Monday, August 31, 2020

The Pony's Influence Reaches Hillmomba-Wide

The Pony has been back home since graduation three months ago. Farmer H and I have semi-adjusted to his presence. The Mansion must be perpetually on edge, awaiting the next mutilation. The Pony, you see, rarely leaves. He also holes up in his room about 21 hours a day.

Yes, it is difficult to lure The Pony out of his room. It's like trying to entice a porcupine out of its lair to be eaten, if you're a contestant on Alone on the History Channel. Like Joe Dirt using a spatula trying to pry free the dangly-organs of his girlfriend Brandy's dog Charlie that froze to the porch when he sat down. Like trying to pick a walnut out of its cracked shell after picking up the green-husked version that has fallen from the tree beside your driveway, running over it for a week with your SUV, prying off the loosened green part while staining your hands black, drying the woody walnut in the sun for a week, then squeezing it with a metal nutcracker, and trying to stab it with a pointy-ended tool to drag it out for fudge-making.

The Pony really is a homebody. Or a Mansionbody.

Anyhoo... on Friday, The Pony agreed to ride with me to pick up some Little Caesar's Pizza for our lupper. I'd like to think it was the promise of my company that got him out, but I'm pretty sure it was the pizza. And breadsticks. And red sauce. And garlic butter. And Pepsi. That was the the major appeal.

It's quite convenient for the modern-age Pony to order online and go in to liberate our pizza from the lock-box thingy with a code. He has offered to pick it up on his own (surely not to avoid spending time with ME!), and has done so a couple times.

Here's the thing. The Pony likes to eat his food while it's hot. Meaning IN THE CAR. The first time, he spoke of eating it as he drove home. YIKES! The Pony is not that great a drive when all systems are activated! I sure didn't want him driving distractedly while strapping on the old feedbag. The next solo trip, The Pony sat in the parking lot for feeding. Better for him, but not so much for our pizza.

Anyhoo... I offered to drive, and The Pony ate while we drove to pick up my 44 oz Diet Coke on the way home. It's a bit of an inconvenience to have The Pony along riding shotgun, rather than BEHIND MY SEAT as he did all through high school. I've forbade that now. So I have to move my bottle of T-Hoe water to the holders by the back seats, and set my purse behind the passenger seat. I can still reach them, but it's awkward, because they're out of place. Harder to get the checkbook to write down the amount of the pizza. Harder to find my notecard that I used to write down the good songs I hear and want to listen to later on Spotify.

Anyhoo... on Saturday, I started to town for my magical elixir and scratchers. The Pony was happy to stay home and make his noodle-chicken lunch, while dreaming of the re-heated pizza and breadstick supper still to come.

I was a bit discombobulated after stopping by the cutting block to micromanage The Pony's chicken-slicing. The littlest change in my 4-year-old routine throw me off. For instance, I meant to get an acetaminophen out of the cabinet above the stove, on my way out. The previous day had been the one-in-four days that I skip my nightly ibuprofen. So my knees were kind of complainy, and I take an acetaminophen on those days to tide me over until that night's ibuprofen.

Once in T-Hoe, going up the driveway, I remembered. Oh, well. I just happened to have an acetaminophen in my shirt pocket. I rummaged around as I pulled out on the gravel road, and popped it in my mouth. As it laid on my tongue, I reached for my bottle of water.


Not a bottle of water, that's for sure! I had picked up The Pony's bottle of PEPSI that was sitting in the hole normally occupied by my water bottle. Wasn't THIS a fine kettle of fish! I didn't have time to reach back for my water, because I was starting down Farmer H and Buddy's Badly Blacktopped Hill. It takes two hands to handle a T-Hoe on that bumpy section. The slamming side-to-side from the bumps is bad enough, but if I meet a vehicle coming up, I must drop two tires off the side so we can pass. Don't even get me started on what would happen should I meet the ROCKERS coming at me with their flat-bed semi trailer!

So there I was, with an acetaminophen dissolving on my tongue, nothing to wash it down until I got down the blacktop, across the mini low water bridge, up the curvy hill, and over the Great Chasm. Then there was a small window of opportunity before I proceeded to the flat waterfall section of road.

Whew! I finally washed down that OTC painkiller. No thanks to The Pony's slovenly ways. I threw away the Pepsi bottle and its dregs at Country Mart.

I suppose the greatest horror of this experience was that it was a bottle of PEPSI! An unfortunate event second only to the time The Pony, riding behind my seat, withdrew his high school foot from his Adidas slides and reached his finger-like toes forward and PINCHED MY FOREARM FLESH while I was driving with my arm on the console.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

I Think You Can Understand My Desire To Micromanage

The Pony was making his own lunch as I left for town. He had some microwave noodle bowl that was a spicy chili flavor, and was cutting up a baked boneless chicken breast from the previous evening to add to it.

That was a plump chicken breast. The Pony only wanted half. He was sawing on it at the cutting block with my Pioneer Woman ceramic knife, a paper plate balance precariously on the corner. I could imagine the plate flipping chicken cubes over his head, to scatter on the site of the previous Bacon Grease Spoon Incident.

"Huh. Maybe you want to lay it on the flat side, where you cut it in half. Rather than cutting it while it's laying on the rounded side..."

"Maybe I don't."

"Just sayin'. It would be more stable."

"Meh." But he flipped over the piece of chicken to the flat side.

"Uh. You're getting a little close to the corner. You might want to move the plate."


"Well. I'm leaving now... I guess you can manage to make your own lunch."

"You didn't even look! I moved the plate out over the corner more!"

"Ha ha. Very funny. Now move it back!"

"Mother. I AM an adult. I can make my own lunch."

The bacon grease spoon begs to differ.

Let the record show that as I went out the door, The Pony asked,

"Should I microwave the chicken IN the bowl of noodles? Or before, or after?"

Saturday, August 29, 2020

I Can Accept The Brought-Home Bacon, And Bake It Up In The Roaster Pan

Farmer H brought home some bacon. I don't know where he got it. Sometimes, it's better not to ask. It was called Peppered Bacon. You could see through the wrap that it was coated with black pepper. Not my style, but I figured french-fry-peppering Farmer H and The Pony would really enjoy it.

I readied a roaster pan with potatoes and carrots and onions, sprinkled in Hidden Valley Ranch powder, and draped that bacon over the top. Gotta say, bacon makes delicious roasted vegetables!

As I was peeling away the bacon slices from the slab, I counted them. It was thick-sliced bacon. I didn't notice if it was a pound, or more. This bacon came in a rectangular shape, all slices stacked on the other. Not a flat pack where you can see parts of each slice all fanned out. I prefer to count up the bacon, and know how much you're dealing with for the meal. Especially when feeding carnivores.

There were 20 slices of peppered bacon in the package. I kind of wove it so that all slices got some exposure to the heat. Only a few slices later needed to go back in the oven. I figured that Farmer H and The Pony could have 7 slices, and I could make do with 6. Whether we decided to eat them at one sitting, or save some for later, that was an individual choice. I've found over the years of feeding 3 carnivores that it's best to let everyone know up front the size portion they are allowed. This prevents a Mr. Grant incident with Veal Prince Orloff like at Mary Richards' dinner party.

When it came time to eat, I called Farmer H into the kitchen first.

"You can have 7 slices of bacon, and as many vegetables as you want."

"Okay. One...two..."

Farmer H started talking to me about something else as he was counting out his bacon. Then he went to the recliner, and The Pony bellied up to the stove with his plate.

"Okay. So I get 6, right, because I ate a slice at lunch?"

"That's right. Then there should be 6 left for me."

"Um. Mom? If I take 6, there are only 3 left for you!"

"WHAT? That's impossible. HEY! Did you take more than 7 slices of bacon?"

"No. One two three four five, and I have two slices on a piece of bread."

"Huh. That's weird. There were 20 slices. I counted them as I took them out of the package. The Pony ate one with his lunch. So somehow, we are missing 3 slices of bacon! Did you eat some when you came in before supper? When it was stacked on the plate in the fridge?"

"No. I didn't eat any bacon."


"Only that one piece you saw me take at lunch with my vegetables."

"Huh. Well..."

"Here. I'll only take 4. And you can have 5. I have a lot of vegetables, and some rolls with cinnamon butter."

"Okay. Thanks. But I can take 4."

"No. It's okay."

Seriously? HOW DOES BACON DISAPPEAR IN FRIG II? Somebody is a secret bacon-eater. My bet is on Farmer H. I think The Pony would admit to it.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Even Steven Has The Memory Of An Elephant And Mrs. HM Combined

I'm surprised that Even Steven doesn't topple over headfirst, with his noggin being so memory-heavy. I told The Pony the other day that I felt my losing streak on the lottery should be about ready to come to an end.

"Um. After your $8,600 win at the casino, you might as well realize that you're not going to win anything the rest of your life!"

