Sunday, February 28, 2021

Driving With Lazy

I am the chauffeur again, now that The Pony is back home. Not that he agrees to ride with me very often. He's a homebody unless lured out by food. For our weekly takeout on Friday, we chose Little Caesar's. Not Farmer H. He had other plans. But The Pony and I decided on pizza and breadsticks. He made some pointed references to eating the last of his leftovers on the THIRD DAY. So I casually mentioned that I wouldn't feed any pizza to the dogs unless it was sitting out on the counter in their treat area.

Anyhoo... The Pony ordered online, and rode with me so he could go in and pick it up out of the heated drawers, or whatever dispensing system Little Caesar uses now. When The Pony came back to T-Hoe, arms full of boxes and sauces and bags, he made a pointed comment after he opened the passenger door.

"It's not like I could use any help getting the door open."

"Heh, heh! I don't know what you think I'M going to do! I can't lean across the console and reach the door handle. T-Hoe doesn't have a magic button that opens the door like the back hatch. I'm not getting out to walk around!" [The Pony could have a long gray beard by the time I got there.]

The Pony set a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi on the passenger seat, then opened the back door and set my pizza and breadsticks there, along with the extra sauces. Then he closed that door and brought his pizza and breadsticks back up front to eat on the drive home. He climbed up on the running board like a surefooted mountain goat, using nary a hand on the OH BLEEP handle for assistance, and sat down while still holding his food with both hands.

"OH! THAT'S what I sat on!"

The Pony put the pizzas on the dash, and reached behind his back to extract the 2-liter bottle of Pepsi.

"Well, PRINCESS! You certainly wouldn't have felt a PEA! Forget about under a pile of mattresses. You'd have that pea up in your nether regions by now, and not even know it until it started blooming!"

"Hush up! That is not funny."

"Come on! I can see the corners of your mouth trying not to laugh. Admit it!"

"No. I won't."

But I could still see the twitching. A few miles down the road, The Pony started coughing.

"What's the matter, is that pea trying to come out the other end?"

"No. You know I always cough after I eat. Just like Dad always sneezes about 10 times after HE eats. And you always say, 'COVID!'"

"It's still part of my princess joke."

"Which wasn't funny to begin with."

"You know it WAS! Dang it. This car behind me is trying to get into the back hatch like a pea up your butt!"

"Oh, you mean the car that is driving perfectly legally, but DARES to drive on your precious back road?"

"No. It dares to drive like it doesn't have a passenger eating pizza out of an open box, dipping breadsticks in butter, and swigging out of a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi!"

I didn't get a response for that one. I'm pretty sure that INSIDE, The Pony was chuckling. He's an odd duck. A whole different animal from Genius, who I could get to laugh out loud until he couldn't catch a breath.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

How Untouched Is That Doggie In The Meadow

I saw a little dog running through a field Thursday, on my way home from town.

It was the field across from where the guy used to have sheep, with that herding dog guarding them. The other field used to have cows grazing sometimes. Or it was left empty, and hay baled a couple times late summer. So the field isn't all grown over, but it's not mowed yard-short, either.

I'd just turned the first sharp curve, to the left, and was headed to the next sharp curve, to the right, at the corner of this field. To my right, I saw a little gray dog running across the field in my direction. He had that look of a half-grown pup. An adolescent. Kind of thin, not muscular.

"Oh, no! I hope he doesn't run under the barbed-wire and in front of T-Hoe!"

He was a gray, short-haired dog. Bigger than Jack, but smaller than Juno. I didn't see a collar. His coat looked fairly smooth, not curly, not silky. His ears stood up, kind of big on his head. Maybe like a heeler's ears. Not quite as big, proportionally, as a corgi's ears. His tail was medium length. Pointy, like Jack's, not feathery, like Juno's.

As T-Hoe got closer to the point where our paths would intersect, that little doggie put on the brakes! He turned and trotted back towards the middle of the field, headed for the treeline. It was then that I noticed


Not a little gray dog at all! A wild COYOTE!

Sweet Gummi Mary! I'd been ready to tell Farmer H to go have a look, and maybe bring that little dog to the Mansion!

When I told Farmer H of my canine identification faux pas, he said, 

"I've seen some over by So-and-So's mom and dad's house."

"You know I have no idea who that is, or where they live! Is it around here?"

"Yeah. Just over by the auto body place. About a mile from here, and a mile from where you just saw that one. People out here have been saying they hear them at night."

"Maybe that's what the dogs bark all night long. Maybe one of THEM pooped on the porch over by the garage."

"Nah. That was Jack."

"Why do you always blame JACK? He has lived here five years! WHY would he poop on the porch NOW? And only once?"

"I caught him peeing by the kitchen door the other morning."

"That's pee. Copper Jack and him take turns marking the house, I think. But you know every time you blame Jack for pooping, it's been the cat. And I haven't seen the cat in about two weeks. He could hardly walk across the porch, he's so old and weak now. He must be (or have been) 15 or 16 years old."

"I don't know. I guess maybe a coyote could come up on the porch. But you'd see hair in its poop."

"I didn't look that close."

"I did."

Sure, Farmer H looked for hair in poop on the porch that he said was Jack's. His argument skills are not that great.

First coyote I've ever seen. And in broad daylight, too.

I looked up some pictures of Missouri coyotes later. They looked more yellow than the one I saw. Which was definitely gray. Maybe it's an age thing, maybe they come in a range of colors. I don't want to see one again to compare!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Maybe The Pony Needs To Tie A String Around His Hoof As A Reminder

I am slack-jawed with bewilderment at a college graduate who cannot accomplish the most basic tasks of daily living! Not trying to pick on The Pony. No animosity here. Not even after HIS PHONE locked the kitchen door on me before I could make it in from the garage with my magical elixir. I'm only trying to understand the thought process in that seemingly empty noggin.
We had two boxes of Ritz Crackers on the kitchen counter. The kind with individual sleeves of 11-13 round tasty crackers. I eat them with a salad, and save part in my lair for a late-night snack. Farmer H got a box as a Christmas gift from The Veteran, with Oberle Sausage and cheese. Since the original family box was open, we set Farmer H's box of Ritz on the counter behind it.

For a couple of weeks, I'd reach into the open box of Ritz, and grab AN OPEN PACK, with 3-4 crackers left inside. Sweet Gummi Mary! I don't want somebody else's leftovers! WHO does that? Who cannot eat 11-13 crisp buttery round Ritz crackers in a day?

I interrogated The Pony, because he was handy. Right there in the kitchen as I was putting a sleeve of Ritz on my lunch tray beside my salad.
"I am SO tired of reaching in and getting already-opened crackers! That's the LAST pack in this box. Open! With three crackers! I'm not even dealing with that. I'm opening the new box. I can't believe somebody left THREE crackers, just to say they 'didn't eat them all' and avoid throwing away the box."

"Huh. It's not ME! Who would do something like that? It has to be Dad! I'll eat them, though."

The Pony took out the crackers and started munching. Didn't take him long. I could hear him crunching while I added a plastic fork to my tray, and counted out three iced animal cookies for my dessert. Store-bought, not Ponytail Guy free!

Anyhoo... The Pony carried my tray down to my lair. I ate half my crackers, twisted the wrapper for later, and forgot about interrogating Farmer H during our evening session of "It's time to talk about the most recent thing you've done wrong."

