Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Lurking Along, No Sounds And No Song, Sidler My Sidler

Monday I passed Farmer H on the tractor halfway up his badly-blacktopped hill. He'd been filling in holes down on the gravel road by the mailbox. Juno, Jack, and Copper Jack were trailing him, taking their time sniffing along the edges of the road. Jack was all wet. I guess he'd had his first creek-swim of the year.
When I came back home, the dogs were frolicking under the thorn tree over in the BARn field. Hick must have taken a ride down to our creek on the Gator, because Jack was wet again, and Juno's belly fur was damp. I presume Copper Jack has legs long enough to keep him dry when he walks into the water.

There's a problem with Farmer H hanging around the Mansion lately. He's creepy. A creeper. Like a SIDLER, only stationary. [link to a 2-minute clip of The Sidler of Seinfeld]

Monday morning I was walking from the master bathroom back to bed around 9:30 a.m., and THERE HE WAS! In the living room, standing behind the couch. Perfectly still. LOOKING AT ME! So disconcerting. He could have spoken to alert me of his presence. He'd come in while I was on the throne, I suppose. So I hadn't heard the kitchen door or his footsteps. Then he just stood there. Silent. Motionless, Until I glanced into the living room and saw him.

He did it again Tuesday. Again, I was on the throne. It's a common location to find me mid-slumber. Yet again, I had not heard him enter the Masnion. This time, I was up for the day, and walking into the living room carrying an armful of clothes to the laundry room. THERE HE SAT! In his recliner. Unreclined. With the TV off. Just sitting. Staring into space. The shades still closed. What in the NOT HEAVEN? Who does that?

If I didn't know better, I might assume he was trying to scare me to death...

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Here's The Joust Of It

The Pony has plans for one evening this week. He's going out to eat, and then to the local bowling alley. I don't press for details. I'm glad he's getting out of his room. Anyhoo... he hasn't been bowling in a long time, even though he used to bowl in a league during school years. He had his equipment at college with him, but I think he only went once or twice.

"Do you still have your ball and shoes in the car?"

"Yeah, but my shoes are still broken."

"Oh, well. You can rent shoes. I don't know if they have a mask requirement there or not. I guess they'll have a sign on the door."

"Um. I will be wearing my mask anyway, Mother!"

"I was just wanting to make sure you had one with you."

"I will be wearing it because I CARE about protecting others."

"OH COME ON! You know that's a flat-out lie!"

"I DO care about people, just not people who are trying to perpetrate an insurance scam against the Devil's Playground, like that lady who fell down and you wanted me to help her up."

"I don't care if you wear a mask or not, but you know darn well you are just VIRTUE SIGNALING! You have never cared about helping people! So get down off your high horse! In fact, if you were riding a high horse, you would just as soon knock somebody off their own high horse with a... a... JOUSTING STICK... as you would be likely to HELP them! What do you call those jousting sticks, anyway? I'm sure there's a name."

"A lance."

"I thought a lance was a spear. With a pointy end like an arrow."

"They're about the same thing, except the end of a lance for jousting is made of blunt wood, not a pointy arrow."

Still. The Pony is not fooling me one bit! Get out of here with that HELP PEOPLE crap! Besides, he knows an awful lot about jousting...

Monday, March 29, 2021

Orange, Solo Cups

We use more Solo cups around here than a college frat house! You know the ones, the red plastic glass with the white insides. Used for playing Beer Pong. (I almost said just PONG, like the very first video game that we had on our TV and thought was SO entertaining.)
Farmer H uses the red Solo cup for ice and whiskey and Diet Mountain Dew or maybe Diet Coke if he can steal one from me. Or for the Sparkling Grape Juice that he bought 12 bottles of, and has 7 remaining. The Pony uses the red Solo cup for wine. Yeah. We're high-class drinkers.
The pack of red Solo cups used to sit on the tile floor right inside the pantry. It was a double pack, two stacks. I guess Farmer H and The Pony got tired of bending to get one every week, so one of them put the pack on the cutting block. I'm betting it was Farmer H. The Pony is lithe, and bendable like Gumby, and doesn't imbibe as often.

The pack of red Solo cups has been diminishing. When I was in Save A Lot on Friday, I saw another pack. The knock-off kind. I forget their name. I put them in the cart. When I got home, The Pony carried in the bags and put away most of the few groceries, like Granny Smith, a bag of oranges, bananas, and Key Lime Pie Granola Bars.

"Oh, Mom. You didn't have to buy Solo cups. We have a lot of packs in the pantry. I saw them when I cleaned it out."

"Well. They didn't cost much. Under two dollars."

I walked past the cutting block, and picked up the almost-empty pack.

"I'm tired of you guys leaving stuff out and never throwing the wrapper away! Look! There are only four Solo cups left. How hard is it to stack those four cups on the cutting block, and throw way the plastic wrap that's holding them in two columns? There! Now it takes up less than half the room."

Um. Less than a minute later, I took my net bag of oranges out of the Save A Lot sack. I surreptitiously set them on the side counter, while taking out the two remaining oranges from the old net bag, and stuffing it into the wastebasket.

Some things are more of a privilege for the goose than for the ganders...

Sunday, March 28, 2021

A Momma Bin Problem

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a problem. A problem with those clear plastic bins that Burger King uses to foist the food upon their patrons. And the similar bin used to accept payment.

Have you been to Burger King over the past year? Only the drive-thru is open. You order at a speaker, drive around to the first window, and make payment.

I am no stranger to Burger King. I remember the salad days, when you could even EAT INSIDE. And when the drive-thru worker reached out a hand and took your payment, then extended their hand again with your receipt and change. OH MY GOSH! That would seem terribly inappropriate to young 'uns who came of drive-thru age during 2020.

NOW the window worker extends a clear plastic bin out the window. It looks like a bin for produce in the bottom of your refrigerator, only smaller. Maybe 6 inches by 4 inches. You drop in your money or card, and Window Worker pulls it back in, closing the window so your cooties don't get in. THEN, after pawing your card, or digging your change out of the cash register, Window Worker drops your cash, or your card shrouded in the receipt, into the plastic bin, opens the window, and proffers it to you. It's your job to dig your money or card out of the plastic bin as it wavers in the Window Worker's hand.
The Window Worker wears gloves. Not spiffy, form-fitting blue or green latex gloves like a surgeon might wear to remove your appendix, or a nurse might wear to draw your blood. No. These are clear plastic gloves, kind of baggy, like the gloves that come with a hair color kit. The ones that used to be clear, but are sometimes black now. At least in L'Oreal.

Anyhoo... the Window Worker does not change gloves between customers. The same gloves are likely worn all shift. So I get the cooties that were on the hands of the customers ahead of me all shift so far, and the people who come after me get MY cooties.


The bin has cooties smeared all over it from customers' hands and money and cards, and the Window Worker's gloves. How is this helping?

At the food window, the Food Hander has a bigger bin. Maybe 12 inches by 9 inches. Big enough to put in two large sodas, and a couple of food bags. The Food Hander also wears those baggy clear gloves. Which she uses to fold down the top of your bag, slap on the lid of your soda, and put them in the bin while handing you paper-wrapped straws if she forgets to put them in the bag or bin.

MAYBE this Food Hander's gloves are okay. Clean enough, if all they touch is the food and sodas inside, and nothing from the customer. I just don't get the bins. I don't ever recall touching a Food Hander's hands when taking a bag or cup out of them as they were passed through the window. I'd think they'd be just as sanitary handing the food directly out the window, rather than using the bin. If they touch a customer, they can put on new gloves.