It kind of seemed that way. I even switched it up from buying $5 tickets to getting the big honkin' $30 ticket. I used some of my casino money to do so. I had a little luck, getting my money back on the ticket. Which I would re-invest into another big ticket. There are three varieties of the $30 ticket out now.

Of course it was my old favorite Golden Ticket that pulled through for me.

Don't worry about matching the numbers. I uncovered a 10X symbol down on the left side.
That was sure a relief!

It was nice to win $100, even though it cost me $30 to do it. Actually, the second-nicest thing was to WIN something instead of scratching for nothing.

Maybe this will get me back on the winning track with the $5 tickets again. We'll see...

Thursday, August 27, 2020

There's Been A Resurgence Of Ruination And Rancor

Here I was, bobbing complacently along the Lazy River of Retirement, having survived the Rapids of The Pony's Return... when I was sucked into the Maelstrom of Squalor and Grime! Pardon me. I'm still spitting and choking from fighting my way to the surface.

Wednesday morning/afternoon, I started preparing supper. Just to have it ready for a quick warm-up. No need to inconvenience myself for two hours during my prime lair time, for the sole purpose of laying out sustenance for Farmer H and The Pony to dish up and scarf down in 10 minutes. They shall eat on MY TIME, and not before.

Anyhoo... I got out the big roaster pan and filled it with baby carrots sprinkled with Hidden Valley Ranch powder. I sliced five yellow onions and cut them in wedges. Added them with their own sprinkle of Ranch. I let them have about 30 minutes to themselves in the oven, then started peeling and cutting up potatoes. Of course they got some Ranch powder! The whole pan was topped with Peppered Bacon. Farmer H bought it somewhere (hopefully not an auction or parking lot) a while back. I checked the expiration date. It was good until September.

The whole pan baked another 45 minutes or so. I told The Pony I was taking it out to turn over the bacon. He'd sniffed the aroma from his room, and ventured that he might eat some of the vegetables for lunch. He came to the kitchen and got a bowl.

"Use the slotted spoon to dip them out. There. That big one, with the blue handle."

The Pony's first choice had been a straight plastic spoon, with barely a scoop on the end. It would have been like trying to spoon up clams with a single chopstick. The slotted spoon is about 12 inches long, with a fat plastic handle with grippy thingies, and has a scooped-out slotted part about the size of a large Roma tomato. Great for dipping out baby carrots and sliced wedges of potatoes.

I was arranging the bacon slices on a plate, readying them for draining, with a plan to return a few to the pan for more oven time. The Pony had filled his bowl, and laid the slotted spoon across the end of the roaster pan, the end still mounded with potatoes.

"Wait! That's not gonna--"

I reached to save the slotted spoon from gravity, but the heavy handle succumbed before I could get a grip. That slotted spoon did a half-flip and landed on the kitchen linoleum.

"Pony. I was trying to tell you that it wouldn't stay there like that!"

"It didn't fall until you touched it!"

"Now there's bacon grease all over the floor."

"I'll wipe it up."

The Pony busied himself with picking the onion out of his bowl, to return it to the pan. Then he got a fork. Then he picked up the salt grinder and the pepper grinder. Then selected a single slice of bacon.

I caved, and ripped off a paper towel. I wet it and added soap, and started wiping up the tile-size splash of bacon grease and flecks of Ranch powder spices.

"I SAID I would do that!"

"Yes. But when? And I'm sure it would be a quick wipe with a dry paper towel, leaving the greasy residue, that would then stick to my sock, and build up a dark stain of grit over the next few days."

Off The Pony went to his room (!) to enjoy his hot lunch.

Here's the thing. The Pony is not dumb. He's got a scientific mind. HOW could he not understand the basic principles of physics? An object is not stable unless its center of gravity is located within its base of support! Anybody would have seen that the slotted spoon was heavier on the handle end. So the spoon's center of gravity was nearer to the handle than the slotted part.

Yet The Pony had tried to balance it with the middle on the rim of the roaster pan! With its center of gravity hanging over the edge like an ample rumpus trying to sit on a metal handrail. It teetered when he set it down. It was like he used the rim of the roaster pan as the fulcrum for a teeter-totter with a frail kid on the potato side, and a husky kid on the end sticking out in space over the kitchen floor.

I expected more from that little son-of-a-physics-teacher!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

We Boggle The Mind

It's so hard to get The Pony in the car with us. He's always turning down the opportunity to ride along. You'd almost think he associated the car with a trip to the veterinarian...

The only time The Pony jumps in joyfully is for a casino trip. That may change, after his last experience strapped in for 3 hours with Farmer H and Mrs. HM. Oh, he'll still jump in. But perhaps not quite joyfully. He's probably suffering nightmares about me asking him why he was breathing,  PTSD from the shorts-leg incident seared into his brain, and indignation that the tables turned on him when Juno was outed as a hoarder.

Anyhoo... just before the Juno incident, Farmer H was lamenting that he wanted me to order him some gun parts online. AS IF there was any need to move me further up the NSA watch list than my conspiracy-site-reading already has landed me!

"Oh. How much is my cut of your profit?"


"Then why would I want to help you?"

"You're always ordering stuff."

"Only at Christmas. And a cartridge for my printer."

"I don't have no computer to order on, now that I'm not working. And I'm sure not going to touch your laptop. I can imagine the fit you'd have."

"You don't touch the laptop because you don't know how it works. Every time I try to show you something you've asked about, you can't go anywhere besides the screen it's on."

"I just want you to look up my parts and order them."

"Every time you do that, I can't find what you're talking about. You give me some random part number, which could be ANYTHING! It takes hours of my valuable time! It would be different if you'd just send me the link. I could click on it and order."

"I don't know how to send a link on my phone."

"Dad! Seriously? It's right at the top."

"I gotta say, I don't know how to send a link on MY phone, either. But it's NEW, you know! I've only had it about 4 months. Besides, I'd never send a link on my phone. I have 2 computers for that!"

The Pony tapped his forehead. SIGHED.

"Do you AT LEAST know how to send a link on your computer?"

"Of course. I'm not an IDIOT!"

"You both make me hurt..."

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Pony Doesn't Fall Far From The Canine

The Pony was slow to put in his earbuds on the way to the casino last week. So on the curvy road Farmer H takes to get to the less-curvy road that takes us to the interstate... The Pony was part of our conversation.

Farmer H talked of getting out the power washer to get the porch ready for staining or waterproofing or whatever his plans are. Since he's not going to persuade ME to help, I tune out parts of his ramblings.

I pointed out that Juno will be upset to have her house moved around. And also that it's time for him to clean out her house again, once she molts her burr-filled fur.

"Then you can put some fresh cedar chips in there. She smells so good when she comes out, looking so shiny and sleek that you might accuse her of getting into the refrigerator and stealing eggs! Didn't you clean out her house before by dumping her treasures over the rail? Her bone collection, assorted gloves, and that antler? I'm surprised she can even fit in there."

"No. I threw her treasures out in the front yard [of course he did!], in the woods. She brought them all back and put them in her house."

"She's a hoarder."

"Hm... I wonder which one of you she gets THAT from?"

Farmer H pointed at me. I pointed at Farmer H.

"Nooo, YOU!"

"Uh uh! It's YOU!"

"I'm not a hoarder."

"Take a look around."

"I have ONE ROOM! Nobody had to build two cabins, three sheds, a mini barn, and a $17,000 garage to hold MY stuff! I'm fine with throwing it away. I'm just lazy. I'm not at all attached."

In a classic misdirection, Farmer H said, "What about YOUR ROOM, Pony?"

End of conversation. Earbuds installed.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Unfortunately, Tomorrow Is Another Day

The Pony continues his assault on the Mansion like Sherman marching through Georgia. If he didn't spend 23 hours a day in his room, only the foundation would remain, smoldering embers glowing in the evening humidity.

Friday night, Farmer H brought home Chinese food. We have our favorites. Farmer H likes the Hunan Chicken. I prefer Hunan Pork. And The Pony feasts on Sweet & Sour Chicken. We save some for the next day. I can usually get three days out of mine, because Farmer H donates some of his rice. He likes the good stuff, not the filler.

Anyhoo... Saturday evening, I was sitting on the short couch, partaking of evening conversation. The Pony had taken his plate to the kitchen, having finished his second-day Chinese. He asked if I wanted him to save his sweet & sour sauce for me to use on my leftovers the next day.

"Oh, the orange sauce?"

"Mother. There IS no orange sauce. It's RED sauce!"

"No. It's orange."

"I can't believe you call it orange! It's red!"

"Noooo... it's orange!"

"How can you not see that it's red? Here. Dad, what color is this sauce?"

The Pony carried the little styrofoam cup (lidless!) into the living room, and waved it under Farmer H's nose.

"Well, it's red-orange, the best I can tell."


"No! It's RED! Here. I'll ask Bestie. And my other friends. I'm taking a picture of it. LOOK! It's RED!"

