Monday, May 31, 2010

Balancing Act

A tragedy was narrowly averted today in the Hillbilly Mansion kitchen. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, on the mend from her left thyroid lobectomy, had just prepared a steaming glass bowl of Quaker Instant Apples & Cinnamon Oatmeal. She had poured in the boiling water, set her bowl on a lavender hand towel so as not to burn her tender hands, and was moving from the kitchen to the living room to sit on the edge of the couch, apply her massaging neck travel pillow, and await the cooling of her tasty breakfast.

Alas, the #1 son, all a-twitter about a new app he is making for android phones, had migrated to the kitchen to try to enlighten Mrs. HM on all things technical. After a short argument about the pronunciation of 'Einstein', a quarrel which included the term 'William Einstein', because neither party could remember the first name of Albert, the #1 son had plopped himself at the cutting block, where he is wont to squat on top of a stool for meals. However, in his pique of pronouncing Einstein as IneStine, he had stood instead of squatted. Mrs. HM, who may or may not have been under the influence of oxycodone, assumed that #1 had assumed his regular position, and breezed past him with her unstable load of steaming oatmeal.

The smallest three toes of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom were impeded by the heel of the #1 son, and a stumbling balancing act to rival a Chinese Acrobat/Ringling Barnum & Bailey sideshow ensued. Thank the Gummi Mary, Mrs. HM was able to regain her balance without tossing the flaming oatmeal onto her cut-throat incision.

Somewhere in her youth or childhood, Mrs. HM must have done something acceptable.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Suspecting The Worst

We had a mini-drama in real life here at the Mansion this afternoon. As I mentioned yesterday, we had a new baby goat born last night. The Pony went out to check on it several times this morning. Around 11:00, he came in and stated that the baby was taking a nap, and he KNEW it was taking a nap, because he could see its sides moving. Poor Pony. He still hasn't gotten over last summer, when he was in charge of the Dead Chicken Watch. At noon, The Pony went back to the goat pen, and said he didn't see the new black baby. He thought it was just laying down somewhere for another nap.

Have I mentioned that Tank the Beagle can get into the goat pen, and we had to throw him out three times last night, and that he was in there again this morning, sniffing after that new baby goat? Or that there is a spot in the fence where The Pony caught the week-old white baby goat getting out and wandering around by the barn before going back in? I was walking around the porch earlier, on one of my 5-minute exercise jaunts in an effort to recover from my throat-slashing, and saw all the goats and chickens gathered in one corner, looking out toward the sinkhole area of the woods. I thought nothing of it, as there were two of the multitude of roosters strutting around there.

At 12:15, Farmer H climbed down off his lawnmower and went to the goat pen to show off his new black baby to his Number One Son and his family. Except there was no black baby. The white baby was there, frolicking about like the carefree orphan that his momma made him, but no black baby could be found. They walked around the goat pen. They walked around the fence. They searched all the nooks and crannies by the trees and buildings. They peered inside every shack and shed and coop in the pen. No black baby. The black momma was unconcernedly munching on sticks and hay, acting like she knew nothing of a baby. She, who had taken such good care of her little kid, chasing off Tank the Beagle, chasing off the little white baby if he got too close, standing over her little black baby and licking him and nudging him and grunting to him all the livelong day.

The search party moved to the Mansion grounds. They peered under the 5th-wheel camper parked in the front yard, where the dogs are wont to lay in great dust holes underneath. They searched Tank's mouth for any signs of blood or fur. They let the black momma out of the pen in hopes she would go look for her baby. I had to join in, cut throat and all. I walked all over the pen and fence line and barnyard. I quizzed Farmer H and Number One on whether they had looked in the outbuildings and picked up the various shelters to look under them. They assured me that they had looked in all of them twice.

Tank the Beagle did not go into the goat pen. He wandered around outside. He sniffed the wind. He did not look full and bloated like when I throw an old loaf of bread off the back deck, so I did not think the black baby goat was in his gullet. I was ready to give up. It was hot and muggy. My sweet oxycodone was wearing off. As I started back to the Mansion, I saw Tank on the outside of the pen, sniffing at one of the little goathouses where I had seen all the animals standing earler. I called to The Pony, "Tell your dad that Tank is sniffing that building. Maybe he should look in there." Farmer H and Number One both assured me they had already looked. Number One said he had crawled in and stuck his head inside, but nothing was in there. Tank started scratching and whining at the corner of the goathouse. The Pony leaned way down and peered inside. "There he is, laying in the corner."

WHEW! A tragedy averted. Farmer H's Number One Son crawled in and grabbed the black baby, and everyone oohed and ahhed, and all was right with the world.

Shame on me for suspecting Tank the Beagle of foul play, and then him being the one to find the baby.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Factoid Central

Little-Known Facts From The Mansion

1. Baby goats are as cute as a bug's ear, cute enough to break the Cute-O-Meter, so cute you want to pick them up and squeeze the innards out of them. We have a new addition this evening, as of 6:40 p.m. He or she is a black little frisky thing with a white star on the forehead, chewing leaves before it could stand up, nursing like a machine, and toppling over in a heap when trying to scratch its nose with a hind foot.

2. People who have their throats cut should not live up a mile of gravel road.

3. Time has no meaning when you are on summer vacation and painkillers.

4. A survey of recent recipients of thyroid lobectomies reveals that the most palatable foods are orange Jello and Oscar Meyer Beef Bologna on Wonder 100% Whole Wheat with Kurtz mustard.

5. A 12-year-old who leaves the goatside watch to see if his DiGiorno Rising Crust Cheese Pizza is done feels cheated when he returns five minutes later to find that the miracle of birth has occurred in his absence, much like a young 'un sent next door on Christmas Eve to see if Santa has visited the neighbors yet, only to find upon return that he just missed Santa at his own house.

6. Hillbillies recuperating from surgery have been found to be a bit lax in the dietary department, opting for convenience over nutrition.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Not Just Yet

Still feeling a bit woozy and uncomfortable. Maybe I can catch things up this weekend.

In other news, our stupid black tuxedo-looking cat was toying with a baby chipmunk in the front yard of the Mansion this morning. Except that the chipmunk hopped up on that lazy, laying-down-on-the-job feline and stomped around on his back.

And I thought I got no respect.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

HM And The Amazing Technicolor Thyroid

Thar she blows, in all her technicolor glory, the former home of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's left thyroid lobe and isthmus and partial right lobe. Uh huh. The surgeon took out more than he thought he would at first. I've quite a tale to tell, whenever I've a mind to get to it. Right now, I'm not in such a comfortable mood to wax poetic on my lobectomy. I don't go back until June 23 for my follow-up appointment. It was supposed to be June 16, but that is the #1 son's basketball team camp in Mississippi, and we have already made plans. I figure if it's good news, it can wait, and if it's bad news, it should wait, so as not to spoil the mini-vacation. The looks of the ultrasound and the fine-needle biopsy pointed to a benign nodule, but unlike Farmer H, Mrs. HM doesn't count her chickens until they hatch.

This photo is from today. The surgery was May 25. Swelling has greatly diminished from what it was Tuesday night. I have slept about 10 hours total since Monday night, so I'm not my usual bubbly self. Oh, and I had a side trip to the ER today, which kind of took the wind out of my sails. But don't y'all worry none about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. She's got a supply of 40 oxycodone to get her through, minus the three she's taken since coming home from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In My Absence...

