Sunday, August 31, 2008

HH, The French Chef

HH grilled tonight. We are storing some for tomorrow, so I don't have to cook for another day. The menu included bread fresh-baked in the BreadMan, corn not only on the cob, but in the husk, which HH cooked on the grill, some foil packets of potatoes and onions, hot dogs, pork steaks, and two filet minon that HH brought home from work last Thursday. Never mind that HH does not work in the restaurant business, but in fact works in a factory where huge bands of steel that arrive two at a time on a flatbed semi are made into saw blades. Apparently, they had some shindig at work during which filets were grilled. Also never mind that HH drove these twin filets home on the front seat of his car, and at one point in a phone conversation with me said, "Wait a minute. I had them in the freezer. Let's see if they're still frozen. Nope. They're not frozen." And when he got home after his 40 minute drive, HH said, "I'm grilling these on the weekend. I'll just put them in the fridge." Um...NO! I told him in no uncertain terms that these filets had to go directly into Frig's freezer. HH laid them out on the kitchen counter this morning at 9:00, and was planning on leaving them there until 4:00. When I got back from doing the shopping at 11:30, I demanded that he put them in Frig until grilling time. Sheesh! I need to check and see if HH has taken out some extra life insurance on me. I think he is trying to food-poison me.

The #1 son refused to partake of the grilling, and demanded Save-A-Lot spicy chicken. It only takes 5 minutes in the oven, so I agreed. Except that Save-A-Lot was out of the spicy chicken pieces today, so I shook some Bayou Heat hot sauce all over the regular chicken strips. They sure smelled spicy while cooking, but the boy soaked them again when they came out of the oven. Besides 8 pieces of hot chicken, he also had a hot dog, two HH-thick slices of the almost-homemade bread, a third of my filet, and some of HH's foiled potatoes. I think he's 6' 1" now. Good thing we don't live in a gingerbread house, or we would soon be homeless.

Let's get back to those foiled potatoes. They usually turn out pretty good, with just a dash of butter and a shake of salt and pepper. But unbeknownst to me, HH had tried a new recipe. He said they smelled just like Silver Dollar City. I don't know what he meant by that. I've never smelled potatoes cooking at Silver Dollar City. Before trying one, I asked what he put in them. HH said, "Some spice from the cabinet." I know my cabinet. Unless he was talking about lemon pepper, I don't know what it could have been. The #1 son went to the cabinet. HH said, "That stuff on the bottom left."

Red pepper flakes?
No. That stuff next to it.
Bacon bits?
No. On the other side.
Garlic powder?
No. Look on the shelf above.
No. Behind it.
Ice cream sprinkles?
No. Look way back there in the middle.
French Gourmet Seasoning?
Yeah. That's it.

Who knew the French had such spicy tastes? Not me. I tried one bite of potato, and my mouth was on fire. With all the hoopla surrounding the hunt for the spice HH used, I'm not so sure it was something actually edible. All I know is that it left no trace. It just looked like a slice of steamed potato with nothing on it.

But the filet was excellent, as was the corn. And I'm still kickin' and not cookin'.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Scatterbrain Saturday 8-30-08

I tried a new product from Save-A-Lot: Pizza Breadsticks. It's brought to us by Cole's, the company who gives us tasty frozen garlic Texas Toast. The Pizza Breadsticks? Not so much. I do not recommend them. They are all bread and no pizza. Not even tasty bread, either. It's kind of like styrofoam. And when I got to the end of one, still looking for the pizza, it sauced me. Yep. It squirted a watery red liquid, which I suppose was the 'pizza sauce', all over my shirt and forearm, much like a fat green tomato hornworm squirted poopy seedy juice all over HH when he pinched it to death with his thumb and index finger.

HH's $1500 car has issues. Who knew? ME! He drove it to work on Monday. He got the license on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the cruise control got stuck, or so he thought. I hate cruise control. It's the Devil's Handmaiden. HH had to turn off the car while cruising down the highway at probably 70 mph. He took some valve vacuum hose or something loose so it wouldn't happen again. Guess what? On Thursday, the car once again locked up at high speed, not even under the influence of demon cruise control, and wouldn't slow down. Once again, HH turned off the ignition while barreling down the highway. And my son thinks I am weird to turn off the car at a two-minute stoplight! Friday, the new car sat in the driveway. Last night, HH spent some quality time with it over in the BARn. He says he needs to get its computer brain examined. Then he'll know how to deal with its issues. Told you so, told you so, told you, told you, told you so! (says HM, doing the Grace Adler Told-You-So Dance).

The #1 son spent the morning hauling firewood down to the shanty for HH. According to HH, if there comes a big snow and the power goes off, I'll be glad we have all that wood down at the cabin. Never mind that we won't be able to get down to the cabin in a big snow. Or that HH bought a big honkin' generator for that very purpose.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillbilly Mom's Good Day

I was trying to have a good day. Really. Even though my #1 son reared his hateful bedhead and pitched a little fit because I complained that he put us 3 minutes behind schedule, I was trying to have a good day. Even though I had morning parking lot duty, lunch duty, and afternoon parking lot duty today, I was trying to set the tone of good-dayness.

Being Mrs. Even Steven, it came to pass that although we got behind the school bus I could have missed 3 minutes earlier, a dump truck pulling a trailer came up the narrow road and made the bus pull over at the next stop. That gave me time to drive past, T-Hoe being more svelte than a big yellow bus. There was no incident on the morning duty. Nobody drove behind the building, or squealed his tires, or drove too fast, or picked a fight. My first hour class was composed of angels who meekly worked on their assignment with only a rare whisper.

THEN IT HAPPENED. Second hour had just settled down for their seat work, and I was was continuing my catch-up work, having made an entire Algebra worksheet and answer sheet 1st hour. But no. The peace of Hillmomba was shattered by a hunch. Something made me look over at the first row by the door, and I saw it. A hand. It wasn't really doing anything of note. But there it hovered, thumb and index finger joined, resting atop an elbow-planted forearm. Everybody else was working. Except for the boy to which the hand was attached. Perhaps you remember that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is psychic. And does not suffer fools in any way, shape, or form.

"What are you doing?" Twenty-two heads raised and pivoted in unison. The head to which I was speaking stammered, "Wh..what..what am I doing?" I repeated myself. "Yes. What are you doing?" The hand remained in position. Trapped like a rat in a corner, facing the untiring terrier Hillbilly Mom, the perpetrator said, "Throwing a paper wad." Oh, no he didn't! A freshman dared throw a paper wad in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's classroom, in only the second full week of school!

A lecture was called for. To set the tone for the rest of the year. "How dare you throw a paper wad in my class! That is just rude. It is disrespectful. I take it personally. Do not EVER do that again, or I will send you right up to the office. That kind of behavior is not tolerated in my classroom. You go pick it up. I see two of them. What were you thinking? Put your arm down. Don't even think of throwing that one. Shame on you. You should know better than that. Now you have made me not trust your class. You should be ashamed." By this time, the kid had his head in both hands. I think he was kind of playing along with me, because I wasn't screaming like I do about once a year when I get really mad. I was exaggerating the seriousness of the offense, to make it clear that I was not to be messed with.

"I won't do it again. I'm sorry.I'm ashamed." Which was a step in the right direction, along with stopping when I told him to, and playing his part in my little drama. "Well, you know I'm going to have to tell everyone what you did. Just so they don't get the idea that it is OK to do something like that in my class. That's all the pencil-jabbers need to hear. Then they'll start it, too. I'm outraged. But I commend you on admitting what you did, and for apologizing. But don't EVER do that again!"

