Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hillbillies On The Town

We never go out for New Year's Eve. But tonight we are going out. Where, you might ask, could Hillbilly Mom and family possibly go to ring in the New Year? To a First Night celebration? To a happenin' nightclub? To a rinky dink tavern? To a casino? To the new bowling alley five miles from our Mansion? Wrong. Wrong on all counts. We are going to visit the home of the #1 son's girlfriend. Never would have guessed THAT in a million years, would you?

I'm not real keen on the idea. I'm a homebody. But the girl's mother called and invited us, and, not wanting to be rude, I agreed. Now we find out that the girlfriend's family has conveniently gotten rid of her younger brother and sister for the evening. I asked #1 if The Pony was invited. "Yes, unfortunately. She LIKES him. I don't know what's wrong with her."

According to #1 and his iPhone, the festivities include spaghetti and garlic bread, board games, pool, Wii, PlayStation, fireworks, and who knows what else. We are taking some Chex Mix and some sparkling grape juice. HH says he is stashing a bottle in the car. You can take HH out of the Hillbilly Mansion, but you can't take the Hillbilly out of HH. He's probably got a still over at the BARn, and is stashing a jar of white lightning in the car. Hopefully, T-Hoe won't burst into flames.

So we will be going to visit a home that we've never been in. The #1 son said, "Do we even know how to get there?" Duh. "YOU'VE been there a couple of times. Your dad took you. So I think we know how to get there." He was not convinced. "You know how Dad is! He probably doesn't remember." Not so fast. "Well, your father has a Garmin, so I think we can manage." He hadn't planned on that. "I thought we were taking YOUR car." Like that has anything to do with finding the place. "Um...he can take the Garmin out of his van and put it in my car. And if that doesn't work, I'm sure you can text her or call her while we're driving around lost, and she can lead us there."

I think he might be getting cold feet.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Christmas tree is coming down today, four days after HH said he was taking it down. Last night, he delegated the duty. The #1 son was supposed to undecorate it, but he kind of forgot, what with leaving home at 8:15 this morning to go to basketball practice, and returning at noon, and eating a big sandwich with Fiery Hot Wings Pringles, and drinking a Coke, and playing Medal of Honor on the Wii for a couple of hours, and fighting with The Pony, and texting, texting, texting. He says he is done now, but he only worked on it for 10 minutes, and fired The Pony from assisting, and now I hear gunshots again. I'm hoping it's the Wii.

I've seen two former Christmas trees at the official tree recycling station of a neighboring town, tossed asunder, lying next to a pile of dirt, dirt which has a sign stuck in it proclaiming that the dirt is property of the city. You know, so people know they have to go find their OWN dirt, and not embezzle the city dirt. There's also a tree that was dumped in the lake of our town. It still has tinsel on it. That's just on the part I can see sticking out of the water. Maybe the whole thing is decorated for the fish. The lake does not have a sign that says, "Dump your Christmas trees in here!" Neither does it have a sign that says, "No Christmas tree dumping."

Our little Charlie Brown Christmas tree will probably go down the sinkhole. That, or HH will torch it. Hopefully, not on a day with 60 mph winds.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lying Sleeping Dogs

I am developing a case of Mansion Fever. The boys are driving me crazy. They would argue over the blue sky and the round earth, just for the sake of arguing.

We bought Grizzly the old dog a bed today at The Devil's Playground. It's more like a rug with sides on it. The poor dog refuses to sleep in his doghouse, which could be because the beagle and the shepherd have taken both houses. They are like my kids, they don't know how to share, even though every time you see them on the porch, the beagle is using the shepherd's haunch as his pillow. Not to be confused with the dog pillow full of cedar shavings that HH wanted to keep and use on our bed. They shredded that long ago. Which is why Grizzly didn't get a really nice dog bed, all cushy with puffy sides. He insists on sleeping on the back porch behind the kitchen door. He has taken over our welcome mat, even moved it to where he wants it. Last year, I bought all three dogs a carpet remnant to lay on, but those stupid young dogs shredded them, too. I am afraid that one morning I will open the door, and whack a frozen dead Grizzly. He runs in the garage every time we pull in, and eats some cat food, and gets in a cat bed and turns around like he's making himself a bed. We'll see how long before his new bed gets shredded.

The animals have no respect for The Pony. He is quite low in the pecking order. Tonight, I asked him to take the cake plate and scrape the crumbs off the edge of the back porch. That's our Hillmomban garbage disposal. He opened the kitchen door, and it was like a scene out of Bambi. Five animals crowded around his feet. Tank the beagle and Genius the yellow cat waltzed right into the kitchen, even though they have never been allowed inside on purpose. The Pony said, "Hey! You guys!" and scooped them out with his foot. So much for showing them who's boss.

These fleabags live a life of luxury. I told HH he overfeeds them, and he said, "I only feed them once a day. They each get one cup of food. They're supposed to get more, but I make them hunt."

I suppose that explains The Great Chicken Massacre.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Restaurant Of My Discontent

Christmas Vacation is half over. Tomorrow, we have to get up early to take the #1 son to basketball practice. The Pony and I are not looking forward to it.

The Pony has been scrubbing his 1500-year-old Roman coins. His old dirty Roman coins. #1 has been running a Simpsons Film Festival in his room. HH tells me I need a Garmin. Because I have such a poor sense of direction. That is true, but even a Garmin wouldn't help me.

HH had the idea to go out to dinner tonight. We went back to that new wings restaurant, and it was terrible. Third time ain't no charm at this place. HH told the waiter that last time he ordered the chicken and shrimp, he didn't get his slaw. The waiter said he should have. So the server brings out the food, and there is NO slaw. HH argued with him, and the server insisted that it didn't come with slaw. HH showed him on the menu. The server still said it didn't come with slaw. HH and the waiter looked it up. The waiter said he'd see to it that we got the slaw. Of course, then you wonder what that kid did to it back in the kitchen, seeing as how HE, not the customer or the menu, was always right. And while I'm reviewing the restaurant, make a note-to-self never to get the fish sandwich, because the fish is overcooked and crumbles like cornbread, the pickle is limp like it's been laying out on the counter all day, and the kids' mini corn dogs and fries looks like they were scraped out of the bottom of the Fry Daddy, and the chocolate cake is a combination of dry, powdery cake held together by brown glue. Seriously. That stuff would not even wipe off your hands WITH water. Oh, and they seated us at a table for six in the middle of the sardine can, with no room to breathe, and the setting sun shining directly in HH's face, because I refused to sit there. You'd think they could afford a shade for that door.

I don't think I'll go back there for a long time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Grinding The Ax

Yesterday I began my tale of woe that revolves around my Christmas present. The ONLY present I asked for. The one that I DID NOT GET!

I know Christmas is all about the spirit of giving. And I gave, by cracky! I give all year long, and I continue giving right on through Christmas. In fact, if I was not there to assist Santa, all my kids would get would be a moose that craps jelly beans, and a candy dispenser in the shape of a Wiimote. That's HH's idea of Christmas presents.

So I left numerous hints about the Seinfeld Scene-It game that I wanted. Heck, you can't even call them hints. They were bold-faced declarations of the gift I wanted for Christmas. "We never know what to get you." And I would shout, "Seinfeld Scene-It! That's what I want. They have them at The Devil's Playground." You see, it's not some esoteric, gossamer, flight-of-the-imagination eclectic gewgaw that my men would not know if it bit them on the butt and then bellowed, "HA! I JUST BIT YOU ON TH BUTT! BET THAT HURTS, DOESN'T IT? MY FANGS WERE JUST IN YOUR BUTT, AND BLOOD IS SEEPING OUT! HOPE YOU'RE NOT A BLEEDER!" Nope. It was just a regular everyday game from The Devil's Playground. There were even commercials about it. And I would yell, "That's IT! That's the game I want for Christmas! See it? They have it at The Devil's Playground." No, it's not like getting me the one gift I wanted would plunge us into financial hardship. $29.97, people. About a fifth of HH's weekly allowance. Both boys have way more than that in their not-so-secret hiding place for their billfolds. Heck, they could have all chipped in $10 for loyal ol' Hillbilly Mom. But no.

Did they pick up my gift on one of the trips HH makes weekly to The Devil's Playground for dog and cat food? No. The #1 son is old enough to say, "Mom, drop me off while I run in and get something. I'll call you when I'm headed for the door." I do it all the time when I don't want to go in. The Pony and I park and listen to the radio. But no. HH organized a shopping expedition on the evening of December 22. They came back with bags. HH wrapped things. I assumed they had my gift. The only gift I wanted. The gift I had asked for repeatedly for six weeks. But no. NO GIFT FOR ME!

Don't think I didn't get anything. The truth in blogging law requires me to mention that I did receive several books that I had ordered for myself from Amazon. Because you know my children are internet illiterate, and HH only knows how to go to eBay and look up car parts and old beer trays. I got some fruit medley candy, which I like, but need like a hole in my lady-mullet. And I got DVDs of StepBrothers and House Bunny. And two tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld at The Fabulous Fox on February 7, which is a really good gift, but my sister called HH and asked if he wanted her to get them, because she had ordered some for The Mayor, earlier, when the seats were good, and knew that HH could not do something such as look up the number of The Fox and call and order tickets with a credit card. HH is kind of an idiot savant, except for the savant part.

But I really just wanted that ONE gift. And I didn't get it. We went out to my mom's house for Christmas dinner, and I just might have let it slip that I had only wanted ONE gift, and nobody cared enough to get it for me, and my sister said that she had asked about getting that for me and was told that no, someone else is getting that for her. Because, you see, she got it for The Mayor. Oh, and he happened to bring it with him, so we could all play, which was really kind of like salt in my wound, like letting a poor kid watch you eat an ice cream cone.

