Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ain't No Party Like A Swine Flu Party

Today's public safety advice: Do Not Hold a Swine Flu Party. No matter how much you want your young 'un to contract the swine flu at your convenience, do not invite yourself to visit those who are currently suffering from this affliction. In addition, do not host a swine flu party if you are one of the 'lucky ones' to succumb to the porcine plague. Swine flu is nothing to sneeze at.

When The Pony was just shy of a year old, there was a smattering of Chicken Pox at his daycare. This was when the Chicken Pox vaccine had just come out, and his doctor had advised that he COULD get the shot at a cost of $100, or I could take him to the county health center to get it for free, or if my job was flexible, I could let nature take its course and see if he came down with the Chicken Pox when he was good and ready. He further added that there was not enough data yet to prove the the vaccine would definitely make The Pony immune from the Chicken Pox for life. So I opted to let nature take its course.

Secret Spy H was out of the country for his job, lounging about in Wales, soaking up the cuisine and wallowing in a tiny bathtub. My mom came out to stay with me, what with the Mansion being in the middle of nowhere, and me having a preschooler and an infant to deal with. Upon picking up The Pony from daycare, I noticed a few spots on his arms. The daycare lady and I crossed our fingers for Chicken Pox. It had been just long enough for the exposure to take. I showed my mom, who was also pleased, and I tucked him into bed that night with visions of pox dancing in my head.

Around midnight I woke up. Every time that happens, I go check on the kids. That's because I figure there was some reason that I woke up. And I'm obsessive compulsive. I went to check on The Pony, and I didn't recognize him. Oh, he was in his bed all right. But his face was swollen until he was unrecognizable. Seems those pox were not Chicken Pox at all, but a manifestation of his newly-acquired amoxicillin allergy. I woke my mom, who woke the #1 son, and we all hauled our butts to the new local emergency facility. It was only 10 minutes and five miles away. They took The Pony right in, asked about his recent medication history, which was that sweet, sweet, pink amoxicillin for an ear infection, and got to work. That meant that they spent about 30 minutes trying to start an IV in my bawling, bloated, baby boy. I don't fault the nurses. They were not shy about complaining how the doctors never listen to them, that they can't get an IV going in these little ones, and an injection would work just as well, and it could have been done all ready. And that's the route they finally took, after the foreign doctor saw that his method was not working. After about 4 hours cooling our heels in the new facility, The Pony was good to go. He got the Chicken Pox later that school year, from his brother, who brought it home from preschool. So much for the then-new Chicken Pox vaccine.

So the lesson here is: Be careful what you wish for. What you think is going to be a mild case of swine flu might turn out to be something you don't want, and you may not know it until it's too late, unless you are a light sleeper. Or something like that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Following Is A Public Safety Announcement

In keeping with my dedication to public safety, such as yesterday's idea to outlaw texting while scooter-riding, today I turn my attention to roadwalkers. Roadwalkers. Not streetwalkers. They are an entirely different danger to public health. No, I mean roadwalkers, those people who think it is their right to stroll down the pavement, cars be darned.

Signs should be posted along the roadways, banning pavement walkers. Just like NO THROUGH TRUCKS, these signs could proclaim: NO ROADWALKERS. Think of the jobs that would create! Maybe South Carolina has some stimulus money laying around that they're not going to use, what with fewer governor trips to Argentina now. That would pay people to put up the signs that a new sign factory can produce.

This roadwalking is becoming a hot issue. Just today, on my way to the doctor's office, I saw TWO roadwalkers. The first, a female, was out for a workout. She of the sports bra and earphones who can no longer afford a gym membership, apparently, because times are tough all over. No more climate-controlled treadmill for her. She's gotta hoof it like the dark ages. Except that maybe she should walk FACING traffic so she knows when a T-Hoe on a mission is bearing down on her. That 15-foot mowed grassy right-of-way might be a good place to walk when traffic is coming from both directions and meeting right at the point you are walking, necessitating the T-Hoe in your lane to come to a halt until the motorcycle in the other lane passes by. Did you not hear about the drunk walking home on New Year's Eve who was knocked in the head by a passenger-side mirror? Be glad that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is neither drunk nor a state representative nor one to leave the scene of an accident after pocketing the evidence of your cell phone knocked loose by the collision.

Roadwalker Part Deux was a male in a straw hat and no shirt (we are truly midwestern fashion plates here in Hillmomba) who at least had the good sense to walk facing traffic. But he still lacked enough sense to step off the pavement on the hilly winding narrow blacktop county road where he had three cars backed up until Mrs. HM passed in the opposite direction so they could give him a wide berth. If only you had been on my side of the road, my #1 son was prepared to shove your shoulder and shout, "Step off, Dude!"

People. If there is no sidewalk, then perhaps you are not meant to be walking along that road. I know the price of gas is high. I know that you can no longer ride your scooter and text, due to the law I passed yesterday. But walk yourself to the library and read this blog and realize that you are part of the problem. You are not a precious little tow-headed two-year-old that people want to indulge and protect. They will crack your noggin like a rotten jack-o-lantern and not give two hoots about it. Roads are for cars. Sidewalks are for people.

Don't even get me started on the bicycle riders on the sidewalks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

HM Is Part Of The Solution

Here's the problem with America today: cell phones. An entire generation is growing up with their nose in a phone. What's the deal with texting? Why not just punch in the goshdarn numbers and TALK to the person already? Oh. I know why. Because that would draw attention to you while you are doing something you are not supposed to be doing. Like students in a classroom. Workers on the job. Uh huh. That's what's wrong with America today.

As I left The Devil's Playground after my usual Sunday morning steambath, I spied a young man driving down the road toward me on a cute little orange scooter. Texting. I kid you not. The dude was shirtless, driving the scooter with one hand, laughing to himself and texting. He was one of my students from last year. That means he had ridden that scooter a good five miles to get to that point. Shirtless. Helmetless. Texting.

I call for the government to protect us from ourselves. Pass a law against riding motorcycles and scooters while texting. I can't text while teaching. That's not even quite as dangerous as riding a two-wheeled motor vehicle with one hand and no eyes. Newsflash! My entire generation survived without constant contact with the outside world. We were able to educate ourselves and work a 40+ hour week without an electronic umbilical cord tethering us to our families and friends.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Scatterbrain Saturday 6/27/09

Hey! Did you hear that Michael Jackson died?

The water in Poolio is hot enough to boil reptile eggs. HH and the boys say it is comfortable, yet when I put my hand in the water, it feels like bathwater. Only warmer. I think draining out a third of the water and running in some cold, cold well water would be in order... but I'm not the one swimming in Poolio.

One of my favorite movies was on TV last week: The Bad Seed. I was flipping through the channels and caught the part where that handyman tells Rhoda, "Then they're gonna fry you in the electric chair. They have a little blue chair for the little boys, and a little pink chair for the little girls." The #1 son went up to his room to watch it to the end, even though he's seen it before. And it's in black and white.

I am bored with summer. But that does NOT mean that I'm ready to head back to school in six weeks. As in AUGUST 10 !!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

HM Is On A Roll

Let me eat cake. Or at least let me eat Hawaiian Rolls. They are as sweet as cake. Really. They might as well be saved for dessert. They are soft and squishy and OH SO SWEET. I don't know what they have to do with Hawaii. I doubt that they were served at the White House on Luau Night. But if they were, I want to make sure that the record shows I WAS NOT INVITED, and I did not fly in a chef from Hawaii to bake my rolls, but instead I bought my own Hawaiian Rolls at The Devil's Playground with my hard-earned money that comes from leaving no child behind.

Don't call NBC. I'm not preempting an NFL game at a crucial moment, but I must talk about Heidi. Not that spoiled ignorant chick on I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, the one married to that freak Spencer who needs a knot jerked in his tail. No, I mean HEIDI, the movie. And the book. This roll talk makes me think of Heidi, because she saved her rolls from her playdate in town so she could give them to Peter's grandmother, who was blind with no teeth, and would truly appreciate the purloined pieces of Heidi's dinner that would no doubt be as hard as rocks with staleness by the time they got back up the mountain. That's always what I remember about Heidi. Maybe I had a starving childhood. That Ricola commercial on the mountainside with the dudes blowing those freakishly long horns also makes me think of Alps/Heidi/rolls.

Be careful what you call for. There's a restaurant in southern Missouri called the Throwed Roll Restaurant. At least that's what we call it. The real name is Lambert's. I think they have two locations. They've been featured on the Travel Channel and probably on the Food Network. I've only been there one time. Before I went there, I had a boss at the Unemployment Office who was all incensed and suing the Roll Throwers because they ruined her good blouse. Turns out that she held up her hands for a roll, and the guy threw it to her. Imagine that! You'd never expect THAT to happen when you go to the Throwed Roll Restaurant. Anyhoo... she was not an extremely coordinated woman, and thus missed catching the roll, and it bounced off her blouse in all its buttery goodness, and left a stain, and even though she complained to the manager, he did not want to pay to have her blouse cleaned and replaced if the stain remained. Go figure. I suppose once you set that precedent, you would be buying a buttload of blouses every day.

Note to Self: never take your eye off the roll.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Some People Can't Handle The Truth

Since the #1 son has apparently recovered from his noggin-bustin' wood-floor gym-echoing head injury, we went outside this morning before it got too hot so he could practice a bit. It was already 8:30, but the boy is a late sleeper.