In my absence, while I am hopefully doped-up on some fine post-surgery painkillers, and either watching Glee or listening to old music on a new MP3, I leave you with one of my favorite song lyrics:

"Through the valley of the shadow of Roosevelt's nose...
Adios South Dakota, adios Sally Rose."

No fair googling!!! Let me know if you recognize it on your own. I say the chances are slim to none. Not that I'm a pessimist or anything.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pins And Needles

I am a ball of nerves today, because tomorrow is my slicing and dicing day. It will start at 5:00 a.m. when I arise and prepare to depart the Mansion. We need to leave by 6:00 in case traffic is in a snarl because of the one-lane bottleneck on I-55 due to construction. I am supposed to check in at 8:00, from whence I will languish in anticipation until they are ready to begin at 10:00. My doctor has booked the O.R. from 10:00 to 12:00, though he told me it would probably take about an hour and a half. The anesthesia paraprofessional dude who took my meds info told me that it may take between 1-2 hours to wake up from my excursion into La La Land. His words, not mine. He said they would give me something before wheeling me into the O.R. so I would not care what they did to me. If it works as good as the nitrous oxide at the dentist, I should be good to go.

I figure that by 2:00, I should be awake and trying out the pain meds. The #1 son has assisted me in loading some music on an MP3. Whether I will remember how to turn it on remains to be seen. I figure that will help me pass the time, since Caregiver H will drop me like a hot potato when it is goat-feeding time. My sister is driving my mom up to check on me around 1:00. I hope they can make a speedy escape before rush hour, though my sister says that traffic doesn't bother her. My niece, she of the gambling friends who planned to sleep in Bill's room, will be minding the young 'uns. I am paying her, even though she protests, because time IS money, and she is a college gal, and doesn't have a summer job lined up this year.

Employee of the Year H says he is going to work on Wednesday morning, but that he will come pick me up when they are ready to let me out. Ain't that downright husbandly of him? All I can think about is the time I went into labor with the #1 son, and Father of the Year H made me wait until he took a shower before we could head to the hospital. Wouldn't you know it, I got there too late for an epidural, and had to push that sunny-side-up big-headed boy out with just a single shot of some kind of non-working painkiller. Oh, and Hot-House Flower H told the labor nurse that it was too cold in the room, and she turned up the heat. Meanwhile, I was on my hands and knees on the delivery bed, rivers of sweat pouring from every nook and cranny, trying to birth that bowling-ball-headed baby. Ahh...good times. I'm hoping Devoted Companion H won't whip out a Milky Way and eat it in front of me this time.

I'm also wishing for a room without a roommate, or at least one so drugged up she can't protest, because I would like to watch Glee tomorrow night. At least the whole ordeal will be over with by this time tomorrow.

I have been dreading it since last November. I'm ready to move on and start worrying about something else--like whether the #1 son's basketball coach will ban me from watching open gym this summer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Welcome Our New Additions

Friday morning, my first day of NotSchool, no workday, no nothing, except for the evening graduation ceremony at which my presence was demanded, I had seriously thought about sleeping in until SEVEN O'CLOCK. I know. I'm such a slacker. But it was not to be. Disgruntled H reared his envious head, as he does every summer because he chose a career that actually requires him to work year-round.

I thought he had left for work, but NO. While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a stomping, as of someone gaily romping, romping to my chamber door. Of course it was Animal Hoarder H. "I know you don't want to hear this, but we have a baby goat." Well. Who can lay a-bed at 6:00 a.m. with a newborn goat just yards from her Mansion? Not Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, that's for sure. I'm surprised Proud Papa H wasn't passing out cigars. This baby was not from Goatrude, the very first goat, the goat that Ignoramus H told everyone was pregnant for an entire year. Nope. This was from a little bitty goat. Try to keep it under your hat, but I suspect her brother is the father.

Because nobody appreciates a newborn goat like The Pony, I woke him up and we traipsed out to the pen. That baby stood shaking and shivering all by itself. Mensa President H had opened the corn bin and tossed food to the goats, which meant that Mama left her baby and went to eat with the herd. And eat, she did. She was the last gorger standing, even after the rest of them trailed off to butt heads and climb on a stack of firewood and sniff at the 111 roosters. It was 50-something degrees that morning. Not good for a newborn goat. Faulty-Tasker H left us on the horns of a dilemma, stating, "Well, I've got to get to work."

Throwing a monkey wrench into the mix was Tank the beagle, who can worm his way through the fence into the pen. That baby goat was the size of our big fat rabbit when it laid down. We caught Tank sidling up to it and sniffing it with his beagle tail at attention like an exclamation mark. I was afraid he would eat that baby if we left him in there, because Tank is a well-known chicken-killer.

Making matters worse, Mama acted like she had nothing to do with this new goat on the lot. In the human world, she might have left her baby in a dumpster. She ate some corn and hay and wandered around, oblivious to the pitiful, high-pitched bleating of Baby. The big goat with the straight horns paid more attention to Baby, sniffing him and looking at The Pony and I like, "Do something!" That dang Mama hadn't even licked the goo off of Baby. I was sure he would succumb to hypothermia before he was eaten by Tank the beagle.

I sent The Pony into the Mansion for some old washcloths. We went into the pen, and I massaged that Baby right where he had collapsed on the cold wet mud. I tried to get Mama to come after him, but she maintained her distance, even when I picked him up to put him on the hay, and he moved his legs like he was running through the air, and bleated in panic. The old brown goat was so curious that he rooted in and inadvertently poled me in the eye with a longhorn. That should be his name. Longhorn. He also stood up and put his hooves on The Pony, leaving a muddy trail on his pajamas, and a red mark on his belly. I sent The Pony outside the pen to rattle the corn bin and toss in a little more. That brought Mama and her posse, and while she munched some more, I got hold of her business end and squirted a little milk on Baby's nose. He showed absolutely no interest, but Mama didn't seem to mind. She still wouldn't acknowledge him, though. We tried for 2 and a half hours to get that Baby feeding, to no avail.

I called Goat Abandoner H, who didn't answer. I made the #1 son get up and look for the pet carrier in the garage attic to lock up Tank the beagle. It was nowhere to be found, Animal Auction H having squirreled it away somewhere. We tried locking Tank in the garage, but as I feared, he escaped through the broken cat door, even though we piled coolers weighted down with cases of soda on both sides of it. Finally, I lured him to the porch with the promise of baloney, and shoved him in a wire chicken cage that #1 carried over from the animal staging area. I think he is still mad at me. Tank, not #1.

Not-Earning-His-Salary H called back around noon and said his buddy who raises goats said that sometimes they don't know how to take care of their babies, and we might have to bottle feed it that evening if Mama hadn't accepted it. Lucky for us, Baby grabbed a mouthful around noon, so the boys and I went off to town to do some last-minute stocking up before my impending throat-cutting on Tuesday. Slacker H came home for a doctor's appointment, and called us to report that Baby was kicking up his heels, and that we also had 4 baby chicks that had hatched. What a bummer for The Pony, who had checked on them faithfully for the last three days, and wanted to be the one to discover the chicks.

So...I had kind of a busy first day off, and couldn't stay home to play with my new menagerie because #1 and I had to get to Newmentia in time to get a parking space before we had to participate in graduation. Neither of us graduated. I had to march in like some grand high-fallutin' scholar, and #1 had to wear black pants and sing. At least this time, he didn't wear white socks.

Here are the newest additions to the Mansion:

This pic makes Baby look bigger than he is. That's not some giant Keebler Elf tree, just a small one, but Farmer H took the pic, and it's not up to par with those of the #1 son.

