Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Punishing The Good Deed

My sister and my niece go for a four-mile walk every morning. Yesterday, they spied a man coming toward them, yelling, "Dusty! Dusty!" Sis said, "Oh, I hope he's not crazy. He coming right at us." As he got closer, he asked if they had seen two poodle puppies. No, they had not. They kept walking around the neighborhood, as did Dog Hollerer. Their paths crossed several more times. "Dusty! DUSTY!" Each time, he asked if they had seen the poodle puppies. No, they had not.

On a different block, they saw a woman in a housecoat, cutting across lawns. Sis said, "Oh, no. There's another crazy person. And she's coming right at us." As the woman got closer, she asked Sis and Niece, "Did you two lose some poodle puppies?" They looked at each other. Niece snorted. Sis said, "No. But we know who did." Housecoat embellished that she had seen two poodle puppies cavorting in a back yard, and she was concerned that something would happen to them.

Sis and Niece followed Housecoat's directions, and saw the poodle puppies. They called for them. It just so happens that they knew one of them was named Dusty. After catching the dewy squirming puppies, each holding a pup, they backtracked to look for the Dog Hollerer. Sis thought it was mighty odd that Housecoat would worry about two puppies in a back yard. How did she know they didn't belong in that back yard? It's not like they had pitched a tent on the 405 Freeway.

A car pulled up beside them and stopped. It was the Dog Hollerer. "Here. We found your puppies." Just then, a police car stopped. The policeman said, "Are these your puppies?" Dog Hollerer nodded. "I've been looking for them all morning. They got out of the yard." Policeman said, "Hey, aren't you that guy that has two dogs in your back yard over on Something Or Other Street?" Dog Hollerer said, "Yes. That's me." Policeman pulled out a ticket pad. "The city only allows three dogs per house."

Sis and Niece tried to blend into the morning mist. After all that trouble, it looked like Dog Hollerer was going to lose his puppies because they had found them for him.

Some days, it just doesn't pay to walk four miles.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Time. Of The Essence.

I was planning to regale you with a tale of a good deed gone wrong. Alas, no such time this evening, because ABC Family has pulled the plug on Pretty Little Liars reruns. Oh, they've picked up a dozen new episodes of the show, but starting last week, they quit rerunning the new episode every hour on the hour. Now I have to budget my time. And what with carting the #1 son to and from his basketball open gym, and dropping off and picking up The Pony at my mom's house, where my niece is using him as a specimen for a reading class exercise requiring 20 hours of hands-on contact with a 1st-grader or 6th-grader, and then preparing sustenance for those people who share my Mansion...I could not do justice to the story. And you KNOW Mrs. HM is all about justice.

Let it suffice to say that the deed involves my niece. You know, the one whose friends were planning to sleep in a room with a total stranger at the casino last month.

I know that will bring you back tomorrow.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fit To Be Tied

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not in a good mood tonight. After a series of unfortunate events, a major one being the #1 son forgetting his basketball shoes during his trip to town for a dental appointment, necessitating the return of Mrs. HM to the Mansion, a round trip of 45 minutes, plus the deliberate attempted murder of Mrs. HM by #1's cat, Genius, who is wont to dash under the feet of any adult navigating stairs, the icing on the cake reared its ugly head upon Mrs. HM's entry into her classroom after driving #1 to his basketball open gym.

Two weeks ago, during the Missifreakinsippi Heat Wave Vacation, the custodians blessedly waxed Mrs. HM's room while she was out of town. They returned all items, though they arranged them neatly in an order which bore no semblance to any floor plan Mrs. HM has ever utilized in the 10 years she has been in Newmentia. Perhaps it's too much to expect that a person who cleans a room every day for 10 years might remember where items are located. In the past, we have been instructed to leave a floor plan taped to the desk so that items can be placed correctly, and will not be dragged about willy-nilly, spoiling the fresh wax job. Not that it ever worked.

Last Monday, I spent 75 minutes carrying 31 desks and chairs, three tables, a mini-fridge, a TV, a microwave, and a lightly-loaded file cabinet to their final resting places. My back still hurts. Imagine my surprise when I walked in this afternoon and discovered that I was missing a 6-foot table. A 6-foot table that I paid for with my own hard-earned cash. A 6-foot table that I folded and carried and unfolded and placed items upon last week.

Being Mrs. HM, I could not let this transgression go unchecked. I searched my end of the hall for my table. A fruitless task. I headed for Mabel's end of the building, and spied a custodian ducking into a classroom. I popped my head in, interrupting his buffing, long enough to inform him that I was missing a 6-foot white table, in case he found an extra. He informed me, "I know right where it is. And your refrigerator, too. It's in the band room. Mr. Principal told us to put them there." Well, isn't that a fine how-do-you-d0? I wonder when he thought I'd miss them? Oh, I don't know...maybe...this may be a stretch here...but how about...THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL? The kicker is that Mr. Principal has a mini-fridge in his office. Why didn't he donate his own mini-fridge for this function that was held in Newmentia? You know, since it's a temporary loan and coming right back. Or maybe he did, and I'm just not privy to that information. It's incidents like this that make me take home my surge suppressors and keyboard and DVD player and other stuff I've boughten for my ownself, by cracky! This is exactly why Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can't have nice things in her classroom.

Once again, I don't get no respect. My room is like a giant warehouse for people to help themselves to furniture and fridges. I guess I'm lucky the TV didn't disappear this year. Oh, and the school projector that I used to have on a cart is also missing since graduation, but I still have that pink elephant of a SmartBoard that is now useless without the cart projector.

I'm thinking of dumping it along a darkened hallway one of these evenings. I'm going to have to change my inventory anyway.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hazy And Lazy

The weather outside is frightful. But the AC is so delightful! Summer is not my favorite season. In fact, it is my least favorite. You'd think, what with it being an extended vacation for me, that I could bump it up a notch on my seasonal rankings. Nope. Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. That order. I also enjoy rainy days. Perhaps it's the Aquarius in me.

I am bouncing back from my cutthroat episode. That means I have time to stop and smell the roses. The red ones that bloom all summer, not the yellow ones that bloomed once and now fall off the bush if anybody glances sideways at them. That yellow bush was a Mother's Day gift from Black Thumb H.