As I was feeding him the ball, I saw several small tumbleweeds rolling across the patio. No so much tumbleweeds as tumblefeathers. Black and fluffy tumblefeathers. "Hey, where did all these feathers come from?" The #1 son stated matter-of-factly, "Oh, the dogs killed a bird. It's all over the front porch." That did not sound right to me. "These don't look like bird feathers. They're black. Are both black pants roosters by the pen?" That put The Pony into a panic. He had been sitting in the shade on a log, reading a book until we needed him to stand in as defense to get elbowed and shoved. "Where? What bird? I'm going to check on the roosters." He came back quickly. "There's only one. But I'm putting on my glasses to go look again." That boy loves him some chickens.

Of course there was still only one rooster by the pen. The Pony went up on the porch to investigate the piles of feathers. He came back and sat down on his log. "The other rooster is on the porch." He put his nose in his book again. Which was just too much suspense for me. "Is it alive?" The Pony didn't look up. "Yes. It's on the back porch now." Which was probably not a good thing, because Grizzly was laying on the front porch, napping, with chicken feathers all around him. I said we would take him back to the pen. Of course we couldn't put him IN the pen, because Survivor the main rooster would attack him. First of all, though, we had to catch a chicken. I will be the first to admit that my chicken-catching skills are not first-rate. In the arena of chicken-catching, I would be sitting way down at the end of the bench. I asked The Pony if the rooster was OK. "Well, he's missing all of his feathers on his back, but I don't know if he has teeth marks."

I found that rooster sitting in the corner by the kitchen door. He didn't run away. I think he was in shock. One of his pants legs was gone as well as the back feathers. Noticing those enormous feet, I did not particularly want to pick him up. I despise a floggin' rooster. I sent The Pony around the house and in through the front door to get a towel. Then I dropped the towel over the rooster. He tried to get away at a slow walk, but I pinned him against the kitchen door and scooped him up. The feet were covered, and the wings, but the head was free. I tried to be the chicken-whisperer and sooth that savage beast. Poor, pitiful thing turned his head toward me and laid it on my chest. I took him out to the OLD chicken coop, which is not inside the pen, and set him inside the open picture window area. He just sat there. His buddy, the other bachelor black pants rooster, started walking around there after I left, stretching his neck and crowing, looking at his pal sitting in that coop.

Farmer H came in from mowing the barn field, and I told him that his dogs had got another chicken, and that The Pony and I put him in the coop. Farmer H said, "I know. He's dead. The coons got him." Which just goes to show you how much Farmer H listens to me, or his need for an industrial-strength hearing aid. "You mean just now? They got in the coop and killed him?" Farmer H explained to me, like I was a slow child, "Nooo. Last night. They killed him last night. There's feathers all over the porch." Like we have coons laying around the porch at night instead of three dogs. "Did you see the body?" Farmer H sighed. "No. I haven't found it yet." I don't know why I haven't snatched out all my hair since meeting Farmer H, as this kind of conversation is a daily thing. "That's because the body is very much alive and sitting out there in the old chicken coop where I just put it 30 minutes ago!" Farmer H started out the front door. "Oh. You found it? Where was it?"

Farmer H the animal group-dynamics genius took that poor rooster and tossed him into the chicken pen. Where Survivor attacked him. Farmer H had to enter the pen to intervene, and moved the victim to an old camper shell get-up that housed the rabbits when they first came to us from the auction.

I hope the coons don't get him again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nothing To Read Here

I don't have much to write about tonight. The #1 son got knocked down playing basketball at open gym, and I am a bit worried about him. I heard the thump all the way across the gym. The thump that I thought was his elbow hitting the floor, but was actually his head, I fear. He tells me it was his tailbone, but there seems to be padding around that. I don't think it would thump. He said his tailbone hit first, then his head. It's a wood floor in that gym.

Right after it happened, he was dizzy, but continued to play another 5-10 minutes. Then he went to get a drink and was replaced. He played another hour after that game. When we got home, he wanted to sleep, but he does that every afternoon anyway. I only let him sleep 45 minutes. When he woke up, he had a headache, but reported that it went away when he drank a Dr. Pepper. There is no knot on his head that I can feel, but he says he can feel one.

I am in a quandary about taking him to get it checked out by professionals. He says I am obsessing. I say I am going to wake him every couple of hours tonight.

That boy sure has a hard head.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ya Gotta Know When To Hold 'Em

We have a new addition to our Hillbilly estate. A 2006 Chrysler Pacifica. I think that brings our fleet to six cars, if you don't count the 1970s pick-up that Auto Collector H has been working on for nigh on 10 years now.

We drove one Saturday evening on a used-car lot, and on Monday morning we drove another one at a Chrysler dealer. The dealer Pacifica had more miles on it, but ran smoother and had a complete set of floor mats and fewer nicks and scratches on the interior and a set of new tires. The used-lot Pacifica only had 26,000 miles, and aluminum wheels, but an odd odor that was being masked by air freshener. So... since they both had their faults and benefits, we had to look at the price. That's important in a cash deal, when you're not signing your life away in payments. We had wanted to spend $10,000. We asked both dealers for their rock-bottom price. We were buyers on a mission. We told both of them that we were going to buy ONE of these two cars today. Then the ball was in their court.

Some people fumble, some people make a big play when the heat is on. Same with car salesmen. Of course they are slaves to their managers. But they know the ropes of a deal.

The dealer salesman was as old as a greeter at The Devil's Playground. He was older than HH. He was retired from the Post Office. HH knew him in his former life, but they didn't figure that out until later. Anyhoo, he let us drive his Pacifica, then went into his office and wrote down his rock bottom deal on his business card. $10,760. I was pleasantly surprised. Here's an interesting fact: when we went in, he said, "Oh, are you the guy who called about the Pacifica this morning?" Nope. Not us. But I figured it was the other salesman scoping out the deal.

Having some extra time, we went straight to the used-car lot to drive that Pacifica again. The salesman was at least wearing pants and a button shirt today, though it was flapping loose and not tucked in. I really wanted to give that guy our business, just so he could afford some business cards. He did everything he could to make me change my mind. First of all, he cornered me in the middle of the showroom when HH made a trip to the bathroom. "I checked on the website, and that other Pacifica you mentioned has 46,000 miles." HH had told him 25,000, which is a number he pulled out of his a$$, since we did not know the mileage on it when we talked to him on Saturday. I just said, "I don't know how many, but it was more than he thought." When we drove it, HH said that it had 42,000 miles on it.

We had to leave the boys in the showroom because this dude insisted on riding with us again on our test drive. This time, we went the other way up the highway. Coming down the exit ramp, I felt a shimmy. And I don't even know what that is, but the car shook a bit when the brakes were applied. And HH said it pulled to the right when he was driving. Actually, he took his hands off the wheel at 55 mph, but we won't brag about that right now. We went in, and the salesman went off to talk to his manager because HH wouldn't give him a starting figure. They said their list price was $13,850. I know it had low miles, but it was no prize. The salesman came back with a look in his eyes that I'd seen before, in that chipmunk that sunk its saberteeth into my thumb. A beady, evil look just before the attack. HH continued to refuse an amount, saying, "I buy and sell machines all day long with my company, millions of dollars of machines, and that's not how I do business." The guy came back with an offer of $12,895, saying that was the best they could do, because that's how much they had in it. Too bad, so sad. HH told him we were looking at $10,000 due to it being a cash deal, and that's what we had to work with. The salesman wrote it up, grudgingly, and came back and said that the $11,895 was the best they could do. So much for them not letting price get in the way of selling that car. The lower mileage wasn't a big enough factor to pay nearly $2000 more than I wanted, what with the smell and the brakes and the roughed-up interior.

We climbed back on our turnip truck and walked out. I took the boys to the dentist, and HH went back to Chrysler to work a deal. He got their Pacifica for $10,500. He went and got a cashier's check and agreed to pick it up at 4:00. We stopped by to sign papers for about 10 minutes, and the deal was done and HH drove home in his new ride. It looks like this.

This is the color, but we don't have the fancy wheels or sunroof. Ours is just the basic model, with a bench seat for the second seat, and loads of room to haul something behind that. The seat folds down 35/65 if you want even more room for hauling. Technically, it's classified as a minivan, but I don't think it looks like one. The #1 son reports that the back seat is roomier than that of T-Hoe. It's really easy to get in and out of, what with being level to your butt, not sitting down or climbing up into a car or SUV. It's front-wheel drive, not 4WD. It has 5-star safety ratings, and does not sound like a tin can when you slam the door. The mileage is 17-23 mpg. HH has been getting 20 in his $1000 Caravan. He figures it will be at least that good in the Pacifica. It was a one "owner" lease car. All in all, we are quite satisfied with this purchase.

That smell in the Pacifica we didn't get made me think of Jerry Seinfeld's car that even the bum wouldn't take after the valet left his BO stench in it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Farmer H Kills Again

Here's an update on the local chicken-killer, Farmer H. He now has the blood of 7 fowls on his hands. Sure, sometimes he had 4-legged accomplices. But I still give Farmer H full credit.

Sunday was not a good day for our peckers. Farmer H and The Pony discovered one of the Barred Rock hens dead on floor of the chicken coop early Sunday morning. Farmer H could find no marks on the chicken. He said she was limp, and that her beak was wide open like she was gasping for breath, and there was a little something slimy on the side of her neck. At first, I thought maybe the weather was too hot for her. It's been in the high nineties with high humidity. And furthermore, the two Barred Rock hens had wanted to roost outside, but Farmer H put them in the coop Saturday night. Farmer H thinks he's smarter than the chickens. The pen is fenced with chain-link dog-pen fence. The coop is inside, with a little door near the ground for the chickens, and a big open picture window in the front, higher off the ground, so they can get some air in this hot weather.

