Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Little Bits Of Nothing

I had planned a coherent post tonight.
It has fled out of my head.
I think it is from lack of sleep.
Today is the first day I've felt unsick since Wednesday two weeks ago.
My time tonight has been spent looking up more space race conspiracies.
Like Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.
Or WAS he?
Why did he parachute OUT of his space capsule.
The Chinese spacewalker set me off.
He's back, you know.
And his funky round space capsule, too.
But apparently broadcast info from his mission was leaked one day too early.
Now I am looking for links.
Maybe tomorrow I will treat you.
I found a picture of a crispy Russian critter.
It's not very nice.
The Russian military leaders are paying their respects.
But the picture is not very respectable.
I know I've got you hooked now.
They lied about that space dog, Laika, as well.
A student told me that.
I love the innernets.
Everything you see MUST be true.
There's even something about one of the U.S. moonwalkers hearing a sound that he later recognized on earth as coming from a mosque, so he converted to Islam.
Hey, that's what it said.
Who am I to doubt what I read on the innernets?
Like the secret mining operation on the dark side of the moon.
I am already planning further investigation into Bigfoot.
Not the ape costume frozen in a cooler.
Or maybe DB Cooper's treasure.
How about the picture of Elvis through the screen door of his guest house?

How did people waste time before Al Gore invented the internet?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Virus In The House

HH is quite ill with The Virus. He called in sick to work today. I know HH was really sick, because he walked behind my chair on his way back to bed for another 8 hours of sleep, held my hand that I had carelessly left within his reach on the top of my head, and said, "I hate it that you have to go to work when you're sick." Some might say it even brought a tear to the eye of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Others might say the tear was already there, what with Mrs. HM not wanting to get the kids ready and haul them to school even if she HAD been able to call in sick. SAd that it is easier to go to work that get things ready for a substitute. When I worked for the MO Div of Employment Security, you can bet that I didn't feel the least bit worried about calling in sick. I knew that my folders were left in the rack with notes of their status, and that any state monkey there could jump through the same hoops as I. Without the threat of anarchy from 120 students.

The reason for my reluctance to go to work stems from the relapse that I had with The Virus. After my dose of sweet, sweet Histinex wore off around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, I had a bad case of hacking. I coughed and coughed, with not much to show for it except aching kidneys and the feeling that my eyes bulged out at every cough like one of those rubber stress doll squeezy thingies. I drank water, hoping to thin my juices and cough it up already. I slathered my chest and neck with Vicks VapoRub. At 11:45, I took another dose of sweet, sweet Histinex...and it did absolutely nothing for me. Didn't stop the hacking, didn't make me sleepy. Nada. I spent the night sitting in the upstairs recliner, trying to catch the elusive ZZZs. Around about 1:15, I nodded off to sleep. For 15 minutes. That's how it went all night, until my respite of unawakened sleep from 3:00 to 5:00.

The wheezing is a pain. It lasts all day. It makes me want to cough. So I indulge myself, but to no avail. My mom said her neighbor's daughter and a friend had it for 6 freaking weeks, until they took Mucinex. So on the way home, I got some Mucinex. I've taken it before. I'm going to give it a try if I have another night like last night.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Day And Night Of Holy Matrimony

Our neighbors across the road had a big shindig yesterday. They got married. Oh, and they had a blow-out party all night long. That's OK. Our houses are about 3/10 of a mile apart. That's how things are in Hillmomba.

HH was gone to a car show from 9:00 to 4:00. As he was leaving, he said, "Oh, I told the neighbors they could use my cabin (the Shanty, aka MiniMansion) to take wedding pictures. So if you see people you don't know going through the yard, that's them." Thanks for the advance warning, and asking me if I minded. The only problem I have is that while we somewhat know the neighbors, we don't know their friends. I don't like people traipsing across my kingdom, making a mental note of how many dogs we have, and how far the BARn is from the house, and the various paths in and out to the MiniMansion, and all the years of stuff we have sitting around. Next thing you know, another one of our non-working riding mowers will disappear. Or there will be a big pile of sticks or stones or trash dumped in an out-of-the-way corner, or the remnants of a traveling meth lab piled in a heap. Hey! All of those things have happened since we've lived out here. I'm suspicious like that. It's my nature to be suspicious. I'm a teacher.

This morning HH reported, "They didn't mess up anything, and all they left was a wadded-up Kleenex." MmmHmm. And he can pick it up. Who knows which body fluid it is laced with?

HH and the #1 son went to the wedding reception for 4 hours last night. I stayed home with The Pony, who had been wracked with a round of vomiting the night before. I didn't want to go anyway. I am still convalescing from my virus that I caught over two weeks ago. It has been hard to shake. I don't know what HH did, but #1 said he played soccer with some neighbor kids. He also reported that HH took the neighbors a gift of a bottle of Tequila that he had gotten from a worker from Mexico. According to #1, HH bragged, "It still has the worm in it!" Which makes me wonder what else they would expect. Perhaps HH had opened it and eaten the worm, and then given it as a gift. More news from #1, the entertainment reporter: "By the time they were ready to cut the wedding cake, Tonya could hardly stand up." Too much Tequila, I presume.

Around about 9:00, the music switched from Bluegrass to Rock. HH came home shortly after that. I think it had more to do with the music than with the crowd of bikers. I do commend the neighbors for not parking anybody on our land, and for their guests not littering the roadway with beer cans or other trash. But I DID go out at 10:00 and lock up T-Hoe, even though he was resting in the garage as usual. My laptop was in the back.

No use taking a chance on my Shiba being kidnapped.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I've Been Voted Off The Hexagon!

Today we had an Inservice Day, which was not so much a worthwhile learning experience as an exercise in torture. Good News, Bad News Department: breakfast was provided, but it was donuts and diced fruit; lunch was catered, but it was a pan of pork, a bag of buns, three containers of BBQ sauce with one spoon, potato salad and beans.

We listened to the same guy all morning, and he put us through the paces of recording info and standing up to tell the whole cafeteria what our group had decided. For lack of a Mabel, my group of 5 consisted of Misters H and S, MathCrony, and Rev Comm Arts. Not bad as groups go, as we are sympatico, but guess who had to record data AND stand up and tell the tale? I think you might have guessed it. Moi. What's up with that? Mr H was supposed to be the moderator, someone who controls the discussion, and keeps everyone on task. Who always started discussion? Moi. Did Mr H stop Mr S when he started an endless, rambling tale of former students in prison? NO! Mr H let S roam like a free-range chicken with its head cut off. So much so, that the Presenter Dude came over and tried to get us going, and THEN asked us to be the key ingredient in something called Toxic Friends. Uh huh. That's our reputation. Except that WE were not the Toxic Friends--we HAD Toxic Friends. Who included my arch nemesis from Newmentia.

As stars of the Toxic Friends show, we had to carry our own chairs out to the mezzanine and circle them and discuss our rambling story in front of the whole faculty from two buildings. Yeah. And our Toxic Friends stood behind us in a circle, which was unpleasant for me because my particular Toxic Friend thought it was funny to jab me with her bony finger every 10 seconds or so and whisper, "I'm watching you!" When we were supposed to start, my group sat there and contemplated their navels, so I started it off by saying, "I think you had something you wanted to bring up, Mr S." Heh, heh. As I've said, there's no need to send out a birth announcement for my arrival into this world yesterday. S got us into this mess, and S would get us out. Mr S chose an entirely different story and topic, and soon ran out of steam. The rest of my group sat there like bumps on so many circled logs, so I fed Mr S some comments to clarify matters. I think, in his own way, he was grateful. Next, we had to stand behind our Toxic Friends and let them discuss what we had said. Then we had to sit back down and specify matters in question that they had dredged up. S and I complied. The bumps did what bumps do...sat silently and looked at the floor.

