Friday, April 30, 2021

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Old Enough

Sweet Gummi Mary! Can't a day go by without some fresh hornet's nest falling on Mrs. HM's head, putting her in a tizzy first cat out of the bag?

Wednesday, I sat down at the kitchen table and opened up HIPPIE for my morning (noonish) innernetting session. I won't say I was happily humming a tune. I did have that headache. But catching up on the overnight conspiracies is a pleasant time of day for me. I perused some main stories in the BING news feed. Then signed in to my Google account for blog and email. REEEEEEEE!

Instead of the box to type in my password, I got a box from Google saying I must verify my age! MY AGE! Google is no gentleman. Of course I was discombobulated. Why in the world should I enter my birthdate? That's what was specifically requested. So Google could determine if I was OLD ENOUGH to have a gmail account. Oh, and to streamline the advertising to feed me what they thought I'd want to swallow.


Does Google think I started my account before the age of 2? You know, since I've had the account for 16 years now, and the only way I could still be underage is if I started the account before the age of 2.


Oh, the box said it was a legal matter! That's why they needed my date of birth. Otherwise Google would be breaking the law by allowing me to have a gmail account.


It would be different if I just opened a new account. I've been on there for a coon's age. Why do I all of a sudden (don't you hate it when young whippersnappers say 'all of THE sudden'?) need to verify my age? As you might surmise, Mrs. HM does not like putting her DOB out on the innernets. No good can come of that.

Of course I googled this requirement (probably not the smartest thing to do, consult my enemy concerning his battle tactics), and found stuff from 2012. Maybe that's when this policy went into effect. Still doesn't explain why I must immediately provide this information (BY UPLOADING A DRIVER'S LICENSE OR GOVERNMENT ID!), or have my account shut down in 14 days. Really? For sure? Or is this a bluff? You don't need ID to vote (around here we do), but you do to have a gmail account? Isn't that discrimination???

I was getting all wound up. A workaround (according to my enemy) is to instead submit a credit card number. Because supposedly 2-year-olds can't get credit cards, I guess. Do you think I want my credit card information on my Google account?

Farmer H had wandered through the kitchen, and I was spouting off to him. Of course he was no help. Genius is all the way across the country, selfishly working a high-paying job, leaving me high and dry in the tech department. And my little Pony is now a FED! So I did the only thing I could think of, and...


There. Now I had my regular sign-in screen. With trepidation, I opened HIPPIE the next morning, and he worked like normal! I mentioned it to The Pony that evening BBTT (Before Big Triangle Tub), and he said,

"Oh, THAAAAT? They do it to a lot of people. I never put in the information. Not once. And nothing has ever happened to my account."

Let's hope that's true for me. I have to believe it. It's straight from The Pony's mouth.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

What A Headache

My internet has been in and out over the past couple days. If I disappear, it might not really be a case of Farmer H succeeding in killing me, but only an information blackout. I assume the problem was rain and clouds. We're expecting 2-4 inches of rain (that's a LOT) overnight (Wednesday). 
I hope The Pony will be able to cross the first bridge when he comes to it. He's leaving at 5:30 Thursday morning, to have his DRIVER TRAINING on the USPS LLV. That's the Long Life Vehicle, the standard white square mail truck. He will also train on a little van, and a Mercedes of some kind, smaller and newer that the LLV. Don't know the acronym for this.

Anyhoo... he's only getting four hours of training. Then he's got a day of job shadowing on Friday, eight hours. Don't worry. He is forbidden from touching any mail yet. 

The internet situation has given me a headache on top of the sinus headache I've had intermittently for three days. Good thing I didn't need to pay a bill online at the last minute! I was timed out of reserving a room for Farmer H down in Springfield. He's driving down (separately) with The Pony on Monday. The Pony has to make his own reservations for four nights. Farmer H is staying two nights, with plans to visit Bass Pro Shop, tour their museum, and visit an old buddy who lives down there. Of course he will also be browsing through Goodwills and antique shops and junk stores, looking for unique merchandise for resale, and collectibles to hoard at the Mansion.

I don't know what I'll do with myself with both of them gone. Heh, heh. Probably lose this headache.

With the internet off, I played some crossword games on my Hoyle Puzzle and Board Games CD that the boys game me many years ago for Christmas. Back when CD games for computer were all the rage. I also have a CASINO version. But I was feeling scholarly. Let's just say I was out of practice. I won one game, but then was beaten by a smart-mouth Flo-the-waitress type of animated character, and also a grizzly bear. Yes. I was beaten at a crossword game by a bear. His name was Harley. Given by the game-creators, not by me.

I'm pretty sure my headache caused a lack of concentration...

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Blind Chiding The Blind

Poor pitiful Farmer H is besmirching my reputation. He seems to think that I am blind in one eye and can't see out of the other. When in reality, Farmer H himself IS blind in one eye, and WILL NOT see out of the other. Farmer H thinks of himself as poor pitiful. He plays it up like a bad actor in a summer stock Shakespearean production.

Tuesday night, he sat in his recliner and held out his hand towards me. I was on the short couch beside him, separated by an end table. 

"Look what I done to my finger."

"I don't see anything."

"You need to get your eyes checked. You don't see THAT?"

"Um. No. I don't see anything. The lights are behind it."

"I can't believe you can't see it. I dern near cut my finger off! LOOK!"

For a minute, I thought he was going to pull open the skin so blood would shoot out, just to prove he was hurt. The lights are right above his recliner. Two recessed in the ceiling, the other being in front of him, nearer the TV. 

"I don't know how you expect me to see your hand. The lights are behind it. Look. See my hand when I hold it up? Bright light on your side, but over here, it's a shadow. Like the dark side of the moon! I can't see a thing in the dark shadow."

"Huh." Farmer H pulled his hand back. Over his lap. "NOW do you see it? On the thumb!"

"Now that it is illuminated, yes, I see a scratch on your thumb. Even though you said it was your finger, and that's what I'd been trying to see in the dark."

"I CUT IT! I don't know where you're seeing a scratch."

I guess maybe I should have jumped up to fashion a tourniquet out of my saggy-topped black Doc Ortho sock, and tied it tightly around Farmer H's arm. Maybe with a loop around his neck...

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Pony Is A Busy Beaver

Right now The Pony is in his wheelhouse. I, myself, prefer the catbird's seat. But The Pony is spending three days in a classroom, hearing lectures and viewing PowerPoints and watching propaganda training films about workplace safety and defensive driving. There are few people better at sitting in a classroom than The Pony...
He has three days of orientation down in Casino Town, then a day of driving instruction in a city 20 miles south of Bill-Paying Town, then one day of job shadowing at his home office over in Sis-Town (must be done before next Tuesday), then four days of City Carrier training in Springfield. It looks like he will be "earning" 32 hours (at least) of pay for this week and also next.

Here's the thing: The Pony said that before the new hires can fill out their hours to submit for payment, they need a special code number. Which will be MAILED TO THEM! 
Heh, heh!

"Um. Good luck with THAT! Maybe you'll get it within 10 days. Maybe not."

"I know. Of all things. But we ARE the post office."

"I'm pretty sure this would be classified as IRONY."

"Yes. Yes it would."
The Pony will have to pay for his three overnights in Springfield. He has a letter with a code for tax-free, and to get the corporate rate. But he'll have to be reimbursed after he gets that code for the online paperwork.

