Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Usually, I just rename the current blog by adding a number to the title. And I start up a new blog under the Hillbilly Mansion title. I can't remember if I have to re-do the sidebar. Probably. But I don't think anything will change for readers who try to visit me here at the Mansion. Maybe they'll have to re-follow after the new one is established. Since I've only got 6 followers anyway, that does not seem to be a major issue.
What I'm trying to say, is: if it looks like I haven't posted for several days, chances are that I've moved to start a new blog. That I've built a new Hillbilly Mansion. So if that happens, just type in hillbillymansion.blogspot.com
Or I'll come back and link it.
Because you know that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can't go more than one day without posting her thoughts on ruling the world.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Enclosed with the grades, which I had not cared to open, because The Pony is a good student and we both know it, was a letter from the school nurse explaining that he would not be able to attend classes this fall until he could show proof of a Tdap vaccination. Well, wasn't that a fine how do you do at this late date. I called the County Health Department, where the boys' old pediatrician used to advise me to take them for shots, because it was free. That was right before he forsook them to become an allergist, who instead gave people shots for lots of money.
Anyhoo...the person in charge of Shot Clinic told me that yes, it did not matter that The Pony had private insurance, to bring him on in, and do it yesterday, because next week they expect to be bombarded with business due to school starting up again. So apparently other Hillmomba housewives are as lax on cleaning off their kitchen counters as Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. The Shot Clinic is on Mondays, from 1:00 to 3:00. Next week, they're expanding it from 4:00 to 6:00 as well.
The Pony and I took off to get him shot. We arrived at 2:15 because first I had to fight with the pharmacy about prescriptions, because my primary insurance wanted to not pay at all and charge me $45.00 on a medicine, but the secondary let me have it for $17.00. Oh, and two generics were $10.00 apiece, except for the past six months they've been charging me $4.00 each. When I complained, the clerk said she could get them for me for $4.00, and the whole problem was that I had TWO insurances. Pardon me. By paying for two forms of health insurance, I am overbilled $40.00 per month on prescriptions? Or $480 per year? That's highway robbery!
While giving The Pony's info for the Tdap, the technician offered the meningitis vaccine. It is not required for school, but recommended for kids 11-19, and college students are required to have it before they can live in a dorm. She said that they are giving it now for free, but that the cost is normally $100 for the one-time vaccination. So...I agreed, and broke the news to The Pony that he would be getting shot twice. He wasn't too keen on the idea, but since he can't drive or walk home, he went along with the plan.
We waited until after 3:00 for his name to be called. By the time we left, I offered to pick him up some Burger King as a reward. The poor Pony had not even eaten lunch yet, as he was waiting until after the shot. He threw up one time after a flu shot, which might have been a factor in that decision. I called #1 to see if he wanted anything. By the time we got home, it was 4:30, so I went ahead and cooked Farmer H some Polish Kielbasa and sauerkraut. Ten minutes after it had been simmering, Farmer H called to say that he didn't want any supper, that he had to help his number one son with some electricity. Of course, he didn't tell me this, he told our #1, who thought to let me know another ten minutes after the call. THEN Farmer H thought to call me, the short-temper cook, and declared that he liked that meal, and would eat it upon arriving home at 7:00.
At 6:55, the #1 son, having digested his Burger King meal for an entire two hours, came to ask exactly what was on the stove that I had cooked that his dad didn't want, because it smelled really good, and he would like to have it. I explained that it was now spoken for, and that besides, he did not like kraut. Au contraire, he did declare. "I've always liked sausage and sauerkraut. I wish I had some."
So today I went out and bought more. I'm sure the kid won't touch it. And he's getting a free meningitis vaccination Monday, whether he likes it or not.
Monday, July 25, 2011
"Hey, what's on your pants? Did you drop fast food in your seat again?" That's because when he used to ride shotgun in T-Hoe, he was noted for soiling his clothing right after I told him to be careful and leave the burger in the wrapper. "Watch out. You're going to get that all over your clothes you've been wearing for thirty minutes." No matter how much he proclaimed that he was smarter than that, and I was silly for treating him like toddler, the very next bite would result in a hunk of greasy goodness dropping from his sandwich.
"I don't have anything on me."
"You do. Come here. I'll point it out." I picked up my red wooden backscratcher, the one that is great for doing impressions of Kristen Wiig on SNL as the singer with the tiny hands. I told #1 to turn around, and pointed to the back of his shorts leg. There was a dark stain on the khaki.
"Um. That's not a stain. I was sitting on my chair with my leg under me. That's a sweat print from my foot." And to prove it, he lifted that dripping man-hoof and touched my real flesh-and-blood forearm with it. I needed to towel off the perspiration.
Somebody really needs to use antiperspirant on his feet.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
...who is deathly afraid of accidentally touching a slice of moldy bread will eat a hot dog that has been in the refrigerator since before his vacation in early June.
...will wait for his woman to get home from work to make him a sandwich, and tell her, "I almost starved waiting for you to get home."
...who said he didn't want any beer at the bowling alley will say, "Baby, go get me a cup," when a table nearby gets ready to leave, and offers what's left in their pitcher.