The story given by my men was that they actually looked for it on that shopping expedition on December 22, but that "...we didn't see any." So they got me Apples to Apples, which is a game, and that should count as the same thing as Seinfeld Scene-It. To me, it just says that I do not matter, and I've been having myself one grand old pity party since then, and today the boys and I went to The Devil's Playground, and I saw a former student who asked me how my Christmas was, and I told him how I only asked for ONE gift, and I didn't get it. He said his phone exploded when he touched something in The Devil's Playground that gave him a shock. Sounds fishy to me, but that's his story and he stuck to it right there in front of his grandma, so I told him he won the Battle of Worst Christmases.

Oh, and while I was there...I bought myself the Seinfeld Scene-It. The #1 son said they had a whole giant display of them on special, for $25. And now they have one less.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Present Tally

Another Christmas has come and gone at the Mansion. This was the year of No Big Presents. Neither child asked for anything big. So Santa, in his infinite wisdom, did not bring them anything big. Which is not to say their plethora of smaller gifts was inexpensive. Have you seen the price of those Wii games?

The Pony got some 2000-year-old Roman coins, with a certificate of authenticity, and a kit for cleaning them up, which includes a DVD to see which type of coins he discovers under the dirt. As The Pony refers to them..."My old dirty Roman coins." In keeping with that theme, he got a treasure chest of old American coins, and a set of foreign coins. He has also decided that he wants to learn a foreign language. No common, everyday French or Spanish for The Pony. He wants to learn Arabic. Go figure. He pronounces it a-RAY-bic. I am sure we are going to end up on the Terrorist Watch List. The Pony specifically requested Rosetta Stone. Have you seen the price of Rosetta Stone? Let it suffice to say that there are more economic alternatives. He also got what looks like a giant emerald crystal. It's about the size of a tall peanut can. The thing is actually a ship's deck prism. Did you know such a thing existed? I didn't. Apparently, the flat part of the prism was embedded flush with the ship's deck. The pointy part stuck below deck, where it gave off enough light that the sailors could play cards or do everyday tasks without setting the ship on fire with an errant candle flame or lantern. Plus, The Pony got some DVDs on ancient civilizations, and the Narnia movies, and some computer games, and a set of five pewter knights. He likes the one with the halberd best.

#1 was all about the Wii games. He also got a power dock for his iPhone, two iPhone stretchy case thingies, a little bitty round speaker that gives off a BIG sound, a set of the first six Tom Clancy 'Jack Ryan' hardcover books (which, thanks to a sweet deal on eBay, cost less than $6, though the shipping was a bit more), three seasons of The Simpsons DVDs, a Ford Mustang throw blanket and calendar, a shaver for his new chin whiskers, and several T-shirts (my favorite of which is: Silence is golden. Duct tape is silver. It has a smiley face with a strip of duct tape over his mouth).

HH got a Garmin. I know he's going to kill himself with it. He can't even keep his attention on the road without dashboard controls. You see, his last automotive purchase of the $1000 Caravan is what he drives to work. It has no speedometer or any other controls. Oh, they are there. They just don't work. For example, the needle of his speedometer is lying at the bottom of the little speedometer dial thingy. So he wanted a Garmin because it tells the speed. He also likes to have it tell him where to go, when I am willing to provide that service for free! In addition, HH raked in a John Deere clock that emits engine sounds of different models, depending on the hour. Like a normal person could tell the difference. He also got a stand-up light thingy from Black & Decker, and a tool caddy thingy, and some camouflage pants and shirts, and some outhouse salt & pepper shakers, and a set of retro Budweiser and Miller beer glasses, and a DVD and book about a man who built a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness. HH can take the book to his cabin to read about building a cabin. I figure it can be like Kramer's coffee table book about coffee tables.

Which brings us to my sad tale. I asked for ONE gift. I started asking for it around Thanksgiving. I mentioned it several times a week. I told HH and #1 and The Pony. I just knew I was getting it. I had done everything but tattoo it on my forehead. Christmas morning, I ripped into the wrapping paper, sure I would be drawing out my Seinfeld Scene-It game. But no. It was Apples to Apples. I was sure there was some mistake. All the gifts had been opened. Had HH forgotten to wrap one? Was it stashed away to surprise me? NO! I did not get my freakin' Scene-It!!!

More on my bad attitude tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Seasoned Greeting

We missed three days of school last week, so everybody was running a little behind on their holiday festivities. I hauled in my truckload of Chex Mix on Thursday, to much cheering from various recipients.

On Friday, I found a Christmas card in my mailbox. That is not uncommon. There are usually more, but I attributed the slim showing to the circumstances, rather than my OH SO SUNNY personality traits.

Here's the funny thing. The card was signed by the singular name of a couple. Let me give an example. Say Fred and Wilma Flintstone wanted to give me a card, what with me having worked for one and with one for several years. And while I was better friends with one than the other, I never had any conflicts with either. Yet the card was signed, "The Flintstone." Not "The Flintstones." What's up with that? Did the one signing the card get suddenly and severely distracted during the signing? Did, perhaps, one of the plethora of children run up and scream, "We have a BLEEDER!" ? Did a plane crash in the front yard? Did Jesus appear on a pancake?

Or was this a subtle, coded message? That ONE of the couple wishes me a Merry Christmas and the other doesn't? Did one of them say, "Well, you can send her a card if you want, but don't put MY name on it!" ? Is that how it is? Because now I'm puzzled.

And I wish I had not been so generous with my Chex Mix.

Oh, but that's not all of the subliminal clues. The picture on the card? Was it a shining star, or a Christmas tree, or a snowy scene, or a manger, or a wreath? NO! It was a the king of beasts and a sheep. Yep! And the caption under the picture said, "...and the lion shall lie down with the lamb."

Perhaps my paranoia is seeping out through my fingertips. Maybe I am reading more into this than is there. But I must say, it reminds me of the time my friend from another school district got a Christmas card from a bus driver that she dated once, with a picture of Santa on the front of the card, and the caption, "I'm making a list, checking it twice...". When she opened it, handwritten inside were the words, "and you're not on it, bitch."

Merry Christmas from the Hillbilly family of Hillmomba.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

HM Knowingly Violates HIPAA

All systems are go for Christmas at the Mansion. The stockings are hung with care by the fake fireplace with no chimney. All presents are wrapped. Santa is on his own.

Tomorrow will dawn with a two-hour Chex Mix interlude, followed by an Oreo cake session. My mom is doing the rest, but we scale back for Christmas. The kids just want to get at the presents. Christmas Eve is still a question mark, what with a sudden illness at the Mayor's house. We're confident that everything will turn out OK for my nephew, who checked into the hospital Monday evening with a blood sugar level in the 800s. They had it down in the 300s last night, and from the last I heard, it was 167 after his breakfast this morning. He's in his early 20s. We're hoping they get him leveled out and informed how to monitor himself, and let him out for Christmas Eve.

Also in sick bay is my aunt, the best aunt, the gambling aunt. We just had lunch with her yesterday, and planned a gambling excursion with Grandma. But that is not to be. My aunt was babysitting for her great-granddaughter today, and as she left, she slipped on the ice and broke her hip AND her shoulder. She called me around suppertime and told me first of all that the gambling trip is off, that she's headed to St. Louis for surgery tomorrow. Unfortunately, Missouri Baptist is full to the brim, with nary a bed available, and she is being sent to Des Peres. I am a bit concerned for her, as HH's brother died there of what appeared to be a staph infection after checking in for pneumonia, and the sister of one of our staff died there of the same thing. My aunt didn't seem worried, though. I asked if she was in a lot of pain, and she said, "YES! But not right now, because they just gave me another pain shot." Mabel, I know you will say a prayer for her.

Sooo...if we can just keep this branch of the family tree intact, the holidays should go off without a hitch. The #1 son had a close call this morning, as he was sent to feed the 'special' chicken and its buddies. He stepped off the front porch of the Mansion, onto the brick sidewalk HH installed from bricks that used to be a street in town behind our old house until the city dug them up and blacktopped that alley, and slid like a bad figure-skater into the rock garden HH also installed. Oh, and The Pony, on his tree-finding adventure with HH, had a close call of his own. Sunday, while I did the shopping, HH and The Pony went to find a Christmas tree. We're a little behind this year. #1's basketball, and HH's freelancing for free as the local Santa have put us in a bind. Anyhoo, The Pony chose a Charlie Brown cedar tree. It is scraggley, but it is kind of wide. As HH sawed it down, that scrawny wide cedar fell on The Pony, giving him a bump on the nose. He has recovered, but I doubt that he will ever go into the logging business with HH.

Short of burning down the house while Chex Mixing and caking tomorrow, I think we can avoid injury. HH will just HAVE to be careful on the way to & from work.

Monday, December 22, 2008

HM And The Case Of The Vanishing Gift

Yesterday, The Veteran gave the boys their Christmas presents. The Pony was ecstatic. He could not have received a better gift. It was an Indiana Jones hat, with a whip that plays the Indy theme when it is 'cracked'. That boy whipped his brother most of the night. First thing this morning, he put on his fedora. We had to take #1 to the dentist for a check-up and fluoride treatment that he missed due to basketball practice, and then we planned on going to lunch with my mom, aunt, and grandma. I had to tell The Pony that he could wear his Indy fedora in T-Hoe, but not in the other places. He was not happy, but he pretended that he knew he couldn't wear it there. On the way home, as we stopped by the mailbox, the boys wanted to throw rocks on the creek ice. It was only 15 degrees. I told them they just had a few minutes. The Pony wore his fedora. I saw him try to put his hood up, but it wouldn't fit. Did he bring the fedora back to T-Hoe? No. He left it on. I'm surprised he doesn't sleep in it. I'm waiting for the day when #1 tells Pony, "If you love that hat so much, why don't you MARRY IT?"