By now, three hours had passed, and we were released back into the cafeteria for our delicious catered lunch. Which, I might add, we were shorted 20 minutes from the advertised hour for lunch. Then it was back to more of the same, splitting into subgroups, in which mine made ME be the spokesman. I call foul. If there are three in a group, and one is the principal, I think he should take on speaking duties. But my opinion was not asked for by either the principal, or our third partner, a head coach. Go figure.

As the afternoon dragged on, we were told to split into groups of 4. Which meant that one had to leave our legal group of 5. I whispered to H, my Trivia buddy, "Don't make me leave." I thought it was a joke. Surely I had proven my worth, what with my yeomanlike performance all morning. One of the dead weights could be expended. But no. H eenie meenied, then he My mother told me-ed. And I was it every time. What a surprise that was, what with H only using me and himself, and not all the others. I told him he knew how that would turn out, because he has nothing better to do every night than sit home and practice those little ditties. And that is how I was voted off the hexagonal table that had been my home all day. Teachers can be so cruel.

The next table, some Basementia hooligans, had carried an illegal load of about 10 people all morning. They divvied up, and requested my induction as one of their kind. That was before they even knew I had been banished from the Log Bumps. They wanted me. They really wanted me. I agreed, much like Zach Mayo in An Officer and a Gentleman, having nowhere else to go, and discovered that our 4th member was to be my arch nemesis from Basementia. Say it ain't so. They swore that they were informed at the last moment on their 4th. We sat down at a new hexagon, and lo, who should appear but my angel in shining armor, the AD. It was like a closely contested contest of musical chairs. AD slid into his seat just as the arch nemesis was walking up to the hexagon. "Well, it looks like I've been beat out," he said. And turned on his heel and went to grace another group with his presence. Worked for me. Then I discovered that my new group expected me to be the spokesperson.

The high point of the day was soon to occur. We were given a mythical pizza store that needed to hire workers from one of four training schools. Each school dealt with a specific teaching taxonomy. For example, the AD took the simplest one, where students learn by reading information. I had the one where they learn by doing. We had to sort through an envelope of tasks. My lone task was "Grating the cheese to put on the pizza." I could not believe my good fortune. I traipsed off to my 'school', which was run by Headmistress Arch Nemesis. When it was my turn, I grandly presented her with my duty to attach magnetically to her marker board. "All I have been entrusted to do is cut the cheese.

Let's just say that my training school welcomed me with a raucous cheer, and a few scattered tears of laughter. And I gladly relinquished my mantle of spokespersonhood to Headmistress Arch Nemesis.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Random Thought Thursday 9-25-08

I have nothing but randomness tonight. Nothing.

Is there some 5-second rule, like when dropping food on the floor and still eating it, for petting the dog, and then forgetting about it for an hour while you go about your evening routine, and then remembering while you are handling finger food that you did not wash your hands? A 60-minute rule, perhaps? Division of Family Services: move along. No children's food was involved. Grandma fed one, and the other had leftover chicken from The Devil's Playground. Not even an HH was harmed, he having caught the disease from The Pony, and now acting like the only man who ever caught a cold.

My bank needs a stern reprimand. I pulled into the middle drive-thru lane (we only have 3 lanes at Hillmomba National Bank, and one is the commercial lane) behind a van. The lady was taking her stuff out of that plastic dog-snack-puzzle thingy. I pulled forward and wrestled HH's reimbursement check into it. Then I put it back on the express elevator to Money Heaven, and pushed the 'send' button. Nothing happened. I turned it the other way and pushed. Nothing happened. I grabbed that sucker and yanked my moolah out of it, and drove around and made the #1 son take in the deposit. I'm sick, by cracky! Then the lady behind me in the line pulled into the parking lot from the exit, slammed on her brakes, flung down her cigarette, yanked open the back door, pulled the baby-in-a-basket out, slung him around, and headed inside. That's not right, people. The green light was ON. Nobody said, "Sorry, it doesn't work." I hate them. According to the #1 son, the lady who had to go inside when the cash machine would not give her $5000 hates them more.

Do any of you teachers get the urge to tell kids the truth sometimes? Even though truth hurts? Truth such as You are a lower-income hick in the middle of Missouri. Your tight jeans and lip spike and black fingernail polish do NOT make you cutting-edge. Really. You just look like a wannabee not-hick. Do you?

Am I the only one who finds it poignant when an 11th-grader asks, seriously, about finances: You mean you have to put in money to open a bank account? My parents don't trust banks. They've never had an account, and I don't know what to do. This in response to some program at the vocational school that contributes $5 when a kid opens a savings account.

I made some chili last night that is out of this world. If I DO say so myself! It never turns out the same way twice, because I use whatever ingredients I can find in my pantry. I will call this one Sweet and Spicy Chili. It started with a can of tomato sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, a packet of Save-A-Lot chili seasoning, a can of Rotel, 3 cans of Save-A-Lot baked beans, 2 pounds of ground beef, an eating spoon full of minced garlic, a couple glugs of steak sauce, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and about 1/4 of a cup of Frank's Red-Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce. The latter was because I had no chili beans, and needed a little more spice. Never mind that HH snuck in before I had added all the ingredients or even taken a test taste, and dipped up a big bowl using a slotted serving spoon. Which we all know means you don't get any juice, only solids, which gave HH about a pound of hamburger and a can of beans. Anyhoo, after he left the kitchen, I tasted and added and the result was magnificent. If I DO say so myself!

A mosquito bit me on the back of my right little finger, down in the part between the knuckle and the bendy joint. The whole area is puffy and itchy. The worse thing is...it happened at school on my plan time. Why can't this school call in Terminix to spray while the kids are there, like my old school? This morning, I found a small roach on the wall near the light switch. Thank the Gummi Mary, I had already turned on the light. My window grooves are full of dead rolly-poly bugs. One of the students found a scorpion in another classroom yesterday. Let's not even talk about the dead spider as big as my hand outside the outer door down by the ParkingSpaceStealer's room. It's like Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom around here. Remember folks, Dana Brown says to drink Safari coffee. I guess you have to be OLD, and from the St. Louis area to know what that's all about.

I am not happy about Blogger tonight. I am not getting my money's worth for this service. Let me impersonate Andy Rooney for a moment. Don't you hate it when Blogger plans an outage of about 10 minutes...and it's down for several hours? Uh huh. You know what I'm talkin' about. I knew I should have quit after my first three thoughts.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Season For My Reasons

Wow! It's already Tuesday night? It seems like a Sunday afternoon to me.

The Autumnal Equinox has come and gone, and I did not even try to stand an egg on end. Go figure! Autumn is my favorite time of year. I don't know why. Perhaps it's because I am a creature of the dark, as my #1 son calls me. And I know the days are growing shorter.

