Monday, January 31, 2011

Can You Really Trust A Weatherman?

I am hunkered down in my basement lair, apathetically awaiting Icepocalypse '11. So far, the predicted freezing rain that was due to strike at 6:00 this morning has not materialized. Several school districts around us canceled classes this morning, but not Newmentia.

The boys and I had no trouble getting to school, with the temp hovering at 30 degrees. Upon arrival, the faculty was told that feeding time would be moved up from 10:53 to 10:00, just in case there was a need for early dismissal. People. Schools don't do anything just in case. That was an early out proclamation, signed, sealed, and delivered.

At 9:10, the gray skies parted and a deluge rained down upon Newmentia. An actual deluge, liquid in state, which promptly melted the salt pellets that had been sown some ten minutes earlier. The precipitation ceased within minutes. The only harm done was the stirring of GetOutEarlyFever in those excitable adolescents.

Lunch came and went. The altered schedule upset my standing time slot for riding the wild porcelain bronc. I snuck out for a clandestine rendezvous with the fractious white steed, and happened upon a bus driver talking on his cell phone. Always one to keep an ear open for pertinent information, I overheard that a head honcho was trying to reach a lesser honcho to finalize plans for a 12:00 dismissal. Yee haw!

I kept this special secret from my class. That's because I value life an limb. Especially mine. But at 11:15, the #1 son waltzed in (not so much waltzed, in a Viennese threestep manner, but more like tromped insouciantly through my classroom) bellowing, "Drivers can leave now! I could leave, but you made me ride to school with you!"

To get rid of him, I told him to take T-Hoe to Basementia and bring back The Pony. That would save us 15 minutes of waiting for his bus to arrive. #1 changed his demeanor like Sybil in a fast-forward video. He grabbed the keys and left. I hastily called Basementia to make it official, and not some weird kind of sibling abduction.

They returned in 25 minutes. #1 dropped of The Pony in my room like a bedbug-infested mattress at the town dump. Except the rats were sitting semi-quietly in desks instead of roaming willy-nilly in search of toes to gnaw off. #1 announced that he was going to class.

But we had not seen the last of #1. He came back ten minutes later, asking to borrow a game. I have no games. This is an institution of learning, not a Milton Bradley factory. #1 rummaged through my cabinets, shouted, "Aha! You were lying! I found dominoes!" and stormed out the door. In my defense, we use those dominoes to build rows for toppling, and thus determine rates of speed depending on the gaps between dominoes.

Five minutes later, #1 was back to put away the dominoes. I swear, sometimes that boy is like a ferret on crack.

After the long-awaited early dismissal, we topped of T-Hoe's gas tank, and stopped by The Devil's Playground for some necessities such as toilet paper, mini-flashlights, Zyrtec, and sugar-free chocolate pudding. I didn't glance at the milk cooler, but I will vouch for the fact that the bread and egg shelves were empty.

Ice formed on the back of T-Hoe's mirrors, but the windshield and roads remained unfrozen. We saw an owl, a hawk, and a white-tailed hawk all within one square mile. Who knew that avians find good hunting right before an epic ice storm? The county road to Hillmomba was also clear, but trees had a coating of ice that was unseen in Newmentialand.

Farmer H just called to report that his plant is shutting down for the night shift and all day tomorrow. We're going to be one great big freakin' happy family. If Newmentia cancels for tomorrow.

Bring on the Icepocalypse.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meet My New Friends

Imagine my surprise when I groggily slid open the frosted glass door Saturday morning, and beheld my new Shower Buddy: the toilet plunger. He is not a fellow I prefer to share a shower with. I know where he's been. And it ain't in the land of unicorns and rainbows. It makes me no nevermind that he was lurking at the far back corner of the double stall, like some Who's That Lady kitchen mop stalker. Anywhere inside the shower enclosure is too close. I gave him the old heave-ho, and set his jets to cooling on the heater vent. Right where Plumber H deposits him after a bout of plunging The Pony's manure. That little dude really needs more roughage.

Yes, I am sure the Shower Buddy surprise was part of Domestic God H's plan to drive me crazier. He's always hooking me up with new friends.

The Eternal Bulb mocks me in the wee hours of the morning, when I wake up in my basement recliner and ascend the stairs to H-Land. For some reason, Helen Keller H does not notice that the range hood light remains on long after he has partaken of the fare lovingly left on the stovetop for those evenings he is out playing with his goats at suppertime. You would think that a man so obsessed with turning off lights and TVs when leaving the room would click that beacon off. But no. Like a snack scarfed over the kitchen counter has no calories, the Eternal Bulb uses no electricity.

Perpetual Aluminum Foil is the Siamese twin of Eternal Bulb. Though I suppose, to be politically correct, I should call it a conjoined twin, or a Thailand twin. But I wouldn't want it confused with any of those Thailand Cats with their pretty blue eyes and seal point markings. I digress. Tightwad Skinflint Cheapskate H apparently thinks Reynolds Wrap is reusable to infinity. Sure, I can warm some garlic toast on it, then get another using for leftover pizza, and score a trifecta with fish sticks. But by the time charred, crumbled coatings are fused to Mr. Reynolds, he has worn out his welcome. T/S/C H would have him remain as a permanent guest, like Norman's mama at the Bates Motel.

I am never without a date to join me for the morning news after my 5:30 nap in the La-Z-Boy. Companion Can perches near the remotes, on the plastic lid of a Hot & Sour Soup container that moonlights as a coaster. Hey! Don't act shocked. Have you forgotten that we're the Hillbilly family, by cracky? King Of His Castle H sees no reason to pick up after himself. That's why he's got Mrs. HM. Every now and then, he deems it necessary to remind her of her official duties. Last week when The Pony and I arrived home an hour after King H and Prince #1, and I asked why he waited an hour instead of tossing the supper he knew we were having into the oven, he said, slowly, as if to a foreigner who magically understands English if it is spoken loud enough and slowly enough: "Because that's what a mom does--fixes the supper for the family."

This afternoon, Survivalist H waltzed in smelling like my newest chum, Captain Kerosene Heater. We're expecting an ice storm. At least that's what the weathermen tell us.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meat. It's What's For Dinner.

Several days ago, KSDK in St. Louis broadcast breaking news about a fire at a meat market in St. Libory, Illinois. The reporter mentioned that while no people were injured, twenty hogs perished in the fire. Like that was a tragedy. I find it ironic. Maybe. I'm still not real clear on that whole irony issue. But the fact is that some hogs died. Hogs that would have been butchered if they lived, because, HELLO this is a freakin' meat market! I guess some people will boohoo that the hogs died in the fire. Because they're so much more dead than if they were stunned and bled in order to make delicious bacon and ham.

Likewise, I can't understand how people decide that it's okay to eat Bossy and Billy and Miss Prissy and Porky and Bugs and Thumper and Donald, but not okay to eat Spot and Fluff and Mr. Ed.

And even though I have five cats, I find the following T-shirt amusing: I love cats. I just can't eat a whole one by myself.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Time Has Come

The time has come, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom said, to talk of many things: of chews and chips and soothing naps--of cabbages, and zings.

First cat out of the bag this morning, I nailed two young tobacco chewers. It's really not very smart to come in tardy, together, more than one day this week. Especially if your friend gives me the high sign behind your back right after I say, "You know, it really makes me suspicious when two guys come in late because they're in the bathroom together. It makes me think you're up to something. And I will find out." So when your buddy points to his bottom lip, my suspicions are confirmed.