I really was trying to have a good day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday Newsday

Did you ever hear of that guy who wrote a book called 100 Things to do Before You Die? Guess what? He died. According to his family, he had only done about half the things in his book. Go figure. Maybe he should have stuck with his first title: 50 Things to do Before You Die.

Our local paper had a picture of an old lady who just had her 108th birthday. She's not from around here, but apparently she moved to Lake of the Ozarks after her husband retired. That's not the interesting part. She told a story about when she was driving, and had a wreck because she was blinded by the sun. The policeman asked her what happened, and she started to tell him that she couldn't see because of the sun, but he only heard that she couldn't see, and made her take a vision test. During that vision test, they determined that she couldn't see well enough to drive, and revoked her license. She was not happy. "I should have just kept my mouth shut, and I would still have my license," she said. The age at which her license was revoked: 96. But the REALLY interesting thing was that she gave the secret for looking 20 years younger: use cold cream on your face every night. WooHoo! I saw her picture. That ol' gal doesn't look a day over 88! Sorry, no link.

News around the cafeteria is that kids now can have only a milk OR a juice with breakfast, or they have to pay 25 cents for another one. The question came up because a teacher asked if the kids had cereal for breakfast, and they had to pour the milk on the cereal, did that mean that they had to buy something to drink with it. The school district I live in charges 50 cents for milk, and their elementary lunch price is $2.00 compared to our $1.50. Another new development is that a serving of tater tots for the kids is about 8 tots. Or as many as can fit into a little plastic gravy cup thingy. Napoleon Dynamite would never stand for this! Somebody commented that it will hurt the free lunch kids. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the free lunch kids. It's not their fault. And I don't want them slowly starving over the school year. At least they can save their soda money for three days and buy a double tray every now and then. But I had to go and make a comment concerning the free lunch situation, which resulted in the shunning of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom for the rest of the lunch period. Yep. I couldn't resist. "Free doesn't buy as much as it used to."

Some people just don't have a sense of humor, I guess.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Feeding The Pony

The Pony was threatened with school lunch this morning. HH did the duty. "You will eat school lunch for one week. They have something different every day. If you find out that you do not like it, you can go back to bringing your lunch next week, IF you decide what you will eat, and really eat it." The Pony fired back, "I do not like the school milk." Duh. You'd think he could come up with something better than that. Perhaps he means that it is past the expiration date. He hasn't had school milk for oh...I don't know...FIVE YEARS! They even have a choice of chocolate milk. Nope. Not for My Little Pony. HH had the solution to that one. "You can take a bottle of water."

Seeing the tear leaking out of his left eye, I revised the ultimatum. "You have this week to name a meal that you will eat, and actually eat it. If you don't, I am putting you on school lunches. You might as well not eat a school meal as not eat one that I take time to make for you each morning." HH concurred. Here's the plan: a turkey half-sandwich with a packet of ketchup (to drown out the taste, according to The Pony), a snack baggie of cheddar Cheerios Snack Mix (whole grain, baked--not fried), a Red Delicious apple, a bottle of water. Definitely as healthy as the school lunch of chicken nuggets, chicken rings, chicken fries, chicken patties, chicken-fried steak, corn dogs, mini corn dogs, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, pizza pockets, chili crispitos, a rare mostaccioli or chicken & noodles. Oh, and with it comes green beans and onions, corn, tater tots, tater triangles, tater cubes, and more rarely, carrots and sometimes mashed potatoes. For dessert, there is a little plastic cup (like the size butter or sour cream is served in at a restaurant) of pudding, pineapple, peaches, the occasional ice cream bar, GoGurt, and rarely cake. They are not very appetizing, these meals, even to the adults who have 20 minutes to go through line and choke down something and get back to class. I guess we get our $1.75 worth. Those inmates in the baloney-and-pink-underwear prison in Arizona would complain about this fare. The school used to have good meals, about 10 years ago. I don't know what has happened.

The problem with The Pony's lunch is that I make it, he takes it, but only eats part of it. Then after school, while I work in my room, he runs for the stash of chocolate chip cookies. Thank goodness they are in individual packs. He will take something and eat it once or twice, and then decide he doesn't like it. For example, one year he took a mini-sausage biscuit, then a half hot dog, then a peanut butter and jelly, then a butter and jelly, then cheese and crackers, then cold pizza. He finds time to eat the mini Cheetos pack, or the snack bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but not the 'main course'. HH has a fit. He thinks the boy needs meat every meal.

Last week, The Pony decided that he really liked a peanut butter sandwich with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on it. Not as messy as jelly, and less sugar to boot. He ate half of the sandwich the first day. The second day, he ate all but a piece of crust and declared it to be "REALLY GOOD." The third day, he didn't eat any. "It was soggy." How this happened, I don't know, since it was packed exactly the same as the other two days. The fourth day, he ate a couple bites. "We ran out of time." The fifth day, he didn't even open it. "I sat one table away from the No Peanut table, and didn't think I should open it." According to the #1 son, The Pony's class can sit anywhere they want in the lunch room.

We'll see what happens this week. I told The Pony if he doesn't eat his lunch, he is crusin' for a bruisin'. Achin for a breakin'. Bleatin' for a beatin'. Yackin' for a whackin'. Itchin' for a switchin'. Yippin' for a whippin'. Yappin' for a slappin'. I try to come up with a new threat each time I tell him this. The Pony himself came up with one: pitchin' for a hittin'.

I like his style.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Scatterbrain Saturday

BObama needs the Clintons more than the Clintons need BObama.

The movie Swing Vote is a comedy, but that little girl in it made me cry. Twice.

My #1 son should be named 'The Soiler'. He can't wear anything more than a couple of hours without staining it. He chose khaki shorts to wear to the movies. The movies, where he insists on having buttered popcorn. I told him NOT to wipe butter on his shorts. That's his normal solution. Never mind that I also told him to bring some napkins, but he 'forgot'. Then he assured me that he doesn't wipe movie butter on his shorts. "I wipe my fingers on the hair on my legs." So he didn't wipe butter on his shorts. He sat on something. Something that left some crumbs, and a silver-dollar sized grease spot on the back of his left khaki leg. This is only the second time he wore those shorts. My Tide Pen is so old it's lost its voice. When we got home, I made a Tide paste and let those shorts sit for an hour. They are washing now. Don't even ask. SHOUT does not work for me. It must be the hard water. I've never had a SHOUTing success.

Who is Joe Biden?

HH bought a used car off a parking lot by USA Drug. It was the first car he drove. He paid the guy $1500 in cash. My name is Hillbilly Mom, and I do not approve this transaction.

I think I lost interest in the Olympics when they started letting professionals compete, and added every sport known to man. Beach volleyball and dirt-bicycle-jumping-racing make me not care who wins a gold medal. That 8-gold-medal swimmer guy is no Mark Spitz. I would not hang a poster of him on my wall. The Speedo will forever rule the unitard thingy.

While I'm in the Olympic mode...a voice interview with Kerri Strug concerning gymnasts under the age of 16 reminded me that Chris Kattan did a better Strug than Strug on SNL.

HH called during the movie to ask if I had anything I wanted him to grill. Of course I had left my phone in T-Hoe. Because you would think that a middle-aged man could look inside Frig on his own, and see if there was anything to grill, which would be a big NO, because even though there are two pounds of hamburger, HH would not be able to pat the meat into burgers, and the bratwursts and pork steaks in the freezer would have to be unwrapped and cooked an extra 10 minutes, and it never entered HH's mind that it is SATURDAY, and I do the grocery shopping on SUNDAY, so the cupboard is bare of fresh grilling items, and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom certainly does not want to stop on the way home from the movie at 5:30 to buy meat, and especially does not want to set immediately to whipping up side dishes for the main course.