The Pony will be fine. He has us as a safety net if needed. And he has enough money in his account that receives a monthly allowance out of the unused money allotted for his college expenses. It's the other new people I worry about! Just like when we teachers were only paid once a month, and the new hires right out of college might be working for five or six weeks before a payday! They had to prepare their classrooms, you know, and get a suitable professional wardrobe, and pay first and last month's rent if they were relocating, and it really didn't seem fair. 

Anyhoo... The Pony said there are either 10 or 12 people in his "class." Five of them are from the Sis-Town main post office like him. The instructor said the last class was only six people, but ALL for the Sis-Town facility. That's it's not exactly classified as municipal, but it might as well be, due to the amount of mail and the size of the distribution area. And that this office is extremely understaffed. So it looks like The Pony will probably "get" to work full-time hours.

The Pony let his Droll Flag fly during the hat-ordering segment. 

"I don't know what size hat I wear. I figure a medium would fit, but I ordered a large. I told them, 'My half-brother has a head so big that it took the Army two years to find a helmet that fit him.' The instructor is ex-Navy, and a guy at my office who is going to be a mechanic is ex-Air Force. They looked at each other and had a good laugh."

"Well, I guess so! They know how the government works!"

Also, City Carriers must wear a uniform. They must order them from approved vendors. You guessed it. They can't to that until they get the magic code number in the mail.

The Pony seems excited about his new adventure. He's leaving at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, because the start time has been moved up to 8:00. You never know what road hazards might await. It's school bus time in rural Hillmomba, and rush hour time down in Casino Town. Plus, that McDonald's sausage biscuit meal isn't going to eat itself.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Today Is The First Day Of The Rest Of His Working Life

Sweet Gummi Mary! It is 2:45 a.m. as I type this. Today is the first day of the rest of The Pony's working life. Such a milestone. The Pony has never had a job before. No internship like Genius did for three summers. He DID work with nanoparticles in the lab for a professor for two years, one of which gave him a stipend when she fought for it. But as far as being on the clock in a place of business, this is The Pony's first time. I hope they are gentle with him!

The Pony has three days of training this week down in Casino Town. He could stay in a motel and have his expenses reimbursed, but he says he'd rather drive the 90 miles (each way) instead of that. NEXT WEEK, he will have four days of training, four hours away, so he will be staying overnights there. He will be paid his contracted hourly salary for all the training hours.

He went to The Devil's Playground and bought a nice water jug/bottle. Gotta stay hydrated. Several people online who had been through this training said to take snacks! I guess maybe they don't get a lot of breaks. This first part will be rules and regulations and photo IDs. Maybe a tour of the facility in action. No open-toed shoes! 

The Pony went to bed right after his 2-hour soak in the big triangle tub. He's leaving at the crack of dawn. I might still be up. He knows the route now, and where to go. He's thinking of having breakfast at the McDonald's where we stop on casino trips. I think I'll remind him to take some ibuprofen and acetaminophen along, to ward off a headache if needed.

I asked what he'd like me to make him for supper when he gets home. He said he'll make something for himself! I said he'd probably be really tired, after his year of luxury. He said, "I have ramen. It will take five minutes!" 

Gotta say, I am interested to hear what he learns on the first day, and about his "classmates."

I was thinking about The Pony's big adventure as I started to town Sunday afternoon, switching through too-talky stations on the radio. The first song I heard was "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye." The Patty Loveless song that makes me think of my mom.

It was almost like a special message...

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Mrs. HM's Work Is Never Done (Also A Mail Tale)

Farmer H is in the process of getting himself licensed. I won't reveal his area of interest, but you can use your imagination. Of course Farmer H's licensing requires the unpaid efforts of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. C'mon! How could you think it wouldn't?

Last month, Farmer H decreed that I fill out his paperwork said: "I'm sure there's forms on the internet. Maybe you could look that up for me." Of course I also had to print them. And fill them out. Farmer H is not known for his penmanship. We still get mail addressed to a nonexistent person because of the way he makes his N look like a W.

Anyhoo... I do my best work late at night. Heh, heh! If I do ANYTHING, I do it late at night. So I took those printed-out forms (12 PAGES) upstairs and put the on the bathroom sink under Farmer H's glasses so he would see them before he left for town. Later that evening, he declared,

"Oh. I talked to the guy from the agency, and he GAVE ME a set of papers."

"Are they the same? Did you compare?"

"I imagine they're the same. But since he give 'em to me, they're the ones to use."

So we filled them out. By WE, I mean ME. It's a very involved process. It took an hour for the general information. Lots of boxes to check, or not. I had to read each one to Farmer H to get his answer. Then we had to mark a couple of sections to come back to, once Farmer H got the necessary information. Oh, and he had to take a set of copies to two law enforcement agencies. And get a 2" x 2" picture of himself, with pertinent information written on the back. Do you know how much room there is to write on a 2" x 2" picture?

The forms had the address where to send the packet, with the fee. I gave Farmer H a big manila envelope, and addressed it with my very neat handwriting. He took it to the post office and paid for mailing. This was on March 29th.

Farmer H has been chomping at the bit over his potential license. I have checked the bank's automated line to see if the check has cleared. It has not.

Thursday, I found a manila envelope in EmBee. It had five or six stickers covering the original address, the top one saying RETURN TO SENDER. UNDELIVERABLE. WRONG LOCKER/BOX NUMBER.

Huh. That explains why Farmer H hasn't heard anything about his potential license.

"We can't even see where I sent it! All those stickers are on top! It won't do any good to send it back to the same place, to be returned again in four weeks."

"I can't believe that! I know you put the address it said in the instructions. I'm gonna call that guy. I have his card."

In the meantime, Farmer H pried all the labels off, and saw that the packet had been mailed to Georgia, as instructed.

"My guy says it's supposed to go to Washington. Or maybe Oregon. I told him the papers he give me said Georgia. He gave me a guy in the city to call. I left five messages, and nobody returned my call. So I called my guy back. He said maybe he had the old papers. To look online for the latest version."

"Oh. Like the set of papers I gave you in the beginning, that you said not to use, because the ones your guy gave you were the right ones?"

"Yeah. I guess those."

"What did you do with them?"

"I don't know..."

So I printed out another set. Updated October 2020. Where the instructions give an Oregon address. Now I have to copy 12 pages of information onto the new forms, note where Farmer H needs to sign, and make sure to attach that check and the photos to it. I hope the time limit on the RECENT photo hasn't expired by the time Farmer H's paperwork is processed.

One of these days, Farmer H might listen to me the first time. But probably not. It's only an extra two signatures, and a stop by the post office for him.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Another Mail Tale

Seems as if these stories get delivered to me routinely. Like the daily mail. Only better!

Thursday I made a surprising discovery at Mailbox Row. On the road at my feet was a thick envelope that was not addressed to me. It had a cellophane window with the intended recipient's name. Dave Something. And another cellophane window showing the return address. It was a federal government agency. The envelope was not the standard #10 size, but one of the square kind.

My point is, this envelope looked important. I know the sender and intended receiver, because I picked it up to see if maybe it was mine. It was to the left of EmBee, in front of the next mailbox. The addressee was not the people at that mailbox.

The Found Envelope was damp! I figured maybe it had been delivered before all of Tuesday's snow had melted on Wednesday. Perhaps it dropped, and the mailman didn't notice due to it blending in with the white snow, and it got damp as the snow melted. Then I came along around 3:30, and found it.