The Pony put it under my nose. As he leaned over toward me, I saw something fall to the floor.

"Wait! Did you just drip some of that sauce on the carpet???"


"I think you did. I saw it fall! Maybe it was a piece of fried rice, stuck to the bottom of the cup. See? There it is!"

"Huh. I see something. But I didn't drop it."


"Hey! You can't just leave it there. Come back here."

"Alll riiiight. Where? That thing?" The Pony bent over to pick it up. Except nothing was there, because IT WAS A SPOT ON THE CARPET! "Huh." He grabbed a paper towel that he'd left on the long couch, and started rubbing at it.

"Don't rub it in!"

"What would you suggest I do, Mother?"

"How about blot it. And get a little damp cloth?"

"No. I got it."

At least Sherman had a destination in mind, and stopped when he reached the sea. The Pony seems to have no end in sight.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Green Shakers Is The Place To Be (NOT)

Farmer H got his tractor fixed. The blue one, anyway. I'm not sure what's wrong with the green one. Nor why we need TWO tractors, especially to sit here for a year or so, not working. Anyhoo... Farmer H had a buddy make him (or find him) a part that's not really made for the tractor, but works. He saved quite a bit of money on it, so there's that.

He had The Pony outside with him a few days ago, holding stuff and moving parts and assisting with putting the tractor back together. I can feel Farmer H's pain at the very thought... The Pony himself trotted out without complaint, though he remarked later that it was dirty work that soiled his dainty hands and porcelain skin up to the elbows. At least his lungs didn't collapse from the fresh air.

When I came home from town on Saturday, there was Farmer H, perched atop his New Holland, mowing along the sides of the gravel road. Jack, Juno, and Copper Jack were romping around the tractor, barking their fool heads off in the 88-degree heat, having a grand old time.

Farmer H reminded me of Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert) on Green Acres. You know, the one with the song that started with

"Green Acres is the place to be. Farm livin' is the life for me..."

Except Farmer H wasn't wearing a three-piece suit while bouncing on his tractor seat.

Anyhoo... the three dogs took off towards the Mansion, taking a shortcut through the BARn field as T-Hoe proceeded to the driveway. As I lined up the front wheels to pull into the garage, I saw Jack running across the back yard by himself, without his partner in crime, Copper Jack. I supposed Copper Jack had given up and gone back to Farmer H and the tractor excitement. He's been walking like his back hurts again.

Anyhoo... The Pony came out to carry in groceries. As he was reaching into T-Hoe's rear, he said,

"Jack came running across the back yard and up to the fish pond. I thought he was getting a drink, but he ran up and jumped right in the middle of it!"

"No wonder he stinks sometimes! That water is so green!"

Let the record show that the fake fish pond is about two feet wide and four feet long. Maybe three feet deep. Over Jack's head, anyway. So I guess he flopped in and paddled to the end with the pump part and climbed out. Right now the fake fish pond is full of little frogs and tadpoles. And Jack, I suppose.

Anyhoo... I saw Jack's wet footprints come in the garage door, and exit the people door. He sometimes waits for me by T-Hoe's front bumper, but not this day. He was on the side porch, standing in Juno's spot. She was nowhere to be seen. As I promised Jack a special treat in the house, he


Ain't THAT a fine how-do-you-do?

I didn't hold it against him, though. The Pony said he saw Juno running back towards the BARn (TRAITOR!), so little Jack got the treats all to himself. It was leftover hash round potato thingies from Casey's that Farmer H had left from mid-week.

My town shirt was green, but it will still need a washing now before the next set of wearings!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Look Away, Look Away, Look Away, I Command

By the time he ever flies the nest, The Pony is going to be curled tightly into a fetal position. Nobody knows the troubling sights he's seen, nobody knows his horror. Well. Except for you loyal readers...

His ears could tell some tales, too. If they could talk. Which maybe they can, since The Pony used to think I could hear with my mouth. That's where he would whisper secrets to me. Directly into my mouth.

Anyhoo... some of the things I say to The Pony don't quite come out like I intend them. So he might be getting a complex about being unwanted.

On the way home from the casino on Thursday, I turned around to look at The Pony, seated behind Farmer H in A-Cad's sweaving seat.

"Why are you breathing?"

The Pony pulled out his earbuds and frowned.

"What was that? I was listening to music so I don't have to hear you and Dad."

"Why are you breathing?"

"Um. I don't LIVE?"

"I mean, I just hear you. Like a heavy sigh. Like you blamed ME for when I was walking to the bathroom yesterday, and dropped the remote by accident when moving it on the table, and you said I had an attitude, but I informed you that I DID NOT have an attitude, but was merely obese."

"I'm only breathing, Mother. It's what living things do."

"Fair enough."

When we got home, Farmer H stopped A-Cad outside the garage door to let me out. It takes a while, after riding 90 minutes, because my joints stiffen up. Farmer H jumps out to pee. He can't wait like a normal person, to get inside the Mansion. I swear, that man has a bladder smaller than a hummingbird's.

Anyhoo... The Pony has only made this casino trip with us a couple times. He does not know the routine, Farmer H having skipped this undisciplined release when The Pony was along.

"OH! Don't look, Pony! Here. I'm getting ready to hand you my other shoes."

"Too late. I saw it. That is most horrendous thing yet. Nobody should have to see that."

"WHAT? Even worse than the Old Baby Blue Sweatshirt Incident? He usually runs over to the edge of the carport and pees over the side."

"Oh, that's what he did. But he just lifted his shorts leg..."


Farmer H cannot even pee without alienating his audience! Which I suppose is a moot point, since he shouldn't HAVE an audience. I suppose I'll have to be careful on the hay-wagon tours of my proposed handbasket factory and Shackytown, while announcing the landmarks, to avert eyes from the scene of this atrocity.

If readers of my not-so-secret book a tour, I will warn them with a song:
"Look away, look away, look away, HICK-PEE-LAND!"

Friday, August 21, 2020

A Bad Tine For Mrs. HM

A most unfortunate discovery was made in the middle of Mrs. HM's supper. It was delicious, too. The supper, not the discovery.

We had beer-battered fish (nothing fancy, just the frozen kind), garlic mashed potatoes, and yeast rolls. Don't be thinking I'm a masher or a roller. They were storebought. As usual, I fed Farmer H and The Pony, and brought my plate down to my lair. I was mid-feast, enjoying my own homemade tartar sauce on the fish planks, then dabbing a little I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (surely you didn't think I was a churner) on my roll, then having a bite of mashed potatoes.

I don't have any qualms about eating foods in a specific order. I don't care if they mix together on my plate. I don't eat all of one thing before starting another. Pretty much anything goes when Mrs. HM bellies up to the trough.

The yeast rolls were square. I used a fork to poke holes in one side, another side, and another. Then I pulled the two halves apart. I am not an animal! I don't eat a whole roll at once. The tartar sauce was in a ramekin, and I slathered a bit on the end of the fish plank, rather than dipping. My tartar sauce is chock full of diced pickle and onion, no need having the flaky fish fall apart trying to hoist a load of sauce.

Anyhoo... you may recall that I love my plastic forks. The SMOOTH kind, not the ones with ridges and pointy tines like some fast food establishments give out. I even wash my smooth white plastic forks for re-use. No need to fill up the environment with Mrs. HM's discarded eating implements.

I had one fork I used for putting butter on my roll, which also doubled as the mashed-potato-eating fork. The other was reserved for the tartar sauce. In fact, I stuck it in the ramekin between uses. My homemade tartar sauce is thick enough to hold a plastic fork upright indefinitely.

Anyhoo... I was taking my sweet time, enjoying my meal, intermittently checking up on my assorted conspiracy theories by videos on New Delly. The only place I might have been enjoying myself more would be the casino. Then in one instant, I was blasted out of my Pollyanna-ish, Shangri-La existence like a tourist on the Branson, Missouri strip trying that reverse bungee-jump contraption that shoots you skyward on a giant rubber band.

DUN DUN DUNNNNN! (had to borrow The Pony's DOOM musical cue)

I picked up my fork out of the soft (I Couldn't Believe It Wasn't) butter (also in a ramekin), and saw a BROKEN TINE!

Sweet Gummi Mary! Where was my tine? That fork was perfectly good when I brought it down on my tray! I'd been using it without incident! WHAT IN THE NOT-HEAVEN?

The only thing I could imagine happening was when I stabbed my second yeast roll. It was a little hard around the edge. I like them that way. But it took a couple tries to get the fork in one side. I suppose that either broke off the tine, or weakened it. But WHERE WAS THAT HALF-TINE?

I searched my plate. My tray. The counter around the tray. The cracks between the letters on New Delly's keyboard. Under the keyboard. The top of the tartar sauce ramekin. The mashed potatoes. The butter. My lap. The stomach that hangs over my lap. My shirt pocket. The wrinkles in my shirt. Down inside my shirt on the ledge of my foundation garment. The floor. The tops of my shoes.