I also have time to not fold the laundry, not clean out the pantry, and to watch whatever catches my eye on TV, this morning that being College Road Trip. Martin Lawrence and a squealing little genius pig. It doesn't get any better than that. Except maybe the scene where the little pig, all hopped up on caffeine from eating coffee beans out of the wastebasket, falls through the tent roof of a chubby girl's wedding. Yeah. I'm a movie connoisseur.

Good thing I bought myself a Blockbuster membership yesterday. Blockbuster, the Betamax of movie rental services. The Edsel of automobile models. The AYDS of weight-loss candy. The MC Hammer pants of fashion. The Ted Bundy of blind dates. Darn The Pony for his obsession with FLICKA.

I'm going to get my $15 membership fee back, through free movie rentals, if it takes me all summer!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

FLICKA Is Not My Friend

The Pony has been on a quest for the movie FLICKA. Never mind that we saw it in the theater when it came out, and were not exactly enamored with it. Never mind that he has read the original book now, My Friend Flicka, which is a tearjerker for me because I have such empathy for the main character, Ken (bet you thought the main character was Flicka, didn't you, you non-classic horse-literature elitist snobs), who was not even an afterthought in the movie FLICKA. Mary O'Hara would be turning over in her grave at the monstrosity that dares to call itself FLICKA. Ken has been turned into a spoiled girl who is not even deserving of a small, child-sized serving of empathy.

The original movie, My Friend Flicka, at least had Roddy McDowell as an empathy-magnet Ken, even though his fictional brother Howard was absent, having been replaced by a Shirley Temple wanna-be referred to as Hildy. This movie was a tear-jerker, especially near the end.

The Pony has read the two sequels, Thunderhead: Son of Flicka, and Green Grass of Wyoming, but refuses to watch the DVDs. Just as well. Each one is suckier than the next, though the scenery is beautiful. The plots veer so far from the novels that except for the characters, you would not know the movies were related to the books.

Here is the problem. A few weeks ago, The Devil's Playground came out with their version of these character rip-offs called Flicka 2. The Pony really wanted it, but refuses to watch it until he can watch FLICKA. Not that one will be in any way related to the other, mind you. But to pacify The Pony, I have been looking high and low for FLICKA. The Pony reports that he saw it in a two-pack with Flicka 2 last weekend at The Devil's Playground. Of course it is nowhere to be found now. We searched The Devil, and a Blockbuster, and another Blockbuster. We asked. We only found it in the last Blockbuster, for rent. I took it up front an asked if they had one we could buy. Nope. No dice. No can do. They were nothing like the local Country Mart, who offered to sell us Thomas and the Magic Railroad, because we rented it every week, and had already paid more that what it cost.

The Pony wanted to rent FLICKA, instead of searching a second Devil, right next door. So I complied. It cost me $15 to rent FLICKA, because it's been so long since we had a Blockbuster membership that I had to get a whole new membership. The #1 son had almost talked me into NetFlix, but now that's on hold while I get my Blockbuster money's worth, with one free movie every month, plus an email coupon for another free movie each month, and a limited offer of a free movie rental each time you rent a new release. Lucky for us, there's a Blockbuster right next to The Devil's Playground that we frequent.

And now I'm off to rewatch that not-very-good movie, FLICKA, with The Pony. I hope I get my $15 worth out of it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shirt On The Chair, Shirt On The Chair

My surgeon's appointment Wednesday was not very eventful, except that Driver H told me we would be there in plenty of time, downtown at Barnes Jewish, for a 9:10 appointment. I tried to explain that we would be in the nine o'clock rush, but Driver H turned a deaf ear to my proclamation. He said that if we left the Mansion at 7:30, we would be there in PLENTY of time. Au contraire. Of course we had to take a detour on the southern part of 55 North, because of ongoing construction. Driver H had planned on that. What he had not planned on was a 15-minute wait to get though one traffic light at Kingshighway, I believe. I'm not much of a city traveler. Then there was the matter of the weed sprayer in the right turn lane just before Park Place, the road to the North Garage. Of course the groundskeeping department would choose a weekday morning at 9:00 to block traffic and spray in front of the adult ER. I count on these flies in my ointment. But Driver H does not.

Then there was the matter of wending through the parking garage to the rooftop, and finding the one spot that was the very farthest from the elevator to the third floor, where there's access to the skywalk, which takes you to a bank of elevators, which takes you back up to the fifth floor to my appointment, if you can catch one with 20 people or less already crammed in. Driver H is not one to let his passenger out at the door. Nope. He's all for equality. If he's gotta walk, everybody's gotta walk.

I DID shame Driver H into bringing T-Hoe to the front doors while I sat inside alone the day I was discharged after my surgery. Sat alone, which means all by myself, while woozy and light-headed and on pain medicine and pretty much defenseless, what with my head held on by a strip of masking tape. Not that I expected anyone to DO anything to me. I was more worried about falling off the chair or losing consciousness, thus embarrassing myself, or perhaps having my head roll across the floor and into that revolving door, where it could have been kicked outside and inadvertently sprayed with weed-killer by the groundskeeping staff. But I digress.

I made it to my appointment with 8 minutes to spare. Driver H insisted on coming into the exam room with me, which I find a bit disconcerting, but agreed to out of gratefulness for him getting me to my appointment without sweaving me to death on the highway. The nurse or PA or temp or tour guide who showed me to the exam room told me to undress from the waist up and put on a gown open in the front. For a thyroid exam. For those of you anatomically-challenged...the thyroid is right in the front of the neck. It's not like I was wearing a wimple, or a suit of armor, or a turtleneck like Jughead, or an Elizabethan ruff. Nope. Button shirt. Easy access. In fact, if Surgeon and Thyroid were hot-blooded teenagers, parked along a deserted lover's lane, Surgeon could have had that shaggin' wagon a-rockin' from his rhythmic thyroid palpation in one second flat, so easy was the access to Thyroid. Surgeon could have steamed up the windows, caressing Thyroid all night long, or until interrupted by a redneck county sheriff, or a hook-armed lunatic escaped from the local asylum.