Seriously. I feel bad for those little ladies extending the bin, with my two large sodas in the front, and the bag of food behind them. Imagine standing there for 8 hours, holding a bin out in front of you, leaning through the window to far-parkers. That's got to hurt their back. I hope they wear those black support thingies like the Devil's Playground workers pulling pallets laden with foodstuffs around the floor.
I just don't get the bin.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

The King Was In His Counting House, Shrouding Up My Money

Just one more thing to annoy me. Burger King's money-handling policy. I assume it's a policy. It happens every time I go there, but I haven't compared it to other Burger King locations. This is actually a two-part complaint, but today we'll stick to how the King handles my money. My PLASTIC money.

Once a week, I stop by Burger King to pick up lupper for myself and The Pony. We tried getting it for Farmer H one time, but he doesn't like the state of his Whopper when he drags it out of FRIG II three hours later.

Anyhoo... only the drive-thru is open. I order at the tiny-roofed speaker, and drive around. At the first window, I pay. I used to give them cash, but that's not compatible with my cash budget now that The Pony is home. We use plastic so I'm not always on the road to the bank.

Anyhoo... I drop my debit card into the bin they stick out the window. [This will be discussed another day.] When they return my debit card in the bin they stick out the window, it is WRAPPED UP IN THE RECEIPT! 

Not merely folded over. That card is encased in a shroud. It could be inside an origami wallet. THREE layers of paper around my debit card. As you might imagine, this is not conducive to quickly writing down the amount of purchase, and slipping that card into its slot in your checkbook. It's a major undertaking to remove the shroud! Such a tight fit! Like custom-made leather pants on a rock star! Anybody knows that such form-fitting garments can't be removed in the car-length between paying and picking up food at the next window.

Is this hermetic sealing really necessary? The receipt isn't going to blow away. It's down in a plastic bin. One fold would do. Or no fold, with the card laying on top of the receipt. There's nothing else I can do besides drop it in my pocket to deal with later, at home on the kitchen counter.
They might even use a ruler to get the edges precise. That's all this shroud loosened up, sitting on end in my shirt pocket for 8 miles and 15 minutes and a pot-holed gravel road.
Maybe this is why the line moves so slowly up to the pay window.

Friday, March 26, 2021

A Crumby Thing Happened On The Way To The Casino

We always stop by McDonald's on our way to the casino. Last Tuesday was no exception. We always order the same thing. The Pony has a sausage biscuit meal, with an extra sausage biscuit. Farmer H and I have the 2-for-$4 breakfast sandwich. We get the Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin. That's what Farmer H chooses. It doesn't matter much to me. The English muffin is tough, but the biscuit is dry, like cotton. So I will eat either one as my share of the 2-fer.
Farmer H eats his breakfast sandwich right away. As soon as we get on the interstate highway. He reaches out his hand, which is my signal to reach my hand back to The Pony's A-Cad-ian lair, so he can lay the McMuffin on it. I unwrap it, re-wrap it with half sticking out for biting, and pass it to Farmer H. Yes. It IS quite scary doing this at 75 mph, while sweaving, with Farmer H only steering with his weak nerve-shot arm.
I wait until about 20 miles from the casino to have my breakfast. No reason. It just breaks up the boredom best at that time. Of course my McMuffin has cooled off by then, but I rarely get a hot meal anyway, unless we're sitting down to one in the casino. We usually don't have lunch until 1:30 or 2:00. So this breakfast tides us over and gives us strength to sit on our rumpuses and push buttons and feed money into the slots.
Unlike Farmer H and The Pony, I don't finish my breakfast in a mile or two. It might take me 15 miles of eating. I take a bite. Talk. Fiddle with the radio. Recoil in fear at Farmer H's lane-changes. Plan what we'll have for lunch. Decide which slots to play first. Designate the lunch time and departure time. Clue in my companions on any special promotions that might require a visit to the players' desk. Fill them in on any jackpots that have been posted on the casino Facebook page. Eventually I finish my McMuffin.
I was almost done this time when I felt something crunch in my mouth. At my advanced age, and my teeth in their advanced state of dentist-avoidance... I'm always afraid I've chipped a tooth or lost a filling. Chewing that crunchy thing was not pleasant. I spit it out on my finger to see what I was masticating.

No. That's not tooth enamel. That's AN EGGSHELL! It was on my next-to-last bite, too. Who knows how much of the shell I'd already eaten. It was not very appetizing, but I of course choked down the last bite. Extra calcium for me! No. I didn't eat the fragment shown on my finger. There IS a limit to the depths I will lower myself.
We did NOT turn that car around and drive back to McDonald's and demand a refund or coupon or apology. Well. Farmer H didn't offer to do that. Not that I suggested. 
Alternate titles that would have initially revealed too much:
Talking On Eggshells
With Two You Get Eggshell
Have You Tried McDonald's New Sausage, Eggshell, and Cheese McMuffin?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Payback Is A Sitch

Sweet Gummi Mary! Such a fortuitous situation was dropped into my non-lap that I can scarcely contain my glee! 
The stars aligned, Even Steven opened up his day planner, a TV station took a payoff, and the perfect storm arrived as The Pony was cooking his daily meal on Wednesday. You might recall that only the day before, The Pony had cast aspersions upon the intentions of one Mrs. Hillbilly Mom when she dared to describe a building recently beset by fire as a white church. Even though a drive past it showed a structure covered with white siding.

I guarandarntee you, my cold revenge was a dish much sweeter than the hot battered fish and garlic toast that The Pony served himself for lupper. He was sitting on the long couch, tapping on his laptop, watching American Dad while waiting for his food to heat up. I sat down on the short couch for a minute, before descending to my lair for my own lunch.

I don't watch American Dad unless The Pony has it on. But I looked up the episode [Brains, Brains and Automobiles] after the fact. Just in case you want to after-the-fact-check me.

Anyhoo... this sweet reprisal could not have been more welcome if it had arrived on my doorstep, wrapped up in a dog-proof box, and tied with a big red bow. On the TV screen, a crocodile/alligator walked out of the water towards American Dad. He (the critter not the dad) was wearing a pink floppy hat with a feather, and a vest, and a neck scarf. 


"Mom. Heh, heh. He's a Chocodile..."

"That's even worse! How can you say that about a green alligator/crocodile? Are you implying that he's BLACK? Because he seems to be dressed like a pimp?"

"No! No, Mom. He is literally the mascot for Hostess Chocodiles!"

"I've had a Chocodile. I don't recall them pimping it out with a cartoon character. And WHY? Just because it's dark on the outside?"

"It's just using a crocodile for a chocolate-covered Twinkie. Chocodile/crocodile."

"I sure hope your phone isn't listening to you! You'll NEVER be able to get a job! Did you see the other day when a lady lost her job for something she said when she was 14? They will find it! That's how it is these days! Always about race, always about dividing."

I don't know if The Pony got my point. For a nanosecond, I thought I saw panic dash across his face when I called him out for Chocodiling. No harm intended on his part. But less innocent than my description of the outside of a worship-house.

Sometimes, a delicious chocolate-enrobed snack cake is just a delicious chocolate-enrobed snack cake. Even though Hostess has done away with the mascot.
Here is a Chauncey Chocodile picture from American Dad.