Surely I would have noticed if the tine broke off in my mouth. Or if I scooped it up in a bite of mashed potatoes. Or bit off a bite of yeast roll with it laying atop. Or embedded in the texture. I would have seen it in the butter I spread on the roll.

Do you think I ATE it? The Pony chortled like he thought so. Then said,

"Enough! I don't want to hear anything else about it. Especially if it turns up later!"

If I expire without evidence of Farmer H trying to kill me, I guess this means Even Steven inserted a little bit of fork in me, to tell me that I'm done...

Thursday, August 20, 2020

A Saucy Little Secret

I've been holding out on you. For two weeks, I've kept a saucy little secret. Hope you didn't eat fish during those two weeks. I don't like to think of the deprivation that I was responsible for. I could easily have shared my saucy little secret. Turns out I'm not as much a giver as I pretend!


Oh, please. Don't tell me that you've known how to do that since you were knee-high to a grasshopper. Let me have my glory. You can share your recipe for something complicated, with many steps, exotic ingredients, and perhaps a foam infusion, or a puffy texture. A marinade that requires seven days of soaking, at 38.3 degrees Fahrenheit. An entree that could kill you if not prepared properly, like the puffer fish. I won't be jealous! Just give me my tartar sauce glory.

The whole discovery came about because I had planned to have fish for supper, but the tartar sauce in the pantry had an expiration date ending in -18. Sorry. I may be my mother's daughter, but I don't care to join her just yet! I might eat a two-years-past dry food, but not a mayo-based product.

I perused the innernets on New Delly before I ascended to the kitchen. I found a good recipe. Good, because it was simple, and I had the ingredients waiting for me upstairs. Even so, I did not follow the instructions precisely.  Here's my version.

mayonnaise..................1 cup
Worcestershire sauce....a dash or two
sugar............................a pinch or two
salt...............................a small shake
black pepper.................a small shake
dill pickle, minced.........2 tablespoons
onion, minced...............2 tablespoons


It's better after sitting for six hours or so. Best a day later. The original recipe said it would keep for two weeks in your FRIG II. You can vary it to suit your tastes. I like a chunky tartar sauce. If you like it smooth, cut out some pickle and onion. In that case, you might want to add dill pickle juice. Not too much, or your tartar sauce will be runny! But maybe you like it that way.

This tartar sauce is seriously delicious! I could sell it in jars on the counter of my proposed handbasket factory (in the winter, so it doesn't get rancid in the heat), with my picture on the label! Like the leprechaun says Lucky Charms are "Magically delicious!" I could say "Seriously delicious!" While giving my teacher stinkeye!

If you don't eat fish and tartar sauce... never mind. Your secret is safe with mine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Down With The Lazy Scanner

The Pony has a new vice, and it's scratching scratchers. I can't imagine where he picked up such a habit! Anyhoo... his new favorite ticket is a $3 BINGO scratcher. It has six games on it, and takes about 5 minutes to play.

He's done fairly well, and reinvested his winnings into more tickets. Of course I'm the one who goes to town and picks them up. I wouldn't mind, except for the odd amount. I like to deal in fives and tens. The Pony has yet to hand me a 3-dollar bill!

When he's finished, The Pony uses the phone app to scan the barcode, and make sure he won what he thinks he won. I always scan mine as well, to make sure I didn't miss anything. There's also an option to enter the points for some rewards that are pretty undesirable. They used to be good things, but now it's mainly drawings.

Anyhoo... after scratching five of the BINGO tickets a couple days ago, The Pony had one winner, for $6. He had his tickets stacked on the coffee table that he's determined to destroy.

"I'm not scanning my losers today."

"WHAT? I always scan my losers, and I'm a PROFESSIONAL! Three times I've found a number I missed."

"Out of how many tickets, Mother?"

"Well. A lot. Years' worth. But I would have thrown them away! You should scan yours."


"You don't have to enter them. Just check for winners."

"Nah. It takes too long."

"You are already logged in! That takes the longest! Here. Give them to me. I'll take them down, and scan them with mine later."

"If you want."

So I took The Pony's four losing tickets with me. I was half paying attention, scanning the barcodes, with one eye on my conspiracy video while I waited for the little noise that signifies the scan is done.


Where I was expecting to see NOT A WINNER, I saw $6 WINNER!

Of course I sent The Pony a text, telling him that I'd won $6 on his trash. Heh, heh. Can you believe The Pony still thought it should be HIS?

I let him have it. You know, since I'm already a Future Pennyillionaire, and a recent FOURTEENTHAMPION.

The title is from THIS, at :32 seconds

Down with the lazy scanner
Do as I please
Down with the lazy scanner
Not MY family
If you are all done
I won't be wrong
Give me that ticket, I won't be long
Down with the lazy scanner
You will soon be thanking me

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

He Cried Because He Had His Dad's Toenail Embedded In His Hoof, And Then...

Alas, the poor, put-upon Pony! If it weren't for bad luck, he'd have no luck at all. Well. Except for a couple times in the casino, and a couple times on scratchers, but really, his luck has turned sour over the past few days.

The Pony seems to have bounced back from the unfortunate toenail-spearing incident. He walks without a limp. Doesn't wake up screaming at night. Doesn't quake with terror when Farmer H tromps into the room. Life was getting back to normal. Until...


Sunday, Farmer H got a call to assist some friends by DRIVING them somewhere. I swear, it seems as if the general population of Hillmomba is immune to SWEAVING! Or else that's just something Farmer H does in an attempt to kill me...

Anyhoo... I didn't find out this nugget until later. From a diaphoretic Pony! Farmer H had been planning to start his laundry when the text came in. On his way out, he dumped a load (heh, heh, you know what I said) in the washing machine. He instructed The Pony to put the clothes in the dryer when it was done.

Let the record show that the chore of doing his own laundry is Farmer H's fault, from being too hard-headed to pick his dirty clothes off the floor and put them in the laundry basket in our early years of marriage, when still living in my $17,000 house. Now he waits until he runs out of clothes before doing his wash. I guess he has enough to last him two weeks. Since he always does it on Sundays

Anyhoo... I was joking around with The Pony while watching Big Brother on Sunday night. He lying on the couch, and me in my OPC (Old People Chair). I don't remember what I said, but it must have cut him to the quick sharper than his dad's errant toenail clipping of recent days.

"How can you say that to me, Mother? Especially after the trauma I went through this afternoon!"

"Huh. Did you get another toenail stuck in the bottom of your foot?"

"No! WORSE! Dad made me put his clothes in the dryer while he was gone. I said I would. But when I opened up the washer, I saw that it was HIS UNDERWEAR! I had to TOUCH them! To move them, ALL WET, to the dryer!"

"Oh, that's too bad. You've seen them laying there, haven't you? On the lid of his laundry basket, on the bathroom floor, when you take your 2-hour nightly bath? Seen the um... what's ON them?"

"YES! I've SEEN IT! And I had to TOUCH them!!!"

"Well. I'm kind of sorry for you."

Heh, heh. I don't know when I'm going to break it to The Pony that while he was bathing on Monday night, Farmer H went to the bedroom, one thin wooden door away from where The Pony was splashing in the bath, and removed every stitch, to go SKINNY-DIPPING in Poolio!

Poor Pitiful Pony. He cried because he had his dad's toenail embedded in his hoof, and then he found himself grasping armloads of his dad's wet underwear.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Not A Moment's Peace In Idyllic Hillmomba

I don't ask for much. A daily 44 oz Diet Coke. Scratchers. Internet service. TV. A clear road to town. An occasional trip to the casino. And to be left alone, to enjoy my retirement routine. Sweet Gummi Mary! That sounds like I want A LOT! I'm not that demanding. Really.

Nothing rattles my cage and gripes my gizzard like an INTRUDER! My Mansion is my castle. Don't invite yourself into my fiefdom. I would release the hounds if I had any with an exemplary work ethic. Copper Jack is the closest to my wish list.

Friday morning (and by morning, I mean noon), I sat at HIPPIE in front of the living room window, roaming the innernets. A bronze-colored, medium-sized SUV crept along the gravel road, headed out of the enclave. I knew I'd seen that BCMS SUV somewhere. I assumed it was out here. I remembered it by the decal on the side. We have residents who work for a local lake development's police/security. Maybe that was it. Why was that BCMS SUV driving so slow?

What in the NOT-HEAVEN! I thought it had passed, once it disappeared behind the trees that block my view of where the dumpster sits on trash day. But HERE CAME THE BCMS SUV DOWN MY DRIVEWAY!