Driver H said he thought I should just take off my shirt and put on the exam gown, leaving the foundations garment intact. I heartily agreed. He fell from favor, though, when he said that I looked good in that color. It was a rose pink exam gown. The same color as my flushed cheeks, from all that rushing and striding and elbowing people out of the way in the elevator. It could serve as camouflage if need be.

The Tour Guide had told me to wait on the exam table. I did. For 20 minutes. By that time, my feet were becoming numb from dangling, so I got up and paced to restore circulation. Of course, that's when Surgeon made his entrance. He asked when the surgery was, then poked my neck for a moment, said it was healing nicely, told me I could begin using Mederma twice a day to massage the scar, said that everything he removed was benign, asked if I had any questions, and told me to get my thyroid hormones checked in a few weeks. It took about 5 minutes. But hey, good news is good news, even if you have to take your shirt off to hear it. I have no issues with Surgeon. He has really clean fingernails. But his instructions for automassage pushed my fantasy of sweet, sweet Surgeon and Thyroid, those two crazy kids and a dog named Boo, travelin' and a-livin' off the land, right out of my mind. Reality is a harsh mistress.

The ride back home was fairly uneventful, except for Driver H running over a splintered 4 x 4 slab of lumber in the next-to-fast lane on 55 South. Six lanes of traffic, and Driver H has to hurtle along in the one with debris. Sometimes, I just have to close my eyes.

But it did cut down on his sweaving.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Short And Sweet

I went to visit my throatcutter yesterday. As previously told to me by my gyno, who has access to the BJC system, everything was benign. All systems are go. Use Mederma. Get a blood test to check thyroid hormones six weeks after surgery.

I might elaborate more on this visit tomorrow. Or not.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Restaurant Critic's Critique

continued from yesterday...

I ate my scrap of roll naked. The roll was naked, not Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Gotcha! That's because those throwed rolls are OH SO DELICIOUS that they need no condiment. And also because the honey bear was laying on his side when we sat down, and The Pony, a stickler for order and law-obeyance, righted him. That meant that the tiny bit of honey that was left sank to the feet of Honey Bear, and could not be squeezed out before I had devoured my scrap of roll. The dude with the sorghum bucket did not come by once. Not that I would add it to a throwed roll, but the ketchup bottle was also empty. That led to a lull in our feasting once the food had finally arrived.

Part of my dissatisfaction with this little visit to Lambert's Cafe was the wait. They announced that everyone in your party must be present to be seated. Yet there were two parties of 15 who walked in past us, and both of them had only 7-8 people. Don't go telling me it was all one party. Nope. They were called in about 10 minutes apart. Why announce the rules if you're not going to follow them? So saith The Pony. And me.

Normally, there are workers strolling around in overalls with buckets of fried okra, blackeyed peas, macaroni and tomatoes, and fried potatoes and onions. The thing is, you have to have a plate, or they won't stop. Except the fried okra dude. He must have come by our table 10 times while we waited. Driver H tore off the last scrap of paper towel to use as a plate, and we had three servings of the fried okra. Not because we like fried okra, but because we were starving. Even #1 and Roomie ate fried okra. The Pony refused, because there was no ketchup.

After about 30 minutes, during which two moms and two players from our earlier convoy also arrived, and were seated (having four in their party, so shortening their time in line), and were served their meals, and had a soda knocked over by the Roll Thrower like a metal milk bottle hit by a baseball at the county fair, we finally had our meals delivered to our table. Of course, by that time we needed soda refills, and there was that annoying matter of waiting for more honey and ketchup and paper towels. Did I mention that Driver H almost created a hillbilly incident when he snatched a roll off the roll cart before Roll Thrower could throw one? That led to him bypassing our table for two rounds. Driver H: originator of the Throwed Roll Faux Pas.

Here is what we ordered, in order of Driver H, Roomie, #1, The Pony, Mrs. HM: chicken-fried steak with green beans and mixed vegetables, hamburger with fries, chicken wings with fries and cooked apples, catfish fillets with baked potato and mashed potatoes, chicken livers with cole slaw and fries. I also had a serving of the blackeyed peas, which finally made their way to our table after Driver H complained to the soda dude. In return, he also got a serving of fried potatoes. So much for the slop buckets of sides coming past our table. I must say, the chicken livers were excellent, once I got some ketchup.

That little repast set us back $81, including tip. I think that's a bit high for Hillmomba, but depending on your part of the country, you may not think so. We knew it would be costly, but we had that vacation cash just burning a hole in my purse. Because at Lambert's, they don't take Mastercard, and they don't take American Express. Or Visa, or any other plastic. They announce that regularly, too, but add that they DO have an ATM.

So...I was not pleased with the service this time. Lambert's has become too big for its britches, and has lost that down-homey feeling it had several years ago. I would not make a special trip to eat there, but if I'm passing through, it's tasty enough to stop.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Break Me Off A Piece Of That Throwed Roll, Boys

On our way back from Mississippi, we stopped for supper at the Throwed Roll Restaurant. Actually, its name is Lambert's Cafe I, in Sikeston, Missouri. This was only the second time I've been there, but this time it was not so pleasing.

Oh, the food was still great. But the service was not as cheerful. We knew there would be a wait, because we arrived at 6:10 on a Friday evening. Lucky for us, we found a parking spot and got inside just before a big ol' line formed behind us. Also lucky for us, there were no tour buses of old people. We had to wait a little bit, because we had a party of 5. They kept asking for 4 or less. Roomie said quietly each time, "Darn me." We did not hold his presence against him. We passed the time by playing those quarter-pusher games courtesy of Driver H's pockets, and pointing to pictures of mules and horse's behinds, saying, "There's Dad's picture."

Once we were seated, we couldn't wait to get our hands on some throwed rolls. Driver H and I had skipped lunch because the schedule was not conducive to our appetites. #1 and Roomie were starved because, well, they're 15-year-old boys. The Pony would rather eat any form of bread than Kobe beef or caviar (well, the same can be said for many people, I guess).

