Monday, May 31, 2021

I Can Smell Your Sausage From Here

It's pretty much a done deal that The Pony has sustained serious psychological damage from my comments! But I can't take ALL the credit! Farmer H has a tongue in this as well.

Farmer H said he would BBQ some FREE Ponytail Guy chicken on Sunday. So Saturday I picked up some bratwursts from Save A Lot for The Pony, because he doesn't like chicken with bones in it. Sunday morning (noon to 1:30) I made potato salad and baked beans. Usually The Pony assists me, but he's been working 11-hour days, including Friday and Saturday. I didn't want to disturb him, so I did it all without him. UNTIL I needed the lid off the pickle jar.

Every time I opened up FRIG II to get ingredients, I was hit by the aroma of the bratwursts. They make their own, assorted flavors. We like the plain ones better than the cheese or jalapeno version. They're bigger and tastier than the Johnsonville Brats. I think Save A Lot puts a lot of garlic in their bratwursts. I was nervous when I brought them home from town, because I had to carry them with me, lest Copper Jack pull them out of T-Hoe's rear, or off the chair on the side porch where I used to set my groceries until I was ready to go up the steps. I really miss The Pony's assistance on shopping days!

Anyhoo... the minute I opened up the hatch, those dogs' noses started twitching. Yes. Those sausages smelled delicious. T-Hoe even smelled like them today when I got in. While I was sitting at the kitchen table peeling four boiled eggs to put in the potato salad, I could smell them inside FRIG II.

Anyhoo... I called The Pony to open the pickle jar I had set on the cutting block. He came in all disheveled, still unshowered, wondering what I wanted.

"I can smell your sausage from here!"

The Pony gave me an inquisitive glance. Or maybe a veiled stare that meant "Have you lost your mind, woman?"

"Your bratwursts. Did you see them last night?"

"Yes. Every time I opened the door, I smelled them. But you didn't have to say it that way."

Heh, heh. The Pony should know me by now. At least I'm humorous about what I'm doing. Farmer H is not. Consider last week, when we were discussing a nickname for The Pony. He prefers it over his given name.

"I'll just call you 'Pony' if that's okay. I already use it, and that's how I think of you."

"I'll get back to you on that. But it's probably okay. Not like what Dad said. He said he might call me 'Hummer.' Because when I help him with stuff, I'm always humming. He already did it twice. 'C'mon, Hummer, we don't have all day.'"

"PLEASE! Stop! I'm gonna pee my pants! Do you know what a 'hummer' is?"

"Yes, Mother. I know what a hummer is."

"And you didn't tell him to stop calling you that?"

"Not at the time. But I will. I didn't know if he knows what that means."

"I'm sure he does!"

In fact, when the topic was broached, Farmer H admitted that yes, he DID know what 'hummer' meant. Poor Pony. He doesn't stand a chance.

Out of respect for him, I used 'sausage' instead of 'wiener.'

Sunday, May 30, 2021

I'm A MAGNET For 'Em, I Tells Ya!

Who knew this was going to turn into a whole SERIES on people who don't respect my space? My PARKING space! No sooner had I written up my account of the Brown Sedan encroachment than I found myself trapped in T-Hoe once again, by a close-parker!

This time, I was fortunate to have just slammed my door after getting back IN. And here came a weird looking little old dude, a fringe of hair like Ben Franklin, in a little black Honda. I was in front of the School-Turn Casey's, having just purchased my scratchers (only a $5 winner). As usual, I had cheated over to the right side of my own parking space, tires on the line by the handicap walkway.

Good thing I DID! Look at how this doofus parked!

The angle and the reflection do not do justice to Little Black Honda Ben's injustice of pinning me in. I don't think T-Hoe's door would have opened even one notch, much less to the fullest. The worst part was that THE PARKING SPACES ON HIS LEFT WERE EMPTY! At least two of them. Maybe three. I swear, this makes me want to fling my door open, and say (after the satisfaction of the metallic CLUNK), "Oh. I didn't realize you were so close."

I swear, I feel like I took THE VIRUS jab that is giving people this weird side effect of magnets sticking to them, except that I have infected T-Hoe with it! Why are people parking SO CLOSE to me? Like I'm one of those giant electronic magnets used by car-crushing cranes to lift entire automobiles!

I really wanted to back up, drive to the other side of the Little Black Honda, and park thisclose to HIM. Just to see the look on ol' Ben's face when he came out. I didn't. Because people are crazy these days.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Unbearable Handicap Of Parking

The very next day after that Gray Truck Guy angle-blocked me for the fourth time, I encountered another weirdo at Country Mart.

Country Mart has two main doors. The doors on the right end have been blocked off since THE VIRUS. They are using that part of the store now for something else inside, and have a bench in front of the doors outside. There is a yellow-striped no-parking zone in front of both sets of entrances. They take up the space of two parking slots.

There are 12 parking spaces along the front of the store. On each side of the main entrance, there are three handicap spots. On the far end of them are three regular spaces on the left end, and the yellow-striped no-park zone, then three regular parking spaces at the right end. There are also four handicap spaces across the main drive in front of the main entrance.

On this day, ALL the handicap spaces were empty. It was incredible! I'd never seen such a sight. In fact, only ONE car was parked in those 12 spaces in front of the store, the last one on the very far left. Since there did not seem to be any chance of a handicap parker going without a space, I put T-Hoe into the third handicap space on the right side of the entrance. I cheated over into the yellow-striped zone a bit, to make sure T-Hoe's driver's door could open all the way if somebody parked in the handicap space to the left of me.

I went in to buy bananas, tangerines, a loaf of bread, and slaw. When I came back out, a lady was parking a large brown not-very-new sedan next to T-Hoe. All other handicap spaces were still empty. I didn't notice if she had a placard or special plates. You'd think if she did, she would have taken one of the parking spaces closest to the door. 

Anyhoo... I'm not making judgments on anybody parking in the handicap spaces when 8 others were available. But I AM making a judgment on Brown Car's parking skill.


I'm not saying that was her prime motive. Maybe she doesn't have vision in her right eye, and couldn't tell how close she was. But still... she had all that room on her left side, where nobody was parked. And I was already WAY OVER on her right side. If she'd parked within the lines, it would have been fine.

I couldn't believe she did that! I had to push my cart/walker across the front of T-Hoe, and go down the passenger side to get to the trunk. I don't think the cart would have fit between the vehicles.

As I went around T-Hoe's front bumper, and down the side, I was muttering, 
"I can't believe you did that! I parked just right to get my door open, and now I can't. I guess I'll just sit in the passenger seat and wait until I can open my door wide enough to get in. Why in the world would you park like that? You're all the way over the line!"
Let the record show that I was not yelling. I was muttering under my breath. I looked at that car pointedly as T-Hoe's hatch was raising. I was planning to get a photo as soon as I put my groceries in. A photo standing there at the back bumpers, showing the tires over the line, and the amount of space between the cars. No license plates.
Oh, I was definitely stewing! Brown Car had gone inside the store as I was rounding T-Hoe's front bumper. I saw her with my peripheral vision, since I DO have sight in my right eye. As T-Hoe's hatch closed, and I readied myself to pull the phone out of my pocket, 
Huh. Was she done so soon? Maybe she ran in for lottery? I didn't see anything in her hand but the keys. She got in her Brown Car, and 

Sweet Gummi Mary! Had she heard my mutterings? Why did she run in the store and then come back out to re-park, but not leave?