That's the last thing I wanted to deal with! The Pony was still lolling around in his room. Probably not dressed presentably. LIKE ME! I was in my holey pajama pants and a threadbare button-down shirt that is nearly see-through. I had bed-head! But here was a bronze-colored, medium-sized SUV pulling up to the Mansion, needing to be dealt with. I told The Pony,

"I'm not EVEN dealing with this!"


Dang it! The dogs were raising a ruckus. I could hear all three out by the carport. My force of my sigh might have been felt later as a zephyr halfway around the world. I went to the door and looked out. Called to Juno and Jack. They obediently trotted up the brick sidewalk to stand at my feet for a pat. Copper Jack continued to prance around the BCMS SUV, barking his fool head off. I waited to see who was getting out.


A gray-haired lady in the passenger seat started hollering to me. Great. I walked to the end of the porch, cupped my hand around my ear, and said, "I can't hear you." The BCMS SUV drove closer to the garage. Moving the gray-haired passenger lady about two feet closer.





Nothing. She just sat there. That was a funny way to update records! I guess maybe she was scared of Copper Jack.

"That's not our dog. I can't do anything about him. My dogs here with me are fine. That one barks a lot. I've never known him to bite."

"We just want to take pictures. We won't bother you."


I turned, gave a couple of goodbye pats, and went back inside. After a few minutes, I saw a dude walking across the front yard with an open laptop balanced on his left forearm. He went down Shackytown Boulevard, with Copper Jack trailing him, tail tucked between his legs, barking with alarm. My own dogs sat on the porch. I praised them through the window. They had quit barking, since I had come out and apparently approved this intruder.

Less than five minutes later, The Dude came back. He had his eye on Copper Jack without looking at him, if you know what I mean. Not challenging him. Copper Jack turned to run ahead of him, back toward the BCMS SUV. Still barking.

The ASSessors must have gotten enough info to raise our taxes sufficiently. Their BCMS SUV turned around and crept back up the driveway. I told Farmer H that they'd probably count each of his themed sheds as a new building, and charge us accordingly.

"They can't. My sheds are on runners. They're not permanent structures. But they probably got the Freight Container Garage. I'm sure they knew about it anyway. But not its exact size."

"Too bad it's not on runners!"

"It WAS on runners! The two containers. Until I poured the foundation and set them on it."

"That Dude wasn't here long enough to measure it."

"They have a program that does it. They can draw a line from corner to corner, and it tells them."

"Huh. That must be why he had the laptop, and not a camera."

I don't begrudge the ASSessor's Office collection of data to raise our taxes. I kind of enjoy having a bridge that doesn't flood every time we have a downpour, and roads that are blacktop and not gravel, and I don't mind supporting the local school district, community college, and emergency services.

I DO mind them showing up without notice, and seeming like they wanted me to do their job for them. Surely we're not the first house to have dogs running around. The old UPS lady carried dog biscuits for that purpose, and the ex-mayor my sister's husband carried a baseball bat to use as a persuader, back when he was a meter-reader for the electric company.

A phone message giving notice of an impending visit, perhaps with the date, or even a postcard, would have elicited more good will than a surprise visit and honking from the driveway...

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Cutters Gonna Cut, Starvers Gonna Starve

When I do my errands over in Sis-Town, The Pony likes me to bring home a Whopper. A Whopper medium combo with cheese, no pickle, no tomato, fries, and a Sprite. Burger King is on the way home. Of course I get myself a Whopper combo, no lettuce, fries, and a Diet Coke. That way I avoid going all the way into Hillmomba proper for a 44 oz Diet Coke. I can add bottled soda to the one I get at Burger King.

Let the record show that when you pull onto Burger King's lot, the drive-thru is off to the right side. A little separate lane, with curbs, leading up to the order box that is under a little roof thingy. This set-up reminds me of a pinball machine. Like that narrow channel at the right, where the steel ball shoots up along the side.

The great thing about Friday's Whopper was that nobody was ordering ahead of me! A little red sedan was pulling forward from the order box, rounding the curve to get in line to pay. OH MY GOSH! Don't get me started on Burger King's sanitary measures! They stick out a little clear plastic box, like you might have in the bottom of your refrigerator. That's for money or your card. Then they return it in the box with your receipt. Same thing at the next window, when picking up your food. They reach out that little clear plastic box, with your sodas in it. After you take them, you get your straws handed to you (in paper wrappers). Then the bag of food is put in the clear plastic box and poked through the window.

Anyhoo... I made the order, and pulled around to the line. WAIT A MINUTE! Shouldn't T-Hoe be behind that little red sedan? What's this white Ford truck doing here? How is that possible? The red car ordered. Then me. This fly in the ointment is gonna mess up the orders order! Huh. Maybe something wasn't right with his order. So White Truck came back to get it remedied. It's not like you can go inside these days. The dining area is closed. Drive-thru only.

We crept forward at a reasonable rate. There were five vehicles ahead of the little red sedan. Four. Three. Two. One. When the little red sedan was next to pay, the White Truck pulled out of line! Drove down the side of the building, then made a left across the front parking lot, and got in the line in the drive-thru lane to order. There were six cars ahead of him now.

Apparently, White Truck was not trying to cut line. Perhaps he was starving, pulled onto the lot, and took the quickest way to get in line, behind the little red sedan. You'd think he would have noticed that there was no menu. No speaker box to order. Maybe he thought he was supposed to order at the first window. Without even a menu!

Perhaps he was delirious from starvation. It WAS already 2:30. Kind of late for a normal person's lunch. Yet the drive-thru was full. So perhaps we're not very normal in Hillmomba.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

A Hillmomban Dichotomy

Unfinished errands were on the docket for Friday. How convenient it would have been, had The Pony provided me with the financial information I requested on Tuesday. But no. He cost me a second trip to the bank. My travels also took me to the School-Turn Casey's. While out and about, I noted a Hillmomban Dichotomy.

I passed the cemetery (without going in, what do you think I AM, obsessed? I'd already stopped once this week) and started across the bridge over Big River. That's its actual name. Not a pseudonym. We're not very imaginative around here with our waterways. This is from the same folks who gave us Flat River Creek.

Anyhoo... coming across the bridge from the other direction was a guy walking. A Bridge Walker! Let the record show that there is no sidewalk, no striped marking for walkers. This is a VEHICLE BRIDGE. Every now and then, maybe twice a year, I see a walker on that bridge. I was not so shocked at the sight of a Bridge Walker as I was at his appearance as I got closer.


Let the record show that this area is not residential, not commercial, but simply field and road. There was not a human within at least a mile either way of the Bridge Walker, unless they were sealed up in their comfy air-conditioned vehicles.


Did he think the VIRUS would jump out of the air and into his mouth and nose? I just don't get it. I don't begrudge anybody the comfort of a mask. It's not hurting me. But I'd like to know their thoughts.

I'd pretty much forgotten about the Bridge Walker after two trips to the bank, avoiding an 8-car line to come back and find a 4-car line, after feeding T-Hoe his weekly gas. I proceeded to the School-Turn Casey's where I discovered a Sideways Parker blocking my usual space on the end of the parking lot. Lucky for me, one round of the gas pumps allowed a truck parked in front of the door to back out, so I took that space.

From this new vantage point, I saw a Casey's clerk standing in the little corner by the ice machine, smoking. That's not a good advertisement for Casey's, her in her red t-shirt emblazoned with "Casey's," sucking on her cancer stick. Surely they could designate a space around back, where only the drive-thru customers would see smokers, and not everyone parked out front, and the traffic backed up at the STOP sign 100 feet away.

Anyhoo... I went in and did my business. Came back out, and was shaken to hear "HAROUGH HAROUGH HAROUGH HAROOOUUUGGGHHH" from that employee. It wasn't just a throat-clearing. Not a nagging cough. She sounded like a lung was about to pop out of her pie-hole. She was NOT wearing a mask.

I don't fault her for not wearing a mask outside, in the 87-degree heat, with fresh air blowing around. At this Casey's, ALL employees inside wear the mask. They have special red ones with their logo, matching their shirts. I'm sure THIS employee wore her mask while inside.

However... masks don't stop the VIRUS. Sure, they might catch some droplets, for her to re-breathe the rest of her shift, probably prolonging her recovery. But they don't stop the actual VIRUS particle. The part that infects people. She'd just be forcing that through the fabric with each exhale, pushing smaller particles of the droplets through the weave.

What kind of employer lets an employee with obvious symptoms of a cold/flu/bronchitis/covid come to work like that? I know people need to work. To earn money to live. But SWEET GUMMI MARY, at least stay home a couple days if you have a cough like that!

Not saying Casey's Cougher had the covid. Only that she shouldn't have been working with that cough. Especially since I would have walked right past her before I saw her, had I gotten my usual parking space. Hopefully not at the instant she let out a cough.

No. I don't believe a mask on her or me or both would have protected me one bit, short of a giant loogie leaving her mouth and entering mine. I think the odds of that are infinitesimal.

There you have it. A man protecting no one... and a woman endangering all. That's the way we roll in Hillmomba.