...can spend hours grilling chicken and steak and hamburgers and vegetables that he chopped and wrapped in foil, but only knows how to make himself a bologna sandwich or a microwaved hot dog the other three seasons of the year.
...won't ask directions when he's lost, but talks the ear off a waitress like they're life-long friends.
...can not hit the center of the toilet bowl, but can stack trash two feet over the rim of the wastebasket.
...will sit and watch TV shows about repairing and rebuilding automobiles, but takes his own vehicles to the shop for oil changes.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Now my fingers are hoarse from shouting. But I've been provoked yet again. This morning, I topped a blacktop hill to find a beautiful Golden Retriever running right smack dab up the center of my lane. Of course I slammed the anti-lock brakes to halt T-Hoe in his tracks. The dog was fine. He veered to my left, tongue lolling, doggy smile on his face, to rejoin his people.
That's right. It's not the dog's fault that he almost became a shiny golden pancake. He was loping along beside his people. Two pre-teens on bicycles, a woman in a golf cart, and a man on a lawnmower bringing up the rear. There was another dog behind Goldie, but I did not even notice the color, what with worrying about crushing every bone in Goldie's soon-to-be carcass.
Surely these fools must be tourists. Visitors to the country, who think anything less than a six-lane divided highway is put there for recreational purposes. That it's a winding pig trail for all to frolic, inherently safe, because we Zekes and Cletuses here in Podunk drive Flintstone log-mobiles with our bare feet, stopping at all unicorn crossings and fluffy-kitten play zones.
Several cars were backed up behind Lawnmower Jockey. Really. How fast do you think a seven-year-old on a bike can go? He was the leader of this Make Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Become Unhinged parade.
People piss me off.
Friday, July 22, 2011
For a while now, I have been thinking that he's using my razor in the shower. It's a big walk-in shower, with sliding doors. We lay things on top of that door-framey thing. No shower caddy for us. There's a little tube of conditioner, two razors, and Farmer H's toothpaste and toothbrush, because he can't brush over the sink like a normal person.
Last week I got out a new razor. They're the plastic disposable ones, in different colors. The package is stored in the top right drawer of the sink cabinet dealybobber. I'm drawing a blank on what that's called right now. The word divinity popped into my head, but I know that's the white fudge people make at Christmas that is so sweet it makes my teeth hurt to think about it. Anyway, it's not like there's a razor shortage around the Mansion. And besides, Farmer H has a mustache and a goatee kind of thing going on, so it's not like he needs a razor all that much.
So anyway...last week I got out a new razor. And after a few days, it seemed kind of dull. Duller than a new razor should be. A new razor should still be nicking and drawing blood if you aren't careful with it. And mine seemed to be not doing its razorly job very well. I looked at Farmer H's razor, an entirely different color, parked beside his toothbrush. It was not wet. Since Farmer H had left for work a couple hours previous, I thought maybe it had dried. But to set a trap, I placed my old-new razor with the end on a little mark on the metal of the door frame.
The next day, my razor was still on the mark. Farmer H's razor was still dry. But the day after that, oh ho! My razor was not lined up on that mark, and it had water droplets on it. So of course I went to the drawer and got out a NEW razor, pink instead of purple, and put it away in the medicine cabinet when I was done. And put the old-new purple razor back on the mark. Two days later, it was moved again.
I asked Farmer H if he had been using my razor. "Well, only on my beard."
That meant that I had to lecture him on hygiene and inquire as to WHY he thought he could use my razor at will. "Oh, that's nothing. So I used your razor. I don't have one." Let the record show that at no time did he bother to throw away his used-up razor. He left it by his toothbrush. As a decoy, I'm thinking. And he used mine. Because he was too goshdarn lazy to get a new razor out of the drawer.
I asked him, perhaps a bit sarcastically, "What's next, you're going to use my toothbrush to scrub your butt?" And he said, "There's an idea."
Now I have to hide my toothbrush.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Today I returned to T-Hoe after a doctor's appointment, and discovered the temperature reading to be 111 degrees. Yesterday, as I stood beside Poolio for a brief moment to speak to the #1 son, our chickens meandered out of the woods. Just in case any food happened to fly off of me in their direction. Survivor, our very first rooster, a buff and orange and black specimen of prime kitchen-towel-calendar splendor, stopped a few feet away. He laid down. He slowly slipped sideways, with one wing askew.
"What's the deal with Survivor?"
"I don't know. I hate them all. They run at me and I try to kick them."
"You can't do that."
"I don't hurt them. Just get them away. But I'd like to take that little speckled rooster and throw him like a football."
"He attacks everybody. But Survivor's all right."
"Yeah. Survivor is OK."
"Look at him. Is he dying?"
"Why's he laying down like that?"
"I don't know. He's breathing, though."
"His eyes are closed. He's not taking a dust bath. There's no dust."
"Maybe he's tired."
"He can't take a nap in the sun. He'll die."
"He's fine. Start over there."
"Oh! He's up! I guess he was just laying on that little bare patch to cool off. It's like mud from where I dump D'Hummi twice a day."