Here is a Chauncey Chocodile commercial that I'd never seen. [30 seconds]

Here is a video of Kramer being mistaken for a pimp. [2 minutes]
Because I loved Seinfeld, and it just goes to show that sometimes, a man with a cane and a flamboyant coat and a floppy hat is just a man with a cane and a flamboyant coat and a floppy hat.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

He's No Snoozer, He's No Loser, He's An Ultra-Woke Cruiser

The Pony has selective hearing. He will put his earbuds in for a 90-minute ride in A-Cad with HM and Farmer H. If asked a specific question, he will ignore. When a stinkeye wafts his way, he will pull out one earbud, and say he was listening to music. OR he might pointedly point out that he put in his earbuds as a signal that he was NOT available for questioning.

However... don't think The Pony might miss something that he finds interesting. Nobody is going the tell The Pony, "You snooze, you lose!" after an opportunity slips away. 

We went to the casino on Tuesday. The first part of our drive has Farmer H cruising through the countryside for 30 miles before we reach the interstate highway. As usual, The Pony was earbudded. I was making conversation with Farmer H, trying to keep my mind off the rain-covered blacktop. LITERALLY keep my brain in my uncracked skull and off the pavement by forcing Farmer H to stay alert and not zone out thinking about his Storage Unit Store business.

"Oh, did you see the article in the paper about the church that burned. I'm pretty sure it was along here somewhere. It was even on the city news channels."

"Yeah. I think it was this one right up here. [Farmer H nodded his head toward a faded brick church on the left.] See it? It doesn't look like anything happened to it, though. No damage."

"No. Not that one. It was a white church that burned."
"Um. Mom? I'm pretty sure you were just referring to the color of the church building, but you really shouldn't be talking about a WHITE church burning. That's very unusual, you know."
"There it is right there! It's got two holes in the roof. Even though they covered them with plywood. See the yellow tape around it? It's actually in pretty good shape for a fire."
"Yes, Pony. SEE the church? It's covered with white siding. That's what I was talking about. Not brick."
"Well, you have to agree, around here, it most likely WAS a white church..."
"Pony. Sometimes, a church is just a church. You can go back to listening to your music." 

He would probably be shocked that my losing crossword scratcher had THIS word in it:

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Lupper And A Show (That Thankfully Didn't Happen)

Perhaps you've heard that I started working on my taxes Sunday morning. I even got up early, at 10:30! The Pony had everything ready to go, so I didn't have to spin my wheels dealing with technology. I worked 3.5 hours, and made a big dent in my preparations. I can follow TurboTax directions like a champ!
Monday, the plan was to finish up, using the info I'd had to harvest from my lair overnight. With corrections made, it wouldn't take but a half hour or so to finish my Fed, State, and The Pony's Fed and State returns.
Except I had a guest. Two, in fact. The first being The Pony. I don't mean to bash him. Obviously, he love, love, LOVES to be in my presence! Because he came to fix his lunch again. More like lupper. Late lunch, early supper.
He had a slice of leftover cheese Domino's, and a slice of leftover spinach Domino's. He orders his pizza half-and-half. So there was the pan-clanging. Oh, and he decided to enjoy an adult beverage with his lupper. It was 5:00 somewhere, but it was 2:00 in our Mansion. The Pony picked up the 2-liter COKE that he got at Domino's, and began perusing the whiskey bottles. Farmer H has two on the kitchen counter. The one he doesn't like, and the one he does. Of course The Pony picked up the newest one.
"Um. No. Dad likes that one. Use the other one."
"THIS one?"
"Yes. There are only two. If you're not using the one you just put down, you use THAT one."
Oh, and The Pony also made himself a salad. Such a healthy meal. Leftover pizza, whiskey and Coke, and a Caesar salad from a bag mix, with CROUTONS! You might wonder how I know about the croutons. Let me tell you. The Pony did not assume his regular dining spot, sitting on the floor in the living room, leaning against the long couch, food on the marred coffee table. Oh, no. He decided to eat sitting on a stool at the cutting block. So he could be nearer to me, I'm sure.
"What IS that noise?"
"Oh, that's just my croutons that came with the salad mix."
Of course.
The only thing more distracting from my taxes might have been if The Pony played some Irish music on his phone, and did some riverdancing around the cutting block.
The intrusion of Farmer H was almost a respite...

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Pony Is Not Very Good At Choosing Which Hill To Die On

In fact, The Pony will die numerous times, on assorted hills, like a mediocre actor rehearsing his craft, never quite achieving his original goal.
The Pony will latch onto an issue like a terrier on a rat (I'm giving the pit bulls a day off). He will shake that issue vigorously, going back and forth to show he means business, and that he will not relinquish control. I am not so much the rat as the big mellow dog lounging nearby, a St. Bernard, perhaps, waiting until the end to step in and take that now-limp rat away from the exhausted terrier.

I was washing dishes last week when The Pony wandered in to grab a small bag of chips off the table.

"Pony. Before you leave, hand me a new box of Puffs. There's one on the chair there. Under the pair of gloves I brought in from T-Hoe."

The Pony went to the 3-pack of Puffs on the table. Only two were left, in that clingy film that holds them together, since I'd already had The Pony bring a box downstairs the previous week. Not that he'd even thought of putting that 3-pack in the hall closet when he carried it in from his shopping trip. Or looked for a single box left from the previous 3-pack.

"Um. There's a box on the chair."

"I'm just getting this one out. The plastic has to come off some time."

"There's no need to do that, when you can reach your hand down on the chair, and set THAT box over here on the counter where I can get it. You don't have to deal with the plastic on that pack now. It can go in the closet."

"It's already been opened. It's right here."

"Look. Look on that chair. Do you see it? Am I wrong? Is it something else, not a box of Puffs?"

"Huh. It's a box of Puffs. JUST LIKE THIS ONE I WAS GETTING OUT. See? Same color and design."

The Pony set the chair box on top of the remaining 2-pack. It was identical to the top box.

"Just hand it too me. I don't know what was so hard about that. It was already loose. All you had to do was pick it up and turn and stretch out your arm to me."

"Meh. Same difference."

My kitchen is just a little waitin' place and they're all difficult Hillmomba hicks...

Sunday, March 21, 2021

This Here's Flubber Duck

When The Pony and I started home from Domino's on Friday, we had to wait at a red light for our left turn.

"I hope these guys ahead of us pay attention. This light isn't very long, compared to the size of the intersection to get through. I don't want to sit through another red light if we miss is. They might have adjusted it for this time, though. It's when all the school buses come down from the bus barn to go pick up the kids. I saw 7 of them yesterday in a row. They had 'em a convoy! Remember that song? You used to like it when you were riding behind me on the way home from school."

"Yeah. I remember it."

"It's from the 70s. My favorite part is the Jesus freaks in the van."

"Long-haired friends of Jesus."

"Yeah. The long-haired Jesus freaks in the Volkswagen van. I love that part."

"Chartreuse microbus."

"YEAH! That's it. Chartreuse! That's a good word. Chartreuse mini van."

"Mom. It's '11 long-haired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus.'"

"Well. It IS my favorite part! Even if I don't remember it quite right..."

Heh, heh! If you're feeling nostalgic, here's a video. Original song, but the video is from the movie they made about it.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

The Recent Discombobulation Of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

Well, I am reeling with my new knowledge. I'm as off-kilter as that time a few years ago when I learned that ENGLAND IS AN ISLAND! And NOT a country on the coast, between France and Germany! At least I can blame that on my football-coach geography teacher.

My latest discovery is that I seem to be the only person in the world who completely loses taste and smell for five days (give or take a couple) during the common cold! Sweet Gummi Mary! To think of all the times I've been miserable, being one who loves to eat. All the efforts to bring back just a smidgen of taste for a meal. Holding salsa in my mouth in an effort to send fumes to open up my sinus congestion. Eating two or three Halls Mentholyptus cough drops during the class period before my school lunch. Blowing and blowing my nose with food in my mouth, hoping to catch a layer of flavor. Maybe 1 out of 5 tries, I got a little taste, but nothing long enough to last the whole meal.