Anyhoo... I didn't recognize Dave Something as a person who lives out here. I figured I'd ask Farmer H if he knew of him. Meanwhile, what to do with the damp envelope? I sometimes drop mail like that back in the drive-thru mailbox, figuring it will get re-delivered. But I was headed home now. I didn't want to take Dave Something's mail, in case Farmer H didn't know him. In case somebody dropped it, and came back looking. 

I put that damp envelope on top of Mailbox Row. It's chest-height. Anybody standing there could see it. I couldn't leave it laying in the road, now could I? I didn't look at the street address. I just ASSumed it was one of our roads.

When I asked Farmer H, he said he knew a Dave. But he lives out on the county road, on the way to town. Then I felt bad. THAT Dave Something wouldn't be looking around OUR Mailbox Row. He has his own.

"Well. I put it on top of the mailboxes. I thought if you knew him, you might take it to him. But since you don't, it's going to stay there all night. And it's supposed to rain."

Farmer H did not get the point. He obviously was not driving down there to see the last name on it, and decide if he knew this particular Dave Something. (I had forgotten the last name.) Anyway, it's not Farmer H's job to deliver mail found in the road.

Friday, I stopped to get the mail on the way to town. The Found Envelope belonging to Dave Something was GONE! We had rain Thursday night. Our gravel road was muddy. I don't recall any strong winds. A wet thick envelope would likely stay where I put it. 

I am hoping that the mailman saw it there when delivering Friday's mail, and picked it up to re-deliver. I am also hoping to see a herd of unicorns grazing in a field on the way to town tomorrow. And mermaids swimming in the creek...

Friday, April 23, 2021

No Muu-Muu Says The Pony

The Pony is under the weather. Not off his feed, not pulling up lame, but not rarin' to go. He has another one of those outer-ear infections that sent him to Urgent Care back in December. A more untimely illness there could never be. Oh. Except for this exact same ailment back during Christmas break of his first year of college, when he talked us into letting him go back to the dorm early, and a random other occupant had to drive him to Urgent Care there.
Anyhoo... The Pony sprang this information on me Wednesday morning (meaning 12:45 p.m.) as I sat at the kitchen table, playing Candy Crush on HIPPIE.
"Oh, Mom. I have that thing going on with my ear again. I took some ibuprofen. If it's not better, I'm going to the doctor or Urgent Care on Thursday or Friday."
"Well, yeah! You have your training coming up on Monday. So you can't miss that!"
When I went to bed at 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning, I heard The Pony's bedroom door open, and subsequently his shower running. When I got up around noon, I saw a pharmacy sack on the cutting block. I KNEW that Farmer H wouldn't put it there out of consideration for my beauty sleep. No siree, Bob! He has no qualms about barging into the master bathroom and ripping open a grocery sack size bag of prescriptions, rattling pills, dropping some, cursing, and setting them out in his collection. So I figured The Pony had already taken himself to Urgent Care. He had.
"She looked in my ear, and said she couldn't even see the eardrum. So she gave me a Z-pack [generic version] and some antibiotic drops for my ear. If it works like last time, I should be fine by Monday. I have to take two Z pills today, and one each day for four days. So I'll be almost done by then."
"That's good. I'm glad you got it taken care of early this time."
"Actually, she said I should have come in sooner! But I looked it up online, and it said if it didn't resolve itself in three days, to see a doctor. It only started on Monday."
"Well. You didn't have a fever like last time, and I guess it didn't start hurting as much, since you only mentioned it yesterday. So I think you caught it in time."
"Yeah. But here's what I wanted to show you! LOOK at this information that was in the box for my Z-pack! It was folded tight! I'm surprised they could even fit it in there."
Sweet Gummi Mary! I could make a muu-muu out of that insert! For The Pony to wear on his first day of training, heh, heh! As long as he doesn't wear open-toed shoes. They are forbidden for USPS indoctrination, orientation, whatever you call it.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

I'm A KEEPER All Right

Oh, dear. Our resident archaeologist has unearthed another expired foodstuff. 

The Pony was put in charge of getting a new set of telephones for the Mansion. In preparation for his trip to the Devil's Playground, he went into our bedroom to look at the main phone of the 4-piece set. The one with an answering machine thingy on its charging base.

Not sure what other snooping he was doing while he was in our boudoir. It's not like we keep the door closed. He can go in there any time and pilfer through our stuff while I'm in town and Farmer H is in parts unknown or on a medical date with his Cancer Girlfriend. But THIS TIME, The Pony came out of the bedroom and said,

"You'll never guess what I found over on your brown desk."

"No. Probably not."

"A chocolate fish!"


"A chocolate fish! Want me to go get it?"

"If you want. I'm sure it's under several inches of dust."


"Here. Look. I wonder if it's still good."

"What's the date?"

"I couldn't find one."

"Chocolate doesn't go bad."

"Yeah. It probably has those white spots on it. Like the expired candy we used to get at the Russell Stover outlet on the way to Silver Dollar City."

"Well, that candy was only two years past date. At most. I don't know about this one, but it has to be at least 8-10 years old. Back when Genius was still here. I guess Dad gave it to me."

"I don't remember that, but I probably did."

"Well. I'm not opening it right now. I'll let you have it when I do."

"I don't want it!"

Heh, heh. I bet The Pony's 2nd Bestie would eat it! It may be more than a year old, but at least it hasn't been on the floor of The Pony's car. AND it's completely wrapped. Unlike that chocolate chip cookie she devoured...

Let the record show that I AM a keeper! A keeper of items way past their expiration dates.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Briskness

There IS something to be said for getting up early. Like before noon. Not by many people who go to bed at 8:30 a.m., but some. Let the record show that I DID get a good OPC (Old People Chair) nap from about 6:30 to 8:30. So I really should have awakened before noon:30.
However... my alarm clock was three towns over, feasting at Steak N Shake. He couldn't call me, because he had taken the phone off my nightstand to compare with the new ones he was buying at the Devil's Playground. I turn my cell phone off overnight. So there I was, snoozing away like a royal princess without a pea, when I woke at 12:30. 

I had meant to get ready and go to town before the weather moved in. You heard me. The WEATHER. Forecast was for SNOW! Falling temps all morning, chances of precip increasing to 55% at 1:00, and 85% at 2:00, then 99% at 3:00. 

I saw it start a bit at 1:00, as I sat at the kitchen table with HIPPIE. The Pony returned, and said it wasn't bad yet. By the time I left at 2:00, T-Hoe said it was 37 degrees. When I got to town, it was 34. And nearly a BLIZZARD! At least I had my jacket. But the driving wind was brisk!

Still, the snow was kind of pretty, knowing it wouldn't stick around. And not caring anymore about snow days kept me from pining for six inches of accumulation.

When I got home, Copper Jack would NOT get out of the way. Oh, not out of MY way. I had room to maneuver T-Hoe around him. He was in the way of JACK! I crept closer, and Jack stopped twisting around with Juno, so I had a (such as it is) clear shot of all three fleabags, and The Pony's car. Juno was looking kind of skunky, with a stripe of white snow along her back.

The snow didn't last long on the back porch, but the yard and trees held onto it. So pretty and green. I guess Farmer H's old BBQ utensils are enjoying the blizzard, hanging there in the corner.

The Pony took the last two pictures for me, while I was getting my lunch together. Of course it was after he scratched the lottery ticket I brought him, and won $10. There's something I like about this one, with the slats in the porch rail. 