I've always enjoyed this season. From the time I was but a child covered in a bedsheet, crunching up and down the leaf-strewn sidewalks begging for candy while my daddy stood behind assorted trees, to the adult years of sighing with satisfaction upon leaving work on a December day at 5:00, the street lights signaling that it was time to cozy up to the family, away from the elements. From high school Friday nights, coiled with my band brethren around the goalpost, ready to unwrap and surge onto the football field, bright white gloves with the fingertips cut off protecting my hands from the frosty chill, to the sunny, endless unemployed afternoons of driving home from my mom's house down our yellow-leaf-covered then-gravel county road to my new Mansion, The Pony still a 4-months-away eagerly-anticipated gift awaiting the grand unveiling. From the Saturday 10k runs of college, with their lure of FREE bottles of Perrier and commemorative T-shirts, to the glassy calm sun-warmed surface of my favorite fishing hole at 2:00 on an October afternoon, on my day off as a convenience store cashier. From the lazy days I lounged in my English classes, refusing to listen to lessons about sentence fragments and prepositions, to the present days of writing my own blog and not giving a rat's behind what people think of my sentence structure. I love Autumn.

A cloudless, blue-skied Autumn day could almost convince me, despite the high-functioning autistic kindergartener whom I towed by the forearm while he skiied down the sidewalk on the heels of his cowboy boots, screaming, "I HATE YOU!" while trying to thwart my attempt to catch up to my line of tiny physical education students I had sent into the building after a rousing game of Duck Duck Goose, that in spite of my annual salary of $8500, I had the best job in the world.

I love that nip in the air, the frost that forms on a dead possum in the driveway overnight, the frisky gallumping of the dogs around the porch in the mornings, chili suppers and book fairs, the beginning of basketball practice, the Christmas catalogs, the Fall Festivals, the hayrides, the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

I love Autumn. Kramer bottled the smell of The Beach for a cologne. I want to bottle the smell of crunchy leaves in the sun.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Socking It Away

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is planning for her future. Her immediate, three-day future. That shouldn't be too difficult. It's not like planning what you're going to do for a nest egg if you live 30 years past retirement. No, this is only a minor exercise in time management. With a duty of selling tickets at Basementia's volleyball game on Monday, and a Tuesday late-afternoon brainstorming session to fulfill a faculty technology requirement, Mrs. HM must prepare and store some posts for the near future.

In the manner of saving pennies for a rainy day, of Katie Nolan stashing money in the tin-can bank nailed to the floor of the closet in that Brooklyn apartment, of squirreling away nuts for the winter, stockpiling milk for the famished infant when mommy has a corporate meeting, hiding the solid chocolate Easter bunny in foil in the back of the refrigerator... HM is feverishly typing three posts and future-dating two of them so she is not overwhelmed with pressure to churn out a daily blog come rain or come shine or come professional responsibilities.

Don't expect high quality. It's a 3-for-1 deal, remember. Much like those 5 for $5.95 roast beef sandwiches that Arby's offers, my posts may be a little light on the meat. I must spread my intellect over three nights. Note To Self: good luck with that.

Forgive me if my subjects end up being not-topical. Like if I make fun of those Bill Curtis 'discovering the internet' commercials, when that very morning the Abominable Snowman has been found soaking in the Fountain of Youth, using a wing of Amelia Earhart's plane as a footstool. My psychic abilities are not infallible.

I'm off to write in the future.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Scatterbrain Saturday 9-20-08

The men of the Mansion are doing the same thing they do every night...trying to take over the world! Only tonight, they are doing it through a game of Risk. You know, the game of world domination. If HH wins, we will have another George Bush. The #1 son's rule would be akin to Hitler. If The Pony wins, he will trade all of his power for a new laptop and a flashy computer game.

This sickness I contracted is kicking my butt and taking my name. Even my old pal Histinex can't avenge me. This is day 11, and I still have a head full of snot and lungs holding at a quarter of a tank of fluid. Is is bad when you can't even smell Vicks Vaporub?

Poor little Pony is sick now. I refuse to take responsibility. He would have caught it much sooner from me. I blame his incredible lack of personal hygiene and cronies full of virus. That boy never washes his hands, and is always picking at some facial orifice. The kids at school are starting to drop like flies. One parent said the doctor told her this one takes two whole weeks to recover from. I concur. I checked on The Pony as I went to bed at 2:00 a.m. His cover was off, which never happens. That boy burrows in like something is going to grab any body part that sticks out. I touched his head, and it felt like a metal playground slide sitting in the sun. I woke him and poured some Tylenol Cough Plus Cold stuff down his throat. His lips were the color of a red Solo cup. That was before the Tylenol. He arose at 7:30, and ate everything in sight this morning, including a request for microwave popcorn at 10:00 a.m. I guess he was feeding last night's fever, because he is not a big eater.

The #1 son took a trip with his church youth group today to a space center. Not the Huntsville, Alabama, space center, but a more local one. The high point was when a guy like Mr. Wizard shot a flaming ball of ether through a clear tube about 12 inches in diameter and three feet long. The boy captured video of it on his jailbroken iPhone. The Pony was impressed. Me, not so much. I am not an aficionado of shooting balls of flame.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quirking For The Weekend

I have been tagged by Cricky, by cracky! The tagging has been few and far between in the last couple of years. Methinks the ITs have grown tired of reading my stale Hillmomba tales. I have been ostracized from the memers, and banned from joining in their meme-ing games like a 10th-grader who plays with Pokemon cards. But that's OK. I'm a big girl. My self-esteem in healthy. I'm no EMO. I will survive.

Cricky wishes to find out 6 Quirks. Be careful what you wish for.

6 Quirky Things About Hillbilly Mom

1. I do not like people. Really. I would rather be alone than with a group. The only people-thing I enjoy is TRIVIA. Otherwise, I like to stay home at my computer, or in front of the TV (with nobody to bother me with incessant yapping), or in my recliner with a good book. I don't see what's so bad about prison if you can act crazy enough to get yourself a private cell. You have everything done for you, and you have time alone to read. Kind of like that nut Sigourney Weaver played in A Map of the World.

2. I prefer to sit at the back. In the movies, in a restaurant, at a faculty meeting, at a sporting event...it doesn't matter. I don't want to feel trapped. I don't want people looking at me. I need to scope out the situation.

3. I am really, really bad with directions. I do not like driving to new places. I have to write itemized instructions on how to get there, and then reverse them for another list of how to get home. I once got lost inside a Dillard's store at Battlefield Mall in Springfield, MO. Fie on those mirrors and that round floor plan!

4. I have quite an interesting past, which I could never tell because people would have to kill me. Not like in organized crime, people. But things that others don't want people to know about them. And that doesn't even include the one who went undercover for three years in a meth sting operation.

5. When I finally go to bed between midnight and 2:00 a.m., I sometimes worry about things that could happen to my family. It is always darkest before the dawn, you know. What if one of my family gets lost in a Dillards?

6. I write in capital block letters. Yes, I am aware that handwriting analysis shows this to be a need for control. DON'T I KNOW IT!

