Sunday, November 30, 2008

It Ain't Chicken Feed

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

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

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

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

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

Kids can be so cruel.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Remedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have I ever mentioned that I hate feet?

Friday, November 28, 2008

An Unwelcome Concert

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Boy Who Was Embarrassed

Here's a cheery little Thanksgiving tale, courtesy of my niece. She went to her boyfriend's family farm for dinner, and got to meet some of his relatives for the first time. Here's how she told the story.

One of the uncles showed up. They didn't know he was coming in from Chicago. He brought his two kids. The little boy was about 4 or 5. We were playing outside, and he kept saying, "Watch me! Watch me!" Then he would run out to the road and back. On about the fifth time, he didn't come back. I started to get worried, then I saw him behind a tree. I thought he was trying to climb it. He was on the far side of the tree, so I moved over where I could see him better. He had his pants down, and was squatting to go poop. I hollered, "Hey, I think he needs to go to the bathroom." They took him inside. While we were waiting for him to go, the family said that he doesn't like to use the bathroom. Sometimes he holds it for days. It's like he's embarrassed or something to sit on the toilet, so he goes outside. Sometimes they put a diaper on him. He finally got done, and his poop was so big that it clogged the toilet. They didn't have a plunger, and they were trying to unclog it, and it was a big commotion. When they finally got it cleared, one of the uncles said, "That turd was so big, it looked like a miniature football."

By this time my sister and HH and I were laughing so hard we could barely talk. I wanted to know how he went to the bathroom outside in Chicago? Did they take him to the park for a walk every day? Did they have a fenced yard? Who used the pooper-scooper? My sister said no wonder he held it in, it was such a big production every time he went on the toilet. She was amazed that he was more embarrassed to sit on a toilet behind a closed door than to drop his pants behind a tree.

Then the boyfriend yelled from downstairs, where he was busy beating the pants off the #1 son at Guitar Hero, that the boy was embarrassed to use someone else's toilet--he used his own toilet at home.

Well. Glad we could clear up that little detail.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Three HHs and a Mabel

This evening at supper, HH reported that he had found a snakeskin. OK. Unremarkable. But then HH went on to say that he found the snakeskin in a drawer. Again, unremarkable. I thought he had found one that the older boys might have had as a kid, and kept as a keepsake. Because that's how the Hillbilly family rolls. But then, HH told The Pony he found it in a drawer in the BARn. That means it was a fresh snakeskin. Well, not to the snake, but to the Hillbilly family. HH retired to the living room and put on the Outdoor Channel. Wouldn't you know it, they were talking about snakes. They found a "copper-something" as they put it. HH said, "That's like the skin I found. You've got to catch a snake by the tail." The Pony gave him that look that HH must surely be used to getting from numerous people throughout each day. " catch a snake behind the head. That's so it can't bite you." HH didn't miss a beat. "You can catch it behind the head. But if you are good at keeping the head away from you, you catch it by the tail." Is there a Bear Grylls hotline? Because I need it. Bad.

What else did HH do today? He's been off all week, you know. He asked me if he got anything in the mail. Which, umm, I thought he would have picked up at the mailbox. But no, he thought I should do it, and the #1 son had already announced that he would drive the 4-wheeler down and get it. Let's see. HH also pulled the trash dumpster up to the end of the driveway. Which would have been a thoughtful gesture, except that our trash gets picked up on Thursdays, and any time there's a holiday, it is one day later. So HH had taken the dumpster way up to the end of the driveway Wednesday morning, where it was supposed to sit until Friday afternoon, and any time we got a full bag of trash, it would have needed to be hauled to the end of the driveway instead of out to the garage. Luckily the #1 son is an observant little booger, and spied it when we turned into the driveway, and shouted, "Stop! I'm going to take the dumpster back down until Friday morning." It probably helps that #1 is the one who takes out the trash. So he was only thinking about himself.

On the flip side, HH did take some old shelves out of our mini-pantry, and hung them in my office so I have a place for CDs, and The Pony has a place for all his computer games. HH even sorted through them and put them in their cases for Our Little Pony. Then he offered to take The Pony to a movie tonight, and they chose Madagascar 2. The Pony had helped me bake the traditional Hillbilly Thanksgiving Oreo Cake, and somehow one of the eggs squirted all over his gray shirt while I was putting in the ingredients. I gave him a blue striped shirt, which didn't go so well with his camouflage pants, but instructed him to change into the jeans on the back of the couch before going to the movie. HH called for The Pony to get ready. I reminded him about the jeans. HH said, "What's wrong with the pants he's got on?" Which says a lot about HH's keen fashion sense.

I misspoke about Mabel's surgery. It is not until January. Where she was instead was in Chicago. I asked her if she was stalking BObama. Mabel did not give a conclusive answer. Though she did say that this time she did not sit her royal butt upon an ancient artifact like she did on a previous trip to Chicago, at that famous museum place. When I reminisced and asked her the specifics on that adventure, namely, upon what was she sitting, Mabel replied, "Oh, something Egyptian. It was old--B.C." Those may not be the exact words, but you get the drift. Mabel went to some hoity toity aquarium this time, and saw a fish that was checkered, and a fish that looked like an old man. I asked her how that came about, and she told me that's just how he turned out. I think I'm losing something in translation during my morning chats in the doorway with Mabel.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Russia Is Putting Ships In Our Backyard

It's true. I heard it on FOX news. Russia is putting ships in our backyard. I didn't hear the details. I had to go put supper on the table. Where is our backyard? I thought Canada was our backyard. How did Russia get ships into Canada? Not the Great Lakes. I mean up above that line over North Dakota and Montana. That's what I see as our backyard. Not the water between Florida and Cuba, where people ride inner tubes to partake of the benefits of this great country. That is our front yard. Not the West Coast. That's our patio, for BBQing and watching the sunset. Not Alaska. That's our treehouse, up there all by itself, where we go to get away from it all and play. So somebody explain to me how Russia sailed those ships to the Canadian interior. Did those Ice Road Truckers have anything to do with it? Because if they did, I'd say give Russia that loser guy, Drew, who quit the first day, and who couldn't even drive a local truck without pissing people off. Drew might just be our secret weapon. If anybody could sink a ship on dry land, it would be Drew.

This got me thinking. What if Russia put ships in MY backyard, here in Hillmomba? I can see it now. HH would go out on the back porch to take a pee, and see those ships sitting there watching the Mansion. He would come in and pull a pair of unfashionable 80's shorts on over his tighty whities out of respect for a foreign government, and go out to investigate.