Maybe she was in a hurry to use the bathroom. I think they took down the sign saying it was closed due to THE VIRUS. But if she was in that much hurry for the bathroom, she should have parked in the closest spot.

I can't explain why she went in and came out to re-park. But I'm sure glad she did.

Maybe Even Steven programmed her brain on my behalf...

Close-parkers always remind me of this scene from The Heat, one of my favorite movies, starring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. I took my mom to see it at the theater, and we laughed until we cried. Though not specifically at this scene. [42-second clip]

Friday, May 28, 2021

Not Road Rage, But Parking Lot Passive-Aggressivity

Mrs. HM is no angel. She can control her inner rage, but she does not suffer fools lightly. 28 years of teaching taught her both.

Unless you are as unobservant as Farmer H, you know that Mrs. HM hobbles about on creaky knees. Stairs are not her friend, nor low toilets, nor seating to arise from without an armrest for leverage. When the issue was raised with her doctor nurse practitioner a couple years ago, he glossed over it with a bless-your-heart attitude, and decreed that Mrs. HM was too young for knee replacement surgery. Then THE VIRUS arrived, and any type of interaction with a medical professional became an ordeal.

Anyhoo... as you might presume, my knees have not gotten any better. If there is a parking spot near the door, I take it. Even if it might be a handicap spot. No. I don't have a handicap placard. As Farmer H and The Pony tell me, "The doctor would give you one. All you have to do is ask." I don't know what that entails, but I assume he gives official sanction, and then I send off to a state agency to get one. But like I said, such interaction with medical providers is not that simple now. I was hustled out of my last appointment so fast that I didn't think to raise the subject.

My favorite gambling aunt has as various times offered me her handicap placard to hang from my mirror, but that is a slippery slope which I prefer not to navigate. I'm not a cheater. Just a wobbly aching slow customer.

The Gas Station Chicken Store has a handicap parking space at the side of the building. It's on level ground, and I don't have to hold up gas-buyers trying get off the lot, like I do when parking over by the moat between the GSCS and Farmer H's pharmacy, and taking a Galapagos Tortoise hike to and from the door.

I have been parking T-Hoe in the handicap space for the last couple of months. I'd drive through it and park in the other space at the side of the building, but it's by the FREE AIR hose. There are always people stopping there for FREE AIR, and I don't like to block someone who might be in the middle of a flat tire, itching to flash their rumpus-crack.

So... there's a parking space here, parallel to the building, and one behind it. Here's a picture taken from T-Hoe, while I was parked in the FREE AIR parking space:

Anyhoo... I'm usually facing the other way. I come onto the lot from the stoplight area, and drive past the gas pumps, and park facing the FREE AIR space. You can see the faded HANDICAP sign on the wall of the building. There's also a faded blue wheelchair decal painted on the blacktop. Yes. It's wrong of me to park in the handicap space when I don't have a placard or a license plate making it legal. I own that. Not literally! I mean I take responsibility for my law-breaking actions.

The way I see it, I will be inside for 10 minutes. I would never park in a handicap space at The Devil's Playground, to be inside for an hour. I do at Country Mart, because they have 10 handicap spaces. Maybe more. And I take the one farthest away from the door.
A truly handicapped person might wait 10 minutes to get the space when I leave. But I generally to do not see handicapped people at the GSCS. They have a little blacktop ramp to go up to get in the door. It's not conducive to a wheelchair or walker, but a person with a cane could navigate it all right. I hang onto the door as I enter and leave, to keep my balance. The only time I've seen a handicapped person there in a hurry was a man who parked right in front of the door (blocking two gas pumps, not that I'm complaining, I don't buy gas there) to get his wife inside to the bathroom. They must have been highway travelers. I've never seen them since.

However... about five times now, I've seen a psycho guy in a gray pickup truck. One time he parked BESIDE T-Hoe in the handicap space. And four times, he has angled in front of T-Hoe, cutting off escape unless I back up. Not a problem, unless there's a car in line for gas. Which there hasn't been.

Here's the thing. Gray Truck has a handicap license plate. So I feel bad when I'm in that space and he shows up. However, I don't know WHEN Gray Truck is going to be there. I'm not psychic. I don't PLAN to beat him to that parking space and make him walk farther. Which, by the way, he has no problem doing. 

I don't know the nature of Gray Truck's handicap. He might have heart problems, he might have prosthetic legs, he might have half a lung, he might be on hospice, he might have nothing wrong with him at all, but has the handicap plates to haul around a wheel-chaired wife. Again, I AM IN THE WRONG FOR PARKING THERE, because I don't have a handicap placard, and he has the official handicap license plates.

However... Gray Truck brings out the worst in me, because he seems to have a chip on his shoulder. Maybe that's his handicap: shoulder chips. The second time I saw him, he was parked at that blocking angle when I hobbled out with my magical elixir. He sat in his truck, watching me in the side mirror. When I backed up and maneuvered T-Hoe around the back of his truck, he got out and walked into the GSCS. He did NOT back up his truck and park in the handicap space. He was only waiting there to stare at me, I suppose, and show me his displeasure with his cocky, non-limping walk. Perhaps I am reading too much into it.

There's a slim chance that Gray Truck is parking at that blocking angle to leave other cars access to the FREE AIR hose. Maybe he's actually a sainted Mother Teresa, and I just feel guilty about my crime, and look for some way to dislike him. But if he was a stand-up guy, surely he would ask, "Is there some reason you're taking up my handicap space? I really need it." And then I wouldn't park there again.

However... last week Gray Truck angled REALLY close to T-Hoe's front bumper. I had to back way up to get space to turn the wheels and get around him. As I was backing, Gray Truck came out of the GSCS and was walking beside the building, looking at me. 

I carefully assessed my clearance, and drove T-Hoe past Gray Truck's rear bumper with only inches to spare. Just to make a point. Namely, that Gray Truck doesn't know who he's messing with. Pin me in, and I will give you something to think about. It's not so cutesy when you think that I might scrape your vehicle, now is it?

Heh, heh! Gray Truck is poking the bear. Riling up a LAW BREAKER!

Yes. I'm still in the wrong. But I'm not a rumpus-hole who goes looking for trouble.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Farmer H Is Not Observant

In other headline news: Water is Wet. You can't tell Farmer H anything. Correction: you can tell him, but he won't listen. It's as if he has special earplugs that turn my voice into Charlie Brown's teacher. 

Farmer H says he has mice in the BARn. A couple weeks ago, he showed me a picture, and said one ate a plastic drawer. I was skeptical. Anyhoo... I told him if he has such a mouse problem, he needs to call an exterminator! 
No good can come of having a mouse in the BARn. Before you know it, that mouse will be a patriarch to an extended family of millions, and it will look like some horror story I saw on Hoarding: Buried Alive, where a guy had two houses, and one he kept just for the mice to live in, and he'd go over there to FEED THEM! They were like a living, breathing, scurrying, disease-spreading wall and floor! I had to look away.

