did you?), because if somebody in a similar vehicle drives off, what proof do you have, if stopped, that you actually DID pay for your gas?

Anyhoo... this has been the procedure for at least six months now. I've never forgotten to pump my gas once I paid. Not even when distracted by my new scratchers. So on Thursday, I paid inside, and pumped my gas. I got back in T-Hoe, and headed to Hillmomba to get my 44 oz Diet Coke at the Gas Station Chicken Store.

Shortly after I left the Casey's lot, I had a feeling that someone was following me. There's a stoplight up the road from the exit. The cars had been stopped. Yet it still seemed like someone was tailgating me. I crossed the railroad tracks in front of the newest Domino's Pizza, and crossed the bridge over the Flat River. We're not very creative with names around here...

That's when I had time to look in the side mirror, and see


How embarrassing! And a line of cars behind me, with a clear view of my stupidity on display! Did they think I was a novice driver, who didn't know how to pump gas? Probably not, in big ol' T-Hoe. Did they think I was a senile old crone, who forgot how to pump gas? I don't know. But what I DO know is that I had nowhere to pull over and shut that little round door that covers the gas cap. Not until I drove six mile to the Gas Station Chicken Store.

Oh, I did have one opportunity, at the School-Turn Casey's, about halfway there. But that didn't seem like something my knees wanted to do, climbing down and up an extra time.

At least I'd screwed the gas cap back on, so it wasn't dangling, flapping in the breeze against T-Hoe's flank.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Scapegoat Lines Have Become Blurred

I'm pretty sure I've given The Pony a case of PTSD. It was unintentional, I assure you! It's not my fault that he seems to break or stain most things he comes in contact with. And forget things like two beautiful ribeye steaks ($14.99!) in the back of T-Hoe on a 92-degree day. And get stung by a wasp simply because he walked under a nest that I've walked under a thousand times before.

Farmer H grilled those steaks on Wednesday evening. I made them baked potatoes, and garlic bread out of steak rolls. I had hamburger for myself, with a sliced tomato, onion, and pickles.

As The Pony was plopping his thick ribeye onto one of the GOOD paper plates, the slick kind with a pattern and a rim... I said

"You should take two plates. So it's sturdy enough. You can put the bottom one back on the stack when you're done, if it's still good."

The Pony took his plate, along with the special REAL butter he'd bought for himself (his picking, my money), to the coffee table in front of the long couch. I went to sit on the short couch, until all the activity was out of the kitchen. Farmer H was filling his plate, buttering his potato with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, and adding a tomato that I sliced for him.

Let the record show that I didn't command them to use paper plates. That was their choice. I already had a few other dishes to wash. Real plates would not have made much difference.

Anyhoo... Farmer H was sitting in the La-Z-Boy (with a butt-pinch in his future when he stood up), with his plate on the arm of the chair, cutting into his steak. If I had been planning to eat in a recliner, I guaran-darn-tee you that I would have cut the meat and the tomato slices in the kitchen while unbelieveably-buttering my potato. Because that's just awkward to do in a recliner.

Anyhoo... a few short minutes later, Farmer H held his plate out in front of himself, and arose from the recliner. He had commented that he didn't get his steak done as well as he preferred. While The Pony said HIS steak was not as rare as he would have liked. Of course they didn't mention switching with each other. The Pony had slathered butter on top of his, like the Mansion is some fancy steakhouse.

Anyhoo... when Farmer H got up, headed toward the kitchen, I said

"Oh. Are you going to microwave it?"

"No it's done enough. I'm getting another plate. This one leaked on the arm of the chair."

Indeed. I could see the darker color, from the wetness. Farmer H returned with two select-a-size paper towels. He began scrubbing the chair arm.

"Um. I'd probably blot it. Because when you rub with a paper towel, it leaves little pieces behind."

"I'm not rubbing it! Do you see me rubbing it! I'm blotting!"

"NOW. But yes, I most certainly DID see you rubbing the paper towel. That's why I said not to do it."

"Oh, I was only rubbing it for a minute!"

The Pony rolled his eyes and smacked his forehead.