Speaking of #1, he called me from The Devil's Playground a few minutes ago, asking about a gift for Pony. "Mom. He's told me two computer games and a DS game. And those are the ones you already told me you got for him. How about this: a PC game called 'Jack the Ripper'?" Um...NO! How to explain. "No, do NOT get that for him." #1 would not be swayed. "Why? It's rated E for everyone. It just says 'alcohol references' and 'mild violence'. Why can't he have it?" I spoke slowly. "Jack the Ripper disemboweled prostitutes. I do not want The Pony playing that game, no matter what it is rated. Do you understand?" #1 said, "OK. How about 'Sherlock Holmes'?" I agreed. I hope it's not a case about Jack the Ripper.

#1 received a $25 iTunes card from The Veteran. At least that's what he told me. The card was nowhere to be found. This morning, #1 commanded me to find it. He said it was about the size of an index card, only bright orange. Being a bit of a Sherlock Holmes myself, I asked him where he had it last. Here is his story: "I carried it in from the car with your gift. I had it in my right hand when we were down in your office. I set it on Pony's desk to watch you open that gift. Then I took your wrapping paper upstairs to the wastebasket. I had the iTunes card in my hand. Then I went to my room. I can't find it anywhere."

When I was good and ready, I looked downstairs on The Pony's desk, and under it, and around my desk, and by #1's desk, and by his Guitar-Hero-playing area on the couch, and in his room around the iTunes card from his girlfriend, but not in the notes he had stashed there, and in the kitchen, and in the pantry and refrigerator (the boy IS an absent-minded professor), and in the couch cushions, and in the bathroom, and I even took all the trash out of the wastebasket. No iTunes card. We called HH at work to look in the van. #1 looked outside. He searched his pants pockets and coat pockets and under his bed. No iTunes card. We made about three searches apiece throughout the day. When HH got home, I went back downstairs. I thought about how I would act if I was #1. I knew he played Guitar Hero last night, even though he denied it. I looked again around the table and couch. Nope. I looked around the Wii games. I saw something on the floor behind the blue bean bag chair and the TV, down by the wall of the stairs. Something that looked like a piece of white cardboard with instructions from the back of a box. I picked a dust bunny off of it, removed a couple wires that laid on top of it, and turned it over. It was an orange $25 iTunes card. It must have fallen off the top of the TV when he turned on the Wii.

You're welcome.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On The Town Again

HH and I continued our wild shopping spree with a stop at Big Lots to pick up a plethora of Barbies, eight, to be exact, then on to Lowes for some solar pathway light thingies. HH parked so far away at Lowes that I felt like I was on a Himalayan expedition. Not a climbing expedition. That lower part, where you walk and walk and walk some more. With all the people wanting to climb mountains, you'd think they might put in a light rail system, and train those Sherpas to drive the train. But getting back to HH's transgressions...I said, "Why didn't you just park me up at the Taco Bell and let me weave my way across the highway. It would have been just as close." HH, in his usual manner, muttered, "It's not that far away." On the way in, in the freezing cold, we passed a bunch of empty spaces, then a cart return, then a bunch more empty spaces, then some cars, the an empty space ONE space away from the end. "Why didn't you park there?" HH said, "It wasn't there when we pulled in." I was having none of it. "Well, the other 14 empty spaces were." HH said I complain too much. Go figure.

After Lowes, we headed to lunch, but it was only 10:08, so I told HH that was not really an option. We drove to look at the new Buffalo Wild Wings place. From there, we were supposed to go to Walgreens to look for that Iron Gym thingie for the #1 son, the thingie that you put up in the door frame and you can do all kinds of pull-ups, or knee lifts, or put it at the bottom for sit-ups. Though, to be fair, #1 does not really want one, because, in his words, "If we tried that in THIS house, the whole door would rip out, thanks to Dad building it." But no. HH, perhaps sensing a test of his carpentry skills, insisted that he drive me through the downtown area to look at some little shops for something for my sister-the-mayor's-wife. I told him I had no intention of going into any shops, and to take me to Walgreens.

So he took me to a hardware store. Not only that, but he said he would park around the corner, and proceeded to park me right beside a big tree that was growing in the artsy little strip between the road and the sidewalk. "Ahem. I need to be able to open my door." HH pulled up a few inches. So I could get the door open and step out onto the curb, but also rammed my shoulder into that tree as I stepped back behind the door to close it. Never mind that we went in the side door up ahead of us, past an empty parking spot with no tree.

Next, we made it to Walgreens, where HH found a penny on the parking lot. We found several retro thingies for MSTMW, and stuff for the boys. In fact, we spent such a long time there that it was 11:45 when we left. That's a reasonable lunch time for me, what with my school lunch coming at 10:53 every day. HH had quite a time piling everything into T-Hoe. I miss my old LSUV.

The Wings place was pretty good, and had the added bonus of a penny in a crack on the curb, which HH pocketed, but the architect was terribly amiss in his entrance design. People hang out there waiting to meet other people, and there is just not enough room. Oh, and the 'non-smoking' area smelled suspiciously full of smoke to me, so they need to get their ventilation system de-bugged before somebody not me complains to whatever agency handles the nonsmoking complainers.

The service was good, and the food was good, and they had BuzzTime Trivia and Texas Hold 'em. HH played under my name, betting up a storm without even seeing his cards, because, well, he doesn't know how to play, and likes to bet with other people's imaginary money. I heard him exclaim, "I've got a pair of queens. I'm raising." I looked at the screen, and saw that everybody had a pair of queens. It was the flop. So much for HH winning me a new Mansion and LSUV on the professional poker circuit.

All in all, it was a good shopping day, and HH carried stuff into the Mansion, after picking up a penny he found on the garage floor, and no neighbor's pigs were harmed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

On The Town With Hillbilly Mom

HH and I did some last minute Christmas shopping today. My mom came out to stay with the boys, and we were in The Devil's Playground by 7:30. I had a list. HH did not. First cat out of the bag, he loaded up the cart with a 50-lb sack of dogfood, a large bag of salt to put down on ice, a medium sized pack of catfood, and some organic potting soil. Yeah! Christmas at the Mansion.

HH stuffed the stuff under the cart so we had more room inside for actual Christmas gifts. We were there for two hours. It was surprisingly uncrowded. My theory on this is threefold: people went to the city early, people are out of money, people like to sleep in on Saturdays. The organic potting soil was for The Pony's bean. They have been growing bean plants in class, and he brought home a bean of his own. We put in on a bed of wet paper towel in a red Solo cup, set it on the kitchen table, and promptly forgot about it for a week. Says how much we sit down to eat at the kitchen table. I checked on it to give it water on Thursday, and found that it had sprouted and grown half-way up the cup. The Pony was thrilled. Yesterday, it grew above the cup, and this morning it was WAY above the cup. It's a regular beanstalk. The 'organic' soil was purchased because it was the smallest bag they had. You can almost see that beanstalk growing if you watch it long enough.

I found everything on my list, and HH found many things to toss in the cart for his Number One Son's and The Veteran's kids. We were loading up on candy for stockings, and I said, "Shouldn't we put these in different sections, so we know whose is what?" HH declined. "We will remember when we get home." You know what that means. Once home, he said, "You need to look through those bags and see if you can remember what stuff I picked out." Yeah. I NEED TO. Puzzlingly enough, HH had selected 7 sets of Santa candy bracelets. There are only 4 girls. And 3 boys. I hope those little boys enjoy the candy jewelry. I divided up the big bags of stuff like Reeses and Hershey kisses, counting them out so each kid got the same amount. You know how kids are. They become expert counters when candy is at stake. Imagine my surprise when HH came up from the basement chewing on something. "What's that? What's in your mouth?" He stalled. "What? What do you mean, what's in my mouth?" That man exasperates me. "I mean, what are you eating?" By then it was swallowed. "Oh, just a 3 Musketeer. There was an extra." So what he's saying is...I can't count to 7. Some kid is going to have one less. I will point to the munchy Grinch.

I've barely touched on our little excursion. More tomorrow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cowabunga and Dragongate

I stand corrected on The Pony's home-made gift for a kid in his class. This morning, around 6:25, I told him to find a bow for the package I had wrapped, and complimented him on 'the cute dinosaur with the toes on its feet'. The Pony took exception to the compliment. "Uh. It was a dragon, not a dinosaur, and those were not toes, they were claws!" OK. Note to Self: remove foot from mouth, cut back on the compliment specifics.

Mabel, my bestest friend, gave me a most wonderful Christmas gift: a pink cowgirl hat with a ropey thingy to go under my chin, and sequins, and silver trim, and 'Dolly' in silver across the back. YES! It is a Dolly Parton hat! You know, Dolly, my favorite celebrity, who has amassed a $100 million plus fortune for herself, not only through singing, but through songwriting, and business ventures such as Dollywood and the Dixie Stampede. Kudos to Dolly for pulling herself up by the bra-straps. Dolly was so poor, she was not even a coal-miner's daughter. At least Loretta Lynn's daddy had steady work.

Mabel also gave me a book, hardcover, entitled Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business. Kudos also to Mabel, for foregoing the hug this year and planting a firm air-kiss in the vicinity of my classroom door.

Along with her 3rd & 4th allotments of Chex Mix, here's what I gave Mabel:

She's a cow-lovin' fool, that Mabel. This Beefeater is just for you, Mabel. Enjoy. Because I am not very creative, I also got Mabel a parade cow for her birthday, and I may as well show its picture, too:

That one is "Cow-Moo-Flage". I liked the chicken theme. They are the same size, but I had to give the Beefeater his day of glory. I really need a master list of Mabel's cow herd, because I cannot remember the ones she has, and I pick the ones I like, and I might start repeating.

For today's history lesson, let's take a look at the original Beefeater. The Beefeaters are guards at the Tower of London, technically named Yeoman Warders. Beefeater is a nickname, perhaps due to their being partially paid at one time with beef, or being able to eat beef from the Royal Kitchens. There is fierce competition to become a Beefeater, and applicants must have 22 years of service in the British armed forces. The first female Beefeater took her post in 2007. Beefeaters live in the Tower of London as long as they serve. One very special Beefeater, the Ravenmaster, feeds the ravens that live in the Tower. Bad news for him and the other Beefeaters if the ravens leave, because according to legend, the British monarchy will collapse. You can read about it here, but I've stolen most of the info for this paragraph.

