Monday, August 31, 2009

That's OUR Crazy

Here's another one for the Which State Has More Crazies contest. A 69-year-old Missouri woman forced a plane to abort its landing when she walked out onto the runway and fired a .22 pistol at it. I guess she made her point, which was that planes fly too close to her house. That ol' gal must have been a bitter, prayin' gunclinger. Better put her on that terrorist watch list. Oops! We can't use the T word anymore. Put her on the man-made disaster watch list.

Gosh. Ol' Gal walked right through an airport, saying she was going to shoot a plane. You'd think we would be more security-conscious here in Missouri, what with so many hillbillies totin' guns around in their pockets, and especially after that nutty old man went and shot up the Holocaust Museum.

Missouri. Our old folks are mad as heck, and they ain't about to go to any end-of-life counseling session every five years. They will go out in a blaze of glory.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

That's Who You Call

The #1 son had an eventful evening at his ghost hunt. He was not able to stay until the 4:00 a.m. ending time, due to his cousin's boyfriend having sore feet. Yes. A nineteen year old had sore feet and was ready to leave by 1:30 a.m., even though Cousin E and #1 could have spooked all night. Here are a couple of pictures #1 took that he thought might show something. Then I'll relate his tale of the evening.

This lady is one of the people running the ghost hunt. She was pointing over to an area where they were going next. The little light where she is pointing is a street light. You can't see it here, but when he enlarged the picture, and looked over that headstone right behind her, at about the 10 o'clock position, there is an orb. When he zoomed in on the orb, it was just a faint speckled-y kind of sphere. They saw nothing while they were watching in person. The Lady is holding a flashlight that they use to see if it can be turned on by an entity.

Next, there is a photo of the place that Lady was pointing to. On the left of the left headstone is a streetlight and a star. That orby thingy in the tree was not there to the naked eye, but only showed up in the photo. If you zoom in on this orb, it has layers, like a jawbreaker candy. I can see both of the orbs in the photos as being dust particles, but I don't know why they seem to have a different composition. Oh, and if you look at that boy's left arm, he has picked up a little mist from somewhere. I don't think it's some camera anomaly, because it wasn't by the face that #1 cropped out. Lady is bending down to set a flashlight. It is stuck in Play-Doh so it won't tip over or be jostled. They use a flashlight that you can unscrew the top so the light goes off, and leave it barely apart enough that the light is off. Lady asked if there was anyone there in the graveyard who could turn on that light. And it went on. That's with nobody standing by it or walking by.

The ghost tour was of an old church and graveyard, a house, and an old store. #1 had to leave before they got to the best one, the old store. In that house, he said the minute he stepped down into the living room, he had a feeling like, "No. Get out." But he stayed. In fact, as his group was leaving the house after the tour, he went back in. More on that later. He said that inside, one of the electromagnetic detector thingies went wild, and they followed the signal upstairs, into a bedroom where it quit, then picked it up again in the hall and followed it to a kid's room where there was a creepy doll laying in the bed. The flashlight trick was tried at the kitchen table, but there was no action. Lady had explained that there is said to be a female presence in the room who will only communicate with women, that she liked to come around while the dishes were being done or some such thing.

As the group left, #1 said he was going back in for a minute, and Cousin E went with him. The detector thingy detected something. They went into the kitchen, and Cousin E sat down at the table. She did not touch the table. She said, "If you're here, can you turn on the light?" AND IT WENT ON. Right then. Cousin E and #1 gave each other the that's weird look. They had taken the flashlight temperature before, and it was 68 or 70 degrees. Other people came back in, and the light went off. The temperature of the flashlight was then 58 degrees. They tried it again, but nothing happened. After everyone else left, Cousin E and #1 went back and did the same thing again, and the light came on again.

Sooo...#1 said he had a good time, and would like to go back again next year, and stay for the whole tour.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Who You Gonna Call?

The #1 son has gone on a ghost hunt tonight. It's a real, organized ghost hunt. This is the third year for it. One of my students mentioned that she was going again, and I said #1 would like something like that. I did not want to go, what with it being from 6:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. Early-To-Bed H would not have wanted to go, I presumed, since he goes to bed around 9:00. So it was left to Cousin E to accompany minor #1 on the hunt. She is bringing along her boyfriend.

The tickets were ordered by Student's mom or aunt online, and I paid Student in cash that day. Good thing. The event sold out. Student said that everyone would meet at the Super 8 to sign waivers and divide into groups, then they would drive to the tour area, from where they would walk for the rest of the night.

Cousin E, Boyfriend, and #1 arrived at the Super 8 at 6:00. The employees of Super 8 said no room was booked by the Paranormal People. #1 called me. Like I could do anything. He had tried to track down Student's phone number yesterday, texting mutual friends. No luck. He found Student on FaceBook, and tried to add himself as a friend in an effort to ask for her cell phone number in case they couldn't find each other tonight. Because Student and her party of five had #1's tickets, you see. No luck. She rejected him.

I did a quick google and found out on the Paranormal People's website that they were meeting at some Sweet Shoppe place. Boyfriend knew where to find it. In the meantime, #1 said that the Super 8 people said one other person had come in around 5:00 looking for the same deal, and that they checked the schedule, and found out that the Paranormal People had canceled their conference room. Go figure.

Next thing I know, #1 called and said Student's mom called him, having gotten his number from his older brother, whom Student's older brother knows and called. She wanted to make sure he knew to go to the Sweet Shoppe place instead of the Super 8. So #1 got his tickets. But he had to lie and say he was 18, because he didn't have a signature of a parent or guardian. I thought Cousin E could act as guardian, being 20 years old, but maybe not.

I'm guessing that everything will turn out all right. #1 said that Cousin E was already scared, and they hadn't even left the Sweet Shoppe in broad daylight.

We'll see what develops.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Songbook Of My Life

My life is like an Ozark Mountain Daredevils song. Gotcha! I bet you thought I was going to say my life is like a Seinfeld episode, didn't you? Well, tonight it's a song. Those of you unfamiliar with this homegrown southwestern Missouri band may not have heard a little song called "Followin' the Way That I Feel." That's OK. I'll share a bit of the lyrics so you see how my life is just like that song. It goes a little somethin' like this: "Lately I've gone a lot of places, and seen a lot of things I didn't need to see..." Yep. That's my life. Except for the part about going a lot of places, because I don't really go anywhere except to one place, which is work, which is my classroom. And I don't see a lot of things I don't need to see. It's more like every now and then, I hear something I didn't need to hear. So if I were to add this song to the playlist for my garage band, Mommy's Got A Headache, I would sing it like: "Lately I've stayed in one place, and heard a thing or two I didn't need to hear."

Just today, for instance, I heard: "You're going to wash penises and balls, and they're going to be wrinkly, and they're going to be hairy." OK. That's just too much information for me. There I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business, telling Hoodrat to take off his hoodie hood because it was black and he was sitting under my old 2007 Far Side calendar cartoons that I stuck on the wall, and he looked just like the Grim Reaper in the one that showed a black-robed family through their picture window, with someone coming up their sidewalk, past their picket fence and mailbox with "The Deaths" painted on it, and the family is saying, "Every time we sit down, there's someone else knocking at the door." Yeah. That's why I told him to take it off, and because a hood is like a hat, and it's against school rules to wear it in the building, and besides, my self-proclaimed favorite, and close personal friend of Hoodrat, had just hollered to me, "Do you see that? Hoodrat is wearing his hood! I think he needs to take it off."

I told Hoodrat to dehood, and that's when I heard it. "You're going to wash penises and balls, and they're going to be wrinkly, and they're going to be hairy." It didn't come from Hoodrat. It came from my self-proclaimed BFF. This is the class that goes to the tech school. They're a good group this year. Two of them who sit right in front of my desk were discussing what their tech school teacher told them today in their CNA class. Somebody had asked a question about what they're going to do when they go to an actual nursing home later in the school year. The answer was that they would be giving baths, and somebody asked about how thorough these baths would be, so the teacher gave a graphic explanation.