The Roll Thrower looked to be about 17 or 18. He was not cheerful. Now, if I had a job where all I had to do was wheel a cart of fresh-baked rolls that people were dying for, and toss them through the air, I think I could manage a smile. Not this dude. He was apparently trying to earn a Cy Young Award, because he fired those rolls like he was pitching in the 7th game of the world series. He threw them so hard, they broke apart when caught. The Pony tried to grab one, and it smacked his hands and bounced off, leaving a sound like when Farmer H whacked that rooster right in the face with a blue plastic snow shovel.

Driver H, Roomie, #1, and The Pony all got a roll before me. Two of them ended up on the floor beside the table, due to a miscalculation from Roll Thrower, who overshot the table across the aisle from us. Finally, Driver H and Roomie tussled over a thrown roll, and by the time they came up with it, it had kind of disintegrated like state fair cotton candy in a drizzle. Did it bother me that they both had pawed at it and spread their hand cooties? Not a bit. I gratefully accepted their offering. I would have eaten a roll off the floor at that point.

To be continued tomorrow. It's time for Pretty Little Liars, my new addiction.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Suckitude And A Hole In The Ground

continued from yesterday...

Three carloads of us got caught in the convoluted maze that is the campus of Ole Miss. The directions given by the coach did not lead us right to where we were going. In fact, such a junction of streets did not exist. We followed the lead car as we had for a couple of hundred miles, having caught up to him after gassing up. The lead car carried four players, and the van behind us hauled two players. You would think that one of the kids could have texted or called their cronies who had already arrived for directions. The Hillbilly family was really not in dire straits, as we had ZERO players with us, and could just go back the three miles and check into our Holiday Inn with no one being the wiser. But I called #1, and he said, "Where ARE you, and who's with you?" Even the report of the six missing players did not perturb the coaches, who were apparently standing right by #1. Did one of them think to take the phone and direct us? Nope. That's not the way we do things at Newmentia.

The lead car eventually parked in a lot by some tennis courts near the big building with the blue roof. That's what #1 told us to look for. We hiked down a steep grassy slope, across a vacant parking lot, up a blacktop hill...and met the rest of the team walking toward us. "Go back! We're headed to the dorm to check in." Of course, we didn't know where the dorm was, and after following the Leader for several more miles, we lost him. No skin off our collective noses. We went to check into the only Holiday Inn Express in the world that has no swimming pool. The Pony was bummed. After a Chinese buffet, because what else are you gonna eat in Oxford, Mississippi, we called #1 in response to a text of a playing schedule that was unreadable. He put his driver on the phone, who told us to go into that big building with the blue roof, and there would be some girls with maps and schedules. That cleared things up a bit.

We spent three days going to games for Basementia's team and the JV and varsity from Newmentia. While the other two teams faired well-enough, the JV team did not win a single game. As an example of their suckitude, I present Exhibit A: they lost by 10 points to a team with a little person. Not that there's anything wrong with little people. I watch the Roloffs every week, and I'm not averse to sitting through Little Parents, Big Charlie, and while The Little Couple is not on my regular viewing schedule, I watch it if I run across it. But let's face it, basketball is not a game for the vertically challenged. For cryin' out loud, this kid was not superhuman. He was a good enough basketball player, much like my gal Hillary was likable enough during the Democratic Primary. But he was nothing special. He played about half or three quarters of the game. No way should he have been scoring. Any player with decent defensive fundamentals should be able to stop him. Use your feet to play defense, boys. Get into position. Arms up. If nothing else, let him shoot, and grab that ball after it leaves his hands. It's not goaltending unless it's on the way down.

#1 treated us like we were complete strangers. Unless he wanted money. He put his nose in the air and walked by us after games. He sat next to other players' parents while watching the varsity team. He did not call to inform us of his plans or upcoming games. The other players lucky enough to have their parents at camp chatted with them before and after games, sat with them, left to go hang out with them or get a ride to their dorm...normal things a kid would do if his parents drove across four states to take him to camp. But he DID come ask us, right in front of his camp roomie, if Roomie could ride home with us. What are you going to say when the kid is standing right there?

This stowaway put a serious cramp in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's legs. T-Hoe is not third-seat friendly. The whole issue of not taking anyone extra with us was because with all our gear, there was no room to fold down the third seat. That, and it would save us at least 30 minutes on the return trip if we did not have to drive out of our way to Newmentia town. But there we were, Driver H and I, shoving things to and fro to allow the set-up of one of the third seats while waiting for the last game to start. In the 110-degree heat. After 15 minutes, we had erected a tower of suitcases, pillows, duffel bags, gym sacks, cooler, box, tote bag, backpack, 10-pack of Gatorade, laptops, and a huge freakin' shelf (purchased at the Oxford Goodwill Store by Hoarder H) that would rival a tottering tower in WhoVille. All we had to do was insert #1 and Roomie into the open seats. But no. Nothing ever works that smoothly for the Hillbilly family.

Roomie and #1 tried to hand their dorm room keys to their JV coach after the last game. "No," he told them, "you have to return those yourselves." He then proceeded to give his key to one of the mothers to turn in for him. He said he had to get something to take back home for his kids. I call shenanigans. In fact, I call double shenanigans, because he was about to upset our apple cart. And by apple cart, I mean the delicate balance between clutter and space in the nether regions of T-Hoe.

We crammed #1 and Roomie into the back seat, making The Pony squat on the floor for the ride to the dorm. The boys took their keys in, then came out and proceeded to paw through some T-shirts in the back of the varsity coach's Yukon. Driver H fiddled and faddled, thrummed the wheel of T-Hoe impatiently, and fumed that it was taking the boys longer to check out than it had to play a game. Just then, we heard the ding ding of T-Hoe's back door that signals the door, she is a-risin'. I thought Driver H had hit the door-opening button up by the rearview mirror. "What are you doing?" He glared at me. "I ain't doin' nothin'. I don't know what all these things are! Those boys must be putting something in." We then heard a crash, and saw the boys still digging through the T-shirt pile. Driver H got out and walked to the back of T-Hoe. "You're in the wrong car, Bud." Yep. It was the JV coach. My opinion of him, which accounts for diddley-squat, is that he wouldn't know his butt from a hole in the ground. Let the record show that factually, he doesn't know the back of a Tahoe from the back of a Yukon. The crash was Hoarder H's wooden shelf falling to the pavement, and a bunch of other stuff that toppled. Driver H stuffed it all back in as best he could, the boys came and climbed in, and Roomie had a bunch of stuff laying on him for the ride.