Furthermore, if you're going to pack a big wad of tobaccy in your lower lip pouch, and proceed to swallow that delicious nicotine kool-aid for the next 45 minutes, with your adolescent adam's apple bobbing to beat the band every ten seconds, don't think Mrs. Hillbilly Mom won't notice. And for future reference, when Mrs. HM says, "I've got to run a few copies, I'll be right back," that means she is hoofing it up to the office to tell on you in person, since you might actually catch a clue if she picked up the classroom phone and called about your predicament, thus giving you time to swallow your tasty lip candy and destroy the evidence.

In the chip department, I partake of tasty Sun Chips every day at lunch. It makes me no nevermind that the date on my filing cabinet stash of Sun Chips is Oct 4, 2010. They are crunchy to the last drop, and I shall eat them until they're gone.

Last night, I did not post. My Hillbilly Mansion porch light was on, but nobody was home upstairs. I fell asleep in my basement recliner around 8:30, and woke up at 12:30. From there, I hurried off to bed, where I proceeded to toss and turn for an hour and a half.

This morning after 2nd hour, the hall STANK like a park port-a-potty on Labor Day evening. We are used to the stench after 5th hour. The official statement is that the grease trap is backed up, and we just need to turn on every faucet and flush the drains. Every day. But this morning the stench was atrocious. The smell was either rotting feces or cooking cabbage. Since we never have cabbage, I'm putting my money where my mouth will never go, and that is on the rotting feces. But two teachers did agree: after 3rd hour, the smell was identifiable as cooking corn. Which I did not eat at lunch, what with the plethora of expired Sun Chips calling my name.

I showed my class a National Geographic video today. It's a regular lesson we do about how man impacts the environment. This video is about polar bear migration in Churchill, Manitoba. In one part, the polar bears, on their migration through town, forage at the dump. The narrator explains how the bears have never seen fire in their natural habitat, and some learn the hard way that fire is hot. This is over a picture of a young polar bear rooting around for scraps, and sticking his nose in some flames. He grunts and runs away. And one of my little screen talkers spouted, "I've done that." I laughed out loud when another student said, "What, eat at the dump?"

There's no time for me to follow up with whether the sea is boiling hot, or whether pigs have wings. That must be a topic for another evening, because Gold Rush Alaska is coming on, and I aim to be there when those DoNots hit the motherlode.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Back In The Saddle

Join Mrs. Hillbilly Mom for a day on the range in the wilds of Newmentia.

The morning started with a roundup of wild paperclips. They are wily varmints. Never around when you want one, but lounging where mischief is lurking, ready to pounce. Like on the lid of the copier, just itching to dive down into the ol' Kyocera innards and bungle up the works. I corralled tens of paperclips from my throw-away pile of make-up work from last semester. Herded them right into my flat desk drawer, into a little compartment between quarters and Pink Pets.

Next on the agenda was a death-defying ride on the wildest of all broncs--the toilet in the women's faculty restroom. Something is afoot with that little filly. Her saddle is not cinched tight enough. You'd think she bloats her belly to avoid a snug fit. For the past week or so, you take life and limb into your own hands when you try to mount her during the four-minute interlude between classes. A good twist of the screwdriver should cure her of what ails us. But we have no hands willing to attempt her taming. No toilet-whisperer among us.

The chuck wagon dished up a platter of what appeared to be catfish sticks. They were rough and misshapen, not at all like the breaded bread of regular, machine-cut fish sticks. This skeptical buckaroo did not partake of the fancy fare. Nor of the apple brown betty that was swimming in a yellow fluid that may or may not have been clarified butter. Emphasis on the NOT.

Without even an afternoon siesta, I circled the computers in the lab for a bout of science project research. A wayward li'l dogie appeared on the horizon. "Can I come in here and work on my project for another class? It's not done, and my teacher said I could if you say it's OK." The last thing I needed was this little heifer getting my herd all riled up. But the quickest way to get rid of her was to agree. "If you can find a computer. But not near me. And I'm not going to help you." Because, you see, the project for MY class was also not finished, not even begun, not even a twinkle in the eye of Li'l Dogie. And what was the first thing out of her mouth? "What do I do, just turn on a computer?" Which earned the response, "You are not my responsibility." And blissfully, she faded into the herd.

Alas, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom must ride off into the sunset now, since her hurried post has wended its way to nowhere.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We Love Our Students, But Not In A Pervy Way

We have had an influx of new students this week and last at Newmentia. Normally, we get a new kid about every three months, or maybe four. The three we gained in the last two days don't seem like anything to write home about.

The girl, I will excuse for not showing up for class during lunch time, and spending an hour in the library. Sure, most kids would know that their schedule has a class every period, not a free time in the library block. And perhaps, if unsure about where they should be, would just pop into the office and ask. It's your first day, you know. Nobody would begrudge you an escort to class. It's not like Newmentia is a maze of outbuildings and ivy-covered stone walls and secret dungeons. It's ONE long hallway. You can see from one end to the other. The office is in the middle, right across from the open cafeteria. Floor plans don't get much simpler than that.

Today's dude I don't know well enough yet to criticize. But I will give him credit for sitting at the end of a lunch table, alone, instead of with the rabble-rousers who usually glom onto the new kid before New Kid knows what hit him. You know. The Sex Club.

Yesterday's new kid apparently crafted a masterpiece on SciMathCrony's desk. An uncommissioned work of art, if you will. And when called on his creative faux pas, just snorted and said, "So?" Which earned him an audience with Mr. Principal, who requested that Mr. Clean find some scrubbing supplies. But Mr. Clean takes his job seriously, and magically erased the classic graphic. Mr. Principal bemoaned young Rembrandt's fate, and Mr. Clean announced the most scathingly brilliant idea: "Let him clean all of the classroom desks." And that was that.

We won't go into the old new student who decided that he was not going to do anything. Not only decided, but voiced to one and all. Including Mr. Principal. Who was having none of that. You can't enjoy the show if you don't buy a ticket, so DoNot was dispatched homeward to do nothing without an audience.

We really do appreciate our homegrown students. They would never try such shenanigans. I can't imagine what those other schools must be like, for students to think this outlandish behavior is acceptable.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some Nights, I Got Nothin'

I have written two posts and scrapped them both. My crazy is just not flowing tonight. So I must sit in the recliner and watch TV.

This five-day work week is going to wear me down like the heel of a mailman's shoe.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Building A Better Dentist Office

In furthering my new career as an office designer, I am branching out from Doctor Office Waiting Lounges to Dentist Offices. This is, at present, a brainstorming session, not something that I've had in the works. I've been commissioned, you see, to get to the root of the problem with dentists.

First of all, no dentist should be allowed to hang out a shingle unless he has a giant tank of nitrous oxide out back. One the size of a propane tank should be sufficient. Seriously. Any procedure is bearable with my best friend Nitrous.

Secondly, the grinding/jabbing/yanking arena should have walls. At least three of them. No patient should be able to see or hear the procedure going on next door. It doesn't matter if it's Toddler Trey having his baby teeth cleaned, or Septuagenarian Hortense having incisor implants, or Meth-Head Mike enduring the Dremeling of decay from his picket-fence stubs--nobody wants to bear witness to the drool and tears of the orally challenged, or smell hot enamel as it sprays into the office atmosphere.