Friday, August 14, 2020

This Doesn't Pass The Sniffle Test

Sweet Gummi Mary! I think common sense has gone the way of the dodo bird! Except sailors didn't eat too many common senses because they were so tasty and easy to kill, and other species didn't invade common sense's habitat and eat common sense's eggs.

Thursday, we went to the casino. That county has recently passed a mask mandate that requires residents and visitor to wear a mask. Even when outside! To be fair, I think the wording requires the mask outside IF proper distancing can't be maintained. I know that when it came out, people were up in arms, and I was reading about it on that county's Facebook page. I only became aware because I got an email from the casino informing me of their new policy.

Anyhoo... we always stop by the Goodwill store down there. It's on the way to the casino, and Farmer H kind of decrees it. The Goodwill is in a strip mall area. I don't recall the two stores on the end of the building. I've never had any reason to notice them. Until Thursday.

A ladder was propped against the end of the building, with a man on top, stepping down from the roof. He was probably 15 feet off the ground. Perhaps a roofer looking for damage. Or maybe a heating and cooling man inspecting a unit. Although I did NOT see this Ladder Walker's unit. Maybe it was on the other side of the roof peak.

Anyhoo... as we drove by, I saw that Ladder Walker was WEARING A MASK!

Please. This is just wrong. That Ladder Walker was totally alone. It was 88 degrees. He had to be sweating under his black mask. WHY WAS HE WEARING A MASK?

Masks don't protect you from the VIRUS, you know. I've even heard it's to protect OTHER people. [That's sarcasm there. I read that 1000 times a day, from The High-Horse Brigade, screaming online that they hope the unmasked people die, because they don't appreciate how caring The High-Horse Brigade is, saving people's lives all willy-nilly, wearing their masks, even while wishing a slow covid death upon selected others.]

Anyhoo... my point IS... the Ladder Walker had no people within 200 feet of him. WHO was he supposedly saving? I guess the fear of losing his job if caught without a mask, or being fined for not wearing a mask, made him keep that thing strapped on while all alone at the top of his ladder.

In other news, we also saw a masked driver alone in her car at a stoplight...

Thursday, August 13, 2020

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

I was shaken to the core Wednesday evening, when I heard Farmer H remind The Pony that they need to get the back porch weatherproofed before the seasons change. THEY!

Even scarier, I heard The Pony reply, "I don't really know what that is, but I told you I'm ready to help whenever you need me. I think it involves brushing on stain?"

"I remember! That's when Dad was sitting on his little stool, and looked like his special auction figurine that I say resembles Thomas Jefferson sitting on a boot, taking a crap."

"There won't be no sittin' this time! We'll be on a ladder."


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Pony Don't Get No Respect

The Pony may be all grown up, but he does not command respect. Animals walk all over him. Figuratively, though he'd better watch his back...

Copper Jack ignores him when we try to shut him up for house-calling servicemen for heating and cooling, telephone lines, and DISH paraphernalia. That's unless The Pony pretends to offer him food. But as far as at least looking guilty when commanded NO... that only works when I do it.

Same with little Jack. When he tears out of the yard to bark at road-walkers, The Pony's voice goes unheard.

Stockings the peeing pooping cat also ignores The Pony. "Come on, Snuggles. MOVE! Get out of the way! Mom has to come up the steps. GIT!" That cat acts like he's deaf, dumb, and glued to the porch.

Monday evening, when the storm passed through, I saw Juno slink under the front window. She NEVER does that when there's a storm! She stays in her house. But here she was.

"I see you, Juno. Who's a good dog? Juno's a good dog! It's okay. Just a storm. You're fine."

She looked in, wagging her shaggy tail. I waved my arms around so she could see me on the short couch.

"Pony. Go to the door and tell Juno she's okay. She's nervous."

The Pony stepped out. I saw Juno walk over to him. Then she was out of sight, due to the wall, and the long couch blocking the bottom half of the door that The Pony had left ajar.

All at once, HERE WAS JUNO! INSIDE THE HOUSE! She NEVER does that! In fact, over the past nine years, we've TRIED to lure her inside, when under a tornado warning. All the other dogs have come in. Grizzly the chocolate lab/beagle combo, Poor Dumb Ann the black german shepherd, and Tank the obstinate beagle (who even got in on his own through the basement door while we were at school, and was found sleeping on the basement couch). Juno wasn't having it. She always refused. Would take a tentative step, then whimper and back out. No amount of coaxing could bring her in. She'd slither away like a greased pig if you tried to pick her up.

Anyhoo... here she was! Walking towards me from behind the couch.

"Get her out of here!" said grouchy Farmer H the never-petter.

The Pony called to Juno, who turned around. She's a very good girl. Always respectful to HUMANS, unless food is involved.

"I can't believe she came in like that..."

"MOM! There she is again! She heard you!"

Indeed. Every time The Pony would lure Juno back out to the porch, she'd hear me or Farmer H, and walk back in. Despite The Pony telling her NO.

"I can't keep her out! You two need to be quiet!"

"Just close the door, Pony!"

"I can't get her all the way out! She HEARS you!"

He finally lured her out farther, and got between Juno and the door, then backed in while closing it. There might have been some shoving involved.

Seriously. How hard can it be to dominate Sweet, Sweet Juno? I guess the animals still think of The Pony as a childhood playmate.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

I Survived The ON-Masking

Terrible Cuts was not at all busy yesterday. Can you believe that? I'm sure you can, if you've been getting out and seeing the state of the coiffures on random Hillmombans. I swear, it's more frightening than looking out over an auditorium full of heads at a teachers' convention!

I did my scratcher business before the haircut. That's because I will always be a procrastinator. Who knows, the New Madrid Fault could have ruptured during that delay, forcing me to postpone my haircut due to the Mississippi River flowing backwards again, and possible even causing a tsunami reaching all the way to the Creach!

Anyhoo... when I came out of the School-Turn Casey's, I did the online check-in with Terrible Cuts. My wait time was 0 MINUTES! I spurred T-Hoe in gear, and off we went for the two miles to my shearing. I carried my mask in hand to the front door, where a handwritten sign was taped proclaiming MASKS MANDATORY. I slipped into something less comfortable, that being my Kansas City Chiefs logo mask, and went inside.

The gal behind the register asked if I'd check in. I could clearly see my name, the ONLY ONE on the computer monitor by the register. But I couldn't understand what she was saying. So I tapped my ear, and said, "WHAT?" She repeated, through her fruity print white mask, and I got it. Off we went to the back corner of the salon. NOBODY PUTS HILLBILLY MOM IN A CORNER! Except the Terrible Cuts Gal who is about to get elbow-deep into her lovely lady-mullet.

TCG must have had nerves of steel not to laugh at the state of my bob. Which was no longer a bob, but more of a BLOB. Oh, who are we kidding? TCG was probably smiling like The Joker. I just couldn't tell, behind her mask.

She sheared off about 3 inches of tail, about 2 inches of sideburns, and a humongous hank of topknot. My mask kept slipping as I talked, so I'd jab at the bottom of it with my plastic drop-cloth-encased fist. TCG said she had hers held in place with a bobby-pin. I don't know what she had it pinned to! Her skin? Her hair? The whiskers on her chinny-chin-chin?

Anyhoo... she was efficient with the scissors and the small talk. Which was about our dogs loving the cooler temps a few days ago. She has a female beagle mix that her son made her take at a yard sale. She really appreciates her indoor beagle/terrier during the school year, because all she has to do is open her kids' doors and the dog wakes them up. She does not enjoy it as much on the weekends...

TCG was mad about going into Dollar Tree with her mask, and looking around to notice that NO ONE ELSE was wearing one, despite their sign on the door. So she took it off. We're just not mask fans around Hillmomba. Only the very vocal doom-criers on Facebook seem to give a crap.

My not-so-Terrible Cut was over before I knew it. I even tipped TCG double, because the experience was virtually painless, and I figured she probably needed it more than I did, what with business being slow lately.

Now I'm good for another six months...

Monday, August 10, 2020

Biting The Hair Bullet And Joining The Maskparade

I can't put it off any longer. Because if I do, my lovely lady-mullet will only grow longer! I had planned on getting a haircut on Sunday, but I backed out. Hopefully, as you're reading this I have been shorn.

Going to Terrible Cuts has never been an enjoyable experience from the get-go. I have delayed it before, but never this long. It's like I've had an extra excuse not to go.

But now, I think my flowing, ever-growing locks are giving me a headache! I had one three days in a row. Starting anywhere from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. I tried to believe it's the change in temps, getting in and out of T-Hoe with his air conditioner. Or maybe the fall allergy season clogging up my sinuses, even though I haven't seen any goldenrod yet. I even broke out my vibrator (FOR MY HEAD, PEOPLE!) to clear the intermittent congestion. Popped acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, with varying success.