I don't think this snow was too unusual for Missouri. I remember way back to my high school years, which would have been the 70s, when we had snow on May 7. That's the latest one I can think of, that accumulated on the ground. Of course, my VALedictorian brain may be filled with more pertinent data than the latest snowfall...

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Someone's In The Kitchen With Momba

Someone's in the kitchen with Momba
Someone's in the kitchen you know-o-o-o
Someone's in the kitchen with Momba
Messing up the status quo

We had spaghetti for supper Monday night. WE, meaning The Pony and Farmer H. They like that stuff. Me, not so much. I had a Ponytail Guy free hot dog, on a whole wheat bun, with Cuban mustard. And some Ruffles left from Super Bowl Sunday on the side.

Anyhoo... Farmer H had continued to bring occasional items home and stash in the mini freezer. Friday he brought 7-10 rectangular Totino's Five Cheese Frozen Pizzas. For The Pony, he said. Anyhoo... that was the topic of "Now is the time we talk about the most recent things you've done wrong." Farmer H says I need to stop buying food! That we should be eating out of the mini freezer. WE ARE EATING OUT OF THE MINI FREEZER! Except for our fast food from Burger King once a week, and a Friday carryout of pizza or Chinese. All I buy at the store are foods that accompany those in the mini freezer.

Anyhoo... the last time I made spaghetti (Farmer H did NOT give away the rest of that case as he'd promised), I said I was going to make it with the crumble sausage that we have about a 5 or 10 pound bag of. And Farmer H said he liked it better with hamburger. So... I said I was going to the store on Monday, to get oranges and lettuce and salad dressing and individual bags of chips and nutty oat bread and HAMBURGER for the spaghetti. But Farmer H said I should use the crumble sausage. I've pretty much figured out that once I tell him a plan, I should prepare to do the opposite.

Anyhoo... I told The Pony that WE would make the spaghetti at 6:00. He waited all day for his one meal. He came in and started on the sauce, which is his designated task. I did the noodles and cooked the crumble sausage and opened up the mushrooms to add to Farmer H's sauce. Instead of using the other side of the stove, The Pony chose the burner directly behind my spaghetti noodle pot. He was up under my armpit, grabbing at his stirring spoon.

That stirring spoon was a bone of contention.

"Why do you keep stirring it every 15 seconds?"

"That's what you do with sauce, Mother. You stir it."

"I don't think that's really necessary so often. The heat is barely on."

"That's how I do it when I make it for myself. When YOU'RE not in here!"

"I could understand if you were tasting it. At least to see if it's hot. But all you do is stir it. And you have too much left on the spoon! Shake that off!"

"You told me to dip the spoon in the noodle water."

"Yes. A little of the sauce keeps the pan all sparkling clean. From the citrus of the tomatoes, I think. But I've never seen the water in the noodle pan look orange like that!"

"That's what happens when you rinse off the spoon in there."

"It never does when I do it! You must have put a third of the sauce in there by now! Yuck! That's not how you taste it! I'd much rather have your lips on the spoon than that finger you're jabbing in it and licking. Over and over. But I'm not eating any sauce, so there's that."

"Don't be a backseat saucier, Mother."

"I am a FRONT SEAT chef! Uh huh! Look at THAT! Now you've stirred paper into your sauce. I saw it stuck to the spoon when you ripped it off the paper plate. You don't know how much control it took for me not to tell you how to lay the spoon on the plate between your millions of stirrings. Always turn it over! It won't stick."

"Hush up! I'm getting out the garlic toast. OUCH! OW! It's HOT!"

"Do you want me to hand you this spoon, so you can flip it over?"

"No. I've got it. OUCH! OUCH! I've done this a lot of times."

"I'm surprised you still have fingerprints to give the post office. Watch out. I'm taking out the sausage. Are you sure you don't want some?"

"I might take a little. I like it. Just not too much. I definitely don't want any mushrooms in mine!"

"Okay. Noodles look done. It's only been 7 minutes."

"That's why you try one."

"Here. Try a noodle." I held up some in the long-handled metal toothy spoon thing.

"Um. I only need ONE, Mother."

"So pull one out."

"NO! Put those back, and get ONE noodle."

"This isn't made for picking up ONE noodle. There! Grab that one."

"Hmm. Still crunchy in the middle. Let them cook. I'll dump the pan for you. Since it's heavy. And boiling."

"Okay. That helps."

[Pouring] "My glasses are all fogged up! I can't see what I'm doing!"

"Stop! The colander is sideways. DON'T POUR while I move it. There."

Somehow, we got the noodles drained. The Pony made his plate first, and set aside some in a Chinese Tupperware for leftovers, using the sauce before I bespoiled it with sausage and mushrooms.

"I'm going to take some of this sausage and put on top of my sauce. OUCH! OW! A handful was not the way to go about that!"

My little Pony. One day he's going to make himself a good cook.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Living With Farmer H Is No Treat

Just ask the dogs! Technically, they'd say, "Living with Farmer H is no TREATS!" Yeah, they're not good with subject-verb agreement. They're DOGS! Throw them a bone for being able to talk, why don't you?

You might recall that somewhere, sometime, I told Farmer H recently that there was no need to set out cat kibble in the roaster pan on the shelf on the porch, what with our last cat having gone to live on a farm upstate. That open kibble is a squirrel banquet. And that Farmer H agreed, and said he'd leave it in the garage, in a lidded plastic wastebasket, for me to dip out with a small non-stick saucepan when treating the dogs every day on my way to town. Oh, and he said it was about empty anyway, and he'd get some more.

In fact, Farmer H even sent me a text last week, saying he was buying my dogs treats. That was odd. I wondered if maybe he'd found a deal on actual dog treats. Like maybe some Milkbones or Snausages. When they didn't appear, I figured that had been his way of saying he was picking up a bag of cat kibble.

Imagine my surprise when I took the lid off that garage garbage can and found DRY DOG FOOD PELLETS!

What in the Not-Heaven? WHY would you buy dogs some regular dog food and pretend it's a treat when you give it to them? I don't know about your average everyday dog, but my dogs were having none of that!

They gamboled rambunctiously, Juno shouldering out Jack to get closest to me as I hobbled down the porch steps, holding onto the rail with both hands. She hopped over Jack like a circus poodle jumping through hoops. Back and forth, in anticipation as I tried to pet their moving heads, on my way to the garage door. Whined and whimpered with excitement upon hearing the lid come off that trash can. Juno even jumped down onto the sidewalk, and stuck her head into the garage to make sure I was not making a getaway without treating her.

As I started out the door with the saucepan, rattling the dry dog food pellets, optimistic that dogs are dogs, and will scarf up anything at least partially edible, and some things not... Juno and Jack stood at their respective treat-receiving areas, wriggling with joy. I shook out a little hill of dry dog food pellets in front of each of them. It was not well-received. 

Remember on Diff'rent Strokes, when Gary Coleman as Arnold would get that look on his face, and say to Todd Bridges as Willis: "WHATCHU TALKIN' 'BOUT, WILLIS?" That's how the dogs looked at me. They didn't actually SAY anything. They were saving vocalization for the "Living with Farmer H is no TREATS!" line, once I explained what was going on.

Imagine, if you will, that every day you get a handful of forbidden cat kibble, a tasty mixture of pink and orange and yellow Xs and Os and fish shapes, sprinkled at your feet, and then out of the blue, some brown pressed disks of dog food are dumped in front of you out of a non-stick saucepan.