It's hard to see in this little nesting box, but that old biddy hatched two yellow chicks, a black one, and a baby turken. You can kind of see the turken. He's gray, with a bald neck. Turkens are the ugliest chickens EVAH, but this little chick is so ugly he's cute.

That now concludes this episode of Wild Hillmomba.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Building The Suspense

I have a secret. A secret which I won't share with you until Sunday, because, well, it's getting late, and I am just too lazy to deal with it tonight. Don't get all excited. It's not like I won $500,000 on a Florida scratch-off ticket and then was told it was a misprint. Nope. Nothing that interesting. Mabel has an inkling what it is. So instead of my little surprise secret, tonight I will tell you a joke. I can't remember where I saw it, but here goes:

A man died and went to heaven. At the pearly gates, he noticed a spectacular wall of clocks behind St. Peter.

"St. Peter, why are all those clocks on the wall?"
"Oh, those are liar's clocks. Everybody has one."
"That one hasn't moved at all."
"It's Mother Teresa's clock. She never told a lie. And you'll notice over here, we have Abraham Lincoln's clock. He only told two lies in his life."
"But St. Peter, where is Obama's clock?"
"Oh, Jesus has Obama's clock in his office. He's using it for a ceiling fan."

Thank you. I won't be here all week, though. I'll be in the hospital Tuesday, and may not feel up to typing on Wednesday. If I'm not back on Thursday, there might be a problem.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Nothing tonight. Graduation ran late.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

HM Checks Out

Today was my actual last day of work. We had graduation practice, jumped through various hoops, turned in assorted forms, and got the heck out of Newmentia.

Lucky for me, only five visitors dropped in. That's what eats up my work time...visitors. I had all my forms ready, in a folder marked Check Out, because I am just that organized. I was trying to put some syllabus information on my teacher webpage, a webpage which refuses to accept a pasting from my copied document. It might have something to do with the school using Word 1997-2003. Yeah. We're only, like, 13 years behind the times, by cracky! I'm surprised I didn't have to chisel it onto a cave wall.

The good news is, I got 2/3 of my syllabi onto my teacher webpage. BY FREAKIN' RE-TYPING IT ONTO THE ACTUAL WEBPAGE. If I had only tried that tactic sooner, I would have saved myself an hour. The borrowed time came from the allotment for cleaning out my file cabinet and built-in cabinets. I only threw out one trash bag full. Then I swept the dirt under the rug, as in I stuffed posters and workbooks and number pad and keyboard and SmartPad and VCR and DVD player into the cabinets that usually hold only my teacher editions and hands-on paraphernalia .

And furthermore, I took an ample length of masking tape and wove it through the cabinet handles and stuck it to itself. Not that it's a Yale lock or anything, but it will keep those pesky seniors from yanking open my overstuffed cabinets when they appropriate my room as a staging area for graduation on Friday night. Oh, sure, five or six of them might whip out their knives and slash my makeshift security measure. But they might not. And it will keep them from opening the doors to hang their hangers for their robes, hangers which they abandon after tassel-turning for me to deal with the first day I return to my classroom. I could start a new trend of hangering people, like that forking phenomenon.

My cabinets are shamefully overstuffed. They need cabinet liposuction. Or a shelf bypass. They should be made to attend Overstuffers Anonymous. Perhaps they could work at it on their own, and discard 30 items per day. They could whip themselves into shape in no time.

The librarian told me that I was missing 3 or 4 books from my crate. That is the crate of library books she gives each teacher for reading time, which is 30 minutes every Friday. First of all, whoever thought that letting those things sit out and not keep a record of who's reading them would work? Not me. I can't even get back my textbooks that are assigned by number. Kids don't care. They will carry a fine for four years, and if they're going to be banned from walking at graduation, they'll pay it. Not before. Same way with their lunch fees of several hundred dollars. So setting out a crate of library books, no strings attached, is just a recipe for larceny. Apparently the librarian never stood in the hall and observed student behavior on those days when we were without water, but still had school. She never saw students load up on the bottled water that was placed on a table by the office. They see things setting out and think, "HEY! FREEBIE! GOTTA GET ME SOME!"

The mystery remains as to where those books could be. More on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Listen My Friends, And You Shall Hear, Of The Last Half-Day Of HM's School Year

Welcome to the trenches, people. Join me for the last half-day of the school year, a day that should be full of rainbows and unicorns and fluffy kittens, a day for saying tearful goodbyes to each other, a day to reflect upon how you've grown as a person over the year, under the tutelage of those wiser than yourself. SCREEEEEEECH! There goes that vinyl LP again.

"But Mrs. Hillbilly Mom," you say, "what could possibly go wrong on the last half-day of school?"

We'll begin at the beginning, because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a structured and orderly professional. First cat out of the bag, before the tardy bell 1st Hour, a young lad who came to us in the middle of second semester, not exactly a transfer, because to be a transfer means that you must have been attending another school right before you enrolled at Newmentia and not just slacking about truantly, created a fracas over by the windows, near Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's desk. The object of his infliction was a much smaller boy who is altogether pleasant and has the added benefit of actually attending an institute of medium learning for the entire school year. Plus, he doesn't have a mohawk. Or even a fauxhawk. Mrs. HM called Slacker out into the hallway and made him stand up against the wall, where students walking by took great pleasure in catcalling and hooting at him.

Upon entering the classroom after the bell, the second cat escaped from the bag, that being an eager beaver lass who is always the first to volunteer to hand out papers or do bonus work, even though she's a hood, not a nerd, who asked if she could use her phone because one of those staffers who hijacked HM's Academic Award Night reserved table had told her to keep calling her sister, because if sister didn't bring in her pants, she would not be able to graduate. Yeah. Mrs. HM, too, questioned the pants issue. Seems that Sis did not turn in her softball uniform, and could not walk with a debt.

Second hour brought us S-Disturber, who was flaunting a sideways cap and jamming to the beat of his MP3 player. Never mind the fact that he was told every day upon entering class to put it away, and did so, and never caused an issue all year. S-D got all mouthy about how it was the last day, and he saw a kid in the hall wearing a hat, and that MP3 wasn't bothering nobody, and why can't we just do whatever we want on the last half-day of school? Well, Mrs. HM suggested that he could have stayed home, though after two class periods already, only two kids had been absent, which was better attendance than a regular day. Then the Nose In Everybody Else's Business girl with her feet up in a desk wanting HM to tell her to get them down, but HM didn't take the bait, asked if they could listen to their MP3s. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom said, "Yes. Everybody except for S-D."

This took us five minutes into 2nd hour, at which point a hulking, curly-haired fellow barged in and said that Coach needed Puddy for the rest of the hour. HM turned from entering the attendance, and stated that she was not letting anybody in or out of her class, and that she had better find out that Coach had, indeed, requested the presence of Puddy when she checked with him later in the day. With that, Curly-Burly began his retreat, mumbling, "Maybe I'd better go see exactly what he wanted with him."

Before the door even swang shut, in came a little gal with her hand out for donations for a baby gift and wedding gift. Not for the same faculty member. Mrs. HM forked over $10 to be divided evenly, because she was feeling exceptionally generous what with it being the last half-day of school, and maybe just a bit because that little gal was writing down teacher's names and how much they gave on the side of the envelope.