I do not want to become a Beefeater. I hear that the Tower of London is haunted, and not such a very cheerful place.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Time Constraints

I don't have time to be witty tonight. We had a regular day of school. The #1 son had a basketball game. He also had a choir concert, but did not want to go. Who am I to drag an unwilling boy to a singing? He donated four hours of his time yesterday to set up the electronic components of his choir director's church program for Friday night. That should account for something. This was the third rescheduling of the choir concert. Three strikes, you're out.

The Pony and HH rushed home from the game and went straight to the BARn. There, The Pony drew a dinosaur, and HH cut it out of wood. They both painted it green. This craftiness is because The Pony's class drew names at school, and were supposed to MAKE a gift for their namee. I suppose it's to cut down on kids spending money. The book exchange received lukewarm enthusiasm the last two years. Now parents are making gifts for the kids to give. I know, because the older sister of the kid who drew The Pony's name asked me if he liked baseball. Unfortunately, I had to tell her no. He's unAmerican like that. Too bad if the truth hurt. Now the mom will have to think up another homemade gift. Hopefully, she can work in the theme of ancient Rome or Greece, or computer games. Leave it to The Pony to wait until the last minute to tell HH about his plan. I heard them talking about it last night at 7:30.

It looks like a Diplodocus, the Sinclair Oil dinosaur logo. Except that it seems to have three toes on each foot.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Day Times Three

Day Three of the pre-Christmas Break. I have wrapped a multitude of gifts. UPS just delivered more to the Mansion. We do not even have our tree up yet. That is unheard of in Hillmomba. HH's birthday is tomorrow. The Pony and I wrapped some gifts for him, and bought him a cake with a John Deere toy tractor on top, and a birthday card that plays the 'chicken dance' music. All thanks to The Devil's Playground, where we set off that alarm thingy on the way out. It was for a $29.00 Bright One light. I think that was the name of it. All those tooly gadgets look alike to me. The Pony did not so much mind that we had to stand by the exit while people stared at our criminalness as he did the extra five minutes it took before he could climb into T-Hoe and eat his Papa John's pizza.

We had dropped the #1 son off at church, where he had to get the electronic doodads in order for the Christmas program on Friday night. He missed church on Sunday, due to his birthday sleepover on Saturday. The sleepover that enabled HH, when driving the boys around, to tell one of them that his mother used to be really pretty when she was in high school. The Kid was mortified. HH still does not see that he did anything wrong. The #1 son said the worst part was that they were driving, and they couldn't talk without HH hearing them, so The Kid held his cell phone up to his face to show his embarrassment, and then #1 texted him, "See what I have to deal with?"

Tomorrow, we may actually go to school. I've got the Chex Mix, Mabel! The roads still look pretty bad in spots. We came home at 1:00, and it was only 24 degrees. That freezing mist yesterday really did a job on smooth surfaces. When I dropped #1 off at church, T-Hoe slid sideways down a slanted parking lot. I was helpless. I feared that he may get a wheel or two behind those concrete stopper-thingies at the head of the parking places, and then I would really be in a fix. Thank the Gummi Mary, I got him stopped. When the tech guy got there, #1 got out and slid down to the entrance. He held on to T-Hoe as long as he could. Then I told him to grab the church van, but he tried to go around the ice, which was a shining sea as far as the eye could see, so he went back and held on, and still slid. I hollered at him to surf it to the curb. He did, but he'll never hang ten at Oahu.

Now I need to go see if The Pony is rifling through those packages. I asked him if he'd been into them, and with a grin ear-to-ear, he said, "Nooo." That boy can not lie. OK, make that can not lie well. He said he was just wondering what would fit into a package with such a shape as that one on top.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

PEEPS Gone Bad

Something has gone terribly wrong with the PEEPS. It is horrendous. It is not a culinary matter. Mabel has been known to store PEEPS in the cabinet under her sink, unwrapped, for six months, until they get all stale and hard, because that's the way she prefers them. At least that's the way I remember her telling it. Sometimes my attention wanders. I could have been thinking about the cat pictures I was planning to prank Mr. K with when Mabel and I had that heart-to-heart about the PEEPS. Don't go thinking I got food poisoning from consuming those delicious, squishy, sugary little guys. I am perfectly fine...physically. But I am a bit discombobulated.

Last weekend, I bought myself a pack of Snowman PEEPS at Save-A-Lot. The kids don't like them, so they were safe sitting on the kitchen counter for several days. Today, I spied them and thought, "Mmm...I'll have some PEEPS after lunch." Here I sat at my New Delly, perusing the news, checking to see if a foreigner flung a shoe at a high-ranking U. S. official today, the pack of PEEPS at my left elbow. They must have been telepathically shouting, 'Eat me! Eat me!' because I just had to rip open that pack and chow down on some concentrated sugar.

You know how it goes. Nobody can eat just ONE PEEP. I ate another. Then I decided that there would only be one PEEP left on the top row, and I ate a third. Three PEEPS at a sitting should be enough for anybody. But no. I kept hearing that refrain in my head, 'Eat me! Eat me!' So I had another. And another. And another. Then I looked at the pack to see how many were in it. The answer is nine. Snowman PEEPS come in boxes of nine. There was only one row left. That's when I saw it. You know, like on that Seinfeld episode. IT. Like when Elaine said, "He took IT out." I saw IT. On those Snowman PEEPS.

That is just wrong, people. Snowmen should not be advertising OH SO FERVENTLY that they are SnowMEN. I can't believe the folks at the PEEPS factory have not called this to the attention of JustBorn, Inc., the makers of sweet, sweet PEEPS. I understand that the yellow chick PEEPS have that little tail where the marshmallow stretches before making the next yellow chick. The bunnies and pumpkins and ghosts do not have this appendage. They look like they are punched out, like with a cookie cutter. These SnowMEN need to be redesigned. People will laugh their a$$es off. The JustBorn, Inc. factory is going to be blamed for a lot of a$$less people.

I thought maybe it was just me. Perhaps my mind was in the gutter. I called down my #1 son. "Oh. PEEPS! Can I have one?" He must have forgotten that he doesn't like them, and lets them grow stale every Easter. I told him, "Take a look at them. Do you see anything wrong?" He started to laugh. A big belly-laugh, just behind his recently-developed two-pack abs. Thank the Gummi Mary, he's young. His a$$ stayed on. "That's JUST WRONG!" I asked him to take a picture of them for me, against a dark background. He snatched them up and took off. I was hoping that the copious amount of sweat that permanently floods his palms did not start digesting my PEEPS. He took a picture of this smiling, inappropriate trio on his Science Fair display board, on top of the Mansion pool table. When he came back with my damp PEEPS, he still wanted one. But only one.

This gives me the heebie jeebies, what with those SnowMEN calling, 'Eat me! Eat me!' There are two left. They may not survive the night.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Most Boringest Post Ever

We had a day off from school today. That's the good news. The bad news is that I spent the latter half of it sitting in the doctor's office. It was a regular 6-month appointment, and I had changed it twice due to the time and one of #1's basketball games. I called to see if they might work me in early, since I was out of school, but after hanging up on me twice, the girl just laughed at me. Then she said, "Bless your heart." Because apparently, the doctor was just swamped.

Silly me. I thought that with all the ice and sleet, people would stay home, and try to reschedule their doctor's appointment. But no. The ice must be a silent call to all of the elderly to high-tail it to the doctor's office. There were 3 people in wheelchairs. One guy had a walker with wheels on it. Good thing they had handicap tags, because those of us who had to park in the lot and skate on the ice and haul ourselves up to the 4th floor could not imagine a wheelchair or wheelie-walker moving on that ice. One of the workers got out of her car, fell down, tried to get up, and fell again. I hope she saw a doctor. I hope she filed a grievance. I could not believe the condition of that parking lot. The only good thing was...if I fell and cracked my skull, I knew I was within crawling distance of the ER. That is, if I was not knocked unconscious, because if my brains leaked out, they would have frozen to that blacktop in about 60 seconds.

I arrived a whole 10 minutes before my 4:00 appointment. At 4:15, one of the wheelchair guys said he had been sitting there since 2:00. All he came in for was to pick up a prescription. You'd think he would have asked them to call it in somewhere. At 4:45, they called me back. At 5:05, the doctor came in to see me. At 5:10, we were done.

At least they quit charging me that $20 copay. I have a suspicion they are billing both my primary and secondary insurances for the full amount. I used to get paperwork from both insurances, and still had to pay the copay. Oh well. It ain't MY problem.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Time Is Not On My Side

I am busy doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. This dial-up is a b*tch. But I can not see paying 3x more for high-speed. There are so many other things I would like to throw away my money on. Clearly, one of them is not a book on the proper usage of prepositions.

The Pony and I are planning a big Survivor Finale Extravaganza tonight. Thank the Gummi Mary CBS is running late due to football.

AND...the weather men seem to have been wrong again, what with the current forecast being that the freezing rain and sleet will be out of here by the morning rush, and it is moving faster than they first expected, and, well, it looks like that if we are going to get a snow day at all, we won't find out until morning. You know, morning. After I have arisen at 5:00 a.m. and showered and gotten everything ready for the day.

But I won't complain about possible day off. Until it's no longer possible.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Some Saturday Observations

Some Saturday observations from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom:

If men washed dishes, every house on the planet, even cardboard shacks, would have automatic dishwashers. Either that, or we would all be eating off dirty plates. Not dirty because the men refuse to wash them--dirty because men do a half-a$$ed job of washing them.

When you are up to your elbows in soapy dishwater, and ask The Pony if the toilet in the boys' bathroom needs cleaning, and he says, "I don't know, I can't see it from here," and you send him in to look at it, and he still says he doesn't know, and you go to look for yourself, he will meet you at the bathroom door and say, "I think it does...and I think it might be clogged."

Ten-year-old boys do not like to wipe around the bottom of the toilet to clean their own pee.