Yes, Hillbilly Mom, Medical Examiner, figured that her poor feathered friend had succumbed to heat stroke. UNTIL... Farmer H and The Pony brought in only six eggs, and THIS:

I ain't talkin' about the quarter! That's another squishy gooshy REPTILE egg, by cracky! This one was only about half the size of the first one we found a couple weeks ago. At least Farmer H didn't try to harden this one up by running it under cold water so he could put it in the carton and feed it to me for breakfast. See that dark part there, like a continent on the reptile egg earth? It moves if you roll the egg over. Yeah. It's creepy. Farmer H found it in a nest with some chicken eggs on the bottom level of his nesting boxes.

THEN I got to reading on the innernets invented by Al Gore that snakes kill chickens! It's true. Especially a snake like a big ol' black snake like Farmer H found several years ago eating a nest of baby rabbits, and scooped him up with a big stick and hurled him down into the woods, like Mr. Snake wouldn't know how to find his way back. You should never kill a black snake, you know. They eat mice and rats. And eggs. Apparently, their slitted eyes are bigger than their streamlined stomachs, because they THINK they can eat a whole chicken if they start by swallowing the head, but usually they can't, and spit it out after it has already suffocated. Oh, the location of that former rabbit's nest? Right smack dab in the middle of what is now Farmer H's chicken pen. Remember this horror story?

That's the 5-foot snakeskin that Farmer H found on the outside wall of his cabin.

The MiniMansion is down by the creek, about 150 yards (as the snake slithers) from the chicken pen.

Do you think there might be a connection?

I told Farmer H to dispose of that reptile egg. He was suppose to cut it open and see what slithered out, but I don't know if he followed through. According to The Pony, my chief interrogator, Farmer H said the autopsy results were inconclusive. Only not in such big words. More like, "It was just a bunch of runny stuff and a blob."

Later that evening, The Pony went to check for eggs, and reported another chicken down. It was in the same place in the coop, one of the leghorns. However, it was the one with the gimpy leg that always hopped around on its good leg, so Farmer H wasn't too concerned, though he did say that its mouth was open as well, and there was a piece of straw down in its throat. Other than that, no forensic evidence.

We've made it through today without a casualty. I'm leery of letting The Pony go into the coop alone. Farmer H needs to find a better supplier of auction chickens than the 3-Mile Island farm that he's been raiding, or else he needs to shoot himself a black snake.

Just my luck I'm going to die of the Avian Flu instead of the Swine Flu. That's SO five minutes ago.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Devil's Playground Is A Sweatshop

Perhaps you've heard me mention that I am not fond of The Devil's Playground. But when you live in the middle of nowhere, the choice of grocery shopping is narrowed to this Satan's Lair, or to Save-A-Lot, where on one occasion a woman followed me through the store telling me how good looking I was and asking my marital status, and the Country Mart, which may as well be renamed Ye Olde Expired Food Shoppe. So except for meat and cheese, I make the race to the Devil every Sunday morning. To counteract his evilness, you see.

Those poor mummified checkers, and their brainless younger counterparts, endure the flames of The Devil's Playground for an 8-hour shift. It almost melts my cold, cold heart. I don't know how they can stand it. If it was me, I would ask to stock the shelves in the egg/cheese/re-called cookie dough aisle. That is the coolest place in the inferno.

I thought I might expire from heat stroke on today's shopping trip. I did not have beads of sweat on my upper lip. I had rivulets of perspiration that would have kept Bear Grylls hydrated for a week. My lovely lady mullet was soaked. You could have used the top of my head as a paintbrush for those paint-with-water books. Well, if you were an abnormally large child, and could hold me by my feet and dab my hair onto the page. Remember those? I loved those books. So what if everything on the page was the same color! I couldn't wait to see if they were red or blue or green. Do those things still exist? I can't remember my kids having one.

But I digress... the temperature in that sweatshop was out of control. The checkers tell me that every store is controlled from the headquarters in Bentonville. People down there must be more acclimated to the broiling humidity. Don't tell me Arkansas is any cooler than Missouri. My trip to the diamond park was an adventure in sweltering.

The principal of Basementia called out to me as I was leaning on my walker--I mean cart--on the way out of The Playground. I was so weak from the oven-like atmosphere that I could not respond. He asked how I was doing, and I just fanned myself with one hand. He agreed that it was already hot. Only I think he meant outside.

Sweet Gummi Mary, it was HOT! I needed a sweatband on my head and wrists to stem the flow of life's juices out of my pores. If I was a plant cell, I would have been nearing hypotonic shock. That means there is more water on the inside of my cells than outside. All my water was dripping off of me in a sweatfest, rendering my body tissues a vast Sahara, and thus the water inside my cells would begin to flow out through the semipermeable membrane by the process of osmosis, a method of passive transport. And, me being a plant, I would soon become limp and untasty, like lettuce left on the counter overnight.

But I'm NOT a plant, by cracky! All I needed was some D5W or Lactated Ringer's in a self-administered IV. Didn't you people watch that show Emergency back in the day? Since I didn't have paramedics Roy DeSoto and John Gage to hook me up under the directions from Nurse Dixie McCall and Dr. Kelly Brackett, it was a do-it-yourself kind of thing. I am so lucky to be an expert at everything TV-related.

I got OH SO HOT in that darn Devil's Playground that even T-Hoe could not cool me off. Normally, I enjoy a ride in T-Hoe, because he's so chill. Even with my AC blasting at 63 degrees, I could not cool off. Like George Costanza's shower after working out, it didn't take. Lucky for me, I did not also eat Kung Pao Chicken and get questioned by my boss, leading him to believe I was stealing Yankees' equipment.

Gosh. Well. All I meant to say was that Wal-Mart sets the thermostat too high.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

HH Needs A Ride

We are looking at a Chrysler Pacifica for HH to drive to work. His $1000 Caravan is still running strong, but I think he needs something more dependable. As in, I need something more dependable for when he has to take my T-Hoe and leave me the Caravan.

There are two Pacificas exactly alike in our area, at dealers about 7 miles apart. We drove one this evening, and plan to drive the other one Monday morning. They are both 2006 models, silver with tan interior. Nothing fancy. It's going to be a work car. On the plus side, the one we drove only had 26,000 miles on it. Can't beat that with a stick. Also, it's at a used-car dealership where we've done business before. In fact, it's the place we traded our old Suburban without a transmission. OK, that's misleading. It had a transmission, it just wouldn't go in reverse. Oh, we were honest about it. We found a newer Suburban there that we wanted, and called to tell them we were bringing a trade-in with no reverse, and where did they want us to park it. Then we pushed the old one out of the garage and went on our way. I'm sure they won't hold it against us. They knew what they were getting.

I'm thinking our salesman is new. He was sitting in the customer chair of the first desk by the door, and he jumped up to greet us when we went in. Then he had to walk about a quarter mile to get the Pacifica and bring it up front, and get the plates and a gas card, and ride with us to get gas. He offered to buy us all a beverage, but we declined. He was right personable, that salesman. He had HH's gift of gab, and was not pushy. I like that quality in my salesmen.

That little Pacifica can go. That salesman was a hefty boy. HH and I are not exactly anorexics, either. The Pony was but a dandelion fluff compared to us. The #1 son stayed home alone, which I was not happy about, living in the middle of nowhere like we do and him lacking common sense. He had strict orders to stay in the house, no cooking, and no running up and down the basement steps.

Getting back to that salesman... he was not dressed much differently from HH. Which is not to say that he was wearing backwards overalls, but that he just had on shorts and a t-shirt. Not even a collared shirt. And when we asked for his card, he pulled out a 49-cent flip notebook from The Devil's Playground. I'm thinking he really needs to make a sale. We told him flat out that we were just driving it today, that there was another one just like it that we were driving Monday, and that we were going to buy one or the other, cash deal, no trade-in. He said the boss was not there, which was certain, because it was 5:45 on a Saturday, and they close at 6:00. He said he would not even venture a price other than their list price, because he is not in charge, and they would all laugh at him. Of course their price is a bit high, even for such a low-mileage car, but they advertise cash discounts, and we can always go to the other dealer. He did, however, go talk to the manager on duty, who told him that they were not going to let the price get in the way of selling that car. I'm sure they won't. They closed their lot in the next town, and the entire inventory is packed on this lot.

I'm sure they're in the business of moving cars. Especially for a cash deal in this economy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Product Replacement

I have a bone to pick with some of my brand-name suppliers. I am a loyal customer. But now they have pissed me off. I'm mad as h*ll, and I'm thinking about not taking it any more.

How dare you change your packaging! For more years than I care to reveal, I have been a Tide detergent kind of gal. And my hillbilly mother before me was a Tide gal. ONE time, she switched brands because of a sale. All-Tempa-Cheer made my ankles break out in a rash from that demon detergent. We switched right back to Tide, the one what brung us to the wash. Now Tide has taken away the big plastic handle on that 72-load box. It used to go from one side to the other. You could swing it down to open the top and dip out detergent, then pull it back up to haul the box back to where you store it. No. Some genius who is no doubt a MAN who does not handle the laundry duties decided to skimp on plastic, and put a tiny handle ON TOP of the lid. Oh, this works just fine when Tide fishes in the customer. You can pick up the box and put it in your cart. But once you get it home and open the Tide, that little handle is as useless as Farmer H in a quantum physics symposium. DUH! If you pick up the handle, the freakin' lid opens, and you can't lift the box. Imagine somebody who has to go to a laundromat trying to carry a bag of clothes and this box of Tide. You can't use the handle. You have to carry it underneath, and balance it so it doesn't tip over and spill. Good job, nincompoops! You'd be better off putting a pour spout thingy on the side if you're going to use this teeny weeny handle.

Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: RECALL!!!
I bought some of this cookie dough for my #1 son last weekend. I never buy it. My mom buys the Nestle Chocolate Chips to make her own cookies, and I usually buy fundraiser cookie dough. The #1 son loves to eat cookie dough. Sometimes he will bake the cookies, but mostly he eats the dough. This Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough comes in a bar or plank that is scored so you can break off little squares. No mess. The package is now half-eaten. During the week, I had two squares, and #1 had the rest. NOW I FIND OUT TODAY THAT THERE IS A FREAKIN' RECALL DUE TO POSSIBLE E. COLI CONTAMINATION. Way to go, Nestle. I have been poisoning my own son all week! This might explain the slight intestinal upset I had yesterday and the day before. E. coli indeed!

You're a mean one, Mr. Cheerio. Pretending to be a cereal while advertising yourself as a medicine. That's what the FDA under our new president says about you. Don't you know that HE WON? That means you can't say you reduce cholesterol. You're a drug in cereal's clothing. Cease and desist, Cheerios. I just saw a commercial, not 15 minutes ago, that showed your shameless health-inducing claim on the front of your box. Now you're gonna get it. You'll get in trouble, and have to pay a class action suit, or change your packaging, and prices will go up, and then what am I gonna due about my famous Chex Mix? Because Save-A-Lot fake cheerios are not the same. Thanks so much. Now my principal and secretaries and superintendent will think I am irked at them if I don't freely give of my grain-y ambrosia, and in turn will begin the machinations of the great get rid of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom conspiracy in order to hire a cheaper teacher. And then I will have to pull my sons out of the only school they've ever known, or sell my Mansion and move into the district, or pay tuition for them, which will be hard, because--HELLO--I won't have a job anymore. Thanks. Thanks for ruining my life, Cheerios.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Random Thought Thursday 6/18/09

Hillary Clinton broke her elbow on the way to the White House yesterday. I smell a worker's comp claim.


Kate Gosselin Smacks One of Her Eight. That's a headline to reel people in. Turns out she smacked her sextuplet Leah on the butt for not ceasing her whistleblowing after being told twice to cut the crap while Kate was on the phone. I don't know what part of the country this reporter was raised in, but here in Missouri, we call that a spanking. Most kids I grew up with got them on a regular basis. They are not in jail. They are not scarred for life. They do not beat their kids. They are able to hold down jobs and provide for their families. I know, that's hard to believe, isn't it? Oh, and reports also said that the police arrived at the Gosselin house shortly after the incident. But they forgot to mention that Kate was on the phone calling the police because of the paparazzi when the incident occurred.


Don't worry if your airline pilot is distracted and squashes a fly. That's why there are co-pilots, right? Isn't that why an airline pays two pilots? We don't want any trouble like that movie, Cry of the Wild, based on the Hatchet book. That kid was in a world of hurt when his pilot died. But if there's a spare, everything should work out all right. So it's not really so amazing that the Continental flight made a safe landing after its pilot died halfway across the Atlantic, is it? And what's with that relief crew landing the plane? If the co-pilot isn't qualified, then why are they freakin' paying him to be a co-pilot? What's he there for, to laugh at the pilot's jokes? Is he the Ed McMahon of the commercial airline world? Hopefully he's not like that autopilot in the movie Airplane.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Tale Of The One-Eyed Pecker

Not much is happening here at Chicken Central. Nine eggs today. So far. The brown-egg layers and the guineas have been shocked out of laying, I suppose, because these eggs were all white. Survivor the rooster is beside himself with those two black pants roosters taunting him all day. They walk around outside the pen, or sit on top of the fence. Survivor tries to get at them through the chain-link. They run along beside the fence when he charges, stirring him up even more. If he's not paying attention, they puff out their chests and flap their wings, which gets Survivor all perturbed and crowing. Chickens are natural peckers. That's what the school custodian told me, just before he realized what he'd said.

Yesterday, The Pony told me, "One of the chickens is missing an eye." Eeewww! He went on to say, "Don't worry, it wasn't pecked out by the other chickens. It was BORN that way. There's just a flap of skin where the eye should be." Yuck! I was contemplating a small leather eyepatch for the poor thing. Oh, and Farmer H reported that he should have looked at that cage of chickens closer when he bought them, because hens cost $5 and roosters only cost $1, and he was overcharged what with 4 of those 10 chickens turning out to be roosters. Farmer H got cheated at the auction! Hard to believe, isn't it? That's the way he goes through life. His impulses get him in trouble. That's why I don't let him go alone to buy a car from a dealer. He's like my friend Jim, who once bought a Chevy S10 and agreed to pay $1000 over the sticker price for undercoating. "Well, Jim, we undercoated it, but we didn't put it on the sticker." It was all I could do not to rip out my hair by the handfuls. I don't know why he asked me to go with him on his car-buying trip if he didn't want my advice. His reply was, "I don't care. I like it and I want it."

But that's got nothing to do with chickens. Today, The Pony said, "Mom, you know that chicken with one eye? Well, last night dad and I got to looking at it, and it really has TWO eyes, Mom! We just couldn't see it. It had been keeping one eye closed every time we were around, and there were feathers over it. But last night, we saw that it has two eyes!" OK. I can't tell one chicken from another, unless they are the different colors. One leghorn looks like another. So I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket that Farmer H and The Pony were even looking at the Chicken Formerly Known As One-Eye.

The Mansion has hit the summer doldrums, without the official beginning of summer. HH has taken off for vacation beginning Thursday and stretching through next week. Tomorrow, HH is taking The Pony to Six Flags as class trip for reading. The whole class got free tickets. Of course, just being 5th graders, their parents bought tickets to take them, so Six Flags should not be going bankrupt with this marketing plan. The #1 son is skipping his last day of summer school to go along. It's going to be the hottest day of the year.

I am staying home to mind the chickens, in case anybody cares. I detest Six Flags. I don't like rides, I don't like crowds, and I don't like walking around on blacktop on the hottest day of the year. Because I am a selfless saint, I am insisting that my boys drive my T-Hoe on their trip. At least the air conditioning works and it has a working speedometer. I even topped of the gas tank with MID-GRADE gas at $2.59 per gallon. Because that's the kind of gal I am.

HH is leaving me the $1000 Caravan. I don't plan to leave the Mansion.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hillbilly Mom, Home Run Pitcher

Tonight I'm looking forward to seeing Andrew Zimmern abandoned on an island for two days to see if he will survive. That's how the Travel Channel commercial described this very special Bizarre Foods. It doesn't seem fair, really. Is he supposed to build a shelter? Or will he just lay on the beach and eat whatever crawls into his mouth? Do they expect that he has been boning up for this experience by watching Bear Grylls on a competing channel? How will our bald doughboy survive? Please, please, don't let him drink his own pee.

Who thought up this concept of killing pudgy Andrew for ratings? Is there no group of People for the Ethical Treatment of Andrew? As long as we're throwing caution out the window, I might as well pitch MY ideas to a cable network.

Bizarre Reservations With Anthony Bourdain: reserve a rubber room for Anthony to host a birthday party for 30 four-year-olds. He will be the sole adult. And he must go without heroin until the party is over. And all children must be alive at the end of the party.

Dirt Road Truckers: put the Ice Road drivers in Honda Civics and force them to follow an 18-wheeler loaded with chickens through 460 miles of Arkansas one-lane dirt road.

Paula's Party: send Paula Deen to McDonald's for a Happy Meal party. No butter allowed.

Man vs. Tile: Bear Grylls is locked in a spotless white tile kitchen for 2 hours, and must cook a meal from regular grocery store food. And NOT drink his own pee.

I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! A-List celebrities are dropped into the jungle and ignored for 48 hours. The screen is black, no sound. Celebrities must not adopt any children during the show.

Most Dangerous Catch: home video of the Jon and Kate wedding.

Big People, Little World: the fattest family in America lives life to its fullest, breaking chairs, being banned from buffets, weighing on livestock scales, and marketing their new invention which they call Buttwiper on a Stick.

Intravention: addicts lure their friends into their sordid lifestyles with peer pressure and money from the network.

True Lives: a family of four works for a living, pays their taxes, raises smart, polite kids, donates time to community causes, gets along, and lives happily with or without the cameras rolling. (First show to be canceled. Critics call it 'unbelievable.')

In the game of broadcasting, pitching a home run is a GOOD THING.

Monday, June 15, 2009

These CHICKENS Are Making Me Crazy

Picture me as George Costanza rehearsing his line for the Woody Allen movie that was shooting on Jerry's street. How many different ways can I emphasize that sentence? No pretzels for me, baby! It's chickens! And they're not making me thirsty. That's Farmer H who has the insatiable thirst for chickens.

Forgive me for venturing into fowl territory again today. Farmer H's obsession is a burr underneath my saddle. No wind beneath my wings from HH. While Farmer H may think it's nothing to buy 10 more chickens, his actions have upset our little ecosystem here in Hillmomba. He thought he was buying hens, but when he got home, he discovered that he had 4 roosters in the bunch. Let the buyer beware, I say. If Farmer H was ignorant enough to buy them, he deserves what he got. Hillmomba has turned out to be quite the melting pot for chicken immigrants. Along with the leghorns and the Rhode Island Red and Survivor, the multicolored rooster, we have now welcomed 2 guinea hens, 2 more Reds, 2 pepper-speckled thingies we don't know what they are, and 4 black roosters with pants on. That's what it looks like. They have feathers on their feet. The Pony says HH told him they are shelties. I thought that was a kind of dog. Then again, maybe Farmer H thought he was buying some dogs. I'm sure Miss Ann could shine some light on my chicken buddies. Her mom is a well-known avian aficionado.