I caught The Pony sleeping with his head inside the pillowcase last night. That boy just ain't right.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Robbing Christmas To Pay Car

I called HH around 4:15 and told him to stop and get a Casey's pizza on his way home from work. At 5:00, HH called me and reported that he was sitting by the roadside at Two-Mile Hill because his Mercedes chose that moment to die. I think it was just planning on retiring, and something went horribly wrong, because HH said he was 'right next to the Old Folks Home'.

Anyhoo, HH called one of his buddies, the one who owns a towing company, to cart him and his Mercedes home. 1986 was not a very good year, apparently. Seeing as how HH was 20 miles up the road, it would hardly have helped for me to go pick him up, bring him home, hook up the trailer to the truck, and then go back and try to load that darned dead Mercedes on the shoulder of a divided highway in Friday evening rush hour. But I did appreciate HH calling me to consult about the tow. He knows who holds the purse strings.

Upon his arrival, HH reported that the tow cost him $100. I had guessed that much when he called me. Not being born yesterday, and onto the wicked ways of HH, I asked, "Did you get a receipt?" Actually, I just wanted to know, because HH paid cash. It's always good to get a receipt for cash. HH, being accustomed to my miserly ways, sighed and forked over the yellow slip. He fumbled it for a minute, unfolded it, and looked a bit surprised. He's not an Oscar-winning actor. "Huh. It cost me $80. It says 75, but the guy didn't have any change, so I gave him four twenties. Why'd you want to know if I got a receipt?"

Not only was HH going to gouge me for an extra 25 bucks...he was going to act all innocent when I sniffed out his plan. Gave him $5 because he didn't have change, indeed. As I've said, no need to send out the birth announcements today for my entrance into the world yesterday. HH thinks he's gotten away with bilking my grocery cash for $5. He doesn't realize that it's worth $5 to me to get into his head so he thinks twice about trying to con me the next time.

HH's current plan is to go buy a 'small' car tomorrow. A car in the $2000/3000 range. Instead of going to the financial institution for money like a normal person, HH asked, "Do you want me to take the money out of the safe? Then we can get money out of the S & L to pay it back." Um...he's robbing from my Christmas stash. HH thinks he can impress a car salesman by laying $2000 cash on the desk and saying, "Take it or leave it." HH, much like her students, did not pay attention to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's lesson. The schoolin' she gave the salesman during the famous T-Hoe transaction.

Speaking of which...we got a refund from that car dealer yesterday for an overpayment on the loan payoff of the old LSUV when we brought precious T-Hoe into the Hillbilly family. Yep. $167.74. We're the Even Stevens. I'm expecting HH to lose a tire or something on the way to town for my pizza.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Random Thought Thursday 8-21-08

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has grooming issues. Today she was spotted wearing one blue sock and one black sock. Nobody had the nerve to tell her. But if they had, she would have replied, "Well, nobody seemed to notice when I wore the other pair earlier this week."

I try to be sociable. Really, I do. But when I have OH SO MUCH work to try and put a dent in during my plan time, it is just not convenient to have to make small talk while my room is being cleaned. I thought rooms were cleaned after school, but not at this place. I even used to have the kids put their chairs up on their desks at the end of the day, like we were told, to facilitate sweepage. Then I realized that the only sweeping being done was during my plan time, and it was merely some weightlifting exercises the kids and I were doing each afternoon at 3:00, and each morning at 8:00. It was all for naught. As is 5 valuable minutes of my plan time. 25 minutes per week. 36 weeks per year. That is 18 of my 50-minute planning periods being wasted over the course of the school year, people. Three and a half weeks of lost plan time. That's half a quarter! No wonder Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is so cranky when she is sociable.

We had chicken-and-noodles and garlic bread for lunch today, but I could not partake. I did not have any Pepcid on hand.

The Pony is in the doghouse. For two days now, he has not filled out his planner for school. Then he tried to tell me that really, they don't have to. I'm so sure the school spends all that money to buy every student a planner, and then doesn't expect them to write down their assignments. I told him he wasn't getting on his computer until that sucker was filled out, PLUS I was going to email his teacher to tell him The Pony says planners are not necessary. The Pony said he would rather I did not do that, and had a sudden recovery from his two-day bout of amnesia. He filled out that planner in no time.

The tech guy says my school laptop/SmartBoard combo works fine. All I have to do is hit function and F8 to toggle back and forth over the display appearing on the SmartBoard or on the screen of the laptop. Which I think is a bunch of hooey, but then, I am not a member of the tech team. And he is not sitting in the midst of 30 students, toggling back and forth.

Every now and then, you get a batch of Hot & Sour Soup that is really hot. Really.

I would love to go on, but this is my TV night.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Never Break The Chain

No, it's not the Fleetwood Mac song, and it's not a chain of gold, and nobody yanked my chain. I got one as a gift! You heard me. I got a gift chain in the mail. A chain letter. Jealous?

Normally, I would file it in the circular file, aka the wastebasket, and never think twice. This one has tempted me. Though I will say that it PISSED ME OFF at first. I saw the return address. It was from an old teaching buddy last seen in 1997. We go waaayyy back, to the little town of Steelville, where we had a third stooge as our partner in crime. Imagine my disappointment when I ripped open the envelope and saw THE CHAIN. You can bet that I am going to take that return address and return her a little piece of my mind for not even tucking a Post-It note in there with a short greeting. It's not like the letter would have required another stamp.

Here's the gist of The Chain. You take a book that you have enjoyed recently, and mail it to the address on the back of The Chain. Then you copy the letter and send it to 6 people with the enclosed address labels applied to the back of The Chain. In each letter, you enclose 6 of your own address labels. Theoretically, you can get 36 books. I would be satisfied to get ONE. That would make up the postage for mailing one book and 6 Chains. I might just go along with this one, if I can think of 6 people who won't kill me for sending them The Chain.

When I was a member of questionable standing in Basementia, we swapped books all the time. Some people brought them in and abandoned them in a pile in the teacher workroom, and others foisted them on particular cronies who had the same reading tastes. It was not uncommon for a book to circulate through the building over the school year. That was the process. If you wanted it back, you loaned it to someone and let them know you wanted it back eventually. I only lost one book that way. I think it was the second Dave Pelzer book. Funny thing, the title of it was The Lost Boy. If you were the type who didn't want a book once you read it, you put it in the teetering pile next to the faculty/staff mailboxes. C'mon. You didn't think teachers actually did work in the teacher workroom, did you?

Anyhoo, I'm mentally weighing the pros and cons of sending out The Chain. Aside from it being against the law, and the looming possibility that I will make 6 enemies, I can't really think of any drawbacks.

It's cheaper then a $10 scratch-off ticket.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stick In The Mud


My life has become tedious. Every direction I travel to work has some kind of construction going on. The new gradebook thingy kicked me out today. I wasted 20 minutes trying to make it work, put in a call to the principal, found out an colleague was having problems with it as well, gave up when my plan time was over, and did a restart and worked on it for an hour after school. My grades are IN, by cracky! But I have not prepared my room to start the day, and with the travel situation questionable, and tomorrow being Wednesduty (as The Pony has named it), I am not looking forward to it.

Our neighbors are getting married. I think it's Saturday, but I'm not sure. They gave us a flier. Yep. That's the way we do things in these here parts. Silly me. I thought they were already married. They bought the LandStealer's house about three years ago. I have barely spoken to them in all that time. They are just not friendly. And I am a fountain of bubbling good cheer. But the attraction of this wedding is that they are roasting a pig, and having a Sumo wrestling tournament, and a Texas Hold 'em tournament, and a washers tournament, and bluegrass music. It's our own Hillbilly Olympics. I hope she has forgotten that I did not attend her Purse Party. Purses schmurses. I have had the same purse for at least 10 years. And I might have it another 10 years. It's not like we have to drive a great distance to the wedding. The #1 son says he'll drive me in the Scout. He'll even put a chair in the back and drive me like I'm a queen on a float if I want. We could actually walk if we weren't so lazy. It's about a quarter-mile from door to door. HH plans to go. The roast pig did it. I am on the fence. The lure of Texas Hold 'em is might strong.

