Monday, November 30, 2020

Get Back, Coughy Cat

While doing my business at the Gas Station Chicken Store on Sunday, another customer came in and stood behind me. Too close for my liking, but I just glanced over my shoulder to see HOW close this cat really was. There are no markings on the floor. This guy was about 3 feet away. It's a small place, quite confining. I wasn't flipping out about it, until he COUGHED! And then I still didn't flip out.

Oh, it was rude. Would have been considered rude last year, before all this VIRUS frenzy. Neither of us wore a mask. There's no current mandate, no sign posted on the door of the Gas Station Chicken Store. About two days out of seven, the clerk wears a mask. Sometimes she pushes it below her chin. Doesn't bother me. We have the plexiglass barrier.

I might have been more flip-out-erish if that guy HAD been wearing a mask, puffing all his accumulated mouth bacteria and nasal bacteria and any dried-out sneezes trapped in the fabric, sending them towards me like so many microscopic projectiles. I didn't rush home to take a shower to get his germs out of my hair, nor throw my town clothes in the wash. I figure I'm going to be just fine. He didn't seem VIRUSy. Not short of breath or wheezy or snotty. More like a smoker's cough. He only did it once. But he could have at least turned his head away from me when he did it! Or coughed into his own elbow.

Anyhoo... the VIRUS has come to Hillmomba. It's escaped the two prisons and the state mental hospital and the parole office and the kid jail and the nursing homes. All places where they test all employees and residents a couple times a week, since that is required at state facilities. No wonder our numbers are so high on POSITIVE CASES. At least they only test 10% of the prison people, and not all 2600 in each facility, now that they've done that already in September.

I mentioned a month or so ago that our neighbor Tommy had the VIRUS. He got sent home from his work at a produce-packing plant. He asked Farmer H to drive him to town, which Farmer H did. No mask on either of them. Farmer H didn't catch it. Tommy said he had a stuffy nose and a fever, but didn't feel real bad. He's been fine for a while now.

The Veteran, Farmer H's second son, called at the end of October, to tell him that HE had the VIRUS. Said his brother-in-law and wife had been over to their house. The BIL was a little sick. The next day, The Veteran said he and his wife and his two young daughters and the wife's older daughter all had diarrhea. The Veteran JUST KNEW they'd all caught the VIRUS. Overnight, apparently. Anyhoo... a couple days later, he went to the ER with breathing trouble. He said they gave him a breathing treatment, told him he had an upper respiratory infection, and sent him home. 
 
He told Farmer H that he had the VIRUS. But I don't know if he was actually tested, if they had the results that soon, or if he might have been confused. I'm not doubting his story. He was sick and breathless. But the wife and three daughters were fine after their diarrhea. I DO know that they pulled their kids out of school before the schools had shut down in March or April. And that the girls told Farmer H, when he offered to take them to Walmart for a toy, "Oh, we aren't allowed to go out." AND even if the whole family only went for a drive, they wore masks. The Veteran is fine now.

My sister's husband the ex-mayor had the VIRUS. They were down in casino town on a Saturday, for a soccer tournament. Back at their hotel, Ex-Mayor took a shower, and noticed that he didn't smell. Heh, heh. Something like soap or shampoo, that he noticed didn't have a fragrance. Sis smelled it. And said it did. Then he was all concerned that he had the VIRUS. They did not go to the next day of the tournament. They drove back in the car together. 
 
Ex-Mayor moved into their camper in the driveway. Monday he got a test, and a day or two later found out he was positive. He counted back the days, and realized that five days before he'd quit smelling, he had worked as a volunteer at their polling place on Tuesday, election day. He'd taken people's IDs and scanned them, and had wiped off tables as they were done voting. He wore his mask the whole time, as did most people voting. He's fine now. Sis had to quarantine four days longer than him, and she never had any symptoms. Sis's daughter had to go to work teaching, but her husband and their little girl quarantined at their own home. Nobody got sick.

Our across-the-road neighbors got the VIRUS. HE caught it at work, from a younger guy who came to work coughing for a couple days. HE told the boss, who made everyone get a test, and that cougher stay home. HE tested positive. He had symptoms and a cough. HE's fine now.

SHE got sick a week or so after HE. Farmer H found out by reading it on Facebook. That SHE was very sick, and being admitted to the hospital. The next day, SHE said she felt better, but that she was still sick. With the VIRUS. And bacterial pneumonia. Here's the thing. I'm pretty sure she wore a mask at work. She's the dog groomer. Of course most business owners want people to feel safe, so make them wear a mask inside their facility. I don't know all the details. I'm just ASSuming! But SHE was the most sick of any of the people we know who had the VIRUS. SHE's okay now.

I'm just curious about how the mask-wearers are getting it, when Farmer H romps all over the countryside, maskless, dealing with a multitude of non-maskers, and has KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK ON WOOD been fine so far.

Which brings me to my suspicion that constant breathing with a mask over your mouth and nose might cause you to inhale bacteria trapped on it. And lead to bacterial pneumonia. Which might be the illness putting others like our dog-groomer neighbor in the hospital. Just a thought...

Sunday, November 29, 2020

I Could Get Rich On Commissions

Sweet Gummi Mary! I think I've missed my calling. All those years wasted on smartening up the future generation of our nation, when I could have been in sales. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

With so much time on my arthritic retired hands, I spend hours perusing the innernets. Of course one of the main news stories (about 8 of every 10 stories on a local TV station's Facebook page) is the VIRUS. The thing about the VIRUS is that people have their own viewpoint, set in stone, nary to be modified. Not that there's anything wrong with that. People are entitled to their own opinions. Of all the lengthy comments sections, I've never seen one person have their mind changed. No matter how heated the back-and-forth gets. 

Of course I never comment on the innernets. Except for the blogs of my cronies. I don't even have a Facebook account. A real one, anyway. Just a skeleton version, to have access to pages that like to exclude anybody without an account.

Here's the thing. Some people are delusional! I know! Who would have ever seen THAT one coming? But they are. They think a little flap of cloth across their face will keep them from catching a virus. That the only way they can get it is if their mask is off. Like it makes them invincible. 
 
Or others think the mask only works one way: that it hold back cooties from going OUT, yet lets them IN all willy-nilly. But we're not talking about the MY MASK PROTECTS YOU people today!

If you've read anything about the VIRUS, you know about quarantine times. You've probably seen that most people catch it between 2-4 days after exposure. Sure, it could take up to 14 days, but I'm suspicious of that long.

Anyhoo... this lady was telling her tale of the sickness. She felt pretty bad while she had it, but was not hospitalized. I don't wish anyone to be ill, but I like to hear of the differences in people's experiences. We'll call this lady "Haircut." Here is a summary of her account.

"I know exactly when I caught it. I always wear my mask whenever I go out. But I needed a haircut, and I took off my mask. I'm sure I caught it from the lady who cut my hair. That's the ONLY time I was unmasked.

I'd been feeling like I was coming down with a cold for two or three days. Just a sore throat and the sniffles. I stopped to get my hair cut, and took off my mask so it would be easier. Wouldn't you know it, two days later, I had COVID! My haircutter was an asymptomatic carrier. She never did get sick. I sure wish I'd left my mask on that day!"

Okay. Screech the phonograph needle here! Does anyone else see something wrong with this story? It is obvious to me that Haircut was ALREADY SICK when she went to get her hair cut! She'd had symptoms of some kind of virus for two or three days! And then got really sick two days later! Yet the lady she accused of giving it to her never got sick! [Also, Haircut never mentioned if she went to a salon, or to somebody's house. I'm guessing it was NOT a salon, because they require masks on both the haircutter and the haircuttee.]

Here's one more. We'll call her Driver.

"Wear your mask, people. I got COVID, and it's because I didn't wear my mask. I was giving my friend a ride, and didn't have it on in the car. Two days later, I had COVID. My friend and her roommate never had any symptoms. But I couldn't have gotten it anywhere else. I always wear my mask."