Thirdly, a selection of music, with hygienic headphones, must be provided to each patient. Nothing takes the mind off a root canal like listening to Alabama's 1982 album, Mountain Music.

Oh, play me some mountain music,
Like grandma and grandpa used to play.
Then I'll float on down the river
To a Cajun hideaway.

Swim across the river, just to prove that I'm a man.
Spend the day bein' lazy, just bein' nature's friend.
Climb a long tall hick'ry. Bend it over, skinnin' cats.
Playin' baseball with chert rocks, usin' sawmill slabs for bats.

Fourthly, the dentist and accomplices must chew gum or consume Tic-Tacs prior to leaning over the patient.

Fifthly, nobody should ever, ever hear a scream from the inner sanctum while waiting to be called back.

Sixthly, the indoor canister of dreamy Nitrous should not be housed in a giant clown cover. For real. If you think kids are skittish about visiting the dentist, picture them visiting the dentist where a giant clown guards the path to the inner sanctum.

Seventhly, if a spouse or significant other accompanies the patient for moral support, the S/SO should never be allowed to say afterward, "Oh. You thought that was spit they were sucking out? It was blood. You had a big pool of blood in your mouth."

Eighthly, it is customary for the dentist to provide a prescription for twenty vicodin for the patient after each office visit. With the prices patients pay, it's the proper thing to do. Even fake vicodin, red-headed stepchild hydrocodone, is acceptable.

Ninthly, a bruised or misshapen face the next day is NOT acceptable, and is not within the realm of acceptable dentisting. Any marring of the face shall carry a penalty of forty extra vicodin. For pain and suffering. Criminy! It's not the dark ages. A patient may as well tie a rag around his head and jaw, and chew cloves until the pain goes away, as pay for facial disfigurement.

Just so you know, these are all personal experiences at the dentist that have rankled Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's nerves. Except the propane tank of nitrous oxide. That's just a pipe dream.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Designing A Better Waiting Room

I am not Mike Brady, architect extraordinaire, designing split-level buildings that are all carbon copies of the house that houses my bunch. But I DO feel qualified to assist my doctor in designing an office waiting room that won't raise a patient's blood pressure during the two-hour wait.

The waiting lounge should be on the ground floor, so no unnecessary elevator rides will be inflicted on the patients. All elevators are good for is to excite little hick children who have never been to a mall. It doesn't matter how big the office complex must be to remain ground-level. Bright red trolleys can be used to carry patients from the waiting room to the exam complex. That will please the little hick children who have never been to the zoo.

Speaking of little hick children...they shall not be permitted to roam free. At the door, each child will be strapped onto a Hannibal Lecter hand truck (that's the real name for a dolly, people) and a hard plastic mask shall be affixed to the child's face. The mask will have curved tubes leading to the child's ears, so that any screams will be fed directly back into the child. Plus, the little hick children will enjoy the WhoVille design of the self-screaming masks. Special hand trucks will be available for parents with more than one child in tow. With a Lego-like interlocking design, a hand truck could even accommodate the OctoMom's brood.

Seating will be recliner only. A distance of five feet must be maintained between recliners, and none shall be set directly across from another. Walls will be rocky, flowing waterfalls. Patients may check out a puppy or kitten to stroke while sitting in their recliner. Those with insurance may choose a mini-giraffe left over from the DirectTV commercial. Those with double insurance coverage can choose a baby unicorn whose farts smell like strawberries.

One section of the waiting room will have a big screen TV and serve free beer and pretzels, just like you used to get on the Anheuser Busch brewery tour, before InBev ruined it all. Patients with insurance can have Michelob Dry. Double-insured patients, or the insured who are alcoholics, can toss back a shot of sweet, sweet Histinex.

Another section will show The Trouble with Angels on a continuous loop. Which is a most scathingly brilliant idea, if I do say so myself.

Children will be forced to watch the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, so they can see what happens to boys and girls with various vices.

When time for the actual physical exam, a partition will be set up around the patient, and blood pressure readings will be taken in the waiting lounge. Then the patient will be driven on a trolley (and allowed to ring a brass bell) to the doctor's inner sanctum for the exam proper. Weigh-ins will be at the end of the visit.

Each patient will leave with a gift bag of band-aids, Ace bandages, a thermometer, triple-antibiotic ointment, and a lime-green T-shirt that says, "Wanna play doctor?"


I am available for private consultation for all of your design needs.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Disconcerting Flashback

I was flipping through my America's Top 150 channels Thursday night, because nothing was on after a most satisfying hour of watching little punks become prisoners' biatches on Beyond Scared Straight. And as luck would have it, I happened upon one of the grand biatches of all time. Funny how the past comes back to piss you off.

Because I don't want any accidental googling to lead that grand biatch to the Mansion, I must speak in code. For my own protection.

The show was on The Travel Channel. It was one of the Paradise shows, like BBQ or Breakfast or Sandwich. You know what I'm talkin' about. This one was about a sweet dessert that is often served up at diners, sometimes a la mode. The minute I clicked on it, I recognized the face and voice.

It has been 18 years since the displeasure of our acquaintance. All the way back to my days working with the unemployment office, the trying days of that great disaster when the rivers climbed out of their banks, rendering my base office uninhabitable. I was farmed out to a more southern outpost, nearer to home, to assist with federal disaster claims.

In case you've never worked for a government agency, you can't begin to wrap your head around the trappings of bureaucracy that must be endured on a daily basis. Three of us were farmed out like county jail landscapers to do the bidding of the southern outpost. That meant that we did not get a computer or desk, but only a flat surface upon which to pile our stacks of claim forms, along with several pencils, and access to a copier. A computer would have been superfluous anyway, as all federal disaster claims were paper only.

Keep in mind that we did not make the rivers climb out of their banks. We did not sell people property on a flood plain. We were assigned to assist those whose livelihood or homes were adversely affected when sitting under several feet of water. The extent of our help was to fill out the paperwork, affix required documentation, and mail it off to Uncle Sam. Approval and disapproval were not items in our toolbox.

The grand biatch stormed my table when her number was called. Stormed it like a decorated veteran of D-Day, and demanded that I do something to remedy her problem. That being the ownership of a restaurant about to be swept away any moment, a restaurant noted for its flaky round desserts, operating under the name of The Azure Great Horned Avian. Or simpler words that have the same meaning. The grand biatch I will call NotGummi.

NotGummi treated me like an indentured servant. No fine how-do-you-do. She flounced to my table, slammed her papers down, and demanded monetary compensation for the three days she had been without customers because of the imminent rush of river through a sandbag wall. I explained the procedure to NotGummi. That all I could do was fill out her claim and send it in. That was not good enough for NotGummi. "DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM???"

It's not like she was a celebrity anywhere but her own mind. But because I had her paperwork, and because of the shirt she was wearing to advertise The Azure Great Horned Avian, I did know. And I shall never forget what a grand biatch she was. It's not my fault she did not bring the correct paperwork. I told her I would set the claim aside, and she could come right back to me when she had those papers. Not good enough.

NotGummi ranted about how she had been feeding the National Guard for free because she had no customers and her food was going to spoil. Like that would make her claim process faster. Like she wasn't going to report that as a loss for tax purposes. Never mind that the National Guard was there building the sandbag wall that eventually saved her restaurant.