Anyhoo... Farmer H started playing with his phone, and clicked on an ad that said the way to get rid of mice within a day is to use a sonic-wave-emitting device. He has something like that in the Mansion. Several. Plugged into electrical outlets. They might be part of the emergency light thingies. But the fact is, we rarely have a mouse, and it's just an isolated incident where one runs in the door, or squeezes through the weather stripping. The last critter we had was that weird baby mole, and it didn't last long on the sticky trap.

Anyhoo... Farmer H said he was going to The Devil's Playground to get a pack of mouse-getter-ridders. So I told him to pick up some toilet paper. No, we're not hoarding! We're down to 3 rolls, and we have 3 bathrooms. And 3 rumpuses! 

Anyhoo... I texted Farmer H the brand. Charmin Ultra Extra Strong. So there would be no question. It was right there in black and off-white, on his phone. 

I was not specific enough. 

Farmer H came home with the Charmin. But the pack contained 6 rolls. 6!!!! We always get the 12 or 16 pack! How can he not know this? For 20 years, we've bought the big pack. When The Pony buys it, he lets it sit on the kitchen table for a week or so, before he gets around to taking it out of the pack to stack in the hall closet with the towels.

It's hardly worth the walk across The Devil's Playground, from the mouse-getter-ridders to the toilet paper, to only pick up 6 ROLLS!

I guess Farmer H will catch on, if he's going to become the new Devil's Playground shopper...

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Chickening Out

I thought I'd found a go-to lunch for when I don't want to make something at home. You might recall that I'd been having Dairy Queen chicken strips and soft pretzel sticks on days when there were no pinwheels to be found. They're on the 2-for-$4 Menu.
You might also recall that I'd had a bit of an issue with the pretzels being burned, back when I was picking them up for myself and The Pony, sans chicken. Here's a picture from BACK THEN, showing how the pretzels were burned, and too small:

So imagine my shock when I got home and opened the bag on Tuesday, to see:

EVEN SHORTER PRETZELS! Granted, they're not burned. But they were barely as long as my finger! But wait! That's not all I have to complain about! [Also, take note of the size of the pretzels below, where they were so large they would not fit in frame!]
Whereas I've been given TINY chicken strips before, at least they gave three. Here's the picture from BACK THEN:

At least those three tiny nugget-like strips had MEAT inside. The chicken strips from Tuesday? Not so much:

These chicken strips were as thin as Farmer H's FREE hot dogs! The kind that look like a pencil. At least Farmer H's hot dogs also have some meat, albeit from questionable sources. My chicken strips are almost entirely made of fried batter. Take a closer look! Do you see any wide section that might harbor actual CHICKEN inside that crunchy fried batter? It's a rhetorical question. Don't strain your eyes lookin' for the chicken.

Anyhoo... I'm a little upset that I can't get the same amount of pretzels and chicken these days as I got one year ago! I suppose a price increase will be next, for even smaller portions... It hardly pays to eat chicken out anymore.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Foiled Again By Farmer H

I know it's hard for you to believe that Farmer H is a bit lazy in the kitchen. But try to suspend your disbelief for a moment. I, myself, was shocked at my discovery when I opened the door of FRIG II Monday night.

On Saturday afternoon, Farmer H came in for lunch. He wanted something quick. 

"Where are those hot dogs I brought home?"

"The good ones? You ate three of them per meal, when you had them cut up in noodles. I ate the other two on those nights you had the noodles. So I didn't have to cook anything else."

"Huh. I was planning to have them for my lunch."

"There's one package of the OTHER FREE hot dogs left, in the freezer in the laundry room. Stick them in a bowl of hot water, and they'll thaw out in a few minutes."

Farmer H went to retrieve the hot dogs. He couldn't wait to thaw them.

"They'll be fine like this. I'll put them in the microwave."

He got out a ziploc baggie to put the other eight frozen hot dogs in for storage. They are the skinny toothpick hot dogs, not the big plump ones. 10 in a pack, rather than 8. 

"Huh. They don't wanna go in."

"That's because you're leaving them in the package! Are you so lazy that you can't take them out of the package and put them in a baggie? You always do that! And it leaves the juice all messy in the pack. You don't even pour it out."

"I'm not lazy, HM."

Whatever. I was not up for that discussion. I was trying to play out my free hour of accoutrements that I won on Candy Crush Saga, before losing them, and my lives.

Back to Monday night, when I went looking for the hot dogs, which Farmer H wanted cut up in some Cheddar and Broccoli packaged noodles. I didn't see that baggie anywhere. But wait! What's THIS?

Farmer H had wrapped those remaining hot dogs in FOIL! Because, you know, it doesn't matter if air gets in the package, or if fluid leaks out. It was my good non-stick foil, too! Not the cheap stuff.

I guess we're lucky that I didn't find the hot dogs lying naked, on the glass shelf of FRIG II.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Whatever Happened To Just Picking Up The Phone To Call?

We have been remiss in funding our favorite casino this month! We have not taken a casino day since April 13! That is shocking! We usually go every two weeks. The Pony's JOB has thrown a monkey wrench into Val's slot machine habit. We usually go on a weekday, the one that give 15X player points to old people. Weekdays are out now. At least the day with the extra points.

The Pony was off Thursday this week, but was too tired to go. Besides, he knew he'd be working Friday and Saturday. So I told him I had no objection to going Sunday, although I prefer to avoid the weekends at the casino.
"We could go on Sunday, after your dad gets off work."
"Heh, heh! WORK!"
"You know what I mean. His storage unit store."

"I don't know. I want to see 2nd Bestie. Her semester is over. She'll be coming home."

She lives in the city with her parents, an hour away. 

"Oh. Okay. Will she be coming down here, or will you go up there?"

"Well. I don't know. I haven't heard back from her."

"It's Friday night, and you still don't know?"

"I sent her a text three days ago, but she hasn't responded."

"Is she mad at you?"

"No. That's just how she is. She goes days without looking at her phone. Sometimes she goes days without talking to anybody in person. That's just how she is."

"I wonder if it has something to do with eating a year-old cookie off the floor of your car. Or that dish of oatmeal with odd ingredients that she made a while back."

"No. She's just like that, too."

Anyhoo... we DID go to the casino on Sunday. The Pony is scheduled off Thursday and Friday. He has plans with his cousin on Friday, and MAYBE he'll hear from 2nd Bestie in time to plan something for Thursday. 

I fear that I've lost my Devil's Playground personal shopper.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Not Sure If I'm Ready For This Adventure

By the time you read this, The Pony will have cut my hair. Or beheaded me! I hope he didn't inherit his father's knack with barber tools! Not that he's using them. I am providing only a pair of orange-handled scissors. They used to be FISKARS, but I'm pretty sure mine are a knock-off brand. My FISKARS were broken by the illicit clandestine use of most likely Genius. 

Anyhoo... Farmer H has a regular set of hair-trimming clippers. He used to give the boys their "summer haircut," as he called it. Which was really nothing more than a prison shearing, or perhaps that of a new military recruit. He'd holler for them to come to the back porch, shirtless, to be shorn. 
The year that The Pony was five, Farmer H sent him back to get a towel to keep the shaven hairs from itching on his back and shoulders. The Pony returned, holding the folded towel across both outstretched hands, like a royal servant carrying the Queen's crown on a velvet pillow.