My dogs are eternal optimists. They still frolic with hopeful abandon when I come out. Then sink to the depths of despair when I shake out the dry dog food pellets. Only Copper Jack shows interest. He even puts his muzzle into the pan before I can pour it out.

Copper Jack likes the pan that feeds him.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Mrs. HM's Mouth Is Writing Checks Her Ample Rumpus Is Loathe To Cash

Sweet Gummi Mary! Must my life be so fraught with drama? A simple trip to town can turn deadly in an instant! These convenience store line-jumpers are out of control!

Saturday, I went to the main post office to mail the DISH bill that got here with possible time to mail back by the 25th. I stopped at the School-Turn Casey's to pick up scratchers. When they remodeled their store, some genius engineer (as Farmer H would say) put in an aisle directly across from the counter. That means there's a wall with hanging treats that leaves a narrow corridor in front of the registers. It's hard for two people to pass shoulder-to-shoulder. So the line has to wind out from either end, which puts it deep into shopping territory with those VIRUS circles on the floor. 

I always make mental note of who is already in line. I check both ends of the counter. Saturday, a woman was paying at the left register. A man in a BABY BLUE t-shirt was waiting on the first VIRUS circle. I got behind him on the next circle. I looked to the other end. No one was in line there. The register on that side was not manned. Two women were walking around. One putting stuff in her drink at the beverage station, the other perusing the rotating pizza case and deli area. They occasionally talked to each other.

The lady paying was taking a long time, using her card. The two far-enders stood at the end of that aisle, looking at the counter. If I could see THEM, I know they could see ME. A cashier came back from her break of sitting on the sidewalk in front of the store, smoking, and opened the other register. 

"I can help whoever's next."

Baby Blue went over to her side. I stepped up on his circle. The paying lady finally left. It was my turn. But those two far-enders jumped up to the counter! No way! They KNEW it wasn't their turn! I stood there, fuming as I am wont to do. Baby Blue was done, and Smokey said, 

"I can help you down here."

I walked to that end of the counter, and said, "That's fine. I was after him, anyway."


The far-enders who took my place were together. They both were in their 50s or 60s. Not spring chickens. The one nearest me had a gray crew-cut, wore gray sweatpants and a bright green shirt the color road crews wear as a vest, and thongs on her feet without the thing between the toes. The other one had hair like Moe Howard, the head Stooge, only salt-and-pepper, not black. She was in jeans and regular nondescript t-shirt. I didn't notice the shoes. I'm pretty sure they were together, and I don't just mean on a snack run to the convenience store. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But to NOT describe them as I do all my nemesi (plural of nemesis?) in convenience store lines would be reverse discrimination, don't you think?

I have nothing against lesbians. In fact, some of my best friends are lesbians, heh, heh! Okay. That's not true. Some of my best friends WERE lesbians. Not that they're now has-bians. I just lost touch with them since college. They comprised about 80 percent of the gals in my glasses, which were the upper-level courses for physical education majors. 
Two of my most get-alongable roomates were a lesbian couple. Heck, I even went on a date (PLATONIC) with a lesbian, because she asked me, because I had a car, and her girlfriend was out of town competing with the gymnastics team when STAR WARS: The Empire Strikes Back was released. And I turned down a date (ROMANTIC) with a pig-farmer from Kansas, because a movie was not what she wanted to see... Just saying, I knew a lot of them from classes and my roommates' parties. Sweet Gummi Mary! You couldn't throw a rock without hitting a lesbian. [Let the record show that Mrs. HM never threw a rock at a lesbian.]

Anyhoo... I have nothing against the lesbians. But one thing I know is that THEY DON'T PLAY! If they have an issue, you're sure to know about it. They are like the pit bulls and snapping turtles of the human female species. At least the ones I knew. And not necessarily in a bad way. They just don't generally let things go.

Which brings us back to what happened next, after I opened my SMART MOUTH, as Farmer H calls it, and said, "That's fine. I was after him, anyway."

Crew Cut obviously overheard me. She did that 'Slowly, I turned' thing, and stared at me. Of course I didn't meet her gaze. Do you think I have a death wish? But I could tell, out of my peripheral vision. She continued to look at me. More like she was piercing my skull with not just daggers, but with a fake finger formed of molten metal like the T 1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (here's a 1:38 video clip).
Anyhoo... I was just stating the truth, right? I WAS after Baby Blue. I'd been in line at least five minutes before the Far-Enders quit wandering around and stood across the store in their own line where there was no cashier. And THEN jumped over to my side as soon as a cashier was available. So I can't help it if Crew Cut didn't like me stating the truth. Feeling guilty, maybe?
OH MY GOSH! She stood there staring at me until Moe Hair finally paid their bill and told her they were ready to leave. Sheesh! I thought it was gonna go down! Crew Cut was way scarier than Fake Kenny Rogers, who only pretended it was his turn. And even when I'd told him that I saw him come in while I was in line (at the GSCS), he didn't get all ready to rumble.
Maybe I should suggest those paper TAKE A NUMBER thingies...

Saturday, April 17, 2021

There's Something Fishy In Hillmomba

My good luck seems to have no end! Not only have I been on a winning streak lately with the scratchers, but I discovered Friday morning that I have a FISHING LICENSE FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA!

Yeah, I know! Please try to conceal your envy. Without even lifting a pinky finger in effort, I obtained a license to fish in a place I've never been. It's good until the end of this year! I can fish in the Potomac, people! But I have to be careful not to eat 
"...eel, carp, or striped bass caught in the District waters, because they are the most contaminated by chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)." 

Dang it! I guess I'll have to make do with "no more than 1 serving per month of channel catfish, two of largemouth bass, three of white perch and blue catfish, and four of sunfish." Oh, and a serving is 8 oz of uncooked fish.

I have no idea what's going on here! But in my email, I had a "DOEE Fishing License Customer Acknowledgement Email."

There's a copy of the license. It looks kind of legit. But apparently my name is now Alvin. And my birthdate is in January of 1970. I paid with a card ending in (oops! Didn't think I'd tell you THAT, did you?) not my credit card numbers. My address is in Oxon hill, DC. Uh huh. Only capitalize the first word there. I paid $13 on my card to get my fishing license.

My Badge Number is: Regular NON Resident
My email address is: 01191970

Oh, yeah. And I'm male.

Not sure what's going on here. Is somebody impersonating me to fish in the District of Columbia? Will the real Alvin get caught with his hand in the fishy creel, and not have his fishing license?

Something is fishy in Hillmomba.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Not Quite Extending The Olive Branch, But More Like Blowing A Blade Of Grass Off His Forearm In My General Direction

Farmer H had a bit of minor surgery on Thursday. It was outpatient surgery, the nature of which I'm not sure he wants revealed, at a hospital 30 miles up the highway. The Pony drove him, since I don't do highways. They left at 4:45 a.m. to check in at 5:30 for the 7:00 surgery.  They returned sometime between 10:00 and 11:00. I'm not sure, because I was snoozing. It looked like they'd stopped for Casey's donuts, and a painkiller prescription.

Anyhoo... while not a serious surgery, Farmer H still had a general anesthesia. He was snoozing in the recliner when I walked by, so I didn't disturb him. Just made sure his chest was going up and down, since his caretaker to whom he'd been released was in his room with the door closed.