I really didn't need to hear that. Then BFF's cousin, who is 10 times louder than BFF, and who sits two rows in front of BFF, heard it, and said, "Yeah. She told us, 'You're going to be washing penises and balls, and they're going to be wrinkly, and they're going to be hairy.' I couldn't believe she said that." Much like myself. I couldn't believe my students were quoting it in my classroom. To add harmony to my song, Self-Proclaimed Favorite said, "Are you going to let them talk that way in your classroom?"

My life. Just like a 30-year-old hillbilly-band song.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Woe Is Mrs. Wendly Kate

I mentioned the other day that the #1 son listed his iPhone for sale on eBay for $500. It's a nice little phone, unlocked, no defects, with $70 of extra dealybobs to go with it. About 24 hours later, he had a customer who bought it with Buy It Now. He was pleased, having put in a bid on a different phone himself.

About an hour after the purchase, he got an email which requested that he mail the iPhone the next morning, so the buyer's sister would get it on time. RED FLAG #1. Nobody expects an item to be mailed that fast. What's the rush?

Woe is Mrs. Wendly Kate. Seems that somebody has been using her eBay account for fraud, so right after she clicked Buy It Now, she had to delete her eBay account. RED FLAG #2. Never sell an item on eBay to a person with no eBay account.

The email also asked for the total price, with shipping, which was already listed on the eBay page. The buyer, Mrs. Wendly Kate, wanted to know how much and how to pay through PayPal, which was the only method of payment the #1 son would accept. He sent a reply with the amount, and said that he would ship the iPhone on Thursday afternoon if the amount had been credited through PayPal by then. Mrs. Wendly Kate shot back an email that he should just mail the iPhone Tuesday morning, and that if she and her husband got paid Tuesday, they could credit the PayPal account that evening. RED FLAG #3. Only a fool would ship the item before payment.

Mrs. Wendly Kate was quite insistent. She sent the shipping address, which just happened to be in Nigeria. RED FREAKIN' FLAG #4 ! ! ! Why would the #1 son ship an item to Nigeria when his auction specified U. S. shipping only?

Within the next hour, the #1 son emailed eBay and terminated the auction, due to suspicion of fraud. That wasn't one of eBay's choices of reasons to cancel. I think he chose the one about selling an item but not receiving payment. He included the red flags in the comment section. The site said that it could take up to 7 days to terminate an auction. He had a reply in about 5 minutes that his auction was terminated due to the buyer having no eBay account. That means #1 got his listing fees back.

Double woe is Mrs. Wendly Kate. Her PayPal account has been debited for $550! She really needs to know when that item is shipping. I know, because I got an email from PayPal saying that they need the shipping confirmation number before they can credit my PayPal account with the $550 that the verified Mrs. Wendly Kate has been debited. Funny, that email. It had two different fonts in my message. And even though it had some actual links to actual PayPal, and warned me to open a new browser before contacting said, "So now you can ship and send the shipping confirmation number to us."

Mrs. Wendly Kate must have nothing better to do than buy expensive items on eBay and email the sellers. The #1 son received two emails from eBay, since he used his email address for buyer contacts. Wouldn't you know it? eBay said that Mrs. Wendly Kate's eBay account had been reinstated, so now it was OK to mail the item that she had already paid for. Mrs. Wendly Kate is an expert spoofer. She had an engaging replica of an actual eBay email. Except that nobody on eBay's official site speaks in the same style of English as Mrs. Wendly Kate.

Mrs. Wendly Kate must have amassed her large fortune with which she buys eBay electronics by winning a lottery in Nigeria. Maybe she can send me that money for safekeeping, and give me a cut.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Now You Read Me, Now You Don't

I'm not really here tonight. I am at The Pony's band instrument extravaganza. So I will time shift and tell you a little about yesterday.

We left right after school, as soon as legally allowed, making sure we waited until The Pony arrived on the bus from Basementia. For the last two years, I have been accustomed to staying after school to finish my grading and run copies and finish all the other odds and ends that pop up throughout the day. This year, I have tried to hurry through that minutia and take a 30-minute walk in the hallowed halls of Newmentia. Mabel and I used to do so several years ago, before she got all hoity-toity and joined a gym. I don't hold it against you, Mabel. Different strokes for different folks.

The problem this year seems to stem from my desk. I moved it from the front of the room over to the space between the windows that face out front. You wouldn't think that would matter one iota. But it does. People used to walk past the door, look in at me, and keep walking. Now, they look in, I look up, and in they traipse, ready to suck the time right out of me. It's odd, really. #1 says that to the person in the hall, it looks like I am waving my hand, saying, "Come on in." I don't think so.

The only invited guest was Mabel herself. Others just assumed that I was there to shoot the breeze with them. Or entertain them. One day, I didn't get my walking shoes on until 4:30. That's too late, people. I might as well live there. In the span of three days, my visitors included: ScienceBuddy, Arch Nemesis, NotACook, ArtsyFartsy, Custodial-D, Mr. A$$hole(that's not his name or personality, just what it sounds like over the intercom), AuntieJ, and one of #1's cronies. The cronies are not allowed in my room. Mostly, they go to the computer lab. See, I'm real good at sending them to someone else's room. But on this day, the crony who was not allowed in my room was there for 45 minutes. I can't get anything done like that. In addition, I told him I was ready to change my shoes, and wanted some privacy. The boys thought I was joking. I was not.

Anyhoo, we escaped by 3:15 yesterday, so that I could walk at home and #1 could practice basketball and I could do my little bit of schoolwork in my basement lair. Oh, I walked around my porch all right. In the 80 degree heat that was like an oven on the front porch, and merely like the back burner on the shaded back porch. #1, on the other hand, promptly called one of his old teachers to offer her his iPhone for $350, even though I told him not to, because he currently has an auction on eBay for it with a Buy It Now for $500, and also because it's not teacher payday until September 5, which means that teachers have been living on their bundle of summer checks since June 5, and it's doubtful that anybody has a spare $350 just laying around. So there was no practicing of basketball until 5:00 anyway, and I got all heated up, and didn't want to do that brung-home schooly stuff.

At least people did not invite themselves in like I was some freakish stationary Welcome Wagon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Evidence

If there was ever any doubt that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is Even Steven, I submit the latest evidence.

Today we left school as soon as The Pony got off the bus, and I took the boys to get a Slurpee. They're only 88 cents, you know. I'd been enjoying a Crystal Light Wild Strawberry a couple times a week, but then the nearest 7-Eleven had the unmitigated gall to switch flavors for absolutely no reason. By cracky, I'll mitigate their gall! Eight flavors, and no Crystal Light. What's the world coming to? So to boycott their business, I took my boys to the other 7-Eleven, about 4 miles away. Because in Hillmomba, you can never have too many Slurpees or Big Gulps.

Well, the joke was on me, because the competitor likewise had no Crystal Light flavor. However, we were already there, and the #1 son wanted a large Blue Raspberry concoction, and The Pony, who seems to be coming down with something that is probably not swine flu, decided to try a half Blue Raspberry and half Cherry in a medium cup, because he wasn't sure how much he wanted, and I took a baby cup of some Orange Dream thingy. Never mind that no matter what size, the cost was 88 cents. We are not wasteful people. Except for that half gallon of Blue Raspberry that erupted out of The Pony's cup like the last day of Pompeii. Slurpee is quite unpredictable. Either you fill your cup to the brim and by the time you pay, it has settled to half a cup, or you leave expansion room and it swells up like Rosie O'Donnell after eating too much salt.

On a whim, because I had $60 left over from my weekly cash allowance last week, I splurged on a $20 scratch-off ticket. I have not been playing scratchers for the longest time. Our total, with a cheeseburger bite hot dog thingy for #1 that is in my opinion the unhealthiest food item on the planet, was $24.96. I paid, and we carried our icee goodness out to T-Hoe. The Pony was allowed to scratch the ticket, because I love him more, of course, as stated by #1 the minute I handed it over to The Pony. I did not have very high hopes, what with the odds on this ticket being 1 in 3, which are the best odds you can get on Missouri scratchers, but hey, I still had a 2 in 3 chance of losing. I am nothing if not a realist.