That's not very interesting, I know. They're not so much quirks as signs of mental illness. I suppose I could have elaborated on my loathing of grape-flavored anything, or my habit of sticking Kleenex up my nostrils when I try to sleep when I have a cold, or my love of sweet, sweet Histinex, or that I don't like people coming into my Mansion because they might judge me on my housekeeping skills (which are truly non-existent), or that I can't stand to be hugged or patted or squeezed or touched by anyone other than my immediate family (so much that Mabel's Christmas hug is something I endure just for Mabel, as she well knows), or that I have done several good deeds for people throughout my life, monetary good deeds, which I do not talk about because then it would be like I wanted credit for them, or that I put almost everyone else's needs ahead of my own (though you would never know it with all of my talk about ME ME ME), or that I try to wring the very last mile out of every gallon of gas in my T-Hoe.

But at least I did not inherit my dad's quirk of never being able to order at a drive-thru speaker, instead making my mom lean over and do it for him.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Random Thought Thursday 9-18-08

My favorite route to school has been altered. I hate progress. Now I have to drive away from where I'm going, on a new outer road, and double back, after a short re-route through town and three stoplights, and to make matters worse, none of the new branches off this new road are marked, and in place of a stop light or stop sign, there is a roundabout. WTF? I am not European. I do not understand the point of this roundabout. It would be fine for a little-used Sunday drive. But this road serves a Missouri Class 4A High School. Can you imagine the traffic on that roundabout during the morning and afternoon hours? I don't even want to think about football games and graduation. The old route used to back up for a half-mile, what with people parking along the road illegally. And I don't think buses are shaped right to partake of this roundabout. Oh, and did I mention that there is also an emergency room hospital with a helipad right next to the school? I hope nobody gets lost rushing to the ER. I hope people know how to get out of the way of the ambulance in that roundabout. Progress, smrogress is what I say. By cracky!

The Pony brought home his progress report today. It was straight A. That means not even an A-. No grade lower than a 98%. I was a bit surprised. The Pony does not flaunt his intellect like the #1 son. The Pony's teacher wrote a note that he is an extraordinary student. Perhaps this will make up for that day last week when the teacher refused to wear The Pony's metal Roman helmet all day, eliciting the comment from The Pony: "Dirty, dirty liar!" Told to me, not to the teacher himself. The Pony really does like him. He just had his feelings hurt by the helmet betrayal.

The mailbox will not open. It is some kind of darned HH contraption, made from some steel pipe, with a round door that closes magnetically. Except that something went horribly wrong in the closure department, and at times we get the beans above the frank, which, if you're not a fan of Something About Mary, means that the door goes past the latch and gets stuck. I blame either the mailman who is out to get me, or the sugar-addled spawn of those darned bus people, who were bouncing all over the new bridge yesterday, throwing stones the size of garbage can lids into the recently-dredged creek. Never mind the underlying malfunctionism of HH's design.

My sweet, sweet Histinex is TOO sweet. It is sometimes hard to take. That stuff would kill Wilford Brimley. I, on the other hand, choke it down with enthusiasm. It's either that, or die trying to hack up a wet lung.

I had to argue with one of my techies today. I gave him permission to go to the bathroom before the tardy bell, and when he came in, he disrupted my class by appearing behind my desk bear-hugging and lifting a student from the opposite side of the room. I turned from my inconveniently-located computer after taking roll, and caught the end of that act. I told him in no uncertain terms to sit down and be quiet, and he did not have the good sense of the other hugging bear to keep his trap shut. Oh, and he raised his voice to me, which totally made me ratchet up my act, and tell him right from the start, "I WILL have the last word, whatever it takes, because that's the kind of person I am, and you, of all people, should know that, having been in my class two years ago." He agreed. And it was over. That's all I ask. See the light, and back down, and put me back in charge. It's a learning curve. It was a good indoctrination for those in the class who don't really know me yet. I can be flexible, as long as I remain top dog. We had a guest speaker during our back-to-school workshops who told us never to do that, try to have the last word. Oh, and never to use sarcasm. Um...we discuss the ridiculousness of his theories frequently at the lunch table. Mr. S is a fan of the sarcasm. By the time you've reached the dog-years of experience that we have, you have pretty much figured out what works for you. Or else you would be selling used cars.

Speaking of Mr. S...I truly appreciate him donating his time each afternoon to help supervise the parking lot. He does not have to do that. But I would like him to stop stepping in front of me whichever way I turn. I am trying to view the students and their cars. It is MY duty. But he keeps turning me like an untrained shepherd. I almost did a 360 the other day.

Sometimes my mind keeps running when I try to shut it down.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

HM's Odd Ends

Today we had our advisory students for the first time. They have been redistributed due to an effort to engage the seniors in activities that will aid in their job search and college prep skills. That means some kids lost their advisor, and were reassigned. I was lucky, what with only losing one kid and gaining one new student. I would have liked to keep the oldie and give the newbie to the new advisor, but that would make sense. The master list of advisor/advisee assignments was right across the hall from my door. Believe it or not, the kids were grousing about the changes. They had become attached. So had we. I could hardly believe my ears when one well-known troublemaker lamented that he no longer had the principal as his advisor. My kids are now 10th graders. Several of them stopped in the hall today to say, "Only 3 more hours!" I think they have missed me. Our mission was to create a person on a giant yellow swatch of butcher paper that included at least one part of every person in our group. I donated the right hand. We taped our paper to the wall instead of having people lie on it on the floor. I hope the permanent marker did not go through to the wall. I don't want a crime scene outline to last for eternity. The low point of the period was when our finish artist sketched fart fume lines coming out the butt of a bent-over baseball player on my newly-hung master schedule of sporting events. The second low point was when the sketch artist told the head model to "Hold still!" and rammed his head into the wall with the heel of her hand. The third low point was when she sketched my hand, and said, "I think I want it like this" and bent down all but one finger. Ahh...we're just one big disfunctional family. Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom made sure that the actual sketching included all fingers.

HH is in North Carolina on business. To the tune of a $900 airline ticket charged to our personal credit card. He called to tell me that he had arrived safely, and had a 'really nice' hotel room, with a chair and couch and stove and fridge and dishwasher. Basically, more than I have in my Mansion kitchen. Husbands can be so cruel. The dogs are a wound-up whimpering mess without their master. Plus, The Pony and I arrived home without the #1 son, so it's a double whammy. I hope they don't bark all night. The cats couldn't care less.

For the first time in his life, The Pony actually wants to sell fundraiser items. I'm in the process of raining on his parade. Though they DO have a good deal on Entertainment Weekly. And the kids love the cookie dough. And there's a handy little gewgaw for stashing credit cards and money that I could use on my casino trips. Not for credit cards, though. For my player's card and cash stash.

The Pony and I got home around 3:35 today. That's the earliest all year. It had something to do with a club using our classrooms and preventing me from working late. Oh, the sacrifices I make! Anyhoo, we came down our still-gravel hill approaching the new bridge, only to find the entrance to our road blocked by those blasted bus people. You'd think they could all park on ONE side of the road. But no. They insist on parking on both sides, and there was a hideous yellow 4WD of some kind parked right in the middle. WTF? Time stands still while these stay-at-homes await the pickup and dropoff of their young 'uns. I signaled to turn in, and nothing happened. So I pulled over by the mailboxes for The Pony to gather our bills. They must have sensed that I would be in the way of the BIG YELLOW SCHOOL BUS when it came over the hill, because that hideous yellow 4WD pulled out and drove towards town. Aha! I was able to pull in and drive the last mile home. But not without fuming about those 'freakin' bus people'.