When The Pony came out to chat with me in the kitchen, it awoke Farmer H. I asked if he was okay. He was. If he needed anything. He did not. He was a bit cranky. I'm sure he was tired from getting up at 4:00 for a shower. And maybe in pain, though he said he was not. So I tried to be understanding when his usual attitude showed itself.

"Do you want something to drink?"

"No. I'm trying not to drink. I don't want to get up for the bathroom."

"That's not good for you. You're probably dehydrated anyway. And with the painkillers, you need water."

"I'm good."

"So I guess you'll just hang around in the house the rest of the day?" [It was 1:30 by then. The most logical thing after a surgery under anesthetic, I think, would be to remain at home, and rest up.]

"No. I might go do something. I need to do laundry."

"I don't think you should be going anywhere today. I'm getting in the shower. Do you want me to bring you Burger King when I come home?"

"I'll take a burger. But none of that wet stuff on it."

"He means no mayo or ketchup, Mom."

"Okay. I hope they get it right, but I'll order three burgers all different. I should be home by 3:30."

So I got in the shower. When I got out, I carried an armload of socks and underwear out. Farmer H has always done his laundry on Sunday evening, or occasional other evenings. I throw mine in on weekdays, as I go to town, and put them in the dryer when I get back. As I walked behind Farmer H, I said:

"Taking those pain pills, you need fiber. You always complain for two weeks that you can't poop. Do you maybe want some Beanie Weenies with your burger? Since you didn't want fries? Or I could bring them to you now, before I leave."

"I don't want no Beanie Weenies!"

"Okay. I might make a salad tonight. Do you want one?"

"I don't want no salad!"

"All right. I just thought it might help you be able to poop, so you don't have to ask the doctor for something like last time."

"You always want me to do what YOU want me to do!"

"I don't care what you do. I was only offering to help you. Never mind. You're not planning to do laundry while I'm gone, are you?"

"YES! You heard me tell you I was doing my laundry! You stood right there!"

"You didn't actually say you were doing it. You usually do it at night, and fold it while you're watching your gator man shows, or the game wardens, or the knife makers."

"I told you I was doing it!"

"Okay. I'll put mine back."

"Go ahead! That's what you want to do! Do yours now!"

"No. I'm putting it back. You don't want me to."

"You're always trying to make people do things your way!"

"Again. Just trying to help. Don't worry. I won't help you any more. I'm going to town."

"There you go, mumbling about me! You always want to say how much you do for me! BLAH BLAH BLAH."

I didn't hear the last of it, because I was out on the porch, on the way to town. When I got home with the food, I told The Pony in the garage, out of earshot:

"You can take your dad his burger if you want. If I do it, he'll say I'm forcing him to eat it right then because that's what I want him to do."

So The Pony took it, and offered to get a plate, and chips and a drink, but Farmer H only wanted the burger on a plate. Which he ate. I busied myself in the kitchen, seasoning my magical elixir with cherry powder and lime powder, and filling two bubba cups with ice. From the living room, I heard:

"I had a headache before."

Nothing requiring a response, nor addressed to me. So I didn't respond. Then I heard:

"That burger was good."

Again. Nothing requiring input from me. The Pony was sitting on the couch. Maybe they were having a conversation. When my stuff was ready, with a ramekin of ketchup on the tray with burger and fries, I walked through the living room to change clothes.

"Thank you for bringing me the burger."
"You're welcome."

I guess that's what he'd been leading up to. Not exactly an "I'm sorry for being so hateful when you were only trying to help." But a step in the right direction. 

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Not Pearls Cast Before Swine, But Gems Spouted From The Pony

We made a casino trip on Tuesday. It has been THREE WEEKS, instead of the regular two, since our last visit. Of course we stopped by McDonald's for some breakfast, even though it was 11:00 a.m. this time when we got there.

The Pony had his regular breakfast meal of a sausage biscuit, hash brown, and Sprite, with an extra sausage biscuit. He was too full for any casino lunch this trip, what with us getting a later start. Farmer H ordered the two sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffins, one for him, one for me. 

We were headed down the highway, an hour from the casino, as The Pony and Farmer H feasted on their breakfast sandwiches. I always save mine until we get about 20 miles from Casino Town. I did NOT have an eggshell in my sandwich this time! But I did get a surprise when The Pony handed it to me. He's in charge of the feedbag, of course.

"PONY! My McMuffin is WARM this time!"

"He's been resting in the skins of his brethren."

Sometimes, The Pony can be downright creepy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

What's Good For The Pony Is Good For The MOMBA

A couple days ago I hollered through the closed door of The Pony's room to remind him to check his credit card balance, and pay it if necessary. He has it set to be due on his birthday date, and I've always told him to check it on my birthday date four days before. He hasn't been late on a payment. 

Anyhoo... the next day, The Pony was fuming with faux outrage.

"I didn't have a balance to pay this month, but listen to THIS! The bank wanted me to set up an IRA! I feel so OLD! I mean, sure I will do that when I get a steady job. I was reading how much it will be worth when I'm old enough to draw it out. But I'm not ready for that yet!"

"Heh, heh! Welcome to the club. The OLD PEOPLE CLUB!"

Monday morning, I was treated to a dose of my own medicine when I turned on HIPPIE for my morning innernetting. I always go to the BING page and peruse the news stories that they want to spoon-feed me. Huh. It's perhaps ironic that I just typed those words: spoon-feed. Because I was outraged at the AD that was amongst the thumbnail pictures of the news stories across the top of HIPPIE's screen:


They never show a complete sentence. It's always cut off. But when The Pony came in to ask me something, I told him,

"I know how you feel about the IRA! You won't believe what BING is trying to sell me! AFFORDABLE PLUS-SIZE clothes! So not only am I FAT, I'm also POOR!"

The Pony got a chuckle out of that. Yes. I'm selfless, spreading joy throughout Hillmomba, even at the cost of my own dignity.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Ungrateful Feeders

Since our last cat seems to have gone to a farm upstate... there is no need to buy cat food any more. Well. There IS, because the dogs dearly love it as a treat. Not so much in the warm weather as in the winter, when they need fuel to keep their bodies running on all cylinders until they can lie in the sun and re-charge. 

We have a horrendous squirrel problem. They used to just steal the chicken feed, but since the chickens all went to live on a farm upstate, courtesy of transportation by the mouths of the neighbor dogs, the squirrels have claimed the cat kibble as their own. After all, they can scamper up the porch supports, run along the rail, and jump over to that bench thing against the garage wall that holds the old black speckled roaster pan Farmer H uses for a feeder.

As I sat at the kitchen table peeling eggs for deviling last Saturday, Farmer H came in from his Storage Unit Store shift.

"I don't think we need to put out cat food now. The dogs can't jump up to get it, and it disappears pretty fast from these darn squirrels. I saw one run along here that was as BIG as a CAT!"

"Yeah. I don't have to buy any. We're almost out."

"But the dogs love it!"

"I can leave it in the garage. You can get some out of the can where I keep it."

"Yeah. It's harder, but I hate feeding these bushy-tailed rats."

So now I have to go into the garage, set my purse on T-Hoe's hood and hope it doesn't slide off, take the lid off a little plastic wastebasket with two side latches (I don't think any animals in there can open the lid, but he latches it), dip a little saucepan into the kibble, and walk out to the side porch and dump some for each dog. I don't LIKE doing extra "work," but I will. For my dogs.