The Pony scratched slowly. Things looked grim. Then he announced, "It's a winner." He scratched the prize, and it was $25.

Yep. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Even Steven.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Smorgasbord 8/23/09

Surprise, surprise! One of our rabbits was missing from the pen this morning, and turned up later dead, dead, dead on the front porch. Shh...Farmer H just told The Pony that it must have got out. Genius at work, Farmer H.

The Devil's Playground is now The Devil's Crackhouse. The Devil's minions were busily toting merchandise from shelves where customers can find it to shelves that have no rhyme nor reason. Oh, and the big aisle signs declaring what is found up that alley are liars. Not that The Devil's Playground was ever aesthetically pleasing, but this new configuration makes it look like a run-down K-Mart. The Pony and I searched like the devil for a large Symphony candy bar, a can of deluxe mixed nuts, and teriyaki beef jerky. All for naught. Upon checking out, when the poor addled checker asked if we found everything all right, I boldly declared, "No. We don't know where you hid the Symphony, mixed nuts, and beef jerky." She shook her head. "Oh, they are along the back wall now, by the restrooms and lay-a-way." Of course they are. Because all of the other food items are way over on the SIDE of the store.

The #1 son finally went outside to practice basketball today. All summer, he drug himself out of bed (with only me yelling at him every five minutes for 30 minutes) by 8:30 so he could practice. Then school started, and he had not touched a basketball until today. I was shocked! That boy has a move! Yes, it's true! A legitimate pull-up jumper! By cracky, he might get in a game this year! He just needs to toughen his outer shell. He has to start stealing the candy, not being the baby. He will have to act a little jerky like those other hotshots. Intimidation is the key. He must be more aggressive to get noticed, become the concussor instead of the concussee.

The Pony is taking beginning band. He wants to play trombone. We have to attend a meeting Tuesday night about instruments. I think the smart thing to do right now is to rent one for a year, then see if he plans to stick with it. The local music store has an arrangement with the school that is very reasonable. You can apply any rental payments to the purchase, or to an upgrade on a better instrument later. My only issue is with The Pony carrying that trombone on and off the bus. I may end up driving to Basementia to pick him up if it is a problem.

It's still two weeks until Labor Day. I don't know why we have to start school in the middle of the summer. Swine flu will be here before you know it. There are already two cases in our county. I'm a handwashin' fool. I'd hose down my classroom with Lysol every hour if it was socially acceptable. Last year I was sick about six times, the most EVAH in my teaching career. Those walking, talking little petrie dishes need to keep their distance from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Not Tonight

Hillmomba is experiencing technical difficulties. It's not worth the wait.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mystery Diagnosis, Hillmomba Style

Mrs. HM is tired tonight, people. Tired like George Costanza, but reluctant to have a sleeping chamber built under her desk with a little shelf for her alarm clock.

In addition, a strange wound appeared on her right elbow two days ago. A wound which was noticed due to the pain, yet no recollection of injury can be found in Mrs. HM's memory. The wound itself is unremarkable. It is a dime-sized blister just behind the pointy bone of Mrs. HM's elbow. A regular blister, like a flap of skin with fluid built up under it. What calamity could have befallen Mrs. HM to leave such a mark? She has only two random guesses.

Perhaps Mrs. HM got too close to the oven door, or brushed her elbow against a hot pizza pan sitting on top of the stove. That's a longshot. Mrs. HM is very careful around pizza pans. They contain PIZZA! Maybe it was an inadvertent sizzle against ebony T-Hoe, who sits in the sun on the blacktop parking lot all day.

The longest of long shots might deem it a boredom injury. As in a blister formed by the repeated rubbing of Mrs. HM's elbow against her wooden desk, as she rests her heavy head on her palm, and sighs dramatically. 12,000 times a day.

There must be some conspiracy afoot. A Mrs. Hillbilly Mom elbow blister conspiracy.

I blame Claire McCaskill.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Random Thought Thursday 8-20-09

Parents. Talk to your children. Show them some attention. Because if you don't, they will glom onto ME and talk my ear off with nothingness when I should be doing somethingness. I don't mind talking to a kid for a few minutes during down time. But not the SAME kid, EVERY day, for 10-15 minutes at a time because they just don't get the social clues that the conversation is over, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has other things to do, like supervise her class, or the hallway, or perhaps teach the lesson, and you are monopolizing Mrs. HM's time at the expense of the other students.

DiGiorno makes a mighty tasty pizza.

I don't suppose I won the $260 million PowerBall drawing last night. There was only one winner, but the last time I checked, I did not buy my ticket in South Carolina.

MSNBC does not let truth get in the way of reporting the news.

Bowling leagues have started again. Now Responsibility Shirker H will start working Saturdays. It happens every year. Nothing to do on Saturday but go to flea markets and play with his chickens and rabbits? No work. Take boys to their bowling league? Gotta work. Funny, that coincidence.

The #1 son awoke with a headache and nausea, but no fever. I sent him to school. He didn't look swiney to me. Now he's getting the sniffles. I think he will recover.

My mom had two teeth pulled to fit in a bridge. Her dentist always bruises her face. She looks like she went to an Old West traveling dentist/snake-oil salesman, and got sucker-punched. I hope he at least gave her a couple of shots of whiskey. Beware, Mabel. I know he's your dentist, too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Call Me. I Dare You.

I'm talkin' to YOU, AT&T! Yes, YOU! Go ahead and give me that survey call within 48 hours of my visit to the AT&T Store. Go ahead. Make my day.

Last night, the #1 son got to fiddling about with our AT&T statement. I think he checks on whether he has used too much of unlimited something or other, just so he can mention it several times before I find it on the bill. So he comes downstairs all indignant while I am trying to watch that very special Big Brother episode where they finally say what happened to Chima, whether she quit or was kicked out. "AT&T is billing us for that laptop connect card that didn't work. Our bill is over $400." Yeah. Welcome to my world.

I told him to call corporate, but he said it was after business hours. He said that the girl last time had told us to bring in the receipt if anything showed up on our bill. You know, from that AT&T laptop connect card that didn't work at our house. The one they advertise with a three-day FREE trial, that we returned in less than 24 hours.

We went to the AT&T Store after school. There were over twenty people milling around that crackerbox. Six of them were a dude with a white ZZ Top beard in a motorized wheelchair and his adult son and four grandkids under the age of four. They were told to sit in the corner, where they performed various feats of gymnastics including a backbend against the front door when we tried to enter. The dude wheeled nervous laps around the store, herding those kids back to the corner with each trip. And each trip, he would say, "Don't make me have to kill you." I kid you not. Then they started clamoring that they had to pee, so the son/dad took them outside to the parking lot. When he returned, he shared too much information in that he had opened both car doors so they couldn't be seen, and let them pee there. That didn't phase me. I knew that by the time I got out of there, that pee would be long evaporated.

We stood (you know, because there are no chairs in an AT&T Store, because that would discourage disgruntled customers from leaving in a huff, but would instead encourage them to wait comfortably nurse their grudges until time to let fly their grievances) for 50 minutes awaiting our turn. #1 went outside after 20 minutes and called AT&T corporate office people, and after 20 minutes of haggling, had a code number and a promise that the matter would be taken care of by September 2. Isn't that sweet of them? That's the due date on our bill. When we finally got to talk to Jenny (REAL NAME), the one who took our returned connect card and said everything would be fine, she said not to pay the bill until we knew the right amount. I said, "Won't that make me late on my payment, and then I'll be charged a late fee?" Jenny said no, that the bill wasn't past due until September 12. Uh huh. But I like to pay my bills when I get them, unless it's that pesky internet provider bill, and then I sometimes wait three weeks. Which is what started this ball of crap rolling.

Anyhoo, Jenny said that I should call HER on September 2, on her cell phone, which she will answer, and I won't have to take an hour out of my schedule to drive there, and another hour to wait in line at the circus.

Who's betting I have to go back down there? Who's betting that Jenny even works there on September 2? Who wants me to post Jenny's cell phone number?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Thief Is Among Us

This morning I was in a hurry to get my materials ready for 1st hour. It was not even the #1 son's fault, as we left home at a reasonable minute. I should have run my copies the day before, but I didn't take the time after my after-school walk. I was in a hurry because I had to stop by the pharmacy. And also buy a PowerBall ticket.