Last night I fell asleep in the recliner for three hours. I awoke at midnight, needing to copy 20 pages one at a time because of the school copier situation. It took 30 minutes. This is how I earn my summers off.

Is the school year almost over?

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Copier Mocks Us

Today went well for a Monday. A Monday in which our copy machine is broken and we have to use the one in the office. In case you have never been inside a school district with the insiders, let's just say that we do not like to share our stuff. I know I don't, anyway. Please note that I am not complaining about anybody in the office. I am taking her side. Supporting her. I've got her back.

I went in to make 85 copies this afternoon on my plan time. I was polite. We go way back, the Office Dweller and I. As far back as Mabel and I go. So I asked first: "Is there a maximum number of copies that I should run? Like, does it overheat or anything?" No. This is a normal copier. Unlike the one that we have in the teacher workroom that is currently gutless and awaiting a transplant. I ran my copies uneventfully.

After school, I went back to run two sets of 15 copies. Mr. H had commandeered the machine. Mr. H, who boasts each year at our back-to-school meeting, "I have already run all my copies for the entire year." Apparently, he is full of hot air, or something suddenly came up. He told me he was smack dab in the middle of 500 copies...two-sided. But being my Trivia buddy, and an all-around nice guy, he volunteered to take my originals and run my copies and bring them to my room when he was done. Ain't that sweet? And to add even more sugar to the syrup, he said, "You know what? I'll interrupt this and run yours right now." Of course, that was after he 'jokingly' tossed my original into the tall trash can after I asked him to be very careful with my originals. I screamed a scream that was not altogether fake, and said, "Eww! What if Office Dweller spit a chaw in there during lunch time?"

So it came to pass that I was exiting the office with my completed copies clenched in my hot little hand when I spied ScienceCrony's teacher resource book for Unit 1, which I DO NOT have a copy of, on the counter, and snagged it to take a look. Of course I got caught within 30 seconds when ScienceCrony came in to use the phone. I asked if I could look at it, and she generously said I could take it and return it to her later, as she had business to attend to. See how nice people are to me? Makes you wonder why PEOPLE PISS ME OFF so frequently, huh? But I can't complain lately. They have all been very nice in letting me have my way.

Anyhoo...where was this story leading? Oh, yeah. I asked Mr. H when he would be done, and went to my room to go wild with the sticky notes marking pages that I wanted to copy, and then returned to the office when I thought Mr. H would be gone. Au contraire, copies always take longer than you assume. I shot the breeze with H for a bit. We decided that what this school needs is a copy clerk like I had at one of my old schools. All we had to do was drop off the originals at a little half-door copy room, and Shirley the copy clerk would run them and deliver them to us. Mr. H and I decided that we could box off a section of the office, install a half-door, call it The Copy Corral, and hire a woman willing to wear a 10-gallon hat, fringed skirt, and cowboy boots. At that moment, an ominous 'CLUNK' came from the copier. Office Dweller said, "That can't be good." Mr. H yanked open the door on that machine and went to work like the pit crew at Indy. Then we heard, "RRIIIIIP!" I could sense Office Dweller counting to ten under her breath. I felt for her. I really did. Because you never want that jammed piece of paper to come out un-whole. Ever.

"Doesn't it just make you sick to see us putting our grubby hands all over your copier?" I asked. Office Dweller let it all out. "I've already caught TWO people trying to put paper in Drawer 3! I tell them not to, but they say, 'But it TELLS me that I need to add paper to Drawer 3.' They just don't understand!" I commiserated. "I don't know how you do it. I would go crazy if everyone came into my room and touched my stuff."

Note to Self: Do not add paper to Drawer 3 of the office copier.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Snippets

The Devil's Playground makes me sweat. I think The Devil must have decreed that all thermostats be set at 74. Every time I go in there lately, I perspire.

I put more gas in T-Hoe. So HH decided to drive it to town to visit my grandma. He's a mooch. He also says he's going to look at a $1950 car, because his 1986 Mercedes is leaking something. At first, I thought he said he was going to look at a 1950 car. To which I replied, "You need that like a hole in the head."

The Pony bought a new computer game. He carried it all through the store, and the cashier put it in a little bag for him. When we pulled into the garage, he couldn't find it. I was afraid that he had laid it in the cart when I asked him to put it in the cart corral thingy that The Devil does not have enough of. After five minutes of panic, he found it under the passenger seat. Not that my driving is reckless or anything.

People need to learn how to drive as good as me. That's all there is to it. I was waiting on a car and a truck pulling a trailer to go by before I pulled out onto the county road. The driver in the car slowed down and motioned me out. I didn't go. I shook my head, because HELLO there was that truck pulling a trailer coming along right behind him. The driver frowned at me. Then he turned right onto the road I was coming out of. A simple turn signal would have been sufficient to get me out, because I had seen him coming from far enough away. Oh, but it gets better. The truck pulling the trailer also turned in without a turn signal, and gave me a dirty look because he wanted me out of the way so he could swing wide with that trailer. I think they were in cahoots.

Yesterday the #1 son and I played basketball for an hour. More like I passed the ball to him and told him how to square up and shoot, not to drop the ball to his waist before shooting, and how the same-side arm and leg go up when shooting a lay-up. He's gotten it into his head that he wants to play on the 8th grade team this year. They only had eight players last year, so I see no harm in it. He's six feet tall, by cracky. I think he can work his way into a game or two.

Why doesn't the week pass by as fast as the weekend?

The Pony and I took the #1 son to church, with plans to go to The Devil's Playground on the way home. When we got there, I noticed that I was wearing a shirt with a chili stain on it. Not a BIG stain, like the one that won't shut up on that Tide commercial. About a ladybug-sized irregular stain. And The Pony had on a shirt that he wore yesterday, and it looked like he had chewed on the neck, because it was all wrinkly and misshapen. We are not fashion plates, the Hillbilly family of Hillmomba.

Only two more weeks until we get our first day off from school. And you know what that means.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Scatterbrain Saturday

From the people who bring you Random Thought Thursdays...

Basementia Buddy has a problem. Artsy Fartsy found a little dog, and kept it for a week while trying to find a home for it. I saw the picture. It looks like a little fox. I knew HH would not go for pet number nine. Three dogs and five cats are more than a feast. Artsy persuaded Basementia Buddy to take the little dog. BB called this afternoon looking for home for Foxy. She says Foxy is the sweetest thing, but wouldn't you know it, Foxy is a chicken-killer. That's a problem. BB has chickens. Well, she used to. She called the Humane Society and described Foxy as a kind of a sheltie face and a corgi body, but not so stocky. The Humane Society told her it sounded like it might be some kind of pricey doggy, but I don't remember what kind. I told BB no dice on the Hillbilly family adopting sweet Foxy. BB wants to know if Mabel might be interested in adopting her. Foxy, not BB herself, who has her own family and is relatively happy with them, except for her husband who demanded she get rid of the fowl slaughterer. I don't think Mabel wants a doggie. I tried to call Mabel, but her hearing aid is turned off. Or else she screened me out. Poor Foxy. Poor Basementia Buddy.

A school in Texas is allowing its teachers to carry guns. You can imagine my reaction when I heard this on the news: Thank the Gummi Mary, it wasn't in Missouri.