Again, here Driver is accusing somebody who NEVER HAD ANY SYMPTOMS of giving HER the VIRUS! Try as you might, you'll never convince me of the ASYMPTOMATIC CARRIER. This isn't typhoid, with a bunch of Marys out there spreading it. It's a VIRUS. From the coronavirus family. With siblings like the common cold, and influenza. You don't catch THOSE illnesses from somebody without symptoms!

I COULD be convinced of PRE-SYMPTOMATIC CARRIERS. People who are starting to shed the virus, but haven't noticed their symptoms yet. Maybe a few hours later, they spike a fever. They might have given it to you before you could tell they were sick, but THEY DEVELOP SYMPTOMS. A fever, sniffles, a sneeze, a cough, a sore throat. You have to get their infected fluids in you or on your mucus membranes. Whether they blast it in your face, or you pick it up on your hands and do it yourself.

Anyhoo... my point is... that people either don't care or don't investigate or don't understand how a virus is spread. They just want to shout in capital letters, IT'S A NOVEL VIRUS! WE DON'T KNOW HOW IT WORKS!

I think we DO know how it works, but that's not the way it's being presented in the media. Otherwise, they would call this type of transmission PRE-SYMPTOMATIC. So people could understand, and not blame healthy people for giving it to them, rather than admit that they might have rubbed their eye without washing their hands, or picked their nose, or licked their fingers after eating a treat upon leaving the grocery store.

You can try to convince me otherwise, but GOOD LUCK WITH THAT! 

Meanwhile, with some people on the innernets so gullible, I think I could make a fortune in sales. I could sell them swampland in Florida, oceanfront property in Arizona, and the London Bridge. I might even sell the last two as a package deal, since the buyer would have them together there in one state.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Aspiring Comedians, Get In Line

I stopped by the Casey's next door to Farmer H's pharmacy next door to the Gas Station Chicken Store on Friday. They're next door, if you can hop over a moat and a side street. But there are no buildings in between them. Perhaps I'm a bit lax in my understanding of next door.

I'll tell you something else that might be lax. Some people's understanding of comedian. Seems there are a few who frequent that Casey's. Or maybe they were just stopping by on Thanksgiving to pick up the essentials, like pizza and beer.

Anyhoo... I went in looking for a crossword puzzle scratcher for The Pony. Of course they didn't have one. This Casey's has gone downhill over the past year. They are not dependable with their scratcher selection anymore, and the clerks seem to have broken give-a-darns. Or else they're all out of EFFs to give.

The older lady clerk, who is always congenial with me, pulled the two tickets I asked for. You know I couldn't go in there and leave without buying any scratchers! As she scanned them, she had a hiccup. Then another, behind her required mask. 

"Oh, no! Here we go again! I had them for two hours last night. You wouldn't believe the number of customers who advised me to quit drinking on the job."

Yes. I would. People think they are funny. Harder to believe is that the wearing of the mask didn't help her hiccups. Same as re-breathing your carbon dioxide from a paper sack.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Helpster And Hinderant

Thanksgiving morning started with the handling of the turkey breast. The Pony lifted that 9-pound behemoth out of FRIG II's bottom, and brought it to the sink. He read the instructions on the label, some of which I heeded, some of which I ignored. 

I removed a rack from the oven, to make room for this tall, tall bird breast. Heated it to 350 as I cut open the wrapper, took out the sealed packet of gravy, and made sure there was nothing more stuffed inside. No neck and gizzard and heart in this one. Just a hollow cavity. 
 
I peeled some long carrots of the Ponytail Guy. I planned to set the turkey on top of them in the bottom of the roasting pan, because I have no rack. Then Farmer H got wind of it, and said he might eat them. So I had to PEEL those carrots that were only supposed to act as a rack. Of course they were so shriveled later that Farmer H didn't want them.

The Pony held the roaster pan beside the sink so I could put the turkey in it. He did the bending to slide it into the oven. He also got out the bowl for me to mix my hash brown casserole. He dug the sour cream out of the bottom of FRIG II, and found the shredded cheddar. Got the salt and pepper. And opened up the cornflakes box and shook them on top. He also slid that glass dish into the oven for me.

We were firing on all cylinders, about to dish up two kinds of olives, put the butter on the table, and get the rolls ready for baking when the time came. 

THEN FARMER H THREW A MONKEY WRENCH INTO OUR KITCHEN!

Figuratively. He commanded The Pony to come outside to HELP HIM!
 
I was taking a 30-minute break while the turkey baked, sitting on the coffee table at the front living room window. The man who had internal surgery seven days ago was seen in the front yard, unloading a metal ladder from the back of SilverRedO. CARRYING it to the porch. 
 
"PONY! Run out and help your dad! He's got a ladder in the back of the truck. He's not supposed to be lifting."
 
"Actually, I didn't see anything in his discharge papers about lifting."
 
"He can't lift more than 15 pounds! That's a metal ladder! He's going to tear up his insides!"
 
"The papers said he could resume his activities when he felt like it."
 
"OH MY GOSH! Let's sit here and debate it while he's hurting himself!"
 
Farmer H came inside.
 
"What do you think you're doing? You can't be carrying a ladder!"
 
"That ladder don't weigh more than 15 pounds. That's what the doctor said I could lift."
 
I shot The Pony a look. He has that bad habit of debating things to death. He'd probably revive a dead horse, and stand by until it suffered a relapse, so he could beat it some more.
 
Farmer H told The Pony to come out and hand him Christmas light bulbs, so he wouldn't have to climb up and down the ladder so much to get them. Because the hour before Thanksgiving dinner is served is the only time to replace bad bulbs in the string of lights along the soffits!

The Pony went grudgingly. I was NOT happy. That was my helper! I had to do the olives by myself. Get the butter ready. Simple tasks, yet more steps that I didn't want to take, rather than relying on The Pony to fetch things for me. I only have a finite amount of steps in my knees until they lock up.

The Pony escaped! He was able to get the rolls ready, and watch the hash browns to take them out. AND he volunteered to wash up the dishes so far! Then he set the table and got the glasses of ice cubes ready.

Of course, after we ate, The Pony said he was going to leave THIS sink of dishes for me. But he DID clear the table and set stuff on the side counter where I could reach them without walking around.

Farmer H? The minute he swallowed his last bite of cherry pie, he said, 
 
"I think I'll take a ride on the Gator."
 
I guess he was exhausted from slicing the turkey.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Bubble. Bubble. Toil. Trouble.

Let's start you out with a picture from a few days ago. We took a little trip (more than a 3-hour tour) to the casino. Nothing much to report from there. But when we got back, it was of course too late to make a trip to town for my magical elixir. So I had to make my own. Of course I had the 44 oz cup. Ice from FRIG II's freezer. Two bottles of Diet Coke. And my cherry and limeade powder. Now separate, because the magical additive is apparently no longer available.

Anyhoo... I took the cup, full of ice and flavor powder, down to my lair, to get the Diet Coke bottles from the mini fridge under the stairs. Look what happened when I poured it in and put on the lid:


Isn't that cool? It looks like alligator skin to me. I make my own magical elixir a couple times a month, but I haven't noticed the bubbles doing this. I wonder if it has something to do with the separate cherry and limeade powder. That's the only thing different about it.

Anyhoo... Wednesday, I spent many hours completing only three menu items for Thanksgiving dinner. I started with the roasted vegetables, putting in baby carrots, peeling and cutting up potatoes, and then peeling and slicing onions into wedges. The Hidden Valley Ranch powder got sprinkled in between each layer. Then bacon slices were strewn across the top, courtesy of a meaty Ponytail Guy.

While the "vinchtables," as a young Pony called them, were roasting... I took the pan of 20 eggs that I'd boiled and cooled during the peeling and chopping, and sat down at my mom's former kitchen table, to toil over the deviled eggs.