The line you choose at The Devil's Playground will be the one with the OCD checker, and you will debate changing to a longer but faster-moving line, but your common sense will talk you out of it, and after 20 minutes in line behind two customers, you will get your chance to check out, and that OCD checker will try NINE times to weigh your bananas that you carefully picked out for their size and greenness, saying over and over, "It says my scale is moving," until you tell her twice that you don't want the bananas if it's going to take so freakin' long, and you see that there are now six people lined up behind you, and that idiot tells some other checker who wanders by about her moving scale, and the normal one tells her the problem, and that OCD freak sets your bananas aside THEN, so you will have to go buy bananas at Save-A-Lot tomorrow.

That new impostor cough medicine will give you a headache and make you sleepy and do next to nothing to help your cough.

If you go to your son's basketball tournament that is far away, and his team is losing the championship game by 12 points at half-time, having only scored ONE basket the first half, the coach will play the starters and sub in the 6th and 7th men due to foul trouble, until there is one minute left and you are down by 18, and then put in your son and the son of the teacher who is sitting beside you in the bleachers, thus upsetting the parents of the other subs, even though your son is the self-proclaimed 8th man.

While waiting for your son after that basketball tournament, an old friend whom your husband wrongly suspects is an old flame will come over to talk to you and your teacher friend, and your husband will silently fume about it, even though he does not recognize the old alleged flame, and when the guy leaves and your teacher friend starts to talk about knowing him, your husband will say, "I never liked the guy," and your teacher friend will say, "He's still working undercover for the State Patrol," and you will say, "Way to go, why don't you broadcast it and put his life in more danger." Not that anybody in that meth ring or that casino scam would want to hurt a law enforcement officer.

Rumor has it that we are going to have a big ice storm Sunday night into Monday. Rumor had it last week that we were going to have shovelable snow. It didn't happen. I'm not getting my hopes up, or going out to buy a new generator.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Trotting Mad

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is trotting mad. Trotting mad, as in 'hot to trot', Mabel's expression for severe anger. What, you ask, could possibly make Mrs. Hillbilly Mom angry? I'll tell you what! Her husband's bonus check!

You see, HH told me to take the bonus check to the bank. We do it every year. Some of it goes for incidental Christmas stuff, like the Scout HH bought himself a couple years ago, and the rest eventually ends up in our saving & loan account. It's a routine. Until today.

I took the check to the bank, to the drive-thru, as usual. HH has a mental block about signing checks, I suppose, because he never signs them. So on the deposit slip, I wrote 'For Deposit', which means one of the workers could not sign it and take the money. I'm suspicious like that. The lady spoke from the speaker, and said, "Ma'am, you know there will be a hold on this check." Um...NO, I did not, because it has never happened before. So the girl rattled off how a deposit as large as this check this did not allow the funds to be released immediately. Mind you, I was not trying to CASH the check. Merely to deposit it in our joint checking account.

That girl spouted that $XXXX of the check would not be available until December 20, and that the remaining $XXXX of the funds would not be available until December 27. Oh, but don't y'all worry about HH and HM providing a merry Christmas for The Pony and the #1 son, because they CAN use the first $100 of that check today.

If HH had not told me to deposit the check in the bank, I would have shouted, "Listen, lady! I want that check back right now. I will take it to my savings & loan, and CASH it. Then I will bury the money in a sock in the back yard, where we are going to mine copper one of these days, and before you know it, I won't even NEED your bank, and you can happily hold everyone else's money for two freakin' weeks before allowing them to use their own freakin' money, but not mine! You got that, Sister?"

I think she was a Millennial.
And this is one of the signs of the financial apocalypse.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hillmomban Wisdom

Here are some Hillmomban sayings that we use around the Mansion.

Don't count your chickens...before HH puts them in a six-foot high dog pen without a roof.

Early to bed, and early to rise...makes you the parent your sons will despise.

The early bird...has the job of feeding the dogs and cats.

If you lie down with dogs...they will fart in your face.

One man's trash...will fill up a sinkhole might fast if you don't keep an eye on him.

A fool and his money...will go to the flea market every Sunday.

Still waters...are a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The squeaky wheel...comes off the trailer and passes you up in the median.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Full Moon Fever

Why didn't somebody tell me there is a full moon? OK. Depending on which source you check, it may still be two or three days off. But my living, breathing almanacs say different. My students have been showing themselves to be freakin' fresh pieces of humanity. Even Mr. S said after school, " I hate those juniors!" Mr. S is not known to hate at the drop of a hat. He is quite even-tempered. He even had sympathy for the old student who is allegedly going to the big house for raping his wife. The ex-student's own alleged wife, not Mr. S's. No, that would be too confusing, what with trying to explain which one of his four wives I was talking about. Mr. S even had a soft spot for that unrepentant scofflaw who slashed the cord of his box fan because Mr. S wouldn't turn off the fan. And came back after his suspension asking for the fan. "I paid for it. I want it."

We showed the 60 Minutes clip "Managing the Millennials" to our students today. During the discussion, the vocal ones said that it is not right to let workers act this way. It is not fair for other people to have to take up the slack and cover for the ones who won't come to work on time. LET them quit. There are plenty of other people out there who NEED a job. If our parents had to work hard to make a life, then it's good enough for us. WE should have to work hard, too. Let it be noted that 3/4 of this discussion came from the girl who allegedly stole about 100 library books last year. But I'm sure she worked really hard at it.

These kids ARE 'Millennials', but I suppose the lower class Millennials do not have all the perks of the upper class Millennials. I don't know a lot of them going to college, and I don't know a lot of them whose parents dote on them enough to call the teacher or the boss about any little disappointment. It's a hard-knock life for lower class Millennials. I'm not surprised at their take on it. When you argue over who's getting the squirrel one of you just hit in the head with a chucked rock while walking home from school over on the railroad tracks, to see who gets to take it home and fry it up for supper for your younger siblings because Mom is still at work and Dad doesn't live with you, I don't think parading around singing 'It's Raining Shoes' after you wake up in the Nap Room at 3:00 is the kind of thing you expect from your future employer. (In compliance with the Truth in Blogging Act, let it be noted that this situation, while real, did not occur at my current workplace, but at one 45 miles west.)

I took one class to the Book Fair. I only had 8 students in that class today. I thought it would be fine. We stayed about 20 minutes. I announced, "Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's class is going back to her room now, so we can be closer to the cafeteria when the lunch bell rings." You would think that would grab their attention. There was only one other class in the library at the time. But no. We got back to class, and I had 6 students. One straggled in after a couple minutes. "Where were you?" He puffed up. "I SAID 'Just a minute, I'm going to get this' when you were leaving." Indeed. Funny that I didn't hear that. Funny that he never has any money with him. Funny that he didn't say he was going to BUY it. I'm not accusing him of stealing. Only of stalling.

A do-gooder asked, "Do you want me to go look for Lost Boy?" I sent her. She would sell her soul to go to the library, though I don't actually think she does much reading. She likes the librarian. She likes doing good deeds for people. She came back with Lost Boy. I'm surprised she didn't have him by the ear. He's a tough nut to crack. Truth be told, he's the Vegetator. I asked where he'd been. "I was reading a comic." Uh huh. "So you didn't hear me say we were leaving? I mean, it's only the LIBRARY, where no one is talking, and I yell that we're going back to class, and you just didn't hear me? Is that what you're saying?" He nodded. "Pretty much."

I can't take another two days of this. I also fear for Mr. S.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Athletes' Feats

Not much to report tonight. The #1 son's team lost their first game. They are now 3-1. The team they played is the school whose district we live in. They are a way bigger school than ours. The score was something like 52-15. I kid you not. We expected to lose, but not The 1st quarter ended 9-0. At half we were down by 22. 3rd quarter they started to pull away (!), and with less than 4:00 left in the game, the subs got in. Don't be thinkin' they got 4:00 of playing time. The clock runs continuously when one team is ahead by 30 or more. Some parents behind me were going wild. They wanted those subs in sooner. "Put in somebody who wants to PLAY!" "Give the bench a chance!" I remained neutral. Though in my mind, I thought that once we were down by 30, the other kids could have gotten some playing time. That would have occured early in the 3rd quarter.

The refs were two young guys, one of them a janitor at the opponent's school. They were truly home-grown, though one finally grew a pair and gave the home team coach a technical in the 7th grade game. Which we WON, by the way, by 5 points, in spite of the terribly one-sided officiating. This school is known for such behavior. Our Athletic Director even showed up. That means trouble's a-brewin'. He does not spectate much at the Middle School games. I'm not saying we would have had a chance of winning with fair refs, only that maybe we would have lost by 25 instead of 37.

To add insult to injury, the price to get in was $2 for adults, and $1 for kids. Our school charges $1 and $.50. Oh, and their pizza was $1.50 a slice instead of $1, and soda was $1.50 instead of $1. I guess they had to rake in money to buy uniforms for those 19 cheerleaders. NINETEEN cheerleaders! For a Middle School game.

Whew! We need a good press breaker.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Old Work Force

I had to stay after school today. And I didn't even do anything wrong! What's up with that? Here's the thing, you people who carry on about, "Well, you have three months off in the summer." That doesn't matter. Last summer my three months off was only 10 weeks, thank you very much. Although that's because we had two week of snow days. That doesn't matter, either. Or the fact that I stay after school working on my own time for no extra pay for 90 minutes or more every day except Friday, even though I don't have to. That's just so I can have time to do my regular work. Nothing fancy. Grade papers. Make copies. Plan lessons. Gather equipment. And on rare occasions, I even take work home.

Today, I had made arrangements after school to take my children to my mom's house so I could do some shopping for my advisory students. Each Christmas, I give them a little bag of treats with candy and my world-famous Chex Mix and some cheap gewgaws that cost me an arm and a leg. So I was skipping out as soon as #1 got off the bus at Newmentia, because he had practice at 6:00 a.m. today. But no. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a faculty announcement that my grade of advisory teachers was expected to stay after school for a 'short' meeting. It was scheduled last week and I planned for it, but it was canceled that afternoon. Today, when I didn't plan for it, it was rescheduled. I was there for 45 minutes. I call shenanigans! There I was, trying to leave early for once to spend money on kids that are not even mine, and I had to stay after against my will!