He can thank his coach for that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Adventure Begins

Our trip to Mississippi began at 4:00 a.m. last Wednesday. For me. Because I have to get up first and goad everyone else into action. Driver H packed part of T-Hoe the night before, so we just had a few odds and ends (like The Pony) to toss in before we hit the road. Being old folks, Driver H and I put off taking our meds until we arrived in Mississippi, because we had a feeling that we couldn't stop every 20 minutes for a potty break. That's for Driver H. I, myself, can hold it for a couple of hours.

We had to drive around our elbow to get to the thumb of Newmentia, where the convoy was forming. We were the first ones there at 5:45, right after the coach. Plans were to leave at 6:00, but of course it wasn't until 6:20 that we pulled out. It was right after Coach said, "We need to get going," and a bunch of kids jumped into his LSUV, leaving one coach and three freshmen open-mouthed. One of the kids dared to say, "But I don't even know who I'm riding with." Welcome to the way we do things here, son. #1 had forsaken us to ride in a Caravan (hopefully one with a speedometer) with another dad and three cronies. I tried to call him back and make him ride with us, so one of those kids would have a place, but that Caravan was the first vehicle out of the parking lot.

I assumed they all found a ride, because we peeled out of there at warp speed, not stopping until we neared the Arkansas state line. Of course it was at McDonalds, a McDonalds with a tour bus of old ladies parked out of sight on the other side. That breakfast stop ate up 40 minutes of valuable speeding time. T-Hoe was running hard down that constructionally-challenged I-55 two-way-traffic Highway to H*ll. According to Driver H, it was a steady 80-85 mph. Of course we all ran out of gas before we got to Oxford MS.

Our convoy was broken up at the refueling station. Who knew that Mississippi was so thrifty with its road signs? We were not even sure we were on the right track. However, that didn't stop us from flying along at 85 mph. Apparently, Mississippi is also thrifty with its highway patrol cars. I don't recall seeing more than one, and I think that was in Arkansas, not Mississippi. The #1 son texted me that he had arrived at the stadium, but he didn't remember how he got there. That Caravan had a good 30 minutes on us, even though we had passed them somewhere in Arkansas, them having slowed, most likely due to the chassis of that Caravan rebelling at the 85 mph pace. They smartly grabbed their McDonald's breakfast and hit the road, not waiting on the rest of us.

By the time we arrived at Ole Miss and promptly got lost for 15 minutes, I had worked up quite a headache, due in no small part to Driver H's habit of sweaving. You know what sweaving is, don't you? It's when the driver swerves back and forth from the shoulder to the center line, weaving his way forward like an Olympic slalom skier.

More on our little adventure tomorrow.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

But I DID Stay At A Holiday Inn Express

I continue to have motivational issues. Tales of my trip will be forthcoming, just as soon as I wash the horror off. Three days in the constant company of Farmer H is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Except maybe Arch Nemesis.

To prepare for such a stint, one must handcuff oneself to a petulant toddler who has gone 15 hours without a nap or snack, a toddler who must be kept quiet as a matter of life and death, while balancing the both of you on a unicycle, on a six-inch ledge near the top of the Empire State Building, in 70-mph Chicago-style winds, while juggling 13 rare Dodo eggs, reciting the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. In Arabic.

It is not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Out Of The Frying Pan

Only the Hillbilly family would schedule vacation where you jump out of the 95-degree Missouri not-quite-summer into, oh...I don't know...perhaps...a not-so-well thought-out...98-degree, 104-heat-index three-day trip to Missifreakinsippi. Uh huh. That's us. When we got back into T-Hoe after a jv basketball game at 9:45 this morning, the temperature reading on T-Hoe's rearview mirror gadget was 112 degrees. I should have my own vacation show on the Travel Channel. Only Mrs. Hillbilly Mom could persuade her family to join her on a trip south for the summer. A jump out of the virtual frying pan into the literal bowels of Not-Heaven. Ooh boys, it's hot! To borrow a title from the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

Last night at 12:00, the #1 son texted me to ask if he and his camp roommate left out their left-over pizza until morning, and then ate it, would they die. I told him no. However, this morning he stated that they didn't have air conditioning. That, coupled with the fact that it was now 11:00 a.m., made me rethink the ptomaine issue. I told him they most certainly would die, if they ate a pizza that sat out for 11 hours in the heat and humidity. Surely those boys are in an air-conditioned dorm. It's Ole Miss, for cryin' out loud. Despite its heritage and tradition, in 2010, surely Old Miss does not have unairconditioned dorms, even for their scholarship athletes. It's Missifreakinsippi, by cracky! In mid-June. That would constitute cruel and unusual scholastics. The Maricopa tent city, pink underwear, baloney sandwich, chain gang prison is more humane!

If I glow any more, I will need to be hospitalized for IV fluids. Hang a drip of D5W lactated Ringer's, STAT! (Can you tell I used to watch reruns of EMERGENCY ?)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Eve Of Embarkation

No time to tell tales tonight. I must pack for our mini-vacation to Mississippi. The Pony has already gathered his stuff, leaving me to select his clothes. That puts him ahead of everybody except World Traveler H, who was home while the rest of us went to basketball open gym for five hours. Oh, it didn't last that long, but there was the travel time, and time waiting in line for the free physical, and gassing up T-Hoe, and gathering The Pony from my mom after she took him for a haircut.

World Traveler H has been itching to load up T-Hoe since the crack of dusk, so I need to get shakin'. Which is what I will be doing tomorrow on that 6-hour drive while WTH runs off the left side of the highway onto those bumpy things, then off the right side in the fast lane, all due to gawking at everything except the road in front of him.

I despise cruise control.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare For Your Summer Vacation?

Tomorrow I have to pack for our mini-vacation to Mississippi. That's because we leave Wednesday morning at 5:00. A freakin' M. I am confident that the #1 son will put off packing until the last minute, that being around 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night.

The Pony will be packed on time, because I will pack for him. Farmer H is on his own.