So I was not enamored of grand biatch NotGummi as she bragged about her flaky pastries on The Travel Channel. She will never be more than a sow's ear, no matter how much she tries to appear a silk purse for the TV viewers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some Days, You Are Lucky To Get The Laotian Phlebotomist

I went to the doctor Tuesday afternoon for a regular six-month visit to check on whether my blood pressure meds are killing me. At least that's what I think the reason is for the six-month visit.

This was not a pleasant experience. If my doctor visit was a cruise, Gilligan would be the captain. You heard me. Gilligan. Not the Skipper. Except that the sitcom of my life isn't going into syndication, I didn't drink out of a coconut shell, and I managed to return home.

Here's the thing: they call you in to check on your blood pressure, but only after they have extracted the very last ounce of patience from your meager stockpile of good will. Join me, if you will, on my very own three-hour tour.

It's never a good sign when you arrive at 3:45 for your 4:00 appointment, and have to park in the next to last row of the hospital parking lot. Or that the aged trolley driver did not even bother to cruise by and offer you a ride to the front door. Perhaps he could not see that far.

I signed in at the far window, the one on the opposite end of the clinic from the parking lot, and waited to be called for my insurance information. You know, that ratty letter saying I really do have insurance, but just not a card like any other reputable insurance company besides Anthem Blue Cross would provide their clients by the date the insurance takes effect. Thank the Gummi Mary, that is my secondary insurance through Farmer H.

While I waited 35 minutes to be called to that window, I was swarmed by every germ-toting toddler in a tri-county area. You see, that window is by the 'playroom' consisting of a little table and some coloring pages. The dude ahead of me didn't have his insurance card or driver's license, and sent his wife out to the car to get it. I'm thinking she bopped on over to Buffalo Wild Wings for a snack just to show him who was boss, because she could have hiked to the Newmentia parking lot in the time she was gone. A dudette who came in after me could not find her license after the window returned it. She was tripping, looking under all the chairs, lifting them, turning her coat inside out, asking the window girls, etc. I thought she was going to pick me up and shake me to see if her license might be expelled from one of my body cavities.

After I was certified as being insured and not an impostor, I trekked back to the first window and chose a row of two chairs, facing down the corridor, so people wouldn't hark their phlegm in my direction. Wouldn't you know it, a hick in the corner was coughing up a lung every ten seconds. He should go into the lung donor business, really. Then he took a phone call and told the caller, "Yeah, we're here in the doctor's office. We brought the kids for their check-up." Uh huh. He wasn't even there to put an end to his Typhoid Barry business.

I soon had enough of inhaling those lingering microbes, and moved to a seat with my back to the wall when some lucky dogs got called into the inner sanctum. That lasted all of five minutes, during which a PA came striding down the corridor announcing that both elevators were down, and they needed the special vehicle they use to carry wheelchair people down the steps. I took it for granted that she meant down as in broken, not down as in jumbled piles of metal fragments embedded in the concrete foundation of the building. Did I mention we were on the fourth floor?

My new seat buddies arrived, a teen mom with a toddler and a basket baby, plus her mother. They cooed at the baby while the toddler stood in front of me and stared and coughed. I held my breath as long as I could, then turned sideways to try to sneak a breath. Mercifully, they were called in forthwith.

Shortly after 5:00, I was chosen to receive my long-awaited medical care. First on the agenda was a stop at the scale, followed by a walk to an exam room, upon which I was told to sit down, and a blood pressure cuff ensnared my arm. It came as no surprise to me that my pressure was up. A whopping 138/90, which some years back was nearly borderline hypertension. Anyhoo, it wasn't enough to change my meds. I am confident that in another six months it will be back to the 120/80 that it had been for the past several visits.

Doc did not bother to share my lab results, tried to foist a sleep apnea study upon me, or a cortisone shot in my knee, but I declined both at this juncture. He did, however, send me downstairs to the lab I had just been to on Saturday, to give them more blood for a thyroid test, which had not been ordered six months ago. As an extra bonus, he promised a tetanus booster, after tiring of my story of the garage-nail flesh-ripping incident.

I had to ask for that tetanus booster, though, because his nurses, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, came to route me out of that exam room with nary a syringe between them. And they proceeded to quiz me, like people just waltz in there willy-nilly and wait for hours and then try to scam a tetanus booster all in the name of hypochondria. "Well, who are you to need a tetanus shot? What's that all about? Doc didn't write that on the order." I showed them my flesh wound, and Tweedle Dum said, "I'm going to get it right now!" She met Doc in the hall, who verified that indeed, I was supposed to receive the magical lock-jaw preventer, as I wasn't yet old enough to put out to pasture from neglect.

Seeking advice from these wise Tweedles, I said, "So the elevators are down. Why do the stairs have a sign that says, Stairs End at Second Floor?" Tweedle Dum said, "Oh, they'll tell you where to go when you get there." So either there are talking steps, or a sign, or a stairwell attendant for just such occasions. Because she went on to say that the elevators break at least twice a week.

The office gal who gave me the lab order said that the elevators were fixed. I waited until another family went down, then pushed the button, and when that same elevator came back to get me, I took my chances. It was the longest elevator ride ever.

Are you tired yet? Because I was getting might tired of forking over that ratty insurance letter and getting the stink-eye from the staff. The lab people were not behind their frosted window, so I set my paperwork on the computer mouse, thinking it would be discovered. After they called four numbers, I told them I had put my paperwork in, but nobody was there to give me a number. They called me next. At least all the numbered people had been in that waiting room before me. Because I could not squeeze out one more ounce of bitterness.

Just before the Laotian-looking phlebotomist plunged her needle into my tied-off vein, a male phlebotomist with a cart full of blood and pointy things popped in to ask if she would give the OR a try, because after umpteen sticks, he still couldn't find a vein in that patient.

Suddenly, it didn't suck so bad to be Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Ain't Buyin' What You're Sellin'

Enough is enough. I am tired of the bank calling Farmer H. There is no need for it. It is harassment of the first order.

Last night at 8 freakin' 30, the phone rang. Of course I had The Pony screening my calls. He looked at the phone display doodad and hollered, "It's the bank." Normally, I would let it ring. Because we don't need to talk to the stinkin' bank. They call at odd times when Farmer H is not available, and only want to talk to him. WTF? My name is on that account as well. I'm thinking it might have something to do with that Christopher Reeve insurance that Farmer H has had for some time.

With Farmer H cooling his scruffy heels right upstairs in the La-Z-Boy, I figured now would be the time to put an end to it. The bank used to hound us with phone messages, urging Farmer H to call them back. When he did, they said it was nothing much, really, no problem with the account (which is why he returned the call in the first place), but that they had some amazing services to offer.

Last night, I picked up the phone. A foreigner (and by that I mean a girl with a thick accent such as you might hear if you try to call Compaq computer support) inquired: "Farmer H Hillbilly?" Um. NO. I do not remotely sound like a man. Especially not like curmudgeony Farmer H. I do not have a raspy smoker's voice like Suzanne Pleshette, former TV wife Emily to Bob Newhart's Bob Hartley.

If you can not tell a woman's voice from a man's, or you do not recognize that Farmer is a man's name, by cracky, then you do not need to be making service calls for a financial institution. I don't care if you were born and raised here and got your accent from your FOB parents, you do NOT need to be annoying people at 8 freakin' 30 at night. Period.