There was just enough time to catch a quick breath when a classroom invasion of sorts occurred. A student from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's last year's class barged right in uninvited. In answer to the question, "What brings you in here?" the lad that a crony had previously referred to as a home-schooled freak, or HSF for short, plopped down on a backwards chair and said, "I'm staying in here to watch your movie." Unfortunately, it took five commands to get him out, the ejection not forthcoming until Mrs. HM asked, "Whose class are you out of?" HSF craftily replied that he was out of no class, really, because he hadn't been to a class all day. With that, he looked around at the freshman ignoring him, and uttered, "You guys have really turned her mean."

Just before the bell, The Showerer, the kid who asked to go change his sweaty shirt early in the year, and came back 30 minutes later, all wet, whispering (but not quietly enough) that he had taken a shower in the locker room, asked if he could go take a shower. While Mrs. HM does appreciate a direct approach, the answer was still NO.

Thankfully 3rd Hour arrived, a class of only four students, surely an easy class for Mrs. HM to manage, you would think, on the last half-day of school, with a class-premiere showing of Daddy Day Camp, a flick filled with broad slapstick humor which is like mother's milk to these no-frills, only the minimum necessary to get by students. The only girl in the class, a compliant little thing who follows the rules and encourages the others to follow suit, asked to get a drink. No skin off Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's nose. The drinking fountain is five feet from her door. "Sure." But today was the last half-day of school at Newmentia, more like a wilding night in urban areas. When Drinky didn't return after 10 minutes, Mrs. HM looked left and right down the hall and saw many a stray, but no Drinky. So she did what any normal teacher would do, and left the three boys watching Daddy Day Camp, and took a bathroom break. When she returned, Drinky was back in her seat. Mrs. HM was not up to the task of interrogating Drinky. It had already been a long half-day.

After lunch, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom locked her door to discourage intruders. Sure enough, two chicks came a-knockin', but Mrs. HM was not unlockin'. She told them through the glass to move along. Then Travelin' Tattoo Teacher almost broke her wrist trying to get in, so Mrs. HM opened the door a crack, just enough to deny that a found text was hers, as the number on it was 54, and hers start at 100 and go up, but TTT said the other teacher also denied responsibility, so upon looking at the wad of assignments hanging out (DUH) it was discovered that the book belonged to a sophomore, which is neither fish nor fowl to Mrs. HM, who only instructs freshmen and juniors.

Right before the announcement to dash madly out of the building, two of last year's students tried to get in. Mrs. HM gaily waved at them, but stood her ground, leading one to rub fake tears like a mime, and the other to shake her fist at the door glass.

And so ended the last half-day of school for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Excitement Knows Some Bounds

OK, I take it back. I AM excited about the last day of school. It's tomorrow, you know. A teacher only has so many last days of school. It's nothing to sneeze at. Another year come and gone. Just when you get the kids broken in, they leave you and you get a new batch to train.

Much like my gal Hillary was likable enough during the 2008 Democratic primary, I am excited enough about the last day of school. I'm not excited like some freaky European soccer fan, or a 17-year-old law-breaking idiot who runs out onto the baseball field and gets tasered. It's more of a Snoopy kind of excitement, nose tilted up to the sky, arms outstretched, dancing that little happy dance. That's me. I'm Charles Schulz excited. Maybe that's not a good comparison. He is dead, you know.

To up the ante of my excitement, Mr. Principal has finagled a true early out for his Newmentia faculty. For some reason, the district is letting the students out at 11:45 instead of the usual early out time of 12:45. That was a good enough deal from the outset. But now there's some tasty butter-cream icing on that summer vacation cake. (That's for you, Mabel). Since we have to haul ourselves to graduation Friday evening, early enough to get a parking spot, drape ourselves in academia rags, parade through the packed gymnasium to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance, sit obediently during the lead-up to tassel-turning, and then race like a gender-ambiguous 800-meter Olympian to get out of the gym ahead of the silly string explosion, throw our robes at the gracious office secretary, and peel out of the parking lot faster than a funny-car drag-racing champion, we are being permitted to leave at 1:30. HEY, it's an hour-and-a-half compensatory interlude that Elementia and Basementia don't get. So it's a big deal.

As my old high school friend Mooner would say, "I'm so happy I could just sh*t!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

With A Whimper

Two days left, people. Two days with students. Then we all stuff a cassette tape of Alice Cooper's SCHOOL'S OUT into our jam boxes (because teachers are creatures of habit, and not exactly spring chickens) and rock on into the summer. Except for those who might prefer Brownsville Station's SMOKIN' IN THE BOYS' ROOM. You know who your are!

I have mixed feeling this year. The sooner school is out, the sooner I get my throat cut. It's kind of cramped my style all year, having my thyroid hanging over my head. But once it's over, I can look forward to the summer and #1's basketball camp, which we are planning to drive him to, and use as our vacation.

I'm not exactly crazy about going to Mississippi during the summer. Something tells me it's going to be hotter and more humid than Missouri. It's in mid-June, so maybe it won't be too bad yet. The camp is at Ole Miss this year. The innernets say the college has a museum with some dude's collection of Greek or Roman artifacts. I can't remember which. It could be Egyptian, for all I know, but I DO know that it's something that interests The Pony. I, myself, prefer a side trip to Tunica on the way home. We'll see what develops. I may not even feel like going with my slashed throat. However, the doctor said that I could be ready to return to work in two weeks, and camp will be about three weeks from my surgery.

Animal Husband H will have to arrange for a chicken/goat/rabbit/guinea/turkey feeder while we're gone.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quack, Quack

Alas, my 4-day weekend comes to an end. Not that it was OH SO GREAT to start with.

Thursday was my pre-op visit for my impending throat-slashing on May 25. I divulged insurance info, weighed in, had an EKG, gave two vials of blood, and was on my way after 2.5 hours. It would have gone quicker, but I sat unattended for an hour because they said something came up with a dude that needed their attention. Whatever. Better him than me.

Friday was the #1 son's doctor's appointment. I thought it would just be routine, but I was quickly proved incorrect. We arrived at 9:40 for his 10:00 appointment with a specialist, an appointment set up by his primary physician at the time he went for a sports physical. The doctor never called me as he said he would to explain the situation, but apparently had told #1 that it might be nothing, and probably wouldn't limit him, but he needed it checked out.

After filling out three pages of new patient info and paying a $40 co-pay, we sat. And waited. At 10:20, #1 was called in. I let him go alone. He IS 15 now. I was the only person left in the waiting room. There had only been one other patient before us, who was called in at 10:05 for a 9:30 appointment. After #1 went in, I heard the doctor asking his receptionist if he had a break scheduled. She said that his 10:30 wasn't coming, and that would be his break. Then the doctor came striding out through the waiting area and disappeared down the hall. I never saw him come back, but at 10:25 I heard him behind the frosted glass. There must have been a separate entrance.

Around 10:30, a woman came in with a thick 3-ring binder, and went into the inner sanctum. She started talking to the receptionist about procedure and scheduling a meeting next week. Then the doctor was heard again, telling someone that "...this is not professional. No heading. This should not be sent out." RingBinder told him that is was just a rough draft that she was showing Receptionist. Doctor wanted to know what was going on. RingBinder said it was just front-office stuff that didn't concern him. Doctor said that HE was the doctor, and everything in his office concerned him. RingBinder said he was welcome to come to the meeting. Doctor said he could not just ignore patients for a meeting, and that it needed to be in the afternoon.