I don't know what excuse I'll use if my headaches continue after the haircut!

Here's the thing. I've put if off so long that Terrible Cuts mandated a MASK policy beginning August 1. Ain't that a fine how-do-you-do?

Anyhoo... I will join the maskparade for a 20-minute haircut. Better not snip the loop off my ear, Terrible Cutter! I need my mask for a casino trip later in the week!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

The Pony Takes A Stab At Spears

The Pony watches a lot of cooking shows. Usually, they're on in the background, but he seems to seep up their essence like a thick cut of meat in a marinade. He's not so much a cook as an occasional experimenter.

A couple weeks ago, Farmer H came home with a giant zucchini. TWO of them! Like stubby fat elephant tusks. Somebody at the Storage Unit Store gave them to him, I think. He handed them over like a caveman returning from a mastodon hunt, with the portion he was willing to share with the family, after gnawing the best cuts for himself.

"What am I supposed to do with THOSE?"

"I don't know. Your grandma used to make us that zucchini bread."

"I LOVED that bread! But I don't know how to make it."

"There must be recipes on the internet."

"Uh huh. I'm sure you'll contribute to the effort by EATING it."

"I'll look it up, Mom."

Well. The Pony got sidetracked in his zucchini search.

"Mom. If you don't mind, maybe we could try ROASTED zucchini."

"Fine with me. Sounds like less steps than bread."

Anyhoo... The Pony and I sliced the smaller zucchini into spears. We brushed the spears with oil, and rolled them in some steak seasoning that The Pony found at The Devil's Playground, with the zucchini in mind.

Here's the result:

That's on my battle-worn coffee table, on fine paper china, beside The Pony's chicken sandwich. The zucchini was tasty, but a little too spicy for me. In the future, I would put less seasoning on mine. We also determined that thinner spears are better than fat spears, and leaving the skin on makes them stay firm.

We still have a zucchini left. I hope we haven't let it go too long. The Pony found an apple pie recipe that uses zucchini in place of apples. Even though we have a bag of apples on the counter.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Lap Dogs Gonna Lap

I was in line at Dairy Queen on Friday afternoon, behind a club cab pickup truck. I could see a man driver and a woman passenger. When they pulled up to the window to pay, I saw two dogs in the side mirror! In fact, a little white fluffy dog put its feet on the truck window, sticking its head out, wiggling all over. A bigger dog, with a Juno-style head, but gray and short-haired, was reflected behind White Fluffy. I could see the bigger dog, sitting in the middle of the back seat of the club cab.

Those dogs were SO well-behaved! My little Jack would have tried to jump from the truck into the drive-thru window! And Juno doesn't like riding, since she only gets out to go to the vet. She'd be cowering on the floor, or creeping into my lap.

Anyhoo... I watched the DQ worker hand out a little cup of ice cream. Then another. And another. FIVE cups of ice cream! Then a little ice cream cone. The driver would hand them over to the passenger. I saw her holding a cup for Big Gray. Who licked at it politely. Then looked over to watch more ice cream coming in the window, licking his lips. Then ate some more from his cup of ice cream. I guess maybe there were some small lap dogs on the woman's lap, and the middle of the front seat, lapping from their own cups of ice cream. Because they're LAP dogs! Get it?


Sweet Gummi Mary! I only have TWO dogs. (I am not about to hypothetically drive Copper Jack to town with us!) I can imagine the scuffle if I tried to feed my fleabags ice cream. Juno would lunge to any cup of ice cream, commandeering it for her own, growling to establish ownership. Jack would hop around, trying to nose in, before getting nipped-at.

Yet these dogs (five, according to the number of ice cream cups with no spoons), all sat calmly, licking their own treat. White Fluffy didn't even try to lick the ice cream cone as it was passed through the window!

I think I just witnessed a miracle.

Friday, August 7, 2020

I'm Pretty Sure Country Mart Is In Cahoots With Farmer H

Perhaps you recall that one of my favorite at-home lunch selections happens to be chicken taquitos with a side ramekin of Save A Lot salsa. I keep a backup supply of taquitos in FRIG II's freezer. There's usually a box of 15, and another partial box in the door that I'm currently eating out of.

Imagine my shock last week when I turned on New Delly, and saw a RECALL ON TAQUITOS!

The exact brand that I buy! The same size box.

Seems that the factory recalled those taquitos, for pieces of plastic that might have been in the diced green chilies used in their stuffing stuff.

The recall information said to discard them (not bloody likely!), or take them back to the store. Nope. I takes my chances. By the time that recall came out, I had already consumed some of the taquitos. Nothing bad happened. So I figure I can consume the rest of them, too.

Here's the thing... when I was perusing the selections at the Country Mart deli a couple days later, I saw that one of their new selections was CHICKEN TAQUITOS! Those have never been on their menu before. I'm pretty sure Country Mart did not get a special shipment of non-recalled taquitos. I did not buy them.

If my blogs go silent, you'll know that either I got a bad taquito, or Farmer H succeeded in his lifelong plot...

Thursday, August 6, 2020

If You Didn't Vote, Don't Complain

Hillmomba had a greater than usual voter turnout, according to the local online newspaper. I can concur. The parking lot of our voting precinct, at a small church out farther in the county, had three spaces open. Granted, there's another parking lot, unpaved, that I've needed to use when voting after work. But we generally find the parking lot half full.

Anyhoo... Farmer H squeezed A-Cad into one of two adjoining spaces.

"Wow. These are small! You'll probably have to back out so I can get the door open when we come out."

Indeed. He did. I don't know how the person who parked next to us was able to get out of their small sedan. I daresay that Slender Man, on a hunger strike, wearing only spandex, would have had trouble.

Anyhoo... we headed for the basement, where voting occurs. I had to grip the too-low handrail on the left wall, to get down the five carpeted stairs. I couldn't keep right, as with traffic rules, due to the mechanical old-people chair mounted there. Like the one hateful Mrs. Deagle rode, going up, when she shot out the 2nd-story window in GREMLINS.

Anyhoo... as I was hobbling, a lady started for the stairs with her single-digit age daughter. She pulled her back like the dog-walker avoiding Clark Griswold sleep-speeding in the Family Truckster in National Lampoon's Vacation. Sorry, lady. You people on your young legs will just have to accommodate Mrs. HM, since the church has not seen fit to put in a ramp. Only a mechanical deathtrap with a seat big enough for half a rumpus.

I'd say about 3/4 of the people we encountered were wearing masks. Two of them were 20-somethings at the check-in table, while their older cohorts handing out pens were not.

There were social distancing circles on the floor. Amazing how all those popped up everywhere, a day or two after the Stay-At-Home-Downs started in March, almost as if they had been pre-printed and shipped! The folks in line didn't seem too inclined to keep six feet apart. Indeed, it was not possible at the check-in table, where you handed your driver's license to the checker-inner, and they set it on an electronical contraption to read the barcode on the back. I think there were 3 or 4 checker-inners, about a foot or 18 inches apart. They'd call us over when they got rid of a voter.

We had to sign our signature (what else would we sign?) with a little rubber-tipped stubby stylus thingy that we picked up out of a Solo cup. After using it, we put it in a flat cardboard box. When almost out of those thingies, a lady would come from the middle of the room and take the box away. For cleansing, I presume.

On down the table, ladies (unmasked) were handing out ballots. You had to announce whether you wanted Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian. Only one. No other choices. Then you picked up a blue-ink pen lying on the table. I guess maybe those maskless old crones used up their Solo cups for drinking! When you were done, you returned your pen to a flat cardboard box.

For voting, you took your ballot and pen to a table. Yes. A table. This is a church basement, used for potlucks and socials, with round tables, six chairs to a table. Forget about privacy! Anybody sitting there could see your votes, or anybody walking behind to get to another table. I refused to sit down, because at my space, there was a used napkin! Not merely used to blot an errant crumb, perhaps. But SOAKING with something not quite white, and not quite yellow! I wasn't about to touch it! Making matters even more unsanitary, the tables were covered with white papery tablecloths!

Farmer H later said that the napkin was probably from somebody's breakfast donut, or covered with cleaner that had been used to wipe pens. Either way, it shouldn't have been there! I don't get all the hubbub about washing the pens, when clearly the tables were not being wiped, and not having their cloths replaced.

Anyhoo... Farmer H and I voted side-by-side at a round table, and finished together, and went to feed our ballot into the slot of a machine that sucked it right down. Like the bill receiver in a slot machine! I turned to look at the table where the pens were, because usually there are individual stickers on wax-paper-like backing, saying I VOTED. There were none! Darn you, VIRUS!

From there, Farmer H and I went back past the check-in table line, to the carpeted stairs, and up and out into the fresh air. It might have taken 15 minutes total, but five of it was walking at my slow pace. There weren't many items on the ballot. It was only one-sided. I could have been out faster if I wasn't so fastidious about coloring in the boxes for my choices.