I forgot my window was down from telling The Pony what to do about the mail. If you don't hear from me again, point the finger at that mob of freakin' bus people.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top 10 Things HM Hated About School Today

10. Even though my thermostat is set on 72 like a law-abiding faculty member, the temperature goes to 74 without the darn thing kicking on. Unless I open the window for a cool breeze. Then it kicks on, so I have to close the window lest an administrator pop in and bust me for air conditioning with open windows.

9. The worst thing about a conference with a concerned but polite parent is that it happens on plan time (go figure!) which puts me behind 50 minutes in grading, recording scores, looking up work for the slackers, and DUH planning.

8. The ne'er-do-well #1 son had his phone taken away during class this morning. His teacher sent me a heads-up email, which I found by using my psychic abilities, since I usually check my email before school and during my PLAN TIME 6th hour. Funny that a kid doesn't think a phone put on 'silent' will attract attention when his brother The Veteran texts him and sets off that drunken squirrel ring tone at max volume. The boy says it wasn't his fault. He didn't expect anyone to call him. Which is why he left his phone on even though I tell him every morning to turn it off. The requirement for this teacher is that a parent must come to the office to pick it up, even on the first offense. More power to her, I say. Nobody else says anything. She carries a knife. Yep. It's not concealed. It's there for all to see on her belt. But the phone and knife themselves are not the issue here. I went to pick it up, and stopped at the counter. The person filling in for the secretary kept yakkin' on the phone, so #1 and I started around the counter to go to the principal's office, just as we would have done had I still worked in that building. Chatty Cathy suddenly hung up and said snottily, "May I help you?" OK, it's only been a year since I worked in that building, down in Lower Basementia right near this denizen's lair. Don't give me freakin' attitude because you had to hang up your personal call. Anyhoo...I retrieved the phone, stored in the cryptkeeper's vault, and if it happens again, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is going to have an iPhone.

7. There was a new detour on the way home from school. A detour where none had been before. Plus a new detour that we've been warned of by the school my kids should attend in our district. It took me a right, two lefts, and a right to get where one left should have taken me. That plays havoc with my mileage, people.

6. The lunchroom had those spicy potato chunk thingies that I like instead of the fries they advertised. But even though I have paid up my account to $22.75, I have no taste. So what would be the point?

5. The Pony got off the bus at Newmentia with a fundraiser envelope. He whinnied excitedly that if he is in the top three sellers, he gets time in a money booth and can win a $20 bill. Hmpf! I'll give that little guy $20 to keep from spending more than that on the fundraiser junk. He can't compete with kids whose parents take those things to work with them. People need gas money. I don't want to impose on them to buy useless junk. The school needs to stop pimping out my child.

4. When I blew an extra-large economy-sized vat of nasal secretions into a tissue, a boy who has perhaps only ME among the faculty who treats him with respect and even notices that he's alive, said loudly, "That sounded rough!" OK. Enough. I don't call attention to YOU when you blow your nose. I'm not one of those emo people who mince toward the door and hide my face in a corner to take a blow when I need to. It's not like we're dining with the Queen of England. I had to blow my honker, so shut up already. I pointed out the error of his ways, and I think he was truly sorry, since he volunteered to read first during the lesson.

3. A kid who is new and has been smart-alecky in my class since day one was written up by our #1 substitute. The kids told the tale. Mr. Sub asked, "Where do you think you're going, young man?" and Dude told him, "To get my folder." He said it with an attitude, and then he wouldn't stop backtalking. And Mr. Sub wrote him up! Just for getting his folder! I mentioned the attitude part. Well, he only did it to get back at Mr. Sub, because he was taking an attitude with Dude. Yeah, right. So I told them, "I guess Dude really showed Mr. Sub! But I don't think it's hurting Mr. Sub a bit that Dude got ISS."

2. After asking every single class if anybody had to stay after today for the Science afterschool program for failing grades, not one person said they were staying. Yet five minutes after the final bell, there was an urchin begging for his make-up work. An urchin that my buddy Mabel knows from Math slacker class. I have him twice a day. I grilled him on why he didn't speak up earlier. "I didn't hear you. I guess I wasn't listening." So I pulled out his rap sheet, saw two assignments that he could make up for zeroes, and told him one was impossible because it was out of a magazine that I had already passed on. The other was the freakin' notebook assignment that is to be copied down each day. I gave him a copy of notes, and told him that's all he could make up, because we only go two weeks back. Otherwise, a kid can sit on his duff all quarter, and ask for all the work, and pass. Urchin didn't like that. He swore he needed more work. I told him he should have gone during the last two-week session. "But I wasn't failing then." Au contraire. If he had a 52% now, with only two assignments that were zeroes, I guarandarntee that he was failing when the slacker list was run two weeks ago. So I went to the cupboard to show this poor dog his bone. You know, the grade printouts we have to run every week and file in a ring binder. And there it was, in light blue, black and white. A 39% back then. Too bad, so sad. I was NOT going to dig out that old work that he should have come for then. But of course he didn't, because he wasn't failing then. So I chastised him some more for taking up my time instead of telling me when I was prepared to look it up, and sent him on his way. He said, "So I can turn this in tomorrow?" I said 'OK' just to get rid of him. It used to be that the slacker teacher had to give stuff to you in your mailbox, but this year the kids bring it to me. You're not gonna believe what happened next. Hauling the future convict #1 son to get his purloined iPhone, we passed Urchin walking down the road! He did not even go to slacker class! That little snot wanted all his work to take home and do while snacking and texting and music-listening and TV-watching, so he could get credit for doing it in slacker class. No way, no how! Not on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's watch. If he turns that in tomorrow, and tells me he did it in slacker class, he's off to see the wizard...the wonderful wizard of discipline referrals.

1. Everybody knows that Histinex ain't allowed in school.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Wing And A Prayer, The Sequel

Actually, this is a prequel. What completely slipped my mind when I tried to think up something interesting yesterday was one little drama of the HH variety. He is such a drama queen, what with his brain tumors that turn out to be ear infections, and his throat closing up to kill him that turns out to be a cold (both diagnosed at the ER, mind you), and his boss's neighbor, the famous author Betty, who turned out to be Katherine Hepburn, and the neighbor coming to shoot him, and the other neighbors actually peppering his Shanty roof with buckshot...Well, you can see how another HH mini-drama-in-real-life might slip my mind.

HH went to the BARn yesterday to spray some insulation. It's a red tin barn, regular barn shape, with a white roof. The bottom floor is concrete, where HH has a workbench and tinkers with his numerous junky cars and lawnmowers. The loft has been made into a BAR with a TV and some collector stuff and a bed. No running water, though. The top has that typical barn shape. HH has decided that since he plans to go over there a lot this winter (which he always has, and I ain't complainin', except that he leaves the heat and lights on sometimes and the separate electric bill tells on him) he should spray some insulation on the inside and outside of the tin roof.

HH called his number one son and The Veteran to come help him on Saturday. My own #1 son went to assist with childcare duties. Apparently, they didn't quite finish the job. HH went over there Sunday to putter around. I stayed in the Mansion in my sickchair. The #1 son went to his grandma's house after church, and The Pony was in the basement playing computer games. Around about 2:30, HH came back to the house. It had been quite stormy all morning, what with Ike's winds blowing in for a visit. HH sat down on the couch and commenced his tale of woe.