Then commenced a diatribe worthy of the Duke and the Dauphin, with both sides putting on such airs that it was a wonder the world kept turning without their express, written consent. Doctor said that HE is the one patients come to see, and HE is the one they blame if their appointment is late, and HE is the one responsible for surgeries, and HE is the one the specialists get mad at when they drive 140 miles for surgery and the patients cancel. RingBinder said that one option was what she was telling Receptionist, about having a back-up list of patients, and if three of seven canceled, then call the four on the back-up list. Doctor went ballistic, bemoaning the fact that HE is the doctor, and HE knows what contraindications these patients have, and you can't treat a kidney stone like a vasectomy, because different surgeries have different risks of complications, and they've been lucky up to now, and all that saved the day on Tuesday was that two patients were admitted to ward with kidney stones, so the surgeon at least got three cases for his 140-mile drive.

Whew! Imagine hearing all this while sitting in the waiting room with your son held hostage in the inner sanctum. I was on Doctor's side at this point, because he is relatively new here, his name not even in the 2010 phone book, and I have seen such pompous biddies try to run the office because in their view, they have been there longer than the doctor. Besides, Doctor had a captivating accent, with a West Indies, British lilt to his phrasing and enunciation. RingBinder finally backed down and acquiesced that Doctor would have the final say, that the back-up list was just one idea, and they would work it out. But you could tell that she was seething inside. She gave in to end it, because after 30 minutes, Doctor was not letting it go.

At 11:05, Doctor came striding out with #1 in tow. The boy handed me his note for school, then disappeared. At 11:15, Doctor came back in. No boy. I knew he didn't have the keys to T-Hoe. He finally showed up, and said I needed to go to another office and make an appointment. WTF? The other office was a general surgeon. Why my boy needed a general surgeon, I do not know, because Doctor Specialist never spoke to me. The surgeon's receptionist heard my tale, got a bit angry, and told me that I needed to go back to Doctor Specialist and ask him what was going on, and that in Surgeon's office, I would be told immediately after the exam. She even called down to
Doctor Specialist's office to tell them I was coming back, and he needed to explain.

Receptionist took me right in to an exam room, then told me that Doctor Specialist wanted to meet with me in his office. There I found him with his nose in a book, sitting behind a cluttered desk, the two consulting chairs full to the brim with books and papers. Obviously, he knew how to get rid of malcontents fast. He said he did not know I was #1's mother, nobody had told him, and that after his exam, he was not impressed. That's all he would repeat. He was not impressed. And furthermore, he was not going to be the definitive answer, so he wanted a second opinion.

Au contraire, he WAS the second opinion, and if I wanted to pay another $40 co-pay, I would go to Children's Hospital where they have a semblance of knowing what they're doing. I am not making an appointment with a surgeon, and if #1 has any symptoms of what they are not sure of and not impressed with, I will most definitely take him to the city to a real doctor.

Don't ever get almost sick or hurt in Hillmomba. The doctors are dying to kill you. AFTER they get their cut.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Between The Devil And The Livestock Auction

I told Annoying Underfoot H to go to The Devil...and he did! Personal Shopper H is at this very moment traipsing through the labyrinth of The Devil's Playground, picking from a list I gave him. I hope this turns out better than the last time I sent him to the store with a list, way back before we built the Mansion, when he lost the list, and came home with $35 worth of cookies and ice cream and other snacks, because he couldn't remember exactly what was on the list.

It's the least he can do for me, really, after returning from the livestock auction last week with 17 new chickens. Seriously. Seventeen. Which he neglected to tell me about until I heard a new little rooster trying to crow. Believe me, I must have some spectacular hearing to notice that little twerp out of the other 11 roosters that we have.

What's that?
A rooster.
I know. But it's new.
What do you mean?
He can't even crow.
Well, I got a little rooster.
There are two like that.
One is a hen. I had to take the pair.
You have enough roosters.
But look how pretty they are.

Then I noticed him tending to the cage that once held the six striped-like-a-chipmunk chicks, who have since been moved to a larger pen. A pen where Chicken Pimp H also put the remaining hens, because those 11 roosters have worn all the feathers off their backs.

What's in there.
Some chicks.
Where did they come from.
The auction.
You told me you weren't going to buy any more.
Well, they were only 85 cents apiece. I couldn't pass that up.
You promised.
I only got 11. (since then, I found out from The Pony it was 15)
You promised.
They had the cutest little donkey for $45.
Where is he?
I didn't buy him because I knew you'd be mad.
You would love that little donkey.
We have too many animals.
He could go in the goat pen.
Get rid of the goats. Seven is too many.
I could get rid of some goats to get a couple of donkeys.
Get rid of all the goats and get one donkey.
I will keep two goats. Maybe three.
Not if you want a donkey.
I might take some roosters to sell.
You will take some roosters to sell. And those rabbits.
Yeah. The rabbits aren't doing anything but sitting in a cage.
Neither are the chickens.
They eat bugs.

It's no use trying to argue with a hoarder.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Still Stewing In My Own Juices

I still have something stuck in my craw. The bone of contention, the thorn in my side, the wad in my panties, the bug up my butt, the fly in my ointment, the rain on my parade, the yank on my chain, my kettle of fish, my can of worms, my sticky wicket, the issue which I am willing to touch with a 10-foot pole is the unauthorized abduction of my school laptop.

Yeah. I know it's not my property. I know the user can't use my log-on and get into my stuff. I realize that my school laptop was returned after school, on a day when I was not even there to use it. But that doesn't make it right, by the unwritten tenets of Hillmomban society.

I feel violated, victimized, taken advantage of. It's as if my leg was peed upon and a pre-recorded weather report told me it was raining. It's like a bully kicked sand in my face and then gave me an atomic wedgie just before gracing me with a titty-twister while bending my arm behind my back. I feel like Charlie Brown after Lucy held the football.

Something is rotten in the kingdom of Hillmomba. And it ain't Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Imagine, if you will, that Mrs. HM waltzed into the classroom of Mr. S and took his school laptop for the day, without asking permission, never intending for him to find out. Then imagine what would happen to Mrs. HM if Mr. S complained to a superior. Uh huh. Mrs. HM would get a butt-chewin'.

Things don't work that way if the victim is Mrs. HM. So it is a waste of time to bring up the issue. That dog won't hunt. Mrs. HM doesn't have a leg to stand on. Toughen up, buttercup. This squeaky wheel won't get any grease. Some laptop stealers are more equal than others. The proof is in the pudding. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom will be the one who doesn't work and play well with others. Mrs. HM brought it all upon herself by flaunting her laptopness in a manner which Arch Nemesis could not resist. Mrs. HM should know to take her laptop off the dock and cover it with its own special case and put it out of sight under lock and key surrounded by a moat teeming with snapping alligators in the event that she will be out of her classroom. That succulent laptop must not be exposed to the lascivious leers of laptop-stealing addicts jonesin' for an extra portable internet connection.

Hey! Teacher! Leave laptops alone!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reports Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

My body isn't even cold yet, and people are pilfering my belongings. I'd be spinning in my own grave if I was actually dead.

Perhaps I've mentioned how I am you say...protective of my classroom accoutrements. Don't mess with my stuff. That means my school-issued furniture and electronics and my personal electronics such as TV/VCR/DVD/microwave/refriderator/printer, etc. And whatever you do, don't touch the stuff on my desk.