Lucky for me, I have my materials in folders in the top drawer of my file cabinet. That's what I did for a week after school was out, while #1 was in summer school P.E. I grabbed the three originals and headed for the workroom. There was not a soul around. I thought I saw a tumbleweed blow behind the snack machine. It was already 7:55, and the first bell rings at 8:11. I ran 90 of my one-sided copies and set them on a table near the copier. I straightened out a crooked side of one of my originals, then started the two-sided copies. In the meantime, I saw a performance event transparency that had been left on the copier. It looked good, so I hoisted it over to the other copier, the one that had a man laying behind it yesterday, and ran myself one paper copy. Making the most of my time, I stacked it with my one-sideds and originals, and went into the bathroom. You never know when you'll get another chance until lunch.

While sitting on the toilet (hope that's not too much info), I heard someone come in and start using the copier. I also heard the men's toilet flush, and somebody leave the workroom. Don't jump to conclusions. That doesn't necessarily mean that a male teacher had used the facilities. Some females regularly partake of the man john, though how they can stomach it, I'll never understand. After flushing three times (not because I left a doody, but because those toilets would even try the patience of Sheryl Crow, that environmentally conscious ol' Missouri gal with the idea of only allowing each individual one square of toilet paper), I washed up and went out to get my copies.

THEY WERE GONE!!! Everything! No papers on the table, no papers in the copier, nothing on the glass. Gone with the wind. Gone, baby, gone. Vanished. By now, it was creeping toward 8:05. Mr. EndofHall, Mabel's school neighbor, was running copies. I asked him if he moved my papers. "No. I didn't notice any papers. Someone was just here. Huh. Who was that?" Mr. EndofHall is slow and steady. Usually, it's a virtue. For my purposes this morning, not so much. He finally murmured that maybe it was MyCousintheLunchInquisitor. I took off for her room, which is clear down on Mabel's end of the building, but before I got far, I spied her in the AD's office. "Did you move my copies in the copy room?" Slowly, she turned. Hey! If they want privacy to discuss the dance team, they oughta close the door. "I have not been in the workroom this morning." I apologized, explaining that Mr. EndofHall had fingered her as the culprit. I turned to find him in the hall right behind me. "Maybe it wasn't her. Now let's see...who was that?" Just then, a student walked by. "I saw Mrs. ScienceBuddy leaving that teacher room a while ago. She went that way." He pointed to her room--the last one at my end of the hall.

There she was, walking towards me. "Did you take my copies out of the workroom?" She slowed to an Olympic record-setting racewalker speed. "I don't think so. Let's go look." Well. In her room, she had at least 10 stacks of future torture laid out for her students. She has a plethora of countertop space, having half a lab at the back of her classroom. She perused her vast surface area. "Oh. Are these yours? I don't know how I got them." I snatched them up. "You're killin' me!" She apologized. At least she's a well-mannered thief. I got back to my room right as the bell rang.

Between 1st and 2nd hour, ScienceBuddy trekked back to the workroom. That's not the unusual part. She goes every hour for the bathroom. But she said, "Hey, somehow I didn't make enough copies for my class."

It's karma. Behold the Stevening.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The So-Called Favorite

The #1 son has his nose out of joint because he says that I favor The Pony. This is because every time he is mean to The Pony, I take The Pony's side. Let's face it, #1 is twice the size of The Pony. He is more than three years older. The Pony has taken his lumps from the time he could sit up, all wobbly in that new baby skill kind of way, leaning from side to side, reaching for a toy, when #1 would run through the room, pat him heavily on the head like a Whack-A-Mole Game missing its hammer, and shout, "Baby Smacky! Baby Smacky!" until The Pony toppled over like David Hasselhoff ready to eat a floor hamburger. So perhaps you can see why I side with The Pony. Everybody roots for the underdog. In fact, I have told #1 forever that "When you are mean to The Pony, it makes me love him more." Not, it makes me love him more than you, mind you. But that it makes me love him more. As in, he needs extra love at the moment because you were mean to him and he can't fight back because he's too little.

#1 flipped out today. He was mouthing at The Pony from the shotgun seat of T-Hoe, a seat that rarely is graced by The Pony's rump, seeing as how #1 has permanently called that seat for life, when The Pony had a bellyfull of bullying, and decided to fight back in the only way he can, what with being strapped into the seat behind me, and poked a hoof at #1, who rides with the shotgun seat leaned back like he's on the space shuttle launch pad. #1 mouthed that he would break that hoof off if it was poked at him again, and I said that I could certainly understand why The Pony would do such a thing, and that The Pony had better not turn up lame, and all this picking at The Pony only made me love him more.

#1 declared, "Don't I know it. You've told me that ever since you rocked me in the crib, 'I love your brother more.' " I disagreed, first of all because I never rocked #1 in the crib, as he was one of those babies who refused to sleep in his crib, preferring instead to cuddle his downy skull into the hirsute armpit of HH whilst he snoozed in between us in our queen size bed nightly until he was six months old, and secondly because #1 would not be rocked, but would arch his back and twist his head and scream until he was held still. And thirdly because there was no little brother to threaten him with back then. Funny thing, #1 never stops to consider that he gets everything new and The Pony gets his hand-me-down clothes and toys and bed and computer and books and games. Or that when they each have identical items, and #1 breaks his, it always turns out that The Pony's is broken, but that #1's item is OK. Interesting, that odd coincidence.

Since #1 was being so unreasonable, I confessed. "Most women sing to their babies in utero. But not me. I chanted, 'I will love your brother more than I will love you.' And furthermore, when I was in high school, instead of drawing hearts and writing my name as Mrs. Boyfriend At The Time over and over...I wrote on my notebooks: 'I will love my second son more than my first son.' Yeah. So now you know."

I think I made my point.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Silence Of The Rabbit

Farmer H had another brilliant idea yesterday. He decided to put the male rabbit in a pen instead of leaving him in his cage with the chicken-wire bottom. Farmer H thought it would be more humane, and he commenced to building a little pen with the help of his two sons. A pen. Like, with a dirt floor kind of pen, a pen similar to the chicken pen. I suppose Farmer H doesn't know that rabbits live in burrows. Maybe he never read Alice In Wonderland. Farmer H surely knows that rabbits have claws. His arms were gouged several months ago by that pretty little white buck with black ears and black spots, gouged because he dared to hold a rabbit and pet it while three bloodthirsty dogs jumped up to get a good whiff. Three bloodthirsty dogs who kill and eat approximately one wild rabbit every two weeks. Those claws ain't for show. Nor or they for self-defense. Those are tunnel-diggin' claws.

Farmer H placed the buck in his new rabbit run last night. Today at noon, The Pony reported that Buck had dug himself a burrow that went out under the bricks with which they had lined the bottom of the fence. At the moment his Stalag 17 escape route was discovered, Buck was not shuffling about his compound, releasing dark dirt onto the light dirt and kicking it about with his combat boots. No, Buck was relaxing in his tunnel, enjoying a respite from the 90-degree heat. The Pony, a quick thinker, jammed a dead branch into the outer opening of Buck's tunnel. Poor Pony. He apparently has Farmer H's animal-behavior-blindness genes. Buck's giant buck teeth ain't for daintily nibbling on carrots.

I dialed Farmer H's number and handed the phone to The Pony. Farmer H did not grasp the gravity of the situation. His course of action was no action. Upon learning of his new rabbit housing complex, I had tried to tell Farmer H that nobody keeps their rabbits in a pen like that, and there must be a good reason, probably because the rabbits will dig their way under the fence. Farmer H was having none of it. So less than 24 hours later, his bunny had proven me right. Farmer H hates it when that happens. And to make a point, he left Buck in that non-holding pen tonight.

I am OH SO TIRED of Farmer H's animals being slaughtered for no reason. The black pants rooster got out again twice today, but The Pony herded him back through the gate while two dogs watched from their stations near the pen.