I held the phone away from my ear (okay, so maybe it was closer to my mouth) and hollered for The Pony to holler for his dad to pick up the phone. And then a terrible coincidence occurred. Just after I heard Farmer H flap shut the leg shelf of the La-Z-Boy, my thumb slipped on the ancient clunky early Seinfeld type phone receiver, and cut off the call.

I'm sure they'll call back.

Just so you know: FOB stands for Fresh Off the Boat. There is a hilarious blog called My Mom is a FOB. It appears that they just released a book of their greatest hits.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What A Racket

Well, the ice/snow/rain/mix storm that was heralded for Sunday night into Monday morning ending Tuesday did not materialize this week. Surprise.

Monday afternoon, the forecast charlatans started calling for a SIGNIFICANT snowstorm Wednesday night into Thursday. FOUR INCHES OF SNOW, and MAYBE MORE in some areas. Ho hum. And they expect me to buy that one, too? A weather advisory was also posted Monday afternoon for Thursday, due to that SIGNIFICANT winter storm that had not even shown up in the seven-day forecast Monday morning.

So let's get this straight. Nobody saw that SIGNIFICANT snowpocalypse on the horizon a mere three days away, but they sure saw the imaginary ice/snow/rain/mix storm when it was five days out. I call shenanigans!

Farmer H says he wishes I had become a weather forecaster instead of a teacher. Because I would only have to be right 50 % of the time. Or less. Dear, befuddled Farmer H! He does not see that I am just naturally right near 99 % of the time, without even trying. And I'm not talkin' weather. For that, you just need to stick your head out the door and then backtrack and spin all the previous forecasts so people will think this is what you've been saying all along.

I suppose I'll have to rush to Save A Lot for bread and milk on Wednesday evening.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Pretty Little Pony Liars

The Pony watched Pretty Little Liars with me tonight. For the second week in a row. Or to be more precise, The Pony laid on the couch playing computer games on his laptop while I usurped the big screen to watch my show.

During commercials, I made it my business to torment The Pony.

Don't you like this show? Everybody has a secret.


Come on. I know you're secretly watching it behind that laptop.

No, not really.

I bet all the kids at school are watching it.

Actually, just the girls.

Uh huh. So you've heard all about it.


You can go to school tomorrow, and say, "Last night, on Pretty Little Liars..."

Uh. NO!

Why not? It's good to have a subject to discuss with the girls.


You could start out with, "Every Monday night, I watch Pretty Little Liars with my mom."

I can't hear you! (His elbows stuck out from behind the laptop screen, like they would if he had his hands over his ears.)

And then you could say, "I love that show! I can't wait until it's on every week."


You'll have to be careful, though, or the girls will look at you as best friend material, and not as a future husband.

Stop it! I'm not listening!

Or you could just pick up your phone at Academic Team practice, and say, "Oh, no! I hate it when 'A' sends me a text!"

Uh, no. Not funny.

My Little Pony. Still a kid and still tangled up in my apron strings. There's so little time left.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Who Knows What Evil Lurks In The Hearts Of Beagles

Tank the Beavil.

That's my new name for our beagle. Because he is evil. I should have known when I found him on the porch that morning with the devil.

This afternoon, I tossed some old hot dog buns to the chickens. They're natural-born peckers, you know. Our custodian told me that. I think he and Farmer H are on the same wavelength. They've know each other for quite some time. Anyhoo, I broke the buns in small sections and flung them off the porch.

Farmer H's pets (and by that I mean his favorite animals), the goats, were busy eating my rose bushes. The buns caught their rectangular-pupiled amber eyes, and they charged in amongst the chickens for a snack. There was plenty to go around for our fowl and caprine friends. Then the big bad canine crashed the party.

Tank decided that he MUST have some delicious dry bread, the gourmet snack of beagles, apparently. He charged at Nellie, the long-haired white goat with a penchant for trapping her head in the fence. Tank was all snarly and lip-curled and vicious, so Nellie, head uncharacteristically unencumbered, turned tail and trotted for the goat pen. That was not good enough for the Tank the Beavil. He jumped up and sank his teeth into Nellie's left side, just behind her four-chambered stomach. Nellie hauled him along for a good 15 feet before he dropped off.

That darn Beavil needs a sound thrashing. Farmer H checked on Nellie, and thank the Gummi Mary, it looks as if Tank only gnashed his fangs on a mouthful of hair. I've told Farmer H all along that I think Tank is his chicken-killer, not Ann the shepherd. Ann ends up with the spoils because she is bigger, but she is not the leader.

Today's vocabulary lesson: the word capricious comes from the word caprine, and pertains to goat-like qualities.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dr. Hillbilly Mom Makes A Diagnosis

It's official. I have turned into my mother.

We have a multitude of remote-control gadgetry lolling about on various end tables and TV trays-serving-as-end-tables. The #1 son is in charge of all things electronic. I believe he is so in love with technology that he would rather host umpteen infrared flapdoodles than streamline our lazy man's attention deficit order-givers with a couple of universal remotes.

The zapper for the living room TV has been sluggish of late. It might take two or three pushes to turn the power ON, or a couple stabs to adjust the volume. He's not like Satellite Remote, who has a bad ZERO button, which must be depressed like the weight of the world concentrated in a thumb.

Because Satellite Remote has his innards restrained with a couple of strips of Scotch Magic Tape, I can pretty much gauge when the last battery change occurred. Not that I'm psychic or anything, but Nervous Tic H has a habit of picking at the sticky adhesive while watching his How To Murder Your Wife shows on TrueTV. Judging by the raggedyness of the gut-checkers, I can sense when Satellite Remote is in need of a power boost.

TV Remote is the red-headed stepchild of the Hillbilly clicker family. (Don't go hatin'. My mother, sister, and nephew have red hair. And I have raised a stepchild or two who held me in high regard.) TV Remote is used as an afterthought, once in the morning, once at night, and sometimes for volume if we want to punish Satellite Remote for his ZERO shenanigans by ignoring him.

Yesterday, I pried open the belly of TV Remote, perchance to deduce what ailed him. It was obvious. His batteries were stamped MAR 2004. YET HE LIVES! So I sealed him back up to click until the bitter end. Or until my next trip to The Devil's Playground.

I need to go check the dates on my Ranch Dressing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It Takes A Shower To Have A Baby

I threw together a hasty lesson this morning, what with my parking lot duty imminent, the disruption of three snow days in a row, and no time to run off copies on a working copier. The name of this lesson was: Waking the Baby Mammoth.

Thank you, NatGeo, for your inclusion on my mother's cable service. And thank you, Mom, for living in the past and using videotapes over and over for the last 20 years. And thank ME, for hoarding junk in my school cabinets. Kind of like the way Mabel hoards scissors and glue, and offers them to teachers with less of a budget than she, just before uttering the kicker, "They'll be right here in my cabinet, LOCKED UP!!!"

Yes, I dashed into my classroom, fortunate to have a working key, and set about flipping on the laptop, changing the thermostat, writing the new date on the board, and putting away some detritus from the top of my microwave due to the Great Textbook Handout on Monday. And there it was, in all its glory, Waking the Baby Mammoth. I spied it in the middle of a stack of videos that I don't use regularly. And since we just read a Science World article on the excavation of Sue, the biggest T Rex ever found, I saw the need for my students to observe the study of Lyuba, the most complete baby mammoth ever found. It beat the heck out of starting a chapter on conversion of temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit. Ninety out of ninety students agreed.