"Fellas, you're in my backyard. I don't want any trouble, but you're gonna have to leave. It's my property. I don't know what you're looking for, but I don't have it. You're making my dogs nervous, and with all that barking, my very special chicken won't lay. I KNOW it looks like a rooster--but Basementia Buddy swore that it's a hen. You all need to back off, or I will have to call the Sheriff. He knows me. He lives just out the road here. He had the last guy that tried to shoot me arrested, and it cost him $3000. Yep. $1000 to post bond, and $2000 for a lawyer. That's U.S. money, fellas. Come to think of it, he wasn't the last guy that tried to shoot me. That was one of those young men down the road here, peppering my cabin with their shotgun pellets. They were idiots. They acted like they didn't know that if you shoot a shotgun into the air, the pellets have to come down somewhere. Like on the roof of my cabin. You guys got any shotguns on those boats? Watch where you're pointing them, is all I've gotta say. Hey, if you see any wild pigs, I get first choice of them. I trapped a couple of nice ones in the BARn on Sunday, but my wife made me give them back to that little girl that said they were her pets. They woulda been some good eatin', fellas. I've never been to Russia. I've been to Germany. Do you want a shot of Apfelkorn? It tastes like apples. It'll knock you on your butt. It's best when it's ice cold. I keep it in the freezer. There. Now you guys need to get out of my backyard. This is a private area. I'm surprised you didn't see the sign down by the creek: Property Owners Only. Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted. If you see those Jehovah Witness boys, tell them they don't belong up in here either. Thank the Gummi Mary, we won't see the Mormons. Those bicycles don't go very good on gravel, and I don't think they want to ride five miles out of town. Have you boys seen any of those pirates that are in the news? Why don't you just shoot anybody trying to come over the side of your boat? That makes the most sense in the world to me. If they're not invited and they don't get back when you tell them, they deserve to be shot. You've got a whole shipload of people. How are they gonna take over your boat unless you lay down and let them? You fellas go on now. There's nothing to see here. And you're messing up my backyard. At one time, I thought about mining copper back here. It's mine. Move along."

Sarah Palin is the new HH.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey Potluck

Today was our annual teachers' turkey potluck dinner. If you can call it dinner, what with having 23 minutes to fill our plate and eat. We're spoiled. Really.

Mr. G was Even Steven for the day. He has the misfortune of having lunch duty this week. On the flip side, he has the good fortune of having lunch duty this week. It's a three-day week, by cracky! I felt a bit of sympathy for Mr. G. We all moseyed down to the ParkingSpaceStealer's room to consume mass quantities of rolls and dessert. The ParkingSpaceStealer was absent today. Somebody thought it was a back issue. Her back. The area surrounding her spinal column, not issues from the past. If I was her, first of all, I would not steal anybody's parking space, but that being a given, I would not have showed up today, either. Great Googley Moogley! Who wants people in their classroom for three lunch periods, dirtying dishes and necessitating that your class meet in the library? Not me, that's for sure. She might even have been expected to warm up the food.

I must elaborate for my absent buddy Mabel. Though we have different lunch shifts, we always dish the slop on the whole affair. Talk about back issues--we've had a few at Newmentia. Poor Mabel. I know she was dying for some corn from a bag in the freezer. But alas, none for her this year. I do believe that Mabel is out for some kind of surgery, surgery which I certainly hope she did not wake up during. Her birthday gift still awaits her return. But let's get on with the tale of the feast.

Math Crony brought the turkey again, as usual. Nothing exciting happened. It didn't fall on the floor. PinkSignMaker nominated me to carve it, but I demurred. Mr. G walking in right about then and he was ready, willing, and able to assume that duty. Because he had to grab some food and get back out to the cafeteria for his lunch duty. Normally, someone in charge volunteers to do the duty that day so the teacher can feast in peace. Not so this year. What a bite in the butt for Mr. G...kind of like a black german shepherd biting a pet pot-bellied pig in the butt, just before the pig was rescued by HH and slotted for the sausage factory. Mr. G carved admirably, but there were more obstacles to clear in this steeplechase of culinary delights.

We had no plates. That is kind of crucial to a potluck in which you have only 23 minutes to stuff yourself. We searched high and low, and PinkSignMaker found about 7 styrofoam plates in a cupboard. "That's enough for us!" I declared. We raided the silverware drawer and found less than seven of each utensil, but still, that was enough for us. Time was ticking. We set out everything we could find, let Mr. G go first, and commenced to loading our plates while asking, "What, exactly, is this, and who brought it?" You see, we had the usual sign-up list, but with all the extra busywork we have this year, only a couple of people signed it. Mr. S brought his annual bread product, Hawaiian rolls for the 3rd year in a row, though I ain't complainin', because they are much tastier than a loaf of bread from the day-old bread store. Wouldn't you know it, I didn't get a Hawaiian roll, because my cousin put them in the oven, and I couldn't wait. I took another kind that was already on the table.

Here was the menu: turkey, only one green bean dish this year, hot-wing dip, rolls, two hash-brown potato casseroles (which I was almost afraid to try, Mabel, because I had a flashback to the year we had those two creamed-corn casseroles), dressing, veggie tray with Ranch dip (courtesy of HM and The Devil's Playground), deer sausage, cheese cubes, mini pumpkin pie tart thingies, mini cheesecake thingies, a pumpkin cake, a pumpkin pie, brownies, mini black forest cake tart thingies, and that's all I can remember. Enough is as good as a feast.

Sooo...there we were, filling our plates while my cousin took to carving the turkey. Mr. S tore us off some brown school-issue paper towels for napkins, and we sat down to eat. After a couple bites, Mr. S informed us: "Eleven minutes until the bell." I cleaned my plate with four minutes to spare. It's not like it was that full. I had a roll, sliced turkey white meat, hot-wing dip, a tad of the hash-brown potato casserole, and that was it. That was all there was time for. Mr. S asked for a face check, and I told him there was no food stored away in his beard. I took my dip-stained plate and loaded up a black forest tart, a mini-cheesecake, and what turned out to be a mini-pumpkin-pie tart, though it looked like all crust at the time. I took that back to my room and stuck it in the microwave just as the bell rang, so I could hide it and enjoy it on my plan time. I'm not one of those teachers who takes real food to eat in front of the kids.

And for the record, Mabel, PinkSignMaker did not seem to be the least concerned about any other lunch shifts. Go figure!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Inmates Flock To The Asylum

HH called me three times this morning while I was doing the shopping. It's not that he missed me, and couldn't wait to talk to me. No. HH had a new scheme up his sleeve. He didn't reveal his cards until the third call. On the first two, he was just asking where I was, and when I'd be home. He didn't want me to have to carry in the stuff by myself. Like I've done every other weekend before this one, because HH always says he'll be right over, but it conveniently takes him until I've already carried everything in. No, it wasn't just HH's saintly concern for me that initiated these calls.

HH had a secret.

Note to self, people: Do not tell HH any secrets.

Seems HH and The Pony had been down to the cabin to eat a hearty breakfast of chocolate donuts and Little Debbie Fudge Rounds while I drove the #1 son to church. After puttering around for a while, they came up out of the woods to the BARn. HH heard the dogs after something. He went to look. Here is how he told it on the phone.