The next day I was getting out some Country Mart Deli ciabatta bread (the shelves had been bare of any other bread, due to people stocking up for the big snowstorm). Right there on the counter sat the EMPTY BOX of Ritz Crackers.

"PONY! Come in here!"


"I can't believe you ate the last three crackers, and LEFT THE EMPTY BOX on the counter! Don't even give me an excuse. I was standing right there when you ate them. You know you did!"

"Um. Yeah. I guess I just forgot."
I can only imagine what his college apartment must have looked like.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

What A Difference A Day Makes

It's Thursday, and I'm out running errands. So different from last week, when I couldn't get out, due to the snow! Bank, gas, post office, scratchers, Burger King! The freedom is great, but the weather is even better. Since I'm typing this at 2:51 a.m., I can't go out and take a picture. But I can give you one from Tuesday! Which was much nicer than the below-freezing temps on Monday.

That's 71 degrees, baby! And you can see how glassy my glass-back phone really is, I think it gives a better reflection than T-Hoe's mirror!
This picture was taken on the road that runs between the back of Dairy Queen, and my pharmacy. The building in the distance is the rat poison factory where our Neighbor Tommy got his first job. First job since his mom died, and we bought him that car. It seems like forever ago, but it was just a couple years. Maybe three.
Anyhoo... such a delightful change in the weather. My last errand day was like this:
That's the Sis-Town Casey's. You might think that the parking lot is clear past the snow, but it wasn't! That was slushy ice. I risked life and knees to get across that span to pay for T-Hoe's gas. 
Technically, the title should be What A Difference 12 Days Makes. Since that's the time that elapsed between the two photos.

I'm kind of glad Farmer H did my errands on the Thursday in between.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Reporter Becomes The Story

Mrs. HM is guilty of eavesdropping at the Gas Station Chicken Store again. Only THIS time, she overheard herself. Maybe somebody in line was mentally getting a blog post ready. Good luck, somebody in line! I'm going to scoop your story!
I sat in T-Hoe for a few minutes, gathering up my correct 44 oz Diet Coke change, and sorting through my winners to cash in for new scratchers. When I eased out, slowly stretching my sore knee before attempting to walk around the corner, a guy at the gas pumps hollered to me!
"Those roads are something, huh!"
Well. Short of my sister the ex-mayor's wife sending him to stalk me and embarrass me about the condition of T-Hoe's muddy flanks... I figured it must be somebody from our enclave.
"They sure are!"
I have no idea who that guy was. He was pumping gas into a white van. Not a white raper van. A more modern white van, with black trim, and more angular lines. He was tall. With a bald head. Almost shaved-Telly-Savalas-bald. In jeans and a white t-shirt with some kind of company name on the back, faded. I felt I had done my part to respond, and hobbled inside.
As I was putting the lid on my magical elixir, I saw the ersatz Kojak at the counter, paying for gas, and getting a draw ticket. He took the red tear-off tickets that are handed out for a gas drawing, and stepped back to put them in the drawing box.
"You know we have a bridge out, and the road is closed."
"Bridge out?"
"The one over on the back side."
"Oh. Farmer H mentioned that to me, but I don't go out that way."
"I called the county, and told them how much traffic we have on our road, with people using it for a detour. I asked if they'd haul us two loads of gravel, to help with the potholes. They said no."
"Well, it doesn't hurt to ask! We have more potholes in front of our BARn field than anywhere else on the road. I don't know HOW we got so many!" [not from the cut-through traffic, because we're on a side road dead end]
"Hey, when it was packed down with the snow, wasn't it just like driving on blacktop?"
"YES! That was great!"
"Well. Except for the guy who took out that pole and cut our electric."
"You know who that was, don't you?"
"Probably that kid."
"It was the LAWYER'S kid! He turned 18 that day, and then slammed into the pole. Not a good birthday." 
[I had to clarify the KID part, because I think he meant our next door neighbor Copper Jack's human daddy's grandson, who has been in hot water for driving too fast, and put on blast by his grandma, so everybody is supposed to tattle on him to her on Facebook if we see him going too fast.]
"Yeah. At least they got it fixed."
"At least his dad is a lawyer!"
Heh, heh. That was the end of our little reunion, me and a guy whose identity I still don't know. Farmer H told me his name, upon description, and what he does. But it means nothing to me. He's just a friendly bald buy who lives out here and would probably stop to help me if T-Hoe broke down along the road to town.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I'm Still Havin' Fun And They're Still The One

The Gas Station Chicken Store does not disappoint! They're my go-to story generator! Another tale fell into my nonexistent lap on Sunday. I was the only customer for a few minutes. The clerk greeted me as I walked by to the Fountain of Magical Elixirs. She and Rainbow Feather are the only two who've been working my shift.

"How are you today?"

"About half as good as I was yesterday, but I'm gettin' by."

"Oh. Didn't I cash TWO hundred-dollar winners for you yesterday?"

"Oh, yeah. I just twisted my knee before I left, and I'm hobbling around. But yeah, the money situation is good! They're put away! They'll probably be casino money."

"I haven't been to a casino in a long time."

"I think we're going tomorrow, to the one in Casino Town."

"That's my mom's favorite."

"We like it too. Better than that one in the city we used to go to."

"I got thrown out of there the last time I went!"

By now I was up at the counter.

"Oh, no! What did you DO?"

"Well. That's just it. I don't know."

"Did you get mouthy? Or were you drinking? I've read that they'll throw you out for that at the drop of a hat."

"I guess it was for something I actually did the time BEFORE. But I don't know what it was! All I know is that I walked in and put my player's card in the slot machine, and all at once security showed up and escorted me out!"

"Well. I hope you aren't banned!"

Heh, heh. She seems so friendly and easy to get along with. Now I wonder why she got tossed from the casino. I guess she can go to the one in Casino Town. For now...

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Denizens Of Hillmomba Are Good Providers

I can always count on Hillmombans to provide me with a tale that brings laughter, outrage, commiseration, or perhaps, like the 11:00 a.m. alcoholic that needed a dollar for the smallest bottle of whiskey, ALARM.
Saturday was no exception. I was in my favorite story-generating establishment, the Gas Station Chicken Store. While I was filling my foam cup with 44 oz of Diet Coke, a lady standing at the counter digging through her purse turned to see how many customers were waiting. Just me.
"You can go ahead. I'm just talking." She was standing at the unopen register on the left. She turned back to talk to the clerk. "I've been busy. I'm keeping my daughter's three kids. She's been out of town with work, and couldn't get a flight back, because of the weather.
I was in here last week, and I guess I left my wallet. I didn't notice it, because I had the kids, and I didn't go anywhere else. They're  12, 14, and 15. They're not bad kids. They just keep me busy. Then I had to go to the store, and I couldn't find my wallet."

By that time, I had my magical elixir at the counter.

"Did you remember this is the last place you went?"

"Not really. I kept trying to remember."

The clerk added, "It was snowing a lot that night. I didn't see it on the counter until a while after you left. I didn't think of it as being yours. I only opened it far enough to see if there was ID with an address in it. Then I gave it to Woman Owner to keep in case somebody came back for it."
"I was in here asking about it. That little guy was working [Rainbow Feather]. I asked if he found a wallet, and he said, 'Can you tell me what's in it?' So I said, 'There's a twenty folded up and stashed in a secret pocket, and a Capitol One card. And three one-dollar bills.' He looked at it, and gave it back to me."
Sweet Gummi Mary! I don't know how she could remember where she was all that long ago. But I guess if she hadn't been out, due to taking care of those kids, it wouldn't be so hard.
Not like that time I drove around WITHOUT MY DRIVER'S LICENSE for TWO WEEKS when I'd left it in my gambling purse.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Such A Forgetful Family

Mrs. HM is not the only person to lose something around the Mansion. Technically, it was lost in T-Hoe, but at least my debit card, which once was lost, has now been found. The Pony was blind, but now he sees.