"I was up on the BARn roof, and my ladder blew down. I heard it go, and I knew I was in trouble. The Pony isn't big enough to lift the ladder. I knew you were sick, and would pitch a fit. So I called my buddy, Buddy, and he came down on the 4-wheeler and set it up for me. I don't know what I would have done if Buddy wasn't home. Other Neighbor was blading the road, and I figured I could holler at him. Or I could have called you to look up the number of Bowling Neighbors."

First of all, HH knows me like a book. He can read me like the back of his hand. That's what my old teaching buddy used to say. But she thought she was right. Thank the Gummi Mary, she had never heard that lipstick/pig comment. Anyhoo...I doubt that the dude blading the road on his tractor would have helped. He likely would have waved and thought to himself, "There's that wacky HH sitting up on his barn roof again."

Still, HH should have called me. Because I would have been madder than a wet hen if I had to go looking for him when he didn't come home for supper.

My alternate title was: Up A Roof Without A Ladder. But that kind of took away the suspense.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Wing And A Prayer

Hillbilly Mom is still senseless. Not in the manner of "The porch light is on, but nobody's home upstairs." No, it is this darned virus that has knocked HM senseless. She is lacking taste and smell. And is a bit discombobulated in the equilibrium department. Thank the Gummi Mary, HH drove the #1 son to church, and did half of the grocery shopping, and for good measure, scrubbed up a full sink of dishes. That left HM with only 7 loads of laundry. WooHoo! It's a virtual vacation!

The only somewhat interesting portion of HM's day was about 10 minutes ago, when a strange black creature jumped onto New Delly's 19" monitor and then disappeared. It was an eerie moment for HM, who hates black jumping creatures, which remind her of crickets. Nothing makes HM's skin crawl like a house cricket. A few moments later, the critter flew onto the screen, and walked a few inches, taunting HM. Shame on him for fooling HM twice, because she grabbed a tissue from her stash and wrapped him up like a spring roll. He was then dispatched down the toilet at the hand of The Pony. Seeing him lit up on the screen like an x-ray at the doctor's office, HM deduced that he was some kind of long black ant...with wings. That is just OH SO NASTY! Don't even suggest that he was some kind of queen termite. No. Just NO. He was too black and too fat for that.

I hope.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Let's take the night off, shall we? Because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is still diseased, and tasted not one whit of her homemade vegetable-beef soup, or the Snickers that she declared was dessert. She has no energy to punch up her blog idea of 'Political Olympics'. Here is how far she got before abandoning this most scathingly brilliant idea:

Schedule of Events
mudwrestling with a pig
denouncing and disowning
flag pin adorning
calling the wife a "C-word"
flipping the opponent the bird
combing your own hair
pig lipstick application
public speaking
faux presidential seal design
feigning outrage
surviving torture
community organizing
birth certificate forging

That's all I've got. The way I see it, the pig comes out the winner.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Midnight In The Garden Of Evil And Evil

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is battling an evil cold. Somebody slipped her the virus without leaving any clues. It originated in the back of her throat, with a 24-hour pain so severe that she took a single ibuprofen. But not so severe that she drove herself to the emergency room to be diagnosed with...a cold. That's what HH did a couple years ago. Not to be confused with the time he drove himself to the ER for an undiagnosed brain tumor, only to be diagnosed with...an inner ear infection.

Normally, HM would blame HH for the demon virus. It only stands to reason that such a microbe was inhaled from the fetid exhaust emanating from HH's breather. Yet HH is healthy as a horse. Or so he says. Neither of the Hillbilly children have symptoms. That leaves casual contacts from monetary transactions, or that seething cauldron of microbia called Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Classroom. Though a few students have been ill, Mrs. HM is rigid in her adherence to handwashing protocol.

The only avenue left to blame is airbornicity. Perhaps Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's uvula was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and trapped a single virus much like flypaper lays the smack down on those vile, vomiting houseflies. Or maybe said uvula dangled there, tauntingly, enticing the virus like a freaky, fishing-lure-headed deep-sea denizen attracts its prey.

Whatever the etiology, Mrs. HM is hurtin' for certain. This single day seemed to last a week. Thank the Gummi Mary, the Hillbilly Mom mother called the doctor for her to get some sweet, sweet Histinex phoned into the pharmacy. It's a lifesaver, what with HM getting 3 hours of sleep last night, whether she needed it or not. Nightly draining snot strangles HM, causing her awaken, sputtering, like Tim Conway in a sketch with Harvey Korman on an old episode of The Carol Burnett Show.

After picking up the sweet, sweet Histinex on the way home from school, and dosing herself with precisely 1 and 1/2 teaspoons, in addition to self-medicating with a vat of Hot & Sour Soup...HM felt somewhat normal. Never mind that she was tasteless. The pounding headache and sinus pressure went away. The hairballesque hacking has abated. The only problem is that sweet, sweet Histinex does not travel alone. He brings his sidekick Mr. Sleepyhead with him, and Mr. Sleepyhead is now kicking Mrs. HM's butt.

Sweet, sweet dreams to all as I slip into a sweet, sweet slumber.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Too Cool For School

The warden gave us a reprieve. This morning after the first bell, the person left in charge today came by and liberated our thermostats. She said word came down from the absent principal to let us set them at 72. I was very glad to have that 75 unlocked. What I did not anticipate was a locking at 72. Because sometimes, that is just too cold. So I had to round up a faculty criminal to unlock it for me. He didn't mind. He was looking for someone to commiserate with, having scored a 58% on a technology-required training module. He said it was PowerPoint, in which he thought of himself as well-versed. That means I am going to score around 5%. He also said the darn thing loaded 22 lessons for him. Hmm...I think I am going to be spending a lot more than 4 hours on the 4 modules.

I came in from parking lot duty on Wednesday to find 3 kids poking a bug with the toes of their shoes. They were herding it out of the middle of the hall before the bell. Mind you, none of them cared enough about Buggy to pick him up and throw him outside.

Then I saw my cousin the English teacher walking along with a lime-green pouch clasped to her chest. She asked what strange new dance those Buggy kids were doing. Then she said, out of the blue, "I brought my sugar glider." Um...OK. I took the bait. "No you didn't." She insisted. "Yes, I did. I brought it to summer school, too." It makes no sense to me that somebody would want to bring a marsupial INTO the school. But the curiosity was getting to me. "Let me see."

Enga (because she's an English teacher, you know) turned the pouch around. I saw the bottom of the pouch move. Something wriggled in there. I put my hand on the bottom of the pouch. It felt like a little hamster. Through a 3 x 5 zippered mesh window area, I saw a dark creature twisting its head back and forth. And then it let out a demonic screech. I yanked my hand back. "It's going to rip my arm off! Where did you get that thing?" Enga spoke like a doting mother. "At Country Days. I've had her over a year now."

Enga turned the pouch around again, and clasped it to her chest. "Some people carry them in their pockets, or inside their shirts. I can't let her out. She's too aggressive." Hmpf! You ain't a-woofin'! Why you would want a critter like that around annoying 14-year-olds is beyond me. Enga went on down the ramp to her room. Then bell rang.

Later in the day, I asked the kids if they saw Mrs. Enga's sugar glider. Several gave me affirmation. "Yeah. It is too hyper. She put it in its cage, and it ran around and around on the sides of the cage, and peed all over. So she put it back in its pouch."