Now we don't just get those giant leghorn white eggs. We get two smooth brown eggs a day, and two itty bitty light-brown guinea eggs, and a small white egg. Right now we're still at eight eggs per day, so I suppose some of those leghorns are withholding because of the uninvited guests. I know they didn't suddenly switch to laying brown eggs or tiny eggs.

What are we going to do with all of these eggs? The eggs never stop. It's like Newman with the mail. It never ends. There's always more and more and more. But I'm not going to stash them in a storage locker. It's not like we're a family of body-builders training for the Hillbilly Universe pageant, each of us drinking a dozen raw eggs every morning. No. We do not even partake of the chicken-fruit on a regular basis. I would say less than once a month we had eggs for breakfast. The only sure thing was Christmas morning. Now I cook them for The Pony for lunch. He likes them best. And therein lies the problem. The Pony also likes the chickens best.

I have never seen a child so attached to a farm animal. That didn't sound quite right. But The Pony loooooves him some chickens. He checks for eggs three times a day. He is constantly asking if I have anything to feed the chickens. They like bread and cereal and lettuce and strawberry tops and corn cobs and just about anything you throw over the fence. Which is the next problem. The fence. Farmer H has not put a top on his new chicken pen. The old chickens learned not to try and fly out because they banged their head on the wire ceiling. The new chickens are regular Houdinis of the fowl world. They fly the coop at will. The Pony is beside himself. Last night, he and Farmer H put one back in the pen twice, but it got out again. It doesn't help that every time they throw it in, Survivor attacks it.

This morning The Pony was upset because one of the black pants chickens was sitting on top of the pen. He snuck around so as not to scare it, until it jumped back in. Then he sat on the porch for 30 minutes to make sure it was all right.

When we came back from picking up the #1 son at school, a black pants chicken was way up in the front yard. Tank the beagle was stalking it. The Pony stressed out. He went in the back door and straight out the front door in an effort to herd that chicken back into the pen. His plan did not work. It went into the woods. I told him that we know it can fly, and it can get up in a tree if the dogs get after it. That did not assure him very much. He went out twice with Farmer H after supper and put it back in the pen. It was already out again when they came back in the Mansion. Farmer H tried to explain that we didn't want anything to happen to the black pants chickens, but "They're used to being roosters, and they get out." I have no freakin' idea what he meant by that. The Pony nodded his head like he understood, but I think it was just a fit of nervousness thinking about their impending death.

Hillmomba is a cold, cruel place for chickens. The Pony needs to grow thicker skin. And Farmer H needs to bring his chicken condo up to code.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

An Insatiable Thirst For Chickens

Farmer H has a thirst for chickens. In fact, he yearns for them. He went to the auction today and bought 10 more chickens. Apparently, I am giving him too much allowance. We need chickens like Farmer H needs more people shooting at him. Granted, Farmer H doubled the size of his chicken pen to the tune of $360, and built them a new, improved coop, hopefully with leftover lumber, and bought an advanced chicken waterer for $28. Now we have 10 more mouths to feed. Have you seen the price of chicken feed at The Family Center lately? It ain't chicken feed! Also at the auction, Farmer H bought another feeder/waterer. This one was only $4. That's because it was used and rusty.

Never mind that we are getting 8 eggs per day. That's almost five dozen eggs per week. We rarely use 6 eggs per week on a regular basis. Frig is piling up with chicken-fruit in 18-egg cartons. We have given some away, but I fear that the acceptors will soon run when they see us coming. We'll be like those zucchini people, and the tomato people at the end of the summer.

Perhaps Farmer H is a secret survivalist. That would explain the uncontrollable buying of chickens, and those rabbits, and all the outbuildings Farmer H can't keep from constructing. He might envision is own enclave, where he will be king, and sit on a throne that he builds for himself, and barter eggs for fresh produce.

I hope there is not a ring of ATF agents sniffing around our perimeter. Farmer H still has a stockpile of fireworks from last year. Then there's the language-learning DVD that The Pony wanted for Christmas. In Arabic.

Missouri might be in the news again.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quiet, It's The Library

Have you seen commercials for that new MTV show, Silent Library? It's a game show where they do outrageously loud things IN A FREAKIN' LIBRARY, like blow up a giant balloon under a guy's shirt until it pops, and have to be quiet to win prize money. I swear, I was looking for hidden cameras today when I took the #1 son to the local library.

We are not such hard-core nerds that we routinely hang out at the library on Saturday mornings. The Pony has been having issues with a computer game. I bought him three games on Tuesday, because we sent #1 to basketball camp, and he claims that new 4-wheeler is his, and, well, The Pony just doesn't rake in his share of swag. He was excited about he games. He chose two for his computer, and the new Indiana Jones Wii game.

On Wednesday, he beat one of the computer games by afternoon. He tried to install the second one, but it would not comply with our dial-up. He couldn't install it at school, because I got a less-than-sweet request from the tech dude to immediately unplug my or my son's laptop from the blue phone wire thingy (OK, Tech Dude knew the real name of it, but I can't remember) as the school does not allow personal laptops on the network. Copy to my principal, dated last freakin' week. I resisted the urge to inform him that the only reason my kid brought his laptop to play games was because the school computer that he used to use was broken in February by a student, and had not been fixed after three requests, and I was not about to let him use my only working computer, the one which my gradebook program in on.

On Thursday, my mom took The Pony to the library when it opened at noon, and they called me at school several times trying to pick the technology out of my brain, but I have limited resources up there, and could only help them with "agree to the terms of service" and "confirm email address means type it again in the other box." They left after about 10 minutes of loading the game. The Pony thought it was done, but I think he only loaded the installation program. Anyhoo... the game would not play in offline mode.

On Friday, I planned to take The Pony to the library when it opened at 10:00. We passed right by it after dropping off #1 at school, and saw a note on the door. I circled around the post office and came back, letting out The Pony to see if they had changed their schedule. "Don't worry. It still opens at 10:00. This just says the internet is down." Which kind of defeats the purpose of coming back at 10:00.

So... #1 and I were at the library 10 minutes after it opened on Saturday. We were greeted by Ruthusela 1, the elder with the hunchback, and Ruthusela 2, the one who was merely ancient, and almost spry. #1 and I passed the desk and hiked down the 25-30 stairs to the stacks and computer area. There was some weird dude at a table by himself, probably loading high-speed pr0n on his laptop, so we sat a bit away from him at a bigger table. I whispered a couple of questions to #1 about the game. We were in a LIBRARY, you see.

Then Ruth 2 came down the elevator (with a sign taped to it that says it is only for the staff) and met a lady who hiked down to the canyon floor to make a copy for her. They spoke right out loud. I was shocked. Then Ruth 2 told her, "That will be 15 cents." Geez. Talk about penny-pinching. Then Ruth 2 went to a staff computer behind us, and hollered up to Ruth 1, "I DON'T HAVE THE PASSWORD. WHAT IS THE PASSWORD? CAN YOU WRITE IT DOWN?" What good this would have done, I don't know, because either one Ruth would have needed to take the elevator to get the password, or maybe Ruth 1 could have flung it over the railing at the back of the desk area. But no. Ruth 1 hollered back, "I CAN'T WRITE IT DOWN." This mystery escapes me. Could she not write with her gnarled old fingers? Was it against policy to write down a password, what with Missouri ruffians eager to latch onto that confidential info? Did she merely lack a pen? I don't know how they solved this problem, because I moved to what I thought was a quieter corner to read while #1 worked his techy magic.

But no. They continued to holler back and forth, discussing the detonation of those WWII mortars Friday evening. Maybe that had hurt their hearing--though Ruth 2 stated that she never even heard it. I needed industrial headphones to slow the damage to my eardrums. From the Ruths, not the mortars. Any time somebody came in, the Ruths hollered like they were talking to foreigners, or were co-keynote speakers at a convention for the hard-of-hearing. I swear, #1 and I could have held a private concert with Ozzy The Prince Of Darkness Osborne, and nobody would have noticed. We could have barreled through the stacks in a game of tackler football, and nobody would have noticed.

Silent Library might as well film here. They won't even have to be silent. Prize money for everyone!

My original title was: Shh...It's The Library. But I took a good look at it, and imagined Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery on SNL Jeopardy saying, "I'll take Shhit's The Library for one hundred, Trebec."

Friday, June 12, 2009

What Did You Expect? This Is Missouri.

Which state has the biggest collection of idiots? Not that I'm proud of it, or bragging, but Missouri has to be right up there in the top five of our 57 states for having the stupidest population. If we're not accidentally shooting our wives while trying to install a big-screen TV, or purposely shooting up the Holocaust Museum, we're driving around with unexploded World War II mortar rounds.

That's right. Hot off the press. Breaking news. A dude found two WWII mortar rounds in his brother's house while cleaning out stuff for an auction. Did he call the police and ask what to do with them? NO! This is Missouri! He did what any typical white praying bitter gun-clinger would do. He put the mortars in his car and drove them to City Hall. Wouldn't you? Oh, and did I mention that this house where he found the mortars was right across the street from City Hall?

You see, in Missouri, nobody walks. Unless you're a drunk on New Year's Eve and you walk down a dark outer road just so a State Representative can run over you and leave the scene of the accident and make up a lie and persuade all his friends in the truck to tell the same lie, but they have consciences, not being politicians, and crack under the crackerjack questioning of the local law enforcement, but you are still just as run-over and unconscious, but eventually get out of the hospital and find out the State Rep even stole your cell phone from the scene and forgot to tell the police about it for a month or two. But I digress...