Farmer H tells me that the blackberries are withering from the Hillmomban summer. He knows this, because every day he eats a handful. And complains that the deer have been eating them.
Yes. Farmer H has a bone to pick with nature. Those blasted deer have been eating his berries, when they could have hopped in their deer car and driven to town to buy their own snacks with their deer currency, like sugar-free oatmeal-raisin cookies, or seedless green grapes, or whole-grain Honey Nut Cheerios. How dare the wild fauna deprive him of the wild flora that is so rightfully his!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
In less than 24 hours, The Pony had broken three eggs, knocked two magazines into the bathwater, spilled a can of Sprite, and dripped juice from a cup of diced peaches onto the rug. I suppose he's going through that awkward phase, the phase where a young boy's limbs are growing faster than his control of those limbs.
Tuesday evening, he went out to collect eggs. We've only been getting 3-4 per day, due to the blast oven temperatures hovering over Hillmomba. Still, that's about two dozen per week. Until this week. The Pony dropped the green and orange woven Easter basket that is the egg collector. He says he used some baby wipes to clean it up. I'm not checking. That's Farmer H's territory.
Later that evening, The Pony decided to take a bath in the big triangle tub in the Mansion master bathroom. He doesn't know how, but two magazines fell off the little gift soap wooden crate on the corner of the tub. He didn't bump them or touch them in any way, mind you, but somehow they defied gravity and leapt off their comfortable perch and into the water. And they hadn't even been looking depressed! The Pony rescued them, and performed CPR by dabbing at them with his bath towel. Then he laid them on the lone remaining magazine. Which of course meant that by the time I heard about it and went to check, I found three soaking wet magazines, which I promptly placed on top of the air conditioner vents.
Wednesday, The Pony knocked over a can of Sprite while reaching for the remote control. He started to wipe it up with his couch blanket, but the #1 son prevented that reasonable act, and sent The Pony hoofing it upstairs for paper towels. Of which he took ONE back down to the basement with him, and had to return again for more, because "...some of the soda dripped onto the rug, but I will get it out with a paper towel."
Shortly thereafter, a little #1 told me that The Pony then upset an individual fruit cup of diced peaches, sending juice onto the coffee table and rug. That's the Toenail Rug, people! The huge oval braided rug that my grandma gave me. It's not like you can toss it in the washing machine. And I don't think you can beat peach juice out of a rug. Or out of The Pony. Even if it's light syrup.
I might need to limit The Pony's forced child labor in my proposed handbasket factory, lest he unwittingly poke holes in them, thus slowing their descent into H E double hockeysticks.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
When I returned home around noon yesterday, the Mansion felt OH SO COOL upon re-entry. I figured it was because of the stifling outside temperature. I went about my business. Last night, my feet were freezing as I watched TV in the basement. I'm always chilly, but not so much my feet. They are encased in socks.
Upon climbing the steps to retire, I noticed that the main floor of the Mansion was cool. I chalked it up to Farmer H finally adjusting those vents in the basement ductwork. I didn't actually see him do it, but stranger things have happened. Since the upstairs is normally warmer than the basement, I picked up the little flashlight sitting on the bookshelf under the thermostat. Just to check on the temperature.
IT WAS 72 DEGREES!
Since May, I have set that puppy on 74. When the repairman was checking out Dirty Old Heat Pump, I noticed that the Mansion was cooler. The thermostat told me the temp that morning was 72. After ditching the professional coil cleaner, I quizzed Farmer H. "I'll go fix it. I set it on 67 so it would run continuously while he was checking it." I saw him change the setting. All weekend, it read a normal 74 degrees when I walked by. How could the thermostat magically set itself on 72 between Sunday night and Monday while The Pony and I were gone?
Because I am a member in good standing with Mystery Inc., I deduced that only one person had access to that thermostat while I was away. The #1 son. I went to his doorway this morning.
"There seems to be a problem with the thermostat. Is there anything you would like to confess before the trial?"
"I set it on 72 yesterday. It was too hot in here. I meant to set it back."
"Oh, so you thought you could do it secretly and I would never know?"
Yet another successful case under my belt. I will spare you the lecture on how a person who does not pay the electric bill should not adjust the air conditioner settings.
Monday, July 18, 2011
During a short break in the action during Big Brother After Dark, I figured it was better to get it over rather than wait until D'Hummi cried that he needed changing. I toted D'Hummi's pail of pure basement atmosphere water through Farmer H's workshop and out the basement door by Poolio. This task hasn't been too bad of late, what with the full moon. I can see the giant flat creek rocks that Farmer H scattered as stepping stones to Poolio's wooden stairs.
As I turned back to try and channel my inner goat so as not to trip on those uneven rocks, I spied something out of the corner of my eye. Over by the goat/chicken compound. It looked like a string of Tibetan prayer flags at an Everest base camp.
Since none of the Mansion-dwellers have notified me of their intent to scale the summit, I knew this was an erroneous perception. I looked closer. I squinted. There was definitely something along the entire side of the chicken pen fence. But I could not see well enough to figure it out. Farmer H left this morning before I had a chance to ask. I left with The Pony at 8:30, before the #1 son had arisen. When I called him around 11:00, I asked if there was something on the chicken pen.