He's the newest loser, you know! And so soon after being a winner. 

On Friday, I took my $100 crossword scratcher to cash in, and also The Pony's $100 scratcher from his birthday. I accepted two $100 bills for them. When I got home, The Pony came out to carry in my Country Mart onions and oranges and lettuce and cheese. He put them away while I sorted out my tickets and money.

"Here's your $100 winnings. Put mine in my gambling purse. In that pouch I use for my casino bankroll."

Off went The Pony to the living room on his mission. Then he came back to the kitchen for some pretzel sticks from Dairy Queen. We continued in our daily routine.

Saturday, I called The Pony to the living room.

"I'm getting ready to leave for town. Is there anything you want?"

"Yeah. Get me a lottery ticket. The 200X ticket. I'll get you a winner to cash in for it. Oh, Mom. Did I leave my $100 bill on the back of the couch yesterday?"

"Nooo... I would have seen that when I walked by."

"Oh. Okay. I guess I stuffed it in my billfold with some other loose money I have in there. I have some left from the last casino trip."

"I didn't see a hundred on the floor or the couch. So I guess you did."

"Yeah. I must have not been sure how much I had."

When I got back home, The Pony put on a jacket and came out to carry in some cherry pie filling I'd gotten for the clandestine yogurt Farmer H smuggled home from the Ponytail Guy on Friday. Back in the kitchen, I put stuff away. Just the pie filling, bananas, and hot dog buns. Usually The Pony does that for me. He was busy scratching his ticket. Loser.

The Pony came back in the kitchen to throw away his loser. He stood there to talk, and put his hands in his jacket pockets.

"Huh. THERE'S that hundred I was looking for."

Indeed. The Pony pulled a $100 bill out of his jacket. We seem to be a bit lax in taking care of our financial resources around the Mansion.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Mrs. HM Is InDEBITed To The Pony

Friday nooned (can't say dawned, because I didn't see the sunrise from my slumber in my OPC (Old People Chair), bright and sunny. The temperature was 32 when I prepared to leave the Mansion for the first time in FIVE DAYS. I was gathering my stuff at the kitchen counter when I did not see my debit card laying in my glasses case.
I leave the debit card there so I can slip it in my shirt pocket as I leave for town. Also, it's there when The Pony leaves to do the Devil's Playground shopping for me. I don't have to dig it out of my purse. Anyhoo... I was headed to Country Mart for bread and lettuce and onions, and I intended to pay with my debit card.

"Pony! Have you seen my debit card? I haven't been out of the house since SUNDAY! Where is my debit card? Did you put it back after you did the shopping?"

"Yes. I'm sure I did. I had it wrapped in the receipt, and I laid the receipt in there by your glasses case. That was on Saturday."

"I remember writing down the total from the receipt. But I don't remember seeing the card."

"Let me check. No. It's not here."

"I had it with my gambling purse for our gambling trip we didn't take." [I don't take my checkbook. Only my insurance card, debit card, and driver's license. I never use the debit card, but I have it in case of an emergency like a need to stay overnight, or get car repairs.] "But that was LAST week! And I'm sure I had it with me in town Sunday. Go check my blue plaid shirt pocket in my closet. That's what I wore. I just hung it back up."

"No. It's not in your shirt pocket."

"Dang it! I have no idea where it could be."

"Let me check again." Two minutes later he returned. "Here! No! Wait! That's not YOUR debit card! That's MINE, from my bank account. My old debit card. It looks kind of like yours."

"Yeah. That's not mine. WAIT A MINUTE! I did take it out of my pocket in town! I was going in Country Mart for the lottery machine. I laid it on T-Hoe's cup holder area, so it wouldn't fall out of my pocket while I was getting different bills for the two machines. Go out and look. By where I have my sunglasses and my Blues mask."

The Pony slipped on some slides (he doesn't feel the cold like a normal person) and a jacket, and went out to the garage. I heard him on the porch before his triumphant return.

"Got it! It was right there in your Blues mask!"

"I knew you had it before you opened the door! I could tell by the sound of your feet. Like you were prancing with joy!"

Not sure if The Pony appreciated that comparison. But he found my debit card! Thank the Gummi Mary, I didn't go two weeks not noticing it was missing. Like the time I didn't have my driver's license that was in my gambling purse...

Friday, February 19, 2021

Turkeying Around With The Pony

You may recall that The Pony deigned to dine on the turkey pot pie I made with the FREE ground turkey roll provided by the Ponytail Guy. Instead, I provided him with some browned ground turkey, and he made TACOs with it!

He made 3, and this is the last one, after Farmer H said he didn't need all the browned ground turkey that I'd simmered in taco sauce for his lunch. So this Pony taco has extra turkey.

Here are The Pony's original 2 tacos, put together as Farmer H was dishing up his standard tacos with salsa, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. Those are not ingredients The Pony chose.

I wish I'd paid more attention as The Pony rattled off his fixin's. Sadly, my eyes glazed over and my mind took a vacation, like when Farmer H starts talking about his weaponry and prices.

The Pony put his ground turkey on the tortilla, then shook on some powdered taco seasoning from the packet. He did not want his turkey simmered in the sauce. He also sprinkled it with some kind of spicy oil. White shredded cheese used by Imo's Pizza. Some oregano, I think. Or some other dried leafy spice. At least he DID use lettuce. So I can pretend it was kind of a normal taco.

Let the record show that The Pony ate at the marred coffee table. And that when I stood up from the short couch after conversing with him and Farmer H, while they finished their lunch... I stepped on something cold and slimy with my bare foot.

It was a piece of ground turkey.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Mrs. HM Is Repulsive

Hey, now! You don't need to agree with the title so swiftly! Let me finish. Mrs. HM is repulsive in the manner of a magnetic pole that's the opposite of another magnetic pole. The other magnetic pole being the USPS. Mrs. HM's arch nemesis.

Of course I haven't gotten my DISH bill yet. So it looks like that will have to be paid online AGAIN. I could almost excuse them this time, due to the Monday holiday, and the week of icy roads we've had in Hillmomba. In fact, I even took into account the road conditions when I placed an Amazon order on Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning.

I could have received the package on Thursday with my free shipping from Amazon Prime. But my common sense said, "Wait a minute, HM. The roads are still partially snow-covered. Temperatures are single digits every night. We're getting another couple inches of snow on Wednesday. You've missed trash pickup two weeks in a row. So it's doubtful that you'll get a delivery on Thursday."

Because I listen to my common sense, I checked the bubble for Friday. No need to have somebody risking life and limb to rush my package to me. It's not like it's the anti-venom for a deadly snake bite. It's tax preparation accoutrements. 

So... I figured the roads will be plowed more by Friday, and temps in the upper 20s Thursday will allow some snow melt with sunshine. I was quite smug with self-satisfaction over my delivery decision.