I was absent today for a trip to Barnes-Jewish Hospital for my pre-surgery workup. My loving mother, my right hand, my indispensable child-care backup, went to pick up the boys after school. Upon walking into my classroom to wait for The Pony, she surprised the son of Arch Nemesis. He was standing at my desk, "going through things," as she put it. Granted, I had stashed away my two teacher's edition texts, and my old red gradebook, and my list of who's getting what awards, because I expect anarchy when a sub presides. But you don't expect grave robbers after school, especially when the corpse isn't even dead. According to my mom, Young Arch looked startled. She said, "Oh. What are YOU doing here?" And he said he had come to return Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's laptop. Screeeech! Hear that needle gouging vinyl? What laptop? And why?

Young Arch then scurried down the hall. My mom noticed that he was empty-handed. Which begs the question, How could he be returning a laptop if he didn't have a laptop? Mom said he was looking through a stack of movies. That's about all I left on my desk. Along with a written assignment, and the sub folder. The sub folder, which may or may not contain notes written about specific class behavior while I was gone.

Young Arch returned a few moments later with my laptop, and plugged it into the dock. He said his mom, Arch Nemesis, had needed it for a presentation, because no other laptops could be found. Give me a freakin' break already! We have at least two carts of laptops. I did not know that we had to cannibalize the equipment of absent teachers to pull off a presentation that had been scheduled for a month. It's not like I held a vital piece of lab equipment. It was my school laptop. The one checked out to me, just like the one she has checked out to her. Why was another one needed? Did Arch use it herself, or did a student use it?

Am I off base here, to be so incensed that something school-belonging to me was taken without my permission? I don't want to make a big deal of it if we consider all school equipment to be fair game for all school employees. But I don't want to be taken advantage of, either. Because once you let that big German Shepherd pee on you while you're wagging your tail at the end of your own driveway, you'll always be perceived as submissive. Just ask my dog Grizzly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How's Your Mom And Them?

Yesterday, I had to tell a boy to quiet down. Twice. He's not a bad kid. Just a loud talker. He wasn't even doing it to needle me or get attention. He just has a loud voice.

At the choir concert last night, I saw his family walk past me to sit down front. Talker spied me a few moments later and came over to talk. Duh. He's TALKER, by cracky! I said, "Hey, Talker, how's your mom? I saw her come in. Maybe I should go down and have a chat with her." I had no intention of doing so. I was just teasing Talker.

Talker became even more animated. "My mom is in perfect health. She's doing just fine. There is no need for that!"

Kids crack me up.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ma Meh Me Mo Moo

In case you were never in choir (or as my students of several years ago pronounced it, chore), that is a standard warm-up from back in the day. Which is one of the main reasons I only took one year of choir. That, and the fact that I am not really a very good singer except along with the radio in T-Hoe.

That's where I am tonight, at a choir concert. Or a chore, in my opinion.

I'm hoping to skip the athletic banquet on Friday. But don't worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's social life. I can still make the band concert on Sunday. That's something I can relate to. I was not only band president...I was also a member. And if you don't get that reference, it is obvious that you don't need the Hair Club For Men, and I have wasted my time channeling Sy Sperling.

Rest assured that I am thinking of you as this bold, fresh piece of blogging posts itself.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why Johnny Can't Run

Is is just me, or is there something inherently wrong with the announcement, "All students going to the cadaver lab today should meet in the cafeteria."

Does that not sound like there are cadavers in the cafeteria? Doesn't it make you wonder exactly what (or whom) you will be eating today in your school lunch?

Speaking of the cafeteria...I have a recently-adopted pet peeve with this entity. I know it's the end of the year, and all school lunch programs operate at a deficit, and we mustn't be wasteful with Uncle Sam's coffers. But that does not give us the right to poison the future of tomorrow! Let them eat baloney, I say! Not as punishment, mind you, though that is a cool fantasy. No, let them eat baloney because it is more nutritious than the decayed slop that is being force-fed to public school youths as summer nears.

Two kids walked past the teacher table today, and were overheard telling the cooks, "Mine has mold on it." Uh huh. That was the packaged dessert Apple Filled Jammer Sticks. According to the Missouri state DESE website, the Jammer Sticks will store for a year frozen. Just thaw and serve. So why are these Jammer Sticks moldy? Did we get them in May of 2009, and hoard them until now? Or did we get them, thaw them, and keep passing them out day after day if we didn't use all that were thawed on the first day? How old, exactly, are these Jammer Sticks? Can no cook find an expiration date and use common sense? It's not like they're actually cooking anything. Heck, they're probably not even thawing anything. Just re-warming day after day after day after day.

That's how the old coach got a moldy hamburger back in ought-two. Contrary to popular belief and state law that no food should be kept and re-served the next day, the cooks had been keeping the hamburgers overnight. For many nights, apparently. Coach took the lid off his burger to apply condiments, and found MOLD! That right there would have sent Girly Girly Man H into spasms. He has a thing about MOLD. He can't even touch a bag of moldy bread to throw it out. But this was worse. The MEAT had mold on it. MEAT! How freakin' old does meat have to be to grow MOLD? Not just any meat, right off the steer. SCHOOL MEAT. MEAT that has been processed to the nth degree. If your school meat is growing mold, something's rotten in Hillmomba!

Back then, Coach returned his tray to the lunch line and told the cooks that he had moldy meat. You would think something like that would be a shock to their system. But no. One of them said, "Oh, I thought we picked all the moldy ones out of that bag." Uh huh. That's what cooks do instead of cook. They pick moldy burgers out of the bag. They were really polite. "Here. We'll give you two more." Coach didn't want two more. Coach didn't want one more. Coach didn't want school meat any more. Period. There was no pacifying him, even when the cook said, "You know, some mold is good for you. Think of penicillin."

Those Apple-Jammer kids today were hungry, hungry adolescents. They took the proffered Apple Filled Jammer Stick like a strung-out junky takes crack. That's the thing. The government guidelines say that ketchup is a vegetable. That Apple Filled Jammer Sticks are part of a nutritious school lunch. I beg to differ. No doubt the Jammer Stick is filled with demon high-fructose corn syrup. Even though the bill of lading doodad called nutritional information just lists 'starch'.

That's why kids are fat. They eat free government school breakfast, free government school lunch, and free government school dinner. Yes. Dinner. Have you not heard of a 21st Century Grant? We have one here in Hillmomba. It's one more program for taking care of kids whose parents, it is assumed, will not. Why should they even try, if the government will raise their kids for them? So Johnny is shuttled off to school every morning to be fattened and babysat from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., at which time he will be bused home to lay on the couch and decompress while watching TV until bedtime, if he has one.

That, my friends, is why Johnny can't run.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pinching The Sweet Red Penny

I have turned into my mother. How fitting, on Mother's Day.

Actually, I turned into her last night, and informed her of my transformation this morning. She is quite proud. She of depression-era parents, raised by a lead miner who shopped at the company store, who became distraught when one of my mom's three brothers threw her shoe out the window of the moving car as a prank. Oh, how they searched the roadside for that shoe. But it was not to be found. So my mom had just one shoe until her daddy could afford another pair.

Maybe that explains my mom' you say...thriftiness. Perhaps it's the reason she washes styrofoam cups and plastic knives and forks, sometimes rinses out zip-lock bags, and puts half her entree on a roll and wraps it in a napkin and stuffs it in her purse. Or maybe she's a latent hoarder. But last night, I did her proud.

After the weekly sortie to The Devil's Playground, I stopped at Sonic to feed my Diet Coke with Lime addiction. It being Sonic Happy Hour, I also sprung for a Sprite for The Pony, who additionally requested two corn dogs. I can't say 'no' to The Pony. He wanted some ketchup, which they never throw in the bag with corn dogs, because let's face it: normal people eat mustard on their corn dogs. The Sonic dude gave me a heapin' handful of ketchup packets on request, and The Pony dumped the unused ones in the sack.