"This is to catch the blooood," he said solemnly.

Let the record show that the previous year, Farmer H had nicked The Pony's ear with the clippers, resulting in a trickle of blood that was more terrifying than the pain.

Anyhoo... I am sick of my lovely lady-mullet cascading down the neck of my shirt. I used to comb it under, but it's so long now that it does the outward That Girl flip, curves back in, then flips out again! It doesn't help that my last shearing at Terrible Cuts was extra terrible, leaving the back on the long side anyway. I am in no mood to go back to Terrible Cuts for another butchering right now.

The Pony says I really do have a mullet. I think that's what he said. He was snickering so much I can't be sure. He agreed to snip my tresses, out on the porch. He also wanted to take a picture after cutting the sides, with only the back section left. A SUPERMULLET, 
if you will. 
Not sure of The Pony's plans for such a picture... He's better not have a supersecret blog!

Saturday, May 22, 2021


Did your friends ever say, "HIGH FIVE!" and hold up their hand, and when you went to slap it, they pulled it back, and said, "PSYCH!" As in, "Psyched you out royally, you dumb doofus!" Perhaps not. Perhaps this speaks more to the quality of my friends...

Anyhoo... the other day I stopped by Country Mart for bananas, some chocolate-covered raisins for diabetic Farmer H (his request), and some steak rolls for The Pony to make garlic bread, and a jar of spaghetti sauce. 

Darn the new owners of Country Mart! They took over the four parking spaces at the right end of the store, and set up their GARDEN STUFF! Flowers and crap that I never look at! So I went on down to the left end of the parking spaces in front of the store. Somebody had left a cart parked up against the wall, so I took it and started pushing it in.

When I got to the door, a lady was walking towards me, from my right, coming from the regular parking lot area.

"Can I push that cart in for you?"

"Nope! I'm SHOPPING with it! But thanks anyway."

Heh, heh! Poor lady. Thought she was doing a good deed for feeble old HM, taking back a cart she was returning. Little did she know I was using it as my cart/walker to traverse the front of the store.

I feel kind of bad for denying that lady her good deed. Had I been 10 years younger, with spry-er knees, I might have let her have it, and gone back to T-Hoe to wait for her to leave!

I really feel bad because she assumed I was doing a good deed myself, pushing that cart back inside! When in reality, after coming out and putting my groceries in T-Hoe, I put it back up against the wall.

Friday, May 21, 2021

I'm Pretty Sure This Involves False Advertising

During my Thursday errands, I knew I wasn't getting my usual Burger King Whopper meal. I had stuff at home to eat, but I still needed to pick up a 44 oz Diet Coke. Burger King has pretty good Diet Coke. Not like that watery McDonald's excuse, which my mom loved so much. I also decided to treat myself to a shake.
Let the record show that Burger King has delicious shakes. I prefer chocolate, but I saw on their menu that they have OREO SHAKES! Including a CHOCOLATE OREO SHAKE! So that's what I ordered.
Mere words cannot express my disappointment. But I'll try.
First of all, I was expecting a chocolate shake, with Oreos added. But my shake was not all that chocolate. I don't know if they didn't put in enough chocolate syrup, or what. My shake was so BLAND! It wasn't really chocolate, but it wasn't vanilla. It was neither fish nor fowl! Not that I would want a shake made of either...
As far as the OREO part of my Chocolate Oreo Shake, I am reminded of the old guy at the rooming house in the original True Grit, telling Glen Campbell's character La Boeuf , "Be careful of the chicken and dumplin's, they'll hurt your eyes." Glen says, "How's that?" And the old guy says, "They'll hurt your eyes lookin' for the chicken!" And then Glen calls him a squirrel-headed SOB. I can say all the lines along with them when I watch the movie. It's one of my favorites, though the acting is terrible.

Anyhoo... I think the OREO in my Chocolate Oreo Shake was just a suggestion. A hint. Like the fruit flavor in that La Croix sparkling water that Genius is so partial to. I think The Pony quoted a review off the innernets: 'Like the previous tenant once squeezed a lemon.'

Here's a picture of my cup when I was done with my Chocolate Oreo Shake.

Not all that chocolatey. Not much Oreo. You'd think the sides would be coated with particles of the Oreo. I suspect they might have ground up HALF AN OREO to put in my whole shake! No way could they make it so tiny that you can't see particles. It must have been as fine as the dust those Gold Rush miners hope to find in the mesh that lines their sluices.

Oh, look! I had one nugget left in the bottom! I should have dug it out of there and eaten it with a knife and fork! I won't be getting this Chocolate Oreo Shake again. It was terrible.

Of course that didn't keep me from slurping down every last drop...

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Not A Good Look For One In The Industry

Kids these days! Even kidults recently hired to work for a branch of the federal government. You'd think they'd know more about the workings of the world. It's not like we expect them to operate a wringer-washer, or crank up the Model T. Simply lacing up a new pair of shoes would be a good start. Or understanding the mechanics of opening the very product they work with on sometimes-11-hour days.

Perhaps I am being unkind (okay, we KNOW I am) to say that maybe this group should be called The Dimmest Generation. Maybe it's not their fault. Maybe it's ours, for coddling them and shoving the latest electronics under their noses, to carve out some me-time for ourselves. 

Yes, as a matter of fact, I DO spend an inordinate amount of time shouting at kids to get off my lawn, shaking my cane at them, contemplating removing a tennis ball from the bottom of my walker to throw (like a ~wrinkly~ girl) at their head. The only thing stopping me is that my shawl might drift off my shoulders and get caught under my chair rockers.

Anyhoo... The Pony got a letter from the post office. Heh, heh. Of course that's usually where letters come from! I mean that the return address, the SENDER, of this letter was the USPS. It looked like something concerning his job. I told him it was on the kitchen counter, and he went to get it.

"The letter opener is right there by it."

"Oh. Okay."

Crickets. Figurative crickets, thank the Gummi Mary! I can't abide a literal cricket.

"Did you get it? Was it a check?"

"I don't have it open yet."

"Bring it here! And the letter opener!"

I made quick work of that envelope.

"Ohhh! So THAT'S how you use a letter opener!"

"What do you mean? How were YOU trying to use it."

"I thought you were supposed to pry open the flap with it."
"How can you think a letter opener is used to pry up the flap? What in the Not-Heaven? Wouldn't it be shaped more like a spatula for that? And not pointy-ended?"

Sheesh! The Pony is definitely not a mechanical engineer. But you'd think his raisin' as the son of a teacher-woman (of physics) would have stood him in better stead. Not-Heaven's bells! He must manufacture some natural repellent to osmosis...

Anyhoo... now I'm imagining a tiny spatula for opening letters. Like a tiny fork for olives, and a tiny spoon for tea sugar, and a tiny house for people with too much darn money to squander on fads when they could just buy a camper trailer already finished...