A few minutes ago (as I type this), I got an email telling me that my package is ahead of schedule, and will be delivered on Thursday! Wait a minute! I specifically said I wanted to receive it on FRIDAY! It looks like the package is being delivered on the final leg by the USPS. We are like oil and water. If I said I WANTED my package on Thursday, there's no way I would get it then!
What if I was planning to be out of town on Thursday, and knew a band of robbers would be camped out in a car in my driveway, or at Mailbox Row? (I didn't know the method of delivery until my package shipped.) Wouldn't I, the package-receiver, be better informed to select the delivery day (of which I WAS OFFERED THE CHOICE) than Amazon? This whole situation just smacks of contrarianism! With Amazon being in cahoots with the USPS.

We'll see when it gets here. I'm NOT going to try contacting Amazon or the USPS. If I was a gambling woman, heh, heh... I would put my money on that package arriving FRIDAY. Especially since I've been notified that it will be here Thursday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Planning My Escape

I am going stir-crazy, and it's only been two days since I was free to roam about Hillmomba! Sunday, which was Valentine's Day, was my last outing. I knew the snow was a-comin'. I bought an extra day's supply of scratchers, to save for my after-lunch scratching on Monday.

On Monday, when I saw the rate at which the snow was falling, I cut my allotment of scratchers in half, to save for Tuesday. Lucky for me, Farmer H said he'd get scratchers for me (after I asked!) while he was in town getting donuts. So now I have scratchers thru Wednesday. AND I think Farmer H will pick up more for me on Wednesday, to have on Thursday, just in case.

It's so hard planning how not to start withdrawals from my gambling addiction! At least I have two six-packs of bottled Diet Coke, plus two loose singles, to get me over the hump. I THINK!

The Pony's words struck fear into my heart on Tuesday afternoon. When he and Farmer H were discussing the forecast for Wednesday. Which I'd read as a TRACE to 2 inches of snow, but those two declared we had 1-3 inches coming!

"Let's face it, Mom. You and I aren't getting out of here until next week!"


I don't want to be trapped in the Mansion until next week! I want to go to the Gas Station Chicken Store! It's like my CHEERS. Only nobody knows my name.

Farmer H is itching to go down to Casino Town. His pawn shop lady is holding a special firearm for him. He didn't have the money with him last time we were down there. I seriously doubt the world has been beating a path to her door, wanting to buy that very gun, what with all this snow piling up. But you know Farmer H. I have a sneaking suspicion he is going to try to sneak down there on Thursday. Whether he invites The Pony and me or not.

Here's the thing. I WANT to go to the casino, and the highways will probably be clear. The back roads are likely passable. BUT when I looked online at the casino's Facebook page, to see if there had been any big winners lately, what I saw made my blood run cold!


That's half the reason I love going to the casino! Having lunch! The casino says it is due to weather. I guess the restaurant employees can't make it, or else the food delivery didn't come. They were supposed to have Mardi Gras food, too! I believe I saw them mention a SHRIMP PO' BOY! We won't be trying that now, I guess. 

So even if Farmer H offers to take us, I'm pretty sure The Pony and I will choose to wait until next week for a casino trip. Which is NOT to say that I will wait until next week to get out of the Mansion! I have my hopes pinned on Thursday. Bank, post office, Gas Station Chicken Store, maybe even Burger King!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Farmer H's Cooking Show Is On The Back Burner

I may not survive this snowstorm. And neither may Farmer H. Forced togetherness could be the end of us. Of course I am a perfectly (emphasis on PERFECT) normal person. But HE is so unreasonable!

Farmer H got up early to go to town on Saturday morning. He didn't go to his storage locker, what with snow in the forecast and already falling, and temps in the single digits. He HAD to get his Casey's donuts, which are not even secret any more.

"Did you bring donuts for the rest of us?"

"No. Why would I?"

By late-morning, Farmer H must have hit his sugar crash. While I was in the shower, he made himself some eggs and sausage. Sausage patties from the mini freezer, and liquid eggs in the carton in FRIG II. Both FREE. I don't imagine he was going to tell me about it, but I saw the unwashed skillet on the stove. At least when he was being secretive, he washed his own dishes to hide his actions.

For supper, Farmer H was having the leftover pork steak dinner from Country Mart's deli, that I had brought him on Friday. Speaking of Friday, when we had the power outage, Farmer H professed that he had eaten a banana, and wasn't hungry. But the minute the power came back, he was foraging in the FREE food freezer, getting out EGG ROLLS. 
The egg rolls are tasty, all crispy and greasy, hot from the oven. It only takes 10 minutes at 400 degrees, turn them over, 10 more minutes. VOILA! But no. Since Farmer H made them himself, he MICROWAVED them! Yuck. The smell was horrible, and they looked like overgrown larvae, like giant grub worms. I don't think they were very good, limp and soggy.

This is what irks me so severely. Farmer H pretends he is making himself food, but he is the laziest self-feeder I have ever observed. On Sunday, he was going to eat the leftover leftover pork steak. The sides were gone, but he'd cut his pork steak in half.

"Oh! You can have that can of corn in the Ponytail Guy's box. I know you like corn. Just pour out the liquid, put a little butter in the pan, and dump in the corn until it's warm"

"Eh. Maybe. I only need the pork steak."

How lazy do you have to be, not to make yourself canned corn as a side dish for your meat? It's not like I expected him to whip up a 7-layer salad! If he wasn't such a pizza snob, he could have had Little Caesar's with The Pony and me. But he'd turned it down with a crinkled nose.

This Mansion is quickly becoming too small for the both of us.

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Gossip Window Slams Shut On Mrs. HM

I was excited to reveal the convenience store gossip to the Gas Station Chicken Store clerk yesterday. She finished selling some scratchers and sour gummi candy to a gal and her developmentally disabled brother, and I was the sole customer.
"I've got winners today, that my son gave me for my birthday! Let's get my business done, and then I've got some gossip for you!"
"Ooh! That'll be good!"
She rang up my $90 of winners (which I'd thought was only $85), gave me the requested three $3 tickets and a $5 crossword, and handed back the rest of my winnings. Just then a man dared to enter! He headed for the cooler in the back. But a woman was on his heels, and headed for the counter.
"Oops! Looks like now you're going to get busy. I can tell you tomorrow."
"I'm off for the next three days!"
"Oh. Well. I'll wait a couple minutes here by the door."
It was a great waiting place. There's a heat vent in the ceiling that was making me toasty warm before heading out into the 11-degree deep freeze. Unfortunately, it looked like I might be roasted like a deli chicken before I got a turn to relay my tale of the previous day's Check-Complaining Woman.
A gas customer came in. Then another man. The Brother returned with two winning scratchers.
"She said to trade these in for two more."
I'll be danged if that woman customer didn't have a STACK of draw tickets to be scanned to see if they were winners. I mean a STACK. Like a deck of thin floppy playing cards. I did not want to be distracting to the customers nor the clerk.
"I'm going to leave, and tell you the next time I see you!"
"Okay. I'll be looking forward to it!"
The problem is, during the week, either the Man Owner or Woman Owner is on site. I wouldn't want them to overhear my gossip. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. Though the Woman Owner would probably like hearing that the Check-Complaining Man had plans to ruin her by word-of-mouth.
Sweet Gummi Mary! Is it too much to ask, Even Steven, to have some alone time with my special clerk, for a little tete-a-tete?