"Yes! He's hung a bunch of colored towels along there. I don't know why. It looks stupid!"
"We do seem to be getting hillbillier and hillbillier by the day."
"I know. I hate those animals. They come running at me when I try to walk through the yard."
"I don't so much mind the yard. It's the chicken poop on the porch that gets to me."
"You need to tell him to get rid of those animals."
I agree. Don't think I haven't tried. Farmer H has selective hearing. But this evening, when I saw the glorious towel art that adorned the pen, he admitted that he hung them. "We had a leak in the camper. I mopped it up with towels, and I hung them to dry." He then plucked the stiff water-wipers off the fence, squeezed them into a bundle, and stuffed them in the back door of the camper.
I can never be sure what he's up to. But if he invites you to go camping, bring your own towel.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
The Pony and I are kind of like Jack Spratt and his wife. The Pony can eat no crust, and I can eat no bread. So I push out the bread and give it to him, while I enjoy the ring of crust.
Tonight I told him, "I love the crust. It's so crusty!"
And The Pony replied, "I love the bread. Because it's so...bready!"
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Farmer H thinks the neighbors took our cat. I don't know how he knows this. He's not exactly a member in good standing of Mystery, Inc. But he could do a bang-up job repairing the Mystery Machine if necessary.
She's a long-haired cat, mostly white, with some yellow and gray calico patches. It's not that I begrudge the neighbors glomming onto a free pet at my expense. Even though we did pay her neutering bill and feed her for the past seven years. I'm sure they will give her a good home.
The issue is that she's a sentimental cat. The boys got her as a kitten, from an ex-colleague of mine. We drove to her house, climbed up into a playhouse that acted as nursery to two litters, and The Pony chose her specifically for her gray toe. He was only six years old.
That fluffy kitten was a real hellcat. She hated everybody except me. The first time Farmer H met her, he reached his hand toward the back of the pet carrier where she huddled, refusing to come out onto the porch. "Hey there, kitty." She snarled and took a psychotic swipe at Farmer H's arm. "Huh," he said. It was the start of a rocky relationship. Every time she saw him, she gave him a wide berth, and hissed for good measure. The Pony named her Snuggles.
We acquired her brother from a different mother on the same day. A short-haired, orange tiger-stripe named Genius by the #1 son. The two felines were inseparable until Genius disappeared one Labor Day weekend. We have no idea where he went or how he returned, but when he showed up a month later, he cried to come in the house, and stood on his back legs while grabbing the doorknob with his front paws. To no avail, because we don't let our cats in the house. Maybe that's why Snuggles has forsaken us.
Once Genius returned, Snuggles wanted nothing to do with him. Gone were the days of entwined sunbathing on the back porch. Of purring, kneading, grooming companionship. She acted like he was a stranger. It didn't help that we rescued three kittens dumped by our mailbox row the next spring. Snuggles avoided them like the plague. I was her only friend. She loved to curl up on my chest and rub her head under my chin while I sat on the porch.
In latter days, those three mailbox cats ganged up to torment Snuggles mercilessly. She never crossed an open area without an escape plan, whether it be under a wooden play set or inside a box built as a cat house or on top of a garden shelf. She could fend off her enemies from such strategic positions. Sometimes she didn't make it, and the roving mob left wads of her long white fur to blow across the planks like hairy tumbleweeds.
Now she's gone. Perhaps, one day, to return.
Friday, July 15, 2011
For three of the past four mornings, I have been awakened by a galloping beast and a squawking chicken right outside the French doors that lead from my bedroom to the back porch. The sound of scrabbling canine toenails reminds me of my childhood dog, Buster, trying to find Ball. It is quite irritating to salute the morning with such turmoil. At first, I blamed the dog.
This morning, in that state that is not quite sleep, and not quite wakefulness, I heard a tapping. Something gently rapping. Tap tap tapping just outside my bedroom door. I sat up, bending only at the waist, creepily, in fact, much like Michael Myers behind Jamie Lee Curtis after she thinks she has killed him in the upstairs bedroom after he attacks her in the closet in the original Halloween. That was the sound of a chicken pecking. Pecking at dry dog food in a metal dog dish on the back porch.
That darn chicken was the instigator. What self-respecting dog can lay idly by while a chicken invades his food bowl? Not the Mansion dogs, that's for sure. And chickens do not belong on the porch. She deserved what she got: the loss of a pillow-full of feathers. I know which chicken, too. Gray feathers. Bald chicken.
I still yelled at the dog, though. You can't yell at a chicken. They know no shame.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I am pleased to report that The Devil's checks have arrived. That was mighty fast. He must use some wacky kind of reverse express elevator from heck. And, he is not partnered with the devilish USPS. Nope. My checks were hand-delivered by a minion of the Unqualified People Shipping service. Can't beat that with a stick! Much more efficient than Deluxe Checks, which sends them to your mailbox that sits in a row of battered metal cronies out on the county road for any thief to help himself.
The checks look pretty much like my old Deluxes. Except that I have 8 designs, and no bank logo, and the check number and names are a bit smaller font. Other than that, they're identical to the outrageously over-priced Deluxes.