Now I'm taking back all the sympathy I've had for people "suffering" with a cold. Those malingerers! They could smell and taste all along! Why should I feel sorry for THEM? I bear them no ill will. I wouldn't wish anybody to be sick. But a cold isn't really all that inconvenient if you can still smell and taste. Just wipe your nose, then blow your nose when it gets congested. Stay hydrated. And enjoy your vittles, you smelling, tasting sickos!

Anyhoo... this kind of reminds me of when I was taking care of young Genius. He was my first baby, you know. We had the Parents As Teachers lady come for home visits at my $17,000 house. She said Genius was pretty advanced. Of course I agreed! Then she said it was because I talked to him like he was an adult, and he was picking things up at a rapid pace.

WAIT A MINUTE! Are you not supposed to talk to babies like they're adults??? Is that frowned upon? Should I have been making baby talk with Genius? Too late now!

I got a transfer from my job at the South St. Louis unemployment office right before I had Genius. My buddies up there were disappointed. "He's OUR baby! That's not fair!" Some of them came down to Hillmomba for a visit. To see Baby Genius. Even Della, whose mother had told her never to go south of Lindbergh, because there are no streetlights.

Anyhoo... Baby Genius was 4-6 months old at the time of their visit. I remember that the weather was warming up, and he was barefoot. We sat around the living room, watching him in his little play mat that reminded me of a dry swimming pool. It was padded with a rim of cushy sides a few inches high. I had dressed him in a Mizzou Tigers onesie that my mom gave him. She loved her Mizzou Tigers basketball team!

Anyhoo... Baby Genius was rolling around on his back, doing what he loved to do: playing with an empty cardboard can that had previously held Planter's Cheese Balls, smiling and showing off for his audience. He was a people person.

"Look at him!"

"Oh my gosh! Isn't that cute?"

"Where did he learn to do that?"

I was not getting it. Baby Genius was doing what he always did with his toys. He had grabbed the Planter's Cheese Balls can with his feet, and picked it up to hold while he played bongo drums on the top with his hands.

"Um. What do you mean? Don't all babies do that? He holds everything with his feet. He's like a little monkey. He'll pick stuff up with either hands or feet, and transfer them back and forth as he plays. Sometimes he plays with one toy in his feet, and another one in his hands."

Apparently, such behavior was not all that common! Which I learned later. This everyday foot-grasping play with Genius was not observed in the Baby Pony.

You learn something every day! Or at least every three or four decades.

Friday, March 19, 2021

My Discomfort Over My Comforter

When Farmer H decided to take my SPECIAL WEDDING QUILT for possible repairs of the tatterment that he'd inflicted along the top edge... he wanted to replace it on the bed with my comforter.
"Where's that comforter we used to have on the bed? Pony? Is that in the hall closet?"
"I think so."
"Wait a minute! You tore up my SPECIAL WEDDING QUILT! I don't want you to put my comforter on the bed and tear IT up next!"
"It's OUR comforter, HM."
"No. It's mine. I had it before we got married. We only used it for a little while in the middle of winter, at the old house, when Genius was a baby. I got it when I worked at the insurance salvage store! It was a brand new return, in the boxcar lot we bought from JC Penney."
"No, it's not whatever! I've learned that what's yours is yours, what's ours is yours, and what's MINE is ours! I like my comforter. I don't want it ruined by your breather hose. We can use that blanket that's on the bed. The gray one you put ON TOP of the quilt, but shoved it over on my side every night."

"I don't want to use that blanket. It's too hot."

SERIOUSLY? In what universe is a blanket hotter than a comforter? That comforter is all soft and fluffy and full of comforting stuffing, and 10 times warmer than a thin gray blanket.

Farmer H only wants to use it because it's MINE! What did HE sleep under before we were married? Let's use THAT!

I need to look in the hall closet. I DID have an older comforter, which is white with brown plaid, that I wouldn't mind using. It's not real big, though. I had it in college, so it's probably a full size, not queen. The comforter that's a bone of contention is queen size, and a multi-colored gray plaid on white background.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

A Real Jackhole

Farmer H sent me a picture on Tuesday. You never know what you're going to get from him. In this case, it was a picture he took of a real Jackhole.

When the weather is REALLY, REALLY cold, I ask to bring the dogs in. Not to sleep in our bed under a ratty SPECIAL WEDDING QUILT, but in the basement, in the workshop, where they can slumber in a crate on an old towel. Nope. Farmer H decrees no dogs in the house. The only exception being during a tornado a few years back, when we couldn't entice Juno inside.

Anyhoo... Farmer H's logic is that Juno has an insulated house right up against the side of the Mansion, out of the wind, with a pile of cedar shavings to burrow into. Yes. That's true. Farmer H says that Jack has a house too, if he wants it, on the other end of the house, also full of cedar shavings and out of the wind, as there are two dog houses with doors facing each other, one sometimes a guest dog house for Copper Jack.

However, my little Jack does not like to sleep in a dog house. He prefers the hollowed out hole in the gravel under the Gator. Except in cold weather, when he goes to sleep over by the goat and chicken pen, now bereft of goats and chickens, but still with a metal shed holding hay.

There it is. A REAL JACKHOLE! The bed Jack has burrowed out for himself in the hay bales, surrounded by walls and under roof. He's a smart little guy, although quite stubborn. Lest you misunderstand, I'm talking about JACK.

Don't go feeling sorry for Jack. He's an outside dog. All dog. A dog's dog. He might be happy inside for ten minutes or so, to be near me, but after that, he'd be bored to tears. He'd have the legs chewed off the couches, and the recliner shredded with his spade-like paws' claws, and I daresay my CROCS wouldn't stand a chance. Farmer H's leather boots would give Jack indigestion. He's most happy running free, keeping an ear out for invaders in his kingdom.

That last part could also apply to Farmer H...

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Mrs. HM Must Be A Freak

Guess what I found out on Tuesday! Okay. I'll tell you. It's not like that day a few years ago when I discovered that ENGLAND is an ISLAND! Nothing so earth-shattering and mind-boggling. And I didn't find out from a teenage Pony. This discovery was revealed by a certain relative through matrimony who happens to have been a local elected official.


Okay. That wasn't said in so many words. Maybe it was not so much even implied. But the result of our discussion has led me to believe this is fact.

We'll call my enlightener XM. I think you know why. Last fall, XM had the VIRUS. I don't dispute that. He was ill, and had the test, which showed a positive result. I haven't really talked to him since then, until Tuesday, when I stopped by the house to drop off something. There's another story there that will show up someplace.

Anyhoo... as I sat in Dirty Dirty T-Hoe, chatting with XM, talk turned to his illness. At the time, I'd been in telephone contact with his wife my relative, who relayed that XM wasn't feeling all that bad, but had isolated himself in their camper. Don't you worry about XM! It had all the amenities of home. It's not like he lived in a camper shell mounted on the back of a pickup truck.

Anyhoo... XM said that his illness was way different from a cold.

"I lost my taste and smell! It was terrible. I was cooking something in the microwave, and saw smoke, and I had to wonder, 'Is that just steaming? Or is it on fire?' I couldn't tell! I couldn't smell a thing. If the house had been on fire, I couldn't have smelled it."

"Oh. I lose my taste and smell every time I have a cold. It IS terrible! And by that I mean the TASTE part! I hate it when I can't taste my food."