I have a bone to pick with 7-11 over gas prices and octane ratings. Since I bought the high grade gas, I have gotten worse mileage than I did with the mid-grade gas. Something's fishy in 7-11. I shall give them one more try on the mid-grade, and if not satisfied, I will return my gassy business to a different location of Casey's General Store. If I'm going to get poor mileage, I'm going to get it the cheapest way I can, by cracky!

HH was excessively demanding this evening. He wanted a BLT for supper. Then he wanted to know just WHEN I was going to cook it. This was at 4:15. I told him I would get right on that, but it wouldn't be ready instantly. HH huffed and puffed that it wasn't going to take HOURS to fry some bacon. And cut up lettuce. And cut up tomato. Then there's getting the twist tie off the Bunny Bread. Anyhoo...I told him that it wouldn't take long to fry HIM some bacon, but that if I was frying it for the other three of us, and cooking eggs for the boys, who wanted no part of L or T, it would take a while. HH huffed and puffed some more, and ended up snatching two slices of garlic bologna from Frig, without even any bread. He stormed out, leaving me makin' the bacon. Not like that.

I went to the pharmacy and drove right through our junior class car wash without stopping or saying BOO. The #1 son texted his buddy to see if he was there with his brother. As I got out of T-Hoe, I said, "In case he asks, I am NOT here for a car wash. I'm just here for the drugs. I can't afford a car wash AND drugs. Once I get the drugs, I won't care that my car is dirty."

Only 172 days of school left!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Random Thought Thriday 8-15-08

Random thoughts were in abundance yesterday, but since that was the first day of school, I saved those randoms for today.


Our school does not have a Hurricane Drill. In other news, the students may not recognize a joke if it bit them on the butt. "Hey, somebody get this thing off my butt! I don't want to be slowed down during the Hurricane Drill!"

On the electoral vote map, it seems that Missouri has moved from 'leaning McCain' to 'McCain.' Who knew? Umm...everyone in Missouri.

I saw a strange critter on the outside of the building today. He was as big as my hand, and a bit spooky, and he looked a little somethin' like THIS:

That's a glass door panel, not a window.

Those are rough stone blocks, not bricks.

This megalomothiac was bigger than my hand.

He has some really funky mouth parts that look like fingers.

He is fearless. Me, not so much.

When you are searching rooms for victims who may be hiding during an earthquake drill, and find a strapping young man lying under a desk in your next-door-teacher's room, and she is berating him to "Get UP! We have to go outside!" and she is reaching her boiling point, having sent the rest of her students outside to safety, and you tell her, "I am leaving him under your supervision so I can check more rooms," and she later appears outside without the that a bad thing? Let me answer for you: no. Because the 'victim' was planted by the subversive safety committee, even before they got their mocha plastic hard-hats between drills number 3 and 4 today. Our team at the NotMabel end of the hall was un-outsmartable. What say you, Mabel? I hear that my end WON the safety drill competition.

What's with people finding Bigfoot and holding a press conference and then saying that, well, they don't actually have Bigfoot himself, because he is in a freezer somewhere, and that when some DNA is analyzed and shows 'possum', they say it is what Bigfoot ATE? How lucky they are with the coincidence that they have a website selling all things Bigfoot.

The Montauk Monster called. He wants his 15 minutes of fame back.

Hey, Clintons! BObama called. He wants his convention back.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

All Over But The Cryin'

Whew! I don't have to go through that again for another year!

Perhaps I've mentioned that I don't like first days. I found out how hot and stinky my room gets with 25 11th graders crammed in. I've met all the freshmen. Funny thing, the kids that came over from Basementia were fine. It was the 'new kid' who decided he was, for some reason, noteworthy, and needing all the attention 7th hour. That's how he excused his attitude to me. "Hey. I'm the new kid." So I told him that if that was how the kids acted at his old school, I was certainly glad I didn't teach there. And I asked the rest of the class if they were impressed. They concurred that they were not. Not when I asked if anybody wanted to be called by a different name than listed on the roll, and he said, "Yes. Transformer." Or when he said, "No, really. I want to be called Jebediah instead of Jeb." So I said, "Are you sure that's what you want?" And he said, "No. That's my real name." Some people are OH SO NEEDY, I suppose. I am reserving a special place on my seating chart for him. Shh...he won't know until Monday.

I am mad at my dumb SmartBoard. I got there with my lesson on a flash drive, hooked up my Shiba, and got a blue screen and No Data from Mr. SmartBoard. I tried for 20 minutes to rectify the situation. Then I gave up and ran one copy and read it to the kids. After school, I complained to the #1 son who taught me to use Smarty, and told me I was a graduate of his How To Use The SmartBoard Academy. Au contraire...he tried, and the same thing happened to him, and he had to fiddle about with Shiba and Smarty to make things right. He SAYS it will work now, and I made a notecard full of prompts for various troubleshooting techniques.

Those new tricks are kickin' this old dog's butt.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm As Busy As A B...use your imagination

We got out at noon today. I had to make a stop at The Devil's Playground for toilet paper (corn cobs don't grow on trees, you know) and prizes for my Science Trivia that I'm giving the students on the first day of school (anything to pass the time constructively). I heard from a good source, aka The One Who Does The Scheduling, that there have been many schedule changes that are not yet in the Gradebook system. So it's not like I want to check out books yet, or make seating charts.

I picked up The Pony and headed for the Mansion. He had to be my miniBeast of Burden, what with the #1 son traveling to Basementia Buddy's homestead for a short visit with her boy before they all come back to the Mansion. Now I need to get on the stick. I don't know what that means, but back in the day, that's what people said when they wanted you to get busy. It does not seem as pleasant as if they would have told you to 'get on the sauce' or 'get on the ball' or 'get onboard'.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of...wait a minute! That's something used to practice something. Not typing. That's the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy log or some such thingy. What I need to do is get busy. But not in the way some people mean gettin' busy.

It must be OH SO DIFFICULT for foreigners to learn American.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Want Ice Water

Tonight was Open House. I had 3 pages of visitors sign in. That is a new personal best. And not everybody signed.

I am drained. I blame it on having to act nice for 2 hours. And on our thermostats being locked at 71 degrees. Which means the room temperature is 73 without any kids in there. Mr. S is going to dehydrate. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is going to have a melt down.

That's a warning.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Thorough Training of HM

I survived the first day back to work. Let it be noted that my row of tables was 3rd out of 4 to go to the breakfast buffet. We had an informative session about bullying, which flew by faster than the other guest spots in years past. From there, we were funneled right into our building meetings, which also flew by. Perhaps because I didn't have a watch. I gathered such swag as a District Resources packet, a giant plan book, a teacher's handbook, and a copy of the attendance policy and dress code to discuss with my 1st hour class on Thursday. I also found out the reason that I have not seen a class roster is because we are supposed to access that online. In the new gradebook program we did not know how to use until today. I've found it, but I can't print it. Go figure. Not that I had time to fiddle about, what with the whole 15 MINUTES that we had to work in our rooms from 2:45 until 3:00. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Lunch was a good deal. Not only did Mabel pay me a grand sum of $2 to drive T-Hoe, but my fortune reported that "You are admired by everyone for your talent and ability." Mabel's was more controversial. It said something about her and her 'wife'. Mabel, it seems that we hardly know ye. But I WILL give back your $2 tomorrow. It's not like that time she who can't be named tried to rip off a two-dollar refund from you after she borrowed $6.