I don't see any reason not to reorder from The Devil. It's not like people actually look at checks anymore. Companies scan them into electronic checks. The Devil's own handmaidens slide them through the credit card scanner dealy-bobber. I could sign it Mickey J. Mouse and no one would be any wiser. Just the other day I wrote 2010 on a check to my television channels provider. I had already sealed up the envelope, so I mailed it anyway. It cleared in two days. No problem.
It wouldn't surprise me if there aren't software programs for printing your own checks. I'm too lazy to google and find out. Do your own fact-checking, people.
To conclude this product review...Mrs. Hillbilly Mom highly recommends checks ordered from The Devil's Playground.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Nellie stubbornly refused. She lipped at the banana. She came within 20 feet of the pen, reaching her tongue and stepping towards that banana. Then she stuck her nose in the air and walked into the woods to eat tree limbs. The Pony was so OVER her behavior that he was momentarily inattentive, and Yellow-Leg, the biggest, most-feared rooster jumped up and knocked the banana out of his hand.
I saw the aftermath from the porch. Chickens were swarming like sharks to a fresh kill. Every few seconds, that half-banana would flip into the air as one chicken would try to take a bite and get its beak stuck in the peel. A squawk and a hop to get away from the feeding frenzy would launch that banana like a frail child off the end of a teeter-totter.
Nellie was finally outsmarted when The Pony put some goat chow in the metal scoop and allowed her to nibble one pellet at a time as she followed him into her woodland prison. Nellie needs to do some hard time until she has an attitude adjustment.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I'm not talking about their odor. Or about the revulsion the #1 son has to our furry and feathered family members. I'm talking about an uprising of Animal Nation.
The goats have broken out of their enclosed woodland hideaway twice since last week. At first, Farmer H accused The Pony of not shutting the gate properly after his goatherd duties each morning from 9:00 to 10:00. The Pony denied responsibility. Really. How smart do you have to be to latch a gate? It's not a Mensa activity.
Upon closer inspection, Encyclopedia H found the clues. Those scheming, plotting caprines had butted the gate until the latch gave way. Now they are confined to quarters, with a metal clamp and a strap hampering escape attempts. A new exit procedure has gone into effect. In order to frolic capriciously about the Mansion grounds, goats must pass through a gate into the chicken pen, and through another gate to the yard.
The Pony is the Pied Piper of goats. He claps his hands and starts running, and the goats follow. They're herd animals, you know. Except for Nellie. She marches to her own drummer. Whether it's planting her head in the fence, refusing to exit the pen, or refusing to return to captivity, our Nellie defies convention.
Yesterday, Nellie ignored The Pony's goat-gathering applause. She turned her rump to the ovation, and grazed farther and farther away. One black triplet stayed with her. The Pony coaxed the kid back to the goatyard. Then he had to chase Nellie from the front field. When she got close to the pen, she pretended it was her idea all along, and went in the gate for some goat chow. The Pony rattles it in a metal scoop to get their attention, and the goats are tricked into thinking it's feeding time. He does give them a little taste, just to keep their hopes alive the next day.
Today started the new entrance and exit procedure. All the goats except Nellie and her triplets trotted right out and began ripping great mouthfuls of grass from the area where Farmer H just mowed. Nellie stood in the pen and looked pitiful. Then she started to cry. The babies started to cry. The Pony had already taken his goatherd position on the front porch, laptop on lap, to watch for any clandestine lilac-nibbling. He said, "If Nellie is too stupid to get out, she can just stay in there."
Twenty minutes later, The Pony cracked. "I'll go try and get her out." Nellie still refused to follow him through the maze. Two of the triplets did, though, and kicked up their heels at their new-found freedom. Nellie continued to cry pitifully. The Pony came back to the house. I got him half a banana. Nellie loves bananas. He lured her out with the tasty fruit. But the baby remained. Crying. "Do you think I should just pick it up?" I told him it couldn't hurt. Farmer H is always manhandling them. Every time The Pony got within arm's reach of the baby goat, it skittered away. But...it skittered in the direction he was herding it, and was out of the pen in two shakes of a kid's tail.
The magical goat chow scoop brought them all back in the new door without issue. Now they have to butt down two doors to escape. Don't worry about the chickens. They don't use their pen anymore, now that the dogs have stopped killing them.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I was hoping to score a tropical ice slushy kind of thingy today when I went to a neighboring town. But the darn shack was closed up tighter than Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's purse strings. It's a sad day when the temperature is too high to open the icy shop.
The girl at Sonic did not bring out my refreshing Diet Coke. I had to wait in line in shiny black T-Hoe until it was my turn at the window. Then I had to wait some more. She finally brought my elixir, and commented, "We had to fix the machine for your Diet Coke." Was it too hot for a cold pop? Was she insinuating that I, alone, wore out the Diet Coke dispenser? It was too hot to argue.
The county road-ditch-mower must have been delirious from the heat. He took out two mailboxes on our stretch of county blacktop. There might be a trail of postal carnage across the county.