"This was so much worse! When I have a cold, I can always blow my nose, and get a whiff of smells. And be able to taste."

"WHAT? I can't!"

The conversation took a turn to other events of his quarantine, so I let it go. But I couldn't help dwelling on that revelation as I drove home.

Doesn't EVERYONE lose taste and smell with a cold? Or am I the only FREAK that it happens to? I don't want to doubt XM. I fully believe he was sick with the VIRUS. But it blows my mind that when he has a regular cold, he can blow his nose and get his taste and smell back! Is that possible?

See, the way it goes for me, and believe me, I had more that my fair share of colds during my first 10 years of teaching... I always lose those senses on about day 3-4 of a cold. The snot goes from runny and drippy to where it stays in my nose, but my sinuses are clogged. I have that muffled way of speaking. I have to chew with my mouth open to breathe.

Even after I start to feel better on about day 6 or 7, the stuffiness stays. I might get to where I can breathe through my nose. But my sinuses are still swollen. No smell or taste. THAT'S when it's so frustrating. I consider my cold to be over, but I can't enjoy my food again. Sometimes it's 12 days or a little more, from the onset of the sniffles, before I can smell and taste.

Believe you me, I've tried everything! Blowing my nose being first on the list. It doesn't make me able to taste and smell, although it may get rid of some clogging snot. It's the swelled sinuses. I've had a modicum of success with eating SALSA or FRANKS ORIGINAL RED HOT SAUCE before each bite of food. It doesn't fully bring back all the levels of taste, but I can usually tell what I'm eating. That works over half the time, but not every time.

Surely EVERYBODY loses taste and smell for a few days during a cold. Again, I'm not calling XM a liar. I fully believe he had the VIRUS and was ill from it. HOWEVER... if he can regain taste and smell during a regular cold from simply blowing his nose, he's a MEDICAL MIRACLE!

Or else I'm a FREAK.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

It Takes A Teacher Eye To Keep A Farmer Nose Clean

Mrs. HM has a roving eye. Not a roving eye that seeks a secret paramour for clandestine dalliances. As Farmer H's friend Buddy's wife used to say, when he accused her of such glances: "I already have YOU. Why in the NOT-HEAVEN would I want another one?" It was not a compliment.

No, Mrs. HM's roving eye is her Teacher Eye. Not the Stinkeye, which is also a vital tool in the teacher's toolbox, used to restore order without saying a word. The Teacher Eye is almost all-seeing. It susses a situation in a second. Can detect anything hinky that might lead to shenanigans. It's like ESP, but not all that extra. A seasoned teacher scopes out a venue without conscious thought.

Mrs. HM may be retired, but she has not lost her teacher edge.

I went into the laundry room Monday evening, to remove some delicious crispy FREE chicken patties from the mini freezer. ALAS! They looked like the delicious crispy chicken patties, but they were sausage patties! Nevermind. They can be eaten on a bun and taste delicious in their own way. This is not a tale of mistaken identity in frozen chicken patties. The Teacher Eye had more pressing matters which needed attending.

Something was off. I knew it the minute I stepped through the louvered door from the kitchen. AHA! The spigots to the washer were in the ON position. We turn them off after washing a load of clothes. Buddy had a flooding incident in his almost-new house, because one of his water lines to his washer exploded while he and his wife were at work. The same thing had happened overnight in my $17,000 house. So Farmer H decreed when we moved into the Mansion that we would always turn off the water spigots unless actively washing a load of clothes. No big deal. A habit of 23 years now.
Of course I stepped over to the washer to turn them off. It had been three days since I did laundry. The Pony did his the day after. And Farmer H had been in and out of there on Sunday, his laundry day. I guess he forgot. I lifted the lid of the washer. There were clothes inside! Perhaps The Pony had done another load while I was in town. I'd ask when he came out for (the disappointing chicken-patty-less) supper.
While the sausage patties were warming in the oven, and before I sliced the onion and pickles that Farmer H still wanted, even on sausage, I asked HIM.
"Did you do some laundry? Do you have something in the washer?"
"The water was turned on, and the washer is full of what looks like a load of jeans."
"Oh. Well. I guess I forgot to put them in the dryer."
"No. Last night. I wondered this morning when I put on my jeans. 'These ain't the jeans I planned on wearing...' I guess I better go put them in the dryer!"
"I turned off the water. But you might want to run them through a cycle again if they've been there all night. Sometimes they sour if you leave them 24 HOURS in the washer! I didn't smell anything bad when I lifted the lid, though."
"They smell all right. I'm putting them in the dryer."
Thank the Gummi Mary we didn't have a plumbing flood! Perhaps Even Steven banished his French Cousin Unfair Robert to our other 10 acres up on the hill for the night. 
The Teacher Eye. The Farmer Nose. It all comes out in the wash.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Early To Bed, Too Early To Rise, Makes A Farmer Subject To Hundreds Of Whys

Daylight Savings Time has returned! Saturday night, I set back the clock in my office, and the clock in the basement living area. I knew my phone would update itself. I'd have to check upstairs to see what Farmer H deigned to reset. There's no rhyme nor reason to it. 

I was still wide awake, watching a DVR of Tough As Nails, the reality competition on CBS Wednesday nights, when I heard Farmer H stumping through the kitchen at 5:45 a.m. I heard the laundry room door. The back door. The water running in the laundry room sink for the pitcher to fill the dogs' water bowl. Then the kitchen door slam as Farmer H left! At 5:50 a.m.!

That was a little strange. Even for Farmer H. He leaves for the Storage Unit Store so he can be there by 8:00. Sometimes a little earlier, so he can get his not-quite-clandestine Casey's donuts. But 5:50 a.m.???

I went to bed around 6:00. Still dark outside. When I got back from town, I brought up the topic with The Pony.

"Do you know why Dad left so early this morning? It was before 6:00!"

"I heard him. I don't know why. He didn't mention anything."

"Maybe he wanted to run by the Devil's Playground first. He mentioned something about picking up some Diet Mountain Dew himself, while he was in there, in case you weren't going for a few days. Maybe he went to see if they had any of those bullets that they'll only sell one box at a time. Maybe he has a buyer for them today."

Later in the evening, as I was getting supper ready, I asked Farmer H himself.

"WHY did you leave before 6:00? It was still dark!"

"Well. I messed up. I set my clock before I went to bed."

"How can that make you leave an hour early? You set it AHEAD, right? Spring ahead, fall back. When you left at 5:50, it was actually 4:50 a.m. in yesterday's time!"

"I know. I got up around 5:30 to go to the bathroom. I came back and laid down and looked at the clock. It was going on 6:00, but I thought it was going on 7:00. I didn't remember setting my alarm clock. So I thought it was actually going on 7:00 with the time change! I didn't realize the real time until I was in the shower. Then I was already ready to leave. So I did."

"And WHO says that I can't remember anything? I don't remember stuff you convolutedly explain to me, but I'm SURE I could remember setting my clock!"