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Gaslighter Spews More Information That Doesn't Pass The Smell Test

You may recall that Farmer H has a habit of spouting facts that are only facts in his mind. He does this with an authoritarian air, with confidence that neither The Pony nor HM will check his information.
Tuesday afternoon, Farmer H was in his recliner due to rain hampering his outdoor shenanigans. He was watching one of his favorite daytime reruns: The Andy Griffith Show. The Pony got off early from work, and was hanging around between his room and the kitchen, waiting to carry my tray down to my lair. I was in the kitchen, and didn't hear it all. But the gist of the episode was that Aint Bee had won a trip to Mexico City by submitting a tamale recipe.

When I walked into the living room, Farmer H, the authority on authenticity chortled that he caught The Andy Griffith Show in a blooper.

"It showed Aint Bee landing on a jet, but they wasn't no jets back then for commercial airlines! They used prop planes. So the show cut in footage of a plane that wasn't used during that time!"

"Uh. This show is from the 1960s. It wasn't supposed to be set in olden times like The Waltons, or Little House on the Prairie. It was made in the 60s, and ran in the 60s. How could they cut in a clip of a jet FROM THE FUTURE? That's far-fetched. You're not very good at this conspiracy business. What even would be the point of that if they could?"

"He's not saying they didn't have JETS, Mom. Only that they weren't used for commercial flights until later. So they used footage of a jet landing for something else, not carrying passengers to Mexico City."

"I can't believe he's got YOU believing his stuff now!"

"I'm going to look it up. First commercial jet flights..."

"I don't really care to hear the answer, but I know I will before I make it down these 13 steps..."

"Huh. The first commercial jet airliner began service in 1951..."


Consider the source, people. Always consider the source.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

I Take Back The Third-World Country Comparison Of Casey's

It's not often that Mrs. HM will retract a previous proclamation. Especially one made to Farmer H. But I now take back my declaration that the Hillmomba Casey's operates like a third-world country. That is an insult to third-world countries. 
What I encountered in the Hillmomba Casey's on Sunday is behavior that might be expected during the Stone Age. When a woman with hair similar to my current lovely lady-mullet might have ridden a mastodon to her local convenience cave to pick up a 44 oz bark tube of her magical elixir, and some games of chance whittled on small-animal bones.

I popped into the Hillmomba Casey's, intent on buying three scratchers. I named them by number. The regular Old Lady Clerk who is always nice to me ripped them out of the scratcher case. She stepped over to her register, and swiped them under the lottery ticket scanner that sits, mounted in it's plastic holster, on the counter. It did not make its regular BLOOP noise as she waved the barcode under it.

"Oh, no! Don't do this to me AGAIN! This is the third time today! It's been acting up. I can't get into the other register."

With that, Old Lady Clerk took the handheld scanner out of the plastic holster and 


...whacked it on the counter. Hard!

"Sometimes that'll fix it. I had it so scared the other day, it didn't want NONE of that!"

She did it again! Twice more! BAM! BAM! BAM! Still didn't scan.
"I'm going to have to restart the register."
Off she went into the back room. I guess to pull a switch, or restart from a main computer.
"I'm sorry. It will take about five minutes to come back up."
"Um. Is it a problem if I don't wait?"
"Okay. Sorry. I wasn't planning to wait."
It's not that I had anywhere to go, but there was a line forming. I didn't want to stand there on display as the cause of the delay. Besides, there was no guarantee that the scanner would work even after the register came back on.
I went to Country Mart instead. I won $10. Maybe I would have won more on the Casey's tickets. Maybe not. I figured she could stuff them back in the case. I've gotten tickets before that had originally been torn off for someone else. It's easy to hear the ripping noise of the perforation.
I feel bad for the people waiting to pay for their gas. Hope they weren't trying to buy scratchers!

Monday, May 17, 2021

He's A Caser, He's A Macer, He's A No-Good Lacer

The Pony is settling into his work routine. The day starts in the post office, where leather shoes are required, when the carriers case their mail. They sort it to get ready for the day's route. Sometimes other people do it for them, I think, and they do it for someone else. I'll have to get the details. 
I wonder, because he and the middle-aged lady had to share routes on Friday, and he said the flats had already been loaded into their LLVs, and had to be re-sorted. Her LLV had broken down, and she had to use her own car (mileage paid) to do mostly walking deliveries, while The Pony did her street-side deliveries from his LLV.

The Pony does things by the book. He pointedly explained that he leaves his Mace (I mean cayenne-pepper-spray) in his mail satchel, because if a supervisor comes to check on him, they will ask to see all the accoutrements of the job. It's a requirement.

It will be 90 days from his start date before The Pony gets his uniform allowance. Until then, I recommended that he get some plain shorts and white shirts, all alike, so there's no choosing what to wear every morning. I suggested Dickies brand workwear for the shorts. They're durable. I even volunteered to pay half the cost.

Well. The Pony bought three pairs of shorts and four shirts. They can be laundered in the evening mid-week. The shorts are dark blue, and dark gray. A couple white shirts, and a couple dark blue. They are actually part of the post office palette of blue and gray. The only thing is, I wonder if the shorts will be suitable. The Pony said they were out of his size in the cargo shorts. The ones he bought look like booty shorts to me! Then again, I was looking at uniform shorts earlier, and they're almost to the knee. So anything looks shorter.

The Pony did not go cheap on the shoes. He talked to people who did his training, and they all recommended a certain black leather style that is comfortable and durable. The Pony ordered his shoes way back before his Springfield training, I think. He's been looking for them every day. Me too! I glance at the mail lockers beside EmBee, to see if all keys are in them. If so, then it's not The Pony's day to get a package. I've also been searching EmBee for a locker key. 

Sunday, while on his Steak N Shake / Devil's Playground sortie, The Pony texted to ask if I'd been checking the mail. DUH. I LIVE for the mail! He said his new shoes had been left "in a locker" on FRIDAY! I checked! I swear! Even reached my hand way back into the metal pipe that is EmBee's gullet. I never found a key. I swear they were all in the lockers.

That got me all worried that The Pony's shoes had been stolen, or the key left in someone else's mailbox. But he found the key way in the back, and got them on the way home. WHEW! That would be a special kind of IRONY! A mail carrier's post office shoes being mis-delivered by the post office!

Anyhoo... The Pony trotted down to my lair (clogged head and all) to proudly allow me to be part of the unboxing. They ARE nice shoes. With a great insole. The laces were just threaded through the bottom two holes, then tied together inside the shoes.

"Do you even know how to lace a shoe?"

"Um. Not really?"

"That doesn't surprise me! Velcro all your childhood, and then buying them at Supermarket of Shoes, where they're already laced. Here. I'll show you."

We each laced a shoe. I had the right, he the left. The Pony actually got the job done. I remember once before when he tried. Let's just say those laces did not criss-cross from side to side, but ran in a parallel fashion. It was quite disturbing. He might have PTSD from the ribbing we gave him over that.

I was glad to show The Pony how to lace his new shoes. Even though he'd caught me mid-scratch with my lottery. OOPS! Another $100 winner Sunday! On the same kind of $10 ticket as the one two days ago. I can't help myself... but I CAN help The Pony with his grooming needs.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Leper Is Running The Colony

The Pony's sniffles from Thursday evening and all day Friday have turned into a bucket-head. He still swears that he only has "allergies" to mowed grass. Yet he hasn't been around mowed grass for 24 hours. And counting. He fell asleep around 9:30 on Friday night, he says. Right after his late 2-hour soak in the big triangle tub. He slept through until 1:30 the next afternoon. I know that because...