"The dogs were going crazy. I thought they might have scared up a deer. They were chasing something around and around the BARn. Then I saw that it was a pig. There were two of them. Those pigs were exhausted. One of them had to stop. The other one could have got away, but it wouldn't leave the tired one. Ann bit it on the butt. I hollered at the dogs to get away. I opened the BARn door, and The Pony and I herded the pigs in there. I can't imagine where they came from. I think they're wild hogs. I called my Number One son, because he went on that wild hog hunt, and I asked him what they look like. He says not to do anything to them because they don't sound like wild hogs to him. They are a funny shape, and the hair on the back of their neck was sticking up. I can't keep them in the BARn. I have a roll of fence. I'm going to build them a pen. I'll have the guy up the road butcher them and have fresh sausage. I can keep it in the old refrigerator in the barn."

OK. You see what I go through? HH just found two pigs, and within an hour he's got them all set up in a pen, and we're eating them for breakfast. First of all, he couldn't describe them for me. My grandpa was a hog farmer. I am no stranger to pork. Then I told HH that we do not have wild hogs roaming Hillmomba. They obviously belong to somebody, and he needs to go door to door and find the rightful owner. We found two horses in our back yard eating our garden several years ago, and we didn't butcher them, and we didn't open a riding stable. We found out who they belonged to. And gave them back.

Now, for the other flaws in HH plan...he said he was going to build them a pen three feet high. I told him that would never work, the dogs would eat them. "Those pigs can't jump over a three-foot fence!" No. But the dogs can. HH would be creating a death chamber, making those pigs sitting ducks for the dogs who would jump in and kill them, with the pigs having no escape route. Also, The Pony wanted to keep them. He is just now recovering from the unfortunate chicken massacre. I told HH I would take a look at his new hogs as soon as I got home. In the meantime, he was to leave them alone, and not let the dogs get at them.

I called #1, who was just getting out of church. I told him his dad had two pigs, and was counting on him to help build a pen when he got home. "No. I am tired of building pens for whatever he decides he's going to raise. I am not building a pen." Of course, he said that to ME, not to HH.

After we carried in the groceries and put them up, I went to the barn. I saw the pigs. They were not wild hogs. They were somebody's pet pot-bellied pigs. How can HH not know what a pig is supposed to look like? It's not like he's a city boy. I'm so glad I talked him out of butchering one. We took some pictures, The Pony made pig sounds in his throat, and we showed them off to #1 and my mom when they arrived. Then HH took off in his Scout to go door to door and ask if anybody lost two pigs. According to HH, "I'm going to make THEM describe those pigs to ME." Like everybody will think, 'Hey, free pigs. I'm going to say they're mine.' One man's sausage is another man's headache, is all I have to say. HH does not share my view.

HH returned after about an hour. He found out it's the neighbor whose land adjoins ours across the creek down by the MiniMansion. Surprise, surprise. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the corn feeder that HH fills up for the deer. HH said the pigs belong to the guy's 12-year-old daughter. They did not even know they were missing. I asked if they minded that Ann had a bite of pork rind out of the smaller one's hide. HH said the guy didn't care. When he picked up one and put it in the truck, it hit it's head on some gas tank thingy and cut it open. I don't want to be the one to call and tell them our dogs ate one of their pot-bellied pigs the next time they get out.

Here's what I saw when I went into the BARn.

Make that a double. Two pigs are better than one. Expecially if you just found them and plan to eat them, according to HH.

You may notice that HH spared no expense on his BARn. He even had the concrete floor dyed to match the outside red tin color. He put down a big piece of cardboard for the pigs to pee on. Because wild hogs are BARn-broken, don't you know. You may also notice that HH is a pack rat. He had to build a separate workshop under one of the lean-to sides because the main part was full of equipment. Just out of the picture, and right where the lead pig headed, were a dozen 2 x 4s of six- and eight-foot lengths, leaned up against the side of the BARn. At the bottom was a right-triangle shaped piece of thin metal, about three feet long and two feet high. I told HH that he needed to make the pig play area safer, because one of those pigs was going to guillotine herself before he had a chance to shoot her. HH said they'd be fine. That was just before he took off to look for the owner.

Now HH is depressed because he can't spend his week off playing with his new menagerie. The Pony wants to get some pigs. The #1 son and I are relieved.

Those chickens are still stuck in my craw.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rude Egg China Shop Scout Jobs

People piss me off. Yesterday, I took an orange package card to the Post Office. Upon arrival, the counter was bare. Both stations were open, so I stood at the closest one. I waited. I could hear people talking in the back, so I did not want to seem pushy by ringing the bell for service. I figured one would appear at any moment, what with a guy writing on something at a side counter, and another holding the door open for me as he was on his way out. A woman came in and, instead of standing behind me like a polite citizen would do, barged up to the counter at the other station. We both waited. A female U.S. Postal worker came out of the back room. She went to the farther station and waited on the line-jumper. Did that woman politely say, "Oh, she was here first," and point to me? NO! She took her waiting-on like she had earned it. I looked at her and huffed. What a bold fresh piece of shi--humanity she was! At least she had the sense to act guilty. On the way out, she tried to hold the door for me. I showed HER! I put my nose in the air and huffed on by. Like she had to expend any extra effort, anyway, what with the door being one of those push-button handicap thingies that open wide for a few minutes on their own.

HH got the bright idea to buy his eggless chickens some 'laying mash' instead of the stuff he has been feeding them. I'm no chicken-breeder, but I would assume that 'laying mash' is what you want to feed chickens that you expect to get eggs from.

Little does Mabel know that the slow boat from China arrived at the Mansion around 5:30 on Thursday evening. Little does Mabel know that her belated birthday gift is resting comfortably on the bottom shelf of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's classroom cabinet, a cabinet that is not, in the former words of Mabel... LOCKED UP! Mabel knows so little because Mabel was AWOL from Newmentia on Friday.

I saw a tip on MSNBC that you can get on-line discount codes at I haven't checked it out yet, so if your greed gets you in a bind, don't blame me.

The Boy Scout who visited me earlier in the week arrived promptly at 9:00 a.m. to pick up the bag of food I hung on the door knob. I hope some family enjoys a Thanksgiving meal of a can of green beans, a can of potatoes, a can of baked beans, a can of Vienna sausages, a can of deviled ham, and a box of instant sour cream and chives mashed potatoes.

That Dirty Jobs guy was netting tiny fish out of creeks this morning, and transplanting them to abandoned swimming pools in New Orleans so they could eat up mosquito larvae. The question was raised as to why they didn't just pump out the nasty water, and it was answered that it was expensive, and the pools would just fill up again with rain and humidity. Which was a new one on me, humidity filling up swimming pools. Anyway, I can't help but think a few years into the future, of those dark, nasty pools full of big stinking dead fish, what with the fish population explosion resulting in a lack of food and oxygen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

HM's Life Is An O. Henry Story

Monday is a big wedding anniversary for HH and HM. Not the one HH thinks it is, though. He called HM to the bedside this morning during the daily bathroom change-of-command. As he lay there, still warm under the quilt hand-stitched by HM's grandma, given as a wedding gift OH SO MANY years ago, HH grasped HM's hand as she stood shivering, and offered HM a gift she couldn't refuse. HEY! Not that! Don't go down the road to Inappropriateville.