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Not-Heaven Hath No Fury Like A Convenience Store Customer Trying To Flout The Rules

Mrs. HM has hot gossip from the convenience store front! There hasn't been such excitement in Hillmomba since the gas wars of the '70s, when prices dropped hourly as proprietors attempted to undercut their competitors.
As has become my habit, I entered the Gas Station Chicken Store in the middle of a "situation" to which I was totally oblivious. There was a line. As I ran my magical elixir at the soda fountain, I noticed a man and woman off to the side. At the unused register. The clerk motioned to a guy in line.
"I can help you now."
I figured the man and woman were having a problem with their card. Maybe trying it again off to the side. It was taking a while. The clerk waited on two more people as I stood in line. Then she went back to the couple, and took a check from them. The Woman was not happy.
"I STILL don't see where it says anything about PRE-APPROVAL!"
"It's right up here." The Clerk walked over and pointed to an exact sentence on the wall. White lettering on a black background. In a font big enough that I could read it from where I stood.
The Man had already walked out when the check was taken. The Woman then followed. I saw her climb into a red SUV parked next to the door. I assumed they had pumped gas (you don't have to pay in advance at the Gas Station Chicken Store), then wanted to pay with a check. By the time I got to the counter, no one else was left in the store.
"Are you causing trouble again?"
"I guess so. I always seem to be the problem."
She didn't elaborate on the situation, so I didn't press the issue. I took my tickets and magical elixir out into the 11-degree Nature's Icebox, gripping my scratchers against the sharp wind. One more stop. The Liquor Store, for some lottery for The Pony's upcoming birthday. It's across the street from the Gas Station Chicken Store.
Imagine my surprise upon entry, to find a loud discussion between the Man and Woman Checksters, and the Attitudinal Clerk of the Liquor Store!
"I couldn't believe how rude she was when I called her! She don't care about NOTHIN'!" said the Man.
"But the gal working there was really nice," said the Woman.
"Oh, you mean Angie? Yeah, she's nice. The other one is the WOMAN OWNER! Nobody likes her! She's hateful to everyone. I can't believe they're still in business. But everybody goes there! To buy their gas."
"I guarantee they won't be going there when I'M done with them!" boasted the Man. "Travelers aren't going to be getting their gas there!"
I seriously doubt that anybody will care what the Man has to say. First of all, the name of the Gas Station Chicken Store is obscure. People call it one thing, but the sign says another. It's the first gas station off the exit ramp. It's been there over 20 years. The other gas station is Casey's, two stores down, that sells ONLY regular gas. No mid-grade, no premium, no diesel. The only other gas station, Orb K, is on the other side of the highway, which is difficult to get to if you don't know the layout of this highway exit.
Heh, heh. The Attitudinal Clerk of the Liquor Store, trashing the Woman Owner of the Gas Station Chicken Store, made me think of the pot calling the kettle black. Her customer service is not exactly exemplary! 

I don't know what the Man and Woman were doing in the liquor store. Maybe they bought scratchers, or cigarettes. I didn't see any liquor. I don't know why the Attitudinal Clerk was so wound up. They don't even sell gas. Mainly cigarettes and liquor. Sometimes a fountain soda in the summer. I guess they're jealous of the Gas Station Chicken Store's business. Like I've said before, it seems to be a family-owned and family-run Liquor Store.

One thing's for sure: next time I see that clerk at the Gas Station Chicken Store, I'm going to tell her how the disgruntled Woman, and the Attitudinal Clerk, were sticking up for her.

It cracks me up to think of the Man calling the Woman Owner to complain about the check policy, when the Woman Owner is the one who MADE THE CHECK POLICY AND POSTED IT ON THE WALL! Heh, heh! Woman Owner is like the Honeybadger. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

You Know The Droll

Sometimes I try to get a reaction out of The Pony. It's not easy. He's fairly unflappable. Sometimes I can needle him into a passionate argument. Mostly not. It's not for lack of trying. His keel is too even. He needs to learn to sail rough seas.

"Hey, Pony. Did you read the news? Your people might get their own pillow! That Hogg kid from the school shooting is going to start his own pillow company, to compete with the MyPillow guy."

"No. I didn't see anything about that. I don't know him."

"He's from your generation. I guess you guys will call it YOUR Pillow!"

"No no no! It's more like communism. Therefore, it would be called OUR Pillow."
That Pony. 
He's good with retorts when he's not fabricating an alibi of his phone locking me out.

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Journey Of 13 Steps Begins With A Single Shoe

Walk a mile in my shoe. Or at least 13 steps. 

Our basement stairs are regular size in the stepping-on part. Big enough for a foot. Not some series of long thin triangles wrapped around a pole for a spiral staircase to the boudoir in a swinging '60s bachelor pad. Our stairs are, however, a bit tall. Taller than the porch steps. Not tall enough that you'd want to do lunges on and off of the bottom one for a leg workout. Just a bit taller than an average step.

In case you haven't been listening as you read my woeful tales for the past 10 years, I have a twice-operated-on knee (left), and a creaky knee (right) that's the workhorse for getting me up and down stairs, and into T-Hoe. Any time I can grab onto a rail, or an OH BLEEP handle in an automobile, I'll use it for my hoisting needs. Our basement stairs do not have a handrail. I usually have my lunch tray in one hand as I'm going UP. I grab onto the upper floor as I can reach it, to assist with my ascent.

A couple years ago, I had the most scathingly brilliant idea!


That would be the shoe on my left foot. It's an old New Balance training shoe that I've had for years. It's nice and wide and has a waffle sole. The cushiony part has long been compacted. But these shoes are comfortable enough to be lair wear. I don't generally wear shoes in the house, except for in the basement, on the tile floor. I take them off in my OPC (Old People Chair).

Anyhoo... I take off my right shoe at the bottom of the stairs. Then I go up wearing just the left shoe, which I take off by the kitchen, where it's out of the way. I put it on again to go back downstairs. 

The advantage is about 2 inches! That's the thickness of the sole. It makes each step seem 2 inches less steep! I go up and down one-legged, you know. Not walking like a normal person up and down steps. More like a toddler just learning. I only bend the right knee. Coming up, it's the one that steps up on the next stair, and hauls me up. Then again. And again. 13 times. Going down, the right knee is also the one that bends to lower my left leg down to the next step. And the next. 13 times. So I only need that one shoe on my left foot, which allows my right knee to bend fewer degrees.

I really notice the difference if I try to go up or down the stairs wearing TWO shoes, or NONE at all. Yeah. I'm kinda weird. But it works for me. At home, anyway. I don't take off a shoe out in public, heh, heh!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Only Thing Missing Was Garfield

I made the FREE lasagna! Mostly free, anyway. The Pony was my sous chef.

We started with ground beef that I had in the freezer. Not exactly free. Farmer H said he'd rather have hamburger in it than the free crumble sausage from the Ponytail Guy. So I fried the ground beef while The Pony worked on the sauce.

He used a packet of the spaghetti sauce from the FREE box of food we had on the table from the Ponytail Guy. It had a delicious smell, like the sauce in the can from a box Chef Boyardee pizza mix. He also added some 4-cheese spaghetti sauce from an open jar in FRIG II. We're a saucy family. Some minced garlic was stirred in. And a packet of sugarless sweetener, because we like a sweet sauce.

THEN The Pony buttered my glass baking dish. I think it's Pyrex. About 20 years old. Maybe older. It's the 9 X 9 size.

"Oh, look! It's rose-colored. I'm looking through rose-colored glass! Ha ha!"