My crystal ball says no good will come of this least restrictive environment idea.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Like Father Like Son

Or in our case, Like HH, Like #1. Last month, Scavenger H found a giant 12" serrated hunting knife in a leather scabbard, right in the middle of the county road. He doesn't know what he's going to do with it, but it's his now, by cracky!

Today on our trip home from The Devil's Playground (yes, we frequent The Devil daily, doing our part to bring our great nation out of its depression or constriction or whatever the president has decreed that we call it now), the #1 son and I saw a treasure. You know, a roadside treasure. Junk that was laying alongside the road. One man's junk that HH considers his personal treasure. I might have mentioned that time right after we were married, when I saw a piece of J-channel in the middle of the road, so I slammed on my brakes, jerked my favorite car of all time, my 1990 cherry-red Toyota Corolla, into PARK, and commenced to wrestle that writhing snakish J-channel into a coil and stuff it in my back seat, that cheeky J-channel that would promptly whip about my head and shoulders as soon as I climbed back into the driver's seat, much to the satisfaction of the line of cars waiting at my rear bumper. The J-channel that New Hubby H would take one look at and declare was JUNK. Which left me of the opinion: Well, fiddle dee dee. As God is my witness, I'll never pick up junk in the road again.

The #1 son has inherited HH junk gene. There we were, about two miles from home, still on the county road, when we saw it: a large yellow bag of dogfood on the side of the road. "Oh, look. Somebody's dogfood fell out the back of their truck." #1 looked up from his double duty of holding his giant Symphony candy bar up against the air conditioner vents of T-Hoe, and reading the book 'Unwind' that he had propped up against the area where the air bag lies in wait until its called upon for a heroic act. "Stop! Go back! I'll get it!" There was a driveway I had just passed, which meant that I had to back blindly up a hill on a slight curve. Hey! I have one of those beepers to tell me when I'm about to hit something. I backed up and into the driveway. #1 jumped out and jogged up that blind hill. I cautioned him to listen for a speeding instrument of death. He disappeared behind some hanging tree limbs. I heard dogs barking. #1 reappeared at a dead sprint, pumping his arms like those kids on the railroad trestle in Stand By Me. Behind him galloped a black lab and two german shepherds. He crossed in front of T-Hoe, made a cut that a Pro Bowl wide receiver would envy, and yanked open his door. "I was almost there when I saw that the bag was open, and there were about three pieces of dogfood left. That's when the dogs saw me. Let's get out of here!" The black lab was under my window, wagging his tail, barking, with a grin on his face.

We had a tale that would make a grown HH cry.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Catching Flies With Honey

Gotcha! I'm not really catching flies. Flies are nasty. They crawl around on poop and then want to crawl around on my lips as I'm nodding off in my recliner. Not that my Mansion is filled with flies. A stray gets in every now and then, what with all the traipsing back and forth to check on those infernal chickens. M-O-O-N. That spells flies should be swatted as soon as they are seen, and killed DEAD DEAD DEAD! Don't you go worrying about the extinction of flies. For every one that you kill, another eleventy billion will take his place. You're doing flies a favor, actually, by providing those still living with less competition for those fly real estate tracts of food on which to land, rub their hairy little paws together, and vomit upon. Oh, and what a waste of perfectly good honey that would be, too. Honey is delicious. Did you know it has different tastes depending on which plant the bees were pollinating? It's true. Mmm...honey. You can put your honey in a little clear plastic honey bear and squeeze his belly when you want honey. They are OH SO CUTE, as well as tasty.

No, I'm not talking about catching actual flies with actual honey. I'm talking about my adventure trying to buy a Papa John's pizza for my boys after their first day of school yesterday. It was an adventure in futility. After school, we made our weekly trip to the bank, where we avoid the tellers who think they are Miss Manners and choose instead the nonjudgmental cash machine. Upon leaving the bank, I tried to phone in a pizza order. We had to stop by The Devil's Playground anyway so the #1 son could buy some recordable DVDs. This call would give us just enough time to drive to The Devil and pick up that $5.00 large cheese pizza. Or so I thought. The Papa answered the phone and immediately said, "Please hold." I did. For five freakin' minutes. #1 told me to hang up and call back. I did. Same thing. After another minute on hold, I hung up. I tried one more time. Same thing. Keep in mind that I was driving at the speed of legal toward The Devil's Playground this whole time. So it reached the point where we were saving no time by calling in a pizza.

I parked. I sighed. I rounded up The Pony and herded him into Papa John's. I was not a happy camper. I was incensed. How dare they keep putting me on hold! There were only two customers in the whole store. One was already eating. Why did I have to be put on hold? I was ready to have a little snit fit over the holding issue. But I changed my tune. Perhaps because I'd had such a great first day of school.

Papa came to the counter, and I asked if he still had the $5 one-topping large pizza. "No. We are waiting on a shipment of dough. People have been buying us out of the $5 pizza. We get shipments twice a week." So I asked him how much a medium pan cheese pizza would cost. "We don't make a medium pan pizza. Only large. That would be $11." The Pony, who loves pizza more than he loves math, said optimistically, "That's only about two dollars more, Mom." I pretended he had just made a careless error. "No. That's more than TWICE as much." I looked at Papa. "OK, we'll take one." I can't deny The Pony his pizza. Papa fiddled with the register. "Tell you what. I can give it to you for $7.04." I handed him a ten. "I've got the change," said Papa, as he handed me back three ones. Oh, but that's not all.

The Pony and I sat down to wait. The plan was to go get two sodas from The Devil's cooler when the pizza was ready. Because I thought they would be cheaper than those in Papa's cooler. When the pizza was ready, we called #1 back up front, away from the $450 cameras he was browsing. I told The Pony to go get in the first line and get the two sodas. Papa carried out our pizza box, just in time to hear The Pony say, "Why don't we just get our sodas here?" I told him OK, to go get them, and I told Papa, "We are also getting two sodas." The Pony carried a Sprite and a Coke toward me. I put my hand in my pocket and pulled out my money, and started to walk toward the counter. Papa frowned. He shook his head. He shooed us out the door.

A large cheese pizza and two 20 oz. sodas for $7.00. That's cheaper than the $5 deal we usually get. It must be karma.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Day Fever

No, it's not that. We don't have the swine flu yet in Hillmomba. But we had the first day of school, and I can only shout loudly from the rooftops that the school year is almost over, you know! Only 173 more days to go! That will pass in the blink of an eye.

The honeymoon is ON! My kids were very good today, even my large 7th hour class of freshmen plus one senior and one sophomore. I told them they might break my career record of never having a good 7th hour class, except for one flukish semester last year when it was almost pleasant. I'm willing to meet them halfway. I'm actually a kind of benign, entertaining old curmudgeon with a cold, cold heart--as long as they are respectful. I can bend, but I will break them once they cross me. I forewarned them.

My biology class this year only has 18 students. 18, people! Not 28!!! All but three of them have had the pleasure of doing time in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's classroom before. We are sympatico. For example, I stepped into the room after the bell, greeted them, and said I was putting them in a seating chart. "No! No, you can't do that, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! We'll be good." So I told them: "I'm putting you in a seating chart because that's how I roll. But I WILL take this first day of school and go over my rules for these people new to me, and we will not do an assignment." That tickled their fancy. One young man said, "Great. That's what I was going to bargain for." See. These kids know me. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not averse to bargaining to keep the peace. With peace comes greater learning. Energy is not wasted on opposing sides trying to gain the upper hand. Will it really matter on graduation night that one time Mrs. Hillbilly Mom did not give her biology class an assignment on the first day of school? I think not.

The #1 son said that I was not the worst teacher he had today, and that, in fact, he was quite pleased that I did not single him out and pick on him or ask him to run errands for me. In fact, when I read off the seating chart, I said, "#1 Hillbilly. Hmm...we might be related. We have the same name." I needed papers taken to the office, and chose a lad some might term a troublemaker. He's good with me until his actions prover otherwise.

All in all, thought my knees are aching from standing so long and traipsing outside for fire and earthquake drills, it was a gold-star first day.