Sweet Gummi Mary! I was jolted out of several dreams by The Pony at the door, saying, 

"Um. Mom. You might want to get up. It's 1:30."

Yes. How sweet of him. How selfless, thinking only of ME, assuming that I wanted to awaken. Never mind that I DID. I had planned to be up by 11:30. But you know, without my walking talking alarm clock, I was not. No harm, no foul. It's not like I had to be anywhere.

Anyhoo... by the time I got to the kitchen, I saw The [DISEASED] Pony standing AT MY KITCHEN COUNTER!

"What are you DOING? That's MY space! And you're BREATHING on it! I'm coming over there to take my medicine!"

"Well, I could STOP breathing, I guess." Said The Pony in an echo chamber, a Puffs With Lotion stuffed to his congested nose, trying to expel a large flat-rate express mail package of thick snot.

"No. That won't be necessary. But YOU come over HERE, and let me get my meds out of the cabinet."

"I'm not sick! It's just an allergy."

"You sound exactly like a person who picked up a head cold. Just don't breathe on me. Or my stuff. Do you want me to bring you anything from town? For lunch or supper?"
"No. I'm making the crispy fish you have in the freezer."
"I see you've taken ONE BITE out of this leftover biscuit, and put it back on the pan."
"Oh, yeah. I took a bite, but then I thought, 'This will be better along with my fish later.' So I put it back. I didn't think anyone else would want it. Or the other two."
"Not NOW! But sure. I had no intention of eating the biscuits. Do you feel well enough to carry my tray downstairs when I get back from town?"
"I told you, I don't feel bad at all. It's just my nose. And I slept so long because I was tired from working all week. I turned off all my alarms. But it's funny that you don't want me anywhere around you, but you'll let me carry down your food and BREATHE all over it!"
"You're not such a leper that I don't want your hand on my tray to save my knees a walk down 13 rail-less steps. But if I could trouble you to hold your breath until you set down the tray in my lair..."
I'm pretty sure that didn't happen. It's a risk I'm willing to take. The Pony spent the rest of the day in his room, aside from coming to the garage to help me with a few groceries. Which I didn't have, since rain put the kibosh on my plan to enter Save A Lot. I let him carry in my purse and the mail (he's a professional, you know!), but I didn't let him touch my magical elixir.
If this runs its course like a normal cold, I figure The Pony will be kickin' up his heels and rarin' to go back to work on Monday, his next scheduled day.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Rumors Of My (Impending) Death Have Been Greatly Repudiated

The Pony came home from his mail route Thursday with a nose running like a faucet. He cleared up a bit over the time he allowed us (about 15 minutes) to chat with him. Then he hustled off to his 2-hour bath.

"I am allergic to something at the end of my route! During the last two hours, my nose would not quit running. I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to grass. That's when everybody came out and started mowing their lawns!"

"That wouldn't surprise me. You used to get a headache every time Dad mowed."

"One of the other carriers said it happens to her. She recommended Zyrtec. Didn't I used to take that when I was little?"

"Yes. But then you kind of grew out of it. Genius took it until he went away to college. Then he decided to stop."

"I'm leaving early tomorrow so I can buy some."

Well. The Pony came home at 7:15 on Friday, even more snotty.

"I think you must have picked up a cold. You really sound worse today."

"People were mowing again. If I had a cold, the Zyrtec wouldn't help."

"I can't tell that it's helping. When did you take it?"

"This morning about 8:15. I felt better afterwards."

"I don't know. Just stay away from me! I don't want to catch it."

"I thought you said Covid wasn't real."

"I never said that. I don't think you have THE VIRUS. I think you have a cold, and I don't want it! Especially because I LOSE MY TASTE every time I get a cold! Even though you weirdos apparently don't!"

"You're not going to catch it, HM. You're so dramatic."

"It could kill me!"

"A cold ain't gonna kill you."

"It COULD! I am NOT in good health!"

"No. You're not."

"We've been trying to tell you to get your knees fixed!"

"I am not worried about my knees right now. Don't get too close! At least you're off for two days, and you can rest up and get better."

"Oh, Dad. Here's my route next week."
"Now you've touched his phone! Don't touch your face!"
"Oh my lord. You are so dramatic!"
"I'm not sick, Mom. I think it's an allergy. I only took 6 Puffs with me, because I thought it would start in the evening again. But my nose was like this all day. So I had to blow my nose on napkins. That's why it's so red."
"You probably picked up a cold! Is anybody at work sick?"
"No. I'm only around them in the morning before I go out on the route. We all have to wear masks inside. And if I go in a business to deliver."
"Well, you've been sitting in your room for a year. And now you're out around people. You probably touched your face or rubbed your eyes."
"Yeah, Mom. I touch the mail, and then lick my hands..."
"I don't know what you do! Just stay away from me. You don't want to kill me, do you?"
"He's not going to kill you, HM."
"You say that NOW! But when you're putting me in the ground, maybe you'll pour some whiskey on my grave, for your Mommy who ain't here no more..."
Sweet Gummi Mary! I think they are in denial. I hope The Pony stays in his room for the weekend. You know. Like usual. He says he's going to drive around and look at the streets on his new route. I said I would drive him, so he can look while I pay attention to driving. But then, HE'S SICK, and I won't ride in T-Hoe with him... so that's not happenin'.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Road To Yell Is Paved With Good Intentions

I bought The Pony a treat when I was in Save A Lot. The cookies that are like chocolate chip, but with M&Ms. At least the generic form of M&Ms. He used to love them when he was a kid. I'm pretty sure he still likes them, but he also tries to eat one meal a day, and limit his snacks. Lately, he has been having Hershey Kisses from a giant bag, and assorted cheesecake slices from FRIG II's freezer. So the cookies are still around.

Don't they look delicious? They ARE! I forewarned The Pony that I would be consuming them at the rate of 1 per day. I noticed the stash was disappearing, and thought The Pony was also enjoying his treat. Nope. He hasn't had a one. 


It's not that we withhold treats from Farmer H. But he DOES have The Diabeeetus, as Wilford Brimley used to say in his commercials. Before dying. Of The Diabeeetus, perhaps. So Farmer H should NOT be eating cookies (nor the clandestine Casey's donuts). But there's no telling Farmer H what to do.

Farmer H is what the French call les incompetents [thanks, Home Alone girl, 12 seconds]. And what the doctors (and NURSE PRACTITIONERS) call medically noncompliant.

I don't know why I spend twice as much, buying Farmer H sugar-free versions of his treats, when he eats them AND the regular sugary versions. I guess I am what they call an enabler.

No amount of reasoning, cajoling, nor yelling can convince Farmer H that he is harming himself. If I stop buying treats for myself The Pony, Farmer H will STILL sneak off to Casey's for his candy bars and donuts.