I guess Farmer H was kind of lonely sitting at his Storage Unit Store waiting for sunrise. Oh, yeah. He'd set the bathroom clock. But he left the living room clock and the microwave clock for me.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Universe Has Been Busy Conspiring

Contrary French Cousin Unfair Robert reared his antagonistic head Saturday.
Starting around 4:15.
Of course that was right after I sat down with my lupper of fried chicken and a salad. It coincided with the exact moment I heard Farmer H’s tread on the basement steps. Or perhaps it’s just a coincident that I noticed the outage at that time. I’d been watching a YouTube video (a slot machine player), and it stopped. I thought it was just being cantankerous about loading, even though I play back at 240. Nothing extravagant. 
Anyhoo… I hollered through the wall to King Farmer H, who was in the counting house, counting out his money. He declared that he had no idea why the internet was off. I tried to text The Pony, but my texts wouldn’t send. So as Farmer H went back upstairs, I told him to ask The Pony about the internet.  
“It’s off. When it went down, I just came out to make my supper.”  
“Is the weather bad? Is it down from the weather?” 
“Hmm. The sky is cloudy. Looks like rain, but no rain yet.”  
Well. Sometimes that happens. I let it go. Got out a DVD to watch on New Delly. Every now and then I gave the internet a try. Sometimes it worked. Briefly. Off and on. All night. At 11:30, I got sick of it, and went to unplug the router and the DISH satellite that gives us internet. It worked long enough to load a couple pages. Then down again. Not sure if it’s the weather. MY BILL IS PAID! 
I was quite displeased to see, upon entering the workshop for the unplugging, that the big hose for the dryer vent is hanging down where my head will hit it. AND there’s new junk piled in front of the wooden workshop bench where I lean to the wall to reach the electrical outlet. A cedar chest. The big box that the Christmas tree (still up!) goes in, some assorted DVD players, two baseballs, and a camouflage soft gun case.
In fact, there’s a week’s worth of stuff to discuss with Farmer H during “This is the time of day we talk about the most recent thing you’ve done wrong.”
I used my down time to type this up in WORD. I figured I might as well try the troubleshooter for the eleventeenth time. No solution. Just no internet connection. THEN I decided to give my old stand-by a shot. SYSTEM RESTORE! Funny how an update had occurred the DAY BEFORE, at 3:55 p.m. Almost as if my internet problems started 24 hours after that update....
For a couple days, New Delly had been saying something had stopped working. So I did a restart, and it was normal again. But now I saw that ANOTHER update had happened on March 8. SO... I chose the last update point (March 2) from before my issues started. Uh huh. I closed out everything. Was ready for my final click to start the system restore... when I noticed the hateful yellow triangle was gone from my internet icon!

Yep. I threatened a SYSTEM RESTORE, and New Delly shaped right up. I'm pretty sure that's a coincidence...

Saturday, March 13, 2021

On To The A-Cad Complaint Department

Of course Farmer H was the driver of A-Cad on our trip to the casino. He managed to stay within the wake-up bumps most of the journey! Maybe his equilibrium was off. Anyhoo... the drive down wasn't too stressful. He even unwrapped his own Sausage Egg McMuffin at 75 mph, and didn't scare me. I usually do that task for him, FOR MY OWN SAFETY, but he couldn't wait until I was done with my phone.

We arrived without incident. Farmer H dropped The Pony and me off at the door, then went to make his merchandise-buying rounds. Of course he is always on the lookout for firearms and ammunition. But this time, he bought over $100 worth of FISHING POLES. A-Cad was stuffed to the gills when we left the casino. The poles were loaded from A-Cad's hatch, but stuck up through the seats, beside The Pony. He was not thrilled with his riding companions on the trip home.

"Look out, Mom. Don't reach back for a tissue or the wastebasket, because you'll get hooked."

"There's no hooks on them fishing poles."

"If you say so."

We meandered back through town to the highway. We didn't see Her Majesty the Queen in the back seat of a small sedan this time. Back on the road, I mentioned that I was having vision issues.

"I can't seem to focus sometimes. Even with my glasses. I could hardly see to scratch my lottery tickets last night! And I have to lean really close to my computer."

"You know you have a cataract. You need to get that taken care of."

"He said it wasn't that bad."

"Mom. They change."

"Oh. Now you know all about cataracts? Such an interesting topic for one so young."

"They DO change, HM. The doctor says they can't do surgery on them until they're ripe. That's what they told your grandma."

"EWW! Can we NOT talk about ripe cataracts? Just don't. I'd take a nap, but I might wake up blind. Sometimes it's worse after I close my eyes."

"Well, they shift around. All you need is eye drops a few days before. Then they do the surgery in the office. And you have an eye patch for a day. And more drops. And then you're fine. Buddy (of the Badly Blacktopped Hill) just got his done. He was home in three hours."

"Enough. I'm done talking. I've having a nap."

This is the most boring stretch of road ever. On the way there, I am excited at the prospect of gambling and lunch. But on the way back, it's mind-numbingly boring. The Pony won't talk. He puts music in his ears, and texts or does laptop stuff. Farmer H is not a scintillating conversationalist. We have to listen to a country music radio station. So I try to sleep from mile marker 110 to 154. It's quite refreshing if I can pull it off. Usually, I cannot.
Ah. I was snoozing like Rip Van Winkle when it happened. 

Too bad those corpses didn't have seatbelts. I stopped short on my tether, and avoided crashing through A-Cad's windshield.

"What in the NOT-HEAVEN? I hope you bought a defibrillator at the pawn shop. My heart is stopped. My kneecaps slid down my shins. And I think you popped off my cataract!"

"Oh, HM. You're so dramatic. I didn't do nothin'. Just barely tapped the brake to take off the cruise control. To let this big truck in. But he didn't go."

"Um. Dad? There ARE hooks in some of these fishing poles. I can see them now that they shifted."

Yeah. Farmer H, not paying attention. Probably looking at his phone, driving on cruise control in the fast lane, not allowing for the ebb and flow of traffic. Just riding along at the rear corner of a double-trailer UPS semi for miles, keeping him from changing lanes to get around slower traffic.

I guess I'm lucky that I wasn't pierced by a fishing pole, and snagged by the hook...

Friday, March 12, 2021

Back To The Boudoir Complaint Department

It has been three weeks since our last casino trip. THREE WEEKS! We usually go every two weeks, but Farmer H has had prior commitments. Anyhoo... Wednesday was designated as our day out for lunch, and entertainment of the expensive variety. Of course I had to go to bed early, because we were leaving at 9:15 a.m. Not a good night (day) for going to bed at 8:00 a.m. for my beauty sleep.

I was nestled in bed, visions of (NOT free sugar plums) slot machines dancing in my head, by 2:00 a.m. My wake-up call was scheduled for 7:45. It would be from Farmer H, probably making his phone sticky with donut fingers.

I was snoozing blissfully, lying on my left side, facing the fake fireplace wall. Directionally facing it, since my eyes were closed in slumber, and not actually looking at it.


That's not a reference to an '80s band blaring on the clock radio. That's the impact of a Farmer H arm on my tender side-ribs. It was like a karate chop! Or like he was dreaming that he was swinging a sledgehammer to break up a concrete patio. It hurt like the dickens! I am sure I emitted a scream trapped in an OOF muffled by my final breath exploding from my lungs like toothpaste from a stomped-on tube.

Farmer H was aware that he did it. I could tell by his sarcastic grunt. Like I had no right to make any sound when he almost sliced me in half from one blow with the bluntest of implements.

My back hurt the whole day. Walking to the car, riding in the car, sitting at the casino, hobbling back into the Mansion when we returned. When I broached the subject as I turned on the seat-back heater in A-Cad, Farmer H pooh-poohed my pain.

"HM. You are so dramatic. Something is always wrong with you."

[Don't I know it!]

"It wouldn't be, if you'd quit hurting me in my sleep."

"Alls I did was barely bump you with my arm."

"No. You hit me so hard I could barely breathe. And now you act like you did NOTHING!"

"I didn't. But YOU moved the quilt."

"I didn't move the quilt! There was plenty of slack in the quilt. I just pulled it over me."

"I mean the sheet. You moved the sheet."