I can't make this stuff up. Here's a quote from the article:

The Department of Defense (DOD) is preparing to detonate two mortar rounds in an unpopulated area of Bonne Terre’s industrial Park. Local residents could hear a loud boom, depending on the cloud cover.

Bonne Terre city officials called in members of the DOD’s ordnance disposal unit to determine whether the rounds are dangerous. Military officials said the mortar rounds appear to be intact, and could hold enough TNT for a five pound charge.

To be on the safe side, the military officials decided to detonate the rounds in a secluded area where no one would be in danger of harm. Detonation was scheduled sometime around 5 p.m.

Good to know. Military officials decided to detonate the mortars in a secluded area, rather than a populated area. I think that kind of goes without saying. Then again... this IS Missouri.

At least that dude didn't drive those mortars to Washington D.C. He must have some out-of-state blood in him.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tick, Tick, Tick

Yesterday, as I was getting ready to take The Pony to see Land of the Lost, I was nearly driven crazy by an intense itching on the top of my ankle-foot. You know, where the shoe ties. It had been ongoing for a couple of days. I pulled down my sock for one final scratchfest before sitting socially acceptably at the movie for a couple of hours. Guess what I found? Again, I commend your psychiatry. Or maybe that would be psychic abilities. Yep. It was a freakin' TICK.

So now I've had three ticks in a month. I don't even go outside, people. I merely walk on the porch to the sidewalk to the garage. It's not like I'm out rolling on the lawn, wrestling possums. No. I'm inside the Mansion or Newmentia or The Devil's Playground or Kerasotes. Note that none of my family has had a tick yet. Farmer H gallivants about Hillmomba from the time he arrives home until his bedtime at 9:00 p.m. He fiddles about with the dumb chickens and the caged rabbits and the cats and dogs. And an occasional wild boar that turns out to be a pet potbellied pig. No ticks for Farmer H! No ticks for The Pony, a chicken's best friend. No ticks for the #1 son, who rides his new used 4-wheeler hither and yon. Only me. I am the tick's choice. Grade A Prime Hillbilly Mom.

I am the Wagu beef of tick meat. On their Wednesday night parties, they serve ME.

I am the Cristal Champagne of Tick Cribs. MY blood is their elixir of choice.

I am the flame to the tick's inner moth. They flock to ME in droves.

I am the Tick Buddha sitting cross-legged on the front yard of the Mansion.

I am the Beluga of Tick Caviar. No toast points are necessary--just pure, unadulterated ME.

I am the Pied Piper of Missouri ticks. They would follow ME anywhere.

My mom says the guys bring the ticks into the Mansion on their clothes, then the ticks find me. I am not honored.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Return Of Li'l Pimp

Thank the Gummi Mary, Li'l Pimp has been found, safe and sound! As the reporting officer explained on camera, "I could hear him screaming in the background." I'm sure he just means the boy sounded healthy. If you've seen his picture, you would agree that he's a real cutie. Li'l Pimp, not the reporting officer.

That was this evening. But this morning when I first read about it, Li'l Pimp was still missing. Here's the story at KSDK.com, the St. Louis NBC affiliate. The gist of it is... this 5-month-old baby was taken by his babysitter, described as having a black ponytail and a black-and-orange weave for bangs, who was previously convicted of child endangerment in New York before she babysat Li'l Pimp. Oh, that's not his real name. That's his 16-year-old mother's nickname for him. That's what started the outrage on the comments section of the story. That, and the fact that she waited 24 hours to report him missing. Anyhoo... I'm happy that Li'l Pimp is safe, because now I can share with you some of the comments that tickled my funny bone this morning. (And don't scream racism at me, because the missing white toddler who wandered for three days in the woods last month brought out the comments about meth heads and people sleeping on the couch drawing welfare instead of watching their kid).

Without further ado, the saga of Li'l Pimp, brought to you by KSDK.com.

KSDK -- The 16-year-old mother of a missing five-month-old boy is pleading for his safe return. Now the woman police say took her is facing a criminal charge.

Makeela King told NewsChannel 5's Sharon Stevens she loves her baby boy, Cortez L. Rose, who she said is nicknamed Lil' Pimp.

A S.A.R.A.A. alert was issued after Madison, Illinois Police Chief Steven Shelby said Danielle Medina, originally from New York City, took Rose from a home at 1545 5th Street in Madison while his mother was shopping for clothes for her son in East St. Louis on Saturday around 2:00 p.m. When the mother returned, they were both gone.

Steven Shelby said the family reported the child missing about 24 hours later.

Chief Shelby said Medina is wanted in New York on felony warrants for alleged child endangerment.

Police describe Medina as an African-American girl who is five feet tall and weighs 120 pounds. She has a black pony tail with orange and black weave for bangs. She was last seen wearing a long brown shirt and black leggings. She also goes by the last name of Gillyard.

Here are some of the outrageous comments that made me chuckle:

Who calls their infant "Lil Pimp"? Why not lil drug dealer or lil killer?

For me, the name "lil pimp" is no different, than "lil crack head", "lil murderer" or "lil inmate p775409". I think it is horrible, and with nicknames like that, it is no wonder kids are joining gangs at 12 years old.

What does he call his mother, Lil Ho?

Hopefully he is just out shopping for a new pimp hat with a big feather in it and some new platform shoes. This poor kids mom is an idiot and hopefully he will be found safe and placed in a good home.

And how hard could it be to find a chick with orange and black weave bangs.

My goodness- Lil Pimp- everybody knows you don't name your kid lil anything- that kid will now have to spend the rest of his life trying to get everyone to call him Pimp just plain Pimp- If that does not work then maybe when he has a kid he will be called big Pimp and his son could be lil pimp- anyway you cut it you never want to be called lil- it just takes away from your thug image- Just call him Pimp from day one- if you want to call him Pimp- I wonder what real life event caused her to think of that name anyway- some people name there kids after a relative or someone they admire- Hmmm Lil Pimp.

there are 3 things that just don't add up:
1. shopping in E.St. Louis for baby clothes. Please, where is there a good place to shop for baby clothes in E.St. Louis.
2. leaving your baby with someone you barely know.
3. waiting 24 hours
to me it seems the mother was up to no good in that 24 hours.

I hope this doesnt effect the poor mothers welfare check, that would be truly devistating. Maybe there's some stimulous money available to give her if the check stops.

Now, for the Who's More Out of Touch with Reality Award:

Dutchess550 wrote:
In my youth "pimp" was a verb that meant to tease someone. I think that's fallen out of favor, though.

Ikomax-She is 16. She probally thinks its the same thing as Barney or Cookie monster. She's not even old enough to know what it means. I wish it was a law you had to be 30 to haave babies.

And let's end it with some words of wisdom:

The hardest stereotype to break is the one being perpetuated voluntarily. Who in their right mind gives a baby a monicker referring to a position of leadership in the adult sex trade???????????????????????

UghEugene wrote:
Honestly here is the situation with the Lil' Pimp thing and why its important. I feel like the given nick name is a direct indication of the educational level of this girl (about 9th grade.) It also shows her level of immaturity. Pimps degrade women. The end. It's not cute, its not cool, and its not something a respectable women would want her son to be. This immaturity is the reason why her son is missing.


Research for somebody with a B.A. in English and a lot of unemployed time on his hands: when did the contraction li'l become lil' or lil?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Surprised With An Appointment

Guess who forgot she had a fasting lab this morning at 8:30. That's right. You must be psychic! It was indeed Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. It dawned on me this morning around 6:15, one hour after taking one medicine that requires "a full glass of water." Anyhoo...I didn't eat or drink anything else or brush my teeth, packed up my remaining medicine for later consumption, hauled the #1 son to summer school, and hot-footed it over to the doctor's office in time.

The Pony was pleased to partake of the free trolley ride from the parking lot to the door. I had told him I was going to walk, and the loyal little Pony declared that he, too, would walk. That he would walk with me. I insisted that he take the trolley, since he enjoys it so much. He demurred. We got out of T-Hoe, and that overly-cheerful retiree who drives the trolley made a beeline for the back of our parking spot. The Pony looked at me. "I think I'll ride the trolley today," I said. The Pony lit up with a grin from ear to ear. It doesn't take much to make him happy.

Inside the lobby of the hospital, there was a dude with several full trash bags holding open the elevator door. "Are you going up? Because there's only one elevator today, so I thought I'd wait for you." A prince among men, he was. The Pony also enjoys the elevator. He stands in the back corner. I don't know why. He's The Pony.

I was glad I had hauled in my 20-year-old purse, what with the receptionist asking for both my insurance cards and a picture ID. Then she looked up the date of my new appointment that was made six months ago and changed five months ago. The lab girl called me in at the stroke of 8:30. I left The Pony holding my purse. We had been sitting side by side in a section of four chairs. The Pony was on the end, then me, then an empty chair with a magazine, then an old lady who came in after us.

The lab girl called me 'Sweetie' about 100 times in five minutes, but it was not in an Obama-like way, so I did not object. She chose the right arm instead of the left, which the lab girls hardly ever do. She kept apologizing, for the low chair, for tying off my brachial artery with a section of rubber hose, for sticking it to me, for sucking up the blood into two tubes, for strapping a swatch of gauze to my inner elbow. But she DID say she didn't see anything wrong with my drinking water with a pill at 5:15 a.m. She said they don't like it because it dilutes the blood, but she likes it because Hey! More blood!