Upon our return, we headed to a computer lab for technology training. We have new phones. I, myself, am not a fan of phones. I don't want to talk to anybody. And mine is at the back of my room, so any time it buzzes or rings, I will have to traipse back there. I am near the point of rearranging my classroom. But then I wouldn't be able to look out the window. Ugh! Who wants to spend her day looking at students for 7 hours? But getting back to teaching old dogs new tricks...the lab was all set up with the desks shoved back and the red cushy wheely chairs lined up in rows. The hard blue plastic chairs were also lined up in separate rows. Each chair had a packet of instructions on it. When TheParkingSpaceStealer came in, I said, "Oh, I am saving all the chairs that have a packet on them." She gave me the usual look, and said, "Funny." Only she didn't seem to be laughing. On the inside or out.

Being teachers, we immediately moved those chairs six ways to Sunday. Some traded a plastic for a cushy. Some traded a cushy for a plastic. Some pulled a chair to a desk. One used a chair as a footstool. One of my lunchtime cronies plopped a chair right in the only space for the back of the room to exit. Thank goodness there was no fire. We would have perished. Or in the very least, we might have gotten a nasty, hacking cough from smoke inhalation.

We had a PowerPoint to whip up some motivation before going to MathCrony's room for instruction on the care and usage of the SmartPad. You know, the SmartPad. It goes with the projector that I did not get. So I had a 45-minute presentation in which I was taught how to use something I won't have until next year. But I didn't know that when the PowerPoint started. And it started with a bang. The music sounded just like the music we play at graduation, when there is a slide show of seniors as babies and as graduates. I turned to Mr. H, my trivia buddy. "This is so moving!" I wiped a pretend tear. Mr. H appreciated my dramatic stylings. He gave a snort. It was quite motivating. The PowerPoint, not my rendition of graduation emotion. It powerfully pointed out things like: China's top 25% smartest people are more than the entire population of the United States. OK, that lost something in translation. But it meant that China has more smart people than we have people. Good for them. Instead of poisoning us slowly with their paint and contaminated food, why don't they do something constructive and send a man to the moon six times and bring him back alive. Not one man. Men. Oh, I forgot. I don't actually think WE did that, either. Face it, people. We couldn't even pop microwave popcorn back in 1969. We didn't have cell phones. Calculators cost $300. How could we send men to the moon AND bring them back? Apparently, we did it a mere 8 years after President Kennedy called for it. But we can't do it again unless we spend 15 years working on it? With today's technology?

Don't worry. I don't teach that to my students. We debate the 'evidence', though. It's critical thinking, by cracky!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Good EVEning

Hey, everybody! It's back-to-school eve! Aren't you just too excited to sleep?

The #1 son thought he was going with me tomorrow. Not so fast, Misbehaver. He needs an attitude adjustment. I'm not about to take him to sit and soak up the high-speed internet while I'm in meetings all day. Especially after him running his mouth last week about, "Technically, it's stealing if you're using their internet for anything besides work." He also spouted that line to his father concerning car-shopping online. Now the boy has talked himself into a corner. He seems to forget that he has no job and no means of transportation. I'm layin' the smack-down on him until he shapes up. Perhaps he needs a break from his precious iPhone.

I used to plan on getting some work done this week. Not any more. I plan to sit in meetings until my generous butt hurts, and then go to lunch with Mabel, and then sit some more while being confused about new grading stuff and the new telephone system. I have a feeling I will accomplish my goals. The only mystery will be how long it will take somebody to piss me off.

Tuesday will be The Longest Day, what with Open House from 6:00 to 8:00. That will be a good 12-hour work day. I wish I could do a rapid work-day thingy. Like people get put into a coma to do a rapid detox. I would also include the first week of school, when schedules aren't set, and kids switch in and out, but you're supposed to start fillin' their empty heads from Day One. Then there will be those newbies who show up after Labor Day, pretending they didn't know school started so early. Yep. If I could just work out that rapid start thingy, I could jump into the school year around the second week in September, when things are humming along in the usual routine.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a creature of habit.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Office. Cleaning.

I'm cleaning my office. It's a work in progress. I have already lost interest, after an hour of trashing and stacking and re-piling. Now I'm hard at work burning a stack of CDs I had started last year. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is an Aquarius. They have a tendency towards procrastination. But they are dreamers.

I don't have enough room for my stuff. I could use another tall bookcase for DVDs and, well...books. We already have 7 floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and three half that size. Only 4 are in my office, and they are full. Every bookcase we have is full. Unlike my buddy Mabel, I am allowed to keep books that I have already read. I really should start my own library. And movie rental business.

Well now. Here's a fine kettle of fish. At the bottom of my CD stack was my Glencoe Interactive Teacher Edition of one of my science textbooks. Hmm...funny that I didn't even miss it. Of course, I haven't used that text since December. So I'll excuse myself. I might have been looking for it next week. Or not. It is from the old texts that I use for half the year--my Earth Science material. There are numerous copies of this CD, and I'm the only one that uses this text now. So I'm sure there are several others at school in my cabinet. Scary, isn't it, that I could be teaching your kids.

I don't even want to look at The Pony's corner of my office. He has a penchant for leaving game CDs out of their cases. We are like those people who live on top of layers of magazines and newspapers, with just a narrow path through the offal. Doesn't bother us. But now I need elbow room for the new school year. So I'm cleaning up.

I also found my Earth Science text and my Algebra I text. It's Saxon. Not that you care. But some mathies are quite persnickety about their texts. I regard Saxon as my no-frills text. Compared to the ones I used in Lower Basementia for the 7th and 8th graders, Saxon is bare bones. It's like: "Here's today's lesson. Here are the problems. Now get to work." The problems contain concepts from the previous lessons, so it's also a kind of review. Not that I use a text for my class. I made up worksheets from my buddy Saxon. The kids think it is different from what their other Math teacher gives them, which is not such a good thing, because I am supposed to be presenting the same concepts in a different way. I guess it is working if they don't recognize it as the same stuff, but they know how to do the problems. Some of the problems are the same exact ones from the book. They get discombobulated, these kids, because I present it differently. Of course I do. My class is smaller. I give individual help. I give less work and collect papers at the end of class. That means the ones who don't turn in homework have to turn it in in my class. So they have to do it. Which is half the problem. They have a better chance of understanding it if they actually do their work.

Oh, dear. I just found a 6.3 oz. Regal Dynasty Imported Chocolate dark chocolate candy bar. Wipe your drool. It was best before 10/2006. Not that chocolate goes bad, mind you, but I think I'll pass. Hey! Fleetwood Mac Tusk! I wondered where that rascal had gone. I haven't listened to it in about 3 years. Here are some printouts from one of my old blogs. It's only December thru January. December 18, 2006! What was I thinking? I guess the whole rest of the blog wasn't worthy of printing out. Or else it's here somewhere. This is like an archaeological dig. The oldest stuff is on the bottom. That the Law of Superposition, people! I ain't a Science teacher for nothin'. Here's a 1-inch ring binder. It's the poor man's version--no little opening thingies. You have to pull the rings apart with your bare hands. Now I am weak. This project is just too tiring for me. It doesn't look like I've done anything.

Maybe I'll put it off until tomorrow.

Friday, August 8, 2008

From The Kitchen Of Hillbilly Mom

What's with Blogger lately? Every night there's a scheduled outage at 6:00 Hillmomba time. That's prime blogging time for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. I'm pretty smart, though. When I see it now, I get things ready ahead of time. It used to be that I would open a 'create' thingy and let it sit, let my thoughts marinate between typing fits. Now I have to get 'er done in a timely manner. You know, so it doesn't cut into my TV time.

I have to drive the #1 son to town for his sleepover paintball shindig. That means I will be getting back right around the outage time. I am currently bonding with my Shiba while we make a crock pot of stew. It sounds simple, but it's not as easy as HH thinks it is. It takes 30 minutes to cut up the carrots and onions and potatoes, then 90 minutes to brown the meat. OK, so I could probably cut down the prep time if I used more than one pan on the meat, and filled those pans fuller, and didn't cut the meat into small pieces. The thing is, I could throw a steak on top of those vegetables, and HH would take it, and declare, "Well, I only took ONE piece of meat." So I make it into many smaller pieces. He would also eat the bay leaves if I didn't remove them. I declare, it's like taking care of a toddler.