Farmer H said yesterday that he's been going for a walk around the lake in town every morning. It's a quarter-mile. I'm pretty sure there's a donut stop involved, since Casey's is on the route.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Cricket-Spider

Tuesday afternoon, I puttered around the kitchen, doing laundry, catching up on my innernets, and playing Candy Crush Saga before heading to town for my 44 oz Diet Coke. Farmer H was hanging around the grounds, but only came in once for the bathroom.

With The Pony at work, I was pretty much left to my own devices. I didn't exactly dance like no one was watching, or sing like I didn't need the money, [Kathy Mattea "Come From the Heart"] but I suited myself. 
When I stood up from the kitchen table to go throw my laundry in the dryer, I was startled by a critter on the kitchen floor, right in front of the laundry room door. It wasn't moving, thank the Gummi Mary! It was kind of flat! Being on my own, with nobody to answer to, I stepped over it! 
Seriously. Why should I be the one to always pick up the flattened critters from the floor? I was sure Farmer H had tromped on it with his workboots when he came in from mowing to poop-up the master bathroom.  In fact, he probably brought it IN on his boots.

The thing was black. It looked like a spider at first. But closer, it looked like a cricket. I didn't have on my glasses. Not that they would help, what with their bifocals discombobulating me when I try to wear them while walking around and looking down. But closer-up, I thought I could discern a thorax and six legs. Or maybe a flattened spider with two legs crushed underneath...

Anyhoo... it was there when I got back from town. So definitely not alive-enough to chase me. Farmer H was still outside. The Pony came in the front door. Poor Pony. The first thing I said to him was NOT "How was your day?" It was:

"Pony! Can you get a paper towel and scoop up that dead cricket-spider? I'm not sure what it is."

Ever-dutiful, The Pony scooped. I was at the kitchen counter, my back to him, when he BROUGHT IT TO ME!

"Um. Mom. It's NEITHER!"

"Ugh! Get it away! I don't want to SEE it! I just want it thrown away."

"Mom! It's a piece of THREAD!"

"What? Oh. It must have unraveled from my sock... Well. Thanks for picking it up."

"I think maybe you should wear your glasses more."

And I probably should not be left unattended for great lengths of time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Not-Heaven's Non-Angel


Yes, I know I've posed that question before. But still I keep screaming it from within the safety of T-Hoe. Almost on a daily basis.

Monday, I had my errands planned according to the flow of traffic. A stop by Save A Lot on the way to town. It's on the right. A right turn out of there, to the Gas Station Chicken Store for magical elixir and scratchers. There's a stoplight by them, so the traffic flow is no big deal. Then the final stop at Orb K on the way back out of town. A right turn in, and a right turn coming out. Easy peasy.

Everything went as planned. UNTIL my last stop. Orb K has parking in front of the store, along the sidewalk. As I drive onto their lot, these parking spaces are on my left. On the right is a long row of gas pumps, under roof. Maybe 8 or 10 pairs of pumps. The row of gas pumps runs almost twice as long as the store itself.

Anyhoo... I passed the first six parking spaces. Most were occupied. I don't squeeze in. As you know, I prefer a space where T-Hoe's driver's door can open all the way. So I park by the yellow-striped handicap walkway. It's not a handicap spot. That's to the left of the walkway. The spot I like is the first one of 7 parking spaces running along the sidewalk to the right of the yellow-striped handicap walkway.

I was elated to see that my very special parking space was open. As was the one next to it. A car was backing out farther down, so I stopped to wait for it to get out, and to drive by me. I had my left turn signal on, in case a car came up behind me on the way to the drive-through entrance. You know. A signal. Signifying that I was making a left turn, into that (or the other) empty parking space.

WEE-OH! WEE-OH! WEE-OH! [call the (British) waa-mbulance]

WOOP!WOOP!WOOP! [and the city police]

REE-REE-REE-REE-REE! [cue the Psycho stabby music in my head]

Imagine my surprise as a dressed-in-black dude on a motorcycle rounded the end of the gas pump row, came up behind the car I was waiting on to drive by me on the way off the lot, and PARKED ACROSS THOSE TWO EMPTY PARKING SPACES I WAS WAITING ON!


Surely he was just pulling across both spaces to get his big motorcycle in position to back into one of them.

No. He was not.

Motorcycle Dude parked sideways, across two parking spaces that I was clearly signaling to enter.

In a fit of pique, I drove down to the end of the gas pump row, made a right U-turn, and drove off the lot. To make a left turn in the traffic quagmire that is the un-traffic-lighted intersection of the county road out of (and into) town, and a used-car lot, and the exit road from Save A Lot, Subway, and a Dollar Store.

I was so hyped-up on rage that I didn't mind the 5-minute wait to get a left turn back towards the stoplight and Country Mart. Where I bought my scratchers instead. And had a $15 winner and a $10 winner.

Maybe Even Steven was just trying my patience...

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

It's A Corker, It's A Snorter, It's A Downright Marker...

Well, now. Such a coincidence. I don't know how much more I could emphasize my believe that we are treated to random markers to assure us that we are moving along the right path. That we are not ripping a hole in our rich tapestry of life.

Over the past couple days, I have been taunting Blog Buddy Sioux with my standard go-to title for blog posts: stealing from Steve Miller Band's "The Joker."

It's harmless, really. Just a bit of covert plagiarism from the quaint little enclave of Hillmomba. 

As you know, I make a trip to town every day to buy a 44 oz Diet Coke and scratch-off tickets. My favorite ticket for the past couple months has been the $5 crossword. 

Look at the word that won me $10 on Monday's scratcher.

Heh, heh! It's the JOKER!

Just a random coincidence though. Right?

Monday, May 10, 2021

My Special Day Was Not All That Special

Not even a $3 change purse and two boxes of Sno-Caps! I DID get something...

Farmer H DID offer to take me out to eat on Mother's Day. I'm pretty sure that's because HE wanted to go out to eat. I did not. Why go out on the most crowded restaurant day of the year? I would gladly have welcomed some carry-in delicacies. But nobody was offering that! Must be too much trouble to drive to pick up food for the woman who stands in the kitchen and makes THEIR food and washes their dishes.

Anyhoo... I ended up getting Hardee's chicken tenders for myself on my trip to town. Oh, and of course Farmer H asked me to pick him up a Bacon and Swiss Burger, and onion rings, and a Diet Coke with no ice. You should have seen the stack of onion rings he got with his small combo! The Pony swiped two of them in the kitchen, and still they were falling out of the box. So different from my sad stub fries.

Don't you worry about The Pony. He drove himself to Steak N Shake. I guess he was sitting there with a bunch of mothers of cheap children. Then he went to the Devil's Playground for a couple job-related items like a two-piece rainsuit, and a good thermos jug.

While The Pony was gone to lunch, and Farmer H was sitting in his recliner (rain-out at the Storage Unit Store), I got a phone call from Genius. Genius was not having a good day. 

"I am locked out of my bank account! My online bank that I've used for eight years was bought out by another bank. During the migration of accounts, MINE, and those of 100,000 other customers, were locked without access. They were supposed to have a special number to call, with a team to assist us, on Sunday. Today. But when I get through, and state my business, the minute I mention my old bank's name, the line disconnects. The ONE TIME I got through to a live person, he pretended he couldn't hear me, and HUNG UP! I need to have my account unlocked within 7 days, when the IRS tries to take out my income taxes that I owe! We have three accounts. I have one, Friend has one, and we have a joint one that we use to pay the bills. Friend can get into both accounts, but I am locked out of both!"