"Um. You're looking through STAINED glass from years of popping grease buildup that won't wash off. I'm pretty sure the color of that glass is amber."

"It's just the right size."

Indeed. The imported organic no-boil lasagna noodles fit two-to-a-layer in my square dish. First went a layer of sauce on the bottom of the buttered pan. Then two noodles. More sauce. Hamburger. And the cheese.

The FREE blocks of cheese were over in the BARn. With a fresh layer of freezing rain that kept us from making our semi-monthly casino trip, I didn't want to send Farmer H or The Pony over to get one. So I used a bag of shredded mozzarella that expired on Jan 29 that was in FRIG II. It was unopened, and smelled fine. 

We got four complete layers in the lasagna, and added a noodle/sauce/cheese layer to the top. I covered the dish with foil, and put it in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. With 10 minutes left, I took off the foil. Here's the result:

A piece of ground beef almost escaped!

The Pony took the first piece. He was willing to sacrifice it if the digging-out-with-a-spatula process had gone awry. It came out perfectly! There it is, on our finest china, the small coated paper plate.

There are the layers. You can't see the cheese very well. The noodles were fork-tender. I must say, I'm not a lasagna fan, but I'd eat this version again! We all had huge portions. Farmer H and The Pony loved it. In fact, The Pony ate the remaining portion for seconds.
We still have a whole pack and half the current pack of lasagna noodles left. I might talk the guys into a sausage version eventually. But I don't mind buying Save A Lot ground beef. It's the best in Hillmomba.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

If You Enjoy Highbrow Conversation, And Value Proper Digestion, Don't Invite The Hillbilly Family To Dinner

The snowy weather has thrown off our schedule. Farmer H was within the confines of the Mansion again on Tuesday afternoon. He had just returned from his regularly scheduled urologist appointment. He'd already fed himself some lunch at White Castle on his way home. The Pony had just settled down at the marred coffee table to feast on a Dairy Queen Flamethrower half-pound burger, and onion rings. 

I had my own lunch off the 2-for $4 menu ready on my tray, and was waiting for The Pony to finish up before asking him to carry my 44 oz Diet Coke, two bubba cups of ice, and the tray down those 13 unhandrailed steps. I sat down on the short couch. Had I known the turn the conversation would take, I would have risked hauling my own lunch downstairs.

Apparently Farmer H saw two doctors or nurse practitioners. One man, one woman. Not his regular doctor, who moved the practice to another county, taking most of the staff. Farmer H launched into a tale of an issue he had discussed with the woman doctor. Which made me laugh when he said she told him, "That's because you have old skin. As you get older, skin gets thinner and less elastic." Don't even ask for more details!

THEN Farmer H brought up the regular test that a man might have with a proctologist, apparently also done by a urologist.

"ENOUGH! Do we have to hear about this?"

"Yeah. I'm telling you what the doctor said."

"The Pony is TRYING to eat his lunch!"

"Yes. Please stop."

"In fact, I'm going to put on my shoe (I only wear one up and down the steps. No time for THAT tale now) and go downstairs. Pony, bring my food when you're done."

"Wow! This commercial. The side effects are worse than the disease. 'A deadly infection of the perineum--'"

"STOP! You're eating lunch! Do you even know what the perineum IS?"

"Yes, Mother. I know what it is."

"Then stop talking about it!"

See? You might not want to invite us to dinner. Or even lunch.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Ponylogically Thinking, PART 2

 Remember when The Pony made his gnocchi? That plate he put it on?

Those are our standard dinner plates. We have 8 of them, in a stack in the cabinet above the counter where I prepare all my foods, and where I take occasional pictures of psycho-opened packages of batteries. It's the cabinet to the right of the stove, the left of the sink. Handy for grabbing plates and bowls as needed. 

These are big plates. Stacked on top of them are the 8 dessert plates, and on top of them are 4 little bowls of another kind that belonged to my mom. When I want a dinner plate, I slide them out from under the dishes stacked on top of them. Not a big deal. After I've washed such a plate, and it has dried in the dish drainer, I slide it back into place, under the dessert plates and bowls. [Let the record show that I am an old lady, with arthritic joints, no taller than The Pony, and with an ample belly that butts up against the counter as I reach shoulder-height for a plate.]

The Pony takes out the stack of 8 dessert plates and 4 non-matching bowls. Then he gets his dinner plate. A little odd, but nothing to sweat about. HOWEVER...

Since he made his gnocchi on January 21, he made a plate of pasta with garlic oil or something. No sauce. He left down the 8 dessert plates and 4 bowls. Left them sitting on the end of the kitchen counter that holds the sink.

"I'm leaving those down until I wash my plate and put it away. It's easier."

Uh huh. In Ponyworld. It's easier to walk those 8 dessert plates and 4 bowls across the kitchen to the end of the counter. Easier than LEAVING them in place to start with, and simply sliding a plate out from under them. Easier than setting them down on the counter in front of the cabinet, taking out a plate, then lifting them back into the cabinet. Uh huh. Easier to leave them sitting out for TWO FREAKIN' WEEKS!

Maybe more! I was the one who actually washed The Pony's plate the next morning after his feast. Since he'd left it on the counter rather than doing it before his nightly soak in the big triangle tub. [At least he'd rinsed it.] Of course there's no hot water during the tub-filling and for a bit afterwards. No dish-washing can be done with such cold well-water.

I asked The Pony several times if he'd put the dishes back. Of course he would. He was quite agreeable. But he always forgot. Or said he'd do it in just a minute. Or that since he was planning on using a big plate the next day, he was going to leave them out until it was eaten off of and washed.

Yes. I put the stack of dishes away myself. The Pony has not remarked about their relocation. I hope he won't starve to death, from the inability to remove a dinner plate from underneath them.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Ponylogically Thinking, PART 1

Yes, Common Sense has not only flown out the Mansion window, it has glided to the airport, and booked a flight to Makebelieveland. In Makebelieveland, the Laws of Physics have also taken up residence, having abdicated the Mansion, perhaps stowed-away in Common Sense's luggage.

The Pony was helping me get FREE Ponytail Guy food out of the mini freezer, to thaw in FRIG II for a couple days before Super Bowl preparations. We had what we needed, the last thing being to pour out some crumble sausage into a Chinese Tupperware container, and put the rest of the bag back in the freezer.

I turned from folding some items out of the dryer, to see that The Pony was at the cutting block pouring sausage, with the lid to the mini freezer wide open.

"I'll close this lid for you."

"Why? I left it open on purpose. I'm coming right back to put this in."

"How hard is it to put the lid down, and lift it again to put the sausage back? It's a MINI freezer."

"It won't hurt anything to leave it up."

"I don't believe you! It will start the food thawing out. It will take more energy to cool it back down to freezing."

"I'm coming right back!"

"I don't know HOW you survived on your own for four years!"

"A lot more PEACEFULLY than here!"



"Oh, hush up!"

I hate it when The Pony has better retorts than Farmer H. He uses the same tactics, though. Veer off on a tangent rather than admit fault on the original infraction.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

It's Gotta Go Somewhere

Here's why I bought some baking potatoes last week, even though Farmer H later told me that we had a bag of them from the Ponytail Guy. I couldn't see them on my kitchen table:

They were behind the most recent Ponytail Guy harvest. That's my view from the kitchen sink, looking across the counter. Huh. Maybe I should have looked at that jade plant more often! We might have finally killed it.. Anyhoo... that's the latest box of Ponytail Guy FREEbies. The bag of potatoes was behind it, hidden from view, and by the flap when I walked by. Behind it is a box with loose potatoes and onions, a couple of each. The box of new potatoes is on the floor. It needs to be sorted, and some tossed off the back porch. That's a job for The Pony!