I'm trying to conserve electricity by not doing the laundry and not cooking and not running the vacuum and not washing dishes so the water heater doesn't have to kick on. Isn't that selfless of me?
Sunday, July 10, 2011
I ordered checks online from The Devil's Playground.
It's not that I wanted some cheap checks manufactured overseas by orphaned toddlers for a salary of 3 cents per month. It's more like I am sick of taking it up the wazoo from Deluxe Checks. I've ordered a variety of cheap checks over the years. Some were so butt-ugly that I didn't even use the whole box, and others crinkled in the check-scanning machine like a rabid wolverine chewed them up and spit them out. But at least I knew how much I was paying for what I got.
Of course Deluxe Checks discontinued the pattern that I had used for 200 checks. So I only ordered one box of the the set that is just running out. I never liked them, but they cost me a year of college tuition for my young 'uns, so I used them up. But grudgingly.
I shopped around the internet on three different sites today. Funny how the other check sites actually had prices. Not so Deluxe Checks. They get all of your information and snatch that order out of thin air and charge it to your checking account. I call shenanigans. That's as bad as companies that will only do business with a credit card, then automatically charge you if they don't get your payment. Never mind that a payment might be lost in the mail, or that you never received the bill, or that you were planning to discontinue their service.
Just in case you were wondering, I got some check record thingamajigs, deposit slips for the #1 son's account, and a box of checks ALL for HALF the price of my last box of Deluxe Checks. The main expense was the shipping, since I waited a bit too long to order due to putting it off. Or I could have saved even more.
Lucky for me, I can afford the extra shipping money, what with my fledgling handbasket factory just getting off the ground.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
It must be mighty special sand. Sand for Poolio's filter. You tell me whether Poolio knows if he's getting the gourmet sand at $17 per cup, or free sand that washed up on the side of the low water bridge after four inches of rain fell in an hour. P.T. Barnum must have some relatives in the swimming pool supply business. And they could see Farmer H coming from a mile away, bobbing his big ol' lollipop head. Actually, it was not P.T Barnum who declared, "There's a sucker born every minute." It was his competitor, David Hannum, over an incident involving the Cardiff Giant. Here's a link to that bit of trivia.
Poolio has grown quite full of himself. He can't even catch a good breath. All that gurgling had Farmer H concerned. He had the #1 son perform a bit of CPR on Poolio's filter, and carry out a bloodletting of sorts. These stopgap measures were unsuccessful. So Farmer H took matters into his own hands to save his big blue buddy. Thus, the squandering of our retirement nest egg on sand. If he shows up with some magic beans, I'm looking into a trial separation.
Meanwhile, Poolio sloshes sloppily to and fro, a percolating vat of buttwater soup, who reverts to a roiling cauldron of rumpwash consomme during afternoon thunderstorms. I'm hoping he does not suffer a perimeter aneurysm and collapse.
He and Farmer H have a floating date later in the week.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Then it went off for good.
Or for bad, as I see it, what with the season premiere of Big Brother 13 due to air a scant 30 minutes later. I reviewed my recent karma withdrawals and deposits, and came to the conclusion that Even Steven was going to owe me big on this one.
Farmer H sat mute in his La-Z-Boy upstairs. He had some greenish light filtering in through the shades. The Pony and I grabbed the tiny metal flashlights we keep within reach for just such emergencies in the basement. We turned on the weather radio, which provided us with some twangin' old-style country music. After ten minutes, I gave up hope of regaining power before my show.
Then I had the most scathingly brilliant idea. I hollered up to Farmer H, "Hey, why do we have a generator, anyway?" He hmpfed a bit, then muttered, then cranked his La-Z-Boy to the upright position. From there, he headed to the garage to turn on Gennie. I went upstairs to the only working house phone, the one on the kitchen wall with giant numbers that sometimes work and sometimes don't, and called Ameren Missouri. That's the good part about Am Mo. They have an automated number to report outages that tells you how many customers are floundering in your same boat, and when power should be restored. Ten p.m. was too late for my Big Brother. Lucky for me that Farmer H was on the case. I bet those other 859 customers wished they had a Farmer H right about then.
I began to worry. It takes about ten minutes for my Dish Network to come back after such a catastrophic shut-down. It has to acquire satellite signal, then load that confounded program guide for America's Top 150, and then maybe I'll get a picture. Apparently, Farmer H had lost his charm with Gennie. She was not responding. I sounded like he was choking her. Even after he jumped her, she wouldn't put out.
Turns out that he forgot to shut off the main power switch. We can only run selected appliances with Gennie's compliance. The air conditioner and stove not being two of them. Good thing I was in no mood to cook. I selected to run my big-screen TV and satellite dish. Who needs lights? Not me or The Pony. Farmer H made sure that Frig was humming, and that the well was pumping as needed. Then he took off to town. Because while he believes in being prepared for power outages by housing his kept woman, Gennie, in the garage year-round, he does not believe in providing her with sustenance.