Monday I threw some of the leftover Easter feast off the back porch. Farmer H was draining water off POOLIO's cover, and said the dogs had been sniffing around it, but he didn't know if they ate any. From the looks of it, I think they only had some potatoes that were cooked with bacon draped over the top.

Anyhoo... the dogs still ate the cat kibble I gave them. Less that a handful each. 

When I returned from town, the dogs greeted me, but without the energy they usually have to gambol and frolic with the excitement of an upcoming TREAT when I get the kitchen door unlocked. In fact, they just walked slowly to the side porch, stuck their noses at me, and walked to the top of the steps. Juno did not start "talking" as she usually does, with whimpers and whines and short barks of anticipation when I say the magic sentence, 

"Are you ready for a TREAT?"

The closer I looked, the more I understood. I guess they'd been feasting on the yard feast. Jack's belly looked more like a basset hound than a dachshund, and Juno appeared rather portly under her sleek black fur. Copper Jack didn't even bother to leave the yard and come up on the porch.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Discombobulation Of The Woman Owner Of The Gas Station Chicken Store

Whoopsie! I did it again. I played with her mind, and she got lost in the blame. Yes, the Woman Owner of the Gas Station Chicken Store was mighty confused when I walked out the door on Sunday. She was pretty hard on herself. You know, what with running this business over 30 years, and being the one to train a whole small-town population of cashiers over that time. But I must take some responsibility.

Man Owner was busy helping a teenage kid who was paying for his mom's gas. He couldn't work the chip card. Then he didn't know the security number it asked for. So he had to run back outside to ask her. Man Owner was telling Woman Owner that he remembered when the kid was THIS HIGH, but couldn't remember his mom's name. Woman Owner told him. She was stepping behind him to scan my winning scratchers, since she'd offered to help me at the left register while Man Owner was busy.

She asked how I was, and I said, "Great, but I hate this wind. I can hardly keep my shirt from blowing up over my head. I wish I knew who ordered this wind!"

Man Owner: "Ha ha. We have a shipment of KITES coming in tomorrow..."

I knew he didn't. But it was pretty funny. Woman Owner showed me my receipt stapled to the winning scratchers. I had $55. I knew that going in. I planned to spend $25. That being $24 of it on scratchers, and $1 on my magical elixir, plus I'd give her the 69 cents for the soda. That would give me $30 in change. I like to make it come out even.

Woman Owner tore off my tickets, and punched them into the register, saying the amount of each, then laying it in front of me as she did so. That's how she trains her staff. I told her I had my 69 cents exact change, and she giggled.

"Oh, GOOD! Because I was really confused when you didn't have it the other day, heh, heh."

"I KNOW! So was I!"

"Okay. That'll be $61.78."

"Um. Are you sure? Because shouldn't it be 69 cents? Not 78? It's always $1.69 for my soda." [I was so fixated on that exact change that the enormity of me owing $61 didn't even register in my brain.]

"Oh. What did I do?"

"Did you ring up a 32 oz? Or smaller?"

"No. It shows here (she pulled out the register tape) I rang up a 44 oz."

"That doesn't seem right..."

"Let me look. OH! Silly me! I forgot to clear the gas purchase I had on here! I'll have to deal with that after you leave. I'm sorry. Here! You get $50 back."

"Uh. I don't think so! I only gave you $55 of winners!"

"Oh my. WHAT have I done? Let's see... you should owe me $25.69. Take off the $55. So I own you $30 back! I'm terrible today!"

"No. I confused you talking about the wind."

"No. It's totally my fault. 

"Oh, no! You might need Man Owner to show you how to do it!" [He's notorious for messing things up, and being really slow.]

"I hope not!"

"I think you need to go lay down for a while!"

"YES! That's just what I need. Thank you for suggesting that? Did you hear her? I need to go lay down for a while."

Man Owner looked perplexed for a minute, until he realized she was kidding.

I really need to keep my mouth shut when I go in there. Before they deny me my magical elixir. Like a certain New York SOUP STAND PROPRIETOR on a show about nothing...

Sunday, April 11, 2021

With A Knick Knack Paddy Whack Give A Dog A Bun, This Old Man Sucks All The Fun

My dogs could have had a delicious treat on Saturday. The potatoes and carrots that had been steeping in the bacon fat since LAST Saturday. The only problem is the bacon fat. According to Farmer H, I am prohibited from putting such a treat on the porch, because it will stain the wood for a week or so.

Sweet Gummi Mary! If he had treated the porch wood with sealer like he professed to be doing on his little scooter thingy with his paint-by-numbers brush... I don't think the bacon grease would soak in. Maybe I could try serving it to each of them on a plate the next day, when winds shouldn't be 35 mph. Then I could pick up the plates as soon as they were done. So Jack wouldn't eat them.

Anyhoo... my dogs had to be treated with a hot dog bun apiece, one day from expiration. I could have given them more, but maybe Farmer H would want a hot dog...

Anyhoo... last week in Country Mart, I saw some kiddie pools. Little plastic colorful kiddie pools, maybe 3-4 feet in diameter. I told Farmer H about them.

"Country Mart has little plastic swimming pools! I bet Jack would love one of those in the yard. You know how he likes the water."

"He'd just chew it up."

"Not at first. Remember how he loved that little dish tub when he was a pup?"


"He chews up everything."

Well. Jack DOES have a chewing issue. But if he was splashing in the water, I don't think he'd chew. Farmer H is a fun-sucker.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

A Risque Ride With A 2-Liter-Coke-Swilling Pony

The Pony and I picked up Domino's Pizza on Friday, for our late lunch/early supper. Lupper. As usual, The Pony rode shotgun in T-Hoe. We got his rolling feast first, and he strapped on the old feedbag before I even left the parking lot. 

My next stop was the Liquor Store, where I got a $3 crossword scratcher that later won $12. From there it was off to the Gas Station Chicken Store. A journey that requires nerves of steel and cat-like reflexes, to make a right turn out of the parking lot when the stoplight turns red to hold up oncoming traffic, but before the right-turn-on-red people hit the accelerator. As soon as I'm out of the parking lot, I have to swerve into the left-turn lane immediately, onto the street beside Casey's, to take a short cut across the back of Farmer H's pharmacy, and across the moat to the GSCS.

"Hold onto your pizza!" One of those things you never thought you'd be saying to your future kids.

The GSCS sold me tickets (that won their money back. So it was not a banner scratcher day, but nothing to sneeze at), which I put away for later scratching, and settled my 44 oz Diet Coke into T-Hoe's cup holder. 

"Aah. My precious! My magical elixir!"

"Heh, heh! I won't even say it. It's too obvious. I can't... but you know what it sounds like."

The Pony lets his 13-year-old freak flag fly. His humor relies heavily upon "That's what SHE said" scenarios. 

"Okay. I know what you're getting at with E LIX IR."

As I waited at the light, I sympathized with Man Owner.

"Man Owner is working all by himself. He's not the fastest cashier. You'd think after owning this place, and doing it for 30 years, he'd be a little better at it."

"I take it his temperament is better than Woman Owner?"

"Yes. Man Owner shall inherit the earth. Woman Owner will reign in the Nether Region."

I thought The Pony was going to snort a liter of Coke out of his flaring nostrils as I made the right turn at the light to head home.

"UM! UH!"

"Okay. I know what I said. What I MEANT was NetherWORLD! WORLD! But it's hard when you get old and probably are coming down with a case of Alzheimer's!"