The Pony chose to sleep in rather than vote. Farmer H is waiting for him to start spouting off in the future. He snoozed and losed his chance to debate with Farmer H over issues he didn't care enough to vote on.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Good Thing He Has Insurance, Because I Might Just Beat The Not-Heaven Out Of Him...

Like a certain Seinfeld car rental business and their botched reservations, Farmer H knows how to MAKE plans. He just doesn't know how to KEEP plans.

Tuesday was election day in Hillmomba. I prefer not to drive T-Hoe out to the little country church and shoehorn him into their tiny parking spaces. IF one is even available. So Farmer H and I usually vote together. When we were both working, he'd go at 6:00 a.m. on the way to work, and I'd stop by with the boys after work. But now Farmer H is my captive chauffeur. So he votes at my convenience.

We had a thorough discussion of the PLAN on Monday evening. Farmer H wanted to go early, or after lunch. I wanted to go before my town trip. So we compromised at 11:00 a.m.

"Okay, if we're going at 11:00, I need a wake-up call at 9:30. I have to take my medicine, and have a shower. Then I'll go to town when we get back, since I'll already be in my town clothes."

"Here. I'll set my alarm now to call you."

Simple, right? Heh, heh! IF ONLY...

I stayed up a little too late, trying to finish a movie I'd recorded. It wasn't very good, since for the third night in a row, I fell asleep before it ended. I must have slept 2 hours in my OPC (Old People Chair). It was 6:30 when I went up to bed.

Like a good soldier, Farmer H called me at 9:30. I came out of the bathroom around 9:35, and there was Farmer H in the new recliner. I set down my overnight bubba cup of water on the table beside him, and leaned over the back of the couch for a minute. I could tell something was up, by Farmer H's demeanor.

"Huh. I have an appointment to get my hair cut at 11:20."

"That will be hard to make, since we'll be voting then."

"Well. That's why I came in. I didn't know what time we were going, so I called and made my haircut appointment. I can't just walk in anymore."

"You knew darn well what time we were going. I sat right here and told you, and you set your alarm. So don't give me that!"

"I didn't know! I thought we were going at 9:30."

"Like I'd jump out of bed and get in the car?"

"Well. I was thinking we'd go before. I don't mind going at 11:30."

"So you'll get your hair cut at 11:20, and magically appear back here at 11:30, to go vote?"

"No. I mean 12;30. Or 1:30."

"I don't want to go that late. I could have slept a couple more hours! But now I'm up. Do you want me to shower now, and we'll go?"

"Yeah. That would work."

Seriously. I think Farmer H planned that all along. Everybody is expected to get up with the chickens, and go roost at dusk around here. Unless there's an auction.

More about the voting experience tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is The New Chuck Norris

I don't claim to be super-human. I don't possess extraordinary strength, or exceptional bravery. I'm neither feared nor revered. However, I DO have something in common with Chuck Norris. I'm a bad-rumpus in my own particular way.

Yes, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is SO IMPORTANT and FAMOUS that... wait for it...


It's true! Sunday, at 4:40 p.m., the house phone rang, and my caller ID showed TIME and TEMP!

Heh, heh! But they didn't even leave me a message telling me the time and temperature. How helpful is THAT? It's not. I guess somebody is scamming the number. Looks like if I'd answered, I would have gotten an earful from a political robocaller.

Election today. Good thing I didn't answer and find out which candidate was robocalling...

Monday, August 3, 2020

Mrs. HM Would Prefer To Be Un-Out-Quipped

One of Farmer H's relatives passed away a couple weeks ago. His cousin. It was not a surprise. She'd been sick for a while. She used to work at Newmentia, and her husband was on the school board.  So I knew who they were. Farmer H went to the funeral home, but I did not.

Farmer H started talking about it last night. He also mentioned something he found out.

"I guess everybody in the family don't agree. Cuz and her husband usually vote one way. But her brother and his wife vote the opposite.

"Well, Cuz doesn't HAVE a vote anymore..."

"She might!"

Heh, heh! Farmer H is quicker than he used to be! And more woke.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

I Hope He Wasn't Wearing A Mask

Time to panic! Sound that alarm from a submarine that is taking on water! Flash the lights for the hard-of-hearing! Hide! Hide! Hide! Do NOT open the door!

Farmer H called while I was in the shower Friday. My assistant, The Pony, took the call. Good thing I saw the message light flashing on the house phone.

"Pony. Did the phone ring while I was in the shower?"

"Oh, yeah. One of those 636 numbers that didn't leave a message. And Dad called. He said there's a guy up in here knocking on doors. He says he's selling magazines, and then he jams his foot in. So don't answer the door. And when we go to town, make sure all the doors are locked."

"Huh. Good to know. NOBODY is supposed to be up in here. The last time anybody came to our door selling things, you were just a baby. Genius wasn't in school yet. It was a guy selling books. He had Genius hooked on some kids' encyclopedia. I didn't buy them. I went out on the porch with you and Genius, and told that guy he had no business up in here SOLICITING, because we had signs down by the creek. He said he had a friend up in here who said it was okay. Yeah, right. I thought he was never going to leave. I finally grabbed Genius by the wrist, and came back in the house, and locked the door, with that guy standing on the front steps."

When Farmer H came home, he filled in more of the story.

"I got a notice on our Facebook out here. It said a guy was knocking on doors, and when you open it, he sticks his foot in, and pushes on the door like he's coming in. The lady up the first road put it on there. Said, 'He was just here, and the police are on their way.' 11 other comments said they saw him. One was the lady up past us, by Buddy's old house. She said, 'He knocked on my door, but I didn't open it. He's finally leaving. I called the police.' So if he was up there, I guarantee you he stopped by here."

"Well. I was in the shower. We always have the door locked. The Pony was in his bedroom. People think the doorbell works. But it still doesn't."

"I bet he was here."

"I'm pretty sure the dogs would have been a good deterrent. Especially Copper Jack."

"Yeah. My buddy that came out here... he loves dogs. He says, 'The little one runs at me barking, but I'm afraid of that big one.'"

"Copper Jack scares ME! It's the tone of his bark. You can't be sure what he might do."

"Well, good. Maybe he'll keep them away."

"Was he on foot? Or in a car?"

"They said he's in a dark gray Ford Fusion. They think somebody's with him."

"They do that, you know. As an excuse. Come to the door, and say they're selling something, when that's just a cover in case someone is home. And they'll look inside, and judge how frail you are, and decide if to come back and rob you!"

"Yeah. Several others put on here that they saw him. Or they saw that car."

"I hope the police came out and picked him up! Or at least told him to get his trespassing butt out of here!"

You can bet I'm going to watch for a dark gray Ford Fusion down by the Creach.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

I Smell A Rat

Let the record show that The Pony and I don't always see eye to eye. However, he is mostly willing to have a discussion, or perhaps a debate, as we fling facts back and forth. We can both come out victorious, because if you look hard enough, you can generally find facts to support either side of an issue.

Anyhoo... it may come as a surprise to you that Mrs. HM does not like to wear a mask. Sorry. I should have warned you to sit down before mentioning that. Hope you've all regained consciousness by now.

The only two things that can entice me to strap on a mask are a visit to the doctor, where it's mandatory, or a trip to the casino, which has recently mandated masks due to a county ordinance. Every time I've worn a mask, I got a severe headache about 3 hours later. I tried to attribute the casino headache to a delay of my caffeine fix, or the smoke. But it's happened every time I wore the mask. I figure it's from breathing back my own mouth bacteria. I also had a sore throat. Not PAINFUL sore, but swelled-up, puffy, hard to swallow sore.

Anyhoo... that's just an explanation of my peccadillo. Not telling anyone else what to do.

The Pony has recently become a mask aficionado. Back in Norman, when everything was closed down in April, he didn't wear one. I even had to caution him to tie on a bandana or scarf to go buy some cough medicine and ibuprofen when he had a cold. Now, however, when the Devil's Playground started the mandatory masking (since changed to strongly suggested masking), The Pony jumped on the bandwagon. I daresay he might sleep in it, and shower in it, and float around in Poolio while wearing his beak. Which is what we call his mask, it having that shape, being a bright green one sent to Farmer H by his health insurance.

Anyhoo... that's just to explain The Pony's current peccadillo.

Now we'll get to the point. Friday evening, The Pony was leaning over the back of the short couch with his phone, while running his nightly bathwater.

"Here, Mom. You need to see this."

The Pony snickered. I did, too.

"Wait a minute. YOU think it's funny?"


"Did you READ IT?"


The Pony must not have believed me. He read it out loud.

"Get it? It's like YOU, Mom. You know it's dangerous, but you're licking a rat."

"Oh. THAT'S what it is? I thought it was people like you, with RATS STRAPPED TO THEIR FACE!"

Tomato, tomahto. We both used it to fit our agenda.