Sweet Gummi Mary, making deviled eggs takes FOREVER! Even though I'd added some vinegar to the boil water, the storebought eggs did not want to shed their shells. In fact, they held onto their shells tighter than Ruth Buzzi as Gladys Ormphby on Laugh-In holding onto her purse-weapon! It took 90 minutes to get those eggs peeled and the filling made and then stuff them and slice olives to top them. No. Not all 20 eggs were deviled. Some were for chopping as a layer in the 7-Layer Salad.

I didn't even leave for town until 3:45. I'd planned to work a bit longer, to get the salad finished, but I was afraid the stores might close, and prevent procurement of my 44 oz Diet Coke and scratchers. So I made the salad when I got back home, before making chicken-meatball subs on hot dog buns, with provolone cheese and marina sauce, for Farmer H and The Pony's supper.

I did not partake of the Ponytail Guy's meatballs. I still had my lunch to eat at 5:30.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Vittles List For The Feast Of The Hillbilly Family

In case you plan on dropping by unannounced, Thanksgiving dinner will be around 1:00 on Thursday. The menu this year pleases the palates of Farmer H, The Pony, and Mrs. HM.

7-Layer Salad
Deviled Eggs
Roasted Carrots/Potatoes/Onions (in bacon drippings)
Hash Brown Casserole
Stove Top Stuffing
Sister Schubert's Rolls
Turkey Breast
Cherry Pie
Brownies
 
The most notable thing missing is the Green Bean Bundles, a favorite of Genius, who is not joining us this year, due to Pennsylvania's quarantining regulations. Or perhaps because Genius doesn't want to rub elbows with the Hillbillys this year.
 
The menu presents a problem. A couple of them. Two potato dishes, because The Pony loves the roasted vegetables, and I love the Hash Brown Casserole, and Farmer H loves both. The Pony eats so few regular foods, and won't ask for anything, but LOVES deviled eggs. I think we've only had them once in all the time he's been home. Stove Top Stuffing is also a Pony favorite. Gotta be the box.

Of course I read yesterday that there was a recall on Romaine lettuce. The main layer of the 7-Layer-Salad. I made up my mind to buy it anyway, but couldn't find any. So I got two packets of Caesar Salad kits. Which is basically chopped Romaine, with a packet of Caesar Dressing, and maybe croutons.

I was THRILLED to find three packs of Sister Schubert's Rolls. They're a tiny yeast roll, ready to bake, in a foil pan. The Pony can eat a whole pan by himself.

The cherry pie is a storebought one. Farmer H loves cherry pie. The Pony is going to make brownies from a pack, not from scratch.

The turkey breast is 9 POUNDS! I had no intention of getting such a hefty bird. But it was the LAST ONE LEFT in the bin at Save A Lot. I first thought something must be wrong with it, to be left behind. I touched it to make sure it was still frozen. It was hard as a rock. I thought it was a whole turkey, but then read that it was just the breast. Which is what Farmer H wanted anyway. I heaved it into my cart like a Scottish Highlander in a Weight for Distance competition. It was $15 for a 9-pound breast. Honeysuckle brand.

I'm already planning on the leftovers! Turkey and egg noodles with green peas and mushrooms and a white sauce. A turkey pot pie. Lunches of turkey sliders on Hawaiian Rolls, with provolone cheese and mayo and green olives. Mmm...

The only time-intensive items are the deviled eggs, and the 7-layer salad. I'm tackling them before my trip to town on Wednesday. During which I will buy twice my usual scratcher ration. So I can have some on Thanksgiving Day, after the meal and clean-up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

If The Patient Survives, I Might Just Kill Him

I think having your gallbladder taken out must be bad for your memory. Or your disposition. Or maybe it takes away your give-a-darn. Farmer H is skating on thin ice. Which I presume is not recommended so soon after surgery.
 
Friday night, I came upstairs to get supper ready for the invalid. Even though he'd been out running around across four counties all day. I'd picked up a pork steak dinner for him at Country Mart's deli, along with a big salad for all of us to share. Farmer H had mentioned the night of his surgery that a salad sounded good. He's had the pork steak meal before, and usually gets 2-3 meals from it, because it's a lot of food.
 
As I rounded the banister, and asked Farmer H how he wanted me to warm his pork steak, he said, not a little churlishly,
 
"I don't want a lot of food!"
 
"You don't have to eat it all. I guess you'll want a small bowl of salad."
 
"No. I don't need salad."
 
"Okay... last night, you said you liked the salad, and wanted one. So I bought one to help you poop."
 
"You get yours! I'll make my own!"
 
"If I'd known that, I wouldn't have come up for another hour. I've barely finished my lunch."
 
"You make yours, and then I'll come in and make mine."
 
"Okay. I'm making myself a McRib out of my pork steak."
 
"I'll do mine."
 
"Do you want some onion?"
 
"No."
 
"Okay. I won't use a whole one. So I'll just throw the rest away."
 
"I might eat some. Just a couple of slices."
 
THEN he had the nerve to say it would be nice if I was concerned about his operation!
 
Dang it! His passive aggressive ways make me so mad! I think it might be time for him to learn another lesson. Like his 30 years of self-laundry duty. Only with meals.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Where Are The Steri-Strips: A Gallbladder Version Of Who's On First

There is the edge of dumbfudgery, and then there is the abyss. Farmer H took a nosedive over the precipice on Friday, and grabbed me by the wrist on his way down.

"I heard you in the shower. Did you take off the gauze squares from your incisions?"

"No. They're fine."

"Your discharge papers said not to get them wet. And that if they were bloody, to take them off. That one had blood on it, but I said it might be good to wait until your shower to pull it loose."

"They're not wet."

"You didn't get water on your belly in the shower?"

"Yes. But they're dry now. I just got out. They dried fast."

"The instructions said to take them off if they got wet."

"They're fine. I didn't see no steri strips."

"They might have fallen off. That's what the instructions said, too. To leave them on until they fell off, but not to worry if they DID fall off."

"I lifted up that one bandage, and there was no steri strip."

"Okay. Maybe it didn't need one. But the gauze should come off."

"No. There was no steri strip."

"I know. You just told me. And you told me yesterday that there wasn't a steri strip on your belly button. I saw there wasn't, when I put on a bandaid for you. They can't close up your belly button hole by pulling it together with a steri strip."

"It's the one that hurts."

"Yeah. Gravity pulls your stomach down when you stand up. They made a cut, and slid a tube in there. So of course it hurts as things shift around. It's cut on the inside, too."

"There's no steri strip."

"I KNOW!"
 
"And there's not any steri strips on the top ones, either. With the bandages."
 
"Maybe not. I didn't have any after my gallbladder surgery. The incisions are small. They don't always need a stitch or steri strips. Just like a small cut heals."
 
"Them papers said to leave the steri strips on until they fell off."
 
"But you don't have any. The instructions were general. For post-surgery. Not specific to gallbladder surgery. Some people may have steri strips, and some may not. And the papers said to take the gauze off if it got wet."
 
"It's NOT wet."
 
"But it WAS. After the shower."
 
"It's dry now."
 
"You are trapping moisture and possible bacteria in there by the incision. They want it open, to heal."
 
"There's no steri strips."
 
"I KNOW THAT! Quit saying the same thing over and over!"
 
"Well, there's not."
 
"It said to take off the gauze!"
 
"I can't take it off! Then what will hold the cut together?"
 
"I guarantee you the gauze isn't holding your cut together! It was just there in case any blood seeped out. Only one of them did! You didn't need steri strips, and you don't need the gauze! Take it off!"
 
"HM. Something has to hold that together until it heals!"
 
"Let me see. On that bloody one. It's fine! It's not pulling apart. It's a closed cut that's healing. Not pulling apart or anything! And that's the worst one, according to the blood on the gauze. Which you should take off. Because it got wet." 

"It's dry now. It's fine."