After that well-thought-out decision, which took all of five minutes, and some hasty juggling of yellow and white connector dealybobbers from DVD player to VCR, I proceeded to the parking lot. Where nothing eventful happened.

In setting up my lesson for the class, I had to be careful to explain that we were not really going to wake up the baby mammoth. It is 40,000 years old. No reviving there. Not even with a hair dryer and a defibrillator. That's because last time I showed it, one kid said, "You mean we watched that whole thing, and they never did wake her up?"

Today, there were different issues. One student thought the baby mammoth's name was Lump. "That's what it sounded like. And look at her. She just lays there. Like a lump."

Others gasped at the animated parts. Animated to look like real mammoths, not animated like a cartoon. "I want one of those! It's so cute!"

Another said, "That's fake." Um. Yes. There are no woolly mammoths alive now. And there were most certainly no video cameras 40,000 years ago.

One lass took a look at the Siberian Nenets' tent where the reindeer herder whose sons discovered Lyuba lived, and said, "Don't they ever take a shower?" Well, do you see a shower in the tent? Because all I see is a tent. With one window. And no rooms. And certainly no shower. Upon digesting this fact, she said, "But they have to. They have a kid." Well. I don't know where she was going with that, but the gist of it was that they had to be civilized with showers, because you can't have a baby without a hospital. OK. To be fair, that child has missed about thirty days of school so far this year. So maybe her synapses fire in a different way, based on all the sections of learning she has missed.

Still another lad asked why Lyuba looked stiff as a board as they were handling her. Thank the Gummi Mary, another kid told him, "Because she's FROZEN! Duh!"

All in all, it was an enjoyable return to the old grindstone.

Another storm is heading this way Sunday night.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho.

We made a foray into town today. Roads are fine, once you get out of Hillmomba. Within the Hillmomba borders, however, roads are packed snow, slick on top, like ice. Just in case you think you might drop in.

School will be in session tomorrow, running the snow routes. Which means a bunch of kids won't be there, and my lesson plans will have to be adjusted.

But the good new is: IT'S FRIDAY!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hillbilly Mom's Law

Annnnnnd...we're off! Again on Thursday. Another snow day.

I'll take it. The temperatures are too low for me to exit the Mansion. I had planned to drive #1 to the post office today (only the best and most exciting trips for my young 'uns) but his surly attitude caused a last-minute cancellation. And I will not let him drive himself down the slippery slope to civilization with the wind chill at 3 degrees in the daytime. It's not like summer when he could walk the five miles back home if he ran his truck into a ditch.

The forecast seems to call for all schools to reconvene on Friday, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's duty day. Unless there is still stuff stuck to the pavement. I wouldn't know. I haven't been out of the Mansion. Our roads are still covered even when the town roads are clear. So I can't really predict Friday's agenda.

I'm going by Hillbilly Mom's law: School will always be in session on my duty day; assemblies will be scheduled for my planning period; early dismissal due to snow will start with my planning period; lockdowns and drug dog visits will occur during my most unpleasant class, necessitating that they remain with me way past their welcome; chocolate cake on the menu does not mean that we will be served chocolate cake, but rather that I will pay my $1.75 and get a condiment cup full of diced peaches.

We'll see what develops Friday.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Building A Tower Of Soup

This snow day was quite productive. I arose at 5:50 a.m. thanks to Misery Loves Company H, who can not seem to wake himself and dress for work without an attentive audience.

After three loads of laundry, the local news, one episode of Malcolm in the Middle, and half of He Got Game...I decreed that I deserved a nap, and snuggled down in the La-Z-Boy with Mabel's gift blankie adorned with my name. (The monks in the caves of the hills of the Ozarks must have called a moratorium on roll-baking for a few weeks to construct such a special gift for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Right, Mabel?)

With a morning nap under my belt, I set about peeling carrots and potatoes to brew a big pot of vegetable beef soup to provide sustenance for 3/4 of the Hillbilly family. The Pony does not eat soup, unless it is Ramen noodles. I tossed in some green beans and diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and a packet of soup mix and some Worcestershire sauce and some Save A Lot steak sauce and some Heinz 57 for a little tang. Oh, and three pounds of ground beef so that Carnivore H would be satisfied when he built himself a leaning tower of soup this evening. A side of garlic Texas toast, and my meal planning was complete.

Around 3:30, disturbing my Jeopardy-watching frenzy, the #1 son began reporting on each new school that showed up on the cancellations. Like we don't get three phone calls to tell us if we're out. The Pony and I could barely yell out our answers for #1 crowing about all the schools that surround Newmentia being canceled for Wednesday. I figured that we would join them. We're not one to set a precedent. We go with the flow. It was not official until 5:00, when #1 noticed a flurry of FaceBook postings about our cancellation, then saw it on the news.

Then I got my human phone call for the phone tree. The next two limbs would not pick up, so I had to call Stuart my own self. He's at the bottom of the trunk. Of course he already knew, but had I not made that call, he would have thrown himself a pity party at the lunch table about nobody calling him.

Moments later, the land line rang with the automated message from #1's school, then the cell phone with the message from The Pony's school, and then it was official.

SNOW DAY for Wednesday!

We have about 3 inches on the ground here. Arctic Explorer H reported that the county roads are treacherous, that the interstate was snow-covered this morning, and that he saw 5 cars off the road on his 30-mile drive to work. But he chugged along just fine in his $1000 Caravan with the new studded snow tires. I can't imagine much improvement tomorrow, because the temps are going down to zero tonight, and the high will be in the teens. #1 is itching to go to the post office for his Nook-protector that came in Monday afternoon. I do not want him driving in these conditions, so we might venture out if he minds his Ps & Qs.

That stands for Pints and Quarts, you know. As in a drunk behaving himself. I learned it at a Trivia match, so it must be true.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

As this never-ending day winds down, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is privy to classified information hot off the BatPhone. NO SCHOOL TOMORROW!

OK, so the information was hotter about an hour ago when I first heard it. Now everybody knows the top secret agenda. Just like WikiLeaks all over again!

The students became insufferable around 12:19 this afternoon. They had all counted unhatched chickens, and were banking on waltzing away from Newmentia at the stroke of 1:00. Where they got their information was a dicey exercise in they said/they said. It started with one mouth, and went viral at the speed of sound. I swear, there were so many lips flapping that I almost contracted a case of frostbite.

Never mind that their cries of, "We're going home at 1:00!" were met with my patented one-eyebrowed stinkeye.

"Funny, that. Nobody has told ME. Perhaps you could share with me the bearer of such glad tidings."


"Who told YOU that you're leaving at 1:00?"

"Oh. Mr. Principal, of course. He said, 'If this snow doesn't stop, we'll be going home at 1:00.' "

"Look out there. It's barely flurrying. Nothing on the sidewalks, nothing on the road, nothing on the wood chips around the trunk of that little tree. There's no reason to go home. And it's a problem to let out early this late, because nobody will know in time, and the bus can't leave the little kindergarten kids anyplace without an adult in the doorway."

"But... but... "

"Nice try."