HH offered HM round trip companionship Saturday, to and from the casino, on the Old People's Gambling Bus. That's right. HH is a prince among men. That is the best gift HM could ever hope to receive. But there was one little fly in the ointment. Not that anybody at the Mansion needs ointment for anything. Don't be a Jerry Seinfeld and snoop into the Hillbilly medicine cabinet. No fungus medicine there, for a cat OR people.

HM would have dearly loved a gambling trip with HH. They seldom get out alone, what with those pesky kids that demand constant supervision and feeding three times per day. At any other time, the gift would have been well-received. But this time, it only brought a wistful tear to HM's eye. You see, just last week, what with that $1000 loan to a wayward Hillbilly for two house payments in October, and HH's spur-of-the-moment purchase of the $1000 used Caravan on Saturday...HM dipped into her gambling money to meet the weekly expenses, rather than take money out of checking that wasn't quite there. Money that won't be there until HH's monthly paycheck on the Friday after the last Thursday of the month. Money that will have to go back into savings to replace the Caravan money.

HH and HM are not the watch fob and hair comb type of people. But some would find it ironic that HH offered HM the one gift that would make her happy, and she couldn't accept it because she had permitted HH to buy himself a Caravan the week before.

Woe is HM. O is Henry.

We shall call this little story: The Gift of the Man Who Thought Katherine Hepburn was Betty, the Famous Author Who Just Died.

HM will never be as brief as O. Henry.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Horns Of A Dilemma

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is on the horns of a dilemma. OK, it's not so horny as dilemmas go. It's not going to affect HM much, one way or another. It's just an irritation, a pustule, an increasingly painful inside-the-nostril pimple that is building to a head.

Every night, make that every night that we don't tie up the phone lines with our dial-up, the phone rings. It is the same caller. Ebsco teleservi. That's what the caller ID says. The prickly Hillbilly family signed up for that Do Not Call List early and often. We don't expect to get telemarketing calls, though we do get those 'not for profit' organizations like the Sheriff's something-or-other group, which gives you a shiny gold sheriff's star to put on your bumper. Yeah. Like we want that on our car, tooling around out here in meth land.'s not even associated with our county sheriff's office. HH quizzes them on that every time they call, just to let them twist in the wind before he says, "If I want to donate to the sheriff's department, I'll drive down to the county courthouse and donate."

I'm not so sure it's a telemarketer or a charity begging for money. The call comes every night that the phone line is open. We make it a point not to answer odd numbers. Anybody who desires to get the Hillbillies on the phone has our cell numbers. Of course, this policy didn't help my 92-year-old granny one weekend when she had guests in town, and they wanted HH to drive them to a local winery. Too bad, so sad, Grandma. You should not have forgotten HH's cell number. We don't even get up to look at the regular phone. After the fact, if we mosey by a phone, we check the caller ID. All those political calls here lately did not improve our phone response rate.

So, the dilemma is, do we answer the phone, or continue to let it ring. It only rings 4 times, then the machine picks up. The only messages that have been left, by various voices, is, "May I speak to Hillbilly Mother?" OK. Anyone who knows me knows that I am less formal. I don't go by Hillbilly Mother. So I'm thinkin' this is somebody who has a mailing list or credit card info, because the phone and everything else are listed in HH's name. But the only people I can think of who would be so persistent are those people who work for collection agencies. Who else would take the time to call night after night? I seriously doubt that it's a Nigerian wanting to help me collect my $3 million lottery prize.

The puzzler is why they ask for ME. I do not owe anybody. HH does not owe anybody. The boys are too young to owe anybody. I'm thinkin' that if this is about collections, then it's for one of the wayward Hillbillies to whom we 'loaned' $1000 last month. Then again, we got an actual call from a collection agency, and they flatly stated that the call was an attempt to collect a debt, and they left a number to return the call. Which I didn't because I'm not somebody's private investigator, tracking down their debtors that they never should have given credit to in the first place. And you can bet our 'borrower' is going to get an earful about giving out our phone number, because if this becomes a habit, I WILL rat him out.

So I got to researching the innernets, and it looks like this EBSCO Teleservices is some kind of scammer, and I really don't think I will answer, even though curiosity is nigh to causing this cat to expire.

Perhaps I can just pick up the phone, lay it down for an hour or so, and HH can walk by and fart.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Isn't It Funny

Isn't it funny that...

You buy a wastebasket, carry it home in a bag, then take it out of the bag, and throw the bag in the wastebasket? (I think that's from George Carlin or Steven Wright)

Dr. Frank is running commercials for that pet pain spray, and for human pain spray?

The bank doesn't want to count your change? (Isn't that the business they're in? The money business? I'm not speaking of my own bank, where I take my orange plastic Halloween cup given to me by the old Home Ec teacher's club many years ago, full of candy then, but filled with change from my pocket now, and sitting on my kitchen counter though it clashes with my burgundy decor, until I take it in for real money. No, at my bank, they gladly take it to the back room out of my sight and pour it through the coin counter, giving me a total that has been correct so far, because I count it before I take it in. Except that one time, when the counter wasn't working, so the teller counted it by hand. No, I 'm talking about The Pony's teacher's bank, which would not count up his Coin Drive For A Needy Family's Christmas change last year. And the two other banks where he took it. What kind of elitist banks are they, anyway, refusing to sully their hands with MONEY?)

The copier in the teacher's workroom now doesn't jam, but spits out plain white paper instead of copies of what you run through it? (Does this make it the anti-copier?)

Happy cows come from California? (Don't they know that they are going to drop into the ocean one of these days? Or in the very least, they might fall down into the San Andreas Fault, where they will die a slow death of starvation, then bloat up like a blowfish? I guess not. They're just cows.)

HH says he can't sit in the house all the time, but the first thing he does on the weekend is go down in the woods and sit in the cabin he built?

People in H*ll want ice water? (Because you'd think that maybe, just maybe, as long as they're wantin', they'd want to get the h*ll out of H*ll. I know I would. Then I could get myself plenty of ice water when I was out of H*ll, and the ice wouldn't melt so fast, either.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Need A Chicken Daddy

Our chickens have lost their daddy. HH has been gone to North Carolina since Monday morning, and nobody is minding the chickens! HH had to leave at 4:00 a.m. to get to the airport. He lovingly tended his chickens before he left, giving them a feeder full of food, and some water. He said they would be fine if they knocked the feed out of the feeder. They could peck it up off the ground. The water is another matter. He instructed the #1 son to check on their water Monday evening.

As you might have gathered during your visits to the Mansion, the #1 son is feeling his 13ness. I drove to town last night at 7:00 to pick him up from basketball practice. Upon arriving home, and grumping, "WHO turned on the Christmas lights," he then gathered up his junk and a bag of brownies lovingly baked at Chez Grandma, and headed for the shower. "Wait a minute," I grumped back. "Didn't Dad say you were supposed to check on his chickens?" #1 commanded his little brother to do the deed. "You do it, Pony. If they don't have water, I'll get it after my shower."