Sad thing is, Farmer H was not under the influence of painkillers when this conversation took place. I guess he's going to leave that gauze on there until it grows into his skin like a mesh patch. There's no talking sense to him. Even typed discharge instructions are not to be obeyed, in Farmer H's mind. He makes up his own rules as he goes along.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

First Rule Of Lie Club: Don't Provide Details Of Lie

Farmer H has been caught in a lie. Oh, c'mon! Don't discredit my lie-detecting skills. It takes a little effort to get to the bottom of the lie. I have to squeeze him like the rubber tubing of a polygraph machine's chest sensors.

Friday brought us 40-degree temps and pouring rain. So Farmer H was not out of my lovely lady-mullet as usual. In fact, he popped into the Mansion around 11:10, as I was standing at the kitchen counter taking my medicine. He walked past me and to the bathroom, I thought. Somewhere out of the kitchen. He returned shortly, and with his hand on the doorknob, said

"I'm headed down to Bill-Paying Town to see about a gun."

There's nothing unusual about that. I generally don't see Farmer H from the time he leaves on Friday morning until he comes home for supper around 4:00-5:00. He sells at his Storage Unit Store, then has lunch, sits around talking to his cronies at somebody's garage or business, then gets his weekly shot.

I had been to town for my magical elixir, and had my lunch ready on the kitchen counter for The Pony to pack down the stairs to my lair. I sat down on the short couch to talk to The Pony, who had for some reason left his cell bedroom to join the world.

"You know, Pony, I think your dad has gone down to Casino Town without us. He mentioned yesterday that he was thinking of going on Saturday. I told him that was not a good idea. That he could wait until Tuesday, like he had originally planned. He said his gun lady had five guns for him."

"Huh."

"He SAID he was going to Bill-Paying Town when he left here around 11:00. Look. It's 3:00 now. That's WAY too much time for a trip over to Bill-Paying Town. 30 minutes there. 30 minutes back. An hour to look at a gun and barter or dicker on the price. Maybe 30 minutes to eat lunch. He would have been back here by now."

"How long for Casino Town?"

"Hour-and-a-half there. Hour-and-a-half back. An hour to get the guns and talk to the pawn shop lady. Probably a stop at the casino like he usually does. Lunch. It's been four hours now. He could be back any time, depending on if he did any gambling."

"Meh."

"You watch. I bet that's where he went."

I stopped short of actually BETTING The Pony. Believe me, it crossed my mind. To bet him a $5 scratcher that Farmer H made a clandestine trip to Casino Town.

In my office, scratching my own tickets, I heard Farmer H stomping around on his footless ankles in the master bathroom. I know that I went downstairs at 3:00, because I watched the end of a Guy's Grocery Games with The Pony. So it was on the hour. Then I ate my lunch, and watched some conspiracy videos, and loaded my music to scratch tickets by. When I heard the stomping, I looked at the clock. It was 4:20. The time I usually get to scratchin'.

I asked Farmer H at supper time if he went to Casino Town. He didn't answer. I was in the kitchen, warming my leftover BBQ pork steak from Country Mart deli. I'd smelled Farmer H warming his own around 4:35. That BBQ smell travels! 

"I didn't hear your answer."

"I didn't hear your question." [Lie Sign #1: delay in answering, stalling for time]

"Did you go to Casino Town?"

"No. I went down to Bill-Paying Town about a gun. I told you when I left."

I went to sit on the short couch (The Pony was in his nightly 2-hour tub) to talk to Farmer H in the recliner. Even thought the rope I was giving him to hang himself would have easily reached from the kitchen.

"It doesn't take that long to go to Bill-Paying Town and back. Even for a gun."

"What do you mean THAT LONG?" [Lie Sign #2: questioning the questioner]

"You were gone over 5 hours."

"No. It was less than 3." [Lie Sign #3: denying provable facts]

"You left here at 11:00, and got back after 4:00."

"I left here at ten 'til twelve! And got back at 3:00!"

"No. I was in the kitchen taking medicine. Hadn't even turned on the TV."

"I'll prove it! Right here on my phone! I called that guy at 11:18, right after I left here."

"Exactly! You left around 11:00. Just like I said."

"Well, I got back at 3:00."

"No. I was sitting here at 3:00, watching TV with The Pony. You don't even get your shot until 4:00! When I heard you walking around in the bathroom when you got back, it was 4:20. I was scratching tickets, and hoped you weren't coming down, because you're bad luck. AND, I'd already eaten my pinwheels, AND my bag of chips, AND my two Girl Scout Thin Mints, and watched some videos and loaded music."

"No. I got back at 3:00."

"So you didn't go to the bathroom until 4:20?"

"No. I went to the bathroom as soon as I got home."

"Exactly. Then you made your supper while you were up."

"No. I didn't make my supper until 5:30."

"Then how did I smell it at 4:35? AND, I went to the bathroom at 5:30, and you were not up walking around. It was quiet, and I thought you might have gone to the auction. Which you always do, and want to be DONE eating at 5:30."

"I didn't go to the auction."

"But you went to Bill-Paying Town. DIDN'T YOU?"

"The guy I went to see about the gun said he had some business down there, and I said that was a coincidence, I did, too! So we went down there together."

"I KNEW IT! So you've lied to me."

"It ain't lyin'."

"It is TOO! You did it on purpose, but I can always tell."

"It's a good thing I went! That pawn shop lady's son was selling two of my guns when I walked in! So I called her and told her, and she called HIM on the other phone, to say he had to sell them to ME. But he'd already made a deal with that other guy, and told his mom, 'You didn't tell me to HOLD the guns for him. You just said he was COMING BY.' So I only got three of my guns." [Not a sign, but a JUSTIFICATION for his lies] "She had a rifle that I offered $400 for, but she said she needed $550. Which I can understand, because it's about an $800 gun. So I paid her $550 for it."

"Aha! You just HAPPENED to be carrying all of your gun money around with you when you were only going to look at ONE gun over in Bill-Paying Town!"

"No. I didn't have that gun money on me. I came home to GET IT!"

"So you KNEW, when you were going out the kitchen door, that you were going all the way to Casino Town to get your guns."

"Well. I came home to get my money."
 
If Farmer H had not tried to supply all those details, he could have absolutely fooled me by saying he'd gone to shop at Goodwills after seeing the gun guy in Bill-Paying Town, and then stopped by to shoot the bull with his cronies.

The Devil is in the details.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

They Tried

My errands before the financial meeting included a trip to the bank. I had a check to deposit, which had come from that very financial group. Every year, I have to take a minimum amount out of an account that was inherited, and is some kind of retirement account. I don't know a lot about investment stuff. Only how much I have, and that there's a penalty for not withdrawing some of it by year's end. They can't write the check at the office. They have to send it to corporate, and I get it in the mail. Thankfully, nobody got their filthy thieving mitts on it!

Anyhoo... you might remember that once the bank teller accused me of trying to deposit a FRAUDULENT check from my own credit union, just because she called the wrong phone number on the check. AND that my bank has a policy of not wanting to give you credit, even for a CASHIER'S CHECK, until 10 days have passed. Farmer H went toe-to-toe with them on that policy one time (back when customers were allowed inside, and could go toe-to-toe), and they waived it for him.

Anyhoo... I outsmarted those telleristas this time. I wanted to take out some of our weekly cash. And also to deposit that check. The normal way to do it would be to fill out a deposit slip for the check, and fill in the amount of cash back. Uh uh. I was too smart for that! Because that one time, they didn't even want to give me cash from my account (nothing to do with the check) when I made a big deposit. Acted like ALL my money would be held for 10 days. Which is ridiculous! Anything over the amount of a deposited check should not be affected.

Anyhoo... this time, I filled out a withdrawal slip for my weekly cash. Then I filled out a deposit slip for the full amount of the check. I sent them through the tube. And a teller whose voice I didn't recognize got on the speaker, and said,
 
"Um. This check that... uh... um... So, you want to make a withdrawal? And deposit this check?"
 
"Yes."
 
"Oh. Alright. I'm working on it."
 
Heh, heh! She was SO ready to tell me there would be a 10-day hold! But she couldn't! They were two separate transactions! I didn't want any of that check back.
 