Of course we didn't leave school early. To look at the radar, the whole kit n' caboodle of snow showers was hiking north toward the Great Lakes, avoiding our little corner of Hillmomba like Jerry Seinfeld avoiding Poppie's pizza. Or Jerry's girlfriend avoiding the bite of apple pie he proffered on his fork.

Not only did we not leave school early, but The Pony stayed for his academic team practice. I was having none of that. All after-school activities were supposedly canceled, according to the messages left by the automated phone system. I let The Pony stay 45 minutes while I finished some work, then called to tell him that we were picking him up from Basementia. The Pony was not happy. They were in the midst of popping popcorn, in a real popcorn-popping machine. He even smelled like popcorn.

Too bad, so sad. Five miles further, and the snowflakes started to sift down again. Barely. Which was the norm all evening. The radar must have taken on a more ominous tint after supper, because now we are called off.

Maybe I will pop some popcorn for The Pony tomorrow. Real popcorn, in a pan, with oil.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brown Hole Of Catcutta

We have a dirty little secret here at the Mansion.

On the back porch deck, under The Pony's bedroom window, sits Catcutta. Once a respectable destination for furry members of the Hillbilly community, Catcutta has fallen into disrepair. No longer do sleek felines stretch and loll on the sunwashed planks of Catcutta's promenade, watching the world pass before them, through one squinting eye.

The modern Catcutta is a cobbled conglomeration of cardboard dwellings, notable only for their varying states of disrepair. The regal feline contingent has been displaced by the unwashed proletariat canines. To be fair, unwashed is not completely accurate. The woofers do seem to regularly clean their nether orifices. Unemployed for most of the day, the fleabags lounge in their corrugated compartments, groggily awaiting the free hors d' oeuvres that are occasionally flung out the kitchen door by Chef Hillbilly Mom.

Slumlord H used to patrol Catcutta regularly, razing damaged dwellings, and replacing those with water impairment or structural weaknesses. Now, the architecture of Catcutta has become a nightmarish eyesore. We avert our glance when passing, as if inattention will make the problem disappear. But the crumbling pillars of Coburn Farms, Fairgrounds, Diane's Garden, and Senora Verde linger.

If Slumlord H continues to neglect his properties, I shall organize a coup. Come Tuesday, when I'm hoping to be home on a snow day, I will instruct my lackey, The Pony, to load up Catcutta, lock, stock, and barrel, and transport it to the land of BARn. There, my second in command, #1, will light it ablaze.

No more Save A Lot boxes will clutter my back porch. The dogs have houses filled with fragrant cedar shavings. They have no need to go slumming in cardboard cartons, breaking down the sides, one for each of them for every day of the week. Enough is enough. If Slumlord H won't burn his cardboard trash, WE WILL. Because this is the country, by cracky! Where we incinerate our paper like nature intended. No landfills clogged with our cellulose overflow.

Sometimes, lightning is a forest's best friend.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Few Things

A few things about Farmer H that bother me:

He roots around in the bed and messes up my pillows before I get there. Then he denies it, even though I have to remove his hand and arm from the middle of my pillows before I climb into bed, lest I have a Princess and the Pea moment, and have to write a fairy tale called Hillbilly Mom and the Hidden Arm.

He has no common sense. Not a lick. When it came to sense, he got the short end of the stick. Sorry. I heard Trisha Yearwood's "She's in Love With the Boy" on the radio last night, and I have those lyrics stuck in my head.

Exhibit A for lack of sense: returning my keys last night. I gave Farmer H my school keys (the ones that don't work once every ten years) to lock up my room when he left. The Pony and I cut out a bit early. Upon arriving home, Farmer H traipsed into the living room, stood between me and the TV, and dangled my keys on their stretchy lime-green telephone-cord-looking keychain right in front of my face.

A more sensible man might have, oh, I don't know...put them in my purse with my car keys. Not Farmer H. He declared the HE didn't know what I wanted him to do with them. But apparently he assumed that I wanted them swinging in front of my face like a bad exercise in hypnotism by a hypnotist who got the short end of the stick when it came to hypnotizing techniques.

He set the alarm for 4:30 a.m. in order to wake up the #1 son for a practice robot tournament. The #1 son had to leave by 6:30. That meant an hour and a half of Farmer H whacking the snooze button every 10 minutes.

Last night, I threw in a load of laundry so #1 would have the jeans he wanted to wear this morning. That was around 9:00 p.m. I do that all the time. I wash a load of clothes, and put them in the dryer as I go to bed. It's my routine during the week. No need for Farmer H to worry his pretty little head about it. But no. Last night, he hollered down to my basement lair that he had put those clothes in the dryer for me. Which is a scary event, what with Farmer H not knowing what setting I use on the dryer for those items, or what items I might have included that I would NOT subject to the dryer, but would hang to dry. The boys are lucky they are not running around today looking like Mango on SNL. When quizzed on his aberrant behavior, Farmer H replied, "I was just being nice."

Funny how a man who doesn't know what to do with a set of keys knows the ins and outs of the Mansion's laundry room.

Friday, January 7, 2011


We got home late tonight because we attended the homecoming basketball game. There were not many people there for it to be homecoming.

Newmentia won both games, of course. Weren't you listening? It was homecoming! You always schedule your weakest opponent for homecoming. Which is why it's an insult when we go to an away game and find out it's their homecoming.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Doorifice Mocks Me

Today started with the great lockout of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Upon arriving at Newmentia, I put my key into the lock of my classroom door, and discovered that it would turn neither clockwise nor counterclockwise. The key slid in completely, but refused to rotate. The key that I have used for the last ten years.

I did what any other idiot would have done, and pulled out the key and stared at it. Students strolled by, flaunting their unruliness, since everybody knows that students belong in the cafeteria or gym until first bell. Nobody dared question my breaking-and-entering technique.

When my visual assault on that key did not work, I focused my anger on the lock. I slid in the key, then shook it. Shook it like a beagle pup shakes a stuffed red devil that appears on the Mansion porch in the night. That lock still would not give it up.

Drastic measures were called for. So I left the key in the lock, and wrenched that door-handle lever up and down, scrinching and scrunching its innards like the joint mice behind my kneecaps every time I sit or stand. That was futile.

I rested for a minute. All that exertion made me feel like the little spoiled gal last night on MTV's I Used To Be Fat. The one who got the army veteran for a trainer, and cried every time he wanted her to take a step. Especially when he tied that tire-on-a-rope to her waist and told her to run up that little hill. But I digress...

I tromped down the hall to Mr. Principal's office, thankfully without a tire trailing behind me on a rope, because I had no tears left, what with shedding them in a fit of poor me while sitting in T-Hoe in the driveway this morning waiting for #1 to drag himself out of my daily nightmare and into the car. Mr. Principal said that sometimes the locks go crazy. After taking a couple of phone calls (because why would a teacher need to get into her room, anyway, before the tardy bell) he brought his marvelous master key and slid it right into my doorifice. He pushed that door handle smoothly south, like butter, and pulled open the door. VOILA! He couldn't have done it better in a cape and top hat. Then Mr. Principal said that my key would probably work now, after the application of his magic touch, and IT DID!

I hope that little repair lasts for the next ten year.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Nothing happened to boil my blood today. Ms Mabel popped her head in to inquire about my epidermal garage-nail crater. But she wouldn't look.