The Pony was petrified. He does not like the dark. Even though the chicken mansion is in sight of the real Mansion, only 50 feet away, with a porch light, and a dusk-to-dawn light halfway to the pen, and a major flashlight in his hand, and me standing on the porch talking to him, The Pony was skittish. He ran for his life after a cursory peep into the chicken pen. It reminded me of Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold looking at the Grand Canyon while Aunt Edna slumbered eternally on the roof of the Family Truckster. The Pony declared, "I think they have water. It looked like it was half full." I, the eternal pessimist, took that to mean 'half empty'. Out of the shower, #1 refused to double-check. There's going to be some 'splainin' to do if HH arrives home to some dehydrated chickens, sprawled about the coop like a Dali painting, The Persistence of Fowl Memory.

Oh, and those Christmas lights? The Pony wanted me to turn them on. Don't go thinkin' that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom came home from work and hauled out a ladder and strung Christmas lights around the Mansion. Laws, NO! M-O-O-N. That spells, "Are you freakin' crazy?" You see, we here at the Mansion believe that Christmas lights can be enjoyed year round. You never know when you might get the urge to light up one balmy May evening. So we leave them up after the festive holiday season has ended. It's kind of the norm here in Hillmomba. All I had to do was flip a light switch in the garage. I had much better success than the aforementioned Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. The Pony had thought that #1 would be pleased and surprised to see the lights. Au contraire. That boy is too much like me.

Meanwhile, our chickens remain unattended and unloved. Even the special needs chicken. Won't a a chicken like herm? (Because we don't know if it's a her or a him).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Valley Of The Grouchy Hillbilly Mom

I'm tired. Tired of...

trying to clean that uncleanable film off my white board

kids who ask a question that you just answered

having some kind of chicken for lunch every day

getting up at 5:00 a.m.

the tech nazi sneaking in though my LOCKED door and leaving an elitist note on my keyboard that I am not secure, and that a student could have hacked my Gradebook. Last time I checked, students couldn't get into my locked room. I wish all I had to do was roam the halls, break into rooms, and leave elitist notes.

kids losing their books and expecting ME to do something about it



trying to use a copy machine that is The Devil in disguise, what with making me tear FIVE pieces of paper out of FIVE different parts of the ol' conveyor belt thingy

loud mouths that sit three inches away from each other, yet yell at the top of their lungs in conversation

failers who are given time to complete an assignment and turn it in, but are the ONLY ones in class that DON'T turn it in

students touching when they know better, like hugging in the classroom while I have to stand in the doorway between classes, not between paramours, but between garden-variety friends

immature noisemakers


boring tale-tellers

lunch-tray leavers


stacks of papers on my desk




tight-pants wearers

Most of all, I'm tired of not liking my job very much this year.
Will this school year never end?

On a brighter note, Happy Birthday yesterday to Mabel.
She's gonna have to wait on that gift.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Like A Hole In The Head

Gosh! You haven't heard about HH's new purchase, have you? But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Friday morning, I actually got to school on time, ran some copies, wrote my lessons on the white board, graded a set of papers, entered grades into Gradebook, set up Gradebook for the day's assignments, checked my email, started to order my #1 son a pair of basketball shoes...and my phone rang. The classroom phone. It was the secretary asking if HH had contacted me. I told her no. She said that he had called the office saying that he couldn't reach me on my cell phone, and that he needed to talk to me. Duh. I turn off my cell phone when I get to school, and hide it in the closet. That's the rule. I think I'm the only one who follows it.

By that time, there was a whopping 30 seconds until the bell (don't think teachers are not aware of EXACTLY when that bell will ring), so I had to retrieve my cell phone, turn it on, and hide it in my pocket. At the bell, I flagged down my buddy from two doors down to watch my class. Thinking HH had had a heart attack and was about to speak his dying words, I dashed into the teacher workroom, mercifully free of any teachers doing work, and dialed him up. HH sounded pretty healthy when he answered, so I took that opportunity to yell at him for calling me at school. He shrugged it off and told me his secretary was selling her van. Thanks for sharing. But in the back of my mind, I knew it could only mean that HH was jonesin' for a new car. A new USED car. Just how many cars does one family need?

HH said that it was a 1999 Dodge Caravan, one owner, good tires, and that she wanted $1000 for it. I told him that he would have to deal with taking the money out of savings. That was it. He would have been all pissy if I denied him his new car. Let's not forget that his last new car was just a few months ago, the one he bought off the drugstore parking lot for $1400. It's a sickness, I tell you. I hope the kids enjoy this Caravan wrapped up under the tree Christmas morning. HH has spenditassoonasigetititis, what with his questionable Christmas bonus coming up. At least he USED to wait until he actually had the bonus before he went out and spent it.

We drove 14 miles in 50 minutes Saturday to pick up the new car. That's because HH had to take the scenic route, which was in the opposite direction of the new car. Go figure! Then he had the audacity to yell at me when I complained that he was not going the way he had told me. He said this would get us there just the same, though let it be noted that the return trip took only 30 minutes. Hey! It's a rural area, with two-lane blacktop. The height of the insanity was when I accused HH of using up gas in my T-Hoe, and he shouted, "I don't know how I am using gas...I'm just driving!" Which, umm, is EXACTLY how you use gas, if I remember correctly.

The little red Caravan looks roomy inside, but a bit flimsy after my years of driving LSUVs. The back has a lot of room, in case I can scrape up money to buy anybody a big Christmas gift. Oh, and the lights on the dash do not work, so you don't know how fast you are going, or how much gas you have left. That's a match made in heaven for HH, all right.

The Hillbilly family auto stable now consist of 6 cars. And they all run, too. It would have been 7, but HH gave the #1 son's first car to HIS Number One Son.

HH needs an intervention.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Would Mean Teacher Do?

A new student presented me with a dilemma yesterday. I think I made the right choice, specifically, I just said NO. Then I got to second-guessing myself. Maybe I should have been more lenient. I am incommunicado with my teaching buddy, Mabel, over the weekend. My email takes too long to load on the stone-age dial-up that services me here in Hillmomba, and to call her would mean that I could not get off the phone in less than an hour, because, well, Mabel and I both love to talk, and we don't have time at school, what with all the WORK they expect us to do for our paycheck these days.

So my thoughts turned to Mean Teacher, who is lounging about at home, eating bon bons and watching The View and napping every couple of hours, what with being home on maternity leave with her newborn. You heard me, Meanie! I know you're lolling around with nothing to keep you busy. So I am appointing you Chief Educational Consultant to Hillmomba. The position pays nothing but glory and recognition. I hope you're OK with that.

We got a new student yesterday. She arrived at my door 2nd hour, I checked her schedule, found her a place on the seating chart, and told her I would find a book when I could get a master key, because I'm fresh out of books, what with four new students since last week. I asked who had the same 4th hour class as I had seen on her schedule, and we told her she had 3rd lunch shift. When class ended, I even told her as she left, "You go to your government class, then straight to your elective class, then to lunch." She nodded.

During 3rd hour, a girl inquired about the new girl's schedule. "I know her. She's going to sit with me at lunch." I pointed out that the new girl had a different lunch shift. "Oh. Then we're NEVER going to see each other." I didn't think much of it. I don't really care about the kids' social lives unless they are putting me on a 'hit list' or something.