Throwing away The Pony's leavings after putting up the groceries, I could not bring myself to toss the plethora of ketchup packets. Never mind that I have two plastic cups full o' ketchup in my minifridge at school, thanks to my mom's generosity, and a stuffed zip-lock bag of them in the door of Frig which need to be trashcanized.

So I did what any good daughter of a daughter of depression-era parents would do, and got out my bottle of Save-A-Lot ketchup. I took off the lid, ripped open a dozen foil ketchup packets printed with the Sonic logo, and squeezed that free ketchup down into the bottle. It raised the level of ketchupy goodness about an inch. That's half a serving for The Pony.

Never let it be said that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can't pinch a penny with the best of them.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We Have A Hovercraft

No, I'm not doing an Orbitz commercial. We have a hovercraft here at the Mansion. Don't look for this model at your local hovercraft dealer, however. Ours is the 2010 Hovercraft H.

The Hovercraft H hovers nearby when you're in the middle of something. It is not there to assist, but to observe in a critical manner. Washing the dishes by hand in your dishwasherless kitchen? The Hovercraft H will hover at the kitchen table, watching silently except for intermittent snorts when all the suds are not quite rinsed away from an occasional fork.

Removing clothes from the washer to put in the dryer? The Hovercraft H will drift through the laundry room and need access to the laundry sink between those two appliances at that very moment.

Folding laundry in the living room? Make room for the Hovercraft H, which seems to have an aversion to cable news programming, marked by bursts of explosive exhaust until the channel is changed to reruns of Ax Men.

Sitting in your dark basement lair, typing on your desktop? Beware the sudden, sneaky arrival of the Hovercraft H. This machine not only idles, it sidles. Yep. The Hovercraft H sidles like a champ, sidles to beat the band, sidles to the envy of that Elaine Benes co-worker who received an unsolicited gift of TicTacs in her misguided effort to predict his whereabouts.

Won't you order your Hovercraft H today? Better hurry...there's only one left in stock.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dishing Up The Dinner

We were out late last night, chowing down at the academic banquet at Newmentia. The food was really good this year, perhaps due to the use of a different caterer. The beverages left a little to be desired. The kids were used to the cooler of canned soda from years past. Not this year. They had a choice of tea or watery pink lemonade. I'm not so sure it wasn't pink water. Given a blind taste test, I'm betting that 50% of tasters would say it was water. I let my kids go to my room and get a soda from the minifridge. My mom and I drank the weak pink lemonade. The meal was salad, pork loin, wild rice, some kind of beef rolled around some dressing, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, hot rolls, and chocolate cake or a strawberry/jello/whipped cream concoction. Our cooks made the cakes, and that strawberry thingy is a Newmentia favorite.

Awards were doled out to the top 10% of each grade, from 6th through 12th. The salutatorian and valedictorian were officially announced. Academic teams were recognized. All in all, it ran like a well-oiled 90-minute machine. Now let's dish...

We left the building at 4:00, planning to return at 5:30 for the 6:00 dinner. Before leaving, The Pony and I went to look at the set-up. I saw a table for six in the corner that I figured would seat The Pony, #1, my mom, and me. That would leave only two seats for interlopers, and most kids bring two parents. I folded a piece of copy paper in half, and set it down on the program, along with my blue pen. I figured that people might think, "Oh, that table is taken," and walk on by. At worst, I would only be out a piece of paper and a pen I had found on the floor of my classroom.

When we got back, I sent The Pony to grab the table while I went in my classroom to change shoes. After we were seated, The Pony said, "Your paper was gone, but I got the table. I saw your paper and pen over there. Somebody wrote RESERVED on it." WTF? Who steals a piece of paper and pen? I kept my eye on that table. And I was not a bit surprised to see who sat there. I shan't name names, but it was two Newmentia employees and their daughters. One has been referred to by an insider as 'the witch who looks like she dresses out of the rag bag', and the other has been known to stir the pot in both buildings--Newmentia and Basementia. If my buddy Mabel is reading, she will no doubt peg them for their sunny dispositions, even though she is not the one who described them as above. I knew that no laymen would dare pick up my paper and pen. These two should have marked their own territory, not taken my materials. I was incensed. It doesn't take much. I was OH SO TEMPTED to walk by and say, "Oh, I marked MY table, but somebody picked up my placeholder. Can you believe it? The nerve of some people!" But I resisted.

Basementia Buddy was at the table next to us. She invited us to her long, medieval great hall table, but I declined, as I did not want my back to the proceedings. Basementia Buddy brought over a program and pointed to one specific class, and snarled with all the composure she could muster, "How the H*LL did that one make the top 10 percent?" I rolled my eyes in acquiescence. And I might or might not have stage-whispered, "Well, look at that whole group. It's just rock, paper, scissors." Which might have meant, if I had let it leave my lips, that shed is not filled with the sharpest of tools. Because I am a teacher. I give tests. I know the difference in the acquisition of knowledge, and the wheedling and cajoling and downright cloak-and-dagger procurement of homework answers with which to pad one's point total. There is more to learning than numbers on paper, you see. Numbers which may or may not be an accurate reflection of the ability of a student to eventually maintain gainful employment in the real world.

Oh, and while the majority of the evening was a pleasant interlude, a lack of manners reared its ugly head in the buffet line when a crony of #1 dared to cut into line right in front of me. I am sorry. I can not tolerate rudeness in the younger generation. Or any generation. I said quite loudly, no doubt to the dismay of the crony's mama who was right behind me with her other two ducklings, "Where are YOU going, Crony? What's that? You don't know? How about to the end of the line?" To which other of #1's cronies a bit further back shouted, "YEAH! You're only here because of Academic Team!" Kids can be so cruel, those top tens vs. the lowly academics. But I'll not be silenced in my Johnny-Appleseed-like spreading of etiquette. Because fair is fair. While I might overlook it at the school cafeteria student lunch line if I'm not on duty and nobody complains, I'll be darned if I'll not speak out when a kid blatantly thumbs his nose at any sense of propriety and shows a lack of respect to the elderly such as myself and my mom by cutting line right under my nose. #1 and a legally-in-line crony moved behind me with The Original Crony. But it still didn't satisfy the lesser cronies further back. I feel their outrage.

I'm a downright cranky b*tch, ain't I?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

No Badge For HM

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a happy camper this week, my friends. She had a splitting headache from 2:00 p.m. until midnight on Monday, broke off half a molar eating dried apricots on Tuesday, muddled through Wednesday and got her paycheck, but has a dinner date with the Top Ten Percent of the student body from Basementia and Newmentia on Thursday. The good news, though, for Mrs. Even Steven, is that both of her young 'uns are in the Top Ten percent of their class and get a free $10 meal, Convention Booth Vendor H is gone for three days, and the end of the school year is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.

In fact, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a camper at all, though if she was of the camping ilk, she would hitch up her 5th-wheel and high-tail it to Kathy's Kampground, where no doubt she would soon be happy enough. Don't worry, Kathy. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom would not back over your frost-free hydrant, or ask for you to pay her money to camp there. Frontiersman H might even whittle you some gewgaws to barter at your kampground store. He had a most scathingly brilliant idea one time, about making those wooden ducky kid toys that you push with a stick handle and it rolls around flopping its feet made of old tires or some such recyclable, and then taking them when he went camping, and wheeling them around to make kids cry for them, and then he would sell them to the parents. Alas, much like his plan to mine the backyard of the Mansion for copper, this little venture never reached fruition.