The copier was broken before my lunch shift. Have I mentioned that lunch starts at 10:53 a.m.? I'm not pointing fingers, but Arch Nemesis reported the malfunction. I'm not sure if copiers follow the rule of he who smelt it dealt it, aka first smeller's the feller. But it seems mighty suspicious that I saw her using it right before first bell, and it was broken by 2nd Hour.

With the TWO copiers in the teacher workroom being out of commission, I was left to glom onto the secretary's sacred copier in the Newmentia office. And wouldn't you know it, after 25 of a 75-page run, the darn thing jammed up. She fixed it for me, but it jammed twice more. I felt very ashamed. As well as miffed.

This is no way to run a business, people! Schools are places that kind of run on copies. You'd think we could have ONE working copier in our building. Wouldn't you?

I feel the temperature of my hemoglobin heating up.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Ebbing Of The Crimson Tide

Well, well. It's off to work again tomorrow, days culminating at 5:00 p.m. after the #1 son works on his school robot, and a smattering of Pony afterschool academia as his team gears up for competitions.

I'm tired already.

Let's get back to my mostest favoritest subject of all, that being ME! With no new bugs up my butt, due to limited interactions with the world over these Christmas holidays, I'll finish up my bloodletting tale.

When that garage-wall nail forced itself deep into the cushy flesh of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's left forearm, and subsequently withdrew spongy matter in the shape of a small melon ball, the blood loss was not as copious as might be expected. Sure, there was leakage of HM's bubbling burgundy life fluid. But there was no fountain like that of Jed Clampett's bubbling crude. No gush and spray like that time a nurse stabbed a needle into Mrs. HM's arm vein in an attempt to gather evidence of gallbladder malfunction due to stones clogging the bile ducts. (And might I add that Jackson Pollock had nothing on Mrs. HM, her red-on-white splatter making a masterpiece of that nurse's shoes, slacks, and shirt.) No, this time the life fluid of one Mrs. Hillbilly Mom did not spurt out of her vein in a manner that won her many a Secretariat victory in competition with lesser bloodgivers on either side of her at previous Red Cross Blood Drives. Sorry. It is so unlike HM to brag.

The point being that either Mrs. HM's blood pressure meds are doing an admirable job of reining in the pulsating life force's force, or else Mrs. HM was dehydrated and in need of fluids such as a Sonic Diet Coke with Lime. Don't you go worrying about all that caffeine dehydrating HM even further. She adds ice over the course of the afternoon and evening, ice which melts into water, which defrays the diuretic cost of caffeine in her bloodstream.

Three band-aid and triple-antibiotic-ointment changes later, the flesh crater is still tender to the touch, but showing no signs of sepsis such as streaking red lines that might emanate from a fat red pinky finger. Mrs. HM pronounces herself on the mend, and promises to abstain from further bloodletting talk in the future.

Until tomorrow, at least, in case some incident would occur that causes her blood to boil.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's Official

It's official. On day three of the new year, I have managed to incur my first injury.

A personal note to my teaching buddy, Mabel: you may want to make sure you are sitting down, ready to put your head between your knees, with fresh smelling-salts at the ready. Some leakage of the red body fluid is involved.

Mabel is OK with extra fluids being added to the body, like with a shot or an IV. But not so much with regular body fluids being siphoned away by means fair or foul. At least it isn't her very own red body fluid escaping the confines of her very own skin.

The boys and I made a trip around the county today. The Pony and I got haircuts, we paid the Mansion payment and fed two savings accounts, picked up lunch, dropped off some items to my mom, and hoofed it back to Hillmomba.

The Pony was the first out of T-Hoe. He is the keymaster, and gets the door unlocked for us. Also a useful beast of burden, The Pony carries in one load of junk, and comes back to the garage for more. The #1 son usually requires prodding and poking to wake up and move his nap into the Mansion. I grabbed my purse and my soda, just the essentials, really, as #1 was rummaging around for assorted detritus that he had packed for the two-and-a-half-hour tour.

I suppose it goes without saying that Architect H modified our Mansion plans and flipped the angle of the garage, and custom-sized it. Which means that we have a garage that just barely accommodates T-Hoe, and either the Pacifica or the $1000 Caravan (upon which Short-Sighted H just mounted $282 worth of studded snow tires). Pardon me. There is just something inherently wrong with spending over 25% of your car's value on tires that will be used for three months of the year. It's not like we're living in Sarah Palin's Alaska.

Upon exiting T-Hoe, soda in hand, purse on my arm, I stepped back to have room to close the driver's door. Then I proceeded to walk between T-Hoe and the garage wall to get out the door to leading to the porch and Mansion. I turned my head to make sure that #1 was getting out of T-Hoe. And it happened.

I snagged my left forearm on a nail that jutted approximately two inches out of a 2 x 4 stud on the garage wall. It was one of 18 such nails protruding from the inner wall, nails which act as hanging racks for an assortment of fishing poles. I suppose I'm fortunate that my flesh did not catch a fish hook. Thank the Gummi Mary that we don't live in Sarah Palin's Alaska.

Upon hearing my scream of horror, #1 glanced and looked away. In fact, he ran away, in a walking manner, to the driveway to look at the Christmas decorations that he was supposed to dismantle. The Pony returned for his extra load, saw the blood bubbling from my arm, and gasped in sympathy. "I'll go get you a band-aid!" #1 shouted at him to help with the undecorating, but I excused Pony momentarily.

The wound is on the opposite arm from the scar I garnered by ripping my tender ten-year-old epidermis on a barbed-wire fence while trying to pet a stranger's pony off the bank of a creek in my childhood neighborhood. It is south of the fingertip where I plunged a razor blade 5 mm deep while trying to saw the foreleg off a plastic horse when I was eleven. Don't ask. It is further south of a scar at the base of my thumb left by a small paring knife after a cassette-tape-package-removal incident on the parking lot of Battlefield Mall during my college years, a wound which illustrated what my anatomy books had been showing me about how cartilage is smooth and white, while fat is yellow and lumpy. The new gouge is north of the scar formed from road rash after I totaled my Chevy Chevette after my first year of teaching, carelessly flopping my arm out the open window to scrape the blacktop of Missouri Highway 8 on the first of three rolls of that little tin car before it landed driver's door down in a ditch.

The gaping hole in my left forearm is the size of a nail head. The flesh is gouged out and hangs beside the bubbling cavity. My nerves have not been damaged, as I feel pain upon placing the injury under cool, running water. A dab of triple antibiotic ointment and a band-aid later, I no longer leave a trail that can be followed by one of those Twilight freaks.

I'm hoping my tetanus shot was in the last ten years. You know, the tetanus shot I had to leave school to get on a Monday morning after I was bitten by a chipmunk on a Sunday afternoon. I'm sure I told that story once upon a time between now and 2005 when I started my first blog. I'm thinking the chipmunk attack was in 2000 or 2001, because we had already moved our high school into Newmentia, but it was in the carefree days before 9/11, and it was during football season.

As long as I learn how to shoot a bear, I'm thinking that Sarah Palin's Alaska might be safer than Hillmomba.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Come Back

Is anybody else already missing the Discovery Health channel? Where are my Hoarders?

I am not down with Oprah 24/7.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Skillz

The #1 son's newly-licensed driving skills were put to good use today. He brought me a Sonic Route 44 Diet Coke With Lime.

I DID have to ask for it, however.