At the lunch table, we were chatting away about people who weren't there, when I spied the new girl sitting one table away. I told the Principal, "That new girl is supposed to be in TheParkingSpaceStealer's class right now. I saw her schedule. I told her she had 3rd lunch." He called her over, and explained that she should be in class now, to dump her tray and go, and that he would make sure she got another tray 3rd lunch. She said, "But they told me I had 1st lunch." He asked who, and she hemmed and hawed and said, "The office." Principal explained that most freshmen DO have 1st lunch, and the office must not have looked at her schedule. The New Student said, "Well, I'll just finish lunch and then go to class after 1st lunch." This did not set well with Principal. Seeing my opening, I added, "You know that I told you to eat 3rd lunch. We even asked that other student in your 4th hour, and he told you, too. You knew you were supposed to eat 3rd lunch." Principal told her again, "Go dump your tray and go to class." She said, "Should I go to the office? Because some girl just came in and said to go to the office when I was done eating." Principal said, "Probably to tell you that you belong in class right now. Go to class." New Student went back to the table where she was sitting with that friend who was never going to see her. She sat down and started chatting. Principal was not pleased. He called her back over. "I told you to dump your tray and go to class. I am the Principal. I expect you to do it. Right now." She said, "I didn't get a tray." He said, "Get to class."

You would think right there that New Student would have gotten the message not to eff around at this place. But the plot thickens. After lunch, I stopped by my mailbox and found the transfer grades for New Student. Zero. I caught the counselor's secretary on her way down the hall. "Are you sure this is right? All the grades are 'zero'. "Well, she has not been to school in a month. She left her last school, and a month passed before she enrolled here. So she has not attended any school during 2nd quarter, and her grade is zero." OK. That's a new one.

But it gets better! During 5th hour, New Student shows up to ask if I can give her a book and 3 weeks of assignments. Granted, my room was a bit loud, as we were doing an activity called Card Flicking Penny Cup, a sample science project. I told her to come back at the end of 6th hour, and I could give her a book, but I didn't have any papers run off. I thought she was telling me that she was going to be gone for 3 weeks.

During the first part of my planning period, I got to thinking. New Student had said that she wanted to bring up her grade. Surely she wasn't asking for MAKE-UP work from time before she enrolled in school! I went to get the master key from Principal, and mentioned the exchange to him. He snorted. "She hasn't even attended school for a month. She's not getting extra work."

Ten minutes before the end of 6th hour, here came New Student. I gave her a book. I told her what chapter we were starting on Monday. She said, "But what about work from the last 3 weeks?" I told her that she wasn't here then. She said that I had said I would give it to her. "I misunderstood. I thought you were going to be gone for 3 weeks." New Student said, "Oh, no. I haven't been in school for the last 3 weeks, and I don't want to fail, so I want the make-up work." I told her I could not give her work for time before she came to this school. She said, "Well, all my other teachers are. They have that after-school program where you can make up work, and I'm not sure I can get transportation, but I might go to that, and they gave me the work so I can bring my grade up and not fail." I told her that was between her and her other teachers, but I didn't think it was school policy to give work for time before you were enrolled. She was not a happy camper when I finally got rid of her.

She's got gumption, that one. But I'll be goshdarned if I'm going to look up 3 weeks worth of assignments, find copies of them, grade them when she decides to turn them in, and try to enter them in the computer for a time she was not enrolled, so she can get a better grade than struggling kids who have been there doing the work every day.

Unless I am commanded to do so.

For all we know, she's been sitting home eating bon bons and watching The View and napping every couple of hours.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dear Subway

An open letter to the Subway employee who constructed my sandwich tonight at the downtown Hillmomba Subway:

Dear Sandwich Engineer:

Thank you so much for slicing the bread in the middle of the loaf, and apportioning my ingredients just so. I was quite impressed. Usually, there is a large hunk of bottom loaf, and a paper-thin top bread lid that gets all juicy and slides off the sandwich with every bite. Likewise, the roasted chicken breast was placed evenly on the bread, and all the veggies were parceled out so that there was no mound of jalapenos, no single pickle slice longing for company. Yes. It was quite impressive. I bit into it with a song in my heart.

But that song was soon squelched by the tidal wave of spicy mustard that flooded onto my discerning palate. True, I did request spicy mustard, through my proxy, HH. I was not there to see the building of my sandwich, to see the little flourishes you added to make my dining experience unique. I suppose HH was distracted when you picked up that spicy mustard bottle, you with your forearms like Popeye's, except yours were built by squeezing the spicy mustard bottle rather than cans of spinach. Perhaps HH's inattention was due to his argument with the meater.

And to you, dear Meater, let me ask that you not use my husband's hard-headedness as fodder for your sandwichy paybacks. When HH said that he wanted the cheese from MY sandwich put onto HIS sandwich, and you asked, "So you want double cheese?" and HH said, "No. I'm not paying for double cheese. I want the cheese from THAT sandwich put on THIS sandwich, because she wants hers with no cheese, and I'm not letting it go to waste," perhaps, just perhaps, you could have continued making the sandwiches without letting on how exasperated you were with my dear, sweet life partner. Because your actions caused him to come home whining that, "You'd think I asked them to reinvent the samweeg." Because that's how he talks, my HH.

Don't mess with him, Subway Sandwich Team. He has a stupid chicken that eschews her custom-made coop and roosts on the water dish, and furthermore has the audacity to withhold eggs, thus refusing to redeem her bartering price of one-half a twelve pack of Busch, and who might even be some stranger-than-fiction form of a chicken tranny, what with having a big red comb, and picking a fight with the rooster. Be forewarned. HH is near the breaking point over this eggless ingrate. I wouldn't want him to snap in your establishment.

Your Loyal Customer,
Mrs. Hillbilly Mom

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Random Thought Thursday 11-13-08

Everything they say about kids' behavior and the full moon? It's true.

It is cruel to make us smell the Senior Citizens' Thanksgiving Dinner cooking all day, and find hot dogs and chili when we enter the cafeteria. We had chili two days ago. Just sayin'. Draw your own conclusion.

How many of you are going to run out and buy the new book by BObama's best friend, unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers?

Did you know that there are 'Fish Spas' where people can stick their faces in an aquarium of special fish that eat their dead skin? It's true! We read about it in our Science World magazine. They are special fish found in Turkey. Turkey will not export them, so I suppose people from the neighboring countries sneak across the border and take them, and that's how other places can open these spas. Funny how the fish know to stop swimming at the border, huh? That's how the article made it sound. Oh, and some spas use impostor fish. Fish that have TEETH. And the people get unsightly face bites instead of glowing skin. One kid pointed out that fish poop and pee in that water, and he would never stick his face in there, even for the toothless fish to eat the dead skin and give him a healthy glow.

On the news the other day, I saw people in India tossing babies off the rooftops of buildings. HH went to work and asked the Indian guy there if he had ever thrown a baby off a roof. That HH. He's the best good will ambassador ever for the good ol' U. S. of A. The guy told him no, that he had never done it--it must be people from the southern part of India.