#1 does not want to ride with us, we being so uncool. At least we're driving T-Hoe, and not the $1000 Caravan without a speedometer. Though it is more roomy and could haul some teammates and still have room left over for their luggage... I have laid the smack down on #1, and informed him in no uncertain terms that he will not displace a player without a ride, and I will not take another kid in his place just so he can ride with friends. If we had our old Yukon long bed, we could take ourselves and two or three of #1's cronies with ease. I don't really like T-Hoe very much. That short wheel base is a nuisance. The third seat is cramped, and there is no luggage room when it is in use.

The Pony will pack himself some DVDs for car-viewing, and his laptop, and his Kindle that is loaded with about 20 free books, even if they are classics like Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Swiss Family Robinson, and Frankenstein and Dracula and Huckleberry Finn and Treasure Island. Public domain is a good thing. I have promised him the entire Guardians of Ga'hoole series, all 15 books, when they come out on Kindle on July 1. They're not free, but they're cheaper than the paper editions. I figure if #1 can go to basketball camp, I can fork over some dough for my bookworm to expand his horizons.

And that is all for tonight, because I must go watch the rerun of the premiere of Pretty Little Liars, which I missed last week due to a kerfluffle with #1.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Goats Really Like Pie

Goats really like pie.

That's what Eddie Murphy said in Daddy Daycare. I suppose it's true, though I have not offered my goats any pie. They appear partial to rosebushes, lilacs, and The Pony's tree that he planted in the front yard two years ago when he was in 4th grade. Oh, and the pajamas of The Pony, when he enters their pen to free them from their own stupidity.

Goats do not like fresh lettuce, or being grabbed by the horns and dragged to a cage to be sold at auction. That's what Farmer H says.

Chickens, on the other hand, enjoy fresh lettuce. They dislike cherry tomatoes, and being captured under a dip net while pecking at corn that has been scattered to lure them into the pen for eventual imprisonment in cages until being sold at auction later the next day. Roosters are especially averse to being swatted in the face with a blue plastic snow shovel wielded by Farmer H in an effort to get them off a squawking hen.

Just so you know.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Technology Is Encroaching On My Comfort Zone

The #1 son had to run the sound system at a teacher's wedding today. I declined to attend, not wishing to inflict my cut-throat appearance on people who know me. Friday evening, I ran into #1's old girlfriend at The Devil's Playground. She's a hugger. Perhaps I've mentioned about 1,145,000 times that I am NOT a hugger. Since she flung out her arms and declared across the parking lot, "I'd give you a big hug, but I know you don't like that," I permitted her the gesture of semi-affection. Her look of utter shock at the slash on my neck made me feel bad about the hug. She said that #1 had mentioned that I had surgery, but not what it was for.

Farmer H, The Pony, and I went to get Farmer H a new phone. Funny thing is...we just got him a new phone on Monday, and after using it for 4 days, that thing dropped dead. I think that Farmer H dropped it and killed it, but he denies it. We switched from ATT to Sprint for unlimited data plans on all our phones, since we already had a Sprint connect card dealybobber for internet. The whole set-up will still be $10/month cheaper than ATT, plus we will all have internet on our phones, and texting, which we didn't have with ATT. I got a Hero, Farmer H got a Blackberry 8530, and #1 is expecting an Evo whenever they arrive. They switched out Farmer H's black Blackberry for a red one, because on Monday they told us he got the last black one. It was probably a return from someone else. That thing was deader than a doornail. It wouldn't even light up on the charger. The salesman couldn't get the contacts off of it, but saved the pictures by switching the data card or some thingamajig.

I hate getting something new. My old ATT phone bit the dust about a month ago. It dropped calls, would only take a picture of ME upside down, and was the main phone on our plan which ends July 1. I was not about to sign up another two years with ATT to get a new phone cheap, since that one didn't even last two years.

But I do like my smart little Hero. The parts I know how to use, anyway.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What Hath Farmer H Wrought?

The goat pen is bigger now, thanks to $160 worth of fence.

For some reason, I don't feel much like entertaining tonight.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Death Stalks The Mansion

Farmer H has been away on business since Tuesday. In his absence, his loyal apprentice, The Pony, has been feeding and watering and goat-checking. That's because Goatrude is ready to have a kid. No one takes better care of those animals than The Pony. He is up before 6:30 for their morning feeding, goes out to make sure Nanny isn't stuck in the fence and the two babies are inside the pen at least 3 times a day, and feeds and checks on water in the evening before closing the roosters into their bachelor pad for the night. Nobody could lavish more love on those stinkin' animals than The Pony.

That is why, with heavy heart, I must report that we have lost the turkey and a rabbit. Not lost, as in they got out of the pen. No. They have passed on to the big stockyard in the sky. They have expired. They bit the dust. Kicked the bucket. Took a dirt nap. Bit the big one. Met the Grim Reaper. Death kindly stopped for them.

Yesterday, The Pony reported that the turkey had settled himself on top of the hen pen, and would not get up. I asked at that time if he was breathing. The Pony said he was. Every time he checked, he said that the turkey was just sitting there, with his head up. By evening, I asked if maybe he had a leg stuck in the wire. The Pony tested him, and declared that Turkey could get up, because he flew to another roof when The Pony tried to poke him with a stick. With that, I knew that The Pony didn't have to carry water or food to Turkey, as he was indeed mobile.

This morning, poor Pony stated, "Well, I think that Turkey IS dead now. He is lying down with his eyes open, and not moving." The Pony also said that he hadn't seen the black rabbit since Tuesday, and there was "...a bigger than normal amount of flies around the rabbit cage." Farmer H called from three states away to report his imminent return, and was informed of the deceased. Of course he said, "Well, they were all fine when I left them." Which is a really unfair thing to say, as The Pony will quite likely view it as an endorsement of fault on his part in caring for the livestock.