Score one for the valedictorian!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Nero May Have Fiddled While Rome Burned, But Farmer H Chewed The Fat While Mrs. HM Steamed

I really thought I had outsmarted Farmer H and our Financial Advisor. After all, I'd told the secretary that I wouldn't be staying for the whole appointment, and I'd informed Farmer H that I would be driving separately. 
 
I really hate this yearly meeting. So much fat to be trimmed, while Farmer H and Financial Advisor would rather sit around chomping on it. Farmer H forbid me to schedule a PHONE appointment, which was offered this year. And he wanted a day that Financial Advisor was there himself, and not a conference with his daughter, who is taking over his business.
 
My other errands went smoothly (better than I expected), and I arrived in front of the Financial Advisor's office at 1:53 for a 2:00 appointment. We've gone in early before, only to cool our heels out front until appointment time, even though no one else was there. So I decided to sit in T-Hoe's comfortable driver's seat, rather than in an uncomfortable plastic and metal chair. I didn't see SilverRedO yet, so I picked up my phone to send myself a picture for later downloading.

THERE WAS FARMER H! 

He appeared out of nowhere. Or, more accurately, from across the street, where he'd parked so secretively, even though there were 10 spaces in front of the financial office. He stood leaning on T-Hoe's hood, forcing me to go in early and wait in the butt-numbing chairs. 

BUT NOT!

Because Financial Advisor himself was at the door, calling for us to come on in. SIX MINUTES EARLY! Of course I translated this into six more minutes of torture. We went directly back to his conference table. Farmer H commented,

"Oh. You've got new chairs since your daughter came to work for you."

"Yes. She said we needed to update the office."

The chairs LOOKED more comfortable, but they were not! Although upholstered in fabric, they still had a hard feel to my ample rumpus, and the armrests were way too low for a normal person to rest their arms. They were like decorative armrests! Also upholstered in fabric.

Anyhoo... while waiting for The Daughter to join us at the appointment time, Farmer H and Financial Advisor started chatting about The Virus, and office protocols, and workplace edicts. Then The Daughter joined us, and joined in. A couple times, I dropped a hint that I was only there to SIGN NECESSARY PAPERS, and then I'd be leaving. Finally, Financial Advisor told The Daughter to put the accounts on screen. 

SWEET GUMMI MARY! WILL TECHNOLOGY NEVER CEASE?

A giant big screen as large as our TV was mounted on the wall. I had to turn my head sideways to see it. There was precious little room between the table and wall to turn the whole new upholstered chair. My neck being swiveled did not help my headache at all. Even worse, I could not quite focus on the number columns. It was too far for my regular eyes, and my glasses didn't help. Not the regular part, nor the bifocals. So I just squinted, getting that nauseous feeling you get from overworking your peepers when you have a headache.

I asked a couple of questions about my investments, and then was ready to sign the paperwork and go. But wait! The Daughter made a startling reveal!

THERE WAS NO SIGNATURE NECESSARY!

What in the Not-Heaven? Did I attend an appointment that I didn't have to? They all acted like I had to come in. But usually there's a signature. Saying, perhaps, that my investments had been discussed, and I chose to continue with the current procedures.

I made a hasty exit, after first hauling myself out of that uncomfortable chair and letting the circulation return to my legs. I have no qualms about letting Financial Advisor, and now The Daughter, make my investment decisions. That's what they're professionals about. Surely they want the most for my money, since they get a cut.

Anyhoo... Farmer H did not return home for another hour or two after I got there. I guess they had a lot of time to shoot the bull and chew the fat, since the secretary said most people don't want to come in for an in-person appointment these days.

Oh, and Farmer H said he really enjoyed talking to The Daughter. "She likes guns!"

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Wasted Meat Of A Ponytail Guy

We had another mishap with the Ponytail Guy's meat Tuesday night! Once again, I had my mouth all set for some delicious chicken nuggets with a light coating of BBQ sauce, caramelized in the oven, placed upon a hamburger bun with lettuce and mayo. You know what happens when Mrs. HM has her mouth all set for the Ponytail Guy's meat. She is sorely disappointed!

The Pony had taken himself out to Steak N Shake for a big lunch, and didn't want any supper. So I told Farmer H we'd have the chicken nuggets in the bottom of FRIG II. Not the best kind, the crunchy discs. The other kind, the irregular nugget. 

ALAS! When I pulled out the bag, they were discolored! Darkened! And when I looked through the plastic, some had a white spot of MOLD on them! I cried out, and Farmer H said they were probably still good! AU CONTRAIRE! I wouldn't eat one on a dare!

I took the bag to show Farmer H, and he agreed that we had spoiled the Ponytail Guy's meat. He said to dump them off the back porch to the dogs. I refused!

"I'm NOT giving my dogs moldy chicken nuggets! That can't be good for them!"

"What are you going to do?"

"Put them in the trash."

"Then they'll stink."

"They're in a plastic bag! And after a day, they'll be out in the dumpster."

"Here. Give them to me."

"Already in the wastebasket."

"I'll get rid of them."

"Dig them out for yourself. I TOLD you I only wanted you to bring a serving at a time over from the BARn freezer."

"Huh. You'd think they'd be okay in the refrigerator."

"They've been in there for at least TWO WEEKS! And before that, they'd probably been meant for a restaurant back in March. They don't stay good forever. Even in a freezer."

"Yeah. I guess you're right."

"What are you doing with those?"

"I'm taking them outside."

"DON'T let the dogs have them!"

When he came back inside, I asked what he did. He wasn't gone long enough to drive them somewhere, or burn them, or bury them.

"I took them over to the edge of the woods."

"Oh, because dogs don't have noses to sniff out food!"

"They wasn't out there. You don't know what might eat them."

"The DOGS!"

"They'll be fine. They eat the meat off an old rotted deer carcass."

"Yes. But it's FRESH rotted deer carcass. Not MOLDY rotted deer carcass!"

I hope my fleabags are okay tomorrow. It wasn't a LOT of chicken nuggets. But my little Jack is not a lot of dog. And he's the one with the best nose. I hope he has some competition during his feeding frenzy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wasted Day And Wasted Night

A few hours ago (as I type this), Farmer H reminded me that we have our annual meeting with our financial guy tomorrow. Which is TODAY, as you read this. I had completely forgotten about it. And I'M the one who made the appointment last week. We had the option of phone conference or some impossible technical thingy or in person. Of course Farmer H wanted in person. I did not. I'm sure that's why I blocked it out.

Anyhoo... good thing he told me! Now the whole day is wasted, because the only choice was 1:30. Or was it 2:30? I guess I need to call and check! I had planned to do the banking and mailing and gassing of T-Hoe. So now my plan is to drive separately from Farmer H, and pop in when it's convenient! Seriously. It takes less than 10 minutes to look over the annual report and sign the papers. Farmer H and the guy like to chew the fat. So they can have the office to themselves, and I'll only do the signing part!

I've spent a couple hours tonight trying to print Genius's weekly letter. That darn Not-Heavenish LaserJet! It never works the same way twice. I gave up and sent the job to the color printer in the workshop. I haven't gone in yet to see if I can harvest the pages.
 
The Universe is smiting me mightily. Maybe that means something good is around the bend. Or else it's post-smite for the good thing that already happened on Sunday.

 
 It was a great way to start the week. Now I'm paying for it, in a non-cash kind of way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

In Case You're Having A Vampire Problem

Sweet Gummi Mary! Look what I found in the produce section at Country Mart! I was wheeling my cart/walker along, heading for the bananas, when I saw a bin at the end of the tomato table.


HUGE jars of minced garlic! For $5. Sure, the jars themselves aren't huge, if you buy them full of mayonnaise, or pickles. But for minced garlic, they're HUGE! It's even the same brand I buy, in much smaller jars.