We got a form at work to fill out with emergency medical information. Good thing none of us kicked off since the start of the school year, huh? It asked for the date of the last tetanus shot. That gave me a flashback to my unfortunate chipmunk incident. Mabel remembers it well. In fact, my misfortune spurred her to get a tetanus booster. I ROCK! And so does Mabel, who supplied the date of my last tetanus shot.

Speaking of Ms Mabel, she was hot to trot that I started a new political blog and didn't give her the address. But now she has been enlightened, and my life is no longer endangered.

We had a theft at school today. But, as somebody pointed out proudly, the culprits confessed. Indeed. I always prefer my thieves to be honest.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Slandering The Chicken

Last Saturday, HH and the #1 son drove up to Basementia Buddy's rural enclave and picked up two chickens. You see, according to the #1 son who played paintball there with her son a while back, she has plenty of chickens to spare. Even though she did a good deed and adopted a chicken-eating dog. She found that pooch a new home, and still had around 30 chickens left for people to beg for. The same can't be said for her parrot, which dropped dead the day of or after the big paintball war.

As told by the #1 son, BB left the boys (five of them) unattended while she drove into town to pick up some White Castles for lunch. Remind me to pick THAT bone with BB later, because that is one thing you do not want my son to eat. Not if you're going to be in an enclosed area with him during the next 24 hours. Anyhoo, Basementia Buddy arose the next morning, and there lay her parrot, dead as a doornail on the bottom of his cage. I asked what the boys did to him while BB was in town. "Nothing. Basketball Boy was trying to talk to it, putting his finger into the cage, saying 'Hello, birdie.' We didn't do anything to it." That's his story and he's stickin' to it.

So...after the 1st Annual Hillmomba Chicken Massacre a few weeks back, we were left with a lonely rooster, Survivor. HH, who thinks chickens are free for the asking, wanted me to ask BB for two hens. Needing to keep BB in my stable of insiders at Basementia, I offered to buy two hens. I shared the story of HH, Chicken Rancher, with her. I thought she was going to choke on her own spit. She said she would ask her husband. The next day, she said, "Well, Mr. BB had had a few last night, and he said, 'I think I can give that HH two chickens for a 12 pack of beer.' So whenever you want them, you can come get them."

HH and the boy went to pick up the chickens. They paid the bounty, and brought home a black chicken with little spots of white and a comb on its head, and a solid orange chicken. And they're still alive. HH put them in the dog/chicken pen with Survivor. He built them the Cadillac of chicken roosts. Every morning, The Pony says, "Dad, did they lay any eggs?" And HH goes out to check, and reports sadly, "No. No eggs." BB told us they were laying. I say they are stressed out. HH has begun to blame the chickens.

"That black one is a rooster. I just know it. It has a comb on its head. It tried to fight with Survivor. That black one is just stupid. It won't even go in the roost. It sits on the water bowl all night." Then he decided that maybe, what with the clipped wings, it couldn't get up into the roost. So he built it a ramp. It continues to sleep outside. Still no eggs. HH wants to ask for a six-pack back.

Basementia Buddy would be very upset to hear that HH is slandering her chicken.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Sure Sign Winter Is On The Way

You know winter will soon be here when the school cafeteria starts serving chili and peanut butter sandwiches. Not mixed together. That would just be wrong. No, the students love the chili, but watch, we'll only get it twice a month from November-February. Of course, watch for a global shortage of chickens, because we are doing our best to eradicate them: chicken nuggets, chicken patty, chicken rings, chicken and noodles, chicken fries, and chicken-fried steak, which I still suspect to be a form of chicken.

No, the peanut butter sandwiches are not combined with the chili, but rather with syrup. They used to be really, really good. So good that you had to hold them together, or the two sides would slide apart due to the slippery syrup. Those were the days, my friend, when you had to lean over your tray so as not to drip syrup on your shirt. I've seen a grown man try to lick that syrup off his elbow after it left a snaily trail down his forearm. Those days are gone now, gone with the wind. If you are a teacher, the cooks will give you TWO sandwiches if you want them. Which most people do, because you can take those two sandwiches, and just about get one decent sandwich out of them. That's because there's a dollop of peanut butter in the middle of the bread, and then a border of crust and surplus bread, much like a picture frame around that special dollop of peanut butter. Sometimes, you can even find some syrup in there. The thing to do is peel off all the extra bread yardage, and eat the middle. Two middles, if you're smart, because in school lunch lingo, two middles make a sandwich.

The chili used to be served in hard plastic state-institution-green bowls set on the yellow plastic lunch trays. Those days are gone, too. We think it might have had something to do with Mr. B clanging his tray on the inside of the big gray trash cans, and saying, "Oops! There went a bowl!" Think about it: 25 years of chili and soup, twice a month for four months...

Now we have those white foam-type bowls that are meant to be thrown away. They keep that chili piping hot at 10:53 a.m. Keep it hot until 11:20 when lunch is over. It's hard to eat your bowl of chili, cheese slice, sandwich middles, and peaches or whatever fruit they toss you way in such a short time. I used to love chili day. Now I don't want to deal with the stress.

I'll not be having the chili tomorrow. But I might take a look at those sandwiches.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Series Of Unfortunate Events Concludes

So...when last we met, we were discussing my impending trip to the lady-doctor, with a detour after a day at waterless Newmentia where I missed my lunch, to my mom's house to drop off my boys for safekeeping. And a stolen moment to use her facilities, because I had to hold it all afternoon or use a port-a-potty frequented by high school boys.

After snagging a bottle of water from the fridge at Chez MaMa, I hit the road for my medical check-up. I was cutting it close with the unanticipated stop. The original plan had called for my mom to meet me at school and take the kids. I was barely on track. I had just enough time to park in the last row of the lot and take a leisurely ride up to the 4th floor in an elevator crammed with snotty toddlers. But before I could even get to the lot, in the final stretch before my final turn, I had to stop behind a school bus.

Normally, a school bus stop does not faze me. Students are my bread and butter, you know. So I don't usually fret when the wheels on the bus stop going round and round. This was not your average bus stop. There was a blacktop road down to an apartment complex, and apparently the families had to meet their children at the main road so the driver knew somebody was home for the small fry. As I sat behind the bus, 10 cars lined up behind me, I saw the kids climb down the bus steps and hop onto their blacktop road. Two boys began running down the middle of that road, weaving from side to side between the waiting parked cars, tossing a plastic football of the type handed out at homecoming parades or home football games. A straggler got up and walked down the bus aisle, then climbed off reading a book, also walking down the middle of the road. A gaggle of five youngsters climbed into the bed of a pickup truck, sat on the sides, and were whisked away down the road to the apartments. Thank the Gummi Mary, the school takes such safety measures to protect them, what with sitting while the bus is moving, pulling that ol' bus crosswise in the road when letting kids on and off so nobody can speed around it, and stopping at railroad crossings. But once they disembark, it's a fool's paradise, and anything goes.