Farmer H is not very tactful.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Applying Himself

The #1 son has been writing apps for Android phones. Whatever Android phones are. I am not telephonically literate. I asked if the first one he wrote was for a Google phone, and he said, "Duh. A Google phone IS an Android phone." He's 15 now, and phones are his life. His first app was a firewall to control which apps can use your phone internet. Or something like that. That first app was called DroidWall. #1 got a free Android phone out of it. A Droid to be exact. Not too shabby. He had over 7000 downloads of his app, and Google gave a bunch of developers who had enough downloads the free phones. I kept telling him there was a catch, but he said no. He was right. Free phone. No catch. He's approaching 15,700 downloads right now.

His next app was a dealy-bobber that lets you use the search button on your Android phone to control music, as in PLAY/PAUSE. He has a free version and a donate version. As you can imagine, the free version is winning. Right now, there is no difference in the two versions. It's been out about a month, and already has 860 downloads. The donate version has about 3 or 4. Go figure. People obviously like to get something for nothing. The only drawback is that you have to know how root your phone. Whatever that means. I am sure it is something that I don't know how to do.

The most recent addition to the #1 son's apps is a game for $.99. It has been out since Friday night at 9:30, and has sold 4 downloads. Truth in blogging requires me to admit that I was one of the purchasers, and gave him a glowing review, because I just got an Android phone on Monday, and The Pony likes to play this game. He was a tester during development. I gave #1 the idea, because he needed something simple that he thought people would pay to play. All you do is start the game, get a GO signal, and tap the screen. Then it tells you how many milliseconds it took, and gives a list of the top five scores on your phone. It is called Reflex-A-Tron. I had the idea, because when we use stopwatches in my class, the guys all make a game of who can start and stop it the fastest. And I could imagine kids playing this in class on their phones without me noticing, as long as they turn off the sound.

I don't think the boy is going to get rich on these apps, but one thing leads to another, and he could come up with something grand. There are links to his apps on the sidebar, but you have to click them from an Android phone to make them work.

I don't know where he gets his techie smarts, but it sure isn't from me or Stone Age H.

Scan this with your Android phone to see the app in the Market:

Reflex-A-Tron - $.99:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Such Is The Life

The tape covering the incision in the barren Land of Thyroid is finally starting to peel off. It is loose on one end, and part of the bottom of the middle section flaps if I turn my head just right. I tugged on it momentarily after my shower this morning, but it gave me a painful pulling sensation, so I ended that little experiment rather abruptly. It should have come off by now, but it's clinging to my neck like a toddler being dropped off at daycare. I wouldn't mind so much, but it's visible for all to stare at during my jaunts about town. And it looks like I put a piece of masking tape on my skin to get attention, like a sixth-grader bends a paperclip and jams it in her mouth to mimic braces.

The #1 son is chasing the elusive Sprint Evo, holding a useless raincheck that is good until June 20th. Good for nothing, I say, because the salesman said that he will call when they get a shipment at the Sprint store, but that #1 must come pick it up right then, as they are not allowed to set any aside. What, then, is the purpose of a rain check, if anybody who walks into the store ahead of #1 can get an Evo until the stock is depleted? I cry shenanigans! We switched our family plan from ATT to Sprint, bought a Hero for me, a Blackberry 8530 for Telephone-Impaired H, and had the intent of getting the Evo for the third line for #1. Meanwhile, his ATT plan runs out on June 14, and to keep his number, we might have to add the line and get a freebie phone and then return it within 30 days to get the Evo when it's in stock. That will cost a $35 restocking fee. The #1 son has figured out all the angles. I hate phone companies, but at least the Sprint personnel are pleasant. Those ATT wenches are the Devil's Handmaidens.

The Pony has been absorbed in the works of Jules Verne on his Kindle. They are free, you know, those Verne classics and not-so-classics. Free for the taking on the Kindle downloads.

I am embarking upon a new project, compiling a Greatest Hits version of my last five years of blogging. I don't know why I am telling you, because I'm not going to post it. It's just for me. I'll put it on a flash drive and hope I still have the technology to read it in my old age. I crack myself up sometimes. Today I was perusing April and May, 2005, on my very first blog, Redneck Review. One of my favorites was about the #1 son getting in trouble in the car, and declaring, "Well, isn't this just one big not-listening party!" I can't think of the name of that post. I had it saved in wordpad, and left the file open, and then while we went to #1's basketball open gym, the power went off, and I lost that file. Seems I hadn't saved it after all.

Such is the life of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cranky McH

Farmer H is as mad as Tommy Lee Jones as Doolittle Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter. We don't know what set him off, but he's been growlin' lak an ol' bar since he's been home. Lucky for him, I didn't catch him drivin' his Jeep down the railroad tracks with his girlfriend in the passenger seat, and have to take a stick to her to run her off, and tell her she's a sow. You know what that is? It's a woman pig! Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn said it better.

Likewise, Farmer H hasn't given me a gift of a guitar after coming in late from drinking, or taken a picture of me for my record sleeve and told the young 'un to 'put the backdrop back on the bed, baby,' and he hasn't driven me cross country to promote my record, feeding me baloney, making me hornier and hornier until I almost got banned from local radio stations.

But I DO use Fist City as my ringtone.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This Is What I Deal With Every Day

Nothing much is going on around the Mansion on this lazy Sunday. The high point of the day, so far, was the conversation with Entrepreneur H this morning about the auction he attended last night.

They had food for sale.
Uh huh.
Like, ribeye steaks that weren't cut into steaks. They had hunks of ribeye meat.
Uh huh.
And cheese. They had cheese.
Uh huh.
It was in big five-pound boxes, or whatever Velveeta comes in.
Uh huh.
And other cheese. Big long packages.
Uh huh.
And pizzas. Pepperoni pizzas, a dollar a box.
Uh huh.
I should have bought some. I like pepperoni pizza. They were a name brand, too.
What brand?
I don't remember.
I wouldn't want to eat meat out of a box.
Well, ALL meat comes in a box.
What did it say on the box?
What do you mean, what did it say on the box? It said MEAT.
No way would I eat that auction meat.
But it's good meat.
How do you know that? How do you know it was even inspected by the USDA?
I don't. But they couldn't sell it if it wasn't.
Do you ever wonder why people sell food cheap at an auction?