Heaven help us if that thing gets loose.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

When You're Hot, You're Hot

I have just returned home from a hard day of casting steel ingots down at the mill...umm, stoking the coal-burning engine of my locomotive...umm, field-testing flame-retardant suits for firefighters...umm. clearing 10 acres of rain forest with a dull machete...umm, pouring an asphalt roadway in the Mojave Desert...I mean, teaching conceptual physics to a whole passel of 9th graders. Did I mention it was in a climate-controlled environment? I think I am dehydrated. I'm surprised I didn't leave a snail-like trail of underboob sweat everywhere I went. The trickling rivulets of scalp sweat were maddening. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not designed to operate efficiently at extreme temperatures.

Add to that the recent suggestion that we all run laps around the room during instruction, to keep the kids interested, and discourage malcontent behavior, and you have a heat stroke waiting to happen. Oh, and might I disclose that the principal paid me a visit 1st hour, three minutes after the tardy bell, 33 minutes after I reported to the parking lot for duty. Thank the Gummi Mary, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has learned to prepare her classroom the night before morning duty. She had the objectives on the board, papers (in alphabetical order) ready to pass back and go over, make-up quizzes ready for flunkies, worksheets ready for today's lesson, the right buzz words on her tongue to refresh the memory of yesterday's lesson, attendance and lunch count already logged into the computer, and the kids in their seats silently working on the bellringer. Let it be noted that the day always goes downhill after the shining utopia that is 1st hour.

With the temperature already at 75 inside, I left off the projector/ not-very-SmartBoard combo, except to plug in briefly to check out the nuclear reactor Big Bang trial thingy. Let it also be noted that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom did not Google 'big bang', but instead went to Google News and chose a boring sciency-sounding site. We opened the windows, listened to the groundskeeper mowing under those life-saving portals, and pitied the folks on the other side of the hall, who garner morning sunlight, and can't open their windows unless they want a giant economy size whiff of sewer gas. A visitor or intruder would have seen, upon glancing through the small, rectangular, classroom-door windows, a sight that would have done Salvador Dali proud: teachers and students draped over desks, languishing bonelessly, listless and limp.

When you're hot, you're hot.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Final Nail

Just when Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was seriously considering chucking it all to crawl into her custom-made hillbilly handbasket, the final nail was driven into her coffin. It's hard to describe the sheer HORROR this event struck on the jangling last nerve of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

It is bad enough that the cafeteria now charges for everything. I'm surprised they don't have their hand out to charge for a squirt of gravy from the converted ketchup bottle thingy. In years past, if a teacher wanted just a bowl of mashed potatoes, or just a dessert, or just a bowl of oniony green beans...the checkout lady would wave you by, even though you showed her your bounty. She was very apologetic last week when I went in for some mashed potatoes. "I'm sorry. I'm going to have to charge you fifty cents." It's not her fault. I didn't mind. In fact, I told her, "Hey! I still have $4.75 left from last year." Uh huh. I'm a big spender. I could have bought a round of mashed potatoes for my lunch buddies. Because that's the kind of gal I am. Except that they already had trays, or their broughten lunches.

Today, the fifty-cent bowl of mashed potatoes was not filled to the top. It was about 3/4 full, where it used to be mounded over the top. And the cook flung a dab of my precious mashed potatoes onto the side of the styrofoam bowl. But I dealt with it.

No, a mashed potato shortage is not the issue today, people. The principal paid a visit to my room 6th hour, my plan time. I was grading the never-ending stack of papers at my desk. "Did you come to check out my room?" I asked. Because at our meeting yesterday, he said he was going to visit everyone. "Not today," he replied. And he opened up my thermostat and set it to 75 freakin' degrees, and put it on LOCK.

I'm going to die.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Name Is Hillbilly Mom, And I'm A Nobody

Welcome to my pity party. Sorry I didn't send out invitations. I was afraid no one would show up.

I am the invisible woman. A nobody. I don't matter in the big scheme of things. Kids think they can get out of my Algebra class and be put in Choir. Really. Other teachers (ahem, Mr. S) have actually said in front of me, "Well, that's just for the core teachers." HELLO! I've been back to coring for two years now.

It seems like only yesterday that I volunteered to work the after-school program in Basementia, for FREE, mind you! For freakin' FREE! And was told, no, core teachers will have the first shot at that. Never mind that I have a Biology degree, and a 'core teacher' might be working on an elementary degree with certification in his/her subject area. Heavens to Betsey! We can't have Mrs. Hillbilly Mom working on middle school worksheets willy-nilly. How can she possibly help these failing kids? She is not even a CORE TEACHER!

And when such positions were hashed out at Newmentia, once again Mrs. Hillbilly Mom was left out in the cold, for others to take extra hours for career ladder, or earn $20 per hour. That's OK. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom stays after school to keep up with her regular work. Nobody pays Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Which explains why she gets cranky when students are sent to her room to ask for work that they should have gotten in class. But that's beside the point today.

The point is that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has gotten used to being a nobody. So don't come to her NOW and inquire as to whether she wants to take on part of this after-school program. Because she doesn't. M-O-O-N. That spells you can take this job and...offer it to someone else who has been nobodied for the last four years. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom does not want your crumbs, your leftovers, the wretched refuse of your teeming classrooms.

Unless she is asked by her administrator, and then she will do her fair share in a workmanlike manner. Because that's the kind of gal she is.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

HH Scares Up Some Trouble

HH scared the bejeebus out of me this afternoon. I had taken the #1 son to church, and, us being Even-Stevenists, decided to balance out the Sunday with a bit of shopping at The Devil's Playground. While sweating like the oldies on a Richard Simmons dvd in that roasting retail pit, I picked up a game camera for HH. You know, a game camera. It takes pictures of animals in the woods. But we're not using it for animals, we're using it for humans. Last Sunday morning, I thought I heard a 4-wheeler down in the woods around 6:30. It was the holiday weekend, so I figured maybe somebody's guest was riding, and couldn't find enough roads, and thought our 20 acres was here for everybody to use at will. Or they could have been riding up the creek, which, though environmentally frowned upon, is perfectly legal, because nobody can own a waterway. Then the plot thickened.

After the wedding rehearsal Friday night, HH granted his number one son permission to sleep in the BARn. All without informing me, mind you, which drives me batty. The dogs went wild in the early morning hours, but I figured they were after some 4-legged critter. They are NOT good watchdogs. The most I've ever heard them bark was at HH himself, walking from the BARn to the Mansion one evening at dusk. Stupid dogs. Saturday morning, after his number one son had already left, HH broke that little tidbit to me. That NOS had awoken in the BARn around 4:00 a.m. to the sound of a 4-wheeler right outside. It stopped. He put on his pants and shoes, but by the time he got downstairs, it had gone.

HH's theory on the 4-wheeler is that if it had been around 1:30 or 2:00 a.m., it was probably our down-the-hill neighbor. Driving home drunk from his buddy up the hill, he might have seen a strange truck at our BARn, and decided to investigate. That's the neighborly thing to do. But with it being at 4:00 a.m., he was ruled out. My theory is that it was somebody up to no good, scouting out the place with some thievin' in mind. After all, we've had a non-working lawnmower stolen from the BARn, and the neighbor has had two 4-wheelers stolen from his barn. That was all several years ago, though. The problem is that with the bridge construction, the county had been routing traffic through our private enclave. Though we are on a road that branches from the detour, you know how people are. People like HH. "I wonder where THAT road goes." I just don't trust people. There has been trash on our branch of the road, too. Only people that live up in here normally use this road, and we certainly don't throw fast-food trash out where we live.