We watched a story that was on 60 Minutes a while back, about the new work force. How they do not think like our generation, how they do not understand that they have to show up to work on time, WORK, yet still expect promotions, and fast. How WE are the ones who need to adapt to THEM, because they will just get fed up and leave if they aren't praised for nothing and given promotions for doing nothing. And somehow that hurts US. We are supposed to start a dialog with our students about his subject.

I've got their dialog right here. I even posted something about this back when it was on TV. I say that by giving in, we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. How can you run a business or a country if people show up to work when they feel like it, and are not held accountable? We used to give kids 9 absences a semester before kicking them out. The kids took 8. Now we give them 6, and they take 5.

This segment talked of how some companies have 'nap rooms', provide free food, have parades and parties, etc., and the work gets done. Whooptidoo! Think how much MORE work would get done without the frills. What's this about the United States workers working more hours than any other country? Is the pendulum supposed to swing the other way? Shall we do the least work? What is that going to get us, besides props from our non-working employees? Do you want to drive over a bridge built by workers who are given such free reign? Not me.

Maybe this is what's wrong with our economy. Apparently, this slacker generation thinks they can also buy a home and not pay for it. A car, too, perhaps. Oh, and over half of all college graduates move back in with their parents. They are not ready to live as adults yet. No wonder they can tell the employer to take his job and shove it. They have a safety net. Of course they quit. Because they can. Because their parents enable them.

I say it's time for some tough love.

But who had to sit and watch this namby-pamby- I'm-OK-You're-OK- touchy-feely-everybody's-a-winner-no-child -left-behind crapolafest? THE OLDIES WHO STAY LATE AT THEIR JOB AND DON'T HAVE A NAP ROOM OR FREE FOOD OR PARADES OR PARTIES. Because we won't quit. We have a strong work ethic. And we need to learn that we will do even more work to cover for the workforce of the future.

Something has gone horribly wrong with our society.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Welcome To My World

Perhaps I've mentioned that kids can be so cruel. I mention it to my students about 20 times per day. They are, after cruel. Usually, this cruelty is turned on their peers. Thursday, I felt the twist of a cruel tongue on my hair.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom you say...not overly concerned with her hairstyle. She washes and combs her lovely lady-mullet every day, and that's about as far as it goes. Last week, there was a spate of high winds, including said winds on Wednesday, duty day to Mrs. HM, and those winds wreaked havoc with the lovely lady-mullet. Picture, if you will, a brunette version of a Tastee Freeze twist cone, and besides having nightmares to last you for weeks, you will have a mental image of what Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's hair looked like out-of-doors.

It should come as no surprise to you that upon rising at 5:00 a.m. Thursday, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom shambled to the bathroom, took the scissors from the drawer, and hacked off half of her bangs. There. No more bothersome hair falling down in her hazel eyes. Problem solved.

My students filed in 2nd hour. The bell rang. I kicked the wooden doorstop into the classroom for safekeeping, and before the door even had a chance to hit me in the a$, Little Miss Priss asked, "Did you get a haircut?"

At 5:00 this morning, I cut part of my hair. So I guess the answer would be 'Yes'.
Did you have a mirror?
Oh! Kids can be so cruel.
Well, one part is a lot shorter than the other.
I thought it looked good. I came to school in a really good mood, thinking about my pretty new haircut, and now this.
Really? You thought it looked good?
Until now.
You know, you can use a round brush to curl it under.
I do that every morning when I comb it.
You can use a blow-dryer.
Thanks for that advice.
I'm only trying to help.
You've really damaged my self-esteem.
You can grow out your bangs, and comb it over like this, and pin it back.
I cut them because I did not want them to grow out.
Well, you can tell. One side is shorter.

Things kind of went downhill after that, what with my lingering illness that lies untouched by that impostor cough medicine I was given by a foreign doctor in place of my sweet, sweet Histinex. Not that I take that stuff at school. Laws NO! M-O-O-N. That spells, It is probably illegal to teach students while under the influence of a controlled substance. No, what I mean is that the medicine does not help my cough except for the couple of hours that it makes me fall asleep in the recliner. All day at school, I cough and blow thick snot out of my snoot. Doesn't that make you wish you could send your child to my class for an education? So I had a snootful, and took a Puffs-with-Aloe to blow my nose, and another cruella devil said, "EWW! That's nasty!" OK. So I had to retort, "What did you want me to do, let it run down my lip and into my mouth?" She decided that she did not.

On Friday, Miss Priss once again inquired about my hair. "Did you go get it fixed?"

Does it look like I went somewhere to get it fixed?
No. But I thought I would ask.
I got so much attention yesterday, I got up today and cut the short part shorter.
No. I'm not an idiot.
So it still looks the same?
Pretty much.
I don't know what you expect. I told you I cut it at 5:00 a.m.
Did you turn the lights on?
As a matter of fact, I did.
You guys are so cruel. Look, I had to wear long sleeves because you made me feel so bad that I went home and cut myself.
You cut yourself?
No! That was a poor attempt at a joke. Look. I'm fine. (I rolled up my sleeves.)
At least I didn't say anything when you blew your nose.

Yeah. The second wrong makes you right, I suppose. And just so you know, the coiffure critic had long, stringy bangs that she combs to one side and secures behind her ear. She's not the only one. It's quite the style.

I prefer my unfashionable lady-mullet with uneven bangs. Except on windy days.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wild World Of Sports

Basketball season is in full swing in Hillmomba, and the #1 son is playing for the first time ever. He has never been one for the sports. We started him in city league baseball at 5 years old. He played. He was not enthusiastic. By his third summer, after going through all the practices, with the first two games rained out, he said, "I really don't want to play baseball anymore." So we let him quit. Three years is enough to know if you like something or not.

I don't know if his friends talked him into the basketball thing, or if he liked playing in PE, or if he just wanted to try something new. I had told him if he ever thought he would want to play, Middle School was the last resort. Once you get to High School, you don't have a chance if you've never ever played. The boy loves the practices. He never missed a one.

The first game was Tuesday, against a team from a bigger school. For a week, I emphasized that he should not be disappointed if he didn't get to play, because this might be a close game. He said it wouldn't matter. He figures he is 8th man out of 11 players, going by how the coach subs in practice, and the way the players choose teams.

Tuesday's game was close. Half of Hillmomba was there to cheer on #1: HM, HH, The Pony, Gammy, and the Mayor's Daughter with her Boyfriend. We saw #1 run onto the court in his uniform, proud as could be. He made all his left-handed lay-ups in the warm-up. Well...he IS left-handed. The team did not look sharp. By that, I mean that I could not tell what kind of defense they were supposed to be playing, and the offense appeared to be set up, pass to the big guy, shoot. There was not a lot of motion on offense. One player had a spark to him, and gave 100%. He fouled out with 3:00 minutes left. He left nothing on the table. I can't say the same for the rest. As Gammy said, "It doesn't look like it would be hard to work yourself into THIS starting line-up." She was not being catty. We know and like all the players. They are #1's cronies. They have slept over at the Mansion, and shot each other with paintballs, and compared the amount of leg and armpit hair they have. That's what 8th grade boys do. Besides tell one that he has a haircut like a lesbian.

#1 did not get to play in the first game. I can't remember the score, but we won by around 13 points. It was close until the 4th quarter. I thought the coach might run in the bench with 1:00 or :30 left. How much harm could that have done? Then all the boys could say that they played. But he didn't. The 5 starters played. And the coach subbed in 2 others. My 8th man sat on the bench, cheering his teammates. He did not have a negative word to say. He told me, "Mom, I think I would have been the next one in if Coach subbed anybody else."

Thursday, they played a school smaller than us. So small that the 7th grade game was only two quarters so some of the players could dress for the 8th grade game. Nobody knew this ahead of time. HH had barely left work when the 7th grade game ended. We called him to tell him he might miss the game he thought was starting at 5:00. It started at 4:20.

The same 5 players started. They ran up a 14-0 lead before an opponent hit a 3-pointer. With 3 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, I saw #1 go to the scorer's table. The Pony put down his book. Gammy stopped talking. My boy got to play for over 2 minutes. He was a bit tentative at first, but he did not embarrass himself. He played good defense. He put up a shot that hit the backboard and and bounced over the front rim. He went where he was supposed to go. He got a rebound.

HH got there right at the start of the second half. The starters started again, since all of the boys had gotten to play in the first half. We continued to increase the lead. When we were up by 21 points, #1 got to go back in and play for 4 minutes. He got a foul reaching in on a rebound. He played his zone on the defense. He got an offensive rebound right under the basket and put it back up to score, and was fouled on the shot. He made his free throw. He covered for another player out of position on defense. He saved a ball from going out of bounds. He was switched to the right side on offense, pulled in a rebound, and banked it in. That's right. My boy scored 5 points in the first game he ever played.

#1 was on Cloud 9. The coach gave him a terrorist fist bump like BObama and Michelle. His principal told him, "Good game, #1 Hillbilly." A cheerleader texted him to tell him, "Good game." So did a bunch of the players. He is looking forward to a tournament on Saturday.

I hope he gets in the game.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Teacher Who Munches...

...on dogfood.

To continue the story of The Teachers Who Lunch, where we left off with a dastardly plot to prank the students, we must set the stage with the dogfood recipe.