I love my Shiba. Now I can blog in the light of day. That's about the only homie thing I plan to do with my Shiba. She is mainly to be used as a workhorse. I prefer my New Delly desktop at home for recreational computing. But I can use Shiba to do work stuff out by the TV. Get it? I can multi-task. Then I won't have to stay at school until 5:00 every day. Maybe. Especially if we get that new grade program thingy that we can use from home. Or I might stay after anyway, and then actually DO the work I bring home with me.

The weekend news cycle is in full swing on this lovely Friday afternoon. Pretty Johnny Edwards admitted to an affair with his previously 'alleged' mistress. He still declares he is not the father of her baby. Sorry, I'm not linking it. I'm sure Google will do you proud.

That does it for now. Shiba and I are going to put our feet up and watch CNN.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Random Thought Thursday 8-07-08

My children are driving me crazy. I'll fix them! They're going back to school next Thursday. So there! They can put that in their pipes and smoke them. How do they like them apples?

I have contracted a bad case of dontwanttodoanythingitis. There is no cure.

I had some leftover soup for lunch, which was more like colored salty water, since HH and the #1 son eat soup like it is a stew. They don't even need bowls for their soup. They can eat it with a fork. I drank mine out of a cup. I could have used a straw. A narrow cocktail-stirring straw.

The bridge workers take a lunch break from 11:00 to 2:00. Then they hang the trash on a tree. If they think of it, they burn the trash on the giant levee of dirt and rocks they have created on one side of our road. Yesterday, it was still flaming when we drove by. We passed those workers on the county road as they were leaving. At 3:30. They had not yet started work that morning when we drove by at 8:15. It's a good job if you can get it, I suppose. Plus, they get to wear those neon green shirts.

I am a bad-driver magnet. When people get near me, they forget that their vehicle is equipped with signals. They lose all depth perception, and think I am much farther away than I appear. They think the center turn lane is a conglomeration of decorative lines. Those in front of me are timid, and drive 10 miles under the speed limit. Those behind me are daredevils, and want to drive faster than my 10 miles over the speed limit.

Tomorrow I'm going back to school to see if I still have a SmartBoard. I'm not holding my breath.

I gave T-Hoe a treat of 7-11 gas instead of Casey's General Store gas. That is because my last tank of Casey's gas netted me a whopping 14.9 miles per gallon. That was not the T-Hoe I know. I thought he was sick. Then I remembered the time Ol' LSUV got sick on Casey's gas. He choked and sputtered like a bronchitis patient running a 100 yard dash through a tire incineration plant. Now don't you fret over the past health of Ol' LSUV. He was fine after being hospitalized for a fuel filter transplant. It so happened that the last tank of Casey's gas in T-Hoe came from the exact same Casey's General Store. There's no shortage of them around here. There are five of them that I pass on a weekly basis. But I felt guilty about feeding my dear T-Hoe junk food. So I splurged another 10 cents per gallon for the midgrade at 7-11. It cost me a total of $2 more for the 20 gallons I pumped in. And on this tank, I'm getting 15.8 miles per gallon. Upon much mathing, I figured that on this 20 gallons, I can go 298 miles on the Casey's gas, and 316 miles on the 7-11 gas. That's 18 miles more. That's a little over a gallon of gas that I save by paying $2 more. Since I paid $3.60 per gallon for the good stuff, I still come out over $1.60 better. If I take that times 52 weeks in a year, I can save at least $83.20 while I pay $3.60 per gallon. Just by feeding T-Hoe the good stuff. I'm not ready to put him on the gourmet diet, though. The super-duper gas will have to wait. I don't think I'm ready to pay 20 cents per gallon more.

Don't you hate mathies?

The #1 son is going to a sleepover paintball pool party tomorrow night. I am worried that I can't be there to overprotect him.

I don't feel prepared for school to start next Thursday. But I seem to be catching dontcareitis along with my other malady. I am teaching the exact same subjects I taught last year. Which hasn't happened in...oh...since I've been at this school. Which has been 10 years. What could possibly go wrong? If it was good enough for last year, it's good enough for this year. Right, Mabel?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stop HM Before She Adopts Again

Oops! I did it again. But please don't call me Britney. Angelina would be more fitting. Or, if you're from a different era...Mia.

Today I made another addition to the family. I barely know her yet. The #1 son has been playing with her all afternoon, and The Pony has grown quite jealous. We didn't even have to go to China to pick her up, though I will admit there was a fee. She really was not planned. It was one of those spur-of-the-moment adoptions. The #1 son came up with the idea yesterday while we were at school. And I thought, what the h*ll, we can afford to take her into our Mansion.

The boy found her on the internet. She is originally from Japan. And she was handpicked just for ME. #1 could hardly sleep last night, what with the anticipation of bringing her home the very next day. He rushed me through my unpaid school work day. "Isn't it time to leave, Mom?" I had planned on 11:00, but it was 11:20 when we got out of there.

We had to drive T-Hoe to a neighboring town to see if she was ready for us. She was. Lucky we got there when we did, because the guy in charge thought she had already been given to someone else. Whew! That would have been a load of disappointment all around. Except for The Pony. The #1 son carried her to the car, cradled in his arms, and set her in the back seat right behind him, next to The Pony, who was indifferent. When we got home, she was the first thing he carried into the Mansion. He set her on the couch until he finished carrying in our other stuff, then he sat down beside her, stroking her sides with his sweaty 13-year-old palms. The next thing I knew, he had slit her open from stem to stern with my kitchen shears.

I am going to call her Shiba.

My new Toshiba laptop.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now You See Him, Now You See HIM

Here is the Ol' Man Cooler, sitting on the side porch, enjoying his retirement years. If I had it MY way, he would be in a HOME right now. And not MY home. It's a story of If You Give A Husband A Cooler. First, he will be excited and declare that his new Cooler is going in the garage to hold water and soda and beer. Because apparently, the new Frig, the basement mini-fridge, and the BARn mini-fridge can't hold enough water and soda and beer.

When he looks in the garage, the husband sees that it is taken up with our new T-Hoe, a 4-wheeler, and the Scout.

"Ol' Man Cooler will fit in there if I put my collector truck in there to work on," HH declared. This is necessary because the 1986 Mercedes, besides being butt-ugly in a yellow-cream way, is having issues. So HH needs the BARn to work on the Merc, but the collector truck is in there with no wheels and lacking some engine parts.

The husband works on the collector truck for two weeks, which is pretty good considering he has had it for 10 years and it still isn't 'collectible' enough.

He is almost ready to move the truck, once the last wheel is put on. But he has decided that Ol' Man Cooler will serve his needs better in the BARn. "I can have ICE CREAM!" I heard him tell his #1 son.

Which still doesn't explain why Ol' Man Cooler is still cooling his heels on the side porch. PLUGGED IN! He can go to the BARn any time. Any time at all. He's a big mooch, always sucking up electricity.

I blame HH for the bad manners of Ol' Man Cooler.

But here is the glorious new member of our household, Frig. He's fairly quiet. I am enjoying the bejesus out of him.

He's so shiiiiny!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

I went to my classroom today to get things ready for school next week. Imagine my surprise when I found NOTHING missing. Instead, I found that I had acquired things over the summer. That's right. I had all my stuff, plus some EXTRA. Can't beat that with a stick!