But it was only the first day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back To School: Good News, Bad News Edition

After three days of preparing for another school year that is almost over, I have accrued some Good News, Bad News life lessons.

Good News
I have a new school laptop.
Bad News
I have no power cord.

Good News
The ceiling-mounted projector that I was supposed to have installed in January will be installed sometime this semester.
Bad News
We're waiting on the stimulus money.

Good News
My projector cart with the broken laptop and no sound was taken away last week by TechDude to be updated.
Bad News
I don't know where my projector cart is, and school starts tomorrow.

Good News
We did not have our annual Bullying Workshop on the first day of school.
Bad News
We had it at 9:00 this morning, during the last-minute rush before classes start tomorrow.

Good News
During lunch yesterday, somebody unlocked my 76 degree thermostat and set it on 72.
Bad News
During the break after school, before Open House, somebody locked my thermostat at 80 degrees.

Good News
Those thermostats are on a timer, and returned to 72 degrees this morning.
Bad News
Parents, students, faculty, and some powers-that-be were incensed at the sweltering heat during Open House.

Good News
I walked for 30 minutes after school today.
Bad News
It took me 45 minutes.

Good News
After school today, people gave me a new laptop power cord, my old projector cart, a lab safety brochure, and advice on my son's student calculator.
Bad News
HELLO! I'm walking here!

Good News
My projector cart is presumably fixed, and back where it belongs.
Bad News
I don't have time to get it set up for tomorrow, because I have duty.

Good News
I have duty on Thursdays now, and several of our holidays fall on Thursday.
Bad News
The first day of school is a Thursday, and I have to drop off The Pony a bit early at his new school, Basementia.

Good News

Our gradebook program will print out a seating chart in alphabetical or random order, showing pictures of the freshman and sophomore students, and names of the upperclassmen.
Bad News
I buy my own printer ink.

Good News
My Arch Nemesis offered me some desks and chairs that match the ones in my classroom.
Bad News
I have been trying for 10 months to get rid of the ones she gave me last year.

Good News
Once upon a time, my teaching buddy, Mabel, told me that if I ever needed glue sticks or rulers or scissors, they were right there in a cabinet in my room that uses to be her storeroom.
Bad News
The cabinets were LOCKED UP!

Monday, August 10, 2009

No News From Newmentia

I have absolutely nothing to report from my first day back to work, other than it's one day closer to the end of the school year.

There was no big news, no big changes, my Wednesday duties have finally changed to Thursday duties, the lunch duty schedule has rotated so that it is not alphabetical again to start the year, doorstops are still disappearing, there was bartering for the projector cart that I don't even have in my room right now, we will be setting up our own web pages for parents and students in MARCH (which is so close to the end of the school year that why bother?), there is no chance that we will go to a four-day week, the new insurance is f-ed up, my table was last again to access the breakfast buffet, I still have two game duties at Basementia (the second of which falls on the #1 son's first basketball game night at Newmentia), we're having our emergency drills during the first two days of school, and, well, I'm not really ready for school to start, but I'm not in the least bit jittery about it.

I'm planning to check out books and go over safety procedures and give my mandatory safety test on the first two days. Oh, well. Let the chips fall where they may. So what if we end up outside for a fake building blaze and the kids discuss it? Maybe more will pass the first time. That's the goal. Then they'll remember what they didn't know. "Hey, remember during the fire drill, how you told me that for a chemical spill, I need to take off that clothing and run water over the area?" Yep. Works for me.

In other news, Mabel should not be allowed to touch a plastic knife. Ever.

Tuesday is Open House. There will be no blogging on that day. This, from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, who even blogs on Christmas. I'm too old and too tired and I'm going to miss half of Big Brother anyway. So I decree no blogging on Open House night.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Consolation Chicken

Because it is the day before I return to work, I spent my time cleaning out The Pony's drawers and the laundry room. Because that's the kind of gal I am. Forget about all the clutter in my kitchen and office and, well, just about everywhere else. Those clothes needed weeding out. I gave them to my mom, who offers them to her neighbor for her grandkids, who lets her daughter go through them, who then gives them to friends. See? That's my good deed, without even a receipt to use for my itemized deductions on Schedule A. There was some good stuff in this batch: a Nike wind jacket that The Pony won't wear, a pair of camouflage sneakers worn only once, a couple of Abercrombie shirts, a pants/shirt/tie/vest combo (size 10), piles of jeans and shorts, swim trunks, shirts, and a SpongeBob wristband. Who could ask for anything more? I had really meant to get this stuff ready earlier in the summer, but being an Aquarius, I am a poster hillbilly for procrastination.

My mom told her neighbor of The Pony's incident with the slaughtered baby chicks. Neighbor felt his pain, and offered him one of her half-grown chicks. I explained to The Pony that something could very easily happen to it here at Chicken Death Central, so if he didn't want it, I would understand. The Pony said he would like a little chicken. He and Chicken H might go look at it tonight, or wait until next weekend when they could bring it home. I see no point in getting it now and leaving it unattended all week. Those peckers out there in our pen are murderers.

#1 is gone to Six Flags with his cousin and her boyfriend and a crony. Seems like only last month that he went on the then hottest day of the year, and now he had to go today on the hottest day of the year. It will be a chore getting him up and ready in time for me to get to work in the morning. Both boys have to go with me. My mom is picking up The Pony after a doctor's appointment, but #1 will stay in my room and be my gofer. He's right handy with electronics. And popular with the other faculty.

I am looking forward to being the last table to go through the breakfast line again. It's a yearly ritual. Save me a seat, Mabel!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

An Embarrassing Phone Pas

Thursday, I took both boys to pick up their schedules for next year. The Pony is entering 6th grade, and leaves the security of Elementia, the only school he has ever known, for Basementia. He is a bit apprehensive. He wanted to carry a book into the school, but I made him put it back in T-Hoe and face the music. At first, he didn't want to take a tour of the building. He should know his way around, because it was just two years ago that I was stationed in Basementia every afternoon, and The Pony got off the bus there. Still, two years ago was 20% of his life, so maybe he really doesn't remember.

#1 and I persuaded The Pony to go downstairs and see his classrooms, but we couldn't get to his locker, what with it being in an area that was taped off due to wet floor wax. Nothing like cutting the sprucing-up duties until the last minute, by cracky! When we left, he seemed relieved. I have told him and told him that he will have to find bathroom time on his own, and that if he misses the bus, not to worry, because if he doesn't arrive at Newmentia, I will come looking for him. We found out that he has band 7th hour, which is in another building that shall ever after be called Sidementia. It will be a rush for him to get from Sidementia to the bus loading area after the bell. Those bus drivers don't let any grass grow under their tires. When the first one pulls out, they've got themselves a convoy.

I asked The Pony if he felt better about starting school in that building, after his little tour. He hesitated. "Yes. But maybe during Open House, somebody can show me where the band room is." Poor Pony. We overlooked the obvious.

#1 was rarin' to go pick up his schedule, even though he had gotten a copy during the first week of summer school, and a locker assigned next to his buddies, too. He didn't even want me to go in, but nature called, so I just walked past him to do my business. Since the Teacher Workroom was locked up tighter than the liquor cabinet during an AA convention, I went into the student bathroom. It's a maze, you know. No door, just a maze of concrete blocks to get into the stall and sink area. That maze is where I want to be during a tornado. Anyhoo...from my comfortable seat in the last handicap stall, I heard someone telling #1 where I was. In a school, everybody knows your business. He was waiting outside when I re-navigated the maze. Seems that he needed his social security number for the paperwork. Much like inmates at a federal penitentiary, our students are just a number, and we do head counts every 50 minutes.

While I was filling out that info, #1 stood at the office window to chat with his female cronies. That boy is never lacking for feminine attention. Just last week I discovered that he was texting a girl from basketball camp. We won't mention the girl whose number he got at the state bowling tournament in April. We left school to meet my mom and sister and niece for lunch. My timing is impeccable. Nobody ever has to wait on me. You could set your watch by me. Unless #1 has anything to do with it.