Here are the goodies inside that table box:

I moved some around so you can see better. We have refried beans, a stack of two tuna cans, two flip-top cans of Spaghettios, red kidney beans, two boxes of lasagna noodles (no-cook), a jar of creamy peanut butter, four pouches of spaghetti sauce, two packs of graham crackers, a box of spaghetti noodles, a dented can of corn, a can of chunky chicken noodle soup, a can of tomato sauce, a can of potatoes, and a giant bag of corn flakes.
Maybe next week, I'll experiment with a lasagna.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Time Marches In Place

Whoever said Time Marches On is a liar. Or else not a native of Hillmomba. Time here is at a standstill. Actually, it's at a slowly-creeping-backwards-like-the-next-victim-in-a-horror-movie-still.

We got a call today from one of Farmer H's doctors. I saw the name of the clinic, and let the machine pick up. No need trying to remember details of a message when they can say it on a recording to listen to, and repeat if needed. He has an appointment on Tuesday. The gal gave her name, and said they needed some test results brought along, or faxed to their office, and if he had any questions, to call at such-and-such number.

Always the dutiful wife, I glanced at the clock. 12:15. Farmer H would be closing up his Storage Unit Store and heading to lunch. Then off to visit with some cronies, then to his regular doctor's office for his shot. That's his Friday routine. I went to the kitchen, where my cell phone was charging, to send him a text with the message and phone number. It costs us long distance charges to call our cell phones from our house phone. Don't even get me started on THAT!

Anyhoo... I sent the text at 12:26. When Farmer H got home later in the evening, he said he had tried to call the doctor, but got a machine saying THEY CLOSE AT 12:00! Why in the NOT-HEAVEN would they call and leave a message at 12:15, asking for a call back, when they are already closed? Anyhoo... Farmer H already has a copy of the test results, so he will just take them along Tuesday.

In another not-so-startling time twist, I got a bill from The Pony's December ear visit to Urgent Care. The only problem being that it was a bill I already paid once! The co-pay of $35. I sent my check on January 11 when I got the statement. The bank says the check cleared on January 22. This new bill, dated January 29, says the co-pay is now 30 days past due!

Well. This very same clinic has double-billed me before. It's right here in town, but they send their billing through a service in the city. I had a devil of a time getting it straightened out last time, which was several years back. Good thing my boys didn't frequent clinics and Urgent Cares.

Anyhoo... I tried to call them at 11:45 a.m. I got a recording saying that due to a high volume of calls they were currently experiencing, I should leave a message with the name and question and method of contact, and somebody would call me back within 48 hours. 


When they listed their business hours as 8:00 to 5:00 on M/W/F, I'm pretty sure nobody would be calling me on a Friday afternoon, or Saturday or Sunday. The recording guy babbled off an email that sounded kind of hinky, and said I could leave a message that way to receive a call. Um. No. I will call at MY convenience, not theirs. Maybe in a few days.

I suspect a lot of people were calling to complain about being double-billed! I doubt they were all trying to set up a payment plan here at the first of the month. So I might get through to them later, or I might not. What's the worst that could happen? They send me another bill that says I'm 60 days past due? Why does it matter how long I'm allegedly past-due, when I've already paid the bill on time?

AND... they might possibly figure out by the next billing that if was originally paid on time. Maybe somebody was asleep at the switch after the payment went through on January 22, and the next billing went out on January 29. 

Maybe their time marched backwards a little too far.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Too Soon, On The Heels Of Cookiegate?

Sweet Gummi Mary! Such a surprise at the Mansion on Thursday! It was like Mary and Laura Ingalls finding a shiny new penny in the toe of their Christmas stockings!

As I entered the kitchen to dole out dog treats after my town trip (NOT locked out this time!), The Pony turned from the counter, almost prancing with excitement.

"Oh, Mom. Dad got you a COOKIE at Casey's. He said they had a bunch of them, and when he saw your initials, he had to get one for you."

"OOH! I can't believe he got me something! It looks good. Is he here now?"

"No. He went back to town for something. Didn't you see his truck was gone?"

"I wasn't looking. I have such a headache. But I will love my cookie! I bet they had them for the Super Bowl. For Kansas City."

"Yeah. He said that was it."

"I don't care. It's MINE now!"
Apparently they chose the employee with the worst penmanship to add the initials. Who then proceeded to do the job with their feet. At least they won't succumb to the fate of Claude Daigle, who received the medal for writing the best hand, and thus drew Rhoda Penmark's wrath. Not that I'm knocking my special cookie.
When I heard that Farmer H was home later, I sent him a text.
"Thanks for my cookie."
"I thought it was cute."
"Just like me! And sweet, too!"
"Yes" [followed by a big honkin' toothy smiley-face emoji] 

If I didn't know better, I might think Farmer H was being sarcastic by text! Good thing I wasn't all cookied-out from eating 4 bags of auction animal cookies.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Ample Rumpus That Animal Cookies Didn't Build

Remember when Farmer H bought a case of animal cookies at the auction? He said he still had 7 bags left in Silverado, although a case is usually 12, and he said he'd only eaten ONE.
Farmer H is pushing his luck. He is insinuating unseemly acts of gluttony from Mrs. HM.
He had given me a bag of animal cookies, which I left on the cutting block. It was available for any who wanted to snack on them. I don't know if they did. I don't count cookies. I'd take some down for dessert, but left the whole bag upstairs. When I ran out, Farmer H gave me another bag, which I also left on the cutting block, taking a few at a time with strawberry jam.
I ran out of animal cookies last week.
"Oh, could you bring me in another bag of animal cookies from your truck?"
"There ain't no more."
"WHAT? You ate all the animal cookies?"
"No. I brought them in. There was 4 bags. The Pony put them in the pantry. At least that's what he said he was doing."
Farmer H went to the kitchen and rummaged around in the pantry.
"Huh. I guess you ate 'em all." 

"WHAT? I did NOT eat them all! I didn't eat any! Only the first bag, and then the second bag you brought in. I thought they were still in your truck."

"There ain't no cookies in the pantry."

"Well I CERTAINLY didn't eat 4 BAGS OF COOKIES! You're the one who bought a CASE, and had 7 bags left!"

"I don't know how many were in the case. But I brought the bags in, and The Pony put them away, and now there ain't no cookies."

I do not take kindly to false accusations! The Pony was gone to Steak N Shake at the time, so he could not be interrogated as to his shelving or possible consumption. But then Farmer H took another look.

"Here they are, 4 bags, on the floor of the pantry."

He DID NOT say he was sorry. I'm sure nobody needs to be revived with smelling salts from the shock of that reveal.

I saw no need to backtrack on my original exclamation that Farmer H ate 4 bags of cookies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Common Sense Is An Agile Shape-Shifting Zephyr

The Mansion is not a fortress. It IS penetrable, especially in a reverse kind of way. Common sense flies out the window on a regular basis around here. Even though the windows are closed and locked and double-paned, with weather-stripping.
Farmer H had started a load of laundry while I was gone to town. That's not unusual on a Sunday. I didn't pay much attention. Sometimes he calls from the recliner to ask if the washer is still running. The Pony was standing at the cutting block, putting away groceries he had carried in for me.