When I came out, The Pony had a new companion. A new old lady was sitting right next to him. He made fish-eyes at me. That's a look he gives. Some of my students who used to ride the bus with The Pony named it Fish Eyes. I don't know how he could possible object to an old lady, but he's The Pony.

We watched an elevator repair guy work on the broken elevator right next to the one we were waiting on. There are stairs, but they only go from the fourth floor to the second floor, and from there, we would have had to jump over the balcony. I told The Pony he could go first, and then catch me, but he was having none of it. The trolley guy was gone, so we hoofed it to T-Hoe. The whole experience was much pleasanter than waiting an hour for a not-haircut, our next stop. The Pony finished the book he had brought with him, and was a bit annoyed.

After that near miss with the appointment, I called the boys' dentist when we got home, and found out that they are both due for a tooth cleaning two weeks from today. Actually, The Pony was due in May, but we missed that one. His teeth didn't fall out, so I'm OK with it.

Sorry the details of this medical excursion can not match those of my blog buddy, Deadpan Ann. I'm sure she will have quite a tale of her intestinal excapades in the near future.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Cautionary Tail

The #1 son has returned from his four-day basketball team camp. They took a varsity team of 10, and a JV team of 11, each team playing ten regulation games against other schools at the camp. The varsity finished with a record of 7-3. The JV was punished with a 0-10 record. Which was not a surprise to me, them having 8 freshen and 3 sophomores on their team. They might have been better-suited for the junior high division, which was open to teams for grades 7, 8, 9. As #1 pointed out, "Mom, we played one of our games against an all-boy school of 1400 students. Their starting team was all over 6'3" and 250 lbs." It didn't kill them, so they must be stronger.

#1 has dribbled out camp stories here and there. Our school had one end of a dorm hall, with four showers and four toilets to share amongst the 21 of them. Surprising to all, the coach had a list of rooms that he assigned when they checked in. My boy had a room to himself, but the coach decided that was not to be, and told him could bring in a whole bed or just drag in a mattress to share a room with two of his buddies, Stretch 1 and Introvert. Which was OK with #1, because those are the two kids he would have wanted to share with anyway. Their hall had a pool table for entertainment, which they made sure to monopolize so that other teams did not come to their floor.

And now for the disturbing bits... I know that boys will be boys. For 21 boys ages 14-18, not much bad stuff happened. #1 called the first night to report that Starter had been taking a shower when Stretch 2 and Cherub yanked open his shower curtain while shouting, "Who's in here?" Cherub should have known better than to tempt fate, what with Karma filing her teeth to bite him in the butt later that night, when Stretch 2 poured ice and cold water over the top of his shower. I advised #1 that he needed to take his medicine out of his bag of toiletries, just in case someone messed with it while he was showering. I suggested that he and Introvert walk down to the showers together, and one could wait to have that shower next, thus implementing The Buddy System, aka Lookouts R Us, to ward off the shenanigans. #1, always the realist, said, "Well, that might work, except that Introvert ran back over here after our last game, and by the time we walked in, he had already showered." Which was some interesting foreshadowing, since after the peeping/ice incidents, Introvert never again showered, but chose to stand at the sink with a washcloth. Starter didn't let it bother him, and after screaming like a schoolgirl the first night, endured even the ice treatment the next time. Cherub, however, did not wash again. As #1 put it, "He stunk! We all told him so, but he didn't care. He had deodorant, but it wasn't working."

#1 reported that nobody messed with him in the shower, which was not really surprising. He IS 6'1", with enough leg hair to look like fur jeans. Not much fun in trying to belittle him. Besides, with the exception of Stretch 2, most of the older kids like him. One of the varsity picked him to play 2 on 2 against a pair from another team one evening after the games. #1 played well, and Picker walked over to the graduated dude who had acted as the JV team coach and said, "Maybe if you'd played HIM more, you might have won a game." Which is doubtful, but it made #1 feel good, if also a bit worried, due to the glare that emanated from Grad Dude. Around the pool table another night, Stretch 2 tried to twist something #1 had said, and varsity Stretch 3 said, "Shut up, 2. I like #1."

And now for the really disturbing part, which I do not plan to repeat except here on this blog for my millions of followers to contemplate. On the last night, around midnight, there came a knock on #1's door. It was Stretch 2, pleading, "I think I left my hat in your room. Let me in." Introvert jumped up and opened the door, even though Stretch 1 and #1 were proclaiming, "He was never in our room. Don't do it!" Too late. In barged Stretch 2 and Grad Dude. Grad Dude mooned the freshman trio. According to #1, "I was laying on my mattress on the floor. I pulled up my blanket to block the view, while I talked to Stretch 1. Introvert turned his back and stood facing the wall between his bed and the window. I didn't hide under the covers, because then they would have messed with me. I just held up part of the blanket. After about five minutes, they left, and we heard them do the same thing next door to Starter and Handler. Then Coach came out and yelled at them that their door-knocking was keeping him awake, and he was about to get really mad and make them run. So they quit."

Here's the deal. I did not pay $160 and send my kid across two states to have some 20-year-old's a$$ in his face. No. That is not right. It's one thing if it's an a$$ from a kid on the team, perhaps, around the same age. But not from a guy who is acting as the COACH of my son's team, with a room by the other coaches. That's not right. Oh, you might say, it's just some butt-cheeks. No. When guy is pressing that moon up against the back window of a schoolbus, a calamity which befell my Arch Nemesis when she first started teaching here, it's just butt cheeks. A pressed ham, if you will. But when that Dude is one of five people in a 10 x 12 foot dorm room, and drops his pants and bends over, and my son is laying on a mattress on the floor, methinks some naught bits were a part of the package. Not that he specified in so many words.

I do not think my son's psyche has been irreparably damaged. He related the tale of the tail with indignation. I think he has enough sense of who he is that this will not traumatize him for life. It's not like Sasha Cohen landed on his face at the MTV Movie Awards. It's not like a cellmate forced him to toss his salad. It's not like a fraternity hazed him into eating olives out a brother's butthole. But it's not right. Where do we draw the line between horseplay and perversion? Could one of his buddies do that to him without creating a big flap? Youbetcha. Could a priest? I don't think so. Could I drop my pants and moon my first hour class? Again, I don't think so. The age and the position of authority make the action inappropriate.

Don't you think?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tonight's Agenda

No bugs of any kind were seen in the Mansion today. No red velvet ants that might be big crawdads or maybe just frogs. No spiders, breaking the chain of a spider a day that started last week. No reptile eggs were carted in by Farmer H, with an ulterior motive to force-feed HM a soft pink unhardened 'chicken' egg.

No excitement of any kind, actually. Same old Mansion. The #1 son has returned from his basketball camp, surly and mute and sleeping, though he declared five minutes before his arrival that he was 'not all that tired, really' in an attempt to force a night out at the new bowling alley with Basementia Buddy and her son.

Tonight's agenda includes a second viewing of Wipeout for The Pony. That's the TV show where people make idiots of themselves trying to get through an obstacle course of things like a ledge against a wall that has about a hundred boxing gloves that come out of holes to punch them in various anatomical parts. Or some giant red ball things they have to jump across or land in the water. The Pony wants me to watch with him.

It ain't I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, but it will do.

Friday, June 5, 2009


As we were leaving to go pick up my summer paychecks, The Pony dropped a bomb on me. "Oh, did you go in the bathroom downstairs? Because I saw a bug by the door. It was like a cricket, red and black. Or maybe it was a large crawdad. I came up to tell you, but you were in the shower. Then I forgot."

Um...what kind of freakish mutant bug could I have that can be described as a large crawdad? Because in my creek-wading experience, crawdads are larger than any bugs I've seen in my house. Maybe a praying mantis could beat out a crawdad, but mostly, bugs are smaller. I tried to get more information straight from The Pony's mouth.

How long was it?
Not as long as that millipede.
Was it a spider?
No. Not enough legs.
Was it a scorpion?
I don't know. What's a scorpion look like?
It has a stinger that may be coiled in a curve.
How tall was it?
Taller than the millipede. About twice as tall.
And how long?
Not as long as it was tall.
How was it red and black. Red head, black legs? What?
It had stripes around it. But I only saw one side.
How tall was it?
(The Pony held his thumb and finger at around 2 inches).
And how long?
About the same.
Was it going into the bathroom or coming out?
It was headed out the door.
Did it have a fat body, like a ladybug?
No. It was like a cricket.
Do you know what a cricket looks like?
Did it have hairy legs?
I couldn't tell.
Crickets have hairy legs.
Maybe it was like a grasshopper. I know what a grasshopper looks like.
Did it jump?
No. It didn't move.
Did it have a face?
No. It had antennae.
Was it a wasp?

I can't imagine what that was. The color issue is stumping me. And a 2-inch tall bug is not something I want walking around under my feet. Here's a description for the APB.

Be on the lookout for the following fugitive:

2 inches tall
2 inches long
red and black striped
six legs

The suspect was last seen in the vicinity of Hillbilly Mom's NASCAR bathroom. Suspect is not known to be armed with a stinger.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Welcome To Paradise

Yesterday, The Pony and I went to see UP. It was fantastic. I usually tolerate the kid movies, but this one was great. We took my mom along with us, and she says she would like to see it again. She has volunteered to take the #1 son when he returns from his basketball camp, but HH saw a commercial for UP, and declared, "That looks like a good movie." It made me cry. The movie, not HH's statement. That's not unusual, though, because even Barnyard made me cry, when that Sam Elliott bull died.