It didn't help matters that four inches of rain were dumped on Hillmomba in an hour's worth of thunderstorm. Farmer H had to detour over the right bridges to reach civilization. Meanwhile, I had temporary power. WooHoo! I only missed the first five minutes of Big Brother, the part where Julie Chen explained the new rules for Season 13. And I held my breath until Farmer H returned at 8:50. Not actually, because I would have passed out and missed my show. But figuratively, because I feared that Gennie would gobble up her meager petroleum provisions and leave me in the dark again.
Sooo...I suppose Steven Evened things out, because I got to watch my Big Brother. The power did not return at 10:00, but at 11:30, at which time I woke Farmer H to suffocate Gennie. I threw the main power switch, and we had air conditioning and hot water again for for the morning routine.
Props to Farmer H for his electrifying performance in the face of adversity.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
* I can sit at my computer for hours and nobody speaks to me, but the minute I turn on some music, I'm the wise Yoda everybody consults before making a decision
* Severe thunderstorms roll in at the time I am planning to watch the season premiere of Big Brother 13, sure to cause an interruption in my Dish Network satellite signal
* A 16-year-old boy can eat a salad and a leftover McDonald's cheeseburger for supper and declare that he's full, and thirty minutes later ask permission to go to a Mexican restaurant for supper with his friends
* A rousing game of Keep the Bread Crumbs away from the Guineas can raise your spirits
* You buy dark blue shower-shoe flip-flops for your son because he says he will only wear a dark color, yet when you describe the other choice as white with a royal blue insole, he says, "Cool. I wish you'd got me those"
* The Devil's Playground in a neighboring town keeps the Mederma in a plastic lock-box of sorts, like the kind they put expensive video games in to cart up to the Devil's Handmaiden
* The song "I Got You Babe" now conjures up the topic of transgenderism
* The more time you have, the more time you waste
* Kenny Rodgers in unrecognizable now
* People hate the Duggars because they have a stable, two-parent home for their 19 kids, and don't take handouts or use credit
* A mere ten years ago, we were able to survive without a cell phone in our hands sixteen hours a day
* People have grown so thin-skinned that words now seem to break their bones
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
You know what a 4-way stop is. Four lanes of traffic, each with a left turn lane, come to a stop sign. Traffic takes turns in order of arrival at the stop sign. And here's where the outrage begins. A dude driving a Pepsi truck motioned for me to go ahead. Oh, the nerve of him!
Because it was clearly my turn. How magnanimous of him to allow little ol' me to go before he did. What a grand gesture. Like royalty allowing a commoner to bask in his presence.
Such a gesture is akin to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom telling her students, "Go ahead and inhale my oxygen. I import it from the atmosphere and into my classroom just for you. No charge. It's my treat. Take a breath. You're welcome."
It's like when I tell Farmer H that I'm going to a Trivia Match on such and such a date. "That's fine. You can go." As if he has a say in it. I didn't ask permission. I know there's nothing on our busy social calendar for that night. If The Pony needs minding, I make arrangements with my mom. So where does Farmer H get off giving me permission to go? I don't need permission. I'm not a prisoner in my own Mansion.
It's the little things, people. The little things.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
At 8:50, the goats started running to the pen. It's not that they are extremely intelligent goats with internal hourglasses. They're just stupid goats. When one goes somewhere, the other chase after it. Goats are herd animals, you know.
I told The Pony that he could go ahead and put them up. Usually, he has to bang the lid on the corn-storing metal garbage can to make them run into the pen. But today, they outsmarted themselves. We went off to town. I dropped off The Pony, gassed up T-Hoe, made a bank deposit, picked up a package of Nike socks at the dead-mouse-smelling post office so the #1 son will not look like a ragamuffin at Nerd Camp next week, purchased my Sonic Route 44, and headed back to the Mansion. It was only 11:30 when I got there.
Around 2:00, as I was sitting with my mouth hanging open after hearing the Casey Anthony trial verdict, #1 came in from his unsupervised dip in Poolio.
"Are the goats supposed to be out?"
"No. The Pony put them up."
"Well, Nellie is out in the field."
"Go check on them. Put them back in."
"I HATE those goats!"
He went after them. Apparently, goats are escape artists. They had battered down the door to their pen. #1 rounded up all but Nellie. She's stubborn as a mule. He wedged the door to keep the rest in. Two hours later, he reported that the triplets had wiggled their way out.
Farmer H will have to remedy the situation tonight. I am not going to sit on the porch all day to protect my roses and lilac bushes.
Monday, July 4, 2011
I set out for The Devil's Playground this afternoon to pick up just a few things. I would have had a less adventurous outing had I merely competed on an episode of 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show.
Upon arrival, I made a beeline for an abandoned cart sunning itself along the striped walkway between the handicap spaces. A win-win situation, right? The Devil gets free labor, and I get a walker to lean on during my trek to the front doors. But today, an elderly gentleman got away from his handlers and headed for the same cart. His adult son tried to call him back, but the old gent was heckbent on grabbing that personal ambulation device. I backed off and let him have it. Let it never be said that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom elbows septuagenarians to snag a Devil's handtruck.
Before The Pony and I could get in the door, we were accosted by a beggar. This one was collecting for veterans, he said, a noble cause, had we been harboring cash upon our persons instead of plastic. Stiffing the beggar, we attempted to enter the store through the actual entrance door. The Pony is a stickler for proper ingress and egress procedures. The double doors, however, opened barely wide enough for one Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. After a short delay. Meanwhile, scofflaws were entering the exit door willy-nilly.