My sister and her husband the ex-mayor are a camping bunch. They have a little gang that goes camping together. One time, we drove my mom down to visit them, since she used to camp, but doesn't want to since my dad died. When I saw how this band camped, I knew it wasn't for me. Oh, they all had nice campers, with air conditioning, and TVs and gaming systems, and toilets and showers and kitchens. Wherein lies the problem.

They invited us to stay for dinner. And while the men and kids went off to fish and ride bikes and swim and play whiffleball...the women went to their separate campers and cooked for their potluck supper. I kid you not. My sister's dish was a pot of smoked sausage, cabbage, and potatoes, with a side of cornbread. WTF? Why pack up your kit 'n' caboodle and haul it over hill and dale just to do the same chores you do at home? It's beyooooond me! Stab some weenies with a green stick and torture them over some hot coals. Rip open a bag of chips for the vegetable. Lick that green stick clean and impale some marshmallows, then hold them over the fire until they bloat up and get a charcoal crust. Voila! That's dessert.

Back before I was Ladies Man H's woman, I went camping with some of my Cuba compatriots. Cuba, Missouri. The teachers went out to George and Jane's farm and had a good ol' Woodstocky kind of time, but without the herb. We played volleyball and cards and Trivial Pursuit and BBQed hamburgers and hot dogs and popped many an aluminum top, then retired to tents to sleep it off. No showers, no air conditioning, no 20-course meals, no TV. Three days and two nights with just a port-a-potty, tractor rides, a creek to wash your feet before bed, and some good gossip about the people who weren't there.

Now THAT'S camping!

Note-to-self if you ever do this kind of camping: It's not a good idea to lay in your two-woman tent and make play-by-play small talk about your friend Jim as he staggers around the fire pit poking branches into the coals, because right after your buddy says, "He's so drunk, he's going to fall into the fire and burn up," Jim will sit down on a log, light up a cigarette, and say, "You know, I can hear you b*tches."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Halls Have Ears

Overheard this morning in the hallowed halls of Hillmomba's Newmentia...

Teacher, hustling down the hall, waving a stack of newly-copied diagrams:
"We're learning about the reproductive system today."

Custodian, putting broom back in the closet:
"Call me if you need help."

Except for being a tad risque for the blue-haired elementary teacher set, that would make an excellent cartoon for School & Community, the magazine of the Missouri State Teachers Association. Too bad I can't cartoon worth a whit. It's way better than Elaine's New Yorker cartoon of a pig at the complaint department saying, "I wish I was taller."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Isn't It Funny

Isn't it funny that...

The kid who wears his jeans with the waistband at his thighs, showing the entire school his underwear, is the same kid who would slap the school with a lawsuit if they told him to drop his jeans for a contraband search?

A certain teacher calls a couple of kids on their cell phones regarding school functions, then wonders how all the kids got his cell phone number?

The girl who has been broadcasting for weeks that she is going to turn 16 and get her driver's license is flabbergasted that she didn't pass after the second time, just because she drove down the middle of the road and made a turn too wide after a stop sign, crossing the center line, and forgot to apply the emergency brake when parking on a hill?

A group who steals two paper bridge designs from a neighboring group becomes outraged when a member of that other group dares to look at their design?

Sonic lets people with short-term memory loss work the drive-thru?

A lunchmate mentions that over the weekend, he took his dog and his wife for a walk at the state park, in that order?

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom asks that rhetorical question using the word funny when what she really means is odd?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

If You Give A Girl A Casino Comp

If you give your daughter your free room comp from Harrah's in St. Charles, she will invite her friends to join her in celebrating her 21st birthday at the casino.

Since her friends are, after all, just 21-year-old dudes themselves, they will not discern a difference between Harrah's St. Charles, and a Harrah's in Illinois.

Due to their 21ness, the friends are stoked that even though the check-in desk at Harrah's St. Charles has no reservation for them, and no rooms available for that Friday night, a dude named 'Bill' just back from Iraq has a room to himself and offers to let them stay with him.

Your daughter and her girlfriends, on the highway from Hillmomba to St. Charles, will desperately beg the boys not to stay with Bill. "No. It's my birthday. I'm not going to be responsible for you getting raped or killed in a Harrah's hotel room! We'll squeeze you into our room. Six isn't much more than four."

Upon arrival, your daughter will find that the dudes have invited Bill to the birthday dinner. That's OK, because with 12 other people, Bill should be minding his Ps and Qs and not pulling any shenanigans. One of the dudes keeps trying to talk to Bill across the table at dinner by yelling, "Bill. Bill!" He gets no response, which is surely a sign that 'Bill' is not who he says he is, and is, perhaps, a lonely perv who hangs out at casinos every Friday night trolling for fresh hayseeds from Hillmomba.

Your daughter will find a way to ditch Bill after dinner, proceed to win and lose a couple of hundred dollars but not remember it, return home with the $50 she took to gamble with, and declare that next time she goes, she will listen to her friend's advice and not drink while gambling, and not feed all of her winnings back to the one-armed bandit.

But then again...that friend is the one who was planning to spend the night with Bill.


Happy Birthday to my niece, the seasoned gambler! And congratulations to my sister, who won $200 on her free Harrah's $10 voucher.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Toupee Deadbeat Brooding

I don't know about you, but if I was placing a bet at the Kentucky Derby next year, I'd bet on Calvin Borel's mount. A Churchill Downs contest winner did just that with his free $100,000 betting money, and turned it into $900,000. Good for him. Now he can get hair plugs instead of that ratty toupee.

Flipping channels this morning, I happened upon a show called My First Place. Twins Mandy and Sandy were trying to buy two houses within walking distance of each other, with a budget of $174,000 apiece. I pity the two husbands. When the realtor, a regular Methuselah's great-grandma, found two houses for $209,000 apiece, they offered $169,000. Well, that deal fell through because those twins couldn't swing the final asking price of $178,000. What's $4000 when you're mortgaging to the tune of $174,000? Anyhoo, the contractor finagled the interest rate after a week or so, and Mandy and Sandy and hubbies 1 and 2 sat down to close the deal. But wait! There was still five minutes of show left! Darn the bad luck, Mandy or Sandy had defaulted on a student loan, and could not get a home loan. Funny how that works. The deadbeat gal went home and called around and after making a payment of $50 on her student loan to make it current, she got the house loan. Sweet Gummi Mary! I would not like to be holding that mortgage. Or waiting on her to pay back that student loan. Why do people think they can get something for nothing? I guess she though that the government could not repossess her education.

Speaking of old biddies...we have a hen who is killing herself sitting on a nest. She's a real-life Miss Prissy. Farmer H gave her four eggs at the end of March, and put her in a separate pen so she could be left alone. She's the hen that hatched our only chick to date, even though it wasn't her own egg. Miss Prissy was a very good mother, chasing that little white chick all over their pen to shove it under her wing, scolding it when it escaped through the wire fence just to taunt her. This batch was due to hatch around April 15, but there was nary a chick. Farmer H left that poor hen setting for another week. Finally, he gave her four new eggs. She wouldn't let him take out the bad ones, though. This batch is due around May 20. You'd think that with our plethora of roosters, we could make some chicks. The hens must be all worn out from the constant lovin'.