The Pony continued taking bread out of a bag to move to the cabinet. Even though he was standing closest to the laundry room, with his back to the door, he made no motion to check on that OBVIOUSLY ABNORMAL SOUND FROM THE WASHER. He just looked at me, eyebrows raised. Of course Farmer H did not break his recline.

"Well! Go turn it off!"

"How was I supposed to know?" Groused The Pony. Most assuredly not interested in helping ME, Farmer H, or the washer.

"Shove in the dial! That turns it off! HEY! Your laundry is messed up. You probably have the washer overloaded."

"No. I only put three pairs of jeans in there."

"I guess maybe you should distribute the load a little more evenly. Come in and fix them."

Sweet Gummi Mary! I shudder to think what they might have done if that happened while I was still in town. The washer might have walked across the ceramic tile, and broken a hose trying to get away. I seriously don't know how they've lived this long without a major catastrophe.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Like Potatoes Growing Out Of Our Ears

We have SO MUCH FREE FOOD from The Ponytail Guy that it is coming out our ears! In an effort to use up some potatoes a couple days ago, it made me think of a story from a Little Golden Book, perhaps, about a kid who wouldn't wash her ears, and POTATOES grew out of them!
Maybe it was a little boy. Maybe I'm projecting. Maybe I'm having a flashback! I don't recall having dirty ears, or refusing to bathe. That was the rule. Come in from playing, take a bath before bed. Maybe the book was a bedtime story and I dreamed the rest. 
Anyhoo... the point is that we have a plethora of potatoes. FREE. But I went to the store to buy three giant baking potatoes! I'd promised Farmer H and The Pony baked potatoes with the meat loaf I made from the FREE 2 pounds of 80/20 ground beef supplied by the Ponytail Guy. In fact, just before I left for my 44 oz Diet Coke, I told The Pony to open up the 10-lb bag of potatoes, and set out the three biggest ones for baking later with supper.
"I'll scrub them now, and they'll be ready to go when I come up to cook."
"How am I supposed to open this bag? It's like cardboard with a net window."
"Here. Use my kitchen scissors. WAIT! When did I have TWO pair? Oh, well. Here. NO! Why did you cut the whole top off? How are we going to keep them in the bag now? It'll fall over and spill!"
"Um. Mom. We have a bigger problem than that. Even the biggest three potatoes won't be enough."
The Pony held up a handful of NEW POTATOES! The tiny kind!
"Looks like I'm buying baking potatoes in town! Good thing we found out before I left!"
Anyhoo... Farmer H and The Pony had baked potatoes with their meat loaf, but I left mine for The Pony to bake another night. He wasn't planning to eat leftover meat loaf with us Monday night, because he was having a robust Steak N Shake lunch. I decided to use up some of the new potatoes by roasting them in the oven.
Here they are, all clean and dry, before I halved or quartered them. Heh, heh! One looks like a butt!
I tossed them in a little vegetable oil, and shook on the Hidden Valley Ranch powder.

Also a tiny bit of ground black pepper (I'm not a fan of pepper). Then I slid them into a 450-degree oven for 25 minutes.
Mmm... they came out just right! A little bit crispy in parts. The innernets say they're not so good warmed up the next day, because they won't crisp. Then again, the innernets said to coat them with minced garlic and cook at 450 for 35 minutes. Good thing I read the comments where people said their garlic burnt up! No garlic on our new potatoes this time. The solution seems to be to add it the last 15 minutes if you use it.
Farmer H said the potatoes were delicious. As for the baking potatoes, he said,
"There's a whole bag of them behind the box of canned goods on the kitchen table."

Good to know. NOW.

Monday, February 1, 2021

The Pony, Like Farmer H, Would Make A Terrible Criminal

Good thing The Pony doesn't seem bent of a life of crime. He'd be locked up, the key thrown away, and a permanent resident of the Crossbars Hilton before he even got started. Like Farmer H, he is not a good liar.
I sent him a text as I left Country Mart, asking for his help carrying in groceries. The Pony is very good about assisting with manual tasks for ME. (Farmer H might beg to differ.) It's a good thing, too, because that crazy cashier put a bag of onions, a bunch of bananas, three large baking potatoes, and a bottle of mustard in one bag! I take that back. In TWO bags, because she had to double-bag them. I swear that thing weighed 50 pounds! I could hardly lift it out of the cart and into T-Hoe. 

Anyhoo... The Pony trotted out, and grabbed my bags. Another contained Country Crock margarine and sour cream, and a third with some pretzel rolls. He also took my purse. All I had was my magical elixir. It takes me a while to get up the steps, with the dogs whirling around in a frenzy anticipating their treat. This day it was old hot dog buns wiped in bacon grease.

I was talking to the dogs as I reached for the doorknob.


I almost pulled my shoulder out of the socket, and banged my head on the door. 


I pounded on the metal door with my open palm. Not angry. Just bewildered. Feeling sorry for myself. The Pony had just gone inside! WHY would he lock me out? His beloved mother! When he opened the door, I stood there with my most pitiful expression. A facial version of Nancy Kerrigan's "WHYYYYY?" Only not whiny.

"Why did you lock me out?"

"Um. I didn't know that I did."

"Obviously it didn't lock itself. You had to turn the button in the doorknob."

"I don't know how that could have happened! I didn't lock the door. Maybe my phone did it."

"How in the NOT-HEAVEN is your phone going to lock a door?"

"By hitting the button thing?"

"Yeah, right. There's no way that could happen."

"Let's see. I had it in my jacket pocket. Maybe it swung against the doorknob as I came in."

Here's where you must suspend your belief in the laws of physics! And also in the valedictorianship of The Pony. HE WENT TO THE DOOR AND STARTED SLINGING HIS POCKETED PHONE AGAINST THE DOORKNOB!

After about 10 times, I yelled "STOP IT! You know your phone could not have done that!"

"Oh, really? Well, the door is now locked."

I suppose The Pony had turned that little button with his hand while I was preoccupied. NO WAY could banging a cell phone against a doorknob's lock button make it turn.

"I can't believe you're going with that scenario! I'm not mad. I guess you absentmindedly turned the lock. Why don't you just say so? This is ridiculous. CRAZY, even!"
"Well... I remember how many times you yell at me for not locking a door."
"I have NEVER yelled at you for not locking a door. Dad has. And you have to admit, we prefer to have the house locked up when nobody is home. And when we're sleeping."
Like Farmer H, The Pony cannot admit a mistake.
SWEET GUMMI MARY! It's not like The Pony forgot to lock a door once or twice when he came home. Nope. The Pony forgot to lock the door when HE LEFT, and EVERYONE ELSE WAS GONE! Also, after taking the dumpster up after dark, and returning to the Mansion.
You may recall that we'd been having the mail-stealers, and that guy who kept breaking into a house up by our 10 acres on the hill. With video footage of him roaming around inside, posted on the Facebook page of our enclave. Also, we had people living in a car on our other property until Farmer H pulled a big tree across the driveway to keep them out. And then there was the matter of a STOLEN TRUCK being found down in our woods! Of course Farmer H had decreed that we keep all Mansion doors locked! Even when at home. It did not seem like an outrageous command at all. 

Anyhoo... The Pony will never avoid jail with such an outlandish alibi. He needs a career, but it better not be as a career criminal.