"Well. I guess you'd better be nice to Friend. Maybe you can get an advance. Or a little allowance. You could send me your winning scratchers that you've saved up, but the mail would take too long to get them here. OH, and I wouldn't be able to send you a check to deposit in your account, since you're LOCKED OUT!"

Anyhoo... we chatted about 30 minutes, all the while I was losing valuable time on Candy Crush Saga boosters that were only good for one hour. I had played about 5 minutes on them before Genius called. He usually doesn't talk long. We had caught up with each other's lives, so I said, 
"Do you want to talk to Dad before you hang up? He always like to know what's going on."

"Sure. I guess I could."

So Farmer H walked to the kitchen table to get the new phone out of my hand. I vaguely heard him chatting as I continued my game. I had 25 minutes left before my hard-won boosters were used up. I was jolted out of my Candy Crush-ing trance by Farmer H, walking back to the kitchen.

"I think I might have blocked Genius's number on our phone."


"I was ready to hang up, and the screen said END CALL AND BLOCK, and I pushed the button."

"Which button?"

"The middle round one. And it said CALL BLOCKED."

"NOOO! You push the red button to hang up. RED! Red means STOP! It ends the call!"

"Huh. I don't know how to fix it."

Farmer H shoved the phone under my nose.

"I don't know how to fix it! It's a new phone!"

He kept pushing the phone at me. So I took it. Glanced at the screen that didn't look right and had weird stuff on the menu. I got it back to the regular screen of TIME and MISSED CALLS, and set it on the table. Farmer H came back, dragging the instructions that were on a MUU-MUU-fabric-sized paper, much like that of The Pony's antibiotic insert. He sat down across the table from me, and started reading from it. Farmer H is not a good out-loud reader...

"I don't know why you're doing that. Here's the phone."

"So you can look at it while I read."

"Um. I am playing a timed game right now."

Farmer H jumped up having a hissy-fit.

"You always get like this! I am trying to fix the phone, and all you can think about is that stupid game."

"First of all, I am not the one who messed up the phone. I am not in charge of the phone. You blocked Genius, so you can unblock Genius. I don't think it has to be done THIS VERY INSTANT. My game has about 15 minutes left. It IS something I want to do right now. I was doing it before you messed up the phone. I'm pretty sure the phone can wait until The Pony gets back. He'll know how to fix it."

Indeed. The Pony had Genius unblocked within 60 seconds of picking up the phone.

Farmer H has a lot of nerve, yelling at me for HIS MISTAKE on Mother's Day, and then pretending he's a real Prince Charming by giving me some Dove Dark Chocolate squares, and a card that looks like a table centerpiece. Oh, and hitting the jackpot on a pile of FRESH-GREASE ONION RINGS!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

He's A Yokel, A Provoker, He's A Liquor Store Smoker

You would think I'd ceased being surprised any more. Surprised at the things I see in the convenience stores I frequently frequent. After all, I believe I showed you the plumber's crack guy putting air in his tires while airing out his (plumber's) crack for all to see. Meaning me and The Pony.

Still, I like to kid myself into thinking Hillmomba is a normal place.

Thursday, I stopped by the Liquor Store on my way to mail Genius's weekly letter. I needed scratchers to tuck inside at the last minute. Of course I chose the busiest rush hour time at the Liquor Store. Which seems to be at 12:30 on a Thursday afternoon. 

There are often 7 or 8 cars parked on the lot, not counting those in the drive-thru line. Yet when I go inside, the place looks deserted! I can't figure out where those people go. Maybe two or three are employee vehicles. Maybe a man and a woman in the bathrooms. But where are the others? Is there a secret card game in the back? A room for smoking the wacky tobacky that accoutrements are sold for? Hidden slot machines in a mini casino? I can't figure it out. 

However... on this day, all the car drivers were in plain sight, right there in a line in the close quarters of the Liquor Store. I was fifth in line. Some guy was having problems with his card while trying to pay. The next lady only had a 44 oz soda. What a freak! The third guy was holding a case of beer, patiently. But it's the fourth guy that gave me pause.

He had entered just ahead of me. Not trying to beat me like a smart-aleck Pony-person. He just walked faster. Came up behind me as I hobbled up the blacktop ramp to the door. I didn't pay him much mind. Twenty-something, scraggly hair not long nor short. Just shy of the shoulders. Thin, nondescript brown, parted on the side. Faded jeans. A faded brown t-shirt. He went to the end of the line proper, standing down the middle aisle. I stood to the side, by the outer aisle, so as not to crowd in.

THAT'S when I noticed. Cigarette smoke was choking me. Drifting over the shelves to invade my lungs. Huh. I guess that guy had been smoking as he walked in. People leave their butts on the parking lot all the time. Just flick them away with thumb and middle finger as they enter. I'm sure you've caught a glimpse in my penny photos. 

WAIT A MINUTE! Smokey came up out of the aisle, and stepped over by the door to FLICK HIS ASH IN THE METAL CANISTER ASH TRAY!


I'm pretty sure there's a law against that. Of course I didn't say anything. I'm not the smoke police. But I was kind of incensed! Hot under the collar. Smoldering with resentment. I do not hang out in liquor stores to catch lung cancer!

Anyhoo... I'm not sure what Smokey bought. It seems like they had a bag ready for him at the counter. He said he'd be back tomorrow to pay for the rest. Did he put something on lay-a-way? Was this a clandestine drug deal in plain sight? I don't know. The bag was a dark color. Not sure what they use for bags in that place. I've never bought anything that required one.

When Farmer H came home, I told him about Smokey. 

"That's against the law! You can't smoke in a public place!"

"Actually, it's not. Not in Hillmomba. The owner can decide if they want to allow smoking."

Surely he was talking out his rumpus! Making up stuff again. GASLIGHTING, if you will...

I looked it up. FARMER H WAS RIGHT!

Here's the link to Missouri Health and Human Services rules. And this pasted section:
The law stipulates the following are not considered a “public place”:  
- Private residences  
- Tobacco stores where greater than 50% of sales is related to tobacco products 
- Performers on stage if smoking is part of the production 
- Limousines for hire and taxicabs, where driver and all passengers agree to allow smoking 
- Any enclosed indoor arena, stadium or other facility seating more than 15,000 persons and which may be used for sporting events  
- An entire room or hall used for private social functions, provided that seating arrangements are under control of the function’s sponsor and not the proprietor

WELL! The Liquor Store is actually named Cheap Smokes Beer Liquor and Loans. So I guess that's their main business. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, even INSIDE the store!

I hate it when Farmer H is right. He's not even a smoker! I guess he has such a vast array of friends in different social strata that he's heard about it from the business owners.

Heh, heh! I googled it to get the exact name of the store, and WAY WAY down the page of Google Reveiws, I found this gem:

"Needs A lot Of Help...Seems Like A Store Front For Something illegal.."
Mrs. HM is not the only person in Hillmomba who can pick up vibes from a place.