I squeezed through with the flair of Indiana Jones grabbing his fedora with an arm-hair's-breadth to spare. I walked to the row of carts and pried one loose. The greeter frowned upon me. "I have one waiting for you." Well. Jeeves. Funny how I did not expect such a courtesy. I walked back across the entrance to take the one he had parked separately.
The Pony was sent on a reconnaissance mission to gather Axe Body Wash, coated paper plates, and large styrofoam bowls. I pilfered through the produce for the best bad bananas I had ever seen. In the lettuce arena, I was overtaken by two massive women on riding carts. They wended their ways between me and a stocker with a pushcart at the potato shelf.
On, to the back of the store I forged, for Diet A & W Root Beer. The Pony caught up to me and put his items in the cart. He was sent on a new mission for Apple Cinnamon Whole Grain Bagels. I sped off to grab some Hidden Valley Ranch powder and a bottle of regular ranch dressing. I had to weave up the center aisle due to Large Lady Cart 1 blocking the right side, Large Lady Cart 2 blocking the left side, and a bewildered little old lady stuck between them.
The bread aisle was our final destination. While I sorted through the tortillas until I found the 10-inch multi-grain pack, The Pony meandered through a family of four to gather generic hot dog buns. I then searched for the best date on the wheat hot dog buns. My concentration was shattered by a Chatty Cathy babbling about how she had found the pack of TEN hamburger buns. I looked around. Just as I feared, she was talking to ME. I didn't give an obese rodent's hindquarters if she found her buns. I'd never seen her before. She didn't even stroke my arm and tell me I was SO PRETTY. Three strikes.
The attempt to turn my back on the weirdo was hampered by the arrival of Large Lady Carts 1 & 2. They swept down the bread aisle like a Zamboni crew at the Stanley Cup playoffs. LLC1 scraped down the left side. LLC2 followed down the right side. There oughta be a rule about tandem large-carting.
At the checkout, The Devil's Handmaiden stuffed items of varied proportions into each bag. Sideways. Paper plates, sideways. Little Debbie Brownies box, on end. Farmer H's sugar free oatmeal raisin cookies, sideways. And each of those bags had a short, light item cast in with it. That's so all the bags would fall over when I attempted to set them in my cart and car.
At the exit door, we had to wait in line because of all the people entering through the wrong door. And deny the beggar money again when we got out.
Being yanked skyward by a cable fastened to a helicopter would have been so much simpler.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
That was his plan yesterday, but he made the mistake of saving them in plain sight. I picked up pizza and breadsticks for the boys, and made a big salad for Farmer H and me. It was a grand salad, too. Romaine lettuce, mushroom, egg, cheese, tomato, and blazing chicken chunks, with ranch dressing. Farmer H was fiddling about in the yard with his goats. Actually, he was sitting on his John Deere Gator wearing a ridiculous hat and swim trunks, occasionally shouting, "Get out of there," after some of my flowering foliage was ingested. Goats really like their salad on the vine.
Farmer H said he would eat later, so I put his big salad in Frig. The Pony was full of pizza, and declared that he would save his breadsticks for lunch the next day. I cautioned the #1 son not to eat more than his share, because The Pony had spoken for his. #1 agreed.
Jump to the next day, when The Pony declared that he was hungry, and would like his breadsticks warmed up, please, along with some pizza sauce, when I had the time to devote to his meal preparation. He's a polite one, that Pony. And absolutely helpless in the kitchen. I told him I would be right there, to set them out on a plate.
If you had happened upon The Pony in the next thirty seconds, you might have inquired, "Why the long face?" Seems The Pony had discovered only two of his four breadsticks remained in the bag. He pointed a hoof at #1. Because according to The Pony, nobody else would have eaten his breadsticks. "Dad ate his salad, and said it was all he needed."
Of course you know where this story is headed. #1 denied consuming the breadsticks. Farmer H announced that he had eaten two with his salad, because he didn't know they were spoken for. Our case relied on the fact that Farmer H was told that his big salad was waiting on the top shelf of Frig. No mention was made of a side of breadsticks. Besides, Farmer H is not supposed to have white bread, but only whole grain. And though not a much better choice, there were wheat Hawaiian Rolls in the cabinet.
The Pony and I convicted Farmer H, but have not yet handed down his sentence. Farmer H really needs to rethink the decision to act as his own defense.
Friday, July 1, 2011
*105 degrees in the garage
*the dogs lay listlessly on the porch, not even chewing on the half of a right deer antler that had entertained them with such enthusiasm two nights ago
*the top guinea only bit one chicken on the butt
*Bathing Beauty H did not float on a raft in Poolio, but instead sat on a blue pool noodle, mostly submerged, like an aqua-cowboy riding a hollow headless seahorse
*the doorknob on the front door burned my hand like I was Joe Pesci in Home Alone
*I felt sorry for the idiot man-child with a beard skateboarding down a blind hill on two-lane, no-shoulder, rural blacktop