The usual size I find is tiny. The only comparison I can think of are the old tins of shoe polish my dad used to use. A little squatty jar. In fact, The Pony was astonished last week when he found the next larger size jar of minced garlic (not even expired!) when cleaning off a pantry shelf. It was about the size of a small jar of jelly.

Now this! With The Pony here, we could probably use up such a HUGE jar of minced garlic. I add it to pasta and sauce and chili and soup and chicken-and-noodle dishes. The Pony loves garlic. He slathers it on homemade garlic toast, and puts it in butter for applying to his filet mignon from the parking lot of Rural King.

We're not the kind of people who use the dried cloves of garlic in the net sleeve, seen behind this bin. But we might use a HUGE jar of minced garlic, and even dab it behind our ears if we sense a possible invasion of vampires...

Monday, November 16, 2020

Mrs. HM Was Royally Disappointed

Last Thursday, Farmer H took The Pony and me down to Casino Town. Of course he had other business off-premises. He joined us later for lunch and gambling. We agreed on a departure time as The Pony left the table. I made sure Farmer H repeated the time back to me, and that The Pony was a witness. No more of that hard-of-hearing, fading-memory outrage to take out on me up front!
 
Anyhoo... I demanded that we ALL check our purses for forgotten ticket vouchers before walking out the turnstiles. Let no ill-gotten dollar be left behind. 
 
Farmer H made an uncommon turn on our way across the city. He's taken that route only once before, and it cost us 10 extra minutes. This time, I think it actually cut 5 minutes off our time. Probably due to it being the 4:00 rush hour, and not the middle of the day when traffic is lighter.
 
Anyhoo... as we sat at a stoplight, a small white sedan pulled up on my right. The back window had one of those thingies to prevent the sun shining in. Sometimes they're like a shade stuck on with suction cups. This one was a film that you smooth against the window, with a person pictured as if they were riding in the back seat.

IT WAS HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II (!)

"Pony! Look! Do you see who's in the back seat of this car that just pulled up? It's THE QUEEN!"

"Um. No. I can't see. Wait a minute. Oh, yeah."

"Look! She's WAVING at me!"

Of course I gave HRH a wave in return. You know, the hoity-toity kind. Just the twisty wrist. Not a big ol' honkin' back-and-forth sweep from the shoulder.

"You should take her picture," said Farmer H.

Dang it! What was I thinking? I grabbed my phone and had it all zoomed in. SNICK. A waver of the screen. And the small white sedan took off like a Mercedes-Benz W140 into a tunnel trying to outrun paparazzi. OOPS! Too soon? I've been watching the retrospectives this week on the REELS channel.

Anyhoo... I checked my phone to see how it turned out, and THERE WAS NO PICTURE! Dang it! That phone has a habit of pretending to take a picture. Maybe it TAKES a picture, but forgets to KEEP the picture. Like a certain airport rental car company with its fleet.

Farmer H could never be a car service for the paparazzi. He couldn't catch up to that small white sedan so I could have another photo-op. 

I hope Her Majesty was wearing a seatbelt.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

One Foot In The Coughin'

We went to the casino on Thursday. Two winners and a loser and three stuffed hogs walked out the door. More on the casino on my other blog in a couple days.
 
Anyhoo... The Pony and I were at our favorite slots on the back wall after lunch. He had commandeered the machine where I won my $8,600. There are four of these slots, all the same kind, in a row. The favored one is on the right end. I was going to play on the left end, but The Pony said it was broken. You could play, but only the games it was showing. The touch screen didn't work to put it on Buffalo Gold (my choice) or Brazil (Pony's choice).
 
So... I said I'd sit down at the slot on The Pony's left, and give it a try. I dislike playing machines that are not on the end. It's hard to get into the stall formed by the sheets of clear plastic dividing them. I can bend the plastic for entry and exit, but not if somebody I don't know is playing an adjoining machine. I told The Pony,
 
"Scoot your chair over a little bit. I have to bend this and squeeze in."
 
He did. I got situated in front of the slot, while sitting a little sideways on the stool. They are SO uncomfortable to me. A little too high to be comfortable. My knees don't bend to hook my heels on the bar underneath. So I sit at an angle, kind of on the corner of the chair. My left foot was a little bit under the plastic, encroaching on the space of the slot on MY left. Not a big deal. Nobody was playing there but us.
 
Of course about five minutes in, a man sat down on the left end. It didn't take him long to see that the machine wouldn't let him change games. That's the attraction of these. You can pick four different games, and switch among them, or play one of each at the same time, with the four screens.
 
Here came That Guy. He sat down at the slot beside me. Fair enough. I don't own it. I pulled my foot back into my own "stall," because otherwise would have been impolite. He didn't really affect my play, other than making my back more uncomfortable from my new posture.
 
THEN That Guy lit up a cigarette! NO NO NO! Here's the thing. Those clear plastic dividers don't do a thing to curtail the smoke. Of course a SMOKER doesn't have to wear a mask. Even though I WAS wearing a mask, because that's the casino policy, I could smell that smoke as good (as BAD) as if I was not wearing a mask at all. That's how I know a mask does not stop the VIRUS. A particle of VIRUS is even smaller than a particle of smoke. It comes right through the weave.
 
Anyhoo... I bid goodbye to The Pony, leaned into his space to escape my clear plastic stall, and went up front to my other favorite slot. Also a four-game version, with my precious Buffalo Gold as one of the games. There was no plastic stall at this one, because it's on the end. Like sitting at the head of the table. There are six slot machines. Two side by side, two more side by side, backs to each other, the stools like chairs across from each other at a dining room table. And two on the ends. Like where the mom and dad would sit.

Anyhoo... less than a minute after I sat down there, an old man chose the slot on my left. Less than a minute after that, he started to COUGH! Seriously? WHAT is wrong with people???

It wasn't just a HARUMPH kind of cough, like clearing your throat. I understand that. I have to do it myself. This was a HACKING COUGH. Over and over. Sure, he was wearing a mask. You're kidding yourself if you think that thin piece of bedsheet or t-shirt or whatever fabric his was made of will stop the VIRUS!

Every time he did that, I held my breath, then turned away from him to inhale a few seconds later. I figure if he was spewing VIRUS, it would have dispersed by then, and I wouldn't get the full dose of his lung juices. 

Sweet Gummi Mary! That guy was OLD. If he really had the VIRUS, for long enough to develop that cough, he most likely would not have been able to walk into the casino. It makes you short of breath, you know. And he probably would have had one foot in the coffin already, and not be sitting at a slot beside the one I refused to leave because it pays me.

As Farmer H says, "Everybody's gonna die sometime. If I get it, I get it."

I don't go out in crowds. I wash my hands. I stay six feet away from everyone but Farmer H and The Pony. I spend less than 15 minutes in the vicinity of a cougher in the casino. I'm living life to the fullest!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Don't Put It On MY Bill

More excitement in the Gas Station Chicken Store!
 
I go there daily, you know. My visits are pretty much routine. I fill my 44 oz Diet Coke, cash in scratcher winners, and buy more scratchers. I usually have correct change. But lately, I've been playing a $3 ticket, which throws everything off. I get change back! Like on Wednesday, when I didn't get my magical elixir, because I had other errands that would take two hours.
 
The Man Owner was working the register. He looks like a taller version of Ned Flanders. He has a positive outlook on life like Ned Flanders. But he has more than three fingers on each hand, and doesn't wear glasses.
 
Anyhoo... after all these years of frequenting this establishment, I feel like I know what to expect from the Man Owner. Apparently, I don't.
 
Man Owner opened up the register to give me two dollars back. I could see into the drawer. He flipped up that little metal thingy that holds down the one-dollar bills, and reached to pull one out. There was something on the top one. Writing, in black marker. I couldn't tell what it was, but it was two lines, covering the whole front of the bill.
 
Man Owner set that one aside, on top of the drawer, over the larger bills' compartments. The dollar bill under that one also had writing. And the next. And the next. And the next!
 
"G*d d@mn it! I wish I'd been here when they paid with these!"
 