There was a perfectly good SmartBoard accompanied by a cushy rolling chair lolling about in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's classroom! You might think this is a stroke of luck, a sign of good fortune, worthy of celebration. If that's what you thunk, you are not a teacher...for we educators know that this could mean trouble, right here in River City. Oops! That's a line from some musical. What I meant to say was that a teacher does not want to be caught with extra stuff. It looks as if you've raided the lair of a colleague.

Thinking it best to dispose of the contraband before everybody shows up for work on Monday, I sent the #1 son with the SmartBoard to the science lab. That's the last area I observed the SmartBoard in May. The rolling puffy chair is still in my room. Tomorrow, I will conduct a tour of classrooms at my end of the building, and see if I can stash it somewhere. If everybody has at least one rolly chair, I will park it in TheParkingSpaceStealer's room. She won't take any guff if somebody accuses HER of pilfering. No harm, no foul. That's what I always say. Unless I am the one being harmlessly fouled. Then I cry like a spoiled schoolgirl.

My computers were up and running. All I had to do was rearrange the furniture back to its previous configuration. The #1 son borrowed a dolly (hand truck, to those of you who are not from these parts) from a custodian, and we carted that cabinet of files back to its habitat alongside the wooden cabinets. So the boy couldn't steer very well and gouged a hunk out of the cabinet. Nobody will know. Because the file cabinet resides next to the wooden cabinet. Harm, but still no foul.

I spent over an hour taking apart my keyboard that apparently has never been cleaned. I dug enough dust bunnies out of that thingy to knit an LSUV cozy for my precious T-HOE. The hardest part was laying the key pieces from the keyboard in order so I could put them back in the right place. Oh, how she sparkles, oh, how she shines. One down and one to go. If it was just a keyboard for the students, I wouldn't bother. But these are MINE, by cracky, and I was tired of the filth. Which I suppose means the original filth came from ME, but only on one of them, since the latest one, (that I cleaned today), was taken from the computer lab last year and put in my room. I rarely let the students on my computers. There is no need. It's hard to share two computers among a classroom of students.

All in all, it was a productive morning. Tomorrow, I'm going to bring back that SmartBoard and fiddle about.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

HM Knows How To Work It

I hope you're not disappointed if the post doesn't match the title. Not that I can presume to know what 'IT' you think I'm working.

IT's about my new LSUV, people. About wringing maximum miles per gallon out of every drop of precious gas. The geography that necessitates my gas hog also works against my mileage. I live in the Land of 1000 Hills. Upon leaving my lovely Mansion, I must first go downhill for about a mile of gravel. Forget coasting here...there are sharp curves and blind curves and single-car-width curves.

Once I navigate the goat trail of an opening left by the bridge constructors, it's onto the blacktop county road for a roller coaster ride out to the state road. From there, I descend into the valley and back up to the summit. No matter which way I take to town, it's up and down, a virtual vocal scale warm-up exercise of abysses and peaks. Not that I'm complaining. I am not at all envious of my flat-land friend, Bean, and her new husband. Kansas living ain't the life for me.

My old LSUV puttered along at about 15 miles per gallon in mixed city and highway driving, when it was in good condition. I would not have traded it if it was still in good condition, people! My new Tahoe will get 22 on the highway. Of course, I don't drive on a highway, but on a roller coaster. So it doesn't surprise me that I get...15 miles per gallon. I could probably do better if we fiddled with T-Hoe's brain, according to the brain of HH. But I'm not inclined to do that. It would be like jailbreaking an iPhone.

My only gripe is that unlike my old LSUV, which would roll downhill faster than a runaway boulder after Wile E. Coyote, T-Hoe restrains himself. This is fine when going uphill, and he switches into some mode that maintains a steady pace instead of VROOMING into overdrive like OLSUV. But when I go downhill, I like to coast until I reach terminal velocity. Hey! That's why they put brakes on these horseless carriages.

SO...with T-Hoe coast-blocking me on the downhills, I have to resort to other means to maintain my max MPGs. Here are the reasons to avoid driving behind Mrs. Hillbilly Mom when she goes to town. Or, as I call them,

HM's Gas-Saving Tips

*Drive-thrus are the Devil. Have children so you can send them in to purchase fast food while you remain in the car enjoying XM Radio.

*If you run a stop sign and no policeman is there to witness it, no crime has been committed.

*Coasting two miles on the county road between towns is perfectly fine. If the tailgater behind you wants to go faster than 35 mph, he should have taken the highway.

*Turn your car off at the stoplight. You know it is a 2-minute cycle.

*Cutting through the Smoke Shop parking lot will allow you to miss a stoplight.

*A little sweat never hurt anybody. While waiting to pick up your child, turn off the car.

*Volunteer to drive only the thin people to lunch on your teacher work-days.

Remember, you heard them here first. Oh, and as BObama says, "Make sure your tires are fully inflated."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Odd Ends

The magnificent iPhone has shipped! The boy was worried this morning, because after 10 business days of checking the queue each hour, he saw that 12 ORDERS PLACED AFTER HIS had shipped on July 31. He was frantic. I told him to shut up, or call the guy at the AT&T store, because I would not discuss it with him until he did. Guess that little rascal enjoys my conversation, because he dialed up Gustave the salesman and read him the riot act. Gustave said that usually doesn't happen, 12 of them shipping out of order (if they are not the white ones). He said he would check on it and call back. An hour and 45 minutes and no call later, the #1 son called the store and requested Gustave. He asked again, and got some line about how they had been having trouble with debit card orders being delayed. Au contraire, my boy objected, it was ordered with a regular credit card. Gustave said he checked, and the order was in the process of shipping, and was probably leaving the warehouse right now and on its way to the store. Uh huh. I told the boy that Gustave was just shining him on to get rid of him on the phone. #1 agreed. He checked the queue over and over all afternoon. Guess what. At 4:12, it said that his precious iPhone had shipped. I'm thinkin' that Gustave got mighty lucky in the coincidence department, and dodged a bullet this morning.

I am in love with Frig. He's my iPhone equivalent. I especially enjoy his ice-making capabilities. No thanks to HH, though. The first day of ice-on-demand, I filled my big water cup twice, and HH and the boys also partook of the frigid chunks of goodness. But the next night, I placed my trough under the spigot, and NOTHING came out. That darn HH had turned off the 'extra ice' button like it was costing him something. I don't want to hear his excuses. He's cruisin' for a bruisin'. Achin' for a breakin'. Yakkin for a whackin'. It does not help his case that Ol' Cooler is still sitting on the side porch. I'm sick of this hillbillyness. HH promises that once he puts the axle back on his 1970 collector truck so he can move the 4-wheeler and Scout out of the garage and park the truck there, he will move Ol' Cooler to his new home in the BARn. I'm not holding my breath. HH has been working on that collector since the year The Pony was born...10 years ago.

Excuse me. I need to calm down. I plan on sipping some icy water and having a discussion with my boy on the merits of 3G.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Official Notice

I received THE LETTER today. I am officially on notice to return to work on August 11. 8:00 to 3:00, starting with the My-Table-Eats-Last Breakfast, then insurance crapola, then confidentiality (shh...I can't talk about that), then bullying, then violence prevention, then a Newmentia meeting, then lunch, then some technology training (THE HORROR). I'm predicting about an hour of time allowed to work in our classrooms. My suggestion is to leave out the bullying, and we can forget the conflict resolution. Nobody has ever listened to my suggestions before, so I'm not holding my breath.

All this is just for Monday. Oh, and Tuesday night will be Open House from 6:00 to 8:00. Wednesday we only have to go from 8:00 to 12:00. WooHoo! A mini-vacation! The kids start on Thursday, August 14. Now you see why I'll be spending my own time getting ready next week.

Mabel, let's get our story straight for the lunch excursion. You know what I'm talkin' about.