So I bought a $100 game camera, which uses an infrared flash when motion triggers it, and takes digital pictures of the motion. I figured HH would mount it somewhere on the front of the BARn, up high, to get a kind of panoramic view. But no. We're talking about HH. He mounted it on the front of his tractor. What I figure will happen is that the thief will steal the game camera.

Anyhoo, the way HH scared the bejeebus out of me was after he carried in all the groceries. I put them all away while HH said he was going to burn some cardboard trash. After emptying the last bag, I realized that I hadn't unpacked the game camera. I snatched up my new phone and dialed HH. And heard his phone ringing in the living room. Luckily I had Plan B. I summoned The Pony from the depths of the basement, and sent him to find HH and ask if he had the game camera. The Pony completed his mission, reporting that indeed, HH had the camera, and needed 6 D batteries. If he had only bothered to look, I had 6 D batteries in the same bag as the game camera.

But it was a relief that I didn't have to shout at The Devil for a $100 game camera that I purchased and left at the register.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Scatterbrain Saturday 9-6-08

Yesterday was payday. Not that it matters that much to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, who has a knack for squirreling away her six summer checks. A better explanation would be squirreling away from HH her six summer checks. Because although HH out-earns HM by a considerable margin, what with working two times harder than her in his opinion, he thinks HM's six summer checks are like some kind of bonus to be spent immediately. "Au contraire," says Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. "These are for us to live on in the usual manner from May 25 until September 5." It only took the first summer after marriage for HM to learn this technique was required. You know the saying, "Fool HM once, shame on you. Fool HM twice, and you'll end up on her Hit List."

HH and the #1 son are gone to HH's number one son's wedding. I detest gatherings. My absence is no reflection on the groom. I did not attend his brother-the-Veteran's second wedding, either. Once is enough for HM. Though let the record show that she sent a substantial monetary gift. Anyhoo, HH was telling the #1 son (official wedding discographer and photographer) that, "You'll have a good time. There will be food, and a lot of girls your age." The Pony, laying on the couch in his pajamas reading a book, said matter-of-factly, "You had him at 'food'." That's My Little Pony.

Friday, September 5, 2008

For Lack Of A Proper Handbasket

We should all be worried. Some day in the near future, we may not even have handbaskets available for the express elevator ride to Hell. Especially if the youth of our nation, my son's generation, are running the handbasket factories.

Two conversations today convinced me of our plight. The first was with my #1 son on the way home from school.

Mrs. Basementia Buddy says my class is a bunch of idiots.
That's a surprise?
Not really. She tells us that all the time.
Then why are you bringing it up now?
Today she said something about a preposition, and we said, "What's that?"
You mean none of you knew what a preposition was?
No. Nobody's ever taught us.
Seriously, you're in 8th grade, and you've never heard of a preposition.
No. Mrs. Basementia Buddy said she learned it on Grammer Rock 30 years ago when she was in 3rd grade.
Yeah, me too.
Mom. You were not in 3rd grade 30 years ago.
OK. But listen to this.
Yeah, she sang it for us too. Then she started on Conjunction Junction.
Ooh, I love that one. Conjunction Junction, what's your function...
Alright. Enough. We told her we KNEW that one.
How do you know a conjunction if you don't know a preposition?
Duh. We learned it yesterday. In choir.
Wait a minute. You learned about conjunctions in choir?
Uh huh. Mr. H teaches us a lot of things. He plays Grammar Rock.
Thank the Gummi Mary! At least the choir teacher is learnin' youse English.
(OK, that's not exactly what I said, but you get my drift)

The other most depressing moment of realization came in my Algebra class.
Mrs. Math Crony doesn't like me.
Why would you say that?
Because every day, she yells at me.
Yeah, that's how she is. She picks out someone in each class to not like.
Who does she not like in your class?
Well, I have her 7th hour. Yesterday, I just put my hand on her desk, and she said she was going to send me to the office.
She doesn't like anybody touching her desk.
I know that NOW.
So don't touch her desk.
But the other day, I don't even know what I was saying, and she said, "Unfavorite Girl, just stop it. You are SO annoying!"
Well, maybe you shouldn't have been talking.
I can't stand her. I like all of my other teachers, but I want to put her on my 'Hit List.'
Wait a minute. Watch what you're saying. You can't say 'Hit List,' or you can get kicked out of school.
Yeah. Remember that girl a couple years ago with the hit list and three knives? She got sent away for over a year.
What's wrong with a Hit List? It just means a list of people you want to hit.
No. It means people you want to kill.
Oh. Well, I don't hate Mrs. Math Crony THAT much! I just want to hit her.

And for a bonus, let me throw in this gem from my tech students.
That's really gay.
You can't say that. It's one of the hate words you can't use at school.
What is?
That's not a bad word.
It's the way you are using it.
So if we say it the correct word, it's OK? Like, "Stop being such a homosexual."
Um. No. It's the WAY you are using it, as an insult, in a negative way.
I don't get it.
I've had people in other years say things like, "You're so Jewish!" And "Don't be such a Mexican!" You are not allowed to say things like that at school.
Why would anybody call anyone Jewish?

I give up.
I'm leaving the burden of educating the leaders of the future to Mr. H.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

HM Has An Empty Nest

No, that's not some euphemism like, "The porchlight's on, but nobody's home upstairs." I still have all my faculties about me. But I am missing parts of myself. HH and the boys are in town, and not due back until around 8:00.

I thought I would enjoy the solitude. But I'm waiting for the other shoe and the other shoe and the other shoe to drop. It doesn't feel right. Ann-the-black-half-shepherd is nervous. She likes us all in the house where she can guard us. She whimpered and poked her nose into my hamstrings on my way from the garage to the kitchen door. She hasn't done that for months. I guess she was trying to herd me away from the door and back to town to get the boys.

Aside from the loneliness, I miss their servitude. The #1 son was not there to go in and order my Hot and Sour Soup, and pick up the mail. The Pony was not there to unlock the door, and fetch me a Diet Coke. HH was not here to yell at me.

It's too quiet.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Rude Awakenings

Some people are in for a rude awakening. Even if they haven't been asleep. It is time once again for the failing grades people to stay after school and make up their failed work. A little bird told me that a bunch of them were no-shows. And no sooner had I exclaimed, "I HATE this new gradebook system!" than the principal walked past my door on the way to greet the detainees. That little bird told me that he looked over his long list, surveyed the room, and commented that a few people seemed to be missing.

Join me in the gleeful rubbing of hands. I love justice.

I also love it when a kid who makes little effort, and who tells me that he did the math wrong because that's how I showed him to do it on the board, necessitating a walk to the board and close inspection of the example I left there, sighs, and asks, to nobody in particular, but in earshot of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, "When can we get out of this stupid class?", initiating the response from Mrs. HM, "Oh, you're in here all year. I can't take you out. I didn't put you in. You put yourself in here with your grades and MAP scores. I just take whoever they give me, so I can work with them ALL YEAR."

Yep. I love it when that happens.