My cousin prepared a baggie of Cocoa Puffs, Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries, stick pretzels, and Scooby Snacks. The latter are little bone-shaped graham crackers. Kudos, Cuz. That was a nice touch. I encouraged her to start a cough, and end up with, "Woof. WOOF." I told her to scratch behind her ear by moving her whole arm, like a dog's leg. I don't know if she did. What I do know is this:

At lunch Thursday, Cuz informed us that she had been eating a little 'kibble' for each class. She stood in the doorway between classes, holding the baggie and munching away. The kid who had first suggested letting Cuz eat dogfood walked into her room. "You KNOW that's dogfood, don't you?" Cuz took another bite, and with a full mouth, mumbled. "Mmm hmm. This is the snack mix Mrs. Hillbilly Mom gave me yesterday. Do you want some? It's really good." He shook his head. Others entered the class. The girls squealed, "Stop eating that! It's dogfood!" A few kids took a bite of the proffered contraband. They all told me about it when they got to my class.

Was that real dogfood that Mrs. Cuz was eating?
Yes. I put it in her mailbox after school yesterday. I was afraid she would share it with the kids.
She DID! She offered it to us, and some people ATE IT!
NO! I can't believe she would do something like that.
Well, she did.
It's not my fault. I kept it away from her until after school.

Seventh hour, I told them the truth. One kid turned to the class and said, "Don't you get it? They PRANKED us! Now they will try and do it again."


Funny thing...Cuz was not at school today. She had a substitute. The kids are worried that she ate too much dogfood.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

HM Is Sorely Disappointed

I did not get the sweet, sweet Histinex that I was jonesin' for on Tuesday. I got Cheratussin. Which does not hold a candle to my sweet, sweet Histinex. It is a vile impostor. Cheratussin contains CODEINE, people. I am not a fan of the codeine. It makes me woozy and lightheaded and slightly nauseous...and then knocks me out for a couple of hours. That is no way to treat a cough! I need my sweet, sweet Histinex, which makes my typing unpredictable for some odd reason, but never casts me into a deep sleep, and stops my cough, dries up my watery eyes and postnasal drip, and gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling. At least for about two hours. The cough and eye issues are subdued for about 3 1/2 hours. You can't beat that with a stick.

I long for my sweet, sweet Histinex. I yearn for it. I pine for it.

How dare that foreign doctor whose name is on my Cheratussin prescribe me what she THINKS I need? I wish I could beat HER with a stick! I want my old man ex-Army doc, who listens to reason and hooked me up with my sweet, sweet Histinex in the first place. Alas, my appointment that WAS scheduled for next Tuesday has been changed to a week from then on a Monday. I figure by that time, I'll either be dead or cured of this wet, wheezy cough. I am tired of whistling out of my lungs when I try to sleep. It is louder than HH's breather.

And another thing about that demon Cheratussin: it tastes nasty. It is not at all sweet. It is bitter, with an aftertaste. AND it is a pale, pale clear pink color that makes me think that the pharmacist did not put enough flavoring in it, and I am getting none of the Chera but only the tussin. Because in my mind, Chera should stand for Cherry, and this stuff does not taste very Cherry to me.

And yet another thing: after 4 hours, my mouth was dry as a bone. Dry as dog food in a baggie. My sweet, sweet Histinex would never parch me.

Have I mentioned that I WANT MY SWEET, SWEET HISTINEX!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Teachers Who Lunch

I have spent the week getting even with my cousin who questions my lunch fare every day. After the last brouhaha six weeks ago, it is once again her duty week. That means she comes to our table every day. So I planned a whole week of pranks. Unfortunately, I did not plan them in a timely manner. While I had planned on such cutting-edge fare as head cheese and tongue, I forgot that this was her duty week.

Monday, I loaded up a bag from The Devil's Playground with one of every snack that was in my room. For once, this having kids business has paid off. They DO love a snack after school. Some of them were left from the end of last year. I had mini bags of Doritos, Baked Lays, Baked Cheetos, Pretzels, Sour Cream & Onion Cheese Crackers, Toasted Cheese Crackers, an open can of Pringles, a can of Cocktail Peanuts, a hard Granola Bar, a Rice Krispie Treat, an individual pack of Oreos, one of White Oreos, and a bottle of water. I dumped it all out on the table. She took the bait. "Are you going to eat all of that?" I rustled through it and chose the Pretzels. "No. I think I'll just have these."

Tuesday, I brought a lunch from home. I took a long container and put a dab of peanut butter in the middle. I hollowed it out like mashed potatoes for gravy, and put in a spoonful of grape jelly. Around it I poured a sea of salsa. I dropped a green olive in each corner, and two extras down the sides. Then I took mini hot peppers and put them in between the olives. Voila! The perfect lunch to not eat. I showed my crime partner the concoction in the teacher workroom. I caught Mr. G in line as I was getting a spoon to not eat my lunch with. I sat down by Mr. S and whispered, "Wait until you see this one." Cuz sat down. She did not look at my lunch. The principal sat down and told a story. I took the lid off my lunch. Still no response. I stuck a spoon in the middle of it. Cuz leaned over. Closer. Her nose was almost on it. "What IS that? I told her the ingredients. She looked me in the eye. "Is this a prank?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Are you going to EAT that?" Duh. I told her, "No. I just remembered I have a fasting blood test today, and I can't possibly eat it. You can have it." I pushed it toward her. "No. I can smell it from here." Mr S said, "I've been smelling it for a while. It's the peppers making my eyes water." The principal said, "Didn't you notice her lunch yesterday?" Cuz said, "Well...there was an awful lot of it." Principal said, "It's because you always comment on her food." Duh.

Wednesday (today), I wasn't sure what I was doing for lunch. My students gave me a great idea 7th hour yesterday. I told them I was thinking about putting some dry dog and cat food in a baggie like a snack mix. One of them said, "Here's what you do. Take the dog and cat food. Add some chex to it. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar. She used to make that stuff and give it to us when we had her in elementary. Let her take a handful and eat a big bite." I told him I would stop her before she ate any. I don't actually want to be fired.

This morning, I put dry dogfood, Cocoa Puffs, and Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries in a baggie with some plain sugar and shook it up. It was beautiful. At lunch, I set it on the table by my water bottle, and got in line to get some lunch. Mr. G hollered from the hallway, "I want to see you take a bite of that." I hollered back, "No. You get the first taste." Crime Partner was informed after I set my tray on the table and lost the race for the bathroom. While she was in there, I told her not to eat any of my snack mix, because there was dogfood in it. She laughed maniacally.

After eating her Smart One, Cuz said, "Is that something I'm supposed to ask about?" I told her, "You decide." About 5 minutes later, she reached over and picked up the baggie. "It looks good." I snatched it back. "DO NOT eat any of that!" She looked sad. "Why?" I told her the secret ingredient. She said, "Nuh uh." And she took it back and started turning it over in her hands. "Well, there's a fish. It must be cat food." Mind you, I had already told her it was dogfood. But no. She just won't listen to me. And there was no fish that I ever saw. I pointed out the parts that were dogfood. She put it down.

A minute later, she said, "Let me just have a Cocoa Puff." I told her absolutely not. The principal was sitting there, after all. I need my job. Mr. G looked like he was going to vomit. He IS a picky eater. He looked at her, bug-eyed. "The Cocoa Puff was right next to the dogfood! What's the matter with you?" Cuz said, "I don't care. I licked dogfood once, to see what it tasted like." The librarian chose that time to sit down next to Crime Partner. Cuz waved the baggie of contraband at her. Her face lit up. Mabel knows how this woman loves a tasty treat. Make that a FREE tasty treat. I shouted across the table, "You can't have any!" I'm sure she thought I was just being mean.

Then the principal had the most scathingly brilliant idea. "You should make up your own baggie, just out of cereal, and when those kids come in tomorrow, start eating it. They will think you're eating the dogfood." Cuz was afraid she didn't have time to shop. Principal went into the kitchen and got her a mini plastic bowl thingie of the cereal we serve the kids. He got one of Cocoa Puffs and one of Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries. I primed my kids 7th hour by showing them the baggie, and telling them that I couldn't watch her eat it, but I told her I would put it in her mailbox after school. The majority of the class shouted, "She's going to eat it!" Only one or two said, "You can't let her eat dogfood!" Teachers, be careful what you eat that comes from student hands.

You will have to hear about it on Friday, because I have a game to go to tomorrow night. I will post some short something tomorrow. But I will get back to this story.

The stage is set.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stop The Inanity!

I have issues. Issues with this newfangled technology.

Let's go back to the good ol' days of those mimeograph machines with the purple stuff and smell that just might have made you high if you sniffed enough of it, and those old projectors with a big reel and a take-up reel and a light bulb, and those film strip thingies where you had to read a caption for each frame, and slide projectors with a big tray that you had to get just right, and then not tip it and dump the slides. Yeah. And slide rules, and charts in the back of the trig book for sine/cosine/tangent, and blackboards with white chalk that kids begged to get a bucket of water to clean for you, and no cell phones, and no computers, and one old black-and-white TV that they kept in the cafetorium to call the whole school down to watch something historic.

Not that I'm old enough to remember any of those things.

I am not fond of our new Gradebook program. Or the learnin' modules about Word and PowerPoint and Excel that we are supposed to master by going through them at our own pace on our computers. HELLO! We need training in technology, so you make us do it individually on computer? What is wrong with this picture?

My dear sweet Shiba even acted up lately. It was not so much her fault as the fault of Mitzy, the Mitsubishi projector. You'd think they would be compatible. They come from the same homeland. But no. Mitzy runs hot and cold. Sometimes she can't be turned on. Sometimes she refuses to acknowledge Shiba, or belittles her. Then I have to go deep into Shiba's psyche and have her alter the basics of her personality, just to suit Mitzy. Then, I had trouble with the twins, Kenny and Kendall, my Kenwood speakers. They just wanted to buzz and not make the proper sounds. I had to yank their cord and jerk them into line with Shiba.

And once I turned off Shiba, she would not give me back my DVD. Cheeky little minx! The #1 son was ready to fix her good. He said, "I'll get your DVD back. Do you have a pencil?" Without waiting for my answer, or considering the inanity of asking a teacher if she had a pencil, he rifled through my desk and came back with my purple mechanical pencil, and proceeded to shoot out four inches of lead. He discarded the pencil and approached Shiba with the lead, pointing it like a switchblade in a street fight. I told him to back off. I did not want my Shiba jabbed nor jammed with a piece of 0.5 lead. I thought the boy knew better. He's a regular technology aficionado, that one.