I knew the bus would be pulling back into its own lane now, and I could get on with my business of rushing to the lady-doctor. But no. It remained parked. I looked through the glass of the emergency exit, and saw the driver, silhouetted against the light from the windshield, sweeping the aisle. I kid you not. In the middle of a main thoroughfare, one block from the hospital with its emergency room, the driver was blocking traffic both ways, with his STOP sign out, to sweep the freakin' floor!

After an eternity, the geezer sat down, buckled up, and reeled in his STOP sign. I proceeded at the breakneck speed of a crippled turtle to the hospital. Once there, I saw that they must have laid off the guy in the little trolley thingy due to the price of gas, parked in the back row, and hoofed it on into the lobby. I caught the first elevator, along with a mother and three snotty toddlers. She pushed '4', and I settled in for my express elevator to H*ll. Except that it stopped at floor 2, where an employee got on and pushed the '3' button. A perfect end to a perfect trip.

Once I got to the 4th floor, I signed in and forked over both insurance cards. I was given a checklist to fill out. I turned it in and sat down to read a new book, which was really an old book, ordered off Amazon Sellers for a pittance, an old favorite, One on One. You know, from the basketball movie with Robby Benson. I got to the second paragraph when the receptionist called me back to the window. She gave me my insurance cards and told me there would be no copay because I had two insurances. I put them away and turned back to the second paragraph. Then she called me back up, because she had forgotten to scan one of them. This time, I waited at the window until she was done. As I turned to go sit down, an old lady walked up and put her purse in the seat where I had been sitting, so I went to pick up MY purse from the seat right next to that. She turned to help her elderly rotund husband, who thanked her for her trouble by slamming face-first to the carpeted steel-plate floor, after first muttering, "Well, shi..."

This little incident was a bit disconcerting, what with the plethora of paraprofessionals who materialized out of various offices, including my receptionist, who, though I'm sure she meant well, would not be the first person I would chose to resuscitate me in an emergency. The old gent was shaken up, asking for his glasses several times, which his wife had picked up. Everyone told him to stay put for a minute while they assessed if he was a goner or not. He said he was OK, that he'd stubbed his toe on the carpet. A nurse from the office he had come out of asked him how she should go about helping him up. Several helpers hefted him to his feet, and a nurse from the lady-doctor called me in.

The only good thing about the whole day was that their scale was broken. I was put into a room to have my blood pressure taken. I warned that nurse that with the day I had just had, I was not giving any guarantees. It was fine, though, 128/72, which is what I pay good money for at the pharmacy. She told me the doctor would be in to see me before they tortured me, and I waited about 5 minutes, because they are usually pretty fast there. I heard them outside arguing about insurance and which one and how to change it and then I realized that they were talking about MY insurance. I commenced to feel a bit of anxiety and a touch of heartburn from the stomach acid eating away at my stomach lining, what with having a headache all day and no lunch and no water except for the ride over and the dude falling on his face and now my insurance snafu and the long wait when I just wanted this whole thing over. So I popped a Pepcid and took out my book and read to page 35 before Mr. Lady-Doctor waltzed in and told me he wrote the computer program that they use to track patients at that hospital and that it is being marketed, and I guess that should have given me more confidence in him but he's still the jolly white-haired lady-doctor to me. He asked why I was there, and I told him I was a drug-seeker, because I didn't think I could get another two years of prescriptions out of him without an office visit. He agreed, and we set on our merry way to make things right.

After all the rigamarole and a quick exam the details of which I care not to discuss and the squeezing of my goiter and the drawing of blood, he told me he would send my prescriptions to the pharmacy post-haste over the computer, and that he was tripling the dosage on my thyroid medicine. The quest for those meds has since proven this little adventure to be a walk in the park, but that is a story I may never get to.

All this reminiscing has left me exhausted.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

HM's Series Of Unfortunate Events

I have been so wrapped up in all things election here on my non-political little blog that I forgot to whine about my visit to the lady-doctor last week. Don't worry. I remember it like it was yesterday.

To begin with, the appointment was on a Monday, which is never good, because who in their right mind enjoys Monday, and I am pretty sure, though I haven't take a survey, that nobody likes that annual visit to the lady-doctor. As a matter of fact, I skipped mine last year all together. Hey! Blame the doctor. He's the one who called in another year of refills on my medicine, even though I did not come in for my appointment. Imagine my non-surprise when I called in a refill last month, and the pharmacy stapled a rude little yellow note on the bag, decreeing that I would make an appointment with the doctor, or there would be no more refills.

I called the office on Thursday afternoon, and snagged a Monday appointment for 4:15. They're not exactly beating down the door to get in to see the lady-doctor, though his message while you're on hold is that his is the #1 office in the area. I can believe it. His office is always pleasant, no matter which different workers may be there, and they do their best to put you at ease. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Monday dawned, still in daylight savings time, which meant it dawned in the dark for my ride to school. The #1 son forgot his glasses, so we had to backtrack, which put me in quite a rush. As I walked in the back door to Newmentia, I spied the Principal taping black plastic trash bags over the drinking fountains, which can only mean one thing in Newmentia: we have no water. Usually, this means that there has been a problem with the town pump, and there is a boil order in effect. A quick trip to the bathroom just before first bell revealed that there was no water. Nada. We were dry as a bone. Not only did we have no drinking water, we had no hand-washing or toilet water. I suppose a normal school would call off classes for the day. But we are not a normal school. Keep in mind, when we are out of water, Elementia is also out of water. Little kids, people. With no toilets or hand-washing! But what can you do, in today's society where people have to work, and don't have anyone to pick up their kids once they have sent them off to school for safekeeping? You can't let kids off a bus where nobody is home.

I had a headache by the end of 1st hour. Lucky for me I keep bottled water in my fridge. The school, having learned their lesson on the bottled-water hoarders, set out jugs and plastic cups by the office. The custodians drove to the Basementia area, where there is a separate water source, and filled them. Oh, and since the already-ordered port-a-potties were running late, we ran a bus of pee-ers to Basementia every hour for the first three class periods. Kids who held it all day, every day got on that bus every hour. Because HEY it's a free bus ride to Basementia, and it takes up 30 minutes of class time every hour. Yeah. You can see how productive the school day is when we don't have water.

Apparently, there was a whistle-blower in our midst, because by my lunchtime at 10:53 a.m., a state health inspector had popped in for a visit at Elementia, and a DNR lady showed up at Newmentia to take a water sample. Which of course, we did not have, because HELLO we had no water. Nada. I, myself, was late for lunch, and did not have time to eat, because I drove myself to Basementia to use my old facilities. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has no desire to enter a port-a-potty used by high school boys. Oh, and this situation threw the kids for a loop, too. "But which one is the boys' and which one is the girls'?" And, "What do you mean they are side by side? The boys' is right next to the girls'?" Sweet Gummi Mary! You'd think we dug a trench and lined them all up to squat! Then the kids who had been riding the pee bus every hour declared that there was NO WAY they were going in a port-a-potty, and that they would hold it until they got home.

I, myself, had to hold it all afternoon until my boys got off the bus and I drove them to my mom's house for safekeeping while I met with the Mr. Lady-Doctor.

But you will have to wait until tomorrow to finish that saga...