Readers of my blog, hear my cry. HELP. ME.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Great Goat Head Saving Scheme

The hay feeder has been modified so that goat heads can't be caught. That was done by removing some slats, so there are bigger openings for chomping jaws and horned heads. The drawback is, the billy goat climbed into the feeder and was standing in the hay, munching to beat the band. That news was reported by The Pony. I can picture that little white goat inside that feeder, looking like a caged circus animal on the Barnum's Animal Crackers cookie box with the little string handle.

Today, Farmer H spent the afternoon down in the woods, putting in new fence to make his goat pen even bigger. I'm hoping that does not mean more goats will be joining us here at the Mansion. The Pony went out to help him, and I heard him holler, "Dad! That goat is stuck in the fence again!" To which Farmer H replied, "We'll get her out after a bit." About an hour later, The Pony entered the Mansion and informed me that they freed Nelly, but that she was now stuck in the fence again.

I told Farmer H in no uncertain terms that he needs to fix that fence so that goats can't get their heads caught in it. We are going to Mississippi for three days, and nobody will be here for the hourly removal of goat heads from various cracks and crevices. THREE DAYS! A goat can not stand with its head stuck in a fence for three days in the middle of June in Missouri. It will die. No water. It can't lie down. The dogs might get into the pen and eat it.

Farmer H had informed the #1 son, on a ride to and from a cast party for a play in which the #1 son did not appear, but provided electronic augmentation, that he was going to remove the horns from the goats. That was, until #1 looked it up on his fancy phone internet doohicky, and enlightened Mutilator H that such a procedure is painful and dangerous to the goat, resulting in blood-letting due to the amputation of part of the goat's freakin' head. I think once the goats reach adulthood, it is too late to go sawing off their horns.

The new plan is to...wait for gotta hear it to believe it...tape a 7-inch piece of wood between Nelly's horns. Excuse me for a minute. - - - - - - - - - - - - Whew! I was laughing so hard that my fingers were shaking. I simply can not let him do this. It is an abomination of nature. Goats should not have 7-inch pieces of wood duct-taped between their horns. No. Not for three days. Not for three hours. Never. Carpenter H did not say what kind of wood. I don't know if it's a 2 x 4, or a stair post, or a bed slat, or a hickory limb. He was non-specific on the wood. But I know that it is OH SO WRONG on OH SO MANY levels.

Help me.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pony To The Rescue

When The Pony rolled out of bed at 8:00 a.m., we took our regular walk to the Mansion petting zoo. The Pony likes to check on the animals several times a day. There are the new chicks, the two baby goats, and a very pregnant Goatrude that occupy his thoughts throughout the day. This morning we found Nelly, the long-haired white goat, with her head stuck in the hay feeder. Nelly is quite the problem child of the goat world. She is 7 or 8 years old, has never had a kid, and used to be a lady's pet. It appears that Nelly is no goat Einstein, either. Last week, Farmer H found her with her head stuck in the fence. He didn't know how long she'd been there, because he didn't count his goats that morning before he left for work. She could have been there some 20 hours, worst case scenario. He wouldn't have found her then, except that I yelled from the porch, "Why is that goat all by itself and not eating with the rest of them?"

The Pony entered the pen and tried to wrestle Nelly's head out of the feeder. He was hampered by the baby white goat trying to eat his Nike flip-flop, the baby's mama nibbling his pajama leg, and Long Horn the brown goat chewing on his pajama shirt. Those goats find The Pony to be quite tasty.

I sent The Pony back to the Mansion for a screwdriver to loosen a slat and swing it sideways. After that maneuver, The Pony twisted Nelly's neck enough to free her head. She promptly sidled down to the end of the pen to lie on top of an old corn feeder. Several smaller goats stuck their heads in the feeder, but wriggled them out again. The Pony checked on them throughout the morning, up until we left the Mansion at 11:00 for various errands and the #1 son's basketball open gym.

When Farmer H got home at 5:00, he called us to report that he had found Nelly with her head stuck in the hay feeder. I must say, I did not appreciate his accusatory tone.

Farmer H crafted a lovely hay feeder for his beloved goats during the Memorial Day weekend. It has a little roof made of a piece of corrugated white metal, like that metal found on the side of a tool shed. Knowing Farmer H like I do, it is probably an actual side of a tool shed that he has commandeered to use as a waterproof roof for his hay feeder. The feeder itself is rectangular, has four legs, and holds two or three bales of hay if you pull it apart and stuff it through the opened roof. There are two sides with slat openings 4-and-a-half inches wide so the goats can stick their chompers in and munch on dry hay all the livelong day.

Therein lies the problem. Goats have horns. Goats like hay. Goats shove their greedy noses as deep into that hay as possible, because the good hay must be in the very center of the feeder. That means that goats get their heads in but can't get them out of the slats. Apparently, this scenario never occurred to Farmer H. "I figured none of them had horns closer together than 4-and-a-half inches." Au contraire, my cotton-headed ninny-muggins. A living, breathing, eating goat does not approach those slats dead-on, level-headed, like an eating machine. They twist and turn and rotate those horns to get at the very best hay that you have stashed in the very center of the feeder. Who knew? Certainly not Farmer H, Goat Hoarder. Never mind that there must be oodles of literature on goat-raising in the meandering back roads of the information superhighway.

Farmer H: re-inventing the wheel, one goat feeder at a time.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Today, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom celebrates her first day off the pain meds, her first day of driving T-Hoe again, her first day of feeling 'normal' after her elaborate throat-cutting last Tuesday.

Yesterday, a sudden swelling prompted a doctor's visit to the gynecologist (who better to check your thyroid by groping your neck) because the surgeon's office would not return Mrs. HM's phone calls. As an added bonus, the gyno took HM's blood for her week-after-surgery thyroid hormone levels check, and accessed the BJC network to inform her of the pathology results from her surgery.

In the good news department, the swelling is an accumulation of fluid where the thyroid used to reside, and may take a while to go away, but will not suffocate nor strangle Mrs. HM. In the even better news department, that nasty old gelatinous thyroid nodule was NOT cancer, and Mrs. HM has the go-ahead to get on with her excitement-packed life.

Let the games begin.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

SSDD All Over Again

Same stuff, different day. Nothing to read here. I am OH SO UNMOTIVATED right now.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Make Note

I don't have anything to say today. Mark your calendar.