One thing is for sure. Hillmomba will not have a financial crisis. Only the barter system here. No credit. We'll take chickens and pot-bellied pigs in trade. And we bury our money in a mason jar in the back yard. The back yard we plan to mine for copper one of these days.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Kingdom For Some Histinex

I need some sweet, sweet Histinex. I am hurtin' for certain. This cough is working my abs enough to give me a six-pack. My head throbs every time I cough. My right lung feels like it's turning inside out. I'm jonesin' for my Histinex. Do you think that while I'm at the lab tomorrow giving a blood sample, somebody with prescription-writing powers can give me a scrip for my sweet, sweet Histinex? If I don't slip and actually say the words 'sweet, sweet Histinex'? Because the lab is right there in the doctor's office, and he's usually got a couple of nurse practitioners around who might have time to write one for me. Of course, they will have to send down for my chart to see if I'm a drug seeker. I've seen the big Amazon nurse practitioner deny a woman her vicodin. She was very polite about it, but reasonable. And I don't want vicodin. I want my sweet, sweet Histinex.

HH had the bright idea that I should try some of his cough medicine yesterday. I know it is nasty. I tried it a long time ago. He, like I, always gets the same kind. It is purple colored, and tastes like medicine, and has codeine in it. That demon elixir does not work for me. It stops the cough most of the time, but when I DO have to cough, nothing comes up, and it's like I can't get a breath to cough up some more nothing. My sweet, sweet Histinex lets me cough up stuff if I have to cough. And that darn nasty purple codeine stuff makes me a bit sleepy, but if I try to sleep, I have to cough. Cough up nothing, and barely get a breath. What's up with that? The Pony got a little bit of cough medicine that looked JUST LIKE HH's purple codeine stuff. I didn't read what it said on the bottle. The Pony could only take a half teaspoon. He had a bottle with about an inch of medicine in it. He only took it for 5 nights, along with his antibiotic. The Pony said if was nasty. I could not force him to take it for another night. We will go back to the Tylenol Cough Plus Cold if he needs more.

But all that does not help me get my sweet, sweet Histinex. If I wait until my regular appointment next week, I won't need it any more.

Unless this cough lasts for 6 weeks like the last one.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It Ain't Chicken Feed

The snow has come to Hillmomba. It is very fine, and I would describe it as light. The #1 son, on the other hand, proclaims it to be "...snowing really hard! Come look at how heavy it is!" We went to look out the basement door. You could hear it hitting the creek rocks that HH put down as a path to Poolio. It was sticking to the wooden rail on the steps to Poolio's deck. The #1 son climbed up on the deck and up over the porch rail like a monkey, just to check the thermometer on the back porch. "It's 31 degrees! It's going to stick!" He saw the 9:00 news this morning that had changed our area from "trace to a half-inch" to "1-2 inches." I'm thinking that by the 10:00 news tonight, it will be back to "no accumulation." But #1 thinks he's going to have a winter wonderland to play in. Kids. They can be so cruel...yet they are eternal optimists.

HH's quote of the day yesterday, in the context of cajoling The Pony into blowing the snot out of his nose: "You'll smell better if you blow your nose."

HH is miffed at this chickens. They keep scratching the food out of the feeder. Duh. Don't chickens normally peck food off the ground? What's next? Is HH going to send them to Etiquette School to learn which fork to use on their salad? He changed their food to laying mash, but said that they ate the corn better. Now he is giving them a mixture.

HH and the #1 son went to a Blues game yesterday. HH got the tickets from a guy he does business with. They must have been good tickets, because it said $145 on each ticket. It was the section where you get free food and drinks. On top of that, the guy had made HH reservations for two at The Club for lunch. HH told #1 that he would have to be civilized and eat with manners. "This, from a man who holds a bag of chips over his face and shakes the crumbs into his mouth at Harrah's!" said the boy. So sad that Harrah's is his reference for fine dining, huh? According to #1, HH built it up like it was going to be a white-tablecloth restaurant where the waiters walk around with towels over their arms. Instead, the boy reported, "It was a buffet. The waiters were wearing Blues jerseys, and bringing people beer in plastic cups." HH pointed out, "You didn't go hungry. You had three plates of food." And #1 said, "Yes, but you had two, and they were piled up way high, like when he has a bowl of 'soup' that is twice as tall as the bowl, Mom!" Oh, don't worry about them getting their money's worth for their free tickets. They each consumed mass quantities of concession food and drink during the game. Though to be fair, they set out on their trip at 9:30 a.m., and left the game at 4:00.

This will be a busy week. #1 has his first basketball game on Tuesday. It's one of the bigger schools that his team plays. I'm not so sure he'll get into the game at this one, what with him never having played before, and all the other kids being in organized leagues since about 3rd grade. At least he's 6' 1", and can take up space. He has not mentioned one of his little cronies in a while. I asked him if he was still on the team. #1 said, "Yes." I asked if #1 is better than him at basketball. "Mom, anything with a pulse is better than him at basketball. Oh, and he got his hair cut, and now we tell him he looks like a lesbian."

Kids can be so cruel.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Remedy

My mom called me with a new home remedy when The Pony was sick earlier this week. She said that one of her old lady friends emailed it to her. Which may be a good reason to keep the elderly off the internet. Unlike the simple Irish Spring bar of soap under the covers to prevent leg cramps, this one was a bit more messy. It involved Vicks Vap O Rub applied to the soles of a child's feet at bedtime. Once you wrestle that child into submission and slather its feet with stinky, burny, petroleum jelly, you put socks on the child and tuck him in. According to my mom, it is 100% effective in stopping the cough of a child.

I did not try this vaporopathic cure. I would have given it a shot, but The Pony put his foot down. In fact, he glared at me and said, "I better not wake up with socks on my feet!" Once I came down with the sickness, I asked my mom if she thought I should try it on myself. "Oh, honey, I think it only works on kids. I don't think it's 100% effective on adults. But you can TRY it." Well. If it's not 100% effective, why waste my time and get my hands all gunky by rubbing this Vicks Vap O Rub on my own foot soles? I'll just swipe some of it up on a washcloth and apply it to my neck and chest as usual.

Here's why I think this cure is bogus. If it only works 100% of the time on kids, that's because HELLO the kids are put to bed, and then you go to bed, and since you are asleep, you don't hear the kids cough. Whereas, if you put it on your OWN feet, you wake up when you cough, and you know it doesn't work. You're welcome. Another myth busted by Hillbilly Mom.

Thanksgiving Day, someone brought up the Vicks remedy. My niece said, "Oh yeah. My dad needs to try that. He's got this one toenail that is as thick as his toe. It is hideous. They say that Vicks really works." Obviously, she was in on a different Vicks scam. But she went on to share too much information about that toenail.

"One time, my dad came to my softball game at the Sports Complex. He put his chair over by the concession stand. I had asked him to hold my phone and my keys for me while I was playing. Dad wore flip-flops. I have told him NEVER to wear flip flops because of that toenail. I think he did it just to embarrass me. I looked over, and he had taken off his flip flop and put his foot up on a post. After the game, I found out why. He had taken a picture of that toenail, and had set it as my phone background. That was just nasty."

Not very becoming behavior for my brother-in-law-the-mayor. I don't know if the two incidents are related, but he announced over dessert that he does not plan to run for re-election, and if elected, he will not serve.

Have I ever mentioned that I hate feet?

Friday, November 28, 2008

An Unwelcome Concert

I think it's time for another tune from Hillbilly Mom's new garage band, 'Mommy's Got A Headache'. How about the old Johnny Rivers classic, Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu? Because I swear, if I hadn't gotten a flu shot back on November 5, I would think I had the flu. Not the lay-down-and-die flu. I had that years ago. I use it as a benchmark for all my respiratory illnesses. This is a way milder case.

The Hillbilly boys have been carrying home viruses from school. #1 has had a bad, bad cough that started with chills and a headache. He's getting over everything but the cough. The Pony had a dry cough for a couple of weeks, and was complaining that his throat had started hurting. HH took him to the nurse practitioner on Monday, because you can never get in to see a real doctor unless you've made an appointment months ahead of time when you aren't really sick. She said his lymph glands were swollen, and gave him an antibiotic and some cough medicine because she said he looked kind of streppy, but she didn't think he had strep. Go figure. I guess those nurse practitioners haven't heard of a rapid strep test, or it's against the office policy, because I know it's not a matter of insurance. I don't mean to hammer on the nurse practitioner, because I've had many a good one who paid more attention to my symptoms than the doctor, and they DID see The Pony on the same day we called. I'm just wondering about the overuse of antibiotics. Anyhoo, The Pony really got sick the day after his appointment, which must have been something brewing all along, because he ran a fever overnight, and looked sick as a dog the next morning, but wanted to go to school because they were having a scavenger hunt. I did what any good mom would do, and sent him off to infect the entire school district. His fever was coming and going, which is what a good fever does to fight off infection. And I figured if he really had strep, the doctor--er, nurse practitioner--would have given him a note to stay out of school for 24 hours after the start of antibiotics. That's what they did when he had it a couple years ago.

Now The Pony is on the mend, having a rapid recovery, and I have just come down with some sort of unwelcome illness. Mine started with the aching of all body parts on Wednesday/Thursday, and chills Thursday morning. The kind of chill that does not abate even under the covers, with said covers pulled up over your head. Oh, and there was also a dry cough, a slight bit of nausea, and today I have a headache, and, well, it's not your typical head cold, what with no nasal involvement as yet. So I'm hoping for a rapid recovery myself, hoping it was the strain of flu I got a shot for, and I'm just having a mild case. I suppose that's wishful thinking.

I'll be sure to update you as my illness develops. That's not a threat, it's a promise.