About two miles from Newmentia, #1 flipped out. "I don't have my phone! I think I left it on the counter by the office when I was talking." He was flustered. I simply told him to call the girls. That's WHY they were in the office, to answer the phones while the head honchoes were handing out schedules and parking permits and lockers. He called. "I hate that automated system!" You're preachin' to the choir, buddy. He finally reached the building of his choice, and asked the girls to look for his phone. Since he has three of them, (now down to two because his father is a mooch), the girls asked which one. Like any other type of phone laying there must not be his. "My iPhone!" The boy was frantic. I was none too happy myself. I had already made a U-turn and was headed back to Newmentia. This drama in real life was wreaking havoc with my schedule. The girls reported that there was no phone on the outer-office shelf.

#1 was busy searching his little corner of paradise, or as I call it, the passenger seat of my T-Hoe. It was nowhere to be found. He commanded The Pony to search the floor of the back seat area. "For your phone? I know you had it when you got in the car. You put it right there." #1 had searched the floor, the seat, the console, under my purse, the pockets on the door, his shorts pockets. No iPhone. I told him we would go back to Newmentia and he could look for himself. Then he spotted it. "Here it is!"

He had put it in my soft sunglasses case, right there by the cupholders. DUH! I made him call the office girls and tell them. He must have forgotten that I was right there. Because I heard him say, "Oh, it fell down by the seat." Indeed! I screamed out, "He stuck it in my glasses case!" That boy is so tech savvy. He was not even rattled. After ending his conversation, he told me, "You know that I covered up the speaker when you talked."

And he added, "That was an embarrassing phone pas."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Don't Count Your Chickens

I have not kept you properly updated on Chicken H's flock. I might have mentioned that he brought home some chickens from the auction, that one of them 'had a cough', and killed all but one of our Leghorns with the spread of this disease. Yep. Those 8-eggs-a-day layin' Leghorns are now deceased. They didn't all die at once, but lingered, getting weaker and weaker, a hen or two at a time, until finally the plague had run its course. The Pony had a tough time, what with Chicken H commanding him every day to check on the chickens three times, and report their symptoms.

Once all but one of the Leghorns died, The Pony snapped out of it. There was more joy in Hillbillyville, as The Pony skipped to the chicken house to check for eggs. Imagine his glee when one of those black hens started setting. Chicken H decreed that she should be left alone, and that The Pony was not to collect the eggs from that nest. The total eventually reached 5, and Chicken H announced that we would hear the pitter patter of little yellow feet in about three weeks. I told The Pony that was about the time school would be starting. He was quite excited about the impending bundles of joy.

We went to school this morning around 9:45, and returned home at 1:30. When he got up this morning, The Pony checked on his chickens. He reported, "No eggs, and that brown hen is still fighting with the black hen." This has gone on for several days. The black hen would get up for a few minutes, and the brown hen would take over the nest. Then the black hen would resume her throne. The first thing The Pony did when we got home was grab his little Easter basket and take off for the chicken pen. When he came back, he was crushed.

"Mom, the black hen and the brown hen had a fight. I know, because the black hen is out in the pen with a bunch of feathers missing and some just hanging on, and the brown hen is on the nest. And all the eggs are broken and the chicks are dead in the nest." There were tears in his eyes, and he was trying not to let them leak out. I felt SO bad for him that it made me cry. All this time, he had faithfully checked on those chickens, waiting for the stork to bring him some baby chicks, and now he was the one to discover the massacre. He called his dad and told him. Chicken H was full of questions, but I told him that I was NOT sending The Pony out there to check again, and that I was not going, either.

Chicken H left work 30 minutes early.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Missouri, The Baby-Hatin' State

Well, we were on the national news again this morning. Virginia is for lovers. New Mexico is the land of enchantment. Montana is big sky country. Illinois is the land of Lincoln. Some of you might think that Missouri is the show-me state. Think again. We're the baby-hatin' state.

In Missouri, we kick a six-month-old baby out of Burger King for not wearing shoes. That is wrong on OH SO MANY levels. Here's the deal: a lady took her baby daughter and her mother to lunch at Burger King in Sunset Hills, Missouri. The baby was not wearing shoes. That's because it's MISSOURI, people, in the SUMMER, and the temperature is in the 90s, and six-month-old babies are not tortured with shoes. Why would she need shoes? Is she a horse pulling a wagon up I-44 during the annual Boy's Town Wagon Train? Is she Mike Rowe slopping hogs on Dirty Jobs? NO. She's a six-month-old infant who doesn't even walk. Why does she need shoes?

A Burger King employee told the mom she would have to leave, because no shoes on that baby meant a health code violation. WTF? The baby wasn't working in the restaurant (and I use that term loosely), flipping burgers with her unfettered tootsies. How is that violating the health code? AND, the No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service thingy says plainly, NO SERVICE. So why did the employees at the counter take the money and serve the food? That is service, by cracky! Then they try to kick out two women and a baby after they have already paid for their food? It's a darn conspiracy, I tell you. Some kind of scam to get money without giving people what they paid for. They could have told them at the counter that they would have to take it to go.

Missouri. The Show Me Your Baby's Shoes Or Get Out State.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Even Steven I Am

Woe is me. If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. I know that's a song. My grandma and grandpa watched Hee Haw. Some days, it seems I just can't catch a break.

I stepped into the shower this morning to...DUH...shower, little knowing what fate had in store for me. We have a detached shower, a big 'un, a two-seater. I reached in and turned on the water. We have a single knob, marked HOT and COLD, but seeing as how Non-Union Plumber H installed it, the cold water comes out the HOT side and hot water comes out the COLD side. Don't worry, we have several matching sinks. You just can't be sure which ones, until you've splashed a mile in my shower shoes. But that's not a problem for me. I've lived here 11 years, and I know the drill.

I stepped over the little lip thingy that holds the track for the sliding shower doors. As usual, I turned my back to the shower head and closed my eyes. That's what I do. I let the water run through my hair and sometimes down my face if I misjudge my position while my eyes are closed. Funny how I close my eyes in case water runs down my face. I'm a regular O. Henry story all by myself!

So there I am, eyes closed, water spraying on my head, and I notice that I'm not quite turned all the way to the back of the shower, because my right foot is up against the little lip thingy that holds the track for the shower doors. That has never happened in 11 years. Of course I think nothing of it, except that I need to turn to get my whole head wet. That's when it happened.

There was no warning for the danger that was fast approaching. No flickering lights. No "REEE! REEE! REEE!" Psycho music. No life milestones passing before my eyes. Nothing. Then I felt it.

A sharp, pointy, burning pain shot through the side of my foot. The side of my right foot that was pressed up against that little lip thingy that holds the track for the shower doors. My first thought was Ouch! That hurts like a... My next thought was WTF? My next thought was Oh, no it didn't! Something just f---ing STUNG me!!! I moved my foot away from that little lip thingy that holds the track for the shower doors, and a freakin' stingered insect with a yellow stripey hind end was writhing around on the shower floor. Believe me, he wasn't hurtin' any more than I was. I wanted to say, "This hurts me more than it hurts you." But that would have been stupid, talking to an insect, and besides, I was more concerned with my throbbing side-foot area, and the fact that my dad always had to carry an Epi-Pen because of his deadly allergy to stings, and the other fact that I have only been stung by a bee once in my life, around the age of six, when walking barefoot through a clover patch, unless you count the occasional 'sweat bee' off and on through childhood, and nothing untoward had happened to me then.

What a way to check out. Naked and wet and nobody to hear my cries for help as the swollen throat of anaphylactic shock slowly murderized me.

But that didn't happen. Lucky for me the stinging venom allergy skipped a generation, and that critter stung the tough part of my foot along the outside edge, halfway between my pinky toe and my heel. But really. WHO gets stung by a bee in her own shower? Only Hillbilly Mom.

I totally blame Entomologist H. Who knows what he carries into this house on his clothes? Two nights ago, he got stung by something while sticking new numbers on the pole with our address sign out at the end of the driveway.

In other news, today at school, while cleaning out the big flat drawer of my desk, I found $23. Even Steven has reared his fair-haired head again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Porch

When life gives you rain, make bottled water. Or some kick-butt pictures with your new Kodak Easyshare Z1015IS (#1 wrote that for my feeble old self).