"Pony. Seriously. Do you know how Dad has managed to live this long, without a shred of common sense?"

The Pony did not.

"And I can't believe Dad brought a steak and tomato in here on ONE plate, and thought that sawing them with my Pioneer Woman knife would be a good idea!"

The Pony nodded.

"Mom. Really. If you had just seen that chair stain tomorrow... you would have blamed ME, wouldn't you?"

"Well. Yes. I would. Because let's face it, Pony. Almost everything you touch gets damaged in some way."

"I know. But for once, it WASN'T ME!"

"You DO take after your father... And you only have two plates because I TOLD you to get two plates!"

Poor Pony. He can't help himself. And neither can I.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Another PONY IN A MANSION Catastrophe

Poor pitiful Pony. He's like Charlie Brown's buddy, PigPen. Except instead of a cloud of dirt hovering over his head, it's a cloud of misfortune.

The Pony trotted out to help me carry in groceries on Tuesday. And by help me, I mean he gathered up the bags and toted them in, while I sat in T-Hoe, opening and closing T-Hoe's back hatch. The reason for sealing up the uncarried groceries in this mobile vault will be revealed later, elsewhere.

Anyhoo... The Pony made 3 trips from garage to kitchen. Once we were inside, I remembered something that was missing. That being the MAIN REASON I went to town, which was to buy steaks for Farmer H and The Pony to grill the next day.

Anyhoo... The Pony made another trip to the garage, and found the steaks, and brought them in. At the kitchen door, I heard a squeal. The Pony lurched inside, with a look of pain, and gait of instant disability.

"I just got stung!"

Only the day before, The Pony had informed me

"The wasps are building their nests over the kitchen door again. Dad needs to get out his spray."

Of course neither of us mentioned it to Farmer H. I usually go on a killing spree in early Spring. But haven't for the last couple years. The wasps don't swarm. I don't even notice them. But here was my sweet, helpful Pony, attacked in his prime.

"OH! Now it's in the house! On the window, behind the shades!"

"So sorry I let it in while I was INCAPACITATED WITH PAIN!"

Said The Pony, a bit snarkily, walking like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with his facial expression comparable to Marty Feldman's in Young Frankenstein.

I stalked the wasp with a flyswatter that hangs from a metal hook on the metal frame that holds the cutting block. I pulled out the shade, and swatted him. Made him cringe, swatted him again. He fell to the window frame, where I again pounded him. Fell to the floor, under the chair that Farmer H uses to pile his four 6-packs of Diet Mountain Dew. I swatted that wasp again, as he was dragging himself along the floor with one leg. He must have stuck to the webbing of the flyswatter. I thought he flipped onto a dead leaf, but when I poked it, he wasn't there.

That wasp had disappeared like Michael Myers from the front lawn at the end of the original Halloween. I guess maybe he flipped into the air conditioner slotted vent. The wasp. Not fictional Michael Myers. Thought that end, too, could have set up the series of sequels.

I looked at The Pony's left shoulder. He had TWO stings! Though he only felt one, and could only see one, by scrunching his neck to look at his own back. He got a baggie, some ice cubes (I grudgingly spared them, without comment) and a paper towel to guard against frostbite.

Five minutes later, the stings were slightly swollen, bumped up white in the center, red around the edges, with a speck of blood from the stinger entry dead center of each wound. I sat on the short couch while The Pony ate his DQ chicken and pretzel sticks.

My dad had to carry an epi pen for an allergy to stings. The Pony is an untried sting victim. He is allergic to ampicillin, and swelled up like a sausage from the reaction, needing a trip to the ER in the middle of the night. We have always been on the alert, in case he might get stung and have a reaction. I didn't want to risk anaphylactic shock while I was in my lair, in case his throat closed and he couldn't holler for me!

Fifteen minutes later, those stings had lost the white centers. They were faintly pink. The Pony said his arm felt cold, but other than that, he was okay. So I headed to my lair with lunch.

Tomorrow (TODAY!) I'm getting out my RAID. My first kill of the year has emboldened me.