"Yes. I had no sheet on my side. It barely covered the edge. So I pulled it, hoping I'd have sheet to lie on all night. You always get it on your side."

"Wait a minute! Isn't it a FITTED sheet?"

"Yes, Pony. But he rolls up in it. Like an alligator killing its prey in a death spiral. He's wrapped up like a big burrito. I don't know how he does it!"

"I am NOT wrapped up like a burrito. That sheet doesn't fit right."

"It's a FITTED SHEET! The right size. The elastic is still good. I don't know how you get it all pulled to your side unless you roll up in it while you're turning."
"We need a new sheet. That one just does that."
"ALL of our sheets do that! But they don't get pulled to MY side of the bed! Only yours."
"Heh, heh. Whatever you say."
THAT is the way to end a losing argument. Farmer H has perfected that response. I think he is working on perfecting the tenderization of wife-ribs in his sleep.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Beauty Sleep, Interrupted

It's really hard to get a good night's sleep around the Mansion. Seems like I barely get to bed and then I'm awakened by the cacophonous (took 3 tries and my estranged BFF Google to get that right) goings-on in this household.

You know I go to bed late, right? If YOU know, then surely the two people who cohabit with me should know. But they don't. Ostriches! Head-sanders! 

I'm not saying they should keep the same hours I do. Only that they could PERHAPS be a bit more considerate.

I went to bed Monday night (Tuesday morning, in all actuality) at 8:00 a.m. I had fallen asleep around 4:30 in my OPC (Old People Chair), woke up at 6:00, then watched more TV until I climbed the stairs at 7:45. Farmer H was in the shower. I went to bed, and was asleep when he left.

Because I don't want to sleep all day, I have The Pony wake me at 11:00 if he doesn't hear me walking around. He yells from the living room, and I yell back that I want another half-hour of sleep. Then he re-yells at 11:30. So that's when I get up. I'm okay with 5-6 hours of sleep a night. That's all I used to get when I was working.

Anyhoo... Tuesday, The Pony told me it was 11:00. I said to give me another half-hour, and he said okay. I heard him walking back to the kitchen. I turned over on my side, and heard a grindy noise!


What in the NOT-HEAVEN? Maybe The Pony was getting ice out of FRIG II's dispenser. It's been acting up. I had to chop some ice out of it the day before.


Sweet Gummi Mary! You'd think The Pony would pull out that tray and take a look at what was blocking the spiral thingy in the bottom.


Oh, come on! Just reach in and grab ice cubes with your hand! It's not working! I got up for the bathroom. Hollered out to the kitchen, "WHAT is that noise?" No answer.

While in the bathroom, I heard it again.


Sheesh! I really wanted the rest of my beauty sleep. NEEDED IT, in fact! I put the quilt over my head. But still I heard that infernal noise!


The phone rang with Humana trying to get Farmer H to call them about his medications. As he says, "I have a doctor for that. I don't need the insurance telling me what they think I need to take."


Oh my gosh! I just wanted a few more minutes of sleep!

"Mom. It's been 30 minutes. It's 11:30."


"Noise? The phone rang... and Dad is doing something out on the porch."

"Was that the ice-maker? Why didn' you answer me when I hollered to ask you?"

"No. Nothing is wrong with the ice-maker. I didn't hear you say anything. I was out on the porch. Dad needed me to help him hold the posts that hold up the porch roof. Some were loose at the bottom, and he was screwing stuff in, using a drill or something."

When I got up, Farmer H was sitting at the kitchen table, playing with his phone.

"What's the matter with you?"

"It's kind of hard to sleep around here. I don't know why you had to do that RIGHT NOW. You've been talking about it for two years. Plus you have the whole rest of the day."

"This was the best time to get it done."

Yeah. I think the best time for me to get something noisy done will be around 1:00 a.m.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Mrs. HM Is No Rat

Orb K changed their floor plan a couple weeks ago. Instead of having a space for three lines to wait for their three registers, with a couple of food coolers with wraps and sandwiches running perpendicular to the lines... they've put in a MAZE!

That's right. They put four or five shelf/rack dividers in the shape of a maze. Stocked with candies and mints and gum. I've gone through it twice. One time when there were about 10 people ahead of me, and the line stretched out of the maze all the way to the soda fountain. It takes a lot of room to stay six feet apart.

Anyhoo... I went into Orb K for scratchers on Monday. There was ONE register open, and one customer. The register is next to the scratcher display propped against the front window. The customer was gathering up his stuff, four cans of Red Bull, a sandwich, and some chips. It took longer than I expected, because the clerk didn't give him a bag, and he was trying to balance it.

Since he was leaving, I knew I was next. I saw no need to go across the store to the entry to the maze. I stood at the corner of it, some 10 feet back from that customer, waiting for him to pass me so I could walk up and have my turn.

Since he took so long, a guy who had come in just ahead of me had picked out his items, and was heading for the registers. He saw me there, and knew I was next. He hesitated a moment before entering the maze. I think his plan, too, was to stand at the corner and wait for me to get done.

I don't know if my scoff-maze antics set off that clerk, or if she was just a hateful hag. I'm thinking the latter. She was not cheerful. She did not greet me. She acted put-out when I greeted her, and asked for scratchers. 

I can't help it that Orb K has their lottery tickets coming out near the bottom of the counter. Surely I'm not the only one who make Clerk bend over during her shift. I asked for a pink Lady Luck ticket for The Pony. It's an old one, and he likes the flashy colors. Clerk snapped, "We don't have that one!"

Well then. I suggest they take it out of the display, tape a scrap of paper over it that says OUT, or learn how to say, "Sorry, we're out," in a less venomous manner.

I don't know what her problem was, but she'll have the same problem again if I come in and there's only one customer ahead of me. I am NOT walking through a maze just because it's there.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

By The Non-Existent Hair Of My Chinny-Chin-Chin

Don't go thinking Mrs. HM is hirsute. I have nary a hair on my chinny-chin-chin. No plucking, no shaving, no stroking to appear wise. What I DO have is a single rogue strand of hairlike material that emanates from my cheek. My FACE cheek, you rapscallions! Not my rumpus cheek. It's on the edge of my right orbit. You know, that curved part of bone under your eye.

The Tendril has appeared off and on over the years. It's thin and white and about 1/4 inch long! Not very noticeable. Especially not to ME, since I don't look in the mirror very often, and when I do, I'm so nearsighted that I only see enough to part my lovely lady-mullet.

I was resettling my glasses in my lair, running my finger under the edge of the lens, when I felt it. I grasped The Tendril with my thumb and forefinger, and plucked it out. Uh huh. White. Thin. And no longer on my face!

It's not like I could be Rapunzel, and dangle The Tendril over the basement stair banisters to allow The Pony to climb up with that DOVE Chocolates bag in his teeth to throw away. It's a single strand. Not braidable. Doesn't need coloring or trimming. Just a pluck to remove it when it shows up. It doesn't sprout from a mole. It's just there. Or it's not. I never notice The Tendril until it's fully grown to 1/4 inch.

I suppose I'm lucky that I don't have a beard. I saw a gal on that 600 Pound Life show, and at first I thought she was a dude! She would have made a great bearded lady for Barnum and Bailey! She shaved it like a man, but not nearly often enough. You'd think that for being on TV, she would have gotten rid of the beard.

Yes, I'm lucky that I don't have any hairs on my chinny-chin-chin. Just The Tendril BY my chinny-chin-chin.

Monday, March 8, 2021

NOW It's Turned Into Groundhog Day!

From the writer/actor who brought you "Puttin' Off the Ritz," and "Like Squatter for Chocolate," there's a new limited release. This one is called "The Neverending Sorry."