"Well, yeah. Nether REGION has a different meaning entirely!"

"I KNOW that! I use it all the time."

We made it another three miles before my sweet revenge was served up on a silver platter, by Even Steven wearing a tux and white gloves. As we rounded the last curve on the blacktop county road, headed up the hill before the descent to Mailbox Row... a white dump truck pulled out of a long gravel driveway on the right.

"Eew. Yuck."

"What do you mean? It's only a dump truck."

"I thought he was going to stay there. This is no place to drive on the other side of the road to go around him. Hill."

"I bet he just put gravel on their driveway. Yep. Look up there."

"I can see where he just dumped his load up and down it."


"STOP! I just realized what I said, a little too late."

It's pretty early for The Pony to be having Alzheimer's set in...

Friday, April 9, 2021

My WORST Day Now Could Have Been My BEST Day Then

Back when I was working, I would have killed to have a day like Thursday. Maybe not killed, exactly. Unless it was my regular sping-summer killing spree when I take the Black Flag insecticide can that shoots 20 feet, and roam around the Mansion porch bringing liquid death to stinging freeloaders hanging from the soffits.

Now that I'm a lovely-lady-mulleted lady of leisure, Thursday was not such a great day. To begin with, my alarm clock was on the fritz. By alarm clock, I mean The Pony. He has standing orders to wake me every day at 11:00. Then I verbally press the snooze button, and tell him to come back in 30 minutes. 

The Pony is like a cheap timepiece. He loses time. For a month or more, he's been waking me at 11:15, saying it's 11:00. THEN he comes back at 11:45, and says, "It's been a half hour." Technically true. But that makes it almost NOON when I arise.

Thursdays are my errand days. Bank, post office, gas, Burger King. My itinerary is spun gossamer-fine. If I don't get to Burger King before 2:55, I'm in a world of hurt. SCHOOL lets out around 2:50. The traffic is horrendous. Like people trying to get out of town before the meteor in Deep Impact. So I was really planning to get up at 11:00. Or 11:15. But no. On Thursday, The Pony didn't give my first alarm until 11:30. And came back at 12:05.

It didn't help that Farmer H had left my good square glass bowl, now bereft of 7-layer salad, full of water in the sink. So I had to start dishes. My phone lit up with a text from my sister the ex-mayor's wife, inviting us on a CASINOPALOOZA next week. We can't go. Farmer H has a medical appointment, and The Pony is waiting to hear from the USPS. It doesn't pay to be five hours away if they want him to come in for training on short notice.

I had to write a check for Genius, since he miscalculated his scratcher winners. And I also needed to print out my tax return, since I'd been putting it off to make sure the printer had enough ink for Genius's letter.

By the time I left the Mansion, it was 1:50. A quick stop by the Gas Station Chicken Store got me part of Genius's new tickets to put in his letter I was on the way to mail. Then I encountered utility work on the way to Sis-Town. And a car had parked, blocking the entrance road to the cemetery, so my routine short visit was thwarted.

Lucky for me, Farmer H did part of the banking on Wednesday, so I skipped that torture chamber, and got gas without incident. Mailed Genius's letter at the drive-thru mailbox. Made my next-to-last stop at the Sis-Town Casey's for scratchers. When I came out, I looked across the 4-way-stop to see cars lined up as far as the eye could see, from the elementary school. 
I got to Burger King with only one car ahead of me to order. At the stoplight over there, I saw cars all the way past the turn-in to Farmer H's nurse practitioner. Heh, heh. I'd made the mistake of coming back that way last week. That would have been 10 minutes of burning my just-bought gas before getting through the light. So I'm glad I reversed my route this time.

I only had a slight headache when I got home. Which was to grow into a non-physical BIG headache when I plugged in the special exact replacement batteries (that I got out of EmBee) to my lair phone, and got the message INSERT BATTERY. Looks like we'll have to buy four new phones anyway. I can't believe they don't last more than 15 years!

When I went upstairs around 8:00 to chat with Farmer H about THE MOST RECENT THING YOU'VE DONE WRONG, the topic was the opaque plastic quart container that once held Sweet & Sour Soup. It had been holding the bacony vinchtables from our Easter feast. I had two and a half containers. Farmer H had used the last of this one, and SET IT IN THE SINK, FULL OF COLD WATER.

Really? Had he only set it on the counter, I could have wiped the insides with stale bread for the dog treats on Friday. They love bacon greasy bread! But now it was all wet. I dumped out the water and set it aside. Perhaps to dry overnight. The grease was clearly still intact.

It's now 1:57 a.m. on Friday. Surely this day will be better. The Pony and I are getting Domino's Pizza for lupper. I will take one last look at the phones on the chargers, before commanding Farmer H to pick up a set at The Devil's Playground. It's not the cost, nor the inconvenience. We can afford a cheap set of phones, and Farmer H will plug them in. It's the CHANGE that I dread. Even though The Pony will explain to me how to use them.

SOOO... I'm fairly optimistic about Friday. Stop that! I heard your eyes roll! I AM. This day can only be better. And the very BEST part? I don't have to get up at 4:50 a.m. and drive to school to teach all day!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Sixlet Of One, No Half A Dozen Of The Other

The Pony usually goes to the Devil's Playground for me on a Tuesday. He wants to go on Monday, but I remind him that the shelves are bare after the weekend, and we may not get the delicacies we are jonesin' for. Like baby dill pickles that are actually the size I prefer, which is more like premature, rather than the starting-pre-school size in the recent jars he has bought by default. 

Last week, The Pony kept putting off his (my) shopping trip. I was starting to think he wouldn't make it, and I needed a couple of items for the holiday meal that I couldn't find at Country Mart. And also some PEEPS and Sixlets for my candy stash. 
He'd finally relented, and said he'd go on Thursday. Which was pushing it, what with Thursday being the first day of the month, when many people get their checks, and with EASTER coming up, and people buying their feast vittles.

Anyhoo... as you may have discerned from my other blog, the Thursday shopping trip did not happen. The Pony was busy waiting on an email from the USPS about his CONDITIONAL job offer as a City Carrier Assistant. Then he heard from them, and had to drive 90 minutes one-way to give his fingerprints on Friday. So the actual shopping trip to the Devil's Playground was on Saturday. The first weekend of the month, and the day before Easter!

I'd like to blame The Pony for his procrastination, but I can't. He comes by it honestly. I am a world-class procrastinator. A national champion and a gold medal winner. I don't mean to brag, but I'd say that I'm in the top 99.99th percentile of procrastinators. My speaking engagements would be booked years in advance. I would be Professor Emeritus of Procrastinatorship. There might even be a scholarship in my name. Or an award to be lauded at the graduation ceremony.

Anyhoo... because The Pony put off that shopping trip so long, 


Oh, how I love those squishy pink bunnies! You can have the chick version. NO! I take that back! I would welcome any shape or color of PEEP right now. They were not available last year, you know. And this year they made a comeback, but now I can only hope for a revival at Christmas time. 

The good news, and what kept The Pony out of the dog house, is that he found SIXLETS! 

They were my second choice. I can only find them at Easter time. The Pony was quite proud of himself.

"Mom! I got you FOUR bags! There are 75 in a bag. So you have enough to eat one pack a day until the END OF THE YEAR!"

"Yeah. Well. THAT'S probably not going to happen. But I'm thrilled to have so many Sixlets!"

I am. But I still want my PEEPS.