When it rains, my son photographs.


Rain, rain, don't go away, we can't take photos any other day.


Don't take snapshots on my porch and tell me it's raining.


Oh, say can you see, by the afternoon light...
O'er the porch rail we watched...
Raindrops bursting in air...


It's raining H20 and squirrel heads.


Raindrops on Wolmanized lumber and squirrel heads on porches...


Sorry for the jarring ending to our good clean fun. I can't predict what may turn up on my porch next. Some days it's pretty, peaceful raindrops. Some days it's severed squirrel heads. Some days it's THE DEVIL, but I refuse to post his picture again.

In compliance with the Truth in Blogging Act, let me declare that this was NOT all one raindrop, but a series of fortunate precipitation events. The #1 son and I put them together like one of those test questions where you have to put the pictures in order. We're mighty bright, if I do say so myself. Mr. S. Squirrel Head appeared earlier this summer, and disappeared as abruptly as he arrived. The camera was new in June, when Travel Agent H took his vacation.

I do not claim that these photos are mine. #1 took them, and labeled them with my blog to punish picture thieves. Because that's the kind of dude he is.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Brown Table Graveyard

The boys and I spent half the day at Newmentia, putting my books in number order, putting shelves back on the bookcase that the custodians broke and then repaired this summer, plugging in the microwave and mini-fridge (and filling it with soda and water), stocking a file cabinet drawer with kid snacks, rearranging my classroom so the swine flu isn't sneezed ON me, but at right angles to me, and letting the tech dude plug in my new school laptop. Oh, the new school laptop which refused to connect to the wireless signal so I can use my SmartBoard as a SmartBoard and not a glorified movie screen. I guess that doesn't really matter, since Tech Dude took my entire projector cart with him when he left. He said he'd be back to deal with the laptop.

I refuse to let the boys buy snacks and soda out of the machine after school this year. Times are tough. I'm not forking over a couple of bucks apiece, five times a week. They will eat broughten snacks, or they will go hungry.

My new classroom design will lesson my boredom for the first quarter. So what if my kids are crammed in like sardines? It's all about MY comfort, not theirs. Mmm...sardines. Since when did the sardines start looking like regular fish instead of minnows? I swear, when I was a kid, you got like four little sardines in a can, and now it's just two chunks of sardine, without really having a neck and tail area, but more like two main bodies with the heads and tails hacked off. You can't even tell which end is head and which end is tail. I hope you all enjoy sardines as much as I do. Only in mustard sauce. The others are nasty, not that I ever tried them, but who wants fish in tomato sauce? Not me, that's for sure. Now where was I...

I really want to get rid of a table in my classroom. It is big and has a fake wood top and has four legs (DUH!) that don't fold up. Mabel turned it down. I will beg unsuspecting cronies next week to adopt my orphan table. I'll have to throw a little Tom Sawyer spin on it. "I don't know what I'd do without my big brown table. It really fills up that corner of my room. It prevents me from having to hang anything on the walls, because you can't get close enough to read my world map, and when stuff falls off, you can't get back behind Old Brown to re-hang it. And it sags just right in the middle. It's like a magnet for dust. I'm surprised you don't have one. I guess they just let us Master Teachers have them. It's really good for kids who break into your room over the weekend when they're having a lock-in to hide under and pull Science Fair display boards around the sides. You can always find the dried-up spitwads that miss their target when a sub is here. And a lot of times, you can get some gum wrappers if you're inclined to make those chain thingies. But there I go, braggin' about my stuff. I'm surprised nobody took it during the summer, after the custodians turned it sideways to get it out the door and plopped it in the hall for a couple days. I sure hope it doesn't disappear. I don't remember if I put my name on it in an inconspicuous place. I wouldn't want anything to happen to it. I think I saw one on Antiques Roadshow one time. Gotta go now, and polish my table." Funny how it seemed like a good idea when the Fingernator offered me this table the year before she retired. Let that illustrate how long she had tried to unload it.

I am not optimistic. My room is where junk furniture goes, to live for eternity.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Summer Is Almost Over, You Know

Tomorrow the boys and I are going to my classroom to put some things in order. I want to hit the ground running on Aug. 10 when we return. I don't need issues with my computer or posters falling off the wall or not enough books for the students on my rosters or misplaced odds and ends or the desks not the way I want them. The first day back will be eaten up with meetings and new technology crap and people dropping in and no time to do anything but sit and listen. Then the second day will be all about getting ready for Open House that evening of Aug. 11, and that leaves only a half day on Aug. 12 to get stuff ready for the students to arrive on Aug. 13.

Dare I say that I'm kind of looking forward to the first day? This will be my third year back at teaching science, so I should be in the swing of things and only have daily paper-grading and score-recording to occupy my time after school. And maybe some research to throw in new stuff as I choose. I take that back. I will have one new class in place of my double dose Algebra, but it's a class I've taught before, so it won't take much prep.

It will be fun to see #1 and his cronies in the halls of Newmentia, though maybe not so much fun to see them in my classroom. This year we will have four (FOUR!) weeks of school until Labor Day. It used to be we only went a couple of weeks until this mini-break. Then we will have a day off for professional development, perhaps, in September, and a day off for Parent Conferences in October, and then it will be basketball season, and Thanksgiving Break, and Christmas...

The new school year is almost over!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lame Chef

Thursday, Basementia Buddy and her son, Little Bud, came for a visit. Bud and #1 rode 4-wheelers, BB and I gossiped, and The Pony avoided us. After shooting things with bb guns, and exploding some tame popper firework thingies because I decreed that no bottle rockets or other incendiary devices would be deployed, and before laming The Pony in a battle royale of foam noodles in Poolio, both boys came in for lunch. Kids being kids, I had decided on corndogs for their culinary pleasure.

I hope you're not squeamish, like those people who can't make it through an entire episode of MTV's Scarred. What happened to me with that corn dog carton should not happen to a dog. Not to a darn dog. It was a brand-new box of a dozen or so corn dogs, perhaps Fairground or State Fair brand. I stuck my right index finger under the flap on the end of the box to pry up the glue and open it. That was my mistake. There I was, sliding my finger along between the flap and the box, and that freakin' cardboard critter CUT me! Oh, the pain! Oh, the blood! OK, perhaps I'm being a bit dramatic, but every time I type yuhjnm, I get a sharp pain in my finger. Sure, it was just a little ol' quarter-inch slice between my fingernail and the cuticle, but that is a sensitive area. It was just like a paper cut, like on that show Jackass, when Johnny and Steve-O decided to hold an industrial-strength paper-cut contest, and sliced the webs of their fingers and toes, and the sides of their lip corners with the flap of a manilla envelope. Only I didn't do it on purpose. I staunched the flow of blood with a Puffs With Lotion tissue, and completed my meal preparation. Then I ran cold well water from the kitchen sink over my gaping wound. I couldn't squeal and carry on like I would have normally, because BB was there, and she might have laughed at me. That's the kind of gal she is.

For two days, I have kept it covered with a slather of triple antibiotic ointment and a Curad adhesive strip. No need to tempt fate and end up like my mom's Fat Red Pinky Finger that the orthopedic surgeon wanted to lop off. He probably approves of this new health care plan, what with lopping off old people's fingers instead of doing surgery to clean out the infection. Heck, he probably does the lopping in his office with a meat cleaver to cut costs. Anesthesia? No need for that, what with it being so hard to find after Michael Jackson cornered the market on it to use as a sleep aid. That orthopod might just whack the oldsters over the head with a tire iron. Or maybe slam their heads repeatedly onto the linoleum like a schoolgirl in a cafeteria fight. It's cheaper than a tire iron.

Getting back to those deadly corn dogs... they were quite a hit, though BB didn't partake of their mouthwatering goodness. I overheard Bud shout out to the chef his compliments, in the manner of teenage boys: "Hey! These are good! They're crunchy!" I yelled into the kitchen, modestly, "I buy them at Save-A-Lot and follow the directions on the box."

Don't look for me in Kitchen Stadium any time soon.