There's not much happening here at the Mansion. On the weekend, Farmer H made an amazing discovery...according to Farmer H. He came in the front door, carrying a red Solo cup. "I figured out how the chickens get the eggs out! This one is still soft, and it's pink." Well, la di freakin' EUREKA! Farmer H tried to shove it in my face, but I told him I had no desire to see it. And furthermore, I told him to heave it off the back porch. "No. It will be fine once I harden it up with some cold water."

That was something I did not like the sound of. (Unlike a good sentence ending with a preposition). We have been finding about 6 eggs per day. That's 42 eggs per week for those of you who are not Mabel. I don't need some discolored soft egg that might just be poisonous when we have a plethora of perfectly fine eggs to pick from. (Say it: preposition). Farmer H ran cold water in that cup for nigh on 5 minutes. "Huh." From that, I gathered that either the egg did not harden up, or it did not turn white. According to The Pony, Farmer H threw the egg off the back deck into the woods. And later, Farmer H told me, "Well, we've had our first brown egg." I'm not so sure. That hermaphroditic red hen who on some days is a rooster, according to Farmer H, because it does not crow, but has spurs, has never laid an egg. That I am aware of.

Hillmomba. Just one big millipede-infested, snakeskin covered, soft-pink-eggy paradise.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Rustler's Identity

When we last convened, I was having issues with a rustler. I suspected the true identity of the rustler to be a field mouse or a giant arachnid. As Mattie Ross said to the Texan, LaBoeuf, in True Grit, when he announced that earlier in the evening he had a mind to steal a kiss from her, but now he'd sooner give her some licks with his belt: "One would be as unpleasant as the other."

Shortly after publishing yesterday's post, I heard the rustling again. MUCH CLOSER. In fact, it was about a foot from my feet. I called for The Pony. "I see it, Mom! I see what it is. It is coming toward you." All I had to say to that was "EEEEEEEEE!" The Pony was calm. He was an explorer discovering a new basement species. "It's one of those millipedes." YUCK! We had one of them before, you know, discovered by the boys when we got home from school one day. Here's the original post, from my Redneck Review blog, back when The Pony was only 6, and #1 was 10 years old. Just a side trip down memory lane, with pictures by #1.


Monday, September 26, 2005


We had quite a shock this evening as I was preparing supper. By that, I mean I was eating the pepperoni off #2 son's Little Caesar's $5.00 pizza while he ran down to the basement fridge to fetch a mini Sierra Mist. The boy returned empty-handed.

Where is your soda? (Gotta get all the food groups, you know.)
I couldn't get one loose from the ring thing. Oh, and there is a giant
worm down there.
A big worm. It is by the TV.
#1! Go get your brother a soda. You were supposed to take them
loose from the plastic, so now you have to get it for him.

This got no argument from #1 son. Verrrrry unusual. No doubt, he
wanted to see the worm. He ran down and got the soda.

Hey! There's no giant worm down here!
Yes there is. Look on the rug by the TV.
Is it like a fishing worm?
No. It is shiny.
Does it have legs?
I don't know.
Is it slimy?
No, just shiny. It is crawling.

He came running up the steps, squealing like a little girl. Then he
grabbed his camera and took off back to the basement. Nerd.
He snapped a pic and brought it to me, because I refused to go
down there or even look.

I called my Hillbilly Husband, who had just left work for the 40
minute drive home. He would know what to do.

Is it a snake?
Is it moving? You better watch it or it'll get away.

No way was I watching that thing for 40 minutes. I got a glass
sun-tea jug. #1 said, "That won't fit."
I got a glass soup bowl.

Can't you get a plastic one?
Yeah. If you want it to get away!
Get the glass one!
It's a good thing you didn't step on it. Then you would get the heart
and the colon and the organs all over your foot.

#1 took the bowl and trapped the worm. Then he said it was moving. Nobody would go back downstairs. We could see the bowl through the stairwell. HH got home and his buddy, Buddy, called. "Get off the freakin' phone! You can call him back!"

HH picked up the worm with his bare hands. That's what he is good for. Buggy things and cleaning up vomit. He held it in his palm. "It's just a rolie-polie bug." MY A$$! It was a rolie-polie bug four inches long, curled up like one of those big colorful lollipops on a wooden stick. Only he was battleship gray. And probably not so tasty.

HH waltzed him around the kitchen, near my food, and then took
him out to the porch to set him free. What's this world coming to?
Climb into the handbaskets, people, for the long slow ride to HELL.
Can we not even kill a BUG anymore?

Here he is in all his glory, crawling across our 2 x 6 porch
boards. So he can come back in, I guess.

I know it is a millipede. This is as good as any textbook photo.
Props to my 10-year-old photographer. So I know it's not a
bug, it's an arthropod. I used to teach science for cryin'
out loud! These things are creepy. I do not want them in
my house. There is a mysterious case of the open basement
door that I have yet to investigate. I will keep you posted.
posted by Hillbilly Mom @ 6:40 PM 6 comments


The latest millipede was not so imposing, though he was nearly as long as this one, only not so fat. He marched relentlessly toward me on his theoretical thousand legs. I screamed to The Pony to do something about it. "I'm not touching him." I grabbed a bendy straw and an empty Sun Chips bag. Those bags are made of foil-like stuff. "Here. Take this. And this. Scoop him in!" The Pony was up to the challenge. He imprisoned that impertinent arthropod before it strode across my toes. I grabbed that bag and folded the top and stapled it with my free two-inch mini-stapler from the teacher's pack at Office Max a couple years ago. Mission accomplished. We're a couple of MacGyvers, The Pony and I. And not like they portray him as MacGruber on SNL or the Pepsi commercial.

The Rustler will be going on a long trip tomorrow, courtesy of Waste Management. Let's hope he's not one of those freakish pets that find their way home, no matter how long or how many miles it takes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Once Upon An Afternoon Dreary

Once upon a noontime dreary, while I pondered, dull and weary,

Over a many a queer and boring subject for my daily blog,

While I typed, my fingers bustling, suddenly there came a rustling

As of something gently fussing, rustling through my mental fog.

" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "trying to disrupt my blog.

Only this, no feral hog."


I think I have a visitor. That's not the same as an invited guest. This is a visitor that is heard and not seen. As I sit, typing, in the dark confines of my basement lair, I hear noises behind me. Oh, it's not the good stuff like footsteps or stacks of magazines falling or peeing in a toilet or voices or doors opening. None of the previous phantom sounds that sometimes manifest themselves in my Mansion. No.

This is a rustling sound. Rustling, like a rodent. Let's be clear. I don't live in filth, like those collector people who can't throw anything away, and I don't have a three-foot thick carpet of old Domino's Pizza boxes that I walk on. No. But I have a basement office in which I store things that I have carted home from school as I no longer need them. Cart them home in plastic bags from The Devil's Playground, or in cardboard boxes from Save-A-Lot, and set them down, and don't always put them back on the shelves promptly. Things like books, and videotapes, and three-ring binders, and in/out box thingies.

Now there is that rustling. I called The Pony in for support, and it stopped. We turned on the lights. The Pony left to watch TV, because that's more important than his mother being woven into a giant spider web and having her body fluids sucked out until she is just a husk of her former self. There's that rustling again.

OK, so I called in The Pony again, and he heard it. He says it is coming from under his desk in the corner, from a Devil's bag. It is so old that it is the blue plastic. There must be an extension cord or something in it, because it had to be put there by #1, who does all of the computer connecting. The Pony was just saying that he saw something when the phone rang. It scared me out of my skin, that durn Loretta Lynn singing Fist City. Which tells you that it was my cell phone, which doesn't work very good down here, Note To Self: don't expect to use my cell phone if I'm ever in Joe Biden's secret bunker.

The call was my mother, warning us that there's a severe thunderstorm warning until 7:00 p.m. She's better than a weather radio, the ol' gal! But as I was telling her we were having a bit of a crisis, my cell phone decided I had talked long enough. I shut down my dial-up and tried the land line, but wouldn't you know it, she was trying to call me back. I finally got ahold of her, and explained my situation. In the meantime, The Pony had laid down on the tile floor and was slithering like a snake towards that desk. The Pony is a chicken with things supernatural, but a regular explorer when it comes to wildlife. I told him to knock it off until I was off the phone. He kept insisting he saw something yellow.

My mom's idea was to take a book and put it on the bag so whatever is in there can't get out. Of course that was her idea. She is 10 miles away and doesn't hear rustling behind her back in the dark. Perhaps I've never mentioned that the first year we had finished the basement, one of the boys pointed to the back of a fluffy stuffed chair and said, "Spider." I turned my head to look, and saw one as big as my hand. Just like #1 told me about one in the cabin. It was not furry like a tarantula. Just a big-a$ spider walking across the back of a chair. We called for HH, but he never arrived in time, and we never saw it again. How long do spiders live, anyway? My mom's idea was to put a book on the opening of the Devil's bag so the critter could not escape. My mom assured me that if I didn't show up at our arranged meeting place at 2:15, she will go to school and drive #1 to his open gym. THEN she will come out here to see if I'm woven into a tangled web. Because that's how she rolls. The boys outrank me in her affections.

The Pony did not like the book idea, since I was expecting HIM to put the book on the bag. We have decided to let Farmer H deal with it. He might be needed an addition to his menagerie. I'm hoping it's just another field mouse that has found it's way into the Mansion by way of the welcome portal we call the crack under the basement door. That happened years ago, and we had to trap that cute little uninvited visitor, which as you know involves the snapping of his neck. The cats and dogs have left us a dead mouse, bluebird, and frog already this week. They have let something invade the perimeter. A court martial may be in order. Oh, and this morning, I killed another spider in the kitchen. I'm about ready to cry "ORKIN!"

All is strangely quiet at this moment.