I was shocked! Man Owner never shows anger. He was just a little steamed. I could tell by his frown, even though his voice was not any louder. I've never heard any employee swear in that store!
 
"Of course, it spends the same... What's the matter with d@mn people?"
 
I had no answer. I often pose that same question myself! Man Owner handed me back two clean bills. I didn't see what he did with the marked ones.
 
I imagine him scrubbing them on a washboard in the office, hanging them on a line with springy wooden clothespins.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Who Do You Have To Not-Breathe On To Get Service Around Here?

You know that Mrs. HM is all about saving money. If I can get a bargain, I will. That way, I have more money for lottery tickets and the casino. 

Tuesday, we got a letter from our insurance company. The house and auto insurance. It's about time for the bill, so the letter fooled me. Seems like the bill won't come until December, for January-June premiums. We pay them 6 months at a time.

Anyhoo... to get a smart student discount for The Pony, we need to submit a copy of his transcript. This discount saves us about 50 percent of his auto costs. Which is A LOT! As I'm sure you know if you've ever insured a young male driver. Not that I have a right to complain. The Pony DID total his Nissan Rogue on his first trip home from college. And we bought another Nissan Rogue, two years newer, with fewer miles, and gained $400 in the process. So we've gotten our insurance benefits to balance out all that Farmer H and I have paid and never needed.

Anyhoo... The Pony sent me a 6-page transcript. I copied the front page showing his graduation date and degree, and the last page showing his grade point average for the most recent term. That should be all the insurance company needs. We have a month to submit it. But I figured I could run by the local office and ask if we needed anything more detailed or official. We do that sometimes, and they take it right there and send it in.

Wednesday, the insurance office was my last stop. I noticed the empty parking lot. 

"Huh. I guess maybe they're closed for Veteran's Day. There's a sign on the door. Let's see. Hm. Looks like lights on inside. Darn it! I can't read that sign from here."

I slid out of T-Hoe and hobbled to the front, not stepping up on the sidewalk. I could see from there. Nope. No Veteran's Day message. They'd be closed on Thanksgiving. Oh. And DUE TO THE VIRUS, THEY WERE NOT DOING ANY IN-PERSON BUSINESS.

There was a stand with two different kinds of envelopes. A note saying to put your payment in one, and slide it through the slot in the door. Um. No thank you.

I'll be mailing in the transcript with the letter. Our insurance agent will just have to wait a little longer to get his cut, if further information is necessary. 

I'm shocked they haven't tried selling VIRUS insurance...

Thursday, November 12, 2020

T-Hoeing The Line

Wednesday became my errand day this week. I didn't have to make a bank trip, what with shuffling on-hand money and writing out checks for taxes and six months of health insurance for The Pony and myself. 
 
I needed to cash in The Pony's $100 scratcher winner, then drop off the insurance checks over at Lower Basementia. From there it was off to the main post office, to mail Genius's letter and the taxes. No matter that the post office was closed for Veteran's Day. They will go out with the Thursday 11:00 a.m. mail, same as if I'd mailed them on a normal Wednesday afternoon. Then on to the Sis-Town Casey's for T-Hoe's gas. A stop by the insurance office run by a former high school colleague who was a football star, not a valedictorian. And THEN I could pick up lunch for me and The Pony at Burger King. 

So many stops. I warned The Pony when I left home shortly before 1:00, that it might take me a while to get back home with his lupper (lunch/supper). Don't you worry about Farmer H. He was having leftover spaghetti and garlic toast.

Little did I know HOW long this errand trip was going to take. 

After hearing an uncharacteristic rant from the Man Owner at the Gas Station Chicken Store (more on this another day), I headed out past the dead-mouse-smelling post office to the lake road. It's a shortcut of sorts, to get me to the School-Turn Casey's (couple of scratchers), and the turn to go to Lower Basementia. I used to take this road all the time. Still do, if I'm going to that side of town for the main post office. I noticed last week that they also blacktopped the surface of the road.

Well. On Wednesday, they were putting on the yellow center stripes. The yellow that signifies NO PASSING on that curvy two-lane road. I had just crossed over a little railroad bridge, just far enough out of civilization that there was nowhere to turn around, when I came upon the convoy. When the hills and curves were just right, I could see THREE highway trucks, with orange diamond road signs proclaiming something I couldn't read mounted on the back, and flashing rows of lights. 
 
In between and behind the trucks, I'd say there were eight cars. At least another eight cars backed up behind T-Hoe, as we traveled at 5 miles per hour. It looked like the front highway truck was the only one spraying. Or maybe the first two. I don't know if they can spray a double line, or if two trucks did a single line. The last one, I think, was there as a buffer in case a careless driver rear-ended them.

Sweet Gummi Mary! I think it took 25 minutes to traverse the section that would have otherwise taken three minutes!

When we reached civilization, just past the gun club field, I took a picture. A few cars in front of me had taken a chance, and passed the convoy when the lead truck stopped and the driver got out and walked around. I guess it would have broken his arm to signal us waiters that it was safe to pass...

 
I would have blanked out the license plate of that truck ahead of me, but since he found it necessary to roll through a stop sign next to the dead-mouse-smelling post office so he could speed ahead of me... I did not. I found it quite satisfying that I was behind him for so long, and hoped he could read my lips while running off the road as he looked in his mirror. 

While sitting on the bridge, I tried to get you a picture of what's left of the river, but that dang convoy decided to move again before I could zoom in for a better pic.


At least that view might let you feel like you were riding in T-Hoe with me!

The Pony and I finally had our lunch back home at 3:10. I'm sure he was starving.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

An Untimely Exit From The Big Triangle Tub Bath

Whoopsie! Did you stumble on Tuesday night? Around 7:55, when the earth stopped spinning on its axis? If you did, I extend my apologies, although I am not admitting fault, nor taking responsibility for injuries real or faux. Don't come a-knockin' on my Mansion door while wearing a neck brace, to serve me papers for a negligence lawsuit.
 
I had no hand in your money-grubbing disabledness! I only had a suggestion. A request. 
 
The shampoo of choice around the Mansion is Herbal Essences Color Me Happy. Surely you have realized by now that Mrs. HM's lovely lady-mullet is color-enhanced. I wouldn't say it colors me happy, but that's the unfortunate name ol' HERB of Herbal Essences has chosen for his shampoo. The only choice that could be worse is: Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific. But I digress, to the '70s.
 
Anyhoo... my color-happy shampoo now comes in a giant pump bottle. The label says it's also SOAP now! What a multitasking marketing genius ol' HERB is! He's a sly devil as well, since the pump thingy doesn't reach the bottom, and a good half-inch of shampoo lolls at the bottom of the bottle while the pump squirts air.
 
We had a replacement bottle waiting. I put it in the shower Tuesday morning, and set the old one on the side of the big triangle tub, by the spigots. I later asked The Pony if he would get out the new bottle at bath time, and pour the remains of the old into the new. There was room for it. You don't think ol' devil genius HERB would fill his bottles completely to the top, do you?
 
The Pony was puzzled at first. He's not renowned for his common sense.
 
"You mean pour your shampoo into a soap bottle? Or pour soap into the shampoo bottle?"
 
"No. Take the old bottle of my shampoo/soap, and pour what's left into the new bottle."
 
"Um..."
 
"It's CALLED shampoo and soap! It's the same thing! They just say you can use it for soap now!"
 
"Oh. I though you used that bar soap I bought for you. The Irish Spring."
 
"Yes. Some. But not on my face."
 
"Okay. So you want me to pour the old into the new. I guess I can do that."
 
"You have two hours! You'll be doing it over a tub full of water. What could go wrong?"
 
* * * * * 
Back to bath time...

Let the record show that The Pony generally submerges himself in the big triangle tub around 6:30 or 7:00. He relishes bath time, relishes it until 8:30 or 9:00.

TUESDAY, THE PONY APPEARED BEHIND ME IN THE KITCHEN AT 8:00!