Perhaps you recall that The Pony has been a bit remiss in throwing away his trash. Trash like the entire Ritz Cracker box left behind after he ate the remaining three crackers inside. Trash like the empty bag from my selection of DOVE chocolates when he ate the last two, those being the milk chocolate and the caramel.

Well. There was another candy container left on the exact same basement chair, right beside the DOVE bag. It was a box that had, on my birthday, held 18 Ferrero Rocher round chocolate candies. It was an assortment of three kinds. Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate, and Coconut with White Chocolate.
I told The Pony he was welcome to try them. He really liked the hazelnut version. I said he could have them, and I'd have the others, but he was welcome to TRY them as well. He chose not to, sticking to the hazelnut variety.
Anyhoo... the hazelnut had been gone for a while, except for ONE. I ate the others at a rate of one per night. But I left that last hazelnut for The Pony. When he carried down my lunch tray on Friday, I pointed out that there was still a hazelnut ball left.
"Oh. I didn't want to take  your last one."
"No, it's okay. I've been saving it for YOU."
I heard him coming back up the basement steps.
"I don't see that box in your hand. Don't tell me! You left IT there, too!"
"To be fair, I got my candy on the way to your office, and then forgot to bring the box back up. I'll get it now."
You're not going to believe what I noticed on Friday night. Oh. Yes. Yes you ARE going to believe it.
I mentioned this fact to The Pony on Saturday, as I was readying my lunch to go down.
"Pony! I can't believe you brought up the empty box from the hazelnut candy, and STILL didn't bring up the DOVE bag!"
"Oh. Wait. I didn't? Sorry..."
Here's something else that you will fully believe:

While it's a bone of contention for ME, it's a good thing that The Pony is not currently engineering your chemicals.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Roll Me Away Is More Than Just An Earworm In Mrs. HM's Waking Head

For the past three or four days, I've been waking up with the same song in my head. Bob Seeger's "Roll Me Away." I hear it often on my quest to procure my 44 oz Diet Coke. Not a big deal. Sometimes I wake up hearing country tunes, sometimes the classic rock. I always associate "Roll Me Away" with that Mask movie, with Cher and Eric Stoltz.
With winter a fading memory, I've been enjoying my daily town trip. Bright sunshine, temps in the upper 50s. No jacket. No slippery roads. Which is not to say that the road hazards have disappeared...

I think I know why I've been waking up hearing "Roll Me Away."

Saturday, I saw something in the road as I approached the ill-fated pole that took out our electricity during the ice storm. What in the Not-Heaven? From far back, I thought it might be a hay bale. Something that was going to cause a problem if left there, because the road is not nearly as wide as my phone camera makes it look. There's barely enough room for two cars to pass. Someone would have to stop, to let the other get around this obstacle. Those are side-by-side tracks there by it. Not from a full-size car. As you can tell, T-Hoe is off the road edge as I stopped to get the picture.

That's a big fella. I guess it must have fallen off a trailer from somebody hauling wood. It's not like a lumberjack was out here felling trees across our gravel road.

No way could I budge that behemoth, even if I'd wanted to get out and give it a try. When I came home, it had been rolled off to the side of the road. Maybe somebody with a strong teenager did the task. I don't think The Pony could have moved it. Sadly, if Farmer H had encountered it, he might have come home for the tractor, to go pick it up for his rock garden. Farmer H loves logs.

I forgot to ask him if he saw it on his way home from the Storage Unit Store.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

What's The Deal With Those Puffs Boxes, Anyway?

No, I am not saving Puffs (With Lotion) boxes for a major craft project. My collection of them has no purpose. It's not even a true collection. They are not displayed on shelves, nor arranged by color palette, nor stood on end like a mini faux Stonehenge. At the time each one was set aside, I had plans to throw it away. Really!

Here's the deal: my nose drips. Not constantly. But enough. More than enough. Especially when I eat, which I do more than occasionally in my dark basement lair. My mom had the same issue. Not discarded Puffs boxes in her lair. The drippy nose thing. She was always having to get up from the table for a tissue.

I don't blow my nose every time. It's just a drip. I dab at it. Eventually I'll blow. My need for a tissue is so frequent, yet so mild, that I tear my Puffs in half. That's all I need. Half a tissue at a time. It cuts my Puffs bill by 50 percent, you know!

While The Pony was away at college, I was left to my own devices to transport my supplies down those 13 rail-less basement stairs. A new box of Puffs could be dropped from above, to land on Genius's old desk, or skitter off. It's not like tissues can be damaged by a 7-8 foot fall. Getting the tissues BACK UP the stairs was more of a problem.

I have a large black trash bag in my office. I fill it as needed with my Devil's Playground shopping bags that I hang on a drawer knob and use for smaller trash. Used tissues. Losing scratchers. Nothing foody. All that goes back up on my tray. The main filler of my large black trash bag was empty Diet Coke bottles. I've cut back on my at-home Diet Coke. I don't add a bottle every day to my weakening 44 oz Gas Station Chicken Store magical elixir. I only use the bottles now (two per day) on days that I don't make it to town. Like during the icy weather, or when I'm busy making a holiday meal.

Anyhoo... those full black trash bags are awkward. As well as heavy if they have a lot of losing scratchers. It took at least a month, sometimes more, to fill a big black trash bag. Without The Pony, I had to lug it upstairs myself. That involved swinging it up two steps ahead of me. Balancing it with one arm. And single-leg-stepping up a step while holding onto the support pole at the bottom (for two stairs), then the floor above, and eventually the banisters. With each step up, I had to lift the big black trash bag up another step. It was a major undertaking, where I had to be cautious [Farmer H was still working two of these years] so as not to make myself business for the undertaker!

Back to the Puffs boxes... each time I used the last Puffs, I was in a hurry to open up the next box, of which I had stocked a spare. You never know when you might turn your head just wrong, eliciting a small torrent. So I'd set the empty aside, planning to unfold it and put it in the big black trash bag.

Well. There are more stimulating things to do in my lair with New Delly. I'd stay caught up in what I was doing, planning to deal with the empty Puffs box later. They're hard to break down, you know. That glue keeps the end flaps stuck on! Hard to pry them loose, but when you do, they will fold flat. I could conceivably unstick and fold down a dozen Puffs boxes, stack them, and they'd take up perhaps the space of a notebook. However... when put in a big black trash bag, they don't stay folded down flat! They accordion back to their box shape! Which is a bit awkward, taking up a lot of space in the big black trash bag, and poking their angular corners through the plastic. 

I couldn't just dump a lot of Puffs boxes in the big black trash bag early. If I waited until it was half full, they'd take up the rest of the room, and I'd have a heavy bottle-y ticket-y bottom, and a loose pokey-outie top. Awkward to wrestle on the steps. So I put it off. Some months I'd tell Farmer H that he needed to carry it up, when he was returning to the main level after stashing his Storage Unit Store money in one of the safes. Before he put a spring-action deadbolt thingy on the basement door, I sometimes drove T-Hoe around the Mansion to carry in my Diet Coke (12-pack cans then), and carry out a bag of trash. Then I could drive it around to the dumpster by the garage, and avoid the basement 13 steps, and the porch 4 steps.

Anyhoo... it's not hoarding, and not PURE laziness that had accumulated many a Puffs box for The Pony to shame me with while re-directing criticism over leaving empty food packs around the Mansion. 

It was just about 95 percent laziness. But hey! Now that I have The Pony, I might as well use my little beast of burden to suit my needs. He IS technically an indentured servant until he lands a job.