"Hey! What are you doing? You never get out of the tub this early. I have things set to record on the DVR at 7:00 and 8:00. I thought you'd be in the tub. Now it will make you watch them."
 
[No HOPPER for us! We can record two things at once, tops. The first job is sent to The Pony's receiver, the second one to the big screen downstairs.]

"I don't care about the TV. I'll be on my computer."

"So why are you out early?"

"Well. There was a little problem. Some of the shampoo spilled into the water. And with the jets running, it foamed up WAY too much! I couldn't stay in there any more. It was up to the top, and with the jets it was making more suds."

I can believe the accident angle. I can also believe a scientific experiment was underway.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Famous Last Words From The Front Lines Of The Condiment War

OUCH! That's my ample rumpus smarting, from the large chomp that Even Steven, Karma, and The Universe just took out of it.

Silly, silly, Mrs. HM, complaining about the recent lack of included mustard and mayo in her pre-packaged deli sub sandwich. Threatening to go back to Dairy Queen, from whom she'd flounced away due to substandard pretzel sticks.

I DID go back to Dairy Queen. To pick up two orders of pretzel sticks, one for me, one for The Pony.


Oh, yes. They're still tiny. And now they're also CHARRED! 

I'm not sure what lesson I'm supposed to learn from this, but I figure there's still a lot of schooling in my future.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Am I Not Condimentworthy?

Since I am still mad at Dairy Queen because of the shrinkage of their pretzel sticks and chicken strips on the 2-for-$4 menu... I've been eating a sub sandwich for lunches. A roast beef and cheddar sub, bought by The Pony from the Devil's Playground, prepackaged for their deli section. It comes in a 12-inch version, but I cut it in half. Then I mix up my own sauce of garlic aioli, deli mustard, horseradish sauce, and mayo.
 

 
Thanks, Pony, for showing me how, and making me do it myself now. Typed with just a touch of sarcasm.

Anyhoo... since I make my own sauce, I don't need the condiments that come wrapped up in the clear plastic of the sub.


That's a fairly generous tube of mayonnaise, and an adequate packet of yellow mustard. I don't use them. I keep them in a ziploc bag, just in case I might want them.

Well. A few weeks ago, I was startled to find my mayo missing from the sandwiches. It wasn't an isolated incident. The Pony buys me two sandwiches, if the dates are good, to have over four days. Both of my subs came with


Mustard alone!

And for the past two weeks, I have been not-so-startled, but especially saddened, to see


NO CONDIMENTS IN MY SUB SANDWICH!

Seriously. This is starting to make me mad. I don't WANT to use the mustard and mayo. But by cracky, you'd better not be holding out on me!

It might be time to give Dairy Queen a try again.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

I'm Getting A Little Tired Of This Agenda

Sweet Gummi Mary! I was watching college football Saturday night (not by choice, I was actually waiting for Saturday Night Live to come on, but found myself in double overtime), and was struck by the hypocrisy of the mask-decree-ers. I'm also struck by the 7 times it took me to spell hypocrisy right, even after consulting my estranged BFF Google.

There were the officials wearing their masks, running up and down the field, depriving themselves of life-giving oxygen. And the coaches on the sidelines, wearing their gaitors pulled up like turtle-neck-skin over their lower faces. Yet on the field, the players were maskless!

No, I don't want football players wearing masks while they're also trying to stay alive breathing life-giving oxygen. But it seems to me that THEY are the ones most at risk of that deadly VIRUS leaping into their mouths and noses and eyeballs while snorting across the line at each other, and ramming into their opponents while blocking and tackling, and drooling spit and snot down on the ones at the bottom of the pile.

Oh, and let's not forget the CDC's permission to GO OUT AND VOTE, even if you had the VIRUS, as long as you wore a mask, and told the poll workers that you had it!

It's either deadly, or it's selectively deadly. Can't have it both ways. I can't stand waffling. All or nothing, if it's that big a threat.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Probably Nothing, In A Normal Mansion

The bathroom door has been behaving itself since Wednesday morning's creepiness. In retrospect and futurospect, there might have been other incidents of attention-seeking by our resident non-entity.

Tuesday evening, I went upstairs to make supper at the regular time, between 6:00 and 6:30. I keep an eye on the time at the bottom of New Delly's monitor, and by the clock on the wall. Here it is right now, at 1:00 a.m., in my lighted basement lair. You don't think I want it dark with recent shenanigans, do you?


It's a school-style clock, although Farmer H got it at his old workplace, when they got new furniture, at the same time he got me a giant battleship of a metal desk. It runs on a AA battery in the back. Heh, heh! That's probably some of the original dust there on top!

I don't remember supper that evening. It might have been a Ponytail Guy's Meat night, with chicken nuggets, some packaged noodles that The Pony made, and a salad. I sat down a few minutes after washing up the noodle pan, to talk to The Pony and Farmer H. The Pony was in a hurry to get to his nightly triangle tub soak, and didn't hang around. 

After I re-heated my nuggets, and put Ken's Steakhouse Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing on my romaine, tomatoes, and provel shredded cheese salad, I headed down to my lair. I was happily feasting, listening to a conspiracy podcast, when I glanced at the time. Huh! How did it get to be 8:45! I swear, it was just  about 7:30 last time I looked!

Aha! I peered up at the wall clock, which said 7:40. I KNEW IT! Wait a minute. My computer clock wouldn't be wrong. I double-checked with my phone. Yes. It was, indeed, 8:45. 

HOW had my clock lost exactly 55 minutes while I was upstairs? I had reset that clock, due to the end of Daylight Savings Time, on Monday night. So I was a day late. Sue me.

This was quite puzzling. I KNEW I had set that clock back an hour. My back was twinging that night, and I have to lean over and reach up to grasp that clock, then balance myself, leaning, to get the notch on the back to align with the nail in the wall. Besides, it had been the right time WHEN I WENT UPSTAIRS FOR SUPPER!

I know I sat around chatting with Farmer H until 7:30 or 7:45. I didn't notice what time I got to my lair. I think my podcast was late coming online. I'd been looking for it between 8:00 and 8:30. I guess I was in a feeding frenzy coma when I glanced at the wall clock and assumed it was 7:30. Which that clock would have indeed shown me, what with being 55 minutes behind!

I stood up and re-set it again. It has worked fine since then, not losing a single minute. I even asked The Pony if he'd re-set my office clock for me. You know, maybe while I was distracted washing the noodle pan, with my back to the living room where he eats. Maybe he'd run downstairs for something, and thought he'd help me out. Yes. I KNOW THAT'S FAR-FETCHED! The HELPING part! Then he reminded me that no, he had eaten his supper, and gone to the big tub. Farmer H also denied HELPING me. Very strange.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT, the night after the bathroom-door-flapping incident that morning, I heard something. It wasn't so much Wednesday night, as 2:10 a.m. Thursday morning. I know that was the right time, because I looked at New Delly's monitor. 

I was tap-tapping away when I heard a noise outside my chamber door, across the basement, up 13 steps, on the TILE IN FRONT OF THE FRONT DOOR.

You know how you get used to your Mansion. You can tell by the sound where something is noisening. There are beige ceramic tiles at the front door and landing at the top of the basement steps. It was the sound of one item falling. Not bouncing, not rolling, not breaking. Just the sound of a hard-plastic substance hitting the tile. Not wood, not metal, not insulated plastic like a bubba cup. It was not the metal front door opening or closing. Not a dog flopping on the front porch, wagging a tail against the door, or moving a metal chair. I know my Mansion's sounds.

When I went upstairs in the wee hours of the morning, I saw NOTHING out of place. The three embroideried thingies in plastic circles were all hanging. They've been known to fall off in a hard door slam (don't ask!), or if wind whips in with the door open. The two magnetic thingies, Genius's Santa Claus, and The Pony's skeleton, were still in the same place on the door.
 
 
I don't know what's going on here. Am I supposed to be getting a message? Am I going nuts? (That's RHETORICAL, people!) Are Farmer H and The Pony gaslighting me?